Tag Archives: meal planning

“No more perfect meals”–A change at our house

“No more perfect meals”–A change at our house

My husband texted me yesterday about a new product he wanted to try out.  He looked at it at Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday and came home without it. However, this morning he woke me up and told me he was running out to go to the store to get it!

I bet you’re wondering what it is?

Enter the NutriBullet…


We’ve have by no means eaten even close to perfectly at our house.  However, we think this might be a step closer to getting a little bit better at breakfast.  At least we will be eating more fruits and vegetables…a step in the right direction.


I think that we can all say that we can improve what we are doing in the realm of eating.  I think it is important not to get down on ourselves but to make baby steps towards better eating.  Maybe that means just trying to eat more meals at home rather than the drive-thru between your kids activities?  Maybe it means not having a second soda during the day?  Maybe it means trying to plan to eat a vegetable at every meal?

I don’t know what it is at your house but for us right now it is trying to eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed food and we think this might just be a great way to do it.  (We will give you an update in a month or two and let you know how it is going and if we still love the NutriBullet.)

What can you do to eat a little bit better this week?

This post is a link up to Hearts at Home Third Thursday Blog Hop.  Check out what others are saying about “No More Perfect Meals”.

Hearts at Home Blog Hop

E-Mealz: A TOS Review

E-Mealz: A TOS Review

E-Mealz: A TOS Review

Sacha’s<25: Taking the stress out of menu planning with easy dinner menus and grocery lists for busy moms, helping you save time and money.

Home in the Trenches Product Rating (out of 10 stars)

Is it worth our time?  10 stars (it saves us time!)
Did it help us learn? 8 stars (would be great for a cooking or home-ec lessons)
Is it worth the money?  9 stars
Is it useful to me?  10 stars
Practicality-  8 stars
Quality-  8 stars
Kid Rating-  8 stars

If you want to manage your food budget and enjoy delicious dinner recipes at home  you can be meal-wise and money-wise with E-Mealz. Menu plans are based on weekly grocery store sales, seasonal discounts or diet preferences. They have a huge variety of meal plans to choose from.  Great for budget menus, worried about what you are eating (diet menus), menus for families of 4-6 or couples.  It costs only $1.25 per week, which is billed quarterly for $15.

I have looked at the E-Mealz website many times of the last few years.  Dave Ramsey recommends them as a way to save money and get out of debt.  I always wondered, “How would that really work for our family?”, so I never tried it.  I was so excited to be offered a 3 month subscription to review!

I started off our subscription with the Walmart plan. I loved the ease of walking into the store with my list in hand and not feeling tired from just having planned the meals!

Each week you get 2 pages:  

  • The first is the menu plan along with all the directions for each meal. I love that it all fits on one page—this means meals are easy—I think most of these meals are ones that my older kids could make themselves and definitely my husband!
  • The second page is the grocery list. Couple things I love about how it is laid out….say you don’t want to make a meal?  Easy, peasy, the meals are all numbered as well as the grocery list items so you can easily cross off items that correspond with that meal.  Secondly, it is all laid out by category.  It makes it so easy to run through the store and shop!

The Walmart plan is supposed to run around $75-$85 a week for 7 meals for a family of 4-6.  The Aldi plan for family of 4-6 runs your dinner grocery bill to about $65-$80.  If you don’t have either of those stores you can pick the any store plan or from one of the other stores they offer.

Some of the meals were ones I would never have chosen to make.  It was an adventure for our family and I told the kids that they had to try everything so that we could honestly rate each meal we ate.  I really thought that a few of the meals were going to take some convincing to get the kids to eat them….That wasn’t the case.  We all really enjoyed the meals (except for one-fish-but we aren’t fish eaters!).

