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A Different Kind of Day

Still new to the blogging scene here......and torn between trying to keep all the blog posts "professional" and not too personal. Our goal here is to give you tips and ideas for your holiday decorating and to talk about Christmas! But, some days there are just other things going on!

Today was one of those days. Our grandchildren are staying with us some during the day this summer and today I felt like giving them a cooking lesson)) AJ is 9, Maggie is 7 and little Matt 2.

I proposed to AJ and Maggie that they take $20 and purchase items to prepare for our supper tonight and if they had any money left, the change was theirs!

They started out with thoughts of tacos, chicken nachos, strawberries and whipped cream, and chocolate cake! They finally settled on tacos, dirty rice, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, and chocolate cake))

It was interesting to watch them pick out the ground beef......going for the cheapest first.....but then settling on ground chuck even though it cost a little more. I told them anything I already had in the cabinet could be used and that way they would have more money to spend. Instantly the interpreted this as "more money left over." So instead of taco shells they figured they could eat tacos on hot dog buns just as well which were in the cabinet. We had rice, so they only had to buy beef broth and onion soup mix for that. Cheese, sour cream, butter and chocolate cake mix were the last items. Their first thoughts were to have a cake decorated in "Ole Miss" colors of red and blue and when they found they would have to buy extra icing and coloring, opted to go with chocolate frosting that could be made from ingredients at the house.

The first thing they prepared was the cake batter. It went surprisingly well. It took the both of them to figure out the directions but they quickly got the hang of it. They took turns measuring the water and oil. Maggie opted to let AJ break the eggs because she said....."she just wasn't that good at it yet." They took turns running the mixer and we had no disasters. The oven was set to pre-heat and they prepared the cake pan with oil and parchment paper. I'm surprised that neither one of them even ask about the paper going in the bottom of the pan.......you would have thought it would have provoked at least one question. They poured the batter into the pan and AJ put the cake in the oven, all the while with Maggie saying "I get to put the rice in the oven!" What is it about the oven?? Maybe it's because it's always hands off....at our house anyway. It seemed that they liked dealing with the oven as the best part!

Our stove is gas, so I didn't let them turn the burner on, I did that, but did let them adjust the flame up and down. The ground chuck was the next thing to go. We talked about the importance of washing their hands of course before we ever started and especially after handling the meat. They were amazed at how quickly the meat started changing colors. "Awesome" I believe was the word. They used salt and pepper and when the meat was done, took it up into a pan to drain and set aside.

The rice was next. More measuring and pouring. Using the can opener wasn't quite as easy as it looked to Maggie, but with some help she got it done. Kitchen scissors were very handy for the paper packages. The broth went in along with the onion soup mix and some water. The dotting with the butter went from some small pretty good dots, to a couple of large lumps. at the last. But what the heck, it all melts. Maggie put the rice in the oven. We're just about done!

They shredded cheese. They love cheese and took time out to eat a few bites, the shredded more. AJ chopped tomato and lettuce and then they set the table. The taco sauce and sour cream was set out along with some chips and fruit from the fridge.

We didn't get into making the tea this time, but they thought tacos called for Coke and Dr. Pepper anyway! Okay......Coke and Dr. Pepper. I didn't say this was necessarily a nutritious supper.....its just a start)))

The timer went off and the cake was ready! They had watched it like a chick hatching out! Another big step.....taking the hot cake out of the oven. Man, they really liked this part.....I just gave them potholders and stood back and said......as any doting grandmother would say....."you better not drop it!" The cake make it safely to the counter and no burned fingers. It was puffed up in the middle pretty good, but that happens to the best of us. We didn't purchase frosting, so we had to make it from butter, sugar, cocoa and milk. It was more like fudge filling. They measured the cocoa. It was black. They love chocolate. They poked holes in the cake and spread the chocolate letting it soak into the cake. One would pour, one would spread. Both had high hopes of having a spoon or knife to lick, which they did. The cake looked.....well....it was chocolate. It's amazing though how cutting cake pieces into squares and placing on individual dessert dishes can perk something up in appearance! Now, it was really looking good to them.

The rice was ready to come out and by gosh Maggie was on a mission to get that hot dish out by herself. I really was worried that she couldn't reach it good enough to manage and took over the task myself until I saw the look of disappointment on her face. I had no choice but to stand back and bite my lip. She got it out, put it on the counter and looked pleased as punch. Just burnt her finger a little she said, not bad.

They both started watching the clock for their Mom and Dad to get here so we could all sit down to eat. Matt was hungry and kept getting into the shredded cheese and they kept herding him out of the dining room. All the food was on the table, ice in the glasses and they were so nonchalant when their parents arrived. Two seconds later, they were beaming. We fixed supper! Let's eat! It's going to be good!

So, eat we did and it was good! I was very proud of them and told them so. They did a good job and they worked together. I have a feeling there will be another meal on the horizon pretty soon.

Oh, I failed to mention. Yes, they had some change left over......I believe it was enough for 2-3 candy bars apeice.......yes, I know......but one small step at a time)))

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