5 Easy Family Resolutions – Time to Be Healthy (+ FREE Printable)

It’s difficult to teach our children the importance of healthy eating without turning them into obsessive calorie counters. That’s not counterproductive which is why I love the program Red Light Green Light Eat Right. It’s revolutionary and focuses on the right kind of food you could be eating; not the calorie counts.

5 Easy Family Resolutions

Some of you may not remember this but in 2012, I participated in a local 90 day weight loss challenge. I didn’t win the challenge, and honestly that wasn’t my goal at all, it did change my life and that was all that I wanted. Then I got pregnant. I had really good intentions to keep my eating and workout routine up during my pregnancy but that just didn’t happen. I could give you a number of excuses that are actually pretty valid but that’s not the point of this post. Now here I am  at almost the place where I had to start in 2012 during the Challenge. The difference? I know more now and I’ve realized that I love working out. The major hurdle, and I’m finding this to be with any healthier lifestyle change, is the food.

Ugh. The food part of healthy living is such a challenge because as Americans we make convenience so easy and appealing. Plus, let’s be real here, crappy, bad for you food is cheaper. If you’ve grown up in a house where you bought whatever was in the grocery store it doesn’t come natural to look for organic and all natural products and don’t even get me started on marketing and buzz words. That’s not what this post is about though. This is about me and my family, the way we are going to go back to the basics and to where we were two years ago; because as the mom of the family I do drive the nutrition plan. I know from experience that if I make changes my family will follow suit.

5 Easy Family Resolutions – Time to Be Healthy

1. Taking the time to make my own breakfast and lunch. I’m good about making dinner from scratch (and by scratch I mean not from a box) but when it comes to myself I just eat whatever I can during the day. That means if I don’t have time I’ll have chips or nibble off whatever the kids have had for lunch. I need to eat a well balanced meal; it’ll keep me full and actually fuel my body rather than just appease it.

Healthy Lunch Options.First Time Mom

2. Continue to workout; not going more than two days in a row missing a workout. I have a mommy friend that I workout with. She and I do our best to get up and workout by 6:30am. On my own I’ll hit that snooze button every single time. When I know she’s on the other end depending on me, however, I get up. I also know that I just will not workout later on in the day or at night. By that time I’m exhausted and I just want to veg out and relax. That’s okay and everyone needs to relax but that’s why I have to get my workout over with early.

Healthy Resolutions Working Out. First Time Mom

3. On the resolution to get up and workout, more sleep is needed…definitely earlier bedtime. It is so hard for me to get to bed early and I never had that problem before I became a mom. The reason? I thrive on being productive; seeing a task completed from start to finish just doesn’t happen during the day since I’m nursing my eight-month-old daughter.

4. Using the Red Light, Green Light food list to help the kids make better choices. I was watching Katie Couric’s talk show two years ago and she had a pediatrician, Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, on talking about her program Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right. It’s a truly brilliant nutritional education tool for children and it has a 96% success rate. I’m all about teaching the kids how to make healthy choices, I don’t want to place too many rules on them. As a teenager I was a rebel and I still have that rebellious spirit in me. I know one of my children will be the same way too so I figure that education is the best option for our family when it comes to eating.

I made a sheet with my oldest, Brennan, who was four-years-old at the time, and we put it up on our refrigerator. Brennan referenced it all the time and it was so awesome to have that sheet of paper be the food police and not me.

I’ve created a printable for you and your child to use. I suggest going through magazines or using Google images together to cut out and paste directly onto the sheet. Here’s the basic gist: Green light foods are foods that there is no limit to – think vegetables and fruit. These foods can also be referred to as “Grow” foods because they are not manufactured; they are whole. Yellow light foods are foods that are grown, however, they need some processing in order to eat. We typically don’t eat them in their original form – think raw meat, grains straight from the field, etc. So these foods we eat in moderation daily – yogurt, milk, meat, grains. Red light foods, well, that should be obvious. These foods are ones that we eat but definitely not daily and should be reserved for special occassions, like birthday cake.  Click here to print the printable.

Red Light Green Light Printable. First Time Mom

 

5. Being active together as a family. One of the great things about the Challenge was that it forced me to be active even when I wasn’t at the gym. I had to be creative in how I did that and I needed to do it with the kids. Whether it was working out in our basement “gym” while they were awake and watching me or running to the library with them in a jogging stroller, watching them pretend to workout on their own or alongside me has been on of the most gratifying experiences in this whole healthy lifestyle change. Kendall, my three-year-old middle daughter, when she was given new tennis shoes, called them her workout shoes and promptly went running around our main floor because she was working out.

