Every Mom is a SuperMom

Have you ever told a close friend that they were a “SuperMom”?

You likely felt like they had it all together while you were falling apart inside. You felt scattered, frustrated, overwhelmed and ready to throw you your arms while the woman next to you seemed to be successfully juggling more than you.

We are all supermoms. God made you the perfect mom for your family. AlexisMathews.com

 

I’ve been there. Done that. 

And God lead me to the following which I’m honored to be guest posting on the 2:1 conference blog.

Read why you are a SuperMom, in fact everyone is a SuperMom here.

Navigating Special Events With A Food Allergy Child

5 tips for eating out and traveling when you have children with food allergies or sensitivities.

Davonne is guest posting today on the topic of children with food allergies and sensitivities. Please join us as we hear her personal story of parenting a child with food allergies.

Navigating Special Events With A Food-Allergy Child

With so many GMOs, more and more kids are developing food allergies and special events are becoming more challenging than ever before.

Since my husband is lactose intolerant, I have a gluten sensitivity, and one of my children needs to eat gluten-free as well, we’ve gone completely gluten-free and dairy-free at home. I’ve also spent the past several months learning how to navigate food at places like church potlucks, dinners with extended family, birthday parties, and homeschool events.

Here are five things I’ve learned about navigating special events when dealing with food allergies and sensitivities:

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The Truth You’ve Never Been Told About Peanuts

Peanuts

Peanuts are a staple in the Standard American Diet (SAD) with peanut butter being the most common way Americans consume the tree nut each and everyday. What could possibly be wrong with something that is so widely consumed?

Simple. Aflatoxin. 

What is aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a potent cancer causing toxin produced from a mold found on maize, peanuts, and in peanut butter. This toxin is the most widely researched mycotoxin in the world. The fungi that produces aflatoxin as a by product of its metabolism thrives in warm and wet climates so the amount of contamination will vary based on climate. In addition to being a carcinogen, aflatoxin can also cause acute poisoning in humans.*

Although I’ve simplified and understated the effects that aflatoxin can have on humans, why would you continue to eat peanuts and peanut butter as well as feed it to your children knowing what you do know?

Our job as caring and loving parents is to look out for the well being of our children, both emotionally and physically. Are you looking out for your child’s physical well being if you continue to feed them peanut butter knowing the effects that the aflatoxin contained in that peanut butter could cause them cancer?

As you can see in this FDA document, there are strict inspection guidelines for testing aflatoxin in domestic and imported sources with a limit of 20 parts per billion (ppb). However, there is great discussion regarding the set limit of 20ppb. Is this a truly safe limit for aflatoxin contamination? Perhaps, as we’ve seen in other contamination cases researchers may discover later that 20ppb is far too high for safe hman consumption. There is just no way to know right now what the true safe limit is. Are you willing to put the safety and health of your family in the hands of researchers who will most likely change their mind about safe aflatoxin limits in our food supply at a later date?

Peanuts and peanut butter alternatives

Knowing what you do know about a cancer causing toxin in our peanut and peanut butter supply we need to find a safe alternative so our children can still enjoy their childhood staple of “PB&J”.

Thankfully there are a number of other safe nut butters available that we can pair with our favorite jelly to make lunchtime sandwiches.

Nut butters that work well on sandwiches or paired with fruit and vegetables (celery) include almond, cashew, hazelnut, macadamia, and pecan butter. I want to encourage you to find which peanut butter alternative you and your family prefer. Keep in mind you may prefer almond butter on sandwiches but enjoy cashew butter more with celery or apples for example. Personally, my family and I enjoy almond butter with everything although I am experimenting and encouraging my family to try a variety of nut butters.

Unfortunately, nut butters can be very expensive. To save on our monthly food budget while still providing my family the healthiest food possible, I make our almond butter. You might enjoy our maple almond butter recipe.

Moral of this story is to stay educated and never assume that an old family favorite is healthy or safe. Stay informed and stay healthy.

