Monday, October 26, 2009

First Dream Dinners Review

I bought the Groupon a couple of weeks ago for the Dream Dinners sampler for $50. Technically, the six meals were $25 and the non-optional assembly was an additional $25. I had wanted to try one of these places, and I figured $8.33 per meal for some convenience meals for the freezer was a decent deal. And the descriptions looked scrumptious!




Our busy day today of three doctor's appointments that took up about five hours of my day (mama has pink eye; mama was fitted for a temporary crown at the dentist; baby has a mystery fever that is not strep or flu) plus above-mentioned clingy baby made today a good time to try out one of these convenience meals. Cheaper, yummier, and healthier than ordering a pizza.

First, the menu selection is good. Lots of chicken, a bit of beef, and a bit of pork. I think there was one fish and one vegetarian entree as well (but I did not try those.) The online ordering system is

easy to navigate. I was not expecting baggies of the pre-assembled meals. For some reason, I pictured casseroles that would be pre-made and just need to be cooked in the oven. The meal components are in individual Ziplocs (meat / chicken; sauce; etc) placed inside a larger Ziploc. It was a little more work than I expected (this particular meal was a stove-top meal, so I had to brown the chicken and add the season/sauce). Taste was exceptional! Of course, the dish I chose for tonight is one of my all-time favorite restaurant meals -- chicken picatta (well, veal picatta is my favorite. This is close.) Portion size -- this was supposed to serve three. John and I ate it all ourselves. I served it with garlic bread and whole wheat pasta (Caroline and Elizabeth just ate the pasta.)

All in all, the Groupon deal was just perfect! If I had the chance to order at this price (about half price) again, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I am not sure that I would spend the $10-16 normal price for the meals, though. I reserve the right to change my mind, though, if I become spoiled by the other five meals in my freezer. :-)

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Paralyzed by Options

That is how I've felt lately. Paralyzed by options. What a good "tough" situation to be in, right? I realize it is a blessing to have multiple options -- all good -- from which to choose. It just makes each decision so much more fretful.

In my social-emotional development of gifted students classes in graduate school, we discussed a common issue, especially for gifted girls, is being paralyzed by options. So many choices -- career, activities, etc -- that it is easy to become so fraught with making the "wrong" decision that one can't make any decision.

Really, every day we are faced with too many options -- as consumers, especially. Even the wealth of information the internet puts at our fingertips creates countless options on the information we take in and how we spend our time.

Day-t0-day, I don't let the options paralyze me. I make a decision and go with it and don't let myself get bogged down in the what-could-have-beens. I'm happy with my life and what I get.

Lately, though, two very important areas of my existence -- education and church -- have been on my mind. Caroline's education, specifically. I've always said "public school all the way, baby!" but now that I'm actually faced with that decision, I am getting nervous. Private school is not an option, but homeschooling is. I have plenty of friends who do it. I know that I could give her just as good of an education myself, and I know that, in Austin especially, the social network for homeschooling families fill up the calendar and then some. Neither of those are my concerns. I know that we could achieve in an hour a day (or as we go about our daily routine, not even that) what happens in school over the course of a full school day. I like that we wouldn't be on someone else's time table. But I'd miss the sense of community that school brings. School parties, carnivals, football games, having kids in the same class year after year.

And I've been craving community lately. Not just in the emotional sense, but also in the physical and geographical sense. I live in a wonderful "master planned" neighborhood, but I don't feel a sense of community. When I think of my community, it is my church. And that brings me to my other paralyzing option lately -- leaving that church, the place both my babies were baptized, to join an up-and-coming community closer to home, with the hopes that it will become that community for me, both in the emotional sense and in the geographical sense, with a physical church building in my neighborhood. What a dream! I am so excited for this and pray for it to happen successfully and quickly. But it is so hard to leave behind the community that we love and that loves us.

My decisions are made -- we are moving to the new church and we are sending Caroline to our neighborhood school. I will become more a part of my physical, geographical community and build here that emotional community I crave. I wish I could wrap up these thoughts with a clapping dusting of my hands as in that's that. But I still find myself questioning these decisions and searching austinhomesearch for homes in neighborhoods in town where we would not change churches. But that wouldn't solve my school problem and would open up more issues concerning quality of school.

So, no nice, neat conclusion here. Just me feeling overwhelmed.