Kids in the Kitchen

kids cooking photo


I was pondering my roller coaster immersion into cooking the other day. Mom and Dad were on the road three-four months per year for work, so the majority of the dishes I learned were experimenting on my own in the kitchen (Chad was usually very patient and understanding). Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Lissa, demonstrated a few basics in high school. Are there a handful of recipes kids should know before leaving the house? Young men and young women, all should know some cooking basics when striking out on their own.

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs-This common staple is inexpensive and can be dressed up or down as needed.
  • A Whole Roast Chicken-The perfect warm-up for hosting future Thanksgiving meals, plus meat is expensive, cutting up a whole chicken at home is much more economical for future budgets
  • Pot Roast via Slow Pot-Knowing a basic slow pot meal will help when life gets busy. Just a few years ago, we finally stopped using Chad’s garage sale slow pot from college.
  • Burgers on the Grill-There are so many ways to prepare burgers: beef, venison, turkey, veggie, plus all the yummy additions! If kids learn burger basics and grilling skills, they will have many future culinary options. (Personally, I have a grilling phobia since I singed a large portion of my eye brows off 12 years ago. Perhaps it’s time to overcome my fear of “ye olde grill.”)
  • Baked Fish-Some might wonder why I included this dish. In America, we don’t eat much fish that isn’t fried or in stick form. Learning a baked recipe provides a healthy option for the dinner table.

The kids are still working through this list. Hopefully they will attempt each dish before beginning their own path. Can you think of any additional meals kids should know?


Do Kids Ever Need a Personal Day?

MK and dog pic

I imagine many of you who read that title quickly formed an answer. The concept of a personal day is something that started when I was in high school. Before you form an opinion, hear me out.

I allow my kids one “Personal Day” per year. However, they have to meet the following criteria:

  1. This day cannot take place in the first semester of school.
  2. If they have accumulated seven or more sick days, they cannot use their personal day for that year.
  3. They must be doing well in all their classes.
  4. They cannot use their personal day because they failed to complete a homework assignment or have a test. Believe me, Mom finds out!
  5. They cannot participate in any after school activities (sports, dances, friends over, etc). The personal day functions like a sick day, and they must remain at home.

Some of you might ask why I have this policy. In high school, I had the occasional day where remaining at home was a powerful gift. After all, I chose the day. In addition to a day off, I appreciated having some control in my life. This frequently led to those impromptu conversations with one of my mentors who always made sure she was available on these days. She sacrificed her time and made sure she was available because she understood that those windows of conversation were rare.

I just explained the policy to my daughter as she took her first “personal day.” While she is a 6th grader and does not have the teen issues yet, we laid the groundwork for future contact. In fact, I had a few errands to run, and we exchanged some bonding texts throughout that time, a fun exchange that mothers and daughters often need and rarely receive. Am I helping my children by allowing the occasional personal day? I think so.