Here’s part of one reader’s comment after reading one of my menu plans:
I don’t menu plan, because it seems to actually impair my ability to cook. :) Whenever I have done it over the course of our 10 years of marriage I have actually cooked less and become a big disgruntled, grumpy wife. I get discouraged that this is something that helps so many, so I wonder what is wrong with me. but–then my hubby just comes in and says, ‘just don’t make a list’. Brilliant man, that husband of mine!
You know I can’t live without my menu plan. (Well, I can live…we just don’t eat very well without my menu plan.) And the above commenter doesn’t feed her family as well with a menu plan. I’m so glad she was honest in her comment.
Guess what? Not everything that works for one person will work for everyone else. And WE DON’T NEED TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.
God made us all different. On purpose. He is very wise like that.
I LOVE this blogging world we are all a part of and I think it’s such a wonderful way to help each other and encourage each other and share the things we know with each other. But you all are a lot better than I am at all kinds of things. If I let myself, I could become discouraged about all the things I read about that you’re doing that I’m not doing.
- I haven’t made scrapbooks for my kids. I’ve barely written in their baby books.
- Spelling is not my strong soot. Suite. Suit. Whatever. Spelling duzn’t come naturally to me. I use spell check a lot and even then I stil mes up.
- I am very directionally challenged. I will never know where “west” is, so don’t ask me to point to it.
- I can’t get my bathrooms to smell good for longer than five minutes. (It’s a boy thing.)
- I am terrible about hanging my clothes up at the end of the day.
- I haven’t pulled out my sewing machine to make anything (or repair anything) for months. Who am I kidding? Years.
- There are crumbs surrounding my computer.
- I hate reading directions and fine print.
- I seem to have some sort of phobia about learning a foreign language and have never made it past Pig Latin.
- Driving a stick shift vehicle makes me break out in hives. Simply typing the words “stick shift vehicle” makes me break out in hives. And I also hate driving in big cities. In any vehicle.
I could keep going with that list, but you need to get on with your day.
My point is this: If menu planning…or anything else someone encourages you to do doesn’t work for you…that’s okay. :)
I think it’s great to learn from each other. But if you finish reading a blog post or visiting with someone and are left thinking, “Oh dear…I am so much less of a woman because I failed to alphabetize and color code the dry beans in my pantry…but when am I supposed to find time for that because I really need to sit down with my two year old and teach him to fluently write and speak German by 2:00 this afternoon…” then maybe you should give yourself a little break.
Ask yourself the following questions that apply to you…
- Am I being lazy or am I being a hard worker?
- Am I doing what God wants me to be doing?
- Am I doing what my husband wants me to be doing?
- Am I taking care of my children the way I should be taking care of them?
Use your God given gifts and let other people use theirs. Take care of your family the way you feel God is calling you to take care of your family. Read and learn and be challenged by what people write and share…but only do what works for you and what you feel God wants for you. God calls you to be you…and that’s it!
Care to share? I’d love to hear something you’re really good at…and something you’d rather leave to someone else!! Like maybe I could come plan your menu for you and you could drive me around in big cities?
I like that trade idea, even if it was half joke! Does anybody live in Bozeman Montana and know how to tailor clothing? I absolutely LOATHE sewing but hiring a tailor can get super pricey. I love gardening and have a huge garden (for only my husband and I) that I’d be happy to trade produce from if anybody was interested… Or if someone’s interested in a generic trade situation, tell me what might be of use to you and maybe I have that skill somewhere too. :-)
Danielle B says
My husband and I are planning a move to the Bozeman area in April 2012,
all the way from the Shenandoah Valley here in Virginia.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I decided to take a minute to
puruse the Heavenly Homemakers website right now, and your comment was the
first one….mentioning Bozeman! ;-D I would really love to just ask
you a few questions about Bozeman if you wouldn’t mind??!! My email is
[email protected]. Thanks!
Hey, just wanted to make sure– I emailed you a couple days ago,
and haven’t heard back, so thought I’d check to make sure it went
through all right. If it did, and you’re just super busy– well,
BOY do I understand. :-)
Jenna J says
What a fantastic post. This is something I STRUGGLE with each day. I try to remind myself that my children are happy even though I do not craft everyday, sew ANYTHING, or write in their baby books. What I do is feed them hutritionally sound meals (almost always) each day, love them unconditionally, and raise them up in the church as best I can. I leave the rest to our Father in Heaven to guide me in what is most important! Thank you for encouraging and inspiring!
