Archive for the ‘
Mom Must Read ’ Category
Friday, February 7th, 2014
If there’s ever a feel-good TV show, it’s the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. You surely know this, but you can catch this celebration of humanity tonight on NBC starting at 7:30 p.m. EST and airing until well after the kids usual bedtime. Oddly enough, the ceremony takes place in real time today in Russia at 11 a.m., so if you look online, you will see the highlights early.
Even more oddly, we have Sochi Winter Olympic Mad Libs for you and your children to print out for tonight. What’s more fun than describing ordinary things in super-wacky, adjective-filled ways?
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Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Being happy doesn’t have to be so hard insists the lovely and talented writer Amy Spencer (see her photo below). She told me that happiness can be as simple as doing the sweet little things you like more often. Try stuff like hugging a loved one or putting your feet in some warm water. Her advice is to find joy in everyday small things instead of just focusing on the biggies (new job, dream vacation, different house.)
Her new book, The Happy Life Checklist: 654 Ways to Find Your Bliss is chock full of ideas to brighten your life. It builds on her previous one (that I loved) called Bright Side Up: 100 Ways to Be Happier Right Now.
Check out this book, and also the helpful and uplifting book trailer . Directly from Amy, here are 5 Ways to Be Happy Instantly below:
“Remember how summer seemed to go on forever when you were a kid? It felt like six months of playing outdoors, going to camp, swimming, riding bikes, hitting the beach or playing stickball in the street. And now? Sheesh, Labor Day has come and gone before we know it.
That’s because the way our brains work, the more emotionally charged a situation is, the more it’s stamped deep into our emotional brains. This is why you don’t forget your most gushing first love, your most embarrassing moment, your most heartbreaking breakup or your scariest accident. The bigger the emotion—be it happiness, guilt, fear, love, excitement—the bigger the effect. Because your kids are new to life, they’re getting a lot of emotionally charged input every day, so their days seem bigger and fuller than ours. It’s as if they’re watching their life movie in slow motion, taking in every frame while we are watching ours on fast-forward. We’ve already seen it all before, so we don’t even notice the good stuff anymore. But why should your kids have all the fun, right?
One of the biggest keys to happiness is to appreciate the small joyful moments in your life by consciously seeing your life through a child’s eyes again. I’ve come up with hundreds of ideas you can do this in my new book The Happy Life Checklist: 654 Simple Ways to Find Your Bliss. Because if you can appreciate the fun you’re having each day, your whole year can feel like a big, long summer. Happiness comes in the seconds and minutes of life, as well as in the years. So here are a few quick ways that you can savor the small moments—for free and in five minutes or less—right now!
1. Sing at the top of your lungs. Crank up the volume in the car and sing from your soul. This is why windows close and roll up, isn’t it? I like to put on the 80s station to find some GoGos hits, because I find when I’m belting out an upbeat song, I’m not focused on life’s small annoyances—like traffic, meetings, or emails. Plus, the act of singing releases the brain’s feel-good endorphins and lowers stress. Show your kids how healthy it is to let music amp up your mood.
2. Kiss your child on a spot you love about them and tell them why. A dimple you see when they naturally smile; an arm that embraces you in love. Showing gratitude has one of the greatest impacts on our happiness. So actively appreciate the ones you love today.
3. Live in your beautiful mess. That’s right, a day full of mess can be beautiful, too, because it’s your mess: dishes dirtied with a good meal, comforters crumpled from a long sleep, and sneakers in the hall after a day of family fun. Just once, don’t stress about cleaning up and see the mess as a passing snapshot of a life that will be so much different a decade from now. Take in this moment, right now. Love your as-is mess because it’s all yours.
4. Jump! Who said kids get to have all the fun? Add a little play into your life by getting your feet off the ground, even for just a second. Jump off a bench. A diving board. A sand dune. Or the sidewalk. Or hop, skip or jump hand-in-hand with your little one and feel the freedom of being young at heart.
