Erin Clotfelter

I am a Minneapolis mom to three boys under the age of 3, two recently diagnosed with autism. I blog about autism, motherhood and my life outnumbered by boys at The Slacker Mom.

Sunday Dinner at Mom's

Posted by: Erin Clotfelter under Society Updated: October 16, 2011 - 8:52 PM

My mom has been trying to implement a Sunday Dinner tradition for months.  Actually, I guess after a certain number of months I should probably start converting that to years.  I'll start over.

My mom has been trying to implement a Sunday Dinner tradition for 6+ years.  She'd love it if it were every week, but it's usually once a month, sometimes less often.  Life gets busy and it's hard to commit to the 45 minute drive each way when I'm staring down my own house with lots of projects and cleaning to do.  Not to mention a visit to anyone's house is the opposite of relaxing for my husband and I because people don't generally "autism proof" their houses and our boys are into everything.

Today though, today was good.

We made plans throughout the week.  We arrived fairly early with plans to leave with enough time to keep our bedtime routine intact.  We kept the meal simple and broke up the cooking duties.  My mom made her famous apple bars.  I made the Squash and Apple Gratin from this weeks Taste section (I found this recipe really difficult to follow and I can't put my finger on why).  My husband grilled some garlic rubbed Tri-tip's and we added some foil packet potatoes and onions because whenever we grill those packets just seem to get made out of habit.


The boys played both inside and out while we were cooking, the game was on, the wind was blowing the leaves off the trees.  Although the boys were a bit whiny, they were still having fun.  Their favorite discovery of the day were the mountains of books sorted for The Pajama Program (of which my mom is the Minnesota chapter president).  The twins are book lovers and it was almost too much to see so many books in once place!  Stacks of All. The. Same. Book!  Toddler minds were blown.

When we were able to distract them from the books they busied themselves by trying to steal pieces of raw dough from Grandma's pie mat as she was rolling the dough for her bars (and later stealing entire handfuls of warm apple goodness).  Everyone loved the meal.  It was simple and hearty and perfect for the day.  I could have devoured the gratin (a total winner, even with the putsy recipe) while we waited for the meat to rest but I was able to keep myself in check.

After dinner the boys had their baths and got into their jim-jams and we got ready to hit the dusty trail with sippy cups full of milk and bags full of goodies to take home.  Leftovers from dinner, cuttings from some overgrown succulents, miscellaneous things moms send home with their kids.

When we climbed in the car, it felt like a really good day.  We drove home listening to The Current while the boys lulled themselves to sleep.  I didn't think about the laundry that needed to be folded or the dishes that needed to be done.  I just got to relax.

It was perfect.

When it's this good, I want to do it every week.  

Do you have a Sunday Dinner at Moms tradition?  How do you make it work with everyone's fast paced schedules?

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