On the season

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Our youngest child just ran out the hallway squealing, and informed us that she wants roller skates for Christmas, “Because, mom!  Then, when I get up in the morning, I can just go.  No walking.  Just going!”  In. A. Nutshell.

Thanksgiving break found me wanting to be generous, so every meal we were at I did not even police how many desserts the kids had.  I was the Oprah of the Thanksgiving desserts.  More generous, even, than O.  I had zero cares.  Until I had cares.  Why do I need to relearn this lesson every year?  This is why Christmas break tends to be better, I think… the lessons from Thanksgiving are still fresh in the mind.  New things help, too.

I was thinking the other day about all of the families gathering around tables with differing views and wondering how that would play out.  We’ve never hit those topics at our family things, but I still wanted to think about how to handle stuff if it came up. I had the realization that there are very few opinions worth going rounds about.  There are some, though.  And I figured that I wanted to be able to thoughtfully and carefully express myself without demeaning the other person.  Right? I mean, I feel like grownups being able to disagree but still honor each other and even continue as friends (or stick together as family) is this novel idea.  It was a fruitless little pep talk (no throw downs were had), but I’m glad I did it.

I call my mom a gazillion times a day.  I tell her about funny things the kids do or say, I ask for recipes she’s written down for me but I’ve lost, I just check in to see how she’s doing.  Besides my husband, she’s one of my favorite people to talk to.  She’s at deer camp with my dad right now so she can cook for the hunters and I’m a little miffed that she’s difficult to reach.  I texted her and told her she’s not allowed to die until after all of the girls have gone through their teen years because I’m gonna be burning up that line.  Since she has no cell service, she didn’t respond.

Also, I am a little disgruntled that there is no school on Cyber Monday.  How am I supposed to grab sweet deals for Christmas with the children lingering nearby?  Because you KNOW they can smell when a mom has Christmas shopping in mind.

What I am grateful for is that this afternoon, I heard our two youngest giggling so loudly and walked back to find them looking through the Target flyer together and putting their initials next to what they want for Christmas.  Just a sweet, innocent thing.  I’m also so glad that Grandpa is home now.  It is more work for me, for sure, but he brings such a sweetness to our home and I miss him when he’s not here.  Our oldest mentioned that she was missing his questions in the morning, or after she gets home from school.  We are glad to be all together again.

That’s where we are-glad to be together, and strapping on our collective skates for the upcoming weeks of school and sports and all of the family togetherness.  What about you?  Is your December stuffed to the gills?  Or is it more of an “all is calm, all is bright” vibe?

On the last month…

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I cannot believe it’s been a month since my last post.  I mean, I’ve felt the telltale signs of it…the words and ideas rolling around in my head, the fear of losing them if I don’t quickly get them out, the random notes of ideas in my phone, the over-processing with my husband (just ask him-I’m very verbal. SURPRISE!)… I have lots of stuff to get out but I thought I’d start with just what exactly the last month has been like and why I haven’t been writing as much.

For two weeks, I had the pleasure of subbing in our littlest’s K4 room while the regular aide was on a well-deserved vacation.  I loved it.  I really loved getting to know the kiddos in the class, and I loved watching the teacher at work (I’ve dubbed her Mrs. Rogers-she’s so great).  I feel pretty strongly that every parent should at some point, spend some time in their child’s classroom.  It’s really good to see what the dynamics are and all that the teacher has to deal with in a day.  I was only in for the mornings but it was exhausting!  The afternoons and  evenings were spent running for sports stuff and homework and laundry and just collapsing.

At the beginning of those two weeks, Grandpa was admitted to the hospital.  It was tough, but I’m glad that he’s getting the care he needs.  He’s in a rehab facility for physical therapy right now and is getting stronger, will hopefully be home within a week or so.  My husband’s sister and her husband are also in the middle of some tough days, as they had a little guy come a few months early and he’s been in the NICU and now the PICU-two heart procedures, difficulty with his breathing…he’s a champion  who has been through so much.  Lots of waiting and praying.

During all of this it was our oldest daughter’s birthday, so we celebrated that like crazy.  Family dinner, extended family party, a special shopping trip.  It was a good time.  We had a new coffee shop open in town which thrills me to absolutely no end.  It’s so fun to have a positive atmosphere and great coffee just 5 minutes from home. I love that the owners are always super encouraging as they’re training new employees and are excited to bring something special to this community.  If you’re local, check out Swatara Coffee Company-you won’t be sorry!

My guy and I were able to get away to Florida for a long weekend. Our church group has a retreat every year geared towards youth pastors and their spouses.  We went 5 years ago and loved it, and were so grateful to go again.  We ate great food ( Backwater, Fiesta Jalisco, Hemingway’s Tavern)… we saw two movies (Thor: Ragnarok and Murder on the Orient Express)… we rested, we spent time with some ministry friends, and were blown by a powerful time of prayer.  We heard God speak some really beautiful things during this weekend and cannot wait to see His hand of provision as we walk forward.

When I reflect on the last month, I really feel so much gratitude.  We are surrounded by some lovely, supportive people.  We serve the Living God, who speaks and provides and sees.  I mentioned to my husband  that since God gave us a time of rest, it makes me wonder what He’s going to ask of us next. He thought for a moment and said, “Laura, I think He knows we need some rest and He’s giving it to us. That’s it. Don’t think much beyond that.”  This trip, and the words of life spoken over me during it, has given me some fresh wind in these sails.  I sorely needed it.

Coming up is Thanksgiving and my birthday and Christmas, and then in January I’ll be leading a class at church every Sunday morning.  Who knows what else God has in store?  I am buckling in, because I really have a sense it’s going to be quite a ride.

(Also, if you’ve read this whole thing, good for you.  Thanks for listening/reading.  It feels good to be together again!)

On making progress

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I love the fifteen minute drive to my parents’ house.  It’s country roads and memories the whole way-because we now live next to the high school I went to, the drive re-traces the same roads that were a twice-daily part of my life for many years.  There are three houses along this route that have always captured my attention.

The first house is a big, old house that was always kind of run-down.  I believe there may have been some kind of family-based group home there at one point…I remember seeing lots of children of varying ethnicities and some with disabilities playing outside when I was little.  I remember praying for the kids when I would drive past with my mom, my heart ached and hoped other kids weren’t mean to them.  Growing up where I did, different wasn’t always easy.  Over the years, the home changed hands and sat empty for a long time.  I often wondered about the stories it held and the memories made there.  I hoped they were good ones.

The second house sits down a steep embankment, and the property backs up to a creek.  There was nothing terribly remarkable about the house, other than a large picture window in the front that housed a 3 foot tall porcelain angel.  It stood out to me because the house sat in the woods and was painted brown, and this angel was white and seemed like the only source of brightness in that little hollow.  I had become so accustomed to that house that when I noticed a tree had fallen on it and mentioned it to my mom, she told me it had been like that for months.  I hadn’t even noticed.

The other house is my very favorite… it’s a tiny little house with a wide front porch.  The property couldn’t be more than 2 acres, but it’s flat and houses a few random outbuildings and has the most adorable old stone fence at the front of it.  Every time I drove past, I dreamed about living there.  I would have an old basset named Henry laying on the front porch while I tended the garden.  He would lift his head in a lazy greeting when I walked past him to go inside, and then drop it again with a thud.  I never got any of that, but it’s ok.  I watched over the years as the gentleman who lived in that home aged and the property fell into a bit of disrepair.  When I saw the auction sign go up after he passed away, I was married and we had three girls and I knew there was no way we could live there.

Recently, all three of these houses got new owners.  The first house, as it turns out, had some gorgeous log under that ugly siding.  The current owners are clearing up the outside, restoring the home to it’s beautiful rough-hewn log beginnings, and adding a bit of space.  The second home has had the tree removed, the roof repaired, and several trees cleared away.  I feel like someone has plopped that house in a Tommy Bahama chair by the ocean…it’s enjoying some fresh air and sunshine.  If a house could wear sunglasses, this one would.  And the last house…well, some young guy got it at the auction and he has taken down several old and dangerous trees, is cleaning up the grounds, and working on the buildings.

I love seeing progress. I love seeing old things made new, the broken get restored, the junk getting cleaned up.  It’s the center of the gospel message. These homeowners may never know how they’ve ministered to me during this time, and they may not even know Jesus, but I’m reminded of His work every time I drive past their houses.

What signs of encouragement have you found in unlikely places?  Do you think seemingly non-spiritual things can reflect the spiritual?

On fall

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Anyone who knows me knows that this time of year is my very absolute favorite.  I love all of the things autumnal.  The colors make me feel like my soul is exploding!  I mentioned that fall colors were my favorite and one of my children said, “You mean brown and death?”  Basically, yes.  Although there are more beautiful words that could be used.  I love that all of creation seems to shout before it fades to winter.  I feel like God could have made fall to be simply brown and death but instead He made the leaves turn colors no man can ever duplicate.  He made the sunlight become golden and the scent in the air is nothing I can can put into words.  It’s just the best.

One of my favorite memories as a little girl is working up at the woodpile with  my dad.  My parents have an old wood and coal burning stove they use to heat their house, and one of our jobs was helping to stack the wood and then carry it into the wood box during the winter months.  So, fall found me out with my dad-either helping or just hanging out. On the very best nights, I would catch the scent of the homemade bread my mom was making and the beef vegetable soup that would go along with it.  I’m telling you-that’s quite possibly my best childhood memory.  It was always a big deal when we made the first fire in the cookstove.  We would put a piece of foil on the stove and some slices of bologna and fry them up.  Add a slice of cheese to the top and let it get all melty and COME ON.

Fall is such a busy time, with school and sports and church stuff, but it’s the season I want to slow down in the most and just savor every last bit of it. Hikes, campfires, lots of coffee and leaf watching… all of those things to the uttermost, please.

What are your favorite fall traditions?  Do you like fall, love fall, or feel kind of meh about it?

On ironing

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I have a pretty simple system when it comes to ironing.  I don’t.  I know many good women who do.  My mother, for example.  She irons a shirt like nobody’s business.  She has tried to teach me her ways, but I have not walked in them.  My mother-in-law… she just turns on the tv, sets up the ironing board, and goes to town.  I have seen her in action.  My father-in-law is an attorney, has to wear a dress shirt nearly every day to work.  I’m so glad my husband is a youth pastor who can wear fun t-shirts he found at Salvation Army.  Early in our marriage, I tried to get him into wearing polo shirts-those babies are wash and wear.  As a young wife, I went to Old Navy and bought him one in every color.  He didn’t like them.

What happens now is that my husband will iron a shirt if he wants to wear it.  They hang out in a laundry basket until it’s their turn.  The other day, though, I had a strange and random thought go through my head while I was cleaning our bedroom…”Maybe I should iron his shirts.”  HOLD THE PHONE.  STOP THE PRESSES. I believe I received a WORD, you guys.  Our four year old was tired, so I turned on the tv in our bedroom and set up the ironing board.  She watched Paw Patrol and I ironed.

I was going to play it cool and just let my husband discover those fine shirts hanging in his closet but I couldn’t.  When he got home, he asked if I would listen as he ran through his upcoming sermon after the kids were in bed and I said, “How about you just go look in your closet?”  In my mind I was thinking, “He is gonna just tell me to take the rest of the night off.  Let’s order in pizza and give the woman a trip to the spa FOR SHE HAS IRONED THE SHIRTS.”

There was no loud proclamation.  I listened.  I even walked back the hallway to make sure he had seen the sight in his closet.  I was on the receiving end of a really warm hug with some lovely words of appreciation, and then we went on with our night as if the miraculous had not just occurred.  Apparently, he knows wives everywhere do this on a regular basis.

I listened to his sermon that night (you guys, it is GOOD).  I can’t wait for our church family to hear it.  So on Sunday, when you see my man preaching in a freshly ironed shirt, please do not let it distract you from what he is saying.  You wouldn’t be distracted by the sharp creases, just the wrinkled sleeves…I haven’t quite perfected the long sleeve technique yet.  Maybe next year…

On grocery shopping

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Our cupboards are getting bare.  Sometimes life is so busy that sitting down and menu planning and making a list that follows the flow of the grocery store (a little OCD but it’s what I do!) just doesn’t happen.  Sometimes, I quick buy some chicken at the store and figure I can Macgyver the rest.  Sometimes, I praise the Lord for the pancake mix I forgot I had in the pantry (ahem, last night).  And sometimes, Pizza Town.

