I had always wanted a blackboard in our kitchen to write down the menu of the day. So for Christmas of 2013 I got the family a kitchen blackboard. Our family shares a passion for food and cooking, and meals are a very important part of our daily life. Our journaling began with writing down the date and the main meal of the day. My husband, children, and I all took turns writing the menus on the board. We also thought it would be a fun idea to include a quote that pertained to the circumstances of that moment: the date, the season, the mood, or family events. Over time I experimented with other content. By then, our children were in 9th and 10th grade. For a while I tried to share important current events with them and even the SAT word of the day on the board (boring!) I decided instead to acknowledge small as well as big events in our lives. I doodled celebratory banners during happy times and positive messages of encouragement during less happy times.

Well the months and years have gone by really fast. My son left to college fall of 2016 and my daughter is a senior preparing to leave home next fall. I can still remember both of them arriving from high school, yelling their “hola” from the garage door, barreling into the kitchen with their backpacks on their way to the kitchen table to start studying. As they turned the corner into kitchen they would ask, “What’s for dinner?” To which I would answer, “Read the board and make sure you read the quote!” which they would do and then all sorts of oohs and ahs would transpire. Of course, keeping the board updated on a daily basis is definitely challenging. Sometimes updates a couple of times a week is the best I can do. I do most of the updates these days. On occasions that I have been away another family member has taken the initiative of writing on the board and it’s really fun to get back home and read it. Our family has certainly enjoyed our kitchen blackboard. It has become a journal of our meals and of our times together. It has inspired conversations and ideas. It has allowed us to become more “mindful” of our daily lives.

I want to share our kitchen blackboard with you. As much as we enjoy cooking we sometimes struggle with figuring out what to make. I hope these menu ideas, quotes, and colorful doodles bring you inspiration.