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Posts from the ‘Organization’ Category

Meal Planning: Off Schedule

I am a creature of habit and I have a slight OCD problem.  If I set something up, I want to follow it to a tee and if I don’t….it sends my innards into a free for all and I end up with a belly ache.

Yes….I realize that is an issue and I need to relax a bit.

This weekend, Big Daddy is sacrificing his time with us to work some overtime.  So, it is me and the kids.  That automatically throws my mojo off.  Saturdays are family time, honey do lists time, and me do whatever I’m itching to do at the moment.  Today, I’m parenting alone, making grocery lists, working on my weeks menu, going to the grocery, going to the bank (if there is time because I am procrastinating), dealing with stitches, and adult children moments.

With that I am throwing caution to the wind and I’m using up the last of my freezer meals and I’m throwing in an old childhood favorite my mom used to make.  I will have little grocery shopping to do, as I premade a whole lot of breakfast items, I do not have to buy much in the way of that (except milk and yogurt).  Lunch stuff…well, when you homeschool, that is *always* needed, but there are days, like today, that we have leftovers.  That helps.  This week, we probably won’t have any leftovers because my children are ravenous and they think they are always starving.  I still have a thing of spaghetti sauce I made and froze.  There are also 2 huge packs of chicken breasts that I need to thaw and boil.  Always always ALWAYS save your broth.  You can freeze it in mason jars and save it for soups.

MENU

Pasta Casserole (freezer meal) and french bread

Pizza

Mom’s Tacos (I probably have not had these in 30 years….I am stoked)

Doro Wot & Injera for some….others will have baked chicken, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole

Creamy Tuscan Garlic Tortellini Soup & Chili

Mississippi Roast, Mac & cheese, roasted italian potatoes, and corn

What’s on tap for your family, this week?

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When Sad…….Bake

I can’t stop the sadness….so I will squash it down and bake.  Normally, when I’m down, I organize, but as you know from previous blog posts….I am, literally, out of things to organize in my home and all my computers.

Now, I’m going to work on my master plan to cook/freeze some meals.  I’m not going to do a months worth (though the last time, I cooked in July and we still have freezer meals in the freezer and it is October *insert pat on own back*).  This time I’m working through my PINTEREST BOARDS and I cook one meal, twice to freeze for a later time.  I’m sort of jacked up on my weeks cause I went to the store without my new list…so I am working on my WEEKS 14 & 40.  I also bought some extra chili hot beans cause I have a ton of tomato juice that I canned (super easy and saves money).

Right now, Big Daddy requested spaghetti….I usually *always* have that on hand for a quick supper that everyone loves (to make it a tad healthier, I use whole grain (NOT whole wheat aka cardboard) noodles).  I bought some spiral noodles and 4 jars of spaghetti sauce (another tip to save a bit of money is do not use the spaghetti packets.  I just add my seasoning, minced onions, minced garlic, basil, italian seasoning and oregano).  I browned my meat with my seasoning, added 2 jars of spaghetti sauce (be sure to put a bit of water in the empty jar and swish it around to get all the sauce out) and I made my spiral noodles, al dente.  I mixed it all together and put it in a 13×9 aluminum pan….put some mozzarella and parm on top and froze it for a later time.  While I was doing all of that, I was also browning up more meat (for the spaghetti) and I did my regular noodles.  One dinner we ate, one dinner I froze.  It really took little extra time to to prepare both meals because they were similar.

Tomorrow, Hunter and I are going to prep some breakfast goodies.  I’ve got some sausage, ham, eggs, cheese, and flour tortillas to make a good mess of breakfast burritos.  I flash freeze them on a cookie sheet before I put them in gallon freezer bags to freeze.  That prevents them from sticking together.  I’m also going to make a mess of pancakes, granola for yogurt, fruit bars, applesauce cinnamon muffins, banana muffins, lemon poppyseed muffins, and chocolate oat muffins.  I can control what goes in my recipes versus what is prepackaged.  Plus, in the end, it saves me money because normally I would buy 3 large bags of cereal, lots and lots of yogurt (I will be making my own plain yogurt), processed fruit bars and processed granola bars.  Hunter is stoked.  I am slightly frightened LOL

He has been SO sweet the last couple of weeks….I mean edible kind of sweet….like the boy before the OMS.  His speech has suffered.  His eyes still dance.  He is still unsteady on his feet and struggles doing what is easy for most little boys.

