Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Me & Mine January

It's January of a new year and we are on time and quite pleased with this month's Me & Mine photo's.

We have been taking part in the Me & Mine series for 3 years now, this being our 4th and it's probably one of the best things I have started. It's the creation of Lucy over at Dear Beautiful and each month people link up with a family portrait. We've captured so many spur of the moment family pictures as well as the planned ones and I know if it wasn't for this project then I definitely wouldn't have those images.

Last year I lost my mojo with it for a while, well blogging in general but I have a renewed energy for 2017 and I am really hoping to be a bit more creative with our pictures each month, we had a lot of fun taking this month's pictures, the dog even got a look in too.

So here we in January, exactly how we are most evenings, slightly frazzled, tired and a bit crazy jumping around our room before we wind down to put the boy child to bed:




This month Luke loves:

Going back to preschool so he can see his friends
His fairy godmother dropping him to school
Playing with his Christmas presents

This month Dad loves:

A weekend trip away to Belfast
Going back to college
Dvd time with Luke

This month Mum loves:

Shopping in Belfast
Getting back into a routine 
Using my new filofax


The Me and Mine Project

Thursday, 26 January 2017

#ClearOutandEat - Week 2



So week 1 of my attempt at #ClearOutandEat actually went quite well! I'm very happy to say we stuck to our meal plan, using what was already in the cupboards / fridge and avoided buying an extra groceries throughout the week.
As mentioned last week I saw this hashtag on Instagram but it originally started over at My Kitchen Notebook and I love the original idea behind it.

Last week's meal plan seemed to be a success with everyone except for Sunday's dinner of Chicken Supreme, it was one of my favourites but the OH and Luke weren't too fond of it. I think our favourite meal was Friday's dinner, bacon chops, steamed veg and I ended up doing garlic and parmesan roasted potato chunks, they were so tasty. 

Wednesday I veered off the meal plan because I forgot to take salmon out of the freezer so I ended up having a ham and mushroom omelette, all ingredients were already there and the ham and mushrooms needed to be used up.

I managed to get 2 work lunches for myself out the leftover macaroni and chicken supreme which was a great bonus. With the current weather it was nice to have something warm and filling for lunch. 

For the first time ever we ran out of cheese! I didn't buy as much last week because we still had some in the fridge, we are big cheese eaters, but we managed to clear it out. We ran out of bread but didn't end up having to buy anymore as we just switched around meals, like having cereal for breakfast, crackers instead of sandwiches etc. 

So here we go again with another week of making the most of what's already in the cupboards and trying to keep shopping costs down:



This coming week sees the OH return to college so we will be back to our usual hectic schedules as we try to fit in everything around his work and college hours and my work hours. 
Like last week I have Friday, Saturday and Sunday dinners covered.
The OH is home early on Monday so he will whip up a curry, another dish that he makes nicer than I do. He'll probably do Wednesday nights dinner too. 
Tuesday I will be dining solo as he is working and the boy child will be on a sleep over at his Nan's. Thursday's dinner won't take long at all to whip up once I'm in from work. That's a dish that I will 
probably get a lunch or 2 out of as well. The sauce I'll use for this dinner I will make a batch of on Friday and use it for the wrap pizza base and for the stuffed chicken breasts on Saturday.

While making this week's meal plan I've tried to be a bit more creative while still making meals made with ingredients that in the house already.

Week 2 saw me go over budget but not by much, €1.20 to be exact. I stocked up on a few extra things for college lunches too so I was quite pleased with that.

Hopefully Week 2 will as successful as Week 1. I'll try and include some pictures for next week's round up.

What are eating this week?

