Sunday, May 27, 2012

Menu Plan-May 27

May 27-June 2

Well... I'll be honest with you. The menu plan has not happened this week. It's not been a bad week, just busy. I don't know how I let the week slip by me without planning my menu. I'm usually on top of what we eat around here.
The plan is to eat from the freezer for the month of June, 5 days a week, if not more. And our challenge is NO eating out for the month of June to see how much save.

What are you plans for this week and the month of June?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Favorites

It's Friday.... and a long weekend.... and Daniel is taking Tuesday off... yay!! I'm excited, can you tell?!?!
Anywho, I'm linking up with SnoWhite for her Friday Favorite Finds. Check out these awesome looking treats! Have a great weekend and take a minute to remember those who have served our country and thank those who are serving now!!

Please note: Click on the picture to take you to the original recipe. These are not my recipes!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream... my ice cream freezer bowl is freezing now to make this for Monday night dinner at my parent's house... excited!
From: Joy the Baker

Frozen Hot Chocolate... mmmm!
From: MamaFoodie

Baked Oatmeal (to-go)... We like to-go breakfasts in our home.
From: Sugar-Free Mom

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More Than Monopoly

What immediately comes to mind when I say the words "board games"? For most people, you probably think about the picture on the left. Monopoly. Scrabble. Life. Candy Land. Those I'm sure you're all familiar and have probably played at some point. But Puerto Rico? Agricola? Acquire? Power Grid? That's an island, a soft drink, a business term, and a new exercise DVD (you think). Those are actually also board games, four of my favorites actually.

Board games have been a part of my life since I can remember - playing Chutes and Ladders and Sorry, Life and Monopoly, you know, the games everyone plays. However, I noticed a game that my dad, uncles, and cousin would play every now and then at family gatherings. It most definitely was not Monopoly. It was not Yachtzee or Clue. It was called Acquire. It looked interesting, putting tiles on a board and getting to buy stock in hotels. When I was 11 or 12, they let me sit down and play the game with them. Acquire definitely was not Monopoly or any of the other games I had played. It was more "grown up" and, in fact, 1000 times more fun. Since then, I've been hooked on the board game hobby.

As I said at the top, the games I play most people wouldn't recognize. They would take a look at the boards and pieces and think, "That looks hard." I would respectfully disagree with that statement. The goals of these games - what most board game enthusiasts refer to as strategy games or Euro games - are very straightforward, i.e. accumulate the most wealth (Acquire) or power the most cities (Power Grid). The game's objective is easily explained. The "looks hard" part comes from how you achieve that objective. In Monopoly, you basically roll the dice, either buy a proper or pay rent, and then can negotiate trades with fellow players. In Acquire, you have several decisions to make each turn. Which tile do I play? Do I grow a current hotel chian or start a new one? Which stocks do I buy? Do I try and compete with this person over that chain? These games are relatively easy to pick up, but mastering them takes play after play. That's why I like these games - easy to learn but takes time to figure out all the strategies.

If you're intrigued by the thought of doing more than just rolling and moving, here are some excellent titles to cut your "strategy game" teeth on:
  • Ticket to Ride - In TtR, you're collecting train cards in order to build routes across America and earn points for connecting two cities. This is a great introductory game and still gets play in our house.
  • Carcassonne - This is another game that is fun to play, as you lay tiles to build the countryside of Carcassonne and then have the option to lay your wooden people (meeples) on the tile you just laid to "claim" a certain feature on the tile. My only caution with this is the scoring is slightly complicated, so a thorough read of the rules is required.
  • The Settlers of Catan - You've probably heard of this one, as it was one of the first of these games to go mainstream. In this game, you roll dice, collect resources, trade for resources with other players, and try to be the first to 10 victory points through building roads, settlements, cities, and special cards. Plus, you get to ask your fellow players, "Got wood for sheep?" How can you beat that?
And this post would not be complete without a few of my favorite games:
  • Agricola - The theme of farming on the surface does not sound interesting, but this game is a lot of fun and the variety of cards added to the game means your plans change from turn to turn. G and I play this game more often than the others we own.
  • Power Grid - Auctions, resource management, network-building. This game can be a brain-burner. When my family plays this, we know going in that the game is going to be tense and come down to the wire. Just a fantastic game.
  • Airlines Europe - From the creator of Ticket to Ride comes this new game. I received it as a Christmas present this past year, and it is quickly becoming a favorite. Again, the goal is simple. Invest in airline companies; help them grow; and score the most victory points at the three scoring rounds in the game. Wonderful game.
There you have it. What are your favorite games? What are your favorite board gaming memories? Let us know!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crazy Love [Book Review]

This post will continue my series of posts of books I've recently read... today's book? Crazy Love by Francis Chan (Amazon Kindle link here).

