Top Recipes To Cook With Your Kids To Teach Life Long Cooking Skills

Top 9 Recipes to Cook with your Kids To Teach Life Long Cooking Skills

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated 2/6/2019

Every day, I have the same two big items on my to do list- spend time with the kids and make dinner.

I love to get both done at once!

But I was also getting sick of eating cereal for dinner… since that was the only food my kids knew how to help me “make”.

We decided to branch out. I realized that if I really wanted to have more options of what to cook with my kids, I needed to teach them some basic cooking skills! I was excited about this idea, since I knew these skills would become valuable life lessons!!

And I could eat more variety of delicious meals, NOW!

Here are some of my favorite meals or deserts to cook with my kids’ help… along with the life lesson that my kids learned from each cooking experience!

girl eating cereal in white ceramic bowl on table

1) Anything out of a box.

I know, I know…. These things are rarely healthy. But they are easy and yummy! And a great experience for your kids.

And when they go to college, these will probably be their staple food items anyways, so they might as well know how to cook them.

Food out of a box is the best preparation for reading and following a recipe for a child who is beginning to cook. 

It is simplified, has few ingredients, and is easy to follow. Making these easy food items gives kids confidence that they can make more complex foods by following a recipe.

But that’s not all! Kids also learn concepts like:

  • checking to make sure you have the ingredients before you begin cooking,
  • measuring ingredients,
  • substituting ingredients as needed (my kiddo learned this when we realized we were out of butter so we used applesauce in our cookie dough instead!)
  • having appropriate cleanliness in the kitchen,
  • asking questions as they learn!

Here are some of my favorite boxed foods to prepare with my kids:

  • Brownies
  • Cakes
  • Pudding
  • Cookies
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta Salads
  • Mac N Cheese
  • Top Roman (If you’re sick of Top Roman, try adding in fun extras like fresh veggies or meats.)

slice of brownies beside silver strainers

2) Snow Ice Cream

This recipe is usually my kids’ VERY VERY first experience “cooking” with me. They make their own Snow Ice Cream when they are as young as 1 1/2-2 years old.

‘ love it because they get to feel involved and get a taste of making their own food… with absolutely no possibility of getting hurt in the kitchen. No heat, no knives, no worries! 

This recipe is so fun and easy to make! It is seasonal… and dependent on the weather… but if your kids love to make it, you could always substitute shaved ice for the snow.

And of course, (I can’t stress this enough…) make sure your kids are gathering clean snow. 😊

snow-covered tree lot during daytime

Snow Ice Cream

2 cups Clean Snow (or shaved ice)

2-3 Tbsp. Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 drop of Vanilla (or Root Beer Flavoring, or Strawberry Flavoring, or Orange Flavoring, etc…)

First, gather clean snow from outside right after a snowfall. I prefer to set a clean bowl outside during a snowfall. The bowl slowly fills up with perfectly fresh and 100% clean snow. No hoping or guessing that the snow hasn’t been somewhere yucky. If you are going to allow your kids to gather their own snow, this step takes a lot of supervision to make sure the kids aren’t gathering snow from the wrong places.

Second, divide the snow into cups for each child. Add the remaining ingredients and allow the child to stir up his or her ice cream. Add more snow if needed (sometimes the mixture tastes too strong and more snow will remedy this).

That’s it! Ready to eat!

Please note that adding the other ingredients makes the snow more dense than it was to begin with, so you end up with less ice cream than you might think. 2 cups of snow makes about ½ cup of ice cream.

I use this recipe to teach kids the following concepts: 

  • Following mom’s directions in the kitchen
  • Getting creative to make the recipe your own
  • Mixing without spilling
  • Why eating clean food is important (we usually discuss how germs can make us sick and that’s why we wash all the produce mom buys at the store) 

3) Kabobs

people having a barbecue party

Kabobs are so much fun to make with kids!

When kids make kabobs, they learn the following life skills:

  • Early exposure to the concept of being careful because some kitchen tools can hurt you. This is a great pre-lesson before learning to cut with knives.
  • Become familiar with ingredients. Kids learn to recognize and identify a variety of foods that they may cook with later on.
  • More likely to try new foods
  • Choosing between many food options
  • Introduce the concept of cross contamination. Explain that we cook the meat before they touch it so that they don’t cross contaminate fruits and veggies with raw meat.
  • How food changes when it is cooked. Example: raw bell peppers vs. cooked bell peppers.

There are so many options of yummy foods to put on a kabob- cheese, fruit, veggies, meat- so it’s easy to make a healthy kabob that your kids will actually enjoy eating.

Rather than following a strict recipe, I usually just set out all the food options (precooked if necessary) and let me kids go to town spearing their favorite foods. Here are my favorite kabob options.