Thursday, 19 January 2017

#ClearOutandEat - Week 1



I'm ashamed to say we are a house of food wasters. Like I can't even go into detail because it's embarrassing. So as well a few other things I want to accomplish in 2017, less waste is one of them. Less is more. 
Too much choice I find can limit your choices because there's just too much!
I was browsing over on Instagram on the lovely Life On Hushabye Farm Instagram account the other week and saw the hashtag #ClearOutandEat and realised that this was something we really needed to do. 
I'm mad for an offer and browsing at the end shelves in the supermarkets where they have all the special offers advertised, I always feel like I'm getting a great deal! What actually happens is I end up buying stuff I don't need or too much of something that might go off or out of date before I get a chance to use it and it ends up in the bin. I feel so guilty every time I have to throw out food that we left go to waste and not only food waste but wasting money too.
There's only the 3 of us so really our shopping bill should be quite low and with the way work / college shifts go there's rarely 3 of us at home at once to eat a meal. Some days I only have to cook for myself. 

So I've decided we are going to just clear out the kitchen and eat what's there. Make the best meals we can with what we have and keep our shopping bill down. I cleared out the freezer last night and found 10+ chicken breasts, like what are we doing? And we'd buy fresh ones then each week shopping and just use them rather than taking them out of the freezer. Ridiculous carry on. We are still inundated with Christmas goodies too so there'll be no need to buy any treats for a long while. 

I've set a weekly limit for groceries €40 per week and I've meal planned for the week ahead (Friday - Thursday, I'll be shopping in Aldi on my lunch breaks on Thursdays as it stops me from browsing because I don't have the time which in turn will stop me from picking up random items...I hope!). 
All the meals will be based on what's in the cupboard / fridge / freezer and only buying essentials like bread, milk, yoghurts etc. or accompaniments like a garlic bread baguette for the pasta dish that we already have all the ingredients for at home. 
I feel like it will also force us to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. I love cooking but I'll be the first to admit I always veer towards the "easy" recipes and it's ends up with us eating the same dishes all the time. 
Also my freezer needs to be defrosted so we need to empty it and soon! 

So here is the meal plan for the week ahead:


Any day there's fish on the menu generally means I'm dining solo! 
Monday and Wednesday the boy child will be fed at his Nanny's and the OH will be working the late shift. 
Tuesday and Thursday the OH will be cooking so I've put things on the menu that I know he'll like and he makes a much better Chilli than I do too. 
Friday, Saturday and Sunday are my days off so I like to try and prepare a nice dinner where I'm not rushing or reheating. 
The main ingredients for all of these meals are already in the kitchen, actually the only things I had to buy for the dinners above was the garlic bread and buns for the burgers. Luke will more than likely eat everything on there, I'm not sure about the Chicken Supreme but I'll try him with it anyway. 

First week of shopping and trying to keep under my budget and strictly stick to my list was a success! I spent €32 on groceries and an additional €12 on washing powder and kindling for the fire but they aren't every week buys so I'm quite pleased with myself.

I'll update next week on how the meals above went and if we needed to get any extras during the week. 

Please feel free to share your meal plans or shopping tips, I'm always looking for inspiration. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Life Lately...With The Threenager

"Threenager" - I used to laugh out loud at this phrase when I heard it first, some where in the middle of the terrible two's, surely it couldn't be worse than that phase right?!

Life has become easier on some levels as L is now older and can comprehend much more, he's a very sturdy and independent little boy. Sometimes this independence turns into outright stubbornness, I blame his Dad, he gets that streak from him.

Three brings a maturity I didn't expect my not so little baby to have. We can reach a compromise without as much fuss and he's beginning to learn patience, although we are only starting on this skill, his patience only lasts a mere few seconds at the moment.

Three means I can't fob him off with baby answers anymore apparently. He won't except a short answer or explanation and he'll keep on asking questions until it is clear in his head and he's satisfied his curiosity. My mother would tell you I was the same at his age.

