Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – Sept 8

mpm-1Another week, another menu.  I’m doing my best to eat out of the pantry this month, as I’m trying to take advantage of the case lot sales and food storage deals available during the month of September.  The menu this week will be based on that.



  • Freezer waffles (I’m SO glad I made a big batch of these!)

  • Cereal

  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Apples

  • Fresh Fruit


Lunches (always served with one or more of the items below):medium

  • Peanut butter and grape jam sandwiches

  • Carrots, Apple slices, Broccoli, Grapes, Apples

  • Pretzels, Granola Bars, or Crackers

  • String Cheese

  • Greens Chews

  • Lettuce Salad with Beans, Fish, or Chicken

fish fingers 2Dinners:

Monday – Tacos night (Turkey taco meat, lettuce, garden salsa, homemade refried beans, etc)

Tuesday – Paleo Fish Fingers, Lettuce Salad

Wednesday – Chicken and Rice Soup

Thursday – Leftover night

Friday – Quinoa and Bell Pepper Salad, Steak

Saturday – Neighborhood Party – we’ll eat whatever is there. :)

Sunday – To be Determined


And now, time to see how I did on my goals for last week:

  • Can and preserve grape juice (we harvested 47 lbs of grapes last night) – DONE!
  • Can and preserve grape jelly – DONE!
  • Can and preserve peaches (my mom harvested and shared 50 lbs of peaches) – DONE!
  • Can and preserve more salsa – DONE!
  • Finish up The Identical Giveaway – DONE!
  • Plan and carry out Activity Days – DONE!

I can’t believe it; I got EVERYTHING on the list done!  My husband also canned and preserved 6 pints of spaghetti sauce.  Makes me feel motivated to try and accomplish some more awesome stuff this week:

  • Can and preserve peach syrup (yep, my mom’s last and final tree’s peaches were given to me over the weekend!)

  • Create a menu plan for the rest of September, based on what we have in the pantry.

  • Take Buddy Boy in for some dental work.

  • Go into work early 4x this week (making up for the time I’ll be gone at the dentist)

  • Declutter and clean out bedroom dressers.

Have a great week!


We’re linked up at OrgJunkie. :)

Debt Payoff Plan – Sept 1st Update

Love happy surprises!

Love happy surprises!

Since August 15, we’ve made a few small changes in the hopes to start saving more money and paying down debt.  We also had a couple of happy financial surprises, that although small, were definitely welcome.

  • Our mortgage company was switched on us, which usually doesn’t change anything.  However, every year since we’ve owned the house, we’ve had an escrow surplus.  Our mortgage companies in the past have just applied it to the following year’s escrow account, but this new company we’re with sent us a check for the extra amount, resulting in a surprise $128 extra.

  • I was accepted to do a 2-day (30 min each day) study, which paid me with a $75 visa card.  We’ll be using this Visa to buy gas for the first half of September, so it’ll save up some cash for other things.

  • There for you on a rainy day? :)

    There for you on a rainy day? :)

    We switched our auto insurance, and updated our homeowner’s insurance policy.  For 30 minutes or so of work, we saved ourselves $36/month on auto, and $200/year on home.  The home isn’t something we’ll see, but that extra $36/month will be awesome.  It’s not a ton, but it’s more we can sock away to debt!



Now for confession time.  In my Debt Payoff Plan Introduction post, I mentioned that we have far too little in savings right now:  only $102.  The first priority in the last 2 weeks should have been to build that up.  I have to admit, I was so horrified by our debt total ($8,445.86) that I chose to focus more on that.  I know, Dave Ramsey would not be happy.  I’ll try to do better in September!



The Numbers:

On August 15, our total debt was $8,445.86.  Today, our total debt is $8,073.91.

Total paid off so far:  $371.95

On August 15, our total savings was $102.  Today, our total savings is $137.

Total saved:  $35


Sweet!  We’re getting there, slowly but surely!





Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

highlight-laborday-historyHello, hello!  Happy Labor Day to you all!  Are you taking advantage of the holiday to relax from your labors, or perhaps to accomplish even more?  If you’re looking for an opportunity to educate yourself and/or family about Labor Day and how it was started, you can GO HERE to the U.S. Dept of Labor’s website.



