January 2012 - Posts
If you have a hard time getting your children to eat enough
veggies, try making this blended nut and seed dressing. Every ingredient is healthy and the
combination is a winner in the taste category, too. It's totally enticing as a
dip for raw or steamed vegetables; the kids (and the adults) just keep on
dipping. It also makes a creamy,
protein-rich salad dressing. Sometimes I
spread it on a rice cracker and garnish it with thin slices of avocado. This dressing and dip is really versatile and
only takes 5 minutes to make.
Here is the recipe:
½ c raw cashews
½ c sunflower seeds
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/3 or ½ c olive oil
¼ c vinegar
½ c yogurt
2Tbsp nutritional yeast
Grind the cashews and sunflower seeds in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. The nutritional yeast is
optional. If the dressing seems too
stiff, you can add a couple of tablespoons of water and blend it for a few more
seconds. It should be well blended, but
able to be poured out of the blender.
Enjoy and let us know if you find another tasty way to use
it to enhance your winter menus.
term boundary is one I often hear as a parent.
It's a word that in definition isn't hard to understand. A boundary
denotes the beginning and end to something, like a boundary line of a property.
Children are always trying to find out what the limit is to something, testing
how far they can go. "How far can I push until I know I have hit the end of the
much do they really care?" For
example, my four year old will continue to take the dog out of the kennel after
we have told her not to, my nine year old will avoid cleaning his room to see
we will actually insist he do it, and my 12 year old will try to stay-up past
her bedtime, in hopes we don't say anything. These are just a few of the many,
daily insurrections my children will try in our home to see what they can get
away with. It can be tiring to say the least!
there are the questions "When can I get my ears pierced? Everyone else does!"
"Can we watch a PG13 movie? " "When can I get
my own cell phone?" "I don't want to go
skiing this weekend! Do we have to?"
Children keep asking, keep wanting, and they will go on and on, hoping
to wear us down. The easy thing to do
in the moment seems to be to just say "yes" and children know it. Sometimes I
just want to say "yes" just to make it stop, to make them ‘happy'!
we as parents are up against that dilemma, wanting to please our kids and
wanting to be true to who we are, that's when we feel unsteady and unclear.
Boundaries are more than what time bedtime is or what food we eat as a family.
They are how we care for ourselves and our children. We need to know what the end of the line is
for us so at any given moment so that we can feel grounded in just saying
"No" or "This is what we do as a family." The only way to know your true limits is to
know who you are as a family, what your values are and what you stand for. When
those values are clear and come to consciously, setting boundaries is easier,
quicker and less emotional. For a family
it requires really knowing who you are. (more on this in another write-up).
of our family values:
that play together stay together: "You are going skiing this weekend"
things in life are important to wait for: "You are waiting for piercing your
decisions may take some long and honest discussions between parents, or
soul-searching within ourselves, to come to.
It can be hard work but it is worth it.
Just remember, boundaries are like the walls and roof of our
houses. They protect our families and
keep us together, loved and attended to.
We all know that sleep is essential for rejuvenation, but if
you find yourself paddling hard all day long, you may also want to find a quiet
mooring place somewhere in the middle of the day.
Naps give younger children a chance to rest and recharge,
but calm times during waking hours are necessary for children of all ages to
balance their active taking in of new experiences. Parents also need time to reflect and center
Each of us has a different picture of that elusive place of
tranquility. When I was a young parent,
our main source of heat was a woodstove.
In the wintertime, we would sit and watch the fire. In warmer weather, we loved to lie on the
grass and watch the clouds. Every
afternoon, I made myself a cup of tea and took a break for ten or fifteen
minutes. The children knew instinctively
not to disturb me until I picked up my cup and carried it to the sink.
Some of the ideas below may resonate with you, or inspire
you to discover what works for you and your family. They include respites for the whole family, for
children, and for parents:
- Soothe young and old with
the rhythmic motions of a porch swing, glider or rocking chair.
- Pore over a beautiful
picture book, slowly, without speaking.
- Hum, strum or sing a quiet
melody while wrapped up in a blanket on the couch.
