December 18, 2014

Cooking with kids…it works for me

Feb25

One of the things I passionately pursue is instilling the value of responsibility into my children. I have read a myriad of books on the topic, have given talks on the subject, but bottom line…from a parental standpoint…it’s just plain hard work, and often I fail miserably.

But one thing I am committed to is not giving up.
Our children have been given so many gifts, and one of those gifts is the ability to work, and to work hard.

Oops…I am supposed to be posting about cooking with kids, and I’ve tangented before I even got started.
(I’ll come back to this on another post and get back on my soap box then. :)

A fun tangible way to build responsibility in our children is by giving them the tools of learning to not only cook for themselves, but to also be a productive part of the family unit….and cook for you. :)
I enjoy cooking with my kids when I slow down long enough to realize that these are those “ah ha” moments that take my breath away. I want to savor them, but that means I have to be intentional about making them happen.

My children are quite tired of the reminder that colonial kids were considered adults at the age of 12, and young ladies were fully running the “kitchen” by that age.
That means they were capable of not only all the baking, but managing the fire, and cooking over the coals as well.
And I’m worried about a little burn on the stove top?

Most cooks in the olden days didn’t use recipes or measuring cups. They just learned to cook from their Mommas or Grandmommas from the time they were toddlers, and learned to judge how much of an ingredient to use by sight. This was a gift.

Due to our fast paced society, it’s often easier to just stop at the drive thru (you know how I feel about that 12 year old hamburger….hee hee), and yes, I admit to doing this far too often during sports seasons.
I think it’s an assumed close to say a tremendous amount of our time is spent around food.
Everyone looks forward to meals with loved ones, but it’s a big job to prepare meals, let alone nutritious ones, that families will enjoy.


So often in the crazy scheduling, I tell myself that it’s just easier to do it myself.
Unfortunately, I am forgetting the long term benefit of training my children to cook along side me.
Therefore, sharing and modeling a simple art that is slowly losing it way, is a priority.

I know many of you may not have learned some of the basic kitchen skills as you were growing up and had to learn the hard way.
Next time, you’re whipping something up, invite your child to join you.
You will be amazed at how much LIFE occurs around a mixing bowl. :)

The first time my eldest son offered to make our complete dinner….I was blown away.
It wasn’t just Mac and Cheese. He went to our garden, picked some zucchini, and squash, and then proceeded to stir fry them with some garlic, onions, oil and spices. He sprinkled cheese on top for good measure, and I think I spent the rest of the night picking myself up off the floor.
All those small, stolen moments of “planting the seeds” in the kitchen were beginning to reap a harvest – quite literally outside and in.
I realized that I hadn’t given them enough credit. They are incredibly capable.
At a young age, they are flattered by responsibility, and will rise to the challenge that you set forth…as long as you are modeling right along with them, smothering them with words of encouragement.

I love to know that my five year old can make scrambled eggs and often wants to be Mommy’s Helper.
She has a few menu items that she loves to make by herself, and is continually asking to learn more.
My nine year old is in charge of the noontime meal 3 days a week – she loves it, and I’m amazed at what she can conjure up.
Today it was some wonderful smoothies, and do you remember the meals for multitudes – making homemade pizza – she loves tackling those.

When my three sons were young, I set a random kitchen goal for them of items I wanted them to master before they graduated from high school.
I wanted them to be able to:
1. make chocolate chip cookies from scratch
2. make lasagna from scratch
3. make homemade bread from scratch

Why in the world did I decide on these things?
Well, first of all, all three choices are my comfort foods, and if Momma ain’t happy, nobodies happy. xoxo
I also knew that any future mother in law would be thrilled to get boys who could cook/bake…hee hee
But on a more serious note, I knew that if they could bake cookies, and bread, they could bake anything from a recipe. And I also understood that if they could learn how to layer lasagna and mix the spices, they could really master any kind of casserole.
We’re almost there…many years earlier that I had anticipated, so I have definitely been adding to that “mastery list.”


I can tell you that cooking with my children is a blessing and delight.
Special shared moments have been created in our kitchen.

Come back for the recipe of what we whipped up in that mixer….yum, and the kids loved to help. Can’t you tell?


Comments

  1. What a GREAT post! I loved it!
    Malia

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  2. southerninspiration says:

    Good for you!! Those are great goals! Pretty soon they’ll be cooking all the meals and you’ll be on the hook every so often!! :)

    Suzanne

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  3. I’m relatively new to your blog, but I must say, I really enjoy it! You’re so real! LOL What I mean to say, I don’t get the feeling that you’re hiding something, but rather that you’re a real life mom with real life kids, and real life issues. Thanks for being real and I loved this post… I was brought up learning to cook from the time I was 10. I wasn’t sure people still taught their kids to cook. So glad to know someone out there shares the same feelings as I.

