Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Long-Winded Way to Get to Oatmeal

When discussing their busy schedules, many parents include the words, "I don't want my child to have to choose his favorite activity when he likes them all."  Many parents let their children join every team in a season so the child doesn't have to choose.  The season then becomes a constant race from one practice or game to the next.  And even with all of the racing, the child still misses many of the practices and games in which he was supposed to be.  I have seen many families with only two or three kids with schedules much busier than ours.

Hubby and I insist that the children pick one sport to focus on at a time.  We never said it was a sport he has to stick with for the rest of his life.  Each season we ask each child which sport he/she would like to play.  Three of the kids have always chosen soccer.  Star was the hold-out.  He tried baseball one year, track another, football yet another.
We all have to make choices.  Every single day we make choices.  Kids need to practice doing so.  It is better to learn how to make good choices now, when the stakes are small, than when they are teens and young adults, having to make much more serious decisions.
Through my adult years, I have come to realize that I want to do many, many things.

I made the choice long ago to be a teacher. I was seven at the time. And in the end, I did go to school to be a teacher. I taught for several years and loved it. 
I was a photographer for several years and would love to still be doing it, but I chose to close the business when it took too much away from my family.

I would love to be in plays.  It is very likely that I could have been an acting sensation.  Alas, the hours are just too difficult for a mom with six kids.

I would love to own a breakfast cafe.  To lovingly make delicious meals for groups of retired ladies and gentlemen who would gather at my establishment every day.  Where families would enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and a menu to please both adults and children.

I want to be a professional volunteer, who goes to food pantries, schools, shelters, and anywhere else there is a need.  I really do love to work hard to help people.

The key in making choices is to realize that very few choices are final choices for life.  Plus, because you choose to do one thing does not rule out the opportunity to do all of the things you want to do.

For example, Star has said that he wishes he could play both soccer and baseball.  He has decided that he likes travel soccer better than rec baseball, so soccer it is.  However, he still has a bat, ball, and mitt, as do his brother and mother and father and many of his friends.  He can very easily still play baseball, just not on a team.  He can keep his skills up in our own yard in case he ever decides that he wants to go back to a team.

We have to teach our kids that they can do just about everything they want, just not at the same time.  Or do the things they love in different ways.  It is possible to incorporate a little bit of everything a person loves into his life somehow.

This is how I've done it:

As for the photography, I take pictures of my kids, friends' kids, and random events all the time.  I may not get to do all of the creative things I did when I had the business, but I can still have fun with a camera.

I doubt I will ever grace the stage of a real theater, but I can break out the acting by doing VBC and working in the room where the bible stories are told.  And when the kids are grown, who knows.  Perhaps I will try and find a little theater group looking for a grandma.

As for teaching, just being a mom fulfills much of that desire.  To get the enjoyment from teaching a group of children, I can still sub in Sunday school.  And when the kids are older, I will most certainly be a substitute teacher all around town.

The volunteering is easy.  That I can do with the kids, which also has the added benefit of showing them the great outcomes that occur when helping others.  When they are all in school, I have every intention of doing even more.

And lastly, my desire to own a breakfast cafe.  During the summer months, I get to do so right in my own kitchen.  Each and every day I have six hungry people asking me, "What's for breakfast?"  Oh, I love summer.  Really.  During the school year we are up at 6:00.  I rarely get up early to make them breakfast.  They usually have cereal or peanut butter bagel and a piece of fruit.  In the summer, I do it up.  Something different every single day. 

When I sat down to write today, this is where the post was supposed to go.  I was simply going to write a bit about breakfast and the types of things we eat.  I don't know what took over that made me write about choices.  It was just a roundabout way to get here, I guess.

I find that for dinners, I get into ruts.  I lose my gumption to make new things, or things that take too much time to prepare.  Evenings are busy times.  Plus, the kids have very different tastes and there is always at least one child who doesn't like the meal.

But in the summer, we have nothing but time in the morning.  I can make whatever I want.  And the best part is, the kids love breakfast.  No one complains about any meal.  Major bonus.