  • Meat cut into bite sized pieces
    • Beef, chicken, or pork are the most common.
    • I have also cut up lunch meat into squares and allowed my kids to put that on their kabobs.
    • Another nontraditional option is Little Smokies or pieces of hot dogs.
    • Be sure to cook the meat beforehand to avoid kids touching raw meat or cross contaminating other foods.
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries
  • Melon pieces
    • Honeydew, watermelon, or cantaloupe
  • Cheese
    • My kids enjoy when I give them options in various kinds of cheese- such as swiss, mozzarella, or cheddar.
  • Nontraditional fruits- such as apples, orange slices, or chunks of pears- can also be added to kabobs. They are tasty and help kids eat a variety of foods.
  • Any vegetable that you can get away with. I try any and all new veggies that I can possibly skewer on a kabob. This is a great way to trick my kids into trying new foods because they are so excited that they get to spear the food. I’ve done onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, squash, and cooked carrots.

When we make kabobs, I cut up all the ingredients, put each thing out on the table in a bowl, and allow the kids to choose what they want on their kabob. They love “spearing” the food onto a kabob stick.

Sometimes, my kids make crazy kabob creations that I wouldn’t necessarily want to try, but they are always very excited. They are more willing to try new things when we make kabobs.

4) Stir Fry or Fried Rice with Veggies

I use stir fry as my child’s first exposure to actual cooking! Here’s why stir fry is the perfect meal to cook when it’s your first time cooking:

  • No measuring ingredients, which means there is no messing up! Stir fry always turns out great (unless you burn it). This is a great confidence-builder for kids who are just learning the skill of cooking! 
  • The child can make it their own. There’s no right or wrong answer to which veggies or meats go into stir fry. This is a great time for creativity! 
  • There’s little technical skill. Just stir to avoid burning!
  • The heat doesn’t have to be turned up all the way. Keep the heat at medium. Even though it will take a little longer, it’s less likely for the child to get a burn. 
  • You can involve kids in a variety of ways.
    • Kids love to add ingredients into the sauté pan as you go.
    • If your child is old enough and responsible enough, you can let them help you cut the veggies or meat into bite sized pieces. If that’s not the case, you can do it before hand. No harm done!
    • If your kids are old enough and responsible enough, they might enjoy stirring the pan while the veggies cook.
    • If your child can handle it, this is a great recipe for him to try ALL on his own!

Ready for your recipe?

Stir Fry: 

First of all, the list of ingredients is optional. Here are some of my favorite options of ingredients to include in stir fry. Pick and choose your favorites!

  • Precooked Rice
  • Soy Sauce or a similar yummy sauce (I’ve substituted General Tsao’s sauce, Orange Chicken Sauce, Kung Pao Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, etc.)
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Egg
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chicken, Beef, or another favorite meat
  • Green Beans
  • Bok Choy
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Sesame Seeds

Cut up all the ingredients into bite sized pieces. My kids love to “measure” to see if the veggies are bite sized by eating a few.

In a large frying pan, cook your meat first.

When your meat is cooked, add any veggies you would like. Stir to avoid burning the food until the veggies are cooked.

Add in your sauce.

You can serve stir fry by itself, over rice, or you can easily make it into fried rice by adding the rice into the sauté pan of veggies and cooking it with an egg.

5) Homemade Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? And making it yourself only adds to the fun!

Pizza teaches kids baking skills (which are VERY different from stove top cooking skills) such as:

  • How leavening agents make dough rise,
  • How the cooking process can transform dough into bread (there’s nothing like this when you’re making stir fry!) 
  • Measuring carefully to ensure that the dough turns out right,
  • Rolling out dough,
  • Taking your time!
    • I like to buy premade pizza dough. This cuts down on the prep time and makes my life easier. Sorry kids, you’ll never be bakers. 🙂 

Lucky for me, pizza still teaches some other things too. For example:

  • Creativity
  • Food presentation
  • Spreading ingredients evenly throughout
  • Using an oven- how to set the temperature, preheat the oven, turn on the light to check the food, etc. 
  • How to check to see if food is done baking (golden brown crust, not doughy) 

Here’s your recipe!

Homemade Pizza: 

If you’re cool, use the recipe found here (Courtesy of Sugar Spun Run) to make homemade dough.

If you’re like me, buy some premade dough and skip ahead. 🙂

Canned Spaghetti or Pizza Sauce

Shredded Cheese

Whatever toppings sound yummy!

Spread the pizza dough into a large circle on a sheet tray. If you are making one large pizza, allow each child to decorate a portion of the pizza with toppings.

It can also be fun to make several smaller pizzas so that each child can have his or her own.

The kids can help spread sauce and cheese on the dough.

Offer the kids a variety of toppings to make their pizza unique. Allow them to get creative and make their pizza a piece of art.

Here are a few flavor combinations that can be tasty!

  • Traditional (Marinara sauce, mozzarella, pepperonis, sausage, onion, bell peppers, olives, etc.)
  • Barbeque (BBQ sauce, mozzarella, chicken, bacon, pineapple, onion, etc.)
  • Alfredo (Alfredo Sauce, mozzarella, chicken, bacon, onion, tomato, etc.)
  • Desert Pizza (Chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, marshmallow cream, crushed cookies, crushed Oreos, pie fillings, etc.)

