Freezer Meal #1 – Update

Yesterday I made the first of five slow cooker freezer meals I prepped last weekend. Thanks to Kelly from New Leaf Wellness for the recipes & grocery list!  My kids and I are big soup lovers, so I started with the Vegetable beef soup.  Although I make a good Chicken Noodle soup & Golden Potato soup, I have never made beef soup.  EVER!  I have been wanting to try is since we always have beef & venison in the freezer.  The recipe, instructions and grocery list were all laid out in Kelly’s post, so I thought this would be a great place to start.

There were several things that surprised me about this recipe.  First was the addition of chicken broth when adding ingredients to the slow cooker.  Chicken broth in beef soup?  The second was adding the beef to the slow cooker raw.  Well, I made the recipe exactly as written and I must say, we were all VERY pleased.  The soup was GOOD!  Hurray!  This one is definitely going in the recipe binder!

Next time I will only change two things:  I will probably add two more cups of chicken broth and I will make it on a day when I can be home to make bread bowls!  Yum!

Thanks again, New Leaf Wellness!


Supper Menu plan 10/20-10/26

Monday – Chicken Noodle Soup (in slow cooker) & homemade bread

Tuesday – burritos & squash

Wednesday –  Sloppy Joes & fries

Thursday – fettuccine Alfredo & corn

Friday – Pizza after bb game

Saturday – Kids cook

Pre-Packing Snacks

granola bars

My kids have to take their lunch to school every day. One of the hardest parts of making lunches for me is packing snacks. That’s why I like to get snacks ready for the whole week at once. This week I made granola bars. Once they had cooled I packed them into snack sized bags so all I would have to do is grab them in the morning. They can do the same when they get home from school.

th (10)

I also like to cut cheese in chunks at the beginning of the week. Again, I pack them into small snack sized bags so they are easy to grab when needed.

bagged popcorn

Sometimes my husband pops a BIG batch of popcorn on Sunday evenings. This also is bagged for snacks later in the week – either at home after school, or for their lunch boxes.


Dried fruit, trail mix, crackers, raisins, grapes, etc… All get packed at the beginning of the week. My mornings go so much smoother when all this prep is done ahead of time.

Raspberry Tea

th (5)

When I was growing up, my mom always had Kool-Aid in the house for us to drink. Sometimes we even got tang! Very rarely, however, did we drink pop. We are attempting to go healthier here. I don’t like my kids to drink pop and I always felt they didn’t need the sugar in Kool-Aid. We are also trying to stay away from food dyes. My husband drinks Mountain Dew like water. When he isn’t drinking that its red Kool-Aid. The kids are always asking me for Kool-Aid so I have been trying to come up with a healthier alternative. I found an alternative that we are all happy with: raspberry tea! I use sugar to sweeten it because we found out that aspartame was causing my 10-year-old son to have a tic. I haven’t tried Stevia with him yet but I will this summer. Then I can observe him to make sure the Stevia won’t contribute to any tics. At least this tea has half the sugar of Kool-Aid and no food dyes. I have made it using honey as well.

Here’s how I make it:

I run water though my 4 cup coffee maker. Then I let 4 raspberry tea bags steep for a few minutes.

I add 1/2 cup of sugar and enough water to make 1/2 gallon of tea . Stir and enjoy.

While I encourage my kids to drink water every day this is a nice treat for them. It has no preservatives and no food dyes. I make this or some lemonade about once a week (usually on the weekends). We like trying different kinds of tea. Black cherry is one the kids enjoy, also. There is a pomegranate pizzazz that I can’t wait to try! Blueberry is another we would like to try!

Good Intentions

I had good intentions. I was going to come home from work this week & get things done around the house. My arthritis did not agree with this plan. By 2:00 P.M. this afternoon, I had lost all my motivation. My arthritis was flaring up and I was feeling very tired and achy. Even though I had intended to get more things done, I felt like I hadn’t accomplished anything. When I sat down and reviewed the day, I realized I had gotten some things done and I needed to stop being so hard on myself.

I did three loads of laundry (including folding and putting away). I cleaned out my t-shirt drawer by taking out some shirts I don’t want anymore. Some will be donated to Bethesda, other cut up for rags. I had supper in the crock pot, so my family would eat well. I got my clothes out for tomorrow. I had accomplished something today. I could sit down and take it easy without feeling guilty. I could also get some things sitting down: cut up the shirts into rags; plan our next few meals; catch up on my emails and my blog.

I had the kids help pack their lunches while supper was cooking (something I need to have them do more often). Dishes got done after supper. Everyone got their clothes out for tomorrow. They even set the table for breakfast and put out what they want to eat (cereal; bread & cinnamon sugar for toast). All I have to do in the morning is make sandwiches and pack their lunch bags.

When arthritis flares up and I’m not feeling well, I often camp out in my recliner, turn on the tube, and relax. I get up and work during the commercials. I am always amazed at how much I can get done during the commercials! This way, I am accomplishing something, but not overdoing it.

Aaron is tic free! Thank God for summer camp!


School has begun.  One of the questions the kids get asked every year when school starts is “What exciting stuff did you do this summer?”  As I reflect about our summer I find the thing that I am most thankful for is summer camp.  My son Aaron attended a week at Camp Lor-Ray near Muskegon, MI.  It is a Lutheran camp for ELS/WELS kids.  There are several reasons I am thankful Aaron wend to camp this year.  However,  the reason I am most thankful for Aaron’s week a camp may surprise you. 

  • Yes, I am thankful that Aaron was able to attend camp where the staff and fellow campers all shared his love of Christ.  Where he could spend time with other kids his age who share his Christian values.
  • Yes, I am thankful that Aaron could spend a week with boys his own age.  At home he only has 2 younger sister to play with.  At school last year there were no boys his age (he attends a small WELS school).
  • Yes, I am thankful that Aaron had a GREAT time!  This was his third summer at Camp Lor-Ray and he looks forward to it every year. 
  • However, the reason I am MOST thankful that Aaron attended summer camp this year is that it helped us realize what was causing his tic! 

Aaron developed a tic last winter.  He had an uncontrollable head tic all spring and most of the summer.  Sometimes I wondered how he could read and do school work because his head seemed to be going almost constantly.  I did as much reading online as I could and decided to take him to a chiropractor.  Every week he would have to have is neck adjusted.  Dr. Heidi told us his neck would not stay in place until he got rid of his tic.  When we went to pick him up from summer camp, the first thing I noticed was that his tic was GREATLY diminished.  His tics were hardly noticeable at all! At his next Dr appointment we tried to figure out what was different at camp. Was the tic being caused by something he ate? He had normal food at camp: dairy, wheat, sugar. The only thing he didn’t have at camp was anything sugar-free. I took him off all sugar-free products that day(even gum), and two months later his tic is GONE! He is able to sit at his desk this year a complete most of his work. It is amazing! I am so thankful! Thank God for summer camp!