Tuesday, February 26, 2013

what's for dinner.

I don't know about you, but one of my biggest pet peeves is trying to think of what to make for dinner each night. I don't really mind cooking dinner, or even shopping for the ingredients, but thinking of what to make seems to be the hardest part! Once we've finally decided what we want, walk down to the shops to buy it and then get home to make it- it is nearly 9pm and I am totally over it. Not to mention, going to the store every single day is probably the best way to spend the most money on your groceries- which is not really the goal, right?!

Two weeks ago I decided there HAD to be a better way. I was getting really tired of the nightly arguments discussions on what was for dinner, the daily trips to the store and eating dinner at bedtime, so I decided to start a weekly meal plan. To tell you the truth, I had been wanting to do this for a long time but was making it waaaay to complicated of a process in my mind that I never thought I had the time. Instead, I have come up with a much easier and faster way to meal plan that has seemed to make all the difference these last two weeks. So what am I doing you ask?

1. I sit down (usually with Max) on Sunday night and make a list of 5 meals for the week. Easy meals... nothing too crazy or even new. Just 5 meals that we would normally eat (5 minutes)

2. I write the menu on the wall above the stove for all to see (2 minutes)

3. I make a shopping list that includes everything we need to make these meals plus the other normal things we need each week like bread and milk and fruit... and cheese, haha (10 minutes)

4. I go shopping on Monday and buy ALL the food for the week.

With less than 20 minutes of preparation, I have planned dinner for the week and avoided the nightly "what's for dinner" argument discussion.

So what was on the menu last week??

24 February 2013- dinner005

24 February 2013- dinner004

Wednesday- we went out for dinner (very rare for us!)

24 February 2013- dinner003

24 February 2013- dinner002

24 February 2013- dinner006


Why only 5 meals?
- Well, I want to plan for 5 specific meals to allow for things like leftover night or going out to dinner. Also, our weekends are usually very unpredictable and almost always involve BBQs, etc. Plus, some nights you just feel like having toast for dinner...

Aren't these meals kind of boring?
- Well, yes and no. They are just normal, everyday meals that I make pretty regularly. Cooking new or overly complicated recipes seemed to overwhelm me in the menu making step and that, my friends, was not part of the plan. I want to make things EASIER on myself. If this plan continues to work for the next few weeks, I might think of throwing in new things here and there. But let's face it... I am a pretty simple minded kind of cook :)

Does this actually help you save money?
- Yes, I really think it does. I was recently reading a blog where the writer was talking about how much money she spends on groceries for she and her husband ($150-$200 a month) and was in total shock! We spend waaaaaay more than that each week... and we only have one of our kids part-time and the other doesn't even eat food yet!! Of course, this was an American blog where the cost of living is much, MUCH cheaper compared to Australia, but I still felt like every time we go down the to the shop for some bread and apples it ends up costing $50. I am new to this whole "shopping for the entire week" thing, but I do believe it will end up saving us some money and TIME. Now if I could only get my husband to pack his lunch everyday... :)

So what about you? Do you meal plan? Does it help you save money? Do you have any suggestions for easy, simple meals? Is it seriously possible for real people to only spend $200 a month on food??!?!?!!?

And just incase you are looking to start something like this, I will continue to share pictures of our meals via Instagram- user name ourlifedownunda

Happy cooking friends! xoxo

Sunday, February 24, 2013

motocross star.

Last year when Byron started at the Australian Trade College, he was introduced to the life of a working man. I have written about this before, but through this program, Byron does a rotation of four weeks at school and four weeks on the job (as a part of his apprenticeship to become a carpenter). His apprenticeship is a total of four years so instead of starting this journey after high school, he gets to do both at the same time.

So what does this mean?? Poor kid has just realised the reality of working... for the rest of his life... and I am not sure he is overly thrilled about the idea. Do you blame him?!?

A few weeks ago he decided life would be WAY more fun if he could make money doing something he REALLY liked- like becoming a world famous motocross star!

17 February 2013- motor bike002

Just like his dad, he has always loved riding dirt bikes and has done it for practically his entire life.

17 February 2013- motor bike003

Last year when his dad bought himself his first ever new dirt bike (KTM500) his old bike (XR) was handed down and Byron has asked to go riding every weekend since.

17 February 2013- motor bike004

I got to watch Byron ride at our friend's house last Sunday afternoon and I have to say, I was impressed! It is hard to tell in these pictures, but that bike he is on is HUGE and heavy.

17 February 2013- motor bike001

Lachlan had fun watching his big brother ride while his daddy showed him around our friend's ginormous shed... which is FULL of dirt bikes!

