The Plan and Prosperity

What is Prosperity?

PROS’PEROUS, a. L.prosperus. Advancing in the pursuit of any thing desirable; making gain or increase; thriving; successful; as a prosperous trade; a prosperous voyage; a prosperous expedition or undertaking; a prosperous man, family or nation; a prosperous war.

Prosperity is Not Just About Money

I believe that we are meant to be prosperous in all that we do.   That means we need to strive for abundance in all areas of our life… in health, happiness, love, relationships, family, finances, etc.  There is always room for growth and change, and we need to try to be examples of God’s goodness in all that we do.  “Blessed to be a blessing to others.”

Prosperity and The Plan

the planI am so excited to share something that could truly bless you, as it has me.  On May 16th, I embarked on a new adventure in my quest for optimal health.  People would not describe me as overweight, but I am someone who never feels great when I am carrying those extra 5 to 10 pounds.  Unfortunately, I feel like that has been most of my adult life!  I certainly have worked hard through both exercise and diet to rid myself of those few pesky pounds, but with little success.  I could lose the first 2 to 4 pounds without too much difficulty, but despite continuing to eat well, I would find the scale crawling back up.  It was usually at this point that I would throw my arms in the air and say “Really….I am working my buns off trying to eat well and exercise regularly, only to gain weight!  Forget it…pass me the cheesecake!”  I have literally tried everything….Blood Type diets, weight loss Shakes, Eating Clean, Paleo, The Primal Blueprint, Weight Watchers, etc.  Again, I achieved some success in all programs, but it was always short-lived and I really never felt great.  I was either hungry, had stomach issues or hated the food and it always ended in extreme frustration.  However, in May, I came across an article describing a book that was being endorsed by Dr. Oz.  I was really intrigued, because I have been a long-standing believer in the philosophy that there is no diet on the planet that will work effectively for everyone.  I believe that every individual reacts differently to food, but I just never had the tools or knowledge to figure it out for myself.  I immediately ordered the book from Amazon and became totally immersed in my new purchase.  Now remember what I said in a previous post, when I truly commit to something, I am ALL IN.  I don’t waiver or cheat, I stick to the program in order to get the results I seek.  So, when I say that I bought in to the concept shared in Lyn-Genet Recitas book called THE PLAN.  I mean I was/am 100% committed.  It has only been a month, but I can’t believe the results.  I am just 2 pounds over my high school graduation weight and what’s even more exciting is that I am learning how to test the foods I love and discover how my body reacts with each and every one of them.  I have already discovered that “healthy” foods like Rye (bread, crackers, etc), sole fish and chick peas cause me to gain weight and that my body is very sensitive to sleep deprivation.  When I have a bad sleep or go to bed later than usual, it shows up on the scale the next morning.  The most exciting part is, that I have also learned which foods are “friendly” and help my body to recover from the inflammation caused by those foods that I “react” to.  I have finally lost those miserable pounds and am now approximately 8 pounds lighter than I was a month ago.  I am not hungry.  The meals are easy and delicious and I love the idea that I have a “Plan” for when I do react to a food, so that I can immediately have a few “friendly days” to counteract the inflammation and get right back on track.  I have control and feel great, finally!!  Thanks Lyn!!

Be Committed to Make Positive Changes in Your Life ~ You Won’t Regret It!

Like The Plan and my health, I know that when you make any changes in life, you must be committed to make them happen.  You must focus and the choices that you make each day must line-up with that focus for your life.  My neighbor was saying that she has always had difficulty saying no to others and asked me how I do it.  I said that I often used to struggle with that as well.  That is, until I began working on my goals and purpose.  When you are clear about where you are going and what you want in life, it becomes really easy to say “no”.  I just ask myself, “Does that align with my purpose?”  If it interferes with my purpose, the answer is “no”.  If it does align with where I am headed, the answer is “yes” and I can feel great knowing that what I am taking on is helping to propel me closer to where I am going.   For example,  if I am offered a bowl of ice cream ~ it is an easy “no” for me, even though I love ice cream.  It doesn’t mean I will never partake again, it just means that right now it does not fit with my goals and aspirations.  If someone offers me an apple or another “friendly” snack, I graciously accept, because it does not lead me off my path to weight loss.  Like my journey into health and wellness, this philosophy also applies to my goals regarding prosperity.  If I am going to achieve my goals, I need to guard my time and my mind.  I need to make sure that what I am taking in aligns with my goals and beliefs and be sure that I am maximizing my time each and everyday.  My choices must line-up with my overall goals and purposes or I can easily be swayed off my path to prosperity.


