Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Meal Plan

Well, this week was all planned out... but then went awry.

Factors: the rubber chicken was stretched a different way with the invite to Mum and Dad to come to dinner. Monday is another Christmas party at my brother's house. Thursday is up in the air with travelling friends. Who knows what will happen next?

In theory my calendar shows no appointments for this week. With New Year's Eve and Day, however, I am unsure what we're going to end up doing.

Monday - Dinner at Brother's
Tuesday - Sausages
Wednesday - No idea. Sausages?
Thursday- Somewhere with friends. Possibly NYE party. No idea.
Friday - See Wednesday.
Saturday - ooo, I found some mince! Possibly Turkish style kebabs if I make some yoghurt.
Sunday - Something fresh I expect. Probably monthly shop time.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meal Plan Monday

Whee! Holidays! No meal plan for me as we're spending a few days at DH's parent's house.



Merry Christmas every one! Have a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adventy Goodness

I really love the idea of Advent calendars, the kind where you open up a little window and get a small present each day in the lead up to Christmas. Rather than buy one covered in Bratz characters or full of cheap crappy candy that she wouldn't be able to eat I decided to make my own for monkey moo this year. I found a set of 24 mini Christmas books at a discount book store and decided to make a little stocking for each one and hang it from a string on the mantle piece.

I started by making up 12 stockings out of some left over stocking fabric, followed by 12 little draw string bags in other coordinating fabrics.

I stuffed them each with one of the little books and another treasure such as a little wooden tree ornament, some bangles, or a little porcelain animal--all of which I found quite cheaply at the Saturday markets.

I mixed up the colours and pegged all the stockings on the string with mini bulldog clips.

We have been choosing a stocking as part of our bed time routing and reading the little books as before bed stories. Interestingly she picked all the stocking shaped ones first--and particularly enjoys wearing them on her feet!

The best part about this calendar is that I will be able to pack the stockings and bags away with the Christmas decorations and refill and reuse them again next year :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dinner From The Garden

Tonight we had San Choy Bau using lettuce grown in my own garden! How amazing is that! And it was great!

DH liked the home grown lettuce, and we had some iceberg my Dad had got for us, and I'd like to grow some iceberg too, but DH says he prefers the mignonette lettuce. Hee! I am so chuffed!

One of the things that used to annoy me about the credo that to save money you should start a vegie patch is that no one ever talks about the set up costs and the return on investments you get out of it. I have a great time gardening, and I enjoy looking out my window to see verdant greenery which produces food I like to eat, but I always wanted to make sure this was going to be worth my time and effort.

Tomatoes are now $5 a kilo for the cheap ones. I am seriously considering frozen and tinned vegetables simply because of the cost. The quality of the vegetables are variable, and it's disheartening to be paying so much money for something that doesn't even look good. If nothing else, the sheer freshness factor is always a good argument for a vegie garden.

So far, the garden has cost $278. That covered a no-dig haybale garden bed, a second equal length garden bed that I am filling with corn, and decent compost and manure to improve other parts of the garden as well. However it's an investment as well as an outlay. I'm still in my apprenticeship. When the next few years are done, I will have a more permanent lay out, chickens, probably a compost corner, and much more knowledge and confidence. My friends and I have built this together. I can't thank them enough for their time and expertise, which is another factor in the outlay and setup I needed to consider.

So, I am going to tally up my garden here. Every time I eat from the garden, I shall count that as savings. I want to make sure that I get $278 worth of vegetables out of my garden. So, I guess salad greens for two adults and a 3year old... I'd say $2. I haven't bought lettuce in a very long time, actually, so I am guessing wildly. There's tomatoes growning already, so I have high hopes. I did plant a LOT of them!

Garden was started on the 13th of November.
Cost of Garden: $278
Saved: $2

Total Cost $276

Monday Meal Plan

Factors: It's Christmas so everything is up in the air at any given second.