School has started for the kids, and work has started for me.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m exhausted, lol.  I suppose that’s how it always is starting back at work, right?  It takes time to adjust.  To ease a bit of the struggle, I’m hoping to be more organized with the menu planning than I’ve been in the last month.  Here’s our plan:



  • Turkey Sausage, Steel Cut Oatmeal w/apples

  • Freezer muffins, waffles, or biscuits

  • Fresh Fruit

  • Cereal


  • PB&J or meat sandwiches on whole grain bread

  • Sliced carrots, broccoli, and celery

  • Unsweetened applesauce, mandarin oranges, and grapes

  • Greens chew


  • Monday – Spaghetti (with homemade sauce), green salad

  • Tuesday – Black Beans and Brown Rice with Salsa, Grilled Chicken

  • Wednesday – Slow cooker Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

  • Thursday – Leftover Night

  • Friday -Breakfast for Dinner

  • Saturday – Baked Potato Bar (with Slow Cooked Baked Potatoes), toppings:  cheese, green onions, turkey bacon, etc

  • Sunday – Grilled Steak, Oven Baked Fries, Green Salad

I’ve got a good list of goals for the week, and honestly, probably most of them will be getting done today, since it’s the day we’re not at work.  Harvest time is upon us, and I’m loving it!

  • Can and preserve grape juice (we harvested 47 lbs of grapes last night)

  • Can and preserve grape jelly

  • MV5BMTUxMzMzMTUzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTUyMTMxMjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Can and preserve peaches (my mom harvested and shared 50 lbs of peaches)

  • Can and preserve more salsa

  • Finish up The Identical Giveaway

  • Plan and carry out Activity Days


I hope you all have a fun and productive week!  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway listed above.  :)

*Linked at OrgJunkie




Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Hello, hello!


BoxcarChildren_400x400v2This last week was a good one.  I am officially allowed to workout again, as long as I don’t push too hard!  Yay!  I can feel an improvement and boost in energy, and I can tell my treatment plan is working.  I also had the chance to review a cute kids’ movie and am hosting a giveaway for a copy of the DVD.  Yes, a good week!


Holy cow, it’s the last week of summer break.  Time to get organized for back to school and back to work!  I’m sad for the break to end, but I feel partially content as well, knowing that it’ll be good for the kids, especially Buddy Boy, to be back on a more specific schedule again.  I’m hoping to get a lot done this week, but I also want to have some FUN too!  Hopefully I can find a good balance that’ll keep the kids and me happy.


Here’s the menu plan for the week:


Taco-Bowls__Monday – Baked Potato Bar

Tuesday – Del Taco (we’re running from hair appointments to back to school nights, so we’ll take advantage of Taco Tuesday!)

Wednesday –  Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

Thursday – Breakfast (waffles, fruit salad, etc)

Friday – Leftover Night

SaturdayHomemade Taco Bowls

Sunday – Family Dinner at my Mom’s



Goals for the Week:

  • Take car load of stuff to local thrift store.
  • Do a freezer cooking session.
  • Buy stuff for and put together gift baskets for some awesome volunteers at Resolution Horse.
  • Take Munchkin to get her hair done.
  • Take kids to Back to School Night.
  • Back to school shopping trip with Aunt Linda.
  • 2 Horseback riding sessions; 1 gymnastics class.
  • Harvest and juice grapes.


Have a great week!  We’re linked up at OrgJunkie. :)






Menu? Monday and Weekly Goals

Folks, I have a confession.

I didn’t follow the meal plan last week.  At all.  The kids either weren’t in the mood for the food I had planned or I didn’t feel up to making it, and so the whole thing flew out the window.

We did NOT go out to eat instead, so I’m grateful for that.  We just ate what was easy and available, making choices at the last minute.  We also had a lot of fun doing back to school shopping – who needs food when you can shop?! ;)

PicMonkey CollageThis week will probably be much the same.  I’m having a hard enough time coming up with meal ideas for myself, following an anti-inflammatory diet, and to come up with more meals on top of that is something I admit I’m struggling with.

Ah, well.  We all have those weeks, right?  (that’s what I’m telling myself to avoid too much guilt. :) )Here’s a very loose meal plan for the week (for the kids) anyway. My personal meal plan will look different:


Scrambled Eggs
Fresh Fruit (all we’ve got right now are apples and one mango, so we’ll need to shop soon)Waffles (made from our freezer session)


Leftover crockpot chicken
Fresh and canned fruit
Fresh veggies (we have carrots, lettuce, avocado and cucumbers on hand)
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Cheese quesadillas

Dinners (to be served with fresh fruit and veggies on the side):

Breakfast for dinner
Crockpot baked potatoes
Homemade Pizza
Mac and Cheese

As for me, I will be adding in a few new foods this week.  I’m so excited, and so scared!  The foods I get to add back in are brown rice, eggs, and lean beef.  I will introduce one at a time for two days, and if all goes well I’ll add another.  If it doesn’t go well, I’ll cut back down to the original diet until I reach my baseline and try a different food again.  These foods I’ll be eating for breakfast only, so my lunches and dinners will still mostly be salads and beans/chicken.

