Once a Month Cooking

Have you ever done Once-a-Month cooking? The idea is that you do all your dinner cooking/prepping in one day and freeze it all. Then you have ready-to-go meals the rest of the month. It saves time and money, and it’s healthier than store-bought freezer meals. I’ve decided to give it a try. During winter I do a lot of crock pot cooking anyway.

I’m kind of a picky eater (thankfully my kids aren’t), and can’t always find recipes we will all like. Over on Pinterest I have pinned a bunch of crock-pot and freezer meal sites and recipes. I sifted through them and found 24 recipes that I wanted to do, including ones I do already. 2 of the recipes even made double, so at the end of the day I had 26 meals ready to go.

On Friday, with only 2 of my kids shopping with me, I bought what I needed. And on Saturday I prepped and cooked. I spent about 2 hours prepping/cooking and $180 on ingredients (thank you Winco). I got freezer bags and pans at our local dollar store, and labeled them with masking tape and a sharpie. The labels have the recipe name and cooking instructions.

Here is what I made (recipes linked):

For crockpot

Honey Sesame Chicken

Curry (mine)…no link yet

For Oven
Cheese Lasagna (basic)…no link
Baked Macaroni & Cheese (mine)…no link yet

And a bonus link! There are a few recipes in here that call for a ‘cream of –‘ soup. Instead of using a canned soup, I used this recipe, and will add water at the time of cooking.

Cream of “something” soup recipe

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Home Organization – Playroom

For this weeks organization challenge on A Bowl Full of Lemons we are doing the playroom. I do not have a separate play room. What I do have is a large family room where all the toys have an area. We don’t yet have couches for our family room, so the play area is less contained than I’d like.

I admit that these are not current photos. They were taken in the summer. But things are pretty much still like this. Every few weeks things get really bad and the kids seem to dump out every toy they own. I gather them from all over the house (where they shouldn’t really be). And then we sit in the middle and sort and put away.
I have gotten rid of a bunch of toys. Everything broken, or puzzles with more than 3 missing pieces got tossed. A whole slew of toys got donated. And things got put away up in boxes in the tops of the kids’ closets to be rotated with the other toys later.
The bottom photo is how it’s generally supposed to look. And they do look that way about once a week or so. But it never lasts. When my kids clean up their toys it’s only about 2% cleaning and 98% playing with things they just found in the mess.

The train table is rarely used for train tracks, the floor just has so much more space to lay the tracks on. The drawers under the train table house the tracks and building blocks. The stuffed animals go in an old laundry basket. All the other toys are sorted into cloth bins. Each child has a color (purple, pink, blue or green) and has their toys in their bins. They have a matching bin with their other toys up in their closets. And some of the bigger toys go in the empty spaces of the shelf, or on top of it (or the train table apparently).
And please ignore the mess by the sewing machine…I haven’t gotten to organizing my craft area 🙂

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Home Organization -Dining Room

On A Bowl Full of Lemons Home Organization 101 challenge, I am working on the dining room. I don’t have a separate dining room. When we added on to our house we put the dining table into the large new family room. It makes it easier to clean I guess, with one a table and chairs to worry about.

Where the dining area used to be I put in a credenza. I bought it off Craigslist. It was a medium brown color, so I painted it and I replaced the old knobs too. It fits some of my larger kitchen gadgets and baking supplies. And the drawer on the right end is my junk drawer, so I don’t have stuff piled on my kitchen counter (well, not as much stuff). For the organization challenge I decided to take advantage of the wall space and add some shelves. Now I have some more space to put things. And right now that includes Christmas decor.

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Home Organization – Mudroom

Still catching up on the Bowl Full of Lemon’s Home Organization 101 challenges. This past week I did the ‘mudroom’. I don’t actually have a mud room, but I do have a blank wall near my front door. When we first moved in to this house I bought a storage bench thing for shoes, and some hooks for coats. It was fine when there were only 4 of us, and 2 of them were small children. Well, it’s been 5 1/2 and a lot has changed. Those kids are getting bigger, and there are twice as many of them. And that means more (and bigger) shoes and coats.
So, I made a trip to Lowes and got more coat hooks. And I actually went through the pile of shoes and got rid of the ones that were too small or worn out. Now everything fits (except large boots), each person has their own coat hook. So much nicer for the entryway.


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Home Organization – Kids Closets

I’m a little behind on the home organization challenge from A Bowl Full of Lemons. I guess my Pinterest challenge and Halloween and birthdays have kept me pretty busy. Anyway, the next challenge is kids closets. My kids share rooms, 2 girls in one room, 2 boys in the other. So their closets are pretty full. We also keep their dressers in there to free up floor space in room. We’ve been fairly organized in the past, but it was definitely time to clean it up and get things back in order.

First up the girls room:

The girls have a lot of dresses. I put up a second, lower shelf and closet rod so the younger one could reach her own clothes. That has been a good and a bad thing. I do find the dresses scattered across the floor every now and then.
The top rod has the girls’ leotards, some sweaters and jackets, skirts, a couple nice shirts, and dresses and Indian suits for my oldest. The bottom has the Indian/Fijian dresses and regular dresses for my younger daughter. I separated out the long and short sleeved dresses for her.

On to the boys room.They don’t have quite as much to hang up, so they have just one closet rod. They also have a box for outgrown clothes, and the hanging organizer for misc closet things.

The clothes for my 1 year old are on the left and for my 6 year old on the right. They too have their Indian suits on the ends. On top of the outgrown clothes box I also keep the extra diapers and wipes.

It’s so nice to have things straightened up again.

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