Cooking Outside the Box - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

Semper discentes—always learning together.
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Cooking Outside the Box

{photo by Joy Erb}

Announcement: The winner of last week's blog drawing is Cynthia Ecret – congratulations! Look for your gift certificate in your family file soon. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Today we have a guest blogger with a wonderful idea to share that helps keep her organized in the kitchen. Joy Erb and her husband John are a Track B family in their 7th year at SLOCA, with kids Katie (UMS), Austin (LMS), Cameron (Primary) and Colton (PreK). Joy is also our Thursday NOL.

Getting life organized with multiple kids is already a challenge. Then add homeschooling and prepare yourself for a wild ride! Here are two things that have helped our family manage the chaos:

#1 : Sue Patrick's Work box System: This organizing tool has really helped us keep our school work in order and prevent nagging, lost items, and confusion in general.

–Here’s an older but still useful Down Home post about workboxes, for those of you who haven’t heard of this tool. For a short video on the full system, visit Sue Patrick’s website here.

#2 : Joy's Meal box System:  This concept came to me one day as I was considering subscribing to an online meal plan service.  It was the kind of healthy cuisine that I wanted to serve my family, and it came with a full shopping list and step-by-step dinner recipes for every day of the week.  “The only problem,” I thought, “is that, inevitably, once I do all the careful shopping and stock my fridge with the delectable ingredients for the upcoming week's culinary masterpieces….some grubby little hand (or adult sized one!) is going to reach in and snatch that ONE important ingredient that is essential to the flavor of one of my prized meals!”  Of course, then already frustrated, I was imagining extra time and money spent with additional trips to the store, feelings of remorse for the harsh words spoken to the hungry offender, and the throwing up of hands that was likely to occur over anything that caused more stress in my life.  (But I really wanted to try it.)  Just then I thought of our work boxes for homeschooling, and decided to create the same kind of system in our garage refrigerator.  

{photo by Joy Erb}

I bought 7 plastic crates at the Dollar Store and labeled them with sharpie for each day of the week.  I bought the meal plan, and headed to the store with my first shopping list and bought everything on it.  I came home and unloaded the ingredients into the boxes, so each box contained all the ingredients for that day's dinner. (My meal plan is for dinners only.)  The garage refrigerator if “off limits” for the family, and used for storage only.  Each day, or evening, a box is retrieved, brought up to the kitchen and the meal is prepared.  Any leftover ingredients that were not used up in the recipe, then go into the kitchen refrigerator, in which everything is “legal” for consumption.  Cook, eat, enjoy, repeat.

{photo by Joy Erb}

You may create your own meal plan, or obtain any meal plan online that looks good for you and your family.  This has caused me to get out of my last minute cooking ruts, and has also helped me teach my daughter to cook.  She, in return, is teaching my how to use my ipad. wink  

Thank you Joy, for sharing this fabulous idea! For those who like to meal plan, this definitely takes meals to the next level of organization.  

SLO Classical Academy is not affiliated with any of the above mentioned websites or businesses.

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