Adventures in Drool: 'Tis the season to be outside
Happy Monday droolers!
This week is Take it Outside Week, so make sure to get yourself and your family out in some fresh air.
Take it Outside Week was founded in 2009 by Head Start Body Start as a way to celebrate nature and encourage educators, families and caregivers to make time to be outside.
Over the weekend, I took Droolface for a picture-perfect bicycle ride around our area. I am not a great bicyclist, but hopefully with more practice, I will improve. The bike ride was great – we both got some fresh air – and it was also exercise.
Did you know? Today's children spend less time outdoors than any generation in history? American preschoolers watch 32 hours of television a week?
Source: Head Start Body Start
According to research (Fjortoft 2004; Burdette and Whitaker 2005), children who play outdoors regularly:
• Become fitter and leaner
• Develop stronger immune systems
• Have more active imaginations
• Have lower stress levels
• Play more creatively
• Have greater respect for themselves and others
Time spent outdoors is also the best way to get vitamin D. According to Pediatrics, 70 percent of American kids are not getting enough vitamin D, which can lead to a host of health issues. Time spent outdoors is also shown to reduce myopia (near sightedness) in children (Optometry and Vision Science, 2008).
Here are some quick ways to get your family outside:
• Host a Family Play Day filled with lots of outdoor games and activities
• Host a Family Gardening Day and plant fall flowers and shrubs and grasses to enhance your outdoor space
• Host a Nature Play Day – go for a nature hike, build forts and dens and dig for worms
Use the comment section to tell us about your favorite outdoor activities!
What’s for dinner?
Need a quick and delicious weekday meal for the family? Here’s one I adapted to fit my Mexican-food-loving family.
You will need:
• 1 box of rigatoni or ziti dried pasta noodles
• ½ pound ground turkey
• ½ envelope powdered taco seasoning
• 1 chopped onion
• 16-ounce jar of green salsa (I like Herdez)
• 8 ounces of shredded cheese (I like taco blends)
• Garnishes of cilantro, tomato wedges and jalepeno peppers.
• Extra red or green salsa (optional)
1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat large rectangular baking dish with spray.
2 – Cook pasta according to box. Cook the shortest amount of time because it will continue to cook in the oven.
3 – In large skillet, heat some olive oil and brown the onions and ground turkey. Mix in the taco seasoning. Drain fat and return to skillet. Then stir in the green salsa.
4 – In the baking dish, layer half of the cooked pasta, then half the sausage mixture and half the cheese. Repeat with a second layer. Then bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
5 - Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then top with garnishes and serve. If your family loves salsa, serve the extra on the side. You could also serve this with a dollop of sour cream.
(Note: If you like more meat, make it a pound of ground turkey. Can also substitute sausage or ground beef.)
Have a great week droolers, and remember to take time to get outside!