Bunny Love: Ideas for a Healthier Easter Basket

I went shopping for my kids Easter baskets this week.  They are beyond thrilled that the hoppity hoppity bunny is on his way!  There is much bunny love going on at our house right now.  Except for the fact that neither of them wants to actually go see the Easter bunny.  Cracks me up!  I get so excited living vicariously through them.  Remember how fun holidays were when we were kids?  I do.  Easter was especially fun with all that yummy goodness I found in my basket!

Instead of mounds of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, or marshmallow Peeps, I aim to live out a healthier Easter tradition with my kiddos.  A bit different from the way we celebrated Easter as a kid.  I try to be creative and avoid putting tons of candy in their baskets.  They each get one chocolate bunny sucker and that’s pretty much it for sweets.  Instead of sugary treats, I might bag up some healthy snacks or throw some organic fruit gummies in there.  My kids love when they get little ‘gifts’ for Easter and they don’t even notice the amount of candy in their baskets is practically zilch.

Ideas for healthier Easter basket treats:

  • Organic Granola
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies*
  • Organic Trail Mix
  • Homemade oatmeal cookies
  • Organic Raisins*
  • Annie’s Gummy Bunnies*
  • Dark chocolate covered pretzels or raisins
  • Yummy Earth* lollipops, gummy bears, sour worms

Ideas for themed Easter baskets or Easter bags or Easter pails:

  • Garden Basket- Fill the basket with all things gardening!  Gloves, garden tools, seeds, small pots, sun hat, garden mat.
  • Dress-up Basket- Fill it with a tu-tu and wings, superman shirt, batman mask, lady bug costume, etc.
  • Outside Play Basket- Jump rope, chalk, jacks, beach gear, sunglasses, shovel and pal, sunscreen, etc.
  • Arts and Crafts Basket- Paints, crayons, coloring books, art pads, markers.
  • Doll Basket: You can buy a small doll or fill the basket with accessories for a doll your child already has. There are so many doll clothes, shoes, hats, bottles, and bags to choose from.  If you have a daughter, you already know this.
  • My Favorite Color Basket- Use your child’s favorite color for inspiration and fill, fill, fill!
  • Sports/Hobby Basket- Chess lover, make-up artist, dancer, singer…endless possibilities.
  • Book Basket- Your child’s favorite author and an array of new books to read.

There are countless ideas to make this Easter happy and healthy for your family!  All you have to do is think outside the box!

What are you putting in your kids Easter baskets this year?

*A little FYI:
  • Yummy Earth is certified organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and has no chemical colors, artificial flavors, or high fructose corn syrup.
  • Annie’s Gummy Bunnies are certified organic and made with no added preservatives, vegan, gelatin-free, gluten-free, and absolutely NO artificial colorings.
  • Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies are non-gmo and no sugar added.
  • Newman’s Own Organic Raisins are USDA certified organic  and high in antioxidants.

“Bunny Love” was originally published in April 2012 by Mommy OM.

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the real spring

Today is the Spring Equinox in this part of the world. A time for renewal and joy as the earth awakens from its winter slumber and life begins again. Spring is the season of rebirth. The smell in the air and the warmth from the sun brings us all a sense of peace and nostalgia. We are reminded once again of the wondrous beauty nature has to offer. The flowers are in bloom and the sounds of birds tweeting, twittering, and chirping bring music to our ears. There’s just something about the way spring rides in and changes the minds and moods of everyone it touches. It’s magical.

This magic also brings with it a long list of things that need to get done (you know, more to add to our never-ending list of mommy duties and whatnot), but it’s okay because it’s spring. Spring cleaning makes me happy. Dusting, vacuuming, digging, bagging, junking, watering, weeding, spraying, cleaning, and washing just seem easier to accomplish in the springtime. I don’t know why, but as long as my windows are open and the sunshine is rolling in, I can clean every toilet and bathtub in the house with a smile on my face. The same goes for rounding up dust bunnies from under the couch, giving the pantry a makeover, and sorting through the kids sock and underwear drawer. And when it’s all said and done (if ever), the celebratory dance I do in praise of my now organized and rejuvenated home could not be more justified.

Spring is also a time for cleansing our inner souls. A time for change. A time to look within ourselves, to be conscious of who we are and who we want to become. A chance to focus on what really matters in life and to reinvent ourselves as mothers, as daughters, as sisters, as aunts, as friends, as women.

Here is my “real” to do list this spring:

Happy Spring!

ps. It’s freezing and snowing where I live, but I am telling myself to embrace it. Hey, at least the sun is was shining today.

“The Real Spring” was published on March 22.2012 by Mommy OM.

