Tuesday, 30 December 2014

That was the year that was

It's nearly the end of 2014 and so it seems fitting to have a bit of a look back at the year, or at least my experience of it. What happened, what didn't happen and possibly what I'd like to achieve next year.

The children, who of course play the biggest role in my life, got bigger, and older and grew so much. The two boys are flying through school at an alarming rate, with Mahe just finishing year one, and Kai at the end of year three. Of course this time next year I'll have three at school and one at daycare, but I don't want to think about that. Having four children can be stressful and tiring and busy, but most of all it's so much fun, I love every second and it's more than worth it.

That was the year that was

Work wise I took on another business (minkylicious) at the beginning of the year, and continued to work on the two that I already had (ecobots and nappyneedz) so now not only am I doing lots with cloth nappies, but I've got fabric and nappy making supplies too.  I wouldn't say I'm ready to buy the second house in the Caribbean yet, or the yacht, but it's keeping me out of trouble. With any luck (and yet more had work) I'm hoping that it's going to be even bigger an better this year.

minkylicious goodness

The last few months, I've been doing battle with food baby and I've even started to wear a few clothes that I didn't for a while. Things haven't gone completely, but I'm feeling a lot happier about it all, so that's got to be a good thing. I just need to make sure that next year I don't fall back into bad habits, and try and keep up with the yoga. That helps in all kinds of ways, not just with dealing with the bulge.

I've spent a lot of time this year reading, which is nothing new, I always do. I've devoured all kinds of books at a great rate, (thank goodness for my kindle) I don't want to stop doing that next year, although I might get a little more selective about what I download. I've gone through quite a few free or 77p (as I buy off the UK Amazon site) books, I have to admit that I've found some great new authors that way, but there's a lot of rubbish too. Life is too short for crap books, so I'm going to only bother reading those that are well written and have a good story. Which leads me onto something else, for many many years I've said I'm going to attempt to write something myself. Really give it a good go, not the random scribblings that don't really go beyond the first chapter or initial idea. I think it's time I stopped saying one day, and started saying today, now. I'm not saying it will be any good, I'm not saying that I'll ever feel it's good enough to show other people, but if I don't try at some point, then I'll come to regret it I'm sure. So, next year I'm going to give it a really good go, and at the very least start my book. Watch this space, I may have more to say on this later in the year......

Reading reading reading, always reading

I'm sure that there was much more that happened this year, but right now, sitting here, nothing really springs to mind. For now, it will have to do; 2014 that was the year that was.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Party Season

It's that time of year again, which means that not only is town full of people madly shopping for last minute gifts, but party season (for the children at least) is upon us.  It's nearly Christmas.  We managed to have two parties just this last weekend, which is probably slightly bad timing, it might have been slightly better to spread them over two weekends, but at least they weren't on the same day, which is what nearly happened.

Christmas party season

First up was the fire brigade family party, I'm not sure if I've mentioned before or not, by my husband is a local volunteer fire fighter, so we get to go to the Christmas party with all of the other families who are involved.  This year it was an evening do with a barbecue and I may (or may not) have had quite a bit of wine to drink, seeing as I wasn't driving. It was lots of fun, and the children loved it, especially as there was face painting involved, the three who decided to get their face painted went all out festive and chose a butterfly (for both of the girls) and a zombie (obviously).

butterfly facepaintbutterflyZombie boy
Second up was a Saturday afternoon party at playcentre; another barbecue and visit from Santa, and fun was had by all.  This time there was a little letter box to write a letter to Santa in.  All of the parents were discreetly checking out what their children were asking for, just to make sure that there weren't any unexpected requests.

Meeting Santa at the Christmas party

The chance to meet Santa (twice) and all get together is fantastic, but it also always seems to remind me how the children's expectations are so often much lower than we expect.  It's so easy to spend a fortune at Christmas and go overboard. This year though, Lena was a little upset.  I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she'd asked for some earrings, and was given a jigsaw instead.  She soon cheered up when I explained that this was just a little present from Santa, and she'd be getting something else when it was actually Christmas.  I think that she thought that this was it; Christmas, and had she got her earrings (clip on, by the way, we've not had that battle yet) she'd have probably been completely content with that.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Cheap and cheerful Christmas gifts

Christmas is such an expensive time of year, and it's easy to get carried away with the amount that you spend on Christmas gifts.  Although it's lovely to give people something for Christmas, it needn't cost the earth, and with a bit of thought you can get some great gifts really cheaply.  Here are five ideas for cheap and cheerful Christmas gifts for children:

1. Dressing up clothes

My children love to dress up, but there's no need to spend a fortune on lots of proper outfits.  A few years ago I got a big box and filled it with old hats, bags, shoes and head squares that I found at a local second hand shop.  The children loved playing with them and dressing up, and I only spent about $25 on a huge box of things that gets played with lots.

