Bi-Weekly Meal Plan for April 26–May 9

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Welcome to The Better Mom Whole Food Meal Plan.

featured recipe: No need to fear fish. This baked Cod with parsley almond pesto proves that fish can be absolutely delicious and super simple!

featured recipe: No need to fear fish. This baked Cod with parsley almond pesto proves that fish can be absolutely delicious and super simple!

Our free bi-weekly GF menus open into a convenient pdf that includes links to each of the gluten-free recipes featured making it easy to access them with just a simple click.

Once you click on the graphics below, you can easily save these gluten-free menus to your computer for easy access anytime you need them. Then, simply click on the links within the meal plan pdf to gain instant access to each of the recipes. (Please note: Many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf document. So be sure to save the meal plans to your computer first.)

April 26–May 2 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for April 26–May 2: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

May 3–9 GF Whole Food Meal Plan

Bi-Weekly Whole Food GF Meal Plan for May 3–9: (To print the meal plan provided below, simply click on the graphic  or click here and it will open a pdf into a new window for easier saving and printing. Remember, many mobile devices and tablets are not able to open links within a pdf. So save the meal plan to your computer first.)

In addition to the gluten-free meal plans above, we're pleased to provide you with a free meal planning template perfect for creating your own custom meal plans:
• Meal plan template PDF 

To learn more about meal planning, please check out my FREE Video Course: Mastering Meal Planning. My hope is that this will be a great resource and encouragement for you whether you’re just getting started with meal planning, or are a seasoned expert.

Always a treat to share healthy meals with you! Let’s give thanks to the Lord for providing us the opportunity to nourish our families in this way!

Joyfully Serving HIM, Kelly at The Nourishing Home

Dear Mom: It's OK to Set Boundaries with Your Children

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Sometimes moms need to set healthy boundaries. Communicating care and love for our children, but also setting limits and time for ourselves can be tricky. We're here to tell you, its ok!

I have been tucking children in the bed for years.

Years I tell ya.

It’s part of our nighttime norm and routine and I honestly get real satisfaction from fulfilling this duty and delight.

I used to tuck everybody in. Literally. All of my fantastic five.

I used to go around to all of the beds and shove the covers underneath the toes, shoulders and bottoms of each of one of the kids.

But then the girls got older.  Then they went off to college. 

Five tucks, prayers, and bedtime chats got reduced to three.

Three little boys that were now sleeping in a tri-bunk bed.

So now… the only one I could comfortably reach to tuck in the bed was the youngest of my children.

And I’ve been tucking him in faithfully.

I’ve prayed over all three of them faithfully too… but there was no way I was gonna tuck all three of them in when two of those little men were on a top bunk.

No way.

But after a few years of not receiving his “supertuck”, my almost 12 year old asked me to tuck him in.  Almost immediately after, his 10 year old brother asked for a “supertuck” too.

So, that night I tucked all three of those boys in.

I was exhausted.

They didn’t care that I was old or that I was hoping my back didn’t go out or that I was praying to God that I didn’t miss the step on the ladder on the way down.

That’s motherhood, doing lots of things we don’t want to do when we don’t want to do it, and giving our very life’s energy to accomplish what will bless our children.

But let me tell you something… that tri-tuck-in-the-bunk happened one time.

Cuz sometimes motherhood means you draw some boundary lines.

I announced to those precious little souls that as much as I would love to tuck them all in all the time, my precious little back wouldn’t be able to handle that and I intended to put them on rotation.

Yes.  That’s right.

Rotation.

One “supertuck” done for only one kid each night.

Cuz it’s okay if Mommy meets the needs of her kiddos AND meets her own needs as well.

Yes.  We are moms.

We save the world. We conquer laundry. We do dishes. We stay up late with teenagers and get up early with toddlers. We help with last-minute school projects and rescue adolescent girls from exaggerated make-up fiascos. We cheer on our sons at their 1,589th t-ball game when what we really want to do is fake a tummy-ache so we can stay home alone.

We are moms and we do a lot for our kids.

We should.

But this is me… telling you… that every now and again, it’s okay if you think about yourself.

It is healthy for your children to know that their dear mother can save their day but that she can also save herself.

And sometimes, in order to do that, you need to set a healthy boundary or two and tell your children what you can or cannot do, when you can or cannot do it, and how you will or will not attend to their needs.

So it’s okay if they bring their own laundry to the laundry room and learn to do their own laundry.  It’s perfectly fine to schedule one late night with your teens or make your toddlers wait ‘til you’ve finished your morning quiet time.  You are still a good mom if the project doesn’t win but you all got eight hours of sleep or if your daughter watches a makeup tutorial or two on You-tube while you give an encouraging nod in her direction as you read an encouraging blog from your own tablet, smartphone, computer. And if you miss one t-ball game, the world won’t end.

