Tag Archives: food

Teaching Gratitude to Children – a Crash Course

Babies are born 100% selfish. This is not mean, or the ravings of a disgruntled parent, but simply a fact. They come into this world with traits and genetic predispositions, but otherwise, as other psychologists have said, babies are a “blank book.” It is our job to raise them and teach them.

And I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but selflessness and gratitude are NOT one of the traits with which kiddos are born.

Having said that, how do we teach our beloved ingrates to be grateful? First, by example. Always thank your children and teach them to be thankful regardless of how they feel.

For example: I hate a meal a host fed me after inviting me for dinner. If I were a “typical” 2 or 3 year old, I might shuffle things around on my plate, my face contorted so as to properly show my disgust. I might even groan, or shove my plate or say how much I hate broccoli. But I’m an adult and I’ve learned manners. I’ll stomach the dinner and smile and thank my host graciously.

Are opinions bad? No. They’re normal. We’re not robots. We have feelings and tastes that aren’t the same as everyone else’s. As a parent, that’s annoying. As an adult, get used to it.

So, here I am: a mother of seven, beautiful, wonderful blessings. Seven children who also happen to be suffering from a serious case of complaining and ingratitude. And I, as their insufferable mother, am now suffering from a serious case of FED UP.

I wake up at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday to shower and make my sweethearts breakfast. I then get them up, pack 5 lunches, and send them off to school (OMG I miss homeschooling). Then, in the evenings, I make a healthy dinner. At this point, “thank yous” are whatever. But not complaining?! I would pay any amount for that! But ain’t no one paying me. Let alone, thanking me.

Enter my crash course (with a follow- up to be included in seven days’ time):

The rules are really simple: I’m not making s**** for a week. I bought all the ingredients for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Do the rest yourself. I even bought cereal (as a rule, I think cereal is garbage, with no nutritional value whatsoever)! If you make dinner, make it for your younger siblings also. If one of the older 4 doesn’t like it, make your own. I will make breakfast and lunch for my youngest 3 (6 year old, autistic, 4 and 3).

Here’s the catchy part: I didn’t tell them this is punishment, or that I’m sick of their complaining, wastefulness, ingratitude, etc. I announced it Sunday evening with excitement and anticipation. “It’s a learning and personal growth week!” I said. It is, actually. But it is also very much a fed up mommy wanting her kiddos to appreciate what they have.

As I write this, I close in on Day 1. Not huge, I know. But for this mommy, it’s everything:

They chose cereal in the morning because waking up and cooking? Who does that?! *Hand slapping face*

After eating and dressing, they packed their own lunches. One kid microwaved bacon, packed cheerios, applesauce, made a sandwich, and a drink!

When they came home, they relaxed a bit. Then the 14 year old browned some ground beef and made nachos for all his siblings.

Normal dish duty ensued.

Day One? SUCCESS!

I’ll update soon 😁


Happy Days

When life is chaotic and uncertain, it’s important to be thankful for the beautiful things (or people) we’re surrounded by. They are easy to overlook, especially in difficult times.

Deer in our backyard!

Turning boxes into forts 🙂

Peanut butter and jelly – yummy and fun!

Sister time, just missing one 💕

What do I say? I appreciate his love for bugs that I’ll never have!

And that love he’s passed on to his brothers…

Precious moments 💜

Nap time with Grandpa.

Eager helpers 👍


Food Stories

My children are privileged enough to grow up eating weird things and following strange eating habits.  And yes, I maintain that this is, in fact, a privilege. Not every kid’s mom fries up tofu for lunch!  Or vegan tacos in a coconut or jicama or lettuce wrap.  Other kids have to settle for corn or flour.  BOR-ING!

raw tacos

So today I offered to make the following lunch – chocolate peanut butter milkshakes.  Of course, this is not an ordinary milkshake.  It’s actually raw almond butter blended with several bananas and raw cacao powder.  It’s quite delicious!

milkshake

But my dear second child wanted to inquire about the ingredients.  He’s never the “just eat it and be happy you have food” type.

“Are you going to put those cockroaches in it?”

1st child, responding in laughter: “You mean dates?”

“Yeah, those.  They look like roaches!”

My poor privileged children… sigh.

In case you’re curious, dates are not a part of this recipe, although I do use them quite often as a sweetener.


Defining Unique (Euphemism for Gross)

There are certain things, like peas and carrots, that go together. And there are things like tuna fish popsicles that do not.

