Monday, February 25, 2013

Give Away

Give away. Two words that make me automatically think that someone has a freebie they want to give away, or there is a contest to enter for a chance to win something.

I sang a song for my boys tonight, which I learned in church when I was young.  It describes the idea of giving away, and what it should really mean for all of us.

I set a goal this year to serve others. To find ways to serve at least one person everyday. It is amazing the difference it makes in my life to help and love others, as this song suggests. My troubles and trials seem small when I am busy helping others. I know I am only one person...I know that I am small in the grand scheme of things in this world...but I know that I can make a difference, at least to those in my small circle that I have the privledge to know and interact with.

You can hear it sung here: Give Said the Little Stream

Here is a bit of it....

Give said the little stream, give oh give, give oh give.
Give said the little stream as it hurried down the hill
I'm small, I know, but wherever I go, the fields grow greener still

Singing, singing all the day, give away oh give away
Singing, singing all the day, give oh give away

Give then as Jesus gives, give oh give, give oh give
Give then as Jesus gives, there is something all can give
Do as the streams and blossoms do, for God and others live.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to lose weight

Found this on a post in facebook about Rachel Ray sponsored by Body Energy Inc. Had to copy and post for everyone. Amazing how this simple principle gets lost when we want to lose weight fast. No more fad diets...don't fall for them! 

If you burn 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you should lose about 1-2 pounds.
If you want to lose weight faster, you'll need to eat less and exercise more.
For instance, if you take in 1,050 to 1,200 calories a day, and exercise for one hour per day, you could lose 3-5 pounds in the first week, or more if you weigh more than 250 pounds. It's very important not to cut calories any further -- that's dangerous.
Limiting salt and starches may also mean losing more weight at first -- but that's mostly fluids, not fat.
"When you reduce sodium and cut starches, you reduce fluids and fluid retention, which can result in up to 5 pounds of fluid loss when you get started," says Michael Dansinger, MD, of NBC's The Biggest Loser show.

Diets for Fast Weight Loss

Dansinger recommends eating a diet that minimizes starches, added sugars, and animal fat from meat and dairy foods. For rapid weight loss, he recommends focusing on fruits, veggies, egg whites, soy products, skinless poultry breasts, fish, shellfish, nonfat dairy foods, and 95% lean meat.
Here are more tips from Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet :
  • Eat vegetables to help you feel full.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get tempting foods out of your home.
  • Stay busy -- you don't want to eat just because you're bored.
  • Eat only from a plate, while seated at a table. No grazing in front of the 'fridge.
  • Don't skip meals.
Keeping a food journal -- writing down everything you eat -- can also help you stay on track.
"Even if you write it down on a napkin and end up throwing it away, the act of writing it down is about being accountable to yourself and is a very effective tool for weight loss," says Bonnie Taub Dix, MA, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It .
Besides jotting down what you ate, and when, you might also want to note how you were feeling right before you ate it. Were you angry, sad, or bored? We often focus so much on foods and calories, but our emotions are a huge part of our eating habits.
If you see a persistent pattern in your emotional eating, please consider talking to a counselor about it. They can be a big help in finding other ways to handle your feelings.

Exercising for Fast Weight Loss

It's time to move more! Losing weight requires close to an hour a day of moderate exercise, one study shows.
Plan to do cardio and strength training.
"Cardio burns the most calories, so it is ideal for fast weight loss, but afterward you need to include a few hours a week of strength training," Dansinger says. To burn the most fat, try to break a sweat after your warm-up and keep sweating for the entire hour, Dansinger says.
If you're not exercising now, and you have a chronic condition or a lot of weight to lose, it's wise to check in with your health care provider first. They'll be rooting for you! And they'll make sure that you're ready to work out.
Pace yourself. Don't do too much, too soon -- work your way up to help prevent injury.
One way to step up the intensity is to do interval training -- brief bursts of high-intensity, followed by a more mellow pace, and repeating that pattern throughout your workout.
"Interval training allows people to work harder without having to spend the entire time at the higher level, and over time, the more you do it, the easier it becomes to burn more calories," Blatner says.

