Meal Planning: A Three Month Menu

If you’d like to skip to the menu, just scroll to the bottom of the page. If you’d like to read about the process of making this plan, just keep on reading.  Either way, thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Back to school. Back to the busy-ness and chaos. Extra curriculars (one of which we drive an hour each way to attend every week…) Fall festivals right around the corner…life is hectic!

And then, my family has the audacity to want to eat!  Food!  Ugh!

I’ve never been good at meal planning.  I know.  It should be simple.  Pick a meat or main dish, pick a vegetable, pick a starch, and there you go.  But alas.  I normally don’t even like to think about food unless I’m starving.  And then, I’m a moody eater which means that I have to be in the mood for something in particular before I’ll actually want to choose it, take the time and effort to prepare it, and eat it.  Then there’s the chopping (ie, torture.  Chopping.  So.  Boring.)  And the thawing of food if it’s been in the freezer.  (Thawing raw chicken in the microwave…gross!)  Needless to say, I think I can see why meal planning has proven to be such a challenge to me.

I’ve tried a few things over the years to help lessen this bane of my existence.  I tried signing up for pay services that did all the meal planning for you.  All you had to do was take the shopping list, buy the groceries, bring them home and cook them.  That didn’t work for numerous reasons:  I couldn’t find many of the exotic ingredients in our small-town grocery store, life got in the way so that we didn’t cook every meal which meant we were wasting a lot of food, we didn’t like everything that was on the menus, and I just don’t enjoy cooking and some of those recipes were more than I wanted to do.  I tried making a one month menu plan of my own, but that didn’t work because there wasn’t enough of a variety in the rotation and we quickly got burned out on eating the same things so often.  But I knew that this year I was going to need a plan in place to help me take care of my family when things got too busy for me to think (or not) about that age-old question:  What’s for dinner?

That’s when someone mentioned, why not make a 3 month menu plan?

So that’s what I did.  It took some work, but with the help of Pinterest and my best friend, we did it!  Here’s how.

First, I sat down with 3 completely blank calendar pages like you’d find for free at DonnaYoung.org.  I filled in any days that I knew I wouldn’t have to actually have a plan for, like Friday.  That’s always date night for us, so I don’t have to cook.  Saturday is leftovers and fend for yourself day, and Sunday we usually go out with family after church or the P will take his turn cooking.  (He likes to cook more than I do and is more willing to do something messy…I mean elaborate. 😀 )  So that left me needing to fill in only 4 days a week, for 12 weeks (a total of 36 meal ideas).

I then thought about our weekly schedule.  Which nights do we have commitments that would cause us to have to get food in a hurry, and which nights could we relax a bit on?  After thinking about that, I could label the general categories that I’d then go back and fill in when I had all of the menu ideas and recipes ready.  My categories:  1) crock pot meals, 2) left-overs or…, 3) casseroles, bakes, or one pot meals, and 4) pasta & misc.  (Btw, if it ain’t quick and/or  simple, it ain’t gonna be on my list…)

All that was left to do was to fill in the recipes under the appropriate night in a way that wouldn’t have us eating too many similar things each week.  Here’s how it turned out.

Month One

Week One

Monday Chili & Grilled Cheese

Tuesday Leftovers or Hot Dogs

Wednesday Honey baked Chicken Tenders, Mashed Potatoes, and Veggies

Thursday Alfredo Pasta & Veggies

Week Two

Monday Chicken Noodle Soup & Rolls

Tuesday Leftovers or Eggs, toast, & fruit

Wednesday Tater Tot Casserole, Veggies

Thursday Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Salad

Week Three

Monday Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, Mashed Potatoes & gravy, Veggies

