Friday, 22 November 2013

How I Got My Kids to Eat Fruits and Vegetables Without Hiding Them

One of my favorite discoveries this year is my weekly organic fruits and vegetable delivery service.  The seed was planted when my good friend, Liz, told me about her weekly delivery and I was intrigued.  I love to cook and I love good food and I am always striving to eat healthier.  And then I found the Groupon.  It was for $15.00 for the first delivery.  It was a no-brainer.  The first morning I woke up to my delivery outside my front door I was so excited.  I opened the box and emptied it onto the counter.  When the kids woke up and saw it, they were excited too.  The box contained things they loved, things they didn’t love and things they didn’t even know the names of yet.  When I told them that everything was fresh from the farm, they wanted to try it all…even the things they knew they did not like.

 

We’ve been receiving our delivery since August and every Tuesday morning there is still a race to the front door to get the box and empty it onto the counter.  The kids are still willing to try anything…at least once.  It has also broadened my menu planning.  I will plan meals around what is in the box.  With the exception of my monthly run to Costco for the basics, this leaves me with minimal grocery shopping for the week.

 

The service we use is Farmfreshtoyou.com.  You can change your schedule or  cancel at any time.  The cost did double after the initial Groupon but I find that it is worth it for my family to eat healthy and we are supporting our local farmers.

 

Tonight I will be making butternut squash lasagna.  Do you have any yummy vegetable or fruit recipes to share?

 

Do you receive organic produce delivery service in your area?

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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Help! We Have a Stereotypical Boy!

My youngest child and I went to the doctor for his five year old well check the other day.  The doctor asked if we were having any specific issues and I answered, “Nothing physical, just behavioral.”  She let out a giggle.  We had three girls before our son.  I had no idea what mothers meant when they said their sons were just so physical and active.  Now, I get it.   We need to “run” our son like a horse so he can burn his physical energy or disaster will strike.  Even after the “run,” we need to keep him engaged at home in a project, a lot free time leads to trouble.  He likes to help around the house.  Lucky for me, his favorite projects are with Dad and usually involve tools…and power tools are even more exciting.    This weekend they decided to take our rusty golf cart apart, sand it down and repaint it.  It’s like vacation time for me.

Another major difference I noticed is that my son has a much more difficult time verbally expressing himself than my daughters.  These days we are really working with him on using his words when he is frustrated.  Yesterday, he started to lose his temper.  I pulled him aside and he told me that I was embarrassing him.  I was so proud of him for communicating that to me.   In turn, instead of just putting him in a time out we explain to him what that issue is so that he understands.  This seems to be working…most of the time.

All the physical things aside, I love my son.  He looked up at me when we were watching a movie the other day and said, “Mom, you are the most beautiful woman in the world.”  Kids always seem to know what to say and when you really need to hear it.

 

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Please like this on Facebook if you have an active boy at home.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

When Volunteering Becomes a Full Time Job

I received an email from AYSO soccer and they are looking for coaches.  Immediately, I thought I might coach my 7-year old daughter’s team if I could get a friend to assist me.  When I mentioned it to my husband, he said, “ABSOLUTELY NOT!”  I don’t really blame him.

A few years ago I was volunteering for everything.  I had two leadership roles; as a mom room for one child’s class and the Girl Scout leader for another child among the many other volunteer jobs I was doing, all with a small toddler at home.  By the end of that year, I was a disaster.  While I enjoyed being with my children and getting to know their peers, there were many parts of the volunteer jobs that were not a lot of fun.  Plus, I still had all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, paperwork, etc. to handle at home.

One of the reasons that I stay home with my children is so that I can provide an organized and calm home life for my children and for my husband.  I want to decorate for every holiday.  I want to have a home-cooked meal on the table most nights.  I want the kids to come home to the aroma of cookies baking in the oven.  This was not happening.

In recent years, I still volunteer a lot in my children’s classrooms but without taking a leadership role.  This allows me more flexibility.  I am also focusing on my children, their academics, extra-circular activities and sports.  Oh, did I mention school projects.  As your children get older, you will see the projects they are assigned and realize there is no way they can complete this projects without help from you and many trips to the craft store.

Kudos to all the moms that step up and take the leadership roles.    It is great experience for moms that are out of the work force because you can put it on your resume if you decide to re-enter the work force one day.  I am sure that I will again take on a leadership role but for now, I will enjoy being a a worker bee instead of a queen bee.