There is a fine line between selfless love and an unhealthy self-neglect.

Love your children.

Care for them well.

But, in the process, don’t forget to take love and take care of yourself a little too.

Blessings,

Chrystal 

Chrystal Hurst

Chrystal Hurst is writer, speaker, and worship leader in addition to serving as the chief executive operating officer in her home as a wife and mother of five. She is a self-proclaimed "geek" and bibliovore, who is actively seeking help for her addiction to Starbucks, sweet tea, and chocolate chip cookies. Chrystal is co-author of Kingdom Woman . She also blogs and podcasts regularly at Chrystal's Chronicles where she poignantly reflects her thoughts about her faith and day-to-day experiences. Chrystal firmly believes God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you…” and she desires to help others believe and apply that truth to their lives.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is BACK! {and better than ever}

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Friends I get soooo excited each year to share this fantastic deal with you!!!

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a complete library of carefully selected eBooks, eCourses, audios, online conferences, and printable packs designed to help you turn your house into a home

Here is an example of the huge value you are getting with this bundle: If you are realizing that there are natural ways to help your children when they are sick (essential oils, etc.) and are interested in learning how to have a healthy home then you are on the same track as me. These courses are a fantastic way to learn all you need to know about helping you and your family stay healthy...the natural way. And....these courses, A Parent's Guide to Natural Remedies and The Healthy Home eCourse have a combined value of almost $200!

Woah! 

And...there are so many more educational resources included, all for only $29.97!!

Here are some of the other topics that are covered in this bundle (I LOVE how there are eBooks/Courses to help you grow personally as a mother/wife/homemaker, as well as some wonderful eBooks to help your children grow in their faith and have some fun learning):

  • Motherhood… find peace, balance & joy in mothering
  • Devotionals and Faith… take a break from the daily grind to renew yourself
  • Cleaning… create a healthy, toxin-free home
  • DIY/Homemade… fun and frugal ways to express your personal style
  • Finances… build a budget that works
  • Cooking & Meal Planning… serve easier, tastier meals in less time
  • Holidays & Special Events… brighten up old family traditions and create new
  • Schooling … fabulous resources for your little ones
  • Marriage… heat up your marriage
  • Organizing… conquer the clutter and simplify your life
  • Pregnancy & Babies… enjoy a healthy pregnancy and prepare to nurture your baby
  • Health & Wellness… soothe aches & pains with natural remedies
  • Working from Home… hone your talents, live your passions and earn money to help your family

… a complete library of 99 eBooks and eCourses to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships.

Is the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle worth it?

In a word… yes!

This collection is a fraction of the price of what someone would pay for each resource individually!

For a short time, the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle… a complete library of:

  • 76 eBooks
  • 6 eCourses
  • 1 audio download
  • 2 online conferences, and
  • 14 printable packs

…99 carefully selected resources designed to help you nurture the beauty and productivity in your home and family relationships… is only $29.97. (A total value of $984.74.)

That breaks down to 30 cents per book.

Your 30-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason, you decide that the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is not for you, then please send an email to customerservice@Ultimate-Bundles.com and we will refund 100% of your investment. No questions asked.

Fabulous Bonuses…

Of course, no Ultimate Homemaking Bundle would be complete without the generous, inspiring gifts donated by companies that understand homemakers like you. Every gift is yours to keep and enjoy.

  • Choose 1 FREE Online Class from Craftsy (Select from 24 of Their Most Popular Classes – Up to $60 Value)
  • 1 FREE Kids Discovery Box from Green Kid Crafts ($19.95 Value)
  • FREE $15 Credit to Hope Ink PLUS 2 FREE 8×10 Art Prints ($71 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day “Good Deal” Subscription to She Plans Dinner ($15 Value)
  • Choose 1 FREE Stylish Spring Scarf from Deborah & Co. ($20 Value)
  • FREE $80 Healthy Moving Class Credit ($80 Value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt ($30 Value)
  • FREE 65 Tyndale Rewards Points to Be Used for a FREE Book or Towards Any Book of Your Choice ($15 Value)

Now It’s Your Turn

 The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle will only be available from 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, April 20 until 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, April 27.

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Hope you love it!!

Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk

Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

DISCLOSURE: There are affiliate links included in this post. Please see full disclosure here.


Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been serving in local church ministry for nearly fifteen years.

A Great Fiction Series for Your Tween/Teen {giveaway}

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Finding a good fiction series for your teenager can be difficult. There are so many options out there, but very few that weave compelling content with deep meaning. I was so excited to recently find a newer series that did just this!

The Jack Staples series by Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark is fantastic! My son Tyler read the first book in the series and was begging for more! He has now read the first two and can hardly wait for the third which releases in June 2015. 