Baby Girl Swims Across Backyard Swimming Pool All By Herself

Wow!  This is amazing!  I honestly didn’t know that an infant could be taught to swim so well.  Our own children took lessons as infants, but never really learned to swim independently until they were about 4 (I think!)  Elizabeth swims across their backyard pool like a 5 or 6 year old.  Unbelievable.

Amazing Infant Swimming Across the Pool

Swimming:  Learning to Swim is a Life Skill Not Just an Activity

I grew up spending my summers at the town pool.  We would literally spend everyday swimming.  We always took lessons during the first two weeks of July and all of my friends knew how to swim.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that many people grow up never having taken any formal swimming lessons.  I was amazed to meet people who feared the water and were unable to swim any distance at all.  I guess as a kid, I thought swimming was like riding a bike. Everyone learned how to do it at some point.

What struck me the most was that these adults did not have the ability to save themselves let alone their own children in the case of an emergency.  I believe that learning to swim is much like learning to read, write and do math.  It is a life skill that everyone should have.

Swimming Lessons are a Must

Did you know that drowning is the number 2 cause of death amongst minors?  To learn more about why swimming lessons are so important for your child, click here.

My husband and I enrolled our children in Parent/Tot classes between the ages of 4 and 6 months.  Although this is not necessary, I believed that the earlier the kids were exposed to the water, the more comfortable they would be.  For us, this worked well.  Our kids never experienced any fear or anxiety when it came to swimming or taking lessons.  I would often see children in the 4 to 6 year old age level that would cry and demonstrate true fear of the water.  I am guessing that their exposure to swimming prior to beginning their lessons was very limited, and their emotions were probably more related to a fear of the unknown and lack of comfort.

Even when we would bath our kids as toddlers, we would make a game out of blowing bubbles in the water and pouring water over their heads and face.  They had a great time and were always very comfortable with putting their heads under water.

Baby Elizabeth has parents that are well trained certified instructors.  They have the ability and expertise to both teach and supervise Elizabeth.  No baby should be thrown in a pool and expected to swim.

If you are interested in getting your infant comfortable in the water, seek out lessons with a certified instructor.  Just taking your child in the pool with you will also help with this.  Some programs suggest that babies are ready for the pool as soon as they are able to hold their head-up (4 to 6 months of age).

Swimming is Not Unlike Other Life Skills

As an early years teacher, I am often amazed at how many children enter school with very limited basic skills.  I guess my training in education gives me a bit of a different mind set, but to me basic skills like counting and learning the alphabet just happen naturally throughout the day.  I honestly do not understand how a child can be 4 or 5 years old and have had no exposure to numbers or counting.  If you are not yet doing this, make counting and letter work a part of your daily interaction with your child.  Little things like counting the buttons on their shirt as you do them up, counting the stairs as you take them up to bed, counting backwards from 10 when you give them a “time to clean-up warning”, counting snacks, etc.  They don’t need to do math, but incorporate little activities into their daily routines.  The same is true with letters.  Look for alphabet DVD’s, puzzles, toys and games.  When you are playing with your child begin to add in little “teaching times”. An example might be….connecting letters and sounds with some of your child’s favourite toys, snacks and even people.  “B” b b b banana.  It will take no time at all before your child learns to connect sounds and letters with words.  My only caution would be to make sure that over time, you introduce more than one connection for a letter.  For example, “B” is also for ball.

baby reading

Photo from FitPregnancy



Again, it is never too young to start.  You should begin reading to your child as an infant and take every opportunity to teach them those skills that will prepare them for life; manners, sharing, right from wrong, very simple basic literacy and math skills and give them ample opportunities to progressively become more independent as they are able.  My mantra is and has always been “Don’t do for kids, what they can do for themselves.”






What is whey protein?

What is whey protein and why is Immunocal the best product on the market?Whey Protein Isolates?  What are they?  What do I know about them?  I am not expert, but I am a bit of a health nut and am constantly trying new and better strategies and products to obtain optimal health.  Despite this, there is one product that I will never stop taking.  Immunocal is the miracle product that every person should be on.

Whey protein:  What is isolate?

 Taken From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

whey protein isolate (often whey isolate) is a dietary supplement created by filtering milk protein. Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Whey can be processed to yield whey protein in three forms: whey isolate, whey concentrate, or whey hydrolysate.

Whey proteins are highly bioavailable, are very quickly absorbed into the body, and have a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)[1] which are highly concentrated in muscle tissue, and are used to fuel working muscles and stimulate protein synthesis.[2]

The difference between the whey protein forms is the process used to filter the proteins. Whey isolates yield a higher percentage of pure protein and can be filtered enough to be virtually lactose free, carbohydrate free, fat free, and cholesterol free.

