Halloween + Things
How was your Halloween? Here are Little Lou Peep and her sheep, in all their glory:
I'm a pretty big Halloween grinch, and am always happy when the holiday is over. This was probably our worst Halloween yet in terms of putting forth the effort to get into the Halloween spirit (if that's even a thing); we are "bowl people" since both of us want to go door-to-door with the girls, and I'm pretty sure our supply was depleted within minutes, since we get a TON of trick-or-treaters. We even left the bowl out once we were home from trick-or-treating, since we needed to get dinner in the girls quickly and put them to bed, and our lights were turned off by 6:15 when we ran out of candy, earliest ever! I'm hoping we don't get egged next year.
MAKING: This beef + veggie soup. To me, crockpot cooking is all about convenience and not necessarily about tastiness. I like texture in my food, and Nick and I both tend to find lots of crockpot recipes mushy and tasteless. Happy to have found a recipe that we all really loved, girls included, that was super easy. And I think a large part of its deliciousness is that the stew meat was from our local meat market and was really good quality.
LOVING: I taught Amelia “gentle touch” a few weeks ago because she’s been hitting when she’s excited about something, and now when I rock her before bedtime I can usually feel a gentle caress on my forehead. Nothing to see here, just my baby sweetly stroking my face. It gets me every time!
READING: I’m a little more than halfway though Behold the Dreamers and really enjoy it. I think the author does a great job at exploring the differences in the two cultures/social classes without it ever feeling like a parody.
I also just got this book out of the library and am SO EXCITED about it. I found it after stumbling upon the author’s website, where there are so many gems that I had to get my hands on the original source. If this lady isn’t the smartest, most helpful and practical resource for “food management” as she calls it, I don’t know who is. She really takes the hysteria out of feeding a family and puts lots of common sense back in. Here are just some of my favorite parts, all from her website:
“Focus on how you feed and how your child feels and behaves at mealtime, not on what your child eats.” This tip alone has revolutionized how I’ve been approaching mealtimes this week and it is working (with Eloise)! When I focus on how she’s feeling and engage her in the conversation (often Nick and I will try and fail horribly to engage in adult conversation at dinner and maybe this needs to happen at another time?), behavior improves and, as a byproduct, eating does too.
"Even nice pressure such as bribes and cheerleading - doesn't help. Your child thinks, 'if they have to do all that to get me to eat it, it can't be good.'" So smart! I've tried to stop praising good eating and instead adopt a more neutral and casual attitude. Why do I get so attached to how well everyone does or doesn't eat? I take it so personally!
"Always offer plenty of ''bread'' or some other starch that family members like and can fill up on. That could be sliced bread, tortillas, pita, Indian flat bread, Asian pancakes or wraps, cornbread, biscuits, crackers, rice, potatoes, or pasta." What?! You mean filling up on bread isn't evil? I definitely don't serve a bread or starch at every meal and am going to start incorporating this age-old concept that our generation has villianized.
"Most children and grownups learn to like new food after they have done the sneaking-up bit 15 or 20 times - or more! Most cooks give up on a food after three turn-downs." Twenty times or more! I am discouraged after one or two child turn-downs and assume that food will be rejected forever, so this is motivation to keep trying!
Everything on this page! I often find myself planning and cooking based on safe food groups that I know will be accepted by the girls, which usually results in a completely bland and boring meal. I need to start thinking more about taste (i.e. fat) and what foods Nick and I would like to eat, and then how to present that meal in a way that is accessible for the girls (which usually means that meal can be easily deconstructed. Jenny is a genius at this.)
This whole page! I am perplexed and intrigued by every single word on this page. Is this an April Fool’s joke?
"Keep in mind that family friendly feeding is "working," not when you child eats everything you put before him, but when he enjoys family meals, behaves well there, and can cheerfully pick and choose from the food you make available." Again, focusing on enjoyment and behavior feel like much more easily attainable metrics than whether or not food is eaten!
The book seems to delve much deeper into how to feed yourself, how to feed others, and the part I'm most interested in—“food management”—planning, shopping for, and executing meals. Now if I could just keep my eyes open for more than three minutes when I get into bed at night to read!
Are you reading anything good right now? Any dinnertime tips? I'd love to hear!