Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fun in the Kitchen

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2012 (yes, I'm a nerd) was to work on being more relaxed and easy-going. Now you may be saying to yourself, "hey, wouldn't an easy-going person NOT make New Year's Resolutions based on the fact that resolving to do something is, in principle, kind of uptight?" And to you I say, "baby steps, my friend, baby steps"

Anyways, here we are in mid-October and I'm questioning the amount of progress I've made toward my goal. So today, with John working at the office all day and my only plans being to remain in my pajamas for as many hours as possible, I decided it was time to get cool, and be that mess-loving, easy-going mom my kids never knew they were missing out on.

I saw this idea on Pinterest a while back to create a fun, kid's cooking/baking experience for little ones who love to be involved in the kitchen. And mine do. Whenever I try to sneak away in the afternoon to start whipping up dinner, it's never more than 10 minutes before I have two little helpers sitting Indian-style on the counter arguing about whose turn it is to dump ingredients and whose turn it is to stir. And while its fun bonding for us all, my mild germaphobia along with a tendency to get overwhelmed by a huge mess, make it a continual growing and stretching experience for me personally.

So for this project, you basically take a muffin tin and fill each cup with all different textures and types of food/spices from your pantry. I used dried rice, marshmallows, spices, pasta, sprinkles, sugar, beans, cinnamon sticks, etc etc. You get the idea, just use whatever you want. Then give each kid a bowl with some flour in it. Spread out measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, whisks, a few spices for shaking and water for mixing, and let the chefs go to town creating whatever their little hearts desire. This blog-which I would link you to if I could only find it again!- suggested putting all supplies in one of those under-the-bed long storage bins to help contain the mess. And I would say this is a must! Thankfully I had one of these bins hanging around still from my college dorm days.

The kids LOVED this, and once they realized it wasn't actually an all-you-can-eat buffet of "these taste spicy mommy," they got pretty serious about their cooking. They played and played until they had used up all the ingredients and created big soupy, delicious looking concoctions of goop. I convinced them both to taste their yummy creations, to which they both ate heaping spoonfuls, and then quickly spit out in disgust. But I enjoyed a good laugh. It was only once they came up with the brilliant idea to move each other's "soups" back and forth into different containers by scooping it up with their hands that not-so-easy-going mommy came back and we had to call it a day. But it was a great, tactile learning activity for a rainy morning and one that I'm sure they will be begging to do again in the future. And I feel one step closer to being that easy-breezy girl who laughs in the face of that big, giant mess.