Recipes · Uncategorized

Meal planning and why it’s so important

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing worse than needing to start dinner and either not having a clue what to make or opening the refrigerator door and not having half of the ingredients for what you want to make.  That is why meal planning is so important to me.

Meal planning - what to make
I have no idea what to make here!

It basically comes down to 4 reasons why meal planning it a must in my home:

  1.  Saves Money

    In my case, I am a single parent on a single income, so the last thing I want to do is waste money on food that is  going to sit in the cupboard or refrigerator uneaten.  Having a list of only the items that I need for the upcoming meals means there is less temptation to buy those chocolate cookies that I don’t need or those extra items that I really don’t need just because they are on sale.  Using an app like Flipp is also great so that you can price match the items that are on your list instead of driving around store to store to get the best deals.

  2. Less Waste

    There is nothing worse than cleaning out my refrigerator each week and tossing out dollar after dollar of food that went to waste because it didn’t get used.  I have to admit, I was really slack about meal planning the past few weeks.  My refrigerator always had food in it, but never exactly what I needed when it came down to it at meal time.  This week with a meal plan ready to go, I started to clean out what was now inedible to make room for the new groceries that I needed to buy.  I was completely annoyed with myself at the amount of waste and the dollars that I could have used elsewhere that was going into the compost bin.

    Less waste with meal planning
    This isn’t even the half of it. So much waste
  3. Healthier Meals

    I don’t know about you, but without a meal plan in place, it is WAY to easy jump in the car and head out for a meal.  With meal planning, you can ensure you have vegetables or salad as a side dish for your meal and that the meal itself is made with healthier ingredients.  Don’t get me wrong, we love a good mac & cheese dinner or hot dogs on occasion but I need to make sure there is a healthy side to go along with it.  I am firm believer of everything in moderation but if you don’t have things readily available, it is way to easy to go to the quick and easy meals that aren’t always the healthiest.

  4. Less Stress

    When you’ve gotten home from work and the kids are now home from school and you have an evening full of homework, extra-curricular activities, getting ready for the next day and you then add trying to get a nutritious meal on the table that the whole family will eat, the stress levels can go thru the roof.  If you at least have a game plan in place for dinner and all the items you need to pull it all together, hopefully you can reduce the stress that comes along with dinner time.  Having a list means that crockpot stew that needs to cook all day can easily be on the menu if you have the ingredients ahead of time and can get it going the morning you want to have it.

So each week, I sit down and make a list of the meals we will eat and make my grocery list accordingly.  Depending on our schedule for the upcoming week, I either assign a specific meal to each day of the week or plan on a certain number of meals and pick one of said meals each day.  The latter, only works well if we don’t have a lot going on and the meals don’t have a huge prep time.

If meal planning isn’t something you have done in the past, I highly suggest you give it a try.  It could make a world of difference.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

How Aquamermaid let me be a Mermaid for a day

I am a mermaid

I was already 17 when Disney released The Little Mermaid, but there was just something about that movie that I loved and still love today.  I even remember buying the soundtrack on cassette (totally aging myself here) and listening to it non-stop in my car at the time.  It really doesn’t matter what age you are, there is just something about wanting to be a mermaid.

That is why when I asked to participate in a class with Aquamermaid, I jumped at the chance.  Even if just for a morning, getting to swim like a mermaid was definitely something I wanted to try.  I have seen the mermaid tails on social media but being able to actually learn how to swim and use the tail was quite intriguing to me.

Upon arrival at the class, the first thing they asked us to do was a swimming test to ensure we could participate in the class.  I feel like I am a fairly proficient swimmer but it was comforting that they ensured our ability before giving us a tail.  After the test, we were given our tails to put on.  The flipper portion is basically like 2 scuba style flippers fused together and the remainder of the “tail” was a spandex type swimsuit material.  It is made to fit quite tight so that your legs aren’t prone to splitting.

Mermaid poolside

After getting our tails on and now in full mermaid mode, we shuffled over to the pool and started our mermaid adventure.  The class started with us being taught the basics of how to swim with the tail on using a flutter kick and getting comfortable in the water.  The class continued with some activities we were able to do alone and then with the others in the class.  It was quite enjoyable but definitely a good workout for both the arms and the legs.   At the end of the class, we had to show off our skills that we had learned with a little routine to perform in front of the others.  It was fun to see each others creativity.

Mermaid in the pool

While our class was on,  there was another group there for a mermaid party.  It was basically a private class for their group.  I would love to get a group of friends together and do another class together.  Aquamermaid offers classes, parties as well as free swim times at their locations across Canada and the US and they seem to be adding more locations all the time.  If you are looking for something different or have always wanted to be a mermaid, if even for one day, I would definitely suggest Aquamermaid.

Although this class was provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

 

For Kids · Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Ready, Aim, Fire with Low Impact Paintball

As my son is getting older, I was starting to feel like we had outgrown a lot of the typical party locations in our area.  I wanted something different that the kids would enjoy and have them active to burn off their boundless energy.  When I discovered Low Impact Paintball, I knew this would be a perfect option for my son.

When kids these days seem to love the shoot’em style video games, paintball can somewhat bring the games to life.  However, when I first envisioned paintball, my first reaction was “No Way! That is going to hurt them way too much!”   But then I was told about the low impact version.  Instead of using the normal size ball that are typically used, they use a smaller caliber paintball that takes less impact to explode and therefore, less of a sting.    I know in the past my son has mentioned paintball to me, but at that point I knew he was much to young.  Now with the low impact kids 8 years of age or older are permitted to play.

Low Impact Paintball can be found at many of your local Paintball locations and have party packages available for birthdays or just a general group get togethers.  Our group descended on Defcon Paintball, not to far from us, and the boys were ready for some fun.

Of course, they were ready to play immediately and couldn’t wait to get started.  However, the staff made them go through quite an extensive training and review of all the rules and regulations.  It was implicitly implied that if the rules were broken, they would be immediately removed from the game.  As a Mom, I was very impressed with the time they took to ensure the kids knew these rules and how important it was for their safety.

After suited up and helmets were on, the boys were ready to go.  They could barely contain their excitement.

I was able to slip on a helmet myself and sneak in to get a look a the playing area and see the boys in action.  This was an indoor park and they had it well designed for the kids to get into the action and play.

There were a few points where some of the kids were taken aback initially by the impact of the paintball but I think it was a great learning experience for them.  When they play video games, they don’t get the actual ramifications of the shooting they are doing.  This made things much clearer to them.  My son and I actually had quite a conversation about this on the way home.

The boys flew threw a good allotment of their paintballs in their first round of play but once they understood that they didn’t have an unlimited supply of ammunition, they were much more methodical about how and when they shot.  It was neat to see them talk strategy with each other. By the end, they were quite worn out from all the running around they had to do and were ready for the pizza and snacks waiting for them in the party room. 

They were disappointed that they could go back in after they had some more fuel in their stomachs.  Most commented immediately that they wanted to come back again soon.  I was really happy to hear this as it is always the sign of a good party.   I would definitely recommend parents’ check out their local paintball park as an option for their next party location.

Disclosure:  Although items in the post were provided to me, all comments, opinions and photos are my own.