Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dear History Department

My graduate school departmental newsletter arrived about a month ago. I promptly opened it, sat on the sofa, ignored my children, and proceeded to pout. For the next 45 minutes, I caught up on former fellow students and the faculty who mentored me in the craft of doing history.

And then I spent the rest of the evening feeling like a loser. The Man just sat by and watched the emotional carnage unfold. He endures this unpleasantness every time that dang, annual newsletter arrives.

I proceeded to wallow and to feel unsmart and unproductive, as if my life doesn't count because it doesn't have words like "published her 11th anthology" and "Distinguished Professor Lecture" and "fellowship" beside my name.

That's the track I was on. I completed all of my doctoral coursework and was 2 months away from qualifying exams, and the impending 5-year-dissertation process, when I bowed out. We welcomed Blondie, whose sense of timing is nothing if not both perfect and unpredictable, during my final year of coursework. Being mom, wife, and stressed-out PhD candidate made my hair fall out and gave me panic attacks.

So you see, I'm a PhD dropout.

Thankfully, I had supportive mentors who told me I'd be fine, who even told me it would be better to not be so stressed. Somehow I got full-time employment in my field and spent the next five years working at what I loved: doing history and mentoring students.

And then I stopped.

I stopped to do something I wanted to do way more than history, way more than teaching, way more than accolades, or even finishing a PhD.

I stopped to be a stay-at-home mom. It was one the best and hardest decisions I've ever made.

Of all the female alumni who have come and gone through my alma mater's history department and then opted to leave the field for full-time motherhood, you'd think a few of them would write in.

I have yet to see one.

Maybe they are all sitting home feeling, momentarily, like losers, afraid that their life updates might be frowned upon by those who have done more in the profession.

So I decided to start a movement. It will likely be a short-lived, one-woman movement because I doubt the alumni newsletter will lower their standards to print my kooky personal update. Lucky for you, it will still be published...because I have a blog.

Scooper {Class of 2000}: An assistant professor of American History at {anonymous university} and curator of an 1840s anti-slavery church, she traded in her college classroom three years ago for school around the kitchen table with her three children {Blondie, 9; Brownie, 6; Cupcake, 2} She’s still teaching history, among other subjects, but she can now send disrespectful students to their rooms if necessary.
Being a full-time mom is a lot like trying to get tenure: The hours are long, the pay is lousy, and it’s hard to get respect…but it’s a virtuous and rewarding job and that’s what keeps one going.
In her spare time, she hides from her children and plucks out an assortment of posts on her blog, the place where she dumps what’s left of her brain. In a sense {and to use some of her old graduate-school vernacular}, she is living out traditional constructs of motherhood and domesticity within the context of a modern, one-room schoolhouse.
She will be forever nostalgic and grateful for the four years she spent at {anonymous university.} The faculty and students there were among the most gracious and generous folks she’s known, great mentors in the craft of doing history.

You may think that's a joke, one of those letters you write just to vent and then toss in the trash. Think again. With fear and trepidation, I hit "send," breathed deeply, and embraced closure. It's like I broke up with, once and for all, an identity that I almost married but then cheated on and broke up with. And we all know that breaking up is hard to do, even if you know it's for the best.

I used to read a book with my Freshman Seminar students entitled,
Finding God at Harvard. One of my favorite essays in that book, "A Childrearing Interlude," recounts a similar story. Kathryn Wiegand, a Harvard graduate-turned-stay-at-home-mother-of-five tells of the day she received her alumni newsletter. She was supposed to check a box, a box beside such noble vocations as doctor, attorney and concert musician. Near the bottom of the page she finally found her box. Beside the box it read, Childrearing Interlude.

Wiegand asked herself, This is not my real life? If this is an interlude, what exactly is the real thing? Something that pays? Something with a title? Something that requires a degree?

As she muses about what she would be doing with her life if not for said Childrearing Interlude, she arrives at an important conclusion: Thank God, who saves us from what we think we want. It's one of my favorite quotes of all time, one I've considered often as I've toyed with what might have been, despite contentment and peace with what is.

It didn't take long to get to the root of my newsletter lament: Pride {mingled with a bit of legitimate nostalgia.} Just when I think I've moved on from something, a silly prompt proves otherwise. It's ever-so-difficult to find that elusive balance between desiring good things, that we are actually good at doing, and yet daily dying to ourselves and the vain ambitions that can consume.

