Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Baking Goodies

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It’s been a while since we’ve done anything special. Not having an oven kind of ruined our ability to make much fun stuff. Most of our cooking was for the practical purpose of meals.

Thinking back to my own childhood, one of my own favorite memories is baking cookies with my mom. Our kitchen was the old-fashioned kind, with a pantry and no cabinets or counters. My sister, my mom, and I all gathered around the kitchen where we would mix, set out the cooling racks, and decorate when we had that task in mind. My mom had these old plastic mixing bowls that were always a clue something good was coming, whether it was homemade meatballs or cookies and cupcakes. A bowl would sit out all day with butter when we would bake cookies. Sometimes she would pull out this giant tome full of yummy recipes. Other times it was just off the back of the chocolate chip package. Whatever it was, baking days were always good, especially the part where we got to lick the beaters.

When I got out on my own and had my own kids, I found baking to be a chore. I didn’t have the money for a mixer, so I did it all by hand. If the butter wasn’t quite soft enough it would be hard to mix. Even with softened butter, my arm just got tired from all the mixing. It was so much worse after I broke my elbow. I gave it up because it just wasn’t worth it for anything but special occasions.

It’s amazing what we take for granted. Having had to hand wash clothes and diapers, then put them on the line really woke me up to that. Honestly, I kind of started to prefer it. I grew to appreciate the role women had in the home and why gender roles became so essential in early life. I could easily see how women would work all day in the house. Cooking, laundry, cleaning, and minding the children was a full time job. I almost wish we could go back to those times. My time would be so much more productive. Living like that leaves me feeling like I truly accomplished something.

Recently I’ve been missing home. It’s always hard for me in the fall. The leaves would be crunching on the ground. Scarves and hats start showing up everywhere. It’s rough to live in a place where fall just means the heat of the summer has broken.

Instead of getting all sad, I’ve decided to capture other aspects of fall. I got pumpkin coffee and pumpkin eggnog for Oz. We had apple cider. Now I’m starting to bake again. I forgot how much I missed it. It’s something I can share with my kids like my mom did with me.

Today wasn’t anything special. We planned to make Reese’s peanutbutter chocolate cookies. Corde read off the ingredients and the directions. She helped me gather the ingredients and measure everything. Sander had to pour in the sugar. They all helped with the mixing. Even Luca had a turn. It was fun!

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I did all the actual baking. Things had degraded into chaos by then, and even just asking the kids to put the right sized lumps of dough on the sheet would have been a disaster, between trying to get them all the same size and letting everyone have a turn. I’m sure that was easier for my mom with only two kids and both so close in age. It will be easier when I can work in my own kitchen and let them each manage their own cookie sheet.

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The cookies turned out great. The first dozen disappeared almost as soon as they were off the cookie sheet. Surprisingly, for the first timeline my life I got about the right yield. Usually I’m short by nearly half. I guess I normally make some huge cookies!

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I still haven’t had any, but I packed up the rest of them for now. I bet we could make these last all week. It makes me wish I had an old-fashioned cookie jar to stock them all away in. That thing would never be empty. My mom always used cookie tins, which were better in a lot of ways, but I’ve always been more partial to jars.

I think from this point on I want to start baking cookies every week. I still need to do the math and see if making homemade cookies is actually cheaper, but the result is so much more enjoyable. I get time with my kids and get to see them enjoy a yummy treat, even though I’m finding I’m not much on sweets.

We may just bake again tomorrow. Oz wants white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. We have the stuff to make oatmeal scotchies. Then there’s Beekee’s Halloween chips for cookies…we really need a cookie recipe book, and a few more people to eat them all!

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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