Monday, July 30, 2012

Sibling Rivalry ~ Part II

The next biggest nugget of wisdom I liked the most from research on this particular topic was parent-modeling. Have you noticed when you buy a new car, all of the sudden you see your car everywhere? You just become hyper-alert; modeling good behavior continues to crop up everywhere I turn (I think the universe is trying to tell me something). On, this is a key point especially in the problem of kids being bossy (which in turn sparks fights amidst all of the critters).

With bad behavior you see in your children, look at your self first. Kids mimic adults.

As much as I hate to admit it, when my kids get bossy I can see a little of my bossiness in them. As the parent you are the boss, but I have noticed that there are several methods of delivery that can garner positive results without being overly bossy. Re-phrasing can look something like the following:

* Offering choices.
* Using humor for repeat offenses.
* Making a game of getting something done.
* Remaining pleasant.
* Avoiding criticism and negativity.

I have found staying positive, humorous and encouraging extrememly effective methods as of late with Preston. He tends to get upset and frustrated when I get upset and frustrated. I find myself taking deep breaths and re-thinking the situation to find a positive method of getting done what needs to get done. It is tough when kids just don't seem to catch on (this is where I have to remind myself about what ADHD encompasses) and with that in mind we just have to keep cueing, re-directing and often-times shadowing them until it gets done. I've let go of alot of how I would like to see things done and accept the fact that if he did it, then he did what he is supposed to and that's good enough for me. If how he did something isn't up to par and really big deal to me (his bed sheets are hanging on the floor and his bedspread isn't smooth) then I praise and suggest, "nice work on the bed buddy! Don't forget to keep the bed sheet on the bed and not dangling). And of course, I can fix it if I really want to. Most of the time, it just isn't a big deal.

Also, look at how you and your spouse work with each other and react to conflict. Do you fight? Do you yell? Is one person over-bearing? Does it end peacefully? How we as spouses resolve disagreements and problems sets an example to our kids on how it should be done. If you work through issues with respect and are productive and non-aggressive, your kids will incorporate that into their own problem-solving repertoire.

Have you ever purposefully had disagreements and worked through them peaceably with your kids present to model good problem-solving techniques?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer and Sibling Rivalry - Part One

Does the temperature outside have anything to do with temperautres that run inside? I've gotta tell ya that my kids' tempers are all hotter during the summer, but I'm pretty sure it's just because they are around each other more with way too much free time on their hands. They look like such angels but man they can go at each other like boxers in a boxing match. With all their quarreling, bickering, yelling and outright fights I started to wonder at what point do I get involved? There is constant tattling, finger pointing and then someone always takes things to the 'next' level and I find myself becoming 'Judge Brittany' for most of the waking hours of the day. That or 'Cruise Ship Director' telling my bored kids all the fun activities that await them that they aren't seeing or discovering on their own.

So, back to the question of 'when do I get involved?' I decided to do a little research on this one. I read several articles but took some copious notes off of three specific articles. The number one rule on each list was:


Every single one of those articles followed up the number one rule with "unless there is a threat of physical harm." Each article pointed out that it takes two kids to have a problem and when you dig down to the core of the matter you tend to find that both parties are at fault. I can say from my own personal experience as referee that this is almost always the case; I end up sending both kids to their room for time-out or laying down a natural consequence for both. With that being said, it would make my life alot easier by not having to play either 'Magnum PI' or 'Judge Brittany' and simply offer my support in the kids' skills and ability to work through the problem on their own with the statement, "I know you two can work out the problem together. I believe you can do it." By intervening incessantly we rob them of the opportunity to discover and fine-tune their communication and problem-solving skills. If the situation takes a step to the wild side, I'll happily tap myself in and send each one to their corner for a breather.

It was interesting to read that when kids bicker and tattle it is often a sign that they are needing some attention from mom or dad. I guess it goes back to the old adage that any attention - bad or good - is attention. A little something to consider. There are several more points to delve into regarding facillitating a more peaceful atmosphere in the home when it comes to sibling rivalry which I'll be discussing in Part II.

In the interim, is there any tried and true method that has worked for minimizing sibling squabbles in your home?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weight Maintenance While Traveling

Ah. Vacations! I would be leading you astray if I didn't tell you that one of my favorite parts about vacations is eating out! I do love to cook but I hate cleaning it up! Vacation means no cooking and no cleaning! With unadulterated eating however comes extra poundage that everyone gets frantic about trying to lose upon return. And I don't know about you, but it is so much easier to put the weight on than it is to get it to come off. With that being said, I do believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. Here are my own personal travel rules minced with some tips I've picked up in various articles along the way.

