Wednesday, 11 November 2015

One Year Toko-Versary...

Can you believe it,  we have been living the small town dream now for just on 12 months!  This year has flown by, and yet in many ways it feels like we have been here forever!  It has been a momentous year for our family - so much change happening, and so much growing up has taken place! 

From this:

To this:

We arrived down here with two preschoolers,  one still in nappies & sleeping in his cot (ok, so maybe he was still technically a toddler), & still waking up 2-3x a night.  Now we have a school girl who is reading WAY above her level,  & a kindy boy out of nappies (day AND night), sleeps in a big boy bed, & 85% of the time sleeps all the way through the night. 

We have gone from a traditional family where Dad worked full time & was gone long hours every day, and I was the stay at home Mum; two both being at home full time for six months,  to me being the main income earner - working two jobs and gone long hours. 

We have gone from a huge 4 bedroom / 2 bathroom,  open plan modern house with 5 acres of land surrounding us... to a small 3 bedroom 1950s house,  small rooms & the nastiest kitchen I have had to work in! And having a 'proper' backyard surrounded by neighbour's,  not animals! 

We have gone from driving 15-20 minutes to get to the nearest shop, to having shops within walking distance... from having a child at home 24/7, to having one at school 5 days a week and one at Kindy 3 days a week. 

Yes,  it has been a year of momentous change for everyone in my little family.... next year is looking bigger and better,  with the hope of purchasing our first home,  and hopefully hubby starting to earn some money doing his thing! 

I probably should have started drafting this post a little while ago,  as I am sure there are many other things I have missed mentioning - but I have lost my mojo tonight...

However, be on the lookout for a post about Christmas coming your way! I am pretty excited about this one!


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Allergy Update

I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing allergy-wise. It has been an interesting few days here as we work through yet another hump in the road, but I am sure things will work themselves out; just like they normally do! 

She is off dairy only,  we had been quite strict on her for the first half of the year; but started to get a bit lax lately - allowing baked goods from the supermarket, and letting others give her stuff without checking it first.  But we got a fright the other week, she had some normal chocolate given to her - we allow dairy-free dark chocolate only at home, but we let it slide this time.  Well not only did she have her normal rash reaction over her face, but she started freaking out about her mouth and throat being itchy. Oh my gosh - I haven't been so scared in my life, we gave her some water and watched her like hawks for the next few hours... thankfully nothing else happened. However this has since happened a second time, and it was just a supermarket biscuit that brought it on, so back to very strict dairy-free diet for her; poor girl,  but I am grateful she is now old enough to explain & vocalise these things! 

Our little monkey

The child I had thought was my 'allergy-free' one, turns out I was wrong... way wrong!  Come Christmas last year,  we decided that by 2.5 years old,  'lil M was past the age of having regular diarrhea and we needed to work out what was going on. After a rough Christmas for him, we took the bull by the horns & took him off dairy;  it seemed the most logical cause of action after some research, especially as it was already in the family. And what a rapid response - we started noticing change within 48 hours,  and after six weeks he was 'normal', & I felt brave enough to start toilet training him. It was a fairly simple transition with Button already having to be off dairy (although we had slackened off a bit with her at that stage). Both kids responded quickly and confidently to the changes - we are very proud of them; we are also very blessed to live in a supportive community,  with friends who have been so good at accommodating our needs. 

This weekend,  for example,  we were invited to a 5 year old birthday party.  My friend made everything dairy free for my children,  including the birthday cake.  So blessed. 

Since then poor 'lil M appears to be reacting to something else;  these past few weeks he has been struggling to eat his dinner. Initially we thought he was just going through another fussy stage, so we tried everything to encourage him to eat; including letting him go to bed with no dinner - figuring the hunger would be enough for him to change his mind.  Nothing has worked, he went to bed happily & slept through as per normal, you'd have thought we'd have realised something was wrong at this stage, especially when he stopped eating meat (my son was a carnivore)! Then I really started to notice his tummy at night was unusually large - I mentioned it to hubby, but until I showed him these photos;  I don't think he was aware of the extent of it: 

Left - after a very small dinner on Sunday evening. 
Right - Monday morning after breakfast. 

