Cooking with Kids

A few months before our trip to Greece I landed a gig to teach a summer cooking class to kids. The days, times and location worked out brilliantly with our schedules. I was given all of the recipes for the cooking session, then I went shopping for the ingredients on the Sunday before class or that Monday morning. There is a Pavilion’s right near the school, that was so handy! The company dropped off bins full of the cooking utensils and tools I should need beforehand, so all I had to do was unpack the groceries and prep for the class.The plan was to teach two separate sessions, three weeks each. The first session was a cooking class the second was a baking class.

My cooking group consisted of 3 boys and 3 girls, ages 6-11 and they were awesome!

Each day we made two dishes/recipes. I would get to the site early and prep all of the ingredients (mis en place), the cooking equipment we would be using, and presented it on a table for easy accessibility. I wrote on each recipe card who was going to do what. Little Billy (names have been changed) will cut onions, Rose will grate cheese and so on and so forth. That way I knew that everyone was participating throughout the entire class. After a quick demo of what we were going to make and asking them about some of the ingredients, we dove in. I didn’t do any of the cooking, they did it all. I guided them, I handled the hot oven, any boiling water and the washing of knives, but other than that, they did it all. And man, they kicked ass!

The first week we made.

Gumbo, flapjacks, carrot casserole, porridge bites, egg casserole, spinach mac n cheese, Spaghetti with meatballs, and omelettes.

They were pretty good eaters. I will say that by the second week, one girl was begging to stop using onions, HAHAHA! I feel like every recipe called for onions.

When we were done with both dishes of the day, we sat down and ate together. I would bring in juice mix and they would take turns making a pitcher of lemonade or fruit punch, yes, of course it was sugar free, not my first rodeo lunatics. Then, if we had any free time before the class ended, we would play heads up or trivia or maybe just draw Whatever they wanted to do as long as it wasn’t swinging from the rafters or playing chase, boys, I am looking at you.

The second week we made;

Mash and gravy, meatball stroganoff, brussels sprout and parmesan salad, hot dogs with a veggie chili, Naan personal pizzas, macaroni and cheese and a fruit salad.

This pasta recipe, you guys, was soooooo good. I know it doesn’t look great and honestly when I read the recipe I wasn’t sold. But it’s good, guilty pleasure BBQ side dish good.

I will share the recipe.

The final week we made said pasta salad, pizza pockets, veggie sushi rolls and eggs with pico de gallo.

It was a great first round of cooking.

Hanging with my Peeps

I wanted to write something funny about Easter but I really couldn’t find anything humorous about the holiday. Unless Jesus was actually just passed out for three days, that would be funny and totally believable, because if you could turn water into wine, wouldn’t every Friday be good?

We did egg and bunny paintings to hang in our front window.

We had a delicious dinner of grilled rib eyes, arugula, burrata with pears and walnuts with an Orin Swift red blend, not too terrible.

Fun fact; I birthed an expert potato peeler, it’s amazing because she is so anal about it, it had to be perfect which is great because I am the exact opposite, and I hate peeling shit, I will avoid recipes for that reason. So, I will deduct her one month of pregnancy bed rest for her knew found skill.

However, you can’t be good at everything, know what I’m saying?

I mean……

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

This is a festive and easy activity to do for the holidays. Two ingredients, that’s it. These will make the house smell amazing and they make a great homemade gift.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup applesauce

4 oz. cinnamon

rolling pin

cookie cutters

glue

glitter various colors

straw

string

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 200°. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed, your hands are the best tool for this.

I divided the dough amongst the three girls.

Roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap.

Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes

Make a hole at the top of ornament with a straw.

Place ornaments on baking sheet.

Bake for about 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on a wire rack.

Once completely cool. brush with glue and decorate with glitter.

Wrap them up as a gift or hang on the tree.

Learning Curve

Every day we get up, drink coffee and shower. Every morning the girls have breakfast, get dressed, make their beds and head to their spot for a daily zoom meeting. Every day I do my best to get it all done; work, school, keep the children alive. The girls get in their academics, some creative art, physical activity, and we manage to fit in plenty of fun game time. We are amazing. At the end of the day we are wiped and stressed about not only how it all got done, but how are we going to do it again and again without going mad? Am I doing enough? Shit, they haven’t had vegetables in days…It’s okay that they’ve had breakfast for all three meals, right? They haven’t gone outside in two days because f*ck! it hasn’t stopped raining.

