17 Meals in 3hrs!

Yesterday I took the morning to cook 17 meals in a few hours. Some people have asked me what I did so I thought I’d post about it.

I’ve always wanted to try this and it worked out well. They are all slow cooker meals. The sizes of the recipes should give my family at least one dinner and a lunch for Jon to take to work. Some of them would require a side dish of some kind and some wouldn’t. Most of these were new meals to me so there may be some changing or getting rid of some recipes. I should also mention that although I did use a lot of the canned and frozen foods recommended in the recipes, there are always ways to adapt and use fresh or homemade ingredients! Especially for the canned mushrooms and tomatoes. Those are very easy to not have to use canned in the summer time!

Step 1.
I went on Pinterest and found some recipes that looked yummy and easy to me and my family. I used these two links…
http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/09/slow-cooker-freezer-meals-make-8-meals.html
http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/02/10-slow-cooker-freezer-meals-in-less.html
I really liked the websites above because they have suggestions and links for side dishes. I don’t know about you, but I always have problems figuring out sides. I frequently skip them all together, which can make for a boring meal.

I also used these random recipes for other sites…
http://onceamonthmom.com/cream-cheese-chicken/
http://onceamonthmom.com/creamy-chicken-with-mushrooms/
http://www.food.com/recipe/ground-beef-stroganoff-123503 (a family favourite)
http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/09/cheesy-hashbrown-potato-casserole.html

The meals I chose from the links above were….

(From the 10 meals link)
-Black bean and corn salsa chicken
-Beef and Mushroom
-Pineapple glazed ham
-Mom’s slow cooker chilli
-Sweet teriyaki chicken

(From the 8 meals link)
-Black bean and taco soup
-Chicken broccoli alfredo
-Chicken cacciatore
-Hearty beef stew
-Maple dijon glazed chicken
-Cilantro lime chicken with corn and black beans

(From the random sites)
-Cream cheese chicken
-Creamy chicken with mushrooms
-Beef stroganoff   (I doubled this recipe because it’s a favourite)
-Cheesy hash brown casserole
-I also made a BBQ chicken with just the chicken and a store boughten marinade I’d had in the fridge.

Step 2.
I wrote out all the ingredients I would need to make the meals I had chosen and made a grocery list from that.

Step 3.
Go shopping. I went to the produce store, butchers, Costco and Superstore. I ended up spending about $300 but I bought a lot of things that were bulk and bought some easy meals like perogies and fish sticks. I don’t think I spent more that $200 on the actual meals.

Step 4.
I labeled all the Ziploc bags with what was going in it, and cooking and serving instructions.

Step 5.
I set out all the ingredients that I was going to need on the counter. I cut all the veggies and put them in bowls on the counter too.

Step 6.
I started cooking the beef so it could cool enough to put in the bags. For the chicken meals I just used frozen chicken breasts. Pre frozen was half the price of fresh!

Step 7.
I just started adding the ingredients to the bags and putting them back in the freezer! DONE!

It took about 3 hrs. $200 for 17 meals. That’s $11.76 a meal which should feed my family one dinner and one lunch for Jon to take to work. That’s about $2.35 a serving. Not bad? I’m happy with that. I have recently lowered our monthly grocery bill from $600 to $550 a month. If these meals taste good and I can start shopping sales a little better, especially for the meat, I may even get it down to $500! I do need some good recipes for some veggie meals though. We aren’t used to eating this much meat! But I couldn’t find any good slow cooker veggie meals. If you know of any let me know!

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First Week Without Daddy!

Week one of Daddy back to work has been pretty good for the most part. We definitely had some frustrated, melt down, mommy’s drinking in the bathroom while little finger creep under the door moments, but for the most part we all did pretty good.

Monday we chilled at home. I brought out some paint for the big girls to paint outside. I had full intentions for the paint to get all over them and they fulfilled my wishes. Livi was so unsure when I said it was okay to paint the fence. She double checked with me three times! She got in to it pretty quickly though. A friend stopped by briefly and they had a blast painting flowers, handprints and trains on the fence.

Tuesday, we babysat a friends little girl who is perfectly well behaved and made my morning way easier because my girls were kept busy! I had time to make home made pizza, including the dough, for dinner! I was quite exhausted by the end of the day though.

Wednesday went nothing like we had planned. We had a delightful morning swimming with Auntie Sessa. It ended in blood and an ER visit though. Sofie banged her head climbing over the wall of the hot tub and under the bar. I think her head bounced and she bit her lip. I had to pull her lip down and off her tooth. So gross. Since I error on the side of not going to the doctor, my mom and Jon both suggested I take her in case she needed stitches. My mom kept the other two and I took Sofie to the ER. Three hours later, after two doctor consults, we were sent home without stitches. Thankfully, the doctors where on the fence about it all which made me feel like at least the hospital visit was worth our time.

