Good bye, baby years.

After a long journey spanning three home purchases, two cities, two pregnancies, and two bouncing bundles of joy, this blog space is out of room.  No, literally–I am out of photo uploading room.  I considered buying more storage, but in the end, I have decided to treat it as its own hectic, happy chapter in our book.  I am even going to print out every post (hundreds of them–like 300!) and use it to commemorate our voyage into parenthood and homeownership.  Sort of like a baby book for our life together.  Is that weird?  Anyway.

Our new blog space is similar and can be found here:  https://thegarnerballardabode.wordpress.com/

NOTE:  If you formerly subscribed to this blog and it’s showing up in your email right now, you need to RE-subscribe to the new one if you want to continue to get the latest from the GB’s.  Thanks for sticking by us these past few crazy, lovely years.

9 months/27 months

These babies are hilarious.

SILAS

STORIES:  Si is a riot these days.  He is speaking in sentences of four or five words, and he’s fixated on the funniest things.  He got bit by a stink bug right next to his eye and we flushed it with water by hanging him baptism style over the claw foot tub.  The following week and a half he would randomly holler “bug!  eye!  hurts!  water tub.  ow!  all done!”  or something along those lines.  Then I was starting dinner on Valentine’s Day and I heated a pan that had a little coconut oil in it.  I threw in a pat of butter and POOF the whole thing burst into flames two feet high.  I screamed like a five year old and Tim took the pan outside, flaming like a flambe gone wrong all the while.  Silas is still telling every person he sees “pan!  hot!  fire, smoke, beep beep beep!  mommy AHHHHH!  daddy fix it.  pan outside.”  Thanks, kid.  Way to keep it on the down low and make me seem like a stellar cook.  He redeemed himself by singing a little Beethoven at Maren’s well baby check and impressing our pediatrician.  Thanks, Peg+Cat!

STATS: weighs 28 and a half pounds, 35 inches tall

LOVES:  Playing music and cooking at Karma and Elizabeth’s house, turkey sandwiches, steamed broccoli, dried fruit strips, ice cream, cereal, bath time (but is afraid of the shower since accidentally turning it on), singing so many songs with all syllables and almost no correct words.  He’s not tone deaf, so we can usually pick up what he’s putting down!

HATES: Limits of any kind.  Having just one of something (medicine, vitamins, popcicles).  Being told it’s time to leave the old house/new house/library/wherever.   He’s so two these days.

MAREN

STORIES:  Mare is on her hands and knees rocking back and forth all day long. She’s so ready to go!  She pulled up to standing this week a few times and did downward dog a few times as well.  She’s pretty motivated by Silas, the cat, or any kind of food to attempt to crawl.  Still crawling backward and crying about being stuck once she’s wedged against the couch or wall.  She sings when I sing, she dances when Silas sings.  The girl has moves.  She’s so funny.  She loves music as much as Si does.  I love having musical babies!

STATS: Holding steady at 20 pounds and 27.5 inches long

LOVES: Food!  Steamed broccoli, veggie straws, baked sweet potatoes, pasta, literally anything that Silas is eating.  We just sort of give her food from our plates and let her go to town.  She ate part of Si’s peanut butter sandwich this week, so apparently we are in the clear for nut and wheat allergies.  She really doesn’t like anything sweet–no fruit unless you really catch her in a good mood.  She will take a dried fruit strip or a prune, but no fresh fruit except a little banana now and then.  What’s not to like about fruit??  She’s not starving by any means.  I think she could survive just off the stickers, clementine peels, and crackers she finds on the floors.

 HATES: Medicine time, the nebulizer, having her face wiped, the car seat (still), sleeping at the new house, being out of eye shot of mama at any time.

After we get unpacked and I find my battery charger, I’m going to take some good photos of the babies.  Sorry the blog has been so devoid of photos and real posts these last few transition months.

We will be changing to a new blog in the near future.  This one will stay for the sake of archives, but we will be using another page with more consistent content and a different name.  Stay tuned if you want to.

The funk.

