6th Annual Spring Clean Challenge 2014

Spring Clean Challenge @ AVirtuousWoman.org

I have been so blessed by sunshine these last couple of weeks. Oh, how good and gracious our Heavenly Father is! Spring comes and the bitter cold of winter is like a forgotten memory.

And with Spring comes the desire to air out, clean, and freshen our homes after a long winter of closed windows and cold feet.

We’re going to get started April 21, 2014… so if you’re looking to get your heart and home clean, get ready!

We will have discussion here on Weekdays (Monday – Friday). You can report your progress, discuss questions you have, or share insights you have discovered.

What area of your home needs to most work?



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Menu Planning 101 {Day 27}

How to Menu Plan for the Week @ AVirtuousWoman.org -------- How menu planning reduces stress, helps you eat healthier, and saves your day! Plus tips and tools to help you in your planning. #menuplanning #busymoms

31 Days of Calm in My Chaos

Today I’m working on scrubbing the walls in my bathroom in preparation for painting. Yea! I’m so ready for this bathroom makeover. You. Have. No. Idea.

Anyway, The first thing I did on my to do list this morning was to sit down and plan this coming week’s menus.

Why I Love Menu Planning

Most weeks, unless things go really wrong, I plan out all 21 meals plus snacks for the week. I can’t even begin to tell you how much know what we’ll be eating each day helps me out!

By taking an hour or so on Sunday morning to plan out our menu for the week, I get it all done at once – which means I don’t have to think about what we’re going to eat an hour before every one is starving. Talk about stress relief!

We very rarely eat out and since I homeschool my kids, we are together most of the time and we eat a hot meal for most our meals.

It’s important to me that we eat healthy. By planning ahead, I know if beans need soaking or if I need to take a freezer meal out to thaw in the morning. I also know what breads I need to bake for the week and any other preparations that need to be made in order for my family to be nourished at meal time.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are days when the menu plan flies out the window. And on those days I make one of our family favorite “go to” meals. And that’s okay, because life doesn’t have to be perfect or always go as planned to be amazing.

How to Menu Plan for the Week

How to Menu Plan for the Week @ AVirtuousWoman.org -------- How menu planning reduces stress, helps you eat healthier, and saves your day! Plus tips and tools to help you in your planning. #menuplanning #busymoms

Now, of course, I use the menu planner that is included in my lovely, “This is My Life” Planner. I’m pretty confident you’ll love “This is My Life” Planner just as much as I do, so be sure to check it out the video. But you can use what ever menu planner you love. In fact, a plain old notebook will work just fine.

But I have to be honest. I don’t enjoy planning nearly as much if I don’t have something pretty to help me. In fact, if you aren’t interested in the “This is My Life” Planner, I have a fun weekly menu planner that you can print for free!

How to Menu Plan for the Week @ AVirtuousWoman.org -------- How menu planning reduces stress, helps you eat healthier, and saves your day! Plus tips and tools to help you in your planning. #menuplanning #busymoms

Menu Planning 101

First of all, let’s talk about what should go into your menu. If you’re like me, you’re concerned about the quality of food your family eats and you want to be sure that your family is getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy.

By the way, if you are new to eating healthy and need some ideas for transitioning to a healthier diet, be sure to read my 5 Tips for Transitioning to a Healthier Diet here.

Think Rainbow

When planning your meals, think about the rainbow. You want to choose a variety of foods over the course of the week that are colorful.

You always want to try to choose foods that are different colors in the same meal. When you serve food that is all in the same color family, not only are you probably missing out on some necessary vitamins, but it doesn’t make for a very appetizing plate. Food really should appeal to the eye as well as the stomach!

Also, remember that white potatoes are a starch an corn is a starch so, if you are serving a starch, you really need a green veggie to balance it out.

Family Favorites and Picky Eaters

Every family has their favorites. And some of your family members probably have foods they don’t care for. I would encourage you not to indulge your children too much when preparing meals – they shouldn’t be allowed to be too picky. But it is important to not completely disregard your child’s preferences either.

So, for instance, if you are making Brussels sprouts for dinner and you know your child doesn’t really care for Brussels sprouts, make something to go with them, mashed potatoes perhaps, that your child loves. In my house everyone has to eat at least a few bites of everything I cook. My kids are older now and they will eat pretty much anything I feed them – including beets, kale, spinach, and tofu. And they ask for seconds.

