This project was created by and written by Jennifer Rosatte-Simko
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When my first child was born I was overwhelmed with the idea of putting home cooked meals on the table. With the reality of a baby who always wanted to be held, many evenings found me calling the hubby on his drive home, telling him to grab something on his way.
This was not good for our wallet, and usually not good for our health either.
First, I dabbled in freezer cooking. While it did help it wasn’t always perfect. I started seeing articles about menu planning, the issue for me was that time flies by ridiculously fast. It seemed like just as I got one week’s menu planned it was time to do it again, eventually I fell out of habit of planning ahead.
This got me thinking about planning for an entire month at a time. It’s easy to budget for nights when we’re going to spend money eating out. Nights when we have late appointments I could pre-plan slow cooker meals. When we have to head out too early for dealing with slow cooker prep, we could have “easy nights” of leftovers from the freezer or soup and sandwiches.
My experience with monthly menu planning started with writing down all my favorite recipes. Then, to decide which recipes go on which days and to be sure I didn’t have recipes too close together that are similar, I divided them by theme: Italian, Indian, Oriental, Mexican and “American,” I laugh because I’m actually Canadian by birth (but now a full fledged citizen and hoosier), then I added in “Easy Night”.
Once I started filling in all my recipes in the calendar I realized I was going to be writing a lot of the same recipe names over again each month. I felt it a waste of time and paper.
The idea of a magnetic board that could be rearranged each month appealed to me. There didn’t seem to be anything like it online so I set out to see if I could create one. There needed to be space for the month calendar but also a little extra space to put the recipe tiles that wouldn’t get used each time.
I have a very tiny kitchen with almost no wall space. While I had visions of a big beautiful frame and a pretty background to dress it up I wouldn’t have anywhere to hang it.
There was a small chalkboard I had purchased to use as a weekly planner. It just never happened. I toyed with how I could use this little board and came up with this idea:
There are some great chalk markers that are perfect for making the calendar outline. Once dry they don’t smudge but then can wash off if you decide to change it up. The colors are so bright on the blackboard.
The days of the week got labeled with stickers just because I had them. Small 1” magnetic dry erase tiles are perfect for writing the recipe names on, easy to pull off but the magnets are strong enough that they don’t slide down. They wash easily in case they need to change.
The great thing is that if something should pop up one day and we need to change dinner plans I don’t have to erase it off a calendar. That magnet can just be switched with another day.
My bestie suggested painting a Melissa and Doug chore board to use and imagining that done up with chalk paint taunts me but for now I like my little menu planner.
The 1” dry erase tiles are so great that I already ordered another 20 pack. I didn’t even know I knew that many recipes.
I used these dry erase markers, they’re easy to clean and ultra fine so they’re easy to write with in small spaces.
These are the chalk markers I used, I love the bright colors.