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Sometimes, you just have to give yourself grace… and order Subway! :)

You know how I ran a guest post all about the benefits of menu-planning last week? Well, I totally dropped the ball on menu-planning for the first two days of this week.

I had all these great visions of maybe doing an Eat From the Pantry Week and blogging about it. But I didn’t make it very far with that idea–especially after I opened my fridge and freezer and found no motivation whatsoever to pull together meals.

In fact, for the sake of complete honesty here, I’ll tell you I’ve not showered in two days nor have I made it out of my pajamas. (You will be very happy to know that I did change into another set of pajamas, so at least I had clean pajamas on, if that counts for something! :))

There were some delays with our flights coming back from Relevant and we didn’t end up making it home until after 9 p.m. on Sunday evening. So my plans for getting things unpacked, laundry started, and a to-do list made for Monday morning went straight out the window.

I slept in on Monday in an attempt to catch up on multiple nights of little sleep, got up late, and then Monday was a blur of playing catch-up and homeschooling. I had an idea for dinner, but 5 p.m. came and went without me pulling anything out of the freezer to thaw.

So guess what I did? Oh yes, I know it goes against everything I’ve preached here again and again… but I called Jesse and asked if he could pick up Subway.

I know, you probably just fell out of your chair. But it’s true.

And I decided I wasn’t even going to feel guilty about it. Instead, I enjoyed the yummy sub and decided to switch Friday night’s usual dinner out for Monday and call it even. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do and give yourself grace for doing it, instead of feeling like a failure.

However, I did make myself pull together a last-minute menu plan for the rest of the week this afternoon so that I actually had a plan at 5 p.m. tonight! Here’s my very simple menu plan for this week:


Granola bars
Cereal x 2
Steel Cut Oats with dried cranberries
Pumpkin Ginger Waffles
Toasted bagels, scrambled eggs


Hard-boiled eggs, pasta, peas
Carrots, hard-boiled eggs, granola bars
PB&J, carrot sticks, apple slices
Macaroni & Cheese, applesauce
Tossed salad hard-boiled eggs, feta cheese, and dried cranberries
Leftovers x 2


Chocolate Banana Bread
Cheese & Crackers


Subway 🙂
Barbecue Chicken, potatoes, steamed veggies
Chicken Parmesan Casserole, Easy Italian Breadsticks in the Bread Machine, fruit salad
Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake, steamed veggies, fruit
Cheese Ravioli, leftover breadsticks, fruit salad
Dinner at extended family’s house
Dinner with friends (we’re bringing a fruit salad)

Freezer Cooking

Pumpkin Ginger Waffles
Homemade Applesauce
Cheesy Chicken & Rice Bake

What’s on your menu this week? Share details and/or your link to your menu plan in the comments.

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  • Caroline says:

    Good for you! Sometimes rest is needed over sticking to a routine…I can only imagine how tired you have been after your busy weekend!

  • There’s nothing wrong with a little Subway every once in a while 😉

  • Abbie says:

    LOL! I love it.

  • Gretchen says:

    Around here it’s chicken noodle soup (with winter squash chunks) to cure the cold bug Mommy caught at Relevant and is trying not to share with the rest of the family!

  • katey says:

    Ahem… Subway is better than frozen pizza….although I got stuck in Cleveland and didn’t get home until Monday….that’s my story 🙂

  • Stefanie says:

    Nothing wrong with that! Just goes to show, things don’t always go as planned..and that’s okay, because that’s life! 🙂

  • Momma Hen says:

    Kudos! We all have moments like that.

  • jennyandcompany says:

    Absolutely! Every hard working mama deserves a break to just breath for a minute, and then I always feel motivated again. It doesn’t do anyone any good for us to be running around frantically trying to “do it all.”

  • Everyone has days like that. (-: I know that I do!

    My sister & I worked really hard last week making 12 delicious freezer meals. We made bunches of soups, and actually ended up with quite a few meals for each family. We each have four kids, so we made 10 times the amount the the recipe called for. It was great!! We spent $114 each, plus used food that we had on hand and now have over 70 organic, healthy whole food meals each. I am so excited!! This is such a busy time of year, that I know this will be a huge help. Plus, with all of the unhealthy food this time of year, I am really excited that I will have healthy ready to go meals for my family. (-:

    Here is a link to my post with all of the meals that we made and froze:

    Hope that you have a great week, and rest up!

    • Autumn says:

      Wow, Good for you. That’s making me really want to plan a whole day doing the same. Thanks for sharing. And it’s all organic and healthy too. Yay

  • I can totally hear you telling this story. LOL! I think we’re suffering from Relevant hangover. I’ve been living in my jammies and enjoying two quiet days at home. Ahhhhh! I did actually manage to fix food, but it was super easy – Poor Man’s Pizza and Mini Meatloaves. Ha!

