Yes, I'm talking about it. It's trashed pretty much all the time. I really wish my kitchen fairy wasn't on an extended vacation. She may just get the book thrown at her.
|Fairy house that Holly built|
Scratch cooking/crafting/creating 98% of our menu takes an enormous amount of time, so much so that we feel like we predominantly live in our kitchen. We constantly have a pile (or mountain) of dirty & clean dishes. It’s not unheard of for us to run the dishwasher 2-3 times a day, although you wouldn’t know it. It’s a well hidden secret! My recovering type A self, dreams of going to bed with a sparkly, clean kitchen & being able to walk into breakfast prep without having to wash dishes first or empty & reload the dishwasher so we can sit at the table to eat like civilized people. But alas, my magic wand is MIA with that damn fairy. What's one to do?
Having that sparkly kitchen is actually attainable, but I’ve also come to realize that there is only so much time & energy in a day. And my family needs me, too. So on the day that I planned to try catching up on dishes & laundry muttering not-so pleasant things to that good for nothing fairy, it didn’t happen. Ivan wanted to play Philadelphia in a Box. Constantly striving for balance, I did work on the kitchen & laundry for a couple hours and then we played. In the past, a game would usually take around 30 minutes. So, I thought it’d be a great break for my aching body & double as some quality time. Then back to chores. At least, that’s how I thought it would go.
Yeah, not so much. Holly decided she wanted to “play”, which shocked me because it’s a pretty mellow & sedentary activity for her liking. A recipe for disaster. She was the designated money handler for Ivan and go between for the bank & me. Our game lasted for 5 hours…
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what all of this has to do with the kitchen. I’m getting to it. Promise…
Maintaining balance is a complex, moving target every day. We routinely feel like we have at least 3 days worth of stuff to get through every day. When one of us is feeling under the weather, we get even more behind, but to our amazement it all gets done. Ok, well that’s a stretch. It never ALL gets done. Lazy fairy. But somehow, what absolutely needs to get done, does. Part of it is letting go. Part is refocusing and part is constantly reprioritizing. And viola - it gets done. So, that day turned out perfect, the way it needed to… nurturing our familial bonds. And now, today is the day for nurturing our bodies.
Crafting our menu by scratch was born out of necessity to work around a boatload of allergies and now is so engrained, I actually look forward to the ability to create something new. Well… new to us or reinvented. <Insert pixie dust> Something as simple as vanilla extract is a luxurious treat. While it’s incredibly easy to make, we’ve needed to focus on basic staples for years. Because let’s face it, vanilla extract, spices, herbs and the such, while awesome flavor enhancers to menus, they just aren’t necessary to sustain life. I’m thrilled that we’ve reached a point that we can be decadent, sprinkling pixie dust where we please. And the kids love to help from picking out herbs & medicinals to add to our garden that they helped design to menu planning for the week using what we have available.
Today’s list wasn’t a fun one, exactly. I had pounds of pears to go through that sat in a bag on the floor for a week because I just couldn’t get to them. And that damn fairy was nowhere to be found. I was dreading what would be lurking in the depths. I also needed to process several ferments so that Holly will eat more than her hot quinoa cereal. With help, not from any fairy mind you, we filled our ferment counter with half a gallon of cauliflower/turnip/carrots, 3 pints of garlicky radishes, a quart of purple sauerkraut and half a gallon of pear scraps for vinegar. We cooked down around 5 quarts of pear sauce, straining off 3 cups of cider. And the decadence here was being able to add cinnamon. It smells divine after not using it for 8 years. It's what I imagine pixie dust smells like. As soon as the kids smelled it, they were salivating. And guess who had clean plates for dinner so they could have dessert, also a rare occurrence!
We cooked 2 cups each of quinoa & rice for eating and in preparation of making more things tomorrow. I’ve also got cucumbers, okra & watermelon to process… tomorrow. And the kids are anxious to help me make banana muffins and coffee cake for the week. Even though having little helpers slows the process down, it’s so worth it. And here’s why…
They are learning the importance of healthy eating; allergy awareness & avoidance; appreciation for where food comes (mostly local), including the treasures from our own yard; math, science, language arts, and so much more. Being involved in their food makes them more invested and that is absolutely priceless.
And just in case you’re wondering - yes, my kitchen is a disaster zone as I sit here typing with an aching body from head to toe at nearly midnight. There’s more work to do & clean up. But, I’m gonna focus on the facts that Al made dinner tonight after spending most of the day working on our schoolhouse, my kids pitched in without being asked and I’m actually mostly okay with my kitchen being trashed simply because it shows me just how much love goes into feeding our family. And maybe... just maybe that damn fairy will find her way back while we're sleeping.