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Freezer Cooking for a Family of 7: Trying to Keep it Simple

freezercookingKaraMe, getting my freezer cooking groove on a few weeks ago.

Note: there are affiliate links in this post.

“Hey Kara, what’s up with all the freezer cooking?” You’ve been asking me questions here and on social media for a few months now, so I thought I’d share how I make freezer cooking work for me.

Freezer cooking has been a life saver for me! Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it has been a sanity saver, which sometimes translates to the same thing.

I’m working from home as a freelance web content writer, I’m running two blogs, we homeschool, plus all of the general noise, hijinks, busy schedules, and chaos of life in a family of seven.

This could add up to a recipe for dinner disaster every night, but about six months ago I re-discovered freezer cooking and it’s been making a world of difference.

With seven people (3 adults and 4 kids from preschool to seventh grade) I have to make the freezer cooking process as simple as possible.

Here are a few things that are currently working for me when it comes to freezer cooking:

1) I don’t set aside a big freezer cooking day. I’ve found an 8 or 10 hour day in the kitchen, on top of a mega shopping trip before-hand to prepare, just doesn’t work with my life right now.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d really love to make a big once a month freezer cooking day work for me, because I can see the advantages of it.

It’s just that every time I’ve tried, at the end of the loooong day the results have been a cranky mama, cranky kids, and a big mess in my kitchen.* All of these things are, I’m sure, my own personal issues. But, I have to go with what IS and not what I wish was.

*However, after reading on my friend Cheri’s blog about this freezer cooking session from $5 Dinners that can be accomplished in just a couple of hours (as opposed to a whole day or even a weekend) I decided to give it a try.

I’m happy to report that I was able to pull the meals all together in less than three hours (okay, that does not include shopping time the day before, but still I think that was pretty good). I’ll let you know what we think of the recipes as we try them (so far, so good) and I’ll come back and update this post, okay?

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Kara’s Journal and No Spend Month update

Kara's Journal, January 25, 2015 | SimpleKids.netNote: there are affiliate links in this post. Thanks!

As we start the week …  I’m finding myself struggling a little bit with the January Blahs. I’ve decided to take some positive action, including forcing some flower bulbs, doing a bit of cleaning and organizing, and making sure I get plenty of mama time to recharge and daydream. There are some great ideas for being the blahs in this post from Confessions of a Homeschooler, too.

Just for fun … I took this quiz after Reading Rainbow linked to it on Twitter: Which Children’s Book Character are You? I was The Giving Tree. Which one are you?

I am thankful … for the opportunity to apologize. I was very cranky this morning (see January Blahs above) and my temper got the best of me. It was humbling, but good soul food, to apologize to my family. If it is a good thing to teach our children about humility and how to sincerely apologize when we mess up (and I think it is) then I’m thankful that my mistake can be used as an example.

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Using color coding to simplify.

SimpleKids | color codingI think it must be the changing of the seasons, but I’ve been feeling the organizing and decluttering bug.  Before the months we call “birthday season” arrive and our home is filled with guests and new things,  I’m taking some time to sort out, tidy, and organize around the house – especially in the children’s spaces. They were also given some new things for Christmas that we are still working on finding homes for.

I thought it might be fun to share one of the simple things that I do to help stay more organized at our house (not always an easy task for the seven of us).

Today I want to tell you about a super simple system we use to keep track of items:  color coding.

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Kara’s Journal and No Spend month, week 2

snowmanluminaryNote: in the past I’ve been linking up to The Simple Woman’s Blog. You should still go there for some great daybook writing prompts. This week, though I decided to put my own spin on it. Also: there may be affiliate links in this post. Thanks for your support!

As we start the week … This time of year can be hard on me mentally, with the darkness and the cold, and my tendency is to hibernate. However, I think it’s important to strike a balance between time at home and also fighting off cabin fever by making sure we do get out and about a couple of times, too, even just for a walk around the block to stretch our legs and observe the winter world around us (temperatures permitting).

I am thankful … for electricity. Some pretty severe ice storms came through last night and I know many don’t have power currently. When the wind howls and the weather brings a hazardous coating of ice to everything, heat and light are blessings.

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Kara’s Journal: looking back, looking forward.

Max and his slime | SimpleKids.netLinking up to The Simple Woman’s Blog. Note: there may be affiliate links in this post, including a link to Kiwi crate, whose Tinkercrate Max and I played with today and made this awesome, gross slime!

Outside my window … the day was a frosty, cold one and as I type this the sun is setting and we are settling in for a cold night of snow and wind. It’s our first real storm of the season.

I am thinking … that summer just wasn’t long enough for me.

I am thankful … for this post of Tsh’s over at The Art of Simple. I felt myself exhale mentally while reading it because she says many of the things that I’ve been feeling in my own heart. The internet has gotten very loud and I don’t want to just be a part of the noise. I want what you read here to be something that’s real, comes from my heart, and isn’t written for numbers or sponsors or with the goal of having a post go viral (not that those things aren’t nice, but that shouldn’t be the endgame). Or even because I’ve got this simple parenting thing all figured out (uh, because I don’t).

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m thankful for quiet, old-fashioned blogging and for this space to do it for all these years (next month will be five years for me at SimpleKids). And I’m thankful to all of YOU for making Simple Kids a small part of your lives, too.

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