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Gretchen’s $82 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 5


1 pkg Frozen Chicken Breasts – $5.59

2.8 lbs Bananas – $1.23

2 pkg Frozen Tilapia – $3.79 each

1 pkg Frozen Broccoli – $0.85

1 pkg MooTubes – $1.55

1 lb Butter – $1.79

1 carton Orange Juice – $1.89

1 Oil – $1.35

2 pkg Chocolate Chips – $1.25

1 gallon Milk – $2.18

1 Grape Jelly – $1.29

1 pkg Sweet Potatoes – $0.75

1 bag Gala Apples – $2.39

1 lb Oven Roasted Turkey – $3.99

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup – $0.50

1 Pasta Sauce – $0.85

1 box Chewy Granola Bars – $0.95

1 pkg Flour – $1.15

1 box Cake Mix – $0.85

1 box Raisin Bran – $1.89

1 box Cinnamon Crunch Cereal – $1.39

1 box Rotini – $0.75

1 box Cocoa Rice Cereal – $1.45

1 pkg Powdered Sugar – $0.95

1 bag Corn Chips – $0.69

1 bag Kettle Chips – $1.29

1 Pineapple – $1.49

1 Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.95

1 canister Peanuts – $1.89

1 loaf Bread – $0.55

1 loaf Cinnamon Bread – $1.79

1 bag Mini Cucumbers – $2.19

Total: $57.50

Harris Teeter

1 Honey Maid Graham Crackers – $2.24 (I had a Free Ibotta rebate for this but it wouldn’t redeem it once I got home.)

1 pkg Oreos – $1.47

10 Yoplait Yogurts – $0.37 each

1 bag Smartfood Popcorn – $2.50, used $2.98 Ibotta rebate – Free plus $0.48 overage after rebate

10 cans Harris Teeter Green Beans/Corn – $0.31 each (These accidentally got put in the Publix picture!)

Total: $10.03


2 Cabot Chunk Cheese at $4.49 each – On Sale Buy One, Get One Free, used $1/2 printable – $1.74 each after coupon and rebates

1 Sara Lee Mini Cheesecakes – $2.99, used $1/1 Ibotta rebate – $1.99 after rebate

4 Kraft Shredded Cheese at $3.88 each – On Sale Buy One, Get One Free, used 4 $0.50/1 Ibotta rebates – $1.44 each after rebates

2 Breakstone Sour Cream – $1.19 each, used 2 $1/1 Ibotta rebates – $0.19 each after rebates

2 Breakstone Cottage Cheese – $1.48 each, used 2 $0.75/1 Ibotta rebates – $0.73 each after rebates

2 pkg Mueller Pasta – $0.84, used $0.75/2 Ibotta rebate – $0.47 each after rebate

1 Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli Soup – $3.69, used $2.98/1 Ibotta rebate – $0.71 after rebate

1 Mini Marshmallows – $0.90, used $0.25/1 Ibotta rebate – $0.65 after rebate

Used $0.10 Ibotta rebate for any receipt and received a $0.50 Ibotta rebate

Total after rebates and coupons: $14.77

Total for all stores: $82.30

Menu Plan for This Week


Cereal, Oatmeal, Toast, Eggs, Yogurt, Fruit


Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Turkey Sandwiches, Baked Potato Bar, Mac & Cheese, Cheese/Crackers/Fruit/Veggies, Leftovers, Thanksgiving Dinner with family (I’m bringing Green Bean Casserole and Apple Pie.)


Grilled Tilapia, Biscuits, Green Beans

Pancakes, Eggs, Fruit

Chicken & Noodle Casserole, Steamed Broccoli

Taco Bar, Sliced Pineapple

Homemade Cheese Pizza, Breadsticks

Out to eat (for my son’s birthday), Chocolate Birthday Cake


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.

The Top 8 Monthly Subscription Boxes for Toddlers

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

Looking for the best monthly subscription boxes for toddlers? This list will give you some great ideas! (And if you’re looking for more non-toy gift ideas this year, be sure to also check out the top 10 best monthly subscription boxes for kids and the best magazine subscriptions for kids!)

best monthly subscription boxes for toddlers

If you’re looking for unique non-toy gift ideas for younger children this year, you’ll want to check out this list of subscription boxes for toddlers! This list was thoughtfully put together based on either a first-hand experience of boxes my kids loved when they were younger and/or suggestions from readers!

