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[note note_color=”#f6f6c1″]Today’s guest post come from the fabulous Katja Swift, who is filling in for me this week while I work on a super secret project. What, you want to know what I’m working on? Hey now, don’t use that pouty lip. You know I can’t say no to that. Okay fine, I’m working on a downloadable book, but that’s all your getting out of me! So without further ado, here’s Katja![/note]
Kids don’t come with instruction manuals! But let’s think about that in reverse: when you’re a kid, life DOES come with instructions. Those instructions come from your parents, primarily, and other family, teachers, and later peers.
A few hundred years ago, even here in America, those instructions absolutely included a quite thorough knowledge of what wild plants were edible, which were good as medicine, how to kill an animal with respect, how to cook effectively, and what to eat. Even 75 years ago, those instructions almost certainly still included how to garden, and how to cook, and what to eat.
Basically Life, The Universe & Everything . . . in a nutshell.
Few families still have gardens (though the number is growing!). Few families prepare and eat their meals together. Few, in fact, prepare meals at all – most families eat takeout several times a week.
In most families, both parents work, and by the time kids are picked up from after-school programs, there’s really only time to eat and do homework and get to bed. Even instructions around sleep are scarce: most children grow up watching their parents caffeinate to compensate for too little sleep, and many children aren’t getting the sleep they need either.
What’s the result? Our children are growing up able to program computers but with no notion of what it takes to make a healthy body, and as a larger consequence, a healthy society, or a healthy earth.
But actually, it is! Because it’s never too late to start teaching our children what they need to know, and not only that! Children often become more influenced by peer groups than parents as they grow, so the lessons you teach your child today can impact his or her whole circle of friends!
At a very young age, we can teach children to understand that upset tummies can be the result of too much junk food. We can teach them that illness can be a result of eating poorly and not sleeping enough. We can teach how to take action to resolve these problems and also how to prevent them from happening in the future. These lessons are simple, but they start the process of thinking about the effect of their actions and their choices on their own health.
The problem is that children – even those who do not watch much television – are exposed to tremendous amounts of marketing, and much of the marketing targeted at children is for food products. You may have found that your children prefer products that come in packages as opposed to “plain” fruits and vegetables that you may have eaten when you were young. Instead of snacking on a carrot or an apple, they would rather have chips, or “fruit snacks” – which are little more than fruit-flavored candy!
But all is not lost!
When children understand the importance of eating real food, they can – and surprisingly, will! – make choices that are healthier for them. More importantly, when children understand the way their food choices affect their bodies, they will make better choices when you’re not around as well!
We can teach our children very simple plant remedies for common illnesses. Even if children only know a few herbal remedies, it sets a foundation of self-care – instead of a reliance on chemicals – that will last their lifetime.
And if children learn at a young age to listen to what their bodies are telling them, they are better able to stand up to peer pressure and less likely use tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. When they understand their bodies and when they have the knowledge and skills to care for their bodies, they are more grounded and rooted in self-confidence and self-reliance.
When children respect their own bodies, they are more likely to respect the bodies of others, and are thereafter more likely to respect animals, plants, and our environment here on Earth.
But just how, exactly, do you propose we teach these things? Start simple! You don’t have to be fancy or complicated to start teaching your children about good health. You don’t even have to know much about it yourself! Start with the simple ideas in the next four installments of this series, and follow wherever the interest grows – together!
About Katja – You may recognize her name as the genius behind the almond pancakes, but don’t think of her as the pancake lady because she is oh so much more! Katja is a clinical herbalist currently serving as the director of the Commonwealth School of Herbal Medicine.
She has guest lectured at Dartmouth Medical School and the University of Vermont Medical School and is currently a student preceptor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, but what REALLY impresses me about her is her work to pass anti-GMO legislation and her brilliant plan to save the whales.
Photo credit: Miranda Laskowska
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You were the first person I called. And that night dinner was charred beyond recognition? Oh yes, I remember how you suddenly developed a craving for scrambled eggs . . . for the third night in a row.
Heck, I’ve puked on your feet.
So on your birthday, Daddypotamus, I just want to say this:
None of us have a say about being born into the world, but we all choose who to be once we’re here. And as I’ve told you my funny, intelligent, tenderhearted, shoot ’em up movie loving husband – you are extraordinary. You don’t think so, but you’re wrong.
I’ve been reading this book lately, and it reminded me of countless conversations we’ve had. Who we want to be . . . who we really are . . . and the gray areas in between.
