We're just back from a family trip to New York City. Meeting Bill at the end of a conference, we spent 5 days exploring the city and exposing the kids to his childhood world.
Highlights for the kids included both FAO Schwartz and Toys R Us, the huge toy stores. An exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of El Anatsui's Gravity and Grace show intrigued and moved me. Bills says taking the kids to FAO Schwartz and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge rated high in his experiences.
Weirdly, in the middle of some crowded subway somewhere along the way, I was struck with the sudden knowledge that there was one thing I could do to make my family's life more smooth and comfortable: return to my habit of weekly meal planning.
For years meal planning grounded my week. I'd spend an hour Sunday writing down a menu and the associated shopping list, doubled checked against the family's schedule for the week. Monday, we'd trek to the grocery store, list in hand. I can't remember why I started making menus or when and why I stopped. What I do know is that the ease of checking the menu for the next day before heading to bed releases me from tons of stress - the need to figure out what to cook on the fly, the hassle of realizing the dish I figured I'd make on Wednesday can't work out because I forgot about soccer practice. It saves us money and time, many fewer last minute runs to the store, fewer wasted items that slink to the back of the fridge because they were purchased without a plan, and fewer excuses to order take out because no adult can figure out what to cook. And of course, healthier more balanced meals get consumed when my clear-thinking parts drew up the menu instead of just slapping something onto the table.
In the past, I've written up a full plan for 3 meals a day plus snacks. As I ease back into this and build up my muscles, I've started with just lunch and dinner as breakfasts are pretty standard around here and I just don't have it in me to figure out snacks. Maybe next week?
For lunches this week we'll be eating: kielbasa and kraut with sweet potato chips, smothered pork chops with kale chips, pork medallions with smashed sweet potatoes, left overs. I ran out of steam, so we'll see what the weekend holds.
For dinners: seared tuna, crockpot chicken tikka masala, fried chicken nuggets, cross rib roast with veggies, left over roast fajitas, roast salad.