Friday, August 30, 2013

Being Present

I guess I should have mentioned that we decided to give public school a-go again this year. It was touch and go throughout the summer, but in the end I knew this was not my year to return to homeschooling. And after this week of big smiles, enthusiasm beyond description, bubbling excitement from all in the house, I feel at peace with where we are right now. Which having peace with decision is huge for me. I'm not sure how long the peace will last...because I already hear myself saying.."Are you kidding me...this is what you will be doing??" DSC_0372




How did I get to this week??? Through lots of prayer. Lots of talking with the kids and Pete. After leaving Alabama in the spring I was more than inspired to try homeschooling again. Seeing my friends, whom I greatly admire, talking with their older girls, I felt my heart opening more to homeschooling again. When I first started to explore the possibility of keeping the kids home again I immediately started to feel great pressure. I decided to put the decision off, at least until we got settled.




 As we got settled the kids began making friends, all of whom go to school. They wanted to try it. And even through all the prayers, I never felt the true desire to teach my kids. I have a desire to keep them close to me...keep them home...but teach them ..???

 As much as I asked God to really open my heart to feeling convicted to teach them ...I never did. Then I kept thinking...act first, the feeling may follow. But the hill just seemed like too much to climb...for me...right now.





 I don't know if I will always feel this was. I have a lot I have asked the Lord for this year and so far this is His answer to this particular prayer. I do know that He has showed me where I need to do this whole "school " thing different, BETTER. I made a lot of errors last year. I mean TONS of errors. Like I think I did it all wrong. But through God's mercy, and another school year, I get to try again.




I think I feel more at peace because I have realized that just because I don't teach them all their school subjects I still have a great amount of influence over them.  For some reason I thought it was all or nothing.  I had to do everything or I might as well do nothing.  But the truth is I am important to these kids whether I teach them at home or they school out of our home.  What Pete and I do in this house is what will form them.  I plan on doing some major forming this year and I think I am first on the menu.  I need to be continually forming myself in order to form them .  I can see this now....



So as we prepared for our back to school I choose a word that would be my word this school year. The word I choose is "Present" .  I will focus on being present ...being present to my kids, my Pete, my God, my friends.  A friend with 10 kids texted me right before school started and she gently advised me on being present.  I needed that word.

Monday, August 19, 2013

These Moments












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Holiness in this time of my life comes in a form that is sometimes impossible to achieve...impossible for me at least.  Growing in holiness is not just found in going to daily mass, or praying the Liturgy of the Hours.  It is in doing exactly what is most difficult to do at any given moment.

Serving God and growing closer to Him means I say yes to Molly when she asks me to to help her start a blog..even though Drew just went down and I can finally read my magazine filled with amazing looking recipes (even reading this moments sounds so foolish...of course you stop and help Molly)

Growing in holiness is reading to the little kids before quiet time...even though I am ready to skip reading to them and get to quiet time.

Being the mom I want to be means asking, in a loving voice, "Where is your brand new rain jacket that I spent $60 on?"And probably NOT mentioning it is $60 because that means nothing to them.  And really they should know where there jacket is even if I only spent $3 on it....but loving voice is the key...

Wanting to pray more means actually JUST PRAYING MORE...nothing more simple than that.

Listening to God more means when you know you should go back in the room and end the conversation on a better note, you actually DO IT!!

Following God's will, for real, is knowing that a no may just be the answer He has for you and it may just be coming from another source...even if you want the no to be a yes...

And when I really think about it I know that mornings like this one makes me feel closer to being the mom I hope to be.  Morning when I try to just be present to them. Just them.  He has me here in this place , at this time for a reason.  I don't want to waste it on foolish selfishness.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ask And You Shall Receive

Who knew that less than 24 hours after I last hit publish I would have some answers to the questions I  listed in my previous post .  Not only did a few people comment to help fill in some of the cooking gaps I shared, but I got a real life cooking lesson ...and ate an amazing meal...with 3 REAL courses and no children.



