Jul 24

Hearts at Home and Menu Planning

You ladies are AWESOME!!!!!  Did you read all the comments yesterday about the kitchen being or not being the heart of your home?  I loved reading them!  Thank you so much for sharing.

I would have to say that our kitchen and den are the hearts of our home.

In the kitchen, we try to eat as a family each night. That is a challenge with all the kids’ activities, but I’d say we make it about 4 out of 7 nights. It’s very important to Jeff (my husband) for us to eat together, so we try to make that happen.

During our supper time, we have a tradition, the highs and lows.  We found early on that when we asked our kids what they did during the day, often they would reply, “not much” or “nothing.”  But, when we ask them to share their high and low for the day, we got priceless information. And not only do the kids share, but so do me and my husband. I learn so much about his day through the highs and lows of the day.

The den is also our gathering place. Our family loves TV and Movies.  After supper, homework, and baths, we typically gather in our den to watch a tv show, movie, or football game. We allow pillows and blankets to cover the floor and couches. We laugh, cry, yell, and discuss. Depending on what we watch. Some of what we watch has value and some does not….haha.

So, are you ready to move on?  Ready to read about menu planning????  Just for the record, this is one area I am organized in!  I have to menu plan!  I plan the menu on Sunday and post it on the fridge. That way, if I’m running late at work one day, my husband looks on the fridge and gets supper started without me.  I make meals easy with very little prep time.

For example, tonight was grilled chicken sandwiches with tomato, lettuce, and bacon.  For my son who is a vegetarian, he gets grilled cheese with tomato and lettuce. I have found that when I plan ahead, the stress is reduced greatly.

I think you are really going to like the next chapter, Meal Planning for Health and Sanity.  Glynnis gives us 7 great steps to help achieve this.  Pick and choose what works for you!

The suggested assignments for Wednesday and Thursday are:


Read Chapter 16, Meal Planning for Health and Sanity.  I shared a little of what works for me, what works for you?  Share your ideas in the comment section of this blog.


Check back here. Stephanie Clayton is going to share a great meal planning/shopping list service that works for her and her family.

Memory Verse:

Hello???? Did y’all miss the memory verse this week?  So sorry, I totally forgot to post it and it’s a good one.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”   John 6:35

Do you grasp how special this verse is????  Can you imagine never being hungry or thirsty again? Please share what this verse means to you.

Hope you are having a great week!  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Much Love and Happy Menu Planning!




  1. Michelle says:

    I’m a list girl when it comes to meals.
    I begin with a grocery list for the store.
    During the week I place a paper on the fridge for everyone to write their wants/needs on. I then transfer the list to my grocery list.
    I also put a list of our meals on the fridge which includes breakfast, lunch & supper.
    This week I started something new for us. I actually sat and wrote a meal plan for the whole month. We’ll see how that goes :)

  2. I love menu planning! I never really thought it could be that helpful, because I am a terrific “whip something gourmet out of nothing” cook and my husband and I both love to cook together. :o) But I started following the idea from FlyLady and now I love to create a pretty, posted menu on the fridge every week for the family. I even put ideas on the bottom for lunches and alternate, quick options for frantic nights. I save tons of money because the menu is usually based on using up what we have or bought on sale for the week. And, rather than spend precious time in the evening brainstorming, I come home eager to get started. And, it helps keep the kitchen the “heart of the home” too because no one has to read my mind in order to help or pitch in. Finally, a little planning has also elevated our options and my enthusiasm. Gotta give it a try!

  3. Mary Ann says:

    I am also a list girl. I have often made out my menus for the week on Sundays and many times I will make a big batch of soup, meat sauce…good on spaghetti, tacos, lasagne, etc. Often I will cook up a big package of chicken breasts for the week, good in salads, sandwiches, and as a main meal. It does save time and money.

    I also have a list on the fridge that everyone is supposed to use when they run out of things but that doesn’t often happen, so that particular item may not be bought. They are learning….lol

    It is not fool proof but it does help keep some semblance of order in my kitchen.

  4. Angie Howell says:

    I just got the brainstorm this week of browning six pounds of hamburger (Costco) at once, and then freeze in one pound portions to reduce time spent preparing entrees. Similarly, I will start roasting many boneless chicken breasts and freeze 2-3 per bag for the same reason. I don’t know why I haven’t done this before. HOpe this idea helps others save time for our more precious priorities—our sweet love ones.

  5. Joan Vanterpool says:

    To me John 6:35 means that with Jesus in our lives we would need nothing else. He completes us. He sustains us. If we believe in Gim, He will take care of us. It’s a spiritual feeding.

