Often times as a parent, I find myself saying “No.” to things, because I don’t feel like cleaning up the mess it would create. As a mom I can think of 8,000 I need to do, from vacuuming the living room, to doing the dishes, cleaning the bathroom sink, making sure everyone is fed, cleaned, cared for. Not to mention I work from home in 3 different categories of jobs, so there’s always something for me to do. But this morning while I was taking a shower, you know, one of those kinds where I had 5 minutes of peaceful glory that every mom dreams about, I was thinking about my own childhood. I remember playing in the mud, making mud pies and sticking my hand in it and waiting for it to dry. I remember playing in the rain and learning to cook my own food and making “soup” out of water and spices and being told the brutally honest truth that it was terrible and when I was upset, made to try it myself so I could understand why it was terrible (that brought on the very early and important lesson of always tasting food before serving it).
I realized that I wanted my daughter to have a messy childhood. I want her to play in the rain, jump in mud puddles, get her clothes and hands dirty. I want her to paint with her fingers and create what she thinks is the most beautiful masterpiece. I want her to learn to cook and bake, two skills that I believe to be vital to her health in the future. On the other end of a mess is something beautiful, a mind that is expanding, learning and growing. Not only that but cooking teaches her to follow directions, learn math and chemistry, to be independent. It’s teaching her to be creative and try new things, it’s allowing her to experience life.
So today my little one and I got messy and made some homemade bread. She’s only 4 so I measured the ingredients out for her, but she followed directions and did the rest. She’s very proud of her loaf of bread 🙂
1/4 cup milk
5 teaspoons sugar (or 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons butter (or 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 package active dry yeast (2.5 teaspoons)
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups flour (get unbleached white for your first attempt)
Corn starch or nonstick cooking spray
1 cup of warm water
Add the yeast to the cup of warm water and let it dissolve (usually 5-10 minutes).
Melt the butter in the microwave and then add that along with the milk, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture and mix it until the sugar dissolves.
Then add 2 cups of flour and mix in, add 1/4 cup of flour at a time until it’s no longer sticky. Then flour a surface and knead the dough (or if you’re fortunate enough to have a Kitchen Aid mixer put the dough attachment on and knead for 10 minutes. Place it in a greased bowl and let it rise for 1 hour.
After 1 hour punch the dough down into a rectangle and roll it up place it in the pan and let it rise for another hour, put the oven on at 375 and bake for 30 minutes.