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Cooking and good food brings people together and that is most evident at this time of year with so many people celebrating holidays and just plain celebrating life. Cooking and baking seem to make us slow down and appreciate all that goes into creating the wondrous foods from our past, from our culture and the new creations that we find or even invent. Cooking together with your children shouldn’t be just a one time of year experience but should be embraced throughout the year.
In December we talked about how cooking can be a wonderful way to boost reading and math skills in children as well as building self-esteem, confidence and teaching life skills. When cooking, one is almost always reading; whether it be a recipe, instructions on a box or food labels, reading and math are at the forefront. If you love literature and cooking, you can share both loves with your children through books such as:
As the new year begins, we are going to focus on our Bookworm Bakers division, where we blend baking, cooking and gardening with literacy. Bookworm Bakers is all about taking the love of books and reading, and combining it with food; namely cooking, baking and even growing your own food. There are so many books that have stories, themes and concepts that can be teamed up with baking, cooking and growing that not only educate but can create a lasting bond and memories with your children. Cooking with young children aids in hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. As children get older, cooking can be used for patterning, sequencing and basic math skills. Children who help with cooking also gain confidence, a sense of pride and accomplishment and learn about responsibility, not to mention the social and creative aspect of cooking together. Such a fun, engaging, and terribly tasty pastime is a positive on so many fronts that it should be a part of every childhood.
~Food Calendar & Suggested Reads~
A food calendar will be included each month to help with some ideas for family cooking, baking and reading. There are so many National celebration days in honor of certain foods, and we don‘t even have them all, but we thought it a great idea to combine those days with fun cooking and stories (a number we found are celebrated more than once a year.) We have also tried to include some theme related storybook titles that we have found and enjoy, as well as some cookbook titles that we recommend you try. We are not expecting anyone to follow the calendar faithfully. Instead we offer it for suggestions, ideas and inspiration when you are looking for a fun way to combine cooking and reading. Find a food you want to celebrate and then look through recipes with your child(ren) and spend some time creating something delectable together. Always be on the lookout for additional titles and fun ways to cook and read as a family.
National Hot Tea, Meat, Oatmeal, & Soup Month
National Hot Tea Month
National Soup Month
4th: National Spaghetti Day
2nd week: National Pizza Week
*For our favorite pizza recipe and additional titles take a look back at our blog Pizza, Pizza!.
6th: National Bean Day
6th: National Shortbread Day
11th: National Milk Day
19th: National Popcorn Day
20th: National Cheese Lovers Day
21st: National Granola Day
23rd: National Pie Day
*For additional titles read our previous blog Celebrate National Pie Day.
24th: National Peanut Butter Day
27th: National Chocolate Cake Day
Last Saturday: National Seed Swap Day
30th: National Croissant Day
31st: National Hot Chocolate Day
Whenever hot chocolate is mentioned, my mother brings up an old Peanuts comic strip in which Linus makes a cup of hot chocolate for Lucy. Linus asks Lucy how she likes it and she says, "It's terrible! It's too weak! It tastes like some warm water that has had a brown crayon dipped in it!.," to which Linus replies, "You're right. I'll go put in another crayon." We always laugh about it. So, just imagine our excitement when we found a recipe on page 80 of The Peanuts Holiday Cookbook titled 'Linus's Marshmallow Hot Chocolate' featuring the very comic strip across the top of the page! Giggle at the comic strip and enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate (crayon optional).
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Now, January typically means snow, but we here in Southeast Michigan have had little snow so far this winter, though we hope for enough to get out and play in soon. When it does snow, or if you have snow where you are, consider making some snow cream with your children. We made some last year and much to my surprise, it was rather yummy. Be sure to gather clean snow?
You might also want to consider watching Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear’s Snowbound where Granny makes snow cream with honey (which is what inspired us to give snow cream a try). You can find the episode on YouTube.
Happy reading & baking!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest additions, a daughter (now 4) for Kate, and two sons (now 1 and a newborn) for Amanda. We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
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We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.