freezer meal prep

Freezer Cooking Made Simple A Year later

Freezer Cooking Made Simple

– My Review of Once A Month meals – 1 year later.

 

I’ve been using my Once A Month Meals membership to stock our freezer for a year now!! And still absolutely LOVE it!


                    This post may contain affiliate links, Shopping through my links supports                                    my blog at no cost to you, Thanks for shopping and always know that any thoughts or reviews posted on Love and Scribbles are completely my own!

 

I started looking into a membership when I was new to the Instant Pot and wanted to find more ways to use it, You can read my first review here!

But, you don’t even need an Instant Pot to take advantage of the amazing resources from Once A Month Meals

 

Here’s a list of the cook types for the cooking day and the serving day:

freezer cooking prep list

once a month meals cooking

 

 

 

 

Now, every month I make 20-30 dinners for our freezer. Plus, some lunches and breakfasts too!

Once A Month Meals has been adding new features, tons of new recipes, and special menus so membership just keeps getting better!

Here is just a few of their new menus:

Winter Real Food Freezer Menu

Winter Gluten Free Dairy Free Menu

Instant Pot Winter (Whole 30 Compliant) Easy Assembly Menu

Paleo Freezer Meal ( Whole 30 Compliant) volume 13

Fall Instant Pot Easy Assembly Mini Menu

 

You can check out all of these amazing menu options:

 

freezer cooking made simple

 

 

 

 

I know I’ve said this before, But the resources available to you as a member with Once  A Month Meals are outstanding!  In fact I do not hesitate to say that I would have never attempted freezer cooking for a whole month with out them!

You get these awesome customizable Menus that have been masterly crafted to consider time, effort, cost etc. (you select how many servings each meal makes too!)

You can easily swap recipes that do not appeal to you or even just build your own menu from the many recipes listed.

You get a detailed Grocery Shopping List (we are talking down to the ounces people!!)

The Prep list takes all the guessing out of what to do with all those groceries once you are home. And then the Cooking Day Instructions give you a step by step guide to stock your freezer!

Labels are at the ready for your bags or containers before you stick them in the freezer ( these labels even have the serving day instructions right on them!)

The Thaw Sheet is so handy ( I keep mine in my household planner binder) for deciding what to pull out of the freezer each night! Only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table?? well, then grab these Enchilada Meatballs, and have dinner from freezer to table in 20 minutes!!!

And Recipe Cards for every recipe in your menu.

 

Seriously, Once A Month Meals has CHANGED how I do dinner! In fact I have stopped in the middle of writing this post to plop in our dinner from the freezer and in just about 1 hours time, our dinner is almost ready and I’ll pack away this computer and we can sit down to eat… just like that!

We are having Granny’s Italian beef tonight with mashed potatoes!

 

 

I just bought these baggy openers from Amazon.. They are super handy!!

Amazon baggie holder freezer cooking made simple

Here are some great tools for prepping and freezer your meals:

Those 64 oz containers are the perfect size to freeze meals for the Instant Pot…  So the food fits perfectly inside the liner of your Pot.

And don’t forget to use Wal-Mart’s free grocery Pick up to get your groceries for the month! Here’s $10 off your first order and my review of the free service, we actually use it weekly!

Have you ever prepared freezer meals before? What’s the most intimidating part of the process for you?

 

home planner binder

New Year Binder Planner

How do you prepare for the New Year?

I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways I get my planner, household binder ready for the New Year since 2018 is coming up quick!

Also, I’d love to share how I prepare my heart and our family’s goals for the coming year, so read on if you are already thinking on into January! 🙂

I know EVERYTHING is turning to technology and it really is amazing.

We use a calendar app on our phones that links my husband and I together, which is so helpful when we aren’t at home. But I am still very old school when it comes to how much I LOVE binders and to do lists and such.

I’ve had a master house hold binder for a few years and every year it changes a bit. You really want to personalize it the way you need it to work for you. And those needs change as your family grows and changes.

home management binder

A couple years ago I had a section dedicated to pre-school and what I wanted to accomplish with the boys. That isn’t really necessary now that we are in a charter school and it is all kept either online or included in our curriculum.

There are lot of beautiful planners out there, ready-made and some customization if you are wanting to just order something. But building my own with printables here at home has really worked for me!

You really need to think about what you want to use your binder for.. what are some of the goals you want it to help you reach… and what areas do you need to stay organized in?

