27 November 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Cooking Thanksgiving dinner with Kids: A Recipe for Stress-Free Family Fun

My two little helpers ages 3 and 5.  I bought these special aprons for them in anticipation of the big cooking day and they thought they were sooooo cool.


For the past 8 years, ever since my husband and I have been married, I've made Thanksgiving dinner.  Usually it is an elaborate affair with various family members, neighbors and friends joining in.  I would start planning at least a month ahead or more, did my shopping two weeks ahead, and had my cooking timeline written out in twenty minute increments starting two days before Thanksgiving.  The day of Thanksgiving, the kids were usually shooed out of the kitchen and my husband was put in charge of entertaining them.  I would spend all day amidst roasting pans, pots, casserole dishes, and chopping boards creating a gorgeous feast that would get rave reviews.  Of course I was exhausted afterwards and thinking back, I really didn't get to spend that much time with my family outside of eating because I was always holed away in the kitchen.
 
This year, all of the various family members whom we normally would have had to our house for the big day were going to be out of town so it was just going to be the boys, my husband and me.  Since it would be a small Thanksgiving for us, when my normal Thanksgiving meal planning started at the beginning of November (spurred on by Foodbuzz.com's proposal for Thanksgiving dinners), I realized that this year I wanted to spend time with my family instead of holing myself in the kitchen for two days.  I wanted this year to be stress-free and FUN!  This year, I wanted us to prepare our meal as a family.
 
My boys absolutely LOVE to help me in the kitchen, but the traditional Thanksgiving fare doesn't allow them to do that with all of the chopping (they are not knife safe yet), and opportunities to get burned from heavy roasting pans and hot pots.  I knew that if I wanted the boys to help cook, I was going to have to plan the menu around their attention spans, their tastes, and their abilities.  I had to think outside the "traditional" Thanksgiving box.  Thus, this "Kid-Centered" Thanksgiving menu and day was born.  The boys were able to help cook every dish in a stress-free day of cooking that accommodated their attention spans and nap schedules.  They also helped make all of the decorations.  I'll take you through our fun, family day to help give you confidence to include your kids in your next big meal.


Our cozy dinner table set for the big meal


Our edible turkey gobbler centerpiece 
Directions below



Our Turkey Gobbler centerpiece, Turkey Table topper (doubling as a bread basket) and our Sweet T.O.M. turkey cupcakes

The Menu

Appetizers:
-Turkey Tracks
-Spiced Nuts made in the crockpot

Turkey Tracks idea by FamilyFun.com
My little helper with his finished turkey tracks

Ingredients:
Whole wheat crackers
Cream Cheese
Peanut Butter
1 can of LaChoy Rice Noodles
Directions:
1.  Spread cream cheese or peanut butter on crackers.
2.  Top each cracker with the Rice Noodles arranging noodles to resemble a 3-toed turkey footprint.  Here is an example if you don't know what they look like.  (I printed this picture out so my son could see what they looked like too)




Ingredients:
4 cups of whole mixed nuts (I used a combination of pecans and hazelnuts)
1 egg white
1 tsp. water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:
1.  Place the nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan.  Toast by baking them in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.
2.  Place the toasted nuts in a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg white and water with a wire whisk until frothy.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour over nuts and stir gently to coat.
3.  Cover and cook on LOW setting for 4 hours, stirring once halfway through cooking.  Spread on waxed paper, separating into small clusters to cool.  Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 1 week.
My hubby taking the Sugared Pecans out of the crock pot



The Main Course
-Turkey Meatballs made in the Crock Pot
-Jellied Cranberry Sauce cooked in the microwave
-Whole wheat yeast rolls with flax meal
-Deviled eggs
-Sweet Potato Praline Marshmallow Casserole
-Olive Tray
-Green Salad
-Bamboo skewers of fresh fruit and cheese from Turkey Gobbler centerpiece


I know what you're thinking already, "Turkey Meatballs?  No roast turkey on Thanksgiving?"  Even though it wasn't traditional Thanksgiving food, we had so much fun making dinner that we didn't even miss it.  Below are the recipes.

Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs  recipe from About.com

The finished meatballs in steaming sauce

Ingredients:
3 cups barbecue sauce (your favorite)
2 cups apple jelly
3 Tbls. tapioca (for a thicker sauce)
2 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs, seasoned
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 lbs. ground turkey
vegetable oil
Squishing the ingredients together (What a face!)

Directions:
1.  In the crock pot insert, stir together barbecue sauce, apple jelly, tapioca, and vinegar.  Cover and cook on HIGH while preparing meatballs.
2.  For meatballs, in a large bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, milk, garlic powder, salt and onion powder.  Add ground turkey and squish up with your hands.  Shape into 3/4 inch meatballs.  
3.  Add a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil to pre-heated skillet over medium heat.  Add meatballs and brown on all sides.  Drain meatballs and add to crock pot.  Stir very gently to coat with sauce.
4.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Yield:  5 dozen meatballs
Rolling the meatballs

Jellied Cranberry Sauce recipe adapted from Baking Delights
This is a super simple, and extremely tasty recipe from a blog called Baking Delights.  Marye, the author, made this with her little 4 year old helper.  I adapted her recipe slightly by using frozen cranberries thus having to cook it longer.

Ingredients:
1 pound frozen whole cranberries
grated zest from one orange
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup water

Directions:
1.  In a microwave safe bowl, mix together cranberries, zest, sugar, juice, and water.
2.  Cover the mixture with waxed paper and microwave on high power, stirring every 2 minutes, until cranberries pop and mixture starts to bubble up (about 12 minutes).  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  It will jell slightly.
My little helper with cranberries before cooking

Whole Wheat Yeast Rolls with Flax Meal by Joie de vivre

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1 egg
4 Tbls. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbls. dried milk
2 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup softened butter (plus more for brushing on afterwards)
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax meal

Directions:
1.  Mix all ingredients except the flours and the flax meal together in a large mixing bowl.  Add the flours and flax meal and knead on counter for about 10 minutes until dough forms a smooth ball.
My little baker kneading the dough
Mama did most of the kneading

2.  Add dough to a generously greased (with shortening) bowl.  Roll your dough in the bowl to cover it with a thin layer of shortening.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough has doubled.  (Mine took about 2 hours)
3.  Punch the dough down gently and roll out on a cutting board to 12 x 18 inches.  (I did not need to flour my board but if you are worried about your dough sticking, flour it lightly)  Using a pizza cutter, cut dough short ways into 1/2 inch strips.
4.  Take your strips, make a knot, and then continue to thread the ends through the middle finally tucking them on the bottom.
5.  Place your rolls on non-stick baking pans or on greased baking pans.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 45 minutes. 
6.  Bake rolls at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes.  When you remove them from the oven, brush the tops with melted butter.


My helper and I are cutting the dough into strips

The knotted rolls during the second rise


Deviled Eggs 
This is one of those recipes that I do by feel, but everyone does this one by feel, don't they?

Ingredients:
Eggs
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Sweet Relish
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika, for garnish

1.  Place your eggs in a pot of cold water.  Bring to a boil then turn off the heat and cover for 17-18 minutes.  Drain the hot water gently and add cold water to pot.
2.  When eggs are cool enough to handle, peel off the shells.
3.  Cut eggs in half long ways and pop out the yolks.  Put aside the whites and place the yolks in a small bowl.  Add a little mayonnaise, mustard, relish and salt and pepper and squish up with a fork.  
4.  Add the yolk mixture to the holes of the egg whites
5.  Sprinkle a little paprika on top of your deviled eggs.

Peeling eggs (truthfully he liked the cracking part MUCH more than the peeling part)


Sweet Potato Praline Marshmallow Casserole adapted slightly from Emerils.com
*Aside from the yeast rolls, this was my favorite.  It was sweet and creamy with a crunchy praline topping.  Who needs pie when they can dive into this yumminess?

