9/28/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

As I posted on Instagram yesterday, the big kid and I hit up Sprouts and Food4less yesterday to pick up produce and a few others things (milk and butter) to round out what we already had on-hand. The free school lunches that our school is providing gives us some yummy stuff the kids like (baby carrots, milk, and apple slices to name a few), and the stuff that they don’t care for or contains meat we share with some of our friends who have kiddos that aren’t able to stop and pick up free lunches.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being. The big kid has lunch at school, so it’s whatever he chooses from the lunch box in the cupboard, plus some fruit and juice or milk. Since the little girl is in the morning cohort at school, she has lunch at home. Buttered noodles, yogurt, apple slices, and a popsicle are her go-to lunch.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Leftover Extravaganza
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday:  Bean, Rice, and Cheese Bowls (I’ll post the recipe this week)
  • Wednesday:  Kofta Meatballs, Rice, Salad, Hummus
  • Thursday: Cheesy Ravioli and Veggies
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner (Probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad)

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

9/13/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

 

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

Tomorrow the big kid goes back to physical (in person) school. The Special Education classes are going back first, and they get the entire campus to themselves for about a week. Big Kid is super excited to see his friends and show off his new masks. He has a new hand sanitizer for his backpack too.

I’ve been picking up school/lunch snacks over the past few weeks and hiding them in the back of the cupboard, so we are all set for tomorrow!

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being (Peanut butter sandwiches and baguettes toasted with garlic butter are high on the list as of late). I may make up a cheese pizza and serve that for a few lunches during the week with apple slices (or apple sauce), cheez-its, and milk (as well as some sort of dessert- I picked up a box of Ghiradelli Brownie Mix at Costco a few weeks back, and I’ve been making a pan of brownies once or twice a week. My secret is to use milk and coconut oil instead of water and vegetable oil).

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Sausage & Peppers (in the crockpot)
  • Monday:  Salad and Avocado toast (We have a bunch of avocados)
  • Tuesday:  Bean, Rice, and Cheese Bowls
  • Wednesday:  Chinese takeout (I have coupons)
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Breakfast for Dinner (Probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad)
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

8/16/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about 2 months, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

I took the kids with me to the grocery store today, and while we picked up a few extra things, overall we were good and stayed within our budget. I did forget to buy cat litter, though, so I’ll be off to Target tomorrow morning.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being (Peanut butter sandwiches and baguettes toasted with garlic butter are high on the list as of late). I may make up a cheese pizza and serve that for a few lunches during the week with apple slices (or apple sauce), cheez-its, and milk (as well as some sort of dessert- I made these cookies over the weekend, and they make a good lunch dessert)

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

School starts for us on Wednesday. We are distance learning for the foreseeable future, and while I never imagined I’d be teaching Kindergarten and Special Ed 4th grade at the same time, here we are. The kids are still excited about going back to school, seeing friends via their class Zoom meetings. I am going to try and organize a socially distanced Pokemon hunt with Pokemon Go for some of our classmates and friends who play.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers
  • Monday  Stuffed Peppers, garlic bread, fruit
  • Tuesday: Salad and Sandwiches
  • Wednesday: Stir Fry veggies and chicken
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Salad and Soup
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Dollar Tree has Disposable Masks In Stock!

 

Mask.jpg

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Dollar Tree has masks in-stock, and only available online! I’ve been making masks, but I do keep the disposable masks on hand in our car (in case our reusable/washable masks get sweaty or soiled, or if we happen to forget them when we leave home).

These masks are a great price too!  .50/each, with a minimum of 25 masks.

3-Ply Thermosealed Disposable Face Masks: Made of 3 layers of fluid-resistant, antistatic, hypoallergenic non-woven fabric, these pleated disposable face masks are soft to the touch. The elastic ear loops on either side of the face masks are thermally sealed and help to conform comfortably to adult-sized faces, and the pleats expand to provide coverage of the nose and mouth. The non-woven fabric of these face masks makes them breathable, lightweight, and comfortable to wear. Light blue shade of the face mask may vary slightly.

Orders are limited to 600 units (3 cases) per customer.

In addition to masks, Dollar Tree has started carrying some really great art and craft supplies! I’ve been working on some home decor projects with supplies from Dollar Tree- I’ll be posting pics on Instagram in the next few days.

Free Crayons from TopCashBack!

I’ve shared the awesomeness of TopCashBack before, and if you haven’t taken advantage of their awesome deals before, now is a great time!

Visit Walmart through TopCashback, purchase a Crayola 152 Count Ultimate Crayon Collection for $10.99 and then shop as normal. Within fourteen days $10.99 cashback will post in your TopCashback account.

