Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Blogs To Check Out

Meal Makeover Mom’s Kitchen

Ana – Building Projects

Moneywise Moms

Spring in Minnesota……

I had such hope that spring was on it’s way to Minnesota.  This is our view this morning….I hope we didn’t miss Spring under all this snow!  I certainly could use a few more sneak peaks at Spring! 


April 23rd in Minnesota

The weather is suppose to warm up this weekend so I hope the snow melts quickly, but not too quickly, flooding won’t be much fun either.   I am heading to Northern Minnesota for the weekend, which I think will have even more snow.  The City of Duluth has had over 50 inches of snow in April so far. 

I have a feeling my time in Duluth will include alot of hotel time and room services!  I am sure the snow on Lake Superior will look lovely through the window from under my heating blanket 

Wishing you all a wonderful Spring Day!  If you happen to see Minnesota’s Spring….please send it to my house!!  I want to start planning my garden.

Happy Spring!!


 Spring has not yet reached Minnesota.   We keep getting little sneak peaks of Spring…soon to be followed by snow!  It is April 22nd and is suppose to snow again tomorrow.  I am finding it harder and harder to find the beauty in the newly fallen snow.   This morning I can see grass in the front yard.  Tomorrow it will be covered in snow.  I am ready to feel the sun warming my face!   The robins have returned and are confused, but are weathering our weird weather.


Tommy and I spend time in the morning enjoying the Robins in the crab apple tree.  They are eating last years berries and hoping for spring as are we!!  


Tommy is continuing to enjoy taking pictures.  We discovered this odd looking robin at least we think it is a robin.  He has a odd speckle head and he was pretty mean to the other robins.  Have you even seen a robin like this???



The next day the ducks came to visit to eat some bread we left in the front yard. 

Our weekend was very enjoyable, but much too short.  Tommy, Daddy and some friends went to MN United FC vs. Edmonton game on Saturday afternoon.   MN won 2 to 0.  Tommy loves his soccer games.   We finally found time to even buy Tommy new cleats, which we have been meaning to do for weeks. 

 On Saturday evening, we celebrated Grandpa’s 87th Birthday!


The Birthday Boy!

He enjoyed his requested birthday meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage and his party with family, but was pretty tired and headed right to bed after the party. It brings him so much joy to be surrounded by his family! Certainly the highlight of the weekend.

021 019

Our great nephew, Ryan came over to visit and celebrate Great Grandpa’s Birthday. It was great to see him. We had not seen him since Christmas. He is getting so big!

I just realized we will be having our first Great-Great Niece this year.  My nephews daughter is having a baby….it is amazing how families continue to grow.  Family is such a blessing.

Saturday was our day to run errands, purchase groceries and prepare for the upcoming work week. Seems the work week has arrived so I better get Tommy up and ready for school. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your families and chin up, I hear Spring might make an appearance this coming weekend. 



Weekend Fun….

Grocery Shopping Weekend – We shop every other week for Groceries.  I find the less often I am in the store the less I spend!! This is how we feed 4 adults and 1 child for around $125/week.  See our weekly menu for an idea of how we eat.

First Stop……the bank to get cash for our various envelopes for the week. Funds put into the Grocery, the Fun and Grandpa’s envelope.

Next stop….the Library!! I love flipping through books that I read about or hear about. Much better than buying the books or hanging out in Barnes and Noble for hours!This week the following books came home with me…

Ramsey_More_Than_Enough__92910_1354740633_1280_1280 dave_ramsey_book_cover2 imagesCA5C1T1W 9780307339454

9780062207395_custom-a58b589a2dc61b5e2a913e7d5de24450815da2d0-s6-c10 15731876 51BwOS-dHhL

As you can see from the titles, I am still on my personal finance kick.  That seems to be how my reading goes…I have a few areas of interest and will switch between them throughout the year.  Must be my season for personal finances. 


Grocery/Household Supplies Totals

Bread Thrift Store         $ 14.12 (3 loaves bread, 2 buns, 2 hoagie, English Muffins and Bagels)

Aldi                               $ 98.24

Sam’s Club                    $ 82.58  (Paper Products, Corned Beefx2, Banana’s, Protein Drink for Grandpa) 

Walmart                        $ 41.51  (mostly food, but $8.00 for vitamins)

TOTAL for 2 Weeks    $236.45  /$118 per week





What a group….shaking hands over a dead body!  Poor Angel Wood.


A much needed quiet day at home after church.  Planning on cleaning a bit, blogging and reading!  Have to prepare for a busy work week.  Even found time to sneak in a LONG nap!


Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!!





Menu Plan Monday
 January 14th – 27th

Monday , 14th (Soccer @ 7:45) – Ravioli Florentine, Italian Salad and Garlic Bread  (Emeals 464)

Tuesday, 15th (Soccer @ 7:00) – Potato Leek Soup (Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2013pg 17)

Wednesday, 16th (Church) – Scrambled Eggs, Cantaloupe, Bacon and Toast

Thursday, 17th (Soccer at 8:00) – Chicken Penne Alfredo  (Simple and Delicious- Dec/Jan 2013 pg13)  & Caesar Salad

Friday, 18th – Jen’s Birthday – Baked Shrimp Scampi – Sam’s Veggies – swiss mushroom orzo (simple &Delicious Cookbook pg 162)  – with Wine

Saturday, 19th – Date Night – Sausage, Hash Browns and Veggie

Sunday, 20th – Pork Schnitzel with Dill Sauce (Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2013pg 61) , Veggie

Monday, 21st (Soccer @ 7:45) –  Chunky Potato & Ham Chowder – (Biggest Book of Soups & Stews – page 170)

Tuesday, 22nd (Info NIght) – Herbed Tuna Sandwiches and Chips  (Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2013 pg 57)

Wednesday, 23rd (Church) –  Vegetable Chowder & Cheese Toast (Emeals 464)

Thursday, 24th (Soccer at 8:00) – Chicken Stir Fry Bake (Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2013 pg 65)

Friday, 25th – Southwestern Gyros  (Simple and Delicious- Dec/Jan 2013 pg 15)

Saturday, 26th – Split Pea and Sausage Soup (Crockpot) (Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2013pg 73)

Sunday, 27th – Prosciuto-Pepper Pork Chops and Italain Mixed Veggies (Simple and Delicious Dec/Jan 2013pg 66)


For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie. and participate in Menu Plan Monday.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!


Recipes to Try:

Crockpot Chicken and Noodle Soup

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

One Dish Chicken Pasta

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Apple Bread

Black and White Bars

Banana Blueberry Muffins

Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies

Confetti Chicken Bake with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Creamy Swiss Chicken Bake