Mom’s Minute Monthly- eMeals

In case you missed our last MMM, we shared some great ideas as we get back into a routine now that summer has ended. One of those tips was eMeals.

eMeals is a site designed specifically for busy moms (not really, but it is super helpful!).  You can select the plan that you like (for instance, classic, kid-friendly, gluten-free, diabetic, paleo, etc) and your family size. Each Wednesday a new menu plan is emailed to you and includes recipes and a shopping list specifically for your plan. It’s wonderful! If you have a smartphone, you can download the eMeals app and it will allow you to add items to your shopping list, cross off items you already have, and if you have the classic menu plan, it will even calculate your total grocery cost for the week. It has been a huge blessing in the two weeks that I’ve used it!

I signed up for the classic plan with a family size of 3-6 (the most it would allow me to do). I then selected Publix as my grocery store. For my family of 9, I’ve been spending about $80 each week on groceries since starting the program. What I like most about eMeals is that I can preview the recipes prior to shopping so I can adjust the amount of meat I need to purchase. Plus, every meal I have prepared has been so delicious- even my kids love them! I also really like that most of the meals include fresh produce, and I am broadening my cooking skills as I prepare different recipes and dishes.

So, have I sold you on eMeals?! If so, right now if you sign up you can save 20% off a yearly subscription. The dinner-only plan is regularly $58, but when you enter code SCHOOL, you will pay only $46.40. That’s less than $4 per month for stress-free meal planning!

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Lean Hard

Quote

“Child of My love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child, I shaped it;
Poised it in My own hand, made no proportion in its weight to thine unaided strength;
For even as I laid it on, I said
I shall be near, and while he leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not his;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms of My own love.
Here lay it down, nor fear to impose it on a shoulder which upholds the government of worlds.
Yet closer come; thou art not near enough;
I would embrace thy care so I might feel My child reposing on My breast.
Thou lovest Me? I know it. Doubt not then;
But, loving Me, Lean Hard.”

~May Prentiss Smith

I have been battling my thoughts for a few weeks and this past Wednesday, I shared with a friend about this struggle. She encouraged me to take my burden to the Lord, to really draw close to Him. She referenced a poem someone had shared with her during a particularly trying time in her life, and yesterday she emailed it to me. I love it. I love it so much I just had to share it.

If you, like me, are struggling with something (thoughts, circumstances, or some other trial), I pray this will be an encouragement to you.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  ~Matthew 11:29

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. ~Psalm 55:22

Overcoming Anxiety: or “How to stop feeling like you’re drowning in responsibility!”- Part 4

In this series, I will share my own struggle with constantly feeling overwhelmed and the steps I took to significantly reduce it.  This is a topic I think most moms can identify with, especially moms with young children.

frazzled-mom

So far, I have covered setting goals, implementing a schedule, and, meal planning. Regardless of the area in which you struggle, the key is to think about your thinking. Philippians 4:8 says,

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy
meditate on these things.

None of my suggestions are going to completely help if you are still thinking the wrong thing. When you get your thoughts in check, act upon correct thoughts (or simply “do the right thing”), your feelings will follow. Trust me.

Managing your Home (McDonald’s Style)

Don’t get me wrong, my kids have been doing chores for years, but I often struggled in this area.  I had a difficult time enforcing chores on a regular basis because of guilt.  As a child, I had chores to do.  My mother worked and I was required to help around the house.  As I got older and the responsibility increased, I (selfishly) became angry at having to do so much.  Now, as a mom, I struggled with my own children because I didn’t want them to become resentful towards me for having to help out around the house.  It was a constant inner battle that often resulted in me trying to do everything that needed to be done…and accomplishing nothing!

One of my jobs as a wife is to be the manager of my home.  However, I didn’t know what that looked like.  It took me several years to really have a clear understanding.  I did not grow up in a house that modeled a father as the head of the home and a mother who was the manager; my mom was both!  As the manager that means meal planning, housework, laundry, child-rearing, and schooling (or homework for my children in public school) all fall on my shoulders.  It can be daunting at times, especially without help in the form of chores.  I began to pray about ways I could improve in this area, and literally one afternoon my understanding of chores (regarding why to implement them) became so clear.

