Archives for posts with tag: Nanny

Here we go again!!  Another awesome meal plan that has Fall & Football written all over it!

Crockpot Freezer Meals 004

What’s on the Menu:
Colorado Beef Burritos
Thai Chicken Wings with Peanut Sauce
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Meatball Stroganoff
Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cranberry Sauce
Taco Chili


And if you missed my other posts, you can check them out here:

I’m so excited to try this Meal Plan with Owen’s family!  These recipes scream fall!  =)

Crockpot Freezer Meals 003

What’s on the Menu:
Honey Sesame Chicken
White Chicken Chili
Beer & Beef Stew
Beef Stroganoff

Again, all of the original work is cited in the PDF attachment.  I haven’t made any of my own meal plans yet, but I’m really looking forward to it!!

Enjoy and let me know what you think!


And if you missed them, you can catch my other posts here:

Okay!  So, I’m really excited to announce that the 5th meal is presently in the crockpot and we’ve not repeated any of them yet.

I’m going to admit, we’d probably be through more of them now if I would have remembered to put them on in the mornings.  I’ve not been holding up my end of the cooking bargain; however, their house is looking much better!

My favorite part is that they’ve loved them all!  I asked Mom what she thought of them and she literally said “It has all been great.  The steak and chicken ones have been my faves.”  That’s all of them except the Scalloped Potatoes & Ham…and I messed up on that one pretty good…lol  Maybe the other bag of it won’t be so bad…  I’ll let you know.  😉

The reason we’re all here: I wanted to go ahead and publish my second PDF.  I haven’t tried it with the family yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll write and let you know how it went!

Crockpot Freezer Meals 002

What’s on the Menu:

Fresh Spaghetti Sauce
Black Bean Chili
Italian Sausage with Pepper & Onions
Chicken Fajitas
Brunswick Stew

The plan as it’s written only makes 1 bag of each meal.  To make 10 like in my last post, simply double all ingredients.  I don’t think I will, just so I can get through this set and move on to the next.

So, as I mentioned in my first post, I have started supplementing my hours with Owen’s family by cooking and cleaning for them.  Since cleaning comes after cooking on my list of favorite past times, I decided to make my first attempt at crockpot freezer cooking priority for this precious family of 2.5.

And, believe it or not, it was a huge hit!!

So many people are asking me to teach them my tricks and want me to come over and take them shopping and show them how it’s done.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to, but it’s so easy and (I found) empowering to just do it on your own!  Since I’m a beginner, too, I used my favorite research tool….PINTEREST!  I found two blogs who made starting out SUPER doable and followed their lead!

The only difference here is that I am going to provide a file that will make printing & following along easier.  😉  No offense to the amazing bloggers from whom I’ve extracted these amazing works of food art, I’m just a very cut and dry person and I don’t want to use up ink or paper printing the pictures you’ve taken and added to your blog.  All credit is cited on the actual documents, so I’m not trying to pass any of this off as my own!  Though, since this was so easy, I’m really looking forward to creating my own meal plans and grocery lists!

Anyway, here’s the first PDF of at least 6 that I’ve been working on!

Crockpot Freezer Cooking 001

What’s on the Menu:
Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches
Salsa Chicken
Scalloped Potatoes & Ham
Chicken Curry
Pepper Steak

And, of course, a little photo collage!

What few pictures I took while diving head first into my first Crockpot Freezer Meal Adventure!  Far Left:  All the goodies!  Next grouping, starting top left and working clockwise:  My handwritten grocery list because I didn't have my laptop or the printed list (typical, Sammie!), prepping the bags, finished product in the freezer!

What few pictures I took while diving head first into my first Crockpot Freezer Meal Adventure! Far Left: All the goodies! Next grouping, starting top left and working clockwise: My handwritten grocery list because I didn’t have my laptop or the printed list (typical, Sammie!), prepping the bags, finished product in the freezer!

This is the first set of recipes I’ve used for Owen’s family.  There is a note in the PDF about that, but I wanted to elaborate on it.

