Meal Plan

Simple Holiday Meal Ideas

With the holidays next week, it’s time to start thinking about the food.  No holiday is complete without a delicious spread of sweet and savory foods. However, if you are hosting it can be daunting planning out several days of food. So, what are some simple holiday meal ideas?

How I Holiday Meal Plan – 

First things first, it’s important to have a plan.  Your sanity will thank you for taking a little time upfront.  Grab your Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner (shop here) and get to work.  

Usually, I just meal plan dinners a week at a time (check out these 7 tips to meal plan) but when I host guests I like to meal plan all 3 meals.  That way so I can make sure to get all the necessary groceries and so I can enjoy them without having to think about what to cook.  It’s all planned and ready to go.

You know me though I am keeping things very simple.  So, I rarely try new recipes when I am hosting guests.  I don’t want to be stressed if it turns out and I also buy lots of store-bought items to help lower the stress.  You can always unwrap something and put it on a platter ;).

So What’s On My Holiday Menu?

Christmas Eve Menu

On Christmas Eve, we normally go to church and then come home and enjoy appetizers while we open gifts.  The great thing about appetizers is they can be made ahead and warm in the slow cooker or oven until you are ready to eat them.  

Try these simple appetizer recipes – 

Baked Mexican Dip

Slow Cooker Sweet BBQ Meatballs

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Along with these delicious homemade dips, you can also serve veggies and dip, fruit and cheese, cured meats and crackers.  We also love serving chips, salsa, and guacamole.  I usually buy all of these items from the store.  Add in some delicious Christmas cookies and some store-bought candies for a little sweet treat.

Christmas Day Menu

We have little kids so we spend the bulk of our morning cozying up by the Christmas tree playing and assembling all the fun presents Santa brought.  I whip up some super simple reindeer doughnuts for an early breakfast before we pause for a larger brunch later.

woman holding reindeer doughnut

Reindeer Doughnuts

I just put a red m&m in the middle of a mini chocolate doughnut and add two broken pretzels to the top to resemble antlers.  The kids love them, they are yummy and don’t take any time at all.  They might even like to make them.

Christmas Brunch Menu

Then, for brunch, I will make a few quiches ahead of time to reheat in the oven.  Check out this simple quiche recipe.  I serve alongside refrigerated cinnamon rolls that I shape into Christmas trees.  Add a little bit of green food dye to the frosting for a festive tree-shaped cinnamon “roll”.

Christmas tree refrigerated cinnamon roll

Christmas Dinner

Since we set out a tray of cookies and have brunch.  We normally forego lunch and just have an early dinner.  This year we will just have our family of 6 so instead of a whole turkey, I just plan to make a turkey breast in the slow cooker.  I will use this recipe.

While the turkey is cooking, I will boil up some red-skinned potatoes.  I love using those because I don’t have to peel them.  I just use my mixer to mash them up, skin and all.  I add a little milk and butter until I get the right consistency.

Last but not least, you can serve it up with some package gravy, steamed vegetables, rolls and any leftover appetizers you might have.  If you want a delicious dessert besides cookies, you could try this simple no-bake oreo pie or simple ice cream pie recipe.

Need More Simple Holiday Meal Ideas?

With guests in town, we often go out to dinner one night and order pizza another night.  I also love to serve a soup or something made in the slow cooker.  I have listed some simple recipes below so you can add one of those to your meal plan.

Try these simple recipes for the other nights – 

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie Recipe

Simple Classic Chili Recipe

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

Simple Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

Walking Tacos Recipe (perfect for a large crowd)


Just Remember…

I can get stressed about the food and what to make but remember at the end of the day it’s about who’s gathered around the table.  The first year I hosted a major holiday meal at my house, the ham went up in smoke literally.  I served charred ham and you know what it makes a great story now!  Enjoy the season and remember to keep it simple on purpose, you will thank yourself later!

Take some time to sit down and plan out your meals, make a grocery list and order your groceries online.  You will avoid the crowds and added stress and have everything ready so you can enjoy your guests when they arrive.  Oh, and grab some paper plates while you are at it so you don’t have to dishes for every meal!

Check out the meal grocery list and meal planner here.


Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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15 Simple Ways To Save Money on Groceries

Have you ever gotten to the cash register at the grocery store and gone bug-eyed at the amount of money you just spent?  Do you just wish you could save money on your groceries?

Since we have been saving for the adoption one of the biggest ways we have curbed our spending is by eating out less and sticking to our grocery budget.

