Dinner is Done? What?

One of my most favorite parenting decisions was creating and implementing our dinner menu. During the summer, Mike and I found ourselves running crazy, trying to get everything done within the day. And yet, our kiddos lived it up, staying up all night, sleeping in late, and waiting until the last minute to even do their chores.

We would leave the house, first thing in the morning, and often times not getting home until after 5:00 only to find six starving bums who complained about what’s for dinner.

Dying to play with some chalkboard paint, I picked up an old picture frame from our local thrift stop, and some washi tape, and pieced together a Monday through Friday chalkboard calendar.

Every month, after Mike or I decides who is cooking on which day, we then turn the chalk over to the three oldest boys, Tunes, Gamer and Justice. They then fill in what they will be preparing for dinner for the month.

The interesting part is when I was cooking dinner, everyday each and every kid would come in, asking, “Mom, what’s for dinner? Aww man, again?”

After we put the three in charge guess what happened? Not only do they make the exact same thing week after week, they make the same things I made week after week! Seriously, we’ve even encouraged them to pick new things and we’ll help them learn how to cook them.

Nope, we have the same ol’ stuff day after day, after day. Hamburgers, wings, spaghetti, tacos, chicken, pork chops and nachos. Still not a bad spread. I know they can whip these together with ease. Which is probably the problem. They don’t want to put much effort into it.

The funny thing is, is naturally because this is something we don’t allow the younger ones to do, the younger ones WANT to do it. Our 11 year old is always finding recipes he wants to try. So on weekends that he’s with me, I try to plan on cooking something with him so he can practice too.

He’s almost 12, so maybe we can throw him into the routine too. Although, I know when we do, he’ll soon lose interest after its something we expect from him.

I have to say, the main reason I am sharing this post today, is because I am SO proud of my Justice! Yesterday, I came home late from an exhausting day, knowing I had less than an hour to get ready for a baby shower and needed to all make sure the kids ate. My husband wasn’t home yet, but the scuttlebutt around the front door was Justice had ALREADY made dinner and the kids had ALREADY eaten!

Seriously? How could this be true? I hadn’t called him earlier in the day to remind him. Upon entering, I was met with the beautiful bouquet of cooked bbq wings, hot off the grill. Seriously!

I LOVE THIS KID!!! I LOVE THIS SYSTEM!

I never claim to have this whole parenting thing, together. Everyday presents a new challenge and everyday I kneel and ask God, now what? One thing I’m learning is if I expect more, I get more.

It was really hard for me to give up control around the house, after all, I’m the mom right? But I’m seeing that even though it took three months before someone got up and took the initiative to start dinner without being told, the day still came. And Monday, I’ll probably have to remind someone again to start dinner, but yesterday was a glimpse of what’s to come.

And I’m encouraged that Mike and I are doing something right and so excited to see what else they can do!

Blending This Mess

I love hearing Fun ask if Smart will be staying home this weekend, because he will too if he does. Or Tunes, yelling down the hall for Gamer to get up, so he won’t miss the bus.

It makes my heart smile, because this wasn’t always the case.

Four years ago I married my best friend,  Mike…and his two kiddos, Gamer and Smart. They joined my crew, Tunes, Justice, Fun and Butterfly.

I love my family. We have the best family, ever! Ok, sometimes the kids need to be reminded. Sometimes I need to be reminded.

In the beginning, it was rough. I mean things were fine, until we all moved in together.

Holy cow! What a mess.

Everybody was up in everybody’s space. We got kids crammed on top of kids. And their stuff is everywhere.

Our backyard looks like a used bike and scooter lot. Laundry is done everyday.

The fighting was ridiculous.

That’s mine!
No, it’s mine!
UGH….I DON’T CARE! NOW, IT’S NO ONE’S!

Oh the tattling…the blaming…the Oh, I really don’t know how the remote to the tv got in my room.

THE YELLING!  Oh, our house is loud. Too loud.

Then there was the whole…”Mike, Honey, what’s up with your kids? They’re weird.”

And the, “MY kids are weird? You just spent five minutes waiting for your kid to organize a whole box of books by color, at the bookstore.”

Yeah, that IS weird.

That’s when we found out his kids were living with ADD and mine had anxiety.

It took some doctor appointments, education, rules, boundaries, and time, but I’m thinking we got this thing starting to turned around now. Oh it is not perfect. But it’s getting better.

We’ve started chore lists. Yeah, that was popular.

We’ve color coded our bath towels and drinking glasses. You’d be surprised how many towels and glasses end up in the backyard, and no one knows how.

We have a laundry system, a bathing schedule and bed times.

Now, things are great! Well, ok, maybe not great, but I have faith that we will be!

Yeah, we got kids sneaking out of the house together now. Well, we did. They were busted. Now we have locks on our doors and windows, not to keep people out….but to keep kids in.

I just love my family. BEST FAMILY, EVER!

Now we’re not so messy, but we’re still pretty sticky.