Activities

The wonderful chaos of baking with kids

It may be messy. It may end in tears. But Jennifer Pinarski wouldn't change a thing about baking with her kids.

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Gillian is not happy that she didn’t get a turn to mix. Photo: Jennifer Pinarski.

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children.

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that baking — especially with my children — is a big part of my life. There’s something meditative about measuring and mixing and, when the going gets tough, I turn to my favourite cookbooks and KitchenAid Stand Mixer (probably the best present from my husband ever). I’m proud to have raised dessert snobs who ask for pavlova instead of puff wheat squares and I can even brag that one of Gillian’s first baking experiences was being strapped in her carrier while I made croquembouche. My kids both crack, separate and whip eggs like pros and have their own custom-made aprons for their wee sizes (with matching spatulas).

Like I said, baking in my house is a huge deal.

When I bake with my kids, I usually share a picture of the finished project — often colour corrected and cropped to hide the mess that we made. A few weeks ago while we were making brownies, I impulsively posted the above picture to Facebook. Today’s Parent online editor Kristy Woudstra immediately commented: “BLOG!”

The brownie project started out fun enough. Both kids put on their aprons and gathered everything we needed. However, within minutes:

● four eggs were broken on the floor (two of them intentionally thrown at the dog by the kids)
● the recipe page in my favourite Martha Stewart cookbook was ripped in half
● half of the chocolate chips had been eaten by my husband
● Isaac had fallen off his chair
● the door had fallen off the oven
● the kids were fighting over who got to mix the batter and;
● my whole family was laughing hysterically (except for Gillian, who was still bawling about not getting a turn to mix)

Batter was everywhere, every single surface was sticky with eggs or chocolate and I realized that THIS is what baking with kids is about: The grossness of kids licking raw batter off the same beater, the splattered pages in cookbooks, and even the burnt cookies.

While I’m a little jealous of the Pinterest-perfect pictures of pudgy toddler fingers decorating sugar cookies (and I’m guilty of sometimes sharing only that part of my baking adventures), I’ll take the mess and noise any day. Except if there’s a pavlova in the oven — because we all know that too much banging will collapse the egg whites. Now THAT would be a disaster.

What does your kitchen look like when you bake with your kids? Tweet me a picture of your kitchen @jenpinarski.

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