Let Them Be Little

Kids grow up fast, real fast. One moment they are sitting in the back of the car singing the ABCs, then next moment they are singing ‘hot line bling’. If you think about it, childhood is just small portion of life, not even 10%…I’m not sure who decided that childhood should be so short, but whoever made the decision, they totally got things backwards.

As parents, we want to raise our children to be functioning members of society. We want them to be good people, to know right from wrong, to think before they speak and not to pick their nose in public. As parents, it is our job to teach our children these things, especially how to use a Kleenex.  Of course, the earlier we start to teach our children, the better, the more we teach our children, the better, but remember, they are only children for so long, and sometimes we just have to, ‘let them be little’.

Sometimes I have to stop and think about what I am teaching my kids; is it such a bad thing that they are jumping on the bed? Or painting their faces with apple sauce? Or wearing no pants? Do I need to tell my kids not to do these things? Will they be bad people if they jump on the bed? Will they not understand right from wrong if they paint their faces with apple sauce? The answer is no, they will turn out completely fine. The no pants thing will have to stop at some point, but while they have cute little tushes, might as well let them roam pants-free.

So next time you are going to use the words, ‘no’ or, ‘don’t do that’ think about why. Relax the rules and let your kids enjoy being children, doing the things that children do, because before you know it, they will be all grown up, and wearing no pants won’t be so cute anymore. It takes a change in mindset to ease-up on the discipline, but it is such a beautiful thing to watch your kids run naked through a fountain without a care in the world, or laugh like crazy while jumping on the bed. So let them be little, because they are only that way for just a little while.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below. If you think this post will benefit others, please share.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ice Cream That’s Good for You

I get a great sense of satisfaction feeding my family healthy food. What’s an even greater sense of satisfaction is when my family is eating something healthy and they have no idea. Sometimes I quietly snicker and think to myself, haha, tricked you! Only if they knew what they were eating sometimes, I would probably be banned from the kitchen forever.

I was actually born with ice cream in my genetic makeup, so it is not my fault that if I had the choice, I could survive eating ice cream only (and drinking wine). Who doesn’t like ice cream? I don’t think that many people. It is unfortunate that such a delicious food has about a bazillion calories and next to no nutritional value. That’s about to change.

I made my, ‘good for you’ ice cream this weekend and was feeding it to Adam and the kids (they do my recipe quality control) when I told Adam what was in the ice cream, he was in total shock. I didn’t tell the kids, I just let them devour it…all of it.

This ice cream is made with no cream at all. It is made with avocados and banana for the base, a little natural sweetener and a touch of chocolate for flavour, so it is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Consider this recipe a base for whatever you like in your ice cream, add pureed fruit, peanut butter, or live a little and add sprinkles.

Here is the Recipe – It Makes 8 Servings – or 1 Gigantic Bowl for You:
4 Ripe Avocados
1 Banana
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar or Honey
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Bitter Sweet Chocolate – Melted

Here are the Directions:
1. In your food processor blend the avocado and banana until smooth

2. Add the agave/honey and vanilla and blend until combined

3. Add the warm melted chocolate and blend until combined

4. Pour ice cream mixture into a bowl and put into the freezer for at least an hour.

5. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

6. If you like this recipe…let me know in the comments below, and of course share it with your friends, they will love you even more.

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Keeping THEIR Cool – Kids & Stress

Kids are kind of like adults, except they are cuter, they can’t drink (legally), they can’t drive and they can’t cook – minus the drinking part, being a kid doesn’t sound half bad to me, I can live without driving and cooking. Like adults, kids also experience stress, who knew! I have always been envious of the carefree life children lead, but knowing that stress is a component, my envious feelings have been slightly weakened.

Adam and I participated in a workshop a few months ago on stress and how it affects children. It happened to be on the same night as game 5 of the ALCS, a critical night for the Blue Jays, so I am not sure how much, ‘paying attention’ there was, but it was a good reminder to be mindful of this very common emotion children feel, how to identify it and how to manage it.

