October 31, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love {Book Review}

History. I simply love historical fiction. I especially love historical fiction based on true events. When I had the chance to review Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love, a book based on a real life friendship between the famous general's wife and her housekeeper, I was eager to dive in as it seemed to be just the sort of book I would enjoy!

Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love, a review
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links.
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray

Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Gray by Dorothy Love explores the true-life account of an extraordinary alliance between Mrs. Robert E. Lee and her slave girl-turned housekeeper Mrs. Selina Norris Gray during the period of time leading up to and through the Civil War. Written in third person, the story alternates between Mary Anna Custis Lee (great-grandaughter of Martha Washington, wife of Confederate General General Robert E. Lee, and heiress to Virginia’s storied Arlington house and General Washington’s personal belongings) and Selina Norris Gray (a girl born in bondage at Arlington who learns to read and write in the schoolroom Mary and her mother keep for the slave children). We see the courtship and marriage of Mary (aka Molly) and Robert, the growing up of Selina through the household of the Custis family into the role of housekeeper, the turbulent period of slave uprisings before the war begins—from both women’s point of view, the beginning of the war, the changing of relationship between Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Gray to close friends, and more. The story explores the 50 year friendship forged at the turning point of America’s journey from enslavement to emancipation.

My Thoughts on the Story

Honestly, I had high hopes for this story. It was set in a period of time I love. It was based on a true-life account. It had a double narrative. All things that should have worked for it. But for some reason, I can’t quite figure out why it didn’t work for me. It’s wasn’t bad, or even kinda bad. It was just…okay. This surprises me actually, since I have loved this author’s books in the past. Maybe it was the way the book moved quickly through time. And taking that with the alternating narratives, it might have just been too much bouncing.

That being said, I did like the way the book explored the events from both sides—slave owner and slave. The idea that Mrs. Lee wanting things to “stay the same” in relation to the pre-war good old days of growing up in Arlington, meant that Mrs. Gray’s dreams of freedom for her family could never come true. I also thought Arlington had been through Robert E. Lee’s family, I didn’t know it was actually through his wife—although I did know about the connection with George Washington somewhere in there. So I guess I liked the history pieces more than the actual story itself. It made me eager to explore the true-life account myself. 

The book was well-written, but it wasn’t spellbinding like other books by Dorothy Love I have read. It did touch on some of the less than nice aspects of the relationships between slave and slaveholder—including the mulatto issues. But it was done in a tasteful way and fit the story flow.
I just give it an "okay" rating at three stars. It wasn't spellbinding, nor did it hold my attention for more than a few chapters at a time. I think it tried to pour too much of the 50 year relationship in the pages, and it just moved too quickly--especially bouncing back and forth between the two characters. 
by Dorothy Love
Available for Kindle and Paperback

Here are some other books by Dorothy Love:

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October 30, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: The Things We Knew, a novel by Catherine West {Book Review}

Being a member of the Fiction Guild for Thomas Nelson publishers is a good thing, but can also be challenging. Why? Well I never know what I am going to receive, except that it will be within my favorite genres--romance, historical fiction, or young adult fiction. Surprise new books are good, right? Well, not always--like when they send a book that is out of my box, and one I wouldn't necessarily pick to read intentionally. This occurred when I received The Things We Knew, a novel by Catherine West. Not only was I not familiar with the author, but it was a contemporary setting (not my favorite) and the synopsis wasn't exactly begging me to read it. But, I was willing to give it a try and hope for the best.

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd {Book Review}

I recently was introduced to the Christian Fiction author Sarah E. Ladd, and quickly fell in love with her style. She is known for weaving a romance with intrigue, and putting them into lush and captivating settings of the countryside of England. When I had the chance to review one of her more recently published books Dawn at Emberwilde through the Fiction Guild, I hoped that it too would follow in this same pattern and be another great story to add to my growing collection.

