Sunday, September 2, 2018

Children Can Toast Breakfast Often

Begin With Nutritious Bread
Sometimes making breakfast is the last thing you want to do, but families can teach children to make toast with many toppers nutritionists urge. 
  Good toast begins with a nutritious bread like 100% whole wheat or multigrain bread already sliced for safety. They have about 50 calories and 4 grams of protein. Some of the following suggestions have ingredients that can be set aside in the refrigerator the night before.  Some can be used in school lunches.
Toast Toppers
  Nut butters like almond butter with only nuts and no sugar have many possibilities with sliced bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon or granola. A new possibility that has been a favorite in Europe for years is nut free semi healthy chocolate spread with bananas, mashed strawberries, or pear slices. Cream cheese is a good base with slices with mashed strawberries or no sugar jam.  Children can also sprinkle dried cranberries, cherries and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Some children may like mashed small curd cottage. Apples sauce with no sugar and a little cinnamon is a good way to start the day. 
Be Creative With Breakfast
  Putting eggs on top of whole wheat toast adds nutrition whether eggs are hard boiled, scrambled or cooked both sides with the yolk broken, avoiding runny eggs. Topping with melted shredded cheese is a hit. 
  Some children are learning to like hummus, mashed black beans with a little salt and pepper and a teaspoon of spaghetti sauce, melted shredded cheese, or shredded carrots.
  Try a few ideas when there is more time on weekends to give kids practice. The above recipes are good to do with budding teenage cooks and grandparents.
Easy Chia Jam
  Children can make this strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, or plum jam in 20 minutes with chia seeds. The Aztec seeds have omega 3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. j No pectin or huge amounts of sugar are needed. 
  Children will need 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen thawed fruit,1 tablespoon lemon juice,1 tablespoon honey, or maple syrup and 2 tablespoons chia seeds. They can be ground in a coffee grinder and will still work. Dark fruits are preferred.
  Remove fruit stems, etc. and chop into small pieces, if needed. Cook on medium- low heat in saucepan until fruit starts to break down about 5-10 minutes. 
Cheeses, Fruit, Seeds, Nuts - Go For It!
Remove from heat and mix. Stir in honey and lemon juice. Adjust to taste. Stir in chia seeds and let stand for 5 minutes.  If too runny add a little more seeds. Jam will continue to thicken somewhat while in the refrigerator. Transfer to a glass jar and keep refrigerated. It is good in the refrigerator for two weeks and can be frozen for three months. Children can also skip the cooking, if desired.
For more see; Through the Seasons; Facebook and Pinterest.

Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Getting Back to School Routine

Time to Plan for School Again 
It’s time for families to plan for school again.  This is an exciting time for students of all ages as they look forward to new classes, activities, and friends. It’s also a good time to teach planned shopping, economics, and routine.
Helping Prepare
  You can include young children in your shopping plans for school supplies and new clothing.  Most families with elementary aged children will have a supply list from the school. Preschoolers may not have a supply list, but will enjoy buying something new like a t-shirt for the first day, a special folder for notes and papers, new chunky pencil, and crayons. Most students will need a backpack. Preschools often request a washable pillow or mat for napping and a change of clothes. 
 You can make this a good learning experience by reading the supply list together and writing down what is needed. Since most stores only discount supplies now, families may want to buy a few extra pencils, folders, and spiral notebooks to replace worn out items needed in a few months.
  Keep a few extra supplies around the house for older children like colored pencils, crayons, markers, ruler, and paper. Families will avoid making a late night emergency store stop.
Positive New Year
   Read local or on line ads and coupons with children. Teach them the importance of printed information, costs, budgets and price comparisons. Help children add up costs to determine the total.  Add on and explain state sales tax. 
 This interesting practical activity helps build positive attitudes about starting a new school year and reviews math and reading.  At the store, involve children in decision making as much as possible. 
Make Places to Organize School Materials and Clothes 
  Some families may be unable to purchase suggested supplies. Communities and religious groups will help.  New supplies help children feel this is a new beginning, and “I’m going to do my very best.”
   At home children need a special quiet spot with good 
lighting for writing, drawing, looking at/ reading books and working.  This can be a little desk, small table, or the dining room table near to family supervision. Help your child organize this space with some home supplies in a storage box and no distraction.
  You can mark supplies, backpacks, and jackets and other clothes with first and last names to have lost items returned. 
  Have a place in your house, either on a wall or on the refrigerator to display pictures, notices and good papers from school. 
Remember a Space to Display School Information

Go over homework papers and clean out the backpack every night. That’s how families know what is happening in school. 
It’s a good time to return to family conferences, an early bedtime, bath, nightly reading to relax, nutritious snacks, video and other technology rules.
For more see; /Learning Through the Seasons; Pinterest and Facebook. 
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Training Little Sous Chefs

