So, being that I am a health conscious person, and I appreciate the beauty of what raw fruits and vegetables do for the body, I have been really trying to get my toddler to eat his veggies (and not just corn). The only problem has been that he will usually begin to chew on some veggies, and then he’ll spit them out. We’ve tried spinach, broccoli, asparagus, kale, carrots, bell peppers, and a number of other veggies, but mostly he likes corn!
I have tried cutting things very, very small. I tried hiding some veggies in pizza sauce, but he detected that! I’ve gotten away with spinach in some things, and steamed carrots with some butter and brown sugar, but in the past he’s had a real aversion to the greens!
One thing that I have found is my best strategy for getting the greens in him is smoothies! He really, REALLY, likes smoothies, and I can add a variety of veggies and greens in the right amounts so as not to throw off the sweet, fruity goodness. Almost every day we share some smoothies for breakfast or as part of lunch, and we both feel good about what we’re eating!
I wanted to share one of our favorite smoothie recipes to inspire you to try making your own! This recipe is for a Mango Peach Smoothie with Kale.
1 C Frozen Mango chunks
1 C Frozen Peach Slices
1 C Apple Juice
2 Leaves of Kale (Pulled from stem and chopped)
1/2 C Fat-Free French Vanilla Yogurt
2 Tbs. Milled Golden Flax Seed
Mix all ingredients together in a blender until pureed and smooth! Drink & Enjoy!
Here is some awesome nutrition information on some of these ingredients:
Just 1 Cup of Kale has:
- 329mg Potassium,
- 133% of your Vitamin A
- 134% of your Vitamin C
Just 1 Mango has:
- 72% of your Vitamin A
- 203% of your Vitamin C
- 20% of your Vitamin B-6
- Rich in Fiber
Just 2 Tbs. of Flax Seed has:
- 3.6g Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Good source of Fiber & Protein
In addition, yogurt is rich in Calcium & Vitamin B-12, and is great for aiding in digestion and the absorption of nutrients; peaches are a moderate source of antioxidants, Potassium and Iron, and Apple Juice is another good source of Fiber & Iron (the cloudy apple juice is the healthiest).
So that’s my trick to getting my toddler to eat greens! What’s yours? I’d love to hear some more ideas in the comments below!
Get More Done in Less Time
…and be happy while you are getting stuff done!
If you are like me, and you are a mom with a lot to do (and what mom doesn’t have a lot to do?) – then you are probably as interested as I am in getting more done in less time. For the past twenty years I have either been working, in school, or in ministry full time. This past January, I joined the stay-at-home-mom gang, and began working from home with two little ones by my side. Needless to say, it has required a learning curve on my part. With so much to do, and having to be strategic with timing (because of the littles), my brain became a very messy place!
Perhaps you have a messy brain too. Even if you aren’t “working from home”, being a mom is a career in itself. In addition, many may work part-time, or home school, or serve at church, or a number of other things that add to the brain clutter! So what is a woman to do!?
Personally, I prayed, and God delivered an answer to me through the website of a Christian businesswoman/stay-at-home-mom/homeschooler/entrepreneur/millionaire – hey, no one ever said to reinvent the wheel! I want to see what’s working for this woman! As I watched the brief teaching on being more productive while working from home, I was getting some revelation! I started applying what I heard that day, and this last week has been more productive for me than ever! Not only that, I feel better because I am being productive, and taking action, and getting stuff done instead of thinking about all of the things I need to get done!
It’s a pretty simple process, and I am sharing it simply because it has worked so well for me. I know everyone is different when it comes to how they structure their days, but this might be the thing that you’ve been looking for!
So what’s the key to getting more done in less time?
Get everything out of your brain! Sit down and do a “mind dump.” Write EVERYTHING down that you have to do, or want to do, from organizing the Tupperware drawer, to taking the kids to dance, to re-tiling the kitchen, to making a dentist appointment, to planning a family vacation. SHOCKER: Most people have about 200-300 things they are storing in their brains. I wrote about 150 things in an hour! No wonder my brain felt messy!
