Friday, November 17, 2017

If Your Kid Hates Veggies, You Need to See This

If you are one of those parents who has a kid who loves all food, and eats anything you put in front of them, congratulations. You're too awesome for this post, and I'm not writing this to you. 

As for you, there, still reading. This is for you. Meet my son. He dislikes anything green, healthy, or not peanut butter toast. As his mother, I spend countless hours begging and pleading with him to eat his food, just one bite. Over and over again. Most nights end with my bitter defeat, and a plate full of perfectly wonderful homecooked goodness, not even one bite taken. I spend entirely too much time blaming myself, and wondering what I could have done differently to get him to eat. Perhaps I didn't eat enough veggies while he was in the womb, or breastfeeding. Maybe I introduced fruit too soon, and now he will never like vegetables. Or maybe he's just a three year old? He looks like a three year old. 

I've been desperately trying everything I can think of to get this dude to eat his veggies. So many questions haunt me while I lay in bed, contemplating what an awful mother I am to my vegetable resistant child. Why won't my toddler eat vegetables? How do I get my toddler to eat? Do picky eaters eat vegetables? On my to do list most days are things like "google how to get toddlers to eat vegetables" and "look up toddler recipes for hiding vegetables". But that's not exactly the way I wanted to get my child to love food. I don't want him to only eat vegetables if he doesn't know he is. I want him to eat them, love them, and ask for them. That's asking a lot of a three year old, don't you think?

I thought so too, until I found Veggie Buds Club, a subscription box for vegetables. No, it's really a thing that exists. Someone and their family put together a box to encourage a love of veggies by introducing a different veggie each month. November was broccoli, and I couldn't resist. I immediately signed up as soon as I found it online, and we got it within a few days (I purchased it November 3, and it got here November 6). We were hit with a terrible flu and have been out of commission for most of November, but we are finally starting to feel better, and working our way through this box.

You know when you bring your kid to the play place, and there's another mom there with her kids? You want to say hi, but you're nervous they won't like you or something? Then you notice some blaring similarity, like they also cloth diaper, or have the same diaper bag as you, and you think "OH MAN. I think we're best friends now!" That's really how I feel about this box. I found it, and I had to try it. I am not very easy to please, and I am so happy that we decided to dive in and purchase this. 

Each box comes with several different activities that encourage your child to interact with the veggie of the month:

There's always an activity book with an incentive chart for trying out the food each month (the stickers have broccoli on them!), and ways to include this month's vegetable in your meals, some coloring pages, crayons and a page of interesting facts.

A recipe to try that includes the veggie of the month!
A Veggie Craft! This month my children made a Broccoli Banjo!
Broccoli Game with everything needed to play
Broccoli seeds, and instructions to grow some veggie sprouts inside. 
If you decide to get the Veggie Buds Super Club subscription, you'll also get a cool felt veggie, and a book featuring this month's veggie!

I love how all of the different activities were separated into their own bags, with a laminated sheet with instructions. All of the different activities are branded with the same cute backgrounds of different veggies on the back, and I felt this box was prepared beautiful, with a lot of heart. Everything looks beautiful together, and is quality products, not just random things throw together and sold as a subscription box. I did not feel like I needed anything extra to supplement what we found. I feel like I found the greatest subscription box ever. 
Here are a few pictures of our Broccoli Banjo

 And here are my children (who normally don't get along) taking turns putting the seeds into the glass, and pouring water on it. It's been so fun to check on the seeds every day and see them sprout. 

The best part of this whole experience, for me, is watching my children's eyes light up when we offer them broccoli now. We used to fight to get them to take even one bite, and now they agree to MORE bites than we offer them.

If you're interested in this box, please click here and see for yourself.

What has been your biggest obstacle getting your kids to eat?

I am providing this review because I truly love the product, I was not given anything for free, or offered payment for this post. I do not receive anything in exchange for you subscribing either. This whole post is just my love for this subscription box, and the effect it's had on my family! 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New Christmas Ideas Printable

Halloween is over, that means I can get excited for Christmas right? No? Just me?

Well, if you're like me, and OBSESSED! Then here is a great little freebie for jotting down those Christmas lists, or ideas for gifts. They seem to come and go quickly in these last few weeks before Christmas, so make sure to keep this handy when shopping or surfing Facebook. Or you can hand it to your kids and say "write down your top five".

This has six blank spots for ideas, so you can fill them out and have a list available when you're ready to sit down and get your shop on at your favorite online retailer, or bring it with you to the store while your kids are at school. Either way, it's a beautiful way to keep track of what you plan to get!

