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Preparing for Winter: Blankets, Freezer Meals, Organization

5 Sep

Last week it was Summer, but only a few short days ago the weather did a complete 180. Fall is now in full swing. I spent the Labour day long weekend (as I’m sure many of you did!) preparing for the weather to come. What is it about the change in weather that throws us into preparation and organization mode? Is it some sort of instinct that is built within us, or just a practical conscious choice that we make? I am reminded of Aesop’s Fable: the Grasshopper and the Ant. The moral of the story outlining the importance of hard work and planning ahead.

What do you do to prepare for the coming Winter? Here is my weekend of preparation in review, wow I am tired just reading it.

  • Blankets

A few months ago I bought some fleece that was on sale at the fabric store. Three different prints, one meter of each, to make three blankets; one for each of my children. I let the boys pick their own. Ben picked a superhero one and Sam picked Handy Manny. Anna got Tinkerbell. Then I purchased three meters of soft lambskin fleece for the back of the blankets. Like a lot of my fabric purchases it took up space in my drawer for “one day” when I had time to make them. This past weekend my “one day” came. The blankets were very simple and easy to make. I would say that each blanket took approximately 45 minutes to an hour to sew. First I pinned the front of the blanket and the back of the blanket right sides together. At this point I made sure that the lines were cut straight and that the two pieces of fabric were the same size. Second I sewed around all four sides of the blanket, leaving open a space about 3-4 inches long. Next I turned the blanket right side out and top stitched all the way around the edge of the blanket, about 1 inch from the edge. When I got to the open spot, I just folded the edges neatly inside to make it look like the rest of the blanket. I then top stitched over that spot, and the blanket was done!

Ugh. So difficult to accomplish anything with three children and a dog.

  • Freezer Meals

Another project that I took on this weekend was stocking my freezer with meals. The preparation takes some time but it’s so worth it. Dinner time is probably my most stressful time of day. I have three children age 4 and under. Trying to cook dinner while they are hanging on my legs can be so draining. When I have meals already prepared in the freezer, it is like being on vacation. I pull one of those meals out of the freezer and just put it in the oven. Dinner cooks (practically) by itself while I have time to play with my children. Also there are basically no dishes left afterwards, bonus! Minus the time it took to shop for the ingredients, it took about 2 hours to assemble all of my meals. I had found a website with a few recipes that looked really good. You can find that link here: http://joyful-mommas-kitchen.blogspot.ca/2012/04/top-5-freezer-meals.html I chose to make three of the recipes that were posted on this blog; Quesadilla Casserole, Layered Enchilada Casserole, and Wild Rice and Chicken. I doubled each recipe and it yielded 10 freezer meals in total. These recipes were really easy. The Wild Rice and Chicken took only a few minutes to assemble, there was no cooking involved. Just dump all of the ingredients together and freeze, super simple! We tested it out last night for dinner, and it was really yummy, I will definitely be adding it to my dinner rotation. The Quesadilla Casserole and the Layered Enchilada Casserole took a bit longer to put together, but it still wasn’t overly time consuming. The great thing about these recipes is that they use a lot of canned goods, so there isn’t a lot of chopping involved. We have not yet tried these two recipes but our kitchen smelled like Mexican heaven while they were cooking.

My haul of ingredients.

  • Home Organization

The organization part of my weekend entailed a few different things. First of all we cleared out the majority of the Summer clothes from closets and drawers (I got a little misty realizing that Summer really was ending) and we stored them in boxes. Second we took inventory of the warmer clothes that still fit. Ben did not have a lot, actually he didn’t have anything. I guess he really grew over the Summer. Sam had a ton of clothes, as he always does. He is lucky enough to get hand-me-downs from his brother and cousin. Anna did not have anything either considering she was just a little baby last Winter. I sent my husband and Ben to Wal-Mart to pick out a few essential clothing items for Ben and Anna, such as long sleeve shirts and some comfy sweat pants. I will go shopping and pick out a couple of nicer items at a later time. My husband and I then tackled the coat closet and shoes. We put away all of the Sandals and got out the boots. We tried on Winter coats, toques, and gloves. We got rid of anything that did not have a match or was just plain worn out. Whew. Okay. The last part of my home organization project was to update my home organization binder. With (pre) school and tons of recreational activities starting soon my binder is such an important key to running our home. Do you have a binder to organize your home? It’s a great idea and works well if you keep it up. I used to keep a planner with all of my family’s activities and important appointments. As my family grew and children got a little older and involved in more things, a planner was no longer big enough to hold all of the information that I needed to keep track of. You can find a bunch of organization printables at this wonderful website: http://professorpoppins.blogspot.ca/2011/03/family-planner.html.

That was my long weekend. Unfortunately it was not long enough because there are still many things I would like to accomplish before Winter rolls around. Thanks for reading!

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One Response to “Preparing for Winter: Blankets, Freezer Meals, Organization”

  1. Jody November 13, 2012 at 5:01 am #

    I did frozen meals just before my babies were due to arrive-such a good idea when Chris had to go back to work. I still do large batches of chili, home made chicken soup and lasagna. Great for Chris’ work and love the extra time it gives during supper time when my kids collectively need all the attention of the day 😉

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