I’m a firm believer that our children always learn by example. This ranges from teaching them to be kind to others all the way to learning life skills such as, growing and raising their own food, cooking and even sewing. That’s why I think it’s really important to include children in pretty much everything you do.
When I was little, I spent a lot of time with my Nana, and she took on the role of teaching me the life skills that are with me today. She would put me in the middle of her kitchen table where I could watch her making herself busy.
Those moments in my life have created some of the best memories for me. Sitting on her table, stealing raw bread dough because it tasted oh-so-good, getting to eat some peaches or fresh green beans while watching my Nana get everything prepared to can.
At the time, I didn’t realize that I was learning what I would need to know when I grew up. I just thought she plopped me on the table to keep me out of trouble and so she could keep an eye on me. But I realize now that she was also teaching me everything I’d need to know.
Fast forward years later, and I have my own family. Through the years, my Nana’s traditions dwindled away and some were forgotten.
With a large family — there are nine of us — I went searching for ways to feed my family healthier and a whole lot more cheaply. I was a mom on a mission and I was determined to make sure my family could eat better and be healthier as well.
With a sales flier in hand, my discount card hooked on my key chain and my walking shoes on, I marched myself into the store thinking I was actually going to save some money and eat more healthfully.
I was disappointed quite quickly. Even with sale prices and a discount card, the healthier food options were still expensive. They weren’t on sale and the discount cards didn’t apply to the foods I was looking for. I left the store feeling frustrated that I hadn’t achieved my goal.
Ending up back at the drawing board and doing some brainstorming, I remembered sitting with my Nana and watching her can hundreds of quarts and pints and in that moment the light bulb went on. Now I didn’t have access to hundreds of acres of land, so I had to come up with a new option. The farmers market became my best friend.
Years ago, I would have never let my kids in the kitchen when I was cooking. But as time went by, I realized that if I didn’t let them help me, they would never learn to do anything when they were adults.
So, I took on my Nana’s traditions and surrounded myself with my kiddos and we got to work on three flats of strawberries. We had a blast cutting the tops off and slicing them in half. My little ones especially enjoyed mashing the berries.
The kids ate as much as we canned and we all had a good time. The best part: We were making memories together, memories like my Nana made with me.
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