Family life · Meal planning

Meal Management

I have a love for anything to do with the kitchen.  I love to cook and bake.  I love to try new recipes.  I love to set a pretty table. I love to work around a time schedule. I love to feed hungry people. I love to fill my table with people and good food where God is thanked and lives are encouraged just because they shared a meal at our table.

However, I know not everyone feels the same and for varied reasons:

It’s a struggle to cook a meal that everyone will eat.  

It’s hard to find the time to prepare.

It’s overwhelming to clean up the mess afterwards.

It’s intimidating to invite people over.

I Cor. 10:31 reminds us that our eating and whatever we do should glorify God.  That would include meal preparation.

What that doesn’t mean:

Everything has to be made from scratch.

Everything has to look it was prepared by a Food Network chef.

That you can’t take help from quick foods.

That you can’t ever go out to eat.

That you have to fix a different meal for everyone in the family.

What it does mean:

  1. God should be honored in your heart attitude about meal prep.  Remember Martha begrudging her work?
  2. It’s more about the people we’re serving than trying to impress them. We;re filling a need.
  3. Because we’re the managers, we must plan ahead so we’ll be able to prepare in advance.

Remember our mantra – We must plan our work and work our plan!  This applies maybe even greater when dealing with meals and with food preparation!

  1. Prioritize eating together at the table. If you’re not doing this much at all,  why not plan on having supper as a family at least three nights a week?  Or bump up what you’re doing to five nights a week.   

    Elevate the ordinary to something sacred. This simply means to make it highly valued and important. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

    Quiet hearts by turning on soft music. 
    Make the table inviting. 
    Add placemats or a tablecloth, napkins and all three pieces of silverware.
    Put something pretty in the middle of the table.  A pitcher with flowers.  A candle. Add conversation starter cards to the centerpiece. 
    Make it fun
    . Laugh at the table.  Teach manners.  Talk. Listen.  Slow down.  Sit back. Read a chapter book together at the end of the meal. Sing a hymn. Pray.

Memories are made around the table. Some of my favorite memories of my girls’ childhood revolve around events and conversations around a meal we shared together. We all remember the evening there was “blue milk” on the table (let’s just say there might have been a little too much laughter!).

This one habit can strengthen your home in so many ways.

But how do we get it done? Next Wednesday we’ll talk about the management part and how to simplify the process. But for now, will you just ask the Lord to help you make family mealtime (one meal a day) a priority? Apply one or more of the ways I shared to elevate the ordinary to something sacred.

Refresh mealtime at your house this week!
If you’ve missed any of this series, you can find the other posts here.

children · Family life · home · Husband · Motherhood · Wife's Role

Family Friday – Family Time

 

Family Time.

Mother-Daughter Time

Mother-Son Time

Date night

Conversation time

We all want to spend time with our family, but we’re so busy with everything else going on in our world, how do we do it?

How do we respond when so many others need/want our moments, hours and days, yet we long for more time with our husband?  More time pouring into our children?  Here are some points to ponder when you consider how yo will spend your days:

  1. Establish an eternal perspective.  How will this decision effect eternity?  If it won’t, then is it pressing right now or should I do something else?
  2. Remember when you say “yes” to someone, you’re saying “no” to someone else. Who should I be saying “no” to?  Is this person in my priority order?
  3. Respond to each opportunity on the basis of how it will affect your ability to fulfill your current obligations. Will doing this make it more difficult to do what I have to get done today?  Will doing this help me accomplish what is before me?
  4. Try to do only the right things for the right reasons at the right times in the right seasons.

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Now, how will you spend TIME with your family this weekend?  Perhaps you should start by asking yourself these four questions, then make decisions about what you will/should do!

Your family opportunities won’t be there forever! Grab them while you can!

Refresh your family time,

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children · Christian love · Family life · home · Motherhood · Parenting · Wife's Role · Women's roles

In-Laws and Outlaws Part II

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Jokes about mothers-in-law…there are many.  I remember hearing one about a Greyhound bus going over the side of a cliff, but there was no worry, because the only passenger was the man’s MIL.  Ouch.  Where do those punches come from?  Maybe from people who have gotten fed up with that female in-law who crossed the relational boundaries.  But it’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  We may reason that

  • we only want to help!
  • we’ve been where our children are and we think we need to  give them some good advice.
  • we see our kids getting ready to make the mistake of a lifetime.
  • they need help raising those grandchildren of ours.

