Friday, May 3

5 Tips to Encourage Healthy Habits in Children

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This post is sponsored by Burt's Bees Toothpaste
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            Hi loves! Thanks so much for visiting today.

     I’ve been getting an extra influx of parenting questions lately (which I love) and this post is hopefully going to answer a bunch of those all in one go! Being a mom is my favorite thing in the world, and sharing pieces of my motherhood journey here with you guys in all it’s big full chaotic goofy messy glory is really rewarding and inspirational for me, and I appreciate your support and feedback and friendship more than I can say. 

     So today I’m writing directly to you parents who have expressed a lack of inspiration or motivation when it comes to encouraging your children towards healthier habits and activities.

     I’m also happy to share that this post is in partnership with Burt’s Bees, who recently launched their new line of toothpaste! I’ve relied on and trusted products from Burt’s Bees since long before I started having children, so I was excited about trying this new daily staple for myself, and it’s become just that! I'd never been happy with the simpler ingredient options before, so we mostly thought we were out of luck and didn't put much thought into it. It took a company that I've loved and trusted for nearly 15 years to help us easily make the jump towards the best possible oral care for us and the kids, and we're pretty happy about it. I knew right away that I'd love it and the kids are more excited about brushing their teeth than ever! Lydia and Evie love the great fruity flavor in the kids' formula - it makes them want to brush! Alice will definitely be using the toothpaste as well once she hits the 2-year mark!

They have three formulas for adults that focus each on whitening, enamel care, and freshness. They also have two kids formulas - both adults and kids have fluoride and fluoride-free options giving you the freedom to choose! 

In True Burt's Bees fashion, their toothpaste is made with simple and effective ingredients that really work, and without any artificial flavors, sweeteners, plastic microbeads, etc. Everything you want in your toothpaster and nothing that you don't:) It's available now at Target so be sure to check it out for you and your family!


5 Tips to Encourage Healthy Habits in Children

#1: Teach by example.
I don’t know about all children of course, but my kids (and most others I know) love to be wherever their parents are, ‘helping’ with whatever they’re doing at all hours of the day. Utilizing this excitement to be with you is why this is my number one tip, because, in order to show your children what making healthy choices looks like, you have to make healthier choices. Win-win! You’re becoming your best and making better health-conscious decisions for yourself in order to be that role model for your children, and it really pays off big time.
I’ve gained a love and a passion for exercise and healthier eating and meditation, etc, because I have felt the difference in my day-to-day as a mom of so many little ones, but I also really have to stay active constantly in order to take care of them all well. Our lives will change when we’re teaching our children how to do a jumping jack or how to choose ripe fruit, and don’t forget to call them over whenever you can to include them in your health and fitness choices. For instance, let them help you cook and talk about the ingredients and what they do for your body. Always let them know when you’re going to the gym or out for a run and explain what you’ll be doing and how it’s good for your body. Let them join you whenever possible! They love asking questions and they love learning, and they love copying and finding out ways that they’re just like you:)

#2: Treat self-care as a privilege and not a chore.
       Something that I’ve always felt was important is to never make personal chores into something negative. I didn’t want them to associate things like saying their affirmations or brushing their teeth with work that they wanted to avoid, so while it can be a fine line, try to never send them off to brush their teeth (for instance) with a stern voice or an upset tone, but instead always try to keep it positive. If you have chore charts, maybe consider not having consequences for unfinished chores, but lots of extra positive reinforcement for chores completed. Brushing our teeth in particular is something that everyone associates as a fun and happy activity around here, partly because we always turn it into a group experience with lots of jokes and giggling, partly because we always have a happy and encouraging attitude around it, and partly because they have fun toothbrushes and yummy toothpaste from Burt’s Bees! Haha 
      
