I know, you’re thinking “Seriously? I thought this was a good idea??”
You’re covered in flour, the floor is a mess of coconut and chocolate chips and your kids fingers won’t stay out of the mixing bowl. You’re wondering where the fun in this is? It sounds like a disaster, right?
Nope, it’s a memory.
A learning experience. A wonderful holiday tradition for you to create with your kids. One moment that’s really worth the cookie crumbs and vagrant coconut pieces that get dragged into the living room via their now dirty white socks.
The holidays are a perfect time to spend more moments with your wonderfully loud and excitable kiddos. With so much to cram into a short season it may seem easier to avoid the messy, confusing things like baking together.
For moms who aren’t naturally inclined to bake or craft, this whole idea can feel rather over the top (WHY not just visit the bakery and have a civilized memory together??). But, baking with your kids is really something they will recall for a lifetime and make that childhood seem that much sweeter. Take the plunge and pull out your apron (or put on an old shirt if you’re not Martha).
A few tips to survive baking with kids
1. Make a Plan. Get ahead of the mess machines and set up the ingredients along with bowls, measuring cups and the mixer. The more organized you are up front the best. Our momstown Junior Chef program works well with the advance planning. Recently, momstown Oakville moms made ‘gingerbread’ houses with graham crackers and momstown Milton created holiday squares.
2. Reason for the Insanity: All this baking needs to have a home and a reason. Make something to give away for teacher, neighbour gifts or cookie exchange. By planning it that way, you’re less likely to bail on the plan AND you help your child develop pride in their work and their giving.
3. Choose a creative project that’s easy to adapt: Let’s face it, a fussy baking is not for kids and you’ll get frustrated in the process. Rolled snowball type cookies are perfect as they are fun to create and asymmetry doesn’t affect the taste. Gingerbread houses are a pain to bake but super fun to decorate! Last season most of our momstown chapters had a blast adapting Rice Krispies treats and creating trees, houses and bears - far simpler (hence more fun) than a traditional gingerbread house.
4. Document! Take loads of pictures of the whole process for the memory books (or jpg files!). When the cookies get burnt you’ll still be able to reflect on how much FUN that was.
5. Eggnog never hurts: Nothing wrong with mama chef enjoying a little spiked eggnog during the baking. It helps turn a blind eye to the egg shells in the batter and the germy fingers in the bowl. We’re all real moms, right?