He is still my baby and oh does he know that.  Oh does he know that he has me wrapped around his little bitty finger.  He is my warrior and so help me if he wants to help me cook….that baby can help me cook.

Wish me luck.

Gearing Up

Since I did my Once a Month Cooking Session, back in July, I’m ready to start again.  I have had a hysterectomy since then, so one week of recovery also included generous folks helping a girl out and bringing supper to my crew.  So very thankful…..I have thoughts on that, but I will save that for another day.

My youngest has also had his second round of IVIG (immunotherapy) for his OMS (Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome), so he has had a bit of a set back…also, my daughter, who was in military school for 22 weeks), also came home.  Also, my sweet Lady is hanging on, so I am trying to spend as much time as I can with her before the Lord has her room ready.  I’m SO thankful that her boys are home (one lives out of state and one is recovering from a massive accident).  She loves them so deeply and it is such a joy to be a fly on the wall with these two…and their sweet wives 🙂  She also was a proud great Granny Jo again, when her granddaughter had her latest bundle of joy.  Lots of joy in the midst of life.  So lots going on, as usual.  It has been an adjustment with me just being tired and sore, Hunter being wobbly and unsteady, and G learning how to be a part of this family, me trying to stay with my Lady as I can…..so we have been keeping our heads down and just muddling through.

I do have food leftover from the last time (I know, right LOL)….so I do have a “base” of what I’m working with.  I am switching up suppers and such (using my PINTEREST boards).  As I cook, if I do not like a recipe, I immediately delete it and add a new one to replace it.  There was a pork quinoa recipe that was like eating the treads off a car…..sadly, I have another one of those, frozen…I’ll be thawing that sucker out and giving it to the chickens…I love my family *too* much to feed them that again.

What I will do, this time around, is cook this weeks of menus and double it.  We will eat on one set of meals and the other will be used either as we need it (aka when I’m over it and still have to feed the people who live in my house) or save it till for week 14 of the New Year (Weeks 14 & 40 are the same).  We shall see.

I still have the following frozen dishes:

Chicken wrapped in bacon (mashed potatoes and peas)

Cheeeseburger soup and Chili

Breakfast Casserole

Stuffed Pepper Soup and Enchilada Soup

Baked Chicken legs (roasted Italian potatoes and cauliflower/broccoli au gratin)

Mexican Lasagna

Spinach Mexican Lasagna

For this week….I am making (doubling):

Pizza

Tacos

Minestrone Soup and Creamy Tuscan Garlic  Tortellini Soup

Mississippi Roast (sour cream and cheddar mashed potatoes, Mac & cheese, Zucchini)

Buttery Garlic Herb Chicken & Zucchini (Au gratin potatoes, prosc. wrapped asparagus)

Cowboy Casserole (Corn Pudding & Lima Beans)

I am also going to see if my budget stretches to Weeks 15 & 41 to cook a bit more and freeze a bit more.

On tap for that is:

Pizza

Hamburgers/hotdogs/fries

Easy Lo Mein (with Egg Drop Soup)

Chicken Parmesan Soup & Asiago Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Soup

Skillet Chicken with Garlic Herbed Butter Sauce (crispy garlic smashed potatoes, green bean casserole)

Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti (Bread and salad)

My grocery list will be on tomorrow’s post (I hope).  I will also include any breakfast or lunch freezer meals.

Operation “Get My Life Together”: Zero Based Budget

The other night, Big Daddy and I sat down and had a chat.  I told him how I was feeling and that I was tired of serving two masters….God and money.  I felt like we were drowning in debt and I am tired of it.  I’m tired of worrying and feeling like I’m being controlled by it.  I have no freedom when I am in debt.

We CHOOSE to be done.

When I researched a zero based budget….I thought that the concept was insane.  After further looking into it, I began to see the positives of it and it forced me to take a long hard look at our money and where it goes.  Then, I left fear seep in….the fear of embarrassment, of feeling like I’m upside down in our finances (have more debt/bills then paycheck), and then it felt like an elephant sat squarely on my chest and I kept hearing “there is no hope…you are trapped…just keep on keepin’ on…you are not hurting anyone.”

The great thing is that I CAPTURED that thought and I REMEMBERED Truth!  When I have Jesus….and I do….there is ALWAYS hope.  Did He “ordain” my stupidity?  I don’t think so.  Did He “allow” my stupidity?  Yep and now we are reaping what we have sown. Natural consequences to our stupidity.

