Meals – Week of Oct. 4

Menu planning has long held appeal and practical wisdom for me, and is a massive help even if I don’t always follow it exactly. I have spent much of this school year so far ‘off’ my plans, and it really impacted my ability to have decent meals on the table without drama and last ditch ramen noodles.

So here we go again! I planned mostly dinners, except for weekends, which get a lunch as well. For breakfast, I make the kids to go out and forage and hunt for roots and berries and small mammals like rabbits to remind them of how their ancestors lived.

Kidding. I’m mean, but I’m not quite that mean. Yet. But breakfasts around here are unstructured. During the week, the two public school kids get breakfast there, and Big Girl gets oatmeal or muffins or yogurt or whatever we find. On weekends, I’ll be honest – we tend to skip breakfast and do an early lunch-brunch, or the kids eat fruit.

On to the meals!

Sunday:  leftover 15 bean soup for lunch; pressure-cooker chicken, stuffing, and roasted cauliflower

Monday:  jambalaya with sausage

Tuesday:  chicken and cheese enchiladas + refried beans

Wednesday:  leftovers of whatever’s left… or ramen.

Thursday:  sesame noodles + egg rolls

Friday:  pancakes and eggs

Saturday:  sandwiches for lunch; fried catfish + rice for dinner

No Spend October?

I joined up with the 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero challenge starting October 1st. I actually… uh, forgot about it, though, until I got home and checked my email at 9:30 at night. I immediately felt guilty for buying totally delicious but terrible-for-you F’real milkshakes for everyone at our only grocery store in town for a treat, until I remembered I actually hadn’t paid for them. My dear mother did. SO THERE.

Day 1, completed!

I signed the contract, and filled out my ground rules sheet. Some people (not me) are awesome and are trying to like, not buy FOOD and all this month too, but I have no real stockpile of food as is, so groceries are not being ‘cut’. Or we’ll starve or resort to cannibalism or something awful like that.

Same with toiletries and other household goods. They will have to be purchased as needed.

I have a few things I have to set aside for already – like Boy Scout popcorn. My kid’s in scouts, I’m obligated to buy something. But I’ve set a very small cap. Like, one thing. I think we’ve covered most things he needs for scouts already, but I have to cover any expenses there as they come up also. Same with Girl Scouts. Then there’s Halloween candy for the door, but luckily, it’s a small town and I doubt I’ll have to spend much. And I’m not buying costumes, but I’ve allowed a small budget for face paint for the kids, and a pumpkin for each of them to carve. My mother’s birthday is November 3rd, and while I’ve purchased part of her gift already, and hope to make another part, I’ll need to get her something from the kiddos. Lastly, our town Harvest Festival is this week, and since it’s like one of the only things to EVER happen here in town, we’re gonna splurge a bit on the craft show (hey, maybe I’ll find that present!), and then hit the Homecoming football game. My kids have never actually been to a football game. Except The Boy. He did once, with a mentor or something. But I’ve never taken them. So this will be a new experience.

But that’s… it. No eating out. No F’real milkshakes. (boohoo, unless Grandma buys!) No books. (sadface.) No curriculum. No random internet buys to soothe my lonely soul… No random kids clothing or whatever else I feel like I ‘need’. Including the Great Pumpkin Dash marathon I kind of wanted to do but probably wouldn’t really do anyway and would just be a waste of money.

Do I have too many exceptions? I feel like it. But if I can stick to this, I’ll be happy enough, I think.

So, here’s to a great 31 (well, 30, now!) days of spending zero! (kind of.)


October Reading

That’s my library stack for the month (so far).

Tiny Town has a library. It’s not the world’s greatest library by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s got a large children’s section. Okay, half the library is children’s books. The other half is adult fiction. And there’s like, a shelf of movies. And a couple shelves of (mostly ancient) nonfiction.

This saddens me, because nonfiction is my main reading staple these days. I used to read more like 85% fiction, but I just don’t have the time to delve into a great plot. I read mostly in small snatches these days – on the toilet, or a few minutes here and there – and I just struggle with that when it comes to fiction. Either the book is too good and I wind up raging at every interruption that comes along until it’s over several long hours later (watch out kids, Mama’s got her hands on a mystery!) or it’s… well, not good enough, and I set it down and never pick it up again.

Most of the nonfiction I read doesn’t have the same ‘gripping’ power, and I can set it down without getting too peeved and still want to pick it up later to finish. So that’s what I try to read. That, and children’s books. I’m often previewing them for read-alouds or assigned reading or whatever. Children’s fiction is much quicker to read through on average, and I can find an hour or two to finish a book.

That said, there’s a couple doozies on this month’s library picks. I found two interesting titles there in the nonfiction section, also, but it’s already a struggle, only six months in town, to find decent nonfiction for myself to devour. Good thing I have Oyster and Kindle Unlimited!

The kids get to pick out a stack of library books every other week or so. I’d love to brag about how they read them all, but let me keep it real for you – they totally don’t. I’m just happy they like to look at them. Small steps, right?

On the homeschooling front, this month we’ve got the following scheduled: