Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

I want to be a good example for my kids, you see. I want to teach them good habits that last a lifetime. Good habits with relationships, studying, money and food. I want to try to live the way I want my kids to see me living. But as a mom it’s hard to be “on” all the time.

We just finished building this beautiful new house. But my life is still under construction. I imagine it always will be, because there’s always something I can improve.

I feel confident teaching my children about kindness, compassion, goal-setting and hard work. But there are other areas I want to work on. Areas that, if I’m being honest, I’m not exactly succeeding. All those ambitious goals I had about reading together every single night and extra science lessons on weekends? Yea, that’s not happening. Nevertheless, onward and upward we’ll go. No sense beating myself up about it, I can only try to be a little better every day.

One area I’m working on lately is showing them how to eat better.

My kids don’t eat terribly. Though they aren’t getting the home cooked meals I dreamed I’d be making once I became a wife and mother, they do eat a lot of fruit, and a decent amount of vegetables. But we could be doing better. And lately, we are doing a little better.

The way I’m getting my son to eat vegetables lately is somewhat unconventional. He started competing in track recently and he absolutely loves running. Especially racing people. Well someone (ok, me) happened to tell him that vegetables make us run fast. He asked me to eat some in front of him to prove it and next thing I know I’m sprinting across the house with him.

So far it’s working to get him to try steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Am I genius or what? Lil’ J doesn’t have a problem downing them all without a bribe. And so far Lee Lee likes them too.

Other times I try to get some veggies tucked into their diet within other foods they like. Their favorite chicken strips also contain a serving of veggies. And some Stonyfield’s Kids Yogurt Pouches also have vegetables inside. There’s blueberry apple carrot, and apple cinnamon sweet potato (my kids’ new favorite).

These are two new flavors that’s the same organic brand we love, plus real fruits and veggies. My kids like the taste and I think they’re starting to believe me when I say vegetables taste good too. You can find them at your local grocery store.

It’s an easy snack to grab before running outside, and my son is also putting them to the test to see how they improve his speed (I think he says it’s helping).

These are little wins. But that’s what it’s all about. Taking one win at a time. As parents sometimes there’s pressure for perfection. But you know what they say… Perfect people aren’t real and real people aren’t perfect. We got dis.

When my daughter told me she wanted to try out to be a cheerleader I had to check myself. On one hand I was excited that she was interested in a new sport and I didn’t care about the outcome. On another hand I knew if I was going to be making that kind of investment I wanted her to take it seriously. But I didn’t want my serious approach to take the fun out of it.

She was driven from the start. Wanting to master different levels of tumbling. She practiced at home a lot, and I was willing to help. But I didn’t necessarily know the right way to teach her. Most of all I loved the spark that lit up inside her every time she got ready for practice and each time she took the stage at a competition.

There wasn’t a question that she’d continue to cheer after last season. She’d improved so much and I wanted to continue to help fuel her passion for the sport.

But one thing I didn’t share in all of the transition from last year was the sacrifice she had to make.

Starting back at public school was quite the adjustment for all of us. Gone were the days of sleeping in until 8am and getting started on the day. We now had a bus stop call of 6:35am. Bedtimes needed to be earlier and cheer practice was cutting into that.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

Add to the fact that we were all adjusting to having a new baby in the home and packing to move a significant difference from the gym, I was feeling like a break would be a good idea.

Not a complete break–I definitely planned to help her as best as I could with getting her to lessons and classes to continue to improve her skills. But a break from the team. Which is her favorite part of it all.

It took several conversations, some convincing and bribes to get her to agree with the idea–Or see it as her own. Even still, walking through the doors to another gym wasn’t easy for her. And she misses her cheer sisters.

We’ve found a couple of cheer gyms for her to train at until the next season begins (tryouts should be sometime late spring). One is about an hour away in traffic (but really really good), and the other is just around the corner with super small classes that almost feel like private lessons.

On Friday we premiered a little update video of our vlog. Lil’ J helped me edit this. I’m hoping we can continue this little tradition and keep watching her improve. In fact, watching some of our old videos she said “EEEW!” in regards to her tumbling. It’s pretty amazing when your child can witness their own growth.

