the land of in between (3 of 3)


if only!


as if!


yeah, we all can dream!
not in this house!

this is why we take photos of our food and instagram them to our followers. because we ourselves are marveled at how quickly and perfectly the food is presented while we wait.

i would never expect any of my lovely family members to take photos of what i cook. come to think of it, i wonder if they even marvel at how quickly and perfectly the food is presented while they play and study and work?{ i'm blessed for they are really kind when they come to the table.}

while food presentation is not my forte, ben and i are striving to make meal time a happy time. a good time. an intentional time.

here's what's working at the pilgreen house...

meal time is not what we eat, but how we gather.

our goal is to eat our school night meals at home. that's monday through thursday for us.

ben and i work hard to keep our calendars free to be at home for meal time on these nights.

ben requires all the kids to wait and sit after i have taken a seat. {i really like this!}

we hold hands and pray for our time together and the food we are about to eat.

holding hands reconnects us after a full day.

praying, of course, reminds us Who provides and allows us to give thanks.

we tend to go around the table and ask about the high and low of each other's day.

our goal is that what we do at the table is reproduced when they have a table of their own
and that they would remember how we gathered more than what we ate! 

the table is central for conversation.

professional meetings happen over lunch and a cups of coffee these days.

companies take their clients out to dinner to discuss strategy and goals and new products.

the meeting wouldn't go well if the client slurped his spaghetti or if he made the meal time all about himself.

we are learning to listen and wait our turn to talk.

we are learning to ask questions to better understand their day or situation.

while baseball stats don't interest me, they interest others at the table, so i listen.

what tingley (kavita's doll) did for "school" is important for her to share, so we all choose to listen.

for there is coming a day when these skills will matter beyond our kitchen table. 

meal planning is multi-leveled and multi-skilled.

i plan our meals on a basic level with a reach for the next level occasionally.

this means that we eat spaghetti and grilled chicken and occasionally i'll reach for a cookbook and make something that requires fresh herbs.

here's how i keep it simple in the land of in between:

pizza (our local pizza place or homemade pizza on the Green Egg)

mexican (taco ring, fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas)

burgers and chicken and veggies on the grill {because we can grill year round)

spaghetti or pasta and salad

breakfast night {because i don’t have time for pancakes and sausage for breakfast anymore)

fish/shrimp with green veggies

picnic night (we do this every thursday on the floor and watch a show together) this meal is anything we can eat with our hands.

you come to mind as i have had meals at your house or have seen your pictures you post or just know you and how well you cook. and i want to be like you! but until then, this works for us and i'll try your recipes and crack open a cookbook when i get a spare minute in this land!

we close and clean our kitchen.

obviously in this land we have kids who can help us clean, but not everyone practices this ingenious approach!

when meal time is over, no one leaves the room until every dish is loaded in the dishwasher, every crumb swept up and the table cleaned.

and that is a beautiful sight to behold for two reasons. one is that we all appreciate what goes into the meal by doing our part. two is that after tucking the kids into bed, i don't walk by and see dishes still mounted in the sink.

we close our kitchen from time to time.

to celebrate a birthday, to thank God it's friday, or to join friends for a meal.

but we do our best to plan for these.

so that meals out remain special and don't rob the bank.

despite what my growling stomach would say, meals at home are cheaper than meals out.

so in the land of in between, meal prep and advanced planning are crucial to the lifeline of our family.

we plan so we can truly enjoy time around the table...

be it our table or yours or the ones our kids will have one day on their own.

what do you do that is special at meal time?
how do you make life easier with food and family?