What my kids are eating this month

Parents seem to be very interested in what other kids are eating. I’m interested too, I love hearing about the good, the bad, and the ugly eaters. I was a bad eater as a kid. I was forced to eat foods I didn’t like because they were too saucy, too soft, too lumpy, or too whatever it was that day. Worse yet, I had to sit at the table until my plate was cleaned, by myself. This is no way to teach kids to eat. They say a food must be tasted many times, 20 or so, to acquire the taste. What I do for my kids is give them a decent amount of what I know they like. Then, for the new foods, I give them a little bit to try. If they like it, they can always have more. This really keeps the food waste down, and gives them a little bit of empowerment. It also keeps food interesting.

I really want my kids to eat well. Let me tell you, no one is starving around here. First off, I feed my two kids what I make for my husband and me.  My son, “Occasional-J” is 3, and my daughter, “Incidental-E” is 1. Their food is portioned and cut as needed for their respective ages. Some of their breakfasts are simply a bowl of cereal or some yogurt with a fruit. Their lunches are the bigger meal of the day since they have play time throughout the day. Here are some breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Some are his, some are hers.

Upper left: Colby cheese blocks, sweet pepper (“Occasional-J” is really into these right now. Omitted for “Incidental-E”), yogurt raisins, bread, and smoked beef sausage.

Middle left: carrot and spinach salad (neither really ate this), sweet pepper, chips and salsa, and a chicken and cheese quesadilla.

Lower left: cut cherry tomatoes (another food my son loves right now), broccoli,  bratwurst, and buttered pasta.

Upper right: Sweet pepper, pineapple, pizza

Lower right: Peas, apple chicken sausage, buttered pasta, dill pickle, sweet pepper, and Campari tomato.

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Upper left: toast, provolone cheese, blueberries, buttered pasta, beef ragu.

Lower left: Asparagus, Campari tomato, baked potato, grilled chicken drumstick meat.

Upper right: Egg and cheese omelet, avocado slices, Italian chicken sausage, raspberries.

Lower right: Poached lemon piccata cod, pineapple, brown rice with zucchini and avocado (this was some puree leftover from “Incidental-E’s” early eating stage that was in my freezer that I mixed with the rice), sweet pepper, and colby cheese.

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Upper left: Banana, rhubarb cake (Gramma made this, it’s super healthy and tasty at the same time), toast with avocado, and a poached egg with onion and garlic.
Lower left: Apple chicken sausage, Muenster cheese, sweet pepper, brussel sprouts (I cooked these on the stove until soft with some garlic and onion), and potato.
Upper right: Pineapple, pasta with cheese, apple chicken sausage, dill pickle, peas.
Lower right: Cheddar Cheese, dill pickle, pepperoni, cherry  tomato, dried apricot, sausage pizza.
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These meals are not difficult, but do require my planning ahead of time. I make a menu based on what I have in the house. It takes about 30 minutes to make the full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu for the week. If I did’t make a menu, I would sit in front of the fridge or pantry looking like a deer in the headlights and maybe giving into making boxed mac and cheese. A little time every week is certainly worth it for me. While they are great eaters, “Occasional-J” has been on a bit of food strike lately, and “can’t eat”, and then will want to snack on chips and crackers. I tell him that I will not be making him anything else to eat and that he can not snack as he wants to. He does’t like this, but there has to be a line drawn. While I don’t make him sit with his food until he eats it (what toddler would really listen to these instructions!), I don’t give in to him either. “Incidental-E” however, is a bottomless pit of eating and will always (for now) clean her plate and reach for his uneaten food. So I have to watch her portions. This is the perfect time for her to try new foods and explore textures. I think this is important for prospective picky eaters. Maybe it will help them to be more willing to try new foods as they grow up as well.

Tell me about your good, bad, or ugly eaters (all in good fun, of course).

Salmon cakes

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I’ve posted a lot about Occasional-J lately, so I thought I’d post about food again. It is, after all, why I originally created this blog. Here’s a recipe I made for some salmon cakes. I created them after finding a recipe for crab cakes that sounded quite amazing. However, salmon was on sale at the grocery store, so I improvised. Plus, I love salmon. I think this would be good with tuna or another firm fish too. I’ll be quiet now so you can get to cooking.

Salmon Cakes

1 lb. Salmon, cut into chunks
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp Seafood Seasoning
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp dried dill
2 tsp lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil or butter (for sauteing)

Combine all ingredients except salmon and oil in a bowl. Gently fold in salmon and chill for one hour.

Preheat skillet and coat with oil. Use ½ cup to measure even cake sizes and drop into hot pan. Sauté the cakes over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, adding more olive oil or butter if needed.

