Focus on Family

So many moms I talk to feel torn between their work and their family. They might work full time and feel that they spend every spare minute in the evening cooking and cleaning, rather than spending time with their kids. Or they might have a business from home and feel torn between building their business and spending time with their kids. One minute, they feel guilty for spending too much time on work, the next they feel guilty for spending too much time with their kids and not getting work done. Still other moms stay at home with their kids, but are constantly cleaning or doing other projects and STILL feel like they don’t have enough time with their kids.

Some of this comes from unrealistic expectations that we set for ourselves. One of those expectations I have for myself is that I should be playing with my kids–a lot! I am with my kids 24-7. We do tons of fun things together as a family. I home school, so I’m spending one on one time with them for at least 3 hours a day, plus all the fun activities we do as a family. Yet, I still feel like I’m not good enough. Sound familiar?

Proverbs 31 is often referred to as the model for all of us Christian women. So, I thought we could spend some time there today. In this chapter of the Bible, I see a lot of verses about this woman working hard. She feeds her household (Proverbs 31:15); she is a wise investor (Proverbs 31:16); she takes care of herself (Proverbs 31:17); she has her own business (Proverbs 31:18); she helps the poor (Proverbs 31:21); she clothes her household (Proverbs 31:21-24). Hmmm, I don’t see anything here about playing with her kids–yet that is what I often feel most guilty about.

When did this woman have “family time”? Probably all the time. Remember, the instructions God gave to the Israelites were to teach their children throughout the day every day. As she was gathering food and making clothes, I bet her children were right there beside her. They created a strong family by working together–and probably had fun while they were doing it.

As you think about what you want your family life to look like, I encourage you to think of ways that you can work together and serve others together. Think of ways that you can be together in everything that you do. One idea I have for you today is to eat dinner as a family. Not only will this encourage you to eat healthier, but it will give you an opportunity to relax as a family.

Speaking of mealtimes…in the January planner one of the things I decided to include is a meal plan. These are not fancy meals. We are on the go a lot (plus I often forget to take things out of the freezer!). During football season last fall, I decided that, rather than trying to cook elaborate meals, I would just plan for simply, filling meals that would be easy to prepare. It is very simple to add a main course like a chicken breast or steak to these meals if your hubby needs some meat with his meal. 🙂 I’ve also implemented a strategy I learned from a friend of mine–prepping for several meals at once and putting them in the freezer. This allows you to have a ‘fancier’ meal already prepared.

With four packages of hamburger, you can prepare hamburgers, meatballs, and two meatloaf meals. (I make meatloaf cupcakes–single servings baked in a muffin tin–much easier to freeze. See post here.

With a whole chicken, you can make chicken soup, chicken enchiladas, and chicken tacos/potpie/whatever dish your family enjoys. See post here.

With baked potatoes, I serve butter, sour cream, shredded cheese, leftover meats, bacon crumbles, broccoli, etc. Even mac & cheese is a great potato topper. With salads, hard boiled eggs, cheese, sliced lunch meat, lots of veggies all make great toppers. On the side, serve fresh bread and fruit. These are both great, filling meals.

I buy seasoned fish fillets at Costco and freeze them in packages to serve our family. Fish can be cooked from frozen–super easy meal with veggies and rice.

I make homemade pizza, but you can also make pizza nights a takeout night when you’re really short on time. 🙂

Stuffed peppers are super easy to make–just cook up some rice (LOVE basmati rice!), add shredded cheese, cooked hamburger if you like, and diced peppers & stuff peppers or tomatoes. Yummy & simple! Even my picky eaters love these!

Soups are really easy to make from scratch, but you can also buy healthy canned soups if that’s easier for you. One of my favorite recipes is from Taste of Home. You can find the recipe for Baked Potato Cheddar Soup here.

I buy almost everything organic and from the local farmer’s market. The idea is to create healthy meals that are easy, but not processed. Let your kids help make dinner, and then eat together!

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