Tag Archives: kids in the kitchen

Birthday Party for a Cowgirl Wannabe’

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl.  She dreams of owning a horse  and wearing cowboy boots with manure on them, instead of city-slicking fashion cowgirl boots tucked into skinny jeans. But, we live in town.  A big town.  A big town not zoned for horses.

She dreams about horses so much, one night she sleepwalked into our room looking for the barn to feed the horses.

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Meeting Miss Rodeo Montana last summer only fueled the dream. 

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Visiting my friend high school friend, Janet, and her horses, didn’t help either. 

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Each summer we visited she petted, fed, rode and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love? Chaz with her twins, Whiskey Girl and Wyoming on the North Dakota prairie. Even as a toddler, Beka walked under and around these hand-fed pets.

When my Cowgirl Wannabe’ was planning her birthday party, we discovered early on it would be challenging to combine her loves if buying ready-made items. She wanted pink.  She wanted lace. She wanted vintage.  She wanted horses. Many things I found on the internet or in the stores were red/blue and geared towards cowboys. Since I’ve always been a DIY, homemade kinda’ mom, we were up for the challenge.

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When she found this beautiful calendar at the Dollar Store, I knew we could pull off the horse part easily and inexpensively.  On the back of each calendar was a page with smaller pictures of each month’s pictures.

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These were laminated and turned into magnets for each guests’ goodie bag.

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We hung the pictures from the grapevine garland that’s along the fireplace year around and added twine.

 

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A doll was dressed in denim and cowboy boots and decorated the desert bar on the buffet.

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We already had strips of fabric for a background from another birthday party, so we took out some colors and added strips of tan fabric and lengths of twine. The girls stood on a step stool for their picture.

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A wooden crate was decorated with lace, twine and a flower, then filled with props for the Cowgirl photo shoot. Pictures of each guest were emailed to them after the party. We printed off one picture for each girl and put it in a picture frame card for the thank you.

After being inspired by a summer project of serving from Focus on the Family, Beka decided instead of each girl bringing a gift for her, they would bring a gift or used clothing for the shelter for women and children.  We were thrilled to see the donations brought in.

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Even grandson, Finnean, looked adorable in a mustache.

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Glasses were pint jars and 1/2 pint milk bottles with strips of tan fabric previously used for vases at our writers conference last May.  Beka pulled off tan buttons and added some pink. She made a few out of lace just because.

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A drink station was staged on a child’s cupboard.  The white enamel coffee pot held pink lemonade.

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Pink plastic silverware was wrapped in brown paper and white doilies, which was Beka’s creation. The pink paper plates looked adorable on vintage white paper plate holders.  The small crate was found at the thrift store for $.99 and stained to look aged. The meal was a sandwich bar, fresh fruit and veggies.  Simple. Healthy.  Adaptable to food allergies or strong dislikes.

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A ladder in the dining room held the chips.

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These “feed bags” are actually burlap rice bags. I removed the zippers, turned them inside out, and  hot-glued a doily on.

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Beka didn’t want cake, she wanted cookies and ice cream. To simplify feeding the girls, we purchased the small cups of strawberry swirl ice cream.

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The sugar horse decorations were found at Dawn’s Cake and Candy World. I can’t give you the recipe for the sugar cookies, because the dough came in a tube. Sometimes a momma’s gotta’ do what a momma’s got to do.

 

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Since we had a hard time finding horse party items, we  also bought this horse mold at Dawn’s for melting chocolate.  The gold is a fine edible powder that rubbed on easily.

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After seeing these on a blog, we knew this would be the one thing we HAD to make for the party.  These are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in chocolate, with Wilton candy eyes, almond ears and hard caramel noses.  Instead of cookie sticks, I used skewers because they matched our theme better, were thinner, and cheaper.

Since this was way too much sugar for one day, some horses were on display, the rest were tied up in clear bags and sent home in the girls’ goodie bags.

 

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Granddaughter, Maddelyn, loved her little horsie.  She came with her mommy and siblings to help make them a few days before the party and had a hard time waiting until she could actually eat one.

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Aunt Cindy’s recipe has been a family favorite since Christmas of 1996, and  was the first cookie Beka baked for her party. 

 

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At the end of the day, the City-Slickin’ Cowgirl was very, very, happy, even without a horse in the backyard.

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cream together:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Add:

2 cup flour

Chill dough if too soft.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with a fingerprint hole in the middle. Fill the hole with seedless raspberry jam.  Bake at 350° 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown.  Do not over bake.

Drizzle glaze over baked cookies.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 teaspoons water

Making your home sing Mondays        WHWButton#2

MOM! What’s for breakfast?

Why is it that kids always wake up earlier and hungrier than their parental units? 

It never seemed right that the most energy buzzed in the people with the least amount of responsibility.

I used to get up early and make a nutritional breakfast for my kids every morning.

Used to.

Somewhere between babies #5 and #6 and three bouts of thyroid cancer, it wasn’t easy anymore.  Yep, the kids had to eat, but it wasn’t going to be homemade waffles, muffins or pancakes.

We ate a lot of cold cereal, instant oatmeal, cold cereal, fresh fruit, cold cereal and whole wheat toast.

Sometimes mommas gotta’ do what mommas gotta’ do.

