Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Organize a Kitchen Junk Drawer

How much junk can I cram into a small kitchen drawer?

A lot!

After rearranging these contents several times just to close the junk drawer (don't tell me this doesn't happen to you), I decided it was another excellent small space for OrgJunkie's 28 Day Organizing Challenge.

The decision to organize made, I immediately emptied the contents of the drawer on my kitchen table and sorted everything into piles.

How in the world did all that junk fit into one small drawer?!

And how many packages of sweet 'n sour sauce does a person really need?!  I had been wondering why I smelled BBQ when I opened the drawer.  And the bottle stuff?  Sam hasn't used a bottle for at least 6 months!

After throwing away the damaged BBQ packets, returning to their basement home the screws and rubber bands, and designating a new home for the bottle paraphernalia, I began the task of putting it all back in the drawer.
I kind of hated to clutter up such a beautiful space!  But an empty drawer isn't very useful so I got over that pretty quick.

Having everything already sorted made the organizing job relatively simple.  I just designated bins (which were in the drawer before but had no order to them) for the different groups.

Pens, sticky pads, and scissors went in one bin; straws, measuring spoons and knife in the second container; and lighters, matches, and house stuff in the third.  If you look closely you'll see I kept a couple of the condiment packets - but not many!!

The whole task took me about 15 minutes (during nap time) but it saves me at least that much time each week when I'm looking for something.  I like not feeling irritated when I open the kitchen junk drawer!  And that's worth spending 15 minutes for.

How much stuff do you have in your kitchen junk drawer?  Can you close it without rearranging the contents?

Riding Boston's T or Subway on Family Fun Friday


Our entire family celebrated Ben's birthday on February 22 with a trip to Boston's New England Aquarium (Aquarium FFF next week).

Neither Joel nor myself wanted the torture pleasure of driving in downtown Boston on a Monday so we opted to drive to Braintree, Massachusetts and ride the T the rest of the way.
Riding public transportation may sound odd for Family Fun Friday but it was a fun experience for my kids and that's what FFF is all about. 

On Sunday night Joel looked over the MBTA website to see what lines and stops we needed.  He also checked the prices - kids ride FREE!  Yippee!

I'm sure we looked like country-come-to-town by taking pictures on the T but I couldn't help myself. For my kids it was a first time experience and their LOUD exclamations over everything (tunnels, the repeated stops, looking out the windows) probably made that obvious.
We got on the T at the next to last stop on the Red Line (bottom right corner), changed to the Yellow Line for one stop, then rode the Blue line for one stop to the Aquarium.  That stop put us just outside where we wanted to be!

William was very nervous about missing our trains.  He kept trying to hurry us and saying "the train's going to leave without us!!"  We tried to reassure him that another one would be along in a few minutes but he didn't understand.

If you are considering a trip into Boston, here are a few of my thoughts about the T as a mom:
  • At no time did I feel unsafe, though I was nervous about losing a child when we came home during the 5:00 pm rush!  
  • There were sections that were dirty, confusing and in need of TLC but I  have no qualms about taking my kids back by myself DURING THE DAY.
  • 5 minutes was the longest wait for a train.
  • Sam rode in his stroller.  Only once did the wheels get caught going from the platform into the train.  However, finding an elevator was not always easy.  They were NOT well marked and are quite small so a 'Travel System' would NOT be fun to use.
  • Joel and I carried the stroller (with Sam in it) up and down some of the stairs.  It was easier than looking for the elevator.
  • GermX (need I say more?)
The stereotype about New Englanders being unfriendly is not always true (says the Southerner who's lived in N.E. for 12+ years).

On the ride home a drywall installer struck up a conversation with Joel.  They chatted all the way down the red line!  He was very friendly and picked up on Joel's "southern" accent.  (My hubby grew up in Asia and Africa, his southern accent is extremely faint!!)

We also had a lovely conversation with an elderly lady in an elevator.  She was a former nursery school teacher and enjoyed talking with my children.

There you have our experience on Boston's T (subway).

What has been your experience riding public transportation?

Family Fun Friday is a weekly column.  Feel free to leave a link in the comments to your own posts about a fun activity your family has recently experienced.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Ben!

