Monday, 6 January 2014

Menu Monday

Welcome to my first edition of:


I figured I might as well align my blogging with my weekly responsibilities, and in this case I review my weekly meal plans on Monday so I can go shopping on Tuesday.
I say review instead of create because I actually create my meal plans monthly.  I sit down with a calendar and a piece of paper and some cookbooks and map out a month of meals. It's really not as hard as it sounds, especially when you factor in at least one leftover dinner a week to clean out the fridge.
 I also try to do a couple meals a month that I can make a big batch of and freeze for an easy meal the next month.  I think this month is more on the freezer cleaning out than the stocking, however.
Our busy nights (Monday and Wednesday right now) I try to use the slow-cooker to make my life that much easier in the hectic afternoons.  Okay, enough preamble, onto the menu:


Slow-cooker Mushroom-Sauced Pot Roast (click for a link to the recipe)
I got this recipe from an impulse purchase of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine "All-time Favorites Slow-cooker". It's from 2004, but I think they do something similar fairly frequently.  Of course, I think you can get most of their recipes online now, anyhow, if you know what to look for.
In this recipe I replace the packaged veggies with fresh, and as I am out of cream of mushroom soup, I'll use this little beauty I found on Pinterest.


Another Pinterest find: Lentil Soup with Chickpeas & Quinoa


Slow-cooker Chicken Stew with Rosmary Dumplings from the cookbook 300 Slow-cooker Favorites. I picked it up a couple of years ago in the bargain book section and get some good inspiration from it.
This is my first time making this recipe, the usual Chicken and Dumpling one I use is from the Better Homes and Gardens, so we'll see how it goes.

Chicken Stew with Rosemary Dumpling
adapted slightly from 300 Slow-cooker Favorites

1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
1 whole chicken cut into pieces (about 3 lbs)
1 T. vegetable oil
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1" pieces
2 stalks of celery, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 onion thinly sliced (for our family I cut the onions really small so they can add flavour 
without the kids freaking out that there are onions in their meal)
1 t. dried rosemary
2 c. chicken stock, divided
1 c. frozen peas

1 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t dried rosemary
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Fresh rosemary sprigs (garnish)

1. In a heavy plastic bag combine flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken in batches, tossing to coat.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides (about 8-10 mins). Set aside.
3. Add vegetables and rosemary to slow cooker and set chicken pieces on top.
4. Pour 1/2 c. stock into skillet and cook over medium high heat, scraping to deglaze the pan. Pour pan juices and remaining stock over the chicken.
5. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or High 4-6 hours until vegetables are tender and stew is bubbling. Add peas and stir to combine.
6. Dumplings: in a bowl sift the dry ingredients together. In another dish combine mils and egg, mix well. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a fork to make a lumpy dough.  Do not over mix, you want some lumps left. Drop dumpling mixture over chicken pieces by the spoonful. Cover and cook on High for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the dumpling comes out clean.

Garnish dishes with fresh rosemary and Serve. (Serves 4-6)


Pork Tenderloin (probably done in soy, ginger and garlic) with a side of rice and our standard steamed broccoli and cauliflower.


Turkey soup from the freezer (thank you Christmas leftovers!) possibly with some baking powder biscuits, if I'm feeling ambitious.


is our leftover/Fridge clean out meal


Lamb Shanks (from Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef cookbook that we got as a wedding gift) with mashed potatoes and roasted zucchini.  

And there you have it, my week in food. You may notice that the more intensive meals happen early in the week, with the quicker, easier stuff later.  Let's face it, first week back to school, I'm going to be wiped by Friday, so I worked it into my plan!  Enjoy your food this week!

Thursday, 2 January 2014


How fast the time flies!  I can't believe that 2013 has come and gone and I did a whopping total of 2 posts.  Ah, well, that's what New Year's Resolutions are for, right?

My resolutions for 2014 are:

1. Yell less.  I'd love to stop yelling all together, and model the control I keep telling my monkeys to have, so I will be reading more on this:

I will also be rereading the book Stop Reacting and Start Responding.  I read it last year and made it almost a month with no yelling, then life got crazy, and I used it as an excuse to stop pushing myself.  Well, no more.

