Meat and Meal Planning!

Yesterday I shared our adventures to a new “Butcher Wholesaler”  Local Mum’s have been raving about the new venture with rock bottom prices for great quality meat.  Like any wholesaler the best savings were to be had in bulk buys, but I wasn’t ready to commit to many bulk purchases until I sample the quality myself!  

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Ready to divide and conquer! I used it as a little learning lesson for Miss A who helped me weigh each bag so it was divided evenly!

 

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$55 included $4 worth of Ham for lunch! I used snap lock bags and then large plastic storage containers to keep the process organised!

So what will we do with all this meat?  Well of course I went in with a little list of possibilities in hand.  I made a list of our Family Friendly go to meals that we seem to have on constant rotation. So we bought

3 x Sausages 

  • Hot Dog Bar (Suasages in rolls with a variety of help your slef toppings, grey for a lazy weekend dinner)
  • Sausages in Onion Gravy with Vegie Mash and Greens 
  • Sausage Pasta Bake.  

2 x Pork Mince 

  • Lasagne
  • Spaghetti Bolognese

1 x Beef Mince

  • Tacos

1 x Chicken Thigh Fillets

  • Chicken Burritos

1 X Chicken Breast Fillets

  • Honey Mustard Chicken with Rice, Corn and Zucchini

2 x Chicken Drumsticks

(I always buy drumsticks as these are the pieces everyone fights over in our house!

  • Lemon Crumbed Chicken with Crunchy Noodle Salad
  • Roast Chicken with Roast Veggies and Caesar Salad

1 x Marinated Chicken Pieces

  • Honey Soy Chicken with Rice and Stir Fry Vegies

2 x Beef Rump Steak

  • BBQ steak with Double Potato bake and Green Salad
  • Beef Stroganoff with Rice and Greens

1 x Crumbed Steak

  • Crumbed Steak with Herbed Potato Mash and Steamed Greens

So if you are counting that is 14 meals worth of meat! Last night the first cab of the rank was the crumbed steak and the verdict?………AMAZING!  It was devoured by one and all, our one regret we didn’t buy more as there was nothing leftover.

All up, meat for 14 meals, cost us $51.  

This could have been even less If I had of swapped pork mince for more beef mince or Chicken thighs for more breasts (the chicken breast was $5.99kg!!!)  but I wanted to buy a variety of products to try this time around.

The shop VERDICT.  We will be back for sure!  If you have the freezer space it is most definitely worth trying out a wholesale butcher.  It was a little more inconvenient as it is completely separate to a supermarket and a bit out of our way but the cost saving totally worth it.  It also takes more time once you get home to divide up the meat into individual serves, label and freeze.  It took me about half an hour.  But we will most definitely be shopping this way again! 

If you are in Brisbane this particular butcher is part of the Hans Continental Factory in McRoyle St, Wacol. 

This is not a sponsored post.  I just love sharing a great deal with other families! 

 

Creating a Morning Routine

Our mornings are BUSY!  Thank goodness we are early risers as we have so much to get done before we leave for school in the morning!  Add to that, the fact that we will have two children, at two different locations in opposite directions!  Thankfully we are easing into the routine with Little Miss A only attending Kindy on a 5 day fortnight roster. 

WE have always had a before school routine, but whilst Master O was little, I still had to assist him with each task so i didnt think there was a need for any charts or printed reminders.  Last year however, his uniform became simpler for him to do and he became more independent so i found myself sending him upstairs to get ready by himself. 

Let me tell you, distraction is the art of 6 year old boys.  I found myself constantly reminding him of what he had to next, what had he done already, and generally being a yelling, nagging mother.  Not pretty.  So this year I am determined to change things.  Little Miss A is less distracted and a real busy bee who loves to be in the midst of everything.   She is extremely independent, determined and self sufficient and always has been!  She even toilet trained herself!  This also means she knows what she likes and what she doesn’t which will be very interesting when this year, with a uniform, there will be less flexibility in what she wears or how she does her hair.  Tantrums they are a coming.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

This year, I don’t have time for chaos!  With a new baby arriving there will be many morning when I am stuck feeding, changing, dressing, settling a baby and My Pigeon Pair will need to get themselves organised the best they can!  We need a routine and a CHART!!!! 

We need an illustrated, MORNING ROUTINE CHART and it needs to be;

  • Visual (especially for little Miss A as she is a pre-reader)
  • Timed (for Master O as he needs very specific timeframes)
  • Can track progress (what have you done already?)
  • Easy to reach and read.
  • Simple

I have made a MILLION routine charts in time but always for Preppies in a classroom!  Visual routines are of particular benefit to any child that likes routine and structure (which quite frankly is all children) but particularly children with ASD. 

How to create your own routine chart.

