Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sugar free Carrot and Date Cake

I saw the recipe for this cake on the Things For Boys blog that I found through a link from somewhere else, you know how blog hopping goes.
Love the idea of cutting back on sugar and fats with baking and incorporating more fruit and veg. Well this isn't so light on the butter but no added sugar or honey or anything! All the sweetness comes form the dates and sultanas.
Will have to double the batch next time and I might even give it a go with half wholemeal flour and half white and see how it goes.

Take Care

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk8 ~ Master Bedroom

This month we will be tackling the Master Bedroom. We'll be decluttering, organising and deep cleaning.

I have chosen the Master Bedroom as next on our list because you'll be amazed at how much calmer you are when you wake to a decluttered and organised bedroom. When you see that lovely haven when you close your eyes at night you will sleep better. And then when you wake to it in the morning you'll be so much more motivated to keep going in your day

Your mission for this week:
~ Declutter your clothes

Take the time to PLAN this mission into your diary. Break it up into smaller tasks if you need too. Maybe one drawer at a time?

When you sort through your clothes think about the following things:
~ Have actually worn that shirt/skirt/top/dress in a while.
~ Does it still fit?
~ Is it still your style?
~ Do you really need xxx number of shirts/skirts/tops/dresses?

They say that most of us wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.

As you decide you no longer want a certain item think about where you will be gifting it to.
Do you have family or friends that will benefit from it?
Could you repurpose the item?
Will you donate it to an op shop?
Is it past it's use and needs throwing out?
If you think it's no good anymore think about why? Could you mend it to make it useful again?
Or if it's completely past it, cut off the buttons to use for crafting and other mending and decide if the item would be good for the rag bag

Would love to see some before and after pics of your wardrobes. I'll be sharing mine later in the week too.
You can either link up your blog posts below or post up your pics on the Beccis Domestic Bliss Facebook Page.

Take Care

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hot Dog Savouries

One of our boys fave foods to have when we're caught out at snack time is these new little rolls with a cocktail frank cooked in them from Bakery Delight. I can't remember what they call them. But basically they take the dough ball, cut a slit across the top, add sauce, cheese and a frank and bake them. Easy as hey. So I gave it a go myself.

The dough recipe I use is a recipe form a friend. Her machine can take a whole batch of this dough, but my machine doesn't like it. It doesn't mix well enough. So I halve the mix which made 12 savouries.

Dough recipe (full batch)
3/4 C - scant cup of skim milk
2T oil (approx)
2 1/4 cups of bread flour
1/2t sugar
1/2t salt
1t dried yeast

Pop it all in the machine in this order. This is important. My machine says I am to put yeast first, the dry ingredients then wet, but this recipe doesn't work if I do that for some reason.
Set on your dough setting and let be. Let it rest in the tin in the machine for about 15 mins after the timers gone off.

Then you can start making your savouries.

Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll out into rounds so they are slightly bigger in diameter than the cocktail franks.

Spread with sauce. We used tomato and bbq together.
And sprinkle with some grated cheese.

Place the cocktail frank on top

Roll up the hotdogs and place on a tray like this.
I found I had to place them right next to each other or they would fall open.
Bake at 190C for about 20 mins or so or until they are nice and golden.

Mmmmm yum!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Routines Pt6 - Finding time for me {aka Crafty time}

My crafty and mumma pals often ask me how I find time to get so much craft stuff done.

