Tag Archives: Motherhood

Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy Your Doctor May Not Tell You

shutterstock-pregnant-cooking

By Betty Murray

You’ve decided to take the plunge into parenthood but you are unsure of what measures you can take with your nutrition and lifestyle to make sure your baby is healthy.  Often would be parent’s are not given clear directions on proper nutrition before and during conception because, even today, nutrition is often an elective in medical school so your doctor may not be well versed in nutrition. Here are 10 things you can do to ensure you give your baby the best chance to be healthy?  Continue reading

VOD: College Poet Tells the Sad Truth About Growing Up Female

“You were taught to grow out, I was taught to grow in,” Lily Myers recites at the Wesleyan University at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Her haunting poem chronicles the lessons and habits she’s picked up from her mother, passed down from the generations. Mentally she’s been conditioned to think of her self as small and that all efforts should be made to make herself smaller.

Is this a subconscious message we are sending to all young girls growing up? Is that why there’s a need for books like Lean InIt makes you take a step back and look at the messages we observe and regurgitate back out as the norm. How many times have you asked a question that started with the word sorry? More importantly, how do we empower ourselves, our sisters, our daughters and our friends to grow out instead of in?

If you have a video that you think should be featured in our Video of the Day column tell us in the comments below! 

The Best Grab-N-Go Superfood Breakfasts

tumblr_mj4j59lg5R1rnp953o1_500If you’ve read some of my recent articles, you’ll know that I not only believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that it should also be the largest. Not just for the reasons you likely heard as a child (i.e. improved mental focus and test scores), but because a big, nutrient-dense meal at breakfast also supports things like:

  • A healthy body weight
  • Stable energy due to less fluctuation in blood sugar levels throughout the day
  • Improved digestive function (a.k.a, stimulation of a regular, healthy bowel movement)
  • Manifesting your modern day superpower (mine happens to be finding decent parking spots)

Most days, I don’t have the luxury of a leisurely breakfast, and more days than I’d like to admit, breakfast happens while driving in my car. So, after many years of perfecting my need for grab-n-go breakfast options that meet my nutrition requirements, I landed on a few favorite options that give me everything I need to feel great and get my day off to a healthy start.

Superfood Muesli 

This is a recipe I was given while in naturopathic medical school. It can be eaten warm or cold, and it’s super easy to make. You can store a big batch for weeks and then place a scoop in a Pyrex dish the night before so you can literally grab it out of your fridge and go. I like to use soy milk as the liquid and add some honey for sweetness. It is incredibly dense and gives you a “stick to your ribs” kind of feeling which is great if you have a busy day ahead.

Superfood Smoothie 

One of the reasons I love smoothies is that I can throw supplements like vitamin D, fish oil and multivitamins into the mix to streamline my morning ritual even more. This recipe was my go-to breakfast almost every morning through both of my pregnancies. I’d often grab a handful of peanut butter pretzels as well to balance out some of the sugar from the fruit. Tip: Put all your smoothie ingredients into a large mason jar before going to bed so all you have to do in the morning is take it with you (if you happen to have a blender at work), or blend at home and then put back into the mason jar to use as a travel container.

Nut Butter Balls 

I came across this recipe while looking for snack options to have on-hand for my boys to eat. It turns out this recipe is not only easy to make and kid-approved, but a great on-the-go breakfast option. I like to add lots of goodies like chia seeds, flax seeds and fresh shredded coconut. You can make a big batch and keep in a large Pyrex container (create layers in the container using wax paper) for up to a week. Two or three of these balls and you’re satisfied until lunch, no problem.

Nut Butter Toast

When your best attempts at planning and prepping don’t manifest, there’s always basic nut butter toast. I like to trade between almond and sunflower butter, and when I know I have a big day planned, will make this into a toasted sandwich using two slices of stone-ground bread with a thin layer of jam. Basic and perhaps a tad boring? Yes. Super fast to make and easy to eat while driving? Absolutely.