1) Most important is my travel snack bag. I have to eat every two and half to three hours (and really, you should too) which means I have to be prepared where ever I go. On vacation in particular this includes the following:

* My shaker cup and Isagenix shake for breakfast. Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day and therefore I have to start my day with the right amount of protein, carbs and fat and this shake with its 77 active enzymes does it all. Not to mention, it's a time saver when you want to get on the road!
* Bag of almonds. These are not only pertinent for in-between meal snacks, but also a healthy fat to help slow the absorption of the sweets you know you are inevitably going to be partaking in. I chased Sprinkles Cupcakes down with five almonds and after having at least one of those puppies every day for three days, I didn't gain an ounce, literally.
* LaraBars or NuGo bars. I find that I'm hungrier than normal when I travel. I think there tends to be a little extra anxiety, walking and playing which in turns equals the need for a little more fuel. Larabars are awesome with only four or so ingredients that are all natural. I've also found the gluten-free and soy-free Trail Mix NuGo bar that has 10 grams of protein in it from nuts and seeds to be fantastic. Those are a purse staple for me.
* Water bottle. Drink, drink and drink some more. Try to avoid the soda.
* Packet of oatmeal. This is great for breakfast as well but also when I get snacky at night, it's not the worst thing I could have. Kashi makes a tasty vanilla oatmeal that has some protein in it which is a plus.
* Packet of tuna. I picked this trick up elsewhere but find it totally awesome. Packed with protein and very portable, another fantastic snack. I told you - I'm all about the snacks people.
*Bar of dark chocolate. I seriously crave my dark chocolate. Have to have it. This is also good to help me fight the sweet tooth cravings and make a less than savory choice on something else.
*Go to the local grocery store and get a 'munch' food. What's your craving? Is it salty? Is it sweet? Find a little something to nosh on in place of stopping for fries or a pastry. We like Pirate's Booty and Terra chips. The Terra chips are awesome because they are just baked veggies (one whole serving of vegetables).
* Vitamins and fish oil to keep your immune system bolstered. The fish oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory.

So, that's part one. Part two is the eating out bit right? This isn't too bad either. This is all about portion control.
* Water should be drunk 20 minutes prior to and following a meal to allow your body to digest the food without diluting the nutrients in the meal. Try and drink before the meal as this will help with managing the amount you eat.
*Always get a salad or some raw veggies to help digest your food (raw veggies still have active enzymes intact to help digestion). Dressing on the side is of course a good way to go. This also leaves less room for a massive caloric entree.
* Section your plate in half and ask for a to-go box when they bring the meal out (and immediately scrape half the entree into the box) or only eat the half you already set aside when it was it put in front of you.
* Try to eat treats before four o'clock and have just a serving (and always have with a healthy fat!). Eat slow, enjoy every bite and be good to not have seconds. You also don't have to order the 'Gotta to Have It' sizes. :) You can also see if anyone wants to share something.
* Regardless of where you are, try to fit in some exercise. We went on a little trip recently and I wasn't able to slip away to the gym so I put on my tenni's in my room and did some jump roping, jumping jacks, knee pulls, lunges, kickboxing and the like for 10 - 20 minutes. If I did 10 minutes, I did another 10 minutes at night as well. I was hugely surprised on this trip that I had ice cream every night (yes, I broke my own rule) and still didn't gain any weight. BUT, I was eating well on my other meals and not binging. I recently read that 10 minute bursts of exercise during the day can be more beneficial than a lump 20-30 minutes. Who knows... At any rate, try to fit some exercise in to help burn some of the extra calories you will be consuming.
* Still try to stick to the '10' rule. If the food or treat isn't a '10' for you, don't have it. Food is incredibly social and that can be the hardest part for me sometimes. I just have to remind myself that skipping on foods that aren't '10's for me keeps me on track (and I really like the track I'm on), saves major calories and I can socialize without a full mouth.
* Finally, just enjoy. Being disciplined doesn't have to be stressful or frustrating. You are just taking care of you. You can enjoy what you eat and even splurge. That's the final part of the mental aspect of this. If you are freaked out and counting calories, it may do you more harm than good. That stress can up cortisol-levels (stress hormone) which affects your midsection. LOVE your body, treat it good and it will be good back to you.

And finally...
**DON'T get on your scale when you get home. Get back into your groove of exercising and eating normally and wait a week if you really feel you need to check the scale. Weigh-in on a Friday and not a Monday. Weight is always highest at the beginning of the week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My 'Skinny Skirt' Fits!

First, I have to say that I am celebrating one year of weight loss maintenance, if not continuing momentum and improvement and I love it! I was looking for a cute travel skirt the other day and was thumbing through my hangers when I came across a cute floral skirt that I bought about nine years ago prior to my first baby. It's one of those articles of clothing you can't let go of despite the fact that you haven't been able to fit in it for about seven years. I figured that since the month prior to this search I had to go shopping and replace all of my pre-baby capris (now that's also just dang exciting!) I would just for kicks see if I could get this skirt over my hips (which post baby is always the biggest problem for me). I was flabbergasted and elated when it actually not only fit but I also had some room extra in there! This is what my training regiment and Isagenix has done for me - it has literally changed my body composition.

