Healthy Families by guest blogger Jen Dunlap

Most of us are always striving to take better care of our health and the health of our children. Summer is a great time to make family health a priority. Pursuing better health can be a family affair! Family bike rides, hiking, swimming, the possibilities are endless. Exercise is one component to being healthy, the other is better eating. Modeling healthy eating is so important and a great way to model healthy eating is to eat meals together. All the experts agree about the importance of the family having dinner together. Family dinners are a win/win. We can prepare and eat a healthy meal, and spend time together. Family meals make it easy to reconnect after long, busy days. Family Meal Time Kids can get involved in helping to prepare meals, and often they are more likely to try something new if they have been involved in helping to prepare the dish. Some families have a tradition of trying a new fruit or vegetable each week. Summer is a fantastic time to try lots of different fresh fruits and vegetables. Visit a local Farmer’s Market or Farm Stand with your children and let them help you pick out some different items. We have a dinner time tradition in our home called “favorite part”. My husband started it many years ago. Every night at dinner we go around the table and tell our favorite part of the day. Most days it’s something very simple, going on a bike ride, going to the store etc. We try to make the kids expand a bit and say something more than just “playing outside”, but it’s something we can doing fairly quickly and each person gets time to share about their day. It almost always sparks further conversation and allows all of us to catch up. Through exercise and healthy eating, we are teaching our children that we are striving to be good stewards of the body God has entrusted us with. We need to take good care of our body, it’s the only one we have! Jen blogs at Forever, For Always, No Matter What. She has one amazing husband and six eclectic kids. Stop in for a visit as she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption, all while trying to fit in exercise and healthy eating.

Jen can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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Growing up, Saturday mornings were reserved for chores.

Growing up, Saturday mornings were reserved for chores. We had to get our chores done before we could go outside and play. You would think we would hurry to finish our chores, but the dread of doing them made us procrastinate so much, by the time they were complete it was already afternoon! To keep the same thing happening this summer in your family, use these fun cleaning games. Your kids will be excited to help and the chores will be complete before you know it!

http://b-inspiredmama.com/2013/06/cleaning-games-for-kids/

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June 8, 2013 · 1:47 pm

Summer Bucket List

Now that this weekend is the unofficial start of summer, we would like to help you and your family enjoy it to the max! Make a bucket list of things for you and your family to enjoy together this summer and during Labor Day Weekend, go through and see how many things you can cross off! It’s a sure way to make the most of your summer and leave your kids with memories to last a lifetime! Need inspiration for bucket list items? Here is a link to a bucket list already created! http://www.foreverforalwaysnomatterwhat.com/2013/05/summer-bucket-list-with-printable.html

 

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Keeping your kids hydrated this summer!

When we think of summer, one of the first things that comes to mind is water! The ocean, the lake, the pool, a backyard pond. But how often do we think about how much water our kids are TAKING in and not just PLAYING in? Here are some tips from Parents Magazine to help you keep your kids hydrated this summer. 
 

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Spring Cleaning

 

It’s that time of year again when the weather starts getting nicer and the winter clothes get packed away to make room for short sleeves and shorts. However, this glorious weather brings with it the dreaded spring cleaning. This spring, we are determined to make it not only more fun but also meaningful for the whole family! While this plan might take some preparation, it will be worth it in the long run when your kids are excited to help and give away old clothes and toys.

A few days before the big day, introduce your kids to the joy of giving to others through age appropriate books.

Toddlers/ Preschoolers: The Berenstain Bears Think Of Those in Need by Stan Berenstain http://www.amazon.com/Berenstain-Bears-Think-Those-First/dp/0679889574/ref=cm_lmf_tit_3

Early Elementary: Too Many Toys by David Shannon http://www.amazon.com/Too-Many-Toys-David-Shannon/dp/0439490294/ref=sr_1_62?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363788711&sr=1-62&keywords=giving

Elementary: I Can Make A Difference! A Sweet Story of Giving by Julie Sexson http://www.amazon.com/Make-Difference-Sweet-Story-Giving/dp/1592983642/ref=sr_1_58?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363788199&sr=1-58&keywords=giving

Middle School: A Kid’s Guide to Giving by Freddi Zeiler http://www.amazon.com/Kids-Guide-Giving-Freddi-Zeiler/dp/B002YX0B14/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Start going through items in your children’s room, beginning with their clothes. Anything they have grown out or won’t wear again, ask them to put in the donation pile, reminding them of how good it feels to give to those who need it. Next, move to books and lastly toys. By the time they get to their toys, they should be used to thinking through things they need or would rather give to other kids to play with.

3. Find a charity online that gives used toys, clothes and books to children in need. Here are some examples:

http://www.clothingdonations.org/donate-old-clothes-to-charity/?gclid=CIPPx9nMi7YCFckx4AodzTUAOQ

http://www.donationtown.org/donation-pick-up.html

http://www.freecycle.org/

Schedule a pick up or find a drop-off location and have your children with you. Remind them of how excited the children who receive their clothes, books and toys will be when they receive them. Don’t forget to tell your children how proud you are of them for giving up their toys to other kids.

Good luck and happy cleaning!

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A Family That Prays Together, Stays Together

Prayer has always been a main priority in our household.  Growing up, my parents made it a priority to pray together as a family every night.  This has never been an easy task.  With seven kids, spanning over the course of twelve years, we didn’t have a lot in common when we were younger.  One thing we did have in common?  Our family prayers.

No matter what stage of life we were in, we were never excused from family prayers.  If someone had a game or practice, the family waited.  If we were in the car, we turned off the radio and prayed.  This still rings true to this day.  With my siblings ages ranging from 29 to 17, if we are home, we participate in family prayers.  You can never be too old to pray as a family.

We didn’t make it easy on my parents, and put up a fight against it on several occasions.  There were multiple occasions when there was complaining and eye rolling- the classic “I’m too cool to hang out with my family,” – but by the end of prayers, that attitude was gone.  My mom has always said, “A family that prays together, stays together.”  If you make the effort to pray, God will do the rest.

Our prayers started out small.  We gathered in the family room and each person went around and did their prayers of thanksgiving and petition.  As we grew, so did our family prayers.  Our nightly routine now consists of a litany of prayers, that expands well over ten minutes.  Family prayers has given myself, as well as my siblings, a solid faith foundation to lean on constantly.  It gives me comfort and hope, and a feeling of importance.  Developing a solid prayer life for your children takes time and patience, but it is something that will be with them for the rest of their lives.

How does your family pray?

Please leave any questions or comments below.

 By Mary Greenhalgh

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Make Small Deposits In Your Child Each Day

Have you ever met a parent that wasn’t busy??  I don’t care if you have one child or “19 and counting”.  If you are raising children in today’s world you are busy!  We all want what is best when it comes to raising our children.  Because we are so busy we tend to look for that one thing or that secret sauce.  The truth is this, that “one thing” does not exist.  Focus on the relationship you are building with your child or children.  And remember that relationships are not always full of good news and warm fuzzies.  There are tough decisions and tough conversations that have to happen.   Learn to appreciate them both! Think of each one as an opportunity to make a small deposit in your child that will sprout and bear fruit one day.  All of those deposits will add up over time.  You WILL have the relationship that you want to have with your child.  Communicate, educate and hold them accountable with love! Remember that relationships take time.  Time with YOU:)

We have developed a tool for parents that will create coaching opportunities with your child on a regular basis.  The key to using the system is the “accountability” card that changes each week.  Each time your child brings you the card, think of it as an opportunity to make a small deposit.   check out our website and tell us what you think….. http://102030Go.com

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