Freezer Cooking: Meatloaf & Precooked Chicken

I did a little freezer “cooking” a few weeks ago.  I made up a few meatloaves for the freezer, as well as one for dinner.  It really is easy to make extra (double, triple, etc.) of something that you’re already going to make anyway.  It takes very little extra time, and the bonus is that you have meals already prepped & ready to go in the freezer.  All that really needs to be done is to pull it out the evening/night before & let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then it’s ready to go the next day.  This goes for any meal, whether you need to cook in the slow cooker, bake in the over, cook on the stove top, or grill.  This particular day, I was planning meatloaf, so I planned to make extra.  Here’s what I bought/used:

  • 5 lb ground beef
  • 5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked crisp
  • 2 packets onion soup mix
  • seasonings to taste ( this time, I used smoked paprika, roasted garlic powder, onion powder, salt, & pepper)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups BBQ sauce

IMG_1399      IMG_1400

Mix everything together very well & divide into gallon freezer bags.

At this point, you can either shape it into a loaf or you can flatten it in the bag & freeze.  I like to flatten it out when I’m freezing it for a couple of reasons:  (1) It takes up less space in my freezer & (2) it takes a lot less time to thaw out because it’s not a large mass.   I use my rolling pill to lightly press it flat in the freezer bag, which also helps me to get out as much air as possible.

IMG_1401 IMG_1403

The above ingredients netted me 4 meatloaves at 2.22 lbs each with 3 cups of extra veggies that I will use to make some more meatloaves.  The veggies were divided into 2 quart bags & placed in the freezer along with 3 of the meatloaves.

I also wrote the cooking instructions on the bag so that anyone in my family can prepare this meal.  To cook your meatloaf in the slow cooker:  Shape & place your meatloaf in a foil-lined slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker.  Top with BBQ sauce in the last 30 minutes or so.

IMG_1411 IMG_1413

This meatloaf is enough to feed my family of 5 for 1 meal.  There may or may not be leftovers.  It will depend on what sides we have & how hungry everyone is.




IMG_1414 IMG_1415

I had also purchased a whole cut up chicken & 2 packages of split chicken breasts that were marked down, so I placed all of that in the slow cooker the night before with about 1 cup of water.  I deboned & shredded all of this meat & will divide it up into meal-size portions for the freezer to help make last minute meals go much quicker.  This really helps to cut down my cooking/baking time since the meat is already cooked & ready to go.  I leave out any seasonings so that I can season it up as I go, depending on what dishes I am making.

I also try to keep precooked ground beef on hand, but that’s a post for another day!

I hope you have enjoyed this post, & that it helps you make your meal planning, dinner preparations go a little more quickly & smoothly!

Regarding Ads On My Blog

Good morning!  I have been informed that political ads are showing up on my blog via Google ads.  Please know that I have NO CONTROL over what ads pop up when you are on my blog.  Please understand that Google ads change constantly.  What you see one time on particular post on my blog will NOT be the same if you visit it again.  Also know that the Google ads that you see are specific to you.  Google takes your searching/viewing history & shows you ads that it thinks are relevant to you.

Fullscreen capture 7272016 93317 AM.bmp

(Click on the picture to take you directly to that page.)

While I do have my own political opinions, I have always chosen NOT to share those views on my blog, & I will continue to do so.  However, from reading my blog, I pray that you are aware that my views on how I try to live my life are based on the Bible, God’s word, and I will NEVER apologize for sharing those views, & I will continue to share them.  If my faith in Christ offends you, I will be sorry to see you leave, but I will understand that it is your right to do so.

I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.  Again, I will do my best to remove any ad spots that I can, but I am not sure that I can without having to make major changes that are outside of my financial realm right now.  My blog is a FREE blog.  I do not pay to host it.  I hope you will continue to follow my blog.  If not, please know that I pray only God’s blessings on each of you!

And Life Goes On……


Even though I haven’t been blogging for a while, life has truly gone on.  Which is why I haven’t been blogging.  Our little family has gone through some major changes in the last year and a half, but God has been at work through it all, and He’s been faithful to walk with me and get me through each rough spot as I climbed the mountain in front of me.  At times, when my strength failed me, He even carried me.  I am so thankful that I have a loving Heavenly Father to walk with me through the good and the bad that this earthly life brings.