For me it's as simple as this:

That pretty much sums up how I feel. Craft time for me is very important. I need to have that outlet or I go mad. Seriously I do. If I haven't crafted at all in a week I get really antsy.
So I have structured my day so that I have that time. I am more productive home caring wise in the mornings. I found when Ethan was a baby that if I didn't do it in the mornings then it wasn't going to get done in the arvo. So I get as much home caring out of the way in the morning then I can have time to play. Both of my boys both had afternoon sleeps until recently. Eli still does, but Ethan has given them away most days. But he is happy to either lay in our bed and watch ABC2 or for me to set him up with pillow and rug on his flip out sofa in the family room and watch a dvd.
I used to be able to scrap out in my scrap room {a sunroom separate from the house}. I would set the baby monitor up once they were asleep and I could shuffle papers safely. But now I bring it all into the dining room and scrap there so I can watch Ethan.
I also choose to scrapbook or make soap during the day and crochet {lovingly referred to as hooking} at night. That way I can sit next to Brian and watch tv, have a bit of small talk, or more serious talk if needed and hook away.

Many of you may be aware that I have a small hobby business hooking up doilies, trims, flowers and the like for paper crafters to use on their projects called Lime Tree Creations. I was finding that this crochet was taking up so much time that I didn't have time for any personal hooking. With myself promising a handmade christmas this year, a problem was posed.m So I decided to separate 'work' from leisure. I now only hook monday to thursday, then friday to sunday are personal hooking times. This has been fantastic for me. I have managed to complete so many projects and have rekindled my love of crochet which had started to fade withe the pressure of 'work' crochet.

So now that is sorted throw in my new addiction ~ soap making! I have only made three batches but am already addicted! I plan to give quite a few bars of soap away this year as christmas presents. Soap needs a curing time of around 6 weeks so at the moment I am making quite a bit. I have decided that I will soap on tuesdays and fridays, Until the end of October. Then they will have to cure until christmas. Once that is done I'll probable only soap once every week or two. We do go through quite a bit of soap, but I will have a fair bit stocked by then too.

So that's how I craft so much. I make it a priority. My well being is a priority. I cannot look after others unless I first look after myself. And I don't mean that in a selfish way.
Me time for you might now mean crafting. It might mean exercising, reading a book, meditating, or anything else. Whatever you like to do.
If you want to find how you can carve out some time for yourself please print off a few of the Weekly Planners from The Organised Housewife. fill them in for a few weeks and see if a pattern occurs. Then see if you can find some regular time, even if it's only once or twice a week, for you to do something that will recharge your batteries.

Thank you for reading my My Routines posts. I hope it had given you some insight into how things work in my home and maybe even have inspired you to start or revisit your own routines. I'd love to hear from you if you have, or even if you have any questions. If your questions are of a personal nature contact me via my Lime Tree email address limetreecreations@yahoo.com.au or for those of you that know me know where to find my on Facebook.

Take Care

My Routines Pt5 ~ How it all comes together

I've discussed my Morning, Afternoon, Before Bed and Weekly Home Blessing Routines with you. Now I'll show you how my days and week work.

A few months ago Kat from The Organised Housewife popped up a fantastic Weekly Planner on her site for free download. It was perfect timing as I was wanting to revisit my routines and work out a better way for us.
I printed 10 weeks off. That was going to get me through to about the time we were due to go on holidays. I put them all together in my home journal, dated each page and sat down every sunday night and planned we week ahead.
I wanted to have the same rough weekly plan but obviously it had to be flexible with trips to the city and appointments etc.

This is how a typical week looked for me:
{click on the pic to have a closer look}

I quite liked the To Do list on the side. I would write a list of things I wanted to get done during the week and then cross them off as I went along.

After a while a nice pattern was emerging, a nice plan for the week that I have been working with for the last few weeks and I love it.
I have adapted Kats planner and made my own colour coded one to keep me on track.

{click on pic for a closer look}

I have tried to keep like activities in similar colours. For instance all of my Routines are pink. Things relating to the boys are blue. Meals are orange. My craft times are green etc.

For those that might be gasping in horror that I seem to have such little time with than it looks like here. If my boys want me to play with them or need me for something I'm there. After all my first and most important role is being a mum. These scheduled times are for specific activities that I plan to help with their development. I will be in the near future planning learning activities in these times. For instance when it's colouring in time we'll be colouring in alphabet and number sheets that I have printed off the internet.

