Raising Girls

Everyone always said raising girls was different from boys…. I agree 😉  I have 4 boys and 2 girls and they have their own unique quirks, challenges and of course, personalities. When my first daughter was born after having 2 boys, I was so excited to have a girl, and all things pink and frilly, when Little A came along as #5 I was happy for not just another girl but a sister for our Big A. But with these girls, comes the responsibility of teaching them and showing them those “all things girls”; teaching them about their bodies and how they are created and how things function and raise them to appreciate and be comfortable in their bodies.

{Oh goodness, so little & cute!}

{Side note- yes, we need to do this with our boys too, and I do- and dads can be involved too- perhaps more with the boys than the girls, but yes, this is important to encourage and support and teach well to all our children and to have good affirmation and love from both parents….. but for this post, I’m just focusing on me and my girls 😉 }

As my girls grow and mature, I am realizing how inadequate I feel to teach them well. It can be uncomfortable to talk about some of these subjects and how the body works and matures. And sometimes its hard to figure out how to approach various topics, what information do they need to hear, what ages to start being more intentional about sharing with them the “girl things” of life…. these things are running through my brain as my oldest girl is quickly approaching her 9th birthday. So, I was thrilled when, over a year ago, Beth at Fit2B started talking about creating a girls course. A course designed just for girls, to teach them these things we older ladies and moms all wish we had learned about sooner than we did. This course has finally come to fruition and I was privileged to part of the pilot group going through the content before its formal release to the public.

“Fit2B Girls is a radically different body education course for young girls ages 9-14. If you’re raising a girl, you will love how this course empowers her to respect her body and keep it healthy. It’s not about sex or boys. It’s just all about girls.”

I am so excited that this course is now available and you can go buy it right now! But before you do, let me tell you a few things I really loved about it.

First, it’s broken down into small chunks, a short video accompanying each topic along with a written portion as well. Each topic has a note from Beth expressing some of her thoughts and notes on the topic and then each section closes with a short and simple quiz. to review what was covered. The videos are short enough to hold attention and not get into too much detail but yet, enough to cover the subject and teach the girls.

Next, because it’s all wonderfully broken up and the topics don’t blend too much, we as the moms, can determine what content our girls are ready for without going into content that needs to wait for later. For example, some of the topics are great for the girls at any age and other topics may be better to wait and share with them after they have started cycling and still other topics may be better once they are much older and approaching adult life.

Plus, this course is still growing and when you purchase it now, not only will you have access to it forever, but as new content gets added, you will have that automatically as well.  {And, if you already have a premium membership….go look at your account, you already have access to this course as well as all the other courses Fit2B offers!}

And, the topics are not all taught by Beth! While she has some notes to share on each topic, most of the topics are covered by others, experts in their fields, moms (and dads!)  with hearts to share this knowledge and a vision to see this next generation of women grow up strong and knowledgeable in all aspects of their life. It is all presented in a simple, straight-forward -using proper terms, but not explicit in their content- way, with the ability for moms to take the subject and content and expand on it personally and as needed with their girl. While the course is fairly broad and covers much of what a girl may need to know, it also leaves many avenues open for further discussion and learning as the girls grow and learn more. It is a great way to springboard conversations and provide a way to start talking with your girls and allow them the freedom to learn and then ask more questions and learn some more!

 

“It can be done all at once in a special weekend. It can be done as part of a science study over a semester. It can be done in pieces as your girl needs each lesson. A few lessons can be done now, and a few more next year, and a few more the year after that.”

Overall, I cannot praise enough the value of this course. I am excited to go through it with my girls. My oldest has already listened to several topics with me as I previewed it. I am already culling through several of the topics and figuring out how to share them with my boys as they are ready; because they need to understand the differences between male and female and they need to learn to appreciate and value those differences and grow in their respect of girls and ladies, knowing that someday they may be married to one! I know she will appreciate their being aware and have a basic understanding of them as well.

This course is all about empowering girls to understand and respect their bodies and to learn how it works and how to keep it healthy. What mom wouldn’t want this kind of content in her arsenal of raising her daughter well?

