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There are some good discussions going on about this. My post over at NYC Mom’s blog was spurred by the newly released test scores in New York City. Kim’s over at Hormone-colored Days is a result of her own experiences raising a gifted child. Our experiences are coming from different sides of the coin but both add to an interesting discussion. Do you have a child who has tested for giftedness? Did your child not make the cut academically, yet they have an artistic gift you believe deserves extra attention (that’s what I’m dealing with)? Do you have feelings of resentment or question how the test is administered? Add your voice to the mix and feel free to leave a comment here, at Kim’s blog or at my original NYC Mom’s blog post. I’d love to know what other parents are thinking.

Little Foodies

letsnosh1

Erin over at Smallbites recently ran a great post on books that’ll encourage kids to develop a delicious relationship with food. Here’s an excerpt of her faves. And for the whole post and list of goodies, here’s a link. A few readers have even left comments with their time-tested literary good eats.

Board books:

For toddlers:

  • Eating the Alphabet (She credit this book with teaching her then-toddler daughter about such things as artichokes, radicchio and ugly fruit!)

For older children:

I recently attended a conference hosted by Hidden Valley Ranch and it inspired the lettuce in bloom in the picture belowed (there’s also broccoli, brussel sprouts, collard greens, eggplant, peas and herbs growing). For a foodie mom, it was still an eye-opening experience. I live, breath and well, eat, food—and not just because I’m a food editor. I have two kids, and guess what? They need three meals a day plus snacks. I’ve taught a lunch box workshop at my daughter’s school the last two years and try to tell parents think of food as energy. Your kids need energy to get through the day. Breaking it down that way has helped many moms think of food differently as they try to pack a healthy, nutritious and delicious lunch. Most of all, though, food should be fun. No need to create hang ups, addictions or aversions. I’ll be passing on some great tips and tricks from my Chicago Love Your Veggies experience.
Meet my new vegetable garden.

Meet my new vegetable garden.

First tip: get kids involved from the beginning. Start growing something, anything. Even a basil plant, that you can turn into homemade pesto, is a farm to table lesson. Get them excited about it by playing a cute game at www.LoveYourVeggies.com. While you’re there, check out Veggie Monthly and get ideas for asparagus—in season right now.

Other Related Links

Smallbites

ChowMama

The Toddler Cafe

In Jennie’s Kitchen

The mango salsa pictured below looks delicious and unassuming, right? Then why did my six year old ask “what’s that gross stuff on my dish”  last night? Dinner was simply pan-seared salmon with said salsa, steamed asparagus, carrots and rice. Honestly, I thought the salmon would be the fight—as usual. Being the fickle creatures they’re programmed to be, it was the refreshing, zingy mango salsa that she judged with just one look.

Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

I knew full-well that my protein choice might be met with a frown but decided as long as I paired it with a starch and veggie she liked, at least her tummy would be full for bedtime. To my surprise, the salmon went over well, and she wolfed down the rice and carrots. I’ll give her a pass on the asparagus—even though this is the season to eat it in NYC.

And therein lies the trick to shedding your short order chef’s whites. Don’t expect kids to love everything you make, but do make sure there’s at least a few things on the menu they will. Studies show that it can take upwards of a dozen introductions before children take to a new food. And if they don’t even after all those attempts? Respect their opinion but don’t scratch it off your shopping list. You won’t like all their friends as they grow, so it’s just practice for tolerance on both your parts.

MANGO SALSA

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Prep this salsa first so the flavors have time to marinate while you finish cooking the rest of the meal.

1 whole mango, diced fine

1 small red onion, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

fresh squeezed juice of one lime

Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno, optional

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well using a spoon or rubber spatula. Let “marinate” on countertop for 30 minutes. May also be made one day in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

Visit me at In Jennie’s Kitchen for more mealtime solutions.

Meet your new Foodie Mom!

Meet your new Foodie Mom!

My little blog that could got the attention of the PR folks at the MWW Group. Little did I know when I went to an event for the launch of 1-800-Flowers Spot a Mom campaign that I’d be spotted myself as a Foodie Mom just one month later. If you haven’t already, check out Julie Mulligan’s blog, (I’ll wait for you to peek and come back).

It gets better. Tomorrow I’m joining CEO Jim McCann, President Chris McCann and Julie to ring the opening NASDAQ bell. I’m honored beyond words. Not for just the sweet recognition, but because 1-800-Flowers is a family run business. Everyone involved is a genuinely nice person and it feels good to surrounded by such people. If you’ve been wondering what to you can do to make your own mama feel special, look no further. Flowers run a close seconds to diamonds as a girl’s best friend. Use type in this promotion code: SPOTAMOM at the checkout for a 15% savings on your order.</p>

POST MENTION (added after ringing the bell)

Take a look at the video footage:

http://www.cutboy.com/jennie/MSNBC.mov

The Mr. and I finally caught up with HBO’s Grey Gardens this weekend. What an amazing perspective it offered from the chaotic splendor of the original documentary. It also left me feeling both sad and grateful. Aside from the obvious mental fragility of both the Edies, they were victims of their times. Abandoned by their husband, father, sons and brothers, they just weren’t made for those times. Imagine had their story started a few decades later? The idea that a woman’s only way of providing for herself was to find a suitable husband makes me quiver.

I recently did an interview with The Mad Mom for a Momlogic piece. I said it there and I’ll say it here. The work balance, or lack of, often drives me crazy. But, I make sure to remind myself that it’s all on my terms. I can choose to go back to an office job any day (if there’s anything left in this economy). I choose freedom. Freedom to be with my kids. Freedom to have a career. Freedom to be me. Thank you to all the women who made it possible throughout history. It’s still a work in progress but I couldn’t be who I am today without their struggles and perseverance.

Hungry-monkey Too-many-cooks

Cooking with kids themed cookbooks has been a hot trend for a while, but we all know the dirty truth. Kids, no matter how great an eater they start out, hit culinary crossroad. You can only make so many broccoli trees in a sea in a forest of mashed potatoes before you accept that one day their palates will come to their senses.  Here are two reads I suggest to get you through the “dark ages”. Read my review of them at SheKnows.