Adjusting to Changes ~ Pt 1 ~ Kitchen and Cooking Edition

It’s hard when life throws you a curveball. The bigger, and more permanent, the change, the bigger the adjustments that have to be made.

Going into a wheelchair was definitely a life-changing event around here. Adjusting to my limited mobility and figuring out how to rearrange the house so that I could move through the house independently was a major challenge. It wasn’t the biggest one though.

Now that the house is about as rearranged as it’s going to get, there were other issues to tackle. There are things that I have always done for our family by default since I was the one that stayed at home. I’ve always done the cooking, cleaning, organizing, errand running, bill paying, shopping, handling the kids…the list goes on and on.

Neither of us had ever really considered just how much I did do for our family…until I couldn’t do some of them anymore.

Cooking and cleaning, because it’s near and dear to my heart, were two of the first things we attempted to tackle. I didn’t want to give either of them up, at least not completely. I wanted to stay as in charge active as I possibly could, for as long as I possibly could. With my health concerns, we both know that as time goes on, the list of things I’m able to do will get shorter, so we wanted to maximize on the things I can still do either completely, or mostly, by myself.

When I went to Draco with my concerns, he immediately admitted he didn’t want to do my job around here completely understood and was more than willing to work with me to try to make things more accessible for me.

The first thing I did was try to figure out how I was going to cook since I’d already been trying to do just that and couldn’t reach most of my stove or the controls.  My love of crockpots and my electric skillet came to the rescue (after attempting a different set-up that included a two-burner camp stove that ended up being more trouble than it was worth).  I then began attempting to convert some of our favorite recipes over to be crockpot or electric skillet friendly.

My set-up now is similar to this except the toaster is on the counter, I have a second crockpot/fryer that sits where the toaster was and my electric skillet took the place of the camp stove (sorry, no recent picture of the newer setup).

Then, I revamped how I shop.  Obviously, going out and doing the shopping isn’t much of an option anymore since I no longer drive and Draco’s schedule doesn’t allow for the kind of time it took me to go to all the stores in our area to shop.  There was also the issue of how exactly I shopped.

Before, I kept a well-stocked pantry full of staples for things I made frequently and supplemented with odd and end ingredients based on what was on sale and kind of made up my menu as I went along.

I took a page out of FlyLady’s book and decided more dedicated meal-planning was in order.  I used the meal planning function on my Cozi calendar and the recipe saver function to help me since I already use Cozi for all my calendar needs anyway.

Granted, it was a lot of work to get it all set up.  I had to go through a bunch of bookmarked recipes and find the crockpot friendly ones and work on converting existing stove-top and oven recipe favorites to work with them, then I had to get them all moved over to the Cozi recipe book.

That done, it was time to pick meals and do the shopping.

(c) The Domestic Pagan My pantry after cleaning it out for crockpot cooking

I decided to use the WalMart online grocery shopping option.  Delivery, sadly, isn’t available in my area and I’d used it in a neighboring county where they offered pick-up (almost an hour’s drive from my house) a while back.  I was thrilled to see that one of the stores closer to my house (still not my most local one, but a lot closer than the other one was) was going to start offering pick-up in October (it’s already started and we’ve used them once already).  Draco, understandably, was thrilled to not have to do the shopping himself or to have to drive nearly an hour one-way to pick them up.

That first grocery order was a nightmare, lol.  I felt like a duck out of the water, I just didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing.  It was such a nightmare, in fact, that when it came time to do it all again, I kept putting it off and ended up having to rush to do it in time for payday.

The second time around was much easier.  I had a better feel for the process and felt less at a loss.

I’ve managed to cook a lot more since then and my crockpots and electric skillet are my

(c) The Domestic Pagan My Spaghetti Bake converted to a crockpot recipe

new kitchen-besties.


So, the cooking is going much more smoothly now, and if I’ve learned nothing else in the last two years, I have learned that sometimes you have to be thankful for the small things.

Next time, I’ll cover our most recent adjustment, The Finances!

Have you ever experienced a life-changing event that caused you to have to make major adjustments?  How did you overcome the new challenges you were faced with?  Let me know in the comments below!  


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