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Photo credit: Instagram @riiaberg

Teaching Children Meditation & Mindfulness

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.35.56 PMIn today’s high-tech, fast-paced world, it’s pretty easy to become over-stimulated. Busy schedules directing us to go, go, go and electronic devices constantly in our hands, sucking us into scattered digital directions make inner-peace a fleeting want. Enter tension and fatigue. This is true for us, as adults, so imagine children as they absorb the energy of their parents and of the environment which they live in. Then, we send them off to school where they are expected to concentrate and focus.

As an adult, to be able to accomplish all of the above is a pretty remarkable feat. Imagine learning these tools as a young child and then being able to use them your entire life! What if an entire generation of children were blessed with this gift? While mindfulness is catching on and currently being taught in a handful of schools across the country, it is largely up to the parents to teach this powerful tool. And studies have linked mindfulness to better concentration, increased focus, and boosts of memory – so it’s well worth it.

The tips I’m about to share are my own experience as a parent and what has worked in our family. They are geared towards younger children, but much of it can apply to older kids as well. (If you are an adult looking to learn more about meditation, you may want to check out this article.)

Introducing Meditation and Mindfulness to Young Children

  1. Lead by example. As a parent, it is most important to first develop your own meditation practice and then show your children the way. They will naturally become curious as they so often want to emulate the behaviors they see in their parents and others whom they look up to. My five year old daughter has grown up her whole life witnessing meditation, and I even have many fond memories of her as a toddler coming out of bed in the morning and plopping herself down on my lap while I was in the midst of meditating! Once there is a genuine and natural interest, you can begin to help guide them into a better understanding and foster the growth of their own practice.

  2. Make it relatable, on a child’s level. There is a wonderful book about meditation called Peaceful Piggy that I’ve read with my daughter many times and would highly recommend. The story-telling approach is a wonderful way to connect with young kids. Above that, they suggest a really simple do-it-at-home experiment to demonstrate what meditation is all about. It says to take a jar and fill the bottom with a bit of sand. Then, cover with water. Shake the jar so that all the grains of sand begin swirling all around. Tell your child that each of those grains of sands represents a thought. It could be a happy thought, a sad thought, an angry thought. But, the grains swirling around represent all of the thoughts buzzing around our heads throughout the day. Next put the jar down and allow the sand to settle. See how the sand “thoughts” become calmer and the water becomes clearer? The thoughts are still there, but they are no longer all “crazy.” Peace and stillness have taken over. Explain to your child that this symbolizes the effect of meditation on the brain.

  3. Encourage discussion of their own feelings and emotions. Ask them for examples of different experiences: when something made them really happy, or really sad, a time they felt upset or their feelings were hurt, a time they felt scared. Give a few of your own examples to show them that we all feel this same array of emotions on a regular basis. Even young children, who seem to have such simple lives, still have a lot to sort through and deal with. They may share some emotions such as: happy on a fun family adventure, upset when mommy or daddy wouldn’t let them do what they wanted, sad when a family member or pet became ill, or feeling hurt when a friend in school said something mean. For children who are a bit older, the standardized testing system seems to be a source of worry. Meditation can help settle the overwhelming feelings and bring them to a calmer place in their thoughts. Being able to get outside of the whirlwind to just observe instead of being engulfed is truly a powerful gift.

  4. MinfulnessRealistic Expectations. It’s important to cover that there is no way to do this right or “wrong.” Like exercising, results become more apparent with repetition. Frequency is key to really seeing benefits over time. That being said, this should be an enjoyable experience for them and not feel like a chore or something they are being forced to do. Encourage their interest, efforts, and willingness. If you are into reward systems, this could be a good time to implement some small ones. “Let’s practice a few minutes of meditation and then we can play a little game” or “have a little treat.” This type of system is very encouraging for young children. Make it special! Designate a specific area for them in the house that will be their meditation spot. Make it welcoming with their own pillow or special pillowcase. Encourage them to bring a few trinkets that have special meaning to them: perhaps a family photo, their favorite artwork, a remnant of the earth such as gemstone or even a plant.

