Thursday, April 21, 2011

Healthy Easter Memories!

I will admit, I am a big fan of a certain chocolate that's only out at Easter, I love the pastel coloured candies, a solid waxy chocolate Easter bunny must be present (although I have no interest in eating it!) and there would be no Easter morning without jelly beans! Not sounding so healthy so far!

As much as I go candy crazy at Easter and it's true, I do focus more on healthy memories than the healthy breakfast, but I do try to balance it a little. I fill them up with a healthy Easter Brunch and 'add extra rainbows' as one friends says! They get scrambled eggs with cauliflower, fruit kebobs and muffins made with flax, whole wheat, and bran.

The fun side of Easter however, I go full out!

With 3 kids I quickly learned that the oldest was going to get all the goods unless I found a way to evenly divide the hunt. Those plastic coloured Easter eggs can be filled with stickers & pennies instead of jelly beans and as long as you assigned colours to each child, you control how many each kid finds! I spend a long night counting and sorting and then place a green & yellow egg in oldest child's 'collection' basket - she knows those are her colours - and place the basket at the foot of her bed. If she finds a pink egg on her way downstairs, she leaves it there and moves on . . pink and blue are her youngest sisters colours. Works every year and even allows me to hide the oldest daughters eggs in harder and higher locations!! And hide we do - eggs everywhere, trails of jelly beans from their room to their Easter baskets and even a hunt throughout the backyard . ..with the same eggs they found in the house, just secretly recycled and re hidden out back!

My favorite tradition has to be the paw print. I've had a kitty paw stamp forever and each Easter eve, as the kids sleep, I sneak in and place a paw print on their cheeks and on the back of their hand. The don't notice until someone tells them the next day . . . or now that they expect it, they run to the mirror to see when they wake up!!

Our last tradition is another fun one for the kids, aside from the usual colouring of eggs, we also grab fallen tree branches from outside, sometimes spray paint them white and hang the tiniest of decorative egg's on them with some we've coloured . . . our Easter egg tree is out earlier and earlier every year as the kids can't wait to decorate it!

Perhaps what surprises me most every year, is not how much the kids indulge in the candy palooza that goes on here at Easter, but how quickly they loose interest in the chocolate and the jelly beans after Easter! I leave the candy out for all to see and sure the first couple of days they ask for something every 10 minutes . . . but as the days go on, they forget and within weeks the gummies have hardened, the chocolate's disappeared to moms freezer stash and the jelly beans are a distant memory!

We like to have fun with food and it seems like around here it's the anticipation, the hunt and the memories that leave us with the sugar high! Enjoy your Easter everyone, stay healthy and be sure to sneak in a few sugar coated memories . . .we'd loved to hear about them!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Bunnies Last Hop!

It happened in an instant, I had no more than a 2 second warning but I saw it coming . . .for those 2 seconds you could see me in super slow motion shouting “Nooooo” and reaching out to cover my kids' ears. Right there, hands in our popcorn bowl, giggling at a silly movie, right before my very eyes, the Easter Bunny vanished. I couldn’t prevent it, I couldn’t take it back, I couldn’t explain it away. I couldn’t lie to my 9 year old anymore. It’s been a big couple of months for her. The tooth fairy had recently had her last flight and there were tears and a pinky promise to not tell her sisters . . . I blogged about it. I was holding out hope for the Easter Bunny, at least until after Easter.

The evening started out like many other family nights. Our kids school does a monthly movie night and we all wear our pj’s, take pillows, blankets and loads of quarters for the .50 cent bowls of popcorn. We lay on the gym floor for an hour and a half and watch a movie with 150 of our closest school friends (yes I am an awesome mom!) while volunteer parents run the show. Tonight’s movie was Mega Minds . . . a futuristic cartoon battle of good vs. evil where good gets the girl in the end – who knew the Easer Bunny would bite the dust! Evil guy was taunting the girl who believed against all odds (you know the story) that good would prevail and Evil guy uttered the words . . .”Oh, and you probably still believe in the Tooth Fairy and the . . . . (noooooooo don’t say it!! where is the remote? mute the volume . . .noooooo) . . . EASTER BUNNY.”

My 9 year olds head swung around so fast to glare at me, I thought she might just shout out her obvious question for the whole gym to hear. I ignored the glare, secretly squeezed my husband’s hand and hoped she would forget what she had just heard . . . but I knew in my heart the Easter Bunny was done. The movie ended 30 minutes later, and the second those lights went on that head swung around again, “Mommy, is the Easter Bunny real AND DON’T LIE TO ME.”

I told her we could talk at home to avoid bursting the fairytale for the other 149 kids in the gym and get distance from her younger sisters listening ears. We had another talk similar to the tooth fairy talk (its mom, I do it to make fun happy memories for you, I promise I will hide chocolate for you when you are 76 and, the best part . .now that YOU are in the Easter Bunny club you can help mom hide eggs for your sisters!! insert over exaggerated happy mom face). She had another cry, and she slowly raised her pinky to once again bear the burden of a pinky promise to not tell her sisters.

