Saturday, September 25, 2010

Making Food FUN !

I have blogged before about how I try to make healthy choices for my kids. That includes making them eat vegetables every day and fruit every day and teaching them about all the food groups. Of course their favorite food is still
jelly beans and ice cream and I am the meanest mommy 'EVER!' cause I make them eat asparagus . .they are normal kids like all other kids!

But I am not giving up or giving in!! I am very consistent on table manners and dessert. You sit at the family table for dinner every night until we are all finished, you DO NOT play with your food and you don't get dessert (or Daddy's gummy vitamins!) if you don't finish your dinner. It all gets pretty boring and repetitive around here. I get tired of hearing myself say the same thing at every meal, I can imagine how the kids feel . . they likely tuned me out years ago !!!

So, to liven things up a bit and get the kids on my good side, I started a new tradition around here a few years back. I told the kids they are ALLOWED to play with their food ! My husband thought I was crazy! But we are having so much fun with it!

Its a special thing, its a (somewhat) controlled thing; yes, its messy, its gross, its tasty and its right at the top of every kids fun list !! I have inexpensive large plastic trays from IKEA that have a nice tall edge, we wash our hands really well and we get creative! A little chocolate pudding, mix in some vanilla pudding - with your hands of course!!! - add some whip cream, jello, maybe sprinkles? Anything goes. They love mixing it up and licking it off ! We've done ice cream with chocolate sauce and I hand out straws to slurp up the melted finished product!

We have even brought in a tray full of snow from outside. I give them some small cups to make little snow forts on their trays and some food colouring to turn it colours . . they play til it melts and then we go get more from outside !!

I am hoping my healthy kids find ways to always enjoy food . . . cause its not just for eating you know !!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lunch Note Love

How do I miss thee . . .let me write a Lunch Note!

Yes, I am one of those moms. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t intend for it to go this far. But it is what it is. I am a Lunch Note Mom. My kids expect it, look forward to it, complain heavily if I forget it, and for now, still think its cool!!! And I am getting creative at finding ways to make it easy – cause who can hand write 3 lunch notes every single day of school? I don’t have that much cute stuff to say!!

Here is my story of becoming a Lunch Note Mom.

As with all great things, it started with necessity . . . . My first born daughter is a ‘sensitive’ girl. She cried a lot as a baby. She cried a lot as a toddler. She cried at Nursery school. She cried at JK. And SK. And Grade 1 . . .everyday til Christmas. She’s a sensitive girl! To make her transitions easier, I did all the tricks; I gave her things to hold in her pocket, gave her extra kisses, volunteered in her class, tucked photos in her backpack and I wrote Notes . . . everyday. But I quickly ran out of time to write notes . . . everyday.

I had two more children by now and mommy brain in full swing. I needed to find a way to get out of this or at least make it easier as

I continued to lose the battle to get to school on time! I found a website that did lunch notes, printed them on colour paper and viola. But there were only 6 notes. I was sure they would notice I used the same note for the other 38 weeks of school. But that web site gave me an idea. Clipart. I searched for every free Disney & Princess character clipart I could find, I found High School Musical, I found Dora – I added a cute message like “Have fun with your friends ” and I printed out 30 Lunch Notes on heavier card stock paper! I was on a roll!! But then I used up all those and had no time to search for new clipart. And my oldest child was quickly outgrowing princesses!

My younger girls insisted on getting Lunch Notes too. I had a new idea. I found a sticker book with 100 of the coolest, hippest,colourfulest stickers of girls, dogs, cats, cars, beaches, dolphins and ice cream cones! I peeled off a sticker, stuck it to card stock, hand wrote in marker things like “Girls Rock!” and for under $5.00 I had 100 Lunch Notes !!

This year I have 3 kids in school, lots of lunches and lots of Lunch Notes. I needed something new to mix in with the sticker Lunch Notes. While I was printing all our best summer photos at the Kiosk last week I had an idea. If I used the “mini” photo feature I can get 4 or 6 photos on one 4x6 print of our summer in cute mini pictures. I printed out 200 mini photos for about $7.00 and cut them out, stuck them on card stock and added my cute message “Remember Kayaking! Fun Times!” The kids are in the pictures & it reminds them of all the fun we had that past summer. And the best part . . . I had hundreds of them now !!

If you have children that are a bit messy, tuck the notes into a ziplock bag. After all, how is a lunch note to survive, let alone be given to a sibling the next day, when it has sat in a puddle of yogurt all afternoon? Or go extreme like me!! I bought one of those mini laminator things – takes no time and is kinda fun to run them through. For this Lunch Note Mom, its working!

So go ahead, bring on those 255 lunches I will be making this year – I have a Lunch Note for you !

What do you send to school with your kids? Or were you savvy enough to never start !!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Managing the Morning Madness !!

School starts in less than a week and just the thought of school mornings with 3 girls and deciding who's wearing what, what hairdo will do, who's turn it is to man the toaster and who will get their shoes on fastest to get to the car first used to be enough to make this mom hide under the covers!

But no more! I have figured out how to Manage the Morning Madness !! Last year I read some back to school advice that made my life so much easier, that I want to pass it along as another September is upon us!

The secret to managing your morning is . . . .Ownership! My kids Own their morning. They decide how its going to go. Kids love to do stuff IF its their idea and IF they can have some control over it . . . so that is what we try to do here! And if its a successful morning, Mommy high fives them all the way to school!

This seems to work best if your kids are entering Grade 1 or higher, but my JK'er happily followed her older siblings example last year! We started with some brainstorming. The kids and I discussed what they CAN do on their own. We break it into 2 lists - a "Before School" and an "After School" List. The kids come up with what they are willing to do, and I made up the list in big print the older ones could read and some clip art photos the younger one could look at for reminders. Before school we have brush hair, teeth, pack library books and After school is empty lunch bag in kitchen, homework on table, wash hands - easy stuff to start !

Every single school morning instead of me saying "brush you hair" 3 times to each of them (tha's 9 times if you're counting!) or "where's your homework" til I'm dizzy or "put your lunch dishes on the counter" until I threaten to send the mouldy ones back for lunch the next day . . . now all I have to say is "Did you finish your list?" and these girls RUN to check and make sure. They RUN! Its a game - who can finish the list first . . OK - its a competition, but whatever - they are doing the List !!

They own that list, they decided what went on it and they are super proud to actually do it ALL! I figured the novelty would wear off after the first week of school, but you know what? It didn't. And this year, they want to add to the list! My Grade 3'er can start making healthy choices for her own lunch (she just read this and said "seriously - can I?!"), my Grade 2'er can empty the dishwasher and my SK'er - well, she is going to take all morning on her hair and deciding on which princess dress to wear for the day I'm sure !!!

So what will be on your Before School list? What do your kids to after school to help transition into homework, snacks and activities? I'd love to hear your suggestions as the kids and I prepare to make our list for next weeks first day of school !! And then check back and let me know if the lists work in your house!