Monday, April 30, 2012

Meal Plan 04/30 - 05/06

So last weeks meal plan was completely unused! We didn't end up eating one single thing that was planned! Lol But we did eat at home every night except one... One night we ended up eating at the ball field.

Oh well, I'm not too worried about it. Since we did eat at home. Sometimes even the best plans don't work. This week I'm back at it again!

This week's plan is simple to write, because I already planned out my entire month! So all I have to do is look over our schedule for any changes that might affect my cooking and then plug them in. Also I cross off the main list any meals that have been made. This way, just in case I change my mind, I can look at it and instantly know other meals that I have the ingredients for. 

Last week I had great success with making Homemade Granola, I'll share that later this week. This week I'm going to try making Homemade Yogurt! I know it may sound strange, but we'll see how it turns out. If it is good, it will save a ton of money!

Here's the details:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Harris Teeter Trip 04/26

Total Sale Amount = $74.69
 Total Amount Paid = $63.89
Total Saved w/ coupons = $11.40

This Harris Teeter Trip finished up my Monthly Meal Shopping! I've got all the items needed for my Monthly Meal plan! Now I'll only need to return for produce, dairy & bread. 

This should hopefully help you understand a little bit more about how I do my Monthly Shopping! This does not have to be a strenuous ordeal! You can make it what you want! I've done this 2 ways! 
  1. Make a list and buy everything at one time!
  2. Make a list of everything needed and buy it as you see it when it's on sale.

This trip was done a little bit differently than normal, a little more scattered, because last week was an extra special coupon event at both Harris Teeter and Farm Fresh! So this week I finished it all up!

I can't tell you how happy I am to know that I am finished with my shopping! Now I can avoid the stores and even send my husband in for an easy milk or bread trip. While he normally strays from the list and the budget, he always brings me home something special! ;)

The best deals I found were the Ragu sauce and the cheese! Each were Buy 2 Get 3 FREE! The Ragu was twice the size of the regular jars, but only a quarter of the price more! And the Cheese ends up to be only $1.11 each! Definitely a good stock up price!

I also decreased my total by using my Recycle Bank coupon for $10 off $50 purchase (after coupons)! This is such an easy way to save some extra money! Sign up HERE!

Here's the details:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Farm Fresh Trip 04/26

Total Sale Amount = $37.62
Amount Paid = $26.12
SAVED w/ Coupons = $11.50
Gas Rewards = $0.03/gallons

Great success at Farm Fresh this morning! Lots of cheap meat and Buy One Get One FREE deals!!! I got FREE ground beef and $0.50 chicken! I got all this meat for less than $5.00!!! I took pictures of each meat product just so you can see exactly what I got!

Isaac and I were in and out in about 30 minutes. He pushed the cart the whole time for me! Granted he did run into quite a few shelves, but he was trying! Luckily, there were not a lot of other shoppers! :)

Here are the details:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meal Plan 4/23 - 4/29

Had a rough morning... Hence why this is posted so late. I had the genius idea to take night time meds at about 1AM. My husband tried to warn me that it was a bad idea, but I was in pain and delirious!

When morning came I was out of it! I felt like I could not keep my eyes open. So I dropped the kids off at school, came home and got back in bed. Luckily, my husbands schedule is very flexible and so he was home this morning for a conference call. He let me sleep and then woke me up with french toast, milk and coffee. I'm so lucky, I know! :)

I'm sure some of my exhaustion this morning was also from our busy weekend. We went to a friends house until midnight on Friday. We had 4 games Saturday, starting at 8:30am! We got home at about 4pm and rested until about 7ish when we had friends over for dinner. Then Sunday my husband preached 3 services. Which he did an amazingly! I am so proud of him!

I was initially thinking this week was going to be "relaxing", but then I realized that we have sports events that overlap on Thursday and my husband will be traveling for work. Should be fun for me to figure out! :)

Last week's meal plan was pretty much pointless. While we did manage to eat at home, I don't think we ate anything according to the plan except for the hotdogs! Lol Hopefully this week will be better.

**This week I'm trying Homemade Granola Bars & Yogurt! We'll see how it works out! I'll let ya know!**

Here's the details:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Once a Month Cooking

So far we've covered two in our Once a Month Series:

I've enjoyed hearing from many of you that you have thought about doing this or have started or have been inspired! I hope that you try and then share you success or even your issues you come across.

