Monday, August 22, 2016

in the kitchen together

In all honesty, I'm a true procrastinator at heart. I work much better, much more efficiently when I have a clear and looming deadline. I'm the type of person that finds setting a timer for thirty minutes helps me to stay more focused on tasks and chores because I push myself to work hard to get as much done as I can in that short period of time. It's the way God wired me, I suppose. Sometimes it drives Brad a little crazy, but I always get things done and get them done well. And the looming deadline invigorates me a bit and pushes me to do my best.

However, this procrastination also carries over into the kitchen and meal-making. I would get an "F" in meal-planning if I was graded. Oh gosh. And this is the one area where I find my procrastinating spirit to lead to a bit of stress. All I can say is thank goodness for the auto defrost option on my microwave! 

So one of my goals this coming fall (and coming school year) is to start meal-planning again. I have always enjoyed the mental freedom that has come from having a plan when it comes to meals. I suppose I just haven't disciplined myself enough to actually make it a habit. However, it's such a WONDERFUL feeling at 4:00 p.m. on a weekday to know that dinner is already planned and probably already started or even in the crock pot almost ready to be eaten. 

My kids, at ages 13 and 10, love to cook and bake. It's something that they've always seen me do, and I've let them have reigns in the kitchen since an early age. In my mind, it's one of the most important life skills I can pass on to my kids ~ the skill of feeding oneself. And not only feeding oneself, but feeding oneself good, wholesome, home-cooked meals. 

My problem as a kitchen procrastinator, though, is that when I've waited until the last possible minute to start a dinner that I'm not even sure what it's going to be, I don't have the patience for the kids in the kitchen with me. I want to get in there, have all the room to move around, and crank out whatever I'm making. And sometimes I don't even know what I'm making until it hits the kitchen table and is done. 

But, I'm totally robbing my kids and myself of some special, very productive time together as well as some really awesome learning experiences approaching meal-time this way. And it's all because I'm too lazy to do a little planning ahead of time. 

This past Saturday, Ian and I went to the garden together and picked a bunch of veggies to use to make dinner. The kids and I then husked the corn together and spent an hour chopping, mixing, sauteing, and prepping our dinner. When we pulled the stuffed green peppers out of the oven two hours later, there was a great satisfaction felt around the table that night. We had worked together from start to finish. And on top of that, most of the food was from our garden. 

I was reflecting on this later that evening. We had so much fun together. The kids kept saying how much they loved cooking with me and how they want to do it more often. And, I really do swear, that food tasted so much better knowing that we made it together. 

So this is one of my goals this new school year. I'm going to work on disciplining myself to meal-plan again, and I'm going to work more group cooking sessions into our schedule. Not only does this enable some really great quality time with my kids, but it's also equipping them for their future when they leave home.


Devon said...

This sounds exactly like me! Of course my kids are a little younger, so having them help me chop, etc is a little daunting at this point. But I am such a procrastinator... and I end up feeling the same as you described - missing out on special moments! Thanks for the post! A reminder to get myself in gear. I also do better and feel calmer if I know what's on the menu ahead of time. I better get on that! :)

Wendi said...

I force myself to menu plan and follow through. Some weeks are better then others! I find that it prevents the crazy, hectic moments that you described. Letting Megan help out more is something that I need to work on. That easier to just do it myself attitude is not a good thing!

Billie Jo said...

Amber, your photos are so beautiful...
And I agree.
I am a meal planner ...but don't do so well in the summer!
Looking forward to getting back on track in the fall.
I love dinner simmering in the crock pot all day!
Have a cozy day with your sweet children. : )

Simply At Home said...

I love this! It happens to me as well from time to time. Thank you, for the reminder!

karen said...

I hope your discipline rubs off on me. I fly by the seat of my pants in the kitchen, and it works most of the time!! However it's only just the two of us now and that works better with no plan. How lucky you have some volunteers in the kitchen :)

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

Yay! How fun! I hope to do this as well. By the way I tried to contact you through your email set up. Did you see any emails?

Lisa said...

Returning to school and routine is always a return to meal planning around here... Love that your kids are enjoying time in the kitchen. :) xo