For more information on whey proteins and the difference between Whey Isolate and Concentrate, visit The Fitness Doc’s Blog and/or Femmefitale.

 Whey protein isolates in Immunocal rank high in the market?

Immunocal is a patented supplement that in nature is most similar to mother’s milk. It is over 90% pure protein and has a biological value higher than any other protein supplement or food available. The term “biological value” (BV) refers to a measurement of how important any edible protein is to your body.

Taken daily, Immunocal will raise your body’s concentration of glutathione (abbreviated as GSH), a molecule referred to as “Your Body’s Most Important Protector”. Most individuals have never heard of glutathione, however given the huge amount of research publications on the subject and the large impact it will have in future health care, the term glutathione will shortly become part of our everyday language, the same way as we use the words “antioxidant” or “cholesterol”. To date, there have been over 80,000 published articles on glutathione in the medical literature.

Glutathione is considered by many researchers to be the superhero of antioxidants.  Our bodies produce glutathione and it is responsible for fighting off toxins in our bodies.  Because our bodies produce it, it is difficult to take it as a supplement.  Immunocal is a product that was developed by Dr. Gustavo Bounous in the 70’s.    This product, unlike others, is not just a whey protein supplement, but it is integral in promoting the production of glutathione in our bodies. His long standing research is well respected and the results of the product have been life changing for me and many others worldwide.

Check out Dr. Oz’s video on how glutathione works.

Dr. Gutman is currently the senior medical consultant with Immunotec.  Check out this interview with Dr. Gutman.  He will be speaking in Winnipeg, MB in July 2013.  His extensive research on the subject makes him one of the world’s most predominant experts on the subject.  Come and check it out.  You can find out more about the company, events and its products by visiting the Immunotec website or by googling “immunocal testimonials”.  You don’t want to miss this opportunity to achieve long term health benefits.

Some of the numerous health benefits of whey protein and regular Immunocal consumption can be found in this article below and the research is supported by Health Canada.  The benefits can be summed up by the following acronym:





The Best Whey Protein Supplement for Optimal Health

If you or your family members are suffering from any diseases, conditions or ailments it is worth doing some research to see if Immunocal will help.  People all over the world are having incredible results with this product.  Success ranges from elite athletic performance enhancement to incredible relief from symptoms and disease.  There are continuous studies being done on the effects of Immunocal with a current focus on Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Autism and Alzheimer’s.  The key is continuous daily consumption to help your body restore depleted glutathione levels which are key to fighting off sickness and disease.  This product is way more than just a whey protein supplement, it is the key to optimal health and wellness.  The results speak for themselves, so I encourage you to research what ails you and see what kind of research and testimonies you can find on the success of Immunocal with your particular condition.  

Ticks, Tick Bites and Lyme Disease Tick Me Off!

Ticks, Tick Bites and Lyme Disease Tick bites!  Yuck! That is all I have to say.  Yesterday, I found a tick with its creepy little head embedded in my tummy.

Tick Bites Really Scare Me!

Let’s just say….I do not handle spiders, beetles or tick bites well.  Of course, I found the tick when I was getting ready for bed and reacted without thinking.  As I began flapping my arms irrationally and screaming for my husband….patience was not on the agenda.  I darted out of the bedroom “topless” to track him down.  Although his response was quick, I had already managed to run down our main hallway which leads directly to our front entrance.  Having no A/C and with the temperature hovering around 85 degrees in our house, of course, the front door was open and the only think between my topless body and my neighbours was our vintage screen door.  Yikes!  I sure hope no one was out and about during that display of craziness!

Clearly this is not me, but I can totally relate to the panic this guy was feeling and can only imagine how stupid I would have looked if it my tick bite was captured on video.  This is really funny, check it out.

I remember getting tick bites as a kid and having my mom remove them without incident, but that was long before Lyme Disease became of concern or so it would seem.  My anxiety over ticks traces back to my cousin.  She was bitten several years ago and has been fighting symptoms of lyme disease ever since.

Ticks and Tick Bites: Did you know?



I have heard and read lots of suggestions on tick removal because I have kids and always wanted to be prepared.  Unfortunately, some of those suggestions came from social media and/or via word of mouth.  In the midst of my dilemma last night, I told my hubby that we were supposed to smother the little stinker in petroleum jelly (WRONG) which we proceeded to do, before burning the little sucker with a the end of a hot needle (WRONG AGAIN). Yikes!  In an article put out by Health Links BC, it describe in detail what to do and what not to do when dealing with tick bites.

