20 goals to inspire you to reach for a healthy and happy 2015

Hello friend!

So I’m guessing you rate HEALTH and HAPPINESS as priority #1 and #2 for yourself and your family?  But!… Do your values match your actions?

Here are 20 goals to inspire you to reach for a HEALTHY AND HAPPY 2015!

Remember, as a parent, you might need to work on your own health and happiness before you can possibly pass this onto your family…

Pick a goal, small or large and write it down.  Not only do your thoughts become your reality, but when you write them down, it is 10000x more likely to happen (well thereabouts!).

Here’s some ideas, but please consider what is important to YOU!

  1. I will make some food from scratch. Kale chips, coconut yoghurt, beetroot dip…
  2. I will be a ‘good enough’ parent who doesn’t stop to feel bad over what I haven’t managed to achieve and I will focus on MY skills, rather than someone else’s. No more PERFECTION!
  3. I will buy the ‘Dirty Dozen’ foods organically, to reduce my family’s toxic burden.
  4. I will take time out for myself. Exercise, meditation, socialising, reading, whatever makes my heart sing and my soul happy.
  5. I will give out love more freely. My children do not have to ‘behave’ to still be loved.  I will offer a hug, even when they have slipped up.
  6. I will BREATHE more often. I will not let frustration get me worked up nearly as often.  I will own my reactions to my children’s behaviour.
  7. I will increase the variety of foods I offer my children, by thinking outside the box.
  8. I will visit a health food store, even just to take in what there is to offer.
  9. I will try natural sunscreen, to avoid the chemical onslaught of the ‘toxic’ ones.
  10. I will buy some Epsom salts, for a relaxing, detoxing bath for the whole family (not all at once!).
  11. I will consider an elimination test if I suspect a food is not so good for myself or my little ones.
  12. I will practice mindfulness and show my children I do not need to make judgements, but can understand where people are coming from. Everyone is fighting their own battle…
  13. I will use my intuition, my ‘gut feeling’, to help navigate tricky parenting decisions.
  14. I will introduce probiotics to my family or look into eliminating candida and parasites.
  15. I will find gratitude every day. And model this to my family.  There will be less need for materialism.  More time for the ‘little things’.
  16. I will model naming my feelings in front of my children. And encourage them to do the same.
  17. I will make my first chicken broth..and then keep it coming, in the winter!
  18. I will build my family’s immunity through extra greens, broth, probiotics, alkalising foods such as lemon and reducing sugar.
  19. I will nurture my relationship with my partner…and take time out from the kids.
  20. I will keep following The Healthy Caterpillar for my ideas and inspiration on the above!

What will your goal be?  I’d looooove to know.  Maybe I could help you?  The more people I can inspire and help this year, the happier I will be too.  So help me to help you…

Leave a comment or send a message and I’ll aim to write some ideas to help you achieve your 2015 goals!

PS – I’ve been offline for a bit, changing I Raise My Kids over to The Healthy Caterpillar.  At this point, you can find me on Facebook at The Healthy Caterpillar.  I am still working towards a blog and website, whilst I study to become a family health coach.  Thanks for your patience 🙂 Heidi

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 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 😀

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.

 

 

 

IMG_0229[1]

 

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’ 😀

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! 

Vegetable hide and seek

What vegetables do you hide in bolognaise or slow-cooked meals?  Do you go for the same ones each time?  Do you leave some slightly chopped (eg carrot, mushroom) so your children will just notice them or do you whizz them all?
Along with zucchini, carrot and mushroom, I have also included some grated beetroot (yes they notice the colour but the flavour isn’t dramatically affected), brussel sprouts and even kale.

Don’t be shy of trying new vegetables!  These might be the ones you completely hide or for kale/spinach, I slice finely and then chop so there aren’t big, long ‘scary’ bits.  If the boys notice it, I don’t pretend it’s not there and I don’t make a big deal.  I might say ‘oh that’s just kale…gosh you’re doing a great job eating your dinner tonight’ or if they look terribly worried….well, at first I did say ‘it’s basil!’ as I know they eat that no worries. Once they were happy to eat it, the next time I was more confident to label it kale. The dark, leafy greens have so many health benefits…

Will you buy a bunch at your next shop to try?  Or get some brussel sprouts to finely slice?

