Monday, December 15, 2008
Adventures in grocery shopping
Whew, grocery shopping.... it's quite a task, y'know, especially when it's one woman and three children against a massive store (we shop at H-E-B, which is more of a Texas thing).
Usually, Hubby and I go grocery shopping together, but this time I decided to brave it on my own. I did it all the time before we moved here (in August), and back then, I was still breastfeeding a baby. Now grocery shopping is a little easier, since, if the baby (who is 15 months old now) gets a little fussy, he can have a little snack (like a mini-bagel) or a bottle. (I have to admit, I really like it when my babies are big enough to hold their own snacks without making a huge mess. This really helps me get stuff done.)
Grocery shopping use to be this huge event I had to prepare for. I'd find my wrap. I'd "pre-wrap it", meaning I'd go ahead and arrange it on my body so all I had to do was slip the baby in. Then I'd have to get the two oldest munchkins and have a little talk with them.
We're going to the grocery store, and I expect you to listen. Uh-huh. It is very important that you pay attention to Mommy and stay by my side. Okay. Now, I have a list of things we can buy, and we cannot buy anything that is not on my list. *Nod* Please do not grab anything off the shelves unless I ask you too, okay? Yes ma'am. So, what did I just say? Listen and obey and don't grab stuffs off da shelf unwess you say so. That's right. Now, both of you go potty so we don't have to make any bathroom stops on the road or in the store, okay? But I don't have to go! Try to go anyway, okay sweetie?
Then, while they were tinkling, I'd nurse the baby so he'd be content during our shopping trip. Of course, once we were in the grocery store, Nolyn would ask a million questions about everything and everyone he saw (which often caused some embarrassing moments). By the end of the trip, I barely had enough energy to unload the groceries from the car, much less actually put them away. I would end up just putting away the refrigerated goods, then we'd all go down for a nap (after I nursed the baby again), and I'd finish the job later.
It was EXHAUSTING.
Now, grocery shopping by myself (with three children, but without my husband) is still tiring, but not as exhausting as it once was. I no longer have to have a ten-minute talk with the kids before we leave. I also don't have to get all the children ready, because Merikalyn and Nolyn are prefectly capable of doing that themselves (I would like to thank the inventors of flipflops, velcro shoes, and imitation crocs....). Of course, sometimes, in the middle of the grocery store, I realize that my daughter's shirt is on inside out and my son's shorts are on backwards and his shoes are on the wrong feet... but for the most part, they've got it together. (And if they don't, then they're giving all the people in the grocery store a good laugh for the day.)
Now that they have the routine down and know what to expect, all I usually have to say is, We're going to the store today to buy groceries. Please pay attention and stay by my side, okay? I confess, I am a little paranoid. I fear that someone will snatch one of my children (I mean, they are super-duper cute), so when we go somewhere, I panic if I cannot see them even for a second (and sometimes I can't see them because they are standing right behind me... and I don't realize it).
Now the only one I really have to prepare is the baby... diaper changes, bottles, maybe a snack or two, but he's pretty well-behaved and actually enjoys sitting in the cart (unlike my older two who HATED the cart). He usually twists his torso around and rests his arms and head on top of the back rest so he can take account of everything I put in the cart.
The only thing I haven't mastered in the art of grocery shopping (it is an art you know) is not buying duplicates. I now have about a dozen cans of cream of mushroom which is matched by my dozen cans of diced tomatoes. But hey, at least they can be used in a million and one recipes, so it's not like they'll go to waste.
Speaking of groceries.... what are some of your kitchen staples? What are few things you always like to have on hand, besides the common goods (flour, salt, sugar, eggs, milk, bread etc).
Mine are, obviously.... cream of mushroom and diced tomatoes, as well as:
- Sausage. My husband is cajun, so we use this often in dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice. Venison is my favorite. (Did I just hear a vegan cry?)
- Tortillas. I love Mexican and TexMex food. I usually keep two kinds of tortillas on hand- corn and flour. And of course we always have tortilla chips as well.
- Canned green beans. I will eat them straight from the can, if you give me a chance. :)
- Bagels. I love bagels, but now days, I just buy them for the baby. They're a perfect snack that is easy for him to hold and doesn't crumble all over the place.
- Onions, specifically red onions. I mean, you could never have enough! (And green onions/chives too.... yum!)
- Rice. It's true, I wasn't a big fan of rice AT ALL when I first married Brandon. Growing up, we ate potatoes with everything. Cajuns, well, they eat rice with everything. I've converted, and we eat rice several times a week. (Although I still love potatoes.) When funds (or groceries) are low, sometimes we make a gravy using cream of chicken and pour it over rice. Pretty tasty!
What is your favorite thing about grocery shopping, and your least favorite? I'm always curious to know how others feel about doing this chore. I wish we had a farm and were able to grow/raise our own food, but that just isn't possible right now (and my garden was left in Louisiana). My least favorite thing about grocery shopping is the crowds. I really like to grocery shop with my husband, but he's not available until evenings or weekends, when stores here are PACKED and CRAZY. My favorite? I like food.. so.. :) getting more food is always fun.
When Merikalyn was a baby and we were living in Indiana (and we were sharing a big apartment with my brother), Chip (my brother) said he was going to take over the grocery shopping, and I had a little postpartum breakdown. I seriously shed big, fat, juicy tears over it, which won my case, as I was still able to do the grocery shopping for all of us. Through my sobs, I managed to say, B-b-buuut... it's my... *sniff* only *gurgle*.... time... *sniff* out of the *sob* house! As a new mother, I really looked forward to that time grocery shopping because it was a change of scenery! Plus, back then, grocery shopping was the only time I was allowed to get in my "retail therapy" (even if I still had to stick to a list and a budget). Now I no longer need retail therapy. My therapy nowdays usually consists getting RID of stuff, not getting MORE stuff.
If you have any funny grocery shopping stories... share them, and give me a little laugh!