2. Journal more.  That includes this here blog.  I also write little notes and anecdotes from the day in a daytimer that I have.  I don't know why I got out of practice with that last year (oh wait, new baby in the house might have had a little to do with it)  With my memory being in the horrible state that it is I need these things to help me look back and see just how far my monkeys and I have come.

3. Get the kids on track.  I know, this probably doesn't seem like it should be my resolution, but it really is up to me to follow up on the kids chores and what not.  We've been using for our chore tracking (at least for Princess and Peanut) but I have to remember to give them time to do the recording every evening and encouraging them to get their stuff complete.  

4. Pray more.  I have been really negligent in my conversations with God and I really am so very thankful for all the wonderful blessing He has given me, so I need to tell Him. Everyday.

5. Read more.  Since Bean has been born I think I have read a total of 5 books.  And 2 of those were on a big family vacation where there were other hands to corral the kids.  BK (Before Kids) I was reading about 5 books a month, so the lack of brain food is starting to take its toll.  I'm thinking that to help motivate me I'll try to review a book here once a month. (I'd love to do once a week, but let's be realistic here)

6. Spend Less.  I came to a discovery last year as I did our first ever budget (if you haven't done one, sit down and write down all your expenses. You will probably be surprised at how much goes out every month), we are living way to close to the line.  We need to go through our expenses and try to trim down in some areas. I know it can be done, we just have to buckle down and do it!

7. Don't Forget the Small Stuff. A girlfriend of mine told me of this resolution of hers and I'm adopting it.  Remembering to drink enough water and take my vitamins, and to take a couple of minutes for myself everyday.  All this will help me to be a better Mom to my monkeys.

Okay, so that's a start!  There's always the every day and every week renewals of staying on top of housework and packing better lunches and so on, but that's what life is all about, right?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Reclaiming the Weekend

I don't know about you, but lately I've been finding weekends more frustrating than not.  Everyone is in the mindset that it is a day off (myself included) and we fritter away the days doing nothing.  Instead of feeling good and refreshed, we seem to be listless and cranky by the end, and I usually wind up starting the week off buried under dishes that haven't been done since Friday.

2 weeks ago I decided that we needed to add some structure to our weekends if we wanted to have some fun, so our Saturdays are now structured like this:

wake up- 9:30am- free time (usually screen time, be it cartoons or computer games)
9:30-noon- Everyone work together on some house project
noon- ???- family activity

First week went great, we got some work done, so I was less burdened and we had a birthday party Saturday afternoon, so the kids had a great afternoon.  

Last week not so stellar, hubby's "work" was building a new computer, so the rest still fell on my shoulders, and it's hard to motivate the munchkin crew when I can barely motivate myself!  We did go to the park in the afternoon, but it was so cold we didn't stay long.

I think it can work for us, but needs some tweaking.  I didn't take into consideration Mr. Mischief's naptime, so we may need to push our family activity back to 2ish, or head out first thing...  I'm open to suggestions!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How Time Flies

I can't believe that so many months have passed since my last post!  A lot has happened here since September.

Princess is blossoming at school, and loving every minute of it.

Sweet Pea has become the loudest member of the household, as only a 3 year old can do.

Mr. Mischief has been getting into tons of, well, mischief.

And, finally, we welcomed a new little bundle back in November, we'll call him Tiny Sasquatch (there was a thing floating around Facebook, about your true Canadian name, and that was his, and I like it!).

Now with four small children (both in stature and in age) my life seems to be nothing but a whirl wind of diapers, feedings and laundry.  You can't forget the laundry.  If you do it very quickly buries you!

I've been doing a fairly decent job of staying on top of things, domestically, thanks to my handy dandy Cleaning Calendar, and it turns out that a clean house makes for a happier husband and makes room for a lot more fun!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Change is good! ...Right?

Wow, it's been a while.  Those last couple weeks of summer just flew by!  I should have known not to start something new right then, but when is a GOOD time to start something new?  There's always something that can prevent us from changing and moving ahead.