 

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Monday, 24 June 2013

5 Hip Tips for Summer Travel with Kids {Pre Trip}

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Summer travel is here and our parenting expert has some simple suggestions that you might take to heart while planning your family’s excursions and trips.

From the git-go, you know the kids are going start asking for goodies (and keep asking) the entire trip. Two weeks before leaving, assign them age appropriate “chores” so they can earn an allowance.  An allowance is great because the kids get excited about having their own money (they have earned), and you won’t have to break your bank during the trip.

While packing always remember less is always more. Pack things you know the kids will wear versus what they may look good in. The last thing you want to do after returning from vacation is a bunch of laundry.

Never forget the sunscreen! Regardless of where you’re going its always important to keep you and your child’s skin protected.  The higher the SPF the better and remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours, especially if you are in the water.  Everyone should have a hat and sunglasses too!

On the day you leave, have your kids wear comfortable shoes you know they can walk in easily. There can be lots of walking involved in travel so its important to be as comfortable as possible for the best experience. Even if you live in the desert and can’t imagine wearing a sweater in the summer months, if you’re flying always bring something to cover up your arms on the plane or restaurant just in case!                                                                                                         

Put down the electronics. Kids can be very observant. This is quality time your kids will remember forever. Don’t worry about posting on twitter/facebook or sending that email. Enjoy your vacation with your family without the distractions!

5 Simple Tips for Summer Travel with Kids:

  1. Have them earn their own spending money a couple of weeks leading up to the trip
  2. Remember that less is more when packing!
  3. Pack the sunscreen, hats and sunglasses for everyone!
  4. Wear comfortable shoes and take a sweater!
  5. Put down the electronics!
Thursday, 20 June 2013

Parenting Tips: How to Prepare for a New Sibling

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So you’re expecting and the delivery date is drawing near.  How do you ease your child into the big brother or big sister role?  Barb Arnondin of Metroplex Baby and Kids shared some great tips on CBS.  She suggests reading!  There are so many wonderful books, both story and picture books that share about this big new thing.  She also recommends products like baby dolls and Joovy’s toy infant car seat and toy Caboose.  The infant car seat has been crash tested so it is safe for cars.  What better tool than having your child learn how to care for their doll by properly having them ride in a LATCH compliant infant car seat?

Thanks Metro Moms for sharing!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Reassurances to First-time Potty Trainers

Guest post by: Julie Kieras of the blog, A Year With Mom and Dad

I’m a former first-time potty trainer. In about a year or so, I’ll be back in the trenches, potty training my second child.

What I’ve learned from my sixteen month experience (yes, that long!) with my son is: “When they are ready, they are ready.” Our son gave many indicators he was interested in the potty at twenty-two months, but then lost interest about three hundred or so days of the following year!

I spent a lot of time being frustrated, comparing his progress to other children, and worrying something was wrong with him. In the end I learned … it was all okay and very normal. So I’m here to give a few reassurances to first-time parents of toddlers.

It’s okay: if the 72-hour plan doesn’t work for you. It didn’t for me. And I really, really tried it! In fact, in truth, it likely WON’T work unless your child is absolutely ready to potty train. (And you’re not nursing a newborn!).

It’s okay: if your child isn’t ready to potty train at the same time as other children his age. As my motherin-law always told me, “He’s not going to go to kindergarten in diapers.” Likely not!

It’s okay: if your child has an accident just milliseconds after you ask him if he wanted to use the potty.

It’s going to happen. About a million times! Just be consistent and help him attempt to go at regular intervals (upon waking, before meals, bathtime, sleeping are good signal times).

It’s okay: if your child seem unconcerned about whether they are wet or dry. One of these days it will just “click” and they will want to stay dry! Keep being positive about any success. When there are accidents, be matter-of-fact and positive about future success: “Uh-oh, it’s an accident! Next time we’ll get to the potty on time!” There should be no shame in trying to learn this very important life skill!

Look for true indicators your child is ready. Their excitement over a new potty chair and a sticker/reward chart might get you all excited too… but here’s what you should look for:

• Ability to take clothes off independently

• Finding more frequent dry diapers when you change them

• Willingness to sit on the potty for an extended length of time (more than 10 seconds!)

