Keeping it Together

I had a friend ask me recently how I’m “keeping it together” with three part-time jobs, three kids still living at home who have commitments of their own to keep me running so I thought I would take a moment to post some of the same information I gave her.


I use two different calendars to keep my life together – both of them send notifications to my smart phone so I don’t forget any voice lesson, meeting, marching band event, etc. creates a calendar for the entire family and lets you assign each family member a color so that you can tell at a glance whether the event is for the whole family, just a few people or only one.  Each family member can use their own login name and a family-wide password to add items to the calendar.  On Cozi, you can also create a to-do list for each family member.  I especially love that feature because I can then send each list to the cell phone of the family member I made the list for!  With the smart phone app, my twice-monthly grocery list can be carried around on my phone and each item “checked off” as it is added to the cart. Just click on the link above to visit!

Google calendar will also send notifications to your phone if you choose that option.  Hubby and I each have a Google calendar that we have shared with each other so his information shows up on my calendar (color-coded again for easy visual discrimination).  The reason I maintain both calendars is due to the fact that the choral department at the local high school uses Google calendar as well and the director will share his calendars with parents as well so the entire choir schedule is there at a glance!  I run a summer youth theater and maintain a separate calendar for that which I have shared with my hubby and my personal calendar.  Just go to Google and click on the Calendar tab on the top bar.


I have learned the joys of freezer cooking!  Hubby gets paid on the 15th and at the end of the month and I am able to spend a few hours on two different days putting up at least two weeks worth of meals.  Don’t know how to freezer cook? Just do a Google search.  Or, if you are a “pinner”, you can find LOADS of great ideas on Pinterest!  I’ve even taken some recipes I’ve inherited from my mother and turned them into freezer recipes (best example – I make the sloppy joe recipe that my mother concocted and then simply freeze it in a freezer bag until I need it for a meal).


This may sound a little silly, but I make sure to do fun things on a regular basis – usually every day.  Reading a book (I keep a running list of books I want to read and make use of my local library or head to Books Should be Free to download the classics for free – just click on the link to visit.), cross-stitch, a favorite game of solitaire, etc.  It may be something as simple as painting my nails or going out for Starbucks, but I take moment for myself just to make sure I don’t completely lose my mind!

The other thing I do is ask for help!  I have three able-bodied children and a husband.  They can load a dishwasher, get a freezer meal out to defrost and get it going in the crockpot and all of my kids can do their own laundry (and are expected to do so!)

Okay, so this isn’t all that profound.  But I’m fairly certain that I would already be losing my mind if I hadn’t stumbled on these tips and ideas (and it’s only one week into the school year!).  Happy cooking . . . organizing . . . staying sane!

The Joy of Freezer Cooking!

I have fallen in love with freezer cooking!  Whether it’s a quick recipe that means mixing together a sauce and freezing it in a bag with a particular cut/type of meat or a more complex recipe that has me chopping veggies, boiling sauce, browning ground beef, etc. it’s all worth it.  I spend one really busy day and have numerous entrees to show for it!

I started today with 4 entrees in my freezer (I have a “standing” freezer so I can afford to freeze quite a few entrees!) and added 11 more entrees today.  I also put together another recipe that was supposed to be a freezer meal but we plan on making it for Sunday dinner after church tomorrow so it’s currently marinating in the fridge. I also put up two meals worth of twice baked potatoes – they were baked once, the insides scooped out to make the filling, the filling put back in and the tatoes frozen, waiting their second baking.

The link below contains most of the meals I cooked today – I used recipes from a couple of other sources as well.  The ONLY one I didn’t use from the blog was the BBQ.  The chicken pot pie recipe is time-consuming but so worth it – I have three full-sized homemade chicken pot pies in my freezer!

Let’s face it – anything that makes life easier is worth investing our time in.  I put in a total of six hours today and got 11 entrees plus two side dishes put up.  From here, it’s a simple matter of taking something out of the freezer in the evening and either getting in the crockpot the next day, grilling it, or baking it.  In other words, I have dinner already started for the next two weeks!  Believe me, life just got a whole lot easier!

The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis: Freezer Cooking #2.