We are honored to bring you this interview with Tova Levine, the founder of Tovla Jr. As a busy mom of five fun-loving kids, she's passionate about empowering kids and has found the kitchen to be the perfect place for it. After seeing the positive effects kitchen skills had on her children, she knew it was something she wanted to share with the world.
We brought Tova on the podcast to talk about her business, but we got so much more! She shares some incredible parenting and life advice with us and we can't wait for you to be inspired by her words.
I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.
Roni: Hello, thank you for joining us. On another episode of the plan to eat podcast. Today, we get to share an interview that we got to do with Tova Levine. She is an entrepreneur and the owner of Tovla junior.
Riley: We talked to Tova about her company, but honestly, we ended up talking a lot about, um, what it means to get your kids in the kitchen, what the benefits are of having your kids in the kitchen. And honestly, she just shares some really solid life advice, parenting advice. I know I gleaned a ton from it and I have so much hope that you'll glean a ton from it.
Roni: We loved our conversation with Tova and. Hope you enjoy it too.
Hi, Tova thanks for joining us on the podcast today.
Riley: so we'll just jump [00:01:00] right in. I'm so excited to talk to you. Our discovery call with you was just. Like one of my favorites. We could have made that the podcast . Um, so why don't you just tell us about you about your company, um, and how you got started.
Tova: Okay. Sure. So, you know, I'll take you back in order to understand Tovla Jr. A little bit, you know, it comes from me, so you have to understand me. So growing up. I really struggled in school. And that was always, you know, that was always something that like, I'll never forget, you know, everyone has like something from their childhood that they're like that, that was their defining moment.
So at many moments in which was difficult, so I definitely had some sort of learning disability, but back then it was like, You know, my parents were so loving and so fantastic, but I didn't have the tools to really help me seek SU see success. And you know, I've always been passionate about empowering children.
That's why I got my master's in special ed. And once I had children, one of my children was struggling in school. And [00:02:00] when you know that pain as a mother, you're like mm-hmm no, no. And that's when I knew I'd have to empower her so she could see success in other areas of her life. So I got her in the kitchen.
I said, this, this is gonna be her place. She's very savvy. This is gonna be her place to, to grow. And you know, what it really was. And that's where she gets a lot of her energy. She has like a little baking business. She does cakes. So for her, that was a huge success. When I was doing that, I was actually in the manufacturing space for a little bit.
Cause even though I got my master's in special ed, I've always been an entrepreneur at heart. I love creating things. I love growing things and moving forward. So I was manufacturing like plastic squeeze bottles. And then once you started getting in the kitchen and I started buying some tools, they were all like toys and nothing that really screamed like, oh, I feel really good about this for the kids.
So I was like, this is what I'm gonna. I'm gonna create tools that kids can get in the kitchen and they can see success. And they'll be really excited about it. It'll be really [00:03:00] pretty. I had this whole like vision and when it actually came to life like it did. And the response on Amazon when I launched, like now we have, you know, 15,005 star reviews on the knives and the baking kit.
And like, I still I'm like, well, I'm just, I'm just a mom in the kitchen with her daughter, which I'm still just a mom in the kitchen with her daughter. But. It happens to me so that that's how Tovla junior evolved. And I think so many parents related to it so fast and we were in Amazon. We just started like the brand aspect of it, like off of Amazon, like not too long ago when I was like, you know, like, this is so much more than just tools.
It's really just, it's, it's a mission. And it's a mission where a child can have something go somewhere where they already have in the home and they can see success is just unbelievable. It's right in front of our. So as I saw it happen to me firsthand, I was like, okay, I gotta tell the world. And it's not my natural instinct to come on and to talk about things and to be kind of, you know, [00:04:00] public.
That's why I take more of like a backseat, you know, as a, you know, as the face of my brand. But as time goes on and I get a little older, you realize like in order to have an impact, you have to like come out a little bit. So this has been my passion getting kids in the kitchen, and I'm very fortunate that I get to do that with my brands every day.
Riley: That's amazing.
Roni: awesome. So how long ago, um, did you make that transition? I'm assuming that you actually, were a special ed teacher for a little while, right. And
Tova: was mm-hmm
Roni: this transition. So how long ago did you actually start this business?
Tova: so, so around like seven years ago, I started like the manufacturing piece Tovla junior was born six years.
Tova: But I was a special ed teacher before, and I actually have a very interesting fact about me between the special ed teaching and Tovla junior and the manufacturing. I actually ran a head lice removal service, where we went to people's homes and removed head lice.
Cause I also find that extremely relaxing. So that's a very zany, weird fact, [00:05:00] but. That was something that I enjoyed. But slowly when you're a people pleaser, you realize the service industry might not be for everybody. And I, and even though we were successful people, you know, it was, we, I literally couldn't, I couldn't do it.
I said, I need to start manufacturing products because a people pleaser there's no, there's no place for a people pleaser in a service industry.
