Friday Tips: Kiddos in the Kitchen

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Cornflakes with blueberries and soymilk for mom and smoothies and cereal with soymilk and blueberries for dad and LP.  Mom also followed with her soy chai on her last day of PD!
  • Lunch: Leftovers for all – lentil salad and pasta with garlic scape pesto for mom and curried rice for LP and dad.  Mom also munched on almonds, peanuts and chocolate chips: her own little “trail mix”
  • LP and mom shared lots of pita chips and hummus for a yummy snack.
  • Dinner: A black bean and avocado “no queso” quesodilla for LP and Guru’s Indian food for Mom and Dad, thanks to some awesome friends who came to our house for an Indian food and Dr. Who night of fun!  Guru’s is a great indian food place in Somerville, near Medford, that labels it’s food as vegan and has a TON of vegan options all the time!

Money Matters:
Keep an eye out later on Saturday for our Final June Round-up of our spending!

Today we spent the following:

  • $4.83 for mom’s soy chai from Starbucks – last one for quite a while!

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap:

Kiddos can “help” in the kitchen

I’m sure this isn’t news to many parents, but toddlers love to be a part of everything we do.  LP can and does play with his toys or with other kids independently, but he spends most of his time following mom and dad around, demanding approval, an audience, or wanting to participate in whatever we are doing.  We do spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen, and there is nothing that LP likes more than helping out when we cook – just watch the video in this post!

Now, it is way more efficient to cook without LP around.  Sometimes I am able to make it home from work in time to take LP outside to play so the G-man can cook, or he does the same for me.  When we do that dinner does get on the table faster.  But we also like to have LP participate, and having LP help out often keeps him occupied while we are getting cooking done!  Here are just some of the ways that LP helps out in the kitchen:

Using the food processor: LP will bring his special “helper stool” in to the kitchen and turn the food processor on and off (or pulse it) when we ask him to.  This took a lot of time, patience and a few time-outs to teach him what parts he can and can’t touch, and also that he had to follow mom and dad’s directions quickly.  But now he knows and he does his little happy dance every time we pull the food processor out.

Making bread: Nothing is quite as fun to a two-year old as punching down dough!  Sometimes we give him a bit of bread or biscut dough that he gets to roll and pat into his own shape.  It usually ends up in his mouth by the end, but that saves us the trouble of baking a teaspoon of dough!

Unloading the dishwasher: LP has learned where the silverware goes, and he is often in charge of putting it away in its drawer.  When we first started doing this he just piled all the utensils into one slot of the drawer and the G-man or I had to go “fix” it later.  This is a pretty common thing – LP’s help rarely saves us time, but the feeling of pride his has coupled with our positive family kitchen experiance is worth it.  And now he is acutally learning how to put things away correctly, which is kind of exiciting!

Making smoothies: Morning smoothies are a ritual for LP, and he knows exactly what to do!  When he first started “helping” around 20 months we would put the blender lid on and pat it down for us.  He has graduated to doing the following: pulling the fruit out of the freezer, putting the fruit in the blender, “helping” mom and dad pour the juice and soymilk and even sometimes turning the blender on.  Then, he is ready for his smoothie to be poured when he comes over with his special smoothie cup!

Mixing: LP loves to stir, and he and I have special Saturday morning bonding time when we are making waffles, pancakes, biscuits or other fun weekend-breakfast goodies.  As soon as LP sees me get out the mixing bowl he runs to the spoon drawer and gets out the whisk or wooden spoon, depending on what we are making!  I usually have to stir a bit first to get ingredients acutally incorporated, but then LP can go to town.  Again, time and patience are key.  When LP first started stirring (one of the first things we let him do in the kitchen) he would take the spoon out of the bowl, or stir so hard batter would fly everywhere.  We worked on modeling and showing him how to stir “gently” and now he does quite well!

The bottom line is that having your kid “help” is fun for them and can be a way to get them involved in the day to day work (such as vacuuming, which is another LP favorite) that we all have to do as people who have to keep a household running.  However, having your kid “help” is not about making you more efficient – it is about bonding with your kid and boosting their confidence.  And it is certainly more fun than yelling at them to get out of your way every five seconds (which I have also done!).  So, figure out the tings in your daily routine that are safe for your little one to “help” out with – it will we worth it!


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