Sunday, January 12, 2014

Menu 1/13-1-/19

     We have done really well with sticking to the plan!  *pats self on the back*  Our rhythm is getting stronger every day, we have only ate out once unplanned, our budgeting is going great.  I thought I'd share our menu with you for the week.  Please be gentle, I know it isn't the healthiest menu in the world, but like I said in my original New Beginnings post, I am taking baby steps!  I will begin working on healthier meals once I get comfortable with our new changes.

The Menu - 1/13-1/19

Monday  B: Bagels with cream cheese
                L: Ramen noodles, carrot sticks, apple sauce
                D: Taco ring
                S: Annie's bunny grahams

Tuesday  B: Banana splits (banana, peanut butter, yogurt, granola)
                L: Peanut butter and jelly (Didn't think that one through, peanut butter twice.  LOL)
                D: Spaghetti, homemade italian bread (This is the best, easiest italian bread - ever)
                S:  Vanilla wafers

Wednesday  B: cereal
                     L: pizza rolls
                     D: chicken, cous cous, peas
                     S: cauliflower, ranch

Thursday  B: oatmeal
                 L: Peanut butter and jelly
                 D: Meatloaf, green beans, homemade mashed potatoes
                 S: crackers and cheese

Friday   B: cereal
             L: tuna or egg salad
             D: Pizza and movie night
             S:  carrots and ranch

Saturday  B:  eggs, toast and sausage links
                L: Leftovers
                D: pigs in a blanket, macaroni,
                S: graham crackers

Sunday  B:  oatmeal
              L:  grilled cheese
              D:  porkchops, corn, applesauce, baked potato
              S:  smoothies

Sunday, January 5, 2014

School Rhythm

     Getting a good School Rhythm is high on my priority list for my New Beginning challenge to myself.  When I have a good school rhythm, it helps our entire day.  Lucky for me, our first school block for January is a math block focusing on time/calendar/rhythm.  I'm going to take advantage of this and really focus on our weekly rhythm, and teach Jujubee about daily rhythms.

     Another reason I feel this is important, is because we decided to pull Cocobear from her playschool, so she will need more activities to keep her happy and allow me to do lessons with Jujubee.

Cocobear at her Christmas program with her class.  She is second from the right in the top row. 

     I had a nice chat with Melisa at Waldorf Essentials, and she helped me realize that in order for us to have a good rhythm, I really need to work on my sleep.  Kaybug has been bedsharing or cosleeping with me for the past 18 months, and she wakes a lot.  So we are working on getting her into her own bed and me getting more sleep.  While working on that, I am working on making sure we bring our school rhythm back.

Our January Rhythm

Wake up
Morning chores
Prepare and eat breakfast, clean up
Gather for circle time
Main Lesson
Free play (if time)
Naps for the younger two, handwork or reading for Jujubee and I.  (or dinner prep if needed)
Afternoon Lesson
Free play
Prepare and eat dinner, clean up
Free play
Bedtime routine (bath, pjs, teeth, tea, story, prayers, sleep)

     I am working on having at least two weeks planned in my Homeschool Planner at a time, and continuing to plan in my free time.

Friday, January 3, 2014


     Many people don't find budgeting fun.  I love it.  Don't laugh, I really do!  There is something satisfying about putting it all down on paper or in a spreadsheet, and making it work.  In the past, I haven't really tried to stick to a strict budget.  I had a general idea of what we made, what we spent, and had alerts set on my bank and credit card for when we got close to a number I didn't want to exceed (or go under).  It worked for us.

     For as long as we have been married, we have purchased everything on credit cards.  Every month we pay them off completely - we do not carry debt besides our home and vehicles.  I often read about Dave Ramsey's envelope system, but I have to admit... getting the 5% cash back on our Discover Card made it hard to make the switch.

     Well, I wanted to get serious about budgeting, and the only way for us to stop making mindless purchases was to go all cash.  I had a chat with my husband, we both decided to give it a try.  I'd love to make these cute cash envelopes soon, but for now I'm using plain old paper envelopes.

     Right now, I am only using cash for food.  I don't have any money budgeting for anything extra this month besides birthday presents for our niece and nephew.  Gas is the only thing allowed on the credit card to make it easier on my husband, and will get paid every month.  Our paycheck goes directly into our account, and I pay our mortgage, cars, insurance, and phones online, so I couldn't really justify getting the money out just to put it back in...  

     For January, I have budgeted $100 for eating out (pizza night, and any unexpected outings), and $500 for groceries.  I cringe at $600 for food, but we were way above that in December.  Part of our plan to stick to this food budget includes meal planning, and weekly grocery trips, and no more eating out with our pizza movie night being an exception.  

     I can do this!  Do you have a budgeting method?  What helps you stay on track?


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Menu Planning

     As part of my "New Beginning" for January, I wanted to start meal planning in an effort to stick to a budget, and stop eating out so much.  It was getting a little crazy how much we were eating fast food or out during the holiday season.  I justified it by telling myself we were so busy, I had more pressing things to do, etc.

     This will be a good way to work on my will and our rhythm, also.  I really have to will myself to make a meal plan every week, grocery shop every week, and - the most challenging - actually make those meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack!

     Back to basics.  Cheap and easy, tried and true.

     In order to make this work, I have to take baby steps.  Trying to make a month long meal plan of 31 different meals is not going to work for me.  At least not right now.  So I am going back to basics.  I will use the meals I know best, aren't super expensive, and my family will eat.  And I will limit myself to only a handful of selections.  Also, I'm going to allow myself a little grace, schedule in a pizza night, and not beat myself up if I slip every once in a while.

     The best way for me to do this, is to make a meal plan that has a general theme of the day, and repeats somewhat.

The plan

Monday - Some sort of Mexican meal.  Tacos, burritos, taco ring, etc
Tuesday -  Pasta.  Spaghetti, buttered noodles, lasagna...
Wednesday - Chicken.  Chicken and cous cous and peas, or quinoa, or stuffing, or noodles.
Thursday - meatloaf.  Every week.  (I make several at a time and freeze them to cook each week)
Friday - PIZZA DAY!  We order pizza, pick it up, and enjoy pizza and a movie.
Saturday -  Quick and easy.  Pigs in a blanket,
Sunday - Comfort food.  Pork chops, pot roast, that kind of thing.

     I put all my meals into my Homeschool Planner (available HERE) on Friday, make my grocery list, go shopping, and do any prep work over the weekend (like making extra meatloaves, hamburgers, separating hamburger or chicken from the bulk packs).

     If possible, put the plan on a chalkboard, dry erase board, etc somewhere prominent.  I have a large dry erase board in my dining room with our meal plan, notes, grocery list, and homeschool notes.  Having it available to everyone really helps eliminate the "what are we having for dinner?" questions twenty times a day, and also allows my husband and I to be on the same page.  If he knows we are having spaghetti and I need some help, he can throw the noodles in the pot for me until I'm available.