All in the family.

My sister and I were walking the aisles of Trader Joe’s, trolling for dinner inspiration. Grocery shopping together has become one of our traditions, which I’m sure sounds odd but is easily understood. When we’re together, which isn’t often because we live far apart and both have busy career and home lives, we get very little time to be alone without children or husbands. Our sister-time options are going for walks and going to the grocery, just the two of us.

So we were wandering through Trader Joe’s in Rochester, mid-afternoon our first full day together.

“What should we eat?” Margaret asked. “We could have….” and she started picking up various delicious items, mostly prepared foods so we wouldn’t have to cook. “Chicken is good. Ooh, how about fried rice!” She hopped from item to item then paused. “You know this is what I love and envy about your blog, right? You go to the store with a plan. I go to the store to get something for dinner, and everything looks good, and I get home with $100 worth of groceries and nothing to eat.”

I laughed. “That’s exactly how I used to shop, which is why I started the weekly menu planning program in the first place.”

We filled the cart with a mix of things to prepare at her house and things that were already prepared: frozen tamales, chicken fried rice, dumplings, pork loin, rice, salad, fruit, and breakfast cereal. We also bought coconut cashews because you really never know when you might need a handful of those.

We agreed to alternate preparing real meals with buffets of ready-to-serve. Our six children shared a table then went to play. The four adults caught up over a separate later dinner. I enjoyed being Aunt Jennifer, guest at the table, and my sister enjoyed being Aunt Margaret, dinner host. That’s what families do.

Happy week. If it’s spring break for you, too, I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable time with people you love.


It’s vacation week for us, so instead of planning a new week of dinners, here’s a repost of a simple week from a few months ago. Cheers.


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