Running Changes Everything

IMAG1677I had a few days last week where the weather kept me indoors and limited to the gym. Now I am not knocking the gym- it serves its purpose. However, I prefer to run outside in the fresh air with the blacktop under my feet.

I started running about 6 months after the birth of my son when I was working through a Tony Robbins book  over six years ago.  I had hit the part in the book where you make all these goals (don’t all motivation books do this?) and then Tony says, pick one you can start on tomorrow. Yikes! The only one I felt like I could even attempt tomorrow was the (then) pie-in-the-sky run a 5K. It seemed like a stretch goal for me, since I had birthed two children in the past 3 years and seemed sadly out of shape. I am also seriously flat footed, and had worn corrective shoes as a child. On top of that, I was nursing my son, so I was a bit heavier up top than I had been in my pre-baby life.

With all of that in mind, my husband had suggested the Couch to 5K plan a year prior, and I had encouraged him…but not looked at it myself. I remember thinking, “I can at least get the Couch to 5K plan for free on the Internet & we have a treadmill. And I can do a training session tomorrow.” As it turned out, I ran a 5K, then did an 8K, and then did my first half marathon six months later. I trained for the half marathon because I figured, “When will I ever be this fit again?”

It wasn’t until after the half marathon that I really began to enjoy running. Yep, I said it. I. Enjoy. Running. I do not always like getting started (Will the first 1-2 miles every seem ‘easy’?)…but I love the feeling of my body working in the ‘pain free zone’ as I call it. I love feeling like my body is a well oiled machine. But most of all I love how much better I think after running. Sound crazy? Well, it turns out it is not as crazy as it sounds!

There is a now a lot of scientific evidence that shows that exercise increases creativity and brain power .  There is also evidence that running, specifically, helps the body process out some of the chemicals that are linked to depression.  Cognitive improvements+better attitude = better thinking!

Recently I discovered there is an organization that is using running as a way to help kids deal with depression. Reading that article brought me back to when I ran just to say I did something towards a goal ‘for me’ in those challenging baby years. I used to joke that I ran to ‘run away’ from my babies. The truth was, I was really running towards myself. I was racing back to the woman who was fearless in her pursuit of career goals. I was running back to my feelings of confidence and focus. If running helps me stay sane and centered in my crazy-busy-mommy world; I can only imagine how helpful it can be to a kid that is dealing with school stress, parent stress, and ‘who am I gonna be’ stresses. On their website they say they have the kids make a note about how they are feeling before they run and a note about how they feel after their run. They do this to help the kids track how running is helping them manage their feelings. I didn’t do this when I started running, nor do I make notes about how my run goes today. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even call myself a ‘runner’ to people out loud until about a year ago. But now it is part of who I am…and for those kids who run I hope it becomes part of who they are too. After all, on average, only 16 % of the population exercises at all.   Furthermore, only about 2% of the population completed a 5K in 2012  (estimated based on State of the sport report and population estimates). Every kid in the group should be proud of their mileage- no matter how great or how small. We all start at zero in the beginning.

My kids and I talk about doing triathlons together and running together when they are a bit older (a 5K still seems really long to my 6 and 8 year olds).  Don’t think I’m an alpha-mom pushing them to do it, I am not. It’s just a natural extension of wanting to do what Mom and Dad do. My husband plays golf, so the kids talk about wanting to play golf.

My point is, I am grateful I chose to get up off the couch and start running.  I never dreamed when I started that my kids and my husband would still be cheering for me at the finish line 6 years later. Truthfully, I am even more excited about cheering for them. If you have ideas or suggestions about how to make running more manageable for my 6 and 8 year old, please post your comments below.

We hope to see you out there pounding the pavement with us!

Advertisements

Loud Noises can Damage Little Ears

IMAG1700

This weekend I was squeezing in a run at my Mother-In-Law’s home over the Thanksgiving holiday and happened to pass a family in their front yard. The mother had her baby in a carrier facing outward raking leaves. As I was running by, the father started up the law mower and then moved the mower over to get the area next to the mom. I was torn, should I say something to the dad about using a law mower around his baby without putting ear protection on the kid? I knew I would seem like a busy-body….but at the same time I know many kids suffer from hearing loss (1.4 Million in the U.S.).

