Cooking with kids at IKEA a great Spring Break deal | Carolyn Ossorio

Carolyn Ossorio stands in front of the iconic IKEA Volkswagen with her kids. - Carolyn Ossorio
Carolyn Ossorio stands in front of the iconic IKEA Volkswagen with her kids.
— image credit: Carolyn Ossorio

“I love it that you wore an I Love Renton t-shirt on New Day Northwest!” Amanda Hobbs said to me the other day.

Amanda is the local marketing and public relations person at IKEA Renton.  She had just viewed a video clip of Sophie, Amelia and I making bread on KING 5.

Amanda and I were talking about Spring Break in Renton, cooking with kids and Caspar Babypants over packages of those addictive delectable Swedish Meatballs in the frozen food section at IKEA.

If you’ve never tried them before they’re great party food.  Slide them into a Crockpot with two jars of grape jelly and a day of melting and smoldering.

Voila easy finger food.

Now it looked like our family would be trying those Swedish Meatballs on pizza!

For those tracking — back in December I made a plea in my column to help raise the nominal fee to bring Caspar Babypants for a free concert for families at the Renton Library.

It was suggested that I hit up local small business owners.  As a journalist it didn’t feel right … I know how hard it is for small businesses owners to make payroll and just keep the lights on these days —let alone shell out cash to support a kids music concert.

As with many things in life I’ve learned it’s all about timing.

Being in the right place, at the right time and with a little elbow grease — planets often flow into alignment. It also doesn’t hurt to have a community-friendly company like IKEA in our backyard.

As a parent who has shopped at IKEA for years, they just seemed like the logical choice to sponsor an event like Caspar Babypants.

They don’t advertise all their charitable contributions but I see it in subtle things that are important to me when I shop with my family.

A top-notch play area that’s safe and clean so parents can have a moments reprieve to mindlessly wander the smart, functional and affordable options for creating great spaces at home.

Comfortable, private areas for mothers to nurse and change diapers, along with ample little kid shopping carts to zoom around the endless hard wood “yellow brick road.”  Play stations strategically located throughout the store to encourage kids to finger and paw at instead of the breakables.

I was thinking about all these things as Amanda and I were in the IKEA pantry chatting about our picky little eaters and pizza.

“And your kids … they can cook the pizza with you during the demo? IKEA really believes in the power of cooking with kids.”

The kids and I are so excited to be the sfirst chefs to cook in IKEA’s brand-new fully operational totally amazing kitchen over Spring Break.

We decided on rolling out a kid-friendly pizza dough recipe that’s quick, easy, tasty and just the kind of healthy meal families on the go (like us) would appreciate.

“I’ve never used frozen shrimp on pizza but I’m excited to try them.” I said pointing to IKEA’s frozen food section.  “That’s the great thing about making home-made pizza – you can get creative with your toppings.”

In addition to using the pie-shaped wedges of white cheese available in IKEA’s pantry we’ll also use their tomato sauce and try crumbling Swedish Meatballs for toppings.

Our pizza presentation will also feature fresh items sourced from our local favorite Top of the Hill Market.

A gem in the Renton Highlands, one half of the store is a fruit and vegetable Mecca and the other half is a really amazing butcher called Shawn and Ted’s Quality Meats.

Shawn and Ted’s Quality Meats offers top notch meats with good old-fashioned service. Trust me, you can learn a lot of free advice about how to prepare meat from your local butcher.)

I’ve already had a long discussion with Ted about picking up a small platter of pizza-friendly cuts (pancetta, pepperoni, Italian sausage and Canadian bacon).

I love recipes that give parents and kids options and flexibility when cooking.

As Amanda was giving me a tour of the new kitchen our conversation turned to the past.  In 2007 the original owners of IKEA Renton, Bjorn and Anders, who back in 1994 opened the very first owner-operated IKEA in North America— retired and sold majority interest back to IKEA.

“Even though I’ve only been at the store since April, I constantly hear about the previous owners Bjorn and Anders.” Amanda said.  “Bjorn and Anders were beloved by all.  That’s why I’m so glad you approached IKEA about hosting Caspar Babypants.  I’d really love people to know IKEA is still grounded in Renton and we love supporting free family events like cooking with kids and Caspar Babypants.  We could do a better job of letting the community know all that we do...but you know Swedish Humbleness,” Amanda said.

Actually, I’d never heard of Swedish Humbleness.  So when I got home I looked it up.

“One of the key characteristics of Swedish culture is that Swedes are egalitarian in nature, humble and find boasting absolutely unacceptable. In many ways, Swedes prefer to listen to others as opposed to ensuring that their own voice is heard.”

Hmmm.  Well, I’m an American.

So I say—cue the trumpets…we’ve got something to celebrate!

Join us for a fun filled week of family friendly and FREE events at IKEA Spring Break Week to include pizza making and a Caspar Babypants concert.


I love suggestions! If you know of people or places in Renton that surprise, delight and inspire the community, drop me a line at Also follow Carolyn on her blog,



Tuesday, April 10

10:30 – 11:15am

Local journalist and mom blogger Carolyn Ossorio, along with her children, will be stopping by our operational kitchen to give tips on getting the little ones involved in the kitchen. This interactive cooking demonstration will be fun to watch for the whole family.

11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Kids eat free

Thursday, April 12

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Baby Caspar Babypants comes to Renton. IKEA hosts  Caspar Babypants, aka Chris Ballew from The Presidents of the United States, in the restaurant for a musical performance to delight children (and parents) of all ages.



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