Meal Plan Monday 4/29



Our menu for this week:

Breakfast
Cereal, Bananas
Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
Strawberry Smoothies
Pancakes from the freezer
Scrambled Eggs, Toast

Lunch
Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks w/Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Graham Crackers w/SunButter, Raisins, Apple Slices
Pasta w/Butter, Parmesan Cheese & Peas, Carrot Sticks
SunButter&Jelly Sandwiches, Applesauce
English Muffin Pizzas
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Monday:
     Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Tuesday:
     Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday:
     Crock Pot Chicken Tacos 

Thursday:
    Chicken Macaroni Casserole w/added veggies

Friday:
     Leftover Night

Saturday:
    Roast Sticky Chicken--Rotisserie Style, Rice, Green Beans, Biscuits

Sunday:
    Chicken Quesadillas 


$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning {not to mention some great money-saving recipes!}.

Get more menu planning ideas at Menu Plan Monday


Simply Saving Saturday

We had beautiful weather the last part of this week with lots of sunshine.  We turned the thermostat off during the warmer days and spent some time outside.  


One of our sons found a bird's nest (see the green grass? yay!),



and we noticed lots of buds on the flowers and trees including our crab apple tree.  I cleaned out two small flower beds and noticed that the daffodils will be blooming soon.  I love this time of year when we can work outside without being bothered by black flies and mosquitoes!

**On Sunday there were tables set up at church with books that were free for the taking.  I was able to find a few books that I hadn't read yet from a couple of my favorite authors.

**I was also able to pick up some books at the library book sale for $.10 each and we checked out several others.  As you can probably tell, we love books!

**I tried this whole wheat pop tarts recipe this week.  These are so, so good and much healthier and cheaper than the "real" pop tarts.  They're not as inexpensive as homemade oatmeal, but they are a good alternative to cereal and a nice change to have occasionally.  They also make a great snack.



**My husband and I like to share a pint of ice cream every so often while watching a favorite tv show or movie.  When my husband went out one night this week to pick up a gallon of milk, he also brought home a pint of ice cream.  Instead of our favorite Ben & Jerry's, he brought home Hershey's ice cream because "it was a lot cheaper".  That's a man after my own heart!

**Downloaded a song on Spotify for free.

**In my mailbox this week:  free Martha Stewart Magazine, free Family Fun Magazine and a toothpaste sample.

**I was able to get 6 loaves of whole wheat bread for $.67 each at the bread store during their Buy 2, Get 1 free sale.  They also threw in two free donuts for the boys. :)



Our on-going savings:

**Follow a weekly meal plan.

**Earn Swag Bucks for Amazon gift cards that I use to buy gifts.

**Keep thermostat at 65 during the day and 60 at night.
(We were able to turn the heat off for a few days this week!)

**Husband takes lunch to work everyday.

**Turn lights off when not being used.

**Use cash to buy groceries.

**Use scrap paper for notes and lists.

**Drive to town once a week for shopping and errands.  

**Buy less cereal and eat oatmeal several times a week.

**Reuse plastic and paper shopping bags for small trash and recycling.

**Save bread ends for the freezer.




Note: Some of the links in this post are referral links. When a new member signs up using my referral link, I receive bonus points for that referral.

Recipe: Lime Cheesecake Pops



In order to use up the last bit of lime juice from a recipe I made last week, I came up with this fun twist on my favorite summer dessert.  It's a delicious way to cool off on those hot summer days.

Lime Frozen Cheesecake Pops


Makes: approx. 15 pops
Make ahead:  Freeze for at least 4 hours.

2 1/2 tbs. lime jello
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbs. lime juice
3/4 cup evaporated milk
5 graham cracker squares, crushed or
    1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tbs. butter, melted

1.  Put lime jello in a bowl and add hot water.  Stir until jello is dissolved.  Stir in cold water and refrigerate for an hour or until completely cool.  While jello is cooling, put mixing bowl and evaporated milk in the refrigerator (this will help it whip up better).

2.  In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar and lime juice; add jello and mix well.

3.  In a mixer with whisk attachment or hand mixer, beat evaporated milk in chilled bowl until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese/jello mixture to whipped milk and mix just until combined.