Tuesday - Steak and salad.
Wednesday - Corporate Orphans Lunch - Sweet and Sour Asian Meatballs and Rice using frozen asian meatballs and a jar of sweet and sour sauce from the pantry
Thursday - DH's work Christmas Party (Family invited)
Friday - DH sailing - chicken sausages and salad
Saturday - L's Birthday Party - take meat for BBQ
Sunday - DF's side of family Christmas Party Lunch (I expect we'll be too full to eat a full dinner too) Sandwiches or pasta and tomato sauce
Monday - Night before going to DH's Parents place - leftovers or freezer roast pork with gravy and vegies

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

(slightly belated) Monday Meal Plan

  • Monnday--fish and chips
  • Tuesday--satay chicken and ribbon veggie noodles (requested by mrX)
  • Wednesday--vegetable quiche
  • Thursday--crock pot chicken and veggies
  • Friday--omelet friday
  • Saturday--san choy bow with thin potato noodles
  • Sunday--bbq meat and veggies
This weeks missions: 1) test the new veggie spiralizer; and 2) use as much as you can of food already in cupboards and fridge in preparation for moving house in January.

MealPlan Monday - SarahP

Oops, a day late, and in a hurry ...

Tuesday - (tonight) Spaghetti Bolognaise or Lasagne, depending on my enthusiasm for making pasta today
Wednesday - chicken (leg) casserole (probably slowcooked)
Thursday - Dinner at Mum's
Friday - my birthday! No idea. Maybe ... nope, still no idea.
Saturday - Chicken breasts
Sunday - That damned tuna bake which I have avoided the last three weeks
Monday - Mince - possible Turkish style kebabs but that requires tomato... or meatloaf again...

I have no tomato! No tomato tins, no fresh, nothing! I am at a loss! I was going to make chicken curry, but it requires tomato. Gosh! I am feeling the lack!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tree Blogging

1st of December is usually tree decorating day at our house, but this year we went a day early on account of doing it on the Sunday being much more convenient as a family. I took some photos of the process.

We started with a big pile of boxes containing decorations and a tree, and an empty space on the floor.

First up went the tree, then on went lights, followed by tinsel and garland then baubles.

We finished with a few special ornaments and made monkey moo wait to put the star on as the very last piece. She was most excited about putting the star on top and talked about it for days before hand. It seemed cruel to make her wait, but she managed to hold on til the very end.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday Meal Plan--SarahX

Guess who's coming to dinner...

We found these furry little pals in our kitchen tonight, sorry about blurry pic but they didn't seem to much want to stay still and pose for me. I suspect they heard a rumor it was meal plan Monday and dropped in to see what was on offer for the week.

And here is is:
  • Monday: Omelet filled with left over salmon pie
  • Tuesday: Grilled chicken sandwiches and bean salad
  • Wednesday: Chicken broth with noodles and vegetables
  • Thursday: Black bean stew
  • Friday: Omelets (easiest quickest meals ever so I am going to do it twice:) Actually, I have been practicing making the perfect omelet which in theory takes only one minute to cook--dinner for 3 in 3 minutes, yay!)
  • Saturday: Steak, sweet potato, corn and beans
  • Sunday: Roast chicken and veggies

Unless you're a possum, in which case Monday night is kiwifruit night!

We have the ingredients for everything there except Sunday's chicken, though tomorrow's grilled sandwiches will require the making of a loaf of bread in the afternoon.

We have a good supply of snacks for the week, we have lots of red delicious apples, and a good stash of dried mango. In addition, on the weekend we made GF cupcakes and chocolate balls (why yes, the chocolate balls are grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low salicylate, 100 % raw and delicious, thanks for asking).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

MealPlan Monday - SarahP

This week...

Factors to note:
- Wednesday we're going to the Wiggles during the day. I expect I will be exhausted after that!
- We need a day to put up the Christmas tree and probably have family over that night to do so.
- DH's birthday on Wednesday
- Birthday party on Saturday
- Sagittarius Birthday party picnic on Sunday

So, onto the meal plan!

