Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Feeding Your Family

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared recipes, stories, and advice about food and eating. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Obese. I never thought I would hear the word used to describe my body. When I heard that word the truth is that I felt emotions I have been feeling my entire life: defeated, disappointed, and ashamed. To have that word placed into my medical record was the undeniable confirmation that my body and my health have slipped beyond my control. I knew that something had to change. So I want to share a little about my story and how it has changed the way I think about food, body image, and health as a parent.I was ten years old when I first became conscious of my body-image. Since then I’ve been on a journey filled with ups and downs, emotionally and physically. Then, I experience pregnancy and all the beautiful, but terrifying changes of my body..But, in the year since my daughter was born, I gained more weight than during my entire pregnancy and I gained over 40 lbs during pregnancy. I got caught up in the joys and responsibilities of being a mom and the neglect of myself finally caught up with me.

So I decided its time that I change my path a little bit. The best thing I can do for myself and my family is make meaningful, slow, and practical lifestyle change; ones that are not only good for myself, but for my daughter.

Decide that My Health is Important

I love that being a mom means that I have to think about someone more than myself. But I still do need to think about myself sometimes. My health is important so that I can be there for my daughter at my full potential.

Make My Health a Priority

Some times that change in perspective is enough and the changes just happen, but I realized that I need to put more time, thought, and effort into it. As a full-time mom and student, I don’t always feel like I have the time to do anything additional like exercise or plan healthier meals. If it means I need to stay up an hour later at night searching Pinterest for meal ideas (for someone with limited cooking skills) or doing sit ups on the floor, then that’s what it takes.

Worry More About Nutrition than Calories

As a teenager, I became obsessed with my weight. The irony was that I watched everything I ate, but I wasn’t exactly health-conscious. All I cared about was the number of calories, not weather the food was healthy. As a parent of an often picky eater, sometimes I worry too much about getting her to eat, that I’ll give her something that I know will get her to eat a little. This doesn’t always lead to a balanced diet.

I Am the Role Model

My dream for my daughter is that she won’t face the struggles I’ve experienced. I hope that I can share with her a love of good, healthy food, self-confidence, and how to live a healthy, active life style. But that means teaching and changing myself first. Every time I drink my soda, I see her watching me. For now, she doesn’t know the difference as a pass her a water, but someday my actions won’t be so easy to hide. Better to make the changes now while she is young.

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Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon November 12 with all the carnival links.)


  • Nut Free Desserts for the Holidays — Becky at Crafty Garden Mama will be talking about navigating the holidays with peanut allergies in the family.
  • Making Peace with My Picky Eater — Once upon a time, there was a boy who would try anything. And then he turned 3. Thus began the dinner chronicles at Dionna at Code Name: Mama's house.
  • Foodie Morphed by Motherhood — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis reflects on the changes of her family’s food culture since becoming a mother, and shares a snapshot of their current food rhythm.
  • Introducing First Foods — Wondering what your little one should take a bite of first? That Mama Gretchen explains baby-led weaning/baby self-feeding and answers a number of questions that may come to mind!
  • Feeding Your Family — Coconut Oil!!! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama is a coconut oil devotee. In this post, she shares her favorite ways to include coconut oil in her family’s diet as well as why she feels it is important to do so.
  • We Thank the Earth for its Food! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle spends hours in the kitchen each day trying to make medicine in the form of food.
  • Focusing on Healthy, Gluten-Free Foods for My Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares what her family is doing to eat healthily along with her recipe for gluten-free peanut butter oat bran muffins.
  • Intolerance — sustainablemum laments the misunderstanding surrounding food intolerances.
  • Don’t Let Food Sensitivities Ruin Your Holidays! — Rachel, the Titus 2 Homemaker, talks about ways to enjoy the holidays even if you wrestle with food sensitivities.
  • Losing grains, keeping empathy: Paleo and fat acceptance — Lauren at Hobo Mama vlogs about her family’s decision to cut grains to improve health — and hopes she can retain her position as a proponent of size acceptance even as she loses weight.
  • Easy Homemade Crockpot Mac & Cheese — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work, shakes off the blue-box blues with an easy crockpot mac-and-cheese recipe with no artificial dyes or excessive preservatives … just creamy, delicious, comfort-food goodness.
  • Extended Family Dinners — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about sharing family dinners with housemates and why it works for her.
  • Five Suggestions for Eating Healthy During the Holidays — No need to feel powerless when it comes to our highly sugared/processed food culture during the holidays &emdash; Andrea at It Takes Time offers tips to stay on track.
  • How to feed your family — no food required! — Jessica at JessicaCary.com is kind of obsessed with food. But, lately she’s realized there’s more to nourishment than what she cooks up in the kitchen.
  • Food as family medicine: living gluten-free and beyond — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama sticks to her gluten-free guns but sees room for improvement in her pursuit of a real-food family table.
  • Feeding My Family — Challenges and Growth — Susan at Together Walking shares what has been most challenging about feeding her two kids and how she has grown in the kitchen since becoming a mother.
  • How I Lost 75 Lbs — What I Eat & My Top 5 Tips — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how she and her family became healthy, happy and active.
  • The Weight of Motherhood — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution rethinks her relationship with food after struggling with post-pregnancy weight gain.
  • Geek Food: Pumpkin Pasties — While Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and family might have food sensitivities, their geekery knows no limits. So, when faced with a desire to recreate Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter, they do not shy away!
  • Pumpkin Harvest Muffins — This summer Mama is Inspired and family grew pumpkins, and this autumn they are baking scrumptious, healthy muffins out of those pumpkins.
  • Reintroducing Meat to the Vegetarian Tummy — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares some of the considerations she explored before transitioning from a vegetarian diet to reintroducing meat as a protein source and a few tips on making it an easy one.
  • Thanksgiving Meal, Thankful? — Jorje of Momma Jorje has never felt terribly thankful for Thanksgiving itself. Perhaps that could change if she’s a little more invested?
  • 5 Ways to Use Healing Bone Broth — It’s that time of year again, when unpleasant little bugs make their way into our homes. For Megan of Boho Mama, guest posting at Natural Parents Network, homemade stock or bone broth is a natural remedy.
 
