Coconut Carrot Soup

Coconut Carrot Soup is not something you would typically think to make without some prompting. But – It’s AWESOME!

The coconut milk makes it silky smooth, the honey adds a little sweetness and the orange/cumin flavor combo makes it different than any other soup you’d typically have.

Because the Coconut-Carrot soup is getting blended – you don’t have to spend a lot of time chopping everything perfectly.

This is a serious, rough chop kind of soup.

Like I said – It’s awesome. 🙂

As with all of my recipes, measurements are NOT important. I always urge you to taste as you go and use your instincts.  You know what you like!

Check out some of our other One Pot Meals too!

Carrot Soup
Print Recipe
Coconut Carrot Soup is not something you would typically think to make without some prompting. But - It's Awesome! The coconut milk makes it silky smooth, the honey adds a little sweetness and the orange/cumin flavor combo makes it different than any other soup you'd typically have. And because it's all getting blended, you don't have to spend a lot of time chopping everything perfectly. This is a serious, rough chop kind of soup.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Carrot Soup
Print Recipe
Coconut Carrot Soup is not something you would typically think to make without some prompting. But - It's Awesome! The coconut milk makes it silky smooth, the honey adds a little sweetness and the orange/cumin flavor combo makes it different than any other soup you'd typically have. And because it's all getting blended, you don't have to spend a lot of time chopping everything perfectly. This is a serious, rough chop kind of soup.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat your pot with a bit of oil
  2. Add all chopped veggies, spices & thyme Remember - 1. don't spend a lot of time chopping. This will get blended anyway! 2. Cumin can be strong, so go easy on that one. You can always add more later.
  3. Let cook 3-5min on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add honey and let it caramelize a bit with the veggies (3-4 minutes)
  5. Add orange juice and let cook 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add vegetable stock & cook until carrots are very soft, stirring occasionally & seasoning with salt & pepper.
  7. Once veggies are soft, add 1 cup of coconut milk let cook for 5 more min.
  8. Use a blender or stick blender to emulsify soup.
Recipe Notes

Ingredients to prep ahead: 

  • All vegetables can be prepped ahead of time
  • When storing precut veggies, be sure to store them in an airtight container. You can also store them together based on the stages that they are used in the recipes. (i.e. onions/garlic in 1 container, squash/herbs in a separate container.

This is a great soup to make ahead and freeze in portions for a busy day in a the weeks to come.

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Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto

This Kale pesto is an extremely healthy and a delicious version of a traditional green herb pesto.

What is a pesto exactly?

Pesto is simply a puree of greens that is emulsified with olive oil. It can be great with some pasta or as a sauce with roasted veggies. I’ve even been know to eat this Kale pesto as a dip with some veggie sticks or crackers.

And, as with all my recipes – It’s simple and quick and don’t forget to taste as you go!

This recipe uses the puree technique of emulsifying.

As with all of me recipes, this is a guideline and should be adjusted to your liking. Feel free to play as you go and ALWAYS cook with your senses!

If you like this kale pesto recipe, you should also try my Arugula Parsley Pesto Puree as well

Kale Pesto
Kale Pesto
Print Recipe
This Kale pesto is an extremely healthy and a delicious version of a traditional green herb pesto. Pesto is simply a puree of greens that is emulsified with olive oil. It can be great with some pasta or as a sauce with roasted veggies. I've even been know to eat this Kale pesto as a dip with some veggie sticks or crackers.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Kale Pesto
Kale Pesto
Print Recipe
This Kale pesto is an extremely healthy and a delicious version of a traditional green herb pesto. Pesto is simply a puree of greens that is emulsified with olive oil. It can be great with some pasta or as a sauce with roasted veggies. I've even been know to eat this Kale pesto as a dip with some veggie sticks or crackers.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Clean Kale by removing leaves from the stem.
  2. Add all ingredients, except Olive Oil into your food processor. (If it doesn't fit, add it to a bowl and them process it in 2 parts.)
  3. Start the food processor and add the oil slowly until the pesto is a thick consistency. Then add a bit more oil, all while blending.
  4. Season with a good amount of salt and pepper and buzz once more to incorporate.
  5. You can serve over pasta or as a sauce with chicken or roasted veggies.
Recipe Notes

