Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to Have Dinner Time without Dinner TIME

The aftermath.
Last week was so busy!  School starting combined with late practices, school and church meetings, and other sports combined to leave us with NOT ONE night to eat together as a family.  This is a problem!

It's not the first time we've had this problem, and it definitely won't be the last.  I'm not willing to abandon mealtime to our crazy schedules.  What to do?  Well, we are all at home at 6:30 in the morning.  So our family breakfast was born.

Everyone gets up about 15 minutes early so they can be dressed for breakfast.  The first time I did this, we really did end up with only fifteen minutes to eat.  But now the kids look forward to it and seem to get ready extra-fast on family breakfast mornings.  I cook a real meal, usually pancakes, sausage or bacon, and eggs, along with fruit.  (Pancakes just because almost everyone loves them.) We set the table and treat it just like dinner, with serving dishes, decent plates--no paper!--and good manners.

On weeks like we are having these days, I can feel how the kids miss each other, and the tension builds a little bit. Landing on a Thursday or a Friday, taking just a few minutes to check in with each other, I can just feel everyone relax.  That sounds really weird when you are talking about a normally busy time of day, but it just works.

Last Friday we got to sit around the table and talk and laugh for twenty minutes or so.  It may have been the most important time I spent all day.

It was incredibly liberating to discover we didn't have to abandon mealtime just because our evenings are crazy some weeks.  It just took some flexibility as we changed to "meal" from "dinner."

This week is looking just as bad, with Matthew leaving for Savannah and a football game on THURSDAY.  (I know--who does that?!) So I'm already planning a yummy Thursday morning breakfast and a good send-off for my oldest.

While my family really loves pancakes at breakfast, here are some other ideas.  I like make-ahead casseroles.  One person has to roll out of bed a little early to get it into the oven, but I find that to be a great quiet time in the morning.  Muffins, fruit and yogurt are always good, too.  And, yes, I'm committing a major blog sin with no photo of any of these.  Enjoy anyway!

Not-just-for-Christmas Casserole
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Apple Pie!!  One of Jack's favorites for breakfast (and mine!)

1 comment:

Mary Prather said...

I think this is a great idea, Cheryl! We never eat breakfast together because of the insanely early hour Hal leaves for work, but I always eat with the kids and try to cook something decent. Dinners -- well... they are getting harder, but if accept the fact that a few nights they don't happen until 7:00, then that's ok.

You inspire me to be better about this!