4.  Set popsicle molds or disposable cups onto a baking sheet and pour filling into cups.  Mix together graham cracker crumbs and butter.  Sprinkle onto filling and press down lightly.  If using disposable cups, freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, remove from freezer and insert popsicle sticks.  Return to freezer and freeze until firm 4 - 5 hours.




Meal Plan Monday 4/22



My favorite meal last week was the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches.  I used part of the whole pork loin that I bought on sale a few weeks ago, and even though a fattier cut of pork is usually used to make pulled pork, it turned out only slightly dry which was fixed by smothering it in barbecue sauce.  When I make this again, I will watch it more closely and cook it for less time.  It was still delicious and a wonderful start to a new spring menu.

Breakfast
Cereal, Bananas
Mini Frittatas
Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
Whole Wheat Toaster Pastries

Lunch
Pasta, Peas
Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Pretzels
Sandwich Crackers (SunButter on Graham Crackers), Yogurt, Grapes
English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas, Pear Slices
Dinner Leftovers

Dinner
Monday:
     Chicken Taco & Rice , SaladSuper Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits

Note:  I love the Chicken Taco & Rice recipe - it's super simple and the whole meal is made in one skillet!

Tuesday: 
     Island Chicken, Green Beans, Roasted Sweet Potato
  
Wednesday:
     Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops, Spanish Rice, Peas

Thursday:
     Spaghetti

Friday:
      Leftover Night


Saturday:
     Baked Ravioli, Garlic Bread

Sunday:
     Grilled Bacon-Tomato Sandwiches


$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning {not to mention some great money-saving recipes!}.

Get more meal inspiration at Menu Plan Monday 


{photo credit}

Simply Saving Saturday

**The temperatures are finally warming up here and we were able to turn the thermostat off and open a few windows during some of the warmer days this week!  The schools had spring break this week and the boys spent time outside at the playground, jumping on their aunt and uncle's trampoline and helping their dad with spring yard work.

While working outside, our older son scooped quite a large amount of dirt into his shovel and put it in the wheelbarrow.  His dad told him that he must have big muscles to be able to do that. Our son said without hesitation, "I know, Dad."  



**I made a teacher's gift to give our son's teacher at the end of the year.  I used coasters that I found on clearance at Walmart along with a few things that I found in my craft box.  The total cost was a little over $.08.

**I used points I earned from Recyclebank to get a free one-year subscription to All You magazine.  I was so excited to see this magazine added to the reward options for Recyclebank.  It is one of my favorite magazines with lots of coupons and simple recipe ideas, but it is one of those "extras" that I have learned I can live without--unless I can get it for free!

**Used soap coupons at Dollar Tree and paid just $.05 tax for a bar of soap.  It has been months, probably close to a year, since I have paid more than $.05 for soap!


**I cut my older son's hair.

**Used shampoo and conditioner samples all week.




**I used a free pattern and fabric and interfacing that my mom gave me last summer to make a new purse.  I was very happy with how it turned out!

**We were blessed to be given a gallon of paint this week and we are using it to repaint our older son's room.  This is a project that we were hoping to get done this year and we are so thankful to be able to do it so inexpensively.  Our son is very excited about having a "big boy" room and I can't wait to use a few inexpensive ideas I found on Pinterest to update his room.

**I made a birthday card using things I had on hand.  I cut a picture from a sympathy card and attached it to a piece of matching cardstock and used a flower stamp to add a little decoration to the inside.

**I was able to make 2 very inexpensive meals for our whole family with 2 bone-in chicken breasts.  I made my own boneless, skinless chicken breasts by removing the skin and cutting the meat from the bone and used them to make Garlic Lime Chicken.  

I boiled the bones, picked the remaining meat off them and used the boiled chicken to make a pasta dish.  I had almost all the ingredients to make the 2 meals and only needed to purchase 2 items.  A little bit of planning ahead of time really does help lower the grocery bill!

Our on-going savings:

**Follow a weekly meal plan.

**Earn Swag Bucks for Amazon gift cards that I use to buy gifts.

**Keep thermostat at 67 during the day and 62 at night.
(We were able to turn the heat off for a few days this week!)

**Husband takes lunch to work everyday.

**Turn lights off when not being used.

**Use cash to buy groceries.

**Use scrap paper for notes and lists.

**Drive to town once a week for shopping and errands.  
(We took more than one trip to town this week.)

**Buy less cereal and eat oatmeal several times a week.

**Reuse plastic and paper shopping bags for small trash and recycling.

**Save bread ends for the freezer.



Note: Some of the links in this post are referral links. When a new member signs up using my referral link, I receive bonus points for that referral.