Dear Benjamin,

Today you are 5 years old.  How did this happen?!  It feels like just yesterday I walked the hospital hallway waiting for you to be born.

My obstetrician, Dr. M. guessed that you were around 8 pounds.  She was very surprised by how big you were when she delivered you.  I remember her asking the nurses how much you weighed - 9 pounds 9 ounces.  No wonder my belly was so big!!

You are about average in size now but even our pediatrician, Dr. S., says you are "solid."  He's right!  You are very muscular.  Probably because you are extremely active.  You love to play outside, run up and down our hallway and literally climb the walls.

For the last 6 months you've been very interested in animals.  During rest time you usually pour over the pictures in your animal encyclopedia or your bird encyclopedia.  At the library you are more interested in the animal books than the story books.  One day you'll be able to read the descriptions of the animals for yourself but for now you are happy to have Daddy or me read them to you.

Your interest in animals is also evident in your drawings.  Almost every day you fill pages and pages with pictures of various animals you've seen in your books or watching videos.  All that practice is making you really good at drawing.

Your personality has definitely developed this past year.  Without a doubt you are an introvert and very shy.  Large groups of people scare you.  Making new friends is not easy for you.  It's hard for me not to push you to be more outgoing.  I know the smart and funny boy that you are and I want other people to know that about you also.

I am glad God put you in our family 5 years ago so I can watch you grow up.  Just don't grow up too fast!  Happy Birthday!!

Love always,

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kitchen Table Science Experiments on Family Fun Friday

A couple of years ago Joel received Gospel Light's Big Book of God's Amazing Creation for a Christmas gift.

(This post is not intended to be a book review but I will say that if you are looking for simple science experiments to do with your children at home (or in a Sunday school setting) this book is for you!)

A few weeks ago Joel pulled out the book and conducted a some science experiments at our kitchen table.  Who says you can't have school on Saturday?!

Unfortunately not everyone had fun.  Due to the messy nature of the experiment Sam was strapped into his booster seat and pushed an appropriate distance from the table (meaning- he couldn't reach anything!).  It didn't take long for him to get bored watching us.

A bored little Razorback.

Will, Ben and Ellie LOVED the traditional volcano experiment!  I'm not sure who had more fun - the kids or Joel and I watching them.

Do you ever conduct science experiments with your family?

Family Fun Friday is a weekly column.  Feel free to leave a link in the comments to your own posts about a fun activity your family has recently experienced.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Crazy 5K Goal

In January, I set a crazy goal for myself - run the Cox Rhode Races 5K on May 2, 2010 in Providence, Rhode Island.  Running 3.1 miles may not sound crazy to you but for this mom of 4 with rheumatoid arthritis running any amount sounds crazy!!

Because one challenge is never enough for me, I have joined with as a runner to raise support for Jenefer Sarrosa, a participant in Compassion International's Leadership Development Program (LDP).

I am honored to help Jenefer accomplish her goal of a college education.  A graduate of Compassion's Child Sponsorship program, Jenefer is currently attending college in the Philippines to earn a degree in Psychology.  She is a bright young lady who worked hard to be admitted into the LDP. (You can read more about her accomplishments at 

Will you join me in assisting Jenefer by giving to her LDP sponsorship

I have set a goal to raise $600* for Jenefer by May 2.  Will you partner with me to help Jenefer by donating $5 for each mile I will run on May 2?  If 40 people donate $15 each we will reach $600* together. 

Here's how you give:
  • Visit
  • Fill out the Sponsor form.
  • Write a check to 'Compassion International' with ' Sarrosa' on the memo line**.
  • Mail the check to:, 864 Diamond Rim Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921.
Thank you for supporting me and Jenefer as we accomplish our goals!  I can't wait to share with you the results of our partnership and my race day.

*$600 covers Jenefer's costs (tuition, room, board, misc.) for 2 months.
** Donations to Compassion International are tax deductible.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

5 Tips to Manage RA, Fatigue, and a Family

Have you ever gone to the beach and tried to run through knee-deep water?

It's pretty hard to do.

Either you keep your legs in the water and slog your way through or you lift your legs out of the water and splash wildly.  Regardless of the choice you make, your progress will be slow and tiring.

Running through knee-deep water at the beach feels a lot like going through my day with rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue.

