I’ve seen this idea floating on Pinterest for a few months now and finally just sat down and did it. I am sooo glad I did! I loved the one over at The Creative Mama so that’s the one I tweaked to fit us.
Probably the most obvious is the addition of a Lunch menu. I don’t know about yall but lunch is just as difficult for me as supper is. Which means we end up having sandwiches 3 days a week, mac and cheese one day to spice things up and a hodgepodge of “whatever you can find in the kitchen”. Rockstar mom, right? While we desperately need to find new lunch ideas, at least there is a plan started!
I first wrote down every dinner idea I could think of that we had made rather regularly in the last few years, separated by meat. This probably took the most time since it required the most thinking. Then I realized I needed to come up with something more specific because “hamburger” 3 times a week also wasn’t going to be good. My categories are: Homestyle (meat and potato type), Mexican, Italian, Diner (quick and easy), Soup and Sandwiches and Smorgasbord (what doesn’t fit in the other categories). Each one a different color to make menu planning even easier – pick one from each color! I did have to
The magic of course, is on the back of each card with the ingredients or recipe. This makes writing out the shopping list so super easy! I included possible side options as well to go ahead and take that thinking part out as well. I chose to write everything out instead of typing for one reason only. I wanted nothing to stop it from happening or being added to in the future. While typing it out would have been more uniform, neater and easier on the hand, I also know me. The initial setup would have happened eventually (you know, after it was mostly perfect) but adding to it or changing a recipe would have never happened since it would have required pulling out the laptop, finding the document I created the first time, uncovering the printer, finding the paper, etc. Just to print a new card or two. I wouldn’t have done it and it would have fallen to the wayside. I also know that my “everything must be matchy” self would not be ok with 49 printed cards and 5 handwritten. Writing it out also allowed me to let go of the perfection standard and focus on the whole point of this – a working rotating menu. There are misspelled words and shorthand that made me decide 1am was probably not the best time to write them out. But ya work with the quiet time you get right? It adds to the character is what I’m telling myself…
The actual assembly part wasn’t difficult to do, just figure out. I didn’t really have a plan, only a few ideas that I knew I wanted and looking around for what I already had and could use. I used an 11×20 frame from the Dollar Store (that was actually $6). The boxes are cut from a spaghetti noodle box. I tried painting them. Looked good at first but as the paint sat wet on the package ink it bled through to a lovely shade of pink. The unused are in “Tomorrows” and the used are in “Yesterdays”. The blue design is actually contact paper I bought for another kitchen project but scrap paper would have worked wonderfully as well. Having the boxes clipped also allows me to grab the “Tomorrows” box and plan/write the grocery list while waiting for the children at an activity. Multitasking!
It sat on the counter all day. Do one step. Step back and look. Parent. Rinse and repeat. The paint marker to paint the top of the mini clothes pins ($2). Thin Sharpie pen to write everything (except the recipes, use a pen). The packing tape was a trick in a comment on one of the blogs to “laminate” the cards. Elmers School Glue to glue it all together. So far its holding, I’m sure it will fall at some point but maybe by then I’ll find the craft glue.
A menu board to make planning easier for under $10! Love!