  1. MAKE A LIST. Firstly I wrote out what order I needed each thing done in the morning.  This may be different for each family depending on circumstances.  We have a two story house, with living areas downstairs and bedrooms upstairs. So we tend to group activities together depending on wether they are performed upstairs or downstairs.
  2. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?  I then gave each activity a time reference (how long it should take to complete) 
  3. DON’T BE LATE. Then I worked backwards from the time we need to leave the house.  This varies each day as it depends on whether we need to do two drop offs or if their are before school activities.  The earliest we need to leave is 7.30 so I worked from their.  If on other mornings we have extra time, BONUS! 

I then made a simple 3 column table in Word.  One column for Master O (with clock faces) a middle column for the activity in written form and the last column for visual reminders for Little Miss A.

Add your routine and print!

SIMPLE!!!!!

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I then printed out the routine and attached it to a clipboard. 

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Whats a hook without a little washi!

Using a 3M hook (that of course I had to washi tape) I attached it to the wall just inside their bedroom.

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Easily accessible right inside their bedroom door.

 I used a coloured peg for each child attached to the outside of the clipboard.  As they complete each activity, they move the peg to the next one, to help remind them of what they have already done and what they need to do next!

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A closer look at our routine!  The arrows are to symbolise, go upstairs or go downstairs.

This is a very simple routine and we only just started using it yesterday, as we wean ourselves out of holiday mode and into back to school mode! 

Would this routine work for you?  Would you like me to make it available to you?

DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND! It’s yours to print for free!

[download id=”13″]

This a free printable and I am more than happy for you to share the love with a friend!

This printable is not to be sold in any way. 

Back To School: Buying Name Labels

 It’s no secret that I love to label.  I have dedicated much of my life to ensuring everything and every place in our home is labelled!  Labels ensure items find their way home.  This is never more true than all those items that leave your home to visit school, Kindy or work each day!

Pencils, scissors, socks, and books.  If it is leaving your house, LABEL IT! If you LOVE it LABEL IT!

With a new school year ahead now is the perfect time to stock up on name labels.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN LABELS 

QUALITY.  This for me comes before everything else.  Labels are one of those items where you really do get what you pay for.  There are many label companies out there these days but don’t scrimp on quality for the sake of saving a few dollars.  A good label can last for many years, buy it cheap and you may have to buy it twice, costing more money in the end.

Look for labels that;

  • Are Dishwasher Safe (For lunchboxes)
  • Are Washing Machine Safe (For Clothes)
  • Come in various sizes.
  • Are Laminated (paper labels are just not durable)

PRICE.  This is where it pays to be organized.  Finding a great price does not neccessarily mean finding the cheapest. Make a list of the type of labels you will need.  Savings can be found by purchasing a value pack that includes a variety of label sizes and type that best suits your needs. You can buy a cheap pack but if it’s full of labels in sizes you don’t need and doesn’t include a number of the ones you DO need! 

DESIGN.  I am going to be looking at these labels A LOT.  They may as well look good.  Also for younger children, having a particular picture or theme to the labels, assists non readers to identify which items belong to them. E.G My shoes are the ones wit the airplane picture.  I also like to get a variety of colours in my pack to help with colour coding!  I know it is a bit OCD but in the past I have used different colours for different days of the weeks or to even to help identify the left and right shoe (Red for Right, Lime for Left) By putting two matching colour labels

BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING. 

DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Check with your school what needs to labeled.  Some classrooms, especially in the early years have communal pencils,  crayons and even scissors.  These items often don’t need to be labeled.  However, some times it also pays to label everything just the same as at least you are in with a chance of unused items being returned to you at the end of the year.  Ask the class teachers or even parents who  have been at the school before. 

CLOTHING AND SHOE LABELS.  Don’t forget to include clothing and shoe labels.  Have you ever tried to work out whose black velcro shoes belong to who in a see of 25 pairs of identical shoes? Clothing labels generally come in either the stick on or Iron on variety. In my experience although the stick on labels are obviously much easier to use, the iron on ones do last longer. 

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

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 I make up a big table.  If you think I love a good label, you haven’t seen me with a table! Just in word I create a label to track what we have purchased, what we have received, what kind of book cover we will need and what kind of label we require for each item.

By doing this I can easily workout how many of each item, we need and make the most of value packs.

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mini labels, the best option for fiddly pencils and crayons

 This year we needed LOTS of Mini Labels.  EVERY pencil, text and crayon was required to be individually labelled. In past years we have required lots of regular name labels and book labels.  I also made another table for uniforms.  With two children in completely new uniforms this year I needed to stock up on clothing and shoe labels. 

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and so the production line begins!