Chronic fatigue is one of the major symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. The 'chronic' part means it doesn't completely go away no matter how much I sleep or rest.  The 'fatigue' part means extreme tiredness, lack of energy, or weariness.

Honestly there are days when the fatigue overwhelms me.  On those days we do the minimum amount house work and school work.  I generally lay on the couch resting while my children play in their bedrooms (and make huge messes!).

Thankfully I've learned a few tricks to lessen chronic fatigue so that those overwhelmed days are not the norm for us.

Here's how I manage chronic fatigue and a busy household:
  1. Plan my daily routine.  Having a routine or schedule means I don't have to waste energy thinking about what activity we should do next.  We just follow our routine and do what needs to be done. 
  2. Just do one more thing.  I frequently feel too tired to clean up a messy room.  But I can usually find the energy to 'do one more thing.' By breaking a task down into small steps I don't feel overwhelmed and get the job done.
  3. Exercise.  I recently added exercise to my routine.  Right now it's only 30 minutes a day but I feel an increase in energy and decrease in joint stiffness.
  4. Eat less (or no) caffeine and sugar.  I removed hot black tea from my diet in December and have experienced fewer headaches.  I also have a better sense of my energy level.  It wasn't easy to give up my tea but I feel better as a result. 
  5. Rest after lunch each day. Following lunch all four of my children rest on their beds.  My 1 and 3 year olds nap for 2 hours, while my 5 and 6 year olds sit quietly and read books for an hour.  It is occasionally a battle to keep the big boys on their beds but it is worth the fight for me to have an hour of rest on most days!!
Dealing with chronic fatigue is an unfortunate effect of rheumatoid arthritis.  But by learning a few coping strategies I've made sure fatigue doesn't keep me from enjoying life with my family. 

*** This post is part of my Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis series.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one on TV. This post is intended to tell my experiences NOT to serve as medical advice. If your symptoms sound similar, please consult a physician.

Disclaimer: I have not been asked by a pharmaceutical company or any related organizations to write these posts. I have not been compensated for these posts in anyway (including money, medication, or medical treatments).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier

Beatrice's Goat by Page McBrier.  Illustrated by Lori Lohstoeter.  Simon and Schuster, 2001.

Beatrice, a young girl who lives in Kisinga, Uganda,  dreams of attending school but her family is too poor to send her (public schools as we know them do not exist in Uganda).

Thankfully an international organization (Heifer Project International) helps Beatrice's family by giving them a pregnant goat.  The money earned from selling the goat's milk and baby is enough to send Beatrice to school as well as raise the family out of poverty.

Releasing children, and families, from poverty is a topic dear to my heart.  Two years ago we began sponsoring 3 children in Uganda through Compassion International.  Our sponsorship and Compassion is a post for another day, but Robinson, Ejau, and Hellen are the reasons we picked up this book from the library.

Wanting to learn more about life in Uganda (though Compassion has TONS of information!), I searched my local library for books.  Beatrice's Goat is one of a handful of children's picture books that came up in my search.  I'm glad it did!

Beatrice's Goat provides an tasteful introduction to the topic of poverty in Africa.  The descriptions of Beatrice's life (fetching water, working in the garden, washing clothes in the stream) give children accurate details to raise their awareness of how different her life is from theirs.

The illustrations capture the vibrant colors and lifestyle of African village life.  Beatrice is seen carrying water in large metal or plastic containers.  Her mother wears a young child strapped to her back while balancing a huge bunch of banana-like fruit on her head.  And everyone wears traditional African clothing, except when at school.

More than just a picture book, Beatrice's Goat is a true story from the files of the Heifer Project.  I know very little about the organization and do not mean this to be an endorsement of their work.  But if you are interested in helping change a life in Africa I heartily recommend Compassion International!

I also heartily recommend Beatrice's Goat to anyone wanting to expose children to African cultures, poverty, or charitable giving!

Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Organize a Girl's Hair Accessory Drawer

Little girls come with a vast array of hair accessories.  Ellie is only 3 years old but already she owns:  big bows, little bows, pony tail holders, ribbons, barrettes, combs, brushes, and one princess crown.

What is a person (namely MOM) supposed to do with all those hair accessories?!

