thismummaslife

Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life


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Feeding New Parents: What to Bring When You Visit

granola and snack

I have been working to stock up our freezer with some easy to re-heat foods for after the Baby is born. In our usual daily lives I am often exhausted by planning a meal, shopping for ingredients, prepping it all, and cooking. Throw a new Baby into the mix, and “exhausted” won’t quite cover it. Not to mention how preoccupied I will be with getting breastfeeding on track, giving my 4-year-old enough attention, changing diapers, and just getting to know the newest member of the family. (Including hours of staring at the little face, tiny feet, miniature hands…)

In my search for items to make and stock, I have come across tons of articles and blog posts with recommendations, including suggestions for what guests should bring when visiting families with a New Baby. These lists are great, and have been helpful. (I never would have thought to make a big batch of homemade breakfast sandwiches to freeze on my own.) However, there seems to be one thing all of these lists have in common: casserole, casserole, casserole.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love a good casserole. They can be the ultimate comfort food. There is currently one in my freezer. The thing about casseroles however, is that eating them everyday can seem repetitive and, well….mushy. Not to mention the fact that the ingredients are all mixed in together, and not everyone in a family may have the same preferences. For example, Grandma’s chicken casserole with mushrooms? I cannot get enough of mushrooms, but my husband and son can’t stand them. Broccoli Alfredo? The grownups in this house would gobble that up. The resident 4-year-old wouldn’t even be in the same room.

Casseroles are easy to freeze and reheat, and economical. They are often delicious. But too many casseroles is not a good thing.

Another consideration, is that not everyone cooks. Many people want to bring food to new parents, knowing how helpful it is, but don’t know what to make, or how to make it. And choosing a random recipe on a whim, especially for someone else, can backfire.

For this reason, I made a list of ideas for food items that are almost always surefire winners. Some require a bit of cooking or baking, some require none at all. Some your could even pick up on your way there at the last-minute, when the parents say “Hey the Baby is all fed and we are dressed, now is finally a good time.” If you find yourself wondering what to bring to parents with a new Baby, perhaps this list can take away some of the guessing or stress.

Ideas for Food to Bring to New Parents:

~Gift certificates to local restaurants. Especially places in close proximity to the family, especially if you know they like to eat there. Bonus points for places that deliver.

~Call and ask what staple items the family might need. Eggs, bread, milk, butter, peanut butter, coffee…anything they might be low on or out of. You’ll save them a trip to the store.

~If they have an older child, bring healthy snacks or treats for them. The child will feel special, the parents will be delighted that you gave their older kid some special attention, and if the treat is healthy, or at least not loaded with junk ingredients, it will cause no extra stress for them. Some ideas: a box of animal crackers or goldfish crackers, organic yogurt in a tube, juice boxes or pouches with no added sugar or food coloring, little packs of raisins, fruit cups sweetened only with fruit juice, freeze-dried fruit, snap-pea crisps, etc. You could even go one step further, and have a little tea party with the older child(ren), while you share the snack you brought.

~Stop at a local bakery and pick up a half-dozen bagels. Bring cream cheese or flavored butter.

~Make some homemade granola, or pick up a bag at the grocery store or farmer’s market. Include a jug of milk or some yogurt, and bring orange juice.

~Bring a fruit platter, or make a fruit salad with washed and prepped seasonal fruits.

~Make a batch of fresh oatmeal cookies, or grab some of the giant, chewy ones at a local bakery. Or, make up a batch of your favorite cookie dough, roll it into balls, and freeze them. The family can bake them up a few at a time or all at once if they want to. If you really want to go the extra mile in the cookie department, bake up a batch of lactation cookies for a nursing Mama. There are many recipes out there, here is one you could try. And don’t worry, partners and other kids can eat them too, despite the name.

~Bring a batch of muffins, scones, or cinnamon buns, and then fix everyone a cup of tea.

~Call ahead and take everyone’s drink order from a local cafe: coffee, tea, smoothies, etc. Consider adding a small gift certificate for the next time they need caffeination.

~Bring a big salad. Consider adding ingredients for extra nutrition such as nuts, chickpeas, olives, or grilled chicken. Include dressing and a side of crusty bread.

~Quiche with a side salad.

~Tortilla chips and salsa. Bonus points if the salsa is homemade, but not necessary. (People forget about snacks.)

