Wednesday, January 30, 2013

11 weeks

Yep, that's it. 11 weeks until we get the keys to our new house. I am SOOOOOOOO excited!!!! We went over to see it again on the weekend and I still like it. ;) I guess I should since we've bought it. It finally is all official. (What a stressful ordeal!)

Anyways, I haven't gotten much done lately in the sorting, decluttering and packing. My whole family was hit by the flu last week and a couple of us are still recovering including myself. I'm hoping to get back in gear and get some sorting done again as early as tomorrow. I have to run out to the grocery store tomorrow but should have enough time to do a little bit at least.

11 weeks... wow! I think it's going to just fly by!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Recipe: Taco Soup

This recipe is delish! It's kind of like a chili but with different flavour and not as thick.

1 lb ground beef, browned
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 to 1 pkg taco seasoning

Simmer all ingredients together for 20 minutes.
Add as much of the taco seasoning as you prefer. The more in the spicier it will be.
Could also go in the crock pot on Low for 4 hours.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sick Day

Today is the first of (hopefully not too many) sick days here. My daughter hasn't been feeling well for a couple days and feeling worse. My son wasn't feeling good when he got up neither. So after a phone call to hubby to cancel is chauffeuring duties and the school to let them know my daughter wouldn't be coming in, we braved the day. The kids are enjoying their time in pajamas and Mommy has been doing her best to cater to them.

I thought they were doing better after some homemade chicken soup for lunch and planned to go ahead with my planned supper. Hubby was home early and things looked good for being on time with the meal. Unfortunately everything went to hell after that. Hubby got called to an emergency at work. Kids were feeling worse again so just wanted soup, cheese and crackers. Wasn't going to cook for just me so I decided to wait for hubby. He said not to bother. And so, supper ended up in the fridge till tomorrow and hubby and I enjoyed more leftovers for supper (we had them the day before).

What do you do when things fall apart? How do you feel? I often get frustrated and feel upset. You know, we put a lot of effort into making meals for our families to eat. But today I was feeling okay. I rolled with it all pretty well. And hopefully tomorrow the little peeps will be feeling well enough for a real meal. Although it looks like Mommy and Daddy are getting the cold.... :(

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It may not be a meal plan but it's still a plan of meals

So you all know I struggle with meal plans. I just can't seem to make it work. Most people will sit down and plan out all their meals (or at least their suppers) for the next week. I haven't been able to do that yet but I am making progress. My sticky list on the calendar gives me ideas when I'm not sure what we should have. And I've been faithfully marking down what meal I make for supper each day. So we're 17 days in to 2013 and I am feeling better about the whole thing. :)

As for how I shop for groceries, well I have a regular stock of certain items that we use for a lot of meals (like bags of potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, eggs, milk, etc.). When it comes to meat, I usually have a fairly good variety in the freezer and pick up whatever is on sale that week. Once thing I'm good about doing is when I'm highlighting what I need to pick up on my grocery list, I mark the things I need to get in pink and the things that can wait for a sale in yellow. When I open up the last of something, I added to my running list and then add those items when I sit down to prepare for shopping. I always go through the flyers and see what's on sale. WalMart is great about price matching if you bring the current flyers and that saves me some money too.

One thing I have come to realize (and I hope you realize too) is that no matter what I do - a process, a plan, a cleaning method, etc. - I need to do what works for me. There are lots of different and great ways to do things, but just because it works well for one person, doesn't mean it's the best way for you to do something. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but if what you're doing isn't working, it's time to try something new. I follow a lot of great blogs with awesome ideas but I can't do all the things they suggest. I've got to weed through it and figure out what may work for me. Sometimes I try out their ideas and it's great, or needs tweaking to fit my lifestyle. Other times, it's just no good and I'll keep with my old methods till I find something else to try.

What's the best tip you've found lately? Please share. (And no it doesn't have to be related to meal planning.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Minor progress

There are lots of times when our days (and maybe weeks) disappear and your To Do List is the same as when you wrote it down. Things come up and get in the way of doing the things we planned to do. My past week had been one of those.

I was hoping to definitely make some progress with decluttering and organizing. Monday was a good day for that and I got a quite a bit done. But since that day, it just seems like nothing has worked out. But you know what? That's okay!

I have been continuing to put like items together. This week I receive a few Christmas tins back so I made sure to take them downstairs and pack them rather than wait to do it later. And I found a couple Christmas movies I missed in the original packing so they went down and in the bins too.

I have been tossing and decluttering little things as I see them. I was hunting through the linen closet for a few things the other day and found a few things to toss so in the garbage they went. I decluttered the top of my dresser today too. There were some books on it I thought I would read but haven't so put them in a box of books I started. And there was a basket of stuff sitting on the dresser as well, so I did a quick run through it and tossed about half the stuff.

