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An Earnest Summer!

This summer is FLYING by!  Sorry the posts have been sparse – we are enjoying the weather and this hot season.  We have been keeping busy with our local zoo, libraries, bowling and even took in a movie.  I have to admit, with a school-ager it is tough to keep the interest, allow some boredom, all without allowing the craziness to take the days over.

This summer, we decided on a different approach.   Instead of trying to do BIG things like travel or get out everyday, we made a weekly schedule.  A schedule easy enough to change if necessary but also help with the dreaded summer “brain drain” (we have a great article on these tips coming up next week by one of our moms in the Earnest Mom Squad).  We decided weekends would still be the break so we assigned regular activities for the weekdays.  Mondays we have a fun class on self regulation and practicing hand writing, Tuesdays our local library has a free special event that we attend, Wednesdays are backyard days, Thursdays are baking afternoons and par kour classes in the evenings, and Fridays are science experiments day.

Tuesdays, our local libraries have been great.  We have seen magic shows, balloon shows, local baseball teams, the traveling zoo and bouncing play times.  All free and it is fun to get out and let the kids play in a new space with new activities each week.  Wednesday’s backyard day is literally time playing in the yard – nothing too special and sometimes we fill up the kiddie pool.  We usually get out everyday, at least the kids do but this is a special time where we all go out together and I may garden or rest my swelling feet and the earnest littles get to run and play to their hearts content.  All before rest time of course to help the nap process along.

On Thursdays when Earnest Babe takes her two hour nap, Earnest Boy gets up from his 20 minute rest and him and I bake together.  The first week was GREAT, we baked this Starbucks Copy Cat Banana Bread recipe (from myfrugaladeventures.com) with the bananas that my children will not eat once they have freckled, we substituted chocolate chips for the walnuts and enjoyed it for four or five days.  It was delicious.  The second Thursday, we tried our hand at strawberry jam with the strawberries we picked earlier that morning.  We made this recipe from www.intimateweddings.com.  The whole process took a lot longer than we had thought but the result was yummy plus it did not use pectin, only sugar and lemon juice.  The last two weeks we had family in from out of town so we did not bake but today we are back in the swing of things with Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We are using the classic Nestle Tollhouse Recipe (not my french aunt’s recipe for you Friends fans out there) and using all organic ingredients.  The baking day was created at the request of Earnest Boy, I was surprised he was interested in cooking but he is home with me all summer and I love baking and cooking.

Our Science Fridays have been so much fun!!  Once again, we wait until Earnest Babe is napping so we can focus on the experiments at hand.  Now before you get to thinking this Earnest Mom has crazy organization skills and creativity to plan and execute educational science experiments, hold on.  We decided to purchase a monthly subscription for the summer to The Spangler Science Club.  They send you 1-10 experiments a month that are focused on STEM and growing the curiosities of 7-14 year-olds.  So far we have grown polymers, experimented with the grown polymers, grown crystals and currently we are on a polymer alligator growth watch.  This post is not sponsored, we just are loving the Spangler Science Subscription and feel that you get a lot of bang for your buck no matter the price level subscription that is chosen.

This summer, I feel as though I am not feeling pressure any day or week to keep kids entertained – they know what to expect each day and we get excited for every activity we do together.  All days, the activity is not a full day event so we are able to spend free time together and time that is scheduled.  I feel a lot less stressed!!! Any earnest followers have some fun activities planned for their little or big ones this summer to keep the boredom and/or summer crazies to a low?  Please share.

x. earnest mom.

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But I Don’t Like It! Earnest Mom Chats about Picky Eating.

But I Don’t Like It! Earnest Mom Chats about Picky Eating.

If you don’t have one…you’re bound to one day encounter the ‘picky eater’ and when you do, your parental patience will be put to the test. As a recovered picky eater, I earnestly look for new ways to prevent or tackle this issue. I was recently a part of a Twitter Party discussion, hosted by Happy Family Brands and featuring the expertise of Dietician and food lover, Amy Marlow. Here are some tips that were featured during this chat, which have helped in the earnest household and I hope can help in yours.  Just remember that according to Ms. Marlow, picky eating is 50% biology and 50% experience.

1. Infancy is prime time for introducing a food, just be sure to never pressure baby to eat and look for signs of solid food readiness (such as showing interest in table food or mommy’s food, baby is willing to chew and baby no longer pushes food out of their mouth). Remember this is the best time to offer a variety of colors, flavors and textures!

2.  Don’t give up.  Most of us give up offering a refused food after three or four times and we decide that they do not like the food.  Food refusal can depend on many factors, temperature, mood of child and even the time of day.  Be sure to offer foods ten to fifteen times before deciding your child does not like it.  Just keep trying!

3.  Have children (toddler and older) assist in grocery shopping such as choosing fruits and vegetables, that way when they are home they will be more prone to eating the foods they have chosen.  If this method is successful maybe do a challenge of one new fruit or vegetable that the family tries together each week.  That way your child will be exposed to more flavors and textures (healthy ones if they are fruits or veggies), and mom and dad will be trying them too so it’s a communal effort from the whole family.

4.  If your child is showing tendencies toward being a picky eater, do not offer high sugar, high calorie and low nutrient options.  If you are going to offer alternatives stick to healthy ones.  It will be better and healthier for both parents and child in the long run.

5.  Have a rule at the dinner table, often times “I don’t like it” is heard before a child even tries their meal.  Make a rule that everyone must try one bite of everything on their plate before they decide they do not like it.  As hard as it may be, be patient during this process and support your child if they are at least trying the foods you are offering.

6.  Never do any of these:

  • Use foods as a reward, using sweets or other unhealthy treats as a reward for finishing dinner or eating something they do not care for can actually undermine the healthy examples that you are working so hard to have for your child.
  • Label your child a picky eater.  One hundred percent of the time, children who are told they are picky, will be picky.
  • Never hide vegetables in your food.  I mean, go ahead and disguise them or make them taste better, but never intentionally “trick” your child into eating something.  Even though they do not know that a food may be present in their food, be honest with your child, tell them what they are eating.  This approach allows children to recognize and appreciate the many forms and flavors that foods can bring to a variety of dishes.  On a whole, earnest mom would insist that we do not lie to our children.

Like I said, as a recovered picky child and I would earnestly urge parents to not give up! There are still some foods that I am just not a fan of (corn or peas on their own, oh and Jello) but I once read that our taste buds actually change all of the time.  So I am always willing to try, and we do the same with earnest boy (he has inherited my texture dislikes like Jello) and we get him to try foods he does not like about every month or so.  Slowly but surely his palette is growing quite rapidly.  So all you earnest moms and dads out there, be patient, set the example and help your children enjoy food!  Below I have also attached a great nutrition guide link from Happy Family Brands to help!

x.

earnest mom

Happy Family Nutrition Guides