Six Things On Saturday- 2/10/2018

Yes this is the “day late and dollar short” version of 5 Things Friday. I will be the first to admit that the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and emotionally exhausting in addition to being financially straining.

Yesterday, was our first full paycheck for the month of February. The good news is that we were able to catch up from the snow week. I have a plan in place for both our tax returns and am very hopeful that this will allow us back on a slow but steady track to paying down our huge debit this year. We are working to reduce both our electric and water bills to a more normal level. Matt and I have already worked out a Menu plan for the month which means we should be able to keep the grocery bill on a lower than usual level. Another positive is that Matt has been selling vinyl decals on a very steady basis this month. This is definitely helpful as we have lots of unexpected expenses.

I am battling left-overs in our fridge.  Our super bowl party is always fun but we end up with some interesting left-overs.  This week, I made an effort to make meals of left-overs and strongly suggested that Matt and Lily eat left-overs for lunch. Today, I am repurposing left-overs, we had a bag of carrots, and a bunch of celery, several cups of rice and some pulled pork.  I did a little bit of thinking and decided to make pork fried rice.  I chopped up the pork and realized that we had over 4 cups left which is enough to make 2 full meals for us. I let Kendall help chop up the carrots and celery. I added some green peppers and onions and that became our veggies for the stir-fry. One set for dinner and a second set in the freezer for a crazy day of what is for dinner.

Zach has officially started taking piano. He has been asking for over a year but we really wanted him to wait until he was a strong reader before attempting. Kendall started teaching him this week for fun. He even practiced every day without being told. This is definitely an expense that I don’t mind adding.

I am so ready for spring, in fact I have already planned out our square foot garden and added several more containers. I am very hopefully that with a little extra work this year we will have a bumper crop.  I purchased trees a couple of years ago to start work on a landscape line. The trees came with a 2 year guarantee. I received an email yesterday that a new peach tree is being shipped this week. My mother has also been growing several pecan trees in her flower bed. So we should be able to finish the border without spending any additional money!

Our busy schedule has returned. Some days, I am honestly thinking how do we actually do this. This week, Lily has practice for her play, 4 nights and a party the 5th night. Kendall has 2 days of extra curricular activities in addition to church on Wednesday night. Matt has also doubled his hours at work for this week. Yikes, better rest up today!

Monday Menu Planning 1/22/2018

I have to admit that last week’s snow threw a wrench in my meal plan for the week. The good news is that I decided to cook and use items we already had on hand!  This week our crazy normal schedule returns with at least 3 days of evening activities.

Breakfast- Saturday-Fried Bologna and scrambled eggs , Sunday- Cereal and milk , Monday-baked oatmeal,  Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or left-overs, Thursday- breakfast burrito bowl.

Lunch- Saturday- pizza snacks , Sunday- meal at friends house , Monday- left over pizza for everyone. The kids are taking 2 day of sandwiches and 2 grab and go days.  I plan to eat at work a couple of times this week as they have my favorite sandwich.

Dinner – Saturday- Pizza , Sunday- Chicken parmesan with spaghetti noodles  Monday- Bacon Ranch Chicken casserole , Tuesday- Taco Tuesday, Wednesday-Left over night , Thursday- Pulled pork or pork chops , Friday- Hamburger and French Fries.

Monday Menu Plan 1/15/2018

I have always said that menu planning saves us a ton of money, now I have the proof.  On Saturday, we headed to Aldi to purchase some items that we were out of, we even added in three boxes of cereal to help with breakfast this week.  Our total was $25.57.  Matt was working Sunday morning and the kids and I decided that we wanted to make a big “Cracker Barrel Breakfast”. After checking, we need a couple of items to make the things we wanted.  Kendall and I took our list and headed to Food Lion.  The one meal list cost $25.47.  No more special meals for us. Everyone is home on Monday but then it is back to reality.  To end on some good news, we have $6.41 left out of our $160 grocery budget.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pimento Cheese and Bacon Biscuits, Sunday- Cereal and toast, Monday- Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or left-overs, Thursday(kids have eye appointment) pancakes or waffles.

Lunch- Saturday- Left-overs/sandwich, Sunday- Baked Potatoes, Monday- Sandwiches. The kids are taking 1 day of sandwhiches and 2 grab and go days. I will be taking left-over soup all this week.

Sunday- Saturday- Chicken Tacos, Sunday- Egg Casserole, Hashbrown casserole and cooked apples, Monday- Pizza Rolls, Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie (from freezer), Wednesday-Hamburger Helper, Thursday- Country style steak or pulled pork, Friday- Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.

