Monday Menu Plan

As we continue with our busy lives and race into the Summer, meal planning becomes even more important for us.  We enjoy spending time at the pool. In fact we spent close to 18 hours at the pool just this 3 day weekend. If we are not diligent about making and sticking to a menu plan, we often end up ordering pizza, picking up fast food or Chinese on the way home.  Today was our anniversary, so as a treat we had planned to order pizza, we spent $33 for pizza for our dinner. Even at once a week, that adds an extra $120 a month to our budget, over the course of the summer that is half the cost of the condo we rent at Myrtle Beach, so 4 days at the beach vs. pizza once a week.  We have built in a little bit more flexibility this summer as we are beginning to start some harvesting from our garden. I want to use and maximize as much of this food as possible.

Breakfast–   Saturday-Pancakes. Matt ended up making a super double patch, which means they will be a choice for breakfast over the next couple of weeks.   Sunday- Gray biscuits. (I made extra gravy, to use as dinner or as a choice as well.) Monday-Banana/chocolate chip muffins. Tuesday-  Choices Wednesday- French toast in crockpot . Thursday- choices .   Friday- Choices.  Choices include :   fried bologna,  eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal.

Lunch- Zach and Kendall have sandwiches, grab and go, and salads. I have a salad packed for Tuesday, chicken salad wrap for Wednesday and leftovers for Friday.

Dinner-  Saturday-Lunch- Hot Dog with chili and slaw Dinner- -Pasta salad with chicken
Sunday- Lunch- Roast and sauté squash. Dinner- Leftovers (Zach-hot dog with cheese grits, Kendall-broccoli cheese soup, Lily pancake, Matt- sausage ball, and me egg over grits and gravy.)
Monday- Pizza to celebrate our anniversary
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday-  Pork chops with squash and/or carrots
Thursday-  ?? Beef and broccoli
Friday- Grilled chicken salad.

After starting this post I realized that I have not posted this since mid March. Opps. So I thought I would give a food update as well. We have used approximately 1/2 of our whole cow. One of the biggest problems right now is not eating beef 5x a week. We are actually starting to run out of vegetables which works out well. I did purchase and freeze 2 gallons of strawberries earlier this month in addition to make jam. We have to finish up out sweet potatoes from last year before September.  A final food challenge of the month is our planned trip to Michigan at the end of the month. I need to sit down and make a plan, at least for our travel days, we have already been gathering gift cards that will make it much easier and decrease the overall expense.

Saturday Update 5/27/2017

As predicted, this past week has been busy. I have struggled this week and realized that I NEED to “Count my Blessing” more than I need to worry. So my plan for this update is to “Count my blessing, name them one by one, to PROVE what God has done.”

  1. The extra hours at work do mean extra pay. We are slow regaining financial ground and extra pay is always helpful.
  2. We scheduled a trip to Disney World for this November. I actually booked the trip almost a year ago. Because of the struggles we have been experiencing, I was considering changing/postponing the trip. However, God has provided a very unexpected but concrete method to ensure we can pay for  this trip. In the morning, I will be making dinning reservation.
  3. We are very blessed to be able to travel to Michigian this June to celebrate Matt’s father 90th birthday. This blessing is so much more real and important with the lost of my dad.
  4. Our square foot garden is growing and thriving, I have frozen several packs of broccli, made a squash side dish and the kids enjoyed a handful of snap peas. The plants all appear healthy and relatively bug free. I anticipate a good squash harvest this week and we should actually start with cucumbers in two weeks or less.
  5. The kids and I got to spend 6 hours at the pool today. We really enjoyed the time with friends and I was able to just sit for several hours.
  6. I somehow got a screw in my tire last Saturday. My brother was able to patch it on Sunday. The patch worked until Wednesday and then Matt was able to take to the dealship to have fixed.
  7. I will NOT be working on Monday. Instead the plan is to spend most of the afternoon/evening at the pool just enjoying life.

Seven is the perfect number and the number of completion so I will stop there. Do you have any blessing to share?

Update 5/21/2017

To say the last week has been busy and stressful would be an understatement in addition to the sad truth being that this coming week does not look any better. The business is cause by a couple of factors, first baseball and swim team are overlapping for at least 3 weeks in May. Next is my work schedule, which is entirely full with NO opening last week and no opening this week. I honestly don’t ever remember it being this full before. In addition to all the fun already mentioned, we have less than three weeks of school left which means end of year activities several days/evenings a week. I am so looking forward to a 3 day weekend over Memorial day. I am very hopeful that it will be an actual 3 day weekend but in reality I am going to assume that I will need to put a couple of hours of work in so that I will not be too disappointed next Monday, when I do end up working.

