Cooking with the Kids

school busEven if you aren’t a parent, or the years of getting your brood prepared for academics have passed, it’s hard to avoid the back-to-school madness. In recent weeks, every store I’ve entered seems to feature an aisle bulging with assorted office supplies. Backpacks are strung from every end-stand like nylon and canvas banners. Parents, surrounded by clusters of children piping out words like “hello kitty” and “transformers” amid flailing arms, wear the bomb blast look that signifies the end of summer. 

I’ve always enjoyed this time of year because I get to stock up on office supplies for cheap. Cheap!

This time round, it’s a little different though because we’re at the beginning of the school cycle. Our wee-beast starts pre-kindergarden soon and already I feel the excitement. This is a frantic time for many families so I was thinking it’d be a good time to make the effort to do something special. That’s important, right?

Yes, yes it is (Phineas & Ferb alert).school supplies

So here’s my idea: plan to spend a few extra minutes and invite the offspring into the kitchen. Cooking with your kids is a lot of fun. Stop laughing! Sure, it’s messy. Yes, it takes longer. But kids love mixing and measuring. Remember how much fun it was when your folks let you do grown-up stuff? Helping prepare quick-to-fix meals or snacks teaches good skills and the underappreciated value of basic culinary skills. 

downI’ve assembled a list of links around that idea. Give them some fun and yourself a gift…try one or two. Let the brood assist in the processing, mixing, and preparation. Don’t forget the clean-up too, because that’s real life.

1. Healthy Snacks for Kids

2. Corn Dog Muffins

3. Peanut Butter & Jelly Spirals

4. Three Cheese Quesadillas

5. Apricot Sesame Cookies

Weekends are downtime for a lot of folks, but as a nation of busy people we’re usually crunched for time then too. Have a great two days – whatever your method of relaxation. I’ll expect an accounting by Monday of how you spent the weekend. 

questioningWhat good menu treat did the kids help make? Which obstacle did you tackle together? Who did you connect with?

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  1. #1 by Amanda Milner on September 2, 2011 - 5:58 pm

    Woo! You're brave! Lol! We have a tiny "galley kitchen" and cooking with the boys can rapidly turn into a nightmare! ;)I LOVE school/office supplies! The back-to-school shopping would have been a blast if it wasn't for the 2 1/2 foot long receipt. 0.0 (seriously) Thanks for visiting my blog. I like your dragon analogy to my road analogy! 🙂 Much more creative. Yea, chocolate would have been a nice additive to my wallowing. 😉

  2. #2 by Lesann Berry on September 2, 2011 - 6:19 pm

    At this age cooking is a "special" event – and I've learned to avoid flour whenever possible! A friend showed me the list her 4th grader needed for class and it was astounding. I'm sure in a few more years I'll be sniffling as I shuffle through the store, bemoaning the office supplies I can't afford to buy because I've got to purchase 3 dozen pencils, a ream of poster board, and a new laptop gizmo thingy.Remember to add the chocolate. It keeps the howlers quiet.

  3. #3 by Tameri Etherton on September 3, 2011 - 2:14 am

    For the first part – we LOVE back to school for the supplies. Even my 20 year-old still gets excited to go to Target for school supplies. Cooking with kids – yep, we're right there with you. My daughter is an amazing cook. She totally gets what flavor profiles go together. I'm not even sure what that means. My son is our baker. He makes the best chocolate chip cookies. For my husband's birthday tomorrow, he's making a swamp cookie – it's a giant chocolate chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet, topped with ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream.And that's just for breakfast!I heartily recommend getting kids in the kitchen at an early age. The sooner they learn to cook, the sooner I can take nights off of making dinner!

  4. #4 by Lesann Berry on September 3, 2011 - 3:01 am

    OMG swamp cookies! For breakfast! I want to live at your house. I'm the only cook here – which is why I'm determined to see my son learns how. My brother is an awesome cook – we both learned from my mom, but almost none of our peers learned to cook until they were facing the package of ramen in their first apartment.My place was a popular evening stop on the social rounds.I have a work colleague that I attend a conference with at least once a year and we always hit the office supply store like it's some clandestine naughty club. lol

  5. #5 by Nadja Notariani on September 3, 2011 - 5:34 pm

    Hi! Stopping via the Campaign. We're in the same paranormal romance group (2). And thank you for the follow!I enjoyed this post so much, Lesann. I have five children, two who are grown and out of the house and three boys still at home. One high schooler, and two elementary students have me in the back-to-school madness, too. I will definately check out your recipies since my boys love to help in the kitchen. I'll be reading around your blog…I enjoy paranormal romance but haven't written anything in that genre yet. My first novel, Claiming The Prize, just released yesterday, so I'm offering it for free this weekend over at my blog. It's straight romance/contemporary/action. I have a paranormal novella idea in the wings. I hope you stop back and check it out. Talk to you later ~ Nadja

  6. #6 by elenaaitken.com on September 4, 2011 - 4:03 am

    I do love cooking with the kids…sometimes. Right now they're fascinated with making apple pies. Fortunately with grandma. We're all out having family time at the lake so Grandma was charged with making apple pies with 2 nine year olds, a four year old and a 2 year old. It was awesome. Mostly cause I watched. 🙂

  7. #7 by Lesann Berry on September 4, 2011 - 5:01 pm

    Hey Nadja, thanks for stopping by. Five kids – all different ages – I bet cooking is a challenge! Hopefully there'll be something you can enjoy trying out in the kitchen. I'm going to head over and check out your book too, thanks for the heads-up and the very generous FREE! opportunity. Good luck to your new adventure.

  8. #8 by Lesann Berry on September 4, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    Elena – I totally understand the "sometimes" caveat. There are days when I want everyone out of the kitchen so I can just get things done with the least effort and minimum of mess. Then I remember he's only this small for a short time…I'm fortunate to have my parents nearby and he enjoys visiting. I bet watching the boys bake apple pies was splendid fun. Thanks for visiting and sharing.

  9. #9 by megannafke on September 5, 2011 - 4:36 am

    You are very brave and a good mom to cook with your kids. I enjoy using cooking to teach kids. They can learn science,math and even increasing descriptive words to use in writing through cooking. Also, thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten to go get all my cheap school supplies.

  10. #10 by Lesann Berry on September 5, 2011 - 5:11 am

    Thanks for dropping by Megan! Cooking with kids is usually a challenge but also fun. I recall my nephew (he was about 3 at the time) sneezing all over a batch of cookies and him being totally puzzled by why we weren't going to eat them after all that effort…Cooking is a great way to teach concepts and ideas – with adults even! Get that shopping in now…supplies are getting slimmer(but cheaper) by the day.

  11. #11 by Naomi Bulger on September 6, 2011 - 2:48 am

    Our kids are a bit older now, but cooking together is still fun. It was Fathers' Day in Australia on Sunday, so Emily (aged 13) made poached eggs with bacon, and I followed up with boiled eggs and soldiers at Em's special request. It was a simple but lovely family breakfast.

  12. #12 by Lesann Berry on September 6, 2011 - 3:52 am

    I look forward to the day when my son is eager to try and cook for daddy. That'll be interesting. I do think it teaches kids to be thoughtful as well as providing important life skills. I'm glad you had such a great weekend. Thanks for dropping by and sharing.

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