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd ~ A Book Review
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About Dawn at Emberwilde

Dawn at Emberwilde is the second book of the Treasures of Surrey series by Sarah E. Ladd. At the center of the story is beautiful, free-spirited Isabel. Raised as an orphan at the Fellsworth School, she has risen to the ranks to be a teacher, in order to care for her younger sister Lizzie, left to her care after her father’s death. But just when she is sure of her future, a stranger brings news of unknown relatives and her small, predictable world is turned upside down—moving Isabel and her little sister to Emberwilde, a vast estate adjacent to a mysterious wood. Unexpectedly, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, and she’s forced to learn a dance between attraction, rules of courtship, and her heart. Through it all, Isabel will discover the key to unlocking the mystery of her past, may also open the door to her future.  And what secrets will she discover hiding in the depths of Emberwilde Forest?!

My Thoughts

I am always leery about starting a series in the middle. I hate being thrust into middle of a story, because far too many series have each book a continuation of the previous story. Fortunately, I never felt like I was missing pieces of a story with this book. I am suspecting that the series more shares locations, rather than characters, although I would have to go back and read the first book The Curiosity Keeper to be sure. 

October 28, 2016

Seek Ye First {Five Minute Friday}

Oh it's been so busy here! We only just got home at 11pm Tuesday night, and the rest of the week has been about getting caught up! But here we are again at another Friday. I am so thankful for my Sabbath rest coming up...I need it! Here we go with this week's Five Minute Friday!
Seek Ye First--5 Minute Friday


When I think of eating, I think usually of the physical action. I love food. I love to eat. When I am hungry, I actively seek out something to make me feel better. Just like I know you do. But when I think about eating, it also makes me think of one of my most favorite passages in the bible:

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." ~Matthew 6:22-26

I am a worrywort---are you? Yet, here we are admonished to not worry about what we are going to eat or drink. Or wear. Or worry about tomorrow. We are to fix our eyes straight ahead on our ETERNAL future. That if we are focused on filling ourselves with all things related to God, Christ, and our future home in His kingdom, everything else will fall in line. Don't worry about what we are going to eat. Remember--Jesus is the bread of life. If we "eat" of Him, we will not be hungry. If we fill ourselves with God's word, we will be full.

So what is your focus in regards to eating?
Are you making sure you are focusing on the right food?


Want to Join in?

I hope you and yours have a most blessed weekend and happy Sabbath to all of those who keep it. It's hard to believe we are just a handful of days before the month ends---November is around the corner! Be safe this weekend, as I know it can be pretty crazy in some areas. 
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Fresh from the Bookshelf: Scoundrel in Disguise by Shaela Kay {Book Review}

I remember when my friend Shaela first announced she was working on a book. She and I promised that I would review it for her someday. That someday happened last year when her inaugural book A Heart Made of Indigo was published! Needless to say, I was on the list again when the second book of the series came out--and I am happy to share my review of her book Scoundrel In Disguise with you!

Scoundrel In Disguise by Shaela Kay, Book Review
The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

About Scoundrel In Disguise

Scoundrel in Disguise is the second book in the Journeys of the Heart series by Shaela Kay. This book picks up immediately after the first book, with the character of Sarah Mendenhall--the sister of the lead male character in the first book. Sarah is now in London for a season and she has decided to enjoy it with the vow not to accept a single proposal, no matter what the gentleman's offering might be. She quickly becomes the most sought-after debutante! 

Enter Jameson Rex. Dashing. Debonair. Disinherited. He's in London in search of a wealthy wife, not by choice, but of necessity for the care of his 5 year old daughter. Problem is, it's been discovered that he was disinherited because of the knowledge of this daughter, and he's in disgrace--marked by society as a scoundrel, a rake...and unfortunately, an ineligible bachelor.

Out of necessity, Rex accepts a wager to woo Miss Mendenhall--the same much sought after debutante who has declared she will not wed anyone! Can he do it? Will he win her heart? Will he reveal to her the secret he's been harboring for 5 years in relation to his daughter?

My Thoughts

I was so happy to hear that Sarah was going to have her own story. She was probably my most favorite of all the characters in the first book. I even mentioned in my review of A Heart Made of Indigo, that I hoped she would get her own story! Sarah's character blossomed and grew just as I hoped it would. Her love of adventure and vivaciousness just jumps off the page. I also love all the interaction between she and Rex.

