How to make weekly meal planning easy

How to make weekly meal planning easy

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I spend way too much time planning my weekly meals. It currently takes me two days to plan and buy groceries.

This is before adding the time it takes to cook meals. As I cook from recipes, I often find that a recipe I’ve chosen takes longer to cook than planned, and has way too many ingredients.

I need to become more time efficient with this task. I love cooking, but the time it takes to plan meals, and then cook them is taking way too long, and turning my love into a dreaded chore.

So in order to streamline this entire process, this is how I will be making my weekly meal planning and cooking less time consuming.

Planning
To make my recipe search quicker, each day of the week will be dedicated to the following meal types:

Monday – Leftovers
Tuesday – Meat
Wednesday – Fish
Thursday – Chicken
Friday – Takeaway
Saturday – Pasta
Sunday – Stir fry

Planning will take place on a Tuesday night, and will consist of finding a recipe on my dinner Pinterest board and adding its link to a Google Sheet. This sheet lists every day of the week, and the food type that needs to be cooked that night.

So for example, on a Sunday I will add a link to a beef, mushroom, and greens stir fry as it’s a stir fry recipe, and only stirfries will be cooked on a Sunday.

I’m also going to make sure that the majority of recipes I add to Pinterest take less than 30 minutes to cook, and don’t have many ingredients so I’m not spending forever cooking.

Purchasing
Immediately after I finish planning I will order the ingredients for each meal online. All I’ll have to do is click on the link in my Google Sheet and I’ll be taken straight to the recipe.

Cooking
To carry on with my effort to become more time efficient, I’m going to start batch cooking!

On Tuesdays I will cook Tuesday night’s meal as well as chop and pre cook what I can for Wednesday’s meal.

On Thursdays I will cook Thursday night’s meal and also chop and pre cook what I can for the weekend’s meals.

Future planning
Each Sunday night I will stocktake all the ingredients I have in my freezer, fridge, and cupboard, and will ensure the recipes I choose for the next week use as many of these ingredients as possible.

Here’s what my meal planning week will now look like:

Monday
Groceries delivered

Tuesday
Cook night’s meal
Prep Wednesday night’s meal
Plan and order groceries for next week

Wednesday
Rest night

Thursday
Cook night’s meal
Prep weekends meals

Friday
Takeaway night

Saturday
Rest night

Sunday
Rest night

I really hope that these activities make my weekly meal planning tasks easier and more time efficient.

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Wardrobe makeover

Love from Lisa wardrobe makeover

One of my favourite chores is decluttering and organising my wardrobe and drawers.

If this is something you’ve wanted to do for ages, here’s how I go about it. I hope it provides you with some ideas.

Step 1 – Take it all, and I mean all, out!

Take everything out of your wardrobe and drawers and lay it all on your bed.

Step 2 – Let the decluttering begin

One by one go through everything and categorise it as follows:

Cull – if it doesn’t fit, you don’t love it, or you haven’t worn it in over 6 months, then it’s time to go. Place these items in a garbage bag and put the bag in your car so you can donate them. Don’t be tempted to take anything out of this bag. They’ve been bagged because for some reason you don’t want them anymore.

Chuck – if an item’s beyond repair then bin it.

Keep – everything left over is to keep.

Step 3 – Categorise

I place each item in the keep pile into one of three category piles, which are work, casual, and occasion.

Step 4 – Time to organise

This is the fun part! This is where I put away each item based upon their category and colour. To explain this madness, this is what I do:

Items that go into my drawers

Tops
Work tops are folded into two piles and placed in the same drawer. Casual tops are folded into one pile and placed in the drawer underneath.

Pyjamas and exercise gear
These are folded into separate piles and placed together in the one drawer.

Items that go in my wardrobe

This is where I get all fancy and put items away not only by category, but also by colour!

Pants
The first items you see hanging in my wardrobe are my work pants, which are hung with black at the front, followed by brown, blue, and then tan using these hangers. You can see this set up in the main image above.

Cardigans and jackets
Behind my work pants are my work cardigans and jackets. All cardigans are hung next to each other, followed by jackets in order of dark to light using these hangers from Costco.

Occasion jackets
Next up are any jackets I wear to special occasions, which are all black and short sleeved.

Shorts
Behind my occasion jackets I hang my shorts, dark colours first, followed by light colours.

Skirts
Skirts are next. I only have long skirts at the moment, all dark in colour.

Dresses
The last item hanging in my wardrobe are my dresses grouped by occasion then casual.

Here’s what gets folded and stored on the shelf above the hanging section.

