September grocery challenge, week 4

I keep thinking that I’m actually going to get less busy and manage to post here more often, but then the week runs away with me. Again. I also imagined that with both our teens sons now having licenses and cars, my driving load would be less.  And it is– except for the 7x a week driver’s ed that our 16 year old daughter has been doing for three weeks.  But that’s done today, so maybe, maybe I’ll get to stay home more soon.

But then starts another 6 months of driving with a student driver.  She’s #8 to take driver’s ed, so we’re starting to feel like campaign-hardened veterans in the driver’s ed department– harder to scare, and a bit better at predicting the typical things that kids have trouble with. This is also our 4th new driver in 2 years, so I’m starting to feel sorry that our preteen daughters once again get to sit in the car and again hear my play-by-play direction of new drivers.  Heck, even I’m getting tired of the sound of my voice pointing out possible hazards.  On the bright side, they’ll probably be excellent drivers by the time it’s their turn to learn.

Another thing that’s been taking some time lately is really fun.  I’m pulling together final plans for a Created for Care mini-retreat in McCall, Idaho in October.  Twenty ladies have signed up to attend, which is a nice number for the house that we rented, and I’m just praying the weekend will be a delight and a blessing to everyone.  We’ll be watching some really good DVD’s from the ‘big’ Created for Care event that I’ve attended for several years, plus have time for sharing and fellowship and encouragement. And chocolate.  🙂

So.  On to the great grocery adventure.  I went to the store twice this week, for essentials like potatoes, Her first apple pieonions, dish soap, milk, yogurt, eggs and a watermelon. OK, the watermelon wasn’t an essential, but the affordable watermelon season is getting near its end.  Better enjoy before the prices go up. I also grabbed some peanuts for munchies for my college-student girl who’s working so hard, and probably not eating great with all the studying and early rising.

As of Thursday I was up to $290 which I call a great success for the month. I don’t really even feel like the cupboards are bare. I have been a bit more repetitive with food this week, but I attribute that to being busy as much as to the $300 budget.

Julianna made her first apple pie this past week, using the press-in pie crust recipe from Family Feasts for $75 a Week. It was yummy and she was very proud of herself.  I canned some apple pie filling which will be really yummy this winter, and I also began canning grape juice.  Lots more grapes on the vines but I don’t know when I will get to them.

Here’s what we ate:



  • Breakfast-Buckwheat cereal that had been languishing in the pantry forever, canned plums from last year
  • Lunch-  Fried rice, sliced tomatoes, cookies
  • Dinner- Injera, West African peanut chicken, made with almond butter instead of peanut butter, cucumber salad





  • Breakfast- Eggs and toast
  • Lunch-  Tomato melts
  • Dinner- Hot dogs and cheesy potato casserole



  • Breakfast-Hash brown combo
  • Lunch-Pizza rolls, pizza
  • Dinner-Pizza, apple fritters



  • Breakfast-Pancakes
  • Lunch-Ramen and Stirfry veggies, dinich wat
  • Dinner-Hamburgers and rice, watermelon



  • Breakfast-Eggs and leftover apple fritters
  • Lunch-rice, quesadillas
  • Dinner- empanadas from Tango’s  (after being gone ALL day)


  • Breakfast- Scrambled Eggs, muffins (from the freezer), plums, apples and grape juice
  • Lunch- chicken veggie wraps, made with rice paper, spring roll style
  • Dinner-  Chicken and rice soup (made with bone broth)


How did your week go?  I’d love to hear some of your budgeting successes.  Did you make a meal that your family particularly enjoyed?

Recipes I’ve pinned that I’d like to try:

BBQ Chicken Street Tacos

Korean Marinated Pork

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup


  1. Oh, the drivers thing frightens me a bit. My oldest is 12, but I have found myself already narrating things while driving with her!!!
    I can’t believe you spend so little. It’s amazing!
    I have $100 left until I reach my goal amount. I’m so excited and thankful!!! I am proud of my kids for taking baby steps at eating differently and not having certain things around. I’d love some of those fruit and veggie trees/plants you have. My kids eat a lot of fresh produce. It’s our biggest food expense!!
    Have a great weekend!!

  2. Hey, wait a minute, what is this? “with both our teens sons now having licenses and cars” We heard you had an unsuccessful car shopping trip with the second son, but if there was an announcement of the jackpot find, I missed it. Congrats to the kid!

    And “On the bright side, they’ll probably be excellent drivers by the time it’s their turn to learn.” was exactly what I was thinking when I was reading your story. LOL.

    My goal was to keep grocery purchases to $100 for the month. The grand total as of tonight is $112.64, but that also includes about $30 of stuff the kid bought. Most of that wasn’t really necessary and/or could have waited a little bit, but he paid for it and he shared the food with me so complaining seemed churlish. 🙂 Therefore, even though the total is over the goal, I’m still counting it a success. That also put the grand total YTD amount back under the target goal (even if only by a smidge) which makes me happy. I might have to continue this again next month since I know Nov & Dec groceries tend to be higher than average and I’d really like to stay under budget this year.

  3. So glad I don’t have to think about the driving for a long time, but I am sure it will be here before I know it. We managed to eat at home Sunday through Friday, which was a big success. I cooked a lot on Sunday and it really helped get dinner on the table throughout the week. I also did not need to go to the store, except to get some items for a sick child on Monday. Other than that we made it through from Saturday to Saturday with no trips to the store. We had eaten all the cereal, oatmeal, and much of the fruit. I was making everyone peanut butter and jelly for most of the week. I finally stocked back up yesterday. It was $135.00, but we bought a lot of produce. I have planned for this week, and we should be good for dinner each night.
    Not so frugal-take out last night because we had cleaned all day and throwing out cold cuts that were old mid week.

  4. I love the idea of a grocery challenge and will likely do one myself… but not until after my baby is born and the crazy cravings stop! I can’t handle it just yet!

  5. We ended up over budget but it included 4 1/2 bushels of green beans to can.(243 pints to be exact) and a few other things….

    posted update at

  6. Yummy! We love Tangos! My husband lived in Argentina for 2 years. He likes to discuss “Futbol” with the owner. The empanadas don’t always make it home 🙂

  7. I have a learning driver also… sigh.
    We made 118 quarts of grape juice this week… groan.
    I wanna go on one of those adoptive mom retreats!!!…. Maybe some day – I live in WA so maybe it will happen.
    I have a lot of produce from the garden and orchard fruit on my porch. Someone gave me 7 more boxes of pears and I am not going to can another single pear. I’ll have to dry them. At least I know they will be easier to dry then my experiment with a dryer load of grapes to turn into raisins. (Those be expensive raisins!! It took three full days to dry them with the dryer on HIGH).
    A whole bag of potatoes went bad on me and I was a little frustrated by that…. and the fact that I wasn’t going to buy anymore groceries this week, but then I remembered I haven’t dug the potatoes in the garden yet.

    GOD is good. We have so much for which to be thankful.