We have had a weird week. We started the week with trips to see the doctor three days in a row for ear infections for both kids, bronchitis for Silas and RSV for Maren. Scary crap. I will be the first to welcome Springtime and fresh air with open arms.

We have had the funk for damn near the whole winter. It’s starting to give me a bad mom complex. Thank god every other mom I know has sick children, too. I mean that in the most loving of ways. You know your friends love you when they send you things like this hilarious article to make you feel better. And I did order oils!!

If any of you are considering dabbling in essential oils, do it. Make sure they are high quality (DoTerra or Young Living). Marjoram stopped Silas’s night coughing literally immediately. Like he woke coughing six times in a half hour, I put it on the bottoms of his feet, and bam. Not one cough all night. Magic. Also, my sister is a hideous sleeper who wakes several times a night and doesn’t sleep long ever. My cousin’s cool wife directed us to vetiver oil. <<thanks! Blair! Boom. The first great night's sleep in several weeks. I don't know why I keep being so surprised when they actually work. Anyway. Try one or five. They are changing our lives. We also have the Hyland's homeopathic kit and kid kit, both of which I swear by. Worth the investment. Note: if you want to get into homeopathy without dropping $100, just order the kid kit at first. They are the same strength as the other kit, and the kid directions come in the book with it (awesome resource) but the grown up dosages are on the bottle labels.

We are making strides on the house this weekend. The flooring arrived friday, so that's a project for next weekend. Yesterday I unpacked the kitchen stuff and got it all put away. Feels nice! We also painted Silas's room, patched and painted Maren's room, and Tim painted the master bedroom yesterday. We were on our A game, thanks to some Starbucks half caff.

We celebrated Valentine's Day casually. I am sick with a nasty cold, we worked on the house all day yesterday, and we came home to cook filets and drink wine. It would have been lovely, but by the time we got two sick kids settled into bed, it was all cold. Oh well. Karma and Elizabeth came down for some good laughs and some even better biscotti with dark chocolate dipping sauce. Me-ow. It was amazing!

Tim got me a few presents from my wish list for the house. So sweet. We now have a claddaugh door knocker and a white porcelain Buddha head essential oil burner. I'm in love. I booked Tim a massage with our favorite massage therapist on the planet, Monica at Mar Don Salon. We have missed her dearly. I slacked this year and got less than stellar cards. I also forgot that I had children and didn't get them anything. I love Valentine's Day! I don't know what's wrong with me. Guess I just got lost in all the germs around here. It was hard to get out of the house this week, to say the least.

Up next for us: flooring on Saturday. Yay! We will finally move in after the floors are in downstairs and the two bedrooms are refinished upstairs. It seems like three months away.

Four Square: Week Two

This weekend was hectic and really fun for me.  My parents came down and–surprise!–brought Kait and Oliver, too.  Silas was thrilled, and so were we!  Lots of laughing and projects and choo choos going on.

We had big plans Saturday… the kind involving a uHaul truck and several appliances.  Tim and Dad did a roundup of a washer and dryer, giant tv cabinet, table saw and bead board purchases, and full size desk from Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  That place is a goldmine for furniture projects, and they have color coded sales all the time.  Our huge desk ended up running us a whopping $12 after the 60% off green tag.  I was giddy!  We also squeezed in loading and unloading a round of belongings and dropped them at the new house before we had to return the truck, so that should cut the official move in half.  Woop woop.  Tim also surprised me and got the dining room light fixture, hooked it up, and got rid of the other one while I ran errands.

It was especially helpful to have Mom and Dad here because Silas was under the weather (again) and we thought he had croup.  Poor Silas.  He got the crappy lung genes from both sides and if something’s in the air, he gets it.  You’d think he only eats crackers and gets no nutrients the way he has been sick this winter.  I feel like a bad mom.  And YES, I WIPE DOWN THE SHOPPING CARTS.

After the Urgent Care visit on Sunday, we found out it’s just a wicked chest cold (which he shared with me and Mare–yipee) as well as a double ear infection.  Found that one out right after I said “he’s my respiratory issue kid–he never gets ear infections, but Mare does”.  Yup.  Karma.  He is much better today and his fever is gone finally.  We are using marjoram and the Breathe blend of DoTerra oils, and they are working splendidly for nighttime coughing.

