This giveaway is now closed! The winner is #560 Shannon!
Hi, Organizing Junkies! I’m Tyra, and I blog over at Ucreate Foods. I’m so grateful to Laura for inviting me to be here and talk a little bit about how menu planning has changed my life.
Those are my words, not Laura’s. Sounds kind of overstated, doesn’t it? I have been known to exaggerate. Not this time, though. Menu planning really has changed my life.
The idea of menu planning had never really appealed to me all that much for some reason. And I love all things organized, so I can’t really explain why. I guess I just always pictured myself up into the wee hours of the morning with a dull pencil and a sharp headache, yanking at my hair over the impossibility of trying to forecast what sorts of fare will sound good to my family three Thursdays from next.
Thank goodness my sister-in-law encouraged me to get together with her to make one of these:
It’s a menu planning board made from a 12X12 frame, both the inside and the outside of which is magnetized, allowing me to have all my possible menu choices right there within reach to play around with when I sit down to organize my month. (I gotta’ tell ya, this system is more like playing a game than doing any sort of work.) They’re pretty, too, so I hang the nice-looking board up right in my kitchen and refer to it (and am accountable to it) when making my grocery lists and addressing “what’s for dinner?” requests.
I’ve been planning monthly menus for about three months now, and I can honestly say that I do not know how I functioned without this menu planning system. It’s so simple, really, to sit down and play around with my menu items for 15 minutes (or less) once a month. I would never have believed that something this fast & simple could bring such rewarding daily results. I can vaguely remember the remorse every afternoon when I put my twins down to nap, thinking, “Okay, well, now I guess I have to start something for dinner”, when what I’d really rather be doing involved crafting, cleaning, organizing, reading or napping myself during this precious time.
Now that I have my menu board and I know what’s for dinner, I usually start putting things together during the clean-up from breakfast (if it’s a crock pot dinner or something with rising times or long simmer times) or lunch (if it isn’t). My kids are generally pretty content during these times, and it allows me to get all my chopping, measuring, kneading, marinating and sautéing accomplished, making it possible for me to – in literally minutes when it counts – bring it all together right on time. This has effectively opened up pockets of time during the day for accomplishing other important tasks. Like having a bath.
When I first imagined this project, I worried that my menu would be restricted by the number of items on my board. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once I finally got everything organized, I find there are actually MORE things I can make because I don’t have to try to plan around things outside my control, such as meat thawing , dough rising or resting, and long slow simmer or bake times. Small investments, those being the negligible amount of planning time once a month and very small amount of daily follow-through time applied in the execution of this system, pay dividends in really helping me feel like I’ve got everything together. We are eating out of a box much less regularly, are using fresher, healthier ingredients, and are sitting down and actually enjoying our family dinners because getting it on the table is no longer a source of stress for me.
Menu planning with my magnetic menu board has taken almost 100% of the stress out of not only meal decisions but also shopping and meal preparation. We waste less food because it is purchased with a purpose and utilized before it’s forgotten. My kitchen is cleaner, because I’m able to clean as I cook, to the extreme that I usually have the mess from preparation cleaned up before we even sit down to eat. This makes post-dinner clean-up go so much more quickly, leaving me more time to play with my kids in the evening.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. I think I may be preaching to the choir here anyway. Let it suffice to say that I could never go back to my old way. I’m a true convert. And that’s why I recently did a giveaway on my blog of some custom-made magnetic menu boards. Look how cute & versatile they are:
At the time, Laura was kind enough to feature the boards and giveaway on her site, and I got so much traffic from her I felt the need to offer to make one for her as a thank you for the feature. Well, I was pretty impressed (but not entirely surprised) when she said that rather than have one herself, she’d like to offer to do a giveaway for her readers. I was more than happy to oblige.
This giveaway is for a distressed two-tone magnetic menu board custom painted with your choice of base and top coats, and including up to 50 of your family’s most often-used menu items.
You’ll type up your menu items in a list, email the list to me with your color selections for frame and paper, and will soon receive your adorable magnetic menu board with 60 menu items (I’ll add a few items labeled “leftovers”, “eating out” and some labeled “something new” for those gotta-try-it-now recipes you find on Menu Plan Monday and Ucreate Foods!) Thanks so much for your interest…I can’t wait to see how your menu board turns out!
To enter, simply leave a comment on this post prior to Thursday, January 27th at 11:00 am PST telling me what your favorite part about menu planning is. Haven’t given menu planning a try? No worries, simply tell me what’s holding you back. Winner will be selected at random from the comments received.
Good luck everyone!