If you’ve never experienced the taste of an over grilled hot dog, one that tastes more like ash than whatever it was made of in the first place, then you’ve never been blessed by the amazing skills I have in the kitchen, or lack there of. Cooking is not my forte. But I am a wife and a mommy therefore I get to cook anyway. We don’t always eat the most nutritious foods. Most of us would rather NEVER try anything new, or GREEN! We sometimes have popcorn or chips and queso as an actual meal. We tend to like our “tradition” foods like “Taco Tuesday” and spaghetti on Valentines day. It is a very rare occasion that I make something gourmet and everyone loves it. I am usually impatient or busy doing too many things at one time, which often results in undercooked casseroles or burnt anythings. I do have a handful of dishes that I can make really well, so I am not a total loss in the kitchen. But regardless of my cooking skills there are a few tricks in the kitchen that this mama has gotten right.
Because I am an organized being I am somewhat good at planning whatever dinner disaster we are going to have. I like to make a menu 1-2 weeks at a time and I make my grocery list accordingly. I even sometimes write my list out in order of where the items are in the store. The time it takes to plan the menu and write out the list is worth not having to stress over what I will make every day or making multiple stops at the grocery store throughout the week. Except for when I forget an ingredient…but hey no one is perfect!
I also try to keep a plastic container in the fridge and one in the cupboard stocked with snack and cold lunch options for the hungry birds. This system has worked pretty well for grab-n-go snacks and for lunch packing…so it’s a definite win for mom!
I also like to let the kids help me…most of the time. They are sometimes more of a mess then a help, but I love that they want to try. I love watching them learn something new (unfortunate that they are learning from me in this area though). But they are learning at least some skills, which are better than none.
The last two things are my favorites. First, we almost always have a sit down meal as a family. This is getting harder as the kids get older and more involved in extra curriculars. We sometimes eat supper at 5:00 and other evenings at 8:00 or somewhere in between. But if at all possible we try to eat dinner all of us together.
Finally is what happens at the table. After the prayer, spills, refills, complaints about what is served, laughter about how it turned out, arguing over who gets to sit by who….we have a magical moment…at almost every meal the six of us share together we have developed a tradition of going around the table and sharing the best part of our day. This often leads to also sharing the worst part of our day. And ALWAYS leads to a few moments of the six of us listening and caring about the person next to us. Sometimes this IS the best part of my day. I can’t exactly remember when we started doing this, it’s been a few years now. But I know this is something our family will continue for many years to come. It means something, not just to me, but to all of us. It bring us JOY not just at the dinner table but at a special moment in each one of our days.
If your family doesn’t at least try to eat together a few times a week, I would highly recommend it. It’s a treasure you won’t regret. Don’t let the stress of getting to the table hold you back, because those moments are worth every bit of effort it took to get there.