Thursday, May 30, 2013

7 Yummy Summer Snacks

I'm in NYC right now, and all I can think about during these warm days of filming is a cool, refreshing snack. So I decided to share a few of my favorites. We all know that when the weather heats up, your appetite doesn't always follow.  We often crave things that are light and refreshing, cool and light, and several things come to mind that are yummy and easy prepare. Here is my happy list…

7 Summer Snacks for the whole family
  1. Frozen fruit. Almost anything can go into the freezer and suddenly become more exciting. (Well except avocado…learned that the hard way.) Fruit takes on an exciting new face once frozen. I just did this with Cherries and the kids had a field day! Other great ones are grapes, blueberries and peaches. You can even add these to a regular fruit salad and it immediately more refreshing. 
  2. Smoothie. If I could live at Jamba Juice in the summertime, it would be perfect, but until they give me the key, I’ve got my blender. Adding ice to almost anything in a blender makes it taste magical. You can also add boosts or things to brighten up any meal with fruits and veggies, like Vitamix (a favorite of my husbands). Add kale, beets, pineapple, mango, dates, anything you like that packs a punch and get lots of vitamins into your family’s diet.
  3. Skewers. This snack is not only fun to eat but also fun to assemble. It’s a great treat that the kids can help create. Add any fruit, veggie, or precooked meat you can get your hands on and simply skewer away. There can be sweet, savory or any combination of this perfect BBQ addition. You can even sprinkle with coconut or drizzle with chocolate and turn them into a dessert.
  4. Yogurt pops. If you have popsicle trays, simply replace the juice with yogurt! Any yogurt works, even Greek. The yogurt packs a powerful punch when it comes to energy (yay protein.) 
  5. Peanut butter/coconut balls. There are many recipes on the web so choose the one that you or your kids’ will love, and make a double batch! They’re small and yummy and protein packed. You can use peanut, almond or sunflower seed butter, accommodating any taste. (And of course, you can keep them in the fridge for a more refreshing bite!) 
  6. Dried Fruit. Fruit in any form is refreshing, included the dried variety. Add dried fruit to any salad and it suddenly feels like summer Again, strawberries, raspberries and peaches are a great option with a refreshing vinaigrette.
  7. Homemade ice cream sandwiches. Obviously this doesn’t fall into the “healthy” category, but it sure does fall into the “happy” category! These are so easy to make and the impact on the party is HUGE! I use the bag mix for cookies and make sure to under cook them slightly. Then, I wait until they cool and scoop in a generous helping of ice cream. Finally, I individually wrap them in cellophane. Get creative with cookie type and ice cream flavor!
Hope these yummy treats just hit the spot this summer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Time is flying by

I swear, I was just taking down my holiday decorations a little while ago and now, somehow, there are only 10 more days of school. Where did this year go?

Everyone I meet who has a child older than mine says, “You better soak up every minute…You’ll blink, and they will be heading off to college.” And what I’m starting to realize is they’re absolutely correct.

My daughter turned seven this spring. She got her ears pierced. She competed her first balance beam routine. She’s speaking a second language. And she’ll be a second-grader in a few short weeks. And my son, he’s five now. He ran his first 5k, scored his first hockey goals and is graduating preschool. And he’s more than excited to be a big kid and start kindergarten. They’re both growing up so fast.
I know I’m not the only parent guilty of getting caught up in our lives, in that nose down in the minute-to-minute details and planning of it all that I forget about some of the little things along the way. I find I have to remind myself to look up and “smell the roses” a bit.

And what I have found is that this year has been the year of the little things. Soaking up the moments of snuggling, running to the bus stop, doing our homework on the swing set, eating cereal at 8 p.m., and nightly giggle fests while watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. All those moments weren’t necessarily big events or in the plan, but they are the little things that I’m starting to realize I will miss once my kiddos are “too big” to spend time that with mom and dad, or just too busy. And looking at our schedules, those days are fast approaching.

So take a moment, or better yet, make a few moments this summer that you’ll remember because those are the memories that carry on for a lifetime.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mom Guilt

I feel like I should make myself a t-shirt to wear on every trip that bluntly reads, "Mom Guilt", so that everyone knows what I am feeling. Now imagine if all my fellow moms were to wear that shirt when they were feeling it. I could totally use the "I know what your feeling" remarks from a total stranger every now and then, or a friendly, "Welcome to the Mom Guilt Club" smile.  If you are a parent, you get what I'm saying.  

I know that my kids are fine. Yes, they miss me and are pretty darn good at drudging up the mom guilt quickly when they want something, but they are also incredibly understanding of my work schedule.  I equate the mom guilt feeling to the adrenaline at the start of a race, when you can't sit still and you have to pee. It's instinctual. As soon as I start packing my bags, the mom guilt pang hits.  It starts in my head and works its way down into my heart, and it doesn't really go away until I bust through the front door at the end of a trip. 