Bake according to the directions on the dough package. Usually 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

6) Fruit Salad

person holding sliced fruit salad on yellow bowl

Fruit Salad is a great way to let your kids practice using a knife by cutting soft fruit with a butter knife. The fruit pieces might not look pretty, but they will taste yummy. And your kid will learn a lot!

When I make fruit salad with my kids, I start by choosing which fruits they can cut themselves. Grapes, melons (after I remove the rind), and berries are easy for kids to cut with a butter knife.

I begin by removing the rind on any melons and then my kids cut the melon into pieces. They cut the grapes in half and strawberries into bite sized pieces.

As your child gets more skilled, allow him to experience more challenges- cutting more difficult fruits until he masters them all! 

That’s it! If you want a little extra pizzazz, you can serve your fruit salad out of a hollowed out watermelon rind. My kids get excited about that.

7) Fruit Pizza

Image result for fruit pizza

If fruit salad is too boring for you, put all those great knife skills to use on a fruit pizza!

  • Teach your kids to use a knife, using the same techniques described above. 
  • Teach creativity and self-expression. 
  • Teach presentation. 
  • Expose kids to unique foods, like kiwi, that they might not try otherwise. 
  • Spread icing using a butter knife.

There are really yummy recipes out there for fruit pizza made entirely from scratch.

However, when I’m cooking with my kids, simple is better.

Fruit Pizza: 

Premade Sugar Cookie Dough

Store Bought Cream Cheese Icing

Fruit

Help the kids roll the dough out into a pizza shape. Bake the cookie according to the directions on the package.

Once the cookie is cool, top the cookie with store-bought cream cheese icing. The kids love to spread the icing over the pizza.

The children can help me cut soft fruits, such as strawberries or kiwi, to put on top of the icing. Let them get creative and make a beautiful design of fruit.

Some of my favorite toppings for fruit pizza include: kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, almonds, peaches, grapes, mandarin oranges, and banana.

8) Quesadillas

Quesadillas are my favorite meal to teach kids to use cooking alternatives, like a griddle or a microwave. Of course, it’s excellent practice to learn to use a classic stove top as well! 
BLACK+DECKER Family-Sized Electric Griddle with Warming Tray & Drip Tray, GD2051B

  • Multiple cooking methods- griddle, stove top, or microwave! I often have conversations with my kids like this:  
    • How are various cooking methods alike? 
    • How are they different? 
    • Which one do you like best and why? 
    • What different circumstances might change your cooking method? (Example: If I’m in a hurry, a microwave is a great option!) 
  • If I’m teaching a child to cook who doesn’t want to sit and focus for very long, quesadillas can be a better option than stir fry. 
    • Active children can be more likely to be burned if they are fidgeting or playing around when they are supposed to be cooking. My favorite thing about quesadillas is that you can cook them over a low heat, reducing the risk that your child might burn themselves.

Quesadillas are simple, quick, and easy- which allows the kids to focus on the new skill of using a burner or griddle rather than on the preparation.

Quesadillas: 

Tortilla

Cheese

Nonstick Spray

Any desired add ins (Meat, veggies, salsa, etc.)

I begin by spraying a frying pan with a nonstick spray.

Before I turn the burner on, I place the tortilla in the pan and add cheese on one half. Fold the tortilla over to cover the cheese.

Then, turn the burner on low. Allow your child to flip the quesadilla when the first side is golden brown.

He/she can practice watching the food to avoid burning it, flipping the quesadilla, and using the stove top safely.

9) Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

I use this recipe to teach kids how to use a hand mixer in the kitchen- a very useful tool for lots of recipes.

Click the image below!

Hamilton Beach 62682RZ Hand Mixer with Snap-On Case, White

Here’s what you need:

2- 8oz packages of Cream Cheese

1 cup Powdered Sugar

Any fruit to dip, cut into bite sized pieces

The child begins by beating the cream cheese with the hand mixer for 3-5 minutes. It takes a long time to mix the cream cheese until there are no more lumps (more practice for the child!). You want your cream cheese to be smooth and creamy.

Add in the powdered sugar. Use the hand mixer to mix thoroughly.

Dip a variety of fruits in the fruit dip, including apples, bananas, grapes, berries, etc.

This recipe teaches kids to use the hand mixer without making a mess. I suggest mixing the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl to catch some of the mess.

If the child holds the hand mixer at an angle rather than straight up and down, the mixer will spray bits of cream cheese. Since you must mix the cream cheese for several minutes, the child gets lots of practice.

Do you have any favorite recipes to cook with your kids? Share them in the comments below so that we can all enjoy them!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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DIY In-Home Mother Daughter Spa Day!

DIY In-Home Mom and Daughter Spa Day!

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Photo by Adrian Motroc on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated: 2/6/2019

There’s nothing better than a day at the spa!

And it’s even more fun to take your daughter along. It’s a great place to get to know each other better, to relax together, and to feel spoiled together.

