Tuesday, September 4, 2012

kids helping us save time in our busy lives.

it's that time of the year, where the school rush starts and the time in the day seems to slip away faster and faster. as the years have passed and the kids are now starting 2nd and 5th grade it seems there is twice as much to do and not nearly enough time to get it all done.

so now that the kids are older i have started to enlist their help in lots of ways to help save time. doing laundry, cleaning and generally starting to be responsible for themselves. one of the best things i have ever done is teach my children their way around the kitchen. they have been helping me in the kitchen for years, coming up with great recipes to try, washing fruits and veggies, retrieving  and replacing ingredients as i cooked, but in the last two years the magic has really started to take place. both of my children have mastered making a full meal for themselves. now i'm not saying they are making steak and lobster or roasting a turkey or anything. simple meals, meals that don't require my help and some that require my supervision.

 so you ask" how does this fit in the time saving aspect of our lives?" the fact that my kids can now make/pack/clean up their own lunches is huge! the night before while i am cleaning up from dinner or preparing for the next day, the kids make their own lunches. this is great for two reasons, one i don't have to do it and two they make what they want to eat and with two that make very different choices sometimes this is a dream come true. this is the easiest cooking your kids can do, really how hard is it for them to make a sandwich? and no heavy equipment needed, just some bread and their favorite filling. in fact if the idea of them using a knife for spreading condiments or cutting the crust off leaves you woozy,  a plastic knife works wonders. (on the plastic knife subject, it also works wonders with cutting apples, pears, peaches, celery and lots of other stuff) 

the next time saver is breakfast in the morning. my kids started way back with being able to grab cereal and fruit, yogurt and granola and several other no cook items on the weekends. this was to enable me a little extra shut eye or just some peace and quiet first thing in the morning. for the younger kids i used to put the milk or juice in easy to pour containers on shelves they could reach in the refrigerator. gradually they started to learn how to make eggs, scrambled and over easy, french toast and even pancakes if i left batter in the fridge. they have even mastered making smoothies. this is now a huge time saver on school mornings, both kids can successfully make breakfast for themselves either working as a team or making their own item of choice. 

 i will remind you that this all requires patience and is sometimes messy. start slow if your kids haven't helped before. have them work along side you until you feel comfortable with them doing it by themselves. make rules about when and when they can't use a knife or stove/appliance based on your comfort level and theirs. i no longer have to be in the kitchen with either for most tasks and even have had the benefit of breakfast/lunch being cooked for me. the best part about this isn't just the time saving factor. you are teaching your kids how to be self sufficient, eat healthy and be creative. it is amazing what kids will eat when given the opportunity to help or even decide on the ingredients. so have fun and save a little of your time & sanity at the same time.

stay tuned for the recipe for alisa's favorite chicken salad recipe.

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