Cooking Fun with Kids – 7. Write Love Notes

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste delicious, comme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too!  Continue reading “Cooking Fun with Kids – 7. Write Love Notes”

Cooking Fun with Kids – 5. Beat to the Beat

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste deliciouscomme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too!  Continue reading “Cooking Fun with Kids – 5. Beat to the Beat”

Cooking Fun with Kids – 4. Kneed with a Squeeze

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste deliciouscomme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too! (Read more)

Knead with Squeeze

We make home-made pizzas so that we can knead the dough…by playing catch.

Playing with food is usually a “no-no” chez nous (in our home), but we make an exception when kneading dough.

Play as a team and toss the dough to each other across a table, With each catch, give the dough an extra squeeze. Play for at least five minutes.

Cleanliness Tips: clean the floor beforehand :-), and give bonus points for keeping the “ball” from dropping.

Best kinds of recipes for this technique:

Pizza dough…add pizzaz to your regular recipe by including spices or condiments: tomato pizza dough (replace water with tomato juice), curry pizza dough (add curry powder), barbecue pizza dough (blend in barbecue sauce), “herbes de provence” pizza dough…

Great EVENTS for this technique:  Birthday parties, when the neighbors come over, communal events….

Boys kneeding dough playing catch
Kids kneeding / pounding dough
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Love our yummy tips for fun?  Click here to continue on our Wacky Cooking Technique Tour.

Good news.  We ALSO have a Crazy Fun Clean Up Time Adventure!  Click here.

Cooking Fun with Kids – 3. Play Catch to Juice Citrus

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste deliciouscomme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too! (Read more)

Play Catch to Juice Citrus

What to drink with such a feast? Lemonade!

Whether you have an ultimate citrus presser or not, first prepare your lemons’ squeezability. Soft and malleable citrus generate more juice.

A simple game of catch-the-lemon does the trick. We definitely prefer this technique during the warm months when such “cooking” can be taken outside, but the living room cleared of the fragile trinkets does the trick too.

Show the children that you take this job seriously by testing the squeezability. “You’re getting there. Three or four more tosses and it will just right!”

Best kinds of recipes for this technique:

Lemonade.  Orange or grapefruit juice.

Anything with lemon (or orange or lime) juice:  fish, soups, guacamole, pico de gallo (we use red onions marinated in lime juice) , jams, fruit salad (yummy with freshly tossed and squeezed juice)…

Mom and daughter playing lemon toss

Mom and daughter playing lemon toss

Girls playing lemon toss

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For greater efficiency (and to double the excitement) try tossing two lemons simultaneously!

Yes, boys love this kind of cooking too.  🙂

Cooking Fun with Kids – 2. Chop with a Mallet

We’re continuing the seven part series on Whacky Cooking Techniques that transform a chore into a game.

  • Your meals will taste deliciouscomme d’habitude (just as usual)
  • Your memories will turn out absolutely divine

Once you’ve tried our hilarious cooking-with-kids tips, you’ll be hungry for our cleaning up ones too! Continue reading “Cooking Fun with Kids – 2. Chop with a Mallet”

Parenting Insights from Baking

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There IS a flip-side to flops.

I re-learned this lesson during our annual family fundraiser where our boys bake LOTS of cakes. Catch a whiff of the parenting lessons learned through our baking fiascos. They’re delicious!

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Beat Too Fast Leads To Messy Clean Up

Baking Scene:

The boys are adding flour to the batter. On our three speed beater, the boys only know of “High.” The flour flies all over the kitchen :(.

Cooking Tip:

Moistened flour stays low. Before switching on the electric beater, manually swirl the beater through the batter and flour to start incorporating the dry ingredients. Then, when you turn on the electric beater, the mixture blends smoothly and tamely.

