Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sometimes It's Worth It To Pay More

One of the thorns in the flesh at our previous rental house was the cost for utilities. Especially electricity in the summer when we were running the A/C.

We tried many ways of lowering our costs but it seemed that no matter what we did the dollar amounts on our monthly bills never seemed to go any lower. We tried covering the windows in the heat of the day, washing clothes in cold water, line drying, turning lights off when we weren't in the room, unplugging small appliances when not in use. All to no avail.

It all chalked up to a combination of poor insulation, old windows, cracks where air flowed freely in and out, the position of the thermostat and general inefficiency.

But despite some of the issues we endured at that house, we stayed because the price was low and we had a great landlord.

When it came time to look for a new house, we knew we would need to pay more in rent. And we knew we could go no higher than $100 more than what we were previously paying. Even $100 would be a stretch for our budget.

Well, at this house we pay $100 more than what we payed before. "Would the extra money be worth it?", we wondered.

We just received our  monthly electric/water bill for August. Keep in mind that the month of August is a hot month and we have had a hot hot summer here in the South.

Our August bill has always been the highest. Last year we paid just over $300 on our electric/water bill in August. For a barely 1000 sq.ft. house. Other years, it was easily $200 all summer.

So we knew the August bill would be the moment of truth.Would we save anything at all by moving to a different house?

The answer is.... YES!!!!

Our bill was almost half of what we would have paid previously in August. Under $200!  Praise the Lord!

We are so excited about this. If these kind of savings continue, then the extra $100 in rent for a bigger house with an extra $100 sq.feet will be more than worth it!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Summer Adventures Of Cherished Dog

Aside from laying on the rug, the Cherished Dog has been quite adventurous, providing plenty of fodder that is blog-worthy.

 Fraidy Dog

Cherished Dog has grown to love his new house and yard. The first week he couldn't get enough of the backyard. There was so much to explore! If we left the kitchen door open, he would sit at the back door and gaze longingly over his new domain. He loved to go out and we could hardly get him back inside. Clearly, his new yard was his "crack" and he was addicted to it!

A week later, he suddenly refuses to go out into the backyard. Instead of running out before the door was completely opened, he stayed back hiding behind the kitchen door. Cherished Dog is not small and therefore, doesn't hide easily, so this was quite amusing. He acted so strangely and we couldn't figure out what was bothering him. We pondered over what he could've seen. Did someone scare him? Did he see a snake? Is a neighbor being mean to him? Etc. Etc. Etc.

He would eventually go out each day because we insisted and really he had to do his business at some point but he would seem very uneasy while out there. And if I didn't close the door quickly enough, he would back himself right back into the house! What a stinker!

After a few days of this, his behavior was becoming quite frustrating and honestly, it was hard for us to force him to go somewhere that was obviously quite traumatic for him. At this point, I began to pray over the yard asking God to remove any evil presence or spirits  that were not of Him from this place. We saw almost immediate improvement in Cherished Dog's behavior and within a few days he was back to his brave fearless self. He still occasionally has moments where he will refuse to go out but we attribute that more to his stubborn nature than anything else!

A Gift From Heaven

One day in July while my parents were visiting, we were all getting ready to go out to lunch. We put Cherished Dog out in the backyard to play while we were gone. We let him out and stood there watching him run around for a minute and we are so glad we did!

Like most dogs, Cherished Dog loves to chase squirrels. He will jump and leap at the trees if he sees a squirrel up there. The desire to catch one is there but he lacks the coordination and grace needed to accomplish such a thing.

Well, on this particular day, as soon as he went out, a squirrel scurried across the top of the fence and leaped up into a tree. Cherished Dog noticed him, of course, and was standing guard at the bottom of the tree.

We had never seen anything like this before, but the squirrel lost it's footing or balance and fell out of the tree! In a ball, he spiraled through the air, landing no more than twelve inches from Cherished Dog's face.The look on Cherished Dog's face was priceless- he looked absolutely thrilled as though God had just sent him  a special gift right from heaven.

We watched in wonder as the frantic squirrel landed on the ground and continued to roll until he landed on his feet and started to run away, the Cherished Dog right on his heels.

This scared me a bit as I did not want him to attack the squirrel and get bitten or the other way around. I began to scream to the dog to get him to leave it alone, which of course, really didn't do any good!

Fortunately, the squirrel was faster than Cherished Dog and  despite the incident, was able to climb another tree to safety in record time.