Today, all the HVAC work began at the new house, so we will have all new ductwork, a reconfigured and more efficient furnace, and an air conditioning unit by the end of the week.  We had gutters cleaned out and new guard put on yesterday.  The flooring comes midweek and will start this weekend.  We’re still hoping to be fully moved in by the end of the month.  In fact, we will probably start staying there on and off in the next week or so.  It was rough to drive a half hour back to the woods after Urgent Care yesterday knowing we could have been home in a mere mile.

Four Square: Week One

This week (yes, I know it’s only Wednesday) has been productive.  We nerdily admit that we can’t wait for the weekend to be able to work more on the house.  On Monday, Mary Kay and I deep cleaned the downstairs, including floors, cabinets and behind appliances.  We also finished trimming out some painting projects and updated a few light fixtures with shade swaps.

Tuesday, Tim dropped us off in the morning and took us home midday.  While we were there, I patched the (1000) holes in our master bedroom walls, painted all of the kitchen cabinets, and measure for flooring.  Tim consorted with the HVAC guy (we had three companies give us quotes, so it was time to pick one) and did some scheduling.  It looks like our new ductwork, AC unit, and furnace will be finished by the end of next week.

This brings us to flooring!  It’s the last thing on the list before we move in.  Two of the four bedrooms upstairs are not refinished, so they need some attention.  We are ordering downstairs flooring today, which we intended to do last week as soon as we closed since it is being shipped.  We were a little iffy on the kitchen floor being wood as well, so we held off for a few days.  We have decided not to do wood in the kitchen, so now it’s ordering time!  We are taking a trip out West this summer, so we are using Chase’s Sapphire card (Tim researched cards exhaustively–finance major!) and we will put the flooring and HVAC work on that card and immediately pay it off with a little bonus of two plane tickets.  Booyah.  We rarely play the credit card game (and yes, it is a game), but we are this time around since we know we already have the money to pay it off the same day.  Living on one mediocre income, the thought of free airline trips gets us all atwitter.

Speaking of money, I have had the most exhilarating craigslist week of my life.  Well, one of them.  I’ve had a lot of those.  We found a year old high efficiency Maytag washer and dryer, my dream dishwasher (Whirlpool Quiet Partner–seriously, we have had three, and no rinsing dishes required), a long skinny coffee table, and a solid wood mission style tv cabinet for a whopping total of $450.  YEAH!  I would have willingly paid more than that for any one of the appliances or cabinet.

 We need some feedback.  Has anyone used Formica 180FX synthetic stone counters?  Know anyone who has?

This weekend we hope to be painting the laundry room, Master bedroom, and Si’s room, hooking up the washer and dryer, swapping out the dishwasher, and bead boarding the downstairs bath ceiling.  My parents work at the speed of light, so we will probably get most of these done on Saturday and take a breather on Sunday.  We are trying to temper our excitement about projects with built in down time since we spend the weeks with long hours and two babies.  Last time we were doing this, we had one baby (he was the exact age that M is now!) and Tim was home three days a week.  Crazy.

I can’t begin to tell you how eager I am to unpack the boxes that have been packed since October.  I’m not sure if I’m more excited to find our toothbrush heads or to finally have more than one bedroom.  Ok, for sure I want my sleep space back.  All four of us in one room has been downright miserable.

Home Sweet (Third) Home

Our third and final home for the next few decades is quite a beast.  The walls have all the markings of a wonky old house, the drywall is ugly in many parts, and the paint colors?  Don’t even get me started.

We closed on Friday afternoon at four and headed out first thing Saturday morning to get paint (11 gallons) and supplies galore.  From 1pm Saturday to 3pm Sunday, we were freakin’ rockstars.  Tim’s parents came for baby back up and we started by patching lots and lots of drywall.  Then, we painted the dining room, kitchen, office/entry, stair well, landing, living room, and downstairs bathroom.  Primer was definitely involved.

