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.  🙂

The Angry Mom sign

So I’m suffering a little from post-vacation stress disorder.  The one where you come home and there aren’t doting relatives taking care of your children’s needs anymore, and as a result they have turned into little monsters, plus you are so angry that it’s snowing again that you could spit, and getting back into your old boring routine just bites.  Other than that though, things have really been alright.  Today was nuts, but despite the chaos, I feel good that I did manage to get a few things done.  I’ll share my greatest success in a minute (because it might just be something you could love too).  Anyway,  everytime for the last two days that I ask my children to do or not do something, I have recieved one of three responses:  1) They argue. “But, I just want to…”, 2) They whine.  “Nooooooo.  That’s not fair (each word becomes three syllables).”  or 3) They flat out disobey.  “Hmmph!”  (then proceeds to do what I just told them to stop).  So I’ve had enough of that.

When something does not make me happy, I make a sign.  Oh yeah?… Well, (scribble, scribble, grab tape, slap on wall) take that!” Here is what I made today, and affectionately call the “angry mom sign.”

angry-mom-sign

Like the angry eyes?  Whenever they started up, I just pointed to the kitchen wall and said, “Please read the angry mom sign!”  I don’t know if it worked or not, really, but it at least saved me from repeating the whole, “I am sick and tired…” speech.  It’s hard for me to count the number of times today I thought of this quote by Neal A. Maxwell:

“Like our faith, our patience is to be tried as well in order to be developed.”

And I am convinced that this is why Heavenly father saw fit to give me children.  I had totally unchallenged and undeveloped patience.  Except for particularly hard weeks on my mission in Argentina, or the year that I taught high school Spanish, my patience by and large had not been tested too much.  But then I became a mother.  And I think about my son’s kindergarten parent-teacher conference where Grant’s teacher told me “Continue to challenge him in these (such-and-such) areas,” and I can’t help but suspect that in my heavenly parent-teacher conferences, God is making similar plans for me– plans to challenge me in areas where I could stand to grow, even excel.  Especially in the area of patience.

So the good thing I got done today was making six pans of baked ziti for the monthly Make-ahead Meal Exchange I have at my house.  It’s awesome.  We get together and swap meals and walk away with 5 new dishes made by friends.  We eat a snack, share our recipes, and hang out and talk.  Let me know if this sounds remotely intriguing to you, and I’ll draft up a future post with all the details of how we make it work.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite limerick.  I hid the results because I’m wicked and controlling like that, but there are several that are neck-to-neck for the lead.