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.
 
 
Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Technology

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their families’ policies on screen time.

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Two weeks before my daughters first birthday, I absent-mindedly hand over my beaten up iPhone for my daughter to explore while we wait for our order at a restaurant. I love watching her smile as her own image lights up the home screen with the push of a button. 

But, when my iPhone is returned to me, I realize that its off… out of power.. BROKEN. After my initial disappointment of having to invest in a new phone, the soul crushing realization that I have just lost all my photos sets in. If your first question is “don’t you use iCloud?” (like the know-it-all over-dress Verizon employee) then my frustrated and misplaced reaction is: “of course not, you think I have time to think about (or even know about) such things with a baby under one!” So now, my favorite snapshots of me and my baby - some of our most spontaneous images from pregnancy to yesterday - are now locked within the hollow container of my phone.

The experience has made me reflect on not only the way we use electronics in our children’s daily lives - how much time we and our kids spend on that technology, but also, how we view our children’ lives through technology.

I was mad at my self as I remembered so many of the 450+ pictures I loved to scroll through. Why can’t I remember the details of too many of them? Why wasn’t I more present in that moment, why didn’t I soak up every second of those memories, why did I count on my iPhone more than myself to remind me of all those beautiful times? 

I’m not a huge picture-taker and while I enjoy my electronics, I can live without my phone for quiet a while (not-with-standing losing photos on said phone). So I was disappointed at how emotional distraught I found myself at the hands of technology. Since then, I’ve spent some time thinking about the balance of technology in my life. The sense of connection and voice that I feel verses the dependence. The ability to capture some of my most special memories versus fully experiencing those memories without the distractions of technology.

The happy ending to my story is: while I will never get back many of those 450+ photos on my iPhone, I have amazing families and friends who have helped me get back about 100 photos from the last year, including some new, different ones (but great either way). It doesn’t change the fact that I lost many of my favorite photos, but its helps. While I lost the photos, I haven’t lost the memory of those special times with my daughter. 

Lastly, I thought I would share this timely video that resonates so deeply with what I discovered in the two weeks without my phone:



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Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo 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 (list will be updated throughout the day on October 8):



  • Has Technology Taken Away Childhood? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama worries that technology is intruding on the basic premise of childhood - active play in all forms! Join her as she takes a brief look at how play has changed as technology becomes more integrated into the daily lives of our children.
  • Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Technology — Jenn atAdventures Down Under describes her children’s love of screen time and how her family implements their philosophy and policies on technology.
  • Kids Chores for Tech Privileges — Crunchy Con Mommy shares how tying chore completion to iPad privileges worked in her house to limit screen time and inspire voluntary room cleaning!
  • Screens — Without the benefit of her own experience,sustainablemum explains her family’s use of technology in their home.
  • Screen Time - The Battle of Ideologies — Laura from Laura’s Blogexplains why she is a mom who prioritizes outdoor natural play for her kids but also lets them have ample screen time.
  • The Day My iPhone Died — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution questions the role technology plays in her life when she is devastated after losing her phone’s picture collection from her daughter’s first year.
  • Finding our Technological Balance — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she finds balance between wanting her daughter to enjoy all the amazing technology available to her, without it overwhelming the natural parenting she’s striving for.
  • Raising kids who love TV — Lauren at Hobo Mama sometimes fears what children who love screentime will grow up to be … until she realizes they’ll be just like her.
  • No Limits on Screen Time? Is that Natural? — Susan at Together Walking shares misconceptions and benefits of having no limits on technology and screen time in their home.
  • Screen Time — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares what is currently working (and what hasn’t) regarding screen time in her household.
  • Positive Use of Technology with Kids — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her family’s experiences with early technology, shares helpful resources from around the blogosphere, and speculates on what she’d do as a parent with young children today.
  • why i will never quit you, TV — How Emma of Your Fonder Heartcame to terms with the fact that screen time is happening, and what balance looks like between real and virtual life for both her toddler AND herself.
  • Technology Speaks — Janet at Our Little Acorn finds many uses for technology - including giving her child a voice.
  • 5 Ways to Extend Children’s Screen Time into Creative Learning Opportunities — Looking for a way to balance screen time with other fun learning experiences? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 5 fun ways to take your child’s love of favorite shows or video games and turn them into creative educational activities.
  • What parents can learn about technology from teachers — Douglas Blane at Friendly Encounters discusses how technology in schools enhances children’s learning, and where to find out more.
  • 5 Tips for a Peaceful Home — Megan of the Boho Mama and author atNatural Parents Network shares her favorite 5 tips for creating a peaceful home environment.
  • Technology and Natural Learning — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes about the importance of technology as a tool for natural, self-directed learning.
  • Babies and Technology — Jana Falls shares how her family has coped, changed their use of, relied on, and stopped using various forms of technology since their little man arrived on the scene
  • Kids and Technology — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about the benefits of using technology with her preschooler, and includes a few of their favorite resources.
  • Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how technology can be used or abused and gives a few tips to help children learn balance.
 
 
Welcome to the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe

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 stories and tips about protecting our families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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With a curious and brave child, I’m constantly on my toes trying to balance independence and risk-taking with caution and safety. With each new adventure there’s a temptation to say no or guide her to another direction. I justify my intentions along the way; “she’s too young and unstable” (still working on those walking skills), “the other kids might not notice her”, and the usual “she needs me.” But kids need adventure, and they need freedom, and room to explore their curiosity.

