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Large Family Weekly Meal Plan {Week 5}

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Week 5 Meal Plan:

Saturday- Aldi’s Take ‘n Bake pizzas; side salad

Sunday- Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

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Monday- Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta; Texas Toast

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Tuesday- Scrambled eggs & fried rice

Wednesday- Chicken Parmesan Bake

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Thursday- Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

Friday- Find Your Own Dinner

Grocery Lists:

Aldi-

2 take ‘n bake pizzas- $4.99 each
1 bag Caesar salad- $1.49
1 pkg pre-cooked bacon- $2.46
1 box chicken broth- $1.19
1 pkg velveeta- $1.65 (half saved for second meal)
2 jars Alfredo sauce- $1.69 each
1 box Texas Toast- $1.59
2 jars spaghetti sauce- $0.99 each
1 pkg shredded mozzarella cheese- $1.89
1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese- $1.89

$27.50

Walmart-

2 cans diced potatoes- $0.50 each
2 boxes pasta noodles- $1.00 each
1 pkg shredded parmesan cheese- $1.98
1 container Italian breadcrumbs- $1.09
1 lb breakfast sausage- $1.98
1 bag frozen tater tots- $1.68

$9.73

Notes:

*I buy two 10lb bags of frozen chicken breasts at Sam’s Club. The cost per dinner works out to be $1.67. 

*I buy rice in bulk from Sam’s Club once a month. The cost per dinner works out to be $0.45.

*I buy ground beef in bulk from Sam’s Club once a month, divide into specific meals & freeze it. 

*I don’t include the cost of staples that I keep on hand such as oil, spices, milk, soy sauce, etc.

*There are quite a few items I buy at Sam’s Club that will be used all month long- like sour cream and shredded cheese- so I don’t include them in my cost per meal breakdown but I do include them in my overall budget. 

Sam’s Club Monthly Purchases for Meals:

6 lb container of ground beef- $18.46
2 10 lb bags of frozen chicken breasts- $19.99 each
5 cartons of 18 eggs- $1.33 each
1 box of white rice- $5.94

$71.03

Cost Breakdown Per Meal:

2 Aldi’s take ‘n bake pizzas, Casear salad- $11.47

Crockpot Bacon Cheeseburger Soup- $9.37

Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta, Texas Toast- $7.64

Scrambled Eggs & Fried Rice- $1.41

Chicken Parmesan Bake- $9.61

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole- $6.22

Total Cost for Week 5 Meals: $45.72 (average of $7.62 per meal)

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Weekly Book Club {10.25.17}

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I carved out some serious reading time this past week. Mainly while sitting in the waiting rooms for two different kids therapy appointments. But, whatever. Reading time is reading time, right? I read 2 books from two of my favorite authors.

1. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover– Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness. The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit. Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix. Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Oh this book hit me right in all the feels. Right in the feels, y’all. Colleen Hoover’s books always do that to me in the best way. These characters were flawed- every single one of them was flawed. And that made them so real and so easy to relate to. It was family drama and dysfunction at it’s finest and I loved every page. I highly recommend this one!

2. Shelter for Sophie by Susan Stoker– She’s shy, he’s stoic…not the hardest personality traits to overcome, but Sophie Carson and Roman “Chief” Proudfit have their work cut out for them. Sophie has a crush on the silent-but-studly firefighter next door. She’s been pining away silently while secretly helping the hardworking man by mowing his lawn—which he thinks is being done by her nonexistent husband and/or boyfriend. He’s definitely not big on neighborly chitchat, but with her stutter, that suits Sophie just fine. But now a misunderstanding at a bar has put him even further out of her reach. Roman’s difficult upbringing on an Indian reservation is a sore spot, so when he thinks Sophie is taking advantage of poor people for medical trials at her workplace, he lets her know exactly what he thinks. But when he discovers he misunderstood, he’s man enough to admit it…and also that he should have opened his eyes to his beautiful, sensitive neighbor sooner. As the couple gets closer, each helping the other overcome lifelong pains, for the first time in years, Roman has something to live for other than his job. And, as he discovers when Sophie puts herself in danger, something even bigger to lose.

