Holidays

Fun & Healthy Easter Snack

Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Fit Pregnancy, Foodie Fun & Recipes, Holidays | Comments Off on Fun & Healthy Easter Snack

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This past Easter, I encountered a new twist on an old favorite. I was dying Easter eggs with my niece and talking to my sister about the future of our colorful creations. My sister asked me if I had ever tried deviled eggs made with avocado instead of mayo. I had not and was excited for the new experience! But, I had to wait until Easter day. So, the big day rolled around and I was finally able to try the new treat. They were so yummy! The kids named the deviled eggs “Shrek eggs.” If your kids are hesitant to try these unusual looking snacks, “Shrek eggs” sure does make them sound more fun and appealing. Not only does avocado add something new to a classic, but it has zero cholesterol, contains vitamins A, C, and B-6, as well as iron and magnesium, and is significantly higher in potassium and protein when compared to mayo. I highly recommend substituting avocado for mayo next Easter. Or, why not try it now? Let us know what you think! Avocado deviled eggs are a healthier option for all ages.

Try this simple recipe:
12 boiled eggs
1 avocado
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Garnish with paprika

Other mix-ins to try:
-Get some extra veggies and flavors by adding finely chopped tomatoes and onions and a splash of lime juice to make guacamole deviled eggs. Top with cilantro.
-To satisfy savory cravings, top with crispy bacon.
-Spice up your avocado deviled eggs by adding roasted red pepper flakes or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.

Tell us your favorite and share any ideas for future healthier Easter snacks!

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3 New Year’s Resolutions to Make as a New Parent

Posted by on Dec 26, 2014 in Holidays, New Mom on the Block, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 3 New Year’s Resolutions to Make as a New Parent

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Expecting parents do a lot of preparing, reading, and decision-making before their baby comes only to realize, one she’s here, that things don’t always go according to plan. As tempting as it is this new year to set resolutions that involve you being more perfect, working harder, and avoiding the messiness of life as a new parent, it’s probably more helpful to do just the opposite—set resolutions that help you embrace the enormous change that is becoming a parent. We’ve put together three New Year’s resolutions to make as a new parent. Use them or let them serve as a jumping off point.

  1. Be Perfectly Imperfect
    Most parents strive to be perfect. Whether your goal is to follow a certain parenting style to the T, never lose your temper, or eat 100% organic, the truth is that no one can be perfect all the time. In fact, making mistakes shows your children that it’s OK to be human. It’s important to set good intentions, resolutions, and goals, but of equal importance is adopting humility and choosing not to punish ourselves when we don’t do something the way we hoped we would. Parents are humans, too, and life is a complex process, not a neatly laid out series of steps. When you do make mistakes, learn from them, forgive yourself, resolve to do better next time, and move on.
  1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
    A great resolution that not enough new parents make is to prioritize what’s really important and let everything else go for a while. As a new parent, you simply won’t be able to give your kid everything he needs, be the perfect spouse, son/daughter, employee, housecleaner, family finance manager, and friend at the same time. While it’s important to strive for balance, balance doesn’t mean doing it ALL. The first few years as a parent are tough; you and your children won’t remember that the dishes sat in the sink an extra day or two, that there were always mountains of unfolded laundry sitting around, or that your backyard turned into a semi-jungle. What you will remember is the time you spent together. It’s also important to recognize that while there will always be bathrooms to clean and gourmet meals to cook, you won’t always have the early years with your kids—or your health, if you don’t take time for self-care. Family and friends will understand (and if they don’t, they’re adults and can manage their disappointment better than a baby). Be good to yourself and your children above all else and let the other things wait!
  1. Take Time to Relax
    Gretchen Rubin, a wise woman, once said about parenting that “The days are long, but the years are short”. Most parents will attest to the fact that while there are many tough, exhausting days, that the years of raising children go by in the blink of an eye. Setting aside time to relax each day—even if it’s only for 10 minutes—allows you time to step back and recognize what’s going on in your family’s life. It can serve as a reminder that time is fleeting and that these challenging, amazing years are a precious moment in time to be savored. Plus, as a new parent you need the rest and time away! Taking a time-out also gives you the much needed space to check in with yourself and your own needs.

What resolutions will you make as a new parent in 2015?