There are so many things we love about this house, though.  It has so much space (four bedrooms in town is very, very hard to find), a claw foot tub, a sliding barn door in the bathroom, wood floors upstairs, wide open doorways, a practical kitchen (although we will miss our last kitchen–it was enormous), lovely black and white tile in the upstairs bathroom, a big wooded yard on a corner lot, and walkability to downtown Bloomington.  This house is already the shiz, and we don’t even live there yet.  Before we move in, we are going to lay all of the flooring downstairs (four rooms) and have some HVAC work done.

We are replacing the baseboard and window trim with craftsman trim, so it wasn’t necessary to be meticulous with all of the painting this weekend, which helped a lot with the speed of things.  We are super happy with the colors we picked and the way they look and feel.  It already feels way more like us in there, for certain.  We can’t wait for next weekend to get another handful of things chalked off the list.  We are ordering flooring tomorrow for the whole main level (yikes) and getting organized with a calendar in hand for the rest of the big projects.  My parents will be here next weekend to help, which will be super.

Here she is before we got our hands on her.  Yes, there are currently two front doors.  Thank god, or else it would have been out of our price point.

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And after paint:

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Four Square Mood Board

We are feeling so excited about the new house and all of the possibilities it brings. Our first house was the A frame in the woods and, although I liked what we ended up doing, we stuck with a very neutral color scheme for the sake of resale and it felt fresh, but not creative really. Our house in Lafayette was an old Victorian and was so full of maroon wallpaper and carpet that I couldn’t come up with much by way of a color palette by the time we survived two closings in 24 hours, so we stuck with white walls accented with deep green, navy and pops of red. That felt nice while it lasted, but by the time we moved out, I was definitely feeling the blahs about the walls. Our first two houses had me consumed with what the “right” choice was for the color scheme, and I constantly felt conflicted about what other people were doing in their houses and couldn’t decide what I wanted for my own, so I made safe choices.

Enter the four square. We love the old bones of this house. It is a little crooked in places thanks to the enormous pine out front, which we had thoroughly vetted for future issues, but the trade off is immense: a dead end street, FOUR bedrooms in town, walkability to downtown Bloomington, a wooded corner lot that is larger than most, a park and the B line trail a few blocks away, and proximity to the Project School and the Science and Technology Academy. It’s so, so worth it.

I admit the choppiness was a bit of a drawback after two open flooring plans, but for the first time ever, I feel like I know exactly how I want this house to feel and look. The vibe that has emerged feels very “us” and really creative. It’s going to be a wee bit vintage, a little woodsy, a little worldly, a little bit literary, and pretty intentional. Every room will have color except for the two baths (but they have black and white tile) and the flooring will be redone on the whole first level, so that will make a big difference. We don’t like clutter, but we do like things that feel like us, so this house will be a conglomeration of parts of each of us, we hope. My method is to find a room that we love on Pinterest (gathered below) and tape it up in each room.  Over time, the room really does evolve into the same mood as the picture.  It’s amazing what small reminders do for the project list.  Try it!

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Our palette, sort of but not really.  We are using a mintier blue green, a darker teal, and red instead of yellow.  So basically none of these, but almost.  I couldn’t find an existing palette that I liked.  Shocker.

Dark Geometric Cushion - Nirwa - Linoluna Store Indonesia

Nirwa pillows… AMAZING!  Find her on Etsy.

great for fall, since I change my decor with the seasons - striped cabbage rose shower curtain  #UrbanOutfitters10 Ways to Squeeze a Little Extra Storage Out of a Small Bathroom | Apartment Therapy.

Black and white bathroom inspiration.  Gorgeous!  I nabbed the Urban Outfitters shower curtain before Christmas.

