Monday, April 30, 2012

Once a Month Cooking

'One a Month Cooking' has always intrigued and intimidated me. It seemed to take a lot of organization and time (a whole day of cooking??) but not having to make dinner and therefore saving yourself 1-2 hours per day....that seems worth it to me. There are so many other things I could do with that time.....and so after some encouragement from my friend who does this all day cooking thing once a month, I bought the cook book. Now I have no excuses. GULP. Several weeks later, a fantastic opportunity arose to use this cooking sister had just had her 4th baby and one thing I remembered about having a newborn was what a blessing those meals were that others had made for us. So, I thought it would be a great gift for Julie (and her family). I decided to try one of the 2 week menus (cuz that was only 14 meals to mess up and not 30!!) so I went grocery shopping and had the book open to the shopping list page as I perused  the store. Well laid out, (groceries divided into categories such as dairy, meat, produce etc) and easy to follow, I was done within the hour. My husband volunteered (Seriously....I didn't even ask him!!) to help me out and so we woke up early late and started the whole process around 10:30am (after the kidlets had left with Grandma) and when all was said and done, it was 2:15pm and we had 12 meals made and ready to be frozen! Not gonna lie....we gave eachother a high five and felt pretty good about it all....maybe he'll volunteer for the next cooking session??!! :) So, here are my thoughts about the whole process....from one rookie to another...

12 Meals made in 3.75 hours 

- Categorized grocery list cuts down on shopping time (no wandering the isles aimlessly.... except to try to find mango chutney???)
- Step by step instructions on what to cut up and how much, as well as when to start cooking what meal in order to maximize efficiency
- Gets all the major cooking over with in one day (all you need to do is prepare side dishes or rice etc)
- If you do this with a friend...its a social time and even....FUN! (important to have the kids being looked after by someone else...uninterrupted cooking!!)
- Saves money by buying exactly what you use...nothing goes to waste
- Cook book offers 2 monthly meal plans, 2 two week meal plans as well as a 2 week gluten free meal plan and a 2 week summer meal lots of options and variety
- Cook book only costs $13!!! Free shipping anytime/anywhere at

- Half a day (2 week menu) or a full day (1 month menu) is required to make this happen as well as babysitting and coordinating a free day between friends and schedules
- Majority of recipes require meat which increases the cost (could be a bit cheaper if more dishes were meat-free)
- Requires a chest freezer to store the meals
- Shopping list provided needs to be edited or added to if swapping meals within the plan (can get confusing depending on what you are omitting or adding)

- Photocopy/scan the grocery list that the book provides for easier editing and carrying around with you in the store (I got some weird looks in the store as I pushed my book around in the cart) as well as protecting the book from wear and tear
- Do this with a friend....not only for social and fun reasons but two hands make lighter work, and it will be easier to stay on top of dishes while still preparing the meals
- Either put one of the meals aside for dinner that night, or plan to go extra cooking for you!
- Label each dish and include baking time/temp and any extra instructions (permanent marker right on the foil)

Hope this helps those of you who are contemplating this cooking method......

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

March in Review

March was a very busy month for us.....Phil was away for a week doing some ground school training in Nampa, Idaho at the MAF US Headquarters. We spent one weekend babysitting some of our nieces and nephews which was fun but crazy! We had one road trip left to do and we saw some great friends in Toronto. Kaitlyn had her second ear surgery to replace the tubes that had fallen out....and now she can hear again! Then all 4 of us left for Nampa, Idaho to stay at the MAF Headquarters for 1 month while Phil completed the last phase of his flight training....and good news....He passed and is officially recommended for field service. We had a great time in Nampa, met some good friends (kids and adults), enjoyed some hot sun and relaxing before the craziness of packing begins. 
I am so thankful for our little captures so many moments so we will never forget.

Phil reading to the brood of children we babysat for the weekend.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet Lily turns 3

How can it be that my little Lily is 3 years old now? The older I get, the faster time goes....somedays that is welcome, other days I just want to hit pause for a while. As I was reflecting back on the 3 precious years God has given us with Lily, there were so many moments and memories I cherish....and some I could handle forgetting....we have loved having 2 sweet girls who love eachother so much and are best here are some things about Lily that I want to remember forever.....

