Meal Plan Monday- And my IP is here!

It's time to meal plan once again, but this week I get to plan a little differently! Why you ask? Because my Instant Pot is here! I'm already in love with it. So let's talk about IP before we meal plan shall we?

I received my IP on Wednesday. I admit I've always been intimidated by pressure cookers. I was nervous about using it. According to the manual the first thing to cook in it is water. Yep, just plain water. So I jumped in and boiled water in my IP. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. LOL After that I cooked some eggs in it. I hate peeling eggs. These eggs were the easiest eggs I've ever peeled. Win!

But I knew it was time to upgrade to actually cooking a meal. First up I did pork chops. I seasoned some boneless pork chops with Mrs Dash Lemon Pepper and sauteed them in the pot. Did I mention you can saute in the IP?! You can, and it's amazing. Then I made a gravy using water, cream of chicken soup (yea yea I know, canned cream soups. Don't hate me LOL), and a pack of onion soup mix. Cooked for 18 minutes on high pressure and did 15 minutes of NPR (natural pressure release). Served it with instant rice. The pork chops were so tender. Here's where I got the recipe, I added the onion soup mix. http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/easy-pork-chops-in-mushroom-gravy/

Sunday's we usually order pizza delivery and watch Once Upon a Time. But I wanted to use my Instant Pot again so I made Salsa Chicken. I took 1# of chicken breasts and put them in the pot with a jar of chunky salsa. Hit the Poultry button, added 5 more minutes and let it go. I did NPR while I made some homemade guacamole and got all the taco stuff ready. Then I shredded the chicken and we ate it on tacos and nachos. It was so simple and saved us around $20. 

Now let's get down to meal planning for this week. I'll add IP to the end if I'm cooking it in the Instant Pot. 

Monday- Spaghetti (IP) 
Tuesday- Sloppy Joes, Mac N Cheese
Wednesday- Mississippi Chicken Thighs (IP), Mashed Potatoes
Thursday- take out or leftovers
Friday- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Saturday- Baked Potato Bar (IP)
Sunday- Roasted Whole Chicken, Potato Salad, some kind of other veggies LOL Chicken and potatoes will be cooked in the IP 


It's time to meal plan!

Here we go again! Meal planning Monday. I've been a bit off of my meal planning game since I started working. But we've been eating out entirely too much so I need to get back to it. Plus I just ordered an Instant Pot and it should be here tomorrow! I've been stalking the tracking info since it shipped.. haha. This should help a lot with our eating out. I haven't named her yet since I haven't met her, so we'll just call her IP for now.

So here's the plan for the week.

Monday- We'll be having BBQ chicken, homemade potato salad, and mac and cheese since I have one kid who hates potato salad! Imagine that.

Tuesday- This is a long work day for me, so we'll be having grilled cheeses

Wednesday- I'll have my IP! So I'll be experimenting and making one pot spaghetti

Thursday- Leftovers

Friday- Pork chops in the IP, rice, and green beans

Saturday- My mr and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage on Saturday so we're spending the day at the beach!

Sunday- I haven't gotten this far. haha. I'll probably make a whole chicken in the IP and we'll have some veggies and rolls to go with it.

Enjoy your week!


Toddler Size Hooded Cowl Crochet Pattern

After searching and searching for a simple, free hooded cowl crochet pattern and not being able to find one I liked, I decided to just do it myself. Here is what I came up with. It's very simple. Can be adjusted by doing a longer chain or adding more rows. I made 2, one with less rows to fit a little more snug (12 rows for the hood) and one with more rows to be looser (20 rows for the hood). This is a quick work up, it took a couple hours total to make and used less than 1 skein of Vanna's Choice (3.5oz, 170 yard). My 2yo won't model for me, so I had to improvise. Hopefully this pattern is easy to understand. Feel free to leave questions or concerns in the comments.