The reasons for mother-in-laws interfering are many, but for the most part, they may be very unwelcomed  from our birth children and our in-laws.  It can do far more damage than it does help when it’s unsolicited.

What is a mother-in-law to do if she desires to have a good relationship with a son or daughter-in-law?  Here are a few things I’ve learned (and am still learning!).

  1. Only give advice when it’s asked for.  If you see your kids doing something you think is wrong, pray about it instead of speaking to them.  Trust a sovereign God to direct them just as He directs you when you’re heading down a wrong path.
    That would include little “hints” you might want to drop about your DIL’s housekeeping, lack of meal prep, or careless parenting skills.  Or your SIL’s need to turn off the television, get a job, lead his family or attend church.  Take it to God instead.
    I’ve had to ask both of my girls to forgive me for stepping over that boundary once they got married!  We’re so used to being “mom” that we scold, advise and reprimand our grown kids as quickly as we used to throw our arm across them when we came to a sudden stop in the car.  Let’s fold our hands in prayer instead and ask the Lord to give them wisdom to make right choices.
  2. Don’t demand your children’s presence for ANYTHING. would mean Christmas, Thanksgiving, your birthday, Mother’s Day – you get the idea.  They have lives of their own.  They have a family to care for.  They have burdens to carry.  They have jobs and ministries.  Let them live their lives.  Again, if you feel neglected, take it to the Lord in prayer.  Even if you don’t demand their presence, but you pout because they weren’t there…it’s just as bad.
    Also, be sure you’re building that marriage relationship with your spouse.  Have so much fun together that your kids will know that if they’re not able to come home, you both are fine just being together!
  3. Never drop in to your children’s home without calling ahead.  “Yoo-hoo!” at the front door as you walk in could make an embarrassing situation for you and your children.  It can also turn you into the lady that might be given a ticket to ride that Greyhound bus!
  4. Consider your child’s spouse.  Think to your own MIL and how you liked or disliked when she left you out or included you, as the case may be.  Love them.  Talk to them.  Send a text.  Call them occasionally just to say hi.  Pray for them.  Treat them with respect and give them those kind of words.
  5. Allow your children and their spouse to be adults.  Treat them as such, remembering that you raised them to be independent. Don’t see your son as your little boy.  He’s a man.  Let your daughter be a grown woman. Let go of those early days and let them establish a home as adults.

Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi?  Ruth was said to have been kind to her mother-in-law.  We may cry out – “My daughter-in-law needs to take a lesson from her!  My son-in-law needs to learn to be kind to me!”  But what made Ruth and Orpah want to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi?  She had been gracious to them!  Someone has said,

Maybe if we were more like Naomi,

there would be more Ruth’s.

If you’re guilty of something in this post, be humble and ask the Lord to help you.  You might even need to ask your children and in-laws to forgive you for the way you’ve treated them.  A humble spirit of repentance could be the very thing that will turn those difficult relationships around.

Let’s be more like Naomi today.

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baking · Cooking · dessert · Family life · grilling · home · Home making · main dish · Main entree

Individual Berry Cobblers & What We Really Eat

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Happy Monday!  First let me start with sharing a new recipe that I made as a special treat for my cobbler-loving husband!  If you need a treat for Fourth of July these would be perfect.  You can make one, or you can multiply the recipe to make as many as you need.  These are Berry Cobblers,  served in individual ramekins, making them a perfect size and also easy to serve!

I found the recipe here on this site. They were so easy to pull together, and with no sugar added to the fruit, I think they’re a really healthy little dessert, well, maybe the ice cream added some fat and calories, but you can’t eat cobbler without ice cream!