Tuesday Pigs in a blanket, Baked beans, Veggies

Wednesday Chicken Strip Salad

Thursday Lemon Chicken Pasta

Week Four

Monday Crock Pot Apples & Pork Chops, Mashed potatoes, Veggies

Tuesday Leftovers or Subs

Wednesday Bar-b-cue chicken, Corn on the Cob, Mashed Potatoes

Thursday Taco salad

Month Two

Week One

Monday Slow cooker chicken & gravy, rice, & veggies

Tuesday Leftovers or Fish & Chips

Wednesday The World’s Best Chicken

Thursday Baked Penne Rigate, Salad, Garlic bread

Week Two

Monday Vegetable Soup, Rolls

Tuesday Leftovers or Ham

Wednesday Crock pot fried rice & baked teriyaki chicken

Thursday Hamburger Casserole

Week Three

Monday Beans & Corn bread

Tuesday Leftovers or Pizza & salad

Wednesday Soft shell chicken tacos

Thursday Parmesan garlic noodles & salad or veggies

Week Four

Monday Creamy potatoes & chicken

Tuesday Leftovers or French toast & fruit

Wednesday Boneless Pork Chops

Thursday Sloppy Joes

 

Month Three

Week One

Monday Pot Roast & Rolls

Tuesday Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

Wednesday Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice Casserole

Thursday Chicken Wraps

Week Two

Monday Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Tuesday Crab Cakes

Wednesday Chicken & Mushroom Soup, Rice, & Veggies

Thursday Rigatoni, Salad, & Garlic Bread

Week Three

Monday Pork & Sauerkraut, rolls

Tuesday Homemade wedgies

Wednesday Potato Soup

Thursday Fantastic Taco Casserole

Week Four

Monday Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

Tuesday Hamburgers

Wednesday Potatoes, Chicken, & Green Beans

Thursday Sausage, Egg, & Biscuit Casserole

And that’s it!  I hope this is helpful to someone else out there who might have difficulty in the meal planning area of life.  So far this has worked very well for us, and I am beyond thankful that I no longer have to struggle each day to figure out what to fix for dinner.  It has definitely made life around here much more of the happily ever after we’re striving for 🙂

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A Quick Hello

It’s been a few weeks…

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to update and post more.  Between school and a few other things I’ve just been extremely busy.  I do have a few things I’d like to share as soon as I get the chance!  Hope everyone is doing well!

Until next time… 😀

Disappearing Pictures???

Today, I logged in to find a post that I had written and share it with someone.  What I found was that once again, many of my photos are no longer showing in my blog posts.  (No changing my blog url this time, so it can’t be blamed on that.)  Is this a regular occurrence with WordPress?  Is this happening to anyone else?  It surely is frustrating :/

Stitch Fix, August 2015

I received my second box from Stitch Fix a few days ago and finally have a little time to sit down and show you what was in the box!

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Ahh, the glorious box that has for two months now put a smile upon my face, lol! I was so excited when I saw it waiting at my door. (My family thinks I’m crazy to be so excited over a box. Hello, it’s what’s inside that counts 😉 )

Of course I opened it immediately!

The opened box...

The opened box…

Pre-paid Return Mailer

…and the pre-paid return mailer

Stitch Fix always sends along a pre-paid return mailer for you to return anything you decide you don’t want to keep after all.  Pretty handy, that.

They also send a card with a note from the stylist who picked out the clothing in your fix and photos of the items with suggestions for how to style your new items.  I don’t normally look at that right away because I like to be surprised, but here’s what it looks like:

Styling card/note from stylist

Styling card/note from stylist

The note told me that I had the same stylist as last time (Cailyn)!  She did an awesome job the first time, so I was very happy to see she was styling me again 🙂

Now on to the good stuff!  The first thing that I pulled out of the box was this:

Princeton Teardrop Cluster Necklace

Princeton Teardrop Cluster Necklace

The picture doesn’t do this necklace justice.  It is absolutely gorgeous in person.  The little round beads add just the right amount of sparkle.  LOVE this.

Next out of the box:

Hmm, what's inside???

Hmm, what’s inside???

Tada!

Tada!

Here’s a look at each item, individually:

Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt

Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt

Closer look at the sleeve

Closer look at the sleeve

First impression:  I like the colors and the way the sleeves are made.  The colors are pretty, too.  I know chevron is the style now, but is it for me?

Corinna Striped Dolman Top

Corinna Striped Dolman Top

First impression:  Cute!  I like the stripes and that it’s navy in color.  I like the way that the sleeves are made.  Will it be fitted enough for my liking?