Children demonstrate stress in many of the same ways adults do, they can be irritable, have trouble sleeping, want to eat more, have trouble getting along with friends, get stomach aches, headaches, and my two favourite forms of self-expression, whining and crying.  This is where not being able to have a glass of wine would be troubling for me, wine solves a lot of problems, especially stress.

Stress can come from many different situations, some which we can control, and some which are just a part of life and learning and we can’t control, but can certainly help to manage. Here are some very common situations where stress for kids can arise:

•  Change – moving to a new home, school (not controllable)
•  Having too much to do – overloaded with activities (controllable)
•  Having trouble at school with friends or schoolwork (semi-controllable)
•  Getting yelled at (semi-controllable)
•  Feeling rushed (controllable)
•  Feeling lonely (semi-controllable)

Put yourself in your child’s shoes, if you are getting rushed out of your house and getting yelled at to hurry up, how would you feel? Stressed! If you were overloaded with things to do and had no time to relax, how would you feel? Stressed! What does this result in? Irritable and whiny children. Do we want that? No! Something I’ve put into practice is to put myself into my children’s shoes, and if I know I’d feel stress in a particular situation, I try to be mindful that they probably would as well. I’ve been conscious  of this and it has worked wonders – reduced whining and crying, awesome. A few small changes, like not overloading your kids with activities, allowing enough time to get out of the house and being conscious of the yelling (yeah, I know, it is hard) can really make a difference. For the stressful situations you can’t control, love, comfort and understanding are huge.

If all else fails, there is wine, for you, not your kids. Have an awesome and stress-free weekend.

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The Flock in 20.4 Megapixels

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Phone cameras are convenient, especially when I am pushing a stroller, holding Kaylee because she doesn’t want to sit in the stroller, holding Maiya’s hand and lugging our gear for the afternoon – I really don’t need anything else to carry. My phone sits conveniently in my purse, doesn’t take up any extra room and takes a marginally okay photograph. As the kids are getting older, and Adam and I are trying to capture as many moments as possible, I’ve noticed that our moments are a little fuzzy. So this weekend I decided, no more fuzzy moments, time to invest in an actual camera that takes great photos.

So this weekend I dragged my husband and kids camera shopping. A few things I’ve learned from camera shopping:

1. There are a billion cameras out there that all appear to do almost the same thing, with slight differences, for a huge range of prices. Totally overwhelming.

2. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a fantastic camera.

3. Great cameras come in small packages.

4. Do not take your kids camera shopping – it is a liability.

I really wanted the crème de la crème in compact cameras, but that comes at a fairly significant cost. After a lot of shopping, comparing and chasing my children through Best Buy, I ended up with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60, which is an awesome camera. It takes SLR quality pictures, but I am able to cram it into my purse, somewhere between the wipes and the spare pull-up fairly easily, and it really doesn’t add a lot of extra weight. Adam and I have been playing around with it and have already captured some adorable photos of the girls. We have been running after them with the camera all weekend…unfortunately they have started running away.

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Chocolate Lover’s Healthy Granola Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day! It is indeed the sweetest day of the year, and a great opportunity to scope out your child’s Valentines Day school stash – it is like Halloween for parents. Valentine’s Day has been strategically placed, a few weeks after the holidays, just in time to allow us to get over the chocolate hangover, and ready to endure another few days of gluttony.

I LOVE chocolate, and find every excuse to eat it. With this recipe, now I can, so can my Valentine’s, and so can you. I’ve been making homemade granola bars for a long time; they are healthy, cheaper then buying at the store, I can put whatever I like in them and they are really easy to make…so why not turn then into a healthy indulgent snack?

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Here is the recipe – it makes 12.
1 Cup of Rolled Oats
1 Cup of Spelt Flakes
1/2 Cup of Wheat Germ
1/4 Cup of Hemp Hearts
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1oz Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
2 TSP Vanilla Extract
1/2 TSP Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Dried Diced Strawberries
1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

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Here are the Directions:
1. Preheat your over to 300F and grease 1 glass baking dish.

2. In a bowl, mix the rolled oats, spelt flakes, wheat germ, hemp hearts, cocoa powder and salt together and set aside.

3. On medium heat, in a sauce pan, melt the coconut oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Once the sugar is dissolved and the mixture bubbles, cut the heat and pour into your oat mixture, mix thoroughly and add your diced dried strawberries and 1/2 of your chocolate chips – try not to eat all of it before you bake it.

