This post is for letter “B” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays. To see a full list of posts, click here.
My family comes from a long line of fantastic bakers. As amazing as this may sound for my kids, this could easily have put them at a disadvantage to enjoying the Christmas season.
Why? Well simple, because I want everything to be perfect, which could only mean one thing, no kids in the kitchen.
Luckily for them, I was raised by my mom who always made sure we got in the kitchen to help and in December it counted as school in our homeschool. Perfection was cast aside in exchange for memories made together. Our cookies looked hob knob at best, but we had cherished those times together, especially at Christmastime. Maybe my Mom didn't serve up world class desserts to our friends and family, but instead our kitchen was warm with the gifts that we created alongside her.
Imperfectly perfect decorated sugar cookies loaded with sprinkles and candy mountains on top.
Or Buckeyes rolled lumpy and under dipped in chocolate, even as an adult, my Dad may still wince over that one but my sister and I always have a good laugh over it.
Russian Tea Cakes rolled in powdered sugar with a chance of messy fingers, clothes and floor.
We may have even veered away from the family Fudge recipe from time to time, a mistake always, but a mistake allowed nonetheless.
Sometimes Triple Oreo Fudge really does sound better that Chocolate Walnut but our transgressions are soon forgiven when we go back to the family favorite.
How much fun are perfectly made Christmas cookies, if the kids aren't allowed to participate in the fun?
So I vowed to let my kids help, the way my Mom did, even if I thought it would slowly torture every perfectionist part of me. Letting go of the imperfect mess that settles over our house each and every third & fourth week of December has been freeing for me.
After all, God gave us Jesus Christ as a tiny infant!
When I consider that, I realize that I can make myself patient for my little ones and make some Christmas memories. Jesus doesn't call us to perfection, but instead, to bring our imperfections to Him and He makes them beautiful. Now creating these messes is a perfect reminder of why God had to send his Son in the first place.
When we focus on Jesus, the enchantment just happens. I love when I can find ways to add more enchantment into our homeschool and Christmas is the perfect time for it. When you can find ways to add enchantment to your homeschool, that is what draws kids hearts closer to the heart of Jesus and our family.
Now I invite my kids into our kitchen with their imperfections and mine, together we create our imperfect gifts to offer our friends and family. Made with love, sprinkles, music and giggles we offer up our Christmas goodies to those who will accept us as we are, just as Jesus did.
This is the time of year to draw our children into the action even if it adds to the chaos, but not without a few tricks up my apron sleeve!
- Get organized for Christmas before the Christmas season hits
For the last few years I have followed The Merry Little Christmas Project so I am ready for Christmas by the beginning of December, with the exception of cooking and baking. One of the ways I prepare for my Christmas baking in advance is by making a list of everything I plan to make. Having a plan keeps me from adding last minute baking that is most likely going to replace enchantment with stress. Even going through ingredients you have and starting a Christmas baking shopping list will give you a surprising head start! Additionally it gives you the chance to start buying things as they go on sale, score! Once I am thrown into the Christmas season, having a plan allows me to focus on making those enchanting Christmas memories with my kids free of stress over my To-Do lists.
- It Counts As School
I am “that” homeschool mom, you know, the one who has a difficult time taking breaks from school? I am finally coming around to the fact that we can take this time throughout the month of December to have entire days dedicated to baking if we want to. What are my kids learning during this time? This is Organic Education at it's finest while we work on Life Skills, Math, Art, Science, as well as learning to serve others and instil good work ethic. We work hard all day, then we will share our cookies with others as well as each other! My littles serve me by helping with the dishes and serve each other when the older ones help with the younger siblings. Has anyone ever noticed how many Holiday related distractions kids have in public school? I no longer feel guilty taking the time to enjoy baking together!
- Prep What You Can
If you have babies or toddlers it helps tremendously to do the trickier things during naptime. Have you ever tried melting White Chocolate over a stop top to that perfect temperature, while a baby is crying? I have and it can suck the joy out and ruin the chocolate! The day we decorate sugar cookies is usually a pretty huge ordeal, so I prepare the dough in the morning, which usually only takes about 20 minutes, I let the dough hang out in the fridge until naptime, then I bake the cookies & prepare frosting so it’s all ready before my toddler wakes up from his nap. Sometimes I even decorate a few cookies with my big kids before I get the littlest ones up, just so we can have that time when I can focus on helping them, before bringing all the toddler drama into the baking mess.
Here are some of my favorite recipes to use with kids…
Ghirardelli Brownies(Brownie Mix From Costco) With Christmas M & M's on top!
Pretzel M & M Hugs
White Chocolate Chex Mix
Super Soft Sugar Cookies
Cranberry Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hot Chocolate Poke Cake
White Chocolate Peppermint Drops
Chocolate Almond Pound Cake Cookies
If you have never sat down to bake Christmas cookies with your kids before, I dare you to add some imperfect, Christmas baking to your Homeschool this December! The day will come when perfect cookies abound. For now, rest in these enchanting Christmas memories with your Littles!
This post was contributed by MJ from Soaring Arrows. Get to know her:
We are a homeschool family with four pretty typical littles! Dreaming Daughter is 8, Tenderhearted Guy is 6, Wild Little Girl is 4 and Little Brave is 2. I am a Homeschool Girl turned Homeschool Mom, a long story with an unlikely ending that is still in progress. Like all Moms of all kinds I have bad days and great days, you won't be spared from either kind! I believe that life cannot be lived redemptive without vulnerability. My mission here at Soaring Arrows is to create a place where Moms can come to be refreshed, challenged and humored. Your child will be an arrow in this world without question. The real question is, will you send blank arrows shooting aimlessly through the sky? Or arrows which soar swiftly to their mark?
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