Working out with Kids. First Time Mom

Are you getting healthy? What are your resolutions?

Words of Encouragement: Hope for Damaged Relationships

Sometimes I’m inspired to write something but I don’t have a computer with me nor do I feel like writing an entire blog post. Still, it’s like I have to get this thought out of my mind and onto “paper” because it escapes. I’ve been posting these random messages of truth and encouragement on my Instagram account so I thought I would post them here as well. I sincerely hope they fill you with encouragement. For this series, I’m calling these Words of Encouragement.

Words of Encouragement Hope for Damaged Relationships

One of the things we never talk about with mental illness are the relationships that are damaged before a diagnosis happens. While I wasn’t diagnosed with depression until I had my son nine years ago, I’m fairly certain I’ve been struggling with depression since puberty.

I look back on some of my relationships during college and afterwards and I know I severely damaged them. It’s not an excuse for meanness or trying to emotionally manipulate someone into doing what I wanted but it explains so much.Depression

It’s hard to be the person the boundary has to be placed on. It’s necessary though for anyone to protect themselves from a toxic person. It just sucks to think about how you were the toxic person they needed protection from.

Mental illness, depression in my case, is a disease the same way asthma is a disease. I take medication to manage my asthma. I take medication to manage my depression. They are both vital to my well being. Sometimes people asd me if I want to get off of my antidepressants and I say, “No, because I’m not safe to be around when I’m off of them.” I would rather take something for the rest of my life and feel evenly balanced like I do now than try to fight for balance with medication.

If you feel like something’s off, if life is just too hard and it’s always everyone else’s fault, please think about talking with someone. Life doesn’t have to be so hard.

Mental illness, depression in my case, is a disease the same way asthma is a disease. I take medication to manage my asthma. I take medication to manage my depression. They are both vital to my well being.

 

Help for Depression

Help for Depression: Treatment Options

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Get Help with Depression – American Psychiatric Association

I posted this photo and caption on my Instagram. To read more posts like this follow me on Instagram.

Words of Encouragement: What is the motivation behind your desires?

Sometimes I’m inspired to write something but I don’t have a computer with me nor do I feel like writing an entire blog post. Still, it’s like I have to get this thought out of my mind and onto “paper” because it escapes. I’ve been posting these random messages of truth and encouragement on my Instagram account so I thought I would post them here as well. I sincerely hope they fill you with encouragement. For this series, I’m calling these Words of Encouragement.

Words of Encouragement: What is the motivation behind your desires?

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

Never waste your time wanting to be someone else.

I’ll level with ya, when I was younger I wanted to be skinnier. I thought I was really fat. At 137 lbs I was certain I was huge. A size medium wasn’t small enough, a size 8 was way too large. I just wasn’t happy. I wanted a thigh gap. I wanted a perfectly toned stomach and I wanted smaller breasts. I also wanted all of those things without any of the work to get them. I compared myself to other women and I would feel a sense of pride as I realized that I was most likely better in appearance than her.

Ick. That’s so disgusting. My attitude was so far from anything grace-filled. In fact, I was horrifically insecure.

Here I am, 3 kids later, with 13 years of marriage under my belt, a depression diagnosis and Zoloft-user, well over 200 lbs, and I can honestly say that I have never felt as secure and confident in the woman I am.
My trials, though I thought would destroy me, have only made me more beautiful than I was before.

Beauty is never good enough in the eyes of the beholder. We always want the next best thing but what if we examined our hearts? What if we looked at the motivation behind our desires? What would you find?

Love yourself, examine those inner thoughts, and for goodness sakes leave the thigh gaps to the flamingos if that’s not how you’re anatomically made!

Beauty is never good enough in the eyes of the beholder. We always want the next best thing but what if we examined our hearts? What if we looked at the motivation behind our desires? What would you find?

I posted this photo and caption on my Instagram. To read more posts like this follow me on Instagram.

Breastfeeding Problems: A Clogged Nipple What?