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4 Parenting Tips for Surviving and Thriving Christmas Day

Posted by on Dec 19, 2014 in General, Holidays, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 4 Parenting Tips for Surviving and Thriving Christmas Day

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Christmas Day is one of the most fun-filled times for families with young kids who practice the Christmas tradition. That said, it can be one of the most stressful and exhausting days of the year if your kids are too young to appreciate what the day is all about, if their behavior doesn’t match your expectations of the day, or they are easily overwhelmed by all the excitement, food, and family. These 4 parenting tips for surviving and thriving on Christmas day are meant to help you and your family avoid some of the energy drains that can pop up. Instead, we hope you will be able to build an enjoyable tradition together.

  1. Share Plans and Expectations Early
    Making your plans and expectations for the day known to the family before Christmas morning will save everyone stress and offer a chance to adjust if needed. If you’ve traditionally visited three families on Christmas day, for example, let your kids know ahead of time, even if they’re small. Doing so will allow them to mentally prepare—even if it’s subconsciously—for a long day filled with different faces and lots of energies. If you have expectations about the process of opening presents, sharing meals, or anything else, tell your kids in advance about those, too. Discussing these things as a family when there’s time and space for everyone to give input allows for flexibility and for your kids to have a say in what Christmas traditions you build on and which ones just aren’t working. If everyone’s exhausted and grouchy by the third round of gifts (using our example from earlier), after opening at home and Uncle Fred’s, you may want to ask Grandma if she can come to your house for her round of presents, or if she’d rather spend Christmas Eve with your family to shorten your number of social outings on Christmas day. By making these decisions as a family, you’ll ensure that everyone has enough energy for all that the holiday has to offer!
  1. Know Your Children’s Limits
    This tip piggy-backs on the last. If you already know that your toddler will need a nap at one o-clock, don’t plan to be anywhere but home at one. There will be plenty of years down the road when she’s more flexible, but for now it’s best to respect her needs in order to keep the day enjoyable. Similarly, if your older kids get bored at ten a.m. after all the presents have been torn through, plan an afternoon activity to keep them engaged and involved, like going to a movie or playing with a new game as a family. The same goes for candy and meals: as tempting as it is to let kids eat mountains of sweets or indulge in foods they’re normally sensitive to because “it’s Christmas!” and you want them to have fun, help them stick to their normal diet as much as possible so that they can feel good all day. A healthy body helps create a happy mood!
  1. Stay Calm and Positive
    If you keep your cool and keep a smile on your face, it’ll be easier for your kids to do the same. Modeling happiness, gratitude, and generosity on Christmas will help your kids practice the same sentiments. Plus, by setting the intention of staying calm and positive you’re much likelier to do just that instead of getting frazzled by all the activity! Remember, parents need to take care of themselves during the holidays, too.
  1. Take Breaks
    Even though Christmas is a time of sharing and togetherness, it’s OK to take a break from socializing when you need, and the same should go for your kids. If your kids are introverted or overwhelmed by a lot of new experiences—especially if you have a baby, toddler, special needs child, or a kid who didn’t sleep enough waiting to catch Santa—make sure they know that it’s OK to find a quiet corner to retreat to and read a book if the day becomes too much.

Above all else, take in the moment, appreciate one another, and have fun! Merry Christmas!

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5 Fun Holiday Activities the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in General, Holidays, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 5 Fun Holiday Activities the Whole Family Can Enjoy

snowman

The holiday season is fully upon us and families everywhere are coming together to celebrate and enjoy winter activities. While there some kinds of fun, like ice skating, that are reserved for the above-toddler crowd, there are plenty of activities that families with kids of all ages can do together. Really, this time of year is all about getting together as a family to celebrate our holiday traditions and to make new memories that will last a lifetime. Read on for a list of our top 5 favorite holiday activities the whole family can enjoy and plan to spend this weekend enjoying one or two!

