Friday, July 31, 2009

Aloha Friday #93

After many weeks of not participating, I'm finally back to participating in Aloha Friday. For those of you who have not heard of Aloha Friday, every Friday on the Blog An Island Life an easy question for everyone to answer gets posted.

This week’s question is:
Do you tip the delivery people when they come to install something you purchased from their store?

My answer: No. I can't recall ever tipping the install/delivery people. This is probably bad of me, but I really didn't even think about it at the time.

My Question Is:
What do you think about all the Christmas in July stuff going on? Is it too early to be thinking about Christmas, or do you love getting a head start?

Go ahead and post your answer to my question in the comments and feel free to link up to your Aloha Friday post.

Happy Friday everyone!

Returning Bad Food

I don't know what it was this week, but I had the curse of the bad food or something. On Sunday evening I stopped at the produce stand and picked up a watermelon. When I cut it open Monday it was rotten and moldy inside. Then on Wednesday morning I stopped at Starbucks and got a tea and scone for breakfast and my scone was moldy. Naturally I didn't discover this until I was several miles down the road and if I went back to return it I would be late to work.

Unfortunately I didn't have a receipt for either item. At this point a lot of people probably would have just thrown the moldy food away and been done with it. I figured it was worth trying to return them though. So hubby went back to the produce stand and they were good enough to give us a new watermelon. And Thursday morning I took the scone back to Starbucks. They gave me a choice of getting a new scone or my money back. I opted for my money back. I think it's going to be awhile before I get any of their baked goods again.

So my Frugal Friday tip is that even if you don't have a receipt, if they item you were sold isn't any good, you should at least try to return it. Most retailers will work with you if you have a legitimate problem and make a reasonable request. It won't work in every case, but what are you really out by trying?

For more Frugal Friday, head over to Life As Mom.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Favorite iPhone and iTouch Apps

Last night when I sat down at my computer to write today's blog post I had a little extra time so I started checking out some other blogs. Naturally I had to check out Works For Me Wednesday which led me to this post over at No Ordinary Moments about favorite iPhone and iTouch apps. Her post led me to one at Scribbit on the same thing. So instead of writing I spent my evening chasing links on blogs and reading posts. Then I headed over to the App Store where I got sucked in to checking out some of the recommended apps and looking around for any other interesting ones. Hunting for Apps is addictive I tell you.

All of my surfing last night did give me the idea to start writing about some of the apps that I have found and loved. So in the near future you can look for some posts from me on iPhone and iTouch apps that I love. There really are a lot of great apps out there to help you get organized. I have been trying for years now to put together a Household Notebook and never seemed to be able to get everything together for it. Now my iPhone is turning into my Household Notebook and more. Since I've started using my iPhone I feel so much more organized and in control. I love it and I want to be able to share the things that have worked for me with everyone. So I am excited to start writing about some of these apps and how I use them.

If you have any apps you would like to recommend, feel free to leave a comment with the info. I need to keep feeding my addiction.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Starting the Day on a Positive Note

Lately I have taken to listening to podcasts during my drive in to work in the mornings. I purposely choose positive, upbeat, motivational podcasts. This helps me to get the day started on the right foot. I’ve found that by listening to these I podcasts I have a more positive outlook throughout the day. One podcast that I like to listen to every morning is Morning Coach. Another podcast that I enjoy is Mommy Brain. You can get these and lots of other podcasts free on iTunes. Just login to iTunes and do a search on whatever topic you want to find a podcast on. Or you can go to their podcast page and browse by subject. I load my podcasts onto my iPhone so that I can listen to them whenever I get a few minutes during the day.

Do you have any podcasts you would like to recommend? If so, leave me the details in the comments. I would love to find some new upbeat podcasts to listen to.

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Wordless Wednesday - Phineas and Ferb

My daughter may only be 19 months old, but she still loves Phineas and Ferb. As soon as she head their title sequence last night she started clapping and dancing around. So here she is watching one of her favorite shows.
For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

To Do Tuesday - July 28

Last week I managed to get done most of the items on my To Do list. I've decided to stick with a regular weekly to do list and another list of the things that are specifically that week. This week it's mostly my recurring items.

