Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kitchen Management: Mommy Style

So, Works For Me Wednesdays this week is themed "Kitchen Management" and I know many of you who know me well are now snorting into your sleeves at the idea of the word "Management" being even remotely connected with me, or my kitchen. But relax. I am not about to perjure myself in front of God and Everybody. I simply want to share a few ideas about managing my CHILDREN in the kitchen.

Everyone knows that kids start to meltdown at about 4:00 in the afternoon and continue to behave like teenage-mutant-whiny-turtles till bedtime. Or at least till Daddy gets home. Right? No? Your kids don't do this? Oops, my bad. Anyhoo. Mine do. The bad thing about this phenomenon is (other than insanity inducing decibel and pitch) that this time corresponds to dinner-making time. Baad combo. So what to do? How to get dinner ready without locking your kids in the closet while you do it?

In a word: Include Them (okay, smarty pants, two words) Duh, you say. Too easy, you say. Well, believe it or not, it's taken me a long time to perfect this theory and put it regularly into practice. Here are some ideas:

Beans, Tupperware and Spoons (I use the large limas, so I don't have to worry about them disappearing into a body orifice-- don't laugh, there's a family history...) They like to play 'Cooking' along with me:

Safety Knives (we use the ones from Pampered Chef), so they can Help Chop:

This one's just a butter knife:

Lots of stirring:

Child-safe closet full of interesting stuff (Tupperware, in this case-- and sorry about the old pic):

And last but not least, Groovin' to Some Tunes!

(insert mental image here of "...Cher...only....like an shorter fatter albino Cher....with morals. And no Sonny." 'cause that's the closest you're going to get to a pic of me dancing!)

Here's one of our favorite groovin' albums:

Judah and Sofi both love to play in the kitchen. They stay happier, I stay sane and dinner is on the table when J gets home. All it takes is a little advance planning, and some simple childproofing and the results are soooo great :)

Check out the Rocks In My Dryer blog for more awesome Kitchen Management Ideas!


Kathy in WA said...

Great post! Love the pictures. Adorable bunch of kiddos and some good reminders of how to keep children active and occupied during those fussy hours. :)

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Jenny said...

Awww, man...you mean we're NOT supposed to lock the kids in the closet when the oven turns on?????
Somehow, I just can't put the words Evie and knife even in the same sentence withoughopaser;otahw;oeth....ooops! SEE!!!!

Herb of Grace said...

You should check out that knife, though. Did you look at the link? It's practically impossible for her to hurt herself. Safer than a pencil, in my book. Love it!

Erin K. said...

Great post! I just recently started to discover this method with my two-year-old. One night, while snapping green beans for dinner, I was so incredibly frustrated with her interruptions. Then the light bulb went off and I let her "help". She was so excited to help me!!

I realized that it's a great way to introduce to her to the joy of cooking (although it isn't *always* a joy) AND it's a way to spend more mom time with her.

Like you mentioned, it may seem like a no-brainer, but it does take a little doing to get the idea perfected.

Thanks for the suggestions!

j said...

Well, whatever the management going into the kitchen, the food coming out of it is superb. :)

Funny thing. My mom tells me that my dad locked me in the closet as a baby when I got too fussy... (Don't know if this was a regular occurrence or a one-time thing.)

Holly said...

Really good idea...sometimes it's so hard to let them help, because it just makes more work for me. But I really need to get over that. I like the beans; I used to keep a box of beans and/or rice along with scoops, cups etc. and it really kept them busy.
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Rachel said...

Perfect! I couldn't agree with you more.