What is a Clogged Nipple Pore_
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Once upon a time when my middle child was still an infant and I was nursing her exclusively, I noticed a persistent burning feeling whenever I wasn’t breastfeeding. It wasn’t the twinge that I usually feel in my nipples when my milk lets down; it was different. It was really painful. It felt like I was in the very early stages of breastfeeding. You remember those days filled with MotherLove Nipple Cream slathered on in between feedings to help heal your cracked nipples, don’t you? Then as soon as my daughter would latch on and start eating the pain would ease.

Breastfeeding Problems: What is a clogged nipple pore and how can you fix it? Tips and resources on how to fix this common breastfeeding problem at home.
Photo courtesy of LOvB Photography

What is a clogged nipple?

If you haven’t experienced a clogged nipple pore you should be very thankful. If you have then you know what I’m talking about. And if you’re reading this and wondering if that pain you’re experiencing is a clogged nipple pore then by all means, please read on! A clogged nipple pore looks like a white pimple on your nipple. It’s not to be confused with a blood blister that is usually caused by friction from poor latching or positioning. It’s also not thrush, although it does resemble it. Thrush will not feel better after your baby has eaten; thrush burns. A clogged nipple pore will feel ten times better after nursing your baby or pumping.

 What causes a clogged nipple pore (aka milk blisters or blebs)?

 Clogged nipple pores (aka “milk blisters” or “blebs”) are usually caused by oversupply, pressure on your breast from a tight bra, changes in feeding schedules (baby skips feedings) and stress. If left unattended the clogged pore can lead to mastitis so it’s important that you take action to relieve the pressure. When left unattended a clogged pore can also reduce the milk supply in the affected breast. Prior to actually seeing the clogged pore, I always noticed a reduction of milk while pumping. Then the pain came, I knew what was happening with my milk supply – there was a plug somewhere inside of my nipple.
Breastfeeding Problems: What is a clogged nipple pore and how can you fix it? Tips and resources on how to fix this common breastfeeding problem at home.

How can you fix a clogged nipple pore?

So what can you do to fix a clogged nipple pore? It’s really rather simple. Apply a hot (don’t burn yourself though) damp compress to the breast to loosen things up. You can also use a cotton ball that’s been soaked with olive oil to help loosen the skin. Next you’ll want to apply a hot compress to your nipple before your baby nurses. After a few minutes, take the compress off and allow your baby to nurse. Be sure to nurse frequently as this will unclog the pore relieving the pressure.
A lactation consultant once told me that if I could see the bleb’s head (it’s hard and white) I could sterilize a needle or safety pin. To do that she suggested I light a match and hold the tip of the needle into the flame for a while until I knew it was hot. Then place the needle in rubbing alcohol soaking for ten to 15 minutes. One your needle is sterilized, lift the skin of the bleb with the sterilized needle. Do not pierce, lift. The goal is to not give yourself a nipple piercing; if you really want to do that go and find a reputable piercing studio. Moving the hard white substance from the nipple pore should relieve pressure immediately. Then your baby does the rest doing what they do best: nursing.
Our bodies are made wonderfully, don’t you think? Another way of treating a clogged nipple pore is to do the following: Fill a spray bottle with five drops of grapefruit seed extract, ¼ cup of white vinegar and two cups of water. Apply the solution to your breasts one a day. For more information I highly suggest checking out KellyMom. It’s a great resource for all things breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding Problems: What is a clogged nipple pore and how can you fix it? Tips and resources on how to fix this common breastfeeding problem at home.
Photo courtesy of LOvB Photography

 To recap it all:

  • Causes: Oversupply, nursing bra that is too tight against breasts, changes in baby’s feeding, and/or stress
  • Symptoms: Reduction in supply, burning sensation when not breastfeeding baby, relief once baby has latched on and is feeding.
  • Remedies: Hot compress applied to breast before feeding baby, allow baby to latch on properly and feed. Continue to do so until the head of the clogged pore can be seen. Sterilize needle or safety pin and gently lift the head. Allow baby to feed as usual.

Clogged nipple pores are a fairly common problem in breastfeeding and really should not be anything that you worry about. If you have more questions reach out to your doctor or lactation consultant.

 

Does Grape Juice Prevent Stomach Flu?

grape Juice & Stomach flu

There are few things that I dread as a parent more than the stomach flu. The mere utterance of the word and it makes me want to quarantine my children in our house until it seems that the virus has passed. That’s not reality; no one can hide in their house for months on end until it seems that prime stomach flu season has passed. So how exactly do you prevent the stomach flu?