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to remove a tick. If you don’t have tweezers, put on gloves or cover your hands with tissue paper, then use your fingers. Do not handle the tick with bare hands.
  • Grab the tick as close to its mouth (the part that is stuck in your skin) as you can. The body of the tick will be above your skin.
  • Do not grab the tick around its swollen belly. You could push infected fluid from the tick into your body if you squeeze it.
  • Gently pull the tick straight out until its mouth lets go of your skin. Do not twist the tick. This may break off the tick’s body and leave the head in your skin.
  • Put the tick in a dry jar or ziplock bag and save it in the freezer for later identification if needed.

The article suggest that you not smother or burn the tick when dealing with tick bites.  Go figure?  Evidently when you do either of these two things, it can cause the tick to release infected fluid into your body and increase your chances of becoming infected.

Tick Bites and Lyme Disease

I was surprised to learn that a tick can only transfer lyme disease if it has had time to have a blood meal and is engorged.  (The one on me was flat and couldn’t have been there more than a couple of hours.  Yay!!)

Even if a tick is attached, it must have taken a blood meal to transmit Lyme disease. At least 36 to 48 hours of feeding is required for a tick to have fed and then transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. After this amount of time, the tick will be engorged (full of blood). An engorged tick has a globular shape and is larger than an unengorged one.

What is Lyme Disease?

In the early stages of Lyme disease, you may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a stiff neck, chills, feverswollen lymph nodesheadachesfatigue,muscle aches, and joint pain. You also may experience a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the tick bite. In more advanced disease, nerve problems and arthritis, especially in the knees, may occur.

I would suggest seeing a doctor if you suspect that the tick has been on you or your child long enough to have a blood feed and/or if you notice any symptoms.

Strep Throat Strikes the Roys

This was originally posted on another blog site on July 8th, but I brought it over because I think there is some good info on strep.  Thankfully, we have now been taking medication for several days and are finally feeling much better.

We are generally a pretty healthy family.  My kids have only been on antibiotics twice each, my husband has not been to the doctor in about 15 years (not that he should not be going for a check-up) and I manage to escape most illness as well.  Not this time, Strep Throat hit our house in a nasty way.

Strep Throat Comes Knockin’

In May, I started an eating program called The Plan and the first 3 days began with a cleanse.  I absolutely love the program and am still following it to date. However, during the initial 20 days, I decided to give my body a break from my regular daily supplements and this included my daily dose of Immunocal.  Dumb.  This product is my major defender when it comes to warding off illness and staying healthy.  I am sure that the 20 days reprieve, had an impact on my Glutathione levels and my bodies ability to fight off infections.  I have always been more prone to catching something during high stress times and typically for me as a teacher, that is September and June.  I always seem to make it through the stress and as soon as things are settling and I am no longer running on adrenaline, my body relaxes and illness comes crashing down. In the past, I have been smart enough to double-up on my Immunocal and can often sail through without incident, but with no Immuncal intake for almost a month and high stress at work, the inevitable happened.  On June 20th, I became very sick with a bad chest cold that never really seemed to go away.  In the midst of this, my son Shay was complaining that he wasn’t feeling well and had a sore throat.  He had white little spots in the back of his throat and it was quite red.  It looked similar to the photo below.

 strep throat

I thought it might be strep, so I took him to a Walk-In Clinic, but the doctor said it was just a sore throat and didn’t swob it.  So here we are, about 17 days later with a huge mixture of good and bad days.  Shay’s sore throat seemed to go away on its own, but he has had a high fever, no appetite, little energy, cough, runny nose, numerous nosebleeds and he’s needed lots of extra sleep and even extended naps.  He just has not been himself for the last few weeks.  I can see him dropping weight and just generally not well.  My own symptoms have been persistent as well.  Although my horrible cough and congestion have mostly cleared, I have continued to feel a heaviness in my chest and low energy level.  So, when I could feel the brutally sore throat starting on Saturday, I knew I had had enough and that we would both be heading back to a Walk-In on Sunday.

Strep Throat…Is it Worth The Wait?

Oh Ya!  Many people would be worried about a strep diagnosis and hope that it is not what it is, but let me tell you when I woke up on Sunday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck and looked forward to the diagnosis, so I could get me some antibiotics asap.  Unfortunately, we arrived at the clinic at 8:57 am (3 minutes before opening), but proceeded to wait in an air conditioned waiting room until 11:30, when our names were finally called.  By this time, I was literally ready to lie on the floor.  Although I didn’t do anything as drastic, I did have to spend much of the time folded in half with my head between my legs to try to nurse the pounding headache and horrific sore throat I had.  I was virtually unable to swallow or speak (a treat for my family).  Even breathing seemed to be difficult.  The pain was excruciating.  Once in, we were assessed and swobbed (there was no way we were leaving with out a swob, but luckily I didn’t have to cause a scene to get my wish).  Within 15 minutes, the doctor came back with little indicator sticks and told Shay what to look for.  Doctor Shay delivered the diagnosis  – we both have Strep Throat.  Yay!  That means proper medicine, proper treatment and finally getting well.  Yes, as awful as the wait was, it was well worth it.

