066: The Tricky Business of Knowing Your Child: A Conversation with Mom and Facilitator Amy Anderson

A quick announcement – Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, the book I’m writing for you if you would like to keep your sanity while raising young children, is coming out on Sunday, April 24, 2016. For health reasons and to make it the best book it can possibly be, I chose to move the publication date from Sunday, April 3, to Sunday, April 24. To get notified the moment it launches – FREE in Amazon for its first three days! – go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com

Sometimes you meet someone, and just know that you’d love a really deep conversation with them; that was the case with today’s guest, mom, portrait photographer, and facilitator at a self-directed learning institution Amy Anderson.

Back in December you may have heard episode 43, about how to tell if your young child is consenting or not; in that episode I describe a presentation my husband and I had the great good fortune to attend. Blake Boles, the presenter, was asked the question: “how do you know if your young child is consenting?” Not being a parent himself, Blake turned the question back out to those of us in the audience – and Amy gave a great answer, turning the question around on itself and explaining how she can tell when her four-year-old daughter is not consenting. It’s a great episode, but not a prerequisite to today – here is the link if you would like to give episode 43 a listen: weturnedoutokay.com/043!

In today’s episode, Amy and I continue that conversation about consent. But that’s really only a small part of our conversation, which extended beyond the usual hour because I knew that Amy’s perspective would really resonate with you. You’re going to love this episode!

Click here to read more about my conversation with Amy Anderson, on this episode’s Notes Page at weturnedoutokay.com.

When my husband and I attended Blake Boles’s presentation, it was at the Macomber Center for Self-Directed Learning; it turns out that Amy is a facilitator there, working with children ages 5 to 18. Amy’s ideas about what makes learning truly meaningful mesh with mine, and the parts of our conversation that refer back to Macomber and what learners do there, how they structure their days and who “teaches” who were some of my favorite moments.

As mom to a preschool-aged daughter and a baby, Amy works hard to foster what researcher Carol Dweck would call a Growth mindset, as opposed to a Fixed mindset. Amy recognizes that it’s the process that matters, not the product, and shows her appreciation not for the finished drawing, or painting, or story but for the work that went into it.

We dive deep into the concept of what it means to consent, or give permission, for learning, and talk more on how to tell when our young children are consenting or not. Little kids can’t say “yes, I give permission for attending dance classes, or preschool;” it’s up to us as parents to make sure that they are truly consenting in their hearts.

Amy shares that growing up she always emphasized the product over the process, and that she’s worked really hard to change that as a parent; she also shares that she studied classical ballet for much of her childhood, her concerns about whether her four-year-old was consenting to studying dance, and the process by which she and her husband figured that out.

I hope you enjoy our conversation, that it makes you smile, worry less, and enjoy more in your parenting!

Key Links:

Our conversation about dance inevitably leads to a favorite conversation of mine, episode 10: How to Choose a Dance Studio for Your Young Child with Mom and Dance Instructor Suzanne lock; click here to listen.

To check out the Macomber Center, click here.

Blake Boles has a great website, where he shares where he currently is in the world and his relentless enthusiasm about life; click here to visit.

Click here to grab my free gift to you: the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents.

News About Publication of Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics

Positive_Discipline_Ninja_Tactics_Version_1 (1)Hey friends – this week I made the difficult decision to postpone publication of Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics by a few weeks.

New pub date: Sunday, April 24, 2016.

A resurgence of my chronic illness, combined with my desire to make this book be the best it can possibly be for for you, if you’re a mom or dad of young children, contributed to this decision.

I hope y’all can be patient while I finish it up!

To find out the moment it goes live on April 24 – it will be FREE for its first three days in Amazon! – as well as to download my infographic about how to handle any temper tantrum, go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com.

Also, listen to 
weturnedoutokay.com/000 to hear more about my chronic illness, which actually was a catalyst to starting the podcast. Life is strange.

065: How to Get Your Kids to Eat, Part Two of Two – Mindset

Today, we wrap up our month of food here at We Turned Out Okay with a show on the mindset of getting our kids to eat!