Its a NEW day.  Its a NEW dawn.  Its time to let HIM take control over my finances.  I know that it is time because Big Daddy is on board!  Stay tuned to our journey of becoming debt free!

Organizational Tip: Let’s Talk Pinterest

Pinterest.  I do not necessarily enjoy it.  It is overwhelming.  I do not spend hours upon hours scouring the pinterest boards.  I only follow my family, cause I feel like I have too. To me, it is a stressor.

BUT.

I have realized that I can actually use this to my advantage.  I tried this about a year ago, maybe and it was just too much.  Too many colors, options, ideas, thoughts…..my mind could not handle anymore information.

I have come up with a plan.

And I love it when a plan comes together.

We shall try this again.

This time, I shall SUCCEED.

There are 52 weeks in a year.  Yes?  Yes.  I created a DIFFERENT board that started at Week 1 and ended on Week 26.  That is 1/2 the year.  I thought I might have to stab myself in the eye with a used q-tip if I had to come up with the entire year, but 1/2 the year is doable for me.

Week 1 Menu – Week 27 Menu (same board and same menu)

Week 2 Menu – Week 28 Menu

Catch my drift….all in all I have 26 boards and it covers all 52 weeks.

Now, there are 7 days in a week.  I cook on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (unless we are at church), Friday, Saturday.  I do not cook Sundays.  I went ahead and marked Thursdays as pizza night, as this is tradition, so I cook mark that off.  To help with my sanity, I allotted Fridays as EITHER hamburgers/dogs/fries night or taco night.  I altered those days, so have the year was hamburgers and half the year was tacos…..are you still with me?

Next, I chose Saturdays as soup days (my obsession is real and I am a soup whore, if you please).  I cook 2 soups for my crew cause 1 just is not enough (also we eat leftovers for lunch until it is gone…hence saving us money).

I went through the soup recipes that I had.  I reached out on fb (you can click on the FB button on the right of this page to follow me there) and from there, I compiled a list of 52 soups.  They are all different, cause I like to try new things.  I have made nearly all of them of though cause I’m always making soup.  As I picked 2 soups, I would drop them into my already made board of Week 1 Menu and Week 27 Menu…I continued on till all 26 weeks were covered.

In short, we have Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday accounted for.  All I had left was Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  The existing boards I had left, with recipes was Chinese, Pork, Steak, Mexican.  I divided those out. So I had “X” amount of each to fill up my weeks.  My last big feat was to have equal amounts of Italian dishes and Beef dishes.  By the time I got done, all 26 boards had main dishes for the nights of the week that I cook.  After I got my main dishes done, I added in my side dishes.

With these boards, I will transfer over to my blog and I will comprise a detailed grocery list of what I need for my Week 1 menu.  What I will also do, is get my freezer aluminum pans, double the recipes and freeze the second one.  So by the time week 27 comes around, I will A) know what I am cooking thanks to my pinterest board and B) I will have already cooked it.  It is a win win.

There are no two recipes or weeks alike.  I have done all different stuff.  I will post my honest opinion on whether it was good or not.  I do, however, tweak most of my recipes.  I add too or take away from, so I will notate that as well.

No, I am not bored.

Yes, I do find the time.

No, my children are not neglected during this.

Yes, I truly enjoy doing things like this.

Feel free to look at my boards (again you can find my pinterest boards if you click on the icon in the right side bar and you can follow me on any social media) and use them.  My hope and pray is that this works out.

I can always take a picture of my grocery list, online, and send it to Big Daddy and he can pick up my groceries on the way home….I’m telling ya….WIN WIN.

Weeks 11 & 37 Grocery List

Head on over to my PINTEREST BOARD for this week.  This is the 37th week of the year.  I cannot believe we are that far into this year…..sigh……Anyway, I will post my grocery list for this week.  If this were week 11, there is a high chance, I would double each of these recipes (with the exception of hamburger/pizza nights).  I will do that because by the time the 37th week rolls around, I will already have food ready, so in essence, I’m only cooking 1/2 the year.  Now, I will not commit to always doing that, but if we have the extra funds, then I surely will.  I freeze things in aluminum throw away dishes, also, I use my glass dishes on occasion.  I also utilize 1 & 2 gallon freezer bags and quart bags.

