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Photo by sean dreilinger

This summer has zipped right by. The kids have been able to explore areas of interest, play with friends and relax with family. We have been busy, but with enough breaks to create a nice balance. This summer I had the opportunity to have special one-on-one weeks with each child while the other was in camp. I had time to dote on each child and cater to their individual interests which diverge quite a bit. One child is all about being outside and active. We biked, swam in the lake, took an excursion to a regional park to walk through waterfalls and made each day focused on being physical and active. My other child chose indoor and more domestically oriented pursuits. We shopped for school stuff, painted pottery, got mini-pedicures, baked bread, picked flowers and went on walks around the neighborhood. One child embraces the big world while the other finds peace and contentment being closer to home. I enjoyed all of my experiences this summer exploring their worlds and feel like I have gained new insight into and connection with my children.

The book 3 Steps to a Strong Family by Linda and Richard Eyre goes one step deeper into one-on-one outings with their children. In the chapter about creating family traditions they explain that their family has scheduled monthly “mommy dates” and “daddy dates” with each child. It is within these outings that real listening and valuable learning take place. Each child keeps a “mommy or daddy date book” which they record what was done and a few facts about the time together. Then each outing memory is preserved by adhering some object from the date into their books. These objects, as simple as a straw, can help bring back the memory, but what lasts the longest is the emotional connection that is created during this special time together.

The Eyres’s believe that family traditions are a key ingredient to strong families. I realized that our family could use some fun traditions to celebrate our lives together. We have our family holiday traditions and a birthday morning tradition that seems to be waning. We started collecting memories of things that happen during the year in a jar to read on New Years Eve.

I’d love to hear what kind of traditions are unique to your family. Please post a comment!

Every once in a while I come across something simple and inspiring. The website live-inspired.com has many wonderful items of this sort. I recently discovered this book. Check it out and let me know what you think!

The Five Book by Dan Zadra.

Childhood obesity and school nutrition are hot topics these days. I have been a proponent of changing cafeteria food being offered in schools ever since I began my own awareness of its shortcomings after viewing the movies Food Inc. and Two Angry Moms. The first movie exposed the sorry state of our national food industry and the second inspired in me the desire to make some changes at a local level.

What can YOU do to help the cause? I’m glad that you asked!

1. Get educated! Watch the movies listed above, really look at the menus being offered to your kids in school cafeterias and restaurants, read the book Free for All: Fixing School Food in America.

2. Eat lunch with your child in the fall in the school cafeteria. Actually buy the lunch. Decide whether the food served was nutritious, fresh and enticing to eat. Notice the waste. What is being thrown away? What are the kids drinking? Are whole fruits being tossed out? Does your school’s kitchen have actual pots, pans, cooking utensils or ovens? Does your child’s school offer knives? Do kids have access to lunch food extras such as ice-cream, cookies and chips ?

When I started to really pay attention to what my kids were eating at school and how they were eating at school, it really opened my eyes. Why do my kids use their fingers to push food onto their forks? Maybe because at school they don’t have knives to reinforce proper knife use. I began to notice that much of the lunch time food options were all “side of the highway” finger junk food. The cafeteria claims not to fry anything, but the processed food often already comes pre-fried so the schools just need to reheat. Often whole fruit is tossed away as kids don’t have the time to eat a big piece of fruit. Research has shown that cutting up FRESH fruit and making it finger and mouth friendly makes a huge difference in consumption.

3. Check to see if the school’s health program has a nutrition segment. If so, does it carry over into the cafeteria? Who teaches the curriculum and can you work with them to make changes in the cafeteria? Can you implement the same program ideas at home?

Our school district uses a program called GO, SLOW, WHOA! The nurses teach this nutrition curriculum stressing what types of food you can eat anytime like fruit and vegetables, what food you can eat but with less frequency and what food is a special treat and should not be eaten more than once or twice a week. We are trying to link the program to what the kids eat and see in the cafeteria. Children can see the dual messages and it is confusing. Creating an awareness is the first step. Once a parent or child is aware of the system, then they can decide what should be bought that week. The world is full of choices. We need to teach our kids how to live in this world of choices.

4. Say no to corn syrup and trans fats. Start to read labels and have your kids read them too. There are many great substitutes for regularly eaten food that are healthier. You do not need to eliminate chips, cookies and ketchup from your child’s diet but switch to a brand that has natural ingredients and no corn syrup or trans fats.

The government’s new focus on childhood obesity and nutrition makes it the perfect time as parents to make our voices heard. Take a step to help kids stay healthy. Now is the time.

Links of interest:

Nourishing Thoughts

Farm to School Program Changes Kids’ Views on Food

Healthy Schools Campaign

Action For Healthy Kids

Current Classes:

MIDTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB

Mondays:
6-7:15am Power Vinyasa (H)

Thursdays:
6-7am Power Vinyasa

Story Time Yoga
1-1:45pm

Sundays:
5-7 year olds
9:45-10:30am
8-11 year olds
10:45-11:30am

STUDIO MOVE!

Wednesdays:
10:30-11:30 Power Vinyasa

Fridays:
Yoga for Athletes
9-10am

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