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What’s New?

Well, that’s sort of a loaded question.

I knew it had been a while since my last post here, but I didn’t realize it was last summer.  Yikes.  For any readers I may still have out there, thanks for waiting.

I hardly know where to start in terms of summarizing all the happenings of the last several months.  Our girls started attending a new school in the fall (Katie for – gulp – kindergarten!).  We listed, and promptly did not sell, our house.  Our car (that we’d finally finished paying for) died.  Our van (that we have not finished paying for) is trying its level best to die.  Our refrigerator and dryer both broke down the same week our dishwasher decided to stop, well, washing dishes.  Our (clothes) washer flooded all but two rooms of our house and left us walking around on a concrete slab throughout the holidays and into – get this – March.  My father-in-law had to have emergency heart surgery the week of Christmas.  My Mom had back surgery a few weeks later and anesthesia complications kept her in the hospital until just a month or so ago.  My wife and I took the girls for their second trip to Disney World, in the aforementioned questionable minivan.  I came down with the flu.  Katie broke the screen on my iPad.  I’ll stop now… but suffice it to say, if whatever doesn’t kill you does, in fact, make you stronger, my entire family should be able to take turns bench-pressing a 1974 Buick at this point.

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Dad Review: EMeals iPhone App

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The new eMeals App

I’ve written several times here about the ways the eMeals service has revolutionized family dinner night at our house (‘revolutionized’ in this sense meaning ‘now we get to have one’).  Now they’ve rolled out a brand-new app for your iPhone or iPad that makes using the plan even easier.

The eMeals concept (if you’re not a customer already) is fairly straightforward – each week, you get a menu plan that covers dinner for seven days.  You can select a plan based on a particular store (our family currently uses the Kroger plan; it’s great because it ties recipes in with ingredients that are on sale for the week) or for a particular lifestyle (Paleo, low fat, low carb, etc.).  Appended to each menu is a weekly shopping list with everything broken down by store section – for an OCD guy like me, that’s a huge bonus!  But for such a straightforward program, the results are incredible.  I’m not sure I fully realized the sheer time and effort I spent every week pondering “What’s for supper?” or the money we were essentially wasting by grocery shopping without a plan until we signed up for eMeals.  Here’s the key takeaway – when something is enjoyable, it seems a whole lot less like work.  eMeals took a big chunk of the work and worry out of dinner time, and has turned it from one of the high-water stress points of the day into what it should have been all along – a chance to sit together, as a family, with no distractions, and actually connect with one another in a meaningful way.

Back to the app. 

You get all the convenience of your meal plan in pocket-sized form, with a bunch of added functionality to boot.  I’ve got three aspects I’d like to highlight in this review.

  1. Shopping – possibly the single handiest aspect.  Your shopping list appears on its own screen, with boxes so you can either mark the items you already have or check them off as you get them at the store.  It’s one less thing you need to carry around or (if you’re like me) lose somewhere in the store anyhow.
  2. Meal Plan List – your current plan is accessible, as are the older plans.  So if there’s a meal your family really enjoyed, you can easily do a repeat performance.
  3. iPhone In the Kitchen – I *love* having the recipe on the screen while I’m cooking.  It’s easy to read and a lot harder to misplace than a paper copy.  Not that this would happen to you, but just in the past month I’ve managed to lose one recipe sheet by accidentally wadding it up and throwing it in the recycle bin with some packaging material from some ingredients, and I lost part of another by inadvertently sliding it too far across the counter and up against the stove burner.  (Our two-year-old particularly liked dinner that evening – “Daddy, make the fire again!”).  Yes, it’s not a huge deal to print a replacement copy, but it can be a pain if you’re in the middle of cooking dinner and/or attempting to extinguish a small blaze.

I would say the eMeals App is an excellent addition to their product lineup, and worth your while to check it out!

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Dad Pic: Mini Tribute to Steve Jobs

Macintosh and Apple II (Photo by Author)

We loaded up the Swagger Wagon this past weekend and headed back east to spend the weekend with my parents.  While there I happened to look in a closet and noticed my Apple II.  Nearby was my first Mac.  I decided to take a picture of both as a sort of reminder of the impact Steve Jobs had on my childhood.  I took the picture with my iPhone!

Does anybody know the going price for an Apple II ‘C’ key?

Link – Check out the scrolling tributes on the Remembering Steve page at Apple.

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Dad Link: Make Time For Family!

As we’re gearing up for National Family Day on Monday and Family Week (Sept. 26-30), I’m proud to have the chance to partner with the awesome Make Time for Family blog from E-Mealz in helping them get the word out.  Click the logo below for more info about the great family events going on all next week!

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Christie Pepper

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