Monday, March 9, 2015

Dinner Time

There are parts of our day that we have down solid.  Then there are other parts where we fall apart every single day.  As I've stepped back and evaluated, I've decided that our dinner time routine is next on the list of things to get better at.

I menu plan, grocery shop, and try to make healthy meals for my family.  My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to is that the few minutes leading up to dinner would be less chaotic.  Here's how it usually goes down. Each night I go into the kitchen to begin preparing the meal.  Then, about 5 minutes before it's ready, I call the boys in to set the table and fill the water glasses.  That may not sound chaotic, but I can assure you, it is usually not an orderly peaceful time in our day.  We sit down and everyone has their colorful plastic cup they've been drinking from throughout the day.  The table usually never looks pretty.  It usually looks thrown together.

As I was thinking through this, I thought how easy it would be to create some order to our dinner routine.  Here is what I want for our dinner to be like in the evening.

Sit down as a family to a beautifully set table, where everyone eats off of a real glass plate, drinks out of a real glass, and has a napkin with silverware at their place setting.  We do candles (I'm out right now, but a trip to the Dollar Tree to replenish my stock is in my near future), so the candles of course will be lit.
Yesterday as I was thinking through the current, hodge-podge dinner time routine we have, I realized how simple of a thing it would be to change.  We eat at 5pm most days.  As I thought through this, it made so much sense that at 4:30, the boys could come in and set the table.
I think we'll call it Table Chores.  It will include putting out the plates, glasses, napkins, silverware, water pitcher, water glasses filled with ice water, and the salt and pepper shaker in the center of the table by the tapers.
I'll fess up to some more bad table habits we have.  People start leaving the table and dispersing before the meal is done.  This is something else I'm ready to tackle.  Everyone staying at the table until the meal is over.
The chaotic breakdown continues after the meal.  Every night the table needs to be cleared, the floor swept, food put away, dishes washed, counters wiped down.  We restore the order for the next meal.  It's never a smooth sailing machine, so we're going to work toward some better habits in this area.
I'm spelling it out, starting tonight.
I'm about to head into the kitchen now to show the boys what setting the table means. 
Sometimes I wander if we're the only family who hasn't figured out an orderly dinner time!  I suppose it is just part of the process of having a home with small children.  Everything is a process.  It sure doesn't have to be perfect.  We have not arrived where we are doing everything perfectly. That isn't even my goal.  What we do have a lot of love between us and little by little we try to grow and get better.