- Give older children a
gentle foot or back massage, or draw shapes and letters on their backs.
- Roll a skein of yarn into
- Knit or sew with your
children. Many toddler moms have
become avid knitters because of the relaxation it provides.
- Recall a happy memory and
together make up a little poem about it.
- Wash the dishes together,
enjoying the warm, soapy water.
- Sweep the floor in the
same frame of mind.
- Get outside and breathe
the fresh air.
- Take a walk around the
block. Look with your child's eyes;
notice what is around you.
Any activity done in an attentive mood can be restful and
restorative. The main point is to allow
yourself and your children to breathe out deeply, even for a short while. Your children will take in this important
lesson and your whole family will be healthier and more resilient.
Sometimes parents need to head off to their own tranquil
isle all by themselves. You won't need
directions, but you may need to be reminded that it is both permissible and
healthy to set anchor in that beautiful harbor now and again.
With most of the holiday hoopla behind us, January always
feels like the right time to set our intentions for the season ahead. We're not talking about resolutions to keep
or break, it's more about taking a moment to remind ourselves of what we really
I can't think of a better way to begin the year than with a Recipe for a Magical Winter Morning-so
simple, it even works on school days! Other
posts worth another look are Family
Chores, The Post Holiday Giveaway, and What
do you want for Breakfast? These
articles offer tips for raising more responsible, more generous, more assured
children-and happier families.
New articles are always in the works, so please check back
regularly or subscribe to our RSS
feed. And best wishes for a healthy,
joyful New Year from all of us at Family Year!
by Susan Johnson, MD, Guest Writer
I came across a magazine article that spoke about the things in our lives that enhance or deplete our energy. Here is that list, with just the enhancers, along with several of my own suggestions and observations. Keep in mind as you move into 2012.
Physical Energy Enhancers
1.) Nutritious, vitamin and mineral packed organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, 2.) Good quality fats like coconut oil, olive oil, raw organic dairy products, avocados, pumpkin seeds, vitamin D cod liver oil, fermented foods and almonds, 3.) Grass fed beef and free-range organic chickens and eggs 4.) Abundant pure water 5.) Light from the sun, moon, and stars, 6.) Walking in a beautiful place, 7.) Swimming in lakes, oceans, and rivers, 8.) Hiking in the mountains and strolling along the beach 9.) Getting plenty of sleep (remember the sleep before midnight counts as double!) 10.) Doing things at your own pace rather than how someone else dictates them, 11.) Dancing, singing, or playing musical instruments, 12.) Bike riding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and canoeing, 13.)Relaxing movement therapies such as Tai Chi, Eurythmy, yoga, 14.) Taking a warm bath or sauna, 15.) Receiving a gentle massage, 16.) Giving and receiving hugs, back-rubs, and foot-rubs, 17.) Holding hands, 18.) Painting, drawing, knitting, quilting, carving wood, sculpting clay
Mental and Spiritual Energy Enhancers
1.) Saying YES to what is, 2.) Spending time with friends and family who are positive and enhance your life, 3.)Having adequate savings and maintaining a reasonable level of spending, 4.) Maintaining a nurturing environment that is neat, clean, and organized, 5.) Facing old conflicts and finding ways to forgive and move on, 6.) Allowing spaces of free time in your scheduling for the unexpected, 7.) Get more sleep (It is your connection to the spiritual world), 8.) Saying only what you believe to be the truth, 9.) Doing everything with love, 10.) Practicing gratitude, 11.) Focusing on what you want instead of what you don't want, 12.) Focusing on what you have instead of what you don't have, 13.) Saying no to anything that goes against your values and integrity, 14.) See your own gifts and bless the gifts in others, 15.) Listening to and following your inner guidance, 16.) Spending time in nature, 17.)Having Fun, laughing at yourself and at life, 18.) Praying, meditating, taking moments to still your thoughts, 19.)Identify your dreams and follow them, 20.) Listening to uplifting music, 21.) Reading or listening to inspirational people, books, tapes, and poetry