You can read more about the course on this blog post HERE – or watch the short intro video about it HERE – and you can go buy it RIGHT HERE!

This course has just released this week – and it is currently being offered at a discounted rate. It will be on sale NOW through Cyber Monday Sales but there is a special coupon offer for a free Luna pad to the first 100 purchases of the course, so don’t wait too long!

Invest in YOU today!

So, you know it’s important to take care of yourself. We also know how hard this is to do in real life 😉

I was just talking this afternoon with a couple friends about this struggle, the need to heal, restore and maintain our own selves so we can be the best women, wives and moms we can be. But, it’s hard to spend the money on “me”. Well, ladies, that is what sales are good for. Below are 3 different opportunities to invest in your self and make a difference in your own life and thereby the lives of those around you, all at a wonderful deal! How can you pass that up? 😉

As always, the links below will use my affiliate links to various products, however, using these links offers me a small bonus when you make a purchase but doesn’t change your price at all, you still the great low prices! I appreciate you using my links and sharing them with your friends as these little things do add up and help me out here at home!

 

 

 

 

First, the Gut Healing e-book and course bundle is happening now through Monday, March 27. Click the logo below to see all the wonderful resources included, there are a variety of topics, from grain free to healing candida to adding good fermented options into your diet. Plus don’t miss the free bonus opportunities, those alone almost cover the cost of the bundle itself!

 

And next, the week is Beth’s birthday, the founder of Fit2B. To celebrate there is sale happening ON FRIDAY MARCH 24 ONLY! However, it’s a good one. The best deal is the premium membership which includes access to all the workouts plus access to all the e-courses as well! Click the logo below to see all the details, all the membership levels and e-courses are on sale if those are more what you need!

And then lastly, below is the copy of a post I posted this week on Facebook. I would love to share more about this product and business opportunity if you are interested. I have a small live Facebook event happening through this week with several very knowledgeable and fantastic individuals who are coming alongside me and helping me learn more and answer any questions you may have. Send me note at jen@claffs.com or click the Facebook link at the end if you would like to join the event and learn more!

What dreams do you have that you are chasing today? When you look around your home where do you want to see yourself, your family and your children in another year, another 5 years, another decade? Sometimes in the busy-ness of the day to day life, this perspective can get lost in the to-do’s of life. But, it’s good to look at and reflect on and keep working toward those long term goals.
I am realizing more and more that taking the time and effort to invest in myself, and to invest in my husband, in turn will become an investment into our children and those we love around us. These investments we make today towards restoring and maintaining our physical body will, Lord-willing, serve us well in the coming decades.
Recently, we have found something so simple, and yet so valuable, that has helped both my husband and I to invest in our health to help both now and in the future so we can function most optimally for each other, for our kids and for serving those around us well into our “older years”
By feeding our body this one whole food every day, we have seen an increase in energy, mental clarity, a decrease in inflammation (and the issues that in itself can cause), and so much more. By naturally restoring our bodies, we have seen it start to naturally self-correct and become more vibrant. It is has also been beneficial to give to our kids so we can know they are getting the nutrition their body needs every day. For us, finding natural, God-given solutions to steward our bodies in the best way possible is important in our day to day lives so that we can continue serving Jesus with our whole selves.
If any of the ramblings of my heart struck a chord or intrigues you, or if you simply just want to know more about our story on this journey, comment below or PM and I’d love to share more with you. Here’s to investing in today, so we can live life to the fullest tomorrow and every day after!

<<< Click here and join my FB event to learn more!>>>

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Infinity Glass Jars {A Review}

So, it’s no secret that I love my essential oils and am rarely anywhere without at least a few. Since I typically dilute my oils for everyday use and use with the kidlings, I tend to collect glass jars and roller bottles. I will put the drops of EO in the glass jar, quantity depending on the use, and then fill it the rest of the way with my carrier oil. This works great for me so I have oil ready to use, already diluted and able to just roll on when and where needed. As I am sitting here typing this, I currently have 4 roller bottles and a spray bottle sitting by my computer screen,  9 roller bottles, 2-15 ml bottles, my new pump bottle and a spray bottle on my bathroom counter and there are 10 roller bottles in small bowl on my counter in the kitchen at all times and since I have a coughing child, there are 3-15 ml bottles and my carrier oil bottle out as well. To say nothing of the stash of oils up in my cabinet plus the ones in my wonderful Sew Grown case in my purse that goes everywhere with me!

