Some more notes on meal planning

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So we are just over mid way through the week (I’ll be honest I started writing this post on Tuesday Evening and it’s now Thursday Morning) and I wanted to check in with my meal planning status.  As mentioned before – I am trying to get into good habits because March 2018 it’s GO time.

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This is the plan I had for the week and what I prepared on the weekend. #ThankGoodnessForGoogleSheets

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And this is how it’s gone so far.  As you can see things changed which is OK!

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Okay so first thing, my in laws dropped off some food for us so I didn’t have to take out the food from the freezer (aka the slow cooker Daal).

Secondly, I didn’t make the bread loaf pan omelette yet (although I plan to this evening – which I did yesterday).

Thirdly, having food cooked (that isn’t necessarily a meal) but that can be put together as a meal is awesome!  I had steamed some broccoli, peas and carrots and put that in a salad (with quinoa and other uncooked/raw veggies) for lunch!

Fourth, I love that I am not actually making food during the day (especially as I am on Mat Leave).  Just having to heat up food is so convenient – and knowing that its home made makes my heart smile.  My freezer pasta is something I’ll need to freeze on the weekend but I’ve realized that it needs to thaw on the counter during the day and be cooked the night before we want to eat it (I won’t have enough time to cook it the night of).

And lastly, fifth, having options is incredible especially when there are picky eaters.  I won’t go into this much but it’s much easier (aka we can avoid dinner time tantrums) when I offer a choice.  “San, do you want this with this or that”, “ummm I’ll have this with this”.  It gives up some of the control and makes my kiddo feel important (which she is OBVIOUSLY!)

Other than that, I just have to work on the snacks portion of my meal prepping. Although I have some ideas (this bean dip, these pancakes/chewy “cookies”, and even this granola with a cup of non dairy milk) I haven’t actually prepped them.

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Yep – I totally used an old pasta sauce jar as my “mason jar” but they can also be purchased in bulk too!

A new years Life Lately post

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I say life lately – but this is more of a brain dump!  (I started writing this post on Monday and it’s now Friday and I am finally getting around to hit the publish button)

Weekend Recap
We actually had a nice weekend.  Friday we were at a first birthday/Lohri party for a dear friend of mine’s daughter.  The party was at an Indian Banquet hall and I have to say it was so well done.  A play area for the kids, candy bar, amazing decor, well planned table games, even the entertainment was something new.  Although now I am more convinced to do a small intimate celebration for our Ellie.  I do feel kind of guilty for not doing the same things with both kids but I do have keep my sanity!

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Starting Meal-Prep
I did meal prep on the weekend in an effort to practice for the real deal in a few months.  Here is what I made:  Breakfast options included 2 days of oven baked omelettes, 2 days of green smoothies (to be paired with pb on toast), 1 day of oatmeal.  For mains I made slow cooker eggplant parmesan, buffalo cauliflower and we made a huge batch of brown rice.  Also I had a coconut chickpea stew in the freezer that I pulled out for dinner and lunch!  I’ve been eyeing these meal prep containers for over a year – I should just get them!

So what have I learned from meal prepping / using my slow cooker (honestly I feel like I am the only person not using an instant pot to make rice in 4 minutes) is that:

  • Meal prep 2.5 mains for use during the week as lunches or dinners
  • Prep veggies/legumes as the 0.5 for 1) above.  So things like the roasted cauliflower, roasted chickpeas, cooked black beans or steamed broccoli or peas (which I am doing next week).  These can be added to anything to make a meal more full (or to pasta or rice for kiddo meals).
  • Make a big batch of grains for use during the week.  I like to add some to a big salad and it can obviously be used as a base.
  • Prep some healthy snacks like energy bites or protein cookies (I didn’t do it this time but I will try next time)
  • Have tons of sauces, spreads, toppings and garnishes on hand.  I made a ranch dressing out of mayo, milk, onion powder and dill – it was so good and I was quite impressed.  I hate buying store bought dressing to only use it once or twice and then have it be a complete waste.   Other things we have used this week: cilantro, hot sauce, roasted sesame seeds, almond butter, cacao nibs etc
  • Plan your grocery run and make sure you have a list
  • Do the groceries before the weekend (if you can).  I find it very tiring and impossible to do the groceries on the weekend with the kids in tow and then to some how find the time to prep the food.  I haven’t figured out when to make the food (right now it’s a little at night and little in the morning and lots in between) so having the food in the house gives me some leeway.

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Watching
I am heavy into some royal history on Netflix.  Reason being two fold – I the modern royals fascinating and I get a history lesson along the way.

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Fitness
The mister and I are trying to find out new norm for working out.  Gone are the days where we could spend upwards of an hour at the gym.  Having kids changes everything.  Do cardio, resistance training, some abs and of course stretch all in one session.   We’ve realized the best we can do is 15 minute intervals.  So we are starting again, starting small and slow.
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Reading
I just finished reading The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome.  It was actually a really great read for the point in my life where I am now.  I hope to do a review and share my favourite parts of the book in a later post.  I feel even more empowered to care for what I eat and how I treat myself #Selfcare.  I started reading Overdressed, and it’s already grabbed my attention.  And I still have to go back and finish reading Ishmael.

