Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

This Week’s $70 Grocery Budget + Menu Plan

Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to . See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Because of our traveling the last 4 weeks, I haven’t posted our grocery budget + menu plan posts. It feels good to be back to it now that school has started and we’re back into the swing of a more normal routine.

Speaking of school starting, here’s a real-life photo from the first day: Kathrynne headed out to a 4-day back to school camp (her school starts with an all-school 4-day camp!), Silas all ready for his first day in his uniform, and Kaitlynn sporting a thermometer because she had a low grade fever and had to stay home.

I couldn’t believe this HUGE cart full of egg noodles marked down to $0.69 each at Kroger this week!

But I didn’t buy them because Kroger has Private Selection on pasta for $0.50 when you buy 5 participating items.

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • Kroger breakfast links — free with coupons from Kroger mailer
  • 2 canisters of breadcrumbs — on closeout for $0.47 each
  • Kroger peanut butter — free with coupons from Kroger mailer
  • A&W Cream Soda — free with coupon mailed to me
  • Quest bar — free with Freebie Friday coupon
  • 1 can Kroger green beans — marked down to $0.29
  • 2 cans of hominy — marked down to $0.29 each
  • Turkey Hill Tea — marked down to $0.39
  • Kroger broth — marked down to $0.69
  • 3 boxes of Kroger toaster pastries — marked down to $0.59 each
  • 1 bag of peppers — marked down to $0.99
  • 1 cantaloupe — marked down to $0.99
  • 1 bag of onions/avocados — marked down to $0.99
  • 1 can Simple Truth green beans — marked down to $0.49
  • 1 package of egg roll wraps — marked down to $0.49
  • 2 bags of Blue Corn chips — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 1 package of Oscar Mayer hot dogs — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 bags of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 4 packages of Private Selection pasta — $0.50 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 1 box of oatmeal — used $0.40/1 Kroger digital coupon = $1.09 after coupon
  • Total with tax: $18.95

Kaitlynn and I flew to Portland, Maine for me to speak at the Food Allergy Blogger’s Conference. One of the best parts of speaking at food blogging conferences? The BEST gift sacks full of yummy food and snacks from sponsors!

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • Kroger whole wheat flour — marked down to $1.69
  • Brown rice — marked down to $1.19
  • 3 packages of Eckrich sausage — $1.69 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 5 packages of cheese — $0.99 each with Friday-Saturday deal
  • 2 boxes of Cheerios — $1.49 when you buy 5 participating items — used $1/2 Kroger digital coupon = $0.99 each
  • Bag of grapefruit/lime juice — $0.99
  • Tub of lettuce — marked down to $1.79
  • 1 dozen cage-free eggs — $2.50
  • 1 back to school brownie bites — marked down to $2.49
  • Total with tax: $25.09

Sprouts Shopping Trip

  • Bartlett Pears — $0.95
  • 3 18-oz. cartons of blueberries — $1.98 each
  • Peaches — $1.09
  • Water — $1.98
  • Total with tax: $10.64

BigLots Shopping Trip

  • 2 bags of chips — $0.25 each
  • 2 double packs of English Muffins — $1.40 each
  • 4 packages of Keebler cookies — $0.25 each
  • 4 to-go cups — $0.25 each
  • 4 bags of peanuts — $0.25 each
  • Total with tax: $7.26

$70 Grocery Budget + Menu Plan

I couldn’t believe the great deals we found at BigLots! It reminded me of the Christian County Discount Freight & Grocery last week!

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here.



  • Ham Sandwiches, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Capri Sun, Salad, Leftovers, Fruit,


  • Cookies, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Go-Gurts


  • Sunday — Chicken Noodle Soup, Oyster Crackers
  • Monday — Fend for Yourself
  • Tuesday — Chick-fil-A
  • Wednesday — Smoked Ribs
  • Thursday — Chicken Noodle Soup, Bran Muffins
  • Friday — Chicken Rice Casserole, Cantaloupe, Roasted Broccoli
  • Saturday — Leftovers

Total spent on groceries: $61.94

Cashback earned this week: 308 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards

Brigette’s $95 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6


2 64-oz cartons Orange Juice – $3.18

2 64-oz cartons Whole Milk – $1.40

1 Can Whipping Cream – $1.99

1 32-oz carton Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt – $3.39

4 single-serving sized cartos Flavored Greek Yogurts – $2.36

4 dozen Eggs – $3.12

2 16-oz cartons Egg Whites – $3.38

2 16-oz bags Shredded Mozzarella Cheese – $3.98

2 16-oz bags Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $3.98

1 8-oz pkg Colby Jack Sliced Cheese – $1.19

1 can Parmesan Cheese – $2.19

2 bags Riced Cauliflower – $3.78

1 48-oz bag Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts – $5.39

1 16-oz pkg Sliced Deli Meat – $2.15

1 pkg Sliced Pepperoni – $1.99

2 cans Green Beans – $0.78

1 2-lb bag Red Onions – $1.79

1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $1.79

1 bag Baby Carrots – $0.85

1 bunch Bananas – $0.92

2 Avocados – $1.30

1 bag Radishes – $0.79

1 6-ct pkg Applesauce Cups – $1.25

1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $1.99

1 10-lb bag Russet Potatoes – $2.49

1 3-lb bag Sweet Potatoes – $1.69

1 can Garbanzo Beans – $0.38

1 pkg Zucchini – $1.19

2 pkgs Broccoli Crowns – $2.98

2 4-ct pkgs Sweet Corn – $3.38

1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.39

1 3-lb bag Lemons – $1.69

1 carton Strawberries – $1.25

1 Cauliflower – $1.49

3 large bags Red Grapes (@ $0.89/lb) – $5.69

1 1-lb box Butter Quarters – $2.19

1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89

1 loaf French Bread, reduced to $0.50

1 pkg Flour Tortillas – $0.65

1 loaf Sandwich Bread – $0.65

1 pkg Hot Dog Buns – $0.59

1 pkg Rice Cakes – $1.15

1 can Baking Powder – $0.99

1 jar Onion Powder – $0.95

1 can Olive Oil Cooking Spray – $1.35

1 jar Honey – $3.69

1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix – $0.39

Grocery Total for the Week: $95.57 

(This is a little more than I usually spend – but this is our first real grocery trip since getting back from vacation, and the fridge was getting pretty bare!)

Weekly Menu Plan


Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include:

Fried/Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Cereal, Fruit, Yogurt, Smoothies, Oatmeal


Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Honey, Bananas, Carrots

Cheese Quesadillas, Grapes, Mini Cucumbers x 2

Baked Sweet Potatoes, Cottage Cheese, Peaches (gift from friends who visited a local orchard), Carrots

Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Grapes, Mini Peppers x 2



Spaghetti Carbonara (family recipe, very similar to ), Garlic Bread, Tossed Salad

Hot Dogs on the Grill, Baked French Fries, Corn on the Cob, Applesauce

(I will be omitting the sausage and the green pepper), Roasted Cauliflower, Grapes

Crockpot Italian Chicken, Green Beans, Biscuits

Build-Your-Own-Taco-Salad Bar (Seasoned Ground Beef, Lettuce, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Salsa, Avocados, Plain Greek Yogurt, Fritos)

Rice/Cauliflower Rice, Peaches


My Completely Honest Review of The Ultimate Productivity Bundle

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Wondering if The Ultimate Productivity Bundle is worth buying? Read my honest review below, and you can decide for yourself!

If you are on other blogger’s email lists, there’s a good chance you’ve gotten some emails or seen some blog posts or social media posts yesterday and today about .

I know a number of you have already purchased this bundle, but if you haven’t purchased The Ultimate Productivity Bundle yet this year, here are two things you need to know:

1) It is back again through midnight tonight for a Flash Sale! This is your last chance to grab it at this huge discount!

2) I went through every single resource in the bundle and went through it so I could give you my completely honest review.

Yes, you read that right. I literally signed up for every.single.course and downloaded every ebook and printable. My poor computer put in a lot of work!

While I didn’t read every word or listen to every single minute of video (that would have taken me a LONG time!), I went through and at least skimmed every single resource and decided to share my really honest thoughts…

Here were my honest thoughts:

The Negatives:

