Friday, June 29, 2012

Home Management: Simplified and Streamlined, The Time Budget

Last week's Home Management project was to create a time budget for yourself based on the information you gathered while tracking the use of your time the week before.

We all have 24 hours in each day. The idea behind a time budget is telling your time where to go so you can make sure to spend your time on the things that matter, rather than frittering away precious minutes on nothing. Much like money, time will get spent regardless of whether you decide ahead of time what to do with it.

Using the five days of time-tracking I did, I came up with the following time budget for myself:

::Sleep - 8 hours
::Margin time (diaper blow-outs, discipline, phone calls, etc.) - 2 hours
::Devotions - 30 minutes
::Exercise/shower/'primp' - 45 minutes
::Meals/Prep./clean-up/eating - 3 hours
::Home Management (cleaning, laundry, etc.) - 2 hours
::Work - 2 hours
::One-on-one time with Ben - 1 hour
::Family worship - 30 minutes
::Time with children (playing, reading, etc.) - 3 hours
::School (that is, my schooling) - 45 minutes
::Blog - 30 minutes

This is for a normal week day. Obviously on days we have to run errands, etc., I'll have to "steal" the time from another category. But generally, this is a realistic picture of how I want my time to be spent.

I am already noticing the benefits of this in that I've been a lot more intentional about setting aside other things to play with the children. Knowing I have a significant amount of time 'budgeted' for this gives me the freedom to enjoy them with the knowledge that I do still have enough time in the day to accomplish the other things I need to accomplish.

Week 3 Project:
Now that we have a realistic look at how we want to be spending our time, we'll be devoting the next couple of weeks to developing a workable routine based on the time budget we've created.

Next week, we'll begin with establishing a morning routine. To do this, choose 3-5 things you want to do first thing in the morning and do them every day in the same order.

Be sure to visit Rachel at Intentionally Simple to read her post about this week's project! 

For those of you following along with us, we'd love to hear about your progress in the comments.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My baby boy

Tomorrow, my little guy will be 18 months old. It's hard to believe!

In that time he's gone from this:


To this:

Sometimes I look at him and think he looks like such a big boy. And he is. He weaned (about a month ago), he talks, he feeds himself (with a fork, even!), he reads books, he plays with his big sister. A true big boy indeed.

Today at nap-time he was fussy when I put him down, so I uncharacteristically gave in, picked him up and snuggled for a while.  He laid his head on my chest, breathing softly and gazing up at me so content to just be close to mama.

My firstborn son; big boy, yes, but still my little baby.

In the moment, I couldn't help but be reminded that he has less than 4 months left as the baby.

Whether our new little man was coming or not, Benjamin would still turn 22 months in October. But there's something about introducing a new baby into the family that turns the previous baby into more of a 'big kid'. I don't know if it's because they seem so huge once you have a newborn in your arms again or if it forces them to (emotionally) grow up--I suspect it's a little bit of both.

I have tried to be intentional about savoring Benjamin's baby days (because I learned the first time around that babies really don't keep!). I think it was easier to be more laid back because I had been there, done that once before and didn't get wigged out about every little thing. This time, I've nursed more, snuggled more, played more (not just with Benjamin--with Katie too!), taken more time to just really focus on enjoying my children.

But here we are again. Three and a half months before we welcome another baby into the family, reality has hit and I'm faced with the truth that, Lord willing, my second child, too, is going to grow up on me.

The soft, sweet chubby cheeks I have to wipe down after every meal and snack will eventually be scruffy. The eyes that gaze up at me with a sweet smile will one day look down at me instead. Those sweet, rosy lips will one day kiss a bride instead of a mama.

The baby boy who I love so much will grow up into a big man who I love so much.

That's why we have babies in the first place, right? Not because they're cuddly and sweet--but because they grow up. They become pastors who lead whole bodies of believers, politicians who work towards a society in submission to the laws of God. They become daddies who lead their own children, and Christ's Kingdom is advanced through the generations.

It's an excellent reminder and a goal to reach for as we raise our babies, day-in and day-out laying down our lives for their benefit.

Nonetheless, I know that one day I will look back and, no matter how wonderful my adult children are, I'll miss oh-so-much the soft cheeks, chubby legs, and sweet rosy lips. So for now, I'll do my best to savor each giggle, snuggle, and kiss--from my big girl and my baby boy.

