Monday, August 22, 2016

A Different Kind of Detox

"Detox" is a big deal these days. Most people start off their new diets or health resolutions with a "detox."

Often, we are prompted to do this because we have been feeling bad. Our lack of self-control in life weighs on our conscience. We are having health problems: fatigued, achy, sleepless, sluggish, depressed. We feel guilty because we know we have been eating poorly. We know are losing muscle tone and can't run an 8-minute mile like we used to. The clothes in our closet that no longer fit hang there, taunting us, torturing us.

But our health is not always just about our bodies and what we eat. Our spiritual and mental health plays a big role in our quality of life.

I don't know about you, but the physical detox is hard for me. Actually--it's the closest to impossible thing I ever attempt. So. Hard.

We are not always ready to commit to the physical detox. It is hard to give up the very things that we have come to rely on to get us through our stressful days--the nap, the chocolate, the fancy coffee, the snack, the ice cream, the glass of wine.

There are other ways to detox. I'm starting a 40-day detox now. It's a Word Detox.

Our words are TOXIC. Not only the words we speak. Our thoughts are formed of words, too. (Other eloquent people have deemed this "Stinkin' Thinkin'.)

Starting today, I am eliminating speech and thoughts that are:

  • Angry
  • Whiny
  • Complaining
  • Judgmental
  • Selfish
  • Negative
  • Mean
  • Fearful
  • Discontent
Remember the Bible tells us that our words have the power of life and death. The power to bless and to curse. Not just our spoken words, but our thoughts, too.

If you are not quite up to committing to a physcial diet detox, or you have been trying to and failing, consider trying this spiritual detox instead.

I would dare to say the spiritual side of our lives is more powerful than the physical. Detoxifying spiritually will be life-giving to your soul. But it will also heal your body. Look. It says so:

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 16:24
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person,
but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.
Matthew 15:11
From the fruit of the mouth, one's stomach is satisfied;
the yield of the lips brings satisfaction.
Proverbs 18:20
For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.
James 3:2

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
 Psalm 19:14

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof on the day of judgment.
For by thy words, thou shalt be justified,
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Matthew 12:36-37

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth
but that which is good to the use of edifying, 
that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
Ephesians 4:29
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword:
but the tongue of the wise is health.
Proverbs 12:18
But now ye also put off all these;
anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Colossians 3:8
Death and life are in the power of the tongue:
and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Proverbs 18:21

Even so, the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.
Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity:
So is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body,
and setteth on fire the course of nature;
and it is set on fire of hell.
James 3:5-6

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth;
keep the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3

He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life:
but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
Proverbs 13:3

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life:
but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
Proverbs 15:4 

These verses above are just a few of the many that make a connection between our words and thoughts to both our physical and spiritual health. This kind of detox will actually help you both physically AND spiritually. According to these verses and more, we can expect health to the body, mind and soul, self-control, and it even says that our stomachs will be satisfied! Yes. If we watch our words. 
So it says. Right there. In the Bible. I say we give it a try.

Who's with me?  Forty days. August 23 through October 2.

I will at least give an update to how it goes for me!

God bless you!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Routine, Routine, Routine...

Oh, what a lifesaver!

In the early years of homeschooling and trying to be a good manager of my home, my over-ambitious and hyper-excited self tried a little too hard sometimes. I tried the color-block scheduling thing, which was just too much pressure. Carefully-planned 15-minute increments for each family member? Yes... we never made it past 8:00 a.m. without falling behind. And leaving me feeling like an epic failure quite early every morning.

HOWEVER, attempting that method did usher me into the world of ROUTINE. As I prayed about my daily failures and offered them up to God, and asked repeatedly, "HELP," God took my ashes and started building.

I find keeping our routine posted generally helps my boundary-needing children
stay on track and be more willing and obedient.

God gently pointed to one thing at a time, and block by block, our solid framework of routine has been built. It is pretty unshakeable now.

It started by declaring nap time every day from 1:00 to 4:00. For everyone in the house.

That meant lunch was generally 12:30 no matter what.

