Reaping the Rewards (and man are they tasty!)

Many of us bake with our kids. They love it and we grin and bear the mess while we share some special and memorable moments with our children. If you, like me, have ever wondered if it is all worth it; allow me to assure you that it absolutely is. Yesterday after-school Kaia, who’s eleven, made her second ever key lime meringue pie, from scratch.  She first attempted this on a whim a couple weeks ago and I’m not sure she knew what she was getting herself into.

The older girls bake and cook frequently with little supervision required so admittedly I was only half paying attention when she asked, “Can you use limes instead of lemons in a lemon meringue pie?”

“Of course.” I replied, “Then it would just be a lime meringue pie.”
About 20 minutes later, the kitchen is covered in bowls, sticky spoons, chunks of lime and she is separating eggs while something thick and greenish is bubbling on the stove when it dawns on me: Oh my God she is making a lemon meringue pie from scratch!

This is a feat that many seasoned bakers would not attempt. I can only recall one or two that my Nanna made and those were very special occasions. Two hours of hand whisking egg whites later the pie is in the oven. “You guys need to get a hand mixer.” I state as I flop onto the couch. The pie (with it’s not so fluffy meringue) was consumed in it’s entirety by six kids and one grown up on a picnic in the park the following afternoon.

Fast forward just over a week and Kaia and I are standing in the kitchen while she is fiddling with the box that contains the hand mixer her Granny has just bought her, “Can I make a key lime pie?”

“If you tidy the kitchen first.” I respond.

And so, experience of one pie under her belt and new tool in the kitchen she attempts it again. This time the filling is smooth and creamy, the meringue is shiny and fluffy as we pile it high on top. The pie is baked and looks amazing. Her mother can hardly believe it. I can hardly believe it. At eleven she has just accomplished for the second time what many would never even attempt. We slice it open.

“Ok maybe we could have cooked the filling a little longer,” I say.
“I don’t like it.” says her little brother.
“I’ll eat yours.” says Rhiannon.
“The next one will be even better.” says Kaia.
“You’re amazing dude.” I say scooping meringue onto my fork. “Now go do your dishes.”

***

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Tuesday Tutorial: Punch Easter Pals

This post is by Dawnica Flatt; Mommy to one, Early Childhood Educator and Stampin’ Up Demonstrator


This week, I again use punches because they are just so versatile, easy to use and great to use various shapes with children.  It’s great to encourage children to be creative. I’ve used many of Stampin’Up!’s great punches to make some really cute pals that you too can make because they use pretty common shapes. (Fig 1) shows many the punches that I used. Paper needed is Pink, White , purple and black.  For additional ideas that are provided, I used yellow, black, white and orange.


 

The little rabbit is easy to make with our punches.  Here’s what’s needed – all are white except where indicated!

2 Scallop ovals for ears.

2 Large Ovals out of pink for inside of ears.

1 Large Heart for head.

1 Circle (1 ¾”)  for main body

4 Circles (½”) 2 for cheeks, 2 for paws.

2 Circles (¼”) – out of black (this is a regular hole punch).

Small Flower – Boho Blossom Punch used here for tail.

Small Heart – out of pink. Heart to Heart Punch used here for nose.

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Crafting with Kids: Easter Ornaments

The kids and I had a branch to hang our advent calendar on, at Christmas.  After Christmas I tossed it outside and have walked past it a number of times thinking that I could use it again.  I finally figured out that I should make a Spring tree and so the kids and I made and decorated a bunch of felt and foam Easter/Spring ornaments.   We had lots of fun with glitter and fabric paint and made some gorgeous little chicks, tulips and eggs.

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Kids Can Clean: Norwex

I love teaching my kids the bit-by-bit lessons about how to look after themselves, their relationships, their things and their space.  Cleaning, however, is a big lesson.  We have taught our kids to clean up after themselves, after meals and such.  Most of the time they need reminding in order to do so, but there are moments of brilliance.  For example, at a recent birthday party my 2.5 year-old daughter was putting away her borrowed costume item and I caught her picking up every single costume that was on the ground and putting them in the bin, too.  Sweet!!  I feel like, maybe, all my nagging has paid off!

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Family Time: Games

My husband and I really enjoy playing games together and with friends.  Board games.   Some of our favourites are Robo Rally, Settlers of Cataan, Pandemic, Bohnanza and Ticket to Ride.  They are a great way to spend an evening with friends, discussing life, kids and just having a good time together.  As the kids have grown up watching us play games, they have learned them, too.  We love games, and now, they do too.

We have an entire shelf devoted to games that we can play with our kids.  There are some that we love and play over and over, then others that I have been known to avoid playing (you know what I mean, right?). Labyrinth is one of the classics that I can play over and over and never tire of.  The box says 7 years and up, but my four-year-old understands the strategy and can figure out how to reach his next objective with only a few moves!  We’ve had the game since Christmas and I can’t believe the improvement that I have seen in his ability to watch what is happening on the board and decide what to do next.  Sometimes, he even shows me something that I am missing!  I love it when he says “M-om!  You just need to do this to get to the ______.  Here, let me help you.”

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