I will list any changes that I make with my menus here.  If I do not like a recipe, I will delete it from my pinterest board and immediately replace it.  Most of these recipes are new.

Hashbrown Potato Soup:  The original recipe calls for carrots…my family does not like cooked carrots, so I will be omitting them.  Also, to make this low carb, use cauliflower chunks instead of hashbrown.  Replace the flour with cornstarch.  I do not buy canned chicken broth.  I either use water and chicken bouillon or I use my own broth that I have saved from boiling chicken and frozen.  Also, you can use heavy cream instead of 1/2 and 1/2.  I did, with this recipe, add a can of cream of chicken.  It is not necessary.  Since I did this in the Instant Pot, I went ahead and add about 4 washed and chunked potatoes cause the hashbrowns really had some texture but mainly just thickened it.

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup:  The original recipe calls for celery and carrots.  Again, not my crews favorite, so I’m leaving those out.  You can replace the all purpose flour with cornstarch to make this low carb.  You can also replace the 1/2 and 1/2 with heavy cream.  Chicken broth….read above 🙂  I added a can of cream of mushroom soup to this.  Again, not necessary.  I also used Basil and Marjoram instead of Thyme and Rosemary (I didn’t have any).  Cheddar was also used cause it is yummy.

Crockpot Ranch Chicken Tacos:  I do not usually buy taco packets.  I use chili powder and cumin.  Also, will be serving this over corn tortilla chips, but you can use them in a corn tortilla or a flour tortilla and serve with sour cream/salsa/pico de gallo.

Grocery List:

20 oz. hashbrown

Chicken broth (3 or you can use water and chicken boullion)

Bacon (2)

Seasoning

Onion (3)

Garlic, minced

Flour

Heavy cream (or 1/2 and 1/2) Get a large one for both soups

Cheddar

Scallions (optional)

Carrots (optional)

Celery (optional)

Oil

Chicken breasts (I would buy 1 large thing of fresh boneless/skinless.  Each breast can be cut in 1/2.  I use 3 chicken breasts, cut in half for a meal.)

Butter

Cremini Mushrooms

Thyme

Rosemary

Parsley

Bay Leaf

Corn Tortillas

Packet of dry Ranch

Chili seasoning

Cumin

20 oz. 3 Cheese tortellini

Eggs (6)

Parmesan

Basil

French bread loaf (cut in half, spread butter on each half with garlic, add mozzarella cheese, close it up…wrap it in aluminum foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes)

Head of cauliflower

Diced carrots

Frozen peas

Soy Sauce

Fresh mushrooms

Kale (or fresh spinach)

Ginger

Vegetable stock (or you can use water and beef boullion)

Rice Wine Vinegar

Round steak or flank steak

Of course…I add stuff for burgers and hotdogs, as well as, our pizza night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on to Pinterest

I have completely run out of things to organize in my house, for now.  It is a weird feeling knowing that I purged SO much and I have organized SO much and I have donated SO much.  I almost feel guilty because we spent SO much money on things that I have thrown away or given away.  We have not been very wise with our money, lately, but that game is over.

We have been very good at our zero based budget and we are knocking out loan #1.  It is so exciting to see the money we thought we did not have (being wasteful) and FINDING it again and then making great use of it.  I love love love seeing the time being knocked off the back end of our loan.  We are on a roll. We are saving, putting towards our sinking fund, putting it towards our debt, and things we have never allotted money for because we thought we did not have it.

With that being said, back to the reason for this post.  I’m going to be organizing my pinterest board.  Adding stuff, subtracting stuff, and posting my thoughts on the recipes that I have saved.  It will still have a board for encouragement and things that make me happy.  I’m also going to look at stuff for saving money while making small home improvements, etc.

You can click on the link at the right to go straight to my pinterest board.  You are welcome to follow or do whatever it is that people do on there 🙂  I’m really excited.

Youtube……

I started a Youtube Channel (sort of). It documents Hunter and where he was when he moved in with us to after his diagnosis with OMS (Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome). I did this for his doctor because it was taking FOREVER to do via email. You are welcome to view those videos…maybe if I get brave, I can do more videos on other things…we shall see. Feel free to share 

If there is anything you want to see from me….just give me a holler and I will see what I can do.  I’m still playing around with it.

Thanks!

 

Why Does It Feel *So* Good….

