Monday, February 1, 2010

A Mommy Moment Monday

Its Monday and hubby is back at work after the weekend. Monday is always the day in my household for the kids and I to get back into our normal routine. This includes housework for me; I detest housework! It doesn't help that this is usually the day that I have so much to do because in our family we seem to let things go a bit on weekends because we are out of the house so much. So when the kids take their nap on Monday afternoon I make sure that I take a break too, probably the only one I will get all week! I put my feet up ... make a hot chocolate (just for me) ... and for an hour I do whatever I want, like read a gossip mag or catch up with the ladies of The View. Never feel guilty for taking a much needed break, all other occupations allow them!

Till next time,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Mommy With Too Much To Do .... (but isn't that just a norm for all Mommies)

When I started writing this blog it was a little slow to get it going. But then I finally started to really try to get regular posts written. I love the outlet and I am obviously well acquainted to the subject. But then I started 3 new projects and they have taken up all my time over the past 3 weeks or so, leading to NO NEW POSTS :( But that will change next week because I have realized that I can only do so much without having a real plan in place. I have been trying to start my own business as a home-based travel agent (I have just started with my host agency ... yeah!), create a number of blogs (most are set-up but I have yet to write a word), write and sell PLR packages, and design and maintain niche websites for affiliate marketing purposes (I have never created a website in my life). Why do I do this to myself, I am not sure :) What do I want to get out of this ... be my own boss, make some extra cash doing things that I enjoy while helping to take some of the financial burden off of hubby, and the most important reason ... be at home with my babies of course. I have notebooks full of article ideas, marketing ideas, new business ideas, and over the past few months little has been accomplished. WHY, NO SOLID PLAN. I am not great with putting plans into action I generally will make any plan very flexible, even my weekly meal plan which I do for budgeting purposes now only lists the main ingredient for that nights meal so I don't get locked into anything; tonight its mincemeat, maybe Sheppard's Pie or perhaps Sloppy Joe's :) So I have decided to write out concrete plans with attainable goals. This blog is going to be included. I will be back next week with more posts per week and perhaps a surprise or two. So if you have been wondering if this site has been abandoned .. no way ... I'm just upgrading :)

Till next time,

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mid-Week Meal Must Try: Stove Top Beef Stew

Its been so cold here since New Years that I have been busy making comfort food for dinner each night. But don't think I have been slaving over a hot stove all day, just the opposite! I like to make dinners that I can either throw together a half hour before hubby gets home, or one that takes a few minutes to prepare in the early afternoon and then I can just let it cook until dinner time. You've probably noticed this trend if you have been following the blog over the past couple of months :)

So today's meal is one that you leave for a couple of hours on the stove and when hubby gets home its already. It is also great because you can use less expensive cuts of meat due to the fact that as the stew cooks, the liquid breaks it down and the longer it cooks the more tender the meat becomes.

1lb or more of cubed steak
(what ever cut you prefer, I tend to go for whatever is on sale at the time)
1 small can of beef broth
1/2 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
1/3 cup of water
1 tablespoon butter
8 potatoes cut into quarters
1 small bag baby carrots OR 4-5 regular carrots chopped
3-4 celery stalks chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in pan.

2. In large pot combine flour, salt, pepper, and Italian Spices. Mix in beef.

3. Once beef is lightly covered with flour mixture, move beef to pan and brown beef on all sides on medium heat. (about 5-7 minutes)

4. Once browned remove beef and put on dish to keep aside for a few minutes.

5. In pot now add broth. Mix it well to combine with leftover flour mixture. Add water at this point as well.

6. Place pot on heat an bring mixture to a boil. Add beef back to pot. Once boiling, cover and lower heat to lowest setting on stove top. Let cook for at least one hour.

7. After 1 hour (or longer if beef is tough), add potatoes, carrots and celery. Continue to let stew cook until potatoes are fully cooked and tender. (I let this last stage cook for about 45 minutes)


Till next time,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ideas For When Its Too Cold To Go Outside - Toddler Crafts

Getting a toddler to sit still can be a near-impossible feat. They're constantly exploring the world around them. That's a good thing, but sometimes they need some creative downtime. That's where toddler crafts come in.

Crafting is great for toddlers for a number of reasons. It can help them develop longer attention spans. Most crafts help develop hand-eye coordination. And young children can benefit from learning how to follow simple instructions. Here are some craft ideas that you can do with your toddler.

Craft Stick Puppets
Puppets are fascinating to toddlers. Creating their own puppets is easy, and it's lots of fun. All you really need are some craft or popsicle sticks, construction paper, safety scissors, markers and glue.

Help your toddler cut animal shapes out of construction paper. He can draw faces and other details with washable markers. Glue the stick to the back of the shape, let dry, and he's ready to put on a puppet show. If you want to make more elaborate puppets, try cutting shapes out of foam. Glue on a pom pom for the nose, and add some googly eyes.

Paint with Pudding

Kids love to fingerpaint, but it's so messy. And there's also the concern about them eating the paint. Even if the paints are nontoxic, it can make cautious parents uneasy. The solution? Let them paint with pudding!

