Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meal Plan Monday - March 26, 2012

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If this post didn't already have a title, I've have to name it "Random Hospitality".  I ran into an interesting meal planning dilemma this past week: food quantity and un-planned-for dinner guests. 

Here's the story:  The weather was unseasonably warm this week which means my neighborhood was crawling with kids.  For whatever reason, our street seems to be a popular place to play so kids from the surrounding neighborhoods gravitate to our street and join in with the kids who actually live on our street and it becomes quite the place to be.  My rather social 7 and 9 year olds enjoy it.  I have mixed feelings about it.  My husband invites them in.  So on Monday we were joined for dinner by the teen-age boy who lives across the street.  This is fine, and not that uncommon, since he's a pleasant kid and his dad works nights.  Wednesday evening, my daughter was outside playing with her friend from down the street when my husband pulled in from work.  He invited her to eat with us.  This was okay too since we know this girl fairly well and she's pleasant company.  Friday evening I came into the dining room to find a 5 year old boy who I have never seen before sitting at the table waiting to be served.  Apparently he lives a few streets away and had seen kids in our yard and joined in the fun.  For whatever reason my husband invited him to dinner.  He proved to be a very entertaining dinner guest but he ate A LOT which left no second-helping for my daughter who wanted more.  On a separate note, does it concern anyone else that a 5 year old would be allowed to roam so far from home and eat dinner at a stranger's house?  Not sure what to do about that.  Anyway,  I informed my very hospitable husband that the dinner I was planning for Saturday would feed our family with no leftovers, so please, don't invite anyone to dinner!  He complied. 

So what's a conscientious cook to do?  Do I start making more in case of random guests?  This will lead to higher grocery bills and potential waste, but it might just be worth it.  Feeding random children might be the way the Lord wants to use our family in this neighborhood.  Has anyone else had to accommodate for such things?  I'd love some advice.  

Anyway, here's our dinner plan for the week.

MONDAY - Salad Dressing Chicken and Rice  (I'll be at a homeschool book sale so this is a quick and easy dinner my husband can handle preparing.)

TUESDAY - Meatloaf - I haven't made this for a while and it sounds good.

WEDNESDAY - Taco Soup and Cornbread - It won't be soup weather for much longer so I'll squeeze this one in before its too late.

THURSDAY - Seafood Sampler - It's my daughter's 10th birthday so she gets to choose the dinner.  She loves seafood and traditionally has requested lobster for her birthday dinner.  This year she's asking for shrimp, scallops and clams along with corn and baked potatoes.  Yes, she has expensive taste, but she's worth it!

FRIDAY - Planned-Over Taco Soup (from Wednesday)

SATURDAY - I'm thinking Hamburgers (hopefully on the grill)

For more inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie and  Gluten-Free Menu Swap at Celiac Family.


  1. Sorry I don't have any good advice about the extra guests. I'm thinking that if you don't have any soup left for Friday's meal, you could just send your kids over to the neighbor's house instead. Ha, just kidding!

  2. Hmmm... interesting. First how great your kids live in such a fun neighborhood. I agree though it can be a concern since you have no idea what goes on in others homes. I do not have this issue as we are out in the country a bit and our close neighbors have grown kids. I usually have planned an extra serving or 2 because my husband takes left overs to work. Also I do not have dietary issues with the others. If I had an unexpected guest or 2 I would make a bit more salad or put bread and butter on the table and encourage the guest to help themselves to those. Another option may be to make sure you have some rice (brown or regular) or Quinoa on hand. They can accompany almost any meal and are great staples.

    As for the 5 year old roaming the neighborhood, I personally find it disturbing. Did a parent come looking for him wondering why he was not home for dinner? But then again I have anxiety letting my 10 year old ride her bike out of my sight.

    Hope all is well with your family!

  3. I have never dealt with unexpected guests for dinner before, so I don't have any advice for you. I live in the middle of nowhere land, miles from town, and even more miles from the city (and it's not much of a city at that). Even out here, I am very watchful over my two kids (12 & 7). I am very overprotective and don't even let them play in the front yard unless myself or my husband is out there with them! The issue with the little 5 year old is very disturbing. I can't even imagine what his parents are like. It scares me when I see little ones near the road when we are driving. I am always saying "where are their parents??". Good luck!

  4. When I was growing up, our house seemingly had a revolving door. I miss those days! It seems like in the area we live, the community never really develops among neighbors. I think it's a great opportunity you have, and it never hurts to have a little extra! I would probably have words w/ my husband, though, lol!!

    1. Anne - That's such a helpful perspective! I do love and appreciate the sense of community we have with our church family so I guess I should work on appreciating it within my neighborhood. Relationships trump convenience.


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