June 12, 2010

Sharing Saturday - Your Questions

Alright, for today's Sharing Saturday we're going to start with three questions from three different people.  That way, there's sure to be something you're interested in answering.  Just answer any of the questions you can and we'll all pool together to help out!  I'm sure the people who asked the questions would love and appreciate your info.  Here we go:

(picture from flickr)

1) My 7 month old isn't showing much interest in crawling and he *hates* tummy time now that he can sit up. Does anyone have any good ideas for making tummy time more bearable/fun?

2) I would love to hear any great ideas you might have for last minute dinner ideas. I hate that five o'clock hour of doom when I have nothing made and no ideas for dinner time. I want some quick, simple, kid friendly ideas using average stuff I might acutally have around the house. Help!

3) I am working with teenage gang members and trying to find art directives they would be interested in... and using them as metaphors to extend into daily living. Any suggestions?

Thanks for sharing.  See you tomorrow!

30 comments:

  1. I have worked with at risk youth before and have used scrapbooking to help then connect with the people and/or things they love. Even the boys liked to cut up pictures or take photos of the things they love such as bikes, music artists etc and put them in a scrapbook. To have something concrete that they can take with them to remember who loves them or what they love gives them a boost in their self esteem and it is something that they only own!

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  2. Re 2, I subscribe to Relish! It has helped me be better prepared to face the week with what I am going to make (you choose your meals, and it generates a shopping list for you). There is a category for kid friendly meals, but my 18-month old likes pretty much everything I've made from the regular menus. Everything is easy and almost all successes.

    Re 3, I live in Long Beach, CA, and the City is very involved with allowing youth to paint in public, be it murals on walls of buildings or covering electric boxes and the like. The murals depict life in their neighborhood, and are publicly sponsored graffiti. They know how upset they would be to have their work painted over, so it gives them respect for not adding unauthorized artwork to public spaces.

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  3. Scrapbooking is a great idea! Looking at pictures of "happy" times and people they love can help give them a purpose. It raises their self-esteem and self worth.

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  4. In response to #2:
    CROCK POTS are LIFE SAVERS!!!
    Seriously... throw all of your yummies in your crock pot early in the morning... let them simmer all day long ...and you'll have a yummy dinner AND left-overs! My picky husband and fifteen month old son are crock pot fanatics!

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  5. #1 try and let your baby spend tummy time on your tummy! Get comfy on the couch and let your baby lie on top of you. To add to the fun you can make funny faces...you get the picture. You could also try laying a (child safe) mirror in the playing pen (we call it 'box' in Dutch. I hope it's the same) This stimulates the baby in more than one way. Good luck!

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  6. ok so my little sister is 11 months and at 10 months she olny wanted to walk ALL THE TIME so dont worry b/c now she is waking (w/ help) and after she started walking she got the crawling thing down fast

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  7. #1 I work at a daycare in the infant and I've found that not all babies love tummy time. I have also found that some scoot and some army crawl and some slide on their bottoms. Not all children crawl. It's sometimes a hard pill to swallow as a mom to accept the fact that your baby won't do things like other babies like crawl on all fours, but he's unique and he'll do things in his own way. Challenge him to move by placing toys out of his reach on all sides of him. He will find a way to get there and make himself mobile. The more you challenge him, the more solutions he will find. If he's having a tough time, demonstrate. Crawl, or scoot, around with him.

    Good Luck!!!
    And, don't forget to enjoy the time when he is still a baby and you can keep him out of things!

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  8. #2 This is a recipe that mother has made going for some time now. My sister loves it so much that it was the ONLY chicken and rice she would eat.

    One box of chicken rice vermicelli (I get the Walmart brand)
    1/2 can of cream of chicken soup
    1 can shredded chicken (the small one's they sell by the tuna)
    1 can peas and carrots


    Just prepare the chicken rice vermicelli per the directions, add the cream of chicken soup, drain the chicken and veggies and add those as well. Voila! Dinner just appeared pretty quickly.

    We like to add some Creole seasoning and crescent rolls... They just seem to go together. Hubby loves it!

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  9. #2 again. My mom is like a gold mine for the quick and easy. This is her taco salad recipe. It's not exactly low fat... but it is delicious and FAST!

    Doritos
    can of black olives, drained
    shredded cheese
    shredded lettuce
    kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    taco seasoning packet
    ground meat (turkey, beef, etc)
    catalina salad dressing

    add any other taco like veggies you may enjoy.

    Prep the meat with the taco seasoning as the directions say. Crunch up the Doritos into bite size pieces in a really big bowl. Add everything else to taste.

