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Posts Tagged ‘balanced living’

Little Soul Productions operates with the philosophy that in order for kids to understand and be aware of different concepts, they need to experience them.  The more you can engage children in the learning process, the more empowered they are to discover the true magic of the world around them.  As we honor this world by celebrating Earth Day on April 22, let’s get our children involved so they can continue to develop a strong appreciation for their surroundings.  A great way to do this is to have them be conscious and understand where their food comes from.  We can teach them how the Earth is a sustainable eco system that provides for their well being.  In order to do this, we have asked guest blogger Lindsay Sloane to share an Earth friendly recipe that you can make with your children.  Kids are more likely to try new foods if they partake in the cooking process. Be sure to talk to your children about where the ingredients come from, so they can have a deeper appreciation for this amazing planet.

By Lindsay Sloane, guest blogger

I am first time blogger, long time cook, and even longer lover of food.  I distinctively remember getting to cook for the first time. I was in pre-school at The Magic Years Nursery School in Reseda, California.  The school really incorporated cooking into the curriculum and taught students how much fun and how easy it is to create delicious food.  In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share a nutritious recipe that kids can cook with their parents and the whole family is going to enjoy!  I wanted to share my joy of cooking and help teach children about some of the yummy foods that come from our Earth; foods that are free of chemicals, preservatives and ingredients you’ve never heard of.  This recipe is loosely based on one I learned from the Magic Years Nursery School when I was a kid.   I changed it to fit my tastes and I encourage you to do the same.

Lindsay’s Granola

Ingredients

5 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats (just dump a whole canister in a bowl)

1 Cup Raw Almonds Slices

1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (dehulled, unsalted)

1 Cup Raw Pepitas (these are the inside of pumpkin seeds – Available at Trader Joes)

1 Cup Unsweetened Dried Coconut

1 Cup Soy Flour

1 Cup Powdered Non-Fat Milk (if you buy the box with the individual packets, it’s one packet)

1 Cup Wheat Germ

1 Cup Safflower Oil

1 Full Honey Bear (one cup of honey if you are measuring)

Directions

The majority of this recipe kids can do with just a little adult supervision. Dump all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix.

Spread a thin layer onto two cookie sheets (it makes so much, you may have to do this twice)

Bake at 275 degrees until toasty and brown. Watch Closely so it doesn’t burn.

Wait for it to cool and then enjoy over yogurt or in a bowl with some milk…or even over ice-cream if you want a little treat!

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One of the biggest challenges parents, caregivers and teachers face is getting children to eat healthy.   As babies, my kids ate almost everything: peas, carrots, beats, strawberries, green beans, sweet potatoes…. Why then is feeding them nutritiously so difficult when they get a little older?

Think hotdogs, French fries, prepackaged cracker/cheese/meat lunches and fast food.  Truth is, children do what we do.  We eat on the run, we eat convenience foods and we eat for emotional needs more than hunger a lot of the time.  It’s not that any one of the food types mentioned is horrible….well, let’s just say not completely without merit, but we tend to make these the building blocks of our eating habits instead of once in awhile treats.

We are born with coding to know what our body needs.  And try as we might, we don’t ever obliterate that intuitive sense.   If you’ve ever just absolutely craved a salad or needed a hamburger you know what I’m talking about.  You body sends messages all the time about the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need.  We coat that system with preservatives and sugar creating a scenario where we think we need preservatives and sugar, but listen a little deeper and you will find that you really want an apple with peanut putter, a vibrant salad, pasta with veggies….even that protein and iron rich hamburger on occasion.

Help your children hold on to their internal menu guide by having them play a conscious role in food choices.  Let them help you pick out fruits and veggies at the supermarket.  Make a menu with food choices that are easy for you to prepare and have them check off a food from each group (bread, fruit/veggie, protein and beverage) for breakfast and lunch.  Lead them towards healthier snacks like nuts, dried fruit, crackers and cheese, a scoop of peanut butter, yogurt and granola etc. 

Tell us about your favorite healthy snack?

