Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Website!

Follow all my latest articles on raising active kids and find great new recipe and snack ideas on my new website at:


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hibernating all Winter? Not a Chance!

I surprised myself when I noticed that I have not posted a blog here since December!  Where did I go? Hibernation maybe? Actually it was the exact opposite!  My husband, the kids and I were so busy this winter OUTSIDE that I didn’t spend much time at my computer writing!

How does one stay busy outside all winter with kids allergic to cold and snowsuits when there is no snow to be found outside, and there is a TV and cozy fire calling from inside? You make a family decision to get out there everyday! And boy did we ever!

We are a family that has always made a point of skiing for 3-4 days each winter, but this year we took the plunge and committed to a membership at a ski club that would have kids in lessons every Saturday and Sunday morning and Mom & Dad in snowsuits no matter what the temps or wind chill for 3 months straight!

Every weekend this family spent at the ski hills, wither skiing down them or hiking up them.  We were out in the gorgeous sunshine, howling wind, blinding snow, -20 temperatures and +10 skiing in our t-shirts.  And everyone loved it!

During the week I committed to a girlfriend that we would work out OUTSIDE every Tuesday & Thursday morning on our bikes, in hiking boots or in running shoes, in the trails or on the country roads.  As our journey began, we agreed to take it week by week and see what the weather threw at us.  Luckily, Mother Nature took the winter off and we saw very little snow in our City so managed to bike ride in the trails almost every week. 

Switching it up to ride lakeside in the crazy wind, or hike when a new snowfall did (rarely) happen and a couple times we were forced to do indoor workouts at the gym.  We worked out faithfully all winter, so proud to find out what we were really made of and we continue to meet twice a week as the weather gets warmer and the workouts get easier!!

Ski season has officially ended, so you will see more frequent posts from me as I shift back to running and getting the kids out on their bikes while sitting outdoors with my computer & continue writing about staying active all year long!

How did you get through the winter?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family Hike

You make the announcement on a sunny Saturday morning, “Let’s go for a Family Hike!”  The support pours in immediately, ‘do we have to’, ‘it’s cold out there’, ‘how long will we be gone?’  Kids! 

Thankfully I get to play my Mom card and today I have decided we are going on a Family Hike so that is what we shall do!  Coats, hats, mitts, boots, splash pants on and the whole family is in the car for the 5 minute drive to the trails.  I know they will love this.  ‘How long is the drive?’, ‘where are we going?’,  ‘why do we have to go?’, 'are we there yet?'  They are really looking forward to this.

Funny thing is, they have a blast.  The day is gorgeous and surprise, surprise, Mom is right.  A Family Hike is just what we all needed.  The trail was a new one for us and the kids loved exploring.  We found ice on the path into the trails, a bridge across a small creek, boulders to climb, a ladder to get up a huge embankment, a stump to sit on, a log to climb on and sunlight bouncing off the snow at the top of our climb.  The kids collected sticks, threw makeshift snowballs, chased each other, chased us, climbed, slid and laughed.

Sometimes, you need to nudge everyone out of the house to get some exercise in the crisp winter air but I'm pretty confident once you let them loose on the trails, they will be happy they were so eager to go! I say when it comes to Family Hikes, Mom knows best.  Get outside and have some fun.


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Ultimate Family Photo!

 If your kids are like mine, they cringed when I announce we are going for family photo's. Sometimes I am convinced they sabotage the session on purpose thinking I'll cancel it, when in reality it just makes the fun go on for much longer than anyone likes!

I am a huge fan of family photo's.  We take them at Christmas, in the Summer, in the Fall, at birthdays, on the ski slopes, at the beach, at the park. . . you get the idea.  My kids roll their eyes, grumble under their breath and eventually smile pretty for gorgeous memories I am positive they will thank me for one day!

However, at our most recent photo shoot, I did not need to beg smiles out of them.  They were all over the family photo shoot when I told them their props would included climbing ropes, our warehouse, ski's, pretty dance costume and a goofy expression!

You see, you have not had an ultimate family photo until you have met Justin Van Leeuwen! I was introduced to Justins work via another very unique family photo of Julie Coles family of 8. Thinking my family wasn't large enough to qualify (only 5) I starting chatting with Justin on Facebook and Twitter.  I was in the market for not just any family photo, but one that showed the real us.  No pretty clothes and cute matching shoes, no studio, no fake smiles. The criteria was: it had to show our family, our personalities, our business and tell our story.

Justin was the perfect photographer for the job.  It began innocently with me sending Justin photos of our business space, links to our websites, blog post about our family, and a few shots of the kids to help him get to know us.  Then Julie Cole visited our office and sent a silly tweet about how great a photo would be of the kids climbing the racks of IronKids & Adult Essentials Gummy Vitamins in our back warehouse.  Justin's light bulbs started firing and The Lowther Race to the Finish photo was born.