I had forgotten about this incident until today when I dropped my kids off at school. The woman in front of me had left her car stereo blaring as she took a little girl into school. The woman looked to be in her twenties, and the little girl she dropped off was easily in Kindergarten or 1st grade. The stereo was so loud I could hear the lyrics through her rolled up windows and closed doors. It made me wonder, who listens to the stereo that loud in a car with a kid?  There is a website that talks about how loud is ‘too loud’ to help educate both children and their parents.

We had our kids’ hearing levels tested at the hospital when they were born, and we are still vigilant about hearing safety. My husband is constantly participating in safety training at work, and whenever possible we practice similar safety methods at home. This means when the kids are helping my husband and he is wearing safety gear, our kids wear similar gear. We’ve got safety glasses, ear plugs, aprons, etc.  If he is mowing the grass and wearing ear protection in the front yard, the kids are not allowed in that yard because my husband cannot hear them and he worries that he might ‘miss something’ while wearing his ear plugs and muffs. Our next door neighbor has a little girl, and I’ve seen him taking her for rides with him on his riding mower. In his case, he put his protective earmuffs on his little girl to preserve her hearing.

As our kids have gotten older, they have asked for ear buds and head phones to go with their electronic equipment. My husband found special ones for kids that have restricted volume levels to help protect their ears. My hope is that car makers will create similar ones for use with the built-in DVD players that are now in so many SUVs and Mini Vans. But until that day comes, we ask our kids to keep the volume levels down so that they only have the headphones as loud as needed to hear the dialog on the DVDs and we check them before the kids put them on whenever possible.

Are there some tips and tricks you can share about how you protect your kids hearing? If so, I would love to hear them!

Outside time not only feels good- it can help stave off nearsightedness

ID-10033954 (1)

My son has been ‘on the edge’ of needing glasses since he started Kindergarten almost two years ago. Since my daughter had been diagnosed with a vision issue back when she started Kindergarten, we took her to UAB Callahan Eye Center to get a second opinion when she was only five. (a mom at my kids’ preschool suggested Callahan). Thank goodness we made that drive! The local optometrist I had taken my daughter to had incorrectly diagnosed a slow-focus astigmatism as something much more serious.

I was so impressed with how Dr. Arcinegas addressed the issue with my daughter, that I asked her if she would check out my son when he got old enough to attend school. (I didn’t want to have another mis-diagnosis like before.) I am writing all this because the she has encouraged us to keep my son out of glasses as long as possible. When I asked her if there was anything we could do to help my son stay out of glasses, she said the only thing to do would be to make sure my son gets plenty of time outside.

I was surprised! When I asked for more information, Dr. Arcinegas told me that one of the main things that had been shown to be effective in kids with mild Myopia (nearsightedness) was outside time. As it turns out, there is plenty of research to support this. For example, they have done studies in other countries, tracking the effects of outside time on groups of children at different schools. An article by the American Academy of Opthalmology has some striking information. It kinda makes me wish the kids got longer recesses at school, especially since there is plenty of evidence that recess has important benefits. Now that Daylight Savings Time is in full swing, it seems like they have hardly any time after school to get outside and play before dark.

This past weekend, I feel like I must have been asked at least three times a day: “Mom, can we watch TV?” And 90% of the time my answer is , “No, it’s light outside, go outside and play while you can.” I feel like that is my refrain all Fall until the weather just turns too cold or windy for getting outside to be any fun. And for once, this weekend, the kids seemed to acquiesce a bit faster. I’d get a sigh, or a moan, and then off to the laundry room they would go to put on their shoes and go make some mischief outside.

When I got a little bit of energy late Sunday afternoon, I offered to go shoot baskets with my 6 year old son. I thought to myself, “I should go shoot hoops with him while I can….it won’t be long before he’ll be too tall/fast/big to play basket ball with his mom.”  We were outside for almost an hour dribbling, trying to make baskets, and passing the ball back and forth. Over dinner I mentioned that I had a good time with him, and said something to my husband about enjoying it ‘while I could, since he’ll be too big to play with his mom before long.” My son touched my arm to get my attention and said, “No mom, I’ll never be too big to play basketball with you.”