Ingredients to prep ahead: EVERYTHING! This is great made and then can be frozen in portions to use on a chaotic day! Pro Tip:

  • This Kale pesto recipe is great with the optional ingredients, but is still delicious if you don’t have them on hand.  You can also swap the sunflower seeds for a nut. (walnuts, pecans, almonds etc)
  • This pesto is great with pasta, added to chicken or steak, or even just with some crackers.
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A Family Affair

Cooking is not the only way to engage your child into the world of cooking.

Family Affair Blog #1

Engaging in a two-way conversation around whole foods is the first step to establishing healthy and independent food choices for your child.

Cooking doesn't have to be the only path to healthy eating though.

Beginning a conversation around food is the first small step any parent can make when wanting to establish or change the choices that their child (or family) is making around food.

Here are some great ways to BEGIN the food conversation in your family...

Take some time throughout the month to talk with your children about what real food is.

That’s it.

No matter the age of your child, these are conversation can and should happen regularly.

Name the ingredients you have!

Even if in just passing or when cooking, state the name of the ingredients you have around and are eating.

You can expand with the color, shape, and size or the various foods.

Comparing flavors is a great way to extend this conversation with older and younger children. We talk about salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami in all of our classes!

Talk about where your food grows

Connect the things your child eats with our planet.

This is a vital step to your child understanding that their food choices are bigger than themselves. Connecting them to the source of their food, even if in conversation, will bring a greater respect for the product and mindfulness over time.

What regions do your ingredients grow?

Does it come from the sky? The soil? A tree or bush?

Discover what nutrients are in different ingredients

Google different ingredients and find the nutrients they contain & the benefits each different food has on your bodies.

Frame this conversation with pure curiosity. “I wonder why it’s good to eat cucumbers?”

This will likely be a learning experience for you too!

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Join our Connected Chef Community

We invite you to come along and be a part of our community for additional support and opportunity for continued connection.

Braising

Tips to get the best of this Blog?

  1. Schedule intentional time for the email, videos and cooking
  2. Print out the materials and hang them on your fridge
  3. Practice (schedule in that cooking during times that work for you)
  4. Ask questions & be fearless!
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Braising

is often referred to as the “low and slow” approach to cooking large, tough cuts of meat or hard, fibrous vegetables.

Often times, home cooks are braising food and just don’t know it!

Braising is one of my favorite methods of cooking because it is almost all hands off cooking and yields delicious meals.

Braising is also the easiest way to cook a big portion meal to have it for leftovers or use for a party you may be hosting.

What is Braising?

Braising is a cooking method by which meat or vegetables are first seared, then simmered in a liquid to finish the cooking process.

The liquid that your product is cooked in should come up ¾ of the way up the product.     

What Type of Meat & Vegetables Can You Braise?

  1. Tough cuts of meat with more connective tissue (legs, shoulder, butt.)
  2. Hard, more fibrous vegetables (Fennel, collard greens, swiss chard or root vegetables)

The Method of Braising

Braising is done in five steps and whether you are cooking pork shoulder or fennel, the process is the same each time.

The Cook

  1. SEASON your product with salt pepper and any spices you may choose to use.
  2. SEAR YOUR MEAT in a very hot pan (enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan)
  3. BROWN VEGETABLES and add everything back in the pot
  4. DEGLAZE your pan with a flavorful liquid that comes ¾ of the way up our product
  5. Cover & put in the oven to cook at a LOW SIMMER!

The Sauce

If you are braising vegetables, you can simply add a bit of salt and pepper to you sauce to finish it off.

For meat, you will want to take the extra step below.