And once my baby boy isn't the baby boy anymore, I'll do my best to, by God's grace, relish in the joy of mothering all three.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Menu Plan, June 25-July 1 (with grocery spending breakdown)

We had a wonderful long weekend with my extended family, and it's nice to be home! I spent today trying to get us settled back in. In addition to unpacking and doing lots of laundry (4 loads!), I spent some time planning our meals for this week. This is normally a project I tackle over the weekend, but I just didn't get around to it.

This is the last week of the month, and so far my cash grocery budget of $560 for the month has worked out really well. It's enough that we can buy plenty of fresh produce and good quality food, but not so much that I can be lazy in the kitchen (a bunch of "healthy" pre-packaged foods) or overly extravagant (grassfed steak every night, for example).

Here is a breakdown of what I bought tonight:

(2) half gallons hormone/antibiotic free, non-homogenized whole milk ~ $2.99 each plus $2 deposit for each glass bottle
(1) wedge Parmesan cheese ~ $3.99
(1) 2lb. brick Kroger cheese ~ $5.99
(1) pound organic butter ~ $4.79
(2) 16 oz. containers all natural sour cream ~ $1 each
(1) 32oz. container organic whole milk yogurt ~ $3.59
(1) quart half and half
(2) dozen cage free all-natural eggs ~ $2.89 each

(2) pounds organic strawberries ~ $2.99 each
(1) head garlic ~ $0.59
(6.26) pounds organic bananas ~ $0.69/lb
(1) bag pre-cut organic carrots/broccoli/cauliflower ~ $1.99
(1) 3lb. bag organic Russet potatoes
(1) package of 3 Romaine hearts ~ $2.99
(1) pound organic carrots ~ reduced for quick sale for $0.69
(1) pineapple ~ $1.99
(1) watermelon ~ $3.99

Dry goods
(2) bags Kettle Sea Salt potato chips ~ $3.28/bag
(1) 2lb. bag gluten-free rolled oats ~ $5.99
(1) box Rice Chex ~ 3.59
(1) small bag organic tortilla chips ~ $1.69
(1) 10oz. bag organic pecan halves ~ reduced for quick sale for $3.00
(1) bottle organic ketchup ~ free (because it rang up too high--I always check my receipt!)
(1) 2lb. bag GF rolled oats

(1) 12-roll package Bounty paper towels ~ reduced for quick sale for $6.79
(1) package unbleached coffee filters ~ $2.19
(1) package 50 muffin liners ~ $0.99

 Total: $96.63

We also made a run into Walmart for brown rice pasta and brown rice grits . The total there was $6.20. So, of my $560 for June, I have $43.05 left, plus $45 set aside for our raw milk share.  Whatever is left at the end of this week will go into an envelope for bulk purchases later on.

And here's what I'll be making with those groceries, plus the things we already have on hand:

Menu Plan

Oatmeal (x2)
Baked oatmeal (x2)
Scrambled eggs, brown rice grits, fruit (x2)
[Leftover] Breakfast casserole, pumpkin coconut flour muffins (from Healthy Snacks to Go)

Bun-less cheeseburgers, glazed carrots, quinoa pilaf 
Meatballs, mashed potatoes, salad
Garlic chicken pasta, salad
Taco salad, fruit
Breakfast casserole, pumpkin coconut flour muffins (from Healthy Snacks to Go), hashbrowns
Sunday dinner at the farm

For lunch, we keep things simple most every day with smoothies or leftovers.

What are y'all cooking up this week? For LOTS of inspiration, head over to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Covenant Homemaking!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Home Management: Simplified and Streamlined, Tracking Time

Last week's project for Home Management: Streamlined and Simplified was to track time and see how we were using it. I tracked my time for 5 days (skipping Sunday because our Sundays are pretty laid back family days once we actually make it out the door for church!).  Tracking how I was using my time helped me to be more intentional about the way I spent my time. 

One thing I realized was how much multitasking I do. Sometimes it was hard to know what to write down--since I check my facebook while I'm on hold on the phone, read for school while we're driving (while Ben is driving, that is!), etc. While sometimes multitasking does not help us be more efficient (like checking facebook while trying to write a blog post--ahem), there are definitely times when it allows me to do things I wouldn't otherwise have time to do.

