Blessings Unexpected

I was crying a little bit ago, not because I was sad or happy, but from slicing and chopping so many onions! This past week I have really pushed myself to complete a few things on my checklist like cleaning the bathroom and working on the porch. The kids are finally getting over this bug/cold thing they’ve had but I’ve been feeling a bit puny myself. I was so exhausted yesterday and looking forward to a peaceful, restful weekend.

Yesterday someone came to visit and he brought along a huge box of bananas along with a couple of grocery bags of things he had picked up at the produce market. Well, as it turned out the whole box of bananas was super ripe as well as the squash, peppers, and mushroom he had brought.

Yesterday was a super busy day and I felt overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with all of those bananas and vegetables. I admit that I didn’t really see it as a blessing. Part of that is because my upright freezer that I normally use was still sitting on the front porch, unplugged, and in dire need of a deep cleaning. It seemed like it was going to be a never ending chore to clean and prep everything in the house and then tote it out to the chest freezer in the wash shed. I just wanted to cry but I carried the vegetables out to the shed and put them in the second fridge so they wouldn’t spoil before I could deal with them.

Early this morning I went to the flea market to pick up a vegetable order. (This was the first time I had done this but I was really impressed and will probably start incorporating this into my normal grocery budget when they start the new season next year.) As I was putting the veggies into the chest freezer I realized that it was going to be difficult for me to really do anything with them because it is so hard for me to reach anything. I knew I definitely needed to get that other freezer in working order.

That in itself just seemed like so much work and all I wanted to do was rest. I knew it needed a thorough cleaning but I was tired. I really wanted it moved to a different spot but that spot is still occupied with moving boxes. Deep sigh… I probably had a million reasons why I just couldn’t clean it out. But then there were several reasons why it just needed to be done like the bags of veggies I had placed in the fridge yesterday and that big box of overripe bananas sitting in the kitchen floor.

So after thinking about it I decided that the best time to clean out the freezer was now.

While the kids were down for quiet time I grabbed a water hose, a scrub brush, and a bottle of water and vinegar. After rinsing the freezer out I sprayed it well with the vinegar spray and then got to work with the scrub brush. A few minutes later I gave it a good rinsing and left it to dry for a bit.

After drying, I plugged it up right where it stands. Is it the best place for it? Probably not. Is it where I had intended it to be? Definitely not. Is it easily accessible? Definitely! Will it make my life easier? Yes!

While the freezer was drying I went to work in the kitchen. I pulled out a knife, a cutting board, some Ziploc freezer bags, and my KitchenAid Food Processor. I bought this food processor a few months ago and it has definitely come in handy for food prep and I love the fact that it is so big! It made the slicing and chopping go so much faster. Too bad it couldn’t peel bananas too.

I started with the veggies in the bags as I was really not looking forward to doing the bananas. (Bananas are definitely not my favorite fruit.) First were the sweet peppers which got washed and then I cut the bad spots out. I sliced them thinly and placed them into a thin layer in a gallon size bag.

Then we had some mushrooms that I had no idea were in the bags. I washed them well and sliced them thinly. Next I placed them in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and put them in the newly cleaned freezer which was starting to cool by this time. I made another cookie sheet up with some store bought mushrooms and placed them in the freezer as well. Once they are frozen I will place them into Ziploc bags. This method makes it easier to separate what you need from the bag without thawing out the whole bag.

Next came some corn on the cob that I didn’t know was in the bag either. I washed them and then cut them in half. We will be eating the corn with dinner tonight.

After the corn I tackled the yellow squash. I washed them one small bag at a time and then cut the ends and the bad spots off. I then placed them into the food processor and sliced 2 batches on the thick side so that they can be used for squash casserole and such. One batch I sliced thin so I can saute it up to go with dinner tonight.

Once the squash was bagged I rinsed out the food processor and went to work on some onions that I had. I managed to fill one gallon size bag with sliced onions and one quart size bag with chopped onions. I also did a small bag of green onions, thinly sliced. Normally I like to use the cookie sheet method for the onions but I just didn’t have the room to do this today but I’m hoping I will be able to separate the frozen sliced onions without much effort thought.

After cleaning up this mess and carrying everything out to the freezer it was time to tackle those bananas!