Casual pants
Folded in one pile above my work pants are all non-work pants including jeans and leggings, with dark colours on the bottom, and light colours on the top.

Cardigans and jumpers
Next are three piles of cardigans and jumpers. One pile has all non-work long cardigans, another pile has non work jumpers, and the last pile has jumpers I can wear to work. Each pile is sorted from dark colours on the bottom, to light colours on the top.

Scarves
This is the last pile, which lies above my dresses. Each scarf is folded and stored by dark colours on the bottom, light colours on the top.

Shoes
On my shoe rack are heels and flats, with dark shoes closest to the door, light shoes closest to the back. Next to the shoe rack, but not on, it are my boots.

Step 5 – What about jewellery?

Necklaces are stored on my wardrobe wall using a tie holder similar to this.

Rings and long earrings are stored next to my work pants in one of these with studded earrings stored in one of these in one of my bedside drawers. Both of these are from Howard’s Storage Word.

Sot that’s it, that’s how I organise my wardrobe and drawers.

If you’re after some more organisation tips, then please visit my home organisation and cleaning Pinterest board.

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How to declutter and organise your fridge

Love from Lisa how to declutter and organise your fridge

 

For as long as I can remember, all I felt when I opened my fridge door was annoyed and frustrated, when really I should have felt happy as I reached into it to grab some chocolate.

I’m a total neat, declutter, and organisation freak, and I’m not afraid to admit it. In fact, I have done so many times on this very blog.

From neatening up my garden, to decluttering my mind, and even to organising how I schedule my time, decluttering and organising take up a large portion of my thinking time.

No area is immune to it, even my poor fridge, which recently had a declutter and organisation facelift. The results of which I will now share with you so you can reach the same level of fridge love that I now have.

First things first, here are the before and afters:

The Creative Canvass How to declutter and organise your fridge

TOP SHELF

Before

This was the highest shelf so it always held milk and beer, as well as items that were used daily like cat food, margarine, or spreads.

After

In order to remove my fridge’s visual clutter I decided to use baskets to group similar food items together. The best baskets that I could find to allow me to do this were from Howard’s Storage World.

This shelf now holds chocolate, round fruit, and a basket with lunch items like margarine, cold meats, rolls, and baby spinach.

SECOND SHELF FROM TOP

Before

This shelf wasn’t very high so all that could fit here were bags of vegetables, and any food items that could fit in small containers. It was a random mixture of everything and anything.

After

I moved this shelf down one slot making it taller. This now means that the shelf can hold another basket, the same size as the one directly above it. Both baskets hold lunch items.

The other items on this shelf are dedicated to salad ingredients and fruit.

One of the green glass containers (also from Howard’s Storage World) always has shredded cheese in it, the other one always has fruit. There’s also a container for cut vegetables, which I intend to use during the week.

I have also moved eggs onto this shelf. I previously had them on the door, or on the very bottom shelf, but read that the temperature on the fridge door varies, so it’s not suitable to place your eggs or milk there.

THIRD SHELF FROM TOP

Before

Being similar in height as the shelf above it, this shelf also held a random selection of leftovers, baked goods, and anything that would fit. It wasn’t organised at all.

After

This shelf was removed providing more space for the shelf above it, and giving me plenty of room to play with below.

BOTTOM SHELF

Before

There was a wine rack here, which normally just held soft drink and any food items that would fit like packets of smoked salmon, punnets of berries, and even bags of fruit.

After

I removed the wine rack and instead better utilised this area by turning it into a functioning shelf, which has a lot of space due to removing the shelf above it.

This shelf now perfectly groups food together using three baskets. Two baskets are for dairy items, and the other is for sauces.

DRAWS

Before and after

The draw on the left has vegetables that need to be used immediately, as they are over a week old.

The draw on the right holds vegetables that have been purchased at the start of the week, and will be used for dinners as the week progresses.

These draws didn’t have to be reorganised.

DOOR

The Creative Canvass How to declutter and organise your fridge

Before

The door previously held sauces, which I tried to group with tall sauces on one shelf, smaller ones on the other. However, it was really just a chaotic mess.

After

All of Nick’s beer was moved to the top shelf providing me with space in my fridge, which I desperately needed.

The bottom shelf holds the taller sauces, and the random bottle of wine and soft drink.

RESULT

I’m so happy with this set up, and it has stayed like this for over a month now.

I find it so much easier categorising food items by type in their own baskets. And as the baskets have sides I can stack items on top of each other if needed.

