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November 2016

October 2016

The Meal Plan Project: October Wrap Up

Ok so first of all, wow. Tomorrow is November already! Second, I now have one month of meal planning under my belt and I'm hooked. Around three or four in the afternoon I just read my little list of what to eat that day and I go ahead and get it ready!

A lot of what we eat requires very little meal prep so that makes it easier on me. Eventually, I do intend on trying to meal prep a little more but I will work on that when I get more settled with my meal planning! I think with stuff like this it's all about the baby steps. I also want to try to store up some freezer meals mainly because I love the idea of having the meal already prepared to cook and all I have to do is put it in my crockpot or oven.

The reason I began meal planning was to save money on my grocery bill and stick to a budget. After this month, I am now a believer that it works! At the beginning of the month I set a budget of $350. This was based on what I spent in September and adjusted to how I thought I could do better. In October I spent a total of $311.93 on groceries which leaves me with $38.07! I feel like this is pretty good because once I bought peanuts to boil and a couple extras that we didn't really need. That amount also includes pizza from Pizza Hut because we got a really great coupon in the mail.

I'm going to keep the amount of $350 the same for November and see how I do this time around! Maybe I can get that number even lower this month. Although with Thanksgiving coming up, we'll just have to see how that goes! :)

Sunday: Lemon Pepper Chicken

Monday: Jambalaya

Tuesday: Hamburgers

Wednesday: Leftover Hamburgers

Thursday: Leftover Jambalaya

Friday: Cajun Chicken Alfredo

Saturday: Leftovers

The Meal Plan Project: 10/23-10/29

So I started this week off without a meal plan and Tuesday night was a disaster! I couldn't think of anything at all to cook! I have been doing this for just almost a month now and I already need it! So I sat down today and jotted one down for the rest of the week and for next week as well since I'm going to be going grocery shopping this week. We don't need much this week just a couple basics like milk and bread and other stuff! Even though before I began this little experiment I never felt stressed or chaotic at supper time about what to cook it has been really nice to just look at my notebook and see what I have planned for supper!

Sunday: Chicken Spaghetti

Monday: Tacos

Tuesday: junk food (oops)

Wednesday: Chicken Spaghetti

Thursday: Pizza

Friday: Pizza leftovers

Saturday: Tacos!

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Quilts and Quilting

I’ve been in the process of making things lately.  Mainly right now I have been working on a trio of memory quilts for a friend. I’m using shirts that belonged to her grandfather that her grandmother saved.  She lives on the coast so she mailed the shirts to me.  When I opened the boxes, I just sat there holding these shirts that had so much meaning to her.  For the first one, I made it the largest since it would be the one she is giving to her grandmother.  There was enough fabric left over to make two additional smaller ones that will go to her and her mother!

IMG_8041 IMG_8043 IMG_8317 IMG_8327The first quilt I made was out of baby clothes and it was so difficult!  Having no experience sewing with jersey fabric definitely made for a learning experience.  From now on, I will always use a stabilizing material on this kind of stretchy fabric.  Luckily I have an aunt who has a lot of experience so she was able to give me some pointers.

Monday I went with my grandmother to JoAnn’s which just opened up in Hattiesburg.  We had such a good time!  She was able to pick out some fabric for a receiving blanket that was so pretty!  It’s for a baby girl and has these cute little alphabet blocks on it. In August I sewed a quilt top that I thought I would make for Finley and have been waiting for a chance to get some fabric for the back of it.  I picked out some pretty blue minky fabric and also some nice striped fabric for a t-shirt quilt I’m making for myself out of my shirts from high school.  I am looking forward to finishing both of these quilts hopefully soon!


I totally have an addiction I think.

Meal Plan: 10/16 - 10/22

Last week I think I did pretty good on my meal plan! We ended up eating with Kevin's parents on Friday night so I get to use hamburgers for this week! I went grocery shopping on Thursday $124.88 which now leaves me with $126.03 left in my grocery budget! I believe that's pretty good considering we have two weeks left in the month but I have plenty of food to last the next week and a half. The ground beef has been a little cheaper this month so I've been buying double on my trips.

Sunday: Leftovers

Monday: Leftovers
Baked sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Spaghetti
Baked green beans

Wednesday: Hamburgers
Leftover veggies

Thursday: Cheesy chicken stuff
Baked sweet potatoes

Friday: Spaghetti leftovers
Baked green beans

Saturday: Hamburgers

I'm a big fan of leftovers. For one, it's less that I have to cook which translates into less pots and pans to clean up. But another thing is that much of what I cook is a bigger batch than Kevin and I usually eat in one sitting so it makes for a convenient meal later in the week! Eventually I want to start making some freezer meals that I can just throw in my crockpot! I like the idea of that even tho I have not gotten to where I'm actively doing anything about it. Well, that's my plan for this week! I'll let you know how it went when I check in next Monday :)

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kitchen garden.