  5. Use a Timer. It’s great to have a goal time, but start small. Depending on the age, 3-5 minutes can be a reasonable beginner goal. A timer is nice because it is finite and they know to expect an end time. There are many great meditation apps that you can download for your smartphone. I like ones that use singing bowl sounds for start and finish. Let your child start the timer and put it somewhere they can see it. Encourage them to not worry about the time. Instead, just relax and know their meditation is over once they hear the singing bowl ring again.

  6. Guide them. Sitting down in lotus posture with eyes closed is not a must (although that is perfectly fine). Like I said, there is no right or wrong way. The point is to get them into a practice of settling their minds and become more mindful. Keeping the eyes closed allows for deeper relaxation, so would be suggested. Naturally, they will want to peek – this is okay! Lying down while meditating presents an opportunity to become a little too relaxed and possibly even fall asleep, so some sort of sitting position is best. Small children will be fidgety. Just encourage them to try their best to sit still with eyes closed until the timer goes off. Most important is to focus on the breath. Breathing is something we always take with us, so this can literally be practiced anywhere. Have them simply notice their breathing as their chest rises and falls. Then, start to encourage long, deep, slow breaths where their belly rises up on the inhale and contracts to small again as the exhale it all out.

(A fun visual: “Blowing out the Candle.” Have them clasp their hands together and raise their two index fingers, holding them in front of their mouth. Inhale slowly and deeply. On the slow exhale, have them imagine blowing out a birthday candle. Blowing out a candle is something all children can relate to, and it’s pretty fun too! When my daughter is having a tough time with something, I can simply tell her “breathe, blow out your candle” and she knows exactly what to do to calm down.)

  1. Let it be. Sitting still may not comes naturally at first. It is okay for minds to wander. It is okay to fidgety. As a matter of fact, expect it. Just encourage them to try their best to relax and refocus them back to focusing on their breath as often as needed. Know that over time and with regular practice, they will be able to sit still longer and they will begin to experience many of the other wonderful benefits of meditation and mindfulness. Don’t push it, but gently encourage them to practice regularly.

Our children are the future, and we have infinite love for them. What a beautiful gift to give them and to the world by teaching them to meditate. Namaste.

Do you meditate with your children? Do you have any of your own tips to add? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

For more by Dawn Gluskin be sure to get on the free email list for exclusive content direct to your inbox and join the inspiring Dawnsense Facebook community.

photo by: AlicePopkorn

Peace Matters: A Mother Responds to the Call for Action Against Syria

War and PeaceAs I pull my truck up to the local harbor beach, loaded with sunscreened kids, oversized striped towels and inner tubes, John Kerry’s voice breaks in over my radio, tuned into NHPR. “This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this crime against the most fundamental principles of international community, against the norm of the international community, this matters to us, and it matters to who we are.”

“It Matters” is an eloquently written persuasive argument in favor of punitive action in Syria for their obvious use of chemical weapons against their own people. And as Kerry pontificates on the necessity of action, I’m mothering my way through the last bits of summer vacation.

Kids tumble out of the truck, doors slam, happy screams pierce, sun shines, and I grip the wheel. How does a peace-seeking person like me feel about this?

I hate war. I hate it. I hate that women who lovingly grow tiny seeds into human beings have to watch as their sons and daughters are sent overseas because the overwhelming majority of men on this planet value power, money and ego over life, love and collaboration.

While I hate war, I do not hate the men who declare it. In fact, the opposite. I love men as much as I love anyone, and I want to see men live long, healthy and productive lives. But as the world turns, I see what men do and what men make and I’m tired of dealing with the consequences of greed, power and competition.

For thousands of years we’ve been deserted by fathers, raped by prom dates, suppressed by regimes, penetrated by uncles, underestimated by brothers, underpaid by bosses, beaten by husbands and ignored by society. For thousands of years we’ve had to stand by while men make decisions about our fate and the fate of our planet. If during these thousands of years, men have not found a way to create a peaceful planet through leadership, it makes me wonder if men truly desire peace. Or are men addicted to conflict and combat? Are they afraid that the end of war will mean the end of their manly value?

