Dinner time Debates: How to Take the Stress out of Supper

They always love the food they plant!

People often ask what it is like to feed half dozen kids. Feeding families can be a “thing” and many parents report that dinner time can be the most stressful time of the day. I decided early on that I didn’t want meal time to create anxiety for me or my kids, so here are my few tips for relaxing and enjoying  fun family meals.

-          I don’t let myself get upset if the kids turn their noses up at what is being served for dinner. There’s enough variety that they’re going to like something on the menu.  As long as they try one bite of what is being served up, they are welcome to fill their bellies with the raw carrots on the table. No one has starved yet.

-          We keep meals simple and kid friendly. The Daddy-o works out of town during the week and I’m not a foodie, so this adult is happy to make easy dinner recipes and eat with the kiddos.

-          For me, the only thing more annoying than cooking is coming up with fast recipes and meal ideas.  I have a four week meal planner posted in the kitchen for everyone to see. It makes for effective shopping, creates less wasted food and saves me from hearing, “what’s for dinner?” six times a day.

Here is an example of my September meal plan filled with quick recipes. I use one of our quick dinner ideas on Wednesdays because the kids have hot lunches at school that day. I also try to have something they all like on a Monday, because let’s face it – Mondays can be tough. On the last Friday of the month, we order in. The menu is based on different children’s preferences and the evening activity schedule. Some meals are faster to prepare and clean up. Those are meals we have on nights where we have to be at music, dance, hockey and taekwondo right after dinner.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1 Fish and Chips/raw veg Chicken drumsticks/mashed potato/corn Breakfast for dinner (eggs/bacon) Pasta: spaghetti and meatballs Home-made pizza/raw veg
Week 2 Salmon/ asparagus/noodles Chicken breast/ mashed spuds/corn Homemade soup Pasta: pesto Chicken and Cesar salad
Week 3 Tacos Butter chicken and rice Salad wraps Chicken snitzel/roast potatoes/tomato and avocado salsa Hotdogs and hamburgers/salad
Week 4 Cheesy pasta Ribs/noodles/corn on the cob Crepes and omelets Bangers and mash/ peas ORDER IN

Substitutes: curried sausage, chili, perogies, Swedish meatballs and rice, lasagna.

How does your family survive the dinner hour? Do you have any quick and easy dinner ideas or meal planner tips that make this time of day less stressful in your house?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Summer Hot Car Safety Tips EVERY Parent Must Read

Everybody knows you shouldn’t leave your child in a hot car in the summer. So, don’t you ever wonder why kids still die in hot cars ever summer then? Didn’t their parents have common sense? Believe me, it’s usually not because their parents didn’t know better.   We all know better.  These are the same parents that go to the trouble of putting their kids in car seats but forget their children are in their car.  How can you forget your child?  It sounds hard to believe, but in fact it’s a frightfully easy thing to do as outlined below.

A hot car is no place for a child!

Confusion due to special occasion:

“We were all saying our good byes after the family reunion.  We took two cars to the event.  I thought my wife took the baby in her car, but she buckled the baby in the car seat in my car instead.  She said she was going to the grocery story on the way home, so when I got home I went inside.  The baby was sleeping – I never heard a peep from the back seat. When she came home 20 minutes after me and asked where they baby was, we realized the confusion, ran to the car…. but it was too late.”

Confusion to due to distraction / change in patterns:

“Our schedule is that I drop the baby at daycare on my way to work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  My wife does the pick up.  I put the baby in the car seat and headed out towards work, but got thinking about an issue at work and somehow because they moved my Tuesday meeting I forgot it was actually Monday and my drop off day.  I just headed to work.  It wasn’t until my wife went to pick up my child at daycare at 4pm that they reported that the child was not dropped off that morning.”

Parents are busy with a lot of minutia to juggle in their hectic lives and in their active minds.  It’s easy to forget keys and it’s easy to forget a schedule.   Forgetting our child does not mean we don’t love our children enough to remember them. It’s not enough to say “I won’t be forgetful”.   Instead we need to create sure-fire summer safety tips to avoid putting our children in danger.  Here are three ways you can prevent a death due to a simple oversight.