Sharpie Paint Pen Yellow & Gray Nursery Arrow Feature Wall Complete"You are our Greatest Adventure" nursery wall print by Artist ZoomBooneCreations on BoomBoom Prints

Si’s room inspiration (it’s already painted a deep orangey red color)

triangle statement wallpainted boxes great for all those toys! What a great idea!! This would be a great solution for knitting/crocheting projects too!! :)

Mare’s room–minus the creepy rabbits.

schoolhouse, rocking bedding for fall / sfgirlbybay

Our room.  Vintage floral AND silhouettes?  Swoon.

desk spaceDone Inspirational poster, typography art, wall decor, mottos, graphic design, happy words, giclee art, inspiration, love quote, print

Inspiration for the office.  I’ll let you guess which one Tim picked.

Furniture piece as an island, black windows

I’m obsessed with dark window frames in light kitchens right now.  We don’t have room for an island, though.

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A little old school Roma in all the right colors

Citrus Floral Print | Rifle Paper Co.

Vintage floral is my jam.  The second is from Rifle Paper Co.  I love them.

BuildDirect®: Jasper Engineered Hardwood - Rustic Ranch Elm Collection

We are using engineered hardwood this time.  Wider planks, not too dark and not too light.  We love it!

I could add about thirty more pictures, so I’ll stop now.  You get the idea.  We couldn’t be more giddy about the prospects.  Six days to closing!

We ran errands yesterday.  It wasn’t glamorous, but it’s done.  Today we are heading to Nashville to watch IU play with some friends and then gearing up for a busy week.  Is it seriously time to start packing again?  Oy.

Winter Update

It’s winter in Indiana.  This is usually the time of year that sucks in our house.  But really, it’s been 55 degrees three days in the past week in Bloomington and we are LOVING it.

I forgot to do a weekend update, but this was our first really low key, do what we want sort of weekend since the move and it felt great!  We spent Saturday at Bloomington Bagel Company, the library for some serious choo choo playtime, hit up the park a few blocks from our new house after nap, and strolled the B line trail just up the road from the park.  It was the quintessential Bloomington day.  Sunday we headed to UU service and met a few more cool families (yay), followed by dinner with Karma and Elizabeth.  If you ever have the chance to be a guinea pig for someone working on writing a cookbook, we enthusiastically encourage you to do so.

Anyway, back to winter.  Here are some updates on what we’re up to.

Tim’s Job

We are in the middle of adjusting to Tim’s work schedule (10-6 or later) which ends up feeling like a really long work week even though it’s not.  Thankfully, his hours are changing to an earlier set up in the near future and we will also be living a mile from his office in a few weeks instead of a 25 minute jaunt to and fro.  He really enjoys his clients and has really supportive administrative support, which goes a long way in that field.  All good things.  We will be shifting to an 8-5 work day with an hour to come home for lunch most days, so we’re all excited about that.  It will be nice for the babies and grownups alike to break up the day a little.

The House

We are nearing closing on the new house–next Friday.  We are so excited about this old house!  I will be posting pictures after we close.  She needs some major attention in the paint department and I’m feeling pretty adventurous, so be excited about that.  Tim and I are equally excited about living in town and feeling more connected to this community.  My former nanny family lives a few blocks away, so we will get to have some really easy play dates at the park.  We are also considering cutting to one car for a year.  When I look back at the times I felt the mentally and physically healthiest, I did not have a car and I was walking everywhere.  I am looking so forward to urban life again!  I think Tim is surprised at how excited he is about living in town.  We both like the woods and find nature cathartic, so it has always been a dichotomous struggle about where to live our lives.  We couldn’t be happier about committing to this house for the next few decades (at least).  We are having some HVAC work done (there is no central air!) so we will be waiting a few weeks before we move in.  If all goes smoothly, we will be moving mid February after painting and laying new flooring.

The Babies

We are back to having healthy babies.  Silas is really stir crazy in the woods and asks to go “bye bye” a lot.  He’s heavy into building his own train tracks right now and has a hideous case of the whineys since his bout with the flu.  We’re working pretty hard on that at the moment.  He is a Mickey Mouse fanatic all of a sudden.  Maren is getting yet another tooth and isn’t sleeping, which makes life interesting since we are all in the same room until we move.  She’s finally really interested in table food and Silas won’t stop feeding her whatever he is eating.  I think it’s clear to say she doesn’t have any allergies at this point.  Oh, boy.