I found there are a number of areas I would like to trim down if I can. I spent over an hour every morning doing my basic morning chores--tidying the living area, bedrooms, and cleaning the kitchen from breakfast. I have been working on teaching Katie to clean up the living area by herself, so teaching her account for part of that time. But, needless to say, I'd like to spend less time on basic cleaning if I can--because that didn't include bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, etc.! 

I also found that starting the day early made a big difference in productivity. If we get finished with breakfast and morning chores early, there is a lot more time for playing with the children, whereas if we get a late start, it seems like by the time I finish morning chores it's almost lunch time, and the nap-time follows, and then after nap it's time to start on dinner--so the days would go by without much intentional time playing with my babes!

I admit it was a wee bit tedious writing down everything I did for that long, but it was a profitable exercise and I know it will be useful in next week's project.

Week 2 Project:
Using our findings from last week's project, Rachel and I are going to be developing time budgets for ourselves this week. Like telling your money where to go in a written budget, telling your time where to go can help you insure you're spending your time on the things that matter most to you rather than frittering away 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there without ever accomplishing anything.
If you need more information on time budgeting, check out Money Saving Mom's helpful post on Creating a Time Budget. She also has an excellent free eBook called Time Management 101.

Be sure to read Rachel's post at Intentionally Simple about what she found this week tracking her time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On interruptions

Pink Flowering Gum

Life mothering littles is filled with interruptions.

They need boo-boos kissed while you're washing dishes.  They fight over toys when you're trying to make dinner. When you're vacuuming, they spill the Cheerios. They whine for your attention when you're talking on the phone. They wake up early (and cranky) from naps when you're trying to get things done. They need diapers changed, noses wipes, books read, dollies dressed, toys fixed, tears dried--they need their mama all.the.time.

So often, I sigh in exasperation (and, to my shame, even express my frustration to my sweet babes) when my children come to me and interrupt what I'm trying to accomplish. I'll think to myself, "How will I possibly accomplish this task when they won't stop interrupting me?"

It's so easy to forget that the dishes, the vacuuming, the dusting, my paid job, having dinner done on time--pretty much all the tasks I do--are secondary to my highest calling during this particular season of life. That is, training, loving, raising these lives the Lord has entrusted to me.

Each interruption is an opportunity to grow in sanctification by trying, by God's grace, to joyfully die to ourselves and sacrifice for our children and ultimately, for the glory of God.  He knows the baby is going to have a diaper blow-out right in the midst of our big project. He is the One Who causes it to happen, and to happen when it does.

And He does it for our good and for His glory, every time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Menu Plan, June 18-24 (and grocery cost breakdown)

My menu planning was a little bit different this week because we are going to be out of town Thursday to Sunday. We'll be going to a family reunion and staying in a hotel. The hotel has a full breakfast and our family dinners will be catered. So, I mainly just have to plan for snacks and lunches for while we're out of town--plus some dinner food for Ben since he's still off gluten, soy, corn, and nuts/peanuts. So, I have a normal menu plan for today through Thursday morning and then just a general plan for the rest of the week.

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftover soup, coconut flour biscuits
Dinner: Grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, watermelon (with Ben's family)

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, pumpkin coconut flour muffins (from Healthy Snacks to Go)
Lunch: Leftover soup, coconut flour biscuits
Dinner: Roast chicken (freeze extra chicken), mashed potatoes, salad

Breakfast: Baked oatmeal with peaches
Lunch: Leftover soup, coconut flour biscuits (yes, I made a BIG pot of soup)
Dinner: Lasagna, salad

Breakfast: leftover baked oatmeal
Lunch: clean out the fridge

We'll be leaving after lunch, and I think we'll probably eat out Thursday night. The rest of the week we'll eat breakfast at the hotel, leftovers (brought from home) or snacks for lunch, and dinner with family (Ben will have leftovers for dinner if there aren't things he can eat at the family meals).

For snacks I'm planning to bring (*or buy once we get there):
::Pumpkin coconut flour muffins (from Healthy Snacks to Go)
::Granola bar
::Veggies* with homemade ranch dip

So, that's how we're "doing" our first hotel vacation since we had children. :)

Grocery trip breakdown

(1) half gallon milk ~ $1.49
(1) pint organic half and half ~ $1.99
(3) 8oz. bricks Kroger cheese ~ $1.79 each
(1) 30oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese ~ $4.49
(2) dozen cage-free eggs ~ $2.89 each (I had a $0.40 coupon)

