Participation Trophies: Internal vs External Motivation

I love that my children enjoy playing on sports teams, but I am frustrated with the post season participation trophies and medals. When I was a kid there was none of this. I received trophies if I placed in the … Continue reading

Therapy Helps

Since first recognizing I had anxiety disorder in that college psychology class my freshman year, I have seen a few therapists over the years. Some were helpful. Some were not. But that is not the point to this post. When … Continue reading

Perfection Doesn’t Exist

  This title has a lot of different meanings, but what I am referring to here specifically is overall health. I have driven myself nuts in the last year to ensure everything my family eats and does is healthy. I … Continue reading

Healthy Fundraising Ideas

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I don’t participate in a lot of the fundraisers my children’s school holds. Namely because it seems many are centered around unhealthy ways of life. I would prefer not to visit Wendy’s or McDonald’s on a given night just so that those fast food joints can kick back a small percentage towards the school. My family and I haven’t been to a fast food joint in years, so why start now? I also don’t like choosing junk out of a catalogue that is just going to “junk” up my house or end up in the garbage, and eventually the landfill later. I want fundraisers that help instill healthy habits onto my children. Selling unhealthy foods to children “for a good cause” seems counterintuitive since those foods are not part of a balanced diet. Fast food, cookies, ice cream, candy all contribute to poor eating habits, and part of their education should be about healthy living.

Let’s focus on healthy alternatives that promote healthy behaviors. Here are a few ideas:

Fundraisers that support academics:

1. Spelling Bee (Participants would ask for donations to sponsor them, as well as admission could be charged to enter the bee, contest, fair.)

2. Math Contest

3. Science Fair

4. Workshops/classes on weekend (Sewing, knitting, wood working, cooking, robotics, etc)

5. Read-a-thon (Participants are sponsored for number of books they can read.)

Fundraisers that support the arts:

1. Concerts (Admission to be charged to enter these.)

2. Art shows

3.  Plays/musicals

4. Dances

5. Poetry reading/story telling contest

Fundraisers that support physical activity:

1. Dance-a-thon (Participants ask for donations for how long they might dance, jump, walk, bike, etc)

2. Jump rope-a-thon

3. Walk-a-thon

4. Bike-a-thon

5. Run/walk (Entry fee.)

6. Bowling night (Perhaps the venue would kick back percentage of earnings that night to the school.)

7. Sport tournament (Participants would pay an entry fee to play in a golf/tennis/etc tournament.)

Fundraisers that support the environment:

1. Garden show

2. Flower bulbs/seeds

3. Tree Planting

Fundraisers that support nutrition:

1. Fruit baskets

2. Mixed nuts

3. Healthy cookbook (Have parents donate a healthy recipe whole family loves and make a customized cookbook to sell.)

Other healthy fundraising ideas:

1. Auction (Local retailers donate goods/services or have artists hand make items. Good way for artists to get recognized.)

2. Healthy Kit Fundraiser (SunBuddy Sunscreen Fundraising)

3. Organic Soy Candles (Non toxic and good for the environment.)

4. Holiday wreaths

5. Sporting event (Trenton Thunder or even a college game.)

So, now that I got you thinking, can you think of any more healthy fundraising ideas? I would love to add them to the list.

 

 

 

Let it go….

As most of you know one of the reasons I began this blog was because I want to become a health coach. While I like the idea of being a health coach, and I LOVE writing this blog and sharing information, I am not entirely sure health coaching is the right “job” for me. I realized the other day after spending 2 hours with a friend discussing and exploring ways for her to add  healthier options to her life, I walked away with a sinking feeling. I don’t like to sit still. I NEED to be moving around. Multi-tasking. Doing busy work. One of the reasons I chose a health coaching certification as an option (I am a few weeks away from my certification exam) is that I felt like it was a good use of combining my degrees in psychology and athletic training. I felt like I needed to stay within those realms or it would feel like a waste.

