Really, if you stop to think about it, I loose ground if I do all the chores myself, even if in the short term they are done faster and look a little neater. My main function is not to make pretty beds, or to sort all the toys by size and function; my main goal in being at home with my children is to raise them, to train them. To create the adults they willo someday be. There is not a chore in this house, which I am training my boys to do, that I can’t do faster (much faster) and better (much better). I can do most chores correctly the first time, in less time, and “just get them done”. I admit sometimes that is a major temptation. However, even in the short term; this gains me nothing, and gains the boy less: and in the long run it is a determent to the very function of our family.
Families are supposed to be grow children into adults; not just warehousing them. I am training my boys, coaching them, teaching them. Skills that not only will make my house run smoother (someday, I hope, right?) but that will allow them to be independent and keep their own homes and someday to equally team with their wife to care for their home and raise up their children. Yes that is the joy of this, as I struggle to teach them to care for a home and clean up and keep it neat and tidy, I can enjoy the knowledge someday they will be fighting a 5 year old that has to DUMP a toy box to get a toy out.
So I choose to redirect the 5 year old for the fourth time to pick up ALL the blocks (not just most of them, not just the ones he can reach sitting down, not just the ones on the rug) and I choose to call my 7 year old back and help him (again) get the bedspread on straight. Both of these examples (especially the 5 year old) take more time than it would take for me to do it myself. I work today, do extra work one could say, now to ensure my ease and their ease in the future. But really is it “extra work” – it is more work than picking up the blocks or making the bed myself would be, certainly, but at the end of the day my job is not to make beds or pick up toys; my job is to train up young men.
In April 2010 I first posted about making, from scratch, chocolate syrup. Wow 2010, it is not 2013 and I have been making chocolate syrup about weekly, or more often, ever since. It is the only chocolate syrup my boys will accept now.
I have tried several varieties (like https://scribinglife.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/a-different-approach-to-chocolate-syrup/) . I need to try more; I’d to prefect the addition of protein power to the mix.
Today I wanted to post just things I have learned.
The basic recipe:
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
I generally make a double batch each time I make it.
Mix the cocoa powder and the water in a saucepan. The cocoa power will not dissolve until the water warms up. Next add the sugar, and stir to dissolve.
Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Be very careful. After you remove from the heat, add vanilla.
The original recipe I used noted that in the refridator the syrup will last for a couple of months; but I sure would not know, as I said I make a batch at least once a week or more.
Things I Have Learned:
- Use a much bigger pot than you think; this stuff boils up a lot
- Do not let it boil over; if the syrup boils over on the stove while you are cooking it, you have a monumental mess, trust me
- Be careful, the “popping” bubble will burn you (trust me)
- You have to adjust boiling time based on weather and your location.
The first batch I made here on the east coast; I boiled it 3 minutes like normal, poured it in our dispenser bottle, and it promptly turned to fudge. So I learned that, while we are here on the cost, as opposed to living in Middle America, I need to boil the mix less.
Ok so I have plowed though the food pantries; not as hard as i expected. i did it while the kids werew outside and ended up with 4.5 boxes of food to share with another family. Less “from the box” food for us. (see here, if you wonder what is going on). here are a few photos of my “finished work”. Now the challenge to keep them neat and clean and junk free.
First a glimpse of what all the pantries looks like before i got started this morning.
and…what they look like now..
This week I will be gutting the kitchen. Two fold process. First of all to get the “stuff” dealt with: at least 1/3 to give away, at least 1/3 to store and less than 1/3 back into freshly washed cabinets. Neat and cleanly and orderly. Secondly to go through all the food and cull out a lot of it.
The first task is simply enough and obvious; we are moving before the end of 2012 and stuff simply needs to get gotten rid of, or packed up. We need the house less cluttered and face it, it is all gonna have to be packed at some point, why not now rather than more work later? We are also starting the process of getting rid of all plastic for food and drink (I will, for now, be keeping it for in fridge storage, but not for heating food or eating food out of). So there are some things that I will simply be getting rid of. Things not gotten rid of need to be organized and packed.
