Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What we did: We ate healthy food at the table ...

... three times a day, mostly all together.  Does anyone do that anymore?

I got up early so I could have a few moments of quiet before the day got going.  I made breakfast - oatmeal, grits, other hot cereals, sometime pancakes, occasionally eggs and biscuits or toast, sometimes scones, yogurt and fruit, often cold cereal.  We were cereal mixers at our house.  First the cheerios, then the raisin bran, then the granola or some such order.  You were supposed to take mostly less sweet cereal - like cheerios or shredded wheat - and only top it off with a little of the sweeter ones - like granola or raisin bran.  Not sure it always happened that way.  I didn't buy the super sweet cereals marketed to children.  We made our own granola, usually.  We drank OJ and tea.  I wasn't really a coffee drinker back then.  Times have changed.

When you homeschool, you have the luxury of sitting down together in the morning at the start of the day.  You are not rushing around trying to find matching shoes or making lunches, you are not hurriedly gathering your things to rush out the door to get to the bus stop on time.  You can gather at the table, look each other in the eye, say a prayer, read something together, and at the end of the meal, issue instructions for the rest of the morning and then move into your day, having had time together, sharing food.  It is a very good way to start the day.  (With just three of us at home now, we have sadly gotten out of this habit. I took a break in writing this post to cook steel cut oats, and Coty, Joel and I sat down for breakfast.  It's time to get back to our old breakfast-together ways!)

Breakfast at our house was not complicated and didn't require lots of prep time.  We didn't eat Almanzo Wilder breakfasts, but then we weren't headed out to put up hay or do farm chores.  On the occasions that we ate something like cinnamon rolls or doughnuts for breakfast, I reminded us all that it was ok every once in a while.  After all, Almanzo ate apple pie for breakfast!

A little aside - (I've told this story many times so if you've heard it before, I apologize and you can skip the next paragraph)  One rainy, cold November day, we were celebrating something.  I no longer remember what, but for some reason, I had decided to take all the kids to the doughnut shop in town to get doughnuts for breakfast.  We piled into our van and headed out of the neighborhood.  The neighbor kids were waiting at the corner for the schoolbus, huddling under umbrellas or inside hooded rain coats, trying to stay dry and warm as they waited for the bus.  We rounded the corner and saw them, waved merrily, and said, mostly to ourselves, "We're going for doughnuts!!!"  Just a little homeschool perk - going for doughnuts instead of standing in the November drizzle at the bus stop.

OK, back to eating.  Another thing we did most days, was to take a tea time break, either in the morning or the afternoon.  I usually had some sort of baked good, most often scones, sometimes muffins or cookies.  I brewed a pot of herbal tea in the blue teapot, and we would sit at the table and read our chapter book.  I alluded to the "addiction" all of my children have to hot beverages in the April Fool's post.  It was not dandelion root coffee that fostered the addiction.  No, I think it was those tea times that did it.  Such sweet breaks in the midst of the day to sit together, drink tea, and read.  When we get together these days, there is almost always tea.

Lunch on weekdays was leftovers or sandwiches.  PB&J, grilled cheese, lettuce/tomato/cheese - remember, we didn't eat meat.  No sliced turkey, no salami, no anything like that.  Soup was probably my favorite lunch.  I made a lot of soups - homemade vegetable, potato, or cauliflower cheese soup.  As with breakfast, we sat at the table and ate lunch together most of the time.  Coty was not usually there - he was at the college teaching - but the kids and I would have our noon meal together.

Did we snack in between?  A little.  Not too much, really.  Mostly fresh fruit, rice cakes, sometimes granola bars, sometimes homemade cookies.  I tried not to feed my kids too many sweets or processed foods.  I rarely bought cookies, though I could be persuaded to get Vienna Fingers from time to time.  They are quite nice with tea. (The website practically says as much - "companion for your break from a busy day")

It is true that my kids probably had their first junk food from that Cumberland Farms store, also mentioned in the April Fool's post.  (I was reprimanded by a son who was highly offended that I called it Cumbies.  "We never called it Cumbies!" said he).  Whatever we called it, milk runs turned into candy runs sometimes.  Unless I have been fooled all these years, my kids didn't really eat toooo much candy, though. Just a little here and there - for fun.  I was no candy nazi.  After all, I had my occasional package of Necco wafers -  which didn't last long when six children wanted me to share.  I had to hide sometimes, too!

Well, that's enough for now.  The morning is getting on and I have work to do.  I'll write about dinner later ...

Have a good day, friends.

For an explanation of this series of posts, go here. 


Heidi said...

I am loving this series. I grew up the oldest of five in a homeschooling family, and your posts trigger memories of happy days growing up. Now I have three children (nearly 5, 3, and 1) and another on the way, so I am thinking about how I want to do things with them. Thank you for sharing.

Linda said...

I am visiting from Tonia's lovely blog. I knew that if she loved you, I would find something special here. I am already so delighted I came. I am hoping to get to know you better!
I loved reading about your days with your children. It all sounds so warm and cozy.
I am here in my empty nest these days, remembering the days too :-)