So, being that I am a health conscious person, and I appreciate the beauty of what raw fruits and vegetables do for the body, I have been really trying to get my toddler to eat his veggies (and not just corn). The only problem has been that he will usually begin to chew on some veggies, and then he’ll spit them out. We’ve tried spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kale, carrots, bell peppers, and a number of other veggies, but mostly he likes corn!
I have tried cutting things very, very small. I tried hiding some veggies in pizza sauce, but he detected that! I’ve gotten away with spinach in some things, and steamed carrots with some butter and brown sugar, but in the past he’s had a real aversion to the greens!
One thing that I have found is my best strategy for getting the greens in him is smoothies! He really, REALLY, likes smoothies, and I can add a variety of veggies and greens in the right amounts so as not to throw off the sweet, fruity goodness. Almost every day we share some smoothies for breakfast or as part of lunch, and we both feel good about what we’re eating!
I wanted to share one of our favorite smoothie recipes to inspire you to try making your own! This recipe is for a Mango Peach Smoothie with Kale.
1 C Frozen Mango chunks
1 C Frozen Peach Slices
1 C Apple Juice
2 Leaves of Kale (Pulled from stem and chopped)
1/2 C Fat-Free French Vanilla Yogurt
2 Tbs. Milled Golden Flax Seed
Mix all ingredients together in a blender until pureed and smooth! Drink & Enjoy!
Here is some awesome nutrition information on some of these ingredients:
Just 1 Cup of Kale has:
- 329mg Potassium,
- 133% of your Vitamin A
- 134% of your Vitamin C
Just 1 Mango has:
- 72% of your Vitamin A
- 203% of your Vitamin C
- 20% of your Vitamin B-6
- Rich in Fiber
Just 2 Tbs. of Flax Seed has:
- 3.6g Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Good source of Fiber & Protein
In addition, yogurt is rich in Calcium & Vitamin B-12, and is great for aiding in digestion and the absorption of nutrients; peaches are a moderate source of antioxidants, Potassium and Iron, and Apple Juice is another good source of Fiber & Iron (the cloudy apple juice is the healthiest).
So that’s my trick to getting my toddler to eat greens! What’s yours? I’d love to hear some more ideas in the comments below!
In our home the vacuum has been the dreaded foe of my two year old for as long as I can remember. I don’t know when it happened, but I have a feeling that it was when we were in a public restroom and someone used the hand dryer while I was changing my son’s diaper. I didn’t even realize he was screaming in terror because of the deafening volume of this thing, but the noise must have left a lasting impression on him because every time I would vacuum, the noise would have him running away crying!
Well, even though it was humorous at first we didn’t want him holding on to this fear, so every time we talked about the vacuum we started to teach him to say, “I’m not scared. I’m brave.” Over and over, we would say this every time we talked about the vacuum, but he would still cry and run away or hide in a corner when we got out the beast!
Fast forward to this afternoon, and I am contemplating some things that God has had us step out to do in the last few weeks. There are sometimes temptations to fear when God has you do something that stretches your faith. I happened to be contemplating these things while I was vacuuming! I was lost in thought so I hadn’t noticed that William was standing right there by me with a scrunched up face and a hint of fear still in his eyes, but he was saying out loud as he inched closer, “I’m brave. I’m brave. I’m brave. I’m brave.” He was saying it hard and fast! “I’m not scared. I’m brave. I’m not scared. I’m brave.”
Don’t you love those moments when God teaches you out of the mouth of babes? What great faith was in those words! It may not seem like it on the surface, but this was a deeply spiritual moment! William went with me from room to room and soon he was turning the vacuum on for me (he still high-tailed it out of there when it came on, but then he would return!) Ha!
At the end of our vacuuming hour he was hanging out with the vacuum like it was his old buddy. He even took the attachments and used them like sword and sheath and spent the next 20 minutes relishing in the fact that he had conquered this fear!
William’s new friend!
