Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

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.

Cross-Country Holiday Trip Survival Kit

Friday, November 11th, 2016

holiday road trip survival kitWhether it was in a moment of insanity or bravery, you decided that visiting family this holiday season sounded like a good idea. And after looking at your budget or logistics, you came to the conclusion that driving there would be your best option. “Who wants the hassle of kids in an airport?” you tell yourself. “This way, we can fit all the gifts in the back of the car,” you reason.

Whatever you said to convince yourself this was a good idea, write those things down, and chant them under your breath repeatedly throughout the travelling process, because chances are good your sweet children may cause you to question your life choices at some point during the journey.

Here are some cheap ways to keep their spirits jolly and whole, which is proven to reduce the risk of threats to turn this car around right now, I mean it, as well as outbursts of Santa is watching, goddammit! Keep everyone off the naughty list by incorporating a few of these tricks:

  • Stick to what you know. Now is not the time to try something new. While you may have dreamed of having your children being fully entertained by an audiobook, now is not the time to go rogue. If your kids enjoy a steady repetition of Wreck-it Ralph, rot their brains away. And if/when your parents start to tell you about how “When you were kids, we didn’t have DVD players,” politely affirm their perfect parenting choices while you swallow another Xanax.
  • Raid the dollar store. Fill a gallon sized Ziploc bag for each child full of random trinkets from the dollar store, and hand them something random each hour of the trip. Don’t limit yourself to the standard toy selection: My kids went nuts when I handed them giant calculators. Avoid toys with a lot of pieces, as they will definitely fall down the cracks of the seats immediately, and your child will scream for 37 miles about it. Also avoid objects that could double as swords.
  • Bring snacks for bribing. For every hour they go without fighting, they get a lollipop. While the kids may have a strict no-sweets policy at home, car trips are an appropriate time to deviate from the diet plan. Chocolate protein bars make good bribes as well, and have the bonus of decreasing the opportunities for low-blood-sugar-murderous-rampage.
  • Plan pit stops ahead of time. It’s worth stopping for lunch a little earlier when you see the restaurant with the play-place built in. Anticipate getting to your destination a little later to make time for getting the wiggles out. Exercise your kids ahead of time so you don’t have to exorcise your kids later.
  • If it is about an eight-hour drive, consider taking it at night. Never drive fatigued, but if you can work it out, take advantage of visiting family by driving while the kids sleep, and then getting your sleep in while doting relatives entertain the babes.
  • Take a stretch riding with the kids. If there’s a spare seat in the back, sit with the kiddos. Talk to them about their toys, what they’re excited about with seeing family, and tell them stories about holidays you had when you were young.

Regardless of your strategy, make sure that everyone’s safety comes first, and everyone’s sanity is a close second. Taking the extra care beforehand to increase the potential for comfort and happiness is worth it. Happy travels!

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. 

Teaching Kids to Be Thankful

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Teaching Kids to Be ThankfulYou just can’t convince me that a good fall breeze, beautiful leaves, or a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks can’t make everything better. I love hoodies and all things outdoors. This is my family’s first fall in Arkansas, so I am learning to love the heat (still) and the joys of Saturday morning soccer in the fall. With this season comes a time of reflection and thankfulness.

But how do we teach small children to be thankful? In a world where kids seek satisfaction first and think toys and material goods are the key to happiness, I am perplexed. I am only 32, but I feel like the world I grew up in was different from this one. Here are some ideas on how to teach your little ones to be thankful this fall season.

Serve Others
Thanksgiving is a time when many go without food and fancy meals. You can volunteer with your local church or other civic organization. Food pantries are a great way to show kids that not everyone has a pantry stocked week-to-week. If you have toddlers, seek an organization that will allow you to bring your little ones. If you’re still a mom to a baby, consider baby wearing. (Like we need another excuse to wear our Tula!) Many communities have Thanksgiving dinners that need volunteers. Have your kids help you make small bags to donate to local organizations. October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. My local MOPS group made small bags to donate to hospitals for moms who have experienced loss. Kids can help stuff bags, make cards, or even help deliver.

Get Crafty
Pinterest is full of fun ideas for fall crafts. Break out the finger paints, markers, and crayons and have your toddlers make small crafts for those they are thankful for this year. We recently purchased a pack of cardstock and made pumpkins for each door in our house. Everyone has a pumpkin bedroom door now. My daughter loves to make crafts for her Mimi and Grammy. If you have a baby, you can still do a fun fingerprint craft.

Get into the Conversation
One fun way to teach our kids to be thankful is to get talking. My daughter just turned 4, and it has been fun talking about who we are thankful for this fall. We were given a small wooden board from Target with clothespins, and each Sunday, we change it up. I sit with her and ask her what she is thankful for this week. I then take small post-it notes and write down her responses. This board hangs by the garage door where we see it daily and we talk about those things for the week. Her first response was Jesus, and this week it was Levi’s naps. (Her 2-year-old brother has recently given up napping.) I added a healthy baby and she even wanted me to write down Paw Patrol and Daddy’s job. It will amaze you what your kids are thankful for and how much they really do notice.