My poor baby. He has also gone back to loose bowel movements; so obviously something is wrong.  At this stage we are still not sure,  but we have made the decision to take him off gluten - all his symptoms point to this,  and with the family history it just makes sense.  So the idea is that we will document & photograph his reactions over the next 2-4 weeks. If things aren't changing the way we're expecting them too, then we will be taking him & the information to the Dr; but if there are big enough changes to his tummy & eating habits - we'll just keep doing what we're doing. 

So it has been a stressful few days trying to decide what is best for him,  and how to help him... he is happy enough in himself,  so while he is bloated and uncomfortable he is not in major pain. 

Here is hoping this will work. 

He is both dairy and gluten free,  and recently we have come to the conclusion that he is struggling with fructose malabsorption.  This has been a big hurdle for me,  it wasn't something that I had heard of before,  and it meant really changing up our 'normal', as he now needs to be on a low fodmap diet - this is not a fun diet,  but it does make for a happy and healthy hubby!  

I will probably try writing another blog post on the changes low fodmap has meant for us, but tonight I am tired and have a cold,  and just need to go to sleep. 

So good night dear friends. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

Kinda Healthy Cookies...

I am, one day, going to manage that 'one post a week' I keep promising myself... but right now, if I manage I am thrilled; but if I don't - never mind, the world doesn't come crashing around me, nor anyone else!

I just wanted to pop in and share a recipe with you - I came up with these cookies a couple of weeks ago, and not only do my kids like them (YUS), but I also shared them with some workmates - and three of the ladies asked for the recipe! So I figure this must be a winner, and thought I would share it with you also!

Kinda Healthy Cookies

2c wholemeal flour
1c crushed cornflakes
1c rolled oats
1c chocolate chippies 
1c raisins (or dried fruit of your choice)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder

150g melted butter
120ml olive oil (or just add more butter)
2 tsp vanilla ess
1/2c brown sugar

Melt all the liquids and brown sugar together.

Place all dry ingredients into a big bowl, and mix together well (sift what you can if you'd prefer).

Pour wet mixture into dry, mix well together and then shape into biscuits.

Bake at 180oC for 15 minutes.

Makes approximately 40 biscuits, and should last a good week.

These biscuits were a bit on the crumbly side; so there are notes at the bottom of the post of what I will be subbing, in order to attempt a better consistency next time.

To make these dairy free:
* Use dark chocolate chips; we use Pams, but always check ingredients list first; these are full of preservatives, but not dairy. This is our compromise due to being on a tight budget... I would love to buy more expensive, organic proper dairy-free chocolate chippies; but they will have to wait until I can justify the expense!
* Use a dairy-free butter substitute; we use sunrise margarine - it's one of the cheapest on the market, and is close enough in flavour that I can cope! We did try olivani when my daughter first came off dairy; but she reacted to that as well (not sure why), so sunrise it is.
* Substitute some of the butter / olive oil for coconut oil (I will be doing a total swap with the olive oil next time I bake these, this last time we had no coconut oil left).

To make these gluten-free:
* Swap the wholemeal flour for a gluten-free flour; I think most flours would work, but you will need to add xanthum / guar gum if they are more natural flours. I will be trying the plain g-f mix we have at home next time, to make it safer for hubby.
* Check the rolled oats are gluten-free; most rolled oats aren't due to cross-contamination with wheat when growing or being processed. However, rolled oats in themselves are considered gluten-free; however celiacs are recommended to stay away from them, although those with just an intolerance (like hubby), can sometimes stomach them. What rolled oats do have is a protein in them called avenin, that about 20% of celiacs and gluten-intolerant folk can't handle; so it is just safer to stay clear of them in general. Initially hubby couldn't seem to tolerate even small amounts of oats, but lately he is coping better - so we have been able to reintroduce a small amount of oats back into his diet (yay, something going back in, and not coming out)... So these biscuits would be safe for him if I subbed the flour out.

To make refined-sugar free:
*Swap the 1/2c of brown sugar for 1/3c honey.

My Notes:
Next time this is what I am going to be trying:

* Swapping the olive oil for coconut oil; coconut oil has better bonding agencies, so I think this will help with the crumbling.

* Swapping the wholemeal flour for a gluten-free flour, as hubby really enjoyed these cookies as well.

