Skills, not presents, to hand down.

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Crow Bar 2 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #30968

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Consumerism has changed.  Values are being reset.  Skills are more valuable than items. This is good time to reset and pass on valuable skills.

    My present to my family this year is not from a store. Oh, there will be trinkets, but the greater present is not one that they can see at the moment.

    With my daughter’s family working and schooling from home, they are just not going “out” to eat. They will order and pick up, but now they have four teenagers, plus parents, all eating lunch at home too, and cooking is getting frustrating. My Son-in-law is usually the cook and he is getting tired of it and bored. Here is the set-up which led to the “gift” idea.

    My Ex lives 200 miles away and we, my daughter’s family, and me with my current husband, all go to the Ex’s house over Christmas/New Year, and other three-day weekends. He and I get along great and I am thankful we have a good relationship. When we are there over the December holidays, there are nine -ten people so we rotate cooking and clean-up. One of the grandsons is usually assigned as a cook’s helper. When they were younger it usually entailed things like peeling potatoes, or measuring something. I am a good cook and usually manage the kitchen when we are all together. I tease that my Ex just invites me so I’ll do the cooking.

    This year, Daughter’s family is spending the Thanksgiving weekend up there. Ex said he bought a 21 pound turkey. I asked who was baking the turkey for Thanksgiving and daughter said, “I don’t make turkeys. You do.” The turkey is for Christmas. My response was that we needed to remedy the situation and teach someone how to make a turkey dinner. When I asked for help, the youngest quickly raised his hand. The youngest is now 15. He is usually the first to help in the kitchen “to practice his knife skills”. While he does not know what he is getting into with a full Thanksgiving meal, he will be responsible planning the meal, for the turkey & gravy, We will assign the other dishes to his siblings.

    My second response was, as long as we were teaching, what do the other brothers want to learn to make. They each had a favorite, and a few more suggestions were thrown out, such as Stroganoff, meatloaf, lasagne, sweet rolls. Understand this, too, our family has dietary issues with allergies to beef, dairy, and an international student who does not eat pork. This means that we get creative with recipes and meals. So a meatloaf dinner would have one with hamburger and one with pork.

    So, my gift to my family this year is knowledge, experience, and time. I am 71, not too old yet, but my mother passed at 78. This year I will have (more) quality time with my not so small grandsons. We will be able to write down the recipes for future use. They will be able to make the meals when they are home, and take some of the pressure from their dad. More importantly, tradition and recipes and love are handed down.

    What can you hand down?

  • #30987

    Crow Bar

    That is great!

    My daughter and her Boy Friend moved in with us to save money during this mess.
    We make up a menu every week and pick things from different cook books we have. They pick a dish to make once a week. But she does help me in the kitchen with prep or cooking too.
    She has learned a lot.

  • #31006


    I love it! My youngest daughter has recently gotten her own place and she and her boyfriend are “starving students.” Actually they’re not really starving because she has upped her game incredibly, baking bread and cookies, and making every meal from scratch. We talk on the phone every day and discuss what she’s making and she asks for tips. It’s a wonderful way to connect over great distance.

  • #31049

    Matt In Oklahoma

    I’ve taught every skill I’ve had to the kids and starting on the grands.
    I’ve had  a teen working with me on ice storm damage recently. I told him when he gets a real job to use me as a reference. His reply was “yeah if I get a job in lumberjacking it’ll help lol”.
    I said “well you’ve learned a ton of skills working with me but I can tell them things such as he’s able to accomplish tasks without direct supervision and being directed only once, he performs it in timely manners and can operate equipment with instructions and so forth”.
    The light bulb clicked on in his head that this was more than brush clearing.

    • #31052

      Crow Bar

      Now there is something you dont hear about much nowadays: A personal reference. And one to help someone possibly get ahead in life.
      Good on you Matt!

  • #31358

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Good for you, Matt in Oklahoma.  “Play” has a lot of skills to offer in the real world.  Not that chain sawing is playing.  I won’t touch it.

    I remember teaching both of my children how to cook and clean, and even use the sewing machine a bit.  Did it stick?  Nope.  You can only offer.  I am glad the grandsons at least like spending time to help me.  Good memories.

    Crow Bar, I like the idea of picking new things from the cookbook to try.  I think that must be my #1 hobby – looking for and trying new dishes.  I like and need variety.  I look first to how to make things long before I consider buying.