Join me in beautiful Christmastime-land, and help me think of ideas for my children! 

Friday, October 20, 2017

How Long Does it Really Take to Create a New Habit

How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit? 

The most common knowledge I have found says creating a new habit takes 21 days. Doesn't it seem silly? Bad habits seem to take no will or reason to create at all, and can't disappear no matter how hard we try, sometimes. 

So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change this new habit is from what you are currently doing. If your habit right now is enjoying a nice salty bowl of popcorn every evening after getting your children to bed, switching over to a less salty popcorn isn't going to take you much adjusting to achieve. If you want to give up popcorn all together, you might have a more difficult time, and it could take much longer. 

The question isn't so much "how long does it take to create a new habit" it's more asking "how long do I have to suffer before this new habit doesn't suck so much". Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don't have to break our back every day trying to give up this popcorn? When will this new tradition become automatic, so I don't have to try so hard?

It will be different for each person you ask, and for each habit they're trying to cultivate. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

It's a heck of a lot easier to make a new habit than cease an old one. 

Well that's not fair is it. We have to work harder to give up an old habit we don't even want anymore. Meanwhile, we strive to drink those eight glasses of water a day, and can't seem to get past three. It's so much harder to give up Facebook an hour before bed, or as soon as you get up in the morning. If it's possible, replace an old habit with a new habit. For example, if you want to give up soda, brew some herbal tea instead. 

Habits form faster if you stick to the same time and place each day. 

If you're going for a walk whenever you feel like it, you're less likely to find the willpower to keep up. Instead, schedule your walk every day after dinner, for example. You'll be significantly more successful with a specific time. Attaching your habit to something you're already in the habit of doing will also make you more likely to succeed. Who doesn't love success?

Remind yourself why you wanted to change your behavior in the first place. 

A consistent reminder will motivate you! Remind yourself every day why you want to put those sneakers on and work out. You want to stay strong so you can keep up with the kids and their expanding energy. Or use a visual to remind you those frugal habits you're working on will one day lead you to Disney World. Keep your reason on your heart and in front of your face, and it will help you stick it out. It will take time to build those habits and replace the old ones. But keep your eyes on the prize!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

How to Build New Habits

3 Steps to Creating New Habits 

We all strive to be better people, at least that's my hope for society. Perhaps we create new years resolutions, or we want to create new habits to reduce our social anxiety. I want to create fitness habits, or create healthy habits, or new eating habits. It may seem overwhelming to create a new habit and find a way to maintain it. I must need so much will power to convince myself to keep this new habit, right?

See also: How Long Does It Take to Create a Habit

Well, let’s talk about forming new habits, then. You have had times in your life where you intentionally want to change your behavior for the better and create new habits for yourself. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water, maybe even meal planning. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk, as a way to help alleviate your social anxiety.  Or it could be work related maybe you want to create a more productive work space, or spiritual, or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits. 

Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging, have you noticed?

Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth or getting on Facebook. 

Decide What Habit You Want To Start 

What a simple step, right? The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible to ensure your success. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more, that's so abstract. What is more? How will you know that you're successful if you don't have distinct goals? Instead say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every morning at 7am”. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it is half the battle. 

Remind Yourself To Get It Done 

The next few days should be easy peasy. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Look at you! Being successful. You're thinking of starting your own support group for those former non work outters. You can tell everyone how successful you are just getting three days in. Girl I'm right there with you. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits. 

Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk or maybe it's laundry day, and your day gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list so it's not lost in the shuffle. I take my children to school every day of the week, and I still have a list of things I need to do to ensure it all gets done. 

Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit 

It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit, which will require little to no extra willpower to keep up with. Until then, a routine will keep your new habit at the front of your brain during the day. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders. I love attaching new habits to old routines, it helps so much with remembering to get it done. 

Make a daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or instead of grabbing a snack from the vending machine at work to packing a healthy snack. 

What new habits are you working on? What has helped you become successful?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Daily Habits for Reducing Anxious Feelings

Daily Habits for Reducing Anxious Feelings

Social Anxiety Disorder is found in over 15 million Americans, and has yet to be diagnosed in countless others. 

When I first heard of Social Anxiety Disorder, I had so many questions. Do I have social anxiety, or is this just being a grown up? How do I overcome social anxiety, will I need to take medication? Do I have to go to a doctor? What are ways to treat social anxiety disorder naturally? Do I need to change my entire lifestyle? What are some of the signs of social anxiety? Do I have to medicate social anxiety, or are there natural ways to "get rid of" social anxiety?

