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Let’s See How Ridiculous We can make Our Food Plan


We are just starting a mostly no spend month. I’ve already kind of broken that by spending $25 on a parking pass at the high school. (Remember, up until this past week, I wouldn’t have needed one at the high school as I had not drivers attending there.)

Anyways, as we begin I realize just how ridiculous our eating plan in. And I’m fairly certain it’s not at all typical. I mean, we’ve gone years with odd eating times as homeschoolers and then with Gymnast training 20-25 hours a week at night. But now it’s just crazy. Let me explain…

In our household of 6 we have:

  • Three who fast regularly – I fast 42 hours, 3 times a week, Sea Cadet has a 6 hour eating window every day and Gymnast does marches to the beat of his own drum and rarely eats any planned meals.
  • One vegan – Beauty cooks most of her own meals and while she is happen to cook for everyone, most of the time, no one eating wants what she is cooking. Although I will say she is an excellent cook and I enjoy the meals I have with her now and again.
  • Three who primarily work evenings/nights so don’t show up until 9pm or later.
  • One who works crazy long shifts sometimes up to 40 hours at a time.
  • Two restaurant works who can eat at work when they want too for free.

With all that, meal planning just has flown out the window! And while the start of school may bring a bit of normalcy to the schedule. Most of the above will still apply.

Nevermind, trying to have all the family sit down for a meal. I really miss that and constantly look for windows when everyone will be home at the same time that is not the middle of the night! Any other moms of teens feel this pain?

Change in Kitchen Routine

With that being said, the kitchen routine has changed a bit.

  • Everyone gets a say in the typically weekly grocery trips.
  • I rarely buy any prepared foods. (The twins purchase their own if they want them.)
  • I still chop veggies and have them in plastic ware or frozen for quick snacks or to save prep time when cooking.
  • I plan meals for Tuesdays and Thursdays, my weekday eating days. The kids know they will come home to food or can eat it as leftovers the next day.
  • We handle the weekends as they come. If no one is really around, I typically just eat a raw diet. But if lots of the kids and their friends are around, I will cook a big meal.

Anyone else’s world change completely when all the kids became teenagers with driver’s licenses, curfews and social lives?

I am loving it. But I do miss regular family meals! But I guess after our months of quarantine and living in a smaller house, we all need so space.


Long Distance/Long Term Travel and Finances


There were lots of fantastic questions on the last post so it made the most sense to lay it all out in the same place especially since there may be lots of folks who are considering long term trips right now.

Q – Have you considered renting out your home while you are gone?

A – Yes. There are some big problems with this idea though. First, there are 6 of us in 1,200 sq. ft. and we homeschool. The prospective money we could make off AirBnBing our home didn’t offset the cost/burden of moving out the school room set-up and our personal belongings. That, and in the time of COVID, the liability/risk factor is high. If someone got COVID, could they say it was because we didn’t adequately clean the home between renters? Lots of hassle. Very little reward.

Q – Does your health insurance cover you out of state? Will you get stuck with a huge hospital bill?

A – We have the worst, best insurance out there. We have an HSA which means we pay 100% of all medical expenses out of pocket until we hit our deductible (that’s the bad part). Once we hit our out-of-pocket maximum, our insurance pays 100% of medical and prescription drug costs for the rest of the year (that’s the good part). The out-of-pocket maximum is less than our emergency fund. This would be the same whether we were in-state or out of state but it’s something everyone should look into when traveling, particularly during a pandemic.

Q – Should you use the trip money to pay down your mortgage instead?

A – This is a hard call. We saved up money for a fall trip and my husband got some unexpected side jobs so we aren’t going into our emergency fund or stealing from another budget bucket BUT, I recognize this experience won’t be what it would have been had we not been knee deep in a pandemic. There will be no stops at amusement parks or zoos. There won’t be family dinners at fun restaurants. That makes me sad. But at the same time, I also recognize that I’m in a situation that is unlikely to happen again (please Lord, I HOPE IT WON’T!). I have a huge chunk of time to watch my kids fish in lakes and rivers and explore backcountry. I’ll pay my mortgage for two months longer to take advantage of this opportunity.

Q – Would you like to get into a debate about traveling during a pandemic?

A – As fun as that sounds… No. ; ) I understand that we all have strong opinions and I respect them but I’m not open for a debate. I’ll explain the finances related to traveling during a pandemic but not about the pandemic itself.

A couple more things I think are important when trip planning…

Double Check Your Insurance Coverage

Yes, look at your healthcare but also look at your home insurance and your car insurance. Are the limits right? Do you feel comfortable with your deductibles? Do you have enough insurance? Do you have roadside assistance?

Make Sure Your Affairs Are in Order

Yup. I’m getting morbid on you. Chris and I have very detailed wills. They outline what to do in lots of situations. What happens if we both die? Who gets the kids? Who is the executor? What are our health directives? It’s all there. Before we leave on big trips, we double check to make sure everything is still the way we want it and we call my mom to remind her where the information is. We don’t do it because we are morbid, we do it because the last thing I want my loved ones worrying about when dealing with loss is trying to figure out what to do with my kids or my house or my car. You should have this in place NOW but you should regularly revisit to make sure it’s accurate. Travel is a good reminder to double check.