If you have been loving the food/family focus this past month here at We Turned Out Okay, but didn’t have a chance to take notes, I have great news – I made you a FREE, two-page Food and Family infographic! It combines key takeaways from this month, favorite recipes, and grab-and-go snack ideas so that you can have all that information in one place. Best of all, when you print it out and put it up on the refrigerator, babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings will all have an idea of what to do when you’re not home and your little one is hungry

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/foodandfamily – see how well you do on my one-question food quiz – and sign up for the We Turned Out Okay Guide to Food and Family. (Note – if you’re reading this in iTunes but the link is not clickable, tap on the three dots to the right of this episode’s title to bring up a menu; choose View Full Description from that menu, and the link will be clickable 🙂

During part one of How to Get Your Kids to Eat – back on March 1 – I shared about how I helped my picky eater become more adventurous (and my part in creating that picky eater in the first place). If you have picky eaters and you’re trying to get them to eat something, take a listen by clicking here or going to weturnedoutokay.com/059.

For today’s show, I’ve come up with three key aspects of the mindset you need when thinking about kids and food.

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/065 for notes from today’s episode!

The three key aspects of a happy kids/food mindset:

1) make mealtime not so much about the meal, instead focusing on the fun aspects of sitting down together with family and friends – it’s more relaxing for everyone, and just a lot nicer to think about enjoying mealtime rather than girding for yet another food battle

2) take into account what your child has eaten over the course of a week, and try not to worry so much about what he or she has eaten at this meal, or even today; when he was younger, my Jay could go days and days without virtually any solid food, and even today will sometimes eat next to nothing… and then the next day or a few days later seems to have a hollow leg! Letting kids figure out for themselves when they’re full or when they’re hungry is key not just to avoid battles today, but so that our kids approach food in a healthy way as adults

3) eat a variety of foods; doesn’t that sound simple? And yet it can be so tough, when all they want in the world is nuggets and fries! Today I help you figure out how to make eating a variety of foods the reality in your home, even with your pickiest of eaters

Adapting your food and kids mindset to include these three aspects will, not coincidentally, allow you to worry less and enjoy more every day with your young child! I know this firsthand, because these were the three things that helped me get my kids to eat.

At the end of today’s episode, I shift gears and bring up an FAQ about my forthcoming book for parents of young children – Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child – a favorite FAQ that, when I first read it, made me snort tea through my nose!

Q: How do I recommend Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics to my sister/cousin/best friend without saying in effect “hey, you’re a sucky parent – read this book!”?

A: We all know someone who we wish their parenting was better. Maybe they bring too much drama in, maybe they’re just too worried about everything child-related, maybe they fly off the handle really easily. How to recommend a book that will really, really help – without making them think you disapprove of their parenting style? Try this: make a general recommendation out to your social media peeps. Post into Facebook, twitter, instagram, or Pinterest and just say something like “here’s a book that I got a lot out of… Everybody should read it, you’ll love it and be a happier parent when you finish it!”

When Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics goes live in Amazon – the plan is currently for this to happen in April – it will be free for three short days! To get notified immediately the moment it goes live, go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com; this is also where you can grab my anti-tantrum infographic, perfect for printing out and placing on the fridge so that babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings know how to handle a tantrum in your home!

Key Links

In today’s’s conversation, the following We Turned Out Okay episodes come up: weturnedoutokay.com/056 (how to handle every temper tantrum), weturnedoutokay.com/059 (about how I got my picky eater to become more adventurous), and weturnedoutokay.com/064 (feeding kids beyond Nuggets and Fries)

Click here or go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com to sign up for your fridge-worthy anti-tantrum infographic and to get notified immediately when the book goes live in Amazon, because it will be FREE for three short days!

064: Feeding Kids Beyond Nuggets and Fries: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today, in this Your Child Explained episode, where we always get into the mind of our kids’ heads, we’re looking at exposure to new foods from the perspective of our kids.

March has been – and continues to be – all about food here at We Turned Out Okay, and today’s episode pertains to two interviews from this month: my conversation with mom and author of The Lost Art of Feeding Kids Jeannie Marshall in episode 60 (click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/060 to listen) and my conversation with mom and author of the cookbook My Kitchen In Rome Rachel Roddy in episode 63 (click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/063 for that one). Those were two fantastic conversations, I learned so much about kids, food, and the interactions of one with the other while talking to these two great women! I know you’ll love our chats, so if you haven’t yet, go back and take a listen – that said, neither episode is a prerequisite to today’s.

