Pinterest Win: I Made My Own Magnetic Menu Board!

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m a pinning fool. I also LOVE to menu plan.

I’ve menu planned a week at a time and used this to keep me on track:

Weekly Menu Board

And maybe a year later I tried menu planning this way:

Menu Planning My Way

Then I menu planned around meats I stockpiled in my freezer and typed up my menus and shared my menus on this blog:

Menu Planning Around Meats in the Freezer

Menu Planning Around Meats in the Freezer

16 Dairy & Egg Free Dinners  Typed on Cardstock and Held up with a Magnet

16 Dairy & Egg Free Dinners Typed on Cardstock and Held up with a Magnet

Then sometime early this year I came across this on Pinterest. It is from I Heart Organizing. She was highlighting a project from the blog The Homes I Have Made. A magnetic menu board!

Seriously, y’all, I think I might have drooled when I clinked on the link and saw the menu board. Obviously, I’ve tried LOTS of ways to organize my menu planning. All have been good, but I kept trying new ways. But this… this was a thing of beauty!

Luckily, I had some budgeted spending money and went straight to Staples and Target. Here’s what I needed for my board:

Magnetic Calendar

Magnetic Printing Paper

Menu Board Supplies

Menu Board Supplies

I couldn’t believe the magnetic board was on clearance at Target. That was a major score!

I think it cost around $22 for both the board and paper.

You can visit any of the above linked blogs to see how they made their magnetic menu planning boards.

The first step was compiling all of our favorite recipes.  See the pic below of the clipboard to see my list of our favorite recipes.

I used “Pages” with my MacBook and played around with rectangular shapes. I printed rectangles, cut them out, held them in a menu board square, adjusted the rectangle size and tried again until I had the right size.

I picked colors that I liked. I typed in our favorite recipes in white letters. Then I printed that bad boy and held my breath. My cheap little ink jet printer did awesome! It took the sheet through completely one time before printing it. It did that both times. But then it printed it beautifully the second go round.

I have to admit… when the magnetic sheet came out I was as giddy as a child. I think I even danced my way to our bedroom to show the Huzz. Even he loved the magnets. Our little printer made us proud.

Anyway, the Huzz cut out the magnets for me. (I have tendonitis that flares with excessive scissor use. For real!)

Then, I lovingly placed each one according to my written menu plan.

And then I just stared at it in awe. I can’t believe I made this, y’all! I. am. not. crafty.

I do sit down and write out our menu plan. I photocopy our big calendar and then with a pencil, plan our meals. I plan a month at a time. I do it slowly- not all at once. When I have time, I sit down and grab my clipboard. I keep the photocopied next month’s calendar on my clipboard with a pencil attached. I grab my iPad, my list of favorite recipes, get on Pinterest for new recipes and plan away.

My Favorite Recipes List.  I add new favorites & use this to help me menu plan.

My Favorite Recipes List. I add new favorites & use this to help me menu plan.

My photocopied calendar.  I write in recipes on here when I have time.  Blurred out for my own privacy.  :)

My photocopied calendar. I write in recipes on here when I have time. Blurred out for my own privacy. 🙂

Yesterday, I had almost the entire month of June planned on paper. However, I was just stumped for a few dinners. I took the magnets down from May, organized them according to color, and placed what was planned on the board. The best part? The blanks in my menu plan were easily filled with the remaining magnets. Y’all… I just picked up magnets and finished my menu planning that way. Easy peasy!

Here’s some pics of the printed magnetic sheets:

I printed 2 sheets.  I added some blanks to handwrite new favorite recipes.

I printed 2 sheets. I added some blanks to handwrite new favorite recipes.

Close Up

Close Up

Another Close Up

Another Close Up

Close Up

Close Up

Last Close Up

Last Close Up

I found this in the Dollar Spot at Target.  It's perfect storage for my extra magnets.

I found this in the Dollar Spot at Target. It’s perfect storage for my extra magnets.

My magnets not in use live in this container.

My magnets not in use live in this container.

Menu Board Display

Our Menu for June.

Our Menu for June.

Do you think you’ll make a magnetic menu board? I’m so glad I tried and succeeded!

Pinspiration Sources:
I Heart Organizing
The Homes I Have Made

Vacationing with Food Allergies: 5 Practical Tips to a Relaxing Trip

There is a lot of preparation for vacation in our house. In addition to our “Vacation Tub”, here are a few more things we do.

1. Be prepared to clean. We clean the hotel or rental condo even though it is already clean. If you visit family and depending on the relationship, the family can clean for you or you can help. My parents always scrub their home and fridge for us.

2. Be prepared to cook most meals. Breakfasts can be the easiest no cook meal of the day. I’ve found some “safe” ready made foods and breakfast is taken care of. I do make muffins and pancakes on vacation. To make it easier, I prepare the dry muffin mix or pancake mix at home. When on vacation, I add the wet ingredients and save time and have a safe and homemade breakfast.

Write ingredients & directions on the bag. This is my "pancake basket."

Write ingredients & directions on the bag. This is my “pancake basket.”

3. Pack the slow cooker. When I’m on vacation, the last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove. I prepare the spices needed for dinners in advance in little plastic containers and label them and pack them. Anything I can do to make vacation easier, I do! If meals are planned in advance, dinner can be in the slow cooker before we hit the beach, the shops, the pool, or the amusement park.

4. Pack lots of baby wipes. When we went to Disney World, I wiped everything- including every ride! I wiped our hands after every ride, too. I have found tons of other uses for baby wipes while on vacation.