I did accomplish my two goals for last week, so I did get SOMETHING done.  This week I’m hoping to be more productive:


  • Repaint trim on the front of the house

  • Calk the baseboards in the bathroom to finally have the job complete!

  • Finish up budget plan for August

  • Reorganize bathroom drawers


*Hope you all have a great week!



Back to School on a Budget

Who is ready for back to school?

Ugh.  Not me.  I am sad beyond sad that we only have 5 weeks left of summer break.  We’re more than halfway there!  There is one thing my family loves about going back to school (well, 2 things, actually).  1, it’s fun to see friends again and good for all of us to get back on a schedule.  2, we get to go back-to-school shopping! 

If you’re like me, you’ve got a very specific budget.  We are being extra frugal this year, and a lot of our back-to-school excursions will be to yard sales and thrift stores.  The kids like having new stuff too, though (who doesn’t?) and so I’ve been browsin’ the web, looking for some fun, frugal stuff:

Personal Creations – Personalized Boys Backpack – Back to School Gifts

Personal Creations - Personalized Boys Backpack - Back to School Gifts

I found these personalized backpacks at Personal Creations, and I fell in love!  Isn’t that the cutest idea? At Buddy Boy’s school, we have to write his name on everything anyway – what a great way to do it!  I kinda want to personalize something for ME now.


Personal Creations – Personalized Boys Backpack – Back to School Gifts – $22.49, 7.99 shipping – Available at Personal Creations

The Children’s Place – Boys Sporty Matchables Tee – Blue T-Shirt – The Children’s Place

The Children's Place - Boys Sporty Matchables Tee - Blue T-Shirt - The Children's Place

When I saw this boys T-shirt for only $2.99 ($2.99!!) I was thrilled.  I love the caption on this particular one.  I wonder if Buddy Boy will take it to heart?  One can hope, right? The Children’s Place has a lot of great deals available, so be sure to check them out for your back to school clothing needs!


The Children’s Place – Boys Sporty Matchables Tee – Blue T-Shirt – The Children’s Place – $2.99, 5.00 shipping – Available at Children’s Place

Texas Instruments – TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator (8 Lines – 16 Characters – Battery Powered – Black)

Texas Instruments - TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator (8 Lines - 16 Characters - Battery Powered - Black)

My kids aren’t old enough yet to need one of these fancy schmancy calculators, and I dread the time when they do.  Holy cow, there are so many options out there!  Texas Instruments is a known leader in the calculator biz, and I remember using mine in high school…though I’m definitely happy I’m done with it!  If you’ve gotta buy it, you might as well get a deal, right? 


Texas Instruments – TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator (8 Lines – 16 Characters – Battery Powered – Black) – $112.12, Free shipping – Available at A Matter of Fax

(13 reviews)

Asus – Transformer Book T100 Gray Tablet PC (1.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3740, 2 GB DDR3, 64 GB SSD, Windows 8.1, LED Backlight)

Asus - Transformer Book T100 Gray Tablet PC (1.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3740, 2 GB DDR3, 64 GB SSD, Windows 8.1, LED Backlight)

This tablet PC is perfect – plenty of storage space, small and mobile, making it easy for your teen to do homework.  Man, I wish I’d had one of these when I was in high school.  I didn’t even have a big, bulky computer.  Yes, I’m that old. :)


Asus – Transformer Book T100 Gray Tablet PC (1.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3740, 2 GB DDR3, 64 GB SSD, Windows 8.1, LED Backlight) – $359.99, Free shipping – Available at B&H Photo-Video

Sistema – Sistema 50 oz. Slimline Quaddie Lunchbox 1.5 ltr.Assorted, 9″ X 6-1/2″ X 3-1/2″ H

Sistema - Sistema 50 oz. Slimline Quaddie Lunchbox 1.5 ltr.Assorted, 9

While not the standard lunchbox, I have to say that I think I prefer this style.  See the divided compartments?  What a great way to keep your wet grapes separate from your sandwich, without having to use a plastic baggy that will be thrown away!  Oh my gosh, I’m in love with this product.  Thank you, Container Store!  (One day I’m going to go on a big ole’ shopping spree to this place, I’m telling you.)