Designerblogs.com is seriously the best of both worlds in that you can get a complete and pretty extensive planner BUT you still print at home for the best customization possible, you only print what you want to use, so you aren’t left with a binder that doesn’t work for you! Isn’t that great? and just look at how beautiful these pages are??!!!

Check out all the pages included in the Ultimate Life Planner! 

Here’s the description for the ultimate life planner:

“Using the My Life Planner is the best way to declutter your mind, develop rock solid habits, and crush your goals! The planner includes everything you need to stay organized throughout the entire year! Mix and match these planner pages with the pages in The Ultimate Blog Planner and you’ll be nothing but unstoppable this year! “

2018 Life Planner - DesignerBlogs.com 

Look at what all is included in the advanced package of the ultimate Life Planner:

The planner includes 50 meticulously designed pages of organizational goodness! Here’s a look at what you’ll receive:  

  • CELEBRATIONS
to do list planner page printables

 This really has everything and more that I’m looking for in a planner

 I would have never thought about tracking things like my workouts in a designated area.. how motivating will it be to see it all filling up!??!

First thing in my binder is always the monthly calendar pages!

I find that even though I have a calendar updated on my phone all the time.. it is nice to just see a whole month in front of me!

There’s also some weekly reminder pages, to do lists.. etc.

Usually every year I will print a couple of something new like a to do list or weekly schedule or something and give it a test run before I print very  many of them.

Cleaning schedules are helpful too and you can have an entire section dedicated to it. Things like those chores that need only to be done once a month or twice a year…

This year I’m adding a blog planner section to my binder ( I tried a seperate binder last year but I think it will work better to have it all in one) I am really trying to make 2018 be a great year for Loveandscribbles and I know I need to be more organized and scheduled.  I love how the pages on designblogs.com fit right in with the Life Planner!

The Ultimate Blog Planner

blog planner printables

Look what all comes in the blog planner:

You can get these 12 pages for FREE

CALENDARS

  • 2018 Calendar
  • Undated Monthly Calendar
  • Undated Monthly Editorial Calendar

POST PLANNING

  • Post Brainstorming Guide
  • Post Topic Brainstorming
  • Weekly Post Planner

TO-DO LISTS

  • Weekly To-Do List
  • Blog To-Do List

OTHER

  • Cover Page
  • Contacts
  • Usernames & Passwords
  • Blank Planner Page

Then the full package comes with all of these too:

ADVERTISING

  • Advertising Tracker
  • Facebook Advertising

STATS & ANALYTICS

  • Yearly Stats & Analytics
  • Blank Yearly Stats & Analytics – new!
  • Monthly Stat Tracker
  • GOAL SETTING

    • Monthly Blogging Goals
    • Yearly Blogging Goals

    SOCIAL MEDIA

    • Social Media Planner
    • Weekly Facebook Post Planner – new!
    • Weekly Instagram Post Planner – new!
    • Pinterest Post Planner – new!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMAIL CAMPAIGNS

  • Email Campaign Tracker – new!
  • Automated Email Planner – new!
  • Email Campaign Planner – new!

FINANCE

  • Monthly Finance Tracker
  • Yearly Finance Tracker

OTHER

  • Affiliate Programs
  • Giveaway Tracker
  • Sale Tracker
  • Sponsors
  • Change Record – new!
  • Printing Guide
  • Printing Instructions
  • Copyright & Terms

2018 Blog Planner - DesignerBlogs.com 

planner 2018

Binders, printables, and accessories are the simple things that help me feel like I can tackle the New Year!  And in complete nerd fashion.. Office supplies are some of my favorite things! 

It’s funny how a nice pen or pretty binder can motivate me to stay organzed or at least try! 

planner stickers

If you are still with me in this long blog post, thanks for sticking around! I hope some of these ideas and resources can be helpful for you as you head into 2018! 

Remember I said there was one more thing that I hoped to share about coming into the New Year. 

 

  I love to journal and I really love looking back at what we were doing on any given day a year, two, or even three years ago. 

One thing I’ve found to be super fun and motivating is to list our goals of the new year.. Both individually for each of us and as a whole family!  

I just found last years and really enjoyed looking at how much of the list we had actually accomplished.

Sometimes indivually goals are pretty practical (coming of age) sort of things. Like a boy needs to be potty trained or we need to say goodbye to pacifiers or something similar. I also like to try to think of fun goals too.. like maybe investing in an interest that we’ve noticed etc. 

