It’s January! Everyone in the family is cycling through colds, starting their resolutions for the new year, resuming extra-curricular activities and recovering from the recent Holidays and vacations. Needless to say, your family is busy right now and there is no better reason for feeding them a hot and hearty, but healthy, meal!
Crockpots are a time saving and amazing invention. There are so many recipes I have for a crockpot meal, from breakfasts to dinners, that I guarantee the whole family will love. Here’s my family’s favorite;
Chicken tortilla soup:
Add chicken stock, chicken breasts, can of crushed tomatoes, can black beans, can of hominy (or corn if you prefer), 1-2 cheyotes (Mexican squash that can be found In most grocery stores) or potato if you prefer. Season to taste and let everything cook on low 6-8 hours.
When you serve the bowls of soup, have separate ramekins for the toppings; tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, shredded cabbage (soaked in lime juice), lime wedges, sliced olives. The kids will have fun adding the toppings of their choice from the ramekins! Add green chiles or jalapeños for the adults if wish, prepare to have your sinuses cleared from this hot & delicious soup!! Just what the doctor ordered and a fun flavorful twist to the traditional chicken noodle soup, that everyone can customize to make their own.
Kids can join in New Year’s Resolutions too! Many of your children might already have a ‘reward board’ or sticker chart, where their daily or weekly goals/responsibilities are laid out and rewarded with smiley faces or stickers that accumulate to prizes or rewards. This same concept can be outlined for some kids (probably age 4 and up) with a New Year’s Resolution. Maybe you choose, or they choose, a large goal that they can work toward. Something simple that they can surely accomplish without much additional ‘keeping track’, such as; read 3 books by the end of the year, donate 1 old toy each month to a shelter for other families, help with household chores once/month, prove myself responsible for a pet, make a new friend at school. The reward is the confidence your child will develop and the sense of ability in setting and keeping a goal. It’s not too early! It may even help you stay on track with your resolution by having someone that looks up to you, hold you accountable to your goals and commitments to yourself.
The feedback from our Maki families has been great in regard to the opening of the new Campbell pool! Everyone is loving the shallow pool and warm water. Schedule your lesson today or come by during Family Swim Time and check us out.
973 Apricot Avenue
Summer is here! Remember to teach your kids the #1 safety rule around the water; Do NOT get in the water without being prompted by an adult. Don’t let your child go stick their hand in the pool/lake with their clothes on to test out the water or stick their feet in the water while clothed or sit on the pool steps with clothes on, which means we as parents/adults need to lead by example and do the same. All it takes is one slip or tumble for your child to fall in the one time you’re not watching and a fatal drowning only takes 2-3 minutes, it can happen so quickly. In a 2004 CNN report, 9 of 10 fatal child drownings occurred under adult supervision! We first need to teach the process of getting into the water, proper attire first, sunblock (if outdoors), and toys or goggles if needed, then a parent or adult permission to enter the pool. This process triggers the child to first go through these steps and not just run up to a body of water and jump or fall right in. Also, an ‘arms-reach’ rule should always be in effect for the adults/parents supervising children in the pool. This means IF you’re not in the pool with your child or even if you’re sitting on the steps, you are actively watching and within arms reach at any and all times. This would exclude; texting, eating, leaving your child unattended to use the bathroom, checking facebook, reading a book/magazine, engaging in conversation with someone else that would distract away from watching your child. Submersion happens in less than 1 minute.
Vegetables and fruits are abundant during Summer time! It’s so easy (and sneaky, in a good way) to add vegetables or fruits to your child/ren’s favorite dishes. I added sweet peppers, onions and garlic to turkey meatballs the other day, chopped them finely so it just looked like a fiesta of fun colors rather than a blob of bland steamed vegetables on the side of the plate. You can add mushrooms, spinach and olives to a cheese quesadilla or grilled vegetables like zucchini and carrots to a bean burrito. My daughter loves avocado smoothies too! You can blend ice, avocado, almond milk or milk, and honey and/or a frozen banana for a creamy milkshake-like smoothie. Or we pick fresh blueberries from our blueberry bush for a berry smoothie. My daughter also loves this strawberry salad that I’ve made; chopped strawberries with a splash of Newman’s Own light balsamic dressing for some tangy sweetness. I added avocado chunks, squeeze of lime, a dallop of sour cream and shredded cheese to a vegetable puree soup I made the other day and the whole family loved it! My daughter asked for seconds and preferred it to her quesadilla! Pureed soup; water, zucchini (yellow and green), broccoli, carrots, onions, garlic and sweet peppers boiled until soft, season to taste. Then puree entire soup in a blender until smooth. Serve hot with avocado, lime, cheese and sour cream, as you desire. I also make a great low calorie squash casserole that the whole family devours. Squash casserole; grate zucchini (yellow and green) with a cheese grater in a bowl and season to taste, layer in a casserole dish with chopped mushrooms and spinach, pour a can of cream of mushroom soup over the veggies, add a layer of pre-cooked ground turkey or tofurky or tofu if desired, then top with shredded cheese. You may add bread crumbs as the bottom layer, I prefer not to even though it can turn out a bit soupy without the bread crumbs, serve with a slated spoon in this case.