It took only 6 hours of shooting which included 2 hours of arranging vitamins, 1 hour of wardrobe changes, 30 minutes of suspending one child by ropes and harness, 20 minutes of fan blowing, 1 finish line, 1 bike, 1 pair of running shoes, 1 pair of ski's, 1 pair of skates, 1 fork lift, 1 amazing assistant and a few hundred photos.

I hope you love our new family photo as much as we do.  I don't think it needs explanation.  It is us. Our family, our business, our story, our passions, our fun side.

Here are my photos of shooting day. Below is the amazing finish product.  What do you think?

For the photographers own summary of our amazing day, visit jvlphoto.com

Our Family 2011
For more on our family business, visit our Iron-Kids website.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kids & Colds

Eat your Veggies & Stay Healthy!
Do your kids get colds?  Mine really only get maybe one cold a winter.  I like to think it is because we try our best to stay healthy and take our vitamins!!  Wrote a blog about keep germs at bay that has been shared on other websites, so thought I would post it here!  Please feel free to leave comments for any other tips you have!

Kids and colds seem to go hand-in-hand this time of the year . . . but they don’t have to!

It’s true, germs are everywhere, and your kids will be at school, daycare or playgroups with coughing, sneezing and runny nosed children.  You can’t avoid the germs, but you can protect yourself and your kids by picking up a few healthy habits at your house this winter!

Eat plenty of fruits & veggies.  It is best to get your vitamin C from eating an orange so your body can benefit from the many other nutrients an orange has to offer! Experiment with your kids and new fruits and vegetables;  see if they can eat a rainbow of colours every day.  Cut into fun shapes, put on a stick and dip into yogurt, try broiled grapefruit or bbq’d pineapple. Freeze some grapes or a banana dipped in a little chocolate.  Add pureed squash to thicken that chili or spaghetti sauce.  Make fruits and vegetables part of every meal.

Eat yoghurt.  It has good bacteria that helps your immune system resist colds!  Add to a morning shake, put a few spoonfuls on the kids cereal, use as a dip for bananas, melon or apples before bedtime.

Drink lots.  Water is best, or 100% juice, to flush out the bad and keep you well hydrated.  Dilute juice with water for same great taste and less sugar!  Make your own fun flavours of water by adding lemon, or frozen melon, strawberries and grapes! Add orange, pineapple, passion fruit and cranberry juice together in a fancy glass for a fun treat the kids will love.

Wash everything! Doorknobs, light switches, telephones and remote controls all share your families’ germs! Wash kids hands and faces, even when not dirty.  Get into the habit of washing up after school, before meals and even before bed.

Get outside.  I know its cold, but bundle up and go out anyways.  So much fun can be had outside in the winter –go for a hike or a bike ride if you are short on snow or build a hill in your front yard and toboggan with the kids if you have too much!  While you are at it, open the windows occasionally to bring some of that fresh air inside during winter months to rid your house of any lurking air born virus.

Get some exercise.  Did you know exercise that gets your heart pumping and oxygen flowing actually increases your body’s ability to ward off cold germs?

Get some sleep.  Getting the proper amount of rest give your body the energy it needs to fight off the cold and flu virus.

And Take your Vitamins. Always good to fill in any gaps from your diet with a range of vitamins.  Multi, Omega, Vitamin D, B12, and Calcium are all vital to a healthy immune system, make sure you are getting enough!

The best defense against any illness is always a strong immune system.  A healthy diet rich in protein, grains and all the vitamins your body needs, plus some regular fresh air, exercise, plenty of fluids and rest is sure to keep your family feeling good this winter!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fitting it in!

I was lucky, I was raised in an active family and as result, I have always understood the importance of a healthy lifestyle. It has always been important, but it hasn't always been easy. In University I had other priorities, after my knee surgery it wasn't possible, for 6 months while pregnant and recovering from baby #1’s c-section it wasn't advised . . .then baby #2, then there was baby #3! It has been a struggle to find time to get out running through the years, but I kept at it, started over many times, and now I am a proud Mom with healthy active kids!

I have the same busy life all moms do with kids, a husband who travels and a work from home office with a great view, but no child care! Getting out my front door without kids is very tricky. Over the years I have gotten quite creative! I will run to my child’s soccer game while the rest of the family goes in the van, when I drop a kid at a birthday party I run around the neighbourhood until I can pick her up again. On days I used to work in an office, I would run on my lunch hour and then sit at my desk a little sweaty all afternoon! Any alone time I saw in my schedule, I put on my running shoes! My husband & I hire a babysitter for an hour so we can bike or run together. My running happens because it has always been my priority. I find as moms with long to do lists, we tend to put the workout at the bottom. We have to make our health a priority to find windows of time in our busy days.

Three of my proudest achievements after the birth of my 3 children, is crossing a ½ marathon finish line with my husband and each of our daughters in a jogging stroller when they were just 8 months old!!

We signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll ½ Marathon happening 7 hours away and just 8 months after the birth of our first daughter. I did whatever I had to to get in those runs. I started with the run/walk with her in the jogging stroller for 3km and once I could run 3km without stopping, I added 5 minutes every weekend. Within a few months I was running 2hrs and ready to try my first ½ marathon. Race day was not the funnest 2 1/2 hrs in the rain, but we did it and my baby has a finish line photo and medal on display in our house.

12 months later I had my 2nd baby girl and my elaborate training program started again! This time it was a bit trickier to fit in runs as I was not a double stroller kind of girl!! Eight months later my husband and I crossed the finish line at the Ottawa ½ marathon and she too has a finish line photo and medal hanging in our house.

Then we had baby #3 . . when the heck would I ever run again?! We committed to the Quebec ½ marathon just 8 months after her birth. I got up early, I ran in the cold, I ran when I was tired and I ran when I would have rather sat and had breakfast with my family. I took my babies to the local YMCA and put them in programs and babysitting so I could run on a treadmill. We crossed that finish line in our best time yet with our 3rd daughter and she too has a medal and finish line photo.

I proudly display my babies photos and medals and talk to them often about how great they were in those races. I want my daughters to see the rewards of setting a goal and following through and to understand that it takes dedication and effort. My kids are 5, 7 and 9 and have already done their first triathlon and two family 5km runs . . . we are a truly an active family!

It is a priority to be a healthy mom, a healthy role model for my girls and to raise healthy kids . . . I am committed to it, even if it means I have to run to swimming lessons!

How do you fit in exercise?

Choosing to stay home . . .

Long before I was a Mom or had even met my husband, I had decided that I wanted to be at home with my kids. I am not sure why. It was always just something that was important to me. I didn’t have any idea how I would afford to stay home or if I would even enjoy it, I just knew I would.

In my 20’s I was a hard working professional with a full on career. I had an office, a steady pay cheque, worked tons of overtime, I loved what I did, and I was good at it. In my 30’s I became a mom and although I knew I would be staying home, I didn’t stop working. My full time job became 20-30 hours a week of contract work. I was a busy stay at home working mom of 1 and in less that 2 years became a crazy stay at home working mom of 2. Breastfeeding a baby during conference calls and tickling a toddler playing under my desk became the norm of my day!

When my 3rd daughter was born I knew I was done working for a while. I was a mom of 3 kids under 3 at home with not only no daycare, but also a travelling husband and my main source of help, my mom, now busy caring for my ailing father.

My world was made up of kids, feedings, snacks, diaper changes, doctors appointments, chemo with my Dad, groceries, play dates and cleaning up after play dates. It was everything I wanted and more than I could handle all at the same time. Occasionally I could be found in a corner in tears, pretty sure I couldn’t do it one more day. Convinced that my girls would be better off having fun with other kids in a child care center then watch me unsuccessfully deal with the over whelming responsibility of catering to their needs each day. I have no idea how I made it through those first 2 years of being a mom to 3 small children. I leaned on friends and consoled myself that tomorrow would be better. Staying at home was not exactly as I had envisioned it, but it was still my choice.

I took 3 kids to all my doctors appointments, all their doctor appointment, all our dentist appointments, all kids activities; everywhere I needed to go, 3 kids had to come with me. I taught my children that we were a team and we travelled as a team and listening to mom was always required. I taught them how to sit still at the doctors, hold on to the stroller in parking lots and be patient at the grocery store. I have changed more than one diaper on my lap, I can make lunch with a baby in one arm, a toddler around my leg and a 3 year old crying because Barney is not magically appearing on TV. I have pulled the car over to feed kids, I have almost forgotten to pick up kids, and have been home for every second of the joy and struggles with kids. It wasn’t always pretty, but it did get easier as we all grew up together! I even had time to start working from home again, carving out a little time for mom with kids still running around the house!

My kids may have seen me at my worst, but I have seen them at their best. They have enjoyed more free time at home, more special days with mom, and I was there for all their naptime stories and potty training attempts. I had time to teach all 3 of my girls how to swim, how to skate, how to ski, how to bake, how to read, and how to put on lip gloss. Being home allowed me those opportunities and as the first day of Grade1 approaches for my last “baby”, I am so sad to see them all off in school full time now . . .but also so happy that I was able to enjoy time with them at home all these years.

When you choose to stay home . . . you choose a lot more hours of kids tears, of whining, of arguing, of cleaning, of constant companions for every errand and maybe a few more hours of smiles, of laughs, of memories, and snuggles. It wasn’t always an easy 10 years at home, but it was the right choice for me and I wouldn't trade any of it. What has choosing to be home meant to you?