Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu Planning Monday: August 22 - 28

How did everyone's menu plan go last week? Did you stick to your plan? I find that sometimes when I plan specific meals for specific days I have a difficult time sticking with the plan, but it went really well this week. I really loved being able to decide what I wanted to make for dinner each day knowing that I had everything on hand for a variety of meals.

Another thing that helped me out this time around is that I planned meals for the entire week, not just Monday to Friday.

This is how the week played out for me:

Monday - Broccoli & Cheese Stuffed Chicken (Guilt-free) I was a little worried when I used up my guilt free meal on the first day, but Andrew was working & had Tuesday off, (he normally works Tuesday nights as well) so it worked out alright.

Tuesday - Chili & Cheese Macaroni This was delicious - more to come about this recipe on Friday!

Wednesday - We had dinner at Andrew's parents house with his Aunt, Uncle & cousins who we don't get to see very often, but who are my very favourite aunt & uncle in law. We had barbecued pork chops & salads & everything was delicious & then we had a yogurt pie that my mother in law made for dessert.

Thurday - Andrew worked this night, so I was going to just make Pierce & I spaghetti, but there was leftover Chili & Cheese Macaroni, so we shared that instead.

Friday - We went out for dinner at Shoeless Joe's. We shared a plate of calamari as an appetizer & for dinner I had Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine & Andrew had a Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Both were delicious & we had leftovers to eat for lunch the next day.

Saturday - Pierce & I ended up eating at my friend Andrea's house. She has a little girl who is only a week younger than Pierce & they get along really well.

Sunday - Turkey Meatloaf

So yea. Not a lot of eating from the menu plan went on last week. But that's ok because we only ate out once, which is awesome for us.

I have added another category this week as well. Date night. It is explained below with the rest of the categories in case you missed them last week. There are now 8 categories, so I can pick & choose each week.

Meatless - This is pretty self explanatory - a meal containing no meat
Casserole - Any casserole-type dish
Crockpot - Any meal made in the crockpot
Guilt-free - A prepackaged meal on a day when I am tired or don't feel like cooking
From the freezer - A recipe using up an ingredient that is in our freezer
Something new - A brand new recipe! (so if you have a recipe you'd like me to try, let me know!)
Date night - A recipe for a date night in with the hubs after Pierce goes to bed
Wildcard - One of the categories can be repeated if I so choose

Here's what's on the menu for this week:

1. Walking Tacos - These look so delicious, but Pierce won't be able to eat them, so we'll have them one night after he goes to bed. (Date Night)

2. Crockpot Barbecue Chicken - We didn't get to try this last week, so we're trying again for this week. (Crockpot)

3. Spaghetti (Meatless)

4. Shepherd's Pie (From the Freezer)

5. Sweet & Sour Chicken (Something New)

6. Kraft Dinner (Guilt Free)

Ugh...why are there so many days in a week?! I am running out of ideas!

7. Tuna Casserole - I didn't make this last week...(Casserole)

And that's that! Whew!

I definitely need a little more inspiration on the meatless category. I have a feeling we can only do spaghetti once per week for so long before we get bored of it. If you have any recipes you can recommend, please do so!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foodie Friday: Tuna Casserole

Here is the Tuna Casserole recipe I promised from Monday. I love this recipe because it really is super easy - I can make it while Pierce plays in the living room - and it's healthy, too! This usually makes enough for the three of us to have it for dinner one night & for lunch the next day.

3 cups uncooked macaroni
2 cups frozen peas
1 can tuna, drained
1 can cream of cheddar soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bring a pot of water to a boil & throw in the macaroni & peas. Boil until the macaroni reaches your desired tenderness. Drain pasta & peas & put them back into the empty pot. Add the tuna & soup & mix well. Pour into a small casserole dish & cover with the shredded cheese. Put the casserole under the broiler until the cheese is melted & bubbly. Enjoy!

P.S. If anyone has a recipe that they would like to share with me, please let me know! I love trying out new recipes & I would love to feature it here on my blog!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Someday Soon

The thing about postpartum depression is that there's this stigma associated with it. And if you haven't gone through it, you don't know what it's like. It's a lot like motherhood that way. When you're about to become a Mom you know that it's going to be difficult. Like REALLY difficult. And you're almost unsure of the fact that you'll be able to do it (at least I was).

Postpartum depression is hard like that. It's hard because it makes you feel like you'll never get better. It's hard because there's a stigma associated with it & you feel like you can't tell anyone how you're feeling. There's a misconception with regards to motherhood that once you become a mother, you should feel happy. Not just happy, elated. But not just elated, either. It's like you should be living in this cloud of orgasmic happiness. You just had a baby!! How could you be anything but happy?

And it's made even harder by watching others get better. That is, if you're fortunate enough to have a community of people around you who know what PPD is like. You know it's possible to get better because you see others doing it. And you feel like you're doing everything right, but you're not recovering as quickly as others are. And you know you shouldn't, but it's hard not to compare.

I've been there. I've suffered with PPD. And the reason this post is the way it is, is because those posts on other blogs that were all "Everything is puppies & rainbows, & unicorns that fart fairy dust" were not helpful to me when I was still recovering. They were just the opposite. I am so happy for anyone who has overcome PPD, because I know how horrible it is. I know the way it feels to sob on your shower floor while the water pounds down on you because your baby is crying & you need to have a minute where you can't hear him so that you can calm yourself. But reading those "I'm better & life rocks!" posts was so difficult.

I am better. But there are lots of women out there who are not. And my heart goes out to all of you. You will recover too, someday soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Anything with Wheels!

