Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Menu Plan

I haven't shared our Menu Plan for a while now, and seeing as though I am rather a state of exhaustion, its all I can manage for a post at the moment. So many ideas run through my head, and when I sit down to write them I feel myself nodding off!! haha

Angus has been a good boy lately,  but has random nights where he isn't but I am not getting much sleep as I have a sore back. I don't quite know what I have done to it, if anything, but its sore. Maybe picking up and carrying the twins at 14kg each and sometimes both of them, or little Angus. Or that I have had 2 C- Sections, or maybe that we just need a new bed?! (hint hint hubby!!)
My birthday is in a few weeks, so maybe I shall ask for a day of respite, a massage and a decent sleep !

Lately I havent' been planning our meals for certain nights, but more making a list of meals that we have ingredients for and picking which one we will have in the morning. I try and base it on the days activities, my energy levels, whether Stella has school, if I have enough time in the mornings to put the slow cooker on, or if Noel has training for sport.

I went food shopping yesterday (during the 50 mins I had while Stella was at dancing , with the 3 little kids. It was full on, but the kids were well behaved and I was proud of myself for doing it. So many of my friends never food shop with their kids and I think sometimes its a cop out), so I made a list before I got there. We only shop fortnightly - 3 weekly, and yesterday I spend $270.

Its been quite a hot topic lately , about how much you spend on shopping, and I like to think we are quite thrifty when it comes to our food shopping. There are 5 people who eat in our family, and we are home 6 out of 7 days for lunch and DH takes all his lunch to work, aswell as Stella's packed lunches for school.
 I think this plays a big part in a families food bill. Its all very well for someone to say , "We only spend $90 a week", but do you eat lunch out at all? Does your beloved buy his lunch everyday? Are your kids in childcare where the food is supplied?
We certainly don't miss out and we all eat very well. Lots of fruit and vegetables, baked good for a treat and yummy teas, but you often wonder if there is any tricks or tips people have to decrease the dreaded food bill?

Meal planning is one of the best things to do for decreasing your food bill. There is no reason to buy things in the shopping, just in case.
Here is a list of meals we will be having over the next few weeks;

Tuna Pasta Bake
Sausages , Potato bake and Salad
Home made pizzas
Pork Chops roasted and Veg
Apricot Chicken with Roast carrot, beans and rice
Sundried tomato Pasta bake with Lots of veg
Spag Bog
Sausages and Coleslaw
Beef casserole in Slow cooker
Satay Chicken Drumsticks with Rice
Fish , chips and Salad
Creamy Pesto Chicken Fetticine

And the baking is ; Cupcakes, Mango Fruit Cake and Berry and Banana Loaf

Nothing Fancy, wholesome food , with lots of vegetables or Salad.

How much do you spend on your shopping a week/fortnight? Do you think its reasonable or would you like to decrease the cost? (who wouldn't though right?!)

If anyone would like recipes of anything, please let me know!

EDITED NOTE-  I maybe should explain the 'cop out" comment. Don't get me wrong, I am no supermum, I am a total cop out! I do internet shopping and get it delivered , and absolutely LOVE the service and the convenience of it. I mean, why not shop in the comfort of your home, in your PJ's ? But I also think that kids need to be taken to the shops, appointments, and to town in general. It makes them better behaved when they do go, as they are used to it. I even take our kids to get waxing done, i don't have a choice but I also believe it is good for them.
I also think , if you can't take your kids anywhere, why have them? Rather opinionated, but thats how I feel, just sayin'!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dear Childless Liz

The concept of writing a letter to your 16 year old self has been floating around for a while now. I think its a great idea, if only it could have actually happened, as for me, the 16 year old Liz , was a very troubled, intense person, working full time as an apprentice and still trying to maintain the friendships that meant so much to me with my girlfriends. Throw a few dropkick boyfriends, nights our that ended in drama ( Mums new mobile getting stolen from a friends house , and much MUCH more) and the never ending feeling of self doubt that fills a teenager, and life was not at all peachy!

I've kinda got to thinking, especially now with 4 beautiful kids, at the tender age of (nearly) 27 , and many of my friends and old school friends just having their first babies, what would I say to the childless Liz? The BC Liz ( before child) ?
But oh where to start!!
So here it goes;

"Dear childfree Liz ,
Firstly, damn girl, book yourself into the dayspa. Go on, do it! Pedicure, manicure, massage, whatever tickles your fancy! Primp and preen to your hearts content, hell you have the time!!

Secondly, get a hobby! One day, you will have more kids than hands , and there will be not so much time for doing something just for the fun of it! Life will be about necessity and time management! So for now, do anything and everything that you have ever wanted to try! Start scrapbooking, sewing, photography classes, take out a gym membership or even learn to fly a plane or sail a yacht! Why the hell not? Its your verses the world!

Now, don't forget the movies. Go there, anytime, day , night, mid day when its not your kids sleep time and you have a million chores to achieve when you can. Night when you can choose the late time slot and not have to worry about the babysitter or Grandparent being out too late! Don't forget to buy the popcorn, drink, malteasers and icecream, before your wage is non existant, halved or share between a family of 5 or 6!

Holiday!! Book it!! Anywhere, anytime, and mode of transport. Go to Venice before you have to do it with a toddler and carry a stroller OVER EVERY SINGLE SET OF STAIRS! Go to Bali, when you don't have to fight hundreds of motorbikes for your space on the road to push a pram. Go Bora Bora, hire a hut over the ocean and fish watch, drink cocktails and read a book. The whole book, and nothing but the book!!