Declutter time is time for decluttering and deep cleaning. Depending on what I think needs attention that week will be what I work on. I have a  lovely group of girls that I spend much of my day checking in with and we often challenge each other to do certain decluttering and cleaning activities. The last couple of weeks we have tackled our linen and laundry cupboards and sorted through someones wardrobe {I did the boys seasonal change over and decluttered two overflowing nappy boxes of clothes}.

Wednesdays we usually catch up with a good friend and her little boy. We take in turns to visit each other and make a scrummy morning tea. If for some reason they are busy or sick I try to take the boys to the park or do something a bit special with them if weather permits.

Every second thursday is shopping day, so that mornings routine is completely out the window.

Saturdays are my designated baking mornings. I don't stress so much about my Morning Routine although it does get done.

Sunday are my relax day. I get up when the kids want brekky. Some days they will lay in bed with us watching cartoons for ages, other weeks they are hungry when they wake. I don't rush to do my Morning Routine but it does get done by lunchtime. The kids play with whatever they like and often Brian and I will spend time playing cars with them or curled up watching a dvd.

While things are rather relaxed over the weekend I still do basic stuff. The house is always tidy with dishes done etc, just that the beds might not be quite made if you visit in the mornings

So after a relaxed weekend I need to get that Weekly Home Blessing done!

How are your routines looking. I'd love for you to share them.

I'll be back tomorrow with one of my most frequently asked questions How do you managed to get so much craft done???

Take Care

My Routines Pt4 ~ Weekly Home Blessing

Firstly I want to say that I think it's wonderful that so many of my followers have left me messages on Facebook saying how much they have loved my post and even more wonderful that they have revisited their routines and have polished them p a bit. That's just fantastic!

Today I was going to talk about how my routines fit in with the rest of the week but I had forgotten one very important routine -  One that FlyLady calls Weekly Home Blessing.

I started off only doing the 10 mins each task that FlyLady suggested but found that was hard with children interrupting and some things I needed to spend more time on too. So I started just getting it all done instead. At first I was dragging my feet and it was taking me more than an hour. But now I can pretty much get it all done in that time.

I have also added a couple of things to my list so it's turned into a bit more of a cleaning session rather than a WHB but I still love to call it Blessing. Sounds so much nicer than housework!

Here is my Weekly Home Blessing:
~ Sweep and cobweb front porch
~ Sweep and cobweb side porch
~ Sweep and cobweb back porch
~ Purge Newspapers 
~ Dust
~ Clean mirrors
~ Strip master bed
~ Remake master bed
~ Wash towels
~ Replace towels
~ Clean bathroom
~ Clean toilet
~ Empty and clean rubbish bins

This list will often take me an hour to an hour and a half to complete but I feel really good once it's done.
I have chosen to do my Weekly Home Blessing on a monday. I like to start the week with a clean house. Plus sundays are our relax day so it's nice to get things neat and tidy again after that.

I plan to wash our sheets on a monday and the boys on wednesdays. But of course that can change depending on the weather. We don't own a clothes dryer so in winter drying sheets can be a bit of an issue, but we deal with it.

Late monday mornings my good friend Barb comes over and we craft so I need to get my butt into gear on mondays to get this all done. Some times this can be a stretch but it's also good to have a time frame to do things so that they actually get done!

Tomorrow I WILL be back with a post about how my Routines work in with the rest of my week. Including a very colourful spreadsheet!

Take Care

My Routines Pt3 ~ Afternoons

Afternoons can be completely crazy can't they? Especially if you have to deal with school picks ups as well.
Fortunately for me I don't have to worry about school pick ups just yet. Randall catches the school bus and at 15 is big enough to walk to the two blocks home. Ethan and Eli aren't school age yet but when they are it's about a 10 minute walk up the road.

I try to start by Afternoon Routine but about 3.30pm. 4pm at the absolute latest.