We laughed so hard after it was over. Cherished Dog couldn't have been happier with this occurrence and we so wished we'd have had the video camera in hand!

Rock's In Socks

Rock, the Cherished Dog  tore a toe nail a  few weeks ago. He tore it clean off, leaving a painful stump of a toe. We were first alerted to it when we saw spots of blood on our just delivered new-to-us carpet. We cleaned him and the carpet as best we could and tried to figure out the best way to bandage the wound so that he wouldn't continually lick at it and hinder the healing. 

We had looked at several sites online to learn how to treat the wound. One place suggested putting a sock on his foot over the bandage. That seemed like a great idea and a frugal one at that. We found one of Andy's old socks and cut it way down. It worked ok but was not ideal. 

Our next brilliant idea was to buy a pair of toddler size socks. This should fit perfectly. Andy set off to find a cheap pair. We also had some other things on the schedule for that evening so we were in a big hurry. We live near several dollar stores so we figured  it would be easy to find something quick. 

Not so much. After quite a while, Andy came home and flung a pair of white ruffled and lacy socks on the table and said, "This will have to work!" 

We put the sock on the offended foot, taping it in place. Then we laughed as he limped around, a big black manly dog, with his frilly little sock on his foot. 

**Note: The Cherished Dog's foot is now much better with the toe nail starting to grow back in. He no longer has to wear a frilly sock and is slowly regaining his manly pride. We hope he will not have to go to frilly sock therapy anytime soon. 

Where is Rock?

One day, I was out front getting the stroller ready for a walk when I heard the Cherished Dog whining. It sounded for all the world like he was in the bushes at the front of the house. But no, I must be imagining things because he was safely in the backyard. I ignored it and went on  my merry way. 

Later that afternoon, Andy heard some interesting noises and went out to check on the dog. The dog was no where to be found. 

He called for him. No Rock.

Suddenly he turned around and noticed that the door to the crawl space under the house was opened. And there seemed to be thunderous movements happening inside. Looking around, he also noticed mysterious saucers from clay pots strewn around the grass.

He leaned over and called into the crawl space. Eventually, a very excited bundle of energy came bustling out, acting as though he had just discovered China! 

Andy got several big rocks and a block of wood and barricaded the door. He went inside, feeling very confident with his dog-blocking abilities.

But not for long! It was only a few more minutes before we once again heard the strange noises, which we now knew were the sounds of a very large dog running around underneath us. 

We went back out only to discover that Cherished Dog had moved the barricades and got back in. This happened several times before we finally were able to secure the door enough that he cannot paw it back open. 

But that doesn't mean he has stopped trying. Oh no! Almost every morning, he runs right to that little door and bangs around on it to see if perhaps it will open again today so that he can once again go exploring. 

And what sounded like Rock in the front bushes? Well, I hadn't totally lost my mind! He was under the house at the front and his whines were heard through the vent. 

Stay tuned for the next installment of The Adventures of Cherished Dog. The innocent look on his face isn't fooling any of us. We know he's already carefully planning his next caper.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Story CD

We love to give gifts to our nieces and nephews, but it can be a challenge to come up with something affordable and fun that doesn't add to the toy avalanche.

For my nephew's 5th birthday last week, we decided to make him a story time CD. I picked several books from my collection that I thought he might like and then also recited a couple of poems in between the longer stories.
I used scrapbook paper for the "album cover" and decorated it by hand. I know you're just blown away by my beautiful artwork! hahaha

I listed the titles on the inside.

The process took about an hour and a half- 30 minutes for me to read through everything and an hour for my husband to fine-tune it.

One of the blessings of having a musician for a husband is that we also have equipment.  He used his own home recording system for this and it worked great!

If you don't have access to a recording system, most computers have a simple sound recorder built into the operating system. All you need is a basic microphone. That's all the info I can give you because I have no idea how it all works!

This is a very frugal gift to make(provided you have the proper equipment) and one that can be personalized to suit the recipient.

We didn't give books along with this gift but it would be a neat addition. This is also a great idea for trips in the car!

 He liked it a lot and I see us making a few more of these in the future!

It's frugal, it's personal and it won't clutter up the house!

