I'm finding it increasingly necessary to find ways to organize myself and this household. Left to our own devices, we would be randomly eating, sleeping and living in alternate filth and pure cleanliness. For some time now, I think maybe even before Peanut was born, we have used a weekly menu system for dinners. It totally works for us - the weeks I don't plan dinners and shop specifically with them in mind I spend more money, am more stressed, feel far more disjointed, eat more junk, and go to the store several times to pick up "one more thing". I've found that about once a week I forget to defrost what is on the menu, but overall we stick pretty close to it. As Pumpkin has begun to eat more (and I do mean way more) I have been adjusting the weekly menu to include one vegetarian day and one leftover day to try to stretch our food dollar a bit.
As you know, if you have been following along :) food for Peanut can be challenging, and we have tried some innovative ways to encourage her to eat more. We had been using a lunch box which worked really well for a while. You can read about it all here. When our homeschool preschool coop took a summer break, the lunchbox took a break as well. Around that same time, Pumpkin starting eating a lot, and lunchtime/snack time became a chorus of "more!" "I want some of that" "I'm all done with this - I want some of what he has" and there has been a lot of food swapping, sharing, and generally wasting. In addition, the leftover from dinner have shrunk since I am cooking for four vs. three, so there are not enough for lunches for everyone as there were before. As the summer went on, it became more and more difficult to just have lunch, and grazing took over the day. We went back to the lunchbox, but it failed because Pumpkin had "better food" to eat than Peanut. So I got new lunchboxes - one for each of them. Peanut picked them out, and was really excited when they arrived.
So yesterday, after preparing several lunch options and having them all nixed (after they were each requested) I decided to put an end to it all. I decreed that Honey will get the dinner leftovers for his lunches and the three of us will have our meals and snacks planned. I made up a lunch menu as though I were running a preschool. It's taped up to the wall under our dinner menu, and it looks like I have gone completely crazy.
It's only day one, but I already feel more calm about what is coming out of the fridge to go in the kids mouths. Everyone ate well today - both quantity and relative healthiness. I'm just going to need a way bigger board in the kitchen to keep track of all this!