Appreciate the time you get to spend with your partner/husband. Just the 2 of you. Quality, romantic, solitary , uninterrupted time. Talk. Without having to shout over crying babies or tanti chucking toddlers. Take meaningless Sunday drives, go for coffee in poky (non pram friendly) little trendy cafes, and just bond. Make that relationship as strong as it can be. Soon enough, you will have a eating, sleeping, pooping little person putting enormous strain on your relationship. For such vulnerable little beings, they sure know how to pack a punch and knock around all you thought you knew about life and your relationship with your partner.

I could go on. The list is endless. But really, you know what? Nothing can't be achieved with a baby. Nothing. One day, you will travel Europe with a toddler, run a business with a 2 year old and twins, go on camping trips when the porta cots and pram takes up more room than your luggage and equipment and live a happy, full and amazing life!

So pre-baby and children Liz, come on. You don't know what you are missing out on! Being a mother is the best gift a woman can be given!"

Do you agree? What would you say to your pre mother self?
Next up, a letter to the 'Mother of one baby Liz"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Handmade Hearts

Another post full of some handmade goodies you can do at home to tizzy up your house for Valentines Day!
I had all intentions of doing this post yesterday, however Harvery Norman had a 9c Print Sale and I managed to get 1500 photos printed , a pretty good effort for one day , so cheap it was hard to refuse, and I am very ahppy that my New Year Goal of getting all our photos from the past few years into albums, might actually happen this year! Never fear, only 100 odd were from this year, the other 1400 were from our Europe Trip we took in 2009, and its been fantastic to sort and look through them all. Now to get it into an album to enjoy!

Last week was full of lovely crafting sessions with the kids ( and alot of back and forth to school etc ).
We began the Handmade heart task by painting using toilet rolls. I saw this idea on Pinterest and loved it! Minimum equipment needed and so cute!
The kids had a ball, and it was a very hot day, so a perfect inside activity.

Hmm our boy Max, he has the BIGGEST personality ! Wears a hat, everywhere, all day , to bed, to the bath , at craft time, and he loves to get dirty!

While we had the paints out, we also did some hand prints in the shape of hearts.
These are Stella's.

Another day, another heart activity. I picked up a pack of mixed pink buttons in Spotlight the other day, and thought of this cute activity.
I simply drew a heart on the page, painted on some PVA glue and the kids went for it! (Alright , hubby and I were helping, and realised the best way was to help cover the outside line with buttons and then the kids filled the inside.) Some are upside down, there are spaces, odd shapes etc, but I think they look great!

And this is where dear Max's heart has found a home, by the front door, on display, as his real heart is , always on his sleeve!

I just cut out the heart and glued it onto a piece of red card and placed it in a frame, it looks really effective in person and any colour buttons can be used to suit your decor.

And then today, an impromptu activity, more hearts ( is it getting old now? You can NEVER have too much love I think!) . I just cut out hearts from some pink card, and the kids glued tissue paper (scrunched into balls) onto the top.

And then we stuck some little piece of tissue paper aswell. Now to think of what to do with them!!

Finally, some DIY decor that I am LOVING in my home at the moment. During the trip to Spotlight last week, I picked up some chipboard 3D letters, and later spray painted them in red and white.
Another Pinterest idea and I think they look great on our bookshelf to add some love!!

Its amazing what some glue, paint and tissue paper can create!
Speaking of love........

Beautiful Angus Frankie xo

Friday, February 3, 2012

DIY Valentines Decorations

The Valentines decorating and crafting is in full force in our house at the moment, however it isn't the easiest Holiday/event to decorate or get supplies for! All the more reason to get crafting and create our own!

The other day I shared this cute Heart Chain on my Facebook page, and thought I would share how I made it. Very easy, quick and totally cute to boot!

The heart chain is hanging off the mirror and my half finished Valentince's Day display below.

Firstly, you need to cut strips from whatever card you have or want to use. I used Scrapbooking cardstock in a deep red and pink, and cut the strips to 1 inch wide (you can vary as you please)
You will also need some double sided tape or a stapler, a hole punch and some ribbon cut to the desired length of your chain.

Loop the card and attached together at the end with some double sided tape ( Please excuse my red hands, I had been spray painting, that activity coming soon!)

                                  Invert the top and crease the lines so it creates a love heart shape

Then punch through all 4 pieces of card on the top of the love heart ( I did the two on each side at the same time)

                                                  And run the ribbon through all holes!
You may want to tie a knot on either side of each heart when on the ribbon to stop them from moving and falling when the chain is strung up. ( I did and they sit well now) . And thats it. Done. Easy, cheap as and pretty effective.

You may notice I used a nifty punch, scrapbookers would have seen them before but others may have not. I use this punch all the time, its the size of a whole punch , without the hassle of using a big punch ,and only about $6. You can buy them at Scrapbooking shops or Spotlight.

I also made a few hearts with the strips of card (made by just attaching the top ends of the strip of card with tape and punching, then adding cute ribbon or string!

They are a cute addition to our Valentines Tree (see post from last year HERE) that adorns our Dining table.

And my last little addition to our house filled with love, is another heart chain, made very simply with a piece of Cardstock that had hearts on it ( I used one from my stash, it was a Kaisercrat from last year) , some ribbon and double sided tape.

I just cut out a whole heap of the different hearts that were on the card, and stuck them on the ribbon with tape and strung up on our Shelves. Sweet or what? And all for a grand total of $2!! ( Or if like me, nothing if the supplies come from your stash.)

Next I will share some of the easy and quick kids craft activities we have been doing aswell, but for now, get crafting!