Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something I learned from my mom - Teaching your kids to cook


My mom did a great job of teaching us how to cook growing up. She came up with a great idea that everyone had a night to help her with dinner. We set our nights according to our schedules - my night was Monday.


When we were younger we would help her pick out what to have at the beginning of the week so she could get the ingredients when she went grocery shopping. This taught us meal planning. On our night we would work in the kitchen together to prepare the meal. When we were little we would just add things as my mom measured them out. As we got older we would learn how to measure ourselves, and eventually read the recipe.


Once we were teenagers we were in charge of planning the meal ourselves and responsible for cooking that night. My mom was there to help, but we were in charge.



Because of this, I knew how to make simple things like spaghetti and jello by the time I was 8. I could make a full meal by reading the recipe on my own by age 12. I really liked this for a lot of reasons.

First, it taught us all to cook. I am still surprised when I talk to 12 or 13 year olds that don't even know how to make macaroni and cheese from a box. I eventually went to college and watched how hard it was for girls that didn't know how to cook and was grateful for a mom that gave me that skill. My brothers eventually becames missionaries for our church and were prepared when they left to eat more than toast and peanut butter and jelly.



Second, it gave us one-on-one time with our mom. My mom had 5 kids all 2 years apart, and this ensured individual time with each of them every week.





I have started this with my little girl already even though she can't do much. Obviously she can't help meal plan yet, but she can watch me cook. I sit her in her Bumbo chair on the counter and let her dump things in (with a little help of course.) If I am cutting with knives or cooking over the stove I don't want her within arms reach, so I put her on the floor with a whisk and a bowl and she stirs and stirs while I work on dinner.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another contest...

Well thanks in part to your voting I won a 4 night stay in Orlando for my magnet board and magnets.

I am currently in another contest for my DIY wood kitchen, so do me a favor and hop on over to vote for my project!


Just click "Vote" toward the top under "Is this a winner" next to the Krylon contest banner.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Update...and 2 winners!!

When I started this blog I promised myself I would never let it get in the way of me being a mom.  I haven't been posting much lately because I've been enjoying my summer with my little girl who is growing up way too fast, and helping my husband study for his 18-credits which are finally finished in just 2 1/2 short weeks.

I just got back from a relaxing trip to Lake Tahoe with Lily, so if you've tried to contact me via email lately that's why I am behind on my responses.

Ok...enough with the excuses.  Here are the 2 winners for the Buster Burger giveaway.

Jeff Hollan
Stephanie

Congrats to the winners!!  Stephanie: I didn't see an email to contact you by so make sure to email me with your address in the next 48 hours to claim your prize.

Today is a holiday in Utah so the post offices are closed, but I will mail out all remaining prizes that haven't gone out yet tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Buster Burger (ends July 18)

Last week I took my family to Buster Burger in South Jordan and we had a great time!  I had never been, but we were all very impressed.  Even though it was a little bit of a drive, I will definitely be going back again.


 We went on "Free Fry Fridays" where you get unlimited fries with the purchase of a combo meal.  We each got a combo meal and let me tell you - those fries were DELICIOUS!


This place is a great mix between fast food and restaurant style.  You get the convenience of getting your food quickly like fast food with fast food prices, but the quality of restaurant style burgers that are grilled right there in front of you, made to order.  They had a bunch of spices and sauces to put on your burger which was a lot of fun. 


I got cheese fries (which were incredible) but my husband came up with the awesome idea of putting Garlic Ramano on top of his fries.  Seriously, the best fries I've ever had.  At one point I stopped eating my burger because I couldn't get enough of his fries.


Don't get me wrong - the burgers were great too.  Grilled right in front of us, we got to choose our toppings.  I got a double with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions and mushrooms.  It was HUGE!

 Lily loved the place too, which was really convenient for me because then I had a chance to eat while she was busy chowing down.

 Above is the wall of condiments and toppings I mentioned.  This restaurant was super clean and modern - and it's attached to a TCBY with build-your-own-yogurt for dessert.

My husband sometimes works at a very high-end catering company so he can often be a food-snob when it comes to eating out.  (Sorry honey, but you know it's true.)  He loved this place and had nothing bad to say about anything...which says a lot.

Ok now that you're drooling over your screen, do you want to try it out?  I know you do!

Buster Burger has agreed to sponsor a giveaway for 2 of our readers!  Two of you will receive a $10 gift certificate to Buster Burger in South Jordan.

