Sunday, August 12, 2012

Meat Storage: A New Method

A while back, I did a post to show you how I freeze my meat and stretch my chicken.  Well, change is sometimes a good thing to experiment with; and I'm a master at changing things up (a good AND bad thing).  I love the space-saving aspect of flat ziploc bags of meat.  But what I've learned is that it really doesn't work well for me since I have wire shelving in my freezer -- and not enough shelves.  Bags can not stand upright or else corners (or whole bags!) slip through the cracks.  Stacking flat is ok... until you barely brush against them and the whole stack slips apart.  Frustrating.  Irritating.  And downright dangerous to your feet.  (I can vouch for the fact that a pound of frozen hamburger falling on top of your foot HURTS.)  I had to come up with something new to see if I could use more vertical space in my freezer and reduce the amount of slippage that was occurring.

ARGH!  Dislike.  (Except for the ice cream...)
I had a coupon for a value pack of Glad containers which stack well and are not a huge investment if something goes wrong with them or I end up not liking the new method.  First step... wash 'em all.

I also tried out buying all of our meat for the month at one time (thank you, BJs Wholesale Club, especially for your low price on chicken... cuz it's insane everywhere else).  I've really enjoyed not buying meat every week!  Anyway, I had all my beef and chicken and all my washed Glad containers set up.  A pound of beef fit nicely in one size/shape, and a meal's worth of chicken fit nicely in a more flat, square shape.  At the wisdom of my mother and against my lazy will, I patted plastic wrap down over each serving of meat to help prevent freezer burn.  :-)

I promise I'm not trying to be a commercial for Glad brand... it just happened that way.
It didn't take very long to divide up all the meat, and I love how perfectly uniform stacks of [item] look!  I'm a sucker for organization.  ::dreams of closets like the Bed Bath & Beyond's towel area looks::

 And here's the way my freezer ended up looking.  I threw out what needed to get out, put all my bean ziplocs in the drawer, and just generally straightened things up a bit.  Look at all that vertical space now in use!  I'm still waiting to determine if I truly like this method long term, but so far so good.  I also REALLY like how I can just reach in and pull out tomorrow's meat, pop it in the fridge to thaw, and not have the slightest worry about a bag leaking raw meat juices (eww) everywhere.  Another bonus?  WASHABLE.  No more going through bag after bag after bag and buying more bags after bags.  And no, I will not wash ziploc bags -- that just negates the convenience factor they are intended for!  I'm not that un-lazy!  ;-)

Note:  Kathie has a freezer drawer which lends itself to flat ziploc bags as you can "file" them neatly.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fruit of the Spirit T-Shirts

 A couple of weeks ago, I was looking at Pinterest and came across the idea to use a bleach pen to create fun t-shirts.  I thought it was a great idea to do with my grandchildren!  A few days after seeing the bleach pen t-shirt idea, I came across a blog post that talked about how important it is to teach kids that we not only put off bad behavior, we put ON good behavior!  It mentioned the object lesson of taking off a t-shirt and putting on a new one.  While discussing the blog post with Dawn, I thought of combining the two ideas for my out-of-state grandchildren.  I liked the thought of doing this, the fun t-shirts AND the Fruits of the Spirit idea, because it is one way I can have a spiritual influence on my grandchildren even though I'm far away.   It really was an easy project.  I completed all the t-shirts in about 2-3 hours, including waiting for the bleach to work.  Here's how to do it!

In the tutorial post, she talked about putting a cutting board or something in the shirt to keep the bleach from leaking to the other side of the shirt.  I just used waxed paper.  It worked beautifully.  Also the bleach pen I used had two tips.  One end had a "fat" tip and one end had a "skinny" tip.  I liked having the option of the two sizes.  So to start, you slip a piece of waxed paper into the shirt.  You can do an extra step and use chalk to write out your word (and even a design if you want!), or you can just go straight to using the bleach pen.  Start it out on a paper towel to make sure it is flowing well.

I used the fat tip for some shirts and the skinny tip for others.  The LOVE shirt is written with the fat tip, and the photo shows it early in the process of bleaching.  The Gentleness shirt is written with the skinny tip and is farther along in the process.  (I found that the red shirt took the longest of all the colors to bleach all the way.)

The tutorial post notes that bleaching can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours.  Once your bleaching is finished, take out the waxed paper and rinse the shirt very well.  When you have done this with all the shirts, wash and dry them.

This is after the Goodness shirt had been rinsed but not washed. I didn't plan for the "skinny" tip letters to turn out with an unbleached center line... it just happened!  Dawn & I love it!!  It gives the shirt a little extra flare!  :-)
The finished set of Fruit of the Spirit t-shirts!
This really was an enjoyable project!
The grandchildren seemed to like them!
Here are Lij and JG in their favorite colors.

Well... Snickers didn't seem too keen on wearing Self-Control. :-D 
Parent Testimony:  "These shirts don't just work for the kids.  It's very hard as a parent to not be convicted of your own lack of Fruit when you are getting overly upset at a child wearing a shirt that is blaring PATIENCE or SELF-CONTROL back at you..."  ;-)