The roller bottles offer such ease of use, I highly recommend everyone who uses EO’s to use them. Glass cosmetic bottles such as the pump bottles and spray glass jars are wonderful for insect repellent and hand sanitizer sprays as well. Plus, the small glass cosmetic lotion style bottles come in handy for adding scents to lotions and rubs.

As a busy mom with kids, being able to pre-dilute and prepare my EO’s enables me to use them easily, in diluations I am comfortable with and when I leave them sitting on the counter, it makes it much easier to use as well. 

I often just get my bottles from the local natural food stores or Amazon but when Infinity Jars contacted me about reviewing some of their glass jars I was thrilled to give them a try. Just a quick visit to their website made me realize I could quickly get hooked on their products. Their jars are a beautiful dark glass, a thick glass, a super dark violet color, making them safe from ultra-violet exposure which is such a benefit for your EO’s.

I choose several sizes of glass jars in both glass and steel rollers, a small spray bottle and a glass cosmetic jar with pump to try out. My order came quickly and well packed. Everything arrived in place and not scattered all over the box. I quickly put my new glass jars into use. The pump style jar I had never used before, but had been wanting to try a hair oil/leave in conditioner and thought that would be a good bottle to use. The glass cosmetic jar with pump has been working wonderfully. Pumps easily, doesn’t drip on the counter after use and while my formula mixture is still going through some tweaking, the jar itself is fabulous. The small glass spray bottle I filled with my hand santizer spray mixture and I have it in my purse. I love that this little size fits wonderfully in my Sew Grown case making it easy to pull out and use while the kids and I are out and end up using public bathrooms and spaces. The spray is strong and sure for the little size glass jar, it hasn’t clogged up at all or leaked after spraying. I am eager to see how the spray mechanism holds up over multiple months since they do tend to deteriorate after using for awhile but I am very happy with it so far.

Now, on to the glass jars with rollers, I got them in the 5ml, 10ml and 30 ml sizes. I got one with a glass roller bottle and the other 2 with the steel. Overall, I tend to personally like the steel better but wanted to try them both. As for the rollers, both have performed wonderfully. The 30 ml glass jar I used for my husband’s “Happy Hinges” blend of oils, he goes through this oil rather quickly and I loved the larger size roller jar to make my batches last a bit longer. We did find the roller seemed to release more oil quickly than his smaller and old bottle had, but he adapted quickly to rolling on just what he needed, and its been great. The smaller jars I have with a few oils I use frequently and I have loved them.

Just holding the glass jars in your hand with the typical bottle and you can feel such a difference in the quality it’s amazing. The lids screw on nicely, the ball roll as they are suppose to, no leaks…. I am one happy oiler!

A little bit about the glass jars themselves from the Infinity Jars website:

Infinity Jars can actually slow down the decaying process of organic matter while maintaining the freshness of whatever you put inside. What sets Infinity Jars apart from all other jars is that it blocks out all harmful visible light rays while selectively ALLOWING infrared and UV-A rays.

And this:

Infinity Jars’ special pigmented glass is thicker and more durable than your standard glass; it is smell-proof, blocks harmful UV light and is visually discreet. Furthermore, all of our jar lid systems, the screwtop and glass-on-glass lid, are completely airtight. Your products are totally protected, preserved much like ancient Egyptians- who invented deep violet glass thousands of years ago and preserved precious oils and herbs for centuries in tombs. The integrity of your lotions, essential oils or spices is guaranteed to be protected for over 6 months when you use our products.

I also appreciated the notes included with my order on using the glass jars with rollers the first time. The bottles come so that when you first tighten them down, it seals on firmly. And then when you need to refill, you are able to pop the tops off and put back on again. Plus, as a nice touch, I loved the little cleaning rag included to wipe your exteriors clean before applying the label so it sticks nicely on the jar.

Overall, I am very happy with the Infinity Jars and would definitely order from them again.

