(This is a sponsored post for AMAZE. AMAZE is all about making sex education less awkward. Trust me, you need to know about this.)
Way back when I had my first little baby – I knew that SOME DAY, I would have to have “the talk.” That talk where parents feel uncomfortable and kids look shocked as they try to absorb some pretty crazy information about how they were created.
But this talk was way off in the distance. Nothing to be worried about since I was so focused on important parental details like… How the hell does this breast pump work? Why are people glaring at me when I give my baby a pacifier? And will I ever sleep again?
But about two seconds later, my oldest daughter was almost 10 and I knew it was time. I had purchased two books about where babies come from (by the way, no mention of how tequila can play a role). While some parents might view these books as a conversation starter, I viewed them as “doing the job for me.”
I read one of the books, answered a whole bunch of questions and declared myself a great mom! The talk was over and now my daughter could grow into a healthy, informed adult.
Except it wasn’t over. In parenthood, it’s never over.
Turns out, there isn’t one talk. There are many talks! It needs to be an open, ongoing conversation. Because kids need to learn way more than the definition of sex. They need to be educated about puberty, how to prevent pregnancies (long before they are faced with a sexual situation) and they need to learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Because if you don’t talk to them about this stuff – they are still going to seek out the information. From their favorite celebrity YouTuber. Or their friends. Or some anonymous chat group.
Don’t. Because just like those books that help explain why sometimes mommy and daddy need alone time in their bedroom, with the lights out, the door locked and a little soft jazz playing in the background, there is a fabulous resource called AMAZE.
AMAZE seriously takes the awkward out of sex ed. On the site, you’ll find fun, humorous animated videos that give kids (ages 10 and up) all the info about sex, their bodies and relationships. And we all know, KIDS LOVE VIDEOS. So use it to your advantage.
AMAZE is like having the best wingman ever in teaching your kids about all this sex stuff. I love a wingman. So when you’re ready to teach your kids about birth control, a video like this can really help…
The Amaze Facebook page is also a great resource. So go on over there and see what they are posting. And here are some other helpful links…
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amazeparents
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/amazeorg
- YouTube: http://youtube.com/amazeorg
- Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/amazeorg
- Hashtag: #MoreInfoLessWeird
This post is sponsored by Amaze. All ideas are my own.
My mother is a huge dog lover and also adores having lots of photos around, so it’s not surprising that she has a frame like this…
On the right side is my nephew Callum. Not sure how he feels about being in a dog frame but we’ll let that go for now. On the left side is the dog photo that came with the frame.
Let me repeat that. On the left side is a stock photo that came with the frame. I guess that canine is some kind of dog model or something.
And my mom has had the frame for a couple years.
And here’s another interesting note. My mother HAS TWO DOGS. I’ll prove it.
Is anyone thinking what I’m thinking? (I mean, other than the obvious that I could totally be a professional dog photographer.) That maybe my mom’s dogs Lilly and Snoopy might just be perfect for a dog frame with room for two photos!
So one of my kids finally asked my mom why she didn’t put her dogs in this “Woof” frame.
And these were the reasons:
- My mom thinks the picture of the dog that came with the frame is cute.
- My mom doesn’t take pictures of her dogs.
- My mom doesn’t know how to print pictures of her dogs that would fit the frame.
Okay, some valid reasons there.
The truth is – every time I look at the photo with the unknown model dog and my nephew Callum, I have to totally smile because it’s my mother’s personality in a nutshell. She sees no need to conform to the world in the way other people might think she should.
My mom has always been this way. She is quirky. And different. And doesn’t really care about dumb stuff. She’s too busy caring about people and things that matter. She doesn’t have time to fuss over some frame that already has a cute dog in it. IT CAME WITH A CUTE DOG. WHY MESS WITH IT?
I’m pretty confident that once my mom reads this post (which she will), she will ask me to print out those two photos of her dogs Lilly and Snoopy and put them in the Woof frame. But I’m not doing it.
She’d be depriving the rest of us of the reminder that being true to yourself is what life is about.
And when life presents any of us with our own version of “a cute dog in a picture frame,” just say thank you and don’t mess with it.
On a Friday night at work, my husband Rick (a TV news anchor) had 3 missed calls from the same number. And then a text from the same number. From someone he does not know.
But she was positive she had the right number. And she did go on to clarify. At length.
I think the takeaway here is that Monique is bad news and is always out to sabotage one of her friends. Which is totally not cool and now I’m super pissed at Monique, despite not knowing her at all. But we ladies can’t be out sabotaging each other. Right?
But again, this is all being texted to Rick’s work phone. And he tries to clarify once more time that she has the wrong number.
That’s all he gets after investing himself in the whole saga. Just an “ok.” No, “Thanks for listening.” Or “What do you think now that you’ve read the whole situation?” Or “Please don’t tell Monique any of this.”
Just an, ok.
Well, at the very least, I hope she now watches her news on CBS channel 4.
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when they look at their piece of crap car and think to themselves, “I’m better than this. Aren’t I?”
That’s what happened to me. I looked at my pretzel-littered minivan with almost 150,000 miles on it and a special essence that even a professional detailing can’t quite remove and thought – I need more than this in life.
I spend roughly 20,000 hours in the car a week… driving children, picking up children and blasting music so as not to hear previously mentioned children whining and squabbling and crying. I just couldn’t spend one more minute in this hot mess of a car. If only for my own self worth.
So the search began. What to buy when you have 5 kids and know in your heart that if you buy anything too big you will be side swiping trees and other vehicles on a daily basis? We looked at everything from the Tahoe to the Nissan Armada to the Honda Pilot to the Chevy Traverse to the Infinity to the Anything Else Anyone Mentioned.