The cool thing about monthly boxes is that it’s the gift that keeps on giving for the length of the subscription — whether it’s 3 months, 6 months, or an entire year!

When our kids were younger, we used to ask their grandparents to gift this to them. It’s a wonderful clutter-free gift idea and kids have SO much fun running to the mailbox each month excited about what they’re going to get.

Best Monthly Subscription Boxes for Toddlers

These boxes are specifically tailored for kids ages 2-5. If you’re looking for gifts for older kids, be sure to check out our other post on the best subscription boxes for kids of all ages!

Koala Crate for Toddlers

1. Koala Crate

Koala Crate is specific line in the KiwiCo subscription service that is designed for kids ages 2-4. It exposes preschoolers to new materials, tools, and concepts for hands-on learning and fun!

Our family LOVES KiwiCo and our kids have been receiving KiwiCo subscriptions as gifts for many years now! I highly recommend it. You can check out my honest review of KiwiCo for more information + get a coupon code for 40% off your first box.

Young Wild & Friedman Toddler Subscription Box

2. Young Wild & Friedman

When I polled my followers on Instagram, this was one that SO many people messaged me about!

Young Wild & Friedman was started by a family with the goal of providing sensory play kits to younger kids. They have SO many fun kits and sensory bins to choose from! You can buy kits individually or sign up for a monthly subscription.

LovEvery Box

3. LovEvery

This was another subscription box for toddlers that my readers raved about!

LovEvery is a Montessori stage-based play subscription service for kids up to age 3, so it’s tailored to much younger children. They have play kits for very specific age ranges, starting as young as 0-12 weeks and going all the way up to 34-36 months.

There are SO many different types of kits to choose from!

Ivy Kids Subscription

4. Ivy Kids

Ivy Kids Kits are developed for kids ages 3-8 by early childhood teachers who have kids of their own. Their goal is to provide monthly resources and tools to parents and caregivers looking to have more meaningful learning experiences with their children.

Each month, you will receive a kit containing more than ten activities based upon a classic children’s book. The activities are carefully crafted to encourage curiosity, problem solving, and creativity in young children!

The Ivy Kids Kit games and projects are a fun way to develop fine and gross motor muscles, build math and literacy skills, encourage reading comprehension, and promote scientific thinking.

Raddish Kids Monthly Subscription Boxes for Toddlers

5. Raddish Kids

Raddish Kids is a monthly cooking club for kids. Each kit comes with 3 recipes, a quality kid-sized kitchen tool, a creative kitchen project, a monthly collectible, 3 culinary skill lessons, and a complete grocery list.

With these monthly hands-on cooking kits, kids get to build their own cookbooks, try new foods, and gain important life skills in the kitchen.

If you have a child who loves to help out in the kitchen, Raddish Kids might be a really unique gift idea!

Little Passports Early Explorers Box

6. Little Passports Early Explorers

Little Passports Early Explorers is an award-winning subscription box for toddlers that inspires them to learn about the world. Their Early Explorers line focuses specifically on kids ages 3-5 and offers a variety of fun and engaging options.

Little Passports is one of the first subscription boxes my kids ever tried and they loved it! Although we haven’t used it in many years, I’ve heard it’s still just as great and many of our readers highly recommend it.

The Preschool Box for Toddlers

7. The Preschool Box

The Preschool Box is a subscription service that offers a monthly preschool activities that encourage learning, reading, and creativity in children ages 3-6.

Each box comes with a fun book, plus over 16 different learning activities and games!

Green Kid Crafts Subscription

8. Green Kid Crafts

Green Kid Crafts is a monthly subscription service that delivers a monthly box of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) kits that spark the imagination and encourage discovery & learning in kids. Their Junior Discovery subscription is specifically designed for kids ages 2-4.

Each box comes with step-by-step instructions for 4-8 STEAM projects, a 12-page magazine, and eco-friendly materials to complete all of the projects.

