My mom has never been a cook but boy, oh boy can she bake. Its something I did with her as a kid. She never cared about the mess while we were baking. It was about doing something together! Of course, one of her famous lines is, “Any mess you make, you clean up!” We did have to clean it all up in the end.
I cherish all of those memories so much that I now bake regularly with Z. I take it as an opportunity to make time just to be with him, let him be the leader and to give him an outlet. Baking with kids may sound hectic and unwise to some, but truth be told there is so much you can do to make it stress free and fun. We always start by washing our hands. Then we get out everything we need including the ingredients. I let Z measure, pour, turn on the stand mixer, stir and even lick the spoon. Isn’t that what its all about anyway? So many lessons can be rolled into baking (pun intended). Z has learned vocabulary such as “ingredients” and “recipe”. He also is getting the hang of measuring and knows the importance of taking your time, following the directions and doing it in order. I also love the little conversation that happens when we bake. He gabs on and on about school, his friends and what he wants to be when he grows up (a baker and a helicopter pilot). My point is that baking isn’t always about the end product of getting to eat the cookies. It can be about the process just as much as the tasty results. I can’t wait for O to be big enough to help bake too. I love creating these memories.
The following is my mother’s Snickerdoodle recipe in her own handwriting. A classic, she even sent it to my cousin while he was in basic training. Obviously she skips the cream of tarter.
Mix all of the wet ingredients above the line in a mixer, then add the dry. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Kids can roll the dough into small balls and roll well in the cinnamon/sugar mix. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Over-baking these will dry them out but if you get it just right they are super chewy.
Who used to let you help in the kitchen? Anyone have a favorite recipe? DO SHARE!
I was babysitting one day and I had a pair of 7 year old twins to entertain along with Baby O. I had a rough agenda of dress ups, mani/pedis (which they always LOVE) and baking cupcakes. They were supposed to bring dessert to a family dinner that night and mom said we could bake them if they wanted.
We got to work on laying out the cupcake liners and choosing icings and ingredients. At the very last second I remembered my friend telling me she makes her daughter a rainbow birthday cake every year. I was immediately impressed but she made it sound so easy. She had told me that she simply evenly divided the batter and heavily food colored each
color of the rainbow.
Boom. I presented my idea to the twins and they thought I was a magician!
I divided the batter into six bowls which ended up being about a half cup per bowl.
Then I colored each bowl with food coloring. Some colors took more coloring drops than others but I knew I wanted vibrant colors so I just made them as bright as possible.
After I got the colors to where I liked them I started layering them into each cup by the spoonful. I chose to start with red on the bottom and worked up: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple (for those of you who can’t remember the rainbow order).
Then we baked the cupcakes according to the directions in the box and voila!
Icing is a piece of cake (har har). To make the tub of icing go further I whipped it in Kitchen Aid. Then I cut the corner off of a ziplock bag and loaded the icing in. Then I simply swirled the icing onto the cupcakes. No mess and way easier if you ask me. Add some food color and sprinkles if desired.
Tada! And here is one cut open so you can see the rainbow effect. And they were quite tasty too.
Part of my daily life is to be a big kid. Responsibly, of course. But still, a big kid. I ride bikes, do cannon balls, dance to Bieber (I have no shame!), play with chalk and play doh, jump rope…. the list goes on and on. So it’s no surprise that my sister and I wanted to have a treasure hunt. We slaved over this thing for a week and this is how it turned out.
First we read Pirate Pete to the kids, on the last page a treasure map fell out with a quick rhyme about how Pirate Pete stashed his treasure close by. The end of the note told them to go to the barn. Both boys were unimpressed. Z was more interested in Baby O, while M was terrified they would run into Pirate Pete. Neither wanted to go to the barn. With a little reverse psychology and skilled child-focussed marketing tactics, we convinced the boys to go on the treasure hunt. So they found 4 “clues”: the one in the barn had a clue about getting your letters in a box (mailbox), the mailbox had a clue about playing soccer on a table (leading them to the foosball table), the foosball table said to go swing and play (playset) and then it said to put your clues together.
When they flipped over each clue it had a portion of a drawing on it, forming a bicycle when put together like a puzzle. The bicycle meant to go to the garage (where we keep bikes). There we found a bucket full of treasure! Candy, Batman coloring books, yo-yo’s and stuff. They really believed Pirate Pete left it for them. Later, Z’s brother A retuned from school and asked him where he got the yo-yo. Z replied, “Pirate Pete left it for me”… stinking cute!
Success! I’d like to add that I try to make everyday an adventure for the kids. We stop and “make wishes” with pennies at every water fountain we pass. We bake at least once a week. We constantly have front yard picnics and try to make it at the park often also. We write letters to friends (even ones who live minutes away) and include tattoos, stickers and coloring pages in the envelope. Who doesn’t like to get mail? We climb trees, build forts (inside and out), and have nerf gun and super soaker fights. My point is, you don’t have to spend a fortune or devote an entire day to a theme park. Kids have fun sometimes just with cardboard boxes, crayons, sticks and bikes. I just try to create memories for all of us.
Get this- I used Kool-aid mix to made play-doh. And it smells delicious!
Mix/whisk together in a large bowl:
2.5 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 pkgs unsweetened kool-aid (choose according to what color you want)
Add 2 cups of boiling water and and 3 tbsp oil to the dry mix with a wooden spoon. stir quickly as it cools. Mix with hands as needed. Store in an airtight container. Its that easy!
My mom isn’t a packrat by any means… So when she saves things – they are always worth saving. A couple of weeks ago she presented me with a Rubbermaid bin full of classic 80’s Osh Kosh from my Childhood. I cried. I knew how much she loved dressing us in overalls, rompers and sundresses…. And I love doing it for Baby O. They don’t make this stuff the way they used to! Even the buckles and buttons are original high quality Osh Kosh! I’ve been dressing Baby O in it and people always comment!!! It’s not dated at all bc they are classic girlie patterns, simple stripes and polka dots but people still notice. Yes, my baby rocks vintage. There were also a few handmade dresses and sweaters I remember my sister wearing and bonnets I recognize from pictures and my fave silver rattle! Thanks Mom for one of the most thoughtful, sentimental and useful gifts. Thanks for having the foresight to save these beautiful things for your grand babies!