Of course, right away, the title grabs your attention. Crazy love. What is that all about? The subtitle or tagline to the title is "Overwhelmed by a Relentless God". That's the main focus of this book. Francis opens up the book by describing God's love in terms of Creation and encourages readers to stop and view a video at the book's website. Too often we as Christians pass through each day without truly taking a step back and appreciating, admiring, worshipping, and revering God and His love. The opening pages of the book remind us to stop and do that.

At this point, Francis changes gears. If we are to be overwhelmed by this crazy love, what are we doing in response? Because it can very easy to acknowledge this crazy love yet do little about it. Francis quotes Jesus in Revelation regarding being neither hot nor cold but lukewarm. This book challenges believers to evaluate their lives against what Francis calls "the profile of the lukewarm".

There's a danger in a book like this of being too offensive or overly critical - to the point where people could potentially get down on themselves. Certainly the chapters about the lukewarm and serving "leftovers" to God may be difficult to read for some; however, each word has been carefully used. Francis also points out that God's grace also hovers over everything. As I read, I did not feel defeated at what I was or was not doing but instead was reminded that His grace is amazing. And because of that, I am motivated to get better and be more overwhelmed. The purpose of the book is not to be critical but to encourage.

Overall, this is an excellent book. Yes, it will challenge you. Yes, it might point out a behavior you engage in. But I walked away from the book feeling encouraged and thinking about how I can be better at what I've been gifted with. I definitely recommend this book and hope that you'll take away the same challenge yet encouragement from it as I did.


*These opinions are my own. No one contacted me about writing this review.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Menu Plan-May 20

May 20-26

Well, I did some more freezer cooking and baking this week. I know what you're thinking, more? Yes, more! I went grocery shopping on Tuesday and bought a few more items to prepare for the freezer. Our June goal is to NOT eat out any during the month, this includes getting ice cream. This is going to be a challenge as we like to get ice cream about once a week, but I have quite a few ice cream recipes I've been wanting to try and June will be the perfect month for it! Not only will we save money by not eating out we can SEE how much money we'll be saving. I'm very interested to crunch the numbers.

Anyways, back to freezer cooking. I made another batch of oatmeal-peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, loaf of wheat buttermilk bread, english muffins x2 (english muffin pizza's and breakfast), french bread x4 (for cinnamon roll toast and french bread pizza's, 3 pounds of taco meat divided into 1 pound portions, 2.5 batches of smothered "aussie" chicken and 3 bbq chicken pizza's. I think we'll be eating out of the freezer for awhile now. :) And that's the point... I'm ready to eat every night from it!!

Here's our menu for the week:

B: donuts at church
L: bbq chicken pizza (from the freezer)
D: leftovers from the week

B: banana bread (from the freezer)
L: leftovers
D: cheesy chicken and salsa skillet (from the freezer)

B: banana-blueberry muffins
L: leftover cheesy chicken and salsa skillet
D: on your own

B: strawberry shortcake muffins
L: sandwiches
D: chicken quesadillas (making my own flour tortillas x2 and making extra for the freezer)

B: banana bread
L: chicken quesadillas
D: english muffin pizza's

B: cinnamon rolls
L: english muffin pizzas
D: wheat-blueberry pancakes (from the freezer) and eggs

B: cinnamon toast (made by Daniel)
L: french bread pizza's
D: grilled chicken roller (from the freezer), baked potato fries and vegetables

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Linked to:
On the Menu Monday @ StoneGable
Menu Plan Monday @ I'm an Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

He Alone

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken.

"He alone..."

