Just say “NO.” -Nancy Reagan
That’s all I wanted to say, was “NO.” When it comes to household chores and activities I’m not your typical male. I can cook, clean, do above average general home repairs (I finished my own basement), laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills and I’ve even been known to bake once in a blue moon. I can look forward to many things each and every day. What I didn’t look forward to was planning meals. I’m a manager of teams and volunteers but I could not wrap my head around what are we going to have for supper for the next 5-7 days! Now being a typical dad, when mom goes out for a night or a few days, I will settle on pizza, BBQing, McDonald’s and all the other typical dad meals when mom is not home. Like most dad’s, I will threaten my brood into silence about not telling mom what we have eaten while she was away. It sometimes works, but most times doesn’t.
The problem with this recent situation was that my wife was going into hospital for somewhere between 4-6 weeks. I don’t think I could handle the typical dad meals for more that three days let alone for 4-6 weeks. What was I going to do?
I pulled a a group of close friends and family together, four couples in all, and we talked over dinner and put a plan together. All of this took place before my wife went in to hospital so that she could be part of the discussion but also so that she could rest in hospital knowing her family was being taken car of as well. This group became our advocacy team and spoke on behalf of my family situation to others and communicated on our behalf as well.
Here’s what we decided:
- One night a week @ friends for dinner.
- One night a week a meal would be brought over. (more were brought over and stored in our freezer)
- this group also provided gift cards for gas, groceries, restaurants, coffee, and many other things that they collected from others.
Now that took care of two nights a week but what about the other 5? I decided to pull a cook book off the shelf and what I didn’t realize was that this book was going to revolutionize my meal planning life in a way I had never imagined.
This book gives you 10 weeks of recipes for 5 days. Now the portion size is for a larger family than my three but we had left overs and loved 95% of all the meals in here. Now the best part of this book is that it also gives you a shopping list for that week. The only things that I had to do was add anything else to the list that we needed as well as take anything off the list that we already had in the house. It was that easy.
Each recipe tells you how long it should take from prep to table. Let’s you see how it should look (I never achieved this one). Some meals needed preparation the night before but most didn’t. And it gets better!
Sandi Richard has multiple books. And it gets better!
When you go to her website: Cooking for the Rushed, click on the grocery list tab and you can download and print the grocery list for that week off your printer. It is in PDF form and I would have loved one I could edit but that’s a convenience I can live without.
Now we have a life threatening allergy in our home so I would have to substitute or just subtract some items but anything you do for your family needs to fit them.
As a family we would rate the meals as “Keepers or Jeepers.” Keepers we would have again and Jeepers we would mark in the book so we would not make it again.
As a family we would not follow these meals everyday. We always had a frozen pizza we could use or go out for convenience to McDonald’s. What this system did for me was simplify things on an ongoing basis. Something I didn’t like to do in the past, I know enj.
Parenting tip: I would not make multiple meals for anyone in our home no matter what age they were. What I made, we ate. I was not going to be a short-order cook for anyone. If they went to bed hungry, they always had a big breakfast the next day and they learned to eat what was prepared.