February Goals

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Even though January seemed as though it would last forever, it did finally end!  I am beyond excited about a new month.  January was definitely a tough one… not just at home with my goals, but I had many struggles at work as well.  My stress level was beyond belief for the majority of the month, and I was unable to focus on my goals and achieving them.

Last month I did make some goals that I knew I would meet, just so I didn’t feel as though I was failing with them all.  It helped to know that I would have something positive to post on here, so I think I will do that this month as well.

Financial

 Save $855 in Capitalone 360 accounts
Save an additional $130 for consignment sale (it will be spent before the end of the month)
Put $100 into emergency savings
Track spending
Create or edit a Google Docs spreadsheet for our budget/tracking expenses

Marriage

One date night (we have a gift card to help with dinner expenses, but if we want to do anything else, we will have to figure out where the money will come from)

Health

Run 50 miles this month
Drink 5 cups of water a day and track it
Continue with no pop
Finish 30 Days of Yoga series on Youtube (I am on Day 8)
Do strength training exercises 3 times a week
Cut back on sugar intake
Sign up for a 5k with my best friend
No coffee drinks from the coffee shop on the way to work

Recreation

Read 1 book this month
Blog at least 3 times a week
Get together with friends

Home

Take boxes to Salvation Army
Get rid of all the cardboard boxes that are taking over our lives
Clean the basement
Scrub out the fridge

That is all I can think of.  I think most of these goals are actually attainable.  I think there are a few that will be difficult to stick with, but overall I think February will be a successful month.  I am going to stay positive and hopeful that I can stay on track this month!

What are your goals for February?

image courtesy of fotographic1980 at freedigitialphotos.net

January Resolution Check-In

Ready for an ugly post?  Yeah, me neither.  Well, my resolutions have been neglected and ignored, so this will not be pretty.  I guess there is no reason to put it off any longer (considering February is almost here), so here we go!

Finances
$435 into miscellaneous savings accounts- I honestly don’t know why I picked this number.  I automatically put $450 into one account for a car down payment, so we easily went over this number.  Aside from the car down payment, we put $480 into other savings accounts.  Total we put in $930 into our CapitalOne 360 Savings accounts.  Although these are earmarked for something, if we did have an emergency and didn’t have enough in our regular emergency fund, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the money in these accounts.
$300 into emergency fund- We put $100 into our emergency fund.  As you know, our emergency fund was drained around Christmas.  It was not a real emergency, but when our TV broke, Hubs felt it was a true emergency.  Anyways, it is going to be slow going to build it back up.  Again, if we have a true emergency, I know we have almost $2,000 in our Capitalone 360 accounts that we do have access to.
10 No spend days- I have no idea.
Track spending- Nope.  Failed miserably!
Use cash only- Nope.  Failed again!
Snowball and pay off 2 student loans- This is a goal to get done at some point this year.  We did snowball and made the payments necessary to get them paid off this year, so I think this is going well.

Marriage
One Date night this month- Nope.  I guess we will try again in February.

Health
Run at least 35 miles each month- Blew this one out of the water!  I am currently at 45.19 miles for the month, and I do plan on running tomorrow as well.  Woo-hoo!
Start muscle strengthening workouts- I did a few at the beginning of the month, but I really need to figure out a schedule.  I do better with a schedule.
Yoga at least 3 times a week- Again, I started off doing a really good job at the beginning of the month, but it tapered off the past week or so.
Each more veggies (at least 1 at lunch and 1 at dinner)- I think I have been doing ok with this.  I am definitely bringing more veggies to work for lunch, but I don’t think I have done one every lunch.  I am also working on eating more veggies at dinner, but this is pretty much torture for me.
No more pop!- Done and done!  I think I only really wanted a pop once this month, but I resisted and haven’t had one all month!
Drink at least 5 cups of water a day- I know I didn’t succeed at this, but again, I am more aware of my water drinking.  I need to just make this one a priority.

Recreation (Things I like to do)
Blog 5 times a week- I think you all know that I have not done well at this at all!
Read at least 1 book a month- Done!  I finished The Late Lamented Molly Marx and already have my next book sitting on my nightstand ready to go for February.