(1) seedless watermelon ~ $4.94
(3.88) pounds organic bananas ~ $0.69/lb
(2.26) pounds organic peaches ~ $1.29/lb (they were supposed to be $2.49/lb, but she rang them up as conventional instead of organic again)
(1) 3lb. bags organic Russet potatoes ~ $2.99 each
(2) pineapples ~ $1.50 each

(1) 2lb. box hormone/antibiotic-free hamburger patties ~ $8.99

Dry goods
(2) bags Kettle Sea Salt potato chips ~ $3.28/bag
(1) 2lb. bag gluten-free rolled oats ~ $5.99
(1) bag organic raisins ~ $3.49
(1) bag allergy-free chocolate chips ~ $3.99
(1) 32oz. box organic chicken broth ~ $2.79
(2) jars organic pasta sauce ~ $3.28 each
(1) 16oz. jar organic peanut butter ~ $5.99
(2) organic dried fruit/nut mix ~ $2 each (reduced for quick sale from $4.49)

(1) package diapers (for Benjamin for our trip) ~ $6.21
(1) package store-brand Pull-ups (Katie sleeps in these) ~ $16.99
(1) bottle shampoo for Ben ~ $2.50

 Total: $111.58

I realized I forgot to get Shout gel and butter, and I'm going to need to get deodorant and toothpaste. Ben grabbed toothpaste for the kids at the health food store and it was $8 (!!). We'll also be picking up some things at the store once we get where we're going Thursday, but we'll still be well within- our budget for the month. Yay!

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Home Management: Simplified and Streamlined, Intro


During this unique season of life mothering only littles, I constantly have to strive towards simplifying to keep our household running smoothly.  Being pregnant and keeping up with the constant needs of a growing family is a lot of work!

Since our new little man's due date is less than four months away (!), I feel the need to really closely examine each aspect of my home management and find ways to simplify and streamline even more so the arrival of the new baby can be as peaceful as possible. With three children, 3 and under, I know things will be crazy for a while; I'm just hoping it'll be a little less crazy if I put in some extra effort before this little guy joins us on the outside.

I'll be joining with Rachel of Intentionally Simple over the next few months as we both seek to simplify and streamline operations in our homes. Rachel has two children, a two year-old and a six month-old and is feeling ready to get back into a routine now that things have settled down with their newest addition!

Throughout the series, we're planning to cover time management, decluttering, cleaning routines, and streamlining in the kitchen.

Each week, Rachel and I will be doing a project in our homes. On Fridays we'll post the results of our project and discuss what our next project will be.

Week 1 Project:

Our first project is going to be to track how we use our time all week next week. I think this will be a great way to see what things we need to cut and where we need to streamline--and what things we want to spend more time on. Kind of like tracking your spending before setting up a budget, it's just a good place to start.

Be sure to head over to Rachel's post for this week to read more about her goals and motivations as we simplify and streamline together.

Anyone who wants to is welcome to join us in the comments. If you blog along with us, please leave a link so we can encourage each other! We'll be back next Friday with our results and the next project.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grocery cost breakdown for this week

Since some of you expressed an interest in seeing a breakdown of my food expenses for the week, I saved my receipt. When I got back from grocery shopping Monday night, it was raining, it was dark, and I had both children (who needed to go to bed) and groceries to deal with--so I hope you'll excuse my lack of a photo. :)

(2) half gallon bottles of non-homogenized, hormone/antibiotic-free milk ~ $2.99 each, plus $2 deposit for each glass bottle
(1) pint organic half and half ~ $1.69
(2) 24oz. bricks of Kroger cheese ~ $4.99 each
(1) pound organic butter ~ $4.79
(1) 16oz. container natural sour cream ~ $1.57

(1) seedless watermelon ~ $4.99
(1) 12oz. bag pre-cut organic broccoli and cauliflower ~ $1.99
(1) package of three Romaine hearts ~ $2.99
(1) package of six kiwi ~ $1.67
(5.9) pounds organic bananas ~ $0.69/lb
(1.67) pounds organic peaches ~ $1.29/lb (they were supposed to be $2.49/lb, but she rang them up as conventional instead of organic)
(1) 4lb. bag organic oranges ~ $4.99
(2) 3lb. bags organic Russet potatoes ~ $2.99 each
(2) jalapeno peppers ~ $0.13
(1.29) pounds ripe organic bananas, $0.39/lb

(1) 5.7 lb. hormone and antibiotic-free whole chicken (reduced for quick sale) ~ $5.73 (had a $1 coupon)