Every one of us is hard wired with drive, with the desire to be the best at something, with the need to control our environment. It’s always been this way. But just because this is the way it’s always been doesn’t mean it’s right. History is doomed to repeat itself because we human beings aren’t brave enough to choose collaboration over competition – on a personal level, on a professional level, on a local level, on a global level, on a 1st grade recess level, on a college application level, on an I-got-the-job-now-what level. We’re all at war with one another. All of us. Heck, most of us are at war with ourselves.

We are never happy the way we are, which makes it impossible to accept others the way they are. This seems so mundane, so small. But this is life. This is people. War is people, too. War is one man with a severe sociopathic condition and a powerful following. But the problem of war isn’t THEM. The problem isn’t WHY. The problem is US. You and me. US.

There is so much work to do. And the work doesn’t start in Congress. It starts with you and me. It starts in bed at night when your mind is focused on office politics and peer manipulation. It starts in the kitchen when I stare down a bag of Newman’s Ginger O’s that will only add to my increasingly unmanageable lower belly. It starts on the playground when one sad, confused, pained little boy is labeled a bully because he hasn’t mastered impulse control or feels unlovable and unworthy of kindness. This is where war begins.  With the tiny seed of you and me.

This brings me back to the front seat of my parked Ford truck, simmering in the driver’s seat, white knuckling the wheel, “It matters,” Kerry asserts, “if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.”

Yes, it does matter, Secretary Kerry. It matters. But peace matters, too. We belong to the most creative human society to tromp the earth. We send rocket ships to Mars, we Skype with our sisters living in Hong Kong, we collect energy from the sun and turn it into electricity. We are innovators. Let’s use this innovation and creativity to inspire peace. There is a way. There is always a way. Peace matters.

No boots on the ground, yes I know. Just a drone strike. But is it ever that simple? Strikes have consequences and I don’t believe for a minute that three-four-shut-the-door will be the result of Obama’s proposed swift and concise action.

More lives, more anger, more more more. How about a little less less less? Doesn’t that sound nice? A little less breaking news? A little less testosterone? A little less shrouded children? A little less worry? A little less tossing and turning? As unlikely as it may seem, peace matters. Peace now.

How to Survive Tickle Torture Like a Yogi

FamilyThis summer the ever-expanding internet has been saturated with self-help titles. This year’s ubiquitous How-to columns are last year’s Call Me Maybe. 5 Ways to Know You Have a Sunburn, How to Match Your Socks to Your Underpants, The Best Way to Break Your Andy Cohen Habit. I admit, I’ve cast out a few How-tos of my own. So move over Carly Rae, here’s one more.

Okay, okay, so this isn’t the most serious article you’ll ever read, but I’ll bet my kids’ weekly allowance that mastery of this survival skill will save your butt the next time you’re hand to bellybutton with a ferocious tickler.

You’ve got to admit, being tickled is downright torturous. It’s juvenile, it’s flirtatious, it’s downright… painful? Uncomfortable? Breathtaking? Invasive? Creepy? I don’t know how to describe the feeling of being tickled, actually. But it ranks very high on my least favorite interactions specifically involving my neck, armpits, ribs, thighs, and feet.

Tonight I had an encounter of the tickling kind. My four-year-old was in big trouble. He kept pulling the puppy’s tail and laughing whenever I disciplined him. So I carried him upstairs and pinned him on his bed to keep him from wriggling away while I lectured him. I imagine that his four-year-old mind processed my words like this: “Wah wah wah-wah waaaahhh.” (I am officially a Peanuts cartoon character.)

He laughed hysterically while I spoke. At first I was offended but he kept laughing wildly.  He broke me. I started laughing, too. Then I started tickling him and he responded with relentless retaliation. Before I could run for cover he was jamming his little fingers into my armpits and I was curling into fetal position to protect my ticklish parts.

I’m four times the size of him so it was easy for me to squeeze my arms into my ribcage and protect my goods. But I noticed something while he was relentlessly searching for a way under my arms. More so than the tickling itself, the anticipation of the tickling made me crazy. Cracking up, tears rolling, chin pulled into my neck, hooting with laughter. Isn’t this the way? The anticipation of the event produces more emotion than the event itself. (Note to self: Please remember this next time you begin obsessing over your impending mammogram.)