David in two words has made a huge statement of faith. He's not relying on his riches or his power or his armies. He's relying on God alone as a stronghold. (He certainly wouldn't be relying on the stock markets today.) If anyone had reason up to then to rely on things he had done or accumulated, David was the guy.

"He alone..." But David doesn't do that. And with good reason. If David couldn't see God as his rock, salvation, and stronghold, then I'm not sure who could. His route to the kingship was, shall we say, a little difficult, having spent time running from Saul. David had to wait for his moment to become king. He had to rest in the promise God made to him.

So what does it mean to have God as our rock and stronghold? It means we have stability. It means our current mood/status does not depend on what the economy is doing, what leaders are in charge, or _______. Temporal, material things don't shake us, because we have to place our trust and faith in the eternal Creator. And when we do let things get to us and face stress, anxiety, conflict, etc, we can climb back to our rock quickly.

In verse 8, David gives us advice on making God or rock and stronghold. "Trust in Him at times... pour out your hearts before Him."

"He alone..."


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Simple Journaling

I love to journal but I never feel like I have enough to say. Plus I don't have time to sit down and write 2-3 pages of my days activities each night. Not only do I not have time I'm too tired!

I was snooping around Pinterest one day and came across an easy way to journal. And I'm in love! I found this great journal that is divided into 7 days and approximately a 2 inch section to write in. I have enough space to write funny things the girls do and say, a new recipe I tried, a quote I like, what's happening in my garden, what the weather was like, etc. The possibilities are endless! Naomi turned 6 months last week so I traced her little hand in colored pencil (after I wrote in pen for that day) and wrote "6 months old." Now I'll always know how small her hands really were.

I've been saying for a couple of years how I wish I was writing more down with our everyday activities. But I felt overwhelmed by having to fill up a page per day. But not anymore! I'm finding some days I need a little more room to write just one more thing. :)

I write about:
-what the weather is like
-what Nyla and Naomi do or say during the day, there's never a dull moment with the two of them!
-what I cook for dinner, especially if I try a new recipe (I did write about my freezer cooking days)
-things that are going on in mine and Daniel's lives outside of the girls, because we do have a life outside of them :)
-when the girls are sick and what's going on
-when the girls hit a milestone or have a birthday
-any little moment that I want to remember

I draw: (but I stink at drawing)
-the weather
-little handprints or footprints
-plants from the garden
-whatever else I want

What I use:
1. A spiral bound notebook with no lines on the pages. The size is about 8.5 x 12
2. A gel pen. I'm in love with gel pens and we have way too many in our house. :)
3. Colored pencils. I may do a little drawing at the bottom of some sections or just color in lightly for a certain day. I'm not specific with my drawings. I just draw when the moment strikes.

I just started my fourth week and am still going strong. I love that I can write just five things and my little section is full. I can write about crazy random stuff that some people may think is meaningless but it's not to us. It's all about remembering the little words and moments. I wish I knew about this when Daniel and I started dating and then first married. There are so many sweet times when we were first married that I wish I remembered. But I have this now and I'll continue it.

Do you journal? If so, what do you use, how much do you write, etc.? I'd love your thoughts!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Menu Plan-May 13

Happy Mother's Day friends! I hope you all have a blessed day and get treated extra special. :)

I'm changing the way I do my menu, yes again. I'm still trying to find the right fit for us and since we're an ever-changing family our lives are constantly changing. At the beginning of May I started planning our breakfasts out. This was due to Nyla wanting a homemade cinnamon roll every morning. And because I didn't want to think about what else there was that's what she got. But after I started planning the breakfasts she hasn't asked for them as much. We'll get there.

Because of my breakfast planning I decided to also start planning our lunch menu. Daniel takes leftovers from the night before or one of the many convenience meals that are usually in the freezer. But I'd like to start planning what we eat here at home. Nyla doesn't eat the same things we do, unfortunately, but I can plan out what she eats a little better to save us more money on our grocery budget and so she's not eating the same things everyday. I've made a chart on Google Docs with spaces for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as the grocery items needed. I'll plan for every two weeks as I've been doing in the past months. I think this will help me to remember to eat lunch (I haven't all week) and will help me to vary what Nyla eats, even though she's a picky eater. I'll continue to just put breakfasts and dinners on here as our lunches aren't exciting. If you'd like to see what we eat for lunch I'm happy to post those. Just let me know. Here's what we're having this week.