Until this week, I just threw them all into the top drawer of Ellie's dresser (I picked the top drawer because my 15 month old son can't reach it).  It was a jumbled up mess, which gave me a twinge of annoyance every time I opened the drawer.

Well, no more of that!  I have completely reorganized the drawer.  Here's how I did it:

I have no idea what an old electric blanket cord was doing in her drawer!  And the clothes were 18 months, have I mentioned that she's 3?!

Doesn't that look better?!

I bought all of the containers at Walmart.  The white basket holding Ellie's combs and brushes was part of a set of 4 for $1.  The brown basket, which holds all of her bows, was $1.  And the 3 mini drawers was $4, a little pricy but worth the money to organize her pony tail holders, ribbons, and necklaces.

I'm pleased with how Ellie's drawer looks.  Now to figure out how to organize my big girl hair accessories!

Visit Org Junkie's 28 Day Organizing Challenge for more organizing tips and inspiration.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beauty and the Beast on Family Fun Friday

Every Friday on the drive home from our Home School Co-op William tells me all about his drama class.  They've done Improv and short skits.  Learned various theater terms.  And even learned to 'die' (that one was especially funny to watch at home!!).

With such an interest in theater and performing, I felt it would be a shame not to take him to the Providence Performing Arts Center.  So, this week Will and I took our first Mother-Son date to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

He was not thrilled about the idea to say the least.  He didn't want to miss out on "Daddy Time" after supper.  He felt nervous about going someplace new.  And it's a play about a princess - apparently princesses are now only for girls.  Me being the mean mama that I am, I insisted him go anyway.

I even made him wear church clothes! {gasp}  AND I put gel in his hair in an attempt to make it lay down.  Believe me, it's only sticking up a little bit in this picture!  He didn't want the gel because he thought people would laugh at him with his hair laying down.  My poor, poor boy.

Once all dolled up, we headed off to Providence.  When we turned the corner and saw the lights of the theater he finally got excited about our date night.

It is an impressive sight to turn the corner and see this large sign all lit up.

After picking up our tickets, we made our way to the nosebleed section upper balcony.  One of the volunteers kindly allowed me to snap a couple of pictures inside before the show started.  Apparently this is a no-no but she was very gracious and understanding.

If you look closely you can just make out Will in the picture on the left.

When the show started he was captivated - and full of questions. Thankfully there were only about 20 people in our section because he asked questions through the whole show. Some of his questions were related to the story line (he's only watched the Disney movie once); while others had to do with the actors and set.

Did he enjoy the experience?  Well, on the way home he wanted to know if there are other plays and can we go see them, so I think it's safe to say he's a theater fan in the making.

Do you enjoy attending the theater?  What's your favorite performance?

By the way, my goal is to post a Family Fun Friday each week.  Feel free to leave a link in the comments to your own posts about a fun activity your family has experienced recently.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Pregnancy and Enbrel

*** This post is part of my Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis series.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Remember that question? All grown-ups seem to ask it once a child reaches 5 or 6 years old. Do you remember how you answered it?

I do.

I always said I wanted to be a mama. I usually added a few other occupations for good measure - a teacher, a librarian, or Wonder Woman. But these were always in addition to being a mom.

I've mentioned before that in 2000 rheumatoid arthritis was rapidly taking away my energy and the ability to use my hands. I feared how my disease would impact a pregnancy and daily life as a mom.

Well, by 2002 my energy and mobility had greatly improved thanks to Enbrel.  About this same time Joel and I decided it was time for us to add to our family (we'd been married for 5 years).  At that time data on Enbrel and pregnancy was very limited so we followed my rheumatologist's advice and I went off all medication.

About 6 months later, in full flare, I was pregnant.  O happy day!!  Thankfully I did not have a job at this time.  If I had, they would have fired me because I was sick and exhausted, and exhausted and sick, until about 12 weeks.  Around that time the exhaustion lifted (though the nausea hung around for a while longer).

I jokingly tell my husband I would always feel great if I could stay 2nd trimester pregnant all the time (puking is over but I'm not as big as a barn).  That may sound odd until you learn that for most women RA goes into remission (inactive) during pregnancy!