I just found your blog last week and I tried the menu plan. It worked so well for us. Thank you!
We were not tempted to go out to eat b/c I had failed to plan or did not have the correct ingrediants. I also did not have to drive to the store for last minute food items, thus costing us more b/c of gas prices.
But, what works for some does not work for all.
Thank you for sharing!
I never feel like I am doing enough or that I am doing exactly what God wants. I think I am just extremely hard on myself after all my family is healthy and my house is clean.
Too funny that you list of things you don’t do I don’t do them either! Especially the stick shift and the baby books.
This is something I also struggle with. I have a really difficult time having faith in my salvation. I am saved-Christ paid the price. Yet every day I wonder how God could love a person as could possibly love someone like me. I am NEVER doing enough. But that is the beauty of our salvation, isn’t it. That we don’t deserve it.
Wow. I got side-tracked there and did a little double-speak. I am literate, really.
I also feel like that. It just is so hard to understand sometimes whyGod loves ME of all people. But then I remember why and I am thankful!
Love your list – no surprise, we have a lot in common! :-) Now, my first car was a stick shift, so I can’t relate there… and big cities don’t bother me (thank goodness, since I live in one), but I’m so with you on the directionally challenged, bathroom smelliness, and not hanging clothes up thing. (Oh, and crumbs around my computer too).
Thank you for this. It made me feel much better. The 4 questions you posted at the end of your posted really made me think about what I am doing with my time. You are amazing, inspiring, and I appreciate your blog every day! :)
As long as you are in abiding in the Vine- submitted to the will of the Father- and responding to the call He has placed on your life… you are doing all you need to “do”. We all know that guilt has no place in a believers life. The diversity in the Body of Christ is a beautiful thing- and I will gladly drive the stickshift while you make menu plans for me, k? ;0)
i dont do menus either i stand and look in the cabinits then figure out what were having i so weekley and took drivers ed in winter in omaha ne so can drive in biges citys
I’m great at navigating big cities–so as long as we are in an automatic I’d drive any day! I really appreciate this post. I work full time while my husband is in school and struggle to cook, clean, and manage our house. Crafts are completely out of the question :) So many of my friends are crafty, and I times I wish that I was too! But, I need to be content with the gifts God has blessed me with!
what a fantastic post Laura! thank you for always being so uplifting and encouraging. i love that God gave you a sense of humor, even if it is not my strong suit =)
Great post – thanks for the great reminder and encouraging words. We are indeed all different – and God made us that way! Sometimes it’s hard to remember that…
This was/is so encouraging…and reminder that we don’t have to try to do everything in every blog.
thanks for sharing your “areas that aren’t shiney”
at picking up clutter
starting dinner early
I suck at…
actually cleaning the bathroom, I wipe down stuff when it starts to LOOK dirty
keeping the kids on a schedule besides meals and naps.
I haven’t made scrapbooks for my kids. I’ve barely written in their baby books.
I am very directionally challenged. I will never know where “west” is, so don’t ask me to point to it.
I am terrible about hanging my clothes up at the end of the day.
I haven’t pulled out my sewing machine to make anything (or repair anything) for months. Who am I kidding? Years.
There are crumbs surrounding my computer.
I also hate driving in big cities. In any vehicle.
LOL! Thats me you were talking about! I am worse than you in that I do want menu planning. I sometimes plan and sometimes don’t. Other times I do not stick to the plan. I am inspired by you to keep on trying. Thank you for being you!
The last 4 questions you asked are what I’ve been focusing on lately. It doesn’t matter if I measure up to other bloggers, friends or ever super charger you. lol It matters only what God and my family think. I also have to remind myself to let go and let God. I like to be in control more, and I don’t have an automatic willing heart to WANT to do housework/cooking, etc… I’m working on that. Or rather, God is working on that in me.
Such a great post! I won’t share the long list of things I struggle with, but I would like to share how I menu plan. I create a menu each week but mostly to ensure that we have everything we need to eat for the next week. Then when I start to think about what to cook I have list to choose from that I know we have all the ingredients to fix. Sticking to a day to day menu plan didn’t work for us at all.