Who wouldn't love to have a freezer that looked like this??? Not only is it spotless and organized... But it is packed full with meals ready to eat! A little bit of time in the beginning, turns into dinner time being quick and easy!

Once a Month Cooking has definitely been the most difficult for me to accomplish. I know my family would benefit from this tremendously with how busy we are. BUT... With being that busy I have a hard time finding the time to accomplish everything. So I have tweeked it a bit for myself.

Traditionally, once a month cooking would be to gather all your ingredients for your monthly meal plan and spend a day cooking and freezing everything. By the end of the day you have an entire months worth of meals and most cooking done.

Now I don't think there is anything wrong with this, but it's just not going to work for me right now. So here is my process... Which is still a work in progress. Apparently, the only way for this to work is to actually do it! You can't just plan it! Hmm...

1. Make my Monthly Meal Plan

2. Do my Monthly Shopping Trip

3. Plan out what can be made ahead...
  • I divide up my meat to freeze after shopping... This way I don't have to thaw out more meat than needed.
  • I add seasonings to the meat
  • Throughout the month I make other items that can be frozen... Egg Sandwiches, Waffles, other dough mixes
  • Sometimes I will cook double the meet and freeze the extra.

I wish that I was more diligent about all of this. That is my goal for the month!

Here are some recipes that I use for the freezer:

Homemade Tortillas
Overnight Chicken - Crock pot or Oven

**This month I will be posting new freezer recipes! I was thinking of starting a blog hop for these types of recipes. Hope you'll join me and start spreading the word!

Shared with:
 Making your home sing Mondays

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Farm Fresh Mega Coupon Event Trip 4/19

Total Sale Amount = $67.02
Total Amount Paid = $36.02
Total Saved with Coupons = $31.00
$0.06/gal Gas Rewards

Sorry for the terrible picture... Fear not! I now have an iPhone! So I should have no more picture issues! :)

Small trip with a few good finds.... Meat, snacks, personal items, etc.

Here's the details:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Harris Teeter Super Doubles Trip 4/18

Total Sale Amount = $101.61
Total Amount Paid = $62.93
TOTAL SAVED w/ Coupons= $38.68

Well I know this doesn't seem like too impressive of a trip. But I was very happy with it! I bought a lot of items without coupons and the items I did use coupons on were mostly free or close to. I also didn't do too much to prepare for this trip. I just grabbed a bunch of high value coupons for items I normally buy and walked through the store.

I also lowered my total by using my $10.00 off $50.00 coupon from Recycle Bank. Sign up here and start earning points. Redeem points for coupons!

I still plan to go over to Farm Fresh tomorrow for their Mega Coupon Event. Hopefully I will find some good deals there, too. I only plan on spending a few dollars there, unless I find cheap meat!

Search the Coupon Database to find any of the coupons I used!

*There is a mistake on the pretzels, they rang up $1.58 more than labeled. If I go back there on Saturday then I'll get the refund.

Here's the details:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

High Value Coupons

**Use these this week when you shop the coupon events at Harris Teeter and Farm Fresh! Or just print to use when you find a great sale!

$1.00 off 2 Windex Multi-Surface products$1.00 off 2 Windex Multi-Surface products
$1.00 off 28oz Purex Crystals bottle or larger$1.00 off 28oz Purex Crystals bottle or larger
$1.00 off any Country Crock Spread$1.00 off any Country Crock Spread
$1.00 off two Post Kids Cereals$1.00 off two Post Kids Cereals

$1.50 off when you buy any TWO Nesquik® Powder 10.9 oz or larger, or Nesquik® Syrup$1.50 off when you buy any TWO Nesquik® Powder 10.9 oz or larger, or Nesquik® Syrup
$1.00 off on any (1) Emerald Breakfast on the go$1.00 off on any (1) Emerald Breakfast on the go

$1.00 off when you buy any THREE BOXES select General Mills cereals$1.00 off when you buy any THREE BOXES select General Mills cereals
$1.25 off one ICBINB! product$1.25 off one ICBINB! product

