Dinner Planning for 12/4-12/10

Making up a dinner menu a week ahead of time has been hugely helpful for this working mother. Assuming that is that I stick to the menu. As i’ve been posting my weekly menu online, it’s become easier to be held accountable for what i’ve decided to make.

Generally speaking I try to go grocery shopping once a week. I also try to work with items I already have in the house, then supplement those items with sale items and coupons. Our grocery budget is $200 a month, so I have to be vigilant about price comparisons. By planning the week beforehand it’s much easier to stay on top of these things, and I generally feel less stressed. My other goal is to find ONE type of meat to eat throughout the week. For instance, next week chicken breast is going to be deeply discounted at a local store. So I pick up just enough to last us for 7 days and I only use that meat when I cook dishes that need meat.  I try and do something similar with cheese, next week Swiss will be on sale at a different store, so we will be using that for our dairy product. It’s saved us quite a bit of money. To be on the safe side though, we always have plenty of eggs, bacon and sliced ham for lunches and breakfasts. However, if somebody decides they just aren’t “in the mood” for the meat of the week they are free to use the ham, bacon or eggs for a sandwich for dinner.

So that is what works for us. I would love to do a more involved menu when I become a stay-at-home mother full time again. Until then, dinner is all we can do. I grew up in a family that never ate any meals together for any reason, so even just dinner together feels special to me!

Here is what we have planned for next week, what about you ladies?

12/4- French onion soup in bread bowls

12/5- White chicken enchiladas with corn

12/6- Chicken salad sandwiches with glazed carrots

12/7- Crock Pot Macaroni and cheese with crumbled bacon

12/8 – BBQ Chicken with roasted potatoes

12/9 – Eggs in a basket with bacon

12/10- Monte Cristo sandwiches with tomato soup

Cheers!
-Housewife at Work

Advertisements

Attempting to keep sane while keeping the house and working.

I’m certainly no Martha Stewart, but I do love a good clean house. One of the women in my small group from church always has a clean house, and there is nothing that makes me feel more at home. I love being able to look around my house and not feel any anxiety over surprise visitors or lost items. All-in-all it’s a good feeling to have a tidy home.

Now, back when I was a SAHM I was able to do a lot more in the way of daily cleaning. Of course now that i’m a working wife and mother I have to change my methods a little bit. I don’t think it’s impossible or even horribly difficult to maintain my home to the standards i’m used to. On the other hand, I certainly cannot do it alone. Some days when i’m crawling out of bed before the sun rises, or when i’m dragging myself back into the house after dark, I can get a little discouraged. I think to myself “there’s no way I can clean today”. Then I think of this verse:

“Nehemiah 6:9

They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Sometimes I have to pray that exact line; “Lord, Strengthen my hands”. I know it seems a little silly to pray over household chores, but it’s something that I honestly need help with every once in a while. So I try to abide by a few rules to keep myself motivated and to save myself from over-exerting…well….myself!

First of all, there are a few chores that need to be done every day. No matter how little the area actually needs attention, I bring attention to it ANYWAY. It makes for much less mess later on.

On that list are dishes. There are a few dish rules in my home that are pretty steadfast. First of all, we never leave dishes lying around the house. It’s far too easy to get behind on dishes when you’ve got them hidden by the couch or on the nightstand or wherever. Once we are done eating, dishes go straight to the counter by the sink that way we know what we are dealing with. Second rule is this, whoever is cooking has to wash the cooking dishes (pots, pans, casserole dishes etc) while they are cooking. Cookware dishes get so stubbornly dirty from grease and burned spots that they take twice as long to wash when they’ve been sitting out all day. So when these two rules are followed (usually they are..) I only have plates/bowls, cups and silverware from three meals left for me to do at the end of the day. This takes me about ten minutes max.

Second on the list is laundry. Now I live in an apartment complex where we don’t have washers or dryers in our apartments. So if I waited til the end of the week to do laundry I might be out of luck, because all the washers and dryers in our complex laundry room might be in use. So here’s what I do; first thing in the morning I run a load to the washer. As i’m leaving for work I throw the load in the laundry. Then when I return from work I grab the dried load and bring it upstairs to our apartment with me. I know it’s not good for laundry to sit in the dryer for 6 hours due to wrinkles, but that’s why we strive to buy cotton clothes that don’t hold wrinkles for long after they’ve been hung up. A tip I learned from Sarah Mae over at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee (link in my sidebar)….put your laundry away as soon as you get it out of the dryer. I KNOW HOW MUCH IT PAINS ME TO DO IT, but I just force myself so I don’t get the piles of clean clothes baskets to dig through. By doing this, laundry only takes me about ten minutes collectively each day.

Third on the list is bathroom. Now don’t think I actually deep clean, everything I do takes only a second or two. I keep a tiny spray bottle of bleach prepared at all times, as well as one of those toilet brushes. Each morning after I use the restroom for the first time, I spritz the inside of the toilet and run the brush along the bowl real quick. Then I check the trash and the tp before I leave the room. Literally just takes a couple of seconds.

Fourth are beds. My three year old son loves making his bed, and I don’t worry about if he has the pillows straight or the linens a little wrinkled. I’m just so blessed to have a little boy who gets excited to help. I’ve found that when they are young it’s important to encourage their cleaning habits by focusing on the fact that they are done, not that they are done perfectly. As they age you can gently correct any mistakes they’ve made to improve their skills. Again, it just takes a couple of minutes.

Last on the list is ten minute clean up. This is a pretty common idea, set the kitchen timer for ten minutes and everyone digs in to clean up their clutter. We’ve found that usually ten minutes is more than what we need anyway.

So collectively I spend about 30 to 45 minutes a day cleaning. Even while working that’s totally manageable. Of course there are weekly tasks that need to be done too, but I split those up into one-a-day chores to keep them from overwhelming me. I will post more about my cleaning schedule in another post. Until later then!

-Housewife at Work