Sunday, 15 January 2017

Menu Plan Monday - January 16, 2017

Hello my friends! Hope this week has treated you well! This was our first full week back to full time everything - school, all the after school activities and of course, work. I'm extremely proud of myself (and my friend Alana) for going two straight weeks bringing lunch to work and not going out! It's like a miracle! We used to go out for lunch (and spend money) every single day pretty much. If we had brought lunch, we would still go out and shop in the mall beside work. Now we hang out in one of the lunchrooms at work and make plans, get organized and figure out what's next up!

Our family managed to mostly stay on the menu plan this week too! There were a couple of days where I need to swap one days' planned dinner for another, but we stuck pretty close! I'm also trying to get back on the organizing train. For those of you who have read along with me since the beginning will remember, a lot of my past posts were about simple living, following a minimal-ish lifestyle and household organizing. Since the first of January I have been following along with Peter Walsh's #31Days2GetOrganized and trying to complete the mini-challenges each day.

Here's a photo from the challenge this week to get your kitchen utensils under control - it was an easy task, I didn't spend more than ten minutes working on it, but gave me a little sense of accomplishment and incentive to keep going on my journey!

On the menu this week - a few family favorites, and one of my faves too!!

Monday: Turkey Pot Pie
Tuesday: Ravioli Lasagne (my favorite!)
Wednesday: Crockpot Honey Chicken
Thursday: Salmon, rice and veggies
Friday: Miss A's heading to camp for the weekend! Out for dinner!
Saturday: Baked ham, mashed potatoes and veggies
Sunday: Teriyaki chicken rice and veggies

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I really appreciate it!! Here's hoping this is the first of many posts this year!! I'll be linking up to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday, stop over and check it out!!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Menu Plan Monday - January 9, 2017

Good morning my friends!! I hope you all had a great first week back to work and school! We were back for four days of work, school, dance, brownies, girl guides, catechism and play dates and bottle drives and madness... but thankfully I had my very first menu plan of the year all queued up and ready. Guess what?? We followed along most of the week!

I made these lovelies for dinner last Sunday and kept the rest for lunches this week!
Now that I'm back on the menu planning train, I have to share with you all my latest and greatest find - online grocery shopping!! Our local grocery store, Save On Foods offers two different kinds of service - online shopping where they pick your order and they deliver for a nominal fee (between $5-8) OR (and even more amazing) you can order online, they pick the order for you and you can pick it up in a time slot you pick! I usually plan my orders so they are ready for pickup while my girls are dancing and my hubby picks them up while they are at the studio.

This week, when it came time to use the store's app, I checked in with my menu plan and placed my order for whichever ingredients I knew I would need for the week's recipes. I also love that if we run out of something during the week, I can open the app and add it to my cart right away so I don't forget. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

On this week's menu, we are having one pick from each of the kiddos! They love having input into what we are having for dinner, and I love that I'm making something that won't cause an argument at the dinner table. Win/Win!

Monday: Spaghetti and meat sauce
Tuesday: Fish burgers and fries
Wednesday: Tortellini with Prawns
Thursday: Tacos and cheese quesadillas
Friday: Baked ham, mashed potatoes and beans

Saturday: Home made shake and bake chicken, roasted potatoes and salad
Sunday: Beef and broccoli

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I really appreciate it!! Here's hoping this is the first of many posts this year!! I'll be linking up to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday, stop over and check it out!!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Menu Plan Monday - January 2, 2017

Hello old friends!! I know it's been a L-O-N-G time since I made an appearance here, but it's a new year, and I'm going to try to use this little corner of the internet to help me get back to being organized, even in chaos. Life has changed a lot over the past year, my kiddos are now 10 and almost 8, I got a new job, and I have two new nephews and another niece or nephew on the way!

My new job has meant less down time for me, and it also means I'm working more and after work I perform my usual chauffeur services to ferry the girls between the dance studio, brownies, girl guides, and their other activities. In fact, I spent today filling in the activities on our new 2017 family calendar that we keep on the fridge so everyone knows who has to be where, when!

We tried to keep our holiday season really chill this year. When in years past we did an Advent Activity Calendar, and wrapped and read a Christmas book each night this year we didn't plan out our activities for every single day. Instead, we made plans with friends and family as they came up and tried to slow down and enjoy our time with our loved ones.

We did plan one new event this year that we hope to make into a family tradition for years to come - a cousins Christmas party. This year my adult cousins and I planned a night where we all got together, kid free (except the newborns) and just enjoyed each other, had some yummy appies and drinks and chilled out! It was so much fun, and we managed to get almost all of the cousins together! At this party, my cousin, who is going back to work next week after her year's maternity leave reminded me that the menu plans I used to be so good about making were some of her dinner inspirations in her own home! She has two very busy little boys, and having a dinner plan helps her to keep her sanity in check, feed her family healthy meals and help avoid having cereal for dinner 3 times a week!

