Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Welcome to the June Challenge!

This month is our "no eating out" month.  We have gotten a little lazy in this area, and it needs to stop.  I asked the family over the weekend what kind of things they would like to eat in the coming weeks.  Apparently my family doesn't realize it is JUNE, because the answers I got were:

Thanksgiving (aka, turkey with trimmings)
Brats (ok...this one I will let go)

Whining......this was from Bossy

and I added

Green Pork Chili
Thai noodles

Most of the meals mentioned will have left overs, so it will be a 2 for 1 deal.  I am planning a few nights of "ligher" fare when G-man is at work (he won't eat salad), but the kids and I will have salad with fruit and maybe some diced meat.

We have never fully completed this challenge when I have tried it before.  Last July, we made it 18 days, and the power went out, and it was I took the kids to Friendly's (but kids eat for $1.99 on Wednesdays, so it wasn't bad).  And I think there was one more slip up.

I did make the one concession about Father's Day that if G-man wanted to go out, we could.  But he said he was fine grilling some steaks and calling it a day.

The challenges within this challenge include:

1)  Bossy has occupational therapy from 5:30-6:30pm every Wednesday.  We get home about 7pm.  So I will have to pack something for them to eat (vs stopping at McD on our way there).

2)  We are having a yard sale (or a tag sale in this neck of the woods) on June 18, and I know we aren't going to want to cook that night.  Need to make sure that we have something ready to go.

3)  As the weather continues to warm up....I won't want to use the oven.  So meals need to be stove-top or grilled.  I am sure I will use the oven some...but sparingly (especially since it may be on it's last leg.....yesterday was a bullet dodged).


4)  Staying on budget!!!!!

I am frustrated at the recent lack of progress.  The expenses of the pool and a few other things have thrown a curve ball at debt reduction.  But I am trying to take the reigns back and hit it hard and heavy in June!!!!


  1. I'm doing the no dining out challenge this month too, with the exception of travel days for work because I am reimbursed for those meals. My out to eat spending was out of control in May and it was those little trips through the drive thru and sheer laziness that was the cause! So, I'm with you on this one!

  2. Mysti,
    I started to laugh when you wrote down what your kids wanted in meals. We do a Christmas in July meal every year...turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. However, it's 90 degrees here already, and I have an oven on the fritz, so the turkey may have to be grilled...

    I will be doing this challenge with you since my budget is very tight. We don't eat out very often, but I tend to bring home pizza every now and again and that adds up! (I don't always have complete success with challenges, but I will definitely try!)

  3. Good luck this month Mysti :)

  4. A couple of tips on cooking without heating up the house. The first is to use a crockpot. This is also nice because you can just throw everything in, and it will be ready when you are. If you have lots of space in your fridge you can even prepare everything the night before, keep the liner in your fridge, then throw it on to cook in the morning. I often 'cheat' and buy a package of prepared mix and use that. You find them in the spice aisle, near the powdered gravy and such. I don't know if you have them there, but mine are called clubhouse slow cooker seasonings. My favorite is the pulled pork (sooooo awesome), and they also have pot roast (not a big fan), beef stew (pretty good), chicken, and I think some others too. They are really foolproof, just follow the directions, and I've never had a failure.

    The other thing you can use is the toaster oven. It is a smaller space to heat, so it heats the house up less. You can't fit a lot in there, but it would be perfect for the nights it's just you and the kids, or just a side dish for all of you. I have baked a small lasagna in there, baked a few potatoes or sweet potatoes, made chicken nuggets and fries, and you can even make a small batch of cookies (which are awesome as dessert with ice cream between two of them).

    As a bonus, either of these can be taken outside and used on your porch/deck/balcony/front lawn assuming you have a plug in there. Then they won't heat your house at all.

  5. @Sharon - you should have heard some of the ideas that I all dessert for dinner, and jelly beans. I forgot that they also want breakfast for dinner...which is fine with me!

    @Laura - thanks!

    @Jenny - I love my crockpot, but alas, my children don't. They don't like food that has been touching each other. They are in that really picky stage. I am still menu planning, and thanks for the pulled pork idea...I forgot about that and usually the pork shoulder is on sale this time of year.

  6. I was also going to suggest the crockpot - you could always make chili and have that one day and then hotdogs and chili or frito pie (a Texas favorite) another day. But for the syas you are going to be gone till 7 and your yard sale why not pack a picnic supper. You could make chicken one night and then use the leftovers for chicken salad etc. Sometimes the same foods eaten in a different space are a novelty

  7. I really like the 'no eating out' challenge. I think Im going to have to do this one this month too!!

    BTW, blogger still wont let me comment on peoples posts unless Im 'anonymous' haha So this is summer over at

  8. @Suzy - I have to be careful what I pack when we go to Bossy's appt. He has food allergies and a feeding tube. So I have some restrictions. But for yard sale night...I totally am going to have some cold salads, pulled chicken, and tea ready for that evening.

    @Anon - blogger is so fickle. I need to update my blog roll at some point and make sure I add all my new friends!

  9. Regarding the crockpot and the kids, just cook the meat in the crockpot and make your side dishes separately.

  10. @Rhitter - who knows if they will eat meat that is cooked differently. Usually they just sit there and cry....I don't like it.........

  11. Sorry if I am repeating my comment not sure if it went through.

    I am going to wish you luck, we had a really awesome month of not eating out and a really bad one.

    This month we are just trying to eat out as little as possible. All three of m kids have birthdays this month and usually we go out to eat, but the kids are wanting me to do their favorite meals. Luckily the twins are picking the same thing.

    Lately I have been doubling up on meals and freezing half. I am hoping this helps on those nights I don't feel like cooking.

  12. Day 1 and I'm still in! Okay, yes, this sounds dorky, but considering that everyone in my department loaded up today and went to the pizza place with the best calzones I've ever had in my entire life and I stayed at the office and ate leftovers.... well, I feel rather accomplished today! ;-)

  13. @Sass - I am proud of ya!!!!! I know it is tough, but we are in it for the long haul.

  14. I think I will join you (just not counting the corn dog I bought for $1 today). We don't eat out often, but I find myself being lazy or depressed and I suggest going out as a way to ease the "stress". I will just have to think a bit further ahead and ask myself what I will do when I feel the "urge". Maybe if I deliberately schedule a leftover or "on your own" night 1 time a week (hubby's a real meat, potatoes, vegie type and doesn't care for casseroles, simple dinners, etc.) I'll check back in to let you know how it's working out.