Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Surviving Supper

This evening I shut the kitchen down at casa de phillips, packed the diaper bag, and shooed my family out the door for a nice, quiet dinner on the town. We wanted to celebrate how much my husband rocks and a pound of ground beef and some instant rice was not going to suffice for such an occasion. So, off we went to our local Italian eatery.

Although we still have young children, we are at a place now where dining out is not the extreme ordeal it was six months ago. Both children can feed themselves, both are entertained by crayons, and both understand that Mommy or Daddy will quickly remove a child who is misbehaving at the table. We still have those dinners out where someone fusses the entire time, where one parent barely has a chance to eat, and where we leave a trail of smashed Cheerios in our wake....but not nearly as often as our successful experiences.

We enjoyed a lovely dinner tonight. Everyone was happy. Isaac ate mounds and mounds of spaghetti. Evelyn did not manage to eat a package of artificial sweetener nor eat a cracker before it is removed from the wrapper. It was truly a successful dinner out.

The highlight was after dinner when I took Isaac to the restroom. He commented on the large amount of bodily fluid that left his body while using the restroom, claiming the extreme volume was due to the incredible amount of pasta he had just consumed. When it was my turn to use the facilities, he loudly said, "Good Job, Mommy!" much to the amusement of the other women in the restroom at the time.

Good times.

Although we were able to hit the town for dinner tonight, this is not usually the case. Typically our family of four eats at home, sharing a meal at our ancient dining table (which bears the teeth marks of my older brother...placed there at least 32 years ago....and which I love dearly). I love cooking and enjoy preparing a meal for the family.

However somedays I think I would rather place my head in the microwave and push "Quick Cook" as opposed to dealing with the chaos that can erupt during dinner preparation time.

For example, Evelyn is usually fussing while clinging onto my leg, Isaac is whining because I have said an unjust "No" to some terribly important request, and my sweet husband has just arrived home and is scrounging the pantry for a light snack after a long day at work.

Sure Rachel Ray can cook a dinner in under 30 minutes....she isn't attempting to do so in the middle of a three ring circus.

Such craziness before dinner has lead me to wonder if every young family experiences this on a semi-regular basis. How do they deal (obviously, they are dealing or we would hear more stories of moms putting their heads in the microwave)? What tricks work for their family?

This line of questioning has inspired me to host a carnival here at casa de phillips called "Saving Supper...and My Sanity One Dinner at a Time". This will be a place for everyone to share their tips for entertaining kids while cooking, for surviving the witching hours of 4:30 to 5:30pm, and methods on how they avoid wanting to run out the backdoor screaming when dinner preparation time arrives.

There will be more details to come in the next few days, along with a handy button you can place on your own blog, so be on the look-out.

Until then, God-speed as you attempt to cook for your family and not lose your mind.


Jennifer Reinsch said...

I think it would be fun to watch Rachael Ray cook a meal one day with two toddlers undertow.

On another note (yet somewhat similar), I made the yummiest tomato soup the other night. One of my friends gave me the recipe. If you guys are fans of tomato soup, I will send you the recipe.

Laura said...

I love the saving supper idea. I'll be looking forward to reading & responding to it! Also, what a fun time with your college roomies! Those times together now are soooo cherished! It was great to see everyone on your blog. :)

Jennifer said...

can't wait to hear the other ideas!

Shelley said...

Yeah! Cant wait to hear all the responses... One thing I do ( and you are not at this stage of life, yet) but we study spelling words or I listen to the girls read while cooking... homework and dinner DONE!

Kelli said...

I love the having the kids read while cooking idea. It can be torturous to try and get 30 min of child reading every night (who has an extra 30 minutes at night anyway?) and this sounds like a GREAT idea to get it done!!

Robin said...

Looking forward to learning some new strategies! Last night was a three ring circus around here, too. I got a call from a dear friend in DC and wanted NOTHING MORE than a few minutes to catch up with her...the kids wanted NOTHING MORE than my undivided attention. And I was trying to make dinner. Patience was an absent virtue, I'm afraid.


Elizabeth said...

I experience the three-ring circus routine quite a bit too. I have found that life is so much better if I have semi-prepared dinner at some other time of day (other than the witching hour(s)). Life is really much better on those days. I think this is where the crock pot is a lifesaver. Other than that idea...I try really hard to save the kids' TV time for the 30 minutes before dinner. I get to focus and they get to unwind a little after a long day. Everybody wins. I know plopping the kids in front of the TV is not a super original response, but if you're going to use TV at all, then what better time to use it? Everything in moderation, I say!

I can't wait to hear others' ideas!