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Fridays have always been a population favorite. They end the work and school week, usher in vacations (or holidays, for my European friends), and offer much-needed breaks. Even the most disagreeable chime in on the popular consensus of Friday’s arrival…ahh.

In my home, we issue up a hearty “Mmmm” as well. Because that’s when the kids get to cook.

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And I’m not talking peanut butter sandwiches or ramen noodles either. During the week, they pick a recipe based on what we have on hand, get a $20 budget for any missing ingredients, and take over the kitchen stove, kitchen counters, and the kitchen sink. (I clean up after myself when I cook, so can they :-).)

My son, who’s not as fond of this routine as his sister… 008
…tends to go for the more practical selections. Whatever can be thrown in one dish and cooked together is a first choice for him.

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My daughter, on the other hand, has to be scaled back now and then. Otherwise it’d be ten-course meals with drink pairings and a selection of desserts. This is what her table looks like on her nights:

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And if we have guests, she completes the scene with a towel draped elegantly over her arm, serves and refills drinks individually, and personally makes rounds about the table to dish out seconds. Top Chef, thank you.

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Though cookbooks for kids have easy to make dishes, many of them include ingredients that aren’t always the healthiest. So I prefer recipes from sites such as allrecipes.com, or cookbooks such as Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl. Here comes Mathias’ version of Ree’s braised beef brisket:

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These nights are fun, but they’re not always easy. It takes longer for the twins to follow a recipe than it would if I were to cook. And the cleanup can sometimes take a military turn. But in the end, they’re learning to accept more responsibility as they get older, and I see them glow when they receive praise for a well-cooked meal.

And should we eat out on a Friday, the chef of the evening gets to choose the restaurant.

All-in-all, we enjoy this family tradition, as it gives additional meaning to the phrase, “Thank God it’s Friday!”

Your turn: What are some family activities or traditions you keep in your household?