How to Make Jell-O, and other Life Skills

by Abby on March 19, 2020

So here we are, Day … oh, who knows? With schools closed and everything shut down, the days are all blurring together and each 24-hour period feels like 3 days. In some ways, though, our new reality is not that different for me. There are lots of jokes flying around the freelance/work-at-home community like this: 

There are differences, of course. And not just the threat of disease, death, and economic decline. I mean the kids are home with us. 24/7. This is really flipping a lot of people out. On social media I’m seeing everything from elaborate homeschooling schedules and homemade scavenger hunts and STEM activities to people who’ve been doing nothing but playing Frozen II on repeat and serving fruit snacks. We’re somewhere in between. 

I do think this is a great opportunity to teach my kids life skills they may be lacking. For instance, How to Make Yourself Ramen Noodles and How to Change the Toilet Paper Roll. Don’t judge me for not having taught them these skills already. I know plenty of adults who still haven’t mastered them!

I’ve always been not-so-secretly proud of my ability to conjure up semi-healthy meals out of a few ingredients. I am not great at meal planning and I dislike grocery shopping, so that means I often have to throw something together from the contents of my pantry or freezer. I also hate wasting food. So that makes me ideally suited for our current situation.

Instead of fighting the crowds at the supermarket, I have been making: 

  • Smoothies with frozen fruit or fresh fruit that’s about to go bad
  • Peanut butter and sliced bananas drizzled with honey on toasted freezer-burned waffles
  • “Pizza & wings” – In quotation marks because apparently spinach pizza and vegan BBQ wings don’t count? Picky kids!
  • Chickpea and Quinoa Tortilla Soup – I used canned tomatoes instead of fresh, this powdered broth base my mom told me about, and the crushed-up tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag that no one wants to eat. It’s super-delicious with fresh cilantro and avocado, but even without it’s still good. 
  • Panda Express Orange Chicken – This may look elaborate, but I only make the orange sauce and put it over chopped up chicken nuggets or Gardein “fake chicken” tenders, broccoli, and rice (all frozen).
  • Jell-O and mac & cheese – OK, R, my 11yo, made those. But hey, making food out of powder is fun! 

Are you sensing a theme? If you said, “doctoring up frozen, canned, or powdered food,” you win! If you said, “passing off vegan items as real meat,” bonus points!

In related life skills, we have almost mastered Put Your Own Dishes in the Dishwasher but not How to Hand-Wash Mixing Bowls and Utensils Coated in Red Jell-O.

I need your help on how to grade the following. On the one hand, he changed the roll WITHOUT BEING ASKED. On the other hand, he left the discarded roll on the floor. What do you think? B+ for effort? B- for execution? 

LINK O’ THE DAY: This made me LOL.

The Next Martha tweet: Our homeschooling curriculum includes Honors Laundry and AP Vacuuming
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lou Mello March 20, 2020 at 9:18 am

I woudl say a B+ on the TP roll, he probably thought that there must be another use for the roll and is leaving it available for you to provide further instruction. Could also be used for music lessons as a miniature trumpet.


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