    I'm sure you could use just regular corn tortilla chips if you like. When adding the dressing, be careful not to add too much. Catalina is really sweet and can be a little overpowering.

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  10. #1 In my experience, my son seemed to thrive more when I was out of sight. If I sat him on the floor on his tummy and sat there with him, he would cry the whole time. If I sat him down and walked just out of site, he'd cry a little and then realize that there was no one to cry to and actually start playing. It was then that we decided that although some babies need the constant encouragement, ours would do better motivating himself. It's worked out well. He has learned how to entertain himself. He's not antisocial or anything. In fact, He is abnormally friendly for his age. He loves everyone!

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  11. Question #2: My friends and I had this same challenge, so we put a blog together to help combat the problem! Check it out: http://thecookingchallenge.blogspot.com/

    I hope it helps! :)

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  12. For question 1, one thing I did with both of my preemie boys was to lay on the floor, pull my knees up to where my shins were parallel to the floor, and lay one of the boys on my shins.(so his legs are straddling my legs, fanny resting in the "seat" formed by the curve of the top of my foot, chest and belly flat against my shins, face above my knees looking over the "edge")Once there, I would bounce them up and down a bit, play peek-a-boo, sway my legs from side to side, etc. Because their face has no floor to lay down on, they are forced to use their neck muscles to hold their head up. Plus, they want to keep their eyes on mama so there's the incentive to pull their head and chest up as much as possible...the first skills needed to get that crawling going! As an added perk, it's a great leg and stomach workout for you! This exercise works great for babies who are at least a few months old and able to hold their heads up on their own.

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  13. for question 3, I was thinking of maybe something with typical "trash" items. Maybe fill up a trash bag with used plastic bottles, scrap cardboard, old foil, paper, paper towels, etc. Then let the teens use the "trash" to make something unique, be it a sculpture, a vase, a bowl, a piece of artwork to hang, a piece of jewelry, etc. Then go with the metaphor of how trash can be transformed into something unique and beautiful when put to good use...just like they can be. On a larger scale, you could even do this with old furniture such as refinishing an old beat up table or chair. Something bound for the dumpster transformed in to something unique and cool that's all their own! Gets across the message that it's never too late to give good life to something that's seemingly "not worth it" to begin with.

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  14. In response to #2:

    My very very favorite fast meal - salmon and rice noodles. I realize rice noodles may not be something you just have around the house, but it's easy to buy them at the grocery store in the asian food isle. Bonus: it's super good for you!

    1 - get the pot boiling with a bunch of water. this will take longer than anything else. Preheat the oven to 450 or 500.

    2 - while that gets going, chop up some green onions and ginger (you decide how much, we do a thumb sized piece for two people), put them in a microwave safe bowl with equal parts water and low-sodium soy sauce, and splash in a little bit of sesame oil if you'd like. The original recipe said to use one cup of each but this is SO GOOD that we just make a ton now. Microwave the bowl for 2 minutes with saran over the top.

    3 - pour your sauce in to a baking sheet that has an edge to it and then lay your salmon down right on top with the skin side up. Put this in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the skin pulls up easily and the fish is no longer translucent.

    4 - pop the noodles in when you put the fish in the oven. They only take a couple of minutes and you should be able to have them drained and in bowls when you take your fish out.

    5 - serve the fish on top of the noodles and then ladel on some of the sauce from the pan. YUM.

    Add a side salad and you have dinner finished in about 10 minutes!!

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  15. Re 2 : I used to work in a cafe and when I'm in a bind I try to think of things I used to serve there. One thing I make often that we ALL love - even the 19 month old -is lemon butter chicken pasta! I use whatever pasta we have on hand, throw in some cooked chicken, and lemon butter sauce (1/4 cup butter, 1 T lemon juice, 1 tsp salt ..give or take. We usually always add more - but it's so simple cause you always have those things!) and it makes a super simple, fabulous meal! The little one won't eat the chicken but she loves the pasta! And it only takes as 15 minutes!

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  16. I'll take No.1. My answer is: Who cares? No, that's not snide. I promise. I mean, if he's sitting up, his head's not going flat. It's ok if he isn't crawling or even scooching at 7 months. I don't see any point whatsoever in forcing tummy time at this stage of development.

    If you want to encourage him to move, put exciting toys just out of him immediate grasp. (If he doesn't go for them, try knives, wall sockets, expensive china, etc. -- babies will do anything to get to those).