I am so very sad due to a death of a close friend this past week. At the funeral service today, someone said, “I did not realize that your heart can actually hurt but it does.”

Now on to more positive news, I think we have again weathered the financial storm and things are definitely starting to look better. Matt has been able to pick up some extra work which helps and I am working crazy hours which in the long run also increases our ability to stay overall on track for the year. I am planning to go back and post an end of the month update for April since it got missed, but May is definitely looking better and better.

Our square foot garden has started to produce small but taste items. I planted 4 broccoli plants earlier in the spring and have been able to harvest enough broccoli for at least 4 meals. This is really exciting for me as this is the first time that I have successfully grown broccoli. I may even attempt again in September when the weather starts to cool down.

One of my plans for the week, includes a HUGE trip to Costco. I managed to stay under budget for January, February and March of this year. But in April I was 50 over and I fully expect to be over by $100 or more for May. Because of the summer, I expect to remain at or under for June, July and August which will definitely balance things out a bit.

Bring on the summer with day spent at the pool.

Saturday Savings /Square Foot Gardening

Today was a really exciting day for me… we harvest our first items from our garden, broccoli!

They don’t look very large but they make excellent Mickey ears and we harvest two of our four plants. Just two gave us enough for 2 meals.

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I stockpile for a couple of different reasons, first is savings, second is convenience and third is nutritional. Today, we used up our loaf of sour dough bread that I made on Thursday so I decided to make another batch. I have been putting dates on the items I buy in bulk to determine if I really am saving money. I used the last 6 cups of bread flour that was purchased in March 2016. The savings is broken down this way, $15 for a 25 pound bag which lasted fourteen months. That is $1 a month for not only bread but also pizza dough. Even if the cost of the other ingredients is $1 a week, I am still saving at least $5 a month on bread by making our own.

Today was also the day that we chose to go strawberry picking this year. The kids LOVE this and it actually saves us $3 a gallon to pick our own. We have enjoyed lots and lots of strawberries today in addition to make strawberry jam that will be enjoyed for the next year. We also have frozen a gallon for use in smoothies.

Friday Finds

We have been very fortunate this week to find and be given some great items.  Since I have not done a post with bullet points in a long time this is a fun way to be random.

  • Food Lion had a sale on “Suddenly Salad” $1 each. We discovered last year that we could add chicken, cucumbers and or tomatoes to make a great lunch or pepperoni and tomatoes for a very different but just as good lunch. I grabbed 10 with plans to use weekly this summer.
  • Purchased tomato plants from a local nursery for 50 cent a plant.
  • Found a couple of blueberry bushes on clearance at Walmart for $3 and onion starters for $2. We planted the blueberries and placed the onions under our house in storage for next spring.
  • Use a $2 off coupon to purchase “Got2b ” hair spiking glue for $0.87 cent. I went to a CVS in High Point and the cashier tried to make me feel bad for using coupons. Didn’t work but seriously just scan coupons I promise they will work. We also grabbed Easter Twizzlers for $1.50 a bag.
  • Used gift cards earned from Swagbucks to purchase drinks for everyone at Starbucks.
  • Matt has been enjoying his birthday freebies including a drink from Dunkin Donuts
  • I used office depot rewards to purchase a pack of AAA batteries and a notebook. Spent zero out of pocket and earned another $14 in rewards to spend later.
  • We have been given several bags of clothes recently so the only purchase has been swim suits for swim team.

What are your good finds?

DIY Teacher Appreciation Gift

The first week of May is teacher appreciation week in our area, sounds like it may be a national thing as well. Unfortunately, I am not a craft person but I am excited to share my FREE gift this year. I do have to give credit to my mother as she suggested I give pots of mint.

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The plants are from my garden. I purchased one pot of mint last year and planted, so far I have separated several times and it continues to flourish. The pots were left overs from Kendall’s birthday party several years ago. Matt used his machine to come up with the cute quote which is “I am so happy you were MINT to be my teacher.” The kids used a sharpie to sign the bottom of the pots.  These are definitely my most crafty and frugal gifts so far!