The funny thing is that after the baby's born RA usually rears it's ugly head again.  I'm no exception.  6 weeks after delivery I start feeling the old aches and pains and inflammation again.

With William (my firstborn) I again followed my rheumatologists advice and stopped nursing after 8 weeks so I could go back on Enbrel.  That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do!  I did NOT want to give up nursing but what good was nursing if I could barely hold him.

We adjusted to life with a baby and about a year later decided to again add to our family.  I knew this time that I could NOT care for an infant and be in a flare (the term for when the disease becomes especially active).  I also knew that Enbrel leaves your body fairly quickly (because it is a live protein). 

So we took a risk.  I stayed on Enbrel until we knew I was pregnant.  I never expected that to be a month later!!  My fatigue was MUCH better this time around because I wasn't in a flare.  Once again my RA went away - until 6 weeks after Ben was born.  With him I managed to breastfeed until about 12 weeks before weaning and going back on Enbrel.

I repeated this story 2 more times - using Enbrel until I had a positive pregnancy test (usually by 6-8 weeks) and then enjoying remission for the remainder of the pregnancy.  And 6 weeks after the baby was born I would feel my RA waking up.

With Ellie and Sam (babies 3 & 4) I managed to stay off Enbrel until they were about 12-16 weeks old.  But, unlike with Will and Ben, I did NOT wean them.  I continued breastfeeding AND took Enbrel.

Let me say here that this was against the official advice of my rheumatologist and the makers of Enbrel.  My story is not intended to be medical advice.  If you are on Enbrel and considering pregnancy/breast feeding consult your doctor for what's best for you.

My understanding is that the data indicates Enbrel in pregnancy and breastfeeding is fine but no scientific research/tests have been done to be conclusive on this.

Ellie weaned herself by 9 months so her exposure was limited.  I nursed Sam until he was 13 months so his exposure was a little longer.  I'll be honest that my mommy guilt sometimes kicks in and I wonder if they will pay for my decision at some point in the future.  But for now they are both healthy and average kids.

So, ten years after my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis I am living my childhood dream.  I am a mama - 4 times over.  I am also a home school teacher with enough books in my home to qualify me as a librarian.  Now if I could just find a pair of Wonder Woman's bracelets...

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one on TV. This post is intended to tell my experiences NOT to serve as medical advice. If your symptoms sound similar, please consult a physician.

Disclaimer: I have not been asked by a pharmaceutical company or any related organizations to write these posts. I have not been compensated for these posts in anyway (including money, medication, or medical treatments).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock

Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock (Book 1) by Carolyn Keene.

A chance meeting with two spinster sisters and their great-niece starts Nancy on a clue hunt to discover where Josiah Crowley hid his last will.

In typical children's mystery fashion, Nancy sweetly finds a way into the home of the un-rightful heirs, spends an afternoon stranded in a boat and is locked in a closet. 

Nancy is an old pal of mine so reading this book felt like a walk down memory lane but, like Anne of Green Gables, I found this reading to be different from when I was ten (imagine that!).

Nancy disappointed me with her less than gracious discussions of the Tophams.  And the way strangers unburden their personal financial struggles to her is a little hard to believe at times. 

But.  I do enjoy Nancy.

I think she's a great introduction to the mystery genre for kids.  (It helps to remember Nancy Drew is a CHILDREN'S book character and not expect too much of the mystery.)  I'm looking forward to the day I introduce Nancy to my children.

Have you read any Nancy Drew Mysteries?

Visit 5 Minutes for Books for more children's mystery reviews.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What does the weekly shopping list for a family of 6 look like?

You probably could not care less about my weekly grocery shopping list.  But I thought it would be fun to 'document' it now so that when my 3 boys are teenagers I can look back and laugh at myself for moaning about how much my little guys ate.

I've mentioned before that I try to menu plan and shop for a whole month in one trip.  Those shopping trips are only staples and meat.  I have a very small kitchen, pantry and refrigerator/freezer so I can't do a lot of stocking up.

