USA: Cooking with Kids

USA: Cooking with Kids

cooking with kidsCooking with kids is one of my favorite activities. I have to admit, I don’t do it often enough. Mostly because of the limited space in our kitchen where two is a crowd.

My parents would let us kids into the kitchen as often as they could. We were cooking family dinners at very young ages. I remember having to do all the peeling while my older siblings were taking care of the more complex things around the kitchen. My sister was the baker. As a young girl she was baking elaborate cakes, and to these days, she impresses people with her kitchen skills.

Due to both of my kids being burned in the past (just a little, but enough for them to remember), they are pretty standoffish to the idea of being too close to a hot stove. In this situation, making them help me while I bake is more enjoyable.

Also, our older daughter is very picky and I’m hoping that letting her be involved in the kitchen will help her become more open to foods. She loves sweets, of course, so I love baking with her. By doing it, I hope, being in the kitchen will be associated with something positive for her.

Both of the kids love our family cooking project: “quest for the best cinnamon rolls“. I feel like this project has made them, especially the picky one, very excited about being in the kitchen.

We started it 3 months ago, and so far we’ve tried 3 recipes. In the meantime we have also baked our regular cinnamon rolls several times.

Cooking with kids is fun and messy, and it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with them.   I’m always trying to sneak a little more of the good stuff into our recipes, and  with baking, it seems like hiding the nutrients into the food is less of a hassle then fighting over eating a piece of a carrot. So, why not?

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Our last recipe wasn’t really a cinnamon rolls recipe, but it was close enough for me to add it to our project. I got it from one of my clients, who saw me doing this project and she shared the link to this “Whole grain cinnamon swirl bread“.

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I wanted to try it because of the of possibility of sneaking quinoa into the recipe as well as all kinds of different goodies.

Creating the whole-grain mix was a great thing to learn about, and I actually started using it in all kinds of recipes. My kids don’t even know they eat quinoa anymore. I’m loving it.

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If you struggle with a picky eater, finding things in the kitchen that make them excited about food is really a great way to get around it. It makes them focus on the positive things in food, not the bad things.

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With this project we are doing, I still let them be picky, and I find it interesting to see that our older daughter is less picky with eating what we bake than the younger one, who normally is very open to trying new things, and eating in general. Every time we bake new thing, the kids can express their thoughts about the dish. We talk about what they don’t like in it. And after that we get excited about the next recipe we will try.

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How about you? Do you have any picky eaters in your home? Any interesting family projects going on? Please comment below to share!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Ewa Samples (Mom Photographer).  Ewa can be found sharing her pictures over at Ewa Samples Photography. She is also on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo credits to the author.

Ewa Samples

Ewa was born, and raised in Poland. She graduated University with a master's degree in Mass-Media Education. This daring mom hitchhiked from Berlin, Germany through Switzerland and France to Barcelona, Spain and back again! She left Poland to become an Au Pair in California and looked after twins of gay parents for almost 2 years. There, she met her future husband through Couch Surfing, an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals. Today she enjoys her life one picture at a time. She runs a photography business in sunny California and document her daughters life one picture at a time. You can find this artistic mom on her blog, Ewa Samples Photography, on Twitter @EwaSamples or on Facebook!

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USA: Holiday Fails

USA: Holiday Fails

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It’s the holiday season, a time of year when we flood social media with our best stories and photos while searching online for ideas to make the little touches around our home that much more memorable. We most often see people in heartwarming moments, because that is what we choose to share. But as we know, life is not only a collection of harmonious celebrations. Behind lovely family photos are often stories of angst. With each Pinterest success there are many hidden disasters.

Today, rather than dazzle you with my greatness, I am choosing to share some of my best holiday fails. My history with yuletide missteps extends back to my childhood when I sang “these eggshells are stale” at the top of my lungs at Mass because that was what I thought was being sung instead of “in excelsis deo.” Since then I have taken my share of festive stumbles, some figuratively (exploding cornbread) and some literally (down the steps with a cup of coffee and presents in hand). For the sake of brevity, I will share just a few. (more…)

Tara B. (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Blog!

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JAPAN: Daily Duties

JAPAN: Daily Duties

daily dutiesI start my morning here in Japan the same way every day: by cleaning out the drain trap.

Not very pretty, I suppose, but I’ve learned the hard way that it needs to be done frequently and well. The drain traps here in Japan are metal mesh to prevent food from going down the drain. They get gross very quickly.

I’m pretty sure I started out my days when I lived in the US with a cup of coffee, which seems quite glamorous by comparison!

In spite of our gains in education or employment opportunities over the last century, much of our time as women gets taken up by mundane household tasks like this. Women all around the world are doing the same kind of things: laundry, food preparation, cleaning, child care, though in very different ways.

It makes me curious. How much of your time gets spent on “daily chores?” What kinds of things do you need to do every day? Do you do them alone, or do you have help?

Perhaps it is a boring topic, but for comparison I thought I would share a little bit of what housework is like here in Japan.

Laundry gets done daily in most families. We have washing machines, but most people don’t have dryers. In a country with cold winters, humid summers, and a rainy season, keeping up with the laundry feels like a daily battle! When the weather is not cooperative, laundry gets hung from curtain rails or any other overhang that can be found indoors. We have to bob and weave our way around the house. Imagine that Catherine Zeta Jones movie, but with laundry instead of lasers.

I do the shopping most days as well. This is quite common here in the greater Tokyo area, where storage space is limited and many people do not have cars to allow buying in bulk. Milk is sold by the liter; laundry detergent in 500ml bottles. The biggest shopping challenge is buying rice, which comes in 5 or 10kg bags.