I know when I spend good money on quality EO’s I appreciate being able to use just as high a quality glass jar to store them in as I make blends or dilute for everyday use.

Visit Infinity Jar’s store here and I am sure you will be as impressed by their products as I am. You can read more on the science behind their jars and their amazing capabilities here.

Want to try the blends I mentioned above? Both are ones I created and use daily around here. I have included my recipes below!

I was given the above glass jars by Infinity Jars to use and review for this post, however all opinions and thoughts are my own. There may be affiliate links included in this post, when you purchase through on of my links, I get a small commission but your prices always stay the same. I am an independent distributor for Ameo Oils and am happy to share with you more about those anytime!

Rhythms of Life

As each moment passes, each day, each week…. the weeks turn into months and the months into another year. I realize that life keeps marching on, some days pass quickly and others I just want to push fast forward, the next day I am looking for the pause button but through it all life keeps moving. Each day has a rhythm of its own, sometimes fast, sometimes slow but those rhythms flow together to make the song my life is playing.

I realize I want to make the most of these days, the kids are growing quickly and yet seem to last forever in that stage in which we are struggling. There are days when I wish for a circle of moms to give evening awards….. “good job for you, you made 3 meals today;, “mom of the day for realizing your child’s snow boots are 3 sizes too small”; “wife of the moment, you were actually ready for bed the same time he was”; “teacher of the week, you got 2 pages of math finished”; “lady of the day, you got out of bed and made it through the day”…… that circle of friends that realizes and appreciates what an effort something was and rejoices with you in the large and small victories of the day. A circle of friends to encourage and spur on to another day, another step toward living with intention, cherishing each moment, loving always and speaking with grace and kindness. 

I love to read and I have read many encouraging books. In fact, its a rare moment I am not in the middle of at least one “mama, encouraging, wife, parent” style book….. {currently I am reading Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George and Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller and The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson} But there are a couple books I will re-read each year. Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming is one of them. It’s one I like to read this time of year as we begin another calendar year and remind myself of the need to live with intention, regardless of the season of life I am in. Jean Fleming is an author I have read many times over the last 12 years, her “A Mother’s Heart” book being one of the first books on mothering I ever read and another one I have read numerous times.

To start out this year, I have decided I’d like to read through this book with some of you. Perhaps its a book that sounds interesting to you. Maybe you just need some accountability to be building God’s Word and good truths into your life, maybe you need a circle around you to encourage you on a daily basis….. this is for you. Because it is the easiest format for many people, I have created a small group, a private forum on Facebook for this group. I have quite a variety of ideas of what we could do in this group and while I am still meshing some things together in my brain, this is something I have been mulling over for awhile already, I decided I just need to start somewhere and see what may come together. 

My plan is to post daily, Monday through Friday, a short something on each chapter in the book. Conveniently there are 31 chapters, however, in order to give some room to catch up and with the weekends, we will take a little longer to go through the book. I have a Bible reading to go with each chapter with the intention of being in the Word on a daily basis as well as gleaning truth and encouragement from the words of this book, Pursue the Intentional Life. My plan right now is to start Monday, January 9th.  In addition, I hope to use this space as a place for us to encourage each other, get ideas for struggles in our daily life, bring some joy to each day and accountability to build habits into our lives. I hope to read through some other good books through the year, as well as e a place for habit building in the areas of menu planning, exercise or other areas the habits need built up in.

If you are interested in joining us, go HERE and request to join the group. You can also email me at jen@claffs.com for more information. And if you would like to join in and aren’t on Facebook often, you can download an app for Facebook that is just for groups, you do need a Facebook account but then you can access just our group from this app and not the rest of Facebook if that is something that works better for you.  Access Google Play store HERE or the iTunes store HERE, it’s a free app on both!

You will need to purchase this book that we will be reading through, but trust me, it is well worth the money and is a wonderful read! Click here for the best Amazon price currently, plus it’s my affiliate link, so I get a little tiny kickback though your price won’t change!  {Oh and look, look….. it’s available in an audio format too if this is an easier way for you to read!}  Once you are in the group, I will make sure you have the daily Bible reading plan that you can download or print and of course, there will be the daily posted encouragement and thoughts for each day.

