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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Do you remember?

Does anyone remember the Y2K threat about the internet going dark because of some kind of virus?  Does anyone remember that when it didn't happen then suddenly someone popped up and said it wasn't supposed to happen in the year 2000 but much later?  Like 2011?

Well, guess what?  For the last couple of weeks it has "felt like" it has finally started to happen.  I've read time after time people complaining about not being able to make comments..... even on their own blogs.  I've had the same problem here too.  Also, I can get some email, some of the time.  I can send emails, some of the time.  Other times I can't.

Some bloggers are thinking they may give up blogging because no one is commenting to them.  If you are not able to send me comments.... it's ok.  I can't always send comments either.  For the moment I can't answer comments even if some do get through to me.  I wrote a grouchy post about it a couple of days ago.  That was before I noticed so many having the same problem all around the world. 

No, I don't really believe that the Y2K virus.... that was later predicted to happen in 2011.... has finally come.  But, the problem sure must be one really big headache for the owners and workers of Blogger right about now.  Can you imagine them all huddled around a computer screen trying to track down the problem? 

Some of the issues may be related to weather problems too.  Many places have lost not only power but whole buildings in storms and floods and fires.  How many of those places are connection points for the strings of the world wide web?  If the web breaks, it takes awhile to get it built back. 

I can't help but wonder..... how many people relying on the internet would become lost if it suddenly did shut down completely?  How much communication would come to a halt?  Many of us have formed small internet communities as we read the blogs of others or they read ours.  Many of us belong to email lists and have many friends there.  There are other friendships formed on things like twitter and facebook and other ways.

If everyone woke up in the morning and there was no more internet what would we do?  Would you be able to contact your long time internet friends the old fashioned way with a pencil and paper?  I don't think I would be able to contact more than a couple of people.  Would you go through an internet withdrawal?  I probably would because I read several blogs.  Not all of them every day but I get to each of them every few days. 

Ok, my thoughts are starting to get a little too deep and scary for me.  Thinking "what if" doesn't do much good except for emergency preparedness.  For now, I'm just going to keep on writing and keep on reading.  There will be plenty of time for comments when the issues have all been cleared up.

Hmm.... just in case.... let me say how much I appreciate each and every one of my readers! 

Busy Thursday

Wednesday night was spent at my daughter's house because of the storms.  All the news of bad tornadoes had me spooked along with a lot of other people.  I decided it best to be on the safe side and not stay home.  There is truly no safe place in my house if a tornado were to come through.

 Ladybug and I had a slumber party in the basement.  Mommie had to work the next day so she went into another room to sleep.  I started reading a book to Ladybug and within 10 minutes she was sound asleep.

When I came home Thursday morning it suddenly got very active around here.  The guy came to fix the flower box around the porch.  Yippie!  He then leveled the garden boxes in the back yard.  The boxes were lower at on end and I was afraid rain would wash out the dirt over time.   Now I can start filling up the boxes and start planting.  

I managed to do a little weeding in the garden boxes on the side of the house while he worked in the back.  Another storm came through and we quit for the day. 

My brother and SIL are cleaning out their own house so they brought back the baby crib they had borrowed from me.  Their great grand daughter is now too big for it.  I will store it at my daughter's house for whoever needs a crib next.  She has a storage shed not being used. 

While they were here we decided to go to the thrift store.  It was 25 percent off day.  I was tempted to purchase several things but in the end I bought only these for myself.   I'm proud of myself for not bringing home more stuff when I'm working so hard to get stuff out of here.   These will be used when I make charity quilts.

I did make one other purchase at the thrift store but it's not for me.  My neighbor mentioned that she would like to learn latch hooking.  She thought it would be neat to do and easy.  It would be something for her to do on lunch break at work.  I'm going to teach her how it's done and  show her the way to create her own design on the canvas.  The canvas in this kit is high school theme and I don't think she will want it in her house.  There might not be enough yarn in the bags to do the whole thing so I'll teach her how to make her own with some of the scrap yarns I plan to get rid of.

It's slowly changing around here.  My house is still ragged looking and still full of stuff.  I can do only so much at a time.  Some things cost money and some require only my time.  I work at it steadily but there's no rush.  I'm not trying to win a contest in how fast to turn around one's life.  Being rushed is what got me into this mess in the first place.  Being rushed is how the house started looking so bad.  Being rushed is how my house got filled with so much stuff. 