Sunday- Happy Mother's Day!
B: breakfast at our church
D: going to my parents house

B: banana bread (from the freezer)
D: layered enchilada baked (from the freezer)

B: cinnamon rolls (from the freezer)
D: poppyseed chicken, rice and vegetables (from the freezer)

B: banana bread
D: easy chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese and vegetables

B: apple muffins
D: taco's and homemade taco shells (we'll see how I do)

B: banana-blueberry muffins (from the freezer)
D: blueberry cream cheese stuffed french toast {new recipe}

B: cinnamon toast (made by Daniel)
D: chicken on the grill (from the freezer), baked potatoes and vegetables

As you can see we're eating a lot from the freezer this week. If you've been following along you know that it's all from my big freezer cooking days last week. It's nice to spend time with Daniel and the girls so I'm continuing my freezer cooking this week. I'm tripling the taco meat and putting 2 batches in the freezer. I'm going grocery shopping Monday or Tuesday and have quite a few things on my list I'll be prepping for the freezer. Now that I've spent the time prepping breakfasts and dinners for the freezer I see how easy it is for me to do a little each week to build up my stock so a few times a week I don't have to cook. It works for me!
What's happening in your kitchen this week?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Priority Time

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word." -Psalm 119:9 (HCSB)

My wife previously blogged about a study I was working on and then leading a small group through at our church on Wednesday nights last fall. For one of my first posts here, I thought I would give some background and overview of why this topic is so important to me.

For those of us who strive to follow God and Christ, there is no doubt that reading the Bible might be the most important thing we can do. The verse in Psalms I've noted at the first of the post shows us the importance of it. Some of you may refer to this as a quiet time or devotion time. I prefer to call it a priority time, because studying the Bible and meditating on it needs to be a priority. It wasn't always that way for me, however.

It was the fall of 2006. Things were happening in my life that, well, did not make me a happy person. My wife now jokingly refers to this as my "angry period." In any case, I was not happy with a lot of things or a lot of people. Something had to change. I knew I could not keep going up and down this emotional and spiritual roller coaster. I made the conscious decision to open my Bible and spend time each day (hopefully) reading and studying. I started with the book of Romans and began studying and taking notes in a notebook on what I read, thought, felt, and prayed. I would love to tell you that things changed quickly, but that would not be the case. Still on the roller coaster and still angry, bitter, and sad, I struggled with consistency, would read for a couple of days, and then miss the next five. That all changed when I came across these words in Romans 12:2 - "Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Message received.

If I wanted to get off the roller coaster, if I wanted to not be angry, if I wanted to go beyond the faith I currently had, then I had to renew my mind. I had to read God's Word, study it, learn it, and let it soak throughout my mind, heart, and soul. Since that point, I know I have changed. Do I still have the setbacks? Well, yes, that's part of being human. But from where I was 6 years ago to where I am now is no comparison.

So what is a priority time? For me, it is a daily, unhurried time to read the Word of God to know the God of the Word. What unhurried means is that if you have 20 minutes, you don't read a whole chapter but rather a few verses. You don't rush through a passage. You take your time. (I have spent 45 minutes sometimes on just one verse.) You break down verses, rewrite them in your own words, and consult commentaries if needed for additional insight. You highlight, circle, or underline important words. You pray over what you've read. And for me, I journal over what I've read, because I want to be able to go back over what I've studied, what I've seen, and where I've grown. I want to look back at what I prayed. The notebooks I've filled up are records of my journey of faith. They contain my story. And when I feel the time is right, I will give those journals to my girls as proof that Dad strived to be a godly father and husband. I want them to see the verses I prayed over them. I want them to see my struggles but also see that there is freedom and power that can only come from the Giver of life.

Everyone will read and study the Bible differently and at his or her own pace, but what we cannot forget is how important it is. The life and values I want my girls to live must be valued and lived out in my own life. That means I've got to learn as much as I can. I've got to grow, because if I don't, they won't. If I want them to discover the potential of a life intersected with and changed by faith, then I better discover it myself.