~The fixings to make tacos. Prepare the meat or beans ahead of time, and put them in a container. Bring with tortillas or shells, an avocado, tomato, cheese, greens, and a side of sour cream.

~The fixings to make french bread pizzas. Bring a loaf of french bread, a container of pizza sauce, mozzarella, and a few toppings. Each member of the family can make their own mini pizza just the way they like. This is especially good if there are older siblings who might be picky.

~Grab a rotisserie chicken, some mashed potatoes, and steam-in-the-bag veggies.

~Make homemade mac n’ cheese, and a roasted vegetable, and deliver in oven-safe containers for reheating.

~Soup and a side of biscuits.

~Grab a container of hummus, some pita bread, and some carrot sticks/celery/raw broccoli, etc. (Seriously, people always forget about snacks.)

~Speaking of snacks: cheese and crackers, homemade trail mix, fancy popcorn, baked fruit or veggie chips such as kale or apple, or protein/granola bars.

If you have ever stressed over what to bring when visiting friends or family with a new Baby, perhaps this list can serve as inspiration. And possibly save them from a pile of casseroles.


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Our Mornings

tea mug
Through my sleep, I become aware of the sound of 4-year-old mouth-breathing in my room, and then feel the mattress start bouncing as he climbs into my bed and starts whining at me to move over and make room for him to snuggle. I groan and grumble at him to stop pulling on my blanket, but I move over anyway. “Snuggling” lasts for maybe two minutes, before he becomes bored, and begins his list of demands for breakfast, someone to play with him, and/or for me to rub or scratch his back. Usually, I complain that the numbers on the clock say it is too early, and that he needs to go play in his room for a few minutes, and give Mumma a chance to wake up.

Occasionally, this plan works, and I get to spend another 15 minutes or so dozing, while I listen to the imaginative narrations and sound effects of his play over the baby monitor. My bubble inevitably bursts though, as Lego creations are thrust into my face, or shouts of “Can you come wipe my butt!!!?” wake me again.

When we come down the stairs, he is chatty—too chatty for an introverted, non-morning person Mom to handle before coffee. I relish in closing the bathroom door behind me for a moment, creating a physical barrier between us, so that I can pee in peace. However, he usually bursts in on me anyway, says he “just wants to be with me”, and sits on his little bathroom step stool, staring at me while I do my business, and giving me a grin that is somehow simultaneously endearing and obnoxious.

We then make our way to the kitchen, where the regular routine of me suggesting something for breakfast, and him repeatedly asking: “But what else do we have?” begins. This either ends in me losing patience, and making him whatever I am having anyway despite his protests, or giving in and allowing him to have a yogurt tube (they are supposed to be for preschool lunches) and crackers for breakfast, while I have my granola and fruit.

Finally, at the breakfast table, I usually get my moment of peace. He is too impatient to get on with the day’s playing, and instead of demanding and arguing that he stay at the table to eat, I allow him to come and go, returning to the table for an occasional bite, while he makes tinker toy contraptions, or engages a toy ninja in a fight with a knight. His needs being met, and off in his little world, I sip my coffee, eat my own breakfast, and read a book or doodle in my sketchbook. My brain slowly thaws from grogginess, and I become, at least a little bit, human.

At one point, I formed an idealized vision–of us having breakfast together every morning, side-by-side at the table, enjoying conversation–and I tried to make it a reality. This resulted in too much squirminess on his part, and too much impatience on mine. I believe in the importance of the family meal, which we fulfill at dinnertime. Breakfast and lunch with my child, on the days when we are home together, are much more relaxed and fluid, and I have decided to be OK with that, rather than beat myself up about it.

Today is one of such days at home. I do not have to work, and he has no preschool. He has a runny nose and slight cough, so I want to keep him inside the house and as relaxed as possible in order to avoid this little cold from combining with his asthma and becoming croup or worse. I am also heavily pregnant, so while my hope is to get all of the laundry done, dishes washed, dinner planned, and vacuuming done, I am accepting the reality that it might not all happen.

I am reading and drinking a cup of tea while he watches Magic School Bus. He comes over for a bite of his food and sees my mug. “Can I have some tea?” he asks.

I go pour some of the still warm water from my tea preparations into a mug, add a blueberry tea bag, and bring it to the table. He comes back into the dining room, and reaches for his mug. Something catches his attention on the television, he fails to stop paying attention to his actions, and his flailing arm knocks his tea over. (I knew I should not have filled it up so full.)