I have learned a few simple tips along the way that have helped me save money on groceries, I thought I would share them with you.  Sharing is caring after all!


15 Ways to Save Money on Groceries –

1. Set a Budget

First things first, you have to know how much you want to spend so that you have a target to shoot for.  On average, your food bill including eating out and groceries should be 11% of your monthly salary (source).  Take into consideration the diet you have and location you live as those factor into the total cost.

When you start making a food budget, look back over the last 2 months and get a baseline of what you have spent.  You might be surprised.

2. Don’t Go To The Store Hungry

Seriously, this is so simple but have you ever gone to the store hungry?  Suddenly everything looks really good.  Grab a quick snack or a big glass of water before you go so that your stomach doesn’t tempt you into spending more.

3.  Stop Going to the Grocery Store So Often

The more often you go to the grocery store, the higher the chance of buying more items you don’t need.  Meal plan weekly, make a grocery list that matches and only go to the store once per week.  If something comes up and you find you need an item, put it on the grocery list for next week.


4. Make a Meal Plan

Avoid the urge to make an aspirational meal plan.  It might look good in print but it might not fit your budget, match your food preferences or your schedule.  Read more about how to successfully meal plan here.

5. Stick to Your Grocery List

After you make a meal plan, create a grocery list that matches it.  Not only will you save money by sticking to a list, but you will also waste less food.

6. Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables are a fraction of the cost and they last a whole lot longer.  Did you know on average 50% produce is thrown away in the United States which amounts to $160 billion dollars of money wasted annually? (source)



7. Shop at an Actual Grocery Store

I love places like Target and Wal-mart but I have blown my budget because I am tempted by a pair of cute shoes or a new fun nail color and they hop into my cart.  If you struggle with adding things to your cart, forego these types of stores in favor of places like Aldi and local grocery stores.

8. Try Online Ordering

If you have a budget in mind and you want to make sure you only spend so much but struggle to do that, try online grocery shopping.  Places like Wal-mart offer it. The app totals your groceries as you go so you can stay on budget.

9. Shop the Bottom Shelf & Buy Generic

I have my favorite name-brand items but by and large, we buy generic brand for many items from cereal to canned soups and frozen produce.  Most of the time grocery stores place more expensive name brand items at eye level so shop the bottom shelf for generic brands and items that cost less.

10.  Shop Alone

We used to shop after church on Sunday, not only were we hungry which I already told you was a no, no but I brought the whole family.  Even if every person picks one thing that’s not on the list, it can add up in a hurry.

Instead of inviting your family along which can be stressful in and of itself, ask them if there’s anything they would like from the store before you go!

11. Calculate the Cost As You Go

If you don’t want to online shop, take a calculator with you and keep a tally of how much you are spending as you shop.  Knowing how much you are spending will keep you accountable for what you are putting in your cart.  It’s always fun to see how close you were when you get to the cash register!

12. Buy In-Season & Sale Produce

Out of season produce is not only expensive but also not as tasty.  Save the berries for berry season and peaches for peach season.  Bananas, apples, and grapes are always good options year round but check the local store ads and buy produce that’s on special. This way you get more variety in your diet too!

13.  Use Coupons

They don’t just to be the kind your mom cut out of the newspaper.  Many stores now have apps that you can pick coupons that work for you and then scan at the end!  Just take a few minutes after your list is made to see if there are any coupons.  A few dollars here and there really adds up!


14. Skip Pre-packaged Snacks.

Instead of the pre-packaged Goldfish crackers, I buy a big container for 7.99 and can get more servings and make the servings be what I want.  Get in the habit of packing up snacks after you go to the store or have your kids help you.

15.  Shop Your Pantry & Freezer

I’ll add an item to my grocery list and then open my pantry only to realize I already have it on hand.  You can save yourself lots of money by checking your pantry and freezer to see what you already have on hand.

You can even start there and make your meal plan around what you already have and save even more money!

You Can Save Money at the Grocery Store

Buying groceries is a fact of life for most of us but there are ways to save your hard-earned money!  Apply these simple tips and save yourself hundreds of dollars at the store.  I don’t know about you but there are always things we are saving for and every dollar saved adds up!

How do you save money at the grocery store?

