Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Ultimate Meal Planner

I hate meal planning, because I can never think of a weeks' worth of meals and it seems as though we are always having the same thing. And once I figure out what we are going to have that week, I write it down to do my shopping and then forget where I've put it. 

So I've been looking at these fancy meal-planners that people have made for a little while now. It turns out that Pinterest can actually come in handy sometimes (for things other than just browsing) so I looked around at different types of meal-planners people had made. I found lots of really beautiful ones but none of them were quite perfect for me so I took away the parts I liked and created my own version!

What I like about my meal planner is that it was free to make (I already had the supplies in my house, but if you were buying everything it wouldn't be that expensive anyway) and there are no permanent alterations of the frame. If I ever want to change this back into a picture frame I can do that in about five seconds. It was also extremely easy to make.

I've had a few people ask how to make one so here is my little tutorial!

I thought it was dirty in this picture, then I realised it's the reflection in the glass!
First, find a picture frame: I found one conveniently located under my bed so that was good. It already contained a white boarder which I kept in place. 

I used two pieces of cardstock, one patterned and one plain, to create a background for the board. I glued it to a thick piece of cardboard that was in the frame already using a hot glue gun but any adhesive would do.

Then I cut small 2in x 4in rectangles of cardstock to make the recipe cards. On a piece of paper I compiled every single dinner we've ever made, and then I went through all my recipe books to find more recipes that we could be making more often. I also wrote down where I found the recipe. 

Once you have all your recipes written down, write them on the cards. I used a Sharpie to write the name of the meal on the front and then on the back I wrote the source of the recipe and a list of ingredients. Then I can just check the back of the card to see if we have everything needed and I know where to find the recipe. This part is very time-consuming and I recommend typing it up instead of hand writing it (but I don't have a printer, so it was all hand-written).

Once your meal cards are all written up, that's pretty much it. I played around with spacing and stuff and made little markers for days of the week to go on the background. I used a whiteboard marker to write a title on the glass at the top. This wipes off the glass very easily so if you make a mistake it doesn't matter. 

You can see that the menu cards are on top of the glass while everything else is underneath.
Now the meal cards stick to the glass using blu-tak so I can easily see what's for dinner each night and can move them around quickly. I made a few cards that say 'take away', 'out for dinner' and 'leftovers' on them to cover all scenarios. I recommend laminating the cards to make them sturdier and stain-proof, something which I haven't done yet! 

And now you have a menu board which looks really cute and makes your life a thousand times easier.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Smoking Ban in Perth City: A Huge Step Forward

I was flicking through our local newspaper a few minutes ago while waiting for Felix to finish up in the bathroom so he could get to bed, and immediately my eye was caught by a mass of Letters to the Editor about the new smoking ban about to take place in Perth City.

Maybe I should start reading the news a bit more frequently.

I jumped online to check the facts and just can't believe it: smoking will be banned in Perth's pedestrian malls  as of right now.

A long overdue reason to celebrate! The dangers of smoking and passive smoking are well established, and it's about time some stronger laws were put in place to protect people who choose to not smoke, but are forced to every time they go out in public. It's bad enough for me, as a healthy non-smoker. I can't stand the smell and hate having to breathe it in, but this will mean such a difference for Victor and all other people with cystic fibrosis or other respiratory diseases. I haven't taken to boys to the city very much at all but now that smoking is banned there I will take them more often, especially now that there is so much for young kids in the city: a new water fountain playground for a start, and I'd love to take them to the WA Museum. It seems like little old Perth is getting a bit of a makeover.

Currently, the worst places for cigarette smoke I've found are outside shopping centres (I usually have to walk through a cloud of smoke on the journey from the car to the door), and, shockingly, in the streets surrounding Princess Margaret Hospital. Yes, a children's hospital. There are smoking bans in both locations effective to a certain distance outside entrances but that just means people move one step to the side to smoke: I still pass clouds of smoke on my way in and out of these places. I would absolutely love to see a total ban on smoking in public (just like how it's illegal to drink alcohol in the street). I don't particularly care what people do in their own homes but when their actions are affecting me and my family negatively then I really start to care a lot. At that moment, their business becomes my business. And woe betide anyone who injures the lungs of my baby: Hell hath no fury like this Mum catching someone inflicting injury upon her child. The scorned woman pales in comparison.

So congratulations, City of Perth. As far as cities go you are small, perhaps a little behind the times, maybe a little too safe and familiar: but you are leading the way in disease prevention and helping to protect my babies. Right now, there is nowhere I'd rather be.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Felix's 3rd Birthday

My big boy has turned three and we have had a busy week of celebrating!

His actual birthday was on Monday the 4th February. Our day started very early because Victor woke up at 4.30am and would not go back to sleep, which was a bit brutal. Felix woke up at a more reasonable time and opened his presents from us and the ones sent from his Grandma in America, Donna. We then packed up and went to the zoo!

Felix on the morning of his 3rd birthday, with new roller skates!
It's the first day of the new school year so the zoo was almost empty. We practically had the entire place to ourselves and because we got there so early we saw the animals eating their breakfast. We got a good view of everything. Felix was excited and liked looking at the animals, especially the monkey which kept jumping onto the glass in front of Felix! It would take a huge run up from up in the branches and swing itself into the glass right in front of him. Felix thought this was funny and the monkey did it a few times. Victor was generally unimpressed by all the animals.

Felix showing me the zebras and giraffes.
Then we went back home and relaxed for the afternoon. Felix played with his new toys. Nanna (my step mum, Sarah) and his Uncles (my youngest brothers) came over with afternoon tea and some very cute presents. My Mum dropped over with a storage unit for his bedroom, something which we've been in dire need of for a while now!

My brother Simon and his girlfriend Lulu came over with their present...a bunny rabbit! Felix's face when he opened the little box was priceless. It's a little dwarf lop bunny and came presented with a blue bow tied round its neck...just the sweetest thing ever. He loved patting it and we are working on holding it very gently. Felix has decided to name his bunny Cake! Cake is free to run through the garden all day. He already has a few hiding places but comes out for us to pat him and to nibble the grass. At night I secure him in his two-level hutch which is in a sheltered area outside to protect him from anything that might want to eat him!

Cake, the dwarf lop bunny!
Then this weekend we had a party! It had a Candy Land theme because that's Felix's favourite game and I thought it would be fun to do. We invited mainly family and a few close friends: I wanted to keep the guest list small because Felix does much better in smaller groups and to keep the size and cost of the party down.

Felix opening presents with Aunty Lulu and Uncle Simon
I had lots of fun making and planning things for the party, even if I didn't get everything done that I wanted to. I made invitations in the shape of lollipops; I tried to represent each Candy Land character with the menu (home made ice cream sandwiches for Princess Frostine, Licorice Allsorts for Lord Licorice, etc); and I made a Castle cake that was supposed to be reminiscent of the castle at the end of Candy Land. I have absolutely no craft, baking or decorating skills so it was a pretty big challenge for me!

The cake!
In the end I think it turned out well. It was really nice to have everyone over to celebrate his birthday and Felix was very excited about it. Sending a huge thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us, for the lovely presents, and helping out with all the planning and preparation!

Birthday boy

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