Here's my routine:

~ Washing folded
~ Washing away
~ Clothes for tomorrow
~ School stuff
~ Mail and paperwork
~ Unpack boys backpacks
~ Dinner
~ Clean up
~ Showers/bath
~ Put load of washing on
~ Hang washing

I fold my washing up off the line and in person order. So Brians and my clothes first {can see the little clothes easier then}, then the boys in turn. Makes putting the clothes away much easier I find plus if they are folded in the basket and they do happen to sit there for a day or two {norti} at least they aren't getting creased which only creates ironing and I detest ironing.

As I am putting the washing away I grab out our clothes ready for the next day. I usually know what are plans are for the next day, but if they change it's no big issue to switch play clothes for nice going out clothes of vice versa.

I deal all paperwork as it comes through the door. I have a quick read of the junk mail and put aside unwanted stuff into a pile for the recycling bin. If there is a catalogue I want to keep I put it in my inbox {on the pull out shelf where the keyboards meant to be on the computer desk}. I then go through this pile fairly regularly.

I have been caught out by not unpacking the boys back packs if we've been out and found yucky lunch boxes and dirty clothes a week later. So I try to do this as I put them away.
I'm lucky to have a teenager in the house who's chore it is to clean up after dinner and wash the dishes. I put the clean dry dishes away the next morning. Or if feeling rather motivated before bed, but that rarely happens :)

Speaking of chores. Randall is 15. He is responsible for keeping his room tidy. Yep he needs reminders, but that's his room and he takes care of that. He also does his own washing. Including putting it on, hanging, bringing in, putting away and any ironing {mostly his Army Cadet uniforms}. He also empties the bin and put the rubbish bins out on rubbish collection day. Feeds his cat and vacuums everyday {we have carpet that gets very dirty if we don't}.

That's pretty much all for my Afternoon Routine. Any questions? Tomorrow I'll be back with how this all fits into my daily and weekly plans.

I have a friend and her little boy coming over this morning so I am now off to cook some cookies for breakfast. Have a great day!

Take Care

My Routines Pt2 ~ Mornings

Mornings were never much good for me. I am more of a night owl, well at least I always was. 

I had heard that it was a good idea to get up before the kids and get your day started. Pfft! No way was I going to get up before I had to, I enjoy my sleep ins {or as much of one that you get once children come along} way too much!

Then I had Eli, our youngest who's now 2. He would wake anywhere between 5-6am for his morning feed, but go straight back to bed. I found myself quite awake when he'd wake at 6am so I started staying up. I'd pop onto the computer for a bit and then get some washing on, breakfast prepared etc.

It was the best thing I could ever do! I found my day would run so much smoother if I stayed up. I was less stressed, I was awake for the kids, and the day just flowed so much better.
So I started to make a concerted effort to get up about 6am {5am was still way too early} and stay up.

Now Eli doesn't make for those feeds, obviously being 2. He wakes anywhere from 7.30-8am usually. But I have my alarm set for 7am. Most days I get up then, some days I don't, and those days are not very good.

So my day starts at 7am, I then have my computer time for blogging etc until 8am. Getting the kids breakfast and having snuggles when they wake too. But at 8am I lock the computer, step away and start my Morning Routine.

My Morning Routine is based upon FlyLadys. I don't do everything on that list, and some things I have moved to other times of the day. But the FlyLady Morning Routine is a good place to start, then switch things around to make it work for you.

My Morning Routine consists of:
~ Breakfast

~ Open up house
~ Make beds
~ Tidy rooms
~ Boys jammies out for tonight
~ Boys Dressed
~ Swish & Swipe
~ Kitchen tidy
~ Vacuum family room and kitchen
~ Dinner Prep

I have got this pretty much down pat now and can whip through this in an hour most days. On bad days, or days I am distracted by the computer, it can take up to two hours. But really there isn't much on that list so I push myself to get it all done by 9am so that I have more time in the mornings to do things with the boys and to also be company ready if someone pops by.

