Are your kids afraid of green monsters!?

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So it is the oxygen mask theory, and I know you’ve heard it a million times. The whole idea about if you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to take care of your kiddos. But, this is one area where I see the trickle down effect of my good choices immediately.

And you know how everyone says breastmilk is liquid gold — and the very best thing you can give your baby? Well, the green monster is the best thing you can give your kids! And believe it or not, I bet you can get almost any kiddo excited about drinking it!

First, get them involved. Take them to the store (or the Farmer’s Market) with you. Let them pick out the biggest carrot, the prettiest bunch of parsley, the craziest looking ginger root.

Help them make their own. When I fire up the juicer, the girls love to gather around and throw in the veggies (with help and supervision, of course) and watch the juice come out each little squirt at a time.

An orange is our secret ingredient. Once my juice is done, I put it aside and then I add an entire orange to each of the girls glasses. This sweetens it right up and makes it much more drinkable for them.

Serve it small & cold. I don’t give them a big huge glass — even a shotglass full is better than nothing! And pour it over lots of ice! Drink up! YUM!

Too cold to exercise outside? Have a dance party!

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I wrote recently about our 20-minute per day walks. (There is also a sight & sounds of nature printable if you are interested). But, we stay inside if it is under 20 degrees. And today is one of those days (brrrr!) It is 19 degrees today! And windy so it feels even colder than that. (Have I mentioned that I am ready for winter to be over!?)

So, the plan today is for an after-school dance party! It is such a simple idea but the girls LOVE it! Just turn up the music (LOUD!) and dance, jump, and spin around the room! Now moms (and dads!) are supposed to dance, too. So, jump right in…and get at least 20 minutes!

And if you start having dance parties regularly you can even involve the kids in developing dance party themes! Here are a few to get you started:

• love songs in February

• country music two-step dancing

• a favorite movie soundtrack for the Oscars

• Beach Boys music and put on swimsuits and pretend it is summer

Are you Vegucated?

Let me just start with this: Vegucated is NOT kid-friendly. It turns out it isn’t even husband-friendly in this house. But, if you’re veg-curious like me, you’ll love it! See what the documentary is about here.

I am mostly vegetarian. I think they call that flexatarian, right? Day in and day out is pretty much no meat — but I don’t fall on the sword for it. I’m not a card-carrying member of a veg club and I still wear leather. (Except that I don’t because honestly I can’t think of anything leather I own. Even my cowboy boots are cheap and faux.)

Now, vegan is a whole different thing. And I have done it for short months at a time. And it feels great. Because I get it — we are the only mammal who drinks milk from another animal. And I do own Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet book so I know that cow’s milk is designed to turn baby cows into 400 pound animals. So why would we want to drink that?

But, doing away with dairy AND meat, oh and hand over your eggs, BOTH at the same time, that is hard! And I know, it isn’t supposed to be easy. And I hand it to all of the vegans out there, especially with young kids, who make that choice work day in and day out. You’re super special for sure.

All of this to say, what I love about Vegucated is that once you watch it, you can’t say you didn’t know. And maybe tiny little baby steps will result. Here’s my takeaway to do list for our family:

* I’m going to watch the number of servings of dairy we’re having each day. I talked about the Milk & Cookies Disease last week so it all comes full-circle.

* With all animal products, less is more. I’m not going to make turkey my go-to sandwich for Millie’s lunch anymore. We’ll try peanut butter, hummus and veggies, and cukes with cream cheese instead.

* I want to have a garden this spring. I want to teach them to love eating healthy so when they are old enough to choose they might choose veggie, or at least less meat.

So, go check it out! (On Netflix so you can stream it tonight!) Let me know what you think.

Printables for dressing up towers!

Towers Together
In my few short years of experience with Allergies and GI I have been so surprised to learn there are kids out there (and not just babies!) on NO food. Kids with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis whose intestines need to be healed, and the best way to do that is with Enteral Nutrition (basically formula). There are also kids with food allergies so severe they effect the gut, and leave these children no choice but to also go onto the same types of formula until the food allergies can be tested one food at a time and sorted out carefully. Many of these children take these types of feedings through tubes (there are different types of tubies, and I do not claim to understand the differences). I am not an expert on this type of treatment at all, but I revel in complete and total amazement at the bravery of these children and their superhero moms and dads!

Can you imagine your 3, 4, 5 or even 9 year old having only formula — tube fed — and that’s it? No food, none at all, for 6, 8, 12 weeks or longer? And some kids with Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases will never get to eat but just a handful of foods at all. It is totally humbling to think of these children and what they’ve done to get better — to be healthy, and to sometimes avoid other meds like prednisone. It is only SUPERSTAR families that can take on this type of treatment.

I recently “met” a friend online whose little one has BOTH of these diseases. The IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) AND the EGID. On her recent 4th birthday she had a beautifully wrapped box for a birthday cake. No food — no ice cream, no pizza and especially no cake. And her extra-brave mama says she’s happy and she’s feeling just a bit better, and not asking for food — at all!

They had a great idea to decorate her tower (used for her feeding tube) with princess stickers to make it a bit more Rapunzel tower-like. I though that was darling and offered to create a tower graphic she could add to the tower to spruce it up a bit. I of course decided to share it here so any of your kids or anyone else you know can have one, too! (And by all means, feel free to use them on the fridge, on the back of the bedroom door, anywhere! They aren’t for towers only!)

