What is literacy for Mummy?

Teaching the FUNCTION of literacy is a great place to start with young ones.  Learning the letters is not anywhere on Master2’s radar but he IS very excited to help ‘write his name’ on his banana for daycare.

In his eyes, he IS writing his name!

In his eyes, he IS writing his name!

Can you involve your child in pretending to do this or ‘writing’ a shopping list or even drawing about their day?
This is all what’s called emergent literacy.  Stay tuned for a post on this soon

Dads are important too!

Following my post last night about my role, and my sons’, in I Raise My Kids, I have to say my husband is well and truly a part too!
He is open-minded enough to go along with all of the ideas I have and enthusiastic enough to follow it up.
He takes our childrens’ early years as seriously as I do and hence we both make the most to appreciate our boys and most importantly, spend time with them.

Whilst I am celebrating having an active husband and dad around, I put my heart out to those that don’t have this.  My husband works away many weeks of the year…I can truly appreciate single mums and dads and the ‘overwhelm’ it must sometimes bring.

Hooray for dads…and the single parents that have to fill both roles.
(Yes it’s nearly Father’s Day )

Remember to show your appreciation for these special people in our childrens’ lives too.

Hello and welcome to I Raise My Kids!

Welcome new friends who have joined recently!  It is nice to have more and more people on my adventure with me. 
For those that don’t already know me…
My name is Heidi.  I’m a paediatric speech pathologist (who loves language and brain development as well as picky eaters).  I also have two delightful sons, aged 2 & 4.

This blog started mostly to inspire other parents to take a REAL interest in their child’s life and to give them ideas on how much they can choose to be a part of their child’s most important years.  Over on my blog, you’ll find categories such as, play, speech, language, social skills, mealtimes, behaviour management, pre-literacy skills, reviews, milestones and being a parent.

The serenity...

Due to my son’s food and chemical sensitivities (& thus discovering mine!!), I have been shown a life path that I did not plan for but am very passionate about.  I am currently studying to be a family health coach, to educate more parents to help their children achieve their potential through health and well being.
I have been connecting the dots and have had to question everything for myself as we did not get answers from the medical field.  It is now clearly obvious to my that our children’s development and thus future health is so closely linked with their diet and the environment around them.

By next year, I will be starting my new health coaching business and will launch I Raise My Kids under a new name.  I hope you will continue to let me inspire you to create more health in your family. 
Thanks for joining in!
Heidi

How to eat fluoro green!

Well I meant to make a nice coconut, Asian-style fish dish for dinner tonight.  But instead, I opened up our Thermomix to fluoro green…!  I was extra-keen with the coriander (a great herb to strip heavy metals from our body) but to my surprise the boys LOVED the green sauce and ate the meal!  Hooray for their body’s reaping the benefits.

Here is the recipe:

Fluoro green fish

This dish made enough for three of us (husband away).  I made this in our Thermomix, but please give it a go if you don’t have one.  It’s a forgiving recipe that can be made roughly to these measurements.

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp peeled ginger

1 onion

1/2 bunch coriander roughly chopped (including stems and roots)

4 zucchinis

~20g sesame or coconut oil

1 tsp turmeric powder

~100g finely sliced cabbage

5 mushrooms

(Please add in as many or as little vegetables as you like.  I got side tracked and forgot to put in other veges, like carrot or broc pieces)

~300g local, fresh white fish

~150g coconut cream

Himalayan pink rock salt, pepper to taste

Optional : fresh chilli, lime juice, fish sauce, rapadura sugar.  The boys don’t fare well with most of these foods so we leave them out.  But the dish is still tasty without them :)

1. Add garlic, ginger, onion, coriander and zucchinis to the Thermomix bowl.  Grate 10 secs – SP 8 until smooth.

2. Add oil and cook 100deg – 2 mins – SP 1.

3. Add turmeric powder, salt, pepper, cabbage and mushrooms.  Cook 100 deg – 7 mins – SP 1.

4. Add fish and coconut milk.  Cook 100 deg – 5 mins – SP 1.

Serve with rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice, carrot ‘noodles’ or just as is.

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So once I got my game face on and served the boys this ridiculously green dish (the photo doesn’t do it justice!), Master 4 was shovelling it before I knew it…!  Master 2 came around at the end (his usual trick, taking time to get used to the idea of what was in the bowl and after the obligatory ‘yucky’, with my response ‘say “I’m not sure about it”‘).  It was so green, they didn’t even SEE the cabbage for the greenery!  Woohoo!  It’s a winner.  I’ll be making it again before long to remind the boys of how delicious they found it the first time :)

So what do you think, can you fathom testing your kids on the greenery?

