Category: Organization

Beginning Our Chest Freezer Journey

Peter and I recently bought a seven cubic foot chest freezer!! I am so incredibly excited about this purchase! It is going to make my life easier in so many ways. We bought it just a week ago and I’m already feeling less stressed. Putting a chest freezer in our house is allowing me to do monthly shopping trips instead of weekly. This is huge, as I live 20 minutes away from our grocery store. It also allows me to buy meat in bulk which saves tons of time and tons of money.

In a month and a half I am getting my first 40 pounds shipment of chicken breasts from Zaycon fresh. It’ll be about three months worth of chicken for my family. (We eat chicken just about every other day.) Once the chicken comes then I will do another post explaining how I have divided that. It’s already planned, but things may change.

I also plan on getting 20 pounds of shrimp from Zaycon in the summer. That will be about a year’s worth of shrimp for my family. All meats that I can buy in bulk will make my monthly shopping trips that much easier. Here is the plan for my monthly shopping trips:

1st of all, my Brother-In-Law works at a grocery store and told me that the first full week of the month is usually when the best deals are. So, that’s when I’ll be aiming to make my trips, on either a Saturday or Sunday morning. I want to get there early enough to beat the weekend crowd. Plus when I return from shopping I’ll still have the whole day ahead of me to do freezer meals, prepare fruits and veggies, etc.

Obviously I need to meal plan for the whole month. I figure I’ll plan 6 meals a week. The 7th day I’ll leave open for either visiting, eating out or eating up leftovers. (Usually most our leftovers get eaten for lunch.)

A couple months ago our town got a Dollar General. So, I don’t plan on getting a whole month’s worth of milk, eggs, bread, etc. because I can do weekly mini trips to DG. And I actually prefer to do mini weekly trips for such things to save money. Because most Saturdays DG has a spend $25 get $5 off coupon. Or if I don’t have that much to spend I usually have a $3 off $15 coupon for doing a survey after my last visit. It also saves money because I use Ibotta to get cash back and they will renew coupons after a week. So, for example, usually I can get $0.25 back for a single loaf of bread a week. So it makes more sense to buy one or two loaves a week than 6 in the beginning of the month, because I’ll get $1 back instead of a quarter.

I’ve done many freezer meals over the past month or so and I plan to blog about those soon. But in the meantime here are some links I’ve found helpful:

When deciding to purchase our chest freezer I realized people either love chest freezers or hate them! And the biggest complaint (by far) of those that hate them is that they become so unorganized, you don’t know what’s in it, can’t find what you want, etc. Obviously our chest freezer is new, perhaps I’ll have these complaints myself in a year. But for now I’ve kept an organized inventory list of what is in our chest freezer. A page with the freezer meals listed, a page with fruits listed, a page with vegetables listed, I’m sure I’ll have a page of meats that aren’t yet made into meals listed, snacks, etc. once I fill it more.

I’m glad I’m doing this right from the start with my chest freezer instead of waiting until it becomes messy. This way, writing things down as I put them in, crossing them off the list as I take them out is habit! I organize my listings like this: Date. Item. Number of items in tally form. So I have an entry that looks like this:

2/14/18: Sandwich bag of blueberries: 111

When I use a bag, I cross off a tally. When I use the last bag, I cross the line out.

I also keep everything in reusable grocery bags. I use the same categories I use for my inventory pages. In fact the top of every inventory page reminds me of what the reusable bag looks like that I will find these items in. Ex: Chicken freezer meals: Blue Walmart bag.

I’m so excited to continue this freezer meal journey and hope to have more tips to share soon!!

My Ideal Schedule

My kids have no sort of daily schedule. I consider this one of my biggest accomplishments and failures as a mother, depending on the day you ask me. I like that my kids don’t have such a strict schedule that it makes it hard to conform to other’s schedules in regards to play dates and such. “Noah naps 10-12 so we can meet anytime after that.” Oh, Olivia goes down at noon, she’ll be up by 2, maybe we can meet then?” “Well, actually 2 is bath time, then Noah goes down for his afternoon nap around quarter to 3…” I love not having to feel like I’m solving a riddle to make a time for a play date.

BUT, admittedly, I feel like if my kids were on a schedule, I would be able to get a lot more done, in terms of radio station work (so that I don’t have to stay up until midnight doing it), housework and fun activities with them throughout the day. Right now we just wing it everyday. Will they nap today? Who knows. Will they have 3 meals? Hopefully… with a couple healthy snacks in between would be ideal. Lennon is 20 months old and in many ways I feel like we’re still in survival mode, where my goal is just for us all to make it through another day alive. I don’t think it needs to be that way anymore, it’s just what we’re used to.

In theory it’d be great to have my kids be on a schedule, but not so strictly that they become hot messes when the schedule is changed. Why can’t kids be more resilient to change? Haha. I think they may be old enough now that I can make this work, get them slightly scheduled. Here’s what I’m going to try for:

6 am: I wake up, shower, do some cleaning or meal prep to start my day productively

7 am: kids wake up, get ready for their day, breakfast

Play, snuggle, read, dance parties, etc. together

10 am: snack time

Kids play independently while I do radio work

Noon: lunch

1 pm: nap time, Lennon until about 3:00, Lucille until about 2:00. Cleaning time for me.

2 pm: craft time with Lucille while Lennon naps

3 pm: snack time

More playing, snuggling, reading, dance parties together

5:30 pm: dinner

Cleaning, organizing, or grocery shopping while Peter plays with kids

7:30 pm: bath time every other night

Wind down as a family, watch a show and then read a book

8:30: bed time

Catch up on anything that can’t wait until the next day and quality time with Peter

10 pm: bed time for me

I am not going to get super obsessed with this schedule and force snack at 10 am or anything like that. But I thought if I could make a visual list of what I’d like our day to look like, it’ll be easier to achieve something resembling it.