  6. What works for me for meal planning is eMeals.com. You can sign up for an amazingly low monthly price, and they do all the searching for food sales/bargains in your area, at the location you choose. You can choose all kinds of different diets, from vegetarian, to low-carb, to low-fat, and etc. The meals are very family friendly, and are delicious. The recipes are very easy, and take very little time to cook!

    I make my menu’s out on Sunday’s, for the whole week, and put it in my dayplanner, along with everything else that goes in there. It’s just the two of us at home now, but this is what works for us.

    Can’t wait to read other ideas, as well!!! :)

  7. I do some of the things Glynnis has in her 7 steps. I do sit down each week with the grocery ads and I plan my family’s dinners. It seems to take me forever, though, to finally have a full week of meals written down. I struggle to come up with meals I know my family will eat! Although I have tried in the past and failed, I do like her idea of planning breakfast and lunches. I also like the idea of planning the meals over the weekend. I try to do mine Monday and then go grocery shopping Monday nights which sometimes can be a rush. I really hope to improve in this area!

  8. Cannot wait to see/read all the suggestions that will be posted on this issue! I try very hard to do this because I feel like a deer in headlights come 5:00 if I have no plan! It is a work in progress, but worth the effort. I do have a couple tips but want to read the book & comments before being redundant. That said, I want to encourage ALL of you because for years I fell into this trap…planning, shopping, cooking a good dinner only to have the family start arguing at the table most nights!! It ruined my meal & I felt very unappreciated. Often I was angry. God came to the rescue as always w/a couple interesting ideas. First, we implemented a 3 bite rule. After saying grace NO ONE was allowed to say anything until they had eaten 3 bites of food. Once low blood sugars were addressed complaining & criticism ceased. (it was not only small people doing this! Let’s just say I have seen hubby throwing dinner rolls at kid’s heads as a method of discipline 😉 any who, worked wonders…Next, during the course of the meal each diner had to say 3 things they appreciated about their day…the third thing always made you think real hard. Grumpy Grandma had A LOT of trouble with this one on her visits!! Ha ha. We started doing this after we realized we were always saying, in front of the kids, “we need..” We were teaching our own children to be discontented w/God’s blessings. This was a way to change gears and keep mom dishing up dinner.:-)

  9. I have done this for years. We lived 35 minutes away from Costco so every other week we would go and do our major shopping. With five kids, I had to have lunch stuff for them and enough stuff to make it through the two weeks. Of course, we would usually have to run to the store to pick up more milk but that was about it.

    I started doing this after a very stressful month in which I was totally not preparing. I would send my husband to the store each night to pick up whatever we decided we wanted that night. At the end of the month I balanced the checkbook and was absolutely horrified at what we spent. $1200 for one month’s worth of going to the store each night. NEVER again have I had a grocery tally that high. I have planned around what I had, what was in the ads and requests that were reasonable. Glynnis has some great tips for those that are not used to doing this.

  10. I have a couple of things that work for me in this area: 1) i love to eat!! 2) I love to cook!! 3) when we first got married 20 years ago we lived 30 miles from a decent grocery store-planning was a MUST. 4) we eat gluten free and a ‘Paleo’ diet. 5) i can’t cook without a plan…. 6) i can’t shop without a list….
    this chapter was EZ….our kitchen is the heart of our home. when we have people over? we have a hard time getting them out of the kitchen…..
    BUT what I have in the kitchen area I still seriously lack in the checkbook organization!!! i’m months behind…so i’ll praise the Lord for kitchen goodness and move my energy back to the checkbook. honestly? If I could help anyone in this area? I’m here!

  11. Our kitchen/den area is the heart of our home too. Our new house has an open layout which we love because it keeps us all connected and conversational. My husband and I both love to cook. Although my family is not too open to new recipes, we have our family stand-bys and try to add new ideas to keep it fresh. I have never done formal menu planning and want to give it a try. We used to live around the corner from Costco so it wasn’t always necessary. Now we await Costco to finish building in our area of Knoxville. So, I do want to plan with the limited shopping spots available – maybe it won’t be too bad since it is 3 ads to check only. Also, have to have a cushion in place for flexibility because sometimes my husband (who is in field sales management) will have lunch with a rep and not have much choice on what he orders. This messes with what I can make for dinner without much notice. I do use my Notes on my phone to keep a running list for grocery and Target. My kids even occasionally add their requests too! Since we are still settling in after a big move, I am so thankful for this study to keep me focused and give me great ideas to start off right in this house! Especially since we may get to stay here for 4-6 years!

