Other women receive jewelry, perfume and trinkets as gifts. I usually receive cookbooks, pots and pans and cooking gadgets. While some might think that these gifts are impersonal, I find them to be extremely personal and am happiest when stirring up something for family and friends. Cooking also gives me a connection with loved ones. I feel a tug at my heart every time I roll a pie crust with the rolling pin my great-great uncle made for my grandma Pearl, bake some cornbread in grandma Mildred’s cast iron skillet, prepare one of my mom, Vanita's, specialites, or stir up some soup in the pot my DH “gifted” me with when newlyweds. I'm married to the greatest guy and the mom of 3 super kids. I am also a social worker/counselor and really love my work. Although cooking is my favorite pastime, it seems like my time to cook is less and less at this stage in life. Most days I am at work or driving kids to one of their many activities. They are all in choirs and sports activities. One of my friends calls it the "whirl-wind stage". I still want to cook healthy and interesting food for my family despite our hectic schedule. I do a lot of prep work for dinner in the early morning so that it is easy to throw together in the evening. I also use my crockpot on a weekly basis.