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How to keep the apple from getting funky.

So simple and it works!

So simple and it works!


Apples. They brown if you slice them, they aren’t as likely to get eaten if you don’t.

I’ve tried everything to keep them from browning before the kids get to lunch time. Lemon juice, orange juice, lemon-lime soda. All of these work, but leave a taste on the fruit that my kids complain about.

So now I use the handy dandy slicer on the apples…then hand the whole thing to a kid who is waiting impatiently on the sidelines with a rubber band. They slip it over the apple, and we all marvel at the fact that it looks whole! From start to finish this trick takes 27 seconds, and it always gets completely eaten when sent as their snack.

My twins prefer this method since the fruit only tastes like fruit.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Mmmmm…meat

Look in the middle...that is where the genius lives

Look in the middle…that is where the genius lives


This is a fairly busy picture, my apologies.

Focus on the center, there is a simple thing happening there that was a huge hit.

Lily Belle wanted to put something on a pick. The picks are a highly desired piece of our bento arsenal. I usually just stick a few grapes on them, but the kids get more creative. She took a piece of lunch meat and gave me a lesson in fractions (I fold it and now its in half I fold it again and now we have ________…at which point she looks to me for my input, I love lessons where the teacher doesn’t have the answers) and stuck it on a pick. She filled up the pick with meat, which took only a few minutes.

This meat, outside of a sandwich, was such a fun novelty for both twins that we’ve continued to add it to lunches. I think it’s a cute method, and its easy enough for them to do themselves…maybe soon she’ll remember what 1/4 is.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to Basics

Oops! Littlest one is about to learn a lesson about standing on chairs.

Oops! Littlest one is about to learn a lesson about standing on chairs.

Since I’ve been gone from the blogging world for awhile, and in the meantime added a new cook to my team, I figured a back to basics post was in order.

But first…Congratulations to Angie, the winner of the Borax giveaway! I’ll send out your prize this weekend!

Every age can cook. I have two five year olds, a three year old, and a 18 month old and every one of them helps me in the kitchen. We have a system that works well for us, but we’ve been making the kids cook for us for awhile! If you are new to cooking with your kids I have a few places for you to begin.

Charlotte, the 18 month old, is best at helping load or unload the dishwasher. She excels at eating the leftover pieces of fruit, vegetable, or sandwich when I am creating fun bento school lunches. I’ve started giving her more to do like setting the (kid sized) table, mixing casserole ingredients, and picking which vegetable to serve with the meal. I’m reminded with her that it takes a long time to learn the skill of stirring. Making sure to thoroughly clean the surface she’s using beforehand saves a lot of time and food. Scooping the majority of the spills back into the dish is something I’ve done and will do again. We are having fun and she is learning.

Ted is three and can do most everything in the kitchen that doesn’t involve a sharp knife or the oven/stove. He prefers the easy tasks like scrubbing potatoes and dumping pre-measured ingredients. I push him a little by making him fill measuring cups correctly and selecting the correct item out of the refrigerator. He can peel root veggies, make sandwiches, and fill cupcake tins with liners.

The twins are by far the most fun in the kitchen these days! Doing all that Ted does, but with a little more ease. They are learning fractions in my dinner prepartions, and usually find the correct measuring cup. Being able to make a full meal on their own has amped up their excitement to be in the kitchen. The twins read recipes, correctly fill and dump measuring cups, stir, peel, and more! Our Keurig allows them to make me coffee (win!!) and oatmeal for themselves and the little kids. The microwave has mostly been mastered, Lily has had two lessons on stove top safety, and Pierce has had one on the proper way to wash knives.

Knives and heat are a big deal for me. I want to instill in them a love to help their mom cook, but at the same time they need to respect the things that can hurt them or others.

Three things the kids learned recently:

  1. How to soak and cook dried beans
  2. Making rice in the microwave (thanks mom for the rice cooker!!)
  3. Sweet potatoes need to be peeled twice over, or mom gives them back

What are your kids doing in the kitchen? What age will they (or did they) be allowed to use the stove? Knives?

