Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Holiday Family Bingo!

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Happy Holidays! You’ve won the opportunity to spend another chunk of your precious vacation days with family members who make you want to pull your hair out. To help you survive the holidays without drinking yourself into liver failure, play this delightful game of BINGO instead. Because competition makes it fun, even if you’re only competing against the depression that sets in when you realize you cannot escape your family of origin.

Start by creating your 5×5 grid. Pick a FREE space. Then fill in the remaining spaces with the following in any order your please:

holiday family bingo

  • Your kid is fed something you said they couldn’t have.
  • Racist comment.
  • Political comment.
  • Sexist comment.
  • Homophobic comment.
  • Anti-Muslim rant.
  • Anti-Semitic comment.
  • “When I was your age…”
  • Unwanted comment on your appearance.
  • “The Gays.”
  • “All Lives Matter.”
  • Defending the merits of spanking.
  • “I never ____, and look how you turned out!”
  • Relative gets drunk.
  • Your kiddo breaks something.
  • Someone else’s kiddo breaks something.
  • Someone tries to give your kid alcohol.
  • White Elephant gets heated.
  • Someone complains about a gift they received.
  • Physical altercation.
  • Naked kid.
  • Someone wets the bed.
  • Smoke alarm goes off.
  • Dog humps something/someone.

A BINGO wins you a free pass to stress-eat, and a blackout wins you a mandatory phone call to your therapist to schedule an extra appointment when you return. Drink responsibly, and have fun playing the game that no one wins!

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

Giving the Gift of Travel

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

img_2214I contracted the travel bug as a child, I suspect through my voracious reading habits. My parents did not share this disease, and I remember being quite jealous of friends and classmates that took trips during holiday times, often in lieu of presents.

When I became a parent, I dreamed of giving the gift of travel to my children. Typically, our family has fairly modest Christmases and birthdays, present-wise. I thought this would make transitioning to vacation presents easier, since my kids don’t expect a mountain of presents to be waiting for them come Christmas morning.

We finally had our chance: the Christmas my oldest boys were 5 and 3, we had saved up and booked a cruise. We had never been on a cruise, had never been to any of the ports or cities we were slotted to visit, and we were so excited. So were our boys, who still talk frequently about cruise ships to this day. Due to the limited room, we brought stockings/stocking stuffers and a small gift or two for each boy for Christmas morning. And wet erase markers, which we used to draw a Christmas tree onto our glass patio door, and then decorate.

I’ll skip ahead and say, our boys were very disappointed come Christmas morning. Even with a note from Santa explaining there were more gifts waiting back home for them (we left gifts from family at home for them to unwrap when we returned), they really seemed let down.

So would I give the gift of travel again? Absolutely. In hindsight, while my children are very small and in the Santa stage of life, I think being at home for Christmas morning is ideal; planning a trip before or after that day seems to be the best plan, at least for us. As they get older, I hope that we can travel more and more with them, with them assisting in choosing destinations and activities, and at birthdays as well (which for us are way less crowded and expensive than the Christmas/New Year holiday).

Meaghan Howard is a stay-at-home mom to three little boys. They currently live in Asia and are enjoying adventuring around and seeing new sights. 

I’m Not Going to Stress-Eat the Holidays This Year

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

holiday health

I make a mean chocolate chip pumpkin bread. Totally tooting my own horn, I know, but it’s fine. It’s worth it. Because that bread is amazing. And because I grind the flour myself, and it has pumpkin in it, I convince myself that it’s practically a vitamin.

Vitamins are good for you, right? So it’s okay to eat it for every meal of the day.

It’s a lot easier to convince myself of this misguided truth when I am feeling the stress of the holidays. It seems that the shortened days filled with grayness and bitter cold are never ending, and yet there is no time to do all the things that need to happen between Halloween and Christmas. So while I’m engaging into the fourth hour of a 30-minute craft that we both know won’t turn out, desperately trying to give the perfect neighbor/teacher present, those baked goods scream that they will offer validation and comfort in my distress. So I eat, and I numb, and I eat, and I numb, and then I wonder why I don’t have any energy to get the things done that I need to.

This holiday season, it will be different. We will be different! Because we are going to health-up the crap out of this season. Here is my plan.

  1. Drink all the water. If part of your winter routine means putting on a Costco sized bottle of lotion each day, chances are pretty good that you aren’t drinking enough water. Shoot for half an ounce for every pound of body weight. You may pee every three seconds, but eventually, your body becomes accustomed to the increased water volume, and you return to your normal peeing patterns.
  2. Do an emotional inventory to identify what you feel like when you’re stressed. Sometimes during the holidays, we go into panic autopilot, where we just do things to get them done because we know we have to, and then we end up crashing and burning once our checklist is complete (or even when it isn’t). If you aren’t sure what your stress cues are, ask someone who knows you well what they notice about you when you’re stressed. Figure out what those are, and take a time-out when those cues pop up.
  3. Give yourself the gift of physical activity before the holidays start. Been eyeballing that Zumba class that meets at the rec down the street? Sign yourself up. Perhaps yoga is more your speed, or you’ve been wanting to try weightlifting. Find out what’s available in your area, and do what you can to treat yourself to this. Getting out and seeing other people who are taking care of themselves can be therapeutic in itself, and it will also give you the endorphins to make the stress more manageable. If nothing is available nearby, get a new DVD to work out with.
  4. Give yourself permission to say “no.” If someone asks you to do something and you don’t immediately want to respond with a resounding “yes!”, opt to take a beat to think it over. Practice saying no in the mirror until it feels comfortable. Decide that pleasing yourself is at least as important as pleasing others.
  5. Go ahead. Eat the pumpkin bread. Ask yourself first, though, if you’re eating to feel the joy inherent in delicious pumpkin bread, or if you’re eating to numb the stress and despair that can come with the season. Because when we eat treats to enjoy the treat, we are more likely to enjoy them, and we are satisfied a lot sooner. But if we eat them to stop feeling the difficult feelings, we tend to keep eating, and eating some more, and our poor emotional health starts to impact our physical health.

