Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Whether it is decorating the tree, caroling, snow shoeing or preparing delectable truffles, ‘tis the season of traditions.

Take a minute and think of your fondest memories of the holidays. How many are connected with food? You will likely have one column that’s food related and one for “other”.  I would dare guess the majority of our holiday traditions and memories fall under the “food” column.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just might explain the average American’s holiday weight gain of 5-10 pounds.

The holidays typically combine meals with family & friends. However, there are many traditions unrelated to food that can bring together your loved ones. I love warm apple pie with ice cream as much as the next, but I really don’t want my holidays to be all about food. There needs to be a balance.

My family is still fairly young (kids ranging from 1 to 8 years old). I have a friend, in a similar season of life, ask me what traditions we have as a family. I had to stop and think. During Halloween, we carve pumpkins. When it’s Thanksgiving season, we have a “Thankful Tree” (write notes, with things we are thankful for, and tie them on a tree/house plant). Our Christmas includes sledding, seeing Christmas lights downtown and the 12 days of Christmas for a neighbor.  I then thought back to what my family did growing up. One of my fondest memories was serving Thanksgiving to the homeless. My mom has the tradition, when grandkids sleep over, she reads stories to them while having a “campout” by the Christmas tree.

I set a goal to increase healthy yet memorable traditions. I look at it as recreating tradition. The Internet is full of ideas simple to ornate. I did not want this to be a “mom is making us” type of activity.  I pulled a few ideas that would fit our budget, age range and abilities, then let the kids vote. It’s amazing how quickly kids get on board when they feel it was their idea.

Here are some possible ideas:

o   Cut down your own Christmas tree.
o   Make homemade ornaments.
o   Go caroling.
o   Volunteer at a charity, nursing home, hospital or shelter.
o   Sign the family up for a holiday 5-K walk/run.

I would love to hear what other non-food holiday traditions you have with your family. Please share in the comment section below.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Last post we talked about how to control the “Candy Monsters” leading up to and on Halloween.  We know we would be better off without the sweet treats.  I’ll be the first to confess, it’s a hard thing to limit. 

Now that Halloween is over…... 

Here are 5 ways to help you and your kids get rid of Halloween candy:
1.    “Halloween Candy buy back”- find a dentist in your area who takes it off your hands or some organizations will ship it to troops overseas.
2.    Donate the candy to your local food bank or nonprofit organizations.
3.    Create some candy crafts like gluing candy corns on a frame or wreath. I dare say that once it has glue on it, it’s not so tempting.
4.    Save the candy for Santa trains or gingerbread houses. We have a tradition in our family to make Santa trains. The candy bars are the train cars, licorice for the tracks and lifesavers for wheels.  It becomes a great neighbor gift. We leave the candy wrapped (if the candy will tempt you, hide out of site until ready to use).
5.    If you’re still worried about a possible meltdown with the little ones,     here’s an idea created by a mom for her daughter. (By Jana S. https://allpoetry.com/poem/11042941)
The Switch Witch
Have you heard of the Switch Witch
who loves Halloween?
She comes for the leftover candy
after trick-or-treating!

She's the nicest - but sneakiest -
witch of her kind,
she swipes up candies and sweets
and leaves presents behind!

She swoops from doorstep to doorstep
on a long violet broom -
her black cat rides on the back
since there's plenty of room.

She keeps all her magic
in her tall skinny hat.
She trades you - and then - she flies off!
Just like that!

So take your leftover candy
- set it out by the door
and in the morning you'll find
what she traded you for!