Sunday, July 13, 2014

In a Pickle

The cucumbers just keep coming. Yesterday I canned pickles for the first time. They look like real pickles! The directions say to wait two weeks to eat them. So for now, I'll just admire them.

Speaking of pickles, some of you asked for Jody's refrigerator pickle recipe. You'll find it here: We eat these pickles at every meal (okay, not with breakfast), and then I cut up some more cukes and refill the jars. They are addictive.


We have five weeks of summer vacation left. Jack still hasn't found a volunteer job, but he's going to resume his search tomorrow now that driver's ed is over (he has his permit now--yikes!). He seems more motivated since I mentioned to him that if he has a volunteer job this summer, he might be able to get a real job next summer. Employers like kids who have some work experience under their belt.

This is the first summer that I've managed to come up with a chore list for the boys and enforce it. Jack does the trash and recycling, mows the lawn when it needs it (which hasn't been often--we've hardly had any rain all summer), does his own laundry and cleans the boys' bathroom (I can't believe I finally managed to lob that job off on someone else). I suppose exercise isn't typically thought of as a household chore, but it's on Jack's list--he has to exercise at least thirty minutes a day. He's taken to riding his bike for close to an hour every night.

Will's chores include cleaning the downstairs bathroom, doing his own laundry, vacuuming the living room every day, pulling up the trash and recycling bins after pick-up, and baking cookies at least once a week. He gets at least thirty minutes of exercise a day without even trying, so I didn't have to put that on his list.

I am very pleased with myself for finally treating my children like hired help (or more to the point, unpaid labor). And I'm pleased with the boys for doing their work without too much prodding from me. The only thing neither of them seems capable of is remembering to rinse their dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Easiest thing in the world, and it slips their minds every time.

Well, as long as they keep cleaning the bathrooms every week, I'll cut them slack on the dishes.

I am less pleased at how much time I have to spend shooing Will off the screens. Jack has more computer independence, as long as he keeps up with the various things we ask him to do (chores and other things as well), but Will's time is limited. But he has taken to reading ESPN sports news on the computer whenever I have my back turned. "I'm READING, Mom," he'll say. "I thought you wanted me to read." Well, I do, but I want him to read novels and interesting nonfiction books as well as the sports news.

I'll have to ask my mom what she had to nag us about back in the day. Watching TV probably. Screens. It's always the dang screens.


A friend posted a list on Facebook a month or so ago called "Zen Things." As you know, I'm not a zen practitioner, but I play one on TV, so I posted the list on my fridge. Right now I'm focusing on the first three items:

1. Do one thing at a time.
2. Do it slowly and deliberately.
3. Do it completely.

I'm not good at this--I get distracted. I start doing one thing and then remember another thing I need to do. But I'm trying, and I feel a bit more centered when I do. I'm working my way up to number ten on the list: Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Not there yet, but maybe one day.


Leslie aka the wayside wanderer said...

Well, ditto here on the dishwasher. I thought it was some unique ability only I was born with.

Angela said...

Oh me too. Any aspect of housework - and the slightest more interesting thing can distract me.
Which is why I go upstairs to bed and find a heap of sheets and duvet covers - and only the pillowcases replaced.

Pom Pom said...

I like those instructions. I think I can handle that.

Yay for the chores! I don't like chore lists myself because mine get all winding and crazy and basically unrealistic. I try not to over think tasks, but it's SO HARD!

You should by a pedometer for the 30 minute boy. Although, they don't log bicycling.

Gumbo Lily said...

I'm the worst at focusing on ONE thing. I think I'm an ADD homemaker.

Gumbo Lily said...


Your pickles look great!! No cukes from my garden yet, but I see some tiny babies forming!

Tracy said...

I always thought the whole point of having kids was to get them to do stuff. You mean that's not it? Don't tell my 3!!

I have a thing about cleaning bathrooms that I never use. I flatly refuse to do theirs now they are all old enough and capable enough to that themselves.

Your pickles look very pretty. I bet they are good!!

Nancy McCarroll said...

Thanks for the pickle recipe. Off to buy veggies .

GretchenJoanna said...

I often lamented/joked that I didn't have quite enough children to get to the point where I didn't have to do *any* housework or cooking. I actually had homeschooling friends who managed that. But as soon as I got close to having enough unpaid labor around, they started floating off the top, so to speak, studying or working for pay elsewhere.
Your boys are lucky to have you teaching them, letting them be participating members of the home force.