You might also like…
12 Items I Stopped Buying at the Grocery Store
7 Steps to Create a Weekly Meal Plan
Aldi 7-Day Meal Plan + Grocery List
Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
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Aldi Shopping List + Weekly Meal Plan

Aldi has always been my go-to for inexpensive diapers, wipes and guacamole (how about that combo ;)!  I always drove a half hour to stock up.  Now, Aldi has finally opened up a store just 5 minutes from my home and I did a happy dance.  Now, 3 out of 4 weeks a month I go to Aldi for my weekly groceries (the 4th week I still do a Wal-mart pickup)!  I thought I would take you along this week and show you what I got, how much I spent and the 7 meals I plan to make as a result!  Did I mention all 7 meals cost less than $50?

A Few Quick Aldi Tips

Don’t forget your quarter.  One of the ways Aldi keeps their prices low is by having you rent a cart for 25 cents.  You put in a quarter to unlock your quarter and you get the quarterback when you return it.  If you are feeling generous, you could leave your quarter behind and make someone’s day!

Bring your own shopping bags.  Just like Sam’s Club and Costco, Aldi does not provide shopping bags.  The cashier will load all your groceries back into a cart and you bag all your groceries.   The good news is you can sort groceries based on where they go if you want!  Pantry staples in one bag, frozen in another and so on!

Aldi sells mostly off-brand merchandise.  This means that you won’t find too many name brand items but not to fear, the quality is still amazing.  Aldi’s is owned by the same parent company as Trader Joe’s!

Check the specials aisle.  Or don’t ;)!  If you are trying to stay on budget, steer clear of the specials aisle that is full of seasonal items.  I got my kid’s bike helmets at Aldi!  If you see something you like, grab it.  It’s often limited stock so it might not be there when you come back!


Get your meal planner here.

Aldi Grocery List and Meal Plan

You know every Friday I love to finish off the week prepping for next week so I can enjoy the weekend with my family knowing I am all ready to go.  You can read more about how I meal plan in this post.

The most important step for meal planning for me is looking at our week first and then planning meals that work with our schedule.  There’s nothing worse than planning a yummy meal and not eating it because you have to eat at the baseball field!

So, after I scheduled our week out, I planned 7 meals and then made my grocery list to match.  Of course, besides the 7 dinners I planned, I also wrote down breakfast, lunch and snack supplies too.


Aldi Grocery Haul

My daughter and I took our quarter and reusable grocery bags to Aldi and got all our groceries for the week.  We got frozen waffles, English muffins and rice squares cereal for breakfast.  Bread, applesauce pouches, Goldfish and chocolate chip cookies for lunches and found granola bars and peanut butter crackers for snacks.  As well as some other staples like milk, eggs, butter, and garbage bags.

I also love to grab a few extra quick meals to have on hand just in case our schedule changes.  So, I picked up some frozen mini corndogs and a box of macaroni and cheese.

All total I spent $123.10 and our weekly grocery budget is $125. Wahoo!

Stuck on what to serve for dinner? Download your free printable with over 50 meal ideas!


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Weekly Menu Meal Plan

Dinner #1 – Cheese Ravioli with Vodka Sauce

A perfect meal for Meatless Monday.   All you need is a jar of vodka sauce and ravioli.  Each ravioli package has 2.5 servings so I got 2 packages for our family of 5 and we had leftovers.  I paired this simple dish with a french baguette, a salad, and fruit.  It took about 15 minutes to make and serve!

Pasta sauce $2.89

Ravioli $2.98 *1.49 each

French bread $1.69

Salad and fruit on hand

Total for the meal – $6.56

Dinner #2 Pot Roast with Steamed Broccoli

Another perfect meal for a busy night.  Throw the pot roast and sauce packet in the slow cooker in the morning.  Then, right before you serve it steam up some broccoli and slice up some leftover french bread.

Pot roast sauce $2.49

Pot Roast $11.61

French bread (leftover from the night before)

Broccoli $1.19

Total for the meal – $15.29

Dinner #3 Sandwiches & Chips

If you are anything like us, generally there’s one night that constitutes fast food.  However, fast food doesn’t have to mean eating out.  I like to plan for sandwiches and this week we will be eating them at the baseball diamond.  The Aldi “pringle-like” chip is perfect because they don’t get crushed while being transported.

Lunchmeat $2.49

Sliced Cheese $1.99

100% Whole Wheat bread $1.49

Chips $0.99

Condiments on hand and served with veggies & fruit

Total for the meal – $6.96


Dinner #4 Jambalaya and Corn Bread

A friend made us this meal once and it was so easy, I love it for busy weeknights.  Follow the directions on the Jambalaya package and add in a drained can of kidney beans and sliced up kielbasa sausage.  Serve it with cornbread, fruit and raw veggies!

Jambalaya $1.19

Kidney Beans $0.69

Kielbasa Sausage $2.29

Cornbread $0.47

Total for the meal – $4.64

Dinner #5 Make and Take Pizza & Breadsticks

By Friday night we are ready for pizza and a movie.  Aldi’s take and bake pizzas are extra-large and add in some breadsticks and you have enough for your whole family without breaking the bank.

Pizza $5.99

Breadsticks $3.79

Total for the meal – $9.78

Dinner #6 Breakfast For Dinner

Breakfast for dinner is always a fan favorite and there are so many variations of eggs and meats not to mention sides like hashbrowns or sweet rolls.  This week I had supplies to make Resurrection rolls (recipe here) and I just learned you can bake bacon in the oven on a foil-covered cookie sheet for 20 minutes and then broil for last 2 minutes to crisp!  s

Bacon $3.49

Dozen eggs $1.08

Crescent rolls $1.49

Sometimes, I will add a fruit smoothie with spinach!  Find my smoothie recipes here.

Total for the meal – $6.06


Dinner #7 Snacktray Supper

By, Sunday night mom is ready for a break from the kitchen so we gather up all the leftovers and place them on a snack tray and enjoy a family room picnic for dinner.  It’s the whole family’s favorite meal of the week.

Total for the meal – $0

Total spent on 7 meals – $49.29

Do you want more meal ideas?

If you said yes, sign up here to get access to my free meal idea printable with over 50 meal ideas to help you get started meal planning today!

Why I love Meal Planning & Shopping at Aldi

7 meals for under $50!  Now, I know that doesn’t include the staples, fruits and raw veggies I use as sides but when we go out as a family of 5 we easily spend that much on one meal.  Meal planning and eating at home really does help save you money and stay on budget.  Check out my meal planner and meal planning course if you want help getting started!

Do you meal plan or shop at Aldi?  What are your favorite Aldi products?  Sound off in the comments, I love a good recommendation!

You might also like –

7 Steps to Meal Planning 
12 Things I Stopped Buying at the Grocery Store
25 Simple Dinner Ideas
10 Kids Lunch Ideas
Until next time, keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life.
Let’s Connect | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook 


10 Frequently Asked Questions about Meal Planning

When I tell people I meal plan for our family, they always want to know how I do it.  I shared how I meal plan in this post, read here.  Then, after I explain how I do it they have lots of questions.  So, I thought I would answer a few of the most frequently asked questions I get pertaining to meal planning today!

Download your free meal idea printable here.

1. How do you think of meals to make your family?

1. Ask your family for suggestions.

2. Create a list of your favorites.  Read this post for 25 go-to meals our family loves.  

3. Make a  board on Pinterest for main dish ideas, here is mine!

4. Go through the main food types – Italian, Mexican, all-American, soups, meat & side, within each of those categories you will come up with several ideas.  For example for Mexican cuisine, you can make fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas to start.

2. Do your kids eat everything you make?

No!  However, I only make one meal at dinner so the rule of thumb at our house is they have to eat the same number of bites as their age.  So, my 3-year-old has to eat 3 bites of each food item to be excused from the table.  I do ask my kids for any meal suggestions and they are always excited when their request is granted. #tacos #alwaystacos

3. How do you come up with new meal ideas and not get stuck in a rut?

I try to incorporate a new recipe one time every week or every other week, depending on our schedule.  New meals take more time to prep so I might save that recipe for the weekend.  Some new recipes are winners and some are losers.  With the Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner, I will circle ones we like and cross out ones we don’t!

I also can flip back in the 52-week meal planner and see what foods we have been eating a lot and which ones we haven’t had in a while!

You can download my free meal idea printable full of more than 50 meal ideas to help you get started.  Sign up here to get your download.

4. What do you do for breakfast?

My family has a few basic choices and I make sure to check my pantry for what we need when I make my grocery list.  My husband loves cereal and orange juice so I just ask him what kind of cereal he wants next and order that for him.  The kids usually go between frozen pancakes & waffles, cereal, bagels, and toast.  I usually just do a Lara Bar with my coffee!

5. What do you do for lunch?

Once again, I just make sure my kids have items they like to take in their lunches.  They are creatures of habit so they like to take peanut butter sandwiches or meat and crackers with raw veggie, fruit and a small dessert.

My husband takes leftovers every day to work so I make sure to make more than I think we will eat of most meals.  Lucy and I either eat leftovers or she eats what the big kids pack in their lunches.  I sometimes like to eat those bagged salad mixes too!

