Episode 96 Transcript

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Welcome to feed your family tonight podcast. Each week we’re serving up motivation and inspiration to help you get weeknight dinner on the table, letting you recapture a little call. And now your host, speaker, author and married mother of four, Marie Fiebach.

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Welcome to the feature family tonight podcast episode 96. Today we’re going to talk about back to school dinner tips. But before we get into the episode, I want to read to you a really special review that someone left on the podcast it is from finding a nick Bain, and it’s titled worth it. It says I’ve listened to a lot of food and cooking podcast and I consistently listen to this one. Even though the current context of our lives are very different. She clearly prepares and comes to each episode with new insights that work for adults as well as kids. She has really weathered the pandemic gracefully and approaches her audience with a very respectful and generous attitude. You will learn something and feel a little better about your cooking efforts after you listen finding and McBain this review brought tears to my eyes. I am so thankful for each and every review that you all share. It means so much to the podcast and helps the podcast grow. I am going to ask our listeners as we approach our hundredth episode we’re four away and I am trying to get 20 new reviews on Apple podcasts. So if you could pause and just take a quick moment to click and give a five star rating and write a sentence or two of a review. It really does mean the world to me and really does help this podcast grow So enough about that. Today we’re talking about back to school dinner. I did an episode last week about back to school lunches even when school looks different. And today we’re going to talk about dinner and there’s a lot of things that I want to share with you about dinner, especially things that are going to affect dinnertime. So listen for that as we go back to school. Things are going to be different and school looks different. Some of you have already been through this. You kind of gotten through the first couple of weeks of school, and some of you are still waiting for school to start. As I record this, this was the first day of school for two of my children. And it’s a little after four in the afternoon and my 12 year old crashed on the couch. My 12 year old never takes naps, but just the excitement of going to school building for a half day was enough to wear her And she took the first nap she’s taken in a long, long time. With school looking different right now. It takes a lot out of us. And it takes a lot out of our kids. My girls were so excited to be able to go back to school, whether it’s online school or in person school, there’s just an excitement after you’ve been away from school for so long. When we have normal summers that are three months long, our kids are always tired those first couple of weeks of school. And with school looking so different. I expect my kids and I believe your kids probably will be even more tired. It takes a lot of brain work to adjust to our new realities. And our brains need time to rest. And that means our kids are going to be a little bit tired. It also means we might be a little bit tired as well. And so today we’re going to talk about how to manage dinner. This back to school time. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that things look different. And it is going to make us more tired. Even if you don’t have kids in school, this school buses are out, the traffic patterns are changing. There’s a different vibe and a different feel in your town once school starts, and and you can feel it, and it affects everybody’s energy. It affects how we go through our day. And so back to school time is kind of a it’s a time where all of us kind of adjust and our schedules kind of change and our rhythms change a little bit. And so that’s something that we all have to acknowledge. The other thing is that our kids are going to be tired and we are going to be tired too. When I talk about the first P of the PSA, which is my three steps for weeknight dinner success. If you’re new here, go back and listen to episodes 123 and four They’re all pretty short episodes, but it runs through my three step process for getting weeknight dinner on the table using my weekly meal planning sheet, which if you want a free download, it’s at feature family tonight.com slash plan. So please go and get that and use it. But when we write our activities, before we plan when we’re going to eat and what we’re going to eat, oftentimes I’m writing after school activities, and oh my goodness, they are starting, I can already feel it building up in my system. We’ve got piano and dances coming up and my son is helping with the football team. And voice lessons are probably going to be coming and I’m feeling these after school activities start to build up we’ll probably have some play practices to like I’m feeling it. The activities for our kids are getting busy, but our energy levels are going to be affected. We have been home for six months, and we’ve gotten used to a slower pace. Have Life. We’ve gotten used to a little bit more leisure time. And now that we’re heading back into school, and we’re heading back into homework, and we’re heading back into some activities, even if the activities are virtual, which my girls have the option to do virtual dance class, even if the activities are virtual, we’re losing some of that space and that downtime, and that’s going to take some energy. When we plan dinners, we have to think about our personal energy too. So I’m going to encourage you to think about making meals as simple as possible. Now is not the time to be trying a bunch of new recipes or trying to get our kids to eat foods that we want them to eat that they don’t prefer.