Fad Diets and Crash Diets

I know how tempting diet crazes can sound, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. You hear about stars who did it and look incredible.
But remember, if a diet plan sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Also, please skip any programs that promote detoxification pills, laxatives, fasting, or potions, and any that promise weight loss faster than 2-3 pounds per week.
The truth is that cutting calories below 1,050-1,200 per day is counterproductive, because you need strong muscles to be able to exercise effectively.
"When you eat too few calories, you lose fat but also precious muscle, which is the worst thing you could do because it slows your metabolism and makes it more difficult to increase exercise intensity or duration," Dansinger says.
Fad diets also set you up for failure by depriving you of what you want. You can't eat like that for long, and it's too likely that you'll rebel and end up back where you started. You deserve better than that!
So by all means, attack your weight loss goal. Put it on the fast track. But please, do it right so you set yourself up for lasting success.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Do something together

Here is a list of ideas found when looking for something new to do together.
You could sit on the couch and watch TV together....OR....

Bike ride 
Cook together – each taking turns with parts of the recipe
Go to the gym together 
Play croquet 
Match socks together – believe it or not, this can be nice to just sit and chat while doing this mindless chore
Plant a garden 
Go see a play at a local theatre
Paint a room in your house that you’ve been meaning to re-do
Shopping for something new for you and for him
Long walk around the block – even with the kids
Picnic on the beach
When the kids are in bed, challenge each other on the Wii
A game of tennis
Put together a puzzle
Read a book together 
Put together photo albums of your family
Sit outside and watch the sunset
Cooking class together
Day trip to a special location nearby
Find a band you both like and see if they’re playing anytime soon or nearby
Dancing lessons
Baseball game together – Major or Minor league
House hunting
Head to the zoo (you don’t always have to be with the kids!)
Canoe ride
Roller blading 
Create a vegetable garden 
Couple massages
Run a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, marathon together
Volunteer together somewhere special
Mini golfing
Real golfing
Play basketball together  (game of one on one)
Head to the beach and collect sea glass or shells
Recreate your very first date
Dance in the kitchen when the kids are in bed
Head to a flea market
Sit by the fire
Go camping 
Learn to play an instrument together
Play frisbee
Redo your bedroom together – new sheets, new arrangement of furniture, hang photos, etc
When it’s raining, run outside and kiss in the rain!
Free movies in the park
Walk around the mall hand in hand
Have a fondue night
Make chocolate chip cookies from scratch together
Head to the batting cages
Go-cart racing!
Head out on a boat ride
Head to a car dealer and test drive cars you’ve been dying to check out 
Strawberry/Blueberry/Apple picking – depending on the season
Sit and watch your wedding video together, or flip through your wedding photos
Make a family tree
Spend the night at a local B&B
Go hiking
Head to a local museum
Fitness class together
Make your own sundaes
Go ice skating
Find a place where you can do a dinner boat or a dinner train!
Make your own sushi
Lay in your backyard and look up at the stars
Go horseback riding
Find a local art exhibit
Swim in the ocean
If you have a hot tub, jump in!
Head to an amusement park
Go zip-lining!
Create something for your kids and surprise them – blanket fort, pillow fortress, LEGO cave, etc!
Make a cake
Dress up all fancy (for the fun of it) and head out to dinner
Create a vision board of goals and dreams you both have for your lives ahead
Clean out and organize the garage, your basement or your attic
Go to church together
Make breakfast and eat it in bed
Plant a tree
Create a special space outdoors for the summer
Go to a planetarium
Take a bubble bath together
Create a scavanger hunt for each other of clues that only the 2 of you would know and understand
Visit a local animal shelter if you’re looking to adopt a new pet
Take a karate class
Whitewater rafting
Make breakfast together in the morning

Or try this...a little something each day for a week!
Show him love seven days a week

Friday, February 15, 2013

Toilet Training in one week

Here is the story of how we potty trained our youngest in one week.

The background
He is 2 1/2. He has two older brothers. He can communicate well. He did not care if his diaper was wet or soiled. He did not tell us if he went or not. He had been playing with the potty..sitting every once in a while for fun before Christmas holidays. He wanted to use underwear like his big brothers. We had a week after Christmas with no events (no school, no trips, no activities...nothing!)...and Dad was there to help for the first two days.

