Foodie Friday: June Menu

Well, we ate some really good meals in May…. and some that probably will not be prepared a second time. Some of my favorite new dishes from the May menu include the cashew chicken, salmon and bowtie pasta and the balsamic grilled chicken with ratatouille. Some things that probably won’t get a second appearance on our table include the blueberry Greek yogurt tarts and the carrot cake waffles. I really liked the waffles, but the kids did not. The blueberry tarts were a total bust!

I am trying a few new things in June as well, but most of my June menu consists of tried and true recipes. Some even classics. The recipe I am most excited to try is the marinated tomatoes. I love a good, summer tomato. I’m also kind of excited to try grilled pizza. I know it’s not a new concept and we’ve made plenty of homemade pizzas, but we’ve never done one on the grill at our house before.

I hope your June is blessed with lots of family, friends, and good food! As always, you can find recipes on my June 2019 Menu Pinterest board.

june 2019 menu

June 2019 Menu

Sometimes my kids stink…

Sometimes my kids stink, and that’s okay. Last night was a whirlwind of activity for my eight-year-old daughter. We had dance pictures, which meant 45 minutes of hair and makeup followed by an hour of group pictures in each of her dance recital costumes. As soon as we finished up with pictures, we rushed to an audition for this summer’s children’s theater camp. She sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and read for the part of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She made me really proud, but we had little sister tagging along the whole way.

Little S will be 5 in two weeks. I had to hold her during pictures so that she wouldn’t overturn the backdrop or lights, and she had to sit on my lap during auditions because she kept squeaking her chair when sitting alone. Let me tell you something: she smelled really bad! At first I was a little embarrassed for bringing a dirty, stinky kid but then I realized that it’s not such a bad thing. She smelled the way kids smell after they’ve spent a day playing outside. This is the first week of summer break in Chandler, and our teenage babysitter has my kids playing outside instead of sitting in front of the TV all day. And I really appreciate that!

Cable television was not even available in the area where I lived as a young kid. For me, summers consisted of endless days riding my bike, exploring our 5 acres, and swimming. Sure, reading is important over summer break, but so is unstructured play. Kids need the freedom to explore their world in their own way and they need to be outside and be active. Organized sports are great for teaching life lessons, but our kids don’t really get the physical activity they need during t-ball practice or gymnastics class. We should be giving our kids the time and opportunity to have unsupervised and unstructured play. I know some people are going to disagree with the “unsupervised” part so let me explain. I do not mean that parents should not monitor their kids for safety, but we don’t need to direct and referee every little thing. Kids play differently when they think we aren’t looking. They need to explore and push their own boundaries- but parent should check in every few minutes to make sure those kids aren’t doing something really dangerous, like climbing up on the roof or throwing rocks at a hornet’s nest.

Here are a few immediate benefits of unstructured, unsupervised, exploratory play (preferably outdoors) to both children and parents:

  • it promotes proper growth and development
  • it tires kids out so they sleep better at night
  • it gives parents and babysitters a little time to wash dishes or sit and read
  • it gives parents and babysitters a reason to go outside as well
  • the body utilizes sunlight to produce and convert vitamin D
  • it builds a child’s sense of independence and confidence
  • increased creativity

But there are also long-term benefits:

  • it gives children an experience base for environment education later in life
  • it helps kids connect their food to its source
  • improved physical fitness- outdoor play builds core strength to a place where kids can actually sit all day in school without becoming fatigued
  • it promotes development of executive functioning (executive functioning is the term used to describe cognitive skills like planning, self-regulation, organization, task initiation and the ability to go from one activity to another and is an indicator for a person’s ability to set and achieve goals)
  •  better eyesight
  • stronger bones
  • decreased depression and hyperactivity

In a nutshell- Let the children play!

You can take my word for it, but if you want to look as some of my sources you can:

The Washington Post

The Atlantic

Rekindling Memories of Yesterday’s Children: Making the Case for Nature Based Unstructured Play for Today’s Children. (2010) Linda Ramey. The Journal of Sustainability Education

Commentary: Biochemistry De-natured— How Unstructured Outdoor Play Can Support Later Learning. (2009) Harold B. White. University of Delaware

Co-Parenting: What Not to Do

what not to do

What Not To Do

Divorce is stressful on everyone involved, including the children. In fact, parents’ actions can affect their children’s well-being. That is why it is important for parents to learn what behaviors to avoid.  Click below to see some of the common things co-parents should not do in front of their child and positive alternatives to those actions. 

How well your child adjusts during a divorce depends on how you handle the circumstances. Sometimes the stress of a divorce can cause the most loving parents to act in ways that hurt their children. Have you caught yourself behaving in these ways recently?

  • Fighting with your co-parent in front of your child;
  • Complaining about your co-parent in front of your child;
  • Asking your child about the other parent to get information;
  • Excluding your co-parent from your child’s life;
  • Sharing too much information about your divorce with your child;
  • Being short tempered, irritable or generally grumpy when you are with your children;
  • Drinking more alcohol than you usually do or picking up smoking again.

These behaviors may be natural reactions to a stressful period in your life, but you can make the choice to respond differently for your child! When you are upset, your body prepares to either fight or run by pumping lots of chemicals like adrenaline into your blood stream. These chemicals make you emotional and can interfere with clear thinking. The best thing you can do when you are upset is to call a “time out.” That is, take a moment to calm down and allow the chemicals to flush out of your blood stream. Adrenaline typically runs its course in 20 minutes to 30 minutes. After you have cooled down, ask yourself, “Am I putting my child first?” and “What’s best for my child?” The answers to these questions are often not what you want to do. Remember when you attempt to hurt your co-parent by trying to get back at them, teach them a lesson or make them feel guilty, regardless of whether you are justified or not, you are hurting your child.

For a refresher of what not to do when co-parenting, check out this fact sheet: Tips for Working with an Uncooperative Ex: 10 Things You Should Not Do.