* Trying it with honey instead of brown sugar; I found with the cinnamon, sugar and raisins - it was quite a sweet cookie (hence why the kids enjoyed them), so am hoping the honey will tone it down a little. Plus honey and cinnamon are a match made in heaven!

* Possibly attempting to mix it up in the food processor; although this makes a big batch so it won't be done altogether. I was told that quite often the chunkier the mixture - the crumblier it is; so by using the food processor, it should help thin the mixture down a bit (especially the oats and cornflakes), and that might help with the crumbles.

* I might swap the raisins for a different fruit (probably apricots)... but we'll see.

If you give this recipe a go, please let me know how it goes... especially if you try some of the subs I have suggested, but not yet tried myself!

Monday, 20 July 2015

I'm Back With More Food (for thought)!

Although don't get me wrong - it's not deep stuff on a Monday night... in fact, it is more about the 'real' food (as in the tangible stuff we eat), than thought-provoking words. 

I have been regularly back into menu-planning again, but haven't bothered to post them here. I was rather blogged-out and was wondering if I was going to even keep this little space alive. But I am getting inspired again now, so at least at the moment things will remain as they are... although I do need to desperately spend some time on the blog and update it! Eeeek; the little baby on the top of my header is now almost 3.5 years old, and my 'big' girl is at school! WAY past time for an update. I am also in two minds about where I want to take it - might need a whole fresh start! Thoughts swirling around and around in my head at the moment... whatever decision I make, everything requires time and commitment, neither of which I have much left of now I am working full-time.

But whatever happens, decisions need to be made; as the blog is almost dead these days! However, I do know my Mum and my lovely Aunt both read it, and miss it when I don't get around to writing often; so thank you lovely ladies!

I am trying to find a system that works best for us with the menu-planning; not only does my husband do most of the cooking now (as long as I do the planning), we also have to work around numerous allergies and very tight budgets. So it makes life a little interesting; another challenging dilemma for me is now differently hubby and I work the budget and also grocery shop. My method was one big shop at the beginning of each fortnight, and then hopefully save enough to do a top up or two throughout the fortnight of fresh fruit / veggies, bread, milk and whatever else ran out. Inevitably I ALWAYS overspent the budget, no matter how hard I tried - food is a sticking point and a rather weak link for me! Hubby tends to do lots of little shops through the fortnight, however this for me makes it feel like the pantry is always empty - as there is always something that has run out; drives me insane! But he always keeps within the budget, and inevitably there are regular little treats (today I came home to be told by very excited little children that Daddy had bought ice cream (dairy-free Lite Licks I might add) and chocolate chippies) hmmmmmm; we never had that kind of treat when I was in charge, especially at $7 for a litre! The kids think it is fantastic... but I am still struggling a bit over the changes!

Anyway - I have downloaded a menu-plan from Kidspot here in New Zealand, the article I have linked up here has a number of other templates, as well as the one I have used above. And the idea is that I keep a copy of the menu-plan, and the recipes that go with it; and start to file them away in here:

A gorgeous Recipe Organiser I got for my birthday a few years ago... I love it, but have never managed to start filling it out. I am not yet sure if the lay-out will work for us, I might need to start my own binder, or rearrange this one (it is so pretty, it would be a shame to not use it). The only problem is, of course, is that it is made in America and thus the inside binder rings don't fit with our hole punches; gah!!!!! Might have to see if work has a hole-punch the same size, and punch holes for my recipes there! So frustrating, and one of the things that has put me off using it in the past; I don't want to write up all my recipes, I'd rather print them out and then just add them to a binder under the correct categories! 

Because of all our, ahhhh - challenges, when it comes to cooking, I want a folder full of inspiration that is safe. Currently no book caters for EVERYTHING; it might be gluten and dairy free, it might even be gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, BUT it will always use loads of dried fruit and honey - two things hubby can't eat a lot of due to his fructose mal-absorption, along with garlic, onion and numerous other fresh fruit and veggies. You would think fresh fruit and veggies and other whole foods would be safe and extremely good for you... not so for those with fructose mal-absorption; but more on that another day.

So with all these challenges in mind, and taking into account the tight budget and my lack of organisational skills (or should I say my lack of motivation); I am thinking on starting a blog that covers these issues within New Zealand. There are literally hundreds of blogs in America that deal with allergies, home-making, organisation, budgets etc, I know - because I follow lots of them, and keep finding new ones! I am like a kid in a lolly shop - more, more, more! But so often the content just isn't suitable for us over here in New Zealand, or for us with food allergies... and there is very little over here in New Zealand that cover all these categories in one space.