#3: Have the Good - Better - Best conversation often.
       One approach we’ve taken from the beginning with the kids is teaching them about moderation and what I’ve called the Good-Better-Best method, instead of teaching them that certain foods being all bad or all good for you. And they’re learning! It’s really important to me that my kids have a healthy relationship to food, and that they are never scared of any food to the point of feeling guilty about eating it. I want them to think of food as fuel for their bodies, and that what they put into their bodies effects how their bodies will work (like putting the wrong fuel into a car), but we also love teaching them that food is delicious and fun to make and experiment with and that it makes life wonderful! So instead of teaching them that foods like candy and soda and doughnuts are bad for them, we just teach them that there are many other options that are better. 
Pulling tip #1 into this, teaching them by example is so powerful here too. Let them see you making the little decisions every day, like deciding to make a smoothie instead of pulling out the ice cream, and explain to them that ice cream isn’t horrible and bad for you so much as the smoothie is just better for your body. Give them little quizzes to help them think about it and tell you what is a better choice over something.  

#4: Limit electronic/screen use.
       This can be a pretty personal thing and everyone has different rules and needs for electronics in their home, so I won’t go into rules or absolutes too much. I will say though that I believe keeping electronic use to a minimum with children especially (adults too, but we’re talking kids right now) keeps their minds sharper and more creative, and makes for happier, healthier kids overall. We do have some educational games on the iPad and some that are purely just for fun that the kids take turns playing here and there and I definitely see the benefit in occasional use, but we keep it super minimal. 
       As for TV use, we always had our family TV right in the living room up until about 2015 when we moved into our last house in Idaho when we had 5 kids in five years. I realized how much I was running the TV throughout the day as a babysitter, and when we moved across town and inherited my grandpa's big old farmhouse table from my parents, I decided that we’d not even put a TV on the main floor at all and instead we schedule special family movie night once in a while instead. The result was a massive surge of outside play and curiosity and sweet interaction with and creativity in all of the children. We also decided to get rid of all their toys not long after (and that’s a whole other post for another time), but without the TV and other electronics freezing them in their tracks and turning them into zombies, they started reading like crazy and coloring on that big old table every chance they could get, and their little minds have done amazing things in al that time! Remember, TV and electronics aren’t bad by any means (and as we work online we do try to teach how good they can be:)), but yes, there are better things to be doing much of the time! :)



#5: Incorporate healthy choices into your daily routine, and have fun!
       Overall we have pretty consistent days around here, but things are always kinda flexible at the same time. For the things that we try to always accomplish or get done though as a family, I want my kids to see that those are things that are good for our bodies and our minds. Those things that we make sure and do every single day (or as close as we can get it) are the things that are going to keep us strong and healthy in body and mind and heart. I challenge you to take a minute and write down staples in your day as a family. Your list might include things like ‘wake up early, eat breakfast together, wash face, brush teeth, go for an afternoon walk, have family prayer,’ etc etc. For just about everything on my list I can count on these three little tots hanging on my legs for.haha But my point is that no matter what your day might look like, I encourage you to write next to it if it’s good for your mind or for your body or for your heart/soul, even if it’s in a roundabout way. Then I want you to share that with your kids over the next week! Try to include at least one thing (if not many things) for each category into your every day, and then when you’re eating breakfast together, talk about what you’re eating and how it’s important for your bodies. When you’re brushing their hair, talk about how the vitamins in the fruit they ate help their hair grow shiny and long, and how the sunshine that put those little freckles on their faces. When you’re on a little walk after school, tell them about the different muscles and bones they’re using to climb, and on and on. It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding to whittle down the staples in our day to be beneficial in some way, and talking about the reasoning behind it all will come more naturally than you think.
     Well, that’s it for now, and if you have a minute I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to share any thoughts you have or favorite tips for integrating healthier choices with your family, and if you’ve tried the new Burt’s Bees toothpaste please let us know what you think! You can get it all over, but I buy ours from Target - and I highly recommend :)

     Take care loves,

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Friday, April 19

1 Year Trusting Pampers Pure

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       Hey loves, I hope you’re having a great week so far!  I’m going to keep today’s post short and sweet, but I just really wanted to share these pictures of Alice and the big mess she made with the diapers. 

