A Year at Goldfish Swim School

We have just completed a full year at Goldfish Swim School, and my goodness my baby has come so far with her skills in the water. She has gone from crawling across to walking across the floating mat, and from clinging to Mom or Dad in the water to briefly leaving her parent’s arms to begin exploring the pool independently.

Yes, my daughter probably would have learned to walk without the support from Goldfish swim lessons, but there are a few areas of her development that I am convinced would not have progressed as quickly  without the support of Goldfish. For the following reasons, I will be forever grateful to Goldfish Swim School.

Building my child’s confidence.  With the routine of weekly swimming lessons, my daughter knew what was expected of her. From arrival to the facility to the final goodbye song, my daughter knew what to expect. From the consistency of the facility and the organization of the swim lessons, my daughter was able to focus on building her motor skills in the pool rather than worrying about what was to come next.

Increasing her language abilities. Consistent swim lessons have provided my daughter with exposure to a new vocabulary that she probably would not have been exposed to outside of the pool. She was expected to follow directions involving equipment in the pool and specific body parts. I could see the little wheels of her brain turning when she was asked to “pull her arms,” “kick her feet,” and “catch a bubble.”

Introducing water safety skills. Teaching a toddler water safety seems like a daunting task. She doesn’t understand how powerful water can be, and it’s difficult to reason with a child that age. Goldfish does a wonderful job of training these toddler’s to know what to do with her body if she were to fall into water. My daughter practiced falling in the water and flipping on her back or reaching for the wall for safety. That way if she were to accidentally fall in water one day, the safety skills that we practice in our weekly lessons will kick in from motor memory.

We will be taking a little break from swim lessons as we acclimate to a new house and new daycare (and a new job for Mommy). I am saddened to be putting our lessons on hold seeing how much she LOVES swimming at Goldfish and how much she is benefitting from the weekly lessons. But, one comfort is that Goldfish has two locations in Columbus, so even though we’ve moved further away from the Dublin location, we can be back in the water at the Westerville location soon.

The Details: We are currently in the Goldfish Mini 2 class at Goldfish Swim School. We attend lessons at the Goldfish Swim School in Dublin, Ohio. Check out the link for location, address/telephone details and how to sign up for lessons.

Disclaimer: We were provided free swimming lessons by Goldfish Swim School in exchange for collaborating blog posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take a Taste Tuesday with Fare & Square

Happy Take a Taste Tuesday! This week I have partnered with Fare and Square, a meal preparation service that is local to Columbus. Fare and Square offers individual curated meals and a la carte proteins and sides to allow you to mix and match to create a meal of your choosing. You can order what you need from a menu that changes weekly. Orders need to be placed by 3 p.m. on Friday, and the food is delivered on Sunday afternoon (or you can pick up on Monday or Tuesday free of charge).

Now that we are back on our school schedule, life is a definitely more hectic than it was this summer. By the time we are home as a family, the last thing I want to do is spend time in the kitchen prepping dinner. What is wonderful about this particular meal prep service is that the food comes fully prepared, so all that is required is reheating it in the microwave or oven. (I tend to think the food tastes better reheated in the oven, but the microwave is faster.)

Each week the menu changes to offer a variety of food combinations that I wouldn’t of thought to pair (or have the skill to create). The food choices have gotten me out of my comfort zone a few times, and I love that it allows me to introduce my daughter to new foods that are prepared well. The menu offers a variety of sides that generally wouldn’t be considered your typical “kid food,” but that is alright with me. I have watched my daughter try a variety of new foods that would not have been on her plate had it not been for Fare and Square.

This has been my go to meal preparation service for the past year.  When I know our week is going to be especially busy, I try to plan ahead so a well balanced dinner is waiting for us at home. Fare and Square is also my go-to baby gift for new families. It’s a wonderful way to provide a new mom with a healthy well balanced meal and not subject her to my cooking. If you are ready to give it a try be sure to use the code saynplaycolumbus15 for 15% off your entire purchase. If you’re looking for some meal planning advice, I highly recommend the pork tenderloin, gnocchi, and summer vegetables as a meal combination.

Disclaimer: We were provided free meals from Fare and Square in exchange for a collaborating post. We have previously been enthusiastic customers of this meal preparation service and were excited for the opportunity to partner.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Take a Taste Tuesday with Lakes and Lattes

Hi! I’m Malini. I have a 4 year old and she just LOVES to cook with me. I wanted to share an easy recipe that’s great for cooking with kids. I call it “Karina’s Cheesy Puffs.”
When I’m not playing around in the kitchen, I’m off traveling the world. Basically, I’m obsessed with all things food + travel. You can follow along with our family adventures on my blog, Lakes and Lattes.
Karina’s Cheesy Puffs Recipe:
Before I get started, I like to gather all my supplies. You’ll need the following:
Baking sheet, covered with parchment paper
Cutting board
Small bowl
Tablespoon
Small cup of water
Pastry brush
Cookie cutters
Fork
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
Grated cheese (We like cheddar or parmesan at our house, but any grated cheese will work)
Instructions:
A grownup will need to preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
My 4 year old can complete the rest of these tasks, but use your best judgement if you kids are younger. They may need some additional help from you.
1. Crack an egg in the bowl
2. Add 1 tablespoon water, and whisk together with a fork
3. Put thawed sheet of puff pastry on cutting board and cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. I like to use medium sized cutters.
4. Place on baking sheet, and using pastry brush, lightly paint the cut-outs with the egg wash.
5. Sprinkle on your favorite cheese.
A grownup will need to put the shapes into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden.
These are delicious on their own as a snack but my favorite way to serve these is with tomato soup!  Great for dunking!
While these never make it past a few minutes in our house, the best way to store leftovers is in an airtight container.
Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Tidy Little Kitchens

Hello everyone! Thank you so much for inviting me to share a bit of our busy life. I am Natasha from Tidy Little Kitchens – I am the proud mom of two wonderful boys (3 and 2!) and I run Tidy Little Kitchens out of my own home kitchen.

