Menu Plan Monday: February 17th, 2014


February 17th – March 2nd, 2014


Saturday 15th – Sloppy Joes and Corn Soufflé (Wknd) (1+ hrs) (Emeals – #519)

Sunday 16th – Pork Loin with Cranberry Sauce (Wknd) (30 mins) (Emeals – #519) Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Rutabagas

Monday 17th – (Holiday) Paul’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Tuesday 18th – FPU – Pizza Casserole – (1hr 20 mins) (Emeals – #519)

Wednesday 19th – Spicy Pork Noodle Bowls – Egg Rolls (35 mins) (Emeals #519)

Thursday 20th –Biscuit and Gravy, Scrambled Eggs

Friday 21st – Pizzeria Burgers & Seasoned Fries (Simple & Delicious – Dec/January 2013)

Saturday 22nd – Crispy Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Corn

Sunday 23rd – (Soccer) – Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti and Cheddar Bacon Salad


Week #2

Monday 24th – (Soccer) – Soup and Grilled Cheese

Tuesday 25th – FPU –  Easy Chicken and Rice Casserole

Wednesday 26th – French Toast, Scrambles Eggs and Bacon

Thursday 27th – Crockpot Chili

Friday 28th – Hot Dogs with Chili and Fries

Saturday, March 1st – Mom’s Mac N Cheese (Double) – Polish Hot Dogs

Sunday – 2nd – Classic Lasagna/ Garlic Bread (Emeals – 473)


eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Food Budget:  We decided to start tracking how much we spend on food/household expenses each month again in hopes to budget appropriately.  Wanting to keep our budget at $100 per person each month.   We are a household of 5 adults, 1 growing boy who eats like an adult and 1 toddler.

Shopping Trip:  2/15/14 (Coming Soon)
Aldi – $
Walmart – $
Sam’s Club –  $
Kowalski’s –  $

Total for 2 weeks of food: $  / 6.5 (count baby as 1/2) = $ per person or  $ per week on groceries.

For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie and participate in Menu Plan Monday.  Need help getting started menu planning –  Emeals is a great solution.  Many meal plans to chose from at a very affordable price.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!

Vacations While On The Debt Free Journey

Working towards becoming Debt Free is a journey and for us a long journey.  Should you be taking a vacation when you are on the debt free journey???  Our answer is yes.  It helps to have a small reward to keep you motivated.  Our vacations while working on becoming debt free are nothing like before. 

If we truly think about what our goals are with taking a vacation, we will see that it doesn’t need to cost a lot to meet those goals.   Our goals for vacations are to spend time together, take a break from work and make memories with our kiddos!

Some fun options we have enjoyed include:

Stay-cations:  One year we simply planned a daily outing within our own city.  We explorer new parks, swimming at the local lake and visited some fun museums.  Since we were in our own city we could sleep and eat at home saving us a fair amount of money.  Another activity our family loves to do it is go geocaching.   Fun and very inexpensive.   You will need a smart phone or GPS to participate in this fun activity.  Using the geocaching app on your phone for GPS you will find hidden caches (treasures) that others have hidden for you to find.  It is a great way to explore your own town/city.  We discovered a hidden park only blocks from our home that we didn’t know about.  For more information check out the Geocaching Website.

Camping:  We recently returned from our first camping trip of the summer.  While camping does have a cost associated with it, it is a lot less than staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.   Camping does take some planning, but it is well worth it.   The memories you make with your children are priceless.   We do have a tent, but my back no longer likes to sleep on the ground.   Instead we have found a camping option we like much better, Camper Cabins.  Camper cabins at the State Parks are rustic, one-room wooden cabins that provide basic shelter for those who want a “camping out” experience but prefer not to deal with a tent.  Camper Cabins are located at many of MN State Parks and campgrounds such a KOA, Kamp-Dels, and Beaver Trails Jellystone Park. Most campground that has the word resort in the title has cabins of some type.  If you want to take advantage of the MN State Parks Camper Cabins you need plan in advance for your reservations. 

Our most recent trip:  Bear Head State Park – Camper Cabin – ($50 – $55 a night)


Menu Planning/Camping:  As much as I stress how menu planning saves you money at home, it also saves you money while camping.  Before our camping trip I completed a camping menu plan including snacks and did as much prep at home as I could.  This made cooking at the cabin so much easier, especially since it rained a lot! 


I also packed a lunch for us to stop and have on the way to our campsite.  This always brings back great childhood memories for me and any food eaten outside just tastes better. 

As always the bottom line is planning and budgeting.  Little getaways are possible if you plan and budget for them.  We appreciate our little vacations so much more when we plan and budget for them. 

Hope you are able to plan some fun into you summer!