Jeannie and Rachel are friends who live in Rome, Italy; each has a son in the Roman school system – and both are quick to note the differences between the school lunches they remember growing up in Canada and England respectively, and school lunches their sons enjoy each day.

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/064 for further notes from today’s Your Child Explained!

Similar to the school lunches that you probably remember, Jeannie and Rachel ate a lot of frozen pizza, French fries, and limp salads in school. In Rome – as in most places in Italy – each school has a chef, who makes fresh and extremely varied dishes each day, serving them family-style and eating with the children and teachers! Kids are exposed to foods in Italy that we’d never dream of sharing with them here in North America or England; in fact Rachel’s 4 1/2-year-old son Luca came home the other day talking about how he “didn’t like the car coffee” served at school. Rachel thought briefly “they are giving my son coffee?”… and then realized that the phrase car coffee is a phonetic pronunciation of the Italian word for artichokes. Luca may not have liked them, but he was exposed to artichokes in school that day!

And that is how kids get out of picky eating, become more adventurous and able to handle different foods. We can’t expect our kids to be exposed to only the same nine or 10 foods in their young lives, and then suddenly become adventurous (or even less picky). It’s up to us parents to change their exposure at home – to make nuggets be the treat and variety be the norm.

I know how difficult that is; episode 59 from the first week in March was all about how my own picky eater turned adventurous (listen here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/059). Through our experiences in my own family, I know that it can be done; I hope as you listen to today’s episode you gain some ideas and some hope in moving from nuggets and fries to other great and yummy foods out in the world!

Key Links

Click here to sign up for the “5 Ways to Handle Your Picky Eater” Free Guide!

Click here for my conversation with Jeannie Marshall in episode 60, and here for her website, JeannieMarshall.com.

Click here for my conversation with Rachel Roddy in episode 63, and here for her weekly food column in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/059 for my story about helping one picky eater become… well, less picky!

My forthcoming book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, is for you if you need a toolbox of tools to handle every tantrum, keep your cool, and enjoy life with your young child! To get your free, printable, fridge-worthy anti-tantrum infographic, as well as to be notified immediately when the book launches in Amazon – it will be free for three short days! – go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com.

063: How to Approach Feeding Our Kids – and Ourselves; A Conversation with Mom and Cookbook Author Rachel Roddy

RachelRoddy_July2015_ElenaHeatherwick-12Continuing in our month-long series about feeding kids, today I have the privilege of talking with award-winning author and blogger Rachel Roddy.

Before visiting Italy a decade ago, Rachel enjoyed a great career as an actress. At 32, however, she found herself in Sicily – with no desire whatsoever to go home to England. Rachel wandered around Sicily and then Rome, learning the language, loving the culture, and recognizing that her approach to food and eating needed to change.

She’d never thought of herself as a writer, but before long Rachel had started the blog Racheleats.wordpress.com. She’d also rented an apartment in a quirky, fascinating neighborhood in Rome, fallen in love and had a child; choosing, in effect, a tranquil, homey life in which food plays a nourishing and delightful part rather than the life she left behind of an actress “with many eating disorders.”

Along with her partner, Vincenzo, and her son’s father, Rachel is raising 4 1/2-year-old Luca; our conversation ranges over what it’s like to raise a child in a culture that is not your own, food and the young child, and also about Rachel’s own childhood and the part food has always played in her own life.

Click here to read the full notes on this podcast episode at weturnedoutokay.com/063!

Rachel’s beloved Roman neighborhood is often called the Fifth Quarter, and when her first cookbook came out in 2015 in England, Rachel gave it that name; just last month – February 2016 – this cookbook arrived in the States, now with the name My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian Cooking. It took me about three seconds while checking it out on Amazon to decide that I needed this book! I promise you, I have never looked back; it’s a great resource for someone like me, part Italian and raised with both the culture and food.