“Why are you so ticklish there?” my son probed.

“I don’t,” snort, “know,” chortle, “Can you stop,” giggle, “pllleeease?”

He wouldn’t stop and I was frozen with red-faced breathlessness so I decided to put my meditation practice to work. I began to draw that discomfort away from my underarms and neutralize it. While he squeezed and poked, I separated my thoughts from my body and somehow extracted the discomfort from my field of feelings. The fingers were no longer tickling, just poking. I don’t know how I did it really, but it worked. And when he realized that his little paws no longer had a dazzlingly humorous effect on me, he stopped.

My torturer was outdone by my amazing power of equanimity. Take that How-to little man. Until next time…

 

More by Vanessa:

Why Kate Middleton’s Natural Childbirth Should Inspire Us All

5 Tips to Survive Summer Vacation With Wild Kids

This One Goes Out to All the “Nobodies”

 

Why Real Life Will Always Be Better Than Social Media

CBR003159A recent study by the Public Library of Science shows that the more somebody uses Facebook, the more their satisfaction of life decreases. Apparently, many frequent Facebookers are scrolling through their newsfeeds feeling bad because they don’t think their own lives stack up to the fabulous accomplishments, vacations, and photo-shopped and filtered images they see plastered on their computer screens.

I love social media just as much as the next person, with the ability to easily stay in touch with long distance friends and family and to reach a broader audience with my blog posts. However, the dark side is it can cause some to experience negative feelings which can morph into criticism, judgement and competition with others or even depression and lowered feelings of self.

The deeper concern here is looking inward, not outward, for peace and adopting an “I am enough” mentality. We will never be happy when comparing ourselves to others. But, before taking that deep dive, it is important to scratch the surface and for people need to realize that social media is not even the real deal. It is simply a snapshot of a life — the very best moments that we all choose to share with our audience.

If I take a closer look at my own life and the lives of those in my social circle, there are many of us modern day ‘super-women’ types out there. We use our powers to do cool things like create beautiful babies, build a kick-ass career, leap tall hobbies and ambitions in a single bound, make the world a better place, and look darn good doing it all! Some run their households like a tight ship carting the kids to school and various extracurricular activities with ease, whipping up healthy & Pinterest-worthy meals without breaking a sweat, and a keeping spotless house.

While juggling such full plates with style and grace and making a difference in the world is certainly commendable, don’t you often wonder what is really going on behind the scenes?

Here’s a peek into my own life. Just last week, I was thanking my lucky stars for a busy day at the office as my tech company was finally picking up a little steam, after a very lackluster 2012. I was happily bouncing from customer call to PO processing to, oh crap! I was running late (again) in leaving to get my 5 year old daughter to dance class. Little twang of mommy-guilt ensues. Later, I was playing outside with my girls, when I realized “oh crap” (again), as it just dawned on me that I forgot to reply to an important client email that I had promised to deliver. Ugggh. Time to whip out the iPhone and sneak in a quickie one-handed email while bouncing the baby on one hip and pushing the five year old in the swing. People seem to get the impression that I totally have my sh*t together, but honestly it’s a never-ending quest for balance! I have to work really hard on it and often come up short.

And, sure, if I invite you over for dinner, my house is going to be squeaky clean, smelling divine, and I will be fresh-faced and greet you with a big smile, ready to be your hostess with the mostest. But, if you show up at my house unannounced, expect to find me in yoga pants, no makeup, possibly un-showered, frazzled, with kids and animals running around, toys strewn all about, and a possibly a mystery smell in the air. It could be the cat box, dirty diapers, garbage that needs to go out, or a smelly dog. Hopefully, it’s not me!