My husband used to work as an assistant-manager at McDonald’s.  He is now a manager of the IT department at a local university.  He often shares some of his stories from his McDonald’s days with me (usually to make me laugh) and things he used to have to do.  I began to think about that one afternoon, and I pictured 2 scenarios in my mind.

In the first, the manager was scrambling around, trying to take customer’s orders, fill orders, run the drive-thru, and assist an employee with a problem.  The other employees were just standing around, watching him (or her) do this.  It was a chaotic scene and the atmosphere was tense, to say the least.  In the second scenario, I pictured the employees each performing their assigned duties, one taking orders, one on the drive-thru, the other cleaning tables and emptying garbage, while the manager was overseeing the employees and assisting when needed.  It was clearly a much smoother operation and had a calming atmosphere.  That’s when it hit me- my house is like that McDonald’s.  I am the manager. It’s not my job to do everything; it’s my kids’ jobs to each do their part with my help/assistance, in order for our house to function in a calm, smooth way.  And that brings us to this….

Delegate duties to kids

o   Older siblings help the younger ones
This is so important as it trains your older children to be mindful of the needs of others, as well as trains your younger children to not always come to you for everything. It also frees up much of the time spent on the “little” things.

  •   Pour drinks, get snacks, tie shoes, zip coats, etc

o   Daily room chores.
These chores never change and are the same for each child. This is for an “allowance.” I pay 25¢ for each chore, up to $1 per week day or $5 per week. Rooms are to be done before school. I check the rooms sometime during the school day and mark the child’s chart accordingly.

  •   Examples include make beds, pick up clothes, straighten up closet, etc

o   Daily house chores
This schedule rotates weekly and are not paid. These are the chores that are key to the smooth functioning of the household. All children help to the best of their ability.

  •   Examples include dishes, laundry, vacuuming, caring for pets, setting the table, etc.

o   Weekly house chores
These are age-appropriate chores that do not change and are not paid. Again, all children help but the assigned chore is based on age. My 2-year-old will wipe the glass on doors and windows, help with dusting furniture, and clean up toys.

  •   Examples include cleaning bathrooms, dusting living spaces, mopping, etc

Simplify your life

o   Say “No” to things/commitments that are not necessary

  • Overscheduling yourself and your kids has a major effect on the overall mood of your house. If you are constantly hustling and bustling to get from one activity to the next, you are bound to be frazzled, anxious, and overwhelmed.
  •   Keep in mind, things can be “good”, but not necessary (i.e. participating in Bible study, PTO)

o   Take one day off each week for rest/relaxation
For me, this is Sunday afternoon. Some Sundays are harder for me to rest than others, especially if we’ve had a busy weekend and I am behind in housework. But, taking a break for a couple hours each week helps me to re-energize and focus on the week ahead.

  •   No laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, just simply rest!

Mom’s Scripture Minute

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.    Psalm 139:13-14

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.    Matthew 10:29-31

Thought for today:
The Creator of it all knows us: our thoughts and fears, our hopes and dreams, our strengths and weaknesses.  When you pull the loose strand of hair off your shirt, God knows exactly how many remain on your head.  God knows us, and we are valuable to Him.

Mom’s Scripture Minute

These verses are special to me. After I had my second miscarriage, which also happened to be a twin, I seriously doubted God’s goodness and love toward me. God used these verses, and many others, to prove to me otherwise.

For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.     Psalm 100:5

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.  I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are right, And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
Psalm 119:71, 75

This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.     Lamentations 3:21-23

Thought for today: God is good and He is faithful to His people. Even (especially!) in the difficult times. God is compassionate by giving us new mercy EVERY day. We are not consumed (overtaken) by our situation or circumstances because of God’s mercy on us.