This week I'm also trying out tracking my to do list in Toodledo. I like that I can view it on my iPhone and that it's free. So we'll have to see how it works out. I'll let you know next week.

Here is my To Do List for this week:

Clip Coupons
File Coupons
Put Away Pumpkin's Laundry

Here's my Recurring To Do List:

Keep daily food & exercise journal (Tu W Th F √ Su M)
Write daily blog posts (√ √ √ √ √ M Tu)
Keep email inbox cleaned out √
Track Daily Spending (√ √ √ √ √ Su M)
Walk dogs every evening (√ W Th √ √ Su M)
Write in journal daily (√ √ √ √ √ Su M)
Complete Menu Plan for next week √

What do you need to get done this week? To see more To-Do Tuesday lists, head over to Crazy Adventures in Parenting.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Menu Planning Monday - July 27

And so we enter the last week of July. I can't believe over half of the summer is gone already. Where did the time go?

I have to say that I love having the dinner reminders on the calendar on my phone. I just have to remember to set the reminders for a decent hour. I accidentally set the wrong time for one of the reminders and had it wake me up at 3:00 in the morning. Not fun.

Here's what I have planned for this week:


  • Monday - Spaghetti and Italian Sausage
  • Tuesday - Eggs and Bacon
  • Wednesday - Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese
  • Thursday - Hamburgers
  • Friday - Grilled Chicken
  • Saturday - Baked Ziti
  • Sunday - Chicken Salad Melts


  1. Cereal
  2. Bananas


  1. Leftovers
  2. PB&J

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Loving My iPhone

Ever since the iPhones came out I wanted one, but I resisted because I didn't want to spend the money on the data plan in addition to my monthly cell phone plan. Well, recently I had some trouble with my cell phone and wound up having to replace it. Even then I resisted the iPhone, but hubby pushed me towards it because he knew how much I wanted it. I wound up getting it and I have to say that I love, Love, LOVE it.

There is so much that you can do with your iPhone. Seriously, there are apps out there for just about anything. Right now I'm using various apps to track my food and exercise, track my spending and keep my shopping list. There is also an application for my to do list, for Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, ebay and more. I'm still trying out various apps and figuring out what's going to work for me.

In addition to all the apps, it also links to my Google Calendar, Contacts and Gmail so I have the ability to check and update my calendar no matter where I am and I can send and receive emails from anywhere. It's wonderful. I feel like I am constantly tapping away on my iPhone. Hubby says that I'm addicted. Personally, I just love having so much information and organization right at my fingertips. It's heaven for someone like me who is a wee bit OCD.

Since I am still trying out various apps, I didn't want to comment on any specific ones, but I will be posting about apps I find that I love. So you can look forward to some posts on that in the future.

For more Things I Love Thursday, head over to the The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Bark in the Park

On the weekends we try to take our daughter and the dogs to the park for a nice walk. We all enjoy it and it is good free fun. This week during our park visit our daughter decided she was going to walk the dogs too. So here are some shots of her walking them. The dogs did very well with her and were rewarded with extra green beans when we got home. Yes, my dogs absolutely love green beans.

Time to go. I've got the stroller.

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For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

Brita Filters For Clean Cheap Water

Lately I am making an effort to drink more water. Now, I'm not a fan of bottled water because of all the trash that generates and it just seems ridiculous to pay $1.00 or more for a bottle of glorified tap water.

