Family Meals Around the Table {Day 28}

Family Meals Around the Table {how to do it and why they're important} @ AVirtuousWoman.org #mealtime

Family Meals are Important

In the picture above, my son had come home from college {he’s the one with the beard} and I can’t tell you how special it was to me to have all of my kids around the table at the same time!

There’s just something wonderful about sitting around the table, eating good food, and enjoying good conversation and laughter. It brings a family closer together.

Mealtimes don’t have to be elaborate to be special – although I love cooking big meals! Whatever you’re eating, whether it be oatmeal for breakfast, soup and sandwiches for lunch, or even spaghetti pie for supper, what’s important is that you are together.

For me, planning my menu each week really helps ensure that not only do I have a plan for what we’re eating, but we also are eating well balanced, healthy meals on a daily basis – even when we are gone from home all day.

10 Benefits of Family Dinners

We all know that most families are super busy and a lot of us have crazy schedules. But, eating on the run all the time isn’t healthy for the mind or body or the family. In fact, studies have shown that when families eat together around the table:

  • Everyone eats healthier meals.
  • Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
  • Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won’t likely try marijuana.
  • They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • Friends won’t likely abuse prescription drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home.

 Source: WebMD.com

10 Ways to Make Time for Meal Time

Since it’s so important to spend time around the table as a family, as moms we need to make it a priority. Here are some tips to help you find time to enjoy frequent meals together.

1. Simplify Your Schedule. – When you’re too busy, family time suffers. Sometimes we need to cut back on outside activities so that we can spend more time as a family.

2. Utilize your slow cooker on busy days. When I know I’m going to be gone for most of the day, I love to throw a quick meal together in the slow cooker. It only take a few minutes in the morning and supper is piping hot when we walk in the door!

3. Eat breakfast together if dinner time is hectic. If your teens are constantly on the go, why not make breakfast everyday a priority. If your family is usually still at home at 6:30 or 7:00 am, why not eat breakfast together everyday? You can even try using the slow cooker overnight and wake up to a hot breakfast!

4. Make it a priority. As a mom it’s okay to tell your kids they need to be home for supper.

5. Cook once, eat twice. Sometimes when I’m making a pan of enchiladas, a casserole, or one of our family favorites, I’ll double the recipe and have one for the freezer. Other times, I plan for leftovers for the next day. It saves time!

6. Insist that kids and teens eat with the family. Don’t let the kids scatter to their rooms or favorite place in the house as soon as they fix their plates.

7. Turn off the TV. Eating every meal in front of the television doesn’t build family relationships. It’s okay every now and then to have “dinner and a movie” but don’t do it every night!

8. Get everyone involved with the preparation and clean up. Assign kids dinner time chores from setting the table to fixing the salad to washing the dishes. Remember, families are a team and teams work together.

9. If you have to eat out, sit at a table together. Those when you aren’t home at mealtime and need to eat out, try to go in and sit together. Choose healthier options and talk to your kids about why certain foods are not the healthy choice.

10. Keep a picnic basket and blanket ready to go and add sandwiches, fruit, and water bottles for eating on the run at ball games or at the ice rink. On Wednesdays we head out early in the morning for a day at the ice rink. I like to pack our lunch and we sit together around a table and eat together.

Remember that meal time should be enjoyable so save stressful topics of conversation for other times. Keep things light and fun and laugh a lot! We want to create good memories around the table!

 Conversation Starters

Here’s a list of free printable conversation starters to help you:

How do you make meal time meaningful in your home?



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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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31 Days of Calm: The TO DO List {Day 24}

How to Use a To Do List, plus a free printable Weekly To Do List for your This is My Life Planner @ AVirtuousWoman.org #busymoms #proverbs31

31 Days of Calm in My Chaos

You’ll find a great free printable To Do List at the end of this post that coordinates with my “This is My Life” Planners! But first…

Tuesday, I shared with you how using a planner can reduce your stress. Today we’re talking TO DO Lists.

Obviously, if you’re using a planner – especially one like my “This is My Life” Planner  that includes a daily chore list – you’re probably already implementing the To Do List, and even if you haven’t been using a planner, you may already be using a written To Do List – or even an app on your phone to help you remember all those things you need to get done on a given day.

But how can you use a To Do List in the best possible way to get more done – and not feel stressed out at the end of the day?

Three Reasons Your To Do List Doesn’t Work

There are three reasons why your To Do List may not be working for you.

  1. Too many items to check off.
  2. You forget to look at your To Do List.
  3. Unrealistic items to check off on any given day.

How to Best Use a To Do List

A To Do List can be your best friend. It will help you stay focused each day and get more done – if you do it right.

  • Before you write anything down on your list, consider what you have going on that might make certain tasks harder. For instance, I babysit a couple of my grandkids all day long on a regular basis. Trying to load and stack hay is unrealistic if I have to take these two boys along with me.
  • Don’t try to do too many things in one hour. Often, getting one thing done in one hour is all you can expect to do. Especially if you are a stay at home mom – and even more so if you homeschool.
  • Remember, just like a planner only reduces your stress if you actually look at it and use it, a to do list isn’t going to help you if don’t refer back to it during the day.
  • Eat the Frog. If you get that one thing done that you really don’t want to do… the rest of your list will seem easy. Just get it out of the way. You’ll feel better.
  • Combine your errands so that you’re saving time and money. Try to limit your trips to town to one day a week.
  • Delegate chores. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to assign your kids chores on your To Do List. You don’t have to do it all to be an amazing mom. And sometimes it okay to ask your husband, too!

Of course, we all have days when things just don’t go as planned – and that’s okay. Life doesn’t have to always go as planned to still be spectacular. Believe me, I have more than my fair share of those days! Go ahead and embrace the season you are in. Be joyful in this moment.

Some of us DO work more efficiently than others. Creative types like me need space to breath in between to do’s. I often visit the Prudent Homemaker’s blog and she amazes me!

Really though, simplifying your life will ultimately mean simplifying your to do list. And ultimately, life shouldn’t be about doing more. Your life should be about creating rich and meaningful relationships and carving out a space in this world that will help nurture those relationships at home.

This last year, as I’ve worked to overcome my burnout, I’ve spent more time focusing on laughter, good food, hanging out with my kids and less time on having a perfect house and a superwoman to do list. In fact, my to do list is often on the small side. Did you see my simplified schedule in my This is My Life Planner video?

And you know what? I’m enjoying my life more.

Free Printable To Do List

I have a free weekly to do list to for you to download. This free printable coordinates perfectly with my “This is My Life” Planners available in the bookstore.

I designed this To Do List so that if you want to insert it into your planner, it has two pages front and back. But you can just use the first page if you like.

How to Use a To Do List, plus a free printable Weekly To Do List for your This is My Life Planner @ AVirtuousWoman.org #busymoms #proverbs31

How to Download

  1. Follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram if you can. Or Pinterest. Thanks!
  2. Download the .pdf file for the To Do This Week List here.

Today’s Goal: Decide if your To Do List is making your life easier or making you feel defeated at the end of the day.

Do you need to simplify your To Do List?



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