“Oops! I didn’t mean to.” he tells me, as I jump up and start frantically moving things out-of-the-way before the spreading tea puddle can get to them.
“Quick!”, I shout, “Go get the paper towels!”
He intends to, but he is taking time, perfecting his dismount from the chair.
Go get the paper towels!”
He is still worried more about doing just the right kind of jump than his shouting mother.
“UGH!”, I sigh with frustration, and make my way to the kitchen to grab what I need, leaving the puddle still spreading on the table. I then make a totally uncool Mom move, when I blurt: “Why are you NEVER fast enough when I ask you to do something!?” I instantly regret these words of criticism, and take a deep inhale. “I’m sorry. I am not mad at you. I am only frustrated because you were not paying attention. I know it was an accident.”

I wipe up the huge spill (Really, why did I fill his mug so full?), he wanders back off to watch his show, and I take another deep breath. The tea missed my library book, and the basket of clean laundry that really should not have been on the table we eat at in the first place, and at least the dining room now smells like blueberries. Finally, I go put on a new pot of water to make him a fresh cup of tea before plopping back down to read more of my book.

Eventually, I will feel ready to get on with the day. I will get myself dressed, and some days, I even manage to convince him to change out of his pajamas too. I will load the dishwasher, and scratching even just one thing off my to-do list will make me feel accomplished. We will glue buttons onto cardboard together , or build a castle out of blocks. He will eventually demand lunch, and I will insist that he have some type of fruit or vegetable with it. He will mope that he just wants pickles and pretzels, and I will try to explain proper nutrition as I spread peanut butter. We will read a pile of picture books, or draw on the driveway with chalk. I will try to pick up clutter while he follows me around like a puppy, pretending to be a baby armadillo, or praying mantis, or whatever the animal/insect of the day is. He will constantly run in front of me, almost tripping me up, and I will silently wish that he would stop talking in a baby voice. At 2:30 I will excitedly announce that Daddy will be home soon, and start mentally counting down the minutes as I wait to hear his car pull into the drive. At this point, the afternoon shifts, and the second half of our day begins.

It took me a while to accept the fact that I am not a get-up-and-go, seize the day type of Mom. I was never that way before kids, so why should I expect it of myself now, when I am even more tired and more frequently overwhelmed? On the days that we do have to be out of the house early, I somehow manage to do what takes me hours on our days at home, in the span of 45 minutes. Those days I feel like Superwoman for getting us both fed, dressed, packed, and out the door and into the car. Somehow I even do my hair, put on makeup, and accessorize. I usually only do this twice a week, but somehow it seems like a humongous feat, despite the fact that I know other parents do the same thing every single week day. Then, our next day at home will arrive, and I will feel slow again, and in need of another long “thaw”. I cannot compare myself with those other 5-days-a-week parents, because their family has different needs, and they are different people.
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I am not entirely sure why I felt the need to record and to blog about our mornings. Perhaps it is because I know it will soon change, with the arrival of the new Baby. This post can be a little snapshot to look back on later, including the good and the imperfect, of what our relaxed routine was like with Mumma home and only one child. Perhaps it is a step in my continuing efforts to remain comfortable with my parenting style, and to be OK with who I am as a Mom. I am sure that I am not the only parent out there, who feels less than stellar first thing after waking up, and who might worry about how our being tired effects our abilities with our kids.

I think it is both.


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Packing for the Hospital

hospital 2

2010

As of two days ago, I am 35 weeks pregnant. This means that my estimated due date is in just over a month!!! Since I am working right up until the end, am already Mumma to an active 4-year-old, and we are still renovating our bedroom and getting the house in order, I know this last month is going to fly by. So, I am working on being more prepared for when the time comes.

Yesterday, I finished making a list of everything we will pack in our hospital bag. This way, as we get closer to the time, I can start to put some things in the bag, and scratch them off the list. I believe this will also make things so much easier, when labor begins, to have the list to look at for adding the final things, like toiletries, that can’t be packed up in advance.

So, in case it interests you, or helps other expecting parents to make their own list, I decided to share mine along with my comments about what I was glad we had last time, and what I wished we would have had. I might make last-minute tweaks in the weeks to come, but I really think this list will encompass everything we will need to be more comfortable for labor, delivery, and our stay afterward.