Sources: EHSO & Dr. Mercola

Don’t Hide the Vegetables

Don't hide the vegetables in your toddlers food. alexismathews.com

Are you a parent of a toddler (or 3 like myself)?

It is well known and often times thoroughly discussed among toddler parents that children generally dislike vegetables with a passion. So much so in fact that parents have had to take extreme measures to make sure their children are getting sufficient servings of vegetables everyday. Or perhaps, if you child is a steadfast non-vegetable eater you are happy with a few servings a week.

I have also sat in on many a conversation with my mom friends as they discussed the various and ingenious ways that they had crafted to hide vegetables in their child’s food.  From cutting them up into teeny weeny pieces and adding them to spaghetti sauce. I have even heard Moms discuss various smoothie recipes they create which effectively hide nutritious servings of vegetables.

I will be the first person to tell you that sometimes these extreme measures are necessary. Especially for children that have not grown up with undisguised vegetables on their serving plate. 

There are a few reasons why hiding vegetables can become necessary:

  1. As I mentioned above, hiding vegetables can become necessary when a child has not grown up seeing vegetables served on their plate.
  2. Secondly, it is a well known fact that children look to their parents for food guidance. If the parents aren’t eating vegetables themselves then the children certainly won’t either.
  3. Lastly, sometimes parents give up too quickly when trying to serve their children a new vegetable. If the child refuses once, most parents won’t try again. You have to serve a child a food regularly to expose them to it and eventually they will learn to like it.

As a mother of three toddlers, twin three year old girls and a younger two year old son, I can vehemently say that I do not hide vegetables from my toddlers or any of my children for that matter. I can also attest to the fact that my children all get a hearty daily serving of vegetables each and every day, pure, unadulterated, and prominent on their plate.

The inspiration for this post came this evening as I was sitting down to eat my dinner. As usual my toddlers had finished early and came to see what Mom was eating. Again as usual, they wanted what was on my plate. Tonight it was lightly sautéed green beans, broccoli, and zucchini. I ate maybe three bites of my vegetables before two of my toddlers devoured every last bite on my plate. Yes, they ate green beans, broccoli, and zucchini right off of my plate without the slightest bit of disguise.

How did I teach my children, including my 2 and 3 year olds to enjoy vegetables?

Simple, I didn’t make a big deal out of vegetables. I never stressed over whether they were getting enough vegetables in their daily diet. Slowly but surely they learned to enjoy the fresh veggies they were regularly served. And that is the key, we regularly serve fresh veggies to all of our children. We don’t smother them in salt, butter, or any other things to mask the taste. Our vegetables are typically lightly sautéed in EVOO or in fresh green salads, nothing more nothing less. 

Also, my children see my husband and I happily eating our vegetables everyday. They haven’t grown up with the concept that vegetables are something to be avoided. We happily embrace our vegetables, even before we chose a vegan lifestyle. 

Lastly, don’t stress over your child eating vegetables. Trust me when I say that if you regularly serve your child vegetables they will learn to eat them, you just have to stop hiding them in the first place.

To summarize, how to teach your children to enjoy vegetables;

  1. Don’t make a big deal out of eating and enjoying vegetables.
  2. Let your children see you eat the same vegetables you served them on their plate.
  3. Don’t stress over how many vegetables your child is eating, they will learn to love them. You just have to stop hiding them.

I’d like to encourage you to stop hiding the vegetables in your toddler’s food but rather serve them in their natural whole state. By doing so you are beginning to teach your children to love vegetables, not avoid them.

What is your child’s favorite vegetable? 

If you are looking for some toddler friendly recipes which include vegetables you might enjoy Incredible Indian Pancakes, Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup, or Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

You Owe it to Your Children to Make this Change

You Owe it to Your Children to Make this Change. www.alexismathews.com

Yesterday, as my nine year old son and I were driving home from a fun afternoon of swimming with the family we got into a pretty deep conversation. A conversation in which we discussed the fact that once you have children every decision you make in life has to be decided with your children in mind.

Although my son and I weren’t talking specifically about health related decisions our conversation could have easily included this topic.