Here is a description of the first book in the series, Jack Staples and the Ring of Time:

"Eleven-year-old Jack's ordinary life is upended when mysterious creatures attack his hometown and he is whisked into a fantastical adventure filled with danger at every turn.

Jack learns that most live in a shadow of the world, their vision blinded by invisible scales that have covered human eyes since the beginning of time. But the Awakened experience the world as it truly is, where war rages between good and evil—and Jack is at the heart of it. The Awakened are searching for The Child of Prophesy who will both save the world and destroy it. When Jack joins in their epic battle he must learn to trust his friends and face his fears if he is to make his life count."

My endorsement: Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark do a fantastic job of captivating the reader in the Jack Staples series, giving them way more than just a story! There are deep truths and meanings to be discovered along the way. With very few fiction series options to engage our children this is a refreshing find! 

To grab a copy today for your child:

Jack Staples and the Ring of Time
By Mark Batterson, Joel N. Clark
Jack Staples and the City of Shadows
By Mark Batterson, Joel N. Clark
Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm
By Mark Batterson, Joel N. Clark

We would love to share this series with you!

We are giving away 3 copies of the first book in the series, Jack Staples and the Ring of Time!

Enter to win in the rafflecopter below! 


Blessings,

Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been serving in local church ministry for nearly fifteen years.

What to Do When Your Marriage is Falling Apart

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Marriage is hard but it doesn't have to be impossible. Maybe your marriage is going great or maybe like so many others your marriage is a mess. My friend please please please read this...if your marriage is falling apart there is help and hope for you!

Marriage is hard but it doesn't have to be impossible. 

A few years ago, we moved into a quaint and modest three-bedroom brick house. Built in the 1920s, it’s a beautiful home for its age, but it also has its bumps and bruises. Like anything, time takes its toll. But it has, and still, endures.

If you have ever bought anything new, you know it doesn’t take long to develop cracks, rust, dents, dings, and a long list of other imperfections. Whatever is new eventually starts to fall apart.

Marriage is no exception.

I am a pastor’s wife. Being in ministry, we have had the joy of seeing many couples enter into marriage excited and hopeful for their new life together. We love to see God using couples to glorify Him in their marriage and in their family. But like anything else, many marriages that begin well, don’t always continue (or end) well.

There are all sorts of reasons for breakdown in marriage: Everything from something as serious as infidelity, to something as simple as poor communication. 

You might be reading this today and your marriage may be struggling. Perhaps you feel like the brokenness is too much and you feel like you can’t go on. Maybe you feel like there is just no hope.

Don’t give up! God is a builder and He loves to restore what feels like it’s crumbling down. While there is so much that could be said, as we open this conversation let me offer four simple ways you can help build hope back into your marriage today.

1. Pray- I am reminded of Nehemiah’s response when he heard the news that the walls of Jerusalem were destroyed. Not only were the walls falling apart, so were God’s people. His response? He began to pray (Nehemiah 1:3-4)! Pray for a new and soft heart (whether for you or your spouse). Confess where there is sin. In all things, take your neediness to the God who can do all things.  Be patient and persistent in prayer. It is God’s power, and not our own, that restores.

2. Open Your Bible and Read – God’s Word is life, nourishment, and a light for our path (Psalm 119). Without it, we not only spiritually starve we also stumble through the darkness. During difficult seasons, it is tempting to follow your feelings. Like a blind guide, they can often lead you into more trouble. More than how we feel, we need to keep coming back to the truth of what God says. Dig into His Word, seek His wisdom, and cling to His promises.

3. Seek Help from Your Pastor or a Counselor – While we can learn so much from so many great sites and books with helpful and biblical advice, that is not meant to replace belonging to a local church. We have seen many marriages that could have been helped had a couple humbled themselves to ask. By God’s grace, we have seen so many relationships restored through the guidance of an outside voice (a pastor or Christian counselor). While it’s not always easy to admit there is a problem, your marriage is worth it!

4. Protect Your Intimacy – If you are struggling in your marriage, you will likely be tempted to emotionally or relationally confide in someone who is not your spouse. Your heart will be drawn to someone who you perceive to be caring and compassionate. Don’t do it! In Mark 10:9, Jesus warns us not to let anyone separate what God has joined together. So build a protective wall around your marriage. Confide in a Godly person of the same gender who will offer you the friendship and wisdom you really need.

Maybe you or a friend needs the permission to ask for help today! We have to stand together and reach out to our brothers and sisters who are in need of God's healing touch upon their marriage. Let's do this ladies! Let's fight for our marriages!

Blessings,

 

 

 

For several great resources on strengthening your marriage check out The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle by clicking HERE...or below.