(Big sigh) I sat there thinking, I wish that were true.

Instead of saying what I thought, I just smiled with a twinkle in my eye and said, “Thanks honey, that is so sweet!” And on the inside I savored that priceless mommy moment.

(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I saw a parent sleeping in the carline at school pick-up…

CarLIne

I cut around another mom today in car line. I had showed up with 15 minutes to wait on a rainy afternoon and was sitting there watching all the other cars pull in front of she and I. We were on one side of a “Y” merge and the cars that passed were on the other side. I sat there staring at the 3 car gap between us and the next car and waited. And waited. And Waited. The other cars had all moved up when school let out and the minivan in front of me did nothing.

No brake lights flashed, no inching forward, no movement at all in front of me. I slowly turned my wheel to back up and get out of line. Nothing. I pulled up next to the woman, thinking that maybe she was waiting for someone to exit the church rather than waiting in car line. She was half-turned the other way, so I drove past her and pulled in front of her. I noticed the car behind me following my lead. When I checked my rear-view I noticed her sort of looking at us passing by with a dazed expression on her face and leaning against the side window.

I think the woman had fallen asleep! I almost felt bad. I had cut in front of a person in car line that appeared to have been so tired she was catching a quick nap while waiting to pick up her kids. Then I thought about how tired she must be. I reminded me of all the times I have been so tired (or sleepy) driving the kids to school that when I get home I say a silent prayer that we all got where we needed to be safely. My anger had evaporated—after all, there but for the grace of God go I. I just pray she got home OK with her kids. I also got grateful that I was not that tired today.

Back when I lived in DC, a few people were making jokes about micro-sleeping in their cars during their commute. It turns out the sleepy-driving is as bad as drunk driving. And there are lots of other less than ideal side effects. Lack of good quality sleep can cause weight gain and decreased cognitive functioning. So if any of you folks out there needed some scientific justification for taking a power nap on or after your lunch…you now have it.  Sweet dreams people!

stockvault-thumbs-up108315 

Do elementary schools provide basic first aid?

     When I picked up my daughter from school the other day we were just about to pull out and she said, “Oh mom, I stabbed myself with a pencil at school today and I got a band-aid”.  It never occurred to me that my child might stab herself with a pencil at the ripe old age of 8.  I asked her if anyone checked it.  Her response was, “No, I just got a band-aid.  Was someone supposed to?”  I am thinking to myself, does no one at this school practice basic first aid anymore?  I know that sounds a bit crass, and grumpy…but this is not the first time one of my kids has come home from school with a cut or scrape and told me that no one has rinsed off their wound before just sticking a band-aid. on it.

     We went back into the school nurse who looked at the stab mark and said, “I can’t tell if she’s got something in there or not…let me see if I have some peroxide to maybe get it to bubble up….if there’s something in there the bubbling might just help it work itself out.”  Turns out they had no peroxide in the nurses’ office that day.  They also did not have any tweezers sharp enough to pull out the ‘hard bit’ that the nurse thought she felt in the wound.  The nurse apologized profusely and said if we were at her house, she could certainly get to that little bit, but unfortunately she did not seem to have what she needed in her office that day.

     Hmmm.  I called my dear husband when we got home because my eyesight is just not what it used to be and I really needed a magnifying glass to see if there was anything in there.  Luckily he was able to talk and he assured me he would look at it when he got home later this evening.

     After rinsing off her wrist off and putting triple antibiotic ointment and a fresh band aid on, we went to choir practice later the same afternoon.  When the kids are down stairs singing I mentioned to one of the moms that my kid stabbed herself with a pencil today and no one at the school even bothered to check if there was any graphite or pencil bits in her wrist.  I then wise cracked that I wanted to know what had happened to providing basic first aid at school.  

     She exclaimed, “I know!  It’s crazy right?!  My son came home one day and said he’d slipped and cut himself playground and got a band-aid.  When my husband was giving my son a bath, he called down to me that he was going to take the bandage off and check out the cut…Then my husband again calls down to me that I should come take a look at the leg.  It turns out the ‘cut’ was almost an inch deep in my son’s leg!  I am thinking this is more than just a little cut.  My husband asked me if the school said anything, or if I got any kind of note.  I said nope… We both asked our son if anyone had washed it off, or put any ointment on it.  He said they just stuck a band-aid. on it and he went on playing.  We were shocked!”

