General

27
Jan

Themes Make Meal Planning Easy

Anyone else think that sometimes the hardest part about dinner is planning what to make? Whether it’s for your family or a Food Tiding you’re dropping off for a neighbor, it can feel overwhelming.  Dinner themes may be the ticket. Pick a theme for each night of the week and relieve some of the pressure by narrowing it down. Even if the meal is for another family, they’ll love that you’ve “included” them with your family theme and appreciate the food and gesture. So go for it, two meals for the planning of one.

An added bonus…our kids are creatures of habit, so they love the predicability and I love that they don’t ask me, “What’s for dinner” a million times. Win-win.

Here are some ideas to start your brainstorming, have fun with it. Let us know what your favorites are on Facebook with #FoodTidings!

Screen Shot 2019-01-27 at 12.11.41 AM

(via https://momtomomnutrition.com/food-and-recipes/themed-dinner-ideas/)

Copy of CLICK HERE

2
May

Grocery Tidings to the Rescue

Tidings are meant to bring comfort and joy. Grocery Tidings can give that and more, trust me.

It was one of those weeks. One of our cars broke down. We discovered our hot water heater had kicked the bucket by walking onto soggy wet carpet in our master closet. We were in the middle of getting a rehab stay situated for a close relative. Our schedule was full with work and kid activities. Then, my sunglasses lost a screw. That little sucker would change my next few months.

My parents live with us in our guest-house-turned-grandparents’-home, which I’m very grateful for – makes visits and caregiving much easier. Since my Dad has always been the ‘fix it man”, I ran over to have him fix my sunglasses. He was tracking down a replacement screw and in the midst of it, tripped over a toolbox. Life came to a screeching halt in that moment as my 77 year old Dad broke his hip.

Needless to say, my caregiving went to the next level. Now that my Dad was out of commission for at least 12 weeks, I added full time caregiver for my Mom, who had suffered a mild stroke and was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, to my schedule; in addition to my other wife, mom, work and life duties. I was grateful we were managing, but time was short and my to-do list was getting longer.

Then, my door bell rang. It was unexpected. I threw on a ball cap to cover my un-showered hair and ran to the door. I wasn’t in my PJs that day, so that was at least something. When I opened the door, it was like the heavens opened to bright blue sky, sweet music rang out and doves fluttered around. OK, there were no doves or music, but the sky was blue. More importantly, a dear sweet friend of mine was standing there holding bags filled with groceries.

I held it together as she handed me the bags and gave us get-well-wishes for my Dad and said she hoped I was hanging in there. I couldn’t speak, but our eye contact said enough. Being the understanding friend she is, she quickly said good bye and waved as she ran back to her car. I shut the door and, I’ll admit, a few tears hit my groceries as I walked to the kitchen.

I quickly blamed my misty eyes on my lack of sleep and the sweetness of generosity, as my kids looked at me weird. Then, after loading our pantry & refrigerator with the goodies she had brought and collecting myself, I immediately texted my friend a ton of emojis to express my thanks and appreciation of her, despite my lack of words.

Tiding Tip

Giving groceries to a family helps with food and extra margin to their schedule; time saved is always a welcomed gift!

My husband and kids were rallying to help and we had meal preparation covered. However, not having to run another errand gave us some needed margin. The gesture of gifting groceries, including actually doing the shopping & delivery so we were stocked with some snacks and prepared to make meals, was so thoughtful, useful and appreciated.

While I may forget what the actual grocery items were, I will always remember my friend showing up. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Generosity and hope can take on so many forms and this time, groceries fit the bill.

Restocking the pantry is always a useful and appreciated gift.
Delivery makes it easy for everyone!

So, next time you know of a family or friend going through something – caring for a new baby, battling illness, fighting for their life, healing from a surgery, job change or anything else life throws at them – consider the many ways that you might be able to show up. Set up a Food Tidings schedule to help with meal support, make or send them a meal, get them groceries, have their house cleaned, write them a note or just let them know you’re praying for them. Big or small doesn’t matter. Showing up, does. 

FoodTidings is more than a website, it’s a community of people that show up. Our site will continue to add new features, services and products to help you help others; including things like grocery delivery, house cleaning gift certificates, lawn service gift certificates, thoughtful gifts for unique times in life and ways to collect funds so Recipients can use it as they see fit, and more. Stay tuned!

Our wish is that FoodTidings will help YOU spread encouragement, hope and generosity. Who can you show up for? 

