How stay-at-home moms go clubbing

clubbingI don’t care how dedicated you are to motherhood, every woman needs some friend time.  Adult conversation and empathetic encouragement do wonders for a tired (and snot-covered) soul.  Maybe I only speak for myself here, but “clubbing” in its traditional sense is the last thing I need.  I get enough noise, annoying pick-up lines (“Mom, I dropped my spoon again.  Will you pick it up?”), and spilled drinks at my own house.  I prefer good, uplifting conversation, and really connecting with other women.  Blogging has been a great tool for this.  Anyway, I dedicate this post to two clubs that may help you meet some of those needs as well:  Make-ahead Meal Club, and the new General Conference Book Club.

I recently started a Make-ahead Meal Club as an enrichment group for the ladies at church.  I’ve loved it, and just wanted to pass along the details (plus some of you said you were interested) so that you can maybe duplicate this among some of your friends/acquaintences/neighbors.  Here’s a copy of the original invitation to show how mine works:meals

I will be starting a monthly Make-Ahead-Meal Exchange where several of us can prepare one meal in bulk, come together and exchange them, and go home with several meals we can just pull out of the freezer on a busy day.

Objective: learn new recipes, get together briefly with girlfriends from church (invite friends and neighbors to participate, too), save time cooking and have dinner on hand for crazy days.

Scheduling:

First Thursday of each month
7:30 p.m – 8:30 p.m.
at my house

Details:

1.  Pick a meal that can be frozen and saved for later.  It should be an entree/casserole/hot dish/main course.  The club will not exchange side dishes or desserts.  The recipe should feed 6-8 people.  (If you have a smaller family, then leftovers will last longer!)  Make FIVE of it (plus any extras you want to keep for yourself).

2.  Put meals in disposable, freezer-safe containers:  freezer-bags, gladware, or aluminum-foil baking dishes and label it clearly.

3.  Make 5 copies of the recipe, complete with preparation instructions.

4.  Bring the five dishes ready to exchange on M-A-M Exchange night.  We will choose a random order and then take turns selecting meals to take home.  Each person will leave with five meals.  (Be sure to make something that you know your family will eat and enjoy *just in case* it’s not all selected by others you end up taking a couple back home among your five.)

5.  Bring a big cooler or box you can use to happily carry off your dinner haul. 🙂

6.  Eat a light refreshment and visit briefly with friends.

And no one has to RSVP.  The more that show up the merrier, but if there are only two of you, then you still split up the meals you made and they made and save them in the freezer for another day.  Also, if someone doesn’t have time or budget, they could always make fewer meals and then take home as many as they brought.  It’s pretty slick.  We’ve done it for two months now.  The first month, 5 showed up.  This month there were 6, and I keep hearing from others that they’re interested in trying it out.  I’ve really enjoyed it a lot.  It’s a totally guilt-free girls’ night out that benefits your family too.

Next club up:  General Conference Book Club (GCBC, because every club needs a cool acronym).  The idea here is that we (an online community of moms and friends) commit to studying one talk a week from the most recent General Conference (see this post if you feel confused).  By the way, I really do TRY to control my use of parentheses, but I just can’t help myself.  (See?!)  I realize that the Ensign won’t be published for several weeks, but I felt anxious to start anyway while we (I) feel the momentum and desire.  So our first few talks can be found and printed online.  Sue Q suggested making a new blog for it, but to be honest, I don’t feel that ambitious, so I’ll make this a regular Sunday installment on my blog here.  Look, I even made a cute little image that we can use like a button (if I can ever figure out how to do that).

genconfbutton1

So watch this Sunday for round one.  There will be a talk #1 announcement and then you have all week to study and ponder the talk.  The following Sunday, I will post my own insights about the talk and you can do the same in the comments section.  This is one of those occasions where it’s completely acceptable to have many long-winded comments.  And I’m not bent on the main post always being mine.  Feel free to volunteer to guest -post the talk review and the rest of us will chat in the comments.  Each Sunday I will also announce the talk we’ll be studying the following week.  I’m open for suggestions if there are talks you want to read and study right away.  I think the comment thread will be really cool.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed before, but my comments are set up so that you can reply to another person’s comment and it will squeeze yours right under theirs as a response.  It’s kind of fun and conversational.  Anyway, I hope you’re in, and we’ll start this coming Sunday.  I’m excited.

Alright, ladies, let’s get clubbing.  🙂

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18 thoughts on “How stay-at-home moms go clubbing

  1. I don’t cook, so the other ladies in the food club would be sorely disappointed to open their little cellophane wrappers and find, well, plate.

    But I’m totally in on the Ensign one! You’re my kind of party-er, Steph! (Loved the pick up lines, you clever creature!)

  2. …and I’m looking for an e-mail address for you but not finding one, so I guess I’ll just narcissistically put my message here: At one time you asked for a copy of my book. I didn’t follow up, but now I’m sending a couple out to people like Motherboard and Sher who, like me, clearly have too much time on their hands. If you would still like one, would you e-mail me at my “real” e-mail address, with an address of where to send it? And if not, then just delete this comment and we’ll both get on with our lives…

  3. Love the meal idea. Maybe one day I’ll have to start one. We used to have a recipe group where we would have a “theme”, say chicken or potatoes, and everyone would bring their dish containing the theme ingredient all made up so others could sample, plus copies of the recipe. Some of our staple meals are recipes I got at these recipe groups.
    I think I’m in on the General Conference club. My favorite part is that I can participate in my pajamas!

  4. WOW!! What a GREAT idea! I do a cookie exchange each year and everyone loves that— this would be even better!! I think I might snag your idea if you don’t mind.

    So glad I found your blog, looks like I have a bit a reading to enjoy!!
    🙂

  5. I KNOW I put you in my Google Reader, but somehow it didn’t stick. I’m glad I came over to see what you are doing.

    I love both of these ideas! Seriously they are great.

    (And I overuse parentheses too. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.)

  6. Hello! I came over from my blog to tell you that yes indeed, the bookshelves were the reason we bought the house. Well that and the voice of the Spirit proclaiming in my ear that *this* was indeed the right place. It was quite the experience.

    Anyway, I’m happy to have come over because I love your blog, I enjoyed reading about your kids doing chores to earn the new webkins (I can so relate), and I am excited about your conference reading club!

  7. I know this post is nearly three years old, but I still want to thank you for your brilliant method of freezer trading! I wanted to make a meal exchange group for working moms but I didn’t want the commitment level to be too intimidating. This no RSVP style is just the ticket. We have had two great trades and will have out third one next Sunday. And we never would have even gotten started if not for your awesome idea! Thanks!!

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