I rarely take my kids out to a restaurant, because: 1) sometimes the stress of the situation isn't worth it, and 2) we are on a pretty tight budget these days. Our outtings usually consist of free family-friendly events, using using coupons, or packing picnics and our own snacks.
But last week, I decided to venture out with the kids on my own and take them out for lunch. There was a festival going in Wisconsin Dells and I figured that the free window shopping, parade and free candy offset the cost of lunch. And, after tossing our stroller in the garabage earlier in the week because of Little Dude's ability to now hold hands and walk responsibly (like he's Line Leader at school) through crowds, gave me a little bit of confidence to tackle a sit down meal with them. After going over our option in the Marathon Mommy Minivan, they decided to go to a local mexican joint ... obviously because of the free chips and salsa.
After VERY slow service (so much so that Little Diva kept asking why the waitress still hadn't taken our drink order, and encouraged me to go get the hostess), we survived a nice meal together filled with chips and salsa, coloring, taking some posed photos, and sharing a few out-of-the-blue "I love you's" (which are the absolute BEST!) ... we survived ... and enjoyed it ... and I look forward to taking them out on my own again, when we budget for it.
We then headed out on foot and walked along the new Riverwalk, which the kids really loved. We got some great photos, a nice family walk in, and found some nice picnic spots that we can enjoy sometime next summer.