With that, I wish you a great weekend!


To check out an entire sermon series on this topic, I'll point you here. When preparing for the series I did last fall, this was a great resource.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Red Badge of Courage [Book Review]

One of the things I want to do on this blog is provide occasional book reviews. If I read a good book, I'll let you know about it and what I think of it. The most recent book I've read is Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (Amazon Kindle link).

I read this book in high school, but that was 10th or 11th grade, and I'm not entirely sure I actually read the whole book or read part of the book and the rest through Sparknotes. (I'm sure my teachers would be thrilled to read that.)

Without giving away too much of the plot, the story centers on the youthful Henry and his experience on a regiment in the Civil War. The battle is centered more on Henry's internal struggle rather than the external struggle of the war. Will Henry be able to calm his inner self and help his fellow soldiers win the day?

I enjoyed reading the book. I am not a Civil War enthusiast by any means, but based on my own imagination the book resembled what I thought the war would have been like. One of the things I noticed right away in the book is Crane's description of the soldiers. He seldom uses real names but instead refers to them as "the youth" or "the loud solider," as if they were known more by their personality than their names. The descriptions of nature and the battle surroundings use colors, often with detail, especially toward the end of the novel. While Crane was born after the Civil War and had no experience as a soldier, to me, he captured much of what had to be running through young men's minds before, during, and after battle. Crane also incorporated local dialects into the novel, which took a little getting used to but made the story that much more realistic. While the story focuses primarily on Henry's inner struggles, the interactions between soldiers as well as the commanding officers stood out to me - interactions you would certainly expect from soldiers, while the officers have a sense of arrogance toward the soldiers, at least that's what I gathered. The book is a quick read and will keep you interested throughout.

As I said earlier, I do not remember whether I actually read the whole book in high school. Now I can officially say I did in fact read the entire book, and best of all, there is no test to take or essay to write. I definitely like this book, and with it being free for the Amazon Kindle, there's really no reason not to read it...

But you don't have to take my word for it. Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday-May 7

May 7- May 13

Happy Sunday! We had another great morning at church; Daniel finished up his series on The Five Love Languages in our Connection Class (Sunday School). He did a great job, as usual, and I learned more about him and us from the series. The Love Jar post I did last week sprang from him teaching that series the past six weeks. We're continuing our own love jars and communicating our needs from one another. The series has been more helpful to us than I think either of us could have ever imagined. God works in our everyday lives for sure. Just something else to be thankful for!

I hope you enjoyed Daniel's most recent post on the Kindle vs. the iPad. I also hope you'll enjoy reading what he writes about. As you'll soon learn we have very different interests which I think will make this blog more fun to read. I hope you'll stick around and see where this blog takes us. We love all our readers here at 'Gabbing with the Gafford's.' 

Something else new on this blog will be the breakfasts I've started planning. I'm doing this because Nyla asks for a cinnamon roll everyday and I really need her to eat something else. Yes, my cinnamon rolls are delicious, but she needs to branch out in what she eats. Don't we all? 

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my freezer cooking plans and freezer cooking results. I had a good time planning the meals and then seeing them done. At this time, big freezer cooking days aren't feasible for me. I have too much everyday activities that need to happen so I probably won't be doing big days like that again. Instead, when I make a breakfast food I'll plan on doubling or tripling it. I've done this in the past and it works well for me. As for cooking dinners I'll do the same. I'll double the meal I'm making and freeze it for another night. It's just as easy to make 2 of something when I have all the ingredients out.

Here's what I have planned for this week. We've done pretty well sticking to our menu plan. If we don't have something I roll it over to a night on the next week. We try not to waste food in our home.

B-wheat-blueberry pancakes (from the freezer)
D-spaghetti and olive garden breadsticks (from the freezer)

B-strawberry shortcake muffins (from the freezer)
D-french bread pizza (from the freezer)

B-triple berry buckle (from the freezer)
D-bbq chicken baked potatoes and vegetables

B-apple muffins (from the freezer)
D-layered enchilada bake and oatmeal-peanut butter cookies (for small group here; both from the freezer)

B-cinnamon rolls (from the freezer)
D-bbq chicken pizza (from the freezer)

B-cinnamon toast
D-leftovers from the week or sandwiches

Sunday: Happy Mother's Day!
B-breakfast in bed for Mama
D-leftovers from the week or sandwiches

Friday, May 4, 2012


(Note: This is a long post.)

