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Kitchen hacks


Ya can’t live without it. And it seems with four kiddos and a husband (and me) we go through it QUICK! As soon as one meal is done they’re asking about snacks or it’s time to eat an entire meal again. It’s a never-ending, exhausting, expensive merry-go-round. 

Homeschooling only adds to it. All those hours at home. All those cups. All those dishes. UGH!

It really does paralyze me at times. And yes, we go through cycles when we are hitting the drive-thru WAY too often, but I think that’s just the times we live in (ahem: lazy and busy).

But life never gets any slower and I never seem to be find anymore energy or time. It’s during these drive-thru cycles that I really need to dig deep and channel into all those nifty kitchen hacks I’ve relied on these years of motherhood. 



One thing I’ve found for sure is that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Cliché but SO true. When the kitchen is a wreck, we are more likely to eat out. I am more likely to be snippy. And the general atmosphere of the house is a little off.

The kiddos are on a rotation for dishes. One kid is assigned to each meal (dinner has two) and they rotate through the meals so they have a different meal every day of the week. Score for lots of kids!!! They load and unload the dishwasher pretty much on their own nowadays. (Yes, we have graduated to two loads of dishes a day and even more when I’m canning or preserving in the summer.)

Keeping the sink relatively empty and the counters wiped down is the most important. Mopping and all the rest? Well, get a dog and dirt-colored laminate. Boom. You’re done.


One of my biggest money savers is my basement pantry. It took me a while to stock up but now it’s a miracle. I keep two or more of everything we use. We have a ketchup in the fridge and a ketchup in the basement. If a kid takes the basement ketchup, he puts ketchup on the lists. When I go to the store, I’m buying for the pantry NOT the fridge. That way, if money’s tight one week it’s not an *emergency to get to the store.


We use a Sharpie to write dates on opened jars of sauces or on containers of leftovers. We write any leftovers we have on a whiteboard. This cuts down on food waste.


I keep a Zip-loc bag in the freezer where I keep random vegetable scraps and leftovers and any meat bones. When the bag is full I pop it into the Crock Pot overnight for homemade broth. You can then pressure can or freeze the broth. I rarely ever purchase broth any more.


Yes, we save free condiments from fast food. Yes, I force my children to squeeze the ketchup packets into our giant bottle in the fridge. Doesn’t everybody?? (My kids don’t think so!)


We scrape all plates and throw any throwaway foods into a plastic bowl by the sink. When we’ve got pigs, they get the scraps. When we don’t, the chickens get the feast. Right now we don’t have any pigs but I’ve been storing up food for them in my freezer. Every time we have a cracked egg come through it goes into the bag for my future pigs. I HATE throwing food in the trash. When I can feed it to animals it eases the guilt.

When it comes to tips on actually meal planning and creating food I fall pretty short. I want to be a successful meal-planner, but I’m not. We typically go with the mood rather than what I have planned. One thing I can pride myself on is management. I know what food I’ve got on the shelves and in the freezers. I keep up a pretty thorough meat inventory (which is a must when you butcher your own animals). Most of the time we do good eating it! 

Knowledge is power! Would love to hear your kitchen hacks! Email me at

Categories: Food and gardening on the farm

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My name is Ginia Oehlschlager and I'm a small-town gal from Missouri. Join me as I document my crazy life on the farm with my husband and four kids. I'm always looking for frugal, simple ways to live the life God set before me. Where faith, family and fun come together on the farm.

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