Having a decluttered and organised fridge has definitely improved my mood whenever I open it. Oh, and as an added bonus, I never have to clean the glass shelves as any spills are contained in the baskets.

(This blog’s previous name was The Creative Canvass, hence why some of the images in this post are labelled www.thecreativecanvass.com)

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A home office overhaul

Love from Lisa a home office overhaul

Last year whilst in Japan, I thought a lot about how I plan my time, and I realised that I wasn’t doing it very well.

I was using a combination of a paper and pen diary, and my iPhone calendar, both of which weren’t really doing it for me.

So after lots of thinking, researching, and stationery shopping, I decided to go old school and start planning my personal life and blog life by using a Filofax.

But it didn’t end there. After thinking a bit more I realised that the most important thing I needed to properly plan my life is the space to do it.

So my home office was born!

I had a room in my house that was empty. So I bought a desk and desk chair from Ikea, stocked up the desk draws with all my notebooks, electrical cords, computer, and Filofax decoration stationery, and hung some prints.

The Creative Canvass A study overhaul

This space is exactly what I needed to start to plan my life properly and get things done. It’s turning out to be one of my favourite rooms.

To keep me inspired to get this office looking its best, I’ve created a Home Office Inspiration Pinterest board, which has some terrific setups on it.

So, here’s to better time management, being motivated to actually make plans, and better utilising space in my home.

(This blog’s previous name was The Creative Canvass, hence why one of the images in this post is labelled www.thecreativecanvass.com)

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Garden overhaul an update

Garden update

When I look at the before and afters of my garden overhaul, I still can’t believe how much I’ve done, and how much I’ve continued to do.

This year has turned out to be the year of the house. I’ve learnt a lot about gardening, as well as painting, and even cooktop cleaning, but now the time has come to just stop with the heavy lifting and start with the beautification, at least where the garden is concerned.

So here’s what’s been happening in the garden since my last update:

Garden update dirt removal

  • Massive amounts of dirt have been moved from the front garden, to the side of the house, to the backyard, then finally around a tree. Yes, lots of dirt has been moved, and as I have no wheelbarrow it was moved in my green waste bin. Let’s just say I also have massive bruises. Thanks to the previous owners layering mulch upon mulch it all had to be removed before I could clean the slate and start again

Garden update side of house

Garden update backyard

  • As I’ve recently learnt if you leave dirt exposed weeds grow like grass. So the front and side of the house and backyard are all now covered in plastic, pinned down, and then pinned down again with bricks and tiles. This will stay like this until I’ve planned what plants to plant
  •  My second lemon tree was removed as it turned out to be another lemon, as it didn’t grow any
  •  Four Gardenias were removed as they died
  •  Mulch has been removed from the base of every tree and plant so Seasol and water can reach the roots better
  •  I’ve visited a couple of local nurseries to get inspiration on what to plant

The Creative Canvass garden overhaul an update

  • And even though not entirely garden related, the hammock was given a few coats of varnish

I am planning on posting more regular garden updates, hopefully the next one will be about the plans I have for what the garden will look like.

I’m thinking of having a Japanese theme but I’m not entirely sure. I’m definitely going to have a herb garden, hopefully some gorgeous pots, and maybe even a stone bench.

 

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What I’ve learnt so far about….painting

Painting prep 1

After undertaking a mammoth garden overhaul, I found myself in the overhaul spirit, so decided to do something that I’ve put off for three years, which is finally paint three bedrooms in my home.

This job started out as needing to paint two bedrooms, which were kids bedrooms in a previous life.  They were pink and blue so they desperately needed re painting.

I’m also on a mission to give the master bedroom a makeover, which I’ve started by buying a pendant light. To continue its makeover journey I also decided to paint this room, hence my two bedroom job now becoming a three bedroom job.

And guess what, yep another addition; whilst I was all about painting I decided to paint the master bedroom wardrobe. Needless to say, I’m now all officially painted out and am NOT keen to do this again.

Here’s some valuable lessons I learnt that I hope will assist anyone looking to DIY their own paint job, and if you do, I salute you!

Painting broken window

1. The BIGGEST tip I can give you is please, please, please don’t be crazy and use a ledge which has a window behind it to help you push furniture. In this case it was a case of backside meet bedroom window, bedroom window meet the glazier!

Painting cornice masking

2. Prep is key, but also the worst part. I taped up every cornice, skirting board, door, and window with masking tape. I was going to use the famous blue tape that everyone uses but went against it. This may have been a mistake, as when I removed the tape it also removed the white paint in large sections. I’ve since been told that no matter what tape you use you need to remove it almost the next day. Just be super careful when you remove the tape as it took me ages to paint over the removed paint sections.

