Meal Planning Week 3 & 4

Last Tuesday I went grocery shopping and spent $227 for the next two weeks of groceries. This will cover more than two weeks because I bought a 10lb box of lean beef and some pantry essentials which will last longer than the two weeks. We will need to buy some milk in the next two weeks I’m sure too.

Wednesday, we had Perogies fried with onions and some Farmer sausage and our towns famous corn on the cob.
Thursday, I made split pea soup with left over farmer sausage in the crock pot. I LOVE this soup. Unfortunately, the split peas took a lot longer too cook than I planned. The 8 hrs in the crock pot weren’t enough. So, I popped one of my back-up lasagna’s in the oven… unfortunately I forgot to turn on the oven. Thankfully, the lasagna was still frozen so I could just put it back in the freezer. Since it was after 5 when I realized that, we ended up having to get take-out. The girls needed to eat quickly.  I tried! Unfortunately, that  puts us at our eating out budget for the month. I think with the fall coffee’s that are now out at Starbucks, we may go over on our eating out budget…. although we WILL NOT blow this budget as much as we have been in the past months.

Friday, we got to eat the soup I had made for Thursday. I also made some biscuits to go with it 🙂

Saturday, we had home made pizza! This was a huge hit. I had forgot to purchase mozzarella for this so I had to go out and pick some up. I ended up getting some more milk and chips for a movie this night too. I ended up spending $20. That puts us at $396 so far… hopefully I don’t need anything else!

Sunday, we ate that lasagna that I had taken out and forgot to turn the oven on for.

Monday, I was working so Jon looked on my printed menu and made the creamy chicken and rottini primivera. I liked it but it wasn’t a favorite. I will most likely make it again though because it is a good way to use leftovers.

Tuesday, we ate tortellini and homemade Alfredo sauce. It was really yummy. I don’t measure very often and what ever mixture I did with this sauce turned out really good. Everyone ate more than usual 🙂

Week 4 –

Wednesday, I used the left over tortellini, chicken and Alfredo sauce to make a casserole. Not sure what it is called but it is tortellini, chicken pieces, mixed veggies and a can of mushroom soup all mixed together and baked. Easy, cheap and a great way to use up the leftover tortellini if you buy those big Ziggy bags from superstore that my family never finishes in one sitting.

Thursday, we ate home made hamburgers and store bought frozen fries. I can never get home made fries crispy so I buy them.

Friday, we had a kid favorite that is SUPER easy. Chicken sausage and apple pieces baked with maple syrup. Mmmmm! We ate it with some mashed potatoes and canned corn.

Saturday, we ate Chicken sandwiches with the left over chicken we had to use before it went bad. It was also a movie night with a guest so we did buy some junk food when we went to get milk. $17.49

Sunday, we tried a new recipe that basically turned out to be pasta with a weird alfredo sauce and tomatoes. Not a favorite for anyone. Plus, Livi hates tomatoes.

Monday, is a busy day for me so I took out one of those casseroles I had froze from week one! We had the chicken cauliflower casserole over some sprouted rice and quinoa.

Tuesday, I made beef stroganoff! It was a new recipe and a big hit! I think I will add some more flavoring and hidden vegetables next time I make it though. I ended up doubling it because in my head it was only going to yield as much as a Hamburger Helper package makes, since it calls for the same amount of beef. I was wrong though. A double recipe made more than enough for two dinners and a lunch or Jon! Leftovers tomorrow! I’m not sure if the noodles I used would freeze well.

So, at the end of 4 weeks of meal planning the dinners I spent $413.49! Awesome! I still have two meals in the freezer, plans to make baked mac n’ cheese, 3kg of chicken breasts, a bag of shrimp and 8lbs of beef in the freezer for the next 4 week plan! Super awesome! I will need to go shopping in the next few days to buy milk and bread though. I’m going to try to put off doing a big shop until October 1 so I can start meal planning on a monthly basis to mesh with my budgeting better. I think between the meat, rice and potatoes I have on hand I should be able to do this!

But basically, the $413.49 lasted us a full 4.5 weeks. That’s less than $100 a week and only about $13 a day that covered breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 adults and 2 kids! I’d still like to get it down to under $400 but hey, this is my first try and I’m pregnant. The baby wanted sherbet this month!

Some people have asked for recipes or more details on my meal planning… Honestly, all I did was Google “cheap meal plans” or “low cost family meals” or “easy, cheap meals”, copy and pasted some recipes that looked easy enough. I kept in some low cost family favorites and splurged a few times. I also included some recipes for meat that I already had in the freezer, like the whole chicken from week 1. I printed out 13 meals and recipes for each two week period and made sure that they sort of “fit” together… meaning I didn’t have us eating chicken everyday for two weeks and that I could use leftovers from one day in a recipe for the next. I kept the meal plan and recipes easily accessible on the fridge so I didn’t have to go search through recipe books. I doubled up what I could to put in the freezer for another day too, which I will now use in my next months plans to keep the costs down and not have to cook those days! Win!