Part of the changes that have my family has gone through is we are now grandparents!!!  Our oldest daughter, Melia, had moved out last year against our wishes, but out of the ashes comes a beautiful blessing, our grandson, Jayce who was born in March, 2016!  Oh, what a joy & blessing he is!  Our daughter & Jayce are staying with us for now, which has been wonderful! Jayce 0716


Pigs 2015

Last fall, we acquired two young Red Wattle/Yorkshire mix pigs.  The male was slaughtered back in the spring by the family that we acquired them from, but we kept the female, who was pregnant.

Piglets 0616On June 30th, she gave birth to 11 little ones.  We lost one due to mom laying on him, and then we lost another one the other day when he somehow managed to get into mom’s water bucket & drown.  But, we have not lost any due to any health issues, and we pray that we do not lose any more.  Soon, we will have a few for sale.  We plan to slaughter the mom in a couple months, but we will be keeping a couple of the females to raise for breeding in the future.  We’ve got our eye on a little male Red Wattle that’s just a little older than our piglets that we’re planning to purchase & raise to breed with our females.  We will be keeping at least one other one for meat for us.  We originally planned to keep two, but since we have lost two, we haven’t decided yet about keeping the second one.  We shall see.

Katie - Graduation 0416

Our daughter, Katie, also graduated high school this year!  Our homeschool graduation ceremony was so amazing!  I love how personal everything was!  And we are so proud of Katie & her accomplishments.  She is looking forward to attending college this fall to begin her education to become a science teacher!  She has such a heart for science & math, & she feels that this is what God is calling her to do.  Pray with us as we go through this journey – pray for God’s guidance for us & for financing.  She’s also enjoying being an aunt!


Our son, Michael, will be in 10th grade this year, and he’s getting to spend time with my dad, who is getting to pour a lot of his vast knowledge & experience into him & teach him a lot about life.  He’s also learning a lot about farm life & all that comes with it, as well as learning about all the joys that come with being an uncle!

Demo Work 0716Another big change going on here at MCH, we are also in the process now of doing lots of demolition on our property!  We have moved a storage building that we have to a new location and are building a new garage where the building once stood. But, that’s not all we’re doing!  We’re also going to be demolishing our current home & bringing in a new modular home!!!  Stay tuned to see what all we are doing!  I’ve been taking pics & short videos as we’ve been working, so I’ll be sharing some of those with you as I have time.

My life is a little crazy, especially with having a new grandbaby & now new piglets to care for, but I’m not complaining!  God has blessed us with so much!  I pray that we continue to try to honor Him & give Him all the glory in all that we do.

We have fallen off of the frugal wagon lately, but we’re trying to hop back on.  We need to cut back wherever we can so that we can accomplish all that needs to be done here.  So, stay tuned as we continue on this crazy journey!  I will do my best to share things with you in a timely manner so that you can follow along with all the laughter, frustration, & tears that come with all the changes going on.  Thank you to all of those who have waited to see a new post from me, and welcome to all of the new followers that I have!



Prom 2015

I just have to take a moment to brag on my kiddos.  Our homeschool Prom was yesterday, and all kids ages 13 & up are allowed to attend.  They always have a great time.  Here’s a pic of my kiddos:  My son, Michael; my daughter; Katie; and Katie’s boyfriend (& date), Seth.


This is Katie & Seth’s junior year.  Only one more year of high school for them.  And Michael will be starting high school next year.   Where has the time gone?  No matter where it has gone, I am very proud of the outstanding young Christians that these 3 are becoming!  We are so blessed!

A Praise Report!

In the midst of our heartache, God has brought us a great blessing!  A couple of Sundays ago, during Awana, God worked in our son’s heart, drawing him unto Himself, and our son heeded His calling!  Praise God, our son gave his life to Christ!


Even though this picture is from almost a year ago (and he has changed so much in that time – Michael is now 13), I still wanted to give you a face to go with this praise report!  Rejoice with us in this answered prayer, and pray for him as he begins his journey following God’s path for his life.

Thinking and Pondering

20130718_202339  I think I’ve still been reeling from the major changes that my family have recently gone through.  Prayers are still needed in this area, please.  Things have not changed.  We miss our daughter desperately & continue to pray that God will use whatever means necessary to open her eyes to her situation & her heart to Him.