       Most of you know that Alice had her first birthday a few weeks ago, but you might not know that the Pampers Pure collection just turned 1 as well! So not only has it been a big wonderful year of growth and milestones for her(obviously), but it’s also been a solid year of relying on Pampers Pure diapers and wipes to keep her delicate skin protected and dry and as healthy as can be. My only regret is that I couldn’t have this awesome duo when all my other kids were babies! I think about all the blow-outs and ruined clothes, not to mention the total peace of mind I’ve gained in the last year by using Pampers Pure. 
       It might seem like a simple or silly thing, but babies wear diapers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have more diaper changes than they do meals during the day, and besides the food they eat I don’t think there’s really anything we parents put more research and care and thought into when looking for the very best than I we do into the diapers they’re wearing all day every day. I feel good about how I did for the first 6 or so years of choosing diapers for my kid’s little butts, but it was impossible to contain my excitement to try the Pure collection, and then a clear no-brainer to join the #puretribe and shout my love for them from the rooftops this last year. Why? Because as a mom of 6 who’s tried dozens of brands and has changed roughly 3 million diapers on my children, the Pampers Pure collection has been a game changer. Full stop.

       We love you Pampers Pure! And your boxes are kinda fun to play in too apparently.haha
What are your thoughts on the Pampers Pure collection? I’d love to hear!

       Thanks for visiting today, 

Monday, March 11

What I Wore // 8 Ways To Be Happier Right Now

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wearing: 
hat  ||  coat  ||  shirt  ||  jeans  ||  booties (out of stock, but I found similar loves here, here, and here)


        Tonight I felt like I needed to write a bit about being happy and positive, even when life is extremely difficult. One recurring theme in questions from you guys is how I'm so positive all of the time and how can I help you to be. Before I get started with a few tips, I want to stress as strongly as I can is that I am not positive all of the time. I have always prided myself on my ability to spin any negative situation into something I can learn from or use to better myself, but I am currently (and have been for some time now) fighting against severe anxiety, panic, depression, and other strong mental blocks that make constant happiness impossible. (edited to add that I developed these issues after my husband was given a few months to live, and since then I have recognized that I needed help navigating my trauma, sought professional help, started receiving proper treatment, and am currently doing pretty darn awesome:)) 
        I don't believe that positivity is something that comes naturally to anyone, especially not in the world we live in today with social media constantly telling us that we're not good enough. I believe that the default attitude for all of us, in general, is to constantly see the things in ourselves and around us that need fixing or changing, to see the broken things, the struggles, the pain, and the setbacks. Seeing the bright-side is something that you have to work at constantly.

     So, here are a few ways to be happier right now:

       #1: Spend as little time as possible in the past. Don't dwell on situations that happened years or months or even weeks ago unless it is positively beneficial in some way. It's easy sometimes to look back on our mistakes and forget all of our victories, and the past can easily put us in a big funk. Someone once said something along the lines of ‘No amount of time spent dwelling on the past can change the past, and no amount of anxiety for the future will change the future’, or something like that.haha It’s true though. Put your efforts into TODAY.

       #2: Nurture your relations with those friends and family who truly support you. Those people who give encouragement and love (and accept it from you), and who leave you feeling better about yourself and your potential and about the world around you. They are your tribe, and there's no reason to waste time or valuable energy on people who hurt you or make you feel crappy, or who have ever selfishly and purposely brought you to a dark place. Life is too short to spend your efforts trying to ‘help’ negative people be more positive. That’s not on you. Move forward.

       #3: Along with #2, getting rid of all unnecessary negativity will instantly increase your happiness and peace of mind. If you have control over it, lose it. Unfollow pages and people who complain constantly or pull others down. Anyone who is focused on the negativity around them or go out of their way to find it in the world will never uplift or inspire you to be happy. Spending your precious time around them will only bring negativity to your life. Even if it's not directed at you it can have a huge effect on your mood, and consistently being exposed to that can have lasting effects.