    But seriously, don't worry about a thing. He'll be fine! -- Jenny, mom of 2

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  17. canned chicken can be a friend if it doesn't gross you out. some of the things i do with it can make a pretty quick meal (20 min. or less)
    quesadillas: tortillas, chicken, cheese and anything you want to add to it. spray tortilla with cooking spray, place in skillet, add chicken and cheese. either fold tortilla over or add another on top. takes about 2 minutes per one quesadilla.
    chicken and pasta: any pasta on hand, can of chicken, any sauce (i often use 1 can of either cream of chicken/mushroom/celery). cook pasta according to package. add chicken and sauce. heat til warm. you can either serve from the skillet or bake for a bit.
    individual pizza: slices of bread, pizza sauce, toppings. i broil bread on one side, flip and add sauce on entire piece, add toppings, sprinkle with cheese and broil until cheese is melted. everyone can have pizza to their liking and very simple.

    add seasonings to your liking and quantities to feed your family. hope this helps.

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  18. For question #1: my daughter was very similar (although she ALWAYS hated tummy time). Maybe I should have pushed it more, but as soon as she learned to roll over there was no more tummy time. She never did crawl, she walked along furniture and walls for a long time. I thought for sure she'd be an early walker, but didn't start until she was 14 months old. Oh well, all in their own time. Just wanted to say that not all kids crawl, although I know how hard it is when *everyone else's kid* is doing it.

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  19. #2, so seriously, you can wrap almost ANYTHING in a crescent roll and your kiddos will wolf them down.

    I have done...

    taco bites
    chicken and cheese
    ham and cheese
    pizza bites
    breakfast bites
    cream cheese and chicken
    cheeseburger bites

    it isn't fancy, but it throws together really fast. Add a veggie/fruit and you have an instant meal.

    I also have family friendly recipes every Thursday on my blog...don't worry they aren't all made up of crescent rolls...haha.

    Larissa
    Just Another Day in Paradise
    www.zitzmanfam.blogspot.com

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  20. #1 I wouldn't worry so much about tummy time. I didn't stress about it with either of my children and they both did just fine. They crawled when they were ready.

    #2
    You can also put anything in a Pillsbury biscuit (or any brand you like). Flatten the biscuit, press into a greased muffin tin. Brown some ground beef and add bbq sauce to it then put the beef mixture in the muffin tin with the flattend biscuit. Bake according to directions on package but pull out a few minutes before they're done to sprinkle on some cheese. Instead of bbq beef you could use canned chicken or tuna and whatever flavor you like (i.e. mayo, sour cream and curry, etc)

    Shepherd's Pie: brown ground beef in a skillet, add green beans, corn and either bbq sauce or brown gravy then top with instant mashed potatoes and shredded cheddar cheese. Cover the skillet until the cheese melts and you're done. This can be done in the oven too but sometimes there's no time for that.

    We love Taco Bake at our house http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/taco-bake-63779.aspx

    Burritos are always fast and easy- breakfast (scrambled eggs and cheese) or just refried beans and cheese.

    Also, lots of food websites allow you to type in ingredients you have in your pantry and they will give you suggestions of what to make with those ingredients. Kraftfoods.com has one on the home page and there are many others.

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  21. #1- My (now 2year old) daughter hated tummy time, until I found the "correct motivation". She loved those teething cookies, you know the ones they can just gum and get all messy with? Well, those worked great as a motivator because she enjoyed her tummy time so much more when there was a tasty treat at the end.

    #2- I have 5 kids (3 teens, a toddler and a newborn), so quick, simple and kid friendly are the only kinds of meals I make during the week. Here are a couple of our fall backs, but let me say that 1) you might have to cut some of these in half and 2) these recipes are assuming you have at least an hour before your actual dinner time. Anyways, here you go:

    Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Peas

    1 pkg of Chicken fillets
    2 tbsp Italian seasoning
    1 jar of Basil Pesto (I use the Classico Brand)
    2 lbs of rotini pasta
    1 10-12 oz pkg frozen peas, thawed and drained
    salt and pepper

    Season chicken with Italian season, salt and pepper. Cook pasta in salted boiling water to desired tenderness. While pasta cooks, saute chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes total, turning each fillet once. Once pasta is cooked, drain, return to pan and mix with whole jar of pesto (a little goes a long way) and peas. Serve pasta as a side to the chicken or dice chicken and mix with pasta. Serves 5-6 well.

    Drunken Mushroom Pork Chops

    8-10 thick cut pork chops
    2 cans condensed golden mushroom soup
    11 oz white cooking wine
    8 oz jarred or canned mushrooms, drained
    salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to 425*. In a medium bowl combine soup, wine and mushrooms. Stir to combine and set aside. Season chops with salt and pepper on both sides. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, arrange chops in a single layer. Poor soup mixture over pork and bake uncovered for 1 hour. Serves up to 8. (Suggested sides: mashed potatoes- which goes great with the resulting gravy and steamed veggies of choice- we like broccoli.)

