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Monday, March 26, 2012

Maid for Monday: How the Leftover Chart has saved our marriage!


Most people I know, physically or through the blog world, who cook for their families every night of the week have a leftover night. Whether it’s a weekly thing or every other week when things get piled up in the fridge, they have a leftover night (or some call it a FIY nightfix it yourself).

So, how do you organize your leftovers? I’ve been pondering that question for months now. I have been working to organize my pantry and freezer, so I can be intentional with my meal plans and work towards Whole Food eating and the organization sheets got me thinking. I could use one of those for my leftovers!!

I don’t know about you, but I love lists!! I love making them, looking at them, crossing things off of themI just love lists. In fact, it might be an unhealthy obsession I have. I have been known, on rare occasions, to make a list that told where my other lists were. Yes, I realize that makes me a nerd, but I’m over that fact and I fully embrace it now!!

You can download the PDF version here. 
Especially, when this list has saved our marriage! Okay, not that our marriage was in trouble to begin with, but leftover nights were quite stressful around our house. The Hubster would look at the meal plan and see it was leftover night and then proceed to open the refrigerator and stare into it like it was a blank canvas waiting for paint. Then, he would calmly ask, “Where are the leftovers?” SERIOUSLY?!?!? You mean, all the Tupperware/Rubbermaid storage containers didn’t give it away?

Okay, don't completely cringe at my fridge. It needs to be cleaned out badly. However...do you see the containers? Kinda hard to miss, don't ya think? And not just because the red arrows are giving them away to you right now, but even without them wouldn't you be able to see the "leftover" containers? And don't mind that I have an un-healthy obsession with buying pickles. Whether we're out of them or not I always have to buy more. I don't know what that's about. OH...and that nasty "cheese dip" on the top shelf...yeah...I didn't buy that - just for the record!


We probably ought to move on before our marriage takes a downward spiral.


So, once he's located the containers and pulled them out comes the all important question”How long ago did we have this? Is it still good?” And let me tell you, when I’m trying to wash up the littles and get them in their chairs all these slightly annoying questions (since the meal plan is neatly posted on the front of the inside refrigerator, of which he is currently staring into!!!) were simply not good for our marriage. Not to mention the kids are usually getting quite antsy by this time and are talking to me trying to carry on a conversation complete with unrecognizable words (you know those 2 & 3 yr old words that no one on earth understands) all the while their stomachs are wasting away into nothing (the 6yr old is quite dramatic these days) and the babe needs to be fed (something only I can cure at this time). Needless to say, meal times can get a little hectic around here.

So, I created this handy-dandy Leftover Chart to help save our marriage. I laminated it and use a sharpie (it’s okayit wipes off as long as its not left too long) to write in the meals. I post it on our freezer door in the garage (so it’s not unsightly in our kitchen). It works like a charm!! You can download the PDF version here.

And while I was at it, I made another Weekly Meal Plan page. Feel free to download and print as many as you like! I'm working on some other ones right now, so I hope to have those done soon! Stay tuned!!!

How do you keep track of your leftovers? Do you have a specific night planned for leftovers at your house?

Blessings,
Annette

Linking up with these wonderful parties:

13 comments:

a writing maiden said...

We actually put a date on each of our leftovers. We either write directly on the cling wrap, or we take a piece of masking tape, and write the date on there and stick it to the outside of the container (like the lid). (or we write on the outside of the ziplock bag) Then, when we open the fridge and pull something out, we know if it's still good if it's less than 7 days old. And then if we are storing leftovers in an empty sour cream container or the like, we will know that there's something else in there because it has the date on it. =)

a writing maiden said...

As for leftover nights, we actually eat leftovers a lot for lunch and sometimes for breakfast. Only occasionally do we have enough to do a whole meals worth, and if we do, a lot of times it's lunch. (but we have 12 people in our family, so that's just what works for us. We have done leftover nights in the past, I think, and probably do occasionally - like an fiy meal - but not regularly)

Michelle @ Changed By The Maker said...