** This post is part of Frugal Fridays!

Knox's 5th Birthday Party

My nephew turned 5 last week so that meant a birthday party trip over the weekend. This was his first party with kids instead of all adults. He had 4 friends over ranging in age from 4 to 6 years old and I do believe a good time was had by all! We were honored to be the first party guests to be put on the list even though we are not kids. :-)

Party activities included football, kickball, making their own pizzas and eating pizza and excavator cake!

My sister made this excavator cake, as requested by the birthday boy. She found an idea online and then tweaked it accordingly. I think she did a fabulous job, don't you?

The party table. 

Can you believe that this is really the only picture I got of the birthday boy? I did gets lots of shots of the cake though.:-) Here he is with his beloved Uncle Isaac!

Happy 5th birthday, Knox!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Requesting Your Input

Here's a few questions for your thoughtful consideration:

1. Any ideas for a new blog series? A series gives a bit more structure, rhyme and reason to my normally random style of blogging, so I'd love to do another one!

2. Do any of you have yummy crockpot breakfast recipes to share? I'd like to try some as the weather turns cooler. Wouldn't it be great to wake up to a hot breakfast all ready to eat? I've found a few to try, but would love more ideas if you have them! I'll be sure to post results once we try a few.

3. What do you use to clean hardwood floors? I'm especially interested in a cheap homemade cleaner.:-) I've been using  Murphy's Oil Soap but would like to have one less item to buy, if I can find something that does the trick. Via a quick Google search, I came across the idea of using vinegar in warm water. Does anyone have experience with that? My floors are old but I still do not want to ruin them. And besides, we're renters. The practicality and simplicity of using vinegar appeals to me since I already use that method for cleaning the linoleum.

Thanks for your input! I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homekeeper's Journal- The Autumn Edition

This week's Homekeeper's Journal is all about Autumn. 

My first thought was "Fall? What's that?" :-) It's still pretty hot here that it's hard to imagine that in a month or so, it will start turning a little bit cooler. 

Fall is my favorite season!

Autumn in my kitchen means... making applesauce and apple butter, eating lots of sweet potatoes and squash, more soups and warm crock pot meals.

Autumn in my home brings... our anniversary, leaves to rake.

I bring Autumn indoors by...decorating with pumpkins and gourds, switching out our wardrobes for warmer clothing, simmering apple cores and cinnamon sticks on the stove for a homey autumn smell.

A few favorite Autumn activities for my family are... watching football (Go Redskins!), going to the mountains for leaf-peeping, and visiting the orchard for fresh apples.

Two favorite Autumn recipes are... pumpkin bread and sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash.

This Autumn I would like to... go back to the mountains and celebrate the first day of fall by doing something fun for my neighbors. 

What are your favorite things about fall? 

**Thanks to Sylvia for hosting the Homekeeper's Journal!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Routines

My personality thrives on routines, a schedule and lists. My productivity rises when I'm on a good schedule. And truth be told, I'm happier, too.

It does seem that once I get a good schedule going, something comes along that requires a change. Isn't that the way life works?! So I am always tweaking and changing things around to make the schedule work better for us!

I started a new childcare job a month ago which again required quite a few changes to my then-current routine. This family arrives at my house at 7 am and then leaves mid-afternoon.

Even though I'm a morning person, I was skeptical of having company that early in the morning. I love me some quiet time to get things done!

As it turns out, I love this new schedule! I get up and since I'm on a stricter time schedule, I do what needs to be done instead of putting things off or spending too much time at the computer. I also simplified my morning routine greatly so that it is very doable.

Morning Routine:

1. Get up at 5:45.
2. Shower and dress.
3. Spend time in God's Word.

That's it!

By the time I've accomplished these 3 things, it's about time for the kids to arrive. Sometimes, I have a few extra minutes where I fix the bed and throw a load of laundry in the washer, which is nice but isn't a horrible thing if it doesn't get done first thing.

My husband usually rises and has his quiet time while I'm in the shower and then he showers while I have mine. This works out pretty well!

Since I don't do as much in the early morning hours now, my evening routine is a bit longer than it was before.

Evening Routine(in no particular order): 

1. Sweep and dust mop floors in general living areas. (Living room, kitchen and dining areas, hallway.)

2. Vacuum area rugs in living room.

3. Make sure breakfast and lunch items are ready to go for the next day.

4. Straighten up around the house and put things away.

5. Sort laundry and start a load soaking overnight, if needed.

6. Make sure dishes are washed and kitchen is clean.

Most days, this list takes me about 30 minutes to an hour to complete, depending how much there is to do. It's worth it to have a less chaotic morning!

