Healthy Kids

Something Magical Happened in my Home

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I know you might find this really difficult to believe (I did too.) but there has been a bit of magic taking place in my home. With this little bit of magic, some of the most remarkable things have happened and I absolutely had to share with you.  

But first, a quick confession: I have been waiting to share this for fear of totally jinxing it. Yes, I was afraid that if I told you all it would bring this magic to a crashing halt. So I have been holding back until now.

However, at this point it has been a month and the magic is only getting stronger.  So I am taking a chance.

Just the tiniest bit of background here: during our summer in Germany there were many amazing changes that I saw in my children that I was truly hoping I could see continue once the summer ended. I think that maybe I might have hoped and hoped and hoped so much that this magic was the result. 

So here we are with magic alive and well in our home.  

What it has done for my children has been nothing short of miraculous.

They read so much more, sometimes for more than an hour a day. Yea I know. I want to call me a "liar" too, but it is true. Our local area book trader LOVES us.

But there is other stuff too.

 Big sister helping my youngest. Melts my heart every time. 

Big sister helping my youngest. Melts my heart every time. 

They do puzzles, create games, make art, they write letters to friends and cousins. 

They continue to dry the dishes after meals (something that they began doing this summer), they take out the compost, help cook, set the table, and clean up their toys. 

We have family game nights, nights we color together and other nights where we are all just doing our own thing. 

We talk. We talk about what we are reading, we talk about what we are writing in our journals, about school, about the world and about the future. We talk a lot. I feel like we have redefined "quality time" for ourselves in a really special way. It isn't something we have to carve out space for, quality time is a new constant

This sort of magic might be normal in your house but it wasn't for us. Not like this.

Not until we turned off the TV. That is when the magic appeared and then it stayed.

During the month of September we have watched a total of 4 hours of TV. 

4 HOURS. 

We watched Hidden Figures because well, that was just pure awesomeness. 

Then while my son had a sleep over with his cousin, the girls asked if they could watch some Smurf movie. Ok, sure. 

That was it. And that, my friends, was MAGIC. 

 

 Planning a new journal page. The girl needs space. 

Planning a new journal page. The girl needs space. 

Not only am I thrilled to pieces over the changes I see in my kids, and even my husband and myself, but it goes to show that when you want to see DIFFERENT RESULTS, you have to go about it in a DIFFERENT WAY. In order to see change, something in our day-to-day lives needed to change. 

If you know you want something in your life to be DIFFERENT and BETTER, make your own magic. Decide what you can do to change that habit. It doesn't have to be something super extreme like eliminating TV from your life. (Although I highly recommend it!) . It just has to be enough to shake up the system a bit and create a different result. And if I can do it, believe me, you can too. 

Whatever change you are thinking about making, we want to hear about it and we want to cheer you on. Check out our amazing community of moms who are also making magic! Come be a part of moms supporting moms while all we work on making healthy and happy living easier in The Real Moms Collaborative. You won't believe how much inspiration I get from this group and I am sure you will too. 

 

Thank for reading! Now go make some magic! 


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Hey, Momma! I am Michelle. I am a busy mom of 3, a certified holistic health coach and owner of Real Moms, Real Health.  I studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and I am  Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. In addition to giving workshops and lectures, I work with busy moms to find a healthy weight, have more energy and inspire health in their household. I have simple strategies that any mom can use to make healthy living EASY. Learn more about my programs by checking out my website.  And don't forget to follow me on FACEBOOKTWITTER OR INSTAGRAM.

Bring Your Family Activity Level Up, Up, Up!

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There is no doubt about it.

One of the essentials to healthy living for you and your family is getting up and getting moving.  

This is true for parents and true for kids. 

But these don't need to be separate events. (Like maybe you go to the gym and your child heads to soccer practice or something like that...)  In fact, one thing I absolutely love is being active together as a family. Whether it is hiking a new trail together or playing catch in the backyard, everything is always better when we are doing it together. 

But....

...thanks to jam-packed schedules, after-school activities, work, work and more work, not to mention the amount of technology working against us, lots of moms find that staying active as a family is a challenge.  

 

I want to help you work right through that. 

 

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I know you know WHY we should increase our activity level as a family:

  • Active kids will more likely grow into active adults. 
  • Being active together adds to family time and bonding. 
  • Exercise helps us clear our minds, reduces stress, and improves our mood. (Good for us AND good for kids!)
  • The more we move the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight. 
  • Being active as a family is FUN!  

