Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Picnic Dinner!

The gloomy rain seemed to match my mood the other day as I followed my hubby around the house, watching him pack for his trip.  He will only be gone a few days, but I always feel a bit unsettled anytime he flies.  Thank goodness for Skype!  He was able to say a quick goodnight to me last night, and the kids were thrilled to see him this morning before they went off to school.  Technology really is something.

It's been a rough few weeks around here. I was home with Julian for a full week while he suffered from a wicked virus.  Had to rearrange my work schedule, as in ask my very flexible coworkers to cover for me.  It's probably a good thing we don't all have kids or it could have been a very interesting winter at the store! The boys have been a bit "cheeky", we'll say, lately.  It seems they have a fit and argue and complain anytime anything is asked of them.  Maddie has her own issues with the attitude she sometimes gives off.  Lots of snow days, lots of illness, which are both unusual around here.

 I think the good news is, spring seems to be creeping up on us- maybe winter is actually over!  The thunderstorms we had here overnight were pretty intense, but the boys slept throught it.  I really expected company in my bed around 4:30 this morning because of it.  School was delayed by two hours, and we noticed at breakfast that our grill (fairly good-sized and heavy) had been blown several feet across our deck. We still have power, and no tree limbs came crashing down, so pretty uneventful for us.

With hubby gone, the kids and I enjoyed one of our favorite dinner traditions- what we call a Picnic Dinner.  This healthy dinnertime treat began when I was a single mom and my boys were preschoolers.  I should call it Mommy CopOut Dinner, because that's closer to reality.  On evenings when I was truly exhausted and still wanted to feed my boys a sound dinner, I would excitedly tell them we were having a picnic for dinner! This would usually mean us sitting around the coffee table in our living room, which was a very big deal.  I would gather grapes, apple slices, strawberries, orange slices, baby carrots, sliced red peppers (yes, they love them!), some cheese cubes, whole grain crackers, pretzels and yogurt.  I would artfully arrange the fresh fruits and veggies on a few platters that I had and voila! Dinner was served. If we really needed some fun, I would pop popcorn- they love this! It definitely makes it feel more like a party or fun snack-fest.  It's still my most requested meal from them.  We have it less often now that I am married to a meat and potatoes guy, so it's still a treat and still special. We change it up, depending on what we have in the house- sometimes a variety of dips is offered with the veggies, and I am still trying to get them to like hummus. Even without the hummus, it is probably the healthiest overall meal they can have- it's super fresh, has tons of color from the variety, whole grains, and protein.  And it's their favorite.  My friend tried this with her seven-year-old, and said he really got a kick out of it!

Does your family have any special meal traditions like this?