There was a time when I was under constant pressure to.... do more.... be perfect..... have more.... be more.... and the list goes on.  I lived by my "to do" list.  Each year, or maybe it was each month, the daily to do list got longer and longer.  After awhile the things to do became less about doing them well and more about just moving on to the next item of the list. 

There was a time when I would spend all the time needed doing a great job on a quilt, or making a rug, or fixing dinner, or sewing an outfit, or making cardboard furniture, or cleaning a room.  My life back then had some stress but the stress was manageable.  As I took on more and more to do's the stress became more of a daily feeling.  The stress became a part of me as I learned to live with it.  I kept telling myself I just needed to work faster and more efficiently. 

I kept telling myself I just needed to be more organized so I could get more done.  I figured out ways to organize so I could do more in a shorter time.  True, the new organizing did speed things up.  BUT, did I use the extra time to enjoy myself?  Heck no, I filled up the extra time with more to do's. 

Well anyway, this is getting to be a pretty winded post, my point is that.....  Life is much more important than a to do list.  I'm reminded of something my Grandma Mama said when I was a first time Mother.  She said "Cleaning and dusting can wait until tomorrow because children grow up we learn to our sorrow."   I should have listened to her advice.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I wish the HECK google and yahoo would work out their differences and start to play nicely with each other!!  I would say harsher words but this is a family friendly blog.  The internet gets more crappy each day.  If I'm doing something on my blog first then I can't get to my email.  If I open my email first then decide to view some of my favorite sites I can't make comments.  ATT email is a yahoo run thing.  Blogger is a google run thing.  The two simply don't want to play nicely together for the convenience of users.  I'm beginning to think maybe I should give up the internet all together.  I'm not sure it's worth the headache anymore.

Making progress

I've talked about this many times.  I say things like:  My house is fast becoming a hoarder house.  I feel as if I'm living in a garage rather than a house.  If I had company where would they sit?  If a grandchild or great grandchild wanted to spend a few days with me where would they sleep?  The craft stuff has taken up all the space of my life so that it becomes a cocoon around me. 

I've also shown several times how desperately I want all the STUFF gone so there is room for what really matters in life.  Time after time, I've cleaned it all up, gotten rid of some, and more or less organized packed it tightly enough the house looked somewhat presentable.

When I announced my retirement from full time machine quilting career in order to have more time with family and friends (to have a simpler life); I once again went on a mission to clear out the STUFF that is preventing me from being happy.  I haven't forgotten it, I've just been a little side tracked lately. 

During the thunderstorms (and flooding issues) we've had for the last few weeks; I've actually done quite a bit of clearing out STUFF.  I stay away from electrical things during a storm which means no internet and no quilting.  I used the down time for sorting and purging.  Here is one room as it was before.  I took the photos when the sun was shining because there's no light in there.  Its a catch all room for groceries that were not yet put away.

It was a dropping spot for the cardboard brought to me by a friend who gets really good cardboard boxes for making cardboard furniture.  I needed to cut it into storable size.  Hmm... enlarge the photo to see the detail I added on the cardboard cabinet base.  It's upside down because Ladybug used it to play grocery store with me.  She thought it made a great cash register.  What an imagination she has.

There is some recently canned orange jam that I couldn't fit into the kitchen cabinets and some bags of clothing scraps left over from the last two memory quilts.

More clothing scraps and more food.  There is my dehydrating machine that really should be stored in the kitchen..... but where to put it?

I kept telling myself all that food should really be put away.  Well.... what am I waiting for?  My next life?  Anita, put it away already!

So that's exactly what I did.  While the thunder storms were raging, I cleaned and sorted and put stuff away.  Cleaning kept my mind off the dangers but I also had the radio on to hear an alert if it came.  The room is once again cleared out and ready for me to start painting. 

The cardboard cabinet is waiting for me to finish it.  I'm undecided whether to make it into a bookshelf or put drawers in it.  Then again, I may change it completely.  But.... I promised myself I would not start working on any craft item until the house is visitor friendly.  A nice reward for all my hard work will be to sit and craft without feeling closed in by stuff or feeling guilty about quilting that should be finished.

After taking this photo, the rest of the food was moved to the kitchen.  The dehydrator is moved to the closet for now.  I'll put it in the kitchen when I get to that area of organizing and purging.... again.