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PS: All images are from Tumblr (credited as found)

Miss El’s ninth month update

Elora Hazel is 9 months and it’s been an intense month…

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She had a high fever, followed by a few days of mid range fever, followed by her two bottom teeth popping out.  The entire month was hard in terms of sleep and eating and then she started doing a 1-knee crawl and then she discovered how to sit from laying on her tummy.
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So like I said, it’s been an intense month.  Full of learning, development, tired arms and full hearts.
Outside of all of this, she got to sit on Santa’s lap, open lots of Christmas presents and tried her dadi’s (paternal grandmother) banana bread for the first time (it has white sugar in it so definitely tried to avoid it lol).
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She’s watched a few scenes of Frozen here and there (thanks to Big Sis who wants to watch it ALL.THE.TIME) and is still in love with the song “Part of that World” from the The Little Mermaid.  She’s figured out that she can move to music and close her eyes when she smiles her toothy grin – which makes everyone around her laugh.  She’s eating rice and daal from both her grandmothers and will literally grab anything she can to put into her mouth – even faster if she sees me coming to take whats in her hand aka anything she finds from the floor).  She loves saying mamammama, dada dada, and nananana (which I believe is her way of saying “Sanya”).  She loves playing with her sisters toys (she has a keen eye for tiny magnets, lite brite pegs and dolls that have really long hair).
Oh Ellie babe – we love you so!

Road trip to Pittsburgh

At the beginning of November, the Hubz, the girls and I travelled to Pittsburgh for my husband’s cousins’ wedding.  I was terrified to do a 6 hour car ride with the girls. (give or take an hour or so).  I mean, Miss S literally asks for a snack as soon as I buckle her into the car seat.  And she (like any other kid, including myself when I was her age) incessently ask “are we there yet” or “how many more minutes”. I was really afraid I would lose my $#!t.  (#BadMom alert!)

I am happy to report that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Considering we’ve done a few 2 hour trips with them, this was relativity easier.  Mainly because we broke up the trip and having Miss S ride half the time with us and the other half with her grandparents (who were also attending – just driving another car).

We made sure to have lots of snacks, a bag of entertainment (crayons, letter beads/pipe cleaners, hot wheels and lots of books via this children’s e-reader), a few CDs burnt with our favourite songs of the moment (like this, this and this) and of course an iPad with some downloaded kids shows as back up (thanks to Netflix Canada’s downloadable feature)…. I felt for the most part prepared.

Not sure if we could do that type of road trip on our own but I do feel a little more aware of what to expect and a dare I say a little more confident.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped while we were away!

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Kids asleep in the mobile bunk bed (aka a double stroller) so we get to ENJOY!

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Miss S always makes our family pictures so much fun :P

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I always love seeing the “4 pillar” representations at Hindu weddings.

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Gparents babysitting meant that us two got a break and went straight to the Hotel Lobby Bar ;)

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The happy couple!

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Stocking Stuffers for the Girls

This will be the first year we actually stuff some stockings.  The last few years we have just hung the stockings but didn’t fill them mainly because Miss S was completely unaware of them in our house.  My parents have always made a big deal of them when we head over to their house on Christmas day – but I don’t think she really understood what was going on.

So to give myself (and anyone else who may stumble upon this post) some ideas I’d thought I’d share what I found.   TLY_StockingStufferIdeas

Christmas Pencils | Stickers | Swaddle | Hair Clips | Mini Pencil Crayons | Little People | Bath Dropz

Miss El’s eigth month update

Slowly my attention is returning to the other part of my life that hasn’t needed my focus in so long.  I am thinking about going back to work as well as everything that comes with that: schedules, pick ups, drop offs, commuting, budgets, meal preps and dinner on weeknights.  My mind is exploding with to do lists and calendar dates.  But for the next few minutes I am going to focus on 8 months of Lou-Lou

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Peplum Top & Leggings (Similar) | Headband (Multiple colours available)

Yep – she’s got a new nick name.  It’s funny, Miss S and I read this book a million and one times while Ellie was in my belly.  I was sad that our world wouldn’t have President Barack Obama in it any more and Miss S would constantly ask about LoLo (I started pronouncing it Low-Low – and I guess she was amused). Anyways – Miss S now calls her it affectionately and the grandparents do it to.  I guess that works because she only answers to that or Elora so now it’s stuck!!

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Christmas Tree | Fairy Lights | Area Rug 

She is talking up a storm!  Calling Ma’am Maam, Da-Dat, Eeeee, Ooaa.  She thinks she’s a big shot and we couldn’t agree more.  She’s started pulling herself up and experimenting with cruising and getting accustomed to being on her hands and knees.  Lots of bouncing, pushing backwards, scooting in circles while sitting or on tummy time but no actual crawling yet.

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Jacket (Similar) | Cold Weather Onesie (Similar)

She’s been exposing herself to TOOOONNNS of food, now eating 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day.  Although we do give her a lot of store bought baby food (our go-to brands are: Baby Gourmet, Love Child Organics and Earth’s Best) she’s tried my mother in laws black channe and her Pop’s weekly oven baked fish and was totally into it.  Right now her favourites are banana, scrambled eggs, coconut yogurt, 3 ingredient pancakes.

She claps and hurrays with her arms.  We are teaching her the basic baby sign language and she’s tried doing “more” lol.  She’s still really into her sister (but not her sister’s “smuhugs” aka smush-hugs), has started to play wrestle with her sis, as well tries to hide a toy in her hand if she sees Miss S running towards her LOL!!!.  Still into PDA and has even started giving us wet kisses 💋💋!!  She loves playing a game with her dad and I where she wants to go from my arms to his arms and back and forth – she obviously thinks it’s hilarious!  And we do too!

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Head band | Hair Clip | Cardigan (Similar)