STEAM Celery

kids in the kitchen

Today I wanted to share some ideas for you using something that might already be in your fridge!!  (Also be sure to visit my post about Bell Pepper shamrocks for another idea of a way to use bell peppers.)

If you’re like us, I buy celery for a specific recipe, and then the rest of it just sorta sits there until I throw it out.  We aren’t big fans of eating raw celery like some folks are.  (If you are fans of it, please, don’t consider this blasphemous.  HA!)  So, I saw somewhere (sorry, I don’t still have the original link) about painting with celery, and I thought that looked fun.  But I also have done celery science with students in the past, so I thought that would be cool too.  So, we tried both things, and I thought I’d share with you these ideas in conjunction with always trying to share a lot of STEAM ideas for you, and give you some ideas to use up what’s already in your kitchen in new and different ways! 🙂

mar 24 celery science




Celery Science is as simple as just cutting some stalks of celery and sticking them in water you have colored with food coloring!  It’s a great way to teach about capillary action, and how plants absorb water. If you split the bottoms of the celery stalks, the water climbs faster than if you don’t – so that also makes a great experiment.  It’s most fun to watch the leaves change color, so this is a great use of the leafy part of the celery if you aren’t using it in a salad.  (Did you know celery leaves add a great flavor and lots of vitamins to your salad without the stringy yuck of the rest of the celery plant?  The leaves are also great to chop up like an herb and add to soups and stews!)  Be sure that you allow a couple of days for your science project so that your little scientist can watch over time and really see how much gets absorbed into the plant.

mar 24 celery artAnother fabulous use for the other end of your celery is as a stamp for painting!  Use a strong rubber band to hold the stalks together for those smaller hands to be able to hold on and grip the stamp.  They make beautiful flowers, or cover the whole page using several different colors for some fabulous texture… this would make an awesome background sheet for your 2016 calendar!

Do you have another idea on how to use celery in a creative way?  Please share in the comments!!


Recipe for a Successful Homemaker (of either gender)

kids in the kitchen


I recently read this article from the Wall Street Journal (please go read it!!!) discussing how children today have fewer chores, and fewer kids are even doing them at all.  Really?!?!  Wow.  Talk about growing an entitled society.  So, I’m taking a break from traditional recipe sharing for my Kids in the Kitchen segment, and spending today talking about how to bake a successful homemaker (of either gender).

Let’s face it – no matter what their future careers, our daughters and sons are going to own homes (or rent them) and they’re going to have a kitchen.  They are most likely going to have offspring that need to consume food, and if not, they themselves will need to know not only how to prepare that food, but how to get it to the table, and how to get it off of the table.

Chores are not only a part of being in a family and “helping” or “being a helper”, but they are also part of LIFE – an important life skill that we MUST be teaching our kids!  As soon as they can start helping to clean up, they should learn to pick up after themselves.  Seriously, moms – WHY ARE YOU CLEANING ALL THE TOYS?  Typically when we clean up a room, I size things up real quick and I pick one or two areas that I need Becca to clean up, while I do the rest.  I don’t expect her to clean up an entire whirlwind of playthings.  Not yet.  However, I am starting to have her help clean up even when the entire mess was made by baby brother.  Because that’s part of being in a family.  We help each other.  He’s not able to clean up his toys yet.  So she can help him AND me by assisting in cleanup.

But I digressed.  I stepped out of the kitchen for a moment.  So let’s get back into it.  Here’s a list of things that Becca is doing at 2 1/2 to help with chores.  (And please keep in mind that when it comes to physical abilities, she is right on track with her age, so ANY 2 1/2 year old should be able to do these things to help!!!)

-Set the table (paper plates at each place, and a fork and napkin there too.)
-Help put items on the table for dinner (butter dish, bread, salad, dressing, etc – non-hot items.)
-Throw away trash when dinner is done (we consolidate any of the paper plates/napkins/etc, and she takes all of them to the trash and throws away.)
-Put plastic bowls and all silverware/plastic ware in the sink (she takes her bowl from her applesauce, and her brother’s bowl and tosses them in the sink – keep in mind, if your child is a little too short, you can aid in this process by leaving a step stool close to the sink that they could pull over to step on.)
-Take out the recycling (she loves to help take out the recycling to our central collection box in the garage.  Sometimes we have enough that I help her carry it out, or I go and open the door for her because her hands are full.)
-Help put clean dishes away (the plastic storage containers are in a drawer she can easily access, as are the kid cups/plates/spoons/etc, so when I do the dishes, I set those items aside for her to put away.  Very soon I’m going to have her start sorting the silverware to put away – I’ll have to pull the steak knives out.)

Here’s our kid drawer – with easy access for Becca to put items away, or get them out.

I see her gaining confidence in the kitchen, and definitely taking ownership in the processes that she goes through to help.  As the kids get older, and she can do more detailed tasks, Grayson will take over these more basic things.  It’s very important that both females AND males have active roles in chores in all parts of the home.  So if you think that chores are a thing of the past that you hated doing and don’t want your kids to have to “suffer” through, well, you’ve got another think coming.  Let’s put it this way – if you don’t delegate some chores to your kids, not only will you have to do all of them for the rest of forever, you’re going to be raising kids who don’t know how to take care of their own basic life needs… and setting them up to FAIL – MISERABLY!

mar 17 recipe for successful homemaker

So – let’s ALL get our kids to be helpers in the kitchen!  And please, don’t pay your 2 1/2 year old for helping.  Part of being a member of a family is to help.  He/She isn’t mowing the lawn for you so that you don’t have to, he/she is simply learning how to function as a member of a family.  You don’t get paid cash for kitchen service – you get paid in life experience!