Jameson Rex is an intriguing character and appreciated how the author had him dealing with the balance between protecting his daughter's reputation, and taking the hit on his own. He was always having to weigh it out and decide where to make the sacrifice. I like him with Sarah and think the author did a great job of giving them balancing personalities.

I really had to remind myself that this wasn't one of my other favorite authors. Why do I say that? Well it was so well written, you would never know Shaela's a rookie still! This book definitely flowed much better than the first, and it was a good one too.
This book definitely earns one more star than the previous one, because it really was very well done. If you enjoy a good historical romance--and this one ISN'T an Christian Fiction--so don't let that stop you if you prefer to avoid CF, make sure you give Scoundrel In Disguise a read!
by Shaela Kay
Available in Kindle and Paperback

I really enjoyed reading this book, and am eager to see what else Shaela has in mind for characters from this series. I know I would enjoy getting a peek at Sarah and Rex again someday!

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October 27, 2016

CrossTimber: Your Source for Beautiful Name Meaning Gifts {Product Review}

I recently had the pleasure of learning about the personalized gift company CrossTimber. They specialize in creating beautiful products like the Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse, Personalized Mugs, Music Boxes and more. It was perfect timing to review this company, as my mother-in-law recently had a birthday and I needed the "perfect" gift.
CrossTimber Name Meaning Gifts ~ A Review

About CrossTimber

CrossTimber is a family run company started by John Dehnart, in an effort to help hundreds of people learn more about their worth, value and purpose before God, through the meaning of their name. Next year marks their 20th anniversary of their very first name meaning gifts! The family works hard to research the various meanings of every name they are given, and to match them with a unique Bible verse.

Their products include:
*Personalized framed plaque with name meaning and bible verse
*Name meaning mugs
*Name Meaning music boxes
*Name Meaning bookmarks
*and more!

CrossTimber loves sharing name meanings, so go ahead and ask them what your name means, no matter how unique!

Got a long list of people you might want to get items for? There is a great quantity discount chart which will provide great savings for big families or long gift lists!

We were given a credit to use on the personalized framed plaque with name meaning and bible verse, or on whatever else caught our eye--I loved the plaque, but decided to order a special music box!

My Thoughts about CrossTimber

I was impressed by the selections that CrossTimber offers when picking out your product. When I was looking at their personalized framed plaque with name meaning and bible verse, I liked that I could change up the background image to customize what I thought would be good for my recipient. Sunsets, oceans, nature, animals. A lot of options. Not only that, but there was a different collection of frames that could be picked as well.

The ordering page with examples of each choice
After looking around and thinking about it for awhile, I decided to use my credit towards the cost of a name meaning music box. My mother-in-law is always making little treasure boxes for others, so I thought this would be the perfect gift for her. The options for the name meaning top was the same as for the plaques, so I opted to get her an ocean scene as she loves the ocean. There were four different box options, but I went with the ornate wood option. Lastly, there were four options for the music the box played: Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, On Eagle's Wings, and "Surprise me". Because I know she loves the song, I picked How Great Thou Art. It would be easy to add on an extra item like a bookmark, pocket card, or mug--even the option to put a message on the inside of the box. I decided to just leave the order as is, and submitted it!

CrossTimber sent me a confirmation shortly thereafter. I found the shipping to be a reasonable cost considering the size of the item and eagerly waited for it to arrive!

When it arrived, I was very happy to see that it was packaged up VERY well and was very protected. There was also a bookmark included with my mother-in-law's name on it, which was a nice bonus! I loved the scripture that was chosen--one of my favorites and felt the box was very beautiful.

The boys really loved watching the music player, as it was encased in a see-thru piece. They enjoyed watching it spin as it made the music--they finally figured out how it was done!

My mother-in-law was surprised, but very pleased with her box and I am glad that we were able to find something unique to give her. She especially liked her name meaning.

