10 Tips for Helping Your Child Live a Healthy Life

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, we had fewer screens and safer environments to play outside.  Since then, obesity among U.S. children has tripled.  In honor of September being Fruit & Veggies More Matters® month, here are some quick tips to help your kids on the right path to healthy living. In addition to eating fruits and vegetables daily as part of a balanced diet, there are many other ways parents can help their children adopt healthy habits.  I'm sure you know most of these... but it's helpful sometimes for an overview and reminder. The non-profit, grant funded project SOPHE helps communities improve access to healthy food, and decrease their chance of chronic diseases.  They have offered the following 10 tips to help your child live a healthy life. Tip #1: Make eating fruits and vegetables easy Prepare grab-and-go packets of fruits and vegetables to take on busy days. Provide already packaged fruits or veggies like oranges, apples, grapes, or snap peas. Tip #2: … [Read more...]

First Time Biking to School… Terrifying, yet Rewarding

My first grade son loves riding his bike.  I'm happy about that, because I do, too.  Ahhh... I foresee many grand biking adventures in our future!  So it's not surprising that he's been begging to ride his bike to school. *heavy sigh* But I have a problem with this.  You see, the unavoidable route between our home and his grade school includes a very scary road.  Narrow.  Busy.  No sidewalks.  Fast moving traffic, with a speed limit of 45 mph.  It's basically like biking on the edge of a highway.  With a 6 year old.  Terrifying. Oh, there's a bike lane.  But's it's 2 feet wide, at best. Sometimes you just have to suck it up, as a parent, and take a calculated risk.  I love the idea of riding our bikes more, and as a mode of transportation.  I love everything about it. Living an active lifestyle! Sneaking in exercise, via something that's also fun! Saving gas! Polluting less! Teaching our kids good life habits! Alright, so let's do this... Obviously, the plan is for … [Read more...]

Save Money & Teach Safety: Tween’s First Smartphone

We’ve reached that stage in life where my oldest child is ready for a smartphone.  We waited as long as possible, putting it off at the thought of paying more each month for THREE smartphone users.  Phone plans are expensive… now we want to add another?  Yikes. My daughter started middle school as a 6th grader this school year.  I was surprised to hear her teachers are literally having students use their smartphones for some interactive assignments in the classroom. Then you add in the benefit of her being able to communicate with us during the day.  So yeah.  Let’s do this. One of her prime interests is being able to take photos with her phone.  But we knew this would also mean my sweet, innocent girl would now have access to social apps and the internet.  So we started with a chat about safety. Equip Your Tween with Smartphone Smarts My daughter is a such good, rule-following kinda girl.  She doesn’t pretend to be, or want to be, a 16 year old yet.  Thankfully, she’s … [Read more...]

Papa Murphy’s Law Brings Calm to my Hectic Week

I work a full time job, have two young kids, and adore pursing my blogging hobby.  My schedule does allow me to have Fridays off of work. It’s my blissful catch-up day!  As a mini-celebration of the weekend’s arrival, we eat pizza every Friday night.  Our absolute favorite choice is Papa Murphy’s take and bake pizza. Papa Murphy’s Law:  The exact opposite of Murphy’s Law!  When life serves you chaos, Papa Murphy’s Law of Delicious is your solution.  An easy food option made from fresh, quality ingredients allows peace to reign at dinnertime. Sure, I could cook dinner on Friday night.  But by the end of our hectic week, and my finally having a chance to tidy up the house… I love just custom ordering a fresh pizza for my family. No mess.  No fuss.  Super fresh ingredients.  Everyone gets exactly what they want.  A calm, relaxing Friday night together at home!  Papa Murphy’s Law works like a dream for us. Gourmet Pizza for the Parents, Mini Murph® for the Kids Once we learned … [Read more...]

To Ski, Or Not to Ski… That is My Dilemma

I grew up in the relatively flat state of South Dakota.  Land of long winters and below-freezing wind chills which whipped across the prairie.  My parents were both raised on ranches.  In short, they were not skiers, nor was teaching kids to ski anywhere on their radar. South Dakota is not totally devoid of a ski area, though.  So it was at age 16 that I made my first pilgrimage with fellow teens, to go learn to ski at Terry Peak in the Black Hills.  What did I think of skiing? Skiing First Impressions Cold. Icy. Terrifying. Cute boys. Short runs. Long chairlift rides. That’s about it, in a nutshell.  I tolerated it for the social aspect. But it was nothing I had a burning desire to pursue. I’ve since had the chance to ski bigger mountains than South Dakota offers, and enjoyed some good times on the slopes.  There have admittedly been brief, optimal moments when I felt a rush of excitement and glee over a great run.  Overall, I have comfortably settled in at:  … [Read more...]

