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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting Back on the Bandwagon

Menu Planning. It's something I had been resisting for a long time, thinking it was too rigid. I preferred to "fly by the seat of my pants", and although that proved stressful most of the time, I was almost proud of the fact that I did things that way.

Life, it was a-changin', though. In May I got a new chest freezer. Then baby girl #4 arrived. Later on in the summer I started couponing and stockpiling, and I needed to make sure that I was using the food we had. Fall brought homeschooling as well as other commitments, and life was BUSY! And I thought it was hard to get dinner on the table before!!

So in the middle of September, I decided to jump on the menu planning bandwagon. After the first month, Ted declared, "I'm liking this menu planning thing!" I continued "the menu planning thing" (loosely--I was making changes all over the place, but I figure that's alright!) until we left on our vacation. Before we left, I even planned a few meals from the freezer and pantry that we could eat right when we got back. It was really nice to be able to just COME HOME and not run right out to the store for food. And it was even nicer to have home-cooked food waiting for us after so much eating out! Maybe this menu planning stuff wasn't so bad after all...

However, the rest of December has been a free-for-all. I never got around to making a menu plan because of all the Christmas craziness, and most days found Ted asking what was for dinner (politely, mind you!). I think it stressed him out a little bit that I didn't have a plan. So yesterday he asked H and G what their top 10 favorite meals were and made a list for each of them. This was also prompted by the fact that they were, ahem, less than thankful for what we had for dinner that night and we had to explain that Mommy and Daddy like this dinner and we have to take turns having what we like. I'm not a short order cook, and I don't make more than one dinner a night. They eat the parts they like, try a bite of the things they don't, drink their milk, and won't starve. If they're hungry enough, they'll eat, and they do.

I appreciated Ted's help and took the hint to make out a new dinner plan. I also asked for his top 10 meals list. I made a simple monthly spreadsheet on the computer with day boxes, but no dates and filled in meals from their lists, which had some overlap. I also allowed a few days for leftovers and one day for our monthly pizza night. I printed it off and then I can make changes as the month goes on if I need to. Hopefully this way I can just make a few easy changes each month and print off a new meal plan.


Jenn said...

I think that's going to have to be among my next steps... I just don't know if I am organized enough to actually plan a menu for the MONTH... maybe I'llhave to start in weeks> :)

peace and blessings

Jessica said...

Honestly, doing a month seemed easier because then I don't have to remember to do it each week. If I don't have the ingredients or a meal won't work because of time constraints, I just swapped it for another day. Plus I have a bunch of meal ideas right there! I just pulled out my recipes that we eat frequently and started plugging them in. Try it, you might like it! I surprised myself!

AJ King said...

Within the last year I too jumped on the menu planning bandwagon. While it has been on and off, I do love when I take the time to set-up a monthly menu. I find that it is a great time-saver for me and helps me a ton with my grocery shopping. I'm one to run up to the corner store for last minute items (more expensive), but if I have a menu planned out then I am more likely to get a better price for my food and make my grocery dollars go farther. Thanks for the reminder to get back to it in the new year!

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