So who do I use?  This is actually my fifth year of using Stuck On You.  At first when Master O went to child care I choose them because they were cute.  After seeing how durable they were I continued to buy them! I have even bought Little Miss A a few before, not that she has ever really needed a label! 

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Master O chose the Robot themed Designer Book Labels

 

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Little Miss A loved the Sweetie Pie range.

 I must admit, throwing myself into the preparations for Back To School has taken my mind off the fact that my Little Miss A, who has never been away from me, is going to KINDY!!!! 

So are you a labelaholic?  Got your labels sorted for this year?

WANT TO WIN A $25 Stuck On You Gift Voucher? 

We are giving away 2 x Stuck On You Gift Vouchers! Just Enter via Rafflecopter below!

 

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DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by “Stuck On You.” I have received products in return for my honest opinion and review of their great products!

100 Kids Healthy Lunch Ideas

Ever feel like after a few weeks into the school year, suddenly your enthusiasm for making lunches wanes?  I start off, full of good intentions and enthusiasm and after a week or two I am back to vegemite sandwiches and a yoghurt.  With two lunches to make this year, and a picky eater, I decided to make a list of ideas for their bento style lunch boxes, to offer variety, inspire me and to hopefully introduce some new items into their food repotoire!

I have written before about how I plan the kids lunches.  Using our lunchbox planner, I I make sure they have a variety of Protein, Calcium, Grains and Fruit and Veg.  I have used this same format to record my ideas in a table.  

Every school has it’s own food requirements and restrictions especially when it comes to nuts, eggs and dairy so check your schools handbook before packing lunch. 

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 I am printing this out, laminating it and attaching it to the inside of my pantry.

You could even use a whiteboard marker to cross of foods they have had that week or to highlight some form each list that you know will be a winner! 

Simply Download and Print [download id=”12″]

Feel free to share the lunchbox love with your friends! 

Delicious Bento Lunch Ideas

 Let it be known, I am the mother of THE PICKIEST EATER.  Little Miss A started out well and as a baby would eat anything that came her way, but somewhere after the age of 18 months we found our selves with a child living off vegemite sandwiches and air.  

I do have hope.  Master O was actually much the same until he started Kindy.  Suddenly with an increase in activity, his appetite increased!  He also went to a Kindergarden with a strict RUBBISH FREE lunchbox policy.  Lunches had to be rubbish free in every sense of the word, no plastic wrap or packaged food and no junk food!  I was even sent a note home, in trouble for sending  in blueberry muffins!   But suddenly he wanted healthy food.  Everyone else was eating it and peer pressure in its finest form kicked in.  I now had requests for sultanas, carrot sticks and sushi! We started making our first Bento Lunches and never looked back.  

Our bento lunches are really just package free food in compartments.  I don’t get fancy and haven’t until now bought special cutters or food picks.  Little Miss A loves looking at pictures of  the fancy shaped lunches (especially the Hello Kitty ones) so I am going to give a few a try this year.

So for some inspiration…….

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From The Yumbox Blog, co founder Maia created this yummy bento lunch.

SUSHI!  This one is especially for master O who not only devours Sushi but cucumber too!  I have never thought to cut it into little sticks before.

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Another great lunch from the Yumbox blog

PASTA.  Both kids love pasta and will eat it in any shape or form.  This opens up a whole heap of grain opportunities.  I am thinking pasta teddies, ravioli and macaroni.

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From Another Lunch. One of the first Bento Blogs I ever read!

Salami.  I always think ham and chicken for Protein but Salami would be a winner for both children.

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From Wendolonia. This is the best BENTO blog! This is where I first read about the Yumbox!

RICE.  When all else fails we cook Little Miss A some rice.  Bento supplies often have rice moulds and I would love to give these a try.

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When the mamabelly family became interested in a household rabbit, the lunches followed the theme of the children’s interests! What a brilliant idea!

Bunnies!!!!  Remember her Bunny Birthday?  Just maybe this will be the way to get her to eat carrots? 

 

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Another bento from Wendolonia. I love that she calls the sliced carrots, carrot coins!

Popcorn!  Actually counted as a grain!  Who doesnt love popcorn!

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From Ladybug Lunches. Fantastic reviews and great lunch ideas for a picky little ladybug!

Those little flower hams would be gobbled up in a second.  Master O loves corn but I have never thought of putting it in a lunch box.

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This is cuteness extreme from Bent On Better Lunches.

Lady bugs, this would be the envy of the Kindy playground!  Way too cute for words and such simple but effective ideas.

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Another Bent On Better Lunches Bento! This is a yumbox tray out of the yumbox!

Take any slice/biscuit/muffin and use a cookie cutter to cut it into a heart and it instantly looks appetising! 

I truly believe by supplying small portions of many different foods, in a creative and fun way, that my picky eater may just try something new!  

All of these Bento’s are created in the Yumbox lunchbox and can be found (along with many more!) on my Pinterest boards.

Planning School Lunches

 

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Bento Lunch from Meet The Dubiens

When Master O started Kindy, we became all kinds of desperate to develop a plan of attack for lunch boxes.  I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the restrictions of what he was allowed to take, what he would actually eat and providing variety. After some trial and error we developed a printable plan to ensure variety, organisation and that he was getting a great combination of proteins, calcium, grains, fruit and veggies.

So just like we plan meals in this house we also plan what is going into the lunch box each day for the week ahead.

I have shared our planning template before but here is another sneak peek.

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FREE LUNCH BOX PLANNER DOWNLOAD

 

 

At the bottom of this plan is also a few lines to add your shopping list too.  I print this out in A5 size so I can fit two plans to an A4 sheet of paper.

On the Lunch Box plan this week:

Grains;

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Nutri Grain (dry in a small container)

Tuesday, Thursday – Meusli Bar

Plus the grains found in wraps and bread rolls 

Proteins;

Monday, Wednesday – Ham (with Salad in a wrap)

Tuesday – Chicken (Chicken Parma bread roll) I buy those little bread rolls from woolworths, they are a little bigger than a dinner roll.  I keep them in the freezer and heat for about 6 minutes before making them.

Thursday – Boiled Egg (as a snack)

Friday – Pork (Home made hot dog with sausage leftover)

Calcium

Monday,  Wednesday – Squeezie yoghurt

Tuesday – Diced Cheese

Thursday and Friday – Tzatziki Dip (With Carrot, Celery and Bread sticks)

Fruit and Vegies

Monday, Wednesday, Friday – Strawberries and Diced Apples

Thursday – Vegie Sticks (as above with dip!)

Tuesday – Cherry tomatoes (with the diced cheese on toothpicks)

The Ham and Salad Wraps also have Lettuce/Carrot /Tomato/Cucumber on them!

Left Overs For Lunch

Where possible I tie this plan in with our Weekly Meal Plan.  For example, Monday night we are having Chicken Parmiagina so the left overs will go on a bread roll the next day.  Wednesday night the menu consists of Lamb Souvlaki, the left over tzatziki is a great as a veggie dipper in the next days lunch box! Thursday night we are having a bbq so a left over sausage becomes Friday’s Hotdog. 

Hidden Heros

Adding a simple salad on to the ham wrap means my reluctant regular salad eater devours carrot and cucumber! By getting creative with the cherry tomatoes and cheese cubes on a toothpick skewer, he is getting antioxidants, calcium and protein!

Want to get those lunches organised? 

 Download the BLANK LUNCHBOX PLANNER and get planning! 

While your there you will find some lunchbox plans already created for you! 

Happy Lunching!

 

 

 

Plan and Prepare for….CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is coming!  Well almost. The countdown has well and truly begun in this household!  Being a teacher Christmas preparations always begin early as I spend Term 4 with my class learning about Christmas round the world, the Nativity and all things red, green, glittery and joyous.

In case you have been hiding under a rock, or perhaps you are new to “My Pigeon Pair” I am an obsessive organiser (maybe it was those years as a Girl Guide reciting the motto Be Prepared?).  Christmas is no different.  So let the preparations begin!  We alternate Christmas’s between home (My Husbands family) and Away (My Family).  This year it is my turn!!!  So although I do not need to prepare the food (I am sure I will help out!) There are still a million thigs to do.  I have broken up my tasks into fortnightly groups.

Here is my first fortnightly list.

October 3-17

  1. Print off Christmas Planner and start filling it in.
  2. Search online for kids matching Christmas Outfits.
  3. Finalise Kids present list. – Ok so I haven’t started!
  4. Start list for presents that need to be sent.
  5. Book Accommodation for trip.

The first time on this list, is the MOST IMPORTANT.

The Christmas Planner.

The Organised Housewife ~ Christmas Planner ~ $9.95

This is the one non negotiable.  Remember my folders in our family Organisation Station?  It is the same concept but all about CHRISTMAS!  This year I am using the sensational “Organised Housewife’s Christmas Planner” 

It contains…….

  • Calendars for October-December
  • Weekly Planner
  • Guest List
  • Gift Checklists
  • Letter to Santa
  • To Do Lists
  • Budget Tables
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Baking and Cooking

The list goes on and on….there are over 40 pages!  

Over the coming weeks I will show you more about how I use my planner but to start, just buy it, print it and assemble it.  You will feel organized and accomplished already! 

To purchase the planner just click on the cute flashing ad in my right sidebar.

So what are your first steps when planning for Christmas?

Visit The Organised Housewife for all the details!