So in short it's a fantastic idea to get up just a little before the kids if you can. It allows you to get your head around the day and have some quiet me time before the chaos of the morning starts. Have a bit of a plan for the morning so that you aren't dilly dallying your way through the day.

Now I am off to get my Morning Routine done and to work on my goals for the day.

I'll be back tomorrow with a look at my Afternoon Routine.

Take Care

My routines and how things work in our house

I am often asked how I manage to get so much done in the day. The simple answer is I have routines that work for me. I love my routines. I am not a slave to them, I make them work for me. I don't pretend to a domestic goddess, I am far from it. Some days are just chaos here {you get that with a toddler and a preschooler in the house} but most days things are pretty well sorted and I'm not embarrassed if a friend drops by unannounced for a cuppa. To me that's the way things should be. Not a show room house that you see in glossy mags, but somewhere that is neat, clean and tidy but lived in and warm.

So this week I thought I'd do a few posts on how things work for me. The routines may not be suitable for your home but there are some basic principles that everyone should be able to work into their daily life that will make things that little bit easier.

Things like doing as much preparation ahead of time that you can. 
~ packing day care, nappy and school bags the night before.
~ menu planning
~ dinner prep - you can cut up you veg and soak them in water in the fridge until later on.
~ checking your calendar the night before and making a daily plan {this helps me sleep, it's all on paper and I don't have to keep juggling things in me head all night so I don't forget them}
~ laying out clothes the night before - I even lay out the kids jammies in the morning {that way if I have got behind in the washing and they are out of jammies I have all day to wash and dry some}

Simple little things that take barely anytime at all can save you so much later on, especially in the made rush to get everyone sorted out in the mornings.

Most of my routines are based on FlyLady. For those of you who haven't heard of FlyLady you can start reading here. Many of you may have tried FlyLady and found it wasn't for you. And that's ok. Not every idea or system is going to work for everyone. I don't do everything FlyLady either. But what it has helped me with is to set up some daily routines that really work for me.

The first routine I'll share with you is my Before Bed Routine. I don't do this routine just before bed, so don't stress I do get time to relax before I head to my slumber. I try to have this out of the way by 8.30pm once the kids are asleep {they are late to bedders}.

Before Bed Routine
~ toy pick up
~ hot spot patrol - this means to walk around the house and put away things that don't belong
~ fill up water bottles - Brian and I both have a water bottle next to our beds at night, plus I fill the kettle, a spare water jug next to the kettle and in the summer more water goes into the fridge
~ shine sink {you can read more about shiny sinks here}
~ check menu plan for dinner tomorrow, do I need to take meat out now?
~ goals {todo} list for tomorrow - I then write these things {usually only about 3 things} on a postit in my diary
~ shower
~ bed

Many people add putting clothes out for tomorrow to their Before Bed Routine  but I have it added into my Afternoon Routine as I am usually putting the washing away then. More about that routine another day.

Tomorrow I'll be back to talk about my Morning Routine.

Take Care


Lets Get Organised Wk8 ~ Creating Routines and where I went wrong

I want to let you all in on a little secret. The last few weeks I have been struggling. Struggling with my routines.
Things haven't been running as smoothly since we got back from holidays in September. But I was starting to get myself out of that funk. I wrote up a new routine for the week and all was starting to go well.
Then it was Christmas. I gave myself a week or two off over Christmas and New Year. I didn't set my alarm to wake {unless it was needed}, the kids woke me every morning. I pottered around, no rushing. Basically gave myself a bit of a holiday.
Then come monday the 9th of January I was to get back into it. And I just haven't been able to.
On top of all that the boys sleeping patterns have changed so I am not getting that down time in the afternoon anymore. Eli's still sleeping ok but going down later, but Ethan is prepping for kindy and dropping his sleeps.

