10/26/2020 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 didn’t get a chance to type this up last night. I fell asleep around 8:30. I was tired.

The kids and I hit up the grocery store yesterday morning and loaded up on some stuff we needed (bread, cream cheese, bagels, grapes, and watermelon were chief among our “needs”).  Our meal plan is super light and easy this week.

Our weather is getting decidedly more “fall-like”. Last night I made a big batch of veggie soup, portioned it out, and popped containers into the freezer for later meals. I’ll be doing the same with the potato cheese soup I make later this week- and yes, I’ll be posting the recipe too!

Thanks to some local deals, offers, and the school lunches the kids bring home, I have been able to keep our grocery budget to $60 per week for the past MONTH! It’s amazing. The extra money is going into our holiday savings account.

If you have kids between 2-18, check with your local school to see if they are offering free lunches and/or breakfasts. You can also check the USDA Website– but it might be a little out of date.

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. I’ll be posting the recipe for his current favorite this coming week.

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:  Veggie Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Monday:  Sandwiches and Salad (I bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco yesterday, so we had roasted chicken, bacon, and mozzarella sandwiches)
  • Tuesday: Nuggets and Fruit (Big kid has OT in the late afternoon, so it’s always a quick dinner on Tuesday)
  • Wednesday:  Potato Cheese Soup and Garlic bread (I’ll post the recipe this week- it’s super easy and frugal!)
  • Thursday: Bacon, veggie, and cheese frittata,  fruit
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Protein Muffins, fruit salad, and Greek yogurt

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?

Coupons for Healthy Foods!

One of the most common complaints I hear from people who want to start couponing but are hesitant to is, “There are never coupons for healthy foods!” And while it appears on the surface to be correct, a few minutes of looking and I found a bunch of really great coupons for healthy food.


Save $1.00 On any Unbun product, limit one per visit
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® Veggie Tots, Riced Veggies, Mashed Cauliflower, Roasted Veggies, Harvest Protein Bowls, or Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant Veggie Spirals™
Save 35¢ On Any California Dairy Product That Carries The Real California Milk Seal

In addition to printed coupons, there are usually all sorts of deals or offers on cashback apps. There are several cashback apps that specifically cater to healthy living/organic products. Check out my list of Cashback apps to find my favorites.

If your budget is very tight and you find yourself unable to afford the produce that your family needs, there are free and low-cost alternatives out there for you.

If you need tips for stretching your food budget, here is a post I wrote a few years ago.

New Samples from PinchMe Drop 10/13/2020

Sample Tuesday is Coming tomorrow, 10/13/2020- Mark your calendars, set an alarm on your phone!

Don’t have any idea what I am talking about? PinchMe! Join PINCHme and receive free samples that you can provide feedback on.

PinchMe is awesome! Once you are signed up, they will email you reminders when new samples are about to drop, and remind you when it’s time to leave feedback.

Answer a series of questions about your household and shopping habits in the Member Profile. PinchMe learns what you like and offer samples just for you.

Here are the companies participating in the October Sample boxes:

  • Eva NYC,
  • Ocean Spray,
  • Harmless Harvest,
  • HelloFresh,
  • BioTrue,
  • SlimFast,
  • Nut-Thins,
  • Boiron,
  • Hartz,
  • Vero Gusto Sauces,
  • HARIBO,
  • Nexcare,
  • LUMIFY,
  • Purina,
  • Nexcare

Once you’ve had a chance to try the samples, complete a short feedback survey to tell PinchMe what you think of the samples.

What are you waiting for? Sign up here and get on the free sample bandwagon! I’ve gotten all kinds of awesome sample/trial size items, as well as full-sized items to try out from PinchMe!

10/12/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays, but yesterday was a busy day (swimming reservation at the Y, a special needs conference, and lots of playtime), so I didn’t have a chance to post.

It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’m hitting up the store this morning for some last-minute items that I thought we had (note to self: Do not put empty cereal box back in the cupboard). I’m thinking about making a batch of cookies today to have a sweet dessert for the kids.

Thanks to some local deals, offers, and the school lunches the kids bring home, I have been able to keep our grocery budget to $60 per week for the past 3 weeks! It’s amazing. The extra money is going into our holiday savings account.

If you have kids between 2-18, check with your local school to see if they are offering free lunches and/or breakfasts. You can also check the USDA Website– but it might be a little out of date.

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:   Salsa Chicken and veggies ( I didn’t end up making it last week like I had planned)
  • Monday:  Entrees & Salad
  • Tuesday:  Chick’n nuggets (vegetarian nugs for our buddy) and fruit
  • Wednesday:   Sausage and Peppers in the Crockpot, noodles, and veggies
  • Thursday: Chicken Tika Masala, rice, veggies
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

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?

Pinecone Research- Updates and a New App!

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you know how much I love Pinecone Research. I’ve been singing its praises for years.

It’s getting better! Now there is a Pinecone Research Mobile App. The new and convenient mobile app gives you access to the full experience of your membership on the go. Not only are you able to take surveys and redeem your rewards, but you also have the ability to make updates to your panelist profile.

To get started, click either the iOS or Android download links below.

Rewards Site: The Pinecone Rewards site is receiving a facelift! Browsing rewards options is now easier than ever and new catalog options are available. Starting October 6th, you can redeem your rewards via Direct Deposit (ACH) to a bank account of your choice. They added this as a secure way to receive cash rewards quickly and direct to you!