Riley: I understand that but you, you do have five children. So I suppose, um, you know, uh, It's just a weird thing to say, but if lice ever hits your home, you got five babies to be
Tova: Oh, yeah.
Tova: Oh yeah. I have friends. I have friends who definitely utilize that. I have family that utilizes that and it happens to be something that I'm so grateful that I have. It's something that really freaks people out. So when they call me right away, I can be like, okay, this is what, you know, this is what you do.
And in the beginning, I used to feel so bad. So my friends used, oh my gosh. I'm like, no, just come over. I'll take it out. And two hours later I was exhausted. [00:06:00] So I don't do it for friends anymore, but I consult slash therapy for headli removal for, for all of my friends.
Roni: That's amazing. I love that.
Riley: a funny little tidbit. I love that
Tova: yeah. So if God forbid it shouldn't happen, but it's really not the end of the world. If it does you, you know who to call.
Riley: we do. Oh man. I feel like, um, the next question I'm gonna ask you is, uh, so off base from life, but . So your name is Tova. Where did the name? Tovla Jr. Come from.
Tova: Okay. So Tova my name? Tova, it's a Hebrew name, which means good. So Tovla, if you break it into two words, Tove and la means good for her. And while it's not necessarily for her, it's for. Everybody, but just it's good. Whatever I'm creating. And we originally started in the houseworks department. The good for him.
Didn't sound good. Like in the, in the Hebrew form didn't sound great. I'm actually don't speak Hebrew, but, um, that's when my parents name me and I know Hebrew just a little bit enough to [00:07:00] know that it meant a lot to me to know whatever I was creating would be good for, for my customer. So Tovala is good for her.
Riley: Oh, I love that. Oh, that's so good. I'm I thank you for sharing the backstory on that. That's amazing.
Tova: Oh, thanks. You know, no one's ever asked me that before. I've never even shared that. I don't know. It just, it just became to Tova Tova but I don't like, I don't even know, but thanks for bringing that up. Actually.
Riley: Yeah. I think you should talk about that more actually. Yeah. Yeah, you
Tova: a good idea.
Roni: So what do you, uh, think are some of the challenges. For getting kids in the kitchen and getting them cooking aside from the utensils aspect, you can obviously talk about that as, as one of the challenges, but what do you think are some other things that you've had to like navigate with your own.
Tova: So really for the most part, kids at a very young age, they want this, they want it, like they wanna do an exciting activity. You would be surprised to get the kids off of a game or the computer. If I say you guys wanna bake a. [00:08:00] You would be surprised how crazy it is. They really stop what they're doing. And I don't think that's for anything else.
If I say, Hey guys, wanna color? They're like, hold one minute. You know, Hey, you guys wanna do, you know, um, magnet tile. Everything's just, no, no, no. The minute I say you guys wanna bake a cake or I present an exciting new ingredient, say, oh my gosh, family sauce, some sprinkles, some little new novel. Literally just gets them right back on track, whether it's a sprinkle or it's something so, so silly, like a cupcake rapper, kids love these novelties.
They love doing something different and once they have that experience, but to initially they're struggling a little bit, so you kind of give them those tools. You give them like, uh, you know, brand new ingredients or something exciting to use. and once they feel that, and you'll see it on a kid's face when they're cooking, like you see that satisfaction, they wanna repeat that.
And it's, there are very few challenges. The biggest challenge honestly, comes from the. I feel that when I'm, when I'm like, when I have a lot going on it's, it's not a good time [00:09:00] to let my kids cook, even though it's fine. Go do your activity. It's not because then the mess and then I'm complaining.
I never want it to be a negative experience. Cause I use that as a vehicle to empower my children. So if that's gonna be my way of empowering children, I wanna make sure that I have the emotional and physical bandwidth to be able to support them through that. So, so it's really the parents. And when you're ready emotionally and physically, you know, ready to introduce the kids in the kitchen as a space where they can feel good about themselves and not negative.
I think that's key it, the kids want it. There are very little challenges with kids. It's, it's the parents and the mess, obviously. And at the beginning, it's the time to really encourage them and no negativity. You know, that's a place where there's zero negativity and a place where a child can just do their thing.
So as a parent, that's where the child comes. Not the kid.
Riley: Hmm. Uh, I have to agree from my, uh, perspective, um, It can just feel overwhelming for there to be another mess. Um, but my daughter would [00:10:00] bake every day. If I let her, she doesn't even care about eating it. She just asks me like, can we make muffins? Can we make banana bread almost every single day? And sometimes we do.
And sometimes we don't, but she doesn't even care about eating it. She just likes to make it and be doing that creative thing. Um, but some days I certainly have to say not today. I'm sorry.
Tova: Right. Exactly. And there's like, nothing wrong there. You just, it's just, it's funny cuz it's so when I'm not in the space, my big kids, I let cook when I'm not in the space, cuz they usually clean up it after themselves. Cuz they've been at it for a while when I'm not in the right. Frame of mind. And my kids are like asking me questions.