So here are some things I buy weekly:
  • 5 gallons of milk
  • 4-5 loaves of wheat bread
  • 24 apples
  • 2 bunches of bananas (approx. 12 total)
  • another 2-3 pounds of fruit (whatever's on sale)
  • 5 lbs. of baby carrots (this is actually every 2 weeks)
  • 1-2 lbs. of raw broccoli
  • 1.5 lb. of sliced American cheese
  • 1 box of raisins
  • 3-4 boxes of dry cereal (mini wheats, cheerios, 'sugar' cereal)
  • 1-2 dozen eggs
  • 1 box saltine crackers
That's just my weekly shopping list.  There's always something that I've run out of or am about to run out of that gets added to the list.

How much does it cost me? $75 to $100 every week (depending on how much other stuff is added to the list).

Let me be clear.  This does NOT include meat, chips, soda, snack bars or any kind of junk food.

One of my goals for this year is to spend less at the grocery store but seeing my list this way makes me realize I'm not buying junk - I'm just feeding SIX hungry people!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Family Ball on Family Fun Friday

Ellie (3.5 years) is hitting her stride in all things girlie.  Don't get me wrong.  With 3 brothers around she still plays with cars and wrestles.

But in the last few months she's really started playing with jewelry and dolls.

After reading a Disney princess book not long ago, Ellie, Will and Ben decided to throw and impromptu "ball."  Clothes were changed, because you can't go to a ball in blue jeans!  Music played.  Dancing occurred.

Sam even dressed up for the occasion (that's a headband he's wearing).

A fun memory was made without spending any money.  I'm sure there are many more "Balls" in my future.

Do you ever turn the music on and dance around the house?  What kind of music do you dance to?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sleuth Training for Children's Classics Mystery Challenge

To celebrate my 21st birthday my friends "kidnapped" me.  Really.  They did.

It was a Sunday night (if memory serves) and my roommates all left our dorm room to go eat supper.  I thought it odd that no one asked me to join them but I had plenty of ramen noodles (a college staple!) in the room to eat for my supper.

A few minutes after they left, they came back, bursting through the door and declaring me "kidnapped."  I was blindfolded and led to an awaiting car where I laid down in the backseat.  Then my friend (I think it was Sheila) drove around our small town to confuse me on where we were headed.

What my friends didn't know is that I read one (or ten) too many children's mystery books growing up!  The heroines in those books are always getting kidnapped or trapped in a truck.  So as a tween (though long before THAT phrase was coined) I would pretend to be kidnapped when my family drove around town.  I would lay in the backseat of our car and try to figure out where we were by the sounds, bumps and turns.

As a result of my previous sleuth training, I knew exactly which restaurant my friends stopped in front of - Western Sizzlin (what? you thought it would someplace else?!).  We all piled out of the car, me taking off the blindfold, and enjoyed a great dinner in one of their banquet rooms.  I have to say, it was one of the best birthday parties I've ever had!

Well, it's been YEARS since I've pretended to be kidnapped in a car or read many children's mystery books.  But I intend to remedy that this year by participating in the Children's Classics Mystery Challenge at 5 Minutes for Books

All you have to do is read a children's mystery chapter book written before 1980 and link up your reviews on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.  That's it.

My plan is fairly simple:  read the Nancy Drew book I picked up off the $1 table at the library and read the 7 or 8 Trixie Belden books stored in my basement.  I might even throw in a little Box Car Children since Will is devouring those at a rate of one a day!

And maybe, for old times sake, I'll close my eyes the next time Joel drives and pretend I've been kidnapped.  Or just take a nap.  Either one would work.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Weekly or Monthly Menu Plan

My weekly menu or meal plan for the week:
Like I explained last week, I'll be using this menu each week in February.  There may be a few alterations during the month since we have a home school event and a birthday to celebrate this month.  But for the most part this is it.

  • A few months ago Meredith inspired me to cook several pots of pinto and red kidney beans.  I then scooped roughly 3 cups of pintos and 2 cups of kidneys into individual freezer bags.  I use one bag of each kind to make chili each week.  I have saved a TON of money by doing this!
  • I also double the chicken pot pie recipe and cook 3 smallish pies at a time.  We eat one and freeze the other two (when they've cooled).  Just carefully remove from pan, wrap well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and place in freezer.  Square or rectangle shapes work better than the traditional pie.  I love grabbing a homemade supper from the freezer!!
Visit OrgJunkie for more meal plan ideas.
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