Before our big nationwide “stay-in” began, I was ironically working on staying home more often and making less plans. I used to be someone who ran around A LOT. I packed our schedule and was always rushing from point a to point b. For me, no plans meant boredom, especially when I had very small kids and no idea how to entertain them. About a year ago, I was talking to a friend whom I admire and she joked about how she never made plans; she was the opposite of me. I don’t know why (maybe some type of permission from another person?), but something clicked and I started slowing down. Not to mention, I couldn’t keep ignoring the countless articles being written about how kids need free time and boredom to play, grow and thrive. I decided to take a step back and breathe.
I realize how ironic that is to say now that we’re all (possibly reluctantly) staying home a lot more often. However some of our best family times are often in our kitchen and backyard, where we bake, create and play. Here are a few things we did this weekend.
Started off on Friday with a trip to my favorite farm stand for a bunch of pumpkins. Like my kids, I get really excited too, and love using pumpkins to decorate my house. I am drawn to the “odd shaped” ones and anything with imperfections
On Saturday morning, we started off slowly and made a bunch of nature based crafts.
The leaves and flowers eventually became an awesome “person”, while the pumpkins now adorn our home. The paint basket was thrifted, the paint mat is an old place mat turned over and the silver bowl is a baby food item that we now use for art. The kids were so happy to stay in their pajamas and just make stuff.
Next we moved on to baking:
The recipe was from my tried and true “Joy of Cooking” cookbook that I’ve loved and used for over a decade. It’s falling apart but I refuse to buy a new one because it’s full of my notes and lots of food stains/memories. In the first photo, you’ll catch a glimpse of the compost container that sits on the counter for scraps and gets emptied into our backyard tumbler every other day or so. You’ll also notice a bunch of plastic spice containers. As I finish them, I’m working on either filling by bulk (which I’m honestly doing less often lately due to Covid) or replacing it with a spice that’s housed in glass. When the big bag of chocolate chips is done, I’ll repurpose it, as shown in the third photo. There I use an empty Mitchell’s Fresh chips bag (thank you husband for polishing those off a few minutes before this photo was taken) to save half of the muffins for a rainy day. That little gesture prevents food waste (not sure we will be able to finish them all before they mold) and saves some future energy when kids need a snack! After all of that work, I needed a little rest and enjoyed one of the muffins on a used plate purchased via eBay.
In the afternoon, I pushed my three girls outside for some fresh New Hampshire air. (My kids have heard me use that phrase ad nauseum, but I really do feel so grateful to live in this beautiful state.)
It was a really wonderful day that ended with take-out. Not zero-waste, but this family needed a cooking break and I think it’s important to support local restaurants during this time. Plus, progress, not perfection. Hope you had a good weekend as well! – Rachel