Heather’s Top 10 Meal-time Essentials in 2011

This is my very first blog post. Hi, I’m Heather.  I am the mom of two awesome kiddos, the wife to Craig who's a sports journalist and the Founder and CEO for Mom Made Foods. Regardless how crazy I feel my life is, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love nothing more than to be with my family sharing a meal together.

I thought long and hard about what it is that I want to share with our readers.  I hope you enjoy ‘Heather’s Top 10 Meal-time Essentials in 2011’ list.  May one of these ideas help make your meal-times more happy, cheerful, healthy, green or best -- easy.

  1. We pack our son’s lunch every day using Lunchskins, reusable sandwich bags. Over the course of this year they have helped us save 100’s of clear plastic baggies.
  2. Mom Made Munchies instead of the ever-boring PBJ sandwich for son’s lunchbox. His favorites are the Cheese Pizza Munchie and Turkey Sausage Munchie.
  3. I bought fun, personalized placemats for my kids, nieces and nephews for Christmas last year from OliveKids. They’ve become a staple on our dinner table.  Best of all, they’ve helped my 2 yr old daughter learn to count and learn her colors as she studies her placemat during meal-times. If your child needs help learning geography, for example, look for one with the US map.  I highly recommend them as a gift for any child.
  4. Simple flower arrangements. In my next life, I will in some way be involved with flowers. It brings me peace and happiness to have fresh flowers in our house and makes every meal feel special, whether it’s delivered pizza or a home-cooked Sunday dinner.
  5. We joined a CSA ("Community Supported Agriculture") from whom we’d pick up fruit and veggies every Wednesday from June thru October.  I love that I and my kids have learned about and tried new produce.  Ground cherries, for example, are delicious!  Even better, all of it is freshly picked and locally grown.
  6. Our napkins and placemats were getting dingy. My dear mother gave me a whole slew of new placemats and napkins from West Elm for my birthday this year. They wash well and have brightened our table setting. Best though is that she gave me 20 of one color so I can rotate clean ones in without resetting the entire table.
  7. Mom Made Meatballs which we launched to the market in July are my picky 2-yr old daughter’s favorite protein food. They also became our go-to on our busiest weeknights.  They make a super easy, healthy meal that our whole family loves on spaghetti with sauce, just plain, on a skewer or my most recent concoction was putting them on a pizza.
  8. My 6 yr old son has learned to set the table every night. It is usually the first thing he does when he comes home from school. Just this simple change this year has enabled us to get dinner on the table a few minutes earlier than we’d be able to otherwise.
  9. The Six O’Clock Scramble has helped us with our weeknight dinners, enabling us to plan ahead, take the thinking out of the grocery list and enter the week feeling organized.  The Scramble has provided us delicious range of recipes getting us off the ol’ standards recipe list.
  10. Meal-times are a shared family effort in our home.  My amazing husband is a great help with weeknight meals. We share the duty / pass the hot potato of picking kids up and cooking dinner. Many evenings he has dinner prepped by the time I come home from work!  LOVE.

Please take a second and let me know what you think or if you have one that you would add to the list.