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Watch out Yuppiechef - these have to be some of the cutest kids in the kitchen!
So proud of myself for baking with my boys during the holidays. Yes, I'm brave! Over Christmas, our Online Antenatal Courses have slowed down so I've had lots of extra time for memorable adventures with my boys...
I still remember being allowed to hold the beater while my mom added ingredients for one of her incredible cakes. My mom is famous for her baking and entertaining with a minimum of 3 homemade puddings so "everyone has options!" I definitely caught her love for baking and I love particularly recipes that when you follow them exactly they produce the perfect product - probably our similar maths brains that give us this 'leaning'...
Similar to JP with his man-cave time, baking in my kitchen is my personal ME space and time. I love it! I love trying new recipes, working with cool gadgets and appliances and producing something people actually want to eat and can appreciate.
If I have only 1 boy at home with me, I might feel brave enough to find something we can bake together.
I really don't mind the mess or even taking longer than usual but what I find stressful is when there are 2 or 3 of them all equally keen to 'HELP' and I now have to find different tasks that each of them want to do and can do semi-unsupervised, all the time running the risk (or probability) that I will need to head back to the shops to re-stock up on ingredients to repeat certain steps that flopped.
Ethan's favourite task is cracking eggs or cutting things with sharp knives! Doesn't that sound calm and relaxing? Jude is my foodie and loves beating and mixing so he can lick as many utensils post-production as possible. This picture hints at Jude practising his 'Naked Chef' persona.
Nate wants to be my primary helper. He needs to know (at 2) that he has most of my attention. So taking all of this into account, I plan a baking 'adventure' with the boys down to the last detail. I station them separately to avoid as many disasters as possible.
Last week, in anticipation of Christmas, I got the boys to make Ferrero-Rocher Ice Cream with me. It has become a bit of a Kloppers tradition. It is very simple and has basically 5 separate steps so it was great to do with the boys where each could have a turn to be in charge of something!
Jude crushed the chocolates, Ethan coped extremely well with the eggs, especially seeing as they had to be separated so there was no roon for error. Nate got to beat and everyone had a turn to mix something at some stage. Jude was responsible for sharing all licking utensils after the baking and ensuring they all made their way back to my kitchen! It was a great success and we all had fun, even if I had a huge amount of cleaning to do after the ordeal!
I find my kids learn a great deal from time in the kitchen. Measuring anything in cups or spoons is an immediate challenge for their maths skills. Even Nate learning to count can practise when you need to add 3 cups of this or 4 spoons of that. Mixing is good for their hand muscle strength and co-ordination and decorating cakes with tiny sprinkles or sweets aids their fine-motor control. There are other more general things that get encouraged like patience when you have to wait for the finished product to come out of the oven and sharing skills or self-control to avoid greedy chaos at the first opportunity of consumption.
It is so great to see them enjoying the process of watching how things mix and change through the process. It is also great seeing them excited to eat what they have made - and boy do they love homemade Ferrero Rocher Ice-cream! I might just try this again before our 2013 school routine starts.
ps. If you want my recipe, I'm a sharer!