But, it can be SOOO expensive!

Massages, manicures, pedicures, facials…. The $$$ adds up fast. It’s just difficult to justify spending the money for a professional spa day.

Solution??? I created my own spa day, right in my home- which was a lot of fun and saved a lot of cash! We invited some friends and neighbors and had a great time.

This is a great activity for a girls’ day in, birthdays, before a big event like prom, for a sleepover, or just for fun!

This activity is a people-pleaser, from 5 year-olds, to teens, to adults! 

And you can make it custom to fit your own needs…. AND your own BUDGET! Yes please!

Here are my tips for a great spa day at home with your girls!

1) Relaxing Ambiance

The first trick is to make your home feel like a getaway.

If it still feels like your house, it just isn’t a special day.

Find small things to change that contribute to the overall atmosphere. We’re going for relaxing, zen, peaceful, paradisaical, fun, cozy. 

Here’s a few steps to create a spa mood:

  • Turn off lights.
  • Open windows for natural light and a light breeze.
  • Light candles… Or at least use tea lights.

KitchenGynti Scented Candles Gift Set – Lavender, Rose, Tea Tree and Peppermint, Candle Soy Wax for Stress Relief and Aromatherapy, Candles – 4 Pack

AIMASI Scented Candles Jasmine,Lotus,Lilac Blossoms & White Gardenia,Natural Soy Wax Portable Travel Tin Candle,Set Gift of 4

Yankee Candle Votives – Grab Bag of 10 Assorted Yankee Candle Votive Candles – Random Mixed Scents

Stonebriar Long Burning Tealight Candles, 6 to 7 Hour Extended Burn Time, Bulk 200-Pack

  • Remove all unnecessary items from the room for an empty, uncluttered, free feel.
  • Turn on relaxing music or nature sounds.
  • Rearrange the couches to create a large open space.
  • Bring in comfortable arm chairs (the kind that belong on a patio or pool area) to recline in.
  • Bring in pillows, towels, blankets, and anything else we could think of to make ourselves more comfortable.
  • Prepare treats and drinks beforehand and set them out on a coffee table between us to enjoy at our leisure.
    • We especially enjoyed snacks that we could eat easily without messing up our manicures, like crackers with cheese, fruit and dip, or pinwheels.
  • Turn on the Scentsy for a fresh new smell. (Click the image below!)

Candle Warmers Etc. Midsize Illumination Fragrance Warmer, Hobnail

Candle Warmers Etc. Illumination Fragrance Warmer, Peppercorn

VP Home Ceramic Fragrance Warmer (Live Love Laugh)

Febreze Wax Melts Air Freshener Variety Pack, Fresh-Pressed Apple, Hawaiian Aloha, Moonlight Breeze and Gain Original Scents (4 pack, 6 count each)

Yankee Candle Wax Tarts – Grab Bag of 10 Assorted Yankee Candle Wax Melts – Random Mixed Scents with BONUS yellow organza bag

Hosley Set of 6 Assorted Wax Cubes/Melts/Tarts – 2.5 oz Each. Apple Cinnamon, Caribbean Breeze, Eucalyptus Mint, Lavender Fields, Rustic Sandalwood, Sweet Pea Jasmine. Ideal Gift O2

woman sleeping with pink flowers

2) Warm Hand Towels and/or Wash Cloths in a Crock Pot

I thought this would just be a small touch, but it really made a difference in our spa day. The girls specifically mentioned several times that this little detail brought our spa day to life! 

We warmed several hand towels:

  • Some for removing facials,
  • Some for drying our feet after the foot bath,
  • Some for removing the massage oil from our hands after giving massages,
  • Some to put under their hands and feet while they painted each other’s nails to avoid any messes.
    • (For this step, we reused hand towels from the foot bath because we did not have enough for each girl. They didn’t mind at all!)

(Click the image below!)
AmazonBasics Cotton Hand Towel – 12-Pack, White

AmazonBasics Cotton Washcloths, 24 – Pack, White

Cotton Craft – 14 Pack Multi Color Hand Towels – 100% Ringspun Cotton – 16×28 – Light Weight 450 Grams – Quick Drying and Highly Absorbent – Colors – Ivory, Light Blue, White, Linen, Mercury, Charcoal

Chakir Turkish Linens Turkish Cotton Luxury Hotel & Spa Bath Towel, Hand Towel – Set of 6, Gray

This step is so easy to do! And it really added to the pampered feeling that is vital to any spa day! Just roll up dry, clean hand towels and organize them in the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on low and wait! Done! 

We found that there were too many girls to fit all the hand towels in the crock pot at once, so we refilled the crock pot every time we used the towels. That way, we never ran out of warm, cozy hand towels and we never had to wait for them to be warm!

Each time we needed a hand towel, they were warm and cozy.

It felt luxurious, even though it was a super easy thing to do!

selective focus photography of green succulent plant

3) Homemade Facials

I recommend beginning your spa day with a facial. This is a nice calming activity to begin with, it really sets the tone for the rest of your spa day, and you can let your facial set while you get a massage or soak your feet in a foot bath!

