Happy Memorial Day, my friends.
This post has absolutely nothing to do with Memorial Day, unless of course, you have no idea what you will cook for dinner tonight, then in that case this post is just what you need.
So, guess what? I CAN cook dinner!
A while back I made a personal goal to eat together as a family more. Many of you know my woes about my youngest’s picky eating habits and my short order cook past. But, like anything in life, the problem isn’t going to fix itself.
I decided to let go of perfectionism in meal planning and simply get to the darn table! I figured if we were able to sit down together at a specific time each night, even if we were eating mac-n-cheese and PB&J sandwiches, I was doing better than before.
Family meals aren’t always about the food. It’s about the experience. In my previous post I shared 5 Tips for getting your family to the table. Many of you chimed in with our thoughts on letting go of perfectionism, too. Obvioulsy, the message that’s out there is that we have to be perfect to succeed, and I couldn’t disagree more!
Because I am far from perfect, BUT I am succeeding!
And you can too!
Today, I want to share 5 things I’ve learned since my last post that have helped me, and I really hope they help you too.
#1 Coffee and Defrost. When you make that morning cup of coffee, take something out of the freezer for dinner. Make a mental note of what you plan to make and the side items that will accompany the main dish. Check to make sure you have the ingredients you need to complete the meal, and set everything on the stove top as a little reminder for yourself that dinner is planned. All you have to do is cook it!
#2 The Crock Pot is your friend. At least once a week plan a meal that can be prepared in the Crock Pot. Decide what day of the week is the most hectic. this is the best day for the Crock Pot. Heck, cook in the Crock Pot everyday. I love that damn thing! It creates the illusion I know what I’m doing, and my whole house smells amazing when my man gets home from a long day at work.
#3 The salt and pepper shaker theory. One of my favorite books of all times is A Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George. In this book she shares her salt and pepper theory, that I am going to paraphrase because I’m too lazy to go get the book, find the page, and directly quote her. But, basically, if you have failed at #1 or #2 and have absolutely NO earthly idea what the heck you plan on doing for dinner, at least clear the dining room table of clutter and put the salt and pepper shakers out, grab the napkin holder and butter dish, and everyone will think you know what you’re doing. I swear! She states in the book that even if there’s nothing on the stove and no hint of dinner aroma in the house, your husband will come home, see the salt and pepper shakers on the table, and say “Mmmm. What’s for dinner?” I’m telling you, it’s true. So clear that table and throw something together. Canned soup and grilled cheese? Who cares! Just get to the table.
#4 Timing is everything. Decide what time is best for your family to eat together. For us it’s about 7pm. my husband needs a chance to get home, shower (he’s pretty gross at the end of a long day), and drink a beer (he IS a man.). I know that I need to really begin prepping around 5:30pm. It seems like a long time, but with interruptions, kids helping me cook, and hubs coming home, it’s almost never enough time. But, we get to the table by 7pm, and that works for us. Figure out what time works for you, and know what time you need to start cooking.
#5 Your attitude is contagious. I seriously have a hate/hate relationship with dinner. It’s getting better. I’m actually starting to enjoy the whole process. But, I have learned the hard way that my attitude is contagious. If I’m stressed out because I’ve burnt something or my plan is coming undone, then everyone is stressed out. Who wants to eat dinner with momzilla? So
take a xanax have wine while you cook!
I am happy to report that our family has eaten together for dinner almost every night of the week since I’ve been working at this. I feel empowered, and I’m going to keep working at it. The most important thing I’ve learned from this, is that my kids love sitting together and they ask every night to sit at the table.
My favorite part? Peeking through my squinted eyes during the blessing to see my boys with their eyes closed tight and folded hands. That’s the best!
All of a sudden I love hearing “What’s for dinner, mom?” Because I know they’re anticipating the memories we build when we share a meal. The conversations are hilariously entertaining, we laugh, and we enjoy that time.
So ya’ll? Dinner? I CAN DO IT!
AND SO CAN YOU!