What is my point with all this? I’m just keeping it real. It gets messy behind the scenes. People usually post the happy and photogenic moments to share with their virtual followings, and I’m not going to judge that. I mostly do the same. Frankly, nobody wants to see photos of me un-showered, in my yoga pants and with regurgitated baby food stains on my shirt. Nor do I want to share every gut-wrenching decision I have to make or twang of mommy guilt that comes my way. And, I cringe anytime I see people post all their dirty laundry on social media. (I’m so not going there!) But, that doesn’t mean there is not a deeper story going on. The same applies to everyone online.

Think about an iceberg and how the majority of it is underwater and out of site to the naked eye. What people choose to share on social is just the tip of their iceberg. While social media can be a great way to keep in touch, it is no substitute for in-person interaction and you have to realize that you are only getting a small glimpse into people’s lives – usually the highlights reel.

To have your social media and your happiness too, the lessons to take from this are:

  1. Limit your social media browsing. Study after study continues to bring its dark side to light. Like all good things, moderation is key. If you are slightly obsessed (and, yes, it can be highly addicting), try setting time limits or even take a little time off. Enjoy your new-found happiness!

  2. Spend time doing what you love. What are you super passionate about? What works in your life for you and your family? If you invest all of your time and energy diving deeply into whatever passion burns inside of you, then you will simply not have the time or energy to aimlessly peruse the internet all day. Fall in love with you and chase your dreams. You are amazing and have much to offer the world.

  3. Remember all that glitters is not gold. Behind every shiny and polished exterior, there is most definitely a deeper story sure to include some struggle and sacrifice that has gone on behind-the-scenes. Remind yourself that what you are seeing is only one snapshot of reality. Don’t do the comparison thing! Just don’t. You are enough.

  4. Take notice & log off. If you notice yourself feeling a little down or upset when browsing Facebook, then that is a major sign its time to log off for a bit. There was life before social media – remember? Sometimes less is more. Get yourself out into the real world and live it up! And no need to post all about it, either. Spend that time actually enjoying and savoring each moment.

  5. Spend more time face-to-face. This same study associated spending more time interacting with real people with an increase in life satisfaction. Go figure. You get much more of the real enchilada in-the-flesh than on the computer screen, anyway. Spending more time being “real” social makes for both healthier relationships and better self-image. Get some friends together and leave your iPhone off. (Just for an hour or two. The world won’t end – I promise!)

  6. Don’t hate, elevate! Remember, the life you are currently living is a by-product of the thoughts and choices you have made along the way. If you are feeling a little down or even a little envious, don’t beat yourself up about it. It is just a gentle nudge for you to look deeper inside and figure out what direction you want or need to go with your own life. So, choose wisely how you react. Don’t let those feelings turn toxic. Instead, bless and congratulate others. Then take that positive energy and use it towards working on elevating your own existence. You have infinite potential!

Hopefully we can all learn to take social media for what it is and not allow it to become a negative component in our lives. In the meantime, maybe we can all start a ‘keep it real’ movement where we start posting “real life “pictures, like  when we first roll out of bed, pre-coffee (or green juice) and make-up. And, no editing or filters! Go ahead … you go first. 😉

What about you? Are you addicted to social? Are you one to “put it all out there” or just the highlights like most people? Have you witnessed or experienced a correlation with too much social and a decline in happiness? Sound off in the comments below!

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For more from Dawn Gluskin, join her inspiring Facebook community & sign up for her weekly love letters and receive a complimentary digital copy of her new ebook, “Make it Happen! Guide to Manifesting”.

The Baby-Led Weaning Experiment

banana diveMy littlest one was sitting in her exersaucer, madly trying to eat the plastic letter B and the plastic butterfly hanging next to the plastic letter B. She was yelling a lot. I started thinking maybe they didn’t taste nice? How about a banana? I’ve been reading the Baby Led Weaning book for a little while now, and feeling inspired by their (many might say crazy!) ideas.

“The mush stops here!” In a nutshell (not a spoon), the Baby Led Weaning idea is that babies will feed themselves when they are ready to, and we don’t have to push food into them. It’s finger foods from the beginning, whenever the baby decides the beginning will be (an ability to sit up and grab things required).

