Monday, October 24, 2011

Menu Plan, October 24-30

It has been so nice having Mom here. Whenever she visits, I really wish she lived right around the corner! But, since she doesn't, I have to just enjoy her while I can. :) She'll be heading home Thursday (what will I do without her?!).

Here's what I have on the menu for this week:

Arepas, scrambled eggs
Baked oatmeal
Huevos rancheros
Bagels with ham and cream cheese (a quick breakfast for Thursday since we'll have to leave before 7 to get Mom to the airport--yikes!)
Pancake and sausage muffins, scrambled eggs

Smoothies (fruit/yogurt/spinach or peanut butter)
Taco corn fritters (from the freezer), black beans

Sherry's Aussie Chicken, baked potatoes, salad
Salsa verde beef tacos, rice and beans
Cheeseburger Potato Casserole, mixed veggies, salad
Homemade Pizza, salad

What are y'all fixing this week? For menu planning inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday and the Plan-It-Don't-Panic Challenge.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Menu Plan, 10/17-10/23

Last week was really busy! I was away from home a lot more than usual. While I enjoyed getting out, I was reminded of why I am usually intentional about staying home! There are some repeats on the menu plan this week, as some things got shuffled around and traded out for quicker meals.

My mom is coming up this week, which I am SO excited about! Thursday morning can't get here soon enough! It's always so wonderful to have Mom around. What a blessing it is to have a godly mother. :)

Here's what I have on the plan for this week--though I confess that after Wednesday, things are allowed to mix up depending on what Mom and I feel like cooking together. :)

Soaked baked oatmeal
Homemade bread (I make it in my amazing bread maker and I'm still able to soak it. I'll have to tell y'all about it one of these days!), scrambled eggs
Pancake and sausage muffins, scrambled eggs

Taco Corn Fritters (from the freezer)
Chicken Taco Soup (from the freezer)
Pizza pockets (leftover from dinner tonight)
Smoothies (Peanut butter or yogurt/fruit)

Pizza pockets, salad
Salmon patties, brown rice with veggies
Homemade chicken nuggets, carrot sticks, macaroni and cheese (got a really good deal on this recently)
Homemade breakfast hot pockets, applesauce (didn't make these breakfast pockets last week)

What are y'all eating this week? If you need some inspiration, be sure to check out OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday and the Plan-It-Don't-Panic Challenge at Keeper of the Home!

10 Goals for this week

Inspired by Crystal's weekly goals posts, I want to share my goals for this week with y'all. I have been meaning to start writing out and working towards weekly goals for quite some time now, and I just haven't done it. I'm hoping some accountability in the form of a blog post will be the shove in the right direction I need.

My main reason for goal-setting is that I do not want to reach the end of my life and regret wasting my days on things that don't really matter. I want to live intentionally and fulfill the tasks the Lord has called me to, making the most of the (limited number of) days He has given me.

With that in mind, here are my goals for the week (minus marriage goals, which I won't be sharing publicly):

1. Spend time every day reading Scripture and praying. I am better with this when I'm able to rise early, but the past several weeks, Benjamin has been teething and waking up a couple times every night. I've been too tired too wake up early, but setting aside time for this is important even when I'm sleepy.

2.Work out 3 times.

3. Spend 15 minutes of one-on-one time with Katie every day while Benjamin takes his morning nap.

4. Take the children outside for at least a few minutes every day--before it gets too cold to enjoy much outside play!

5. Take some time while Mom is here to plan an early "preschool" routine for Katie.

6. Work with Katie 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening, teaching her to keep her room clean.


7. Do my daily chores every day, including a load of laundry from start to finish.

8. Organize our freezer (which I've been having a hard time shutting every time I open it to get something out!).

9. Work 1 1/2 hours per day for my part-time job from home.

10. Work on coming up with a marketing plan for Ben's business.

Crystal is hosting a weekly goals link-up today. Head over there to share your goals for the week!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Healthier Homemaking in No Time: Intro

 Most moms want to provide a healthy environment for their children to grow up in. We want to be good stewards of all we have--our children, our homes, and our own bodies. But, with all the information available, it can be so hard to know where to start! If you're like me, the thought of adding something extra to your already overflowing plate is overwhelming. Most days, I do well to keep the baby from choking on all the things he shoves in his mouth, get some food made and the dishes cleaned before said food rots, do some laundry--and maybe take a shower.