Strain your braising liquid and cook it down by half to create a yummy sauce.

Be sure to re-season and add a splash of acid!

OR

Blend everything in your pot to make a nice, thick sauce.  

(You may want to strain after blending to get out any lumps.)

Don't forget to print your Braising Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Examples to Get Started:

Check out our braising recipes and pick one to start you off!

Remember you can also braise vegetables!

You would use the same steps, just substituting the meat for some veggies.

Braised Cabbage

SEAR: sauté some onion and garlic, add chopped cabbage,

DEGLAZE: add some beer and vinegar

SIMMER: reduce to simmer & voila!

Braised Collard Greens

SEAR: sauté some garlic & onion, add chopped greens

DEGLAZE: add white wine and veg stock

SIMMER: reduce & simmer.  

You can even throw in some chick peas & chili flake for a kick!

Pro Tips:

When braising veggies you do not have to cover your vegetables when braising them, since they are so delicate and will cook quickly.  

Letting the water steam out of your liquid while cooking it uncovered will enhance the flavor of your sauce later on.

Resting your meat

Most meat braises will benefit from sitting it their juices either over night or at least until it cools.  This isn’t necessary, but will make for a delicious piece of meat, that melts in your mouth.

When reheating your food DO NOT BOIL the meat. Simmer it in the sauce gently. Otherwise, you will reverse all that slow cooked goodness and toughen up your meat.

Don't forget to print your Braising Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Cooking With Your Kids:

Finishing the whole process of braising with your child could feel overwhelming, depending on their age and skill level. You can have them help you with some of the prep though!

1. peeling carrots or other root vegetables
2. crushing garlic and peeling the skin
3. seasoning food or making a spice rub for your meat
4. cutting soft vegetables (celery, peppers)
5. picking herbs

When cooking with your child, be sure to give them their own station to work from. Their own cutting board, kid safe knife and hand towel. Not only will this make them feel more independent, but it will give you both space to work side by side instead of on top of each other.

It will lessen the stress on your end and that’s all that matters!

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Don’t forget to print your Braising Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Searing

Tips to get the best of this Blog?

  1. Schedule intentional time for the email, videos and cooking
  2. Print out the materials and hang them on your fridge
  3. Practice (schedule in that cooking during times that work for you)
  4. Ask questions & be fearless!
searing

Searing

is the true way to fast & flavorful food, THAT’S HEALTHY!

It yields delicious flavor by browning and caramelizing your ingredients, be it veggies or protein.

Searing is also the key to getting through the week without a meal plan.

If you know how to sear, you can make a variety of dishes without a recipe and with whatever you have in your fridge.

The trick is that searing tasks bravery!

Searing often pushing our boundaries of what’s comfortable and “right” in the kitchen, which is why so many people don’t execute it properly.

What is Searing?

Using high heat to brown your food and create an outer layer on caramelization.

Brown = Flavor

When you sear your meat or vegetables, you are caramelizing the natural sugars in the product.

This can be done two ways:

  1. Grilling: over open flame; intense heat and slotted grill
  2. Sauté: shallow fry; pan fry (very little oil)

*Both have essentially the same principles

Don't forget to print your Searing Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

The Method of Searing

Like many techniques in cooking, there are a few key rules to ensure that you get the most flavor out of this method.

Hot Pan

Your pan should be smoking hot.

When you sear an ingredient, your goal is brown food. You cannot caramelize your food without this high heat.

Without a hot pan, your food will stick. Oil helps in preventing sticking, but a hot pan is the real key. Once it’s seared we can lower the temperature if necessary.

A Little Oil

You want just enough oil to coat the pan. With a hot pan, your oil should be literally smoking.

Using plain old olive oil is ideal. Extra virgin has a lower burning point and may give your food a bitter flavor.

Your product will absorb some oil as it’s cooking, so if you are sautéing a lot of product you can always add a little oil if the pan becomes dry.

Don’t crowd the pan

When we put too many ingredients in a pan, it creates steam and prohibits browning.