Hooded Cowl
Toddler Size

Yarn: Vanna's Choice
Hook: J/5.75 or 6mm

Any yarn will work. You can adjust the size by changing the hook size. 

Ch 60. Join, making sure your chain isn't twisted. * Add more chains here for a longer cowl *
Row 1- ch 1. DC around. Join in the top of 1st DC. (60dc)
Row 2-7- Repeat Row 1. (60dc)
*Add more rows here for a wider cowl.
Fasten off at the end of row 7.

Count 20 stitches on each side of where you fastened off and mark with stitch markers.
Join your yarn in the first stitch you marked on the right side.

Row 1- ch 1. DC across until you get to your 2nd marked stitch. ch 1. Turn. (40 dc)
Row 2-12- DC across. ch 1. Turn. (40 dc)
*Add more rows here for a looser hood

Turn inside out. Fold top of the hood in half and slip stitch through both sides across to join.
I work a 2nd row of slip stitch back across so I can make my edge without fastening off and rejoining. If you don't want to do an edge or prefer to fasten off and rejoin, you don't have to do the 2nd row of sl st.

Edge- Work sc evenly around the opening. I worked 2 rows. You can do however many you'd like.

** Alternate Hood ** If you prefer you can simply not fasten off when you finish your cowl and work the Hood part from there. However I prefer the seam to be in the back, hence why I fasten off. If that doesn't bother you, you do not have to fasten off and rejoin, you can just keep working from where your yarn already is.


School Year 2015-2016 3rd Grade

It's always exciting to get a box full of brand new books. Yesterday I received my order from CBD which contained most of what we'll be using for CJ this year. Here's a quick run down of what we'll be doing for CJ's 3rd grade year. As I get the year planned and we get into the school year I'll post what we're doing each week with both kids.

Math- Texting Textbooks Math 3
Language Arts- Easy Grammar 
Science- We'll be studying the human body using the Human Body book from CBD as a guideline and hands on activities from Pinterest.
History- Unit Studies on US History. I couldn't find a good us history curriculum that I liked so I decided to put together unit studies.
Spelling- I'll be putting together spelling lists based on what we are studying in science and history that week.

Another thing I'll be doing this year is getting CJ in the kitchen more. I have found several resources on Pinterest for cooking lessons for kids. He enjoys helping to cook but often times it's easier on me if he plays with his little sister while I get supper done. I want him to have all the real life skills he needs though, so I'll be making a bigger effort to get him in the kitchen and teach him how to cook.


Menu Plan Monday 7/27/15-7/31/15

It's Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie!

 So far this summer I haven't been cooking. On the 2nd of June I fell and broke my ankle in 3 places. Which then resulted in surgery and not being able to walk for several weeks. I'm finally able to walk on it a little bit, so I've been slowly getting back into the kitchen. This week is actually my first week back to menu planning since my fall so it's fitting that I started back blogging and am able to do Menu Plan Monday again. I'm not planning meals past Thursday for this week because we have a busy weekend and I know we'll be eating out.

Monday- Spaghetti and Salads

Tuesday- Sloppy Joes and Mac n Cheese

Wednesday- Chicken Tacos

Thursday- Chicken, rice, and broccoli Bake with biscuits

Chicken Tacos
3-4 frozen chicken breasts
Rotel Tomatoes
Taco seasoning (equivalent to 1 packet)
can of diced tomatoes
Onion, cut up

Add everything to your crockpot and cook on low until chicken is done and falling apart. Shred the chicken and serve on tortillas, rice, or salad. Sometimes I'll add a little cilantro near the end if I have it on hand. That's it! Super simple and so yummy. You can also customize it however you like by adding more veggies to the crockpot depending on what your family likes.