I am a bit of a techie. I like looking at the newest technology gadgets, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, eReaders, tablets, etc. I am also what some would call an Apple fanboy. During downtime at work, I will sometimes peruse through Apple's website and drool over the $4000 computer I just created or look longingly at the refurbished products. (Side note: If anyone has $4000 to spare, contact me. I will take it off your hands.) Anyway, two years ago I was completely surprised and blown away when I received an iPad as a gift from a trusted friend and mentor. Immediately the iPad became my go-to device. (We also have a MacBook we purchased in 2009, thereby starting my Apple fandom.) Two years and now 8 version of the iPad later, I thought I would offer up my thoughts on the device. (Note: This is the original iPad, so I cannot comment on the cameras and functionality of the newer versions, but I suspect they're similar.)

Welcome & A First Post

Daniel and Ginny, Fall 2007

Welcome my husband, Daniel, to my blog, now our blog! He asked last week if he could start writing on here and I enthusiastically said "yes." It will be nice to have a contributor as I have a hard time keeping up with it all. I want to have a blog post 2-3 times a week but I can't seem to think of enough good things to say. When he asked I was thrilled. After all this blog is titled "Gabbing with the Gafford's." 

I have no idea what he'll write on but I guarantee it'll be funny and you'll enjoy reading this posts. He's a much better writer than I am. He's so good at saying exactly what he means, in my opinion. I have such a hard time writing like that so I end up posting a delicious recipe instead. But hey, we both have our talents so it's all good! I hope you enjoy reading what he writes.

So without further ado, here he is!

I promise you I did not write that intro. In fact, this is the first time I've actually seen said intro, so my wife is clearly too kind. One of the many reasons I married her. Anyways...

I used to have a blog. Well, actually, I still do have a blog, but I think my last post was last September. Honestly, having to write a few blogs a week can be difficult. I asked G last week if she wanted me to do some posts over here. As you can tell, she was excited at the idea. I think this will be an excellent way for both of us to document our time as a family of four (still weird to type "of four"). As for what I will blog about, well, there's no telling. My interests are sports, weather, technology, reading, studying the Bible, and of course spending time with my beautiful wife and precocious daughters. There will be funny posts; there will be serious posts. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll vow never to return only to be drawn back by my wit and humor. I suspect most of my posts will be about life as a father and husband as well as what I've been reading in the Bible or other books. I also like finding quotes from famous people and writing my thoughts on them, too. The one thing you won't see me write about is politics the farce of global warming cooking. I leave that to my wife. 

I will always write my posts in a green font, have my trademark "-D" at the end of all my posts, and have them tagged as "Daniel". That will make it easier for you to search for them later so that you can show your family and friends the incredibly thought-provoking, life-changing, mind-blowing blogs that I write. 

(Can you tell I enjoy sarcasm, cynicism, and over-the-top humor?)

Thanks for reading! I'll be coming to your computer screens again soon!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Freezer Cooking Results

I did it! I completed 3 days of freezer cooking for our family!

Here's the post and schedule I wrote up before I started. I had every intention of following that schedule but that didn't go as planned and that's okay. I completed all I wanted to complete and have a freezer FULL of food that will be happily eaten when the time comes. I will continue to cook most nights as usual and menu plan too. The freezer meals will be for the long days I sometimes have with the girls or if the menu plan for that night doesn't sound appealing. Hey, it happens and I'm flexible to that!

Below are links to the recipes that I've been working on this week. Yes, it's a lot but I did it over a 3-day period and it didn't happen all at once. I did it when I had some free time from caring for the girls and my other daily duties. If you feel like even this is daunting but want to try, double a meal one night when you cook and freeze the second meal for a later date. If you do this everyday for 5 days you'll get 5 meals without any extra work because you were already in the kitchen making a mess! This is a great way to build up your freezer stock without having to spend all day in the kitchen. So here goes!