I’ll be using the #rhythmsoflife and #rhythmsoflifemama hashtags in other social media venues and blog posts, if you would like to use as well you may!

So…. who’s in? 😉

 

Dubliner Potatoes {A Recipe}

posted in: homeschool, Recipe, thoughts | 0

This potato dish is another family favorite and while adapted from another recipe, the addition of the Dubliner cheese really sets this side dish apart from others. We enjoy it through out the year with special meals; steak or ham usually as well as it being a holiday tradition. I always buy my Dubliner cheese at Costco since it is much more reasonably priced there than most grocery stores and we like a fair amount of the cheese on top! 

Dubliner Potatoes
Serves 8
A cheesy potato side dish
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups potatoes, sliced as directed below (this is usually 4-6 large potatoes, but it varies);
  2. 2 TB butter;
  3. 1-1/2 cups Heavy Cream (you can sub with half and half, if you must, but nothing else 'lighter" will work as well!);
  4. 1/2 cup whole milk;
  5. 2 TB flour (to thicken... arrowroot, etc can be subbed);
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced;
  7. 1 tsp salt;
  8. pepper, to taste;
  9. 1-3 cups Dubliner Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees;
  2. Smear softened butter all over bottom of baking dish, I use a 9" square dish, but anything around that size works fine (Pam works too, but the butter works better);
  3. Slice potatoes into rounds and then cut slices into fourths;
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, garlic, salt and pepper;
  5. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on;
  6. Repeat this two more times, ending with cream mixture and NO cheese (see below);
  7. Cover with foil and bake till potatoes are soft and bubbling;
  8. Remove foil and add remaining grated cheese to top, return to oven and make until cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown slightly;
  9. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving hot.
Notes
  1. I use a good 3 cups of Dubliner cheese - around a cup inside the casserole and another 2 cups when added later to the top..... if you are using less cheese, either omit adding inside the casserole and use all on top of dish or adjust the amounts accordingly to your cheese.
  2. I have baked this at lower temps along side a roast or such, it works, but allow longer bake time.... I have let the potatoes bake upwards of 2 hours on a low temp before they were done and added the cheese just before serving.
  3. If you don't use the heavy cream and whole milk, it just doesn't absorb and cook right.... trust me, I have tried it. More than once. It needs the heavy cream. Really truly.
  4. If you happen to have leftovers, these are excellent warmed up and scrambled into eggs..... like really good. Worth making a full dish just to have leftovers.
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen/ Ree, Pioneer Woman
CLAFF'S http://www.claffs.com/

Comfort Chicken {A Recipe}

This is one of our favorite casseroles. I actually don’t make many casserole dishes, but this has won a place on our dinner rotation. The recipe evolved from a clipping I found in a “Cooking for Two” magazine I read soon after getting married. Of course, making dinners sized for just the two of us was a challenge for me after growing up in a large family and then coupling that with the fact I had been eating vegetarian for a number of years, I always on the lookout for recipes I could make and would turn out well. I think I first made this recipe for a Valentine’s Day dinner and it was a hit. Over time I have tweaked the recipe to make it more family friendly and here is the result. I have made it several times for company and it is always a hit. The leftovers warm up nicely for lunch the next day but I have never tried freezing this. I usually serve with rice on the side to help soak up the sauce, a green salad and perhaps some homemade bread.

 

