Sunday, November 24, 2013

Two good kitchen tasks for preschoolers

Preparing food is easier when I can do prep tasks ahead of time and include the boys so they're content while I'm working - today for lunch they eagerly took turns brushing dirt off mushrooms, and washing the brussel sprouts.

I was amazed to find that even my 21 month old was able to effectively get dirt off the mushrooms with the brush, then set the mushroom on my cutting board for me and let his brother have a turn.  Color me impressed!

Washing fruits and vegetables is a no-brainer task to let kids do - but I particularly liked brussel sprouts because there were so many individual, sturdy items to wash.

I wish I could tell you they then ate both foods... But that didn't happen.  It was more likely than if they hadn't been involved!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My kitchen aid dough hook finally has a purpose!

I've always been a fan of kneading my own yeast breads - I enjoy it too much to automate the process.  No bread machine, no dough hook; just old fashioned bread making in our house.

But it's hard to let a one and three year old knead bread.  They need really clean hands, and they lose interest long before the job is done, reducing the "we did it" feeling to a "we helped" feeling.  Still good, but when I use a dough hook, they can add every ingredient to the bowl if I measure them first, turn on the mixer, watch it knead the dough (they watched an entire five minutes... mesmerized!) and even oil the bowl for it to rise in.

Inspired by Will's Montessori preschool, I try hard to let the kids do as much for themselves as possible.  In the day to day rush, it can be hard, and I don't always do as well as I like.

Making bread or cooking with the boys is an exercise for me to work on letting them do everything they can, helping as little as possible.  They carry the ingredients to the counter, wash and dry their own hands, dump everything into the bowl, and help clean up.

It takes A LONG TIME.  That means that for a good hour, they're not making a mess or fighting with each other anywhere else :)

Note: the brandy in the photo was for a fig log I made - not to help me get through the supervision process, I promise :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Guest Post: Will's Halloween

Hi.  It's Will.  Mom's pretty busy so I'll be doing some guest posting.

Yesterday was Halloween.  I like Halloween.

This is my little brother Andrew.  He is not big.
You can carve pumpkins to look like faces.  You will need a grownup to help with the knife.  I made a scary face and Mom tried to carve it on a pumpkin for me.  She did all right.  I probably could have done it myself, though, because I am 3.

Dad did Andrew's pumpkin.  He is sticking his tongue out.

I got the pumpkin seeds all ready to go in the oven for roasting.  You need to get them out of the pumpkins, wash them, then pat them dry.  Then you mix them with salt and a little olive oil and put them in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes or so.  A grown up can stir them sometimes while they are cooking because they are VERY HOT.

Mom tried to help me dry the pumpkin seeds, but I could do it all by myself.

Mix the salt and olive oil on really well.  Wash your hands first.
Then you need to wash your hands again.  They will be sticky.

When people ring your door bell, you can open your door and hold out the bowl of candy and they will take some.  They wear costumes.  Sometimes they smile at you.  If they ask you how many they can have you say "one".  Otherwise you don't even have to say anything.  When you open the door and hold out the bowl they know to take the candy.  When they are done taking the candy you can shut the door.  It is nice to say "Happy Halloween".

Then after dinner you can go to other people's houses.  They will have candy.  You say "trick or treat" or "Happy Halloween" and then you can take some candy and put it in your purple pumpkin and eat it later.

Try to eat as much as you can right after you get home, because after Halloween is over you will only get one piece a day at snack time and that is not a lot.  Two would be better.  Or five.

Did you have a good Halloween, too?