       #4: If you feel the urge to have a good cry, find a quiet spot and make it happen. It'll work wonders. Pushing emotions away will not make them disappear, it’s only putting off the inevitable. I know from experience that letting yourself sit with your emotions and try to learn from them is healthy and necessary. Yes it’s hard and vulnerable and scary, and yes it can hurt like hell, but I promise it’s for the best.

       #5: The person who is probably putting the most pressure on you is yourself. We are our own worst critics, and you’re always doing at least a little better than you think you are. So take a deep breath and give yourself some credit for being where you are, accomplishing what you have, and think about how far you've already come.

       #6: Don't let social media and the internet get in your head too much, it's a beautiful world full of filters and clean corners, and there's no possible way that anyone can share their entire life online, so if they have to pick and choose doesn't it make sense that most of social media are the highlights of people's lives? That means that you miss out on most of the normal messy stuff, and it's so so easy for our brains to believe that those things don't exist to them at all. I promise, they absolutely do. Never compare your story to someone else's page 82.

       #7: Create something or exercise a talent that you've left dormant for a while. It's a lot easier for us to gain a little more self-love and to feel happier when we see that we do have skills and can hold something concrete to be proud of. I believe that Mother’s especially cannot expect to feel fulfilled every single day from motherhood. Being a parent is mostly thankless and monotonous, constantly doing the same chores over and over again, and it can be difficult on the tough days to feel like you have anything to show for all your efforts. Don’t give up, go pluck at the piano keys a bit or pull out your brushes, etc, it’ll do wonders.

       #8: Get on the floor and start stretching. Nothing has helped me find stillness and calm as much as starting yoga has, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone as the greatest physical act of self-love and self-care that I know of. I am not very good at it, and because I took too long of a break I can’t even touch my toes right now when I lean over, which is why I say just to ‘stretch’, instead of telling you to take a yoga class. Don’t wait till you’re wearing the right clothes or till you have the right equipment, just look up a simple yoga flow or sequence on Pinterest and do it in your jeans on the rug for all I care.lol Just watch your posture, take slow and deep breaths (stretch on the exhale) and don’t push yourself into any position that causes pain. It’s amazing.

        Well, I want to keep going with these, but I need to run and help Ellie with a posterboard project for school tomorrow and the timer is beeping that the bread is done.haha If you enjoyed these tips though or found them useful and would like a ‘part 2’ of this post, let me know! Also please share any additional thoughts or tips of your own in the comments for the rest of us to benefit from:)

          Take care gang,

Friday, March 1

We have some exciting news!

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       We have a little announcement we'd like to make…. our little family is moving to Utah!

       This feels like big huge news for our family in some ways, but also like pretty small news in others. On one hand, I’ve lived in Idaho for the last thirteen years or so and have so many dear friends and special places that are close to my heart. On the other hand, Utah has been like our second home all this time, not to mention that Richard lived here on and off since about 2005 until he left everything to come to Idaho, so the move isn’t completely full of change and newness like it might be under other circumstances.

       I also know there are tons of you that will be surprised only because you thought my family already lived in Utah! haha Everytime I would meet one of you in Idaho you thought I was visiting, and I would explain that it was because we’ve spent SO much of our lives here(Utah) between all the work/blogging events and collaborations, visits to all of my family and friends that live here, Martin’s old school friends, and now many of Richard’s friends (and family too) since he lived here for so long. We just know that after years of commuting here oftentimes week-after-week that it’s time to make it official, and we really couldn’t be more excited!

        It’s been nearly 10 years now since my late-husband Martin and I started our lives together, and after we were married and moved into our first house we felt pretty fortunate to be able to stay in southern Idaho right near both his and my parents, mostly because that’s a pretty rare thing for new young couples, especially when I was just starting college.
        We’ve always felt very led in our decision making, and as much as we loved our friends and neighbors in Idaho, we loved talking often about all of the fun new places our lives might take us. It was just a few years later when what had begun as my little online journal started becoming a bigger source of income that he and I started talking seriously about the different areas of Utah that would make work and adventure so much easier.