Then we pledged to do our Bible lesson first every day at 8:30. That generally meant breakfast was at 8:00.

My husband's work schedule made it so 7:00 became our ideal dinner time. So...

We made a habit of doing our chores at 5:30 p.m. so the house would be nice when Daddy got home.

Then, at 6:00, as I (or my daughter) cooked dinner, we made a routine of the older ones playing intentionally with the younger ones. Reading to them. Building blocks. Playing with toys. Coloring.

And now... 14 years later, our routine is like a fine-oiled machine. It always works. Even if we deviate here and there, when we come back, it is still there, functioning perfectly, and we just pop right back in.

Here is how we roll:

8:00 Breakfast (Some kids get up earlier--if they do, they can eat and start on their independent school work. Also, since my pre-schooler is usually the first up, often his school is already done or we get it done while the older kids eat at this time)

8:30 Bible lesson

9:00 School

11:00 Beach or pool or park

12:30 Lunch

1:00 nap

3:30 Older boys (ages 6-10) do daily yard work

4:00 Play time (their daily 30-minute video game turns may be taken at this time)

5:30 Chores

6:00 Older kids play with younger kids

7:00 Dinner

7:30 Family time

9:00 Baths/showers/pick up house

9:30 Pajamas and brush teeth

9:45 Prayers/bedtime talk/devotions

10:00 Bed

Now what you don't see is all the things that occur within this framework during the course of the day:  Having the 4yo play with the toddler. Taking the toddler potty. Switching a load of laundry while the boys finish an assignment. Typing this blog post as the boys finish their last bits of schoolwork before we head to the beach. Helping my high schooler with her work.

Also, even if we don't start right at 8:30, the routine says that Bible lesson is first.

Soon, I will post an actual "day in the life" post so you can see how this routine looks in reality. The day may seem busy and crazy, but the framework remains solid and unshakeable and always keeps us on track. Hopefully, you will see!!


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Best Day of My Life

Do you know me?  If you were to describe me, what would you say?

I am a wife and mother of seven. A homeschooling mama. A homemaker. I am an organizational diva. A master of living simply. A laundry "nerd." I don't do crafts or scrapbooking. I'm horrible at home "decorating" (but my home is neat and organized!)  I love writing. And speaking. I am a good teacher. I love to crochet, and sew a bit. I love cooking and managing my kitchen. I shop at TJ Maxx (not Target). I like good coffee and dark chocolate and red wine. I love tamales. My number one greatest weakness is ice cream. Or maybe food in general!

I have been to death's door and back several times. I have lived in times of plenty and in times of poverty.

For those who know me best--those of you who feel you have had a glimpse of my heart (you have if you have read some of my blog posts)--I would hope you would say you know I love Jesus. I passionately seek God and His truth. His ways. His best. I desire to honor Him in all that I do.

I hope you will say you have seen a life that has been upheld by God, led by the Holy Spirit, provided for by God, and characterized by prayer, study, meditation, and obedience (as much as this sinful soul can muster).

Maybe you have read how God has saved and redeemed me, and made me a new person. How He rescued my  marriage and my family, healed me from mental illness, and led me into a blessed life of peace through many happinesses and many trials. He has taught me. Grown me. Tried me. Refined me. Changed me. Loved me. Forgiven me. Blessed me. Chastised me. Saved me.

I would hope you would say that. If you know me, I think you would.

I feel like that has been the underlying theme of my life for at least the last 15 years, or even more. Seeker of perfect truth. Perfect love. The Perfect One and His Perfect Ways.

If you would agree that you know this to be true about me, then I hope you will still have faith in me when I share my continuing testimony of my faith journey, of which this last step has been momentous.

Saturday evening, April 26, 2016, I was anointed and confirmed as a member of the Holy Catholic Church.

It was, without question or contest, the best day of my life. It was the day that everything my heart has ever longed for was fulfilled.

It has been a gentle journey of four years, led lovingly and surely by my Shepherd, which, truth be told, I tested severely and even fought fiercely at many points along the way.

And towards the end, these last few months, since starting RCIA classes, He has tested me. Would I hold fast to this gift He gave me in answer to my fervent prayers for truth and a faith that is finished?