All in all, I found the music box to be a very nice gift, although I admit that I was expecting it to be a bit more...sturdy? It didn't have the weight I was expecting in a music/jewelry box (I have a couple of my own that were a bit more heavy wood). I don't think it looked shoddy or anything, just that I guess I was expecting it to be...heavier? LOL. I don't even know if that makes sense. Anyways, I'm very glad I went with the box style that I did, because I think the others might have looked...um...cheap for what I was going for in this gift (as in more elegance and quality). That and I just didn't like the look of the others as much.

If I ever purchase anything again, I think I will go for the framed name meaning or name meaning mugs!

Oh and lest I forget, their customer service is fabulous! As I was leaving for my trip, I still didn't have this product in hand. I was worried it would come while I was gone and it would be hard for me to write a review on it. Fortunately, John responded right away to my concerns and made sure it arrived the day before I was going to leave! This was awesome and I appreciated his quick response.

Want to Know More?

I enjoyed looking at the full selection of products that CrossTimber offers, including the personalized framed plaque with name meaning and bible verse, and reviewing the name meaning music box I picked out. There were so many different options for us to choose from, I hope that you will check out what others in our crew picked for their own families!
Personalized Framed Plaque with Name Meaning and Bible Verse {CrossTimber} Reviews
You can stay up with CrossTimber on Facebook and Pinterest to learn more about their products, promotions, and giveaways!
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October 22, 2016

Park yourself {Five Minute Friday}

I almost forgot about Five Minute Friday, because we are down here in Panama City Beach, FL keeping the Feast of Tabernacles with about 1100 other brethren. I'm busy with worship services, music practice, and family adventures--so I can hardly recall what day of the week it is! LOL. But here we go. 


When I think of park, I come up with three concepts.
1. A place to relax outside--with a playground maybe. A nature escape. (a noun)
2. The act of putting my car between two lines in a parking lot or on a road (a verb)
3. To put yourself in a place to stand still or sit. "park yourself here in the chair!" (a verb)

It's funny, but the first one of these that really hit me, was the third one. Park yourself. I always think about that in regards to going somewhere and STAYING there. Park...stay...Go there and stay there. 

When it comes to God and His way/truth/life, I want to PARK myself in His word. I want to go there and stay there. I did a search to see if the words park or stay are used in that sense in my Bible translation. They aren't. But I can find cases where I can read "remain" or "keep" in the same sense.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. ~John 15:4

Do you park yourself in God's word?
Do you do a focused attention to it and STAY in it every day?
I know I need to work on it. That's something that I am learning while down here listening to the messages. Over and over they are reminding us that we need to OWN our faith. To STAY in the faith. To PARK ourselves in God's word.

May God help me to do so.

Want to Join in?

We have a few more days left, and a lot more worship and adventures to do! I hope you and yours have a beautiful Sabbath day, gorgeous weekend, and blessed week!
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October 14, 2016

The Value of a Letter {Five Minute Friday}

Can you believe it's already the middle of October? This month is going to fly by for me, because it is the month when my family celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) with other brethren of our church. This year, we are heading down to Florida for a feast site--actually on our way right now! We eagerly await this annual week long Holy Day and are just bursting with excitement when it's time to pack up and leave. Even though we are on the road, I didn't want to forget to participate in this week's Five Minute Friday.


When I think of the word mail, I don't think about the junk. No, I think about the surprise letters. The ones that make you pause, fill you with curiosity, and then make you smile. Isn't it funny how mail has the power to ruin a good day, or make it the best day ever? More often than not, it seems we get more bad. This is why I am one of the few who regularly send out snail mail. I have a stack of stationary--always grabbing new packs too. You see, I've learned the value of a letter.

For some reason, God has granted me the knack of knowing WHO needs a letter. I love writing them--simple notes, long notes, funny notes, notes of sympathy. And I never quite know who will get a letter when I start out. So I pray before opening my address book--and then the names that jump out? Those are the receivers.

EVERY single time, I have received either a note in return, or a word from the person at church, effusive in their thanks for my words. Every time, my note arrived on a day when they desperately needed someone to care or share in their burdens. I have strengthened friendships with a single note. 