Individual Berry Cobblers
Ingredients
  • NOTE: These directions are per each serving so multiply it by how many servings you plan to make.
  • ½ cup berries or fruit of choice
  • 2 tbsp oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, slightly packed
  • 1½ tbsp softened butter
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of baking soda
  • a couple drops of vanilla

Instructions –
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place berries/fruit In a ramekin or other small baking dish
In a separate bowl, Mix all other ingredients….oatmeal, flour, sugar, butter, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Use your hand or a fork to make sure all ingredients are incorporated well.
Sprinkle oatmeal mixture evenly over berries/fruit.
Place ramekin on a baking dish (just in case it boils over a little bit) and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until topping is beginning to brown.

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Do you ever look at people’s You Tube videos of their food and wonder if they really eat? I mean, sometimes it’s more about the tableware and presentation than the food.  To me, the most important part of mealtime is the food!  We really enjoy our food over here and I want it to be delicious and pretty – not just pretty!

So, I’m going to close today by giving you a little look at my plates from this past week so you can see what we really ate.
Here’s a real look at our meals:

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Grilled Marinated Steaks, Twice Baked Potatoes, Berry Green Salad

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Perfect Pork Tostadas, Spanish Rice, Fresh Fruit

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Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce, Corn on the cob, Oven Garlic Fries

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Chicken Fajitas, Refried Beans, Lime tortilla chips, Cantaloupe

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Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Berry Green Salad

I don’t just take pictures of pretty food – we eat real meals every day at home.  Presentation is part of that, but also good food, prepared and cooked at home to nourish body and soul! Also the time at the table, sitting and talking as we eat, sip on glasses of tea, or nibble on sweet treats like this berry cobbler!  Meal time is a huge part of family time.  Let’s make dinner delicious, nourishing, pretty and memorable!

What have you made this week that your family loved?

From my country kitchen,

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children · Encouragement · Family life · Motherhood · Parenting

Firm, Fair, Fun Parenting

This week I want to continue on with the parenting series in the form of some encouragement.  I know it can be difficult and wearisome when they’re small.  Teen years can seem to last forever with attitudes or questions about your choices.  Even the adult years of children can be challenging and stressful.  For that reason, we all need to have a biblical view of parenting – from the beginning to the end.  Let’s dig in and get some good advice from God’s Word to keep us faithful to this blessed call of building our children for the glory of God!

Image result for families together

Obviously parenting is a daily responsibility, and sometimes it can get overwhelming.  Other days it’s discouraging because the children don’t seem like they’re “getting it.”  We then fall into a disheartened mode which also influences the rest of our family.

May I encourage you on your parenting road today?

I heard a preacher recently say that in parenting you need to:

  • Be Firm
  • Be Fair
  • Be Fun

All three are needed.

Be firm – Say what you mean and then follow through.  Don’t promise a spanking for disobedience and then not carry it out when you get home.  That kind of neglect takes a  huge amount of effort to undo.  If you’ve set a curfew for your teen, expect them to honor it.

Be fair – Too often we hit the first one strong and hard.  We’re firm.  “No!” “No!” “No!” at every request, every attempt the child makes, at every word they say.  But stop and ask if you’re also being fair.
What does “being fair” entail?  Being fair requires really listening. Proverbs 18:13 says,

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,

it is a folly and shame unto him.

 Did you hear your child out completely before you answered them?  Do you understand where they’re coming from?  Or did you cut them off? If the teen was late for curfew, let them speak before you discipline.  Hear them out.  There may be a viable reason for their tardiness.   If we’re wise, we will obey the Scripture above and hear them out.  Let them know you care about what they have to say and that they are worth listening to.
Be fun – Lastly, we need to take time out for fun.  If things are stressful in homeschool, drop the books and do something just for fun!  If there’s been tons of stress in relationships, add a dose of something everyone will enjoy.
  • Go on a picnic for lunch.
  • Build a fort in the backyard.
  • Eat ice cream sundaes for supper.
  • Go shopping for sunglasses with your teen daughter and have lunch at her favorite place.
  • Learn to laugh – long and hard with your children
  • Isn’t it easy to scowl?  Let your kids see you smiling- and at them!

Firm, fair, fun.  If those words don’t describe your parenting, ask the Lord to help you incorporate the needed areas into your home today!

Which of these three areas is hardest for you?

With love,