BLW proponents say feeding themselves helps babies learn hand-eye coordination. Babies will have an sense of what they are putting in their mouths instead of being surprised by the mush, so they’ll be happier doing it. They won’t feel left out of the family dinner. They won’t choke because their reflexes will push the food out if they aren’t ready for it. (She pushed out the little piece of banana that she accidentally bit off.) I think BLW is even supposed to make them smarter!

I’m gonna give it a shot. I didn’t do it with her brother (and he’s certainly smart enough). I mostly chewed his food for him in the very beginning (I know, gross, but helpful in a digestive enzyme sort of way!), and he loved being fed so it wasn’t a problem.

My little girl, by the way, isn’t quite ready. As you can see from the photo up there, I was holding the banana for her, and I think that is a major no-no. The little girl needs to be in charge, and I don’t think she is quite up to the task yet. But soon!

For now, I think the thumb is yummiest. Especially when it’s covered with banana goop.

The 80/20 Rule: How to Keep Your Family Healthy (And Have Fun Doing It!)

Matt and Jack share a snowconeWe went to a local carnival on a recent night, and the boys and I each had a snow-cone. Sam’s and mine were both bright blue and George’s was half red, half blue.

They were nothing but sugar and nasty dyes, but it was part of the fun of being there. We stood under the fireworks and happily ate them. We broke a lot of rules that night. We stayed up past 10 o’clock, we paid to play games we knew were unwinnable  and we ate carnival food. It was all part of the experience of being there and we had a blast.

This confuses some people. Most notably, my husband. Yesterday he brought home conventionally grown strawberries which I promptly returned to the store. “How can you let the boys have snow-cones and not let them eat conventional strawberries?” he asked. I understand the question, and see that it looks like hypocrisy, but this is how I make sense of our lives. This is my 80/20 rule.

scale (1)It’s All About Balance

I do not strive for nutrition perfection. That wouldn’t be any fun. I mean, what is life without french fries? Instead I strive for 80% good and 20% of whatever comes our way. Life is to be enjoyed. The negative impact of the stress of trying to eat perfectly all of the time far outweighs that of eating something that really makes us happy.

So, how do I balance this? How do I keep track? My way is to treat my home as a sacred food zone. We eat 100% clean food. No dyes, no chemicals, no pesticides (hence the no conventional strawberries rule), no refined sugars or refined flours and no GMOs. The 20% of the time that we are out in the world then all bets are off. We eat what comes our way. That said, of course we eat the best option of what we are offered. Like if we are given a choice between a not-so-good food and a just-plain-awful one, we will choose the former, and if there is a healthy option we will always go for that. But, even then sometimes, we take a time-out.

When we go to birthday parties, we eat cake. We go to the movies and eat movie-theater popcorn. Today, after a haircut, we went into town and had a double scoop of ice cream before dinner. I believe that the key to teaching children to eat healthily is for them to recognize those not-so-good-for-you foods and accept them as being something that is consumed occasionally.

The 80-20 rules works well for us. The kids know it’s all right for them to break the rule on occasion because they understand what the rule is – and why.

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

Sweetest Dad Captures One Second a Day of Baby’s First Year

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 8.48.16 PMThere’s nothing like a parent’s pride and love for his newborn. Everything is fresh and sweet, if also exhausting and hard work. Often parents find themselves so immersed in the moment that they lose sight of the larger process of maturation and discovery. That’s why this super sweet dad decided to document his son’s first year of life, by recording one second of each of those first 365 days.

The dad writes:

Meet our son Indigo who was born on the 9th July 2012. From that day my wife and I videoed Indigo at least once a day, every day up to a year old. For his first birthday we’ve spent some time putting together a video of his entire first year. He doesn’t quite appreciate it yet, but we hope that in a few years he will.

If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then we don’t know what will!

A lot happens in the first year of a child’s life. Most grow about 30% of their original weight and 20% of their original length; they begin smiling, reaching for object, rolling over, babbling, and some even take their first steps. It’s a whirlwind time that might seem to take forever in the moment, but which in hindsight goes by in a flash. Taking steps to document the process, as these parents did, can be one way to make sure the moments are never lost to our memories.

How did you document your children’s infancy? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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