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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Meals come with routine and structure!


Mango salsa chicken with Italian glazed carrots and basmati rice was spectacular! For me ( I don't eat meat) I made mango salsa salmon and honestly these dishes are at least $14.99 minimum to purchase in a restaurant. Speaking of restaurants, our favorite restaurant to take our family is Red Robin. Red Robin has never disappointed us. We always call in and give the restaurant enough notice that approximately fifteen of us (or more) will be coming in. Every time it's been perfect. Every time I have had strangers comment on how well our “group” is and I always smile, thank and correct that it's our children. Proud I am. How do we sit and function without much chaos with twelve plus and some special needs children? It starts at home. Routine and structure. Routine. Routine. Routine. Dinner is always served between 5-6pm. 6 pm is getting on the late side. We all sit down at the table together. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner. Manners are expected. Correction happens immediately. I honestly believe if you allow a child to eat anywhere, to watch television, to not have any manners – you aren't doing them any favors. Public outings would be chaos. “Please and thank you” are always reminded. Asking for seconds is waiting until the cooks have eaten. Dessert is served when every one is finished. Our children don't fight over where they're going to sit because I have prevented that long ago, all our children have their own designated spots. This includes the seating in our vehicles. Prevention before it happens is key. When we go to Red Robins, I choose their seats accordingly. Drinks are always after their meal. Every night we have two assigned dish washers. One washes and one drys. I have also eliminated any kitchen squabble during this time because it's one at a time during their chore. The dish list is visible for every one to see which eliminates who's turn it is. For our teenagers (that sometimes are with their friends) I stated that you have to be here by 5pm for dinner or you miss out. Unless they're working or have a valuable excuse. I know I sound like I'm running a prison however I'm parenting a large complex family that needs this type of structure and routine. This is how we are happily coming together on a daily basis and on how we can go out for dinner. It starts at home. Funny.....many people ask about the flack I must get with some of our children hating their food and demanding something else. I know what our children hate and I won't torment them by forcing them to eat stewed heart, liver and onions. For example, some love spicy hot food and some don't. I do however cook tons of variety and I believe that their taste buds need to try new things before making these decisions. I often hear our children saying to each other, “This isn't a restaurant” So they know what I serve (at home) is what's on that nights plate. I'm proud to say that all of our children mostly like everything, and they're experimental. We are also very lucky that none of us have allergies or any extreme texture sensors. You know, as much as I make most of the menu decisions, I include our children too. I ask, “What would you like tomorrow if I could cook it?” Favorite surprises are always fun. I also will teach one on one cooking. I get a bit claustrophobic in my kitchen so another rule is, if you're not working in there, please stay out. Food....it is the number one biggest time, money, physical and emotional aspect in our lives and we have to structure it well. Not only am I very glad that I love to cook, I am happy that there is structure and routine around it. If I haven't written this before, this is a little inside peek on how we function as a larger complex family around meal time. What are you cooking tonight!? 

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