Looking at my kitchen I realized I needed to remodel it, but that is years away before we can afford it. So I started looking for ways to use my space better and make meals and snacks and cooking more organized.
I came across a great post on a blog I read regularly called Live at Providence Lodge http://providencelodge.blogspot.com/2010/10/home-organization.html (here's the link to the kitchen I'm dreaming to create) on home organization for big families. Really this wonderful Christian lady is such an inspiration for me as a mother striving to be a Titus 2 Proverbs 31 wife and mommy.
Her idea is to have food prep areas. Such as a baking cupboard, a breakfast cupboard, and a beverage cupboard. Her dishes are displayed and handy on an open china hutch next to the dinner table so even the small children can easily reach and help with setting it.
This makes life with many children so much more streamlined because instead of searching for this or that food item everything you need is together. But for us going to the local Home Depot and spending thousands of dollars on a new kitchen is out of the question. However finding kitchen hutches at amazing prices on craigslist (less than $100.00) is much more doable and looks cozy. They have shelves, drawers, and cupboards that will help me free up more space for food storage in the kitchen.
The other day my kind mother brought me a surprise gift. Its an antique cupbord and I instantly saw it would make a perfect "Snack and Baked Goods Cupboard".
All these containers are labeled with whats in them
After cleaning and fitting new shelves in it I began filling it with all the items I use for snack time for the children. Crackers, dried fruits, nuts, mini marshmallows and little plates and coffee filters (coffee filters make a great disposable snack "plates" for small children because they are cheap and hold shape so the kids spill less food out of them). Then on the tall cabinet side with shelves I put all our breads, baked items, and cookies. When I do a baking day (for those that don't know my baking day is when I bake all the rolls, cookies, coffee cakes, pies, and bread we will use in a week) I always struggled with where to store all the things I baked. But this is working out so great! In grandma's day they had old fashioned Pie Shelves that were enclosed cupboards with punched tin faces. The punched tin allowed for air flow while keeping bugs and mice out of the baked goods.
As we can afford it I'm going to eventually have a center island made from a country table with shelves and cupboards built underneath to hold all my baking supplies, spices, and mixing bowls. A beverage cupboard with coffee maker, mugs, teapots, tea, and sweeteners. An open china hutch for all our dishes to be displayed for easy setup, and a buffet to hold extra serving dishes.
Having these stations make food prep go faster and also enables even my younger children to be able to help more.