Saturday, February 16, 2013

Eating holiday dinners every day as a family

Jaden 7-years old
Marcus 5-years old
January 2013

During major holidays I spend long hours in the kitchen cooking meals large enough for a family of eight. Whatever's a favorite of each person; I make. There's no stopping me and there are moments when I wonder what exactly I got myself into.

When it's all said and done I'm exhausted.

However, the tiredness and achy feet dissipate completely when I sit down to eat with my family. I enjoy sitting across from my kids so I can watch them eat each morsel, or dissect questionable pieces. For example, carrots are not loved, but sweet peas are picked off the plate with the utmost care until each one is gone. 

Tacos, pico, corn and Japanese tea cups
Foods like Pico de Gallo must be homemade for taco's or quesadillas. Pasteurized American cheese can rot for all my kids care, but Feta and blue cheese is scraped from the plate. My kids are food connoisseurs and there is nothing in between, but once again it's about eating as a family.

It's a gloriously silent time away from the T.V. or the computer. No phones. No interruptions. 

The only sounds are chewing, talking, and laughter. We are miles away from anything else and life seems to stop for a single moment. There's no one but us. 

While eating with the kids I realized just how much my kids like to sit down as a family to eat. It's not from my parental instinct, but my 7-year old flat out said she wants us to sit down every night-- together-- to eat dinner. It was a shining moment.  

Action shot
I think of her statement often and realized there are two ways to make this happen more regularly. The first is to do housework, and food prep, before the kids get home from school and cook the meal as soon as we get home.

Granted, we get home from school by 3:35 p.m., and sit down for dinner at 4:45 p.m. It's early but the kids don't care. They love it. They are very hungry from the early lunches, and snack-free afternoons at school, and are ready for a hot meal.

The second is to let the kids be more involved with setting the table--using fun dishes also helps.

For instance, when my son saw the gravy boat he said, "I love holiday dinners," even though it wasn't a holiday.

When we had tacos he said, "This is just like the holidays," because I let him help me set the table, and use the kid's favorite tea cups.

We have a couple of spills, but who cares? My kids want  to sit down for meals.  I get it that this will not be the case for long; however, I love that I don't have to force my kids sit down for dinner. There are no threats, scolding or harping to get them to the table, so if they want it to be a holiday dinner; I'm cool with it.