Above all – have fun with potty training. It can be draining and disappointing by turns! But don’t neglect to sing a special song to remind your child to use the potty, create a “potty dance” for successful “go’s,” and praise-praise-praise your child for all their efforts. Even when you do find toilet paper trails through the entire house because they wanted to find you to let you know wiped!

Looking back, most of the times I had to grit my teeth and keep pressing on have dimmed, and I mostly remember his delightful smile when he shouted, “I DID IT!” or “I’m DRY!!”

Then him beckoning me, “Come on, Mommy! Do the potty dance!”

And why not? – because every parent could use a little more dancing, right?

*Note that none of my advice here is to be considered professional or medical advice. I am speaking solely from my own experiences in hopes of helping other parents!

*Note from Joovy:  be sure to check out our potty for your potty training toddler. The Joovy Loo looks good and pairs perfectly with the StepTool for reaching to wash hands!

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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Siblings…

As a mom, we all worry about how our first and only child is going to react to bringing a new baby in the house. Will they love the baby, will the feel neglected, will they be gentle, will they act out? We spend so much time worrying about how this is going to change things for our first born, we spend less time enjoying our pregnancy and those last few weeks alone with the oldest. We do everything we can to try and prepare the oldest for the change that is about to rock their boat, we read parenting books, we buy books to read to them, we talk about it. I found that the best way to prepare my child for bringing in a sibling was make her feel like she was going to play a big role in helping care for the baby.

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My oldest is a caregiver, similar to myself and enjoys nurturing things whether it is her absurd stuff animal collection or one of her many babies. Joovy’s Toy Bundle, allows older sibling to mimic mom in caring for a baby. From the car seat that has the correct latch system and can fit on the stroller, to the pack n play for both play time and naps, my oldest is able to do many of the activities that I do with the baby, making the transition a whole lot easier on everyone. Bravo Joovy on not only making products that are helpful to us as parents, but also our little ones who want to be parents as well.

Katie

Bump Club Twin Cities

 

Monday, 25 March 2013

10 Safe and Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

It’s a known fact that kids spend too much time glued to the TV, computer or video console.

Decades ago parents couldn’t get their kids to come indoors because there was too much
happening outside with kick-ball games, bicycle rodeos, mud pie making, relay races and more.

The warmer weather is almost here, so get ready to get the kids out of the house and moving.
Here are some safe ideas that encourage wholesome, family fun.

1. Have a scavenger hunt – Create a list of things around your home or neighborhood that
the kids can find and send them on a hunt. If you have more than one child, or your child
has friends over, you can make a contest out of it. First one back gets a prize!
2. Play in the sprinkler – Running through the sprinkler is great fun for little kids on a hot
day. You don’t have to worry about the water being too deep, and they love going back
and forth chasing or being chased by the spray.
3. Host relay races – Get a group of kids together and explain to them how the relay race
works. Set up a couple of teams and let the fun begin. This is a great way to work off
energy.
4. Play in the sandbox – A large box full of sand in the backyard is still a great play space
for kids. Just add pails, shovels and perhaps a plastic dump truck or two and let the fun
begin.
5. Have a backyard picnic – Instead of the usual lunch in the kitchen, pack a lunch and eat
it outside. Sitting on a blanket on the grass and eating lunch with the kids is a wonderful
way to spend some quality time with them.
6. Make fairy homes – Using natural things from around the backyard, the kids can build
little fairy homes. Once they get started, it might be hard to get them to stop.
7. Plant and tend a garden – Kids love planting seeds and watching the garden grow. You
may even get them to eat some of the vegetables they plant, especially if you show them
how to make some of the fantastic kid friendly recipes available online.
8. Make sidewalk art – Grab a bucket of sidewalk chalk, and let your budding artists
express themselves. Kids love drawing pictures on sidewalks and driveways. Blocking
off the driveway for safety is a smart idea if your kids choose to create their art work
there.
9. Play hopscotch – As long as you have the sidewalk chalk out, you may as well draw
a hopscotch court and teach the kids how to play. It’s a popular playground game that
provides kids with fun as well as exercise.
10. Blow bubbles – Have you ever seen a kid encased in a giant bubble? There are all kinds
of bubble makers these days from the little round circle on a stick to the giant bubble
maker that can encase a child. Kids love making bubbles, chasing bubbles, watching
them dissolve and breaking them. Show older kids how to make homemade bubble
solution by mixing 1 part Dawn or Joy, 15 parts distilled water and ¼ part Karo syrup.

