Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dinner: Don't Throw a Fit

I'm organized because I'm lazy. In order to achieve the lazy person's ultimate goal--free time--I need to be efficient and quick about everything I do. The LEGOS are sorted by color, my pantry is filled with neatly stacked and filled storage containers, I know exactly what is in my fridge at all times, and I've even reached laundry Nirvana

But please, please, don't ask me what's for dinner.

My mind draws a blank. I can't think of a single thing to make. Not one person in the family every has any helpful suggestions, and suddenly I'm making my third trip to the grocery store in one day. It's enough to make anyone hate, hate, hate making dinner.

But, thanks to Samurai Mom and Pinterest, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. First, the ideas that didn't work.

A clothespin for every day of the week, cute scrapbook paper background, little envelopes to hold the names of main dishes and Voila! dinner is organized. I like keeping track of the meals for a week, and I like having a list of go-to meals, but this is a little too cute for me. 

I love me some color coding. I also love having a night called "scrounge night." Recipe cards hang on little rings just below the calendar. This is organization on steroids. Like my first example, however, this system requires extra wall space, which I don't really have.

Lots of magnets with a built in shopping list, color coding up the wazoo. I'm not Martha Stewart people.

This chalkboard gives off a restaurant vibe and that is not the vibe I'm going for. This isn't a restaurant, and I'm not a waitress. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. Besides, why broadcast to the family what I'm making? It just gives everyone a head start on the complaining. 

This binder has dinners planed out for a whole year with corresponding recipes. That's 365 dinners. And bless her heart, the gal who came up with this cute idea has downloadable calendars, tab dividers and shopping lists you can print at home. But going from no dinner organization to a full year of planned meals is a big leap. 

Too big.

So I took baby steps.

I started by writing down my repertoire. I was surprised to come up with 40 entrees. (It feels more like 10) Then I polled the family to find out what their favorites were. This way, I could mix favorites with not-so-favorites each week and only have 4 or 5 days of complaining instead of 7.

One of the things I learned by making this list was that all three boys' favorite meal was spaghetti. (Really, spaghetti?)

Then I went to the calendar I keep on the fridge. With a list of 40 meals in front of me, I still didn't know what to write down. So I wrote in the things we ate last week--just to feel extra organized. 

It helped. 

Finally, I was able to decide what to have for dinner for the next 7 days. It wasn't easy, but today I went grocery shopping and got everything I'll need to make my meals. 

Although chances are good that I'm forgetting something. 


Samurai Mom said...

Two thumbs up! Samurai Mom, Muse.

Heather said...

The restaurant-style board cracks me up. :) The best I will do is plan out my meals ahead of time & go shopping with the appropriate list. I'm not writing it down for all to see--unless it's something really gourmet, then I like to leave the cookbook open all week. ;)

Erika said...

Hey, Gwen just opened up to an article in the New Era by YOU! Congrats. Well done!

Afton said...

Thanks Erika! I was so excited to see my story in print. I'm glad you saw it.