What is it about a trash can that little ones find so fascinating? When the children were at the age where they could walk, the trash can; particularly the one in the kitchen, became a very popular destination. Not only would items be removed, but other things would be deposited there as well - such as small toys, books, or something that belonged to mommy.
What's a mother to do? I had a couple of options. Move the trash can or replace it with a taller one with a tight fitting lid.
All three of the youngsters went through a phase where the trash can was an attraction. They liked to pick paper and envelopes from the trash can. So when the mail arrived I would sort through it and then give the "junk mail" to them. They loved to receive mail! The paper and envelopes often became a canvas for their art work or scribbling. When they were ready to part with their mail, I would provide access to the trash can so they could throw it away. (This was before recycle bins were available.)
The children were thrilled to have the brief access to the trash can; often attempting to retrieve something while making their deposit. Those little hands were quick!
As the little ones grew older, the trash can no longer had to be kept out of their reach. They seldom went near it. In fact, I often found myself saying, "Would you please pick that up and throw it away."
Always a favorite with the kids
MACARONI SHELLS AND CHEESE
12-oz. small shell macaroni, uncooked(3-2/3 cups)
3 T. butter or margarine
2 T. flour
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/2-lb. cubed Velveeta cheese
Prepare pasta as package directs. Drain and set aside. In a large saucepan on med. heat, melt butter. Add flour, stirring constantly. When mixture thickens, add milk, salt, paprika and cheese cubes. Stir constantly until sauce thickens and is smooth. If too thick, add a little more milk. Add reserved macaroni to the sauce and stir gently to coat. Yield: 4 Servings.
Easy to make, fun to serve
BBQ MUFFIN CUPS
3/4-lb. ground beef
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (your choice)
1 T. minced onion
2 T. brown sugar
1 tube refrig. biscuits (10 ct.)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Brown beef. Drain off fat. Add barbecue sauce, onion and brown sugar. Separate biscuits and place a biscuit into each cup of a muffin tin (ungreased). Press biscuits so dough comes up to edge of cups. Spoon in meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400, 10-12 min. Yield: 10 muffin cups
Cooking for 2?
SPICY ROASTED POTATOES
3 med. red potatoes - 1-in. pieces
1 T. (or less) taco seasoning
1 T. canola oil
Combine all ingredients in plastic bag and shake to coat. Transfer potatoes to greased 9-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 450, 25-30 min. or until tender, stirring once.
Note: Potatoes can be sliced in different ways - such as a wavy potato chip cut or make oven fries. Baking time will vary depending on thickness of potato.
Soft and chewy
PEANUT BUTTER OAT BARS
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup margarine
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup quick oats
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup M&M candies, divided
Beat peanut butter, margarine and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Combine quick oats, flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup M&M candies. Press dough onto bottom of greased 15x10 pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup candies over dough; press lightly. Bake at 350, 20-25 min. Cool thoroughly at room temperature before cutting.
Note: My bars were done in 20 min. Remember - ovens vary.
Food for thought: To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.