I'm not going to lie.
This summer has been tough.
Beautiful and fun.  But overwhelming and tiring.

My husband has been traveling a ton.
I have been traveling a ton.
It has been a constant dance of pack/unpack/pack/unpack, catch up, leave again... then repeat.

After two back to back trips and being without my husband for eleven days, a sweet and dear friend sent me the most wonderful text.

"I am bringing you dinner tonight."

Those were the exact words that I needed to hear that day.
Because it was one of those days.
A too long, short fused, counting down the minutes until bedtime, sort of day.
My girls missed their dad.  I missed my husband.
I was tired.  They were tired of me being tired.

Penny came in and brought happiness and comfort in a casserole dish.

Which led me to think about the single mamas who face what I was facing.  Except it is every single night.  The military wives who sacrifice so very much, while their dedicated husbands are fighting to keep this nation free.  The women who selflessly, lovingly do double duty, and deserve all of the support we can extend them.

My eleven days were hard.  But my eleven days were NOTHING in the grand scheme of life.

Think of a mama who could use a night off from cooking.
A mama who is so worthy of the comfort and thoughtfulness that a meal can bring.

Surprise them.
I promise that it will mean more to them than they will ever know.

I love to bring Brinner when I make a family a meal.
It is fun and unexpected, and who doesn't love yummy breakfast for dinner?
Monkey bread is a delicious and easy treat to make.  I have yet to meet a kid who didn't gobble it up.

This versatile breakfast bake can be assembled beforehand and also makes great left overs.
A two-fer.

I also send along a gallon of orange juice, as well as, pack paper plates, napkins, and disposable cutlery.  Because what is almost as great as a night off of cooking?  A night free from dishes.

I challenge you to think of someone you can bless.
Someone who could use some love in the form of cozy food.

There is nothing better.


  1. Awesome idea! I know that for the 3 years that my husband lived in Chicago and I lived in MI it was soooo hard. I had some good friends who would say "Let's go to dinner". How nice to not have to eat alone! I, also, had a great neighbor to help if something happened at the house. I feel for my single girlfriends and sister-in-law who is single. Lonely nights and lots to around the house all.by.yourself! I make sure to send them cards and little pick me ups (since we live states apart) just to give them something special that day.

    Thanks for sharing and suggestion of paying it forward!

  2. Sounds wonderful, and I have so been blessed with family within 5 minutes of us and AWESOME neighbors, who when hear someone is sick, or stressed come to my rescue... I love them... Dinner is a HUGE blessing... I also love to bake, and so I don't eat ALL of my baked goods, I like to surprise them with treat just because too... Thanks for sharing your yummy recipes!

  3. As a proud wife of a US Marine, I thank you for seeing how hard our life can be. We call ourselves geographical single parents! But we wouldn't have it any other way! I will soon be alone with 4 kids and no husband for 14 months so keep the easy recipes coming!! Again thank you for seeing how hard it can be!

  4. Ooh, this post gave me chills! I'm not a wife or mother yet, but I do have sympathy for single mothers and military wives. This is such a great reminder to remember those very strong ladies!

  5. This is a great idea. We always do this for new moms, but certainly anyone would love this. A nice simple way to easily make someone's day!

  6. As a single mom, I can totally relate. Unfortunately most of my friends are on the other side of the block. Many have never even seen my new place of almost a year, much less come hang out or bring dinner since my divorce. So many 'married' friends seem to think it's harder to 'relate' with a single mom since they are no longer 'a family'. It breaks my heart, really. You have no idea what a simple dinner would mean to a full time working mommy of 2!
    Thanks for this post. :)

  7. What a nice friend!! It is hard to be without a husband for so long. I really take my hat off to all of the single moms out there.

    Great post -- I love the idea of paying it forward!


  8. I have been a single mom for three years now, and it is very hard! But what some people fail to realize is that it can be 100 million times better than the marriage you were in. I agree with another commenter (my word) Your married friends tend to shy away. Almost as if divorce is a contagious disease lol! But life is what it is and you make the best of it each and every day! Having a friend like you would sure make it more fun!!! Thanks for thinking of us singles (;

  9. My husband is in the military and is away right now. It is amazing to me the people that rally to help me out - so sweet. Reminds me it really does take a village!

    That monkey bread looks awesome. I sense a treat coming on!

