Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monthly Meal Plans

I've been asked by more than a few people how I manage to put together and grocery shop for a full month worth of meals for our family in one swoop. I'm hoping to shed a little light on that with this post...
First of all let me be clear- I don't sit down and plan out the entire month's dinner menu because I like to. I actually get really annoyed with it. I do it for two major reasons: 
1.) Grocery Shopping with three kids ages five and under, by myself, while trying to stick to a budget is like trying to herd cats while wearing a blindfold. Once a month is more than enough.
2.) The way our budget is set up, and the timing of our paychecks sort of dictate when we can do major grocery shopping trips- once a month. Granted we end up having to run to the store for milk or eggs in between trips, but it's nice to know we have everything we need for our dinners and lunches ready to go in the pantry.

This is my November dinner menu. Obviously it's a little on the skimpy side. Because I got a late start this month, and I took Thanksgiving into account, I didn't have to plan out as many dinners. Hopefully you will get the idea though!

There is a method to my madness, I promise. Normally I try to plan at least four crock pot meals (one per week) which helps keep my weeks a little less hectic, and a few "Nolan friendly" recipes which help keep his nights less hectic when I have to work (two nights per week). I also try to make sure at least half of my meals will have enough leftovers to feed us the next evening. I think this is the key to keeping the budget on track. Other than that I just try to choose recipes that don't call for mass amounts of weirdly expensive ingredients, and of course are delicious! 

The above menu is for 17 nights (six of those meals will create two nights worth of food). The ingredients for those meals, plus groceries for lunches, snacks, home made baby food and breakfast for those 17 days came to a grand total of $160. Honestly I've done better as far as the budget is concerned, but $160 is still pretty good for a family of five!

Hope my tips help those of you attempting to plan a whole month at a time! 


Jax has become obsessed with Star Wars recently, which I have to say is pretty cute. A few nights ago my mom and dad were watching one of the movies with him, and quizing him on who the characters were. The conversation went something like this-

Papa- "Who's that guy? Is that Hans Solo?"
Jax- "Mmmhmm, yup."
Papa- "And who's that furry guy next to him (meaning Chewbaca of course)?"
Jax- (without hesitation or question) "That's Jimmy."
Nana- "Wait, what did you say? What's his name?"
Jax- (without even taking his eyes off the screen) "Jimmy. Sometimes they call him furrrr ball!"

That kid seriously cracks me up. And now every time I watch Star Wars I will think of Jimmy the Wookie.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kids. They really do say the darndest things.

This morning, as we are rushing through our morning routine like maniacs, desperately trying to get out the door in time to avoid the dreaded kindergarten tardy, Jax stops in the middle of the living room. Standing in only a T-shirt and underwear, he throws his hand up and yells,
 "What is happening to my life?!"

My thoughts exactly son ;)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Have You Seen This Car?

This evening as we were getting the boys ready for baths, Jax suddenly began frantically searching for a very specific hot wheel car (one out of what seems like 1000 hot wheels laying around the house). Apparently it was imperative that he have it for his bath.  As he was trying to explain to us what the car looked like, he stopped mid sentence and ran out of the room. He came back with a piece of paper and began sketching a picture...

"Have you seen this car? This is the car I am looking for!"
Amazingly enough, this picture helped, and we were able to locate the missing blue hotwheel, just in time for a bath.

Roses and Rust

A few weeks ago (okay, more like a month ago), my mom, sister and I teamed up to run a booth at the twice annual Roses and Rust Vintage Market here in Redding. This is the first time I have done anything like this, and it was certainly an interesting experience. The three of us spent months preparing to be be one if literally hundreds of vendors with a 10'x10' booth. Personally I didn't' sell much... for whatever reason this year people just weren't buying furniture (mine was not the only booth not moving bigger pieces, although I'm told in past years furniture just flew out the doors), however the event was great exposure, and certainly a good networking tool.

Our booth, almost ready to open!

This event also gave me the perfect excuse to try a few things I have been meaning to try- like painting upholstry (see the teal armchair in the photo), and checking out the Alameda Flea Market for the first time with my good friend Tegan. Overall it was a great experience, and I'm so glad I got to spend the time with my mom and sister. 

Shortly after Nolan and I got to take a very rare trip without the kids, back to the bay for a day. We got to catch up with good friends, do some shopping, have a nice lunch, and best of all, make some money! I sold this amazing bedroom set for almost $800 over what I paid for it, AND the buyers paid our gas money for the drive down. That TOTALLY makes up for not selling much at Roses and Rust. 

And while we were away, this went down...

Things have calmed down just in time to start preparing for Halloween.