17 February 2013- motor bike005

[this is just half of Bill's shed...]
17 February 2013- motor bike006

17 February 2013- motor bike007

Lachlan wasn't really sure what to think about these crazy bikes... and his momma is scared to death for the day his daddy puts him on one of these bikes for real. Eeek!

17 February 2013- motor bike008

17 February 2013- motor bike012

17 February 2013- motor bike009

17 February 2013- motor bike010

17 February 2013- motor bike011

So here's to our carpenter/motocross star :) because real, grownup life isn't fun without dreams!

[the boys are out on a ride somewhere right now as I write this!]

Friday, February 22, 2013

your man reminder.

haha! Funny. And not that bad of an idea.... [as I secretly download this app...]


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

all the little things.

All the little things I never want to forget...

3 months

ps. sorry that this blog has been 99.9% pictures of Lachlan lately. I. JUST. CAN'T. STOP. I'll do my best to write about other stuff as well... intertwined with pictures of my little baby bubba of course :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

warm chili and garlic cheese bread.

Yes, it is the middle of summer here in Oz, but I guess all of these snow pictures and cold weather updates I have seen from my northern hemisphere friends have gotten me in the mood for some good, warm comfort food. So here is my strange, but very yummy, warm chili and garlic cheese bread recipe for all of you that are snowed in a freezing your little bums off. Enjoy :)


Chili Ingredients 
500g turkey mince (1lb ground turkey)
1 diced onion
1 can of five bean mix
1 can of corn
1 clove of garlic
2 cans of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
8 sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cook meat and onion in a large pot. Combine all other ingredients, cover and simmer for at least half an hour.... but I find the longer it cooks the better it tastes :)

Garlic Cheese Bread Ingredients
Rustic Sourdough
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Slice bread, drizzle with EVOO and place under the oven grill (or broil) until golden brown. Peel garlic and rub over warm toasted bread. Sprinkle shredded cheese over warm bread and place back in the oven until cheese is melted.

Garnish with sour cream and shredded cheese... yuuummmo!

happy valentine's day.

If this is love, then love is easy. It's the easiest thing to do!

14 February 2012- valentines day001

If this is love, then love completes me. Cause the proof is I've been missing you.

14 February 2012- valentines day003

A simple equation, with no complications to you leave you confused.

14 February 2012- valentines day002

If this is love love love... Ohh it's the easiest thing to do!


{thanks for the outfit Mimi- xoxo}

Monday, February 11, 2013

first time mum.

I have to say that having a baby here in Australia has been amazing so far. From my awesome maternity leave to the free programs that they offer, it is really unreal. To say I am thankful and so happy just isn't really enough.

Of course, I have obviously never had a baby anywhere else and am therefore comparing apples to... well, absolutely nothing else, but I can tell you now that these apples over here are pretty darn sweet! Maybe these programs and opportunities are available everywhere around the world, but I thought I would share a few of my top "being a first time mum in Oz" favourites with you. 

 Lachlan's Australia Day outfit. He's super excited about it, haha

Firstly, everywhere you go there is something they call a "parents room". They vary from place to place, but they are everywhere! So what is a "parent's room" you ask? Well, it is basically a separate bathroom area specifically designed for parents with children- Larger bathrooms with tiny toilets for potty training children, changing stations for dirty baby bums, microwaves for warming up food for little tummies, TVs and play areas for kiddos that might need a little break and curtained off areas with big comfy chairs for breastfeeding mommas. Some are bigger and nicer than others, but they all have the basics... and it is all free and there for everyone to use! I seriously love it and think it makes getting out of the house easier for parents knowing there is a place for them too! Love it!

[this picture has nothing to do with the Parent's Room... 
I just think it is too freakin' cute not to share :)]
"Just preparing for a day at the office." Thanks @katesto

The other thing that I just can't say enough good things about is the Child Health Program. I have no idea if this is just a Queensland (the state we live in) thing or if programs like this exist all over Australia. I really know so little about this program but was told to call this 1 300 number after we had our baby for free health check-ups for Lachlan. The hospital told us that they would help us with breastfeeding problems, do health and weight checks, answer questions about feeding, sleep, settling... you name it. But the thing I was the most interested in was the First Time Mum's Groups they set up for... you guessed it, FIRST TIME MUM's!