Dressing up clothes make a great cheap and cheerful Christmas gifts

2.Dollar shop fun

There's a lot of tat and rubbish to be found in dollar shops, but there are also bargains to be had.  Have a look at what's on offer next time you pass, the cheaper building blocks that are lego compatible are often great value for money, and you can get some fantastic sets for very little money. Smaller items like footballs, kites and skipping ropes are often cheaper from dollar shops and still great quality.

3.Books, books, books

My kids love to have stories, but new books can be really expensive.  You can pick up pre-loved children's books from second hand book shops, as well as op-shops and charity stores, sometimes for as little as 50 cents.  A book doesn't have to be brand new to make a great gift.

Books always make good gifts

4. Days out

Days out with the family don't have to cost the earth, lots of trips are free or very reasonably priced. Think about giving the children a voucher for a trip to the beach, or to the local museum.  A picnic can be fairly reasonable and lots of fun.

5.Pre-loved toys

Christmas gifts don't have to come in their original packaging, and there's no reason why you cant give pre-loved toys as cheap and cheerful Christmas gifts.  One of the best Christmas gifts we gave our boys when they were younger was a whole tub filled with second hand duplo that we got for $15 off trademe.  They still play with it today.

Pre-loved toys can be a Christmas hit

So there you have it, a few ideas for cheap and cheerful Christmas gifts, what do you do to avoid spending a fortune at this time of year.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

When do you put your Christmas tree up?

It's December, which means one thing, Christmas is getting closer. Shops have had Christmas items and decorations up for weeks now, but when do you put your Christmas tree up? For some people, the moment that December arrives, (and in some cases even before) up goes the tree. I'm in the later is better camp though, and our tree doesn't tend to go up until just before Christmas.  I suppose that some people may think that makes me a bit of a Scrooge, but I think it makes it a bit more special when you do put it up.  Not sure what my friend Vlad (in the photo) would think, he's clearly in the Christmas spirit.

December already!

Traditionally, trees were put up later in the month, even as late as Christmas eve. Actually we got close to that date ourselves last year, but most because coordinating collecting a Christmas tree with four small children proved to be a bit of a challenge.  One of the main reasons that I like to put the tree up late, is that I keep ours up for the full twelve days of Christmas.  It's unlucky to keep it up beyond the 12th night, but many people pull there's down the second that Christmas day, or possibly Boxing day has passed.  I think part of the reason for this, is that people think of Christmas day being the end of the Christmas period, possibly because of the huge amount of build up in the lead up to the 25th of December. I can see how you might be sick of the tree by the 12th night, if you've had it up all December though.

When do you put your Christmas tree up?

As it's now December, we've also got the advent calendars out. I don't get the Children the chocolate ones that are common in the shops these days. They haven't cottoned onto the fact that there are calendars out there with chocolates in as yet, and as the chocolates aren't usually that nice, I've got them a cardboard calendar with a little picture behind each window instead. We've also got a really cool playmobile calendar, as you open each window you find a small playmobile figure that make up a winter scene. Who needs chocolate? (and I can promise that this is probably the only time that you'll hear me say that).

Christmas is on the way, but so far in house we're a bit bah-humbug, for another week or so anyway.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Think pink?

A few weeks ago I went into a local shop, looking for Christmas ideas for the children.  I immediately noticed how there were shelves and shelves of 'girls' toys that were pink in colour.  I have to admit that it's not the first time that I've noticed this, and there's certainly been plenty of talk about it on-line, but it did depress me.

Think pink?
Pink as far as the eye can see
It's not that I have a problem with pink as such, although it's not my favourite colour, (I do have a daughter that loves it though), but it's more to do with the lack of choice, and what this colour coding, for want of a better phrase, is teaching our children.

Gender colour coded boys toys
Blue is for boys
You see, here's the thing, children have no idea what colours are for boys and what colours are for girls. At least they don't to begin with, until society starts to tell them that pink is for girls and blue for boys. They also don't see certain toys as being boys toys and other toys being for girls, but for some reason society seems to feel the need to define these things in this way.

