I promise I’ll post some 1 month pictures of Nicholas very soon. This is a boring post of just getting my thoughts together.
While recovering from this c-section and enjoying the babymoon, I have found more time to think, pray, and plan. I’m amazed at how many brain cobwebs I must have had in pregnancy, probably both hormone and diabetes related. The song keeps running in my head “I can see clearly now, the rain has gone.” I think what has helped greatly in this is that I’m staying home. The pace is slow, it’s all focused on the family, so I don’t have many outside distractions to clutter my thoughts.
Because it’s the new year with planning new resolutions and goals, the timing is just perfect. There are so many good threads and posts on organization, decluttering, planning, simplifying. I’m enjoying them all (but I don’t have the time to share the links), and taking bite-size chunks to plan our little lives. I have big plans to organize my thoughts into a meal-planning/recipe book, home notebook, and liturgical year book (with a music binder on the side), but baby steps, baby steps.
My first goal is consistent meal planning and cooking. Note I also included “cooking” because I have found I wasn’t implementing my great plans. So often there would be sudden changes in plans. The last 9 months or so there were either physical reasons why I wasn’t cooking that night, whether it was being under the weather or physically not at home because of all the doctors’ appointments!
Both dh and I are making an asserted effort to not dine out as much this year. We also want to try to have meatless twice weekly — Fish Fridays and one bean day, I think Tuesday might work. I’m not fond of tofu, can’t have cheese, so the only other vegetarian approach would have to beans to get some protein.
My other critieria: I have to work in recipes that are wheat, egg, and dairy free, but also kid friendly for our 4 year old. We don’t do much one-dish cooking (like casseroles), and our son isn’t too fond of soups, otherwise known as “grown-up food”. Stews he likes, especially if I serve rice with them.
I like some variety, and I’m always in search of new recipes that will work for us. Dh brings leftovers to work, so I need plan meals for his lunches. For example, I don’t want to make spaghetti on Thursday, because it goes to waste — he’s not eating it on Friday or the weekend.
I’ve come to some discoveries:
1) I’m not such a great cook. The meals that have been made for us are incredibly delicious. These ladies are great in the kitchen. I just want to make good but simple and healthy foods. I don’t spend the amount of time I need to make GREAT meals. And I admit that we limit ourselves to a smaller variety of flavors, so we don’t have a large repetoire of dishes.
2) I’m afraid to commit. In the past I just meal-planned with the main course, such as whole chicken on Monday, hamburger meat on Tuesday, beef on Wednesday, chicken parts on Thursday, fish on Friday, weekends open to leftovers or eating out. Then on the day I would decide what recipe to use. I didn’t want to be “trapped” by deciding the same recipe week in and out.
Here’s my thought process right now. I think it can be made into a 2-3 week plan with particular recipes.
Sunday: steak or chicken breasts or thighs (switch with Thursday?)
Monday: roast beef/pot roast/beef stew/pepper steak
Tuesday: bean dish recipe
Wednesday: Ground meat: spaghetti/hamburgers/tacos
Thursday: Whole Chicken: roast chicken/baked chicken
Saturday: free day — leftovers
We occasionally have ham and polish sausage. I should also work in an occasional pork and sauerkraut meal now that it’s winter.
I took a day seminar on meal planning and preparing, so I’m going to use those tools and binder to work out a system.
I’m also reading materials to get inspiration and help from Home Advantage Plus. These materials give an excellent perspective on working on the home, with a reminder of keeping a spiritual focus. All work is sanctified, God’s work (if that rings a bell, you are correct, they are part of the Opus Dei spirituality). But this is different from Holly Pierlot’s rule of life. There is no spiritual schedule suggested, just practical suggestions on how to work on laundry, mealplanning, and simplifying the home. The little booklet Home Matters is short but really inspirational and motivational reading.
I’m also rereading Sink Reflections, Managers of Their Homes, Mother’s Rule of Life, Home Comforts, and Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping to get a list of daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual tasks that need to be done. But that’s the big picture and the next steps, after I get my dinners planned and cooked.