I am one of those terrible moms who only manages to make a real dinner about once a week. Partially because my Hubby works until 8pm or later most nights and my two toddlers aren't big on fancy meals; and partially because I just don't like to cook.
But, I find if I make a menu for the week ahead of time, there's a better chance that I'll actually end up making what I've planned...about 50% of the time.
I've tried just writing it on paper, and also on a whiteboard, but neither one works very well for me. Why? Because I like to change things around at the last minute. (Lots of times I'll forget to pull meat out of the freezer until the last minute, so its easier to switch meals with a different night that doesn't require meat. Because the little Monster doesn't understand waiting for meat to defrost before dinner can be made and then eaten.)
Anyways, I came up with a different idea - menu magnets! They're out of the way, easily adjustable, perfect for a slacker cook like me!
Here's what you need to make it:
Scrap fabric (or you could use scrapbook paper), a magnet sheet, and a print-out of all the meals you want.
*I bought the magnet sheet at the craft store awhile ago, its about 5 in by 6 in but I think it might have been bigger to start with - I think I remember using part of it for something else. One side is adhesive. I was thinking you could also use some of those advertising magnets, we have a bunch of credit card ones I wouldnt mind repurposing.
And, of course, our old pal Mod Podge:
First, cut out all the meals. The less white space around the words the better.
Then cut a piece of fabric(or paper) to fit the magnet sheet.
I was able to just stick the fabric on the magnet sheet because it was self-adhesive. I imagine if you're using the advertising magnets, or a magnet sheet that isn't adhesive you can use Mod Podge to glue the fabric down.
Lay the meal slips out on the magnet. You want to try and get an equal amount of fabric border around the slips if you can. (This may be tough if you're a perfectionist; today I most definitely was not. You may consider cutting the magnet into equal size pieces and then trying to get the meal slips to all fit on there.) Mod Podge the meal slips down.
Next, put a layer of Mod Podge on top of it all. Let it dry.
I have to show you why I was not anywhere near a perfectionist today:
The little Monster decided he wanted to be in my arms the whole afternoon. I cuddled with him for awhile, then tried distracting him with a snack and his sister's toys and even a Disney movie. No dice; he stood beside my chair, sobbing, the entire time I was making this. I felt like a bad mom ignoring him, but I had already started and needed to just get it done. Plus, he's gonna have to get used to not always having my attention since Baby #3 will be here soon.
So, while the magnet dries, cut a big rectangle of Contact Paper. How big? That depends on how big your meal slips, and thus magnets, are. Also, how many weeks you want to plan...I did three just for kicks and giggles. I probably won't plan more than 2 weeks at a time.
Then, using a sharpie, you draw out your table however you want it. I used the edge of a magazine (because it was laying on the table) as a straight edge for the lines.
Also, don't be DUMB like me and let the Sharpie dry a big before, oh I don't know, dragging a magazine on top of the freshly drawn line to draw the next line. It'll smear and look a little ugly and you'll have to go back and re-trace the lines.
Almost done...now you just have to put it all on your fridge!
Peel off the back of the Contact Paper, and carefully apply to your fridge (start at one point, the top for example, and slowly roll it down, smoothing as you go to avoid bubbles. If it gets crooked or it bubbles, you should be able to pull it up and try again.)
I put mine on the side of my fridge, so its not visible to everyone but its right by my oven and counters where I cook. And, its not where little hands can mess with it!
*note: I tested a piece of Contact Paper on the fridge for about an hour, and it peeled off just fine - it actually left a nice clean swath behind! I have no idea what would happen should you leave the Contact Paper on there for a longer time, like months or years even. I'm taking the risk here, because our fridge is already covered in blue crayon on the other side (it didnt clean off very easily). And the seal is kind of bad, so we're saving to get a new one anyways. So, apply Contact Paper at your own discretion!!! Another option is to just use normal paper, and the magnets should keep it on the fridge well enough. Or maybe you could use vinyl...hmmm, that might look good, the lettering would be nice at least!
Once the Mod Podge has dried, cut out your magnets.
Then throw 'em on your fridge, and start planning!
(See how I left Friday empty? That's cuz we're actually going to get a DATE NIGHT this Friday! First time in the last 6 months I think.)
And, yes....the little Monster was still crying at this point.
Life is just so tough when you're short.
(PS Yes, he is only wearing a diaper...we live in the desert, and we try to minimize our air conditioner use. So our house is PLENTY warm, I promise you. Plus he had yogurt for snacktime - he just holds the spoon in his right hand while dipping his left hand in the yogurt and sucking it off. It gets a little messy, as you can imagine.)
NOTES TO MYSELF - THINGS I WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME:
Print meals on colored paper that coordinates with the fabric.
Use a pretty font for the "Menu" and days of the week - I hate my handwriting.
Do a better job at cutting straight lines!
Make the magnets all one size - customize meal slips to fit on the magnets, not the other way around.
Add space/magnets for things like Veggies or Dessert.