The Grownups

Tim and I are having a really good time making plans for the house.  I can always rely on him for excitement about the things he knows I love, (like paint colors and furniture layouts and shower curtains,) bless his heart.  We’re feeling great about our relationship right now and it’s nice to feel like we have got the hang of having two kiddos finally without being easily stressed out.

We have decided to designate one night a week as a no-screen-night.  No phones, ipad, laptop or tv.  This was one of the changes we immediately knew needed to happen when we realized reading a book together for one evening was the best conversation we had had in months.  Less screen time=more conversation.  Or that’s the hope, anyway.  He and I both enjoy talking about meaningful and heavy things that matter to the world.  I know that drives some people nuts.  Good thing I married somebody who likes to hash it all out with me!

We also have way too many shows going right now…  We just finished Homeland season two and Blue Bloods season 3.  We are watching State of Affairs and Castle, and have begun the new season of White Collar that just hit Netflix.  Too much!  We have put Scandal and Downton Abbey on hold for a while.  Our evenings are really limited until Tim’s schedule changes and it’s too easy to watch a show every evening and feel like we are ships passing in the night.

Tim and I are both on the health wagon right now.  He does Piyo every morning and just started an upper body version instead of the total body one he has done for the past 5 months.  I started Pilates again (I’m doing POP Pilates workouts on youtube through Roku and she’s great) and I am considering teaching once I am back to harder routines.  That second baby wasn’t so kind to the ol’ abs.  Jeepers.  My weight is really stubborn when I am breastfeeding, so I don’t anticipate losing much while I am still nursing Maren, but that’s not a great excuse for completely neglecting my physical health.  Sigh.  I have been doing better about planning clean meals for the week, and by meals I mean all of them instead of just dinner.  I find that breakfast and lunch go by the wayside when I am planning the week and that makes it too easy to forget fruits and veggies.

This week, we are loving this red sauce that tastes like legit Italy, these cookies with no sugar, gluten or dairy, this red lentil soup recipe, and this baby body wash.

Love Work

Tim and I worked really hard early on in our relationship to communicate well and openly, so it hasn’t been too difficult for us to be kind and loving 90% of the time.  Throw in three moves, two babies and a little sleep deprivation, living in one room and being isolated in the woods, and suddenly our communication skills could use a little polishing.

So we asked around on Facebook for favorite relationship books.  The response was interesting.  Some people said “this is what works for us” and some “try this book”, and others said “don’t read books, just trust yourselves”.  Some responded differently or just avoided the topic.  I find it so fascinating that some people pretend we don’t all have issues, struggles, or funks.  It’s pretty universal to the human experience, and I’ve never met a married or committed soul who didn’t have some downright shitty moments.  It happens.  I am grateful to have a husband who is, above all else, willing to do the work with me to make our life and relationship a worthwhile, enjoyable one.  Being willing is something that I really value and love in him, and I know a lot of people don’t have that in a spouse.

We got some good recommendations for books and some good words of wisdom.  We like learning new things and are a little nerdy, so we don’t hesitate to head to the library and see what we find.  We ended up with three books and chose to read And Baby Makes Three by John and Julie Gottman.

The funny part is I got this book right after we had Silas and we never got around to reading it. We should have.  We loved this book!  The first bit is about parenthood, but the rest is really just about marriage in the midst of life.  You parents with small children will especially appreciate the perspective.


Things we liked about it:  

They get what it’s like to have small children.  In fact, they validated how busy we feel and really get how hard it is to keep a healthy relationship alive while juggling diapers, messes and snack times.

It is direct, science based, and easy to apply to our own life.  They give you statements like “the three things the happy parenting couples had in common were _____” so you don’t have to focus on broad, vague intentions about being less of an ass during conflict.  That format was helpful and very bottom-line-oriented, which I love.

It is clear about how to change arguments by approaching them differently, clinging to humor for dear life, and recognizing how you naturally react right now (and why you react that way).

It has tons (TONS) of provoking and meaningful questions to ask your partner in several different lists.  They recommend taking them with you on date night, which sounds like a nice idea to us.  We ended up talking through many of them and it was revealing and fun.

