Be Mindful When Making Summer Plans

Kara here.  My family and I are taking a few vacation days, so I’m re-posting this wonderful article from  former Simple Kids editor Megan Tietz, of Sorta Crunchy. This post originally ran in July 2009.  I know the topic of mindful summer planning is timely for me and I think you’ll enjoy it, too.

~ In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

For some, the month of July marks the beginning of the celebration of summer, while for others it indicates that the summer holiday is nearly halfway over.  July offers ample opportunity to slow down and evaluate how your family is wiling away the days of summer. Here are some thoughts to bear in mind:

1.  Assess Motivation

Thoughtfully consider why each activity, camp, or trip is on your list of plans. Are you planning on taking the big vacation because it’s summer and that is what you “should” do?  Or is the trip away a chance to purposefully engage and connect with each other as a family in a new and exciting (or old and beloved) locale?

Are you sending your children to swim lessons or away to camp because that is just what everyone in the neighborhood does, or is it because this activity or time away will genuinely enrich their growth and learning?

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Finger Foods for Toddlers, Part 2: Lunch and Dinnertime Ideas

Kara, here.  This is part two of Megan’s series on feeding toddlers, which originally ran August 2009. 

This is part two in a series on Finger Food for little ones. Earlier, we shared some ideas on what to serve for breakfast and snacks to toddlers who are new to feeding themselves. Today, I wanted to extend the idea into lunch and dinnertime ideas.

Several of you mentioned in the comments that your little ones eat what you eat at mealtime, and I have to agree this is the easiest way to approach meal preparation! I also have to confess that when my oldest was a new eater, she absolutely would not eat meat in any form. (She’s still a reluctant omnivore).

Sometimes patience and a good perspective on the big picture are helpful when approaching how much and what kind of food your new eater is eating. When our second child reached the finger food age, I was better about serving her what the rest of us are eating and not freaking out if she doesn’t eat much. She almost always makes up for it later in the day or throughout the week.  Having said that, sometimes what we are eating just isn’t great for the new eater – particularly those who only have a few teeth!

And don’t we all love to hear what other families are eating for lunch? Lunch is the biggest culprit of food rut blues for me. How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can one person eat?

Thoughts on Meals for Little Eaters:

Realistic Portions

Remember that toddlers don’t need a full serving, nor do they even need a half-sized serving in most cases. They have little tummies that fill up quickly! Start small and serve more if they are still hungry.

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Finger Food for Toddlers: 11 Ideas for Breakfast and Snacks

Kara, here.  After last week’s series on Homemade Baby Food 101 by Christen, we had a few readers asking about the next step and feeding toddlers.  So, I decided to re-run Megan’s series on Toddler Finger Foods, which originally ran August 2009.  Don’t miss the great suggestions in the comments – and feel free to leave your own thoughts, too.  We’d love to hear what simple breakfasts and snacks are a hit with the toddlers at your house!

Last week’s post on toddler mealtimes elicited some great discussion in the comments.  Several of you asked for ideas on finger foods for your toddlers.  I decided to create a two-part series with some ideas that have worked well in our family, and I hope others will share their toddler favorites as well!

For today, let’s focus on breakfasts and snack time.

Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers

Fresh Fruit

I liked to roll pieces of fruit in dry baby cereal.  This makes it easier for little fingers to successfully pick up the fruit and get it into those sweet little mouths.

Scrambled Eggs

Break up the scrambled eggs into little bite-sized pieces.  I often top scrambled eggs with a little shredded cheese for an extra calcium boost.

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Compelling Reading for Every Parent: The Case for Make Believe

Several weeks ago, I received a copy of Susan Linn’s The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World to review for the Simple Kids readership.  I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book with you from the moment I read the first page.

Susan Linn is a psychologist, director and co-founder of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and pioneer in the use of puppets as play therapy.  She has also written a book titled Consuming Kids.  As you can imagine, her philosophies and beliefs line up perfectly with the purpose of Simple Kids.

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A New Day for SK!

I can hardly believe it has been nine months that I have had the incredible opportunity to step into the role of editor here at Simple Kids.

In the past nine months, I have been so inspired and so encouraged by this amazing community.  In fact, from the day Tsh first entrusted Simple Kids to me, I have never thought of Simple Kids as my blog; rather, I’ve always seen my role here simply as facilitator of discussion amongst a like-minded community of parents and caregivers all drawn together and united in the pursuit of uncomplicated parenting.

Beginning last fall, I began to feel the movement of God in my life, turning my eyes toward a different community – the physical community in which He has placed our family.  Though my loyalty and devotion to the purpose of Simple Kids has never wavered, I also began to know it was time for me to pass on the torch of leadership so that I might better focus my energy on serving those in this city where my family lives.

Beginning tomorrow, February 8th, you’ll have a new editor providing leadership here at Simple Kids. Kara of Rockin’ Granola will be moving into this role, and I am fully and utterly confident that she is the woman to take Simple Kids to the next level!  This is just one of several exciting changes at SK as the entire Simple Living Media network launches forward to new heights.

Oh, this is such a bittersweet moment for me!  Words cannot express my gratitude for each of you. Your participation in this community, your support for Simple Kids, your emails of encouragement that have brought me to tears on many occasions – my life is so much richer and so fulfilled because of the time I have spent here.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for being the amazing community that you are.

Now, lest you think you can be rid of me that easily, you can be sure that you’ll still see me around the Simple Living Media network in other roles.  Tsh has graciously asked me to stay on as a columnist at Simple Mom, and I’ll be contributing at the newly launched Simple Organic.  And of course, you can (as so many of you do) still visit me at my personal blog – SortaCrunchy.

It is with much love, devotion, affection, tenderness, hope, and expectation that I bid you adieu.  May you and your families be blessed in the coming weeks, months, and years.  Thank you again for allowing me to serve you here.