Buy your meal planner here.

6. How often do you meal plan?

I like to meal plan once a week.  It works well for our family so that our meal plan matches our schedule.   If you are just starting out, I would suggest meal planning once a week so you don’t get overwhelmed.

7. Why do you meal plan?

I hate that feeling of not knowing what to make for dinner and then not having the right ingredients on hand to make something.  We don’t have the budget to eat out very often, so meal planning helps me to make simple meals that match our busy schedule without a headache.  A little planning ahead makes my world go round.

8. How often do you go to the store?

Once a week.  Once I meal plan, I order all my groceries online and pick them up usually on Mondays’ for the week.  Occasionally, I forget something or something comes up I didn’t account for and then either my husband or I will run to grab that item but that’s rare!

9. Do you use coupons or shop at different stores?

I don’t.  I online grocery shop.  Not being in the store, I am not as tempted by all those things not on my list.  I save a substantial amount of money and stay under our weekly grocery budget ($125) almost every week!

10.  What tools do you use to meal plan?

I use the Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner.  You can create your meal plan and jot down your grocery list on the adjacent perforated grocery list.  When I get stuck on what to make, I can flip back and see what I have made in the past.  You can buy yours here.

You can download my free meal idea printable full of more than 50 meal ideas to help you get started.  Sign up here to get your download.

Need some more help?

I have you covered, check these resources out!

52 Week Meal Planner

7 Steps to Create a Weekly Meal Plan

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Meal Planning

25 Simple Meal Ideas + Free Meal Ideas Printable

How do you meal plan?  What questions do you still have about meal planning?  Make sure to leave them in the comments and I will answer them!  Don’t forget to head over to the Simple Purposeful Living shop and check out our new products!  They make perfect Christmas gifts.  Give the gift of simple and purposeful living this holiday season!


Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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7 Steps to Create A Simple Weekly Meal Plan

If creating a meal plan for your family makes you want to pull your hair out, you are not alone.  Meal planning can be such a chore but can make your life so much more simple if you take a few minutes and do it.

There are also a lot of misconceptions about meal planning.  Like, since I meal plan I must make these elaborate meals every night for my family and let me say emphatically, that is simply not true.   Today, I am going to share how I meal plan and answers some frequently asked questions on this topic!

How do you meal plan?  Follow these 7 steps to create a simple weekly meal plan tailed for your family.


1. Choose a 20-minute block of time.

I normally sit down on Friday afternoons but there is no magic day.  Some choose Sunday afternoons, others like to wait until the grocery store ads come out so they can plan meals according to deals.  You just need time to do it.  Put it on your to-do list for a specific day and do it!

2. Grab your family calendar and check your weekly schedule.

This piece is critical, you don’t want to plan a meal that takes a lot of prep work on the night you are running carpool.  Thursday night is notoriously busy for us so I plan an extra simple meal on that night.  Sandwiches, leftovers or frozen pizza usually!

3.  Come up with 5 dinners.

We eat at home every night of the week.  Occasionally, we will eat out but I do not plan on it. However, even though we eat at home every night, I don’t cook every night.  I plan on making 5 meals and then plan for leftovers and simple meals for the other nights.

If you need help coming up with ideas, you can download this free meal idea printable with over 50 meal ideas to get you started.  Sign up to download it here.

Buy Your Meal Planner Here

4.  Record your meals on your meal planner.

Now that you have your 5 dinner ideas, plug the meals into your meal plan based on your schedule.  The Simple Purposeful Living 52-week meal planner is a great tool.

5.  Make your grocery list.

If you use the Simple Purposeful Living Meal Planner, then you can jot down your grocery list on the adjacent perforated page.  Make sure to check your meal plan twice, so you don’t forget any ingredients.  Also add in any breakfast, lunch and snack staples you need as well.

If you don’t like grocery shopping or you are running short on time, you should really try Walmart’s online grocery order and pick-up service.  I can’t remember the last time I went grocery shopping.  I can check my list twice and if I forget something, there is time to add it on before pick-up!  Use this code for $10 off your first order.

6.  Take a look at the meal plan every morning.

I keep my meal plan on my fridge with a magnet, while my coffee is brewing in the morning I take a look at what’s for dinner.  I grab out any meat that needs to thaw and put anything in the crockpot that needs to cook.

7.  Enjoy dinner with your family.

When it comes time to make dinner for your family, make what’s listed on the meal plan.  If something comes up, you can easily switch to another planned meal.  You are in the driver’s seat and your pantry and fridge have all the necessary ingredients for the week so it’s okay to make a switch.

