Parenting On Purpose

Mama Leace's ideas….for children

Fine Dining!!




When I was a young mom, money seemed to be tight, but I never wanted my girls to feel like that meant life could not be interesting or fun!  You will notice that when I have suggestions for fun things to do with children, it rarely costs a lot of money.  I have had friends that had more money that I did, a nicer house, a newer car, more money in the bank, etc but it didn’t mean their kids were happier than mine!

One night, I was feeling a little ‘lazy’ about making dinner for the girls.  I also didn’t have the usual things to make a “square meal” with.  So, I had to use my imagination!  I told them that tonight we are going to experience “Fine dining!”  They were about 6 and 12 years old and they were excited!!

First, we set the table.  We put a nice table-cloth on (which turned out to be a white sheet), and then we put large plates, with small bowls, and some wine glasses I had picked up at a thrift store for “fancy drinks”.  We put out silverware, and napkins.  Then, we took  paper and  designed our menu.  On the front we choose a name for our ‘restaurant’.  Next, we would each pick something that we knew how to make that was easy, fast and healthy, based on what we had in our home.  We put it all on the menu.

My youngest daughter was very proud that she knew how to make scrambled eggs in the microwave, so that is what she put on the menu.  She also decided to add toast.  I encouraged her to add words that would describe the food in a positive way so that our guests (us) would want to order it.  So, she wrote,” freshly made to order scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast with melted butter and sweet delicious strawberry jam!”  As Emily was coming up with just the right wording, my oldest daughter was looking through the fridge for what she was going to make!  Picture me, sitting on the sofa, relaxing and enjoying watching them getting all excited!!  Not the mad, rushing dinner hour that happens in most homes!!

Lorissa decided on a farm fresh cheese and crunchy cracker platter with off the vine seedless grapes.   As she was taking a turn with writing, Emily was getting everything together that she needed to make her eggs and toast.  I was still resting, watching and enjoying the moment!

The girls finished writing and started preparing our fine dining experience.  It was my turn.  I decided on adding crispy celery, topped with creamy peanut butter and ripe, sweet blueberries.  They were happy in the kitchen, both working on their own projects.  They were getting along, and everyone was having so much fun!

When all the food was finished being prepared, we filled the wine glasses with ice and water.  Then, the girls took turns being the ‘waitress’ and taking orders.  It was the nicest dinner, everyone loved the food, we laughed and appreciated each other’s effort into the meal.

As with all Fine Restaurants….they have a bus person and a dishwasher, and I had two girls that worked for this wonderful restaurant, and were happy to clean up.  Fine dining, nice clothes, cool toys, awesome shoes, a beautiful table-cloth is all in the eye of the beholder!  If you need a reminder about that, take a field trip to the local thrift store and take a look at otherpeople’s “treasures”!

That was an awesome experience.  We didn’t have a lot of money for a fancy dinner, but we used what we had and made it fancy!  The girls got to be involved in deciding what we would eat, preparing it, cleaning up, etc.  It was a happy memory that they still remember to this day!  Now, that I have grandchildren, I know that I will have many more “Fine Dining Experiences” and I really look forward to it!!

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An idea for getting your child to go to sleep happy…. (for ages over 3)

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I always like when putting my children to bed not only goes smoothly, but they are happy too!  I try to look at the world though a child’s eyes, and sometimes I am able to come up with idea’s that work really well for children.  One of the things I noticed about children is they usually have a beautiful imagination!  As a parent, we can use this tool in many ways, but right now I am going to tell you how I used this for my granddaughter, Lillian this week at bedtime.

Lillian (5 years old)  was spending the night at grandma’s, and she wasn’t liking the idea of bed time.  So, while it was still light outside, I told her that before she goes to bed we need to go outside and find a “magic rock” that will help her go to sleep and have good dreams.  I told her that if she looked really, really hard, she would be able to find the PERFECT “magic rock”!  We went outside, and she was so excited!  She was looking and looking for the perfect “magic rock”.  Finally, she decided on an oval-shaped white rock.  I told her that this was perfect and she was very lucky that she found this “magic rock”.

After she got ready for bed, she took her rock into her bed, and I said, now before you go to sleep in order for this “magic rock” to work, you have to try to remember all the good things that happened today for you.  So, she held her rock tight, and she started listing things like her good dinner, having ice cream, being at grandma’s, having a good day at school, etc.

Then, I told her to keep holding the rock, and I would count down from 10 to 1 and when I reached # 1, her “magic rock” was going to help her feel really relaxed and ready to help her sleep and have good dreams!  I tried to show a lot of excitement about all of this.  When I finished counting down, I asked her how she felt, and she smiled and said, “really relaxed”.

Shortly, she fell asleep….happy!

The walk outside was a brief moment to get out of our home so when we came back inside, she knew it was going to be bed time.  It was much better than dragging her from the TV and forcing her to go to bed.  The fresh air was good, and looking for the “magic rock” was fun and quick.  Having her hold it and before bed remembering the good things that happened that day was a great way to end the day happy.

But, the biggest reason why the “magic rock” worked and helped Lillian go to sleep happy is that she BELIEVED it would work and she knew that I also believed it would work!  Children like to believe in good things.  They also like to see their parents believing too.  It really is magic!

As a matter of fact, once she was asleep, I picked up my “magic rock” and started remembering all the things I am grateful for and before you know it, I was sleeping soundly and having wonderful dreams!!

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