Oh, can I use this in green? Can I use this? And I'm like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, I know that's not the right. That's not the right space. The right space is when I'm there. And I'm like, oh my gosh, that's super cool. I love that idea. If that's not gonna be my response, I'm typically not going to let my younger kids in the kitchen.
The older kids are ready. You know, it's
Riley: Yeah. Yeah. I just have a two year old. So our experience is a little different. She's not
trying to add [00:11:00] things ex
Tova: Precision is also not their strength. Precision is not their strength. So we're
Riley: yesterday she put an entire egg into what we were making, just the whole egg in the shell into what we were
making. I was like,
Tova: one egg.
Riley: yeah, I did say one egg. You are still right. Um, I had, my niece was over here the other day and she was helping my daughter make something. And, um, my niece was telling her baking is science and my, my daughter's like science Um, but it does. It is cute, but it does put it into perspective. Or someone like your daughter who maybe struggled in school, like cooking, baking it's math. It is science. It is creativity. Like there's all these things like school aspects that come into play. But it's different than school. So what do
Tova: And the healthy eating is huge, the healthy eating also, which you guys really, you know, get the healthy eating aspect is huge, but sorry, what, what were you.
Riley: Oh, no, I was just, I was just gonna ask, what do you feel like, um, really teaches a [00:12:00] child's success in the kitchen. Like what aspects of cooking, really brings that success aspect to the surface?
Tova: So with cooking, let's say, let's forget about cooking for a minute. Let's take something as simple as cutting up a vegetable. So you have a child, let's say they're four years old. We're five years old and they come to the kitchen and they start cutting up a cucumber. And they put that knife through the cucumber and put the cucumber on the plate.
They already feel like they've just created something, even though we both know they just cut a cucumber, there's something unique about food also, which you feel like you're sustaining yourself, you're sustaining people. It's very empowering. It's kind of like sub subconscious that like, you know, when you make something delicious or amazing, or even as a parent, think about what it does to you, you know, you create a stunning dish and like you put it on the table and. You know, I'm sustaining people and I'm doing it with class. Like I love like, you know, I'm doing it with so, so that alone. And then I just feel like when a [00:13:00] child sees that small success, like putting those cucumbers on, on the plate, and then everyone's saying, oh my gosh, thank you. Thank you. Or they're giving it out to their siblings or giving out to the mother and they've done that on their.
It's almost like, you know, when you're like business or something's successful, all of a sudden you get like a new renewed energy and when it's not successful, you're like, uh, no success breeds success. So they see that one little cucumber moving over to the platter, moving over, being given to their sibling.
And it just becomes something that they just, they innately want. And then they see the benefit and they want more and more of it. There's so many aspects to this in the kitchen, but I think a big. Big part of it is seeing like sustaining somebody there's something so basic about food that when you even just make a big cucumber into like smaller pieces, so someone can eat it, it's just, you feel like you really matter and you're doing something important.
And everyone wants to do important things. Whether you're four years old or whether you're 90, a hundred years old, everyone just wants to be important. And I think [00:14:00] that that's, that fuels fuels everyth.
Roni: Yeah. Have you noticed having five kids of your own, have you noticed, um, different personalities in your family being drawn to different aspects of the cooking process?
Tova: Oh, my gosh. Yes. Yes. You have the kids who wanna create something and they're. They're like using it as a sport, like the precision that we talked about, where, you know, my son throws up the egg, you know, and they're just all about the fun and like what he's doing. And then I have my oldest who does the cakes and a baking business.
If you watched her. I couldn't do what she does with the precision, the way she rolls, the fondant cuts it out, makes it perfect. And then she puts it on the cake and show. Now I could do better. And then she and I just with the precision and the patient and it just unbelievable. Well, and then you have one, my, my seven year old, actually, she goes to the, we have like, um, a China cabinet of stuff that I platters that I serve for like occasion.
She cannot cut her [00:15:00] vegetables and then put on a plastic plate. So every single time she goes to get a glass platter, like that's her, like, that's her personality. She's just extra. So like that's her thing. And it's just so funny to see the kids. Like you could be basic, you could be extra sometimes, sometimes that's extra depending on how good of a mood mommy's in and how much she wants to wash.
And I just think, you know, when it comes to the kids' personalities, whatever it is just making the time. To, you know, especially compliment. I don't actually only compliment what I say is that's called patience. Like when my daughter is like, I don't like to like label when it comes to these things, but like that's called patience or with my son, that's called having fun when you're, when you're baking or with, you know, just kind of naming what's going on.
And then they're like, oh, I'm precise. Oh, I'm a fun baker. You know, or this platter looks so beautiful. You know, this is called really like you. Taking pride in what you do. And I think that [00:16:00] they label themselves then kind of, and they go with it cuz they understand that this is something when they have a natural tendency towards it and you're labeling that that's something they could live up to.
And for me in my kids, like that's so important to me, especially like in the kitchen, out of the kitchen to label them or to, you know, compliment in a way that they can live up to whatever compliments them. They have the capability to.
