I'll just say that I hope everyone is doing well, and leave it at that.
And I'll start off nice and slow with my list of silly things that I didn't think I would need... but I do.
1. A chalkboard door.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I would want something like this in my kitchen. It's just a surface BEGGING to be written and drawn on, which would mean even more visual clutter -- something I already have great difficulty with (even though you wouldn't believe it if you were to see my house right now... or anytime, really. It's a fight I just can't win).
However, this has been one of the best "improvements" we've done in quite awhile (and I use the term "we" rather loosely. I bought the paint and was all set to do it, but my husband graciously offered to do it so that I could finish planning homeschooling. Thank you, love!) All those goofy little things that I make myself a note for... and promptly lose... is now on the door -- grocery lists, reminders, notes to each other, chore lists, etc.
So, even though it's rather jarring to have a solid black door in an otherwise white-ish kitchen, it's working for us, so I'll keep it.
2. A weekly menu on the refrigerator.
(I'm being lazy, here... I don't feel like going back and rotating the picture.)
I have planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week for quite some time now, but I wrote it in my homeschool calendar. It was good, but (a) it was hidden away, so no one else saw it but me and (b) if I didn't take out my calendar that morning, I would forget what I was supposed to be making later on that day.
When my husband was getting ready to paint the door, I thought that I would write the menu on the door as well... but, since I had to wait 24 hours for the paint to cure (and I'm not known for patience), I whipped this out and made a scrapbook paper frame for it.
All of a sudden, the kids stopped asking, "What's for lunch?" "What's for dinner?" "Hey Mom, what are we going to have for breakfast tomorrow?" That is TWENTY-ONE questions that I've eliminated from my day! (Little Joseph doesn't ask what we're having, so I'm not counting him)
Somebody tell me WHY it's taken me sixteen years of motherhood to figure this one out!
3. A paper cone.
I know, I know... I've stumped you on this one, haven't I?
As all of us who are Catholic know, mealtimes on Fridays often have to fall into the fish stick rut. We don't want to, we'd rather not have to, but sometimes... sometimes... you just have to grab a bag of frozen fish fillets and french fries and call it a meal.
I don't know about you, but I can't think of too many meals less appetizing than breaded fish fillets and fries sitting on a plate. There's no presentation, no style, no excitement.
Enter -- the cone!
Yes, it's amazing how such a bland meal becomes an exciting one when you call it "fish and chips," and serve it in a newspaper cone.
I kid you not -- my children get EXCITED when it's "fish and chips" night here at our house! In fact, my older daughters had a sleepover one Friday night, and all the girls went back for seconds... and thirds... and told me what an "amazing" dinner I had made.
It's all about the cone, people. Presentation, presentation, presentation.
Although, I do have to give myself a pat on the back and say that homemade french fries are MUCH better than store bought. I wish I had taken a picture of them this evening. The secret is to bake the potatoes first... then, when they are cool, cut them -- skin and all -- into steak fry sized pieces. Put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them overnight. Then, the next evening, take them out and fry them and your family will LOVE them! Sure, you have to think about it a day in advance, but when you've got your meal list ON YOUR REFRIGERATOR, it's not hard to remember! (see? The grief and aggravation I could have saved myself if I had just done that sooner!)