Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A word to parents...

As parents we're parenting differently, and better, than our parents...right? Maybe not.

Here's an insightful article about what teachers really want from us. Timely for this back-to-school time of year. Let's all support our teachers...they're vital to our future!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Farmers Markets

What better way to engage your child and encourage them (and ourselves) to be healthy than by buying, preparing, and eating healthy foods from your local Farmer's Market? My family happens to live near five (5) Farmer's Markets that are each within a 30 minute drive...enough choices to keep my family interested for the entire growing season, and beyond!

I'll admit, at first my tween daughter wasn't too interested. But with a little coaxing—and letting her know we needed her help—she agreed to go. As soon as we let her help us shop (and pay the vendors herself) she loved it. Before we knew it she was identifying fruits and veggies that "looked good", saying "let's get some of these," suggesting a yummy dish for dinner that night, coming up with desserts we could bake with the fruit we found, or wanting to buy herbs to season our food with—it was great! There's just something so much fun about shopping together as a family, within our community, for a necessity: food. We have to talk things over, compromise, help carry what we buy—really work together (which isn't always easy)—but we always look forward to coming home and planning a meal to cook that night, and for the next few days, too.

A plus at our larger Farmer's Market in St. Paul, Minnesota is that there's almost always entertainment happening somewhere between the isles of the outdoor Pavillion...a folk band with someone playing a saw (yes...a saw that you cut wood with!), a violinist, a guitar player, or maybe a banjo player singing some tunes—even a tap dancer once! It's always different and it's always entertaining. When I turned around last summer and saw my daughter had volunteered to square dance and was laughing with a bunch of strangers in the middle of the market, I knew I'd found a regular destination for our family to visit and have fun at, all the while supporting our efforts to be healthy. Bonus: we get to support our local farmers.
If you haven't involved your child with a visit to your local Farmer's Market already, give it a try. Want to find the nearest Farmer's Market to you? The AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) on the USDA web site works to maintain a current listing of markets throughout the United States. Find yours here and plan a visit. You won't regret it.