Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Got Answers?

I'm soliciting answers/advice to these three questions today:

1. Does anyone know of a brick and mortar store that sells open stock Fiestaware? I only want to buy dinner plates and bowls, but every store I've been to only sells the place settings. I don't want or need more cups/saucers. I know I can buy open stock online, but I'm looking for an actual store!

2. Mothers of teenagers: do your kids handle all of their own social scheduling? Am I being old-fashioned, unhip, and/or unreasonable by insisting that I hear from a parent when my kids are invited somewhere? I almost always talk to a parent (by phone, text, email) when my kids invite a friend to do something, but my kids are being invited places by text and I'm often so far out of the info loop that it's not funny. Am I alone? Am I wrong to expect a little more parent-to-parent communication? John thinks this is just how kids do things these days. I need insight from experienced moms!

3. Does anyone have a recipe for a meal that freezes really well? My friend, Elizabeth, is expecting her fourth baby soon and she's trying to stock her freezer with meals she can thaw, cook, and serve. I do lots of meat prep and freezing, but when she asked me for meal ideas I realized that I don't really have any meals that I make and freeze. Suggestions? Links? Recipes? Please share!

Thanks, you guys. You all are really my best resource!!!


Lorri said...

I don't know if you have Kohls in your area, but they sell fiestaware and it is on sale this week. I am pretty sure that you can buy individual pieces there.

Nancy said...

about the scheduling of teens social girls do most of their own. (they are 17 and 14.) we live in a small town and i know all of their friends and their parents. if it's an out of town event, then by all means, i make contact with a parent by phone or email. they do always have to tell us where they will be, who they'll be with, what they'll be doing and when they'll be home. if i lived in a big city, i'd have a different attitude about this.

as for freezer meals -- most of what i do is batch cooking and typically it's meats. google Life as Mom blog; she's got a freezer cooking section and there's great stuff there.

Unknown said...

I'll be coming back later to see what the verdict is on #2...I'm with you, I want some communication with the parents, especially since my soon-to-be-teen is male, and has a male perspective on details.

Stephanie said...

Lasagnas freeze well. I've frozen this recipe: and it worked great. Just freeze before baking). Same thing with Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti - that's my go-to recipe to take to new mom's:

One of my favorite cooking blogs just did a post on freezer cooking because she is expecting #5 and it had lots of great ideas for all meals: I've been looking at that and making notes of what i want to do.

Southwest type chicken in the CP also freezes well and you can thaw and use for whatever - taco salads or burritos. I just throw frozen chicken breasts, some salsa, and black beans in the there and cook until the chicken is cooked enough to shred. Then throw in baggies and freeze.

I'm in the same boat - I have got to get to work on planning some freezer cooking myself! : )

Michelle said...

Morning, Merideth!

Having two teens in my house (16, 14) I can tell you it's normal to "want" parent to parent contact, but my teens make plans alone. I get the scoop (aka drill them about every detail), and keep tabs on them while they're out via texting ... and I've yet to have a reason not to trust them. ;) I will say, we are "conservative" parents, so when I'm in doubt I never hesitate saying no. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your children.

Best recipe to make and freeze - Chicken Pot Pie! I have a recipe we love (and I'm happy to share of you're interested), but any recipe will do. This is a perfect "make ahead" in MY book!

Elizabeth said...

So many answers already! Thank you for helping me out, Mer. My brain is mush lately and I'm running out of time! While the 2-year old is sleeping I'm going to look up all these amazing ideas and start a shopping list.

#2 I have noticed the same thing! Since we haven't gotten our 11-year old a cell phone yet, I think she is a little out of the loop herself. But when she invited a friend over last week the only thing the parents were involved in was dropping her off. We never even talked to them at all until drop-off, and it was so quick that it was awkward. She invited a girl over this summer whose mommy never did call, apparently she didn't feel like she needed to, so I didn't let the kid come. I would never let my child go to a home if I didn't meet the parents, and I just didn't feel comfortable having a child over whose parent I'd never even seen or talked to.

I think the texting thing is how a lot of kids do thing, and many parents are ok with it, but until my kid is a little older, I am staying super-involved. Now, once she's 14 I'm sure her expectations will be a little different and we'll have to figure that out. then.

Sheila said...

As long as I know the friends/parents, my kids do the scheduling themselves unless their is something unusual about the event. Mine are 13 & 10, and typically hang out with the same few friends, so I don't have an issue with it at all. My younger daughter doesn't have a cell phone, but makes the calls herself. If one of us moms has a question, we get on the phone, otherwise, they set it up. I actually think it's good for them to learn how to do this. For my 10 year old, if it were someone new I would get involved, but I'm not likely to with my 13 year old. Of course, my kids meet all their friends either at church, at their small private Christian school or through volunteering, so we have a fairly small and close-knit world.