To help keep us in fresh clean drinking water we invested in a Brita filter pitcher. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I can taste and smell the difference. The water is deliciously refreshing. To keep it easily accessible we keep the filled pitcher on our kitchen counter. That way its nice and easy to fill up your cup with water. Plus I prefer room temperature water over cold water. By using this method I have been drinking a lot more water.
The pitcher is super easy to use. You just flip up the lid and fill it with cool tap water. There's even an electronic gauge on the lid that let's you know when you need to change the filter. You can see a list of Brita Filter FAQs here.
I can't remember what we paid for the pitcher itself, but we just got a refill pack of 3 filters and a reusable bottle for $14.99. Each filter is good for approximately 40 gallons (2 months of an average family's use). That works out to a cost of $0.13 per gallon. Super cheap for clean water.
To see more Works For Me Wednesday posts, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Organizing & Backing Up Music Files

For this week’s tackle I decided to clean up my music files. I’ve been through a few different computers since I switched my music over to digital files several years ago. As a result, my music files were spread over three different external hard drives and a laptop. And to make it even worse, I hadn’t backed up any of my music files for about a year. Normally I don’t worry about where the files are because I have all my music files on my iPod, but things were getting out of control.

Earlier this month there were issues with my cell phone and hubby wound up getting me an iPhone. (Thanks again honey). Plus I won an iPod Touch which arrived last week. Anyway, I needed to load some music files onto the new equipment so I needed to get my files organized. Since I have well over 5000 music files, that is no easy task. Thankfully iTunes has an option to automatically organize your files. I used this to get all my music files into the same location on my laptop. That utility ran itself, but did take awhile. Once that was complete I backed up my files to one of the external hard drives. I feel much better knowing that all of my music files are now in one location and backed up.

What did you tackle this week? To see more Tackle It Tuesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

To Do Tuesday - July 21

Last week I managed to get done most of the items on my To Do list. Several of the items on my list are on there every week. So I've decided to go ahead and setup a regular weekly to do list and have another list of the things that are specifically that week. This week it's mostly my recurring items.

Here is my To Do List for this week:

Balance checkbook √ (yeah, finally complete)

Here's my Recurring To Do List:

Keep daily food & exercise journal (√ √ √ √ √ Su M)
Write daily blog posts (√ √ F Sa √ Tu)
Keep email inbox cleaned out √
Track daily spending (√ √ √ √ √ √ M)
Walk dogs every evening (√ √ √ √ √ Su M)
Write in journal daily (√ √ √ √ √ √ M)
Complete Menu Plan for next week √

What do you need to get done this week? To see more To-Do Tuesday lists, head over to Crazy Adventures in Parenting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - July 20

It seems like once again we didn't get to a lot of the meals that I had planned for last week. O also want to start working in some new recipes. I'm forever finding new recipes that I want to try and never getting around to trying them. That's very bad of me and something that I really do want to work on.

For this week I'm also trying something new for tracking my meal plan. I've input all the scheduled meals into my calendar and have it set to email me a reminder the night before and do a pop up reminder on my phone the morning of. This way I will hopefully remember to pull anything I need from the freezer and I can make sure that I have everything ready to go for dinner when I get home for work. We'll have to see how well it works. I'll let you guys know next week.

Here's what I have planned for this week:


  • Monday - Pulled Pork and Baked Potatoes (didn't get to this last week)
  • Tuesday - Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
  • Wednesday - Tacos
  • Thursday - Cheese Quesadillas
  • Friday - Spaghetti
  • Saturday - Pancakes and Bacon
  • Sunday - Hamburgers


  1. Cereal
  2. Bananas


  1. Leftovers
  2. PB&J

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weekend Update

Our weekend was pretty busy. Hubby and I were both dragging by Sunday evening. On Saturday we had our yard sale and I did pretty well. I made over a $100 which makes me happy. Plus I'm really happy about getting rid of a lot of our stuff. I still have a few boxes of stuff and could easily add some more so we're looking at doing another yard sale in a couple weeks. I think even motivated my mom to gather up some stuff to sell. Yeah mom!

Somehow, Sunday morning, Pumpkin managed to climb out of her pack and play. That child is a little monkey. Thankfully she didn't get hurt, but I'm thinking that it's time to pack up the pack and play. That child is going to give me a heart attack yet.

