Menu planning is one thing we both agreed would not only make our lives easier, but so much healthier. We’ve never done it before (chalking it up to busyness), but we’ve gotten into that chips-and-queso-for-dinner scenario one too many times of late…. It was time to make a change.
Enter, the menu planner to rule them all!
I cannot take ANY credit for coming up with this genius design. All I did was create a replica of the original created by the oh-so-brilliant Clair Dickson. If you’re interested in making your own, I highly recommend you check out her original post as well as this feature from the blog, The Creative Mama. A lot of my questions were answered in the comments on these two posts, and I got tips and tricks from other readers, many of whom posted pics of their own versions.
Now, you may be wondering a few things.
What supplies did you use?
- Rows of Roses Fabric from Banberry Place.
- 11″ x 14″ Magnetic Whiteboard – $8.99 at Hobby Lobby.
- Scrapbook paper (picked up a book of it on sale at Hobby Lobby for $10 that should last me for the rest of my life).
- Ribbon – 50 cents for a foot.
- Medium-sized clothespins.
- Type-Letter Embellishments – $4.95 at Hobby Lobby.
- Keurig K-Cup box from the recycle bin – one box to create both mini boxes on my board.
- Chipboard letters I already had on hand from my White Letters on White Canvas D.I.Y. Artwork.
- Cardstock from Staples. $11.99 for a pack of 250 sheets of cardstock in green, yellow, red, orange, and hot pink…should last me for quite a few craft projects.
- Fabric & Paper Glue by Elmer’s.
- Other supplies: Acrylic paint, hot glue, x-acto knife, scissors, clear packing tape.
How long did it take you to make this?
Good question (smile). I worked on it bit by bit over a week, but if you added it all up, it took about 8 hours. I procrastinated from typing up the menu cards for several days (and several episodes of Downton Abbey), since I knew that would take the most time and attention to detail. However, when I think about the hours of time this menu planner will save us in the end (no more staring blankly into the fridge), it is worth every second of time invested into creating it.
Why is THIS the menu planner to rule them all?
I am fully aware of the subjectivity of that statement, but below, I’ve listed my reasons why I think it’s going to rule in our household.
- The design is simple, covering dinners for one week. We take new recipes from the top box and after they’re used, deposit them in the bottom box (which discourages repeats). Then, once the top box is empty, we refill it with the cards from the bottom box and start all over again.
- It encourages variety because of the color-coded cards (see key below).
- With this system, it will be easy to write up my grocery list on Sunday nights. All I do is look at the back of each menu card I have selected for that week to find my ingredients (see second image below).
- When it comes time to referring to my recipe, I know where to look based on the “location” or page number I have listed on the card.
- It pulls all of our favorite recipes into one place, so they’re right at my fingertips instead of buried in a cookbook.
- The board is magnetic. So, it lives on the fridge, but is easy to remove when I want to sit on the couch and arrange meals for the week and enter ingredients on our Cozi grocery list.
Do you have any tips for me if I were to make my own?
Here’s what I learned in the process:
- Cut your boxes to size before covering them with paper.
- When typing up your menu cards, use Microsoft Excel to create your boxes. If you’re using an older version of Microsoft Office (2004), you’ll want to create your boxes in Excel, but then copy and paste them over into Word, which will allow you more formatting options for your text.
- Also, when typing up your menu cards, change the color of your box outlines to a very pale gray; they’ll serve as sight-lines when it comes time to cut the cards out.
- Make sure you’re aware of the direction in which your printer prints your text so you properly set your cardstock when printing on both sides.
- 4 foot roll of ribbon will barely fit around the margins of a 11″ x 14″ board. So, buy a little extra.
- Only lay down 4 or 5 cards on a strip of packing tape at a time. More than that gets a bit unwieldy.
Would you be willing to share the file you used to create your menu cards?
UPDATE: I’m happy to share the Word file I used to create my menu cards to help eliminate a step for you! Just click here to download the file fo’ free from box.com.
Now, it’s YOUR turn:
Do you have a system for planning meals that works well for your family? If so, I’d love to hear about it. I know there are an abundance of other great ideas out there, and we can all learn from each other’s glory and gorey stories.
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