What are some of your favorite monthly subscription boxes for toddlers? Is there anything you’d add to this list?

More Non-Toy Gift Ideas:

Free LEGO® Life Magazine Subscription (Great Stocking Stuffer Idea!!)

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

If you have kids who love all things LEGO®, did you know you can sign them up for a completely free LEGO® magazine subscription?! This makes our list of the top magazine subscriptions for kids!

{Don’t forget to check out our LEGO Gift Guide and all the recent LEGO Deals!}

Free LEGO Life Magazine Subscription for Kids!

Free LEGO® Magazine Subscription

If you have kids who loves LEGOS, I just wanted to remind you about this great FREEBIE!

Did you know you can sign up for a completely free LEGO® magazine subscription?! There are no strings attached and it’s 100% free!

(Well, other than the fact that there’s definitely some marketing and advertising built into each issue about the newest kits coming out…so your kids might get really excited about new LEGO® sets that are on the horizon! ;))

Your first issue will arrive within 6-16 weeks. While the first issue won’t arrive in time for Christmas, you can always print a photo of the magazine cover and roll it up to stick in a stocking as a fun surprise to look forward to in 2021!

building LEGOS

What is LEGO® Life Magazine?

This magazine used to be called LEGO® Club Magazine but in recent years has rebranded to LEGO® Life Magazine.

It’s designed for kids between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. And after providing your child’s birth date, they will receive this FREE magazines 4 times per year until they are no longer within the age limit window. (And after that, they can download the free LEGO® Life app to use!)

Each issue is filled with stories, activities, posters, comics, contests, creative building ideas, and more!

Kids can even submit their own creations to possibly appear in the magazine!

Kid Holding LEGO Magazine

Our Kids Loved LEGO® Magazine

When they were younger, our kids absolutely loved this magazine.

It was always one of their very favorite magazines to get in the mail, and it was SO fun for them to get some of their own snail mail!

I have fond memories of our three older kids pouring over the latest LEGO® issue and reading it from cover to cover — especially Kathrynne!

This magazine provided hours of entertainment for all of our kids without spending a dime!

free LEGO® magazine subscription

Go here to sign your kid up for a FREE subscription!

Brigette’s $98 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

My older sister, Brigette, shares her shopping trips and menu plans every week! You can go HERE to see all of her weekly menu plans and you can go HERE to read all about her family!


1 64-oz carton Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.49

1 gallon 1% Milk – $1.46

1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.46

1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.39

1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55

1 24-oz carton Cottage Cheese – $1.49

1 32-oz carton Plain Greek Yogurt – $2.29

4 individual Greek Yogurts – $2.40

1 16-oz box Butter Quarters – $1.67

1 8-oz pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.25

1 16-oz bag Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $2.19

2 16-oz abgs Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $4.38

1 16-oz pkg Sliced Deli Meat – $2.49

1 large pkg Thick Pepperoni – $3.99

2 large cans Chicken Breast – $3.98

1 1-lb roll Sausage – $1.89

2 jars Peanut Butter – $2.30

1 32-oz carton Egg Whites – $2.95

3 dozen Eggs $1.59

1 large jar Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.95

1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $2.29

1 bag Green Grapes $0.85/lb) – $2.46

1 bunch Bananas – $0.72

1 3-ct bag Colored Peppers – $2.49

2 pkgs frozen Riced Cauliflower – $3.78

6 pkgs frozen Broccoli Florets – $5.10

2 bags fresh French Beans – $3.58

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.49

1 3-head pkg fresh Garlic – $0.85

1 large canister Old Fashioned Oats – $2.09

1 12-oz pkg Chocolate Chips – $1.15

1 32-oz bag Powdered Suagar – $0.89

1 jar Chicken Bouillon Cubes – $0.99

1 box Honey Wheat Puffs – $1.53

1 box Kid’s Crunch – $1.75

1 Family-Size box Frosty Flakes – $2.09

2 large boxes Rice Squares – $2.98

1 32-oz box Spaghetti Noodles – $0.89

1 16-oz bag Wide Egg Noodles – $0.99

1 bag Mini Marshmallows – $0.79

1 bag Plain Rice Cakes – $1.19

2 loaves Sandwich Bread, reduced – $0.50

Total: $87.83

Harris Teeter

1 box Graham Crackers – $1.19

1 10-oz pkg Fisher Pecans – $5.74, used $1/1 Fisher Chef’s Naturals Recipe Nuts, exp. 12/31/20 (SS 11/15/20) [10-oz.+; DND], plus receive $1.00/1 rebate from Ibotta – $3.74 after coupon and rebate