These are how the days go. There is crying and laughing, wine and sugar but we get it done and we get up and do it again, because moms are amazing!

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We squeezed in a field trip to Mount Laguna. Such a fun day!

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fullsizeoutput_b69We even brought snow home for a Kinder science experiment. Averi and I read the book “The Snowy Day” and the next day we went outside to see what happened to the snow we brought home; A built in lesson plan.

GoNoodle is a life saver.

I can really tell a difference between the days they get a good amount of physical activity and the days they don’t. They all show their hands at bedtime.

They also love the time we set aside to create. Whether it’s coloring, cooking or painting, I think it’s the only time of day that they are quiet.

Quiet is good!

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I think if you asked them what their favorite part of the day was, they would all say family game time. We have found a few new favorites. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a lot of fun, (it’s meant for 8 years and older but Averi has gotten the hang of it, she just won’t win anytime soon.) We all love UNO, and the girls new favorite is, The Floor is Lava. They love this game,  I haven’t won yet so it’s not my favorite.

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There are some tears and a lot of “whyyyyyyys?”

As frustrating as it is being on, every.single.minute.of.the.day. They really love having us at their fingertips all day long.

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Well, most of the time.

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Easy Homemade Gak recipe

Kaili likes to watch Creative Galaxy and after each episode her creativity is sparked. She comes out wanting to cook or create. I thought about how I used to make Gak with my students and how easy it was. How come I haven’t done this with her yet?

We walked to the drugstore to pick up some of the ingredients. Once the littler one was in bed, we set out to make some homemade Gak.

This comes together in five minutes, it’s too easy.

Ingredients 

4 oz. school glue

1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup HOT water

1/2 teaspoon Borax

Food coloring

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Mix glue and 1/2 cup water in small bowl or container and mix well.

Add in food coloring if using.

Dissolve the borax in 1/4 cup of hot water. Mix until it’s completely dissolved.

Pore the borax water into the glue mixture.

Stir the Gak and watch as it changes into a solid mass. Knead the Gak for a bit until it’s no longer sticky and wet.

Voila!

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It’s a great sensory activity. Mesmerizing.

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Don’t Make Me

I was the last in the family to get hit with the cold and every.single.ounce of my energy has been sucked out of me. Four days and I don’t feel any better, when will it end?!

Kaili has been asking to go to the park everyday and everyday that sounds like the absolute worst idea, insert terrible mom here. Feeling guilty, I somehow gathered all my energy and worked on some crafts with the girls to make up for it.

Kaili worked on a marshmallow bunny, eating more than she glued. I had to refill the bowl a few times.

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Averi would sneak up, take one off the paper and pop it into her mouth before anything could be done.

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We also made Easter bunny headbands. My preschool teacher talents are wasting away so I figured I should put them to work. Kaili said she would help me but really she watched cartoons while demanding more food.

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I got a letter from her school stating that Thursday was their big Dr. Seuss party. They want us to make something “Suessical” for lunch. Wait, I just made 25 Red Fish, Blue Fish cupcakes for Dr. Suess’ birthday, and I don’t feel good, wah-waaa can I get a pass?

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In the midst of searching Pinterest for Suess like foods and creative outfits, it dawned on my that Sunday is Easter…What the holy hell?  While boiling eggs I decided to test run a hair-style on Kaili. Kicking and screaming aside, I think I can get this to work.

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It’s a Minnie mouse bow, not Dr. Suess but seriously it’s cute!

Now I have to spend the afternoon making some sort of silly snack that the kids probably won’t even eat because it looks funny. But on the plus side, soccer is canceled which means I can stay home in my sweats with snot dripping down my nose and nobody is going to care, there is a Jesus.

Meal Times

I don’t know how I, one of the least pickiest eaters, has a child who doesn’t like anything. I might say that this is the most frustrating part of parenting to date. Each meal is a struggle, one week she likes something, the next she doesn’t. I know this is probably pretty normal but my gawd it’s driving me mad. I am about to let her eat dry cereal and taquitos three meals a day.

Meanwhile, Aves is still a pretty good eater and I hope it lasts.

IMG_7296 The girls just love music. Averi gets into a semi trance while watching any sort of singing and Kaili likes all the hip songs on the radio. I hate to admit this but I just downloaded a Justin Bieber song because Kaili loves it.. 

IMG_7226Kaili’s class had a field trip to the new Children’s Museum downtown. I was worried about having to bring Averi along but it worked out pretty well. A lot of the museum was great for both kids but there were some parts that weren’t Averi accessible, I would have had a hard time rounding them up all by myself.