Here we are again

Well it's been over 4 years since I've blogged, it doesn't seem like that long ago. I've missed it! A lot has changed since 2011 when I published my last post. Most notably, our family grew! In 2013 I gave birth to our daughter, Rebekah. CJ is 8 now and about to start the 3rd grade. It's strange to think that he was only 4 when I stopped blogging. We still homeschool and love it. I'll be adding Rebekah into our homeschool routine this year. Up until now she's just played near by while I worked with CJ, or colored at the table with us. However I want to be more intentional about setting up activities for her to do. I'll post ideas and activities that we do together here to give others ideas. I know this is short but I plan to get back into blogging regularly so I'll be back soon! Until next time....


The ins and outs of Couponing. Part 2

Now let's talk about actually getting out and putting those coupons to work!

Before using a coupon read it carefully. Some coupons have limits on them, some require you to purchase another item in order to get the discount, etc. All P&G coupons have a limit of 4 coupons per transaction. Always go by the wording on the coupon.

Each week your stores will put out a sales paper. Use that ad to match up with your coupons for greater savings. Some stores also put out store coupons. You may find these in booklets in the store or on their website. It's important to check these out because some stores will actually let you "stack" their store coupons with your MQs. (manufacturer coupons) Check with your individual store before trying this as some stores do not allow it. Food Lion is one store that does NOT allow stacking. However Dollar General and Family Dollar do. Most of my examples in these couponing posts will be using the Food Lion policies and sales as a guideline since that's my main store. Most coupon rules are universal though.

Once you've looked through your ad you can begin clipping the coupons you need and preparing for your trip. You may also want to check out sites online for additional matchups for your store. www.WeUseCoupons.com have wonderful matchups done by great forum leaders each week so most of the work is done for you.

I know what you're all thinking! This is all well and good but let's get to the good stuff! Actually using your coupons.

This is why it's important to stack coupons with store sales. Kellogg's Cereal is on sale at Food Lion this week BOGO. The boxes are usually $3.50-$5 each. At Food Lion, BOGO items ring up half price. So you could only purchase 1 and still get the sale price. There are printable coupons (IPs) at Kellogg's website for $1/3 boxes. Without a sale 33c off a box of $5 cereal doesn't seem great. But if you take the BOGO sale which bring the cereal down to $2.50 and subtract the coupon it brings your final cost down to $2.17. You must buy 3 boxes in order to use the coupon. So if you purchase 3 boxes at $2 each (after the BOGO discount) that's $6-$1 IP=$5.00 or $1.67 each. Pretty good for Kellogg's right?

By now you're probably wondering how you can get free groceries I'm sure. It is possible. Maybe not cart fulls, but definitely some. Let's go back a few months. Bestlife margarine was on sale for $1 a tub. A couple weeks before the sale there was a $1 off any Bestlife margarine product coupon in the paper. See now why it's important to hang on to those MQs? Paired with the $1 sale and you've got yourself free margarine. Another week Propel water was on sale 2/$1 and there was a $1/2 coupon issued a few weeks before that. That means free flavored water!

Some important closing notes before I go.
If the store is having a 10/$10 sale, you do not have to purchase all 10 to get the items for $1 each. If you only buy 1 you'll still get it for $1. Always check the fine print under the item though because sometimes there are limits on how many you can purchase or other qualifications in order to get the discount.

Again, know your stores coupon policy. But never stand there and argue with the cashier. Chances are they are simply doing how they were trained. If they refuse to take your coupons for any reason, check out the coupon to make sure you did indeed meet the requirements of the coupon. Then politely ask for the manager. Most of the time they know the policy and will know if there was a problem with the register or something that the cashier missed. Try to never lose your cool. It's important to stay focused on the situation at hand rather than let your emotions get in the way. This is also when it's important to have a copy of the policy with you, in case the manager also wants to argue.

If you have any stores in your area such as Food Lion, Rite-Aid, CVS, Harris Teeter, etc go to the store or to their website and sign up for a loyalty card. These will give you additional discounts, points, etc.

OK Let's that for now. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section and I'll be back soon with more about the wonderful world of couponing!