Ryan and I might set goals regarding our budget or a goal to go on more dates, 

For family goals they tend to be mostly practical as well.. items we want to do to our home or adventures/trips we hope to have, 

Writing it all down on one sheet of paper, can really be fun to look at throughout the year to remind yourself of the big pictures. And if your kids are old enough you could even set these goals during a family meeting! And don’t worry if 2018 has already started when you are reading this.. It’s not to late to have a great year! 

 

Thanks for sticking with me on this long post.. I hope you have an awesome New Year and that 2018 is full of Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace,

Deanna Grace

Cooking once for the whole month. Take 2!

Its February!  yay! We have less than a month until our due date! And boy am I feeling pregnant these days!! Can’t wait to meet this growing boy and to be done being pregnant! haha It’s truly amazing what our bodies can do, and being a part of this miracle is incredible!

 

I loved not cooking last month! I had a freezer stocked of 30 meals and didn’t have to worry about much when it came time to getting food on the table each night. No matter how busy we were or tired I was!

 

So, we did it again for this month! This time I chose to create my own menu from scratch, searching through so many wonderful recipes at Once a Month Meals! I mixed it up with different serving day options, mostly using my Instant Pot but also my oven!

I love how easy it is to find recipes your family will enjoy, and customize them for your family size!

 

This time along with the 30 meals for us, I also made a few dinners for my parent’s freezer and selected a few different recipes for lunches for myself. (Pizza stuffed sweet potatoes, turkey zucchini boats, and marinated chicken thighs, yum!)

 

I won’t deny that it was a lot of work and at the end of the day this time, I began to feel like I over did it… (at this point just trying to walk and breath is a workout though! ) AND the truly awesome thing is now I’m done cooking for a while and providing dinner for my family each night involves very minimal effort and hardly any mess! In fact looking at our schedule we will probably stretch these meals out through March as well!

 

I wanted to show you a few of the details and lists that I love about Once A Month Meals and why I wouldn’t do this without their wonderful help!

Read More

Once A Month Meals!

Once A Month Meals

Freezer cooking with menu planning help!

 


This Post May Contain Affiliate links. Purchasing through them may result in compensation with no added cost to you.

 

Have you ever prepared freezer meals for your family? It’s the process of preparing and cooking up a bunch of meals all at once and then freezing for a later time. It is really nice to have meals already prepared and ready to go when you are in a rush or the day has been crazy!

I’ve done freezer meal prep in the past for a few recipes. Usually, I just pick a few meals for either the crock pot or the oven and buy all the supplies to make them. Then I would spend the day making them all and sticking them in your freezer.  The mess and work all happens at one time and then done.

It does take some planning and it is work! But I think it can be really worth it. And you can add fun to it by inviting a friend to do it with you! I especially start thinking about this kind of prep right before a new baby arrives… since dinner time can be very unpredictable.

 

Recently I discovered a website called Once a Month Meals. They take this freezer prep/cooking idea to the max. I was instantly impressed by the organization and customization they provide.  I have signed up for meal planning help in the past and the only bummer I found in the ones I’ve tried is that you are kind of stuck with recipes your family doesn’t like.. no fun there!  With Once A Month Meals you can pick from their 6000+ recipes and substitute them into your plan And nothing else I have seen has been anywhere close to this! Read More

It’s Fall and Our First Year of Homeschool!

Here we are in September!!!

I love this month!  My birthday of course helps kick it off pretty well 🙂

And we’ve already enjoyed a few cooler days this week! I love the changing seasons and made my first pot of stew for dinner tonight! YUM!

 

We officially started Home School this week! We did a little bit of preschool learning last year but didn’t really stick to a plan or schedule and honestly Mommy got a little lazy with it… but it was a freebie year since William was still only 3/4. 🙂

 

But this year is different. We are ready for Kindergarten in this house!! William is so excited! And after getting over the first bout of intimidation I’ll admit I’ve become pretty excited too! He is still only 4 (will turn 5 first part of January) But we really don’t think it’s to early to start him.. He has already mastered so many of the basics that you would expect to have him learn before kindergarten that I couldn’t imagine repeating them all again! So we are moving forward!

I am blessed in the fact that William does really love to learn. He wants to know how things work and why and would take everything a part in the process if he was allowed.

 

For this school year our main focus will be basic Math skills and learning to read! Along with Bible memorization and just learning from things around us.. we will be keeping things pretty laid back as we reach these goals.

