We parents have so much on our plate, which makes patience a virtue that’s near impossible to possess. Our little ones want to stop and smell the flowers and we want to leave them in the dust or turn to the vibrations from our phones. However, everyone ends up winning when we parents change pace to meet the kids. This slow time with kids needs to be intentionally set.
Next time you are able to go on a walk around the block go at your child’s pace. Let them save all the Rollie Pollies on the sidewalks. Help them find the perfect stick or rock. If you get antsy and find yourself lost in your mental to do list, take a deep breath or two and look through your child’s eyes. Also, if you can, leave your phone at home. For the sake of your child’s life and your own learn to slow down and not get everything done (not that you would anyway).
The best thing you can do for your children is to be present with them and give them quality time. In fact, quality time trumps quantity of time. Kids will remember those quality times when they are older and those times will keep them grounded and close to you. Furthermore, they will have you as a role model for being present in their own life, which fosters happiness and healthfulness. You too will find yourself happier and healthier and won’t regret missing out on how fast they grow up. If when you feel ready to take it up a notch, you can practice meditation with your kids, which has additional benefits.
My husband travels a lot, and sometimes he’s gone for a couple weeks or more. It can be a real struggle to make sure I’m still preparing healthy food. Dinner time can be the most exhausting time if I need to take attention off my 4 year old and 13 month old. But I’ve fine tuned a few tricks. You just need an hour or two to prepare for the week (which may seem too much to ask, but is worth it).
- Either stay up before bed, wake up early, use nap time, or get another adult to watch the kids while you chop up a bunch of veggies. It hardly even matters what kind but you have to do a lot because they’ll be useful for the next 5 days. Sauté them in a little oil with salt and pepper. Remember to start with onions first, your root vegetables, cruciferous and bell peppers. I always add garlic towards the end because I don’t like it too browned and the healthy properties of it are better preserved. If you want to include delicate leafy greens like spinach. leaves those out until your ready to prepare a meal with the vegetables. Let the veggies cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them.
- Create a couple of sauces or make sure you purchase them. I recommend hummus, pesto, peanut sauce, miso sauce, savory yogurt dip, aioli, guacamole, and salad dressing of choice. Find some great ideas on the following website https://greatist.com/eat/healthy-dip-recipes. A search for healthy dips and condiments will yield you even more thoughts.
- Make sure you have whole grain tortillas, breads, pasta (not whole grain), and/or actual whole grains such as quinoa, rice, amaranth, barley, and farro. Meats, eggs, and beans that are easy to prepare are also nice to have handy.
- When meal time is coming up you can do so many things with the veggies and sauces. You can add the veggies to scrambled eggs, have a pasta dish with sauce, make quick pizzas, wrap veggies in a tortilla with choice of sauce, grill up some meat and serve veggies on side or top, add the veggies to a grain and pour sauce over it all, and so on. The variations are endless. And if you make sure you mix up the veggies, sauces, and vehicles in which you eat them with you won’t get sick of it.
- In your rare spare time make a plan of the meals you would like to make. Make sure they are quick to prepare and easy to clean up, like any one dish meal.
- Carve out that hour or two to prep. Chop up all the vegetables according to their recipes and store. Make any necessary sauces. Do whatever preparing you can ahead of time.
- When it’s time to cook it should be as easy as throwing the meat and veggies onto a pan, spicing it up, and sticking it in the oven until it’s done. Then you can go play with your children while it cooks.
Vacationing with a baby isn’t always relaxing and there can be moments one wishes they were home instead. However, if you follow these three recommendations you can insure an easier, more restful vacation.
- Make sure you bring or are able to get essential items that make life easier and more fun for you. For example: a booster seat or high chair so you can have your arms free for meal time, baby monitor that will reach to the pool ( phone apps are great), formula or pump and a bottle so you have freedom to drink or go out without the baby. If you have other freeing recommendations please comment on them.
- Keep your exercise routine if you have one or start one. Get others to help watch the kid(s) because it’s worth getting to spend “you” time in a healthy way. You’ll feel more energized and relaxed. And, no one can refuse to help you be healthier. If it’s hard to carve out the time just dedicate 15 minutes for a full workout. Dailyburn.com has great short workouts and you can take it anywhere there is wifi.
- Don’t worry about time and stop “shoulding” on yourself. That being said, keep baby on a schedule for your own sanity, but otherwise forget about it for yourself and the more adaptable ones. Forget calories (especially if you’re exercising). Don’t worry about TV time, alphabet learning, things at home, and so on.