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4. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter (if you like) to form heart shaped treats. Put the cookie cutter right into your baking dish, pack the granola mixture into the cookie cutter and gently lift the cookie cutter to achieve the shape.

5. Bake your hearts at 300F for 25 minutes. When they come out, sprinkle with the remainder of the chocolate chips.

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These tasty treats are beyond delicious, and adorable. They are the perfect opportunity to eat chocolate for breakfast, or any time of day. When I make them I can’t keep my daughters’ or my husband’s hands out of them. Enjoy,,,and Happy Chocolate Day!

 

 

 

 

Run. Laundry. Repeat.

My day starts early, a little earlier for my liking, no, a lot earlier, but that’s what I signed-up for when I became a parent. Each day is jam packed from start to finish, from waking, dressing and feeding my kids, who do not to be woken dressed or fed (you can probably imagine how that goes, yeah, it is the same as your morning), to school drop-off, work, school pick-up, dinner prep and clean-up, getting the kids ready for bed, who do not want to get ready for bed, laundry, then trying to locate toothpicks to hold my eyelids up while I have 15 minutes to catch-up on The Bachelor. Let’s face it, as a working parent, finding time to exercise is as easy as trying to get your child to eat broccoli, but it is doable, I promise.

I’ve been a dedicated runner & fitness enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Before having kids, finding the time was easy, because I actually had time. Now, it takes a bit of creativity with schedule and some will to get out of bed, but it is totally worth it because I feel energized for the rest of the day and can completely justify an extra piece (or two) or chocolate.

I get asked all the time, ‘how do you do everything you do and still have time to exercise?’. The biggest part of staying dedicated to fitness is finding something you love and look forward to doing. If you find something you love and look forward to doing, you will want to squeeze it into your insane schedule. Being consistent is also key, find a time of day that works for you and stick to it.  I love the early mornings because I get to have some time to myself, a very rare occurrence these days, although occasionally I get some help. At the end of the day though, do what works for you, find your prime time and do what you love. You don’t need to dedicate an hour, even 30 minutes will do the trick. I promise, a tiny bit of time is really worth it, you will feel like a million bucks.

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Fake Pops

Cake pops are a little taste of heaven. If I could, I’d eat them all time, but for the sake of my waistline and health, best to find a comparable alternative. I’ve done that, and now I am sharing it with you. I call them, ‘Fake Pops’, looks can be deceiving, but there is not an ounce of cake in these little bites of delightfulness, and barely an ounce of sugar. The best part about them is they are actually healthy, and kids love them. You have probably heard the term, ‘power balls’, or, ‘vegan truffles’, this is my spin on those recipes, but taking them a step further by turning them into a legitimate dessert.

Here is the Recipe – it makes 24.
3 Cups Dates
3/4 Cup of Walnuts
1/4 Cup Hemp Hearts
1 Cup Cocoa
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
24 Lollipop Sticks

Here are the Directions:
1. In your food processor, blend the walnuts & hemp hearts until they are as fine as you can get them. Set them aside.

2. Blend the dates until they become a, ‘dough’. If your dates are a little dry, soak them in some hot water for 5 minutes.

3. Add the walnut & hemp hearts into the date dough and blend everything together. Then add the cocoa, blend, then the coconut oil and blend until all ingredients are mixed together well. The, ‘dough’ should feel like a nice moist cookie dough. If it feels dry, add a tiny bit more coconut oil.

4. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Use a little melted chocolate, dip the lollipop stick in the chocolate, then into the ball and set aside.

6. Decorate as your heart desires! I used mini M&Ms – a little sugar is good for the soul. The balls are sticky so you can just press them M&Ms in, or use a bit of melted chocolate to stick them on.

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Not only are these Fake Pops delicious, but they are loaded with antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-6, vitamin E, fibre and so many more valuable vitamins and minerals. The M&Ms are colourful, and they taste good – see, they have a benefit.

Hope you enjoy!