 

I certainly don’t want to come across as a “Homeschooler Blog” as in, you should come here for advice or anything.. but I do know that I’m not the only one just starting out, so maybe if I share some of the things I’m learning, it could help you too.. us newbies should stick together ( and read the real expert home school blogs too) 🙂

We start our day off with prayer and calendar time with this awesome calendar I made from pinterest!

calendar

 

Here is where I found this awesome idea and the FREE printable.  This blog is pretty awesome so make sure you sign up to follow her for more tips and tools!

Home Preschool Calendar Board

Also, I’m hoping to just fill our lives with great habits and more structure (something that I should have already been enforcing but we won’t dwell on that!) So, now we start our day off with teeth brushed, making beds, and actually getting dress which has been super hard for my boys to understand, they want to know where we are going! hahaha

 

For Math we went with Math-U-See curriculum. I really like how hands on it is with manipulative blocks and that it includes number recognition, writing numbers and geometry shapes all in one book! We are starting with the Primer

 

Now I do know that some people say this method is a little to close to “common Core” for their liking and that opinion is fine. But especially at this young age I don’t see us running into any issues. I find it to be a great method for solidifying our number recognitions and counting. Plus, I think the beauty of Home School is that you can find what works for you and your child.

For reading I decided to get Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. Recommended by a friend. You really can’t beat the price and it’s a full reading/writing curriculum in one book. Even the teacher’s notes (which are nice and extensive) are in the one book! I really like how the lessons are planned and I’m excited to teach William how to read. I found a lot of fun printable to go along with these lessons. Including a number chart so William can put a sticker on each lesson as we complete it. Also there is an Ipad version so later we’ll be able to practice our sounds on the iPad!

 

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ number 1-100 chart to mark off or place sticker after each lesson is complete.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ practice cards

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ practice sheets

For Bible we will be focusing on our Awana Club work! Our family has fallen in love with Awana!! I encourage you to find a group near you! Or even ask your church to start one!! Awana is so Christ-centered, gospel-focused. They concentrate on memorization of Scripture and Christ’s unspeakable love for every child!  William is in cubbies this year and James is in puggles. William will be working through his honeycomb book. He has a memory verse and a story to read each week. Also, most weeks he’ll have some extra stuff we can do during school as well.  Puggles offers some awesome parent cards to be able to reinforce what they are learning each week, here at home! They have awesome suggestions about bringing the gospel into everyday life and showing even little James how much He Is Loved!!

This Mamma loves that even at 2 years old James’ class is learning a lot!! They are going through Creation right now!! I love that they are taking the opportunities they have with even the youngest to share Jesus’ love for them. It isn’t just childcare while everyone else is in their classes!!

Side note: Ryan and I are volunteering too! We asked that we not be in our boys age group to give them and us a little space 🙂 so we get to work with the 8-10 year olds and we are having a blast!! Again it is so gospel-focused that these kids are memorizing verse after verse each week. And I love that I’m dwelling on them too as I help the kids! Anyways, all that to say we love Awana! 🙂

As for any other learning lessons.. I have a lot of products left over from our attempt last year and have been giving William little things to do because he loves them so much!  So,it might be a page about same and different, mazes, just practicing writing numbers or letters, etc. I have lots of flash cards about space and animals. And some learning games. So in a round about way I think we’ll learn a little science, a little history, a little health, a little of everything!

 

My Mom will be gathering ideas for Art! And I’m so glad it’s her and not me! hahaha The boys will love it!

Daddy will be teaching sign language once a week too!

 

Reading aloud has not been our strength in the past… Getting the boys to sit for a story hasn’t happened up until a couple of months ago!  So much so that I started reading aloud while they were playing and just hoped they were kind of listening. But things are getting better.

I read on a blog somewhere that suggested reading while the kids are eating their lunch and that has been fairly successful as long as I’ve had a chance to eat my lunch first! 🙂 Also, I’ve expanded our library some, to include books with a little more interest and a few more words than say your average Dr. Seuss… and the boys are really enjoying the stories a little more!

To keep myself accountable, organized and keep a record of what we’ve accomplished this year, I bought this planner from Amazon. I like how much space there is to write out each lesson! There is attendance and even report cards if you want to do that!

All in all I think we’ll enjoy this year. It has it’s challenges with James running around and Mommy feeling tired growing this baby. But, we are praying for a great year!

