Friday, July 01, 2011

Meal Time Revelations...

In the life of a family with four small children, there are many battles each day. I'm sure many of you can relate to the wars that are waged each meal time.

"Take another bite!"
         "Keep your hands to yourself!"
                      "Your food is NOT a toy!"
                                  "Eat your vegetables!"

 .... well, to say the least, meal time training is a long suffering endeavor with that shows little fruit. For me anyway. Until this week. I'm not going to get into the details of our discipline methods at the table, but I will tell you a couple little things that have revolutionized the way we eat.

1). I started playing classical music softly in the background during meals, and it is amazing how the kids calmly eat without bickering! I can even leave the room for a few minutes and return, and they are just sitting there... eating!  (we have a great set of CD's called, "Classical Music for People who Hate Classical Music.")

(note the ipod on the table and the full mouths of food!)

2). Regarding vegetables. My kids eat them. Somewhat begrudgingly, but they eat them. But, it remains a challenge to get in the daily recommended amount. I've started making vegetable soup (or "potaje" as it's called here.)

I start by dumping an assortment of frozen veggies in my crock pot.

(This particular time, I added garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots, spinach and garbanzo beans.)

Then, I add veggie broth.

After it's heated through, I use my nifty Braun hand mixer (which I love WAY more than a blender- yet another thing people here on the island do right :-) to puree all of the ingredients.

Then, I fiddle with it, adding more water, pepper, bay leaf, and/or cheese, till it tastes just right.

The kids, miraculously, LOVE it. They would (and may) eat it every day.

(Oliver...err... Levi, even asked for a second serving.)

3). After 4 kids and three high chairs, I've decided that the BEST high chair one can buy is the $19.99 one at Ikea. You can find it here. I like it because, (a) it is super easy to wipe off. Who needs all that frilly, fluffy, pain-to-clean fabric anyway? Your kid's going to eat in the chair, not sleep in it. (b) you can put your baby in it without having to use the strap, and they can't fall out. (c) it's just the right height -the table doesn't come to the baby's chin like a lot of seats. (d) Eliana, my gymnastic Houdini, cannot escape it, hence, I can put her in it during movies and she has to stay right there, safe and sound. (e) it's small and lightweight, and hey, it's $20!

(on a side note, see my baby-food-hating, toothless baby LOVING to eat food through his mesh food thingy. It was worth the money as well.)

4). Fun, educational place mats have lent to fun, educational conversations during the meals. (Thanks Grandma!)

And now, just for fun, here are some random pictures of the kids, so that Nana (etc) can get her fix.

(The kids love being read to)

(In fact, they rope anyone they can into reading to them. Here is Joe Grewe - participating in a short-term team, taking precious time to read to my kids.)

(They wanted Alcides to read to them, but then they realized he only speaks Spanish...)

(Being carless, the kids are getting to spend a lot of time monkeying around the yard.)

(They climb...)

(They jump)

(They hang...)

(And they have a general good time...)

(Since Lucas isn't much of a climber yet, he just stands around outside.)

(But inside, he's beginning to roll himself into precarious positions!)

(Well, I just think Eliana's beautiful, so I'm adding this picture :-)

P.S... If you've read this far, I have to share something that I found humorous. I'm putting it here as the person it involves only speaks Spanish, so I'm hoping to they don't see it. The other day the team that's here went on a little trip and packed a picnic lunch. One of the fellows from a different country offered to pack my sandwhiches. When we got there, I was pleased to partake of my first ever peanut butter, jelly, ham, cheese, and lettuce sandwhich. Yes, all on one sandwhich. Yum.... Try it. I dare you.


Trish R. said...

Was it good really? Ha Ha...interesting sandwich to say the least!

I loved reading your blog today. Your youngest looks like he can't wait to be a climber too!

The soup idea is a good one. I might have to try that.

You're right about the high chairs. Who needs the expensive bells and whistles when simple works best.

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Hi Nathan and Julie :->

I bet I'm the last one out here that didn't know you have a blog. I wonder who else does that I don't know about ....

When our boys were very young, I could not get them to eat their infant cereal. That is, until I tried mixing the rice cereal with apple juice. That, they L.O.V.E.D. and upon occasion, would even request it in their teen years. Seeings how it was full of iron, I had no problem getting 'the stuff' for them. ;->

I recently connected with an American blog owner who currently lives in Spain. Here's the link to her blog -->

The skies are FULL of rolling thunder here today. God's power to do such is awesome!

hope it's okay if I stop by again, now that I know your here.

Our Journey said...

Love it! The sandwich sounds like something I was offered but did not try at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital when Nathan was born - Tomato Peanut Butter Roast

Heidi said...

Hey Julie,
I enjoyed your post. Classical music definitely works with kids. I used it in the classroom to signal to kids when it was time to change activities and during snack time to calm down noise levels. It works like a charm!
Looks like your kids are doing great and loving life!
- -The Three and a Half Thirys

Nancy C. said...

I always enjoy your photos of the kids. This time, though, I have to say that your soup-making photos are exquisite. Very professional. (You took them, didn't you?) Great recipe idea, too!

The Thirys said...

Thanks, mom! Yes, I took the pics. I love my camera. I could do some real damage if I had a 50mm f/1.4 lens :-) One can dream...

Sandy said...

I absolutely had the best time reading that blog! I read it twice. And, my grandma Rodriguez used to make hame and jelly with lettuce peanut butter though...that sounds uh, different in a huh kind of way. :)

Nate and Susan said...

so fun to read your updates! You do such a great job correlating the pictures with a "story." (and your pics are fabulous!)

I love that you use classical music at the dinner table...that's so clever. I'm going to remember that!