Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Schooling in the Kitchen- messy, yummy fun!

Where did your kids learn fractions? At home, at play, at Grandma’s? Ours both got their introduction to fractions in the kitchen.

Want extra cookies? Double the recipe! Want to make a bigger pizza crust? Increase the recipe by half. Want to make a pumpkin pie but only have 2 eggs and 2 cups of pumpkin? Half the recipe you use for 2 pies.

How does this all work out? 


But it is SO WORTH IT!!!

Our girls often help out in the kitchen now. They are 14 and 12, and have been helping for several years. Emily may still tell you she can’t cook, but she can make a mean loaf of bread! Want pancakes? Daddy needs to make a double batch. Tacos for dinner? Arlene will make the tortillas all by herself. The very first time I made them, she helped me, by the next week she was making them herself and doing a better job than I was! (Now if only she would remember to turn on the exhaust fan BEFORE the smoke alarm goes off-LOL! In her defense, it is a really picky smoke detector!)

Besides baking, which is our favorite (Arlene makes the BEST biscuits,) there are a lot of other ways to do school in the kitchen. Ever heard of a budget? Good, now teach that to your kids. Don’t overwhelm them with everything at once, but teach them some basics at an early age. Arlene learned that if we saved enough on the grocery list items by finding and using coupons wisely, then I would let her pick out a special treat for dessert that wasn’t usually in the budget. I’ve often taken the girls to Trader Joe’s and told them they have X dollars to spend on pasta. That makes them think about if they would rather have more days’ worth of pasta, or have less meals and choose a more expensive style like tortellini. They often make a pot of pasta for us for lunch, so it can be a hard decision to make. Arlene is not a big fan of PBJ, so she leans towards quantity, while Emily leans towards a higher quality/ specialty.

If you haven’t yet involved your kids in learning in the kitchen, may I ask what is stopping you? If you’re saying “they are too small, or they make too big of a mess,” then let me encourage you that they are bigger than you think. If you’re not willing to let your 8 or 9 year old use the stove with your supervision, then when are you going to trust them? Don’t make the mistake of waiting until they think only Mom can make dinner (or even lunch!) If you’re apprehensive about your child using a knife, get a ‘ my safe cutter’ from Pampered Chef and teach them the proper technique before you give them a knife. 

Each child matures at a different pace, but you can help them SO MUCH by involving them in learning in the kitchen. 

Now, about that mess you said they make... teach them how to clean up after themselves! If you’re not teaching your children about how to cook and clean in the kitchen, you’re cheating them out of valuable life lessons, AND you’re unnecessarily stressing yourself out.

So please, involve your kids! It’s lots of fun, and you get to eat the projects when they’re done! YUM!
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