We are eating a lot of quick simple meals and sandwiches this week but it is just what we feel like. The menu may change depending on the weather and my work schedule.

Menu Planning Monday

Back on a tight budget means back to menu planning for us!  I was able to spend some time on Saturday and get a good idea of what foods we have in addition to doing some extra food prep that should come in handy when things get busy in the spring again. If you want to check out the new recipes I used you can!

Breakfast- Saturday- left-over pancakes and sausage balls from dinner on Thursday. Sunday- Bacon and Pimento cheese biscuits. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday- Leftovers (baked oatmeal or pancakes) or choices. Thursday- Omelet, Friday- Baked oatmeal.

Lunch- The kids have 2 sandwich days, 2 grab and go days and soup. I am taking left-overs each day. Lily has left-overs, mac and cheese or ramen noodles.  Saturday lunch- left-over wings and pizza from Amanda. Sunday- Mexican rice and Chicken Enchiladas

Dinners- Saturday- Italian Cream Chicken, Sunday- Lazy Day beef Stew, Monday Spaghetti, Tuesday Salisbury Steak, glazed carrots and rice, Wednesday- Chicken Fried Rice and Friday- Pulled Pork.

So far so great on our grocery budget for the month, we have spent $21.61 which includes the purchase of a Sunday paper.

Saving on Saturday

Today, I am saving time and money by cooking ahead! I am also sticking to items that I have in the pantry or freezer as I have a very small grocery budget this month. Today, I focused on using frozen chicken breast.  I  was very pleasantly surprised when my instapot was able to cook 10 breast from frozen to done in less than an hour (30 minutes actually pressure time).  I shredded those in my kitchen aid and used for a Chicken Taco Casserole and Chicken Enchiladas. I also froze 2 packs of shredded chicken. The casserole is one of our quick easy items to use on a busy day. Chicken Enchiladas will be lunch tomorrow. While the instapot was working, I started dinner for tonight, which was Creamy Italian Chicken. This is a recipe that Amanda has made before so I knew that it was good. That is a total of 5 meals in less than 2 hours of total time.

Matt made a batch of homemade pimento cheese that we will use for breakfast in the morning . I also pulled out the ingredients for a beef stew for dinner tomorrow night. This recipe is from Zach’s calendar so he is excited to try it.

The best part of all these meals is cost today is $0!   We used all the ingredients from the pantry and freezer. First week of January behind us with a  total of $20 spent in groceries!

5 Things Friday 01/05/2018

  1. We did a budget reset this month and today was the first paycheck. The good news is that everything is covered but I had to use “other” money to purchase gas. I am hopeful that if we can stay lean in January, February forward will be a much easier budget-wise.
  2. The little kids are staying with Amanda tonight!  A huge win for us is that Matt and I cooked dinner. Shrimp Alfredo with Penne Pasta and cheddar bay biscuits.  We really enjoy eating out and that is always our first instinct when the kids are gone.
  3. So far this month, we have spent $20 in groceries.  I am very hopeful to keep our spending at this weekly level for the entire month. I did budget $160 for the month but need definitely need to spend less as we have had an extra couple of bills pop up this month.
  4. Lily is currently practicing to audition for the Youth Theater in a couple of weeks. I am amazed at her talent and glad to see she is practicing and not expecting it just to happen.
  5. IT IS COLD!  In fact, we have not been about freezing the first 5 day of January! I DISLIKE  the cold and would just love to stay in bed all day.

How We Use Left-overs

This week has been filled with food. Starting last Sunday(Christmas Eve), my family has a huge dinner with BBQ shoulder. Left-overs are divided up, because we don’t like food waste. Christmas morning, I made country ham biscuits and orange cinnamon rolls, because only the five of us at home ate, we had left-overs. We also had a huge meal for Christmas dinner, again left-overs.  As you can guess my refrigerators were full to the brim.  I am proud to say that we have managed to use most of these left-overs up this week with a little creativity.

Tuesday and Wednesday we ate straight left-overs, one evening we all ate pork and the second evening it was turkey.  Lunch were a combination of left-overs or make a left-over sandwich/wrap.

Thursday, the little kids, Mom and myself spent the day shopping. We treated ourselves to lunch at Chick A Filet.  I grabbed a rotisserie chicken, I add the “cold/salad” left-overs and it was an awesome meal.

Friday was my Mom’s birthday and she requested hamburger steaks, sweet potatoes and  salad. I was very glad that we used our  fresh salad, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Matt decided to venture out and made “bbq pizza” using crescent rolls and pork. He again realized that we need to eat up our food.