Facials are easy and quick to put together. If you want, you can make the facial beforehand. This will prevent you from having a noisy blender in the middle of your spa day.

Or, if your daughter and girlfriends would really enjoy helping you make the facial, you can make it together during the spa day.

The most exciting thing about the facial is that you can tailor them to your individual needs and preferences! After all, spa day is all about YOU!

Each ingredient adds something to your facial, so just pick which things you would like to add. Here are some common ingredients to choose from.

  • Cucumber: Cooling, healing, soothing
  • Avocado: Vitamins, moisturizer
  • Honey: Tightens skin, toning, hydrating, heals acne
  • Yogurt: Exfoliating, softens skin
  • Banana: Moisturizer, softens skin
  • Vinegar: Tones skin, cleanser
  • Oatmeal: Soothing, softens skin
  • Mayonnaise: Smooth skin, cleanser
  • Mustard: Stimulates skin (Test on a small area first in case you have a negative reaction)
  • Lemon: Exfoliating, moisturizing
  • Egg Whites: Cures oily skin
  • Powdered Milk: Exfoliating, clearer skin

Whole Milk Powder (11 Oz): Non-GMO, Hormone Free USA Produced (2.5 lb Value size Also Available)

  • Coconut Oil: Heals acne, soothe inflammation, healing
  • Applesauce: Exfoliates, soothing
  • Almond Oil: Hydrating, rejuvenating
  • Charcoal Powder (Click the image below!): Cleansing, clearer skin

Organic Charcoal Powder – The Only USDA Certified Organic. Food Grade Powder, Non-GMO, Vegan, No Fillers 100% Pure Use for teeth Whitening Facial Masks Detoxing

Viva Doria Virgin Activated Charcoal Powder – Food Grade (1.2 Oz Glass Jar)

If you prefer to follow a recipe, click the image below!
Homemade Beauty Products : Over 50 All Natural Recipes For Face Masks, Facial Cleansers & Face Creams & Homemade Foot Spa : 48 All Natural Foot Soak, Foot … Balms (BOX SET 4) (All Natural Box Set)

Homemade Simple all Natural Scrubs and Masks: Make Healthy, Quick and Easy Recipes for Face and Body Exfoliating Scrubs with Nourishing Facial Masks for Different Skin Types

OR

Check out this awesome post by Elle: 7 Homemade Face Mask Recipes.

The girls enjoyed lounging in our comfortable reclining chairs while our facials had time to set. As we sat, we talked and laughed.

It was amazing to hear and see my daughter really be herself with all her friends around. I don’t get to see that side of her very often, so I soaked it up as much as I could! 

Don’t forget to bring extra hair ties to keep your hair out of your facial.

As I mentioned before, we had a nice warm hand towels all ready to go to remove the facial. Don’t forget to put the next set of hand towels in the crock pot at this time so that they will be toasty by the time your foot bath is done!

4) Foot Bath

person's feet with flowers

As our facials set, we enjoyed our foot bath.

Our foot bath had warm water, a few drops of essential oils for delicious and calming smell, and flower pedals. The flower pedals added a lot of fun and fancy to our day!

This would also be a lot of fun with a bath bomb, food coloring, or bubble bath (Click the image below)!

Artizen Aromatherapy Top 14 Essential Oil Set (100% PURE & NATURAL) Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils – All of Our Most Popular Scents and Best Essential Oil Blends

Essential Oil Set 14-5 ml Therapeutic Grade 100% Pure Frankincense, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Clove, Spearmint, Lemongrass, Cinnamon

Natrogix Bliss Essential Oils – Top 9 Therapeutic Grade 100% Pure Essential Oil Set (Tea Tree, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lemongrass, Lemon, Rosemary, Orange, Peppermint) w/Free E-Book

LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs Gift Set 12 USA made Fizzies, Shea & Coco Butter Dry Skin Moisturize, Perfect for Bubble & Spa Bath. Handmade Birthday Mothers day Gifts idea For Her/Him, wife, girlfriend

Bath Bombs Gift Set Anjou Colorless 6 x 3.5 oz lush Fizzies Spa Kit, Perfect for Bubble Bath, Moisturizing with Organic & All Natural Essential Oils, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Perfect Mother’s Day Gift

Honest Calming Lavender Hypoallergenic Bubble Bath With Naturally Derived Botanicals, Dreamy Lavender, 12 Fluid Ounce

Alaffia – Everyday Shea Bubble Bath, Babies and Kids, Gentle Support to Clean, Moisturize, and Calm with Shea Butter, Lemon Extract, and Lavender Oil, Fair Trade, Lemon Lavender, 32 Ounces (FFP)

Spice Supreme Assorted Food Colors Red Blue Green Yellow 1.2 Oz

obmwang 2000 PCS Dark Silk Rose Petals Wedding Flower Decoration Artificial Red Rose Flower Petals for Wedding Party Favors Decoration and Vase Home Decor Wedding Bridal Decoration. Red

Pack of 1000 Silk Rose Petals, Artificial Flowers for Decoration Wedding Party (Royal Blue)

By the time the water cooled down, our feet were nice and clean (convenient for the upcoming massages and pedicures!), they were soft, and they smelled yummy!