If you are also  homeschooling  I hope your year has begun smoothly! I’d love to know what blogs you like to follow or anything you’ve found to be helpful!

 

We can do this!! 🙂

Deanna Grace

Spice organization!!

One of the fun little projects that I’ve been able to accomplish during the giant kitchen project is revamping my spices! They will be going into a nice big drawer.. much better then the previous basket organization I had! trust me on that one!!

I bought racks from Ikea when we picked up the cabinets.. Amazon has some similar styles. But there are so many great ideas for spice racks and organization.

spice organization In this picture you can see I printed my labels on regular paper to test them out.

I wanted to check the size and which way I wanted to place them on each jar… I also printed out a couple other label samples to pick from but ended up with these!

The jars I decided on were from Cost Plus World Market, But, again there are soooo many to choose from!


Amazon also sells these sticker pages for the printer! I am in love with these!! And can’t wait to make labels for everything!!! 🙂
 These labels feed into your printer just like paper.

and then you simply cut out your label and

peel off the back paper to reveal the sticky side.

I read a tip about them on pinterest,

saying that you should wait 15 minutes between

printing sheets and cutting them out so that the

ink dries completely,  this would also be true if you

are printing more than one page so that it doesn’t smear each other.

 

 

 

William helped me fill the jars! It was a fun little project for us to work on together!

20160706_220105935_iOS spice reorganization

There are lots of label options as well.. many pinterest finds were great.

These fun labels here or here were some of the many I thought about using.

But Ultimately, I decided to just create my own with a fun font in Word. I thought this might help when I want to add more later!

spice labels

I think I’m going to love these when I can put them in the new drawer!!

 

pretty spices

And apparently I have way more spices than I realized. I started with 21 jars.

I have at least 15 more or so.. But I’ll just add them soon (maybe the next time I get a coupon for World Market! :))

 

 

 

 

 

Have you reorganized your spices? What do  you love about it?


Preparing for summer vacations?

This post may contain affiliate links to products and services we love. By making purchases through the links, your price remains the same but I will earn a small commission that helps to fund this site and maybe even my coffee obsession. All recommendations and opinions are always 100% my own.

 


It’s vacation season!! yay!

We haven’t done much vacationing as a family yet so there are some items we just need to invest in for this and  future trips..Just in case you need to upgrade some traveling “necessities” here’s a fun handy list!

sleeping bags (or I guess their new name is “slumber bags”? weird)

Suite case organization?? yes please!

 

Amazon.com

 

I just think those are so awesome!

For the kids suitcases I decided to try this idea… and I’m kind of in love with this plan!!

kids suitcase

Each bag has a shirt, pants, and either a diaper or undies (depending on child) for the day!

kids luggage

 

then because we are talking about the children there is an “extras” bag for each.

packing the kids

 

I am really excited to try this on our next trip, I really think it will eliminate some of the unorganized frustration of living out of a suitcase for a few days! AND a big plus will be if anyone wants to help me get boys dressed during the day it will be easy for anyone to find what they need! 🙂

need suite cases? Amazon has some great options!

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

These pinterest ideas for organization are Ah-mazing!!

 

free-printable-vacation-lis

 

packing list/outfit planner

 

 

I just love lists!! These help me keep all my thoughts in one place as I think about all the things each person needs!

And this probably goes without saying but I’ll say it anyways 🙂 It’s always a good idea to check local weather at your destination before you pack!

 

And if you don’t have a vacation planned yet, Don’t forget about Groupon Getaways!


Groupon Getaways

Whatever you do this summer, wherever you go, I hope you stay safe, have fun, and make memories!

 

Yay for summer family time!

 

 

 

Frugal Tips!

Budget Living!

 

Hey there….Before you run away from the word BUDGET! ahhh! You should know that I am what “they” call a Free Spirit. I would run from that word also, if it were not for my amazing husband. He has taught me the strength and confidence that comes from knowing where your money is, how much you have (even if it’s only a little), and having a plan for where it’s going!

 

We don’t have it completely figured out.. but we have learned the blessing of having money to give, saving for the things we want (even if it means we say no to some other things in the mean time) and having our funds organized so we know just what’s going on.

I plan to share with you some of the simple things we have learned through all of this… Ways to save on some bills, save of gift giving, products that work so you aren’t wasting your money… budget ideas to help get things organized! 🙂

 

so stay tuned…..