Home
Start a cleaning routine- Nope.  I am just happy I got one of our bathrooms cleaned and Miss C’s room vacuumed.
Paint last set of cabinets- Nope.  I don’t know when I had planned to have time to accomplish this one.
Vacuum at least once a week- Nope.  The vacuum has been sitting in our bedroom, but hasn’t been plugged in or turned on.
Complete one large home cleaning task a month- I did reorganize the pantry earlier this month, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to do it again.  I stocked up on some items because of some good sales, so we need to get everything back in order.

So there ya have it.  I don’t think I completely failed, but there are definitely a few goals that will carry over to February.  I hope to get my goals for next month up on the blog either tomorrow or Sunday.  I don’t know about you, but January has been a long month!  I am very ready for a new month and a clean slate!

How have your resolutions been going?

Monday Run Down

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So this is what my desk looked like when the kids walked out of the room today at 3:05.  A MESS!  Oh, and I have a sub coming in for me tomorrow.

Needless to say, I stayed until 4:00 today, which is the latest I have stayed at school all year.  I typically get to school around 7:00 in the morning (an hour early) and then am out of there at 3:35.  I am so much more of a morning person that it works better for me.

I am happy to say that my desk was cleaned, my sub plans typed (all 5 pages of them), and all work was ready to go by the time I left at 4:00.  I was pretty proud at how nice my desk looked!  I can guarantee that it will not look as nice as it does now until I have another sub in March. 🙂  The desk is a clutter trap that I have never been able to overcome!

So here is a quick run down of my Monday:

4:00- Alarm went off, snooze was hit
4:10- Alarm went off, I actually “woke up” (aka checked my phone, ate my banana, laced up the running shoes)
4:25- Made it to the treadmill and ran 3.25 miles (I am only 1.36 miles away from my goal of 35 for the month!)
5:00- Showered and started getting ready
5:30- Munchkin woke up (and woke up Hubs)
6:05- Started getting dinner in the crock pot
6:45- Finally left the house
7:10- Made it to school and started working on things for the day
8:00- Kids came in the room whether I was ready or not
10:20- One of my kiddos pukes outside the classroom (on his way to the office to go home)
11:40- Lunch; get to socialize with one of my favorite neighbor teachers
12:05- Long, luxurious, 25 minute lunch is over
12:15- Get to see my para’s beautiful face again! (She had surgery last week, and I missed her dearly!)
1:05- Children go to specials, I hunker down to work on sub stuff for tomorrow
1:15- Superintendent walks in to just shoot the breeze and chat to see how things are going
1:35- Superintendent finally leaves so I can actually get to work again
2:00- Children come back from specials
2:30- Children go to recess.  I stay in to work and help students with math
2:45- Children come back in from recess.  I try to get all end of the day things done in 20 minutes (this is very difficult).
3:05- Children leave.  You have seen what my desk looks like at this point.
4:00- Finally leave school to go home, feeling 90% ok with the sub plans and activities I left.  (I don’t think I ever feel 100% ok with everything.  I always think I have forgotten something or haven’t planned enough)
4:25- Filled up tank for $16.55! (And I had less than a quarter of a tank left!)
4:30- Get home, play outside with the family.
5:00- Come inside to work on dinner.
5:25- Eat dinner
5:45- Help Little missy clean up her toys
6:10- Bath time for the munchkin; Start blog post.
6:35- Finish bath time, don’t finish blog post.
6:40- Mickey Time and finish blog post!

I don’t think I can express to you how happy I am to have tomorrow off.  I am taking the little one to the dermatologist for her yearly check-up for her hemangiomas.  Hubs is going to a funeral for most of the day, so I am on my own with Miss C.  We will also try to meet up with my sister, since we haven’t seen her since the holidays.  And as always, I have a list of things I would like to get done at home tomorrow as well.

Hopefully it will be a productive day tomorrow!

Have you had a busy Monday or has it been pretty relaxed?

Menu Plan Monday

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Here’s to a week of no eating out!  As I said yesterday, last week we were terrible!  Between not feeling well and just feeling overwhelmed and busy, we ate out so much more than normal.  It’s time to reign that in!  This week I am sticking to meals that I know and that do not take a lot of time or effort.

