Monday, October 22, 2012

my sanity saving dinner time secret

People often ask me how I run or organise dinner time with such a large family. So today I thought I would share with you my special sanity saving secret to success with so many people to feed every day. I believe these items are essential for any woman and mother to have in her home and kitchen. Whether you have a large family or not, it will help you be prepared for when people drop by or you just feel tired and exhausted after a busy day. They will bless your life. Truly. Here is my secret to success below:

  
Yep! Paper plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons and napkins. Blesses my life people. On days where I feel too tired to cope with the dishes and clean up routine or arguing with the kids to do the clean up, {which tires me out more than actually doing the dishes myself!} I pull out the paper/plastic utensils and plates and it is amazing how much of a burden is lifted from my shoulders. 

Now that I have older kids I hardly ever use them but it is a huge relief to know that I have them there if I need them. It doesn't make me a bad mother and it doesn't mean I can't cope. What it does mean is that I am aware of my needs, my emotions and that I am giving myself a gift by taking an easier option to help myself out. Best of all the kids and Matt don't care what plates we use!

So there you have it. My sanity saving secret to dinner time success. 
Get yourself a supply if you don't have one. Immediately! 

{P.S: I am going to write a more serious post about this topic. Hope this one made you smile though.}

43 comments:

  1. At last someone else knows this is a fab thing to do!! If only saucepans could be disposable too ;)

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  2. Your honest about what makes your life easier.Pretty awesome tip!

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  3. My sister visited relatives in Italy and the use plastic plates and cups every night! Most of them do over there!

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  4. Oh yes, I do this too. Glad I am not the only one. I've seen Nigella on TV use those disposable foil baking trays when baking roasts as it saves on washing up.

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  5. I'll be honest I've never really given this a thought. but then my dishes quite easily fit in the dishwasher which is pretty easy too. but most certainly we are allowed to cut ourselves so slack from time to time.

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  6. Naomi, we do the same thing sometimes. Plus i use those plastic cups for desserts. Saves extra bowls. Its just like having a Bbq a couple of times a week!

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  7. Great tip, Naomi! With a beautiful, big family like yours, I can totally see how this would make life so much less stressful for you when you need it :)

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  8. Love it! I buy disposable products in bulk at Sams's 500 at a time AND I LOVE it! Less dishes = more time for kids and fun + one happy Mama! =)

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  9. Glad I am not the only one who uses this idea and Amber I so need to start buying them in bulk! 500 at a time would make me a very happy lady :)

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  10. We totally do this too. When we have family come stay we pull out the plastic cutlery and paper plates. Saves the issue of who is going to do the dishes and time doing them when we could all be enjoying time out and about. Great idea!

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  11. Whatever makes it easier some days!! I only have a family of 4 and some days the washing up for that many does my head in. Must remember this tip for those days to make life easier!

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  12. That's an awesome idea. I do think of you sometimes and wonder how you do it all. it all helps to have a less busy life with more time to enjoy your gorgeous family.

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  13. this is exactly a case of finding what works for you - i think it is great that you have a back up plan rather than suffer through those days! Ny version of this since i only have 2 kids is "easy meals" so on days when i am just too shattered i have a few things my kids like that are 5 minute meals (like fish fingers and pasta, pancakes, a quesedilla or leftovers from the freezer)

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  14. Great idea! Everyone needs some time/stress savers and if it lifts a load off your shoulders after a hard day, then I say do it! We have a dishwasher so I've never actually thought of using paper plates for dinner, but guaranteed for birthday parties everything is paper or plastic and goes in the recycling bin afterwards so I have minimal clean up after having an additional 10kids and up to 15 adults in the house.

    We also do the quick meals some nights - maybe once a fortnight if the kids are lucky. I still feel guilty on those nights but have to remind myself that every other night they have meat and at least 5 veg, so they're doing well. My kids are known to ask for raw carrots, apples or strawberries as a snack and will usually ask for more mash rather than meat if they're still hungry at dinner, so I must be doing something right! Mother guilt sucks!

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  15. My friend with only 2 in the house uses plastic plates, I uses to but them when OH and I lived with his brother because he would never help to wash up. It's a great idea Naomi, and clearly lots of us do it too :)

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  16. Love it! Love it! Love it! You are an awesome Mum and I totally understand where you are coming from the its just too hard basket when trying to get the family to help clean up. Thanks for your posts I love them all!!!

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  17. Naomi - I think this makes you a great mother! A happy mum = a happy home. Recognising when you need to go into sanity saving mode is an admirable character. Too often we keep going and lose our sanity. Everyone suffers then. Keep sharing your tips. They are great reading.

