Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Putting a little meal planning in my life

If there is one thing most people know about me - it is that I am a planner. I plan everything to the umpth degree.

However, I fail miserably at meal planning. Yes, people. It's true. I get a big F in the meal planning department. Ask me to plan a wedding. I can do it with my eyes closed. Ask me to plan a party. No problem. Ask me to plan your kid's first birthday party. Done. But, ask me what we are having for dinner, and I freeze. Yup. You got me. That is where my planning falls short. In my very own kitchen.

Gasp. My dirty secret is out.

First let me say, that I am not one to love cooking. It's not something I enjoy. I cook so we can eat. I cook because I have to. But, as my husband says, "There is no love in my cooking."

Luckily, he cooks a LOT of the time. Thank goodness. And I am even luckier because he is a GOOD cook. He is one of those people that can make something out of nothing. And it tastes good. I am not sure how he does it. But he does. Anyway - that doesn't quite get me off the hook. I work from home. So, really, there is no excuse why he should be cooking when he gets home from work. I am home. It is easy enough for me to start dinner. Right? Well. Yeah. In theory.

But the problem really lies with the fact that I never have a plan. So when 3 or 4 PM rolls around, and it becomes the witching hour in my house - my lack of planning turns into a living nightmare.

Picture it. Maddie is doing homework. Aidan is whining about how he is hungry. My kids have turned into wild beasts, and I don't have a clue on what we are going to eat.  Yeah. So - you can imagine how lovely the 5 PM hour is in my household.

So, I decided that things had to change. My friend Kara was my inspiration. She is always so good about planning her meals. She sits down, thinks it through and she knows exactly what she is having all week. Such a simple idea. And it's all because she has a plan! That's what makes it easy.

So - I decided that I needed my own plan. And I decided to go big. I decided to do a MONTHLY plan. I figured if I was going to sit down and write a meal plan, then I was going to do the whole month instead of just one week. So - that's what I needed to do. And that's what I did. And really - it only took about 30 minutes. It was so easy.

The thing about doing a monthly plan was that I decided from the beginning was that it would be fluid. For instance, I ended up leaving Saturdays blank on the calendar because I figured we needed a blank day to account for leftovers. Will that leftover day necessarily be Saturday? No- of course not. But that is just the day I chose to leave empty.

I also didn't account for any holidays or nights we might happen to eat out.

The great thing about my menu - is that it can "move." There are no "set" dates. If we don't eat a certain meal on the allotted day, then it moves to the next day. I already had to switch something up this week. I had tacos scheduled for tonight. But, Brian had soccer tonight and didn't want to eat  tacos before he ran around on the field. So, I moved tacos to Monday night, and we had grilled chicken salad tonight.  Easy, peasy.

And now I finally feel like we are all on the same page. The menu hangs on the refrigerator. The kids know it's there. Brian knows it's there. No one is asking, "What's for dinner?" It's a beautiful thing. I have a plan people. And I am sticking to it.

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