  1. Story Time
    Many local libraries host special holiday and winter-themed story-time events around the holidays that include Hanukkah stories, Christmas books, winter folklore, and more. Getting lost in a historical holiday story is a great way for kids to connect to the spirit of the season and ancestral traditions, and it’s fun for parents, too!
  2. Lights, Lights, Lights!
    Many holiday traditions bring beautiful celebrations of light into the dark winter season. For families that celebrate Hanukkah, lighting the menorah is an activity that the whole family can take part in in quiet and delight, and there are lots of children’s crafts involving candle-making and homemade menorahs on sites like Pinterest. All families with children who don’t have early bedtimes will enjoy light parades, zoo lights, and neighborhood holiday light tour. Pack reusable mugs full of hot cocoa, turn up the holiday music and take a trip around your local community to spot them!
  3. Build a Snowman
    If you live somewhere where snow is abundant, build a snowman! Or woman, dog, cat—anything your kids like. You’ll get a little exercise and kids love to play in the snow. Even if you live in a warmer client, you can hit the beach to make a sandman – complete with seashell eyes and buttons.
  4. Caroling
    Families and groups of friends wandering the streets singing, cups of hot cocoa in hand, is not as common a sight as it once was in centuries past. That said, one of the easiest ways to connect with your heart and uplift others this holiday season is through song. Caroling is a great family activity that brings neighborhoods together, bonds you as a family, and gets everyone outside to enjoy holiday lights!
  5. Gingerbread House & Cookie Decorating
    Gingerbread houses don’t have to be reserved solely for families celebrating Christmas. Building a house from graham crackers and homemade icing and candy or decorating a pre-built house are equally fun ways for your family to bond, have fun, and eat treats! Decorating the house offers a great creative outlet for kids, too, and they might even learn something in attempting to engineer the building of it. If your family is really ambitious, try a whole gingerbread village this year. Decorating sugar cookies for Christmas and Hanukkah is a tradition in many households, as well, and the abundantly available recipes for paint-on sugar cookie frosting allow for maximum kid participation—yum!

Your turn: what favorite activities does your family do together during the winter holidays?

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5 Non-Material Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 in General, Holidays, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on 5 Non-Material Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

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Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner and it’s the time of year when kids everywhere feel the wonder of the season and the anticipation of opening holiday gifts. Even as adults we can relate to the excitement and buildup kids feel before the holidays, with our own plans and expectations of how we’d like things to go. While the delight and wonder are what make the season so magical, I have yet to meet a parent who hasn’t, at least once, expressed disappointment that a much desired gift or activity was not received by her child with satisfaction and gratitude. It’s easy for children to buy into the buildup and glamor of the season, believing that a new video game, bicycle, or pair of boots will bring unending happiness as all the ads and commercials promise. It’s only natural that their reaction will not match that of the kids on TV who open the same gift—those kids are acting! We aren’t suggesting that you refrain from buying gifts, but before your family sets yourself up for the buildup and letdown that can so commonly happen during the holidays, consider giving some non-material gifts to your kids. By doing so they’ll learn that positive experiences are really what they’re searching for in all the toys and games they lust after. You’ll also be teaching them that the holidays are about sharing and connecting with others, not just getting more stuff. Read on for a few ideas for non-material gifts for kids.

  1. A Parent’s Wish List
    Your children love to feel that you’re proud of them, see potential in them, and that you know there are great things ahead for them. Write down a list of 10 hopes you have for your child for the coming year, and why you want those things for them. Make sure you pick non-material thing, for example “I hope you learn more about marine life in science class because you love whales so much”, or “I hope to take a family vacation with you and your brother somewhere with a beach and a forest”, “I hope to have a weekly game night with the whole family.” Keep your child’s age and personality in mind when writing and read the list together during your family holiday celebration.
  2. Family Yearbook
    While this gift does involve making something material, its focus is the enjoyment of your collected experiences together. Spend some time sorting through pictures and videos from the past year and put together a family yearbook of big events and funny things that happened. Choose major milestones to write about and sprinkle in hilarious moments, beautiful sights, and holidays. This is a great end-of-the year gift that will remind everyone in the family of how much you have to be thankful for and how much there is to look forward to as a family. You’ll love looking back at it in future years, too!
  3. Family Memberships
    One of the best experience gifts you can give your family is a membership to the local zoo, children’s museum, botanic gardens, or history museum. A year-long membership will set your family up for unlimited opportunities to spend time as a family learning together and enjoying new things.
  4. Classes
    Classes are another great way to gift an ongoing activity. Depending on your child’s age and interests, you could choose music and art classes, sports or gymnastics, language, or dance. Classes are a great way for kids to connect with others and learn more about their own interests and abilities.
  5. Holiday Events
    Choose an activity or two to do specifically during the holiday season like ice skating together, snowshoeing, seeing a ballet or play, and taking a carriage ride. By letting your kids know that the activities you’ve chosen are part of their set of gifts for the holidays, they can direct some of their excitement and wonder towards time with family, and will probably enjoy a day of fun more than the fleeting moment after opening a toy.