What I Did:
1.  I picked the easiest recipe set of my top two favorite blogs.
2.  I wrote out the shopping list in the notebook I keep in my purse.
3.  I dropped the kid off at school, went to Kroger & did some MAJOR shopping!
4.  I brought everything back to their house, parked at their back door & unloaded EVERYTHING into their extra fridge in the laundry/mud room.
5.  Picked Owen up from school & put him down for his nap.
6.  I labeled the freezer bags.  Meal title on the bottom & again in the white “Ziploc” logo, followed by cooking instructions.
7.  I shorthanded the above onto sticky notes (1 for each bag).
8.  I cleaned out & organized their pantry.  It was kind of a hot mess.
9.  Owen woke up from his nap, so I pulled his high chair into the kitchen, fixed him a snack and started chopping veggies!
10.  As I chopped each individual veggie, I put it in the bag it belonged in & marked that item off of the list.
11.  I did the same for each canned item, spice and sauce.
12.  I pulled the meats out of the fridge one by one.  I did the chicken first & plopped whole chicken breasts in each bag.  I didn’t even trim the rib meat/fat off!  I saved the round steak for last because it was the one meat I had never worked with before & there were more steps for treating that particular meat in it’s corresponding recipe.  As I finished working with each bag, I sealed them, shook them flat and stacked them in the freezer with the title facing out.
13.  After 3 hours of standing in the kitchen, I was FINISHED!  I cleaned everything up, took out the trash & left!  (No, Owen was not in his high chair calling item after item “B B Ball! B B Ball!”…  Fortunately, his dad came home about an hour into this adventure and rescued him from being held captive.)

What Those Steps SHOULD Have Been:
1.  Pick the easiest recipe set of my top two favorite blogs.
2.  Print the PDF I made.
3.  Clean the pantry & make a list of what they have on hand, removing the items they have from the shopping list.
3.  Drop the kid off at school & hit up several different stores for bargains.
4.  Stack everything in the extra fridge in the laundry room.
5.  Label the freezer bags with the meal title on the bottom & again in the white “Ziploc” logo, followed by cooking instructions.
6.  Cut out each individual recipe and tape onto the wall above my prep area.
7.  Pick Owen up from school, bring him home and put him down to nap.
8.  Pull the veggies out of the fridge, putting each one into it’s new home as I went, CAREFULLY doing the same for each canned item, spice and sauce, marking them off of the list one by one.  (One recipe calls for 1 can of water for each bag & I accidentally put the water into one of the other bags…OOPS!)
9.  Pull the meats out of the fridge one by one taking the time to trim the rib meat/fat off of the chicken, still saving the round steak for last because it’s a little tricky.
10.  Once each bag has been filled, seal them, shake them flat and stack them in the freezer with the title facing out.
11.  Clean up, take out trash & wait for Owen to wake up from his nap.

Had I given it a bit more thought, I would have easily been able to save the family some money by purchasing the canned goods at Aldi and by getting them to pick up that ridiculous amount of chicken from Sam’s Club.  But, it was very spur of the moment (I don’t think I was supposed to work that day…lol) and everything still turned out just fine.

Things to note…  I used real potatoes in the Scalloped Ham & Potatoes recipe & it’s in the crockpot now…  It’s been in there for about 5 hours and the potatoes had started turning black within an hour.  This is also the one that I put water in that I wasn’t supposed to so I put it on high for a while to see if I could get it to cook off…  So far, no dice.  I’ll just leave the slotted spoon out and tell them not to worry about the “juice”.  I ended up turning it into a modified soup.  After I finished writing the blog, I checked on it again and it just wasn’t looking good.  So, I added milk, cheese and flour, stirred it all together and left it on high.  Once it began to bubble mildly, I reduced the heat and told Owen’s dad to let it cook about an hour longer.  I explained the mistake I made and that I tried to fix it, but if they hated it to let me know.  Well, it wasn’t their favorite dish but they didn’t hate it!  Also, I’ve read that you can correct the black potato plague by putting the potatoes in on the day of OR by using a bag of frozen potatoes.

Additionally, these guys aren’t huge on leftovers and it’s taken them nearly a week to finish off one bag of Salsa Chicken.  Though the original blog doubled everything so you could have 10 bags, if your tastes are anything like this family’s, I’d strongly suggest either putting this into 20 bags OR cutting all of the ingredients in half and still use 10 bags. 12 bags.

UPDATE!!  I’ve made it through the first five meals and so far, the only one they’ve had issues finishing is the Salsa Chicken.  Everything else barely had enough leftovers for Owen to have lunch.  For this family, I think that I could easily use the original recipe set and make four bags of the Salsa Chicken instead of 2.  Eventually, I’ll try it again, but I’m excited to try some more recipes with them!

Lastly, I’m gluten free and very health conscious.  Those of you who know me in real life (Shout out!!!  Heeeeey!!! lol) know that being GF is a HUGE part of my every day life.  This meal plan doesn’t fall into either of those categories.  I just grabbed what was the cheapest at Kroger.  I didn’t shop around.  I didn’t check labels.  I didn’t put any of the effort into this round of shopping as I would have for myself.  And, though I thought I was going to have a problem with this morally, I was actually OK with it.  I know that this means that Mom will take fewer Lean Cuisines  with her to work and I pray that it will offer better lunch options for both Dad & Owen.

