Cooking with Kids. Did I Survive?

There is a noticeable difference between 2nd and 3rd grade.

I don’t remember this from my own experiences in elementary school (maybe I blocked it out?), but I have noticed it with my oldest now in 3rd grade. Yes, the work is harder, but the biggest difference is the expectation of the student.

It’s all about personal responsibility and building independence.

Ding, ding, ding! Those are some parenting buzzwords you can take to the bank.

Except that independence thing…my babies can stay home forever.

Kidding! So, so kidding. They are going to need that independent trait so they can get rich and buy me that home in the south of France. I’d be totally cool with that.

Last Friday my daughter brought home a recipe for Easy Peanut Brittle. If she made the peanut brittle and sent a picture of her finished product to her teacher, she’d earn $2.00 for her school checkbook.


The checkbook is the behavior reward system in place at school this year. The kids get a “payday” at the beginning of each month. They learn about debits and credits via their good or bad behavior. At the end of the month they can spend their savings on a prize: lunch with the teacher, hat day, sit in the teacher’s chair for the day, etc.

When she told me she definitely wanted to make the peanut brittle, I briefly considered telling her that she didn’t need that extra $2.00. Instead, I told her that SHE would have to do it. I would be there to supervise (and make sure the house doesn’t catch on fire), but that the process and the outcome would be her responsibility.

(I’m not sure why she thinks a cat costume is appropriate cooking apparel. I swear she didn’t learn that from me.)


The whole point of this post is to say while my husband and I have done a lot of great things, thus far, to raise fantastic humans beings, the helping out in the kitchen part is not something I’ve spent a whole lot of time on. Partly it’s habit leftover from when the kids were toddlers, but partly it’s because it’s just faster and less messy to do everything myself.

Now that my kids are older (5 and 8), I think it’s safe to say I can step out of “mom survival mode” and into teaching mode a little more often.

The cooking project for school was a great learning opportunity for all of us. That’s what I kept telling myself! 


The recipe was for an easy-to-make peanut brittle in the microwave. The first part of the activity was done at school. The kids had to highlight all of the verbs in the recipe. There were quite a few of them: mix, add, chop, etc.

Before I was fully caffeinated mentally fortified, the cooking portion of this project commenced.

My daughter did the measuring, the stirring, the microwaving and even the clean-up.

I did the deep-breathing, the digging deep for patience and the clean-up after the clean-up.

Golly, I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner! 😉


In the event I ever mistakenly give you the impression I have it all together, let me just mention the melted bowl incident. It was my fault. My interpretation of microwave-safe didn’t jive with 5 minutes in the microwave. We learned how flexible plastic becomes when it gets hot though! That was exciting! You’ve got to get creative if you want to teach English, cooking AND science all in one fell swoop.

The most important thing is my daughter practiced new skills and gained some confidence. I figure this knowledge will come in handy when she goes to college. She might not know how to do laundry, but she’ll be the student who can make peanut brittle in her dorm room microwave! That’s sure to be an ice-breaker.

All in all, I’m happy we had this experience. It truly was a great step forward in teaching my daughter how to be more independent in the kitchen. There will be other learning opportunities, I swear…after I recover.

If you enjoyed this post, you might like these too! They are some of my favorites!

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Laugh Out Loud Moments

You Know You’re a Farmer’s Kid When


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