Each week I fill my house with healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options for my husband and our boys. By the time I’m done rationing the fruit and preparing meals – I’ve missed my own food. As a result, I often skip breakfast and indulge in a large, unhealthy lunch.
Why is the health of my family more important than mine? It’s not! All of our health is important. The better I fuel my body, the better I can be for myself and my family.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been making myself an equal participant in the healthy planning. I include myself in the fruit rationing and meal preparation. My energy has increased, and my workouts have been more effective.
Do you put others ahead of your own health? Look at your own meals and decide if you would feed them to the rest of your family. Remember to take care of yourself – you are worth it!!
When we are home, I workout a lot; but on vacation, I leave the gym behind. This doesn’t mean I hang out on the couch and waste my efforts. I find other ways to stay active.
We love exploring new areas and walk all over new cities and towns. Our kids are used to walking lengthy distances and are (mostly) willing companions. While the kids enjoy pushing the buttons on the elevator, they also enjoy racing up and down the stairs.
This year, we planned a cruise for February vacation. We put a lot of effort into research. We chose an itinerary that had a lot of different stops and the day at sea was at the end of the week. We felt the kids would be tired and less antsy.
Each day we were some of the first people off the boat. We ventured to the beach or rainforest and ended with a walk around town. At the beach, we swam and took long walks and in town, we climbed forts and the 99 steps to Blackbeard’s castle.
Walking, allows you the opportunity to truly enjoy your surroundings. Try skipping the cab or shuttle when you can. Stop when you need to and look around before starting again.
A few other tricks, are remembering to engage your core while walking and dining and sneaking in some ab exercises. We flew Jet Blue and had enough leg room to do some seated core exercises like lifting our feet up and down, keeping our feet lifted and opening and closing our knees. In the pool, I sneak in some reverse crunches and sometimes I add a twist to the crunch.
Vacation should be fun and relaxing; but you can have fun and sneak a little exercise in, too.
“Almost” Buffalo Wings (Photo credit: esimpraim)
It is cold and pouring rain, here on the Cape. Our Pats are playing at one and it seems to be the perfect day for easy football food. As I was wandering the grocery store this morning, I decided to share ways that we cut calories. These ideas are not healthy, just healthier for a dark autumn day.
The veggie plan: I put out cucumber slices, celery sticks and baby carrots on a tray and it stays out the whole time. The key is to use your usual dippers, but only put out a smaller amount. We tend to be a little lazy on Sunday and it’s much easier to dip the cucumber that’s in front of you than get up and find more salty dippers. Our kids will graze all day if given the option so leaving out the veggies guarantees they get some good stuff too.
Chicken wings: I buy the Tyson frozen wings (they taste really good grilled if the weather is better where you are). The key here is portions and the blue cheese. Only cook enough for you and any guests (they keep well in the freezer). We have found the Marie’s light chunky blue cheese and the Bolthouse Farms chunky blue cheese yogurt are good substitutes. They both provide the flavor without the calories (the yogurt dressing is the better choice and still creamy). You can even dip some of those veggies in the dressing without too much guilt.
The great turkey substitute: This is more effective when there is heavy seasoning. We are making sweet and sour meatballs (chili and cranberry sauce) but with turkey meatballs. The flavoring is strong enough you don’t need the ground beef. Another area I substitute turkey is in my chili. We often make our chili with ground turkey and sometimes I use turkey kielbasa. Again the seasoning makes the turkey flavorful and you won’t miss all those extra calories.
Pizza rolls: I am all about convenience. I use the Pillsbury pizza dough; put some tomato sauce across the dough and then part-skim mozzarella cheese. Roll one end and continue to roll – place the roll seam down on a cookie sheet and follow the baking instructions on the pizza dough package. Let it cool for a few minutes and slice into circles. The kids love this one and you lose a few calories with the part skim cheese. (turkey pepperoni can be used too )
Dips: Onion dip is a fan favorite around here. When I use the Lipton mix, I use low-fat (and sometimes fat-free) sour cream. This is again a time where the extra flavoring allows for the lower fat version. I also make a low-fat hot spinach and artichoke dip (here’s the recipe
) that is warm and yummy with very little guilt.
These are simply meant to be ideas that allow you to have your football food with a little less guilt. None of these options are the epitome of health, but they do lesson the caloric intake and taste good! Please share any other dishes or “tricks” that you use for football food.
Our boys have taught us so much from their interactions in kindergarten. Each day when our oldest got off the bus, I would ask him how was school, who did he play with, did he sit with anyone at lunch and how was recess. He would tell me the names of the kids he sat with, how they played tag and so forth on the playground. That was pretty much all that he shared.
In October, I went on a field trip with his class. Imagine my surprise when his “best friend” didn’t speak a word of English. He was assigned to my group and the teacher asked me to help explain the names of animals to this little boy as we saw them on the farm. As I was telling this boy, that the animal in front of us is a turkey; my son interrupts me and says, “Mommy, he doesn’t speak English. He speaks Mandarin Chinese!” It amazed me that in all the afternoons he talked about playing with this boy and eating lunch with him that his lack of English never came up.