Cleaning supplies/paper products
(1) bottle Palmolive 'natural' dish soap ~ $2.77

Dry goods
(1) box Kroger brand gluten-free rice cereal for Ben ~ $2.19
(1) 8oz. box gluten-free pasta ~ $2.00
(2) bags Kettle Sea Salt potato chips ~ $3.00/bag
(1) 2lb. bag gluten-free rolled oats ~ $5.79
(1) gallon drinking water ~ $0.97
(1) 1.5 lb. container organic palm shortening ~ $5.79

(1) 1.5 quart box of all-natural chocolate ice cream

Total: $93.43

Ben made another run to the store for 2 dozen eggs and a box of Rice Chex. The total that trip was $9.60.

Total for the week: $103.03

Monday, June 11, 2012

This week's menu plan (and week 2 of evaluating my budget)

This month, I'm getting back to sticking with a strict cash grocery budget. Last week, I told y'all I set the budget at $560. I set aside $140 to use last week and have $12.24 left (which includes $2 I got back from returning a glass milk jug--$10 of that will go towards our raw milk share). We ate pretty simply, eating meatless dinners twice. I made my own yogurt instead of buying an extra quart. Having a set limit definitely helped keep me out of the store for "just one thing" and caused me to be more creative in stretching our ingredients. If y'all would like a breakdown of everything, let me know and I'll post my shopping trip from this week (which I'll be doing this evening).

We still haven't picked up our meat (ah, the frustrations of life--ha! It's a couple hours away and Ben had a rush order in his shop last week), so I'm trying to be a sparing with meat as possible--while still making sure I get enough protein.

With that's, here's the menu for this week:

Soaked oatmeal with butter, maple syrup, peanut butter and dried coconut coconut (a yummy combination we tried today)
Baked oatmeal (x2)
Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns (x2)
Oatmeal pancakes, scrambled eggs
Leftover breakfast casserole and pumpkin coconut flour muffins

Pasta salad with Ben's family
Cheeseburger potato casserole, salad, veggies
Cuban black beans over rice (from The Everything Beans Book), fruit
Pasta with White (Bean) Sauce (from The Everything Beans Book), salad
Breakfast casserole, pumpkin coconut flour muffins (from Healthy Snacks to Go)
Dinner at the farm with Ben's family

For lunch, we keep it simple with smoothies or leftovers, or something else quick to throw together.

I'd love to hear what y'all are cooking up this week! If you need some inspiration, head over to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting this site!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pregnancy Update, 22 Weeks (It's a...)

Baby's sweet profile
I intended to do this update at 20 weeks, but time has just gotten away from me! I cannot believe that this pregnancy is already definitely--even if I go a week overdue again--halfway over.

There are days when I wonder what in the world I'll do with three little ones (though I do know, of course, that God will give me the grace I need to handle a new season of life!) and other days when I am so anxious to hold this sweet babe, whose kicks I enjoy feeling throughout the day with increasing strength and frequency, in my arms.

By God's grace, I've continued to feel great. I'm definitely the most in-shape I've ever been during a pregnancy (still able to do jumping jacks!). I've gained 13 pounds, and so far my blood pressure and other labs have looked good. I'm hungry all the time and drink water like a camel, but I guess that's to be expected for a pregnant mama--especially during the summer! This will actually be my first time getting big during the summer months, so I'll be interested to see how it compares.

I'm due for an appointment next week with my midwife and after that it's just one more until we move to appointments every other week. Once it gets to that point, I feel like pregnancy flies!

Two weeks ago today, we were able to catch a glimpse of our baby when we went for our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. Thankfully, Baby appears to be developing well.

We were also delighted to find out we'll be welcoming another boy into the family!

When it came time to look for the gender, this little one had his legs tightly crossed and a hand blocking the view of his bottom! Finally, the ultrasound tech said we had a girlBut, then Baby moved around and she got about 8 pictures that confirmed his boyhood, so we're pretty confident she was right despite her initial announcement. We haven't chosen a name yet, but I think we have it narrowed down to a couple.

And that's about it! How are you other pregnant mamas doing? Have any of you had your babies?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Healthier Homemaking: How to adapt a recipe for maximum nutrition, pt. 2

In my first post, I discussed substituting "real food" fats, sweeteners, and whole grains in recipes to make them healthier. To finish off the topic, I wanted to link to some excellent substitutions for processed ingredients that usually contain MSG, soy, and many other questionable ingredients.