  1. Some of the products had an inflated price tag. This is a pet peeve of mine. Don’t put $29 on a product just to make it sound more impressive. While is supposedly valued at $1500, I’m going to be honest and say that I felt at least 25% of the products had an inflated price tag. And I likely wouldn’t use at least 60% of them, so for me, the value would be really and truly more like a few hundred dollars, not $1500.
  2. There weren’t as many products in it as I was expecting. I was surprised that there weren’t more like 60-70 products in it (there are only in it). I think I’m used to them having that many when it’s the Homemaking Bundle, so I thought the options weren’t as plentiful as I was hoping for.
  3. I wish there had been more ebooks. While courses are great, I often prefer ebooks because they are easier for me to read and digest — especially since I’m a fast reader and sometimes skim (Shh! Don’t tell anyone!). There are only 5 ebooks in and the rest of the products are printables or courses.
  4. Some of the printables were poorly designed. I know that we don’t always have the highest quality design on things we offer because of various reasons and I know sometimes you just do the best you can do, but I found that at least 30% of the printables were ones I would never consider using because they just looked like they were designed by someone who didn’t have a lot of design experience or it just was not my style at all.
  5. A few products felt very clunky to download. I noticed there were a number of .zip files as well as some courses that seemed to require multiple hoops to jump through to get them to download. It felt like it sort of flew in the face of productivity to have to go to quite a bit of effort to download a product in order to be able to use it.

The Positives:

  1. There were a number of really helpful and well-designed printables. I was impressed with how many different styles of printables offered. If you love printables, you will just adore this bundle! So many great options to choose from!
  2. I loved that many of the resources were created by people who aren’t naturally organized. It seems like many times, productivity classes and courses and ebooks are created by naturally organized people. This was not the case with many of the products in this bundle — many of the creators said they were more of a Type B, laid back personality —  and that’s why I feel like it has much wider appeal.
  3. The bundle offered a variety of printable planners. If you are looking for a planner for yourself and you’re okay with printing it yourself, you’ve got a wealth of choices in this bundle!
  4. There were some really high quality products. There were some that I felt would make it worth the price tag ($37) if you would use these and they would help your life be more organized. Like I said, I went through each and every product to pick out the ones I felt were the highest quality and value and something I would personally use or that I thought would be really helpful to other people.

Here were my top 4 favorites:

This PDF download not only offers some great tips for getting your kids to help around the house and suggested chore ideas for different ages, but you get customizable rotating chore chart systems for your family!

This may have been one of my favorite resources in the bundle. It’s an inspirational ebook with very practical tips on how to get your kids to go from being couch potatoes to being assets in your home — without having some rigid system that was designed for Type A moms.

There are lots of helpful charts and hands-on examples in the book, like this:

If you’re frustrated that your kids aren’t more disciplined and diligent but you just don’t know where to start, you’ll find a lot of fantastic help in this short but highly actionable ebook.

This course was one of the most beautiful and value-packed courses in the bundle and I couldn’t believe all you got for the price. It definitely was not one of the products that I felt had an inflated price tag.

One of the best parts of it is where Beth Anne shows you just how much you can get done in 10 minutes. She’s not a Type A personality, so her advice will work for pretty much every personality type.

Okay, so full disclosure here: I am not a Trello person and I don’t think I ever will be. BUT, I do believe that it can be an amazing organizational system for many people and I wanted to highlight this course because it was so well done and helpful for those who are looking for a better way to organize their life and thoughts and projects.

If you haven’t purchased yet, and you are still interested in purchasing after reading my honest review, you can to purchase it for just $37 through August 15, 2019!

You’ll get access to these 4 products + 42 other resources including a number of printable planners and other time management and organizational and goal-setting resources!

. Remember, this special flash sale price is only good through midnight tonight (August 15, 2019)!

P.S. Have you purchased ? If so, I’d love to hear your honest thoughts on it!

Modesty, Legalism, and Grace

Want to hear our thoughts on legalism and grace and how this plays out in our decisions and convictions? Be sure to listen to this week’s episode!

Missed previous episodes of The Jo show? You can listen to them here.

Ever since Jesse and I did our show on breaking free from legalism, we’ve received a lot emails, messages, and comments all asking similar questions.

The questions were all something like, “If you don’t adhere to legalism, what should you adhere to?” “How do you determine what you should believe and practice?” “What kind of convictions should a Christian have when it comes to dress, music, dating, a woman’s role, etc.?”

In this episode, Jesse and I dig into the concept of standards and how to know what to believe and practice in light of grace and the Gospel. We tackle some tough topics — like modesty — and share how we process through what is right and wrong when it comes to standards.

While I don’t expect you to agree with every thing we say, I hope that this episode will challenge you to think about what you believe and why you believe it and the choices you make and why you make them.

In This Episode: 

[00:26] – Welcome back to the show! This is a different show than we usually do because we’re going to take a deep dive into the topic of legalism.

[01:57] – Listen as I read the listener email that inspired us to do this show.

[03:28] – Jesse starts off with his thoughts on the email and the definition of standards.

[06:03] – Is your reason for doing something to please someone else or to “fit in”?

[07:09] – The basis of any standard should start with your heart.