Sistema – Sistema 50 oz. Slimline Quaddie Lunchbox 1.5 ltr.Assorted, 9″ X 6-1/2″ X 3-1/2″ H – $9.99, 8.95 shipping – Available at The Container Store

Elmers Products – Products, Inc. Glues and Adhesives Elmer’s Glue Sticks, .24 oz., Purple Application

Elmers Products - Products, Inc. Glues and Adhesives Elmer's Glue Sticks, .24 oz., Purple Application

Let’s just face it.  You’re gonna go through glue sticks like crazy, so save yourself the trouble and buy them all NOW.  Or, you know, do what I did last year and buy a few, and then halfway through the year listen to your kids cry because they have a project due TOMORROW that they forgot to tell you about and they need glue sticks and you’re all out.  You know, either way will work. 


Elmers Products – Products, Inc. Glues and Adhesives Elmer’s Glue Sticks, .24 oz., Purple Application – $11.47 (27% off), 5.69 shipping – Available at Amazon.com

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Howdy, howdy!  Happy Monday, friends.

I am beginning week 3 of my anti-inflammatory diet.  I can feel improvements, and I’m so grateful.  I actually was feeling good enough to attempt exercise today, but I didn’t last long.  After telling my doctor about it, I received a gentle scolding and was told that my adrenal glands are not recovered enough yet, and that in 3-4 weeks we’ll start talking exercise.  So…I guess that means I’m on mandatory “relaxation”!  :D

The meal plan I’m sharing today is what I’m feeding my family, not myself, since I’m basically eating salads with chicken for nearly every meal, and some sort of fresh fruit for all snacks.


  • fresh raspberries (from the garden)

  • toast

  • Greek yogurt

  • other fresh fruit (we currently have oranges, apples, bananas, kiwi, and mango to choose from)


  • fresh fruit (see above)

  • chicken and cheese quesadillas

  • leftovers

  • veggies of choice (on hand we have corn, peas, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, squash, and zucchini)


Monday – Taco night
TuesdayChicken and Rice SoupWednesday - Breakfast for Dinner (waffles, homemade hash browns, fruit salad)
Thursday – Leftover night
Friday – Dinner at Grandma’s
Saturday – Dad’s in charge
Sunday – Dinner at Grandma’s


As for my goals last week, here’s how I did:

  • 1 hour freezer cooking session – YEP!
  • Start exercising again.  – YES, but got busted for it. :)
  • Finish up my two giveaways – YES
  • Post at least 2 new recipes on the blog. – oops, NO

The plan for this week:

  • Do some yard sale back to school shopping.
  • Declutter and organize the bookshelf area of my bedroom.

Have a great week!


Menu Monday and Weekly Goals

Oh me, oh my.

I didn’t post a weekly plan, goals or menu-wise last week.  Everything just got crazy and what can I say?  I slacked off.

I finally had my follow up doctor appointment to get the results of the blood tests.  And it wasn’t pretty.

  • Severe anemia pattern, so low that unless we get it up quickly I’ll need IV therapy.
  • Possible Hyperparathyroidism (not the same as thyroid issues), will need surgery…one more blood test was done on Thursday to confirm.
  • Not enough oxygen in the blood cells.
  • Red blood cells not regenerating fast enough, causing inflammation and blocking my body’s ability to absorb the nutrients I need (like iron).
  • Multiple food intolerances.
  • Pre-diabetes
  • And more

Luckily, the doctor I’m working with is an endocrine specialist, and he feels confident that I can get on a treatment plan and improve.  We are looking at 6 months of treatment, and an out-of-pocket cost of more than $5,000, and the goal is simply for me to have more good days than bad….but you know what, I’ll take it.

Part of the treatment plan is nutritional.  I’ve been given a very specific meal plan in which I cannot eat gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar of any kind, potatoes, rice, beef, pork, peanuts, eggs, tomatoes, and more.  This week’s menu plan will reflect that, along with foods for the kids.  It’s gonna be an interesting few months – wish me luck!


kids – toast, fresh garden raspberries
kids – yogurt
me – creamy buckwheat
me – quinoa breakfast salad


kids – fresh and canned fruit (peaches, mandarin oranges, apples, grapes)
kids and me – fresh vegetables (carrots, broccoli, jicama)
kids – quesadillas
me – banana milk


153382-425x325-chicken-tendersMonday – almost pasta salad (made with quinoa)
Tuesday – baked chicken with Flax Tortillas
WednesdaySalmon and Avocado Salad
ThursdayCoconut Chicken, salad
Friday – turkey burgers, sweet potato chips
Saturday – grilled veggies, leftover turkey burgers
Sunday – quinoa salad, baked tilapia


Goals for the week are simple, simple.  I just want to survive!