Here are the free printables to download: Rapunzel’s Princess Tower and Pirate’s Lookout Tower

(A note on printing: I’ve created the PDF as 2 pages that are 8.5 x 11, since I know most people can only print an 8.5 x 11. The 2 pages need to be taped together at top/bottom to make one long vertical poster.)

If you would like one personalized (like I did for my friend’s princess), I would love to do that for you, too! I just ask that you sign up via email for my blog updates, so I have your contact information. And then leave me a note in the comments below!

A food pyramid we can get on board with!

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Lately I’ve been really interested in anti-inflammatory foods. With Posey’s intestinal inflammation (which we really do not know is IBD, but she seems to respond really well to Sulfasalazine, a drug typically used for IBD) and for my own health, I did a little research.

I came across Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid. I love the really specific, yet really doable and understandable information. The online pyramid is interactive, but there is also a printable version. And we already know how much I LOVE printables! I am putting one right on my fridge! (Next to Posey’s weekly Take Your Medicine Chart, of course!)

It really leans toward a largely plant-based diet, which I’ve been transitioning to over the past couple of years. Posey has always leaned vegetarian, too. (Millie and her daddy still like their meat, though!) So that’s another nice thing about Dr. Weil’s chart — there is room for a couple of chicken or meat servings a week. And even more room for fish. I think it is something our family can subscribe to. What about you?

Our favorite yoga Posey!

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I was woken up this morning at 6 AM by Millie and immediately thought “this feels like a yoga kind of a day!” I hopped out of bed and the girls and I turned on a kids’ (maybe more of a young adult?) yoga video on Netflix. It is called “Shanti Generation: Yoga Skills for Peacemakers” and is so great. I love the simple moves and focus on breathing and the really sweet way the ideas of happiness and peace are weaved throughout. There is great meditative breathing at the end, and it is short enough to keep everyone’s attention through to the end (almost!) I know there are some really fantastic kids’ yoga classes now locally and I always want to get the girls signed up for one. But, this is a really simple and easy way to expose them (and yourself!) to yoga without even having to leave the house.

Interestingly, through the time of Posey’s GI challenges which a scope back in April found to be “non-specific” intestinal inflammation, her go-to position has been child’s pose. There must be something about the doubling over that relieves some of the pain? It sort of breaks my heart, but then again we all find ways to cope, and I’m glad she finds this comforting. I’ve always wondered if other children with tummy issues ever use that position for relief?

Give it a try! Let me know what you think!

Namaste!

I’m a mealtime wimp, but for a reason.

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So here it is: I choose not to have mealtime battles. I don’t make kids try a bite of everything all of the time, I don’t encourage them to take one more bite or clear their plate and I don’t tell them this is dinner and if you don’t eat it you will just be hungry until morning. Mostly because it just isn’t a battle I have the strength to fight. I think food, and food allergies, and tummy problems, and weight loss (mine) are all difficult enough to deal with, and I simply can’t add another layer of power struggles at the dinner table.

And I sometimes feel guilty. I hear other moms telling stories about making their preschooler sit at the lunch table for an hour and a half until all his peas are gone. I’ve never done that. I feel sort of weak and meager in comparison. But, I do have a method to my madness (sort of).

It is my hope my girls will learn to listen to their internal fuel meter and learn to eat in response to their hunger — genuinely. How could I possibly know that Posey needs to eat 5 more bites of rice? I’m not in her tummy — and while she might not really be done, and it might mean she’ll ask for a snack in an hour, that’s OK. She’s learning about hunger cues and managing her meals and it is a process, right? I’d rather she learn to trust her tummy.

I am sensitive to how their bodies react to certain foods, and want to respect their self-imposed preferences and limitations. In learning to listen to their own bodies, kids just might be smarter than we think. Maybe there is a reason Millie never really finishes her milk, even though it sounds good when she sits down to the table. Instead of teaching her the milk is there and you’ve got to drink, I’d rather take note of the pattern and take something from that. Maybe I’ll even be smart enough to suggest we just have water, but in the meantime I like the trial and error that they can pick up on themselves.

In Posey’s 3 years of severe food allergies, we’ve imposed quite a few restrictions. Isn’t it fair to give her just a little control, too? From taking a special cupcake to birthday parties to no colored koolaid or orange juice, we’ve monitored her food pretty strictly. I would imagine it is developmentally appropriate for her to, in turn, assert a little of her own dietary control. So if she likes carrots one day (and eats the entire bag of baby carrots straight from the fridge, and then refuses to eat them for an entire week — at all — maybe she’s just sick of them. Right? I mean, with foods it is rarely black and white — it is a lot of grey and I try just to roll with it.

For good measure, and a little bit of guilt-control, the girls do get a multivitamin everyday. I don’t know if people still debate whether or not this is necessary, but we do a vitamin everyday. It is probably better for my conscious than it even is for the girls, but if it helps me relax a little at mealtime it is worth it.

I hope I’m not the only mealtime wimp in mommyland! Please tell me I’m not! Can you share your mealtime philosophy and why it works for your family?