You don't need different flavors to make different colors. Just use one serving of plain vanilla pudding, divide it up into small portions, and add food coloring to create various shades. Give your child a paper plate to use as a canvas for his masterpiece. When he's done, he can eat it with no worries.

Design a T-Shirt
If your toddler sees you sewing or painting clothes with fabric paint, she may want to try her hand at designing clothes. But needles are small and sharp, and fabric paint is messy. What to do? Break out the markers!

Kids can have a blast decorating a plain white t-shirt with colorful markers. If you use washable ones, they can create a design, wear it, and start over after you wash the shirt. If a permanent design is desired, however, you'll have to let him use non-washable markers. You can avoid a mess by covering the work area with newspaper and putting a smock on your toddler.

Making placemats out of contact paper is very easy. Have your toddler cut shapes out of construction paper and glue them onto a whole piece with a glue stick. He can add detail with markers or embellish with stickers. When he's done, place the artwork on a piece of contact paper, sticky side up. Place another sheet of contact paper on top, sticky side down.

Most toddlers will only have the patience to make one placemat at a time. But he can make another one tomorrow, continuing until there are enough for the whole table. He'll be so proud to know that everyone sees his artwork at every meal!

Crafting can help your toddler learn important skills while keeping him quietly occupied.

Till next time,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mid-week Meal Must Try: Gourmet Steak Sandwiches

I love these sandwiches for dinner! They are easy, healthy, and absolutely delicious. The best thing is you can have them as basic or as fancy as you wish. Its also economical as you only need thin minute steaks which can be very inexpensive. Serve with a salad and you have a complete meal. This should make about 4 large sandwiches. Normally I only make the sandwiches for my hubby and I and because they are too big for a toddler to handle. For my daughter I take a few steak slices, cut them up into small pieces, and serve them to her with a plate of veggies.

3 Large minute steaks (inexpensive thin cuts of steak)
1 small Onion, thin slices
BBQ Sauce (your favourite kind)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup water
Long crusty buns or baguette

1. Melt butter in pan.

2. Slice steaks into thin slices. Add the salt and pepper to steak at this point

3. Add steak slices into the pan with the melted butter. Fry steak until brown on both sides (5 minutes at most).

4. Once steak is almost brown (approx. 3 minutes), add a handful of onions slices (keep some of your sliced onions for later to top sandwich).

5. Once steak is ready and onions have softened a bit, remove meat and onions from pan.

6. There should now be the remaining juices in the pan from the steak. Add 1/2 a cup of water to pan and bring mixture to a boil while stirring constantly. This will create a light gravy that can be used as a dip with the sandwich.

Place generous servings of steak on long crusty buns or baguette. Top with fried onions, raw onion slices, melted swiss cheese, BBQ sauce, or any other topping you like. Place the gravy in individual bowls and dip your sandwich in between bites.


Till next time,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mid-week Meal Must Try: Tex-Mex Chicken & Rice

This is an easy way to add some spice and flavour to a boring chicken dinner.

4 Chicken breast (bone-on or boneless)
3 Cups of your favourite salsa
4 Cups of cooked rice

Once you have cooked your chicken, cut into bite-size chunks. Heat salsa in large pot until simmering and add chicken chunks and cooked rice. Spoon into bowls and enjoy. I usually put a small bowl of Tortilla Chips on the table so every one can dip a few chips into the salsa that is left after the rice and chicken are gone :)


Till next time,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Avoid The Malls: and still shop for gifts

You may think I am nuts, but really it can be done, gifts can be bought at reasonable prices at the following places: online stores even in the month of December(most can usually deliver in stock items before Christmas right up until a week before the holiday), drug stores, and grocery stores. These stops help avoid the nightmare of overcrowded shopping malls, parking lots that resemble rush hour traffic during a blizzard (even on the sunniest of days), and the complete meltdowns our kids are known for when they are overtired, board, and hungry!

One of my favourite online shopping sites is . Sears Canada makes it easy to return items if necessary by being able to return items to actual stores, avoiding the cost of shipping and the hassle of repackaging to send returns back to the company.

Drug stores are a great stop because they have one stop shopping for all your needs. While you pick up a Prescription, you can also get chocolates and cookies. But if you go to a larger location, the variety and selection increase dramatically. I go to one that can rival any Wal-Mart or Target. The items vary from electronics to books; to high end cosmetics, skincare products, and toys! As a teenager I always would get my mother her favourite perfume from the drugstore because it was the only place I could afford it, the big department store counters never discounted it.

I have noticed that even grocery stores are starting to get into the gift selling business. Since everyone needs to stop there at some point or another during the holiday season; why not pick up a a set of wine glasses, a gift card to a local restaurant chain, or a beauty gift basket. Yes, I can get all three items at my local grocery store. Some of the larger chains even sell home decor and clothes! I read in the newspaper the other day that Loblaws, a major grocery chain here in Canada, has the most popular line of clothing in the country, Joe Fresh. And I can see why, its fashionable, inexpensive, and good quality. Right there is a chance to pick up your weekly groceries and a sweater for all those on your list.

But wherever you buy your gifts remember ... it really is about the thought behind it, not the cost!

Till next time,