Is Food Stressing You Out?

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Food is delicious.  But it can also be stressful. Gluten-free, fat-free, South Beach, Mediterranean – how are we supposed to eat?  Foods that are seen as healthy today, aren’t necessarily seen as healthy tomorrow.  It’s very stressful!

I recently wrote an article for Produce for Kids about how to manage stress around food, diet and nutrition.  My favorite tip?

Make sure to allow yourself time to let loose and have fun with food!

See the entire article here:

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Picky Eaters and Family Stress

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Having a picky eater in the family can be super stressful for all involved: the picky eater themselves, the parents, the siblings – everyone.  No one enjoys having mealtime conversation include nothing but:

Please, just one more bite!

I worked hard making this… you better $%**@ eat it!

You’re never going to grow if you keep eating like that!

Luckily, there are lots of strategies for making mealtimes more pleasant and healthy (physically and psychologically!) for all involved.  I was recently interviewed for an article on reducing stress around mealtimes by my favorite speech pathologist and feeding specialist, Melanie Potock.  The article appeared on the ASHA Leader Blog a couple weeks ago.  Check out the full article here:

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We Should All Be Talking About Ashley Madison

Photo via

Photo via

The Ashley Madison website leak is more than just fun to gossip about.  It’s providing all of us an opportunity to talk about some tough – but important – stuff.  I recently wrote an article for the American Psychological Association blog, Your Mind. Your Body. in which I outlined a bunch of conversation starters stemming from the Ashley Madison leak.

Don’t be tempted to take the easy way out and simply make fun of Ashley Madison’s clientele.  Use the episode to have meaningful conversations with:

  • Your partner
  • Your kids
  • Yourself

Check out the full article here:

Your Mind. Your Body.

Your Mind. Your Body.

Parenting Kids With Different Body Types

Just because kids have the same parents, doesn’t mean they have the same body types – and that can be a tricky thing for parents to navigate.  I recently wrote some tips for parenting kids with different body types for the awesome group Produce for Kids.  To read the entire article (It’s short, I promise) check it out here.  And while you’re there, be sure to look at all the fun, healthy food ideas on their site.

Check out the full article over at Produce for Kids

Check out the full article over at Produce for Kids

Summer (School’s Out!) Stress Disorder

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Is school out in your area?

It’s been out for over a week around here, and I’m noticing there’s a little extra stress happening in some households.  This seems to happen every year around this time when the predictability and structure of school that keeps kids occupied for a good chunk of the day comes to an end.  And while the last day of school can bring a huge sense of relief and excitement for some families, others might find themselves saying:


Of course, Summer Stress Disorder isn’t a real mental health diagnosis, but the freedom of summer can certainly be a real source of stress for some parents and kids, too.  To keep summer stress to the minimum, consider the following tips:

Talk about it.  Sitting down as a family and talking about schedules, plans and expectations for the next 3 months is a great idea.  Even if your kiddos are preschoolers, they can benefit too.  Older kids (even those home from college) can also benefit from understanding the rules and guidelines for summer (Is curfew the same? Are they expected to work? Do chores around the house?)

Have a plan.  I’m big on planning, and big on structure.  Not everyone shares my philosophy on running a home (which is completely fine, by the way – there are lots of good ways to raise kids!), but I do think having some basic plans for how days and weeks are organized are a good idea.  Will there be time set aside for reading or math practice? Rules around screen time? Participation in camps, volunteer activities, sports or classes?  Kids need downtime, but they need at least a bit of structured time too.

Have fun. Staycation – something popularized in the recession – is now a part of our vocabulary.  The great thing about it is that there are now TONS of websites and blogs dedicated to helping families plan outings near home.  Whether or not big trips are in your summer schedule, fun can be had close to home.  Encourage your kids to help you choose an activity and involve them in the planning process.

Take a break.  Family time is great, but so is alone time.  Don’t forget to schedule in a bit of time for yourself this summer.  3 months can feel like a reeeeaaaallllly long time when every moment is spent with kids.



Taking Your Child To A Funeral


Should we take our kids to the funeral?

That’s a sad question that most every parent will have to ask themselves at one time or another.  We recently lost a dear family friend and my husband and I found ourselves asking this very question.  Now that a few weeks have gone by and I’ve reflected a bit, I have come up with a few thoughts on the topic.  Here goes:

Funerals are important for many reasons: they provide structure to our grief, they answer questions about the meaning of death and what happens after life, they give us the opportunity to grieve with (and support) others; and perhaps most importantly, they allow us to participate in a tradition that humans have been participating in for many, many years.  And just doing something that our ancestors did can be comforting.

