Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cooking with Kids

Hey, It's OK if...

Cooking with Your Kids Makes You Nuts.


I like to have my kids make Christmas gifts every year for family so that they can understand that Christmas isn't just about receiving.  This year, I saw an idea in a magazine to make salt ornaments and thought that might be a fun and easy idea.  I lost the magazine article so I searched my favorite source, allrecipes.com.  I found a recipe that only used salt, water and flour.   Done and done.  Here's the recipe if you want to take a look.

I have done baking projects with my three year old countless times but this was the first time my one year old was in the mix.  When I cook with my kids, I have an angel on my shoulder telling me that we are making memories.  She tells me that the mess is just a part of the process and exact measurements are overrated.  And then there's that pesky devil on my shoulder saying,  "NOOOO  IT DOESN'T NEED THAT MUCH SALT!!  YOU ARE RUINING THIS!!"  Hopefully my children have not met this devil as I try very very hard to keep him at bay.  This is a bit more difficult with two of my little boys dumping pounds of flour around the kitchen.

I let my oldest start by "showing his brother how to do it."  He did a beautiful job and then gave the smaller measuring cup to this brother.  We added the warm water and it was time to stir.  The dough is very thick, almost like playdough, so the wooden spoons didn't work too well.  My oldest loved this feature and started stirring the spoon as fast as an electric mixer as flour sprayed across the counter top and floor.  My youngest was inspired by this flurry of fun and decided to dump out his flour and water into the sink filled with clean dishes.  I suggested that we just use our hands to knead it and he said, "Ewww, that's so gross."  Uh huh.  Ok.

We got to the part when it was time to cut out the ornaments and my oldest jumped in like a champ.  My youngest is a bit small for this part so I tried to roll out the dough for him and help him press the cookie cutters into the dough.  He is more of an independent spirit so he grabbed the cookie cutter from me and threw it across the room.  Nice, right?

My oldest got through five or six ornaments and then decided he had had enough of the craft.  My youngest obviously felt the same so I put them down while I cut out the rest of the ornaments.  Meanwhile, they hung out in the kitchen with me ripping magnets off the fridge, asking for lunch and a drink and tearing things out of the cabinets.  By the time the ornaments were in the oven, my kitchen looked like this.

If you happen to be a recipient of one of these ornaments, I understand if you feel the need to send me the thank you card instead of my sons.  I think next year I'll just order something from Oriental Trading Company and call it a day.

How do you include your kids in the giving part of Christmas?  

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