Well, here we are in the middle of July and I am in full swing with Back to School planning and prepping. That means finishing up my house to-do's (can't wait to show ya'll what we have been up to), taking a clothing inventory for our upcoming fall thrifting, coordinating schedules with all our activities, making new goals for our family business- Flourish In Thyme and MEAL PLANNING. Last July I shared my strategy for planning a six month outlook, MEAL PLANNING ON STERIODS and it was such a blessings for us. For my first go at such a big project it was such a huge blessings for our busy family.

Along the way I took note of ways I could improve the process and incorporate those ideas into my next meal outlook. I'm definitely type A and have systems and organization in my blood, which is why I LOVE this kinda work.

I shared in great detail last year, but wanted to make sure to update y'all who have asked for this years outlook. Below are just to improvements to compliment last years post.

Step One: I gathered my recipes FIRST using all my favorite cookbooks, online recipes and good ol Pinterest. A sweet friend loaned me one of her favorite cookbooks once upon a time and I loved how she wrote in it to remind herself what she liked and didn't like about certain recipes. I just loved that and have been making love notes to my self in my cookbooks ever since. It makes it super easy to reference back when meal planning.  I run through my books and use a post-it to mark the ones we loved, making it easy to jump back to when I get to the next step.

Step Two: I used this cute lil template to type out my recipes.

Step Three: I created a calendar to help manage my meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Step Four: I started to fill in the calendar with birthdays and special events I knew in advance I would not be cooking for.

Step Five: I began filling in the rest of the menu with breakfasts and lunches, which are usually always on a two week rotation for the entire year. I am NOT a morning person and since we homeschool, I need all the time I can get to wake up and prepare my heart for the day. 

I do take into consideration what our days events look like when planning what we will eat. For example, Wednesday mornings we have bible study and are out the door fairly early so the meal is usually cold cereal. Knowing your families activity schedule will make this so much easier. 

Step Six: As I filled in the meals on the calendar, I color coordinated them with the recipe card template for easy reference and consistency. Red-breakfast, Yellow-beef, Pink-fish, Blue-chicken, Gray-Sides & Misc.  

Step Seven: Fill in dinners. I like to keep daily themes, such as Mondays are fish night, Tuesdays are beef and Fridays are ALWAYS pizza night. I have gathered enough meals to rotate them for the month every two weeks and then maybe once again a few months later as fill-ins. That means we eat the same meal every other week. I do this so that I can maximize our grocery budget and buy items in bulk for the month. This time, I decided to not fill in meals for the weekends because I like the freedom to have left overs or to treat ourselves to a family date. 

Step Eight: Laminate the calendar and recipe cards. This is totally not necessary but for the type A's- it is :)

Step Nine: Shopping list made simple. I have used all kinds of shopping list but never fit to my families needs...... so I made my own. Notice I made a space of young living products. I include all my oils and products in my grocery budget because they have replaced all our cleaners, beauty products, wellness regimen and nutritional support.

Step Ten: Refer back to MEAL PLANNING ON STEROIDS for details on snacks packing, the color coding system and how I incorporated cooking responsibilities with my kiddos.  

I hope this inspires you to make the most of your school year and avoid stressing about meal planning. I know we all don't have the time to sit and meal plan this extensively, so I would love to offer mine for $20.  I will include all the documents for your personal use which will include: recipe templates, 45 recipes (gluten-free, low glycemic, and some paleo/whole30 options), 12 month calendar template, 5 month meal schedule, and a shopping list template.

*Once I receive payment confirmation I will email you the complete set of documents.

Paypal heather@flourishinthyme.com

I am always excited to share what I find to be helpful in our busy families schedule, and if you'd like to follow more of our little journey, follow me over on Instagram @heatherbuelow


  1. Meal Plan! What? This is ridiculously incredible. You might have just saved my life. Well, at least my frustration with shopping, cooking, meal-prep, healthy-eating. Praise the LORD. I just bought it through your Paypal link. Gracias! Mahalo! Danke! Merci! THANK YOU!

    1. Just makes my heart so full knowing this will bless you.

  2. I can't get your pay pal link to work, should I just send $ via your email address?

    1. Thnks for letting me know there was a glitch. 💗