Rachel has led such an interesting life, and over the course of it has given a lot of thought to food. She shares:

  • why every time we put a home-cooked meal on the table we instigate a “quiet riot”

thoughts on how, even in a place like Italy where people pride themselves on the quality of their food, corporate greed is having an influence

  • great advice for parents who are struggling to get healthy food on the dinner table: learn about where your food comes from

Having started life in London, England, Rachel has a delightful British accent. I know that is just one of the many things you’ll love in listening to this episode!

Key Links:

Connect with Rachel at her blog, racheleats.wordpress.com, and by reading her weekly column, Kitchen Sink Tales, in the great British newspaper The Guardian.

My Kitchen in Rome, the American addition of Rachel’s cookbook, is available in Amazon; click here to check it out (I bet that, like me, you will not be able to resist purchasing it 🙂

Friend-of-the-podcast Jeannie Marshall, author of The Lost Art of Feeding Kids, initially connected me with Rachel; listen to our conversation from We Turned Out Okay episode 60 here, and here is a link to her amazing book in Amazon.

Rachel brings up a favorite book of hers, What to Eat by Hattie Ellis, as part of her advice about getting healthy food on the dinner table and into our young kids; check that book out here.

BONUS: How to Get Past Picky Eating: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today’s episode wasn’t supposed to happen; normally, this past Tuesday would’ve been a Just You and Me, but I recorded a great interview which had so much to do with food that I knew I needed a third Guest Interview episode in March. (That was How to Stop The Weeknight Chaos with Brandie Weikle of The New Family Podcast – listen here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/062.)

And I still wasn’t going to do a Your Child Explained – but then the Boston Globe Magazine forced me into it with their outstanding Family Issue from February 28, 2016! The cover article, The Tyranny of The Picky Eater, captivated me with its well-written and non-lectury style; read Alyssa Giacobbe’s fantastic article by clicking here or going to BostonGlobe.com/magazine

Today, I read two key sections of Alyssa’s article, and share the one change that we made here in our home that has really helped alleviate the picky eating!

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/BONUS-picky-eaters to read more about that change, or just click play to listen.

In her article, Alyssa talks about the evolutionary background to kids and selective eating; as our young kids become more mobile, starting at around age 2, they are much more likely to ingest something toxic and as a species we’ve evolved to combat that through picky eating. In the modern family home, for convenience or lack of time, we can easily extend on the years of selective eating by only serving what the kids will eat.

A later section, about the harm we can do by forcing kids to eat foods they don’t want, includes this quote by Doctor David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital: “We don’t have to be afraid of letting the kid get hungry and experience the consequences of the decision not to eat. We need an appropriate division of responsibilities: parents decide what the kid gets; kids decide whether to eat it.”

For me, these two ideas – extending on selective eating and forcing kids to eat foods they may not want to try – combined to point the way toward this one change Ben and I made in our home, five or six years ago, when we decided that Max and Jay would have just the one option: to eat whatever we were eating.

At the same time, we made it clear that it was their choice whether they ate what was on the table – and then we dropped it. We stopped focusing so much on the actual food and started focusing on the enjoyment of sitting around a table together. All these years later, the four of us really look forward to dinner time because it is (relatively) stress-free and just enjoyable to be together!

That is the crux of this bonus episode, the take away for you as you’re trying to stop the picky eating: try to make mealtimes relaxed and enjoyable. Make the emphasis less on the actual food and more on the joy of being together.

I hope this helps!

Key Links

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/062 for my conversation with Brandie Weikle of The New Family Podcast

Click here for Alyssa Giacobbe’s article, The Tyranny of The Picky Eater, for some great insights about why kids become picky eaters – and how we can bring them out of it

To get notified the moment the book I’m writing for you – Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young child – goes live in Amazon in April, click here or go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com. By signing up you’ll be able to grab my printable anti-tantrum info graphic, perfect for placing on the fridge where babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings can see it so everybody knows how to handle a temper tantrum in your home, so if the tantrums are getting out of control, you’ll find a great resource to help!

062: How to Stop the Weeknight Chaos with Single Mom, Blogger, and Podcaster Brandie Weikle

conscious-uncoupling-before-it-was-cool-why-i-started-the-1000-families-project_1000Today I talk work/family balance – and how to keep a divorce amicable – with Brandie Weikle, host of The New Family podcast.

