How To Raise Homemade Gourmet Kids

mpj042267100001.jpgGrape tomatoes, olives, eggplant parm, feta cheese, Quiche Lorraine, couscous, wild rice & roasted veggies, Thai shrimp & rice noodles, sushi, Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte (decaf) and for dessert…….. 2 gummi bear vitamins, 2 graham crackers & a sippy cup of milk?

Confused?  These are foods my twins enjoy eating.  Some in fact, like the grape tomatoes, are actually an obsession.  Surprised? I thought you might be, let me explain.

One of my passions is cooking, or should I say food. But I didn’t learn to cook until I got out on my own. I grew up with the typical 5 to 8 standard meals most everyone did in the 70s.: spaghetti, fried chicken, meatloaf, pot-roast, burgers, tuna casserole, etc.

My goal was to share my passion with my kids and expose them to the culinary delights of the world.  Why should a toddler’s palate be dumbed down to mac ‘n cheese when they can equally enjoy pumpkin ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce? And mine devour it every time I make it. Beyond the exposure that I wanted for them, I also wasn’t about to waste my time in the kitchen every night fixing two separate meals.

So, how do you develop a sophisticated palate in a 2-year-old? Well, you start from day one.  The first day you introduce food.

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Explaining the Trinity to Children

Explaining the Trinity to my children on the drive to church on Easter morning was not what I expected to be doing. But I found myself in a unique situation.

Earlier in the week we covered the meaning of Good Friday and Easter. Between grandparents and great grandparents, we’ve discussed death since they were 3. When I first told Emma that Jesus died on the cross, she burst in to tears. But the tears soon disappeared as we discussed the resurrection. So although we discussed it all before, it’s still a big concept for them to digest.

Sunday morning John was reviewing the meaning of Easter on the way to church and the kids were quite attentive. But somewhere in the process thoughts went astray and he started getting questions like: Did Jesus grow up to be God? But Jesus is in my heart and He’s also in heaven with God? Etc. John looked at me. I look at John. Hmmm…. I said, “Well, I hadn’t thought we’d be covering the Trinity this morning.”

I had wondered how to explain the Trinity to them before. How does a child grasp this concept? I wasn’t sure how it was explained to me and I haven’t heard anyone else explain it to their kids. So while I was at a loss for a moment, my ‘thinking-fast-on-your-feet’ mommy gene served me well. Here’s how it went.

ME: You know what water is right? It’s liquid.

THEM: Yes

ME: Ok, so what happens to what when it freezes? It turns in to what?

THEM: Ice!

(Side comment from John: Oh you’re good! It was the boost I needed to know I was on the right track.)

ME: Yes, ice. Very good! Ok and what happens to what when it’s heated? Like when it’s on the stove and it begins to boil. What does it turn in to?

THEM: Ummmm…. (a little prodding on my behalf… ssssttttt) Steam

ME: Yes, it turns in to steam. Ok, so water can be liquid, or ice, or steam. But it’s all still water just in different forms right?  THEM: Yes….

ME: Ok, that’s how God is. God is in three forms. Father God, who is in Heaven. Jesus, who came to Earth as a man. And the Holy Spirit, who lives inside our hearts. They are all God but in different forms. Does that make sense?

THEM: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah……..

I won’t go in to the details of the variety of questions, cross-references and comparisons they made on their own, but suffice it to say it was a very interesting conversation in the next 5 minutes it took us to get to church. They surprised me with their ability to transfer knowledge and give me examples of things that are different but yet the same.

It’s still a very large concept to grasp, but I think we have good starting place.

How did you explain it to your children?

Cultural Arts in Franklin

I’m proud to be a part of a community & school that loves the arts with a passion! They attend Spring Hollow Community Learning Center, the art-based preschool that Emma & Jacob attend. 

Both of my kids enjoy painting and drawing, but my daughter Emma has a particular flair and passion for art. I bring her home daily from school splattered with paint on her clothing & body. She likes to use herself as a canvas quite frequently. (I do see tattoos in her future)  What I love about being able to send Emma to Spring Hollow is their philosophy on art and freedom pf expression. Many days I come in to find her in her rain boots and a guitar around her neck. She talks about her pottery and painting and loves, loves, loves to go to school there. We are blessed to have such a place in our community to attend.  It was founded by Dr. Katherine Ratliff Moon who is a true visionary as I have written about in previous posts. 

Dr. K is also the Vice Chairman of The Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission, a wonderful group of community leaders, artists and advocates in Franklin, TN and throughout Williamson County. Read below their mission and a key sentence that I love in red.  

