Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sometimes Rainy Days Are Fun

 Sometimes rainy days are  fun! Today we had a pajama day, living room dance party, and got into the "spring is coming" spirit with a bunny project! 

A Great Find

In my search for some fun recipes to cook with Ava this week, I came across a great resource I just had to share! Kids Cook Monday is a whole program geared toward getting families in the kitchen cooking together and focuses on good nutrition. The website is loaded with recipes and tips! Check it out for yourselves. I can't wait to try some of the recipes!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fun in the Kitchen

Working hard to cut the carrots!
Yesterday was the first (organized) effort to involve Ava in the dinner preparations. We are working hard to encourage the kids to try new foods. The only vegetable she will eat is corn. That's great that she eats it, but it doesn't even have that much nutritional value. So, the first challenge is to get more veggies in the diet!

 This week we made glazed carrots together. I wrote the recipe in large writing and numbered each step. I am going to do this each week. My plan is to combine all our recipes into a kid friendly cookbook! We will put a sticker on the recipes she and Dominic really love! We talked about what we would make and how she would help. With her new apron (thanks great-grandma!) she was ready to go!

 I peeled and cooked the carrots ahead of time. She then had to cut the carrots and add the brown sugar and butter.  She was so excited to be cutting and cooking. It is always funny when you learn what you sound like to your kids when they try and act like you. As she was cutting she says, "Now Mommy, you have never tried this recipe. You can tell me that you have never tried it, but you can't tell me you don't like it. You need to at least take one bite before you say that." She added, "Then if you don't like it, you can spit it out." haha. We don't encourage the spitting out part, but I guess she thought she needed to add that too!

I thought for sure she would be tempted to taste the carrots as she cut them. No such luck. She didn't hesitate tasting the brown sugar though! It wasn't surprising she thought that tasted pretty good. It was so cute to see her excited about everyone tasting something she made!

Everyone had a serving of carrots with their dinner. Ava took a bite and didn't even spit it out. But, her first bite was her last. Dominic...well he just threw them on the floor. Don't worry though, Kyle and I ate all our carrots. I guess you could say the glazed carrots were not a hit with the kids, but I won't say it failed either. At least one bite of carrot was eaten by Ava. Surely there was a tiny bit of something healthy in that one bite! Plus, a child sometimes needs to be introduced to a food up to seven times before they actually eat it. We'll keep the recipe for another time. Can't wait to cook with her again next week!

Glazed Carrot Recipe

1 1/2 pound raw carrots
1/3 cup brown sugar (we just used 2 Tbs and I thought it was still a little much)
2 1/2 Tbs butter (we just used 1 Tbs)

In medium saucepan, cook carrots in a small amount of water until tender.
Drain carrots and cut into strips (Ava did slices, strips, tiny pieces, and big pieces!) In the same saucepan, mix brown sugar and butter. Add carrots. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until carrots are glazed. (about 5 minutes)
Makes 4-6 servings.

Stirring in the brown sugar and butter!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Picky Eaters

Let me describe the typical scene at dinner at my house. Around 4:45 PM as I am trying to get dinner together, Dominic is at the gate looking into the kitchen crying because he wants to be held and he wants a cracker (his favorite food ever!). He doesn't yet understand that it wouldn't be the healthiest thing to finish an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers by himself in a day. Ava is saying she wants to help with dinner and at the same time is saying she doesn't like what is being made.  I am watching the clock and counting down the minutes until Daddy walks in the door. Stressful?! YES! It is when I usually cave and let Ava watch something on TV and set Dominic up with some cheerios.I continue putting everything together while I feel bad that I am not holding Dominc and that I am not letting Ava help.

Once everyone is seated and the prayer has been said the battle over what is on the plate (or tray in Dominic's case) begins. If Dominic doesn't like it, he pushes it on the floor, screams, and signs all done. We scramble to find something (besides crackers) that Dominic will eat. If Ava doesn't like it, she pushes it around her plate and whines that it is not good. The easiest thing to do would be to make her something she wants. However, we decided that we wouldn't do that once our kids reached a certain age. I think we are pretty reasonable with our dinner choices and try to make them as kid friendly as possible, but we won't live on peanut butter and jelly and mac and cheese.

So, after some brainstorming, Kyle and I have come up with a dinner plan that we hope will encourage Ava to try new foods and feel more included in meal preparations. One evening a week Ava will help prepare the meal. I have noticed that when I allow her to cut up fruits or bake she likes to eat, smell, and try ingredients. My thought is by finding different and fun dinner menus Ava will be exposed to new foods. Allowing her to help will give her more ownership over the meal and (maybe) encourage her to at least try it. I like the idea that it will be a great learning opportunty for her and I know it will create some great memories.

I hope to find some great kid friendly (but healthy) recipes this week so Friday can be our first go at our new weekly cooking time! I will post the recipe and Ava's review of it. As for Dominic, he will have to wait at least another year to join in the fun. In the meantime I need to find a good mealtime preparation strategy to entertain him and distract him from wanting more crackers! Suggestions welcomed!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

 I have to admit that there are times during the day (I stay home with my two children) that various events happen and I can't help but thinking to myself, "Now this would be a fun blog." Weird? Maybe. I attribute it to the fact that, unlike working outside the home, there aren't lots of other adults around to share the days happenings as they unfold. Though my 2 1/2 year old and 1 year old are great company and so much fun to be around, there are just some things they really might not take an interest in. Now, if I want to talk about the latest episode of Elmo's World, or have a serious book discussion about Good Night Moon or Froggy Bakes a Cake, they're game!

Prior to staying home I taught third grade at a wonderful school. In addition to the missing the kids and my coworkers, I will admit I miss the staff meetings. Now most teachers might look at me funny when I say this because staff meetings come at the end of an already busy day. And, it is rare you walk out of staff meetings without more on the to do list. Here's why I miss them. A staff meeting is a scheduled time for teachers to collaborate. It is a time to structure, organize, and work through challenges. All these professionals in one room working together. As a stay at home mom, I dream of being able to take the joys and challenges of the day to a staff meeting with others who are going through the same thing. I am very blessed to be married to a wonderful husband who is a great daddy. Together we are able to talk about parenting, celebrate the joys, and work through the challenges. But there is something comforting when you connect with other stay at home moms. You start to realize that you are not alone on those days you wonder how long until naptime and realize its only 8:30 AM.

So, I guess this brings me to the reason I am so excited about blogging and being more connected to other bloggers. I guess you could say I see it as my staff meeting. A place to talk with other professionals about the joys and struggles of being a mom. I want this to be a place to bounce ideas around and discuss many topics that come with the awesome responsibility of being mom. And of course when something funny, sweet, or frustrating happens during the day we might not be able to meet in the hall or in the staff lounge to laugh or cry about it, but we can meet on here. A wonderful feature the generation of stay at home moms before us didn't have.

I hope you feel welcome here and understand that I am far from being super mom and having the whole parenting thing figured out. I am a mom who loves her two children with all her heart and lovingly acknowledges that I will always be a learner in the field of parenting.