     I mentioned to this same mom we had started a first aid module over the break because both our kids like to role play being the doctor on Star Trek Voyager and they like to pretend to perform all sorts of scans and injections.  She laughed and commented, “You might as well teach them first aid so they know what to do themselves!  At least that way you know they’ll get taken care of.”

     I thought about what that mom said to me again this morning and decided to write this post because I think it’s sad that our school nurse didn’t have the supplies she’d prefer when we were in her office the other day.  I think it’s even sadder that the ‘after care’ and ‘before care’ at our school doesn’t teach the kids to wash off their cuts and scrapes.  (Although I was assured by the Principal that they do…) But mostly, I want my kids to know what to do to take care of themselves.  When doing on-line searches for free first aid instruction, I found several websites that looked promising.  I have not completed courses on all of these…but I am listing a couple below for convenience.

http://www.firstaidforfree.com/   Offers a free basic on-line first aid course that can be completed for a certificate.

http://www.firstaidweb.com/  looks to be rather comprehensive with both CPR and First Aid certificates available for free download upon course completion.  (Be sure to check your state regulations if you need CPR certification for work-related reasons.)
Please let me know if you have experienced similar incidents at your children’ s school?  And if so, did you do anything to address the issue?  Also, if there are other ‘free first aid’ websites you think are good, please share those too.

Soccer Snacks 10.16.14

_DSC4132 (1)

Last night I took my first-grade son to his school’s soccer game. I was dismayed when, near the end of the game, a parent walked out to their car and came back with individual plastic containers of cotton candy, packaged cookies, and a cooler full of Gatorade.

I don’t understand why parents think it’s OK to load kids up with this junk after a sporting event. Do we see professional athletes chowing down on cotton candy and cookies on the sidelines at -three-hour football games? The weekend before, it was the same thing – packets of cookies and cartons of apple juice after the game. Only once this year have I seen a mom show up with orange slices and bottled water for a team after the game.

I have to work very hard to keep my kids educated on how bad these choices are for our bodies, so it really doesn’t help to have other parents bringing stuff like this for ‘snacks’ after team practices and games. And just so I don’t sound unsympathetic to all the families out there with two working parents and thus little time to slice up fruit, many produce sections now offer pre-cut apples in packages. There are also plenty of fruit cups filled with orange slices or pineapple in natural juices. For those of us too busy to cut fruit for ourselves, we can buy it in individual, pre-cut packages.

This is what I had to explain to my kids, in order to get them to understand how bad all that would be for them to eat. I won’t mention the snacks we were offered last night, but Walmart sells tubs that hold two servings, and they have 28 grams per sugar in each container! Even if I could get my kid to only eat half, that’s 14 grams of sugar! The ‘single serving’ of Chips Ahoy cookies had 13 grams of sugar per package/serving. My daughter wanted Oreo Golden cookies, which were also a single serving that contained 18 grams of sugar. The 12 oz. Gatorade has about 21 grams of sugar per bottle. Let’s say I can distract my kid from finishing their cotton candy by moving them onto the cookies or their sugary drink and they only eat half. Half a cotton candy plus a drink plus the cookies add up to 48 to 53 grams of sugar depending on which cookies my kid chose.

Now I’d like to put this in perspective. I’m not a complete anti-sugar mom. We have reasonable limits in our home based on scientific evidence. The World Health Organization recommends limiting adults to 25 grams of sugar per day. If we simply consider kids to be half the physical size of an average adult, that means their average sugar intake per day should be limited to 12.5 grams. I round up and tell my kids 13 grams per day of added sugars is the limit. (I don’t limit their fruits, vegetables or breads.) Looking at the 48-53 grams of sugar my kids were offered in one fell swoop is quite disturbing.

Last night, we skipped the cotton candy and the sports drink, and I let them have two cookies before dinner and one after dinner. The remaining cookies are in a plastic snack bag until they are remembered and asked for. At that time, they will again be reminded of the 13 grams-per-day limit, their grandfather’s type two diabetes, and how eating ‘junk food’ keeps us from eating ‘real food’ that our bodies love and need to be happy.

