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Weekly tips and encouragement to help you handle stress, stay fit, and find joy in parenting

Secrets of Home Cooking for Busy Families

Even the words, "a home cooked meal” evoke a happy smile.When I was a child, the typical parent, usually the mom, spent ninety minutes a day in meal preparation and clean-up and the family typically ate together. Today, a regular routine of eating together often gets crowded out by other activities. For some families, this only occurs at holidays and special occasions.

Today, time devoted to these tasks is thirty to forty-five minutes a day. And, yes, women still do the bulk of it. The reason for less home cooking is understandable with forty-five percent more women now working away from home, everyone working longer hours, and the absence of a cultural shift towards men learning to cook.

Unfortunately, filling in...

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Finally The Answer to “Why Mommy?”

Years ago had a job counseling teenage mothers who were considering placing their babies for adoption. I will never forget one girl’s statement wishing her parents had told her why sex at her young age wasn’t a good idea, instead of only telling her not to do it. “Now," she said, "I know lots of reasons why what I was doing was a mistake. Would it have been so hard for them to have told me why?”

Like diapers and potty training, the constant why questions of a toddler will pass. However, your child’s need to have someone to talk to about their questions will not. Setting yourself up now as that person who will listen and explore answers with them will help you to inspire...

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Relief from the Daily Parenting Grind

Almost anything that you do on a daily basis can become a grind if you see no end in sight. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are many joyous moments that arise each day when you are parenting. But there are also endless repetitive tasks and lots of responsibility.

I want to show you a simple mindset tweak that can change how you look at these tasks and also help you prepare for what’s ahead.

Every young mother has had some older woman say to her that she should enjoy the moment because it will soon be over. If you are like me, when you heard that you internally rolled your eyes and solemnly vowed to yourself that you would never say such a crazy thing when your kids were grown.

For a while, it’s diapers and midnight...

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The Busy Mom's Ultra-Flexible To Do List

You have a lot to do each day. So maybe you make a to-do list. While taking care of so many pressing needs, consider adding these simple nine daily to-dos for young moms that might actually make your day go by a little easier.

1. Play Together

Provide frequent interactive play time with your children. Research shows that physical fitness, good relationships with family and friends, and character development all have a positive impact on school performance. Look for resources and opportunities to spend time with your kids that will be memorable and fun.

Exercising Values is an example of such a resource. EV is designed to help you tap into each of these in a daily fifteen minute special time. Creating longer special times...

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Three Ways to Fail A Multiple Choice Test When You Know the Answer

In front of me there was an intelligent young man proficient in Krav Maga and about to become a top notch personal trainer. He's one of my students at Heritage College and I'm about to administer the written test for him to recertify his CPR, which he had let lapse by a few days. He was in the Isralei armed forces and has actually rescued a number of people. Talking to him before the test, as he described his rescue experiences, it is clear that he knows his stuff. He speaks about it passionately and rattles off all the procedures in the CPR manual. Confidently, I hand him the test only to find that he misses one question too many to pass. I look at what he missed and it makes no sense to me. I know he knew the answer. What happened?

We...

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It’s Time to Think about the Messages Toys Send

Today is the first day that parents could pre-order the new Barbie that addresses concerns about the body image message sent previously by the ever thin and buxom Barbie of yore. The new Barbie comes in tall, curvy and petite. This follows last year’s addition of dolls with new skin colors and ethnicity.

My mom might have been a bit ahead of her time. She passed over Barbie and gave me Tammy, the Ideal Teen when I was a little girl. Tammy was a bit flat chested with more of a girl next door appeal than the glamour of a Barbie. She had flatter feet that fit into sneakers and not just high heels. Is that why I have always spent more time in athletic shoes than I have in heels? Who knows, but I was well aware of the difference...

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New Year's Resolutions 2.0: First Things First

As a new year begins, many people begin to identify areas of their lives that they are unsatisfied with and proceed to resolve to change or to do better. While well-intentioned, this one time action usually does very little to change anything except possibly to drive more dissatisfaction or guilt into our psyche. A life well-lived means that what is truly important to you gets time and attention. Inevitably, this requires a routine or schedule so other less important demands don’t crowd it out.

Most people spend at least some of their time attending to matters to which they are neutral or worse resentful but in any case matters that don’t charge or fulfill them. Take what happens around April 15 for most Americans, for...

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Anti-Tips for Holiday Happiness

There is no lack of lists at the holidays online and in magazines giving you tips for how to avoid weight gain or enjoy time with your loved ones during the holidays. I've written quite a few myself.

To breeze through the holidays happy, fit, and trim you don't need tips as much as you need a strategy for how to make first things first. To do that, you need to determine the why behind what you typically do during the holidays. Let's start with how you will spend your time and with whom you will spend it.

Sort out what gives you pleasure or meaning from those activities that you do out of obligation or habit. Consider others feelings if you were to drop one of those activities. After all, it's not just about you but it's not not about you...

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Set the Bar High for Quick, Cheerful, Obedient Responses from your Children

When children are asked or told to do something a few questions roll through their minds. Questions like:

  1. Do I really have to?
  2. Why do you want me to do this? (asked because they genuinely want to know)
  3. If I question this, can I get out of it?
  4. Why me? Could someone else do this?
  5. If I act unhappy about this request, can I get out of it?
  6. Can I postpone doing this?
  7. If I offer an alternative, will they choose my way instead?
  8. If I argue or claim this isn't fair, can I get out of this?
  9. What's in it for me?

To avoid resistance to requests, you need to set yourself up for success by establishing what your standard is when you ask or tell your young child to do something. Let's take these one by one:

Do I really have to? Anytime you back down...

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Taking the Time to Know Your Child

In many ways, as parents we are the architect of our children's future. We choose to expose them to this or that and we seek to help them find their place in the world. If we are forever busy and rushed, we may miss the clues that tell us what our children truly love to do and who they want to be. It's not so much that we create them and we discover who they already are. As the parent of six very different children, I've seen first hand how they come into the world their own person, each one unique and precious.

My now adult children like to remind me of something I said or did that I have absolutely no memory of and then watch me be totally surprised and often chagrined. But there is one story that my son, Dane, tells that makes me...

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