I say with complete confidence that my faith has now been finished. Perfected.

I finally have a absolute peace about Jesus and His work on the cross and what that means for sinners. No, I didn't have that before. In the Protestant church there are too many differing doctrines.  Faith as a Protestant means having to choose which statement of faith you think is best.  In the Catholic Church, there has only ever been one doctrine on salvation since Jesus and the Disciples themselves.  

I now feel united in Christ with all my fellow Christians, even my dearest friends who even themselves differ between them on doctrines.  Now I am able to simply love Him with those who love Him and are laboring for Him, because my faith journey took me back to very Jesus himself, and the beautiful faith He entrusted to His disciples to unite us all as Christians as one in the body of Christ.

Maybe someday He will give me the grace to put my testimony into words. I would hope so. I blogged for years under the blog title "Growing in Truth." Because that was my heart. I longed to grow in truth. Many times during those years God clearly called me to be His "mark." To take a stand in faithfulness and obedience when others around me did not. And I set my face like a flint, pointed toward Jesus, and would not be moved.

The moment I knew that He had brought me home to the Holy Catholic Church, I closed that blog and opened this new one, "Surrounded by Truth." That is definitely how I feel now. I have found the pillar and foundation of truth, and am firmly planted on it. Within it. And thereby, I have made a new "mark". I have claimed and held fast to what He has told me, and followed in obedience, and I will not look to the left or the right, and I will not let go.

It was a big move. For a big answer to a big prayer--the fervent prayer of a soul preparing to meet God. But it was a sure move. For the surest thing I have ever known. 

God bless you and give you His peace and faith.

-Camilla "Therese" Anderson

Friday, March 4, 2016

Why Don't You Just Stop It?

One of my friends and I used to have a little running gag. We would send each other a bottle of "Stoppit Spray" if we needed to: stop complaining, stop over-eating, stop making excuses... stop anything.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just spray this on ourselves to stop an unwanted behavior or thought process?

I think this sketch by the famous TV-psychiatrist Bob Newhart is equally hilarious:

It's funny because on the surface, it seems absurd. But I think on a deeper level, it's funny in an uncomfortable way.

I mean, why DON'T we just STOP IT?

I will tell you why.

We are human.

We are sinners by NATURE. Which means, at the very core of our being, we desire selfish things which conflict continually with the well-being of others and the good of all things.

I want my way. I don't want to wait. I want to be recognized. I want to be respected. I don't want to work. I want to eat that (and that, and that, and that...). I want to watch that. I don't want to exercise. I want to be angry. I deserve respect. I'm afraid. I can't help this. I want to speak my mind. I want revenge. I want justice. I want sympathy.

I want, I want, I want...

Me, me, me...

I once read an interesting quote, and because I studied psychology for years, it struck a very deep chord:

The root of all mental illness is selfishness.

I know this is not true of all mental illness, of course.

But it struck me because I was mentally ill, and it was true for me at that point in my life. I spent many years looking for someone to label my selfishness, my weaknesses, my problems, my lusts, my laziness, and my chosen lack of self-control. I didn't want to take the blame--and wouldn't have to if it was an illness.

But it wasn't an illness.  For me... then, and now, I know that I just need to remember to STOP IT.

The Bible has much to say on this matter.  Have you ever stopped to think about how many times it tells you in the Bible to simply "Stop it?"  Repent. Turn from your wicked ways. Avoid fleshly lusts.  Why would God tell us to do something we were utterly unable to do? Why would He say simply, "Stop it" if we simply could not?

We can.

Are you sick or are you selfish?  There is a sure way to find out.  Shut down your mind. Lift up your eyes and your head and look around. Start looking, listening, helping, and serving others.  Live for others for a few days.

Your family, your husband, your children, your siblings, your parents, your friends: Listen, love, hug, encourage, help, serve, smile, give.

Your home: Be grateful for it, care for it, clean it, make it pretty as a gesture of thanks for God's provision.

The world:  Remember that all you see are needy. They may be discouraged, tired, hurt, sick, depressed, stressed, or struggling. Listen, encourage, smile, help, and give.