I think this post is probably long enough.  If you’ve made it this far, CONGRATS!  Please let me know what you think about this!  I’m excited to post all of my other PDFs, though I REALLY want to try them out before I do.  =)

God bless!!!

I’ve been nannying for the same family for almost a year.  It’s been a joy working with this kid–watching him grow, teaching him new things, seeing him develop his own personality.  But it’s also been trying.  I’ve grown, learned new things, and developed a pseudo-alternate personality, too.  That last one has been a challenge.  And it’s been challenging because I’ve had to realize that not everyone does things just like I do.  Not everyone has the same idea of how a kid should be raised.  I’ve learned, however, that I am pretty good at compromising.  Yes, when it comes to raising kids, there are certain things that don’t need to be compromised…but that’s another post entirely.


This fall, Owen started school.  It cut my hours back drastically; however, I’m good at cooking and cleaning so I offered to do those things on the days when I don’t have to pick Owen up from school until noon.  I’m loving this because my inner nerd really gets to shine!


How, you ask?  By developing a cleaning schedule and by writing out meal plans!  I’m very much a hands-on person and love writing things out and color coordinating them…  I still have my pencil box from my school days packed full of multi-colored pens and highlighters!  It’s been very exciting to break that back out and use it for planning my mornings sans-toddler.


It almost makes me feel like I could handle being a stay at home mom some day…  But I’d have to find someone I’d want to date, who would make me want to get married and would make me want to adopt children with them…  But that’s a whole lot of work.  And, recent history has shown that right now just isn’t the right time.  I’m confident God has a plan, but I’m perfectly satisfied with enriching the lives of children while also being able to give them back to their parents at the end of the day.


Back to the Nanny+Maid+Chef situation… aka The Reason For This Blog!


As soon as I was introduced to Pinterest, I fell deeper in love with different ways to organize stuff.  I loved organization as a kid and felt like everything had a proper place.  I would spend hours upon hours pulling out every book in my little yellow bookcase, reading each and every page, making neat little stacks, then deciding which style of organization worked best that day…alphabetized (title, author’s first name, or last name?) or by the size of the book (width, height?).  It was seriously one of my favorite activities.  I would do the same thing to our VHS tapes (remember those?), minus watching them first because, let’s face it, when you have an itch to organize you don’t have time to watch every single movie!!  Though, I would take each tape out, make sure they were rewound to the beginning and would then slide the VHS tape back into the sleeve making sure the label was facing the same way as the front of the sleeve…


But I digress…


I’ve been able to apply some of the tools for organization I’ve discovered on Pinterest in my own personal life, but I’ve found it easier to implement new methods in homes that don’t presently have a lot of organization.  For example, for a friend’s birthday, I completely re-did her kitchen.  I went nuts at the Container Store.  It was awesome!  I topped it off by putting sticky notes numbered 1-5 on the doors and drawers that had changes behind them she could visually see the flow of the changes I had made.


And this is exactly the kind of stuff I’ve been wanting to do at Owen’s, but his parents gave me strict instructions not to worry about anything else in the house while I was keeping him.  Of course, I would start twitching knowing that there was laundry that needed to be folded while Owen was napping and I was obediently sitting on the couch.  I started trying to distract myself by reading or watching tv, but the only stuff I ever watch on tv is HGTV or DIY Network and it just gave me more and more ideas and I would start twitching some more and eventually just couldn’t stop myself.


They were weirded out the first couple times I folded their underwear.  I think they just stuff them in a bin in their bedroom, but I’m not sure because that’s one space that I’ve decided is off limits to me and the kiddo while I’m here.  That is, unless I’m bringing up dirty laundry or putting clean laundry on the ottoman at the foot of their bed.


So, now, I go in at 8am and either start cleaning, work on a meal plan, work on an organization plan, put food in the slow cooker, but once 11:30am rolls around I put everything on pause, pick Owen up from school by 12noon, bring him back home for nap and pick right back up where I left off for the next 2.5-3 hours!  The best part is, it’s almost all planned out!  I say almost because it changes based on the needs of the family that day and because it’s all still so new to all involved, but yay for having a plan!!


So, here I will be sharing different life organization tips and, quite likely, general monologues about being a Nanny in Nashville…like that time Owen & I were at the park after story time at the library and a kid randomly bit him on the face….