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  18. We do it too! And I agree, big time sanity saver xx

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  20. What a great idea! I always use plastic/paper plates for Christmas time but have never thought how easy it would make mealtime on a busy weeknight.
    Even with just 6 of us the dishes never ever all fit in the dishwasher and I end up doing dishes by hand every night, so I think I might be buying some disposable stuff to make life easier occasionally!

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  21. Glad you understand where I am coming from. Sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to have everything just right and I am a big believer in taking short cuts where you can to make life a little easier. Thanks for your comments. N x

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  22. yes! when I first started watching some of the american programs where they had lots of kids I was shocked to see paper plates - then somehow we became a family of 7 and I see why they did it. I haven't got to that stage yet but my trick is when I do lasagne or big frittatas I just whack them in aluminium baking trays. Easy to freeze,no washing and I keep a stash in the pantry.
    oh and if anyone wants to criticise you just invite them over to your house or ask how many kids they have!

    I don't have a dishwasher so I hate dishes!
    Corrie:)

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  23. When we didn't have a dishwasher for a year we would do this sometimes. As you say, when you're just so tired and can't deal with all the cleaning up it's such a sanity saver.
    Thanks for being so honest Naomi. Love these posts!
    Jxx

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  24. It is a great time saver but I worry about the environment, luckily I have a dishwasher and less children than you! A great tip - especially when life seems to get overwhelming!

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  25. All staples in my home as well... we use the plates for craft at times as well as eating (obviously clean ones for each thing lol), the cups are great for layered jelly and custards, the cutlery allows me to send the kids to school with lunch options they need cutlery for without me loosing any of our dinner set and the napkins are always useful in any circumstance :)

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  26. I am all for making things easy we have done this a few times. I am also big on being environmentally friendly here are a few tips:
    Put used paper plates, serviettes, pizza boxes etc in the green bin with all the grass clippings and food scraps. Just remember if it doesn’t grow it doesn’t go (in the green bin). Plastic utensils and cups can be swished through some water and put in the regular recycle bin.

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    1. Also you could buy recycled paper paper plates every bit helps :)

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  27. What a great idea!
    As a Mum of a large family myself why havent I thought of doing this?
    Nothing wrong with it at all Naomi and I soooo know where you are coming from!!

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  28. As long as you're recycling, seems like a good idea to me!

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  29. This is awesome Naomi! Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to go the easy road eh?

    When I was going through a particularly busy season of life moving overseas, my sister was the one who gave me a kick up the butt and told me to just buy a BBQ chook for dinner (instead of my usual cooking from scratch routine).

    And what do you know?! No one died!! :)

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  30. Good for you...and will be for me too, economical and can be easily composted..plates anyway!

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  31. Oh Naomi - This is the best idea ever and my family is no where near the size of yours but I am so going to keep some in the cupboard for nights when it is all just too hard! xx

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  32. I recently finished reading Call the Midwife, set in London's East End in the 50s and there was a family with 25 children. They used to all have a spoon and eat from big shared pots of food - the only way i guess! probably very common in some places...

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  33. I do the same thing here :) i also have 7 kids twin boys for 5/6 and all in 8 yrs yep disposable dinner ware is my saving grace even more so at the moment with all day sickness from number 8 i just wish they would make saucepans and fry pans disposable as well :)

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  34. What a fab idea. Even if you just did it a night a week to give everyone a night off dishes. Nice compromise for all ...

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  35. can you recycle used paper plates? or plastic knives and forks? I didn't think you would be able to.

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    1. Depends on where you live. Our council has been advertising these things lately. Its fantastic. Ring your council and find out.

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    2. You can also put dirty paper / cardboard junk food bags and wrappers in bins for green waste (tree cuttings, grass clippings).

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  36. You could always compost the plates and serviettes too if you wanted :) there is a party store near me that sells the biodegradable corn ones CHEAPER than plastic! They can all compost too. I can see how it happens in your family, my goodness the washing up in my house piles up SO SO fast!! I only have 4 kids. You know, I just bought masses of Ikea kids range plastic ware that was on sale for all our parties which I now realise means not during the week and never at parties, will we ever have disposable, just more washing up 110% of the time - what have I done?!?!?! :O

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  37. so simple! and so useful! As someone said earlier, it is about giving ourselves permission to use this sanity saver. !!! xox

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  38. That is fantastic Naomi. So good. Why not make our life easier in any way that we can. I've done it myself and I love that I can just throw it all in the bin. Just gotta do what works for you. it might not suit everyone, but who cares if it works for you.

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  39. You know the song from "The Sound of Music", the one that goes, "These are a few of my favorite things"? That's the song that popped into my head when I saw your picture;) They really are a life saver sometimes.

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  40. I can certainly empthasize - had 7 kids for a weekend (instead of the usual 2) and at dinnertime I got pizza and paper plates! Iwas already pooped from entertaining them!

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