$1.00 off when you buy any FIVE Balance Bar® Singles (1.76 oz)$1.00 off when you buy any FIVE Balance Bar® Singles (1.76 oz)
$1.00 off 2 Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals$1.00 off 2 Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals

$1.25 off when you buy any TWO Marie's® Dressing$1.25 off when you buy any TWO Marie's® Dressing
$1.50 off ONE Pampers Swaddlers Diapers$1.50 off ONE Pampers Swaddlers Diapers

$1.10 off when you buy any TWO Stouffer's® Farmers' Harvest™ entrées$1.10 off when you buy any TWO Stouffer's® Farmers' Harvest™ entrées
$1.50 off ONE Pampers Cruisers or Baby Dry Diapers$1.50 off ONE Pampers Cruisers or Baby Dry Diapers

$1.10 off when you buy any FIVE Stouffer's® entrées or Stouffer's® French Bread Pizzas$1.10 off when you buy any FIVE Stouffer's® entrées or Stouffer's® French Bread Pizzas

$2.00 off one package of GOODNITES Underwear$2.00 off one package of GOODNITES Underwear

$1.10 off when you buy any FOUR Pure Protein Bars$1.10 off when you buy any FOUR Pure Protein Bars
SAVE $1.00 on ANY Advil® 20 ct. or largerSAVE $1.00 on ANY Advil® 20 ct. or larger

Save $1.00 off Any TWO (2) Nabisco Crackers (Good on any 9 oz. – 16 oz. packs)Save $1.00 off Any TWO (2) Nabisco Crackers (Good on any 9 oz. – 16 oz. packs) 

Save $1.00 
On your purchase of any one (1) box of Playtex® Gentle Glide® tampons 18 count or largerSave $1.00 On your purchase of any one (1) box of Playtex® Gentle Glide® tampons 18 count or larger

SAVE $1.00 ON THREE when you buy any THREE BOXES General Mills cereals: Basic 4® • Cheerios® (any) • Chex® (any) • Cinnamon Toast Crunch® • Frosted Toast Crunch™ • Cocoa Puffs® (any) • Cookie Crisp® (any)...SAVE $1.00 ON THREE when you buy any THREE BOXES General Mills cereals: Basic 4® • Cheerios® (any) • Chex® (any) • Cinnamon Toast Crunch® • Frosted Toast Crunch™ • Cocoa Puffs® (any) • Cookie Crisp® (any)...
$1.00 off any Alexia sweet potato item!$1.00 off any Alexia sweet potato item!

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Meal Plan 04/16 - 04/22

Well, we're back to another normal Monday morning... Cartoons, blogging, school work & hot tea! We survived Spring Break! 

We had a great week... Some relaxing, some fun and some things accomplished! I did get quite a few things crossed off my Spring Break To Do List! And my Spring Break Meal Plan wasn't too much of a disaster. While we didn't stick to the plan entirely, we did eat at home when planned.

Except for one night, we ended up only having 2 kids & took advantage by eating at The Broken Egg for Kids-Eat-Free-Night! It was so nice to sit and actually talk with our kids. And no one looked at us like the crazy family with a million kids!

This week we're going to be super busy with Baseball and Softball back in full swing. Tonight is our only night home. Hopefully we can enjoy the time at home and get the house in order for the week.

I'm working off of what we have in stock for meals. I'll be doing my Monthly Shopping Trip this Saturday!

Here's the details:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Once A Month Shopping

This has by far been the greatest change I have made with my shopping! It is truly a time AND money saver!!! I encourage you to try.

I know it can sound a little overwhelming and maybe even crazy! But let me start by easing your mind a little bit....
  • I don't go over budget, in fact I save money!
  • I do shop more than once a month, but they are short little trips.
  • We still eat healthy!
  • I spend waaay less time at the store!
  • It actually alleviates some of the coupon clipping! :)

