My littlest dude loves to help his Mama. With. Everything. While I adore the way he looks up at me with those big innocent eyes, Help Mama! Help you? Pease? Seriously how can I say no to that. So we pull up a stool. And he helps. Whether it’s cooking, weeding the garden or putting away silverware from the dishwasher. Including him in the process makes it take about twice as long (if I am lucky), tests my patience, forces me to take deep breaths and slow down. But since when are exercising patience, deep breathing and taking my time bad things…?
We move through life so quickly and barely take the chance to appreciate the interactions we have with our kids. It was quite apparent to me when we sat down for dinner one night and began our evening ritual of sharing the favorite events of the day. We got to Zook, who usually makes something up to feel like he’s contributing although at two and a half, he’s barely able to sift through the day’s events to find a favorite- or so I thought. Zook, what was your favorite part of the day? Cook Mama. Cook [with] Mama. It was my most tedious and frustrating task of the day. The part of my day that caused the most amount of frustration because I had to slow down, take my time and breathe. Sounds pretty ridiculous now, huh? Yup. Really, so much about life can be learned from retrospect.
I am reminded of a previous post where I talked about Committing to No and realized I really need to go back to that. I need to breathe. This high strung Mama needs to relax a bit because her kiddos are becoming high strung offspring. Breathe Mama. Soak in the moments.
The day was gray. The air was cool and damp. We needed a project. Let’s make cookies! I decided to overhaul one of my favorite recipes for Oatmeal Cookies. We swapped out the granulated sugar for brown, half the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, used bittersweet chocolate chips (the kids don’t even know the difference) and added almond extract to kick up the flavor.
Baking with my kids is both my favorite thing in the world and one of the activities that stresses me out the most. I am constantly saying, Just a minute! You need to wait! Take turns! Wait for me! No, no that part is Mama’s job! When I am not spitting out these orders, my reflexes are exercised by yanking hands from mixer paddles, dodging liquids from elbows and prying fingers from bowls, spoons, mouths. Talk about intense! This is supposed to be fun?
But… Then I watch their faces and see their eyes light with pride when they crack an egg, pour the measuring cup, add the chocolate chips. This is a treat for them. Cooking is something they watch me do every day but rarely get the opportunity to be part of the process. The final tasting is magic. Such fulfillment crosses their gooey grins. Watching their satisfaction confirms my commitment of time to the project. And these little suckers will go pefectly over the ice cream I have stashed for my late night snack.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 Cup Butter, softened
1 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Cups Rolled Oats
1 1/2 Cups Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
*Baking powder can be swapped out for brewer’s yeast and ground flax seed can be added to make the world’s most delish lactation cookies
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix until well blended.
Combine flours and baking powder and add slowly to the butter mixture. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
Scoop using 1/2 inch melon-baller onto un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes; do not over cook.
Let cool on wire racks, if you can handle waiting that long!
These would kick Betty Crocker’s ass in a back alley brawl any day of the week!