It didn't cost me anything but a stamp. 

Yet the value of that letter brought, was priceless.
That's not me.
That's God.

Want to Join in?
I hope that you and your family have a simply marvelous weekend! I hope to post a book review or two over the upcoming week, and maybe even share some photos of what we are up to down here. Right now, I'm just enjoying driving past the fields of cotton as we drive through Alabama. It's so unusual. My boys love seeing "real live" cotton pickers and the peanut harvesters. A nice change to the soybean, wheat, and corn combines we are used to.
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October 11, 2016

MyFreezEasy~Freezer Meals with Minimal Prep for the Busy Mom {Product Review}

The links on this blog and in the posts may be affiliate links
Please see my disclosure policy for full details and thank you for your support!

Are you a meal planner? Do you get a nice printout and add in all your meals for a week or month? Do you have a meal plan shopping list? I don't. I am NOT a meal planner. I have tried it over and over, and we just agree to disagree. I just hate being tied down to meal plans. LOL. Well, I guess I'm more of a leftover planner. I cook a big meal and then plan how long we can eat on it. Bwahahaha. I LOVE the idea of having meals in my freezer, but I just don't have the desire or time to plan it all out. And if I did, I'm afraid it would just be bag upon bag of taco meat and spaghetti. Nothing exciting or different. Needless to say, I didn't have high hopes for my review of MyFreezEasy and their MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership. Planning ahead, cooking once for multiple meals, and spending a portion of a day just prepping meals just doesn't seem to be my style...or is it? Could this review have changed my thoughts meal planning? Is it actually JUST what a busy mom like me needs?
MyFreezEasy~ Easy Freezer Meals for the Busy Mom {Review}

About MyFreezEasy

MyFreezEasy is the brainchild of Erin Chase, the creator of $5 Dinners. MyFreezEasy is all about providing busy families the meal plans they need to create TEN freezer meals for their family in just one hour of prep time. With the new freezer meal plans, she has designed a way to save you in cost of groceries, time, and sanity when it comes to providing good home cooked food for your family. The idea is simple. You sign up for one of her membership plans, and every month she will send you a meal plan right to your email, containing five customized meals for your family. Once you have purchased or gathered the ingredients, by spending ONE HOUR of your time, you can prepare TEN meals (2 meals per recipe) for your freezer. This in turn allows you to spend LESS time preparing dinner itself, yet still providing a wholesome meal for the family.

Memberships offered are the Basic Membership ($7/month, $77/yr) which includes access to 8 new Meal Plans each month including:
*Traditional Plan – 10 meals (a mix of each!)
*Gluten-Free Plan – 10 meals (totally gluten-free including sides)
*Slow Cooker Plan – 10 meals (all recipes are for your slow cooker)
*Clean Eats Plan – 10 meals: (all “clean ingredients”)
*20 Meals Plan – 20 meals (a mix of meals and meats)
*All Chicken Plan – 10 meals (all recipes include chicken breast/thighs)
*All Ground Beef Plan – 10 meals (all recipes use ground beef)
*All Pork Chops Plan – 10 meals (all recipes include pork chops)

Every month, you will get access to NEW meal plans, without worry about the same old boring repeats.

Worried that the recipes might not be something your family would eat? That's where the PREMIUM membership ($10/month, $95/yr)comes into play. With the Premium membership, you get to CREATE YOUR OWN meal plan. You can swap recipes in and out from the list of meal plans you receive each month to make sure you are getting EXACTLY what you want, with recipes you know your family will eat. Or just create your OWN meal plan! Did I mention you will even be able to adjust your serving sizes to get it the right size you need for your family?

Both memberships include printable labels (with cooking directions) for your filled freezer bags, shopping lists, videos for assembly and tips/tricks, dairy free and gluten free modifications on the recipes, and more!

I was given an annual subscription to the PREMIUM membership to use for my family.

How Did I Use It?

