Thursday, October 16, 2008

Saving Supper...and my sanity one dinner at a time.

Allow me to paint a picture for you:

I am in the kitchen scurrying around, mixing this, measuring that, attempting to get a family meal put together. In the background, Rachel Ray is instructing me how to cook something in less than 30 minutes in a uber-friendly voice (Yes, I have a TV in the kitchen to watch Food Network. Yes, my husband bought it for me years ago. Yes, he rocks.) Evelyn is holding onto my leg, whining. Isaac is wondering aloud how 5:15pm could possibly not be a great time for finger painting at the table. Tobe just walked in the door from work and is digging through the cupboards in search of some sort of nourishment before supper.

Some days this scenario is just plain chaos.

On these days, I feel like I have stood in the middle of a three-ring circus on Ritalin and almost fall into my chair at the table due to complete mental exhaustion. Forget eating, I simply want to complain of a tummy ache and hide out in the bathroom while everyone else dines.

Knowing that I am the master of my happiness (Oprah didn't have to tell me this...I just know), I have decided to take hold of this crazy time of day and turn it into something positive.

The best way I know how to do that is with a schedule. Schedules make me happy, they allow me to always be prepared, and *hopefully* it will allow me to sit at the dinner table and feel blessed by my family and by the food without thinking of how quickly I could make it out the back door before anyone noticed (Likely, Tobe would notice rather quickly, as I would have to scramble over him to get to said door.). Besides, I think a lot of the hectic nature of this time is created by the fact that the kids are antsy and need some structure (*).

I think my schedule might look something like this:


Mondays: Craft/Snack Time at table

Tuesdays: Video Time (Tuesdays and Wednesdays are CRAZY days due to preschool, which pushes naptime back and a little video time would be enjoyed by all. Besides, just today at school Isaac correctly identified "Ode to Joy" and "Flight of the Bumblebee" during music...all learned on Little Einsteins. Television can be educational and a life saver at times, my friends.)

Wednesdays: Music Time. Crank up the Disney CD's, pull out the instruments, and allow the kids to go crazy while I silently repeat "Patience. Patience. Patience." in the kitchen.

Thursdays: Room Play. Often times the kids play in the living room or kitchen, however the toys are kept in their rooms. I think it is time to introduce the lovely art of playing in one's room on a regular basis. They do enjoy being together, so I believe they could play in either/both rooms.

Fridays: Participation Night. Friday night is homemade pizza night at casa de phillips. I have been slacking on allowing the kids to participate in cooking lately. Pizza night is the perfect time for one or both (Lord, help me) to help out in the kitchen.


Obviously this is just a basic plan on how to survive the witching hours of a late afternoon with young children. Most likely it will completely unravel some days and totally be obsolete on others. However, it is a plan. A plan that allows me to save supper and my sanity...one dinner at a time.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Share your thoughts/ideas/strategies/questions/stories on how you deal with this time of day with children under foot.

Leave a link to your blog post (the post, please. Not just your blog) about how you Save Supper. Make sure you leave a comment telling everyone that you linked to your blog. I will choose five random participants who will receive copies of some of my favorite recipes to help them save supper just a bit quicker.

Be sure to check out other people's blogs, leaving them comments as well. It is nice to be a part of a friendly, commenting blog community, huh?

Enjoy!

(If you need more details about this carnival, go here. Thanks!)








* FYI: Our whole day is not super-structured. Yes, we go by a daily schedule. However, I am not running a preschool over here in which I gracefully move the children from one activity to the other during the course of a day, while singing songs from "The Sound of Music." I wish it were that peaceful and I think wearing Julie Andrews' type aprons would be fun...but, alas, that is not our reality at casa de phillips.

4 comments:

Jennifer Reinsch said...

The activities before dinner are a great idea! I imagine that knowing what they are going to do each day helps I and E make it through that bit of time before dinner a little easier. I especially like Music Time. I am picturing you guys becoming the Partridge Family.

P.s. I messed up on Mr. Linky. I entered that info before I read your post. So, I just typed my blog address in rather than linked specifically to my post. Sorry, I have never been good at reading directions. If you can delete it for me, I'll re-enter it.

Robin said...

Besides offering a specific activity for the kids while preparing dinner (which I have found usually works great over here but is not at all fool-proof), my best tip is to choose meals that take only 30 minutes or so to prepare. That way, I usually don't have to start dinner prep til about 5:45 (we eat at 6:30 pm). Collecting simple meal ideas has become a goal of mine...we need to swap recipes sometime!

In the heat of the moment, I also try to remember that these days are short-lived. ALREADY my 3 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 old can play by themselves (for short periods of time) unattended. Outside! Seriously, where has the time gone?

Jordan said...

Okay, I messed up like Jen, too. Sorry. I don't get Mr. Linky and I'm not so techno-savvy. Please don't delete me...I so want to belong! :) This is a great idea, by the way. I'm very excited to see what everyone else does before dinner.

Jill said...

My blog is not public so I will just add my ideas here.

--Create a big box o' distraction to pull out during a "wit's end" moment. Include empty paper towels holders, cardboard boxes, plastic containers, etc. (I stole this idea from a mommy friend of mine).
--Give the kids a swiffer duster and let them go to town (amazingly, my 4 year old and 1 year old both love this)
--Play-doh

That's all I have. I'm interested in reading everyone else's ideas because I could definitely use some new ones.

Thanks...Love your blog!