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes
4 Tbls. unsalted butter, softened and divided
2 Tbls. heavy cream
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, divided
2 Tbls. orange juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup pecan pieces
2 cups mini marshmallows

Directions:
1.  Place the sweet potatoes in a large, heavy pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil.
2.  Cook the potatoes at a low boil until they are fork-tender, between 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.  
3.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Set the potatoes aside and let cool for about and hour.
4.  Meanwhile, place the oven rack in the center position and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, place the potatoes on a cutting board and cut in half lengthwise.   Gently but firmly squeeze each potato to remove the meat from the skin.  Discard the skins and place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl.
6.  Add 2 Tbls. of the butter, the heavy cream, 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, allspice, and salt to the potatoes and mix well with a large wire whisk until smooth.
7.  In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbls. butter, the remaining 1 cup brown sugar, and the pecan pieces.  Stir with a fork to blend well.
8.  Spoon the mashed sweet-potato mixture into a 12" x 8" casserole dish.  Dot the top evenly with the pecan mixture, then sprinkle the marshmallows over the nuts.
9.  Bake until the marshmallows are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
10.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

My helper adding the marshmallows.  This was also his favorite dish of the evening.

Dessert
-Sweet T.O.M. turkeys


Our table set for dessert with our turkey place mats and Turkey Table topper

Sweet T.O.M. turkeys adapted slightly from FamilyFun.com
A Sweet T.O.M. turkey

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
Chocolate Frosting
3 oval shortbread cookies (I used Keebler Sandies 100 calorie pack shortbread) per turkey
6 to 10 candy corn pieces per turkey
White icing
A chocolate sprinkle, for the eye.  One per turkey
Red icing

Directions:
1.  Frost the cupcakes, then press in a cookie head and two cookie wings.
2.  Press in a row or two of candy corn tail feathers
3.  To make an eye, add a small dot of white icing to the head, then add a chocolate sprinkle in the middle for the pupil.
4.  For the beak, cut the white end off one candy corn.  Put a little dab of white frosting in the correct spot and press the white end into it.  Add a line of red icing at the base of the beak for the wattle.

The men mixing up the chocolate cupcakes

The dog, hoping that a cupcake will fall, as the boys frost them




The Crafts:
-Edible Turkey Gobbler Centerpiece
-Turkey Bread Basket
-Thumb print turkey placemats
From Left to Right:  Edible Turkey Gobbler Centerpiece, Sweet T.O.M. turkeys, Turkey bread basket

Edible Turkey Gobbler Centerpiece adapted slightly from FamilyFun.com


Making the fruit and cheese skewers for the Edible Turkey Gobbler

Ingredients:
1 Spagetti Squash (body)
1 Bosc pear (head)
Cheese cubes (beak and tail feathers)
Red pepper (snood, feet, and side feathers)
Raisins (eyes)
Grapes (tail feathers)
Mandarin oranges (tail feathers)
Pineapple chunks (tail feathers)
Bamboo skewers
Toothpicks

Directions:
1.  Stabilize the squash body by cutting a slice off of one side so that the squash will have a flat base.  Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon as shown.  (Close up photo at the very top of this post)
2.  Cut a cheese triangle beak and a red pepper snood.  Attach both, along with the raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick.
3.  Cut red pepper feet and set them in place.  For the tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes, mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks and grapes, then insert the skewers as shown.  
4.  Attach red pepper side wings to the sides with toothpicks.


Turkey Bread Basket adapted from FamilyFun.com
Painting the paper plates that make up the feathers, wings and head of the Turkey Bread Basket

Supplies needed:
Cheap white paper plates
Washable acrylic paints and paint brushes
Clothes pins
Hot glue gun
Two google eyes
Large brown paper bag
Piece of corrugated cardboard
Clothes pins