    • Rachel says:

      Crystal, Myra-
      We had Subway yesterday too! ha! 😀
      I totally hear ya! 🙂 Relevant hangover sums it up- a weekend of friends, great and inspiring words, more books than you can shake a fist at and all the chocolate that can be consumed in a few short days has left me exhausted. I only just got back my energy today! {I hope to freezer cook tomorrow~we’ll see!}

  • Melanie says:

    Yes, we all need to quit the guilty feelings. It is ok. I’ve had plenty of days with no motivation or plan to prepare dinner. Glad you got to have Subway! Glad you made it home safely Crystal. 🙂

  • Shelli says:

    Glad to hear that you are human 😉 . Gives me (totally not a type A personality, but wishing I was) hope because it seems like you always have it perfectly together! Thanks for sharing!

  • Stacie says:

    It makes me happy to hear you’ve been in pajamas for the past two days….I have too! I just haven’t found the motivation, and I’m trying to keep up (or catch-up)!!

    Grace to you! 🙂

  • Karoline says:

    I am just happy to learn that you actually own 2 pairs of pajamas! 🙂

  • I love pajama days! I wish I could have them more often. I still think it’s funny that when I’m trying to decide on whether or not to take a shower, I think about the last time I took a shower. If I can remember, then I usually think it’s okay to pass, if I can’t, then that’s a sure sign that I need to. I can’t believe this is my mindset sometimes! 🙂 Here’s our menu plan (& shopping) for the week:

  • Becky says:

    Yay, you’re a normal human being lol. Better Subway than McDonald’s. And yes ditto Karoline. 2 pairs of pj’s – that’s like a third of your daytime wardrobe, right?

  • I love pajama days! I hope this doesn’t post twice. Here is our menu plan & shopping for the week:

  • Kristine says:

    We all have those days–or weeks–sometimes. Sometimes I just have to take a break from cooking and planning. 🙂

  • WICK says:

    Guilt from Subway? You should see a plate of my microwave nachos. Mmmmmmmm. 🙂

  • Nicole@Mealr says:

    Giving yourself some honest grace is a VERY good thing. 🙂

  • Becky says:

    You are only human! I’m glad you didn’t feel guilty – I recently did that and also decided not to feel guilty. There were times when I would beat myself up for something like that, but you have to cut yourself some slack! 🙂

  • Rachel says:

    Ah, Crystal.

    I come to your blog for the deals and good ideas, but I love you for these posts! I’m all the more amazed at the things that you DO accomplish when I get to see that you really and truly are human too. 🙂

  • Johnlyn says:

    Here’s my limited grains/primal menu:

    I don’t think I’ve ever “planned” on buying fast food, but this week I’m picking up a pizza for the kiddos. Feels strange to write it down on paper, but a little bit freeing too.

    I’m glad you are getting your rest Crystal!

  • Denise says:

    Thank you SO much for being real!! I have SO many days when I’m not supermom, superwife, superwoman or super- anything! I’m sure you were a little frustrated at how it all played out, but it’s a real encouragment, not just to hear your story, but to hear that it’s ok sometimes! Thanks again!

  • tonya says:

    What is the big deal about Subway? Are you not allowed a spontaneous meal once in a blue moon?

  • So glad to know that happens to someone else occasionally–only we usually get the $5.00 pizzas from a local restaurant. 🙂

    Here’s our Budget Menu for the week:
    and here is my daughter’s gluten free menu:

  • I certainly have nights like this! (More often than I’d like.)

    I was thankful that some of the easy meals I’d purchased were still around after Relevant. We had fish sticks last night!

  • Katie says:

    Now you know how we “work-outside-the-home-moms” feel! I somtimes work 3 12-hr shifts in row and that feels like I’ve been gone for 3 days; I need a day to recover! Seriously, I love reading all your posts. I get great tips and encouragement!

  • Sakura Gallegos says:

    A little Subway never hurt anyone! Good for you!!

  • Kate says:

    Haha, last night I had a super migraine & lots of homework to do (remind me not to take 9 credit hours in 8 weeks next term!), so I fed my 3 kids oatmeal and told my husband to find something for himself (he found PB&J)! I did not hear one complaint, so I’m wondering if the kids preferred that type of dinner! 🙂

  • su says:

    Well, u just eased my mind about the fact that after the dentist last night I stopped and bought chicken for dinner…I just wasn’t in the mood to start cooking late and getting the kids to bed even later.