If you want any specific recipes that I made this month, let me know and I’ll email it too you!

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Beginnings

 

My girls started 4 yr old preschool on Monday. This was a big step for our household. We are entering our the school system! This is still really hard for me I think. These are my babies! Can they really be ready for school? Is this going to be good for Sofie? Is Livi going to feel too much pressure and responsibility? Will they both be successful and make good friends?

So far, both girls are loving it. Livi is excited for the projects she gets to do at school and is very excited for her turn at show and tell in a few weeks. Sofie excitedly runs in to the classroom and plops herself down at one of the activity tables exploring the activity. I kind of think I’m imaging it but I think I’m seeing Sofie develop already! She seems to be responding more to questions and talking way more! After just a week? I kind of feel like she is just a walking miracle sometimes.

I’m pretty happy with this school so far. They seem to be doing a lot of different activities that are challenging each of my girls. There is so much more parent involvement here too, which I love. The preschool that Livi went too for a few months last year is not even comparable to this school. This is so much better for my girls. Sofie’s TA seems to be pretty in tuned for Sofie too!

Livi is watching out for her sister, as I expected, but I think staying close for her own feelings of security too. It’s not all for watching out just for Sofie’s sake. This week she has started out playing with Sofie for a few minutes before going off on her own, but for each circle time she always finds Sofie to sit beside her. I think it is interesting that she searches for Sofie during transition times. She loves her sister and I love that Sofie is a comfort for her 🙂 She will figure it out though, make friends and feel confident in her new surroundings.

What am I going to do with those 2.5 hours, three times a week? Well, for the first few months, I’ll be trying to nap! And after the baby comes… well, I’ll still probably be trying to nap!

This month also started our extra curriculars! Gymnastics is something we’ve all been looking forward too. Sofie is in the parent and tot class right before Livi’s class. Sofie did A.MAZE.ING! By the second week she blew me away. She ran with all the kids for the warm up game, did most of the stretches, and walked on the balance beams with just holding my hands! I was so impressed. Livi, unfortunately didn’t get to enjoy her first class. She had an EPIC meltdown just as class was starting. I felt so bad for her but we had to stick to the consequence. She was removed from the situation kicking and screaming. It was terrible. I think her melt down was caused by numerous things… too excited for gymnastics to sleep well, she had to wait an hour through Sofie’s class first, and then she wanted to go on the slide, which is reserved for after class. Cue epic meltdown to proportions we have never seen. The following week was much better though 🙂 She did great, waited patiently and got put in the group with 5 year olds! I was proud of her 🙂

Music class starts next week. We went to a demo class today. Sofie loved it as usual, even though there is a new teacher. It will be different but I think Sofie will flourish! She jumped in singing with two feet! This class is so great for Sofie and excellent for her speech development.

This is going to be a busy fall with preschool, gymnastics, music, a speech development class I’m taking to help Sofie, and all the doctor appointments for the pregnancy and a few for Sofie. Wish us luck!

Meal Planning Week 2

If you are interested Week 1 is posted HERE.

Week 2 has been going great too!

Wednesday was a left over day so I didn’t have to cook!

Thursday Jon wasn’t home… He ended up going out for dinner with a friend. Us girls stayed home and baked some cookies to serve some guests coming the next day and ate Brown Rice Past Spaghetti with Mushroom sauce. I had bought prepared sauce and added some shitake mushrooms that I fried in some margarine. It was a bit of a treat dinner for me 🙂 Livi doesn’t like mushrooms though.

Friday we spent $39 on Vereniki, drinks and rolkuken at the MCC Fair. That is traditional Mennonite food that is SERIOUSLY delicious.

Saturday we invited ourselves over to Jon’s mom and got dinner out of the deal!

Sunday, since I work a few hours on Sundays, Jon gets to cook. He chose the Black Bean Skillet from my list of meals posted on the fridge. It is another family favorite, vegetarian and filled with protein! He made a double batch so he has two left over lunches in the fridge and two in the freezer!

Monday we ate a broccoli, cheese and rice bake that I thought was okay but no one else did. I may need to alter the recipe if I want to serve it again.

Tuesday we had we had butter garlic shrimp pasta. Another family favorite that we haven’t been able to eat because my pregnancy hasn’t allowed fish in the house until now.

I made it through the first two weeks and I have food left over for a few more meals! I’ve still only spent the $149… although we were skimping on the milk consumption for the last two days. Time to go grocery shopping!