So it's all good. :) We don't move for about 3 months so I have time to do all the sorting, organizing and tossing I want while I pack. And on the days where I don't have time for major progress, I can still make minor progress. I'll be saving myself time later when I can even do 3 to 5 minutes of stuff now.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Recipe: Chicken and Dumplings in the Crock Pot

As part of my quest for better meal planning, I promised to try some new recipes. So here we go! To start off the new recipes, here's one I found in December that we've had a couple of times and quick become a family favourite. (Sorry, no pic. I need to remember to do that....)

Chicken and Dumplings in the Crock Pot


1 1/2 lbs chicken pieces (legs and thighs, boneless skinless chicken breasts)
3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 large carrot, sliced thin
2 stalks of celery, sliced thin
1 onion, cut into wedges
poultry seasoning
1 bay leaf
900 mL chicken broth

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp shortening
1/2 cup milk


1. Place chicken in bottom of crock pot.
2. Add in vegetables, spices and pour broth over top. Stir as best as possible.
3. Cook on Low for 7 hours or until chicken is cooked.
4. Mix up flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening. Stir in milk until moistened.
5. Spoon dumplings into liquid in about 6 portions.
6. Cook for about 1/2 hour on high or until toothpick comes out of dumplings clean.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

M&M Update for January 9, 2013

So I was trying to think of a fun way to combine my updates on the two major topics I'm dealing with right now. I came up with M&M - moving plan and meal plan. :) Fun eh?!? Plus who doesn't love M&Ms?!? ;)

M#1 - Moving Plan: I am making progress but it's been a little slow this week. Today I had shopping to do and yesterday I played cards so no progress Tuesday and Wednesday. But Monday was a good day. I got all the Christmas and Winter stuff (decorations, dishes, wrapping, etc.) organized and packed up ready to move. I also spent about an hour sorting a bunch of the kids' toys. There's more to do but that was a big chunky of them. They were all pretty small and piled up together. Oh, and today I got two green storage containers at Walmart for $5 each. (They are normally $7.77.) I'm going to put all my other Holiday stuff (decorations, dishes, etc.) in them I think. Not sure if I'll get anything done tomorrow as I've got a meeting here tomorrow. Hopefully Friday will be a good day for more moving progress.

M#2 - Meal Plan: So my method seems to be working pretty good so far. I've got the sticky on the calendar with my lists of ideas, crossing them off as I use them and adding meals to the day we eat them. I still am usually picking something the night before, but it helps to have some ideas right there to pick from. Its definitely adding to the variety of what we eat. I haven't mastered planning farther ahead yet as different things seem to come up and would throw a meal plan off. Also, I haven't had all the meat I need to cook all the meals I listed, so it's easier to add them in once I've picked up the meat. All in all, I'm feeling good about it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

More Moving Details

Happy New Year!!!! It's a happy one here for sure. :) Sunday was a great day. The NHL peeps announced that morning that they got their crap worked out and hockey will be starting soon. And we found out that night that we're getting the house. :D Such exciting times!!!! Now I'm starting to feel the pressure.... ;)

Our closing date is going to be Wednesday, April 17th. Hubby wants to move into the house that weekend (20th and 21st). We want to be able to rent out our current house for May 1st, which means we need to get some things finished up around here before then (trim, carpet on the stairs, ceiling in a bathroom, finish up downstairs so that it's usable). Lucky for me I won't have to do the actual work but I still have to get the house ready for moving and construction work.

So now for the plan with some dates now.... :)

I'm going to get the Christmas stuff finished up today. Everything is down and in the basement but I found a few dishes in the cupboard still this morning. I'm going to finish packing it up so that it's ready to move.

By the end of next week, I want to be through all the kids' clothes and toys, and get them posted for sale. If they aren't gone by February 2nd/3rd then I'll donate the stuff somewhere. I've already got most of the clothes done, just need to do a final check upstairs then I can start on the toys.

I am aiming to be through all the stuff in the basement (except for hubby's stuff) by March 2nd/3rd. I need to try to get it as ready as possible so he can get work done down there.

March and early April will be left for doing the last minute stuff. I need to find out about schools, transferring cable, internet, phone, and whatever else I can think of. I probably only have to get a little bit of paint as the room my daughter will be getting is not the colour she wants, but the rest of the house should be fine.

Since there are a few places in the house we don't use, I'm going to split up the piles of stuff. The selling/donating pile will be in our front porch. That gets everything to the main floor which will be easier for transporting or picking up. Our moving pile is going to start on the finished part of the basement floor against the far wall. Once I get some stuff moved around and sorted I may move it to the unfinished section but we'll see. The garbage pile will be near the bottom of the basement stairs. I'm hoping to mostly throw stuff out as I go so we don't have a lot of garbage at the end.

So that's my plan with a little more details. You'll notice some lists forming in the sidebar soon. I want to work at keep of track of what I get done. I'm going to have my to-do lists on paper but I want to have a done list on here to celebrate as I go.

Alrighty, here I go! :)