Brandie, who before jumping into her 1000 Families Project blog and The New Family was the editor of Canadian Family magazine and the relationships editor for the great Canadian newspaper, the Toronto Star, experienced firsthand the pain of being a kid whose parents are divorcing un-amicably. She and her former husband – who also experienced that pain growing up – worked really hard to stay true partners when they decided to divorce; to that end they now live right next door to each other in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

During our conversation – an “extra” guest interview that I felt needed to be included in the all-about-food month of March, because Brandie gives such great tips about getting dinner on the table amidst the weeknight chaos – Brandie shares what it was like to go through that process of divorcing amicably, making the transition from working woman to working mom, and a few of the ways she keeps her family’s weeknights from spinning out of control. (Also, we have a fascinating discussion on the differences between maternity leave here in the states and up in Canada; as we get closer to our presidential election, Brandie has graciously agreed to come on the show again specifically to talk maternity leave.)

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/062 for the full show notes for this episode!

Brandie shares a couple of key ways that she reigns in weeknights for herself and her two boys, ages eight and 12:

  • take time on the weekend to make a list of meals for the coming week’s dinners; having a plan in place means that you don’t have to think about what’s for dinner as you’re driving between work and daycare, or stopping at the grocery store on your way home after picking up kids from child care
  • when possible, try to figure out how to make “rolling meals;” this is where tonight’s mashed potatoes side dish becomes tomorrow night’s shepherd’s-pie-topping
  • ask friends “what are you making for dinner tonight?”; often times their ideas will spark ideas for you – and in fact this happens during the recording of this episode, when Brandie brings up BLTs and I realize that we have everything needed to make them tonight for dinner, so we can quickly and easily make tonight’s dinner and still have time to prepare part of tomorrow night’s lasagna

Brandie gives really great advice for parents of young children, who are just trying to get them to eat: calmly, non-judgmentally expose kids to all kinds of foods. She emphasizes that the key is to have the exposures be really nonchalant and repeated frequently; our thinking about food can be so fraught with anxiety, and kids pick right up on that. It’s better to relax, enjoy the family time, and don’t stress about the food. Great advice indeed!

Key Links:

Brandie’s website, thenewfamily click weturnedoutokay.com/contact.com, is where you’ll find The New Family Podcast, the 1000 Families Project (which you are invited to be a part of), recipes by Brandie’s friend and fantastic home cook Michael Forbes, intended just for busy families, and Brandie’s free e-book, 11 Ways to Keep Your Family Weeknights from Spinning Out of Control

To contact me, head to weturnedoutokay.com/contact

To sign up for your free fridge-worthy, anti-tantrum infographic, head to the website for my forthcoming book, positivedisciplineninjatactics.com; signing up for the infographic also means that you’ll be the first to know when Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Any Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life with Your Young Child goes live in Amazon (April 3 is the planned launch date) – where it will be FREE for three short days!

061: Siblings and Fighting – A Your Child Explained Q&A

Today we are taking a break from our month of food – and how to get your young child to eat it – and answering a listener Q&A. When Ruth asked her question, I knew that I wanted to bring it up on the show ASAP because, if you have more than one kid, you have sibling rivalry and that didn’t seem like it could wait until April!

Ruth asks: “Hi, I would love some advice as to how to reduce the amount of sibling fights in our home. It seems to be constant! My boys are nearly 3 in nearly 5. It seems that they both have a hard time expressing their feelings of frustration in a respectful/nonthreatening tone without physical contact. This makes everyone feel tense and is putting strain on parental-child relationships also. Many thanks, Ruth”

Press play to hear my advice for Ruth about this all-to-common family problem! Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/061 for notes on the show, as well as the links to resources that I recommend for Ruth.

First of all, anybody with more than one child needs the amazing and fantastic book Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. When our second child was born, this great book fell into my hands and I feel so lucky about that! Adele and Elaine’s writing style brings you right in, they conduct workshops with parents so they have a huge range of sibling issues to talk about – and figure out how to handle; they even teach the principles through comics at the end of each chapter. I bet your local library has a copy, you could have it in your hands by the end of the day!