Make Cooking Delicious, Educational and Fun!
How can we help our children become foodies with a broad palate? How can we teach them to make their own food by themselves when they are a bit older instead of complaining, “There is nothing to eat around here!”  According to professional cooks and nutritionists, hands-on family cooking lessons in the family kitchen make the difference. 
  You can teach some easy old favorite recipes or try other resources to make cooking delicious, educational, and practical for busy families. Cooking helps with math, especially fractions, measuring, doubling, and halving. Reading directions teaches careful reading, questioning, and problem solving. Cooking also teaches perseverance because a lot can go wrong and cooks need brain power and creativity to make it right. While cooking, read out loud and go over directions to check for understanding. Very young children can get equipment out of the cupboards, do stirring, and learn to use equipment under supervision. 
Looking for Help
  If you want to get a little help and share expense with friends, there are cooking kits for kids. Little Sous Kitchen Academy is a subscription service designed specifically to educate and empower children in their process of learning how to cook. 
  The subscription service sends children ages 5-12 a box each month, and aims to "change the way kids learn how to cook." The boxes come with easy-to-follow cooking lessons, collectible recipe cards, activities, posters, stickers, and high-quality kitchen tools that are safe for children to use. Their website has a few archived selections to get started.
 Other sites are Foodstirs Baker’s Club and Raddish. They all also include special utensils, nutrition information, general cooking instructions, and recipes for a monthly fee. Check out and Families can take a look at the sample kits on their sites, too. 
 Families can also use the sites as guides for their own 
Try  Making Slushes in the Summer
simple cooking classes based on family favorites. Then add a little family culture, ingredient geography with a map, and be ready for fun in the kitchen. Older children can be great teachers.
Watermelon and Strawberries
 Here is one recipe to try: Watermelon and Strawberry Slush. Ingredients: 9 cups seedless watermelon pieces without rind, 12 ounces of frozen or 1 ½ cups hulled fresh strawberries. Either strawberries or watermelon must be frozen for slush. Place whatever is not frozen in a blender. Add the other fruit. Blend again.  If desired add a little fresh lemon or lime juice and/or honey to taste and blend again.Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day. Slushes may be frozen as popsicles.  Serve with some family  adventure stories. With training, older children can use a blender themselves. Encourage yogurt smoothies, too.  For more see and Through the Seasons. 

Photos: Fran Darling, darling fotos

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Teaching Kids Nature is Full of Sounds

“The song of earth has many different chords”—Amy Lowell
Explore Nature by a Stream
Children can become good listeners while walking in fields, along a shore, in the mountains and forest or their own backyard. The trick is to get them to be very quiet. Juliet Robertson and Chris Hall both expert teachers and naturalists have some suggestions. 
Deer Ears
  Ms. Robertson uses owl ears and Mr. Hall uses deer ears, but the idea is the same. Children cup their hands like scooping up water and place the hands behind their ears to collect sounds like satellite dishes.  Children may have  observed animals moving their cupped shaped ears around when they are on high alert gathering sounds. The cupped ear triples the size of the outer ear.
Look for Beaver-Chew
 Children can find a pleasant spot, cup their ears, and be very, very still. Some naturalists ask children to blink very hard or wink when they hear a new sound. This distraction keeps them quiet for a time.  They will will let you know when it is time to stop. 
  Another interesting activity is to find a snail or slug. Do not handle it. Leave it on the ground and experiment with different pitches of sound.  When someone reaches the correct pitch, the animal will uncurl, stretch its antennae and start moving.
Walking quietly
  Children can also learn to walk quietly based on Native American teachings.  Place the heel of the foot on the path ahead. Carefully place the foot down on the outer edge first and roll the rest of the sole down until it touches the ground. Stop if you make a sound, pause, and slowly continue.  Crouch low and bend the knees.  Walk slowly and carefully with the body balanced low over the center of gravity. 
See Beaver Teeth Marks
The foot is never totally flat. Soft sole running type shoes or bare foot work well. Children can practice bare foot or with socks walking on newspaper. They can also practice walking with shoes on gravel.  Children find quiet walking a lot of fun and will learn to how sneak up on the rest of the family once they learn the technique. 
  The “cat walk” like a cat stalking prey. This is done for a very short time, straining to move very slowly.  To do this walk lift your foot and point your toes at the ground. When you put your foot on the around again touch the out edge first. Next roll the rest of the foot down until the sole touches the ground and repeat with the next foot. 
  Inhale and exhale very quietly through the nose with the mouth shut. When walking with others, match one person’s pace and feet exactly. For more see Through the Seasons, Facebook and Pinterest.

Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos