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The Easiest Meal Plan

meal planner with pen text overlay The Easiest Way to Meal Plan

dinner planner calendar text overlay: the easiest way to meal plan
notepad with white tuples text overlay: the easiest meal plan

The importance of meal planning is touted on almost every money-saving blog and is a priority for many stay-at-home parents. But I generally meal plan because I like to know what to expect. You see I am horrible with surprises and not that good when it comes to a change of plans. But I think I’ve come up with the easiest meal plan.

I only meal plan our dinners and I try my best to be flexible about it. Events pop up out of nowhere and there are nights when nobody wants to cook. Most of the items are stored in the freezer, so are put in the fridge the night before or the day of. If it doesn’t get eaten on the day its planned for, it moves to the next night.

Go shopping

Many will suggest you make your meal plan before going shopping. You can use the catalogues and the current specials to get great deals and work out what you are going to eat for the week.

I don’t do this. I shop pretty solely at Aldi and they don’t often discount their regular stock. So I just go shopping and buy what I think we might like to eat. I always have sausages, beef mince and chicken breast on hand.

Once I am home with the shopping, I divide it up into meal servings. The sausages I buy come in a pack of 24. Out of the 24 sausages, I get 5 meals: four meals of five sausages (two each for the adults and one for little miss), and one meal of four sausages. I prefer to store everything in freezer bags. I also don’t bother labelling it, nothing is usually in my freezer for longer than three months.

Write that list

Your fridge and freezer are now packed to the brim just waiting to be emptied again. Make a list of all the items you have that you can make the main meals out of. Then, next to the item, I list the quantity I have. So with the example of sausages from earlier, I have five serves. U usually when I do this, I end up with about 3 weeks of dinners!

The easiest meal plan

Now that you know what you have and how much of it you have, start allocating meals to days of the week. I try to mix it up so that we don’t have the same type of meat every night in a row. I also take into account what sort of activities we are doing during the day. Monday is usually something simple, as we are both at work. Wednesday tends to be the most extravagant because it’s grocery shopping day. So that means I can pick up anything that we need to keep fresh like salads or cold meats.

Let them eat cake! (if it’s in the meal plan)

The last step, which isn’t really a step, is to eat your way through the easiest meal plan! Hopefully, you won’t need to buy any meat for the duration.

I also like to have tins of baked beans or spaghetti on hand, as well as a tin or two of soup. They are great to have on hand for quick easy meals, plus they remind me of my childhood.

I have been toying with the idea of a certain type of meal on a specific night of the week. Like Monday is chicken night, Tuesday is sausage night etc. But I’m not sure I’m ready to live my life like that, although it would make it the easiest meal plan.

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Suggestions

Here are a few staples that I like to keep on hand in the freezer and what I like to make with them.

Mince – spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, meatloaf, meatballs, shepherd’s pie, chilli con carn.

Chicken breast- satay chicken, Thai curry chicken, orange chicken, crumbed chicken, BBQ chicken, shredded chicken.

sausages – sausage rolls, devilled sausages, BBQ sausages.

The 30 Days I Gave Up Coffee

cappuccino text overlay The 30 Days I Gave Up Coffee

I gave up coffee

THE CHALLENGE

I gave up coffee, for 30 days in a row.

Call me crazy but I gave up coffee. I had my last beautiful brew on Friday, January 12. The surprising thing is that I don’t really miss it as much as I thought I would. I would have given it up earlier knowing that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do love the taste of coffee, that’s why I drink it. I do also use it as a substitute for morning tea, to keep me going through to lunch. But over the years I have learned that I don’t have much of a tolerance to caffeine. I have to be careful when ordering a coffee at a cafe. Did you know some large drinks can contain up to three shots of coffee which is equal to 90mL. That’s a lot of coffee in one hit! I also have to watch my intake of tea, due to the caffeine. I once drank about 4 cups of tea at an afternoon high tea, do you think I could sleep that night?

Benefits of giving up coffee

– a decrease in anxiety
– save money (the latte factor: the phenomenon whereby many small purchases add up to a significant expenditure over time.)
– sleep better
– weight loss (empty calories from added milk, sugar & flavourings)

However, I did notice that after having my daughter, my tolerance increased. I could have a coffee or tea at any time of the day & not be affected by it. Sadly this has worn off now.

RELATED: A Change In Coffee Habits

THE VERDICT

I have had a few teas during my coffee free period. But I’ve been choosing green tea for my hot beverage more than anything, along with the occasional hot chocolate. It is still summer here after all. Did I look forward to my first cup after those 30 days? You bet! I chose to add some salted caramel syrup to my cappuccino. I find that when I add a little bit of syrup, I don’t need to add any sugar, the syrup makes it sweet enough

DIY flavroured coffee tip: When using the coffee machine at home or at work, I add the syrup to the milk frother. It blends it all together well so the flavour is throughout.

RELATED: 30 Days of Green Tea

Why You Should Donate Blood

woman donating blood text overlay why you should donate blood

Why You Should Donate Blood

It only takes an hour to donate blood, but it could save someone’s life. A few years ago I decided that I wanted to donate blood. I was disheartened that I wasn’t able to complete my first donation. You see, I am a fainter. I don’t like needles. I really don’t like having blood taken. Even talking about it often makes me go weak at the knees. But I just felt really strongly that this was something that I needed to do. I felt so strongly about it that I became emotional thinking about it.

Since that first attempt, I have attempted it two more times. Each time I was unable to complete a whole donation. However, they assured me they were still able to use the small amount.

BENEFITS

  • It doesn’t cost anything
  • It only takes an hour
  • You get a snack & drink at the end
  • Each donation can help save three lives

How Blood is Used

I fall into the 4% that is obstetrics. After the birth of my daughter, I received a total of 3 units of blood over the course of two days. After that, I was also on iron supplements to help me get back to normal.

I’m not sure that I believe in fate but it’s quite interesting that I had attempted to donate blood 3 times & ended up needing 3 units.

Take the quiz to see if you are eligible to donate blood here

RELATED: A Day in the Life

ORGAN DONATION

After my husband & I got married, we opted to be on the same Medicare card. While looking into how to go about that I learned that you can sign up to be an Organ Donor through Medicare. All it took was completing a flyer and we were both registered organ donors.

I’ve recently learned that with great doctors & surgeons, blood transfusions are not always required with an organ transplant. Miriam from But, Still Breathing had a double lung transplant at Houston Methodist on March 6, 2015. Her doctor, Dr Scott Scheinin, has made it his life’s work to becoming skilled in bloodless surgery in order to lessen bleeding & hemorrhaging during surgery, therefore lessening the need for blood transfusions. Even though lung transplants are usually considered to have a higher risk of blood loss of all the transplants, Miriam’s surgery was a wonderful success with very minimal blood loss. You can read more about Miriam’s journey over at her blog: But, Still Breathing.

To become an organ donor, register through Medicare here

How To Save Your Feet At The Beach

footprints in the sand text overlay how to save your feet at the beach

Australia Day

Australia Day is synonymous with many things. A warm summers day. Sausages cooked to perfection on the BBQ. Ice cold beer in the esky. A lazy day at the beach. Southern Cross flags rippling in the breeze. The strange tan line on your feet from your thongs. Even if the weather is not quite perfect, you know the beach will be busy. It’s best to get there early in the day to secure that prime piece of real estate. You want to be equal distance from the car to the water. And don’t forget to take the tide into account if you plan on being there all day. If the beach has toilets, that’s also another consideration when choosing your spot for the day. However, the most important thing to remember at the beach is sunscreen. Preferably one that is water resistant, SPF 50+, as well as protecting you from UVA & UVB rays. I’ve recently been using the Banana Boat New Sun Comfort Lotion SPF50+.

How to save your feet at the beach

The most effective way I have found how to save your feet at the beach is burying your thongs. You could just put a towel over them but I find they are still scorching hot. Bury your thongs next to or under your towel (so you can conveniently find it). Keep the straps above the sand so you can easily slip your feet in when you are ready to go, It certainly helps to locate your buried thongs if they are a darker colour. You can see in the photo that mine are a little camouflaged in the sand.

How To Save Your Feet At The Beach

Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution to save your feet from the hot sand at the beach. Best run back to your thongs!

Leg Day Recovery Tips

Leg day is one of my favourite days. I love feeling sore afterwards like I’ve put in some real effort. But after a while, the soreness can become downright annoying.

girl stretching leg on the wall text overlay: Leg Day Recovery Tips

Leg Day Recovery Tips

Depending on what time I work out, I generally notice some soreness around 20 hours afterwards, which peaks around 24-36 hours afterwards.

Leg Day Recovery Tips

  • Go for a walk the next day – One of the best things you can do is keep moving. I like to take my dog, Harley, for a walk the next morning. Depending on how sore I am over the followings days will depend on if I do this on consecutive days.
  • Casein – a slow release protein like casein can help the muscle repair overnight. I generally only have casein before bed after weight training my legs.
  • Protein – either from protein powder or food.
  • Compression pants – I started using compression pants a few years ago to recover from sore muscles after boot camp. The pair that I use now is actually for recovery & are quite a snug fit. I only wear them overnight & occasionally around the house.
  • Stretch – I like to stretch my legs out straight after the workout before I even get in the car to go home. I like to do stretches for my quadriceps, hamstrings, calves & hip flexors.
  • Massage – I find massage with the heel of my palm really gets into the muscles & kneads the soreness away.
  • Take the stairs – If you have the option, take the stairs whenever possible. I can be quite a struggle but getting those legs moving certainly helps.
  • Warm up & cool down – I always did my warm-up & cool down for legs on the treadmill. I have since switched to using a bike because I feel it uses more muscle groups than just walking does.
  • Rather than doing leg day, incorporate 2-3 leg exercises in each workout. I used to do upper body one day then lower body another day. Now I do half of the upper body & half of the low body one day, then do the remaining exercises for upper & lower body another day.

*Disclaimer: I have no professional qualifications. The above is just a list of things that I find works the best for me.

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