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family meal

one step toward organized {free printable menu planner}

i’ve shared how much i love emeals (click the sidebar link to fall in love yourself), and today i’d love to share how i incorporate it into my weekly planning.  (and just being real here: if i don’t plan, at my house we have daily episodes of “what’s for lunch/dinner/snack???,” receiving a blank stare from me!)

chalkboard menu planner dancing with my father holiday

on Sunday afternoons when hubby is at basketball (and i ask him kindly to take our five kiddos with him), i take a peek at what’s in our freezer and pantry.  i look at the calendar and what will require slow cooking, quick cooking, and grab-what-you-can-and-go-ing.  then i head straight to my emeals app and see what great recipes i’ve got to work with this week.

i “skip” the ones that don’t work with our schedule and add any meals i’ve been wanting to try, need to blog, or want to implement for health reasons.  (i’ve been working on recipes to implement the milk kefir we’ve been making lately.)

next, i use a colored vis a vis marker to fill in any pertinent family activities on my weekly menu planner (which i’ve laminated for this purpose, and which hangs on our fridge with stickable magnets).  finally, i use a black marker to fill in the menu plan from my combined recipe pickings for the week.

i have a mental “breakfast staples” and “snack staples” list that includes things oatmeal with fruit and nuts and yogurt, grain-free granola, eggs, and smoothies, or celery with almond butter and raisins, bananas and milk, or a whole apple.  i add those to the menu planner as well, taking into account sports outings, mama-work-outings, and the like.  this goes on the fridge, and the recipes i’ve chosen go into page protectors and placed on my countertop cookbook holder.  then even if i’m busy or out at mealtime, the hubs and kiddos can peek at the calendar, grab the recipe, and go to work.

i’m including a downloadable holiday-version of my planner.  click here to download – here you go!  like it?

i’d love if you leave a comment with any helpful menu-planning tips, or how you’ll incorporate this into your planning!

dancing divider webb

sunday supper!

sometimes i’m just blown away by community.  today was a scary day for a friend whose daughter had an emergency health issue.  as she sought answers and dove into focusing on one of her dear ones, we’d been planning a last-minute get-together with another family, mutual friends of us both.  when i asked what we could do to help, we learned she needed a pick-up for her son so she could focus on her daughter.  as the third mama and i worked out the details, i thought what a privilege it was to be trusted with an “extra son” for the afternoon, for each of us.

hawaiian turkey burgers_3

it does this mama-heart good to know that when we need it, we have “family” nearby to love on our kiddos, to hold them to high standards, and to encourage them to be all they’re called to be.

and when we spend time together as families, our kids have the opportunity to see other families in action, and gain respect for other adults.  and sometimes, we parents have the opportunity to learn a thing or two.  🙂

hawaiian turkey burgers_4 hawaiian turkey burgers_5

and of course, there’s always food…

we loved these so much, we made them today and we’re making them next week for turkey tuesday.  come back then for our customized version of the recipe!

hawaiian turkey burgers_2

(winter sangria from rachael ray – family friendly and healthy, too!)

winter sangria a

of course i couldn’t leave a delicious recipe alone. truth be told, pomegranate seeds were freakishly expensive, and i couldn’t bring myself to spring for them no matter how much i adore them, so we floated raspberries in the sangria.  which, when you put your tongue into them as you drink your sangria, will give you a little “zing!”

we’re loving the idea of doing “sunday supper.”  i think it might become a regular happening around here!

dancing divider webb