First off, I am not a doctor. I am merely someone who suffers from social anxiety, and I have seen results from a variety of ways, and I want to help other people. 

As you can see, social anxiety disorder (sometimes known as social phobia) is very common. Some people will find great success in treating their anxiety with medication, and others will look for a more natural approach. I've found that no matter how you treat yours, you'll find the best success with looking at your daily habits and finding ways to improve your lifestyle. Small adjustments can have a huge impact on how you feel and your ability to handle social situations. 

Start Exercising

Perhaps the very best way to boost your mood and resilience is introducing exercise to your daily routine. Even something as quick as a ten minute run, or a fifteen minute YouTube workout for free will help get your blood flowing, and those endorphins into your system. When you move your body every day, it can become a habit. Exercising boosts your confidence, gives you more energy, patience, and helps you think more logically. Exercise can even get you out of the house and into more social situations. 

Focus on Better Sleep

My second favorite "habit" for reducing anxiety is getting enough sleep. Sleep is important for everyone, but especially for those struggling with anxiety of all types. When you're feeling exhausted and worn down from not sleeping, you will be much less likely to be able to handle stressful situations than on a great sleep day. If you start improving your sleep, it will improve your overall mental health. It's like when you haven't slept well and you try to focus on something else, like planning your grocery list, or focusing on reading a paper. It's hard to maintain that focus when you're tired.

Finding a good nighttime ritual that encourages you to get a good night's sleep will help regulate your mood better the next day. I have found I get fantastic sleep after a nice warm shower at night, or after reading a little in bed. 

Meditate Regularly

Meditation is another big favorite of mine for treating social anxiety. It gives you a few moments every day to push all thoughts away. Sometimes releasing those bad thoughts are all it takes to get back to having a good day. Take five or ten minutes and don't think about anything. Forget your worries, and set aside all those negative feelings you have about that upcoming baby shower.

I like to take five minutes to sit by myself in a quiet room with my eyes closed. I focus on my breathing and focus on pushing away negative thoughts. If I feel or hear them coming, I encourage them away from my cleared headspace. I used to think meditating was so silly. You just think about nothing? How boring! But once I tried it, I really started to like it. Meditation has brought me such peace in some of my worst anxiety attacks. 

Write in a Journal

Do you have a journal for your social anxiety yet? Because if not, you need to get one. Journaling helps you work out your negative emotions instead of letting them control your life. Some days I take a sheet of paper and write out all the negativity from my day, whether it's someone interrupting me, or making me feel awkward, even as simple as my kid not taking his normal nap, and then I throw it away. Something about throwing away my negativity at the end of a painful day brings me a lot of joy. If you have an event or get together coming up where interacting is necessary, express those feelings in a journal. Brain dumping is a powerful tool in helping you let go of those hurtful thoughts and changing your mindset to a more positive outcome.

Journaling is also a wonderful way to record your good days and bad days, which will help you find your personal triggers. Finding out what days are particularly difficult and finding a similarity between them will help you in dealing with your anxiety. 

Start a Morning Routine

Morning routines are my jam. It helps my whole day be successful. If I miss a part of my morning routine, such as my coffee being warm, or getting a shower, it really puts a damper on my day. I set reminders on my phone during the weekdays to ensure I get everything done in a timely manner before I take my children to school, and then I get a nice little break with only one sweet baby. That's when I try to get a little YouTube Pilates done, and some quiet time with my thoughts.

To find what works for you, keep trying different things that are good for your body or mind. I'm a huge fan of adding habits to other habits, so if I want to add a habit to my life, I find great success in adding it in after I brush my teeth, or while I'm making breakfast. Something I do every day already is a great way to ensure your new habit gets done. On those days when my husband isn't here in the morning I drink an entire bottle of water while I make coffee, and then make a list of the things I want to get done during the day. Starting my day intentionally helps me get what needs to be done, done. 

Bonus Reader Tip!

Set Daily Manageable Goals 

Setting small, bite sized socialization goals for yourself will help you face those demons of social anxiety disorder. Try setting small goals that are challenging enough to step a toe out of your comfort zone, but not so hard that you convince yourself out of it. Evidence shows that confronting situations that cause anxious feelings is one of the most powerful steps to overcome and succeed at telling that anxiety off. Social anxiety tries to tell you that your life need to be smaller, and you need to avoid situations that make us uncomfortable. Little goals that encourage you to stretch those boundaries will help you face those fears and minimize them. The more you step out of that comfort zone, the bigger it will grow. 

What are some ways you have found to help your anxiety?

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