I am off to make us some fruit sorbet popsicles, since these seem to fill the urge for sweets and are our latest healthy alternative. I found the recipe in a book by Julie Daniluk titled “Slimming Meals that Heal”. I am enclosing the recipe below, but feel free to visit her website for more great ideas. My daughter especially likes the “Transit Breakfast smoothie” and the “Superfood Shake” from “Slimming Meals that Heal” as well.

Raspberry Breakfast Sorbet                                 Terka

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen organic raspberries (I use non-organic, sorry! We used strawberries the first time and they were great too.)

1 and 1/2 cups ice

2/3 cup berry juice (I substitute apple because that’s usually what I have on-hand)

¼ cup hemp seeds

1-2 grams stevia powder (I substitute 2 Truvia packets here)

Directions: Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to stir/shake ingredients a few times for a more consistent texture.

The recipe says it makes 3 servings.

For my family, we fill up 2 sets of 4 popsicle molds, so I get 8 popsicles (sometimes a little extra from this depending on how closely I follow the berry and ice measurements). After an hour, they are ready to eat.

When It’s Time to Walk Away

One of my dad’s favorite stories to tell is about my youngest sister Terra. I thought of the story today in response to Teacher Tom’s blog on Obedience.

My dad tells of how one day my mom got a phone call from the principal of my sister’s school when she was in Kindergarten. We lived about 3 blocks from the school (and this was 40 years ago), and the principal was calling my mom (supposedly president of the Parent Teacher Association) to inform her that my sister had decided to leave school and walk home. My mom of course asked, “What happened?” and the principal informed my mom that Terra didn’t want to do what the teacher told her to do. Rather than get into an argument with her teacher, or hang around for further discussion, Terra simply got up and left the class room to walk home.

This brief memory reminded me of a conversation I had with my very serious, studious, daughter when we began to prepare her for kindergarten several years ago. I remember telling her that “no matter what” if she ever needed me to come to the school, she could always ask the teacher or her principal to call me and I would come right away. I remember the way my daughter looked at me, with a sort of awe and wonder that she had that power. I then hastily reminded her “that it needed to be important” but that I would come “no matter what” that something important was. I told her it could be something that she didn’t feel comfortable doing. I told her it could be that she needed me there for a specific situation with her teacher, or just to talk with me. I told her I would always, always come if she needed me to drive over and pick her up from school. She nodded her little head in sober understanding and we never spoke of it again. My daughter is now in third grade, and she has only called me once: It was the day I forgot her field trip money. Luckily, the school nurse is a personal friend, and my daughter was loaned the $3 for the field trip as soon as we hung up.

So last year when my son began Kindergarten at his ‘new school’ I had the same conversation with him. I explained to my little 5 year old that his dad, or I, would always be able to come get him if he needed us for any reason. He asked, again with that same incredulity, “Really?”. My answer was an unwavering yes. I have often wondered if other parents share this with their kids before they send them off at the beginning of the school year. Maybe my tradition was sparked by my parents who always made it clear that while we were to respect our teachers, we were always to do what we felt was right. (And that they would support us in that.) Maybe seems a bit much to lay on a small child, but I have always believed that we all know ‘right from wrong’ deep inside us from an early age. Why would I let a teacher have more weight than my child’s own inner voice?

When I read Teacher Tom’s blog I was reminded that sometimes it is hard for little people (that’s what we call our kids) to stand up to bigger people in authority like teachers. However, I don’t want my little people to feel like their voice counts less, or like they have to do anything they are uncomfortable with just because a teacher tells them too. As you can imagine, we get into some sticky conversations around our house as a result of talking about different scenarios with our little people…and sometimes it is a bit tiring to have those conversations. However, I would much prefer to have those conversations with my little people when the risks are smaller and hypothetical. My real dread, is when it is time to have those conversations and they are no longer theoretical, or low-risk. My prayer is that all the conversations between now and then will provide some sort of framework for them to work from. I know I can’t be there all the time. My hope is that our kids will never feel like they have to face big decisions without a loving, caring, sounding board. And if the teachers would prefer more obedient kids, I am willing to let my kids blame it on their old mom until they feel like they can stand up for themselves.