5. Pull out your nice silverware for leftover night. Or light a candle you’ve been saving. What are you really waiting for? Research says savoring small moments boosts your mood. So when I recently ordered some pizzas for a night in, I pulled out my nice wine glasses for our waters and sodas and the night felt instantly elevated. Use what you’re saving and celebrate the special occasion of today.”
If you want more Amy right now, check out her website The Life Optimist. She even posts videos!
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Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Nancy Sharp is the author of a highly praised new book, Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living.
Check out her heartbreaking yet totally inspiring memoir that she excerpts below:
“Imagine giving birth to twins, your first children. This is the miracle you and your husband have been waiting for, babies to affirm the future. It’s hard to describe the joy and release the two of you feel. Now imagine this: hours later, with you still in your hospital robe, your husband receives a surprise phone call from his neuro-oncologist. His voice cracks when he answers and you know immediately the news is bad from the way he slumps onto the hospital bed, turning his face from you.
Everything blurs in that instant, and while you should be the one consoling your husband, he’s the one trying to calm you. You are wild with post-pregnancy hormones, wild from fear.
How is it that a person holds life and death in the same moment?
This exact scenario happened to me on May 20, 2001. I’d just delivered twins, a girl Rebecca, and a boy Casey. Like many multiples, the twins were born prematurely, at 30 weeks. They were too tiny and frail to hold so they lay in incubators in the neonatal intensive unit at New York Cornell Hospital (check name). With the babies’ needs being met, and our immediate worry over their well being quelled, finally, my husband Brett and I had a quiet moment to ourselves. We nuzzled on my twin size hospital bed, dozing comfortably in one another’s arms.
That’s when the call came, jolting us from our dreams. Brett’s brain cancer had returned. The routine MRI he’d taken only a few days before revealed that there was a tumor in his brain and now down his spine, too.
These were terribly unlucky odds: new life and certain death all at the same time.
Fortunately, Brett lived until the twins were two and a half years old. We stayed put in New York City, trying to go forward but remaining horribly stuck in the past. We needed to make a bold change.
Which is how I decided in 2006, with the twins getting ready for kindergarten, that we would start anew in Denver, Colorado, a place Brett and I had always been drawn to. The Rocky Mountains offered a sense of permanence and peace. Besides, my college roommate and her family lived in Denver.
That brave decision led to so many others: buying a house on my own, selecting a school for the twins, making new friends, and even, risking love again by reaching out to a widowed TV anchor with two boys who was featured in a local magazine as one Denver’s most eligible singles. We wound up getting married and blending our families.
What I know today is that bold living has been at the heart of every rewarding thing that has ever happened to me. In spite of what life throws our way, it’s up to us to make the moments count. Are you daring enough to live the life you want to lead? Beauty and opportunity are abundant; take the time to see them.”
I wish you bold living.
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Thursday, January 30th, 2014
I love coconut oil. I started using it when I–a super healthy, part-time vegetarian and yoga teacher-slash-writer–tested high for cholesterol last year. So did my kids! We had to cut down on animal fat, mainly butter that we love so much. In recipes, it’s pretty much a one-to-one replacement for butter or fat, and it tastes delicious. So we use coconut oil in everything from brownies to oatmeal to stir fry to popcorn. This year, when I was tested, my cholesterol was back to normal. And even though it’s high in fat (not saturated!), my weight has stayed low.
So I was excited to hear about the new edition of the book, The Coconut Oil Miracle, by Bruce Fife, N.D. I’ve heard it’s great for other uses, too, and he explains them in his book and in this list below.
I’ll definitely try coconut oil next time I have dry skin or a tummy ache. Celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz love it. And lucky for me, the price has gone down a lot now that it’s available at places like Costco.
Here are 5 Fantastic Coconut Oil Remedies from nutritionist/naturopath/ author Bruce Fife:
1. Flu fighter
Coconut oil is a natural way to fight infection and overcome seasonal illnesses, such as the flu. Add coconut oil to each meal throughout the day, mixed into orange juice or used to prepare a soup, and help your body heal faster.
