When the temperature starts to drop a bit in the Fall, it’s a great time to get baking together as a family. The kitchen is a special place where children can start to relax and begin talking about whatever is on their hearts. A place where devices can be banned and everyone is having so much fun they don’t even notice. Where the results of your endeavors can not only feed your family, but serve others who may be lonely or food insecure. Best of all, you don’t even have to be a master chef to pull it off.
Call your kids into the kitchen. For the easiest Fall baking project, you will need one box of spice cake mix, one small can of pumpkin (usually on the bottom shelf in the baking aisle near fruit pie fillings at your grocery store), a mixing bowl, spoons and a muffin pan. (I recommend using muffin papers to lower the odds of muffins getting stuck in the pan.)
You can just do the baking as a service project, or turn it into a family devotional by telling them stories like Abraham entertaining three “men” (Genesis 18) or the widow feeding Elijah in 1 Kings 17:7-24. Either way, discuss as a family some of the people you know or know about that may benefit from being given some of your muffins. Your family may want to serve the food insecure, use them to cheer someone up who is lonely or sad or even thank someone who helps others, but rarely gets thanked.
Have your children take turns doing the various steps of the recipe (depending upon their age and the things that are safe for them to do). Open the cake mix and pour it into a mixing bowl. Add the can of pumpkin and about 1/2 to 2/3 of the empty can full of water. Mix and pour into the muffin papers in the muffin tin. If you have dry measuring cups, the 1/4 cup measure is about the right amount of batter to put into each muffin tin. The batter makes more than 12 muffins so unless you have a large oven and two muffin tins, it will take some time to use up all of the batter. Bake at 350*F until muffin tops feel a little firm or a toothpick comes out clean. (Because the batter is already dark, it can be difficult to tell if they are getting too well done.) Note: Checking to see if the muffins are done can be hazardous, so this should be done by an adult.
While the muffins are baking, your children may want to make cards for the recipients. If you want to add a little variety, but minor difficulty, you can purchase other flavors of muffin mixes. If your family has gone apple picking, you can add fresh peeled and finely diced apples (1-2 cups depending upon how much fruit you want in your muffins) to a cinnamon muffin mix to make apple cinnamon muffins.
Have fun with it. Enjoy spending time together baking. Deliver the muffins as a family. Talk about the experience and what you learned from it after it is over. It may just become a family tradition!