Month: April 2015

Menu Planning

Several months ago, I noticed that several of the blogs I followed were posting a menu plan on a weekly or monthly basis. In the past, I had never put a lot of effort into planning out meals. Unfortunately, this led to lots of potluck meals or worse, meals at a restaurant (mostly fast food). So, I decided to start planning my meals. I chose to plan them out for the month because it was more efficient to get it over with for the month instead of starting anew each week. When I make the plan, I also make a weekly grocery list so that it is easily accessible each week when I am ready to go to the grocery store. I’ll admit, I don’t always follow my game plan, but it definitely helps with the organization surrounding those crazy hours after school, but before dinner. I found an awesome editable calendar that I use at No Ordinary Moments.

IMG_4005

This plan is placed on the front of my refrigerator so that I can see what needs to be thawed or prepped and so that everyone is aware of what will be for dinner. Of course, things invariably come up such as getting invited over to eat with another family or spirit nights at the kids’ school, and we just have to be flexible those days. The idea isn’t for us to strickly follow the plan, but having the decisions made for us makes it more likely that we’ll eat something home-cooked and more nutritious than fast food. I hope our waistlines and wallets will thank me for the few extra minutes it takes to prepare the menus.

We also print out a monthly menu from their school for breakfast and lunch. Each child takes a highlighter (pink and blue) and highlights the meals that they would like to buy from the school. I also indicate which days they will have P.E. so that they know which shoes to be wearing each day. These also get placed on the front of the refrigerator.

IMG_4006

IMG_4007

It’s a simple system, but it works well for us. What are your favorite menu planning tools?

Fun Earth Day Project

Sparkly Princess came home from school last week with an assignment for an Earth Day project. I helped her look through Pinterest for some good ideas. She settled on three parts of several pins to make a recycled stationery set. Although it took a while to complete, she was truly proud of her project.

The first part was a small container made from strips of recycled magazines. The instructions we used were found at Guidecentral. Additionally, we glued the final fold on the strips to make it easier for her to weave the strips. We also changed the edges as well. It was surprisingly sturdy when we finished. Although our household has been recycling for years, I think it made a big impression on the kids that it was possible to reuse “trash” to make useful things since they were the ones remaking things instead of sending it off for someone else to do.

IMG_4106

We also made little notebooks from cereal boxes using an idea from One Good Thing by Jillee. The ones that we made were not as fancy because we ran out of time to affix the button and scrapbook paper I had planned. Sparkly Princess was happy enough to pick out some stickers to decorate them and added a rubber band to keep them closed.

IMG_4108

The final piece was recycled crayons. I have been keeping broken and low-quality crayons for quite some time planning to do this type of project. We used the instructions from Princess Pinky Girl. We ended up using a metal mini-muffin pan. I was thankful that it didn’t really stink up the kitchen and that I finally got the pan clean. Most of the “new” crayons just popped out, but a few got stuck. Next time, I plan to use a silicone pan to help with that. The blended colors are gorgeous, and the kids loved them!

IMG_4107

I hope your children can enjoy making these even if it’s not Earth Day.

Great read for parents of tweens! – A Review of “More Than Just The Talk” by Jonathan McKee

9780764212949

I recently read More Than Just The Talk: Becoming Your Kids’ Go-To Person About Sex by Jonathan McKee. This is an area that I would like to get all of the information that I can. This book is very straight forward and doesn’t hold back. The first chapter, in particular, was eye-opening and a little scary to think of all the ideas about sex that are being hurled at our kids by the culture that aren’t in line with what the Bible says about sex.

The book uses Bible-based concepts to talk about this sensitive topic. It has chapters devoted to both boys and girls and also provides answers to questions that your kids may have. It also has very relatable examples that will give you new insights. The author points out that talking to your children about sex should not be done in a one-time, big talk about the birds and the bees. Rather, discussions about this topic should span their childhood and done in snippets when the opportunities present themselves. The author points out that if parents do not provide insight, information, and advice about this subject matter, someone else will (whether it be a classmate, Google, movies, etc.). The author points out that parents should be intentional about talking to our kids about God’s design for sex.

Although there were a few thing I didn’t agree with, I think it was spot on overall. Parents need to make an intentional effort to talk to our kids about God’s design for sex instead of saying nothing and letting mainstream culture do all the talking. This is a good book to help with that.

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a postive review.

Book Review: “Against the Grain” by Nancy Cain

9780385345552

As I stated before, I am interested in good-tasting gluten-free (GF) foods because of a family member who has to eat GF. Against the Grain is written by the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet. As with most GF chefs I’ve read, she was inspired to create GF recipes because a family member need to eat GF. I enjoyed reading the backstory of her company.

This cookbook was a substantial addition to my GF shelf. There are a couple of hundred recipes in this book, most of which what I consider to be “normal” food. So often in GF or healthy cookbooks, it seems that a lot of the recipes seem either unappetizing or unfamiliar. Just picking random pages left me with recipes for Classic Peanut Butter Cookies, Basic Yellow Cake, and Sourdough Soft Pretzels. A lot of the recipes also include pictures. One interesting feature of this cookbook is the inclusion of sidebars for each recipe which give the reader more information. It could be related to information about ingredients, or about the author’s experience with an recipe, history about a recipe, or other story. I enjoyed reading many of them.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that all of the ingredients are real, all-natural ingredients. In this book, you’ll find nothing calling for obscure chemicals that are often expensive and hard to find. I personally think that the all-natural approach is healthier anyway. Thank you Ms. Cain for making a great cookbook that will be used a lot thought the years in this family!

I received this book for free from BloggingforBook.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. 

Beyond the Mask

I had the opportunity to watch the premier of Beyond the Mask last night with Farmer Boy and my husband. My husband had heard about the movie on Focus on the Family’s podcast. It is a movie staged during the Revolutionary War and a tale of redemption that has moments of romance and action. The introduction of familiar historical locations and characters was fun for Farmer Boy who has been learning about such topics in school. As a parent, I loved that this action adventure was one that I could share with my son, not only as a shared interest in historical stories, but also one that had no cursing or inappropriate sexual content. Tickets are only available from the website: Beyond The Mask. There are still a number of premier events scheduled. I’d recommend you take the chance to see it and support such a fine family-friendly movie with a Christian basis!

BTM_Official_Poster