The WCCAC exists to promote, encourage, educate, and advocate the cultural arts in Williamson County of Tennessee.  The mission of Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission is to promote development, accessibility, and excellence of cultural arts in Williamson County. The arts not only record our history and glorify the remarkable unifying spirit that is uniquely human but serve as a critical path of our success as a culture. As a part of our mission, the WCCAC is dedicated to encouraging the creative spirit and making its expression more readily available to everyone in our community. It is also our desire to acknowledge excellence in the arts.  The WCCAC…weaves the threads that connect the cultural arts to audiences in our growing, vibrant community.

 

They fund and manage community art projects, education and success. I can’t wait to continue my support and engage in my daughters pursuit of her passion.

Find out more about the WCCAC here: www.williamsoncountyarts.org

This is a post for Watercooler Wednesday .

 

Cultivating Young Artists: Teaching Tolerance & Respect for All

One of my first blog posts was highlighting the wonderful land of creativity, artistic freedom and teaching methodologies at Spring Hollow Community Learning Center. This is the preschool that Emma and Jacob are attending. 

Beyond the organic approach to art and children, they are creating an environment of tolerance and respect for everyone with a method called Green Circle. Green circle involves the children gathered together to discuss feelings about being a part of a social group and how it feels to be excluded. They talk about methods to include each other in cooperative efforts, what to do if someone feels bad and how to express their feelings in a healthy manner.  Each child has their picture take and laminated. They use a large wall with a green circle on it with all of the kid pictures when they discuss being included in the circle or excluded.

While this may sound so very basic, it is the approach that is unique. Many preschools/daycares will teach young children that you can’t hit other people. It’s against the rules, it’s not nice, etc. But very, very few schools take a methodical approach teaching children how it feels to be hurt by your friend or someone you dont know and why it is important not to make anyone feel that way. One may think that kids are too young to grasp or vocalize these teachings, but children are remarkably intuitive and pick up on this so easy.

There have been many examples of children taking their picture down during the day as a signal that they are having trouble with their feelings. This allows the teacher to discuss it with them.  Often younger children know they are upset but dont know how to articulate those feelings. This gives them a method of signalling they need help. This is especially helpful for Emma & Jacob during this very critical, over emotional and stressful time in their young lives.

The visualization and song that is used in the teaching is key. 

Green Circle
Green Circle

Circle Green, Circle Green

Finest circle we have seen.
The greatest task that we know
Is to make the circle grow.
Smallest one circles me
Then we add the family.
Friends will make it larger still
Further we must spread good will.
People here, people there
All the children everywhere.
Are of one big family
In the circle they should be.
 *****
Circle round, you must start
In the home and in the heart.
And everywhere that you will go
You will make the circle grow.
Circle green, circle green
Happiest circle ever seen.
For all the children everywhere
We will make the circle there.
*****
Circle green, as you grow
All  your love will overflow.
Show love for the world to see
That’s the way it ought to be.
Circle green, circle green
We can love and we can sing.
Help us love and help us care
Circle, circle everywhere.

 In a world that is growing smaller, how we interact with each other is so important. I’ve been in the preschool/daycare setting and witnessed how cruel children can be. Most often teachers discipline with time out or separate kids, etc. What I have not witnessed is a school that embraces and teaches as a whole this level of tolerance and respect for all.

I am so in love with this school.  It works for me.

This post is a part of Watercooler Wednesday and Works for Me Wednesdays.

 

http://www.svcn.com/archives/cupertinocourier/09.23.98/GreenCircle.html

http://www.volunteerinfo.org/greencir.htm

National Crime Prevention Council – http://www.ncpc.org/topics/hate-bias/strategies/strategy-diversity-and-tolerance-education-in-schools

Supporting Those That Cultivate Young Artists…

Looking for a reasonable night out, that supports a good cause, check out Spring Hollow’s Wine Tasting Fundraiser below… This is the school the twins will be attending in the fall and maybe even sooner. My post from Watercooler Wednesday on Cultivating the Youngest of Artists is the reason we are attending this school plain and simple.

I had a passion for drawing and painting early on as a child & my daughter is carrying on that trait. She will sometimes cry to paint or play with playdough even before breakfast. I am blessed to have found a place that will embrace her spirit and her passion as it should be, while meeting the needs of my son as well. He is my architect in the making or maybe he will be a demo man because he loves to destroy everything he builds immediately whether it is 3 inches or 3 feet high. But he is my builder. They will thrive in this environment and I am grateful that it exists so close to us. Come join us for an evening of wine, music & friends!


 

Wine & Cheese Tasting 2008
organized by the Friends of Spring Hollow Community Learning Center

Saturday, March 29
7:00 – 9:00 pm
at

Garden Club Estates Model Home
(Pulte Homes)
119 Snapdragon Court
Franklin, TN, 37067