In my many roles I feel like I spend so much of my life and time giving to others and serving others. As a christian we are called to put others first, to serve, and give, but God also gives us gifts and talents and I believe we are to use these. God also calls us to rest. A hobby can give us rest and time to use the talents God has blessed us with. You can also use your hobbies that you are passionate about to share love with others.
I have had so many hobbies in my life, I ended up not having time to grow my skills in any one area. I spent some time evaluating what hobbies I enjoyed most, was most talented at, and made the most financial sense. My current hobbies include:
Let me start this post on budgeting by saying I am no finance expert. The point of this blog is to share things we do in our home that keep us on track in life and point us to the Lord. A budget is one of these things, and it is a foundation for so much! So many couples we know do not have a budget or fight about money, or do not even share their money like a family, they keep it separate. So here are my thoughts and tips on the Family Budget.
Why Would I Need a Budget?
If you have no plans in life and do not want to have any plans or goals in life, then you probably do not need a budget. However, if you would like to one day retire (or your spouse), pay for your children’s college, go on a vacation, give money to those in need, own your house, eat food, etc. A budget is a good idea. In general people spend what they make, so unless you are the actual creator of money, there is a limit to your ability to spend. So yes, to have any goals or plan in life, a budget is extremely helpful.
My role as the family manager requires so much, and if I do not slot out time for this role in my schedule I do not believe I would succeed.
Defining Your Role
I started this process by writing down what it meant to be a family manager, what is my job description. Here is what I came up with:
“The role of Family Manager: The family manager will develop and carry out strategies to accomplish short term and long term goals that are developed as a team by the CEO (husband) and manager (wife) of the household, using God as their ultimate source of wisdom and direction. The manager should encourage, inspire, and motivate the family to move forward together towards the the long term goals.”
I was just making my my menu for the week and looked back over it and saw I had written down all soups, and most of them had something in them my husband didn’t like (squash, lemon, sweet potatoes etc.)… this was going to be a failure of a week in the food department! So how can I plan a successful week’s meals with minimum work that everyone (well most everyone) will somewhat enjoy?
I keep a list of all the recipes my family enjoys (my rotating menu- one for winter and one for summer). When we try something new I write a note on that recipe how we felt about it and if it passes the test I add it to the menu. Once or twice a year I go through our recipes and update my Summer Menu and my Winter Menu. When I make a menu I usually pull out this list and pick a week and boom, the meals are planned, I just have to create my grocery list for the week. I often alter the menu to accomodate for leftovers we have in the fridge or to try a new recipe.
Here is our current winter menu, this hasn’t been updated since this last summer, so I have new recipes to add to the list, but it gives you a good view of how I organize my menu that I pull my weekly meal plan from.
If you are looking for a great Christmas gift you will use all year here are my favorite cookbooks. These books will also jump start your healthy eating choices for the next year.
I began running very regularly August 2015. Along with my running I began to research training regimens and nutrition for a runner. During this time I came across the runner’s world cookbooks. This was the first of these 3 books I purchased.
Meals on the Run is full of AMAZING recipes. From breakfast to sides to main dishes you can find healthy choices full of flavor. I love that every recipe in this book takes 30 minutes or less to make, perfect for a busy night. I also love that the ingredients are *mostly* normal. I don’t have to google the ingredient to find out what it even looks like, they are mostly normal ingredients I can find at my local store.
This book added more healthy recipes to my collection. These recipes may take longer than 30 minutes, but they are still simple and easy. Like my other cookbook, the recipes are full of normal healthy ingredients. The Runner’s World Cookbook also includes some delicious, but not terribly unhealthy desserts.
The Runner’s World cookbooks are definitely my favorite. This next book is new to me and has many recipes so far that I have loved. They also do a great job of taking traditional favorites and making them a little more healthy while still providing amazing flavor. My favorite thing about the So Easy cookbook is that it groups recipes together so you have a whole meal ready to go, which can sometimes be the hardest part of meal planning.
