Adventures in Foster Care: Preparing for Michael

We have a new foster child arriving tonight.  His name is Michael.  He is nine years old and in second grade.

We have been slow to step back into foster care, and the placements themselves have slowed.  Many more children are being placed in kindred placements, able to live with aunts and uncles or grandparents, and we think that is a great thing.

Michael will only be with us for a week.  He is with us while his foster parents travel on a trip they had planned out west before his arrival three weeks ago.

We know that is a lot of change for Michael.

So as we prepare, and he probably feels a sense of dread, please think of the Sharpteam today as we add one to our adventures.

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Adventures in Fruits & Vegetables: Carambola

Welcome to the first in our series on fruits and vegetables. We decided to focus each week on a new fruit or vegetable to introduce Cole, our 2 year old, to fresh new foods and to stretch our own pallets.

First up is the Carambola fruit, or the name with which I was much more familiar, starfruit. An exotic looking fruit, I was able to easily find this at the Stop & Shop near us.

As a kid I remember getting to snack on starfruit on special occasions. It has a wonderfully light, citrus taste to it. The fruit is ripe when it looks like the above picture; mostly yellow with a hint of green and some accents of brown. It can be sliced up and eaten whole, skin and all. You may find a small seed similar to that found in an orange which is easily removed.

Star Fruit Cut Up

It’s a fun shape, it has a light flavor for sensitive pallets and is just the right amount of juicy. So the verdict on is it kid friendly?

Colton Eating Star Fruit

Colton ate up all the starfruit and wanted more. I think we have a hit! We enjoyed it too. It was a nice compliment to breakfast, not overpowering and can add a very easy dash of panache to any plate.

How about you, have you tried this fun fruit or have your kids discovered this little gem?

Adventures in Fruits and Vegetables

One of my favorite things to do as a kid, was go on what we called “chicken runs” with my mom. In the little town where I grew up there used to be a local co-op that offered all sorts of organic foods. My mom, as a participant in the co-op, would give some of her time to the store helping with various jobs.

Now the store itself was not all that fun as a kid, and it seemed that this co-op had substitutes for all the things I really wanted. I remember when fruit roll-ups hit big in school. When I asked my mom if we could get some, she produced fruit leathers, the “healthier” alternative.

Being a parent now, (and having eaten my fair share of fruit roll-ups) I better understand those choices my parents made. And this leads me to our adventures in fruits and vegetables. The idea is that each week we would buy a new fruit or vegetable to try. The hope is that it exposes Colton (and us) to new foods and that we learn and grow in our understanding of the options available to us.

Fresh fruits

In all honesty, I had planned to start this series at the beginning of the year and provide 52 weeks of fruits and vegetables. Well, sometimes life happens and it did not quite work out as I had hoped, but it is never too late to start. So keep on the lookout for a new post each week on our adventure with new fruits and vegetables!

(Oh, and the “chicken runs” mentioned above were when we would head to a local farm that raised organic chickens. We would pick up crates of frozen chicken to be delivered to the store. My favorite part of this was getting to explore the farm, in particular the peacocks that were always walking around strutting proudly and scared the heck out of me!)