Comfort Chicken
Serves 6
A chicken based casserole with bacon, mushrooms and broccoli in a creamy sauce topped with cheese
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 chicken breasts;
  2. 1# bacon;
  3. 8-10 ounces mushrooms, sliced;
  4. 1# broccoli, trimmed to your liking;
  5. 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  6. Sauce; (for a 9x13 pan, adjust for other sizes accordingly)
  7. 1 cup mayonnaise
  8. 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  9. 1/2 cup honey
  10. 1 tsp garlic powder
  11. 1 tsp onion powder
  12. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the bacon and set aside {I have made with less than 1# and it works fine, but since bacon is so yummy and the kids love finding servings with bacon, I usually try and do a full pound buy you can certainly do less!};
  2. Cut the chicken into large chunks - perhaps 2-3" size, slightly larger than bite size but this makes it way easier to serve kid portions without having to cut up a chicken breast after the fact;
  3. In the same pan with the bacon drippings, lightly sear the chicken pieces, turning once and then placing the chicken in your pan;
  4. In the same pan, add your sliced mushrooms and lightly sauté and then add to pan with chicken;
  5. Add the chopped broccoli to the pan {I have used both fresh and frozen and they work equally well, though I usually cut down from the size so if using frozen you might need to slightly thaw in that same pan you've been using!};
  6. Add the bacon to the dish {I usually break up into smaller bite size pieces, but anything from large slices to more bacon crumbles works fine};
  7. Mix up the sauce and combine well, add to dish and gently stir to coat all meat and veggies;
  8. Top with mozzarella cheese {I use at least 3 cups, but heavy cheese is preferred around here, you can certainly do 1-2 cups and have a nice dish};
  9. Bake 350 degrees until chicken is cooked through and cheese is bubbly and brown;
Notes
  1. I often serve with rice to help soak up the sauce as well as a green salad and bread.
  2. I have also made this in a large cast iron pan, combining the pan I cook the bacon, etc in with the baking pan, making it a wonderful "one pot wonder", however a 12" pan will just barely serve our family so I use the 9x13 when we are including friends or I want leftovers.
CLAFF'S http://www.claffs.com/

The Alexapure Filter {A long-over due review & incredible sale}

alexapureOH MY! I just saw this sale come across my email and I almost wished I hadn’t bought my Alexapure a few months back!
 
I absolutely love my Alexapure filter, after months (maybe years!) of running to the grocery store to refill water jugs or replacing old jugs with new water jugs, we received one for our anniversary – best.gift.ever 😉 I truly do not miss visiting frequently with the ladies at the grocery store (who kindly asked ‘no water today’ for weeks after!) – I end up grocery shopping often enough just to keep food in the house 😉
Anyhow – our tap water is technically ok to drink, it’s on a city water system. However, it tastes awful. So, getting a filter has been on my wish list for years.
The Alexapure sits on our counter, the kids water cups nearby and I fill it up around twice a day. Usually, after cleaning up the kitchen in the evening, I make sure I empty out the reservoir filling the coffee pot, water pitcher or water bottles and then fill up the upper reservoir to filter. Typically, it take a 2-3 hours for the upper to completely filter down into the lower reservoir. Then sometime during the day, depending on our water usage, I will top off the upper reservoir and let it filter through. The upper and lower reservoirs hold approximately 2.5 gallons of water each which works out fine, even for our large family. I have filled several gallon jugs I leave in the pantry for the occasional time when I need a lot of water at one time (filling a soup pot, replacing my kombucha water or making a large pot of rice or pasta…..) Then that evening or next morning, I will refill my jug and put back away without draining the entire drinking water supply just before dinner 😉
 
The water filtered out of the Alexapure tastes wonderful, clean and pure. Even my rather particular and taste sensitive husband agrees it is wonderful. And after several months of using it, I cannot hardly stand the taste of our tap water anymore. Plus, knowing that our main beverage around here is water, I know I am supporting my kids bodies well using good water and not water that may have been compromised in some sort.
 
Another added benefit to this filter is its portability. Since it doesn’t permanently install, we can easily take it with us for overnight camping trips, long road trips or when we move. If we were ever faced with a natural disaster such as a wildfire or weather concern and we needed to leave, I could easily put the filter in the car and fill it up with water from anywhere and have fresh and safe water for my family to drink.
 
So seriously, if you have been contemplating a water filter for your family….. THIS IS THE WEEK TO DO IT!!!!!
Now thru November 18 APRIL 4th!!!! (New sale this week!)- any Alexapure filter will come with an additional filter – an $97 value FOR FREE! The filter system already comes with one, so this will give you two…. having 2 in the reservoir will speed up the filter time as well as extend the life of both filters (typical lifespan of a filter is 5000 gallons)
 
Click this link below and head to the Alexapure sale page – Sale is NOW thru April 4th, 2017!!!

