One of the things I have enjoyed about this book, is that although my kids know how to do a lot around the house, (including cooking), I found that Kay, in her experiment, took what my kids do a step further. When she made her kids responsible for one meal each week, they didn’t just cook it. They shopped for it. And they cleaned up after.

As a homeschooler (nearing the end of our 8th year) I did a ton of “real life learning” when the kids were younger. They shopped with me, helped me pick out produce, and learn to figure out the best price etc. However, this is definitely one area where I began to do things the quick and easy way… with a teenager in the house, I can leave the kids home and go shop all by myself! This has been a great relief to me, and I don’t see it as a bad thing. However, Kay made me think “how will my kids know how to grocery shop, if they go years without shopping?”

So it’s time for an experiment of our own. And this week being April vacation week for us, it’s a good time to do it, when it doesn’t add stress to an already crazy week for myself. This week each of the kids will be planning, shopping for, and cleaning up after a meal.

But instead of waiting for the experiment, this past week I decided we would dust off some old skills in preparation. My 14 year old used to cook dinner once a week. I teach piano lessons a couple afternoons a week. So in exchange for his cell-phone service, my son would cook and serve a meal on a day I taught. Good for me, and good for him! 🙂 Somehow, we lost this habit. And my 11 yr old daughter who has a real desire to learn to cook (because “someday I’m going to be a mom, and I need to know how to do this stuff”) would cook occasionally. I decided it’s time for her to follow in her big brother’s footsteps, and learn to specialize in some meals that can be “hers” to make.

It was time for some cooking this week! My 8 yr old daughter was the assistant to the 11 yr old, browning the meat for the pizza, and peeling and cutting the cucumber for the salad. They even did the oven by themselves! I stepped in to help with the oven, and because I had left them alone in the kitchen “to do it all themselves” they did not want my help at all. Kay was right, the pride that comes from being left to do it on their happens very quickly. And, also inspired by Kay, I had them wash the pots and pans afterward. (I use to say to myself “well, they cooked, so I’ll clean up for them.” Like that is going to ever happen in real life!)


Proud girls, serving their gluten-free cheeseburger pizza and salad!


To keep it fair, my 14 yr old also cooked a meal this week- he lucked out with waffles and sausage as that was already the plan when I opted to let him cook it. It was a good lesson in GF cooking! (I didn’t press for a photo. This time. haha!)

Do your kids cook at all? I promised my kids a while back, that when they left home they would know how to make all of our basic meals. Thanks to Kay and her book for getting me back on track! Oh, and for reminding me to let them wash up the dishes afterward! 🙂

This post is part of a virtual book club hosted by Amy and Steph. You can see their posts at those links. Also check out Karrie’s post here! Hope you’ll join in the conversation!


3 Thoughts on “Virtutal Book Club: Cleaning House- chapter 2”

  • When I went to college, I knew how to make one “meal”. Cereal. Honestly, my stepmom cooked every night for us, and therefore, I spent my entire freshman year eatings cereal and my sophmore year eating Ramen Noodles.

    My stepmom was serving us, but I wish my parents had expected me to learn a few meals. My ten-year-old can make eggs (and we just got the cutest little omlette maker for her 5.99 at TJ Maxx), waffles, and speghetti. I’d like to rotate some bigger meals into the mix soon.

    But the thing I’m really working on is getting her to complete the task from start to finish. Cooking is fun. Cleaning is a different story. It’s not fun.

    I really like the idea of giving kids meal which are specifically “theirs”…you know, little things they are known for. I think I will steal that from you. Yes, I will!

  • I learned to cook several things in high school, but then didnt’ cook all through college (ate in the cafeteria) so once I graduated, got married and had my own place, I was nearly lost anyway! I would call my mom several times a week saying “how do you make _____?” She ended up buying me a blank book to copy in the things she told me, so I wouldn’t keep asking the same thing over and over LOL
    I told my girls, when they leave, I’d give them copies of all our usual meals, with clear instructions! 🙂

  • love this! my girls could all definitely do the shopping. and i’ve got two that could do some cooking. beyond that? we have room for improvement. i have goals for this summer that we’ll be working toward. probably not a week at a time, but definitely more of a routine than we have going at this point. the boy–he’ll definitely take the most work, lol.
    as always, i love when you share pictures. they always put a smile on my face 🙂


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