If you'd like to include your children in more than just eating the dinner, here are some ways to start:
*Don't get stressed out about a little mess, or it will take all the fun out of the project. Expect to be scraping flour off the ceiling and sweeping up bread crumbs, as Leslie Held did after her sons made stuffing. "I just think, 'That's one of the great things about having a dog.' "
*If there's a big mistake, start over without blame. Say, "I used to do that all the time. Why don't we give this another shot?" After all, flour is inexpensive, cookbook author Lynn Fredericks notes.
*Toddlers can help with the cleanup - carting potato or apple peelings to the trash, for example.
*If little kids are underfoot, ask them to open and close cabinet doors for you or perch them on a stool, safely, so they can see what's going on. Even young babies like to watch.
*Stirring, sprinkling, and shaking salad dressing are also favorites with the Teletubby set and older.
*Little kids love to break eggs. But give them a separate dish to crack them into so you can pick out the pieces of shell before they end up in the mix.
*"No matter what they do, say, 'Great job!' " Held advises.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society