Home Management – Meal Planning – Run a Smoother Household!
April 4, 2018
Hey Mama,

One . . . day . . . at . . . a . . . time

God doesn’t want us to handle the drama of a week, a month, or a year—just ONE day! He knows we are busy trying to maintain the “normal” of life (ha!) and wants us to fully trust in Him for our strength for today. So as you go about planning meals, running your home, homeschooling your littles, and just handling daily tasks, keep in mind that God has promised us strength for this day. Make it count! Rest in Him, and He will see you through each TODAY.

If you need a few new ideas for managing your home (especially the kitchen), take a look at these great ideas from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine:

And remember, Mama. . .

Today is just another day of making breakfast, schooling, getting dressed, running around doing errands, helping a friend, thinking about what to make for dinner, meltdowns, sibling squabbles to handle, potty accidents from little ones at the worst times, cleaning up spills, wiping noses, having heart talks with the older ones, stopping midstream to handle (fill in the blank), responding to unlimited texts from your older ones, silly antics that take us by surprise and make us laugh hysterically, emergencies that really aren’t, diapers, diapers, and more diapers, wasted food from angry toddlers, cold food (your own) because there’s no time to eat the full meal without interruption . . . yeah.

That’s a day in the life of a Mama.

And today may seem like a blur which smears into all the other todays and yesterdays, but it’s not random at all. I know it feels that way. But Daughter of the King, today there is PURPOSE in all of this motherhood madness, and the end result is absolute beauty. I promise. Keep walking towards that prize. It’s coming, faithful Mama.

And you will be there when your own daughter has a bunch of littles of her own. You will smile when she is going through all this same stuff you are today—because you will know. You will be her wisest “Mama counselor,” because you KNOW. 

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Katie Furlong
Meal planning in my home has always been a family affair where all four of my children are encouraged to get involved. The children give their suggestions for meals; then we know what ingredients to pick up when we visit the grocery store. My mother is a fantastic chef who taught me how to cook from a young age, and I am happy I get to pass my knowledge down to my children.

We usually have a garden each year and wild berry bushes here on the farm. The children have the opportunity to pick fresh vegetables for meals but also to sit in the garden and have a snack whenever they want! 

Even my toddlers get involved in meal prep by helping stir batter for homemade pancakes, peeling vegetables, unloading and loading the dishwasher—plus choosing fresh produce from the grocery store. 

My 12-year-old son would like to own a restaurant when he is older. He currently has his own chickens and ducks; so we have fresh eggs to eat. A lot of my son’s homeschooling centers around meal prep, cooking techniques, and creating allergy friendly recipes. I teach him about a new spice or cooking technique for example, and then I allow him to make dinner for us. We always have a freezer full of meat plus a fridge stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables; so he is able to be as creative as he wants. He has his own YouTube channel where he shares his original recipes.

I taught my two oldest children how to use the oven/stove at a young age (with my supervision). This helped ensure they were safe and confident. They now also know how to BBQ, use a deep fryer, bread maker, air fryer, and instapot! They also know how to bake delicious allergy friendly treats.

My oldest daughter helps out with meal prep by prepping vegetables or just keeping the two toddlers busy with a craft or game while the stove is hot. She also makes the best cookies!

In a world where the children are bombarded with fast food commercials everywhere they look, preparing healthy meals and teaching healthy food choices is a lesson every child should learn. When you allow children to be involved in meal planning and prep, they feel more in control and are more likely to enjoy the meals they helped to prepare.

Katie Furlong is a busy homeschooling mother of 4 children. She is currently parenting at every stage: toddler, preschooler, tween, and teen. She has an Early Childhood Education diploma, is also a trained Montessori Teacher, and a certified Neurofeedback Practitioner. Katie and her 4 children live on a hobby farm where they keep bees, ducks, chickens, 2 lazy cats, and a big yellow dog. When she is not chasing children, she likes to fix up her 159-year-old farmhouse,  write , and cook to create new allergy friendly recipes. Katie may also have an  essential oil  addiction and need an intervention.
Sarah Wall
It’s the dreaded question for every mom. When you’re a busy homeschooling mom, it can be challenging to keep up with running the household and the homeschool at the same time.

One of the best things we can do to help ourselves is to meal plan. 

Think of meal planning as an investment into your family. 