We took a little break from our mommy/daughter vlog, and eventually, a lot of the practicing at home slowed to a halt. But as if on cue, when I had hoped to climb out of my new baby/moving/new home adjusting just after my birthday… We are kicking back into gear and back at it.

This girl has big goals and I hope to help her reach them.

It’s such a gift to watch our children grow into the people they’re meant to be. I can’t stop her from growing up, but I can be here for it. And I’m so here for this.

Easy healthy lunch snacks for kids

To mom’s still trying to get a grasp on this new year: You are not alone.

We are in our new house. And it feels so good to be in and almost entirely unpacked. Our furniture finally arrived, the nook area upgrade is in progress, and a backyard makeover is underway.

Though a lot of progress is being made I still feel like I’m having a hard time catching my breath and feeling on top of things.

One thing that stayed the same though, for now is the kids’ school. We live in different boundaries now but we didn’t want to switch the kids mid-year (and I’m not ready to jump back into homeschooling just yet) so we drive past two elementary schools on the way to their own.

They are sad they don’t get to ride the bus anymore, but I’m happy that we get to sleep in an extra half hour because the bus time was that early.

Mornings feel a little less rushed but it takes a lot more coordinating. I have to put Snoop in his kennel before we go (we don’t trust him alone in our new home just yet). Wake up the baby and get her ready. And get everyone strapped in car seats.

Sometimes this means I’m tossing them their breakfast to finish in the car on our drive into town. Sometimes they’re eating a hot toaster waffle, and other times it’s cold yogurt. We all love the Stonyfield snack packs, and their new flavors are so yummy.

We already loved the original flavors but now they’ve added a couple new ones we like even more. The new vanilla yogurt and chocolate chip cookies is our personal favorite and Lil’ J likes to eat them before and/or after school (I like to eat them during as well). It’s may or may not be the only time I’ve let them have cookies for breakfast. When they’re dipped in yogurt that’s ok right? And no spoon needed.

You can find these delicious snacks at your local Target, Walmart and other retailers. Here’s a busy mom tip: Grocery pickup and/or deliver is a lifesaver! Figure out which stores closest you offer that feature then use this tool to find out which one carries the snack!

I need all the breaks I can get in making things easier right now. I can’t believe how quickly January has flown by. I am trying to give myself a bit of grace as we settle into our new routine. There’s still time to make new goals for the new year. And time to find our new groove.

I don’t foresee things slowing down for us though. Three kids, a slew of activities and a never-ending list of things to do. It’s going to be a busy and beautiful year, and it’s great to have great snacks on hand to help make the craziness of life a little easier.

I was waiting in line to checkout at the grocery store with two kids in tow at the time (this was before they invented grocery pickup, my new BFF). I was bribing my kids for good behavior when I realized I couldn’t pay for our groceries. I’d forgotten my wallet at home.

I resisted the urge to stomp my feet, throw a tantrum and cry my way out of the store. But I told my kids what happened and we abandoned the shopping cart.

If you’ve ever been in this situation you know how bad it sucks. Especially because let’s face it, shopping with kids is an accomplishment in and of itself, and to not be able to reap the rewards of actually bringing the groceries home–Tragic.

I live in a sort of organized chaos. But living that way means there are times I completely forget things. Whether it’s forgetting to buy something at the grocery store, or forgetting my keys in the car (and locking them inside), I’m a hot mess.

But you know how it is. Especially with a baby, when you’re running out the door there are so many things to remember: baby carrier, phone, diapers, wallet, snacks, etc etc etc.  I’ve forgotten each of these things at various outings all with embarrassing outcomes. And now there’s a new tool to help us hot mess moms be a little less messy.

It’s an organizational device called Adero. You attach a Tag to your main bag and add a taglet to each main item you want to make sure you don’t forget. When you’re ready to go a quick press of the tag will let you know if those important items are all gathered where they should be or if something is missing.

Let me break it down to a couple of personal scenarios where something like this would have saved me.

Scenario 1: Forgetting a baby carrier  

Standing around and holding a baby isn’t as easy as it looks. That’s why I’ve usually got Lee Lee wrapped in some kind of carrier. There have a been a few disastrous experiences where I forgot a carrier and had to fumble with paperwork and two big kids while shifting a baby back from hip to hip. One time I asked a friend to help hold my baby during cheer practice and my baby proceeded to spit up all over her again and again.