Joanne : The Simple Wife said...

Think just maybe that Great Indoors has Fiesta--you could check when you're up here on Saturday since it's only 30 seconds from my house!

Jamie Heiserman said...

1) Not sure, I think Macy's in Chicago does, so I'd check with a Macy's
2) I feel your pain. I think John is right that this is the norm, but I also think you and I are right in wanting to speak to a parent. Ours are 18 (he has taken over MOST of his own scheduling), 15 (he does SOME of his own scheduling), and 11 (mortifyingly :) enough I do all of her scheduling). I've had to adapt as the kids have grown older, but all parents do.
I also have a rule that I have to meet/get to know parents before my children are allowed to spend time at their house/going places with them. My children = my treasure. My husband John is much more relaxed and while I wouldn't say he encourages my views he understands my concerns and supports them. So nice, b/c as you can imagine I get lots of eye rolls, and sighs and puppy dog eyes b/c of my rules.
3) I have 2 awesome books "Don't Panic - Dinners in the freezer" (sorry don't know how to provide links) and "Freezer Cooking Manual from 30 day gourmet: a month of meals made easy". They have fantastic recipes. They are also available on If you friend has limited resources I have extra copies of both I'd be glad to send her. My sister-in-laws, a cousin and my mom get together once a quarter and make 30 meals. It is so fun, and it's lovely to always have somehting good in the freezer for busy days or to bless someone else.

dawn said...

So far, my daughter (14) has only socialized with kids and families I have met. In those cases, I am fine with her scheduling, in fact, I prefer it. She still needs to ask permission of course. It is not unusual for the other moms and I to get on the phone and clear up some details however if any of us are confused. I do drill on details. Again--known these people since kindergarten or 1st grade, but I usually don't end up talking to them. Maybe I'm the weird one?

I have been thinking a little bit about this since she has started a new high school and is making new friends. I don't know these families. Hmmm. I think I will need to cross that bridge soon.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I have no advice on the teenager thing, but I'm reading the different answers with interest. Looking back on the days when I was a youth group leader (15 years ago), I think most of the kids did their own scheduling even then, but I also think most of the kids knew each others families pretty well, so it wasn't questioned much. If you don't know the people involved? It's a totally different scenario, no matter the age of the child.

Moving on. Dinners to freeze. I am horrible at this, mostly because I love to cook. I look at nights where I take a dinner out of the freezer as a missed opportunity. (Although it's nice to have the option, if I'm just too stressed to enjoy cooking that night.)

Here are a couple of my recommendations (all of them are from Everyday Food).

Late-Summer Vegetable Soup
Soup freezes so well, and this uses the bounty of the current season. It's meatless and a little lacking in oomph, so I serve it with grilled cheese. But those could easily be whipped up by your host family that night, I'm guessing.

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie
This is very tasty. More fall-like in nature, but perfect comfort food. Be sure to check out the full menu for this meal at the bottom of the link. It's all so good together. But the sides are very freezable.

Smoky Beef Tacos
Again, the main dish portion of this is super freezable. It's just shredded beef, essentially. You could give it to them frozen, along with some canned refried beans, jarred salsa and a pack of tortillas. But it's also a great meal to make and bring that day, because the sides are stellar.

Gina said...

Call me old fashioned...
My 13 year old has to run EVERYTHING through me. If I don't know the parents better than, "Mom, this is So-and-so's Mom." then my kid doesn't go.
He is going into highschool this year, so I am sure I will have to lossen up just a little.
But, just because that is the way everyone does it, it is not necessarily right.
I have NO clue about fiesta ware, but since I did the freezer stock with each of my kids, I will think more and get back to you.

Carol Sanders said...

Meredith, I struggle with communication to with Kacey and her friends! For one thing I have most of her friends numbers in my phone and if she can't give me an answer I just text her friend! I let her make her own arrangements unless I do not know the parents, they are going anywhere for over a couple of hours, out of town or just have the uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. My best parenting tip after having three is listen to your gut, if it feels weird it probably is:)

Unknown said...

Ok...I'm a little old fashioned I suppose, but I insist on parent-to-parent communication. My kids are 18 & 15 (I don't for the now 18 year old...but not until she turned 18) My kids know that I have to talk to the parent by phone or in person...not even a text works for me...before they're allowed to spend the night or go on an outing with that friend. I think it should just be a common courtesy even with friends they've had forever.

As for freezer meals...most anything will freeze. We used to make meals and separate into divided plates...wrap with freezer wrap & aluminum foil...freeze...and presto! TV Dinner homemade :)

Hope this helps :)

Angela said...

