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Category: From My Kitchen

Get the Eat at Home Menu Plan Service for just $1.13/week!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

(A sample of one of the Eat at Home menu-planning service grocery lists. I love how organized & time-saving these are!)

My favorite Eat at Home Menu Plans are on sale for 30% off through January 19, 2021!

If you struggle to make menu plans and would love for someone to make them for you + make a grocery list for you, it’s well worth spending a few dollars every week to let Eat at Home do the work for you.

This offer is only valid when you sign up for any of their plans and use code FRESHSTART at checkout!

That makes the done-for-you menu plans and grocery lists as low as $1.13 per week. And you get access to all four plans and the freezer cooking plans for the whole month at the rate!

Get the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service for as low as $1.21 per Week!

This is the menu planning service I have used many times during busy seasons of life and I cannot sing the praises of it enough!  The recipes are so simple, so yummy, and have been a hit at our house.

Most all of the recipes can all be fixed quickly — often with less than 15 minutes of hands-on prep. Because the recipes use common pantry ingredients, it’s likely that you have everything you need to make many of the recipes.

It’s also convenient because all the work is done for you! You just choose which menu plan you’ll use, print the grocery list, go shopping, and then spend a few minutes prepping food each day and dinner is D-O-N-E!

Plus, it’s only a few dollars per week (or less, depending upon what plan you buy!) and you get four different menu plans for every week — which is so worth it if it saves you a lot of time, money, and stress!

When you sign up for the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service, each month, you’ll get:

  • An entire month of No Flour, No Sugar menu plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • An entire month of Traditional Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • An entire month of Crockpot/Instant Pot Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • NEW! An entire month of Plant Based Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • Each menu plan comes with recipes created for small family (3-4 servings) and large family (6-8 servings)
  • Color-coded grocery lists make it easy to swap out ingredients or whole meals
  • Printable Menus to hang on the fridge or near your calendar, so you can easily see what’s for dinner that week and your family can too
  • Access to the entire month at once!
  • 1 Hour Freezer Stash Plans – a new plan each month to stock your freezer with 6 meals in 1 hour!

You can choose to stick with just the No Flour/No Sugar menu plans, or just the Crockpot/Instant Pot menu plans, or just the Plant-Based menu plans, or just the Traditional menu plans. Or, you can rotate different menu plans on different weeks, depending upon what you feel like cooking or how much time you have!

Get the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service as Low as $1.13 per Week!

If you struggle to make menu plans and would love for someone to make them for you + make a grocery list for you, it’s well worth spending a few dollars every week to let Eat at Home do the work for you.

Through January 19, 2021, when you sign up for any of their plans, you’ll get 30% off with coupon code FRESHSTART at checkout! And you’ll lock in that discount for as long as you are subscribed!

That makes the done-for-you menu plans and grocery lists as low as $1.13 per week. And you get access to all four plans and the freezer cooking plans for the whole month at the rate!

Hurry and go sign up for this incredible menu-planning service here!

(Oh and they have a fantastic two-week money-back guarantee if you think you want to try it out but aren’t sure whether it will work for you or not!)

Last Week’s $79 Grocery Shopping Trip

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family (two adults, two teenagers, one preteen, and two babies*). This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunch for Jesse and me (the kids have lunches at school most days), snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

*Note: Champ’s formula is currently being covered by the state since he’s in foster care. Kierstyn is nursing, but we are supplementing with formula each day since my supply is low despite all my efforts to increase it. We have a separate budget for her formula. We also haven’t bought any diapers because friends have been so generous and have gifted us with so many diapers that we haven’t had to buy any yet! We may change the budget in the near future as the babies get older and their needs change. We’ll see!

Since I didn’t spend all of our grocery budget last week, I rolled it over to this week and used some of it for our groceries. Here’s what I bought…

Kroger Shopping Trip:

  • Toilet paper — $3.29
  • Toilet paper — $2.39
  • Kroger Cinnamon Cereal — $1.49
  • Kroger Toasted Oats — $1.49
  • Kroger Honey Nut Oats — $1.49
  • 2 bags frozen veggies — $1 each
  • 5 lbs butter — $1.99 each
  • 8 bags/blocks cheese — 4 for $5
  • Sumptown coffee — marked down to $0.79
  • Mott’s Fruit Snacks — $2.99
  • Almond Breeze Nog — marked down to $1.69
  • Ritz crackers — $1.99
  • Bananas — marked down to $1.23 + $0.97
  • Spinach — marked down to $0.79
  • Salad Kit — marked down to $1.29
  • Cupcakes — marked down to $1.99
  • Milk — $2.39
  • Sweet Potatoes — $0.39/lb. — $3.42
  • 2 bags of peppers — marked down to $0.99 each
  • Eggs — marked down to $1.49
  • Chicken — marked down to $5.67, $4.11, $4.39
  • Pork Loin — marked down to $3.89
  • Total with tax $79.35

Want to learn some of my best tips and tricks for cutting your grocery bill? Sign up here for my FREE tip sheet on how to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week.

