~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
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You are invited to dinner chez Gallant tonight...
Of course, the night I decide to document our family dinner process with some photos is also the night that Micah has to work late, and the night Arden is exceptionally needy and prone to spilling all manner of things . . . the pictures make things look calmer than they really are!
There are a few things that make dinner special and pretty for me, and I hope for our little family of three, soon to be four!
A candle, a glass bottle for water, and my little leather bound Bible.
A candle - it really does make the meal seem more sacred and special. Most nights I remember to light it!
|We keep the candle and matches handy in the china cabinet, away from Arden's reach.|
And it's also a great incentive for our toddler! If she is resisting getting into her booster seat, we tell her we'll light the candle after she gets into her chair. At the end of the meal, if she's getting fidgety while waiting for us to finish up or get a cloth for her hands, or doesn't want her face washed, we tell her we need to do whatever it is first, and then she can blow the candle out. It usually works!
A glass bottle for water - When I was in Australia 8 years ago, we went to a restaurant where they brought us water in a clear glass wine bottle. I was so taken with the simple yet elegant way to serve water! Ever since that trip, I kept my eye out for a nice bottle with a cap of some kind. About 2 years ago I spotted this one in The Kitchen Store in Charlottetown and snatched it up!
I keep it in the fridge with our fresh well water, so it's always handy. And such a nice, easy way to serve water at the table.
We also serve Arden water from a small glass at suppertime. (At breakfast and lunch she usually has milk from a plastic sippy-cup).
She likes to drink out of a glass like Mommy and Daddy, and gets practice with a liquid that is an easy cleanup . . . tonight she did spill her glass all over her lap just as supper began!
My little leather bound Bible - Last summer we decided we wanted to begin the practice of reading the Bible together as a family. We started with one psalm a night. Sometimes we stretch the longer psalms out over 2 nights. We haven't been 100% consistent, but it is working its way into our lives.
Now Arden doesn't always, or even usually, sit still and listen the whole time. Sometimes we have already taken her out of her chair and she's running around the dining room, sometimes she's still eating, or sometimes she's screaming . . . but she's getting used to the habit at least! And now if she sees the Bible and we haven't read it yet, she points to it and says "Bible!" in her cute little voice!
The real challenge for me in the happy department is the hour before we sit down to dinner, which for us is usually just after 6:00 when Micah gets off work. You know that hour, when the toddler is tired and clingy (and cannot be left alone for more than three seconds without getting into something), and dinner needs to be prepared, and messes seem to make themselves faster than you can clean them up!
So it can be tricky keeping Arden happy while I get dinner ready. One of the things I've started getting her to do is help set the table. She thinks it's great fun!
|Putting Mommy's fork in place...|
|And then Daddy's...|
|Eventually things get to the table!|
One thing that helps keep Arden occupied in the crazy hour is her little kitchen. She can get quite creative with her concoctions!
|Cooking macaroni, just like Mommy!|
|Here she is actually stuffing the macaroni down her shirt!|
|Frying also make good hats, of course.|
|Or shoes, for that matter.|
Mondays are key to my dinner sanity throughout the week. That's the day I do my flyer shopping, menu planning and grocery list for the week. It really does help knowing what's on the menu each day!
|I love my Polestar Family Planner!|
See the "Week 37" on top of the page?? This baby doesn't have much longer to wait!
To be honest, I had a little mini-meltdown just as dinner began tonight, an hour late, with Arden spilling her glass of water yet again. Fatigue, pregnancy hormones, and patience running thin all contributed to it, and it is not the way I had envisioned family dinner beginning! But I took a moment, took a deep breath, and came back to the table determined to be thankful for all of God's blessings - my husband, my children, our warm house, good food on the table, and His daily bread to sustain us through all our days.