5 Easy Week Night Dinner Recipes

School is back, fall sports are in full swing, and that means busy nights with little time to cook big fancy dinners. Now is when we need to have easy weeknight dinner ideas for the family that are quick and healthy, and I have rounded up some of the best!

These are some of the yummiest budget-friendly healthy meals for your entire family that will have them asking for seconds (So you might wanna make extra. Just saying.)

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1. Beefy Noodle Skillet Dinner

Sooo good! Cheesy noodles and ground beef skillet dinner ready in 15 minutes. I love how this dinner is served in mugs - what a fun dinner idea for kids! Get the recipe at Family Favorite Recipes.

2. Easy Crock Pot Chicken and Rice 

There is absolutely nothing easier or better than throwing various ingredients into your crockpot in the morning, then coming home and getting dinner on the table in minutes. This hearty healthy dinner is going to become a family favorite (pretty much guaranteed!) Get the Recipe at Julie's Eats and Treats.

More From Happy Healthy Families

5 Easy Casseroles That will Make You a Kitchen Hero 

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3. Mexican Pizza With Crispy Tortilla Crust

Image From Two Peas and Their Pod

Mexican crispy tortilla pizza is a healthy cheap meal your whole family will love. This quick weeknight dinner takes about 15 minutes to prepare ( probably less for it to disappear, LOL) Get the Recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod.

4. Easy Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole

All you need are 5 ingredients to make this one-pan broccoli, rice, cheese, and chicken casserole. It is comforting, warm and makes a healthy easy dinner everyone will love. Get the Recipe at The Seasoned Mom.

5. Cheesy Angel Hair Pasta With Lemon

Picture From Delish.com

 Cheesy lemon angel hair pasta is a quick delicious family dinner perfect for busy weeknights. From start to finish, you can get this meal on the table in about 20 minutes. And even though everyone in the family will enjoy this yummy dish, it is hands down one of the best kid-friendly favorite recipes I have tried.  Get the Recipe at Delish.com

10 Magical Christmas Books Kids Want To Read With You

The holidays are right around the corner, bringing busy days, last-minute shopping trips, and holiday parties. But no matter how hectic this year's holiday season gets, I hope you can get some hot chocolate-snuggling time in with your kids, reading lots of favorite Christmas books together!

This list includes classic Christmas books that make Christmas Christmas, plus newer and very popular Christmas books for kids that have heart-warming stories and messages for the season. So grab your snuggle bugs and enjoy this most special time of the year with a good book.

Disclosure: If you purchase a book using a link provided, I may earn a small commission at no extra expense to you.

1. Merry Christmas, Stinky Face, By Lisa McCourt

This cute Christmas book for preschoolers has sold over a million copies since being published in 2016. It is a fun story about a little boy who is worried about possible mishaps on Christmas Eve, like the wind blowing his Christmas tree away, or one of Santa's reindeers getting his antlers stuck in the branches that hang over the roof. Luckily, his mom has just the right answers to all his questions!

Buy Now at Amazon.com.

More From Happy Healthy Families

5 Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes 

6 Cool Things Kids Love to Build With Legos

5 Easy Budget Dinner Ideas When You Have No Budget

2. Construction Site on Christmas Night (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site), By Sherri Duskey Rinker  

Construction Site on Christmas Night by [Rinker, Sherri Duskey]

Written by the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Mighty, Mighty, Construction Site, Construction Site on Christmas Night is on the top ten list of best selling Christmas books on Amazon, and no doubt will join the list of favorite Christmas books for little ones.

October 16, 2018, is the first day you can buy Construction Site on Christmas Night - so save the date if you have little ones at home! Better yet, pre-order your copy today!

Preorder now at Amazon.com.

3. The Snowy Day, By Ezra Jack Keats

The award-winning children's book, The Snowy Day, is a must-read holiday classic. The beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a little boy who experiences all the wonders of a magical snow day. Definitely, one to snuggle up and enjoy with your little ones!

Buy Now on Amazon.com

4. The Polar Express, By Chris Van Allsburg

Who doesn't love this classic Christmas story of a little boy who takes a magical trip to the North Pole?

Buy The Polar Express Anniversary Edition at Amazon.com.