Try this for a few days. If you start feeling better, you are not sick. You are just selfish.

That indeed is good news. You can just STOP IT!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Homeschool Preschool

I get asked about our homeschool methods and resources quite often. After getting three questions in a row about what we do for preschool, it is time to share! Maybe you will get some ideas that work for you!

Starting at birth, we do a lot of counting, naming colors, looking at alphabet picture books, and practicing using a marker on paper. No pressure. Just for fun and play.

Starting at age 2 or 3, when I feel the child is ready, we play with alphabet flash cards. I made mine out of cardstock nearly 10 years ago, and have now used them for five children.  We start with two letters, then gradually add more. I lay them out, and ask them to find the one I ask for. I hold them up and ask what they are. I ask them to match capitals and lower case. We play with these for about 18 months--they begin to master them in no time.

I also have used this set of DK counting cards for the past five children. We simply point to the number, and then we count. Once a day.

I use a 10-cent spiral notebook to practice drawing with markers, starting at age 2 or 3. We practice coloring in shapes with specific colors, tracing along a path between two lines (without touching the lines), connecting dots--first two, then more, then before you know it, they are tracing letters and numbers.

First workbooks I love for age 2-3-4 are:
Kumon Coloring 2-3-4
Kumon Coloring 3-4-5
Kumon Mazes 3-4-5
Kumon Mazes 4-5-6

All my littles have loved these books and they are great for simply learning to hold and control a marker and/or pencil.

I also like to browse Dollar Tree for preschool/kindergarten level workbooks for letters, numbers, shapes and colors. Since they are a dollar, they are great for practice and feeling "grown up." Lots of these are great for learning how to "circle" things, for tracing letters, for attempting to make letters a certain size, for coloring, counting, and matching.

When ready for pre-K/Kindergarten stuff (the child recognizes most letters and numbers, can count to ten fairly well, knows colors, and can hold a marker to color), I use:

A Beka K-4 Phonics and Numbers (workbook only--no accessories or teacher's guides)
Spectrum Preschool Learning Letters
Spectrum Preschool Phonics Readiness
Spectrum Phonics Grade K
Making Math Meaningful Level K
A Beka Science, God's World K5

Note:  Any of the Spectrum Preschool books are great!

Spectrum Preschool Learning Letters

Making Math Meaningful Level K
I continue with homemade flash cards that have names (siblings, Mom, Dad, grapes) and words of favorite things.

I read books to them.

I also make them follow my finger as I read the instructions on each workbook page. This transitions always into them naturally reading the instructions for themselves by age 7 or 8.

Another important tip:  I never do too much. I never stress them out. I watch the "light in their eyes." If it goes out, we stop.

Sometimes we do the flash cards for just two minutes and we find it is not fun anymore or they are not interested "this day."  Some days we will play with them for 30 minutes.

Some days my kids will happily sit and work through an entire workbook. I let them. Sometimes, one page is tedious. So I encourage just one or two little tasks (color this item or try making this letter one time), then I tell them, "Great job!" And we move on to something else.

The workbooks above have lessons on each page that are easily done in just a couple of minutes.  Practicing writing a letter (or any worksheet) when you are 4 years old should not be tedious. Some children will find school fun and challenging. But most 4-year-olds, regardless of how much they love school work, can be reasonably asked to practice a particular letter two or three times, and be encouraged with their effort. And two or three times is enough for one day--because if you do that five days in a row, by the end the skill is mastered.

Bonus material:  I had fourboysinarow. They are Star Wars fans. They are also bookish school geeks. I don't know if God made them that way, or if we just cultivate a culture in our homeschool that is fun. But the above books are not enough for my 4-year-old. He often wants to do more.  He has a couple of the dollar store workbooks to attempt on his own (which he can do like a pro, now!), But then, one day, while shopping at TJ Maxx, I found these. They rock. Not only are they Star Wars, but the learning format is the quality that I demand.

