Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


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Whole milk or skim?

Did anyone see this article from NPR over the weekend?  “Whole Milk or Skim?  Study links Fattier Milk to Slimmer Kids”  It made me start thinking: Why do we drink milk anyway?  Calcium?  There are lots of ways to get calcium – kale, broccoli, almonds, sardines.  I don’t think I have ever had a sardine.  Hmm.    Sounds salty.  What about soy, almond or coconut milk?  I’m thinking about these issues since our little guy just turned one today.  (Happy B-Day Baby B!)  The NPR article also made me think that we don’t know what we are talking about.  As soon as one study proves one thing, the next moment another study says something different.  And usually it’s the opposite.  I can’t keep up.  I like the last paragraph of the blog.  Basically, we have much bigger things to worry about than skim verse whole milk, like soda for example!  Although, I’m not sure I agree with government bans.  That’s a little Big Brotherish.  But really, you may be giving your kids skim milk but are they eating a bunch of other crap?  I also don’t think the article means that giving kids skim milk is bad either.  Just in case that is what you are already doing.  It’s just another study proving…something which may be disproved next year.

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Montessori Baby Room Ideas

Here’s a video of our baby’s room that is organized and decorated based on the Montessori philosophy.  Check out the YouTube video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROs3QIeB998.  Don’t laugh!  I’m not good at making movies and I kind of ramble.  🙂

Our one year old attends a Montessori school, although he’s only in the infant room.  Even in the infant room you can see the focus on order, simplicity, and independence.  He seems happy and we like the teachers.  I understand that each Montessori school can be different based on the Head of the School and how they decide to run things.  I think it’s important to like the folks who are in charge since they can determine the learning atmosphere and choose the teachers.  To learn more, I attended a few evening classes about expanding the Montessori philosophy into the home.  I also read Montessori Play and Learn: A Parents Guide to Purposeful Play From Two to Six by Lesley Britton.  Based on my limited study and neophyte knowledge on the subject, the main ideas as I see them are providing children with the opportunity to learn through play, promoting independence, and demonstrating through example a love of learning.  In a Montessori classroom, children can move through curriculum at their own pace and they learn from older students.  There are no rows of desks like most of us remember from school.  Children choose their workspace and they may use a mat or table.

Based on these ideas, I set up our baby (almost toddler room) with a colorful mat in the center of the floor to focus his attention.  Even though he moves all over the room, I lay out new toys for him to play with on the mat.  I spent ALOT of time de-cluttering the room.  This took several attempts.  Eventually I cleared out the closet and put all the toys in the closet.  Then, I pick a few things and displayed them on the empty bookshelf in an organized and easy to access way.  All the book were also put in the closet.  The books that I put out stand upright so that the covers are showing.  I use baskets to group toys together, which is very common in the classroom.  I put pictures at floor level and put out pictures of family.  There is also a plant in the room to bring nature into the home.

Based on these ideas, I set up our baby (almost toddler room) with a colorful mat in the center of the floor to focus his attention.  Even though he moves all over the room, I lay out new toys for him to play with on the mat.  I spent ALOT of time de-cluttering the room.  This took several attempts.  Eventually I cleared out the closet and put all the toys in the closet.  Then, I pick a few things and displayed them on the empty bookshelf in an organized and easy to access way.  All the book were also put in the closet.  The books that I put out stand upright so that the covers are showing.  I use baskets to group toys together, which is very common in the classroom.  I put pictures at floor level and put out pictures of family.  There is also a plant in the room based on the idea of bringing nature into the room.  

I think the room still needs work.  I would like to add some artwork, more family pictures and more plants.  I know that some parents don’t use a crib to encourage independence but I think we’ll wait on that.  I will eventually add hooks on the walls or clothes baskets for him to put clothes for the next day.  Hopefully he’ll learn to get up and get dressed on his own as soon as possible.  I also want to get a stool or string to let him turn the light on and off.  It’s a learning process for us both.  It also takes time to continue to change the room and rotate toys every two weeks or so.  I think, however, that the organized and uncluttered room is much better for him in the long run.  Looking forward to hearing some other ideas!  😉

 


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Clean Eating Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Yum!  I love ice cream and never thought there could be a healthy substitute.  Behold!  A clean eating recipe that was approved by Daddy and Baby.  Cocao powder has iron, magnesium and zinc.  Peanut butter has protein.  And bananas have potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, manganese and fiber.  Can’t wait to try some other similar recipes like cherry almond ice cream or strawberry banana ice cream!

http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-chocolate-peanut-butter-banana-ice-cream/

Clean Eating Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

(Makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen bananas, thawed on the countertop for about 10 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (more if you want)
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (more if you want)

Directions:

  1. Allow the bananas to sit out on the counter so they just begin to thaw (just barely).
  2. Put the bananas through the Yonana’s machine (or in a processor or Vitamix with a small splash of milk and blend till smooth).
  3. Stir in the peanut butter and cocoa powder. Mix well and serve.