Nevertheless, since I laid eyes on my first babe two and a half years ago, I've had a strong burden to give her (and now her brother, as well!) the healthiest start I can. And, over the course of time, I've found that (thankfully!) a lot of healthy changes really aren't hard to make at all.

During the next several weeks, I want to share with y'all simple changes you can make in your home that won't take you any extra time, but can have a great long-term impact on your family's health.

We'll talk about changes you can make in your cooking to remove harmful things from your family's diet, and also things you can do to give their nutrient intake a big boost. We'll also talk about changes you can make throughout your home to prevent your family from being exposed to many harmful (scary!) chemicals so often present in homes today--many of which most folks aren't even aware of! Some of these changes won't cost you a thing, while others will. Everything I'll be talking about are changes we have chosen to make because we think they're worth it. 

I hope y'all are inspired in your journey to healthier homemaking for the glory of God!

I'd love to hear from you! If any of you have questions or suggestions for this series, or would like to write a guest post, please contact me at maryjo at covenanthomemaking dot com.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Plan, October 10-16

I did some impromptu freezer cooking throughout the week last week. It's a little bit of extra work, but it's so nice to have quick meals in the freezer--especially for lunch. My go-to lunch for months and months has been a delicious smoothie, but smoothie season is quickly coming to a halt as cooler weather moves in. We're not big on sandwiches since good quality sandwich meats are so pricey, but I love being able to have something quick at lunchtime so I don't have to spend a whole lot more time in the kitchen. Since I'm on a kick, I'm planning to double and freeze several recipes throughout the week this week, too. 

Here's what I've got planned:

Breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs, crumbled sausage, black beans, cheese, salsa, and sour cream in a tortilla)
Pancake and sausage muffins (I made these last week and they were great! I'm going to double and soak the recipe and freeze some), scrambled eggs
Soaked whole wheat bread, scrambled eggs
Soaked baked oatmeal

Taco corn fritters (from the freezer), beans, carrot sticks
Chicken taco soup (from the freezer)
Super simple bean burritos (going to make a double batch and freeze--I made the tortillas last week)
Snack lunch

Potato soup (I use chicken broth instead of water and skip the bullion)
Salmon patties, brown rice with steamed veggies
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
Homemade breakfast hot pockets (going to freeze a bunch for quick breakfasts), applesauce
Homemade pizza pockets (going to freeze some of these too), salad

What are y'all cooking this week?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday and the Plan-It-Don't-Panic Challenge.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Six ways to love your husband when (even when you're exhausted)


"God's will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband (Genesis 2:18). After a wife's own personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing else should have greater priority. Her husband should be the primary benefactor of his wife's time and energy, not the recipient of what may be left over at the end of the day." 
~The Excellent Wife, page 4 (emphasis mine)

As I spend my days (and nights!) caring for two young children, it can be hard to remember that my primary ministry is to my husband--not my children. My number one goal in life must be to be the best wife I can be for him, to the glory of God. This is what I'm called to--and truly, if you're striving to be the absolute best wife you can be, you'll probably do a good job with your children too.

Your husband loves you. He married you because he wanted to spend his whole life with you. And he deserves better than your worst at the end of a day of chasing babies. There may not be any way to avoid being tired at the end of the day. So, what can you do?

Here are a couple suggestions (and I'm totally preaching to myself here, too!):

::Take ten minutes before he comes home to freshen things up. It's doable! In just two minutes, you could brush your hair and change your shirt if it's covered in spit-up. Then, spend the rest of the 10 minutes picking up messes. If your children are old enough, enlist their help!

::Keep your room picked up. A few minutes per day of tidying can make a world of difference. When you get up in the morning, make your bed (as long as your husband isn't still in it!), pick up dirty clothes, and when you leave your room, take a couple things that don't belong (toys the children dragged in, the glass on the nightstand, etc.). A clean room is more relaxing. And, let's face it--it's more romantic, too.

::Don't unload on him. If I've learned anything in my 3 1/2 years of marriage, it's that men are not as chatty as women. While I definitely think you should keep an open line of communication with your husband, his first minutes home should not be filled with your complaints about the day.