The doors you see in this room were stored here many, many months ago when the new floors were installed.  They are the doors to all the closets of my house.  The floor guys never came back to install them.  I plan to paint the doors before I call the floor company.   I'm sure they are responsible to put the doors back up but after all this time there might be a charge involved.

It may not seem like a lot done but it was for me. 

I'm really an organized person by nature.  I actually like having a minimalist house.  I love everything having it's own place and everything being in it's place.  What happened?  Well, a major part of the problems was that I got busy running my machine quilting business.  Too busy to be normal.  I let the customers decide what my day involved.... which was always according to their deadlines.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciated having the customers.  They meant no harm asking me to complete work for deadlines.  I could have said no but I was afraid of letting go of the money earned. 

Gradually, over time, there was more and more quilting and less and less of life.  This was my fault.  As I said before, I could have said no.  There are several other things that contributed to my house being overwhelmed with STUFF.  All that is water over the bridge now.  The flood of work has passed as any flood eventually ends.  My life is on a more relaxed path.  I may post about some of the other contributing factors as I continue my journey. 

We are expecting more storms in this area later this evening.  The major weather system that has caused many tornadoes out west is now headed for our area.  I'm going to get off the internet and see how much work I can get finished before this evening.  I have my emergency stuff ready. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More quilts finished

Over the last few days we have had thunder storms.  My heart goes out to all the people in all the places where the tornadoes have cost them so dearly.  It's one more reminder to me that tomorrow is not promised to anyone.... let people know you love them today. 

I don't do anything involving electricity when there is lightening.  The power has been out a couple of times but not more than an hour or two.  When it was safe to use electric things again, instead of setting at the computer to write a blog post, I've concentrated on finishing some quilting before the next storm system came through.  So here is the first quilt finished.   

I did the Circle Lord fan on the center area.

A pretty flower and leaf design on the outside border.  The owner asked me to just catch the tiny loose border every now and then with some stitching to hold it down.

Here is the outside border from the back.

This is the next one finished.  Just like the other two I quilted a few weeks ago.  Same design, same stitching.

And lastly there is this one finished.  I did simple stitch in the ditch around the pieces just to hold it together as the owner wanted.  

The next quilt is on the machine and I'm half way through the stabilizing.  It will probably take me a few days to finish the quilting because the owner wants lots of stitching. 

Tomorrow is my daughter's last day of college.  She's finally finished.... after 12 years.  It's been a long time for both of us but I'm very proud she stuck with it. 

I've been doing a little more cleaning out of "stuff" so I can get closer to my simpler life.  It's hard to let go of things but I keep my long term goal in mind with each thing I donate to the thrift store.  I'll be writing more on my hints blog as I progress through the steps of getting rid of "stuff".  Once I get my house back to being a house instead of a garage; I will finally have time for what's really important in life.

More on freezer organizing

Blogger is acting up today, I hope I can get this post written.  This is a follow up post for the previous one about how I organize my freezer.  I didn't explain very well about keeping the receipts for items that go into my freezer.  There might be some concern it could contribute to a paper clutter problem.  Well, hmmm, it's not that much paper to keep really.  I have 12 envelopes.  One for each month of the year.  I made new envelopes because the old ones were rather ragged.  Twelve envelopes is really small when compared to my recipe file. 

After each grocery trip I simply put all the receipts into an envelope for that month.  I don't record anything from the receipts.  I probably won't ever use them..... unless there is a reason... like a long power outage again.  I keep the receipts for insurance purposes IF I should ever have to file a claim. 

The insurance company requires a list of what's in the freezer and receipts to back it up.  Anyone can say they had a lot of stuff in their freezer but few can document it with receipts so the insurance company gets away with not paying.  Or paying only a minimum.  With my freezer list and receipts to back it up I will have what is necessary as proof.

On my freezer inventory list I have the date of items put into the freezer (column 2) which I use to keep track of oldest items.  When all of the items from that month are gone, the receipts in the envelope can be tossed.  Food rarely stays in the freezer more than 8 or 9 months.  Actually 6 months is normal.  Longer is rare because I share so much of it with others. 

IF I should ever have to file a claim I will look at the inventory list and find a receipt to match it.  For example, the chicken breasts in bag # 5 (line 5 in the photo).  I know I could find the receipt for that in the May envelope.  Bag # 9 (line 9 in the photo) is for beef steak from November.  I would look in the November envelope for the receipt. 

