Monday, October 27, 2014

Accentuate the Positive- reframing your child's frustrating tendencies

As a mama, I find that sometime it's easy to get discouraged.

My central job involves trying to raise my kids right, troubleshooting the eccentricities of the children, and also bearing the lions' share of the responsibilities that come with seeing, finding, and stick handling all of the challenges that come with that. 

Now, because of our mixed lot, we have some serious excess energy being expended, some big time messes being created, and 
some serious off-task activities happening here. We have stubborn, moody, strong willed, forgetful, disorganized, inconsistent, and nosy.

That can feel pretty overwhelming sometimes. 
Enough on some days to make a body want to pack up and go home.

Oh wait. We homeschool. I am home. Back to the drawing board.

Tongue in cheek, and to help me keep my sanity, I have to reframe much of what I see in the positive: 

 Their leadership tendency is so strong that they don't recognize anyone else's authority, 

They have will so strong that they will carry through on what ever goals they have to success. 

They get so into what they are doing that they can tune out everything else.

They are an individual so spontaneous they constantly have things on the go.

They feel so deeply. 

They are willing risk takers, and innovators.

They notices everything, even the smallest details. 

What creative problem solvers!

Such enthusiasm, and energy!

Super quick thinkers

And of course, what you see is what you get.

See, all of the things that frustrate one about a person can be reframed to see what's good about it. 
Have you ever heard the saying about a person's greatest strength is their greatest weakness? Well, I believe that applies here.

It's just a matter of stick handling that in the right direction. 
We work constantly at it. Sometimes the trickiest part is remembering to do this when you're frustrated.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Freezer Cooking: What Will I Do with all this TURKEY?!

In case you were curious about any of my time and money savers as a largish family mom, I'd have to say that freezer cooking is a pretty handy way to go about achieving both for our family. There is a time investment involved, but the time it saves after it's done really does make it worth the time taken.

An assembly line method of making several meals at one time that will last for anywhere from a couple of extra meals to an entire month worth of meals.

We choose to buy large quantities of supplies at lower prices, so we save money
We avoid take out, so we save money
Increases convenience: We assemble many meals at once, so we have prepared food on the days we can’t/don’t want to cook. In the case of month cooking, potentially several nights of freedom.
Promotes Nutrition: We know exactly what’s in the food.
Saves time: At dinner time on the day of, we have taken many steps out of the ‘what’s for dinner question’.
Promotes Hospitality: casual invitations to dinner become easier, also when we want to heat something and take it to someone having a hard time (family challenges, deaths, births etc.)

Often we will make a turkey or roast, and then don’t make full use of them. It’s a meal you already know your family will eat, and you’ve got a ton of it.
What if you packaged full meals in lasagna pans right away and threw them in the freezer? Label it, and you have a few extra meals. This can eliminate waste.
Other nights, make a double batch of something, or fill the biggest crock pot, or stock pot you have when you are cooking. Then immediately after eating, (or before if you’re ambitious) stock your containers, label and freeze them.
You can always work your way up from there to accumulating supplies for meals for a major cook, or continue to make triple( or more) batched meals, and rotate serving them through a menu plan.

There are some predictable times when you will find large amounts of the base items for freezer cooking on sale at fantastic prices. Summer is a great time to pick up zucchini, Rices go on sale with many of the Caribbean festivals, as advertised in the flyers. 10lb bags of vegetables (carrots, beets, onions, potatoes) go on sale when they come into season in the fall. Meats like turkeys and hams go on sale for us here in Canada before Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Under certain point programs that we have here, you can get free groceries, and time the spending of the points for when you know they will go on sale. With a little thought and planning ahead, that brings down the prices even further, and you can get the foods into the house that you want to make.

Some of the useful things you might find handy:
Lasagna pans- half height lasagna pans or smaller depending on whether you are storing a full meal, a sauce, or a side dish.
Ziploc Bags- they store reasonably flat
Containers that you would like to give a second use through re-use.
Sharpies and labels – you want to know what was in that container the next time you unearth it. Make sure to take note of your cooking date when you label, for food safety.
Multiple nesting stock pots- handy for making multiple types of foods at the same time, so that you can form an assembly line when the foods are ready. Having lots of pots to work with make it more convenient for the cooking stage, and storage is easier if they are nesting.


Check your local flyers for the foods, because that is a great bet for the loss leader sales.
For the storage items, they are less likely to go on sale, so check out some of the following if you need ideas. Locally, we have:

THE WHOLESALE CLUB- open to the public
 2255 Barton St East,  Hamilton,  ON  L8H 7T4

90 Glover Rd Hamilton L8W 3T7


100 Legend Crt. Ancaster L9K 1J3

1225 Brant St. Burlington L7P 1X7