    Again, God is in all the things we do. You posted and I needed to see it.

    Have a great day.

  • Joy Y. says:

    Sometimes the thing I need to remember, is not just to extend grace to others, but to extend it to myself as well…..

    Our meal plan this week for our family of 7…nourishing, budget-friendly, and tasty!



  • Life happens and sometimes it requires take out to get through out. I figure it’s better to have take out as a family than to do a fend for yourself where we don’t sit down together (even though does happen too!)

    Any time we’re away from home it takes a little bit to get caught up – hope you get there soon 🙂

    Here’s our menu plan – pretty easy week for me.

  • Mom's Plans says:

    Thanks for keeping it real! No one should fault you; it sounds like you had a very busy weekend. 🙂

    Here is our plan for the week:

  • I have the same thing happen to mel- I look around & just don’t see anything I want to make! Hope you get lots of rest- it sounds like a busy week!

  • Sarah says:

    In an effort to avoid Halloween festivities at the grocery store over the weekend, my grocery shopping route was thrown all out of whack. I have had no plans for dinners and dwindling pantry supplies. I tried to figure out something to do for dinner starting at about 2pm yesterday, and by 5pm I had totally given up. The kids had cheese quesadillas and veggies, my husband had leftovers, and I finally ate some oatmeal at 9:30. I’m eager to get to the store and get my act together for the rest of the week, but I have to wait on a business delivery to sign for. Who knows if it will even be here today??

  • Alicia says:

    Love that you ‘keep it real’ here. No harm done.

  • Debbie says:

    I think I love you even more now! lol Sometimes we just need to just relax, rest and chill. Good for you! 🙂

  • MK Jorgenson says:

    So I’m beginning to believe you might not be part robot after all…but just because you had Subway one time after a crazy day won’t make me abandon the theory totally 😉

  • Heather says:

    Okay – you just helped me a LOT on a decision for next week. We are flying out to Orlando at dinner time. I don’t want to buy expensive airport food and try to carry it on the plane. I thought about packing sandwiches but the boys eat sandwiches for their lunch at school. Now I know what I am doing……….ordering Subway and bringing that on the plane for dinner. Perfect! 🙂 Thanks! (and that chicken and cheese bake sounds delicious -I have to try that!)

    • nicole says:

      You could always go away from the norm for dinner and do lots of little baggies of finger foods. 🙂 Veggies, fruits, cubed/sliced meats and cheeses. Like a sandwhich only without the bread. Now sure how old your boys are but mine are 6 and 4 and would think it was a blast getting to eat with their fingers, and on an airplane to boot! Have fun!

      • Heather says:

        Might work for my 11 year old son but probably not the 17 and 14 year old. They eat like 3 or 4 men right now …….crazy hungry all the time and growing like weeds (the two teens are well over six feet and still growing like weeds!) Still a fun idea – thanks for sharing!

  • Nisrine says:

    I am just amazed at how much you get accomplished and the energy that you have to get it all done most times.
    I ended up ordering Pizza for Halloween as well even though I HAD a menu plan but no time to get to the grocery store.
    Here is my menu plan for this week:

  • Thanks for your honesty Crystal! It looks like you had an amazing weekend at the Relevant Conference! 🙂

    We all have had those weeks! Our family did a lot of traveling this summer and I felt like I was constantly packing and unpacking while trying to squeeze in the normal activities, time with the family, time with friends, and work in while we were home.

    I have learned to be thankful for the opportunities we have to travel and a schedule that can be flexible enough to get Subway one night. You don’t do it every week so every once in awhile it’s a special treat. We are only human and time catching up with your kids was more important than a fancy homemade meal. Welcome Back! 🙂

  • That’s what I affectionately call “loose meal planning” that allows for hiccups in our days. Glad you had a profitable conference and arrived back to your family safely!

    Our Food Allergy Home meal plan for this week:

  • Katie says:

    Good for you! Sometimes you need to break the rules 😉 Thanks for being honest!

    (No I didn’t fall out of my chair, 😉 we’ve done the same thing. Sometimes you just need a break 😉

  • Steph says:

    That Chicken Parm Bake looks incredible! Thank you for posting the link!

  • I haven’t had a day in my jammies in forever . . . now I’m envious because it sounds so wonderful! And a day in pajamas AND Subway? Life can’t get much better than that. 🙂

  • Lizybeth says:

    I love your complete honesty, but even more impressive is how you give yourself grace for being human! Thank you for sharing that even YOU struggle with staying on top of things sometimes. 🙂

  • Nothing wrong with that!

    Where we live, bringing home dinner isn’t really an option, so I have to have a plan! But, I’m glad you could do that and then just relax!

