"If you build it, they will come."
The voice that whispered to Kevin Costner may have been talking about a baseball diamond, but in my head the murmur is more of a parenting message, and it simply states the following: offer fun food, and good food, and plenty of it, and the boys will want to hang out at home with their friends instead of the neighbourhood park, plaza, or shopping mall.
This is more of a mental memo for the teen years, of course, but I'm putting it into practice now. Should you feel inclined to do the same, I might suggest these chocolate chip cookie cups as a good starting point.
To make them, press your favourite cookie dough into a muffin tin - about 2 tablespoons per cup - and bake them for 10-15 minutes, depending on your recipe. Halfway through the cooking time, remove the tray from the oven and press the cookie dough down with the back of a spoon. Let the cookies cool for five minute then remove them from the pan. Once they've cooled completely, fill with a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt and pass around to the kids who are over.