Directions:
1.  The day before assembly, paint a bunch of paper plates and let dry.  These you will cut into feather shapes.  Also, paint one paper plate red on both sides, and three others red on one side only.
2.  When the plates are dry, cut them into large feather shapes.  Save your red plates, as well as two other plates that will form the side wings.  Hot glue the feathers onto clothes pins.
3.  For the turkey's body, trim the brown paper bag so that it measures about 8 inches tall.  Then, fold down the sides so that they are half the height and double the thickness.  Hot glue these sides together.  Cut the cardboard to fit in the bottom of the bag and hot glue in place.
4.  Take one of your red paper plates and place on the inside back of the bag, glue in place.  Take another red plate and place on the outside of the bag to reinforce the first paper plate.  Glue together.  Another red paper plate will be folded in half and attached to the inside plate halfway down so that two rows of tail feathers can be attached.  Glue to the first plate.
5.  For the side wings, take two paper plates and fold in half, glue one to each side of the bag.
6.  For the head, using the red paper plate that was painted on both sides, fold in the sides to make a point.  Fold down the point to make the head.  Glue onto the front of the bag.  
7.  Attach google eyes with glue and attach feathers with clothes pins to the paper plates in the back in a fanned out position.
8.  Place a napkin in the middle of the bag and add your dinner rolls!
9.  If you are confused, just click on the FamilyFun.com link.  I adapted their directions slightly, but they have better diagrams.

Thumb Print Turkey Place Mats idea adapted from Thrifty Fun
The boys, holding their freshly laminated Thumb print turkey placemats

Supplies needed:
One place mat sized poster board per person
Washable acrylic paint in brown, red, orange and yellow
A white acrylic paint pen
A permanent black marker

Directions:
1.  Using a paper plate as your paint pallet, put a small amount of each color of paint onto the plate.
2.  Dip your thumb in brown paint and make one print for the turkey's body.  Wash your thumb and then dip in Red.  Stamp a ring of red around the brown for the turkey's tail feathers.  Repeat for orange and yellow. 
3.  Set aside to dry.
4.  When dry, use the white acrylic paint pen to make the whites of the turkey's eyes.  Let dry.
5.  When dry, use the black permanent marker to make the turkey's pupils, draw legs and three toes on turkey, and write "Happy Thanksgiving" around the turkey.
6.  Laminate your finished place mats (I took mine to Kinkos) to make wiping up Thanksgiving spills easy.
The little Picasso's working on their Thumb print turkeys

The End Result:
Thanksgiving was so much fun this year.  No one was stressed, we had a great dinner, and there were lots of fun memories and funny conversations.  This was definitely trial by fire in terms of initiation into letting the kids help in the kitchen, but the result and process was so positive, I will not hesitate to let them help in the kitchen again.  (Unless they have snotty and drippy noses, but that is for a different reason!)  Just look at the smiles!



How to cook with your children:

1.  Keep it simple.
2.  Keep them on their schedules.
3.  Take breaks.
4.  Have FUN!
Although the cooking was done in a day, the crafts were started 4 days beforehand.  This allowed us to enjoy each activity and not get overwhelmed with things that needed to be done.  The cooking started around 9:00 a.m. for a 5:00 p.m. supper, so the pace was slow.  Also, utilizing the crock pots helped immensely as it allowed us to put things on early and move onto other things.  When the boys needed a break, they took it, and spent the better part of an hour in the morning playing cops and robbers.  They were always excited to come back and help cook when they were done playing.  We also kept them on their schedules, ate lunch (the turkey tracks with some fruit and ham slices) when they normally did and put the little one down for his nap at the right time.
When doing this on your own, think of what your children can do and be successful at in the kitchen, adding ingredients, stirring, kneading, etc. and keep it simple.  But most importantly, have fun!  Enjoy your time together because they won't be little forever!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

59 comments:

nini said...

What a great post with such wonderful ideas for decorating and cooking! I'm going to try the sweet potato recipe for Chrismas I think.

You looked great cooking with the boys. Love to you all!

marye said...

I love it! Good for you! Those memories will last much longer than a gourmet meal!
Glad you liked the cranberry sauce. :)

sowmya said...

beautiful spread...so sweet of your family to help you with everything..hope you had a great time..

Carolyn said...

You are so not a teacher! How fabulous! Love it! That's it...I'm having kids just so I can do this dinner!

Foodycat said...

What a great day! You have a very beautiful family (and I think the meatballs sound really good).

Reeni said...

How wonderful! Everything looks terrific, the turkey meatballs, yum! I love the turkey cupcakes, so cute. Thanks for sharing all those recipes and pictures of your day with us. I bet you all had a lot of fun.

Sam said...

It looks like you had a great time, it all sounds wonderful!

I love the centrepeice!

HuggingtheCoast.Com said...

