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The Birds, Bees and Santa

With the holidays quickly approaching, I have been giving the whole Santa Claus thing a whole lot of thought.

A couple months ago Breanna asked me how the baby comes out of your tummy when it's born. Really? This kind of question was not one I was particularly ready to answer, so I danced around with my response hoping she would stop questioning. She didn't. I don't believe in lying to kids, if they are old enough to ask, then I believe they are old enough to know the answer. I said "Well, when the baby is ready to be born it comes out of your lady part." She looked at me for a second and then said "Oh." That was it. I was prepared for shock, disgust, or a further series of questions, but that was enough of an answer for her, that was all she was ready to hear.

We don't give kids enough credit. They are curious little souls, searching for the answers in order to develop themselves. The worst thing we can do as parents is lie to them. This brings me to the whole Santa Claus thing.

No, I am not going to tell you Santa is evil and you are a liar and terrible parent for telling your kid all about him... I just have a different take on it. Children are full of imagination, and a good parent will create an environment where their imagination is free to roam. Do you play with your kids? Play house, dolls, barbies, superheroes? If so then you know that one of the requirements for these games is an imagination. This is how I feel the Santa Claus thing should be treated. It is a game, a way to develop and foster a child's imagination. Playing, in a sense.

While all kids need their imagination to learn and grow, they also need a solid ground to land on. What happens when the dreaded question arises... "Is Santa Claus real?" Well, for me the answer will be easy. "No. We play Santa, but he is only real in our imaginations." Once again, I don't believe in lying to kids. Doesn't mean we can't still "play Santa" even if they know he isn't real. If they are ready to ask, they are ready to know the truth.

This will develop a deep level of trust. This says, I can play with you and imagine with you, but I will also tell you the truth, no matter what. I want my kids to trust me and come to me with anything, and for that to happen, it starts with Santa.

10 Healthy Grocery Store Tips for Natural Kids!

Lately I have had quite a few people ask me what kind of stuff I buy at the grocery store... Shopping for kids is not easy, mostly because they are usually very picky. It is a little easier for me because our girls are super good eaters and like to eat fruits and veggies, but there are still healthy options for kids with a more limited palate. Here are some grocery store guidelines that I always follow:

1. Check your labels! If your 1st grader can't pronouce it then you shouldn't buy it! Some of the the bad ones are: monosodium glutamate (MSG), propylene glycol (this is in personal care products too) any kind of nitrates, BHT, anything with corn or soy (unless its organic), high fructose corn syrup, aspertame, any type of food dyes... hmmm the list goes on but those are the basics.

*If you buy anything in a box or can, just make sure it is certified organic and you will avoid almost all of these things. It may be a couple dollars more, but what you are saving your kid's bodies from is well worth the money.

2. Make easy kid food with a healthy twist. I buy mac and cheese, but I buy organic and instead of using milk, I use rice milk and instead of butter I use organic coconut oil, get creative. Which brings me to my next thing...

3.Coconut oil! Every parent should have this in their cupboard. Extra virgin, expeller pressed, organic coconut oil. It can be used as an super healthy substitute for butter or just thrown in for a healthy twist. I use it in pancakes, on pasta, you can even use it in smoothies, or just give your kids a spoon full of it, it tastes good and is full of nutritients similar to those found in breast milk! You can also use it straight in the eye to cure pink eye, to moisturize, make scrubs, fight candida (yeast) etc....

4. To eat healthy doesn't mean make everything from scratch. These days you can find all sorts of frozen and ready made, organic foods. I buy the girls organic frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, and even cookies for special treats. Don't make it overly complicated, while the goal is to make everything yourself, you don't want to overwhelm yourself and give up completely.

5. Less juice more water. If you have a kid like mine then breaking a juice habit is not an easy one. Since she won't drink plain water I put a dash of juice in it to flavor it slightly. As time has gone on I put less and less juice and now it is so minimal she is drinking mostly water. Never buy juice or milk unless its organic.

6. Milk. Despite what our traditions tell us, kids don't actually NEED milk. It is actually bad for them and causes inflamation in the body (ear and sinus infections, bowel issues, skin problems and other various illnesses, not to mention it is FULL of sugar.) This is a habit that is also hard to break, but can be done slowly. My almost two year old drinks rice milk. Other good options are coconut milk, almond milk, and hemp milk. There is no reason we NEED to drink animal's milk. I still buy cheese and yogurt but it is always organic and we keep dairy consumption to a minimum.

7. Fruits and veggies. I buy about 75-80% of my produce organic. It doesn't have to cost more! I buy most organics at Costco and they are the same price as the regular stuff at the grocery store! It is soooooo worth the membership fee because they also have organic meats for very low prices! The rule we follow for fruits and veggies around here is that they have at least one fruit or veggie with every meal and if they want an extra snack they can have apples, raisins, carrots, grapes, or a banana. Don't waste the opportunity to feed them something healthy. Some of the worst things in the grocery store are the snacks!

8. Cleaning supplies. Chemicals cause cancer. What are cleaning products? Chemicals. I no longer use chemicals to clean. Vinegar and water works just as well and kills 99% of bacteria naturally. I soak my citrus peels in the vinegar to give it a better smell and it is so much cheaper! For the kids bath tub I use baking soda. Think about it.... Do you want your kids soaking in whatever chemical you just used on your bath tub?

9. Baths! A bath is a great opportunity to detox your child, but it can also be a pool of harmful chemicals. I suggest adding apple cider vinegar and/or epsom salts to your child's bath. Another important thing to remember is that personal care products are some of the biggest carcinogens out there. Once again, check labels. Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno or any other major name brand is going to be pure chemicals. Sodium lauryl sulfate (or any variation of that name) is antifreeze, propylene glycol, and any added scents are poison. Buy your products from Young Living, or at the health food store.

10. Toothpaste. Fluoride, contrary to popular belief is poison. There is a reason that you must call poison control if your child swallows even more than a pea sized amount!!! A pea? Really? Buy fluoride free toothpaste, that is also free from sodium lauryl sulfate.

This list may seem overwhelming, but just do one thing at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself! There are adjustments that must be made to budgets and bad habits, give yourself time and keep the research going, this just scratches the surface!

New blog title and description!

New title and description. Why? Well, I love that my blog helped a few frustrated step parents along the way, but the winds have changed for me. While I continue to be a very passionate and involved step parent, I am also a mother to two (in January) other children. After pinning a few posts on pinterest, I have gotten thousands of hits on my blog and don't want to limit what I write about. I want to keep that momentum going and be able to rant on about what is pressing on my heart, not to be limited by a category as specific as step parenting. Mothering is a mission, and I am excited to write about my journeys.

Thanks for reading!

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