But mom guilt is also a good thing, right? I mean, it stems from love and keeps us grounded. I'm mean, I'm writing this on an airplane while I am knee deep in feeling...So I guess that means I have learned how to deal with it, or at least manage it. For my experience as a traveling, working mom, here is my best effort at 5 Ways to Help Manage Mom Guilt:

  1. Talk to your kids. Tell your kids about why you work and the importance of contributing to the financial well being of the family. (To be frank, I ask them about all their activities and remind them that they cost money. Mom and dad need to help with all our bills so we can have more fun together.)
  2. Face Time or Skype.  Be a part of bedtime from you computer or phone on the road.  Once the kids get used to it, they will talk to you (or ignore you) like you are right there with them.  You can even read with your kids.
  3. Share your schedule ahead of time. I find that my kids don't appreciate when I spring my work trips on them. They want to know if mom is going to be there in the morning or not. Don't avoid it, deal with it.
  4. Let them react.  If you kid wants to be mad at you or sad at you for being gone, sometimes the painful truth is we need to let them and just take it.  Sit back and hear them out. Tell them you understand and love them so very much.  Even young kids sometimes just need to vent.
  5. Show them where you are going.  I do this especially when I am working with my charities. If I can connect my kids to what I am doing, then it feels like I have a team of support back home, and they feel more involved.
Hope these help! If you have other tips for dealing with mom guilt, share them! We moms need all the coping mechanisms we can get :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Chlorine is in the air

It’s that time of year again, when kids are itching to hit the pool and parents are hunting down swimsuits, digging for goggles, and quite possibly wondering, “how in the world do I get my kid swim ready?” Well I am here to help. And believe me, after five months of schlepping the equipment of ski season, swim season is a cinch! 

The first and most important things to know is that you have to make learning to swim a priority.! No matter how great you are as a parent or how closely you watch your child at the pool, bad things can happen right under your nose.  For example, I was chatting with my friend in the baby pool when Spider was 1, sitting down right next to him. I glanced at my friend while she was talking for what felt like 3 seconds, but when I looked down at my son, he was face down in the pool…he hadn’t yet figured out how to pull his feet/legs back under him to stand up.  He and I were both freaked. So remember, it doesn’t matter how well YOU swim, it’s how well your child swims without you that’s important.  Get them in lessons first and foremost!

Here are seven things to help you have a fun and enjoyable swim season:

  1. Find a lesson and instructor that you trust and that works for your family. Check out As I have said about a million times to anyone that will listen….Take your child to swim lessons with a calm and happy demeanor. Even if they scream and cry, smile and tell them you love them. Hand them over to your trusted instructor, and then get out of sight. I cried every second of my first set of lessons! As a parent you cannot give in!
  2. Make a curriculum. If your child is beyond pool safety and you want them to learn to swim, set expectations with the instructor. Yes, it should be fun, but learning strokes can and should be a part of their curriculum.
  3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Repetition is key! The more days you swim in a row, the better you will become. Often if a kid hasn’t been in the water all winter, they will jump in the pool for the first time at the beginning of summer and “forget” what to do.  Get them back into the swing of swimming with a one or two week long EVERY DAY series of lessons. These lessons don’t have to be long, maybe 20 minutes, but the repetition will be worth it.
  4. Keep a swim bag! You must create a swim bag with suit, cap (mostly for girls), goggles, towel, sunscreen, conditioner and lotion.  To maintain the suit, rinse it out after every swim. Learn how to put your cap and goggles on properly. You find great instructions on use and correct fit on Speedo's Facebook page. Using conditioner helps keep hair from getting super brittle and tangled due to the water and chorine. And put on lotion, chlorine water dries your skin out like nothing else! If you don’t put lotion on, you will itch like crazy!
  5. Go for it. If you’re wondering whether or not your child is ready for a swim team, I say just GO FOR IT! I firmly believe that kids get better and learn faster in a group/team environment.  Yes they are forced to swim more and practice is longer, but you will see such incredible improvements that lead to some serious confidence and smiles!
  6. Learn about the sport. Once your kid is on the swim team, you need to learn about the strokes and their times.  The greatest part of swimming is that it is all time based.  Therefore the kids can focus on their own PR’s as opposed to what color ribbon they won!
  7. Celebrate a competitive attitude! If you child is bummed they didn’t win, I think that is fantastic.  You can help them learn that winning isn’t all that’s important, about effort and determination and commitment. Use the disappointment as a way to teach them about ways they can improve for themselves and be faster. If they are a sore loser, use the moment to teach that is not acceptable behavior and redirect them. The joy of an individual sport is that the outcome is in their hands. 
     Such incredible life lessons can be taught through the ups and downs in the swim pool.  Enjoy them
     and Happy Swimming!