    Plus, working with your children is wonderful.  They trust us more than others because they know our quirks and how we steer them.  lol

    • #31368

      Crow Bar

      @Cinnamon Grammy,
      We still have our favorites (pizza, tacos), but we need to not get into a food “rut.”
      So we pick a book to pull a recipe or two from, then another book, etc. until we have a full week menu and then buy the groceries we need for that week. Also prevents from wasting food too.
      Of course, we get the staples, and restock on anything we are low on. By low, I mean say we have on hand three cans of whatever, but used one. Replace and rotate the stock.

  • #31503

    Cinnamon Grammy

    Crow Bar, I took your advice about checking cookbooks.  I have too many, and forget to use them.  So I picked a few items from one to make for dinner this week.  If I have them, I should use them.

    I can think of many items to make/teach in the kitchen with my grandsons.  I wish we could spend more time with them.

    • #31506

      Crow Bar

      Good for you!

      I like it as it prevents us from getting into the rut of the same thing every week.

      Great way to learn new techniques too.

  • #31507

    Crow Bar

    LOL! I thought this, kinda, goes in line with this thread:

    Dreaming of a Christmas Without Stuff Nobody Wants or Needs

    Things I am asking for: Quality hand tools. A few books, and music.

  • #31560


    This year has been so different for us with 2 grandchildren living on the west coast now and DD and her DH and youngest grandchild all moving to N. Carolina for son in law’s promotion on his job. They close on the sell of their house in Jan. And still looking for a house in N. Carolina. We will all be here for Christmas this year but with my DH in such bad health and not able to eat much as I have to make things that he can swallow easy, it makes for a whole new set of challenges. DD and I are going to go do our yearly shopping trip for the last time this Friday. Something we do every year but now with them moving away it will be different. We also have a granddaughter getting married in March. I have her wedding dress here till then. I have taught all the grandkids how to cook and DD knows how to sew better than I do now. Arthritic hands has slowed my sewing down. The granddaughter that is getting married will be living just down the street from me and I want to teach her to make her favorite dish. Sweet potato casserole. She always wants me to make it every year as she says mom doesn’t do it right. This Thanksgiving she said I make it with love and mom just makes it. I was like wow. Mom does not like to cook her DH and son does most of the cooking.

    Skills are the best thing you can give your kids and grandkids and I have tried to do that for many years. They have picked up a lot of skills from me and now I have 2 granddaughters that want me to teach them to can their food. So next year, we are hoping to get that skill taken care of.  Going to try hard to get daughter to learn, but she has more excuses than you could possibly think of.  The last one was I scared of the pressure canner. No, she’s not scared of it as both myself and her grandmother has used one from the time she was born. She just doesn’t want to learn to can. But she did pick up the sewing and has done very well with that, So I give her credit for the sewing. Cooking just not her thing.

  • #31785

    Veronica Sprague

    I’m so glad I had any chance whatsoever to learn from my grandparents. I learned a whole lot. I can follow any directions to do anything at all. That I have passed on to my son. He learned to cook creatively and to follow recipes as well. He can do a turkey and all the trimmings or ramen, and anything in between. He can make a button stay on. But I never got him to pay attention in the garden. Now I just hope I can teach SOMEONE my accumulated herbal and gardening knowledge, so it doesn’t die with me. I figure I’ve got about thirty-five years to find someone to learn it. Hoping I don’t ever need it myself. But knowing I can eat cattails and pine pollen and boil pine needles for the vitamin C gives me a little comfort. Maybe if it does hit the fan someone will find me useful enough to keep alive.

    • #31794

      Crow Bar

      He can do a turkey and all the trimmings or ramen, and anything in between.

      That made me laugh!

      My wife has a number of books on herbal stuff, but has not really gotten into them.
      I think that would be a great skill to know

  • #31789

    Cinnamon Grammy

    All of us are enjoying being able to cook together this year.  I am very pleasantly surprised at how helpful the grandsons have been.  I told each of them that when they were younger, they were helping me; but now, they are cooking and I am just guiding them.  We have had some great 1:1 time.  The middle one seems to be the most curious and wanted to learn how to make turkey soup, and ham/split pea soup, from the carcasses.  Another wants to learn French Onion Soup this week.  This is also letting dear daughter and her husband have a break from cooking at home with everyone working and schooling from home.

    What I find interesting is that I taught my daughter all of these things, but she just does not like to cook.

    • #31795

      Crow Bar

      I know a number of people see cooking as a chore, but when we have the family around, my daughter helping, it is more of a social thing.
      We talk, we laugh, we have music on in the background.

      Ah! French Onion soup is in this week menu! 🙂

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