How to get this freebie:
1. Visit the offer here
2. Create your account with an email and password
3. Click on the “Get Offer” button and it’ll take you to Walmart.
4. Add “Crayola 152 Count Ultimate Crayon Collection” to your cart and shop as you would normally then checkout.
5. This is a Free In-Store Pick Up offer.
6. Once you checkout, in about 14 days $10.99 will post in your TopCashback account.

Congrats on your freebie!
* New TopCashback members with no previous purchases or cashback through TopCashback only. Ends September 30th at 23:59 PST!
Free In-Store Pick Up Offer!
How do you get it?

Who qualifies for it?

This offer is available to TopCashback members with no previous purchases or cashback through TopCashback only. However as TopCashback doesn’t limit accounts to one per household, if you’re an existing member now’s the perfect time to tell your husband or wife, mom or dad, roommate, neighbor or anyone else about TopCashback and perhaps they’ll share their freebie with you.
When do you get your money back?

Within 14 days the $10.99 will turn payable in your TopCashback account and you can choose your payout method at that time.
Is there anything else important to know?
Transactions must contain at least one Crayola 152 Count Ultimate Crayon Collection from Walmart priced at $10.99 to ensure $10.99 cashback is credited to TopCashback accounts. If a different item is purchased under $10.99, the cashback amount awarded will be 1% or less (depending on the item(s) purchased) instead of $10.99.
The deal is:
– open until 23:59 PST on Monday, September 30th
– subject to Walmart’s Stock supplies and availability
– applicable for online sales only, for purchases made directly after clicking through TopCashback.com
Only one:
– TopCashback account is permitted per member

Mabel’s Labels: Early Bird Pricing on School Labels!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Back to School Season… So much money spent on school supplies, backpacks, lunch bags, whatever else they need.

Keeping tabs on all of this stuff can be a pain, so that’s where Mabel’s Labels come into play.

We have the Ultimate Back-to-School Combo Pack, which is great, as there are labels in tons of various sizes for all kinds of needs (including tags to go into shoes- perfect for tap shoes!)- and it includes two tags.

IMG_6867.jpgI’m sure everyone is hip to stranger dangers, but one thing that I see time and again is kids with their names embroidered on the outside of their backpacks. Yes, it’s cute, but it gives strangers more info than they need.

This is another reason that I put the name tags inside of Henry’s backpack and lunch bag.

When we go to Legoland or someplace where he might be easily separated, he has one of the Mabel’s Tags that reads, “Lost & Autistic Call my mom ###-##-####” I attach it to one of the belt loops of his pants.

He is not very good at remembering phone numbers, so this is a perfect solution for us. He knows if he gets separated he is to go to e park employee and show them the tag.

Mabel’s Labels has labels and tags to solve so many issues!

8/19/19 Weekly Meal Plan

stemarie_1650skitchen

Our out of town guests left this morning, so we are back to meal planning! And school starts on Wednesday for the big kid, so I’ll be doing shopping for school lunches this week with part of the grocery budget.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime before or after lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Chicken Noodle Soup- I found a container of it in the freezer last night and defrosted it! We’ve got leftover fruit salad in the fridge too. I may also make grilled cheese sandwiches too.
  • Tuesday:  Spaghetti with leftover Veggie Loaded Meat Sauce (also found in the freezer), garlic bread, salad
  • Wednesday:  Veggie Korma – I found a Korma Kit at Grocery Outlet not long ago, so I’m making a big batch (there will be enough for at least 1 more meal)
  • Thursday: Breakfast for dinner-Poached Eggs, bacon, fruit salad
  • Friday:  Date Night
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night
  • Sunday: Leftover night

 

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?

Back to School Deals!

Ok, so as much as I’ve been posting about summer fun and adventures, Back To School is lurking around the corner.

Here are some awesome deals and freebies:

Office Depot has a great selection of $10 backpacks, some of them (like the two above) come with pencil cases, lunch bags, and water bottles too!

Most office supply stores have great deals on markers, crayons, and markers right now too.  Deals are changing weekly.  If you don’t have time to chase deals, I’ve found a couple decent deals. Prices on Amazon change quickly, so I haven’t listed them, but you can click on each link and check them out.

 AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack
Elmer’s All Purpose School Glue Sticks, Washable, 7 Gram, 30 Count
Crayola Crayons Bulk, 24 Box Classpack, 24 Assorted Colors

If you are a teacher/educator, check out these three freebies:

If your kids are like mine, they lose stuff all the time, so I’ve invested in The back to school pack of label set from Mabel’s Labels.

If you need some help obtaining school supplies for your kiddos, there is help out there for you.