Our youngest started kindergarten this week. At dinner we were asking him about his day and who he played with, ate lunch with etc. His continuous answer was “my best friend”. We asked him what his best friend’s name is and he simply answered “I don’t know”. By the end of the week, he did know his name but it was not important.
We have chuckled over these stories; but it really is amazing what doesn’t matter to little kids. They simply enjoy playing with certain people and the details don’t matter. It doesn’t matter what they wear, what they look like or even what language they communicate in. We could all learn to look at the person and not the details. The more open we are the more we will get from our daily interactions.
After the kids got on the bus this morning, I ran around the house like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone! Coming back into the kitchen, I realized it’s time to tackle all of the projects I’ve been putting off until the kids are back at school. The – it will be easier to clean out the playroom, their closet, games, etc – list. Now that I am looking around, I may have wanted to start this process a little earlier.
I am hoping that once I put on some music and start at the top of the list it will all flow from there. Right now, it is pouring rain and I have no motivation. Of course, I have many hours until the boys are home from school. Like my youngest tentatively getting on the bus this morning, I need to take the first step. Pick a project and start it.
In my opinion, all projects need good music. Usually, I play country music while I’m cleaning. The lyrics are easy to sing along with and you can bounce around. Today might be more of a hip hop day. Let the beat drive me through the to-do list (maybe even the explicit versions).
Today is the beginning of my new normal. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not look too far down the road. My personality is one that wants everything mapped out and nice and neat. I am trying to go with the flow and be myself on this journey. For now, it’s time to turn up the music and take the first step.
This week has been one of those summer weeks that we dream about. After an insane transition week, we earned it. The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It has the balance of friends and family, throw in the beach and fireworks and it’s perfect. Generally, more people come home for the Fourth than Christmas or Thanksgiving as people have settled down. Honestly, our activities haven’t changed much with kids. We all log as much time at the beach as possible. We may not be out enjoying the nightlife, but I don’t think any of us would trade it. This morning we are getting ready to enjoy the day at the beach with my college roommate and her family.
This is a week where there is a buzz all over town. Yes, there is traffic and you have to plan ahead, but it is so much fun to see the fireworks with thousands of people. The beaches are filled with people of all shapes, sizes and accents. It is truly a melting pot of happiness. It is nice to see families spending time together and without their electronic devices. Yes, we all have cell phones; but I have seen fewer people using them at the beach this week. Parents are looking for shells, digging huge holes for kids to sit in, and swimming with their kids. Others are mini-golfing or strolling the local main streets.
We spent last night with my parents and my aunt before walking to the fireworks and it was a great family event. Complete with wiffle ball in the backyard. The kids have been so tired; they have been quietly playing legos together at the house. We had been having a tough patch, but this week they have been really good. Of course, they still have their moments; but overall they have played really well. They have made new friendships and continue to play with friends they don’t see very often. Next week, we will be back to our new summer routine. There will be baseball and soccer camps in the morning, swimming lessons and I begin my summer teaching schedule; but we will be well rested and ready for the remainder of our summer. Hopefully, all summer will run smoothly, but this week will hold a special place in my heart. Enjoy your week and play in the sun!
When did being average become a bad thing? It seems in every aspect of our society people are looking upon average as a lack of success. We seem to be living in a world of extremes. You are obese or do military style training, you are wealthy or poor, vegan or junk food lover – what happened to the middle? So many people talk about finding a balance, yet they don’t want to be average. Perhaps it is how we perceive the word.
The funny thing about average is that it’s constantly changing. Look at how much the average cost of living has changed. The same is true for athletics and academics. Personally, I learned to read in first grade which was average at the time. Now, the average first grader is reading chapter books and learning the building blocks of algebra. What used to be unheard of in athletics is now average thanks to different physical training and more advanced equipment. As we continue to grow as a society our average keeps changing.
As a parent, I often reflect on my own memories and experiences. Like everyone, we try to emulate parts of our childhood and maybe tweak other parts. I was a good student and took advanced classes all the way through school. I will never forget the look on my Advanced Placement Physics teacher when he saw that I would be majoring in dance. Having a name at the end of the alphabet, he had read eighteen engineering or pre-med majors and literally stopped in his tracks at dance. He questioned my reasoning for taking his class. My answer was simply that I liked math and science and it was the next logical step. As you might imagine, I never used those great physics skills.
As a dance major, I didn’t need high level math for my gen ed so I took a relatively basic math class. It was in this class that we calculated mortgage and credit card interest. Yes, I had learned these skills early on in math class, but frankly knowing how to compound interest for a mortgage doesn’t mean anything to an eighth grader. I could make the argument that the lower level math class in college was more beneficial than the AP physics in high school for the life that I lead.
Would I change taking advanced classes? Absolutely not, but I don’t think they define me as a person. I am sure they have helped with my daily reasoning skills, but my friends who didn’t take advanced classes are leading wonderful lives. Somewhere along the way, we all met at average and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My goal for my children is to set them up to succeed. For now, that means letting them try a variety of activities and seeing which ones they enjoy. Down the road they will have to make decisions about which ones they want to pursue and I am sure their individual talents will play a role. Most importantly, I hope that they lead a happy life – even if it is average!