Sunday afternoon we went around and looked at some more houses. None of the houses really seemed right for us. There were some things we loved about a few of the houses, but nothing that felt like a complete package. Hubby commented that if we could mix and match we would have a great house. Anyway, it looks like we'll be checking out more houses next weekend. I'm not really in a rush since it's been slow with people looking at our house. Hopefully that's because people are on vacation and it will start picking up again soon. Since we made up our mind that we're ready to move, we're ready now. Besides, it is not fun selling your house and having to keep it so neat when you have dogs and a toddler. Ugh!

The iPod Touch I won from Xtra Xtra (giveaway hosted by C Beth Blog) arrived this week so this weekend so I checked out some apps for the iPod Touch and iPhone. I've found a few that I like and some that I'm not crazy about. I love the selection out there though. I feel like I can be so much more organized now. It's nice to have access to so much data at any time. I think I'm driving my husband crazy though because he's already commenting on how I'm addicted. I think he's just jealous.

Note: See, you can win by entering blog giveaways. I'm still excited that I won this one. I can hardly believe that I won an iPod Touch. I've won some small stuff before, but this is the biggest thing I've won on a blog giveaway to date.

That's about it for my weekend update. I still need to go get some laundry done and clean up the house a bit so I should get off here now. A mommy's work is never done.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lily Love

I love the smell of Oriental Lilies. The Stargazer and Mona Lisa lilies are my absolute favorites. So when we moved into our house six years ago I wound up planting a bunch of these lilies near the front door and kitchen window. I love that you can smell them as you're walking into the house and whenever you open the kitchen windows. It's a small thing, but it's also something that makes me smile whenever I come home.

For those of you that don't want to spend a lot of money, look for these bulbs on sale in the fall, or, better yet, ask a friend who has some if they would be willing to share. After these bulbs have been in for a few years they should start to multiply so you will have even more to spread around your yard or to give away to friends.

For more Things I Love Thursday, head over to the The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Loving My Cold Travel Cup

I’m one of those people who gets thirsty a lot. This results in me stopping to buy drinks while I’m out. That can get expensive real fast. Just one 20 oz bottle of whatever drink each day adds up to over $40 a month. By planning ahead and eliminating those extra drinks I can easily save over $480.00 a year. Not a bad return for a little bit of effort.

I’m not someone who can just not get a drink when I’m thirsty. And I know that if I’m out for more than 20 minutes or so I’m going to get thirsty. So I purchased an insulated reusable cup at Starbucks and I carry that with me pretty much everywhere. I love it. The cup is even dishwasher safe which is a big plus in my book. It did cost $14.95, but I’ve had it for over a month now and I figure I’ve already saved way more than the cost of the cup. As I’m heading out the door I just make sure that I fill up my cup with either water of homemade iced tea and I’m good to go. If I need another drink while we’re out I look for a water fountain or just fill it with tap water.

My reusable cup definitely works for me. To find out what works for others, head over to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family. There are always some great tips over there, so check it out.

Wordless Wednesday - July 15

For Wordless Wednesday this week I'm just doing a few random pictures of Pumpkin from our week:
First up, playing with mommy's old cell phone at breakfast.

Next up, taking notes at the family yard sale.

Finally, playing in her playhouse at home.

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For more Wordless Wednesday, visit:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To Do Tuesday

Last week I managed to get done all but one item that was on my To Do list. So this week I've decided to add a few more items to my list. What can I say, I'm just a glutton for punishment. Hopefully, I'll still manage to get most of the items crossed off by the end of the week.

Here is my To Do List for this week.

√ √ √ √ √ √ Keep daily food & exercise journal
√ √ √ √ √ Write daily blog posts
√ Keep email inbox cleaned out
Balance my checkbook
√ Track daily spending
√ Gather items for yard sale this weekend
√ Price items for yard sale this weekend
√ √ Walk dogs every evening
√ Complete Menu Plan for next week

What do you need to get done this week? To see more To-Do Tuesday lists, head over to Crazy Adventures in Parenting.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - July 13

It seems like we didn't get to a lot of the meals that I had planned for last week. We will certainly work on that this week. I'm really trying to be more organized so that we don't wind up eating out more then once a week.