Everyday I have at least one child in my lap happily eating off of my plate. They may have been served the very same meal but everything tastes better from Mommy’s plate and when eaten while sitting on Mommy’s lap.

I welcome my children onto my lap during meal time because I know these moments are fleeting and I want to absorb every last minute with my children while they are young while I am able.

I also welcome children on my lap while I eat because it encourages them to eat what I am eating. I have found that my children, especially the toddlers are more likely to eat vegetables when they see them on my plate and enjoy them from my lap. I want my children to learn to love a wide variety of foods from a very young age so I always allow them to sit on my lap while I eat.

Knowing that a child is more than likely going to wind up eating from my plate also gives me incentive to choose more wisely when I serve myself a meal. I aim to set a good example of foods to eat and others to avoid based on the choices I make throughout the day.

I eat healthy because I owe it to my children. They deserve to have their Mom around for as long as possible and my life expectancy is directly related to the foods I choose to eat each and everyday.

I owe it to my children to teach them healthy eating habits from the time they start solid foods.

I owe it to my children to exercise regularly so that I am healthy and live longer.

I owe it to my children to welcome them with open arms when they want to eat from my plate.

I owe it to my children to set a good example with the foods I eat.

Every decision I make, food related or not takes the well being and happiness of my children into account because I owe it to them. All 7 of them!

I live a healthy life because I owe it to my children!

Where is your motivation to live a healthy life?

Cure Pink Eye with Essential Oils Recipe

Cure pink eye naturally with this essential oils recipe. www.alexismathews.com

*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on these links you are helping to support this page and my family. It does not cost you anything but I will earn a portion of your purchase. Thank you for your support*

It is safe to say that I absolutely detest pink eye, otherwise know as conjunctivitis. About 6 years ago, what should have been a one week battle with pink eye turned into nearly a month of annoying discharge and painful red eyes. After that experience, any little eye discharge with an itch has me on high alert.

A few days ago I noticed that a few of my children had an increase in eye discharge, a couple of them to the point that it was caking their lower eye lids. Their eyes weren’t red and they weren’t complaining of itchiness but I could tell a virus was trying to take a foothold in their eyes. Then when I woke up one morning with the same eye junk and itchiness I knew an infection was spreading through our eyes. 

 

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed

I had to get ahead of this infection before it got worse and spread throughout my family of nine.

After some research I decided to try a mixture of essential oils shown to have antibacterial properties and help with inflammation. I was thrilled with the results. This simple and inexpensive recipe cured all of us of our pink eye.

Pink Eye Essential Oil Recipe

10 drops eucalyptus
5 drops lavender
5 drops tea tree oil

Mix in a small dish with 1T oil (jojoba oil, almond oil, grape seed oil are preferred)

Rub a small amount of the essential oil mix on the bony part under your eye. Take great caution to not get essential oils in your eye. Apply 3-5 times per day or as needed.

If your eye condition does not clear up or gets worse please seek medical attention immediately. Certain types of conjunctivitis can damage you eye sight if left unattended. 
  

Your Health Matters, Make a Change Today

Your health matters, make a change for the better today. 5 tips for making today healthier than yesterday. www.alexismathews.com

Consider the following questions.

When you look in the mirror how do you feel? What are the first thoughts that honestly and truly run through your mind? What about how you feel on the inside? How is your overall health? Have you ever thought “I wish I had more energy.”, “I wish I had the energy to run after my young children all day.”?

Or perhaps you’ve been told by your doctor that for your health and well being you need to lose some weight.

If your answers to any of the questions above leave you feeling like it is time to make a change in your eating habits, exercise routine, and overall health the time to change is NOW.

Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not the first of the month. Today, right now, immediately. There is no time to waste. You owe it to yourself and your family to change your unhealthy habits today.

Now that you’ve decided to improve your health, what does that mean and how do you begin?