I need to dust and vacuum every day. This is much more often than we did in the US growing up. I’m not sure why Japan is so dusty. Could it be the tatami floors? The single pane windows? The small living space? And more important than why, how can I make this dust accumulation stop?

Japanese cuisine seems to be gaining in popularity around the world. Many Japanese people eat a full meal in the morning (though this is slowly changing,) as well as at lunch and dinner. Japanese bento are also getting a lot of attention on the Internet for being nutritious as well as visually appealing. Overwhelmingly, the cooking is done by women. (Personally, since my children’s lunch is provided by the school, most days I cook twice.)

Like most families here, we have a gas stove-top, a rice cooker, and a microwave combined with an electric oven for cooking. My mother-in-law has a separate gas burner that can be placed on the table for doing things like sukiyaki or okonomiyaki, foods that are consumed as soon as they are cooked by the family from the same dish. My children are still a bit too small for me to attempt this at home.

I think many of us around the world are doing these same things, but the nitty-gritty of how we get it done and how often we do it are different. I can’t help but wonder what housework says about the values of the culture.

In the US, for example, many families take pride in a well-decorated home. In Japan that is much less important. (Perhaps because many women are spending all that time dusting and dodging laundry….)

What kinds of things are included in your daily duties? How do you feel about doing them?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in Japan and mother of two, Melanie Oda.

The image used in this post is attributed to the author.

Melanie Oda (Japan)

If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety. She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother. You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Black Juice, Blonde Bread & Other Phenomena

SOUTH AFRICA: Black Juice, Blonde Bread & Other Phenomena

Hartenbos parkrun! 005 (1)I’ve always enjoyed eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis.  Taking good care of the one and only body I’ve been entrusted with just feels good, and being able to run around and have fun with my family feels even better. During my first pregnancy, many moms warned me that my kids would never eat the healthy food that I keep in my house.  Viennas, biscuits [cookies] and fish fingers would soon become our new household staples. “It’s all they’ll eat,” they said.  I just shrugged, smiled, and refused to budge.  How on earth have we come to believe that nutritious, delicious foods are somehow inferior to, or less tasty than, overly-processed, unhealthy products?

And since when are kids the dictators?

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Karien Potgieter

Karien Potgieter is a full-time working mom of two toddlers. She has a master’s degree in ecology and works in the conservation sector in beautiful South Africa. Her other big passion, apart from her family and caring for the environment, is running. To date she’s participated in races on three continents and in six countries and she dreams of travelling to and running in many, many more. You can follow her and her family’s running adventures on her blog, Running the Race (http://www.runningtherace.co.za).

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TEXAS, USA: The Age Old Question

TEXAS, USA: The Age Old Question

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Last week as I was driving my children to school, my son asked me out of the blue “Mom, what do you do all day when we are at school?” My daughter chimed in with,” Yeah…what DO you do all day?” (more…)

Meredith (USA)

Meredith finds it difficult to tell anyone where she is from exactly! She grew up in several states, but mainly Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana which is also where she met her husband. She taught kindergarten for seven years before she adopted her son from Guatemala and then gave birth to her daughter two years leter. She moved to Lagos, Nigeria with her husband and two children in July 2009 for her husband's work. She and her family moved back to the U.S.this summer(August 2012) and are adjusting to life back in the U.S. You can read more about her life in Lagos and her adjustment to being back on her blog: We Found Happiness.

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MEXICO: Life Lessons with Mexico Mom

MEXICO: Life Lessons with Mexico Mom

Ernspiker fam-102RSAs a wife of one and a mom of four, it seems like I am always learning and discovering! I know I am not alone. Let’s just admit it: The world is a big place, life is a lesson, and children can be the best teachers.  Normally my series, Life Lessons with Mexico Mom,  is hosted on Los Gringos Locos, but today I am posting here on World Moms Blog.

Here are my insights and experiences as a Mexico Mom for this week:

Life Lesson 25: The city of Morelia, Mexico may shut off your water at any time without given notice. If this happens make sure your water tank is full! We have to press a  switch to fill our water tank every other day or so. If we forget, we are without water for a few minutes. If the city turns off the water, we may be without water for a day. Then our wonderful landlord brings us a huge barrel of water for the toilets and the dishes. Yea!

Life Lesson 26: Driving through Morelia you could very well see a naked woman in the middle of the street. Unfortunately there is not much government help for the poor and mentally ill in our city. This part is actually very sad. My husband saw this poor lady, stark naked, with a pile of clothes in front of her. Chances are she was homeless and mentally ill. Cars were slowing down and people were staring. Brad was flabbergasted. There is not much he could have done for her. She would probably have been scared of my large, white husband.

Life Lesson 27: It is not necessary to have a stove and oven. Since we moved into our new house a month ago I have been without this appliance. I miss it dearly and hope to purchase one very soon. But on the upside, we have discovered just how much you can cook on a grill. Banana bread, pancakes, casseroles, scrambled eggs, quesadillas, pulled pork, and lots more! Brad has become a professional grill chef. Cooking is not my forte, so I am loving it!

What life lesson did you learn this past week? Please share it with us below. We want to hear your thoughts from around the world!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tina Marie Ernspiker.  Tina can be found blogging over at Los Gringos Locos.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.  

Photo credit to A. Hurst Photography

Tina Marie Ernspiker

Tina lives abroad in Mexico with her husband and four children. She is active with homeschool, travel, and her Bible ministry. Tina loves photography and writing thus she blogs. Come join her adventures!

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