I have three options for grocery shopping.  Over the summer, I did a lot of Costco.  With everyone home and all of the trips we were taking, Costco was great.  Also, it got us out of the house and the kids a cheap lunch.  If we hit it at the right time, they were so full from the samples that we didn’t even need the pizza at the end. Now that we’re back in school, the drive to Costco followed by the unloading and putting away without any of the kids to help just takes too long.  I will make a trip now and again to stock up on what we need for Grandma and Grandpa, but that’s about it. It’s a shame, because I really feel like some kind of big deal at Costco, surrounded by copious amounts of anything I could ever want and everything I didn’t know I need.

Our other option is Horning’s, a Mennonite operated discount grocery store.  I love it there, but I can’t go with a list!  It’s so hit or miss. I like to play a game in my head, where the entire store is like a Chopped basket and I just have to figure out how to make it work.  This has left me with large quantities of turnips rotting in our fridge BUT THEY WERE LOCAL AND ONLY COST ME 25 CENTS.  Also, the deli line.  It can get brutal back there but it’s worth it for my one pound of John F. Martin smoked turkey breast, chipped please.

The option I’ve been using too frequently lately is the BG’s.  I love BG’s.  I love seeing everyone I know there (most of the time).  I love that they have Good N’ Plenty right inside the door.  But I bet they get tired of seeing me three times a week because I forgot the sour cream and then also remembered needing crackers and lettuce and coffee and oh yes, crescent rolls and yogurt.  I mean… geez.  This is why I need the flow chart based list and the menu planning.

Where do you fall in this?  Are you a Costco shopper?  What’s your favorite sample?  (Mine is the Palmetto Pimento Cheese… but I will never buy it because hello jeans I like to wear.)  Do you have a weird way of organizing your list?  Can you believe I wrote an entire post on grocery shopping?  I can…I’m procrastinating because the kitchen needs to be cleaned up.

 

On raising kids in a world gone wild

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The world feels crazy these days.  I guess it’s always been unhinged, but as a child I was fairly immune to it.  The thing about right now is that our children need to be aware.  They know about stacking desks at their classroom doors in case an intruder comes to school to hurt them.  My eldest described this great tool one of her teachers has that attaches to a window and then shatters it with the pull of a string, so they can escape their classroom.  That was a SEAL thing to me, when I was a kid. Until recently, our children have not watched the news. It was our way of protecting them, I guess.  But we’re at a point now where they’re hearing about it from friends and we would rather they hear about it with us.

Our oldest was asking me about the shooting in Vegas, why someone would do that.  We had similar talks after Paris and Orlando and San Bernardino and on and on.  It scares her.  She asked how often this happened when I was little.  Our 11 year old was stunned that mass shootings were not the norm in the eighties.  What a luxury, when tornado drills were the scariest thing.  It makes me feel sad, thinking about this world we’re passing on to our children.

Having sad or scared mom isn’t going to help them, though.  We’re needing to step up in a different way in this era of parenting.  We’ve got screens to pry eyes away from, constant access to peers speaking into their lives via social media, music and television that BEG to be discussed and not just consumed.  We parents have so many things vying for our attention- work, social commitments, our kids’ schedules, keeping up with everyone else so the kids don’t feel left out.  Something has to change or this wild world will raise our kids for us. Our scared kids will see unavailable grown ups and instead of talking to them, they’ll try to make sense of it on their own.

We are far, FAR from perfect in any of this.  We have been guilty of using our phones too much around our kids, saying yes to every invitation they receive because it sounds fun/makes them feel included, over committing them and ourselves, placing church or extended family ahead of the ones who need us the most.  God has recently asked me to be more intentional with our kids.  Even when I’m tired… play that game, read that book, answer that question.  Viewing our kids as a blessing, calling, and appointment instead of an interruption or inconvenience.  Putting the phones down.  Saying no to invitations so we can be with each other.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN I NEVER GET IRRITATED (ask my kids and my husband and anyone who has spent any time with us).  It just means I’m trying, and leaning on the grace of God a whole awful lot!

With the world getting wilder, our kids need home.  They need parents.  Most of all, they need Jesus.  We’ve had to reevaluate some things lately to make the space our kids need.  We’ll have to do it again and again as the years go on.  And we’ll make mistakes and so will our kids, but we’re going to keep trying and know that God’s grace will cover the stumbling.  Our kids are worth fighting for-and so are yours.