I only wished the water would say warm longer…

If I did this activity again, I would fill my foot bath about halfway full the first time. That would leave room to pour in more hot water from the tap as soon as the water cooled down. 

It’s just such a zen, peaceful activity! I needed more!

But at least I got to dry my feet using a luxurious, warm hand towel! Again- don’t forget to replace the hand towels in the crock pot so that they will be nice and warm when you need to clean up after massages!

5) Massages

person holding amber glass bottle

Next, we all took turns massaging each other’s hands and feet (I only agreed to this because the girls’ feet were freshly cleaned in the foot bath).

The girls used pillows, blankets, towels, chairs, etc. to make themselves comfortable for their massages.

The girls loved getting to play the “masseuse” as well as receiving massage.

There was no formal training or research for this part. If you want to learn a new skill, it could be fun to print instructions on how to give massages properly.

Here’s a great resource from lifehacker.com: How Do I Give Better Massages? 

I enjoyed the pressure-free approach. We weren’t worried about using perfect technique or following any sort of structure. That allowed us to relax and enjoy each other’s company more. This was the way to go for our group of girls.

The girls especially enjoyed having fancy massage oil to use (this wasn’t really fancy, just a cheap version). We put out three options of lotions and oils for the girls to choose from. Each had its own scent and texture that made massages even more exciting!

Click the image below!
Relax Therapeutic Massage Lotion – All Natural Enriched with Lavender & Peppermint Essential Oils Perfect for Massage Therapy – Massage Cream for Full Body Massage – Brookethorne Naturals 8.5oz

Relief Arnica Cream – Enriched with Lemongrass, Eucalyptus & Rosemary Essential Oils – All Natural Massage Lotion for Sore Muscles & Stiffness. Perfect for Massage Therapy by Brookethorne Naturals

Foster(10) Lavender Mojito Massage Lotion – Made with Argan Oil, Arnica Extract, Silk Amino Acids, Not Tested on Animals, Paraben Free, Dye Free, All Scents From Essential Oils

Nooky Orange Blossom Massage Oil. With Jojoba & Essential Oils. For Massaging 16oz

Relax Therapeutic Body Massage Oil – With Best Essential Oils for Sore Muscles & Stiffness – Lavender, Peppermint & Marjoram – All Natural – With Sweet Almond, Grapeseed & Jojoba Oil 8.5oz

The last step is the manicure and pedicure!

person doing manicure

I absolutely think this step should be saved for last. All the other activities could ruin your nails, especially if you have an energetic bunch of girls!

We had a whole selection of nail polish to choose from (click the image below). We had all the various colors displayed on a Lazy Susan so that the girls could pick and choose.

48 Pcs Trendy Nail Polish Nail Lacquers Combo Set + Free 5 Nail Filers

KLEANCOLOR NEON COLORS 12 FULL COLLETION SET NAIL POLISH LACQUER

Kleancolor Nail Polish – Awesome Metallic Full Size Lacquer (Set of 12 Pieces)

Sinful Colors 10-piece Surprise Nail Polish Set

Most of the girls chose multiple colors. They loved coming up with patterns or details for their nails! 

Next time I do this activity, I would love to have nail stickers or other accents to add a little more pizzazz to the mani/pedi! 

The hardest part was getting the girls to sit still long enough for their nails to dry. We ended up turning on a pre-teen chick flick for them to keep them still.

The girls brought their own flip flops to wear while their nail polish dried. Flip flops would also be a cute party favor if desired. You can also try disposable flip flops or flip flop accessories to make your party extra exciting! (Click the image below).

JOVANA 24 Pair Disposable Foam Pedicure Slippers Multi Color Flip Flop Salon Nail Spa

Teacher Created Resources 5353 Flip Flop Accents

L.A. Beauty Womens Flip Flop with Glitter Straps and Comportable Footbed, Cool Looking Style-Black_9

All in all, each girl had an amazing time pampering themselves!!

They also enjoyed getting to pamper each other by helping apply each other’s facials, giving massages, and painting each other’s nails. One girl said that this is her new target career for when she grows up!

Spa day is a great mother-daughter activity, a great birthday party, and a great girls’ day in.

If you have any other ideas for how to have a fantastic spa day with your girls, comment them below!

stack rock on seashore

Here’s a list of supplies for you to choose from. The list is separated by each activity we included in our spa day. Remember- you don’t need everything. Just pick and choose!