5 steps to take today to reclaim your your health today:

  1. Get rid of all of the processed and junk food in your kitchen. The temptation to fall back into your unhealthy eating habits will be too strong if the unhealthy food is within arms reach. While you are at it, vow to not buy processed foods. There are limitless healthy, real food options to replace the convenience foods you use as a crutch.
  2. Establish an exercise routine that fits easily in your schedule. For some this means getting up an hour early or for others it means not plopping down on the couch after dinner. There is time in your day to exercise I promise, you just have to make it a priority and give up something else that is taking away from your health. Do your little ones still nap during the day? Grab 20-30 minutes while they sleep and do an exercise video. Perhaps you can make exercise a family event, get everyone on their bikes or in the stroller and head out for a walk/jog, now the whole family is improving their healthy not just you. Find an exercise you can tolerate in the beginning, I promise you that you will either learn to love it and crave it or you will stumble upon something else that you enjoy more. The key is to just get out there an move!
  3. Make eating healthy easy. Pre-cook and pre-plan your healthy meals. I always have at least 2-3 types of beans cooked and in our outside refrigerator. I also make sure to have cashew cream, hummus, rice, and couscous (or quinoa) in the refrigerator ready to eat. Pre-cooking staples in our diet takes the hassle and guess work out of preparing healthy meals quickly and easily for my large family.
  4. Set a daily water intake goal. Water is our lifeline. When in a survival situation you can go a lot longer without food than you can without water. Water is the number one way our body flushes toxins from our system. Just like taking a shower, drinking water helps to keep our body clean and healthy. Your daily water intake goal should be 2/3 your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 100 ounces of filtered water every day.
  5. Give yourself grace. Not everyday is going to be perfect but you shouldn’t allow yourself to continue making unhealthy lifestyle choices simply because it is easier than doing nothing. If you have a piece of candy, don’t eat more than one. If you don’t meet your water intake goal every day, give yourself grace. There is always tomorrow to build upon and grow from the lessons you learned today. Just don’t let yourself repeat the mistakes from today and fall into your old unhealthy lifestyle habits.

You owe it to yourself to make a change in your lifestyle for the better today!

What steps are you going to take today to make yourself and your life a priority?

When Your Health Hits Rock Bottom

Encouragement for when your health hits rock bottom and your are ready to make a change.

Stop for minute and consider your health and well being.

What has brought you to the point you find yourself at in life right now?

Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle choices are most often a reflection of other challenges in our lives. We turn to comfort food and lazy choices as a crutch for our struggles. It is easier to eat fast food and sit on the couch than it is to face our problems and make positive changes.

Making changes takes energy and motivation, something we all possess when the time is right. You have to be in the right place in life though to realize that your health has to be the number one priority. You matter for not only yourself but your family, your children, and your friends. If you continue down the unhealthy lifestyle road you are currently on you won’t be around for those that matter the most in your life.

The time to change is now.

Yes it is easier to just continue living life as you have, dependent on convenience and processed foods, guzzling soda instead of water, grabbing a sugar filled mid-day pick-me-up because you are so exhausted. I agree whole heartedly a life of convenience is easier than the healthier alternative.

The question you have to ask yourself though is what is most important? Convenience or your health?

If you sit on the edge of the playground because you are too tired to play with your children at the park or you can’t get through the day without a nap, the time to change is NOW.

If you just got word that you have a new health condition, undeniably the time to change is NOW.

If you’ve been battling an auto-immune disease, go in for frequent checks of your thyroid, monitor your blood sugar, have skin issues that just won’t go away, or a whole myriad of other undesirable health conditions the time to change is NOW.

Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not the first of the month, and not when your friend is ready to make the change with you. The time to change is NOW.

Do you get what I’m trying to say here? There is truly no time to lose when it comes to your health. Every bite of unhealthy food, every guzzle of high fructose corn syrup filled drink you consume is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to your health.

No one else can make the change but you. The greasy, sugar filled convenience foods you continue to eat do not affect anyone else but you. Stuffing your face with junk because you are sad or mad or lazy doesn’t make anything in your life better. It certainly isn’t going to make you happy or more energetic. Eating junk will continue to make you feel like junk, both on the inside and the outside.