On getting things done

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This past week has been a busy one.  I decided that this school year, my biggest priorities were going to be home and the school.  Our kids attend a private school and there’s often a need for volunteers, so I decided that would be where I focused a lot of energy.  First of all, though, our home.  First the hubs, then the kiddos, and Grandma and Grandpa.  The immediate needs shuffle back and forth between the last two, and they each take priority as needed.  This was a week when all of the above were needing priority.

Sometimes you think you’re doing a halfway decent job of parenting when BANG-you get a nice little reality check and realize some housekeeping is in order.  It was a week of buckling down and reprioritizing in order to meet the needs of our kids.  Some things have had to shift and change, and so here we are in the shifting and changing.  Grandma also came home from the rehab facility this week, and while in many ways this is a HUGE relief, there’s still the transition of this.  A few new routines are needed to accommodate her, and so here’s we are in the transitioning and accommodating.  This was also a heavy ministry week for my husband.  As was the week before, and next week will be as well.  Extra nights out, not a day off, and supporting him as best as I can.  So here we are in that, too.

I chaperoned a field trip on Tuesday with our 8 year old and her class and while it was fun, let me just tell you that I came home and immediately put on pajamas.  After a week full of changes and people, this introvert is about overflowing.  If you see me and I refuse to make eye contact, please don’t take it personally.  It’s just that I have no more words.  Other than these, obviously.  But you’re not looking at me and expecting a conversation so this works well.  See how an introvert thinks?  I’m sorry for all of us.

I just took a nap.  I’m drinking coffee.  I’m making soup for supper.  These are things that help me.  I went out to get a walk in earlier this week because these are good for my mental and physical health, and my next-door neighbor asked me if I don’t ever sit down.  So I said, “Every night around 8:30!  Unless there’s laundry or Grandma and Grandpa need something or whatever and then it’s closer to 10.”  I don’t think he actually wanted those details.

I really love Mondays, because everyone is ready for school and routine and I’m ready for a quieter house but it turns out tomorrow is some holiday so we don’t have school.  I have feelings about that.

I thought about writing a whole lot this week and was looking for ways God was working so I could be thinking through them and sharing them, but all I got was “SURVIVE.”  So, that’s what this week was about.  Surviving and getting things done.

For my fellow mommas holding down the forts, I raise my coffee mug to you.  Here’s to a good nap or a funny show or a great book or whatever it is that you need today to lighten you up.  School is back in session on Tuesday.

On who our enemy actually is

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I’m doing a study right now on the Sermon on the Mount, reading through the account given in Matthew.  (This particular study is guided by She Reads Truth.) This summer, my husband and I read through Luke’s account and it floored me.  I could read this over and over and not grow tired of the precious words of Jesus found here.  One particular passage sticking out to me this time around is Matthew 5:43-48.  Jesus is speaking directly to His disciples, but others were gathered to listen as well.  He has just gone through several old testament laws, taking them a leap further.  Now we come to this:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This question was posed…”What is an enemy? What were you taught as a child about loving your enemies?  How has that idea changed for you over time?”  And it made me realize that for a very long time, I thought my enemy was anyone who was different than I was, anyone who disagreed with me or held an opposing viewpoint.  That’s simply not that case.  In verse 43, the word enemy means “hostile.”  Look up the word hostile and you’ll see the words antagonistic, unfriendly.  An enemy seeks harm.  Someone who opposes me is not necessarily my enemy.  Hear that?

I think Christians often take this command from Jesus and turn it into, “I’m going to choose to be kind to the pro-abortion people or people from a different faith or those rainbow-flag waving people.  I’m going to show kindness to the Democrat/Republican.  Now THAT is loving my enemy.” That kindness is good, really.  I’m not going to say that you shouldn’t show kindness to those with opposing views.  But I am going to just put it out there that just because you disagree with someone doesn’t mean they are your enemy.

You guys, we even make enemies up that don’t exist!  “I’m going to boycott _____ because _____.”  Are those places actively seeking your harm?  Are they hostile towards you?  And really- I mean HOSTILE.  Is there violence towards you?  Marginalization happening because of them?  Guess what.  Even then, Jesus tells us to “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Matthew 5:14)  He says, ” If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Matthew 5:18) This even counts on Facebook!  This means that maybe you don’t post the meme, antagonize others, begin fiery arguments…because in doing so, YOU become the enemy that other people are being called to love!  How upside down is that?!