Here's what I have planned for this week:


  • Monday - Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese
  • Tuesday - Pizza-dillas
  • Wednesday - Pulled Pork and Baked Potatoes
  • Thursday - Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Friday - Spaghetti
  • Saturday - Pancakes and Bacon
  • Sunday - Baked Spaghetti


  1. Cereal
  2. Bananas


  1. Leftovers
  2. Ham Sandwiches
  3. PB&J

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Trouble With Toddler Beds

A couple weeks ago I walked into my daughter's bedroom to find her with one leg up over the side of the crib. Apparently she decided that I was taking to too long to come and get her so she was getting herself out of the crib. That was the moment I decided that it was time to move to a toddler bed.

Unfortunately, the transition has not been going smoothly. She simply will not stay in her bed. So every night we talk about staying in her bed and I tell her that if she gets out she has to sleep in her playpen. And every night, before I'm even out of the room, she's out of her bed. So I put her in her playpen. We tried this for about a week and a half with no change in her behavior.

My next effort was to keep up the routine I mentioned above, but after she was asleep I moved her to her toddler bed. You can see what I wind up waking up to. She simply loves being able to run around her room and play with everything. It's driving me crazy.

Does anyone out there have suggestions or things that worked for them? Right now I'm at a loss. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Free Magazine Subscriptions - Business Week and Forbes

Here are links to two free magazine subscriptions from Rewards Gold.

I've gotten several subscriptions from them and they are always completely free, no credit card required. You just complete a short survey and give them your shipping info for the magazine. That's it, easy as can be.

Grocery Spending

Last night I did a bad thing. I needed to stop and pick up some graham crackers so I went in to the grocery store without any coupons. My plan was just to get the graham crackers and get out. Well, I wound up spending $33.26. It's crazy how that happens. I know better and yet I still do things like this. Planning is everything when it comes to saving money on groceries.

Oh, and to top things off, one of the items I picked up was a bottle of Pom Pomegranate Blackberry Tea because I was thirsty. Well, apparently Pumpkin was thirsty too because she drank almost the whole bottle. She left me a very little bit. If I'd have known she was that thirsty I would have bought something in a larger bottle. The stuff is good, but she could at least leave a little more for the person who paid for it.

And yes, I realize that there is nothing frugal about buying single portion drinks while you are out, but believe me, it's better for everyone if my daughter and I don't get thirsty. Just ask my husband.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quick Update

I wanted to post a quick update because I had made it a goal to blog every day this week. I had a post started for today and had planned to finish it up and get it scheduled last night. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans. Instead of spending my time blogging, I got to clean up after a carsick toddler and deal with a migraine. It was not a fun evening. Hopefully tonight will go a little smoother and I will be able to put something together for tomorrow’s post.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cell Phone Craziness

I've had a Motorola Z9 Razor cell phone for about 11 months. For the last two months now the buttons have not been working properly. Sometimes they work fine and other times you have to press them repeatedly, say bad things, press the buttons some more and then they finally work. To make a long story short, AT&T refuses to replace the phone under the 1 year warranty they offer because of the little chip you can see in the picture. This left with me a piece of junk cell phone and over a year left on my contract. I was not happy.

Luckily for me, my husband (the poor soul who has to live me with and hear me complaining about my cell phone and AT&T) decided to be super nice and let me use his cell phone upgrade to get myself a new phone. So I am now the happy owner of a new iPhone. So far I love it and the best part is that it's touch screen so the buttons can't get stuck. And yes, we did invest in the protective case and screen cover. So far I absolutely love the phone. There is just so much that you can do with it. I think there is an app out there for everything. Now I just hope that the phones lasts for the 2 year term of the contract.

Finally, I wanted to note that I know of other people that also have the Motorola Z9 Razor cell phone and have the same problems with the keys. So my advice to anyone out there looking at cell phones is to avoid this phone. I loved it until the buttons started acting up, but seriously, what good is a cell phone without working buttons? Besides, a cell phone that won't even work for a year isn't worth a 2 year contract. I could continue on this rant, but I will spare you. I'm getting worked up just thinking about it. Ugh!