Supplies Needed:

Ambiance:

  • Candles, matches
  • Scentsy
  • Towels
  • Hand Towels (3-4 per person, if desired)
  • Crock Pot (to warm hand towels)
  • Relaxing Music
  • Comfortable Chairs
  • Pillows, blankets, etc.
  • Treats and Drinks

Facial:

  • Hair Ties
  • Blender, spoon to mix
  • Facial Ingredients, which could include any of the following:
    • Cucumber
    • Avocado
    • Honey
    • Yogurt
    • Banana
    • Vinegar
    • Yogurt
    • Mayonnaise
    • Mustard
    • Lemon
    • Egg Whites
    • Powdered Milk
    • Coconut Oil
    • Applesauce
    • Almond Oil
    • Charcoal Powder

Foot Bath:

  • Bins to hold water (no taller than around 6 inches)
  • Warm Water
  • Any of the Following:
    • Essential Oils
    • Bath Bomb
    • Flower Petals
    • Bubble Bath
    • Food Coloring

Massages:

  • Various oils or lotions
  • If desired, printed directions on how to massage
  • Towels, chairs, pillows, blankets, etc. to make yourself comfortable

Mani/Pedi:

  • Various colors of nail polish
  • Lazy Susan to display nail polish (Click the image below!)

mDesign Lazy Susan Turntable Food Storage Container for Cabinets, Pantry, Refrigerator, Countertops, BPA Free – Spinning Organizer for Spices, Condiments, Baking Supplies – 9″ Round, Pack of 2, Clear

Copco 2555-0190 Non-Skid Pantry Cabinet Lazy Susan Turntable, 12-Inch, White/Gray

  • If desired, hand towels to limit the mess
  • If desired, nail files, nail clippers, or other nail tools
  • Toe Spacers
  • If desired, flip flops to wear while toenails dry
  • Your favorite movie to watch while nails dry

Have a great time with your daughters, and make sure you get to know their friends as well! Friends say a lot about who your child is and who they are becoming.

Make it a cheap and rewarding mother-daughter day by involving your child in the planning. Have fun!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

P.S. Need more ideas of fun activities to do with your kids? Try some of these indoor activities!

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Kids in the Kitchen- The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Your Kids

Kids In the Kitchen- The ULTIMATE Guide for Cooking with Your Kids

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Updated- 2/1/2019

 

I am a firm believer in cooking with your kids.

I find that it’s great parent-child quality time, it builds life skills that they will need as adults, and it is just plain fun! My kids remember the times we have spent in the kitchen together. My nieces and nephews talk about when we made brownies or cookies or homemade ice cream.

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

And cooking is something that you have to do every day anyways! It feels great to check something off of the to do list and still have quality time with your kids.

That being said, it takes some patience and practice to cook with kids around.

Here’s my top suggestions for having kids in the kitchen- without going crazy! Also read up on our favorite things to cook together!

1) Control the Chaos
blue jeans

The worst thing about cooking with kids is the mess. It is simply uncontrollable. If I’m going to allow my kids to help me cook, I’ve got to accept the fact that my kitchen is going to be messy.

That being said- I don’t have to let it turn into a disaster area.

How can we control the chaos?

Make it clear to the kids that cleaning is part of cooking. If they want to enjoy the fun, they’ve got to help with the cleanup as well. Kind of a Henny Penny lesson.

I also make sure that everyone helps clean up along the way in simple ways rather than cleaning up a big mess later. When I wait until the end, my kids are overwhelmed at the size and magnitude of the mess. There are more tantrums, more refusal, more arguing, and less work getting done.

It kind of ruins the fun of cooking.

But, if I make sure the cleanup is manageable for each child by giving them small and simple tasks along the way, they don’t seem to mind. Especially once they are in the habit of helping. Here’s some specific ideas:

  • Do you have a young child who wants to help but is too little for a lot of the actual cooking?? Ask her to get ingredients out and put them away again!
  • Take turns wiping the counter off (this happens many, many times!).
  • Throw away food packaging, egg shells, etc. immediately after use.
  • Put all dirty dishes straight into the sink or dishwasher.

In the end, I only have two jobs- sweep the floor and start the dishwasher. That’s it!

If I had older kids, I would probably get their help on those two things as well. My younger children enjoy using their child-sized brooms and mops to join mom in this part of the clean up (click the image below!).

Melissa & Doug 8600, Letss Play House! Dust! Sweep! Mop! Pretend Play Set, 6-Piece, Kid-Sized Housekeeping Broom, Mop, Duster, Multicolor, Standard

With a manageable mess, everyone (including me!) can enjoy the fun of cooking together.

Need some extra energy before cooking with your kids? Read here for some great energy boosting ideas! 

2) Let it Go

This step describes my mental state during cooking. The technical French phrase is “Mise en place”- which literally translated means “Everything in its place.”

avocado, tomatoes, eggs, mushrooms, spring onions, and leaves

Professional chefs use this term to describe both the physical state of the kitchen being clean and orderly as well as a mental state that the chef is in- a state of calm, control, and confidence. You reach this state by being prepared before you begin cooking.

When we apply the term “Mise en place” to cooking with kids, we have a whole new meaning.