Of course, getting my kids in the kitchen greatly improved our culinary fare. One of the recipes that got us through many mornings was Baked Oatmeal.

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I blogged about having Kids in the Kitchen a few years ago.  It’s true.  Kids make a mess.  But, if you don’t let them mess up the kitchen, they can’t learn to cook for you.  Simple as that.

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Beka and I wanted to be ready for school this year, so decided to make those cool jars people are always making and pinningimage and giving away for gifts.

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All the dry ingredients were placed in the jar.  We’re “git’ ‘er dun” kinda’ people, not “perfectionist you can pin me now” kinda’ people.  The layers aren’t perfect, the lids don’t match, but hey, Beka finished this quickly.

I also learned the hard way, the more you demand perfection from non-perfectionist people, the less they wanna’ work with you. You can either allow the children to do a project and accept how they do it, or you can do it yourself and have it perfect.

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We  substitute the butter in the original recipe with applesauce, so one small organic (did that impress you?) no-sugar added cup of applesauce is placed on the top of the jar.

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Since I can never find my tape, why yes, I have blogged about that, thank you for asking, you can read that blog here,so my son, who just got his drivers license and will go anywhere if I hand him the car keys, drove to three different stores looking for blue tape.

I have just enough residual OCD that this look was really, really bothering me.

Yes, I know the jars will be in the cupboard.  I know nobody will see them. But, they were buggin’ me.

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I had these….

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leftover from these quart milk bottles I’d decorated for our writers conference last May. The decorative fabric was slipped off and put in a scrap drawer.  The bottles are being decorated anew for an October wedding.

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Slipped them over the top, added the tag with the wet ingredients to add and we were dun.

D.U.N. dun.

We make a smaller batch now that so many kids have flown the coop, so this recipe fills an 8×8 pan.

Beka’s Baked Oatmeal

Place the following in the jar:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oatmeal (we use quick or old fashioned

Tape to the top:

  • 1 – 4ounce unsweetened applesauce

Wet ingredients to add:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Bake 350° for 30 minutes in a greased 8×8 pan.  You may add any combination of nuts, fresh fruit,  or dried fruit to this. 

I love putting almonds and dried cranberries in one corner just for me.  The kids think it is yucky, so I let them eat theirs plain.  You can serve it in a bowl with milk or on a plate as a piece of breakfast cake.  Yea, tell ‘em it’s cake for breakfast.  It can also be topped with warmed applesauce as frosting. 

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Baked Oatmeal.

It’s what’s for breakfast.

 

 

What Me Do I Smell?

When one of my kids was a toddler, she struggled with syntax.

Yea, only one of them.  The other five were perfectly,  grammatically correct from birth.

She’d crinkle up her little toddler nose, sniff as loudly as a two year old could sniff with boogies plugging her little air passages,  and ask, What me do I smell?”

Of course, for the past three decades, my hubby and I have rarely asked each other, “Hey, what’s that smell?” like normal people.  We always wrinkle up our growing adult noses and ask, “What me do I smell?”

One day, me smelled something awful.

Being an experienced mother, I quickly narrowed it down to new plastic, even though I was at the end of the hallway and had only sniffed the air a few times. Yea, moms have amazing skills, don’t they?

Also, being an experienced mother, I was pretty sure I sniffed the danger from a distance faster than the plastic-burning culprit who had not yet asked themselves the question of the year, “What me do I smell?”

Oh, ya’ wanna’ know how come I knew it was new plastic?  Simple deduction.  The newer the item, the more likely it will be broken, dropped, cracked or burned alive.

I have other powers of deduction that would make Sherlock proud. If the smell occurs late in the evening, I know something fell onto the heating element in the dishwasher ‘cuz that’s when we run the dishwasher.  If this smell occurs during the day, I know something fell onto the burner.  The one of the four that is on, of course.  Plastic never touches cold burners. That rule just goes without saying.

However, since I have mostly adult children living in my home,  I left the smell to the culprit. Several moments after me smelled something , me heard exclamations from the kitchen and me knew danger had finally been spotted.

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I woke up to this love letter.

When the kids were younger, they left notes that said things like,  “You’re the best Mom in the whole wide world!”

Nowadays, notes have to do with the grocery list,  errands and confessions.

Like this note.

Like the splashes?  Hmmm….do ya’ think it was another child using another burner?

Yer’ so right!

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I also woke up to this.

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And this. 

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In case you need to see that up close, here it is.

The offending adult child graciously offered to clean it up, because my kids are perfect like that, but I stopped this person. I needed pictures.  After all, I have full blogging rights, right?

Right!

Me warned them in my very first blog.

“Anything you say and do, can be blogged against you.”

Jealous you don’t have kids that cook for you?

You should be.

This is what has happened to

my mixer

my eggs

my microwave pan

my cutting board

my burners

my spices

Not jealous yet?

Now you will be. ‘Cuz look what all that practice produced.

Jon cooked Thanksgiving

Bethany cooked Thanksgiving

Grace cooked Thanksgiving

Jon’s Bread

Not’cher MinnesOtan Fud

Husband Catcher Bars

You should be jealous.  Now, let your kids in the kitchen and burn something.

Just remember these magic words,  “What me do I smell?”