Parenting Insights:  Connect before you Correct

Next time you learn bad news about your child’s behavior, refrain from rushing into his presence and whirling in on him. Chances are emotions will sour and you’ll be stuck picking up scattered sentimental debris. Besides, is he the real opponent? Give yourself a chance to find out. Prepare the way for a discussion that won’t fly off the handle.

Think wet. Invite him to have a glass of milk while you sip tea. “We need to talk. Let’s do it comfortably.” Be prepared to cry…to be sorrowful (i.e. not angry) about the bad behavior and its impact on your child.

Challenges are chances in disguise.

I pray that my children will get caught when they are doing something out of line SO THAT we can address vital issues like respect of oneself and others, responsibility, obedience,  and appropriate ways to question those in charge.
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Heat Too Hot Makes the Cake Fall

Baking Scene:

The recipe instructs to bake at 180°C but since our oven is unique (yours too, n’est ce pas? J), we baked at 200°C! The cake looked splendid coming out of the oven. Five minutes later, it fell flat.

Cooking Tip:

Baking is a process where liquids (batter) are changed into solid (cake) releasing gases (think airy & light). When was the last time you savored a divine, holey (crater filled) cake? An eternity ago. Light and airy cakes have a multitude of tiny air pockets evenly distributed throughout the cake. Too high cooking temperature over stimulates the gas formation and the size of the air pockets…which empty out leaving the cake flat.

Parenting Insights:  Ground Rules

Too much too fast. The plant grows tall and we’re delighted. It flowers. Hooray! The thin stalk cannot support the weight of the blossom, and the stem breaks. No flower, measly plant.

In our desire to grant happiness (immediately visible benefits), we parents may be undercutting the root structure (Big Rules). In our home, this approach created mini-monsters. Let them have a late curfew one night (“Mom, you’re SOOOO nice!”), then when it’s earlier the next time I become Mrs. Mean. The same goes for chocolate at whatever time of the day, the latest electronic game, friends over, the clothes budget….

The absolute, utmost, primordially effective way to help the children build strong roots through ground rules is….to know them.  No kidding.

If your family Big Rules aren’t slipping off your tongue in a jiffy, chances are your kid forgot them too.

Click to find out about our favorite family grooves (rules to dance to the same tune).
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Heat Too Long Burns

Baking Scene:

“Did you get the cake out when the timer went off?” “What buzzer?”…”Did we have an order for burnt cake?!”

Cooking Tip:

It’s more effective to add increments of cooking time than to subtract them!

Parenting Insights:  Discipline when Calm

It’s not just for Solomon and the Byrds.

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. That includes discipline. There is a time to give the children a break…and for them to give moms and dads one too.

Easier said than done! At Home Is Fun we aim to create fun and easy-to-use tools to help communicate delicate yet vital messages such as “Lay off.” Check out the Gift of Respect and download it for free. Alternatively, try these tips to cool down.
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Heat All Around Bakes Beautifully

Baking Scene:

The recipe reads to cook for 45 minutes but your cakes take over one hour!

Cooking Tip:

It’s called a convection oven. The hot air is circulated throughout the oven and the evenly diffused heat reduces cooking time.

Parenting Insights:  Let the Love Flow and Flow

How do you and I distribute love? Is it always in the same targeted fashion? What if your child understood love better if it were expressed differently? Find out about love languages and how they can change your relationship.
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Lick Beaters While You Can

Parenting Insight:  Enjoy NOW

Make time to enjoy the kids. My eldest son taught me this when he was six years old. He had been badgering his younger brother which created havoc. I took him aside, and asked not too kindly, “What do you want?!” “Maybe a Rendez-Vous…” he whimpered. A Rendez-Vous is our term for a one-on-one time together often reserved for play. His words stopped me short. Of course!

Personalized attention does not happen automagically; it is purposefully carved out of the day.

Read up about including one-on-one time in the bedtime routine.

Still hungry for ideas? Home Is Fun devised 101 ways to tell your kids “I love YOU.” Go satisfy those cravings!

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