Volunteer with your kids!!
For me, personally, volunteer work has been the most significant and life-changing experiences in my life. Being deployed with the Red Cross to the Southern United States for Hurricane Katrina and working at the Senior Center in Sunnyvale, CA were among the most recent and significant for me. When I gave birth to my daughter, I couldn’t wait to experience these same life-changing moments with her. I couldn’t wait to teach her what it was like to be selfless, compassionate and humble. Soon after did I realize that you cannot expect or hope for a child under the age of 4 years-old to be a selfless human being, as their considerably self-absorbed in their own growth and discovery. However now that she is 4, I can see many different options where I can share these giving moments with her. In one instance we were at the grocery store and a young girl was handing out pamphlets with a list of grocery items they were looking for to donate to a local shelter. We went to the canned soup aisle and I had my daughter choose 4 different soup options that she wanted to give to “families that didn’t have enough money to buy food”. She chose 4 soups with meat in it (even though I’m a vegetarian and it’s against my cause), however I said not a word and supported her choices in donation. She was so proud to hand the cans of soup to the young girl taking the donations. “These are for the families that don’t have money to buy food” she said as she handed over the cans. Other forms of donation or volunteer work is; bake sales, walks for charity (a lot of times, these can be for kids of young ages to be involved in, you can bring strollers on long walks, as I’ve done previously for our own Instructor’s walks for Brain Tumor awareness.
Pool closure Friday 3/29 through Monday 4/1 for Easter/Good Friday weekend! Have a good holiday! We’ll be checking messages and emails in the office, as always. Thank you!
We teach our kids that ‘practice makes perfect’ so does this rule apply for swim lessons as well. Practicing regularly outside of the lessons is the same concept as homework for school by taking those learned skills and apply them to the outside world. You will definitely see progress, whether it’s classes for yourself or for your kids, if you add regular practice into the routine. We offer weekday and weekend swim times at the pool/s if you don’t have access to a pool, then take advantage of the year-round, warm pools to practice for your family. Get in to the water as much as you can before Summer and make the Summer a more water-safe and fun time for this year! Call us for Swim Times. 408-358-7049
Culturally Diverse Children
Teaching your children from an early age to be culturally diverse, not only expands their knowledge of other cultures, but makes them more tolerant individuals as well. ‘A good portion of bullying is ‘bias-oriented’: It happens when kids have trouble accepting another child’s differences.’* So teaching children empathy and respect for one another is a great starting place for change. Now days, many of us either come from a culturally blended family ourselves or speak multiple languages at home. This is great! We can start with our own heritage and cultures, creating your families personal traditions, if you haven’t already. Next we can expand beyond our own cultures and learn about other cultures, outside of our own.
Teaching children about culture doesn’t have to be only in the race and the countries themselves, but could be in the holidays, traditions, languages, history or foods of another culture or country. It’s not only learning for your child, but probably for yourself as well and it’s fun! I thoroughly enjoy learning along side my daughter.
*ParentingMagazine, Issue 263, May 2012, page 60. ‘Culture Blind’, Teri Cettina
Whole Wheat crust Mediterranean Hummus Pizza!
Buy a whole wheat pizza dough. Kids will have fun helping you flour and roll out the crust! Give them little aprons and/or a chef hat. Have the kids choose the vegetables (at least 5 kinds and colors is a must!), be it; different color bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, spinach, pineapple chunks, cherry tomatoes (red or golden, golden are sweeter). Have kids help chop the softer vegetables (age appropriate and with a butter knife. My 4 year old loves to chop and peel, with supervision). Once the crust is rolled out and all the veggies are chopped, have kids help spread on hummus, any flavor, to the crust and then sprinkle the veggies on anywhere and everywhere. The hummus not only adds hidden fiber, protein and a delicious flavor change for a pizza, but it’s much less messy than the traditional red sauce! Put in the oven and set a timer (based on instructions on the pizza dough wrapper). Delicious, fun, fresh and healthy for the WHOLE family!