I have had my boys involved in the kitchen with me from the time they were born, when they were old enough to eat they got a taste of what we were cooking, and I talked to them constantly about what I was doing in the kitchen.

Now they crack eggs, stir batter, scoop and pour right alongside me. They love being involved in the whole process – from getting the right ingredients out of the fridge or pantry to seeing cakes and muffins rise in the oven and eggs cook on the stovetop.

I discovered that the learning possibilities in the kitchen are endless – we use everyday foods and tools for hands on learning: colours, descriptions, patterns and more

Hands down my favourite recipe to make with kids of all ages is Shish Kebobs. I use it for food identification, colors, patterns and hand eye co-ordination for my toddlers. For my older niece and nephew (and friends kids!) I use it for math (it’s great for fractions!), colour wheel, plant identification (nightshades, tomato as a fruit), even geography! (which country is the biggest exporter of mushrooms for example).

There are almost unlimited options for learning in the kitchen, and most of the time kids aren’t even aware that they are learning they are just enjoying being a part of the process. There’s a reason most parties wind up in the kitchen!

Here is my recipe for our Shish Kebobs

2 pounds meat of choice (I highly recommend marinating overnight)
3 peppers (Vary the colours)
1 red onion
2 zucchini (we were lucky to be able to grow both yellow and green)
1 pkg white button mushrooms

*if using wooden skewers remember to soak them at least 10 minutes prior to adding ingredients and grilling

Make sure to start and end with meat or a mushroom – it keeps all of the food from sliding off!

Thank you for letting me share in Take a Taste Tuesday – I look forward to interacting with you all again soon!

Take a Taste Tuesday with Little Adventures Await

Hi! I am Stacie, from Little Adventures Await. I am a teacher, family photographer, and mama of two. My blog does not focus on cooking or recipes, but I thank Signe for appreciating my view on cooking with kids. Bear with me, there will be sarcasm, and there will be mistakes. And in full disclosure, we are seeking nutrition therapy through Childrens Hospital for my son’s extreme food aversions. So, I am not expert, but I think I have a few tricks up my sleeve. As we made a tortellini salad and chocolate chip zucchini bread, I took a few notes that I thought I would share…

1. First, I never EVER go into the kitchen with the idea that my kids are going to help me make something magnificent and that there will be no mistakes. Everyone will end up frustrated if you go in with high expectations. When we added the oil to our pasta salad, it was totally supposed to go in a separate bowl. But I was busy taking a photo, so in it went. I had to make sure to take the blame on that one.

2. I have my kids help me make things that they don’t necessarily like. If she only knows how to bake cookies, she won’t get experience knowing how to flip something in a pan, how to chop, or how to taste-test new fresh ingredients. Thus, the pasta salad. Individually, my 6 year old likes a lot of these ingredients, but if I just handed her a bowl of pasta salad, she would gag. Throughout the process, she tried peppers, cucumber, and tortellini.

3. Be reasonable with tasks and let them take breaks. I stopped demanding that they stay with me until the recipe is done, and they are much happier when I call them back for the perfect task. For instance, we called him back to dump in the chocolate chips to the “keeni” bread so that he didn’t have to watch her grate the whole thing. Plus, he was much more likely to eat it, knowing there was chocolate in it.

4. Let them try hard things. It is hard to crack an egg, but I’ve been letting her practice it since she was his age. And now she’s an expert! Likewise, she complained about how hard it was to peel the garlic and onions, but she did it and lived to tell about it.

5. Work in high-level thinking by asking good questions. This is my teacher brain talking. So often, we tend to tell, instead of question. Some of the things we wondered together: “Why is it easier to cut a dry cucumber?” “Why is it easier to cut with the flat side down?” We also work in a lot of math talk, since fractions are pretty important in measurement. And for Rhys, I give him simple counting tasks, even if that’s not really written in the recipe. Sure, 19 tomatoes sounds great!

6. Talk about the mistakes and use it as the perfect teachable moment. For instance, I misread our measuring cup and added a whole extra cup of flour to our zucchini bread. We had to problem-solve together, and it didn’t turn out terrible like I thought. And sometimes their impatience causes mistakes, and then that is self-teaching.

Both of these recipes were fun to make with the kids. I’d encourage you to invite them to make not only seasonal items with you, but every day items like scrambled eggs and toast! Have fun!

Each Tuesday for the next several weeks a fellow mom/friend/community member will be sharing a fun recipe, tips to include kids in the cooking process, or a great family restaurant for “Take a Taste Tuesday.” If you are interested in sharing your eating and/or cooking fun be sure to connect with me via email!

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Summer Challenge #10: Explore a Children’s Museum

To beat the heat of the dog days of summer, the challenge this week is to explore a Children’s Museum.

Children’s Museums provide rich environments that stimulate a child’s natural curiosity and creativity. Museums are generally multi-sensory, hands-on, active, and child-centered environments which offers children unique opportunities to play and learn.

Central Ohio is surrounded by a number of Children’s Museums. A few of our favorites include:

AHA! Children’s Museum located in Lancaster, Ohio. You can read all about our experience here.

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum located in Mansfield, Ohio. Our first hand experience is here. Also, be sure to ride the carousel down the street from the museum when you are there.

Duke Energy Children’s Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s worth the drive! Our experience is posted here.

My hope is that each and every adventure will be different and exciting. Please connect and share your experiences using #saynplaythesummeraway.