With regard to the food. We are knuckling down and getting rid of all the “cheats” that have wormed their way back in to acceptable food. Momma has gotten tired of the fights, she has been choosing to fight other battles and we have not been as dedicated to our family eating plan as we need to be. Food, and keeping to the diet Daddy and I want the family on, means a lot of constant battles. It is time to get back to fighting them. It is my fault and I know it, but we have got to boost ourselves (and drag the boys screaming along) on to the wagon. The big three (artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives) and being re-brandish; and with much gusto this time. I am determined to make this STICK, somehow, not sure how, but I am going to have to find a way. I know it all hinges on me not allowing us to cheat, and me not being lazy. Now we are also going a further step to seriously cut back our processed / boxed / ready made foods. This time HFCS is getting the ax. This is going to be hard. Even after all this time the boys have no learned to “choose for themselves” not to have the artificial stuff. They hear it over and over (and over and over) again “that has artificial colors, no” but they never stop asking. This cracks down, and removal of more ‘easy to eat’ / ‘fun’ food is going to be a trial. For a while I am going to have to accept food as one of the battles I choose to fight constantly with the boys; this needs to be done.
Stay tuned as the kitchen gets cleaned out…
Our basement is unfinished, and the stairs down to it are officially “where the unfinished starts”. The walls were primed when we built, but we had never gotten around to painting them. The walls were very dingy and dirty.
The boys and I painted them! Since the area is officially unfinished area of the house, the boys got to help.
They actually did a much better job than I anticipated and did not get silly or intentionally extra messy. Nevertheless, intentional or not, boys and paint equal a mess.
This is a second installment in the evolution of our “school area”.
Yesterday my mom and I cleaned and cleaned on our family’s unfinished basement. The plan, then, vas to make a messy space for me and the boys (the boys anyhow) mainly for art and science.
Today we pulled all the tubbies out of the laundry room, and cleaned up all the stragglers, and sorted the stacked ‘not put up’ in to the correct art or school related tubbies (binders, tubbie and labels, a minor addiction of mine). Once we had the laundry room all cleaned out, and my mother amazed at the amount of stuff I have pack-ratted away in there. I started thinking; maybe I’d move all of our school to the basement area.
Art supplies and school supplies, do over lap a lot. The boys are only 3 and 5 so most of our school activities involve manipulative, or big paper or crayons or…you get the idea. So creating an artificial division between school and art, or school and messy is not really practical. That was simply going to mean a lot of stuff being carried up and supposedly back down and that is counter productive to the idea of the space in the basement helping improve the order and tidiness of the home.
Today I made a TO DO / DONE magnet board for the boys. I have laminated subject cards from before when I attempted a work box system (modified) with them, but they are really too big so I’ll be making new ones. My plan is to post our day’s subjects on the TO DO half, and let big Brother move them as the are accomplished so that he can see his progress and eventually he can start to learn the process of working though a to do list.
So the choice made all the school and art and other supplies were carried down to the basement and neatly stacked. The basement is unfinished, so basically everything is setting on the floor; I do not think I am even going to ask Hubby to install shelves, since they’d just have to be removed to paint and finish the area. He did tell me we can get an utility sink and run the drain via hose to the sump pump (hot and cold water on the north wall, by the dresser); that will make it nice and less messy. I do plan to hang clothes line in several places to hang art on. I have some posters to put up also, and I am going to ask Hubby to hang our TO DO Board. That will warm the space up and make it more friendly and welcoming. I also still need to take the chairs downstairs for the boys; I was not going to take chairs when it was just for art and science, but now that I have decided to have all our school there (or most of it, the seat work anyway) I need the chairs.
So there you are, a second installment in the evolution of our school area, stay tuned more to come.