Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why I Love to Wash Dishes

Please don't think I'm crazy, but I really enjoy washing dishes. It's one of my favorite chores. I find it relaxing, soaking my hands in warm soapy water. And it's one of those satisfying tasks, where you can see the results of your work right away. Piles of dirty dishes and pans are now clean and stacked back in the cupboards and drawers where they belong.

Dish washing is also a social activity in our house. After supper and a walk around the block, we all gather in the kitchen to clean up. For some reason, when hands are busy with a task that doesn't require deep thought, conversation flows. We have some of our best talks together then.

I think my love for dish washing began in my grandmother's kitchen. At home, we had an automatic dishwasher, so washing dishes by hand was exotic to me. Sort of like gathering eggs, something else I only got to do at grandma's house. I would always volunteer to wash, and my grandma would dry. It was one of the only times I had her attention all to myself.

I have an automatic dishwasher now, but I hardly ever use it. I like the feeling of getting all of the dishes done at once. Dishwashers delay that; you have to remember to unload it later. And somehow, loading and unloading a dishwasher doesn't lend itself to the relaxed conversations we have when we're washing, drying and putting away the dishes together.

Do any of you have a favorite chore, one most people seem to hate? If any of you could convince me of the joy of cleaning toilets, I'd be most grateful!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Joys of Camping

Since school started this week, we decided to make the most of the last few days of summer last week and went on a camping trip. I know not everyone enjoys camping, but I love it! We had such a good time that I've been trying to figure out ways to keep the "camping spirit" alive, even though we are back home, sleeping in beds at night and following long to-do lists by day. Here are some of the things I love about camping and my ideas for bringing them home. If you're a camper, please add your own!

Being outdoors.
There is no better way to wake up in the morning than to the sun peaking in the tent and the birds singing. It's impossible to sleep in when I'm camping, because I want to get up and see the beautiful day God has made! And going for hikes is the best way to get close to the wonders of nature. There's nothing like going around a bend and suddenly seeing something that takes your breath away, whether it's a distance mountain, the edge of a lake, or a deer standing in your path. Back here at home, my daughter and I take a walk after breakfast. We walk down a dead-end road which goes by a park and some woods. We listen to the birds sing and watch for deer. We once saw a doe and two fawns who stared at us before running off into the woods. As a family, we are planning to make hiking nearby trails a regular weekend activity this fall.

Minimal housework. When you're camping, there are no floors to mop, no lawns to mow, no unfinished projects sitting there making you feel guilty. Cleaning up is as easy as zipping up your sleeping bag. By necessity, meals are simple and use few dishes (since you have to haul with you any dishes you use). Plus they are well-received. Anything tastes good when it's cooked and eaten outside, especially after a day of hiking! Now that we are home, I am trying to plan simpler meals, ones that don't require an hour to make and even more time to clean up.

Campfires! There is something about a campfire. It makes people draw close, relax and tell stories. Here at home, we don't have a fireplace and we can't just start a fire in the middle of our living room. But we can decide to turn off the television and computer in the evenings and spend time sitting together talking. It's amazing what we learn about each other when we have some uninterrupted time to just talk about whatever comes up.