Hey Meredith. I don't think you can live in Arkansas and not have a rockin' chicken spaghetti recipe. It freezes great. Email me if you'd like it. It's always at hit around here.

Anonymous said...

I second Jamie's recommendation of Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer. There is a volume 2 now, too. I have them both. Good stuff!

O Mom said...

How about stews or soups, they always seem to hold up well after freezing.
My oldest is 16 and I still call if she is going somewhere where I do not know the family well. I kind of act like I'm calling to see if I can send anything or help pickup or drop off, just acting like your being helpful about whatever is going on lets me feel better about why i am calling and I like the other parents to know that i am the kind of parent who is involved.

OhioFamOf4 said...

My kids are too young to make plans (6 & 4) put as far as freezer foods, how about quiche? It freezes really well and can be meatless.

SandyM. said...

Just made this today & put it in the freezer for a trip to the beach in a couple of weeks.
You can substitute any kind of cream soup, leave out the pepper, add mushrooms, use other varieties of cheese (I used the Mexican 4-cheese mix today), add sour cream or 1/2 & 1/2 instead of canned milk, use penne instead of spaghetti; it's a very versatile recipe & you can freeze it before baking or after since the chicken is cooked.

Chicken Tettrazini
5 1/2 c. cooked chicken
3 Tbl. melted butter or margerine
1 green pepper & 1 sm. onion, chopped
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can milk salt & pepper
4 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 oz. grated mozarella cheese
Saute pepper & onion in butter.
Cook spaghetti & drain.
Mix all ingredients except mozarella. Bake @ 350 for 30-45 minutes. (Put mozarella on top for last 5-10 minutes)

Elizabeth said...

I just wanted to tell you that I posted a recipe on my blog that freezes well and I know people will love. Thank you again for doing this-I got some great ideas!

p.s. I didn't know you know Ang Slaughter. Our husbands worked together at JBU.

Maria said...

Kohl's sells the Fiesta Ware separately and it is on sale this week. I just saw it last night. And it's Kohl's cash days!

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

I have to confess both my girls (10 & 14) do their own social planning. In my defense it's a small town & I know all their friends. That said, I DID let my 14 yr old spend the entire weekend out of town with people I'd never met until they came to pick her up. But I know people who know them. And I kept in contact via texting. And I grilled her before, during & after. And I'm planning to friend the mom on facebook. Honestly, parents that want to call me every time our kids have plans wear me out. I figure my kids need to learn how to navigate the social waters on their own. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Brooke said...

I think soup freezes great and makes a good fall meal. Not very original advice. :)

Hey, thanks for visiting my blog, and the BEST WHITE CHEESE DIP is in Hot Springs. Is that the part of Arkansas you will be visiting?? If so, be sure and let me know so I can share the low down on all the hot eating spots with you! :)

By the way, I wear the "Old Fashioned" banner proudly and firmly insist on parental communication involving ALL teenage social events. And my teenager is a senior! I gave up on being cool so long ago that I'm decidedly comfortable in my frumpiness. :)

Anonymous said...

Just be really careful about those parents you don't know. It's easy to think everyone is normal and just a regular family but the more kids I meet, the more that is NOT the case. You'd be surprised the parents that are growing & smoking pot, are into new age religions that go on "enchanted fairy walks" (I am not lying about this either), etc. Just keep in mind, there are ALOT of people out there, that are not like your family. Good luck!

Karen in MD

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

You are absolutely right, Karen. I am OVERLY conservative about who my kids get to hang out with!!!

CreationsForEleanor said...

My daughter is only 4, however before becoming a SAHM I taught at an all girls school and I was the junior class advisor. One thing I learned from that job is that, even with the best of kids, bad situations can happen. The easiest way to prevent these things is to simply connect with other parents. I actually had a fabulous young lady who most parents would have no problems with their daughter hanging out with. The main problem, her Mom had an awful drinking problem and her parents both smoked pot regularly. Simply meeting these parents was a red flag! Fortunately one mother did this the night of a sleepover - she was wise enough to remove her child, call the cops, and have the other parents alerted. Who knows what could have happened if these parents had taken these kids anywhere. You just can never be to sure who your kids are with, or what is allowed in their homes.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

Ummm, Drew is definitely not planning out his own social schedule at this point - except for maybe the neighbors on each side? Usually just him being a pest. (Ha.) One of the neighbors finally put a smiley face on her door and if it's upside down, my kids aren't allowed to knock. Brilliant.

I just want someone to make freezer meals FOR me. Almost enough to make me want to have another baby!

(Or not.)