Hello from the HillTop!
This year has been odd. There is just no other way to describe it. Between the Covid virus, quarantine life, homeschooling, the riots, the political climate, everything has just been simply different.
Like so many people our year has had its challenges. Some were easier to navigate then others. Generally, we are managing and enjoying simplicities that we used to not notice: things handmade, sunsets, a good book, etc.
Have you found simple things giving you more enjoyment than before? What about meal times?
We have been a meal time family long before quarantine took affect. My husband and I believe very much in sitting around the table and spending time together as a family discussing our days.
Some days we laugh, some days we are correcting actions of our children, some days we’re simply catching up. This time around the table has always been an anchor to our day, long before Covid-19. Even when one of us cannot be at dinner, the remainder of us eat together.
We are not the only ones that believe in the benefits of eating dinner together. There have been countless studies on the benefits of eating as a family. The Family Dinner Project sites benefits including: higher self esteem, less substance abuse, and better academic performance (see full list) for your children. That is not even half of the goodness your family can benefit from eating dinner together.
This year we, like many families, were trying to limit going to grocery stores unless needed. In some cases, this is easier for us because we have been attempting more self sufficiency over the last few years.
At a recent meal, the kids and I made a discovery that our meal was almost completely from us or our homestead. I used the Pinterest recipe, (below), attempting to expose my family to a new meal.
My husband is an avid hunter and provides venison for many of our meals. I had my first successful year of growing and storing winter squash. We made our own applesauce this year which we enjoyed, along with homemade bread.
Other than some spices and the butter, our meal came from the effort of our own family. I recognize that you could argue, we didn’t grow and mill the flour or other bread ingredients. While that is true, the bread was still made in our house by us.
The important aspect of all of this is, this simple meal gave us such a feeling of satisfaction that we did this ourselves. It wasn’t ridiculously fancy, but that’s okay. The important take away is that we sat around the table and enjoyed a meal that came from what was around us.
While I believe strongly in the idea of community and helping others, we need it very much, I also believe that we rely too much on convenience today and not enough on ourselves. We want things so quickly and do not take the time to appreciate how good we have it.
A hundred years ago, which is a blink in existence, a meal coming from the work of people within the family would have been normal. Today, we take that for granted. We hop in our cars, drive to the store or restaurants and expect food already prepared to be within our hands in no time.
This meal for our family made us realize how hard we worked together.
- How much my husband worked to obtain the deer that provided the meal.
- How much time as a family we worked to grow the squash from seed, prep and maintain the garden.
- How much time we put into picking the apples, making and canning the applesauce.
- How much time we put into baking the bread.
We appreciated and enjoyed this meal so much more because of all of these reasons.
In today’s world, it would be easy to run to the store and put it together. In all, I am estimating an hour to ninety minutes for travel, shop, and cook time. Ours took months.
While I could easily get backlash for the idea that I’m promoting one way of providing for your family is better than the other, that is not my goal. What I am telling you is there is a high sense of satisfaction with the longer option.
So often we neglect the simple things. The simplicity of a meal made at home. The simplicity of a meal grown, harvested and made by us. The simplicity of sitting around a table all together to share a meal.
Today, there is so much unrest, frustration and anger. Sometimes the answer is taking a step back to calm your soul by bowing your head, taking a walk, or enjoying silence. Or simply take a deep breath and have a meal together to have a little more peace. It will not fix everything, but the simplicity of it will help.
Be thankful for the simple things. Gratitude helps to change your spirit.