I am not a very thorough blogger… about anything. I dabble in journaling our family’s adventures… sometimes I deep-end on nutrition or homeschooling. But mostly I leave big holes because the majority of the blog posts I compose in my head go unpublished. 🙂
Last night as I was trying to get dinner on table, I turned around and looked at my kitchen and just laughed. It was a bit chaotic and very full and happy. It just struck me as the perfect snapshot of my life right now.
I’m afraid with all the holes in my blog (and in my leaky memory), I will forget the little stories and details that round out and add richness to my time at home with my young kids.
So, here’s a closer look at that snapshot.
The Blog vs. Reality
Dinner that night was one of my all time favorites: Autumn Farmer’s Market Salad. (The recipe is in my over-due-for-an-update cookbook.)
On the blog, that dish looks like this:
But in the reality of my kitchen before dinner with several helpers… it looks more like this:
The plate of chopped, toasted walnuts had been moved a half dozen times… only to have Daniel scoot over a kitchen chair and manage to reach them wherever I put them. I try to stay one step ahead of him because truly nothing is out of his reach anymore!
Ditto the pomegranate seeds.
And the roasted butternut squash.
He raided the bowl of salad dressing when I stepped out of the kitchen to rescue my stuck 4 year old.
He even got grabby with the arugula because he helps me tear and rinse and spin leafy greens, but doesn’t ever feel they’re finished. He wants to “moh!” tear, “moh” wash, and “moh” spin until the poor leafies cry out for me to hide them.
Eventually, I buckled him in his high chair so he could watch the kitchen prep without consuming or destroying.
That long arm of the law of his found the nearest drawer and hit the jackpot with kitchen gadgets he could wave around and bang on his highchair.
The Food Thing
I almost always cook every meal from scratch, we eat predominately a whole plant-based diet, and we aim to store a full year’s supply of food at our house. That means that the buying, stashing, cooking, eating, and cleaning up afterwards are constantly a work in progress… though our kitchen doesn’t always look quite this crazy.
Trader Joe’s is across town from us, so we only go a few times a year and stock up when we go. The cashier always asks with incredulity where we’ve driven from. It seems not everybody buys dozens of pounds of whole wheat pasta when they shop there. 🙂
I had lots of help bringing things in from the car on this night, and Caitlyn assured me on one of her trips, “Don’t worry. Daniel is picking up the long noodles that fell out.”
Yes, spaghetti was all over the garage floor. But hey, you cook it in boiling water anyway, right? The kids happily deposited all the noodles in a big bowl for me and we ate them for lunch today. The tortillas will get stashed in the freezer for a day when I’m not up for making my own, and the straggler bag of pasta will get written on and put in Daniel’s closet with its fellow noodles. Mackenzie had a proud night as she became a certified labeler of food. I love handing off responsibilities!
Our countertops are constantly loaded with fruits and vegetables. We have a half dozen of each of three different kinds of winter squash in the garage right now along with three kinds of onions and two kinds of potatoes. In the kitchen, we’ve got six pounds of bananas, and a half dozen avocados.
You can also see my homemade cookbook binder laid out, which I use every single day and love. Also, my latest effort at finding more simple, healthy meals: The Slow Cooker Revolution, a cookbook checked out from the library. (So far it’s promising!)
The bowl is collecting compostable scraps during the day and gets dumped at night. Our city now includes compost in the yard waste bin, so with the additionally awesome recycling program, we generally only have diapers and a very few other things in our trash can. It’s rad.
Evidence of Children
1) My life-saving homeschooling schedule is on the fridge and looked at more by my children than myself. Caitlyn loves to inform me what we are actually supposed to be doing when we’re off track, which is often.
2) Caitlyn was also the mastermind behind the “chair party” going on by Daniel. After he was buckled in, she dragged all the chairs over and sat down for the party. She invited me but I was indisposed cooking dinner. I did discover through questioning her that the party involved spoons and lots of sitting on chairs but that there were “other fun party things” planned for later.
3) Daniel is a super messy eater so I usually take his shirt off before meals. Apparently this time it didn’t make it back on.
4) Daniel managed to dirty almost every spoon in the house… I can’t even remember how, because as I may have mentioned, my memory is like a sieve with some things. Anyway, here is a big pile of drying spoons.
5) Mackenzie’s latest science experiment is on the counter, a white carnation drinking blue water and changing its petal color – pretty fun.
6) Daniel has a pile of towels there on the counter as well, because anytime someone spills water (often), he hustles over to get a “tow-oh! tow-oh!” and does his best to clean up the spill, proudly bringing me back the dripping towel afterwards. Judging by the size of that pile, it must have been a particularly spill-y day.
Our rental is sporting some amazing wallpaper. It’s too bad I didn’t get the cottage border in the picture. There are actual houses up there by our ceiling, and little sheep.
Our house has a two-burner stove and one of the burners is small and right up next to the other. Canning on it was an adventure this year!
The behemoth bread machine is not supposed to live on our counter, but since I use it nearly every day… it is out more often than not.
We own exactly two things in our house that could be classified as “for display only” besides the pictures on the wall. Knickknacks just aren’t our thing and I don’t spend any energy on decorating our home. One of these two things, though, is in this picture… it’s leaning up near the window by the Vitamix: The plaque given to us by dear friends as we left Columbus last year. It’s been a bit of a tough year adjusting to such a large change of our social and support system, and I like the reminder of Ohio there while I’m doing dishes.
There’s a receipt hanging out on the counter by the huge metal bowl, because I’m now a finance ninja. Over the past few years I’ve read lots of books on investing and taxes and I’m a big fan of Mr. Money Mustache, Betterment (I get $$ if you sign up with that link), and YNAB. All receipts get entered and categorized and it’s a beautiful thing to feel like I know all our dollars are doing what we most want them to do.
The oatmeal pot from breakfast is still on the stove. Oatmeal pots are my nemesis in life. I could talk your ear off about strategies for minimizing taxes but scrubbing the oatmeal pot before noon is an as-of-yet insurmountable task for me.
Scott isn’t in the picture either, but he’s the only reason I can handle a picture so full. I had a little get-together at my house that same night and Scott saved the day by helping me get the kitchen back in order while I tucked the kids in.