To Do List Tasks

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In an effort to get me into a consistent pattern of writing this summer and do a better job of continually updating my blog with current & relevant posts through our summer adventures, and beyond, I have created a blogging schedule that will be producing several different blog series within different themes to be released on different topics through out this entire summer and in future seasons. It will be a challenge, I am sure I will stumble, but over-all it is in an effort to follow God’s will for me and my writing and share my fun ideas & occasional anecdote with you all. You may have seen my previous blog posts about some of those other blog series’ like

12 Weeks of Virtues Summer 2017 Challenge and Mission: K.O.B.F., well I decided Today’s theme being released is To Do List Tasks where I write a short blog about something on my To-Do List. This may be any number of things, but it won’t be a terribly long blog and it will tackle something on my “to do list” for the week. A project, a chore, a task, ect. if you have anything on your to-do list you would like helpful tips or advice tackling ask away and I will do my best!

My first To Do List Task Topic is…

Summer Freezer Meal Planning!

I love to cook but during the summer I hate to be in the kitchen too long, and we are typically so busy that I need to be prepared in advance or we will go broke by the end of summer eating out or making a million trips to the store in a month wastefully buying a few days at a time. After I discovered this past fall that with some planning and a little prep, my husband and I were perfectly capable of prepping 40+ freezer meals for our family of 6, I knew I needed to apply this same method to a summer menu to stock up for June & July at least.

When my husband and I tackled this meal prep project back in the fall (just before I restarted my blog) we prepped over 40 freezer meals across 2 days of actual prep & assembly and one full day of grocery shopping. Essentially 3 days took the hard work of making dinner out of our lives across about 43 meals. Most of the meals had leftovers which doubled as second dinners or lunches for my husband or myself. With the addition of the handful of times that we still went out to eat or ordered in for something special during the fall and winter, we didn’t use the very last freezer meal until February of this year (which wound up being very helpful through our challenging start to the year with two close losses; Heartbroken…. When heartbreak strikes again…too soon ) All together because of a little planning and some thought out prep & help from the hubby with assembly, 3 days of work translated to almost 90 days not having to stress over making dinner in the think about it, find the right ingredients, prep and assembly sense. In most cases, they were crockpot meals with a very minimal day of effort needed and no more advance thought than the night before to pull them out & thaw.

My To Do List Task for this week (aside from preparing for my youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday & Memorial Day cookout) is to begin gathering recipe’s that will be quick and easy to prepare, allow easy addition of fresh seasonal produce, feed at least 6 people and can be mostly prepped ahead and frozen. If you have any recipe’s you love during the summer months please feel free to share! Here are the few recipes I began gathering so far this evening.

Freezer to Grill Shish Kebobs

Ranch Burgers

Buffalo Chicken Wraps (I have used this freezer recipe before and it is one of my favorites, especially for summer!)

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pepper Chicken Stew

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Buffalo Chicken Wraps recipe and picture courtesy of Once A Month Meals

Friendly tip…one of my favorite places to go for recipes of any kind but specifically freezer recipes is : Once A Month Meals, they have an enormous selection of great recipes with tips on how to properly prep for the freezer. They have an incredible team of contributors who track down some great recipes and test them and you can even join as an official member to take advantage of their shopping lists, ingredient prep steps & menu planning tools available.

I look forward to sharing with you the full meal plan & prep day process documented in a future blog! Also as we get closer to fall I will be turning our previous freezer meal experience that I spoke of earlier, with you into blog form as well because I did photograph our fun & I still have those meal plan documents saved!

Again if you have any recipes for summer that we may love please share those ideas below in the comments! I would love to try some of your favorite go-to summer dishes! Alright now off to the rest of my “To-Do List” items for the week! My kids start summer break in just one day! Go forth and get ready for your summer but don’t forget to check back for more of our adventures!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

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Getting a Handle on the Summer Schedule

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When life hands you just the right tool at just the right time…

Summer is one week and one day away in our school district. Lazy days are upon us in just 8 days, sleeping in late, swimming like a fish, toes in the sand, cookouts, star-gazing, catching fire fly’s, bonfires and relaxing schedules right? Well at least in my dreams summer is filled with 12 weeks of pure relaxing summer bliss……………but then I wake up the first morning of summer break to the sounds of my little munchkins, pitter-pattering through the house, bickering with each other (since my girls are 50/50 in the cheerful in the morning category) and trying to fix themselves breakfast. It is at this point every summer that reality comes crashing in and I realize that though we will fit those items into our summer it won’t be all fun & relaxation and we will have anything but a relaxing summer schedule.