Teaching Kids Empathy and Love, Not Hate

  I want my kids to grow up to be exemplary human beings.  People who think of others, not just themselves.  People who take a stand for what it right, and make an effort to make society a better place.  Instilling empathy in them is a great foundation, a human emotion that will drive beneficial actions throughout their lives. So how do we as parents teach something like empathy?  As is true of so many areas of parenting, it’s an ongoing process. As in, if I remind my kindergarten son to put his dirty socks in the clothes hamper, day….after day…. after day… someday it will finally click.  (At least that’s my dream.) I look for teaching opportunities and resources that will model good characteristics, and inspire them.  With a young boy age 6, and a tween girl age 11, it’s not always the same thing that will strike a chord.  Last weekend we all watched the new American Girl movie “Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” on Amazon, and it fit the bill nicely. The messaging … [Read more...]

Teaching Children About Disabilities

Children say the darndest things, don’t they? Have you ever had your child not-so-quietly ask why the man behind you in the grocery line looks the way he does? Did you just wish there was a trap door beneath your feet so you could have easily escape the situation? You’re not alone. Many parents have faced this situation. Because it’s so common, we reached out to family and child therapists and asked them how they recommend we react in this situation. We also asked them to share their thoughts on how we as parents can teach our children about disabilities beforehand. This is some of their advice. Don’t Overreact to the Question Megan Rigdon of Sunny Day Counseling said, “The first, and probably most important, would be to let children ask questions. When your child sees another child who has a physical or mental disability, they will be curious. They may ask, “Why is that boy being so loud?” or “Why can’t that girl move her arms?” Your instinct as a parent will be to hush … [Read more...]

5 Clever Strategies for Packing School Lunch

It's official:  my Little has started kindergarten!  Among other things, this means I am now packing two school lunches every day. Oh joy. So when I received these clever tips on packing school lunches, I actually read them.  Written by Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind, she makes some great suggestions here. #1 ~ Breakfast is the most important meal of the day Focus on fresh fruit, purified water, protein, and fiber while kids are in the comfort of their home. Fuel them up with a simple smoothie that is quick to make and satisfies their nutrient needs. I like blending yogurt, banana, strawberries, milk, baby spinach and touch of honey. If smoothies aren’t their thing, try a snack plate with cut up cheese, berries, wholegrain crackers or bread. This wakes their bodies and brains up in a healthy way and will sustain them for the long day ahead. #2 ~ Who Say’s Leftovers Are a No No? Whole grain pancakes for lunch? If it’s good enough for breakfast, why … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Getting Your Child On a Back-To-School Sleep Schedule

With a new middle schooler in our household, who will have a tardy bell ringing at 7:20 a.m. .... I have a strong concern in the school year sleep schedule department.  With school starting within days here in Western Colorado, I went in search of some tips. 8 Tips For Getting your Child On a School Sleep Schedule Although I can't say that we'll implement all of them (that "NOT sleeping in on the weekend" is killer!) I found some pretty helpful tips from the National Sleep Foundation. About two weeks before school starts, work with your child to return to a school appropriate sleep schedule . Every night, set an incrementally earlier bedtime, and every morning, an incrementally earlier wake-up time. Make sure that when school starts, they'll wake up with the amount of sleep they need for their age-group. Maintain sleep schedule – Once your child's sleep schedule is established, stick with it! Don't use the weekend to "catch up on sleep." Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. … [Read more...]

It’s Good To Know How to Talk To Youth About Marijuana

This post is sponsored by Single Edition Media on behalf of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Ahhh… summertime. Sunny days spent at the pool, barbecue cookouts, and a break from school.  Kids are typically left with more freedom and time to hang out with their friends during the summer months.  This makes it an important time to talk to youth about marijuana use. Did you know that according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, first-time use of most substances, such as drugs and alcohol, among youth peaks during the summer months of June and July? One of the best ways to deter underage retail marijuana use is for informed adults to be prepared to have some honest conversations with youth about the topic.  To assist in this endeavor, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has launched the Good To Know campaign to offer parents free information, tips, and tools. Good To Know ~ Talking To Youth Tips In … [Read more...]