Here is our plan for the week:

Sunday, January 25: “Homemade” pizza (I am using a refrigerated crust)
Monday, January 26: Crock pot Lasagna
Tuesday, January 27: Crock pot Salisbury Steak
Wednesday, January 28: Chicken Stir-fry (no recipe)
Thursday, January 29: Spaghetti (no recipe, jarred sauce)
Friday, January 30: Pasta Toss
Saturday, January 31: Crock pot Chicken Parmesan
Sunday, February 1: Crock pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Guys, I can’t believe that I just typed “February.”  It seems impossible, especially since I haven’t given much thought to my New Year’s Resolutions at all this month.  I know that I will not meet many of them, although a few of them will receive passing grades.

So, there ya have it.  A super-easy, super-effortless menu plan for the week.  Maybe the following week I can try some new recipes or get a little bit more interesting.  Until then, it is easy breezy for me.

What is on your menu for the week?

Sunday Cents

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Guys, I promise I have not completely forgotten about this little blog.  Life is just busy, and it has been much more difficult to get into the new routine than I thought it was going to be.  It also hasn’t helped that I have not been feeling 100%, and we have had an under-the-weather toddler on our hands as well.  Let’s just say that yesterday was a no-nap day for the little missy, which made for a LONG day for me.  And then it didn’t help that Hubs got a late call, so he he was literally gone for 12 hours yesterday.  Yikes!  Needless to say, I was exhausted yesterday!

I am feeling a bit better today, and the munchkin had a good nap.  I think we are all on the up and up.

I do have to say that nothing makes me happier than coming in UNDER budget at the grocery store!  I was also able to stock up on some regular items that we use, as there were some really good sales!  Last week was horrible with eating out and staying under budget (I was not feeling well).  This week’s goal is to not eat out at all, and to have many no-spend days!  Wish us luck!

Now on for the grocery budget breakdown:

Budgeted: $130.00
Actual Spent: $128.24
Under budget: (1.76)

Woo-hoo!  There we SO many great deals today.  I will also add that for some reason today I was able to use e-coupons and paper coupons.  I am usually not able to, and the register will not allow it.  Today there were no problems with using them, and honestly I didn’t even realize I had some of the e-coupons on my loyalty card.

One additional help was a “Mega Sales Event.”  My grocery stores has these quite often.  Right now if you buy 6 participating items, you save $3.  I bought 18 participating items (they were all on my list… I just bought multiples of some) and saved $9.00 that way.

Here are some of the best deals I found:

Barilla Pasta x3
Original Price: $4.47 ($1.49/ea.)
Sale Price: $4.17 ($1.39/ea.)
Mega Sales Event Savings: -$1.50
E-coupon: -$1.00
Paper Coupon: -$0.55
Total Saved: $3.35
Total Spent: $1.12 ($0.37/ea.)

Mission Tortillas x5
Original Price: $13.95 ($2.79/ea.)
Sale Price: $5.00 ($1.00/ea.)
Total Saved: $8.95
Total Spent: $5.00

Digiorno Pizzas x2
Original Price: $12.98 ($6.49/ea.)
Sale Price: $8.98 ($4.49/ea.)
Mega Sales Event: -$1.00
E-coupon: -$2.00
Paper Coupon: -$2.00
Total Saved: $9.00
Total Spent: $3.98 ($1.99/ea.)

Kleenex x3
Original Price: $5.97 ($1.99/ea.)
Sale Price: $4.47 ($1.49/ea.)
Mega Sales Event: -$1.50
E-coupon: -$0.45
Paper Coupon: -$0.50
Total Saved: $3.95
Total Spent: $2.02 ($0.67/ea.)

Overall my savings was $53.14, or 31% of my total purchase.  I tend to save right around 20% each week, so I think this is one of my better weeks.  Just so you know, I did purchase produce, frozen veggies, $8.40 worth of fresh chicken breasts (at $1.99/lb.), two gallons of milk, rice, 3 boxes of cereal, and other ingredients to make complete meals.  I do not like the extreme couponers who end up with miscellaneous items that do not enable them to make full meals, or forces them to eat just frozen or processed meals.  Out of the 60 items I purchased, only 19 were not sale items.  The majority of the non-sale items were produce.

As always, I hope to have a more normal blogging schedule this coming week.  Hopefully everyone starts feeling better, and we can get our routine figured out a bit more.

What were your best deals at the store this week?