AMEN on the whole keeping the bathroom smelling good thing! I have 3 boys, and it is my daily frustration! So glad to know I’m not the only one!!
Joanna S. says
Will trade my gardening/crafting/homeschooling skills with anyone who wants to clean my house! :)
I second that motion!!!
I’m so glad you shared this! I think we all have a tendancy to compare ourselves to one another and that is NOT good! It’s wonderful to be able to glean ideas and encouragement from others, but it we start to feel like we can’t do ANYTHING or at least not as well as so and so then we need to reevalute things.
Becky C says
I SO know what you mean about boys and bathrooms!!! Three little boys. I will someday be rich and famous and hire a maid to clean bathrooms for me :P (Even if I have to wait until heaven to be rich and famous!).
As for menu plans, I can’t do it for more than two weeks and can’t plan breakfast and lunch. Only Dinner. And I don’t plan it for specific days, just write out 14 different dinner ideas so I know what to shop for when I go shopping. It gets made on the day it gets made, and not before. But then I don’t have to go back out to the store between paydays.
What I’m good at is sewing. I’ll do your mending if you plan my menu!! :)
Esther L says
Thank you for this! I often find myself thinking that if I’m not doing X,Y,Z because I read it one someone’s blog, then I’m not doing enough. However, when will enough ever be good enough?There’s always something new to learn/cook/teach etc. At some point, I need to remind myself it doesn’t matter what someone in blog land is doing because it isn’t necessarily relevant to my own situation. As long as I know my own priorities and stick to them, that’s good enough for me. Now I just have to remember this and not get caught up in the rat race. :)
Amanda K says
I like your list of questions we should ask ourselves. Before we give up on anything we should ask ourselves if we have actually honored God by working hard and trying our best at it. I’ve heard a lot of women say that something is “just not for them” when in reality when we dig a little deeper we realize the root problem is just an issue of laziness and not actually trying very hard. But with menu planning, you have to ask yourself if it’s necessary? I actually really loathe menu planning, but have found that it is one of the best ways for our family to save money. We only buy what we need, and we aren’t wasteful this way. And I can honor God and my husband by continuing to work hard at it. To those who are more blessed financially I say, kick that menu plan out the door and get creative!!!! :D I dream of being so blessed to be able to just go to the grocery store on a whim and pick out whatever sounds wonderful and whip up a culinary masterpiece! Hehe, but the Lord is not allowing for this right now and He may never. So I will thank Him for showing me how useful it is to have a menu plan, and aim to honor him by continuing to work at it each month.
There is such freedom in what you wrote!! Thanks Laura!
I love math! I love budgeting!! I like to work on my budget almost every month, because I love puzzles/math/numbers. Hence, my kids ALWAYS get their math done.
I hate wriiting!! My poor children….but thank goodness for writing dvd’s :) Reading….I love reading your blog, but I can’t tell you the last time I read an entire book (other than the read alouds from SL)
So, I’ll teach math to ANYONE, if you’d pppplllleeeaaasssee teach writing to my boys!
We have a lot of home cooked meals, but sure could use someone to come sweep my floors. Love to cook, don’t love to clean!
I don’t menu plan either. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I have started trying to figure out what we’re eating the night before, so I can thaw whatever needs it. I usually just buy what’s on sale and then make meals from what I have on hand.
In order to make sure I am doing the 4 things you list, I know I could spend less time on the computer. I love reading blogs, but sometimes I need to do less of it. Perhaps that can be a post sometime- how to not waste time on the computer?
Thanks for this post! It is so nice to remember we don’t have to be good at everything. I have adopted a menu list, in which I pick out ten to twelve dinners for two weeks and make them when I feel like it. Then, I have the food on hand I need to make dinner, but I can choose what I feel like making every day.
Also, I like to play around with the sound equipment at my church. Which is a blessing to all the women who are not technically minded enough (or simply don’t like buttons!) and also to the men who really don’t want to go to the women’s retreat. :-)
Gina Faber says
That was just lovely.
One of the best, and most nurturing posts I’ve seen, and that’s saying something for this blog.
You rock, Laura.