Show You Care

Rally support!

avatar

Crystal Van Dyke

FoodTidings Contributor

I loved FoodTidings.com at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16

29
Apr

Dance It Out Playlist

We give to you our Dance It Out playlist. Enjoy every minute as though no one is watching. )But do close your blinds first if you’re concerned about that sort of thing.)

Day 7: Dance It Out

21
Feb

Do I have to Cook?

Ok, let’s be honest shall we? Sometimes we get a Food Tidings invitation and we want to help the family but, we DON’T.WANT.TO.COOK.A.MEAL! 

This doesn’t just happen to me, does it? Anyone? Well, today I am going to let you in on a tip. The meal you bring does not have to be homemade. There, I said it. Is a homemade meal yummy? Of course! But, the main reason you are providing a meal is to take pressure off a family or someone you care about in their time of need. Usually, the reason for the Food Tiding schedule is taking up their time and emotions, so you’re just trying to help them not worry about a simple thing like what to eat. It doesn’t matter where the food actually comes from or who exactly made it. If it’s edible, it counts and will be appreciated. I think that’s something we can all agree on.

Tiding Tip

The meal you bring does not have to be homemade! Food Tidings’ “Send a Meal” option will represent you well and provide a great meal for the Recipient!

At Food Tidings, we simplify it for our schedule Participants by offering the option to “Send a Meal“, straight from the schedule page, that is made by a gourmet chef’s kitchen. For those of us that have those days when we just don’t want to cook, they are waiting and willing to do it for us. Check out the made-for-you-meal options in our Shoppe, anytime. Not only are their meals extremely “edible”, but they are very tasty, get high reviews and they ship nationwide via FedEx. 

The “Send A Meal” option on a Food Tidings schedule delivers it right to the Recipient’s door!

Trust us, these are NOT your average frozen ‘TV dinners’ and offer a great alternative to ‘fast food’ when you want to provide a real home-style meal. The meals offered in our Shoppe are freshly made with the best ingredients, flash frozen to seal in flavor and shipped in a cooler with dry ice to make the trip to your Recipient. The Recipient will be able to use the meal the day it arrives, or it can be refrigerated or frozen to use at their future convenience. It is great quality, will represent you well and very thoughtful.

Tiding Tip

You can “Send a Meal” on a family’s Food Tidings Schedule by signing up on a specific date and choosing that option OR you can scroll down to “Help Another Way” to go straight to the Shoppe and make your selection.

Whether you’re local and not up for cooking this time or you live far away and are not able to drop off a meal – the “Send a Meal” option will make it easy to participate and still let the Food Tiding family know you are thinking of them. So, next time that email shows up and the desire to serve is high but you’re motivation to cook is low, order them a tasty meal and still send your love! They’ll appreciate it all the same.

Sample of delicious meals in the Food Tidings Shoppe available as ‘Send A Meal” options!

Tiding Tip

When using the “Send a Meal” option on a Food Tidings Schedule, the Recipient’s delivery address is automatically sent to our vendor – so you won’t have to provide it, the Organizer has already done the work for you! 

avatar

Leanne Schinella

Food Tidings Blog Contributor

After being the recipient and participant in many meal schedules, my husband and I co-founded Food Tidings in 2007. We have 8 children, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 9 chickens, 1 hedgehog and 2 bunnies (yes, we are THAT fun) 🙂 When I’m not on wife or mom duty, I love photography and capturing family moments, for other families and my own, to treasure.

All meals matter!

home cooked or delivered are welcomed

2
Apr

Food Tidings and The Joy Bus Share Common Goal to Support Cancer Patients

Source: https://www.thejoybusdiner.com/

Don’t you love meeting kindred spirits? While I had never actually met the people at the Joy Bus Diner, as soon as I saw their tagline, “Making our valley a happier place one meal at a time” and their mission to deliver meals to cancer patients, I knew we must be kindred spirits.

In fact, something kept drawing me to their work; from a Costco magazine write up to social media posts, I kept running into them; so I had to find out more. They are a local Arizona organization, the birthplace of Food Tidings and our home base for operations. While their service is targeted to a specific area in Phoenix, it’s too good not to share with everyone. At the very least, I hope others will be inspired to create a “community that cares” in their local area; a goal that Food Tidings and The Joy Bus mutually share.