Late last week Brian and I have a big discussion about 'stuff' and one of the things that we discussed was my lack of mojo. I honestly haven't been bothered doing much. Yep the basics are done and the house isn't a total bomb. But those extra things like dusting and cleaning the bathrooms, haven't been done nearly often enough and have often been left for Brian to do.

So now the self butt kicking begins.

I am sitting down every sunday and planning my week. Then taking 5 mins every night to plan for the next day and have it all sorted in my head.
I am getting up at 7am, with the plan to bring that slowly back to a 6.30 start so I can fit more blogging time in.
I need to change a couple of things around in my schedule and then make sure I stick with it!

So that brings us to this weeks missions. Please take the time to plan for these missions and write them into your diary.

This weeks missions:
~ Create a before bed, morning and afternoon routine
~ Implement them
~ Set the table every night and eat your meals there

I'm sure you have all heard the data about how beneficial eating at the table as a family is so I won't bother to go there. Lets just do it.
We eat together as a family at the dining table almost every night of the week.
Occasionally when Brian isn't home the kids and I will eat here in the family room, but not often.

While I would love to have a lovely table cloth on my table for us to eat at but with a 3 and 2yo that is just crazy talk.

So this is how our table is set.
We have a table protector on our table.
There is normally a table cloth on it, but I take it off to eat our dinner.
Kids have placemats they got form the MCHN. Ours are form a linen party.
Cutlery and cups/glasses.
I love to have a jug of water on the table. Love this jug.

So please take the time to set your table and eat there every day this week!

Would love for you to link up your routines, thoughts and table settings.

Pin It
Take Care

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Menu Plan 16th ~ 29th February

This week I have had a hankering for hot dogs. I haven't had one in ages! We bought the kids a mini hot dog from Bakers Delight the other day and they loved it so I'm going to try to replicate them.
I have a few nights this week where it's just me and the littlies so we'll have fair easy meals on those nights.

Here's my menu plan:

Thurs ~ Pizza (just the cheap Coles ones 3 for $10)
Fri ~ Chicken snitzels with low fat creamy garlic prawn topping
Sat ~ Hot Dogs
Sun ~ Roast Chicken lunch
Mon ~ Sausages and Dumplings {new}
Tues ~ Slow roasted lamb shanks and veg

Thurs ~ Pot Roast
Fri ~ Lasagne
Sat ~ Pork Roast
Sun ~ Easy dinner
Mon ~ Marinated chicken pieces and veg
Tues ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise
Wed ~ Special Baked Beans

I didn't do as much baking as I orginally planned last fortnight so I'll add them to this fortnight.

Savoury Scrolls
Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
Eggless Chocolate and Apple Cake

Would love to see your menu plans, link them up below.

Take Care

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk7 ~ Kitchen Cupboards

How are we all going working in the kitchen? How's the menu planning going? I'm just about ready to start working on my next fortnight.

This week we are going to tackle some kitchen cupboards.

This weeks missions:
~ Declutter and organise your plastics cupboard
~ Declutter and organise you utensil drawer/s
~ Declutter and organise your platters

I was lucky to receive a new cutlery and crockery set for Christmas. So guess what I spent Christmas night doing? Washing and drying all the new stuff and then reorganising my drawers and cupboards. Not all of the just the cutlery and utensil drawers and the crockery shelf.

Here are my befores of my cutlery and utensil drawers and my crockery shelf:

and after:

I got rid of nearly all of our old cutlery. Only kept the soup spoons as this new set didn't have any.
Handed all the old stuff onto Bryce who's moved out of home.
I used takeaway containers to sort out the small stuff.
One for spare drink bottle tops we picked up at the $2 store,
another for the kids cutlery,
and one last one for vegie peelers, can openers, corn forks, etc

I have used a Tupperware container to put the cookie cutters in.
Another small container to house the smaller pieces.

Love my new dinner set!

So there you go, there is this weeks missions and my examples for you. Would love to see how you organise yours. Please link up your post below.

