Today I bought the year’s supply of hot dogs and got them into the freezer. In May for at least the past few years, Gordon Food Supply has had packs of Ball Park Beef franks for 12.99. The regular size hot dogs have 40 in a pack, and they are longer than those in the small 8 packs in the grocery store which make them essentially bun length. I plan on having hot dogs about once a month, plus a few extra portions for summer grilling. This time I also made up a baggie with sets of two dogs wrapped in wax paper to allow my son (the biggest hot dog lover of the house) to occasionally treat himself to an extra serving. Since we have an upright freezer in the basement, we have the space to take advantage of the special pricing and get the best value.
Feeding a family is smoother and more economical when you take a few minutes to plan ahead. Through the years I’ve also learned to buy family packs of meat then trim and portion out all of the meat before freezing. This confines the mess and hassle and on nights when I’ve not planned as carefully as I ought the preparation makes it easier to get dinner around without as much scrambling. When the kids were little and the freezer less full, I would make up side dishes (garlic cheese bread being a house favorite) and have them ready to bake. By dinner, I’m often tired and not wanting to fuss a lot – especially when the kids were young (four years from oldest to youngest).
Pyrex dishes can go in the freezer, oven, microwave, and fridge. Just don’t take it from one extreme temperature directly to another. A casserole which calls for a 9×13 baker can fit into four of the small Pyrex rectangular dishes, or into the two medium size rectangles, depending on the casserole. Dividing out unbaked casseroles into smaller portions allows me to limit leftovers for DH when it’s a dish only he and one of the kids likes, and there is a decadent potato casserole that I and DD2 love which just isn’t safe to have a 9×13 of. Sometimes I need enforced portion control. My Pyrex bakers will be useful when the kids fly the nest and there’s only DH and I to cook for as well.
Our weekend taking Mom to zip line went well. The weather was beautiful and my oldest decided to join her grandma on a first time zip experience, and they all enjoyed the zip. My oldest did ask for a push, which the guide provided. I filmed it all between swatting at mosquitoes, which literally filled the air. I had thought about grabbing the bug spray on the way out the door but didn’t think they’d be fully out yet. It was a good test of one thing, however. I recently read that taking B complex vitamins creates some sort of smell that keeps mosquitoes and biting flies from tasting you. My son seems to be some sort of dessert for these bugs and he’s been taking the B complex for a week. Not one bite is to be found on him.
This is huge news as one day he came home from school to show me a chest and belly covered with at least twenty bites received during a field day. He’s gotten cellulitis several times from mosquito bites and we take all kinds of precautions with him. The rest of us will now be taking the vitamin. We’ll be traveling to Arkansas next month for vacation and the further south you go, the more varieties of mosquitoes can be found. We’ll also take bug spray and head nets. My son has a full body net suit which will no doubt set trends.
My son is a huge fan of the show Mountain Men, and aspires to be one. (He’s 12, if that gives some insight.) I’ve been trying to think of how to encourage the interest, although I’m hoping it becomes more of a hobby than full time life style. This summer I’m going to have him keep a weather journal. I found a guide to predicting the weather by reading the sky, and this will be a good time for him to practice and learn the skill. DD2 will probably be interested enough to join in, as she likes studying weather.
I need to think of other things I can help him learn which relate to his interest and are everyday practical as well. We need to do some cooking over open fire as well as getting the kids into the kitchen more. He already helps me with my garden, so we’ll continue that. Maybe we’ll set up a target and get a bag of marbles for him to practice with his sling shot, which he thinks will be useful in acquiring small game such as squirrels. I can’t get too ambitious as I have a lot of things which need to happen in the summer.
Home school lesson plans are under way, and literature is set for next year. I only need to plan English, Math, and History as DD2 is taking the vet. science course, which will actually help a lot. I’m thinking of working through the remainder of the chemistry book next year in addition to the rest as we won’t be able to finish this year. DD2 may need to be part of that decision. Chemistry is integral to biology studies and senior year will need physics.
With all of these things to attend to, I’d better go get at some of it.