  • Doctor appointment to get more blood test results.
  • Grocery shop and get all needed ingredients for new menu plan.
  • Take car load of stuff to the local thrift store.

Have a great week!  We are linked up at OrgJunkie.



Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – 06/23

This last week I tried a new recipe for Kalua Pork, and it was a hit!  I love how simple it was to make, and it’s a recipe we’ll definitely make again in the future.  The leftovers are already completely gone as well. :)  Another success was the Chicken and Dumplings.  I changed the recipe, so I’ll be sure to post my updates to it later this week.


I’m keeping the meal plan simple, as usual.  I am planning to keep track of the exact cost of each meal too, so I can rank my meals by cost and make more meal plans based on that knowledge.  We’ll see if I actually do it!  In the meantime, here’s the plan:


Scrambled eggs with gluten free toast
Oatmeal with apples and brown sugar
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake (with added protein powder)

2014-04-29 08.32.56Lunches:




Monday – Tacos
Tuesday – Ribbon Sandwiches (with gluten free bread), peaches
Wednesday – Chicken Fajitas, rice
Thursday – Sweet and Spicy Salmon, quinoa salad
Friday - Leftover night
Saturday – Grilled chicken, potatoes on the grill, fruit smoothies
Sunday – Dinner at my mom’s

As for goals, I’m happy to report that I was able to get the painting in the bathroom completed.  Who cares if I finished at 10pm the last night of the week?  It got finished, and I’m counting it!  This week I’m hoping to be a little more ambitious, although not by a ton (Still ill and don’t dare push it):

  • Plan and buy stuff for Activity Days.

  • Post Chicken and Dumpling soup recipe.

  • Get trim put up in the bathroom.

  • Continue Summer Challenge.

  • Post book review, and exercise video reviews.

  • Start planning a freezer cooking day.

I hope your week is a good one!

*Linked up at OrgJunkie .  Happy Monday!

Menu Monday – Weekly Meal Plan and Goals

Happy Monday!

Another week is upon us.  It’s June 16, and guess what?  I’m COLD.  It is stormy here and, according to the forecast, it’s only going to be in the 60’s for the next couple of days!  It’s not too bad, but woah, I’m completely confused! :)

IMG_1163Last week we took a family trip to Zion National Park.  It was in the 100’s then, but we had a great time.  What a beautiful world we live in!

Now we’re back and we’re ready to get in the swing of summer (cold or not). I’m looking forward to getting more done around the house and doing more activities with the kiddos.  Keeping the meals fairly simple this week, like always.  One day I’ll enjoy making big grand meals.  This is not that day. :)

Breakfast Options:


Scrambled Eggs
Toast (for the kids)
Protein Smoothie

Lunch Options:


Fruit Smoothies


Monday – Hawaiin Kalua Pork (see recipe below), rice, sweet potato fries
Tuesday – French Toast, hash browns, fruit salad
Wednesday – Slow cooked chicken of some sort, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots
Thursday – Leftover night
Friday – Chicken and Gluten-Free Dumplings,
Saturday – Spaghetti
Sunday – To be determined



1151049_10201247519165186_1469872265_nHawaiian Kalua Pork (from a friend on facebook):

4-6 lb pork shoulder or Boston butt roast
1 Tbsp liquid smoke, Hickory or Mesquite flavor
2-3 tsp Red Hawaiin Sea Salt (or kosher salt)

Wash and pat dry the pork roast and place in the slow cooker. Pierce all over with a fork, pour the liquid smoke evenly over the roast and sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
Place the lid of the slow cooker on and set the time for 8-12 hours on LOW.
Check at about 8 hours for doneness. If not done let go the full 12 hours, checking every hour. Shred with forks. You can remove liquid and fat, but some liquid will keep pork from drying out. Serve with rice and macaroni salad.

Weekly Goals:

I kept my goals extremely easy last week, which may or may not be cheating, I don’t know.  At least I accomplished all of them!


  • Get everything ready for the mini-vacay. – YES
  • Start re-painting the bathroom. – YES
  • Celebrate the hubby’s birthday! – YES
  • Finish the summer schedule.  – YES

This week I’m hoping to:

I’m hoping and praying that this week will be the new healthy beginning I need.  With luck, I’ll get some answers from the doctor and will be able to start making a more specific plan based on that.  I hope your week is wonderful too!

(Linked at OrgJunkie and Money Saving Mom)