School’s Out… for 4-8 Weeks!

alphabet letter text on black background

For us, school has been canceled for the next two weeks, and then we are having our regularly scheduled 2-week spring break.

Big kids school sent home a big ol’ packet of worksheets (about 50 pages), which would be most of the work they would do in the classroom. Little kids preschool has been cancelled, so I did a quick google search for free preschool printables so she can do “homework” alongside Big Brother. But I’m not stressing too much about worksheets.

There have been a lot of schedules and ideas posted on social media.

I changed up one of the super colorful schedules going around, included stuff that we like to do, and more relevant activities, and posted it here on my google pages. You can copy it and change it as needed for you.  And I made it black and white to save your printer some ink.

There are tons of free educational activities online for kids to do. Here is a Google Doc with tons of links that has been making the rounds.

Scholastic set up a ‘Learn From Home’ website with four categories: PreK and Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6+. Each section is already equipped with one week of content for students with 15 additional days on the way.

I’m not too worried about keeping the kids busy. Big dude brought home his school iPad and has access to his math and reading stuff, plus we have craft supplies and toys to play with.

girl wearing multicolored dress making bubbles
Photo by John Cahil Rom on

And failing all that- Frozen 2 is on Disney+, and we’ve got Minecraft. If you don’t have Disney+, you can score Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN for a pretty low monthly price.

And sooo many bubbles. I’m not sure why, but kids love bubbles.

Don’t forget that March is National Craft Month! There are kinds of freebies and deals here.

Talk Back- What are you doing to keep yourself and your family from going stir crazy?

Saving time and money with meal planning!

One way to keep on the frugal track is to meal plan.  If you’ve never meal planned before, it can seem daunting. Here are just a few tips to get started.

  1. Inventory your pantry, freezer, and fridge. I use these worksheets. I keep them in plastic sheaths taped to the fridge and inside the cupboard. That way you know what you’ve got on hand without having to dig. I update them every week.
  2. Check out your favorite grocery stores weekly circular online before you hit the market. You may find that chicken is on sale that week- in that case, plan to cook more dishes that involve chicken. To save the most amount of money, eat what is in season and what is on sale!
  3. Make a list of the types of dishes that your family already enjoys. Make a list of the ingredients for each recipe. Check off the ingredients you already have on hand.
  4. Gather up some recipes that you’ve wanted to try for a while. Make a list of the ingredients the recipes call for that you don’t have on hand. I try to add in one new recipe each week.
  5. Decide what you want to cook for dinner each night (based on what’s on sale, recipes your family likes, and maybe 1-2 recipes that you’d like to try that are new to you). I try to have one night where we eat up leftovers. I also make a green salad to go with dinner that night.
  6. Plan on having the ingredients for a few easy meals on reserve in the pantry/freezer. Sometimes your day goes south and you don’t have the time/energy to make what’s on the menu for a certain night. Having something easy to make waiting in the wings keeps you out of the drive-thru! I try to plan the extra meals around stuff that we already have in the cupboard. If you don’t have any “extra” food, plan on buying the ingredients for 1 extra meal each week for a month. It can be as simple as a can of soup and grilled cheese- No need to be gourmet every night!
  7. Write a list of all of the ingredients that you need for your weeks menu that you do not have on hand.
  8. Look online and in inserts for coupons. To save time, use a Coupon Database to locate coupons.  I like Couponmom’s Coupon Database– it’s separated by state!

It can take a few weeks to a month to get into the meal planning groove. Give yourself grace and realize that it doesn’t come easy to everyone!

Now, if that is too much work, there are websites (and companies) dedicated to helping you meal plan. eMeals is one of them- It’s not free, but it’s pretty cheap ($5/week or so). They ask you a bunch of questions about your family, diet, and where you live and they supply you with grocery lists based on your dietary needs and where you live and shop.