Use edible flowers to entice picky eaters

salad seeds

Click this link to purchase these edible organic flower salad seeds from The Garden Studio.

purple chive flowers

Click this image to purchase organic chive seeds from Cubits.

Gardening with kids introduces them to the freshest of foods.

A family garden teaches them growth cycles, harvest techniques, and teamwork.

Plants are the only living things that make their own food.

Once the novelty of the garden wears off, reintroduce it with edible flowers.

Eat them right out of your window boxes!

The smallest gardeners will need guidance, of course, as to which flowers are edible.

Play scientist!

 

edible flowers clip art

Click this image to purchase edible flowers clip art from Corner Croft.

 

What colors are in the flower?

Smell and feel the flowers, crush them in your hands and smell them again.

Ask if they are sweet, peppery, minty.  Crunchy?  Chewy?

Play researcher!

 

lavender

Click this image to purchase lavender seeds from All About Seeds.

Search out if you can cook the flowers, and how.

I have a New England friend who swears that fried dandelion flowers taste like fried mushrooms.

This summer we are trying that!

A coworker used to bring in lavender pizelles (this crispy italian cookies).

hand drawn card

Click this image to purchase this card from Lucy Auge.

Salads with nasturtiums, fried zucchini blossoms, daylilies, echinachea tea…

Have a garden playdate and try them all (clear it with the moms first, just in case of allergies).

Brew sun tea outside, make a salad right from the garden and eat it there, too.

Pretend you are dinosaurs, you’re on Master Chef Junior, you are on a journey to search for the magical golden flower that will make you able to fly…

just ask the kids, they’ll take you on the wildest adventures ever.

yellow marigolds

Click this image to purchase seeds for these marigolds from Kenyon Organics.

If you’d like more ideas for making mealtime with your picky eater fun, sign up for my list of Tools for Finicky Eaters (hint: they’re edible!) here.

And if you want to work one-on-one, we can give your family mealtimes a total makeover.  Just look over here.

Advertisements

I am in my happy place

Old Orchard Beach Pier

Click this image of Old Orchard Beach to purchase it from Elizabeth Thomas Photo.

Tantalizing.  So much is about the smells of lake and ocean.

Pine, wet earth, the salty air, coconut sunscreen, high tide, my childhood home, my other childhood home.

il_570xN.359869296_2vix

Click this image to buy it from CEJPhotography.

We left Running Mate behind, packing and cleaning without us under foot. The Things miss him, achingly so!

The 13-hour drive was doubled by jumping jacks breaks — my response to their bickering. But all that falls away in the cold waters of home.

When others talk and write of ethnicity, this is what I reflect on.  New England.  My family is a broad mix of bloodlines. We identify with family and regional histories.  And I want the Things to have that platform, too.

So we are a heartbreaking 3/4 of us as the Things hear stories about how Silas was followed home by a cat, how Pa drove a school bus for an integrated school near a military base in Maine while he was in college, how Big Nanny would let her children (my mother) cook potatoes right on the cast iron stove on cold Saturday afternoons.  The one-room schoolhouse, the potato harvest that shut down the schools each fall so all could work, our potato inspector and grave-digger grandfathers.

Family stories are proven and re-proven to strengthen families, an Emory University reconfirmed this recently.  Huffington Post published a “DYK: Do you know” questionnaire, and it was fun to go through it as a family.  But the facts in the questions, the article points out, are not what’s relevant.  It’s the time spent relaying them.  You can follow our Maine travels and our neverending attempt to move to Maine, over on Facebook.  Stop by and tell me if your kids know your family stories, and what they are!

Radiolab Changed My Parenting

Thing 1 had a short playdate on the far side of the city that disallowed driving all the way home & back. I LOVE it when this happens. I’m a high-strung mom from Puritan stock… being idle wreaks havoc on my nerves.  But when gently forced to pause, I adore it.  Waiting rooms, city buses, friends who never show up.  Love!  So I sat in a parking lot listening to public radio and crocheting. Bliss.

parenting

Click the image to purchase this from graybearstudio.

I listened to Radiolab’s “Sound as Touch.”  I learned of Anne Fernald’s findings that there are a set of common tunes within the words that parents all over the world speak to their babies. Across cultures, parents sound the same.  “Sound is touch at a distance.”  I learned about the 1913 riots during the first performance of Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring when brains could not make sense of the unfamiliar dissonance. And about the mechanics of how the brain understands sound.

Waves of vibrating air start compressed in your voice box, then upon iteration they travel through time and space into my ear, through a little tunnel — they vibrate a few very small bones, which in turn transmit the vibration into this salty sea where fluid literally bends little hairs to make sound, and then charged molecules rush into the brain.  “Sound is touch at a distance.” Dissonance (unpleasant sound) has chemical consequences – neurons revolt and dopamine is released into the brain.  Extreme dopamine release is one symptom of schizophrenia, and at lesser levels would have instigated the Stravinsky riots.

Yelling

Click the image to purchase this from Rundtom.

You see where I’m going as I circle back to parenting… But for me it was huge. I yell. It’s not my primary parenting tool, but I do.  And I had a theory that to withstand big emotions would be a good skill that I wish I’d had. But whoa. A stranger’s dissonance can drive a group of people to riot, we know.  When that dissonance is ratcheted up, what happens?  When it is one-on-one?  Coming from the person you love most, your life source? And then, what if you have sensory processing disorder, which one or both of my kids do?  Yes, there is a science behind why shouting at someone feels like an assault. It is. Sound is touch at a distance.

So I have joined an online group of moms who are all trying to stop yelling, and I have slowed down our nightly read-aloud time to bathe them in my gentle voice.  I try to look my children in the eye, look at the color of their eyes (he has dad’s, she has mine), at their souls.  I look for my triggers — and they are often sound!  I am overwhelmed by repetitive, jarring, or loud sounds.  As are my kids. Sigh. I am also humbled by the Radiolab story enough to share it with you, to hope that we can speak with kindness more often. To keep up with my progress, sign up for my weekly-ish Ezine over at Funnermother.com.

Listen to Sound As Touch and see what you think.  Then drop me a line on Facebook.

Outsider art

Outsider art - Funnermother

Outsider art – Funnermother

Outdoor play is great, of course.

But what if

the outside is not just a backdrop for play?

Outsider art - Funnermother

Outsider art – Funnermother

What if?

We interact with it.

Bring it in.  Study it. Draw it.

We did just that at a play date at our local conservatory & botanical garden.

outsider art

Outsider art – Funnermother

No running around inside.

We brought art supplies and paper and set the kids free outside, on the garden grounds.

Outsider art - Funnermother

Outsider art – Funnermother

They knew just what to do,

and were engaged for

an hour, focusing and moving

and focusing again.

Outsider art - Funnermother

Outsider art – Funnermother

They were absorbed

and

they knew just what to do.

Other posts about kids and art include: Freestyle Recycle