Why would a movie geared to children sell out the Easter Bunny? My other two kids are 7 and 5 and neither of them noticed a thing cause they still firmly believe, but my daughter was wavering as kids do around the age of 8 & 9. She couldn’t have been the only one who’s dreams of big furry 6 foot tall Easter Bunny hoping through our house hiding jelly beans were dashed because of that movie? Maybe these movies could carry a warning . . .”PG – Some scenes may crush young girls belief in Easter Bunnies!” I would have at least waited until after Easter to let her watch it.

She's cool with it now and excited to "know" as we prepare for Easter this weekend, but still . .this wasn't how I envisioned the Easter Bunny going down! How did your kids figure it out?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ketchup IS a food group!

This is a typical dinner plate for my youngest daughter. She will eat just about ANYTHING as long as she has ketchup for it. Of course things like home made macaroni & cheese, french fries and grilled cheese were invented for ketchup. It's the foods you wouldn't expect to get a coating of the red stuff; chicken, steak, fish, asparagus, noodles. Most would say its kinda gross, but as parents, we pick our battles. This one I am willing to concede!!

Its important to me that my kids eat what I call real food. We buy chicken breasts from a farm and bake or BBQ them, no coating, no frying, no camouflaging. We serve our kids halibut, sole and salmon in its natural state . . no sticks, no unknown parts of fish, no breading. They enjoy the nice cuts of steak we have, I share the quinoa, brown rice and barely with them. They are expected to eat at least 1 piece of the vegetable we are having that they don't really don't enjoy - usually asparagus - and also the vegetables they do enjoy.

In exchange for this, I happily put the ketchup on the table every night and buy the king size bottles on a regular basis. My 5 year old can eat anything with enough ketchup on it. My mom says the sugar is bad . . . but isn't a little sugar OK if she is eating halibut and asparagus?

I did a little research on ketchup - its main ingredients are tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and seasonings - sounds pretty good so far! Turns out it gets better. Ketchup is a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help prevent some forms of cancer! This is particularly true of the organic brands of ketchup, which have three times as much lycopene. Also, ketchup, much like other cooked tomato foods, yields higher levels of lycopene per serving because cooking makes lycopene in tomatoes more bio-available! It's looking a lot like a win-win situation to me!!

I say look for brands that use sugar and do not contain high fructose corn syrup, watch your sodium content and then embrace ketchup as a new food group. I am hoping she will grow out of the ketchup covering eventually and enjoy the flavour of the food on its own. But in the meantime, look at all the healthy benefits that come in and under a dollop of ketchup!!

What do you think? Do you let your kids cover up healthy food with condiments?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Walking Home . . .ALONE!

I love that I get to take my kids to school everyday and I can be there to pick them up after school. When they were little I would carry or push one, pull one on a bike and the oldest would walk. Now on nice days we walk through the forest looking for squirrels and flowers instead of taking the long sidewalk home. On cold days we all pile in the van and we battle car seats & snowsuits, seat belts and winter gloves. Over the years it has gotten more fun on the warm days as we walk and stop to catch fish in the creek and easier now on the winter days as the kids can all buckle into their boosters on their own.

Isn’t it great when the kids get older? You breathe, you can think, you sleep. You get that secure feeling of . . ahhhh . . .I made it.

And then one day your oldest will announce, “I’m walking home . . . .ALONE.

Ha Ha Ha. Good one. In my head I'm saying “oh no you're not!” but to her I just smiled. She has done this before, usually by the time we get to the van, she jumps in. But today her determination was stronger, she kept saying it, “I mean it. I’m walking” and looking at me . . . challenging me to stop her. She walked faster, to show me she was serious. She passed our van parked at the side of the road and kept walking.

My middle daughter contemplated walking with her, but jumped in the van as she passed. My youngest cried, thinking her sister was gone from our family forever.

I still didn’t say anything. I smiled. Part of me was super proud of my 9 year old for her independence and wanting to forge out on her own, she still cries often in new situations so this new found bravery looks good on her! Part of me was super scared that I was already facing the fact that my little girl wanted to grow up and forge out on her own! There is no way I want her walking that long stretch of open road on her own. It’s not as safe out there for young girls walking alone. Her sisters are too young to protect her. She’s not ready yet. I’m not ready yet! But today I didn’t stop her. I couldn’t. She was so insistent. She was so proud. She was walking home . . . .ALONE.

So I did what any awesome mom would do. I got in the van with my other 2 children and we drove home doing 3km an hour staying right behind my little girl and shouting encouragements out the window as she walked home . . . ALONE!!

When did your kids walk home alone from school for the first time? Would you have done anything differently?

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's an Ultimate Blog Party!

What a great way to meet more moms and bloggers that share our passion for Raising Healthy Kids! I look forward to reading your awesome blogs this week and I hope you will take some time to look around mine.

I'm an active trail running mom of 3 blonde girls and wife of one smart husband. He makes IronKids Gummy Vitamins to give kids the extra nutrition they need and I blog, tweet and post on Facebook easy ways to keep our kids active and healthy through playing and helping in the kitchen!!

We invite everyone to contribute to our website and blogs . . have a look around and I hope you'll share your tips and tricks for raising your healthy kids!!