Ok, look at the receipt for the May purchase of chicken breasts.  This is what I would use IF I had to show the receipt to the insurance adjuster.  The cost is listed along with the savings and the final cost.  This is the information I would match to any food listed on the freezer inventory list. 

I do not use the receipts for recording information on the freezer list.  I use the actual package labels for that.  Do you see how the label shows the poundage, the normal price, and the final cost?  This information is what I record on my inventory list as each thing is flash frozen and then put into the numbered bags. 

IF I had to file a claim it's a matter of matching up what's in the bag with the right receipt.  I can't simply save the package labels because a label is not the proof of purchase required by an insurance company.  There are many other ways I can use the information on the inventory list and the receipts but those are other post ideas.  Does the freezer organizing make better sense now?  Do you see how keeping the receipts far out weigh the idea of paper clutter?

It's kind of like having my own personal insurance policy that costs me nothing but a few minutes time each month.  The information is here just in case there is ever a need to use it.  Three times loosing everything in a 6 foot tall freezer is enough incentive for me to keep up with the information.  Even a person with only a refrigerator freezer would want to get paid for any power outage food losses.  You won't get paid unless you know what you had and can produce the receipts for it. 

My freezer organizing has evolved over time as I worked with it.  If you are interested there are other posts on my blog to read that explain how I started it and changes I made and what happens after grocery day. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sad note

There is some very sad news from my friend Kathi.  The lady I call lil' sis because we've been long time internet friends for many years and seem more like sisters than just friends.  Her step son passed away this morning after a long battle with cancer.  He was more a son than a step son.  Kathi has the blog called "he pulled me out of the pickle barrel" with the link on the side bar.  

Kathi was there for me when I lost another son a few years ago.  Let me tell ya, loosing a child is the hardest thing in the world to live through.  To loose more than one is almost unbearable.  Kathi helped me live through it by being a great friend. 

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think our roles would be reversed.  That I would be the one giving strength through friendship while she grieves. 

Today I cry more tears for a lost child.  Not mine this time but her's.  I will be here for her whenever she needs a comforting ear or a friendly cyber hug.  If you are so inclined, stop by her blog and let her know there are others out here thinking of her too.

Love ya lots lil' sis!  Hugs to you and to hubby David.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I need sunshine

The days and days and days of cloudy, gloomy, cold, rainy days are getting to me.  I want to spring clean my house but it seems as if spring just doesn't want to come this year.  Without sunshine to see the sparkle of clean what good is it?  This time of year people should start putting on sunscreen and working outside.  I can't seem to keep myself motivated to do anything and I know it's because I need sunshine!  Come on Mother Nature, wake up and give us some better days.

Well anyway, I do have a quilt finished.  The last one was picked up without any problems.  He actually gave me extra money as a tip because he was very pleased with it.  Here's the next one.   This is the one I quilted as a trade for a printer. 

I don't know if you can see the stitching but I did a star on these blocks.

The star on the plain block is a duplicate of these blocks which are simply stitch in the ditch quilted. 

I did a wavy panto on the border using my Circle Lord template.

The center area is simple outline of the words and the trucks.  Wavy lines on the sashing strips and line dancing on the blue blocks.

Since this quilt is for a child to wag around and play with she didn't want a lot of heavy quilting on it.  I agreed, it didn't need a lot.  Turning it over to let you see the back of the quilt.  The stars I stitched.

The wavy lines on the border.

The line dancing of the blue blocks.

The outline of the trucks.

The next quilt is on the machine.  It is due to be picked up on Friday.  The studio is dark and gloomy because it's raining and cold again today.  Will sunshine ever arrive???

Organized freezer

Without opening the door, I know exactly what I have in my upright freezer.... how many pounds of each meat type or veggie.... when I bought it..... how much it cost..... and what needs to be eaten first to keep it rotating.  Here is what my freezer looks like today.

I can produce receipts for every purchase if needed for insurance purposes. 

I know exactly what is given to me by food fairies when they leave it at my doorstep. 

When I start putting things that I get from my garden into there I can document that too.

Here is the key to it all.  This is my freezer inventory list.  A combination of this list and the use of numbered bags makes it very easy to use. 