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One of the most emotionally challenging things I ever had to do was resign from a position within a charity group that I belonged to. Never in my 39 years had I failed to fulfill the obligations that I committed to or was assigned– no matter what the cost to my emotional or physical well-being. It was difficult to do, but two things happened that day;  1) I really felt free once it was done. I spoke from my heart and I stated realistically what I could do and what I could not. My two month headache disappeared almost immediately. 2) I earned the respect of the very women I was afraid would judge me. After all, I knew (or at least I suspected) that they were as busy as I was, so who was I to actually claim more time for myself when everyone else was carrying equally heavy loads? They were incredibly supportive of my self-honoring.  And in truth, I wasn’t really fulfilling my obligations anyway, so I freed them up to find someone who could help them more. Not only do our children act out when we are overcommitted, but they learn from what we do. If our children see us volunteering at every opportunity, helping every friend in need and operating from an unhealthy place to meet the needs of others then they will very likely grow up to be the same kind of person. So before you say, “Yes,” to that next charity drive, bake sale or PTA position, think about the message you are sending to your children. Saying, “Yes” to You and “No” to others takes some practice. Here are a few tips to ease you into the process. The goal is to only agree to those things that fuel your heart, your passion and your soul.

1) List all your commitments (no matter how big or small). Have a friend or your spouse read them back to you. If any give you a sinking feeling in your stomach or make your heart hurt or you feel like you are being squeezed in a vice…those are commitments that will only drain you. Find a way to get out of them or fulfill the commitment and resign from that job.

2) List 10 things that you can do for you that make you happy. Maybe read a good book, have coffee with a friend, take a day off, stay in your pj’s all day, take the phone off the hook, take a walk, exercise, meditate, get a massage….Whatever those things are, do one everyday before you fulfill any commitments outside of your family.

3) Remember that every time you continue to do a job that makes you complain or feel exhausted you are draining yourself, sending the group negative energy and most important, you are keeping that job from someone who would be very happy doing it.

4) Learn to say, “I deserve to live a balanced life.” Post it anywhere you need a reminder.

5) Surround yourself with friends who also say, “No.” If all of your friends are overcommitters, then it will be even harder to keep balance in your own life. In contrast, if you have friends who have a good idea of how much they can do and still live in balance, then not only will you feel more validated in declining but you will all serve as reminders to one another about what is important.

6) Make family time a priority. We often accidentally fall into the trap of overcommitting ourselves and then it becomes a habit. When we reconnect with the joy of family meals, playing games with our kids or having a date night, we are more reluctant to give those joyful moments up.

7) Ask for help. We assume everyone else is busy and has their own burdens so we don’t ask for help often enough. It is not our place to evaluate what throws someone else out of balance or what fulfills them. Let your friends and family members make that decision for themselves and take any, “Sorry I cannot” replies with gratitude and move on to the next person. Someone will feel very fulfilled in helping you.

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It’s not always equal, but it is always fair!  This is the phrase that I just know my kids are swearing to themselves that they will never EVER repeat to their own kids. . . but most adults I know hear it and adopt it quickly.  OK, so there are lots of kids out there who are cursing me under their breath.

This has been an oft repeated motto in our home since my children were little.  If you have even one child you are bound to hear the words, “but that’s not fair” at some point in their young life as they  plead their case for the childhood version of equality.

Even if you are not the kind of parent who indulges you child’s every whim, you have likely grappled internally with the concept of how to make things fair — especially if you have multiple children.  We never want to seem injudicious in our parenting, but trying to even the childhood playing fields does a dis-service to our children and wreaks havoc on our parental psyche.  I have had clients who sit in my office twisting themselves inside out because they are trying to figure out how to arrange play-dates so that each child has one at the same time or are spending outside of the budget to even out awards and gifts.  The story that wretched my heart the most was from a  mom who was trying to create a vacation for her oldest child that equaled the character cruise vacation that the youngest went on with another family — the other family footed the entire bill and this mom didn’t have the financial means to do the same.

