I had lots of helpers this year for our annual holiday baking day. Six little hands (that I promise were properly scrubbed for any of you who receive boxes of our baked love) were eager to measure, mix, roll, and taste.
Jack especially loves to 'help with you.' I swear he's like Pavlov's dog. As soon as he hears the first clink of measuring spoons or sees the mixer moved to the 'working space' of the counter, he immediately drops whatever he's doing and starts pushing/pulling a kitchen chair to the side of the counter.
I love the simplicity of things that make two-year olds giggle. Just seeing the paddle go 'round and round' causes big belly laughs in little Jack.
And we try to be fair with who gets to add what ingredient - taking turns and allowing everyone ample opportunity to measure flour or pour vanilla.
This year, after the boys left to attend a birthday party, Anna was my sous chef. I let her crack eggs (and am happy to report no broken shell shards in the bunch), dip, measure, and level flour, and have control of the mixer. And for the first year, she was actually a help. That probably sounds bad, but its not meant to be. What I mean is that while she did need supervision to make sure she didn't dump in extra amounts of flour, she was able to do things on her own - without my intervention. We worked really well together, and I fully enjoyed our time alone - listening to Christmas carols, letting her be the first to sample our goods to make sure they were yummy.
It was a really fun afternoon. And after going through 2 1/2 pounds of butter, 5 pounds of flour, and I don't know how many chopped pecans, we've got most of our holiday baking finished and in containers awaiting final 'pretty' packaging. Other than rolling, cutting, and decorating sugar cookies and gingerbread men, we're in good shape.
And I love smelling the familiar scents of family cookie recipes - smells that make the holiday season complete.