You know its time to shop when…..

Your refrigerator looks like this. Now this may look like an easy fix. You just go to the store right?

Not good

Absolutely! Not a big deal, just a couple of steps are necessary for us to change the above picture.


First step is for Jason to have a day off. This time of year its easier than other times. Why can’t I do this trip by myself you may ask? Well, lets just say I am a much saner person if Jason goes along.


The next step is the one and a half or two-hour drive to get to town. It depends on where we decide to shop for the month. This time around we went to Billings so the drive there took us two hours. I meant to take pictures along the way to show how pretty the drive is, but of course I forgot. In reality, I had the chance to sit beside Jason and talk or sit beside Jason and take pictures. Talking won out since it’s a hobby of mine that I rarely get to practice these days. I will do better next time!


Part three of this trip is very important. It’s trying to keep your sanity in tact while shopping with five kids, for a months worth of food and all the other things that a family of seven requires. This takes skill. This takes nerves. This takes the ability to laugh when you really want to scream or cry. This is why I force Jason to come with me!

Note: I have done this trip by myself before. I was almost seven months pregnant with Liberty. We somehow managed to get through the day and then got a flat tire on the way home. This required the unloading of EVERYTHING  out of the back of the van, only to find that I couldn’t get the luggnuts loosened. Thankfully we miraculously had cell service and I caught Jason at home on break so he could come rescue me. I haven’t had the nerve to try it by myself since. Judge if you want but I know my limits!

Next we have the actual shopping. We are developing a system over time that lets us shop rather quickly. Costco takes us about 50 minutes and considering that we fill a cart to overflowing every time, I think that’s pretty darn good! Wal-Mart, now that’s another story. I think we could get this one down also if they would leave everything in the same place and stop rearranging every month. Drives me crazy!! Because of their penchant to turn everything backwards and place products in places that make no sense, garbage bags in the canned goods isle anyone?, this store has the annoying ability to take at least two hours. At least.

So we are at two hours of driving, and at least three hours of shopping.

Now we have to eat somewhere in there. With all of us it’s actually cheaper to go and sit down in a restaurant than to grab fast food, and since we only come to town once a month usually, it’s our treat. Timing is key with this. If we wait till the shopping is done, everyone is crabby and the meal is not enjoyed. If we go before we shop, the kids have too much energy from the car ride and the meal is not enjoyed. If we go in between Costco and Wal-Mart the food from Costco will get too warm by the time we get home. By this time we have realized that eating out really isn’t going to be much of a treat. Oh well, I don’t have to cook and there will be no dirty dishes to wash so in the end it’s still worth it.

Ok, so two hours of driving, three hours of shopping, one hour to eat and now its time for the return two-hour trip. At least eight hours away from home. The kids are always so happy to hit the dirt road, but honestly, not as happy as their parents.

Now to unload. UGH!!! Will this day ever end?! Not until the perishables are put away.

Now THIS is what its supposed to look like!

I refuse to finish the rest right now!

Pantry goods waiting for me to be motivated enough to put them away

See, an easy fix to an empty fridge. It only takes (at least) eight hours. No big deal!





12 thoughts on “You know its time to shop when…..

  1. I am right here now counting my blessings!! There’s upsides and downsides to living both suburban and rural, I suppose. Your long drive into town is tough. For me, though I can hear the traffic on the nearest street 24/7, I can’t have chickens (deed restricted neighborhood), and the skyline from downtown Houston several miles away washes out our starlight. It’s a city that never sleeps. And I LOVE the dark — deep dark, especially, when I’m camping and out with Mother Nature in the middle of the night.

    As for doing anything with kids, I so feel for you, girl. I remember having to do shopping with four “babies” in tow — I can’t even imagine five.

    If we were neighbors, I would keep the kids and YOU would do both of our shopping or vice-versa!! We mama’s gotta stick together. Alas, we have too many states in between us.

    • Oh how you make me happy!! Just the thought of having a friend like that makes me happy. I can’t imagine living where it is never truly dark due to city lights. I find the city fascinating but I know my sanity would be lost there! You are stronger than I . 🙂

  2. Wal-Mart annoys the living hell out of me. As you say they change where things are. Weekly here. I kid you not. Every time I go into that damn store it takes me twice as long to find things as they weren’t in the place they were in last week. This crap has to be 100% intentional on their part in order to keep you in the store longer. The longer you are there, the higher chance you have to remember something you ‘forgot’ to purchase, or to see something you all of a sudden ‘need’.

    It’s also a crap shoot whether the same brand or size that you bought last week is going to be available THIS week.

    I plan my shopping budget very carefully, as it is a shoestring budget. It also doesn’t help that the prices go UP every week on something or another (never down) unless there is the rare item on sale that they are trying to push out the door.

    I’ve compared my receipts for the last year, and every month I bring home less food for the same amount of $. When you live on an extremely tiny monthly budget for base essentials such as rice, beans, flour, etc, this becomes more than a bit frustrating.

    Your 8 hour round trip just to get some groceries doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun! 😉

    The last trip I took to Wal-Mart took 2 hours. It’s only 15 minutes away by car. We loaded the kid in the car, got there, milled around for an hour and a half looking for everything on our list that had changed from the prior week, and drove back. 2 hours, for what used to take me less than an hour before the store became a ‘superstore’ and decided it was fun to play musical shelves every week.

    Maybe when one of the kids is responsible and old enough to reliably watch the others for a few hours, the trip to town will only be a 6 hour ordeal, instead of an 8 hour one. 🙂

    • I’m glad we haven’t been the only ones to notice how we come home with less every month but spend the same amount of money. Very very frustrating! We literally sit in the parking lot and prepare ourselves before entering. :/ At least its only a once a month ordeal! 🙂

  3. Once a month shopping reminds me growing up when dad was in the army and when he retired, the commissary was no longer close at hand but app 1 hour away for a family of 5. One freezer was always filled with bread!! Reason # 1 I live in town today and now we go to the commissary once every 4- 6 months mainly to stock up on German food – because it is now 3.5 hrs one way. We usually try go in the spring and then again in the fall. Thanks for the memories – have fun putting all of that away ~ still is not my favorite thing to do 🙂 Patty

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