Here's my process:
  1. I start with my Monthly Meal Planning.
  2. I write a list of all the meals planned. Every ingredient. Make sure to check the recipes.
  3. I cross off the items I already have... Make sure you actually see that item in your pantry. Somebody may have used it without your knowledge. 
  4. Look over the sales ads... What store has the most items you need on sale? What store has other items at rock bottom price that you could stock up on? You can chose to shop at multiple stores. Normally I'll do the bulk of my trip at one store & maybe run in for a few items at an additional store for really cheap items I can't pass up.
  5. Do all your shopping in one day, even if you chose to shop at multiple stores! I know that this can sound like a lot, but let me explain why... If you wait, most likely you will lack something for a meal, which would throw off your meal plan, you may spontaneously decide to go out to eat, the sales may change before you make it, etc. 
  6. While you shop, keep your eyes open for stock up priced items.
  7. Through out the week keep a handy list for items you need to run to the store for... For us this is milk, bread, produce and sometimes snacks depending on the sales when I shopped. Before I run out for this small trip I check the sales for any stock up items.

Easy enough right???

How do you save money and time with this? When shopping for everything at one time, you are lessening your overall time at the store throughout the month. We only have to run to grab perishable items for our meals or whatever we've run out of, like milk.

I'll admit, I thought this would cause me to spend more money, but I was wrong. Because I'm only buying the items that I need. It is proven that the less time you spend in the store, the less money you will spend!

A few tips... Make sure you don't buy too many perishable items that will be bad before used. Make sure to freeze meat that won't be used til later in the month.

*Do you think you could make this work for your family???

 Shared with:
Making your home sing Mondays

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Break Success

This week I'm going to try to take advantage of a lightened schedule and get some things done that I've let go for waaay too long. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in just trying to maintain, that I can't get anything extra done. So this week is the week!

Here's a few things on my to do list:
  • Catch up on my school work and maybe even get ahead.
  • Yardwork - I need to get my garden ready for planting.
  • Organizing clothes - I use my sons closet as a storage for all the clothes that are not being used right now. Like baby clothes, clothes too small for the oldest but too big for the youngest or too big for the oldest, etc. I need to convert all my piles on the shelves into labeled containers.
  • Pair down the toys. We have way too many!
  • Create storage for the toys we're keeping. This mostly effects the boys rooms. Everything is dumped into 2 bins & it becomes a disaster when they try to find something.
  • Stock up my freezer. I have purposely given myself a break from cooking this, so I need to take advantage and fill the freezer with easy go-to items. Ex: waffles, egg sandwiches, tortillas, and a few freezer chicken meals.
  • Get my yardsale stuff ready. I need to separate and price items. Hopefully I can have one the 1st free & rain-free Saturday morning we have.
  • Get rid of all the things in my house that belong to someone else! I hate having these things in my house that don't have a place, because they're not mine!
  • And I'd really like to get some baseboards wiped!

Now I realize that this may sound like a lofty goal, but I know that if I really try hard and plan ahead it can happen! I just need to make up my mind to get it done. I'll let ya know how it goes!

How about you? Do you have any Spring Break goals???

Shared with:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Break Meal Plan

Spring Break has finally arrived! And already this morning I was woke up at 7am by kids arguing! Gotta love it! Please tell me why on school days I have to wake my kids up at 7:15/7:30am, but when they have nothing to do they have no problem getting up on their own! Gr...

Either way, we're up and enjoying our day off. Kids are watching a movie from their Easter basket, my husband is working from home & I'm trying to catch up on school work. Sound fun???

My husband asked me to make him breakfast this morning and I said, "Oh! I'm on Spring Break!" He said, "From what? Being a wife and mom, too?" "Hey if it works, then YES!"

Yesterday, we enjoyed a family filled day of Easter celebrations! With the busy week before, it ended up being very thrown together, but nevertheless it was great! Saturday night I didn't get to Target to shop for Easter basket fillers until 9:45pm. The second after I walk in, they come over the loud speak and say, "Attention Target shoppers, We'll be closing in 15 minutes!" AHHHHH!!!! Let the panic begin! I literally raced around Target like a maniac! It was great! I'm sure it was quite entertaining for the staff. I heard one lady yelling, "Why do we even care???" Lol 

Despite it all I was able to get some great stuff that made all the kids were happy!

I'm writing out our meal plan for the week, knowing full and well that it will most likely be useless. I know that we will be doing spur of the moment activities. I'm not going to stress about it too much, but I'm still putting one into place, just so I have something to reference when needed.
Be sure to check out the Once a Month Series... Last week we started with Once a Month Meal Planning! This week I'm writing about Once a Month Shopping!

