Monday, February 20, 2017

Keepers at Home & Menu Monday: Well Planned Day and Alot of Soup!

This past week was a tough one in the world of Domestic Engineering in my household.  Sickness hanging around kept me without energy until Friday... it slowed the rest of the household down as well.

Being down and under sparked a renewed appreciation for keeping a schedule.  Kids not feeling good as well, school days ending earlier than expected, gaps of un-planned time and a million things to do and not knowing where to start (or what I felt up to)... it actually left me irritable by week's end.

That's the funny thing about refinements and awakenings though... we can either give-in to the difficultness and go crazy, OR, we can allow God to show us something... and then walk in it. Sickness is an inevitable part of a fallen world.  Two weeks of it is an eye-opening, appreciative opportunity in my book!  This one reminded me how keeping a concise planner is vitally important for making good use of time... even fragmented time... when running a household.

Planning days may seem like a self-centered mama thing.  However, it is very much a God thing.  Proverbs is replete with examples of hard work, planning, and its rewards.  Among my favorites:

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. 
-Proverbs 21:5

Any good manager knows a good plan is a fundamental part of success.  All of this prompted a revision of my current day-planner pages (I create my own with a binder... details in next week's Menu Monday):
This is the blogging version
This is the NON-blogging version
 Then I went to task this weekend filling the new page out for the week ahead...
This week I am going to be trying a switch to a clipboard since it will be more portable with the piles of school books we tend to accumulate throughout the day as we learn (and I grade)!
I keep my weekly chore checklist clipped under this page so everything is in one spot.  (I talk about the weekly chores and offer a printable worksheet in last week's Menu Monday post.)

Why is keeping a to-do list/planner so important?
  • People with a plan accomplish more.
  • Without a plan or a reminder of the things needing to be done, you are more likely to forget or put those things off
  • Without a plan a person is more likely to feel un-accomplished (like nothing is getting done... even if a ton is getting done)
  • People with a plan often actually have more free time and are able to relax in it (because they know things have been taken care of!)
  • Planning saves money.  Whether it is that bill you forget to write down on your planer to pay and now you have a late fee or being prepared for meals and events without last minute high-cost substitutes... there are many hidden costs in being unplanned and therefore unprepared.
  • A well-planned day = a happier marriage. Hubby (whether he openly admits it or not) will feel blessed to come home to a house that is taken care of and a wife who is not totally frazzled because of all the last minute things she forgot about and is working late on for lack of planning
  • A well-planned day = a happier family.  A mama well-planned at the helm = a family that knows what is expected of them.  I'm not saying they will always do it with the best attitude but I have generally observed better attitudes when they know what is coming down the pipe.
Doesn't that make you want to start planning now?  Whether you use my planner sheets or go out and buy a nifty planner that fits you... just start planning!  You will be grateful you did!  Just remember:

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. 
- Proverbs 16:3

Life this week...

We enjoyed warm, spring-like weather melting off almost all our snow this past week.  However, the mercury is suppose to drop back down mid-week and there is talk of more snow.  (After all, it is, technically, still winter!)  Hence, a stew on the menu!  Pay-day and grocery shopping this week as well which means grocery list and menu prep along with budget planning.  A task my oldest daughter has expressed interest in learning and shadowing me on.

I'm most excited this week to start a new work-out routine with my youngest.  She is wanting to get more in shape and (best part) she was hoping for a her and mom activity!  I desperately need the heart rate boost and shape up thingy too.  I'm excited.

Hopefully I can get some more garden planning done as well.  It will be time to start seedlings before you know it!

Food from last week...

Hubby had a potluck at work on Monday to celebrate a Vegan Co-worker's birthday.  I found this awesome recipe for Chocolate Wacky Cake on Pinterest and garnished with strawberries.
It was a BIG hit!

It also inspired the dessert for Valentine's Day using the left-over frosting and a different recipe for single-layer chocolate cake I also found on Pinterest (and then lost track of the pin, sorry).