5. Go online and check out the town before booking the vacation. We always make sure a hospital is close by. We check out the grocery stores online. We have lots of specialty brands we rely on. We would rather drag our safe yogurts across the United States in our cooler than go without them. Don’t be afraid to call a grocery store in the area you want to visit and ask them if they carry certain brands. Be specific. “Do you carry Whole Soy yogurts?”

With a little planning and a lot of work, food allergy families can enjoy a relaxing vacation. Cheers to a fun and safe summer!

Menu Planning My Way!

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Menu Planning.

I’ve tried meal plan subscriptions. It seemed like a lot of work.

I’ve tried creating my own weekly meal plans. Took too much time to sort through all of my cookbooks.

I’ve tried winging it and surviving on my frozen pre-cooked freezer meat and meals. That worked best but I found myself most days still wondering at 4:30 pm what we would eat for dinner that night!!

So, I did what most moms do- searched Pinterest for ideas! I found many different good ideas. But none seemed to work for me.

Then I had an idea. I could create my own unique system. Menu planning MY WAY!

I envisioned a system of laminated index cards that contained all of my favorite recipes and then more index cards that had the recipes I want to try.

It ended up looking a little different than I envisioned, but still amazing! This is going to be a long post. Pause, run and turn on the Keurig and make yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s get started. This is going to take awhile! But it will be worth it!

This took me about a month of working on it a few times a week to gather the recipes and print and finish this project. But the time I spent will be worth it to organize meal times!

Menu Planning My Way:

First Step:

  • Gather your cookbooks, paper or index cards, pen and your iPad.

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Second Step:

  • Put headings on each paper/index card. I started with index cards because, well, I love them!
  • Here’s the headings I used: Favorite Chicken Recipes, Favorite Beef Recipes, Favorite Pork Recipes, & Favorite Soup Recipes. Then brainstorm and list all of your favorite tried and true recipes under the appropriate headings. Be sure to note which cookbook it’s in and the page number, if applicable.
  • Come up with an easy way to differentiate between your cookbooks. For instance, I used a Y for my yellow cookbook, a P with a date for another cookbook that had recipes with dates on them {Old meal subscription I had and saved}, a P for Pinterest recipes, an IP for recipes saved to my iPad, a CH for recipes I printed and put in a cheetah notebook, and BP for my big pink binder full of recipes. Come up with abbreviations that work for you.

You’ve sorted through and listed your favorite recipes. Congrats!

Third Step:

  • Grab some more paper/index cards and write out new headings.
  • Here’s the headings I used: Recipes to Try: Chicken, Recipes to Try: Beef, Recipes to Try: Pork, Recipes to Try: Miscellaneous.
  • Now, grab a cookbook and pour through it! Write down the exact names of the recipes that interest you in the appropriate heading. Be sure to note which cookbook it’s in and the page number, if applicable.
  • Do this for each cookbook, blog, and with your pins. This is the most time consuming part of this menu plan. I did this slowly over a few weeks. I enjoyed this part!
Recipes to try

Recipes to try

I read through my cookbooks, pins, and printed recipes and wrote down the recipes I really wanted to make. If a recipe looked too complicated I didn’t write it down.

Fourth Step:

  • Break out your computer. I used Word and changed my page size to 5×8. I typed up my lists, printed on colored card stock (normal sized paper), and cut the lists down to size to fit into my little 5×8 bound sheet protectors.
  • Sometime during this project, head to Staples and buy this 1 package of 10 bound sheet protectors. All of the sheets are bound to this flexible little plastic spine. Insert your printed lists in the sheet protectors. Print a cute little cover for your recipes and add that as the front page.

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I decided to give each category a color: chicken recipes were ivory, beef recipes were pink, pork was green and miscellaneous recipes were gray. You can print them all on white card stock or even plain white paper.

Here are a few pics of my finished pages.

Here are a few pics of my finished pages.

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You also need to decide where you want to keep this little mini recipe binder. I bought little rings to hook through the top little hole on the plastic spine. I also bought a little Command hook. I’m going to put the hook either on the side of my fridge or on the inside of one of my new pantry doors. Then I’ll hook the recipe booklet on that.

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So, that’s how I decided I am going to menu plan from now on.

Why?

Just a few days ago, I bought 10 pounds of ground chuck because it was an amazing deal! I have never had a list of recipes like this before. I decided to brown and freeze some ground chuck, but wanted to prepare and freeze other ground beef meals. I flipped to the page of “Recipes to Try: Beef” and picked out a few brand new recipes to prepare and freeze. Before this list, I would not have had such a great list of recipes right at my fingertips!!! I would have had to sit down and spend time browsing through all of my cookbooks.

Today, I found two packs of chicken thighs for a great deal. I looked for my tried and true recipe and couldn’t find it. I peeked into my “Favorite Chicken Recipes” and realized it was a pin and I was looking in the wrong place! Yay!

How to use this menu planning tool:

Sit down and pick a few favorite recipes and one or two new recipes to try for the week. Base dinners around what is in your freezer or what is on sale. Look through your list for recipes that will easily work with your frozen meats or your latest find (Hello 10 pounds of ground chuck. I didn’t expect to buy that this week!!!)

This plan is working… for me! I know this has been a LONG post. I hope I’ve made the steps clear. If you have any questions, please ask away!

Random thoughts: The upside to the sheet protectors are you can pull a list out and star it if you liked the new recipe or cross it out if you hated it. Update the list as you have time.

One last random thought. Living with food allergies is not easy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an organized list of safe recipes right at your fingertips??? What are you waiting for? Ready, set, GO! 🙂