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Get Started: The Life of a Once A Month Mom Menu

From time to time a reader will call into question our menus. From time to time a reader will find a mistake or two (or six) on our menus. From time to time we get complaints about our menus. From time to time these things all happen at once and we get a *wee* bit defensive. There is good reason.

It isn’t that we don’t like feedback that there are mistakes, in fact, we like to know so that we can correct them for other readers. We also know that not every menu is going to make everyone happy. And we are well aware of the fact that we are human and make errors. It is mostly the accusatory or condescending comments that get under our skin (as is the case in almost any blogging world). Again. There is good reason.

By the time that you see a Once A Month Mom menu it has been in production for over 3 months! Three months people! This also means when you see a new menu we are already working on the menu 3 months from now (so as you read this post in November know that we are already working on February menus)! It isn’t that we don’t care about the current menu but that it has already gone through our “system” and our minds have moved ahead to the next few months. We most certainly go back and look over past menus but it is a constant and ongoing process.

I thought it might be fun (and a bit informative) for you to see the time and energy that goes into these menus. And so that you can use them with confidence knowing we have done our best to ensure minimum errors. Let’s take a look at the November menu:

  1. The writers began looking for recipes for their November menus back in August and maybe even before.
  2. On September 1st recommendations for the November menu were made, submitted and approved.
  3. From September 1st to September 15th writers worked to create recipe cards, grocery lists, instructions and labels for each of the 6 menus.
  4. From September 15th to October 1st, Tricia, Owner and Editor at Once A Month Mom spends reviewing recipe cards, updating formulas, hiding cells, converting produce and making sure that the overall formatting works.
  5. During the month of September Test Cook’s are secured for testing the November menu.
  6. On October 1st (the same day that the October menus went live), the November test cooks received their documents to “test” the menu. Test cooks usually provide feedback on cooking instructions, recipe directions and missing or inconsistent quantities. They have until October 15th to complete their testing. (Interested in being a test kitchen? Learn more and sign up here).
  7. From October 1st to October 15th feedback comes in from the November test cooks and writers update any changes that need to be made to their documents.
  8. From October 15th to October 20th we finalize the drafts of all documents and begin preparing the post for publication on November 1st.
  9. November 1st – the menus are made public!

All the while we were also working on various stages of the September, October and January menus. Whew! It is a lot. And I won’t be shy about the fact that is a lot of balls to keep in the air at one time! Our writers have a lot going on and produce some amazing menus in a timely manner each month.

Yes, occasionally we miss a thing or two. Yes, a test cook doesn’t always catch everything. Yes, we also get confused about which month is which from time to time. But YES we do care and want to produce a useable product. If you see a mistake or an item that needs noted, please don’t hesitate to email us at info @ onceamonthmeals.com. You most certainly will be helping out your fellow readers with their cooking.

And if you are interested in doing a menu yourself, you may consider checking out the Create Your Own series. This series outlines the various steps we go through when producing a menu for a given month.


15 Responses to “Get Started: The Life of a Once A Month Mom Menu”

  1. Diana F says:

    I’ve said it before, but thanks for all the work you put into the menus, spread sheets, etc. Dumb question, I guess, but what size donations are useful? (we’re retired :) ). Is $25 essentially useless or is it a reasonable amt. ?

    • Tricia says:

      Anything is useful, even a $1. We most certainly didn’t start doing this to get money from readers but we sincerely appreciate when readers recognize and are able to say thanks through donations. And we understand that there are many that can’t.

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks for letting us know all of this ‘behind the scenes’ work going on. It is quite interesting to learn, but makes me even more appreciative of the great work you and your team are doing. Keep it up!!

  3. Katrina says:

    I only recently discovered your site and I am constantly astounded at the amount of work your whole crew puts in all the time to provide this service for FREE!!

    I haven’t tried a complete menu, but I’m freezer cooking because of your site and my first big cooking day is this weekend! I’m doing baby food purees, veggie stock, and beans. It’s just me and it’s my first time, so I’m starting small.

    I’d love to be a test kitchen eventually–that sounds like fun!

  4. Sarah says:

    I appreciate all that you do!

  5. Pam says:

    Thank you so very much to you and your team for all the hard work and effort you put into the website and menu planning. This is my 3rd month using your methods. Prior to that my family spent a lot of time and $$$$ on take out and drive thru. I would simply become lost and helpless if I couldn’t figure out “what” to cook for my family. I would ask for input from my family as to what they would like to eat only to be met with little or no response. Since discovering your website my family now eats together and my children and I get to spend time together prepping the meals while my husband can have his time watching the tube. My children now give suggestions to what they would like to eat. We have some favorites and we have others that we don’t “cook” until the day of. But they are prepped in the freezer waiting to go into the oven or slowcooker. I have gone out and found 2 of your books in my local bookstore and now use your daily menus to substitute for one of the ones we are unable to eat due to allergies. I also appreciate the emails on where to start and how you organize your kitchen.
    Thank you again for all your efforts you have made my family come together more often and helped me get out of the dinner time “rut”

    • Tricia says:

      Wow! Thank you so much for that testimony. I literally have tears in my eyes reading it. It means so much to me (and all of us) that we are able to save your family time, money and sanity!

  6. I am amazed anyone could have anything negative to say to you wonderful ladies! i just found this website today and am BLOWN away. All this, all for free??? I can’t believe it, I am so excited to start cooking with all your information. I am sorry people can be rude to you, when you do all this….I am still stunned by the awesomeness here. THANK YOU for all you are doing. INcredible.

  7. Jennifer says:

    It’s really hard to write this on a post about errors, but the last sentence of the next to last paragraph should read ‘right’ not ‘write’ (all donations go write to the writers that make these menus possible).

    I am very new to your blog but I am enjoying it very much! I have two little ones and a husband that I’m trying to convert to whole foods. Keep up the amazing work!

  8. Jessica says:

    I just found your site last friday and have been reading it ever since! I am a vegan and my husband is not. Dinners have always been stressful since its really cooking two meals. In the past we both worked and were so tired when we got home. Currently I’m unemployed and while looking for a job I’m getting my freezer in shape so we’re ready when I get a new job. I just did my first vegetarian menu and It went really well. I put in 5 hours and got about 3/4 done. I have a bad ankle and just didn’t want to be on my feet anymore today so I’ll finish up tomorrow. Its so exciting to fill up the freezer bags and know that I’ll have food in the freezer for us! I realize now some of the errors of what I did today like not setting up a table with my ingredients. I was running up and down the stairs to get things. But live and learn! Now I’m reading everything on your site to learn how to do this better but I’m already hooked. Thank you so much for this site. I know it will be wonderful for me and my husband when I go back to work and will alleviate stress from our lives. Thank you also for the vegan mini plans. I hope one day you have a full month but till then I’ll just modify the vegetarian ones. If you ever need a vegan tester just let me know! I’d love to help. What an awesome site! Thanks again.

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