 
Over the past few months, I’ve participated in several blog carnivals. I’ve had a great time! Some great blog carnivals have been the Carnival of Natural ParentingAuthentic Parening Blog Carnival, and the Simply Living Blog Carnival

My top four favorite things about blog carnivals are:

Inspiration + Motivation

Even when writing is your passion, its easy to find your self with writers block. I feel like writing is a creative outlet for me and since I struggle with creative expression, its really important for me to keep up my writing practice. Blog carnivals are like writing prompts. Finding a new blog carnival is like challenging myself to write about something new. 

Build Community

Participating in a blog carnival means that you are part of a community of other bloggers that share an interest in a topic. In my case, most of the participants are parents. As a mom, having a community of other parents is important to me. I enjoy connecting, I enjoy support, I enjoy resources. 

Get a Different Perspective

In every community, there are differences of opinion. After I write for a blog carnival, I get to hear other peoples perspective on the same topic. I get to hear from parents who have multiple children or older children, teacher-parents, and all kinds of families. 

Reach a New Audience

I wouldn’t say this is my primary goal of doing blog carnivals, but as a blogger, I do enjoy when other people read my writing. New visitors - the other bloggers and their readers - are a great part of blog carnivals. 

 
 
Welcome to the October edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival -Enjoyment cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura atAuthentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what brings joy to our lives. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.

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"Don’t do anything that isn’t play" was a big lesson in enjoyment that I took away from reading Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. I think this wisdom goes a long way towards shifting perspectives so that we can find the enjoyment even in our “chores” and “responsibilities.” Which is something I struggle with a lot. I have a very hard time enjoying doing the dishes, laundry, even driving because I think of all the things that also need my attention or task I would rather do. 

But Rosenberg offered a challenge to his readers. Think about I time when you used the phrase, “I have to/I should [clean the house, walk the dog, go grocery shopping, pay bill]”? Have you ever justified doing something with the phrase “I don’t want to, but I have to”? I know I have. I say it unconsciously all day. 

Now reconstruct that thought using the words “I want to ___ because I need ___.” So in my case, instead of complaining “I have to clean the room because my daughter made a mess.” I might say “I want to clean the room because I need a certain amount of order and cleanliness in my living space.”

This shift in focus does a few things. It helps point our attention into a positive mindset. Instead of focusing the reasons we have to do something on others (kids, pets, the government), we focus on why we need to do this, the choice we are making and the good things that we receive from doing things we don’t always find enjoyable. 

So for example, I decided that my needs for order and cleanliness were not as important as my needs for rest/relaxation, I feel more liberated to make the conscious choice to not clean right now. It might seem cliche or even simplistic to say we don’t really have to do anything.  But the truth is we do have a choice. We can always choose not do something; just sometimes we have to experience the undesirable outcomes of that choice. 

When I choose to focus on why I want to do something and what need it fulfills for me - instead of seeing it as a burden or something I’m forced to do - I find that even my most despised tasks becomes a little more enjoyable.

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Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy atLiving Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are make their lives joyful. We hope you will join us next month!

  • No, She Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night - And It’s Not So Bad! - This post on Partners in Kind is about our family sleep habits, how we tried CIO, and how our family learned to let go of the ‘standard’ in order to enjoy a good nights rest for all of us.
  • Don’t Do Anything That Isn’t Play - Momma Bee at Raising a Revolution is inspired by Marshall Rosenberg’s (nonviolent communication) advice “don’t do anything that isn’t pay” to find the enjoyment in doing even the most mundane and disliked tasks.
  • Shared Hobbies - Jorje of Momma Jorje shares her progression of hobbies, since hobbies can wax and wane. She also explains why sharing a hobby makes it the best.
  • The Joy - Relaxation Relation - At Authentic Parenting, Laura discovered how much enjoyment is related to relaxation.
  • Simply Enjoying Life - Mandy tries to focus on enjoying life at Living Peacefully with Children by cutting out some things and changing her perspective on others.