We are so caught up in defending our American rights that we are placing those rights above the call of Christ.  I have done it.  I still stumble.  I think this resonates so much with me because I am in it.

I’m asking us, Christians, to earnestly seek God out on who our enemy is.  And yes, there are real enemies! There are people in this world who are hostile towards believers.  We need only to look to our brothers and sisters across the globe experiencing torture and marginalization because of their faith.  It’s immediate and harmful. And yes, there are those who really do seek to harm us-extremist terrorists,  individuals who set off bombs and walk into churches and open fire, twisted people who would invade someones home and bring harm to those within, any leader who would oppress the voices of those opposed to him/her.  Jesus Himself speaks to this and says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” (Matthew 5:38-40)

We only need to look to Jesus’ life and death to see the perfect example of how to respond to those who would bring harm. His response to His enemies is breathtaking and so against my own instinct.   I fail regularly, and regularly need the grace of my Father in this particular area.  I need the discernment offered by the Spirit and the direction offered by the Word.  By His grace, I believe that we can change some conversations and be the salt and light He calls us to be.  We remember too, that, “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) We have the mighty weapons to come against that enemy , and praise God that the battle is won.

On getting kiddos into the kitchen

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I grew up loving food, with a mom who made everything from scratch.  I remember going to friend’s houses and salivating over their store-bought mac and cheese because I had never had any.  I believe I was an adult before such a thing ever touched my lips.  Fall meant the scent of homemade bread baking and beef vegetable soup teasing me when I was out at the woodpile helping my dad stack wood.  Apple sauce, apple pies (crusts from scratch made using lard, thankyouverymuch), big pots of chili, and waking up on Thanksgiving morning to the scent of celery and onions cooking down in the big cast iron skillet for my mom’s stuffing/dressing/filling.  Summertime was the garden, snipping beans, weeding, husking corn, and the constant heat from mom’s pressure cooker as she canned all of the things.  Our house was cozy and we had no air conditioning, so it got pretty toasty!

Because all of this was so accessible to me, because I stood and watched my mom do so much of this, the kitchen was never a scary place.  As an adult, this means I love cooking and even baking to a degree.  I like trying new things because I understand what I am doing.  While some of these skills were learned by watching, others I learned by simply trying.  My mom didn’t mind our watching her,  but she didn’t often have us help her.  I remember getting shooed out of the kitchen more than once for trying to season the ground beef we were browning for spaghetti sauce.  As a mom now, I get it!

Something I’ve been intentional about with our girls is allowing them to be with me in the kitchen, a chair pulled up whenever they want to, and giving them a task.  This means measuring the spices and dumping them in, or showing them what a teaspoon looks like if I just dump it in the palm of my hand. They will often make the roux for me when I’m making a sauce, bread the chicken tenders, stir in the ingredients I’ve chopped, etc…   Baking is something I don’t love as much, so pretty much the only way I bake is if I’m doing it for the kids to learn.  I have even begun purchasing inexpensive boxed mixes at a local discount store so that they can have something to bake whenever they want to.  For example, this weekend, the girls each chose something from the pantry they could bake.  From 11 years old to 4 years old, they each did their own thing.  Our littlest cracks a great egg! I’m training them to take over the baking so I don’t have to.

Our oldest has made dinner for the family already-hamburg BBQ, homemade mac and cheese, and dessert.  She regularly makes smoothies and is the one who keeps our freezer stocked with chocolate chip pancakes for busy school mornings.  She is responsible for cleaning up the kitchen when she is done, and if she doesn’t she can’t use it next time she asks.

It’s taken a lot of letting go for me-realizing that flour will be all over, the stove will be a mess, or things might not always turn out the way we want them too.  I feel like all of parenting is a lesson in letting things go, so it’s good training for me, too!

Does letting your kids help you the kitchen strike fear into your heart?  If it doesn’t, what are your favorite things to make with your kiddos?  Do you have fantastic food memories you want to pass on to your own littles? What are some tips you have for other parents who want to try this?  Funniest failures?