Riley: Yeah. And those, those kinds of, affirmations of who they are, uh, I feel like is far deeper than a compliment. Like a compliment is great for just that moment, but an affirmation of who they are, just. You said it just, that that serves them their whole life. And that is really special.
Tova: Correct. My, my daughter, my oldest even says now, you know, she's 14 and she'll, she'll always struggle in school. Like I did. And she'll be like, yeah, but I have so much grit. And I'm like, yeah, you do. Because that's been told to her since she was little. That she has so much grit and that's, that's her thing.
And each of the kids, you know, have their thing. And even [00:17:00] in, in the kitchen, especially you see where their strengths play when you bring them in, you'll see where they're flare or fun or.
Riley: gonna make me cry. I feel like I'm just like thinking about my own daughter and like, uh, thinking like what those kinds of things will be for her. Cause I mean, we, some of it you do, uh, unknowingly, like what you tell them that they are, And so like, I mean, I'm sure you've, you've intentionally told her that she has grit and patience and PR precision.
Um, I'm just, I'm just thinking like, what do I tell her? And like, what will she believe about herself? Oh man. It's making me emotional.
Tova: thing it's, it's so true, but think about yourself and someone tells if one person tells you, oh, you're you're so put together, you look great when you see that person again, but you wanna, you wanna look put together in great. They expect me, they think I'm still put together in GREAT. And I think as a parent, just giving the child, giving that, especially I'm getting off the kitchen, you know, but you know, parenting in general, it's just, it's just so you know, it's just, it's my most serious job.
I have this business and I have [00:18:00] all these things, which is fantastic, but my passion is really just empowering the children. That the, the, the labels stick. They really, really do. But I, I, you know, it's very careful to not give them ESP, even in the kitchen, outta the kitchen labels that are unrealistic for them, that I think when parents are like, you are so, so intelligent and you have this kid who suffers from dyslexia, you're like, while she might be intelligent, that's not something to, you know, or this is called.
It's just, it's very hard to live up to those things. And then you spend your life fighting. If it doesn't come natural, if it comes natural, you have something to.
Riley: Yeah, I think that this, this is related to the kitchen though, because I'm thinking that. Parents out there who may struggle to get their kids in the kitchen. This is a new way to look at it because it is more than, like these kinds of compliments in the way that you're the way that you are teaching your children is gonna impact other parents to impact their children in this way.
And then it makes the kitchen a different kind of space it's um, so [00:19:00] I think it is related to the kitchen because this is the way that, yeah, I don't, you're not getting us off track at all. I think
Tova: If, if you're, if you're listen, we're busy, moms are busy. How, how much energy can we put into looking at every little thing they do? I mean, I know people who have books that they write down all the wonderful things that they could do so they can always constantly remind themselves. Okay. Most of us are not on that level.
And like, if we could just take the kitchen and use it as a, as this is where I am going, my child is cutting up an apple. I'm gonna say something either that looks like a fun apple it's, you know, it's present presented so beautifully. This is called beautiful presentation or so care, whatever it is, whatever it's also real kids know when a compliment is not real, when you can be in the moment and see something happening in real time, whether you're walking by the kitchen while they're doing it and you just make a comment, kids know, oh yeah, it's real.
Cause I'm doing it right now. My mom's not just telling me that so I could feel good about myself.
Riley: Yeah, absolutely.
Roni: So one thing that we [00:20:00] talked about a lot with you previously was this idea of children empowerment, um, through being in the kitchen and through learning how to cook. So I would love to hear just a little bit more. How you think that being in the kitchen does that for kids and kind of like some of the steps you've taken to ensure that your kids feel the most empowered in the kitchen, aside from some of the things we've already just
Tova: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, sure. So I think like the empowerment, nothing, like we talked about success. It like all goes into one another, so nothing super novel here, but when a child sees success or somebody sees success and they know they can do it again. Like kids are very like broad minded. They do one thing.
They think they can do so many other things. So they see success in the kitchen and that will spill over and, and they see that they can actually make a cake from a to Z or they can actually make a recipe and follow a recipe from a to Z if a, let's say a six year old, a six year old, does that. They have like a new perspective on themselves and it empowers them to see [00:21:00] success in other areas of their life as well.
And they can always refer to those successes, like, yeah, but I bake, I baked a complete cake that was so beautiful or that, so success breeds, success, breeds, empowerment. And that's why, you know, the whole idea is having these activities and having these moments with our children or for our children, even if we can't be there that empower.
That give them the strength and energy to be able to go and see other successes in life, even outside of the kitchen. But the kitchen is the best, you know, the best place to do that. You know, we got into a little bit, you know, we talked, we spoke about, you know, different communities and there are certain, especially, you know, across all socioeconomic backgrounds, like a kid can just get into the kitchen.
