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28 steps to school holiday cooking failure.

Baking with your kids is meant to be fun isn’t it?

Why do I bake? I mean seriously I am crap at it. Before I had kids, I lived in a house for four years and never once turned the oven on.

But for some reason now I have uber-mum fantasies. I picture myself with an alice band holding back my hair, a flowered apron and three well-behaved children slowly spooning out 20c sized circles of chocolate chip cookie dough. Together we wholesomely bake in a pristine kitchen laughing and telling knock-kock jokes.

(In my fantasies I even call them “cookies”.)

In reality my three scruffy kids, usually half in a  state of undress bicker and squabble over whose turn is next while my kitchen is about as clean as the toilets at my three-year old’s pre-school.

I don’t know why I bother. The fact I am absent minded doesn’t help and that I multi-task to the extreme, so inevitably while the biscuits are in the oven (see in reality they are biscuits) I have moved onto the next task… when the thought “what’s that strange burning smell wafts through my mind..??!!!”.

This is the reality, mess, mess and more mess.

So why bake? Well first and foremost it is hard to resist the faces of my three delicious children when they turn to me and say “Mama can we make cookies”.

And secondly I have this urge to be good at it. I don’t understand why I just keep f**ing it up.

My 28-step guide to baking with the kids.

1. Make the plan.

School holidays... cold rainy weather. Seems like a perfect baking day doesn’t it? I find the best way to start out is with a plan. So when those three bright little faces come at me waving their aprons I know what’s ahead. “Looks like a good day for the park kids?”

“No we want to make cookies”

What about trying out that new indoor pool?

"No we want to cook. You promised. And promises can't be broken."

2. Get out the ingredients.

Realise you don’t have flour, butter, sugar, eggs or chocolate chips.

4. Attempt to distract children again with the park option.

Fail dismally. "You promised......"

This is what they will look like. Baking fail.

5. Pack all three kids up, chase naked three-year-old around the house before inevitably screaming loudly “If you don’t get ready now we aren’t doing anything”.

Drive to the shops.

6. On route slowly cruise past the park pointing out the thrills they are missing out on.

Child 1: Muuuummm we just want to make biscuits.

Child 2: You are being weird Mum.

Child 3: I wanna do a weeeeee.

7. Spend $200 in supermarket on things you really didn’t need.

Manage to snaffle up three extra large boxes of washing powered though in a sale. Bargain.

Great idea. Really great idea.

8. Spend $30 on sushi for children.

Watch them only eat half of it.

9. Arrive home an hour-and-a-half later wishing you had just stopped at the park.

And realise you forgot to take the three-year old to do that wee. (Whoops.)

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10. Unpack shopping, gloat over money saved on washing powder. Get out ingredients.

Realise you left a bag at the checkout.

11. Start to slowly weep.

Calm self down with handful of chocolate chips from secret stash.

12. Realise you are scaring the kids, get yourself together and send your eldest next door for flour, butter, sugar and eggs.

Grudgingly raid your chocolate stash for the chocolate chips.

14. Allow your three year old to crack the eggs while you race your five year old to the loo.

Realise your mistake upon your return.

15. Google “egg free recipes”.

Quick check of Facebook while there.

16. Ask eldest to measure out two cups of flour.

Gently don’t spill it.

17. Pick up three-year old who has just slipped on the eggy floor.

Giver her handful of chocolate chips to calm her down.

18. Ask middle child to measure out sugar.

Stop eating the sugar!!

19. Survey floor where there are more ingredients than in the bowl and consider using eggy floury sugar mixture on floor as basis for cooking.

Can they get any messier?

20. Bat away older child whining about how he wants to measure the sugar.

Chill out you just did the flour.

21. Reassure youngest child that she will get a turn too.

Stop eating the sugar!

22. Start eating handfuls of chocolate chips to help calm yourself down.

Note now complete lack of chocolate chips to bake with.

23. Allow all three to mix.

Uh-oh.

24. Realise serious mistake the moment it happens.

25. Weigh up pros and cons of scraping mixture off floor.

Go with pros.

26. Finally get mixture together.

Say for the nine-hundredth time. Yes you will get a turn. Stop fighting. Hands out of the mixture. I am NOT having fun. Stop eating the sugar. Get the mixing bowl off your head.

27. Allow kids to eat uncooked cookies off the parchment paper.

Because after all that’s what they wanted to do anyway.

28. Resist the urge to weep once again when you hear your kids saying “Can we go to the park now Mum?”.

Do you bake with your kids? Are you more successful than me? What are your tips?

CLICK THROUGH to see the gap between dreams and reality widen for so many keen-to-please baking parents...

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