Free Backpacks with School Supplies at Boost Mobile

If you are an East County Area Resident (San Diego County), check out this awesome offer from the Santee Mobilehome Owners Association, INC (SMOAC) is handing out backpacks full of supplies for kids Kindergarten and up. Each backpack has age/grade-appropriate supplies.  This event takes place at the Santee Library from 10 AM until they run out. In addition, there will be free haircuts for girls and boys and many other surprises that day.

Talk Back: If you know of any free school supplies or deal, please share!

First Week of College, and Beyond!

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I survived the first week of college! After ::cough 17 years cough:: a long time, it’s quite an adjustment getting back into the swing of studying, doing homework, and all of the other things that go into being a mom, wife, blogger/Influencer, and special needs advocate for my big kiddo.

I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me, and the family adjust to the change.  It’s just two classes, but that’s 10-12 hours a week of studying, reading, and homework outside the classroom, and that time comes out of the time I previously spent with the kids, working on the blog/social media, petting the cat, ya know, mom stuff.

Bitty is now going to preschool two days a week. Our city’s Parks and Rec department has a drop off preschool two days a week. It’s approximately $150 for 8 weeks, which is a great price, and she is in a class with 13 other kiddos her age, several of them she knows from her daily visits to the local YMCA Child Watch. While she is at preschool, I have three hours to work on school work. It’s amazing to be able to read and work on my homework in peace. If you need a few hours to get work done, check your local Parks and Rec department for this type of preschool.

Family: As someone who has family nearby, having my family able to help out with school pick ups and therapy drop offs, it is a Godsend. My parents, brother and sister-in-law have really stepped in and helped us with the kids and house. Last week Miss Sally (my car) needed new front and rear brakes, and two new tires. Thanks to my Sister-in-law, niece, and my parents I didn’t have to walk home with Bitty (5 miles with a 3 year old- No thanks) or call an Uber.

Schedule: As a family, we have a shared calendar on iCal, in which I put all of the kids appointments, weekly commitments, birthdays, deadlines. In addition, I also have a calendar (this one) in the master bathroom on my cork board. Yes, I have a cork board in the master bathroom next to the vanity, so we can see whats on the schedule for each day.  Having everything in the palm of my hand (on my phone), and in a place that is visible to us (calendar) has really helped keep us focused and on task.

Remembering my Skill-Set: I’m not reinventing the wheel here. To maximize my productive time, I make sure to use my previously honed skills: Meal Planning, Meal Prep, setting out everyone’s clothes the night before, making lunches the night before, organizing areas of the house to help us get out of the house in the morning on time.

So while you may see less blog posts until I get in the full swing of it all, but I’m still posting on Social Media like a madwoman.

I want you all to know that it doesn’t matter what your age, if there is something you want: College, new job, more time with your family, vacation.. Do it! Change can be scary, but believe in yourself and have a plan! It might be rough at first, but stick with it.

Enough motivational speaking from me, I have homework to do!

Talk Back: What have you done recently that moved you out of your comfort zone?

Money Saving Tips for Going Back to College!

collegeSo after a few year s(cough cough), I’ve gone back to college to finish up my AA and get ready to transfer to a CA State University.

Like any endeavor in my life, I’m trying to do the college experience on the cheap. Here are a few ways you can save money while going to school:

Start out by completing a FAFSA. That’s a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Regardless of your family income or situation, you should fill it out. You never know what kind of loans, fee waivers, or grants you may be eligible for. I was able to get a Governor’s Board Fee Waiver, which paid for my classes. All I had to pay was the Health Fee (which is $20).

amazonprimeAmazon Prime has a discounted program for students. The first 6 months are free (Courtesy of Sprint, and just $6.49/month after that. That’s 50% off the regular price.

You can rent your textbooks online, Amazon rents textbooks. Your local school library may also have short term checkout of some textbooks. You may have to ask the librarian for more information.

If you need a new computer, Apple offers a discount through Unidays. I’m still in the middle of setting my account up, but it looks like Unidays partners with hundreds of retail partners.

School supplies are always cheaper if you buy them off campus. I like to shop for school supplies at Dollar Tree, they have lots of great stuff all year long.

A list on online retailers offering discounts can be seen here, courtesy of Dealhack.

Once school starts, get a Student ID card.

Beyond saving money at on tuition, books, and supplies, your student ID may give you discounts out in the world! College students who meet some criteria may also receive a discount on your automobile insurance, cell phone bill, even fee free banking products.

Movie theatres, museums, local attractions, and restaurants sometimes give students discounts, make sure to check before you go.

Talk Back: What’s your favorite Student Discount?