Had I stuck an Adero taglet on my carrier I would have been notified that I didn’t have it before we left the house. I could have stuck her in if and multitasked ok and my baby would have just spit up all over me. But it’s ok. I’m used to it.

Scenario 2: Forgetting diapers

I’m a little surprised at how often I forget diapers. It’s not that I forget to bring the diaper bag, it’s that I forget to restock it with diapers. A few weeks ago I went digging for one and only came up with one diaper that was two sizes too small. I made it work cause I had to, and prayed she wouldn’t have to go before we got home.

With Adero, I can stick a taglet to my diaper pouch to make sure that when I restock it, I remember to stick it back into my diaper bag.

Scenario 3: Forgetting my wallet

We’ve all been there. For me, my latest occurrence was after a fun afternoon out with the kids. I said we could swing by Sonic and grab dinner on the way home. After I placed the order at the intercom then waited my turn at the window I went digging into my diaper bag for my wallet… Which was nowhere to be found. That’s because it was at home, on my kitchen counter.

I profusely apologize to the teen who felt bad for me, and my kids because now they had to endure a night without french fries.

With Adero, I can always be alerted before I leave the house without my wallet, diapers and baby carrier.

It can also come in handy on business trips when you don’t want to leave without your laptop charger; help you remember to put your tennis shoes in your gym bag; or your passport before an international trip.

A fun little tool to help keep you organized this year.

I was chatting with a friend the other day who was saying she rarely sees me outside of the house. I was all “That’s because I don’t want to leave my house!”

I’m telling you, each kid makes me more and more of a homebody. After having my first daughter, I was out and about all the time during my maternity leave. We went to mommy and me yoga and lots of play dates.

This second half of the year, after my third baby, I went from being cooped up with a newborn, to battling and avoiding sickness. Lee Lee and I hang out at home most of the day, just working, taking pictures, and doing all the things before her brother and sister to get home. Then when they get back the house explodes into chaos.

Aside from doctors appointments, I don’t go many places with all three of them. In fact, you could argue I avoid it at all costs.

Honestly, sometimes it’s a little scary. Being outnumbered by my spawn. Particularly in public.

But the past few weeks I have pushed myself to be brave. And I’m proud to say that I survived.

I load up the baby bag with bribes snacks, put some blankets in the stroller and take leap of faith. It’s so nice that our RIVA stroller is lightweight and easy to take along. I can fold it or unfold it with one arm while I have my baby in the other. There’s lots of storage underneath for baby and big kid things, a shade for sunny days, and the older siblings love to help push it. Now that Lee Lee is bigger, she likes to ride looking out at everyone. But I can also just snap her car seat right into it.

Another cool thing about this stroller is it’s made with a special blend of recycled materials in a zero waste facility in Columbus, IN. The resin in the frame is made up of recycled potato bags and diaper tabs. The child tray and cup holders are actually made from a resin using their recycled car seats.These strollers are saving 130,000 lbs of plastic from the landfill! The RIVA travel system is available at Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com.

We’ve gone out on what you might call “brave little adventures.” I don’t try to overdo it and stay out for long periods of time. Just an hour or two here and there and each time it gets a little easier, and a little less scary.

We went to a birthday party and I survived.

To a food truck for dinner and I survived.

We went to two movies at a movie theater (on two different days), and somehow, I survived.

I even took them shopping at a little consignment store, and guess what? I survived.

Now sometimes, (if you tilt your head just right) it even looks like I have it together.

Motherhood quote life is tough but I'm tougher

I am a mother. Life is tough, but I'm tougher.Click To Tweet

If you recently had a baby, or a second, third, or fourth baby and you’re not feeling up to going anywhere, that’s ok. Someday when the weather seems unusually nice, or a friendly person offers some help, or an activity or sale sounds too good to pass up, you may get brave and head outside. And you will survive.

Preparing to leave the house after having a new baby.

In my house growing up there was a rule that you don’t talk back to your parents. If you did, you got your butt whipped.