This is book 8 in the Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Series. I love this author. I’ve read every series she’s written and my favorite 3 series happen to have intersecting stories and characters. This book was really good. I enjoyed the story and the way the author wove the hero’s culture into the storyline was authentic and interesting. I love that her main characters are real and have issues and sometimes make bad decisions. But all the women are tough and not afraid to stand up for themselves. If you haven’t read this series yet then you really should! And her SEAL of Protection and Delta Force series are just as great. Plus, a lot of the characters appear in various books so it’s really fun to revisit their stories. 

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Life Lately {10.23.17}

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Well it’s been a minute since I did a true Life Lately post and a lot has happened around these parts. So I thought today would be a great day to catch up on what’s been going on. 

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This little lady is my sidekick lately. Whenever I need to run errands she’s right there wanting to go with me. I know she won’t want to hang out with me forever so I’m enjoying it while I can. 

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Tyler was recently cleared by his trainer to start hanging out with his friends a little bit more. He started with a soccer game because he is a fool. And of course, he came home with a headache. So the next time he was allowed out of the house he went to hang out at a friend’s lake house with a few friends. He said he was fine but I can see in the second picture that he was still having symptoms. He was supposed to spend the night but came home early instead and then slept for 18 hours straight. It’s been a frustratingly slow process for him. 

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Maliah had her very first braces tightening recently. It wasn’t as painful as she had been anticipating and she didn’t have any issues afterwards other than a little soreness. She’s been taking progress pictures every month. The top one was Day 1 and the bottom one was Day 60. I can already see the difference!

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I love getting pictures of my kids during their school day. This one was taken by another parent in Zoey’s class while they were at STEM a couple of weeks ago. 

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Speaking of school, Mason recently took a trip with the entire 4th grade to Raleigh. They spent the whole day there and he had the best time. The kids really love this school and their teachers. They’ve made great friends and they really have just fit right in. I’m so grateful. 

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Tyler was so upset to not be cleared to even be on the sidelines at the Homecoming game. He knew he wasn’t going to be cleared to play but he had high hopes that he’d be allowed to at least be there. But unfortunately he was not. It was a sad day in our house because we’d planned a big BBQ tailgate and our families were coming into town. But it wasn’t worth the risk of making Tyler’s symptoms worse just for one game. 

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I had to be at Homecoming as the Varsity football team mom so we decided to go ahead and take the kids even though Tyler couldn’t be there. Alot of their friends were going, even down to Zoey’s class, which is one of the benefits of a K-12 campus. I was overwhelmed by the amount of parents who asked how Tyler was doing and wanted to say they were praying for him. It was so nice to hear everyone has been pulling for him. 

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Because Tyler’s symptoms are still present and he’s not making a whole lot of progress, he was referred by his sports medicine doctor for post concussion physical therapy. He was also put on a medication called Amantadine. It’s supposed to help with focus and concentration issues.

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This girl has been struggling lately with some anxiety issues. She’s had a lot of change in the past few months and it all just kind of snowballed on her leading to anxiety and migraines. We started her on a low dose anxiety medication and weekly therapy. She had her first therapy appointment last week and I think it’s going to help her out a lot. 

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The little kids school had the annual Fun Run at the athletic field last week. It’s a fundraiser for the school and parents, family, and friends sponsor a child for each lap they run. Mason ran 34 laps and Zoey did 30 laps. They each were able to contribute $30 to the fundraiser. And they had a blast!

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Tyler had his first post concussion PT appointment last Friday. It did not go as well as he had hoped. He showed significant issues with vestibular movement, spatial disorientation, and vision. He couldn’t balance on one foot with eyes closed, balance standing heel to toe with eyes closed or balance at all on the foam mat. It was a little surprising because I wasn’t aware he was having balance issues. His eyes are showing a lot of saccadic movement (bouncing rapidly without focusing) while he’s trying to focus and concentrate plus he’s doing a lot of blinking and has considerable eye fatigue very quickly. He’ll be doing this PT twice a week for at least a month. Hopefully we’ll see some progress. 

