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This Week’s $100 Menu Plan (+ school starts tomorrow!)

This Week's Menu Plan

School starts this week! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, our kids are going to a 4-day Classical School this year.

After homeschooling for the past 7 years, it’s definitely going to be a new season of life for all of us — with a new schedule, a new rhythm, and new challenges. However, we’re also excited for this change and new season for our family. It’s a decision that was made with much prayer and thought and careful consideration and we truly have a lot of peace that this is what is best for our family (for many, many reasons) for this coming year.

(Though, trust me, I will likely be an emotional mess when we drop the kids off at school tomorrow! It’s like I’m doing the first day of kindergarten times three!!)

This Week's Menu Plan

Since this is a 4-day school, Mondays are at-home days where they kids are assigned projects and homework to accomplish at home. The school does this with the desire to give families a true Sabbath on the weekends — which I love.

Tuesdays through Fridays, we need to leave by 7:30 a.m. Our plan is for Jesse and I to continue getting up every week day at 4:45 a.m. to work out from 5 to 6:30 a.m. in our garage “gym”.

We’ll get the kids up at 6:30 a.m. and they’ll have 30 minutes to get dressed and ready for the day (they are packing their lunches and taking showers the night before to make mornings smoother). 7 a.m. will be breakfast and family time and then we’ll leave for school at 7:30 a.m.

We’ve been prepping for this new routine during the summer to make the transition easier. So I’m hopeful that things will be pretty smooth this week. We’ll see how it goes!


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:

  • Oatmeal
  • Smoothies
  • Bacon/EggsThis Week's Menu Plan

Lunches & Snacks

We’re trying something for lunches during the school year. Our extra refrigerator is going to be 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 will have something different so that when they choose one item from each, they’ll have a well-rounded lunch. I’m hoping this makes things super simple and easy for them to put together their lunches at night.

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: Chocolate Banana Muffins


Jesse and I splitting up the cooking responsibilities for dinner this week. He’s in charge of the first two nights (since I have busier work days on Monday and Tuesday this week). I’m in charge of everything else.

Freezer Cooking

I’m doing a Freezer Cooking session on Wednesday 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 the meat for Taco Lettuce Wraps, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Crockpot Taco Soup, and Chocolate Banana Muffins. Look for more details on how that goes later this week!

This Week's $100 Menu Plan for 5
We spent $100 on groceries this week from Kroger and ALDI. Look for my post tomorrow with full details on what all we bought and how much we paid for everything!

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

What’s on YOUR menu this week? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Julia Moore says:

    Love the simplicity of your lunches. I could do better in making things more simple and giving more responsibility to my seven year old in this area. Last year he got burnt out on PBJ so this year I bought a Foogo Thermos to add some hot food variety to hopefully avoid the lunch menu burnout. I tried the thermos today for lunch and it was a success!

    • I’m so glad that it inspired you! The kids are SO excited about doing lunches this way… I’m hoping the enthusiasm continues!

      • Julia says:

        What do you do for the kids for drinks in their lunches? I bought mine a thermos, to help keep drinks cold, in hopes that I would buy less juice boxes, etc. He already takes a water bottle for the classroom, so I hate to only give him water at lunch too.

  • lyss says:

    Well, I had on the menu solely “cool” meals, as it’s been in the triple digits. My husband does NOT want to eat anything hot when he’s been working in the heat! (I can’t believe you have soup on the menu!) But, crazily, it’s been raining, so it’s not as hot. : ) But we might just eat sandwiches and salads anyway. I did stick a chicken in the crockpot for dinner tonight. Super easy “rotisserie” chicken.

    My kids go to a 4 day school. I LOVE that they have Mondays at home. We don’t start till Sept. 6, though. Our school starts at 7:30, and we have to leave by 6:45. We’re not naturally early risers like you, so I bake things ahead and they eat in the car. I freeze things like waffles and biscuits, and also cooked sausage and bacon, and just stick them on the toaster oven tray to reheat. Next week I need to get freezer cooking! : )

  • Rachel says:

    I am intrigued by the vegan haystacks you included in your meal plan. Is this something made with beans instead of ground meat? My husband and I have slowly been cutting down on meat so I would love to learn more.

  • Christy says:

    You not homeschooling this year?

  • Danielle says:

    Love your ideas for packing kids lunches!

