Menu Planning with a twist

This is officially the week after Thanksgiving.  Leftovers are still heavy in the refrigerator, and I do not want to waste any food plus we really like to eat!   One thing I did different this year is that we added several appetizers to our evening meal on Thanksgiving to get some variety going!  But in reality we also have more leftovers as well. This week has also turned out to be one of the busiest on the fall. Zach has all county band, Kendall has a swim meet. I have multiple meeting at work that will run late. Zach gets his braces off and has a physical appointment.  Did I say busy?

Breakfast are pretty standard around here.  You find it and make it. We still have some prepared items in the freezer and eggs and yogurt to spare.

Lunches will be leftovers for everyone.

Dinner are a little bit more challenging.  So after doing some planning and thinking. I decided that we would have leftovers for dinner at least Sunday, Tuesday and possibly Friday unless they are gone. Saturday evening, I made a turkey soup that was actually really good. So that is another option for Friday or I could change it up and use rice instead of potatoes. .

Here is the twist, I was able to assemble a meal for Monday and a separate meal for Wednesday in 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

Monday- Gnocchi  bake. This is a recipe that I found from watching “Acre Homestead” on Youtube. I used store bought Gnocchi, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce from this summer, frozen onions and a jar of canned ground beef.

Wednesday- Queso chill mac- This is a recipe total I made up. I used about half of the leftover queso dip, add a jar of ground beef and boiled the remaining pasta in a jar sitting on the cabinet.  So far everyone wanted to know if that was dinner.

Simple meal using what we have!

Saving On Saturday- Subscriptions

November is one of the most expensive months for us. It includes tags/ taxes on the Tahoe, and 6 months of car insurance along with regular and holiday expenses. This also happens to be when most of our yearly subscriptions renew.  This made the perfect time for me to sit down and consider each subscription and make a decision on rather to keep it or not, I am including my entire list of subscription just as a point of reference.

  1. Amazon Prime- $139 a year.  We live in the middle of nowhere with the closest grocery store not a Dollar General being a 10-minute drive.  Definitely keeping this one. Additional benefits include subscribe and save and music in the house.
  2. Microsoft Office $106 a year. We did discover that we have two accounts and are paying for both.  We will keep one of the accounts but the other has to go. This was a very expensive lesson to learn.
  3. Modwash- This is a car wash and a very recent decision to include.  We get unlimited car washes and use of vacuums and other tools.   $53.99 a month or $648 a year. This is definitely a luxury and one that we are keeping at this time.
  4. Discovery Plus- price increase of $2 a month to $9.99 a month or $119 a year.  I am the one who was watching this the most and really it has been reduced to maybe once a month.  This subscription was cancelled.
  5. Disney Plus- price increase of $60 a year or $5 a month. I did some research and found we could get Hulu, ESPN and Disney + for $14.99 a month or $179.88 a year. This is really not a savings but when you look at the two “television” subscriptions together which would equal $22 a month. We are going to get additional options and save $7 a month.
  6. Abode- This has been a must for many years as Matt used it to design and work on websites. However at $32.99 a month or $395 a year. We have not seen this benefit for at least 2 years and his current job does not require it’s us. This is a huge savings so off it went.
  7. Onstar Data in Tahoe- $15 a month. This is for unlimited data. It equals to the cost of purchasing one additional gig of data a month from Verizon.  With any trip this is very much worth it!
  8. YMCA membership- $27 a month with Lily’s discount. This is another fairly new membership.  This is a huge savings compared to any other gym membership and currently everyone but me is going on a regular basis so definitely a keeper.
  9. Apple Storage- We curently pay an additional $2.99 a month for this.  I am trying to reduce but this is a long and long process. This will stay currently.

I did make some changes to our auto insurance this time. We are dropping the collision on the Equinox as it is paid for and  I don’t like insurance so what we can get rid of I am going to.   We do have a AAA membership which will stay due to towing of the camper. This is significantly cheaper than having insurance on the camper.

Subscriptions take time to manage and really should be looked at yearly. This year we did not really save much but it helped to switch our money to things we find more important and useful.


This year was the most relax and uneventful holiday in a long time. However, it was not without illness as Lily caught a stomach bug! Hopefully she does not share with the rest of us.

We were very happy and surprised that Haley and David ended up spending the holiday with us.  Unplanned but fun!

Thursday, we have lunch at my brothers with all the family and lots of food. We were in charge of the turkey, stuffing and 3 deserts.  I was very glad to have leftovers and even planned on snacking most of the evening!

Friday, we worked on getting our Christmas decorations up for most of the day and took things a little bit slower paced.  I decided to treat everyone, and we ended up going out to eat at a Japanese steak house.  The food was awesome, and we all enjoyed it!

After dropping Braxton off, most of us decided to head out for some Black Friday shopping. Our biggest purchase of the evening? pillows!