So, to help her (and me!!) out, I spent today filling out my calendar, and planning our menu for the next month - yes, you heard that correctly, MONTH! I like to plan out the whole month so I don't end up repeating recipes over the month long span. Also, planning for the whole month allows all members of the family to request a favorite meal! I let the girls pick two or three favorites, the hubs gets a couple of picks and mama gets to choose the rest! So, without further adieu, here is the first week of menus for 2017!!

Monday: Chicken Burrito Bowls (with lots of leftovers for lunch at work!)
Tuesday: Cheeseburgers and roasted potato wedges
Wednesday: Perogies and sausage
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry
Friday: Rotisserie chicken, salad and hot dinner rolls
Saturday: Spaghetti and meatballs
Sunday: Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies (freezer meal, makes dinner for today plus a bunch more for the freezer for future dinners!)

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I really appreciate it!! Here's hoping this is the first of many posts this year!! I'll be linking up to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday, stop over and check it out!!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt

Hello my friends!! Hope you are all enjoying the first week of spring!! With Easter coming up this weekend I’m trying to get all ready for the all-important Easter egg hunt! Our kids are totally spoiled – they do an Easter egg hunt at home, one outside with all the neighbours on the stoop, another one with each set of grandparents and yet another one at church!

This year for a something a little different I thought I’d get my kids to work a little harder to find their Easter rewards – a scavenger hunt! After a quick look around the idea galleries on Pinterest, I managed to find a bunch of clues that will work for our house. Basically, when the girls get up in the morning, where normally there is a couch full of chocolate and treats from the Easter bunny, this year there will be a clue… leading to another clue… and another!

I found many of the clues for the scavenger hunt on these two sites (Storypiece.net and Melissa and Doug) and then just changed some around to fit with our home. It would be easy to do the same for your house!! Once I made my list of clues, and the corresponding order of answers, I printed them off, cut into strips and placed inside the eggs. Then I numbered the eggs 1-10 so I’d be able to have them ready in advance.

At each clue spot, the girls will find a little pile of chocolate eggs and a plastic egg that will contain the next clue. The final clue will have the destination of their Easter treats!! At our house the Easter bunny tries not to leave too much chocolate because all of the grandparents and aunts and uncles always buy chocolate – our bunny this year will be leaving each of the girls a big box of sidewalk chalk, a new skipping rope, a new book and a chocolate treat.

I am going to try to attach the clues that we used for our hunt at the bottom of this post, so you can print them off for your own Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt! In the meantime, I've taken a screen shot of the clues below! Enjoy, and happy Easter everyone!!



   

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Keeping up with the Gingers, 2016 edition!!

Hello my friends!! I hope you all have been keeping well!!  Over in our house we have been busy busy busy, so I haven’t been able to check in for a while. I have so many things to post about that I hardly know where to start!!

Over the Christmas break, my husband sat down with the girls and I and brought us up to speed on Star Wars. Although he was an expert on the whole series, the girls and I had never seen any of the movies. Over the week of Christmas holidays we watched all six of the old Star Wars movies and then got all dressed up in Star Wars tshirts (yes, even me!) and went to see the latest release: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Last month we traveled to Disneyland with another family (my lovely friend Alana from Alana Joy Photography) and had an absolute blast!! This is the second time we have made this trip and the combination of the littles being big enough to ride all the rides and the plethora of Star Wars paraphernalia in the park made this an awesome trip!

Last week my lovely Irish lasses danced their hearts out for St Patrick’s Day! They danced nine shows over two days and delighted everyone in the senior’s communities where they danced! They had a great time, and although totally exhausted at the end of it, happily came to the pub for dinner to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

This week coming up we are celebrating Easter with our families. I’m working on a fun scavenger hunt for the girls this year! Usually we just “hide” eggs around the house and the girls run madly to find them… but this year I’m feeling ambitious! With help from my trusty friend Pinterest I have found some fun clues for the girls to follow to find all of their Easter treats!! I’ll hopefully be back later this week with a post on the clue ideas!!

Hope you all have been keeping well! Thanks for stopping by today, you guys are the best!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How to Host a Successful Christmas Cookie Exchange

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is coming up next week! This year will mark the 10th Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange that I will be hosting at my house! It’s a day for us ladies to get together over tea or wine and have appies and catch up, all while trading our new or favorite holiday cookie recipes!!

If you have never been a part of a Christmas Cookie Exchange, let me tell you how it works!! It’s surprisingly easy and a LOT of fun!! Basically, each person who attends the party brings six dozen of their favorite type of cookie, then we make the exchange and everyone brings six dozen different cookies home!!

Ten years ago when I hosted my first cookie exchange, I wasn’t really sure how it worked, so I googled, and found this page . This site gave me a very specific set of rules that, for the first couple of years I was very specific about following… and honestly some of the rules were a little too much for me, so I have relaxed them into the rules below and things have gone much more smoothly ever since!

Recipe for these beauties
Before the rules, a few tips to make your life easier as the hostess of the cookie party!! First of all, give LOTS of notice! I usually send out my invitations (usually as a facebook event) about a month or so before the party. People have very busy social calendars, and if they know about this event well enough ahead, they can also plan to make time for the baking part of the party!! Although some people get stressed about having to bake 6 dozen cookies, remember: that usually just means two batches of a single recipe, since most cookie recipes make 3 dozen cookies!!

