Growing up, my mother always cooked a big dinner and we’d all sit down and eat when my daddy got home. She did this every night while working as a teacher’s assistant. I have no idea how she pulled it off, but she did. There were veggies (one always fried), meat of some kind, and homemade biscuits. Yum. On the few occasions my dad had a meeting, we’d get to eat tacos or breakfast for dinner. What a treat! Dinner time is where we caught up. The only negative to family dinner time is when my baby sister would refuse to eat something on her plate. My dad would always say, “You can’t leave until you eat it.” She’d wait him out even if she fell asleep at the table. Finally, he’d just give up. To this day, I don’t think she’s touched a brussel sprout of a lima bean.
I still love family dinners. I love serving my family in this way. We don’t eat out much but I enjoy cooking and being at home with them. Going out to eat with 4 littles is no treat for me! If we have too many activities and we don’t get to eat together, I feel off balanced. Sure, there are challenges. My husband just started third shift. Children fall out of their chairs. Sometimes I am just tired. So I wanted to share with you a few quick tips to help dinner time happen.
- Begin with a blessing. We all hold hands and say a simple one. Even the 1 year old reaches for our hands and closes her eyes. It’s so stinkin sweet!
- Have a plan. I write out our menu for every two weeks with a pencil. It may change (pencil erases) but I have this at my fingertips to keep me on schedule. I usually write out a grocery list right after my plan, which is great for my budget too.
- CROCKPOT! I love my crock-pot. I always have at least 2 meals a week that I can throw into a crock-pot in the morning. When I start smelling dinner cooking early afternoon, I feel so accomplished!
- Go simple. I seldom make the meals my mom did. I don’t think I could pull that off every night without eventually having a meltdown. We do beans in the crock pot once a week and serve with biscuits or over rice. Sometimes we have eggs and toast. My kids love it and my husband isn’t picky (thank goodness).
- Let the kiddos help. Put some music on (mine love the 1960’s tunes). Let the little one tear up lettuce for the salad. Teach the big kids to chop the veggies. If they help, they will eat it (usually).
- Ask each other questions about the day. This is a great way to teach the kiddos conversation skills and manners. The more they are involved in the conversation, the less time they spend falling out of their chairs.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
-1 Corinthians 10:31
Elizabeth Doan is married to her hubby David for 14 years. Mother to four wonderful kiddos: Sam (10), Sarah (8), Evie Joy (4), and Sadie Rose (6 months). Homeschooling Momma for 4 years with 17 years to go! Elizabeth’s favorite quote in the whole wide world is: “Life is frittered away by details. Simplify, simplify.” -Henry David Thoreau