Cake pops and banana bread

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My children love baking. It’s become a hobby of Anna’s. Inspired by shows like Worst Cooks in America and Cupcake Wars, to name a few, she loves whipping things together with no recipe. Typically, her homemade baked goods are inedible but she’s not doing it to eat, really. She just likes doing the live commentary as if she’s the host of her own cooking show.

I’m almost convinced that they actually just are doing it to drive me nuts. It’s an excuse to make an absolute mess, which is why I often times say no. However, it’s also an opportunity to measure, follow directions, and use the mixer. Their fun is annoying to me most days as I envision the flour I’ll mop off the floor and dishes that will pile up in the sink. Wasted ingredients and a messy kitchen just seems like it’s not worth the trouble most days.

But, lucky for them, yesterday was not most days. I gave it to not one but two baking projects. Anna wanted to make cake pops with her  cake pop maker that she’s had for months. Brody didn’t want to be left out so he chose banana bread since we had a couple mushy bananas just begging to be used.

The cake pop recipe Anna chose was red velvet (another excuse to use the loathed food coloring). She read the list of ingredients and followed the directions pretty well on her own, talking through her mixing and measuring. We ended up with cute little pink (not red) pops that tasted like vanilla. Her homemade glaze didn’t work out but Brody liked them and ate two, which made her very pleased.

Then, bowls and teaspoons piling up, Brody began his baking challenge with a tried and true recipe. Again, I supervised as he struggled to pour the flour from the bag to the measuring cup. We got to the last step and were just about to pour the batter into the pan when Brody says, “Mom, what about the bananas?”. Well, good thing someone knows what they’re doing because we were about to end up with a bland, sweet loaf of bread.

My point is that they are more capable than I want to give them credit for. The deal was they had to completely clean the kitchen afterwards. That’s usually the deal, but  I usually have to follow-up behind them. However, they actually worked as a team mopping, unloading, AND loading the dishwasher. When I came back from yoga, the kitchen was back to where it started.

So, why is it that we sometimes stifle their creativity and fun just because we don’t want what we think will be more work? I know sometimes it’s because I’m tired and lazy. I’d rather just not deal with one extra chore. Many times, we just think it’s just easier to clean the kitchen, make their bed , or clean their room. When we do it (whatever it is), we do it the way we think it needs to be done.

So, I’m learning to let go. I’m learning to loosen up. I’m learning that it’s ok to get a little messy in life. I’m learning that experimenting and exploring is just as important as the finished project. I’m learning to appreciate the process and not just the end result. I’m learning that living with dirty floors doesn’t kill you.

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I bought this towel awhile ago to help me feel better when I am reminded I have 3 dogs, 2 kids, and no housekeeper. It’s a good reminder. Now, I’m about to go eat a piece of that yummy, homemade banana bread for breakfast! Thank you, Brody!

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