*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cricut, however all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone.
I am making a new, concerted effort to feed my family “real” meals. So as part of that, I had to make myself a nice Chalkboard Menu to keep us on all the right dinner track.
I didn’t realize I had slipped in my dinner making efforts until after a recent conversation with my oldest son. It went something like this…”Mom…are we going to be eating a REAL (insert teenage attitude) dinner tonight?” Me: “Uh…we always eat a real dinner!” Him: “What happened to all those yummy meals you used to make?” (listing meals that hadn’t been on the dinner table in a year or so).
And then it dawned on me. I had slipped a little bit…or a lot on some days in my efforts at making a solid meal for my family. It was true. Granted I have a lot of really GREAT reasons this happened…like dealing with my 7 major Food Allergies, five kids all with busy sports schedules including: ballet, piano, waterpolo, lacrosse, weekly church activities, basketball, homework projects and so on…
I had been doing so well with everything. I was making my family a meal and then also making myself something that I could eat because it was too daunting (and expensive) to feed EVERYONE how I needed to eat. But it got very difficult. So, in an effort to survive, I started doing quick and easy dinner options like breakfast for dinner, grilled cheese, grilled chicken and veggies, and so on. They were still great dinner options but were merely snacks for a growing, active teenage boy (did I mention he is on the swim, mountain biking and waterpolo teams?).
I didn’t want him to move away from home (which will be 1.5 years…gah!) feeling like he wasn’t being fed delicious meals. I wanted him to miss my home cooking. So I had to re-evaluate the way I was doing things. I wanted to bring our REAL dinner time back but needed to find some ways to make it easier and not as difficult on me due to my food issues. So we started having the kids make one meal a week this past summer. BEST. DECISION. EVER!!
We sit down together on Sunday afternoon in our family meeting and discuss the upcoming week’s schedule. Who is doing what and when. We also discuss what each person would like to make for their weekly meal. We scheduled each person a week night. On rare occasions we have to make some adjustments according to our weekly schedule. The kids pick a meal (sometimes with my direction) and we make a shopping list. I do the shopping on Monday in preparation for the week.
And we made this menu out of Chalkboard Vinyl to help us stay organized and keep people accountable *ahem* for making a great meal. And you know what? The kids are LOVING it!! I help them when needed but this helps free me up to run a kid to practice, or help with homework during the meal prep. The kids are making great meal choices and sometimes I have to reign them in from making a 7 course meal! There is overall less complaining about dinner and what we are having because the kids are so involved in the process and they are realizing that it hurts your feelings when someone complains about what they just made for dinner (interesting….haha). And only a few questions (compared to a million) about what is for dinner because the menu is right there for all to see. And…the kids are learning to cook…and bake!
Everyone has to clear the table and put their own dishes in the dishwasher until the dinner table it is spotless. And then the person who made dinner has to clean up the pots and pans and the dinner making mess. For the past few months it has been working very well for us. I hope we can continue to do this making a few tweaks here and there, as the kids get older! But it has been a life saver for me. It gives me time to make my own “version” of the meal that I can eat due to my food allergies!
Anyways, after that rambling…if you are still with me, I am sharing how you can make your own Chalkboard Menu. I made ours to stick right on the fridge door. I did that mainly because I didn’t have any wall space to make one that hangs on the wall. But you could certainly cut the vinyl out and put it on a painted board and display, or paint a board with chalkboard paint and then use the vinyl cut outs to put the words on the menu board.
*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cricut, however all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone. I was given a Cricut Explore Machine to review, but all my opinions are mine and mine alone…plus I really love the machine!