  10. thanks for this reminder Julie. I have been very blessed to be part of a mom's group that does mommy meals anytime a new baby is born, or there is an illness, or surgery, or whatever other calamities that you can think of that prevent us moms from functioning at 100%. It is a wonderful treat to give someone a home cooked meal. But this reminds me that i don't need to wait for a calamity or a birth in the family to do this, I can do it just because. And I know just the person that could use this little surprise :)

  11. I love this idea, why didn't I think of that?! I get so exhausted when my husband is out of town, this would be special. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. such a great idea to support mamas for the sake of being supportive. i love that it doesn't need to be because someone is sick or just had a baby, it's just because. i'm on the case. i accept the challenge!

  13. Thanks for posting that and putting that idea into so many minds. My husband has been deployed four times within five years and I had little ones at home. I survived on cereal, frozen dinners and the occasional trip to McDonalds. It's exhausting, to say the least. A homecooked meal from a friend would have been AWESOME! A military wife/single mom would totally appreciate this.

  14. Agreed. :) I thought immediately of my sister when reading this post - she has a newly divorced friend who is invited to dinner at my sister's house (with her 3 yr old wild child) every night. I don't have many friends who have kids, but I'll store this away for when they do!

    PS- do you have a good recipe for that monkey bread? (is that what you call it?) YUM.

  15. Love the idea of sending along breakfast for dinner (everyone's favorite treat) because they can eat any leftovers for breakfast the next morning too. Great idea!

  16. As a mom whose hubby just started traveling 3-4 nights a week for his new job, I know a night off from cooking dinner would be wonderful. I will also say that more than a cute onesie, blanket or toy....dinner is the BEST gift to give a mom with a new baby. Even if it's takeout or frozen lasagna that you heat up...it's more appreciated than anything!

  17. every time my husband goes out of town i pray for the single moms. it is HARD and they do deserve love & recognition. what a great post, and great idea!

  18. we often bake muffins or cookies and take them to friends or family just because...but i love this idea and i REALLY love the whole *brinner* idea, including dishes, etc :) great advice and yes, i think about this often...the military wive/mamas doing it solo every day with all that worry and stress that we cannot understand or relate to.what do i have to complain about?

    thanks julie! XO

  19. Friends are so amazing.
    Our church has a program that provides meals for single mommies, military wives, new moms, etc. - one night a week, meals are made and then taken to the homes... it's so much fun putting together the meals ;) ...like different themes & such.

    I know being in a military family myself, it really helped my mom (& my sis & I!) when our daddy was away. :)

  20. I just took dinner to a family this week. Their one month old baby had to have surgery and they have 7 other kids! We just took them Subway, but I know it made their evening routine easier. Taking a meal to someone is one of the easiest ways to show them love I think.

  21. My husband travels a ton and now with two kiddos I way to often have those days where I am counting down the minutes until bed time. I try to remind myself that there are people out there that are singel mamas ALL the time...I don't know how they do it. And God bless those military wives!!! Thanks for the reminder. {OH, I also love monkey bread, YUM!...and I think I have that same cake stand!}

  22. super great post...

    our sunday school class/church does this for people that are sick or families that just had babies.

    a great resource for setting up such meals is www.mealtrain.com

    you will not be disappointed :)

  23. I would love to do this. If only I knew how to cook... Maybe you should come out with a cook book!

  24. Wonderful idea for sure! And what a sweet friend to do that for you!

  25. having had my hubby gone for the last six months...it's so hard!

    i wish there were more caring folks like your friend and you! it would be so nice to have someone else think about dinner one night!

    so many nights i open a can of veggies and throw some chicken nuggets in the oven. my kids are so over that. last night i made pot roast in the crock pot. usually we would have have a pot leftover. we didn't have a single bite left in the crockpot!!!! ummm...can you tell my kids were craving a home cooked meal!!!!!

    hopefully more folks will follow your lead!

  26. Are you in my brain? Because I started a post this week about this very topic...or at least about why you should always have a casserole in the freezer ready to be gifted.

    And now I really want monkey bread... excellent post!

