This should have been my first post because it was the first project I made with our new home in mind.
Like many, we were wasting money of food. Have you ever bought more produce than you needed? We did, way too often. It got so bad we the crisper was renamed the rotter. We would also waste money on impulse buying. Have you had your freezer over packed with no idea what was in it. Thinking we were doing the right thing we would pick up 10 pounds of chicken on a great deal and then realized that we already had chicken, lots of chicken. So much that we barely had room for frozen vegetables or other protein. We ended up wasting money by going out or ordering in because who wants to have chicken every single night for two weeks.
Then there were the nights that you just didn’t have the time to cook. The kids had little league practice and other after school activities and we didn’t have any quick dinners figured out so everyone just had a sandwich and got out of the door.
We were tired of wasting money and always feeling like we were being rushed. We decided that a menu board would solve these problems. On the weekends we plan out the meals for the rest of the week based on what protein we have. Now we don’t have chicken two nights in a row unless we want too. On busy nights we plan a meal that can be made in a few minutes. One of my favorites is making hamburger patties the day before so when I get home from work I just have to throw them on the grill. Tonight, for example, are BLT’s because it will take 30 minutes and I have stuff to do. Last night there were no plans so I made stuffed manicotti. Carrie and I split the leftovers for our lunches today. After I heat up my lunch I often waft the aroma into my co-workers cubicles to make them a little jealous.
The biggest benefit is we always know what is for dinner and food doesn’t rot anymore. We save a lot of money by only picking up a few days’ worth of fresh fruits and vegetables. The kids got in the habit of just looking at the board rather than asking, “What’s for dinner?”. We save time because the night before we know what to move from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost. It also helps us plan out a healthier diet. We found that without a plan we would just end up heating something up, the food was either high carb or high fat. Now we usually pick one night to indulge in something not so good. Homemade pizza is the favorite indulgence.
We were living in military housing at the time and the menu board was just a dry erase board. It became a part of our family’s daily life and figured we should make something we could appreciate.
We frequent the Morningstar Market in Thomasville, PA for the flea market and the indoor vendor booths. We found the top of a Dutch Door for $20 at one of the architectural booths and immediately thought of it as our new menu board.
The paint and hardware was in good shape so I only cleaned it. I used a brass wire brush to remove any rust from the hardware. The frame needed to be wiped down and a very light sanding just to remove a few paint flakes. The old glass wasn’t difficult to remove. I would say the hardest part was scrapping out the old glazing. I had bought black chalkboard and cut it to the size of each pane. It is basically partial board with chalkboard paint. It runs about $10 for a 2’x4’ piece. Each piece is held in with glazing points.
Hanging it was a little bit of a chore. A Dutch door is much heavier than a picture frame. Since this is going to be written on it needed to be attached to the wall and not just hanging on a wire. I drilled 2 holes 16” apart so it could be mounted to the studs.
We hung it in the kitchen when we lived in military housing. When we were building our new home we already knew it was going to be a focal point of our dining room. It was the first thing we hung up and will hopefully be there for generations to enjoy.