 

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Lily Belle’s First Recipe

She wanted little to no help with this project.

She wanted little to no help with this project.

Lily Belle is five. She’s been cooking and baking with me for nearly four years now. Some days when I call in the troupes to peel, stir, and measure she declines. As much as she likes to help in the kitchen, she is not striving to become a chef.

Or so I thought.

She found an instant oatmeal packet that she loved. Loved, loved. Ruined all other oatmeal for her. No more wonderful steel-cut oats with apples and cinnamon, no more plain quick oats with jam. It was blueberry cream instant oatmeal…or nothing.

When our stock of instant oatmeal was gone, and she realized she had to wait for the next big sale, Lily Belle took the initiative to make up her very first recipe.

She added dried blueberries to the grocery list (please no one tell her I bought the much cheaper dried cranberries with infused blueberry juice!) and got to work.

Using this blog she was able to get a starting point, and after a few weeks of trouble shooting she came up with her perfect version. Now remember, Lily Belle is a kid. If I was making this for myself I would add more dried fruit, less sweetener, and maybe powdered milk instead of CoffeeMate. I was in no way going to get in the way of her creative process though, so this recipe is exactly as she wanted it.

Here is what we learned in this endeavor:

  1. Trust
  2. Determination to follow through must be mutual
  3. How to find the right measuring cup

Lily Belle’s Blueberry Cream Single Serve Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • Quick oats
  • Dried Fruit (We used CranBlueberry)
  • Stevia (or sugar)
  • French Vanilla Coffee Mate

Directions:

Get out as many Ziploc, or reusable, bags as you want servings. One serving per bag. Add 1/3 cup quick oats to each bag. Add 1.5 teaspoons Stevia and 1 teaspoon French Vanilla CoffeeMate to each bag.

Have an adult cut three cranberries into six pieces each, so each piece is very little. Add the tiny pieces to the bag, shake to mix, close. Repeat this step for all remaining bags.

I must say I am very proud of Lily Belle for this. She found the exact recipe she wanted, she’s saving money, and making school mornings a little easier on me. I’m looking forward to altering this recipe further for the boys’ preferences.

Let me know if you try this! Did you add different things? What did you add?

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Pick-a-Piece Pasta

Half the struggle of cooking? Meal planning. After a day planning out the week’s dinners I’m usually pretty tapped for creativity. So today when the twins stopped pulling out every sort of craft material possible (it’s a rainy day. Making messes is on our agenda) and ask the dreaded question…

What’s for lunch?

I blanked. Slack jawed, cross eyed, completely blank. Looking frantically for bologna Hoping we have something in a can Brilliantly, I realize that my kids don’t have to stop at just cooking for me! If they can cook, they can plan!!

Pick-a-Piece pasta lunch was born.

I assigned each child a piece of the meal. Lily Belle had an assortment of pasta shapes and sizes to chose from. Pierce decided if we had spaghetti, vodka, or Alfredo sauce. Ted was lifted up to freezer level to decide which veggie we’d throw in.

We ended up with spaghetti noodles and stir fry vegetables (and homemade meatballs that Ted is a huge fan of, so he insisted a bag from the freezer go in our concoction) in alfredo sauce. Every kid was happy. The meal was planned without me having to think.

I was gagging a bit imagining how it’d taste.

The added bonus to them each picking a piece of this meal? Showing the kids that I too have to try things that don’t look yummy to me. I explained I’d have a “No Thank You Bite” and eat a salad.

We were all (me especially) pleasantly surprised to find this dish was colorful and tasty! Thank goodness we all tried a bite! What a fun lesson to go with our easy meal. Yup, this lesson was for me.

I highly suggest trying this method with your kids! If you do, let me know what ends up in yours, and if it was good! Ours was fabulous and we’ll do it again, simply for the adventure of trying new combinations.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Fatten Up Update

Ted is almost 20 months old now. He loves to sled in the ditch in front of our house. His love of trains and dancing grows everyday. The clothes that fit him yesterday don’t fit today.