[T]he world has a very muddled perception of “self.” They think and tell us to think that we are all little separate entities who might need to go off somewhere and get to know “ourselves” . . . . Marriages break up because people don’t know who they are anymore. They need to find themselves.
But the Christian view of self is very different, and you need to make sure that is the one you have. We are like characters in a story. Our essential self is not back in the intro, waiting to be rediscovered.
Who you are is where you are. When you are married, your essential self is married. As the story grows, so does your character. Your children change you into a different person.
If you suddenly panic because it all happened so fast and now you don’t recognize yourself, what you need is not time alone. What you need is your people.
Those [individuals] who try to find themselves by stripping away the “others” will find that they are a very broken little thing . . . [they] may say, “I used to be so energetic, but all these people take, take, take from me and now I have no time to just be me!”
But the Christian . . . needs to see, “I used to be so boring! Now my character has some depth, some people to love, some hardships to bear. Now I have some material to work with.”
Loving The Little Years
So, uh, I am not implying you are having some kind of identity crisis. I just like the idea that the people we love shape who we are. So on your birthday, my love, I would like to show you yourself . . .
In The Confidence of Your Daughters Eyes
And First Meetings
In The Trust Of Your Son Nestled Against Your Chest
And Butterblunged Moments
And Smirks (Which He Definitely Gets From You)
And Of Course Tears, Because This Is Real Life After All
And Sighs, Too
But There Are Zerberts!
And Beet Eating Contests
And Bohemian Dances Under The Sky
And Everything in Between
And you, my love, are in the thick of it. Growing, maturing, loving, and taking the path of humility. There is so much more to who you are than our little family, but it’s not a bad start, eh? We are your people. And we like you. And we even love you. And actually, we think you rock.
Note: This is a very encouraging book! However, I don’t agree with the author’s position on spanking.Read More »
There was a man and his wife who had the bad luck to live next door to a witch. Now, it is not particularly modern to use this term in a derogatory way, but the story doesn’t tell me her name so there it is.
Anyhoo, one day the wife (who was expecting) became ravenous for a particular heirloom variety of garlic called rapunzel. Now, can you imagine where this prized variety grows best? In the witch’s garden, OF COURSE!
But the first part makes perfect sense. I was overtaken by just such an irresistible craving last week . . . for beets.
Did I mention that I hate beets? Oh yes! But nothing else would do on that day but fresh beets, grated and served in all their liver cleansing, blood purifying glory.
Maybe it was the Vitamin C infusion, or perhaps the folate, manganese, lutein or zillions of other phytonutrients that I needed. Who was I to argue?
This light, simple melange was the result, and it is so yummy! Serve chilled as a refreshing alternative to slaw on a hot summer day when it’s too hot to cook.
. . . . but you still want all their unique benefits? I hear you. Give this a try and you may take back all those things you’ve said about them over the years. I know I did! And in fact, I’m feeling a little ravenous right now . . .
Toss all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Serve chilled.
Carottes et Betteraves RâpéesRead More »
It’s been THAT kind of day. Both my kids are naked and I just put on a pretty dress to cook hamburgers. Hoping to distract the husband from the state of the house.
It was an ordinary Wednesday last June when I made that quick Facebook confession. By 5ish the comments were rolling in. Okay, maybe they weren’t rolling, but I was . . . with laughter! Sam C led the consensus with his advice:
Ummm… Reverse that and you WILL distract him. Just sayin… Have him thank me later.
Spoken like a true newlywed Sam! But personally, I prefer Shanna’s approach.
I have a headband with Minnie Mouse ears and bow and an apron that looks like her skirt (the old school red w/white polka dots, not this new pink) that I wear while cooking when I need a little pick me up from the day! 😉
Don’t you just love that? I looked everywhere for Minnie Mouse ears and a big flouncy apron – red, not pink! – but no luck. However, I did find this flirty, vintage-style apron, and I’m hosting a drawing so that one of you will win it!
Wear it while baking the Jalapeno and Cheddar Quiche I’m sharing over at Health Home and Happiness today. Or maybe while sipping a smoothie with your little ones at the counter . . . or maybe in some scenario that Sam will approve of (it is super cute, after all!).
It’s simple! I’m going to be doing a new drawing each month featuring stuff I pick out and buy just for ya’ll! To be eligible to win just sign up for my newsletter. Yep, that’s it!
So, if you want to win, just enter your email in the box below — then leave a comment below letting me know.
You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Just know that you must be subscribed in order to be eligible to win the monthly prizes. (Please note: If your email is not validated, your entry will not be counted.)