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FOR OUR HOSPITAL BAG:

Items for Labor:

~A copy of our birth plan. My midwife will have a copy, but I want to bring one with us just in case she is unavailable when I go into labor, to have for the staff on duty.

~Some soothing CD’s. When I had Simon we listened to Norah Jones and Zero 7. This time, I plan to bring Lisa Hannigan. Our hospital provides a CD player in each birth room.

~A picture of Simon, for motivation and smiles.

~Natural lollipops. The sour ones were comforting to me when I had pregnancy nausea, and if I want something during labor, but don’t feel like eating, these would be helpful.

~Mints or gum.

~A microwavable heating pad. I find mine soothing and relaxing when I am tired or sore. Alternately, if I want something cool on me, I can ask Jeramy or a nurse for a cool, wet cloth.

Clothing: Comfort is my number one concern here. I will be packing clothes to labor in, and clothes for afterward.

For labor:

~A nightgown. When I had Simon I was very glad that I bought my own nightgown for labor, rather than wearing the one the hospital provides. It was important to me to feel like a Mother giving birth, and not a medical patient. I still have that nightgown, and will be bringing it again this time. The nice thing about a gown is that when I was ready for pushing, it could just be pulled up out-of-the-way.

~Sweatpants. I wore sweatpants underneath my nightgown for most of the time, as I took walks in the halls, bounced on my birth ball, and went through most of early labor the first time around. At a certain point, I was able to just take the sweatpants off, to make it easier for my midwife to examine me, and obviously once it was time to push they would have been in the way.

~Cotton tank top. In case it is more comfortable than the nightgown for various labor positions.

~Bathing suit. This time I plan on trying to labor in the birthing tub, and a nightgown on top would just get in the way here. I have a large tankini top that I bought for pregnancy, and it is very comfortable.

For the rest of the time:

~Lounge or yoga pants, t-shirts, a loose, flowy cardigan, a hoodie…basically, pajamas that I do not mind wearing in the company of visitors. When I had Simon, it was May, and it looked beautiful out, but was actually very chilly. I ended up wishing I had packed more layers, and plan to give myself better choices this time.

~For the day we leave to go home, I will be bringing my maternity jeans and a loose top that makes me feel good to wear. We will likely want to take a family photo when we leave, and this will help me feel a bit more “normal”. (Since women still have a pregnancy belly for a while after having a Baby, there is no point trying to pack anything from pre-pregnancy, or that is too constricting.)

~Soft lounge socks to keep my feet warm.

~Flip-flops to slip on and off easily. (If Baby is going to have his or her hearing test, for example, I will want to go along.)

~A package of large underwear. I purchased an 8-pack of undies one size larger than I normally wear, and in a cut that gives more coverage. After you have a Baby you wear large pads for a while, and I want some undies that will accommodate these comfortably.

~Nursing tanks and bras. When I had Simon, the nurses helped me to change into one of my nursing tank tops right away and I attempted to breastfeed him. He was too sleepy, but those nursing tanks came in very handy while in the hospital, and for the rest of the time he was breastfed.

For Hubby: Pajamas, clean socks and underwear, flip-flops, a change of pants, something long-sleeved, and a few t-shirts. (The extra t-shirts are in case of Baby spit-up.)

Toiletries: Some people bring their own shampoos, bar of soap, even toilet paper. For me, some things are more important to have my own of than others. Here I am planning to bring what we need to cover the basics, and just use the hospital provided samples for the rest.

~Our toothbrushes and our own toothpaste. (I am picky about toothpaste.)

~Deodorant.

~Disposable face wash wipes for quick freshen-ups.

Extras for Me:

~A package of very large menstrual pads. The hospital provides some, but after the first day I preferred my own.

~Nursing pads.

~Nipple cream.

~Lip balm. Sometimes all of the deep breathing you do in labor can chap your lips.

~My makeup bag with a few basic items in it. It helped me feel more put-together, when I had Simon, to put on a bit of concealer, mascara, and blush before guests would arrive.

~Hairbrush, blow-dryer, and barrettes. I will be cutting my hair short before having Baby, so barrettes will help me pin back pieces from my face if I want. When I had Simon though, I brought hair elastics, because I had long hair then.

~My glasses case. (I definitely won’t want to be wearing my glasses the whole time.)

