In previous posts I believe that I have discussed my dedication to the ideals of attachment parenting. AP parents everywhere are no doubt excited by the changes occurring within Attachment Parenting International. They have a new look and many new resources available to parents that want to parent with connection and attachment.
Attachment Parenting International (API), a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents, has several exciting changes they would like to announce, including:
- A newly redesigned web site and new logo at Attachment Parenting.org
- Attachment parenting worldwide support forums
- Parent Education Program – a comprehensive series of classes for every stage and age of child development from infancy through adulthood
- A new book based on API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting by API co-founders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson which is expected to be available this summer
- A series of podcasts, webinars, chats, and forums with API Advisory Board members and other supporters of AP. Future events are scheduled with Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. James McKenna, and Kathleen Kendall Tacket.
These are just a few of many exciting things going on at API. I hope you’ll stop by and check it out for yourself.
My oldest was on Spring break this last week and we did a variety of “crafty” projects. One of my favorites was our painting piggy banks project.
We ended up buying two ceramic piggy banks at Kroger. My kids wanted some sort of “treat” which is code for toy. I told them my stipulation was that they pick something that will last, that isn’t plastic, and that does not have excessive packaging. Mommy is MEAN huh? They picked out two ceramic piggy banks (unpainted) much to my delight and when we got home they proceeded to spend the next two hours busily painting and naming their pigs.
Of course after their piggy banks were painted they needed mom to contribute to their bank funds. I think they have developed and eagle eye for stray change in the couch cushions and in the laundry room.
The piggy banks only cost $5.50 each too, which is a real bargain. The same ones are $8.87 on Amazon. I also saw there is a Melissa and Doug paintable piggy bank too…and it is only $3.99…just in case your looking for a fun unplugged project for the kids.
Do you have an unplugged project you want to share on this blog? Send me your story and pictures!
TGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone!
I will continue spending lots of time with my oldest son who is on spring break. We have been doing crafts projects, going to the movies, going bowling, and I think we are going to the zoo today if I can swing it. While at the movies I fell into a pothole and sprained my ankle which now has a golf ball size lump on it. :( But to cheer myself up I got my spring/summer haircut early. I hacked off my shoulder blade length hair…2 inches or so in length on the top and so short in the back they practically shaved it. I am loving it. :)
But on to all the good stuff I have to wrap up the week….
As the number of parents that refuse vaccinations for their children grows we can only expect to start seeing more and more of these type of articles. The article discusses how non vaccinating parents are putting everyone at risk and how laws that allow them to refuse vaccination are foolish. Aka we should be FORCED to vaccinate in their opinion. One person in the article calls those that do not vaccinate “parasites”. The fear mongering is starting.
I came across two cool homeschool resources:
Virtual Field Trips – This web site has organized virtual tours. All the educational research, site navigation and step-by-step instructions will turn web browsing into a goal-oriented educational experience. For instance if you want your child to see the Louvre (who wouldn’t) but you can’t swing that ticket to France this site gives you step by step instructions for navigating their web site so your child can get a mini-Louvre experience. Try it out…it is pretty cool.
Family Road Trip- Wow! How fun is this? This homeschooling family just embarked (this month) on a one year road trip to see America and learn all about American history. They bought a motor-home, packed up their family, and hit the road. On their blog they will share how they homeschool on the road and specifically what are learning about American history…complete with lesson plans and activity suggestions. I am green with envy!
Book Reviews – I have updated my book reviews page to include easy links to all the book reviews I have done on this blog. Be sure to check that out and be prepared for MANY more book reviews over the next month or so. I have an overwhelming stack of books to be read.
Green Coupon Code Roundup
GreenNest – LOTS of green living gear for the home including some new products for baby…like natural rubber pacifiers and Born Free bottles. Save $5 on a purchase of $10 or more with coupon code: EARTH
One of my readers, Tessa, recently left a wonderful comment asking me to share some ideas for parents who are just starting to analyze their children’s eating habits and try to change them. Specifically she said she would like to see “recipes for kids who are used to eating pizza and hot dogs”. This is a hugely important topic because there are so many parents out there that allow their children to be nourished by a diet of pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and French fries. I think they have some idea of how BAD this kind of food is but they probably don’t know just HOW bad these foods can be. Convenience may also be playing a big factor in how they feed their kids.
