Friday, November 7, 2008

Kansas City Parent Article “Stock-up Mentality”

I wrote this article, checked the KC Parent web site for guidelines, and e-mailed it in August of 2006. Within a couple of days I heard back that they would print it. It was published in the January 2007 issue (yes, 5 months later), and I was thrilled to make $25!!! My mistake was I didn't do enough research for a sidebar. I only threw in 2 book titles, and the editor had to research the Web sites for the meal places.

Here she be (bad grammar, I know):

I was raised to stock up. When the first warehouse store opened in our neighborhood, my parents were the first to join. My mom has been known to have 23 bottles of shower gel and 50 rolls of toilet paper in her house at any given time. And the contents of my dad’s basement pantry could feed a Kansas City neighborhood for a week. They’re too young to have lived through the Great Depression. So why do they have, and more importantly, why have they passed on this stock-up mentality to their only child?

IT SAVES TIME AND FRUSTRATION. My husband and I have three kids … so far. It’s logical to consider stocking up so I don’t have to go to the store all the time with the children in tow. I know a mom who goes to the grocery store daily so her family can have the freshest ingredients. I rarely even have time to SHOWER daily.

There is nothing I hate more than finding that I am out of something AT THE TIME I need it. Like toilet paper, or coffee, or chocolate. There’s a certain level of comfort in knowing there are a dozen rolls of toilet paper and an extra bottle of catsup stocked in their respective closets and cabinets.

IT SAVES MONEY. It’s true that if you have meals already prepared and frozen, ready to pop in the oven or ingredients on hand, you won’t be seeing the pizza guy on a weekly basis or going out for fast food when you’ve resolved to feed your family more healthy meals. The savings from buying the staple items in bulk can add up in more ways than one.

BUT YOU NEED SPACE. Our kitchen has a tiny pantry and shelf space in the basement is limited. I would love to have 10 of everything we use often waiting for me at all times, like my own little grocery store. Most of my grocery shopping would be pretty simple if I was able to make a monthly stock-up trip. Be creative when hunting for space around your house for stocking up. We currently use basement shelves, but are thinking of putting a shelving system in our front hall closet. A friend recently decluttered a corner of her garage so she could add a tall cabinet that doubles as pantry space.

FULL MEAL STOCK UP — AT HOME. I bought a Once a Month Cooking cookbook and tried their 2-week cooking plan. It took me about five hours, including the interruptions by my three little helpers, to pack my freezer with 14 meals. I’m certain it would have taken me longer to cook these meals if I had done them on a nightly basis.

The reward comes when you can pull something out in the morning to thaw knowing dinner will be ready to slip in the oven as you rush off to after school ball practice or swim lessons.

FULL MEAL STOCK UP — OFF SITE. I want to try one of those places where you cook the meals while they provide the containers, food and supplies. You don’t have to clean your kitchen and there are no canned good villages, built by sweet cherubs, to trip over. Try it with several friends and make it a fun night out while accomplishing something at the same time. In about two hours you can make 10-12 meals for a family of four to six. Kansas City has many choices when it comes to these great businesses!

STOCK UP DELIVERY. We belong to a food service that delivers every six months. We get a few prepared meals as well as frozen vegetables, meats, juice concentrate, pancakes, etc. The value depends on where I’m at in my life. Right after the kids have been born I’ve treasured the home delivery aspect and downplay the cost; and if I’m pretty self-sufficient I gripe about the cost and have as little as possible sent to my home. Companies like Schwan’s (www.schwans.com) will make small deliveries as often as you like, and you can order online.

Bottom line: Stocking up makes me feel secure and takes me to a happy, calm, peaceful place in my own mind knowing that I don’t have to pack three kids into the van and run to the store at 5:30 to buy buns for the hamburger patties I’ve thawed. Any system that allows busy parents the opportunity to slow down a bit and spend more time with their families is worth considering!

STOCKING UP RESOURCES
Once-a-Month Cooking: A Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious, Homemade Meals Everyday by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson

The Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy by Nanci Slagle

Frozen Assets: How to Cook for a Day and Eat for a Month by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Dream Dinners: www.dreamdinners.com

Meal Makers: www.mealmakers.net

Super Suppers: www.supersuppers.com

Social Suppers: www.socialsuppers.com

My Other Kitchen: www.myotherkitchen.info

Kitchen Concierge: www.kitchenconcierge.net

Let’s Dish: www.letsdish.com

Kerrie and her husband Aron live in Overland Park and are the parents of three young children.

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