5 Ways to Welcome the Change in Season with Kids
Please note, this is a guest blog post from Head Spear of Purple Asparagus(TM), Melissa Graham*
Spring has arrived alarmingly early in Chicago. With five straight record setting 80 degree days in March, the tulips are shooting up and the trees are nearly in full bloom. Leaving aside my qualms about this weird weather pattern, I thought it was an unusually perfect time to share my top 5 tips for welcoming the change in season with kids.
To celebrate the beginning of the growing season, take a family trip to the farmers’ market or to a farm. I find that there’s few better ways to connect your children with the earth and its life cycle than this. We’re all so used to the blessings of modern transportation and our grocery stores do not lack asparagus and raspberries even in the deep dark winter days of January. The first few markets of the spring demonstrate vividly to children with their scarcity of product that there is indeed a growing season.
While you’re there, buy some greens. If you’re like my family of seasonal eaters, you probably eat a lot of beige food in the winter. Root vegetables and stews, both meaty and vegetarian, grace our table keeping us warm and well fed during the cold months. When the first of the local lettuces shoot out of the cold ground of early spring, I’m more than ready.
While you’re at it, plant some greens. Herbs and lettuces are fast to grow and easy to maintain – a perfect project for impatient kids. And if your child is hesitant about green stuff (a phase my own son thankfully grew out of), you can always “nickname” your plants. Basil and oregano can be pizza plants and cilantro guacamole plants, just to name a few.
Finally, you might want to cook an egg or two. Since pagan times, the egg has signified the rebirth of the earth during spring. Christians adopted this symbol for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, believed to transpire in early spring. Eastern Christianity has created several myths regarding the connection between the egg and the Easter story, including a claim that Mary Magdalene brought eggs to share at the tomb of Jesus, which turned bright red when she saw that Christ had risen. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, or Hindi, you can appreciate the notion of new birth in the springtime.Give some love and care to Mother Nature – with this crazy weather, she sure could use it. Many towns organize neighborhood cleanups. What better way to spend some time together as a family outside while giving back to the community.
Scrambling or frying isn’t much cause for celebration. Instead, try this Seussically-inspired recipe: Green Eggs and Ham. Mixed with fresh herbs and wrapped with thin slices of prosciutto. It’s a great afternoon snack or light lunch.
Green Eggs and Ham
Makes 1, increase accordingly
1 hard boiled egg, cut in half
2 teaspoons Greek yogurt or plain yogurt strained through a fine sieve
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1-2 teaspoons green stuff of your choice (chopped basil, parsley, chives, green onions, mint, etc.)
2 thin slices of prosciutto (I love Iowa’s La Quercia)
Press the egg yolk through a fine sieve. This will loose the egg yolk making it easier to combine it with the other ingredients. Combine the egg yolk with the yogurt, mustard, green stuff and salt. Scoop the mix onto the egg white halves. Wrap each with prosciutto. Enjoy!
* Melissa Graham, a former attorney, is the founding Executive Director of Purple Asparagus, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to educating families about all things associated with good eating, eating that’s good for the body and the planet. Purple Asparagus teaches families and children about healthful, sustainable eating in schools, community centers, and farmers’ markets in Chicago’s neediest communities. Melissa also founded and leads Growing Healthy Kids, a coalition of thirty plus Chicagoland organizations dedicating to promoting child wellness. Melissa speaks and writes regularly on child nutrition and sustainability both in the Chicago community and online, blogging at Little Locavores and as a regular contributor to Kiwi Magazine’s KiwiLog. In recognition of her contributions to the Chicago community, the Chicago Tribune recently awarded her a 2011 Good Eating Award. When she’s not in the kitchen or the classroom, you can often find Melissa shopping at Green City Market where she serves as the membership chair. She resides in Chicago with her husband and 7-year old son in a rowhouse built in 1896.
This is a personal blog written by Melissa Graham. Sears did not compensate her to write this blog or to say particular things in it. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely her own.