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A one-week supply for my family of four.
A one-week supply for my family of four.

The crazy adventure of meal planning, grocery shopping and RV cooking

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What do you guys eat when you are living in a RV”? The funny thing is we eat pretty much the same things we ate when we lived in a house.

Our RV has a convection oven/microwave unit and we have a gas range. That is pretty much all I need to make our food. Yes, I miss our large stove from back home, but I was never that big of a cook to begin with!

When we lived in our house I would grocery shop once every two weeks – with all four kids – with a cart that was overflowing by the time we were done. I never understood why the carts weren’t bigger? Don’t they want you to buy more? I was lucky if everything that I had put in the cart made it to the check out line!

Now that we’re traveling in the RV, I shop once a week. Since there is NO WAY that groceries for two weeks would fit in the RV, I am determined to see if we can change that down the road. But in the meantime, we have to hit up the grocery store once a week.

I usually take all four kids with me. Yes you read that right! I take all four kids under the age of 8 with me to the grocery store. I do this for a couple of reasons.

First, it is good for them to learn about their food and where it comes from, and, second, I don’t want to waste the time we have all together when Craig is home doing grocery shopping.  I DEFINITELY do not want to waste any of my time away from the kids on grocery shopping. When I have time for myself I want to read a book or get a pedicure or something along those lines!

Four kids plus one cart equals a shopping challenge

Here is how grocery shopping works with four kids. We get to the store and everyone has to argue over who is going to sit where in the cart. Okay, five minutes later, everyone is situated in their spot – and then five minutes after that everyone is out of the cart.

Knox and I have the conversation every time before we go into the store about how he isn’t going to run away from the cart. Because if he does, then he has to get buckled in. He looks at me with his big eyes and says, “Mommy, I walk next to the cart, not run.” He is getting better — sometimes.

I hear the following phrases multiple times throughout the store: “Wow you have your hands full!” “You have lot’s of helpers!” “Are they all yours?”

Usually, only a few pieces of produce are thrown around or end up on the floor by the time we leave the produce center. “Knox, stop putting that in your mouth!”

We then hit the diaper and toilet paper aisle. And the kids are off! They are either trying to see who can climb to the highest point on the toilet paper piles, or trying to hide behind the boxes on the shelf. I just keep walking and they normally catch up, and usually pick up any mess they made without me having to go back and put the TP and paper towel back where it belongs.

The candy aisle can teach kids how to shop, and buy busy moms some extra time to get everything else.
The candy aisle can teach kids how to shop, and buy busy moms some extra time to get everything else.

The candy aisle – they all get to pick out their own bag of candy, but only off of the cheap candy wall where all the non-brand candy is displayed. Carson usually knows what he wants right away, and I can usually point Knox in the right direction. Melia is hit or miss. Sometimes she knows what she wants, but other times she needs help. Cannon never knows what he wants.

“Carson what are you getting?,” Cannon asks. “Okay, I will get that, too. Wait, maybe not! Cue Carson.

“Cannon, here get this (the candy he really likes),” Carson says. “After doing this for a while, Cannon finally decides and then we have to go directly to the checkout stand to pay for their candy. So, we go to the self checkout line so each child can scan his or her own candy, and put it in a bag, so that I can pay for it and they can eat it right away.

FAST mode

By now, everyone has candy – and they are happy. Knox is in the cart, which means I need to go as fast as I can to get as much done as I can before they finish. GO!!

Within seconds, I get asked the first of about 10 times whether we done yet. “No, not yet. No, Mommy doesn’t want to be here either. Yes, I am trying to hurry.”

We make it to the frozen area and everyone starts eating the ice out of the ice chests with the frozen food in them. Yes, this is gross, but it does it keep them happy and the grocer doesn’t have to defrost the freezer, so I am okay with it. Germs build up your immune system right?

We’re in the home stretch. “Carson, go get Knox.” “Melia, go get Knox. “Cannon, go get Knox.”

“All of you, keep your hands to yourself.”

“I can’t see you, everyone come by the cart. Can you pick up that box that fell out of the cart?”

Okay, we are done!

Oh, crap, I forgot to get something on the other end of the store. Everyone let’s go! I am going to go fast! Keep up!

Finally, we really are done and it’s time to check out. Are you kidding me? All the lines are two or more carts deep.

“Stay in your seat.”

“Stop grabbing all the candy.”

“No, we aren’t going to get anymore candy. Remember, you already got some. Hey, where did you find that ball?”

We get to the register and it’s contest to see who can throw the most on the conveyor belt. The cashier asks, “paper or plastic?” I could care less, whatever is faster – I just need to get out of here!

We race out the door with mother cautions not to run in a parking lot. Then, everyone scrambles into their car seats as I stuff groceries all around the kids. Yet, there never seems to be enough room for all the bags along with iPads, toys, clothes, blankets, water bottles and uneaten candy — plus a stroller.

“Don’t anyone move or all the groceries will fall out!”

A short time later, we’re back to our 400-square-foot mansion and I must utilize Tetris level skills to fit all the groceries into the refrigerator, cupboards, drawers and pantry.

I love grocery shopping!  Really, I do.

But, honestly, the kids really do an amazing job at the store. They are very helpful and entertaining while we are shopping. If I ever do go by myself it just seems boring compared to the frenzied activity I am use to when we do it as a group.

Next week, I’ll explain what we do with all the food, offer a sample menu and some tips for meal planning and grocery shopping.  I just need a few minutes to relax.

About Bryanna Royal

Bryanna Royal and her family of six, plus two dogs, have given up normal life to live and travel in a RV full-time. They want to live a simpler life where they focus on each other, share experiences, and see the world together. You can follow their adventures at: Web: www.crazyfamilyadventure.com | Twitter: www.twitter.com/cfadventure | Instagram: instagram.com/crazyfamilyadventure | YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/crazyfamilyadventure

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