    We’re having a few new meals this week, all gluten free: Grandma’s taco soup (yum!), Baked Taquitos (also yum!), Salsa meatloaf (ehhh…not so good), plus more:

  • Tonya says:

    Wasn’t the conference held in Harrisburg? I was wondering if you made it back on time after the snowstorm we got here in Pennsylvania (and on up through New England). It was a mess!

  • Cindy Browning says:

    Thanks for the honesty! Made me laugh! Been there, done that!

  • rachael says:

    So, how do I say this…..sometimes I leave your site totally depressed. I love this site because of all the tips, ideas and deals. However, sometimes I leave thinking, “good grief, she’s perfect. She has the perfect house, perfect wardrobe, perfect budget, perfect snacks, perfect games for her kids, perfect meals both in the freezer and on the table….etc” And I turn around and look and my messy house and yes, I’m depressed. So, THANK YOU for showing us you ARE human and occasionally eat fast food and stay in your pjs – and are somewhat like the rest of us. (however, I still want to be just like you when I grow up. :)) And yes, I’m still in my pajamas as I type this. LOL! =D

    • Meredith says:

      I actually used to feel depressed when I left this site. I realized one day that my personality is totally different than Crystals. We also have different kids, different religions, different husbands, different food likes, different diets, different cities, etc. I could go on and on. Yet, I find myself coming back for the tips, deals, and to be inspired to bring my perfect in my different life.

  • Jodi says:

    So what you are really telling us is that you are human???

  • Ania says:

    It is a break well earned – the Relevant recap and photo’s turned out great and you did an awesome job with putting the tables together. Im sure all of your readers wish we were there – but your continued hard work and great posts are an inspiratiion to us all. Keep up the great work and Congratulations on the relsease of your book – we wish you much success and many blessings.

  • Ashley - Embracing Beauty says:

    I LOVE you! I thought I was the only one who occasionally skipped a shower and lived in pjs. I really feel a such a relief. It’s nice to know that other people have days like I do. Give grace to yourself…I love that! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Blaire Ruch says:

    It takes a SUPER woman to be real about how the day is going, to listen to your body, to take into account how atypical things have been with being out of town, and to sense what is best for your family at that moment. So glad you give yourself grace! AND, by switching your normal Friday dinner out to Monday, you really didn’t even affect your dining out budget anyways! Now, if you start going into NEXT week’s dining out budget tonight… 😉 preaching to myself here too! just ask my husband!

  • Bri says:

    Amen! Take-out can sometimes be an answer to prayers. Not to mention, I think you hold yourself to a standard that few people do with your menu planning, goals, homeschooling, blogging, etc. Remember, it’s okay to take a moment and just eat take-out in your pjs. We all do!

  • I love you, Crystal! I’m another member of the PJs-and-Subway club. 😀

  • Nope! I didn’t fall out of my chair…but I did give you a virtual “high five”. The reality of our lives, our schedules, our goals and our missions is that flexiblity is often called for. Otherwise it is rigid and who wants that? We all operate best on our beaten paths and yours is structured and organized. I find the times I have to be flexible and deviate a bit, I am then even more focused and intent on the things that help me and my family do what we do. Grace sums it up and we too often are the last ones to offer up to ourselves.

    And for the record. I grabbed a quick shower this morning after 3 days…(hubby out of town…)

  • SandyH says:

    All the good feelings you get from being perfectly on track go right out the window if you let yourself get down over an occassional sandwich out. It is NOT a big deal in the scheme of things. Life happens. And part of being a happy and productive mom is realizing that!

    You do great!

  • Evie says:

    We had a fundraiser at Panda Express on Monday, plus a harvest party. I personally do not like Panda Express, but Monday was SOOOO crazy busy that I gave in and got Panda. We were also wiped from speaking at church on Sunday, so my son got McDonald’s for dinner on Sunday. I just did not have the energy to fight him. So a subway night is perfect.

    Here is my menu

  • I love to see that you give yourself the time that you need to regroup. We all need those kinds of days! I hope the rest of your week goes smoothly.

    We are trying your Green Rice Casserole as a side for tacos. I’m so excited!

  • Patti says:

    Maybe it is my age ( over 50 ) but it makes me sad to think anyone would feel guilty if their meal plan goes out the window or their kitchen has clutter. Life is much more than being perfect or a “good little girl”. Take it from a daughter of a perfectionist…we don’t look back and are happy that our homes were spotless or our meals were presented like a magazine cover. We wish our Moms had been real.

