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budget friendly

My First Days at College:Room Decor + College Shopping Tool: Amazing on a Budget

I was so lucky with my college roommate… we hit it off right away.
(She ended up being in my wedding!) I remember the first night…
my roommate and I went to Walmart down the street to do a little shopping!
Just to make our dorm room “cuter!” ;)
With no budget…we ended up getting some pieces of fabric to pin
to the dorm room window curtains.. Some sheer curtains to divide
the front space to the back area..and a fake tree and ferns..
HAHA. Along with some other little stuff.
It was fun making it our own little space. Warm and cozy. I remember laughing so
hard in that room with my roommate and the girls on our wing!

I can’t even imagine sending my kids off to college…
I’m having a hard enough time thinking of Sophia in Kindergarden!! 
But I know it’ll be here in a blink of an eye.

I think this is a pretty cool service from Walmart to help you stay on Budget
when preparing your kids for College! Amazing on A Budget. 
I love this tool as a way to help teach your child
budgeting while getting ready for college.
And I’m kindaaaa a fan of lists. so I love the checklist idea! ;)
If you love budgeting..and checklists.. you’ll love this too!
1. Pick a checklist to start with.
2. Choose the categories you will need.
3. At a price that fits your budget.
4. See Product suggestions that fit with your style and needs.
5. Get the products shipped to you or the store!

If you aren’t sure where to start..check out the two videos at the
bottom of the Amazing on a Budget Page for inspiration and ideas.

Post sponsored by Amazing on a Budget by, All Opinions are my own.

Freezer Crock Pot Meals- Prep Day

I posted my second try HERE.
and my most recent batch HERE!

One of my New Year Resolutions…
was to figure out a better system for cooking/cleaning.
Now that I have a crowd…
(a husband, a 4 yr old, 2 yr old and 7 week old)
I knew that I needed a plan to tackle feeding this crew that made it easier and saved us money.
There were far too many nights it would be 5 and
I would have no clue what I was going to make for dinner.
This new system of Freezer Crock Pot Meals has helped TREMENDOUSLY!!!
It saves you time..because the meals are prepped and ready to go….
And it saves you money! Each of my 17 meals only cost us $4.00!

Each recipe gives our family 2 meals…one even 3 meals!
So one day of cooking and I have 17 meals taken care of!
Below I’ve listed the recipes (sourcing the original recipe)
You can download the RECIPES and FREEZER BAG DIRECTIONS here to print…
along with the GROCERY LIST sorted by sections for easy shopping.
Be sure to check over the list because you most likely already have many of the items!
*I added crock pot liners to the list…because they are AMAZING.*

Now I think that some people might do the Prep Work at night..when hubby is home.
But lately my 7 week old is super fussy at that time..and If I’m not holding/nursing him..
I just want to relax by the end of the day! So my plan is to do most of the prep
(even if it’s divided up) during one day. I’m realistic in that it will take me a while…
and probably will be interrupted by melt downs..nap time.. and tea parties..
but It is do able and will be worth it. (Be sure not to leave meat out.
I saved that part to when I knew I could cut/bag/refrigerate without interruptions.)

Here’s how your first attempt at
Freezer Crock Pot Meals should go:
First…start the morning off with a dance party to t swift.
mom hair..wet hair on top of not required. but c’mon… I look good.

Then.. let the kids destroy the house while you chop everything up!
(You can clean the family room up later while they make a mess in their room.)
Hopefully at least one of the bambinos will co-operate and sleep..
occasionally push the battery dead swing with your foot to keep baby asleep…

Take a break to make “lunch” for kids….. be hilarious.
“Girl Faces” will probably be requested. Now that your kids know you are funny you
will never be able to serve a boring lunch again without a revolt.
you have no one to blame but yourself for that.

Label your Gallon sized ziplock bags with each Recipe…
Including the cook time/heat level..and any directions for when you are cooking.
(My husband “made” dinner..and was able to read the bag and make it happen
while I nursed baby. perfecto. mission accomplished.)

These are the recipes that I chose to make for my
first try at Freezer Crock Pot Meals.
I did 3 tried and true favorites..and 4 new ones.
If you are wanting to pick just a few of these recipes…
go with the Chicken and Dumplings..Pulled Pork..and Lasagna. they are our favorites!
Our Picky eater, Sienna, LOVES the cheesy chicken and rice.. and we all LOVE the chicken and dumplings. I just pulled that out to make up tomorrow night. :)
I suggest purchasing most of your items at a store like Aldi’s or Bottom Dollar.
However, When I decided to try this was new years day…
so Aldi’s was closed and I did my shopping at Giant Eagle.
I think I could have spent a lot less shopping at Aldi’s or with coupons.
This time though…..I spent $68.00 for 17 meals…
equaling out to $4.00 per meal for my family.
(The lasagna bag gives 2 meals of lasagna with extra meat sauce for a pasta meal!)
My new routine is to pull out a frozen bag and put in fridge the
night before (at bed or when I’m finishing up dinner) so that it is thawed and ready to go the next day. You could put plenty of these in frozen…it would just take longer to cook obviously.
As far as leftovers with these meals… I love that you can use the pulled pork another day for tacos.. and change up the extra lasagna meat sauce with a different type of pasta. You could divide up even more the soup or the cheesy chicken potatoes if you add more potatoes.

