Even though there is still a chance of snow this coming week, softball and baseball season in this household are under way. While I am excited about the season because I absolutely LOVE watching my children play their favorite sport, I am feeling completely overwhelmed. Why? Because my almost 9 year old daughter is playing on 3 softball teams this season, plus participating in Girls on the Run. I have volunteered to help with both her recreation and 8U softball teams, plus I coach Girls on the Run. My 6 year old son is only playing recreation baseball, thankfully. However, between practices and games, and the GOTR schedule, there is no time for regular meal prep or regular sit down family dinners during the week. Normally our family sits down together for dinner around 6 pm every night. This is the time we catch up with each other, discuss upcoming events, impart parental advice, and in general just be together as a family. While I realize it’s really only for a couple of months we have this crazy schedule, it still drives me batty. I want to feed my family healthy dinners and I want to be able to have time where all four of us sit down and be with each other. Since I am coaching both softball and GOTR, I will also have to be at most practices and games, and therefore will have to prep meals earlier in the day. The criteria for these meals will be:
2. Easily packable
3. Served cold or at room temp (or quickly re-heated)
These healthy dinners need to be eaten easily on the go, at the field, or served quickly after a practice/game so that my children can get to bed at a decent hour. Hopefully their homework will already be done!
This is my latest test recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook, and packs up quite nicely. Creamy Avocado Potato Salad and Super Power Chia Bread. Plus a Morning Glory Smoothie (I wouldn’t recommend bringing the glass, but it worked well to take this picture!)
Another reason I am overwhelmed by this season is the lack of free play and down time for my children. I never intended my children’s schedules to be so busy. I have always said that I would not over schedule them with various activities. I don’t know how parents (or really the children) do it with multiple sports, Girl/Boy Scouts, Hebrew School/CCD, etc. Generally the rule in our house is one activity per season. We broke that rule in the fall when my daughter decided to participate in both soccer and Girls on the Run. Since GOTR is a character building program that enhances girls’ confidence and I had been coaching it for 5 seasons already, I was thrilled my daughter wanted to participate. However, this spring I should have put the kibosh on it. I had no idea she would be involved in 3 softball teams! But she is insisting and remarked that she liked the looks of her busy schedule because in her words, “It energizes me!” So we will see how it goes.
I fully believe children should have the opportunity for free play. Making up their own games. Unorganized, unstructured, and unsupervised activity. Being the creators of their own rules and consequences. Fighting, decision making, solving problems. ALL. ON. THEIR. OWN. Free play teaches children to make friends, get along with others, learn to handle self control and their emotions, and makes them HAPPY!
Two questions for my readers:
1. What healthy meal ideas do you prepare that travel well or can be prepared ahead and served quickly?
2. How do you encourage free play in your children?