TO BE ELIGIBLE: You must be a public follower of this blog.

TO ENTER:  Just go to Buster Burger's website HERE and tell me what on the menu looks best to you.

EXTRA ENTRIES:  You can get 1 extra entry for each of the following:
- Follow Utah County Mom on facebook
- Follow Buster Burger on facebook
- Share this giveaway on facebook

As always with my giveaways, I count my entries manually so there is no need to leave more than one comment.  Just put all your entries into one comment below by July 18 at midnight and you'll be eligible to win!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lily's play kitchen - a DIY wood kitchen for under $100

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My little girl is growing up and I wanted to get her a little kitchen to play with.  I had heard of people turning old entertainment centers into kitchens and decided to try it out.  While I was measuring to see what would fit I saw my corner desk and knew it would be perfect for this project!  I asked my husband if he was attached to the desk, and although he was reluctant he eventually agreed to let me cut it up.

Before this project I had never used any power tools, so if I could do it I promise you can too!  And although I used some materials I had (the desk I started with, the paint, the faucet) I shopped for inexpensive items and made the whole thing for just over $50!  Even if you had to buy the paint you could do this project in under $100.







This project was a big one so I am going to have to split it up into multiple posts.

For the tutorial on the kitchen click HERE
For the tutorial on the sink click HERE
For the tutorial on the dishwasher click HERE
For the tutorial on the microwave click HERE
For the tutorial on the oven/stove click HERE

DIY wood kitchen for under $100 - The Kitchen

To start Lily's play kitchen I took a desk I already had and measured it all.  I wrote down all of the measurements so I could make a pattern.  I wanted to build cabinets under the desk, but if you started with an entertainment center you could put the sink and stove where the TV is supposed to be and the cabinets would already be built in.



For my pattern I put the bottom shelf 4 inches above the ground.  I did a piece of wood from the ground to the bottom of the shelf 2 inches in.

I took apart the whole desk and cut 6 inches off of each leg so the desktop was 23 1/2 inches high.

 In making the pattern for the cabinets, I would always measure twice (or three times) for the pattern to make sure it was right.  I also measured two or three times before cutting the wood to make sure I had it right.  I cut all of the wood using a table saw my mom's neighbor had.

The wood I did have to get I got at the local hardware store from the scraps section.  I got 5/8" thick MDF.  Often I find big sections of MDF in the scraps section for a few dollars or even 50 cents per board.

You don't have to paint your wood - you could leave it whatever finish the furniture you were using had (unless you are adding cabinets) or you could use spray paint or wall paint to paint everything one uniform color like I did.


After cutting the wood for the cabinets I primed and painted all of the wood - both the wood I had cut and the wood from the desk.  I already had the primer and paint from when the previous owners painted our house, so that part didn't cost me anything.  I did 2 coats of each using an oil-based white tinged primer and white flat paint.


I assembled the kitchen once it was primed and painted using screws and corner braces.

I started with it upside down and once the cabinets were built under the desk I turned it right side up to attach the hutch


For the tutorial on the sink click HERE
For the tutorial on the dishwasher click HERE
For the tutorial on the microwave click HERE
For the tutorial on the oven/stove click HERE
For the tutorial on the accessories click HERE
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DIY wood kitchen for under $100 - Sink

To do the sink for Lily's play kitchen I cut out a hole in the desk using a jigsaw in the shape of the bowl.  I put the bowl down inside and glued into place using wood glue.

To do the faucet I drilled out holes using our cordless drill to install an old sink my parents gave me.


For the tutorial on the kitchen click HERE
For the tutorial on the dishwasher click HERE
For the tutorial on the microwave click HERE
For the tutorial on the oven/stove click HERE
For the tutorial on the accessories click HERE
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DIY wood kitchen for under $100 - Oven/Stove



To make the stove for Lily's pretend kitchen, I started by taping off the area I wanted to be painted above the oven.  I painted the stovetop with black paint.


I took old CDs and super glued them 3 high for each burner.


 I used the CD spindle to help stack each CD exactly on top of the next one.

I then painted my burners black.


 bought oven knob replacements at my local hardware store.  The oven knobs came with a bunch of different adapters.  I chose the adapter with the smallest center hole to use for this project.   I then used a nail that had a head big enough it wouldn't go straight through the center hole on the adapter.  I made sure the nail was long enough to go into the desktop, but not too long to go straight through it.