2. Anti-aging beauty treatment
Coconut oil works like magic on skin? Ordinary body-care products cannot permanently cure dry or wrinkled skin but Coconut Oil can do both! The oil softens skin, improves elasticity, protects against damage, promotes healing, reduces inflammation, fades scars/blemishes/age spots and best of all, is affordable. It’s the best natural skin lotion because it has long-term benefits and acts like a real fountain of youth.
3. Silky, smooth hair
Coconut oil is nature’s secret conditioner. A little goes a long way, and you’ll see the difference after the first use! You can also use coconut oil as an alternative to harsh dandruff shampoos. Just apply a little on the scalp, massage in and rinse.
4. Great for tummy aches
Coconut oil both cures and prevents digestive challenges ranging from food allergies to irritable bowel syndrome. Many consider it a miracle health tonic especially for digestion. And it’s safe for all ages.
5. Great for losing weight
We know that a revved up metabolism promotes weight loss. Coconut oil increases metabolic activity and by adding it to your diet in any form (smoothies, as a cooking oil) can help you lose excess body fat. New users report shedding pounds in a matter of weeks when they switch to coconut oil for cooking. Combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise, your waistline will shrink as your health improves.
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Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
We love Elisa Zied
, a registered dietician who is on the Parents Advisory Board. She also writes our blog called The Scoop on Food
. So my editors and I were happy to hear about her new book, Younger Next Week
. I couldn’t put it down yesterday. Elisa gives straightforward info about how many calories and how much fat most women need per day whether weight loss or maintaining their weight is a goal. For slow and steady weight loss of no more than 1 to 2 pounds weekly, she recommends 1600 calories (way better than 1200, right?) and 36 to 62 grams of fat. She also explains how to increase portions if you need more or if weight maintenance is the goal. She talks about healthy starches–we need them! And, of course, whole grains get big gold stars.
I especially love the recipes hidden in the back of the book. I’ve posted a delicious Brussels sprouts variation at the end of this helpful, insightful Q&A with Elisa about why you need this book.
KK: What do you hope is the biggest takeaway from your book?
EZ: I wrote this book to be a wake-up call and permission slip for women to prioritize caring for themselves so that they can look and feel their best inside and out. I hope that after reading Younger Next Week, women feel empowered to tweak their eating, fitness and lifestyle habits each day to live their best life. I want women to know that they don’t need to move mountains to look and feel their best, achieve a healthier weight, and age well…but they do need to put themselves on their extensive to do list. I also want women to know that simply moving toward a more nutritious and healthful diet, incorporating a little more movement (and less sitting) into each day and connecting with others (not just online but in person) can do wonders for their appearance, mood and health. Women also need to know that self care isn’t selfish–everyone around them will reap the benefits of them taking better care of themselves.
KK: Why do women need this information?
EZ: We women tend to want to be all things to all people. And because many of us are in the business of caring for and nurturing everyone around us–husbands or partners, children, aging parents, friends and family members, neighbors–we often put our own physical and mental needs on the back burner. But doing so leaves us vulnerable to stress and puts us at risk for getting sick or developing diet- and lifestyle-related chronic diseases. And it certainly doesn’t help us stay centered or well-equipped to handle stressors like deaths, divorces, disabilities, work or financial pressures or losses or even just everyday stress that goes along with raising a family or simply living life. Women need Younger Next Week because it provides the impetus, the motivation and practical tools and tips based on science to help women not just talk the talk but walk the walk to achieve or reclaim the vitality that they so deserve.
KK: What are three of your favorite recipes? The black bean tartines sound amazing!
EZ: I simply adore brussels sprouts so am partial to the Shredded Brussels Sprouts on page 234. I also love the Shrimp and Broccoli Bowl (minus the red pepper flakes–those kill me) on page 225 for a hearty meal. For a snack/dessert, I love the Chocolate Walnut Granola Bars on page 237–they’re sweet and satisfying.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 pound (5 cups) fresh small Brussels sprouts
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper or minced garlic to taste
1. Trim the hard ends off the Brussels sprouts. Remove any outer leaves that have yellowed or withered. Cut each Brussels sprout in half and then slice the halves into thin strips. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they have softened. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss, using tongs, to coat them with the onions. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts have browned.
3. Spring the sprouts with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
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