Okay. As I said, I was initially skeptical, but I was willing to give it a try. I LOVE to cook and just having new recipes was worth it to me. So I logged into my account and just dove in. I read some of the information about the program to get an idea of the feel of it. I liked the idea that they would provide me with detailed shopping lists for every meal--making it quick to see what I had or didn't have. I liked the variety of meal plans--we eat a LOT of ground beef (hello! We are a BEEF farm), but I'm always left with maybe just three ways I cook it. I liked the idea of a whole meal plan JUST for ground beef. Slow cooker? Oh yeah. I ADORE my slow cooker, so meal plans for that were very appealing as well. Once I got a feel for it, I picked a plan--the September Ground Beef one. 

Looking at it, I determined that we probably wouldn't eat all the things on it, so I decided to take advantage of my Premium membership and change it up! To give you an idea on how that process works, I will show you in pictures for OCTOBER'S meal plans since they are handy--I clicked the top of the webpage for "this month's meal plans" and I have the links to each--and links to their labels.

I clicked on "All ground beef meals" and the pdf with all the recipes and prep instructions opens up...
After I open it up, I look through the recipes, and I know my family won't be very excited about a few of these. So I need to swap. I hit the back arrow and it takes me back to the previous page--scrolling down I find the button I need.
Now I simply click on the Ground Beef Meal plan again from the list that comes up and start swapping!

I simply drag the meals OUT of the meal plan box at the right, and then drag in the meals from the choices at the left. Notice that it is here I can change serving size too! Oh, but what if I decide that I really want a chicken meal in here too...? No problem. By clicking "search categories" there at the top, I can visit a different meal plan category and continue the process there until I have the choices I like. If I want to peek at the recipes before adding them, I simply double click and a little window comes up to show me the recipe. (LOVE IT!) Once I have my meal plan put together (you don't have to have exactly five meals--you can have less), I can now hit "review and print"...

Now I can again adjust my servings if I desire, but if everything looks good, I can print my meal plan--and print my labels. OR, I can email it to myself to deal with later! If I don't like something I see, I can just go back and hit "select recipes" and change things out until it's how I want. 

Once you hit print, it gives you a download of all the meals in your plan--and now it's off to the kitchen! The meal plans have a basic set up--
You will always get not just the recipes, but the shopping lists in detail, assembly prep instructions, and meal assembly instructions so you don't have to try to work it out on your own. 

Once I printed out my packet, I looked through the recipes to see how they are put together and I noticed something I REALLY liked--every recipe gives you directions for making it NOW and for prepping it to make later. This is important to me, because I have learned that my family is picky, and it's always wise to TRY a meal before freezing one for later. I actually learned that the hard way WITH MyFreezEasy. I did up a freezer bag for the Basil Balsamic Chicken. Turns out, no one really liked it very much. If I had made it first before freezing a batch, I would have learned that before wasting space in my freezer. Fortunately, I had only made one batch.
Ready to Freeze

Ready to eat the Basil Balsamic Chicken

Just serve with salad and potatoes and bam! Easy meal!

I have made the Sloppy Dogs {Topping}, Black Bean Soup, Lazy Lasagna Bake, Basic Balsamic Chicken, Upside Down Nachos, and Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff. In my freezer, I currently have two bags of Beef Stroganoff. I had Sloppy Dogs {Topping} and Black Bean Soup, but loved pulling them out to use them--when I needed to come up with two separate potluck dishes! 

My Thoughts

Okay, it's easy.
I am a believer. NOW I see why freezer prep meals are so loved by those who do them! They save all the time in the world on those nights when you are just too busy, or just uninspired to cook. Even though I am someone who LOVES cooking large meals for my family--I only make from scratch and do it nearly every day--there are nights I'm just too tired! Now I can just go to my freezer and pick from a meal that is there, knowing I have very MINIMAL prep to do when I'm ready to serve it! And let's talk about potlucks. Does your church do a lot of potlucks? Mine does. About once a month. I hate the "what on earth am I going to make??!" process that happens about 2 days before. This month, I just went to my freezer and pulled out Sloppy Dogs {Topping} for the one I knew there would be hotdogs at, and then the Black Bean Soup for the other. Easy peasy. I actually through them each in the crockpot instead of cooking it on the stove for even more simplicity!