If a mom's working, a single mom is working and really has zero time for the children, which happens. They can get, they can give their child some tools and say, go to the fridge, take out an apple, cut it up. And that [00:22:00] child did that for themselves. And normally they would just come home and take out a bag of Doritos and they can go, and they know that they can control that, that that's life changing.
That's life changing right there. They know that they don't only have to, you know, be involved in trouble or, you know, junk food. I'm not comparing trouble in junk food, but you know, they know that they, that they can do fantastic things. So for a parent, who's just totally maxed out. I know so many people like that.
And you say, why don't you bake with your kids? And they. Why don't I just maintain my social, my, my emotional grace , you know, and, you know, they're just getting by just surviving and they can just set up a system in like two minutes that can change the, the lives for these children. And that's why I'm so, so passionate about the kitchen specifically, because there's so few places that that can happen.
We're talking about most of the world where the. Cannot afford the piano [00:23:00] cannot does not have the time to shuttle the children to gymnastics lessons after school. This is most of the world. And I feel like if, if most of the world really understood at such a young age, you can get the kids in the kitchen or give them some basic tasks that are not dangerous for them.
I think that, that I, I really believe that that can change your.
Riley: Yeah. I think that the kitchen is an interesting place because it's somewhere where everyone can be good at it. And we all eat for their whole lives. I mean, you made the comment about gymnastics and I was just thinking, I tried that one time as a kid and it didn't go well. Like I just, I was, I'm not a gymnast.
Riley: my parents were great about getting us into activities. Um, but if you're not good at, I'm just thinking about skill
Tova: That's the reality. The reality is yes.
Riley: Right. I'm not gonna be good at everything, but I do feel like the kitchen is a place where really everyone can and can find success.
Tova: everyone, whether it's the kid who has no, you know, they need OT and they're they're, [00:24:00] first of all, this does help with OT, although, so, but they're completely off. They can, let's say they can't cut the vegetable, but they can arrange it on a platter. Let's say they can't follow the recipe for the cake, but they could mix that cake.
Tova: Kids. We look at success a little bit differently that kids look at success. They're just literally grabbing onto the little tiny things that we can notice that they do. Right. And I think even mixing the cake batter and like, that's something that we like if the two year old, like, oh, it needs to be mixed more and that's fine.
You know, obviously we want them to do real things eventually, cuz kids know what's real, but a two year old, keep mixing, mixing, mixing that's real for.
Riley: Yeah, that's great.
Roni: I love the way that, that also leads into a child's future, you know, like it's preparing them for real life and like what it's gonna be like when you're not at home with your parents eventually as well, you know, just like this act of like, You're learning these steps and like, hopefully they're gonna, you're gonna grow in your knowledge as you get older, [00:25:00] like you might start with cutting your apple and then maybe you're gonna make a quesadilla, you know?
And then may like, it's a, it's just something that builds. And so I just love that. I, I have some friends who have, uh, five year old twins and they recently started waking up every morning and just putting their own toast in the toast. And I'm like what a great lesson for them to learn at only five years old.
So that like, as they go into, you know, elementary school, they're just gonna be able to wake up, make their own breakfast, get themselves ready for school. Like it's kind of this snowball effect of the kids. Um, like seeing that success and feeling empowered to just do their own things. And then it's like kind of easier for the parents too, because they're like, my kids are just getting themselves ready.
Tova: win total. Win-win not in the beginning, but a total win-win, that's another reason. It just it's a total. Win-win no matter how difficult it is for. I just feel the same way. And you know, it's, it's funny. You said that. Cause you know, remember, I remember as a kid, so clearly thinking like, what am I gonna do when I'm an adult?
First of all. My, my [00:26:00] mother happens to be she's fantastic. She's like a do all. So like, I really didn't do much as a kid. I happen to have a fantastic work ethic. Thank God. like, she just like, let me take care of you. It could be, I learned that from her, but like, so like I remember thinking like, what am I gonna do as an adult?
Like, I'm just not going, like, I don't wanna be, I'm scared to be an adult. Like how do they do X, Y, Z, even if something is making dinner, but when you've done something, somebody, most other kids at your age are not doing. All of a sudden that that lasts forever. They're like, okay, but I can do this. That means that I could probably do that later
Tova: It's so funny. I remember so clearly thinking, like, am I gonna adult and do you know, do X, Z.
Riley: funny. I, I, I look at that as taking a lot of ownership, um, like what, your friend, you were talking about, your friends putting their own toast in the toaster. Like it's teaching them to take ownership of their life and themselves and their health and their needs. And I think it just spills over and it comes a [00:27:00] snowball effect.
I think that's a bit of what you're saying too. It just like, it breeds this thing. Like, especially if other kids aren't doing it, that's even more of that. Like I did that though. Cause I can do
Tova: correct. When your kid pass up his own grapes for school or his own grapes, and they're sitting at the table, uh, you know, snack time and like all the other moms like put the, and this kid and I just did. For myself, like that kid is owning it. He's like, oh, I did this, I cut this.