Waiting for Two Strep Throat Prescriptions Can’t Be That Bad, Can It?

Wrong.  I dropped off Shay and went straight to the pharmacy.  Being a very practical person, I always like to make good use of my time, so I thought I would pick up the 4 items that had already made it onto my next grocery list even though we just shopped (I hate that).  The trouble is, Superstore is very big and I was very sick and very weak.  By this time, it was almost 1:30 and I felt like I was close to death.  As I leaned on the bar of my cart for support, I shivered with fever and was wracked in pain.  I was imagining that I looked somewhat like one of the plague victims from some Hollywood blockbuster like Outbreak.  I had VERY SICK PERSON written all over me.  Of course, to make matters worse, the organic apples I bought had a faulty scan code and they had to do a price check.  When the clerk said, “I am sorry, we just have to check the price”, she was so lucky I was unable to speak.  Little did she know that the faint smile and nod that I sent her way really meant, “that’s fine if you don’t mind scraping me off the floor when I collapse.”  I picked-up the prescriptions and some Strepsils (to help sooth my sore throat until the antibiotics began to work) and hurried to the car.  I took my first dose of both before I left the parking lot and collapsed in bed with a temperature 102.2, as soon as I got home.  Other than rolling from side to side to try and find a more comfortable position, I didn’t move for 18 hours.  Luckily my husband brought me what I needed and I barely had to get up to go to the bathroom either.  I guess when you are unable to eat or drink, there really is nothing to eliminate from your system.  By bedtime last night I was still in excruciating pain – my throat, neck and head were so sore that I couldn’t even open my eyes to watch a bit of television.  It was at this point that I added something else to my arsenal.  Thank the good Lord for “Aleve”.  I took one before bed last night and was finallly able to get some sleep.  At 11:15 p.m. I woke up to soaked sheets, jammies, etc.  I was sweating profusely, but the fever had broken and I felt a little better.  Although my throat is still very sore and my headache lingers, I am feeling better than yesterday (obviously or there would be no post).  Hopefully, all symptoms will be gone within a day or two.  Shay is still not eating much, but never did have symptoms as severe as mine.

Strep Throat and I Have Quite a History

As an early years teacher, I am exposed to many viruses and illnesses throughout the course of a year.  Early in my career, I would get Strep Throat frequently, at least once a year.  It seemed that I was particularly susceptible to it.  My battle with regular strep throat infections continued through most of the 90’s and I became quite good at self-diagnosing and always knew when I need to get to the doctor for medication.  In the winter of 1998, it was no exception.  I woke up early in the morning to a very sore throat (strep I thought), but proceeded to go to work.  I thought that if I could make it through the morning, I would be able to write a proper sub plan.  By 10 my condition was extreme.  I was unable to drive and had to call my husband to come and pick me up from work.  We drove straight to my doctor.  I stayed in the car while my husband waited in the waiting room.  My throat was unbearable and the headache I had was debilitating.  I was literally laying down in the car writhing in pain.  When my name was called, Tim came out and got me. After the doctor did his assessment, I was directed to go straight downtown to a neurologist that would be waiting for me to arrive.  The neurologist saw me right away and worried that the symptoms were more consistent with meningitis than strep.  I was sent to the hospital for a spinal tap.  If you want to know exactly what a spinal tap or lumbar puncture is, you can follow the above link and check out the youtube video.  Personally I couldn’t watch more than a few seconds, as it brought back too much trauma.  My personal definition of a spinal tap is “a trip to hell”.  When all was said and done, I was diagnosed with a severe strain of strep throat (obviously long before they invented the quick 10 minute test or we would have avoided the whole fiasco).  Anyways, between my brutal case of strep throat and the side effects of the spinal tap.  I was completely bed ridden for seven days and was not even able to get up to go to the bathroom.  Thank goodness we had hardwood floors.  My big bathrobe that allowed me to slide on my back from my bed to the bathroom and back when necessary.  It took me 2 weeks to fully recover and I missed 10 days of work.  The headache following the procedure was indescribable and the whole episode will never be forgotten, but the interesting thing is that I never got strep throat again…until now that is.   Strep and I do not mix well and it seems that when I do get it, I get hit hard.  The good news is, I am on the mend and was diagnosed quickly.  Thank goodness for the invention of the quick test!

The Importance of Treating Strep

Strep throat ,if left untreated, can sometimes cause complications.  According to the Mayo Clinic:

It’s important to identify strep throat for a number of reasons. If untreated, strep throat can sometimes cause complications such as kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a rash and even damage to heart valves.

