Friday, November 18, 2011

The Apron Experiment

A few months ago I had a visit with an old friend.  She brought me many sweet gifts, one of which was a poem about the history of aprons.

For our grandmothers and great-grandmothers (and their grandmothers and great-grandmothers...) aprons were an everyday necessity.

They were used to protect their dresses because they only had a few and were much easier to wash than a dress. 

An apron became an ever-handy pot holder and dishtowel.  It dried her busy hands and her children's tears.

Her apron gathered eggs from the chicken coop and carried in kindling for the fire.

But somewhere along the way many homemakers stopped wearing aprons.  Maybe we wanted to be young, modern women and associated aprons with being a matronly grandmother.

We stopped dressing up to start our day and met the demands of messy children and housework by bumming around in sweatpants if we got out of our pajamas at all.

I've always loved aprons and found them to be a necessity especially during my pregnancies.  My growing belly is much closer to the counter and stove top and I am forever getting something splattered on the front of my shirts.

This tired mama on Thanksgiving.  29 weeks in my vintage Christmas apron.

But this week I challenged myself to wear an apron everyday, not just while in the kitchen, but as I went through my day.

The first thing I noticed was that I felt more feminine, even when I was just wearing it over jeans and a t-shirt.  I felt like a cute 1950's housewife, not at all like a grandmother.

I felt more productive.  The apron tied around my waist was a constant reminder that there was work to be done.

It was useful.  I found myself searching for the dishtowel much less because my apron was the perfect place to dry my hands.  I used it to gather up toys that were on the floor and carry them to their homes.  My apron wiped the crumbs from my toddler's face before letting her down from her highchair.

I found that this simple piece of fabric, tied with a bow, changed the way I felt about my day.  I put on my apron like a uniform.  My day had a purpose.  It wasn't just about getting through it, I had a job to do and at the end of the day, when the kitchen was cleaned for the last time, I turned down the lights and untied that apron...and with it I was letting go of all the busyness of the day.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Taste of Autumn

Last week we took our kids pumpkin picking.  As we boarded the hay ride nothing could shake the smile off their faces.  The smell of hay and harvest filled the air.  When we arrived at the pumpkin patch they were set free to roam the fields in search of the perfect pumpkin.  They all chose ones that were too much for them to carry, but they tried with all their might.

It's the simplest of traditions but one that they look forward to every year.

Their prized pumpkins have decorated our front porch with their warm, inviting colors ever since, until this week when they finally begged me to cut one open. 

I wrapped myself in my apron and set to work.

I sliced one in half and scooped out the pulp.  My boys dove right in separating the seeds from the slimy strings of pulp.  My girly girl was rather repulsed by the whole thing and waited for the end result.

We rinsed the seeds and spread them out on a baking sheet to dry.  Then I baked the rest of the pumpkin and the smell of autumn filled my house.

Once it was tender I scooped out the shells and pureed it for a week's worth of special treats.

The seeds were salted and roasted and snacked on while I fried up some cinnamon-sugar pumpkin donuts.

The next morning our pumpkin treated us to muffins.  Today we baked up some cinnamon chip pumpkin cookies. 

It is amazing how a humble squash can give so much and bring every bit of the season into our home.
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