Are You A Chinet Or A Dixie?

The days are warming up as the sunshine begins to grace us with its presence, but it feels like we’ve just wrapped up the holidays chockfull of picture worthy dining rooms photographed as proof that we are capable of dressing up our tables as much as our bodies. As Easter approaches, we are presented with another occasion to pull out the fine china and gather round the beautifully set table with family and friends. Each place setting lovingly set with items that were pulled out of their resting places in dark corner cabinets, washed, and given a prominent place on the table.

Table Settings4

I love a magazine worthy table as much as the next person, but I’ve come to accept that we are living what I refer to as the Paper Plate Years. The truth is with active young children, dogs, work, workouts and only twenty four hours in a day, paper plates have been a life saver at our house on many an occasion. The benefits of a quick table setting, less dishes to wash, and guilt free recycling currently outweigh a pile of dishes in the sink battling for attention with nightly tooth brushing and tucking in services.

Place Setting, Holiday Table, Dinner Party

And, I’ve begun to use the term Paper Plate Years in other aspects of our lives too.

The lack of dishes in the sink, makes for quick clean up and more time for my husband and I to enjoy some evening quiet time, watch a show or catch up on our day as date nights during the Paper Plate Years often consist of evenings in rather than evenings out.

Table Settings1

The Paper Plate Years may also come in the form of carpets that are showing wear and tear and are in need of being replaced or a car that may have run its course but the money is more wisely spent elsewhere for now.

Dreams of fine china vacations may currently be replaced by staycations during the Paper Plate Years and laundry may not get the attention it needs in exchange for loads of family time instead.

Homework is a large part of the Paper Plate Years as school projects need supervision and little readers need encouragement.

The house may not be as pristine during these Paper Plate Years, but life is messy when you’re living it to the fullest.

Intimate moments may often feel impossible with toddlers in the house, but your creativity will surprise you (and your partner) during the Paper Plate Years.

Table Settings3

We’ve all experienced the Paper Plate Years at some stage in our lives. Some of us may still be living smack dab in the middle of them. Each phase of our lives brings with it a set of challenges but also a set of dreams. When the kids are young or money is tight it’s easy to lose ourselves in wishful forecasts of what awaits, but the Paper Plate Years are the memories we will look back on and cherish when we have plenty of time, money, and energy for date nights, vacations, new cars and clean homes.

The most important thing is to be fully present in the here and now as you pull up your chair to your family table and make it a fine dining experience filled with love, conversation, and of course, paper plates.

In what aspect of your life have you experienced the Paper Plate Years?

6 thoughts on “Are You A Chinet Or A Dixie?

  1. OH I just love this post…I think I’m going to adopt the concept. We are definitely having some paper plate years right now. Hub’s job was rudely eliminated two and a half years ago. He went back to school, totally switched careers, and is at a fantastic new thing for the last six months. Right when he started…I left my full-time position that was killing me in more ways than one. So essentially on one smaller salary and a whole lot of support from family in many forms, we’re living the dream, I guess.
    I’ve read it three times over and cried just a little bit bigger each time. I love it. Thank you.

    • The more I live the more I find instances where the Paper Plate Years are present. Your transition is a tough one for all involved. Change of that magnitude always is…we’ve lived in “temporary” mode for 6 years out of the US, away from anything resembling “home” and are finally back. Now, in the midst of this transition I continue to remind myself that certain things are just temporary. I’m glad you have a great support system. It makes a world of difference! Thank you for reading, sharing, and mostly for sharing your own words with me.

  2. Love this! We are Dixie most days and Chinet for “special” occasions…..I have a lovely china set sitting in several not so lovely cardboard boxes in the garage….we moved here 6 years ago and those poor plates have never made into the house.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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