Well, I am feeling a bit better as the day goes on and can’t wait for my body to respond fully to the medication.  Needless to say I have been back on my Immunocal supplements and have every confidence that I will dodge the next bullet that comes our way.  Have a great day and stay well!

Ice Cream Truck Hoax used to Promote Healthy Eating

Two guys fool patrons by driving around in an ice cream truck, but offer vegetables and fruit instead of the frozen treats they desire.  Some find it amusing, but others are clearly not impressed.  Mind the “bleeps” and view before sharing with your kids.  In the end the customers are happy as the pranksters offer free ice cream and treats to those he has pranked.

Ice Cream Season is Here!

It is hot outside and we are all looking for ways to stay cool.  Aside from a day at the beach, a frozen treat like ice cream is at the top of the list for many.  We are not unlike most Canadians and in fact, owned our own ice cream shop for several years.  Bobby Jo’s Ice Cream Shop was our seasonal restaurant that offered approximately 20 delicious flavours of ice cream.  Needless to say,  I have tried them all and certainly have my favourite ice cream flavours.  Likewise, our children love ice cream and it is certainly their choice when we decide to go for a treat.  From blizzards to gelati to revels to sundaes to ice cream cakes to the traditional soft and hard ice cream cones, the choices and variations are endless.

Ice Cream in the Freezer vs. a Trip to the the Local Ice Cream Shop

ice cream

A tough decsion.  Hands down, it is much cheaper to buy good quality ice cream on sale and store it at home in your freezer for those “sometimes treats”.  I have bought the Breyer’s specialty flavours for as low as $4.99.  When I find them on sale for this price, I will often by a few different flavour options that I know my kids will love.  We can probably get 3 or more whole family trips to the ice cream store for the price of one container of ice cream and at $5 there really is no comparison.

ice cream cone

The flip side is a trip to the ice cream shop.  This becomes a family outing and offers more selection, including the obvious soft and hard ice cream choices.  It is much more expensive and takes very little to make it a $20 stop for a family of 4.  However, there is one big advantage.  You are not likely to go to the ice cream shop on a very regular basis because of the cost.  If you don’t have ice cream in your freezer, it simply is not there as a choice when  you are in search of a snack on a hot day or when you are tired and hungry at the end of a long day and don’t have the stamina left to make a good healthy choice.

Dr. Sears: I have an 80/20 rule for my family and my patients. 80 percent of our food choices need to be healthy ones. Home is the 80 percent so I only have healthy food in my house. It’s 10:00 pm and you’re hungry. When you open the pantry and see junk food, it is hard to say no. At 10:00 pm, you don’t have any will power. So we make our decisions in the grocery store, not staring at the pantry. The key is creating healthy habits.

For me, we do a bit of both.  We do not keep ice cream on hand all of the time because I know that when we have it in the house,  my family will want to eat it more often….everyday if I would let them.  However, there are times when we will purchase it.  When we have it in the house the kids probably have ice cream as a treat more often than normal, until it is gone, and then we don’t repurchase it for quite some time.  The trips to the ice cream shop are more rare and thus special, and considered more of a family outing that we can all enjoy.

Ice Cream Shop or In the Freezer – weigh in by commenting at the end of the post.

Ice Cream Alternatives

What I do like to do is try to keep other frozen treats at home for those hot days that offer a much healthier alternative to ice cream.  They can be hit and miss with the kids, but some of the ones that some or all of my family enjoy are:

    • frozen grapes
    • homemade sugar free fruit based popsicles (see recipe in slurpee post)
    • frozen banana treat – I LOVE these!  And you can make so many simple variations.
    • smoothy (see recipe in slurpee post)
    • Frozen yogurt tubes, simple but always a hit

frozen bananas

Click the picture to get the original poster and recipe.

Manitoba Named the Slurpee Capital of the Year for the 14th Straight Year – Good or Bad?

Slurpees can be refreshing on a hot day – no doubt, but really people?  I am actually embarrassed by the fact that we as Manitobans not only hold this title, but brag about it.  Check out one of the news releases in a local paper.  Perhaps “free slurpee” day is not all its hyped up to be!

