Leading up to Daniel's birthday and Father's Day this month, I decided to take our extremely active and curious two-year-old into the kitchen with me to bake her favorite treat for Daddy -- cupcakes.
I had great hesitation, until recently, to bring Sarah into the kitchen to cook with me. Much of this feeling is based on the layout of our home and the limited space on our counter tops. And, because I am not a great cook. However, I do love to bake and do it often so thought now would be as good a time as any to get started teaching her.
I went into this experience expecting the absolute worst. Thinking that Sarah would not stand still on the step stool, that flour would go flying everywhere, sugar would get poured on the cat, and much more, made me put off this experience until now.
Therefore, anal retentive me made sure to clear away as much of the counter top as possible of anything that Sarah could likely pull at or push off. I also made sure to get the cat out of the kitchen away from any potential flying food, bowls or other objects.
Many times I have heard friends and family talk about their fun experiences with their little ones in the kitchen. With my daughter, who really gets into her work (have you seen what she looks like after painting? It gets everywhere.) I was concerned for her safety and the outcome of what the kitchen would look like in the aftermath.
Once I got past all of this, I decided to put out all the fixings for cupcake making so that I could remain close to Sarah throughout the process to help keep it simple and controlled.
Sarah did an AMAZING job making the cupcakes, listening to me when I asked her to do certain things, holding on to the step-stool tightly by her choice, etc. All-in-all the experience was an AWESOME one. Sarah and I laughed and bonded. You could tell she was really trying hard and was so proud of herself. I gushed with her over this accomplishment and she was so pleased. She couldn't wait to share the news, and tasty results, with Daddy.
My best advice when cooking or baking with little ones is to:
+ Start with as much of a clean surface as possible
+ Have all of your tools and ingredients out within arms reach (so you can be close to your kids)
+ Let your kids pour in the pre-measured elements into the bowl
+ When it comes times for mixing, let them help by holding the spoon or putting their hand on yours while you use the mixer
Every so often Sarah got a taste from the bowl and also stared back at me excited that she was helping. This experience made me want to go out and buy her an apron too. And, I am still thinking of doing so.
The cupcakes were a hit.
Daddy loved them so much, and especially because Sarah had a hand in helping mommy make them.
I look forward to this fun experience with Sarah again in the future. In fact, this week we have a family get together along with some close friends. This is a perfect opportunity to get my little baker back in to the kitchen to whip up some tasty treats.
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