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December 03, 2008



You are SO right.
My housekeeping is what could charitably call "casual", but I am a stickler when I bake, me and my little Soehnle scale.

It just isn't fun for either me or the child.


Now that you've broken the ice...this is how i feel about decorating xmas cookies with my kids. I used to love doing them when i was growing up--my mom would bake the cookies and my 3 younger brothers and i would all sit around the table and decorate. When i had my 3, i envisioned a similar scene. What i didn't account for was how, well, "messy" their cookies would be, and how little appreciation they had for royal icing and how glossy and pretty it would be if it were spread on "just so". Luckily, their attention span waned after 10 or so cookies and i was left to all my decorating glory...i could drag designs using toothpicks, alternate colors of tiny stars to make the xmas tree really pop, mix colors to achieve just the right hue of green...i as alternately ashamed and proud.

Now my kids have taken over the entire thing, and i have to ban only one child (13 year old boy) from maiming the snowman and glueing back the pieces with red and black frosting.

Karen, i've never told anyone this because i felt like i was the only one...so thanks for coming out of the Kitchen, so to speak.


Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! I guess I don't mind quite so much when it's something for just the family to eat, but when it's for a party or a gift, I want it to turn out GREAT.


One weekend not long ago, I decided it was time to introduce my 13-month-old son to the wonder of my chocolate chip cookies and I wanted him to help. You can imagine how that went. He stuck his hand in the sugar, knocked flour onto the floor, tried to eat eggshell, etc. But it was fun and he was super cute in the photos and eating the resulting cookies, which turned out as they usually do somehow. Stressful, but fun in the end!


I am the same way, which is why even though I love to cook, my kids know next to nothing about cooking. However, I have long let them have their way with the Christmas cookies. I make the dough, and give them the cookie cutters & decorations, etc. and I love the fact that they make them for me! I really don't care how they look. They taste good no matter what & I'm not giving them away, so who cares? I remember making snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies w/ my kids when they were very young & those were good times too. I would just give them little jobs to do, like making the little cross-hatch markings w/ a fork on the PB cookies.

I got my son one of those little pottery wheel kits when he was little. I remember making the pottery with him once (the only time we used it). I was so concerned about it being "perfect", when he turned to me and said "Mom, why does it have to be perfect?" Wow! That was my "aha" moment, as Oprah would say.


I have the same issue with Cliff and his (foruntately infrequent) offers to "help" in the kitchen... or with housework... or any other domestic project for that matter.

Who doesn't know how to chop an onion?! And I told you about the Dyson and the dog feces, right?


You're absolutely right!


I sympathize. When we bake, I have managed to retain control of the really critical steps -- like most measuring aspects -- and I also do a lot of instruction ("now we'll FOLD in the beaten eggwhites") so that things turn out pretty well most of the time. I want my boys to be decent cooks when they grow up, so I grit my teeth and let them help, but it's hard, it's hard.


I think it is perfectly fine to have areas that belong to just "us". Hard to do - but fine all the same.


Am I the only one here who thinks Julie's cupcakes look just fine? Terrific, in fact?

I don't have kids of my own, so I can only speak from the Julie side of the conversation. My mother was a superb baker, and a perfectionist, and although she mostly wanted us kids out of her kitchen, I'm extremely grateful that she spent time teaching us the basics. I have fond memories of braiding challah with her, and by my tenth birthday I was proud to be able to bake and decorate all the party cupcakes myself. My brothers also learned to cook and bake under her tutelage.

I understand your desire for a kitchen haven, Karen, really I do. But I worry sometimes about kids who grow up thinking that food just happens--or that it has to be a perfect gourmet experience every time. And I regret that home-ec classes have been dropped from most school curricula in favor of all academics, all the time.


I get stressed when my girls(who are 22 and 18) are in the kitchen making stuff, but I let them. I just can't watch, so I go upstairs to read. We are all saner that way!


Nancy, no you're not the only one. I think they look fine, too. And since they were for Julie's own party, I think it's wonderful that she helped make them. I have great memories of baking with my mom as a kid, too. On the other hand, I do understand about being meticulous and not wanting the imprecision of kids to ruin something that needs careful attention; I just don't worry about that in the kitchen (for most things). Probably because I usually have to coax Hijo in there.


Disaplaying all that artwork's gotta be a real positive thing for them kiddos!


Yes, Julie's cookies looked OK, but the surfaces were uneven and I feared that they'd be hard to spread frosting on, which would lead to frustration among the party-goers. (The texture also looked funny, which had me worrying that they'd taste funny.) And keep in mind, I DID let her do it, I just didn't love the results -- nor did I let on that that was the case.

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