Next, back at the beginning of We Turned Out Okay I took what seemed to me to be the most important principles from Siblings Without Rivalry and turned them into an episode: click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/007 to listen to When Siblings Attack: Stopping the Rivalry. I hope it’s helpful!

Finally, I share two pieces of advice that really helped me in containing the sibling rivalry. While I don’t have very much detail as to Ruth’s situation, the vast majority of 2 to 5-year-olds do have a very difficult time expressing their feelings of frustration without physical contact. They just don’t have the brain-speech connection required, they are just not mature enough to be able to express their frustrations without getting physical. These two ideas often helped me:

  • to settle an ongoing altercation, get down on the kids’ level and lower your voice… I mean really lower it, almost to a whisper; now they have to stop fighting just hear you
  • one key aspect discussed in Siblings Without Rivalry, that I also learned worked well as a teacher in a public preschool program: ignore the aggressor/perpetrator; give your attention to the child who’s hurt, whether in feelings or physically because this takes all the attention off of the perpetrator, who was really expecting your attention, even if it was in the form of “you’re in so much trouble” or “I told you to stop that;” negative attention, kids often seem to feel, is better than no attention at all… So support the “injured” child, with hugs or an ice pack or a positive redirection of some kind; often times you’ll find that the perpetrator stops with the negative behavior because it did not garner the attention he or she was hoping for

I hope that helps! Most importantly, Ruth and you too, if you have more than one kid and they’re fighting, I hope knowing that you are not alone and that every family goes through this is helpful. You will come through and we are here to help 🙂

Key Links:

Siblings Without Rivalry is widely available; I found my copy at a thrift shop for $.75! Click here to grab the book from Amazon, but maybe try your public library first, and then purchase the book to have over the long-term.

Click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/007 to listen to my talk about Siblings Without Rivalry

Finally, while my forthcoming book Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child does not have a chapter about siblings – that book (right up there 🙂 had already been written – it does have a ton of hacks and advice for helping you worry less and enjoy more every day with your young child… And it’s going to be free for three short days when it launches in Amazon, hopefully April 3! To sign up so you’ll know right away when it launches, to get your FAQs about Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics answered, and to get your free anti-tantrum infographic – perfect for printing out and placing on the fridge so that babysitters, grandparents, and older siblings all are on the same page about how to handle a tantrum in your home – just go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com. I’m so excited to get this book into your hands!

060: How Do We Know What To Feed Our Kids? A Conversation with Mom and Author Jeannie Marshall

IMG_0385Today, guest Jeannie Marshall and I talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: food. Italian food, no less – Jeannie, Canadian by birth, and her husband chose to make their home in Rome, Italy a little more than a decade ago. When Jeannie became pregnant with their son Nico, she developed a fascination for how Italians introduce their babies to food, and the part that food plays in Italian children’s lives now that factory foods and agribusiness have made inroads into Italy. She details her experiences in one of my favorite books, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids.

Our conversation reflects Jeannie and her family’s love of Italy, Italians, and Italian food – and also her family’s first-hand experiences fighting that battle that we fight every day: getting in start scrolling expensive and tasty meals on the table (and then getting our kids to eat those meals).

Find the complete notes to this episode at weturnedoutokay.com by clicking here!

One memorable line from The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: Jeannie writes about when Italian mom of baby Rocco, a boy the same age as Nico who is being exposed to first foods as well, says it’s as though we North Americans “were teaching our babies not to like food.”

Italian babies, it turns out, aren’t exposed to foods one at a time to detect allergies; instead, they enjoy a special broth at first, to which parts of the family’s meal are puréed and added as the baby gets a little older.

Our conversation ranges over so much else! Listen for:

  • the differences between visiting the beach and sharing a restaurant meal as a family – a frequent Italian family trip – and visiting a waterpark that opened nearby, where the only food options were those very familiar to us North Americans, hamburgers and chicken nuggets and anything that can be set up in a warming tray; reading The Lost Art of Feeding Kids three years ago was the first time it occurred to me how pervasive the warming-tray culture is here where I live
  • how agribusiness makes the food of our cultures not cool, and how dangerous that can be for a typical family (and their tastebuds)
  • why parents and grandparents are sometimes at odds for what is best in raising the newest generation

Jeannie is optimistic that the beloved Italian food culture is winning the war against the food companies trying to hijack it. She shares that there is a heightened awareness among Italians of the importance of passing on traditions to children, and that those legendary and beloved street markets are thriving.

