Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Kids in the Kitchen

We all know that cooking with kids is a great idea, a fun thing to do, a great bonding experience. Even educational. It may also be your version of hell.

If you're considering getting into the kitchen with your small one, if the guilt has finally gotten to you, coming to terms with the following facts will save your sanity.

1. It'll be messy.

There's no getting away from this. There will be mess. Even the simplest of recipes will make a mess. Flour on the floor. Batter in your kids hair, or yours. Sauce in places it couldn't possibly be. Mentally prepare yourself for a lot of mess. It's all part of the fun. Sorta.

2. It won't be perfect.

If you're a perfectionist, maybe you should just take your kids to the park instead. Biscuits will be oddly shaped. The cake will rise wonky. Something will burn.

3. It will be slow.

Especially with really young kids. Little hands don't work as fast, aren't as strong. Also, they get distracted pretty easily.

4. Your kid will eat all the ingredients before you've made anything.

My daughter eats the flour. The mixture. Any kind of dough. All spices. Butter is eaten in chunks. They will spend most of their time "Tasting".

5. They will get bored.

It's very possible, that after a little while they'll just lose interest and you'll be up to your elbows in chocolate cake, or un-iced sugar cookies. This can be a blessing in disguise.

Still wanna cook with your kids? Then take my advice....Or not.

1. Time it right.

Mid-morning, on the weekend, when you've been sufficiently coffee'd or tea'd into consciousness. You'll be less rushed, and there'll be plenty of time to create and eat your masterpiece.

2. Set the scene.

Clear off as much space as possible. You'll need it. Everyone washes their hands. Everyone dons an apron. Grab a stool for the short people, or if your knees can take it, set up at the kids table. (Move it into the kitchen if that saves the carpet.)

3.Read the recipe.

Make sure you've read the recipe numerous times, especially if you haven't made it before. Kids in the kitchen are totally distracting and it's easy to miss a step!

4. Let your kids actually do stuff.

Measure out the flour. Crack an egg. Stir things. Show them how, but try not to take over. Jump in when they need a bit of muscle, or if you're using electric beaters.

5. Let them taste everything.

Yes, even the flour. It's a great time to get them actually thinking about flavours. Is it salty? Is it sweet? Spicy? Dry or wet? Slimy or smooth?

6. Let them lick the bowl.

Licking the bowl is one of life's pleasures. I know there's hoo-ha about raw eggs etc, but I've never keeled over from ingesting cake batter, have you?

6. Even Chefs clean.

If they haven't already done a runner once the cake is in the oven, get them involved in the clean up. They can rinse stuff off in the sink, wash their hands, put the aprons away. Or just kick them out and do it yourself... you'll be needing a cup of tea by now.

7. Congratulate them on a job well done.

Bang on to anyone who will listen about how the small fry made the scones. They will beam with pride and it will all be worth it.

8. Smile Smugly.

You've earned it. File the memory away for those days when you feel like a totally crap mum who does nothing but yell.

Or is that just me?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Melbourne Coffee Snob

I think we have turned our kid into a Melbourne coffee snob, or worse... a foodie.

If she's not asking for a Babycino, she's asking to go to a cafe for lunch. Or saying things like "I can have wine when I get bigger".
And when I say "we" ... I mean it. I'm not taking all the blame for this! I'm looking at you Mr Frog.

Tadpoles first Babycino was free. The waitress taking our coffee order apologised as she brought our order to the table. "I'm sorry, she's so beautiful I made her a Babycino." Free drinks at about 18 months. I was so proud.

I used to think Babycinos  were the dumbest thing ever and only for the ridiculous Brighton mums who enjoyed pandering to their children and treating them like tiny adults. Hmm... Perhaps I'm still holding some sort of prejudice. Anyway, once you have kids of your own, or even borrow one for a day, you realise that Babycinos are actually The. Best. Thing. Ever.

First of all, you can bribe kids with them. Don't judge.

Second, they're really cute, and sometimes even come with SPRINKLES!

And third... Well they just make her so happy. Just watching her enjoy something so simple, a cup of frothy milk for goodness sake, is one of life's even simpler pleasures.

It does however become a bit of a habit. A nice, albeit, slightly snooty sounding one.

A few weeks ago I dragged poor Tadpole with me to do the groceries. I usually do them on a day she's at Kinder but I was kinda hoping to save myself a little me time, so a team job it was.

 We head to Aldi first where I do the majority of our shop. She's getting extra attention today because she's wearing a sparkly dress, sparkly shoes, numerous necklaces, bracelets and a ring, plus some beads on her head like a little boho crown. She looks fabulous and hilarious. And she's well behaved. All good. Next we head to Coles to get the bits and pieces they don't have at Aldi. Once we're done she wants to know where we're going next. "Home for lunch"  I say in my best mum voice. ( You know, wildly optimistic and excited about a ham sandwich).

"No, I want to go to a café".

Yeah. I don't blame you kid.

We love to eat out, although it's not a regular occurrence. When we do, we get really into it. We're all about tasting everything in our house so Tadpole is quite happy to eat stuffed zucchini flowers and the like. And while she'll try most things, most of the time, getting her to sit still at restaurants was once one of my biggest fears. She's really very good ( humble brag) but there's only so much sitting still a three year old can do.

And that's how the Art Pocket came about. ( See what I did there? ) As a solution to a fidgety Tadpole. We had gotten into the habit of taking a little pack of Textas and colouring pages in the nappy bag, but the Textas kept falling out  of the cardboard packet and there was nowhere to keep any finished masterpieces. I designed the Art Pocket to have a slightly smaller zip than the length of the pencil case, so the pencils are less likely to fall out, and there's a pocket to slip in a Visual Diary, plus keep the other random colouring pages she gets given when we're out. Sometimes, when I'm feeling like a  super fabulous mum, I slip some stickers into the pencil case as a surprise. Yeah, I know. I'm awesome. *insert eye roll*

We take it everywhere. And I'm pretty bloody proud of my little invention.

Now you. How do you keep children entertained and relatively quiet in "grown up" spaces?

What have you introduced your kid to that you kinda wish you hadn't?

To see how groovy the Art Pocket is (yes, I said GROOVY), check out this little video I made. Or just watch it and laugh at my annoying voice.
To buy one, or many, or to have me create one just for you, go to Madame Clochette.

A bientôt

Sam, Madame Clochette

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Day in the Life of an International Woman

This morning, I dropped Tadpole off at Daycare, then headed to the local shopping centre to look for dice for Mr Frog, buy some fruit, and post an order.
When I got home, I sat down for a belated breakfast and scrolled through Instagram as I ate.

International Womens Day posts abounded, and I was happy to see it. Then I jumped up, and started a few of the must-do chores in my day. Changed Tadpoles linen d put the washing on (leaky nappy this morning), did the dishes, made the bed. I was juuust about to spray the shower with cleaning product when I remembered. It's International Womens Day! No cleaning for me today! Just the basics. *Foot stomp. Hand on hip.*

And so, I did MY stuff. Edited photos (I'm so fancy), brain stormed promotions, competitions and taglines for my Art Pockets (more on that soon), and faffed around some more on social media.

I'd like to top my day off with a couple of wines with some fabulous women at my mates bar ( The Republic of Elwood, but instead...

I'll pick up Tadpole from Daycare, make dinner (Risotto), put the little one to bed, tidy the kitchen, and then collapse on the couch.

Just the basics.

How did you spend International Womens Day?
Is it something I can be jealous of?

Tell me in the comments!