Star Wars Workbooks Preschool ABC Fun Ages 4-5
Star Wars Workbooks Preschool Shapes, Colors, and Patterns, Ages 4-5
Star Wars Workbooks Kindergarten Writing & ABCs Ages 5-6

Note: They have lots of other options to choose from that include numbers, counting, and phonics.  Some are only $6.00 on Amazon!

Happy schooling! May God bless your homeschool!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Family Menu Planning: Meal Ideas

Here I am sharing my "Master List" for meal planning in case it will give you some ideas for things to make for dinner. Email me or leave a comment if you want me to share any of my recipes.

My master list is divided into these categories:
  • Pasta
  • Soups
  • Sandwiches
  • Mexican
  • Pizza-ish Stuff
  • Traditional/Other
When I plan a menu, I usually do about three weeks at a time, because that is what my pantry and cupboards can comfortably hold.  Each week has one pasta night, one sandwich night, one mexican night, one pizza night, one soup night, one day for leftovers, and one "other" meal. That is seven days. Easy to fill it all in!

  • Spaghetti
    • Vegetarian (with shredded spinach, zucchini, carrots)
    • With meat
    • With meatballs
  • Pasta Alfredo
    • Chicken & broccoli
    • Ham, tomatoes, spinach or asparagus
    • Smoked sausage, spinach or kale (cajun seasoning optional)
  • Baked ziti/penne/shells/rotini
    • with vegetables/ricotta
    • with mini meatballs
    • with italian sausage and peppers
  • Lasagna
    • Vegetarian
    • With meatballs
    • With meat sauce
    • Lasagna roll-ups
  • Ravioli
  • Chicken parmesan
  • Eggplant parmesan
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Tuna Casserole
  • Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese
  • Baked four-cheese pasta with mushrooms/asparagus

  • Chili
    • Vegetarian
    • With meat
  • Beef Barley
  • Chicken Noodle
  • Potato-Broccoli-Cheese
  • Wedding Soup
  • Minestrone
  • Ham & Bean soup
  • 16-bean "goulash" soup
  • Split Pea and ham
  • Clam Chowder
  • Seafood bisque
  • Tomato Soup
  • Vegetable/Alphabet
  • Lentil Soup

  • Meatball subs
  • Philly Cheesesteaks
  • Reuben sandwiches
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Patty Melts
  • Bratwurst
  • Polish Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Corn Dogs
  • Tuna Melts
  • Fish
    • Fried
    • Broiled
  • Chicken
    • Fried
    • Broiled
    • Chicken caesar
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Cold cuts
  • Baked subs/sandwiches
  • BBQ Beef/Brisket/Chicken

  • Burritos
    • Smothered with green chile
  • Tostadas
  • Tacos
  • Soft Tacos
  • Enchiladas
  • Fajitas
    • Chicken
    • Beef
    • Shrimp
  • Enchilada Casserole
  • Tamale Casserole
  • Tortilla Towers
  • Nachos
  • Quesadillas
  • Chimichangas
  • Fish Tacos
    • Fried
    • Broiled
  • Huevos Rancheros
  • Breakfast Burritos
  • Puffy Tacos

  • Pizza
  • Stromboli
  • Calzones
  • Deep dish pizza
  • French Bread Pizza

  • Baked fish
    • Lemon pepper
    • Lime pepper
    • Dill
  • Salmon patties with dill cream sauce
  • Fried Fish
  • Beef Stew
  • Chicken Fried Steak
  • Meat Loaf
  • Meatballs with gravy
  • Pot Roast
  • Beef Stir Fry
  • Korean Beef Wraps
  • Beef pot pie
  • Beef meat pasties
  • Fried Chicken
  • BBQ chicken
  • Chicken wings
  • Chicken noodles
  • Asian chicken wraps
  • Chicken stir fry
  • Egg roll skillet
  • BBQ Ribs
  • Pork tenderloin medalions with black pepper cream sauce
  • Marinated pork tenderloin
  • Smoked sausage/cabbage/potato roast
  • Chicken & sausage jambalaya
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Turkey pot pie
  • Roast turkey
  • Chicken & rice casserole
  • Baked chicken
  • Chicken nuggets or chicken tenders (homemade)
  • Quiche

Saturday, January 9, 2016

12-Week Family Menu

I have this blog mainly to share the things I am passionate about. Meal planning is one of those things. 