It is 4:30, everyone is up from nap time, you are exhausted and your husband will be home soon… starving, and you have no plan for dinner. Do you:
Call him and ask him to pick up some take out
Slap some PB & J together and call it good
give the kids some play dough and whip up a quick 30 minute meal
Take a meal out of the freezer and make a side to go with it
Every answer is the right choice, that is assuming your family is enjoying meal time, remaining healthy, and you are staying in budget. If you are struggling to get dinner on the table, or your budget is tight, or your health is suffering etc. freezer meals may be one step in the right direction.
Since we are a team and life is a classroom you will often find my little ones helping me in the kitchen. Working together also makes cooking fun, well usually. While I would also like to say it improves the eating habits of my children, I am not so sure. I have 2 very picky eaters–they only eat bread and dessert. Maybe their eating preferences would be even worse if they were not helping me and experiencing all this culinary excitement, maybe they would cut out the bread and just go to straight desserts?? Who knows.
Either way, they love helping and I think it is great experience for them and quality time for us (plus if they are with me helping, they aren’t making a mess while I work). My children usually joined me in the kitchen around 18 months. They would get a tall step stool and help me dump ingredients into a mixing bowl, occasionally I would let them stir, but that didn’t usually work out too well until they were almost 2 or older.
Whenever I am in the kitchen cooking I will hear stools and chairs being pushed up next to where I am. There is joy found in the kitchen when we work together. Start small and progress from there; as your children show maturity you can increase their responsibilities. Here is a summary of what my children help with when we cook:
My children are always developing their skills and creating artistic masterpieces. I love to look at them and see my children grown and learn, but the amount of masterpieces created is a little overwhelming, especially from 3 budding artists! So what’s a loving mother to do?
Here is what happens to these beautiful creations in our house:
Masterpiece is shown to daddy and possibly taken with him to his office
Masterpieces that don’t make the daddy cut are displayed in a designated area (ours is in the play room using the Ikea curtain wire and clips, which can be found on Amazon)
Once the display is full my children sit on a chair surrounded by their masterpieces while I snap a photo
Extra special masterpieces are saved for The Memory Box, not so special pieces go in the garbage (usually during quiet time)
Photos taken of the child and masterpieces are printed and put either in their photo album or join the extra special masterpieces in the memory box
Start over at #1
The Memory Box
This can take whatever form you want. Maybe a shoe box for each child that they decorate, or a large tote if you want to keep larger items (not just artwork) in the box as well. I just started using a portable file box. You can find these boxes in varying sizes and styles. Each child has their own file in the box for their masterpieces.
I keep our memory box tucked away somewhere to look at on special occasions. Looking back at their creations is a great way for them to visually see how they have grown and changed and what they have accomplished. Looking back also brings fond memories and can re-teach lessons already learned.
I was making cookies the other day and I ran out of vanilla, so I walked over to my pantry expecting to find my extra bottle there when I was disappointed to find I was completely out. My system had FAILED! Let’s just blame someone else in my family… they must have forgotten to mark vanilla on the shopping list!!!! The goal of a stocked pantry is to never run out of what you need.
It is frustrating to need vanilla, sugar, flour, oatmeal, baking powder, or any other ingredient and be out. When I add a new favorite recipe to our list (like my favorite Granola), I make sure I have a 2 of everything. My granola recipe uses Real Maple Syrup, so when I started making it I bought 2, 1 to use and 1 for the pantry. When the 1 I’m using runs out I get the one out of the pantry and then I MARK MY SHOPPING LIST! This is where my vanilla shortage problem was. If you use the vanilla from the pantry and never mark the list you will eventually run out, completely out!
So the next time you need a spice, onion soup mix, brown sugar, vinegar, or other item you use regularly, buy 2- 1 to use and 1 to replace it. Every time you grab your back up from the pantry, mark your grocery list. If you do this you will never be missing an ingredient again… well hopefully not.
If you find a sale on these items, buy more than 1, maybe even stock up if it is a great sale! Just remember, when you start to run low, or grab that last bottle/bag, mark your list!