Chicago Cooking Classes and Writing Conferences: Making Room for Mom in Summer Mayhem

Summer vacation finally started yesterday in our house. Talk shifted to tennis whites, pool towels, and sunscreen instead of homework due dates and tests. There’s plenty of time for freedom and playing in the grass, but I’ve learned in summers past that too much free time leads to overwhelming choruses of boredom and fighting. So the kids will be busy with a myriad of summer camps: horseback riding for Juju, art for Bella, and tennis for Jack. Baby Sophie just gets the bliss of having everyone everyone. But the most important lesson I’ve learned from summers past is this:

This mom deserves her share of summer fun and experiences.

To make sure I don’t get lost in all the camp car pooling, I’ve made a summer bucket list focused on growth and new experiences. My summer thrill shouldn’t just be limited to our annual family vacation. With the right planning, I can be growing and celebrating being out of school just like my kids.

giant challah
This giant challah was gone before morning.

I kicked off my summer bucket list with an Advanced Baking Class at Kendall Cooking School this past weekend. Two intense and fun days of baking, making a wide array of recipes. I left with a mind buzzing with possibilities, empowered and inspired. We worked with puff pastry dough, folding in cold butter over an entire day to make croissants and danishes. We layered translucent sheets of phyllo dough into pretty baklava. We also made icebox cookies, palmiers, tiramisu, souffles, popovers, and madeleines. Although I’d experimented with many of the techniques, I’d never had the courage to try my hand at croissant making at home. We’ll reap the results this summer, beginning with a no-yeast cinnamon roll recipe that can make breakfast in under an hour.

tray of cinnamon rollsThe baking class was only the beginning of my personal summer growth. I’m also planning to do a one day intensive viewfinder photography seminar when the Blogher conference comes to Chicago, and in August, I’ll participate in one day of the Northwestern Summer Writer’s Conference. No big time commitments, one day here and one day there to fit in our busy schedule, but having made a bucket list to grow my cooking, my photography and my writing, I found local opportunities to continue to grow even in the delicious mayhem of summer.

croissant dough
Part of my pledge includes practicing my croissants until they’re as pretty as the teacher’s on the left!

Beyond classes, I have pledged to continue the discipline of writing morning pages and to meet to write with friends every Wednesday night. We’ll see how often those writing nights get pushed, but even if they only happen every other week, talking creativity with friends on a regular basis will be a beautiful gift.

Summer hits fast and furious and its easy to get lost under the children’s new schedules. In past summers, my kids whoops of joy put a pit in my stomach. This summer, I’m whooping with them. We’ll be growing and having fun together this summer. My summer bucket list is a life raft against the tsunami of summer.

So take a minute and jot down your own summer bucket list of growth. You’ll be surprised, the wishes will come flying out of you once you’ve yourself that you too deserve some summer fun and new experiences.

2 Responses to Chicago Cooking Classes and Writing Conferences: Making Room for Mom in Summer Mayhem

  1. Hey, I like that…a bucket list for the summer. My bucket is going to be full of corn and peas. It is part of my new weight and exercise program…I’ll wait and exercise my right to say go! Thanks for stopping by. Jody, The Medicare Mom

  2. Today we’re over at Seattle’s Child Weekly , sharing our family’s summer bucket list. Which is, of course, ALL about trains. While there are a number of ideas local to the Puget Sound area, no matter where you live, if your child likes trains, you’ll find plenty of ideas for your own summer plans.

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