I’ve got a new review up on Brain Burps About Books today: Neville, by the amazing Norton Juster (of Phantom Tollbooth fame), with such great illustrations by G. Brian Karas (and I was lying in bed last night having a panic attack that I totally mispronounced Karas — sorry, Mr. Karas) (I love doing audio reviews, but proper pronunciation of author names is the one anxiety-producing element).
You all know you’re supposed to plan your weekly menu, make your grocery list, and go shopping once a week. You spend less and don’t go nuts when you realize it’s 5:30 and you have nothing but rutabaga in the house.
So in a fit of brilliance I came up with this posted weekly menu. The dinner plan for the week is clearly posted, so the kids can check the wall rather than bug me. And I can plan the week much better.
First I made a sheet that had the days of the week on it (and I made it look a little like a diner menu to make my 50s-kitsch-self happy). Then I brainstormed all our dinners, because we don’t actually make that many different ones. There are kid favorites on there, like macaroni & cheese, but also more grownup dinners like Indian Feast or Mediterranean Platter. I tried to be a little more vague so that each item could mean several different meals (like “Pasta”). I also made one called Fancy Dinner, which means I get to make something that no one else will likely be excited about (tofu in mango sauce, or something like that) and everyone has to try it. If they eat it, they get dessert (Fancy Dinner is the only night we get dessert). Fancy Dinner also covers holidays and birthdays.
After I made up the big sheet and all the dinner ideas, I laminated everything and stuck Velcro squares* onto them. I keep all the meal ideas in the (sad, needing-to-be-replaced) envelope taped to the wall under the menu plan. Every week we eat almost the same exact plan, but I do change it a bit sometimes.
The kids still complain and get frantically whiny at 5:00, but it’s definitely calmer now that we all know ahead of time what we’re having for dinner.
P.S. Be sure to notice my gorgeous Stacey Cramp calendar next to our menu. It makes me so happy.
*I feel like half my life is organized in terms of laminated paper and Velcro squares these days.