Menu Monday 🍽

Meal planning can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new at it. I’m by no means an expert in it, but I do know what works for me. Here are some of my tips for meal planning.

  1. Shop your pantry first. See what you already have on hand to plan meals with. Plan what you can with it, and then start filling in the gaps.
  2. Pinterest is your friend. If you haven’t already, sign up for Pinterest. There are so many recipes to choose from you could probably go the whole year and never repeat a recipe.
  3. Choose recipes with foods and ingredients you already use and keep on hand. Not only does this reduce the stress of meal planning, it’s money saving too. The more new ingredients you need to buy, the higher your grocery bill will be. Keep it limited to the things you already use. Though I admit, I do like trying new things, so I’ll look for recipes that have only 1 or 2 ingredients I don’t normally use. Sometimes I like the new ingredients enough to make it/them a regular.
  4. Keep a binder with your favorite recipes.  Keep your favorite recipes in a binder and before long, meal planning will be as simple as choosing what recipes you want to use.
  5. Don’t stress! If it’s too overwhelming to plan 1 month at time for you, do 1 or 2 weeks instead and work up from there. Or maybe you only have the time to plan 1 or 2 weeks. Great! Don’t stress over it. Meal planning is so helpful, but not if it causes you stress.

I’m always looking for new ways to improve my meal planning. If you have a tip, I’d love to see it. Leave a comment for me below.

💰 Frugal Friday – Homeschooling

Though we use a charter school and have many resources offered for our use, there are still some things that aren’t quite what I’m looking for or wanting to use. That’s when I take to the internet in search of what I need. Here are a couple of my favorite free websites I use.

1. Handwriting Pages – I can make my own and customize it to what I need. It has cursive, print, D’Nealian style.

2. Draw, Right, Now Printables – I discovered the books through our school last year and my son loved them. Good for Science, History, Art, and Writing, this website offers free printable pages to use along with books.

Frugal Friday – School Supplies

The charter school we use has an annex with many resources available to us. Paint, paper, pencils, books we can use along with our main subjects, a library and even media resources. Probably some I’ve forgotten to mention. Even with all those great resources, there are some that aren’t provided or I forget to get what I need when we are on campus for classes. Since the drive in nearly 30 minutes for us, it’s not convenient to drive out there every time I need something.

Enter ‘Dollar Stores!’ I LOVE using my local dollar stores for extra school supplies. Paper, pencils, pens, crayons, paints, construction paper, crafts supplies, you name it, they almost certainly have it. Even a selection of books on varying subjects that can be used on breaks or while traveling during the school year.

The only thing I don’t buy at dollar stores is crayons. I’m just picky. I prefer Crayola.

If you don’t already shop dollar stores, why not give it a try? You’ll be pleasantly surprised the goodies you can find.

Homeschooling Update

3 years ago we started our homeschooling adventure with our son, Nathan. He went to preschool and kindergarten in public school. Preschool was great! The teachers were amazing and Nathan loved the experience. Kindergarten, was a different story with the teacher, who was uncooperative and hard to work with. Even so, we learned that Nathan was easily distracted. Given all that put together, and the rise in violence at public school, we decided to start homeschooling.

We chose an online public school called Connections Academy. The school itself is great! Wonderful staff and teachers, regular field trips, and beautiful curriculum. But, the amount of time spent daily as well as how much they wanted us to do every day, was way too much for both us. We ended our school day highly stressed and volatile. If we got sick, we would get WAY behind and it was so hard to catch up that by the end of the school year we were so stressed. We used them for 2 years before I decided we needed a change.

Enter the Charter school. Last school year, for 3rd grade, we changed to a local charter school, Hickman Charter. Like Connections, everything is provided for us, but with this school we got several choices in every subject, plus most of what need as far as supplies as well. Classes 1 to 2 times weekly as well as other functions on campus monthly for STEM, history, and social studies. We LOVED it! The focus is on quality over quantity, and even when we got behind, it was easy to catch up. The teachers are great, the resources are great, and the whole experience has been great!

So this year, we’ll be adding my daughter into our homeschooling adventures using the Hickman Charter. She’s starting Kindergarten and I’m so nervous! We started homeschooling Nathan in first grade, so he already had his start in learning to read. Rebekah hasn’t, and so I’m starting at the beginning of her learning to read. I’m up for the challenge! We pick up our curriculum this week and I can start planning the first few weeks of schooling.

I’m excited to see what the coming school year has in store in the way of challenges and how we successfully meet them as a family.