  • Colette says:

    It just proves that you are human, and hey, I’m sure the kids enjoyed the little change of pace as well! Thank God for Subway, right? 🙂

  • Kathy says:

    I love it! We did the same thing the other night – thank goodness for $5.00 footlongs!! (And so thankful that our kids actually eat Subway…yess!)

  • ashley turner says:

    wow that sounds like me this week! moving hit me hard 🙂 ran out of freezer food. 🙂
    That chicken parm looks great! I am putting it on next weeks menu

  • Carrie says:

    If you didn’t have days like that, no one would believe you were an honest person.

    I find it shocking that someone would even consider feeling guilty about Subway. For eating out, it’s a fairly good value (when you order the $5 footlongs) and it’s not horrible for you.

    I allow myself off the hook once a week and try my hardest on the other days. I really feel like we can’t be super women ALL of the time. 95% of the time will do! 😛

  • Sharon says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing:)

  • Jen says:

    If I were to not make dinner at all for days in a row, I might start to feel a little guilty I guess. But one night of subway? Sounds like life to me!

  • Crystal says:

    I am trying to do a lot of recipes from the Taste of Home Freezer Pleasers cookbook this week. I like that I can cook dinner for us as normal and then freeze the other meal that I make.

  • beth says:

    Hi there, are you going to half the chicken parm recipe? Seems like alot of food?

  • Elizabeth says:

    When I’m feeling guilty about not providing a healthy homemade dinner my husband always says we eat great almost every night so not to worry about it.
    Subway’s a great choice. Much, much healthier (depending on the sub) than many other fast food/take home meals.
    We do our best, so we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over not meeting our own expectations.

  • Lucky says:

    We got pizza on Monday night because my chili was still frozen solid at dinner time. It was worth it though because my son was so excited (he even gave the delivery man some trick or treat candy when he came to the door).

    Those waffles sound great.

    Here’s my menu:

  • I love that but I’m seriously jealous of the getting to stay in PJ’s part. I think that is going to be one of my new goals for 2012. Stay in PJ’s all day. 🙂
    Here is our menu plan.’s-menu-plan-1030/

  • Lisa Krol says:

    Girl you amaze me! I keep telling my husband about all that you accomplish each week. I can’t seem to get my house cleaned…let alone blog, grocery shop, and keep it all going. You are inspiring!

  • Angelina Triplett says:

    Did you at least use your subway card for future savings? When I have a day like that I stop at Krogers (across the street from subway) pick up a gift card so I can get fuel points. Double savings while killing your budget! 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Thank you, thank you for “keeping it real”. I look at your schedule and wonder how on earth you do all you do. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to share!

  • Jen says:

    Thanks for keeping it real! And for your honesty. I love the PJ’s and showering part. Sometimes we just can’t get around to the basics of life, and that’s ok! 🙂

  • Heidi says:

    Thanks for your honesty! Loved hearing about calling your hubby to pick up subs! We, as moms, need to embrace flexibility & grace! (:

  • Angela says:

    It’s good to know that I am not the only mom that just has to pause. I thought I was the only one that did that.
    I also read the posts about being depressed. I will say that I felt funny being here because I must work and my job is stable and secure and I have lots of opportunity for advancement so I can’t quit, we wouldn’t survive financially. So it is hard reading these sites if you are career woman who has to work. But, I try to do the best I can. I wish there was a site for women like me.

    • Crystal says:

      We have thousands of work-outside-the-home women who read here. You are definitely not alone!

      • Angela says:

        Thanks for responding and I am sorry if my message implied anything negative. I read quite a few of these sites and sometimes it does make a mom feel sad that she can’t do all these things. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this site, the information-learning new ways to save money, and the inspiration. I just feel bad sometimes. But I love you and the site. I am here daily and sometimes more.
        I am not a crafty person. I have to pack a lunch for my son, he is a picky eater. I started with cookie cutters to make his sandwiches into nice little dinosaurs, stars, etc. It took so much of the bread off, I gave up and just started cutting squares. But thank God that he still loves them. I am the best mom I can be.
        Thanks for caring enough to respond. We all love you here! Have a wonderful evening.

  • Jody says:

    I find that as life happens our menu plan is a guide, not a demand … and Subway happens. Hope it was enjoyed by all!

  • Glad to hear that I am not the only one who has days like that. Here is our Dinner Menu Plan for next week:

  • Stephanie says:

    We just got power back after five days last night at 10pm. After eating up the fridge/freezer for every meal and trying not to have any food spoil ( we lost a little) we declared victory and my husband came home from work yesterday with surprise pizza for dinner. We savored every bite and it was good 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    Thanks for the Chocolate Banana Bread recipe!!! We used coconut oil(from the great deal on Amazon a few weeks back) in place of the butter and it was fantastic!

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