My friend Caldwell is a fancy chef herself.  She got to study for one week at the Culinary Institute of America.  I have been peppering her with questions since she shared that life changing news with me.  She has even graced me with an onion cutting session herself.  But the coolest thing she has shared with me was an evening cooking in her kitchen with her step-dad...who is AN AMAZING chef.   Like he is teaching cooking lessons as a job.



I got wind of him visiting a few weeks ago and I started subtly begging to be invited over for a meal involving prep work that he would kindly instruct me through.  My vision was a success.  It was such a fun and educational night.  I could really get into cooking lessons like these...good friends...good wine and an amazing dinner.



The fact that is was all a donation of time and talent made it even sweeter.  I'm still glowing.
So what did we make??  Well I had every intention of taking notes and photographing each step.  Some to blog, and some to just remember.  But I walked in, got excited and forgot to do much of anything but listen and try and absorb everything he was doing.



We made a whole chicken that was soaked overnight in buttermilk, water, salt and pepper.  We rinsed, dried and then stuffed under the skin with butter. Popped 2 chickens in the oven and then went on to make butternut squash soup. He had already peeled the squash before I arrived so we moved right on to sauteing   some onions, and garlic...a little bit of pulp, salt, pepper and chicken broth. After the squash was steamed we strained the saute pot, added the squash and mixed in a blender.  IT. WAS. AMAZING!!!



We also made Kale steamed with Chorizo sausage, garlic and onions, whole roasted carrots that tasted like candy. An amazing salad with a quick easy vinaigrette. Everything was so fun and exciting and I kinda sorta made it.

 Serving the meal in 3 courses was the absolute MOST fun I have had in a long time.  Pete and I served the others and we took our time with each course.   I felt so...fancy. Could I eat like that every night?? YES I COULD!!  That is just how I am made.  I REALLY love dinner and making it taste that amazing is something I could really wrap my mind around.  Now, the cost, time and mess is a totally separate issue that I am sure I WOULD NOT LIKE TO DO EVERY NIGHT.





p.s. I promise I will not be describing my every meal...just this time...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

To Cut An Onion







To Cut An Onion::::

How do you do it correctly??  And while I am at it, how do you brown chicken breast without burning it or under cooking it???  What do you serve in summer with the freshest veggies??  How do you sharpen a knife?  How do you know it needs to be sharpened??

I am so tired if NOT knowing these simple cooking tricks.  Please hold back your giggles if you are a home cook professional ...I AM NOT!!

I can cook.  I actually can make a few things pretty good.  But I am a cook who kinda panics when anyone I did not give birth to or vowed to love forever eats my food.  What if they see that I actually sliced instead of diced??  I was supposed to cook the chicken on low heat but I was late to get started so I did what I always do...I  CRANKED THE HEAT!!

What in the world is a swivel peeler?  How do you hold the knife correctly??

The list goes on and on...but I am so ON IT!!

I am on my way to answering my own questions.  It all started with that book..Dinner  A LOVE STORY.  I  felt like I could really enjoy cooking and preparing to cook and planning to cook.  I could actually LOVE it.  I love these people so much and I have to cook anyway...I might as well LOVE them both at the same time.

So..I got here and I started making bread....

 I am blessed with a family that has no diet restrictions.  We are not anything free.  It is amazing to hear the challenges families are faced with when they have so many restrictions.  I started to feel guilty over fussing over cooking whatever I want for people who will eat almost anything I cook.  What is my problem???

And to be honest I often felt like maybe we should be something free...just to try it.  I am sure I can use some tweaking to make things more well rounded...but for the most part we eat ...pretty good.

Bread has been the gateway to me wanting to know so much more.  Things are not as hard as they first seem.  I began making bread using the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  IT. IS . AWESOME!!

Bread helps dinner go further.  Food is expensive.  By making bread almost every night I know everyone will eat something.  They have to try what is served and then eat a small portion before the bread comes out.

My heart and mind right now is very focused on cooking...learning , practicing and enjoying....with my family, for my family.

I have so much more to share..and share I will.  But right now the bread is done, pasta is cooked and meatballs are browned...dinner time!!