[10:14] – Who do you believe God is? Your actions might show that it’s actually different than what you say.

[11:42] – I share my favorite phrase in the Bible that applies to this topic and how it has profoundly impacted my life.

[17:35] – So what standards should we set? How do we decide how we should act and what convictions we should hold?

Links and Resources:

Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: [email protected]

How to Listen to The Jo Show

The podcast is available on, , , and . You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for .)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Jo Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Free Take 10 Meal Prep Challenge

Need some encouragement to get dinner on the table each night? Sign up for this free challenge!

If you want to get more organized with weekday dinners, sign up for this !

This challenge encourages you to take 10 minutes each morning to meal prep for that night’s dinner. It’s that simple! .

This challenge is typically $17, but you can through Sunday, August 18th.

Easy Meals for 25+ People | Our Vacation Menu Plan

Need some easy meals for 25 people…or maybe just some easy recipes for large groups? Here’s how we fed 27 people on our recently family vacation including the meals we made + how we divvied up the responsibilities.

Be sure to also check out my post from earlier this year on Our Vacation Menu Plan for a Crowd + last year’s Big Family Vacation Menu Plan!

Easy Meals for 25+ People

Last week, we drove to Lampe, MO to spend a week at Table Rock Lake with almost all of my extended family. (This time around, it was my parents, 2 brothers, 3 sisters, and their spouses and kids. My youngest brother couldn’t come because he’s working at the this summer).

My dad rented for us all (it has a main house and then 6 caboose that have been turned into small “cabins”).

In addition to spending lots of time skiing, boating, and swimming, we ate a lot of yummy meals. But in order to feed 27 people without it being too much work, we not only stuck with easy meals for 25+ people, but we also all pitched in and helped with the food.

Since you all loved my large group menu plan posts, I wanted to, once again, share what we ate and how we planned and divided up the responsibilities. This might give you some inspiration in case you need some suggestions for easy meals for 25+ people.


How We Planned and Divvied Things Up

Like last time, my sister planned the menu with easy meals that would feed a crowd and sent out a sign-up form using  (it’s free and so easy to use!). Each family signed up for the main dishes and side dishes they wanted to be in charge of.

(A screenshot of the sign up form on .)

Whatever meals or parts of meals you signed up for, you were in charge of bringing the ingredients for and cooking/baking.

We also had a sign-up for kitchen clean-up, too, so that one person didn’t have to do a bunch of the clean up and everyone could enjoy plenty of time for fun!

Easy Breakfasts for 25+ People

Here’s what we served for breakfast:

Easy Lunches for 25+ People

For lunch, we had our usual huge Build-Your-Own Salad Bar (most all of my family loves salads!). We also had bread and meat/cheese for sandwiches for the kids and any adults who didn’t just want a salad. In addition, we set out any leftovers from breakfast or dinner.

Build-Your-Own Salad Bar Ingredients: A variety of Greens and Lettuce, Canned Salmon, Boiled Eggs, Raisins, Seeds/Nuts, Avocados, Bell Peppers, Cucumbers, Chickpeas, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta Cheese, Croutons, Dressings

Simple Dinners for 25+ People

If you’re looking for some really easy meals for 25+ people, here’s what we made for the dinners:

  • Spaghetti Pie, Lettuce Salad, Garlic Bread, Green Beans, Fruit
  • Southwest Rollups (Toppings: Shredded Lettuce, Sour Cream, Salsa), Mexican Rice, Fruit
  • Pizza & Soda Pop (We ordered from a local pizza place — we ordered it online and then my dad went and picked it up.)
  • Baked Potato Bar & (The toppings we had: Baked Potatoes, Taco Meat, Sour Cream, Cottage Cheese, Chopped Green Onions, Shredded Cheese, Bacon, Salsa, Chopped Tomatoes, Broccoli.)
  • Grilled Chicken, Lettuce Salad, Homemade Biscuits, Corn on the Cob, Fruit Salad, Steamed Veggies,  Twice Baked Potatoes. (I used the leftover baked potatoes to make these.)
  • Hamburgers/Hot Dogs, Homemade French Fries, Veggie Tray, Leftover Corn on the Cob, Leftover Fruit Salad

It’s amazing how it’s not too much work on any one person to feed 25+ people if we all pitch in and help!

What other ideas of easy meals for 25+ people or easy recipes for large groups do you have? I’d love to hear!

Cut your grocery bill!

Want to cut your grocery budget? Go here and sign up (it’s free!) I’ll send you my 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill By $50.