I really don't have a really firm routine down for during the day yet. I just try and do a little housework each day and do things in between childcare. Plus I don't want to be too busy and scheduled that I can't take a lot of time to hold and cuddle the baby! Some things are much more precious and important than schedules!

The oldest child is starting preschool this week so it will be me and the baby. I suspect my days will fall into a more predictable pattern then since the baby is on a very good schedule already.

I'm already seeing the great benefits of having a very set schedule and these new routines. I've been much more productive, even on the weekends. A routine is a little thing but really has helped me with my time management!

Are you a routine person or do they drive you nuts? Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Daily Giggle

If you haven't already, you'll need to check out Catalog Living. Since subscribing, these posts never fail to give me my daily giggle.

Too funny!

HT to Money Saving Mom for mentioning this site in a recent post. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Homemade Play Dough

I love making homemade play dough. It's cheap and easy to make and I like the texture and smell better than the store-bought play dough. It also makes an excellent and frugal gift!

Making your own means that you know exactly what's in it, so it's not such a big deal if the little ones taste it.

Making play dough can be a fun activity to do with the kidlets, especially those 3 years and older. It doesn't take very long to make and it can be played with as soon as it's finished!

Homemade Play Dough

 1. Combine 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 cup salt and 1 tablespoon cream of tartar** in saucepan and heat until warm.  You can add food coloring at this point, too, if you want the whole batch to be one color. My helper and I decided to wait to add the food coloring for this batch since we wanted to divide it and have several different colors. 

**Cream of tartar is what makes the play dough stay fresh longer, so resist the urge to leave this important ingredient out!

2. Remove from heat and add 1 cup flour.  Stir well. You may need to add a bit more to get a good consistency. For this batch, I added just under 1 1/2 cups of flour.

3. Pour mixture onto counter or table and knead until smooth. Poking it may be desired as well, especially if you are almost 5 years old!

4. Add food coloring at this point, if you haven't already, dividing dough into as many portions as you want colors. Knead the colors in and add food coloring until desired shades are reached. Natural food dye can also be used as explained in this post.

5. Play with your new play dough! Cookie cutters, small pans, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, plastic knives, small rolling pins and garlic presses are good play dough tools. Using tools from your play tool box is also pretty cool! Nothing like sawing that play dough right in half!

Mixing all the colors together for a marbled effect is also fun!

6. Store play dough in an air-tight container. It should last around 6 months.


** This post is a part of Frugal Fridays!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Harris Teeter had peaches on sale for $.49 a pound recently so I decided that was a good stock-up price for canning and freezing!

I marched myself right in there and asked the produce manager for two boxes. Each box was right about 25 pounds. From reading my Ball Blue Book of Canning, I knew that I should figure 2-3 pounds of peaches per quart. I wanted at least 10 quart canned plus some to freeze and a few to eat fresh so 50 pounds seemed like a good amount.

I spent most of last Friday peeling, slicing, canning and freezing those peaches! I ended up with 14 quart canned, 8 quart frozen, 2 quarts of  frozen peach puree for 2 batches of  jam to make later and 1 peach cobbler. We also had lots to eat fresh!

I'm looking forward to having home-canned peaches to eat this winter! I'll use the frozen peaches for cobblers, pies and smoothies.

When I make the jam, I'll let you know how it turns out!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Food For The Freezer

Back during our courtship days, if I mentioned that I was "cooking for the freezer", Andy would always chuckle and ask what my freezer liked to eat. Smarty-pants.

"Cooking for the freezer" may still sound funny to some, but it's a lifesaver for me these days!

I had allowed my freezer cooking ways to go by the wayside the past few months. The result? Lots of ingredients and nothing to eat in a pinch.

Since I make the majority of our food from scratch, it takes a bit more effort to keep foods at the ready. After all, if I don't make it we don't have it to eat!

I spent some time last weekend preparing foods  to freeze so that we would have extra stuff to grab through the week.

Friday night, I made a double batch of dinner rolls and froze half.

On Saturday, I spent most of the day in the kitchen and accomplished this list. No picture since we were heading out the door for a church event as soon as I finished  cooking!