  12. Veronica says:

    Just read your post; will comment on Chapt 16 when I read it. Meanwhile, the memory verse! I understand more and more what this means as my journey with Him gets longer and longer. When I use the Morning Worship from the Book of Common Prayer, one of the ways I structure my quiet time, there is a place where I read and pray the Lord’s Prayer. When I get to the place where I ask for my “daily bread”, I know this does not just mean physical food, but clothes, shelter and all the things I need from God to make it through my day joyfully and productively, so I ask for love, peace, wisdom, discernment, etc. I know that Jesus means that, as the Bread of Life, He gives us evferything we need, physically, emotionally, spiritually. As we align ourselves with Him and His teachings, we receive what we need in health, relationships, etc. As the praise song says, “You are my All in All.”

  13. Beth@sportsmomma says:

    I’m not very good at meal planning. I’ve tried but have just never stuck with it. I really need to get back to it because it makes life so much easier. I like to go to this site and get ideas.

  14. Carissa D. Huffman says:

    Hooray! I am doing some of this right!! I scour the weekly sale ads and use what’s on sale to determine what to buy. We do use Sam’s Club for things that we use a lot of (including berries–my 3 year old LOVES berries). I do use leftovers for future meals. I do have frozen options as a backup. We ALWAYS eat vegetables and fruit with meals–sometimes that is the only side dishes we have. (We even do that when we go out to eat most of the time.) I do buy nutritious breakfast items.

    I fail, however, in the organizing each meal and scheduling them. I do not have good track of what food is getting too old in my refrigerator and freezer. I don’t make good use of my slow cooker. I tend to either decide the night before what I will try to cook the next night, or, sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants when I get home. I don’t look at portion size–I just make a LOT of food, so there will be enough for all 3 of us to eat as much as we want. So far, my son is a very healthy eater, so he has made it easy.

    This is a growth opportunity. I have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic (I have TONS of it in my family history), so more planning is probably a great idea.

    Carissa in eastern Iowa

  15. It is sometimes hard to plan meals since our schedules can be so crazy. But I WANT to …I know it would be helpful and an opportunity to save some nickles and dimes :)

    Our memory verse this week is both comforting and convicting. So often I try to fill my life with other things, looking for fulfillment and encouragement and validation, when all along HE provides everything I need. He IS everything I need. I don’t have to hunger and thirst for approval or earn my value and worth. He completes, fulfills and sustains me. Jesus, help us, your daughters, to grasp this and walk in it every single day. Praying this for me and all my sisters! Big hugs!

  16. I was just talking with a friend about menu planning. I order Bountiful Baskets almost every week so plan my menu around the fruit and veggies I get with that and what else is on sale. I also always menu plan around our calendar for the week. If we’re gone all day then it’ll have to be any easy dinner, etc.

  17. Gail Ryan says:

    Well, I have spent the last 2 days looking all over the house for the book. I’m about a week behind, and now I know that it really is time for me to just give up. Every day I wake up feeling defeated before I get out of bed. I give up, Lord. I give up on life. I’m done.

    • No, no, no, Gail!! That’s just what the enemy wants you to do! Please don’t do that. I’m about 80 pounds overweight, every bone in my body aches right now from osteoarthritis and bulging disks that wreak havoc on the nerves in my legs, but I absolutely REFUSE to give up and let our enemy the devil win!

      Praying for you right now, sister, that you are up looking for that book and empowered by the Holy Spirit to not give up!!

    • Gail,
      I just sent you an email. Love you and praying for you.

    • Gail, don’t let the enemy win this battle. Lord, I stand before you asking for you to strengthen Gail right now. She is your child and especially needs for you to wrap your arms around her, comfort her and love on her. Help her to see that You have a plan for her and her life, that she is not alone and that with you by her side she can NOT be defeated. Help her to lean on you, to accept the power and strength you offer. Place a hedge of spiritual protection around her. Help her to see that this is an illusion from the enemy and not truth.

    • Gail…I am praying for you, sister! We are all in this together, good days and bad days! And I am just an email away…shellyafaust@gmail.com

  18. Jeanie Kelley says:

    I have already set up menu planning and it has been wonderful. Granted I plan for two weeks instead of one week. I try and have everything from breakfast to lunches in this list for groceries. I have my son even wanting to help me plan meals because I fix things from recipes from magazines–Kraft Recipes and Simple and Delicious. He wants me to fix things that are “normal” and what every family would eat. Both my husband and son want me to fix a chicken in the oven. I am not talking the pieces, I am talking a whole chicken. Never done this one at all and am used to doing the pieces which are much easier, but I am willing to give it a go ahead on this test. I have also found that I absolutely love to cook. Also we used to eat out once a week, but now we are eating a lot more at home and have saved money and my husband absolutely loves this idea. We are only keeping eating out as special occasion and I have been fine with this. If anyone has any good chicken recipes that you would fix in an oven please email me. Thanks a lot.

