At some point I have to surface from my studio and put something with nutritional value in front of my family.

Cooking has always been my bugbear. I am an adequate, if uninspired cook. It certainly isn’t where my passion lies.

Creating a meal is a task I am required to leave my true passions for. Read “resentment, frustration” etc.

Reading Peter Walsh’s book “Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight” He asks “What do you want from your space?” I realized I have my studio set up exactly how I need it. Paper crafting on one side, sewing on the other, large cutting table in the middle. It makes it easy for me to create.

I asked myself what I want from my kitchen. I want the ease and freedom my studio gives me. I want choices presented to me. I want to want to be in the kitchen. Not as much as I want to be in the studio, but enough to enjoy the process and stop resenting it. I want to stop feeling inadequate and paying money to restaurants and for takeout.

Looking at my packed lunch yesterday and realizing I would rather go out to eat than face another blah meal at my desk, I had a meal planning epiphany.

I have tried countless ways to meal plan. I have created spreadsheets, flash cards, menu boards and nothing seemed to work.

So, if I would rather eat out, why not use the menus already created by usual choice of restaurants? I looked up Boston Pizza, Olive Garden and Montana’s (did I mention my family includes 2 growing boys?). I went through and chose items I would normally order. Then I looked up the recipes and created a grocery list. I went shopping, came home and made 3 of the dishes. They all turned out very well. I’m feeling as inspired by the contents of my fridge as I am by the shelves in my studio.

The second part of wanting to be in the kitchen was reclaiming the kitchen table. I always have to clean it off before we can sit down to eat. It was a roadblock before I even opened the fridge.

Those 2 growing boys have daily homework from Kumon and the bags as well as the work live on the table. So does the laptop. It has a spot on the shelf next to the table but I’m the only one who ever puts it back there. Random papers multiply when piled on the table as well.

To reclaim the space for eating I used 3M Command strip hooks to hang the Kumon bags on the wall and put the laptop back on the shelf. But then I started to think about whether the laptop belonged in the kitchen at all. Maybe it should be in the family room with all the other electronics. We have Ikea Expedit 4 cube shelves there for toy storage. As the boys get older their toys get smaller (and more expensive) and we purge out the things they no longer play with. I turned 2 of the units perpendicular to the wall and put an Ikea work surface on top of them. Instant laptop desk. It is about 3” higher than a standard desk but given how high I have my chair to accommodate my long legs, it isn’t a problem. The boys can use the computer without having to put it away to eat. It is next to the corner unit housing the x-box and monitor so the boys actually spend more time together now. Another win…silence in my studio. When my youngest is on the computer he wiggles. The wiggles make the chair creak. The kitchen is directly above my studio and the creaking gets in my head until I can’t think. By moving the laptop I got less cluttered brain space as well as a less cluttered kitchen.