--5 loaves whole wheat bread
--1 batch (8) pita pockets
--1 batch peanut butter granola
--2 dozen pumpkin muffins and 2 small loaves pumpkin bread
--1 dozen hard-boiled eggs
--1 pan baked brown rice

Obviously, I didn't freeze the eggs! But they are nice to have in the fridge for easy breakfasts and snacks.

I made the rice for a dish I was taking on Sunday, then I found out we were doing picnic lunches that day so we ended up using the rice for a couple meals this week and freezing two bags of rice for future use.

 Tonight for supper, I planned to make beef sausage to go with scrambled eggs and toast. Instead of making just enough for one meal, I used three pounds of ground beef instead and made 6 meals worth! It only took a few more minutes to make a big batch than a single meal and now I have 5 extra meals of sausage in the freezer ready to be used.

It feels good to be getting a little ahead of the game again by having some foods prepared and ready in the freezer! It's so great to have food to grab when we're in a hurry or on the go!

I'm hoping to get back into the habit of keeping my freezer and pantry well-stocked!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our Crazy Summer

Where has the summer gone?

It's almost the middle of August which means it's almost back-to-school time around here. Summer is almost over!

I still think that school shouldn't start until after Labor Day, but then what do I know? 

This has been a crazy busy summer for us. We've moved, my parents were here to visit for the better part of July, we took them to a family reunion in Florida, Andy's friend was very ill and then passed away, I started a new childcare job last week...

Life has been crazy but hopefully it's settling down a bit. Maybe....

In the meantime... I have 50 pounds of peaches to can and freeze. We're getting some new-to-us furniture and home furnishings tomorrow. More on those things later!

Great news... We just got our first utility bill for our new house the other day. It was for two months instead of one because of when we switched it over. We were almost too scared to open the envelope but surprise, surprise!!! The first two months at the new house was the same amount as one month at the old house. Yeah! If this keeps up, the extra $100 we are paying in rent will be totally worth it. :-)

What have you been up to this summer? Do you feel like it's been a crazy one, too?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In Memory of Scott Adams

As most of my regular readers know, one of Andy's best friends from the college days passed away last week after battling colon cancer for less than a year.

Scott Adams was 34. He left behind his lovely wife, Heather and 4 young sons ages 7,5,4 and 5 months. He loved the Lord and was a pastor with strong evangelistic giftings.

Although I didn't know him that well, he had a very unique personality and was one of those people that you never forget. He was known as a bit of a control freak and a planner and never sat still.

His brother shared at the funeral that around the first of July, right after they had made the decision to stop the chemo, Scott announced one afternoon that he was going to go down to the funeral home to "try out some caskets." We all laughed because it was just so Scott! I believe his family managed to talk him out of it, but still!

Every part of his funeral was planned with the order of service handwritten, signed and dated  by him. True to character, he even had the last word when at the end a video was shown with Pastor Scott addressing his congregation for the last time from his Hospice bed.

But the true testimony to Scott's life came at the graveside service on Sunday when 14 people accepted Jesus into their hearts. Yes, 14!  It was so awesome! Heather was just beaming while this was happening. Scott would've been so thrilled.

Scott and Andy became friends in college when Scott joined a Southern Gospel singing group that Andy was a part of. The group disbanded in 1997 but Scott and Andy would still get together to sing from time to time. Scott's diagnosis was the catalyst that finally brought the whole group back together for a "reunion concert" in January. He was a wonderful singer and thoroughly loved getting together again for that evening. He was so weak from chemo treatments that night and was totally wiped out by the end but he had so much fun and could hardly quit!
The group together after their reunion  concert at Scott's church in January 2010. 
From left to right: Scott, Eric, Chan and Andy.
Please continue to keep Heather and her boys in your prayers as they walk through this difficult time. As you can imagine, Heather is absolutely exhausted and completely worn out from this tragedy and needs rest and time to process all that has taken place. She and the boys will be moving to be near to her parents where she will have their help and support.

Thirty-four seems so young. In fact, I think this may be the first funeral I've attended where the person who died was the same age as me.  Makes you think, you know?

Scott will be missed. But we know he would want us to celebrate his life and that he is now free of pain and disease(he also had cerebral palsy) and is running down the streets of gold and singing praises to the Lord like never before.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Since we unexpectedly ended up leaving town for a few days last week, I'm transferring the meals we didn't get to make from last week's plan over to this week. I figure since I have all the ingredients already, why not?