Take all of those things that were in your mind and begin to process them by organizing them into four categories: Tasks, Projects, Events, and Information. (See the flow chart below for more detail)
Get your projects and tasks ready to be executed! Yes! This is where the productivity begins! Get your events written down on whatever type of calendar you choose (electronic, paper, dry-erase, etc.) Get your information filed away for future reference.
Invest a Little Time to Save a Lot of Time!
Yes, it will take a little time to write down and organize all of those things you’ve been carrying around in your mind, but get in the spirit of the season, and “spring clean” your brain! Trust me, it has freed my mind up to act on one of its primary functions: executing tasks. Our minds are not primarily places to store heaps of information. When we try to do that, we tend to forget things!
So what does this look like in action?
When I get up, I do devotions, pray, drink some coffee, and now I ask God which tasks and projects from my lists I should tackle today? I factor in any events on my calendar, and which tasks/projects are needing to get done sooner than later. When I know what needs to be tackled, I write my “to-do” list for the day, and I have a plan of action! When the babies are up, I’m not still meandering around my messy brain, and thinking about a million different things I need to do at some point! It’s so awesome!
As new events, tasks and projects come up, I write them down immediately, and can plug them into the system later. This can be something as simple as a thought that says, “I should go through the kids toys and give some away,” or your husband saying, “Can you drop off this payment for me?” or a friend calling and saying, “Let’s have lunch.” Write it down and don’t just add, and add, and add to the clutter in your mind!
I find that I have more ease of mind because I don’t have to remember everything! It’s in my head, and then out of my head, and I’ll get to it when it becomes the priority of the day! Guess what else? When I am playing with my kids, I am not thinking about all of the things I need to do! I am able to give them more undivided attention, and it is so nice! Isn’t the goal to enjoy life while you’re doing life!?
I hope I have given you some inspiration, and practical steps you can begin taking today to get more done in less time! If you want more detail watch the video at the link I gave above – it’s more thorough. In the meantime, here is a graphic I got from the site:
In our home the vacuum has been the dreaded foe of my two year old for as long as I can remember. I don’t know when it happened, but I have a feeling that it was when we were in a public restroom and someone used the hand dryer while I was changing my son’s diaper. I didn’t even realize he was screaming in terror because of the deafening volume of this thing, but the noise must have left a lasting impression on him because every time I would vacuum, the noise would have him running away crying!
Well, even though it was humorous at first we didn’t want him holding on to this fear, so every time we talked about the vacuum we started to teach him to say, “I’m not scared. I’m brave.” Over and over, we would say this every time we talked about the vacuum, but he would still cry and run away or hide in a corner when we got out the beast!
Fast forward to this afternoon, and I am contemplating some things that God has had us step out to do in the last few weeks. There are sometimes temptations to fear when God has you do something that stretches your faith. I happened to be contemplating these things while I was vacuuming! I was lost in thought so I hadn’t noticed that William was standing right there by me with a scrunched up face and a hint of fear still in his eyes, but he was saying out loud as he inched closer, “I’m brave. I’m brave. I’m brave. I’m brave.” He was saying it hard and fast! “I’m not scared. I’m brave. I’m not scared. I’m brave.”
Don’t you love those moments when God teaches you out of the mouth of babes? What great faith was in those words! It may not seem like it on the surface, but this was a deeply spiritual moment! William went with me from room to room and soon he was turning the vacuum on for me (he still high-tailed it out of there when it came on, but then he would return!) Ha!
At the end of our vacuuming hour he was hanging out with the vacuum like it was his old buddy. He even took the attachments and used them like sword and sheath and spent the next 20 minutes relishing in the fact that he had conquered this fear!
William’s new friend!
Moms, don’t ever underestimate the value and importance of your place in your child’s life. What a great privilege and responsibility we have to teach our children to live by faith, and to BE the strong, brave, and bold children God created them to be! You can influence your child’s little spirit even in the daily chores of life!