They bring up what you saw growing up, what you do now, and what you wish you did instead.  They also give you scenarios of how arguments went and how they could have gone.


Tim and I read this book in one sitting.  We got the babies to bed at 7 and read it out loud on the couch until almost midnight on Saturday.  It was the most enjoyable and helpful conversation we have had in months.  If you are looking for a book to help you stay in a good place while you wield diaper bags and sippy cups, try it out.

18 Slow Cooker Freezer Meals for About $80

My sister organized a freezer meal prep session with my mama and was kind enough to share the shopping and recipe list.  They got 18 meals for about $80 (the groceries were a mix of Kroger marked down meat and Aldi’s usual bargains).

I knew I wanted to try them immediately and thought I’d share it on the blog as well.  Do you do freezer meals?  What are your favorites?  I find that I don’t take time out to do them, but instead tend to double or triple what I am already making and plop it in the freezer.  I am going to be more intentional about keeping the freezer stocked!

Grocery List

• Apricot Jam (2/3 cup per batch)

• Chicken Breasts (3 3-lb bags)

• Frozen Green Beans (2 whole)

• Frozen Grean Beans (2 cut)

• Fresh Garlic

• Fresh Ginger Root

• Whole Cranberry Sauce (2)

• Bag of Onions (2)

• Crushed Red Pepper

• Garlic Salt

• Cumin

• Chili Powder

• Tri-color pepper (2)

• Baby Carrots/Carrots (8lb)

• Cannellini Beans (4)

• Lime (3)

• Shoulder Chuck Roast (2lb)

• Zucchini/yellow Squash (2 each)

• Romas (1 pack)

• Fresh/Frozen Pineapple

• Ground Chicken/Pork/Beef

• Tomato/mozzarella/basil/toothpicks for the 21st


Crockpot Apricot-Ginger Chicken with Green Beans

Ingredients:

 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (Chicken thighs also taste great)

 2/3 cup apricot jam

 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

 1-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated (If you buy a large root, you can

freeze whatever is leftover. I place the leftover root whole in my freezer.)

 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

 1 pound frozen green beans (You can sub fresh)

Prep

Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag.  Remove as much air as

possible, seal, and lay flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Cook

Thaw overnight in refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water.  Dump into crockpot and cook

on “low” setting for 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve with quinoa, brown rice, potatoes, or whatever you like.


Crockpot Cranberry Chicken

Yields: One bag of cranberry chicken with six servings (I doubled this recipe)

INGREDIENTS

• 1 small onion, diced

• 14oz can whole cranberry sauce

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 tablespoons honey

• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

MATERIALS

• 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

PREP

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients. Add chicken to the freezer bag last so

it’s the first ingredient poured into your crockpot.

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your

freezer.

COOK

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your crockpot.

3. Cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.


Crockpot Italian Chicken

Yields: One bag of Italian chicken with six servings (I doubled this recipe)

INGREDIENTS

• 1 small onion, diced

• 28oz can diced tomatoes

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 cup honey

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 1 teaspoon dried oregano

• 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

MATERIALS

• 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

PREP

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients. Add chicken to the freezer bag last

so it’s the first ingredient poured into your crockpot.

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your

freezer.

COOK

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your crockpot.

3. Cook on “low” setting for 4-6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.


Crockpot Tomato Beef Veggie Soup

Yields: One gallon-sized bag of tomato beef veggie soup with six servings.

(I doubled this recipe and made two bags.)

INGREDIENTS

• 1 small onion, diced

• 1 pound of baby carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

• 1 bag of frozen chopped green beans

• 1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained

• 24oz jar of pasta sauce

• 1 pound ground beef

• 4 cups chicken broth (not needed until day of cooking)

MATERIALS

• 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

PREP

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients. Add ground beef to the freezer bag

last so it’s the first ingredient poured into your crockpot.

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your

freezer.

COOK

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your crockpot with

4 cups of chicken broth.

