Four Boys, Three Meals Each, One Happy Tired Mom

This has been one fun week!  If you recall, our four boys were in charge of planning and cooking meals one day each this week.  Here is their menu plan if you’d like a reminder.

I took pictures throughout the week, although you’ll likely notice that there are more pictures of food than boys.  Trust me – this is not because they boys weren’t doing the cooking.  It’s simply because the older my boys get, the less excited they are about having their lives documented on my blog for all the world to see.  I respect that.  So instead of seeing them stir their muffins, you just get to see the muffins.  (With the exception of one Elias picture and several of Malachi – who is still usually okay with having his picture taken.)

We’ll begin with Monday’s meals – the day Asa, our 15 year old, did all the cooking.  He actually didn’t make breakfast that day (logistical issues), and is instead making breakfast on Saturday before soccer games. 

For lunch, he worked and worked, cutting chicken and potatoes into nuggets and fries.  He then used our fryer (the one Matt and the boys gave me for Christmas!) and cycled through batch after batch of fries and chicken nuggets.  I was impressed with how he never stopped working until the last batch was finished.  In fact, at one point, I stepped in to help and he said, “Wait.  I thought I supposed to be cooking this meal?”  Sweet!  I promptly put down the knife and went over to eat fresh french fries. 

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For dinner that night, Asa and I worked together to make a double batch of fresh whole wheat tortillas for tacos.  That was quite a job, and he did awesome once again!  He also took the time to make Peanut Butter Brownie Cups.  We devoured that meal.  SO good!

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Tuesday was Elias’ day – our 11 year old.  He got right out of bed and made a big mountain of French Toast. 

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Just like his brother, he didn’t stop to eat until all of the bread and eggs had been made into French Toast.  That’s saying a lot for a kid who is typically ready to eat his pillow as soon as he wakes up.  This boy wakes up hungry and is a HUGE breakfast eater!

After breakfast, we cleaned up, then I taught Elias how to make pie crust.  More on that later.  :)  For lunch, Elias used the Corndog Maker he got for Christmas to make 40 corndogs.  (They actually were 20 hotdogs cut in half.)  There was a grand total of three corndogs left after our meal.  We sliced up pears and got out baby carrots to go with the corndogs.  Oh, and we decided that our corndogs would be stickless.  No need to go to the trouble to put a stick in the dog when we’re just going to devour it anyway, right?!

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Right after lunch, Elias got busy making two Cream Cheese Lime Pies.  Into the fridge they went.  Then, he browned hamburger meat and put his dinner into the crock pot.

When it was dinnertime, all Elias had to do was get out bowls and chips to go with his Hamburger Cream Cheese Dip.  I think we had apples with this, but for the life of me, I can’t remember.  And yes, we did just put our chips on the table beside our bowls.  Who needs extra dishes? 

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After dinner, Matt had a few buddies over to play cards.  Elias served us all some of his pie.  It was crazy good!!

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That night, Justus, age 13, who was up next for cooking meals, got into the kitchen and made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins to serve for breakfast Wednesday.  That got our morning off to a great start!

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Justus made us a huge lunch that day!!  Chicken fried steak strips, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas – wow.  I can’t believe how hard that kid worked.

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It was his first time to make mashed potatoes and gravy and he did awesome!  See, the gravy thickened up just perfectly…

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Justus also went all out and tried a new recipe for Carrot Cake.  He got fancy and decorated.  To say the least, after lunch, he was exhausted.  :)

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Would you believe I forgot to take pictures of his dinner?  :(  He made pasta with Alfredo Sauce and steamed broccoli and carrots.  It was delicious, but we rushed off to church after we ate and taking a picture completely slipped my mind.

Wednesday night when we got home from church, I asked Matt if he wouldn’t mind helping Malachi (age 8) get his Breakfast Cookies made for Thursday.  They went right into the kitchen and got started, Malachi’s excitement level growing the whole time they worked.  I hollered in some insufficient information about which pan to use and how many cookies to put on one pan, so the cookies sort of ran together and off the pan into the oven just a bit, but hey, that’s how we learn, right?  (I’m not talking about Malachi.  I’m talking about old married couples.  After 18 years, we’re still learning more effective ways to communicate.)  

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I’m debating on whether or not I should tell you about the small oven fire that resulted in this slight miscommunication. Oops, I just did. Well, let’s just say it was smaller than some I’ve started in the past, and we put it out quickly.  The next day, I was easily able to scrape up charred cookie drippings from the bottom of the oven.  My hair still smells strangely smokey.  But the breakfast cookies sure tasted good.  :)

After we ate breakfast, Malachi and I got to work on the Lasagna.  Yes indeed, we used store-bought noodles.  By day four of helping boys cook, I was getting tired.  ;)

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We ate the lasagna for lunch, since there were soccer games in the evening.  It was delicious!

