One of the many great things my parents taught me was how to cook. From the age of 11, once a week I was responsible for finding a recipe, ensuring we had all the ingredients (and adding them to our weekly grocery list if we didn’t), cooking the meal, and cleaning up afterwards.
I remember being in that kitchen, feeling like Cinderella and my parents were the meanest parents in the land.
Fast forward 30 years and I’m fully on board with my kids making meals. I want to teach them their way around the kitchen, the proper use of kitchen tools and appliances, the difference between slicing and chopping, and most importantly, I want to teach them how to make meals for me instead of me always making meals for them.
At Casa DeVellis, Sunday is our crazy day. I am in arenas from 11:00am until 5:20pm which means I either have to start dinner in the morning or enlist some help.
Enter Chef Adam. Adam loves to tinker in the kitchen and even makes bread for us twice a week. This past Sunday he decided to tackle dinner for our entire family and chose to make this Cheesy Egg-In-A-Bowl recipe. It was a good beginner recipe because it's easy to make, would be on the table quickly, and also...cheese! In our family, cheese is right up there with bacon in the It-Makes-Everything-Better category.
Note: I kid you not about the cheese. One of my boys’ favourite side dishes is lima beans baked in the oven sprinkled with Tex Mex shredded cheese. Lima beans! And they love them!
If you’re a time-strapped mom maybe it’s time to stop racing around and enlist your kids’ help in the kitchen. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Even toddlers can help you wash strawberries, measure ingredients, and learn how to put utensils and plates into a dishwasher. Yes, everything you do will take longer and you'll have more mess but over time they'll be able to take on kitchen prep by themselves. This is a good thing.
Adam chose this recipe because the instructions were simple and he would be able to prepare the entire meal by himself. Choosing a recipe that is within your child's capabilities helps build confidence now and will encourage him to tackle harder recipes later on.
Every mom knows that nothing can ruin a mood faster than having someone say they dislike the meal you just slaved over. The same goes for your kids, so try to choose a recipe you know the siblings will also enjoy.
While Adam was capable of making the entire recipe, I helped him cook the bacon beforehand so I didn’t have to worry about any grease burns. I also taught him the proper knife to use when cutting bread—I cut the first one, he cut the rest.
Cooking is all about trying new things, so give your kids room to experiment—you may be surprised at the outcome. The Cheesy Egg-In-A-Bowl recipe called for Velveeta slices. Instead, Adam chose to use a combination of Tex Mex shredded cheese and grated parmesan. The end result was delicious.
I know I already said this but it's worth repeating. Teaching your kids how to cook is about so much more than food. You're instilling in them a love of fresh food and giving them a skill that will take them through life.
Plus, you don't ever want to miss out on the moment when they proudly present you with the finished dish.
P.S. Next week Adam will be making us these Creamy Taco Unstuffed Shells and guess who won't be stressing about getting dinner on the table?
That would be me!
Melted. Grated. Shaved. Baked. No matter what you do with cheese, it makes everything taste better.
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Last summer, two men in our community drove around in a white van trying to entice kids to get in. Police issued warnings and it was covered in our local paper several times.
I felt it was necessary to talk with my boys about what was happening and what to do if they were ever approached like this. The incidents were close by, with one of the cases reported only a few blocks away from our home, and I didn’t want to bury my head in the sand. We not only talked about it, we role played and practiced. I learned about the importance of role playing from this video on Stranger Safety, and highly recommend it to anyone with kids (not sponsored!).
When our evening of conversations and role playing ended, I had one boy who was fine and one boy who was now fearful of every white van he saw.
I felt like a failure. My intention had been to prepare my boys just-in-case, not to make them suspicious and afraid.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, and my youngest son is playing outside with his friend. They are in front of the friend’s house with a metal detector, and a blue van slowly approaches and stops a few feet away from them. A man rolls down the window and calls the boys over to ask if the metal detector actually works.
Both boys immediately went into the house and told the mom.
Could it have just been some guy super interested in metal detectors? Yep.
Am I glad my son didn’t take the chance? Yep.
A real-life situation played out within a block of our home and thankfully my son did what he should have—what I taught him. But in the interim, it was also eight months of being fearful of every white van he saw.
So, I will leave you with this. It still kills me inside that he is afraid of white (and now blue) vans. I did that to him. Me.
Yet the other part is thankful we had the discussion, because when the situation presented itself he knew what to do.
And that is the dichotomy of parenting, is it not? There is that balance—sometimes we get it right, sometimes not.
In this case, I'm still not sure which one it was.
Has a real-life situation every played out like this for you and your kids?
For more safety tips, check out Three Ways To Keep Your Children Safe In A Crowded Place and Teaching Children How To Cross The Street Safely.
You’ve used it, I’ve used it. It’s an innocuous three letter word, a word we’ve all used at one time or another. Yet these three letters are the biggest cause of, or continuation of, arguments because it is the word that negates everything you've said previous to it.
What is it, you ask?
Think about it.
I hear what you’re saying but…
It is the word you use when you aren’t actually listening and are already crafting your response while the other person speaks.
I understand you’re upset but…
It is the word you use when you aren’t trying to understand what she is saying, merely reinforcing your own opinion.
I’m sorry for *insert reason for apologizing here* but….
It is the word you use when you aren’t sorry, simply segueing into why you were right in the first place.
“I think you’re awesome at *_______________* but…
It is the word that says, I don’t think you’re awesome at all.
So the next time you’re having a conversation with someone follow these four steps:
1) Listen openly
2) Try to truly understand the other person's point of view
3) Apologize with sincerity, and
4) Always give compliments that are true and from the heart.
Most of all stop using the word But. It’s been ruining relationships since the inception of time.
p.s. Don't substitute 'however' for 'but.' That's just a case of same sh*t, different pile.
If you liked this post you'll also like How To Make Conversations With Your Kids Less Mortifying and The Secrets To A Good Marriage