Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Happens At Summer Camp, Stays at Summer Camp

We did it . . . I mean they did it !! Each day they went to summer camp was better and more fun then the day before. Every mothers dream - your kids are happy and having a fantastic week! I should be thrilled . . and I am, except for one little question they can't seem to answer. . . "What did you do all day?"

Sure I get the old "we played games", or "we sang a song", or "we went canoeing" or "we went hiking", but I already knew all that - it was in the brochure, part of the program, what I paid for! What did you REALLY do all day?

I could tell them how I watched that clock every hour, how I wondered if they had sunscreen on, how I worried about my 6 year old the day they called for thunderstorms, how I hoped someone made sure they got on the right bus every night, how I checked my cell phone 30 times a day "in case" the camp called with a sick or crying child. Oh I could give them details.

But all they could give me was "we had sooo much fun", or "I loved it", or "I can't wait to go back next year", or "my counsellor was awesome." I guess its time for this mom to accept her girls are growing up, to revel in picking the right camp for her kids this summer and to realize that what happens at Summer Camp, is gonna stay at Summer Camp.

They are happy, so I am happy. And hey, I did find out one thing . . . .look what they made on craft day! How did your kids do at summer camp this year? More importantly, how did YOU do ??

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Camp - I did it!

I believe that raising healthy kids is not just about what food I put on their plate, but also about what experiences I introduce into their lives – well rounded, adjusted kids are happy healthy kids. I take creating memories for my children very seriously - they only have one childhood and I hope when they are older they can look back on it and remember the super amazing fun times they had. And my kids do have fun – we go to Marineland, to cottages, to beaches, to ski hills, to outdoor movies, to campsites and to grandma’s house. They each have pool parties in the summer, a March break hot tub party in the winter and a gingerbread making party at Christmas time with all their friends . . every year.

One thing was missing though. Summer Camp. I mean the real kind where you take a bus to a Conservation Area and you spend ALL DAY outside. You sing camp songs, you play camp games, you make camp crafts, you swim in the lake, you take canoe lessons and archery lessons and you make lifelong memories. And your Mom is NOT there. Gulp.

Today was the day. My two oldest girls boarded a bus with 3 of their bestest friends (could not send them ALONE!). I had prepared them – oh yes I had! Two weeks ago we went on a pre-camp beach day . … just me and them - we scoped out the bathrooms, the beach area and saw where the other campers that week kept their back packs and where they canoed! I Mabel Labeled their hats and sunscreen, gave explicit instructions to the forgetful one to put her shoes and underwear IN her backpack when she took them off and spent weeks convincing my teary one that this would be the most fun ever!! I made lunches and put in extra treats . . . even made a batch of spinach brownies (see my first blog!) and apple oat bars. I stayed up late last night and printed photos – used my Sharpie and wrote “have a great day” with tons of x’s and o’s all over them – and snuck those in their lunch bags. And their camp counselors phoned yesterday to tell them how excited they were to meet them at camp the next day, about all the fun they were going to have and to bring some spare socks for craft day. This is going to be PREFECT!

Perfect? I am still convincing myself!! Chanting right now – awesome summer memories, awesome summer memories!! You see, I am a stay at home working mom. My kids are either with me or with my mom. Mostly with me. I love being their mom – bad days and all - I am still so super happy that I can be home with them to have beach days and hot tub parties with their friends. This camp thing, on a bus, to a place farther away than the local dance academy has this Mom rocking in her corner office! I did OK this morning. Happily took photos of the kids getting on the bus, held their hands til the very end and kissed the tears of the one that was crying. I even boarded the bus to make sure they had a seat with their friends and no boogie men were on it and then . . . I . . .waved . . goodbye.

I did OK all day. Watched that clock and boy did it move slowly. I am not used to not being able to call and 'check in' mid day when they are not with me!! Finally it was 4:35 and pick up at that same bus stop but this time the kids couldn't stop squealing with excitement. Telling me all the amazing things they did all day and showing me the sock puppet - oh its something else (have to post a photo of it tomorrow!). And that same teary child? Her first words to me off that bus were "Mom, that was so AWESOME!"

Summer Camp is a success for all! Memories are being made and they are awesome ones!!! And next year, do they want to go again . . why yes they do, and to a sleep over camp!! Gulp!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Brownies for Breakfast!

I know, a blog on raising healthy kids and here I am on my 2nd post talking about Brownies for Breakfast!!

Having 3 daughters, I am careful to avoid instilling those negative body image issues you hear so much about in today’s young women and I think brownies for breakfast can help me with that! Now bear in mind, I am not a certified anything and this is just my own personal experiment that I have been conducting for the past couple of years . . . for the real scientific results you will have to check back when my kids are in their 20’s and see how well adjusted they are! For now, I am going on gut instinct!

Here is what I am doing so far:
Lead by example – Check
I run, I eat granola and drink shakes for breakfast, salad for lunch, serve balanced dinner every day. Kids have health conscious parents to model.

Healthy Food First – Check
Few rules here – you must have breakfast, you have to eat all your lunch at school and not just the treat, you don’t finish dinner, you don't get dessert or vitmains. Simple and always enforced. They know the 4 food groups and know healthy food first. Always.

Family Meals – Check
We eat dinner together every single night as a family. Dad too. At the table. No TV. And we talk. Having said that, my kids are 4,6,8 and haven’t developed full on lives of their own yet so I can have Family Meals !

I also do something else important, I make eating FUN!! Broccoli is never fun when you are 6, but you have to eat it. To offset that, we have "play food" nights. Pudding for dessert, served on a tray and eaten with . . . your HANDS! They love it . . mix up a couple flavours and they are happy little kids! Jello on a tray works too . .add in the whip cream for super YUMMY Fun!

The brownies for breakfast happened by accident one day, but it’s the same idea – its Fun. My kids birthday is always a special day for them and one year we had birthday cake left over so I jokingly said, “who wants cake for breakfast” and of course they all said “ME” . . and I thought, why not? So now when it's anyones birthday, the whole family gets to have cake or brownies for breakfast.

It’s not going to hurt them, not going to decay their teeth, not going to turn them into sugar monsters. It is however, going to make that a super fun day (it started with cake!!), make them the envy of all their friends (they had cake for breakfast!) and make some amazing lifelong family memories (no one forgets cake for breakfast!) and it makes me one super cool mom (I LET them have cake, FOR BREAKFAST!).

And the best part? Since a DQ Ice Cream cake is what I order every year on my special day, I get to have ice cream for breakfast on my birthday!!

Do you let your kids get messy with food sometimes or have dessert first? How do you make food fun? Leave me a comment so I can try it out on my kids ! We love having fun!