Snacks:  Our hospital puts no restriction on eating and drinking during labor, and if things take a while I want to have some snacks on hand, both during early labor, and for the rest of our stay. The hospital keeps crackers and peanut butter, pudding, and bananas available, but there are some things I will be adding to our suitcase to satisfy any likely cravings.

~Dark chocolate.

~Something salty and crunchy, such as roasted salted almonds or russet potato chips.

~Seltzer.

~Lara bars.

~Annies Microwaveable Mac&Cheese bowls. A friend suggested these to me when I was telling her about Simon’s birth and how the only food I had packed were a few granola bars, but I ended up craving savory things. These are a hot meal that can be easily tossed into the suitcase without worry about refrigeration.

We will likely get takeout at some point too, but having some things on hand to fill in the gaps will be a good idea, especially if we are awake at night when the hospital cafeteria and local restaurants are closed.

For Baby:

~A few outfits. When Simon was born we were shocked to have a 5 lb. 13 oz. baby who was so tiny he swam in the newborn sizes that I had packed. The hospital loaned us some slightly smaller outfits, and then my Mother-in-law went to the store for some preemie sized clothes. This time around I will be bringing some clothes in both preemie and newborn to cover the bases. Keeping it as simple as possible, I will bring a few onesies, some sleeper gowns or footie pajamas, little mitts, and a soft cap. For the day we leave I will select an outfit with a little sweater and soft pants to layer over a onesie, so that Baby can be easily buckled into the car seat.

~A snuggly blanket. The hospital has swaddling blankets for while we are there, but it will be good to have a warmer one for tucking over the baby in the car seat for the ride home.

~Nursing pillow for breastfeeding.

Other:

~Camera with charger and memory card.

~Chargers for our cell phones so that we can send a first picture of the baby and announce the big news.

~An empty tote bag. The hospital gives new parents packets of information, board books to start Baby’s library, after care items for Mumma, a small baby tub, some care items for Baby, a few diapers, and a manual breast pump. Visitors also sometimes bring gifts. Having an extra bag to bring everything home in is very helpful.

~A special big-brother gift for Simon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This may seem like a lot of stuff, but it will all fit easily into our one suitcase. Every family has different needs and wants, so my list might not work for you. I recommend asking what your hospital or birth center provides, and reading lists online or asking friends what they recommend.

 


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It Is Getting More Real…

pregnant black and white

I am 32 weeks pregnant now. Only 8-ish weeks to go. I have been feeling baby kicks for months, and yet, last night, as Jeramy and I sat on the couch together and Baby started up the nightly internal parkour routine, I exclaimed: “There is a Baby in there! We are having a Baby!”

“I know.” he replied, and we both smiled.

As we are now well into the third trimester, and we begin writing our list of things to pack for the hospital, and working out the details of our birth plan, it is all getting to be…real. Despite the insomnia, soreness, and fatigue I have been experiencing, the excitement is really kicking in too. These last two months will be over before we know it, and we will soon get to meet our child. I try to remind myself every day that this is the last child we are planning to have, so this is my last chance to experience how incredible it is to feel those movements and kicks inside. To anticipate the arrival of this new member of our family. To daydream about what our child will be like, and who they will become.

We still have a lot to prepare before Baby’s arrival. We are renovating the downstairs bedroom, and in the meantime we are sleeping on our mattress on the floor, surrounded by boxes that are waiting to be unpacked from when we moved in. We need to purchase our co-sleeper, a breast pump, and a few other items. We have just begun stocking the freezer so that we will not have to cook when we are too sleep deprived. But, day by day we are more prepared for this big change in our lives.

In a recent conversation with a friend who is also pregnant, she mentioned how adorably foldy new babies’ legs are. I actually squealed out loud with excitement remembering this, and remembering other things about what newborns are like. When Simon was born, I marveled at the way his tiny feet still folded against his legs. At how small fingernails can actually be. At the way he would look into my eyes and know me, right from the first time I ever held him.

It is hitting me now, the excitement of it all. The reality. We are going to have a Baby!


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Children Are People Too

izze

Recently, my little Simon and I met some friends for lunch at a local cafe. We arrived, ordered our food, and then I told Simon he could pick out a drink for himself. He excitedly chose an Izze soda, knowing that this is the only soda I allow him to drink. (If you are not familiar, Izze is basically carbonated fruit juice with no added sugars or preservatives. And it is quite delicious.)

