Historical Homemaking – gentle leading & meal planning.

School, homework, vacuuming, dinner, soccer practice, piano lessons, Awana, ministry, boy scouts, bills, neighbors, devotions, baths, lawns, dirty cars, gymnastics, doctor appointments, youth group, Bible study, dentist appointments, dishes, sickness, exercise, grocery shopping, budgeting, dusting, pets, prayer, laundry, gardening, karate, clutter, toilets, closets . . . .Anybody else ready for a nap?  Just thinking about all the things that moms have to do makes me want to hang up my superwoman cape for good!  If there is anything I hear over and over from all my “mom” friends it is the simple fact that we are tired.

It is the cold, hard fact that there are simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish the things we want to do, that exhausts us so much.  I’m not about to preach to you about making good choices, keeping your priorities straight, or getting up earlier to make time for God.  (I mean, really, how many of us can physically persevere to get up every morning earlier than the hungry two-year old when we are keeping the hectic pace of our schedules?)  You’ve heard all the advice (wanted or unwanted) and besides, there are a myriad of Christian books and sermons and counselors and friends to tell you that you need to make time with God a priority and be sure you’re not over-doing it on activities.  Even though time with God is essential if you are going to survive this life with your brain intact, there is a season of your life when quiet time just isn’t going to happen every morning.  

Want to know a secret?

 God understands!  Have you ever read the verse below and noticed (or clenched onto for dear life) the last line?

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”  Isaiah 40:11

God is not blind to that fact that during this season of your life, you may need to take things a little slower.  You may need more time to get ready for church on Sunday mornings.  You may not be able to volunteer to serve at that ladies’ event this time.  You may need to turn down that invitation because you can’t (or don’t want to) get a babysitter.  You might have to postpone that mission trip for a few years.  You might turn off your phone at 8pm because your household is sleeping.  Your time with God may be at midnight sometimes because that’s when the castle is quiet.  
Read that scripture again.  

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”  Isaiah 40:11

Take some time today to meditate on this scripture and you’ll begin to feel God putting his arms around you and telling you, “It’s okay Mommy lamb.  Loving your babies is all I expect from you right now.  I love them even more than you do and I have a plan for their lives.  Part of my plan was to give them you as a Mommy and my plans are always perfect, aren’t they?“   
Can you picture the Shepherd tending his flock within the safety of a picket-fenced sheepfold? The sun is setting and it’s time to move on as most of the shepherd begins to lead the folk through the gate.  The fold is emptying quickly when the Shepherd notices the young ewe with the new twins struggling to rise.  She is still a little weak from giving birth and her babies are too young to keep up with the rest of the flock.  The Shepherd smiles as He watches the lambs awkwardly bounce around their mama.  The ewe has a look of desperation as the Shepherd approaches. As He helps mama stand up, He lifts each baby and carries each one under his arms.  He walks slowly alongside his beloved mama lamb as her face lifts and they rejoice and awe over the babies and catch up to the rest of the flock.

Do you ever feel like the exhausted and desperate ewe? We all have at times.
Can you feel the love and understanding that God has for you?  There is no condemnation in his heart towards you.  Allow Him to gently lead you each morning and throughout your day.  And when life is too much and you’re completely drained of energy, look up to Him and let Him carry your little lambs for you and take the time to enjoy a walk alongside Him.
When we seek only the Shepherd’s design for our schedules and aren’t tempted to reach for our superwoman capes, that is when true intimacy with Christ is born. You’re not alone. You weren’t meant to . . . and, simply dear, you can’t survive.