Refocus Your Focus

istock photo by lovelens

istock photo by lovelens

Meditation every day can be tough. Daunting even. Most often, it may seem like work. Work that you just don’t have time for. Work that frustrates more than calms. Work that fits nowhere into the list of priorities you have set for your day. After all, mediation is the art of focus. Focusing 100% of your attention in one specific area. Actively engaging your mind and body in mediation is a process. A process that at first may not come easily.

A few steps to help simplify the task of meditation:

1. Let your breath be your guide. Listen to the sound of your inhale and exhale. Take even breaths. In and out. In and out. In other words, don’t concentrate so hard that you start to hyperventilate. Yes. This has happened to me. I became so fixated on the act of breathing that I needed a brown paper bag and a cold wash cloth. <Pfft. Snort. It’s funny now.>

2. Find your purpose. Spiritual? Connectedness? Relaxation? All of the above? Remember that your purpose in each meditation can and will change. Today, my purpose was to wallow in the depths of a silent room. As time ticked slowly and silently by. Tick. Tick. Tick. 

3. Consciously clear your mind of frustration, stress, anxiety, and fearRepeat after me: It’s okay the baby didn’t sleep through the night. It’s okay that I’m tired. It’s okay that the kids threw trains at each other’s heads (granted no one was seriously hurt). It’s okay. It’s okay. I promise. 

4. Adjust your body to a position of renewal. Lotus pose. Tree pose. Child’s pose. Corpse pose. Sleep pose. 

5. Be grateful. Practice awareness outside of formal mediation. Find your breath actively during each day. Take in the beauty that surrounds you. The warmth of the winter sun. The purity of your child’s face. The kindness in your best friend’s actions. The umpteenth time you’ve stepped on a freakin’ Lego. Breathe. Be grateful. The pain in your foot will subside, that is – until next time. <oooommmmmmm.>

hang up the gloves

gloves

When it comes to motherhood, all bets are off. Any woman out there will tell you that having a baby changes everything. Motherhood is an incredibly important job AND an incredibly hard job. There is no instruction manual to follow. No step-by-step guide for guaranteed success. We all just take a deep breath and jump in.

That being said, there is an enormous amount of pressure for us to do everything the “right way” when it comes to raising a family. This pressure comes from expectations we’ve set for ourselves, as well as from outside sources such as our own moms, family members, friends and yes, even strangers. And probably the harshest critics of all: OTHER MOMS. No one tells you before you become a mom that you will soon be entering the Mommy Wars. A place where everyone has an opinion of what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing instead, and why they want to punch you in the throat.

I think one of the hottest topics when it comes to bringing up babies is breast-feeding. There seems to be this ongoing war between moms about the pressures to breast feed, the successes and failures, how long to do it (short-term, extended), and the thought that bottle-feeding (not only formula, but breast milk as well- yikes!) somehow makes you inferior as a mother. This is all a bunch of malarkey. While everyone clearly understands that breast milk is best, there are barriers that keep 100% of all moms from breast-feeding. Some of these include milk production (or lack thereof), premature deliveries, latching problems, medications, single-parenting, working full-time, lack of support, etc., etc. Add to those the fact that breast-feeding is certainly not all sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and lemon drops all of the time.

Breast-feeding is hard work. Bleeding nipples, cracked nipples, inverted nipples, flat nipples, blah, blah, ouch. Exhaustion, confusion, infection. Cradle hold, cross-over hold, football hold. The list goes on and on. You know what else is hard work? Yep, you guessed it- everything else that goes along with having a new baby in your life.

I am a breast-feeding mom. I extended breast-fed both of my children well past one year of age. I was extremely lucky and my babies were perfect little latchers. I had a great supply (I seriously could have fed a small country) and everything just seemed to click for me. What does this mean for you? Really, it should mean nothing. I am not in competition with you. I do what’s best for my kids and my family and I would expect you to do the same.

The greatest caveat to achieving and maintaining the health of my children and myself is AWARENESS.  It is unacceptable for me to “just go with the flow” so to say when it comes to decisions that impact my family. It takes education, tons of reading, mucho support, and positive assurance to stand firm in my beliefs. I take what I learn and apply it to my life as best I can. If others warrant my opinion or advice, then I give it. I’ve created this blog to help, not to divide.

The bottom line: Be informed, confident and secure in the choices you make for your kids and there will be absolutely no room for others to knock you down. Be willing to have an open mind and to think critically outside that big old box.

I can only hope that sometime soon we see motherhood as a journey we’re all facing together.

So ladies, whatta ya say-

Shall we hang up the gloves?

Hang Up the Gloves is an oldie but goodie. It was published March 2, 2012 on newhealthom.com