This week’s $66.61 grocery shopping trips

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family (two adults, two teenagers, one preteen, and two babies*). This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunch for Jesse and me (the kids have lunches at school most days), snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

*Note: Champ’s formula is currently being covered by the state since he’s in foster care. Kierstyn is nursing, but we are supplementing with formula each day since my supply is low despite all my efforts to increase it. We have a separate budget for her formula. We also haven’t bought any diapers because friends have been so generous and have gifted us with so many diapers that we haven’t had to buy any yet! We may change the budget in the near future as the babies get older and their needs change. We’ll see!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a grocery post and I’ve missed getting to share these with you! I took a break from sharing these while I finished the final edits to my book and we focused on sharing all the deals leading up to and after Prime Days!

Here’s what we bought at the store this week:

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • Romaine lettuce — $1.99
  • Bananas — $1.26
  • 2 Kroger Shredded Cheese — $2.29
  • 3 dozen eggs — marked down to $0.39 each
  • Kroger cocoa — $2.19
  • Kroger oatmeal — $1.49, used $0.50/1 Kroger e-coupon = $0.99 after coupon
  • 5 boxes Quaker Granola Bars — $2.29 each, used $1/1 Kroger e-coupon = $1.29 each
  • Half & half — $1.99
  • 2 boxes Kroger cereal — $1.49 each
  • Water — $0.89
  • 4 pounds sausage — marked down to $1.89 each
  • Kozy pudding — marked down to $0.99
  • Kroger frozen chicken breasts —  $7.99, used $1.25/1 coupon that came in a mailer = $6.74
  • 2 bags marked down produce — $0.99 each
  • 10 lb. bag of potatoes = $2.99
  • Milk — $2.59
  • 3 lb. bag apples — $2.99, used $1/1 coupon that came in a mailer = $1.99
  • Total with tax: $54.25

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • 3 Goldfish — $1.99, used $1/1 e-coupon = $0.99 each
  • 3 bags chocolate chips — $1.67 each
  • 2 packages Colby Jack cheese — marked down to $1.49 each
  • French bread — marked down $0.49
  • Total with tax = $12.36

On Instagram, I’ve been talking about meal planning and how I grocery shop this past week. Here were a few of the questions I answered (want to make sure you don’t miss these conversations in the future, be sure to follow me on Instagram here):

By the way, the other evening, I was craving something sweet and we were out of chocolate chips so I couldn’t do my favorite peanut butter on a spoon sprinkled with chocolate chips. So instead, I made No Bake Cookies. I forgot how good these were — and how easy they were to make!

Want to learn some of my best tips and tricks for cutting your grocery bill? Sign up here for my FREE tip sheet on how to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week.

Our ALDI Menu Plan For This Week

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Yesterday, I shared how I am changing up how I usually grocery shop and menu plan this week in order to give you some different ideas on how to save money on groceries.

If you’re interested in what I bought for $110 at ALDI yesterday, be sure to check out this post here.

Let’s Talk About Kroger

One of the things I often hear from people is that they don’t have a Kroger store or any store that marks down items or has good sales. If you don’t have a Kroger store, first make sure that you don’t have a Kroger affiliate store in your area.

While the Kroger affiliate stores sometimes have different deals than Kroger, many times, the deals are very similar. Best of all, many of the Kroger affiliate stores also mark down groceries, too! (Psst! My favorite site to find great deals at Kroger and Kroger affiliate stores is KrogerKrazy.com.)

Don’t Have a Kroger? Take Heart!

If you are in an area that doesn’t have a Kroger or Kroger affiliate, take heart! There are many other ways to save money on groceries! As I always tell people, instead of saying, “We can’t do that!” Or, “That won’t work for me!” Ask yourself: “What can we do? What do we have to work with? How can we save more?”

What stores do you have in your area? Take stock of all of them — dollar stores, ethnic markets, farmer’s markets, local farms that sell to the public, health food stores, discount stores. Do some research to make sure you’re not missing anything that might be a goldmine of great prices!

Can you grow or make more of your own food? Could you cut back in some areas or replace more expensive products you usually buy with a less expensive alternative?

A can do, creative, committed attitude will take you far. If you believe you can cut your grocery bill, there are probably some new ways you will discover. If you believe you can’t, you’ll likely just sit there and do nothing!

Here are two testimonials that people messaged me on Instagram today that I thought might encourage you:

This week, instead of shopping the deals and markdowns at Kroger, I shopped exclusively at ALDI. I love ALDI — especially when there’s not the option of the deals and markdowns at Kroger!

