New Year, New Me?

I listened to The Lazy Genius podcast as I headed back to work after an extended holiday break. I was thinking about all of the things I wanted to accomplish–stay ahead of emails, get in my steps for the day, cook the healthy meal I had planned. As I was mentally staying on top of my fresh resolutions, the host, Kendra, was talking about seasons. And something she said really struck me: Everything is a season. Be where you are and learn what it has to teach you. 

Young Hispanic family sitting on sofa reading a book together in their living room

I think the beginning of a new year–and a new decade–can feel like a beautiful fresh start. But it can also bombard us with images and sentiments about a new body, a new outlook, a new approach. What if it’s all…not entirely necessary?

I can admit that I have been guilty of struggling to just be content. When I was a young, single person, I desperately pined for the days when I would have a family. When my children were born, despite wholly knowing how quickly time flies, I would still wish for them to reach milestones, to sleep through the night, to be done with bottles. The area where this hurried approach shines brightest? My treatment of myself. I couldn’t wait to grow up, couldn’t wait to have that big baby bump, to lose the baby weight, to have time for the facial, to just become the next thing. 

 

And…spoiler alert: when you’re constantly trying to become a new person, you never get to enjoy the person you are and the people you have right now. It. Is. Exhausting. It’s well intentioned, sure. The pursuit of a better self is certainly an age old noble one. But, our culture has somehow over glorified the transformation. 

Which brings me back to Kendra’s reminder. I am not a person whose livelihood rests on my glowing skin and rock hard abs (LOL, am I right?). I am a person in a season of being a working mother to two small children, shuffling piles of laundry and crockpot meals.I am in a season of trying to date my husband, getting the doc to the vet and registering for soccer.  I have arrived at a place of having what I have always wanted–so why not slow down and enjoy? Learn what it has to teach me. The temptation is to transform but what is wrong with right here?

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Don’t get me wrong, I still plan to work out. It does wonders for my health. I plan to cook healthy meals when I can because it’s good for all of us. But I don’t think it serves me to make some stringent resolution about losing 30 pounds. Instead I am simply resolving to live in the season, learn what it has to teach me, and give myself some grace. 

Here’s to a new year, a new decade, a new perspective–and good ol’ me.  

 

5 Healthy Treats to Make with Your Kids

One of our favorite things to do together is cook–and with all of the extra time we have during summer break, it is easy to pile up a lot of irresistible desserts. We have been trying to pick healthier things to make that provide lots of energy to get through long days of camp, swimming and playing! Below are a few favorites:

Warm Chocolate Melting Cups

I was shocked to learn that these are only 200 calories apiece. My daughter loves the individual portion size and this recipe has an impressive presentation for something that does not take much time!

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via Taste of Home

 

 

No Bake Healthy Chocolate Chip Blondies

On hot days, who wants to turn on the oven? I love that these are no bake AND only take one bowl!

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via Laura Fuentes

Strawberry Ice Cream

This is perfect for cool days or as a way to use up strawberries after a picking outing!

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 via Country Living

Homemade Goldfish

I kind of rolled my eyes at making these because buying goldfish is so cheap–and isn’t the whole point that they’re an easy snack? But, I stand corrected. These were super fun to make and taste really great.

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via AllRecipes

Homemade Animal Crackers

 Another one that is a huge hit with kids! Bust out the cookie cutters and make this awesome snack. Added bonus: my kiddo makes up stories with the animals during snack time!

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via King Arthur Flour

 

Preventing the Summer Slide

As a former teacher, I can attest to how much a student can backtrack during the summer months. There are so many exciting things happening–vacations, lazy days, playdates–that it can be hard to remember to keep skills fresh. However, it doesn’t have to be as humdrum as a workbook. Here are some creative things we do to keep the learning alive:

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Find a PenPal

My 8 year old loves to write letters to her Mimi–and loves getting them in the mail even more! Sitting down once a week or so to share what is happening brings them closer, keeps her practicing writing and grammar, and teaches her life skills like addressing an envelope! You can write grandparents, other faraway family members or friends!

Outdoor Math

Writing math facts on paper? Dull. Writing math facts with chalk or a squirt bottle full of water? Fun! Keep it fresh by varying your materials and location and your kids will actually look forward to practicing math!

Word of the Day

Introduce a fun new word each day–or let your kids pick one themselves. Challenge them learn the definition and work it into a sentence at dinnertime. As the summer progresses, keep track and have a competition. The one to use the new words the most gets a prize!

Basketball Facts

We all know H-O-R-S-E. But what if you had to play to get name the parts of the scientific method? What about the branches of government, colors of the rainbow or the names of planets? The possibilities are endless!

Get Cookin’

Cooking and baking together is a great way to stock the fridge for the endless snacking your kids will do while home–but is also a great way to get academic. Following directions–reading! Halving or doubling recipes–math! Meal planning–budgeting and finance! Making the right choices–health and nutrition!

Family Storytime

Even if you have family of varying ages, you can engage everyone for 20 minutes during family story time. Older kids can read aloud while younger kids draw scenes or hold the book. Its a nice way to unwind after those busy summer adventures!

5 Easy Memorial Day Cookout Ideas for Kids

Summer is upon us! This weekend there will bet the collective sound of grills being fired, kiddie pools being filled and cold drinks being cracked open. We thought it would fun to share a few ways to spice up your weekend BBQ with kid-friendly options that go beyond just hamburgers and hot dogs!

Skewers

Who doesn’t love food on a stick? And these taste much better than corndogs.

A plate of grilled chicken kabobs made with marinated chicken and colorful vegetables.
via

Flatbreads

It’s like pizza but better! Let your kiddos choose their toppings and everyone wins.

via.  

 

S’more Pizza, Please!

Speaking of pizza, how amazing is this fun take on a classic summer dessert?

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via

Grilled Corn

Bright, crisp corn gets taken up a notch when you grill it. No kid can resist!

grilled corn with herb butter
via

Grilled Quesadillas

A kid’s favorite–cheese and tortillas warmed on the grill where you are already cooking for a crowd? Perfection.

Grilled Quesadillas
via