Remembering iron chef Sundays

I have to admit, I’ve been a pretty creative mom with my kids and I think they’d agree with that statement! One of the initiatives we undertook is still talked about from time to time and I think it’s a good example of one of the things we did right.

Iron Chef Sundays

When Iron Chef was a popular trending tv show that we enjoyed watching, and I was getting tired of the responsibility of planning menus and preparing all the meals, we decided to do our version of the show. We put all our names on pieces of paper in a cup and drew out three names. Those three would be the cooks for that week and the other three would come up with the mystery ingredient. The following week it would switch and then the names were put back in and re-drawn.

The ingredient was identified and agreed upon, the team would seek out recipes and inform me of their grocery requirements. Sunday afternoons were fun and somewhat frustrating as people tried to work as a team. It was interesting to see those who wanted to just take over and do it all for themselves, those who were content to back away and those who giggled and had fun trying to create a masterpiece. Even in the choosing of the mystery ingredient, there were interesting strategies that became apparent. Some would choose an ingredient they knew they’d enjoy eating. Others chose something they knew the other team would not want to cook with. Some chose ingredients they had never tried and were looking for an adventure.

cooking tool clipart
cooking tools

We continued this tradition for I’m guessing about two years until the kids’ part-time jobs made it too difficult to continue. I remember some of the ingredients being pretty challenging like goat which I had to figure out where to buy let alone how to cook! We would often try to use the ingredients in several dishes too. I remember risotto was a bit of a challenge to get right too.

I think what I enjoyed most was encouraging their creativity in the kitchen, seeing teams come together and enjoying their faces as we all sat down to dinner to try the latest creation. Even when company was coming for dinner we continued on with the challenges. I try not to remember the fighting, bickering and the occasional tears of frustration and remember the fun and the unique memories only we share. I love my kids and treasure the memories we’ve made and are still making!

Finding my top 20 happy thoughts

Recently struggling to stay on top of feelings of stress, I thought to myself: what I need is to find my happy thoughts. Reconnecting with them will help me focus on the positive.

My next step was asking myself what those happy thought are. So the following is my list of happy thoughts, here to help me re-focus in the future and to perhaps remind you that the good stuff is there if you remember to pay attention.

  1. Motherhood – my children continue to teach me so much and they offer me acceptance.
  2. My Guy – through all our ups and downs, his arms wrapped around me is my happy place.
  3. Family – my entire family is a source of love and comfort that strengthens me.
  4. Imagination – where would we be without the ability to imagine? Whether it’s fun and creativity, solutions and ideas or just a better tomorrow – imagination brings me happy thoughts.
  5. Log cabins, docks to calm water, walks on forest trails, deep blue skies, the sound pine needles make when you walk over them.
  6. Wishes and birthday cakes, celebrations, opportunities to appreciate and joy.
  7. Vacations – whether with the family or just my Guy – that relaxation, adventure, shared experience and memory making that enriches our existence.
  8. Feeling appreciated.
  9. Achievements, accomplishments and helping others.
  10. Kindness.
  11. Warm sunshine and playing in the rain.
  12. Babies and toddlers.
  13. Books with great stories.
  14. Memories.
  15. Growing up with my kids.
  16. Silliness.
  17. Inside jokes.
  18. Peter Pan, Robin Hood, heroic characters, re-enactments that play in my head of yesterdays and the small children who have now become adults but still remember…
  19. The first time I held each of my children in my arms and the knowledge I’d loved them before our eyes had even met.
  20. Expression, creativity.

Perhaps I’ll revisit this list over time and perhaps I’ll add to it as I think of more happy thoughts. For today, at least, it’s brightened my mood and brought me back to gratitude.