Buy now at Amazon.com

5. Little Blue Truck's Christmas, By Alice Schertle

If you are looking for sturdy board books for your little ones, one of the best Christmas pictures books this year is Little Blue Truck's Christmas. Preschoolers can practice their counting skills as they help count the Christmas trees Blue delivers to his animal friends at Christmastime.

Buy Now at Amazon.com.

6. Dream Snow By Eric Carle

This classic Christmas picture board book for toddlers and preschoolers tells the heart-warming story of a farmer who remembers in the nick of time to put out gifts for all his barn animal friends. Little ones can count along as the farmer places gifts under the tree for each of his friends. Definitely one of the best picture books for Christmas ever!

Buy Now at Amazon.com

7. Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving, By Jan Berenstain

The awesome Berenstain bears are back in a Christmas story that helps kids learn about the joy of helping others.

Buy Now at Amazon.com

8. The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, By Karina Yan Glaser

Both children and parents are going to love reading this story about 5 siblings who try to find a way to save their family's beloved brownstone home at Christmas time - and they only have 11 days to come up with a plan.

9. Christmas in the Manger By Nola Buck, Felicia Bond

The story of the first Christmas complete with gorgeous illustrations in a sturdy picture board book for younger children.

Buy Now at Amazon.com

10. How The Grinch Stole Christmas By Dr. Suess

It just wouldn't be Christmas without Dr. Suess's all-time classic Grinch!

Buy Now at Amazon.com

My 4 Top Tricks For Saving Money Every Week Even When You Are Broke

Living on a shoestring budget is tough and not fun. Especially when you are so broke that you can barely pay your bills and buy groceries. Saving money seems impossible when you are barely getting by as it is.

That used to be us.  We were living paycheck to paycheck wondering how to save money when we were broke.

And guess what? I did stumble on some truly simple ways to save money even being as broke as we felt at the time.

These simple money-saving tricks do not involve coupons or money-saving apps and have never made me rich. But they sure helped me stretch my budget as far as it could.

We were able to make ends meet and get through really stressful times while paying bills and keeping food on the table. And though our finances have definitely improved, I still use these tricks to help save money every month.

These are things that worked for me. And though my hope is that anyone looking for ways to save money on a tight budget will find something here that may work for them, I understand what worked for me may not work for others.

1. Always, ALWAYS, Put One Item in Your Shopping Cart Back on The Shelf  

You will save money using this trick at the grocery store, plus I can just about guarantee you will smile as you leave the store - because you know you just saved some money (and don't worry too much about how much you saved, just enjoy knowing you did!)

Make it a habit, and do it every shopping trip.

When you get home, put the money in an envelope and save it.

I could almost always find one thing to put back. I was that motivated to save any money I could! Try this trick. I think you will love it!

2. Only Take The Minimum Amount of Money You Need To The Grocery Store

If you are on a super tight budget, you may be doing this already. And if you are on an 'okay kind of a budget,' still try this money-saving trick. You will save money, I promise.

My biggest downfall bar none when I go grocery shopping is having extra money in my wallet. I will ALWAYS spend more than I should - if I have extra money in my wallet. Rationalizing buying something like ice cream for the kids ( or something else NOT on my grocery list) was too easy for me to do.

I realized that I could only take the bare minimum amount of money I needed for that day's grocery store trip. No extra money means no extra spending which means staying on budget - even if it was not fun.

I would be sad that I could not buy ice cream for my kids because I did not have that extra $3.50 in my purse, for example. (want vs. need is not fun, period.)

But the next day I had my budgeted amount for that day's expenses intact when I could have easily used some of it at the grocery store the day before.

At this point, you are probably wondering why on earth I went shopping every day instead of once a week.

Why not take my grocery budget for the week and just shop one time for that week?

Back then in those days of barely scraping by every week, I found more security by shopping day by day. It just worked for me.

Since we had such a strict budget to get by each week, I felt better knowing there was money available if something came up (which we know, always does.)

I reasoned that if needed, I could find ways to do without buying groceries the next day if I had to - or change the dinner menu to something that cost less.

This method gave me security and worked well for me, but that is just me.