Our callings, as women and as mothers, don't all look the same. And honestly, I love the diversity that we each bring to the table. But one characteristic remains universal: Motherhood demands sacrifice and a realignment of priorities, whether we work in the home or out of the home. I know. I've done both.

Just this morning, I've scraped oatmeal from the floor, wiped bottoms and noses, uncovered a covert painting project in the garage instigated by none other than Cupcake and disciplined all three children for everything from sulky attitudes and excessive screaming to the aforementioned slinging of oatmeal.

But seriously, we all know that the hilarious and heart-warming moments outshine the difficult and disgusting...and that one day the difficult and disgusting are remembered as the hilarious. {Please, Mom, keep reminding me of that.}

Wiegand says it well, In dying to ourselves we give up the lordship of our own lives and thereby make space for his.

Maybe I should retract my newsletter update. Maybe I should scribble it all out and simply write:

Making space for his lordship, which is, in fact, a full-time endeavor and not in any way, shape, or form an interlude.


{If you would like to read "A Childrearing Interlude," I found it on-line and you can read it here.}

Monday, September 27, 2010

Multitude Monday: 14-26

My favorite Veggie Tales is Madame Blueberry, the story of a "very blue berry" who accumulated loads of stuff to cure her discontented soul. Towards the end of the story, Madame Blueberry learns that thankfulness, not stuff, leads to a happy heart. The "thankfulness" song has become a favorite among my kids. Sometimes we even sing it as our prayer before mealtime:

I thank God for this day.
For the sun in the sky.
For my mom and my dad.
For my reasons not to cry.
For my friends that all care
For His love that's everywhere
That's why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!
I'm glad for what I have
That's an easy way to start!
For the love that he shares,
'Cuz He listens to my prayers
That's why I say thanks every day!

{From Madame Blueberry Learns to be Thankful, a board book, by Cindy Kenney}

With Madame Blueberry's message in mind, I add a few more entries to my list, baby steps on my journey toward 1,000 gifts:

14. Rain to soak our dry ground and thirsty souls.

15. The mess of home...& choosing to just live in it. After all, isn't most mess simply evidence of life thoroughly lived, of a home full of hustle and bustle?

16. A pre-dawn run in the rain.

17. Steaming cup of coffee that tastes especially good after pre-dawn run in the rain.

18. Steaming shower, more therapeutic than ever, after pre-dawn run in the rain.

19. Clamoring, full-of-himself Cupcake that has climbed up and over the sofa where I type this more times than I can count. Toddlers are noisy, busy gifts, are they not?

20. Late-summer proliferation of frogs {ewww!} that have provided endless delight for my two boys.

21. The promise and praise of Psalm 103: Praise the Lord, O my soul...who has redeemed my life from the pit, crowned me with love and compassion, and satisfied my desires with good things.

22. The fact that I can't possibly list right here and now all of the good things.

23. Grace, amazing grace, for this naturally-pessimistic and overwhelmed girl to see the good things in the mess of the everyday. Thoughtful teachers, her and her, who encourage me to count and to see.

24. Thoughtful discussion about truth, beauty, and art among Sunday friends.

25. A successful and crazy yard sale...much fun with neighbors as we joked and swapped a bit of junk.

26. A gentle and accommodating husband who puts up with yard sales and all of my crazy, who encourages rest and affirms my successes {both large and small.}

What are you thankful for?


{Counting gifts with dear Ann today. Join us?}

holy experience

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Field Trips, Pediatricians, and Jail-Time

{This photo has nothing to do with the post but I needed a picture. I am not sure why Cupcake chose to watch Dora from the vantage point of a cardboard box.}

The "fantastic" thing about homeschooling is that every errand becomes a family affair, a field trip if you will. Today we all enjoyed an exciting field trip to the doctor because Blondie is sick.

Our pediatrician always scans the examination room and grins when we visit because it's not everyday she sees four enthusiastic people in the same room when only one of them is ill. She also knows that she will be asked 1,142 questions by three of the four said people in a span of just 10 minutes.

Outings like this have a tendency to make this already tense mama just a teensy bit more high-strung...if that is possible. I never know how long we'll sit in the waiting area or the subsequent examination room. {They call out names as if you've won a prize only to mock you and send you to someplace akin to Purgatory.} I also fear being vomited on by a child who is not my own.

And if that's not enough, I have a tendency to promise that no one will get a shot because they do not give shots for things like ear infections, coughs, and sore throats when, in fact, sometimes they do. Lying to your children about their worst nightmare, getting shots, always makes one feel like a winner, does it not?

So you see, I am not a fan of the doctor's office field trip. Today did not "disappoint."

After they called our name and walked us to the holding tank, I noticed that Cupcake was not his normal bounding-down-the-hallway self. When we got to the threshold between the hallway and room, he stopped cold. He remembered that they poke innocent children here with sharp sticks. The nurse had no choice but to leave the door open as Cupcake looked on with fear and trepidation. Now a public spectacle, poor Blondie endured getting her throat swabbed and because none of my children will ever be martyrs, she cried somewhat excessively.

Cupcake got mad.

He interrogated the stunned nurse, "Why you do dat? You hurt Blondie! You don't be mean to her! Don't you eber do dat again!" And this, of course, got us all giggling and thankfully distracted Blondie from all of the drama and trauma.

We finally persuaded him to enter the room and the nurse
abandoned me
left us for the more exciting task of watching a strep culture.

And so the four of us just hung out in the room for a while {and by "while" I mean a lifetime.} The boys looked for anything they could climb on or spin upon. Blondie asked 376 times how long this was going to take. I wondered why they did not have a margarita vending machine in the hallway. Finally I pulled out the flashcards stashed in my purse, hoping we could get some of our review work accomplished while we waited.

It seems that Cupcake, in addition to knowing how to intimidate a nurse, also knows his English grammar.

After tugging on my sleeve excessively, I finally relented, "Okay buddy, it's your turn. What are the 8 parts of speech?"

All 3 of us watched in amazement as he rattled off, "Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Interjections, Prepositions, Adjectives." I kid you not. I call this phenomenon "trickle-down education." Apparently he is absorbing more than I realize as he plays with matchbox cars and knocks over trash-cans. He may prove to be the brightest {and meanest} one of the bunch.

{And y'all know that I do not usually exploit this blog to brag on my babies, but seriously, I felt compelled to share because it is both comical and a warning to be careful what you say around this kid. He repeats things with alarming accuracy.}

Because he is clearly a prodigy, he spent the rest of his time in the holding tank / Purgatory peeling all of the germ-infested and crusted-over stickers adorning the examination table and sticking them to himself. This task must have worn him out because he then chose to lay spread-eagle on the floor and do something like face-down snow angels {minus the snow} on the tile. I could literally see the staphylococcus setting up camp all over his hands.

So I did what any concerned mother would do. I let him eat a sucker on the way out.

This was after Blondie informed our inquiring pediatrician that she had band-aids all over her arm because Brownie told Cupcake to scratch her this morning...just for fun...and all of this went down while Mommy was taking a shower {and clearly not supervising the children.} She also told our doctor that Seinfeld, which she has only seen 5 minutes of in her entire life, is her favorite show. Brownie replied, "Me too. I love Seinfeld." Cupcake made it a trifecta as he chimed in, "Yeah, Seinfeld!"

So now I'm one of those crazy homeschool moms who doesn't supervise her children as they terrorize one another while watching sit-coms about self-absorbed New Yorkers who joke a great deal about sex and other assorted adult topics.

I'm pretty much waiting to be hauled off at any moment.

So, how was your day?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ode to Dessert

Recently I've been feeling a big hungry. Or at least you'd think that by reading some of my recent posts about dinner and recipes and such. Not a surprise really, considering this blog's header is nearly a life-size photo of a plate of Parisian profiteroles and my children's blog names are all a different dessert.

The last couple of weekends, however, my food mood has reached a crescendo. We trekked up to my parents' house in the mountains over Labor Day weekend and were joined by my brother and sister and their families. My little brother has become a veritable chef and brilliant baker in recent years and we are the lucky {and slightly bloated} recipients of his culinary skills.

He brings his own equipment.

He concocts stuff that requires thermometers.

Stuff like salted caramel as a layer between decadent chocolate cake and whipped chocolate ganache frosting.

He zested an entire bag of lemons while watching football and made not one, not two, but three deserts in less than 24 hours.

