A few months back, my son’s schedule delved into the realm of “busy.” His last few swim lessons for the winter session overlapped with the start of ski lessons. Meanwhile, he was finally selected for a club he’d wanted to join. And then he signed up for floor hockey too.
Before we knew it, his afternoons after school became a careful balance of activities, homework, studying and family time. Every evening, we talked about the the next day, discussed when he’d fit everything in and touched base on where he’d be after school. He handled it all with aplomb, but — of course — was relieved when the schedule loosened up a little as some activities ended.
That said, personally, I am a big fan of busy schedules, particularly when they are filled with a variety of interesting and fun activities. There’s so much good that comes from learning new sports, joining clubs and being a part of group fun. Though the unexpected addition of floor hockey really pushed his busyness to the limit, I was excited that he’d independently decided to pursue something new.
Still, for him, the cramped schedule was jarring. As a mom, I’ve always tried to limit activities to no more than two during the school week, so it was a new and different experience. Ultimately, a few good things came of it: First, he learned that he can handle a lot more than he thought he could. Second, he realized how much fun comes from joining things he’s interested in — a good lesson to have as he approaches middle school. And finally, he realized how important communication and good scheduling is, particularly when it comes to his activities, homework and responsibilities.
Who hasn’t felt that tug of busyness though? While this was an unusual experience for my son at age 10, for me — and for many of you — it’s a pretty routine thing. How many times have you answered questions about how you are or what you’ve been up to with some variation of “busy”? It seems that people these days are always coming, going, doing and filling their time with so much.
We need to remember that as much as busy lives filled with fun, fulfilling things are good, it’s OK to relax too. Sometimes, though, I feel like relaxing is something I need to pencil in between all the other to-dos that need to get done.
Am I alone?
Even the weekends are sometimes stretched thin. On Sunday, I dashed to the Bangor Farmer’s Market, arriving with just 15 minutes to spare before the market would end. It was just enough time to get the fixings for smoothies, a beef stew I wanted to toss in the slow cooker and some roasted ‘taters I’ve been experimenting with.
Frozen blueberries, eggs, cheddar cheese, yogurt, potatoes, an onion, bread, maple cinnamon butter, stew meat. Check.
As with every trip to the market this winter, I forgot that I really needed to stock up for two weeks of eating, since it’s a bi-weekly market.
The winter market is about to wrap up its season, with only one more biweekly market scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 17 inside the Sea Dog Brewing Company at 26 Front Street, on the Bangor Waterfront. Then the Bangor Farmer’s Market will head back outdoors in May, for the weekly summer market in the parking lot across the street from the library.
I can hardly wait.
In the meantime, I used my haul to whip up a slow cooker beef stew Monday. And when my kids and I arrived home in the evening, I realized the one thing that stew needed was a little bread. Cornbread to be exact.
So I made some.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret: No matter how busy life gets, there’s something absolutely relaxing about stopping to just make something in my kitchen. Watching ingredients come together to create something tasty and just-right is magical — for me, at least.
This cornbread is buttery and sweet. It’s delicate, and crumbly too. And it’s easy. A simple mixing process brings together the ingredients for baking. About 20 minutes later, it’s ready to cool, slice and enjoy.
No need to cool it completely, this bread is heavenly when it’s served warm from the oven. And it’s delightful with soups, stews and chilis.
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cup cornmeal
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8 inch by 8 inch square baking pan (I prefer glass pans for this).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Drizzle the butter in, whisking constantly, until fully incorporated. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap gently to spread it out.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out cleanly. Let cool slightly before cutting into 16 squares and enjoying.