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Tyler was invited to a Halloween costume party and his PT gave him permission to go as long as there was no strobe or black light and no loud music. He didn’t get permission to attend until the day before so he didn’t have a costume. Fortunately we have a huge bucket of old costumes in the attic so he was able to piece together something- not sure what he is supposed to be but he ended up in Matt’s doctor costume and Matt’s 70’s wig from his hippie costume. Ha! The little kids had a blast going through the costumes and wore them around the house all weekend.

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How am I old enough to have a daughter who goes to the mall with friends and texts me pictures of potential purchases? I mean, what??? It’s so bizarre to me. But she’s having a blast with friends and it’s great to see her getting out of the house and having fun instead of sitting in her room stressing out about homework. 

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I love my neighborhood. Ha! We were driving down the street yesterday and this is what we saw. Those are not kids. Those are 2 adults. They went around the entire neighborhood and even tried to play tennis. It was hysterical!

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Weekly Book Club {10.18.17}

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This past week was a heck of a difficult one in our house so I didn’t have time to read a whole lot. But I did finish a book in one of my most favorite series by one of my most favorite authors. I took my time with it, mainly because I didn’t want it to end. 

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Dark Legacy by Christine Feehan– In a beautiful compound hidden away from the world, Emeline Sanchez tries to blunt the pain that has wracked her body ever since her terrifying ordeal in the labyrinth beneath the city—when she was forced to exchange blood with an evil master vampire. Now, it’s his voice that haunts her…that calls to her in the dark…that never lets her rest. And while the children that she helped to free from his clutches struggle to heal, watched over by their Carpathian protectors, Emeline knows one thing: She must sacrifice herself to keep them all from harm.

I’m totally biased about this series. I love it so much. And I’ve read every single book multiple times so the characters feel like family. I love that you see a lot of the old characters in the newer books but it’s not over the top. The story still very clearly revolves around one couple. The side characters add to the story rather than compete with the main characters. That’s a hard balance to achieve when you’ve written 27 books in one series, I think. And Christine Feehan does it beautifully. I really loved the main heroine in this book, she was strong and brave but she also knew her limits. She didn’t have any too stupid to live moments that required the big strong man to rescue her. I hate that. If you have not read any of this series I highly recommend it. While each book is a standalone story you will enjoy them so much more if you read them mostly in order. 

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10 Lessons Learned On The Neighborhood Website

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A couple of years ago my neighborhood started using an app called NextDoor to let neighbors communicate, post announcements, and the such. Now, at first glance this seems like a great idea. But a couple of years into this endeavor a few things have become clear- giving 1000 plus homeowners and residents an open forum to discuss whatever strikes their fancy is not a great idea. I try not to interact too much with these people. And below you’ll find 10 reasons why. 

1. Don’t poop where you eat. Puppies learn this lesson early. It’s taken the neighbors awhile to catch on. It’s easy to pick an argument online behind the relative safety of your keyboard. It becomes trickier when you have to see Harry getting his newspaper every morning after you called him a “big-headed ninny pants”. 

2. The neighborhood watch is a hot button issue. Not everyone likes being watched. 

3. Naming your wifi can start a war. On one street alone we have “Carl is a cable thief”, “Bob is a baby”, “Get your dog poop off my lawn”, and “that’s not dog poop”. These are grown people, y’all. 

4. Some peeps are scary crazy, not just eccentric. I’ve seen some For Sale posts that raised my eyebrows clear off my forehead. We won’t be trick or treating at that house. 

5. The old adage “Opinions are like buttholes” has never applied to anything more than the neighborhood forum.

6. There will always be that one neighbor who is never happy. Even when he gets his own way.

7. Quickest way to become a pariah in your own neighborhood is to let your dog poop on someone’s lawn and leave it there. See number 3. 

8. Everyone has a camera. Please wear pants while getting the newspaper in the morning.

9. Hiding excessive wine bottles in your neighbors recycling can will be noticed and you will find AA pamphlets in your mailbox.

10. There will always be that one person who can quote the bylaws by heart and loves to point out all the houses where the grass is 1/10 of an inch too tall. 

Best thing to do in my unsolicited, non professional advice? Turn off your lights, close your blinds, and hide in the back of your house where you can’t be seen. It’s safer that way. Then pop some popcorn and scroll through the posts on the forum shaking your head and marveling at the magnitude of crazy living right down the street from you. 

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