I'm in a sugar-induced coma just writing this.

Over the weekend we were all together again for my niece's birthday and my sister commissioned him to make gourmet cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting.

Seriously people, he spent all afternoon making these to-die-for Martha Stewart cupcakes. {Martha would have been so impressed.} I lost all decorum and licked the bowl at one point. {Martha would have so not been impressed.} I was willing to take my chances with salmonella. Sometimes the batter is worth it.

There's something about being with people I love that makes food taste better. Somehow it seems celebratory instead of indulgent. Maybe that's why there are so many allusions in Scripture about Heaven being a great feast.

{A low-country boil for my Papa's 86th birthday on Labor Day weekend}

Feasting and family just seem to go hand in hand.

As I've watched my brother in the kitchen with his thermometers and gadgets and fancy ingredients, I've realized that some things really are worth the effort. The stuff he makes is so good I want to stand up and applaud.

These days I'm always in such a hurry to get people fed and move on to the next's just the season I'm in.

But every now and then I think it's worth it to slow down and get a little fancy.

Taking time to lovingly create something's a "good thing."

{You honestly didn't think I'd pass up an opportunity to post Cupcake eating a Cupcake, did you?}


Unwrapping Cupcakes with Emily.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Read Her Story...

{Our girl}

I have read and re-read each post of Ann's, one of the Compassion bloggers who traveled to Guatemala over the past week. I have wept and wept more as she's chronicled the poverty of Guatemala, the hope that Compassion brings in Jesus' name, the serendipitous journey of finding her own sponsored "daughter," the questions she asks that I think any of us would ask, should ask, after experiencing sickening poverty: What next? What do I do? Who are the poor among us? Among you? Among me?

Be blessed as you read her stories. Please, please read them. Stories of suffering, yes, but recounts that drip with mesmerizing joy, hope, and inspiration. God is there, in the midst of the unspeakable and amid the voices of the unheard. Read the stories and you will see that He is there.

The faces, places, experiences shared by one whom I've never met in real life and yet...

My mind can't stop swirling. My heart won't stop breaking.

For months I have tried to smother the thoughts, daily tasks taking precedence over existential wondering. Yet this tug persists, questions about Kingdom living and what should I do now and what does it mean to really give and live sacrificially. I asked my husband Saturday, What does it look like for us and why can't I stop thinking about it? Crying over it?

I feel hypocritical as I make small talk about our busy fall schedule and our dryer that needs replacing and how life is hard. Because hard is so very relative, isn't it?

I'm reluctant to write this...fear of indulgence I guess, but each month our family ekes out a portion from our coffers and I think it's enough. For several years we've served up a direct-deposited slice that provides education, medical care, and other essentials for a precious 9-year-old girl in Liberia and I think to myself, We don't have much but at least this is something, right? I am wrong on so many levels.

We don't have much. Really? Every time I step on a Lego, bemoan cluttered cabinets, or swerve through mounds of unfolded laundry, I am literally tripping over abundance. I curse the mess and the clutter and in so doing I'm actually complaining because we have too much and yet I live as though I'll never have enough.

Say things like, We really need a new rug because mine is flipped over and the binding has come off and I frown at frayed edges. Joking that we are poor because our TV is from a prior century. We work and labor and stress, thoughts occupied by how we can be better situated, not worry so much, maybe one day get this or that.

The stuff isn't necessarily wrong. Wanting security isn't so bad. Consumerism is part of life. My economist husband reminds me that stuff provides jobs, feeds families. Technology cures disease, improves our quality of life exponentially. Financial success holds inestimable power to give back. Just ask Bill Gates or Oprah.

Reconciling personal security and stewardship with sacrifice and radical Jesus love...this is complicated stuff. And I'm afraid this post asks more questions than it provides answers. And that this is probably three posts all smooshed into one rambling entry.

But this I know...

When I have all that I need, more than I need, I tend to not need the One who supplies all my needs.

Ann asks here,

Why is the world hungry when God's people have bread? Are bread? ...

... This, all this, all this we ever give, this is in remembrance of Him. To be bread like Him. Because the Last Supper is the supper that never ends, His Love Body, his people, being broken and offered again and again and this is the testament to the power of resurrection.