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  4. 3LittleByrds says:

    What a great post and so true. I’ve been wanting to set goals like this with my kids and you’ve inspired me to get the ball rolling.

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  5. What a great encouraging post to keep me going at teaching my kids the kitchen. I was not taught and I had to work really hard when I first got married.

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  6. Oh – this was such good stuff for you to share. Thank you!

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  7. Jennifer P. says:

    First of all I LOVE your refrigerator. That’s how any mom’s fridge should look :)!

    My mom was a fabulous cook, but never really took the time to show me (or I didn’t really listen…), but I had to learn to cook from scratch myself. You can bet I’m making sure my kids are in there learning now so they won’t have to eat just Ramen Noodles in college!

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  8. Jen,

    You are a great Mom! I think it is wonderful that you are instilling these values into your children. When I got married I didn’t know how to cook anything. I wish my Dad had taught me more. Fortunately it appears that I have inherited his “good cook” genes and once I got in the kitchen I found out that I can cook. All those years my poor Bryan had to eat out or eat frozen or boxed foods. Your children are going to be totally prepared when they get older. That is fantastic!

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  9. Good reminder for me!

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  10. I just posted about this on Monday! It is great to hear other people’s takes on this!

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  11. Wonderful post! I have found that when I cook in the kitchen with my kids…they talk more and I learn more from them! It’s a great tool to talk and get to know what’s in their little brains!

    How fun and full of memories!
    Fondly,
    Sandy Toes

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  12. Thanks, Jen. You always manage to get me back on track.
    Now I’m off to see what’s in the freezer that we can all make together.

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  13. Jen, what a lovely post! I love the goals you set for your boys – something I’m going to think about!

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  14. new every morning says:

    Funny you should mention it…
    Just this week I was convicted of my ‘control issue’ in the kitchen. I don’t need to be in control, I need to make some precious memories!
    And… the benefit of teaching my children in the process is lifelong.
    Great post!

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  15. Ruby Red Slippers says:

    I loev that! I am not a cook, but my husband is-he was not taught, but learned on his own. He is the one teaching the boys to cook. (Our 8 year old makes his own lunch for school, and the 6 year old is learning that right now.) I also agree that responsibility is so impt. for kids, so we have jobs around the house to do daily. They are not paid positions, either-they are part of our family, and we all work together. I am posting a bit on that Friday…
    Love what you are doing-I also think of my boys’ future wives and MIL’s-I hope they think we did a good job! We sure are trying!!!

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  16. OK Jen, I’m on it. Looks like Riverside Scholars will be having Cooking 101 today! Thanks for the reminder. Let’s see in two years Jaxon will be an ‘adult’…sounds good to me. :)

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  17. Stacey @ The Blessed Nest says:

    Jen, Great post! I too think that teaching kids responsibilities all around the home is THE thing to do!! I'll jump up on that soapbox with ya! :) I was cooking over the stove by myself by age 6, and my Momma taught me and my sister how to do laundry, fold and iron clothes, clean the house, budget a checkbook, garden, etc. I was flabbergasted when I got married and had to teach my hubby how to do laundry, and how to cook even the simplest thing! You're giving your children a life gift by teaching them these basic responsibilities, they'll be better & more prepared adults because of it! :)

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  18. Lazy Mom Leslie says:

    Hi Jen! Thanks for visiting us over at Lazy Moms! I love your blog! The Nester is just bringing people together today. I am impressed with your kids cooking skills! I have a 10 year old daughter that loves to cook and is learning more and more. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and be patient with her. It may be easier to do it myself, but it’s not as rewarding!

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  19. I love this post!!

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  20. Amanda from Faith, Food and Family says:

    Great post! I so need to put this into practice. I have such a hard time letting go of that control of my kitchen. I need to get better about it and let them in the kitchen more. Thanks for the post!
    God bless,
    Amanda

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  21. Do it yourselfer says:

    That is awesome! Thanks for the reminder! My children beg to mix and cook and do everything themselves…i just have to be the guide! Great Mastery List…I’ll think of my own!

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  22. Jen, there are so many great blogs out there but I keep coming back to yours. You are such a great mom and so inspired to go the extra mile. I love it. This post is so good and it is wonderful you have learned all these great lessons so early in your life. Keep up the great mothering!

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  23. Jen, I just wanted to let you know that I did a post about your blog today and linked it to this post.

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  24. Melanie Dorsey says:

    I love the idea of a meal they can master by a certain age. Great idea!
    Melanie@Bella~Mella

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  25. Dave @ Home School Dad says:

    Thanks for commenting on my post. Your post was teriffic. There was only the issue of the kid with the packers shirt on. Perhaps that could be photshopped out,

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  26. really fun post! the kids really enjoy themselves cooking with you. how wonderful!