Saturday morning, I cooked the remaining piece of country ham, some eggs and toast.  For lunch, I used the remaining turkey to make Turkey corn chowder, this was a huge hit and I will use for lunch at least one day. For dinner, we make chicken and cheese quesadillas from our left-over chicken.

Sunday, I made baked potato soup, this included the remaining pre-cooked bacon that we purchased for Christmas dinner. Again, I planned to use for at least one lunch this week. Dinner – sandwiches using left-over buns, chicken, pork or pepperoni. The pepperoni was in the top of my closet so I needed to use as well.

Today, we had sandwiches again for lunch. For dinner, I used the remaining BBQ dip with our last pack of Beef ribs and pulled out all the remaining leftover sides.

We are down to left over stuffing, macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole. I plan to use soups at work a couple of days! I will definitely call this a win!

5 Things Friday 12/22/2017

  1. I am on call Christmas Day. I am trying to plan around the expectation that I will need to spend at least a couple of hours at work.
  2. I am cooking dinner on Christmas Day to be ready at 5pm.  Going to be very interesting due to #1.
  3. The menu for Christmas dinner is turkey (never cooked a whole one before), rolls (from the freezer), stuffing (using my sister in laws hack), cream corn (crockpot), green bean casserole (crockpot), cranberry sauce (with fresh cranberries, most requested by kids), turkey gravy (another first),deviled eggs,  broccoli salad, 7 layer salad, (both will be made on Saturday). Lily is making sweet potato pie, candid pecans and brownies (from Costco) are the deserts.
  4. I was asked to teach the Beginner’s Class (2-3 year olds) this week at church. It is my absolute favorite “Jesus Birthday Party”. I headed to Walmart today to get the party supplies. It was crazy but I survived!
  5. The goal of Saturday is to clean out the refrigerator of left-overs so we can fill with Christmas food.

Monday Menu Planning 12/11/2017

Menu Planning has taken on a new level and meaning this week. I “forgot” to record the paying of a bill last week. This mistake meant that we were not able to make our huge restocking trip to Costco on Thursday as we had originally planned. Instead, we scaled way back and spent less than $100 to purchase meat and several other items that we were completely out of.  This week, the plan is to shop on Saturday. I know this is not the smartest thing we could do but it will be easier this Saturday as opposed to next Thursday prior to Christmas. This weeks menu plan is simple and uses what we have or were able to purchase last week.

Breakfast- Saturday- Cereal and milk. Sunday-Big Breakfast ( eggs, bacon, grits and toast), Monday thru Thursday Choices or cereal and milk, . Friday- Baked oatmeal-Choices of eggs, fried bologna, grits, French toast or toast.

Saturday- Kids ate at Amanda’s, Matt had Burger King and I had Biscuit King (both Matt and I ended up working) Sunday- Baked Potato Soup in Instapot. I am so excited that this worked and turned out awesome!  Lunch are planned out with a special treat on Thursday of IHOP since everyone has doctor appointments and we have a gift card left over from our trip!

Dinner- Saturday- Chili from crock-pot. Sunday- Burger King (total of $5 after gift card), Monday- Pork Chops with stuffing and green beans. Tuesday- Spaghetti Wednesday- Salisbury Steak, rice and fruit. Thursday- not sure yet but it may just be left-overs. Friday- Church dinner!

Monday Menu Planning- 11/13/2017

Aghh  I am so frustrated today because we have been to the grocery store twice today. We are still doing really well on budget but I hate going to the Grocery store. My goal from this point forward until vacation is NOT to visit the store. It may means some interesting meals but twice in one day is the limit.

Breakfast-  Saturday- Breakfast Burrito bowls. Sunday- Cereal and milk, Monday and Tuesday – Cereal and milk, Wednesday- Choices of eggs, fried bologna, grits, French toast or toast. Thursday- Cereal and milk if there is any left.  Friday- Baked oatmeal-probably pumpkin

Lunch-  Saturday- instant Mac and Cheese.  Sunday- Beef stew. The kids have a full week at school and I am eating at work at least once if not twice because they have my favorite sandwich on special.  Kids are eating 2 sandwiches, soup on one day and 2 grab and go days.  I will also take left-overs at least one day this week.

Dinner- Saturday- Pizza using a gift card and 65 cent. Sunday- Oyster Stew, Monday- Hamburger Helper- this use all our ground beef. Tuesday- Chicken soft tacos- using left-over salsa chicken. Wednesday- Salisbury Steak, mashed potatoes and fruit. Thursday- Steak and baked sweet potatoes. Friday- Spaghetti.