And I ask myself, Why am I ever hungry when I have Bread, when I can eat the Word and be full, when I can "taste and see that the Lord is good"...yet in any given moment choose starvation, choose to pant after morsels that neither nourish nor satisfy?

By emptying ourselves, in a way that only Grace can implore, we become full. Only the needy can truly walk in the mire with the needy. In the words of Brennan Manning, we're wounded healers. Or at least we should be.

I don't know what that will look like for me or for you but God does. Don Miller recently wrote a book that talks about life as story. He says God writes stories with our lives, that what we really want is a story that's worth something when it's all said and done. I know I do.

Monday night I sent a link to Ann's posts about Guatemala to a dear friend of mine. She responded with lavish Jesus love immediately...picked two kids to sponsor and she's going to let her own children pick two more. Don't you love that? It doesn't surprise me really. My friend was adopted. She knows brokenness and healing and hope, knows what it's like to be needy, knows how to live a life of gratitude and generosity because someone gave her life and so did Jesus. She wants to be emptied and made full all at the same time. I told her that now she's giving life...

Is there anything better?

But we can't do it by sheer will or emotion or heartfelt motivation to save the world or even wanting to live a better story. Giving of ourselves eventually runs out unless we keep running back to the Source.

The only way we can give life is for life to be breathed into us first. Perhaps living Spirit-led lives is nothing more than opening ourselves up to be breathed into each and every moment until His breath and our steps are harmonious.

I don't know what step is next but I know that when we are moved to the core, it is because He is moving.

So, read Ann's stories...

And be moved.


{Start here and read forward.}

holy experience

Monday, September 6, 2010

No Fool Back to School Meals: A Linky Party

{Photo borrowed from Vintage Victuals. Her Salsa Chicken recipe looks delish!}


Happy Labor Day y'all! I hope this day finds you all not laboring too much...which brings us to this post.

As much as I love food and actually enjoying cooking, it's the repetition that gets me. I wish I could just cook when I felt like it. And I wish I could leisurely sauté and sashay around my kitchen, serving up romantic meals like they feature on the cover of
Food & Wine.

But when real life comes calling about 6:00 every evening, I am faced with the task of feeding a family of 5 for the third time that day...and I am seriously uninspired.

So let's inspire each other with some easy meals that we can throw together in the crock-pot each morning or effortlessly assemble later in the day.

For the back-story of this post, click here.

I'll go first.

Salsa Chicken has been my go-to meal for years now. If you have a baby and need a meal, I'll probably bring you this with all the fixins. If you come to my house for dinner, I'll probably serve this meal. My kids love it and it's so easy they can actually make it. And once you add all the yummy toppings, it's tasty and interesting enough for refined grown-up palettes.

Here's the "recipe":

* Desired amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins
* Desired amount of jarred salsa
* Optional: canned diced tomatoes and/or black beans to supplement salsa

(Example ratio: I use a 2.5 - 3.0 lb bag of breasts or tenderloins, combined with 2 jars of salsa, 24 oz. or so, a can of diced tomatoes, & a can of black beans.) Dump ingredients in a crock pot or just a large saucepan on the stove. Cook chicken until done. Shred chicken.

Serve chicken mixture over rice with toppings of choice: cheese, sour cream, cilantro, avocado. You can also roll it up in a burrito or serve it over tortilla chips.

Definitely make plenty of this! It's great leftover and you can even make two totally new meals from it. It's fantastic as quesadilla filling. Or, if you're in the mood for a yummy Mexican soup, try this: Take leftover chicken mixture, add some chicken broth or part broth / water depending on how much you have. Sprinkle in fresh cilantro, avocado, lime juice {if you have it} and a big scoop of leftover rice. You will have an amazing soup identical to the one my favorite local Mexican restaurant serves. Top soup with crunched up tortilla chips, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, etc.

And there you have it: One ridiculously easy dish served four different ways!

This is the first time I've done a linky party. If you have a blog and want to link us to a recipe post or you want to do a post for this occasion, great! Link up. Just click on that little blue Cookie Monster looking icon at the bottom of the post and it will walk you through the steps. It takes 5 seconds. Make sure you link to the complete url address of your post, not to your general blog address.

If you don't have a blog, just leave your recipe for us in the comment section. And if you've never commented, now's your chance to de-lurk and introduce yourself {and your recipe.} It's easy. Just set up an account with blogger. All you need is a username and password.

