Plan? What plan?

Posted June 6th, 2011 by Penny Wise

Apologies for the lengthy gap between posts! We have been a couple of staff members short these last few weeks and I've been helping out in the 'inbox' answering some of your emails - although I don't know how much help I'm being to be honest. I'm a bit rusty and my typing leaves a lot to be desired so if you are one of the unfortunate ones who has received an email merrily signed off with 'MANGY grins', 'BREST regards', or my favourite 'Hope you're having a great WEE', I do apologise, that was me! You won't tell Fiona will you? In my defence I have had the flu and my brain has been a little foggy!

Yes, busy times are indeed afoot and fun as they are Noel and I have had to do a bit of negotiating. I'm very lucky that he has always been a bit of a dab hand in the kitchen and actually enjoys cooking but lately he's been doing it more than me. So much so that the kids automatically say 'thanks Dad', at the end of meal times, even if it was me who made it! This hasn't sat well with me. I know it sounds prehistoric but I've always felt that cooking for the family is my role and not doing it made me feel a bit - well - useless. I was beating myself up about it pretty badly to be honest. In the end I stomped my feet and said I was taking back control of my kitchen and was going to make a menu plan religiously each week and do ALL the cooking once more. Until Noel pointed out something I was missing. Our family has absolutely no routine. Our days have no structure whatsoever! None of us can keep up with where the other one is or what everyone is doing and Noel and I never know what each day is going to bring. Sometimes he works hideously long hours; other times are quieter and the same goes for me. The boys are also both flat out; Liam currently has nine hours of rugby, nine hours of basketball and two hours at the gym each week. Ali has nine hours of rugby, plays golf, goes to Youth Group and does boxing. We're all over the place and so are our meal times. We never know who's going to be home for dinner, or when, or how many extras there will be to feed. Chaotic it may be but it works for us - or should I say it worked for everyone else except me. It seemed I was the only one with the problem!

So we came to an agreement and it is working very well. The plan is, there is no plan. We play each day by ear, get up each morning and suss out what's going on. If Noel finishes work earlier than me, he cooks. If I finish earlier than him, I cook. Noel didn't want to menu plan as he doesn't like cooking the same dishes I do so we just decide which one of us is cooking in the morning and then it's up to the cook to decide what's for dinner. We've been doing plenty of 'Double Dinners' this week - except in our case we've been making twice as much to feed extra people and there isn't any left over to freeze. We've had three strapping rugby boys staying with the boys for the past three days and they can wolf down a LOT of food, as can my two! The first night I (seeing as it was my turn to cook!) made up a triple batch of Chilli con Carne which was piled on top of corn chips and devoured. Wonder of wonders there was actually a little left over, which was purely because we thought we had four extras for dinner and ended up with only three. So his share was put to good use the following night! Noel made four massive pizzas and spread half of these with the leftover chilli and made the others into 'meatlovers' pizzas using the last piece of leftover roast beef, a couple of cold sausages from the morning's big breakfast cook-up and some leftover bacon. These were a huge hit - and all made using leftovers! I should also add that we had salad too - well, I think two of the boys had a token lettuce leaf! Tonight's dinner is also already bubbling away in the crock pot - a huge double batch of beef stew. Funny isn't it, I thought we couldn't be organised enough to do a Double Dinner challenge, yet here we are going along great guns, even if it wasn't intentional. Just goes to show how easy cooking in bulk really is!

Seeing as we're doing so well at one challenge, I'm determined to take on another just as soon as I get my house back! With the staggering amount the boys eat these days, Noel reckons that we couldn't possibly do a $21 Challenge any more. However I think we can. Sure it would take a lot of careful planning and we don't have the chooks and huge vege gardens any more but I reckon we can still do it! Will target next week - bring it on!

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