I could go on but you get the point, right?

 

You know WHY! The problem is HOW! 

 

It can be done! 

 

Let's move our families off of the couch and out from behind those tech screens.

Let's get them into the backyard, onto local hiking trail or to the beach for a game of volleyball.

Let's shift from what is our current "normal" into a more active life.

 

Try this!

 

1. Shift Your Thinking.

If you decide that you want to be a more active family, see it, breathe it and then live it.

Accept this as your truth and embrace it!

Before I had children, I envisioned myself as a mom. I saw myself feeding my family healthy food. I saw us meditating. I saw us practicing yoga. I saw myself on runs with my kids. I saw us hiking. I saw us camping.  

I could see it in my mind and I embraced that as my reality...BEFORE IT EVEN HAPPENED.

Even before I had my mini-humans in my life, I saw what I wanted our life to look like and it was almost like I could see the future becasue so much of what I pictured became reality.

Visualizing is an important first step. If you can't see it in your mind you don't know what you are working towards.

Once you envisioning it, it is so much easier to manifest.  

 

2. Clear The Way

If your current lifestyle doesn't include time for family activity, clear the way. The time is there, I promise.

Say no. Postpone. Reschedule. PRIORITIZE. 

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Say YES to an early morning bike first. Then "ok, fine" to the chores and errands later.

Make plans to visit the beach, a zoo, a museum or a park.  WRITE IT ON THE CALENDAR. (It makes it more real.)

Leave the dishes after dinner and head outside with a frisbee or a ball to toss. (The dishes don't mind waiting.)

Once you decide that you truly want to be more active and decide it will be so, you will find the time if you really, really, really promise to make it a priority. 

 

 

 

3. Get Uncomfortable. 

This step does NOT require that you get active, pull a muscle, then smile through the pain.

No.

All I mean by "get uncomfortable" is this: right now we all have some "comfortable" habits that we might be looking to change. 

Maybe the kids leave the dinner table and grab their tablets.

Maybe you spend Sunday morning catching up on shows. 

Maybe family time includes a game console and limited blinking.  

These things have become comfortable parts of our lives. 

 You don't have to have a big plan. Just get up, get moving and see what adventures await! 

You don't have to have a big plan. Just get up, get moving and see what adventures await! 

To get "uncomfortable" means to do something a little unfamiliar, something that isn't yet our norm and to avoid leaning back into our comfortable, not-so-active habits. 

When you feel yourself cozying up to a comfortable old habit that you are trying to change, catch yourself. 

If you catch yourself about to say the usual, "Let's stay in and watch movies," SHAKE IT OFF and remember that you are a more active family now.  Go on family walk after dinner.

You will thank yourself later. 

 

Let's keep this conversation going!

 I want to invite you to join our online community of moms supporting moms called

The Real Moms Collaborative.

We are building healthier lives for ourselves and our families one step at a time! 

See you there! 


 Michelle and crew! 

Michelle and crew! 

Hey, Momma! I am Michelle. I am a busy mom of 3, a certified holisitc health coach and owner of Real Moms, Real Health.  I studied at the Institute of Integratvie Nutrition and I am  Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. In addition to giving workshops and lectures, I work with busy moms to find a healthy weight, have more energy and inspire health in their household. I have simple strategies that any mom can use to make healthy living EASY. Learn more about my programs by checking out my website.  And don't forget to follow me on FACEBOOKTWITTER OR INSTAGRAM.

Happy, Healthy Halloween

TRICK OR TREAT!

Soon we will be hearing children walking through our neighborhoods, singing to us their requests for something sweet and then filling their trick or treat bags to the brim. I love the fun of Halloween: the parties, the happy kids, the decorations and, yes, even the sweet treats. (Within reason, of course!)

In the past, Halloween has also been a little bit of an anxious time for me. Once upon a time, it marked the beginning of my downward, unhealthy end-of-the-year spiral.

Do you know what I mean?

Looking just at Halloween, first there is lots of candy in the house. You know, "getting ready for the trick or treaters" but then I'd mysteriously have to restock before the big day.

Then there are the school parties, friends' parties, Halloween itself....

...and then the AFTERMATH. The candy that sticks around until it all gets eaten.

But it really doesn't end there because then we have Thanksgiving and the over-indulgences it can bring, followed by all the yummy treats that correlate to so many wonderful December holidays along with parties, get-togethers, and one reason after another to over do it.

See? Downward spiral.