But everything seemed too big. Or too small. Or not enough space in the back. Or just lame. Or just too expensive. Or too not-a-Mini-Cooper.
I knew I had hit rock bottom when I resorted to the internet and pleaded with my Facebook friends to please tell me what to buy. This was my favorite piece of advice.
I also learned that people LOVE their cars. But the more advice we got, the more confused I became.
My children pleaded, “When are we buying a new car?”
I don’t know, I said. I was frozen. I couldn’t answer the eternal question of our time… What comes after the minivan?
And then we made a decision. We just stopped looking. We paid to fix our ailing minivan with the convenient sliding doors, plethora of cargo space and the crushed pretzels on the floor. It will certainly last the summer. Maybe even into the fall.
Our minivan isn’t forever. But for now, we can’t quite shake it.
This post is sponsored by the American Heart Association
When you first hold your newborn baby – you have BIG Plans. Big. And one of them includes healthy eating. I’ll never feed my child junk food, you think smugly to yourself. Nothing but fresh fruits and vegetables from my imaginary organic garden, lean protein bought from the neighborhood food market and lots of whole grains. This kid will be swimming in whole grains!
Fast forward a couple years and you are literally torpedoing bags of chips into the back of your minivan in an effort to stop the whining.
Encouraging my five kids to eat healthy sometimes feels very hard. But there are easy tricks that can help. And no, I’m not talking about some pricey gourmet meal with 45 minutes of prep time that your children taste and immediately say, “Can you make me a hotdog instead?” Because we aren’t trying to give you a nervous breakdown here.
These are 8 real ideas that actually work with minimal effort from the parent. Minimal parenting effort. Isn’t that a beautiful phrase?!
1. Get Kids To Eat Healthy When They’re Actually Hungry
It can be very difficult to convince a kid who isn’t even all that hungry to taste some of those delicious, crunchy carrot sticks. Way easier if they’re super starving. So as you’re preparing dinner… put healthy snacks out on the table. This is actually part of their dinner.
Every time a kid saunters by with pains of hunger, suggest they survey the table and eat anything they want. You can put out things like carrots with hummus, seaweed (found at places like Costco, Trader Joe’s, Asian markets), edamame, guacamole (Don’t underestimate the avocado. It’s super delicious and good for you), cut up fruit, bowl of grapes, you get the idea.
Even if you’re serving pizza for dinner, make sure they get the healthy stuff first. That way they don’t fill up on bread and cheese before even trying the grapes.
2. Keep Almonds or Other Nuts in the Car
I always keep a bag of almonds in the car because when I’m running around, I get hungry and it’s an easy way to satisfy my hunger. But I found that my kids (even one of my pickiest eaters) started snacking on them when there were no other snacks to be found. And now I have a couple of serious almond lovers. My 4 year old refused to try them for months and then finally relented one day when he was bored and now he’s almost an almond enthusiast. Just make sure to check the serving size so you don’t overdo it.
3. Pack Healthy Snacks (really, do it)
Most kids will dive for the junk first so just don’t have it around when you pick them up from school or various activities. The other day I brought my 4 year old to the library for an outing and I only brought healthy snacks…. a banana, seaweed, low-fat cheese stick, apple and a fruit flat.
And he ate EVERYTHING.
Did he eat a little more junky things later in the day? Yes. I am not a saint. But at least he had already gotten some nutritional food in that belly. Here are some great ideas on healthy snacks to bring along.
4. Skip the Soda
Soda in my house is a special treat reserved for birthday parties, special outings and celebrations. My kids drink water and milk because that’s pretty much all there is in the house. Yes, sometimes I make chocolate milk or lemonade as a treat. But in general, it’s only H20. Do they complain about this sometimes? Absolutely. Do I feel bad for them? Definitely not.
5. Kids Love a Gimmick
If you’ve ever made your kid a pancake that looks like an emoticon face, then you know they love doing fun things with food! So how about trying to make a meal using all the colors of the rainbow. Here’s some ideas on what you can include.
6. Get Your Children into the Kitchen
Ever noticed how much kids love to “help?” Depending on their age, you can have them start making some of these healthy meals. My 7 year old twins will help me cut strawberries. My 10 year old will make salad. My 12 year old has made chicken burritos for the whole family. They can even pick out and help make recipes. If your kids are more invested in what is being served, they are more likely to actually eat it. Or at least that’s my theory.
7. When Necessary – Sneak Some Good Stuff Into Their Diet
The truth is – there are some super picky eaters out there that won’t be convinced that fruits and veggies are all that fabulous. Check out these ideas on hiding a few vegetables into everyday meals. I particularly like the idea of putting cooked and pureed vegetables like butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots into cheesy dishes like lasagna or mac and cheese.
8. Find out Where the Cheap Food Is
Healthy food doesn’t have to take away from your vacation budget (because you NEED that vacation). Just know where the best places are for you to shop. The cost of fruits and veggies varies GREATLY. I have my go-to store for affordable produce. But a warehouse club is where I buy bulk snacks. And I visit my regular grocery store for convenient snacks like a hummus/pretzel combo or guacamole/chips combo. So doing a little investigating on who has the best prices in your neighborhood can save you money.
So What Now?!
You know when the perfect time is to try some of these healthy ideas? June! Because it’s National Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month. Especially if you just celebrated National Doughnut Day a little too hard.
And you don’t have to try all this at once on your kids. Just join the Healthy For Good Movement (scroll down and click “join the movement”) and get inspired by fun ideas and yummy recipes. You got this.
Have a great tip on helping kids (or yourself) eat healthier? Please share. It takes a village.
This post is sponsored by The American Heart Association. The views, opinions and positions expressed within this post belong to Mama Bird Diaries and do not necessarily represent those of The American Heart Association unless explicitly stated.