2 boxes Quaker Granola Bars (B1G1) – $2.89, used $1/2 Quaker Products, exp. 12/13/20 (SS 11/01/20) [Excludes cups], plus receive $1.50/2 rebate from Checkout 51 – $0.39/2 after coupon and rebate

1 box Celestial Seasonings Tea – $2.00, used $0.50/1 Celestial Seasonings Bagged Tea, exp. 1/11/21 (SS 10/11/20 R) [Any box] (doubled), plus receive $1.00/1 rebate from Ibotta – FREE after coupon and rebate

10 cans Green Beans (B2G3) – $3.20

2 4-lb bags Dixie Crystals Sugar – $3.54, used 2 $0.55/1 Dixie Crystals granulated sugar, 3.4 lb+, SS 11/15 (doubled) – $1.34/2 after coupons

2 boxes Special K Cereal – $5.00, used $0.70/1 printable (doubled), plus $0.50/1 printable (doubled), plus receive 2 $0.60 rebates from Ibotta – $1.40/2 boxes after coupons and rebates

~ plus receive $0.20 rebate off any receipt from Ibotta

Total after Coupons and Rebates: $11.06

I also picked up these things FREE from Ibotta (my store was out of the other items).

Grocery Total for the Week: $98.89

Weekly Menu Plan


Everyone is respnosible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Cereal, Oatmeal, Toast, Yogurt, Fruit, Smoothies, Cottage Cheese, Fried/Boiled/ Scrambled Eggs, Veggie Omelets


Deli Meat and Cheese Sandwiches, Grapes, Peppers x 2

Rice Cakes/Peanut Butter, Apples, Cucumbers x 2

Cheesy Spaghetti Noodles, Bananas, Carrots x 2



Turkey Noodle Soup, Biscuits

Venison Meatloaf with Gravy, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli

Pepperoni Pizza, Easy Italian Breadsticks with Marinara Sauce, Tossed Salad, Broccoli

Chicken Gravy over Rice, Green Beans, Tossed Salad

Cheesy Sausage Potato Soup, Homemade Dill Bread

Date Night Out with Friends (kids eat leftovers at home)


I also bought the ingredients S’Mores Bars and Muddy Buddies for a Youth Event.

20 Gifts for Tweens Under $30

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

Looking for the best Christmas gifts for tweens this holiday season? We have you covered with this Tweens Gift Guide — which includes gifts for tween girls, gifts for tween boys, and stocking stuffers for tweens that are all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget!

Tweens Gift Guide

Silas and Kaitlynn had a blast helping to choose ideas for this gift guide. I hope that their selections of things they and their friends love will give you some great suggestions for gifts that might work well for your tweens, too! -Crystal

Pre-teens can be kind of difficult to buy for! But this list of gifts for tweens will give you lots of fun and budget-friendly ideas to pick from!

Body Spray Gift for Tween Girls

Gifts for Tween Girls

These are Kaitlynn’s favorite picks! (But many of these would probably work for boys OR girls!)

1. Bath & Body Works Fragrance Spray — My girls love these. They have so many different scents and Bath & Body Works is often offering fantastic deals — especially if you buy multiples. Sign up for their email list to be notified of when their best sales are.

