Menu Planning Woes

Good gracious it has been a busy week. Unfortunately, it kind of goes along with the territory of having 5 children, running a home, homeschooling, being in youth ministry, and running a blog. :D I did find it extra challenging to find time to plan my menu this week. I also had a hard time with actually planning my menu. I could not think of enough dinners to fill two weeks! We have been in and out of meals and I have left out several that the majority of the family didn't like. This leaves me with a greater challenge. I also need to be careful not to make too many tomato "saucy" foods because it becomes bothersome to my husband. So, this left me in a tough place: a need to research, without time left to do it. In the mean time I will have to work with what I have. So, here it is:

 

 

The planner I'm working on is from ListPlanIt's "Meals" ePlanner. I typed into the planner on my computer and then printed it out. What I loved about the ePlanner was that I could work on it, save it, and come back to it later. I didn't have to worry about misplacing the pages somewhere (which seems to be a trend around here)!

Also included in the Meals ePlanner:

  • Breakfast and Lunch planners
  • Meal Inventory by day and by category
  • Planner by Ingrediant
  • Monthly meal planner
  • Grocery lists set up by ingredients, category, aisle, plus more!
  • Favorite Recipes
  • Pantry Inventory
  • Plus more

I've been busy pulling together giveaways and putting together the "31 Days to Clean" Homemakers Challenge for May. Join us? Watch for a link up at the end of this month. {Subscribe to stay up-to-date with the details.}

How did you do this week? Be sure to link up your post below so we can visit and encourage you!

Tomorrow I have yet another giveaway for you! Have you entered the DaySpring Giveaway? How about the 31 Days to Clean e-book giveaway? Don't miss out!

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Why Menu Plan?

Making meals is one of the most important aspects of homemaking. It can also be one of the most stressful when you come at it unprepared. Meal preparation can actually be a very pleasant time of day if we take a little time to plan for it. There are several benefits to menu planning that I want to share with you today.

Wood Tones by LN by ekhum, on Pix-O-Sphere

Here are 3 simple reasons to menu plan:

  1. It saves time -- yes, initially you need to put some time in to menu plan, but in the long run, it saves you those minutes each day you are deciding what to cook as you aimlessly look through your cupboards and freezer. You can save these precious minutes by setting aside a block of time to plan this. Typically, your first menu planning session will be the longest. Once you've completed that first part, the rest quickly follows. In addition, knowing what you're making saves on trips to the grocery store because you have everything you need already.
  2. It saves money -- when you know what you're going to need for the week (or month), you can jot down a grocery list and get everything you need in one trip. Having a list helps you avoid impulsive buying or forgetting things you find you need later. It also saves on gas because you are not making several trips to the grocery store throughout the week to get forgotten items.Finally, it prevents you from ordering take-out because you forgot to pull something from the freezer or your fed up with trying to decide what to make.
  3. It saves stress -- Knowing what meals you are making the family each day is a huge stress reliever. I mean huge. When I menu plan, it literally brings a smile to my face knowing I don't have to "worry" about what to make for dinner because it's already decided. As a matter of fact, I can begin some preparations in the morning as a result. A little planning goes a long way, friends. :)

Most of you know this--this is not new information. So why are we holding out? Perhaps we don't want to set aside a block of time just to menu plan. Friend, let me tell you: it's worth it. Relieving the stress alone is worth it. Having a plan helps for a smooth running home, and menu planning is part of "the plan".

List Plan It has some pretty great resources to help you plan out your menus from 1 week to 1 month, broken down by meal, food category, and also includes lists for shopping and kitchen organization. They also have hundreds of other lists to help you literally put your home in order. It's list heaven for people like me! Having 5 children causes me to be very forgetful, so I need a place to jot down ideas, thoughts, planning items, to do's, and anything else that comes to mind that I risk forgetting!

And in case you were unaware, I have a HOMEmakers Challenge every week and this week we are focusing on making a menu. Please feel free to join in! We will link up on Thursday.

Question: Have you ever tried menu planning in the past? If so, what was most challenging about it?

{Coming May 1st to the HOMEMakers Challenge: 31 Days to Clean, hosted by Joyful Mothering. Check out a giveaway Sarah Mae is hosting right now!}

If you are new to Joyful Mothering, please feel free to jump in and join us! You can also subscribe by RSS or email so you will not miss a post!

{Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means if you click and purchase an item, I will receive a small percentage, at no cost to you. Please read my full disclosure policy. I have, and will only recommend products that I personally use or those that I see as bringing further value to you, my reader.}

New School Year, New Commitment

Every year I find that I need to recommit myself to homeschooling, and often it's at a higher level. I admit it. Sometimes I grow weary and fainthearted. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed and wonder why God ever asked me to take on such an endeavor.

But the summer brings a fresh perspective as well as rest. It helps me to regain focus and to know how to pray for our upcoming year.

This coming year, I will be adding a Kindergartner to the mix (lightly). As well as having some light "lessons" with my 2 preschoolers. Having my schedule together will be the key to this happening.

In addition, we're also adding a new baby to the mix. So that is sure to make things challenging!

Saturday, I am going to spend a good chunk of the day at the library in order to do some planning for the upcoming year. I will be using this week to jot down ideas, notes, thoughts, etc. on what to include. I've been trying to do this in the evening hours without much success. Either I'm too tired or I'm reading my Bible for the day. It's too difficult to concentrate while the children are awake because of the many needs involved.

So, this year, I am committing to once again home school and want to dive in with a whole heart, rather than something that is done literally half-heartily.