It has been almost two months since the pediatrician suggested I fatten him up with ice cream.

I haven’t changed the foods he is getting. We may have eaten out more due to all the holiday travel, but mostly things are unchanged.

That is to say the FOODS are unchanged. The amounts, that is a whole different matter. So my update to Fatten Up! is this…my one year old son eats like a fourteen year old football player.

He and the twins have always eaten like Hobbits, but Ted has taken it to a whole new level. He truly eats seven full size meals and three snacks a day. Sometimes I have to call my husband to bring home emergency rations mid week because the kid eats so much.

I let him. The pediatrician told me to. Other then the Christmas day candy gorge, I’m happy with his food choices.

Then, last night, we went shopping at Sam’s Club. After filling the cart with econo-size tubs of pretzels and hummus to sustain Ted, we stopped for hot dogs. Sam’s Club hot dogs are huge, and wonderful (as long as you don’t linger on ingredient lists or cooking methods). I love them.

Apparently so does Ted. He took that hot dog in both hands (which is necessary since it is literally the same exact size as his entire arm) and ate it like he was in an eating challenge. Pained facial expressions, water sipping and all. It was quite the spectacle. The family next to us stared at him the entire time. It was weird and uncomfortable, especially when they’d talk about it. “Look at the little one now!” and “where is the little one putting it all?” and “look at the little one eyeing his dad’s pizza”.

Then it got really fun. Brad and I were chatting and he felt a tug on his pizza. Ted had finished his hot dog and Brad was holding his dinner within range. Ted proceeded to finish the gigantic slice, then even eyed his sister’s hot dog hopefully. We left in a rush when the staring family seemed ready to call the media. In the van he ate goldfish and cereal. Once home he had an orange and three pretzels.

Then we started all over again this morning.

So, I’m thinking I won’t have to worry about his weight at our next pediatrician visit.<div class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 490px"I tried to take a picture of JUST the giant tub of pretzels.

I tried to take a picture of JUST the giant tub of pretzels.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Things I am Saving

You’re little now, and I love every minute of it, but I want you to know I’m holding back. I’m holding back trinkets and blankets, memories and emotions, because I know you will need them when you’re grown.

I’m saving the first clipping of your hair, and the story of how I did it myself and it was kind of crooked.

I’m saving your Great Grandma’s ring for you, if she’d met you she would have just loved that you are twins.

I’m saving the blankets your Aunt made, no matter how grungy they are when you are done with them.

I will always save the last bite of whatever I’m eating, because you are bound to want some.

I’m saving your wooden rattles from Grandma in hopes that some day I will see your kids shaking them. No pressure.

I’m saving my most creative craft ideas so I can teach them to you, and you can take all the credit for your masterpieces.

I’m collecting memories of your Great Grandpa’s that you never met. They each had things that I hope I can teach you for them.

I’m saving your height every few months with a mark on the wall, I will cry for this loss when we move to a new house.

I’m saving the Harry Potter movies for when you’ve already read the books, so you can have an even deeper love and appreciation for the written word.

I’m saving the best vacations for when you are old enough to enjoy and remember them.

I’m saving your first attempt at coloring, finger painting, writing letters, and such, so you can see how far you’ve come.

I’m saving my attempts at your baby books and homemade clothes, so you can see how far I’ve come.

I’m saving the sex talk until you are old enough to be embarrassed about it.

I’m saving my stories of heartache, to share with you the first time your heart is truly broken.

I’m saving a spot in my heart for when you get married because I know you will want me to love your significant other as much as I love you. Which is impossible, but I’ll do my best.

Finally, I’m NOT saving any laughter, fun, tears, happiness, comfort, kisses, hugs, joy, empathy or excitement. For these are things I will give to you every day, you will never have to remember them.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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