A Fine Motor kind of day

I made something again. I’m finding that I enjoy making toys for Little Jams. This time, it’s a fine motor activity. This is a larger version of one I found on line, the Montessori one is better for using the pincher. This one, however, I find to be quite versatile.

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I found this square platform that already had a hole cut in the center. I was planning to use it for a different project, but the hole was too big and I went with something else. This was actually perrrrfect for this project. I had a precut dowel already that happened to fit in the hole. I prefer natural wood tones, but this platform was more of a painters grade material. Little Jams likes red, so I went with it.
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A dab of glue and some Melissa and Doug Lacing Beads later… little hands were getting grabby.I showed Little Jams how to play with this toy, one at a time, and counting as I placed each bead. 1…2…3…4. Then took them off, 1…2…3…4. He did as I showed him and was pleased with himself, even saying “yay!” after his first completion. (We use to say “Yay!” at the end of counting the stairs while going up or down. Even though we don’t rejoice in it anymore, sometimes he still feels it to be appropriate).

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Since I have an entire set of these beads, one of the future activities I plan to incorporate with this is patterning. I’ll make pattern cards using the shapes and colors of the beads for him to copy on the dowel. I always love a toy that has multiple uses and “grows” with him.

#montessori
#finemotor
#toddleractivities
#montessoridiy

Primary Colors Mobile

For Montessori infants, there are a series of mobiles to help stimulate the senses. These are about $50 (give or take) each, which can get rather expensive. My crafty do-it-myself side thought, “I can make those!” But it’s time consuming and the baby is due in about 6 weeks. I finally finished the Primary Colors Mobile, which is to be introduced at 12-18 months. So… I should have worked on one of the earlier ones… but… alas, this one looked like it was the easiest to tackle.

I needed some wooden discs, twine, a dowel, glue, paint, and some eye-screws. This probably cost me about $8 total, not counting the full price for the paint. I got the dowel and eye-screws from the hardware store, I had the wood glue, the twine is from Goodwill, and the rest is from the craft store.

My mother-in-law cut slits half way through each disc (she has a band saw). I glued them together like so.

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Then I painted them. I drilled a pilot hole in the top of each and inserted the screw, measured the twine, and attached everything to my dowel.

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I considered painting the dowel but couldn’t decide on a color. I suppose I have 12-18 months to figure it out.

Thanks for reading!

No-So Pink Tower

The Pink Tower is a Montessori activity for 3-3 1/2 year olds that helps the child learn a number of things. Visual discrimination of large to small, comparatives, superlatives, dimensions, refinement of visual-motor coordination, concentration, and is an introduction to mathematics.  For more information about the Pink Tower and how it is used, look here: http://www.infomontessori.com/sensorial/visual-sense-pink-tower.htm

These run about $70, give or take. They are made of wood and are painted pink. I, trying to be budget friendly and crafty, am attempting to make one myself. I found four pieces at a craft store and stained them with olive oil. This way I don’t have to pay the insane price for soy based paint or worry about my paint job. Olive oil is safe and it retained the natural beauty of the wood.

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So here is my four piece natural tower. Little Jams has played with it, properly, a number of times already. The rest of the pieces will be a little more challenging because I’ll have to size them up and cut them accordingly. This portion, so far, cost me about $1.25, about 1/2 tsp of olive oil, and 10 minutes.

This is one of many… many projects I’m working on. I’ll post more when there’s some progress. Take care!

#montessori

#pinktower

Pouring

Little Jams likes to pour when he has the opportunity, so I based todays activity on pouring from one glass to the other. It’s suggested to start with similar  glasses, and since  the only ones I have to fit that description are tequila shot glasses, I went with those.  He wants to pick both glasses up and pour that way, but I’m encouraging him to lift only the one he’s pouring. He spilled twice, I just refilled the glass and we moved on.  This is day one of this activity,  He’ll get better with time. I may try it again this afternoon, depending on his interest level.                                                          securedownload-12securedownload-13 securedownload-14

We also worked on some shape recognition, the circle and the star were the subjects. I will build on those this week, showing circles and stars whenever I can. I also showed him the words to start some word recognition.  Our final activity was a suggestion from Productive Parenting,  http://www.productiveparenting.com. It’s a great site with many activity suggestions. I get an email once a week with a new activity for Little Jams’ age. I took pictures of five objects that he knows and put them in the room. I showed him the picture and he, with a little coaxing, went and found them. Two were in a different room, one of which he found quickly and brought over. He’d lost interest before looking for the final item. I showed him where it was and then he began playing with it. Again, day one of this activity. I’m not expecting too much of him today, but I’ll see if he’s interested again tomorrow.

#montessorinewbie

#montessoripouring