I adore cooking, gardening, scrapbooking, crocheting, and organizing…
I cannot stand doing dishes, cleaning, or being stuck inside for long periods of time.
Thank you for this post. It’s nice knowing we don’t all have to be perfect in anyones eyes. God & our husbands (& children!)love us enough already.
It sounds like you love to be creative! That’s awesome. I try to remember when I am doing the the mundane things that I am blessing my family and blessing myself too to live in a clean home. I dislike chaos and so it really helps if I at least have the basics covered and I do projects as I can due to my health. I try to make things fun when I can – listening to music, buying inexpensive cleaning aids. The little things really do help to make it more enjoyable.
Nice post and great timing!
I can’t menu plan or spell or much else for that matter!
I happen to be rather good at teaching kids to read or math though…
Kathy W. says
Thanks for the encouraging post! You are so right about doing what God and our families need us to do. I find worrying about my “failings” really comes from what I think other women want me to do! (keeping up with neighbors or in-laws).
Today will be a better day for me thanks to your blog!
Lindy Boss says
Thanks so much for this post! I fall into this trap often of comparing myself to others and feeling like I fall short of being a good Mom. My list would definitely include not sewing (and feeling guilty about it) and not being able to drive a stick shift. Thanks for your encouragement! :)
I know my directions! As long as it’s not noon or night. :)
Wonderful post! Everyone has their own way of organizing(or not) and functioning. We can all stand to learn and improve, but someone else’s way may not work for me.
I love the thing about the bathroom and boys! My son is only 5 and I know exactly what you are saying! I’m also glad to know that someone else has never done a scrapbook and isn’t good about writing in baby books!
I so understand about the “boy thing.” We have a rule in my house that my son has to pay me 25 cents everytime there is a wet toilet seat. I always know it’s my son, because my husband always leaves the seat in the UP position.
I LOVE to drive a stick, and I am an excellent speller.
As far as menus go, I find that if I have a general idea of what I’m going to prepare then I can juggle them if I need to, but at least I know what’s for dinner that week, if not necessarily tomorrow night.
Yes, thank God that he made us all different. Wouldn’t it be boring otherwise??
Funny how I was just thinking about this this morning(again). Thanks for the encouragement to stop second guessing myself and being alright with who I am. I am guilty of being too hard on myself many times and it is always a relief when I cut myself a break. I am using a list each week for meals and it is helping, but I’m flexible with it. I’m pretty good at spelling, but not math(just the basics please). My kids are wonderful human beings and I have always loved being a wife, Mom and Nana. I can sew a little and I am thinking about a small garden this year. Oh yes, I am a real estate agent as well. I love to stay fit and healthy and am moving more and more towards foods in their natural state, organics and less processed. Still have lots I want to learn about and try but just trying to do the things that lean towards who I really am.
Laura--The Balanced Housewife says
Menu planning saved me thanks to you! After I got my first stable job, cooking was so hard for me because I was too tired to think of anything to eat. Needless to say, we ate out more as a result. Then I came across your blog (and other homemaking blogs) and learned about menu planning! I started doing it, and it helped A LOT!!!
Then I got laid off, but I still try to plan out a week’s worth of dinners because I know my week goes a lot better if I do. And it doesn’t matter if I don’t make the meal I planned; I’ll still get SOMETHING on the table and then we don’t have to go out.
Sara B says
Such a FANTASTIC post Laura! I love how Biblically centered you are, and how you include your readers so much in your blogs. Thanks so much for the encouragement.
GREAT post!! I LOVE driving a stick shift! I can even do it without using the clutch!
I am doing a Beth Moore Bible study called So Long Insecurity and which reminds me that it’s okay to be me…anti-craftiness and all!
I’m not really into menu planning either. It’s funny because as a child my mom would menu plan and we would go grocery shopping based on that. What I do is have a variety of meats and produce at all times along with basics. In the morning I decide what meat we’re having and then I just wing it, it usually comes out OK though and we don’t have a lot of repeats so it works for us. When I go shopping I focus on what’s on sale for the week. Occasionally, I’ll have a specific meal in mind so I’ll buy what I need for that.
Oh, and your list at the end got me thinking too, thanks! Like another poster said I think the computer drains too much time sometimes, that and the tv!
