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Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of childrearing.
Despite a pandemic, actress/singer/entrepreneur/mom Christina Milian is having a pretty good year, soaking up time at home with daughter Violet, age 11, 1-year-old son Isaiah and now, newborn son Kenna. (Milian, who announced the birth of her third child this week, was "a couple of weeks from popping" when she spoke to Yahoo Life earlier this month.)
The multi-hyphenate mama (who turns 40 this year) filled us in on juggling parenting and pregnancy with some sweet new projects — including her new partnership with Betty Crocker'sBettyLab. In a series of how-to videos, Milian finds herself in the Betty Crocker kitchen, where she shows families how they can use STEM by creating Barbie-sized versions of Betty Crocker’s iconic cakes, inspired by the Barbie Dream Gap Project.
You just shot a series (while pregnant), plus you’ve got a kid being schooled at home, a new baby, and a thriving beignet business. You’re very busy… and very pregnant! How are you handling it all in these crazy times?
I’m a couple of weeks away from popping! This pregnancy has flown by pretty quick because of work, which is a blessing. I’ve probably had one of my best years. It’s weird to say that, but being home, I’ve been able to do a lot more with my children. I just had a baby last January and my daughter is homeschooling.
Work-wise, things have been good. I got to do a lot from home... and had more hours at home to spend time with my daughter. I have no choice but to figure out the homework! I had no choice — you’re locked in! [laughs] But there’s a lot of things we did at home to make it fun; she likes to make her TikTok videos, but we also cooked together and read books and did science projects together. That made it fun — plus I actually needed her help with the new baby [laughs]. It was a good year; I can’t complain at all. We took the best out of it, and were as safe as we possibly could [be].
From hearing how you approach homework and seeing videos of you bake, you seem like a fun mom. Is this a deliberate approach to life — making everything an experience, but also not taking it too seriously?
Yes! [laughingly mimics patting herself on the back] I like to be a fun mom; my parents were fun — they always made an experience out of everything. My dad was really into science and stars and, like, "let’s go explore caves" — and my mom was always in the kitchen and she was always teaching me how to cook. Passing those kinds of things to my kids really means a lot to me — as a mom, as a wife, as a businesswoman now.
I’m really happy I was able to partner with Betty Crocker… it just made so much sense! I spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my daughter (she loves to cook)... These days, there’s so much out there, and kids are exposed to so many things, so when they get home, it’s important to build up their confidence and telling kids they can do it. A lot of that happens within the one-on-one, hands-on moments you have with them.
You’ve discovered the magic of building confidence and making learning fun: baking cakes!
Make it fun by not just making a cake together, but a mini cake! I’m not a baker, so the fact that I did this makes me really happy. You can make baking brownies fun and break down the math and science of it along the way. All of it is about STEM; there’s a science behind brownies and why you should let them sit after you bake them. I learned so much; it’s about molecules sticking together so that the brownies stick together and not to the pan. And then you can continue to play and use your imagination by decorating them.
Food seems like the key to your happiness: What’s your favorite thing for someone to make for you and vice versa?
I love food [laughs]; I’m a food connoisseur. My favorite thing for someone to make me is breakfast. My husband makes perfect eggs; somehow they’re not too fluffy, and there’s sausage on the side. He makes the coffee and the juice; it’s a great start to my day. My favorite thing to make people? Well, I’m not a baker, so I was proud of my little Betty cakes! But I’m Cuban, and I love to cook, so I’d probably make plantains and picadillo — a great Cuban meal with ground beef and rice. For dessert? Maybe a brownie sundae with ice cream.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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