Monday, August 27, 2012

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy

On Saturday Marin and I were at a birthday party and some moms started talking about how they won't put their kids in organized sports. I overheard just a bit and being the nosy person I am I had to jump in and ask questions. You know me I love to hear reasons behind parenting beliefs or styles (its sort of an obsession). "Why don't you like organized sports" I asked. Both mom's proceeded to tell me that they want their child to experience losing, and not being told they are awesome when they may not be. "We want our kids to live in the real world, you don't get rewarded when you don't win." Basically these moms (and I totally agree with them) want their kids to live in truth. If you lose the soccer game, you are not a winner, you lost. Its okay for kids to lose. In fact its great for kids to lose when they are little. If a child never experienced the devastation of losing when they are six, how do we expect them to EVER handle it in college, or even later, in the work force. If we lie to kids and tell them, "you're all winners" when the truth is, "some of you won, some of you lost" or "some of you are better than others" they will never learn how to work harder to improve themselves. They also will never be able to achieve job satisfaction when others are better than they are, or when the "dream" job is given to another better applicant. Children actually believe they are great at everything if we tell them they are, but one day they realize we were liars when someone excels beyond them. 

I loved hearing these moms have such a deep conviction of teaching their children truth, that organized sports have been dumped out of their after school activities. This in no way means that I am against sports (I'm saying this coming out of having paid for extra cable last month to pack in as many Olympic events as possible). And the research showing the positive benefits from being part of a team, learning discipline from a sport, and training is out in abundance. But I think its worth thinking about how those of us who will put our kids in sports how will be teach our kids to be good losers and winners.

Just in case you have not come across this article yet on the Atlantic 

I wanted to share it with you. 

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb

This is a really great read, long but good, about our obsession with our children being happy. The fear of our child experiencing any sort of disappointment and how by protecting them from that as a child results in very unhappy adults. I wanted to share it with you all because it is such a great parenting article. I came across it at Thriving Home


Thursday, August 23, 2012

School Breakfast (part 2)

prep for school breakfast
 Elementary school starts really REALLY early in our town. Seriously, really early! So I made breakfast two weeks ago and put it all in the freezer. Here is what I made, its easy and quick.

everything starts with eggs
 I made little "cheesy eggs", individual sized baked eggs. Yes those are chop sticks, I beat my eggs with chop sticks. I learned this little trick when I was a young teen and spend a few months in China. We had a cook who always beat eggs with chop sticks and so I tried it when I came home and it works better than a whisk. I know I'm a crazy cat.

baking cheesy eggs are so beautiful when they puff up
So a secret I learned, not in China, but at a little French bakery right here in town that I worked at for a few years, is how to make great awesome eggs without a skillet, in the oven! There are a few tricks, first whip them with chop sticks... just joking, first you must use WHOLE WHIPPING CREAM! Oh yes I did say whole whipping cream. Hey this breakfast is for a kid who may talk too much at lunch with her friends to actually eat lunch so she needs some high quality protein. And the rest of her family will just have to walk an extra mile. The second secret to awesome cheesy eggs, is use some good cheese, not just cheddar, but I use a great flavored goat cheese or some feta crumbled. This gives your eggs a great flavor.

wrapped in freezer paper
 I wrapped them in pairs in freezer paper and done!

hmmm what does go with eggs?
 Well something needs to go with eggs, so I made, baked breakfast oatmeal bars... I started with a recipe from a blog I came across when I did a search for breakfast bars. Cooking During Stolen Moments

Add caption
 I changed the recipe in the following ways (mainly because I'm not really very good at following recipes and would rather just cook and not do all that reading) 

2 Tbs ground flax seed
1 Tbs wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar (I always cut the sugar, or take it out and add honey or agave) 
no white sugar
extra cinnamon
half the salt called for
I was out of raisins 
I added a peach, yep a whole fresh peach. I cut it into really tiny pieces and it was a great addition

these taste like breakfast cookies!

oh the work is not yet done
This is the worst part of cooking 4 bags full of pre-made breakfast. No fun... I should have taken pictures of the mess the kids made in the house. It was a complete wreck too. But hey we have had a healthy breakfast all week. 

Enjoy your eggs with your school year!

