Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weekly Menu Planning Fun

I have had a long running problem that has somehow turned into a running joke.  I, extremely frequently, forget to take food out of the freezer to defrost in time for dinner.  It is to the point that when I call Brian at work with the "I messed up" tone, he immediately asks me if I did it again which the answer is most often "yes".  Cheap take out is the answer to feeding our ravenous family on those nights which is neither very healthy or very economical.  As Brian and I have been working on our budget, I have been trying to stretch our money as far as possible so these unexpected (relatively though, since it happens all the time!) trips out for food was adding up and something I decided needed to end.  I have committed to being a better meal planner, or more accurately, more advanced meal planner!  To help keep it all straight and to help keep people from eating things that are part of an upcoming dinner, I made a menu board for really cheap since that is also a huge value.

I wanted something really cute rather than just a plain whiteboard or piece of note paper since, as girls know, if something is cute, we will use it more.  So, I headed to Walmart since they have the cheapest frames around that still look nice.  I picked up two for $3 apiece and a package of three dry erase markers for $3.50 and walked out for $10 for two projects.  When I finish the other one, I'll post it too!  I used a few craft supplies that I already had but I think most people have some extra glue sticks and scrapbook/construction paper saved somewhere.

Here are the two frames I picked; they the 8x10 size so I would have enough room to write a week's worth of meals but not be too big for the kitchen.  It also allows me to use 12x12 scrapbook paper cut down to size.  I went through my stack of paper and picked out some sheets that I liked and would match the décor of the room it is going in.  I held them up to the frames to help pick which one matched the best.

After picking out the one I liked, I wanted to check that the pattern wouldn't obscure anything that was written on the glass with the dry erase marker.

Using the glass from the frame as a template, I traced to get the size I needed for the paper.  No measuring!

I then used my cricut to cut out the letters. If you have one and want to do it just like I did, I cut out all the letters using one inch George font. The circles used to back the letters for the days of the week are 1 1/4 inches. I used a dark brown for the word "Menu" and the background circles. The initials of days of the week were done in a cream colored card stock. I would have liked to do the circles a little bigger since it was kind of tight gluing the letters on but with the 8x10 frame, there is no room for anything larger unless you use a bigger frame.

Glue it all together and then reassemble the frame.  As I said earlier, if you use the sizes that I did, it will be a tight fit and all the circles should be touching in order to allow at least a 1/4 inch border around the edges so that it doesn't get covered up by the frame.  The project only took me about 30 minutes apart from going to the store.

I hung it on the inside of the pantry door so I can see at a glance what I have as I am planning what we are going to eat for the week and hopefully, it will help me to take things out of the freezer on time!  With the scrapbook paper that I used, the project cost only about $6.  If it helps me avoid even just one take out run, then I've made my money back!

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