In my son’s class at school there’s some kind of rule about using their white boards for writing words and practicing numbers. Not for drawing pictures.

“Because just drawing pictures doesn’t help our brain grow,” my son told me.

In our home now we have a rule where you don’t ride your bike in the street unless my husband or I is standing in the street with them.

There are rules about speed limits, no running around the pool, and drinking before a certain age. As kids, we may not have understood the why behind so many rules.

Growing up, if I responded to something my parents told me with a “Why?” I’d either get a butt whoopin for breaking rule #1 (don’t talk back) or receive one simple answer: Because I said so.

It’s an answer I swore up and down I’d never give my own children, but I’d be lying if I said those words have never slipped my mouth.

But some questions are too important to ignore.

“Why can’t I have a sip of your drink?”

Did you know by age 8, 37% of kids have had a sip of alcohol? Some parents thinks it’s safe to do at home, or takes away some of the allure. According to SAMHSA, by age 12, 66% of kids have had a sip. Kids ages 9 to 13 start to think underage drinking is ok and even start to experiment.

My kids are still at the age where they see it as something for adults (though they know we don’t drink it). But that could change (their perception, not my lack of drinking, ha!)

Last week at the movie theater Lil’ J asked me what the pretty knobs were near the fountain drinks. They were beer tap handles. And I explained that. She got so embarrassed and a little upset that she had asked about alcohol, but I made a point to tell her that it was a great question and I wanted her to know what that was.

I could have shrugged it off and said “It’s not for you, don’t worry about it,” but where would that have let her? Even more curious? Confused?

How many more firsts will I get with my kids?

Children have a heightened sense of justice. When kids ask us about something, teaching them rules that are based in safety can go a long way.

I’ve noticed a couple of examples with this in our home. One day we were stopped at a red light and I noticed Lil’ J’s seatbelt wasn’t on correctly. I asked her to fix it. When she asked why I explained how she could fly out my front windshield if we were in an accident. She’s stayed buckled correctly since then.

Same type thing with bike helmets.

So next time your kids ask you a serious “Why?” Resist the urge to say because you said so. Give them credit, sit down and have a grownup conversation about safety. Why they should wear a helmet. Why they shouldn’t run around a pool. And why alcohol has a legal age. Think of what a difference it can make in their lives as they grow up with a healthy understanding.

Responsibility.org has a program targeting tweens and parents of tweens called Ask Listen Learn, including resources on the developing brain. If you need help finding the words to explaining the why behind a legal alcohol age, this can help!

letting kids sip alcohol

Reponsibility.org is a Cherish 365 blog sponsor. Big thanks to them for being today’s blog sponsor.

I owe you an entire post on life with three kids. I feel like I’ve jumped on a high speed train and it hasn’t slowed down. But all of it in one word: Humbling.

My two older babies have been back in public school for nine weeks. NINE WEEKS? How is this possible? I’ve so enjoyed watching them grow but I miss them like crazy.

Remember how the first week of school was a bit dramatic? Well things have gotten better. Much better. My son is LOVING school. I seriously hit the jackpot with a kindergarten teacher. He loves her. She loves him. It’s a match made in heaven. It seriously seems like he’s a different person at school, which makes me a little envious. Though I’d rather he give the sass and attitude at home than in public, I’m not sure how or if homeschooling would work in our future.

Lil’ J is doing well. She’s reading more and more on her own versus asking me to read things to her. She always hops off the bus with a smile on her face and rattles on about her day. She talks about wanting to homeschool again now and then, but she’s still enjoying her time at her school.

It’s hard having them gone all day but I’ve enjoyed getting one on one time with Lee Lee and the quality time I get with the kids when they get home. Which leads me to what I want to share with you today…

Ways to surprise and delight your school kids when you’ve been missing them all day

Call me a dork, but sometimes when I’m missing them and feeling mopey, I’ll come up with a random little surprise for them that I hope will brighten their day. Here are some of my antics so far.

1. Lunch Notes

Write lunch notes to your kids

This is how it started. Little notes in their lunch boxes. I draw pictures with small words for my son, and write out notes for Lil’ J to read. She’s gotten so used to them that I don’t dare miss one.