Enjoy the good things about this holiday season, because you deserve to experience joy. Seek out those things in your every day. And when it starts to feel like it’s getting difficult to find the joy, take a break. Watch some garbage television. Go to a spin class. Put the “me” back into “merry.”

Treat yo’self.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway. 

First Foods at the Holidays

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

First Foods at the HolidaysWhen I think of the holidays, I think of all of the yummy food I get to eat. This year will be a little different since I will have newborn and need to calm down on my eating and start focusing on taking care of my postpartum body. If you have a baby who has recently started solids, the holidays can be a fun time of discovery.

According to USA Today, 40 percent of moms start solids before 4 months old. For me, I waited until at least 6 months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics now suggests waiting until 6 months.

If your baby has hit this age mark and you feel that he or she is ready, Thanksgiving can be a fun time for baby. Here are some baby-friendly foods for Thanksgiving:

-sweet potatoes (These are loaded in Vitamin A! Skip the sugar and marshmallows and if you have an older baby go for finger food.)

-green beans (If you have the casserole prepared, wash off some of the salty toppings first. This one could get messy!)

-pumpkin (Try adding this to cereal or yogurt. Yum!)

-squash (Like all veggies, this should be mashed, thinned, or blended with breast milk or formula.)

-stuffing (Keep this moist. Finely chop the veggies and even add some breast milk or formula.)

-apples

-cranberries

-potatoes

-turkey (With all meats, make sure this is blended or mashed to a consistency baby can handle easily. If your baby is older, you can do small pieces.)

With all solid foods, make sure to introduce new foods to baby slowly. Don’t just give them a whole plate of new foods and expect it to go well. Remember how sensitive a little baby’s tummy can be. Remember to keep the consistency mushy and easy for baby to digest. My babies loved sweet potatoes at the holidays, just like their momma.

Remember you are the mom. Don’t let family just feed your baby anything. I can remember a family member feeding my daughter chocoalate pie at a holiday gathering before we had started solids. I was mortified. Of course, babies don’t need eat sugary desserts and family should respect your position as mom and ask your permission before offering foods to baby.

Different solid foods are recommended for different ages. There are products now like Baby Brezza and Baby Bullet that make creating your own baby food easy and affordable. I am a fan of the Baby Brezza.

Remember that there will be a lot of food around during the holidays and babies like to grab food. Use safety and precautions with your little one to avoid choking or unnecessary tears.

What are some fun holiday foods you have fed your baby? Did they like them? Have fun during the holidays with food and your little one, just remember to be smart and that you are supermom!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Arkansas where she is now ready to eat turkey and sweet potatoes.

Starting Your Own Holiday Traditions

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

starting your own holiday traditionsWith the holidays approaching, it’s time to think about all of the things I want to go do as a family. This year will be different, as we will have a newborn with us. Traditions are an important part of growing up. I want my children to remember happy traditions that our small family shared each year, as well as other traditions that our extended family celebrates and discovers together.

My husband grew up in a larger family, where he was the youngest of 4 children. He grew up out in the country on a farm where the holidays were full of homemade pumpkin pie and large family gatherings. My family was smaller and I grew up without siblings around, so my holidays were full of activities at church or whatever my grandparents thought was fun that year. I think it’s important to share the stories of your childhood with your children. My daughter is 4 and loves to hear about what we did when I was little.

Now that I have my own family, we have started some of our own holiday traditions.

Christmas Eve Reading
My husband likes to read “T’was the Night Before Christmas” to our children on Christmas Eve. He has an older copy of the book that is special to him and he loves to share it with our two toddlers. I also like to find new Christmas books to share with them. Last year, I enjoyed reading from the Bible with Johanna and sharing the Christmas story with her. Find a book or something that is meaningful to your family or faith tradition and share the gift of reading. Babies love to be read to, as well!

Lights and Pajamas
My husband is a big fan of decorating the outside of our house with as many lights as possible. Last year, we put the kids in their pajamas and went on a long ride looking for Christmas lights. It was fun to discover new houses we hadn’t seen yet in our area and also tour the ones we like the best. I am excited for this tradition this year, since we live in a new state and new area. Of course, our house is on the list of houses to stop by and check out.

Baking Cookies
My daughter loves to bake and eat cookies, no doubt about that. I am not a good baker or cook, so sometimes these are slice-and-bake cookies. I am hoping we can make more cookies this year and take some to our new neighbors to share the holiday spirit.

Visiting Santa
Over the past few years, we have gone to see Santa at a couple different places. Johanna loves to go see Santa and tell him what she is yearning for. This year, it is Shopkins. (Help me! These are a choking hazard to a baby.)

Christmas Movies
We recently purchased new character-themed popcorn bowls for our kids, and I can’t wait to curl up and watch a good Christmas movie and eat some popcorn in them. My kids love the traditional Christmas movies, and my husband and I love to watch some of the classics and of course, the Hallmark Channel movies.

Giving Back
This is a tradition I want to do more of as my children grow. Last year, we bought for two sisters who weren’t going to have much of a Christmas without help. I am hoping to teach Johanna and Levi about how fortunate we are and how we need to give and be a light to others at Christmas. The Salvation Army bell ringer was something that intrigued Johanna last year. I am hoping to adopt a family off of the Angel Tree this year.

So no matter what you do with your own little family, start some new traditions. Your kids will have fun and remember the time you spent together for years to come.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost 3, in Arkansas where she hopes she sees some snow this year!