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After lunch, Malachi made brownies because he was set on making Death by Chocolate for dessert.  In the late afternoon, he and I made a double batch of Calzones so that we could have some in the freezer as well as plenty for dinner. 

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They turned out great!  Here’s round one out of four:

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And the Death by Chocolate?  Well, it was as tasty as Malachi is proud…

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Sheesh, did we eat a lot of sugar this week!!!  Big desserts every day of the week?  Too much.  But shucks, it was fun just this once.

What was I doing while my boys were cooking up a storm this week?  Standing in the kitchen helping them cook, cleaning up messes with them, and offering a lot of guidance.  I found that everything took at least twice if not three times as long as it normally takes me.  But wow, did the boys learn a lot! 

It was wonderful having so much one-on-one time with each boy.  It was super to see their excitement and willingness to work so hard all day.  And I daresay, they really learned how much effort it takes to put great meals on the table three times each day.  My favorite quote of the week was this:  Upon hearing that it was time to come downstairs and work on making dinner, Justus said, “Already?  I feel like I just finished cooking and cleaning up after lunch!”  Uh-huh.  This is what it is to cook three meals a day for a family.  I let him know that this is why I give them “the look” when they come into the kitchen asking for a snack 45 minutes after a meal.  He grinned sheepishly.  ;)

Did you do any cooking with your kids this week?  Fun as this week was, I’m telling you right here and now – we are having leftovers tomorrow!!  This mama is tired. :)

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Comments

  1. Jennifer L. says

    What a really awesome thing to do with your boys! They will surely grow up to be blessings to their wives, and I’ll bet they will never forget the time you took to teach them to cook.

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  2. Tracy Compaan says

    You inspire me! I’m so impressed with this plan to teach your boys and let them take charge in the kitchen. You better believe their wives will be grateful! What a good mama, you are so patient!

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  3. says

    I just kept thinking as I read, wow! Her boys are cooking and the kitchen is cleaner than when I do! I would have egg drizzled all ove that stove! What a great lesson for your boys. We tried that for a month, hmmm, time to start again.

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  4. Jennifer F. says

    I’ve been wanting to get my kids in the kitchen more, but have been overwhelmed by their desire to all help at once. What a great idea to have separate days to work with each of them! You’ve inspired me! :)

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  5. says

    How awesome is that?! I think it is so cool you did that for your kids. It’s funny how the time it takes to prepare a meal when kids are helping makes it take soooooo much longer. Being 7 months pregnant, I just tell them I am nearly done when they ask. I can hardly stay on my feet the time it take for me to cook. I have five kids right now, four of them girls. My youngest two come in when I make bread. The baby (2) likes to pinch off and eat pieces. My 4 year old is always asking to try what I am chopping at the cutting board.

    I was thinking you had a lot of sugar because I think I remember you saying you don’t eat dessert every day of the week. My kids would have been all over it.

    I am always trying new recipes from your cookbook. The other day it was the taco biscuits and the family loved them!

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  6. Lisa says

    What a wonderful idea! I will definitely be doing this with my 5 kids!! I do have a question. How do you like the corn dog maker and fryer? I love corn dogs but messy to make and feel deep fryers are hard to clean and more a hassle then heating oil on the stove;) do you use palm oil in deep fryer and does it take a lot?
    Thanks for any input!

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    Laura Reply:

    We love both the corn dog maker and the fryer! The corn dog maker wipes up easily. And the fryer – I don’t feel the need to change the oil or clean it often. I just wipe down the outside of the fryer once it cools down. I use either expeller pressed coconut oil or palm shortening in the fryer. It does take a lot, but I reuse it many times, so I feel like I’m likely saving money in the long run. It makes the frying process go SO much faster!

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  7. Kendra says

    Great idea! I will begin homeschooling next year and have already planned to add a cooking class for my two boys. Do you have the recipe for the cream cheese lime pie somewhere? That sounds delicious.

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    Laura Reply:

    I don’t have, but I’m hoping to share it eventually. It was an experiment, and it turned out awesome!

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    Birdie Reply:

    Congratulations Kendra, on your home schooling choice. I hope that you have a special person you can go to for those days that will not be great. You will need that moral support.