    • Jeannie,
      My family loves roast chicken. I rub the outside of the bird with a little oil. Mix together seasoned salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. This goes under the skin on the breast and also all over the outside of the bird. You can do this in the oven, usually about a couple hours. Most roasting chickens now have a pop-up timer that helps you know when it is done. But I also like to put it in the crock pot all day. Then I put it in the oven for a few minutes just to brown the skin a little. Great with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

  19. When my children were young, I did make a weekly menu and sometimes even shopped for 2 weeks because my husband got paid twice a month. I learned this at a young age because my mom would often send me to the store EVERY day to buy ingredients for dinner; at about age 14-15, I clipped coupons, made a weekly dinner menu and then Mom took me shopping for the entire week for our family of 6. When I became a wife and mother, this just kind of carried over. I sometimes cooked two meals so I could freeze one for later either for our own family or to give to another family.

    I’m at the stage of life where menu planning is not as important; this is actually our last summer with college age daughter…just 4 more weeks!! :'( Now in our empty nest season, our meals our simpler. I will bake a large package of chicken breasts in the oven, and one night we may have those for dinner with veggies, and then the next night I will use some of the leftover chicken breasts in a salad with oranges and Oriental dressing. When I bake a whole chicken, we’ll have that one night and then use the leftovers for chicken salad with cranberries and almonds for our lunches, or maybe enchiladas for dinner. Since it’s just the hubby and me, I love to plan around leftovers.

    What I REALLY love about this chapter is the end about putting food in its right place. I have a weight problem, and am currently doing “Made to Crave” study for the third time. This spoke VOLUMES to me and am so thankful to be doing this study along with MTC right now!!

  20. We can all feel defeated at times but I know that God does not expect perfection, just our willingness. I know at times I have felt hurt by feeling like the needs of others are more important than my own and that there are “special” ones and I will never be one of them. This is where I am at… But God has me where I am for a reason.

    • Angie,

      Amen to what you said about perfection, because only Jesus is perfect!! We can NEVER achieve that here on Earth because of sin. I’m sure you know John 3:16, but I’d like you to look at the beginning of it…”For God so loved the world”. He loves us ALL!! Put your name in for ‘world’…”For God so love Angie, that He gave His only begotten son…”. :) He loves YOU, just as he loves me, Melissa, Ginny, Amy, Gail, etc. He LOVES us all!!!!!

      You are so right in saying that “God has me where I am for a reason”. The year before last I felt neglected and abused by my supervisor and even some of the other people I worked with. As I searched for other employment, the LORD showed me that He had me there for a reason (this was during an interview!!). I had to take the focus off myself and put it where it belonged…on Jesus!! There are lost and hurting people all around us, and He’s given each one of us special gifts for the purpose of doing His work to help them. I don’t know what yours are, but you are so right that He has you where you are for a reason, and He’s equipped You for it for His glory. Each gift is important and every ministry is important! I hope you will read 1 Corinthians 12 today. The hand can’t say to the foot, “I don’t need you.” The foot can’t say to the eye, “I don’t need you.” We NEED each other. There are no ‘special’ people in the body of Christ, just different people with different gifts working together for His glory!! :)

      Praying for you, that You will feel God’s love today. I’m praying that He’ll wrap His arms around you and that He’ll reveal to you why He has you where you’re at.

  21. Ginny B says:

    I have used Food on the Table in the past. It’s great, even helping you plan you menu around local sales! http://www.foodonthetable.com

    and for those of us watching what we eat and trying to keep it healthy, my favorite recipe site is http://www.sparkrecipes.com They give a nutritional break down of each recipe and most of the ones I have tried are really yummy.

    I have to admit that while I am really good at planning dinner menus, I haven’t really planned breakfast or lunch menus. I had been real big on cereal for breakfast because it was quick and easy but after reading p. 167 I am rethinking that and I have decided that at least 3 days a week we are going to eat a high protein breakfast. I hope to work up to more but we have to start somewhere!

  22. LaDonna Yoza says:

    Anytime a food chapter/discussion comes up, I hang onto “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10b. Keeps me focused on letting Him be our satisfaction and that I must look to Him for wisdom in purchasing and preparing the foods that go into our bodies. I freely admit that I easily loose that focus. Now we are sort of moved out of all rooms except the bedroom/ computer rooms while we are getting hardwoods installed. So we have been in survival mode for many more weeks than I would ever have imagined.