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This Week’s Menu Plan (+ fitting in real meals around a full schedule)

This Week's Menu Plan

We are sticking with a really simple meal plan this week — and 4 of the meals are coming from Blue Apron because I did a live unboxing video review for them on Facebook and they sent me some extra boxes to prep for that.

This week is our first week where we have school + swimming for Kathrynne 4 days per week, baseball for Silas on 2 days, and skating for Kaitlynn 4 days per week. We’ve been slowing easing into the routine of school + being in downtown Nashville for skating four afternoons per week, so adding on baseball and swimming in downtown Nashville four evenings per week should go okay.

Kathrynne is still undecided whether she wants to continue on with swim team during the school year since it’s a lot of extra hours in addition to her school load. Swim team practices are downtown Nashville and don’t get done until 7:30 p.m. and then there’s a 30-45 minute drive back home, depending upon traffic.

She loves swimming but we don’t want her to be too tired to really apply herself in school and we also want her to have some breathing room in her daily schedule, too. So we’re letting her make the ultimate call, but we’re testing the waters this week to see how it feels and if it’s too much or not.

Jesse and I both love how much character and confidence having a sport that you really apply yourself to breeds, but we also want to be wise and not overwhelm our kids or keep their schedules too full. So we’ll see how it all shakes out after we try it this week.

We’re planning to prep all our dinners ahead — with Jesse taking care of the 4 Blue Apron meals and I’ll be in charge of the other 3 dinners — so that there is good food ready to eat on busy nights.


Breakfasts are a big deal at our house. Not necessarily because of what we eat, but because this is the one meal we’ve committed to eat together around the table pretty much every single day.

Dinners are often somewhat grab and go or brown bagged — especially on the 3 nights a week the girls have swimming and skating. But breakfast, it’s a given. We eat, we talk, we read together, we pray together, and we linger around the table. It’s been a beautiful addition to our schedule + a great way to start the day!

Choose from:

Lunches & Snacks

We’re trying something for lunches during the school year. Our extra refrigerator is 100% devoted to lunch items.

We’re making up a big batch of freezer-friendly PB&J on the weekends and, in addition, I’ll have 4 different bins of items that the kids can choose one from — cheese sticks, snack packs, veggies, fruit, applesauce, chips, cookies, etc.

Each bin has something different so that when they choose one item from each, they’ll have a well-rounded lunch.

Kathrynne helped me set this up and she took the initiative to write a board with details on how to put together the lunches. So far, I have literally done NOTHING for lunch prep other than help set the system up and make sure we had the items on hand for Kathrynne to get everything into baggies in the extra refrigerator.

And then the kids have been entirely in charge of each making their own lunch every night. I haven’t had to remind anyone and no one has yet to forget their lunch. I know we’re only two weeks in, but I’m pretty excited at how well this has worked so far — especially because the kids seem to be loving it!

Jesse and I are in charge of our own lunches and I’m going to have items on hand to choose from: fried eggs, toast, chips & salsa, yogurt, refried beans & cheese, salads, fruits, veggies, and/or leftovers.

Snacks: Blueberry Coconut CrispChocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

unnamed (46)Dinners

We’re planning to prep all our dinners ahead — with Jesse taking care of the 4 Blue Apron meals and I’ll be in charge of the other 3 dinners — so that there is good food ready to eat on busy nights.

Freezer Cooking

I’m doing a Freezer Cooking session on Thursday where I’m combining dinner prep with freezer cooking. This means that I’ll really only have to bake/cook one day this week. I’ll be making Blueberry Coconut Crisp, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars, and Pumpkin French Toast. Look for more details on how that goes later this week!

Because of the Blue Apron meals and because we’ve been buying items ahead of time when they are on sale, we only spent about $52 on groceries this week from ALDI. Look for my post tomorrow with full details on what all we bought and how much we paid for everything!

What’s on YOUR menu plan this week? Share the link to it in the comments or tell us what you’re most excited about cooking!

Related Menu-Planning Posts:

3 Recipes I Made Recently Using What We Had on Hand
Last Week’s Menu Plan
Last Week’s Freezer Cooking Session
Why I’m Back to Menu-Planning, Grocery Shopping, and Freezer Cooking
Why We Stopped Making Family Dinners a Priority
YEARS of Past Menu Plans We’ve Shared Here
6 Ways We’re Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low
Why We More Than Doubled Our Grocery Bill

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  • Annie says:

    I totally feel your pain with trying to make real-food meals happen when schedules are outrageous. I’m now working full-time (some at home, some away), and our daughter started back to dance last Tuesday, and both kids started back to school last Wednesday.

    Ballet classes are about an hour from home, which means that my daughter and husband don’t get home until 7:15 on Tuesdays and 8:15 on Thursdays. Both kids have piano 5:30-6:30 on Mondays. Couple those with me not getting home from work until about 7:30 Tues, Wed and Thurs, and leaving for work at 7:40 am on Thursday, and we *had* to come up with a plan.