  1. Place a teddy bear in the child car seat.  Whenever you strap a child into the car seat, place the teddy bear in the front seat as a visual reminder that the car seat is occupied.
  2. Keep your purse, cell phone or briefcase on the floor of back seat below the car seat.  When you retrieve your purse you’ll be forced to look in the car seat.
  3. LOOK before you go.  Just make it a habit to look in the back seat each time you lock your car.   We look both ways when we cross the street.  We beep our keys to ensure our car doors are locked – why not add one more potentially life saving routine to regime?

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

 

Weight Loss Issues

My daughter’s  2nd birthday is just around the corner. Like all parents I am in disbelief of how fast time has flown by! The thought of her birthday has caused me to reflect on my life and analyze how things are going. In particular I find that I have been obsessing about my physical appearance and my lack of motivation to lose the left over baby-weight that has stuck with me after childbirth.

Before my daughter was born I would have considered myself a fairly active person. My previous job was labour intensive so that helped– working in a greenhouse you sweat in both the summer and in the winter when you’re layered up looking after plants! When I became pregnant everyone told me things would change and they did. Like all pregnant women my body spread out to make way for this little person and I gained weight. Now I find myself in what I like to call Mommy Limbo: I’m not thrilled with how I look but I’m not interested in spending my free time at the gym either. In fact, I would rather be doing anything else. These days I find it especially tough at home because my husband who lost his sympathy pregnancy weight the moment our daughter was born is now preparing for a Mud Hero race and getting even more fit.

So I came to the realization that it’s time to start an active living plan, and stop complaining. No more pity parties! Part of the active plan is tricky-instead of trying to figure out how to lose weight fast (like many celebrities) I have to be realistic. I can’t ignore pop culture but I can certainly look at celebs who lose weight in what feels like a matter of minutes and understand that they have a lot of help.  Of course Beyoncé can cleanse she has personal trainers and chefs! Sure Gisele can hit the VS runway 6 weeks after having her baby, working out is part of the job! It’s not right that we constantly compare ourselves to glamorous people even though it seems to be unavoidable in our technology driven world. So I decided to focus on the goals that are attainable. I mean I love Reese Witherspoon as much as the next person but instead of focussing on how to lose weight fast like she did, I could just copy her haircut.

I want our daughter to grow up in a home that places value on people for their merits and that starts with her dad and I reinforcing good habits. I want her to know that it’s important to respect people and that we need to discuss what we see in the media about size, celebs and the obsession with what is deemed “attractive”. I don’t want my daughter to think that all I do is spend hours googling, “how to lose belly fat”, or “how to lose weight fast” or fidgeting in front of the mirror worrying about what other people think of my size.

I am hoping is that this starts a new conversation-not just amongst moms but with everyone who is struggling with body issues. No more of this fat shaming. No more unrealistic diet plans. I am going to stop crying in front of the closet full of clothes that don’t fit anymore and set realistic goals that include building self esteem and being comfortable with whatever number is on the tag of my pants. That crying girl in front of the closet – that’s the old me. I became a new person the moment Sadie came into this world and I want to live up to her expectations. Let’s see how it goes, it’s another year to feel healthier and to celebrate every milestone, no matter how big or small.

No more tears in front of this closet!

As I start to change the way I look at the world I wonder if other new parents are going through the same things, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as the end of the day you feel good. So I’m curious, what have you done lately that inspired a more active lifestyle or helped with losing weight after pregnancy? I would love to hear your tips and suggestions!

 

About the Author

Ainsley Gelder was welcomed into the Mabel community back in 2012 – ready for a new job and pregnant the Team welcomed her (and her bump) with loving arms and now they can’t get rid of her! You may recognize her voice from communicating with her through the Customer Service Department, she’s here to answer questions or to chat about labels and loves to laugh. Ainsley is crazy for a good DIY Project on Pinterest and spending time with her family, she especially loves spending time reading books with her toddler and having dance parties in the living room.

You can find her on Twitter @ainsleyisdancin

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