These summer days really are pressing in. I forgot how muggy it could get in Southern Illinois! Thankfully the children don’t seem to mind the heat. It makes for lots of water fun, so why not love hot days? Anything to get them wet and have some outdoor action makes them happy.
At the top of their list is when we take them “swimming” at the creek in our woods. Technically the creek isn’t deep enough to swim in; using a grown-up term makes it seem grander. They also enjoy spending time in the sprinkler, and as you can imagine, the boys love spraying with squirt guns.
Last week I put water in a tote for each of them. There were shrieks from all sides as they splashed and sat in their water containers, declaring it was cold. Cold? What would that feel like? Being out in the hot sun made me feel lazier than ever; I fetched a chair then stuck my feet in a shallow basin and sat down to watch their fun and supervise as needed. Soon the little boys were dumping water over my feet, giggling with pure delight as I pretended to be scared with each glassful. It did feel good. No wonder they relish their water play.
Periodically the totes needed to be refilled as the water had a way of escaping by their wild splashing. After a while, I fetched some juice and took it out for them, eagerly they drank it up and resumed their play.
Next comes the task of getting everyone out of the water and into dry clothes without having too many tears from two-year-olds who are convinced they could stay and splash forever. Sometimes I feel like I run out of ideas; this time something new popped into my head. I fetched shampoo and got a few bowls of clean, warm water, and announced my plan. “We are going to wash all five of your hair right out here in the yard!” (What child likes having his hair washed?)
Remembering last summer when they watched Mama wash her hair outside by a spigot, they thought it was a neat idea. We tackled Julia’s hair first so the others could see how it was done. In no time, we had more squeals of delight as they looked at their siblings’ sudsy hair out in the totes of cool water. It all worked out too good to be realistic. The next step was bathing the children — minus scrubbing little heads. One by one I called them in and gave baths, soon we were all seated around the table, ready for a simple supper of Sloppy Joes.
Before eating, we have a family tradition to have one of us asking the blessing on the food. The children beg to pray long before their turn comes around. Whoever prays also gets to start a song of their choice right after everyone is finished with supper. In the evening, when we as a family kneel to pray before retiring for the night whoever had a turn to ask a blessing on the food gets to pray again. Daddy wraps it up by praying and entrusting all of us into God’s hands. The children’s innocent prayers have touched my heart so many times. There is no formality, just simplicity as they thank God for each of us and ask Him to take care of us and help all the poor little children, or whatever they have on their mind. May God simplify my faith.
Now for Sloppy Joes, our family could eat them every night for a long time with out getting tired of them.
Homemade Sloppy Joes
1 pound hamburger or venison
1/4 pound bacon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped onion (opt)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup catsup
1/3 cup brown sugar or maple syrup
Brown hamburger with salt, drain. Cut bacon in bite-sized pieces, fry, add onions during last minute of frying. Pour into meat (including drippings). Add remaining ingredients, mix and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite bread or sandwich buns. Makes six servings.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427