I set the knobs where I wanted them to end up.  I used a level to make sure they were all in a straight line.  I marked the center of each knob using a pen.


I then put the nail through the adapter and nailed it into the desktop on the marks I had made.  Once the adapters were nailed in I pushed the knobs on, fitting them to the adapters.

I glued on the painted burners using wood glue.



For the oven I used the same tactic I used for the Microwave.  I cut a 6.25" by 8.25" rectangle in the oven door.  I then cut a 1/8" MDF board to be the same size as the door, and used a jigsaw to cut a 6" by 8" rectangle in the same place as the other piece of the door.  I glued the two pieces together using wood glue.  I spray painted the front an aluminum color and painted the back white.

I cut a 6.25" by 8.25" rectangle out of plexiglass and glued it in just like I had the microwave using a glue gun.  I then added cabinet hardware.

I added old racks I got from my local thrift store for the oven rack inside.  I also spray painted the drawer under the oven the same aluminum color.  I have the door swinging out not down because I was afraid if I did it down kids would step on it and break it.  I also installed a magnetic closure so it "clicks" when opened and closed.

For the tutorial on the kitchen click HERE
For the tutorial on the sink click HERE
For the tutorial on the dishwasher click HERE
For the tutorial on the microwave click HERE
For the tutorial on the accessories click HERE
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DIY wood kitchen for under $100 - Dishwasher

The dishwasher for Lily's pretend kitchen is my favorite part.

To do the dishwasher I sprayed the front an aluminum color using spray paint.  I added "pull" style cabinet hardware for this one.  I have the hinges at the bottom so the dishwasher actually opens like a real one.  The door rests on the floor so if kids do stand on it then it shouldn't be too hard on the hinges.


I used the cabinet hardware I had from the desk (from the drawer that I  turned into an oven) for the top rack.  I just screwed the drawer slides into the plastic and it worked great!  I put washers and nuts over the exposed screws on the inside of the basket to prevent it coming undone or scratching a child.


I bought drawer slides for the bottom basket since I didn't have any extra lying around.  I installed them on the bottom of the basket instead of the sides.  I also bought a utensil holder that actually came from a real dishwasher from my local thrift store for just $1.  I actually bought the baskets at the same thrift store for $1 each as well.

I also installed a magnetic closure so it "clicks" when opened and closed.  My little girl loves this and laughs and claps every time she opens it.


For the tutorial on the kitchen click HERE
For the tutorial on the sink click HERE
For the tutorial on the microwave click HERE
For the tutorial on the oven/stove click HERE
For the tutorial on the accessories click HERE
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DIY wood kitchen for under $100 - Accessories


To make the window for Lily's pretend kitchen I used an old picture frame and spray painted it black.  I took a picture of the view from my actual kitchen window and had it printed to put in the frame.


I sewed curtains by taking a scrap of fabric twice as wide as the picture frame and about 4 1/2 inches long.  I surged all of the edges and sewed under 1/4" to the sides and bottom of the fabric piece. 


I sewed under 1 1/4" to the top of the fabric piece.


I threaded 3/4" thick elastic through the top of the fabrc piece, using a safety pin on one end of the elastic to wiggly my way through the material.  I nailed each end of the elastic to the back of the picture frame securing it in place.  I also nailed the material to the center of the front of the frame tacking it down in the right place.




I found a lot of food and dishes (including  super cute kitchen aid for kids) off of Craigslist for just $12.  Buying used is definitely the way to go if you are on a budget!


I made salt and pepper shakers by taking actual shakers and adding rock salt and peppercorns.  I made sure the holes on the shakers were small enough no salt or peppercorns could get through.  After filling each shaker I glued the lids shut with super glue so they can't be opened by kids.

I already had the rock salt, peppercorns, and shakers so this was free for me.

I bought an old crock pot and cordless phone at my local thrift store for $3 each.  The crock pot has a plastic lid.  We plan on cutting off the cord and dipping the raw end in wax to prevent someone from plugging this thing in and "cooking" with it.



I threw the phone cords away, but my little girl loves carrying this phone around and "talking" on it to all of her baby friends

For the tutorial on the kitchen click HERE
For the tutorial on the sink click HERE
For the tutorial on the dishwasher click HERE
For the tutorial on the microwave click HERE
For the tutorial on the oven/stove click HERE
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