6:51
In our family when I have something new that or something I haven’t made in a while I asked the family around the table. Is it thumbs up, thumbs sideways A thumbs down. And in this time of transition over these next few weeks is we’re kind of getting back into school, I’m going to try my best to have as many thumbs up meals as possible. Because those thumbs sideways meals or those thumbs down meals are going to create an extra level of stress in an already stressful time for our family. My kids don’t need that. I don’t need that. So I am going to try really hard to have very simple crowd pleasing meals for my family. I was getting my hair done today and I was talking with my hairdresser and she said, give it two weeks and everybody’s kind of just gonna crash. Well, you know, my daughter’s already downstairs on the couch crashing after her first day of school. And I really feel like next week and the week after when we finally start getting into a rhythm. Our bodies are going to need more rest our minds are going to need More rest. And when you are looking at planning your family’s meals, you want to think about that and plan things that don’t take as much effort as much work and plan to give yourself some breaks. Breaks can look lots of different ways. For me, breaks are often that my mother is fixing dinner for our family and so I get a break from cooking one night breaks can be getting a package of Trader Joe’s orange chicken or a couple of bags of pot stickers that make a really simple entree breaks might look like ordering takeout or getting pizza. So I’m sitting in that hairdresser’s chair talking with my hairdresser and she said, I think everybody’s just kind of going to crash this weekend. And I said, I think there’s going to be a lot of people ordering pizza this weekend. And I kind of wish I could go and see what the statistics are. But I really believe there’s going to be a lot of pizza ordered this weekend because a it’s kind of a way to celebrate that we’re back in school and be parents and kids. Are all tired. cooking dinner takes effort. I mean, we all know that and I’m all about making it as simple as possible. But my point to you is plan a break for yourself a way to have a meal that is easy that doesn’t take a lot of effort from you. Use the paper plates, line the baking sheets with parchment paper so you don’t have as much cleanup. Do what you can to minimize your work. And the paper plates and the parchment paper are two ways to minimize dishes. Look for meals that only take one pot to cook in so you have less the dishes. Anything that you can do to cut down the stress a little bit and give you a little bit of a break and give you a little more time is going to help you conserve your energy so that you can give to your children who are going to need you right now. With these changes in schools, there’s a lot of excitement but there’s a lot of anxiety. There’s a lot of worries. There’s a lot of stress. transitions and things are new. And anytime you’re doing something new, whether it be good or not what you would prefer, there is going to be a little bit of stress and good stress, bad stress, but it’s going to wear on us and our bodies are going to need time and space to recover. So if you as a parent, are able to have dinner simpler, and have dishes and clean up simpler, you are going to be able to give your time to your kids who are really going to need you now, in these next few weeks as we go through school transition. Now in a month, we’re going to i hope i Fingers crossed, but I’m hoping we’re gonna have a new rhythm and everything’s gonna feel you know, as normal as it can, and we’re going to be kind of going on where your household runs like a well oiled machine, you know, that feeling where you know the activities, you know, who’s picking up the kids when and where you’ve got all of the systems down your company. Trouble with the teachers, you know how the teachers assign their homework. The machine starts working in your you’ve got a rhythm and you’re fine. But these next few weeks as we transition, there’s going to be a lot of learning that we’re all going to have to do and learning takes brain space. So I want you to have that brain space as a parent by keeping meal simple, keeping dishes to a minimum, giving yourself a break by ordering takeout or finding ways to have low cook or no cook meals, fix a snack platter for dinner. I love a little charcuterie board. My family likes a little charcuterie board, have a charcuterie board or a snack platter for dinner, something that’s super, super easy, so that you don’t have to worry too much about dinner and then the cleanup is a snap.