Need some more help?

I have you covered, check these resources out!

52 Week Meal Planner

7 Steps to Create a Weekly Meal Plan

10 Frequently Asked Questions about Meal Planning

25 Simple Meal Ideas + Free Meal Ideas Printable

Just Remember…

Meal planning helps you to know exactly what you are going to have for dinner every night of the week, less stress and more time to do what matters with those that matter.  You can do it!  If you need help getting started, download my free meal ideas printable with over 50 meal ideas by signing up here.


Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

Let’s Connect | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Email Subscription


Simple Purposeful Living Products

Shop Here

They are here.  They are here.  They are here.  The first Simple Purposeful Living products.  Say what? If you didn’t see that coming, either did I?

How Did We Get Here?

After chatting with so many of you, two main points kept surfacing.  Meal planning and spending purposeful time with God.   I have struggled with both myself but I know how essential both are to a simple and purposeful life. You have to feed your family and time with God is food for the soul.  Women kept asking for simple and purposeful solutions and by golly, I was going to try to find one!

So in January, I started testing out different methods.  What worked, what didn’t. Then, this summer I was chatting with some local friends that I had these ideas but that I was stumped in the graphic design department.

I knew I was in over my head.  So, they suggested I enlist design interns and I found a set of 3 very talented sisters.  They helped me do the heavy lifting when it came to adobe photoshop and hand-drawn lettering and illustration.  Yes, every graphic was hand drawn (not by me).

As the design was coming together, I consulted printing companies.  No one wanted to work with an unknown commodity.  I didn’t have the capital or the guts to order a set amount not knowing what the response would be.  Finally, a friend gave me a contact for a retail printer who agreed to do a pre-order with me.  Bingo!

So, we are ready to launch these bad boys into the world and my hope and prayer are that these products will be valuable tools in the lives of each of you.  The real power will come from you using them, they are nothing without you!  So, enough of the behind the scenes, let me introduce you!

Simple Purposeful Living Products

The Simple Purposeful Living Daily Journal

Buy Here

Do you struggle to find time to spend with God?  Do you struggle to know what to do when you do find the time?  You aren’t alone!  So many others feel the same way but spending time with God is an essential part of our Christian walk.  Make the most of your precious time with the Simple Purposeful Living Daily Journal.

Buy Here

Buy Here

Simple Purposeful Living 6 Month Daily Journal Product Details –

The 6-month daily journal will be delivered by 12/15/18

Each month section includes 30 Daily Journaling Pages with prompts, 4 Sermon Notes Pages, and 2 Monthly Prayer Journal Pages.

6 Undated Monthly Tabs.

Page size: 8.5 x 11

Product Price – $45 (Shop here)

Simple Purposeful Living 52-week Meal Planner

Buy Here

Do you struggle with meal planning?  You are not alone.  Providing healthy meals for our family is an essential recipe for life but it makes many of us want to pull out our hair.  Enter the Simple Purposeful Living 52 Week Meal Planner.  It helps people just like you create simple and delicious meals for their family that they will love every single week of the year.

Plan your meals, write down the corresponding grocery list on the adjacent perforated tab and then rip it out to order your groceries online or head to the store.

Buy Here

Never Forget To Buy That Needed Item At The Store

Then, as you create the meals you planned throughout the week and think of things you need to get at the store, write it down on next week’s grocery list conveniently located right next to your meal plan.

Buy Here

Stuck on creating a meal plan for the week?

Never fear, just flip back to all your previous meal plans secured in the spiral bound pages.  At the end of the year, you will have 52 weeks worth of meal plans you and your family love.  You won’t be stuck in an “I don’t know what to make for dinner” rut again!

Simple Purposeful Living 52 Week Meal Planner Product Details –

The 52-week meal planner will be delivered by 12/15/18

52 Weekly meal plan sheets adjacent to a perforated weekly grocery list

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Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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10 Simple Kid Lunch Ideas

Sometimes, I am convinced my kids despise eating.  That’s all there is to it.  I really wish I had that problem, I love to eat.  I guess  I wouldn’t say they hate eating but they are creatures of habit.  They don’t mind eating the same thing over and over and over and over again, unlike me.  I am going to share 10 basic kid lunch ideas that are on repeat around here.