Here are the original recipes I used this time around.
Be sure to download the grocery
and recipe list above for how I made them up!
This was my first try and I’m
happy to share what we did!
If I can do it, a mama with babies at her feet and in her arms, so can you!
I’m excited to put this new system into work at our house.
Sophie kept asking me what I was doing…
I told her I was cooking all day so that later in
the week I could play instead of cook!
She was all about that idea. I think she cheered. ;)


** LOVE the Chicken and Dumplings..always have.
that’s why I’m doubling it this next time.
**not a fan of the chicken and rice. too..thick.
**red potatoes turned brown only in ONE of the recipes.. wierd.
So this next time I put the potatoes in a seperate freezer bag to do a little trial..
and see if they turn brown or not. if they do..I’ll just throw in some fresh when it’s time.
**Pulled Pork last time was yummy to use for tacos.. but we really like it with barbecue the most. So I went ahead and poured in the Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce right away this time. :) LOVEEE eating the barbecue pulled pork on tacos with cheese.
it’s delicious. trust me.

Giveaway- 3 Month Subscription to E-MEALZ

So excited about this Giveaway…
E-MEALZ is perfect for anyone busy and budgeting!
You choose the store.They provide the plan..
Each week you receive a brand new plan with a complete grocery list organized by sections. For all the list girls like me…this is a dream come true. ;)
Watch my video below for more details!

E-Mealz relies on a team of experienced meal planners, writers and editors to create new dinner menus every week that are designed around grocery store sales, seasonal specials and diet preferences. For $5.00 per month, subscribers download a recipe plan for the week with a matching aisle-by-aisle grocery list. The easy-to-follow recipes usually contain fewer than seven ingredients to allow for prep times of less than 30 minutes.  It also helps families stay within a predictable budget by being prepared with a detailed list to use at the grocery store
I love that this company was started by sisters and moms!
E-Mealz was created by sisters Jane DeLaney, mother of four, and Jenny Cochran, mother of three. The sisters were frustrated by the challenge of coming up with healthy, budget-conscious meals for their own families and inspired by their own mother’s frugal ways, they launched the program in 2003.

Check out their blog for recipes, tips on how to simplify your life, organize your days, and plan family fun.

If you can’t wait…they are currently offering 10% discount for all new subscribers…
just enter 2012 at the time of purchase! That code is good until January 15th!

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!
Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

HOW TO ENTER: Leave a comment(with e-mail address if you do not have a google profile/blog)
for each entry-

1. Follow The Busy Budgeting Mama via Google Connect (top right sidebar)

2. Follow The Busy Budgeting Mama via Twitter

3. TweetI would love to have the _______meal plan from @E-Mealz

4. Visit and “Like” your favorite blog post

6. Post about the Giveaway 
(Facebook or Blog.. Just include Link in comment)

7. Enter the giveaway for a friend/family member..
and Subscribe to E-MEALZ getting a discount!
(Use code 2012 at check-out for 10% off!)

The Giveaway will end on January 15th at noon .
And a winner will be chosen via
I will announce the winner on my blog on January 15th..
The winner will be contacted via e-mail(if left)!
Thank you for entering and good luck!!

Behind the Scenes: My Budget Friendly V-Day Photo Shoot

Here you go! as promised, some behind the scenes photos and videos of the Budget Friendly Valentines Day Photo-Shoot. I always like seeing the inside scoop of stuff so I thought i would share so you could see how it all came together! 
It’s amazing what the right lighting, a great photographer, a cute baby model 
and some fun DIY party decor can end up creating!! 

I styled this shoot to showcase my Valentines Day Printables & also fun budget friendly 
party details… because even on a budget…
we all want to celebrate pretty!
for the details of what was used in this shoot 
check out the original post where i listed them!

the morning of the shoot sophia walked into the room that i had transformed while she was sleeping and screamed “party!!!!!!…..we need to take a picture!!!”..and she ran and got her play camera. haha. she is definitly my child. she also has “photographed” her

 food before eating it like i do……..seriously hilarious.
but yeah she played all morning in there with her felt donuts and cupcakes! (tutorials here) and danced around…sometimes i wish i could pull of a tutu like she does.
Christine, of Christine Marie Fine Art Photography, is soo fun to work with. we have become pretty good friends over the past month and I always love when she jumps on board with these crazy projects i think up! :) She followed my blog before we really knew each other..we had mutual friends. and then we met one day at my childhood Church in Atlanta (she was there for Confession and I was there leaving a friend’s Wedding! funny timing!) But we immediately connected. we are very like minded and have that creative spirit in us…it’s so fun working with someone who loves being creative and thinks BIG like me.

We have some other fun projects in the works so stay tuned for that!

Who needs a studio when you have a dining room……haha.

Christine and her hubby, Thomas, came over in the afternoon. While the boys entertained themselves Christine and I threw together a Beef Stew (a version off of the pioneer woman’s recipe) and then once that was going, we started working on the photo shoot!

During the course of the Photo Shoot sophia was bribed with 
2 cupcakes (only the icing)
1 lollipop (a few licks…it was too pretty to eat. :)
and 3 mini chocolate candies….
do i win the mama of the year award or what?
she was lovingggggggggg the posing and smiling. while i was still putting together dinner I saw her hamming it up in a practice run with Christine. a diva has been created. uh oh. ;)

we took some coloring breaks. love the tippy-toes.

Easter is coming soon……and I already have some fun ideas for a Photo-Shoot to showcase my Easter Printables in my Etsy Shop: The Pretty Paperie!
 but there are some top secret projects coming up before that….
I know, the suspense is killing you!! ;)

enjoy some silly video clips. the wild running around was BEFORE the sugar high.. o yes…