Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to get help with meals

Ship Full O'Pirates is stacking up advice, go take a look!
My kiddos have been helping in the kitchen since they were itty-bitty. They all love to cook and fight over it! This is one thing that helps me. It's actually a tiny excerpt from the forthcoming Large Family Logistics book (we're still working on editing).

Assign a day of the week to each child. The "special" child for the day gets extra privileges and is also Mama's right hand in the kitchen. By assigning each child a day in the kitchen they learn how to cook! My children love to cook and try to cook on days that aren’t “their day” and this often turns into a squabble! They often get excited about a recipe and are told to save it for their special day. Ingredients that they need are added to the grocery list.

The child assigned to the day is required to be in the kitchen during meal preparation. Involve the child in the recipe making and if they can, let them do it alone! Start this when they are little and by the time they are 8, 10, and definitely by age 12 they will be able to make meals alone!

Show no fear! When they want to make cream puffs and you think the recipe sounds too complicated, let them do it! Tell them to follow the directions of their recipes exactly. I tend to be a “dump cook” which is good and bad. The good is that a dump cook can make something out of nothing and no recipe. The bad is that a dump cook rewrites the directions to a recipe and can end up wrecking it. I have learned, the hard way, that when the kids want to make something that requires exaction—baked goods—and they have a reliable recipe, that I should get out of the way! If they see a recipe made on a TV cooking show, let them get the recipe off the internet and make it. Help them out with collecting the ingredients and being their dishwasher and the supporting role in the production. Then sit down and enjoy the food!


  1. Hi Kim, thanks for linking. What a great article! I'm gonna get these smaller Pirates into the galley more, and try out your advice. Any help in the kitchen is always appreciated.

  2. Do you have a method for keeping this frugal? We have limited means and I can't imagine having my children picking recipes for specialty baked goods...

  3. Hi Brandy,

    Start with looking at the ingredients of the recipe and the cost. Cream Puffs sound fancy but in reality there isn't much to them but flour, eggs, and milk in different configurations. Don't start feeling defeated. : ) They don't always choose fancy food. A lot of times the kids choose a "comfort food" or a long-time favorite.

    If they want to make something with an exotic ingredient, think of compatible substitutions that are available and affordable.
    Another way is for you to pre-choose a variety of recipes that you can afford and letting the child choose what to make.

    Stay tuned, I'll write more about eating afford-ably.


  4. Kim, I've been reading your blogs for a long time, and I really appreciate your contributions to homeschooling & homemaking lore! Therefore, I am sending you the Uber Amazing Blog Award! Details here: http://guiltfreehomeschooling.org/blog/2008/11/uber-amazing-blog-award.html

  5. How young are they when you give them their own day? Also did you do this when they where all little? I have five kids six and under... When I let one in, suddenly all my counter space is blocked by chairs. My kids tent to herd together...is ths just an age thing or a quirk of our own?

  6. Hi Kim,
    Just checking in to see what you're up to and very glad to see you're posting a bit more now that the baby is older.

    I hadn't seen Ship full o pirates before so I'm glad you are doing her challenge and glad she is doing it also. Looks to be full of thoughts I can use.

    Is there anyway to see your beyond survival series from the old blog? I thought it was excellent and was looking to pass it along to a friend who just had their third baby in less than two and a half years. I see the links to it, but get an error message (not found) when I click on it.

    Thanks so much!


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