Having one child who is a very picky eater, smoothies are my favorite ‘sneaky treat.’ No matter how poorly my picky girl eats for the rest of the day, I know I’ve filled her full of good things when I serve a smoothie for snack. Anytime my children hear the blender they come running, hoping to find me making smoothies. I’m not much of a recipe follower when it comes to smoothies, I generally throw in whatever I have on hand. I know I need to fill my blender completely to the top to make enough smoothie to satisfy my crew, so that is how I ‘measure’ my ingredients. This week our smoothies have looked like this:
Into the blender, scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of flax-seed and 2 heaping tablespoons of chia seeds. Close the top, and blend those seeds up. Then, add a heaping cup of yogurt. Next fill the blender to the top with frozen mixed fruit and strawberries. Add about 2 cups of coconut milk and blend. Depending on the consistency I may add a bit more coconut milk or water. Taste test and add a tablespoon or two of honey if needed. Pour out my cup (since I dislike banana) and then add a frozen banana and reblend before pouring the children’s smoothies.
Confession: Sometimes, I make a mediocre tasting smoothie (probably because I don’t follow a recipe). If my taste test reveals a smoothie that I doubt my picky eater will drink, my secret weapon is a straw cup and a cartoon. I’ve found that the kids will drink just about any smoothie if I turn on a cartoon and let them drink in the den. They are so engrossed in the show and the thrill of drinking in the den that they forget to worry about the taste of the smoothie.
Poetry Tea Time is a favorite activity for both the children and me. During the school year we hold these tea parties about twice a month, but during the summer we try to make it a weekly affair. We host our parties in the afternoon while the baby is napping. Often we bake a special treat, make lemonade or hot chocolate, and set the table with pretty tablecloths, flowers, and candles… but, in a pinch we grab a snack, pour milk in our fancy tea cups, and hurry to the table, sneaking in our party before the baby wakes up or other commitments beckon. I read aloud poems from several favorite poetry books and a picture book (or two) with rhyming verse. In between poems we enjoy our treats while classical music plays quietly in the background. Last week, when I snapped this photo, we had little time to prepare but the delicious cannoli brought from a nearby restaurant by a sweet friend begged to be eaten during a poetry tea party even if it was a quick, undecorated one.
I started these tea parties in hopes of helping the children develop a love for poetry and classical music by connecting those things to warm, fuzzy tea party memories. I’m an ‘all or nothing’ person, so when our week got busy I would skip having the party all together if I couldn’t bake an elaborate dessert with the children and decorate the table before party time. Soon, I realized that the parties were happening very infrequently because I was bent on perfection as a requirement to host one. The kids can’t have good tea party memories if Momma never lets them have one! The children aren’t going to have inferior memories because there wasn’t a homemade dessert and table-cloth at every tea party, they are going to remember that Momma took the time to make poetry special and fun even if our cookies come from a package and there is only milk in our tea cups!