Do you wash once a week or a few times during the week. I have to wash through the week. Previously I had a great ironing lady but since the move, I need to go on a search again. I am not a fan of ironing and it piles up. We are still settling in to the new house and unpacking so the washing routine is still getting back on track. Below are two free downloads to spruce up you laundry. I printed them out and framed them. They then were hung in the laundry. Unfortunately they are still in a box so I have to wait to get them up.
I am once again trying to get on top of things before the busy school year begins. There are so many areas to be organised in otherwise I feel like I am drowning. I confess I am a bit of a planner junkie and always feel so much better when I have a list or a planner in hand.
The first Planner I have updated and would like to share with you is a Weekly Meal Planner. I like to plan dinners for the week, so if everything goes to plan we know what is happening. On the odd occasion we might end up eating something different but I find it frustrating to be thinking about what we will have for dinner, on the day, and then having to shop for items. I am using a weekly planner to start with but would like to progress to a fortnightly one. I like to shop kid free (for the big one) so I will be doing the weekly shop, on a Wednesday. This suits us as I work on a Monday and Tuesday, kids activities on a Saturday and other plans for Thursdays and Fridays. Hence, our meal plan for the week, will start on a Thursday. I will race to the shops on a Saturday, after swimming lessons, to get any fresh food that might be needed, as well as bread and milk.
HOW TO MEAL PLAN
1. Sit down with your family planner (so you have an idea of who is where during the week) and your new free Meal Planner sheet.
2. Note the days when you will be late home from work or a kids activity, as well as times when someone might not be home at all.’Choose meals that will be prepared beforehand or are quick and easy to put together. This makes deciding between cooking or take away easy. Obviously choose the former.
3. Now plan the rest of your meals. I try to alternate with red meat, chicken, fish and vegetarian. We try to eat fish at least twice a week and vegetarian once.
4. Remember to check your fridge, freezer and pantry for food you may have and base a meal around this. Maybe make this a focus for one of the meals. Also check the fresh fruit and vegetables so you don’t buy too much. We waste so much food and should try to cut back on this.
5. After checking what ingredients you need for the grocery list, confirm you don’t already have this. Last year I kept finding I had doubled up on spices which was such a waste of money.
6. On the Meal Plan, I have included a space to add some baking for the week. I like to do this for the kidlets (and husband) so we buy less processed food.
Now, download the free Meal Plan sheet and print it off as many times as you like. This is for personal use only and can be shared with as many people as you want. It is not to be used for commercial use, without permission. Click on the snapshot below and it will take you to a PDF instantly.
The fridge and pantry have starting looking a little full. This week I decided to plan my meals around what I could find hiding in there. I still had to buy other ingredients to make the meals but I tried to make sure every meal contained some items that were in the fridge and/or pantry. Below is how I went about this little challenge:
Home made pizzas – pizza bases and toppings bought but pizza sauce and cheese already on hand
TUESDAY (Daddy out for dinner with work – Mummy tired)
Kids – Chicken schnitzel (if freezer), baked potato (in pantry) and peas (in freezer)
Mummy – Nachos (Ccs, salsa, sour cream and grated cheese – all leftovers from mum’s night)
WEDNESDAY (Sport afternoon so we get home late)
Kids – pasta, sauce and cheese (already in the house)
Us – Tuna and salad (in the house already – help yourself)
Slow cooker sausage casserole
(sauce bought, remainder in the house already)
(Potatoes bought for the mash potato)
Finger food freezer Friday
Kids – party pies and oven chips
Us – Take your pick
Satay mince – Lettuce Tacos (Recipe to follow)
(Bought lettuce and cabbage)
Dessert – Brown sugar bananas and cream (Recipe to follow)
Kids – Tuna spaghetti
Us – Creamy salmon pasta (Recipe to follow)
(Bought spaghetti and cream)
I have just posted the steps I took organising our shelves in the bathroom. Here is how I made the tags for the baskets.
After I Googled ‘free downloadable labels’, I came across this cute website that had just the ones I was looking for.
The Creativity Exchange is a great website with lots of low budget creative ideas. Click on their name and it will take you straight to the page where I found my labels. I followed the instructions to download the pages of labels as well as each one individually. The individual ones are needed to add text.
Once you have completed this step, open up the website PicMonkey . The basic editing is free. You can upgrade for a small fee but I haven’t needed to do that yet. I am thinking about it.