The reason I came up with this system was because three times in a row I lost every bit of food in the freezer due to natural disasters which caused the power to be out for many days.  Each time, I was told I could not get paid by the insurance company unless I could provide proof of my purchases and what I had in the freezer.  I was also frustrated when every time I opened the freezer, to get something out, there would be some of it fall out onto the floor or my foot.  Sometimes I would forget what I had and it would not get eaten. 

Here's how it works:

On my inventory list I have six columns. 
  1. Bag # -  this number corresponds to the number on the plastic bags
  2. Date - this is the date of the purchase or the date the food went into the freezer if obtained other ways
  3. Item - this simply describes what is in the bag.  Meat is listed by the type (beef, chicken, pork) and then by the cut.
  4. Pounds - this tells me whether it's enough for a recipe or not and is good for insurance purposes
  5. Cost - this is the original price
  6. Paid - this is what I actually paid for it.  I find lots of bargains and sale items.  
I hated stacking foods on top of each other in the freezer only to realize the package I needed was always on the bottom of the stack.  I hated having to remove several items to look for something older so it could be used first.  Lining everything up like books on a shelf works so much better.  If I had a chest freezer, (instead of an upright) I would still line them up like books; but, the bags would be inside of some boxes with the tabs on top of the bags.  The number tabs would be seen from the top instead of from the side.

The numbered bags are not for keeping the food from freezer burn, they are simply place holders.  Although, an extra layer of plastic does help.  The numbered bags are reused over and over again as food goes in and food is taken out.  I use tabs instead of writing on the bag because the tabs are easier to see no matter how tightly packed the freezer gets. 

Ok, let's say I'm ready to take something from the freezer for dinner.  I look on the list in column number two.  What's been in the freezer the longest?  I have chicken legs that were put into the freezer in October last year.  I look to see if the poundage is right for my recipe by looking at column four.  It looks about right so I decide to use it.  I look in column one to find the bag number.  I see it's bag number one so I open the freezer and take out bag number one.  The contents are removed from the numbered bag to thaw and the bag is put away to be used again.  I mark through the line for this bag on the list so I know it's been used. 

You can see some blank lines on this list?  That's empty bags waiting to be used after my next shopping trip.  I shop once a month and I update and print out a new copy after new foods are put away.  After shopping I flash freeze my purchases, put them into numbered bags, and add to the list.  New information will be typed in and a clean copy printed out.  The list stays on the freezer door. 

Ok, for those who like to menu plan, a list would be helpful too.  Simply look at the inventory list to see what you have in the freezer before making your menu.  What about those who only have a small refrigerator freezer?  This will work for you too.  Just create a shorter list.  You would be surprised at how much you can fit into a small freezer when it's set on end like books. 

If, heaven forbid, there is another natural disaster and we loose power for several days; I'm prepared for the insurance requirement to document my purchases.  I keep all receipts from my shopping trips in envelopes by month.  I do not record the receipts.  I simply keep them in envelopes should the need ever arise to show the receipts to an insurance adjuster.  If my inventory list shows I still have something in the freezer from say May, there should be receipts in the May envelope to match it.

I discard the whole batch of receipts from an envelope when all of the items for that month are gone from the freezer.  I know which to discard from my inventory list (column two) but I keep the envelope to use again.  If I needed to show a receipt for something in the freezer it's easy to see what it was and how many pounds by looking at the list.  Most receipts show this information too.  It's simply a matter of matching a receipt to what I have on the list.

Items from my garden or those given to me by the food fairies are documented by looking at sale papers for the week it goes in the freezer.  I cut out the portion of the sale paper with the current price and put it into the envelope along with how many pounds I actually have. 

You will notice that the items in the door shelves don't have numbered bags.  There's no need to number those because I can see them easily.  I do have them listed on the inventory sheet so I know what I have before I open the door.   

The inventory list saves energy.  I'm not standing there searching through packages while the cold air falls out.  A quick look for the right bag number and the door can be shut.  You might think keeping the list updated is time consuming but really it's not.  Setting it up for the first time was the most time consuming because I had to create the bags. 

Let me know if anything is still unclear.  I hope more people find this system helpful and start using it too.  If you would like to read an earlier post from when I made the bags go here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Frozen skillet meals

Do you ever buy those bagged frozen skillet meals?  Or the bagged frozen crock pot meals?  I can't think of a brand name right this minute.  It's those frozen meals that say brown an amount of meat, add the package of veggies and the sauce, then cook until done.  Do you have any idea how much you are paying for a personal chef to choose the veggies for you, cut them up for you, and freeze them for you? 