Bath Time!

My kids are now 5 & 7 and it’s been a constant struggle to find hair and bath products that work and are not loaded up with bad stuff. You would think this would not be too hard right? Well it’s not quite as simple as it would seem. Take for example Suave Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo Smoothers, it’s got Methylchlorisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinon, DMDM Hydantoin, PPG-9, and several other offenders in it. For more info on this product you can check out EWG’s review for yourself if you are curious.

If you think ‘baby’ shampoos are safer, that’s not always the case either. Johnsons No More Tears Lavender baby shampoo has it’s share of offensive ingredients too. For a short list, this particular product contains quaternium-15 (formaldehyde releaser), PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, and Cocamidopropyl Betaine.

At this point I should mention that I am not including fragrance in the above lists. Fragrance is a huge offender in the toxicity ratings. I am not including it in the lists above simply because I personally go back and forth on the fragrance issue. For example, I love how Lavender smells, but the Lavender scent almost always seems to get a bad toxicity rating. So am I going to give up my lavender products? Heck no—people have been using lavender for centuries will few ill effects. Conversely, I gave up my Philosophy Amazing Grace Body Butter because several of the ingredients are classified as questionable (phenoxyethanol being one of them). Do I miss it? Yes I do. Am I willing to live without it in the hopes of a longer, healthier life? You bet.

In a quick purchase at the grocery store I picked up the new Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser after reading reviews that it was considered as gentle as Cetaphil, but more effective at removing make-up. (And it does remove my mascara and eye shadow quite well!)  My problem with this product is that several of the ingredients don’t have any safety data on them when I did a quick search. For example, I couldn’t find Ethylhexlglycerin in the EWG data base, although I could have misspelled it (why is the ingredient list printed with such a tiny font size?). Luckily, a quick Google search lead me to a site called Chemical of the Day which had a nice description and a bit of information to confirm that is may just be a popular ingredient due to the lack of data on this particular cleansing agent thus causing someone to conclude that the product is more gentle due to lack of ratings on several of the component ingredients. My vote is still out on this product, but I am inclined not to buy it again for several reasons: 1) if I get it in my mouth it tastes awful (2) at least 3 of the ingredients I tried to research with suspicious names have ‘no data’ in the EWG database and (3) My kids don’t like to use it.

So at this point you’re probably wondering what we do use around here…and honestly I was loosing a bit of hope until I found the book ” No More Dirty Looks“.

First let me say, I am not a fan of the writing style the authors of this book have chosen. I do not enjoy reading profanity, and I believe you can make your point very well without it. That being said, the authors do an excellent job of providing a crash course on the bad stuff in all sorts of hair and skin care products. Since I was already aware of most of those issues, I skipped to the back to check out their product recommendations. I am happy to report that the John Master’s Organics Lavender and Rosemary shampoo did not disappoint us! That may not sound like great praise, but my daughter has a head of hair that is fine and loosely curled that we have struggled to find good products for since she was about two years old. We also like the leave in detangler  by John Master’s Organics a lot. I know there are lots of other good products out there.  I am very grateful to the Environmental Working Group for the on-line database they have set up. Through it we found the Badger Honey Chamomile Soap that the kids love at bath time that has a 1 or a 0 toxicity rating (which is about as good as it gets!). I also discovered the California Baby line of products when doing a search years ago on EWG when the kids were under two and loved them while they worked…but as my daughter aged we needed something that didn’t frizz out her hair so much.

So we’ve talked about shampoo, and bath soap. What about hand soap? For us, I don’t like the use of triclosan in hand soaps and the EWG agrees. So for us we use old-fashioned bar soaps that make us happy when we smell them. Despite the safety ratings of 4 and 5, our kids use Pre de Provence soaps because they love the way they smell and how they fit in their little hands. As an added bonus, it’s not too hard to get them to wash their hands!! And for myself, my hands take such a beating that I use the l’occitane Shea butter soaps. It’s the gentlest soap I can find so far. And I figure so much of it gets washed down the drain it’s not he same as taking a bath in it.

We’ve found what I consider to be ‘smart compromises’. I hope our experiences can aid you in your search for products that work and you feel safe using. If you have product info you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What’s for breakfast?