Starting off'
He wakes up in the morning, and we announce that today is the day that he gets to be a big boy and use underwear. We pull out twenty pairs of underwear and let him pick one. He is so pumped. No more diapers. We put a little potty in each bathroom (one upstairs and one downstairs), and show him how and where to go when he has to pee/poo. Then, we talked to the big brothers, and got them on board. We asked them to help us to potty train Luke. Whenever he goes pee/poo on the potty, we are to cheer, support and encourge him. Then, we all played together, and just watched to see what would happen. Accidents happened all day, on the kitchen chair, on the floor (which is wood..thank goodness), on the stools, and in the bathroom. We just said, "Oh, you went pee...let's go to the washroom". We would take him there, clean him up, have him sit (just in case there was a bit more to come), and then put him in dry stuff...and play again. I think we changed him 10 times. We kept baby wipes in the bathroom for the poo cleanup, and we put him in pullups only for the nighttime sleep. We had him sit for a bit on the potty, right before bed as part of his bedtime routine.

Next day
The same routine...everyone stay together and play together. We love and support Luke, and celebrate when he tells us for the first time, "Gotta go". Even though he said it after he is still a big step.
We clean up a bunch more mess, but Luke is understanding that feeling, and how to hold it and make it to the bathroom before it comes out. Hey, this is tough stuff...when you spent your whole life in diapers. Today was the day he started going poo in the sees he has stopped play...and says, "Let's go to the potty". We get there, and some is in the underwear....but sit him down on the potty and he finished his movement. YEAH. This is a big deal...number 2 in the potty! Bedtime..same routine..same pull up. Mom can sleep well, knowing the bedding is safe.

Day Three
Luke wakes up, and says, "Gotta go"...and has a huge pee on the potty. Pull up is dry! He comes downstairs to celebrate with his brothers. Take some pictures! Moms reward...Mike and Ike candy. Yep...this is where we take the training to a different level. Every time he goes pee/poo on the potty, he gets one candy (and his big brothers also get one if he goes on the potty). They are helping to train him. They want the candy they ask him, "Luke I have to go pee...wanna come with me". They love using the toilet together. HAHAHAHA! Luke loved all the attention, and really wanted to show us how big he was. There were only two accidents this day.

NOTE...I wanted to put in here that we never asked him to go (unless if was suggested by a brother to go with them)...we did not use any sort of punishment, just positive reinforcement and praise (and a few candies)...if he had an accident, we just said, "You will get to the potty next time, let me help you clean up"...we did not take anything away....we did not give him more to drink, so he would pee more....we did not time him, or try to watch the clock...we never forced him to sit on the potty.

Day Four
Our little rock star almost has it. He has learned to listen to his body. He has learned to hold it until we get to the potty. He has learned how fun it is to sit on the potty and have a buddy to talk to while he is waiting for the poo to come (because we all know that poo takes forever!). Someone always sat with him, and helped him with pants down and pants back up and washing hands. He continued to get his one candy every time he went, and to give one to each brother too..and proudly tell them, " I went pee!".

NOTE really have to stay positive. We have done this three times, and each son was different. Our first was terrible. We were frustrated...we felt like we should have had some type of control over the learning...we forced him to sit...we felt like punishment was a good idea if he had accidents...we bribed him with sticker charts that led up to huge prizes (but he could not wait for the 10th time to get something and would just get frustrated...believe me...this way is much better for everyone, and they learn so much quicker. Plus...they learn for themselves, and isin't that what we all want?

Rest of the week
Same routine, but we added in a few trips in the car, and familiar places (where there was always a washroom close by). We always brought a change of clothes with us. Luke did not like to sit on the big toilets, but we started letting him try it that way at home and he became more comfortable when we were out and had to use public washrooms. We praised him for keeping dry pants, and watched for clues (like the potty dance) to ensure he got to the washroom on time. We will keep him in pullups for night sleeping for two weeks, and if he successfully has dry pull up in the morning for a week, those will go too!

NOTE...When he says he has to go (even if it is right before he is supposed to go to sleep...or you just put him in the car for a ride...or you are late for picking up kids for school...whatever) TAKE HIM. Trust him. Listen to him. If you think he is trying to be sneaky...take him anyway, and sing the alphabet song a few times. If he hasn't gone, you can tell him he can try again later.