Someone once told me that after you have a baby your 'sands shift' and nothing ever quite fits like it used to; I agreed with that. I didn't have hips until I had a baby and try as I did nothing could change that. But, I'm going to rescind my agreement with that statement because none of my old jeans (even my pre-baby skinny jeans!), capri's and even my very favorite skirt (which I actually shed a tear over) no longer fit. The crazy thing is that I had to go and buy new summer capri's and even those are getting loose! When I look in the mirror, my body is not the same body I've been looking at for the past nine years. I tried workout regiments and dieted to no avail. This whole-body nutritional cleansing has been amazing for me and SO easy. The coolest thing is that the products themselves are not actually cleansing your body - they are providing your body with all of the nutrients and tools to help your body cleanse itself. For all that I was doing, I couldn't bust through my plateau because my body was so toxic and couldn't do what it was supposed to be doing. And now what I am doing is working because my body can do what it was designed to do!

I still have a shake every day, my cleanse juice every day and incorporate the Isa protein powder and electrolyte replacement into weight lifting and cardio routines. This is a lifestyle and I feel amazing!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Loving the Child You Have

I came across a fantastic article in a magazine in 2010, clipped it and added it to my 'parenting file.' Yes, I have a parenting file. I came across that article the other day and read it again, newly inspired. I simply want to share this article with you because it makes some excellent points. Enjoy and employ.

You can find the article at the following address:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Easy Summer Pies

I took a two week hiatus from this here blog (my apologies folks) to enjoy some good old-fashioned family fun over the fourth, welcome some long-lost family members (step-daughter and husband) back into the grind and head out of town for a little vacation. We had the kids leave cell phones at home (after all, we didn't have that luxury growing up and they don't really need it right now either) and we drove about forty-five minutes to our destination where we stayed in a three-bedroom condo and did all the 'touristy' things in a town that I know like the back of my hand. It was a blast!

We watched cable TV (we only get our local channels at home - so pre-historic I know!), grilled, swam, bowled, rode down the alpine slide and the kids navigated a tricky 'adventure course' 30 feet off the ground. Hubby and I tried to relax a little (at least the best I could as a parent with four kids) but I find more solace grocery shopping alone these days than any family vacation and that says alot simply because grocery shopping used to be the bain of my existence. Oh how things change. 

And now back to the daily roasting - as in me running through my energy reserves quickly in the day with a house full of bored, hot and whiny kids. Oi vay. But now we are in full summer swing with grilling, fresh vegetables (corn on the cob anyone?) and one of our family favorites - yogurt pie. And what I love about this dish is that everyone absolutely loves it and it is the easiest thing you could possibly make! Seriously.
Summer Yogurt Pie
1 Tub Tru Whip (or Cool Whip - I just like the more natural version)
2 Fruit-Flavored Yogurts - we like raspberry (again, try to avoid high fructose corn syrup and the naughties)
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Simply mix the Tru Whip and two yogurts together well in a large bowl and pour into the prepared graham cracker pie crust. Refrigerate until set and then mmmm.

Now, this time I actually made my pie crust because at two local, non-earthy grocery stores I stopped by I couldn't find a pre-made crust without high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oil in them. Sooo, I ground up some of my non-naughty list graham crackers that I already had on hand with a few vanilla animal crackers, stirred some melted butter and about 1/8 cup of Xagave into the crackers and then pressed the mixture into a 9-inch glass pie plate. I didn't bake it or even fridge it before pouring the filling inside. Apparently, it's the best crust they've ever had. Blush.

Another simple tasty pie, that I like to call 'Not-A-Cheesecake-Pie' is as follows:
1 Tub Tru Whip
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Almond Extract

Optional: Top with fruit (mmmm, raspberries). I'm an almond extract fanatic which is why I adore this pie.

On this same Sunday afternoon, I also tried my hand and two home-made pizza's, a Tangy Bar-B-Que Chicken Pizza, and a regular pizza with Aidell's Apple Sausage on top that turned out phenomenal (everyone snarfed down the BBQ Chicken like it was their last meal)! I bought some pre-made dough at the store the day before and rolled it out on my bar pan. I made the sauce with organic ketchup, Pampered Chef Buffalo Bar-B-Que rub, apple cider vinegar, garlic and some salt and pepper. It was perfect. I took it from a pampered chef cookbook so I can't claim cleverness for that one. Topped it with chicken, olives, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, some red onions and a touch of cilantro. Super tasty and not too involved for home-made!

The second pizza we ad-hoced with 8 oz of tomato sauce, salt and pepper, garlic, italian seasoning and a touch of red pepper. We topped this with mozz and cheddar, the grilled and sliced sausage, olives, green peppers and onions.

Either way, my 18-monther couldn't shovel the pieces in fast enough... (notice the blurring hand racing to deliver pizza bite to mouth).

Here's to summer!