Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Taming the "witching hour" (a.k.a Surviving Dinnertime with tots)

According to Wikipedia, the witching hour is "the time of day when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful."  If you ask me,  it's the window between 5:30 and 6:30pm when our darling children turn into whining witches and demanding demons -- just as any power I have left is officially waning.  And, if you ask them, the kids will probably tell you that when I get home from work, I can be the biggest, baddest witch of all.

It happens to all of us (or so I'd like to think, if only to make myself feel better!)... that time when late afternoon slips into early evening and the pressure mounts to slip something delicious and nutritious onto the table before the wee ones slip off to sleep.  It's a recipe for disaster -- and a really tough time to follow any recipe!  So, how do we handle it here in the Lyons Den?  Some days, better than others.  But on the good days, there are some common themes:
  • Feed the hungry beast. Or, in my case, beasts.  Today, after I changed out of my work clothes and into my comfy clothes, I discovered a few grabbing goblins sneakily snarfing fruit snacks.  This is a major no-no.  I started to shout.  "No! NO fruit snacks before dinner!"  And then I thought of the cute little pack of sweet peppers I'd picked up at Trader Joe's this weekend; faster than Glenda the Good Witch, I snatched the fruit snacks, chopped the peppers, and served them up with a smile.  The moral of the story: offer up a healthy snack to keep your hungry clan occupied while you whip up dinner.
  •  Keep it simple.  I like to cook (which is not to say I am a good cook!) but, weeknight dinners are no time for experimentation.  Stick to the basics and keep the fancy stuff for weekends.  Tonight's dinner plan?  Hot dogs, turkey burgers, corn on the cob and homemade cole slaw, followed by donut peaches for dessert.  Simple, summery and quick. Bye bye goblins and ghouls; hello happy campers! 
  • TV is your friend.  Well, more accurately put, the TV is the kids' friend and your sanity saver when used judiciously!  Take today, for example.  It was 93 degrees and humid when I got home from work.  A game of wiffle ball in the backyard was taking a turn for the worse as the plastic bat was thrown across the yard and our trio of three-year olds started swinging aluminum.  Talk about a recipe for disaster!  Once again, I started to yell, and then I remembered the magic box inside the house -- the one that enchants and yes, one might even say bewitches our brood, bringing quiet and calm to our otherwise raucous and rowdy bunch.  After a half hour of The Smurfs, calm was restored, dinner was ready and the witching hour was over... until a new day begins, a day I hope to keep my patience, tame my inner witch and if all else fails, turn to Papa Smurf to be my savior once again!