Wednesday night, we added three little boys to our home for an overnight stay. Thomas had carefully prepared his room to accommodate all the guys and was pumped about a bunch of boys crammed into one space. Our 'extras' were 4 years old, 3 years old, and 1. There was much giggling and guffawing from the room for nearly 90 minutes after we put them to bed.
As for me, I went to bed not long after the peace settled in. I knew the next day would be busy, at best.
Thursday morning dawned bright and sunny, but cold. I made a HUGE pot of oatmeal and dished it out in bowls for the kids. They lapped it all up in record time and fairly vibrated about the house for the next four hours. I walked around in awe of the noise and movement and wondered how to fit school into this wild day.
At some point, I tossed the ingredients into the bread machine to churn out a few loaves of bread for us. I couldn't get the canister to fit into the machine (which is kissing ten years of age) and wound up sitting on the floor with the bread machine begging it to do what it was supposed to do.
I've been waiting patiently for my bread machine to die. It was a wedding gift and I've used the mess out of it. I long to replace it with something that makes more bread dough in one sitting and suits the appetite of our family better. However, I wasn't willing to toss aside an appliance that was chugging along faithfully and getting the job done. Even if I did have to make bread multiple times a week to make it meet our needs.
Tears came to my eyes as I struggled to get the canister in the machine. I'd already put the ingredients in and didn't want them to go to waste. Also, I think I was a little stressed since both the little boys (both named Daniel and both somewhere in 15-20 month range) were falling apart at that moment right there beside me.
Finally, the mechanism snapped into place and I giggled through the silent tears and was almost giddy as the machine started up. I picked up the little boys and we snuggled into a chair to read a book or three.
The morning proceeded calmly but loudly (mama's of many understand that phrase). The kids were truly amazing playing with and taking care of one another. I wandered from room to room kissing the occasional boo-boo and wondering how long before they wore themselves out. Finally, I made lunch and there were a few moments of peace while everyone scarfed down their next round of energy.
Thankfully, five of them went down for nap shortly after lunch! When my friend arrived to sit in the afternoon quiet while our kids slept, she poked at me about how she'd hoped to have fresh bread.
And there it was. The warning bells that had been quietly ringing in my head all morning long went to a dull roar as I ran to the bread machine, expecting to see bread dough oozing out the top. I realized I'd never heard the buzzer telling me to set it out to rise, though I admitted to myself it was entirely possible I'd missed it among the other noises of the morning.
I peeked in the top to see a lump of weird stuff globbed in the bottom of the canister. My heart sank and soared at the same time as I realized this was what I'd been waiting for. I pulled out the canister and giggled nervously as I tried not to cry.
All our 'extra' money is tied up in a leak from the kids bathroom that grew the To Do List substantially. My sweet friend offered me her bread machine on loan since she doesn't use it. I sent up a prayer of praise that I could still go about making bread for our family using the 'cheat method' I so adore. (Yes, I know you can make bread without a machine, and I have done it, it's just not at the top of my Things I Love And Wish I Had Time For list.)
I also am ridiculously excited knowing that a new bread mixer is in the nearer than far future! Do you make your family's bread? What method do you use? Have a favorite recipe? Tips and tricks? Do share!