3. Separate Your Money for The Week as Soon as You Are Paid

This is like the tried and true envelope system that is so popular. And it is popular because if you stick to it, it works.

We deducted how much money we needed to pay the bills that week. For us, paychecks were every week at the time. So it was easy for us to divide the remaining money by 7 days. Then we knew exactly how much we could spend each day to make it through that week, including groceries and gas for the car.

The money for each day went into an envelope with the day of the week written on the front.

And you know that typical how to save money advice - ALWAYS pay yourself first when payday rolls around?

That just did not work for us back in those days. Nope, the typical advice did not fit our financial situation.

Just trying to figure out how to stretch the money to pay bills, put gas in our cars to get to work, and buy groceries took all the money usually, and left none to stash away in our savings account.

But by sorting out how much I could spend each day on groceries, and using these money-saving tricks, I found ways to save money after all.

4. Try to Spend LESS than Your Daily Grocery Budget.

When I went grocery shopping, I tried my best to spend at least $5 less than my budgeted amount. And that is on top of the 'put an item back' money I would save. (so if I spent $15 instead of the $20 I had in my wallet, plus put one item that was in my cart back on the shelf, I saved even more money on that trip.)

To be totally honest, sometimes I could do this trick, other days I just couldn't find a way to spend less than what I had budgeted for on that shopping trip.

Doing both of these tricks is a sure way to save money! Not a lot, but every penny saved, right? Plus, when I did these things every day, even that little bit can quickly add up! (Just make sure to SAVE the money.)

Kind of like taking the long way around to building our savings. But it worked. It really did help us save money!

Saving money while living paycheck to paycheck is tough. There is no way around it. But it is possible.

Our journey to getting our finances in shape took longer than we hoped. But we did it. And even though our situation has improved, I still use these little money-saving tricks when I do my grocery shopping.

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Space-Saving Backpack Storage Ideas For Your Home

Summer vacation will be ending soon (but wait, didn't it just start??) and alas, it is time to start thinking about getting organized for back to school time.

This may sound silly, but one thing that causes me the most stress is figuring out how to keep backpacks off the floor!

Or worse yet, hearing this every morning before school ..

I have yet to figure out a space for a command center in our home. We have an open floor plan style home. Very very open. It is hard to use a small wall even for backpack storage because even that can make our home look cluttered.

But like always, Pinterest has come to my rescue yet again with several cool ideas for hanging backpacks and organization hacks for small spaces that just might work for us.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a referral fee which does not affect you in any way. Please check out our Disclosure Policy for more details.

1.  Backpack Over The Door Storage Rack

This backpack rack is an easy way to hang up backpacks so they do not end up on the floor. This storage idea is perfect if you have very little space available for a backpack station (*raising hand*)

You can get one of these hanging over the door organizers at Amazon (and they are cheap--under $20 when I checked last!)

2. Turn a hall closet into a backpack station and school supplies center

The Pragmatic Parent

This is one of my favorite ideas for hanging backpacks and keeping them out of site. This closet space could become an awesome back to school command center!

But of course, there is the small matter of giving up a coat closet. If you have closet to spare, check out the How-To for this project at The Pragmatic Parent.

3.  Use Backpack Hooks For Storing Backpacks

Yes, those are towels, not backpacks, hanging on hooks. But I think this could be an awesome backpack station idea as well.

The hooks have personalized tin letters placed above them, so everyone knows just where to put their school bags.

I really like this idea from House Beautiful.  Each hook holds up to 35 lbs. per the product description, so I think these could work as backpack hooks.

4.  Simple Backpack Station Storage For Small Entry Ways 

Buns in a Row.com

I absolutely LOVE this simple DIY backpack station. Backpacks and hooks on a small wall will help keep kids from dropping them on the floor. Something like this could work in small entryways I think.

If you love this look, get the tutorial at Buns in a Row.

5. Use an Inexpensive Backpack Storage Rack For a Backpack Station

Megan at Homes I Have Made, designed this cute front door backpack drop station area in her home.

In all honesty, this would probably be too much for my small entryway, but I do love her choice for a backpack storage rack.

And that fabric covered bulletin board. Awesomeness. Seriously, it looks so much better than a regular old cork board!

Good Luck With Your Back to School Organizing!!