But - obstacles are, as mentioned above - my lack of skill and lack of organisation, my lack of motivation to continue tasks once I start, my lack of time and commitment, my lack of inspiration and my current lack of resources!

However, despite all of the above - this is my passion, this is a driving force in what I do, this is how I want to help people, and where I want my focus to be later on, when I no longer have to work full-time. But I can start this now, I can take steps towards these dreams... this blog is a small stepping stone, if I can commit to just doing one post a week initially and then slowly build up my resources - maybe my dream can start to take root, and grow a little. I also want to teach people budgeting skills and basic cooking; emphasis on cheap but nutritious meals (not necessarily allergy focused initially). I can do these things, I know - because I have spoken to our Pastors, and they are more than happy for me to use our church as a base to take classes on either budgeting or cooking. I can do budgeting courses through CAP New Zealand and through Family Budgeting (NZ), there is also Sorted and other places within New Zealand that can probably help me as well. There are a lot of little steps I can be taking, to see this dream blossom and grow in the future... everything starts with a single step. 

Stay tuned to see what mine will be... one day; when time and commitment collide! 

Where our menu-plan sits... 

One day, when we can afford to build our own place, and I get to design my dream kitchen - there will be a blackboard set up specifically for me to share the weekly menu plans with the whole family, and there will be a chore board, and an activity planner, and a scullery where I can hide all my appliances and bulk buying, and... and... and...

Ahhhhh yes; one day... when money and dreams collide!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

This Weeks Menu (starting: 1/6/15)

I just discovered yesterday, when I went searching for one of our family favourites, that a wonderful foodie website has vanished into thin air! I am gutted, it was one that had been set up full of good intentions - but hadn't been updated for quite a while, even when I first 'discovered' it; and I had a gut feeling I should get a copy of my favourite recipes off of it. But I didn't - grrrrrrr, always listen to that 'little inkling', that 'gut feeling' or that 'still small voice' (whatever it is that you call it)! Thankfully, the one recipe that I REALLY wanted, was found (with a link back to them) on another website after much time searching; so this time I have written it down as well! Hopefully I will have learnt my lesson... so with that in mind, here is this weeks menu!

Monday 1st June: Sausages, fried egg and fresh veggies (it was a holiday weekend here in New Zealand, and hubby and I managed to get away for our first child-free weekend since Button was born; so Monday was always going to be a catch-up day, followed by a 'quick and easy' dinner).

Tuesday 2nd June: Tomato Glazed Meatloaf, together with a side of Sauteed Red Cabbage and little roasted potatoes!

Wednesday 3rd June: Lentil and Potato Curry (although in saying that, we'll have to leave out the actual curry as hubby can't stomach it anymore - despite loving hot foods; however there appears to be enough other flavours that it should be okay. This is the only new recipe for the week, all the rest are tried and true ones)!

Friday 5th June: Mince & Egg Frittata, we don't follow this recipe religiously; we have come up with our own variation on it (which varies every time we make it *grin*), but it is a hit every time and always gets eaten! They only use Zucchini in this recipe, whereas I use as many veggies as we have available!

Saturday 6th June: Chicken and Vegetable Soup, this recipe calls for quinoa to be added; and while we have some - we don't have a lot, as hubby loves it for 'porridge'. So I will be going back to the traditional rice instead; just like Ness' Mum used to make! But one day, when our food budget is larger and we can have quinoa on hand for whatever purpose I want, I will try it her way... it does look and sound divine!

Sunday 7th June: Good old Devilled Sausages, the original recipe came from a site called 'Broke and Starving', but it has since died; so seriously sad! However, I found another almost duplicate copy of the recipe here. Now this is not the original, and that is stated - but it is the closest I can find, I think the main difference is that there were also 2 teaspoons of mustard added into the original recipe (not mustard powder, rather dijon, or we use seeded). I also don't bother adding the cornflour, and I water it down a little bit more; as it is a VERY strong sauce if followed as is (which is fine when you don't have little people to cater for, or big people with sensitive stomachs)!

