Staying at home with the kids definitely had its challenges. I had a lot of fun times, frustrating times, messy times, and just about every other kind of time you can think of. The first thing I should mention is that I have not always been known for my patience (unless I have a fishing pole in my hand). So, you can imagine the learning curve for me as a stay-at-home-dad.
Now that time has passed, I would not trade it for anything. As difficult as it was at times, it was an experience that I will remember and cherish forever. My only regret is that I did not ask enough questions of my fellow fathers & mothers. I hope that this blog will help those that are in the same situation that I was – I think if I just asked around and did a little searching, I could have made the time even more enjoyable.
I plan on sharing my tips & experiences through the blog to do what I can to make life easier and more enjoyable for stay-at-home parents and their kids. Hopefully, if nothing else, it will provide entertaining reading as I share my blunders, mishaps, and not-to-do’s; and maybe even inspiration as I pass along what made it successful & enjoyable.
The first topic I am going to touch on is cooking. This is a big issue for me because I love to cook. What made it difficult in my situation was: a) I’m a control freak, and b) I’m a neat freak. Imagine cooking with kids under those circumstances – can you picture it?! Not pretty . . .until I learned to lighten up a bit. In this post I will jump right in to the point where it worked and save the disasters for another day.
The number one thing I had to do was LET GO AND HAVE FUN! I am cooking with kids; it is going to get messy. After I did that, I was able to focus and create a fun cooking project. So, what I suggest is something fun and simple, with prep that the kids can get involved in . . .
Who doesn’t like food on a stick right?! So here it is:
- Skewered meat
- Skewered fruit
- Green salad
This is easy to prepare for the kids and the finished product is fun to eat and nutritious.
Basically just pick whatever meat and fruit you want. My suggestion is cubed chicken breasts for the meat (if the kids do not like chicken, use a hot dog), seasonal fruit of your choice, a simple green salad, and quick-cooking brown rice (Trader Joes brand if you have one nearby—only 3 minutes in the microwave). Parents deal with the cutting the meat and anything needing a sharp knife (yes, I must say that, I watch the news and read the paper). Give the kids a butter knife and let them cut up the fruit for the skewers, and the lettuce for the salad while you’re cooking the meat. Season the meat to your liking. Then, let the kids put the meat and fruit on sticks* (meat on one stick, fruit on another), and you’re good to go. I served a vanilla yogurt dipping sauce for the fruit (any type of vanilla yogurt with a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon), but again, use whatever fits your family’s taste buds.
*Here’s a tip when using wood skewers – soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before skewing and cooking the meat to prevent them from burning. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to cook the chicken. If it’s nice weather, I like to grill them on the BBQ, otherwise stovetop on a grill pan.
That is a quick, easy & fun meal to prep & cook with the kids. Remember: just tweak everything to meet the taste buds of your family.
I hope you enjoy this. I know the cooking part is short, but I did this to demonstrate how simple it really is (OK, and because I am trying desperately to get out of here so I can get ready for my trip to Hawaii!!)
Seriously, I hope you enjoy my first post about staying at home with the kids. I plan on sharing many items and as well as having a few regular topics. Cooking will definitely be a regular because I love to cook and did, and still do a lot of it with my kids. If this blog starts to gain some momentum I will start to post the recipes too—minus a secret ingredient, of course!!
– Kevin Williams
VP & Dad