The Dinner Dare-Preparing for day 1
By now, you should have had a chance to talk to your family about the Dinner Dare. Through the moans and groans, you have made it clear that this is very important to you, and if your family would just take one month out of their busy lives to do something for you, you would appreciate it very much. If you have not done so, take the time to do that tonight, because day #1 is Monday.
Now is the time to start thinking about time management. There are many of us who have families with church, sports, and other activities, so get out your calendar and decide what time dinner should be every night. If you have to be at church on 7 on Wednesday nights, for instance, then dinner should be planned well enough to be done by 5. If on Thursday, your kids have drama until 5, then dinner should be planned well enough to be on the table at 6. Write the dinner times on the calendar every day and highlight them so that your family can clearly see what time they have to be at the table.
For your first week, keep your meals simple. There's time to scour for recipes and try new things later, after you get the swing of managing your time better. Plan out 1 week. My recommendation is to go to www.hotby6.com and sign up. Choose your meals, print out your shopping list, and hit the store. Make a date with yourself over the weekend to process all of the recipes that you print out and get them in the freezer.
If you choose to use your own recipe ideas, plan them out. Choose a dinner for each of the first 7 nights and write them on the calendar. This is so important.
The next thing you must do is look at each recipe and figure out exactly how long it will take to make and put a start time on your calendar for every single day. You cannot fudge on this, or the afternoon will role around and you'll be stuck in the, "Oh man, there's nothing for dinner, I have to run to Taco Bell" dilemma. You must know when to start dinner. If you're a working mamma, you must know when to throw things in the crock pot, or what the teenagers are supposed to put in the oven before you get home. This is about family togetherness, so don't be afraid to recruit help.
1. Choose your meal times for the first 7 days and write it on the calendar, then highlight it.
2. Tell your family that the highlighted times are non-negotiable without a great excuse like drama try outs or church activities.
3. Choose your recipes.
4. Plan your preparation and shopping.
5. Write down the start times for each recipe on the calendar. Make sure you note when you need to take things out of the freezer or put together casseroles the night before.
6. Recruit help. It's even okay to delegate a meal to teens every week that they are responsible to prepare. It not only teaches them responsibility, but you can send them to college knowing they won't have to live on Top Ramen because they don't know how to make anything else.
Now grab your life water bottle, say a little prayer, and take the weekend to plan, plan, plan, because we begin on Monday.
I dare you!