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Monthly Challenge


MaryKay Giveaway ~ Pedicure Set

Earlier this month I announced three giveaways I will be hosting over the next few weeks! With the first giveaway finished, we’re moving right along to giveaway #2!

The MaryKay Pedicure Set is your go to for a quick, easy and cheap pampering session. This set includes the Relaxing Foot Soak and Soothing Foot Balm and Pedicure Brush in a stylish travel bag. About once a week, or when I am needing a little pampering, I add the Relaxing Foot Soak to warm water and soak my tooties for about 15 minutes (or as long as P will let me!). Once they are nice and soft I use the Pedicure Brush to exfoliate. Afterwards, when I am in bed, I apply the Soothing Foot Balm. I love have soft smooth feet when I wake up in the morning! 
Check back for these other amazing MaryKay product giveaways! 
MaryKay Satin Hands Set: December 5th – December 19th

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31 Days to a More Organized Life ~ Day 3 (Meal Planning)

In our home, meal planning is essential to an organized week. If we don’t do the prep work, we often find ourselves eating quick fast food meals that deplete our wallets and increases our belt loops.

I will admit that I am kind of cheating here because I hosted a month challenge in September called, Meal Planning On A Budget. I never got around to doing a month wrap up so I am gonna sneak that into today’s post. Not to mention it is WW Wednesday so you are getting 3 posts in the viewing pleasure of one!

It is amazing to me how counter intuitive organizing can be sometimes. Specifically with meal planning, if you have a busy week in store, just eat out was always my thought! My main reason for starting to plan our meals was financial. I realized after the first week however, the benefits were so much more than that!

In the month of September, we spent each Sunday morning planning our meals for the week, looking through the coupons in our paper and going out to shop. We spent maybe 30 minutes preparing and about two hours out. We stayed within budget of $50 each week, tried a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ate 100% better than we had been.

In order to make it easy each week I created a few documents to help. They were extremely helpful over the last 4 weeks and I am going to continue to use them each week. It was amazing how much food we had in our two freezers and pantry. Some of it was going to expire soon so we used that which felt great because it didn’t go to waste. I loved mapping out everything on the month calendar so we could see ahead days we would be eating out, when we would be home for a few days to make a large meal for leftovers, etc… The meal plan and grocery list were essential to keeping to our budget. It kept us away from buying extra ingredients or more snacks than we would need that week.

I also went through our cookbook shelves and dwindled it down to 1 shelf of our favorite books and a binder divided up by category. I took pictures of recipes from my favorite cookbooks and tore out pages from the magazines we had to add to the binder. Unfortunately  I forgot it at home and am visiting my parents for the week. I will make sure to share a picture when I get home.

Planning ahead also allowed me to maximize my WW point allowance each week. This has been really important to keep my supply up for P. Eating a few quick junk food items a day was horrible on my supply, energy and self esteem  I was able to eat more than twice the amount of food and stay within my points. Rob and I also had more “family” meals together that were quite tasty. This month is a little crazy with me visiting my parents for a week, vacationing in OBX for a week and now possibly moving the end of October but we will push through and plan ahead 🙂


That wraps up day #3 for me! Check back tomorrow where I will be talking 
about making it a little easier to keep the house clean!  



Monthly Challenge ~ Meals On A Budget

This months challenge is meal planning on a budget.

Rob and I are still trying to adjust our spending on a single income. I have to admit, it’s a little harder than I  originally thought it would be. One of the areas that can really put a dent in our checkbook is grocery shopping and eating out. Our goal is to get away from eating out and making more meals at home. We also want to get into a routine of only buying what we need for the week at the store to ensure we are not wasting food.

Goals of this challenge:

1. Stay on a budget with grocery shopping.
2. Plan our weekly meals and do the grocery shopping on Sunday’s to start the week out right.
2. Plan well balanced meals that include all of my WW requirements. 

As with any of my challenges/projects, I first started making a list of everything I needed to organize to set myself up for success. This was what I came up with:

Create a…
Monthly Calendar (9/1/12)
Weekly Menu (9/1/12)
Shopping List (9/1/12)
Food Inventory Checklist (9/1/12)

Organize a…
Binder compiled of our favorite recipes from cookbooks and magazines
Envelope for all of our coupons (9/1/12)

Purchase a… 
White Board (9/1/12)
iPhone App that is a shared grocery list so I can upload items and Rob can get them on his way home (9/1/12)

Decorate a… 
Clipboard to keep everything together in one place (9/1/12)

Here is what I have come up with so far! 

I created a food inventory document so we could see what we already had in the house to use for meals and snacks. I will do an inventory at the beginning of each month and take special note to expiration dates. There is nothing I hate more than throwing away food because it is past expiration. 

At the beginning of every month I want to go through the calendar and see what we have going on. When will we be away, when company will be staying over, outings planned etc…  

At the beginning of each week, I want to take a look at our inventory in addition to what we have going on that week and plan out our meals for the week. Once we know what our tentative plans are, we can take a look at our recipe binder and choose our meals. Once P get’s older, I want to incorporate theme nights to add some excitement! 

I find that having a specific list helps keep the cost down at the store. I know what items I need for the meals we plan to make that week. I decided to include a favorites section for things we are constantly eating such as granola bars, crackers and string cheese. 

I love our white board area in our kitchen! That’s right, call me a nerd 🙂 Even though we share a Google Calendar, it is nice to have everything written out for the month. The white board below the calendar has three columns; notes, to do and the week broken up by day. This is where we jot down pantry items we need, Rob’s “honey do list”, and a break down of the week (appointments, meetings, outings, etc…). The third white board is our recent purchase to help achieve this monthly challenge.  What I love about this white board is not only can I jot down our meal plan by day, but I can pin any recipes we plan to use for easy access! 

While I am no where close to holding the title of extreme couponer, I do like a good bargain. We get the Sunday paper for the weekly coupons and monthly P&G. I have also found a few websites, such as Grocery Coupon Network where I can go online to find printable coupons. Between the two, we save quite a bit during our shopping trips.

This month however, I want to challenge myself a little more. For example, last week we had a coupon for $1 off two boxes of Jimmy Deans breakfast sandwiches. While having a coupon was great, and prepacked sandwiches are convenient, the total cost was more expensive than if we had purchased the ingredients to make our own sandwiches. This month I want to try and find the most cost effective way to get some of the same items we love to eat.

While I made a handy dandy grocery shopping list, I know there will be times when Rob will need to pick something up from the store. Fortunately, I found an app for the iPhone that I love! It is called, Buy Me A Pie. My favorite feature and the reason I chose this app is because I can add items and Rob can see them on his phone. This will eliminate the need to text him a list or for him to try and remember everything from a voice mail I leave.

This is probably my biggest project for this month. As you can see, we have quite a collection of cookbooks, magazines and printouts of online recipes. My goal is to take these three shelves and combine it down to one shelf with a few of our favorite cookbooks and a binder that has all of our favorite recipes organized into categories.

That’s all I have for now! I look forward to reading all of your ideas, best practices and goals for the month! 

This months challenge is meal planning on a budget! Share your tips for success or how you plan to change your ways for a more cost effective grocery bill at the end of the month. Please make sure to upload a direct link to a new and relevant post. At the end of the month, provide us with an update on how you did, what worked and what didn’t work!