I think that's been my biggest issue lately.  We need big change in our house to make things run smoother, and I feel like I'm the only one who is doing anything about it!  Of course, change isn't easy for anyone and trying to establish routines for yourself is hard enough, let alone establishing new ones for 3 little kids as well! About 6 weeks ago I started a cleaning schedule that I saw here, I did mine in Word, and adapted it for my family, adding some extra things both on the daily and the Friday rotation list.  It worked fabulously!  For the first 2 weeks.  Just so happens, hubby was out of town for one of those weeks.  Coincidence?  Also, there was a retirement party I had to do a bunch of baking for, AND I got the flu.  That third week was not fun.  But I haven't been able to get back on it, which has really been bothering me, because while I was following it, I felt GREAT!  Like I was totally on top of things, I had time to do some baking with the kidlets and have fun with them, because things were under control.

Princess, my eldest, "started school" this week.  I have that in quotations, because she started Kindergarten, and I don't know what that entails elsewhere, but here it means about an hour and a half of "class" spread out over the week.  On top of that, Sweet Pea, my 3 year old, started preschool 2 afternoons a week.  That was a fair bit less disrupting, as they started the regular schedule right off the bat, and to say she had no issue with leaving Mom for the afternoon is a total understatement.  Next week, Princess will be on more or less her regular schedule, so I'm going to really try to follow my cleaning schedule and get back on top of things.  I'm hoping I can get it ingrained before the new babe arrives in November so that it's second nature.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

29 weeks down, 11 to go

Why does growing a human have to be so exhausting?  At least with my previous pregnancies I was able to take a nap during the day, but with a busy 5 year old who very rarely naps, and the other 2 on different schedules (how the heck did that happen, I was so careful with the first two to keep them the same!) Mommy naps are few and far between.  As a result, by 7:30 when I'm tucking my little angels in for the night, I'm ready to conk out with them!  But alas, there is always so much more that has to be done.

This week is especially busy, as my mom is hosting a retirement party for my aunt (her sister) and let's just say it's not a small affair.  We're expecting upwards of 80 people, so needless to say, Mom is going a little crazy about getting things just so around her place.  Now, both of my sisters still live at home, one with her hubby in the basement suite, and one in the largest room that she has very little inclination of leaving until she can afford to buy herself a house (not a condo, or town-house, a detached single family dwelling).  To be honest, I'm not sure who would have a harder time when she finally does move out because it's a pretty big place for just Mom and Dad.  I'm thinking that E, O, W and ? will be spending a lot of time over there!  Anywho, back to the craziness of getting ready for the party.  My whole point was that I get the stories and am an ear to the woes of my dear sisters.  

Not that I get off scott free!  Oh no, I have my own marching orders, which are mostly baking related.  So far I've made 2 different brownie squares and a nanaimo bar.  Still to come are Lemon Champaign cupcakes and a chocolate raspberry cake.  Maybe I'll get some photos on Saturday of my handiwork and post them up for the world to see...  

Tonight I'm praying for a good night's sleep for all my little ones, so I can have one, too, for tomorrow I'm watching 2 more little ones, just to add to the madhouse!

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Let me start off by saying I am not a writer.  I have, however, had a bunch of things floating around in my head that need an outlet, so I'm going to give this a try.  I apologise in advance, as this may be a little scattered.  It is my first blog, and I have no idea just where this journey is going to take me. 
I am Megs, a busy Mommy to four amazing kids (Princess, Sweet Pea (both girls), Mr. Mischief and Bean (both boys).  Most of my posts will be kid related in some way shape or form, as they are the centre of my life right now.  I am a happy (well 95% of the time) SAHM, and I love watching these little people I incubated grow and learn everyday.  
I am working towards the title of Domestic Diva, but have a fair way to go to reach that.  To be honest, I love the kids part of being home, but I hate the housework part.  I keep telling myself that it'll get easier as the kids get older and are more able to help but I really just need to suck it up and figure out how to get on top of it myself.  It's a lot easier to get the little ones to help if I'm not trying to dig myself out from piles of stuff!  
So here's to new adventures!  Here's hoping I can stay on top of this one ;)