The old adage is true, you are what you eat!

So where are you today, right now? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to put yourself and your health first?

Every addict has to hit rock bottom. No you aren’t addicted to illegal drugs but you are an addict just the same. You are addicted to the lifestyle you currently live. The time to make a change in your health is today, the time is NOW.

You can do this, you owe it to yourself first and foremost. You are worth it! Don’t fill your body with junk, you deserve better than that. You only have one body and one life to live. Make the most of each and every day. Don’t drag yourself and your life down by eating fatty sugar filled convenience foods. Build yourself up with nutrient dense fresh foods. Truly, you are worth so much more than the junk food you’ve grown accustomed to eating. 

Keep your portions in control and make healthy food and drink choices. The changes in your mood, appearance, and energy levels will astound you. You might just wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner.

The time to change is NOW!

What is the cause of your health hitting rock bottom? Why are you ready to make a change in your healthy lifestyle journey now? I’d love to hear from you!

Fun in the Sun with Your Family

Fun family outdoor activities

*This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog and my family. Thank you for your support*

Living in Southern California, it is often said we pay a “sunshine tax” because we have nearly year round sunshine. As a family we are outside enjoying the sun nearly everyday, soaking in the sun and making fun family memories together. During the summer though when the temperatures begin to soar my family and I love to flock to the water to stay cool, have fun, and make memories.

This summer my husband and I are packing each and every day with as much outdoor family fun as possible. Our motivation for packing this summer with outdoor fun is simply to make as many fun family memories as possible and make this most of this time in our children’s childhoods. If we aren’t intentional in our memory making activities it is very easy to procrastinate and let time pass us by with nothing to show for family memories when our children are young.

Fun family outdoor activities

No matter where you live or what you enjoy doing outdoors with your family there is plenty of fun to be had in the sun. To make the most of this summer, BE INTENTIONAL!

Be intentional with your time and outdoor activity choices. For my family being intentional means weekly beach trips and weekly (minimum) trips to the pool. Having a regular schedule this summer gives us something to look forward to each week. Just like when I was young, my children and I meet a few other families at the beach once a week. I have incredibly fond memories of that time in my childhood and I am so grateful for the time this summer that my children are spending with their friends building sand castles and playing in the waves.

Beach CollageFun family outdoor activities

Making the most out of our time in the sun this summer requires some toys and supplies to help keep my littles ones busy. I was so excited to see the outdoor toys on sale at our local Kmart earlier this summer. With seven kids,  we need lots of toys and can’t afford to spend a fortune on toys that are easily forgotten at the beach. Kmart came through this summer and saved us serious money. If beach and pool toys aren’t what you are looking for, you will find a huge selection of other outdoor toys including pools, play tables, swing sets and much more.

Fun family outdoor activities

No matter what your outdoor activity of choice is, make sure your family is safe doing what they love. For my family this means making sure all of our children are water safe. This summer our children are all nearly water safe and are very comfortable in and around the pool. Of our 7 children, the only one who is not water safe is one of our 3 year twins who has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy.  Everyday that we are at the pool we continue to work with her on kicking and water safety. Teaching our children to swim from a young age has always been a huge priority in our family.

Here is a fun video my husband took this past weekend in slow motion of one of our sons having fun in the pool.

Even if the water is not your favorite outdoor activity, there are limitless possibilities for your family to have fun and enjoy the outdoors this summer. Just get outside, enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer, and most importantly make amazing lifetime memories with your family.

Fun family outdoor activities

If you would like to follow more summer fun posts like this one be sure and use #KMartSummerFun across social media platforms.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Preserving Childhood Memories with Journals

Journals

I started scrapbooks for two of my older children when they were newborns in hopes of creatively documenting their childhood.  Quickly however, I realized that scrapbooking wasn’t going to work long-term as a way to preserve my children’s childhood memories. Instead I eventually turned to journals. Today I am guest posting over at Paradise Praises, please join me there to read the entire story of how and why journaling is my favorite way to preserve childhood memories.