She bustled about to make more coffee and get breakfast started. Since it was a Saturday and they could be a little more leisurely she decided to do a heartier hot breakfast. It wouldn't matter if it took longer. Smiling, she thought of her children's friends a decided a Sunday buffet brunch just might be in order too. She do the biscuit mixings today. Stop by the store for some more fruit... hearing movement upstairs she stopped planning for tomorrow and pulled out the cinnamon, oatmeal, and vanilla.
Brian's insistance on switching to steel cut oatmeal had made her nervous at first. She liked her family (and their friends) to enjoy the things she cooked and she had never made them before. But like many other kitchen experiments, she had managed to make them tasty and was pleased that she was providing a healthier choice. (There was a never a doubt in her mind that Brian's advice the steel cut variety was better for their hearts and cholesterol levels was solid.)
Mixing a little vanilla with some milk she set it on the table. She then put a water and milk mix on to simmer. Just as she started melting some butter in her trusty skillet she heard someone behind her. She turned and was surprised to see it was her daughter. "Good morning, Trixie. What has you up and about so early?"
"Good morning, Moms!" Trixie answered with her normal exuberance only slightly dimmed in the morning."I must have slept really well last night. I woke up and heard you down here and thought maybe I could help." She leaned over to give her mother a hug and kiss on the cheek. "Oh! You're making your really yummy oatmeal! Do you want me to get the fruit ready?"
"That would be nice. Thank you, dear." While Trixie got out blackberries and raspberries to wash and bananas to slice, Helen turned back to the stovetop. Once the butter was melted she poured in the oats. Stirring them until they were golden brown and toasted. Checking to see if the liquid was ready she slowly stirred in the toasted oats.
"Bacon today, Moms?" Trixie had set small bowls of the berries mixed at everyone's place but thought that the banana slicing could wait until closer to serving time.
Helen thought for a second as she stirred. "Yes, I think that will be good. If we do it the oven instead of the stovetop it will be ready just about the time the oatmeal is." She smiled at her daughter as Trixie covered a baking sheet in foil and began carefully placing bacon slices on it. "Thanks for your help this morning, Trixie."
Trixie looked up and grinned back. "How else can I make sure we have bacon?" She set the oven temperature and placed the baking sheet in it. "There!" She exclaimed, washing her hands. "Now, we have bacon in the oven. Bananas can be sliced closer to the time. The oatmeal still needs to cook. Mart will set the table... what else Moms? Toast?"
"I thought no toast this morning since we're having the oatmeal. Do you want some tea or cocoa? We can sit in the nook and discuss a little idea I had for tomorrow before everyone else comes down." Helen poured herself another cup of coffee as she talked.
"Sure, Moms! But you go ahead and sit down. I'll be there in a jiff. I'll just have some juice." She poured some orange juice and hurried to sit with her mother. The cozy little breakfast nook was an add on during the kitchen remodel. Happily for Trixie and her brothers a dishwasher was another one. Because the kitchen was a favorite place for all of them the nook was perfect for a little spot for one or two people do homework, household accounting or just sit and talk. Often Peter and Helen would have their dinner there if all the children were gone.
"So what's your idea? Is there a mystery?! A trip?!" Trixie may have gained some patience but still jumped from idea to idea.
Helen laughed. "No, nothing like that. I just thought with the older boys back from college and the younger Bob-Whites out of school it would be nice to have a Sunday brunch here at the farm tomorrow. We can do it buffet style and invite the adults too. It could be a start of summer celebration." Knowing her daughter well she stopped and waited.
She didn't have to wait long. Trixie began talking a mile a minute. "That's a perfectly perfect idea, Moms! I don't think the Wheelers have gone out of town yet since Jim just got back. And the Lynches don't need to be in Virginia until later this month. If we promise Mr. Maypenny some of your crabapple jelly we might even be able to get him to come." Dan's guardian enjoyed each and everyone of the Bob-Whites and their families but preferred to stay at his cabin on the little pie shaped piece of land in the preserve. "Brunch would give Regan time to finish with the horses too." Stopping to take a breath, Trixie had another thought. "Oh but what a lot of work for you! I'll get up early and help you get everything ready." And to make sure my hair doesn't look like a Fiji Islander's when everyone gets here, she added silently to herself.
Helen smiled and answered calmly, "That will be good, dear. I think we won't need to be up too early though. There are many things I can prep ahead of time today. I'll give Marge, Maddy and Caro a call later." She winked at her daughter. I have a feeling you'll see the other Bob-Whites for a ride later and can take care of inviting them and Regan. If you wouldn't mind riding out to invite Mr. Maypenny along with that, we should be covered."
More and more noises were coming from upstairs letting the two women know their time would be soon interrupted. Trixie got up from the table and took down a platter to line with paper towels for the bacon. "No worries, Moms! I have it under control." She twinkled. "Can I promise we'll have the crabapple jelly?"
Helen laughed as she stirred the oatmeal, adding cinnamon, and checked the bacon. Turning off the oven and the burner, she answered. "Yes, you may. I have plenty available." Mart and Brian entered then. "Perfect timing! Mart, please set the table. Bowls and small plates. The large ones aren't needed today. Brian, would you please take down the large serving bowl from on top the cabinet?"
Smelling the delicious aromas of breakfast about to be served both hurried to do her bidding. Trixie added the freshly sliced bananas to the bowls she had already set out and began transferring the bacon to the platter she had prepped while her mother poured the oatmeal in the serving bowl. Brian poured milk and juice into the glasses. Helen set the serving bowl on the table with a spoon and surveyed everything. Trixie set the full platter next to the bowl. "Perfect!" she exclaimed just as Peter and Bobby walked in. Bobby with the comment, "Something sure smells good!"
"Good morning, sweetheart!" Peter said with a kiss for his wife. "It really does smell delicious." He winked at her and she patted him on the cheek earning groans from their children who had already taken their seats. Peter and Helen joined them and the normal chaos of a Belden breakfast began.