My family had the option to travel with my husband to the Chicago area and also got to visit my sister in Michigan for a day last month! She lives near a little town called Frankenmuth so that is where we spent our day. I have to say I’ve been there before but it’s just so cute. We of course had German food the first night of our stay and it’s a very good thing we don’t live closer! I would eat there way too much, I just love authentic German food, just not enough to cook it for myself.
I guess you could call this a vacation but it really wasn’t because my husband had to work most of the time we were gone. The littles and I got to explore the area and even got lost at one point, but we found some beautiful scenery and eventually found the outlet mall we were searching for.
My family went on this adventure because the trip just happened to start on the day of our 10 year anniversary. Rather than stay home and not have any time to celebrate we packed all the kids and the dog in the rental car and off we went. We drove from North Carolina to just north of Chicago stopping halfway for a night in Ohio.
We visited the Field Museum and saw huge dinosaurs. We had our first taste of Chicago pizza and I saw my first subway train! It was a wonderful experience for me and the littles! The only problem with vacations is they cost money. Money that should be spent on us digging our way out of debt. While this was a business trip we still had to pay for all of our meals and entertainment as well as parking. Do you know how much it costs to park in downtown Chicago for just an hour? Let’s just say parking cost more than our meal and leave it at that! As far as paying off debt we really had a major backslide this month for sure. I’m dusting myself off and jumping back in the deep end. We will make Debt Free happen one way or another!
Fun was had by all but upon returning disaster of course struck. The outlet in the garage where our spare refrigerator/freezer lives stopped working! There was apparently a big lightning storm while we were gone and somehow now the outlet is being overloaded. A freezer full of meat bought on sale, frozen fruit for smoothies, meals prepared and then frozen all gone! Talk about a sinking feeling….as I was throwing everything in the trash bin for trash day I was in tears honestly.
Recently I have not been posting menus but with this setback I had to get a menu plan in place and for as cheap as possible. I was counting on all that meat being there when we got back and didn’t really think I would be starting all over filling our house with groceries. Target has been having great deals on meat so I started there early Saturday morning. With the meat purchased I went to Aldi to get basics like milk, butter, cheese, and vegetables. We are still still without an extra freezer so I could only get enough to last a week or so. Our cheap menu plan for the week is below!
Meal #1 Chili with ground beef (the beef was safe in the kitchen freezer!)
Meal #2 Sauteed chicken breast, smashed new potatoes, frozen asparagus
Meal #3 Breakfast burritos with bacon and eggs (Aldi has great uncured bacon under $4)
Meal #4 Stir fry with Turkey kielbasa, cabbage, new potatoes, peppers and onions
Meal #5 Salmon and rice with brussell sprouts
Meal #6 Fried rice with leftover rice from meal #5 and bread sticks
Meal #7 Leftovers
I had a package of chicken breast for one of these meals along with one pound of hamburger in the kitchen freezer. I purchased 4 more packages of chicken breast as they were marked down $3 for quick sale. I also purchased a package of marked down take and bake bread sticks for $1 to have with one of the meals. Brussell sprouts were $1 off for quick sale as well. Target has really been good about marking down meats and vegetables for quick sale so I take advantage of those sales. I spent $40 at Target and $80 at Aldi. I also purchased things like toilet paper, paper towels, some snacks for the kids, frozen fruit for smoothies, sugar for baking, and sugar free water flavor. This may seem high for some for the week but I do have 3 packages of chicken left for next week along with fruit for smoothies.