How about you? Is there something you fear in your life right now? Is it leaving a job? Moving somewhere far away? Making some changes that are going to be hard? Cutting off a relationship? Whatever it might be start saying, “I am not afraid! I’m brave!” If it works for a 2 year old, it will work for you too!
“I am what I am by God’s grace, and God’s grace hasn’t been for nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:10
It doesn’t matter who you are – old, young, rich, poor, famous, obscure – when you receive God’s grace, it is a game changer! It changes a man like Paul from a murderous persecutor to a life-giving minister, a boy like David from a shepherd to a warrior king! A girl like Esther is transformed into a heroic and noble queen. God’s grace has continuously worked in ordinary people to enable them to do things beyond their own natural ability.
What does this have to do with motherhood? Everything! While some of the pictures I just painted may sound like a lofty ideal found only in storybooks, it is absolute truth that ministers, kings, queens – MOMS – are what they are by the grace of God! Fellow mommies – never forget this!
Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to God’s throne of grace. Why? So we can receive mercy and find grace to help in a time of need (well-timed help that comes just when we need it). Have you ever felt like you needed divine help to make it through certain moments of motherhood!? Me too! I am so glad to know that I am not alone!
I need grace when:
- I’m pregnant, the house isn’t clean, the laundry isn’t done and my toddler is having one of those days when crying seems to be the only way he’s choosing to communicate!
- I have deadlines to meet, and work to get done, and work just isn’t what I feel like doing today!
- I have the desire to eat healthy, but cooking something from scratch just didn’t work out (again) and I find myself desiring the drive-thru window because at least it’s food and it will get the job done tonight!
- I have a wedding shower or baby shower or birthday party to attend and I am at the store trying to buy a gift and get the kid(s) fed 20 minutes before said event begins!
- I set out to accomplish a lot in a day and it’s looking like one of my greatest accomplishments is going to be taking a shower!
It is in the moments when we NEED God’s grace the most that we must remember that it is available to us if we just ask!
Sometimes we forget what is available to us! Sometimes we forget to simply pray and ask God for the strength, the patience, the wisdom to walk through certain parts of our motherhood journey – BUT GOD tells us to come boldly before Him and ASK HIM for what we need! The best part is that He will give it to us and it will be perfectly timed! How awesome is that!?
I know some amazing, beautiful, godly mommies! Moms that have 7, 8 kids in the home; moms of children with special needs; moms that find time for homeschooling, part time work, serving at church AND genuine friendship! Every day I am inspired by what I see moms doing! Again and again I see the grace of God operating in the lives of these women, helping them in the season that they are in, carrying them through their daily routines and enabling them to have peace even in a day that feels like a hurricane!
“How does she do it!?” we might ask ourselves. The answer is: God’s Grace! God’s grace IS favor, and it IS freely given (not earned); however, my favorite definition of God’s grace is, “God’s divine, enabling power getting the job done when we can’t do it ourselves.”
Is there something you are going through right now, and it just seems impossible to do it in your own strength? Ask God for help. Do you find yourself in certain moments of the day when it seems like your patience just CAN’T be extended for one more second? Pause. Breathe. Pray. Come boldly to your Father and ask for the grace that He is so ready to give you! Do you just need to get over the mommy guilt and embrace the mommy grace? Do it! Even mommies that “seem” perfect will tell you they are what they are by the grace of God!
I, for one, needed A LOT of grace today, and I am so thankful that my God was happy to give me some well-timed help! What He does for me, He’ll do for you my friend!
Time management is one of the most important skills to learn when running a busy home!
We’ve all been there – the day feels like it’s slipping away from you and you didn’t get half the stuff done that you thought you would. The kids are needing you for homework and dinner. The dryer just beeped indicating your clothes are ready for folding or the other option – for sitting in a damp pile getting wrinkled until you can get to them! You still have to study for that class or finish up that task for work, and your husband would like to spend some time with you too! Imagine that!