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  27. Trinity Mommy says:

    LOVE this post! I continually have to remind myself that the mess from having little helpers in the kitchen is totally worth it!

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  28. precious kids!!! wish my kids would help me cook…..wish i actually cooked ;) or had time anyway…

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  29. An Accomplished Woman says:

    What a great post!!! Love your kids, they are beautiful just like you.

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  30. Kim @ Forever Wherever says:

    What a great post! I love cooking in the kitchen with my boys. We even have a couple of Emeril’s Cooking with Kids Books and they can make meals out of it if prompted! It’s fun! Thanks for the reminder!
    -Kim

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  31. one thing to say. This post inspires me!!!!

    ok. one more thing. It inspires me to invest time in my kiddos in this specific area of cooking, but ultimately in the concept of working hard, and being proud of a job well done.

    ya know.

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  32. Songbirdtiff says:

    Very cute photos. Cooking is definitely a life skill that everyone should have.

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  33. I definitely need to get Kiddo in the kitchen more often. He has helped me before, but not nearly enough.

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  34. Hi Jen! What a wonderful post! Your children (and you!) are beautiful…and I love the photos of all of you having fun together in the kitchen. You are SO smart to get them involved and to teach them these lifelong skills. And what could be better than spending quality time together, savoring the sense of accomplishment that comes along with creating a delicious home cooked meal. Your children sound like chefs in the making for sure! :-)

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  35. Beth@Pages of Our Life says:

    Chocolate chip cookies!!!

    Your future DILs will love you!

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  36. Kim... and Her Coffee says:

    What a great post. Love the Pics!!! So cute…

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  37. Jerri - Simply Sweet Home says:

    Way to teach responsibility! Children are actually capable of a lot when we expect a lot from them and guide them in the proper directions. Great post.

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  38. Very sweet- I am with you on all of these points. I love that you had cooking goals in mind, I think that is just so wonderful! I love to cook with my kids and I think this is such a great introduction into why it is so important!

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  39. Pretty Organizer says:

    Did I mention that we’re sisters? My kiddos are in my kitchen at 2. By 8 they can bake cakes, pan cakes and the like. My 12 year old can pull of an entire meal. We’re getting ready to let him take over all 3 meals for 3 whole days… Boy Scouts cooking merit badge requirement… and I’m thrilled. Is it not our job to make these kids self reliant? I blogged about this yesterday. Our kids don’t learn responsibility only from chores but for other life skills we must teach them. Cook, checking oil levels in the car, ordering take out or booking a Dr. Appt are all important skills. I figure I’ve got 18 years to turn these kids out with as many skills as possible. The boys need to know how to talk to the barber… if my kids know how to order a #2 around the ears and blocked in the back… how great is that! It’s all about working myself out of the equation by 18:)

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  40. Radiate Light says:

    So inspiring and lovely!

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  41. It’s in the small things we do with our children that give the greatest “return on our investment”. If we as mothers, just slow down and try to savor these moments, we will be blessed beyond measure. Beautiful post!!!!

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  42. Miss Sandy says:

    My daughter-in-love really appreciates that my son can cook. He does this often, is a great chef and enjoys it. I think it is great that you wanted your sons involved as well as your daughters.

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  43. Tamara Jansen says:

    I’ve been trying to teach them to prepare meals and do all those things but……I’m not getting the results I’d hoped for :) Everyone likes it better when I cook!

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  44. fitty's pinky rose cottage says:

    this is great & awesome post.. I love the story and the pictures.. I love spending time in the kitchen with my mom and am doing the same with my children.. teaching them the basic thing about kitchen and cooking.. thanks for sharing this great post!..

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  45. Lori aka A Cowboy's Wife says:

    Great post!!! what a cute bunch who look like they’re having a blast! Love it when the kiddos are involved!

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  46. Frugal Homemaker says:

    Great post!
    You deserve the Kreativ Blogger Award. Visit my blog to pick it up.
    Adventures in Frugal Homemaking

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  47. Ashley @ Domestic Fashionista says:

    This is fantastic and your kids are CUTE! I love that you desire to teach them how to cook…a home bound value that is lost these days! And I also liked how you mentioned filling your children’s love tank in your other post. So many of those things we seek out as adults because we didn’t get as children. I think it is awesome you are making that a goal as parents to raise emotionally balanced children who know they are loved! :)
    Ashley

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  48. Jessica Morris says:

    My husband is a master in the kitchen!! He was mostly self taught (but his mom gave him free reign in her kitchen!) and he makes THE most amazing bread and can mix spices like no one else.
    You are giving your future daughter-in-laws a WONDERFUL gift by teaching your sons to be comfortable in the kitchen :)
    I definitely think it is HOT that my hubby can bake/cook :)

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