As you guys know, I did a Momversation video in March for Ragu about dinner in my house with the 4 boys (there’s never a dull moment). Ragu is doing this really cool thing for moms on their Facebook page called, Mom’s the Word on Dinner. I have to tell you, in watching all the videos of the different dinnertime routines and rituals, I don’t feel as alone as I felt! It’s good to know that other moms have the same kinds of issues as I do (and that my kids aren’t the only picky eaters in the world!).
You know it’s funny, with the summer, I have to be honest… dinnertime is easier for me. It’s easier because we make it more fun. I have never made the connection before, but as I’ve been cooking and preparing and watching the boys for the last couple of weeks, I have noticed a HUGE difference in our routine… it’s. EASY. I almost don’t want to put it out there, but, it’s true!
We spent a whole weekend in early May cleaning and clearing out our back porch and our back deck… along with our whole backyard. We wanted to make it a haven in the summer for the boys, a place for them to play and run and laugh and do everything – even eat. With working so much indoors as a blogger, I’ve been trying to be outdoors as much as possible with the kids when I’m “unplugged.” I’ve been hosting picnic lunches with them and dinners. And then most recently, my husband and I bought deck furniture for us all to use for dinnertime on our back deck. It’s been a saving grace!
We even got a little bench for Henry…
With summer (though it’s not officially summer yet, it’s been 80-90 degrees here in Rhode Island!) we’ve been outside eating and the boys have loved it! It’s a treat for them, and it’s almost too good to be true, so they don’t want to “mess it up” by not eating and enjoying! The other night as we were sitting outside, I realized everyone ate their dinner. I mean, every. single. plate. was. clear. I couldn’t believe it. When we’re indoors, I’m so programmed to watching them eat and trying to get them to take bites. When we were outdoors, I was programmed to talking about the beautiful night and what everyone wanted to do this summer and how beautiful the flowers looked from the deck. It wasn’t about the you-must-eat-the-food, it was about everything else… and that was a HUGE eye-opener for me. It’s like a just uncovered a whole new world!
I know in New England I can’t eat outside year round, but I can try and make dinnertime more fun and different! Perhaps I’ll set up a tent in the living room one night and have dinner “under the stars” with the boys. Perhaps we’ll have a picnic in the basement with a movie playing and enjoying each other all together in a relaxed atmosphere. Perhaps we’ll do more meals where everyone is making something at the same time – taco night, pizza night, pasta bar night. It made me realize that I need to be more aware of making meal time for the boys a celebration and a fun time, they’re still so young… and I want fun memories to be made, even with picky eaters! 🙂
Now if only I could figure out a way to make the weather stay this gorgeous throughout the summer!