What a lovely idea...kids love helping out! Those kids will never forget this Thanksgiving!

FYI: I'll definitely be linking to your 24, 24, 24 blog post on my blog tomorrow!

Lori said...

What a beautiful Thanksgiving spread...and cute little helpers! :)

Anne said...

What a fun thanksgiving and great job getting the kids involved! Mine is almost two and tries to help, which is usually worse, but I think teaching him to enjoy the process is most important.

Those rolls, by the way.... look incredible (or should I say incroyable!)

Sheila said...

This is such a great idea! Not only did it seems less stressful, the food is perfect for little ones. The right size and ready whenever they are.

Great ideas!

Wandering Coyote said...

This is a great post! It definitely looks like a wonderful time was had by all.

Thanks for stopping by my site and commenting; I really appreciate it.

HangryPants said...

What a great idea! Seems like you were really able to have fun, enjoy your kids, eat good food and be thankful all at the same time. Perfect!

Maria said...

What a fun day! I love the turkeys! Super cute!

Ricki said...

What a fabulous feast--everything looks so amazing! Great post :)

Thanks for your comment on my blog--much appreciated! And yes, of every person in the entire country, I happened to know that ONE GUY she named!! Very random, indeed (and also really ticked me off, because now she actually believes that all Canadians know each other!!).

I'm off to check out your archives! :)

Shannalee || Food Loves Writing said...

How adorable and what a loving gift to your family, to include them in not just the eating but the preparing of the meal. I can tell from the photos that your boys were having a blast! :)

doggybloggy said...

how cool that you did a '24' for thanksgiving.....

Heather said...

wow! what a lovely thanksgiving! it looks like you and your family had such a wonderful time! and your little kidlet sous chefs are so cute :)

Curry Leaf said...

Wow and Wow,Nice post,nice spread and wonderful kids.I am waiting for my daughter to grow up and help me.Its lovely.This is indeed the best way to celebrate Thanksgiving-full of Love and togetherness.

Joanna said...

well, missy!! you certainly went all out on this thanksgiving dinner!!! you and your kids look so happy together. i love their little aprons. i don't think my mom could pay my sister to wear one. i, on the other hand, can't cook without mine!!

ps- i didn't ask lands' end dog if he washed his hands or not. let's just cross our fingers and hope for the best!! haha

Julie said...

That's so wonderful how you involved the kiddies in everything! They'll remember that forever (in some way). I love the turkey centerpiece!

Rachel said...

A very interesting read and visuals..your little helpers are adorable..Wish I could have been there to share the wonderful time...

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nice job! Your kids are adorable in their aprons:-)

Kinton said...

Wow.

You just got a gold star and an automatic A, for best mom and most thorough blogger.

Can I steal the Turkey Centerpieces for next year? I LOVE IT!

p.s. Do you have any ideas for a reindeer?

Bellini Valli said...

So refreshing to see a Thanksgiving geared towards the kids and having them be instrumental in preapring the meal for the big day. The kids will always have those memories:D

Lori Lynn said...

Love love love this post. I cook with my two nephews, now 4 and 6. So many things about this are great. Especially like the outfits and the crafts. Your menu is terrific too. Congrats on Foodbuzz 24,24,24!

Kim said...

What a cute post, and your family is precious! You have some good helpers and a dog patiently awaiting for the crumbs. After all the work and play preparing it looks like you had a delicous feast to enjoy.

alwayswinner786 said...

What a wonderful post. Your little chefs are very cute,lovely and surely hard working.You really have a lovely caring family.Lots of love to you all!

I will try those deviled eggs.They look really delicious.

ncfoodie said...

What a sweet Mom you are!! Your day clearly took loads of planning, but the pictures show how much the boys enjoyed it. I'm super impressed. My daughter loves to help me in the kitchen, but my son is mainly interested in the results:)

Chef E said...

I cannot stop smiling...Oh, and my son is in college and on his own now, and I miss those days! I love the fruit turkey, my own mother used to do that...make whales, etc

We also lost live stock growing up to cougars and things in Texas, but there was nothing like fresh and organic ingredients, unlike our food sold today...

I read your whole blog with a french accent in my mind...