Moms, don’t ever underestimate the value and importance of your place in your child’s life. What a great privilege and responsibility we have to teach our children to live by faith, and to BE the strong, brave, and bold children God created them to be! You can influence your child’s little spirit even in the daily chores of life!
How about you? Is there something you fear in your life right now? Is it leaving a job? Moving somewhere far away? Making some changes that are going to be hard? Cutting off a relationship? Whatever it might be start saying, “I am not afraid! I’m brave!” If it works for a 2 year old, it will work for you too!
“I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:10
It doesn’t matter who you are – old, young, rich, poor, famous, obscure – when you receive God’s grace, it is a game changer! It changes a man like Paul from a murderous persecutor to a life-giving minister, a boy like David from a shepherd to a warrior king! A girl like Esther is transformed into a heroic and noble queen. God’s grace has continuously worked in ordinary people to enable them to do things beyond their own natural ability.
What does this have to do with motherhood? Everything! While some of the pictures I just painted may sound like a lofty ideal found only in storybooks, it is absolute truth that ministers, kings, queens – MOMS – are what they are by the grace of God! Fellow mommies – never forget this!
Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to God’s throne of grace. Why? So we can receive mercy and find grace to help in a time of need (well-timed help that comes just when we need it). Have you ever felt like you needed divine help to make it through certain moments of motherhood!? Me too! I am so glad to know that I am not alone!
I need grace when:
- I’m pregnant, the house isn’t clean, the laundry isn’t done and my toddler is having one of those days when crying seems to be the only way he’s choosing to communicate!
- I have deadlines to meet, and work to get done, and work just isn’t what I feel like doing today!
- I have the desire to eat healthy, but cooking something from scratch just didn’t work out (again) and I find myself desiring the drive-thru window because at least it’s food and it will get the job done tonight!
- I have a wedding shower or baby shower or birthday party to attend and I am at the store trying to buy a gift and get the kid(s) fed 20 minutes before said event begins!
- I set out to accomplish a lot in a day and it’s looking like one of my greatest accomplishments is going to be taking a shower!
It is in the moments when we NEED God’s grace the most that we must remember that it is available to us if we just ask!
Sometimes we forget what is available to us! Sometimes we forget to simply pray and ask God for the strength, the patience, the wisdom to walk through certain parts of our motherhood journey – BUT GOD tells us to come boldly before Him and ASK HIM for what we need! The best part is that He will give it to us and it will be perfectly timed! How awesome is that!?
I know some amazing, beautiful, godly mommies! Moms that have 7, 8 kids in the home; moms of children with special needs; moms that find time for homeschooling, part time work, serving at church AND genuine friendship! Every day I am inspired by what I see moms doing! Again and again I see the grace of God operating in the lives of these women, helping them in the season that they are in, carrying them through their daily routines and enabling them to have peace even in a day that feels like a hurricane!
“How does she do it!?” we might ask ourselves. The answer is: God’s Grace! God’s grace IS favor, and it IS freely given (not earned); however, my favorite definition of God’s grace is, “God’s divine, enabling power getting the job done when we can’t do it ourselves.”
Is there something you are going through right now, and it just seems impossible to do it in your own strength? Ask God for help. Do you find yourself in certain moments of the day when it seems like your patience just CAN’T be extended for one more second? Pause. Breathe. Pray. Come boldly to your Father and ask for the grace that He is so ready to give you! Do you just need to get over the mommy guilt and embrace the mommy grace? Do it! Even mommies that “seem” perfect will tell you they are what they are by the grace of God!
I, for one, needed A LOT of grace today, and I am so thankful that my God was happy to give me some well-timed help! What He does for me, He’ll do for you my friend!
Teaching your toddler to become a good reader is simply a matter of building the right foundation!
It’s true that no building will stand without the proper foundation being laid, and as a mommy you are a master builder! Your child’s education begins at home with you, and it starts the moment life begins! You teach your child everything from finding food to sitting, to crawling, walking, talking, and – YES – even reading! Don’t write-off the idea so soon; instead, grab a pen and paper and add these tools to your collection. Soon you’ll be constructing a love for learning!
