{From the Archives} Montreat 2012 Trip

It’s that time of year again!  After taking a year off {to have a baby!}, Bets and Jay are off to the mountains of Montreat, NC again!  And, call me crazy…but I’m taking all three kids up to meet them…by myself.  So say a prayer, cross some fingers, and wish me luck!  I’ll be back next week!

Well, we are finally back from Montreat, NC and slowly getting back into the swing of things.  It’s amazing how even four days away can mess with your household!  Unlike last year, it was a beautiful week in the mountains….not too hot and no rain!  We shared my last post with the scrapbook photos with the high schoolers that Bets and Jay brought this year, and they loved it!  They were completely amazed at how I used a disposable camera (no retaking those blurry shots!), and at how cool the three of us were back then! =)

So, to recap…Bets and Jay are our best friends from Maryland.  They are our kids’ godparents, and their little Lulabelle is like our third daughter.  Betsy, Jay and I grew up together in our church, which they are still members of, and now the youth counselors at.  So they are continuing our church’s tradition of taking the youth group to Montreat each summer.  And since Montreat is just a couple of hours from us, the girls and I try to meet up with them for a couple of days while they are up there.  While the youth group stays in the lovely dorms at the college, the girls and I prefer the local Marriott!

And although Jayna did sleep in her own bed at night, this is what I awoke to each morning!

And since this trip was a first for Millie….I decided to bring and break in my brand new stroller.  Can I just say that it is awesome!  It has like 12 different sitting combinations, but the one we used was Millie in the front seat, Lulabelle sitting on the jump seat, and Jayna standing.

And Betsy pushing. Did I mention we were in the mountains?

We finally gave up on pushing all three girls, and put Millie in the front pack and made the big girls walk!

Jayna and Lulabelle were so stinkin’ cute together.  Jayna was all about playing the cool big sister….and although she is great with Amelia, I think she truely enjoyed manipulating helping Lulabelle…from buckling seatbelts for her, to convincing her that she liked pickles, to teaching her how to hula hoop!

And every year, the scenery just takes my breath away.  Lake Susan is like glass, framed by a baby blue sky and mountains.

Jay and some of the boys noticed huge fish sitting on some of the rocks at the bottom of the lake….tadpoles?  Man, they are gonna be some HUGE frogs!

But even the small details had me appreciating the scenery.  All of the buildings are stone, and they have gorgeous hydrangias around every corner.

I even caught this little inchworm hanging {literally} by a thread!

While the big kids were in small groups, we took the opportunity to spend some time with Betsy and Jay.  There is this cute little park at Montreat that has great playground equipment, and then several creeks running through for the kids to play in.

And although they tried hard not to get wet…both girls ended up soaking wet and laughing!

It’s a good thing Jay was willing to get wet too…that mountain water was COLD!

Now we just need to get Dave up here!!

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13 Freezer Meals {with a free printable!}

Since having Lincoln back in May, we have been on the go…non-stop.  Between figuring out life as a family of five, summer camps and vacations, doctors appointments and work commitments, cooking dinner has not even been on my radar.

Luckily, we have a FANTASTIC support system of friends between our neighborhood and church, who graciously provided us meals every other day for about six weeks straight.  Like, hot meals.  Hot meals that my kids would eat.  Hot meals that made great leftovers too.  Hot meals that usually came in disposable containers {aka no clean-up either!}.

Needless to say, we’ve been blessed {and quite spoiled!}

But now we’re back to the real world.  We’re settling in and the kids are actually expecting me to start cooking again.  Too bad I’m not really ready yet!  So, it was a good thing that I prepared for this day ahead of time!  About a week before Lincoln was due, I scoured Pinterest for yummy freezer meals that I could make in bulk, ahead of time.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

I chose 13 of my favorites, and then mapped out how I could prep, and then freeze, all of them for after Lincoln arrived.  Here’s a list of the recipes I made, and where I got them from:

1. Healthy Mama Barbecue Chicken    (www.mamaandbabylove.com)
2. Stephanie’s Goulash (www.mamaandbabylove.com)
3. Enchilada Casserole (www.joyfulmommaskitchen.com)
4. Chicken Curry  (www.mamaandbabylove.com)
5. Quesadilla Casserole (www.joyfulmommaskitchen.com)
6. Sausage & Peppers (www.bakedinthesouth.com)
7. Stromboli (http://joelandkitty.com)
8. Stuffed Shells (http://joelandkitty.com)
9. Chicken Tacos (http://joelandkitty.com)
10. BBQ Chicken and Veggies (www.allthingskatiemarie.blogspot.com)
11. Baked Oatmeal Cupcakes to Go (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
12. Café Rio Chicken (www.mandysrecipebox.blogspot.com)
13. Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken (www.ringaroundtherosies.net)

Here’s an example of what the spreadsheet I made looks like.  It lists the meal number and name {and source}, the ingredients and prep work for each ingredient, how to assemble and store the completed meal, and then what you’ll need to do to thaw and cook.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

It took Dave and me about 4 hours total to prep and assemble everything…which was well worth it so we could have more time to stare at this cute little guy now!

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

 The first worksheet you’ll need is the one labeled “Steps.”  This is an overview of everything you’ll need to do to prepare all of the meals.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

Next is a more detailed list of the most efficient order of prepping all the food, and what meal {and bag} they go with.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

I highly recommend labeling all of your ziplock bags with your meal number, name, thawing directions, cooking directions, and garnish/side dish list.  Then line up your bags in order and fill them as you prep!

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

And for Number 15 on the “Steps” worksheet, I made a list of all the other ingredients that you don’t need to prep, and which bags they will need to go into as well.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

 

For the couple of meals that aren’t slow cooker meals, I recommend getting disposable foil pans from the dollar store.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Here’s an example of the list of ingredients and storage materials you will need, listed by aisle in the grocery store {very handy to print out and take to the store with you!}:

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

And I didn’t list it on the materials list, but I stacked all of my completed bags on jelly roll pans and cookie sheets, so they would freeze flat for optimal freezer storage.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

If you’d like to download and print your own copy of the 13 meal plans and prep worksheet, click here.

We’ve only tried a handful of the meals, but so far, Meal #3 Enchilada Casserole has been our favorite!  I can’t wait to try the rest!  And if you try any of these meals, I’d love feedback {I didn’t create any of them, so I won’t take it personally!}.  And leave a comment if you have a tip or recipe alteration that you’d like to share…be sure to specify which meal # it’s for!  Thanks and enjoy!

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Kuddles Baby Product Launch Party at Bi-Lo

#Kuddles Baby Product Line from Bi-Lo from Palmettos and Pigtails

Last week I was honored to be the co-host of the Kuddles Baby Product launch party at a local Bi-Lo Supersaver.  Bi-Lo is rolling out their own huge line of baby products, and I was thrilled to be on the front lines to tell everyone about them! So … [Continue reading...]

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Fourth of July - Palmettos and Pigtails

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Another Awesome Guest Post over at Palmettos and Pigtails!

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Lincoln's Newborn Photo Shoot from Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

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July 2014 Cleaning Calendar - Palmettos and Pigtails

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Newborn Shoot by Rachel Weber Photography - Palmettos and Pigtails

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It's a Boy! Funny announcement card

Just wanted to officially "announce" our son, since I can't send each and every one of you a postcard birth announcement. Clever, huh?  Haha, just kidding!  I saw this on Pinterest and laughed out loud...both at the thought of my grandmother … [Continue reading...]

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Carseat Tent from Gemini Red Creations and Tag Toy from Cute as a Button Etsy Shop - Palmettos and Pigtails

*I received the products mentioned in this blog post for free in exchange for a review on my blog.  As always, all opinions are 100% honest and my own! We brought baby Lincoln home on Saturday afternoon, May 17th, after spending 48 hours in the … [Continue reading...]