Our Life on Christ

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Found a Way to Make Meal Time Easy!

I have heard many times, “Oh, you’re a stay-at-home mom…that must be so nice! I wish I could stay at home so I could have more time in my day.” Ha! I think the word “mom” is in direct correlation with the word “busy.” The fact that you add the phrase “stay-at-home” before said title does not change this relationship. I read a statistic somewhere that stay-at-home moms are some of the most stressed people and, being that I am one, I believe it!

Not only do I provide all the care for my two children, I also homeschool one of them, which really means both of them because I have to keep the second one entertained while I attempt to maintain some semblance of a functioning learning environment. My one-year-old is just now tall enough to reach the keyboard. She is probably going to be a great writer because co-typing with me is one of her favorite activities (if there are any typos, it’s not my fault)! Trying to anything on the computer has become next to impossible unless my budding novelist is sleeping. Aside from homeschooling, staying on top of the typical stay-at-home mom stuff, and being a wife (basically being a mother to a third child), I also work random jobs part-time to bring in extra money.

I am, unfortunately, finding that I am very busy these days. I feel like busy work keeps me, you—all of us—from more important things in life. I have been trying to focus on creating experiences that, when I convert oxygen to carbon dioxide for the last time, I will be happy that I experienced. I want to spend more time reading the Bible, building relationships with my family, getting to know new people, and really trying to do what God has put me here to do.

There are, no matter how much we try to segment and manage them, only 24 hours in one day; we can only do so much. I have decided I’m going to spend as little time as possible worrying about small things--one of them being dinner!

Do not misunderstand, I think what we eat is very important. However, I have found an easy way to feed healthy meals to my family without putting so much effort into planning and preparing lists: Plan to Eat

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Plan to Eat is a menu planning tool that offers these great features:
• Drag and drop meals into a printable calendar
• Automatically generate grocery lists based on your planned meals (lists are divided up by section of the store: produce, dry goods, etc)
• Keep all your recipes in one place virtually (you can access your favorites when you are away from home)
• Ability to search for more recipes online and add it to your collection
• Ability to edit recipes if, for example, you want to change the serving size, which will automatically update the amounts on your shopping list
• Option to display the calories, nutritional value, and cost
• Ability to create lists for multiple stores (some of the things I personally need for recipes are not at Kroger or Publix so I need to add them to my “Whole Foods” list)
• Option to add more items to your list that may not be included in recipes like, let’s say, cereal or fruit
• It’s mobile-ready so you can check off items as you go
• Find your friends (or invite them) and share recipes

I tried another meal planning service called E-Mealz before I found Plan to Eat. I don’t like to say bad things about people or businesses publicly but, E-Mealz was not a fit for me. They generate a meal plan for you based on what is on sale that week at the store you select. That is kind of cool but for the first week, there were three seafood meals on my list. I don’t like seafood. Plus, the meals were not very healthy. Also, they charged me for the first three months right away ($12.50). I cancelled after two weeks but I was not refunded for the weeks I didn’t use the service.

Want to know the best thing about Plan to Eat?! It’s free! Well, it’s free to try for the first 30 days. You will be able to figure out how much you love it within 30 days. After that, it's only $4.95 per month or $39 for the entire year ($3.25 per month) and completely worth it! So no matter what you're juggling in life, whether it be kids, a job, a social life--whatever--you should try it out! While you’re getting accustomed to all the great features, be sure to add me as a friend! Search for my email: info@ourlifeonchrist.com.

Happy shopping, cooking, and eating!

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