I love the post. Every once in a while we all need to remember to take a step back and accept who we are warts and all. I have (very slowly) learned that i can’t do or be everything so I just need to be me.
Personally I hate to clean but I have a hubby who is great at it. :) And for some reason getting gas is something i avoid like the plague. I try (and succeed) to get my hubby to help on that. But I am a great cook and mom. :)
Thank you very much. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the awesome things people are doing in the blogs I read, and then compare it with my life. Thanks for attempting to put these things in perspective and for those last few questions.
Thank you for your post, Laura! I often have to remind myself that the only person that expects perfectionism out of me is…ME! I do plan my meals for each week, and it is a huge burden off my shoulders to know what I am serving each night. That is one thing I feel really organized about! Then there is the rest of life.. I’ve always known that discouragement comes from the devil. Sometimes I find myself buying into the whole “perfect mom” syndrome. That’s where my girlfriends at church come in, to remind me that none of us are perfect! I enjoy your blog so much!
P.S. I also get hives when thinking of driving a stick shift. My boyfriend tried to teach me to drive a stick shif twhen we were dating. It was a DISASTER..but he married me anyway:) We still laugh about it to this day.
This Laura is also directionally challenged and I have never learned to drive a stick shift and at age 33, never will. And even the thought of sewing makes me break out into hives. And I took home ec and had to sew for 4 years. Just never got the hang of it.
I do cook almost all our meals and menu plan and am very crafty but there are plenty of things I dont do and won’t!
Thank you for this reminder. I was discussing this issue with my husband the other day, and you know what? HE is appreciative and thankful for what I CAN do and wasn’t even concerned with the other stuff I was feeling inadequate about. Just more proof that we are perfect for each other. <3
I'm great teacher.
I'm a great mother.
I'm a good money manager.
I'm a good to average healthful cook. (and this blog is helping me improve in that area!)
I'm an average to bad housekeeper.
I'm a terrible seamstress.
So there. My family is happy with that!
The one thing I do not miss about my 3 boys being grown is the smelly bathroom! I used to do all those things like crafts but now that I am 50 year old Nana I don’t feel the need to do any of that stuff. I’d rather spend my time on people. :)
So happy to know that I’m not the only directionly challenged person out there!! I tell my family (who always knows what direction they are going) that I only know which way I am going if I am on the interstate because the signs will tell me!
We just added a third boy to household, so I can totally get you on being outnumbered and all of the wierd smells. Though I expect more of the smells from the baby than the rest of these clowns ;)
I can drive a stick, but a good portion of the rest of the list is pretty accurate. My computer crumbs have lots of clutter for company. Must be a mom thing?
My confession, I’m bothered by outlets. Really. I’m not afraid of someone zapping theirself, I just don’t like the way they look without covers. And I’m terrible at dusting. =)
You are very wise for your years! Thank you for articulating this very balanced post! We women often feel like we can’t live up to someone else’s imaginary standard.
Oh I love this post. Do you know how long I struggled with this (and occasionally still do)? I read all these homeschool/perfect housewife and mom type blogs. All of you are GREAT at stating your weaknesses, but I just forget them and think of all you DO and how I don’t add up. It is so wrong and Satan likes to use that, does he?
But if we would forget this and take the encouragement that you all offer, then we would all become better people! I cannot tell you how your blog has helped me. My family is eating SO much better. And I just realized the other day as I was trying NOT to buy the giant whole grain goldfish we go through in a week that you made your switch to whole foods by just switching to butter….that was your first step. You took it in steps, not over night. So I bought my goldfish and went on to buy my organic milk and eggs! Since the beginning of February I have…
Switched to making ALL of my own bread (ok I did buy buns this week but I knew I didn’t have time to try a new recipe!)
Buy only organic milk, eggs, and chicken.
Have started to use butter more – even though I cringe every time I use it!
Started serving a fruit with every meal – veggies with 2 of the 3 meals, even if I am the only one who eats it (though my eldest has started trying more as he has a “stinky” problem and I tell him fruits and veggies will help it, hehe and my youngest i have found will eat and enjoy almost all fruits now!)
Thank you for being so transparent to all of us! And for encouraging us in any way you can. You are a wonderful servant of God!
Just thought I would share that today was a Heavenly Homemaker Day at my house. Made a few meals to get ahead for the week.