5 Building Blocks for Your Future Reader
BLOCK #1: Make Reading a Daily Routine
Making reading a part of your daily routine is going to help your little one acquire the information and skills needed to succeed in school and life. Yes – it’s that powerful! Reading aloud to your child will expose them to the world in which they live, and help them to understand it. It will create awareness of the relationship between sound and print, and increase their vocabulary. It will also engage their imagination, and develop in them a love for learning.
Consistency is key! Reading daily is much simpler than you might think, and you can make it an experience that is fun and special for you toddler. Establish regular times to read, like before bed, and look for other opportunities throughout the day:
- Get cozy with a good book in the morning before the day starts.
- Read before a nap to help settle your little one down.
- Read during snack time.
- Read anytime your child brings you a book.
BLOCK #2: Read Age-Appropriate Books
Age is a big factor in selecting the right type of book that will create an enjoyable experience for both you and your child. Today you can find many good books available that will suit your baby’s stage of development. For babies and toddlers you’ll want to look for:
- Books that are easy to manipulate for little hands
- Books that are durable (e.g. plastic books or board books)
- Age-appropriate subjects (think animals, numbers, family, alphabet, etc.)
- Simple, uncluttered illustrations or photos
In addition to selecting age-appropriate books, use YOUR child’s interests and imagination to drive your reading selections. They will enjoy looking at books about things that they are curious about in their world!
BLOCK #3: Read with Expression
The value of reading right cannot be emphasized enough! The more excited and animated you are when reading to your child, the more excited they will be to listen. Are there multiple characters in the book? Give them different voices. Are you asking a question or making a statement? Change your tone to match the sentence. Are there certain emotions being expressed? Express that emotion in your voice (sadness, happiness, anger, surprise, excitement) to help bring the story to life.
Why is this important? Reading with expression will help your child to relate the book you are reading to what they are experiencing in their every day life. It will also help early readers with comprehension as meaning is added to the printed word.
If you are not the “animated type,” don’t worry. You can think outside the box:
- Ask an older sibling to read to your little one.
- Enlist the help of your spouse or other relatives.
- Consider audio books for children.
- Practice reading the story with expression before you read it to your child.
BLOCK #4: Make it a “Hands-On” Experience
It’s no surprise that a toddler is “hands-on.” Rather than fighting against that natural curiosity, guide it in the right direction! Allow your child to turn the pages of the book, to hold it and explore it before you might even read the text. If there are parts of the pages that are fuzzy, or soft, or provide some sort of tactile experience, take your toddler’s hand and guide it to “feel” the book.
My 18 month old loves to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. One of the main reasons he loves this book is because we stick his little fingers in the holes where the caterpillar “ate through” his food. His favorite day in the book is Saturday, where he gets to touch the chocolate cake, the ice cream cone, the lollipop – you get my point. His hands get to explore the book and it makes it more enjoyable for him!
Another way to create a tactile experience is to use touch throughout the reading. For example, hold your child tight if it’s scary, tickle his sides if something silly happened, crawl your fingers on the side of her arm if there is a moment of suspense! Your toddler will love this and it will make your reading time special.
Block #5: Be Patient!
Your patience is included as a key to future reading success because it will be required on the journey! Initially you may feel that your child shows no interest in reading at all and you may be tempted to get discouraged – BE PATIENT. Every child develops at a different pace so don’t compare your experience to someone else’s. Be consistent and adaptable.
Your little one may bring you his or her favorite book to read over, and over, and over, and over again – BE PATIENT! Reading the same story frequently is exciting to your little one. Before you turn the page they “know what’s coming,” and may even learn some of the words through the repetition.
When your child really gets into the “nuts and bolts” of reading in school, there may be times of frustration – BE PATIENT! All of your efforts are well worth it!
Now go, master builder, and use these building blocks to lay a solid foundation for your future reader! You CAN teach your toddler!