Julia Utility Jacket

Julia Utility Jacket

First impression:  I love everything about this jacket.  Everything.  This was my special request this month; a jacket that wasn’t too heavy or too light that I could grab and take with me everywhere.  I think they did a good job picking this out.  Did I mention I love everything about this jacket???

Adorra Skinny Jeans

Adorra Skinny Jeans

First impression:  Yay, another pair of jeans!  I hope they fit as well as the first pair.  I did request to be sent more jeans because I have such a hard time finding pairs that fit me well without sagging in places no one wants to sag…ahem.

So there it is!  Here are a few pics of me trying things on.  Wow, I really need to work on my modeling pose…lol…

Stitch Fix look 1

Stitch Fix look 1

Stitch Fix look 2

Stitch Fix look 2

Stitch Fix look 3

Stitch Fix look 3

It’s important to note that Stitch Fix doesn’t necessarily send complete outfits.  They do send pieces to enhance your current wardrobe (or if you’re like me, build one in the first place!)

So there it is.  What did you think?  I will tell you that I did end up keeping everything!  The jeans are soooo soft and comfortable against the skin, and the tops are super comfy, too.  The chevron will take some getting used to, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take.

Stitch Fix is yet another dream come true for me. I tell them what sort of things I like, and they send it to me. No spending all day in a crowded shopping mall’s cramped fitting room just to be disappointed and come home with only one item that cost way too much and I decide later that I don’t really like after all.  Just pure, simple bliss-inducing boxes showing up at my door with clothes that fit me and look nice inside.

If you’re interested in receiving your own box of bliss, and I’ve in any way helped you to make that decision, will you please consider using my referral code when you sign up?  https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5504565  Of course it’s not necessary, but I would truly appreciate it!

If you’d like to learn more about how Stitch Fix works, check out my first post about it here:  https://princesspandme.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/stitch-fix/ and check out their website here:  https://support.stitchfix.com/hc/en-us/articles/204222994-FAQ

Oh!  And thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!  🙂

Experiencing Technical Problems….

Hmm.  Well now I’ve gone and done it.  I changed my blog url here to reflect a few other social media sites that I’m on.  Now it seems that none of my pictures from my posting today (How I Spent My Summer Vacation…2015 (Part 2)) are showing, and also, all of my links are broken.  I expected broken links, but not missing pictures.

I wonder, is it possible to re-blog my previous blogs so that they’ll now show up under my new address with non-broken links?  There aren’t that many of them.  I’m not ready to commit to a paid upgrade yet–not sure the P would go for it either.  I’d note they’re re-blogged, of course, and the original posting dates, too.  Bah.  I wish I was more techno-savvy.  (But honestly, it looks too complicated and it bores me to tears…)  Hmm…

A Brief Celebration!

Woot! Woot! Just celebrating the fact that totally non-technological me just added the Influenster widget to my little ol’ blog here! (Thanks to some good instructions from Influenster, lol.)

If you don’t know what Influenster is, it’s (and I quote) “a product discovery platform and review site that helps members find new products to try and get advice so they can make informed purchases.”

I just signed up to be a member a few days ago so I’m still learning more about it as I go. If you’d like to learn more, go here: https://www.influenster.com/about-us . (Sorry, I still don’t know how to make a link active…but just copy and paste it into your browser.)

And yes, I realize that no one will probably read this…yet…lol. Maybe someday. A girl can dream 🙂

Happy day!

A Brief Intermission…

Ok, so even though I’ve had this blog for over a year now, can I just say…this stuff seems overly complicated!  Maybe part of the reason I haven’t posted more is that the whole blogging experience (well, the technical “behind the scenes” part at least) seems overwhelmingly and unnecessarily complicated to try to figure out and I just don’t have the time to sit down and figure it all out on my own.

When I logged in a few minutes ago, I noticed that WordPress is offering something called Blogging University (or something like that).  Unfortunately, I missed the registration deadline by maybe 2 days.  (Why is there a deadline?  Why not just put the info. out there and let people find it and read it when they do?)

Oh well.  Maybe I’ll figure some more of this stuff out as time goes on.  Hopefully, lol.