Pink is for girls
Dolls must be pink
If you spend time with small children, you soon discover that while some will gravitate towards dolls and 'family' play, others will go for train sets and cars.  Little boys have no problems with pushing a pink pushchair and little girls will play with blue building blocks.  Surely then, if that's the case there's no problem really? They can just play with what they want to play with, and parents like me that cringe every time they see these toy shops filled with pink and blue toys are just making a mountain out of a molehill?

Cars can be girls toys
Girls can play with cars too
Well, no, not really. You see the thing is, while children may not start out seeing these toys as being for girls or boys specifically, the fact that everything is so colour coded and designed to be for a specific sex means that before long children start to take on board this gender separation.  The colour coding starts to mean that the toys are seen as being just for girls or just for boys.  Why should construction toys just be for boys? Do girls not build things? Why should dolls just be for girls? Surely little boys should be playing at being Daddy?  Why is it that certain licensed items, from programmes and films that are loved equally by all my children are marketed for a specific gender?

Lego for girls
Lego for girls; because they couldn't possibly play with the 'normal' sets
There is no reason why a boy can't play with a pink toy, but even with the best of intentions we start to influence their behaviour when these colours come into play. I remember my oldest son being around at a family members house, and they commented on the fact that he'd picked a pink plate, "He's always been a bit like that though hasn't he?"
What? Not bothered by gender stereotypes, that he's too young to understand?

Not coloured for gender
At last! Some toys that don't have a gender specific colour.
Toys are toys and children are children, there should be no boys toys or girls toys, just toys for children.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The hole in the internet

The internet is a great thing, having all of that information at your fingertips.  Just the other day I was talking to my Mum about the days when you had to go to the library, and look in a book if you wanted to find anything out.  These days, a few swift taps on a keyboard, and the information is all there for you.  Every so often though, I fall down the hole in the internet.

You see, even though the internet is a great time saver in so many ways, it's also a huge time waster. I try not to spend time looking at pointless things while I'm on line, but every so often I find myself getting sucked in, and before I know it, hours have passed.  (By the way, I realise that there's a certain irony in this, based on my last blog post.) 

Pinterest a hole in the internet

Sometimes this time wasting on an epic scale is solely down to Google; you look something up on Google, it reminds you of something else, you google that and so on and so on.  There are some websites that are really bad for making a hole that I fall into. Top of the list would have to be pinterest, pinning photo and photo and idea after idea as you stumble across them on other people's boards.  I love pinterest, it's great for gathering ideas and getting inspiration, but all too often I just pin things and never get any further.  There's a tutorial for a top that I've had pinned for over a year, even have fabric for, but will still probably never make.I can easily waste hours there.

Ravelry; another hole in the internet I've been known to fall down

Then, there's Ravelry. It falls into the same camp as pinterest, except it just has knitting and crochet patterns. Hundreds and hundreds of them, that if I'm honest, I'm never going to make. Although it is handy for all kinds of things that I might want to make.

My most recent decent into the internet hole, was on youtube.  It started because I'd got a Beatles song stuck in my head, and after I'd listened to that one, it suggested some others....Soon it wasn't just the Beatles that I was listening to, but all kinds of music, and somewhere along the lines I remembered the Bonzo Dog Band (aka Bonzo Dog Do Da band). As a child I loved my Dads Bonzo Dog albums, not only was the art work on them, well, weird (Tadpoles even had a sliding bit that made their eyes move) but the music itself was just a bit crazy. I found my all time favourite childhood track, I'm not sure what it was that I particularly loved about it, but here it is:

Before I knew it, I'd not only spent time listening to all kinds of oddness, but I'd also looked up the band and various members on Wikipedia, (another prime internet hole site) and my planned early night had turned into a late one.  Of course I suppose the answer is that I should have a little more self control and not find myself wandering off down every alley and track that I come across when on-line, but I don't do it often, and sometimes falling down the hole in the internet is a lot of fun, if a little strange....

Sunday, 16 November 2014

If I only had time....

