Meal Plan Monday - February 29

Here's what we're eating this week:

Tuna Casserole, carrot and cucumber sticks, applesauce
Sweet and Sour Meatballs with rice, carrot sticks
Baked Chicken Lasagna Rolls, Yogurt Biscuits, peas
"Best Ever" Chicken Nuggets, Carrot Fries
Meatloaf Muffins, salad
Melt in Your Mouth Chicken Thighs, seasoned rice, green beans
Leftover Night

Get more meal plan ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

How I Saved This Week - February 27

Two weeks ago, the schools had a February break. We spent most of the week at home, but we did take a family trip to the Children's Discovery Museum. We used our AAA card to get a discount.

I was very happy to see the Christmas cactus blooming again!

I used manila rope and cotton yarn to make the basket. The rope was only $.06 per foot and I used yarn that I already had, so it turned out to be a very inexpensive project. I would like to try another one without the handles.

I used a coupon code to download a crochet pattern for free from Ravelry.

I downloaded several free ebooks to my laptop with the free Kindle for PC app.

I used points I earned from Bing Rewards to purchase a $5 Amazon gift card. My goal right now is to save the gift cards that I earn from Bing Rewards and Swagbacks in order to buy a Kindle Fire. I would love to download books onto the tablet so that I can read them in the car, at school, etc. instead of just on my laptop at home.

I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot and used frozen vegetable peels with the chicken scraps to make chicken stock. I made chicken noodle soup with some of the leftover chicken.

I used bread ends from the freezer to make meatballs. I cubed the bread and soaked it in milk before mixing into the hamburger mixture.

We borrowed several books from the library.

How did you save this week?

Chicken Taco & Rice Skillet

This recipe was one of my husband's favorite meals when he was growing up. Not too long after we were married, my mother-in-law shared the recipe with me and I have been making this meal ever since!

Our whole family loves this meal. I think the boys like the fact that they can have chips with their dinner, but I like it because it is so quick and easy!

Chicken Taco & Rice Skillet

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbs. canola oil
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 8 oz. can no salt added tomato sauce
1 pkg. low sodium taco seasoning or
3 - 4 tbs. homemade taco seasoning
1 can no salt added corn, drained
1 green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 c. instant white or brown rice
tortilla chips (we recommend lime Tostitos)
optional toppings: cheese, black olives, sour cream, salsa

1. In a skillet, saute chicken in oil until no longer pink.
2. Add peppers, broth, tomato sauce and seasoning mix. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes.
3. Add corn and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and remove from heat.
4. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
5. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and toppings of your choice.

Note: If using instant brown rice, add rice and let simmer, covered for 5 minutes before removing from heat.

Meal Plan Monday - February 15

The boys and I are on vacation this week, so I am sharing our full menu plan for the week. Here's what our family will be eating this week:

French Toast
English muffin breakfast sandwiches
Oatmeal with blueberries

English muffin pizzas, applesauce, carrot sticks
Italian sandwiches, apple slices
Mac & Cheese, peas
Potluck lunch with friends (I'm bringing sweet & sour meatballs)
Dinner Leftovers

Corn Chowder
Taco Salad
Sweet Potato Chili, Yogurt Biscuits
Mustard-Glazed Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Whole Chicken in the Crockpot, seasoned rice, veggies
Irish Beef Stew, leftover biscuits
Leftover night

How I Saved This Week

My first grader and I worked on a 100 days of school project. He decided to make a popcorn project, so I bought popcorn bags and poster board from the Dollar Tree. We glued the popcorn bag onto the poster board and glued 100 pieces of popcorn around it. I printed the words "popping into 100 days" in a large, fun font onto card stock and glued them to the top and bottom of the poster board.

I finished the crocheted bags that I made for the teachers for Valentine's Day. I used yarn and ribbon that I had on hand and filled them with candy. The boys attached one of these fun Valentine's Day notes that I printed on card stock.

A couple of years ago I found boxes of Valentine's Day cards on sale for $.25 after Valentine's Day. The boys gave the cards to their classmates during their Valentine's Day celebration this week.

I froze vegetable peels for chicken stock.

I bought English muffins for just $.50 per package at the bread store.

I worked 5 days this week and brought a lunch from home each day.

I gave the boys a hair cut.

This week I ran errands and picked up groceries on my way home from work to save on gas. I've used about 1/4 of a tank since Monday.

How did you save this week?

Meal Plan Monday - February 8

Biscuit Pot Pie (made with leftover Yogurt Biscuits), salad

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Meatloaf Muffins, applesauce, seasoned brown rice

Taco Chicken and Rice Skillet, apple slices

Simply Saving Saturday - February 6

This week my husband's employer hosted an employee appreciation dinner. We ate a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant for free.

I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot and made chicken stock with the chicken scraps. I also used vegetable peels that I froze after prepping vegetables. I will use the leftover chicken and the chicken stock for meals next week.

I reused freezer bags.

We ate dinner at home every night.

I worked four days this week and my husband and I brought our lunch to work everyday.

I downloaded a free desktop wallpaper for February from

I used the free version of EveryDollar to set up a new budget for February and used online bill pay to pay a bill.

How did you save this week?

Earn Extra Income as a Substitute Teacher

If your children are in school full time, substitute teaching is a great opportunity for stay-at-home parents to earn extra income. I started substitute teaching almost a year ago and have found it to be both challenging and rewarding.  As with any job, there are positive and negatives that you should consider before applying.

  • As a stay-at-home mom, one of the biggest benefits of substitute teaching is that I have the same schedule as my children and there is no need for a sitter. My work day is done at the same time as my children. If my children have a school vacation, holiday or snow day, I also have those days off.

  • Substitute teaching is very flexible. If one of my children is sick or I have an appointment, I can decline to work that day. In my school district, a substitute can also stipulate which days they can work and/or what grade level or school they want to work in.

  • One of the reasons I love substitute teaching is that there is a variety of work and no two days are exactly the same. One day I could work in the middle school; the next day I might be in the elementary school. I have worked in special education, resource rooms, main stream classes and with students with disabilities. The variety of work ensures that I am never bored!

There are also a couple of negatives about substitute teaching that you may want to consider before applying.

  • Substitute teachers aren't eligible to receive holiday, vacation or sick pay and, of course, there isn't any work available during summer break. 

  • Income earned as a substitute teacher varies from week to week.

If you are interested in substitute teaching, contact the Superintendent's Office or look on the school district's website for an application and more information. State laws may vary, but in the state that I live in, every substitute teacher is required to have an Ed. Tech. Certification. Submitting an application to the state for certification and a national background check is required. You can get more information about the requirements in your state by contacting the Superintendent's Office or going to the Department of Education website for your state.