Wordless Wednesday - Annie's Playground

This past weekend my daughter wasn't feeling very well because she has some more teeth coming in. So we decided to take her to the playground and distract her. This time we took her to Annie's Playground. This playground is huge and my daughter absolutely loved it.
Here she is on the swings:

And here's a view of most of the playground:

Crawling through a tube:

Playing the crocodile:

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My daughter loved this playground. We will definitely be going back. This park is in Fallston, Maryland and if any of you are near there, I recommend checking it out.
For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

To Do Tuesday - July 7

Well, last week was crazy and completely off schedule. I'm hoping that we can get back to more of a normal schedule this week. The buyers for our house also backed out of the contract so we have to relist our house. That means that we need to do another good cleaning. Ugh! I really hope that we can get another contract soon. I'm not the most patient person and once I've made up my mind that I want to do something (like move) I'm ready to do it NOW. Yeah, I really need to work on my patience.

Here is my To Do List for this week. I tried to keep it fairly light since the last weeks have been so crazy.

√ Put away laundry (I have 2 weeks worth in baskets)
√ Write daily blog posts
√ Clean out email inbox (as of 2 seconds ago my inbox was empty!)
Balance my checkbook
√ Clean house for possible showings
√ Complete Menu Plan for next week

What do you need to get done this week? To see more To-Do Tuesday lists, head over to Crazy Adventures in Parenting.

Cleaning Out The Car

Every month Org Junkie has a monthly organizing challenge. In June the challenge was cleaning out our cars. I did participate in this challenge, but I didn't get the time to write my post before the end of June. Very bad, I know. Since I did do all that hard work of cleaning out my car, I figured I should still post the results for everyone to see.

The first picture to the left shows you what the second row of seats looked like before I started cleaning my car.

The second picture is what the back of my car looked like. The third row of seats were folded down to make room for the "stuff" that didn't need to be there.

While my daughter was taking her nap one day I decided to go through my car and clean out all the junk. It was such a relief to get it all out of there. I didn't get to vacuum the car that day, but that weekend we did manage to take my car to the car wash and wash and vacuum it. After that it was almost like driving a new car.

Here are the after pics:

Pic #1: I managed to put the third row seats back up and just use the very back cargo area for storage. There I have my reusable shopping bags, an emergency car kit, a stroller and a towel.

Pic #2: The second row seats are all cleaned out. Look, you can actually see my car mats now.

Pic #3: In the driver's door cubby I have a stash of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons. Since these never expire and you can use multiple coupons in one transaction (1 coupon per item) I keep a pile of them in the car. This way I always have a coupon with me. The little plastic organizer holds other coupons to restaurants and such.

Pic #4: The door cubby at my daughter's seat. This one holds a few stuffed animals, a book, a cloth diaper and a few of those disposable plastic place mats for when we dine out.

My car is unbelievably cleaner now. I even cleaned out the glove box and the center console for the front seats and the second row seats. I love it.

For more Tackle It Tuesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

To find links to other car cleaning posts, head over to Org Junkie.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Pop Pop!

This flying pig is for you.
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Menu Plan - Week of July 6

Sorry I didn't get any posting done last week. The last few weeks have been rough, but this week I plan to get back to my regular posting schedule. Last week I never even came up with a menu plan so it feels really good to be back to one this week. Menu planning really does make my life easier

Here's what I have planned for this week:


  • Monday - BBQ Pork Chops (in the slow cooker)
  • Tuesday - Beefy Enchiladas
  • Wednesday - Pulled Pork Tacos (didn't get to these last time)
  • Thursday - Tuna Noodle Casserole
  • Friday - Cheese Pizza-dillas
  • Saturday - Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese
  • Sunday - Baked Spaghetti


  1. Cereal
  2. Bananas


  1. Leftovers
  2. PB&J

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.