IMG_7218IMG_7220IMG_7225Days are starting to get easier. Averi is sleeping through the night, Kaili has been pretty good about staying quiet until 6:30. Aves will play by herself and watch some cartoons  while I need to get whatever done, and then she naps from about 10 until noonish. That time I spend working out and reading in the sun or the bath. I am trying to take more of her nap time to zen out. I don’t know if it helps with my patience or not, I like to think it does.

 

Shimmer Play-douh

Kaili ran out of Play-doh right before Christmas. Instead of buying more we decided it would be fun to make some of our own but with pizzazz.

It’s so easy to add play-doh to your cart and hit purchase on Amazon but it’s almost as easy to make your own. I used this tried and true recipe but we added a few drops of peppermint extract and a few, ok a lot of shakes of glitter.

*I find that the gel dye is much more vibrant, just make sure you don’t make the dough on a  beloved cutting board, it will stain.

IMG_6725IMG_6729I gotta say, one month later and the consistency is still great. Red and green mixed together don’t make the best looking color so it’s time to make some new colors.

Kaili spends time on the iPad at night watching video tutorials on play-dough activities. So if your child loves it as much as mine, this will save you some cash. Cha-Ching!

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Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

This was my go to recipe for years when I was teaching. Each year I would make a couple batches, let the kids choose their cookie cutter shapes, decorate them and then send them home for a little Christmas gift for mom and dad. My classroom smelled good the entire month of December.

Now that Kaili is old enough, she can pretty much make these on her own. She enjoyed the glitter the best, they always do…the messier the better.

If you are going to make these in your classroom and don’t have access to an oven, they will air dry, it will just take a few days. (Hint-make them on a Friday)

Also, if you don’t want to make ornaments you can turn them into magnets by hot glueing a small magnet on the back once they are dry.

1 cup applesauce

1 cup cinnamon

cookie cutters

glue or paint

glitter or glitter glue

skewer, straw or chopstick- something to make a hole for ribbon or string.

Mix the applesauce and cinnamon together until a dough is formed.

Sprinkle cinnamon on workspace and then roll out the dough.

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Cut dough into desired shapes.

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Cook in preheated oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours (or let air dry for a couple of days)

Once cool, decorate your little hearts out. Once dry, add a ribbon or string and voila, a lovely smelling ornament.

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Before the Sun

Oh, it’s only been a month since I blogged last…sigh.

Shane and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary. We went downtown for dinner, without the kids, went to an underground Speakeasy and played pool. It was just what I needed, in fact it’s something I could get used to, say once a month?

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Averi is now 15 months and things are pretty much the same, most days are routine and a tad mundane. Her sleep schedule is 6:30 to 6:30 give or take. We just got over the girls having colds, Averi was waking up multiple times a night but knock on wood, that is over.IMG_6129 IMG_6154

Her vocabulary is coming along, saying mom, dad, all done, bye and a lot of whining. She is waving and blowing kisses bye bye unless it’s to me, then it’s a full meltdown. She is very attached and although she is fine when I am gone, it’s the going and returning part that causes the tears.

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Kaili was going through some 4 year old challenging behaviors. Not listening, trying to get rid of her sister and her sleeping regressed. Can I say how DONE I am with not sleeping? We are hoping that the girls will share a room sometime but the way it’s going, I  am not sure how that will ever work. Sometimes they piggy back each other in the wake ups and if one of them actually sleeps in, I can promise you the other one was awake at 5.

I decided to try a behavior chart with her, made it myself to fit our needs. I have to say it really worked well for the first few months but her sleeping is back to shit. Okay, that is a strong word. She goes to sleep by 7 and is, for the most part (4 out the 7 days a week) is quiet once in bed. She has been waking up in the middle of the night due to nightmares or scary sounds and sometimes it’s a battle to get her back to sleep. But really the problem lies in her waking up for the day. She is usually up before 6:00 and comes into my room. The rule is, she is to stay in her room (aside from bathroom runs) until 6:30 when the green light on her clock comes on, but that is out the window. I could let her in my room or go into hers but I don’t want to create a habit but, I also don’t want to spend that time getting up and down in a fight with her. Ugh, does this make sense?

IMG_6051Anyhow, the chart hasn’t really been working for me in that department. I don’t know what else to do except make a mandatory rest time after school if she doesn’t follow the wake up rule.