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten, aka The Day Mom Cried Her Eyes Out

It all started with a little girl who loves learning, her little brother, her parents, her friends and Jesus

She was very worried about waking up too late. Her mom was more worried about her getting enough to eat

Taking an apple to her teacher on the first day was completely necessary

Her little brother wanted to dress in uniform too (don't trust that smile he's up to complete mischief)

He thought it would be nice to walk her out... and whack her a few times (and the car) with the umbrella, see you thought he was being nice on this cloudy morning

Marin and her daddy will join the biking community from our neighborhood each day and make the seven minute ride to school for Marin and then on to work for daddy

it was a humid sweaty ride to school for daddy, but a breeze for the girl, final hugs all around
Marin found her own cubby, sits across from a red-head with the same name as her uncle in Missouri, and has a delightful teacher who's name comes right out of a storybook. A good friend of ours who teaches at her school had her office moved into the Kindergarten building this year and I cannot begin to tell you how much that has calmed our fears having a friend near our little one during the day. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

School Breakfast and Lunch (part 1)

We have 15 days until school begins! Fifteen days of Summer to enjoy, play, watch more Olympics, have friends over and swim (of course we do live in Florida and the swim season doesn't end until late October). But with 15 days left along with our Summer fun we also must begin preparing for kindergarten. Our check list includes; drop off up-dated vaccination record at school office, practice riding new bike to school with daddy, bake pre-made healthy breakfasts and prepare for daily packing lunches. 

Our school day starts very early so we need to have our lunches packed the day before, and our breakfast needs to be nutrient rich but also ready made. So here are a few things I am doing to make food enjoyable and tasty but also not the variable that slows us down. I really want to avoid rushing more than we have to so that we can make going to school pleasant for Marin's first year.

I am having a pre-start of school baking day. I am going to have healthy breakfasts in individual servings in my freezer ready to go for the school days when we have to rise early. Here are my requirements:
Nutrient Rich
High in Protein 
Freezes Well
Here are the recipes I will be rotating for the time being (of course there are others but this is a good start)
Baked Apple Pie Oatmeal by Naturally Ella     
Banana and Dark Chocolate Waffles by Naturally Ella
Individual Sized Quiche--My Own Recipe (I'll post those later) OR
Baked Egg Cups by Thriving Home
Breakfast Sandwiches--I'll tweak this recipe and add ham
Spinach Feta Empanadas--My own recipe

I probably will not have all of this in my freezer by the time school starts but we need a few ready to go and I can add different batches as we need them. We will also make some of these Egg Toasts
Marin "makes" Egg Toasts (age 3)

Lunch can become really daunting. Packing lunch each day already has me worried. Last year I only had to pack them three days a week, and preschool started much later than Kindergarten. So like always I turned to my friends who pack lunches for four kids. I figure if they can come up with routines that work for four children, than it should go really smooth for me with just one (although some days Owen insists on eating out of a lunch box too). Here are the suggestions I have gotten:
Always pack lunches the day before. Pack each days lunch the day before and pack it in a container and place it in the fridge. This way each morning you can reach into the refrigerated and have everything you need to pack the lunch box(es). 

Check your schools' requirements for what you can and cannot pack. Many schools are going peanut free. This means that not only the kids with allergies can't have peanuts but the entire building is peanut free, so no child can bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Other schools may have other rules. Be prepared for knowing options for lunch that fit within your schools rules. 

If you have a small/young child don't pack foods in your child's lunch box that they cannot open. Don't use containers with really tight lids, individually wrapped foods that you child cannot open (those all natural fruit strips are really hard to open), drink containers that have had snap lids or straws that are difficult to get into the top. Teachers have to open a crazy amount of milk, juice, water cartons. You don't want your child to need help getting into their food and drink because this means they loose time getting to eat. And lunch time is never long enough for kids to sit and eat and have a period of rest and chatting with friends. 

Don't pack things you know your child does not like. You will have a hungry child all day, and you will just unpack everything you took time to pack. I'm not saying you should put only cookies in your child's lunch, but if you know your child hates hummus don't pack it. Have your child learn to like foods at home. Teachers like to teach, but hungry children are not very good learners.