Take Care

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Hooky Valentines

I saw this post over at Teacup Lane and knew I just had to give it a go for Valentines.
I don't normally decorate for Valentines but I'm hoping to get a bit festive this year. Hasn't happened much yet lol.

So here is my Valentines Dishcloth

Excuse the lighting. I tried to edit it but then the red showed up fuchsia so I left it.
The heart sits a little crooked on the cloth so I must have got things wrong a bit in the pattern but oh well.
It's still a bit cute.

Are you making anything decorative for Valentines Day??

Take Care

Monday, February 6, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk6 ~ Menu Planning

I have been menu planning for over 15 years now. I am lost without it!

I started menu planning when I was a single mum and Randall was about 9 months old I think. I was on a sole parents pension and was finding it hard to feed us for the fortnight. I'd often resort to cooking something quick for me and a bowl of veg for Randall. I had food in the cupboard but never enough to put together a meal. So I'd go tot he shops for that one or two things to cook it and come home with a bag full. Not a very frugal thing to do on a pension.
I'm not quite sure where I heard about menu planning but I thought I'd give it a go.
I would write down 14 meals (I shop fortnightly) and made a shopping list from that. I didn't plan what nights I'd have certain meals on, but at least this way I knew I had everything I needed for those 14 meals.
It was fantastic. I would look at my list in the morning and decide what we'd have for dinner that night and I'd be organised. Food wasn't getting wasted and I had money left over!!!

I have been menu planning since. It's taken lots of different twists and turns as our life has changed over the years and I'm sure it will continue to do so.

There are many ways that you can menu plan, there really aren't any hard and fast rules. You just need to work out what will work for your family.

Personally I plan my evening meals only. Many plan breakfast and lunch. I don't worry about that. Breakfast is almost always toast and cereal here and I make sure we have enough stuff for lunch. But if you wish to plan your breakfast and lunch then go for it.
I choose to plan what nights our meals are on too. This helps me to make sure we don't have the same meat (usually chicken) too many nights in a row (the big ones complain about that) and to also make sure that I have easily prepared meals on the nights Brian is working so I can tend to The Witching Hour with our lovely cherubs on my own without the hassle of cooking a fancy dinner.
You may also choose to have each night to have a certain theme. Maybe a fish night, pasta night, takeaway night, vegetarian night etc etc.

A good way to prepare to menu plan is to write down a list of all the meal you cook regularly. You may wish to categorise them if you like. Either into themes or like meals like chicken, casseroles, vegetarian etc.

On a piece of paper write down the days of the week. My list starts with thursday as that's the day I go shopping and goes for a fortnight. Do what works for your family.
Make a small note next to each day as to what evening plans you have. Do you work late? Have the kids got after school commitments? etc
For me I write in which nights Brian is working, Wednesday nights Randalls at Army Cadets (so try to have something that can reheat easy for him) and anything else like birthdays or appointments that might affect us.

Then I write a list of meals I'd like to cook for the week. I try to have it balanced so we aren't eating too much of the same sort of thing and I also try to cook a new recipe each fortnight too. I scour my magazine clippings and Pinterest pins for ideas for a new recipe.

The first thing that is slotted in for me is our weekly roast. Usually on a sunday. Even when Brians been working afternoons I try to cook a roast lunch. Then I plan the meals for the nights Brians working. I make it easy on those nights. Often a casserole or slow cooker meal. Or even something easy like eggs on toast.
Then I slot the other meals around that.
I give it a look over and make sure that things look nice and balanced, if they do I then make my shopping list and blog my menu plan.

Think about planning to use up your leftovers one night too. You might have enough casserole leftover to turn it into a pie for dinner another night. Roast chicken leftover to make a pasta bake. Or just plan to have leftovers for a chefs night off!

I have heard many people say that their partner doesn't like to have things planned and likes to cook on a whim. That can be a bit hard to deal with but not impossible. You may like to sit down with them and work out the meal plan together. If you have a list of meals that you can cook for the week you could both make a decision the night before or even in the morning what will be cooked for the next dinner.