    #3- As far as art directives I could suggest, unfortunately I have none. However, with any resulting creations you could hold an art show where the teens could not only showcase their art, but sell their creations too. This would reinforce the idea that when a person works hard, they get rewarded and if they find something in life they love doing (like creating their art), it's a valid, rewarding and socially acceptable way to have the life they want without having to resort to violence, drugs and/or gangs.

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  22. On question #2: one of my favorite last-minute dinners is to take all the vegetables in the hydrator (esp. those that are approaching past-due and those that in their raw form might not interest a small child). I cut everything up into a small dice, saute it all in olive oil in a big pot until everything is wilted / soft / starting to brown a bit. Then I put in about 3 cups of broth and let the whole thing slow-boil together for about 15-20 mins. Then I take a hand-held blender, stick it into the soup and blend until it's pretty smooth. My kid loves it, even when I put in beets, kale, all manner of things.

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  23. Oh I am so pleased to have my question posted (#3), and I am very grateful for all the responses! Thank you! I've added the ideas to my list and can't wait to discuss them with the kids!

    Regarding #1. As a nanny I have seen several kids do very little crawling and still start walking early, so I wouldn't stress about it. However, since you are stressed already, I would suggest little rewards like toys or a cool texture to feel within close crawling distance.

    #2. The crock pot requires previous planning, but makes the meal without any effort. I also suggest previous planning anyway. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you can save money on groceries and save time on the actual making of the food. Plus if you know your schedule is chaotic on a particular day, you can plan for an easy quick meal. Chicken is super easy and fast. Pour italian salad dressing over it, or lemon juice and herbs, or a cumin and paprika rub. You can transform the taste easily - so its a wonderful go to without becoming dull.

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  24. To question 1: I'd just let him do his thing. My oldest didn't crawl until 9 months or walk until 15 mths! He HATED tummy time and was rolling over by 7 weeks just so he could AVOID tummy time! Babies develop at their own rate and he'll be moving around in no time, and then you'll be wishing he wasn't!

    To question 2: www.crockpot365.blogspot.com saves my life several times weekly! I LOVE my crockpot. It's a lifesaver. My favorite recipe right now is : 1 can rotel (that's diced tomatoes and chilies) 1 can drained black beans, 1 packet taco seasoning and 3 or 4 chicken breast (frozen/thawed, doesn't matter really). Throw it all in the crock and walk away. When the chicken is cooked, shred it, and serve with rice! YUM.

    and #3. No help, but wow it sounds like you are doing an amazing thing and i hope people can point you in the right direction!

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  25. Q #1: I have twin daughters and to vary their tummy time, I stretch my legs out and let them have tummy time on me! Their heads rest above my knees and they can watch tv or just look around. Even changing their location can be helpful. Sometimes we move from the living room to the kitchen so they can look out the sliding glass door.

    Q #2: If you go to kraftrecipes.com they have a place where you put in the ingredients you have on hand and it will bring up recipes using those things!

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  26. Question #3: I love the 20x200 art site. You could discuss the different types of art up on the site, and why the project is inspired and successful. They might get idea's for art they could create from the art on the site.

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  27. Thanks for all of those great tips. I put all of your suggestions on my short list of things to try. I made the pasta in lemon butter sauce for dinner last night and it was a real hit. You guys are so great!

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  28. RE: #2

    I created a blog for busy women. Simple recipes, common ingredients, not a lot of prep/time, kid friendly...

    www.keepingitsimple.blogspot.com

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  29. RE: #2 - if you have a grill pan, you can make panini sandwiches really easy with stuff you have at home. Just use 2 slices of bread, stick whatever you want in the middle (simple like mustard ham and cheese or more sophisticated like pesto, spinach and tomatoes), put on a warm grill pan and then press down for 3 mins with something heavy like another skillet, flip and repeat. Voila. A great quick dinner that everyone will enjoy.
    I think everyone should have a sandwich night at least once a week to give Mom a break!

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  30. RE#2: Make a frittata! Super easy and so yummy, it is a great way to use up any little scraps of fresh veggies you have and get kids to eat lots of veggies. They are a staple at our house, my kids love it with a tiny bit of ketchup and they don't even realize they are eating spinach, mushrooms, peppers, onions, squash, or whatever else I happen to toss in. I saute our veggies for a few minutes to soften them up and then pour in the beaten eggs and milk and season ans stir it for a few minutes until it starts to cook then turn it to low and sprinkle cheese on and let cook until the eggs set. Yum!

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