Tag Archives: kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen

Several years ago (before twins), my first two children enjoyed helping me cook, and I enjoyed teaching them. I took pictures of them and created a digital scrapbook with some of our favorite recipes at the time. I gave these to all the grandparents and great-grandparents for Christmas that year. We use this as a cookbook frequently in our home.

I had intended to create a new scrapbook each year, but life got busy, and we had more kids, and sometimes it was hard to cook at all. I had my son take this photo so I could look back on it one day and smile. It was so exasperating at the time to have two toddlers crying and clinging to me while I tried to cook dinner, but I knew it wouldn’t always be that way.

Once all four of the little people started asking to help in the kitchen with me, I was quickly overwhelmed. They all started doing different things, and I wasn’t ready! Oh, the messes! I was also stressed about not being able to keep an eye on each one for safety reasons. A wise friend told me she has her boys take turns helping her on different nights of the week. I need to work out a calendar for my children to take turns helping.

This evening, we had breakfast for dinner, and I decided to delegate some tasks to the kids. The twins went to the barn to get more eggs, and then they took turns whisking the eggs. Big brother wanted sausage, egg, and cheese burritos. The twins wanted pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs. (Big sister is staying the night with a friend.) Then the girls took turns mixing up the pancake batter and posing for some silly photos.

While the bacon cooked in the oven, I had the girls help cook the eggs in each pan. They swapped pans when the eggs were almost set. Silly girls! Big brother kept an eye on the bacon and removed it from the oven when it was done.

Once the girls had bacon and eggs, I started on the pancakes and let them start eating. It’s a little chaotic having two five year olds help with dinner, but their smiles make it worthwhile. Maybe I’ll start on volume two of our Kids in the Kitchen scrapbook series, but don’t look for it to be completed any time soon. At the rate I’m going, I won’t have enough photos for a cooking scrapbook for a few years! I need to get that cooking schedule for the kids figured out first.

Click here for a pancake recipe. We still use this basic recipe. Unfortunately, the girls prefer white flour and no flax seed in their pancakes, so we just use 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour in place of the whole wheat flour and ground flax seed.

For the breakfast burritos, we use one pound of pork sausage, crumbled and browned on medium heat. Then we lower the heat and add a dozen scrambled eggs. Once the eggs are set, we add about 1 1/2 cups of freshly shredded cheese and stir until it starts to melt. Don’t cook it too long, or the cheese will melt completely, and you won’t be able to tell it’s in there. My son hates that. Enjoy!


New Uses for Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is great for cooking, but I use it more frequently for a myriad of other uses. I buy the 54 ounce jar at Costco and put smaller amounts in Tupperware containers for using outside of the kitchen. I keep some in my bathroom to use on my skin after showering (in lieu of costly natural lotions), and I had another container in my twins’ bedroom to use on Little Sister’s eczema during the colder months. The Carrington Farms brand is cold pressed, unrefined, organic, and has a great price at Costco. This blog has well-researched information about this brand of oil, and I’ve always been pleased with the quality and taste of the oil.

Recently, I read this blog post on how to refinish furniture with coconut oil, and decided to give it a try on our kitchen cabinets. We have only been in this house for twelve months, but our kitchen cabinets are made of knotty alder, which is a softer wood than oak. We loved the look of the wood when the cabinets were new, but it didn’t take long for them to get terribly scratched, nicked, and scuffed. 20140610-221924-80364979.jpg I figured if coconut oil worked on an old table, it could help my scratched cabinets too. I was amazed at the difference.

After I saw how great this cabinet door looked, I started using coconut oil to clean and repair the rest of the cabinet doors. I don’t mind using this while the babies are running around because the oil won’t hurt them at all and could even moisturize their skin.

These drawers have taken a beating. When the babies started crawling around the house, I put a small dowel rod vertically through all the handles to keep them out. Hubby didn’t like that, so I removed everything from the bottom two drawers, and the girls climbed in and out. They love to play in those drawers! One day I will get them back. I digress. Anyway, the reason he didn’t like the dowel rod in there was because the drawers were getting scratched as you can see in the photo above. He was so upset over how easily scratched our cabinets were that he wanted to replace them. It’s a good thing I learned how to fix them. Here is what the drawers look like now. Beautiful again.