Click on Edit a Photo and choose the label you want to add text to. Then simply follow the steps they give you. It is so easy and so quick.
Time to get organised and back into it. I have been a little off track lately. Things have run very smoothly this week due to planning our meals.
Click on the picture above to download your free meal planning sheet.
Below is our Meal Plan for this fortnight.
BAKING – Banana bread
Chicken and Rice Stroganoff (quick cheats version – ready in 15 minutes or less – recipe to follow)
Oven fish, roast pumpkin, peas and garlic bread
Mummy and Daddy are having salad instead of vegetables
Cook bolognaise for tomorrow (Thermomix)
Dessert – ice cream, mini sponges and pretzels
Vegetarian chinese style fried rice with a fried egg on top
Freezer Finger Food for the Kids – Party pies and chips
Mummy and Daddy – Whatever we feel like on the night
Chicken Paella with Quinoa (Experiment as I have never used quinoa before)
Dessert Night – Chocolate Fondant Puddings with vanilla ice cream
Fish and calamari – take away
BAKING – Zucchini and cheese muffins (freeze)
Snickerdoodle biscuits (Thermomix recipe)
Veal and vegetables (Thermomix style)
Lemon Tuna Pasta Pie
Carrot, zucchini and bacon slice with baked potato
Chiken and Cashew with rice noodles (Thermomix recipe)
Freezer Finger Food for the Kids – mini pizzas
Mummy and Daddy – Whatever we feel like on the night
Dessert – To be chosen by the kidlets
Baked Fish Pie
I just realised that in the business of school holidays, I forgot to complete the rest of my 2013 calendar that is free to download and print.
Here we go. Just click on each month to print it for free.
Hopefully these come in handy. Click on the freebie menu at the top of the page to find the Family Planner that works really well with this. I have a in up boar that has the 2013 calendar, Family Planner, Weekly Planner and Meal Planner. I must seem a little OTT but I cannot function any other way.
With the determination to get ORGANISED, as one of my goals for 2013, I have begun to think about meal planning and the real need for it in our family. When I do it, the week is so much smoother. I have not got back into it due to school holidays and the fact we are STILL waiting on our new fridge. Our others are so old and small that there is really no space to be organised, if that makes sense. My parents are here for a visit next week, for 12 days, so meal planning will have to wait.
I have, however, been busy playing around with some ideas so I can get straight into it. I have made some templates and am going to try something different for a month and see how it goes. As well as dinner, I am going to attempt to plan lunches for school and Kindy as well. I work as a Learning Support Coordinator at a high school, 3 days a week and am looking at starting to teach Speech and Drama lessons again, one afternoon a week. Busy, busy, means extra planning. I will let you know how it goes. For now, please feel free to print off the template below.
HOW TO USE THE TEMPLATE
1. Write in the days of the week (Your Day 1 might be Friday, depending on when you shop)
2. Look at your Family Planner and note down any activities for the week. Include nights when someone will be home late and will need dinner kept or no dinner at all. This helps decide what type of meal you will have. For example: We get home at 5.30pm on a Wednesday from tennis and my kids are 6pm eaters. I either have to cook something the night before or plan to have BBQ chicken from the supermarket and ready to go vegetables. This might also determine some lunches.
3. Now fill in your choices for dinner. Do this first as you might be able to use leftovers for school lunches. My daughter doesn’t mind cold pasta with cheese and peas and sauce, for lunch so whenever I cook pasta for dinner, I will do extra. If Rogey Bear is at Day Care, they heat up food if need so I kill 2 bids with one stone.
4. Now fill in the plan for lunches. This is going to be interesting.
5. Have your shopping list ready. Remember to check your cupboard so you don’t buy something you already have.
When planning dinners, you obviously have to take your family’s tastes into account. I do not cook two different meals as my kids know that dinner is dinner. There are times I am accommodating to them though. Our son is not the best vegetable eater and raw vegetables are a definite no. Therefore salad can be difficult. Our daughter loves raw capsicum and carrots so she is half way there.
On the nights I plan fish and salad, I might have to deviate. We all eat the fish. Hubby and I will have salad. Gabby will have the carrot, cucumber, capsicum, grated cheese and 1 or 2 small pieces of lettuce. Rogan will have the cheese. To help dinner along I give him a fruit salad and a small bread roll or I will whip up some frozen vegetables.
This meal type is only ever once a week as it is too hard doing it other times.
PRINT out the PDF below and have a go.