From "Mommy Bag" to Buttercup Bag

When our first son was born, I gave up my stylish, teeny tiny purses for a "mommy bag".  For the last six years I've carried around a big black bag that is almost as big as I am crammed with diapers, wipes, toys, sippy cups, snacks, ointments, extra clothing, a wallet, calculator, coupons, gum, and hand sanitizer.

These days though I can usually get by with just a snack and a few matchbox cars to keep the boys occupied while we are running errands and shopping.  I realized it was time to retire my "mommy bag"  and look for something a little more stylish and fun.

That's when I noticed the free Buttercup Bag pattern from Made By Rae and immediately fell in love with it.






I was a little unsure about making this bag since I don't have a lot of sewing experience besides watching my mom sew while I was growing up.  I'm so glad that I gave it a try!  I love the bright colors and it's just the right size; just big enough for my wallet, coupons, snacks and few small toys.  If you want to give this project a try you can get the free pattern at Made by Rae.


Sticky Notepad Holder (Gift For Teachers)



Even though it's only April, I couldn't wait to make this end-of-the-year gift for my son's teacher with the cute coasters I found.

All you need for this project is a few minutes and a few supplies.

Supplies:
coaster
sticky note pad
medium gator clip
ribbon
glue gun


This is a very frugal gift: I found the set of coasters on clearance at Walmart for $.50.  The gator clips can be purchased at the Dollar Tree for about $.10 each and they also had sticky notes in packs of 2.  If you can't find coasters with a design that you like, you can use scrapbook paper to cover them like Kristy from Next To Heaven did in this post.



Just clip the notepad to the coaster with the gator clip and attach the ribbon with a little glue.  It doesn't get any easier than that!

Meal Plan Monday 4/15


I plan our meals based on meat that is on sale and what I have in the freezer.  For this week's meals I purchased a whole pork loin that was on sale for $1.99/lb. (most of this will go in the freezer) and I am using chicken and ground beef from the freezer.

Breakfast
Cereal

Breakfast Cake Muffins, Bananas
Cottage Cheese Pancakes from the freezer
Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets


Lunch
Chicken Salad Wraps, Peach Slices
Ham Sandwiches, Pineapple Chunks, Carrot Sticks
Sandwich Crackers (SunButter on Graham Crackers), Yogurt, Grapes

Breakfast Cake Muffins, Orange Slices
English Muffin Pizzas
Dinner Leftovers

Snacks
Grapes
Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars
Parmesan Herb Baked Tortilla Chips with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Dinner

Monday:     
     BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches (slow cooker), Coleslaw, Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:
     Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread

Wednesday:
     Garlic Lime Chicken, Rice Pilaf, Green Beans


Thursday:
      White Cheddar Chicken Pasta (with leftover chicken), Roasted Sweet Potato

Friday:
     Potluck with Small Group--Cheddar Broccoli Salad

Saturday:
     Leftover Night
      
Sunday:  
     Breakfast for dinner: Pancakes, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs


$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning {not to mention some great money-saving recipes!}.

Get more menu planning ideas at Menu Plan Monday


Simply Saving Saturday



**I made Fat Quarter Drawstring Bags for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.  I used felt scraps for the  applique and thread from my sewing box.

**My husband took the boys on an "adventure" (this is what my husband and boys call their outings together).  I dropped them off at a snowmobile trail not far from our home and they walked back home following the railroad tracks.  They came home with extra mud and big smiles.  These "adventures" only cost us a small amount in gas, but this special time that they spend with their dad is worth so much more than anything that we could buy them!

**Borrowed several books from the library.  While I was there I found some coupons from the community coupon box that I could use and donated coupons for others to use.

**Made pancakes for the freezer, biscuits and hamburger vegetable soup.

**I bought a 7 lb. whole boneless pork loin for $1.99/lb.  I'll be using some of it in meals next week and some will go in the freezer.