We bought him a car mat at Ikea this week & while he was napping I set it up for him as a surprise for when he woke up. I love that he just lay down on the mat & started playing like the big boy that he is!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Schedule Shifting

Pierce has a crazy schedule. It is one he set himself, not one I put him on. He wakes up anywhere from 6:00am to 7:00am (usually closer to 6, though) goes down for his nap at 10am (yes, 10!) wakes up at 1:00 (although lately it's been closer to 12, but he really does need 3 hours) & goes to bed sometime between 7:30 & 8:00.

I don't know why he has such an early nap, especially since he gets tired in the late afternoon. Not tired enough to nap, mind you, but tired enough to act out, not listen & hit me. Good times.

I have wanted to shift his schedule for so long, but every time I tried, my house would end up Cranky Central not only before he went down, but even after he woke up. Call me selfish, but crankiness all day is something that I would really like to avoid.

Although lately, as I mentioned above, he has been napping for only 2 hours. Yesterday he slept until 7:30 & it was glorious, but he was still ready for his nap by 10:30 (I was going to try to stretch him to 11:00 but that wasn't happening) & he woke at 12:30 so the day's schedule followed as usual.

But today he woke up at 8:45 (and believe me, it was even more glorious than yesterday morning, I kept waking up, seeing that the sun was coming through our window & thinking to myself "No, no, he'll be awake any minute now. Close your eyes & go back to sleep, quick!") so I decided to make the best out of the situation. I bribed my husband with sex asked my husband if he would like to accompany us to Ikea & he eagerly agreed. Ikea is at least a 30 minute drive & usually takes a whole day to walk through, but we took the shortcuts to the places that we were interested in which was mainly the Children's Ikea. I was pretty sure we would have Epic Toddler Meltdown at the store, but Pierce was very well behaved & happy to spend the entire time in his stroller. After a little shopping and a quick lunch, we headed home. I brought the pacifier (yes my 22 month old still uses the paci for sleep time GASP!) with us just in case he wanted to fall asleep in the car & when he got fussy we gave it to him, but he never fell asleep. When we got home it was 1:00 - normal toddler nap time - and we put him down for a nap. He slept is 4 hours & when he got up we played, had dinner & took him to the park. We left the park at 7:30 & headed to Michael's to purchase some cardstock for his birthday invitations & banner. I was pretty sure we were going to have a tantrum in the store because he a) doesn't like sitting in carts & b) was used to going to bed at this hour. But we got through the shopping trip with no tantrum!! I was impressed. We came home, gave him a bath & put him in his crib by 9:00.

I am VERY happy with how the day turned out today. This is truly the schedule I'd like to be on. I hope we are able to maintain it, because so many toddler programs happen during the morning when most toddlers are awake.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 15 - 21

I have decided to get back into the swing of things with menu planning for the week. I think it is one of the most important things you can do to save money around your house because a) you only need to grocery shop once per week & b) it puts an end to that creeping "What am I going to make for dinner?!" feeling that starts around 3pm when I realize that we're going to have to eat in about 3 hours, and there isn't any food in the house.

Laura from I'm an Organizing Junkie (this place is like my heaven) hosts "Menu Planning Monday" on her blog each (you guessed it) Monday & I have decided to join in. The banner at the top of this post links you to her site.

To make menu planning easier, I have decided to do one of each of the following each week:

Meatless - This is pretty self explanatory - a meal containing no meat
Casserole - Any casserole-type dish
Crockpot - Any meal made in the crockpot
Guilt-free - A prepackaged meal on a day when I am tired or don't feel like cooking
From the freezer - A recipe using up an ingredient that is in our freezer
Something new - A brand new recipe! (so if you have a recipe you'd like me to try, let me know!)
Wildcard - One of the categories will be repeated each week, since there are only 6 of them

Without further ado, here is our menu for the week of August 15 to the 21: (We are having dinner at Andrew's parents house on Wednesday, so there are only 6 meals here. I will decide each day which meal I will make that night.)

1. Chili & Cheese Macaroni (Something New)

2. Turkey Meatloaf (From the Freezer)

3. Tuna Casserole - This is my own recipe, which I plan to share with you later this week! (Casserole)

4. Crockpot BBQ Chicken (Crockpot)

5. Spaghetti (Meatless)

6. Broccoli & cheese stuffed chicken (Guilt-free)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Trying to Domesticate Myself

About a week ago, I was inspired by a real life friend (I know, right? I'm just as surprised as you are!) to bake some cookies. We had a playdate at her house earlier in the day & she was baking cookies & so when I got home & wanted something sweet I knew that there was a relatively easy peanut butter cookie recipe on the back of the Kraft peanut butter jar. wasn't on my jar of Kraft natural peanut butter. So I headed over to Happy or Hungry (which is an amazing food/lifestyle blog that you should all check out because Lindsey is very inspirational, non-judgmental & also because she & I went to high school together!) because I remembered she posted the recipe there.

I was a bit worried about how the cookies would turn out because the consistency of natural peanut butter is quite different from "regular" (not that I think peanut butter with additives in it is regular, but you know) peanut butter, but I figured how much difference could it make?

It makes a lot of difference, actually. A lot.

My poor cookies. First, when I took them out of the oven when they should've been ready the centers were still raw. So I put them in for another 5 minutes. When they came out that time, they were fully cooked, but incredibly crumbly. Like, I couldn't even lift them off the baking sheet. & they smelled burned even though there was no sign of burned cookies anywhere. It was strange.

They only tasted okay. After they'd cooled I brought the baking sheet to the couch with me & peeled off parts of cookie to eat. They weren't great. & most of them ended up in the garbage.

Another fail in the kitchen for me. So disappointing!