Why you should NEVER serve children plain carbs

[Avoiding a picky eater]
One good rule to remember : NEVER serve plain pasta (or crackers/toast)!
As a speech pathologist, I work with picky eaters (no we don’t just do speech!).  It is very common to meet children whose sensory systems prefer plain carbs.  But if you never serve it to them, they will never get a taste for it. 


How do you serve your toddlers spag bol? 

sep_bog


Sometimes we combine it and other times, to encourage more cutlery use (stabbing pasta, scooping sauce), I separate them.  Not to mention it’s less messy when you don’t have the time and energy for little hands scooping in.
BUT to avoid the plain pasta, I toss it through tahini or even olive or coconut oil.  Or I toss it through the bolognaise and then put it in a ‘stabbing cup’.

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Fish nuggets, avo and sneaky coleslaw

An easy gluten-, dairy-, soy-, corn-, yeast-, grain-, additive-free, ‘Paleo’ dinner that ANYONE would love!  And introducing Master2 to coleslaw…. This is how it went.

FISH NUGGETS
Toss cut up, fresh fish pieces in egg then coat in:
– coconut flour
– turmeric
– salt/pepper

Adults can join in too!

Adults can join in too!


(Turmeric has so many superpowers including reducing inflammation, not to mention it gives the nuggets a great golden colour).

Fry in coconut oil at medium heat – to avoid processed vegetable oils or using olive oil which goes rancid at high heat (& not good for our health).  Keep your olive oil for when you’re not heating it, such as the mayo…

Our Thermomix is a saving grace at making homemade mayonnaise and coleslaw.  This way we avoid additives, sugar, gluten and other not-so-desirable ingredients in store-bought mayonnaise.  Of course, if you don’t have a Thermomix and can’t fathom making mayonnaise, compare ingredient labels to find one with few ingredients.

As you can see, I’ve provided plenty of fish, some avocado for good fats that will also fill Master2 up and THE SAMPLER of coleslaw.
As he’s never seen it before (that he can remember), I reduced expectations to even eat ANY and put out enough just for experimentation.
He wasn’t keen when it stuck to his avocado, although that was my plan.  However, we distracted him to focus on his fish.  By the time he was stabbing his avocado (with help from Dad), he unwittingly ate some.  No chance of a full scoop, but I’ll take some in the mouth a win!!!

We had ours with a pile of cherry tomatoes too.  That’s a challenge for both boys on another night!

I’m sure others are up for some yummy, easy toddler meals.  Go ahead and share your go-to one

:) Heidi

TIME = LOVE

Have you set a an ‘intention’ to spend time with your children today?

We have a thousand possible activities so I’m going to set the intention to at least play lotto and read some new library books.
I’d love to know what everyone else is getting up to today?….

Inflammation equates to certain health issues, here’s how..

Everyone is better off gluten free?! Yes, and here is why..
Put all your health issues, chronic diseases, childhood issues, every single one out on the table. And then google this + ‘inflammation’. Pretty much every condition is related to inflammation.
Today, it’s not just inflammation that is of great concern but SILENT inflammation. The inflammation we can’t see or feel inside us. This is the precursor to chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders (very common, even among children) and cancer.
So whilst gluten will cause inflammation in the gut, it wreaks even more havoc by causing ‘leaky gut’ which in short, provides a direct route for food particles and toxins to make their way to our brain…hello ‘leaky gut symptoms’ by the dozen.

Of course it’s not just gluten that is responsible for this inflammation we aren’t aware of.  Add in vegetable oils, other refined carbohydrates and a reduced or zero intake of omega 3 oil (which can balance out this inflammation).
Obviously we can ignore and remain oblivious to the fact that our diet contributes to inflammation which contributes to chronic disease (and mostly before it’s too late) but being proactive, especially from childhood, means you’ll never be fighting an uphill battle. And covering issues up with medications…

If this post has caught your eye, you could look into ‘leaky gut’, ‘leaky gut symptoms’, ‘silent inflammation’ or the specific health issue you have OR start thinking about how much Omega 3 oil your family is taking and how you could reduce and ideally eliminate refined vegetable oil and processed carbohydrates (including those with gluten).

Some people have heard a lot about this already and others may not be so aware. The reason I am putting this out there is to start educating more people on the importance of reducing the inflammation in our bodies, whether you can see or feel it!
Amongst all my health lectures, inflammation and Omega 3 oil are the common denominators.

Let me know if you want more information. :) Heidi

How can our family’s health story help your family?