I started to post earlier today and thought, “I really don’t have anything to say.”   Then, while I was checking in with a couple of the groups that I’m part of on FB, I started thinking about frugal living and all the things that a lot of us do on a regular basis that we might not really even think about any more.  We also tend to forget that there are others out there that are still learning (whether by choice or by necessity) ways to save money & help their families.  So, I thought that I would share some of the ones that I do on a regular basis, as well as some that I’ve become very lax in for the  last few months.

Some of the frugal things I try do regularly:

  • Keeping the heat turned down a bit in the winter time & layering up/using blankets. (By keeping the heat down, I mean keeping it between 66 – 68*.  If you’re still cold, put on another layer or grab a quilt/blanket.)  Now that it’s warming up, the heat is not needed, so the doors & windows will be opened.  The AC units will only be put in when absolutely necessary, and only used when absolutely necessary!  We have a whole house fan, so this helps us to be able to push this off until mid June, usually.
  • Cook meals at home, making enough for lunch the next day, when possible
  • Try to use up leftovers
  • Try to keep an eye on the fruits/veggies in the fridges to try to use up things before they go bad
  • Cut open toothpaste tubes when we are unable to “squeeze” any more out.  You would not BELIEVE how much is still left in those tubes!   I also cut open lotion containers/tubes & scrape the remnants into a small container to be used up.

Frugal things that I really need to get back into the habit of doing more regularly:

  • Keep a better eye on the contents of the refrigerators
  • Cook more meals from home (I’ve allowed my schedule to dictate whether we end up grabbing fast food instead of my dictating my schedule & making sure that I have something quick & easy to fix or throw in the Crock Pot before leaving for the day.
  • Can more foods on a regular basis (whether it be foods that require pressure/water bath canning or dry canning, or even vacuum-sealing foods).
  • Now that the weather is turning nice again, I need to get back to hanging ALL laundry out to dry

Here is a list of some frugal activities that I need to complete:

  • Finish making my cloth napkins that are already cut out & ready to be sewn together
  • Go through each room of our home & purge
  • Get the garden ready for planting

I know that there’s more, but this is what’s coming to mind.  One thing that I plan to try to accomplish VERY soon is to can more beans.  We are almost completely out of my canned beans.  This is not a hard job, it’s just very time consuming.  And, I haven’t had enough time to accomplish this from start to finish.

I’d love for you to share some of your favorite frugal activities in the comments with me!  Let’s share & help each other possibly learn new frugal ways!

How I Get the Most Out of Swagbucks

Swagbucks2  I have been a member of Swagbucks for many years, but have only recently (like, in the last few months), finally figured out how to really earn Swagbucks AND  meet my daily goal (set by Swagbucks each day).  For a while, their daily goals were just too high and it was just too hard to really get any Swagbucks each day, so it would take me quite a while to be able to earn a $5 Amazon GC, which was the best deal that they had.  I remember getting very frustrated some days, and I really just did not do a whole lot with them because of that.

When they did their latest revamp a little while back, it became quite a bit easier to earn Swagbucks, thus enabling me to earn more GCs!  I will be honest in saying that I still did not take full advantage of earning them like I could for a while, but, for the last several months, I’ve been able to meet the maximum $5 Amazon GCs that I could earn a month (a total of 5) and still have Swagbucks left to spend!

But, I’ve recently figured out quite a few more tips & tricks that I would like to share with you so that you, too, can make the most of your time and earnings.

Here’s how I manage an average of 100 Swagbucks per day (it does vary a bit – sometimes more, sometimes less):

The easiest 5 Swagbucks you can earn each day are from your “To Do List,”  which is located on the left hand side of the screen:

* DailyCrave (opens in a new window & has 2 short videos for you to like/dislike & then awards you 1 SB)

*Swagbutton (Download & use the Swagbucks toolbar for 1 SB – the toolbar also alerts you to active Swag Codes!)

*Daily Poll (Give your opinion on the daily poll for 1 SB)

*NOSO offers (Click through the ads to the end to earn 2 SB)

*SB Search Engine:  Do at least 3 searches a day – one in the morning,  one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.  You will usually earn SBs in at least 2 out of the 3 searches. (Make sure that you have Swagbucks set as your default search engine.  If you are not using the SB search engine for your searches, you are wasting your time)

*Games:  You can earn 2SB for every two days you play with a maximum of 10 SB per day.  As a busy, homeschooling mom, I do not have time to sit & play games all day, but I can play a few quick games of Swagarsaurus Run or Swag Jump.  These two take very little time & can be done throughout the day.  Just remember 10 games equals 10 SB (2 Sb for every 2 games played, not 1 SB after every game).