We hope that these ideas provide some inspirational ways to enjoy the holidays non-materially with your kids. What are your favorite gifts of experience?

 

 

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How to Make Baby’s First Christmas Stress-Free

Posted by on Nov 28, 2014 in General, Holidays, Toddler, Toddler Tips | Comments Off on How to Make Baby’s First Christmas Stress-Free

babys first christmas

Congratulations new parent, you made it to Christmas! If you celebrate Christmas, it’s probably a holiday you’ve been looking forward to spending with your first child for a long time. As you’ve learned by now, things don’t always go the way you expect or want them to now that you have a baby to tote around. There are naps and feedings to consider, your own sleep-deprived need to rest more, and conflicting requests from family about who gets to see baby and when. In order to make your first Christmas with baby as memorable and enjoyable as possible, we’ve provided a few stress-free alternatives to some pain-in-the-butt traditions. Remember—what works or doesn’t work this year doesn’t have to change forever.

Tradition: Visiting Santa
While a photo featuring your little one with the man in the red suit might be hard to resist, skip it—at least for baby’s first Christmas. Babies under 12 months (and sometimes even older toddlers) already feel anxious being held by strangers and family members they aren’t used to. Instead of waiting in a long, sweaty line only to experience a mega-meltdown when it’s finally your turn, wait until your child is older and understands what’s happening.

Stress-Free Alternative: Family photo for Christmas cards
Since a first-Christmas photo for holiday cards and ornaments is a must, spend an afternoon getting professional photos taken of your family and use these. When your child is older, he’ll appreciate the visual memory and seeing how “young” mom and dad looked—you will too! To make it extra fun for baby, choose a setting for your photos that includes a Christmas light display or magical, wintry location.

Tradition: Visiting multiple houses or traveling
While family and friends may have enjoyed your kid-free willingness to travel or visit more than one house on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, flying out of state, opening presents all day, squeezing in naps, and visiting multiple families with a new baby in tow is exhausting.

Stress-Free Alternative: Creating your new family’s tradition
Your new family is just as valid and important as the established units in your extended family. To make Christmas day as enjoyable and stress-free as possible, do what feels most comfortable this year—and don’t apologize. If your choice to stay home all day or go on a family vacation that includes just Mom, Dad, and Baby rocks everyone’s boat, you can re-consider next year. But the bottom line is that you have your own family now and can start making your own—enjoyable—family traditions.

Tradition: Cookie making marathon
Most new parents can attest to the fact that doing just about anything with a baby in the house is much tougher than when they were kid-free. Baking can be especially difficult because recipes require attention, measuring, and dealing with a hot oven. While your child will love decorating gingerbread men and sugar cookies in a year or two, she probably won’t appreciate all the time and trouble you take making treats this year, and you’ll end up exhausted with a mountain of sweets.

Stress-Free Alternative: Pre-made
If you can’t live without Christmas cookies, just buy some! There are so many small, local bakeries these days that you’d be hard-pressed not to find delicious, beautiful Christmas cookies to indulge in and share this season. Save yourself the time and trouble and let someone else do the work this year!

Tradition: Going crazy buying gifts
It’s so very tempting to shower your new baby with Christmas gifts, but he’ll probably be more interested in the Christmas ornaments and wrapping paper (and watching everyone else open!) this year than the gifts themselves. Plus, friends and relatives will be buying gifts for your little one, too. Your toddler will have a lot more self-awareness and motor skills next Christmas, so save your big bucks until then. Don’t worry—you’ll have plenty of Christmases as your child grows to splurge on mountains of gifts and big-ticket items.

Stress-Free Alternative: Keep the gifts simple, opt for keepsakes instead
Keepsakes, videos, and photo memories will outlast any toy. Instead of buying mountains of toys this year, invest in a special first-Christmas or customized stocking with your child’s name, photo gifts like ornaments and books, or a professionally edited video of your baby’s first Christmas. These are gifts that your whole family will enjoy year after year.

 

 

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