If you have older children you may like to get them involved and have them cook a night a week!

My Menu Plan and Shopping List boards

I have found that my boys loved having the menu posted on the fridge. They would go off to school and work knowing what they were having for dinner. If it was something they didn't like they had all day to get used to the idea, and if it was a fave meal they'd have it to look forward to all day. It's also stopped them asking 'What's for Dinner?' a billion times after school. I just point to the menu board instead!

Goodluck creating your menu plans. The first few take a little while but after that it will only take a few minutes and you won't be without them.
Would love to see your menu plans and/or boards if you make one. Link up below.

Take Care

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's Get Organised Wk5 ~ My Recipe Organisation

I would doubt that there would be many women out there that doesn't have a pile of loose recipes they have ripped out of magazines stashed somewhere right??
You're not the only one, I have one too! It's a constant work in progress.
I used to buy about 3-4 cooking mags a month. I did that for about 5 years. Then I realised that things were just getting repeated so I went through them all, ripped out what I wanted and passed them onto friends.
So I had a huge pile. A couple of years ago I went through that pile and culled it severely.
Then I found a folder full of older recipes I had completely forgotten about ooops!

So I am now in the process of cooking my way through them.

How do I sort them you ask. Well there are lots of ways you can do it. You can have a folder with plastic sleeves to place all the recipes in and that works for some. But I like to rummage through them myself.

The small fifth pile are recipes of Brians that I kept separate.

So the other night I set to sort them out. I wanted 4 piles. One for recipes we have tried and that need writing into my folder (more about that in a minute), one for culled recipes, one for sweet and one for savoury.

 I bought this pack of three binder folders at Officeworks. I placed the piles into these and then put the files into my Home Journal. Obviously the culled recipes went in the recycling.

This is my recipe folder. My mum bought if for me years ago. It did used to look different, I have recently decorated it to make it pretty.

Inside it has six dividers and some plastic sleeves to pop the pesky rip out recipes in.
It also has two thick plastic dividers that you can move and place over the recipe you are using to stop the page form getting dirty!
I have recently decided to change the categories of the dividers so the recipes in the front there need rewriting. Plus I have all of those other recipe that need writing in too!
I'll write out a couple a day until they are done. Will take a while but at least they'll be done then.

So that's my recipe organisation. What's yours? Link up below I'd love to see it!

Take Care

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Menu Planning 2nd ~ 15th February

Wow february already!!

The other week I bought my third edition (but book #7) of the that's Life Reader Recipe cookbooks. I bought my first one (#5) when we were travelling back from our holiday along the Great Ocean Road for something to read when I didn't feel like crocheting. They're great books. Only $5.50 each and have over 120 recipes in them. I've tried a few already and they're great.
So this fortnight I am going to do a lot of baking form book #7.

But here is the rest of the menu

Thurs ~ Breakfast for dinner ~ Homemade Bacon and Egg Mcmuffins
Fri ~ Chicken snitzels with low fat creamy garlic prawns
Sat ~ Sausages and veg
Sun ~ Roast Chicken lunch
Mon  ~ Slow Roasted Lamb Shanks
Tues ~ Chicken Pie Casserole
Wed ~ Beef Casserole

Thurs ~ Baked Chicken and veg
Fri ~ Ikea Meatballs and veg
Sat ~ Lamb chops and veg
Sun ~ Corned Beef
Mon ~ Randalls Birthday ~ Apricot Chicken and rice with Cruchie Boost Ice cream cake for dessert
Tues ~ Quiche
Wed ~ Spaghetti Bolognaise

Yoghurt Apricot Cakes
Egg and Dairy free muesli slice
Savoury Scrolls
Spice Apple Yoghurt Cake
Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
Eggless Chocolate and Apple Cake

If these recipes are nice I'll be blogging them for sure.

Would love to see your menu plans, link them up belong and share away!!!

Take Care