The Joy Bus is a Not for Profit organization whose sole purpose is to relieve the daily struggles of homebound cancer patients with a fresh Chef Inspired meal and a friendly face. Like Food Tidings, The Joy Bus aims to relieve the burden put on families during this time. Seems like a match made in “meaningful meals” heaven, right?

“The Joy Bus is a nonprofit organization that delivers fresh, chef-inspired meals, social support, and nutrition education at no cost to homebound cancer patients within a 10 mile radius of 32nd Street and Shea Blvd in Phoenix. We deliver a meal each Friday and the meal is just half the fun, our clients also get paired with an awesome volunteer who is there for them to chat with and help in anyway they can. If a potential client is located outside of our delivery radius we do encourage them to still reach out as we try to make small exceptions wherever we can.”

TheJoyBusDiner.com

While The Joy Bus provides meals once a week, this is where Food Tidings complements their efforts. A Food Tidings meal schedule allows family, friends and co-workers to organize and rally, both near and far, to support cancer patients with meals they may need at other times. Being “kindred spirits”, my hope is that we both continue to serve as a resource to inspire, encourage and support cancer patients and their families, all week long.

Knowing people care about you can do wonders in the process of cancer treatment. All it takes is one person to get rolling; on “The Joy Bus” and/or with a “Food Tidings” meal schedule. Just imagine the difference we can make, together!

If you or someone you know in the local, Phoenix area can benefit from their services, I hope you’ll jump on board and check them out. Whether you need assistance or not, you can support The Joy Bus mission by stopping by The Joy Bus Diner and enjoying a meal that pays it forward; as all proceeds support The Joy Bus operations.

Let’s keep making meals meaningful and enjoy the ride, as we spread tidings of food, comfort and joy.

Love this quote.
Source: https://www.thejoybusdiner.com/
The Joy Bus CEO & Founder, Jennifer Caraway, with diner and meal delivery volunteers.

More details:

The Joy Bus Diner

FoodTidings.com

Know Someone Fighting Cancer?

Support them with a free FoodTidings schedule.


avatar

Crystal Van Dyke

Food Tidings Blog Contributor

I loved FoodTidings.com at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16

24
Apr

How to Ask for Help without Making the Internet Mad

People dream of having a post go viral. However, this is a nightmare you want to avoid.

An expectant Philadelphia couple recently went viral for an eyebrow-raising request. In a post on another site like FoodTidings.com, the husband explained that he and his wife were expecting their first child — and, as social media users were fast to point out, expecting a lot from their neighbors, too. In his note, he asked for volunteers to help support them — via 30+ specific meals, emotional support and house chores. This was met with a cynical eye, to say the least.

In fact, their post was viciously ridiculed online. Given the backlash that was unleashed via national news outlets, I’m guessing that many new soon-to-be parents or people dealing with an illness might be hesitant to ask for help.

However, let me assure you – it’s OK to ask your friends, family members, neighbors and even co-workers for support. You just have to do it graciously.

Photo Credit: joemartinez.com

We were meant to do life together. When somebody is sick or has a baby, we want to rally around them. Although, asking complete strangers for food, then being very specific with what you want, feels demanding; especially in our tone-deaf, electronic world.

Whether you are about to have a baby, have a surgery scheduled or are dealing with a chronic illness, here are basic tips in asking for help – whether it’s online or in person:

“You just have to do it graciously.”

Leading with humility, grace and love smooths the path for support.

Let someone be your advocate

It can seem aggressive to personally post links all over message boards and social media sites. Rather, have a friend, family member, co-worker or church volunteer be the “Organizer”. Let somebody be your advocate and rally people on your behalf. Let them share, “Hey, our friend is going to be recovering over the next couple of weeks, let’s help.”

While it’s ideal for someone else to organize support on your behalf, the reality is when it comes to getting the word out, you or someone in your immediate family are often in the best position to reach your community. Generally, no one else will conveniently have access to all your contacts. You can very tastefully give support info by sharing something like, “Thank you to all who have offered to help our family, we are so grateful. My good friend asked me to share this with you…” (then, include the FoodTidings link or other info you are sharing). This is totally acceptable, and appreciated by those that know you.

Offer suggestions, don’t dictate

Supporters appreciate direction. Adding notes about dietary or medical restrictions are necessary (no one wants to make a condition worse!) and mentioning favorite foods or restaurants is super helpful. Asking strangers to make specific recipes is less reasonable; especially if there’s not a medical need.