With 4 kids that are all interested in many different activities (marching band, theater, basketball, gymnastics, youth group ect.), a husband working full-time and my own personal goals & career aspirations to fit into our summer schedule it can feel overwhelming to start with. Then factor in our on a whim summer adventure’s, family fun time, my small business (and “me-time” job with a mission that is Thirty-One), the never-ending list of “Honey do’s” as homeowners, my desire to incorporate devotion time & character building lessons into the rearing of my children and the hope that with a little planning I can keep their brains from turning into sludge over the summer and it may seem altogether impossible……..BUT God has been using these last number of seasons for me as a mom to children in many different ages and stages at the same time to teach me the value of a plan, a schedule, and a structure and to mold me into that style of a parent in my own way.

Managing the chaos…

As a creative-minded, strong right brain dominant thinker I tend to be a bit unplanned, spontaneous, and free-spirited of a person. So that means schedules, order, structure & numbers are not areas that comes naturally to me at all. Did I mention I am a great procrastinator? I am, an amazing procrastinator actually. I have always said that I do my best work under pressure, as a high school fine art student all of my favorite work was finished at 3 am in the morning it was due. Further proof that my brain as God designed it (in whatever damaged state it is at currently since it’s been mine to manage for over 3 decades) struggles to follow through, juggle thoughts & feelings and delegate tasks. God gave me the desire in my soul to do big things and the skills and personality to do so, however, there’s been a battle in my head over that desire (for more years than I’d like to admit) between Satan & God.

It’s almost like the two are literally playing tug ‘o war with my thoughts, keeping me from believing that desire could ever turn into more and therefore be keeping me from acknowledging the tools God has been equipping me with to be successful in Him. You see God designed me, so it goes without saying, He knows what makes me tick, He knows what ticks me off, He knows all the little things and all the big things and He knows the desires of my heart because He placed them there.

So knowing this, it’s no wonder Satan would try to create uncertainty, doubt and difficult thoughts in our truth, because if we listen to him we would then deny our God-given gifts, and His will for us.

An uprising was beginning in me…

For many years I was stuck in that cycle, somewhere bouncing between knowing what my heart whispered and hearing what my head and the world screamed. I would let doubt, “practicality”, and fear hold me back. It was about the time I was becoming a “Mother of 3”  that God began an uprising in my spirit and my heart. I was plugged into a church that was just the right tool, at just the right time to begin arming me with the armor to fight back against Satan’s doubts. He plopped me ever so perfectly into an incredible community of believers with more spiritual teachers & Mentors than I could count brushing shoulders with me on Sundays and many of the days in between as well. It was a season of great personal growth in me as a mother, as an individual and as a daughter of Christ. It was also a time of great spiritual growth in my family. This season will come to inspire many more stories for future writings aside from this one, I assure you.

For this topic currently, this season for me between “Mother of 3” and “Mother of 4” are anything but pretty on a personal level. The fight was real and Satan won more times than I like in my head, but with each personal failure, with each low point, God equipped me with a new lesson and a new tool. Some spiritual, some personal, some social (because mentally this is an area of great strain for me) and some very tangible. This is one of those TANGIBLE TOOLS that I am certain God plopped right in my path to finish His molding of me in that season. To put a bookend on the “Volumes of Testimonies” from that season and seamlessly transition me into wholeheartedly embracing the next season He has for my family and “The Volumes of Testimonies” still to come for us…

The Tool…

The absolute most perfectly perfect planner for me! The best part is it really can be the most perfect planner for ANY of you because it puts the designing, creativity, needs for clean lines and structure if that’s you, needs for freedom and bold colors and visual stimulation if you’re like me. It lets you incorporate specific goals, hobbies and life tools, all into your planner, however, you see fit. Now I am getting ZERO kickback or benefit for writing this, it is simply my desire to share a tool God plopped in my lap with others to give you the opportunity to take control of your schedule back!

Now I found these on sale at Pat Catan’s yesterday when I went in to pick up a few last-minute items for my oldest daughters Pinterest themed 15th birthday party that is this upcoming Saturday. The display immediately caught my eye because I always feel the pressure to get ahead of the inevitable chaos that will fill our summer stealing away days if I am not careful. I have learned in this past season from “Mother of 3” to “Mother of 4” to get ahead of a problem in most cases and one way I do so in the case of our summer sanity is by planning, thinking ahead and spending just a little “Me Time” working on a plan and schedule ahead of time.  This is why as soon as I saw the sale sign and the selection of products available of the Create 365 THE HAPPY PLANNER I knew this was a God Wink as I call them and to top it off the items were 40% off! Now I am not certain how long this sale is for but the selection was quite vast.

