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Eating Healthy—It’s All About the Colors by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Childhood obesity is on the rise. It’s a fact, one that at least for me is hard to swallow.  It is up to us as mothers to do what we can to combat this problem head-on.  Our children will follow our example, whether we like it or not.  So we have to change our own lifestyle in order to get our children to follow suit.

Have you ever noticed that most fast food is brown or tan in color—so blah!  Why not add a little color to your diet and in the process eat healthier. It’s all about the colors.  If it’s pleasing to the eye, it will likely be pleasing to the palate.  Restaurants use this technique all the time—it’s all about presentation.

Vegetables and fruits come in a variety of colors. Make a salad incorporating many different colored vegetables.  For example, a green salad with red,green,and yellow peppers cut up in it as well as radishes, mushrooms, or even squash is not only colorful but healthy.  You could give it a Mexican flair and add black beans, salsa, and sour cream or a sprinkling of cheese.  A fruit salad with grapes (green and red), pineapple, red or green apples, and raisins can be a healthy snack for hungry kids.

Eating healthy by eating your colors can start when your children are infants.  Baby food comes in many different flavors and colors, you can even make your own. Starting healthy eating early in life will likely carry on as your children grow.

So add a little color to you and your family’s dinner plate and reap the reward of building a healthy family.

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them!  Should you have any questions about Motherhood Incorporated either as a client or a mom looking for work, please email me directly at sandra@motherhoodincorporated.com or you check us out at www.motherhoodincorporated.com and www.sandrabeck.com.

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What's Cooking By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck

 

 

It’s ironic. Cooking is meant to be the ultimate domestic goddess occupation. Why is it that the aftermath makes my kitchen look like a hovel?

 

I’d lovingly plan, chop, sauté, and present the food attractively. The kids would push it around their plate. “It’s a bit spicy for me” my som would comment “and today I don’t like peppers. Can I have just bread instead?”. My effort would have earned me the sound of ‘scrape scrape scrape’ into the bin, and a kitchen full of dirty pans and chopping boards at the point of the day when I just needed to lie down.apples

 

Then I found it. The cheapest, scruffiest part of my kitchen armory, costing less that a decent saucepan. I love it so much I’d kiss it, if it wasn’t generally full of scalding hot stew. It’s my little secret shortcut – the ‘wife’ I’d love to have. “Come by for dinner tonight” I can now boldly say. These days, I’m not inviting people to watch me sweat in the kitchen, keeping toddlers away from the hot oven by pushing them back with my feet. It’s the working mother’s best friend – the slow cooker!

 

I’ve learned to plan my meals in advance. It saves money and it helps me eat healthier. Most of all it means I can cook on auto-pilot without using any of my scarce spare brain capacity. When I’m up in the morning, I know what’s meant to be for dinner. I can start the ‘Slocker’ (as we affectionately call it) straight away. I’ll put some chopped onions and celery in there with a teaspoon of oil, and leave it on ‘High’ for forty minutes while I go upstairs to dress the kids. I’ll come back, chuck in some tins of tomatoes, tins of beans and a few flavorings. I turn the dial down to Low, and leave it for the whole day. I arrive back home ten hours later to the homely smell of fresh three bean chilli. Pure comfort food.

 

It does take a bit of trial-and-error, it’s true. I wish my model had a timer, because sometimes the food can taste a bit ‘stewed’. In particular, meat needs to be sealed in a frying pan first. However, I’ve discovered something about my kids’ tastes. They just LOVE bland and mushy.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

 

Wishbone Strategies by Dahna Weber

So we found one.  A wishbone.  Why is that always exciting?  It’s been sitting on the window ledge for a good 10 days now.  When I wash the dishes, (not as often as I should), it stares me in the face asking; What are your wishes? What are Liam’s wishes? When are we going to do this?  It has made me contemplative.  Made me notice how the bulk of my wishes are all wishes for Liam…even when they are about me.  I try to think of ways I can make sure he wins when we do hook pinkies and split the bone in two.  It’s like the coin toss.  No way to cheat.  No way to strategically guarantee that Liam wins…..Guess I’ll just leave it up to fate and wish that he wins and his wish comes true!!  by Dahna Weber

 wishbone

Working Mom Stress Relief – by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

This is what I wish my dinner looked like!

This is what I wish my dinner looked like!

by Sandra Beck

So last night as usual I was throwing together a meal at 5:30 while two hungry kids fought over the remote control.  All I could hear was, “Sponge Bob!”  and then, “No, I want Elmo!”  “Noooooo! Sponge Bob!”

The noise was good though, it means that though struggling, they were not bleeding, unconcious or sticking their fingers into sockets!  I was reading my blackberry, waiting for a contract to come through that would make the rest of my month bearable financially, when I saw a rubber mallet left by my dad who had been by to fix something.

I looked at the unappetizing chicken breast. I was going to use this metal pokey thing (a meat mallet) that was given to me as a gift by a wonderful chef friend of mine. It was silver and shiny, but it poked holes in the plastic bag when I pounded the meat flat. For some reason these days, my older son will not eat meat that is “too thick” and with all I have on my plate right now trying to figure that one out will have to wait. Actually, I put it up to – This phase too shall pass.”