Second: Don’t stress!! This is supposed to be a fun event!! I usually have my Christmas tree up mid-November, so my Christmas d├ęcor is the only decorating I do for the party, well aside from the beautiful cookies all my friends bring along!! I buy or make a few easy appetizers, open a few bottles of wine and make a pot of tea and we just sit and chat and catch up with each other!

If you have the time, ask your friends to provide you their recipes ahead of time and put together a Cookie Book. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s super easy and your friends will thank you! When I hosted my first cookie exchange, I asked people to bring copies of their recipes, so if someone LOVED a cookie, they’d be able to bake it! Inevitably, people would forget, so I try to collect everyone’s recipe the week before and print them all off into a little booklet for my guests to bring home! Voila, ten minutes of copying and pasting into a Word document and all of our new favorite recipes in one place to share!!

Finally, I know that people are busy, but busy people still want cookies!! I allow people to bake their cookies and drop them off to me before the party and I will do the exchanging part for them. Last year I had one participant in labour, and another working and one more that had a different party to attend… but they all wanted to bake and exchange cookies, so they brought them over before the party, prepackaged and ready to go and I exchanged their yummies for them! One last thing that may make your life as Cookie Party hostess a little better… and by no means is this necessary, it’s just my OCD coming out to play… if you have an odd number of participants, and you won’t be able to evenly divide cookies (for example 11 people x 6 dozen (72) cookies = 6.54 of each recipe per participant) whip up an extra batch of cookies.

See how amazing having twelve different types of cookies can be????
As the hostess, you are likely already a baker and have a ton of recipes in your arsenal. In addition to making it easier to divide and package cookies (especially when many of the guests pre-package their cookies), if you bring two entries to the party, you LEAVE with double the cookies!!

So, without further ado, and using guidance from Robin’s Rules to Hosting a Cookie Exchange, here are my…


1. All cookies should be homemade, baked and main ingredient must be a type of flour. This means your guests will bring COOKIES. Not Rice Krispie treats, not meringues, COOKIES. After all, this is a Cookie Exchange!!

2. No plain chocolate chip cookies, cookie mixes, no-bakes, meringues or bars. Anyone can open a package and add an egg, this party is for cookies made with love. We allowed bars one year, and they didn’t cut well, they weren’t evenly sized, and they didn’t package and stack like cookies.

3. Please bring 6 dozen total cookies… well maybe a couple extra to share… but really, six dozen cookies. One recipe baked twice, 72 cookies. It makes it easier for sorting and separating when the actual exchange part of the party, and means that no one is shorted cookies because someone only managed to bake 60 cookies.

4. Email a copy of your recipe before the party (or bring recipe to the party). In addition to putting together a Cookie Book like I do, having everyone provide their planned recipes in advance means that you won’t get duplicates. Not that having four kinds of shortbread is the worst problem to have, but variety is the spice of life!!

5. If you don't have time to bake, or have burnt your cookies, but still want to attend, you must go to a real bakery and buy 6 dozen yummy cookies. This one is pretty self-explanatory! In all of my years, it’s only happened on time that someone had to bring bakery cookies!!

I am so so so looking forward to this year’s festivities!! This year’s Cookie Book already has recipes for Oreo Peppermint Crunch Cookies and Salted Caramel Stuffed Snickerdoodles. I. Can’t. Wait!!!!!! Thanks for stopping by today! I really appreciate it!!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Menu Plan Monday - Nov 16, 2015

Happy Monday my friends!!! Does anyone else feel like time is just flying by?? Can you believe it’s already the middle of November?? I feel like as organized as I try to be, I am super behind schedule!! Normally I would have all of my shopping done, most of the gifts wrapped, the tree ready to put up, and all my Christmas cards written and ready to mail – this year… Notsomuch :(.
2014 Cookie Exchange Goodies!!!
I guess I had better get cracking on my to-do lists!! This week I am really excited to share with you one of my family traditions, ten years in the making!! This December, a group of ladies and I will celebrate my 10th Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange!! It’s a great way for us to get together, have some wine and appies and share our favorite cookie recipes! The event is a lot of fun, but follows some pretty strict rules – check back in later this week to find out how to host an amazing cookie exchange!

One thing I have been able to stick to (list wise anyway) is menu planning! I have found myself looking back over my old recipes here on the blog to find some old favorites that I forgot about!!

On the menu this week:

Monday: Homemade pizzas
Tuesday: Fish burgers and French Fries
Wednesday: Pasta with veggies and prawns
Thursday: New Recipe – Beef and Broccoli
Friday: Chicken strips and potato wedges
Saturday: Everyone is out tonight – hockey game, Girl Guide camp, sleepover… Mama’s going Christmas Shopping! Dinner will be Starbucks fueling me on!!
Sunday: Chicken Fajitas and Cheese Quesadillas

I’ll be linking my menu plan up to OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday – check it out!!

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