Ruth Schwenk

Ruth Schwenk is the creator of The Better Mom, and along with her husband, the creator of For the Family. She is a pastor’s wife, mom of four energetic kids, a lover of coffee, and dreamer of big dreams. She loves leading, speaking, and blogging. Ruth is the co-author of two forthcoming books with Zondervan. A graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, Ruth and her husband have been serving in local church ministry for nearly fifteen years.

Embracing Each Season in Motherhood

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EmbracingMotherhood

Throughout my life one of the things I’ve struggle with most is embracing the season I am currently in. As a little girl, I remember dreaming of the day I would be in high school, and then in my youth, I dreamed of my wedding day. As I reflect on my life, one thing has been true of me at every stage. I always wanted to be in the season ahead of where I was.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” Jim Elliot

This statement has traveled with me since my college days, and has been a convicting exhortation to embrace in each season of my life.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Kids grow up so fast, enjoy them while they are young” about a million times. And if you are like me, you’ve probably even come to resent this statement at one point or another.

Some seasons can be a struggle. When you don’t feel good, you’re pregnant, and in the midst of dirty diapers, walking like a zombie after a week of nursing babes and taking care of sick toddlers it’s easy to feel like this season will never end. And all you want is OUT! You can begin to feel like a failure, like you have gotten lost somewhere in the midst of motherhood. Enjoy them while they are young?

Many assume that because we have six children, and one on the way, we have always wanted a lot of children, or that I must really love kids. Truth be told, I am not naturally a kid person, but I love our children and am thankful for each of them. In the five years I spent pregnant and eight years I spent nursing, God has definitely refined me and He still is. I laughingly tell ladies that I didn’t really embrace the baby/toddler season until my fifth baby! It wasn’t until about seven years ago that I really began delighting in and embracing the season of life God had placed me in and chose to enjoy it.

I remember the days when I had five kids, seven years old and under. Going to run basic errands was a huge feat by myself, and Costco wasn’t even an option in the play book. But now that my oldest is just a few years from graduating, seasons have shifted again, revealing new lessons to learn for all of us. That season that I once felt so entrapped by, is the one I look on with such fondness. Yes, there were difficult seasons, and there still are, but instead of desiring to be in the next season, I find myself with a renewed perspective of embracing where God has me.

EverySeason

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man. Ecc. 3:11-13

I have become convinced of one thing in reflecting on my struggle to embrace each season in my life. That when I focus on myself, my perspective becomes blurred, and any vision I had for purposefulness becomes lost. It’s in those moments of weakness where I am tempted to try to do more. My heart yearns to serve God, and sometimes in the midst of this season of child raising I am tempted to feel like I am not doing enough for Him.

If I may, I want to urge you sisters, who are in the young motherhood season, to be careful not to commit to too many activities outside your home during this season. It is more difficult to disciple and teach your children if you are running about. Don’t feel guilty for not being involved in a lot of activities, or even ministries.

One day, as I was pulling my car over to nurse a screaming baby, I saw my other two toddlers napping in the car on the way home after having been at church for the fourth time that week for bible study, and ministry meetings. I remember feeling overwhelmed, and like, if I kept going at the pace I was, I might be sacrificing the legacy I was dreaming of--a vision God had placed in my heart. And in the moment, on the side of the road, as I was listening to a cassette tape on Seasons in a Woman’s Life, the speaker urged me, the young mom to focus first on my home. It’s the only thing I remember from that talk, but it changed everything and set the course for the next 10 years.

God never calls us to any ministry at the sacrifice of our first jurisdictions. 

If we are meant to do it, it might be hard, and we may face opposition, but it will also enhance our other relationships and our main priorities, never sacrifice them.

So here is the test, in every season: to choose joy and embrace the season we are in. And recognize that our roles, relationships, mistakes, or even our failures and sins don’t define us. When we focus on Christ and why we are here, our perspective changes and our eyes are opened to see the incredible opportunity He has given us to nurture and train a few of His children for the plans He has made for them! What an exciting call, to make disciples.

Let’s pray together,
Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to partner with you in bringing forth life and for the privilege to raise our children for You. Help us not to lose sight of that calling. When we struggle with embracing the season we are in, would you gently remind us that you have us where you want us for our own good. Help us to choose joy in the midst of any circumstance and season. Amen.

How are you doing at embracing the season you are in?

Your Sister in the Journey,   Angie 

Angie Tolpin

Angie has been married to Isaac for 15 years and they have six children ranging from 4 to 14, with one on the way. They have just moved to Central Oregon, after living on their small hobby vineyard for the last decade. She is the author of Redeeming Childbirth, and writes on Leaving a Legacy through marriage, motherhood, and mentoring at her blog. She is releasing her first online study, The Quiet Fight Between Women: Redeeming the Division & Cultivating Unity Spring 2015! She loves redeeming social media for the glory of God and you can find her @AngieTolpin.