Nutritional Content:
(Data is for 1/2 the recipe)

Calories: 230
Total Fat: 9 gm
Saturated Fats: 2 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 78 mg
Carbohydrates: 39 gm
Dietary fiber: 5 gm
Sugars: 19 gm
Protein: 5 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 13

 


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Talking about God to Kids

Dare I be controversial?  Yes, I dare.  Mention the word God and you may get many different reactions.  For some, talking about God is very different from talking about church.  It can be a touchy subject but I don’t think it has to be.  Even if you don’t believe in God, you will probably still need to talk to your kids about God.  I taught a Sunday School (kids) class the last two weekends at our church.  It reminded me that talking about God to kids is a unique and wonderful challenge.  It can also be frightening.  It won’t be long before my almost-one-year old can talk about God.  My time is short!  I feel like I better get this figured out.  Probably a good goal anyway, right?  Do you remember what your parents said to you?  I’m concerned about being too pushy or too apathetic.  How do you make it a part of everyday conversation so that it isn’t uncomfortable (even if I feel uncomfortable)?  I guess it’s like talking about morality, virtue or character.  Well dang, that’s not easy either.  I read that each child is brought to us to challenge us in exactly the way we need to be challenged in order to best promote growth.  Thanks Baby B, I appreciate this learning opportunity!


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School Options: Public, Private, Homeschool?

My husband and I have started having long conversations about school.  Is public school or private school better?  Should we move closer to the school we choose?  Should we move to a new school district?  Are social relationships as important or more important than the education provided at the school?  Does the school not matter as long as the parent is involved in education?  What about homeschooling?  What about religious or Christian schools?

My almost one year old is enrolled at a Montessori School.  Since he’s still in the infant room the actual “school” part has not really played a huge part yet.  But even in the infant room the neat, orderly, natural philosophy of the Montessori atmosphere has been amazing.  This school also has a Christian curriculum were the kids learn Bible stories, which seems like a good idea.  The downside is the small size of the school and lack of school directed sports.  There is always the option of community sports.  The school also does not provide high school.  Should a child be at the school they intend to attend for high school as soon as possible?  For example, if you want a child to attend a certain high school, should they start there at pre-K if available?  There is so much to think about.  We going to start by touring schools nearby and talking to parents…blogging about it 🙂

If you are interested in the Montessori philosophy check out these YouTube videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZLq5Uttq8M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqOyLBAzyFs

 

 


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Sprout Spring Sprout

My heart goes out to moms having a tough, long winter.  I’m right there with you!  It seems like there has been one bug after another.  As soon we get better, something else hits.  We even had the dreaded flu.  It wasn’t pretty.  I’ve been sick more often than my one year old!  He’s handling his first winter better than I am but that may have to do with leaving my job to start my own law practice.  I feel less stress but it’s still a big change.  I don’t usually handle change very well.  The weather hasn’t made life any easier.  It seems like most of the country has dealt with blizzards a good bit.  Here in the Southeast we had alot of rainy, cold weather.  So say with me: COME ON SPRING!  If you are like me – mad at the weather and stomping around the house trying to single-handedly bring about spring as fast as possible, you may want to try some of these ideas.  Buy some flowers for inside the house.  Get your spring tools and yard as ready as much as you can.  (I had the lawn aerated but you may be snowed in.)  Try a new “homemade project.”  I recently tried making my own sprouts, which is very easy and fun for kids.  I’m also going to try baking some homemade bread.  Start spring cleaning.  (I LOVE cleaning out closets and getting rid of old clothes.)  Plan next year’s spring vacation.  Those are my tricks for beating cabin fever.  I’m sure there are others.  Let me know what you think and hang in there!

SPROUTS

Clean out one or two glass jars.  Fill jars with about 1 inch seeds.  I like alfalfa or chia seeds.  Rinse the seeds and allow them to soak over night while covered with a towel.  Place a covering over the top of the jar using a permeable material such as cheesecloth or nylon.  I used nylon footies.  Drain and rinse the seeds 3x a day until sprouting is complete.  You can leave them upside down and at an angle to allow for continuous draining.  Keep the jars covered with a towel.  I left my in our drying rack.  The seeds only take a couple of days to sprout.  Make sure not to use hot or warm water to rinse and keep an eye out of mold if the jars are kept in a warm area.  Sprout are very nutritious and great in salads or on sandwiches.  Making your own sprouts also save money!

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