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Do you ever feel like you are holding your children back? This is a hard thing for me to admit, because I do try to evaluate so many opportunities for them and choose activities that they are interested in, while nurturing any inherent talents.

My daughter, who is 6, asks to cook all the time and yesterday I let her have a go at it.  As I mentioned in this post, sometimes it’s just easier to do all the cooking myself and encourage the kids to play.  But, who is that really helping in the long run? Actually, it helps neither of us – there are missed opportunities for skill development and also for some relaxation time in the future for mom when my daughter is cooking for me!

So, yesterday, she asked me if she could make some soup.  I told her that she was welcome to look through some cookbooks to find a recipe that could be made from ingredients we had.  After paging through a couple books and not finding anything that appealed to her or that we had ingredients for, she settled on Lemon Rosemary Potatoes from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton.

I thought – “perfect!” We had the potatoes and everything else needed, the recipe was on her level and would give her a lot of steps to show her how much goes into a single recipe.

She started by running out to our garden and picking two sprigs of rosemary (the same rosemary from last year that was still thriving!).  She scrubbed all the Yukon Gold potatoes with our veggie scrubber, then chopped them up using my small 5″ santoku knife (which happened to be the perfect sized knife for her).  As she was chopping the potatoes, I taught her hold to hold the knife and her fingers.  I told her that her knife skills are going to be amazing by the time she’s my age since I only really learned how to use a knife well 10 years ago.

She is learning knife skills at 6.

She cleaned the rosemary, then I explained to her how to pull all the leaves from the stem.  We chopped the rosemary together, talking about how we wanted the pieces to be fine since rosemary can be very woody, overpowering and a little much to chew.

She washed and squeezed the lemons, making sure that the lemon seeds didn’t get into the juice, then we measured the correct amount together.

We measured the olive oil together, then she chose the correct measuring spoon for the salt and even cranked the pepper mill.

After tossing everything together with her hands, we put the potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet.

I showed her how to preheat the oven and how to handle our oven door (it’s heavy and can slam if you’re not careful).

So many lessons in one little recipe.

Well, the result of her efforts was simply perfect.  I have to say these were the best roasted potatoes I have ever eaten, period.  Loads of flavor with caramelized edges.  Crispy on the outside and tender and soft on the inside.

Yes, it was a great recipe, but it wouldn’t have been successful without everything she did.

On another topic, I just have to share how inspired I have been since reading Renee’s ebook, Nurturing Creativity.  We’ve always had art supplies on hand, but after a few years of using lousy quality supplies I have decided to invest in better quality – some professional – supplies.

After a trip to a local arts and crafts store yesterday, we came home with a nice start to our new collection.  We’ll add a few new things every week or couple of weeks.  See the colored pencils? While I do love Prismacolor, I used these Koh-I-Noor Woodless Colour Pencils at a friend’s house recently and fell in love.  They have rich colors that are solid throughout the pencil.  Now, we’re just waiting for the revered book Drawing with Children to arrive (I found a used copy on amazon).

Please share what’s new with you – what are your kids cooking up these days? Do you have any beloved art supplies you think we’d love, too?