Once Again Manitoba is Crowned the Slurpee Capital

At our house slurpees are a once in a while treat.  In fact, it is not uncommon for my kids to say on a hot mid summer day ~ you haven’t bought us a slurpee yet this year, can we go for a treat.  We probably purchase our children one to three over the course of a year, but don’t have as much control over those that are gifted to them.  As an alternative, we often make our own homemade “free” versions.  When I say free, I am not just talking about not paying for the $2 treat, but rather all the other freebies a homemade recipe offers….our “slurpees” (more like smoothies) are free of dyes, sugar, additives, preservatives, empty calories, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavours.  See the end of the blog if you are interested in our healthy recipe.  There is absolutely no nutritional value in a slurpee as far as I am concerned and what amazes me is how many small children I see drinking them.  So you see, its not just about being cheap, what makes its so costly is the impact that cumulative consumption coupled with other poor dietary choices can have on our bodies and especially on those of our children.  Although it is often easier to follow the crowd and give in, try to make decisions based on the best interest of your own children.

Could a slurpee actually be harmful?

Probably the occasional slurpee would not be harmful. At least not on its own, but if a person’s diet consists of foods that are high in additives and artificial dyes and flavourings, the results could have a very negative impact.  As a teacher, I have seen an increasing number of students enter kindergarten with attentional issues.  Although diet is not always the culprit, it is a great place to start.   It is amazing to me to see how many young children consume junk food on a daily basis.  For many, I believe it is like a poison to their system and truly impacts their ability to learn and focus.  Did you know that food dyes, sugar and artificial additives have been directly linked to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in case studies.  To learn more about some of the research on this click here.  Every parent wants their child to be happy, but giving into their desires for candy and fast food might not be the best path to get there.

FOOD DYES: If you thought Starbucks was gross for using crushed bugs in their strawberry Frappucinos, you’ll be horrified to know that certain Slurpee flavors are chock full of toxic artificial coloring. 7-Eleven uses several different food dyes, but one of hte most common is Red 40 (even the ones that aren’t red), which has been tied to reactions ranging form migraines and headaches to temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, uncontrollable crying and screaming, kicking, nervousness, dizziness, and inability to sit still or concentrate in kids.

Read more:“rel=nofollow”

My Personal Philosophy on Children and Diet

We are quite a health conscious family.  In fact, I am sure my eldest was 4 before she realized that a cracker was not a cookie.  She was never given fruit juice or sweets as a baby, toddler and rarely as a pre-schooler.  I remember her June field trip at the end of Nursery School when she complained that her teacher gave them each a popsicle, but she had to throw it out because it tasted awful.  (This, of course, was the first time she had ever tasted a store bought popsicle loaded with sugar.)  We consistently made healthy choices for her as long as we were able to do that.  A young child only knows what they are exposed to.  My thinking was “juice vs. milk or water”.  Dah!  I think most children would choose the sweet option.  By not making juice one of the options, the choices were limited to milk or water.  Water is essential and I wanted to ensure my kids liked to drink water.  “Cookie vs. vegetables”  Again, no brainer.  I figured by exposing our children to as many healthy options as possible, we would develop their palate for healthy food at a very young age.  A great example of this is cottage cheese.  So many people will not touch cottage cheese, but both of our kids love it.  It was introduced to them as infants and has been a regular part of their diet ever since.  I am not naive enough to think that we would always have this control, but it gave our children the best start possible.  Of course, it is not as easy to do this with the second child, but we gave it our best shot.  This is not to say that at 9 and 11, they both don’t enjoy treats and would probably even ask for a treat everyday if they thought for a moment that they would get one.  Generally, they know that they can expect a store bought treat from us once or twice a week.

Sugar Be Gone!!

I posted a blog last January outlining our experience with going to a no sugar diet (keeping in mind that we rarely have a sugary treat in the house).  Our quest to reduce sugar consumption stemmed more from the observations we made concerning our own family, along with some research that I had done.  Our intervention was targeting the hidden sugars laden in the grains we consume on a daily basis and I am not just talking about sugar coated breakfast cereals.  We noticed our children’s becoming much less fruit and vegetable based and their choices would often be grain based foods such as cereal and bread.  What we noticed was that they would crave grains and would no longer get satisfaction from the healthier choices such as veggies.  We sound wicked mood swings and they were becoming picky eaters.  It was then that I realized how much sugar was in grain based food and the addictive properties that it might have.  Did you know that two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar does?

Since our 3 month commitment to “no sugar” consumption in our home, we have continued to eat healthy, but no longer follow the Paleo/Primal lifestyle plan.   I still believe that one has to be really careful with grain and sugar consumption, but the program was not the “perfect fit” that I was hoping for.  As a rule, I feel that the best choices we can make are pure whole foods that have had as little processing as possible ~ fruits, vegetables and meat.

I use Martha Stewart’s recipe for popsicles and adapt it to meet our needs.  Basically, we OMIT THE SUGAR completely, substitute the blueberries with frozen mixed berries and reduce the yogurt to about 3/4 cup.  We add a bit of extra lemon juice, unsweetened pineapple juice or even milk if additional liquid is needed.  It makes a great refreshing smoothy and we freeze the leftovers for popsicles!