I hope you enjoy our conversation, and I hope to have Jeannie back on the show in the future!

Key Links:

Review The Lost Art of Feeding Kids here.

Jeannie’s friend Rachael Roddy has written a cookbook that Jeannie describes as “a wonderful companion for The Lost Art; it becomes available in the US this spring. When it does, I’ll link to it here!

Sign up for my free gift to you, the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents here.

059: How to Get Your Kids to Eat, Part One

042303 02aWhat’s your experience with your young kids and food?

Do they eat what seems like a balanced meal sometimes – and then other times reject anything and everything you put in front of them?

Have you ever felt judged about your kid’s eating, either by friends or relatives – or maybe by the pediatrician?

This month on We Turned Out Okay, we’ll dig into food and kids, and hopefully by the end of March you’ll have some more clarity on what can seem like a super-cloudy subject!

We’ve got three great interviews with guests you’re going to love – I couldn’t help but include one extra conversation about food, weeknight chaos, and families, coming up in the middle of the month – and two Your Child Explained episodes, where we try to see everything from the perspective of our kids. And finally, two Just-You-and-Me episodes to bookend the month of March!

Today, we start off with the disaster that was our approach to food during our first years as parents, and what I did to fix that.

When our oldest, now 15, visited the pediatrician for his three-year-old annual visit, the doctor had two questions for me: “what does Max eat every day, and what is his exercise level?”

… I had nothin’. How could I tell her that Max’s four food groups at that time were 1) Cheez–Its, 2) Macaroni and Cheese, 3) Actual Cheese, and 4) The Occasional Banana? How could I tell her that his exercise level was nil?

That day, I realized that it wasn’t just Max going down this terrible path; Ben and I were eating terribly, and not getting proper exercise as well!

It was time to start making some changes.

First, I started cooking again; I experimented with muffins, figured out a recipe that Max loved, that was decently healthy – at least, better than what I could find in the store – and most importantly that kept him actually full until lunchtime.

Grab that recipe – and check out the show notes for this episode – by clicking here or going to weturnedoutokay.com/059!

I made those muffins every week or so for years, they are that good! Because of the chronic illness I “acquired” 4 1/2 years ago, I haven’t made them at all in recent years. Until one day in the fall of 2015, I finally felt able – it was such fun to see the reactions of the kids as they first smelled them baking and then tasted them for the first time in years! (My recipe for Maple Oat Muffins is down at the end of these show notes for you to try 🙂

Those muffins were the start of many years of small, positive changes – not just Max’s health but the health of our whole family has improved as a result!

Key Links:

The book that paved the way for nearly all our healthy changes: The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

My friend Heather Kempskie, formerly of baystateparent magazine, came on the show twice last summer to talk about family adventures: click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/020 to hear about the buildup to Heather and her family’s first RV trip, and click here or go to weturnedoutokay.com/027 for the trip postmortem!

The book I’m writing for you, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, will be free for three short days when it first launches in Amazon, hopefully April 3! To get notified right away when it launches – so you can grab it for free – and to get your fridge-worthy anti-tantrum, printable infographic, click here or go to positivedisciplineninjatactics.com.

Maple Oat Muffins

1) preheat oven to 350°; grease 12 muffin cups or drop liners into them

2) in mixing bowl, cream together: 4 Tablespoons softened butter (one half stick) and 1/2 cup sugar

3) in a smaller bowl, combine: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt

4) mix dry ingredients into creamed mixture; add 1 1/2 cup whole, organic, rolled oats

5) add 1/2 cup milk (we use 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk with great results) and 1/2 cup maple syrup; mix until just combined – over mixing can cause the muffins to be tough

6) divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups; fill each cup about three quarters full, and keep any extra batter for a second round

7) bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until, when you press lightly on the top of a muffin, it springs back

8) enjoy!