Tuesday - Beef Stirfry with english spinach, spring onions, broad beans
Wednesday - Special Dinner... hmmm...
Thursday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Friday - Bulgogi (missed that last week, and I still have all the ingredients)
Saturday - DH's birthday party
Sunday - Hopefully left overs from party which can be transported
Monday - Tunabake

Friday, November 28, 2008

Monthly Household Duties

I hate shopping. I hate it with a passion. I hate spending money on useless crap that gathers dust but you can't chuck it out because you only just bought it. Ugh. I also hate shopping for food. I resent the fact that someone has to do it. I don't mind someone else doing it. I don't resent my family,or my DH or anything, I resent our society in which the SAHP ends up doing all the menial crap as well as raising the children.

Ok, so the short explanation is: shopping makes me whiney.

To have less whiney days of me wandering around shopping markets making god-awful faces at things, I shop monthly, and for months when I really, really, can not stomach the idea of shopping, or else when everything has gone to pot and I can't devote a few hours to the basic necessities, I get someone else to do it. It costs - and often your product or brand isn't there, but sometimes I feel like I need it. Cost versus convenience. Cost versus sanity. Cost versus time likely to actually get to a shop... I am sure we all get the idea.

Today counted as the beginning of the new month because the credit card is now paid out. We have one credit card as part of the house loan, and a couple of accounts with nothing in them, and the mortgage. So, flush with money for a couple of days, I like to do my monthly shop.

Today went pretty well. I am loving the list on the front of the freezer, wrote up a few more meals that can be whipped up using the ingredients there, checked out the pantry and did the same, and then looked through the refrigerator. From this I crafted a rough list of meals, a rough list of missing things, and then checked the toiletries for refreshing as well. It didn't take me long, but I think I should do a Master List again.

I've been doing monthly shopping now for a few years, and the biggest problem we have is planning. Sometimes things happen you can't plan around, but often I just find I don't have the mental energy to think ahead. So, the inevitable trip down the supermarket comes up, and the inevitable $30 bunch of spaghetti issue arises, and we lose money hand over fist. I need to lock down on that, have a few things for instant meals. I've been really good with milk, but since DS1 is now onto milk, we're going through about 12 litres a week. That's a lot of milk! Especially when milk can be as expensive as $2 a litre! Or more! DS1 is probably teething too, so we're using more than we will later, but it does mean that we have to go to Woollies more often than I would prefer.

So, I am going to try a different method of tallying my supermarket expenses. We'll see if it makes any difference, but mostly I just have to work harder at being more organized. With DS3 cutting down to one day of daycare a week next year, I won't have his spare days to recoup any misses I make. I have to get it all right the first time. It's an awesome responsibility, sometimes, making sure that every one gets fed, and every one gets milk, and the bills get paid and everything words in a solid and reliable fashion. God it's exhausting!

So... Monthly Duties...
I like to prepay some bills.
- Electrickery
- Water
- Mobile Phone (this one is new. I figure if I just prepay, then I won't get behind, and I don't trust them to debit my CC in a timely and acceptable fashion)

Meal Plan for the Month
- Rough ideas mostly
- Monthly Shocking List
- Monthly Shocking (Meat and Groceries)
- Print Monthly Meal Plan and attach to Fridge

Transport Costs
- Fill vehicles
- Top up trains cards if possible.

Banking (Automatic)
- Rates Payment
- Mortgage Payment

I have started to use Google Calendars to keep track of when things come out of the credit card. The different colours lets me know instantly if there is a regular bill coming out of the card, and in theory I should be able to budget all the other expenses to fit within the monthly payment. Unfortunately, it never quite seems to work that way.

Anyway, I have a few monetary goals I want to attain over the next few years. The mortgage keeps getting pushed back further and further, but we're happy here with me being a SAHM, and don't feel the need for me to be working for reasons other than mental health. This means it's time for me to start watching even more closely, or rather to do so in a successful manner rather than a hopeful manner! Lots of food for thought coming this way!