*Surveys:  These are very hit & miss.  I do not qualify every day, but I seem to have better luck with the Gold Surveys.  These can easily be located in the top left corner after  participating in the Daily Poll.  Even if you do not qualify, you can get a maximum of 5 SB for not qualifying for 5 surveys.  So, this is hit or miss, but I have had fairly decent luck the last couple of weeks with these.  (I do seem to have more luck qualifying for surveys early in the morning.)

There are also Profile questions that can be found on the right hand side of the survey page, but these questions are definitely random.  When you see them, answer them & begin to fill up the meter for a chance at more SB (10 SB, I think, when it’s  full).

*Main Page: On the main (home) Swagbucks page, there are many opportunities to earn more SB.  My favorites for this are: Take a Discovery Break (JunGroup) (2 SB), nGage (2 SB), and Earn 2 Swag Bucks  (earn 1 – 2 SB easily by interacting with their ads). These can be done multiple times throughout the day, and they really help to rack up SB.  But, know that they do not work well on iPads.

There are also several other click through ads on the main SB page that will give you 1 SB when you complete the required activity.  Most only take a few seconds to complete.

*Swagbucks Videos:  Fill the SB TV meter for a chance to win a maximum of 150 SB per day!  You can only watch each video once per day.

If you have an iPad, they have a SBTV mobile app that allows you earn up to 30 SB perday!  I’ve found that by downloading the SB mobile App & allowing videos to autoplay, I can earn these fairly effortlessly.  (I have done this & left it to play while I go about my daily routines, or even when I’m getting ready for bed at night.) Some of the videos I’ve enjoyed, some are not my cup of tea, but I play them anyway.  (Anything that is not family-friendly is not played in my home, but I’ve not really had an issue with SB, so I don’t think that this will be an issue for anyone.)

*Coupons:  Swagbucks has links to print of coupons.  You do earn SB just for printing off coupons (usually 10 SB for printing off a minimum of 10 coupons), but you can also earn SB by actually using them, so I try to only print off coupons that I know I or my family/friends need/will use.  It does take a few weeks for these SB to be credited to your account, but I’ve never had any issues with them.

*Shopping:  Swagbucks has a many links to online retailers that, if you go through them, you can earn so many SB per dollar spent at that particular site.  For example, if you were to need printer ink, make sure to click on the Staples link to earn 5 SB per dollar spent!  It does take a few weeks for these SB to be credited to your account, but I’ve never had any issues with them.

I have also used SB when booking a hotel stay.  I managed to rack up several SB that way!  If you’re going to be shopping online, you might as well earn something for your time and money spent, right?

Yes, these activities do take a little time, but you can work on them throughout the day when you are already on the computer.  The only thing that you need to be mindful of are the searches.  Make sure that you do one early in the morning, one sometime after lunch to mid afternoon, and another in the late evening before going to bed.  I do not always earn SB at each search time, but the majority of the time, I do.

Also, if you meet the minimum daily goal that they set for you each day, you will get bonus Swagbucks at the beginning of the next month, up to 300 SB!! This really helps towards earning your next GC.  So, it really does pay to try to at least meet the minimum daily goal each day.  I do have a goal that I set for myself each day, but I also know that some days, the minimum is the best that I can do.

These are the ways that manage to earn my SB, and how I managed to earn enough for a $25 Amazon GC this month (2200 SB)! I used to always cash them in for the $5 Amazon GC (450 SB each), up to 5 per month), but they recently increased the amount to 500 Sb per $5 Amazon GC.  AND, this month, they have the $25 Amazon GC marked down to 2200 SB, which is the better deal, so that’s what I saved up for!

One other tip that I have is, if you are on Facebook, make sure to “Like” the Swagbucks Facebook Page.  Here, you can find out the latest news, codes, etc.

I hope these ways will help you earn more Swagbucks.  After all, if you’re going to be searching online anyway, you might as well try to earn a little something for  your time, right?

Swagbucks1  If you haven’t join Swagbucks already but would like to, please consider using my referral link.  If you sign up through my referral link, yes will earn Swagbucks when you earn them, but so will your friends that sign up under you!  That’s the beauty of Swagbucks.  It’s a win-win for all!

If you have any questions that I have not answered here, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will try my best to answer them for you!