In addition, their offerings include virtual Mastercards and Amazon Gift Cards. Keep in mind that if you have joined the panel in the last 30 days, your first redemption must be via ACH Direct Deposit to verify your rewards account. After your first ACH Direct Deposit redemption or 30 days of being an active Pinecone member (whichever occurs first), you will have the ability to redeem your points for any reward option in the catalog.

I downloaded the app yesterday and did 3 surveys. It was a lot quicker and easier than using my iPad or laptop! I can’t wait to redeem my points for an ACH deposit.

10/5/2020 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays, but yesterday was a busy day, so I didn’t have a chance to post.

It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I didn’t have a chance to shop over the weekend, so this morning after school drop off, I’m hitting up Food4Less for a few things. I stocked up on fresh fruit last week (there was a produce giveaway locally, and that filled both fruit bowls). Big Kid has requested home made apple sauce, so I’m going to make it this morning as well as Kodiak Chocolate Muffins.  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:  Pancakes and fruit
  • Wednesday:   Patty Melts made with Veggie Burgers
  • Thursday: Salsa Chicken and veggies
  • Friday:  Pizza Night!
  • Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner  (I’ve been itching to make blueberry waffles with vanilla ice cream)

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?

Fetch Rewards: Want 4,000 easy points? Refer friends!

 

 

 

One of the reasons I love Fetch Rewards is that they run incredible referral bonus offers. And I LOVE telling everyone all about Fetch Rewards. It is my #1 favorite cashback app. There are thousands of referral bonus points just waiting to be claimed.

Now through 10/6/2020, you’ll get 4,000 points for anyone who signs up using your code. And the deal is sweet for your friends too! Each friend who signs up gets 2,000 points.

 

 

If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards yet, or want to learn more, check out my post here. Find the Fetch Rewards app in your app store, and when you download it, use my code ND2TB when you sign up and you’ll score 2,000 bonus points.

In 2020, I’ve earned $75 in Amazon Gift cards! Sometimes there are extra point offers for buying specific brands or items, which is how I’ve earned extra points- but it was stuff I was buying anyway!

In order for you to qualify for the increased referral bonus, your friends must enter your referral code and complete a valid receipt now through 11:59 PM PT on 10/6/2020. After 11:59 PM PT on 10/6/2020, the referral bonus will expire. Your custom referral code can be found in app under Me.

*See Rewards page in the Fetch Rewards app for specific redemption details.

Giveaway: 30 days Unlimited Art Lessons with Young Art!

One thing that my kids miss is art. Going to art classes, craft meetups, being creative, and learning new techniques.

 

I was so excited when Young Art reached out to me with an incredible offer for my readers! I am able to give away 25 memberships for 30 days of unlimited art classes with Young Art! WOW!

With 25 memberships so many of you will be able to share the love of art and creating with your kiddos!

 

What is Young Art? Young Art is on a mission to serve students, families, and the community by providing meaningful learning experiences through the virtual classroom. You can learn more here.

And the part I like the most is that not only do they do individual lessons, but they also offer family lessons, and even instruction for schools too!

Entering the giveaway is easy peasy! Leave a comment on this post letting me know what your kiddos favorite art or craft is. I’ll choose 25 winners on October 6th, 2020. I’ll contact winners via email.

Fun, Inexpensive Halloween and Harvest Crafts from Dollar Tree!

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

Y’all know I love crafts and crafting and saving money. Dollar Tree has recently started carrying some really nice craft supplies, and they have really stepped up their Halloween craft game this year.

Here is a really cute DIY/Crafts made with Dollar Tree supplies: DIY Witch Hat Wreath

There are all sorts of craft supplies for Autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving available online or in-store. And if you aren’t feeling crafty, Dollar Tree has all sorts of fun, freaky, and spooky pre-made decor. I love the skeleton mermaids- We painted them and made them bikini tops from scrap mask fabric.
If you are looking replenish your craft supplies after the extended time at home (if you are like us, you did so many crafts, and so much art, we are out of so many supplies), Dollar Tree has you covered. Glue, paint, washi tape, scrapbooking paper, stickers, decals, Mod Podge, beads- You name it, Dollar Tree has it.

Their store brand, Crafters Square has a lot of great wooden craftables: birdhouses, cubes, trays, boxes. All waiting for your creative touch!

If you love to share your crafts or need inspiration, I recommend the Facebook Group: Dollar Tree Craftoholics. There are some extremely creative folks posting daily.

I’d love to see what kind of crafts you do too! Feel free to share a pic or drop a link in the comments!

Slow Cooker Recipe: Sausage and Peppers!

This recipe is dead simple and so tasty! The best part is you can use any kind of Dinner sausage you want. We used Italian Sausages (made with pork), but you can use whatever you like (including veggie sausages if you are meatless).

You can use fresh or frozen peppers and onions (Yes, you can buy frozen peppers and onions at the store- They are often branded as “Fajita Mix”), it’s really up to you.

And you can load your yumminess onto a hoagie roll, top with cheese and chow down, or top a bed of pasta or Zoodles- It’s really up to you.

The best part is this recipe makes a lot, so there are always leftovers!

Sausage and Peppers Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Dinner Sausages (Italian or your choice)
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 20-ish ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 T Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In your slow cooker, combine all the ingredients.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Turn up to high, remove the lid and cook for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Serve on a roll/bun, on pasta or zoodles.
  5. OPTIONAL- Top each serving with cheese.