A little update on the ‘saving my family’s health’ tale with some ways to spot whether you or your children are also as sensitive. The end is getting happier for us :D

Today I am thankful to have my son’s brain working so much better than it ever has.  Many of you have seen how I have been on a journey with Master4, initially to eradicate his ECZEMA without the nasty creams, then to reduce his ‘brain inflammation’ (aka ADHD), then to improve his nutritional health and get rid of the DARK CIRCLES under his eyes and consequently, we got rid of his SLEEP APNOEA, improved his SLEEP out of sight, stopped the BEDWETTING and improved his IMMUNITY.  It sounds quite extreme but we have had to remove gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, corn, sugar, some grains (such as white and brown rice), some fruits/veges (such as kiwi fruit and capsicum) and of course all food additives.  We have also removed chemicals by way of many non-organic foods, soaps, sunscreen and regular toothpaste.

Yes Master4 is very sensitive!  Master2 and I are also as sensitive.  But instead this has made our family take on more of a NUTRITARIAN diet.  Making everything we put in our mouths be filled with nutrients instead of foods that do nothing for our health (many of those above) and it is still very much a work in progress!  And through thinking outside the box, I do manage to fill their lunchboxes each day :) although I have spilt tears at making lunches some days!

After studying him closely, I’ve realised just one mouthful of gluten will inflame Master4’s brain for four weeks.  Four weeks of STRESS for the whole family.

Master4 flies off the handle at what feels like every minute of his day.  His brain can’t process language as well so you can’t talk him through his experiences.  He has little empathy for others which makes interactions with his brother harder.  He has no ability to direct himself to play nor much motivation.  He is more aggressive and shows less eye contact. He has about a 2second window to give an instruction or explain something.  I am forever saying ‘look at me, look at me, listen, LISTEN!’ His world is one big ‘gluten hangover’ (and what appears as Asperger’s Syndrome) and so we hold our breath and wait it out….

Last week, Master4 came out of yet another gluten hangover (from sampling a child’s Tiny Teddy at kindy). Can you hear our HALLELUJAH’s??!  He is now much more easy going, is smiling, plays imaginatively for hours, shares and thinks (a little bit!) about his brother, comes up with brilliant ideas, draws amazingly and can actually listen and be reasoned with.

This is the reason I have realised my life’s goal is to ‘save’ more families from scenarios like this and to improve children’s potential through health and well being.  All with diet and environment, not medications or putting up with it.  Right now, spare minutes are filled with me studying and organizing business logistics.

I hope everyone will benefit from some of the information I will soon have to share, after all who doesn’t count their family’s health as their #1 priority?  It is not easy but once you have seen the difference, you will never go back.

I am looking to start my health coaching business next year, but in the meantime, if you’d like any advice, please let me know.  Or if you know anyone that may need some direction, point them in my direction :) Heidi

How to help your children draw their way through an ‘experience’

How do you get your children to express themselves in a difficult situation, when language doesn’t necessarily flow that easily?  Drawing is the perfect answer!  Every child can pick up a pencil and when an adult is sensitive to what they are drawing, or telling you about at the end, it can be a very therapeutic tool.

Here is how our ‘experience’ of a missing pet unfolded. 

Day 1 – Through a chain of events, Master 2 opened the cage door, outside, of our beloved cockatiel of eight years.  Before we knew it, he was gone.  Thinking we had slim chances of finding Trevor, we did a small search around our block and went to put up some LOST signs.

I went to bed feeling dreadful for our poor pet, out with the wild birds and a 3degree night.

 

 

 

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Day 2 – I felt like I had to do one last call out, so I got up early and whistled my way around the block.  Just as I was about to head home, I heard him!  I went to find him in a tree and called my husband to come and help.  The boys waited in the car while my husband got up a ladder and we put a rake out for Trevor to climb onto (he had no idea how to fly downwards to us).  Well our poor bird got a fright from the rake and flew off – over the road and into a bush somewhere.

I spent the next half day whistling my way around a much wider radius of our house and ended up back at home feeling frustrated and tired and worried, again, for our bird.  The boys were now trying to make sense of it all and wondering why Mummy was so sad.  They were sure Trevor would be back. 

That afternoon, with my husband gone for the next few days, the boys and I walked to two parks, putting up more signs and whistling more.  In a last ditch effort, I drove us back to the bush where we saw him head and whistled out the car window.  I just had to find him.  He called out!!!  So again, the boys waited in the car while I searched for Trevor, whistling from somewhere in a big clump of gum trees, over a swamp…..  

