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Meal planning

Back when we lived in a house, I'd cook whatever I felt like at the time, pulling from the shelves, cupboards, pantry, big fridge, or two freezers.  Now with our small home, even smaller kitchen, cooler-size fridge, and shoebox-size freezer, we have to be more intentional.  We do weekly meal planning and shop only for those meals.  (And we save a lot of money not buying the extras!) 
Each week, I used to sit down and ask for meal suggestions, then grab the recipes and write out a list, then try to remember what else we might need, but that got old quickly.  Now I've done all that work in advance.  I have 5 weeks of our favorite meals and their shopping lists printed, and I keep them nearby with my recipes.  We just choose a week that sounds good, grab that list, and go shop!  If we get bored of these menus, we'll just add more.  But it's so convenient to have these menus AND the shopping lists already printed.  Now we're happy campers (literally)! 
I wanted a pretty way to display our menu and saw many on Pinterest, but they were too elaborate or had too many parts.  I just needed to see the week's menu and have a place to note things we ran out of that weren't on the shopping list.  So, being a good digital scrapbooker, I figured I'd do it myself, digitally!  And it was even easier than I thought.  I created this in Photoshop, printed at 8x10 on photo paper, taped it to the cabinet, and just added real sticky notes and this week's menu!
I used the Recipe Book Megakit (which is on sale for $5.99 Wednesday 5/16 only!) and the Urban Grunge Megakit from DSP. Super easy and such a fun project! (If you need help with digital scrapbooking, DSP's your place!)

Something really cool is we have an actual cookie sheet close to this on the cabinet to hold magnets and recipes, so it fits right in.  It's so pretty I may have to put it on the outside of the cabinet door instead of the inside! 
This was my lame system before.  Just printed straight from Excel and I'd use stickies to cover other weeks, mark off meals, and write down any "extras" that I needed to add to our list. 
I wanted to get a picture from the side so you can see how it's really flat except for the sticky notes, but this Recipe Book kit is so good it still looks like a real cookie sheet!  It's just photo paper.
I used a chalk type font (pencilpete) in bright colors, printed all 5 menus at once, then cut out.  I used small dots of poster putty to adhere the menu so it's easily removable.  I just swap these out each week, picking whichever looks good to us at the time. 
Here's the spreadsheet for the menu plan, with the shopping list for each week, plus an "always check" list of things we'll probably need.  I just double check before I go and mark off what we don't need.  Then when I start shopping, I already have a head start. :) 
Ready to make your own menu plan?
Want to win the Recipe Book Megakit to create one (or great scrapbook pages or recipe cards)?
What about a printable blank page like this that's ready for your menu?
Okay!  Share this post on Pinterest (or repin this), Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or your blog and leave a comment here for each (with your email).  Use the links below this post for easy sharing.  Each share will count as an entry for the random drawing!  The first winner will receive the megakit and the second will receive the printable menu page.  I'll draw next week.  Good luck!
***And the winners are... (of the Recipe Book Megakit) Heather and (of the printable menu board) Taly! I'll email you the details. Congrats! 
Do you do meal planning?  Please share any tried and true tips, especially for menu planning for RVs!


Taly said…
Great idea Margie. I used to have a good menu plan and then somehow after this baby I got lost :) I need to write up one again. I may even use your idea.
Memouse said…
This is great thanks Margie, I Love, Love, Love it.
Love this! I have six weeks of menus/grocery lists made up also....but mine are not nice and pretty like yours. You have inpspired me to do the same thing!
Heather said…
Glad to pin this one! I plan on taking your idea and running!! :) (this is hlmbugle, in case that's not my screen name on this thingy)
Anonymous said…
I really should plan meals. I usually end up getting home from work and trying to figure out what I can make with what I have. Of course it doesn't help that we don't have a real grocery in our town. moog25
Lisa Wingate said…
Seriously cute! I love the 3D look of the artwork. Awesome!
Gail said…
This is awesome! I wish it wasn't just me anymore, if you have a family this is the way to go! Love it!
Stephanie said…
Oh wow, you are amazing! =)
We have been on the road for 9 months now and we love it. You are great inspiration.
We can't seem to keep the English blog up to date however.