Essentials for Cool Cookery
1. It brands a Domo monster face onto each slice, so this toaster just might encourage kids to make breakfast. Pangea Brands, $39.99
3. A no-sew homemade apron (see instructions on the next page) and a fancy toque make a sous-chef feel like a top chef. Chef hat: good seeds, $15
4. Let your kitchen assistant serve pet meals, minimizing mess with a special bin and placemat. Placemat, $5; bin, $30, both from Oré Originals
5. Pull up a nonskid step stool to bring workspaces within easy reach. The Container Store, $12.99
3 Make-It-Easy Ideas
1. Reuse-Your-Napkin Rings Give table-setting a twist with this personalized project that saves money and trees. Have each family member make a unique napkin ring out of colorful wooden beads strung onto a pipe cleaner. Then everyone can claim and use his same cloth napkin for a few meals (or until it gets yucky). To make their rings even more distinctive, kids can add charms or key-ring danglers to their creations.
2. Kids' Pantry Set up an easy-to-reach space where kids can find their own snacks, and you'll encourage independence while still controlling what they're eating. Divvy up munchies into small containers, such as these 8-ounce Ball plastic freezer jars ($4.99 for three), which are simple to open. Use this spot to stash self-serve dishes, cups, and silverware, too.
3. Photo-Finish Dishwasher Magnet Teach your family to flip this fun magnet whenever they unload (and teach them to unload, too!). To make one, stage a silly before-and-after photo shoot. Add dirty and clean captions with photo-editing software (we used Picasa). Print your shots, glue them to card stock, then stick the card stock to an adhesive-backed magnetic sheet. If you like, cover the photos with a protective layer of clear Con-Tact paper or packing tape.