Many moms struggle with meal planning because it can be time intensive. It almost doesn’t seem worth it to set aside hours just to plan out meals. But without meal planning, dinner time can bring stress, cranky kids, and a crazy mom. And too often we can resort to convenience foods, just to get something on the table. 

Time management is like budgeting. To save more money for your future, you “spend” it in investments. So to save time later on, spend a little of it in planning. (And if you want to save even more time, invest in meal prepping, too!)

Meal planning can take many forms.
The simplest is to just sit down with your calendar and a notepad, and make a list of the meals you want to make for the next week. You can plan for just dinner meals, or for every single meal of the day. 

If you want to get creative (or you’re just stuck on what to make!), make more elaborate plans by using themes. Have Monday Mexican food, or Friday Night Pizza. And if you think you can’t make a variety of pizza themed dishes, just have a look on Pinterest. There’s pizza casserole, pizza calzones, even crock pot pizza! 

Personally, I created the Practically Painless Meal Planning system, using master lists. This takes ALL the decision making out of meal planning and turns it from hours into minutes. I planned my weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, dinner, & snacks—in 5 minutes, while enjoying my morning coffee this morning. 

Meal planning doesn’t have to be difficult. 

There are pre-planned meal plans available, there are apps you can use, and there are systems out there for every type of organizer. Find your best fit, and make your home run that much smoother. Take the “overwhelm” out of grocery shopping and cooking. And you’ll be able to relax—because now you know what’s for dinner!

Sarah is a single parent of 6, from infancy to teenager, including two special needs children. She and her princesses live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where they enjoy homeschooling, playing, and growing together as a family. She runs  XeraSupport.com , a virtual business support agency from home and helps other women start businesses. Sarah blogs at  www.RaisingRoyalty.ca   and you can find her on Facebook or Twitter  @RaisingRoyals , or on Instagram or Pinterest  @xerarose. 

Bonnie Way
Many days around 4 p.m., I glance at the clock and wish that a supper-making fairy would appear. As the Facebook meme says, “Why do they want dinner every single night?” But they do, and I’ve learned meal planning helps my day, as a housewife, go much more smoothly. Here are my tips for making meal planning work for your family.

My Easy-peasy Meal Plan System

Here’s how I created a 3-month meal plan for our family in under an hour.

  1. I went through my cookbooks and recipe collections and photocopied our favourite dinner recipes. I also printed Pinterest recipes that I liked. (I don’t meal plan lunches and breakfasts.) For three months of meals, I needed about 72 recipes.
  2. Next, I organized my recipes in groups of six. I’ve found that 6 meals per week is great, as that gives us one night to eat leftovers or go out for dinner.
  3. I went through the recipes and made a grocery list for each week. I wrote everything from the recipes in the lists, including quantities (e.g., if three recipes call for green peppers, indicate that you need to buy 3 green peppers).
  4. I coil bound my new meal plan, but you could also put them in a binder (which would let you be more flexible). If your family doesn’t like a recipe, take it out of the meal plan and replace it with something else!

Don’t feel like you need to come up with a year of meals, or even with three months. You could plan one week at a time, and save your recipes and grocery lists. After a few weeks, return to your first week of plans, and repeat. 

With my meal plan in place, I know when to go grocery shopping. I can quickly get in and out of the store with my list. I know what I’m cooking each day; so I don’t spend time worrying about that. It’s easier to plan ahead for days when we’ll be busy, like Tuesday afternoon music lessons, and put a meal in the crock pot before we go out. And I’m less likely to resort to less healthy options like frozen pizza. Planning ahead really helps me save time and money!

Bonnie Way is a Vancouver mom with five children ages ten to newborn. She homeschooled for grades 1-12 and now homeschools her oldest three daughters (K, 3 and 4). She shares homeschool, travel, and motherhood tips on her blog, The Koala Mom . When she’s not homeschooling, cooking, or blogging, she can be found hanging out with friends or reading a book.
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This Month’s Menu on SchoolhouseTeachers.com is a great answer to the question, “What’s for supper?” Here you’ll find hundreds of recipes for everything from Mexican Cornbread to Diddle Diddle Dumplins, a bonus section of more than 100 gluten free and vegan recipes, and five downloadable eBooks of even more recipes! Members have access to all these recipes plus hundreds of self-paced courses for all ages. 

If you haven’t yet joined SchoolhouseTeachers.com, come give us a try. You can try the entire site for 30 days for $5! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at bhudson@TheOldSchoolhouse.com. We look forward to serving you and your family! 

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