The first house Hubby and I owned didn’t have a dishwasher. It was an older home, and while I thought about it occasionally, I would not have wanted to sacrifice the limited cabinet space to install such a big appliance. Further, Hamburger Helper-type meals really only dirtied one pan, and I am ashamed to say we used a lot of paper plates. Not having a dishwasher really wasn’t a big deal.
Our next house had a dishwasher, and while my culinary skills began to grow, I loathe to say that we still used a lot of paper plates. We rarely ever used the dishwasher – maybe during the holidays or when we had guests – because it seemed like it would take a week for us to fill it up.
Finally by the time we moved into our third house, three years into our marriage, our dishwasher began to see some action. We became more cognizant of the environment, so we curbed our paper plate usage, and I began to experiment cooking more from scratch. We probably ran the dishwasher two or three times a week.
This trend continued into our current house…until the girls were born.
There was probably a period of a few weeks when we used the dishwasher very seldom. When the girls first came home from the hospital, our neighbors and friends kept us fed for a couple of weeks, and then we relied on take-out…and we even succumbed to using paper plates and cups for a while (although the images of dying polar bears did little for my post-partum hormones).
These days, we run the dishwasher once a day, and sometimes twice. And it’s somehow always chock-full o’ dirty dishes. (And if dishwasher-loading were an Olympic sport, I think I would be a serious contender. [Hey, if curling is a sport, this could be, too, right?!])
I cook…a lot. We don’t eat out nearly as often as we once did, so I try to keep our taste buds entertained with a variety of cuisine. My ultimate goal is for the girls to eat what we eat, which they do roughly one meal a day, but I’m still cooking a lot of additional dishes – mainly different kinds of vegetables – for them. Add eight sippy cups a day to the mix, instead of hand-washed bottles (cue the choir of angels…hallelujah!), and that’s a pretty full load (or two).
I am proud to report that our paper plate allowance has been nil over the past 15 or so months. I wish I could say the same for our paper towel allowance…but all this eating is messy!