I knew on some level when we started this project that we'd have to contend with the fall soccer schedule. And I know we're not alone; among my friends and neighbors, there aren't many who aren't juggling weekend hockey games, golf matches, and swim meets.
The first two weekends were easy, though: first, Labor Day weekend, with a Sunday dune hike and grilling out after with my brother- and sister-in-law's foursome; then, family and friends over to celebrate September birthdays with a BLT bar and Smitten Kitchen brownie mosaic cheesecake. No soccer games equaled no chaos.
Last weekend, though, we ran up against our first challenge. In a 24-hour period, we had a birthday sleepover, church, and a Sunday afternoon soccer game an hour away from home. Were it not for Reclaiming Sunday Supper, I guarantee that dinner would have been some leftovers scavenged from the fridge when we spilled back into the house at 6:00 p.m. And I guarantee our weekend would have ended with us feeling frazzled.
So instead of letting soccer derail our time around the table, we planned ahead and went old-school: a beef roast went into the crock pot before church, potatoes were peeled and soaked (and ready to be boiled and mashed) before the soccer match, vegetables were washed and trimmed (and ready to be roasted), and my mom's applesauce was cooling on the stove. Jemma set the table while Annie donned cleats and shin guards, and when we did finally pile back in the house at 6:00 p.m., we were just half an hour away from a cozy fall meal with good friends.
I have more thoughts on the way youth sports have crept into our Sundays and taken over our weekends, and it remains to be seen whether this little experiment of ours will eventually feel like one more thing to add to our schedule instead of one pocket of rest in our busy week. This Sunday, though, it was worth it. We ate beef and Brussels sprouts, talked travel and teaching, and reconnected with people we enjoy. We sat around the table as the light faded, bellies full and hearts happy, and four little girls played in the yard after until we absolutely had to call them in for bed.
Sure, we were left with a pile of dishes. But the house still smelled of beef the next morning, and I think that's a victory.
My Mom's Applesauce
- 1-2 MacIntosh apples per person
- 1-2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. water
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples and pile them in a non-reactive pot. (They'll cook down by over half, so don't worry if it seems like a lot of apples.) Add the cinnamon and sugar, then splash about 1/4 c. of water over the top. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until apples are desired consistency. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary. Serve warm.