While these will add a little bit of prep. time, most of them take just minutes to put together and can be made in bulk so your little bit of work goes a long way.

"Cream of" Soup
Unfortunately, even the organic varieties of these handy cans of soup have unpronounceable ingredients. Thankfully, it takes just minutes to whip them up at home with ingredients you probably have on hand--AND they freeze well. I like to make a big batch and freeze in can-sized portions for convenience. Added bonus: they're super tasty.

I use Tammy's recipe for Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup substituting whole wheat flour for the all-purpose without any dissent from my food-lovin' people. :) Amy has a recipe for Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup that I'm sure is fabulous. I haven't tried it because we just aren't really mushroom lovers around here. I have finally gotten to the place that I can tolerate them, but Ben is there yet. ;)

Seasoning mixes
An added bonus to these is that, in addition to being much healthier than their prepackaged counterparts, they are super inexpensive and can be customized to your family's taste preferences!

::Taco seasoning mix
::Ranch dressing mix
::Italian dressing mix
::Onion Soup mix

Enchilada Sauce 
I have used Lynn's Enchilada Sauce recipe before and it is really good! It keeps for quite a while in the fridge, and also freezes well.

I'm sure there are other ingredients that can be substituted with homemade alternatives, but these are the ones that appear in my kitchen most often. Can y'all think of any others?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Real Food Wednesday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu Plan, June 4-10: Evaluating the budget

So before I post my actual meal plan for this week, I have a confession. I do not know how much we've been spending on groceries each week for the past few months. Not a clue. Somewhere between $100 and $200, I think.

The slackness started when Ben started the elimination diet. I knew we'd have to spend more on food since he couldn't eat gluten, soy, corn, eggs, dairy, or nuts--but I wasn't sure how much more I'd need to spend. And then I got pregnant, and of course was hungrier and in need of a higher-protein diet. Again, cause for spending a little extra. So, with those two excuses in mind, I merrily went along grocery shopping without a specific budgeted amount, and then got in the habit of stopping at the store every time I was in town.

For someone who used to diligently grocery shop with cash in hand, this is bad. A tighter-than-usual month last month (thanks in part to a few unexpected expenses--and not helped by my sloppy budgeting) made me realize I've got to get back into the groove of diligently sticking to a grocery budget.

I'm going to set myself  a limit of $560 for groceries (includes food and cleaners, paper products, etc.) this month--$140/week. I know $560 is a lot. I'm almost embarrassed to post such a high number in a public place. We do have to spend extra since Ben is still gluten free (and not eating soy, corn, or nuts) and I still need lots of protein (no skimping on meat!). So, we either lower the quality of our food (conventional meats instead of grass-fed, etc.) or spend extra.

Before the elimination diet and this pregnancy, our grocery budget was $400/month. I'm hoping I can bring it down from $560 closer to $500 in the next couple of months--and eventually below that. But, I want to start with something doable so I don't get burned out and go over budget because "there's nothing to eat." The $560 will include money to set aside for bulk purchases, as well as our monthly raw milk herd share fee ($45 each month for a gallon and a half each week).

What the $560 won't include is our bulk meat purchase (which we weren't able to pick up week before last as planned--hopefully it will work out this week), but once we pick it up, I'll be setting aside a little bit of my grocery money each week in a separate envelope to go to our next bulk meat purchase.

So, with that said, I thought I'd bring y'all along for the ride as I evaluate my grocery budget and get it under control again.

Total spent for this week: $18 (one large grass-fed beef roast which I cooked in the crock-pot and shredded). I plan to do my grocery run for the week tomorrow.

Total left for the month: $542

And now, the menu plan.

Breakfast casserole, coconut flour pumpkin muffins (from this ebook) (x2)
Baked oatmeal (x2)
Scrambled eggs, hash browns (x3)

Italian roast beef over pasta (one of my favorite dinners--from this ebook), salad, sauteed yellow squash
Chicken and squash bake, quinoa pilaf, salad
Rice and beans with salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, etc; pineapple (x2)
Breakfast casserole, coconut flour pumpkin muffins (from this ebook) (our usual breakfast for dinner on Saturday night)
Dinner at the farm with Ben's family

What are y'all cooking this week? Hopefully, I will update you on the grocery budget saga again later this week. :)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting this site!)