Every kid wants to be in the kitchen…using the coolest tools…making a huge mess…listening in on the family stories…because it’s in the kitchen where the action of family and food happen. Giving kids a chance to practice life skills that are yummy and easy was the goal for our second WC Academy Class. Housekeeping Basics was our first and we continue to hear from parents how the help at their homes has greatly improved since their kids took the class.

We ordered aprons to use another day and gave them chef hats to take home. No need for name tags since we used a food container to take from station to station with names.

We set up five stations, each with a different skill and different kind of food:

Item: Chocolate covered strawberries & pretzel sticks
Supplies: Microwave, glass bowls, wooden and metal spoons, wax paper
Shopping List: White and brown chocolate bark, strawberries, large pretzel sticks
Tips: Even a drop of water will mess up melted chocolate (which we had an example of).

Item: Punch & Peach Salsa
Supplies: Glass bowls, spoons, ladle, beverage dispenser, ice
Shopping List: Ginger Ale, cranberry juice, salsa, peach fruit cups, tortilla chips (different colors)
Tips: Ginger ale will lose it’s bubble if poured too fast; straining the peaches makes for a better, thicker salsa so let the kids pull back only a little on the fruit cups to strain the juice; using blue and brown chips makes for a more visually appealing plate; most had never seen a ladle before nor knew what it was called; dropping in orange slices or strawberries makes punch look pretty; we used a Styrofoam cup we tore down half-way to make for a dipping cup in the food carrier to keep the salsa from touching everything else.

Item: Fruit kabobs
Supplies: long toothpicks, plastic knives, paper plates
Shopping List: String cheese, green grapes
Tips: Teach to ‘saw’ rather than ‘chop’ food with a plastic knife to cut string cheese into cubes; pre-cut small bunches of grapes for students to wash and dry.

Item: Grilled Cheese Sandwich (gotta have an element of danger, right?!)
Supplies: Electric frying pan, egg turner/pancake flipper, paper plates, metal spoon to spread butter
Shopping List: tub/soft butter, bread, sliced cheese
Tips: Kids were taught altogether at the beginning of class how to make a grilled cheese because of the heat and the time constraints; a lot of my kids couldn’t spread the butter even though the back of a spoon makes it easier, so the ‘beautiful golden bread’ happened for some and not for others (They LOVED it anyway! Who doesn’t like butter and a lot of it?); leave the butter out of the fridge for a bit to get softer and make it easier to spread. Station signs were paper bags in the center of the tables to keep the trash and wrappers at bay. Cleaning up as you go is a life skill in itself, yes?

Item: Pinwheel Sandwich
Supplies: Toothpicks, paper plates, knives to slice roasted peppers, metal teaspoons for spreading cream cheese, vegetable peelers (got from the dollar store for half price after Christmas)
Shopping List: Large head of romaine lettuce, whipped cream cheese, baby spinach leaves, small flour tortillas, slices of oven-roasted deli turkey, provolone cheese, roasted pepper from a jar, carrots, toothpicks
Tips: Using whipped cream cheese (much easier to spread than original cream cheese) instead of mayo keeps the items in the tortillas rather than sliding so cutting the roll-up into pinwheels is much easier; the colors are beautiful from the side of a pinwheel; cut the hard center from a romaine lettuce leaf with a veggie peeler so it’ll roll smoothly; thankfully huge carrots are inexpensive so they could peel to their heart’s content over their own tall garbage can; when ordering the turkey and cheese, ask the deli to place a piece of paper between each slice; plan for 1 slice of turkey and a half slice of cheese for each pinwheel.

In between the 3rd and 4th rotation, we stopped for a beverage (punch) break as I shared the story of how Jesus fed the 5,000: he uses what kids have to offer, he blesses, he multiplies, we gather together, and leftovers. Jesus can and will do mighty things with what a kid brings to Him. Jesus can do anything!

Some students ate as they traveled from station to station. Some students snacked as they went. One student waited until she got home so she could show her parents everything she had made. This same student had her Mom send me a pic last weekend showing a beautifully grilled cheese sandwich she made on her own at home. Certificates were handed out at the end with testimony time with the items, supply and shopping lists printed on the back.

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8