Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dinner Time

{A note on this cookbook, I love love LOVE it! So many wonderful recipes and ideas, plus tons of information...I have already made two pies and have ingredients for another! Also, if you are someone who could be defined as my mother-in-law, do not buy yourself this book! *wink*}

Next week we start school. This marks a big shift for us as a family, the shift from a family of only very little ones to a family with bigger ones and younger ones. I'm not sure I'm anywhere close to being ready, but they are excited and that's helping me get to where we need to be. With this shift we are working on "cleaning up" several aspects of our family life. The chaos of the actual move is behind us (although there are still seemingly endless boxes and piles to be sorted through, and still a remarkably large amount to be donated), and it's time to find a little lot more rhythm and routine in our days. 

We've gotten back to reading bedtime stories, they're playing outside longer every day, the laundry is actually (mostly) getting put away before it's worn and dirty again...the baby has (mostly) stopped playing in the dog's water...and this week we have added family dinners. It made sense while we were moving to feed the kids something very child friendly quick and then the grownups ate later once we were too tired to do anything else. That's just how that works. However, we aren't there anymore and I was in desperate need (to say nothing of my children) of a better evening routine. No more wondering what I would eat after I had tucked the kids in (and was too tired to cook anything very stellar) and no more coming down in the mornings to a kitchen full of dirty dishes. {I'm the dishwasher here!} 

With that in mind I have begun finding simple ways to make this happen. Certainly our days our still mostly chaotic, with no hint of a weekly rhythm in site (yet!)...but the last two nights have been wonderful and I am determined to keep up with it! Last night we had our first "Meatball Monday", and tonight we tried this new recipe for chicken pot pie. I added salt and pepper, and used a puff pastry we had in the freezer (not very gluten free, but the baby didn't get any so it's all good). Otherwise, it was simple and fairly quick, and very easy to clean up from. Major points in my book!! The kids like the family meal idea...it's cozy with my sister and brother-in-law living with us this summer. Certainly most of our conversation consists of whether or not someone has to eat that particular piece of vegetable, but the point is that we are bringing our day to a happy close. And that feels good. 

They tidy up the yard while I finish cooking (I love seeing them out my many kitchen windows), then they wash up while I get everything on the table. Afterwords, they get ready for bed and I do dishes and sing with the baby while he finishes up his meal...every one gets hugged and kissed and sung to and snuggled into their respective beds (although by morning most of them are in mine)....and then this mama gets to curl up with her before-school-starts reading, some knitting, maybe a little wine and chocolate...and just *breathe* 

xoxo ~M~

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