Like, you see this all the time with kids. They're like, oh, I cut those, you know, as a mom, we don't go, oh, I cut those don't pride in like, kids love it, love it, take it out. And they're like, they're eating it. And the kids are like,
Riley: Yeah, so we plan to eat in general. We are incredibly passionate about getting kids in the kitchen for all of the reasons we just discussed. We've had several guests on the show. Who've um, talked about picky, eating talked about getting kids in the kitchen because of what it gives them for their whole life.
A lot of the things we're talking about today, and one of the things that I did with my daughter. [00:28:00] Is, she started like taking a doll knife and cutting her own banana, and then she suddenly ate it. Like, whereas before she would leave that on her plate or she might not want that as a snack. And then she started cutting it herself and now she just eats them up.
Now she doesn't even have to cut 'em to wanna eat a banana. She'll just be like, can I have a banana? And I'm like, yes, you can. . So I feel like it also is teaching her more about her food. In some way, and also probably teaching her to make like healthier choices. I think you said this about the apple versus the Doritos, like, um, something about interacting with your food.
Uh, because most, most food that is better for us is not in a bag. It's a, a vegetable, it's an apple it's fruit, you know, what, whatever. Um, and so I just feel like the interaction with the food for her, it really sparks her interest in actually wanting to eat it or try it. yeah. What is your experience with that with your
Tova: The same thing with the, with the snacks, let's say, for example, the school snacks. So of course we send junkie snacks cause [00:29:00] that's like a status symbol in my kid's school. Like, are you a cool kid? You a cool snacks. So I don't wanna like traumatize anybody. So we send some, you know, we send some bags of chips and you know, some junkie snacks, but I was standing also fruit on a vegetable every day.
Like guys gotta eat your fruits, your vegetable, and then you could have your snacks. So what happened most. They just took a round trip. Like, you know, the vegetables went to school and then they came home and then we either, you know, put them in the fridge for the next round trip or we, whatever, you know, that I don't have to tell you what happens over there.
So once I started like this whole kid in the kitchen and like, really you like thinking about it, I said, you know, guys, no, in charge of cutting up your own. You have to have a fruit vegetable, take it from the fridge, cut it up, make it, do it. And you know what. They're in charge of it. They own it.
And you know what? Most of the time they eat it and it was, it was like mind boggling to me. But I love that you brought this up because it's so true. And the [00:30:00] same thing that I was expressing when a child cuts their own grape and they take out their thing of grapes, they just did that. Also, they made the decision.
It's not about me. It's not a fight. Me and my children, my mother said, I need to eat this. It's about you chose it. This is what you said. You're gonna eat. You made it, it. And I think that that's, that's tremend.
Riley: I think kids really like novelty. And there's something about this. Like, I did this, I cut these now I get to eat them. Like it, um, makes it kind of like a novelty experience and I'm sure
Tova: Right. It's also like you own it. It's like, it's mine. How am I not gonna eat something? That's mine. Do I think it's definitely. Do. I think it's.
Riley: Yeah. A similar thing happens when I take my daughter to other friends' houses and they have some kind of snack that she refuses to eat at home, but she'll eat it somewhere else.
Uh, and it's like, so me and my mom, friends, we all have to like get on the same page. Like what great snack are we gonna feed today? Like sugar snack peas or something like that. It's like, well, she won't eat this here, but she'll eat it there because they're
Tova: Oh, yeah, yeah,
Riley: Um, and that
Tova: right. That's how, you know, that's how you know [00:31:00] that. It's it's a little sketchy when they're eating it by their friend's house, but they won't eat it at your house. You're like, um, that's sketchy right there.
Riley: Started telling my daughter, uh, I pulled something outta the fridge and was like, this is the snack from our friend's house. And then she's like, Ooh. And then she'll
Tova: Yes, exactly exactly. When they're trading snacks, I'm telling the snacks in the kids school, it's like a whole hierarchy. So they also trade the snacks and like, Anything new it's like, it's, it's hilarious. Like it's like a whole, it's a to do with the snacks.
Tova: So as much as I want them to eat healthy, I also want them to have friends.
Roni: Of course.
Riley: I that's funny.
Roni: find that, uh, the act of your kids being in the kitchen together is a bonding experience for them as.
Tova: not even a question, but again, if the parents' responsibility to set that up for success.
Tova: Everyone's working together to make something. That, that has to be known in your mind [00:32:00] before, like this is the whole goal. So whether you're setting up a recipe where everyone can have jobs that they feel like they can be good at, or they can fulfill, and everyone has roles. And they're clearly stated before the bonding with the children as siblings.
Absolutely. There's no question, but that requires a little bit more prep from the. That's a big job, but the benefits are so fantastic when you're working to these guys it's grandma's birthday and we're gonna make this gorgeous, beautiful cake, and everyone's gonna put their strength into it. And here are the jobs and this, you, you write down, copy this recipe.