Sunday Family Day

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I have another day off tomorrow!  (And I think my to-do list is happy too!)  I have not been very productive today, but I have soaked up some wonderful time with my little family.

We started the day with the little one sleeping in until 8:00?!  I woke up around 7:15 or so, but it was lovely to wake up without the assistance of an alarm or a little munchkin.  I was able to lounge in bed and get some reading done.  Once we finally got up and going, I got some playing time and more reading time in while Hubs went for a run on the treadmill.

Once he finished, we all got gussied up and headed to a brunch with some of Hubs’ co-workers.  It was a very nice time, until close to the end.  Miss C made it almost an hour.  She was great company, did well eating, and was overall someone I would invite out on a brunch date again.  Once we passed that hour point, she turned into a toddler.  She was done.  Hubs tried to hold her in his lap, but she didn’t want that.  She didn’t want to sit in her high chair.  She was just done.  Done with eating.  Done with sitting.  Done being surrounded by people she didn’t know.

Hubs took her outside to go get his wallet.  Once he came back, it was my turn to take her outside.  Once we were outside and walking up and down the sidewalk, she had turned back into our calm, sweet girl.  She had a blast!  She would stop and laugh every time a car passed.  We had a couple bring their dog over so she could pet him.  She ran, skipped, and just had so much fun being outside.  I loved the time I got to spend with her out there today!

After about 15-20 minutes, we went in to check on Hubs.  He had paid our check and was chatting with his co-workers.  At that point, we were ready to head home.

Once home, we played some more, but Miss C was pretty worn out from all her adventures on the sidewalk earlier.  She went down for her nap around 12:30 and didn’t wake up until after 3:00?!  Tired girl!

While she napped, I went on a run.  It was a beautiful day out today!  A slight breeze, sunny, and it got up to about 60!  I was able to run a 5K, and actually beat my previous time!  I ran at a faster pace than I normally ran at!  I was so proud of myself!  I am currently at 25.77 miles this month.  My goal is 35, which I don’t think will be hard to get to at all!

Once the munchkin woke up from her nap, I showered, and then we went outside to play!  We all went out as a family and even included the two dogs in our fun!  Now that they know how to climb up into the playhouse, they are eager to head up there whenever we go up.

Here are a couple photos of them from yesterday, but it gives you an idea of what they are climbing up.

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Rose goes up the wooden ladder, but Bandit has to go up the faux rock wall on the right.

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You can see she is pretty proud of herself.  She just jumps down to get out.  Bandit finally figured out how to get down the rock wall today.  Yesterday I had to lift him out, and then he would immediately go back up there.

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And here you can see it gets a little crowded with two humans and two dogs in there.  Miss C thought it was hilarious!

After a minor meltdown about having to come back inside, little missy set to work playing and playing once we came in.  I relaxed a bit, called my mom, and played with the munchkin until it was time for dinner.  I made spaghetti, which Miss C actually ate!  (She normally just eats the bread and green beans.  Today she finished her spaghetti and asked for more!)

By the time dinner was over and toys were cleaned up, it was Mickey Time!  We all snuggled on the couch to watch our episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, then it was time for Miss C to go to bed!

Once the little one was snug as a bug in her bed, I finished reading my book!  This is the first book I have actually finished in a long time!

I started it last October or November, but had not made it a priority.  It was a good book and an easy read.  I have my next one picked out, ready to start tonight: Son of the Morning by Joyce Carol Oates.  I am actually down to slim pickings in the book department, so it may be time to hit up a thrift store, the library, or my mom or sister’s house.  Any recommendations?  I like to keep my reading light and easy.  Once I am off for the summer, I can take on books with more meaning, depth, or that I have to think about.  Right now I need them as my escape. 🙂

Well, my blog post just about disappeared, so I think that is my cue to wrap things up and get to bed!  I have an early breakfast date with two lovely friends, and I can’t wait!

How was your Sunday?

Simple Saturday

Today was a pretty simple one, although full of things to do.

I woke up around 5:30 when Hubs got out of the shower.  (He has to be at work by 7:00, and gets there early enough for roll call and to get a little bit of overtime pay!)  I lounged in bed for a while, finishing up my grocery list and going through some coupons.  I didn’t quite get finished by the time the little one woke up at 6:30.  She is an early bird like her mommy.