I told my husband that other day that I'd decided what I wanted for Christmas; two extra hours each day. One I planned on using to get a bit more sleep, and the other to fit a few more things in.  Of course the whole thing was ridiculous; not only is manipulating time not one of my husbands many talents, but even if I could have a couple of extra hours, I probably wouldn't get anything extra done.

if I only had time

I often get asked how I fit it all in; four children, running a business and day to day living.  The honest answer? I have no idea, I generally muddle on from day to day, fitting in what I can, where I can, and doing the bare minimum of housework.  The thing is though, what ever it is you do, it will eat up your time, particularly where there are children involved.  It makes me laugh when people assume that you must have lots of time on your hands because you don't work, or work from home, because honestly, even if the 'only' thing you do is look after your children all day, I can guarantee that you won't have enough hours in the day for it all.

making the most of life

People will tell you that the key to having children is organisation, you need to be highly organised to get through day to day life.  It's true, to an extent, but it's just that the organisation that I used at work, or even at University or School has no place in family life.  I was once highly organised, at school I had a system in place in my homework diary where I noted down the days when things were due in, rather than when homework was set, so that I could plan when to do it.  I once lost my homework diary, and when the headmaster found it, he was so impressed with my system, that he copied a similar version of it for the whole school. (It does amuse me that he was impressed with my organisation after I'd lost the diary, but I never claimed to be good at remembering where things are.)

being organised is key

At work I had similar systems in place, knowing what work I had to do when and how long to spend on it. With children though, that's never going to work. Organisation becomes flexibility, it's simply not enough to know what you should be doing and when, you need to know how to get round not being ready for somewhere on time because someone hid your car keys in the toy box, or fitting in a younger child's nap with an older child's activity.  Regimented organisation and routine works quite well with one child, possibly even two but more than that? Forget it.

No time for housework

These days I can get effective work done in ten minutes between one child going to sleep and another needing to be picked up, I can change my plans at a seconds notice, I often need to forget work entirely for a day or two and just go with what the family needs, and yes, as I said, housework, forget about it.
Where does all the time go?

It won't be like this forever though, all too soon I'll have days to myself at home where I can plan my working day, and not have to worry about what the kids are doing until the end of school is here. That will happen all too soon, and I won't lie, it will make life easier.  In the mean time though I'll live my life second to second and fit around these crazy little people, enjoying every second of it, I'll miss it when they're older.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A meal by any other name.......

If we have a Sunday roast, we usually have it late afternoon/early evening.  Usually just because by the time I've got the kids up, dressed, breakfasted and ready to face the day, the last thing that I feel like cooking is a full Sunday roast.  When I was growing up though, we always had Sunday dinner at, well, dinner time.  When 'dinner time' actually is though, is one of those things that really depends on where you're from.  For me it was the meal in the middle of the day, we had breakfast, dinner and tea. Last week, I cooked a roast in the middle of the day, and ended up confusing my kids.

A meal by any other name......

The conversations went a bit like this:
Child "Is this tea?"
Me "No, it's Sunday dinner."
Child "So are we going to bed soon?"
Me "No, it's the middle of the day"
Child "So is this lunch"
Me "Yes, sort of, but you can call it dinner too"
Child "But isn't dinner time at night?"

When is tea time?

It was another of those times where I was reminded that although I grew up in an English speaking country, and New Zealand is an English speaking country, we're all actually talking a different language.  As I said before, I grew up with breakfast, which seems to be pretty universal, dinner (at school after all we had school dinners and dinner ladies) and then tea.  Tea was usually in our house a cooked meal, rather than high tea with cucumber sandwiches as I suspect the upper classes might have.  I believe that in some areas of the UK, the evening meal is called supper, which is even odder, surely that's a snack before bed.

Supper a snack before bed

When we first came to New Zealand, I started to notice quite a few differences in language.  The first time someone mentioned 'morning tea' to me, I must have spent at least a week asking my husband how you could possibly have MORNING tea, when tea was quite clearly an afternoon meal.  What kind of crazy was that?!  There of course, were many other instances where language had a different meaning over here.  The time someone mentioned to my son that he might want to take his pants of when he was paddling, and he stripped his whole bottom half off, undies and all, as that's what he knew pants to be.  My deep amusement every time I see HOT chips advertised, I mean really, what other type is there?

Is it dinner time yet?

What all of this really shows though, is just how diverse the English language is.  This isn't just a difference between New Zealand and England though, it's really about the difference between the little bit of the world I grew up in (aka round our way) and the little bit of the world I'm now living in.  There are many phrases and words that I grew up with on a day to day basis that would have most of the rest of England, let alone the rest of the English speaking world, scratching their head over.  Even here in NZ, a relatively new country, there are variations in language between different parts.  My mother in law for example, had certainly never luxed her carpet when she lived in Auckland, although it's the common word for vaccuming down here.