**Used coupons at Dollar Tree to get free soap (+tax).

**Earned $2 from Pinbooster.

**There was a free magazine and a free Nexxus sample in my mailbox this week.

**My husband (who avoids shopping at all costs) surprised me on his day off by taking me to my favorite discount store.  I used some birthday money and bought a brand new Black Paw bag for $2.99 (regular retail $30-$40!) that will be perfect to take on day trips that we have planned for this summer.  I also found fat quarters for $.75 and spools of thread for $.25 each.

**I am slowly working on organizing the boys' rooms (again!).  I found winter clothing, puzzles, and toys that our younger son has outgrown that I am saving for a yard sale at my sister-in-law's house this spring.



Our on-going savings:

**Follow a weekly meal plan.

**Earn Swag Bucks for Amazon gift cards that I use to buy gifts.

**Keep thermostat at 67 during the day and 62 at night.

**Husband takes lunch to work everyday.

**Turn lights off when not being used.

**Use cash to buy groceries.

**Use scrap paper for notes and lists.

**Drive to town once a week for shopping and errands.

**Buy less cereal and eat oatmeal several times a week.

**Reuse plastic and paper shopping bags for small trash and recycling.

**Save bread ends for the freezer.


Shoe Boxes For Boys: Fat Quarter Drawstring Bag with Applique


Welcome to the Shoe Boxes for Boys series. This year I am focusing on packing boxes for boys after reading a comment on this post about the need for more boxes for boys (especially 10-14 year olds). If you are packing Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes this year, I hope you will discover new ideas and also share your ideas!



These little drawstring bags are great for packing school supplies, small toys or tools in a shoe box.  I added an extra touch by sewing a felt applique onto the bag.



Supplies:
felt
fat quarter (makes 2 bags)
ribbon or cord



Cut a piece of fabric 6 1/2" x 21".  Draw or print a template for the applique and cut the shapes out of the felt.  Fold the piece of fabric wrong sides together and with short sides together.  Position applique in center of fabric and move it down about an inch.  Pin the applique to the first layer of fabric only.



Unfold the fabric and sew the applique to the fabric.  Complete the bag by following the drawstring bag tutorial at Skip To My Lou.







Posts in this series:

For more free patterns and ideas, visit my Operation Christmas Child Pinterest Board.

Sharing at Modest Mondays and these parties.

Note: The information shared in this series will follow the OCC-US regulations. When packing shoe boxes from other countries, please refer to the rules and regulations from that country as they do vary from country to country. Thank you!
Operation Christmas Child Canada
Operation Christmas Child Australia
Operation Christmas Child UK 
Operation Christmas Child Spain

Meal Plan Monday 4/8



Breakfast
Cereal
Waffles
Pumpkin Pancakes from the freezer
Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Lunch
Noodles with Butter, Parmesan Cheese & Peas
Turkey Sandwiches, Applesauce, Carrot Sticks
SunButter & Jelly, Raisins, Pear Slices
Apple Cinnamon Whole Wheat Cottage Cheese Pancakes (freeze leftovers), Yogurt

Dinner Leftovers

Snacks
Grapes
Bananas
Pretzels
Parmesan Herb Crackers (using this recipe and replacing sesame seeds with Parmesan cheese)

Dinner
Monday:     
     Baked sweet potatoes topped with sauteed ground beef, onions & green pepper, Rice, Carrot Sticks

Tuesday:
     Spaghetti

Wednesday:
     Hamburger Vegetable Soup (1/2 recipe) Super Easy Whole Wheat Biscuits

Thursday:
     Seasoned Baked Chicken, Rice, Lemon Parmesan Broccoli 

     Tip: Grated Parmesan cheese can be used in place of fresh on the broccoli.  If you have a child who refuses to eat broccoli, try this recipe.  After trying this broccoli for the first time our 6-year old said, "I love broccoli!"

Friday:
     BBQ Chicken French Bread Pizza (made w/leftover chicken), Carrot Fries

Saturday:
     Tacos w/beans
     
Sunday:  
     Chicken Quesadillas, Cucumber Salad


$5 Dinners has a wonderful grocery shopping list with meal plan form and a few other printable planners that you might find helpful in meal planning {not to mention some great money-saving recipes!}.

Get more menu planning ideas at Menu Plan Monday