Here's our details:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Once A Month Meal Planning

Be sure to "Like" me on Facebook to make sure you don't miss any of my Once A Month Series!

I don't know about you, but "Once a Month" stuff scares me to death!

I immediately think of people with 10+ kids, cooking a bunch of casseroles to stock their freezers. I think of a woman sweating all day in the kitchen cooking meal after meal. I think of spending a huge amount of money for a months supply of foods. I think of eating the same foods over and over again. Bleh!

Are some of these statements true? Yes. But that doesn't mean that this is what I have to do. I have figured out how to make it work for me... I'm going to share it with you and then your job is to take it and make it work for you, too.

I truly believe that everyone can benefit from this!
  • New mothers who can barely find a moment to lay their baby down, much less cook a meal. 
  • Or a mother of young children that is exhausted come dinner time. 
  • A mother with active kids involved in extracurricular activities.
  • Even a mother that wants to cut back her budget and provide healthy meals for her family, but is by no means a great cook or shopper.
  • Or just a woman that wants to spend less time at the store and in the kitchen and more time elsewhere!

So now that I have your attention... I'm going to tell you my way of doing things. And then you take it from there. Please feel free to share you suggestions as well!

Today we're going to start with Once A Month Meal Planning!

1st - If you don't meal plan at all, start HERE for a lot of great info, how to and pros & cons.

2nd - Instead of meal planning for the week do it for the whole month... Duh?! Right?

Here's how I do it and why:
  • Start by writing out all of my regular recipes. I grouped them into categories; Meatless, Crock pot, Mexican, Beef, Chicken, Random (i.e. hot dogs, fish sticks). This way you won't forget some or repeat too many.
  • At the beginning of the month I write out our calendar. This includes holidays, sports games, church & school activities, etc.
  • Then pull out my list of all my regular recipes and plug them into the calendar based on my schedule. 
  • I like to have my crock pot meals on nights when I know we'll be home late or leaving early and I won't have time to cook.
  • I make sure to have at least 1 mexican, meatless, beef, and chicken meal a week. This way it's more of a variety.
  • Always plan in leftovers, either for lunches or dinners.
  • I make sure to try and squeeze in at least one new meal a week. Right now we're normally home on Mondays, so I plan it for that night, since I won't be too pressed for time.
  • I try not to repeat any meals in the month.

TA DA!!! Wasn't that easy? It does take a little extra time at one time when planning the whole month, versus just one week at a time. But this way I can get it all done at one time and I don't have to think about it again for 4 weeks!

Be sure to review it at the beginning of every week, because you may want to swap out meals or schedules have changed. Stay flexible.  

The only thing left to do is shop! We'll talk about that next Friday!

How about you??? Do you ever meal plan for the month? Do you think you could benefit from doing this?

Shared with:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Meal Plan 04/02 - 04/08

This past week seemed to be mostly stress free. Which is surprising considering I babysat 2 babies this week, my husband traveled for work and we had 4 practices & 2 games within 4 days. We did end the week with a double date at Yard House with our best friends. It was a great time away with our friends and no children!

This week won't be any less chaotic, especially with Easter this week and then Spring Break next week! Ah! Hopefully I'll find the time to dye our Easter eggs and run to the store to fill the baskets!

 I made another larger shopping trip this Saturday to Harris Teeter. I spent $107. I wasn't planning on spending that much this week, but there were some great deals on stock up items, like lysol wipes, laundry detergent, coffee, flour and tons of chicken! I may go back an get more chicken... It was only $1.66/lb. I have never found chicken breasts this cheap before. And I got an extra $4.00 off when I bought the 4 pasta sauces. Making it just over $1.00 a pound! I may go back and get more.

I still have just under $100 for the month in my grocery budget. We'll see how that goes. My goal is to try to fill up the freezer with ready made meals. I'm going to start a new Once a Month Series this month. I'm going to post them every Friday. 
Here are the topics:
  • Once a Month Meal Planning
  • Once a Month Shopping
  • Once a Month Cooking
  • Once a Month Benefits

I hope you'll come back to join me and share your thoughts and advice!

Here are the details: