I’m glad you are here to celebrate!
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We’ve been cooking this week.
1 bushel tomatoes
30 green peppers
20 lbs of onions
30 lbs of ground beef
12 lbs of roast
22 lbs of whole chicken
28 chicken breasts
We made 22 quarts of spaghetti sauce and over 50 meals for the freezer.
It’s been a family ordeal.
Usually when I cook like this, I clear the schedule and call in the big guns (my mom). I shop one day and we cook the next…and Sauce Days never overlaps. We stay focused, let the kids help a little and then shoo them out of the kitchen.
I never knew allowing them to help a little would turn into big kids that help a lot.
It’s not easy letting little kids help in the kitchen. The messes are inevitable and the efficiency plummets. It’s worth it, though.
Today, each of our big kids has specialties.
Sam makes killer lasagnas.
Jay and Steph brown and chop hamburger like nobody’s business.
Hannah plows through assemblies.
All of them are willing to help me with the work. This is not a slight thing.
And they’ve taught me to be willing to take a break. We went to lunch and the library and swimming. We played board games, jumped on the trampoline, and ran. (We’ve made it to two miles now!) The girls scraped wallpaper in their bedroom, Sam put together more train tracks, Steph played softball, Hannah read 7 books and Jay conquered a video game. I was there, alongside of them, learning to take a break. This is not a slight thing.
So I celebrate the rhythm of our family life this week. Work and play and play and work all wrapped together each day, making a week that at first didn’t seem efficient, but upon reflection, was full of much more than work.
“I’m really glad we make the meals,” one of the kids said. The others agreed.
Hannah said, “This way we get to eat good stuff without being stuck in the kitchen when Marching Band starts.” (She giggles, like she always does, at the thought of Marching Band.)
“And football,” Jay adds.
“And soccer,” Steph says.
“And Boy Scouts and bowling,” Sam says.
“And when Martha arrives,” I say.
“And homework!” Andy adds.
There is a collective groan. Sam yells, “That’s blasphemy, Dad! No talking about school in the middle of summer. You should be more careful!”
We laugh, and suddenly my dirty kitchen doesn’t seem so terrible. This is the family life I never knew I wanted, but am so thankful to have.
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YAY for family moments and taking the time to capture them in words to help them last longer! I love how your family always makes time for each other. I want to come live at your house! 🙂 (And blasphemy is such an awesome word. Way to go, Sam!)
This sounds like like a perfect week for everyone but I loved reading about how they help and have specialities while you realizing breaks are healthy and needed. I hope this week stays in your heart when they gets busy. Also, thanks for mentoring my new writing spaces, without knowing it this week.
I'm envious for a couple of reasons. First, time in the kitchen with family is a wonderful thing. And second, you have all those meals ready to go for busy days ahead and that is going to make for easier evenings. What an accomplishment!! Definitely celebration worthy.
Wow, and congratulations for creating all those meals for the coming busy times. When you eat them, the memories of work and play will be there to remind you all of this special summer day.
Junior chefs in training! Wow, that's a lot of food! Sounds like a great week, except for the homework comment. 😆
What a great week for your family! So much work, so much fun!
Ah, family is not an efficient endeavor. At least it doesn't seem so in the moment. But then again, taking the longer view of what we really want, it is a most beautiful thing!
Family time, however messy, is the best – you painted such a rich and joyful picture, Ruth.
Ruth, I love the sense of togetherness that comes through in this account of your week. How happy for your kids, too, that you all share this process of preparation and enjoying one another.
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You're such an awesome momma! I can just imagine all of you cookin' up a storm. [Plus you inspired me to crack open that 'Once a Month Cooking' book you gave me long ago!] I like the list of things that make lives full, but busy too. A great reminder that even in the midst of a big chore we have things to be thankful for.
Ruth, you and your forever family were quite busy in the kitchen. It sounds like you had great fun. I missed seeing you at #ILA16. I asked about you at the Stenhouse booth.
Such a beautiful scene was playing in my mind. You and your family have a special thing going on here. 🙂 Love and laughter in the midst of work.