All of these daily tasks can become overwhelming if there isn’t some strategy, plan or schedule to help MANAGE all that a mommy must do to run the house! There are many ideas out there for time management; however, all people are not created equal and what works for one may not work for another. As you read below, keep in mind that there will be some take away strategies for you, and some that may not fit your family’s lifestyle. As a mom, I am always happy to hear ideas from other moms, and to glean what I can from those that run a home like a well-oiled machine!
The Unique Woman
God created the female brain in a very unique way! While men were created to think in a very focused, compartmentalized way, women were created to think in a very complex, interconnected way. M.O.M. must stand for “Masters of Multi-Tasking!” This beautiful design has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, we seamlessly weave our activities throughout the day without too much disconnect when we shift gears. On the other hand, our minds can sometimes feel like they are thinking of twenty things at once, and it’s hard to stop the wheels as they spin incessantly with the things we must get done! Whew! I get tired just thinking about it! As with all God-created designs, we must learn to expertly harness and channel these attributes so we can maximize the intended potential!
So how do we train that beautifully complex mind and get it to focus just enough to accomplish the day’s tasks, while still taking advantage of it’s ability to do multiple things at once? Glad you asked! A little focus goes a long way, and learning to manage your time with a few simple strategies can help you get more done in less time, with less stress! Yay!
5 Tips for Time Management
- Planning – Take time to look ahead! You might be one who has the monthly calendar up to schedule appointments, children’s activities, due dates and deadlines; or, you might feel comfortable just looking ahead at your week. Either way, taking time to get all of this on paper will make some room in that pretty head of yours!
How to Execute: Calendars, lists, appointment books, charts, sticky notes – use whatever will realistically HELP YOU! Some people get calendars and never look at them. I personally use a monthly calendar to help me remember and keep track of multiple activities going on in any given month. I put it on my fridge where I can refer to it. I might also sit and jot down a “To Do List” for the day or week. As I finish a task I can cross it off my list. I always get more done in a day when I make a list than I do if I “wing it.”
- Prioritizing – So you’ve made your list…then life happens. This is where prioritizing assists in time management! Pick your Top 5. In your list of things you would ideally like to get done in a day, there are some more time-sensitive or pressing needs. Put these in your Top 5! If you get to everything on your list – YOU ROCK! You were supermom for the day (I love those days!); however, if you don’t get to everything on your list, at least you’ve done the most important things – and YOU STILL ROCK!
- Delegating – You didn’t have all of those cute kids just so you could post their funny antics on Facebook! These children are teachable and trainable and need to learn responsibility! You will be accomplishing many things when you learn to delegate tasks to your little ones, including saving time! For some of you this may require that you do some training, but it is well worth the time invested to have some handy helpers in the house! For a more extensive look at this grab my book “5 Master Mom Tips on Training Your Kids.”
- Learning to Say No – For some of you this will be a big “Aha” moment. Why is it so hard to say no!? We want to help and serve, but we must listen to that inner voice to know when to say yes and when to say no. Some endeavors are TIME WASTERS! For a long time I was in bondage to the desire to be a “people-pleaser.” It can be exhausting! Learning to say no, and giving yourself permission to say no will help you manage your time!
- Resting – This made my top 5 tips for time management because many moms are not good at this. Here’s the thing: a tired, burned out mom is a grouchy mom! Your husband AND your children will benefit from YOU getting rest! When you employ some of the above mentioned strategies you can pencil in some time for rest and relaxation! Schedule a date night with the hubby. Plan a trip to get a pedicure with your girlfriends. Set time aside every day for quality interaction with your kids – FUN TIME! In our desire to run our house well we can sometimes forget the WHY behind what we are doing – our family!
After reading this you might be thinking it “sounds nice,” but it’s not realistic for you. Do just this one thing for me: assess your stress. If you are just surviving the motherhood journey and not thriving there is some room for change, growth and improvement! Being a mom is not for the weak of heart. If you never challenge yourself to develop new skills, change will never be a reality! With that thought, I challenge you to take at least one of these time management tips that you are not doing already and make it a part of your life starting now! Then come back and tell me how it’s helping you by commenting below!
We are all here to help each other! We can do more together than we ever could alone! I love you and believe in you because you are a mommy that matters!