Monday, April 19, 2010

Menu Board Tutorial

Today we are joined by my (Melissa) amazing sister Andrea. Today she is sharing something that will help you greatly with your menu planning and shopping lists. enjoy!

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I am so excited to be guest posting on Mamma Tortilla today! I'm a wife, daughter, sister, friend and mama of four little ones, five and under. I love chocolate, sleeping, reading, singing, hanging my clothes outside, and all things crafty. I'm not so fond of getting up early, meal planning and making grocery lists. But they simply must be done, and the sooner they are, the more time there is for crafting, right? I'll admit I've made more than one trip to the grocery store without a list and suffered the consequences! I'm free to sneak in a lot more crafting during nap time when I know what's for dinner.


So, here's my solution … while it is technically a craft (since it involves a glue gun ;), it's really more about getting the necessary done so I CAN craft.


I started with a magnetic wipe off board. But, it was so white and … white. Not something I wanted to look at every day. So I grabbed some fabric scraps and ric rac, (because, really, ric rac is so awesome); heated up my glue gun and a few burnt fingers later, it was much more pleasant to the eye. I did miscalculate and put eight spaces for each week … oops! It's turned out to be a nice place to jot down staples that I run out of during the week that aren't part of my actual meals, like mustard or flour. I used permanent marker to write in the days of the week. They don't show up that well on the dark fabric I chose, but I've found I rarely refer to them.


The next step is to write out all the meals you make on a regular basis. I decided to color code mine by category: crock pot meals, quick meals, soups, breakfast meals, and one category that covered everything else. I laminated scrapbook paper and put a magnet on the back of each one. It's not necessary to laminate them, but it makes them more durable and if I was going to go through all that work, I didn't want to have to maintain. I left one color blank to be used for planned leftovers and I write on this one with a wipe off marker. All of the other ones are written on with permanent marker.


You could just write in meals with a wipe off marker, but having all of your meals lined up in front of you makes your meal planning so much quicker. Other family members can easily choose meals, or you can choose based on what's on sale, or what you know will be in season.


We do our grocery shopping once every 2 weeks, and usually on Tuesday because it's buy one get one free pizza night at Whole Foods :) So you'll notice my dates start on Tuesday and end on Monday.


Here's how this works for us:


STEP 1: write in any events that will shape your week (ex. birthday party and dinner at church).

STEP 2: choose meals … I like to chose according to what my schedule looks like. So a busy day would be a crock pot meal and a night where we're going out is a quick meal. It also helps to have them color coded so I can quickly see if I have a good variety of meals.


STEP 3: write in preparation needs … I soak my beans overnight to be ready for cooking the next day, so I need to write that in for the night before I'll need them. Meat may need to be defrosted, or the crock pot prepped the night before so you can start the meal first thing in the morning before leaving for the day. This is a huge step for me. I'd often make up my meal plan, but fail to prepare for the next meal, so dinner time would come and I couldn't make what I'd planned because the meat was still frozen.

STEP 4: make your grocery list … this dreaded task is now a breeze. All the meals are in front of me, I just go through and write down the ingredients for each one, check my pantry to see what's already on hand, and check my staples, which I've already listed on the board as I ran out of them.


An added benefit of the magnet meals is that if our plans change and I make another meal or I just don't feel like making something that night, I can rearrange the magnets. I know that everything is planned out according to our schedule, so I know I have to take that into account.


This board has saved me a lot of stress and has helped us tighten up our grocery budget, too, since my meals are laid out and my grocery list is streamlined.


That's it … now, I'm off to craft.

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Andrea,  Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with us! This is so much prettier than the paper I have on my fridge=p  Need to get our glue guns out=)




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