Good morning! Or it should be….but what to feed the kids that is nutritious, healthy and easy is a source of constant searching and reading. Why not just feed them cereal you say? Why yes, I have done that often because it is fast and easy. However, finding a good choice is a bit of work as well. (For those of you die hard organic food purchasers out there, yes I could opt to feed my kids organic cereal every morning….but if it’s not on sale it’s pricey. Therefore when a low-sugar variety does happen to go on sale I stock the pantry!)

So let me share a bit of what I have learned. First, those old fashioned wheat squares that I thought were pretty healthy have BHT added as a preservative. The list of reasons it is a nasty can be found on-line. So now I can’t buy those in good conscience any more. That also eliminates all the other cereal with BHT as a preservative. We can also easily eliminate those cereals that have Red Dye #40, Retinyl Palmitate, and other bad stuff in them.

After reading “Raw Awakening”, and “The Happiness Diet”, I have decided that fresh fruit is possibly a better option, especially in the summer. Thanks to EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean 13 produce lists, I have discovered that there are several natural, economical, breakfast choices that offer a nice healthy option! Cantaloupe has become a staple in our home this summer, as have Bananas for breakfast. The kids found the Mango pieces too tart for their liking, so I am hoping to use them with vanilla yogurt for tropical smoothies topped with unsweetened shaved coconut. Speaking of yogurt, I can get the kids to eat Greek yogurt by adding vanilla, honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It’s one of their favorite ‘treats’. And the reason it’s a ‘treat’ is that they will eat almost a whole quart in one sitting for a snack, or breakfast. Even on sale, the plain can be expensive on a per meal basis (I try and feed all four of us for $10 per dinner, which is $2.50 per person for a meat+side(s). So the quart of Yogurt has a dinner-type price tag for a snack/breakfast. This is why I call it a treat!

I recently discovered Blu-Pom Wheatfuls! They smell divine, and taste awesome. On sale they are between 2.50 and 3.00 per box. However, I can get 2-3 mornings of breakfast out of them for my kids (yes, they eat 1-2 bowls per breakfast). This organic whole grain cereal is a solid favorite in our house. So for a small price tag they get fiber, organic whole grains, and a tiny bit of fruit juice worked into the sugar topping.

So between the non-organic sweet cantaloupes that are $3 each, and the Bananas that are .59 to .79 cents per pound (depends on if I buy organic or not), and the organic cereals on-sale, I have found some reasonably priced, healthy, and low pesticide or preservative-free breakfast options!

If you have some favorites, please share- I am always on the look out for fresh, healthy additions to our meal plans.

The Beginning

I have been told by several people (friends and acquaintances) that I should start a blog. Not because I am particularly smart, of have some new and exciting take parenting, discipline, or home management. It has been suggested to me because of how my husband and I approach decision-making for our children. Specifically, will we give a prescription drug to our 5 year old or 7 year old? Will we give them the flu shot this year (since it changes every year)? Will we feed them some particular cereal? Or will I put this or that brand of sun screen on them this year when we are playing in the backyard? The answers to these questions vary, based on the ingredients in the items under review, and the scientific info I have access to (and sometimes expediency). I am not a PhD scientist like my husband, but I do take the time to read all the inserts in my kids medicines and look at the FDA website(s). I have even been known to read some of his Chemistry journals that are for the pros. I also read lots of books and do on-line research. So I am starting a blog. I hope that my research is helpful to some other parents out there. IF you disagree with my decisions, I will tell you the same thing I’ve told my pediatrician, “I am the one who will have a 16 year old or a 20 year old in my face asking me, ‘Mom, why on earth did you decide that!?’, and I will be the one that has to live with the consequences of my choices- good or bad long after you are out of the picture.”

 

So (readers) feel free to disagree, research, and add useful information that others can access for themselves. But please remember I will have to walk with my kiddos down our future path, so I reserve the right to my own opinions and choices- as should most every parent.

 

My plan has always been research issues as they come up, and make the best decisions I can, based on the info available and discussion with my dear husband. I am starting this blog to share some of what I have learned, and continue to learn, with other parents facing similar issues.