The New Year is just around the corner and so is the time for a fresh start. After going over the budget this morning, I was surprised by how our food bill has gradually been increasing. I feel like we are totally out of food and yet my freezer and pantry are stocked full of stuff… Why is that?
Okay, so I have this habit that I am happy about and hope to continue all my days… it is meal planning and eating dinner together as a family. I have heard of some people planning out their entire month which to me sounds not fun at all but to do it once a week I am perfectly happy with. Everyone is different, I am just saying for me once a week has been SUPER HELPFUL. I decided to set this into practice from a blog I read a couple years back that gave me some encouragement and from my mother-n-law who recommended it as well. Thanks you!
All I do is jot down my meal plan for the week and alongside it I make a grocery list for the ingredients. I only plan dinners. Breakfast and snacks are sort just what we feel like or often lunch is a no-brainer because it is what we had yesterday for dinner. This gives me a specific list to go to the store with and helps me limit my grocery shopping excursions which is helpful on many fronts. I try to go only once a week which every other week, I go to 2 grocery stores to get more variety of things. I love not spending much time in grocery stores!!! I make a list, get what I need with a few extras, and then leave.
To make it easier on myself and more do-able I make sure to only have one or sometimes rarely two new recipes I want to try for the week and plan for those on days I am not as scheduled so that by the time dinner comes around I won’t be too exhausted to yes- read a recipe. Once a week or maybe twice is plenty- all the other nights we go to tried and true meals. I like to be healthy and eat well as a family but I also know I have many other competing interests for time. This streamlines the whole preparing dinner process and is awesome!!! Having dinner as a family every night is a top goal of mine. I have heard from many sources that meal time is a critical part of family bonding and helping children develop a healthy eating habits. I believe it, so mealtime structure it is!
Here is my mealtime menu planner sheet as a little gift to help you get going. You can do it. After 21 days of doing, it becomes a habit. I challenge you to set your family mealtime as top priority, too whether it is just two of you or a little crew. You are awesome and your family needs you and all your efforts.
MEAL PLANNING Cut down the middle for 2 per page. Print out at least 3 months worth to get you started. I put mine on a magnetic clip board to stick on my fridge.
It is not all fun and games over here. Through the years, I have learned to love work and understand it is not always the most exciting thing but necessary for peace and contentment. For the last year or so now I have been teaching my girls how to work with laundry, dishes, and vacuuming on a regular basis. We do a chore of some sort together once a day. Work is the stuff of life and starts right here in the home. 🙂
They in turn earn tokens that we use to purchase outings like this weeks $3 pony ride at a nearby farm. They are good little workers and are getting better all the time. One of the best tricks I have discovered is to play music while during our chores to set a more enjoyable atmosphere.
The kids love this! What it is is a large 3×1.5 ft container full of rice with little kid dishes, shovels, shells, and fake jewels. The kids get to use the shovels and mini rakes and search for hidden treasure. Somehow they love and get beg me to get it out. One of the best things about this is that I can put a lid on it and tuck it away somewhere once they are done. They come up with endless things to do with it including using the dishes in it to fill up with rice, just have fun pouring it from one container to another, to finding the hidden jewels and seashells within.
It is pretty simple to make as you can see. All you need a container with a lid, 5 lbs of rice, toy dishes, toy shovels and spoons, and then some “treasure” items. Check it out below!
I teach the youth at my church. This is my group of Activity Day Girls painting their feet. We made an imprint on a sheet of paper and wrote, “With our Heavenly Father We Never Walk Alone.” This was the theme of the evening because we read a recent General Conference address by our prophet and president of the church Thomas S. Monson entitled, We Never Walk Alone. Check it out here! What a wonderful story and uplifting message.
My girls were crying the other day because one sister accidentally ripped off this little Barbie “B” medallion on this dress. I consoled them by telling them we could fix it. I got out my needle and thread and thought, “hmmm…, instead of me fixing it for them, I am going to have Aurora fix it herself and learn to sew.” I’ve been trying to teach them more everyday skills lately including folding laundry, unloading or loading the dishwasher, making a bed, cleaning windows and mirrors, sweeping, and vacuuming. I am trying to have them do some sort of chore with me at least once a day. They are getting pretty good. As a result, they earn tokens in a bucket. Jason and I haven’t said what they can earn with those tokens but just having them earn them and see the fruit of their labors is incentive enough for now. Here we are with our simple basic stitching session.
It is sort of crazy but when kids have come over to play, I have also put them to work alongside of my kids. We make it a game and they don’t even see it as work so it is great. Okay, maybe this is not what a cool Mom does but every once in a while why not!? It gives me a lovely home, is an opportunity to teach them, and we get to spend time together. 🙂
Kids love to play. You don’t have to go anywhere fancy and spend a ton of money. Sometimes you can have the most fun at home piling up pillows into a fort and letting them have at it. Don’t forget to join in at least for a little while. 🙂 I want to do this more. The kids had a blast and I enjoyed taking their pictures after getting in the fort and playing for a bit!
Sometimes you have the whole morning planned out and your daughter really wants to do something else- so you do something else. 🙂
My daughter loves making letters for friends, grandparents, teachers, and everyone in between. We made sure to make some this particular morning before preschool and why not? I say take the time to listen to what your child wants and indulge them every once in a while where possible. You are trying to build a relationship that will withstand the test of time, right? One of the best ways to do so is to communicate and spend time together. Why not let them to choose the activity sometime?
The kids are loving this new treat and so am I especially because it is easy, there are no crumbs to clean, it counts as a semi-healthy snack, and they get to play with it. How cool is that? After a little bit of tweaking this is what I discovered is the best consistency:
Peanut Butter Play Dough
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 powdered milk
3 TBSP Sugar (or 1 1/2 TBSP Honey)
Mix with a fork and you’re done.
Our friend was moving to Idaho last week so my friend Ashlee and I hosted an authentic Chinese Food Luncheon for her. Chinese is her favorite food and she doesn’t get to eat it much since her kids and husband do not like it. Ashlee made the Spring rolls and a special “Pho” soup. I made sushi and provided the house and decor. It was fun and good to see her off on a good note.