Today we had our first real snow of the season! I’m so glad that the snow held off for me to do my monthly shopping yesterday! I always buy a lot but some trips are really big trips and this one was one of those. I got a bunch of staples: 100 lb wheat berries, 100 lb spelt berries, 50 lb cornmeal, 50 lb rolled oats, 30 lb quinoa, 30 lb raisins, 50 lb onions, 50 lb potatoes, 30 lb yams, 2 flats canned cherries (12 cans in a flat), 2 flats canned peaches (29 oz cans), 1 flat 28 oz cans tomatoes, 2 flats (reg. size) organic tomatoes, 2 flats baby dill pickles, 2 flats regular pickles, 1 case whole wheat linguine (20 boxes), 12 gallons raw milk, 30 dozen free range eggs (these are visibly so much better than supermarket eggs – last month I didn’t get them and dh was really glad to see them again!), 3 #10 cans of spaghetti sauce, 4 containers plain yogurt, 4 28 oz cans pumpkin, ten 1.5 lb containers cottage cheese, 10 lb carrots, 12 lb. frozen mixed vegetables, and 4-5 lb boxes of clementines. There’s probably more but I don’t want to go get my receipts and look through them, but that’s the gist of it.
Then there are the things that I usually wouldn’t buy much of but am getting in preparation for my trip to Israel. The kids aren’t thrilled that I’ll be gone and were even less thrilled when dh made a comment about making oatmeal for breakfast every day. I told them that I’d leave special foods for them to enjoy in my absence, they got much more cheerful about me going away! Most of these foods I’d rarely buy, but my priority is to make it as easy as possible for whoever is staying with the kids to put together simple meals that they’ll enjoy, and for it to be something special for the kids. So I got 6 packages of hash browns (20 patties per case), frozen french fries (maybe 10 bags? I told ds11 to get the amount he felt would be good), 20 packages whole wheat tortillas, 1 case corn tortillas (the kids used to hate these but recently discovered when they’re crisped in butter that they’re very tasty), 8 (?) pkg. bagels, 10 boxes cold cereal, 2 big boxes of instant oatmeal (approx. 55 packages per box), and 1 case diced peaches in juice (individual serving size cans). Oh, and ten bags of blue corn chips, and a bunch of cookies for my ds11’s Shabbos group.
I also got a bunch of single serving size foil tuna packets to take to dd to supplement her food situation there, which she actually told me today she’s gotten used to. I was pleased that even with the extra expenses of the foods I wouldn’t usually buy that cost-wise it was a very reasonable shopping trip. I’m planning to do one more big shopping trip before I go to Israel, so that everything is totally stocked up before I leave (including perishables).
The main challenge in buying all of this is having to unload and unpack it when we finally get home! We didn’t get home until 8 pm, and between everyone being tired, and it being so dark and cold, we left most of the stuff to unload in the morning. However, we had a trip to the National Cryptologic Museum scheduled for 10 am, which meant leaving by 9, and that meant we needed to start to unpack the van at 8 am! And we all woke up later than usual (I woke up at 8:45), and it’s hard to kick into gear when you’re already really late the minute you open your eyes.
I was really waffling about going since I had not one shred of desire to go anywhere at that point, with the pressure I was feeling to get everyone dressed, fed, and out of the house in less than 30 minutes – and to unpack the van from all those groceries. But I felt it wouldn’t be right not to show up for a trip when I had made a commitment and as an organizer of many trips, I know how frustrating it can be when people don’t honor their commitments. Then I got a message that our co-op classes for the afternoon were cancelled, so that took some pressure of the day off me (since I would have had to packed lunch to take with us and gone straight from the trip to the classes, not getting home until after 4 pm). And I decided that honoring my commitment to attend came before relaxing, so I got into gear! It really was a push to get everyone ready and everything done, but I put the focus on keeping it pleasant, and we managed to get there right on time with everyone still in a good mood!
Strangely, we didn’t see anyone else there. Before I had a chance to wonder about that, we were told that the docent for our trip had been called away for an emergency, and that our trip had been officially cancelled ten minutes before I got there. Sometimes you have to laugh at the irony of situations – I made this massive effort not to let down the group but then there was no group to let down! LOL! (A message was emailed to everyone but it was sent after 9 am so too late for us to get it, and in any case, there was not an extra minute for me to check emails.) As frustrating as this could have been, I really wasn’t bothered since it was obviously meant for us to go to the museum and not to get the message in time.
The kids had a great time. They’ve become wary when I say we’re going to a museum since, well, some haven’t been the most interesting of our trips. This was very interesting and the kids were engaged by a scavenger hunt with lots of decoding involved. They were given some nice activity books, pencils, a decoding tool, and each of the older four earned a prize for completing the scavenger hunt, a challenging puzzle kind of game. They said they’d like to go back another time for a guided tour since there was so much to learn about that they couldn’t get in this first visit. Maybe if the trip organizer reschedules we’ll particpate in that next time!
I was surprised to see it snowing when I looked out the front door of the museum after an hour and a half, so I quickly bundled up the kids and headed home. It’s been very cold lately and I wanted to get home while the roads were in good condition. We made it home just fine and then the kids played outside for a while until we had lunch. Then we unpacked some more groceries – breaking up the unpacking into smaller chunks of work has made it seem less like intimidating than usual!
I still have the last part of unpacking to do – putting the bulk supplies in the buckets. It’s not hard but it takes a solid chunk of time and organizing (finding enough empty buckets, lining them, labeling them, reorganizing the space they’re in), and I’m grateful that my ds17 used to do this for us! The kids can help with this but other than dd14, none of them are able to logistically handle what’s involved independent of me. I asked my dh if he would take care of this tomorrow, and he agreed, which is a big thing that I now know will be done well and not need my involvement!
I know that this may seem like a lot of work – but part of that is because my shopping for the month is concentrated into one day instead of many smaller shopping trips. I feel it’s worth it for the money that we save, the convenience of having what we need when we need it, and virtually always being able to purchase the foods we use at sale prices.
So now our house is well-stocked with food, and our children are well-stocked energy-wise with the experience of an enjoyable outing, and if the weather dictates that we cozy up inside for a few days, we’re ready!