    I’ve gotten back into meal-planning in earnest lately. Then, today, I spent a good portion of the day either prepping or making-ahead most of our meals. This way, on rushed mornings, we can pull something out of the freezer, and, on those late Tues & Thurs evenings, dinner will be waiting in the crock pot when everyone gets in. So far this is working for us, but time will tell.

    Good luck!

  • B. says:

    If you ever feel like it/feel it is appropriate, I would love to see a post about having children activities that take up so much time outside of your home and how that fits into you year or rest/time spent with family, etc.

    I’ve been pretty set against outside activities that take up too much time . . . I know they can be really wonderful and enriching experiences for children, but I don’t want us to end up feeling like strangers just living together. 🙂

    But you and your family seem to have such a great balance that I’d love to hear how you can do it without feeling like you never see each other. (I love the breakfast idea, but it just isn’t possible with my husband’s schedule.)

  • It looks like you are having some great meals this week! Breakfast is also our family meal because of my husband’s strange hours. We do our family devotional and spend time chatting – stich a blessing to have that time together!

    Here is our dinner menu this week:

  • Ashley says:

    How is it working having breakfast together now that you have to be out the door for school by a certain time? How much time do you allow for breakfast?

    • It’s been working SO well! I’m so glad that we made that a habit during the summer as it’s been such a wonderful way to start our day during the school year.

      Oh and we allow 30 minutes for breakfast/family time/Bible time.

  • Tracy says:

    This week meal planning is a bit easier. We are testing out our routine for back to school. My son doesn’t start til after labor day. Our biggest hurdle last year was packing lunches for school. After really talking with my son we were able to come up with a game plan and so far it is working.

    Crystal your lunch plan for your kids really helped with convincing my son to try something similar. Thank you so much. I actually read to him what your family was doing and he said well I guess we can try it since you get some pretty good ideas from Money Saving Mom.

  • Rebecca says:

    I am trying to find a balance too. Both my husband and I both work outside of the home, each about 45-1hr away from the house in opposite directions. It’s crucial for us to plan ahead and I now have my daughter packing her lunches for school and preparing them ahead of time. It was so nice to watch her cook mac-n-cheese (she likes it cold) and portion out the black beans in different containers. I actually was a little calmer this morning as she put all of her food in the bag and I didn’t have to.

    I’m trying to cook ahead but sometimes it’s difficult on the weekends when there are so many other things to do too. But since we were having leftovers last night, I decided to cook our dinner for tonight then too. I made the Crockpot Chicken Crack (terrible name I know) and baked potatoes while I already had the oven on. But I know it will be worth it tonight when I can prepare something else ahead of time. It really does make all the difference in the morning.

    Crystal, do you fry eggs ahead of time and reheat?

  • Teresa says:

    Right now, we are still eating a lot of stuff from our garden, so I’m planning meals around the vegetables coming out of there. We have been blessed this year with a very productive garden. So this week, one of the items on the menu is skillet stuffed peppers, which I made last night. I didn’t have several of the items called for, like tomato sauce, so for it I substituted a can of condensed tomato soup and it worked fine.

  • Aimee says:

    Do you eat before you go to sports, on the way or after? Two of my kids are in soccer this year and I’m trying to figure out dinners since we are at the soccer fields from 5 to 7 on Monday nights.

    • It depends upon the day because every evening is different. Sometimes before, sometimes after, and sometimes we pack it and take it with us.

      • Caroline says:

        So your idea to pack and go is brilliant. We were trying to figure out how to solve our Wednesday night dinner issue. Both boys are active in a children’s choir. The youngest boy’s sectional is 4 to 6. The older one has sectional 6 to 8. I was afraid we’d be doing the fast food run. But the idea to pack and go solves that issue. Wednesday night just became leftover night. I plan to pack them in a cooler and send it with my husband who takes them on Wednesdays. They can reheat the meals in the microwave in the church kitchen between sectionals. Thanks!

    • Debbie says:

      I pack a healthy snack for ex. Carrots, homemade protein bar. They eat dinner when we get home. If they do finish I know they had something healthy in them. Hope this helps.

  • I’ve been hearing a lot about blue aprol lately. Just not ready to try at this point.

    The first week is crazy for our family. So the meal planning for this week is simple for the first 3 days.

  • Michelle says:

    I work midnight shift 7pm-7am so making dinner for my husband was a challenge when we first got married and I ended up just eating out at work. But for the last month or so I make crockpot dinners for the days I work or a quick 1 pot meal. He cleans the crockpot before he goes to bed so when I get home in the morning I can throw the next meal into it for dinner that night before I head to bed for the day. On days I am off I get a little more involved in the kitchen. I make a menu with my husband and go grocery shopping either Sunday after church and lunch or Monday afternoon after I wake up depending on my schedule that week. Then I make a few batches of muffins for us to eat throughout the week for breakfasts and snacks. I usually make my husband a sandwich before I head in to work and get to see him for a couple minutes and put his lunch in his lunch box when I get home in the morning before he leaves. And his car just blew up so we are now sharing 1 car and saving for another.

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