2. Surprise Visits/ Lunch Dates

The one day I didn’t put one in her lunch I surprised her and brought one with me while I ate with her. I’ve also eaten with Big T once and my husband has gone to eat with him several times. Almost once a week when he has weekdays off.

3. After School Snack Bar

When they come home they’re starving. My son usually grabs and eats the rest of his lunch at the table. But sometimes, if I have extra time, I’ll make a little snack bar for them. One day I set up these new Stonyfield Organic Snack Packs out. I opened one of each flavor so they could dip and try them all and decide on their favorites. Lil’ J loves the strawberry graham cracker and Big T likes the chocolate pretzel. I’ve also done this with trail mix and other assorted things to get them to try new things. These snack packs are delicious and you can click here too see if they’re available at a store near you. January they’re adding new flavors and launching nationwide!

4. Movie Night

We’ve always had unofficial movie nights, but we just made it official and now take turns choosing the movie we’ll watch when it’s your week (we used to all vote on one). It cut down on arguing on a movie, and it’s something the kids have started to look forward to all week. We have popcorn, snacks, dim the lights. The whole nine yards. And everyone has to sit and watch together. No running off to watch your own thing.

5. Breakfast in Bed

Ok, so this isn’t something I’ve done on a school day yet because they have to wake up at 6am to catch the bus at 6:40, but it’s something I’ve done occasionally on weekends when I beat them out of bed. The idea is simple, set up a tray and bring them in their favorite breakfast to enjoy before starting the day. Although it’s early I think I’ll give this a try soon and see how they react.

Do you ever do things like this? Or does this seem strange? What other ideas do you have?

I may add more to this list as the year goes on and I try more things.My son told me he wants to do another poetry tea party so I think I’ll set the table for one that’s waiting for them when they get off the bus Friday.

This high speed train is just flying by and I wish I could pump the breaks. I may not be able to slow it down, but I can try my best to make it one fun ride.

To this day some people still remember me as that mom who had rollers in her hair when she went to the hospital to give birth eight years ago. My oh my how things have changed.

As a first-time mom I was so extra. My daughter always wore boutique clothing and tutus with lots of frills. I was working 40 hours a week, pumping like a cow, and cloth diapering while making my own baby food. That mom was awesome, and I’m high fiving who I once was, but two kids later I’ve seen the light.

My time is stretched between three kids, a husband and a business. So understandably some of my priorities have changed. I still prefer high-quality stuff, but I prefer choices that also offer comfort and convenience.

Breastfeeding is still a commonality between all my kids. And despite a bout with thrush a couple of months ago, it’s still convenient to have her food with me everywhere I go. We are halfway through our exclusive breastfeeding journey. And halfway to starting solid foods. But instead of buying another baby food processor I’m stocking up the pantry with some items and brands I love. And items that will make meal time quick and easy.

Beechnut baby food easy and like homemade

When I made my own baby food one of my faults was freezing a couple flavors then feeding Lil’ J the same ones over and over. She got bored and so did I. Now I’m collecting a rainbow of Beech-Nut® Naturals™ baby food for Lee Lee to try, making sure I get a variety of vitamins, minerals and flavors.

Bananas, apples, sweet potatoes and green beans are some of the staples I remember my babies loving before, and I can’t wait to see what Lee Lee likes most. The main thing I want to try to do is make sure I’m switching the flavors up and giving her a big assortment of real fruits and veggies.

Beechnut baby food easy and like homemade

Beech-Nut® Naturals™ is inspired by homemade. So even though I’m not steaming and chopping it up myself, the food inside each jar is made with real fruits and vegetables, just like I would use at home. It’s 100% natural, nothing artificial. And there are organic versions as well.

Beechnut baby food easy and like homemade

I was totally ok being the mom I was when I had Lil’ J. I was doing the most. And trying what I thought was best. As a third time mom I have no guilt using disposable diapers, comfortable onesies over tutus, and going straight to the jarred purees, especially when I know what’s in them still meets my standards.

Did your priorities change from the first kid, second kid, third kid, and so on?

Big thanks to Beech-Nut® for sponsoring today’s blog post. You can find Beech-Nut® Naturals™ in the baby food section of your local grocery store. Just look for the honeypot shaped jars with the green lids!

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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