-Lily is obsessed with her pink 'bankie' and her mama kitty, her kitty has been mailed across Canada several times (different directions) as we have forgot kitty at various locations....and it still lives on!
-She is fiercely independent....("no ME do it!!").....if I do up her zipper for her, she will undo it, only to try to zip it up herself, only then to ask me for some help....the key is that SHE is the one who asks for cannot be given without her approval :)...frustrating at times, but she is a fighter and doesn't give up easily
-She does this funny inchworm motion in bed at night when I am singing her to sleep
-Lily has a voice that can pierce eardrums....but it is sooooo cute when she says words that make her adorable lisp stand out......I sing the wheels on the bus just to hear the "mommies on the bus say sh, sh, sh"
-Lily loves those 'one step shy of plastic' cheese slices and enjoys getting them from the fridge herself even more....I have bought them while here in the states cuz cheese is beyond cheap down here!
-Current songs that lily sings ALL THE TIME is "this old man, he played one, he played knick knack on my door" (as lily sings), and "this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made".....all at the top of her lungs!
-Current favorite book: 'Harry by the Sea', as well as 'Frog and Toad Together'
-She likes wearing a 'slip' in her hair (clip) and nothing pony tail, no braids
-Lily is not concerned about what she wears, unlike her big sister Kaitlyn who has about 15 outfit changes during the day
-Lily's smile is contagious as her legs fly around and around on her little tricycle, her hair blowing in the wind of her speed
-Lily loves to read books, and I love to peek in her room during quiet time and see her little feet sticking out from under a book on her lap
-She loves to color, and is very set on staying inside the lines, and she proudly shows Kaitlyn when she thinks she's done a good job at that...Kaitlyn being such a good big sister always says "good job lily!"
-If lily could live on a swing, she would.....I think I've spent half my time as a mother pushing someone on a swing, hay, at least we are outside!
-She is a bit unsure about leaving mom and dad on sundays for sunday school, and now that we have been travelling so much this past year, lily has mostly chosen to stay with us in church, which is totally fine....she eats a snack, colors and reads books quietly....hoping she will have the courage to be without us one day.... and am hoping that all this transition hasn't scarred her for life as far as consistency and security
-She loves to watch the Berenstain bears episodes
-Lily is scared of the cat 'lucifer' in cinderella
-Food obsessions: eggs (scrambled or hard boiled)
-Her shoes somehow always end up on the wrong feet....
-Lily loves to create mustaches....with her smoothie, peanut butter, mashed potatoes....and then wants me to take a picture of her so she can see it :)
-She asks often for "stories from your mouth" before bed (which is a story that we make up for her)

Some Birthday Highlights and Wishes....
-You loved your 'swiper' birthday cake (one day you'll realize how many HOURS your dad spent on that cake!!!) and the swiper picture daddy drew for you
Phil's creation.....he is amazing!! Mine would've been a stick
figure with a tail and teeth! :)
-You had a blast with the kids in the 'gunny sac' race, the spoon race and hot potato, and had a huge smile on your face as you ran around the block with the kids, boots on the wrong feet, running like the wind
-Now that you have a little space of your own (your new play tent!), i wonder if you'll stay in your room for quiet time?
-Your prayers to Jesus are always so sincere, and I hope you know how much He loves to hear from you and cares about what you care 3 things to be thankful for this past night for you were: a nice warm bed, your blankie, and your kitty
-I cannot wait to see the plans God has for you Lily.....but this I do know....that if you love Him with your whole heart and serve Him with your will have lived.....that is my #1 desire for you Lily. This will be my prayer for you for many years......

A quiet place that's just for Lily

So excited about her presents!

New markers from Gramma!

Lily's favorite breakfast.....EGGS!

Perfect for the girls....

The Party Crew

Attempting a 3 legged race.....

No potato sacks, so garbage bags will have to do!

Craft time....color your own stickers

Waiting for the cake....

Sweet Lily in her tent with blue lips from her lollipop

Having fun with her sister
To my sweet Lily, I love you more than words can say, I am so proud of the little girl you are becoming, and the sister that you are to Kaitlyn. I thank God that He made you part of our little family.....I hope and pray that I can be the kind of mama that you look up to, the kind of Christian example that is so important in your life. I hope you are bold in your faith, courageous, resilient, loyal, determined, gentle, a defender, empathetic, loving, and selfless....the kind of girl/woman that God wants you to be.
Love you peanut.