When I consolidate things in my house?  I mean….I feel like I’m almost euphoric over taking my bazillon little bitty trial size hand lotions and mixing them with the 7 large things of hand lotion that I already have.  I threw away a trash can FULL of little empty containers and let me tell you….it feels GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

There may be something wrong with me LOL.  I’m not a clutter bug.  I do not collect things (I was a huge couponer and I still have bottles upon bottles of conditioner, lotion, floss, and mouth wash.)  I do have a goal, though and this goes along with us saving money.  I’m going through our household cleaners and what I had, I’m replacing with all natural things like baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, onguard, and essential oils.  I’m using what I have until it is gone and then I just make more because I already have bought the bottles.  As for my bathroom, I’m doing the same thing.  I’m forcing myself to use lotion more, to use all the leftover deodorants, soaps, conditioners.  I have a habit of running out of something and then I put it on my grocery list…run to the store to get it and then realize I had 7 bottles that have never been touched.  What a huge waste of money.

Them days are OVER, I tell ya!  O.V.E.R.  It is time to use it up before I buy.  Then, maybe, if I can do really well at it, I will start couponing again for ONLY the things I need or are not necessarily a need for me, but things I can donate to food pantries or people in need.

I seriously may not even be able to sleep cause my mind is flooded with “what else can I consolidate and organize.”

I think I may need therapy……….

Organizational Tip: Let’s Talk Pictures

In my quest to get my life together, my next thing to tackle are my pictures.  Good gravy, I have a billion pictures.  My mother in law is HUGE into scrapbooking, so she has given me lots of books, pages, stickers, etc in hopes that I would scrap all these pictures.  I simply have not had time.

In my defense, I do have a baby scrapbook for each of my children and one large scrapbook for each of them as they have gotten older.  I also have a baby scrapbook of Big Daddy that his mom made for him and one for me, that I made.  There is also a wedding one and another random one…so I have done scrapbooks in the past.  I’m just not in a season to do them regularly.

One day, when I was cleaning out the masses of crap in my bedroom, I came across a drawer that I believe had not been opened in about 10 years.  There were MASSIVE amounts of old, loose photos just hanging out…not hurting anyone….just there.  My OCD said, let’s pull out some of those scraping gifts from my sweet mother in law and I will make them look fantastic.  My other side thought…I have no time for this and shut the door and move on.  Neither side one.  My logical side stepped in and I thought….lets kill two birds with one stone.  I pulled out those photos and I did separate them by child.  I put those separated piles into baggies and I labeled them.  Next, I pulled down my scraping supplies, set up a card table, hollered for my 2 big girls and let them at it.  Was it as nice as I could have done?  No, not really LOL.  It certainly was not up to par with my pro MIL.  BUT they stayed occupied.  All my pictures are nicely placed with added cute things and it all has my girls handwriting in it…which I will cherish forever.  My OCD did not win.  I did not redo anything.  I simply smile every time I pull them down for someone to look at.  These are some of my prized possessions.

Once I got the masses o pictures done, courtesy of my girls…I had a new set of pictures that had inundated my computer.  Over the course of time, I have added new files under my pictures section.  The main file is the year and the subfiles include things like Christmas, Family, a file for each child, pets, misc, etc.  Since there are dates on 99% of my pictures, I first just sorted them out, via the computer, into the proper year.  From there, I put the in the proper subfile and from there, I went and deleted the duplicates.  I crap you not, in 2015, I had 10000 duplicates.  So there was a ton of space taken up by having doubles, and sometimes quadruple the pictures.  I have not edited them because that is just not high on my “super fun” list of things to do.

This process takes time, but I do it at night when I’m watching a movie or when the kids are outside.  I do not put any pressure on myself, at all.  One thing I invested in was an external hard drive, so I have not only saved my pics on a CD and flash drives (that are safely tucked away in my fire safe box), I put them all on my external hard drive and I deleted them off my computer.  Let’s face it…computers crash and my pictures were not going to crash with them.  Sorry, Charlie.  Not gonna happen…not on my watch.

Big Daddy and the children love to sit down and watch me sort things out and look through these pictures.  It is fun and it is definitely a conversation starter for those kids who are not so apt at chatting with me all the time.  Take your time.  Enjoy the views and the memories.  Remember to save them to multiple devices and always store in a fire safe box or safe in case of fires!

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