Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Dining Out Month

During the month of February each year we do a "no dining out" month.  We take a month off of eating "convenience food", and I spend the month being purposeful about cooking each meal at home.  The only two exceptions are my birthday and ministry.  Our purpose behind it all is to be reminded how blessed we are to have the option of indulging in dinners out with friends and family, or even just the convenience of ordering pizza last minute because of a long hard day with the boys and not "having time" to prepare dinner that night.  

One of the ways I prepared for this month is that I sat down and did an entire month's worth of menu planning.  YIKES!  It's definitely a challenge, but it was actually enjoyable this time around, thanks to the MANY new recipes I found on Pinterest!  I think I tried 3 or 4 new ones throughout the month, and they were all winners!
Sneak peak at my monthly menu planning for February

Another way that makes this month a little easier, is that I do a dinner swap with a friend who's family also does no dining out during the month of February.  She cooked on Tuesdays for her family and ours, and I cooked on Thursdays for our family and hers.  This definitely helped take out some of the stress!

One added challenge we had this month, was half way through the month we all caught the stomach bug.  Needless to say, we didn't cook or eat anything for a couple days, and the one night that we felt ok enough to try and eat, we did order Chinese.  That was our one mess up during the whole month, which I'm really sad to admit.

As I think about this past month, I walk away feeling blessed.  Blessed by the fact that we had food on our table, with plenty to spare, at each and every meal.  Our pantry is still full, as is our fridge and freezer.  And I also feel challenged.  Challenged to continue this no dining out as often as possible.  If we can do it for an entire month, why not continue it?  Why not continue to use our money more wisely, and be more intentional to eat more healthy? 

I also felt like through this challenge and also through the Moneywise table we are leading this month, that I have a refreshed and much needed perspective change in the sense that this money we have is not ours.  It all belongs to the Lord, and I need to continue asking myself, "is this something the Lord would have me purchase or spend HIS money on?" rather than approaching it with an entitlement outlook of, "I earned the right to go and eat out tonight, I had a really hard day today."  

And even though I had {A LOT OF} moments of temptation, I'm so thankful that I did not give in.  I feel like each year we do this challenge, it brings new insight and I walk away encouraged in a different way.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

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