By the time it all ended, I was making New Year's Resolutions to lose the weight I mostly just gained in the last 3 months. Eek.

But let's not get too far ahead though. I want to share a little bit about why Halloween is NOT a time of anxiety for me anymore (I will talk about the rest of the holiday season later on)  and why it does NOT represent the beginning of my downward end-of-the-year spiral anymore. In my own journey for my best health & wellness, I have discovered a few strategies for keeping Halloween in check for both myself and my children that I want to share with you.

  1. FILL UP ON GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD

Do not ever be HUNGRY around Halloween treats! (Um, I believe that is the definition of "disastrous outcome".) This strategy is something to use for ourselves and our children. Halloween party at school? Cool. Huge healthy breakfast, huge healthy lunch, healthy snack. Of course this is our goals on a daily basis but I want to be particularly on top of it during a time like this. If I am going to slip up, it would be best not to do that now. I know that my kids will eat some sweet treats and I am fine with that. But I know they are less likely to go overboard with bellies full of healthy goodness.

This is true for me, too. I host a Halloween party here in my home. We usually have a combination of healthy food options and some fun holiday treats. Before I step foot in a room that has luscious homemade cookies and cupcakes (we have some amazing bakers in this family), I make sure to eat first. Showing up hungry to a room full of naughty food options is like inviting a vampire into your home, it renders you powerless. (Anyone get that movie reference? ha!) So, eat up!

 

2.  QUIET YOUR CRAVING WITH SOMETHING WARM AND COMFORTING

During the times that a sweetness craving is calling (Ok, maybe SCREAMING) my name, I quiet that craving down with something warm and comforting like hot tea. There are so many types of teas that go well with this time of year. Teas that include cinnamon, apple and cranberry are perfect for the autumn weather. I love rooibus, it is probably almost always my tea of choice to walk around the neighborhood with as we trick or treat. Hot apple cider or just hot lemon water can also do the job to quiet that disruptive craving.

 

3.  HAVE HEALTHY OPTIONS

Simple enough but in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, this strategy can get pushed aside. Coming up with sweet treats is easy, and there are certainly plenty you could grab in a pinch at any grocery store. If you are going to spend time and effort figuring out any part of your Halloween traditions, figure out how to include some healthier options. It is possible, I promise!

Last year, our very sweet neighbor brought my kids a unique bag of Halloween treats. It included seaweed snacks, organic dried fruit, super food chips, energy bars and organic candy. It was a great idea and we felt so good about the kids receiving it! The best part is that they LOVED it! They tasted Chomperz (the seaweed snack) for the first time and ever since then I can't keep a package in my house for more than a day. They devour it immediately!

There are so many simple and healthy, not to mention adorable, options for your Halloween table this season, too. These clementine "pumpkins" took me a just a couple of minutes to put together and my kids went ga-ga over them. Nobody is going to feel cheated out of sweet treats when you have something like this gracing your party table.

 

4. THE SWITCH WITCH (AKA "Get the candy out of the house AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!")

I don't know who created this idea but I would personally like to give them a huge hug. The first time I heard about the Switch Witch I embraced the idea whole-heartedly. You may have heard of this awesome, new tradition and it is how I remove the over abundance of candy from my home as soon as possible. Like anyone else, if there is a ton of candy in my house, I (and everyone else that lives here) is going to eat it. I desperately needed a strategy to deal with this and the Switch Witch works out perfectly.

The basic idea is that the Switch Witch comes during the night, after all trick or treating is done, and trades the candy for a gift. Each of my kids picks 5 or 6 of their favorite pieces of candy from the night to save and the rest is offered to the Switch Witch. She takes it and leaves a gift. You might like to have that gift be a book, a craft, a toy. We usually have a book, a craft and/or a healthy snack. If you are feeling particularly crafty, the Switch Witch might leave a note about how they made a good choice to limit the amount of sugary treats they had this Halloween season!

What you do from there is up to you. Some local dentists will BUY your Halloween candy, some folks bring it into the break room at work, some organizations include donated Halloween candy in care packages for U.S. troops like Operation Gratitude. No matter what you do, this is a great way to move candy out of your house and make it that much easier for you to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

 

It is possible to put a healthier spin on this fun holiday. If you decide to try any of these strategies, please share your thoughts in our free online community, The Real Moms Collaborative!

I would love to hear the ways in which YOU make Halloween a little healthier, too, so be sure to send your ideas our way!

Thank you so much for reading.