Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sheralee's Meal Bringing Tips and Ideas!

Meals, shmeals.
When we survey our MOPS group moms at the end of the year, we get lots of great feedback and suggestions. One thing is always clear: moms are looking for community, support and friendship. We work towards the goal of providing a safe place where moms can come together and be encouraged, while finding this community and support…and hopefully friendship.
While lots of this can happen on a MOPS morning, some of this happens BEST outside of a MOPS morning. Table group gatherings, Moms and Tots Gym time, and connecting on Facebook are some of the ways this happens. Another way this can happen is by supporting each other in our times of need. Sometimes our time of need is a crisis and sometimes it is just a life-change like a baby being added to the family. The benefit to this time of need is that it allows fellow moms to come around each other and show love and support. The easiest way to do this is to provide a meal.
We have had a number of babies born recently, with more to come in the near future. I love having lots of newborns at MOPS! Having been in MOPS for the last 9 years (yikes, that makes me feel old!), I have learned some tricks of the trade, so to speak. I thought I’d share some of them with you to encourage you. It is so worth the effort. A few meals can make a huge difference to the mom and family in need.
Sheralee’s Meal Bringing Tips and Ideas:
1) Have a go-to recipe
It is okay to bring the same meal every time. If you have a recipe that is fail-proof and easy, go with it. My go-to meal right now is usually pulled pork with buns, coleslaw or cucumber salad, lemonade/iced tea and maybe a watermelon for dessert. It is an easy meal to put in the crock pot and the same amount of effort can feed two families. Win, win!
2) Deliver the meal earlier in the day
I don’t know about you, but dinner time can be a little hectic at our house. I like to deliver a meal in the afternoon before the dinner craziness begins. This might mean I cook the pork in the crock pot all night long and get the meal ready to go in the morning and put it in the fridge. Then it is ready whenever it works out to drop it off. Just remember to provide reheating directions.
3) Freezer Meals
You have a pregnant mom friend who is due at a busy time (say it’s Christmas). Maybe you know you won’t have time to make a meal during Christmas breakso plan ahead! On a good day (mine would be when my kitchen is clean and I actually know what I’m making for dinner before 4 o’clock) make a double recipe of something freezable. Serve half to your family for dinner and the other half freeze for your friend (I’ve done this with White Chicken Chili and it is fabulous!).
4) Have one delivery person
Do you have a mom in your group who lives farther away? Have your table or a group of friends bring a freezer meal to MOPS, or have everyone deliver to one person who can be the delivery girl.
5) Team up!
Nervous about what to make or don’t have the time for the whole meal? Or maybe you have a new little one yourself and aren’t ready for the big commitment. Team up with a friend or two. One can make the main dish and the other(s) can provide sides and dessert.
6) Meal ready to go
Have the ingredients on hand for an easy to cook meal that you can have ready at the drop of a hat. Maybe pasta, spaghetti sauce, and sparking apple cider in a basket? Drop by the store on the way for some fresh bread and a bagged salad.
7) Breakfast for dinner (or for breakfast!)
Dinner too intimidating? Make a breakfast casserole or quiche and a fruit saladWho doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? Or you can even bring a meal in the evening that they can cook the next morning for breakfast. Yum!
8) Teamwork
If you are really on top of it as a table, you could get together once a semester to make a number of freezer meals. There are lots of ideas for this online.
9) Pizza!
If someone showed up on your doorstep with pizza and a smile, you’d be so happy you didn’t have to make dinner, right? If dinner and the preparations are “not on the priority list” right now, pick up a Papa Murphy’s or Pizza Hut. One of my good friends lives in Renton. I called to wish her a happy birthday a couple of birthdays ago to find out she was having the worst birthday ever. She’d discovered her husband had brought home bed bugs from Las Vegas. On top of her already hectic life of three small children and a husband who travels for work, it was just too much. I wanted to be able to jump in the car and go help, but with my own little ones and rush hour traffic it was just not possible. Instead I went onto Pizza Hut’s website and bought her a gift card that was immediately emailed to her. It was just a small thing to do, but I was so glad that I could do something for her to brighten up a rotten birthday.
--Sheralee Cochran

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