Salute...Je m'appelle...E

mikky said...

i love your helpers and the fact that everyone was involved in creating your meal made it more perfect... :)

Grace said...

good googa mooga! i don't even know where to begin, it's all so fabulous! i love your sweet potatoes, your centerpiece, your nuts. let's be serious--i love it all. :)

Purva Desai said...

Ur kiddos look adorable.....and soo sweet of them to help mummy in the kitchen....
They look cute with their chef attire..
Everything looks grand and delicious...I am sure you all must have enjoyed the feast..
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Diana said...

Your have two crockpots?! Nice!

I LOVE your idea for Thanksgiving. Some of my best memories with my mom are learning to cook and make garnishes and fun things like that. What a great way to keep the focus on family and spend time together. They will treasure those memories so much.

anudivya said...

That is quite some spread... looks lovely. And that edible turkey... how cute is that!

Mindy said...

Oh my gosh...my 2 1/2 year old would love the edible turkey centerpiece! I'm going to keep this in mind for next year!

Robin Sue said...

This is probably the best piece of advice ever! Most people are too proud to let go of tradition and put on the perfect meal which would not allow children in the kitchen but you found a way to include them! This is wonderful and what great tips you give along the way! I love that the nuts can be done in the crock pot. Way easier. This post gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling, thanks!

Christie @ fig & cherry said...

Looove the edible centre piece and those boys look adorable in those outfits! :)

We Are Never Full said...

no THAT is a post! that must've taken you all day! but what an adorable post and great ideas. your kids are cute... and they are obviously happy and well fed!

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

Wow, you have put a lot of work into this post!
What a wonderful looking meal and menu. Your boys look so cute.
I love the fruity turkey. great idea.

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

OMG, what a great post! you put a lot of work into it.
Very cute boys you got, and very helpful.
I love the fruity turkey. Cool idea.

Karen said...

What a great idea - I bet the boys just loved being part of the making of the meal. You came up with such cute and age-appropriate things for them to cook, too! Love the turkey-track crackers :)

Candy said...

What fun! Just what the holidays are about.

Chef E said...

I forgot to say I love the eggs!

Anneliese said...

What a memorable day you created for your kids!

Susan said...

What a super post- you had a feast and I have to say you have 2 of the cutest sous chefs I have ever seen! Great way to get them started! Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

jd said...

I *love* those Turkey Tracks - what a cute idea!

Looks like you had a fantastic Thanksgiving :)

Lori said...

I love the kids in their chef outfits! I also love Tom the turkey with fruit sticking out! Great pics!

Sarah and Gan said...

looks like your whole family had a great time cooking together! and you have two future top chefs there! :) Happy Holidays!

Sarah & Gan

Sharon said...

Wow, everything looks amazing! Love the pics of the kids hard at work

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

There is nothing better than cooking together with family or friends. It's those moments that you can remember year after year. BTW, your kids are so cute :) Beautiful family...

Vera said...

Your little helpers are cool and cute!
And what an amazing spread!

rookie cookie said...

You are an incredibly cool mom. I want you to be my mom. Crafts and fun cooking? So cool. Keep it up.

Andrea said...

Wow, what an accomplishment! Cooking all of that with the help of kids. Your kids are definitely not going to be afraid of the kitchen when they grow up! Playing dress up in some snazzy new aprons never hurts either, I'm sure!

Rico said...

I think is lovely to get your kids involved at such a young age into cooking, I myself started cooking when I was 8 years old and just loved it....didn't do much but I did do some mean soups and cookies as well as popcorn..my mum never encouraged me into cooking this was all my own initiative...If I just had a mum like you ...who knows...well done

Varsha Vipins said...

your helpers are too cute..:)..lovely ..hope u enjoyed..:)

NuKiwi said...

Love it!!! Oh, those centerpieces are priceless! Have a great holiday in Hawaii - looking forward to seeing what you come back with.
Cheers!
NuKiwi

Alicia said...

Hi Mandy,
I'm so proud of you. Your blog is awesome. It was so fun to see the cutie pics of my nephews too.

Love, A proud little sis

Jeannie said...

You have 2 handsome boys to help you. What a loving family! Great blog.

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