So one of the kids who like, you know, like you copy this recipe onto the paper so everyone can see what's going on. You also make the job. This person's doing this. So the job's already given out before. There's very little room for fighting because everyone knows their job. They signed off on it and then, you know, they're good.
So that's something that, that, so the bonding is a little tricky because it's not as set it and forget it. But once you set [00:33:00] it up in a way that this is the way it is, this is everyone's job. You're not, they're gonna know that the next time you.
Riley: I really appreciate that because it's very honest. Um, you're giving people advice that is really helpful. you're not just saying, oh yes, it's a bonding experience. Like, go do this together. You are very aware. That it has to be organized in a certain way, um, to minimize the fighting and in maximize the bonding.
I re I think that's a great tip for families. Um, particularly with a lot of kids. Do you spend a lot of time with your kids in the kitchen now that they're older or?
Tova: A ton happens to be, you know, I'm, I'm from an Orthodox Jewish family. I raised my kids Jewish or so we have every single Friday night and Saturday, I would say the equivalent of a Thanksgiving meal, which is so like, that's what happens. And there's just so much prep and like, Everyone has everyone has to do something or else it doesn't work.
Everyone has to do something. And I think that that [00:34:00] also, it just everyone, we all work together to get this stuff done. Everyone has very specific jobs. And I just think a little planning ahead, really just with the benefits, but I guess there's so many, let's say parents does not have the energy to do that.
Like I said, there are situations where it's a win-win, it's a set it, then forget it. Obvious. Kids getting along as a win-win also, but that really does require more involvement. Also kids feeling good about themselves that happens naturally, but also the, the real encouragement from the parent. But it's like anything, like before I go on a family vacation, we just went on a long road trip.
It's like, okay, what's my goal. What is my end goal for this vacation? And it was very rustic. So certainly was not for my enjoyment. I'm more of like a, I'm more of like a massage, you know, times a day type of gal on vacation, which has happened never, but, um, you know, hypothetically in my dream vacation, but I don't do vacation.
So unless it's for purpose, I'm, I'm bad like that. I gotta, you know, I have to have a [00:35:00] purpose. I gotta, you know, it's either for the kids or it's for work. I gotta have a purpose. It actually, that like calms me down when I'm on a real vacation, I go away for myself. I'm not happy. Like the whole time it's really bad.
Riley: They sound good. They sound good upfront. And then when you're there, I feel like, uh,
Tova: where, where am I moved? What are I doing? What am I changing? How am I helping somebody? And it's just like, no, I'm not, I'm just doing nothing. That's not, that's not as fun as it sounds. Um, so, so especially, I, I like to start with the, with the, with the goal in mind, like with everything. So especially when getting kids in the kitchen, it's very important to understand your goal when you're like, let's go bake cake, what's your goal?
Do you need the cake done? Cause if you do. Either give it to your most, you know, competent child to do or do it, your. Do not get the whole family involved in that cake, but if you want bonding, then that's a whole different situation. If you want your kids having a difficult time in school, they're feeling left out of [00:36:00] something.
They don't feel like they matter socially. Somebody puts them down. You have no clue. What happens when your kids goes out, goes out to school. They're out of your home. There's so many things throughout the day that they can be experiencing that make them feel less than, and we all know that feeling. When they come home and you give them an experience to feel more, then something's off with the kid, get them in the kitchen.
You don't know what it is. They might not even know what it is, but you get them in the kitchen. And you know, you're like this purpose of my getting my kid in the kitchen today is so they can feel good about themselves. So when you begin with the ended mind, it's a totally different, it's a totally different experience.
Riley: I think that this podcast, episode in particular, I feel like has so much more than about cooking. It feels like. And just keep thinking about all the things that you're saying and like
what good mom advice
Tova: Like, everyone's like, oh, you're an entrepreneur, you're a business woman. And I'm like, that's all, that's all true. But my real, my real source of, and like, it's like, you know, kind of, not in Vogue to say, cuz you're like I juggle it all. I, and while we all do, but [00:37:00] my main passion and what I'm constantly researching and what I'm constantly just trying to improve on.
You know, the children eventually will leave my house after a certain amount of years. And I just wanna look back and say, I did everything I could to set them up for a success.
And that's, I really do feel like the kitchen is the best place to do that. And that's. I chose this brand. And that's why now I'm trying to, you know, be kind of vocal about it.
They're gonna do a, they're gonna do a live live with, um, solid starts in October. I know. So that's, that's exciting. So all these things are kind of new for me, but like I, I said before, in order to have an impact, I, I feel like to share like my experiences and something I'm super passionate about, and it happens to have a. You know, business in. It's probably a good idea to get out there a bit, even though it's, you know, for someone like myself,
Riley: Well, everything you've shared in this podcast is incredible advice and it, it starts in the kitchen, but it is so much deeper. And we talked [00:38:00] about this a bit on the discovery call by getting your kids in the kitchen is changing the world, ultimately. And that sounds like a really grandiose statement, but it, if, but you believe it, we believe
Tova: I believe it. Cause
Riley: And that's what you're setting yourself. You're yeah. You're setting your kids up for that. You're, you're putting 'em on this trajectory to do big things, um, because you put them in the kitchen and that is incredible.