After he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015 and it looked like we were going to pursue chemotherapy at The Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake, we were once again looking for homes there and trying to decide if it was the right time to move. We were given a prognosis of just a few months left for him to live, and he wanted to make sure I was near my closest family and also many supportive friends that would be able to help me move forward with our five young children once he was gone. We ultimately decided that he should start immunotherapy in Mexico and that we should stay in Idaho for the time being, but we still knew that we needed to at least leave the neighborhood where we were living. 

        We very quickly found the house that we’ve lived in for the last 3 ½ years or so, and that home has been good to us, so leaving it has been bitter-sweet. Leaving the house where he passed away is bitter-sweet. I received a lot of advice after he passed away that I should move away from the home we'd shared and the place where he'd died, but I'm glad we stayed for as long as we did.


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       We feel so much excitement for the bright future ahead, but Idaho will always be such a special place to our family and to me especially. It’s where all my sweetest years with Martin were spent as well as the hardest years of my life. It’s where our three homes are, where our children were all born, and the bench where Martin proposed to me. It’ll always have my favorite sushi restaurant and the Thai place where the owner knows our order. It’s also where I held his hand and watched him pass away, and it’s where his body is buried.
          
        Richard and I plan on taking the family back often to visit the landmarks that are so special to us, the relatives that we’re close to there, and of course to see all of our friends and neighbors that are so much a part of our family. All of the people that carried us during those impossible years especially will always stay in our hearts. All of the adopted grandparents that read the kids stories before bed and that brought us dinner over and over again. The friends that drove across town at 2am to sit with me while I broke completely, that held my hand when the coroner came to take his body, that sat on the roof on the fourth of July and cried with me, and on and on. I love feeling like that whole life from beginning to now is all secure and safe in a little town in Idaho, and that now we have a wonderful chance for a fresh start.

The kids were elated and then jumping with joy at the mention of a move to Utah, and they started rattling off people and places that we love visiting here and how we could see them all the time! They have nearly 20 little cousins here that they love to visit, and the idea of living right near them was mind blowing I think.haha Ellie especially was thrilled, because before we’d made the decision official, she had suggested that a move might be really good for our family and good for her in particular. Naturally, she thought Richard and I had just taken her advice and she was elated at the prospect that she was responsible for all the fresh new excitement.haha 

        Overall we've been pretty caught up in unpacking and painting and such since our first trip down and have sort of lost track of time, but every day has been filled with fun experiences and family scooter rides and already SO many visits with people we love and have missed. It feels like a dream to be so close to so much, living in a such a populated area, while also living right in the mountains with gorgeous scenery all around and so many trails to explore, etc. Richard actually found our home on a solo visit, and we both knew it was the one almost immediately. He's been so excited about the potential we have here and has already taken the kids out on so many little adventures. He has always loved being as active as possible outdoors, and that lifestyle will be able to be much more fulfilled here. 

Well, I’ve gone into way more detail than I thought I would in this post, but feel free to ask any questions you may still have in the comments and I’ll get to them in the next post! All-in-all it’s just pretty incredible how things work out sometimes, and already we’re amazed to see how our family is thriving in our new home. We’re still just a reasonably short drive away from our old stomping grounds, and we’re back and forth quite a bit still as we wrap up affairs and such there, but it’s already making such a difference with work and family time, and the kids especially are making so many friends(and getting more party invites than they know what to do with) and doing so well in school, it’s so sweet to see.

A big thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging, and helpful in the packing and moving so far, it means the world to us! We feel like we’re taking all the best things and relationships with us, while also being able to leave everything negative behind, and I have to smile a little to know that Martin’s close by constantly and is excited to see that our family is moving along the path that he and I dreamed about all those years ago. 

        Thanks so much for reading, and cheers to the future!