To sum it all up, the choice is ultimately up to you, but I for one will not be helping Manitoba earn the World’s Slurpee Capital of the Year Award for the 15th year in a row!!

“The Tween Challenge” ~ How to Keep up to Speed with Your Growing Kids

The Tween Challenge has definitely hit our house.

I have been an early years teacher for over 20 years and would consider myself an expert on young children, especially 4 to 6 year olds as that is where the bulk of my experience has been.  However, now that my own kids are beyond that, I am totally in foreign territory.

I find as the mom of a tween, I am constantly having to “right the ship” and make adjustments in my parenting.  Everyday seems to bring with it new questions or situations that I was in no way prepared for and quite honestly I often don’t have a clue how to respond.  I am always seeking knowledge, good advice and sound parenting tips from books, friends and family, and/or Google to help me through.

What is a Tween Anyways?

When people refer to a tween, they are often referring to a child between the ages of 10 and 12….bigger and more mature than a child, but not yet a teenager.

What makes the tween years so challenging are the overwhelming number of changes that tweens encounter in this short span of their lives. They are no longer early years students, but now walk the halls and hang-out with the middle years students in the school.  With the move to “middle years” comes extra opportunity and responsibility.  Students are often able to opt into clubs and join school teams that were not offered to them as an early years student.  Perhaps they’d like to be a patrol, or a library helper or maybe join a school leadership team.  All of the new opportunities are very exciting, but at the same time can be taxing on some kids, especially if they make too many commitments, in addition to those they have outside of school.  Often tweens also have a heavier classroom work load and additional homework.

Other Tween Changes and Challenges 

If all of the above is not enough for a child that has just hit double digits, lets add the early onset of puberty to the mix.  This is an excerpt from an article published in The Observer, in 2012.

They found that in 1860, the average age of the onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years. In 1920, it was 14.6; in 1950, 13.1; 1980, 12.5; and in 2010, it had dropped to 10.5.

Alarming!  It just seems so young to have to face so many changes in their body.  I believe that this is especially hard for tween girls.  Many young girls bulk-up prior to puberty.  It is their body’s way of preparing for what is to come.  While still trying to understand this and come to terms with their new fuller form, many tweens are also beginning to develop breasts and start their first period, but of course, that is not all.  They discover they don’t smell as pretty as they used to and now have to shower every day and wear deodorant. To top that off they have hair on their legs that makes them feel too embarrased to dress for the weather and thus they sweat even more!  Ugh!  Where does the maddness stop? How about the daily barrage of images of “flawless” girls with “perfect” faces and bodies plastered over every billboard, advertisement, magazine, etc.  Check out the Dove video called Beauty Pressure to see what are girls are dealing with.

Tweens Are Often Lost in the Gap Between Childhood and a Teenager

It is no wonder tweens are so confused and emotional.  They mourn the blissful childhood that seemed to end in a blink and yet are excited about being “more grown-up”. So many mixed emotions, coupled with the multiple physical and social changes they are feeling can sometimes leave a tween feeling alone and sad, despite having people around them that love them deeply.

Self-esteem is a raising issue and I believe that tweens just don’t have the maturity to process all of these changes and feelings the way that our “16.6” year old ancestors did in the 1860’s.  The young ladies of the 1800’s were going through puberty shortly before becoming an adult, while ours have just stepped out of their early years classrooms.  Yikes!

What Can We Do to Support Our Young Girls Through This Process?

I certainly don’t have many answers and believe that if there is a mistake to be made, I have done it.  However, I have found some really great resources that I would love to share.

  1. If you have not yet watched these videos, they are produced by Dove and really great in helping to understand body image:  Dove Real Beauty Sketches, The Evolution of Beauty
  2. Learn and talk about Body Image and Self-Esteem.  Gain an understanding of the differences between the two.
  3. Know and understand the stages of puberty so that you can be ready for them and observe where your daughter is at.
  4. If you are interested, Dove also has a PDF that makes a great reference.  It is a Teacher’s book from one of their Self-Esteem courses, so it is very relevant.
  5. I heard about a great magazine for young girl’s called Moon Magazine. We have just ordered a subscription.
  6. Unfortunately, I just learned about this course and how excellent it was through my cousin who went through it with her daughter.  I called to register and we are first on the waiting list because the class for this fall is full.  It is called Mothers and Daughters in Touch and sounds amazing.
If you are like me, you just want to say and do the right things, and I certainly do not always get it right (by a long shot).  However, I believe that knowledge, when applied and mixed with lots of prayers, greatly improves my chances!  Good luck out there!