With my youngest approaching full time student next year (hello First Grade, finally!) I figured I would be stepping back into the real world of a paid job. I want to work. I like to be busy. I’d like to know, I, too, can help support the family. But I am struggling with the idea of just getting a job to fulfill these needs, versus finding a career within the scope of my degrees. I mean, what was the point of attending a 4 year college and studying psychology (and art) and then a 2 year graduate program studying athletic training, and never really using either degree? I am sure this is something many stay-at-home parents struggle with as they re-enter the work force after many years of not working (outside the home raising children). What did you do? How did you look at it?

My husband continues to say (every time I bring up this subject on the waste of my degrees), “Let go of the past. We never would have met if you hadn’t gone to grad school”. True, but that was one expensive dating service! I get what he is saying and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, but even if he and I had never met, married, had children, and I became the stay-at-home parent, I think I would have found myself in this predicament.

There are times I wish my parents let me defer that year between high school and college.  Maybe I would have used that time to figure out what I wanted to do before I spent time, money, and effort on my college degree. (Sorry, still in this mode of thinking.) Graduate school was my own idea after spending nearly 3 years as a snowboard and tennis instructor/waitress/bartender/nanny. Honestly, I would have continued this lifestyle, except that I didn’t have health insurance from April to November, and I was in a bad car accident which left me with a degenerative cervical vertebrae. At that time I didn’t think I could continue instructing snowboarding since my neck and the rest of my back were in bad shape.

From the time I graduated from college I have felt this internal pressure to find a career within my field of studies. But a lot of responsibility and the fear of being held liable deters me from any medical/health related field. As an athletic trainer I was anxious every time I was on the field or assessing an athlete. I don’t miss that aspect at all. I do miss the busy work of taping 20 ankles in a row and the athletic training room banter, but other than that I would not jump back into the field, nor could I after being away from it for years. While I am still interested in health coaching, I realize I need more hands on work that keeps me moving around. Work that doesn’t involve me obtaining professional liability insurance.

So I am trying to just “let it go” and relax. My education has served me well in other ways. I use my psychology degree every day  rationalizing with my children, trying to understand the behaviors of others, and in general, communicating with people in the real world.  I use my athletic training degree often when it comes to medical issues within my family. I don’t pass out at the sight of blood (even when it is pouring down my 6 year old’s face), I treat minor strains/contusions/abrasions on my own, rather than rushing to see the pediatrician, and I am calm when it comes to most medical issues we have seen thus far as a family. My education has served me well.

Now if I can just find a decent paying job that is fun, low stress, and keeps me busy, I will be a happy girl! I might just go work at Trader Joe’s! It’s an upbeat, friendly place and the staff always seems to be busy doing something. Maybe I could so some health coaching on the side. That and give talks around the country in regards to mental illness, and write a novel. Oh yeah. Lots of ideas floating around in this head!

 

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Healthy Meals on the Go

Even though there is still a chance of snow this coming week, softball and baseball season in this household are under way. While I am excited about the season because I absolutely LOVE watching my children play their favorite sport, I am feeling completely overwhelmed. Why? Because my almost 9 year old daughter is playing on 3 softball teams this season, plus participating in Girls on the Run. I have volunteered to help with both her recreation and 8U softball teams, plus I coach Girls on the Run. My 6 year old son is only playing recreation baseball, thankfully. However, between practices and games, and the GOTR schedule, there is no time for regular meal prep or regular sit down family dinners during the week. Normally our family sits down together for dinner around 6 pm every night. This is the time we catch up with each other, discuss upcoming events, impart parental advice, and in general just be together as a family. While I realize it’s really only for a couple of months we have this crazy schedule, it still drives me batty. I want to feed  my family healthy dinners and I want to be able to have time where all four of us sit down and be with each other. Since I am coaching both softball and GOTR, I will also have to be at most practices and games, and therefore will have to prep meals earlier in the day. The criteria for these meals will be:

1. Healthy

2. Easily packable

3. Served cold or at room temp (or quickly re-heated)

These healthy dinners need to be eaten easily on the go, at the field, or served quickly after a practice/game so that my children can get to bed at a decent hour. Hopefully their homework will already be done!