::Make sure he has clean clothes. Doing a load of laundry every day or every other day isn't that much work. Making sure your husband has clean underwear, socks, and clothes to wear to work should be a top priority. Here are some of my tips for staying caught up on laundry.

::The way to a man's heart is through his belly. You may not have the time or energy for gourmet meals, but you are going to be eating something every day. Keep your husband's preferences in mind when preparing food rather than catering to your children's picky-ness. Having a menu plan is a lifesaver for me in this regard. If I plan our menus and make a list of everything we need, I know I have food on hand for a meal for Ben every evening.

::Remember the other way to his heart. You know what I'm talking about. Even when you're tired, it's really important to bless your husband in this way. Look forward to it. Make time for it. Enjoy it. Enough said.

I'd love to hear from y'all--especially the older, more seasoned wives among us. Any advice you can share for us younger women in the spirit of Titus 2 would be much appreciated!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Taco Soup

Excuse the Blackberry photo. Our camera was MIA and dinner was getting cold!

With fall weather setting in around here, I've been craving cool-weather foods. This delicious, nourishing, and simple taco soup definitely fits the bill. You can throw it together just half an hour before dinner time, or let it simmer all day in the crock pot. Either way, it's delicious!

Chicken Taco Soup
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes (I puree mine in the blender, as Ben doesn't care for tomato chunks)
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 can corn, drained (I use organic to avoid genetically engineered corn--yuck!)
4 1/2 cups cooked beans, or 2-3 cans (I use a combination of black and pinto)
1 packet of taco seasoning mix
1 packet of Ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Combine all ingredients and let them simmer for 20-30 minutes (or as long as you want--generally, the longer the better). Serve with cheese (we like queso fresco--yum!), sour cream, hot sauce, tortilla chips, green onions, etc.

This soup is so versatile. You can use whatever you have on hand. Feel free to substitute ground beef for the chicken (or add extra beans for a meatless dinner). You can use tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes. If your family likes, you could add peppers and onions. Whatever sounds good to you!

What's your favorite soup to make when the days get a little cooler?

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu Plan, October 3-9

Another month has come and gone. Can y'all believe it's October already?! We've definitely started having some fall weather, and some of our leaves are starting to change. I really enjoy fall, though it seems to turn into winter far too quickly in our little corner of the world. Now, to find some canned pumpkin on sale...

In any case, here's what we'll be eating this week.

Apple baked oatmeal (soaked)
Easy morning glory muffins (from the freezer--I made a double batch Saturday), scrambled eggs
Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs

Pizza pockets (I'm going to make soaked, whole wheat crust in the bread machine), carrot sticks
Taco Corn fritters, fruit
Smoothies, if there's a warmer day (I'm going to miss smoothies during the cold weather!)

Rice and bean burritos with salsa, sour cream, lettuce, etc.
Chili, cornbread
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, salad
Three cheese garlic chicken pasta, salad

What are y'all fixing this week?

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday and Plan-It-Don't-Panic Challenge.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Your season

Fall leaves in Vancouver

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." 
~Ecclesiastes 3:1

Ah, the wisdom of Solomon! To every thing there is a season. Just as the seasons change outside, so do the seasons change in our lives.

If you're a single girl living at home, this season should be used to serve your family and the Body of Christ, learn as much as you can, and focus your energies on advancing the Kingdom in ways you won't be able to during the next season of your life, should the Lord give you a husband and children. If you're an older woman with grown children you are in a season of life when instructing younger women (and hopefully, helping your children raise their own!) is a biblically mandated priority (see Titus 2).

As for those of us wives with young children, it's not our season to prioritize outside ministry or outside work. Our ministry and work is in our home. It's our season to pour everything we possibly can into raising up the next generation of Christ-followers. Growing our children into godly adults is the best gift we can give the church, the world, and future generations with this season of our lives.

Like the beauty of fall, this beautiful season of life is so short and so fleeting. I know the days feel long--by the time the children are tucked into bed, you're tired and there's still work to do. But I also know that no matter how long the days feel, the years really do fly by.

One day your babies will be all grown up, and the outside ministries and outside work you'd like to do will still be there when they're not. I want to encourage y'all to relish this season of life with sweet little ones. Spend yourself loving them and leading them to submit to Christ, creating a home where they can be nurtured and making memories they will cherish forever--all for the glory of the One Who graciously gave them to you.