Friday, April 15, 2011

Family Management

I've never been one to successfully use chore charts. Oh, I try, but I don't have the persistence to follow through and make them work. I think I've finally, finally hit on one that might be different. I made up a "Family Meals Kaper Chart" that assigns cooking duty for all of our lunches and dinners to different members of the family. (Thanks to Girl Scouts for teaching me about Kaper Charts, which is another way to say chore chart, but more fun.) Lunches are mostly handled by DH, like always. He likes to cook and he's pretty good at it. He eats lunch at home with us so it's worked out that he cooks it, too.

That leaves dinners. I enjoy cooking but with the fibromyalgia I find it physically difficult. I'm not good at standing, kills my back and feet, but that's what you have to do a lot of to cook. (I can walk OK, I do that every day for exercise, but standing is painful.) To really cook, there's a lot of standing to prep ingredients, standing while stirring, etc. Plus dinner is at the end of the day when my energy is basically done, so it's a hard meal to put together. Enter the Kaper Chart, which assigns two dinners per week to The Eldest and two dinners per week to Martha Jr. DH handles Saturday night and I get the two nights that are left.

So far, dinners have been really, really late (even by our night owl standards) but really, really good since both girls can cook...mostly. The Eldest is turning out to be quite adventurous in the kitchen! Tonight she made a stir fry (sans soy) with egg, veggies, peanuts, Chinese noodles (baked, not fried) and a sauce she invented served in lettuce wraps that was out of this world.

Sometimes things don't work out. Martha Jr. wanted desperately to make falafels (from the recipe I linked a few days ago) and fried pickles, of all things. I tried to gently dissuade her (it was the end of a long day and both dishes are labor intensive) but she was not to be deterred. Even though we didn't have a recipe for the pickles and had never made them before, she still wanted to make them just like the ones we get at fairs. It was a disaster! The falafels didn't work out, they didn't want to stick together for her and would NOT get brown, and the pickles... I don't even have words. That wasn't the disaster part, though, I mean, you just throw a pizza in the oven and call it a night so the food wasn't a big deal. The disaster was how upset she got about it. She broke my heart! She was so looking forward to her falafels and fried pickle dinner, and when neither of them turned out she was devastated. I was useless; I wanted to get in there and help her but I was so wiped out I just couldn't. (That long day thing.) She's so used to success whenever she tries something that it's difficult for her to cope with failure so I think this was a good lesson for her in the long run, but it sure was hard that night.

The one disaster and the timing issues aside, I am liking this new division of labor. It's good for my girls to learn responsibility and develop their cooking skills at the same time. They have even worked together on a couple of meals so they are developing teamwork skills too. The Wild Child is a little jealous; he wants to cook but he's still young yet. (I told him he can take over The Eldest's nights when she goes off to college.) I am able to recharge a little bit while they cook so I can tackle a few more chores after dinner. Win all the way around- I think this is one chore chart that will be around for a long, long time.

1 comment:

MrsPhilipswithoneL said...

Here is a link for deep fried pickles:

I have never tried to make them, but (I know bad for me...I am a country girl and all I love deep fried things...I'm getting better though) I have had them. Zaxbys sells the fried pickle chips, but I like the spears.