Anyway, hugs and kisses for now,

Sarah P

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Meal Plan--SarahX

Okay, so Monday's is the day we submit our meal plans for the week (by which I mean I will start from today and join SarahP in her meal planning habit).

Considerations for this week:
  • Only cooking for 2 most of this week;
  • MonkeyMoo has been sick lately so we are going to be quite strict with the low salicylate/amine/glutamate and zero wheat/dairy thing. Actually this is a good thing for me too, my ears are currently ringing the special ring of having had too many salicylates. We are going to stick to a very basic low chemical diet for the rest of the year and start more trials after moving house in January.

Here's my plan:
  • Monday--Tuna, green beans, shallots, and celery on rice (omg I have the best organic celery at the moment--it is so full of flavour it tastes like that celery salt you can get, omg I can't believe I found celery so good that I am raving about celery!);
  • Tuesday--Lentil, cashew and vegetable stew on rice (lentils and cashews will be activated, but cooked);
  • Wednesday--Lamb chops, potatoes, beans, carrot and a little bit of corn;
  • Thursday--Salmon cottage pie;
  • Friday--Omelets, most likely stuffed with leftovers;
  • Saturday--Fish and oven cooked wedges;
  • Sunday--Slow cooked roast beef with sweet potatoes, potatoes and beans.
Need to aquire salmon before Thursday and fresh fish on Saturday (or before and freeze). Everything else is on hand, including the lentils and cashews which are already soaking in preperation.

Birthday Cake for J, November 2008

My little boy turned one! ONE! Gosh! Kids are like a calendar - you see every day passing in front of your eyes, and you can't turn it backwards. They show me how fast time is passing. I can't believe it's been a year since Sarah X was here, that we had almost all of our huge family unit all squished into one house... and the wonderful entrance of J into our world.

Wow again.

MealPlan Monday by Sarah P


* going out during the day on Tuesday and after dinner Tuesday night
* Going out Thursday night after dinner too
* DH going out after dinner on Wednesday Night
* I think I will skip the regular Friday night thing because I will hardly be home at all this week!
* I am working very hard on my current creative project
* What's in the freezer and fridge!
- 1 x mince
- 1 x big fat chicken
- a fair amount of steaks.
- tinned tuna
- lettuces, hamburger makings, tomato, avocado, onions...

Meal Plan:

Monday - Leftovers from Jack's Birthday, so hamburgers, possibly also hot dogs.
Tuesday - Steak and Salad and potatoes
Wednesday - Asian Chicken Experiment Begins!
Thursday - Chicken Curry
Friday - Beef Bulgogi
Saturday - Mexican
Sunday - Tuna Bake

Friday, November 21, 2008

Monster Moo



Monster hat and mask by Ikea; tunic by Nanna; Nickabockers by SarahX; Monster attitude models own.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birthday Cake for L, November 2008

This is a buttercream base with plastic icing rug. The rug was a bit of an experiment. I was initially using a technique of just imprinting the heart shapes into the rug, but Chesh and I were fooling around and using the opportunity to explore a little, and I ended up with a bunch of tiny hearts, and with a little bit of a press, a bunch of tiny heart shaped holes. A match made in heaven!

The colour is Lilac and comes from the local cake shop, which is called The Sugar Smith and is in Maddington. They have a nice range of stuff, and Chesh and I did our cake decorating course there some years ago. So, we can now make our own wedding cake if we want - but the most valuable thing I learnt is confidence. We came out a lot more confident about cake decorating, and with Alton Brown's theory that cake is just a conveying mechanism for icing, we seem to do pretty well.

The flowers I bought premade from the Sugar Smith, and that's also where I grabbed the other goodies such as the wax teddybears, ladybugs, butterflies, wires for butterflies. I made the bowls from icing, and the fruits are lollies (little bananas, strawberries and grapes.) And I just thought the picnic chairs were cute.