Painting prep 2

3. I covered the floors in the first room I did with blue plastic, which I ended up not being a fan of. I ended up using old bed sheets for the rest of the rooms as I found the plastic often got in my way, and when removing it from the floor the tape I used to hold it down ripped the plastic, or smudged it against the walls putting paint on the floor.

4. Do your cuttings first, these are all the corners, under the cornices, and on top of the skirting boards. Use a small brush and layer the paint quite thick and wide.

Painting wall from hell 2

5. If you have to patch or smooth out a wall before painting it then good luck, it’s a super horrible mammoth job! Make sure you invest in an electric sander. I picked up this one from Bunnings.

6. Lastly wardrobes are horrible to paint.  Mine took me longer than painting a whole bedroom due to all the nooks and crannies. So make sure you dedicate enough time and energy for this part.

 

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What I’ve learnt so far about….gardening

What I've learnt about gardening it's therapeutic

Here’s what I’ve learnt so far about gardening from the mammoth garden overhaul I started this year:

  • Digging is surprisingly fun and very therapeutic
  • My biggest tip is as soon as you have cleared an area cover it with plastic and weigh the plastic down. I spent hours pulling weeds and digging out plants and after a month of leaving the soil exposed weeds grew like grass, it took forever to get it back to its bare state

 

What I've learnt about gardening no plastic equals weeds galore

What I've learnt about gardening cover everything

  • Pins are a great way to hold the plastic down

What I've learnt about gardening pins are great

What I've learnt about gardening pin it down

  • When laying plastic around plants make sure there’s space for the plants to absorb water

What I've learnt about gardening plastic and plants

  • Weeds grow out of even the smallest gap in plastic. They remind me of alfalfa sprouts
  • Rose bushes are hell to dig out
  • Agapanthus are even more hellish to dig out, they have hundreds of weeds
  • If mulching order it all at once, otherwise you’ll end up with different shades

What I've learnt about gardening mulch

  • A wheel barrow will be your best friend
  • I don’t think weed killer really kills weeds
  • Make a garden plan so everything compliments each other. I’m about to start one on this Pinterest board
  • Even if you learn how to care for your plants some will just die
  • Seasol regularly, I do it every fortnight
  • Have fun and do it in sections so it’s not overwhelming

 

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Garden overhaul

Completed frontyard

Completed backyard

I’ve never understood why people like gardening. All the weeding, watering, raking, and long hours in the great outdoors wasn’t ever something that appealed to me.

A few years ago I moved in to the house I currently live in. The previous owners had spent a lot of money on landscaping, which I was very grateful for. At the back there’s a gorgeous two level deck, an area with fake grass (bonus!) and another area with trees and real grass.

The front was also landscaped, but honestly I can’t tell you how as I never enter the house through the front, which is the exact reason why the front became a jungle. As I never looked at it, it became overgrown and full of long, long, long weeds.

Every time my parents came over the first thing my mum would say was “your garden’s such a mess, you need to do something about it”. So one day I had enough of my mum’s nagging and the massive garden overhaul began.

Operation clean up commenced October 2013 and was completed May 2014, that’s 7 months of digging out rose bushes and agapanthus (those things are evil bitches, they don’t budge easily), tree removal, tree cutting, mulching – a lot of hard work.

At times I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that I was doing it on my own. Colleagues were questioning why I was doing it without help. Neighbours would say “he’s done a good job on your garden” which was annoying. There was no he, it was all she, why can’t girls dig and carry large trees without getting any credit?

Anyway, now I can see why people like gardening. The process of the jungle before to the mulched non jungleness (I’m making this a new word) has been really rewarding.

Here’s all the front before and afters

Frontyard before and afters 3

Frontyard before and afters 4

Frontyard before and afters 2

Frontyard before and afters 1

  Here’s all the back before and afters

Backyard before and afters 7

Backyard before and afters 6

Backyard before and afters 5

Backyard before and afters 3

Backyard before and afters 2

Backyard before and afters 4

Backyard before and afters 1

Backyard waste2

My wall of trees before and after, two walls were removed and the snails found a new home

Tree burial

Mountain of mulchMountain of mulch there were 6 cubic metres of this delivered!

There’s still so much to do, which I’m actually looking forward to. This was definitely a hobby that I never thought would grow on me, but one I look forward to continuing.

Since writing this post I’ve done some more on my garden, which you can read in my post titled Garden overhaul an update.

I’ve also learn’t heaps, which you can read here what I’ve learnt so far about…gardening.

 

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