I grabbed a couple of plastic grocery bags to put the banana peels in and then got to work. One bunch at a time. Peel, bag, peel, bag, peel, bag and so on. We put 6-7 bananas in each bag. This should be enough for a double batch of Banana Crumb Muffins , banana bread, banana smoothies, or some other banana treat we may think up.

I then carried these bags out to the freezer which is starting to look a bit fuller now. Later this evening or maybe tomorrow I will start moving and organizing some of the items from the chest freezer into the upright freezer too.

This project took me longer than quiet time lasted so I did end up enlisting a little help. As they say many hands make light work… I laugh because I don’t think whoever said that had as many little ones running underfoot as I do… but it did make the kids feel important.

This is also teaching them important lessons about taking care of what we have and not letting things go to waste. They even offered suggestions for things we could make with all of those bags of bananas.

My five year old who is an aspiring time traveler /dinosaur explorer is now interested in becoming a chef also so he has been watching YouTube ‘Cooking for Kids’ videos. He asked me to write down ‘Frozen Banana Recipes for Kids’ in his notebook. When he gets on the computer Monday he will most likely be looking that up on YouTube as well. Y’all better be ready for some kid inspired banana recipes!

While preparing these veggies it started out feeling like a burden but that feeling changed as I realized just how blessed I am. It was a bit of work to get all of this stuff ready. This was work that I had not planned on doing today but it will benefit us for at least a couple of months and it will definitely make life a bit easier too.

So I challenge you to take a second look at things around you. Is there something in your life or your home that seems like a burden? Think of ways you can turn that around and make it a blessing for you!

Updated picture of our freezer:

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Those big bags of veggies came from our Southwestern Produce order that we picked up yesterday. Farm fresh veggies at a great deal! I’ll be doing a quick post about them in a few days so keep checking back!

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Start Date: Jul 19 , 2013
End Date: Ongoing
Type: Evergreen
Categories: Kitchen & Housewares
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3 thoughts on “Blessings Unexpected”

  1. If your dad brought over a huge amount of produce without asking you if you had time to process it, shame on him and do NOT feel uncomfortable about being frustrated!

    Most kids over the age of 8 can reasonably be expected to clean up a freezer with minimal supervision. They are also more than capable of cleaning out any space that is full of clutter since sorting shouldn’t be too difficult (make a list of what piles will be created (clothes, toys, seasonal, whatever) and empower them to make decisions on what to keep and what to toss; set guidelines so they don’t keep everything (2 toys (or whatever’s reasonable), 5 sweaters, etc).

    A 5 year old can help you by opening bananas.

    You write a lot of posts where you do all the work and I have to remind myself that you have a lot of young-ish kids. Yes, some have issues to be dealt with, but all are capable of helping around the house. Yes, tasks will take longer than if mom does them alone, but that is time spent bonding with your children, even if you have them all doing different tasks and you are simply working the circuit to check on their progress; each will have a great story to tell you about what they’ve accomplished while you were away.

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  2. You’re an amazing mother who has done so much hard work to bring these kids to the level that they are at. You wake up early every morning to get the day started and make sure you have everything to make their lives a little easier. I get that some people may not notice or realize everything you do because they don’t see it first hand. (So anyone with criticism that is negative and you don’t have children, then don’t say something because you don’t know). This is my mother. I’m an older one of the four and regardless of all the blog post that my mom write, it’s never close enough to all the things she does. My mom handle having us four older kids like a pro, we’ve been thought 90% of everything we need for daily life along with her encouragement for us to have done well in school. There is a big difference between four kids that are each two years apart and five kids who are extremely close in age. It’s exhausting at times but she doesn’t give up. She doesn’t give up when she’s been sitting here for two extra hour helping my sisters with there schoolwork, she doesn’t give up when she’s sick and has awful migraines and she doesn’t give up on the tough days. Regardless of the actual age of my siblings they are not the same mature age, which isn’t my mother’s fault. She works when them all day every day showing them right from wrong, and yes sometimes it sticks but also sometimes they are kids and don’t listen like ALL kids! My mother lets them help her when she can but if it involves something outside where it isn’t a clear area she doesn’t because we live in Florida which has snakes and lots of other creatures. So her children’s safety comes before letting them join. Also she does a lot of work durning their quiet time, which is their time to rest and relax. The moral of this whole things is that mom you’re doing amazing, beyond amazing regardless of what people say and I know because I see your hard work every day.

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