Among the selection was a variety of choices of the base planner itself (which I did not purchase because I have one that God already plopped in my lap previously and will discuss further in a moment). What I did get were two of the multi sticker themed packs, Mom and Faith, a tube of 7 rolls of decorative washi tape and a small set of magnetic mini bookmarks. Also, there were available, sticker packs that are Fitness Minded, Goal Minded, Teacher geared, vacation/travel geared, and overall just different style or design. There really was something for everyone I thought. There was plenty of accessory type add on’s as well from clips, pens, pouches & cases depending on the planner and size you choose.

My Planner…

Now as I mentioned before, I only purchased the sticker packs & a few accessories to get down to creating and designing my existing planner, well two planners. I purchased a new calendar/basic planner a few weeks back with anticipation of getting ahead of the summer chaos and I immediately began implementing it for our bills and other important scheduling but I was disappointed that it lacked room to be able to include a devotion area, or goal setting pages that I had come to appreciate on the planner I was replacing. Typically I am replacing my planners in the summer but I do try to get 18-month calendar books so that can swap to January occasionally. It all depends on what planner I am coming off of really. If I’m honest too, I have gone weeks or months at a time without looking at it (and if I’m entirely honest that coordinates with my weakest mental state, most unorganized and frequently late weeks & months too). I function better when I let my Left Brain in on the action a little bit, especially now that I am managing schedules for 6 people! But it has always been a challenge for me to do so without putting my Right Brain to sleep. That is why I knew it was God when just 2 days after purchasing my new planner that I had IMMEDIATELY begun implementing (eliminating the ability to return it…) I came across this BEAUTY in a CLEARANCE bin at Jo-Ann Fabrics (again picking up a few things for the Pinterest party I am planning). I can never resist the urge to dig through those big clearance bins when I am in any store but especially a craft store. My best deals and most favorite finds ALWAYS come from there!

So Here are a few page inserts from the new planner that I purchased for less than $10 on clearance. The only Bummer is that I have to wait to use it until January because it runs January-December but it can be completely customized as well and has blank dates on the calendar pages. I spent just a little time last night setting up my devotion pages with some of the stickers from my faith pack and I customized each Monthly cover with a quote sticker from one of the two different sticker packs. I said a little prayer for God to guide my hands through choosing the sticker for each month with anticipation of them all being fresh reminders when I begin implementing that calendar in January.

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I will continue working on setting this one up, dating the months, filling in birthdays and important dates for just a few minutes at the end of each planner session with the planner that I AM USING this summer through December. So here is a sneak peek of that too!

Now like I said before I am not getting any kind of reimbursement from the planner company or Pat Catan’s but I wanted to share the info so you could maybe utilize the sale to get a hold of your summer before it’s wasted away!  I did check Amazon too, they carry a wide selection also with some available through PRIME! I found this great 24 Month Planner Starter Kit so you should check it out On AMAZON too and find the right solution for you!

Whether you get this starter kit or a different one, whether you just buy accessories to jazz up the function & style for the planner that you currently have and/or use, or whether you stick with a routine that you have established and works for you it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we live INTENTIONALLY as moms, friends, wives, co-workers, and daughters of Christ, because not living intentionally is a giant waste of the time and potential that your God Almighty has blessed you with and I for one know that when I am not careful and intentional it opens me up to the enemies lies. I don’t want to live in the enemies lies and I hope you won’t either. I pray you can discern the little God Winks the are placed in your life as ways to better you as a servant for Him, like I did with the finding of my planner, instead of looking at these whispers from God as something else to fail at or crowd our life & schedule.

Remember we are His children, created for His purpose so we can tell HIStory through our lives and He only wants The BEST for US…….He just may see that a little differently than we do, so look, listen and anticipate God Wink Opportunities, they are all around you when you try to find them!

Now I encourage you to find a system that works for you if you need help feel free to ask me or ask a current Mentor in your life for their best tips to staying intentional with your time. Time wasted is music to the enemies ears, so go forth and be productive & most importantly INTENTIONAL with your time!

As always, thanks for reading!

~Rebecca

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The Dazzling Domestic Dreamer
Copyright © 2013-2018