I love all of this variation in language, long may it continue.  The only downside is of course, that should you invite me around for dinner, who know's what time I'll turn up.....

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Food for thought

It's funny, but people not included, many of the things that I seem to miss from home are food or drink related.  There are lots of things that I do miss about home, the scenery, the television, and the history among many other things, but I often find myself thinking about food and drink from home that I can't have.

My mate marmite

Of course like many things, the fact that I can't have it makes me want it all the more. You can get some things over here, from the 'special' section of the supermarket, or from one of those British shops, but most things cost a fortune and I can't really justify that.

Good old beef tea; bovril

The things that I really miss though, are the things that you just can't get over here.  Every time I see a UK detective program on TV (which I have to admit I'm a bit of a fan of) and they end up in the pub (which they usually do) I find myself craving a pint.  Not a pint of cold, fizzy stuff, there's plenty of that over here, but a pint of real beer. Flat and warm, the way that it's supposed to be.  Ideally with some pork scratchings or salt and vinegar crisps, or smoky bacon. Proper thin cut crisps, not the thick sliced 'chips' you get over here.

Mushy peas!

Talking of chips, I miss chips from a British Chippy, with vinegar.  Of course there are fish and chip shops over here, and the fish is good, but the 'hot' chips just aren't quite there.  The smell from a UK fish and chip shop one of those smells that just makes you really hungry, even if you've just eaten.

Best biscuits ever

The food I miss most of all though, is my Mum's cooking.  I suppose that's what it all comes down to though, food that reminds me of home is comforting.  Like smells and sounds, taste evokes memories and comforting thoughts. It's perhaps a good job that I haven't got access to all of these things that I'm craving at the moment, especially as I'm trying to deal with food baby.......

Monday, 13 October 2014

Warming up

The weather has been all over the place lately, warm one day, cold the next, sunny one minute, followed by that heavy 'straight down' rain that soaks everything in it's path.  Today was beautiful though, just like a summers day, and it's only October. (Only October, that sounds so strange, we should, in my mind at least, be well into Autumn by now.)

Off to Aramoana

It was so beautiful this morning, that after I'd dropped the boys of at school and Lena at daycare, I decided to go for a bit of a drive.  As I was already in Port Chalmers, I decided to keep going and head out to Aramoana.  It may be famous for all of the wrong reasons, and have a very sad past, but there is something just lovely about the beach there.  I like the drive along the road too, past all of those little bays, and in the morning sunshine, the whole area looked magnificent, it was the open sea and beach we were really heading towards though.

Warming up, a beautiful day

I've driven there a few times over the winter months, but always wimped out of going for more than a quick walk, especially when I've had children to drag along with me.  This morning though it was far too nice to pass up the chance, so although the tide was rather high, we went for a lovely walk along by the sea. 

A beautiful sunny day

Anja was a little concerned by the sea, "the water's coming to get me Mummy. It's going to get my feet."  Other than that she loved being there and getting down onto the beach.  We had the whole beach to ourselves, apart from a few sea birds, who obviously had far more right to be there than we did.

Enjoying the beach

It might be another warm day tomorrow, but at this time of the year it's just as likely to be snowing in the morning.  Either way today was a lovely warm day, and we made the most of it.

Fun day at the beach

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Eight is the magic number

No, this isn't some an admission that I'm pregnant with quads, or planning on adding to my family in any way.  Four is the magic number when it comes to children I think, but in other things, eight has always been my magic number.

I suppose it's because my birthday is on the 8th, and it's in October (which means eight, even if it's now the tenth month) and my year of birth has an 8 in it too (but more than that I'm not admitting).  Then Mahe was born in 2008 and Anja was born on the 8th of June, and weighed 8lb 8oz.  I'm sure that there are as many 'signs' that could make other number just as special for me, but I always decided that I liked eight, and so it's always been my lucky number.

Eight is the magic number for my youngest little miss
8lb 8oz on the 8th

Last week my biggest boy turned eight, which seems completely crazy.  How can he possibly be that old already? I remember when he was born thinking that eight was so grown up, even though obviously eight year olds are still very much children, I still couldn't quite get my head around my little baby being that big.

Eight is my lucky number
Mr 8 before his haircut.