As moms, we feel the need to serve a great variety because we like variety and we feel the pressure too!  I have come to find if I stick to these 10 basic kids lunch ideas and rotate, everyone is happy.  When you look at the list, you will say oh I make that…I think when we lay it out, we actually do serve more variety than at first thought.  So I am here to tell you — good job!   My son’s school lunch calendar only has 15 main dish items so if they can do it, why can’t we?

crescent roll pizza with text 10 kid lunch ideas

10 Simple Kids Lunch Ideas

1 – Leftovers

Never underestimate the power of a good meal rewarmed.  I know not all meals are a hit but plan your dinner meals to include extras for leftovers.  Leftovers my kids especially love leftovers are pizza and taco/Mexican dishes.  I try to include both of these into our menu every week for this purpose.

2 – Peanut Butter & Hummus

Peanut Butter Toast (left) and Leftover Mexican food (right)
Peanut butter on anything.  Peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter toast, peanut butter crackers, peanut butter with celery.  You can even warm up a dollop in the microwave and drizzle over cut up bananas.  Cutting up the bread in various shapes and sizes make the meal new again.  One day you can do squares, the next triangles and then strips (as seen above).  Hummus is great with pita chips, crackers or dipping carrots into!

3 – Eggs

No matter which way you crack it #punintended, eggs are a fast and easy protein to make for lunch.  You can add some sausage, bacon, ham or cheese as well.  My kids like to cut a hole in the middle of a piece of bread and make eggs in the hole.  They also like sunny side up eggs with cheese on top.  You can make egg burritos in soft shells!

4 – Quesadillas

There is no limit to the creativity with quesadillas.  You can make simple cheese ones.  Try breakfast quesadillas filled with egg, cheese, and meat.  You can add some cheese and pepperoni and serve with marinara sauce for an Italian twist.    You can even do peanut butter and banana quesadillas.

5 –Macaroni and Cheese

No matter what type of diet you follow, there is a box of macaroni and cheese that probably fits it.  It’s normally a kid favorite and easily made and stored for leftovers the next day.
My tip with macaroni and cheese leftover is rather than just microwaving it, place the leftovers in a saucepan with a little bit of milk and stir as you rewarm.  It turns back into what looks like original macaroni and cheese.  My kids will not eat macaroni and cheese rewarmed in the microwave but I have found a way to trick them ;).

6 – Waffles and Pancakes

You can either make up some homemade pancakes and freeze them or buy pre-made frozen to microwave or toast!  My kids sometimes like to dip so we will mix it up with the way we cut it — strips, triangles, or bite size!

7 – Crescent Roll Recipes

I keep a sleeve of these in my fridge at all times.  They make a great base to whatever you want to add inside.  From hot dogs to string cheese, breakfast sausage or pepperoni.  Bonus — your kids will love helping roll them up.
A tip I have found to work really well is to let your littles help make their food.  There is just something to doing it themselves that suddenly makes it more appealing.  Crescent rolls are a great way for littles to roll whatever they want right up and then cook!
Let your kids help you make their lunch, they are more likely to eat it.

8 – Meat & Crackers

Sometimes I get stuck in the thought that there has to be a main dish and sides.  Kids love eating crackers, cubes of cheese and cubed up meat.   Just grab a variety of crackers, meats your kids like and a variety of cheese.
You can make a weeks worth of meals just with those 3 items.  Who doesn’t love a meat and cheese tray? It’s like your very own homemade Lunchable.  I do love the bought ones too especially when they are on sale for a $1 ;).

9 – Sandwiches

My kids don’t love sandwiches which is just wrong.  We do grilled cheese dipped in ranch dressing of course (because that’s a food group ;).  You can add some meat to that as well for a little-added variety.  I make mine with bacon and avocado if I am feeling fancy!

10 – Freezer Staples

Don’t forget about all those things you can stock up in the freezer section.  Everything in moderation, right?  My kids love pizza rolls, taquitos, chicken nuggets, mini corn dogs, and mozzarella sticks.  I generally buy one of those items and serve them once a week and then when they are gone, I choose something different!  Right now there are mini corn dogs in my freezer!

Sometimes, you just need to go through the drive-thru or text a friend to meet at Chick Fil-a!  One friend used to always go out on Friday for lunch with her kids.  Remember variety isn’t as important to them as it is to us.   If all else fails, having some fun items to make eating more appealing never hurts.  Here are a few ideas to add to your wish list!


1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 //

We have these plates and I pull them out when we are going through a particularly rough phase with eating or I know dinner might not be a favorite ;).  My kids also love to eat with different utensils so those cute animal toothpicks or the lego chopsticks.  We have the construction silverware and they are in high demand along with these spoon/fork combos.


