Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Under construction: Mealtime

Now that Justin is home in the evenings (thank the Lord in Heaven above volleyball season is over), I've found that I really do enjoy cooking dinner for my family.  It took a few weeks, but we really have our evening rhythm down now and I can already tell Jackson is catching on.  I love that once we finish dinner he starts getting excited about bathtime - which is followed by pjs, teeth brushing, toy clean-up and books.  He's doing so much better transitioning from one activity to the next now that he has a very predictable rhythm to follow.  Ah, relief.  (Mornings are coming together great too!)

So, with our evenings settling down some, I have been trying to work on improving our dinner selections.  During volleyball season, I was just trying to get something (anything) pulled together and on the table.  We ate way too much Chick-fil-a, Hamburger Helper, and Kraft Mac & Cheese.  Before having kids I never expected to feed my children a considerable amount of prepackaged and highly processed foods.  I always thought that I would bake and cook almost everything we ate from scratch.  But then reality of having two young kids set in and I felt like no matter what I did, I was behind before things even began.  Thankfully, with Justin home I feel like I'm FINALLY catching up!  I'm working on planning and cooking much more wholesome foods.  I'm not big on organic foods, but I do want my family eating as many "whole" foods as possible.  I'm trying to get our foods from as close to the source as possible.  If you know of a good, local milk/egg source, please let me know!  I think part of the fun in that would be for the kids to see where their milk and eggs come from.  I'm trying to cut WAY back on our salt and sugar consumption.  I don't want my children to develop a taste for only white breads and high sugar/salt/fat foods.  My next step is to start baking our own bread!  I've always been terrible with bread baking, but I'm hoping I can get better with the right recipes. 

It feels so good to be back on the right track, but I know it's going to take some time for our taste buds to adjust back to a more healthy diet.  Tonight I made beef stew with low-sodium vegetable broth - wow, what a difference the lack of salt makes.  I think Justin might have the hardest time with the changes, but I'm hoping that he and I can set a great example for the kids. 

With the changes comes the need for new recipes!  If you have any websites or cookbooks that you recommend, please let me know!  I still need recipes to be fairly quick, but I do have a little more time now than previously.

Completely unrelated, but here are a few pictures from Thanksgiving! We celebrated in Blacksburg with both of our families. I LOVE having all the grandparents (and a few great-grandparents and aunts/uncles) together for the children. My "German sister" was in town when we first arrived and she was finally able to meet Justin and the kids. It's been about 5 years since we last saw each other since her family relocated to Maine. It was so good to see them all and I hope we see each other again for much longer soon. Summerlin was able to meet her great-grandmother for the first time too! It was a great long weekend - we are incredibly blessed to both come from such wonderful families!

Baby girl faces forward now in the car!  She's 32" and 23 lbs...too tall for the baby seat (the weight goes up to 32lbs)!

 Such a happy girl.  She was all smiles for the camera.
 Family jam session.  Justin's cousin on the guitar and brother on the banjo.
 Banjo man.
 Hello beautiful!
 My handsome little man concentrating on something.