For those who are in a breakfast rut, here are some meals we have around here:

1.  This morning they had oatmeal.  I refuse to buy the flavored kinds, as there are too many things added to it, such as sugar.  I buy plain old quick oats.  TIP:  Mix cold, unsweetened applesauce into the hot oatmeal, then add a dash of cinnamon.  The applesauce cools the oatmeal right quick for those impatient, hungry toddlers.  I made a ginormous pot of oatmeal, mixed in almost an entire large jar of applesauce, and every single bite was eaten and licked out of the bowls.

2.  French toast.  To make it healthier, I use whole wheat sandwich bread.  Once again, a bit of cinnamon in the egg mixture is a welcome touch.  (What is it about cinnamon that makes everything taste so much better?)  TIP:  Did you know that the packaging must say 100% whole wheat to be the good stuff?  If it just says "wheat bread" it isn't any better for you than the white.

3.  Pancakes.  I have never used a mix.  From scratch is not that difficult.  Even my nine year old can do it.  To make it healthier, use half whole wheat, half white.  Plus, you can add blueberries to the batter for an added umph.  My kids also like to have homemade cinnamon apples over the top instead of syrup. 

4.  Eggs.  Boiled, over-easy, scrambled, omelet, or fried in a sandwich, my kids will eat them.  However, their favorite is in a breakfast burrito.  Simply melt a sprinkle of cheddar cheese in a tortilla in the microwave, then wrap it around some scrambled eggs and green pepper.  They gobble it up in minutes.

5.  Biscuits and gravy.  Not the healthiest option, but it is oh so good.  We're pig farmers for crying out loud.  We must have sausage and bacon on the menu sometimes!  To make it a wee bit healthier, I use skim milk to make the gravy.  And really, if you're going to have sausage, ours is about as healthy as it gets. 

6.  Waffles.  This is Dad's pick.  He is the waffle maker in the house.  He uses a mix.  Syrup is consumed.  Fortunately, we don't keep whipped cream in the house, so that isn't an option.  Otherwise, it would surely be on there, too.

7.  For Easter we have monkey bread.  Talk about a whole mess of sinful yumminess.  Absolutely nothing healthy about it.  Nothing but canned biscuits, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and the go to spice, cinnamon.

8.  Bagels.  The kids do love a good bagel.  I only buy the whole wheat kind, so they are healthier.  Plus, they don't use butter, just peanut butter on them.  The little boys also sprinkle raisins on the peanut butter for some added healthy.  With a cold glass of milk, the kids are super happy.

9.  Bacon can be added to any of the breakfast options above.  TIP:  Bake the bacon in a 350 degree oven, flipping once.  You won't risk splattering anyone with grease, and it gets that bacon nice and crispy. 

So, my breakfast cafe dream is kinda being met.  And as in my dream cafe, the kitchen closes at 11:00.  The big kids are on their own for lunch. 

What sorts of things do your kids have for breakfast? 

What choices have you made?  What choices have your children had to make?

I always like to hear how other families do things!

Have a lovely day!


  1. Thank you for this great post. I've been struggling with missing teaching lately, so your post about choices was timely for me.

    Great breakfasts too. I usually just have cereal (Raisin Bran or Kashi), so these are good suggestions. My hubby is up and gone before I get up, so I don't make him breakfast. He has a slimfast shake for breakfast. Lucky him. I do plan on trying to cook a breakfast at least once or twic a week though as my son gets older.

    I think it's great you have your kids focus on one sport. I know so many people (my own siblings) that have their kids doing so many things, that the poor kids are completely burned out.

  2. Thank you, Suzie.
    My husband doesn't eat breakfast, except maybe one pancake on Saturday morning. My grandma got on my case for years and years that I didn't make him a hot breakfast every morning. She just couldn't understand that he didn't want to eat.
    As much as we all like soccer, I am glad that they play volleyball or basketball in the winter. It's good to use different muscles sometimes.

  3. Oh my gracious, you are making me HUNGRY!!! Off to make my own breakfast burrito (for a pre-dinner snack, that is;)

  4. Christine, do you need any eggs for that burrito? I know someone who has some really good free-range chicken eggs!


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