I love meal planning and managing my kitchen. I think it is one of my strengths (unlike home decorating). I wrote out this 12-week menu in just minutes as I was sitting here. I am excited at how it works to feed our large family, and I am passionate to share it.

This meal planning "system" for our family works beautifully. It is very cost effective. It is RELATIVELY healthy (the majority of our meals are what constitutes "REAL" food).  I won’t go into the details of how I simplify the kitchen organization, and save money on the shopping (and believe me, I do).  I won’t go into details on how I sneak extra veggies into the meals (like sautéing shredded carrots, zucchini, and chopped spinach with garlic and Italian seasonings and adding it to our spaghetti and/or pizza sauce).

I just thought if I shared what I do, you might get ideas for you. I know what it is like to get stuck in a rut.  But for me, I have found the way to not get into a rut with our meal planning, is to create exactly that:  a rut. Or more or less:  a system that repeats and keeps things simple and RELATIVELY healthy.

Here is how we roll for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and dessert:

Monday:  Oatmeal
Tuesday:  Eggs and Toast
Wednesday: Cereal
Thursday:  Eggs and Toast
Friday:  Oatmeal
Saturday:  Pancakes/Waffles/French Toast or Breakfast Burritos
Sunday:  Cereal

About once every other month, I will buy a bunch of yogurt, and sometimes bagels and cream cheese. Just for fun. It's a party--I tell you.

Note: If your child doesn't feel like eating oatmeal, then they are not hungry. They can wait until lunch.

  • Leftovers, or
  • Bean Burritos/Nachos/Tostadas/Quesadillas, or
  • PB Sandwiches with fresh fruit and veggies, or
  • Once per month: Homemade mac & cheese and/or hot dogs (treat)
  • If they’re lucky, I might have bought some ramen noodles (every 3-6 months)

If your child doesn't want the leftovers, or the bean burrito... again, they are NOT truly hungry. My children, and most likely yours, have never really known what true hunger feels like.  They don't have to eat. They can wait until the next meal.

  • Plain pretzels
  • Plain tortilla chips and salsa
  • Popcorn (that I pop in a pan)
  • Baby carrots or other fresh veggies
  • Fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Nutella fold-over sandwiches about twice a month (they have to “pay” for those in smooches and other nonsense)\
If a child is complaining they are hungry, but refuses one of the above snacks, they are not really hungry. They are bored. Give them chores to do.

12 Weeks of Dinners: (The first three weeks below is the menu as it is currently posted on my refrigerator)

You will notice a pattern, which is what makes it simple:
•    Sunday is leftovers day
•    One night is “sandwich” night
•    One night is “Mexican” night
•    One night is “pasta” night
•    One night is “soup” night
•    One night is “pizza” night
•    Which leaves one “wild card” night

Week 1:
Sunday:    Cold cut sandwiches with fixings, chips and dip, apples, oranges, carrots
Monday:  Chicken-bacon-ranch & biscuit casserole, peas
Tuesday: Nachos with salsa con queso, ground turkey, black beans, guacamole, & fixings
Wednesday:  Eggroll skillet with ramen
Thursday: Fish Tacos
Friday: Beef Barley Soup, biscuits, pumpkin pie
Saturday: Meatball Subs with marinara, French fries, green beans

Week 2:
Sunday:  Leftovers
Monday: Salmon patties, risotto, peas
Tuesday: Chicken Alfredo with broccoli, spinach, and carrots, garlic bread
Wednesday: Burritos and Tostadas
Thursday: Lasagna, Garlic bread
Friday: Red lentil/tomato soup, quesadillas
Saturday: Reuben sandwiches, onion rings, corn

Week 3:
Sunday:  Leftovers
Monday: Smoked sausage roasted with cabbage and red potatoes
Tuesday: Spaghetti, garlic bread
Wednesday: Baked chicken, baked potatoes, peas
Thursday: Enchilada casserole
Friday: Stromboli with marinara sauce
Saturday: Bratwurst, French fries, pickled beets, green beans