It was a big hit too!  I have a heart-shaped baking pan and Ashley frosted it for me.  I need to teach her how to use a scraper to avoid frosting on your serving plate!  For the center heart I gently set a heart cookie cutter on the cake and sprinkled in red sugar sprinkles then carefully lifted the cookie cutter. 

When Brenden came down with the family bug on Thursday, soup was the order for the day... again! I felt blessed the little grocery store in our neighborhood put chicken breast on sale for 99 cents a pound!!  I didn't have any rice ready-made (it takes an hour to cook and my sickies were hungry immediately!) so I improvised with Ramen noodles broke up into approximately 1" pieces.  They loved it!

Anther sort of 'get well soup' I tried this week for dinner was my own take on taco soup with extra garlic and onion to kick the sick out!
Everyone went back for seconds!

Waking up Friday finally having my energy back I decided something delicious and loaded with vitamin C might help Brenden kick his bug quicker.  It felt good to have the energy to be in the kitchen! I tried these lemon muffins, loaded with lemon juice!  I made a double batch, the batter was beautiful! 

Also, I snapped this picture this week:

My throat was still really sore at the beginning of the week and I wanted warm mushy stuff inside of me so I made oatmeal.  No one ever eats the banana packets in the Fruit Assortment boxes of instant oatmeal I buy.  I hate seeing them go to waste so a while back I figured out a Banana Bread Oatmeal knock-off by mixing:

1 packet banana oatmeal
1 packet maple brown sugar oatmeal
1-2 Tbsp nuts sprinkled on top  (walnuts are best but I only had almonds)

Prepare oatmeal according to package directions and enjoy!

Menu for this week...

- cereal/oatmeal
- eggs
- fresh bread with butter and jam

hubby: sausage and rice
me and kids: leftovers, grilled sandwiches, grilled tuna sandwiches, mac-n-cheese


Creamy Meatballs, Mash Potato, Green Beans


Roast Chicken Breast, Cauliflower and Cheese, Corn

Spaghetti and Cheesy Bread Sticks
(You aren't seeing double, I had this on the list last week but it didn't get made so I am shooting for it again this week!)

Chicken Stew

(This isn't a double either, we didn't get to have it last week but Friday is pay-day and hubby has been begging for it so we will take the pizza plunge!)

Chicken and Cheese Chimichangas and Salad

What are you doing and cooking this week?



  1. I am your newest follower... I found you after you commented on my post Baby Birds and Baby Humans at It was so nice to hear from you and to "meet" you. I look forward to reading your blog. Thank you. Gentle Joy :)

    1. Thank you for following and saying "hi"! I pray God speaks to your heart here!

  2. Hi Amanda! Thanks for reminding and encouraging me to sit down with my planner once again. I always intend to plan ahead in hopes that I will spend my time and money more intentionally, but I often lack the discipline to do so. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and tips! I'm glad that you're finally feeling better and getting back to your own plans!

    1. I'm blessed to know this post could encourage you today. My weeks never seem to go quite as effectively when I don't sit down and plan ahead... even if I don't get to everything on the planner sheet, I have more direction and strategy and I feel more productive by week's end! I pray you find your motivation to keep your weeks well planned!

  3. I looked at your blog today for the first time. I thought it was a nice picture of a busy, homeschool family. I also loved seeing the cake with the heart on it, because my daughter made one almost exactly like it this week! We rarely use the heart-shaped pan, which is handed down from my mother, but usually do around Valentine's Day. Last year, and this, we made the heart in the center with colored sugar as you did, only we used a cut-out of waxed paper to make the shape.

    1. Thank you for visiting, Becky :-) I love my heart baking pan but, yes, it is sort of a rare use. I have made birthday cakes for my girls with it as well and one year it even acted as a rabbit face for a cake as well as a clover! May God bless your homemaking with you and your daughter!