Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Plans

Maia loves to bake. Her interest has been growing for some time now, as well as her ability. In the past year or so, she would pull out the cookbook she got a few years ago at Christmas and would make one of her old favorites. She's gotten old enough and familiar enough with kitchen basics to handle all that baking entails - including kitchen cleanup!
Unlike her mama, she actually enjoys wandering into the kitchen to throw something together just for fun. I know that plenty of folks unwind in the kitchen by making goodies for their families and friends, but I am just not one of them. I do it, but it is not the thing I think of and turn to when I want to have a good time. I head for my art and knitting.

So, we were talking about summer plans the other day and it dawned on me to mention to her that she could bake us things all summer long. To all of our delight, she was thrilled!
I confess that a teeeeeny part of me has to let go of that mystique that "all good things come from Mama." I have been doing this for 12 1/2 years now and I do love being the one to feed my family yummy dishes and treats that they cheer to have and that they now connect with tradition and memory.
But part of that memory will be me passing on all that I know in the kitchen to my girls. A few days ago I sat them down as I planned my menu for the week and explained why I chose certain meals for certain days: We'll eat this meal first, because it's got corn on the cob and you need to eat that quickly so that it doesn't get starchy and stays nice and sweet... The zucchini dish will be next, because the zucchini is fresh too... We usually have one day of soup a week; we'll put it here... Let's not have two days with pasta too close to each other... We're busy this day, so we'll have an easy meal... and on we went.
The girls will be helping me with one meal a week just as they did two summers ago. This year, though, they will be making copies of recipes they like the best and will begin filling their own recipe binders. They will definitely include the incredible peanut butter chocolate chip cookies Maia's making in the photos here from The Joy of Vegan Baking! I'm putting that one in my recipe book too!
It didn't take me too long to decide that me not spending an extra hour in the hot summer kitchen was really quite okay with me. Both Maia and I were more than satisfied with the plan of her perusing the cookbook for treats, coming up with a list, and I would buy the ingredients. Especially when I can use that time sketching in my art journal or playing with my yarn!
And that leads us to some of my summer plans. We'll not be traveling anywhere this summer, as we are still trying to move forward with our plans to save and move back home to Minnesota. A lot of my time will be spent de-cluttering closets and under cabinets. The craft closet, for instance, has bags of embroidery projects, bags of fabric, puzzles and games and a shelf of pet supplies. As it turns out, my girls are not nearly as crafty as I am and so those bags of scrap fabric that I have saved for rainy days are not viewed as a bag full of possibility, but instead, just a bag full of fabric that needs to be moved every time we open the closet door! :) So, out it goes. And the same will go for things pushed under the t.v. cabinet, into the coat closet, etc.
For fun, I have started a new art journal and will be filling its pages with an odd assortment of things that make me smile. I've written a story that I plan to illustrate and we'll see where that goes. It's just for fun - no pressure.
I'm unravelling another two sweaters - white and off-white - for dyeing. So far, the one sweater I've started on is actually coming apart pretty easily. A few sweaters I've tried recently have been nightmares of frustration and it's tempting to quit trying, but it's just golden when it does work and I know I can make something for so little and be recycling at the same time.
Between these things and planning and organizing for our next school year, they ought to keep me pretty busy and pretty frugal all summer long. I plan to begin posting some of my art journal work here from time to time and will certainly post other projects we're doing. Do you have summer plans in and around your home? What do you do for inexpensive enjoyment? Hope you're all having a great week, and here's to summer!


Karen said...

hooray for maia! i didn't get into cooking "for fun" until just the last year or so. or knitting. and now i love both. both are a true meditation for me. i love that you are making the girls an integral part of the household life through cooking. they are learning an invaluable, powerful, lifelong skill! can't wait to see what you're art journaling. that's one thing i wish i had the talent to do ... and what a move! i know the feeling ... as much as i love kentucky, i often yearn for beautiful new england ....

my summer plans are seeing friends and relaxing as much as possible for the next two weeks, then i head to st. louis for 8 weeks of montessori teacher training. for inexpensive fun i recommend getting out in the grass and just making creations on paper with kids' paint! they would make great christmas gifts framed .... i did it yesterday while babysitting and loved it.

other things are the free art museum in my town, reading, knitting (can be expensive but not necessarily), renting DVDs from the library, long walks in the park, we have free music concerts here at the waterfront on the last wednesday of each month ....

Karen said...

oh, and picnics!!

Anonymous said...

It is so rewarding to watch your children progress from dependence to independence.

My daughter (17 years old) plans our meals for the two-week stretches between pay checks, grocery shops, and then cooks some of the meals. She and her "Guy Friend" are frequently in the kitchen cooking up treats for the family, and we gladly oblige them with the ingredients they need. Guy Friend will be headed to college in August, and my daughter will be going next year. This is good preparation. And she enjoys it to boot!

No summer plans here. We're going to lie low, try not to spend extra money. I'm going to take the English 6-12 certification exam to try to make myself more marketable for a much-desired teaching position in the fall.

Meanwhile, I really need to look for a summer job but find myself dragging my heels...totally enjoying being a SAHM again. My house is clean, the laundry is maintained, and my sunflowers are growing from the much-needed attention they are receiving.

Good luck with the de-cluttering. It takes a strong person to part with stuff! I do it easily but have a family of pack rats.

Anonymous said...

Summer plans - keeping cool - swimming in the lake and soaking up some rays.

Maybe getting the two younger kids into some sort of daycamp for a week each, just for fun.

Hilty Sprouts said...

What a blessed mama you are! Your daughter is very beautiful and how special that she loves to bake goodies for your family!

Anonymous said...

Cookies were good, too! This comes from a grandma that loves her treats! Great job, Maia!

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