Friday, June 10, 2011

Home(school) improvement week 3: Update on feeding the family

Cakes by Suzi. Very delicious.

I'll have to make this fast. The girls are in bed and it's Jenny and Jordy time. I'll go through this point-by-point.

1) Plan. I decided to have millet pilaf (again, from this post) for lunch Wednesday since we had plenty of squash in the fridge. I'd made it once before. I'd been meaning to do something with rye for Thursday, and didn't want to bake bread, so I decided to try out this rye borscht recipe I found.

2) Shop. I did this Wednesday morning, and it went great! A lady stopped to compliment my Maya Wrap ring sling and ask about my children. A man gave red balloons to the girls. Ivey rode happily in the cart while Suzi walked and helped pick up what we needed, and I taught her how to look for a good deal. I even bought chicken breasts, and I think that's the first time I've ever bought (raw) meat all by myself. The hardest part was getting the kids and groceries all into the house when we got home. I let the girls help me carry stuff. Ivey dragged the bag with the chicken in it until the plastic on the inner packaging wore through, but it was okay because we used it that night. I think I will do the grocery shopping with the kids most of the time from now on, because it saves family time with Jordan and expedites dinner prep.

3) Cook dinner as a family. Um. This one is hardest. Right now it could be dangerous for the girls to really help. Boiling water and sharp knives, you know? I am cool with letting my children help as long as it's safe.

See? Totally cool.

And here they are helping their Grandma snap green beans, which she then helped us can. The bean prep is fine, but once you get to the canning part? That is a prime example of something that just does not lend itself to being accomplished with three children around! It got done but we spent the whole time shooing them out of the kitchen when they really wanted to help!

So what I need to work on is creating real work for the girls to do alongside me that is also safe. So here's what I think I'm going to do. I'm going to clean my counter off really well, let the girls sit across from me while I'm in the kitchen, and give them veggies to cut with butter knives (whatever I'm working with at the time). This would've been great to do while Jordan and I prepared borscht. Also, I should have foreseen how long all those vegetables would take to chop and done that ahead of time, before Jordan got home, and refrigerated them in bowls until it was time to start boiling the soup. So I still need to work on planning a little, don't I?

But we did make the borscht, and it took forever, but it made a HUGE stock pot of soup. We put all this in the freezer and had enough in the fridge to eat leftovers tonight besides. So now we can pull our borscht out on Rye Thursdays until it runs out, and then I have some ideas for improvements. Jordan would like meat added, for one. Lesson learned: Any recipe that calls for an entire head of cabbage is going to make a heck of a lot of food! Duh.

Anyway. I would love to have a little child-sized section of our kitchen (I saw this on a Montessori blog, but I can't find it now, sorry!) but that won't work for us. We have a dog who would love to clean off a low table of food, and besides, our kitchen is too small. We do have a nice big counter though, so I think I'll take advantage of that.

Clearly, I have plenty to work on when I go through this point for the second time. But I do think I improved, considering how behind I was to begin with!

Monday: #4 - Expansion and contraction. Work to better understand these concepts and discover new ways to offer both experiences when needed.