Personally, I don't have a personal chef's salary in my budget so why would I want to pay for a personal chef through my grocery shopping?  Gee whiz, buying frozen skillet or crock pot meals is almost as bad as paying extra for frozen veggies with "butter" sauce.  I think I'm perfectly capable of adding a pat of butter to my veggies without the extra cost. 

I don't know about you but I like to choose my own veggies.  The frozen meals often contain way too many cheap "filler" veggies which could be something no one in the family really likes all that well.  You might find many of those filler veggies remaining on the plate after the meal is finished.  So let me ask you?  At what cost are you paying for those frozen meals?  Not the price.... the cost of paying for the convenience of a personal chef?   Wouldn't you rather spend the extra money on something fun to do instead of extra cost on groceries?

Ok, so go sharpen your veggie knife and let me show you how I make my own frozen skillet and crock pot meals.  This is just one example of my frozen meals to show you how easy it is to do your own.  I found these in the discount bin while shopping Thursday.  I like a stir fry made with smoked sausages.  It was just a stroke of luck that these are made from chicken which is better for my diet.

The first thing to do is decide whether the meal will be fried, baked, or put into a crock pot.  I could put all of the meals into plastic bags but I'm going one step farther for these.  I'm packaging these in foil just in case I want to put them in the oven.  It will depend on the amount of time I have when I decide to cook these.  

I cut the sausages into bite size pieces and divide them into portions for two meals.  Five packs of sausages make ten meals for two.  This would be for Ladybug and me or two meals for me.  The largest area I have for laying out foil is my intake table. 

I like onions in my stir fry so I cut up a bunch of those.  Might as well chop them all.  What's left can be frozen to use later in other meals.  Actually, I cut up the onions before I started preparing the meals.  Once I started putting these meals together I didn't want to stop until finished. 

Green peppers (or color peppers) just naturally go with onions in this house.  I happen to have a bunch of them already in the freezer.   I got these peppers from the discount bin back in March.  They are copped and ready to add to the meals.

I like mushrooms as well in my stir fry.  I look in the freezer but there isn't any frozen so I use canned.  Everything is divided in portions and put onto the foil.

I add a bit of soy sauce, a bit of stir fry sauce, a bit of cornstarch, and these are ready to go into the freezer.  Hmm.... I could have added some scrambled eggs or some other veggies.  I think these will be ok as it.  The only thing I'm going to add is some rice.  I look in the freezer and find the packages of rice already cooked and frozen in portions for two.  Ten packages happen to be what I had in the freezer.  Lucky again.

I roll up the foil, stick a label on it, (made from scotch tape), and put into numbered freezer bags.  Two packaged meals plus two packs of rice fit into one bag.  If I make frozen meals that someone else might be cooking, I'd put the cooking instructions inside the numbered bag.  I mean, say for example, a lady prepares these for a husband to fix while she's away at a quilting retreat or something.   Husbands (and others) don't always know what to do with something taken from the freezer so it's best to give them detailed instructions. 

The meals are all finished.  Five numbered bags which represent either ten meals for Ladybug and me or twenty meals for just me. 

Now was it that hard to put together some frozen prepared meals?    Think about this the next time you are tempted to pick up a frozen meal in a bag.  Do you want fillers or do you want only what will be eaten?  If you want to read more about my thoughts on paying for a personal chef at the grocery go read this post here

Hmm.... I'm sure the new readers of my blog are wondering about the numbered freezer bags.  You can read more about those in this post here.  I should have another post about how the freezer looked when full but I can't find that post.  Since the time I wrote that post, I've made a few changes to how I organize my freezer.  I'll do an updated post either today or Monday showing more details.  I think the freezer is much better organized than it was back then.

Ok, back on subject, let's say on the day I choose one of these meals for dinner, I decide not to bake it but want to put it into a crock pot.  I remove it from the foil, put into the crock pot, add a can of tomatoes and that's it.  The rice can be either added to the crock pot during the last few minutes of cooking or zapped in the microwave.  If I decide to actually fry the stir fry meal I unwrap and put into a skillet.  Get the idea?  One preparation, several options.