You can also click the below link to find the Alexapure information page for additional information on the product!

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Kids & Crunches

posted in: Fit2B, homeschool, thoughts | 0

kids-crunchesI always so feel guilty doing something “just for me”. That chocolate bar sneaking into the cart hoping the kids don’t see. That half hour taken for a bath and good book. Quietly slipping out of the house to take a walk or go to the grocery store alone. Sticking in a DVD for the kids just so I can have a few minutes of quiet…..

I know, I know…. it’s important as moms to take care of ourselves, to take those moments we can to regroup and relax and to make our own health as important as our focus on our family, but it still brings that occasional feeling of guilt.

Of course, when I make health changes for myself, I often try to make them for the whole family when it is feasible. Over the last few years as I have learned about the importance of our core and how pregnancy often leaves some resulting core issues that need to be addressed and healed, I have been on this path to healing and strengthening my own core.  As I have educated myself and learned more and more in the fitness world I have realized like many areas of healthy living, things are ever changing. As we continue to learn about the body and its incredible design we learn new and better ways to treat, heal, support and strengthen the body. One of these areas is in the idea that sit ups and crunches will strengthen the core effectively and are safe for everyone. This just is not true.

Read these thoughts……

When Crunches Make Your Pooch Worse

“Abs” without Crunches

How to have a Stronger, More Flat Stomach

Why Crunches Don’t Work

How Sit-ups Hurt Veterans with Diastasis Recti

Researching Diastasis Recti and Tummy Safe Gym Routines (excellent printable here)

6 Fitness Guidelines for Everyone

The Personal Trainers Guide to Diastasis

{Please do read through those links…. I am not going to reiterate what was explained so well by those experts above, but rather continue my thoughts based on my understanding of those articles!}

Now, I know most of those articles were aimed at the mom crowd and healing an existing diastasis or weak core but here’s my concern…..

It is said that “Form Follows Function”

If this is true, and I do think it is, then this concept that sit-ups and crunches are an effective way to strengthen a growing core and to build a strong core in our children as they grow needs to be addressed!

If doing crunches and sit-ups is not beneficial to me, {as a mom, who has had 8 pregnancies, carried 6 to term and vaginally delivered all of them and has since healed an 8+ wide diastasis after my youngest!} then are having my growing children doing sit-ups and crunches really beneficial for them? For my boys, they love to test each others strengths and be strong. You will often find them wrestling each other, racing in the yard, challenging each other – “look what I can do, can you do this?”. They are pretty typical boys 😉
And for my girls, while they may not roughhouse around like the boys, I still want them to be physically fit and to grow and strengthen their sweet bodies as they grow and I want them to go into their own childbearing years in a good and strong place, knowledgeable about their bodies and its capabilities.

And so, as they are getting older and exposed to more of the ‘mainstream fitness’, I struggle when I see them doing those crunch moves that are so common in children’s exercises. I have discussed this with my older boys and explained much of what I have expressed above. And thanks to the wonderful resources at Fit2B, (read this article and watch the video at the end), the boys and I have put together a few “better options” for them to do when others around do sit-ups and crunches. Ideally, they would rotate through a couple of these during those times and continue to strengthen their cores, just in a safer manner for their long term health and growth.

See, here’s the thing, doing a few crunches and sit-ups here and there as an 8 or 10 year old probably isn’t going to cause any long term damage or concern. However, continuing to do these in high quantities as they are older, into their young adult years, they could be setting themselves up for some concerning issues.

And so, we should be training them from the start to do exercises that will be beneficial long term, that will effectively strengthen their core and set them up for strong bodies and a healthy core down the road!

And so, here are the exercises, along with some examples…. forgive us that they are not always in perfect form…. they are still learning and working on it! But, I share this with you in hopes that you might be encouraged to research this topic and be comfortable with alternatives to the mainstream options and as we can teach others, one by one, we can strengthen those around us as well.

Planks – As explained in the photos, you can vary the height of your plank and challenge your strength and switch from on the front to the side and add in the various leg lift options

With planks, someone with a weak core would need to use caution, however, with my boys knowing they are at a point of growing and strengthening, I think this is a good option.