Want to Save Some Time?

And instead of planning my menu from scratch, I’m using the Eat at Home Menu Plan service. We’ve used this over the years during busy seasons and it can be a lifesaver… especially if the thought of planning a menu and writing a grocery list is overwhelming! Best of all, the recipes are simple, inexpensive, and almost everything can be purchased at ALDI!

I’m using the Eat at Home Slow Cooker/Instant Pot plan (I’m doing the second week of September). Oh and it’s on sale this week for the lowest price of the year when you use coupon code EASY at checkout. That makes it as low as $1.13/week to have someone do all the leg work for you! (That’s the best deal that they offer and the coupon code locks in the rate for the life of your subscription!!! See some sample menu plans here.)

Here’s what’s on the menu for this week:

Breakfasts:

Cereal/Milk, Eggs, Oatmeal, Fruit (everyone makes their own)

Lunches:

The kids have lunch at school 4 days this week. Jesse and I usually have salads and leftovers. The day the kids bring their lunch, they bring either leftovers or a snack-y type lunch or PB&J. On the weekends, they do more snack-y type things for lunches.

Snacks:

Popcorn, Apples with Peanut Butter, Healthy Peanut Butter Cups, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Dinners:

  • Monday — Bean Burritos, Fruit (I used tortillas, ground beef/turkey we had already browned in the freezer, refried beans, taco seasoning, and cheese.)
  • Tuesday — Slow Cooker Cheesy Hamburger Soup (recipe is below), Fruit, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • Wednesday — Slow Cooker Chicken Fiesta With Black Beans, Rice
  • Thursday — Brown Sugar Chicken and Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooker, Steamed Peas
  • Friday — Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Root Vegetables, Fruit, Bread
  • Saturday — Dinner Out
  • Sunday — Leftovers/Fend For Yourself

If you are interested, I made tonight’s dinner in the crockpot on live video. You can watch it here. I subbed cheddar cheese for Velveeta.

The soup looks SO yummy! I can’t wait to eat it tonight!

By the way, the plan above is what I’m aiming for. However, it is subject to change based upon how our week goes and if I feel like baking or get a hankering to make something else to add to the list (provided we have the ingredients!)

Be sure to follow my Instagram stories for more behind-the-scenes details on what I’m cooking this week + lots of money-saving tips!

Our $68.05 Grocery Purchases This Week

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family (two adults, two teenagers, one preteen, and two babies*). This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunch for Jesse and me (the kids have lunches at school most days), snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

*Note: Champ’s formula is currently being covered by the state since he’s in foster care. Kierstyn is nursing, but we are supplementing with formula each day since my supply is low despite all my efforts to increase it. We have a separate budget for her formula. We also haven’t bought any diapers because friends have been so generous and have gifted us with so many diapers that we haven’t had to buy any yet! We may change the budget in the near future as the babies get older and their needs change. We’ll see!

I went to Kroger twice this week and here’s what I bought:

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • 2 boxes Kellogg’s cereals — $1.79 each when you purchase 5 or more participating items, used $1/2 Kroger e-coupon = $1.29 each
  • 2 boxes GoGo Squeeze — on closeout for $0.65 each
  • Chobani Flips — marked down to $0.49
  • Mediterranean Salad — marked down to $1.49
  • Teriyaki Meal Kit — marked down to $2.49
  • Milk — $2.79
  • Salad Blend — marked down to $2.49
  • 2 Mott’s Applesauce — on closeout for $1.03 each
  • 2 boxes Quaker granola bars — $1.29 each when you buy 5 or more participating items
  • Canola Oil — $1.99 when you buy 5 or more participating items
  • 3 double packages of brats — marked down to $4.49 each
  • Ground Beef — marked down to $3.39
  • Pack of water — $1.99 when you buy 5 or more participating items
  • Pie Crusts — marked down to $0.89
  • Kroger peanut butter — free with Kroger mailer coupon
  • Used $2 off coupon from Kroger mailer
  • Total with tax: $40.57

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

  • Water — $0.89
  • Kroger Honey Nut Cereal — $1.49
  • Kroger Cinnamon Cereal — $1.49
  • 3 packages of butter — $1.99 each, used $0.55/1 Kroger coupon
  • Chex Mix — marked down to $0.25
  • Kroger peanut butter — free with Kroger mailer coupon
  • 2 boxes Nature Valley Bars (family size) — on sale BOGO ($2.50 each), used $1/2 Kroger coupon = $2
  • 2 boxes Fiber One Bars (family size) — on sale BOGO ($2.50 each), used $1/2 Kroger coupon = $2
  • Eggs — $0.79
  • 1 can beans — $0.29
  • Perdue Chicken — on sale for $2.99, used $1.50/1 Kroger coupon = $1.50 + $1.25 iBotta rebate = $0.24
  • Bananas — $1.57
  • Oats — $2.49
  • Total with tax: $27.48

I was so excited about this deal on Perdue Chicken! With the sale, Kroger coupon, and iBotta rebate, it was just $0.24!!