Day 1:
2 whole chickens in the crock pot and homemade chicken broth
2 loaves of french bread (mostly in my bread machine, but baked in the oven)
16 french bread pizza's
1 pan of layered enchilada bake (This is a super easy recipe to double or triple!)
1 pan of poppyseed chicken (So is this one)
1 batch of oatmeal-peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (makes 7 dozen and I froze the dough balls in quart size bags with 12 in each to pull out and bake when needed)

Day 2: Baking Day
cinnamon rolls x4 (these are a NO rise roll so they're simple and they're by far the best we've had)
apple muffins x3
wheat-blueberry pancakes x2
I cut up bell peppers to use later in my cooking
Made two batches of homemade butternut squash baby food for Naomi

Yeah, day 2 won't happen again like this. It was WAY too much work and I had a hard time keeping a handle on the usual day's events. Instead I'll do the cinnamon rolls one day or even one week and do the apple muffins another time, etc. It was a crazy day and I didn't like having my oven running most of the day, especially since it stayed pretty warm outside which made it warm inside. I'll definitely do this different next time.

Day 3:
banana bread x3 (I cut 2 in half and froze the four halves and kept one whole)
8 grilled chicken rollers (4 breasts in 2 quart size bags; I bake these and they're just as good!)
4 chicken breasts in Wickers marinade (2 breasts in 2 quart size bags)
4 chicken breasts with homemade bbq sauce in one quart size bags)

And that's my list! Crazy right?! I had a fun time getting all these together but I'm whipped after being on my feet for three days straight! I probably won't be as adventurous next time. It's too much with 2 babies who need attention plus the housework I try and keep up with as well. I think I'll double and triple recipes when I cook some nights and if I need to re-stock with more foods then I'll do an extra and different meal while cooking dinner. It's easy to throw another meal together for another night especially when there's no cooking involved. Also, if you look back at my original schedule I didn't do a recipe I intended or I added something easier for another meal. I'm glad I did this and strayed from the schedule I originally had. It turned out to be easier for me to do something different.

I hope this helped you get better acquainted with freezer cooking and gives you confidence to try an extra meal here or there to put up for the busy nights we all have. Happy cooking!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

About Us

Hello and welcome!

We're the Gafford family! We are a family of 4 (Daniel, Ginny, Nyla and Naomi) who love Jesus, our sweet little church and hanging out as a family. You'll find two people blogging here... Ginny and Daniel.

I, Ginny, started this blog about four years ago and the content has continued to change since day one. I like to menu plan, cook and bake, look at recipes, try new recipes, keep the house picked up, iron, sit down with a good book, get pedicures (which are rare), keep the girls busy, organize and declutter our small home and journal. You'll find me blogging about the week's menu plan, old and new recipes, funny things the girls say and do, mothering little girls and trying to live a simpler life in this crazy, on-the-go world.

Daniel joined this blog in May of 2012. He has a blog of his own but he wasn't doing much with it so he asked me if he could write on this blog a couple times a week.  I gave an enthusiastic "yes" and 'Gabbing with the Gafford's' was born! Daniel likes all things University of Kentucky sports, March Madness is his FAVORITE time of year, playing golf, the weather, technology, a great pair of sweat pants, hanging with his three girls and Ginny's cooking. You'll find Daniel blogging about priority time, technology stuff, what's happening with global warming the weather, book reviews and any other random thought that passes through his smart little mind.

We hope you'll stay awhile as we figure out this joint blogging thing. Our blog is ever-changing as we frequently enter new phases of life with our growing marriage and our growing girls. We love the Lord and strive to serve Him personally and through our little church. We are constantly talking to one another about how we can improve our everyday life through our marriage, raising our girls as disciples in Christ, keeping our home clutter-free, living a self-sustaining life by gardening, shopping locally, etc., homeschooling and slowing down our lives in this fast-paced world.

We are imperfect people in this imperfect world and you'll see that on this blog. You'll see our hearts, our struggles, typo's and real-life stuff. Our life is by no means "perfect" and we are constantly changing how we do things to honor our God and improve our quality of life as a family of four.

Thanks for stopping by!