While I know it is not Monday today, I spent Monday evening sorting this out... so I am blogging it today instead! Isn't it amazing what 'busyness' does, it seems to find extra hours in the day for doing the little things you 'didn't have time for' previously, like regular menu planning and blogging! Not sure how I filled in my time before, but now it is being used far more effectively :-)!

Hope this finds you all well, and healthy! Currently we're surviving in the 'healthy' department - the kids have small colds and coughs, but us adults are keeping our heads above water!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Update From Down Under!

Below is a quick update I wrote about Easter time,  & sent off to some elderly friends / family with birthday party invitations (Button turned 5 for those unaware). I thought some of you might also be interested in reading it; and after the Easter update,  I will continue on & update you with our latest news as well.


We have been down here for nearly 6 months now,  and have had our own place for over 3 months.  We started off with Mum & Dad, but managed to find a house that suits us, & is within our budget by Christmas - it was a wonderful gift :-)! Unfortunately 'own' place does mean renting still, but we're closer to buying down here than we would ever be if we stayed up in Auckland.  

Despite not having a job yet, which is frustrating when it comes to the budget, we are enjoying the lifestyle here. It was a lovely & relaxing, family focused summer; with lots of walks around the town, playing with the neighbour's & outside time.  Also time with family, it has been wonderful having so much family close by with both sets of grandparents,  my brother and his family, as well as two sets of my Aunts & Uncles.  The kids are thriving, and are loving the change of pace - Button started Kindy two weeks after we arrived,  and hasn't looked back!  She has really blossomed in that environment,  and will be starting school in under 3 weeks. 'lil M has also started Kindy this year & LOVES it, he will be going  3 days a week starting this term, and there are little tantrums on the days he is not scheduled to attend!    

We have noticed that we have also started to relax and slow down more - I always am amazed when I am driving,  in Auckland I would be racing around going at 60-70km/hour, feeling like I was always behind.  Here if I am going 50km/hour, I am checking my speedo to make sure that I am not going too fast; generally you seem to get caught behind someone going between 20-30km/hour down the main street!  I can see and feel the changes from the inside out,  and it is so good for us all.  

But other than that - it has typically been a rough ride health-wise, I can't wait for the kids to be past this age when they are constantly picking up everything that goes around!  In the past 6 weeks alone, we have gone from a cold, straight onto a tummy bug,  followed by 48 hours of high fevers, Button then broke her leg, and Hubby came down with the full-on flu, and we have all had small colds again... Winter hasn't even started yet, so not really looking forward to that.    

Hubby has been busy with his computer work,  and is hoping to have his first Mobile App available on the market by the end of this year,  if this takes off then he will hopefully start making money and get some more App's out.  He has some great idea's - it is just now getting them done, and hopefully making money out of them!   
I have been applying for jobs, cold-calling, and dropping my CV in all over town - have had four interviews,  but nothing more than that;  rather frustrating!  However I am doing four hours a week for a local business man, and friend.  I am hoping this will help, as it gives me current experience (which seems to be one of the issues), & a reference from a well known and respected local,  and a chance to use MYOB, which I am pretty excited about!  I am really enjoying it,  and finding it fun to be stretching my brain again! As well as this,  I have been keeping myself busy doing an 8 week course on nutrition, found it difficult but really interesting, and think I want to follow this up more.  Unfortunately the courses are all on campus, and currently still require a good 5-6 years to complete?! Don't think I will be doing that any time soon ;-)!  

We have settled into the local Baptist Church - again,  very family orientated! We weren't planning on attending there, both sets of grandparents go, but in the end it was the only local church that catered for both the kids and where they were both happy - and that was the most important thing. Since then my brother and his family have decided to attend as well,  feels like we are taking over the town; hehehe! There aren't a lot of other young families attending, but we are slowly making friends & feeling a part of the community... We have been blessed though, as Button's two best friends from Kindy are families we already had connections with from previously living here. So we have been able to reestablish these old friendships, and strengthen them - it has made the transition that much easier.  


After Easter we started prep for the big party (combined 5th for Button & 40th for me), and I went a little crazy in the kitchen - doing all the catering myself,  for approximately 50 people (kids & adults). We were very blessed with both of Hubby's sisters & their families traveling down from Auckland,  as well as close friends... one day I might do a blog post on it with photos of the food table,  let's just say Hubby still hassles me about over-catering! Button & I both got thoroughly spoilt, and I have now got a whole shelf full of new recipe books; so stoked! 