Okay! Just like Mommypotamus on Facebook so you can keep up with future drawings and other great stuff going on here and leave a comment below. And if you already “liked” it, let me know cause that counts, too! (1 extra entry) UPDATE: Apparently FB doesn’t want “liking” to be an entry on giveaways, so I am removing this entry qualification. However, so everyone gets the same number of entries you can just say “Facebook entry” in the comments without actually “liking” the page. And then you can “like” it just because you want to!
This contest will end August 30st at 7:59 PM CST. The winner will be chosen via random.org. The winner will be announced August 31st. Winner will have 48 hours to contact me with his or her full name, address, and phone number. No purchase necessary to win.
This contest is open to readers anywhere in the world. If you are residing outside of the US, you will win an Amazon gift certificate of equal value (the price on Etsy for this item on the date of the end of the contest).
REMEMBER: You must comment for each entry. Good luck, everybody!
Questions? Comment below.Read More »
Hugs and shouts of “heidi yawl!” from across the lawn. Tables sprinkled with sunflowers peeking out of simple mason jars. Settings dotted with mismatched dishes, paper plates, and the fine silver of course.
This is how we like to brunch in the Lone Star State.
Dishes are rustic and elegant, like this one featuring a french-style open pie with a Texas twist. Charred jalapenos, mellow cheddar and a grain-free crust . . . what could be better?Read More »
If you saw me making yapping gestures while driving on Grapevine Highway yesterday, I can explain.
I was arguing. With my hand. In. A. Car.
Let me try that again, because I’m pretty sure I still sound crazy. Okay, the kids were dangerously near a naptime meltdown and I desperately needed Aurora the puppet dog to help soothe prickly emotions. Unfortunately he was off touring retirement kennels in Cape Cod. So I improvised.
It’s what we do as parents, right? Grow. Change. Mix things up. And yes, argue with ourselves on occasion. I don’t know about you, but Last Year Me does not see parenting the same way as Current Me, and I’m sure Future Me will think we’re both laughably mistaken. But if for no other reason than to better argue with myself, I’d like to clarify Current Me’s position as stated in I’m Ditching Discipline.
Choosing to focus on discipleship with my children is not really about eradicating discipline. It’s about redefining it in a constructive way while trying to live out the most essential aspect of my faith in front of my kids: Grace.
Wait, isn’t grace just a cop out for pushover parents? I thought so for most of my life. In fact, despite being in church for many years now I could not give you a working definition of grace until this year. And actually, I still can’t quite distill it into words. But Jesus is called “the one and only . . . . full of grace and truth,” so it must be important, right?
Grace AND Truth. Not Grace OR Truth or Some Grace but Mostly Truth.
Grace and truth – blended together into discipleship – are as essential to parenting as sugar and flour are to boysenberry pie. Discipline is more like salt: – absolutely essential, but overwhelming if too much is used. So when I said I was ditching discipline, I meant that I’m tired of making salt pie after salt pie.
So while I’m ditching it as my primary focus for the personal reasons I already mentioned, there will always be a place for correction. But when things get hairy and I’m tempted to pull out the strong stuff, I hope to remind myself that only a pinch is needed. Old habits die hard, and I will be doing a lot of self-correction while I try to get the hang of things, but I’m committed.
Now, what constitutes biblical correction is a whole other can of worms. Let’s save that debate for another day.
Photo credit: Image ShackRead More »
I’m sure you are mature enough to handle this. You probably caught your firstborn child in your rough, manly hands and then nuzzled him/her against your chiseled, manly chest while giving your gorgeous wife a postnatal foot massage. It’s not you I’m worried about.
Truth be told, I’d just be more comfortable if I could talk with my fellow mamas alone for a few minutes. So help me out here and pretend your supersecret Batman pager went off and slip out quietly, okay?
(Scans room) . . . . Alright mamas, looks like it’s just us now. A couple of weeks ago I made a promise to tell you how to promote healthy digestion and immune function in babies. I am going to keep that promise today and will be using lots of fun words like vagina, cream applicator, and suppository. Bless your heart, you deserve some practical DIY info after listening to me rave about letting your baby eat bugs. So let’s get down to business, shall we?
The fancy term is Micrometabolic Imprinting in Infancy, which basically says that despite what Purell would like us to believe, we need bacteria in and on our bodies to survive. You can read more about this symbiotic relationship here, but I’ll give you the the cliff notes version:
When they pass through the birth canal, babies get a “first meal” of good and bad bacteria from their mother. (If they are delivered by caesarean the bacterial profile changes with less beneficial and more pathogenic stuff . . . a topic for another day.)