We are on a major reset with our finances right now so in addition to me trying out a new (very low) grocery budget, I had an idea that I could plant foods that I like to eat.  When I shop for foo, I pretty much stick to foods for Kevin and Finley.  Then the animals get their food.  Then I get to buy what I really want.  So usually I don't buy vegetables and you know what, I really miss them!  I hadn't realized how much I missed eating veggies until I had a salad at church last week.  Lucky for me, I had a stack of seed packets that I bought last year for a fall garden.

I planted some seeds the first week of October.  It would probably have been better to have planted them in September but hopefully October works too!  I did not want to make another spot in the yard for the little garden so I used our front bed.  Kevin is already aggravated about the stuff I have in the yard, so I figured he would be much happier with me this way.  I cleared out the mulch from in between the elephant ears and then worked the ground for the seeds.  In one of the little plots I planted two different varieties of carrots and on the other side I planted broccoli and a lettuce mix.  And then the next morning, my dogs helped themselves to digging in the fresh dirt.  I raked the dirt back in the holes they made and now I'm just hoping for the best.  It's not very high hopes because I'm sure there will be more digging.

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Because I'm an impatient gardener, I also bought some romaine lettuce plants and a cherry tomato plant.  I'm including the cost for this as a part of my grocery budget because I would bought lettuce and tomatoes anyways.  I planted those in pots at the beginning of the week and they are starting to look pretty perky!  I was very pleased with the lettuce because it looked very healthy at the store and some of the little seedlings even had two plants in the individual compartment, so that's a bonus!  I also looked over all the tomato plants they had and chose one that already had several tomatoes on it and many more blooms.  Currently I have a few tomatoes that are the right size for a cherry tomato but they haven't turned red yet.  I'm wondering if I should go ahead and pick them and then let them ripen in the window sill.  I can't decide.  I suppose it won't hurt to do that, but I do love to see a beautiful little red tomato peeking out among the green leaves.  The dirt I used to for the pots is kinda old so in hopes of helping the soil, I used a couple shovel fulls of chicken poop!  I grow a little mini garden in a spot where my chickens used to live and it does very well!  So hopefully this will give me good tomatoes and lettuce!

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I had my first little mini salad from my lettuce plants and it was super yummy.  My mother introduced me to adding green onions to my salad and omg.  I love it!  I didn't have any tomatoes yet but I did add some carrots which added some pretty color to the salad.  I can't wait for my little plants to grow some more!

Meal Planning: Let’s Go!

I have talked about meal planning before and never really stuck to it but now that we are on a tighter budget, I plan to be more serious about it.  I asked people and researched and Pinterested about how to lower a grocery bill.  Everyone and everything I read had one thing in common: that meal planning is the way to go.  We have reduced all of our expenses as best as we can and the only two things that are really what we can control now are our fuel usage and grocery spending.

In the past, I usually had an idea in mind for what we were going to eat, but making a written plan of meals is going to make things a little easier.  And apparently it is going to help my grocery bill so we will see!  At the very least, it will make me feel like I’m being more productive.

I kind of did some planning in the last couple of weeks of September and strictly used my debit card for all my grocery purchases.  I use the Mint app and consult it often to see how my spending is going.  So by using my debit card I was able to see about how much I spent on groceries last month.  From that information, I was able to set my budget for groceries at $350.00.  I feel like that is a pretty strict budget for what we are used to doing but I am serious about this!

My meal plan for the week of 10/9 – 10/15

Sunday:                Jambalaya
                                Macaroni & Cheese

Monday:              Spaghetti
                                Brown Sugar Green Beans

Tuesday:             Chicken Spaghetti
                                Sweet Potato Strips

Wednesday:      Chicken Spaghetti Leftovers
                                Vegetable Leftovers

Thursday:           Shrimp Dinner at Methodist Church

Friday:                 Hamburgers
                                Vegetable Leftovers

Saturday:             Leftovers

Since I am a beginner, I’m starting with just dinner right now. Also, I do have room in there for a changeup such as going to eat with either of our parents. Kevin eats the same thing for breakfast every morning so I pretty much just have to make sure there is enough pop tarts for him to eat.  Finley and I eat a variation of oatmeal, pancakes, or eggs for breakfast.  It depends on my mood.  Lucky for me, he loves all food pretty much!

Well, we will see how this whole thing goes! I’ll check back later with my progress.