Thursday I took the girls to the water park with the same friend who I babysat for on Tuesday. It was a step to going out by myself. She was there to help out if I needed it. The girls started out being a little difficult to get out the door. We made it though and had a good time. The afternoon was ridiculous though. Livi had a lot of behaviour and Sofie just wanted to listen to her iPod. I needed some groceries too. My mom offered to keep Sofie and I attempted going to Superstore with the other two. It was a disaster. I ended up leaving a buggy of groceries in the isle and storming Livi out to the car. I’ve never done that before. I still managed to cook an easy dinner and resolved to have a better the next morning.

Today we woke up and got out the door before 9! I took the girls to Tim Hortons for a snack while the tire shop put new tires on my new van. I don’t think I mentioned we are a two vehicle family now! We just got a used van for me to transport the kids around. We managed 10 years on one vehicle but finally had to get a second car. Happy with our purchase so far!

*Side note – Next we dropped of some breast milk for a friends new baby so she doesn’t have to supplement with formula waiting for her own milk to come in. Can I say, this may be the best gift to a new mother that I have ever given! I needed to supplement with both my birth daughters. They were jaundiced and I wished I had been able to give them breast milk instead of formula. Since I’m still breast feeding my babe I pumped and gave one of my friends some milk, just in case. It was needed and much appreciated. I would love to see more breast feeding mom’s do this for expectant mothers. Having it in the freezer alleviates the panic when your midwife advices you to supplement.

Then we went to Costco and got some of the groceries I had tried for the day before 🙂 The kids did wonderfully. We got home for lunch, put the baby down for her nap, and cuddled with the big girls over My Little Pony. I even got some phone calls and paper work done!

I was pretty proud of our first week alone, together. We had our ups and downs. The girls are adjusting to being with out Daddy and needing to help out Mommy a bit more. Behaviours ensue. But I mostly kept up with the basic cleaning, got some laundry washed and put away, baked a few loaves of bread, menu planned for some slow cooker freezer meals and the kids were pretty happy and entertained for the most part! I hope I can keep this up… we will see!

Summerland 2013!

Summerland 2013 was not quite as planned but we still managed to enjoy ourselves. If you don’t know, we go camping on some private property on Okanagan Lake every year. The property is very rustic, with no running water, no electricity, and a stinky out house. It is so beautiful and a place that we have cherished for years. Jon has been going there since he was a baby.

This year with three littles, one being a baby and one being our beloved but unpredictable Sofie, we thought it would be a little too much to go camping by ourselves. Plus, Sofie has tubes in her ears and shouldn’t go in the lake, pools are fine though. Living Social had a great coupon for 4 nights in a 2 bedroom suite with a full kitchen and laundry at Summerland Waterfront Resort for $560! That is super cheap, especially for what we got! It was right on the water and had a pool for Sofie!

Evie’s first taste of the lake at the resort.

The part we were not planning on was us all getting sick! My brother had come home from Russia a few days before he left and brought germs with him! He was sick Thursday-Friday, Sofie was Saturday -Sunday, Jon was Monday-Tuesday, I was Wednesday-Thursday and Mom was Thursday. Livi got it in there too but she just got really lethargic, no diarrhea and throwing up thankfully! Thankfully only one adult was out at a time, so there was always two healthy adults to entertain the kids at a time.

Most of Wednesday we were all healthy and made it to “our” lake. We picked up some Subway for a picnic and spent the afternoon swimming, playing and enjoying…

Flying!
Sunbathing beauties!
Evie had a nice long nap there.
Her first time in “our” lake.
Hopefully we get many more years there!
I love my family.
Sick little bum 😦
Thursday when Gramma was sick, we took the girls to Penticton so Jon could visit his favorite book store and we could eat at our favourite restaurant. The kids were able to play at the water park there too. That afternoon we went to visit Jon’s grandparents in Kelowna too. 
Livi loved their mango juice.

Friday was the end to our trip. Since we were all mostly feeling better we got one last dip in the pool that morning. Have I mentioned how much I love my family? I love that I have only girls. I love that my husband is such an involved, gentle father. I love that that he is a loving, caring husband.

Livi showing off her swimming skills WITHOUT her floaty!
She would jump in and swim back to the side all by herself! I was so proud 🙂
Evie was not impressed with how cold the water was.
Sister love!
The night before we left Sofie lost her first tooth! Pretty sure she swallowed it though.