There is just something about having children around that pops me into a mode of regularity. They must eat on time. Otherwise you and they will start out the day snarling at each other. And end the day that same way. Routine feeding times seem to make everyone much, much happier.
Little Adam and a friend
Daily trips to the grocery store
I know this will sound insane to most of you, but I actually liked going to the grocery store each day. Now, if I was really well prepared, I wouldn't have to go to the grocery store every day, but my mode of cooking usually involves forgetting one absolutely essential ingredient for each recipe. That forgotten ingredient is always something that is not stocked in my cupboards at the moment so in order to make the recipe correctly, I either have to borrow or buy the item. And what I've found is every recipe tastes a whole lot better if you use all the essential ingredients rather than just some of them. When I'm cooking for just myself, I'm willing to leave out an essential ingredient and see what I come up with. This has made for some interesting meals and some rather scary-looking science experiments. When you have all the ingredients, a recipe or meal actually tastes good.
Julia loving this sweet baby
Thinking about entire meals for three meals a day
I went to bed thinking about what was for breakfast, what we would do for lunch and how we were going to manage dinner. I found that without a doubt, it took at least an hour to make and consume breakfast and lunch. Then we had to clean up! Dinner was worse. It took me at least an hour to an hour and a half to put together dinner. Then another hour to eat and clean up the mess made. Then it was right into the bedtime routine. It didn't seem like things calmed down until everyone was actually asleep and you and I both know that this could take a long, long time when it comes to little kids.
But it stretched new muscles in my brain to be thinking, planning and preparing several meals a day. What vegetables go well with this chicken? What kind of fruit should we add to this meal? Do we have potatoes or rice today? It gets so boring just worrying about yourself all the time and it was fun to try out a bunch of recipes to tantalize the crowd. And while there were successes and failures, I can't wait to do it again.
Amy with our great friend, Shannon
A cooking partner
Of course, it is always more fun to cook with someone. And when that someone makes yummy, yummy meals herself, it makes the cooking process so much more fun. We found too that we complemented each other rather well. I'm great at the overall planning of the meal and Amy was excellent at the details. She knew just what we needed to give the a better texture to the spinach salad, what seasoning to add to the rice to give it a fuller flavor, and what kind of fruit would top the meal perfectly. It was great fun to do it all together.
My clean house
I admit to being my mother's daughter when it comes to hosting visitors. I want everything just so. My house is never so clean as when I'm hosting people. Sure it has something to do with wanting the guests to enjoy themselves, but it also has to do with functionality--at least in my little space. If the kitchen is going to be ready for the next meal, it is necessary to clean it up now. If the kids are going to have a room to play in, then we have to fold up their futons and put them away. If everyone is going to get ready, the bathroom has to have fresh towels and more soap. I loved the shining usefulness of my space when it was crammed to the rafters with people.
Little sleep but more energy
Couldn't everyone use this? The energy came from having so much fun with my friends. The lack of sleep was for the same reason.
Long, long discussions and excellent questions
And of course, the talking. The discussions that ranged over five days. The particular question that my friend asked me about an old, old problem and I didn't have an answer, which made me see the issue in an entirely new light. The airing of opinions and refining of tastes that occurred as we shared and explored an array of topics. The great long conversation of our friendship that has stretched across many years, many states, and many emotions.
That's what I miss.