I didn’t cook today! I had the fish thawing and it is now back in the freezer for later use (but SOON, because it’s already been in there a long time….)
Tonight at El Caporal they were donating 10% of guest checks to our Elementary school. I missed out on it last month, so I took the kids tonight. It really is my favorite place! The best atmosphere, friendly staff (ALL of them! not a single grouch among the crew!), *wonderful* food and quick service! Of course since it was a school fundraising event, it was busy! As we walked in, I immediately spotted our Superintendent, "Money Guy" (lol that’s what we call him… I don’t know what his actual title IS, but he’s the money guy!), and the substitute Elementary Principal sitting at a table together (oh… substitute principal because our beloved Mr. C is at the hospital with his baby, since the 18th… please keep their family in your thoughts! We don’t know much, just that he’s having having tummy trouble…) …… across the way was the "G" family, chatting with everyone around and passing out buttons for people to wear to support our upcoming Levy! A couple other tables were filled with friends of mine and their families. The "O" family was missing, but they were apparently having a rough time with their long, winding, steep driveway in this weird, weird weather we are having!!!
I’m sure the night will have proved a successful one for the fundraising effort come closing time! It was a hoppin’ place (as always), and many more school families came in while I was there with my kiddos! Teachers, admin staff, parents with kids… I saw several, and a couple more pulling in as we left! No doubt they are all going home with full bellies, just like me! I’d like to be sleeping after all that food, but I’ve got laundry in the machines……

My grocery store finds today! I got lots of fresh produce on my store run today, stuck to my list and came out of the store with 4 bags filled with groceries for only about $30! Not too bad, considering all the produce and dairy in them! I can now say that I’ve got the food for the weekend, and early week. I’ll be changing my menu due to all this fresh produce that will need to be used up. The fish may come back out for Sunday (I’ll be looing for a lighter meal after eating wings, potato salad, chips, etc for the Seahawks playoff game on Saturday, plus after eating out tonight and again tomorrow for My John’s Birthday dinner! Yes, I think the fish will be resurfacing for Sunday….)

Dad may enjoy this line a bit…… "IF IT WERE A SNAKE, IT WOULD HAVE BIT YOU"
That is what went through my mind this evening after searching Safeway AND the van, AND THEN even calling Dad to see if Haden had maybe left his (NEW) hat there. No luck with any of those… many tears, a tough lesson for a little boy to learn……. and then we pul into our parking lot at home… I open up the door on the van for the kids… look in the backseat where Haden was sitting, and "What’s that?" Yup, his hat…. laying right on the seat next to him, unseen by him and by me….. lighting? maybe… blindness? possibly… but at least it was there and we got a laugh out of it… I bet he hangs onto his hat a bit better from now on. (Next time I’ll just get him a snake! lol)

Yes, Veronica… I do watch a wee bit of my beloved Rachael Ray! Of course, the evoo has been credited to her, but I’ve been using that abbreviation on message boards for many years…. YUMM-O? OK… that’s all RR! I love my RR!!!!! While she became famous for her 30-minute meals, I’ve been striving to cook this way for many years, as life gets busier and money gets tighter!

This next bit may seem a bit hypocritical of me, considering that we ate out tonight (for a school fundraising event, please remember that!)and will be eating out again tomorrow night (as My John’s big 4-0 Birthday celebration!). Eating out is certainly NOT the norm for us! I prefer my own cooking, and to be able to be in my pajamas, if I choose to be, while eating my dinner! Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about eating out. It’s expensive and time-consuming, so I don’t do it often at all…
In the time you take to hit a drive through, and especially the time it would take to go have dinner in a sit-down restaurant, while you think it’s saving you time, you could be making your own meal and your favorite memories in the comfort of your home! You’re actually losing more than you’re gaining! Not just in the sitting and waiting, but in the quality time you *could* be having in the kitchen, teaching the kids how to cook! Even if all they do is pull up a chair and watch you cook, they are learning! Believe it or not, they are learning valuable lessons at meal time! What kind of message are you telling your kids?
The message I like to tell my kids is that they are important to me. I want to spend time with them. I want them to learn that cooking and eating together is an important part of being a family and that it’s fun, not a daunting task to be dreaded. If they have a part in the cooking, they will be more likely to try what’s put in front of them. They will have respect for what it takes to put a meal on the table, night after night.
Think about it… drive through at McDonald’s… 10 minutes in line, 5-10 minutes waiting for food, and then eating in the car? What kind of lesson is that? OK… try this: Local cafe’… wait for a table, 2 minutes if they aren’t busy, right? Check out the menu and decide what to order, probably 5-10 minutes. Place your order and wait for the food, let’s say they have fast service, you’ll wait 10 minutes? 15? Longer on a busy night, right?
Now imagine this: It’s Monday night and you’re cleaning up the kitchen. On the fridge you catch your MENU for the week (or the month, if you’re really ambitious! lol). You see that on Tuesday you’re having tacos and Wednesday you’re having Pork Chops …… Let’s assume you already knew about the Taco Tuesday because you also looked at this on Sunday night, so the burger for that is already sitting in the fridge, ready to become taco meat tomorrow afternoon. The chops will take a couple days to thaw properly in the fridge, so you pull them out of your freezer.
If you’re like me, Tuesday morning rolls around, and you’ve been busy getting the kids off to school, complete with lunches (if you didn’t make them Monday night while you were cleaning the kitchen after dinner). By Tuesday afternoon you’ve been helping in classrooms, running errands, or working at your other job (yes, motherhood is a job! It’s an important one, so pay attention to the details!). Now it’s Tuesday night, 5pm!!!! Dinner needs to be on the table by 6??? ACK! What’s for Dinner Tonight? Oh, right… the menu! It’s Taco Tuesday! Burger is in the fridge, ready to be cooked up. Get that burger in a pan and start cookin’, girl! While that’s browning, shred the cheese (if this isn’t already done… I keep a bag of shredded cheese onhand all the time, because we use it in a lot of meals. I buy a 2# block of cheese and grate it all up!). Cut up some tomatoes and olives and maybe some lettuce for toppings. Warm up some shells and some beans, maybe some rice? By the time your burger is done browning, all your other prep is done so you just need to season the meat! Now get out the plates and eat as a family AT THE TABLE! (I really can’t stress that part enough… and my kids are sticklers about it now, too! If I decide to take my food to the couch, they remind me how much fun I’m missing out on by not sitting with them at the TABLE!) THERE! Dinner! It probably cost about $10 total (I’m guessing here… maybe it’s less than that… I stock up so much that it’s tough for me to estimate how much each meal costs me…. it’s usually not mcuh.) and took maybe 30 minutes to get dinner on the table! All the while you’re at HOME, kids are doing homework, reading, talking to you about their day, making memories! It’s almost like…. wow, it’s like you’re a real, live family!
So, if I’ve not bored ya’ll to tears now, remember that it’s never too late to start good habits. Eating as a family, cooking as a family, BEING a family is the best habit you can teach your children!
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One Response to Off-course…

  1. Unknown says:

    I love having the kids in the kitchen with me while I cook dinner!  I get the kitchen cleaned up while I cooks, we chat, they learn that I like spending time with them; it\’s one of my favoritie times of the day.  We eat healthier food, and it\’s cheaper than eating out.  And if the kids have some extra energy and want to run around a bit, well, they can!  I hate trying to keep them happy at the dinner table in a restaurant–by the time the food comes, they are pretty much done.  They are pretty good at restaurants, but eating at home is more fun.

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