Christmas Cooking Family Kitty Motherhood Photography {the ordinary moments}

Sliced apples and a dream made reality


Most of the time I love to cook.  There are weeks where I have a complete blank about what we ought to eat, I can’t think of anything to cook and we subsist off a diet of ‘things I can put in the oven and leave for a bit’, but for the most part I’ll be quite happy giving a new recipe a whirl, or playing and tweaking something we’ve already tried.

And ever since the girls have been tall enough to wobble on a step stool I have loved having them in the kitchen with me to help me. Or should that be ‘help’ me?

They’ve made ginormous messes, tasted raw potato and onion, eaten far more uncooked pastry and/or bread dough than can really be tasty for anyone, and on one memorable occasion, added a gentle sprinkling of porridge to a creme caramel.

It’s been a lot of fun; and not too much more clean up – well apart from the giant avalanche of flour that once swamped the kitchen floor.

But I’m starting to see a little sea change; Elma is still very much in the stage of prodding and poking a sacrifical bit of whatever it is we’re baking, though she’s very good at cutting out bells and trees from a biscuit mix, but Kitty is starting to get into real cooking.  She’ll have a good go at peeling a carrot for the casserole, she’s getting the idea of folding and squishing to knead the bread, and if I tell her that I need three cups of flour measuring out into the bowl she know to make sure that they’re full, and we end up with pretty much the amount we were looking for.

This week we made our mincemeat and the first batch of mince pies and for the first time I had Kitty with me in the kitchen as an actual assistant.  I peeled and cored all of the apples and she sliced them all into chunks with a table knife; she helped me measure out the dried fruit, smashed flaked almonds up with a wooden spoon because I’d forgotten to buy the chopped version, and chopped up almost as many glace cherries as she ate all while Elma napped and Pip chattered at the washing machine.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

When she was a teeny tiny baby I would look at her and imagine the toddler and the little girl she would become, and plot and plan all the things we would do together; all the things I remember doing with my Mum, and all the things I love so much I can’t not want her to experience them too.

And occasionally I suspect impatience got the better of me and we’d do something that was really meant for slightly older little people just because I wanted to share it right now.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

But now we’re there.  The pleasure we shared in pottering  around in the kitchen, with the smell of warm spicy apples fugging up the windows wasn’t just the fun in having a little sort of one on one time together, or in the conversations about Father Christmas, the origins of cherries, and whether we ought to put stars or angels on top of the mince pies, it was the realisation that perhaps for the first time we were truly cooking together; I wasn’t redoing Kitty’s contributions, and if the mince pies are a success (and they are) it’s just as much her work as mine.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s the moment I dreamt of holding my tiny mewling newborn come to reality.

And it seems odd to say that it took me by surprise, but it did; the last four years seem very short when what you thought was way off in the future is suddenly standing right their in front of you. But after the surprise came that warmth, that glow that seems to come from the very heart of you and stretch all the way to your finger tips, that looks around you, from the post piling up on the counter, the dirty dishes waiting to be washed and the stray currants dotted over the floor to the intense concentration of your daughter and knows that it is for moments exactly like these that you became a mother.     Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life




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  • Seychellesmama 07/12/2014 at 8:46 am

    Awww I know what you mean about imagining all the fun things you’ll do with your kids….and perhaps trying them a bit too soon!! It’s wonderful that you are there now!! Kitty looks like she’s really enjoying it and definitely taking it very seriously 🙂

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:29 pm

      Oh yes – never doubt the concentration levels when she’s cooking!

  • sustainablemum 07/12/2014 at 9:59 am

    I love those moments too, they always take you by surprise :). I love to share cooking with my youngest, she is a little bit older so we have been at it for a bit longer and now finally her helping actually gives me time to do other things!

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:28 pm

      It’s quite a shock when you discover that you’ve actually got something done faster for their help isn’t it – and I love the feeling of camaraderie you get in cooking together.

  • preeta samarasan 07/12/2014 at 10:58 am

    I know this feeling so well 🙂 .

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:27 pm

      I’m really glad it’s not just me 🙂

  • Mountain Girl 07/12/2014 at 3:21 pm

    I remember thinking the same thing…waiting for my little girl to be old enough to do things together. Now she’s seven, and I can hardly believe it!

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:26 pm

      Time just goes so fast doesn’t it – I can’t begin to imagine 7 and yet it’s probably only minutes away!

  • Rachel 07/12/2014 at 4:12 pm

    Oh what a wonderful moment… I shall admit to the rushing of the moments myself sometimes… We should definitely savour them x

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:24 pm

      It’s everything at once isn’t it – we can rush them, plan to savour them, and then get totally taken aback when time catches up with the daydreams!

  • Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) 07/12/2014 at 5:34 pm

    Ah that’s gorgeous. I completely relate to trying things a little early because you cant wait to share an experience with them, we do it all the time! So lovely seeing them grow up and become more capable isn’t it? My favourite part of parenthood 🙂 xx

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:22 pm

      I’m glad it’s not just me that jumps the gun – my biggest weakness is craft projects and then I end up doing most of it myself!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 07/12/2014 at 7:44 pm

    Oh Carie once again you have made me emotional and get tears in my eyes for I understand exactly what you mean. I have all those dreams and I envisaged so many things when she was a tiny newborn, I also have a tendency to rush them too. One huge dream is reading her The Faraway Tree, it was my absolute favourite book as a child, but obviously at the moment she is a little too little for it. I have no idea if it will even be that good for the youngsters of today, but I just cannot wait. It is lovely that Kitty is getting so in to cooking and what a lovely activity that you can together- just such a beautiful post. x

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:21 pm

      Oh I am glad it made sense (though not for making you cry!), from one point of view it just looks like I get really sappy about cutting up fruit! And I’m with you in the dream to read favourite books – for me it’s the Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons series – I have such strong memories of my Dad reading them to us and I can’t wait to introduce them to Kitty, but I’m trying not to rush it because I really want them to be stories that she loves!

  • Debs @ Super Busy Mum 07/12/2014 at 9:49 pm

    Gorgeous post and photos! I love the shot of her with her forehead all crunched, clearly she is in full concentration mode! haha x

    • Carie 07/12/2014 at 11:18 pm

      Oh she was definitely concentrating hard!

  • Donna 07/12/2014 at 11:41 pm

    This is such a beautiful post and a moment that I am much looking forward to sharing with LP in a year or so. And Little Man later on if he wants to play in the kitchen too 🙂 I love her little concentration face x

    • Carie 08/12/2014 at 10:40 pm

      Thank you 🙂 it really is fun when you’re working together not just leading and being followed!

  • Jess @ 08/12/2014 at 7:11 am

    This actually brought a tear to my eye it is such a beautiful post; and much of what you have said rings true for me – I can’t wait for Rosalie to be old enough that we can cook together, and I am definitely guilty of rushing things, because I’m just so excited to share things with her. I absolutely adore the pictures of Kitty chopping the apple, her concentration is admirable! Jess x

    • Carie 08/12/2014 at 10:39 pm

      Aww thank you – and sorry about the tears! It’s so much fun to share the things we love isn’t it – and if they’re a bit little now, well it just means we get to share them again!

  • Natalie @ Little Jam Pot Life Blog 08/12/2014 at 1:38 pm

    Oh I love this! I feel these feelings too, theres days where I mourn the baby that my yves once was, but then the doors that keep opening with her growing is also something spectacular. I love that she enjoys story time, cooking, and just engaging with me. lovely post x

    • Carie 08/12/2014 at 10:28 pm

      Thank you – it’s a funny mixture of wonderful and a little wistfulness for the baby days left behind isn’t it!

  • older mum in a muddle 08/12/2014 at 6:59 pm

    This post made me melt…. what a gorgeous mum you are. I must admit to not spending as much time in the kitchen with Little A as I would like to, and it’s something I know I need to do much more of – I remember how much I loved cooking with my grandma!X.

    • Carie 08/12/2014 at 10:24 pm

      I used to cook all the time with my Mum – they were definitely some of my favourite childhood memories and I love my baking days with the girls!

  • Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork 09/12/2014 at 11:15 am

    Oh I’m blubbing too, this is just so lovely. I’m definitely guilty of projecting my dreams of parenthood and moments shared onto the Bean, and there may have been one or two occasions where I’ve tried to do an activity he wasn’t ready for. Afterwards I always feel guilty for willing him to, in effect, grow up faster, when he is really growing up far too fast already. It must have been truly wonderful to share this moment with Kitty. And until I get there with the Bean, I will sit tight and enjoy the avalanches of flour while they last.

    • Carie 09/12/2014 at 11:43 pm

      I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with trying things a bit too soon – for starters half the time that’s how I work out what they can actually do, and it isn’t really wanting them to grow up faster, so much as wanting them to know the things we love!

  • Katie 09/12/2014 at 2:34 pm

    Oh bless her this is so sweet Carie – you could get her a job as a kitchen hand soon 😉
    My boys are not really into cooking unless it’s cake, but the problem with cake it that it has to bake before you can eat it! x

    • Carie 09/12/2014 at 11:38 pm

      Oh Kitty’s still very keen on the licky scrapers aspect too – but we have got most of the cooking going in the oven now!

  • Louise Perry Fairweather 09/12/2014 at 5:47 pm

    Beautiful. And wow what concentration on her face x

    • Carie 09/12/2014 at 11:34 pm

      It’s properly furrowed with the effort isn’t it!

  • sally 10/12/2014 at 9:16 pm

    Christmas baking has always been one of my ‘dreams’ in the same way, with some Christmas music playing in the background. And yes, mine are all actually helpful now too so I know your joy! Maria has made several batches of mince pies with me over the last week. We’re at the next level with the boys now, they like to cook on their own for us, which is also lovely. And they like to experiment a bit and try out new things which is always interesting, whether it’s a meal or baking. I’m quite looking forward to the next, next level though, when they clear up a bit after themselves.

    • Carie 12/12/2014 at 10:42 pm

      I’m trying to remember from my own childhood whether that stage comes before or after you leave home! Your boys sound wonderfully creative cooks – and yay for dreams that become reality!