10 tips to ensure your child grows to love vegetables

Yes, vegetables do play on my mind!  Here are a few things about veges and kids that I always keep in mind…

  • children need to eat a rainbow of vegetables for essential nutrients for growth and development.  Full stop!
  • exposure to a wide variety of vegetables is key.  If your child isn’t presented with vegetables, they will not stand the chance to get accustomed to them.  See I Create My Child’s Healthy Palate for more information on helping your little one to become a healthy eater
  • a child around the age of 2 years will start trying out their new found independence and say ‘no’ to a food.  This is not the time to hold back on serving up the vegetables (or any food for that matter).
  • the sooner children develop a taste for vegetables, the sooner they will have a stronger immune system, have more nutrients for their development, stay healthier for life & be more likely to come back to them…even after potentially coming off the bandwagon in teenage years!
  • education about the WHY, the importance of vegetables is crucial.  Help your child to appreciate vegetables rather than bribing them to eat their broccoli in exchange for dessert.  Even the mention of becoming a quicker runner, better dancer or growing up like their idol can be a great reason to start trying.  Moving towards talking about benefits for the body can also be started quite young.
  • it has been found that the variety of foods a child is eating at 4 years of age represents the majority of foods they will eat for the rest of their lives.  Don’t put off presenting new vegetables. 
  • you can hide vegetables but your child still needs to have the time to let their sensory system get accustomed to the different sensory properties, such as taste, texture and smell of the individual vegetable
  • a child needs the time to explore a new vegetable by looking at it, touching it and maybe even squashing it with a utensil or fingers, all with no pressure to eat.  They may need several occasions before they are ready to eat it.
  • involving children in growing or preparing vegetables is a step towards success.  See Interactive Eating – Rice Wraps
  • using different vegetables in slow-cooked meals or bolognaise can be a great way to get your child use to looking at and attempting new vegetables

IMG_9724[1]
Before your next grocery shop, have a think about which vegetables you might try with your child.  Will you add some more ‘hidden’ vegetables or will you have some to present each night for the week to see how close you can get your child to trying some.

A cup full of love…for me

 

Last week the parenting gods battered me (I’m sure I’m not the only one!)… But how do you take care of yourself, like ‘they’ tell you to, when you just don’t have the time?
On this day I didn’t even have the time to get to yoga, so I found a quicker way to give myself love.

I came across this tahini/date/pear smoothie (thanks Janella Purcell).
IMG_9619[1]
Whilst I don’t feel the need for ’emotional eating’, I figured this would be a nutritious and filling snack AND would give me an opportunity to be mindful, taking the time to make myself something I wouldn’t normally, along with the cinnamon sprinkle on top!  I didn’t even multitask.

By slowing down to make this smoothie, knowing it wouldn’t take THAT long out of my day, I’ve given myself a little bit back.  Cinnamon and a warm drink didn’t go astray either.

I’d love to know the small things you do for yourself as a parent, even when you don’t have the time!


HUNGER

We take HUNGER seriously in our household. Do you know the signs of hunger your child exhibits?I know for us, there might be:
– crying at the drop of a hat
– inability to go and play properly
– asking for a hug
– erratic/silly behaviour
– inability to make a choice
– just hanging around me

For us as adults, we have learnt to recognize hunger and act on it.  But this doesn’t come automatically to young children and thus they may display all types of behaviours due to their ‘uncomfortable feeling’ and the brain’s need for fuel.
We liken it to recharging the car with petrol to ‘go’.  And when I can sense hunger, I am very quick to get food out before blood sugar levels drop any lower.  And knowing how I can’t make choices when I’m hungry, I don’t bother offering a choice for the kids, but grab something they will surely eat!


Do you take note of your child’s hunger and explain this to them?

Yes to crying!

We encourage crying in our family.  Not alone but with someone providing ‘love’ at the same time.  This might be a hug, labeling how they feel to show empathy or even just being there with them.

Crying is a physical way of releasing the energy from emotions that you feel.  And as emotions are ‘energy in motion’, it is very important to let these feelings out so that they don’t get trapped in the body.  Children innately know to do this.  It is only by adults telling them not to cry that we as adults forget how calm and clear your head can be when you’ve cried all the feelings away.

Of course we then talk about the situation that lead up to these emotions to understand better what just happened.  All in the name of better emotional intelligence!

Sibling roles

Does your little one know where they fit in in the family?  Particularly if they have a younger sibling?
Here are some drawings I did with Master 4 when I noticed he felt like attention was always on younger brother and he sometimes felt like he didn’t know what his role in the family was.
Not so easy to see the drawings, but you 'get the picture'!

Not so easy to see the drawings, but you ‘get the picture’!

IMG_9399[1]

I drew these drawings with him as we talked about how important he was AND also how his younger brother would also have similar roles, particularly as he got older.
This really helped so when I then had to say ‘you’ll have to wait for your brother’, ‘wait for your turn with Grandma’ or ‘show your brother how to pack away’, he had more of an intrinsic motivation as he knew this was one of his roles as big brother.

Much better than ‘you’re the oldest, that’s just how it is!’.

Would what you say your children’s roles are in your family?