Monday Menu Plan

Football season ended a week and half ago. We have our first swim meet this Friday.  I think we have finally caught up with everything and I am planning to stay ahead.  I will attest to the fact that I have been meal planning each and every week.  Most weeks we have stayed on track at least for 4 of the 7 days. I am also working on improving that track record as well.  My goal is to return to posting these regularly as well, so I have something to look back on and help with planning.

Breakfast- Saturday- Hash rounds and eggs. Sunday-bagels   Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- find it! Including omelets, cereal and milk, waffles, French toast sticks, bagels, and I also have breakfast burritos, breakfast hot pockets. I am trying to work through food in the freezer, so I am pushing those options but with a new blender for smoothies this is not helping.

Lunch- Saturday- Chicken crack soup (new to us recipe) Sunday Cracker Barrel.   Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday— left-over soup    Friday- eat out.

Dinner- Saturday-Philly Cheese Steak on Croissants     Sunday-Broccoli Cheese Soup Monday-Spinach Ravioli and Salad   Tuesday-Chicken Taco from freezer.  Wednesday- Salisbury steak, rice and green Beans   Thursday- Chicken and rice Casserole   Friday- Village Grill before Swim Meet.

Five Things Friday- Grocery Version


Noone is surprised or can argue the fact that groceries price has risen significantly this year.  I am now also feeding 3 teenagers!  So it is a struggle to feed us without breaking the bank. Here is how I am working to keep our budget intact.

  1. Costco chicken…. I picked up a chicken yesterday while getting the tires rotated on the Equinox.  We had just the plain roasted chicken with sides for dinner yesterday.  It easily fed six of us.  I stripped the remaining chicken meat put it in the refrigerator and placed the bones and skins in the crockpot to make chicken stock.  We used one package of the chicken for dinner tonight and will have another full meal if not two from the remaining chicken. That means we had enough meat for 3 meals for $4.99.  I also made approximately 6 quarts of chicken stock.
  2. Thanksgiving Turkey- I am in charge of providing the turkey for my families Thanksgiving this year.  I was watching for sales as the normal price of $1.29 a pound was just too much. Food Lion had a sale this week, that if you spent $35 you could purchase turkey for twenty-nine cent a pound.  Although I really did not “need” any items. I ended up get a 26-pound turkey for $6 and change.  The original cost of the turkey was $64.67, and my final total was $51.64.
  3. Aldi has for the past two years has “rolled back” prices on many items needed for Thanksgiving.  There is a 12 can limit per item.  I purchased both a case (12 cans) of green peas and corn.   I may return and purchase other items later in the month.
  4. Minimizing food waste.  We have had several vegetables that have been sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks now. I also purchased by accident 2 10# bags of potato, each bag was purchased a week apart. The first bag I opened to make baked potatoes last week had already started to spout.  I decided to make these items shelf stable before they needed to be tossed.  I ended up canning 10 quarts of chicken pot pie base and 9 pints of cream of potato soup.   This should actually last over a year but used items that would have otherwise been thrown out!
  5. Eating from the pantry and only buying items that are either on a signficant sale or items that we have ran out of. For example the green peas, I used the last can last weekend for a 7 layer salad. The cans of corn were 50 cent cheaper than what I am currently getting with Subscribe and Save.    I am using the ALEXA app to keep up with items we run out of and am trying not to shop unless absolutely necessary!

5 Things Friday- Financial Version

  1. November is a really expensive month for us!  We have to pay taxes and purchase tags for the Tahoe, pay car insurance for six months and finish purchasing Christmas! Therefore, I have been trying my hardest to find ways to save money this month!
  2.  Our church was gifted pumpkins this year. I volunteered to bring home the leftovers after all the kids got to pick one. We brought home around 20. Lily has helped me roast and bag 4 for baking and cooking. I am also saving seeds to try and plant next year as well as roasting some seeds to eat. The remaining pumpkins will be used to supplement the chickens’ diets!
  3. Cancelled Discovery plus!  This is $7.99 a month. I was notified of a price increase so after talking it over we cancelled.
  4. Cancelled Disney Plus!   Again because of a price increase this is no longer something we needed. We have debated signing up for it again in combination with ESPN. The price would be basically the same as the price increase but with additional benefit.
  5. I decided to cancel the collisions insurance on my car.  The car is paid for and this saved around $150 for six months.

October in Review

October has come and gone.  And nope I did not find the balance for life.  November and December are my favorite months!    I am going to try and get better with doing things and keeping up!

Groceries- Budget = $975.$475   $1455   Goal NOT met! The problem is that we had 5 weekends this month so it resulted in two shopping trips to Costco. Yikes!

Auto/ Gas. Goal -= $600.  Goal Met!  We have spent $468.55 this month.  I am not sure why but Matt’s job change has not resulted in a decrease in the gas budget.

Blogging- 15 post per month.  7 post this month. I am actually really surprised that this was as high as it was!  I am hoping for more balance.

Exercise- I am struggling both with my health and how to improve it!

Earn extra money: a $50 gift card from Fetch.  I am at 37000 need to get to 53000. This has been such a slow process.  Not even sure if I will get the $50 by Christmas