Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Exploring Heat

We spent yesterday morning exploring heat and cold. I used the ideas and question (only a page) from the Playful Learning book that LLL puts out. We talked about heat not being visible, and a little about conductivity. I put a potato in the oven and pennies in the freezer. I mentioned that people used to use warm potatoes to keep their hands warm. We noticed that the penny got warm in our hands and our hands got cold. We held ice cubes with a mittened hand and a bare hand. One of the more interesting (at least, to me) activities was wrapping up a container of ice in a blanket, and leaving another container next to it not wrapped up, and observing the results an hour or so later. My seven year-old thought a blanket could only keep things warm. We talked about friction. And lastly, we put food coloring in cold and warm water -- I thought this would be cool, but in fact we saw very little difference between the behavior in different temperatures. But my kids sure liked the colored water! And just for kicks, I demonstrated siphoning for my seven year-old.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Feeding kids

I feel like I made a mistake -- maybe years ago. My kids like mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, oh, and McDonalds, and not much else. The mac and cheese in Annies, and the Chicken Nuggets are Trader Joe's, so I feel a little superior about their tastes, but I still feel I've failed. Oh, and to further justify myself I could tell you how many meals a week include none of those three foods, but why bother? They're all a little different in their willingness to eat different foods, but the most interesting fact about that is that my pickiest eater has also been my healthiest child.

Personally, I like good food. I tend toward vegetarian options, but not always. I like good ingredients and yummy meals. I enjoy few of the meals that my kids also enjoy, but as the mom, I have to make three meals a day. So cooking good food that my kids dis can really be a downer.

I'm tempted to try to go go cold turkey on processed food, but I'm not sure that sure that's realistic for any of us. I think I would have to work pretty hard to come up with food they would like, and there would be a lot of failures. And I think they would feel that I'm being mean. And grandma, who has them once a week, would never agree (you should have heard her justifications when I asked her to limit them to three hours of screen time when they're at her house).

So I try to steer a middle ground -- offering new food, trying to limit processed options, and, importantly, trying to note successes, even if only to myself. And although I continue to look for the perfect cookbook (the one that will actually make dinner), I realize that I probably don't need yet another cookbook, especially with all the internet recipes available.

So let me know what works for you. Any suggestions for family friendly, quick to prepare, healthy foods for kids who've tasted the dark side?

Here are some recipe sites I'm going to try: