Spinach and Berry Salad

 

Over the summer my sister’s family stayed with us for several days.  During their visit my sister introduced us to this delicious spinach and berry salad.  It tastes as good as it looks, and I just had to share it with you!

 

Berry salad with spinach and feta cheese

 

 Ingredients for the spinach berry salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Raw spinach
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries
  • Feta Cheese
  • Poppy seed dressing

Building your healthy berry salad:

To build your salad, first fill the bottom of a large bowl with clean romaine lettuce pieces.  On top of this you will add the raw spinach, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and feta cheese.  (I love how my sister placed them in separate groups — making it a visual feast for the eyes before the salad even hits your plate!)

berry salad with spinach and feta cheese

 

Poppy seed dressing is the perfect complement to this salad.

If you want a little crunch, you could add sesame seeds.  (My sister’s family usually adds walnuts, but we have nut allergies in our household and opted to stick with just the berries and greens.)

 

This salad pairs well with a variety of things, but I like it particularly with a chicken dish.

 

Bon appetit!

 

Easy to Make Apple-Scented Bubble Dough

 

 

When we first made Bubble Dough, it was such a hit that my daughter has asked repeatedly to make that “super soft play dough” again.  We just couldn’t resist making a batch of apple-scented play dough, perfect for the start of fall.

easy to make apple-scented play dough

 

To make your own apple-scented play dough:

  • Measure out 1 cup of corn starch
  • Add 1/2 cup apple-scented shampoo
  • Add in 3-4 drops of green food coloring (if desired)
  • Mix well!

 

Bubble dough is a very soft play dough, and when mixed together it will hold its shape for a bit before slowly “melting.”

For a bit of added fun, we added some “apple seeds,” stems, and apple tree leaves to our play!  (Here’s a secret:  the seeds are actually watermelon seeds I saved for crafting.  It would take a lot of apples to get that many seeds!)

making apple play dough

 

They had fun mixing the seeds into the play dough.

And the apple scent was a huge hit, too!

green apple play dough

 

Apple, anyone?

 

Apple is one of my favorite fall-inspired scents!  I think we may need to make this apple-scented play dough again before the end of fall.

 

What smells remind you most of fall?

“What’s Wrong with You?”

 

 

Upset and angry and unable to handle the emotions flooding through him, my son had just hit his sister before racing to cry in his room.

What’s wrong with you?!” was my husband’s automatic response as our son ran down the hallway.

I cringed at his wording.

“What’s wrong with you?”

Those four words seem simple enough.  But think about the connotation of those words when used repeatedly with a child.

Is there really something wrong with him or her?

What not to say to a child

 

No one can control the emotions they feel.

As adults we have had years to learn how to handle those emotions, but young children don’t have that experience.  If their sister teases them, or someone else wins that cherished game of Candyland, they may not be able to handle the emotions.

 

“What’s wrong with you?”

Use those four words often enough and the child begins to think there really is something wrong with him/her.  Instead of learning to deal with their emotions, they become embarrassed by them and try to hide them.  And hiding those emotions is NOT a healthy way to deal with them.

 

I would like to ban the phrase:  What’s wrong with you?    There are so many better alternatives when it comes to dealing with the reactions of a child, or even adults for that matter.

 

 

I thought about ending there, but there is more to the story than just that.

At 5 my son has become much more aware of himself and the world around him.

Recently at bedtime he asked me why his fingers are the way they are.  (His pinkies are both significantly bent inward.)

We have spent months trying to get his Sensory Processing issues identified, starting off with a referral to a psychologist, then an occupational therapist, and even having a pragmatic speech eval done this past week.  This last visit he asked, “Why am I always the one that has to go see people?”

The last thing I want him to feel is like there is something WRONG with him.

He is not broken.

He is beautifully made, the way God intended.  And perfect in my eyes.  (I may be a bit biased as him mother, but I think he is a very smart and talented little guy!)

 

And so that is why this phrase bothers me just a little more when it is used with him.  No child should be made to feel there is something wrong with them when they act like a child.

And that phrase, “What’s wrong with you?”  As adults we need to think before we speak because our words have more impact than we may realize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Tasting

 

 

If you have read my most recent posts, you know we’ve been having a lot of fun with our apple unit this past week.  After a recent trip to the grocer we headed home for a bit of delicious apple tasting!

apple taste testing -- getting a taste of fall with the kids

 

We started our apple taste test by looking at the different colors and sizes of our apples.

Then I asked them to make a hypothesis about which apple would be the sweetest, the most tart, and which would be the crunchiest.

 

Then it was time for the tasting!

I sliced up the Gala first, and before I had the next apple sliced up, they had more than half of it eaten!

 

apple tasting

 

 

As we sampled the apples, I asked the kids to describe each apple.  I wrote their descriptions down for a later activity.

 

apple tasting

 

Once our yummy apple snack was finished, we headed inside to do a little comparing and contrasting of those apples.

To make things a little simpler, I decided we’d compare and contrast just two of the apples we had tasted.

I drew a green circle and red circle on each of their papers, creating a simple Venn diagram to compare and contrast the Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples.

The first grader was able to use our descriptions from earlier to fill in her chart in no time!

 

compare/contrasting apple tasting

 

 

 

I bet you can tell from the earlier picture, Gala and Golden Delicious were their favorite apples from this apple taste-test.  We are anxious to try some other varieties later this fall!

 

What’s your favorite apple?