I have a master basic menu plan in my Home Management Book that is fairly simple and budget friendly. I know that I will probably still have days of tiredness and not feeling well, so I went even simpler for this month. I chose about 15 super easy meals and we are doing them each twice.
Once I had my dinner meals figured out, I then wrote down some super simple lunch ideas, along with breakfasts, snacks and a couple desserts. We rarely do desserts, but I like to have stuff in the house in case we want something fun one day.
November is quite the busy month for us. We have two birthdays now - our oldest is turning 10 on the 16th and our youngest is turning 1 on the 3rd. This year we are having a joint family birthday get together for them on the 8th. We have the tradition that the birthday person gets to choose their birthday meals....within reason and with mama's approval. :) Sophie, the youngest, won't care one bit, so I won't have to worry about that this year. And Abby, our oldest, has known for weeks what she wants to have. :) We have a church potluck, company one Sunday, Thanksgiving, and we are taking a three day vacation. We don't normally have this many extra activities going on, so it made it more interesting planning for this month. :)
I like to swap it up in how I go about planning my monthly menu. Sometimes I'll just copy the previous months menu, adjusting as needed for days and events. Sometimes I'll make my calendar up, take out my Home Management Book and start filling in days. And this time I wrote the dates on a lined piece of paper (1-30), the abbreviation of the day of the week next to that, took my list of super simple meals and started with the days that had events going on, then went on from there adding in meals that were good for those days. It was good I did it this way this time, because I forgot a couple of events and had to scribble out, rewrite, add notes, and fix. :)
Someone from our church gave us a number of those big desk calendars and I use those to make my monthly menu. Works great!! I also have a ruler, a highlighter, sharpies, a pen, my hole punch, and this time I also used sticky notes.
I like to use different colors, so fun sharpies are a must. :) I used the orange sticky notes on the calendar to add on little notes to the days I needed more info on. The green up top are my breakfast ideas for the month, the orange up top are my lunch ideas, and the pink are my snack and dessert options for this month. I haven't done the sticky note thing yet, but I like the extra colors. :D
I know not everyone does well with planning for a month and I've done it many different ways. Right now this way works really, really well for us. (And now that I've said it, it probably won't work anymore. hehe) If I don't have a menu plan, chaos would reign and I would end up spending a TON of money. I've always loved making lists and planning, so it comes a little easier to me than some. Its still taken me work to get really good at it. And its something I'll need to change up and learn how to get even better at as our needs change and our family grows.