Entertaining children at home is a forgotten art. Helicopter parents over-schedule their children with soccer, art camps, swim teams; anything so as not to have a moment of down time.
Recently, one of our first grade friends and fans told us about an incident at school. She was incensed when a classmate took over her job as door monitor and had a solution to end the tyranny. She got her backpack and whacked her classmate over the head! We admire her pluck and verve but could not endorse this tactic as a life long plan and her school and parents certainly did not. When she returned home from school, her parents 'punishment' was to have her sit out the nightly TV program with her sister and to help with evening chores instead. But guess what? She loved the extra time with her parents. We were reminded anew that children don't find house work the chore we do if they can learn and be with their parents. All children might not love the added chores as much as this budding domestic goddess, but they will enjoy having added responsibility.
Dean Manigault went to her ex-husband's plantation with her daughter and a friend of hers. There was no wifi, so all attendees were forced to be 'present'. It was freezing cold so the children were tasked with keeping the fires stoked and the log piles plentiful. Dinner was provided by Dean Manigault but breakfast and lunch was the time tested "if you can reach it, you can eat it". The kids were a bit inventive when left to their own menu choices, but no one starved and the kids reveled in their new autonomy. In fact, Gigi cracked the spine of the Academy cookbook for the first time ever and created the egg strata all by herself. All the entertainments were "in house" and there was lots of downtime together. It is so much fun to get young people's perspective on the world today.
1 sourdough boule sliced 3/4 inch thick
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Thin slices of Gruyere or cheddar, enough to cover bread on bottom of pan
3 cups whole milk
1 pound bulk sausage, browned
1. Grease a 9-by-11 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Spread both sides of the bread with the butter. Layer the bread in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the cheese.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Pour over the bread, up to a 1/2 inch below the top of the baking dish. Any more liquid will bubble over when cooking. Add the sausage. Cover and refrigerate the strata overnight or for up to 2 days.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the strata until puffy and golden brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Unstructured time at home is a gift and should be treated as such. When time is over scheduled outside the home- the domestic skills are left to wither on the vine. Quiet time together in your own house is not the modern day boogyman. Quite the opposite. Revel in before your children are permanently gone and you missed your chance to get to know them and what they can do!