Managing a Family and a Meal Ministry...

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One question that I get quite often is "Janelle, how do you manage a meal ministry and take care of your own family?"

My Answer. The Lord's grace, plenty of practice, and a few tricks I've learned along the way...

  1. Plan Ahead. I typically cook one full meal one time a week for another family. When I'm writing up my grocery list, I plan on purchasing double the amount of that chosen meal on my grocery shopping day. {I try to grocery shop early in the morning or late at night so the children can stay at home with Dad}.
  2. Stock up on throw-away containers. Having these on hand make life so much easier. When it's time to wrap up the meal to deliver, you won't be fumbling around the kitchen trying to find dishes you won't mind giving away. Make sure to purchase these at a dollar store or at GFS. Your local grocery store will have them, but they are incredibly marked up.
  3. Prep in the morning. While the children are eating breakfast, I prep the meal. This saves TONS of time during the peak hours right before dinner! I make up salads, desserts, chop veggies, and marinate meats....I work quicker in the morning, so it really doesn't seem to take up much time at all! I'm in the kitchen chatting with the children as they eat and watch me work.  Rice and veggies made up in the morning and refrigerated. That evening, I stir fry it together with wok oil, soy sauce, and garlic! The prep work makes it so much quicker during the busiest time of the day. Desserts made in the morning carve off a ton of time in the evening. {Prep veggies ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until read to use.}
  4. Deliver first, keep your meal warm. I typically deliver meals around 5:00 so that I can be back to serve my family around 6:00. I cover casseroles and place them in the oven set to the lowest heat. I also cover pots and pans and keep their burners on warm. Serving my family is my first blessing...I would never not give to my family what I give to others. It's nice to come home and relax to a warm meal with my family.    
  5. Involve the children. I want my children to see their mom living out the Proverbs 31 life, but I don't want them to feel as though they are in the way. It's very common to come in and see one of my little ones cracking eggs, stirring sauces, and helping me crush dessert toppings. They also love delivering meals with me {often times they know the children of the families!}. I want them to be there with me to see God's work in action...to see how joyful it can be to serve others on God's behalf. I also want them to know how to cook for themselves...this will be a blessing when they're adults.

My two girls and my ninja helping measure flour.

So, you see managing a meal ministry while raising a family is not only possible, but also a joy and blessing if you are called to do it! Don't lose heart....with the Lord's blessing, time management, and practice, anyone who enjoys the art of cooking can do this while raising a family.

Blessings,

Janelle, Comfy in the Kitchen