    Another thing we do for adult lunches, is we have twelve pyrex 3-cup rectangles (could also do this in plastic ware). Then we make 2 big batches of lunch options (any old dish/leftover, or healthy things like a lean protein, grain, and cooked vegetable). Then we make a big assembly line and scoop the right amount of each thing into the dish (very efficient and offers portion control if desired). Hubs works outside the home and I am SAHM with littles, I still find this grab and go option saves me a lot of time compared to getting all the leftovers out, serving spoons, multiple options, dinner plate, etc.

    Once assembled, the trays are as convenient as one of those microwave freezer meals, but a lot more frugal! Great for the health conscious who want to eat home-cooked meals or have portion control or for the frugal people eating leftovers for lunch.

  • Your lunch ideas look so great! We’re a “leftovers for lunch” kind of family, but my sister-in-law has a similar lunch system with the bins and her kids love it. 🙂

    You said Tues-Thurs… does school start at a different time on Fridays?

  • Priscilla says:

    I am curious about the Classical 4 day schooling. Is it university model? Is there some type of homeschooling involved that’s done on that Monday besides the homework?

    • It’s a full-time school, so it’s not university model. Mondays are home days and there are projects and homework assignments to complete on those days. The school is very much are in line with our educational philosophies and beliefs and we believe it’s a GREAT fit for where we’re at as a family. We’re excited about this year and the new season for our family!

  • Jody says:

    How exciting for the new school plan! I imagine it’s quite a change and so along with excitement some nerves as well on everyone’s part. It sounds like a really fantastic school, I like the 4 day a week concept! I pray for all to go smooth and that the transition to school in all areas will go well over the coming weeks! It sounds like you all have done a really great job being prepared for it on many different fronts.

    I’m not sure if you’ve done one and I’ve missed it, which would really suprise me since I read everything you post ?, but have you done or would you consider doing a post on the how you meal plan, keep track of your recipes, make your shopping list etc? Like the really basic basics lol, with lots of details like I write it down like this and do this like this, etc. As always I love reading here and following along!!

  • Jessica says:

    My middle and oldest go to an informal K-8 school. It’s a city-wide lottery school. They have a theme for the year (when my oldest was in K, it was Shakespeare!) and the lessons are centered around that. So science was building a trebuchet, they attended a play, etc. So I have a 1st grader and 4th grader and they start next week. Their school also has art, dance, phys ed and music for every grade, on a rotating basis: art one week, the next is dance, music, etc. It’s a public school so there is still testing and stuff, but they love it there. I am a science nut but I also love the arts and dance and I feel like kids do better when they get to move around. They also get 2 recess periods per day.

  • Wow! You made menu planning simple for the family. It definitely helps. My plan is more detailed with new recipes each day. Our family prefers complete Indian meals for lunch and I make it every morning. That’s the one meal they have preference with and I don’t want to compromise there.

    Here is my menu plan:

  • Theresa says:

    Best of luck to your kiddos. I’m sure they’ll do great. All 3 of mine are going to public school this year. I’ve been homeschooling my middle child the past 2 years. It’s going to be a big change for him. Just praying he adjusts well.

    For our menu plan, I don’t usually plan breakfast or lunch. Hubby is gone before the kids get up. We all just grab whatever. There’s always plenty of cereal or bagels and fruit around. Sometimes I’ll make something like pancakes or waffles or French toast. Lunch is whatever I feel like making! LOL

    Dinners this week: (Note: I don’t usually plan side dishes. I make sure to have things in the cupboard, as well as fruit and veggies, that work with lots of dishes and just make whatever works with the main course.)

    Monday: Spaghetti and sausage with garlic bread
    Tuesday: Chicken burritos
    Wednesday: Glazed meatballs in the crock pot with egg noodles
    Thursday: Sticky Chicken Fingers (
    Friday: Salisbury Steak in the crock pot with egg noodles (
    Saturday lunch: Italian Crescent ring with French fries (
    Saturday dinner: One pot kielbasa pasta (

  • Hope says:

    I am vegan and cook once a week and plan by categories:

    1.Tomato Basil
    2. Garbanzo Bean
    3. Smoky White Bean
    4. Black Bean

    Main dishes:
    1. Pulled “pork” sliders
    2. Pineapple rice salad
    3. Broccoli hummus qhiesadillas
    4. Buffalo wing pizza
    5. Mykonos Green Bean Salad

  • Tammy C says:

    Have fun this school year.Very different for sure .Lunches sound cool.

  • Amy says:

    I was wondering how a four day school worked; thanks for explaining! Sounds like a great school. Hope your kids had a good first day! (And oh, I understand the emotions!!)

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