To be clear, trying to eat “clean” or “Keto” is most often a choice, not a mandatory need. Chances are that you’ll cheat on any diet, at some point. Someone offering to make a meal for you is a great day not to be legalistic and to just enjoy the gift. You can hop right back on your “cleaner” wagon as soon as you are able.

Also, recognize that people want to help, but they do have their own lives going on; they may live far away, not be the best cook or just have a really busy week. Being willing to accept assistance in various forms; such as homemade meals, delivered meals, groceries, money gifts, chores, a visit or just a prayer. Gently outlining a few clear options for them is always nice, but allow people to figure out the best way they can support and contribute, guilt free. If you really can’t or don’t want to use a gift – feel free to (discreetly) give it away to someone that can use it. Let’s consider it regifting at its best – a win-win-win, with no hurt feelings.

Be grateful

Everyone wants to see the ‘star of the show’, and give their good wishes. If possible, make an effort to be on hand to accept the gifts your neighbors worked hard to deliver. However, most people will understand if recovering from surgery is expected to be particularly hard or that trying to catch naps to heal will have random timing. Coolers are on the porch can be used, but be sure that participants understand why that is necessary. Taping a “Hello” or “Sorry we missed you” note to the inside of the lid can be a surprise that will make them smile and let them know you wish you could have greeted them in person.

Always follow up with a thank you. The beauty of an online schedule is that it keeps a list of participants for you, so you don’t have to try to remember the details yourself. An email or handwritten note to acknowledge gifts is always welcomed and appreciated. 

In fact, in my book, a thank you is a requirement. I used to tell my kids, “If you’re not willing to write a thank you, then you shouldn’t take the gift.” If circumstances prevent you from doing a thank you yourself, be sure to ask someone to help with that, as well. A grateful heart goes a long way and I have no doubt that someone would love to be the hand that pays it forward for you.

Offer a hand

Do you know a family that is having a new baby, facing surgery, fighting cancer or dealing with a chronic illness? Save them from having to ask for help, see what support they could use and offer to be their advocate or organizer. Often, giving of yourself is so much sweeter than receiving.


Be An Advocate

Rally support for someone you know


avatar

Crystal Van Dyke

FoodTidings Contributor

I loved FoodTidings.com at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16

16
May

Foster Family Support Tips

Foster Family veterans, Jim & Julie Davis with their adorable family.

Even if you’re not in a place to foster children or youth yourself, there are so many ways to support those who are foster families. 

We’ve had the experience of being a “Safe Family”, providing respite care for foster families such as being an occasional babysitter for friends of ours, the Davis family. While our support was usually very brief and short, it gave us a deep appreciation for the foster families out there. They really are changing lives.

You can be a part of it, too! Here are 10 ways you can support foster families in your church or community. Start with one for this month and feel the difference you make. 

Motivated to do more? Plan ahead and put reminders on your calendar for holiday months and events like Easter, Summer Break, Back-to-School, Thanksgiving, Christmas and even birthdays. Sprinkling care throughout the year makes it manageable for you and them.

Practical & Meaningful Support:

1. Bring food.

This is an easy way to start. A hot meal can bring a whole lot of comfort, even in the midst of a whole lot of chaos. You can serve a family by delivering a hot meal, assembling a few freezer meals or dropping off a basket full of yummy snacks. Everyone’s schedule and abilities are different, so don’t feel pressure to be a gourmet chef— show up in the right moment with a latte or iced tea for a foster parent with a new infant placement, and they just might do a happy dance!

2. Organize a FoodTidings Meal Schedule.

One meal is good, several meals is even better. Consider making sure the family has a steady stream of yummy support coming their way. This is especially important in the first couple of weeks after a new placement arrives. Also, you can set up a reoccurring schedule that spreads meals out; such as just Mondays for a couple months. This would give them something to look forward to, which could be a lifeline for a foster family. Creating a FoodTidings schedule makes this process efficient and convenient to rally others and is especially helpful for a family that is stepping up to welcome new kiddos into their home.

3. Gather supplies.

Be proactive and ask what the family needs, before and after a new placement arrives, Maybe it’s diapers and a baby gate? Maybe it’s bunk beds and blankets? Maybe it’s backpacks and school supplies? Especially if a family fosters children of varying ages and genders over time, the supplies they need start to add up — both financially and space-wise. Another idea is to offer to store supplies for them; extra space could be just the gift they need!