  27. My daughter is a single mom, divorced 3 years ago and has two kids, 6,8. I feel as though I myself have also gone through the whole big D with her. Its been awful. Hard days, harder nights and she was working full time. Now out of work and back home living with us. She shares joint custody and for 3 years had the kids monday thru friday. Her X got the kids on sat sun and monday mornings. He tried blaming her that their youngest wasnt going to pass kindergarten. I don't know how she's made it through the last 3 years, as its about done me in big time. Well now the judge awards her X with Mon-fri and she gets them 3 weekends a month and wed nights. Reason, because the father has a good job and can afford rent. She has to live with us. She was a stay at home mom and now she has to pay the price of that. I pray that things will turn around for her. She is an awesome mother and her kids are her whole life. Life can be so hard when your all alone. yes she has us but it's just not the same as a partner in life. Im so thankful for my husband, we are sharing 35 years of marriage next month. Wish I knew how to help her emotionally. Welcome any advise. thanks

  28. i TOTALLY thought this same thing when my husband was traveling. i was totally a single mom. but then i was like, wait, my husband still comes home. my bed won't always be empty. i have someone to call when i need it. and it totally made me FEEL for those who don't have that. thanks for the challenge b/c even though i've THOUGHT about it, i haven't had an action. as a result of the traveling, my husband's company relocated us to be with him. while that's a blessing in the obvious ways, it's SUPER hard in others...i'm motivated to find a way to reach out in my new community!
    "you and me together...we can do anything..baby!" that's what me and dh say anyway :)

  29. love this.
    this is something we love to do often...it is so do-able for me despite have many young children. i have to make dinner anyway, so why not bless someone in the process?!
    we often think of new moms, but yes single moms would be so blessed by this. we also do this for a local outreach program that has a feeding program.
    i haven't done it this week, so thank you for the encouragement to find someone to bless!

  30. Thank you for posting this. I am one of those military wives. And it does get really hard. Because the worry can take so much out of you. No one should have to worry that their husband might not make it home. Thankfully mine did make it back, but it's terrifying all the same. So, yes, a dinner made by someone else IS really beneficial. Especially breakfast for dinner! One of our favorites! (And what we did last night!)

  31. what a nice gesture, funny b/c I've been thinking about dinner since I've been awake this morning...my mind hasn't even wrapped itself around breakfast yet.

  32. I SO-O-O-O agree with this one! We have just organized a group called "Anonymous Love" {make sure your hubby knows what the title means before he catches THAT one in the subject of an email...lol!} and we provide meals for or baked goods for single, greiving, distressed women and/or new mamas.

    No-strings-attached meals were the best gift anyone gave me after having both of my babes :)

    Love the recipe ideas too!

  33. i love this post, thank you for the reminder!

  34. So true. I am a military wife and although my honey hasn't yet been deployed (I know that time will come) I have seen many moms who have done it all. Everyday. Thanks so much for reminding us all to think of others.

  35. I know exactly what you mean. My husband travels a lot too. In fact he has been gone the last two weeks. He missed meet the teacher nite and the first week of school. I have often thought that I just don't know how single moms do it every day. I love the idea of bringing dinner. I have a friend whose husband just deployed a few weeks ago. I am definitely going to use your suggestion and bring her dinner.

    New follower--found you through Whatever and Songs Kate Sings.

  36. Thanks for the idea! My hubby is deployed and I would love a night off from cooking. My son has two friends who's fathers are deployed as well. Now I will give those two moms a night off every month until their husbands return. It will be one less thing for them to think about one night a month. I will also be volunteering my husband to work on their Honey Do list(once he returns). My friend volunteered her husband and he tackled my whole list. Now my hubby's list isn't as long. Every little thing counts.

  37. Julie,

    I just spent some time catching up on your blog. Let me just say that I love this post. Really. I hate to cook. I am not good at it. At all. But there are a COUPLE of meals I can handle and I know how much a good dinner can mean! When we had our last two kids, we were lucky enough to have friends bring us dinner - seriously the best gift EVER!!

    I can't wait to see some of your recipes! Be sure to share some of the SUPER EASY ones for me!! :)

    Hope things begin to settle down for you just a bit!!

  38. what an awesome idea....i am quite sure that ALL single mom's would welcome a surprise like this....
    thanks for sharing!

  39. Excellent idea! And has a single mom to two young kids for a year and a half now, a friend dropping off dinner unexpectedly would be a god-send. And a first.

  40. OOHHH!!!! Thanks!!!!! A friend of mine's husband died unexpectedly a month ago today. :( I've been bringing her dinners every week but it's so hard because the meals have to be kosher style(can't mix meat and diary). Tonight I'm making a the "girly" version to bring to her tomorrow for dinner. Her and her girls are going to LOVE it! XOXOXO

  41. Ahh what a brilliant friend, it sure is hard but it will all be worth it.
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