KIKn it! Part one: the conception.

I’ve been waiting to publish this post… mostly because I needed to make sure that it was something that I would keep doing beyond the initial “weeee!” phase of new ideas.

But since I outlasted any record that I have set in the past 15 years of marriage and 12 years of mommy hood, I thought it was a pretty good indication that I might just be on to something.  Well that, and the kids have now adopted KIK as set-in-stone-tablets commandments of the home so I know they won’t let me brush it off anytime soon.

Here’s how it all started… and how I turned (well, how I’m trying really hard to turn) my mess into my message:

If I were in charge of a standardized test and one of the sections was on synonyms, my question would be:

bamboo shoots under fingernails are to torture like:

meal planning is to Jen

Seriously.  Hate everything about it.  In the twelve years that I have had children, I have done it for exactly 2 weeks.  Those two weeks were great after the planning and shopping were done, but the planning and shopping part… well… there are just other things that I would much rather do than actually sit down to do it.  Things like clean my toilets.  With a toothbrush.

Many a new year have come and gone with “Plan meals!” as one of my goals.

I even made a cutsie menu display to hang in the kitchen, complete with designs that could be changed for different holidays.







(Which, in hindsight was a really bad idea… if I didn’t even change the menu week to week, what made me think I would change the background for different seasons??!)


With all of my efforts from year to year, our menu planning/carrying out ratio was about 2 days tops.

And year after year, my frustration with dinner time grew and grew.

I mean, sure, anyone can cook a great meal – if all of the ingredients are just laid out before them, and there is oodles of free time, and there are no babies crying to be nursed, or toddlers leaching onto their legs, or other children asking for help with homework, or to play x-box (which requires you checking on said homework), or fighting with other children who are asking similar questions.  Add all of these into the mix, and dinner time has become something that I absolutely dread.

Or at least used to.

As the afternoon hours ticked by, I inevitably had the dreaded ‘what’s for dinner?!’ question pop into my head (or asked by one of the kiddos), and more times than not, ended up with ‘quick and easy’ being the two main ingredients.

But this has been a problem for me.  Because I spent years studying the fine art of nutrition.


Got my degree in dietetics.

And as I was thinking about what to study in college, this thought actually helped me make my decision: “well, I love nutrition.  I would really love to be a stay at home mom, which means I am going to be cooking a lot of meals, so why not combine studying what I love to be able to make nutritious, yummy meals for my family.”  I seriously had visions of sautéing exotic vegetables while my children played peacefully around me, or stood next to me donned in mini chef hats.  Then they would eagerly gobble up everything that was set in front of them, singing my praises.

Yeah… you can stop laughing now.  Never happened.

Until now.

Really.  (okay, minus the chef’s hats).

We are really going on three weeks of planned, prepared, nutritious (well, for the most part… I’ll get to that in another post!) meals.

THREE WEEKS, folks!  I know for many of you, that is nothing.

But for this throw-something-on-and-call-it-good mama, it’s a WORLD RECORD!!

It all started with the realization that winter break was over, and our crazy run around everywhere schedule was about to resume, and the thought of going through all of that and having to do dinners day in and day out was enough to almost bring me to tears.

We were all sitting around on Sunday and I looked up at the menu sign (which still had the summer motif background, ahem.  Did I mention we had just finished Christmas??!).  And something snapped.

I realized that I have been failing my children.  They were going to go out into the world not knowing how to cook.  Many of them had expressed interested in helping me in the kitchen before, but I have always been too rushed to really take the time to teach them the little things that would truly serve them their whole life through (I have yet to meet someone who has never had to cook for themselves for at least some points in their life).

I got the menu chart down, and announced that we would be doing something different this year.  Each week the kids would pick a day, and they were in charge of dinner.  They could pick whatever they wanted to cook, and I would have the ingredients ready for them, and be here to help them through, but they were ultimately in charge of at least the main course of dinner.

They jumped at the idea.  And KIK (Kids in the Kitchen) was born!