Strollers, car seats & baby gear are often needed! Cleaning out? Find a foster family to share it with.

4. Welcome a new placement.

When a child arrives to a new foster home, this time can be loaded with different kinds of emotions for everyone involved. Help the parents, and possibly their own biological children, welcome the child into their home. Talk with the foster parents about how to help with the transition. You could deliver a gift or activity that the family could enjoy together that first evening or week. Depending on your relationship, you might bring over some dessert and initiate a game night. Maybe you could help create a new tradition by joining them for a monthly neighbor and family night!

5. Become a primary supporter for a family.

Every foster family needs at least a few people to step up into their primary support circle. Two key ways you can help in this way is by regularly providing transportation and/or respite care.

Children in the foster care system often have a significant number of additional appointments, so providing rides for visits, after-school activities and appointments can be a huge blessing. Providing respite care — whether it’s just during an afternoon of errands, letting a couple get a date night, or caring for a child for several days — is a tremendous gift to foster parents and children. 

Laws vary state-to-state, but this may require a background check or special certification from the foster family’s licensing agency. For example, in Arizona, the Christian Family Care Center (https://cfcare.org/) does a fantastic job of coordinating Foster care, licensing, training, Safe Family programs and much more. Be proactive to find out what you need to do, and then follow through. Try to make this support regular, because your consistent presence could have a powerful stabilizing effect for both the child(ren) and the family.

6. Listen.

This is a big one. Foster parenthood (and parenthood in general), and the busyness and complexity that comes with it, can often leave foster parents feeling isolated or overwhelmed. Regularly and proactively check in with your friends to see how they’re doing. Grieve with them. Laugh with them. Pray with them. Finally, try not to give unsolicited advice; just be with them and listen.

7. Tell them specific ways you want to help.

You can bless a family by simply letting them know you’re available to help with day-to-day chores and errands. Then follow through! Most foster families feel awkward asking for specific needs but would gladly accept help with household tasks.

Say: “I’d like to mow your lawn this week. What day works best?” Then follow through.

Ask: “Could I help with your laundry this week? I will pick it up on Thursday and bring it back clean and folded on Friday.” Again, following through is the important part.

Other ideas: Offer to grab their week’s grocery list and deliver their groceries, provide transportation for foster and/or biological kids, or just ask them what errands you can help with.

8. Invite the whole family over for dinner or playdate.

As mentioned above, foster families — parents, children in temporary care and biological children — can feel isolated. Invite the whole family over for dinner or a playdate. Welcoming a child into a bigger community, offering warmth and hospitality, is a powerful way to show love to both the child and the family.

9. Gift them a membership or day passes.

Sometimes you need to get out of the house! Gift the family a day pass to a nearby water park or activity center. Offer them a membership to the zoo or a local pool. This could be such a fun and unexpected way to brighten up life for a family — and could be a great choice for a family in your church or neighborhood you don’t know as well but want to serve.

10. Pray.

Finally — and probably most importantly — pray. There are battles going on that we can’t always see. Pray for the child. Pray for their biological families. Pray for their foster parents. Pray for the biological children of the foster parents. Pray for court dates. Pray wisdom for the authority figures and decision makers. Don’t just say you’ll do it. Actually pause, and pray – set a reminder. Perhaps text the prayer to the family. Let them know you already did it, and will continue too. It’s a priceless gift.

Remember, you don’t have to do everything. Start with one small yes.

You can do it.

(References: Numerous foster family friends, Christian Family Care,  goproject.org, and personal experiences.)

Davis sisters, foster babies who found their forever family.

Rally Support for a Foster Family

FoodTiding meals do more than just feed them!

avatar

Crystal Van Dyke

FoodTidings Contributor

I loved FoodTidings.com at first sight. My husband and I had the opportunity to join the Food Tidings team in 2011 as Partners, after meeting the original co-founders at our church. I have a Bachelors in Public Administration from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!) and a Masters in Health Services Administration/Strategic Planning & Marketing from The George Washington University. We planned my early retirement from the market 3 kids in and was blessed with a 4th to complete us; finishing with 2 boys & 2 girls. Our oldest is now launched, happily married and proudly serving in the Air Force, while the three at home keep us on our toes, amazed and inspired. As a full-time Wife and Mom, this website is my side-gig that serves as a personal ministry for our family. Seeing caring communities created, hope spread and generosity in action continues to be a motivator for all of us.  Matt 5:16