The boys declare the Black Bean Soup to be the best so far. My oldest ate it 5 days in a row. Oh and speaking of that. One batch of Black Bean soup ended up making TWELVE bowls. A four serving recipe, served TWELVE bowls! That's fantastic! We've found that across the board, the 4 serving recipes are enough to feed us one night PLUS at least a lunch/dinner another day. 

Love-Of-My-Life has declared the Sloppy Dogs {Topping} to be his favorite so far. I LOVE that the recipe tells you to use the sloppy joe sauce in a can BUT also gives you the FROM SCRATCH recipe to make it yourself. YES PLEASE! It was soooo good! Everyone who had it at the potluck kept coming to tell me how good it was.

Are there any cons?
My primary con is that every chicken meal calls for BONELESS meat. I don't always have boneless on hand, and actually I find boneless costs more in the store. BUT as a cook, I know that the primary reason for boneless is the time it takes to make. It just takes less time. And there are some meals that just need it. BUT I would appreciate a note saying that boneless isn't always necessary for the recipe. 

There was also a case where there was a minor ingredient mess up, but I could easily figure it out--and I learned that the owner Erin Chase, wants all mess ups sent to her, so she can get them fixed.

(there is also a FANTASTIC Facebook group to help members out with any questions they might have)

I also wanted to mention--for those with food allergies, this meal plan really has you covered. There are meals for gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, vegetarian meals, Paleo/Whole 30...almost any diet you need to follow is able to use these meal plans and there are recommendations for changes on every recipe if possible. 

Now as for the 10 meals in one hour. It's true. Unlike many recipes, the cooking is minimal. So far the only cooking i had to do was just brown some ground beef before bagging it up. That doesn't take much time at all! I did 5 meals in about 25-30 minutes, so I am sure that 10 meals in 1 hr or less is accurate--especially if you follow the assembly directions to make it as smooth of a process as possible. My boys helped me out a couple days filling bags with things I had cut up and portioned out.

Here are some photos from my adventure with MyFreezEasy:
Portioning my ground beef

Filling the bags with the ingredients
He gives the upside down beef nachos a thumbs up
A new family favorite

Lazy Lasagna Bake--cheesy!

So...Will I Continue to Use this Product?
Absolutely! I have so much fun looking through the recipes, and it has taught me that planning ahead for my freezer isn't rocket science, and has given me more ideas on how to do it with some of our family favorite recipes I'm already making. And with the recipes provided, I already have been tweaking them to match our tastes--making them even more perfect for our family!

Would I Recommend MyFreezEasy?

Yes! At just $10 a month, it's worth having it all laid out for you. NO trying to come up with ideas on your own. The ability to create your own plans or tweak pre-made ones is fabulous. I love the shopping lists, the easy to assemble directions, and the labels! I truly will consider furthering my membership when it runs out because it has been eye-opening and very very helpful to me. I am a mom who LOVES TO COOK--yet I see how valuable something like this is, because I am also a very very busy mom. But I have time to prepare TEN freezer meals in 1 hr or less because that time saves me HOURS later during the week.

Did I mention she's in the middle of creating an app for your phone??! Hello! Even more time saving there!

Want to Know More?

I have LOVED reviewing the MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership from MyFreezEasy. You have seem some of the meals that we have cooked and grown to love, but that was just a tiny peak at all there was to offer--make sure you visit the other crew members to see the tastiness they cooked up for THEIR freezers!
MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}
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So long story short, I was surprised at how much this program WORKED for me and my family and how it gave me a new way to think about meal planning. It's not about a menu for a month. It's about picking a day to prepare it all--so you don't have to do much later. And most of these meals ended up being the "dump and go" style which is a dream for me! I'm such a low maintenance cook. LOL. My family is really enjoying all these meals and we look forward to exploring more and more of them as I continue to fill up my freezer!
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