11:49
The next thing I kind of want to talk about is thinking about when you are having dinner my kids are tired and there’s a good chance Your kids are going to be tired too. And that means that you may want to move dinner a little earlier. Now our family really values eating together. And my husband often isn’t home until six or 630, which means we’re not eating until 630, sometimes even 645 or seven, in this new school time, that’s going to feel really, really late for my children. I haven’t totally decided but I am really considering switching dinner, and an after school snack, where I feed my kids quote unquote, dinner right after school. And then when dad gets home, we can have quote unquote snack while he eats dinner. Because that way if my kids eat their dinner and they are super tired and want to just go to bed early, then they’ve had dinner, and I don’t feel like I have to wake them back up to eat dinner. Sleep schedules have been cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs in our house all during the pandemic, my kids internal clocks. have been totally off. It’s a transition to get them back to a school time schedule. And so I feel like giving them an earlier dinner time so that they can start winding down and getting to bed earlier is going to help them you may want to look at either you know, flip flopping school snack and dinner or at least moving your dinnertime up a little bit sooner, so that you have a little more time in the evening to transition and get your children to bed so that they can be more successful in the morning. The timing of the meals you know with set a dinner bell and you want to think about when you’re going to eat. For me in this time, I am thinking that our family is going to need to eat earlier so that we can move to bed time and get more rest for my children. I’ve said before I have a whole podcast on it that it’s okay to be boring. As we transition into this new time of school. I am trying my hardest to have Dinner be boring because my children are having enough excitement with school and seeing their friends and learning how to go to school in a pandemic, which, either online or in person, it doesn’t matter air, there is a learning curve and it’s different than it was in March. Everything is new. We’re having to learn new teachers, we’re having to learn new homework patterns. We’re having to learn new organizational systems that the teachers have for each of the classrooms. We’re having to learn how to wear masks, and we’re learning how to get through a school day in a pandemic. That takes a lot of effort, and there’s a lot of newness there. So by keeping dinner, back to basics, very simple, quote, unquote, boring, I’m actually giving my children and myself stability. And right now when there’s so much change and so much newness, we need that stability. So consider going to your good old family, friends. favorites, things that don’t take a lot of effort to cook. If dinner is hot dogs, that’s fine. If dinner is a box of macaroni and cheese, that’s fine. But simple, simple dinners will help your family kind of adjust to all of the other things that are new. Sometimes when you have too much new stuff, something’s going to give and something is not going to go well. And I would much rather have less new things at the dinner table so that my children have the mental capacity to get through the newness that is happening at school.

15:34
To recap, kind of today’s podcast, I’m going to keep it short because we are all crazy busy right now. But I want you to think about all of the new things that are happening. Keep your meals simple, so that you have the space to spend time with your children. Help them consider making dinner a little bit earlier and find a way to give yourself a break. Cooking by ordering takeout, or having someone else cook for you, or having really, really simple, easy meals that have next to no cleanup, so that you can have the time to focus on your children. Help them get through this transition so that in a month or two, you can have a new rhythm. Because these next few weeks of transition are going to be what’s going to set the tone for the new rhythm that you’re creating. And then we’ll have time to kind of bring in some new things and brush up and make dinner a little bit more elaborate, but for now, conserve your energy so that you can have it for your children and have it for yourself. Keep dinner simple, and feeding your family is enough for now friends thanks so much for joining us on the feature family tonight podcast. If you have any questions or want to talk about what back to school is like For you with dinners, I would love to hear from you in the feature family tonight Facebook group. So join us there. And I’m going to ask once again if you have just a moment to pause and write a little review and give a five star rating it would mean the world to us, especially as we approach the hundredth episode of the feature game. podcast. Take care.

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Thanks for listening to feed your family tonight podcast with your host Marie Fiebach. If you like the show and want to know more, please visit feed your family tonight.com. If you’d like to help support the show, please leave a rating or review on iTunes or Apple podcasts. It helps spread the word that you can be your family tonight.

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