Mother’s Day: A Reflection of Happy

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I wrap my new baby in my arms and feel an overwhelming sense of love –and fear. Since her arrival my life seems disjointed, chaotic, jumbled. I am thinking in circles. Round and round the clock goes. Tick. Tick. Tick. My house is an organized mess. My thoughts are exhaustively incoherent. Am I doing this right?

Months go by. And so do the gurgles and spit-ups and dirty diapers. Her first smile enthralls me. Finally, I think to myself, a nod of approval. And then comes a giggle. One, two, three more. Sitting up, crawling, first steps. I am flooded with encouragement.

Years go by. And so do pre-school and kindergarten. A new baby brother to love. I am standing in my kitchen and this blonde-haired, bright-eyed, six year-old beauty runs up, tugs at my skirt, and grins.

I smile widely. Right back at a ya little one.

And we continue on.

Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy every second! Much love to you all… ~lisa

7 Ways to Live a Long, Healthy Life

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We all want to live a long, vibrant, and energetic life, right? Right. So the question is how do we do that? With the stresses of motherhood, careers, PTA meetings, extracurriculars, volunteer work, music lessons, and soccer practice – how do we keep ourselves healthy and happy while balancing the chaos that encompasses our every day?

Let’s first understand that health is not a guarantee. It is almost certainly a result of the choices we make. The choices we make not only for ourselves, but for our children as well. It is very important we lay a strong foundation of wellness within our families.

Here are some tips to get us engaged and active in creating and maintaining a livelier, healthier life:

1. Keep moving. Stay physically active. Walk, run, or cycle. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba. Whatever your preferred method of working out is (assuming you have one), continue doing it. And if you don’t have one, find one. Exercise not only improves mood, it also increases energy levels and boosts immunity.

2. Eat well. Know your food. Know your farmer. Eat the rainbow. When possible, choose local and organic. Organic fruits and vegetables are less likely to contain pesticide residues. Avoid industrialized meats and dairy. Instead opt for pastured/organic meats and dairy which are raised without the use of antibiotics and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) which is a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production. Avoid empty calories, processed foods, and boxed junk. These foods contain many ingredients that contribute to weight gain and other diseases.

3. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s natural for human beings to feed off of each other’s energy. It only seems logical then that in order to be happy, you need to surround yourself with upbeat, optimistic, and encouraging people. There is no room in your life for the Debbie-downers of the world. Learn how to develop strong, intimate relationships with those closest to you.

4. Enjoy living in the moment. Live for today with what you already have. The grass is always greener on your side of the fence if you are willing to see it that way. What is the saying – Live. Laugh. Love.? Well there’s no better time to start doing those three things then right NOW.

5. Challenge yourself mentally. Never stop learning. For when we stop learning, we essentially stop living. Keep yourself involved in new things. Pick up an instrument, read something, take up writing or painting. Your passion and zest for life will stay alive and well if you remain open to new experiences and ideas.

6. Meditate. This is a great way to let go of stress, rest, and reconnect with yourself. It’s also a great way to relieve tension, anxiety, frustration, and fear. Mediation can be done anywhere at anytime. You can do it on the go with just the act of taking a few deep breaths or you can dedicate a specific time of day/night for a more intimate session.

7. Be thankful. Write down a list of things you a thankful for. And then? Be thankful for them. :)

Bunny Love: Ideas for a Healthier Easter Basket

I went shopping for my kids Easter baskets this week.  They are beyond thrilled that the hoppity hoppity bunny is on his way!  There is much bunny love going on at our house right now.  Except for the fact that neither of them wants to actually go see the Easter bunny.  Cracks me up!  I get so excited living vicariously through them.  Remember how fun holidays were when we were kids?  I do.  Easter was especially fun with all that yummy goodness I found in my basket!

Instead of mounds of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, or marshmallow Peeps, I aim to live out a healthier Easter tradition with my kiddos.  A bit different from the way we celebrated Easter as a kid.  I try to be creative and avoid putting tons of candy in their baskets.  They each get one chocolate bunny sucker and that’s pretty much it for sweets.  Instead of sugary treats, I might bag up some healthy snacks or throw some organic fruit gummies in there.  My kids love when they get little ‘gifts’ for Easter and they don’t even notice the amount of candy in their baskets is practically zilch.

