So, our lives are so busy and our schedules are so full that I seem to run on autopilot. The routine that I have established in the house runs itself each day, seven days a week.... This routine is good. Kids thrive on routine--don't we all. They can predict what is going to happen next and find comfort in knowing what is going on in this crazy world they live in. Also, routines set your biological clock and allows one to sleep (or want to sleep) at regular intervals and eat in a sensible manner. Parents loves this as they can predict when their kids eat and sleep and thus can plan activities.
However, this continual routine can also be bad. It runs, and runs, and runs, and then all the sudden a month has gone by...or a year. What happened? The days run together and you find yourself in continuous motion--working only to maintain this routine. And you've been eating the same ten meals for the past three months. And it is exhausting.
What actually made me think about this was a song on the car radio--actually one of my husband's countless mixed CDs. It said--with a great dance beat--"Wake up! You're asleep at the wheel!" And indeed sometimes this is how I feel. I wake up and 'drive around' without even aware of what I am doing--nurse, change diapers, pour bowls of cereal and cups of juice, throw in some laundry......and on and on. I even find myself driving certain places without much thought--I have actually driven to a place and realized I had no real reason to be there, I simply automatically drove there.
So, I have decided to 'wake up'! Yes, I still have to 'drive'. Kids have to eat, play, and be cleaned--so do I. And a basic routine is still a good thing. But we can make things fun and interesting. Change things up! Stop and watch the kids laugh and dance, instead of taking the opportunity to finish the dishes. We can go to the park--even though lunch is supposed to be in 30 minutes. Take the time to enjoy breakfast with the kids and not be thinking two meals ahead. Take a bath or shower with the kids--with bubbles!
And to this end...here's some quick 'wake ups' for regular recipes (basically by adding fresh herbs and favors).
Mint and Lemon Peas
Frozen or fresh peas, cooked
Fresh mint, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Make peas like usual. Add lemon zest and mint. Enojy. (good cold as well!).
Crunchy Green Beans
Frozen or fresh green beans
Roasted almonds, chopped
Cook beans like usual. Add handful of berried and almonds.
Canned, frozen, or corn on the cob
Salt and Pepper
Cook corn like usual. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chili powder and lime zest.