The allergies feel like they have increased exponentially since we have been down here - although it was just a matter of time,  not about where we live!  'lil M has now been confirmed as having a dairy allergy as well,  it was something we had been wondering about in Auckland,  but never bothered to follow up on - but it got to the point we had to do something,  poor kid!  He is much healthier and happier now,  & is finally growing like a weed - average to tall for his age, rather than down in the 3rd percentile for size like he was for his first 2 years!

Hubby has also since shown both dairy & fructose malabsorption allergies; so once more I have been left floundering, wondering how we are going to handle it.  But like always, we are getting there & starting to make headway;  & he is starting to have more good days than bad... he is booked in to see a Nutritionist mid-June,  so am hoping this will be helpful for us both.

Button has started school with a whizz & a bang - her cast came off at the end of her first week,  after 7 long weeks! She is still walking with a bit of a limp, but other than that - you'd never know she'd had such a severe break.  She is loving school, & has settled quickly & easily; jumping from level 1 to level 6 reading in the first week; & we are already getting little notes that she has written completely on her own - so cute!  Her class is a shared class with two teachers doing part time each,  but it is working well & she enjoys them both; they have worked together for years & you can tell. I was worried initially, but she is excelling under both ladies and is flourishing in ways that still leave me gasping - her reading,  writing and arithmetic especially! 

I have finally got myself a full time job - wahoo! I am almost through my second week,  & am the Payroll & Accounts Payable Clerk for a company called BPM, & am really enjoying myself.  I hate this learning curve & wish I could just jump ahead 6 months when I have it all sussed,  & know what I am doing!  But it will come quicker than imaginable,  so I guess I shouldn't really wish time away ;-)!

Now that I have secured a job we can start to think & plan ahead,  so we're hoping to be able to get into our own place by winter next year.  This place has no heating other than a electric heater that just warms the lounge up - so you can imagine how cold it gets in the mornings at the moment!  Let's just say that the high temperatures have been the same as Aucklands overnight lows. Yep, crazy cold! Next winter I want to be in our own place with a FIRE!

And as mentioned in previous blog posts - we have had visits from family oversea's, visits from friends we hadn't seen in a while (including some from oversea's as well) and other plenty of other things going on; the great thing about living down here is that we're on State Highway 1, and thus we get a lot more people popping in to see us on their way through to and from places!

Anyway - think that should keep you fairly well up to where we are at now... two blog posts in one week, that is got to be in the realms of major miracles! So before I cause your heart any further damage, I will sign off, until next time...

Monday, 25 May 2015

Organisation 101

So - the inevitable has happened, and I have gone and found myself a full-time job! So many pro's, so many good things, and so much to be thankful for. But one of the side-effects of this new job, is the ability I have (not) got of being organised! Eeeek, it all happened SUPER-quick; and has tested our reserves - but we were ready, and have (kind of) conquered this mountain, or at least we're in the process of it!

One of my saving graces has been this board - I bought it a few years ago in Auckland, from The Warehouse Stationary, and knew it would come in handy... one day! I sit down and menu-plan one night per week; generally over the weekend, and then transfer that up on here. I also then write up my schedule for the week, and add reminders for hubby to follow up with that week on the other side (such as - wash towels on Tuesday and Thursday, change and wash sheets on Wednesday etc)!

Hubby has turned into Superman, and has taken on all the housework, and the cooking - I menu plan, and I write up the grocery list for the coming week; and then he implements it! Recipes are listed with where to find them, or quick and easy instructions, in a red exercise book, and kept up in the kitchen within easy eye-sight of the oven! And then he is let loose in the kitchen, he has always claimed he could cook - but I had seen very little proof of this; until now! I need to take some photos of his skills, as he has managed to improve on some of my fundamental recipes already, and it is only the beginning of week 2! I think I might have some competition on who 'owns' the kitchen very soon; not really what I was expecting!!!!

One thing that has helped me focus and complete my menu planning, is to have a basic set up to follow - I have always found menu planning difficult, and it is because I am VERY easily distracted! I start searching, and then come across all these amazing sites with recipes that tickle my tastebuds, and BANG - there goes two hours, and I have achieved nothing!

