After The Run

The title of this post applies equally to getting through Halloween and to the Turn Back the Clock family run that ended the weekend. Even without the trick-or-treating we had lots of activities and treats. My preschooler had a harvest party and my son was dismissed early as it was the end of conference week. We spend Friday and Saturday with family and friends and were glad to be able to enjoy Sunday with just our family unit.

We walked up to the local park to participate in the run. The kids had a good time and we enjoyed the lovely fall walk on the way there and back.

We spend the rest of the afternoon playing games and enjoying each others company. Scheduling downtime is as important for family health as physical fitness. Don’t we always know when the kids have had a little too much fun?

Halloween Ideas

Another candy-filled holiday is fast approaching. There is candy everywhere – school, PTA activities, stores, etc. What is a mom to do?

In our family we have a tradition that is a little different that most.  I am blessed to have my parents nearby and we spend every Halloween with them. We carve pumpkins ( I like doing it last minutes so I can roast them later), watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, drink “Witch’s Brew,” eat a fun dinner and have cupcakes (I did mention grandparents right?). This year my the kids are looking forward to pumpkin chili, pumpkin brownies and pumpkin cider. My oldest is 7 now and has never wanted to go Trick-or-Treating, preferring to be spoiled at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. This may change at some point, but for now everyone is happy and I am thankful.

If this doesn’t sound like a good time to you, here are a few other ideas and recipes for fun:

  • Trick-or-Treating with the Switch Witch – The idea here is that most of the sugary treats are traded for a fun toy. Check out this funny video for a more dramatized explanation: http://www.mamanatural.com/the-switch-witch/
  • Throw your own Halloween party with a few friends and some healthy/creepy treats. My Pinterest favorites include satsuma “pumpkins” and yogurt-covered banana “ghosts.” Include classic games such as Bobbing-for-Apples and Pin-the-Face-on-the-Pumpkin. The kids may also enjoy carving faces into an apple and filling with with cheese or nut butter.
  • Halloween book and movie night
    • Movies
      • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (this is the only on on the list that my kids have seen)
      • Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie
      •  Ghost Busters
      • Hocus Pocus
      •  E.T.
    • Books for Preschool through First-Grade (or longer)
      • Berenstein Bears Trick-or-Treat
      • The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
      • The Legend of Spookly the Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano
      • Curious George Goes to a Costume Party by Margaret Rey
      • The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
  • Make Witch’s Brew – this idea comes from my mom, Debbie Bearden. Combine fruit juice and sparkling water (or sparkling cider) and pour into a bowl with dry ice. The resultiing fog will be a guaranteed hit with the kids.

Are birthday’s stressful?

Birthday celebrations consumed most of my time and energy last week as by youngest child turned 5. I often struggle with the balance of doing what I believe is best for my children’s health and not wanting them to feel deprived. Our culture makes closely links birthdays and holidays with junk food. There always seems to be another party with more cake around the corner. It would prefer that we focused on the celebration rather than the sugar. Until then I will dread birthday party invitations from other children.

The custom in our house is that  the birthday boy/girl gets to pick the menu for the day.
The advantage of giving the kids of choice of menu is that I can control the ingredients in a way I can’t by ordering take out or going out. I also save a lot of money.

My daughter kept me hopping with requests for waffles, eggplant strata, roasted broccoli and cauliflower (vegetable side required) and blueberry cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. This girl knows what she wants.

Lucky for us both that I have a slight addiction to cookbooks. The eggplant recipe came from Well Fed, and the waffles from The Paleo Kitchen. The cupcakes were simply a muffin recipe (I used one from Practical Paleo) with pretty liners and a few melted chocolate chips on top for frosting. I used crushed freeze-dried strawberries for the “sprinkles” and not the bottles of GMO sugar and artificial food dyes that are found on grocery store shelves.

My daughter loved her meal and the celebration and I got to feel good about feeding her real food. Win-win!

For the rest of the day we focused on celebrating this lively girl with experiences such as running errands in her favorite pajamas and going to the library. Some days the balance isn’t so hard.