I got Miss C out of her crib and started on breakfast, while I finished my list and going through coupons.  We left the house around 7:45 to get to the grocery store.  We were at the grocery store longer than I wanted to be because someone insisted on getting out of the cart and helping push.  She is so good at the store and doesn’t grab things when she is not in the cart, so I really don’t mind… it just slows us down a bit.

While I grocery shop, I write down the prices of everything to see if I am going to be over budget.  When I pulled over to the side at the end to add everything up, I found out that I was over budget.  I put back a few things and exchanged a few things for generic brands.  Unfortunately I was still over budget, but not as much as I would have been.  I really didn’t buy anything extra or anything that wasn’t needed.  We had a few cleaning items and a few toiletries that we needed, so that always bumps up the total.  Boo!

I did decide to try a new drink, that I had a coupon for.  It was POM Antioxidant Super Tea: Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea.  It was $1.99 for a bottle and I had a coupon for $0.50 off.

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It is delicious!  Unfortunately with a price of $1.99 a bottle, it will definitely be a rare splurge.  I wish I could afford to have one a day, but that just isn’t an option at this point.  I do still have another coupon for $0.50 off another bottle, so I will have to make sure to get another one before it expires.  Yum!

After  the grocery store, we came home and unloaded groceries.  We put them all away and I did a bit of cleaning around the kitchen.  We played a bit, and then it was time for lunch.  I tried a new recipe and it was really good!  They were Quick and Easy Chicken Burritos.  I cut the recipe in half.  I also did not have any cooked chicken, so I used a small can of chicken.  I definitely think it would be better with grilled chicken.  With the can of chicken, it was missing some flavor.  I do think it was a very good, healthy lunch.  I was filled up afterwards, and was happy to still have half an avocado so I could whip up some quick guacamole!

About 30 minutes after lunch Miss C and I went for a run.  This is the second day in a row with a lot of wind and me having to push a stroller during my run.  It was a TOUGH run both days!  I only made it 1.82 miles today.  Not bad, but not great at all!  (I am at 22.58 for the month.)  I don’t think I waited long enough after I ate to go running because I felt very sick by the time I was done.  No good!

After the run, Miss C and I played outside for about 30 minutes until it was time for her nap.  While she napped, I read a couple chapters in my book, and I took a 30 minute nap.  Once I woke up, I showered and got ready for an ice cream date with my dear friend.  I had to wake Miss C up from her nap after 2 hours.  I had to push back our date time because she was sleeping, and she still wasn’t awake in time for the later date.

After eating some yummy TCBY, my friend, Miss C, and I went for a walk.  It was a little chilly with so much wind, but it was a great way to spend the afternoon!

By the time we got home, I had some cleaning in the kitchen to do.  I finished that up, and was so tired that I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.  Hubs agreed to order in pizza.  I feel horrible about spending the money, but I think Hubs is happy that he finally got to eat.  I had no motivation to cook, and if we had waited for motivation to strike, we wouldn’t have eaten until tomorrow.

Overall, today has been fantastic!  I am so happy that tomorrow is not the end of my weekend!  I have many things on my to-do list for the next two days, but I do think I will get them finished.  Once I am finished blogging, though I think I will put Miss C down for bed, and then snuggle on the couch with Hubs and pups and catch up on some DVRed shows.

Sounds perfect to me!

How was your Saturday?

Finally Friday

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Guys, it’s Friday!

This week has felt like a month.  I have been grumpy (thanks Mother Nature) and naggy with my kiddos.  Miss C has been having meltdowns all week (2 days of only 1 hour naps, plus waking up at 5:30 this morning).  I have been so exhausted!

But, the best thing is that I survived.  The week is over, and now I have three glorious days off!  I have plans every day this week, but they are fun plans with fun friends.  Tomorrow Miss C and I will go have some ice cream with our lovely and awesome friend!  Then on Sunday, all of us will go have brunch with a few of Hubs co-workers.  On Monday I have a breakfast planned with more wonderful friends!  So much time with so many people we love!  I am so looking forward to it!

Don’t think that this weekend is all about putting my feet up and doing nothing but socializing… Um, did you forget who I am?