Paul and Jen
Faithfully Living Within our Means

Artichoke Heart Dip


  • 14  oz can artichoke hearts
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
  • 1 Cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Drain and chop artichoke hearts, mix all ingredients together.  Bake at 350  degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Menu Plan Monday June 23rd Edition

Menu Plan: June 23rd – July 7th

23rd – Rotisserie Chicken, Stuffing and Corn

24th – ( Soccer Game – 6:00) –  Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

25th – (soccer practice) – Beef Macaroni Casserole/ Garlic Toast (Emeals – 484)

26th – (Game – 7:30) – Pesto Sandwiches / Noodle Soup

27th – (Sorting) – Biscuit and Gravy

Friday, 28th – Brats and Pasta Salad

29th – Crunchy Chicken – Corn/Steamed Carrots (Emeals  487)

30th – Barbecue Ribs/ Baked Beans and Coleslaw (Emeals  – 486)

July 1st – (Game – 6:00) – Chicken Salad / Veggies

2nd (practice – 6:30) – Bacon Lettuce Tomato Salad

3rd – Firecracker Shrimp/ Angle Hair Pasta and Caesar Salad (Emeals  – 486)

4th (holiday) – Hamburgers – Potato Salad – Watermelon –

5th – Beef Stroganoff – Peas

Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • (1 t salt, 1 t onion powder)
  • (¼ c water, 1 t beef bouillon cube)
  • 1 pkg egg noodles
  • 1 pkg frozen peas

In large skillet, brown the ground beef; drain.  Add sour cream, soup, salt, onion powder and water to skillet. Heat to a low boil; add bouillon.  Stir to dissolve; reduce heat to simmer.

Boil noodles while preparing meat mixture. Serve stroganoff over cooked noodles. Serve with steamed peas

6th – Chef Salad

7th – Rotisserie Chicken, Stuffing and Corn

For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. and participate in Menu Plan Monday. More menu planning fun can be found at The Organised Housewife.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!

Menu Plan Monday: June 10th Edition


Menu Plan Monday June 9th – June 23rd

June 9th – Rotisserie Chicken and Stuffing

10th (Game @ 6:00) – Cheese Turkey Sandwiches Bites, Cucumbers and Strawberries/Bananas (Emeals 485)

11th (Practice) – BLT’s and Chips  (Emeals -483)

12th (Game @ 7:15) – Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

13th – Creamy Angel Hair with Sausage and Spinach and Garlic Bread

14th – Chicken Salad / Veggies

15th (Grad Party – Amy) – Leftovers

16th (Father’s Day) – Savory Chicken Legs on the Grill, Garden Ranch Pasta Salad, Corn on the Cob

17th – (Practice) – Rosemary Pork Roast, (Taste of Home Best Loved pg 522) and Red Cabbage

18th – (Practice) – Beef Fried Rice and Egg Rolls (Emeals – 484)

19th  – At Home:  Seafood Salad on lettuce

(Camping up North)

Lunch:  Sandwiches, Chips and Fruit on the road

Supper:  Lloyd’s Ribs, Camping Mac And Cheese, Canned Corn

Dessert:  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Evening Snack:  Fire Roasted Nachos

20th – At home:  Lasagna – Salad


Breakfast:  Breakfast Burritos Campfire Monkey Bread

Snack: Cheese & Crackers and Meat Sticks

Lunch:  Cup of Soup – Pizza Sandwiches

Snack:  Warm Cheese Dip and Chips

Supper: Steak Tips, 3 Cheese Potatoes, Canned Green Beans

Dessert:  Campfire Cones

Snack:  Smores Camping Trail Mix

21st – At home: – Beef Macaroni Casserole/ Garlic Toast (Emeals – 484)


Brunch:  Pancakes, Sausage and Eggs –

22nd – Fish Tenders and Waffle Fries with Dip

23rd – Rotisserie Chicken, Stuffing and Corn

For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. and participate in Menu Plan Monday. More menu planning fun can be found at The Organised Housewife.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!

2013 Financial Goals

We are happy with our progress in our goal to become debt free except for our mortgage. We are following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  It has become very exciting to see our snowball finally moving.  We are keeping our eye on our goals!  We are finding it very helpful to write yearly goals and share a weekly victory to keep us motivated.  This has been LONG process for us and it can be a struggle to keep motivated.

1.  Increase Deferred Comp/Retirement Savings   DONE!

This is a secondary retirement amount.  We started this account by only putting very little into this secondary retirement account.  We will double our amount we save into this retirement account.  We also have a primary retirement account matched by our employers.

2.  Pay off our Chase Card by March 2013.   DONE! 

3.  Accomplish Tommy’s MCS through 5th grade. DONE!

Tuition paid for 6 years of private elementary school.  A wonderful foundation for our son, worth every single penny.

4   Pay off our last credit card by December 2013.

We are on track to pay our final credit card off just before Christmas, if no major unplanned expenses hit us.  We are so excited to think we will be going into 2014 with no credit card debt!

5.  Update our will to reflect changes we have discussed.

It is time to change our will now that our children have gotten older.   It has been 9 years since we had our will initially written.

What are your 2013 Financial Goals??


Paul and Jen
Faithfully Living Below Our Means!

Blogs To Check Out

Meal Makeover Mom’s Kitchen

Ana – Building Projects

Moneywise Moms