What’s for Dinner?

Among the millions of things reminding me daily that I don’t know what the H I’m doing here in this whole parenting role is meal planning.  More honestly- meal preparation.  Planning is easy, I mean we all have Pinterest, right? It’s the follow through and real time cooking that gets me four times a day seven days a week.  If it was just Seth & I, that’s no problem! We can skip dinner, eat at 8pm, or have popcorn and call it good.  But these little humans I’m trying to sustain seem to need more nutrition on a schedule. With the help of Pinterest I’ve gotten pretty good at planning meals for the week.  I have a good grocery routine- HyVee has 10% off all organic & Health Market items on Wednesdays, plus that’s trash day so Tuesday evening I clean out the fridge and can assess what we need to use up, need to toss, and plan from there.  I even have a spreadsheet for my groceries organized by location in the store with a convenient little check box next to the item. I’ve also (kinda) mastered the make-ahead thing so when the kids are about to eat their arms I can just do a few final steps and voila! Dinner is served!

But then they won’t eat it. Because it’s not PBJ.  Or as J calls it: “peanut butter and jelly and sammich!” I don’t know where I went wrong with him.  He used to eat so well! He loved roasted veggies and all these wonderful healthy meals.  But now all he wants is peanut butter and jelly and sammich.  And now with L’s allergies, it’s making it a lot harder to find food that they all can eat and all will eat.  The popular items that are rotated on a regular basis are: PBJ, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, mac & cheese, quesadillas.  I do try to pack in as much nutrition to these as I can- the PBJ is actually almond butter and we use whole wheat bread. The chicken nuggets are sometimes grilled chicken that I cut up into “nuggets” and serve with ketchup.  And sometimes they’re really chicken nuggets.  Those, the fish sticks, and the mac & cheese are all organic- so totally healthy, right?? And of course there’s the fruit.  My kids would eat nothing but fruit if we let them. Today at lunch they went through an entire box of blueberries.  We buy 4lbs of strawberries, 10 bananas, 3 boxes of blueberries, and 3-4 bags of grapes every week.  And we’re out by Wednesday!  We use the fruit as an incentive with the kids on finishing their meals (=bribe).  I’m always really proud when J asks for more blueberries and I say “Eat the rest of your over-processed fake cheese product and white pasta first!” before having more fruit…. good parenting there. But it’s ORGANIC over-processed fake cheese product, right?? They all also love yogurt, but spoon feeding the twins is hard because they aren’t terribly patient when its the other’s turn.  Sweet potatoes are always a hit, sometimes green beans, always corn (but does that really even have nutritional value??).  Yesterday I tried to make “turkey sushi” but eating raw turkey was gross.  Just kidding. I rolled up a piece of cheddar in a slice of deli turkey and cut it up like sushi in hopes that it would be “fun” for the kids to eat.  It kind of worked!  I’ll def try that again and start adding in sneaky healthy things.

I’m on the fence about organic produce still… but we usually get the regular stuff.  That’s another post.

Anyway.

So what do you guys do?? I keep thinking it’s a phase and my healthy eater will be back!  Also, I wonder at what age is it OK to send them to bed hungry if they won’t eat their food? Obviously the twins aren’t going to go hungry- simmer down.  Just wondering when that can come into play.

DSC_0070 Blueberry pancakes for every meal please!

Family Vacation

 

 

Against our better judgement, we took a family vacation to Door Co, WI (Sister Bay to be precise).  This is an annual tradition for us that halted once the twins arrived last summer.  We decided to reinstate the tradition and made a go of it.  It was fine- only 10 hours (each way) in a minivan with 3 kids under 3.  What could go wrong?

We started the trek around 8am and made it to Dubuque before needing to stop. We let the kids play at a park and then had lunch at a place I’ve been to before with my mom and sister- Vinny Vannuchi’s. It’s so good! Then we hit the road and stopped, oh, 500 more times? Here’s the thing- a 2 year old doesn’t quite understand “this is the last time we’re going to stop for a while, do you need to potty?”  At that EXACT time, he never did. But within 2 minutes- that’s another story.  But that’s OK, we planned on this being a, let’s say… journey.

We made it to the hotel/resort (Pheasant Park in Sister Bay, we are big fans) around 7:30pm. We had been telling J that we were going on vacation and of course he asked if that meant he got to go swimming which of course it did. So once we got in and settled, even though it was way past bedtime, Seth took him swimming while I got the twins down for bed.  The rest of the trip was awesome- it’s just so beautiful up there! This is the first time we’ve gone over the 4th of July, so it was neat to see some of the special events but overall was SO crowded that I don’t think we’ll do that again.

DSC_0080Don’t be fooled by J’s face.  He was “suscited” the entire time we were up there.

We went to Seth’s cousin’s for the actual 4th- the kids had a blast. So did the adults…

L met someone else her size.  They bonded over eating gravel.

Seth’s aunt & uncle have an orchard in Sister Bay (which is as beautiful as it sounds). J had an awesome time learning how to operate the Gator (“tractor”) and picking berries.

We went to an FFA fundraiser called the “dairy breakfast” which is a huge deal up there. I heard people talking about it all over town the rest of the day!  It  was really neat- we ate breakfast and ice cream (we were on vacation…), petted llamas & other farm animals, toured a huge dairy operation (J asked some great questions such as “Are the cows going to roll over us? Can I drive the tractor? Do the cows want ice cream? Why does that cow have a ring in his nose? Can I drive the tractor? What is that sand pile for? Can I drive the tractor?”), and danced to the blue grass band.

And, of course we hit up the beach.  Notice there are no other kids there and we have on jackets.  It was chilly and overcast the day we went (it was the last day we were there) but I really wanted J to see a beach and he had a blast! So did C.  L… she was leery.

Seriously- look at her face.  Hilarious.

 

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We were sad when the trip came to an end, even more sad thinking about another 10 hours in the mini, but we are looking forward to next summer!