With two young kiddos (three-year-old daughter, Amelia, and one-year-old son, Hank) and baby #3 due in August, football player Derek Anderson and his wife Mallory have their hands pretty full at the moment. Derek is often away for weeks at a time (he’s the backup quarterback for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and pretty darn great at golf), but when he’s home in Arizona, it’s all about the typical blur of family life: diaper changes, bottle feedings, naps, walks, outings to the zoo/aquarium/park, refereeing sibling fights, and finding clever ways to sneak more veggies onto their picky crew’s plates.
“I’ve found that I can pretty much put any veggie in a smoothie and Amelia will like it as long as it’s a ‘pretty color,’” Mallory says. Mom and Dad also mix peas into mac and cheese, scramble eggs with broccoli, slip vitamin-rich spinach into sandwiches, and add “every veggie we can think of” to the family’s weekly chili, which the children gobble up.
Time in the kitchen is another way the busy Anderson clan loves to connect. Here Derek and Mallory share three of their favorite activities for little fledgling cooks:
1. “Making pancakes together is a weekend ritual for our family,” Derek says. “The kids and I are in charge of picking out toppings, like syrup, jam, fruit, and sprinkles, and then using those items to ‘dress’ the pancakes.”
2. “My favorite thing to do with the kids has been carrying on my mom’s tradition of making cinnamon rolls at Christmas time—I’ve done it every year since Amelia was born,” Mallory says. “It gets a bit messy with the flour, but is so special and something the whole family can enjoy. It’s an all-day project, but Amelia really gets into the process of making the dough, waiting for it to rise, and then sprinkling the cinnamon and sugar everywhere (literally).”
3. “I love to barbecue,” Derek says. “The kids will hang out and watch while I grill and then Amelia gets to put her own cheeseburger together—which often involves having a conversation about why ice cream is not a burger-topping option.”
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