As parents, we can make ourselves crazy chasing equality, and in that, we miss an opportunity to help our children determine their own personal needs and desires independent of the collective consciousness.  When we are willing to offer what each child needs, and yes, even within the same family each child is an individual with unique needs, “it’s not always equal, but it is always fair” becomes a point of reference for resetting our values.  If we are seeking out and receiving what we want/need from a heart place, then we are always getting exactly what we need.

Here’s how to employ your own version of this at home.  Say, for example, your child wants two pieces of candy just like Sally consumed moments earlier.   You are reluctant to point out the comparison to lemmings jumping off of a cliff that your own parents used (let’s face it, that was just silly–sort of).  To say,”It’s not always equal, but it’s always fair” to your child is not enough.  Help them understand what you are implying.

“I know that Sally just had two pieces of candy, but you had a piece that was the perfect size for you.  I know what you had for lunch and your body needs some more nutrients in it.”

Your child may not comprehend all of what you are saying, but like all good parenting, which lies in the depths of repetition, they will eventually adopt this process of searching for what ‘s best for them on their own.  One day they will revel in making their own choices in spite of what friends are doing without your prodding.  My children dislike this phrase, but they can now see for themselves that life is an experience unique to each individual and what works for one person may not work for another.  They are more willing to seek their own hearts for guidance when they move away from the idea that everything has to be fair.

As parents, it is helpful if we adopt a similar line of thinking.  In other words, if we feel like the Universe is unfair because we don’t have everything our neighbors, co-workers or siblings do then we will promote this concept of unfairness subconsciously to our children.  Check your motivation when you feel that life is being unfair.  Chances are, you will actually glean the perfection of the circumstance(s).

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When you were young, did you ever play on a teeter totter with a friend?  Ever have one of those moments when you were smiling gleefully with your end as high as it would go and have your friend, or a sibling, jump off the lower end sending you crashing to the ground?  Some kind of injury or trauma was almost inevitable — along with a strong desire to get that friend back on the seesaw so you could seek revenge!

This is a great metaphor for the balancing act parents do.  What may have once felt like harmony in your household can easily teeter out of control when the blessing of a child enters in.  All of a sudden, the best laid plans can disintigrate because a child falls ill, has a report due in school, is being bullied, or just simply wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.  You feel your end of the teeter totter rising as unpredictability sits taunting you precariously on the lower side.

Balancing life as a parent can certainly seem challenging. .  all right, it’s downright difficult.  But it’s not impossible.  Creating balance in your life is even more important as a parent because you are teaching your child(ren) how to live– be it in balance, chaos or paralyzed.  And just like that 4 foot crash on the playground, if balance is not maintained in the household, trauma, injury, or other seemingly bad things tend to occur to force everyone back into balance.

The child who is stressed out at school and not finding any down time will ultimately get sick forcing them to rest.  The child getting perpetually bullied, will eventually take charge, but it will be out of balance and result in some time of punishment.

Here’s the thing. . . balance doesn’t mean equal.  Just like the teeter totter, the most fun was achieved when the players worked in tandem going up and down, traveling slightly above and slightly below the point of balance.  As the parent or caregiver you do not need to ensure that for every hour your child is in school you spend an equal number of hours hugging him or her.  Balance does entail checking in with your heart and only accepting those responsibilities that bring you joy.  Yes, as adults and parents we do have obligations. But if you are honest, most of the basic obligations (clothe, feed, educate and love yourself and your child) bring you joy.  It’s just sometimes hard to see that joy when your plate is filled with choices you’ve made that make you feel overwhelmed.   As you engage in this behavior of joyful and balanced living, so too will your children.

Tips for Living in Balance:

1.  Look at all your obligations.  Which ones no longer make you feel happy or joyous?

2.  Resign from committees, clubs, social organizations, PTA or any other group that no longer serves your heart.  It may seem daunting, but consider that if you are grudgingly taking up space, then someone who would be joyful doing it cannot step in.  No one is irreplaceable.

3.  Are there things you enjoy doing but have set them aside as prizes for other accomplishments?  ie.  I’ll take that vacation when I lose 20 pounds.  Check your motivation and recognize that you are depriving yourself which is as out of balance as overwhelming yourself.

4.  Start and end everyday with a smile.

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