I ended up doing meal planning this week and will start my home blessing hour next week. What I have found makes all the difference is to take a monthly calendar and pencil in the main course for supper for each day. I have a meal plan that I use from Chart Jungle but check out this divine design from Biograffiti. Free to download!
I have the days of the week categorized to give it some predictability and to guide me:
Monday: Pasta (tortellini, spaghetti, perogies, lasagna)
Tuesday: Rice (every second Tues. I make stir fry. Then there's fish, meat marinades)
Wednesday: Vegetarian (every second week), eggs
Thursday: Slow cooker, stew, soups in the winter. Summer it's BBQ night.
Friday: Pizza (every second week: frozen, ordered, or homemade) alternating with hot sandwiches (tuna turnovers, swiss & turkey)
Saturday: Leftovers, or eat out
Sunday: Meat focus (roast, baked chicken, ribs)
Pasta for Monday because it is quick and easy and that's what I need for starting out my week. This plan overcomes the "what should we have for supper in 5 minutes?" hurdle. The best tip that I have received is to take THREE items from the freezer at a time. So, let's say that you've been playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook all afternoon (congrats on your "new high score"!) so you're going to have to serve pasta because there isn't time to thaw anything, right? Sure, but go to the freezer and get out 3 items (chicken, pork and beef, let's say) and put them in your fridge and tomorrow, after spending the afternoon earning another "new high score" (have you no self-control!? haha), you check your fridge for whichever item has thawed the most. You make supper around that and your husband will be SO pleased to not have spaghetti again!
On Monday I baked a pumpkin and puréed it. We baked and iced some pumpkin cookies and I made my favorite pumpkin-pear soup. YUM! As my boys were groaning around the kitchen table, I was asked to say grace. Frustrated, I prayed "Please send down some big, strong angels to make my kids eat the delicious soup that I have prepared so that I don't have to kill them." Haha! It helped me to lighten up but God didn't answer my prayer (at least not how I had creatively suggested). I then told my 7-year old (again) that he should give up determining whether supper will be tasty just by looking at it, because eyeballs do not have taste buds. I tried threatening that there would be no dessert but my 13-year old was okay to pass on the "cookies with squash in them". My DD happily ate her soup. Sigh.
Later, while thinking about the meal, the thought came to me that instead of making a salad with feta, which offended 1/3 of the taste buds in my house, I could serve a choose-your-toppings salad. The next night I served a bowl of fresh spinach with custard cups of feta, mandarins, and candied cashews. Everyone had salad. Brilliant! And that's where I recognized that as I gain more control over myself, I'm able to loosen the control that I've tried to have over my children (with or without the help of big, strong angels!).