I have a to-do list ready to go:

*Balance checkbook and update finances
*Run all 3 days this weekend (the weather is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL!)
*Tape, wash, and begin painting the LAST set of cabinets in the kitchen
*Vacuum the upstairs
*Menu plan and grocery shop
*Get some reading done (possibly finish my book)
*Finish lesson planning for the upcoming week (I only have 1 subject to plan)
*Do a few other projects for school
*Possibly do some shopping (of course all with gift cards/gift certificate)
*Laundry (as always!)
*Play, play, play with the little missy

As always I have a long list and high expectations.  Who knows if I will get it done.  All I know is that I am so beyond excited about three days off with my family and friends!  It couldn’t have come at a more better time!

What is on your agenda for the weekend?

Schedule Change

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Whenever Hubs changes schedule (about every 3 months), I always forget how difficult it is to get into a new routine.  He had been on evenings since October, and is now on days.  He works 10 hours on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  For now he gets home around 5:30, but in March, his Saturday hours will change, and he won’t get home until later.

I like this schedule because I have help with the little one in the evenings, and we still get a full day during the weekend together.  I also like having another adult at the dinner table with me.  I love having dinner with Miss C, but it’s nice to have someone to actually have a conversation with.

Because of how the schedule is, my evenings are pretty busy trying to balance and allocate my time to everything that needs me.  By the time I get home (around 4:30), I usually start dinner pretty quickly after.  (I like to have dinner close to being on the table when Hubs gets home, as he is very hungry when he gets home.)

While I am working on dinner, I am also trying to entertain/keep Miss C out of the way.  Today was rough, as she has not napped well the past two days.  It takes her a while to get into a new routine as well.  We had multiple meltdowns, so I ended up plopping her on the couch with Mickey Mouse so I could get dinner in the oven.

Once dinner is over, it is bath time/clean the kitchen time.  Hubs is really good about splitting these chores.  One of us gives Miss C a bath, and the other person cleans up the kitchen.  It switches back and forth, so no one is stuck always cleaning the kitchen.  After bath, Hubs snuggles with Miss C and watches one episode of Mickey Mouse.  I usually try to blog during that time, but end up reading blogs or the news.

At 7:00, it is time for Miss C to go to bed.  While she is in bed, Hubs and I usually catch up on an hour of our DVRed shows.  At 8:00, I go in the bedroom and do some yoga.  This is anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  I usually try to get in bed immediately after.  I would love to actually be asleep by 9:00, but that hasn’t been happening lately.

Anyway, the whole reason I wanted to tell you all of this, is so that you realize that I haven’t just forgotten about all of my loyal readers.  I am just trying to figure out this new schedule and figure out how to keep my eyes open long enough to blog.  I am still working out the kinks, so I hope you will stay with me while I try to get it all straightened out.

How do you make time for everything?

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Menu Plan Monday

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I have done my meal plans the same way forever!  I have always used a monthly calendar to write down my meals one week at a time.  It worked relatively well.  The only pain was that I would make a meal plan, then when it was time to make a grocery list, I would have to look at my meal plan, search online to find the recipe I was referring to, then write down the ingredients.  I couldn’t condense all of my information onto one page… until now!

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Introducing my new meal plan calendar!  I found this beauty in the Dollar Spot at Target!  It was just a plain calendar that was glued together at the top (like a pad of paper).  I pulled all the pages apart, punched holes in all of them, and put it in my home binder!  I love it!

Now when I menu plan, I can write the recipe, all the ingredients I need, and where I found the recipe!  I have all of my information on one page now!  When it came time to make my grocery list this week, it was so much easier!  I love it!

Now here is the menu I came up with for the week:

Sunday: Crock pot chicken parmesan, roasted garlic and parmesan asparagus

Monday: OMG Chicken, green beans, rice

Tuesday: Tacos/Mexican pizzas, roasted asparagus

Wednesday: Baked Ravioli, green beans

Thursday: Mexican stuffed shells, corn

Friday: Panko Chicken with Garlic Butter Fettuccini, Baked Parmesan Zucchini

Saturday: Crunchwrap Supremes, corn

Sunday: Lasagna, green beans

I am happy to say that I am actually looking forward to menu planning now that I have a pretty calendar to use!  I just wish it made me look forward to the actual cooking!

What is on your menu for the week?