But to me this is a very serious issue. When I was 18, I started working in a movie theatre while I was in college. For years I ate buttery popcorn and soda as meals…it was accessible and it was free. Then when I had my first baby and I started working in marketing and advertising I let my 60+ hours a week work schedule dictate our diet. Let’s just say my oldest child had a lot of Happy Meals. This went on for about 2-3 years and started to change for the better when I got pregnant a second time and quit working. As my life made a huge shift towards natural family living and my days were spent at home, our diet improved greatly. But it was already too late…I would be diagnosed with colon cancer not too much later and it was stage 3 so I had it for awhile and didn’t know it. I think I had everyone in my family shaking the naughty finger at me. We pretty much all knew why I got cancer. Needless to say I look at food a lot differently now and I LOVE to research as much as I can on the subject. Amazingly I found that 40% of all cancers are attributed to diet. Yikes!
Also, I wanted to mention that my son (who was injured by a vaccine) developed epilepsy by the time he was 3. The part of his brain that caused the seizures was actually damaged so Doctors held out little hope that he would ever be seizure free. He went on prescription medications as suggested by his neurologist but I also decided to see if I could control his epilepsy or even get rid of it by changing his diet. Within a few months of following a diet like the one I describe below, I took him off his meds and he has not had a single seizure. His Doctors are still scratching their heads over that one.
Here are some scary health facts about the healthy diet/kids connection:
* Autopsies done on children as young as 2 years old are showing signs of fatty cholesterol buildup in the arteries.
* Over 100 studies have been done that validate the theory that food dyes and additives are a factor in ADHD and ADD.
* It is estimated that 10% of 2- to 5-year-olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. 25% of those are obese.
* 14% of children now have type 2 diabetes, a condition that used to be pretty much specific to adults.
So what can you do? I don’t want to lay down a list of hard and fast rules here because well… different strokes for different folks but…in general the things most important to me when I feed my own kids are these:
* Organic foods – It is important that my family eats food with no pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, or chemicals in it. All of these things can accumulate in the body and cause health problems. For me it is issue of clean or dirty almost. Organic is “clean” food and I that is what I want to eat and what I want my kids to eat. I wrote an article last year about how to eat organic affordably.
* No food coloring – Synthetic color has no nutritional value whatsoever. Beyond that, the food colors approved for use today are in a class of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are universally suspect as carcinogenic (cancer causing). But according to the FDA it only causes cancer when it is injected into rats, not when they are feeding on it. Therefore, they conclude that it perfectly safe for humans to eat. Food coloring is also predominantly in super sugary foods that kids don’t need anyway. My oldest child can be VERY hyperactive after he eats something with food coloring in it.
* Unprocessed whole foods with no preservatives or additives – Many processed foods have chemical preservatives and additives in them. Some of them have been linked to cancer too. For instance, hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats are packaged with a preservative called sodium nitrite. In the 1970s it was discovered that sodium nitrite was not safe and it was linked to cancer. The government tried to ban it but food company lobbyists played hardball and in the end they got their way. These type of products are a no-no in my home unless they are preservative and additive free. Dedication to whole foods would also eliminate things like white breads and flours because they have been refined and left nutritionally lacking.
* No refined sugars – Refined sugars can really be bad news for my kids where behavior is concerned. This is especially true for my daughter. Give her a bit of sugar and she will be unbearable all day long with bad mood swings, crying, tantrums, and irritability. Refined sugars will send my oldest into hyperactivity and aggression.
Ingredients to avoid are: Sugar · Brown sugar · High Fructose Corn Syrup (or HFCS) · Glucose · Fructose · Corn sweetener (HFCS) · Corn syrup · Dextrose · Fruit juice concentrate · Invert sugar · Lactose · Maltose · Malt syrup · Sucrose · Syrup
To sweeten things in my home we opt for raw honey, stevia, raw agave nectar, raw sugar cane, coconut milk (on rare occasions), natural maple syrup, raw yacon syrup, and fruit… like figs.
* An abundance of raw (uncooked) foods – Raw foods are living foods with their life giving enzymes still in tact. Heating and cooking foods kills those enzymes and renders them useless so eating raw food is important. Cooking also kills off a large portion of the vitamins and nutrients, approximately half of the protein content, and it causes fats to become rancid. I like to make sure my kids have lots of raw fruits, nuts, and veggies in their diet. Check out my previous post on the benefits of raw food.
