I can't believe the last time I posted was July!
I'm sure everyone is wanting to hear about the dishwasher. The simple truth is, I caved. As soon as the kids went back to school, it started receiving regular use again. Well, not EVERY DAY regular, but when the dishes are washed, it gets used. I am SO thankful that I live in America, in 2009, and that some dear soul invented paper plates.
Anyway! Sweetie and I have always worked to help our children be self sufficient. When I began working outside of the home, that meant cereal for breakfast most of the time. The kids were SUPPOSED to measure their cereal and milk, but that rarely happened. Eventually, they began asking how to make eggs, and we would allow them to make their own hot breakfast. I am proud of the fact that my boys are not afraid of the kitchen, and are able to take care of themselves. It wasn't a perfect system, but it worked for awhile.
When the school year started in late August, the independent breakfast went the way of the dinosaur. The Unified Command (for those of you not familiar with Star Trek, that's Sweetie and I) decided that if we were to continue to sit down as a family for meals, it was going to have to be in the morning.
I'm naturally a "morning person", but I don't enjoy making breakfast. I'm happy with a bowl of cereal or a breakfast bar, or often, just skipping. I need to get on with the day! Sweetie is not a morning person, AT ALL. But we agreed that if hot breakfast as a family was going to happen, we would do it together, so he gets up with me. We try to eat around 6:30, and the kids have to be dressed for school before coming to the table (except for Dave and Tim on uniform day). It's been about six weeks now, and I have to say, I'm pleased with the results.
My favorite breakfast is granola and yogurt, but most of the time we have eggs of some sort. Mimi loves "scrambled eggs sausage", a favorite from my childhood. Geoff loves sausage gravy/biscuits (I buy frozen biscuits, how did anyone live before them???). We'll have breakfast burritos about once a week. Sweetie and I have also learned how to poach eggs in the oven. It's much easier than doing them in a skillet for a large crowd. We made breakfast pizza once, but the menu is beginning to get stagnant. Toaster waffles didn't work very well. I want little work and high variety, any ideas/recipes would be appreciated. ;~)
Mornings are still crazy, but now, most of the crazy happens before the kids get up. I work to get Sweetie up, and then Sweetie and I work to get breakfast on the table. The kids are better motivated by hot food than mom yelling at them to wake up (Staggering, I know). We spend 20 minutes or so together as a family, before facing the rest of the world. We have a chance to review schedules and after school plans. I've noticed that my stress level is much reduced. The dishes get cleared from the table most of the time, but getting them clean has to wait. I used to always be 15-20 minutes early to work, now I tend to be about 5 minutes late. It's work, but it's worth it.