My beautiful, crazy five year old demonstrated another combo that, in my humble, and maybe boring opinion, should not go together.

Raspberries and mustard. Enough said.

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Eat WHAT?!

While most of the world waits anxiously for Easter services and egg hunts tomorrow, the Orthodox Christian world has yet another week of waiting (don’t feel sorry for us, the candy in our baskets will be purchased at 75% off, come Monday). Nevertheless, we are also anxiously awaiting our Pascha (Easter). What we will eat after nearly fifty days of fasting from meat and dairy. What my daughter will wear. And saving up energy for all the beautiful Holy Week services and the four hour finale of the midnight Resurrection service.

But things came to a halt the other day when I told the kids we would be celebrating the weekend with the grandparents, eating all sorts of goodies, including… LAMB. My seven year old daughter freaked out.

“Lamb?! Do you know what that is?  Little baby sheep! I’m NOT eating lamb!” She simply couldn’t let it go. At bedtime last night she said more defiantly that she is not eating a poor, helpless lamb. Today she got on the computer and looked up lamb pictures and called me in.  “This is what lambs are! How can you eat a lamb? They are just happy running around in the grass and someone just kills them!”

She’s a passionate one! I guess I should have known…. I seem to recall a similar conversation about deer….


Arts and Crafts – Why Kids Shouldn’t Feed Themselves

Hobby Lobby and Michaels are amazing stores. I peruse the aisles daydreaming about all the fun, crafty things I could do with the littles. But you know what? That’s all a waste! Art and craft time can happen anywhere and with many non designated items!

And so I present crazy craft/lunch time at our home! Items needed: ranch dressing and carrots (or paint and brushes). Not feeling so artsy that day? Consider this a double post on why kids under the age of ten should never feed themselves. Supervision doesn’t matter because it only takes a moment for disaster (or creativity) to strike!

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It’s a Party (but please take note of the following rules)

My 6 year old daughter is very imaginative.  Actually, the same can be said for all my kids above the age of two.  They are all also quite artistic (thanks to both sides of the family).

Today she decided she was going to have a party.  She planned all day for this party.  She was busily making the food and telling me what we would do and who would be invited (a host of stuffed animals, me and her siblings, of course).  At last she was ready… but we had to eat dinner first.

At dinner, she laid out the party rules:

“First, no screaming in my room, even though you are having a lot of fun.  No fighting at my party, because that will make other people mad.  And NO being ungrateful because the food is made out of paper!”

 

apples

Five course meal: turkey legs, veggie tray, apples, candy and chips, and, of course, CAKE

turkey

chips and candy

cake

Five course meal: turkey legs, veggie tray, apples, candy and chips, and, of course, CAKE


The Art of Eating a Gummy Bear

Supposedly, there are many ways to eat an Oreo, a vast difference in the amount of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, but who knew there was more than one way to eat a gummy bear?

In my house, there are at least four ways… and counting.

The 10-year old holds each gummy bear to the light, examining it carefully for who knows what.  Then, suddenly, his silence erupts with “NO!  Don’t eat me!!!  I don’t want to die!!!”  And then the bear is eaten.  He does this with every. single. one.  It does not matter how few or how many he has… they all have to beg not to die, then say goodbye to their other gummy bear friends, and then be eaten.

The 7-year old’s gummy bears are actually Ewoks, bravely dying in the fight against the  Dark Side.  And yes, there is monologuing that goes on with the death/consumption of each bear he has, too.  His process is quicker than the 10-year old’s only because he does not feel the strange need to examine each one first.

The 4-year old eats her gummy bears with two fingers, pinky finger slightly raised as though she is sipping tea.  Just like a little lady.

The 2-year old crams the entire handful of gummies into his mouth.  5, 10, 15, 20, doesn’t matter how many… they are all going in there at once.  I guess when you are the little one on the bottom, you must ensure that YOU are the one eating all of your gummy bears, and not a thieving older sibling.  And the only way to do that, apparently, is to shovel them all in at once.

Now, I said there were four ways.  I too have a way of eating gummy bears, but it cannot be considered a fifth way, for it mimics the process of the 2-year old.  I am not afraid of my kids stealing one because I’m not eating them quickly enough, I am just selfish and don’t want to share.  And if I don’t stuff them all in my mouth at once, you can be sure that four little people will be asking for more before I’ve eaten even one…