I read several months ago that you can use baby oil on your stainless steel appliances to remove finger prints, but I don’t ever buy baby oil, so I hadn’t tried it. I hadn’t ever thought about using coconut oil until I had it on my cloth right there under the microwave. It worked well on stainless steel too! Here are before and after photos of the oven door.


This is not a terribly time-consuming project unless you are type A and have to finish the whole room at one time. I have been taking my time and working on the worst cabinets first. I have been using a clean spoon to get a scoop of oil out and just set it on my counter while I work below it. One spoonful of oil will do several doors. I take a clean paper towel and get a grape-sized amount and smear it over the scratches and then wipe to cover the whole door–inside and out. After everything has been covered, I use a clean cloth to remove any excess oil and buff the wood. I have found that the coconut oil not only moisturizes and repairs scratches, it also cleans the little milk splatters and water marks. I think my cabinets look better now than they have since we moved in. I can’t wait to try this on our antique dining room furniture, but I should really finish the kitchen first.

My Semi-organized Kitchen


Let me be honest and say up front that I am nowhere near finished organizing my kitchen, but I have made some progress this week, and I wanted to share one thing I did because I am so excited about it.

When we were planning our house, we met with the owner of the cabinet company and told him what we wanted, and he showed us what he could do. We have been very pleased with our cabinets and drawers. They look nice and are completely functional. One thing we insisted on was a counter-level microwave. Our two older children are very independent and were caught climbing on the counter to access the microwave over the cooktop in our old house. So many safety hazards in that situation. Our microwave now sits at counter-height and is built into the cabinet with drawers below it, and this arrangement is perfect for our family. An added bonus are the deep cabinets above the microwave.

In our last two houses, our children climbed on the counters to get themselves a cup when an adult was not present. {I don’t think independence and impatience are a good combination.} Therefore, we now have one drawer below the microwave that is full of the kids’ favorite cups. These wide and deep drawers are very nice, but they can be difficult for adults to keep organized, so you can imagine the state of disarray in the kids’ drawer. Monday I decided to do something about it. I have seen ideas on Pinterest using small tension rods in cabinets and drawers for other things, so I decided to try it with the kids’ cups. Granted it has only been two days, but the drawer has stayed organized even with the kids using it.

20130828-121037.jpgThese are just cheap ($2.17 each) metal tension rods from Walmart, but they are a sanity and time saver! When I’m unloading the dishwasher now, it is simple to see where to put the cups, and I don’t waste time digging through the drawer trying to match the same-sized cups or reorganizing every time. I had threatened to throw away several cups, but now they all fit nicely and neatly, so the kids can hang on to their souvenir cups and multiple water bottles and thermoses.

My kitchen


I honestly enjoy cooking. I like finding new recipes and trying them out. I make things from scratch so I can know what ingredients are going into our food. I love baking and making pretty food. My parents and grandparents taught me the basics and some candy-making, which has become a family tradition around the holidays. I sold Pampered Chef for awhile and honed some cooking skills. I have tried many new recipes over the years and found that I’m a decent cook. In the spring of 2012, I had this great plan to prepare meals and sell them to friends who hate cooking or are too busy or tired to cook dinner. I started preparing meals for two to five families in addition to ours three days a week, and I was enjoying it. I don’t think I made any money, but I was cooking and serving others, which gave me purpose and joy. Then we sold our house and moved about 30 minutes away from all of the friends and neighbors who were ordering meals. I had considered preparing meals for friends in our new town, but I found out I was pregnant a few weeks after we moved, and the smell of chicken nauseated me.

We moved into a rent house on June 1st of last year and have been working on our new house for the last several months. The kitchen in the rent house is only tolerable. Three of the four burners on the stove work consistently. With the help of an oven thermometer, I can bake in the oven without burning things. There are just four narrow drawers for utensils, so I left most of my kitchen things packed away in boxes. (It will feel like Christmas morning when I start unpacking everything that has been boxed up for the past year!) Between the nausea and this kitchen, I have not enjoyed cooking for far too long, but that is about to change. We will be moving into our new house in the next week or two, and I can’t wait to cook in my new kitchen! It’s not quite as spacious as my “dream kitchen”, but it is functional and beautiful. It’s not completely finished, but I saw it yesterday for the first time since they put in the backsplash, and I’m already looking forward to being in my kitchen with its gas stove, accurate double oven, quiet dishwasher, large pantry, multiple wide, deep drawers, and everything I thought I wouldn’t miss and left in storage boxes. Here is a photo I took yesterday. It’s almost finished!