How Much Time Do You Have?

When planning your meals for each day, be sure to take into account what your schedule is like for each day.

So, in our house, we are gone all day every Wednesday. I know that I need to pack a lunch for everyone on Wednesdays and it’s nice if I can make a meal in the slow cooker or take out a freezer meal to heat up when we arrive home in the evening.

Where to Get Ideas

  • The Recipe Box. Here at A Virtuous Woman, in The Recipe Box, you’ll find over 225 recipes {and growing} that are mostly quick and healthy. So be sure to check out all those recipes! Did I mention I love to cook?
  • Pinterest. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I love Pinterest. I can’t count the number of amazing recipes I’ve found via Pinterest! In fact, my board Recipes to Try has hundreds of ideas to get you started!
  • Cookbooks. I have my favorites. You probably have a few favorites, too. And if not… head to the bookstore!

Themed Nights

One way to make it easier to come up with ideas is to assign each day a theme. For instance:

  • Sunday: Comfort Foods
  • Monday: Copy Cat Take Out
  • Tuesday: Crock Pot
  • Wednesday: Mexican
  • Thursday: Pasta
  • Friday: Soups
  • Saturday: Leftovers

The Proverbs 31 Woman

As women striving to be Proverbs 31 Women, meal planning is a noble task. Each time we serve food to our family we are serving the Creator. Each time we sit down and plan for the week ahead we are choosing to live with purpose.

What’s you favorite food? Mine is avocados!

 

 



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The Daily Checklist {Day 25}

The Daily Checklist: Tangible proof you got something done! @ AVirtuousWoman.org  #busymoms #getorganized

31 Days of Calm in My Chaos

Some days you just need a pep talk. Checking off items on your to do list gives you that little pat on the back that helps you feel like you really have accomplished something.

I can’t count the days when, in the evening, I wonder what it was I did all day. When you use a To Do List and a Daily and Weekly Checklist for your chores, you have tangible proof that while the house may not be perfect, the floors may be sticky and you didn’t squeeze in a shower – you still got something done.

The Daily Household Chores Checklist

The Daily Checklist {found in This is My Life Planner} is pulled from my “plan of action” that I’ve talked about for years now here at A Virtuous Woman. Here is that plan of action along with approximately how long each task should take to complete:

  • Make Beds {5 minutes per bedroom}
  • Start Laundry – Wash {2 minutes}, Fold {5 minutes}, Put Away {5 minutes}
  • Sweep Floors/ Vacuum {5 – 10 minutes}
  • Tidy Kitchen {30 minutes or less per meal}
  • Wipe Down Bathrooms {2 minutes per bathroom}
  • Straighten House {30 minutes}
  • 10 Minute Declutter {10 minutes}
  • Take Out Trash {2 minutes}

This daily list or plan of action should take, on average, no more than 1 1/2 hours to complete if done daily. Remember that maintaining a neat home means less time spent cleaning over all! A clean house is easier to clean than a messy house.

Depending on the weekly chore you choose to do each day, you may be adding another 30 minutes or so to your daily chore time.

I suggest doing most of the Daily Checklist first thing in the morning, but you know what you’re schedule is and what will work best for you and your family. Then, the weekly chores can be done when you have time.

Sometimes it’s better to just get all that stuff out of the way so that you can enjoy the rest of your day without those dreaded chores hanging over your head!

The Proverbs 31 Woman

Remember a Proverbs 31 Woman looks well to the ways of her household. That doesn’t mean she’s perfect or has a perfect home. But she is working toward the goal of a neat and orderly home that offers a warm atmosphere to those who enter.

Today’s Goal: If you haven’t been using a daily checklist or if you don’t use one consistently, consider whether you think this tool might help you accomplish more during the day.

Do you use a checklist on a regular basis?


I just wanted to give a shout out to my awesome sponsors this month.

Do your kids love Veggie Tales? My Kids have always loved Veggie Tales – we still watch the videos. Anyway, they have a new movie coming out!

Also, be sure to check out Amazing Graze General Store. They carry a wide selection of goods for sustainable living and homesteading.



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