The next while included:

  • Trevor flying at me and missing me and ending up high in a gumtree
  • Myna birds attacking him
  • Me attempting to throw 2metre branches at them
  • Me wondering how Trevor would manage to just drop from the tree, back to me
  • Trevor flying off to another tree with birds chasing him
  • Me chasing Trevor, the boys watching on in the car

Well, Trevor did think about flying down to me again but just couldn’t do it.  So I jumped in the car with the boys and raced back to our house to get his cage, in a hope he might come down to his seed and water.  All the while, I was explaining to the boys about the excitement, yes, of finding him but the nervous times ahead of trying to catch him and about the fact it was nearly dark.

We left Trevor in the branch that night with his cage under the tree.  The boys and I discussed the myna birds and why they were attacking Trevor.  We made a plan to go on an early morning adventure the next day to catch him.  I was at this point forcing myself to use positive thinking AND talking in front of the boys about it.  I also had to be organised and clear with ideas of how to catch him AND entertain the boys for who knows how long the next morning.  

Day 3 – With my stomach feeling a bit sick and my heart in my mouth, we got back to the tree and Trevor was quiet but still there.  Unfortunately, he was no closer to coming down and was not wanting to give himself away to the myna birds, who happened to have a nest a few branches over.  I spoke with a groundsman (of the retirement village we were in) who agreed I should come back at a slightly more decent hour and use the neighbour’s hose to get Trevor down. 

We drove home and waited the nervous wait.  It was here, we had the time to start drawing.  Of course there were many parts of the story we could have drawn about, but it was nice to see what the boys chose and what they talked about.  It allowed for us all to have a ‘free range’ discussion about any thoughts that were on the top of their head.  And let me see what they were making of it all.  

Master 4's myna bird - the 'naughty bird' (with an unwelcome scribble on top from Master 2)

Master 4’s myna bird – the ‘naughty bird’
(with an unwelcome scribble on top from Master 2)

I started drawing my own experience, and soon Master 4 was adding to it. 

Mummy at the bottom waving her big stick.  The boys in the car yelling 'mummy'!...

Mummy at the bottom waving her big stick. The boys in the car yelling ‘mummy’!…

Well we went back again.  The boys geared up for more waiting while Mummy raced out and found the groundsman.  He sprayed the hose, which only attracted attention to Trevor, he tried his leaf blower, which did nothing, then he got out his extendable saw.  He moved the branch and Trevor flew off again.  My heart was back in my mouth racing after him and seeing the main road.  It was two crows that gave Trevor away and there he was, at my height.  I grabbed him, full of relief and ecstatic.  

We brought Trevor home and cut him some new branches and let him rest.  He was fairly battered. 

Got him!

Got him!

That night, unfortunately, Trevor took a turn for the worse, and died.  Whilst it was very sad, it was good to know that he was at home with us and this made the boys realise how much they loved him. 

Day 4 – I broke the news to the boys.  Master 4 understood that death means that Trevor’s body has died but his spirit lives on, the one that is braver and stronger and full of love, for having gone through all of this.  Master 2 worked out Trevor was ‘sleeping’ :D

We drew some more. 

Master 4's account of events from the capture to Trevor's death.

Master 4’s account of events from the capture to Trevor’s death.

Master 4 was now just talking as he drew.  It was good to see what he had understood from it all.  He was unsure how to draw hearing about Trevor’s death.  I explained not necessarily drawing a picture, but maybe using the different coloured pencils to show his feelings with his hand movements or by the colours he chose.  I modelled for him. 

Drawing the moment Master 4 heard of Trevor's death

Drawing the moment Master 4 heard of Trevor’s death

Master 2 joined in drawing a rainbow to bring us some happiness, like the rainbow we had seen on day 3.

Master 2 joined in drawing a rainbow to bring us some happiness, like the rainbow we had seen on day 3.

The hope from day 3...

The hope from day 3…

After doing so many drawings in a few days, the boys are back into their habit of drawing their thoughts and ideas out.  Every time they do regular drawing, they always get so much out of it.  Ideas flow out, drawing skills improve daily and creativity in both drawing and story telling is inspiring! 

In my health coach course, we have learnt about the power of expressing oneself on paper and after the last few days, I aim to sit with the boys and draw more too.  

How much do you draw?  Have you ever encouraged your children to draw their way out of a tough situation?  Will you encourage them to sit down and do drawing more regularly?

I hope to get time soon to post about our ‘Daily draw’, where the boys drew every day for a month.  

Well, that’s it for my Trevor story.  I hope I have shown my boys that persistence and a positive attitude can really bring about miracles.  We should probably never have found Trevor…twice!