So; this is how I am currently instituting my menu-planning, and am able to stay on track, and focus:

Monday - Meatfree-Monday
Tuesday - Chicken on Tuesday
Wednesday - Red Meat Wednesday
Thursday - *Low Fodmap Thursday
Friday - Family Favourite Friday
Saturday - Saturday Stew / Soup
Sunday - Sunday Salad

*Low Fodmap Thursday basically just means looking for specific low fodmap diet recipes either in the two recipe books I just bought by Sue Shepherd, or on-line! It is starting to look like hubby might have some more serious issues concerning food allergies; so we're trying to look at our diet again and rethink what we're eating for his sake. I am also having to adjust most other recipes I cook to make them 'fit' better for him, but currently we're not going 'hard-out' Low Fodmap; just easing our way in to see if it helps him.

So this gives me a basic guideline on where to start, I then also look at what meat we have in the freezer (for example - mince, stirfry, hock, silverside etc), and plan my meals around these first, before filling out the rest and adding the necessary cuts to the shopping list.

So for example - this week the menu looks like this:

Monday - Carrot and Lentil Patties, Sauteed Red Cabbage and Fresh Green Veggies.

Tuesday - Nadia Lim's Apricot Chicken on Rice (without the actual apricots, as we have none in the pantry, and grocery day is Wednesday)!

Wednesday - Spaghetti Bolognase

Thursday - Stirfry on Basmati Rice (with a honey, soy and ginger dressing)

Friday - **Hot chips with bacon and eggs.

Saturday - **Sausages and Baked Beans on Toast

Sunday - Tuna, Pasta and Veggie Salad

** In my defence, we are heading away for our very FIRST weekend without the kids, and my parents are looking after them (together with a couple of other family / friends), so I had to plan a meal that not only would the kids eat quickly and happily, but that my parents would also enjoy! They have the option of homemade soup and toast on Saturday night though as well, in case sausages and baked beans don't thrill them as much as it does our kids!

I am contemplating reinstating 'Menu-Planning Monday' back into my blogging, as nothing else has been happening here for a while. On my organisation board - you may have noticed that Monday night is set aside for blogging, in the hopes of re-sparking my desire to write in here; I have missed sharing SO many big occasions with you all. In these past two months alone we have had:

- Button break her leg
- 'lil M turn 3
- Button turn 5, and start school
- Button's 5th birthday party, combined with my 40th
- Me being offered a full-time position (finally) and accepting it
- My big brother and his wife come over for the weekend from Australia, for the first time in 5 years.

And this is just our little family, that list doesn't even include any milestones we have been a part of with extended family and/or friends, nor our church family! It has been a VERY busy few months here (I don't know how I would have fitted in full-time work over that time), and I regret having not blogged about it all; but no point in looking backwards! I do have piles of photos to prove these events happened though... so will share a couple of them:

My big brother and sister-in-law with 'lil M, Button and Munchkin (nephew).

Me with my two sister-in-laws!

Me in my sexy new work uniform!!!!
Just got out of having to hide in black, and here I am now having to wear charcoal on black on black every single day to work... 
I want colour people, I don't like feeling like I am going to a funeral every time I walk out of the house; never mind, it could be worse!!!!!!

And just to finish it off; 
here are my two little cuties, and my superman!

And now I need to sign off, as I have to organise my lunch for tomorrow and everything else that goes with being a 'working woman'!!!!

Monday, 27 April 2015

I Know... I Know

I am slack!

Blogging and me just haven't been buddies for a while - both writing and reading; I'm just not into it at the moment!

But I have, once again, given up Facebook - you can read about the first time I quit Facebook here, however when we moved south Hubby suggested I reactivated my account. Which I happily did... but it was once again taking over my life, and has now been re-deactivated, for good this time!

Maybe - this will leave a little more room for blogging? It has certainly freed up my day considerably, and has also meant I have naturally minimised my time on Instagram as well! Weird, but true!

I promised all my Facebook friends 'more blogging', so I thought I'd better prove myself, and show up with at least a small post this month.

So here it is, and there go I... it is after 10pm, and I need to head to bed; the kids have been waking up by 5:30am and I am over it and fairly over-tired as well!

Maybe I will see you all again shortly...