Make sure there is space in your pan and cook in batches if you need to.

Don’t Touch!

This is the biggest mistake everyone makes. When you are constantly moving your food, your are interrupting that contact between your ingredient and the bottom of the pan.

That contact is ESSENTIAL in browning.

Don’t touch until you see the bottom edges of your ingredient beginning to brown.

Don't forget to print your Searing Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Browned meat isn’t enough…. it’s important to learn to balance browning the outside and keeping the inside juicy & moist.

Different meats cook at different rates (i.e. chicken breast vs chicken thigh)

  1. Leaner cuts of meat cook faster than fattier cuts
  2. Bone out cooks faster than bone in

Cooking steak (red meat)

Once your red meat is seared on each side and has a nice char, you can use the following guidelines to get to the desired temperature.

Rare +2 minutes

Medium rare +4 minutes

Medium +6 minutes

Medium well +8 minutes

Pro Tips:

Let your meat get to room temperature before cooking. This will allow it to cook more evenly.

Rest your meat at least 5 min to allow the juices to settle.

You can cover with foil to keep warm.

**Remember: When your meat rests it will continue to cook. Red meat always carries over 1 temperature.

Cooking With Your Kids:

This cooking method may feel a bit too much if you are not used to having your child in the kitchen.

Whenever our clients do not yet feel comfortable bringing their kiddos in the kitchen, I always recommend engaging in other ways.

  1. Allow your child to watch from a safe distance with their eye level even to yours. (stools and kitchen chairs will help bring their gaze to a safe level to watch the food cook)
  2. Talk your child through what you’re doing and tell food-centric stories
  3. Allow your child to prep other elements of the meal

crushing garlic

picking herbs

cutting soft ingredients with a kid safe knife

searing

Don’t forget to print your Searing Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Rubs

Tips to get the best of this Blog?

  1. Schedule intentional time for the email, videos and cooking
  2. Print out the materials and hang them on your fridge
  3. Practice (schedule in that cooking during times that work for you)
  4. Ask questions & be fearless!
rubs

A Rub

is essentially a mixture of spices that are used to enhance the flavor of a piece of meat or hearty vegetables.

The kinds of spices and how they are combined is based on your likings, but there are a few key things that are helpful to keep in mind when building this kind of flavor.

What is a Rub?

A combination of dried, ground spices used to coat your protein or vegetables.

Ratio - 25% Kosher Salt : 75% ground spices

When cooking any meal, you want to make sure you are balancing flavors. That means you are mindful about having as many types of flavors in one dish as you can.

Typically, we think about the 5 basic flavors: Salty, Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy

Spices are more complex and also bring flavors like:

  1. Earthy
  2. Smokey
  3. Floral
  4. Nutty

The thing about spices is that they don’t typically have only 1 flavor and bring so much complexity to a dish.

That’s why using even ONE is so impactful!

The Method of Making a Rub

When creating a rub, you will be simply combining various spices in a bowl. I like to start with the spice combination first and then add 25% kosher salt to the mix.

The action is easy, but often folks don’t know WHAT to put in their spice rub.

Step 1

When thinking about what goes into your rub, it’s easiest to think in terms of region of the world to start.

Below are some examples of flavor combinations that we enjoy here at The Connected Chef.

Italian spice rub

Mexican spice rub

American spice rub

Dried oregano Cinnamon Paprika
Paprika Smoked paprika Chili powder
Lemon zest Oregano Coffee
Red chili flakes Clove Coriander
Dried chili of choice Cumin
Cumin

Step 2

Once you’ve decided WHAT your spice will be, you want to think about HOW MUCH of each you will add.

Nobody has time for measuring, but keep this in mind…

  1. Half of the spice rub will come off in the pan, so be sure to use big flavors and a lot of it.
  2. Start with the mildest flavored spice and do a little at a time of the others from there.

You should be tasting as you go!

