Thursday, August 20, 2015

Nesting Spurts of Semi-Ridiculousness

One day last week, mid morning, I followed a link on facebook.  It was about making 30 days of freezer crock pot meals for busy, back to school days.  Hmm.

I tend to avoid crock pot recipes in general because 1) most crock pot meals are meat-based and two out of the five of us don't like meat and 2) I don't want to spend time in the morning (or evening, for that matter) putting things into the crock pot because it's often hard for me to get going in the morning- I don't need one more thing to do.

But freezer crock pot meals...that would mean thawing them the night before and just dumping them in the crock pot in the morning.  They would provide occasional meat meals for those of us to like meat.  They would provide me with a sense of control over meal planning which makes our busy fall seem less daunting.

Sadie and I printed out about seven of the recipes, made a grocery list and we headed out to the store. We got home around noon.  I told the kids they were on their own for lunch (they loved the idea of multiple snacks instead of lunch) and I set up shop.

Side note:  Sometimes, I feel like I am incredibly lazy (and I am) but then other times, I have these crazy notions and launch into adrenaline-driven activity.  There's no rhyme or reason to it.  I just have to ride the wave.

I set up a raw meat station, a veggie chopping station, a cheese station, and a bagging station. I got out my sharpie for labeling, lined up my recipes, elicited some kid-chopping help, and jumped in. Six weary hours later (the adrenaline wore off after the one and a half), I left the kitchen with 15 dinners prepped and in the freezer.

Then, for fear that I would forget what I froze and had available, I made a list for the side of the fridge with a few side ideas and what, if anything, I needed to have available to go with particular meals.  Yes, most are chicken-based.  Yes, using gallon freezer bags to freeze meals takes up very little freezer space (much less than 8x8 or 9x13 pans which is usually how I do it).  No, I have no idea how anything will taste since I haven't tried any of these before.  I basically followed her recipes except that for the Chicken Curry, instead of adding peas to the freezer bags, I'm going to add our frozen chopped spinach at the end of the cooking time.  Also, I'm going to add some frozen broccoli to the end of the Chicken Curry cooking time.

Some of the meals are contained in that box with some rolls and tortillas (to go with the meals) on top.  

Part of this has to do with the nesting phase I'm currently in.  Moving from summer life to homeschooling life is a pretty drastic change for me.  Instead of birthing a baby soon, I'm going to be birthing a school that needs to run semi-smoothly for all our sakes.

And so, I've been squirreling away food, purging and donating unwanted items, repainting rooms (notice the kitchen color change?), rearranging bedroom furniture, vaccuuming curtains (yes, it's a thing) and pulling our books together.

My prayer is that when it comes time to switch gears next week, I can quiet my mind and body and focus on the glorious task at hand- learning with my children.

Does anyone else nest when there isn't a baby involved?
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  1. Oh, I nest all the time, and there has never been a baby involved at all! :) Nice to know I'm not the only one! Have a great school year!

  2. Sounds like you're ready for school! I like how you set up the prep stations. Would you share info on your frozen spinach? This sounds like something I may want to try next year from my garden.

    1. Hi, there! Here's a freezing spinach post from a couple years ago. Since then, we've discovered New Zealand Spinach- it stays nice all summer long and re-seeds itself. It's more for cooking with than eating in fresh salads and it's excellent for freezing:-).

  3. I do! I was just telling my husband that I'm getting that nesting feeling again. And my youngest is 15yrs. It happens every year towards the end of August. I start looking around, wanting to paint, de-clutter and bake cookies no matter what the outside weather is like. Being a farmer, it's the worst time to do any of those things since harvest and canning is in full swing.

    My favorite freezer meal is stuffed shells made with my own ricotta and either spinach or kale from the garden. It is nice to pull out a pan of it when life gets busy and you want to put a hot meal on the table.

  4. The end of summer always brings out the nesting instinct in me. Especially as the madness of the harvest season and ensuing food preserving comes into full swing. I've been known to tell my family I'm too busy to make dinner because I'm processing all of produce that we just picked. Now that's a great time for freezer meals!

  5. I love fall. It restores my energy, generally depleted by summer. The mosquitos and other annoying flying insects are usually gone, along with the humidity. In fall, I want to nest like crazy, bake bread, cook really large pots of soup. It's been in the 90's and humid here in Connecticut for what seems like forever, and I am pedal to the metal in canning salsa in hopes of having enough to get through the winter. Our daughter and the three grandchildren currently live with us, so I'm thinking it'll take about 70+ pints. The 10-year-old grandson summed it up by renaming it Mexican Relish and saying it's good on everything.

  6. I'm always excited to see people begin homeschooling. It was an incredible opportunity for me as a mid-teen. We got to meet so many professionals in jobs that interested us, and it really broadened my appreciation of the complexities of life. Don't get discouraged if you feel wobbly and out of control for the first few years, or if your experience doesn't match up with those of your friends or homeschooling group. Some people are scared of flexibility and new experiences and can try to press their rigidity and expectations onto your method of schooling. ;) But you'll figure out what works for your family! Best wishes!

  7. Oh, my sister and I have strong nesting urges when late summer comes. I cannot ignore to need to put things up, even if my health and energy only allows for applesauce and my Asian style plum sauce.
    Did I see frozen cut up zucchini in your freezer? I always assumed freezing it would make it mushy. I grate and freeze it for bread and soups. How do the pieces fare?

    1. I prefer freezing chunks over shredding. The chunks are great for casseroles and soups. They hold up really nicely:-).

  8. I'm a huge gardener and I nest esp during late-summer and into fall--but I usually call it my squirrel phase or "tapping into my inner squirrel". I work like mad to preserve as much as I can so we can enjoy the health & freshness of it all throughout the winter/spring...which is when I take it easier and enjoy stuff like quilting and reading. I've always done these mad spurts but I have to admit this year it's kind of getting to me. My husband tells me it's time to slow down, esp with two kids out of the nest....but I love it!?

  9. I usually feel it in spring and fall but this year I am 12 weeks pregnant and starting school, it is especially strong, but I am exhausted. Hopefully the feeling sticks until I get that energy back!

  10. Haha!! Yes!! I *nested* this summer in preparation for my sister's visit. Too funny!! It did feel like how it felt prior to a baby's arrival. :) Hugs to you....and, happy schooling! XO

  11. BTW, I totally relate to your side not. Here's to riding the wave. But major bummer when it dies after 1.5 hrs. and you have another 45 hrs. to go. Been there; done that!


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