We like leftovers, so we often eat them for lunch. But if that doesn't happen, we will for sure eat them for dinner. I will say that I seem to be the only one who cares to be responsible for the leftovers. My husband is only aware of them if it's something he wants to eat. I hate waste, so I'm pretty certain to keep rotating them through.

I found your post at These Five of Mine's link-up! Thanks for sharing your ideas and your printables!

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

Thank you ladies for your comments! We tried the writing on a piece of tape thing, but that proved to be problematic when we kept running out of tape or one of the kiddos misplaced it! That's one of the main reasons I created this sheet! Plus, with it laminated I can use it over and over and over!
I eat quite a bit of the leftovers for lunch myself. My kids...not so much. But, I do like to designate a night to "clean out" the fridge if you will. I moved it to Mondays b/c our big trash day is on Tuesdays. And our shopping day is typically either Monday or Tuesday night. I can imagine with 12 people in the house its unlikely you have too many leftovers at all!
Michelle - I am so glad you stopped by and I hope the printables are useful for you!

Blessings ladies,
Annette

Cassi Duncan said...

Random thing that I thought might amuse you regarding leftover nights. My husband's family refers to it as POOR night--you know, whatever you Pull Out Of the Refrigerator. I have a friend who calls them musgos--all those things you have hanging around in the fridge that mus' go. :)

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

Cassi - those are very creative names!! I might have to use one of them sometime! Thanks for sharing!!

Cindy said...

Popping over from Better Mom Mondays...

I actually designate all of our lunch times as leftovers or sandwiches. That way, anything left from the night before gets eaten up, and I only have to prepare one major meal a day for supper.

Cindy @ Apron Strings and Apple Trees

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

Cindy - that is a GREAT idea!! I would love to implement that, but my kiddos are super picky. And one thing they are picky about it eating the same meal twice in a row. Now, I do that some times for my lunch. And, sometimes I wait a day or two before trying to serve it to them again. Maybe as they get older we'll implement that!
Thanks for the tip and thanks for stopping by!
Blessings,
Annette

crystalbrothers said...

At least your husband tries! For us, it's a non-issue, because I have to actually get out the leftovers and get everything set up. Last night I tried DIY night because I was trying to get everything done. My hubby had 2 options for leftovers--meatloaf w/ some sides or tacos that the kids and I had for lunch. He was a mess! He pulls out meatloaf and mashed potatoes, then gets out a pot and starts fixing some peas to go with it, all the while he's huffing and puffing because he had to work late and then come home to fix his own supper and I'm huffing and puffing because I had perfectly good options available for him already (while at the same time, feeling a little guilty because I didn't physically get his leftovers for him)...Hey, maybe I need one of those sheets after all! lol.

Lisa Maria said...

HiAnnette

I'm your 'neighbour' over at the Raising Homemakers link up, so to speak. This post made me smile and I think that we have a love of list-making in common. My family hates leftovers...they would take them for lunch the next day, but don't ask them to eat it when they get home from work and school. I laughed when I saw a writing maiden's commentabout having them for breakfast...I have a couple of teenagers who don't have a problem with that (who eats leftover fried chicken for breakfast or rice pilaf?) but then again, their father eats pizza cold from the fridge. Whatever works for you I guess!
Thanks for sharing the printouts...they're lovely.

God bless and nice to meet you.

Naomi said...

Annette, thank you for sharing and the humor. We do have LO nights maybe every other week but mostly we try to eat them for lunches during the week. Sometimes I do reuse leftovers in a meal the next evening. However it gets eaten, I just aim not to waste any food. And thanks for linking up at What Joy Is Mine. :o)

Annette@InAllYouDo said...

Naomi - We aim to not to waste as well. I used to be really horrible about it and then one day it really hit me. We're throwing away MONEY every time I toss some food out! DUH! I feel so much better about cooking our meals, now that I know they're really going to be eaten!
Blessings,
Annette

a writing maiden said...

We keep tape and sharpies up in the cupboard right next to the plates, but I totally understand about the tape getting misplaced. Regular scotch tape can be hard to find when there's so many little hands that want to use it! =) We actually have to keep an eye on the fridge otherwise sometimes the food will mold. But if it's something like spaghetti, or some other favorite, it usually gets eaten fairly quickly. =)