Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Survival Mode---Dinner Plan

Life is about to take on whirlwind status as we have busy schedules coming up.  Though I'm VERY excited about the activities we have ahead, I'm not so thrilled to know that it will create havoc on dinner.  In a nutshell:  I will blow the budget, wide-open, upside down, inside out and will beat myself over the head a million times because I allowed it to happen. 

Enter in the solution:  A meal plan.  At times, I do well with a meal plan.  Other times, I admit to just not liking being so "scheduled".  Because I don't want to see all of our hard work in reaching financial goals and savings towards some specific future purchases, trips, and debt-free living----I'm committing to it for the next few weeks. 

The meals aren't fancy.  They are about as blah and boring as it comes.  Even though we've been moving towards healthier choices, more organic and whole food when possible....this pretty much tosses it out the door.  Hopefully I will make up for it in our snack choices and side dishes.  What matters most is that we come through the next few weeks with our sanity, MY SANITY, intact.  We also want to come through without digging ourselves into a hole financially by grabbing meals on the go or buying countless convenience foods because we are in a time crunch or I'm too stressed to use my brain!  I have enough padding in the food budget right now to do *more* of that, but I don't want to.  I'd rather end up with that money still left over to apply to one of our many goals!  Isn't it amazing how quickly we can sabotage those goals when we are on the go and running in circles?

Breakfast Plan:  no real plan at this point.  This usually isn't an issue for us during the summer.

Lunch Plan:  plan to come later.  This is an easy area to blow the budget, but I do have a few stand-bys to focus on until I nail another plan down.  Mostly things like: bagel pizzas, homemade chicken nuggets, homemade uncrustables (Kevin just made a large batch of these with whole wheat bread and natural peanut butter for us and put them in the freezer), tortilla wraps with meat/cheese or peanut butter/honey. 

Dinner Plan:  The REAL area where I need a bit of a sanity saver!

  • Tuesday 28th  steaks, potatoes, veggies on the grill (a splurge meal!)
  • Wednesday 29th  Easy Layered Nacho Bake (VBS meeting) large batch to share with a stressed out new mom
  • Thursday 30th  DATE NIGHT  ($5 pizza for the kids).
  • Friday 1st  Harvest Moon Drive-In Gibson City Double Feature Cars 2 and Mr. Poppers Penguins.  Expecting a large crowd and need to arrive VERY early (as soon as Kev can get home and we can get loaded up!).  Will be taking our own food for the night. 
  • Saturday 2nd Arthur Fireworks We love the tradition of going to see these amazing fireworks and enjoying the Amish surroundings.  We avoid the large crowds by watching from the park and the kids have a blast running around playing for hours.  Again, taking our own picnic (this is just as much fun to the kids as the fireworks!)  Sometime that afternoon, I do plan on making Pizza Pasta Salad to keep in the fridge. 
  • Sunday 3rd Stuffed Mozzarella Pizza Burgers
  • Monday 4th Champaign Freedom Fest  Again, another picnic to pack!
  • Tuesday 5th (VBS meeting)---dinner provided
  • Wednesday 6th  DATE NIGHT  (Take out or leftovers for the kids). 
  • Thursday 7th Italian Pasta Bake (VBS meeting)  Double batch to freeze for the 14th. 
  • Friday 8th CHRIS AUGUST concert (FREE!).  Taking our own snacks, but eating dinner at home.  Asiago Peppercorn Homemade Chicken Nuggets (chicken dipped in dressing and rolled in crushed club crackers).  Triple batch for freezer to restock lunches and for dinner 13th.
  • Saturday 9th Corn Dog Muffins for freezer (Jiffy corn bread mix, diced nitrate free all beef hot dogs, cheese) for lunches or quick meal.  Dinner will be Kevin's choice----grill master! VBS decorating most of the first half of the day.
  • Sunday 10th basically living at church with attending 1 service, teaching 1 service, VBS decorating, and then VBS kick off!!!!  Crockpot Lasagna started late Saturday night to eat in shifts or whenever we get the chance to run home.  Fortunately church is less than 2 miles away!
  • Monday 11th (VBS) Baked Chicken and Pastini or if time is really short, may pull out corn dog muffins or even just have eggs and toast. 
  • Tuesday 12th (VBS) Easy Cheeseburger Pie Kids favorite, but we haven't had it in a VERY long time. 
  • Wednesday 13th (VBS) Asiago Peppercorn Chicken Nuggets from freezer and Sweet Potato Fries
  • Thursday 14th (VBS) Baked Pasta from the Freezer
  • Friday 15th (VBS-Family Finale)  Bubble Pizza
Hopefully during the day I will be able to squeeze in a few extra minutes to stock up breakfast and lunches for the freezer.  We are eating LOTS of steamed veggies and salads, so I will have to make sure those are on hand to grab!  Snacks are mostly apples, cheese sticks, yogurt parfaits made from organic low fat yogurt, granola, and fruit.  Obviously, I'll have to throw in some desserts in there at times as well or my family husband and I will begin to feel a bit deprived and will be heading out for midnight snacks way too often!

It's going to be a great few weeks.  In addition to VBS (planning for 500+ kids!) itself, we have SO much prep work to do and food to prepare for all of those nights.  My mentorship for the Bible in 90 days challenge begins during that time as well.  A precious little one that we are greatly anticipating should also be making her arrival.  I will finally have finished all of my dresses for Africa.  It's going to be an amazing time for family memories, LOTS of laughter amidst the stress of VBS because the relationships we've made are truly priceless, numerous chances for service, great times together as husband and wife.  Most importantly we are choosing to throw the stress out the door and just enjoy these days together!  Hopefully by planning ahead we can still enjoy afternoons at the water park, lazy afternoons with books and crafts, late night movies and just enjoying the gifts God has given us!

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