Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cooking Lesson: Gingerbread French Toast

I am losing my thoughtful, calm approach to these cooking lessons.  Instead, at the last minute, I try to squeeze it into the plan for the day and get impatient when Genevieve wants to help at other times.  Piano lessons, truthfully, are faltering and it's not because the student is unwilling but rather the teacher (me) loves the idea in theory but is less willing to invest the time. 

That's a little embarrassing to admit.

I am trained as a teacher and I love teaching, but I am having a hard time transferring those skills and plans to my homelife and parenting.  I think of myself as a scheduled person with lists and plans and goals, but really, I often just go with the flow of the day and so I can't be bothered to do something formal with the children. 

Genevieve is also thirsting to sew.  I did recently set up her machine and let her go - showing her oh-so-incidentally how to sew a seam with the right sides together.  She was thrilled.  She made a little purse for herself of the crudest construction and carried it to church on Sunday.  I know this was a good, fun learning experience for her, but I would like to take myself in hand and be patient and instruct my children and teach them the skills and basics in the areas where I am accomplished.

Things are not looking good for homeschooling, ever.

Unless maybe I grow as a parent, as a person. (Pause for meditation)

So, Gingerbread French Toast. 

It comes from Mollie Katzen's cookbook for children, Honest Pretzels.  Mollie Katzen makes great-tasting food and this was no exception.  It was simple French toast (dip bread in egg and milk mixture and fry) with gingerbread spices added to the liquid.   Genevieve did a good job handling herself by the stove and the breakfast was delicious.

This French toast lesson actually comes from two weeks ago. We were at the beach last week.  We are at home now and maybe we should go to the pool less and cook and sew more.  Must meditate on that.


  1. Oh for Pete's sake, it's a hot summer - you have to go to the pool!! :D

  2. You, my dear, are not alone. I struggle with this very same thing- and it doesn't mean you couldn't be wonderful homeschool teacher ;-). Sadie has been "sewing" on her own for awhile now and I felt so bad that I wasn't taking the time to give her some basic lessons. Finally, I decided to let her have some official lessons with her Sunday school teacher whom she adores. The guilt has lifted! I am becoming a huge fan of letting other trusted adults teach my children different things- I think it's very good for both the kids and I:-). I'm not suggesting that's what you should do, I'm just saying you're not alone in the struggle to stick with formal (important, but extra) lessons with your kids.

  3. I struggle a lot with teaching my children in a formal way. I love to do things with them and learn as we go, but it's much more a let it happen as it will type thing. I have not tried to teach either one piano, which I am good at. I have given them some basic sewing concepts, which I am not at all accomplished at. :) Funny how that works.

  4. I see I am not the only who can completely relate to the woes of teaching your own children. Remembering and wanting to sit down with my children and teach a piano lesson or work together in the kitchen is often a challenge! Yes, it sounds great in theory. I've discovered I must set up some sort of realistic schedule or these things just won't happen. I have three kids and each has a night to help with dinner, which is where cooking lessons come in (hey, I have to cook anyway). Daily piano practice is alternated with alone computer time for the siblings, so the kids make sure that happens. It's not perfect, but it's mostly working for us. Bonus: my 8 and 11 year olders are starting to make entire meals on their own. I hope I don't sound preachy -- I am struggling the same challenges and it was so refreshing to read these feelings articulated perfectly.

  5. Don't wait to "grow as a person" to teach your children; it is through teaching them that you WILL grow. Start small, be consistent, and remember the long range goal. Make happy memories and enjoy the time together doing whatever. They will learn and in ten years or so you'll look back and be amazed at what you all have accomplished.

  6. Margo, I think you are being too hard on yourself. I think you do and excellent job, teaching your kids. I really admire your work with them.

    Miss Genevie looks adorable
    in her apron, and she is really
    getting good with her cooking lessons.. I promise you.. the time
    that you are taking [even in small doses], She and Ben will be so thankful , and they both will be cooking/cleaning and know how to take care of themselves.. Such a wonderful parent that you are...

    As for the piano lessons.. They will get done.. Just enjoy your summer vacation with the kids. You will get to the lessons..

    I admire your honesty... Hugs.

  7. I completely sympathize. I am teaching swim lessons to my own kids. It's been several weeks since our last formal lesson and the pool will be closing in a month. I have often wondered if I could homeschool - I think my answer is apparently not.

  8. Margo - you are an amazing mother! And I LOVE that picture of Ben and Evie.. adorable.

  9. Children need both kinds of loving guidance - the example of getting things done according to plan, and the example of being flexible so they do not hold plans too tightly and become rigid about them. Like so much else, I think it's about balance.

    Also, sometimes moms need a summer break from summer break, you know? :)

  10. I always LOVE your candid way, Margo. Thanks for that.

    Enjoyed catching up on your last few posts. Can you come over and make the whole tomato-beef meal at my house?! Sounds so interesting and fresh.

  11. I find there's an awful lot of parenting that I love in theory but baulk at in practice...

  12. Hi Margo,
    I, for one, have been hoping I'd see you at the pool at swimming lessons this summer like last year. We must have picked different weeks. We're finishing today.
    I've been enjoying your blog whenever I visit it.
    You are not alone on this particular issue.
    I hope to see you around town sometime soon.

  13. I have an almost 9 year old daughter. She started asking to learn to sew a few years ago. Have a look at the book Sewing School. It has a good mix of hand projects and machine projects, most of which they can figure out with minimal help. We gave it to her as a birthday gift along with a sewing kit for her 7th birthday and it is still being used heavily. I've kept a machine out for her with a box of scraps that she can go sew on whenever she wants. We have done some formal lessons / projects, and I give her tips along the way, but, honestly she's learned more from just being able to sew on her own.

  14. Jane, I had sewing lessons from a favorite church lady! Thanks for reminding me of that approach. . .

    Susan, what a clever piano practice approach!

    Katy, thanks for the recommendation.

    All of you gave such kind encouragement - I do so appreciate it and I love hearing from more experienced moms than I.

  15. This post cracked me up. Several times.

    (Wanna know a secret? I'm a teacher and I homeschool and I don't like teaching my kids. I just want them to figure it out themselves and leave me alone please and thank you very much. Some days are quite tense.)

  16. Oh, this is so tricky. I am not very patient with teaching 'skills'; I can play piano *a little bit* but there's no WAY I am going to try to teach my children. I know it would make me crazy.

    We all have our limits!

    The cooking lessons, whether super formal and scheduled or not, are invaluable for your children. Trust me--some of us did not acquire those skills early on and lo, it's a struggle to do it as an adult. Huge kudos to you for investing in them in this way!


I enjoy the conversation in the comments - thank you for that. I will answer your questions here in the comments. Please note that I don't want the world wide web to know my family's surnames and location.