Basically, I called this service the week after Lachlan was born and signed up to be a part of the group in my area. After you call up they do some magical matching thing and put everyone in to mum's group based on the age of your baby and where you live. As long as you call and put your name down before your baby is 6 weeks old, you are IN! The first few classes you actually meet with a Child Health Nurse at your local Community Health Centre where you get to know all of the babies and mommas and learn about bit about what it means to be a first time mum. You get to ask questions, listen to the other mum's stories and give your two cents when you feel so inclined. You also get a list of the contact details for everyone in your group so that you can get together outside of these schedule meetings for some much needed girl time.  I mean, seriously... A list of friends who just went through, and are going through, the same exact thing as you?!?! I HAVE STRUCK GOLD!!

Lachlan hangin out with his friends!

Not only that, but through this group Lachlan gets to make his first 6 friends too!!  This is him just chillin' with his homies Nate, Samuel, Summer and Madden (Taylah and Riely not pictured). 

As a group we decided to meet up every second Monday; taking turns hosting everyone at our houses. Babies play while momma's drink coffee and talk about fun things like sleep cycles and poop. It's great! As much as our regular meetings with the Community Health Nurse are helpful, it is the time sharing ideas and concerns with these new mum's that I am just so thankful for. We all know how hard it is to make friends as adults and am so grateful to this completely FREE program for introducing me to these women... SO. THANKFUL.

Okay, this is getting a bit long so I'll go ahead and cut it off there and leave you with a few American to Aussie baby related translations to add to your vocabulary today. Enjoy :)
Stroller = Pram
Crib = Cot
Diaper = Nappy
Pacifier = Dummy
Baby = Bub

Saturday, February 9, 2013

the swaddle.

Ever since Lachlan was born, he loved the ol' swaddle. As soon as he started showing tired signs, I would give him his passie, swaddle him tight and off to sleep he went. As soon as he started smiling at about 7 weeks, I noticed that right when I would lay him in his bed and start the swaddling ritual he would starting smiling this biggest grins you have ever seen. We took this as a sign that he did, in fact, LOVE the swaddle which was reassuring since we had been doing it for 7 weeks already!

Someone might need a bit more practice, hehe

After a few goes at some different swaddling options, I kind of came up with this one that seemed to really work best for him. I have had a few different people ask me what kind of wraps I use and how I swaddle so I thought I would make a little tutorial to share the secret. I hope you enjoy it :)

a little lesson in swaddling... from Michelle de Baugy on Vimeo.

A few more things:

1. When I said that the swaddle will usually last him about 6 hours, I was meaning at night... when he sleeps for 8-9 hours. I was noticing that at about 6 hours in to the night he was performing some baby magic and escaping the inescapable swaddle :) Don't stress... I don't leave him swaddled like that for 6 hours at a time all the time, hehe.

2. This technique is by no means certified or recommend by a doctor or professional. It is my own technique that I found worked really well for us. Please don't use this if you have any concerns or are worried it is unsafe for your baby. Although I think it is perfectly safe (obviously), I don't want anyone coming back to me saying that using this technique harmed their baby in any way. I certainly don't need any lawsuits up in her'.

3. My favourite swaddles to use are Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Collection. They are big and light and come in all different cute prints. I am pretty sure my mom bought them for me in the US, but in doing some more research I found out it is actually an Australian woman who started the company! It seems they are available in stores all over the world and you can search for the location nearest you here -->; USAustraliaUK/Europe. I perfect gift for any new momma if you ask me :)

Happy Swaddling Friends!

Monday, February 4, 2013

tired bubba.

The many faces of a tired little bubba...

26 January 2013- oz day weekend055

Ahhh... I just love him so much!

26 January 2013- oz day weekend048

Sunday, February 3, 2013

flooded in.

[the first two parts to this story can be found here and here]

After our camp flooded on Sunday morning, we decided that instead of heading home we would just spend the remainder of our long weekend at a nice little unit a few miles away from our original camping spot. Everyone else's camp had survived the storms and we didn't want to miss out on the rest of our trip just because all of our stuff was a little soggy.

And wouldn't you know it- the next morning we woke up to bright blue skies and... wait for it... SUNSHINE! By the time we got back down to camp, every towel, blanket, shirt, jacket, sheet (you name it!) was strung out all around the camping area soaking up the heat and sun. It was a glorious day!

26 January 2013- oz day weekend052

26 January 2013- oz day weekend051

26 January 2013- oz day weekend053

Had this weekend adventure gone to plan, we would have been well on our way home by that afternoon. The next day was a work day and the first day of school for all of the kids. But, as all good adventures go, plans changed and we ended up getting to spend another day and night at Rainbow Beach because of the flooded rivers and impassable roads all around the town. Awww darn! (not that I had anywhere to be anyway- maternity leave is just amazing like that)

26 January 2013- oz day weekend054

Since we couldn't get home and the beaches were still a bit crazy, we decided to head out for a day drive instead. As you can imagine, most of the tracks were closed due to floods or trees that had fallen down, but Bill and Max managed to find a few places to go.

