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January 2013

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I had lofty ambitions of doing this on a "fairly regular basis" at the beginning of the year.  Does monthly count?  That's SO not what I had in mind, but I guess it's better than I was doing.

So, what's been going on since the never-ending snowfall of February:

* It took me longer to get back into a normal routine than I thought once the boys were back in school on a dependable basis;

* Speaking of "routine," I'm trying really hard to continue regularly cooking a real dinner, like I was doing during harvest.  I felt extra pressure to have something on the table every evening because Mom & Dad were here.  I know Dad didn't expect it, but I wanted him to see me as a good wife and mother:  

A big part of what defines "good" (for me) is based on my memories of Mom having dinner on the table when Dad came home at 5:30p every evening (wow, that was a different time!)  We didn't have the kind of money when I was growing that my parents have now (and that Scott & I live on, but that's a completely different story) so sometimes dinner was "fried baloney in cream gravy, iceberg lettuce w/Catalina dressing, canned corn", y'know - the kind of food lots of families ate in southern Oklahoma at the time.  Yes, spam made a regular appearance on our dinner table, too.  However, these kinds of meals don't lend themselves to being "taught," as in "my mom didn't really teach me how to cook."

So committing to home-cooked meals hasn't been so much about teaching myself how to cook as it is on learning what it takes to produce a hot meal almost everyday.  It got a lot easier when I understood that the most important factor is being prepared, thinking ahead.  From buying actual meat at the grocery store - what cut is the kind of roast Mom made on Sundays?  How many ways can you make pork chops and chicken breasts interesting?  Then I had to master a handful of things that I know the boys will eat - even if that means we have baked beans and mashed potatoes 3 out of 5 nights.  (Hey, it's better than frozen chicken nuggets or spagettios three days in a row!) 

Long story a tiny bit shorter:   Mom & Dad went back to Las Vegas just after Christmas, harvest was mostly over a few weeks later, and I found myself reaching for spaghettios and chicken nuggets around 4:30 every day.  Or worse, stopping at Sonic on the way home from school after picking up the boys.  Who said that creating a new habit takes approx 30 days?  Apparently it takes longer than that for me to make sure a habit sticks.  So, I'm making a conscious effort to putting dinner on the table at least 3 days of the week.  Then I've got leftovers for a day or two, and there ya go - the school week's covered!  

One thing I haven't figured out yet:  why do I find myself going to the grocery store so much more when I'm cooking good, family food?  By the time you put meat in the freezer, buy big bags of potatoes and giant cans of pork 'n' beans, you should be good to go for at least a week, wouldn't you think?  But all it takes is one day of forgetting to get something out of the freezer to defrost, and you're stopping at Wal-Mart at 10:30a for a $22 ham to cook later.  Once I get the hang of balancing "which meat should go in the freezer, and which should I keep in the fridge for cooking w/in a day or two? " I'll be unstoppable.  Until summer vacation gets here, when any and all possiblity of my beloved daily routine goes all to hell.

* Drove to Alabama to see Scott's elderly grandmother for Spring Break.  The last two years I had fantastic excuses to skip this trip:  '09, still reeling from tornado and spending most of each day on the phone w/State Farm.  I got to spend a week by myself doing that - and it was still more fun than going to Alabama.  Spring Break '10 - my niece Faith had asked me months earlier to help chaperone her H.S. choir trip to NYC.  Um, YEAH!  My first tine in NYC, no kids to entertain since the choir was rehearsing the majority of each day for their performance at Carnegie Hall at the end of week, a fabulous time was had by all.

But this year, no valid excuse to stay behind.  Cue the 14-hr trip, add my single brother-in-law tagging along for the ride (which relegated me to the middle seat in the minivan), and a less than fabulous time was had by me.  Each year we tell ourselves, "she won't be with us much longer," but since we drive to Alabama again in July each summer, I'm not convinced the Spring Break pilgrimage is necessary.  But it's so not worth a week's worth of Scott's pissy mood if I complain about it, so I loaded up 15 books and season's worth of Glee on DVD and sucked it up.

Yep, my life is getting more exciting by the month.  I'm boring myself writing this - clearly I'm resigned to doing this for my own entertainment only, because I can't imagine anyone on my FL reading this stuff without asking themselves why they read the whole entry!  So, til next time.  (Please God, I hope I have something more interesting to write about!  Maybe progress on the new house ....)


Monthly totally counts, it's nice to see you posting.

I can kind of relate to the cooking thing, growing up we had family dinners but a lot of things were cooked from boxes or came frozen, so now I'm trying to teach myself how to make things from scratch. It's a work in progress.
IKR? Today was a perfect example: I didn't have anything thawed and needed to buy groceries anyway, so I get a spiral-cut ham thinking, "this is easy - it's already cooked and just has to get warm and glazed."

Three hours later, dinner on the table. And that's not even from scratch! The mashed potatoes and baked beans were, but the 8-yr-old is finally getting tired of both. Time to add something new to the VERY limited repetoire.