Three has him asking the funny questions and making hilarious statements, such as the dreaded "Why don't girls have willies?" "Is it only mans and boys who have willies?" I divert all willy questions to his father! My niece Jade had a baby recently (my gorgeous godson Eliot) and he was having a bit of trouble grasping the fact that we would now call her mum so L started calling her mum too instead of her name. Today though she was neither Jade nor Mum and when I asked him what her name was he said "Just nothing" through gritted teeth. He obviously is still mulling over the whole name debacle in his 3 year old head.

Three means indecisiveness, oh yes there's lots of that especially when it comes to food. "I want crackers and cheese for lunch please". Sure kiddo no problem, I bring in his requested lunch "I don't want cheeeeeeese" he wails at me, did I just imagine our little lunch convo a few short minutes ago?! He recognises foods he doesn't like either, like peppers, although he did like them before, if he even catches a glimpse of one in his dinner it could turn him off his whole dinner! There'll be lots of disguising of foods happening now.

This three year old has the memory of a elephant, he remembers everything! At the end of the Christmas holidays he was telling me about something that had happened at school weeks ago, a lot of his conversations start with " Do you remember from the last day...", and  if you tell him you'll do something tomorrow don't worry about forgetting because he will remind you and keep on reminding you.

Three is fun though, especially when you ask him to do something and he answers with an "Arrghhh", like is he thirteen or three?! Or when you try to take the tablet off him becauses he's been on it long enough, there's a whole lot of bargaining going on there to avoid a meltdown. Or when it's time to get dressed, the kid loves his pjs and would stay in them all day if he could.
Shoes, that's another fun one too, he has no problem running around outside without any, no matter the weather, cue me running around after him, shoes in the air.

Three also means he can express himself much better. He can tell me if something annoys him or if he didn't like something at school, like one day he told me one of his friends was being "just a bit too rough today Mum". The random kisses on the cheek or the head on my shoulder with a little "I love you Mum" when he's tired.

Three is hard work but no  harder than the previous phase I think, they all bring different challenges but we've just got to roll with it don't we?!

*It's that cheeky smile right there that let's him off the hook with most things too! 


Monday, 9 January 2017

New Year, New Start

So here we are 9 days into 2017 and 4 days ago I turned 31, I'm really not entirely sure how I feel about that one! I usually wait until my birthday to really set out a plan for the year ahead, it's the one good thing about having a birthday at this time of the year, I get to start a new year with a brand new age so it really feels like a clean slate.

I've made a few decisions about how I'd like 2017 to go and my main priority is my own immediate family, the boy child and the OH. We spent a lot of 2016 caught up in our extended family affairs that I felt we or more so I neglected my own family unit. Don't get me wrong I love all of my family but before anyone else, I need to ensure that my most inner circle is ok first before I can get involved with others. I'd like this year to see us step back from everybody else for a while and concentrate on ourselves.

That's kind of as far as I got with any kind of resolution for this year because it feels like an important one and that's ok too. I naming it the year of "Us"!

So with one very important resolution I have given myself a little motto to live by for 2017 and it's really quite simple -

We Got This

I'm a natural born worrier, I stress myself to a ridiculous point and it never proves fruitful. This year, although I sincerely hope it will be better than last year, I am ready to deal with whatever it throws my way. As long as we have our health, a roof over our head, food in our belly and somewhere warm to sleep at night I feel like the OH, the boy child and I can deal with anything. It's so easy to get caught up in what we don't have or what we can't change when we really need to make the most of everyday with what we have, all the while continuing to work towards our hopes and dreams. I hope that this year will be a more productive one and all the things that got pushed to the side last year can become a focal point again for me.

My health will play a major factor this year too, it's time I didn't keep putting that on the back burner, no more fobbing off a visit to the doctor, just mind myself and keep myself healthy. Diet and fitness, like most years, is at the top of my list but no quick fixes and the diet won't be starting until all the Christmas goodies are gone from the house, ask me again in February how it's going!! 

So there you have it, another new year with refreshed hopes and dreams and a bucketful of positivity to really begin our new year.

What new years resolutions do you have??