3. Cook on “low” setting for 8 hours, or until beef is cooked through and carrots

are soft.

4. Break apart ground beef and serve.


Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Yields: One gallon-sized bag of slow cooker chicken fajitas

Ingredients

• 1 medium-sized green pepper, sliced

• 1 medium-sized red pepper, sliced

• 1 small sweet yellow onion, sliced

• 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

• 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

• 1 tablespoon honey

• 1 lime, juiced

• 1 tablespoon chili powder

• 2 teaspoons cumin

• 1 teaspoon paprika

• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

• Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker.

• Cover, and cook on “low” for 8 hours.

• Shred chicken and serve with your favorite fajita toppings.

To Freeze

Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic freezer bag. Remove as

much air as possible and freeze for up to three months. When ready to

eat, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Cook on “low” setting for 4-8 hours, or

until chicken is cooked through and easily pulls apart with a fork. Shred

chicken and serve!


Mexican Chicken Soup

Yields: One gallon-sized bag

Ingredients

• 1 pound carrots, peeled and diced

• 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced

• 2 large cloves of garlic, minced

• 2 roma tomatoes, chopped

• 1 cup tomato juice

• 1 teaspoons cumin

• 1 teaspoons coriander (I substituted 1 teaspoon fennel seeds)

• 1 teaspoons chili powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

• Juice from 1/2 lime (about 2 tablespoons)

• 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ chunks

• 4 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth (not needed until day of

cooking)

Materials

• 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

Prep

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients except chicken broth.

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in

your freezer.

Cook

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your slow

cooker and add 4 cups chicken broth.

3. Cook on “low” setting for 6-8 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.


Beef Roast & Carrots

Yields: One gallon-sized bag of Beef Roast & Carrots

Ingredients:

• 2-pound boneless beef chuck shoulder roast (No substitutions! This is thebest

cut of meat for the slow cooker!)

• 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

• 2 tablespoons and 1.5 teaspoons homemade taco seasoning or one

packet store-bought taco seasoning

Materials

• 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

Prep

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients. (Add the beef to the bag last, so it’s

the first ingredient poured into your slow cooker.)

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your

freezer.

Cook

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your slow

cooker and cook on “low” setting for 8-12 hours, or until meat easily pulls apart

with a fork. Shred beef and serve!


Garden Veggie Soup

Yields: One gallon-sized bag of Garden Veggie Soup

Ingredients

• 8 medium-sized carrots (about one pound), peeled and sliced

• 2 medium-sized tomatoes, cored, seeds and juiced removed, and

chopped

• 1 medium-sized zucchini, ends cut off and chopped (about one cup)

• 1 medium-sized yellow squash, ends cut off and chopped (about one

cup)

• 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced (about one cup)

• 1, 15oz can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained

• 24oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce

• 1 pound lean ground beef, optional

• 4 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth (not needed until day of

cooking)

Materials

• 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

Prep

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add all ingredients except chicken broth. (If adding beef*,

add it to the freezer bag last so it’s the first ingredient poured into your slow

cooker.)

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your

freezer.

Cook

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your slow

cooker and add chicken broth.

3. Cook on “low” setting for 6-8 hours, or until beef is cooked through and carrots

are soft.

*Note: Some people prefer browning ground beef prior to freezing because

they think it adds more flavor to the dish. I prefer to freeze my ground beef raw

because it saves prep time and still tastes great.


Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken for the Freezer

Ingredients

 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

 1 fresh pineapple, stalk, skin, and core removed and fruit cut into bite-sized

pieces

 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Materials

 1 gallon-sized plastic freezer bag

Prep

1. Label your freezer bag.

2. To your freezer bag, add pineapple, brown sugar, soy sauce, and chicken

breasts. (Add the chicken breasts to the bag last, so they’re the first ingredient

poured into your slow cooker.)

3. Remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible, seal, and lay flat in your

freezer.

Cook

1. The night before cooking, move frozen bag to your refrigerator to thaw.

2. The morning of cooking, pour contents of freezer bag into your slow cooker and

cook on “low” setting for 3-6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and tender.