Eyeing my dad’s rubber mallet, I washed it off and rubbed it with a swipe of chlorox. I started pounding away at the meat.   Checking the Blackberry, no contract yet, I pounded harder.   Flipping through the mail and seeing no promised check from a client that is 52 days late, back to the meat. Pound! Pound! Pound!

Wow! This feels good! Over to the frozen corn bag I went. Pound! Pound! Pound! Ooops! The bag split open shooting frozen corn kernels all over. I called over my dogs who ate up the mess on the floor.  The kids heard the commotion and ran in after the dogs.

“What are you doing, mom?” my son asked looking at me as if I had lost my mind (as if thin meat is sane.)

“I’m cooking,” I replied, feeling very zen.

“Isn’t that grandpa’s hammer?”  he asked. “I didn’t know you use hammers to cook, cool!”

I didn’t want to tell him our friend the chef uses a blowtorch on his creme brulee less my son burn the house down. I felt loads better.  Who would think that after the end of a stressful day as a working mom that grandpa’s hammer is now my favorite kitchen tool.  Just for fun I broke up some ice chunks last night as well.

The contract didn’t arrive until today. I am still waiting for the check. But the next time I am in need of some stress relief while multitasking- working and feeding my kids – all I can say is Look out Chicken!

Amazing Cookie Decorating Tip – By Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

Although the holidays are over, this is one of those tips you’ll probably need at some point during the year. Just tuck it away for when you do – it is just so brilliant, I feel compelled to share.

Now perhaps this is an old one, or some of you may roll your eyes and think this is nothing new, but when my husband, yes, my husband, suggested it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner!

cookie-blogMy kids had made a huge batch of Christmas cookies with Grandma, cut out all the cute little shapes, made a giant batch of frosting for decorating, but I was stumped as to how best to distribute all the colors we wanted to use. Buying a pastry bag for each color would be expensive, besides my market only had one left. Plus, I wanted something the kids could use that would be more fun, less mess.

Then in walks my husband, as though he’s been doing this for years, and suggests we use the medicine droppers that have piled up in the kids’ drawer for all the different colors. Cue thunderous applause.

I got out little bowls, mixed the colors up, and let the kids squirt all the different colors all over our delicious holiday cookies. It was so easy, so fun and worked like a charm. I can’t wait to do it for Valentine’s Day!!

Getting Through the Holidays, By Sandra Beck

by Sandra Beck

Many moms have written me this week wondering how they are going to get through the holidays working and trying to have a wonderful holiday season for their families.  The stress can be unreal! My advice to them is simple. Do what you can, don’t do what you can’t. Enlist the aid of others.

It may sound trite, but it is very true. Between the kids, the dogs, the visitors, the parties, the playdates, the presents, the wrapping, the cooking, the cleaning, the decorating I am somehow supposed to get my work done? Here are some of the stratgies I use to get through the holiday season without losing my cool.

1. Hire a babysitter so you can shop, decorate or do what you need to do because you will get it done faster.

2. Hire your babysitter to wrap present or look for charity organizations who will wrap your presents for a small fee. I paid $20 to have almost 40 gifts wrapped with my own paper.

3. Have your kids help. My kids helped me decorate the house. It may not look perfect, but its done.

4. Schedule a playdate agreement. Yesterday, my sons went to my friends house while I did what I needed to do. Then today I have her sons for 4 hours so she can get what she needs done.

5. Call your church or local charity.  My organization that I belong to offers teens to help you for no fee. It is part of their volunteer work and they helped me bake and we had a whole lot of fun.

6. Delegate. Everyone in my house – including guests must help for the three holiday parties we have each season. Guests in my experience want to bring something, so why stress out. Let them bring brownies, cakes, salad whatever…they feel good and so do you!

7. Take a moment each day to sit by your Tree or Menorah. Remember that the holidays are about much more than presents, parties and people. Get yourself spiritually grounded.

8. Don’t color or perm your hair the day of a party. 

9. Chase your kids around the house once a day. Everyone needs to blow off steam – the stress of the holidays gets to us all…scream, dance, throw snowballs, tickle…whatever it is – get everyone involved in the stress relief!

10. Be thankful.  In a time where it is very difficult for many – personally, financially, physically – be thankful for all that you have and all that you can do.  Being grateful can take the sting out of unraveling the tangled mess of your holiday lights – you have a tree, you have electricity, you have someone to share this time with.

Happy Holidays to all!

Daymaker Challenge Day 20 Soup Kitchen Family by Deb Gillespie and Dahna Weber

Sure we all donate food this time of year to those less fortunate.  And we teach our kids all about that.  Do they really understand?  Why not consider a trip down to a homeless shelter one night and you and the kids help serve the food.  The shelters are always looking for volunteers and the homeless people would find it such a treat to be amongst some children.  Your kids will get a real flash of poverty and be blessed with both appreciation for all that they have and be humbled.  by Deb Gillespie and Dahna Weber