Sunday, March 30, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I inadvertently found a way to save money on my menu plan last week. And although saving money (and losing four pounds) are the only positives I can think of, I would NOT recommend having your whole family sick with the flu for the week.

We are finally up and moving but barely.

Luckily we have something to look forward to this week...another vacation! (Another free one at that!)

My husband and I are going to Mexico! Woo hoo!

We have never been on a warm weather vacation and feel so fortunate to be able to go. We are staying at a resort which is all-inclusive and we're excited to not have to worry about a budget while dining out.

We leave on Thursday (late afternoon) and get home very late Monday night. Our girls (almost 3 and 15 mo.) are staying with my sister and then my mom.

So this is what I have for this week:

Breakfast: toast, juice
Lunch: toast (unless we are feeling better)
Supper: Chicken noodle soup, crackers

Breakfast: Multi-grain Cheerios, banana, juice
Lunch: PB&J, apple slices
Supper: Broccoli Chicken Delight, peaches and cottage cheese

Breakfast: Blueberry muffins, milk
Lunch: Leftovers
Supper: Corn Dog Muffins, mixed veggies, pears

Breakfast: oatmeal, milk
Lunch: Leftovers

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Menu Plan Help Update

I asked for help with my menu plan and got some good suggestions for crock pot receipes. Thanks for the ideas. The only problem is I won't be able to try any out this week because we have the flu. (again!) The puking kind of flu I'm afraid.

Both girls (almost 3 and 15 mo.) have it and I feel awful right now.

So I suppose I will have to try some of those receipes next week when we're feeling better.

To top off our bad day, it snowed four inches here. This weather is getting to be a little ridiculous! Only in Iowa is it 44 degrees one day and four inches of snow the next.

Oh well.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Hello all. I am in a menu plan rut. Nothing sounds good...any suggestions?

I think I'll try this and see how it goes:

Multi-grain Cheerios, banana, milk
Blueberry bagels, cream cheese, grapes, milk
Toast with jam, milk

PB&J, carrot sticks, milk
Egg Salad sandwiches, whole wheat crackers, grapes, milk
Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread, milk

Monday: Chicken Chipulos, Mexican rice, milk
Tuesday: Chili, homemade bread, milk
Wednesday: ??? Will be gone all day...need easy crock pot ideas
Thursday: Spaghetti, garlic bread, lettuce salad, milk
Friday: Leftovers

Any thoughts for an easy crock pot meal? I have a lot of pork in my freezer (we bought a hog but I don't really care for pork and don't really know how to cook it). I'd appreciate any ideas.

For more menu ideas, check out Organizing Junkie.

Have a great week!

Happy Easter!

Here are my girls in their Easter dresses. We had a great day and hope you did as well.

We set a budget for $10 per Easter basket and actually stuck to it. We used to go overboard on every holiday but not anymore! And you know what? They didn't even know the difference between a $10 Easter basket and a $70 Easter basket.

It actually snowed most of today. Craziness.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frugal Friday

I love to give gifts...and with a big family I have plenty of chances to indulge in my "hobby".

My budget does not always love my affection for gift giving. So to compromise I have a ten dollar limit on most gifts. I have a strict policy to not buy junk (I apparently have a lot of rules for myself!) so I have to get creative.

One of my favorite gifts to give is a magazine subscription. The gift receipent can read about something they enjoy. Each month when the magazine arrives they are reminded of the reason they got the gift, (birthday, Christmas, etc.)

My favorite place for discount magazine subscriptions is Amazon. They often run specials for $5 off. I got my mother-in-law (who is hard to buy for) two magazine subscriptions for her birthday (Marie Claire and Redbook) for $3 a piece after the $5 discount. Gotta love it!

For more frugal ideas, visit Biblical Womanhood.

I'm Back

Hello all. You gotta love a free vacation. We had a great time at the water-park hotel! My husband had meetings until mid afternoon but was still able to spend a lot of time with us.

The girls had a blast at the water-park and I did too. They were too little (almost 3 and 14 mo.) to do a lot of the big kid stuff but there was plenty of things to keep them entertained.

Bringing our own food for breakfast and lunch worked well. I made blueberry muffins before we left and the girls begged for these as soon as we got there.

I brought a vinyl tablecloth and we had a picnic on the floor when it was time to eat. They thought this was great fun.

We had a great time and even stuck to our budget! This living within our means goal is getting easier and easier.

We have been sick with the flu since we got home but even that can't tarnish our fabulous free vacation!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I have to admit I hardly followed my menu plan from last week. My uncle died (I'm thankful he's not in pain anymore) and I had lots of family in town for the funeral.

I somehow managed to feed six extra people for four days by using up items in my pantry and freezer. I had to get a little creative but overall things turned out well.

This week we are going on vacation to a hotel with an indoor waterpark. So my menu plan is a little different. The hotel does not provide breakfast so that shakes things up a bit. We will be eating out for the evening meal each night. Here's what I've got...

Homemade muffins I'm bringing from home, milk
Multi-grain Cheerioes, bananas, milk
Mini bagels, cream cheese, strawberries, milk
Instant Oatmeal packets, milk

PB&J, grapes, milk
Lunchables, carrot sticks, milk
Noodle soup, crackers, milk
Mac and cheese I made and will bring along

We are trying to stick to a small food budget and I think we can if we eating breakfast and lunch in the hotel room. My two daughters, M (2 3/4) and Z (14 months) are quite excited for a picnic in the hotel room. I'm bringing a vinyl tablecloth along.

For more menu plans check out Organizing Junkie.

I hope you have a great week!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I never really learned how to cook. My parents are both terrific cooks, but they never taught me how. I am a twin and we used to fight terribly. My mom would start teaching us a recipe and then inevitably kick us out of the kitchen for arguing.

I have really come a long way! I now make many things from scratch, which is a big accomplishment for me. One of my favorite new recipes is the muffins I'm serving tomorrow morning. I've included the link below.

And without further adieu, our menu plan for this week:

To Die For Blueberry Muffins
Multi-Grain Cheerios
Toast with jam

Egg salad sandwiches, carrots, milk
PB&J, fruit, milk
Soup, crackers, milk

Monday: Chicken 'n Biscuits (My husband refers to this as "kick ass casserole"

Tuesday: We're eating at my parent's house to celebrate my sister moving to our town. Woo hoo!

Wednesday: Fish, sweet potatoes, green beans

Thursday: Skillet soup with biscuits

Friday: Chicken Chipulos

Saturday: Steak Chili, homemade bread

Sunday: Pot roast, potatoes, carrots

Check out Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Save vs. Save Interest

We are receiving about $5000 for our tax refund. Now I know that it's better to not receive a refund because essentially you are letting the government borrow your money tax free. However, this is just the way it worked out for us this year.

So here's my question...would it be better to pay down credit card debt, or build up our emergency savings? We currently have over $10,000 in credit card debt (whew that's scary) and about $1500 in savings. I want to put $1000 in savings and use the rest to pay down debt, but my husband wants to put $2500 in savings and put the rest towards the credit card.

We used the credit card because we didn't have enough in savings when we needed it, and we were also living above our means. Now we have the living above our means part figured out at least.

What would you do? A vote for my way, his way, or another suggestion would be appreciated.