What are you tasting for? Making sure you can taste a little of each spice and they are not too overwhelming to each other.

Step 3

When you have tried some classics and your ready to experiment, think about the flavors that each spice is bringing to the dish.

Here is a small starter list of spices and the flavor they bring to your rub. Choose from various columns when creating combinations.

Salty Spicy Smokey Bitter Floral Earthy (depth)
Kosher Chili powder Smoked paprika Coffee Coriander Cinnamon
Himalayan pink salt Curry Cumin Bay leaf Thyme Cloves
Sea salt Red pepper flakes Curry Turmeric Cardamom Star Anise

Print your Spices and Rubs Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Pro Tips

I love to make a couple different rubs in big batches. Then you can store than in a mason jar and pop them on your kitchen spice rack for when you want them.

There is nothing better having a go to bottle of flavor to add to a quick meal!

You don’t have to limit yourself to dried ingredients and can add some citrus zest into your rubs for a bright pop.

 

Cooking with your kids

Making rubs are the PERFECT kid friendly task!

Kids love to experiment and combine flavors and it’s an awesome way to get them involved into the meal.

It may feel nerve-wracking to give the freedom with you spices, but talk to them before hand and let them know what you’re doing.

A pre-session talk goes a long way with kids.

  1. Tell them that you’re making a spice rub and why.
  2. Explain what a rub is.
  3. Let them taste, smell and feel the individual spices before you begin combining the together.

If you feel up for it, you can alway let them make their own combination for the next meal.

Kids are much more likely to eat food that they have taken part in! And if they don’t - that’s ok too - talk to them about what didn’t work and what you’d do different next time!

rubs

Don’t forget to print your Spices and Rubs Notes to hang on your fridge!

It may seem like a small step, but this will make the difference in you actually working on the rubs this month.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

cranberry side for your Thanksgiving turkey

This easy and fast cranberry sauce recipe will be the star of your Thanksgiving meal. It brightens and balances all the heavy food that typically comes with Thanksgiving and will open up your taste buds to the flavors of all the other dishes on your plate.

Remember that cranberry sauce in a can growing up? This is NOT that. 🙂  It’s my FAVORITE thing every year and I used to hate “cranberry sauce”.

This recipe will leave with plenty for Thanksgiving and leftovers. Because let’s face it – there’s nothing better than a second Thanksgiving pate after the kids have gone to bed and everyone has left the building. 🙂

If you are looking to moisten up your Turkey this year – check out our Orange Coriander Turkey Brine!

As with all Connected Chef recipes, let your kitchen and instincts guide you as you cook. The ingredient amount below are used as a starting off point; taste as you go and reseason as needed!

cranberry side for your Thanksgiving turkey

Cranberry Sauce

Print Recipe

This insanely easy and fast cranberry sauce will be the star of your Thanksgiving meal. It brightens and balances all the heavy food that typically comes with Thanksgiving and will open up your taste buds to the flavors of all the other dishes on your plate.

It's my FAVORITE thing every year and I used to hate "cranberry sauce". This recipe will leave with plenty for Thanksgiving and leftovers.

Servings Prep Time
10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes

Servings Prep Time
10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes

cranberry side for your Thanksgiving turkey

Cranberry Sauce

Print Recipe

This insanely easy and fast cranberry sauce will be the star of your Thanksgiving meal. It brightens and balances all the heavy food that typically comes with Thanksgiving and will open up your taste buds to the flavors of all the other dishes on your plate.

It's my FAVORITE thing every year and I used to hate "cranberry sauce". This recipe will leave with plenty for Thanksgiving and leftovers.

Servings Prep Time
10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes

Servings Prep Time
10 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes

Ingredients


Servings: people

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a pot and cook at a simmer for 15-20 minutes until all cranberries have burst and sauce begins to thicken.
    *You shouldn't have to worry about it not being thick enough. Remember that it thickens as it cools as well.