* Raw (unpasteurized) milk and cheeses – They might be hard to get in your area but the benefits are wonderful. In fact raw milk is the only milk I can drink. Check out the Real Milk site for all you could ever want to know about raw milk and where to find it in your area. I also prefer raw, organic because I don’t like pesticides and growth hormones like rBST in our milk.
* Limited meat (except fish)– I like to limit meat for a variety of reasons…one is environmental impact. Meat eating is a big time contributor to pollution. Organic meat can be expensive and is therefore less likely to be the heavy on my grocery bill. Also, since I like to emphasize raw foods as much as I can this usually leaves meat out. I won’t prepare raw/very rare meat dishes in the home but when we go out we will enjoy a good steak tartare and we LOVE sashimi and sushi. Usually once or twice a month the whole family will head out to our favorite Japanese market for fresh sashimi and we usually have one or two cooked fish meals a week.
* Superfoods –These are the foods that are considered to be nutritional powerhouses. They are generally rich in antioxidants, nutrient dense, and they help the body fight degenerative conditions and diseases like cancer. We like blueberries, Goji berries, seaweed, Spirulina, and cacao beans among others. Just throw some seaweed, green powders, or Spirulina in a fruit smoothie and everyone is getting a big boost of healthy nutrients.
Of course these are my choices for health. I have other sticking points that are more ethical in nature such as eating local when we can, growing our own food, and I guess organic falls in under the ethics category too. It is a heck of a lot to consider for a someone who is just beginning to question the standard American diet but baby steps are okay. My outlook on food as outlined above was not an overnight thing. Try picking one thing above, do some research on your own and see how you can make some changes. When you have that aspect under control switch gears and start again. This is one area where you may never stop learning…I know I haven’t. The end goal is worth it though…the health of our children. You are what you eat.
Be sure to check out the recipes section of this blog…and these related articles:
Healthy School Lunches | Healthy Snack Ideas | Easy Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables | Natural Family Recipes
Natural Family Food Reviews:
My family and I tried a handful of new products lately and I wanted to a quick write-up for each and give our thumbs up or thumbs down. Hopefully this will be a regular feature as we try new things.
Wholesome Valley Organic Hummus in Roasted Pepper- I have to admit that I am not a big Hummus fan. This is unfortunate because Chickpeas are so good for you. With reluctance my family and tried the Roasted Pepper Hummus and and guess what…it wasn’t awful, LOL. The kids and I actually liked it for dipping fresh cut veggies in and and my hubby liked it enough to request we keep buying it. So if they carry it at Whole Foods we will be picking this up occasionally. It is organic and has no trans fats and no preservatives.
Our verdict: Thumbs up
Wholesome Valley Organic Mozzarella & Chedder Cheese Slices – Now these I don’t usually buy. In fact I can’t remember the last time I bought pre-packaged cheese slices so when Galaxy sent me these, my kids didn’t even know what they were. These too are organic and they contain no antibiotics or growth hormones. Personally I did not care for them much. My kids ate the cheddar cheese ones and didn’t complain but they didn’t ask for more either. I used the mozzarella cheese slices on a Chicken Parmesan dish and they tasted kind of bland and they didn’t melt very well.
Our verdict: Thumbs Down
Raw Hemp Nut Brownies with Almonds- Brownies are yum right? Well, not these ones. Generally my kids and I thought these were gross. These uncooked brownies are made with hemp and cacao powder and then sweetened with agave. They are supposed to be a sweet and nutritious source of protein and they were….they just didn’t taste good. My hubby on the other hand thought they were “okay”.
Our verdict: Thumbs down
R.W. Knudsen Organic Sensible Sippers- I was already a fan of R.W. Knudsen Organic juices so I pretty much knew I would like these. They are juice boxes with organic juice, no sugar added and 40% fewer calories than regular juices. The sippers have the Berenstain Bears on them too so my daughter referred to the different flavors by the different characters on them…aka the sister juice or the papa juice, etc. Pretty cute.
They come in four flavors: Apple, Banana, Fruit Punch, and Mixed Berry. My kids liked them all but Apple and Mixed Berry were the faves here.
Our verdict: Thumbs up