Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stirring it Up

I spent hours this week trying to figure out what I wanted to share today. I knew it was going to be about something that was working in our home/school this week but I didn't know what I wanted to share. I knew I'd promised to share about our math manipulative cubes but I keep forgetting to take pictures. I thought about sharing how well being outside works for us, but I've talked about that a lot this week. I contemplated talking about not yelling, but this week that just doesn't seem right. So what did I end up with?

Cooking as a family works for us.

From littlest (Peanut) to biggest (Daddy) we all enjoy cooking. Sometimes we only like to make certain things, sometimes we just want to help out, and sometimes we aren't really enjoying it but we're still doing it. The kiddos have not always helped out in the kitchen. I just figured that I could get it done faster myself if they'd just step out of the kitchen for even a few minutes. This changed a few years ago when I decided that ECJ, then around 8, could certainly make his own lunches for the most part and definitely get his own cereal in the mornings. I taught him a few simple things like pouring cereal, making toast, making sandwiches, we taught him how to use a microwave (although three years later this one still escapes him from time to time). This helped me a lot when Daddy was having one of his in bed ill times because if ECJ could get one sandwich made than he could make YCJ one while he was at it.

Doing those little things sparked a wild fire of interest in cooking for ECJ. He is now often found in the kitchen no matter who is making what and asking a TON of questions. "How do you make ... ?" and "What is ... ?" are some of the most common questions he asks. As YCJ noticed this happening and us calmly answering if not actively allowing him to help she began asking as well. And slowly over the years each child has learned more and more of the how and what's involved in the kitchen.

Around age five we begin with cereal pouring and drink pouring. Sometimes it's late in the year the kiddo turns five, sometimes it's early in that year. It depends on the child. We move on to sandwiches, the toaster, the microwave oven, and helping us stir and sprinkle as the need arises.

We've found recipes that they can help with or make themselves. One of the biggest hits in our home is homemade pizza night. These are just soft taco shells (or burrito shells) with a spoon or two of sauce, sprinkled with cheese and toppings of the child's choice. Each kiddo gets to make their own and they only take about five minutes to cook in a 350 degree oven. These make for wonderfully thin crusted pizzas that are personalized to each person and everyone always eats theirs because they got to make it.

YCJ began seriously helping out this year and is now in charge of making lunch for everyone usually (hopefully) once a week or so. One of her favorites to make are roll up lunches. She prefers taking those same shells we use for so many things and spreading them with peanut butter (or some other yummy spread), adding a little surprise (once it was raisins), and rolling them up. She even once tore a couple extra shells up into quarters and asked me to cut the rolls on a diagonal for her. Coming up with a rather cute plating idea.

ECJ is now 11 and even though we have a gas stove he gets to help with actual cooking quite a bit. He's a bit short for his age and so we're always right there to keep an eye on him but he does very well. It's one of the activities that he knows he must concentrate when he's doing it, and that makes it one of the ones that he doesn't let his ADHD interfere with.
Having three kids, or sometimes even one kid, in the kitchen with you while you're cooking doesn't always work. But, by and large, it works for us. It teaches them important life skills they will need as they grow older. It teaches them responsibility and nutrition. And it reminds us all that we're a family first and families are teams.

*We can be found on Facebook here.

** Linking up today with both Our Busy Homeschool and Squishable Baby


  1. Hooray for kids cooking! I grew up and got married only knowing how to make really basic things like macaroni and cheese from a box, sandwiches, cereal, and microwave dinners. I'm making sure my children know how to cook.

    Have you or your children ever seen Master Chef Junior? We just finished watching a season on Hulu Plus and it is kids in a cooking competition hosted by Gordon Ramsey and two other chefs. The kids are all ages 9-13 and they can cook circles around me for sure. My children were fascinated.
    Thanks for linking up!

    1. Actually, we just finished watching a season of Master Chef Junior a few weeks ago when the last one finished up airing on our basic basic cable. I loved it and of course so did the kids. My elder two love watching Master Chef as well, but we don't often allow them to watch the whole series. ECJ has many plans for his future and one day I'm sure I'll share them all but one of them is to be a chef. I can find him watching anything about cooking from Master Chef to shows on PBS and more. He's even been looking for a good kids cook book at the library lately.

      I am so glad to hear about parents teaching their children to cook. My SIL was much like you when she got married, and through no lack of my MIL trying to teach her as she was younger. Now, she's making sure that each of the kids can make enough different kinds of food to survive. ;-)

  2. This is so great! My kids love to help in the kitchen. I find myself fighting it at times, because it is slower and messier. Every time they help make something they are ecstatic! It is worth the time and effort to teach our kids to cook, but the fellowship of working together is priceless...

    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! I get frustrated still sometimes when having them "help" but you're right it's the fellowship of working together as a team and knowing that I'm helping them learn something they will need as they get older that makes it worth it.

  3. Kids cooking is awesome! I think this is the perfect share. Kids learn so much just from cooking - and they are having fun (if they like to cook). My daughter loves to cook. In fact, in her 10 things of thankful, she drew me a picture of her and me making brownies together. she is so sweet.

    Thank you for this post, Chrystal. Thanks so much for sharing at the homeschoollinkup!

    1. All of my kiddos love to cook as well! Probably because it seems like we're always cooking!