Mountain Climbers– this is one the boys like cause they can do them “so fast”, but if you are intentional about your alignment and actively engaging your core with each interchange, they will be more effective than just “running in place” 😉

Knee Wipers – these are also a nice way to stretch and get some good core work in at the same time. Again, actively engage the core and breathe well as you switch from side to side

Shoulder Bridge – this is one the boys have learned through wrestling, and while it may not be a good one for a damaged or weak core, as long as the core is engaged well during the entire bridge, I am ok with the boys doing this one, especially as it especially works the core well as you extend the leg.

Click any photo below to enlarge!

 

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So, I encourage you to consider this and perhaps encourage those kids in your life to be more intentional about strengthening their core with some alternatives to those “old fashioned” crunches and sit-ups. What are some other exercises that you could add to this list?

 

{Hey parents, do you have kids in public arenas and would like to share this information with their coaches and teachers? Please feel free to share this post with them and you may also find this printable for teachers and instructors specifically helpful as well!}

A Fit2B Sale

posted in: Fit2B, homeschool, Reviews, Sales & giveaways | 0
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You all know how much I love Fit2B and their workouts and Beth’s heart for encouraging and strengthening women by providing awareness, education and healing helps for diastasis.

{Oh, you don’t know how much I appreciate Fit2B, check out this post from last year 😉 }

{No idea what a diastasis is? Check out THIS LINK – seriously, I so wish I had known this much sooner than I did!}

 

Anyway, Fit2B offers a great wholesome online family workout site, with a huge list of workouts, everything ranging from easy to hard, from aerobic to relaxing and everything in between. There is truly something for every level of need and desire. While their workout access membership plans and their variety in e-courses is incredibly affordable and economically priced to begin with, each year there are a couple sales that pop up….. TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS!
{Today being Monday, October 3rd, 2016….}

FOR TODAY ONLY – To celebrate the 6th anniversary of Fit2B –

Get 1 year of Fit2B for $89
No Startup Fee for monthly memberships
NEW Premium Package for $109 (reg $159) – Find out more about the this new package here – it’s incredible!

No discount codes needed.

You can CLICK HERE to access the membership and products page to see all the details!

 

PLUS – For the rest of October, take 20% off all ecourses and tangible products!

 
{Oh, if you have never tried the tummy crème or other “on your skin” line….. they are fabulous!}
 

 

 

Fit2B Anniversary leader board

Who is your ‘everyone’?

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As I read this verse a couple weeks ago, I was struck by the words in these few sentences. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the overarching theme, this is bottom line, Christ is in us and we have the hope of heaven and glory with Him.

And then I was struck by the “everyone” that is repeated 3 times….. “warning everyone & teaching everyone” – this pretty much sums up the life of a homeschooling mama 😉 Most days if I am not actually teaching the kids something at any given moment, it seems that I am disciplining, training or reminding of rules or manners…. and yep, “everyone”, all 6 kids, going from one to the next all. day. long. From keeping the bigger boys on track to complete tasks, school and chores, to spending time teaching the kids and making progress there, to training them in words, actions and attitudes. It never ends.

And yet, keep reading….. what’s the goal dear mama? “to present everyone mature in Christ”. Honestly, this is my bottom line goal with my kids. Yes, schooling and learning is important. It is good that they know to flush the toilet and wash their hands, they need to be motivated to complete tasks and take pride in their work. But at the end of the day it’s growing these little souls into strong, deeply rooted and mature in Christ and that their hearts and souls belong to Him.

It seems to be an overwhelming task. But I love how the verses close out….. it’s with HIS energy that HE powerfully works in me. Yes, we toil and yes, we struggle but He gives us the strength to complete the task He has set before us. In His energy and His power He chooses to work through our lives to reach their little lives.

As I read this and saw my children in “my everyone”, they are my focus and task in this season of my life, but perhaps you are in a different season. Maybe your “everyone” is different from mine. It doesn’t change the fact that God desires for His energy and His power to work within you, to reach those in your sphere for Him, to show His glory and truth to those around us.

Who is your everyone? How can you be encouraged today by these words?

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