Tuesday, September 18, 2012
It's time to freeze some meals! A new baby, no matter how seasoned you are in welcoming them into your home, adds it's own busy-ness to life and there's always an adjustment period. This is when I appreciate having some meals frozen in my freezer, on those days that seem insanely hectic or I'm just too exhausted to cook. I will say that our friends and church family are amazing at providing us meals when we have a baby. They are so generous and a real blessing to us. But once the meals stop coming and real life sets in, I am always thankful that I took the time to be prepared.
I just tried a new recipe from a recipe book I didn't have during other pregnancies. It's called Fix, Freeze, Take & Bake and it has so many really great recipes, perfect for making ahead and freezing. One that I just tried, and what we are having for supper tonight is so incredibly good that I had to share. No fancy pictures, or step by step instructions. Just a really great recipe. Don't forget to double it so you can get dinner and a meal to freeze! Actually if you are a small family you can easily get dinner and a meal to freeze with one recipe.
Chicken Tortellini Casserole
2 1/2 C. small frozen cheese tortellini pasta
1 1/2 C. frozen broccoli
2 C. cooked, diced chicken, fresh or canned (I used fresh)
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 C. white sauce (see recipe below)
2-2 T. butter, melted
2/3 C. bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
In a medium pot, cook tortellini according to package directions. Add broccoli for final mine of cooking time to allow it to thaw and warm. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a medium bowl, toss together tortellini, broccoli, cooked chicken, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Transfer to a greased 2-qt casserole dish (I used a disposable aluminum pan for freezing). Pour white sauce over all and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, bread crumbs, basil, parsley and oregano. Sprinkle mixture over top of casserole. Cover and freeze.
To Prepare: Preheat oven to 375. Lightly cover and bake frozen casserole for 30 mins. Remove cover and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.
2 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C. milk
2 T. butter or margarine
** I added granulated garlic**
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose
under heaven. ~Ecc. 3:1
If you spend any amount of time with me then you have heard me refer to, "this season of life" several times. When I am overwhelmed is especially when I try to remember that most things are only for a season. That was one of the main reasons I titled the blog the way I did. The other reason is because these particular passages of scripture are my husband's favorite.
This year we had three of our kids start school on the first day. We now have one in 3rd grade, one in 2nd grade and one in Kindergarten. This seems so crazy to me because I really feel like we just started having kids. How can we possibly have 3 already in school. But that is how fast time goes. The past couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about when I had all my little ones at home and no one was in school. At the time that I had Will Noah was not yet 5 so I had all 4 boys at home. Will came unexpectedly and very quickly following Gabe's birth. It was a really overwhelming time for me. I didn't leave the house often, only when I absolutely had to...for the first few months anyway. I remember at the time thinking that things will be a lot easier once Noah starts school and I "only" have 3 during the day. Then Noah started school and I was so surprised how that didn't seem to lighten my load any, it actually made our lives so much busier. And that has been the case following all the other's starting school. Now looking back I have the perspective and wisdom to know that I shouldn't be wishing away the time I have with my kids or hoping they would grow up quicker. Because it doesn't get easier just because they get older. Of course, the day I am all done with night feedings, diaper changes and potty training I'm sure I'll be thrilled but in my experience...those are the easier days! And you never would have caught me saying that 3 years ago.
Life before early mornings of getting kids ready for school, laundry HAVING to be caught up because your kids are in public EVERY DAY (haha!), making lunches, helping with homework, extra activities like soccer and Good News Club, school fundraisers, field trips, etc. And if you are in my same season of life you are doing all of that on top of raising some toddlers at home. And those are just the activities of life. I haven't even touched on the character building that comes with age. I am just so thankful God gives wisdom liberally to those who ask!
Why have I been thinking about this so much lately? Because I'm about to have a baby and this is the first baby I will deliver right in the middle of a school year. Jena has been my only baby born when I had one in school and at that time Noah was in Kindergarten and it was right at the end of the school year. Most of the extra activities were done, homework wasn't coming home as often and we had the whole routine down pat. This time around, school is just starting which means our load is heavy. The 3 boys are in soccer, we start Good News Club, it's our busy time at church with different ministries starting up, there will still be lunches to make and homework to help with (x3) no matter how tired we are. And no matter how little sleep I will have gotten the night before I will still have to be up at 5:30 to get everyone ready for school. No matter how fussy the kids were, there are still things that will HAVE to get done, like laundry and grocery shopping. Life cannot be put on hold for a "season" like we have relied on in the past. That overwhelms me a bit but I know that with God's help we will be able to do it. And I also know that once we are doing it, though it might be hard, we'll be pleasantly surprised that it's really not as bad as we thought it was going to be. This is a new "season in life" for me and I'm excited to meet our new little girl and see what God teaches me through it. For now I am unapologetically enjoying my last month with just two little ones at home and trying to spend as much time with them doing things that were harder to do with 5 home before the baby comes. It's a sweet gift I have and I intend to appreciate it to it's fullest!