Ideas for healthier Easter basket treats:

  • Organic Granola
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies*
  • Organic Trail Mix
  • Homemade oatmeal cookies
  • Organic Raisins*
  • Annie’s Gummy Bunnies*
  • Dark chocolate covered pretzels or raisins
  • Yummy Earth* lollipops, gummy bears, sour worms

Ideas for themed Easter baskets or Easter bags or Easter pails:

  • Garden Basket- Fill the basket with all things gardening!  Gloves, garden tools, seeds, small pots, sun hat, garden mat.
  • Dress-up Basket- Fill it with a tu-tu and wings, superman shirt, batman mask, lady bug costume, etc.
  • Outside Play Basket- Jump rope, chalk, jacks, beach gear, sunglasses, shovel and pal, sunscreen, etc.
  • Arts and Crafts Basket- Paints, crayons, coloring books, art pads, markers.
  • Doll Basket: You can buy a small doll or fill the basket with accessories for a doll your child already has. There are so many doll clothes, shoes, hats, bottles, and bags to choose from.  If you have a daughter, you already know this.
  • My Favorite Color Basket- Use your child’s favorite color for inspiration and fill, fill, fill!
  • Sports/Hobby Basket- Chess lover, make-up artist, dancer, singer…endless possibilities.
  • Book Basket- Your child’s favorite author and an array of new books to read.

There are countless ideas to make this Easter happy and healthy for your family!  All you have to do is think outside the box!

What are you putting in your kids Easter baskets this year?

*A little FYI:
  • Yummy Earth is certified organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and has no chemical colors, artificial flavors, or high fructose corn syrup.
  • Annie’s Gummy Bunnies are certified organic and made with no added preservatives, vegan, gelatin-free, gluten-free, and absolutely NO artificial colorings.
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies are non-gmo and no sugar added.
  • Newman’s Own Organic Raisins are USDA certified organic  and high in antioxidants.

“Bunny Love” was originally published in April 2012 by Mommy OM.

the real spring

Today is the Spring Equinox in this part of the world. A time for renewal and joy as the earth awakens from its winter slumber and life begins again. Spring is the season of rebirth. The smell in the air and the warmth from the sun brings us all a sense of peace and nostalgia. We are reminded once again of the wondrous beauty nature has to offer. The flowers are in bloom and the sounds of birds tweeting, twittering, and chirping bring music to our ears. There’s just something about the way spring rides in and changes the minds and moods of everyone it touches. It’s magical.

This magic also brings with it a long list of things that need to get done (you know, more to add to our never-ending list of mommy duties and whatnot), but it’s okay because it’s spring. Spring cleaning makes me happy. Dusting, vacuuming, digging, bagging, junking, watering, weeding, spraying, cleaning, and washing just seem easier to accomplish in the springtime. I don’t know why, but as long as my windows are open and the sunshine is rolling in, I can clean every toilet and bathtub in the house with a smile on my face. The same goes for rounding up dust bunnies from under the couch, giving the pantry a makeover, and sorting through the kids sock and underwear drawer. And when it’s all said and done (if ever), the celebratory dance I do in praise of my now organized and rejuvenated home could not be more justified.

Spring is also a time for cleansing our inner souls. A time for change. A time to look within ourselves, to be conscious of who we are and who we want to become. A chance to focus on what really matters in life and to reinvent ourselves as mothers, as daughters, as sisters, as aunts, as friends, as women.

Here is my “real” to do list this spring:

Happy Spring!

ps. It’s freezing and snowing where I live, but I am telling myself to embrace it. Hey, at least the sun is was shining today.

“The Real Spring” was published on March 22.2012 by Mommy OM.

Encourage Your Kids Fashion Personality

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Children are naturally expressive. Their diverse personalities are reflected through their voice, body movements, imaginations, and teachings. We learn more and more about our children as they grow: What makes them giggle. What makes them cry. Their favorite foods. Favorite colors. Blocks versus Legos. Crayons versus paint. More importantly, children too, learn to identify with themselves through the choices they make as they continually strive for independence.

One great way to encourage personality development and expression is through clothing. From early on, it is essentially ‘we the parents’ who define our children through their clothing. The clothing we choose for our infants and toddlers usually reflects our own sense of ideals, beliefs, and style. But soon, even younger children begin to show signs of fondness for certain colors, textures, and patterns in clothing. Long sleeves versus short. Stripes versus polka dots. Skirts versus pants. Most often, children will naturally gravitate towards apparel which reflects how they are feeling in that particular moment.

You may have a child who loves to wear tutu’s and princess crowns all day long. Or one that wears his favorite blue t-shirt every single day no matter what. A superhero who needs a red cape. A little one who won’t go anywhere without flowers in her hair and mismatched plaids and prints. Rain boots in winter and snow boots in summer. Sunglasses, hats, knitted scarves, etc. As long as they are safe and dressed in what is deemed “appropriate,” I say let them get creative.

By allowing our kids the freedom to decide we are instilling and encouraging not only sense of self, but critical thinking, positive assertion, and problem solving skills. And along with our guidance and love, these kids are destined to be little rock stars in their own right.