26 January 2013- oz day weekend034

26 January 2013- oz day weekend035

26 January 2013- oz day weekend036

26 January 2013- oz day weekend038

26 January 2013- oz day weekend037

Under all of this water somewhere stands a bridge... and while the boys will drive through just about anything, not knowing what was beyond the bridge or how deep the water was stopped them this once (thankyoujesus!).

26 January 2013- oz day weekend039

Instead, we went another way that lead us through a... ahem... rather large puddle. Pictures of this can be found on Bill's phone camera and are not approved for the viewing of my fellow blog readers (like mine and Max's mum) because they might just be a little bit scary looking. As an alternative, look at the beautiful grassy plain we saw just beyond said puddle :)

26 January 2013- oz day weekend040

Our drive took us to a few different places. Through rivers and swamps and little towns that we never knew existed before...

26 January 2013- oz day weekend041

26 January 2013- oz day weekend042

26 January 2013- oz day weekend043

It was a good day and a great weekend.

26 January 2013- oz day weekend044


Thank you to everyone who checked in with us to make sure we were all safe. With little to no phone reception, I know many of you worried when you weren't able to get in touch. Sure it might sound like a crazy weekend and dangerous conditions, but we were perfectly safe the whole time. I know Max and I probably won't win the Parents of the Year Award for taking our little baby camping in weather like this, but then again, maybe we will!

I think having a baby can really change you; make you scared to take chances and live the life you use to live. As long as you are prepared, safe, put the needs of your baby before your own and keep everything in perspective, I don't see why you can continue to live a life full of adventures. I mean, what a story we will have to tell about Lachlan's first camping trip at 12 weeks old :)

Until next time friends....!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

after the rain.

Saturday night brought with it lots of rain and lots of wind. The kind of rain and pounds down on the roof of your tent so hard that you can't really hear the person next to you talking. Sure, it was kind of scary but it actually lulled us all to sleep. Wrapped up in our semi-dry bed, we slept straight through the night and into the morning. 

At about 8am I jumped down from our bed and landed in a lake about ankle deep. It turns out that while we slept peacefully through the night, the water was slowly raising around our camper. It wasn't dangerous flooding or something that was a huge deal, it just meant that we picked a bit of a low lying area that just couldn't cope with the incredibly heavy rain.  

Of course, things were a bit crazy there for about an hour as we tried to pull our things out of this new lake and pack up the camper in the pouring rain. This is the only picture I ended up taking. It is my feet in the "shallow end" of our camper. The deep end was inside the main part of the tent and was too deep and dark to really see anything in pictures. 

The "shallow" end of the inside of our camper... #flooded #oops

An frantic hour later we were all packed up and sitting in our friend's beautiful, new, DRY caravan playing Rummy Cub and Uno. Once the rain stopped in the late afternoon I was able to take a few pictures of some of the crazy branches that fell in the storm.

26 January 2013- oz day weekend031

26 January 2013- oz day weekend032

It turns out that it was quite the storm and ended up flooding a bunch of rivers and roads in some of the nearby towns. The storm had started in northern Queensland and was slowly working its way down the coast and just happened to land in our area right smack in the middle of OUR long weekend- bummer!

26 January 2013- oz day weekend033

Slowly, very slowly, the rain started to clear and we even started to see something that looked like a little bit of... BLUE SKY!! We ventured across the street to watch the Bishops search for fishing bait and to catch a glimpse of this fleeting blue sky.

26 January 2013- oz day weekend018

26 January 2013- oz day weekend019

26 January 2013- oz day weekend023

26 January 2013- oz day weekend050

26 January 2013- oz day weekend021

26 January 2013- oz day weekend020

26 January 2013- oz day weekend022

26 January 2013- oz day weekend024

26 January 2013- oz day weekend027

26 January 2013- oz day weekend025

26 January 2013- oz day weekend029

26 January 2013- oz day weekend026

See! Blue Sky!

26 January 2013- oz day weekend028

26 January 2013- oz day weekend030

After a nice, long shower we all headed out for dinner at the local bowls club to celebrate Chloe's 12th birthday and our last night at Rainbow Beach... or was it?!??

To be continued... again :)

[part one and part three]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...