Read up on the potty training basics at Baby Center

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Toilet Training

Here are the notes I took from the chapter on toilet training from Kids are Worth It. It was a good reminder before we headed into the challenge of toilet training our third son.

Toilet Training
“Toilet training is not different from any other early childhood learning experience – learning how to handle a fork, or button a shirt – that requires a combination of mental and muscular coordination.” Alison Mack, Toilet Learning

Prepare, Practice, Patience

Why are you training? Tired of diapers, pressure from others, preschool wont take them, other children their age are already trained? All the wrong reasons

When to start: When they have regular bowel movements, are aware when they pee and poo and are able to stay dry for long periods. They want a diaper changed after going pee or poo. They can communicate to you that they have to go. All three together. If one is there, and the other is now, it is better to wait.

What you need: potty chair (easier to sit on, and move around), Easy outfit (something that can be pulled on and off easily…as well as something like pullups), Toilet paper (they are going to use lots of it, on every stuffed animal), Stepstool (so they can reach the sink to wash hands) and diapers (because you still need them around!)

The key to remember is that you are helping them learn to take control of their body. 

Suggestions: Model..bring them with you to the bathroom and tell her what you are doing. When changing diapers, give him words she can later use…Luke is wet, Luke went poo. If they are pacing/grunting, comment that it looks like he is trying to go poo and ask him if he wants to sit on the potty. Let him choose to sit or not. It is his body, and he will learn to control it in his own way and in his own time. He just needs help, guidance and support. Accidents are not a big deal There is always another pair of dry pants. Remember it is a skill they are learning, not a contest they are winning. Bladder control usually occurs before bowel control, and daytime control usually occurs before sleeping control.

Model, trial and error, imitating and a good sense of humor are keys to successful practice.

Patience: “The power or capacity to endure without complaint something difficult” 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Last Child in the Woods

Just finished reading the book: Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. A great book that was recommended to me by my kids Primary leader at church. Let's just say, I am grateful for all the time Scott and I spend outside with our boys, and that we make an effort to go places, explore and try new things with them. Something from the inside cover...."I like to play indoors better cause that's where all the electrical outlets are". This was quoted from a grade 4 student.
Our kids are always plugged in, and this book discusses saving our kids from what he calls Nature Deficit Disorder, or lack of being in nature. I love how he points out all the positive effects from spending time outside. Nature can heal our children and is a great therapy for depression, obesity and ADD.
Be enthusiastic, get outside, go hiking, explore this amazing world that God created for us, and improve yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
He has a blog as well:
Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv - book cover

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Teacher Gifts

The amazing wrap it smart cloth gift bags, with a bag of homemade papenate (German cookie that we make every year at Christmas). The tag read, "Sharing a few of our family traditions with you"

You are the "Riesen" I am so smart!
We attached this tag to a jar full of Riesen candy.

The boys created their own valentine cards shaped like hearts, and we put a package of pink sticky notes inside. I really wanted to put, "I am stuck on you Valentine", but the boys would not go for it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Please Don't Rush Me

Please don't rush me

Don't rush me, please!
My toddler and I can't gather pine cones
If I'm gone all day.
Errands will have to wait.

Don't be irritated, please,
That I'm late for the meeting!
We stopped to watch the geese on the lake.

Don't expect my essay to be ready tomorrow.
My son and I walked in the woods today.

Shh! Don't call me tonight!
My baby boy and I are rocking
and Mommy's falling asleep!

Don't cringe at my sink full of dishes!
My son came to me with a puzzle to work.

Don't expect my house to be tidy!
My toddler's busy exploring it
And that's a messy job!

Don't ask me about the world situation!
I've been watching Sesame Street.

Don't ask me if I've read a good book lately!
Although little John thought so
When we had finished "Animal ABC's"

Don't rush me please when I'm dressing my baby
I could do it quickly
But John and I tickle and giggle and play peek-a-boo.
Who wants to hurry such a delightful experience?

Don't criticize me please!
I won't apologize for the time I spend with my son.
I am his best friend, comforter and teacher
And that job, and joy keep me busy.

So move along world, I'll catch up later.
I'm busy being a mother.

By Gloria Woodall...with thanks to Donna Wolsey