While I don’t have the answer on how to teach our little ones to be thankful toddlers, I do know it’s important that they are aware of the gifts they have. I know I could learn from Johanna and take some tips on how to be thankful for today and what I have. I want my children to grow up to be thankful, appreciative adults. I don’t want to fail them as a mom who is always wishing for more or dissatisfied with the present.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two, almost three, in Arkansas where she is thankful for Shopkins and naptime so she can blog.

The Power of Being a Thankful Mom

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The Power of Being a Thankful MomWith the holidays upon us, thankfulness is in the air. Everyone seems to be a little nicer–the cashier at the grocery, your child’s teacher, your relatives. But, what does it mean to be a truly thankful mom? As I started to think about this blog, I noticed how convicting this topic really is for me.

I am thankful when things are easy. I’m thankful for my daughter learning new words. I’m thankful for my son who just learned how to coo and squeal. I’m thankful to get to stay home with my kids and wear pajamas and bake cookies during the day. But what about when things aren’t so easy?

Am I truly thankful when my 2 year old throws a tantrum over the song I play in the car? Or what about when my infant keeps me up all night and I am exhausted? How do I find the thankful heart in those circumstances?

I want to encourage you this holiday season to be a thankful mom. Of course we need to thank others when they do nice things for us. But more importantly, we need to be thankful for the little things. Are we thankful for the chance to be a mom? For me, this was a title that was not easily attained. Many women struggle with infertility and face obstacles in conception.

What about our kids? Are we thankful for the beautiful mess they create in our lives? Are we thankful for the toys on the floor that we can afford or do we only see the disorder? Are we thankful for the sweet blessing of a baby in our lives, or do we just see the laundry pile up and bank account drain?

I know I want my children to be grateful and thankful for their blessings. I want to be an example for them. I want to be thankful–truly thankful. Thankful for the bad days and good. Thankful for the precious moments and the toddler fits. Thankful for the journey.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Indiana. She loves her kiddos and is thankful for the opportunity to write blogs.

Fostering an Attitude of Gratitude Part 1

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” - Eileen Caddy

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this time of year reminds us of the importance of cultivating a thankful spirit. Often we want our children to experience the same depth of gratitude that we do. Here are some simple ways to foster an attitude of gratitude with your children. Even very young children can be encouraged to participate.

Create a Daily Thankful Ritual – Take time everyday to express one or two things you are thankful for. Create a ritual around it so it easily becomes embedded into your daily routine. For example, in my family we say what we are thankful about every night at bedtime. After reading books and before the lights go out, we each take a turn sharing two things we were thankful about that day. My middle son often repeats what others have said, but that’s okay. He is listening, participating, and benefiting from the conversation; and he will eventually contribute his own unique ideas. I like doing this at bedtime because it’s a positive way to reflect on the day’s events, it brings closure to the day as we prepare our minds/bodies for sleep, and since going to bed happens 100% of the time, it’s rarely missed. :)

J playing with his blue kite

Start a Wishlist – Now initially reading this you might think creating a list of desired items is in direct opposition with fostering an attitude of gratitude, but bear with me here as I explain. Most kids frequently ask their parents for materials things. They will see something advertised, see something at a store or play with something at a friend’s house and exclaim that they want it. Rather than granting them a yes or no response, what about encouraging them to put that item on a wishlist? A young child could draw a picture of the item and an older child could write the word. You can keep the wishlist in a visible location such as on the refrigerator. The thought here is that when desire for something grows over time, the appreciation of recieving that item grows correspondingly. A story is born, a memory is made, and a heart is filled with gratitude when gifted something you have yearned for. For example, one day while taking a walk my son saw some children flying a kite. He was really mesmerized by the kite and asked if he could have one. I suggested we add it to his wishlist. When we got home I talked with him about what kind of kite he would like, size, shape, colors, etc. He decided he wanted a blue kite and he drew a picture of one. The picture of the blue kite was on up on our refrigerator for months. My son would reference it often and was really hopeful that one day he would have a blue kite. Well one day my husband surprised all of us and came home from work with a blue kite. I will always remember the joy and excitement my son expressed. He was truly grateful for his new kite and I believe his deep gratitude was related to the fact that a genuine desire was honored, as well as cultivated over time.

Model Gratitude -Modeling a thankful heart is relatively easy to do however too often we forget to do this consciously. We get caught up talking with our spouse and friends about all the things we want from a new phone to a new house. We sometimes forget that little ears are listening to us and learning from us. By shifting our focus on wanting what we have (versus having what we want) we can instill in our children a sense of appreciation for the many blessings present in our lives. Be the example you want your children to become.

What are you thankful for today? I would love to hear from readers!

Come back tomorrow for three more ideas on Fostering an Attitude of Gratitude.
-Sarah