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How can you keep the stomach flu away?

Keep your hands CLEAN before you put them or anything they’ve touched in your mouth. Contrary to what you may think about the stomach flu, the virus is nothing like seasonal flu. Influenza is spread through the air and viral gastroenteritis (the fancy name for stomach flu) and the Norovirus (the really nasty stomach flu) is spread orally through fecal matter. What does this mean? Wash your hands!!!! As gross as it sounds, to have two words like oral and fecal, come together that is how viral gastroenteritis is spread. Think about it: Baby throws up all over the car, mom has to then clean the car out, including all of the toys that happened to be in the line of spew-age. Then, big brother, who loves to chew on any and everything, picks up the cap to a pen that was in the line of fire and you guessed it, starts chewing on the pen cap. BAM! 48 hours and brother is now tossing his cookies. The cycle just goes on and on and on.

How can you prevent the stomach flu?

Personally, since I know that one of the main ways the stomach flu is spread is from the hands (or a random object like a toy) to the mouth, I keep hand sanitizer in my purse for quick and easy hand washing when soap and water isn’t handy.

How do you use grape juice to prevent the stomach flu from spreading through your family? Why does it work and how does it work?

Does grape juice prevent stomach flu?

Yes, grape juice. Call me crazy but it works and no, there isn’t any real scientific study that can back up the claim that it works. What I have to go on is my own experience with this little trick as well as a whole host of other people on the Internet (the Internet never lies, right? wink wink).

When gastroenteritis rears its ugly head in your home, all family members who are not (that is key) infected must drink three 8 oz glasses of pure grape juice each day for a week. My family and I have been doing this for the last three years and I swear by it (not solely, as disinfecting surfaces and washing hands is also key to keeping your house clean of spreading the virus). We always have grape juice on hand in our home and it hasn’t failed us yet.

Sure there are exceptions to every rule, however, if you stay on top of it, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

How does grape juice prevent the stomach flu?

What’s the theory behind it? The theory is that gastroenteritis prefers an acidic environment to breed and make you sick. The tannens in the grape juice do a good job of creating an alkaline environment which prevents the virus from sticking. (This is totally my way of explaining it although if you want a more scientific explanation visit these resources – Alkaline Foods Support Homeostasis And Protect Against Disease and untitled but very fancy scientific paper)

Other than grape juice, what else can you do to prevent the stomach flu?

Disinfect those contaminated surfaces! When the stomach flu enters our house, I bring out the big guns – Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide, because it claims to actually kill the Norovirus and I tend to trust this woman because she’s devoted her entire life to studying the stomach flu. For everyday cleanup, at the end of the day I also like to use Softy Wipes. Yes, not only are they safe for you to use on your hands but they’re strong enough to use on your household surfaces!

While symptoms of the stomach flu last anywhere between 24 and 48 hours the virus itself sheds for up to two weeks. Yeah, you’re contagious two weeks after you’ve recovered from illness and that means everyone else is also shedding the virus for up to two weeks. WASH AND SANITIZE YOUR HANDS BEFORE YOU EAT!!!!!!

Grapefruit Seed Extract – Grapefruit Seed Extract has been proven to kill a surrogate Norovirus (not the human kind, specifically the equivalent of what a cat would get). GSE has tons of great properties that are useful to have on a daily basis: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, and antimicrobial. I use it and it hasn’t failed me yet.

Activated Charcoal – Activated Charcoal is used in emergency rooms when a patient has overdosed or is experiencing food poisoning; basically it absorbs the toxins (and anything else) in the intestines. I use this article whenever someone gets sick to help me with dosage. The thing you have to be careful with using activated charcoal is to not consume anything that you want your body to absorb like medications. This is a more “extreme” measure. My family and I have been using activated charcoal to help with our tummy aches for years now and it’s not an everyday thing, it has worked for us.

What is the best preventative measure for the stomach flu?

I think the biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to stomach flu prevention or any communicable disease is that hygiene really is king. You can drink all of the grape juice in the world, however, if you aren’t washing your hand, using hand sanitizer or regularly cleaning the surfaces in your home you are going to get sick. The key to prevention is being prepared; always have hand sanitizer for clean hands when soap and water are not available, grape juice (to prevent the rest of your family from getting the stomach flu) and Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide for the serious disinfecting needs.