It's not as bad as turning five, although of course he's older than that, because it's not an age that's a real landmark, not like starting school or something similar.  I know that this is not startling new news, it's what everyone says, but they really do grow up so fast.  I look at him sometimes and wonder how he can possibly be so grown up, such a little person in his own right (and let's be honest; not so little these days) it only seems a few moments ago that he was a tiny little newborn.  At the same time though, I can't really get my head around the thought of not being a Mum, the way I once was.  It seems so long ago.

Eight years ago
Eight years ago
He wasn't the only one to have a birthday last week, my other big boy was six the day before his brother was eight.  I think I may have said before, after having Kai, I'd said for a while that I'd like a two year age gap, I didn't really expect to end up with a gap of exactly two years though!

All about the birthday's at the moment
Mr 6 with a birthday pressy
Again six years old isn't as bad as turning five, this time last year I as a bit of an emotional mess about him starting school, but now that he's been there a year it's not so bad.  Of course I will have that all to go through again next year with another little person turning five.  It's never ending.

But for now it's all about birthdays, my big boys and the number eight.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Not expecting anything

For the third time since I started having children, I was asked the other day if I was pregnant. I'm not. The first time that I was asked, I was actually expecting, but it was early days and I hadn't told everyone yet, the second time it was (mostly, I hope) due to a misunderstanding, rather than my size, but the other day it was entirely because of my stomach. Or to put it another way, it was down to my food baby.

Not expecting anything
Food baby a few months ago

Food baby has been with me a while now, after having Kai, I wasn't too worried, I was planning on having another baby shortly.  Food baby went away again after Mahe, for a while at least.  The stress of moving to the other side of the world with two small children meant that the weight fell off.  It came back a little after Lena, and then again after Anja.  Two and a bit years on though, and food baby is getting quite big.

Food baby
Bad angle but there's food baby

I know that food baby is really my fault, if I didn't keep feeding it, it wouldn't keep growing. I can't give up chocolate though......  I should do a bit more exercise, I tried to tell myself that chasing a very active toddler around was enough to trim down, but it's not, it's really not.  So, I'm sorry food baby, but enough is enough, you've got to go.

when food baby was smaller
When food baby wasn't so big

I know that I'm never going to be as slim as I once was, not only have I had four children since then, and like it or not my caesarian scar is always going to be there, but I could be a little trimmer and have a little less belly. So, it's down in black and white now, food baby is going to go.  I'm going to cut back a little bit, control the portion sizes and cut down on tow many biscuits and the like at night.  I'm also fairly sure that processed food is never a good thing, and while I do try to eat too much of it, I'm going to really make an effort to avoid it from here on in.  Most of all though, I'm going to try and do some regular exercise.  A bit more swimming, (actual swimming, not just standing around holding small children) a bit more walking and a bit of yoga.  My plan is that by the time Christmas dos come up, I'll feel a bit better about myself and at the very least food baby will be a bit smaller. Wish me luck....

Time to get rid of the food baby

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Eating together

The other day, actually it was a few weeks ago now, I heard a piece on the radio about how most families no longer sit down and eat together as a family.  I was a bit surprised, obviously I realised that there would be some families that didn't have a family meal together, but as it's something that we have always done I just assumed that everyone else did too.

Eating together

The more I thought about it though, the more sense it made.  There are heaps of people who are that busy doing things, that all being ready to eat, at the same time, is just out of the question.  I have friends who are either so late home from work themselves, or their partners are, that they couldn't expect the children to wait that long to eat.  As children get older, they often have all kinds of activities that mean eating together as a family, just isn't going to happen.

Crazy family tea time

The thing about eating together though, is that it's great for your family.  It's a chance to sit down together and catch up with what's been going on, find out what is happening.  It's also a great way to show your kids how to sit down and enjoy food, rather than bolting through a meal in a few seconds, just enjoying a meal as a social occasion. For younger kids, watching you eat is a great way to teach table manners, and to encourage eating different foods.  Now I'm not saying my kids are perfect in either of these respects, but they're not bad, and it all helps.

Eating together; part of family life

I remember when I was a child myself, we didn't always manage to sit down together for every meal, but even as I got older and things came up that kept us out of the house at the normal meal times, we always sat down all together on a Sunday for Sunday dinner.  I don't always do a Sunday roast now, but I try to do one as often as I can, and I hope that even as we all get busier and life gets more hectic, we can still sit down together to eat at least one day a week.

Do your family eat together?