Bath Bombs

2. Bath Bombs — You can make your own or purchase a set like this from Amazon. {These would make a great stocking stuffer gift, too, if you have multiple tween girls to buy gifts for. You could put one or two in cute little bags with a ribbon.}

Scrunchies Gift Idea

3. Scrunchies — You’ve probably heard that scrunchies are back in style and our girls can’t get enough of them! {Again, these would make fun stocking stuffers or get an entire set for the girl who loves to wear lots of different colors! Psst! It’s pretty easy to sew scrunchies if you have basic sewing skills.}

Felt Letterboard Gift for Tweens

4. Letterboard — These are such a great way to display a tween girls’ personality and originality. Best of all, Letterboards now come in many different colors and styles.


5. PopSocket — The girls cannot figure out how I manage to have a phone without a PopSocket on it. Just call me old-fashioned! They adore PopSockets and there are so many cute and fun ones to choose from. This one is a favorite of Kaitlynn’s.

Felt Flowers Craft Kit

6. Craft Kits — Most tween girls love creating, so a craft kit is usually the perfect idea and something they’ll spend hours enjoying. Plus, if it’s something they can display in their room or wear after they make it, they’ll get even more fulfillment from it!

Twinkle Lights for Tween Girls

7. Twinkle Lights — You just can’t go wrong with Twinkle Lights — and there are so many fun uses for them. Kaitlynn is often rearranging her room and coming up with some new way to display her twinkle lights!

Nerf Toy Gifts for Tween Boys

Gifts for Tween Boys

These are Silas’ favorite picks! (But many of these would probably work for boys OR girls!)

8. Nerf Toys — When I asked Silas to help me put together some gift ideas for tween boys, he literally picked out 7 different Nerf Toys to include on the list! Suffice it to say, these are a big hit with him and his friends. And it seems like you just can never have too many Nerf Toys, according to him!

KC Royals Pillow

9. Sports Pillow — Silas has a football pillow he got last year that he uses as room decor — and to sleep with. In fact, he brings it on every trip! There are pillows for just about every team under the sun.

LEGO Movie Stop Motion Kit

10. LEGO Kits — There are SO many different LEGO kits to choose from and there’s practically something for everyone. This LEGO Movie Kit is a fun twist combining stop motion film plus LEGO design.

Perplexus Maze Game Gift for Tweens

11. 3D Maze Game — These are so much fun, not just for boys, but for adults, too! If you have a son who loves to solve puzzles or be challenged, this might be a great gift idea!

Catapults and Crossbows Set for tween Boys

12. Catapults & Crossbows — This kit would be perfect for a tween boy who loves science and engineering and nerf guns. It’s kind of like building your own nerf gun!

Nerf Flag Football

13. Flag Football Set — Jesse bought the kids a flag football set a few years ago and it has been well-loved and well-used. A great gift for sports lovers and something the whole family can end up using!

Mini Basketball Hoop

14. Mini Basketball Hoop — Any boy who loves basketball will likely get hours of fun from a mini basketball hoop. Mount this on a door for lots of indoor entertainment. By the way, this Hamper Hoop is a unique twist on a mini basketball hoop — and it might actually get your tween to put his laundry in the hamper! 🙂

eos lip balm stocking stuffer for tweens

Stocking Stuffers for Tweens

15. eos Lip Balm — Kaitlynn loves eos lip balm and it’s such a practical and useful, but also cute and appreciated gift. Perfect for stocking stuffers!

Fuzzy Socks

16. Fuzzy Socks — What girl wouldn’t love fuzzy socks? I’m 38 and I still love them! Bonus points for tween girls if they have unicorns on them!

Puravida Bracelets stocking stuffers for tweens

17. puravida bracelets — These bracelets are waterproof, handmade,and come in many different colors. They are so fun to mix and match!

Thinking Putty stocking stuffer for tweens

18. Thinking Putty — This stuff is always a hit and it comes in so many different colors! (I personally think the Liquid Glass one is the coolest!)

Baseball Cards

19. Baseball Cards — You can never go wrong with baseball cards if you have a baseball lover at your house!

Cool Socks Stocking Stuffers for tweens

20. Cool Socks — Socks are such practical and useful Christmas gifts for tweens… and if they are cool-looking that makes them even better!

More Holiday Gift Guides

Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss these:

Psst! Be sure to sign up for our hot deals newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest deals each day this holiday season!

Do you have any other fun ideas for Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers for tweens? Let us know in the comments!