  2. Taste as you go.
    Sauce should be tart with a slight sweetness and hints of the cinnamon and star anise

Recipe Notes

Flavor Adjustments:
If sauce is too tart, you can add more sugar.
If sauce is too bitter, add more orange juice and then some sugar if necessary.

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Turkey Brine – Orange Coriander

turkey brine

This Orange Coriander Brine will leave you with a moist turkey and brighten it’s flavor through the use of citrus. Your Thanksgiving turkey this year will be the best you’ve ever had.

What is a brine?  A brine is a salty solution that will add moisture to any lean meat.

If you like this flavor combo, you can also check out our Orange Coriander Marinade to try on veggies or other meats throughout the year.

As with all Connected Chef recipes, let your kitchen and instincts guide you as you cook. The ingredient amount below are used as a starting off point; taste as you go and reseason as needed!

turkey brine
Orange Coriander Turkey Brine
Print Recipe
This Orange Coriander Brine add not only moisture to your Turkey, but brightens it's flavor through the use of citrus. Your Thanksgiving turkey this year will be the best you've ever had. This recipe will give you enough brine for a 12-20 lbs turkey.
Prep Time
15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 24-48 Hours
Prep Time
15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 24-48 Hours
turkey brine
Orange Coriander Turkey Brine
Print Recipe
This Orange Coriander Brine add not only moisture to your Turkey, but brightens it's flavor through the use of citrus. Your Thanksgiving turkey this year will be the best you've ever had. This recipe will give you enough brine for a 12-20 lbs turkey.
Prep Time
15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 24-48 Hours
Prep Time
15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
0 24-48 Hours
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except water to a large stock pot *be sure to add the whole citrus and juice in with the liquid Bring to a boil and stir Pour in ice water & let cool Once cooled, add turkey and let sit for 24-48 hours. Be sure to turn turkey every 12 hours if not fully submerged.
  2. Bring all items to a boil.
  3. Add ice water and cool
  4. Add turkey to the brine and let soak for 24-48 hours
Recipe Notes

Pro Tip: If your turkey is too big for a stock pot, use a cooler or clean 5 gallon paint bucket to keep the turkey/brine in.

If there is no room in your fridge, you can keep it outside in the cold. Be sure to keep the liquid iced & keep the top locked in some way by putting something heavy on top.

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3 Adjustments to Soothe Your Back to School Transition

 

So, it’s October now.

Do you feel settled yet in the back to school grind?

Kindergarten parents – I’m specifically sending you all the transition love in this new phase of life.

I remember our Kindergarten days being so inconsistent and so reactive. There were times when Lucas would ask me, “why do we just go to school, come home, eat and go to bed.” Then there were days where he NEEDED to be active, but was too exhausted and after was a DISASTER! Nothing was ever consistent and I never knew the “right” thing to do for him or me.

It felt like being back with a newborn and having to figure out what he needed and nobody having the words to be able to communicate with each other.

Honestly, I was a little shocked by just how INTENSE it was.

I remember very quickly realizing that this year was going to be all about slowing down to a HAULT. Doing the bare minimum and just moving through this time of life.

We NEVER did after school activities.

We NEVER had playdates (well, maybe 2)

We ALWAYS had meltdowns on the sidewalk

We ALWAYS finished our day exhausted.

Fast forward a year and first grade is SO different. I learned a LOT as a parent and what it means to be a parent of a school aged kid through our first year of Kindergarten.

I learned how to navigate the school system, interpret my son’s needs within this larger system and how to adjust to do what’s best for our family while having to adhere to a bigger picture.

As always, I learned to chill out EVEN MORE as a parent and was reminded of what’s important and worth my focus. That’s something I am constantly learning in new phases of life.

I’d love to share those with you some KEY CHANGES that helped us along the way – because even though it’s October –

It’s never too late to make the right adjustments for your family and we still have 8 months to go! 🙂

Here are 3 adjustments to help soothe the rest of your school year:

 

A realistic and simplified morning schedule.

