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Feeding Our Families: Celebration

Feeding Our Families: Celebration

June 19, 2014

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I think that I say it with each season, but late spring into early summer is my favorite! As Mother’s Day rolls into my dad’s birthday, and then into Father’s Day, these celebrations mark the beginning of eating out of doors, of long nights spent over simple food and wine. They mark time. Time to be with our friends and their families, time to be together, loud and joyous. Summer is the time to celebrate the bounty of all that we are given, and all that we will need to get through the colder months.

Celebrations are big in our family. We tend to go all out (think months of planning for Emma Jeanne’s 1st birthday). There is nothing more that we seem to love than a full backyard with those that we care for, and lots and lots of food. We seem to look for almost any excuse in these warm months to plan a big meal and a fun evening. A simple sleepover for my older boys turns into an elaborate backyard camp out with friends, as signs are made, camp yard stories are told, and food flows until late in the evening. An impromptu dinner at a friends house can linger for hours, as one family after another brings a dish that they love, and we can’t tear ourselves away from the stories, laughter, and memories that we are creating.

It all sounds a bit nostalgic and dreamy, but the reality is that summer is like that, isn’t it? I am not sure about where others live, but we spend a lot of time in the cold throughout the year, and when the warm weather comes we do nothing but live in it. Fully.

When I was first asked to participate in Feeding our Families, I thought a lot about the role of nourishment within my family. I have certainly talked a ton about the role that food plays in our health, and how that journey has evolved for us, but I have often neglected to go into detail about the ways that food and friends feed our soul. There is true nourishment that comes from spending time breaking bread with those that you love, and so many of the good moments of our lives have been lived in that exact context.

Of course entertaining can become an expensive way to get together, so in our circle of friends and family the potluck has always been a must. Almost every weekend we open our door, or walk through another’s with a dish in hand. It joins a table of other delicious looking plates, and for just a second I want to savor all that is there. Some bring dishes that were a family favorite, and a story begins about a piece of their childhood, or where they first ate it. Some bring dishes that we will only ever experience once, or that perhaps we beg for the recipe for. Some bring dishes that become staples and will grace the table for many gatherings to come. Blessings are made, and the sound of plates, children, and goodness fill the room. In these summer months, we wander outside, eating at that golden hour of the evening that I swear makes the food look even more beautiful. The kids run to and from, taking small nibbles in-between water gun fights, trampoline bounces, or turns on the tire swing. Wine is poured, a good Colorado beer is discussed, and I am sure the same stories are told from the previous week. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much. Just simply another group of friends getting together on a Friday evening, listening to music, and getting a bit too loud as the clock pushes on. To us, it is tradition. These are the people who I love. I have been at their births, their weddings and baptisms, and they at mine. I have laughed with them and cried with them. Raised my kids with them, and shown almost every side of myself with them. It may look like we are just eating a simple meal, and talking about the same things we always do, but there is a sense of feeding the soul in those meals as well, and that brings a lot more nourishment to my life than any plate of whole foods could ever do.

Feeding our families is not just about what we put on the table, but how. Any meal can be fulfilling on an emotional level, no matter if we are joined by friends or not. Setting our tables a certain way, lighting candles, or playing special music. Making a meal an experience is about all that it takes to turn it from something that we have to do, to something that we enjoy doing. Choosing to engage each other, to talk about our days or something special that has been happening connects us deeply, and is the beauty of any community or family meal. The table is one of the best places to find nourishment in our lives, the kind that fills our bellies, and our souls.

The strawberry frosting on the cake above is made with fresh strawberries, and was truly incredible. The recipe can be found here

Joining other amazing families in their own journey. 

Melanie from Our Ash Grove
Jules from A Little Crafty Nest
Melody from Bespoke
Sarah from Our Island Home
Tonya from Joyful Living
Taisa from Small Wonders
Lisa from Hullabaloo Homestead
Renee from Heirloom Seasons

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

This Little Blue Homestead June 19, 2014 at 9:33 am

Thanks for the frosting recipe I was looking for something exactly like this but with raspberries for my daughter’s 1st birthday coming up! Your family celebrations sounds wonderful, how lucky for your children.

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Kim June 19, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I couldn’t agree more with you about making meals an experience, something to be enjoyed and something to look forward to in our days. We make each meal special in our home…napkins, candles, blessings and eating together.

I also agree with you about meals and food nourishing our soul. We participate in community potlucks and I always leave those gathering with a full heart. And we often host potlucks, as we will this weekend to celebrate the solstice. There is just something special about coming together with people, sharing a meal, lingering over empty plates, chatting and sharing stories. For us, this is part of what life is about. It is simple but so very fulfilling.

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Andrea June 20, 2014 at 7:59 am

Lovely! Meals have become rushed affairs around our house these days (baseball, baseball, baseball); it’s nice to think about slowing down and celebrating! And thanks for the strawberry frosting tip! I always just add berries to powdered sugar frosting, and the butter ends up separating out. I will definitely do it this way next time!!

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