My kids are picky eaters. Very picky. Just look at this video of Zacharie reacting to a lasagna noodle with sauce *gasp* touching his tongue.
When something in on his plate that he doesn't like, he distinctly informs us "I didn't order this."
Noodles must be plain. Period.
So my wife and I don't get the luxury of being sneaky chefs by stuffing the sauce with cauliflower, zucchini and vegetables to help him get his fill. But I wonder, is this the right thing to be doing anyway?
We've been given the books by Missy Chase Lapine and Jessica Seinfeld, but they sit unopened on the shelf. I read the blog recipes, like this one this morning giving tips to get bananas into ice cream, but I wonder - are we doing our kids any favours by being "sneaky chefs"?
By sneaking the good in with the bad are we just encouraging the craving for the bad instead of nurturing an appreciation for the good?
You may know how to get cauliflower into macaroni and cheese, beets into chocolate cake and zucchini into spaghetti sauce - but that's not how it's done in the real world.
For now, we're still trying the negotiations to get our son to broaden his palate, and it works - sometimes.
Are *you* a sneaky chef? What are your reasons?"
I love going to the library with my son. There's one next to the grocery store and we'll refill the bedtime book list each week when we also get a loaf of bread, a container of milk and a stick of butter.
Those books are great and have brought back great memories. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Caps For Sale and others have been fine trips down memory lane for me. Learning some new favorites, like those by Oliver Jeffers or the Skippyjon Jones series have been fun too. But this week a new night time book was brought into rotation - from our iPad. I have a number of fun learning apps for my kids on the device, and a few books too, but The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore was not just something to leave them lying on the carpet messing with on their own, this was an entry into Bedtime Stories 2.0 that was to be shared by father and son.
The The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore iPad app (book) comes from an award winning animated short film of the same produced by Moonbot Studios.
It's a video game, it's a movie, it's a story.
These are the kinds of literary experiences our kids will grow up with. There's the novelty of the page turn to break each interactive experience, but each step of the story lets the kids dive in and twirl a house, tape together a ripped image or make the books dance in the wind.
This kind of story experience is something that takes what lives in a child's imagination and manifests it on the screen. Bedtime books will never be the same.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore - $4.99 in the App Store.
What are your kids' favourite bedtime stories? Is there an app for that?"
Chances are your summer road trip will feature many roadside attractions begging to steal your time (and tourist dollars). There will be go-karts, fruit stands, water slides and small town theme parks along your route, but save yourself the money and skip 'em. The kids will whine as you pass them, but there's something better along the way.
There's the largest fly fishing rod in the world in Houston, BC. There's the largest purple spoon in the world in East Glacier, Montana. There's the world's largest Easter egg in Vegreville, Alberta. There's the world's largest fire hydrant in Elm Creek, Manitoba. There's the world's largest muskoka chair in Gravenhurst, Ontario. You get the idea, here's the rest of the Canadian list.
These roadside attractions are kitschy and cheesy to be sure - but guess what? They're free, they only eat up a few minutes of your itinerary, they're a photo op and they'll do exactly what your family needs to do in the midst of a long 6-hour driving day - take a break, laugh and loosen up.
Our roadside attraction was the biggest truck in the world in Sparwood, BC - the perfect 10-minute diversion for two boys under 4, and enough of a pause to have them sit still for the next 3 hours of the ride home after a long weekend in the mountains.
Can your afternoon riding go-karts do that?"