1. Started off making the Enchilada bake but I used black beans and corn instead of hamburger meat – in the words of my 7yo it was “AMAZING”.
2. Followed it up by corn dog muffins. But I cut the dogs into bite size pieces so most every bite had a piece of hotdog in it. The boys said they like it better that way. YUMMY!!!
3. Finished off dinner with your homemade tator tots and they were the best!!! My husband and I were wondering if we made the balls put them in the fridge for a bit and them brushed or tossed them in olive oil if the would crisp up baked on high in the oven? They were so good. We had them with a tilipia sandwich with homemade cilantro pesto.
Thank you for all your hard work. You have helped my transition to healthy eating to be way easier. Thanks.
A list is what I need.
1. love to cook and grocery shop hate to menu plan anymore
2. Love to swim but can’t run a half a block
3. Love to quilt but can’t crochet or do knitting
4. Love to read to children but hate getting on the floor and playing with them, shame on me!
5. I can copy ideas but don’t have much on my own
6. Love your blog Laura but can’t seem to make mine funny!
Yep, we are all different! Thank you God that we are all come in different shapes and sizes.
Loved this post, I am somewhere in the middle with to meal plan or not to. I just make a list of meals I have the ingredients for, and depending on how much time, energy and creativity I feel I have in the evening, that is what we have for dinner. It still allows me to plan, and grocery shop on a budget, a very strict budget, and yet be creative and spontaneous with my nightly meals, and even lunches. Sometimes riding the fence can be good.
I have suspected for some time now that you and I might be kindred spirits! (to quote Anne Shirley!) I cannot drive a stick shift. Well, I technically can, I can get it going, and can do kind of well on flat roads. But with any kind of hill, or going backwards – forget it! A couple of years ago, my husband bought a stick shift car, and I tried to drive it. My kids loved it when I drove it because I would squeal the tires every time I tried to get it into first. It got to the point where I refused to drive it. It was like being back to a one car family when the van needed work or something. So he got rid of it. However, just recently he bought a car of the same make and model as the other car, and every time I drive it, it will freak me out, because it sounds the same as the other one, and I start to panic, thinking that I will have to get it into first gear after the light changes, or up that hill!! And big cities? Forget about it! I even get nervous in big towns! :D
Thank you for this post!
What AM I good at? I haven’t stopped to consider that for quite awhile. Thank you.
Very nice post, thank you. I am an older homemaker and still feel the same applies. No, I don’t have little ones to chase around but I do have health issues and that makes life very challenging.
I stopped feeling the very same way you expressed about blogs a long time ago. It could easily be discouraging not having a show-palace home, or not being organized in everything I do, or not being the best homemaker in the world, or a gourmet cook, etc., etc. I don’t think women should be so competitive with themselves and others. It just doesn’t really matter in life. Like you said, all that matters is that we be the best that we can be, and God knows all of our abilities as well as limitations.
I don’t use a menu plan either. I have a list of the foods we eat on my fridge and I make sure I have the ingredents for them. Then we just pick what we want to eat. It works well for us. If I make a menu my husband says ” that doesn’t sound good” or “I don’t want that. This way we decide in the morning and everyone is happy .
[email protected] Creations at Home says
Good idea. I usually make a menu, but it has basically the same things
on it every week. Just might switch around the days. I like this idea
Thanks for sharing.
Laura, I think we were separated at birth (I just spelled separated seperated and spell check came through for me :o). Every single thing you listed is on target with me! My husband even offered to pay me $200 to learn to drive his stick shift and I wouldn’t do it. I don’t do directions just give me landmarks and names of roads. I despise reading instructions and I totally depend on my hubby for that.
Just had to share,
[email protected] Creations at Home says
I use a menu plan every week, but it usually has pretty much the same meals on it every week. I used to feel bad because I was not giving my family “variety” and then I realized they don’t really want variety. They like routine and knowing they will get to eat their favs once a week:)
kentucky Lady 717 says
OMG….Laura and Amy, we must be like peas in a pod….everything you guys listed , I also could have listed too so I will just say DITTO to you both…..
A great article, enjoyed it very much…..now I will go watch Dr. OZ :) and learn how to stay healthy…..right after I finish my BON BONS tho :) Just ate 2 and 2 Petit Fours…….:)