For me, being prepared mentally before I begin cooking with my little ones makes all the difference in my level of patience throughout the cooking process.

If I expect a certain level of participation from my kids (but I don’t get it) or a certain result in what we are cooking (but I don’t get it) or active listening and responding from my kids (but I don’t get it)… I lose my patience and the experience is no fun for anyone.

(For some tips on communicating more effectively with your kids when things go wrong, read this post!)

Before I start, I remind myself that this will not go my way.

Period.

It just doesn’t happen.

  • Someone is going to get egg shells in the batter.
  • Someone is going to spill the milk.
  • Someone is going to have a different opinion on how to follow the recipe.

I can emotionally handle all of these things if I have prepared for these things beforehand.

My husband calls this my “thick skin”. If he reminds me before I do anything difficult to “put on thick skin”, I typically react better because I was prepared for it. If I go in with set expectations, I am easily frustrated when those expectations aren’t met.

So be ready for detours and variations in your plan.

assorted-color signage lot on road during daytime

3) Technique

And now, down to the nitty gritty! Here are my top techniques for cooking with kids. These limit the mess, waste of food, and frustration for everyone.

  • Be safe. Here’s how: 
    • Mom is in charge of using knives until children are older. When kids are old enough to use the knives, mom supervises.
    • Mom is in charge of any heat (oven, stove top, toaster, griddle, grill, etc.) until the kids are older. When they are old enough to try using these things, mom supervises.
    • Give warnings to each other before you walk behind another person. This keeps us from accidentally spilling or hurting each other with sharp objects or hot objects.
    • Mom uses the can opener until kids are older.
    • Kids are taught why each of these kitchen objects are not safe. They learn that although these things could hurt them, we can stay safe by using them properly. Kids are taught to use each object properly at an appropriate age.
  • Be healthy. Here’s how: 
    • Wash hands before and during cooking. Be especially careful to wash hands after handling raw meat.

person washing hands over sink

    • Avoid “cross contamination”. Be aware of what surfaces or utensils have touched raw meat and do not allow those things to touch other foods.
    • Be aware of how long cold foods have been left out of the fridge. Cold foods should not sit out on the counter for an extended period of time.
    • Heat foods thoroughly to avoid food borne illness.
    • Teach children about health hazards in the kitchen and how to be healthy in your cooking.
  • Break eggs into separate bowl rather than breaking eggs directly into the food you are cooking. If a child accidentally gets egg shells in the separate bowl, they are easy to scoop out with a spoon. If the child breaks the egg shells directly into the food you are cooking, they can get lost in the food.
  • Measure out things beforehand. The parent can be in charge of measuring each ingredient. Then the child can pour the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. This ensures that your food matches the recipe and will turn out great!
  • Pour liquids into a small cup or a liquid measuring cup. Avoid using a dry measuring cup for liquids as they are easy for a child to spill.

  • In all cooking skills, slowly increase child’s independence. Some things will be off limits at first, such as cutting food with a knife. Slowly teach your child how to use the knife safely. Start by allowing the child to watch you use the knife as you describe how you are being safe. Then, both the child and the parent hold the knife together to practice using a knife. Slowly help the child less and less until the child can cut food on his own under your supervision. Eventually, the child will be fully independent in using a knife. Make sure to be conscious of the child’s age and emotional standing when you consider teaching this skill.
  • Let kids choose foods to cook. This is a great way to get kids to try new foods. They are much more excited about things when they get to choose them and help make them. Take your child to the store and include him or her in the shopping, meal planning, cooking, and serving of the meal.
  • Give yourself extra time so that you can go slow. This avoids any extra headaches and allows children to learn at their own pace.

4) Teaching Moment

Never complete a task with your child without explaining what you are doing and why. 

Cooking is an important life skill that every person will use. When your child goes to college or moves into their first apartment, they will need to know how to prepare meals for themselves.

Every time you allow your child to participate in the kitchen, they are learning bits of new information that will benefit them later on in life. You can exponentially grow their learning by describing to your child what you are doing. Explain why. Explain how.

man holding incandescent bulb

Among the important skills they will learn are:

  • kitchen safety,
  • avoiding illness,
  • how to eat healthy,
  • how to use various kitchen appliances and utensils,
  • how to read and follow a recipe,
  • how to measure ingredients,
  • how to supplement ingredients when needed,
  • how to make basic staple food items,
  • And much more!

Don’t assume that your child will get all that information just from watching you.

Your words, example, and explanations increase their learning. Allowing the child to try what they have learned for themselves solidifies the knowledge in their minds, making it easier to recall down the road. Be ready to help when needed and correct mistakes in a kind way.

Not sure what to cook? Read more about child-friendly recipes or click the image below for a great child-centered cookbook!

Better Homes and Gardens New Junior Cook Book (Better Homes and Gardens Cooking)

Cooking with your kids in an intentional way to prepare your child for an independent life.

Have fun along the way. Enjoy the wonder and excitement that young children have by teaching them a new skill. They won’t be this small for long!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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