I read this article recently and it reveals just how often parents choose safety over play that includes any kind of risks.

A major study by Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau, found that half of all children have been stopped from climbing trees, 21 per cent have been banned from playing conkers and 17 per cent have been told they cannot take part in games of tag or chase.

H is only just about to turn a year old, but steadily her bravery and need for independence grows. Just the thought of my little girl on day climbing on top of the monkey bar, flipping off of the swing, or climbing up a tree scares me! I feel incredibly grateful that those days are still a few years off. But these are the very things I remember enjoying so much as a kid. While a part of my wants to protect my child from the whole world, I also know that life isn’t lived in a bubble. 

Safety doesn’t have to be about protecting our children from every risk; from every bump and every bruise. I like to think that letting kids take manageable and appropriate risk means that they will more capable and they know their limits because they’ve tested the boundaries. 

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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 September 10 with all the carnival links.)



  • Stranger Danger — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her approach to the topic of “strangers” and why she prefers to avoid that word, instead opting to help her 4-year-old understand what sorts of contact with adults is appropriate and whom to seek help from should she ever need it.
  • We are the FDA — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger makes the case that when it comes to food and drugs, parents are necessarily both their kids’ best proponent of healthy eating and defense against unsafe products.
  • You Can’t Baby Proof Mother Nature — Nicole Lauren at Mama Mermaid shares how she tackles the challenges of safety when teaching her toddler about the outdoors.
  • Bike Safety With Kids — Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs shares her tips for safe cycling with children in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • Spidey Sense — Maud at Awfully Chipper used a playground visit gone awry to teach her children about trusting their instincts.
  • Water — sustainablemum explains how she has used her love of canoeing to enable her children to be confident around water
  • Safety without baby proofing — Hannabert at Hannahandhorn talks about teaching safety rather than babyproofing.
  • Coming of Age: The Safety Net of Secure Attatchment — Gentle Mama Moon reflects on her own experiences of entering young adulthood and in particular the risks that many young women/girls take as turbulent hormones coincide with insecurities and for some, loneliness — a deep longing for connection.
  • Mistakes You Might Be Makings With Car Seats — Car seats are complex, and Brittany at The Pistachio Project shares ways we might be using them improperly.
  • Could your child strangle on your window blinds? — One U.S. child a month strangles to death on a window blind cord — and it’s not always the obvious cords that are the danger. Lauren at Hobo Mama sends a strong message to get rid of corded blinds, and take steps to keep your children safe.
  • Tips to Help Parents Quit Smoking (and Stay Quit) — Creating a safe, smoke-free home not only gives children a healthier childhood, it also helps them make healthier choices later in life, too. Dionna at Code Name: Mama (an ex-smoker herself) offers tips to parents struggling to quit smoking, and she’ll be happy to be a source of support for anyone who needs it.
  • Gradually Expanding Range — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbookexplains how she is increasing the area in which her child can walk alone, a little bit at a time.
  • Safety Sense and Self Confidence — Do you hover? Are you overprotective? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses trusting your child’s safety sense and how this helps your child develop self-confidence.
  • Staying Safe With Food Allergies and Intolerances — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is sharing how she taught her son about staying safe when it came to his food allergies.
  • Don’t Touch That Baby! — Crunchy Con Mom offers her 3 best tips for preventing unwanted touching of your baby.
  • Playground Wrangling: Handling Two Toddlers Heading in Opposite Directions — Megan at the Boho Mama shares her experience with keeping two busy toddlers safe on the playground (AKA, the Zone of Death) while also keeping her sanity.
  • Letting Go of “No” and Taking Chances — Mommy at Playing for Peace tries to accept the bumps, bruises and tears that come from letting her active and curious one-year-old explore the world and take chances.
  • Preventing Choking in Babies and Toddlers with Older Siblings — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives tips on preventing choking in babies and toddlers along with Montessori-inspired tips for preventing choking in babies and toddlers who have older siblings working with small objects.
  • Keeping Our Children Safe: A Community and National Priority — September has many days and weeks dedicated to issues of safety; however, none stir the emotions as does Patriot Day which honors those slain the terrorist attacks. Along with honoring the victims, safety officals want parents to be ready in the event of another disaster whether caused by terrorists or nature. Here are their top tips from Mary at Mary-andering Creatively.
  • A Complete Family: Merging Pets and Offspring — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the ground rules that she laid out for herself, her big brown dog, and later her baby to ensure a happy, safe, and complete family.
  • Be Brave — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about helping her kids learn to be brave so that they can stay safe, even when she’s not around.
  • Catchy Phrasing — Momma Jorje just shares one quick tip for helping kids learn about safety. She assures there are examples provided.
  • Know Your Kid — Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassfras refutes the idea that children are unpredictable.
  • Surprising car seat myths — Choosing a car seat is a big, important decision with lots of variables. But there are some ways to simplify it and make sure you have made the safest choice for your family. Megan atMama Seeds shares how, plus some surprising myths that changed her approach to car seats completely!
  • I Never Tell My Kids To Be Careful — Kim is Raising Babes, Naturally, by staying present and avoiding the phrase “be careful!”