In this article I wrote about Sally Clarkson’s A Life Giving Home and a beautiful weekend of hospitality when we were hosting our Gourmet group. In that article I explained that we anticipated the weekend with a gentle approach to our preparations and a sharing of the work.
No matter how wonderful our call to hospitality is, it is taxing. Even more so because we are serious introverts with little children who still need the best of us.
In that article I explained that many times we cannot anticipate when God will send a guest into our home. But for the times that we can, we very consciously plan a recovery period after hosting anyone. While that gorgeous September weekend was life giving and meaningful, no small part of its success was the knowledge that my husband had taken a day of vacation on the following Monday. Sunday night, when we were washing linens, putting away the dishes, and snacking on leftovers, we were able to take a slow and relaxed attitude about the work because we knew that the next day would be a day of rejuvenation.
A recovery day for us starts with a sleep-in, an easy breakfast, a lazy attitude while we read and drink our coffee, and then a low-key family meeting. After talking through our plan for the day, we take care of a few light chores and personal care items before heading off on a family adventure. By pairing our recovery day with a seasonal or annual tradition, we not only recover from hosting, but we make family memories that are precious.
This time, we went apple picking! Wandering through a delightful orchard, we munched on apples, dreamed about the things we were going to make with our fruit, and talked about the fruit picking that Ralph Moody did in Man of the Family. Our easy pace was good exercise and good fun.
After we were done picking we did some shopping in the orchard store. As a family, we don’t celebrate Halloween. Instead, we created our own “Apple Fest” tradition and spend a whole weekend eating apples and appreciating our family culture. In the orchard store, we purchased mixes for apple pancakes and special apple cakes. (Yes, we do have our own recipes for these things, but in this case we purchased these mixes so that we would think back on this family day when we celebrate Apple Fest in a few weeks.)
After enjoying the orchard and its farm petting zoo, we headed out to lunch. Fall is here and in Wisconsin that means that cold weather is just around the corner. Before it gets too cold to really appreciate cold treats, we took the kids to Titletown Brewing Company for some of their signature root beer. Par for the course, the kids ordered fish plates with their root beer while Greg and I had gourmet burgers and freshly brewed Oktoberfest beer.
My standard order at Titletown is always the delicious PB&B Burger (Peanut Butter Bacon Burger). Paired with pub fries and a good beer, this burger is culinary heaven for me.
A little groggy from the rich food, we headed out for a hike. On our way, however, I begged my husband to stop by St. Vincent de Paul Store (local charity shop) so that we could look for books as a team. St. Vincent de Paul must have been looking out for us (it was the eve of his feast day) because we left with a box of treasures.
By the time we got home from our hike at the UWGB Arboretum trail, we had spent an entire day doing things we love with the people we love most. After a long and beautiful weekend with friends, we had a day of memory-making and restoration.