When we have primarily beneficial bacteria in our birth canals it provides babies with the strains they need to digest food, keep pathogens in check, support the immune system and even create vitamins such as K2. On the other hand, pathogenic bacteria can cause diarrhea and colic in the short term, with more serious effects later on.
“Long-term consequences of neonatal intestinal dysbiosis may include allergies, asthma, increased susceptibility to infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and colon cancer.
So despite the widespread belief that everything within a 100 mile radius of our newborn baby should be sanitized, boiled, or wrapped in plastic, introducing bacteria is really a vital milestone in promoting a baby’s health. But not just any bacteria! GOOD bacteria!!
Unfortunately, we live in the age of stress, antibiotics and junk food, so a birth canal populated with beneficial bacteria is not something most of us should take for granted (including me). So on your baby’s birth day why not give them the gift that will last a lifetime . . . a properly colonized birth canal. Yep, I really said that. Isn’t it a wonder Hallmark hasn’t snatched me up to write greeting cards by now?
Oh, you want suggestions for how to actually do this??? Well, here you go!
Many moms choose to do one of these methods on a daily basis in the last weeks of pregnancy:
Next time we’ll talk about nourishing older babies and toddlers with yummy, probiotic rich foods (Coconut kefir AND healthy soda? Oh my!)
Questions about baby nutrition? Check out my new ebook, Nourished Baby!
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So I have sort of a personal question for you! I am a stay at home mom of a 22 month old and a 6 month old. I am in the beginning stages of trying to feed our family whole/close to nature foods all the while breastfeeding, cloth diapering, potty training, spending quality time (you know, all those “crunchy” things). Oh and keeping our house from looking too much like a tornado hit! However, my husband works from 8am-8pm monday-saturday and you seem to have it together! How do you do it? 😉 Do you wake up before the rest of the house? Does your hubby help out a lot? Do you just never sleep? help :-/ I think I need a support group but when is there time for that, hahahaha!!!!
Perhaps you’d like to take back that request for advice now? Oh yes, relieved of ironing duty by my own husband. Apparently the man with no pants decided to put his foot down before he ended up shirtless as well. Yeah, and while it is awesome when I get breakfast, lunch and dinner all wrapped up by 7:45 am, it helps to actually plug the crockpot in. Scrambled eggs for dinner, anyone?
Seriously, though, it’s a great question. The answer is that I don’t! At least, not gracefully. However, I can offer you hope on the real food front. It DOES get easier!!! Here are some suggestions to streamline the process.
It saves time and cuts down on wasted effort in the kitchen! No more standing in front of the fridge hoping some fully prepared meal is going to cross over from an alternate universe and jump into your arms. No ma’am, you’ll be ready. Check out my post on creating meal plans for more detailed instructions, and my Real Food For Busy Moms series is a great place to get quick and healthy recipes!
Meal plans are huge money savers, too. Recipes with new ingredients can be intimidating, so you put it off until “tomorrow night” . . . which ends up being the next night and the next until your ingredients spoil! Speaking from experience here. Also, without a plan it’s easy to eat out more. Cha ching! Another way to save money is to intentionally pair inexpensive meals up with more costly ones (like an inexpensive 8 layer dip one night and a hoity toity copycat whole foods salmon dip the next!)
Okay, so that’s the food stuff. I have a few other ideas, too . . .
Also known as background gobblers #1 and #2, K and M are two incredible homeschool girls that watch the kids a couple of times a week while I catch up on things. They play dress up, go for walks or hold pretend picnics as Disney characters (Katie has a Little Golden Book about them). I love that they are fantastic role models for Katie and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the mini-break! Rates are typically pretty reasonable, so even if your on a budget this option is worth checking out.
Want to find your own Minnie and Daisy but don’t have home school connections? You might want to contact this list of Homeschooling Support Groups (categorized by location). From there you should be able to get in touch with a local chapter.
Well, if you’re going to clean, you might as well get some spa time in with it. Make you’re own cleaning supplies with just a few essential oils and your time will double as aromatherapy and exercise. Or you can ditch the sprays altogether and become a raving lunatic like Ann Marie at Cheeseslave.
My home is nowhere near my pre-mommy definition of clean, but I can defend the toilet from a determined 10 month old like a hockey goalie AND wipe a preschoolers bottom at the same time! I manage to make three meals a day from scratch and wash diapers/home school/ hang with the hubs. Do I get it all done? Uh, no. But I’m having a lot of fun!