Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Making The Most of My Busy Schedule: Meal Prep

Thursday August 27, 2015

That is the date that the fall semester begins here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

2:30 PM

That is the time that my first class of the semester begins on the date listed above.

This semester I will be taking 7 credit hours. That is 2 3 credit hour classes and a lab.

This semester I will be taking the Ministry of Education and Special Topics in Homemaking:Clothing Construction.

I am really excited about both of these classes this semester. I have the syllabus for both classes in my possession and I have to say that I was taken a bit off guard. I know that I shouldn't be surprised by the amount of work that I will be doing (I am in grad school after all) but I get taken off guard EVERY SINGLE TIME. So when I got my book list and I say that I have 5 required readings for my Ministry of Education class I was taken a back. And then to see that I had a required text book for the Clothing construction course again caught me off guard a bit.
My six text books for the semester.
Tack on writing assignments to go with all this reading, not to mention the hands on element of the clothing construction lab and I will be a busy lady when it comes to school this semester.

Add to all of that homeschooling my 2 kiddos, homemaking responsibilities, church responsibilities, and anything else that comes my way and I will really need to be doing something to keep myself organized and on top of things. 

One of the things I have decided to do to keep things running a bit more smoothly during the coming weeks is freezer cooking.

I have done this in the past using a few different recipes and plans so it wasn't a new concept to me. Mostly I haven't had the capability to get the groceries all at one time. (It isn't cheap up front but saves SO much money in the long run)

However, when I was trolling Pinterest I found a pin for a slow cooker meal plan that should only cost roughly $150 when shopping at Costco. Since we made the decision to get the Costco membership last year I have been looking for ways to make the investment worth it. (Although the foot long hot dog and 20 oz. drink meal deal for $1.50 in the little snack bar area is almost worth it.)

Upon clicking on the link I found out this was a website that provides complete meal plans. This site has everything you need to get your freezer cooking going. I purchased the "Costco Meal Plan # 4"

This meal plan came with a complete shopping list, an assembly line list, recipe cards, and labels to put on the ziplock bags.

Once we got home with all the groceries I took some time to organize everything and begin defrosting the meat.
Lots of slicing, chopping, and dicing.

I then moved on to the produce preparation. By following the assembly line instructions I sliced, diced, and chopped onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and apples.

Once that was done I opened several cans of black beans, chicken broth, and diced tomatoes.
It was then time to assemble.

After stuffing ziplock baggies this is what I ended up with:
This is 16 of the 20 meals I put together.

And after 6 or so hours I now have meals dinner all ready for the rest of the weeknights this month and into the middle of next month. Now all I have to do is defrost, dump in the crock pot, and let it cook. 
Today's dinner: Pork Chops with Apples and Sweet Potatoes.
Family dinner tonight!

The plan is that I use this as a tool to keep my family fed home cooked nutritional meals. I am really bad about wanting to just jump in the car and head to the Chinese Buffet down the road or the nearest Chick-Fil-A for a quick and easy dinner when my days have been long. I am looking forward to this being the norm in our family from now on:

And when I remember to buy and use the Slow Cooker liners clean up is a snap!

Do you like to meal prep ahead? What types of things do you like to get ready? Am I crazy for jumping into another semester of grad school? (HAHA of course I am!)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Meant for More

Over and over again I have heard people say "We are meant for more."

I hear it at school as I sit in classes attempting to understand what is being said to me.
I hear it at church or when listening to preachers talk trying to encourage their congregations.
I even heard it over and over again at the Thirty One National Conference I attended in Denver.

You are meant for more.

The problem with that is that no one really ever explains what that means.

More of what?

More money? More recognition? More time?

Over the last several months I have really struggled with this idea. I have always felt like I should be doing more with my life but I have never really been able to put into words what that "more" should be.

Don't get me wrong. I am a wife, mother, business person, student, church member, volunteer, and homemaker. I know what I do is valuable. I am also in the process of stepping back into the role of teacher as my kids begin school. (One starting Kinder and one continuing with PreK). However, I still have this feeling deep in the pit of my stomach that I am supposed to be doing something else with my life.

When I started taking the wives classes that are offered here at the seminary 3 years ago I started out with the intent to just learn. I have always loved learning and I get excited about being in a classroom. I love the sight of new school supplies on store shelves and my favorite places to shop are office supply stores and craft stores.

However, as I finished my certificate program and made the decision to move on to the master's program that feeling of doing more began to grow. I am constantly asked why I am going to school now. What is the reason behind getting my degree. And more often than not I simply answer that the tuition break was offered and we figured why not?

The First Lady of the seminary, Mrs. Dorothy Patterson, who holds several higher education degrees, has often said that all women should have access to a theological education. That women should know what is in the Bible and how to read and teach it just as much as the men. And I have used that as my back bone of why I am pursuing my master's degree.

And yet, that feeling of needing to do more continues to grow. I have this feeling of emptiness in my brain. I keep trying to ask "What is the point?" "What is the end goal?" And I keep coming up empty. I am hoping that the more I continue on with my education the clearer my "something more" will become.

At this point all I know is that I AM meant for something more. I just don't really know what that means. Yet.

Have you ever felt this way? Am I the only one out there still searching?