This starts the day off and will carry your child through the day with positive energy. A strong morning routine can look different for everyone, but consistency is KEY.

Once you’ve assessed the situation and come up with some potential solutions, have a conversation with your child about what’s not working. Ask them how they would LIKE to have their day look.

It is SO important that we open up the lines of communication with our kids and let them in on the discussion of making change in your days. Whether that is change in meals, change in schedule ect. TALK about what’s happening, what’s working and what’s not.

Playtime in the morning.

Once kids start school, they often don’t have enough time to just play freely. Play is how our kids learn, process and unwind. By giving them some time in the morning to wake up – they can engage with themselves and begin their day settled.

Some of you might be saying that – “If I let my kid play, he will never want to stop and it will be a mess.”

  • I get that and this will work better for some kids than others, but the CONVERSATION around this routine will ensure that this is something you are doing TOGETHER.
  • Adding structure to it will be KEY to success.

Make a plan & visuals to aide.

My morning routine with my kids looks like this:

  1. 1st alarm goes off at 6am. I wake up the kids and let them know it’s time to get up and they have 30min. to play (I go back to bed)
  2. 2nd alarm goes off at 6:30: This is there 5 minute warning that play is about to stop
  3. 3rd alarm goes off at 6:35: Time to start getting ready
  4. Go to our “Are you ready?” chart and start the routine. They have a choice to do the routine in whatever order they choose.
  5. If there is extra time, they can read or play some more. (be careful of the play some more piece here because that can be ard for kids to pull away from when it’s time to actually leave. (but remember a pllus – their shoes and all are already on.)

Ask yourself: What is my child’s temperament?

Is your child an introvert – an extrovert – or a little of both?

This can be  really telling aspect of your child’s personality. Recognizing and honoring this part of your child’s personality will allow you to best support and understand them.

What is an introvert?

The definition of an introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing and regain their energy by spending time alone. This is largely because introverts’ brains respond to dopamine differently than extroverts’ brains. In other words, if you’re an introvert, you were likely born that way.

What is an extrovert?

As with Introverts getting “filled up” by getting some alone time, Extroverts get “filled up” and energized by being around others.

If they finish a full day, sometimes the best way for them to ground is by being at a playground with friends. That’s relaxing and calming to them.

What is an introvert/extrovert?

Being introvert or extrovert is always on a scale and people are typically not just 1 or the other. Being an introvert/extrovert could mean that you do your best work with others, but than when you are tapped out, you need to be alone to recharge.

Paying attention to how your child reacts in different situations can give you clues to whether they have introvert or extrovert tendencies. This can help you better asses what they need after a long day at school.

So, what does my child need right after school?

  • Down time with minimal stimulation
  • Quiet connection with you or another person
  • Get out pent up energy from their day

Talk with them and find out!

Ask them what makes them feel calm? What makes them feel recharged? As always – don’t have this conversation in the moment. Have it during bedtime or on a weekend when you are just hanging around the house.

Eat Dinner Earlier.

Majority of kids internal dinner time is often at 4:30-5pm

  1. Pay attention to when your kids hungriest. When are they eating the most snacks
  2. Utilize that time to get healthy food into them at that time. Maybe it is a sit down and have dinner or maybe it’s a really healthy schmorgas board (cheese, olive, vegetables, grains)
  3. You can still have your sit down dinner at 6:30 if that is what works with your families schedule, but the pressure is off because you know they’ve eaten something healthy already.

This early fuel will give them the energy and ability to make it through the rest of the day and minimize the big feelings and tantrums.

Reminder: Don’t forget to play with your kids!

Our kids connect with us THROUGH play. Making 10 MINUTES of focused time to play together can make a huge difference in your after school. Set a timer – focus on play – move through the rest of the afternoon.

At the end of the day, everyone’s family works differently, but the more we can slow down and prioritize deep connection within our busy lives – the stronger, more grounded & capable we AND OUR CHILDREN will be.

Xoxox

Kim

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