My hope is that we can all get a few new tried and true recipes from real families that we can work into our own rotation of meals.

Here's a couple of recent resources I've found that are worth checking into:

Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

All Systems Go {A Series}: So What's For Dinner?

If you missed Part I of the series, click here. If you want to know about the nonsense that started this whole series, click here.

This is Part 2 of the series in which I tell you how to be an underachiever. I'm kidding. But it does sort of feel like that.

Oh, the systems I have tried {and abandoned} regarding grocery-shopping and meal-planning. There are many brilliant and frugal meal-planning gurus out there. As much as I love being inspired by new and fresh ideas, I am a guru of real life. It's important to balance inspiration with reality.

I know that no matter how well you plan, there will be those nights when you hit the Wendy's 99-cents menu on the way home from soccer or pull out a frozen pizza and call it dinner. I have those nights. You probably have them too. We just don't like to admit it. I do try to avoid feeding my kids over-processed junk but sometimes, garbage happens. It's okay. Give yourself some credit for feeding your family.

Now that we've gotten that unpleasantry out of the way, let's move on.

Regarding meals, I like having some meals planned out. I have tried to plan them out a month at a time and that didn't work for us. Because sometimes I just didn't feel like what was planned or The Man would unknowingly eat all of the mozzarella cheese I needed for lasagna...and then I would resent him and his cheese-loving ways for crashing my whole system.

So, here's my fancy way of doing things now.

Most of the time I make a short list of 5 meals, buy the stuff, and proceed accordingly. It's not on a pretty calendar or written in grids. It's on a post-it note and stuck to the side of my fridge, usually on the back-side of the grocery list.

If I'm out of meals and haven't gotten back to the store, I just survey the remnants of the pantry, fridge, and freezer and breathe a prayer for inspiration. Usually a meal finds its way out of the chaos.

And if those two options fail, it may be because the day has eaten me alive and I have a meal planned or even part of it prepared but am simply without the energy to make it happen. On those nights, we resort to cereal or the aforementioned frozen pizza. Or if we're feeling splurgey we call 1-800-PAPA-JOHN.

{I don't know if this is motivational how-to stuff or true confessions. It feels a little like both.}

So even though I've sworn off systems, I do have a couple of goals in mind for our busy fall. Since we'll be at the soccer field or tennis court 2 - 3 nights a week until October, I'm thinking that my crock-pot should be my best friend. I'm trying to use it more. I've become a big fan of making dinner right after breakfast.

I'm also thinking that on the occasion when I make a lasagna or casserole something or other, I should make two and freeze one. It's just as easy to make two while you're already cooking and messing up the kitchen.

So those are my two {very loose} goals. And because they are loose and doable, they are actually working quite well. Oh my, this is starting to sound like a system.

In light of those goals, I thought it may be fun to have a linky party next Monday, September 6th. I'm giving you time to prepare and maybe write a recipe post of your own so come back on Monday and we'll dish. {Get it?} If you don't have a blog, no worries. Just write your recipe in the comments when we meet back here next Monday.

I'll do a post between now and then to remind you.

Here's what I'm looking for: No Fool Back to School Meals.

What is your easy, family-friendly meal that you can always count on? {That meal that you possibly make too often and then get sick of but it always finds its way back into the rotation because you don't know what else to make.} I figure if enough of us link up then we can all find a few new favorites to put into our own rotation, thereby decreasing the repetition.

I know we all have different preferences, food aversions, and priorities with our meals. I'm sort of looking for those meals that are reasonably healthy {"real" ingredients, not overly processed}, reasonably affordable, reasonably well-balanced, and reasonably normal. Because while I totally love weird food and will eat ethnic anything, my husband and children will not.

And I will love you forever if it can be made in a crock-pot.

Wow, I am getting bossier by the sentence.

So those are the rules. Now go get yourself a cookbook and let's see what we can make! I can't wait to see what you all cook up for me when we have our party.

I'm curious. Do you have a "system" for planning meals?


{What's for dinner tonight? Chalupas, pictured above, made in the crock pot. Recipe from Slow and Savory Suppers, a $3 e-book that you can purchase at My family has enjoyed quite a few slow-cooked meals from this book.}


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