The first week we ate: EZ Pasta and Sauce, Gail’s Pork Chops over Rice, Ritz Roll Ups-AMAZING!, Beef Macaroni Casserole, Chinese Pot Roast, Beef and Vege Chow Mein and Old Bay Tilapia. The meals were super easy to make.  Some of the weeks had  a crock-pot meal, great for those busy days!  All the meals rated 7 or above with the whole family, except for the Tilapia (yep, we aren’t fish people!) If you would like to see a sample menu and grocery list click here!

I ended with the Aldi subscription. (You can change your subscription 1 time in the 3 months)  The cost that they had for the week was right on! I found that this wasn’t the case with Walmart (see below).

Who this would work for…

  • anyone who is happy to get a meal on the table and not have to think about it!

This might not be the best if …

  • you don’t want to ever serve packaged food—the meals take advantage of some pre-packaged food….crescent rolls, bagged salad, etc.
  • you pride yourself in feeding your family all natural, whole foods—you would have to adapt a bit to make the meal plans work.
  • you have overly-picky eaters or ones with food restrictions.

What I liked:

  • I didn’t have to think at all about what to make for dinner.
  • I didn’t have to make up a grocery list-it was all there for me!
  • The meals we really easy to make and well balanced.  We had a fruit or vegetable every night with our meals!

What I didn’t like:

  • The Walmart plan didn’t match up on cost-I always spent more than they said it should cost by $10-$15/week.
  • I wish they had a iphone app!  They said they are working on it! : )
  • Ocassionally I had to add a bag of salad or extra rice to make sure we had enough for our family.  (I know we are 7, but 2 are little and don’t eat much.)

To sum it up: 

Have you ever wanted to free up some of your brain power which is being used thinking about mundane things?  I know that there are things I would rather spend my time thinking about or doing!  I have the solution for you.  Planning meals, in my opinion, is mundane.  It drives me nuts that I am ALWAYS having to come up with what we should be eating for dinner.  That is no longer, thanks to E-Mealz.com!   I highly suggest that you take a look at their website and try it out for yourself!

The important information:


Website: http://e-mealz.com/

Price: $1.25/week, billed $15 every 3 months


To read other TOS Crew reviews of this product click here.


Disclosure/Disclaimer:  I received the above product free of charge for review purposes.  I am only expected to give an honest review.

The Meal Rating Game

The Meal Rating Game

I’ll admit it, I have the hardest time meal planning. I don’t know if part of it can be blamed on the fact that my husband has a strange work schedule. He might not be home for dinner some nights during the week, but it totally depends on the week. (I really don’t want to cook a big meal on a night he isn’t home, when the kids would be thrilled to have breakfast for dinner.) Maybe I could blame some of it on the fact that with 5 kids, it is hard to come up with meals that EVERYONE enjoys. Some of it might have to be that I have a hard time coming up with meal ideas. I get stuck in a rut.

Anyways, regardless of all of my excuses, I had to plan meals a couple weeks ago and I could only think of 3 meals. This is when decided to enlist the help of my children. We started with lunch meals. I had them call out all the different meals we eat for lunch and I listed them on a sheet of notebook paper. I couldn’t believe the number of meals I had forgotten that I had made.

Then we came to the fun part….we rated them. I had my kids rate each meal from a 1 to a 5. 5 meaning it was one of their favorites and 1 being that they can’t stand it. They had so much fun with this. We then did all of our breakfast meals and dinners. It was fun hearing what they really loved and what meals were just edible in their books! But, best of all it gave me some great ideas for meals that we hadn’t had in a while. It has been a couple weeks since we rated everything. I have to laugh when one of them says, “Ooo, I have to change my rating, that has to be a 5.”

I encourage you to try it with your kids. If nothing else, I think it made my kids see that I value them a bit more. They enjoyed having the input of what meals they really liked. Not only that, but it really created a point of conversation.

Next, I would like to do a list all the activities that we do as a family and another of all the things they like doing (or would like doing) or not so much. I think I would learn a few more things about my children doing this. And, I think that they might learn or remember about a few more things they like too.