Stepping down off my soap box now…

Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

kids in the kitchen


I apologize, but today’s post is a bit short.  After being sick several days, I’m behind on pre-posting, and still trying to re-coop…

These cookies are so so so heavenly!  All I did to modify the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction (found here) was we used white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips. 🙂  SUPER easy cookies and super super moist and yummy.  We’ll definitely be making them again – SOON!  They were awesome for getting Becca to help because they came together super quick.

strawberry cookies

Strawberry Bread

kids in the kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen is back!  All this month, in my Tuesday Mini-Series, I will be sharing ideas, recipes, and tips for getting your kids more involved in the kitchen!  I absolutely love to cook and bake, and it’s so fun to see that love of being in the kitchen rub off on Becca!  She is really starting to ask more and more to help and be involved in the inner workings of what goes on in the kitchen.

Today, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite recipes with you – and I’d love to encourage you.  I know that it’s SO SO hard to be patient enough to bring your preschooler into the kitchen and allow him or her to help.  Boy, do I ever know how hard that is.  I am learning daily how little patience I have.  But, I’m also learning how to best communicate my frustrations to Becca, and we’re learning together how to work together and co-exist in a meaningful way.  So – don’t hesitate to CARVE OUT TIME to make that special item TOGETHER instead of just whipping it up yourself.  And this recipe today is one that they’ll be so proud they helped with!

strawberry bread2

I found the recipe originally from Jam Hands, as a pin on Pinterest.
If you want to try any of the fabulous Pinterest recipes I’ve tried, you can check them out here:



I’ve made it several times, but never allowed Becca to help.  She was in a huge strawberry eating phase (which has now passed by the time I’m typing this post… by the time it actually posts on the blog next week, she may be back in it… fickle!), so I decided I’d let her help.  I’m so glad I did!  We had so much fun!

She enjoyed helping me cut the tops off of the strawberries, which is something I would NOT have let her do if she didn’t have this “My Safe Cutter” (from Pampered Chef – not an affiliate link, but this is the website of a dear friend, and she would certainly appreciate your order.)  With it, she is able to begin the fine motor practice of how to hold a knife, and can use it to saw small fruits and veggies into pieces.  For a child who struggles with many fine motor skills, it’s the perfect tool to allow her to SAFELY help, and to get that fine motor practice she needs.  If you are looking to get your preschooler involved in the kitchen, no matter their level of fine motor abilities, I highly suggest this $4.75 purchase!!!

Then, after we got the strawberries cut, I would measure the ingredients and she would pour them into the bowl.  She’s learning how to use her “strong hand” to pour, and her “helper hand” to steady the cup she’s pouring from.  (Looking for ideas to help your lefty?  Check out this post I did on Supporting your Lefty.)  She has also learned how to keep her hands back from the mixer as it processes so that she doesn’t get hurt.  She loves watching the mixer, and is doing a really great job of hanging onto her Kitchen Helper (aff link, thank you!) to keep her hands busy so she doesn’t forget and reach into the bowl.  (Please note – Cody custom built our Kitchen Helper, but the link here is to one that is somewhat similar if you are interested in simply purchasing one instead of building your own. 🙂

Here’s the recipe as we made it (I have also made it with half strawberries and half blueberries, and it’s excellent that way.):

Strawberry Bread

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh strawberries

1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl.
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in another bowl.
5. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet.
6. Mix 1/2 of the sour cream into the wet ingredients.
7. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet.
8. Mix the remaining sour cream into the wet ingredients.
9. Mix the remaining dry ingredients into the wet.
10. Mix in the strawberries.
11. Pour the batter into a greased pans (I use mini loaf pans to make four loaves – you could make one large loaf in a 9×5 if you wanted).
12. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes for a 9×5, or check around 40 mins for four mini loaves.

Microwave Puff Paint

kids in the kitchen

Well, I’ve mentioned before how much I love the ideas from Jean over at The Artful Parent… and THIS idea for Microwave Puffy Paint is no exception!  What a super fun way to tie in cooking with art!  Becca really loved this one.  We made the puffy paint (recipe below), and then used Duple blocks to make prints on cardstock paper.  Then, we watched them puff up.  It was amazing. And super, super fun.  I think we’ll have to do it again soon.  Note: this recipe makes a LOT of paint!  We had some left over, which I’m attempting to keep in the fridge.  We’ll let you know how that works out.

We also added colored glitter to ours… which added some sparkle to our pictures, but not as much as I would have thought.  Live and learn.  Probably not a real great idea to add glitter to this paint… it doesn’t really show up, and just wastes glitter.

IMG_9791 IMG_9794 IMG_9798 IMG_9803 IMG_9806 IMG_9810

The recipe:

Microwave Puffy Paint

1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
Food coloring

Whisk your flour, salt, and water together really, really well – so there are no clumps.  Then divide, and add your food coloring.

You can put it into squeeze bottles, or dip items like we did.  Do your painting, then stick the cardstock, cardboard, or paper plate into the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Watch it puff up!  If you don’t have much paint on your page, it won’t take the whole 30 seconds.  If you have a lot more, it might take a little longer.

Enjoy!!!  It’s SOOOO much fun!