Although we tend to divide a lot of the household chores, the division is based on talents we both have. I have a talent in the kitchen, so I do most of the cooking. Even though I am GOOD at cooking and I ENJOY cooking, you'd be surprised at how incredibly IRKED I get at being asked, "What's for dinner tonight?"
So I decided to stop that question from even leaving their lips.
Through the week, I have a pretty firm stance on dinner: WE EAT AT HOME. I'm pretty firm about it because I don't mind cooking. I like having everyone gather around the dinner table, I like the conversation about our days, and I like having an hour where everyone is forbidden to utilize electronics. We take it back to the Amish, as it were.
Because I cook through the week, I don't mind relinquishing all kitchen-type duties over the weekend. To put it simply - I'll take care of the five meals during the week. The weekend? Y'ALL FEED ME.
(As a result, we eat out a lot on the weekends.)
Before we got strict, we found that a lot of our monthly budget was going to food. And - surprising no no one at all - 75% of that cost was last-minute dining choices. So I decided: if we're going to enjoy our weekends affordably, and I'm not going to cook, we're going to have to pin down our weekly dinner budget.
Full Disclosure: I am a Virgo. Thusly, I am also a natural list-maker. Completely unrelated to astrology, I also have a love of kitschy notebooks.
Enter my Meal Planner.
My Meal Planner - which, honestly, I think I found at Target forever ago? - lives on my fridge. Every Sunday morning, I sit down with my Meal Planner and Pinterest and I figure out what meals we can use to get us through the week.
I love this for several reasons. Mostly, I love this because this sits on my fridge. If anyone enters the kitchen and starts to ask me about dinner, I can redirect them to said list. TA DA! Don't ask! You're literate! Occasionally, I'll even take meal requests.
Not long after I've decided on the meal plan for the week, I reference my grocery list, which ALSO remains on my fridge. That way I can mark off key ingredients on my grocery list, and I'm not that crazy lady who walks up and down aisles in the grocery store, praying for inspiration in the pasta section and buying anything that catches her eye. (My grocery list is also open to additional participation from family members; I often don't know if the boys need shampoo or the dogs need food, and they can add that on there themselves.)
I don't even feel like I'm exaggerating when I say that this little process - which ultimately may take two hours, including the shopping - irons out my ENTIRE week. Not only is everything taken care of in one grocery trip, but I also know ahead of time that if I have a late worknight on Monday? That's the day I need to make a crockpot dinner before I leave for work.
And when I can get the entire week planned out ahead of time? There is ABSOLUTELY no guilt in me handing off all food-related responsibility all weekend.
(So, what's for dinner?)
What little tip do you have that help free up your weekend, financially or time-wise?
by MamaMandeeMarch 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM
Weekends are the craziest for us here. Hubby works double shifts over night so I try to get everything done during the week so I can take the kids out of the house. I try to go to places that will allow me to bring a picnic .
by LuLuRexMarch 26, 2012 at 2:29 PM
I try to free up time on the weekends by cleaning and doing laundry on weekday nights. The weekends are the only time we get to spend as a family so we like to get out of the house and do fun things with the kids.
by itsblissmasMarch 26, 2012 at 2:46 PM
You have a smart family!
We just started making it a priority to keep weekends free- the weekdays and weeknights are so busy, why waste a whole weekend doing the running around too? We do easy dinners like leftovers, pancakes, we clean the house then just enjoy some time together- we may have a game to go to when sports season starts- but the kids will have to pick one sport a year so it's only for a season and not a constant running thing. I think our time together is much more valuable then running around will ever be.
March 26, 2012 at 5:39 PM
I love this! I've recently started meal planning.
by amonkeymomMarch 26, 2012 at 7:25 PM
I like your menu planner and the list idea. My kids are terrible about letting me know when they're out of things like soap, shampoo, deoderant, or when we're out of dog food, or they eat the last of something that we like to keep on hand (yogurt, anyone?). So, I think I'll have to give this a try.
by amonkeymomMarch 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM
You reminded me, I need to make sure my grill still works. The wind has blown it over several times this past fall/winter and I'm afraid something might've been broken inside.
We do just the opposite. weekends are the only time my hubby is home to grill, so he cooks on weekends, and we rarely eat out. Right now, we eat out on Monday (tonight, yea) because Ela has gymnastics til 6:40.
by alliesmom112March 26, 2012 at 9:30 PM
Great tips. I have a menu posted in the kitchen every week. However the grocery list stays in the coupon binder
by Kainalu55March 27, 2012 at 3:31 AM
we cook a simple & fast meal on weekends..or sometimes we just eat out!
by Mrs.Pool2BeMarch 27, 2012 at 7:14 AM
I don't cook on the weekends either, either we go out or they just fend for themselves with the exception of Sunday because I do cook on that day. But with the rising costs of gas I think that we are going to have to start eating more at home and do alot less running around on the weekends.
by Mrs.Pool2BeMarch 27, 2012 at 7:15 AM
I also forgot to add that I do meal plan every Friday morning for the week ahead. That really makes it easier because I go grocery shopping one day and that's it for the week.