Want to learn some of my best tips and tricks for cutting your grocery bill? Sign up here for my FREE tip sheet on how to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week.

Cashback: 1600 from Fetch rewards + $1.35 from iBotta

Kaitlynn’s 13th Birthday Party

Since the time our kids have been little, we’ve never made it a standard practice to always have a birthday party with friends on their birthdays. We do different things each birthday, depending upon what they decide they would most enjoy that year.

Sometimes, we’ll do an experience gift and all do something together as a family. Other years, we’ll just have a simple dinner out as a family and presents. Sometimes, they’ve had a party with extended family. And sometimes, they have a party with friends.

While traditions are great, changing things up each year depending upon what the child is most excited about keeps things fun and interesting.

Why We’ve Had Our Kids Plan Their Own Parties

On the years that the kids have decided to do a friend party, they’ve planned their own parties themselves — and they’ve had a blast doing it! We always discuss ahead of time what they are thinking as far as who they’ll invite, what they want to do, and when they want to do it. And then I have them create a guest list, make an itinerary for the event, pick what food they want to eat, and create a list of what they need to buy/make/have on hand.

Not only have our kids loved being in charge of the planning of their parties, it also teaches them great life skills on how to think through, organize, and execute an event. Plus, they seem to enjoy it a lot more since they’ve been so involved in the whole process.

And, of course, I always give them a budget to work with!

Kaitlynn’s 13th Birthday Party

Months ago, Kaitlynn asked if she could have a friend birthday party for her 13th birthday. I had said yes — and then COVID-19 happened and everything shut down. She was so sad that it might affect her birthday party plans that she had been working on and talking about for a few months.

Gratefully, our area opened back up again the month of her birthday and her friends’ parents felt comfortable with having their girls come to a small party at our house. I was so thankful as our kids (as all kids) have had to give up so much this year.

Here’s a little peek into the party Kaitlynn dreamed up, planned, and executed almost entirely all on her own — for less than $200!

Decorations

She used some items we already had around the house, lots of balloons, and then a few items she got from Dollar Tree and Amazon. The best part about the decorations was that almost all of them (including the Happy Birthday Balloon banner) can be used again!

Games

Kaitlynn decided to keep it simple and just plan one game. From what I understand, she made this game up.

She bought a variety of hair accessories from Amazon/Dollar Tree and she put them in baskets. Then she had the girls draw names to pair up and they had 30 seconds to collect as many accessories as they could.

Each pair of girls went into separate rooms and she gave them 7 minutes to come up with and fix person in their pair’s hair in the most creative hair style they could think of.

Then, we all convened back in the living room to show off the hair creations. It was quite funny and really impressive what people came up with. The game was a hit with all of the girls.

Food

In typical Kaitlynn fashion, she spent hours combing through Pinterest to come up with the perfect spread of food. 🙂

She changed the menu multiple times in the weeks leading up to the party, but a few days before, she finally settled on: Chocolate Croissants (she bought these and then drizzled chocolate on them), Jell-O filled Lemon Peels, Mini Pancakes, Fruit Skewers, and Rose Lemonade.

She made all of the food herself and also set up the spread all on her own. I was so impressed with how it turned out — and also that she figured out how to make sure everything was ready at the same time and that they kitchen was cleaned up, too. (That’s a skill I’m still working on perfecting myself!)

I loved seeing her find so much joy in putting the food together and making everything so pretty!

Photo Booth

Kaitlynn set up a photo booth upstairs complete with Polaroid cameras. Then she had string and little clothespins for the girls to hang up their photos after they took them.

Of all the things at the party, this may have been the biggest hit. They spent a LONG time taking pictures and laughing and coming up with different photo groupings to do.

The best part about this was that after the party, Kaitlynn had all these fun photos to remember the day with!

Gift Sacks

Kaitlynn put together a gift sack for each girl to take home (she loves giving and receiving gifts — it’s her love language!). The gift sacks had a face mask (an expensive one she had gotten on a really amazing sale the month before!), hair products, and other fun girly things in them.

The party ended up being a huge success. It was so thrilling for me as a mom to watch my daughter work so hard to plan and prepare for it and to see it all come together and for the girls to have such a great time together. I sat in the other room just listening to them talk and laugh together and it filled my heart up so full!

Also, I think Kaitlynn might have to do more event planning in the future as she did an amazing job of it!