This is my latest test recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook, and packs up quite nicely. Creamy Avocado Potato Salad and Super Power Chia Bread. Plus a Morning Glory Smoothie (I wouldn’t recommend bringing the glass, but it worked well to take this picture!)

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Another reason I am overwhelmed by this season is the lack of free play and down time for my children. I never intended my children’s schedules to be so busy. I have always said that I would not over schedule them with various activities. I don’t know how parents (or really the children) do it with multiple sports, Girl/Boy Scouts, Hebrew School/CCD, etc. Generally the rule in our house is one activity per season. We broke that rule in the fall when my daughter decided to participate in both soccer and Girls on the Run. Since GOTR is a character building program that enhances girls’ confidence and I had been coaching it for 5 seasons already, I was thrilled my daughter wanted to participate. However, this spring I should have put the kibosh on  it. I had no idea she would be involved in 3 softball teams! But she is insisting and remarked that she liked the looks of her busy schedule because in her words, “It energizes me!” So we will see how it goes.

I fully believe children should have the opportunity for free play. Making up their own games. Unorganized, unstructured, and unsupervised activity. Being the creators of their own rules and consequences. Fighting, decision making, solving problems. ALL. ON. THEIR. OWN. Free play teaches children to make friends, get along with others, learn to handle self control and their emotions, and makes them HAPPY!

Two questions for my readers:

1. What healthy meal ideas do you prepare that travel well or can be prepared ahead and served quickly?

2. How do you encourage free play in your children?

Live Sicker, Die Younger Generation

This generation of children in the United States will “live sicker, and die younger than their parents” according to a documentary entitled “A Place at the Table”. There is too much readily available  food with fat, sodium, and sugar, and NOT … Continue reading

Redefining Girly

I recently read a book entitled Redefining Girly by Melissa Atkins Wardy. If you have a daughter or plan on having children someday, it is definitely worth the read. I first heard of this author a couple of years ago through … Continue reading

It is what it is.

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Holidays. My favorite time of year. NOT. Ok, sorry that was lame, but really I hate the holidays. I always have. Maybe because my parents divorced when I was a toddler, and then my mom and adoptive dad divorced when I was a freshman in college. I never really had the pull between households that most divorced kids have had, but I’ve always felt guilty this time of year. And stressed. And anxious. Just call me the Grinch. Bah humbug!

However, in the last few weeks I have developed a new mantra. “It is what it is”. Some things just can’t be helped. Or fixed. Or made better. Some things just “are”. I am learning to be okay with this. This being life and what life may hand us. I may get angry at first. Raise my voice. Stamp my feet. Use wild hand gestures. But then I take a deep breath, shrug my shoulders, and think to myself, “it is what it is”.

In the last few weeks I have been working for my friend who owns a small business. She called me in a desperate panic to act as her “customer service” rep and respond to customer’s emails. I was appalled at how rude some of the customers were despite my cheery responses letting them know we were “busy little elves” and were knitting their orders as fast as our little fingers could and assured them their orders would get to them in the “Nick” of time. At first I would get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I feel guilty or anxious, but then I realized these people needed to adopt my mantra. We were not canceling their order. We weren’t telling them we would never send it to them. We were just letting them know it might be a little later than originally noted. I mean, what did they want us to do? It is what it is.

10 Food-Free Ways to Celebrate School Birthdays — Real Mom Nutrition

I love this blog post. There are some great ideas for celebrating your child’s birthday at school without food and without the goodie bags filled with dollar store junk! My favorite is to buy a book, have the child write an inscription, and donate it to the class. Books make excellent gifts for any  occasion, especially for children. Books foster good reading habits and encourage children to explore their imagination.

10 Food-Free Ways to Celebrate School Birthdays — Real Mom Nutrition.

Gym Days and Recess

My son started Kindergarten this year and I was thrilled to find out he would be participating in Physical Education classes, as well as music and art. In the past Kindergartners were not given the opportunity to participate in P.E. … Continue reading