Full of excitement over meeting friends, and being allowed to have a special treat, he practically bounced across the cafe floor with his drink, to place it on the counter. The woman working at the counter began to ring us up. Simon politely said to her: “Excuse me,…”

“Hi!” She said to him. “Is that your drink?”

“Yes, and—” He began to reply.

“Your Mom is having a baby!” She interrupted him. “You must be excited!”

He again tried to speak, pointing to his soda: “This is—”

Are you having a sister or a brother?” She again interrupted.

“No. This is—” Still pointing at the soda bottle.

“A baby sister or a baby brother? Do you know what you are having?” Her tone implied impatience with him, and yet she was not giving him time to reply. By now, I was feeling furious with this woman. My son was attempting to communicate with her, but she had her own agenda. Because he was not responding the same way an adult would, she was not respecting him, and not taking the time to listen.

He tried again: “But this is–” He was tapping the soda bottle frantically now, to show her what he was trying to talk about.

And again she interrupted: “You must be excited about the baby. What is it gonna be, a boy or a girl?”

Finally, Simon could not take it any more, and actually jumped up and down and wailed: “But I am trying to tell you something!”

She didn’t even hear his words, despite the fact that he was shouting them, because she was still grilling him over the gender of our baby. So this time I interrupted her. I reached out my hand, and stroked Simon’s hair. I leaned down to his level and said: “It’s ok honey.” Then, I looked back up at the woman and said: “He has been trying to tell you something that is important to him. He is very excited today.” I leaned back down to Simon and encouraged him: “Go ahead, Sweetie. Tell her what you want to say.”

She finally gave him room to speak. He spoke carefully and slowly now. I think he was afraid she would interrupt him again: “This is special soda that I get to have.”

She didn’t seem to know what to say, so she just replied “Oh yeah?” and finished our transaction.

Unfortunately, I don’t think she believed there was value in anything he had to say. I realize that not all adults know how to interact with children. However, at this point he was a customer in her cafe, and also a fellow human being. She was only interested in my pregnant belly, and thought he should be too. Of course he is, but it is a part of his everyday life. At that moment, getting a soda was much more thrilling and new, and he had a desperate need to express this to the other adult in front of him. Sure, she made an attempt to show interest in him by asking him questions, but it wasn’t genuine because she didn’t actually try to hear what he was saying.

He may have been barely able to see over the counter. He may have been wiggly, and silly, and young. However, that did not mean he was not worthy of being listened to. Children know when they are being talked down to or disregarded. They can sense it and it causes them frustration. (Just as it would for an adult.) This whole interaction may have only lasted a few minutes, but we encounter similar situations day after day. Added up all together they send a message that his opinions are less important because he is a kid, and that only grownups are worthy of being heard.

All adults, parents and non-parents, sometimes need to be reminded: Children are people too.


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In The Kitchen

cooking 7
cooking 5
cooking 2
cooking 3
cooking 6
cooking 1
We have been cooking up a storm lately. Having a daily meal together is one of our family values, one that we have neglected far too much in recent months, with my pregnancy being rough on me, and us still not being quite fully settled into our new home. Jeramy and I want to eat more healthfully and seasonally, to role model a good relationship with food for our children, and to stick to a budget while sharing the experience of family time spent at the dinner table.

In need of some inspiration, I checked out a new cookbook from the library, and drafted a meal plan from there that was realistic for our tastes. When I create weekly meal plans it is better for our budget, saves us time, and means fewer trips to the store. I spend a little bit of time once a week, looking at recipes, writing the grocery list, and looking at the calendar to see what our evening schedule looks like every day. Once that bit of work is done though, and the grocery trip has been made, I am free from the stress and panic of “What’s for dinner?” each day.

The best part is that not only have I been rediscovering joy in cooking for myself, but Jeramy and Simon have too. Most nights, all three of us are in the kitchen together to prepare dinner. Simon has shown increasing interest in helping, and learning about recipes and ingredients. He has assisted with chopping, stirring, measuring, and scooping. He even helps set the table now. And though he tends to be a picky eater most of the time, being involved in the process has invited him to try new things. It certainly takes longer to prep a meal with a small child, but it is so worth it. He is learning so much, and having a very valuable experience. Cooking together as a family creates memories.

 

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