There are so many activities for kids to do outdoors. From playing backyard games like Red
Light, Green light to inventing a world of make pretend, encourage your kids to take advantage
of spending time outdoors.

Michelle LaRowe is the editor-in-chief of eNannySource.com. eNannySource.com has been
helping families and nannies find each other since 1994. LaRowe is also the author of Nanny
to the Rescue!, Working Mom’s 411 and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists. She was the 2004
International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} Shares New Orleans

Mardi Gras may have been last week but New Orleans is a treat any time of the year.  Our guest blogger, Kiley Smith shares about her family’s recent trip, some favorites things and **star** sightings!

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This past summer my family and I went to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana.

We had an absolute blast (despite it being SO humid and SO hot)! We stayed at the Windsor Court Hotel-located walking distance from the french quarter, it was clean and gorgeous.  New Orleans is a great place to go celebrity watching! While staying at our hotel we met Ryan Gosling-(gasp!). He told us he was on ‘vacation’ so we don’t have photos of us actually meeting him but thankfully before we ‘met’ him my sister managed to take some sneaky photos of him walking through the hotel lobby. Later on that day we saw Forest Whitaker at the Aquarium with his daughter. I thought our TWO celebrity run-ins in the same day were pretty cool!

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Planning a trip to NOLA anytime soon? Here are the things you MUST do (and some pointers too)!

  • Bring really good walking shoes and if you are going in June, July, August bring REALLY good deodorant. It gets humid (and when I say humid-I mean it is like you took a shower in your own sweat-gross but true!).
  • Eat at Muriels, Jackson Square-worth the splurge.
  • Go in at least one Vodoo shop
  • Eat at Sucre!-You will want to order EVERYTHING!
  • Take a trip to the Garden District-this is where many of the celebrities live–and the homes are to die for! The downtown area is really cute. Lots of fun shops!
  • Cafe DuMonde-Beignets are a must! 
  • Eat at Mother’s. It is old and grungy but the food is good and cheap
  • There are children all around the French Quarter who tap, clap, and sing. Do not stop and watch–they will hassle you for money or worse yet…you could be pick pocketed. 
  • Trashy Diva is a fun shop you will find in the French District on Magazine Street.

Can’t take a trip to New Orleans this year?

Have your own Mardi Gras party at home! We did and it was a blast!

Here is a great recipe that I made tonight (we had an early celebration!)-it is a delicious dish and makes a 4 star restaurant quality meal!

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Chicken and Andouille Cajun Pasta

by: Cherry Blossoms {the blog}

3/4 box dry penne pasta

olive oil

2 tbsp creole seasoning/cajun seasoning

1 lb boneless chicken breast, 1-inch diced

3/4 lb andouille sausage, 1/4 inch slices

medium onion diced

small green pepper, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 C. water

1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomato (do not drain)

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Boil Chicken breasts (thawed) for 20 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside to let cool. In pan cook garlic until fragrant then add onion and peppers and cook until soft. Stir in chicken stock, water, can of tomato, cajun (or creole seasoning), sausage and thyme. (At this time put pot on stove with water and bring to a bowl-this is the water for your pasta).  Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till liquid reduces halfway. Shred your chicken breasts and then add to pot, stir in cream and continue cooking until sauce begins to thicken a little. Finish by adding pasta, basil, pepper to taste and parmesan. Put pasta in boiling water and cook for 11 minutes or till al dente (and then drain). Mix sauce and pasta together and serve.

Oh and don’t forget your Mardi Gras beads!

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Our THANKS to Kiley Smith and Cherry Blossoms {The Blog} for this great insight to New Orleans.

 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mummy is a Gadget Geek

From Mummy Gadget Geek:

Just wanted to let you know the Ergo Caboose arrived safe and well and has already been on several outings. My Mum’s partner (an engineer) says it kind of makes him want to go into pushchair design, he spent a long time examining how it all worked and marvelling at modern pushchair techniques!

Daphne loves the front seat and has had a couple of lovely sleeps in it, so it’s obviously comfy for her. She’s very excited when we get ready to go out and insists on climbing in herself. Sebastian thinks the ‘windows’ in the rear seat hood are amazing! And I am astonished that I managed to for a weeks worth of shopping in the basket.