Week 4:
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Chili
Tuesday: Tuna Casserole
Wednesday:  Burritos/Tostadas
Thursday: Chicken Parmesan
Friday: Cheeseburgers, French fries, applesauce, corn
Saturday: Asian Chicken wraps

Week 5:
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Quiche
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Fajitas
Thursday: Chicken Noodles/Mashed Potatoes, green beans
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Lemon-pepper tilapia, risotto, peas

Week 6:
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Sloppy Joes, corn on the cob, onion rings, fruit
Tuesday: Sesame-ginger stir-fry with lo-mein
Wednesday: Tortilla Towers
Thursday: Homemade chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans
Friday: Stromboli
Saturday: Clam chowder, cheddar biscuits, salad

Week 7:
Sunday:  Leftovers
Monday: Polish sausage, roasted potatoes, beets, applesauce, green beans
Tuesday: Lasagna
Wednesday: Burritos/Tostadas
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Grilled cheese, tomato soup, green beans

Week 8:
Sunday:  Leftovers
Monday:  Patty melts, corn, French fries, fruit
Tuesday: Pasta alfredo with spinach, tomatoes, and ham
Wednesday: Enchiladas
Thursday: Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, corn
Friday: French bread pizza
Saturday: Potato-cheese-broccoli soup, salad

Week 9:
Sunday:  Leftovers
Monday: Tuna melt sandwiches, chips & dip, salad
Tuesday: Beef stroganoff, asparagus
Wednesday: Fish tacos
Thursday: Chicken wings, corn, fruit, French fries
Friday: Calzones
Saturday: Vegetable alphabet soup, corn bread

Week 10:
Sunday:  Leftovers
Monday: Baked philly cheese steaks, French fries, green beans
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Wednesday: Burritos/Tostadas
Thursday: Chicken and sausage jambalaya with black beans
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Chili

Week 11:
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Cheeseburgers, onion rings, applesauce, corn
Tuesday: Baked chicken/rice/lentil casserole, peas
Wednesday: Tamale casserole
Thursday: Baked ziti
Friday: Stromboli
Saturday: Chicken noodle soup, rolls

Week 12:
Sunday: Leftovers
Monday: Meatball subs
Tuesday: Tuna casserole
Wednesday: Thai-beef lettuce wraps
Thursday: Sausage alfredo with spinach
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Italian Wedding soup, french bread

This system makes filling out a weekly  menu quite simple.  I think it is so very reasonable to have a few simple choices for breakfasts and lunches (our grandparents ate the same thing EVERY morning!).

I have a master list that lists all the meals my family likes for each category:  Soups, sandwiches, pasta dishes, Mexican, and “other”. It is not a lengthy list.  I am looking at it right now. There are nine soups, twelve sandwiches, eight pasta dishes, seven Mexican dishes, and about 20 dishes in the “other” category (chicken pot pie, fried chicken, quiche, stir-fry, meatloaf, baked fish, etc.)

I don’t stress about finding new recipes. I don't have any cookbooks (not needed if you have the internet!). I have one card box that holds our favorite time-tested recipes. However, if I see a recipe that pops up in my FB news feed that fits in one of our categories and really sounds good, I may grab it and throw it on the menu for fun. If it works and everyone loves it, I will add it to the master list to be put into our rotation, and add the recipe to our card box.

And as for desserts:  Maybe--MAYBE-- once a month we will bake something.  With cereal, pancakes, PBJ, and occasional Nutella sandwiches around the house (not to mention us big ones drink sweet coffee), we don’t need any more in the way of sweets!  With eight of us here, holiday and birthday treats alone keep us well supplied with desserts!  Sometimes Breton and I will find a recipe we are dying to try… so we do.  And sometimes we will make muffins or donuts for a fun weekend treat. We don’t sweat the desserts at all!  If you live in America, you do not need to put sweets on your menu. You will get more than enough sugar anyway.

If you would like any of my recipes, please comment or email me! I will be happy to share them!