Tova: Well, that's my hopes. That's my hope then. Thank you so much. And that's, that's something that I really it's funny cuz when I first said, okay, when, you know, as branding, you go through the mission, you go through all these, when people start helping you. Okay. So what's your, and I'm like, well what do you like?
You know, well seeing success. Okay. So how seeing success can change your life? I'm like, well this let's stay success more so. And then I like got into it. And then I ended up with a, with a theory that it would change the world, especially in underprivileged homes. And then I'm like, wait, that sounds really cheesy.
And it sounds really weird. Like, I can't say that. And then ally, I'm just like, but that's kinda true. I don't know. I feel like it's kind of true. So I come out [00:39:00] with, you know, getting your kids in the kitchen could save the world because I really believe it.
Riley: We believe it too. I don't, I mean, I think that, I think you're on the right track and I think you should, um, just be incredibly encouraged, to get yourself out there because the things that you're saying here, people are gonna hear it and be like, why would she, she's gotta say it louder. um, and like tell, you know, like, they're gonna go, you know, they're gonna go follow you.
They're gonna want all this kind of advice from you. Um, so be brave
Tova: Thank you even, this was super brave for me, but you know what I figured I would reach out and, and meeting you guys, you guys have such a great energy, such a great vibe, and I, I love what you do and really, you know, the food is, is such a, such an important part of life and really helping parents with that.
Helping do a better job with that is just fantastic.
Roni: happy that you joined us on the podcast. Why don't you, just take a second and tell everybody where they can find you, what your website is, all that.
Tova: Okay. Sure. So tovlajr.com is our website, but you can find us on Amazon. [00:40:00] You know, we have a pretty big Amazon presence at this point, and hopefully you can find us in stores soon. So, you know, we have some exciting things coming up that would that's. That's gonna be like really unreal for me. Like, you know, we see, we have huge Amazon presence for the number one best seller in kids, baking supplies, you know, tens of thousands of reviews.
But like when you see something in like a store that's, that's a totally different, that's like, Even though it might not be as many sale or whatever, but seeing something in a store that like you created from like a whim or like, it's, it's just unbelievable to me. And like, especially someone like me, I'm really just a regular mom.
So if I can do it, I'm like really anybody can, so that that's really my message. Also. I'm like just such a regular mom,
but this is just
Riley: Yeah. People love that.
Tova: All right. Well, thanks for having me
Riley: Yeah. Thank you. You, so we really quick one last question. Um, we ask all of our guests this, but um, we like to end with a recipe. So what is something you've made recently or eaten recently? Um, that just was incredible. And you'd like to [00:41:00] share with our audience.
Tova: Okay, well, I'll tell you for, for the kids. My favorite I'll tell you recipe for, for the kids. My favorite thing to do for the kids is actually just a charcuterie board. My kids love doing it. I love doing it. And we're talking nothing fancy. You say to the kids. We're doing a charcuterie board. They know what that means.
And like even my five year old knows exactly what that means. And they are in charge. They go to the fridge and they're in charge of getting it together, finding the ingredients, finding, let's say we do two types of meat or two types of cheeses. And we do like a star or cracker. So two types of cheeses, a cracker, we don't eat, um, meat and cheese together, or else I would say meat and cheeses, but it's two types of cheeses or two types of meats, a cracker, and then like condiments and then like a vegetable.
So you either be like pickle, so they know like the breakdown you give them like a breakdown. So you have two cheeses, a cracker. Or any type of like carbohydrate type of food, [00:42:00] um, condiments and then vegetables. And then they just put it together themselves any, any way they wanna do it. And my fancy one, my extra one takes out the really fancy platter and makes it super fancy.
But that's, you know, in terms of exact recipe, I feel like that's the recipe that breeds the most success and the most pride. So it's not exact recipe, but I love that one.
Riley: Now that's great. I love that. I love a good kids. Like getting them to do something like that, that they totally build themselves. And there's no recipe really. I mean, you gave us a
Tova: but they kind of know what it's supposed to look like. Cuz they've seen me do it enough times. They kind of know like, you know, don't take out. You know, like a pepper necessarily for the sugar, they know to take out like a pickle and olive, something with like a, you know, a little bit of a tang to it. But, you know, they kind of know the framework, kids like this have to kind of know the framework for what it is, or also get a really funky platter with like nachos on it.
And, you know, so.
Riley: To each [00:43:00] his own.
Tova: Wait, you know what? I bet most adults would like a share board with nachos. I dunno. Maybe I shouldn't speak so soon.
Riley: Awesome. Uh, well, that's a great recipe, so thank you so much. We enjoyed having you and we look forward to your episode going live and all your exciting things coming up
Tova: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Roni: We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please share it with someone and subscribe to our podcast. Wherever you listen to your podcasts.