Pair that with inexpensive corn on the cob (10/$1) and a free 1 pound box of salad greens from Earth Fare  plus $.49 pound peaches from Harris Teeter and I think we are pretty much set with groceries for the week.

Supper Menu for Monday through Saturday:

1) Leftover lentils and rice with salad greens and vinaigrette dressing.
2) Scrambled eggs, waffles**, fruit smoothies
3) Sloppy joes, homemade buns**, coleslaw, corn on the cob, pickles
4) Homemade pizza, salad, dessert treat
5) Macaroni pie, peas
6) Beef and broccoli stir fry, brown rice

**Indicates already-prepared freezer item.

Head on over to Organizing Junkie for more menu planning inspiration!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Update On Scott

An update on Andy's friend Scott:

Scott passed away early this morning and is now walking in heaven with Jesus, free of pain and sickness. Please remember to pray for his wife Heather, their four young boys and the rest of the family that they will find comfort and healing during this difficult time.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Yard Sale and Thrifting Finds

We went to a bunch of yard sales this past Saturday and scored some great deals! We hadn't been out for a morning of die-hard yard saling since April when we found our couch, so this was lots of fun! I was even able to find a few items that were on the list for our new house.

The highlight of the trip was finding a set of four Fire King custard bowls with lids for 50 cents! I was so thrilled to find "Pyrex leftover bowls with lids" that I didn't even notice that they are Fire King until later that afternoon.

Other wonderful finds:

-- Pillow insert: $1.00
-- Frontier Logs set (similar to Lincoln Logs): $1.00
-- Lamp: 50 cents
-- Dish drainer: 50 cents
-- Bag of Mega Blocks: 50 cents
-- Clock: 10 cents (I still haven't put new batteries in it to see if it works, but figured 10 cents was worth the risk!)
-- 2 Kingdom Heirs videos: 25 cents each
-- Set of navy curtains(already hung up but you can see the package in the picture): $4.00
-- Vera Bradley purse, checkbook cover and wallet: $2.00

One purchase always lead to another, you know, so after we got home from our adventure, I ran out to our neighborhood thrift stores to find a super long curtain rod so we could hang the new curtains in the office. No luck with second-hand curtain rods but I did find these two items:

--Tupperware  relish tray/baby dish: 25 cents
-- Super cute Liz Claiborne red shoes: $3.49

I think the Goodwill prices in our area are kind of high, especially for clothing, but I really liked these shoes so it was worth the price!

What about you? Any great thrifty treasures lately?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

 **Thanks for stopping by! While you're here, I'd love if you'd enter my giveaway for a Dave Ramsey book!**

Last week, I mentioned that I was in the midst of creating a 4 week meal plan complete with shopping lists. Well, the meal plan itself went rather quickly. The shopping list part is a bit more tedious as it involves getting all my recipes together. It will be great to have my recipes compiled in one place once I'm done, though.

I went ahead and did the shopping list for the first week and will work on one a week until 4 weeks are completed. I plan to use these meal plans over and over so the extra effort is definitely worth it!

Already, I've tweaked the meal plan for this week to make it fit with time and budget restraints. But overall, I think we will like this plan and we'll see how it works long-term. This week's shopping trip was a breeze since I had it all listed out ahead of time.

Breakfasts are the same few things repeated each week. Lunches are leftovers, sandwiches or something very quick and easy. For suppers, we're doing a bean night, a meatless night(focusing mainly on egg or cheese as the main protein), a meat night(our favorite!), a sandwich and/or salad night, breakfast for dinner and the infamous 'other' category one night.  I don't usually cook on Sunday nights; we eat a big noon meal and then just dig around for a little something once we are finally hungry again.:-) This is how we typically eat and it works well for us. Dividing it up into categories really simplified the planning process as well. I just went through my mental recipe file, my cookbooks and asked my husband for input and quickly plugged 4 meals into each category.

I'll certainly change things up with the seasons, but this will be a huge help in these very busy next few months. 

What we're eating for supper this week:

**indicates freezer meal.

1) Help yourself!
2) Lentils and rice(crockpot)
3) Meatloaf**(used my meatball recipe this time), zucchini fritters, steamed carrots
4) Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit smoothies
5) Sloppy joes, homemade buns**, coleslaw, pickles
6) Homemade pizza, coleslaw, dessert treat
7) Macaroni pie, peas

**For more menu planning inspiration, visit Organizing Junkie!