Mealtime with littles can be downright crazy but hopefully, these kids lunch ideas will help you to get on the right track to smoother meal times so everyone enjoys eating.  Kids included!

What kids lunch ideas do you have?


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25 Easy Meal Ideas

Download your free meal ideas printable by signing up here.

Do you want to meal plan but not sure where to begin?  Today I am going to share more easy meal ideas that your whole family will eat.  If you are like me, I can get in a rut but sometimes seeing what others are eating helps me to introduce new foods to my family and spice things up!  I do most of my shopping with Wal-Mart pick-up.  Have I convinced you yet?

How Do you meal plan?

Let’s recap what is on our menu these days!    I plan 5 meals a week using my Simple Purposeful Meal Planner (shop here).  Read this post that helps you meal plan in 7 easy steps.  We either eat leftovers or go out the other nights.  Don’t forget to pin this post and then you can reference it when you go to make your weekly meal plan.

25 Easy Meal Ideas

1.  Cheeseburgers, curly fries, and fruit (pictured above)
2.  Eggs, breakfast sausage, and cinnamon rolls
3.  Chicken Tortilla Soup with fixings
4.  Teriyaki Meatballs, rice, and roasted broccoli
5.  Chicken quesadillas with chips, guacamole, and salsa
6.  Bruschetta chicken pasta with garlic bread (pictured above)
7.  Walking Tacos
8.  Make your own pizzas
9.  Grilled chicken cobb salads with homemade ranch dressing
10.  Bacon, avocado grilled cheese sandwiches (plain grilled cheese for kids)


11. Breakfast stuffing muffins with resurrection rolls & fruit (pictured above, recipe cards below)
12.  Parmesan crusted chicken with fettucini noodles, sautéed peas
Dip chicken breasts into milk and then dip into parmesan cheese. Sautee chicken in a frying pan with butter until lightly browned.  Then, place the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
13.  Crockpot roast with mashed potatoes and mini corn on the cobs (see crockpot roast recipe below)
14.  Philly cheesesteaks (with leftover roast meat) and tossed salads
15.  One pan chicken fajitas with fixings
16.  Crockpot pulled chicken parmesan paninis  (pictured above) with sautéed green beans
Place raw 4-6 raw chicken breasts into crock pot with a jar of marinara sauce.  Let cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove chicken and shred.  Place onto focaccia bread and sprinkle with parmesean cheese.  Place in oven to melt cheese and then serve.
17.  Tacos with fixings
19.  Gyros with fruit (our local Fareway grocery store says gyro lamb meat)
Cook the lamb strips just like bacon.  Here’s a recipe to make your own cucumber sauce.
20.  Bacon wrapped chicken.  Serve with buttered noodles and roasted broccoli.
21.  Homemade chicken salad pita sandwiches with chips & fruit (see recipe below)
22.  Steaks with roasted potatoes and veggies
23. Turkey and swiss paninis with sautéed green beans
Butter bread and pile with turkey lunch meat and sliced swiss cheese.  Place on a grill pan and grill until golden brown and cheese is melted.
24.  Hamburger hot dish with buttered bread & corn
Brown 1 lb. hamburger, drain and rinse. Then, return meat to the frying pan. Add in a can of Campbell’s french onion soup.  Fill empty can full with regular rice and pour into the frying pan. Add in a can of sliced mushrooms (drain first).  Simmer until rice is tender.  Serve with bread and butter and steamed corn.
25.  Sourdough pancakes, sausage and eggs
Here a few recipe cards for some of the ideas in my meal plan.   Please pin them for later use!  Let me know if you have any other questions. I normally plan on “planned-overs” as my husband’s grandma calls it.  My husband and I normally eat leftovers for lunch so I try to make extra (with a growing boy, that doesn’t always work out!).
Want more ideas?
You can download my free meal ideas printable with over 50 ideas to help you get started meal planning.  Sign-up here.

How do you get your kids to eat what you serve?

I get asked a lot about what our kids eat.  When I make things like chicken salad, I just give them plain chicken in a pita but usually they eat what we eat.  Our rule is you eat as many bites as you are old.  So if you are 5, you need to eat 5 bites to be excused from the table and have dessert.  I normally give them the number of bites on their plate at the start.  If they want more, that’s always welcome (I am looking at you my growing boy #eatingmeoutofhouseandhome).  What are you eating these days that your kids are loving?
Read this article with 10 more easy dinner ideas and this article with 6 simple dessert ideas.

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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