Lean on the one true Shepherd. Find peace.
What’s for dinner?
Taking on this dreaded question without prior planning can not only make us exhausted and frustrated, but it also busts our budgets.  I understand being busy, and planning ahead may be more work, but I’ve learned that developing a simple method of meal planning ahead of time saves a lot of time, money, and energy during the week.  Here are some tips on how to plan meals, while saving you time, money, and the frustration of dinner-seeking zombies.
Tip #1: take weekly inventory.
Make a concerted effort sometime during every weekend to take a quick inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry.  Jot down which meats and veggies you have on hand, taking note of anything else that could be used for a side dish.  Then plan 5-6 meals for the week, adding ingredients you don’t have to a grocery list.  Plan to use perishables or food about to go bad as soon as possible.
Tip #2: use your resources.
I absolutely love the ingredient search at allrecipes.com.  If your creativity is waning for a particular item, all you have to do is enter in the things you have and you’ll get a list of recipes that include those items. All Recipes also offers the option to create a grocery list from the chosen recipes.
The Grocery IQ app is great for making and saving your grocery lists. The app can track your spending if you want it to. Once you use it for a few months, you can guesstimate your total fairly easily before you even go to the store! Visit the link here for iPhone or Android devices: http://www.groceryiq.com Oh, and it’s free! (who doesn’t like free?)
Taste of home is a favorite source of mine for recipes as well!
Tip #3: make too much.
Always make more in a recipe than the family can eat. Leftovers are a life-saver on those busy days when gourmet lunches just aren’t an option! You’ll find that if you stick to a consistent plan, you’ll get to take a day off and knight it “Leftover day” because of all the extras you’ll have.
Tip #4: think ahead.
For example: Sometimes you can find big pork roasts on sale for $.99 a pound but it’s too much for one meal.  That’s okay, buy it anyway.  On Monday, put it in the crock pot for several hours until it shreds (don’t add any water or seasoning).  One night, make BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw.  Another night, serve kahlua pork on wilted cabbage with steamed rice, pineapple & veggie skewers and teriyaki sauce (for a true Hawaiian mixed plate, include macaroni salad).  And yet another night, serve carnitas tacos by adding all the trimmings, soft corn tortillas, rice and beans.  Three great meals – minimal preparation, energy, time, thinking and money.
Also a helpful tip: It’s worth it to take a day once a week (or after each shopping trip) and chop up all your veggies and put them in containers or baggies. That way if some one wants a salad, or tacos, or a sandwich for lunch, they have fresh veggies and fruit at their fingertips. It’s a great way to satisfy that “I’m bored, so I eat” syndrome with a healthy alternative.
Tip #5: be flexible.
Don’t tie meals to specific days because life changes too quickly and your meal plan needs to be flexible.  And don’t worry about your list being fancy.  Just hang it on the fridge and each morning, take a look and see which meal will best work for that day.  Make sure you include some crock pot meals for those days when you’re gone all day.

If you’re stuck, just grab a piece of meat out of the freezer in the morning. By the afternoon, you’ll most likely come up with something to do with it by dinnertime.

Tip #6: set a budget.

(From Lilah) My hubby and I shop once a week and spend $50. That’s $200 a month, $50 a week, with occasional trips to Costco for $50-$100 extra. We spend about $20 a week on produce and $30 on everything else. Whatever your income bracket may be, set up a budget that is determined before you go shopping, and stick to it as closely as possible. While sometimes it’s a challenge, and definitely takes some adjusting in the beginning, I can say from experience that it’s saved a lot of hassle and worry over money and an under-stocked refrigerator.

No matter what your weekly planning looks like, remember to allow your Heavenly Father to gently lead you, even through those mac & cheese and cereal dinners.
Grandma Kiki

In what ways do you ‘hang your supermom cape up’ so you can depend on the Lord? Do you have tips for meal planning that you’d like to share? Leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.

Kim’s interest in Historical Homemaking began with Civil War
Reenacting and led to selling her sundries at Farmers Markets across the Big Horn Basin. Her cookies are a local favorite and she enjoys sharing stories with her customers and giving free samples. She loves to write. Her favorite pastime is spending afternoons with her family and grand babies. Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/historicalhomemaking and drop us a message to let us know how you found us!

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