- Unplug. Allow yourself some quiet screen time without guilt, but make sure it’s not sucking up your day or making decisions for you. If your so wrapped up in writing your blog as the sun is setting and you forget to watch the sunset you need to reevaluate your screen time (whoops!). Also, intentionally set a majority of the day as “screen free” time so that you can be active in your vacation setting.
Most importantly do what you need to do to make sure you and your family are healthy and happy
Because green tea is so good for us in so many ways it is a great beverage to add to your diet. If you want to know many of its benefits check out this WebMD article. I’m aspiring to drink at least 2 cups a day. I’ve swapped my coffee for green tea most days. I highly recommend the switch but know it can be hard. An easy way to get green tea’s benefits is through matcha lattes ( choose your milk wisely…more on that later). In fact, matcha’s benefits are more concentrated than regular green tea. With this warm weather coming you might be like me and become obsessed with iced matcha lattes sweetened with only a little maple syrup (the real stuff of course). Cheers to health and a slight caffeine buzz needed for us parents with babies!
Want to know how I got to sit back and relax in the sun with a bottle in my hand? I let my boys make a giant mess. I used to cringe and stress out about little messes. For example, if I spilled a few beans on the floor I’d get so pissed at myself because I really didn’t want to clean them up and I didn’t want the mess. Kids are amazing at making us get over stupid little things like messes. I’ve learned a lot in the past few years of parentings. One of the biggest is to let the messes happen because really cleaning up isn’t that hard and while they are making a mess I get to relax while they learn and have fun.
This past weekend we had a beautiful spring day so I let my oldest fill his play table with sand and water.The messes my two boy made with wet, muddy sand were amazing. The oldest threw it everywhere and the youngest got it all over himself and everything he touched (including inside and outside his mouth). In the beginning my anxiety started to bubble up, but before I could tell them to stop I took a deep breath, sat down, and made myself enjoy watching them. Within a few minutes I had my feet kicked back with my baby’s bottle in my hand. I only intervened to keep the baby from eating sand. Otherwise, they were having such great and safe fun that I didn’t have to worry about anything. The best part was watching their pure joy.
I know that pasta has gotten a bad wrap lately, but it still holds many merits in my book. Not only is it guaranteed to be eaten by my picky kid, it’s also easy to cook and a great vehicle for eating vegetables. And, if cooked and eaten correctly it’s not that bad for us.
Pasta is definitely something that should be eaten in moderation. In fact, Dr. Weil recommends we eat pasta like the Italians do, which means we serve ourselves one third of our usual portion. Furthermore, it should be cooked al dente (fancy words) by cutting down the cooking time by a couple minutes to keep it more firm and reduce its glycemic index.
I generally cook pasta one night a week. I save it for the nights I know I need to make something fast and won’t have the energy to cook something extravagant (not that pasta can’t be made extravagant). I try to load the veggies on thick to insure less pasta consumption and more nutritious vegetable consumption (also recommended by Dr. Weil). Spinach is a quick and easy vegetable to add. Some nights I even resort to a jar of spaghetti sauce, but I always make sure there’s no added sugar. An unconventional but highly tasty ingredient that I recommend to add to pasta is avocados. Here’s a great, quick recipe on the website Oh She Glows.
So go enjoy pasta in moderation. Eat it and love it… no guilty feelings!
My relationship with money has been an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes I’ve loved it and other times I’ve despised it so much I wished it were never invented. Nonetheless, money (or lack of money) is going to be in my life forever…like the ultimate ball in chain. So, I guess it’s important to develop a healthy relationship with it.
The first thing I know I need to do is try to see money as a good and important thing and try not to go into my dark feelings of contempt for it, because contempt is the most harmful emotion for any relationship. I’d even like to work on visualizing money coming to me and see if that works. So instead of ignoring it I’ll start fantasizing about it. I’m sure I’ll need to be careful there too because I don’t want to be too consumed with thoughts on money.
I also know that I need to wear the pants in my relationship with money. So the second thing I’ll do is get my budget really organized and challenge myself to cut down on spending. I’m going to make sure money does what I want it to! If I harness the power of money then I can save it for big things like cars for my boys, dream vacations, college for my boys, and retirement.
I’ve already gone through and canceled spending on things that aren’t that necessary, like cable (Netflix has all that I need). My next challenge is seeing how cheap I can get healthy food. Stay posted and I’ll let you know how it goes.