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  8. Rhoda says

    Congrats on a fun and tiring week. I smiled at your comment about how long it took to get meals out with the boys doing it. Reminds me of a comment my Mom would make when the 5 of us siblings were small. “Just think, what use to take me a W H O L E half hour, now only takes 45 minutes!” We were always so proud to be of such help to Mom. (At least until we could tell time and knew what she was saying!) Blessings on the rest of your week.

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  9. Emily M says

    This is great! It sounds like the boys loved it, and what a bonus that you got to spend more one-on-one time with them. My 13 month old is now starting to “help” in the kitchen. I spend so much time in the kitchen that we bought him a Learning Tower for his first birhtday so that he can be at counter-height. Just last night he helped me wash parsley, and by “wash parsley” I mean that he played with the parsley that was in the sink and made a big, watery mess. He had fun though. :)

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    Jen Reply:

    My son loved to help wash various herbs and produce in the sink when he was that age (and older). It kept him occupied for up to an hour! :)

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  10. Ingrid says

    What a good momma to spend all that extra time in the kitchen teaching your boys! They are going to make some awesome husbands someday (can I put dibs in for Malachi for my daughter ;) I’d love to get my kids cooking up a storm when they’re older.

    p.s. You guys ate like kings!

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  11. Anitra says

    What a fantastic idea! I got to help my mom bake a few times when I was young, and was chief salad-maker by the time I was 8 or 9 (the main veg/side we ate when I was a child)… but I never really made a full meal until I was about Asa’s age. And making home-made nuggets or fries would have been way beyond me!

    I definitely keep my kids involved in the kitchen – last week, my 2-year old helped me mash potatoes :) and then the 4-year old wondered if she couldn’t do more ;)

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  12. Nancy M says

    How great to see what all your kids can do in the kitchen. I realize that I’m not letting mine help near enough. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us all.

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  13. ashley says

    That cream cheese lime pie sounds fantastic! Recipe?? :)

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    Laura Reply:

    Hopefully sometime eventually I can share it. It was an experiment so I feel like I need to fine tune it before I post it. :)

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  14. Janette says

    You should be commended for how you are raising your sons. I am sure if they get married their wives will be grateful you took the time to teach them to cook as well. I have learned it does take more time when your kids help in the kitchen but that is the only way they learn. My mom didn’t let me help until I was older so I am letting my kids help when they are interested at an early age.
    God bless you and your husband in how you are raising your sons to be a blessing to others.

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  15. Jill says

    You brought back all kinds of good memories of helping out with meals when I was a kid. My parents let us experiment, too, so there were plenty of times when meals were less than stellar. But we learned. All six of us are now excellent cooks, healthy eaters, and very adventurous in the kitchen.

    And as others have said, good for you for teaching your boys cooking. Best thing my parents did was to have no distinction between “boy chores” and “girl chores”. My brothers cooked and scrubbed toilets like housemaids and we girls could mow the lawn and change the trash as good as any guy.

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  16. Andrea says

    And your daughters-in-law will rise up to call you blessed . . .

    Really neat post. I love these ideas. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. My girls love to be involved in everything (especially tasting). Thanks for reminding me that this is part of their training and I need to step aside to let them do more.

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  17. Birdie says

    Dear Asa, Elias, Matt, and Justus;
    You did a fantastic job. Justus, what a neat cake you did. I wanted to eat it NOW! Congratulations on bringing such a blessing to your mom. She is a special lady. You are four really cool guys.
    Birdie

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  18. Ashley says

    So cute! I’m glad they had fun, and got to see it takes a lot of work to prepare meals!!

    I saw you were using Daisy Sour Cream do you know if they use
    antibotics in their brand? I always stayed clear of them out of
    fear of yucky stuff in it? Suggestions?

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    Laura Reply:

    I’m guessing Daisy does use antiboitics, unfortunately. The reason I have been purchasing it recently is because the only ingredient is “cultured cream” instead of one with lots of fillers.

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    Rachel E. Reply:

    I use Daisy for the same reason. Not every store sells an organic version. It’s sad, but you do what you can.

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  19. says

    Our usual schedule is to assign one child to be kitchen helper for a week…but now that we have 7 children things are a little more complicated….so we end up with 2 different children helping at each meal…I’m thinking we need to go back to one big kid helper per week and they can just pick a different little kid to help for each meal…

    Thanks for sharing this with us…we now have the rule of desserts are only on the weekends so we do not have them during the week anymore.

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  20. says

    Great job to your boys! And you for teaching them. My son recently told me he wanted to learn how to cook a dish from each country. I am working on putting together a curriculum for my kids to learn how to cook and make a dish from various countries. I plan to have it follow my daughter’s geography curriculum.

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