The other part about funerals, though is that they are sad, and often quiet, and can bring up lots of questions too.  So, should we bring our kids along? A few things to consider:

  • Kids can be a wonderful distraction from grief.  Lively, healthy, happy children can be a lovely contrast to the pain of losing a loved one.  But not always.  Sometimes they are too much of a distraction, though – like my 3 year old would have been at the funeral – he didn’t join us.  In this case, they might be best left at home.
  • Funerals are part of life.  We are all going to die.  As hard as that is to write down, of course it is true.  Shielding our children from that reality isn’t doing them any favors.  Allowing them to witness others grieving, consoling, supporting, remembering and loving each other is.
  • Life isn’t just about us.  At the recent funeral I attended, I experienced the importance of tradition, history, culture, language, music and food in times of grief.  Just like in times of celebration (weddings, births, baptisms), grieving families benefit from the familiarity of shared family and community traditions.  Life isn’t all about us.  It’s also about the many people who came before us, and all those who will come after us.   And important lesson for all kids (and adults) to learn.
  • Sometimes things are boring, long and uncomfortable.  The funeral we attended was all in Greek (literally), was quite long, and we pretty much had no idea what was going on.  But that wasn’t the point.  The point was to sit quietly and respectfully as we remembered our deceased friend and showed his family our love and support.  Just like life isn’t all about us, it also isn’t always instantly-gratifying.  The sooner and better we learn that, the easier life will be.



How To Talk To Your Spouse About Something Other Than Kids Or Money

KellyandGarienWebDetails_068Marriage is a business.  Included in this business are the:

  • Finance Department (paychecks, bills, etc)
  • Logistics Department (getting people where they need to be, when they need to be there)
  • Human Resources Department (managing relationships inside and outside the “business”)
  • Facilities Management (everything involved with keeping the home working, and the people within it fed)
  • Research and Development Group (planning for the future, rearing children and pets)

I’m sure I’m missing a few key departments, but you get the idea.  It’s so easy to fall into the trap of treating your marriage or partnership as only a business – and not a romantic, intimate relationship.  In fact, keeping a marriage romantic and intimate can feel like taking on another part-time job.  Luckily, it’s a part-time job with lots of rewards.

One of the first and easiest (though not always easy) ways to keep your marriage out of the business-zone is by talking about things that have NOTHING to do with the business of marriage.  That means no talk about:

  • money
  • kids
  • pets
  • in-laws or extended family
  • carpools
  • work

Well, what else is there to talk about, you say?  Luckily there are lots of things.  Probably all the things you USED to talk about before you entered into business marital bliss together.  And believe it or not, those topics still exist.  They might include things like:

  • books
  • politics
  • religion
  • movies
  • sports
  • dreams/fears/hopes

You get the idea.  There’s a whole world of things to talk about.  So next time you’re having a date night or find yourself alone together give some non-business conversation a try!




Stress, Age and Money: Younger Americans Most Stressed About Finances

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The American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey was released today.

The good news: Overall, Americans report experiencing less stress

The bad news: Younger Americans and parents tend to report more stress – particularly about money – than other Americans

Now, this is no great surprise.  Young adulthood is a super-expensive time in life.  First cars, first homes, student loans, babies: all these things combined with relatively low, early-career salaries combine to make money tight in a lot of young households.  What is surprising is that the APA survey found that younger, stressed out Americans tend to manage their stress in unhealthy ways when compared to other groups.  This might mean drinking too much alcohol or engaging in sedentary activities for too much time (surfing the internet or watching TV).

The real bummer is that we know chronic, high levels of stress are no good for our health in the long term.  In fact, high levels of stress can lead to depression, cardiovascular disease, and all sorts of other things.

Check out the complete results to learn more about APA’s Stress in America survey.


Book That Vacation Now!

One of my favorite vacation spots: Seaside, Florida

One of my favorite vacation spots: Seaside, Florida

This time of year can be rough.  Long nights, short days, cold, wind, snow.  Ugh.  And for those of us in my neck of the woods (Northern Colorado), spring is a looonnnnnggggg way off.  I don’t even want to think about it.

I was recently reminded how important vacations are.  Sure, they’re nice in the summer; but it’s this time of year when they can work some serious magic on mental health.  And it’s not just about the pretty photos you get by the beach (though those are nice, too).  Vacationing is an important part of overall health.  Here’s the scoop:

  • We all need a break from our day-to-day duties and responsibilities.  Sometimes I feel like if I fold one more hoodie, make one more trip to the post office, or drag the trash cans to the curb one more time I will scream! These tasks aren’t hard, but they get boring.  And work can become taxing and overwhelming for everyone at times.  In order to stay fresh and motivated to participate in the work of our lives – whatever that work may be – we need a break every now and then.
  • It can be easy to take what we have for granted.  Sometimes traveling or taking a little vacation can give us a new perspective that allows us to see our lives in a whole different light.
  • It can be hard to truly relax or “unwind” when we are caught up in to-do lists and the momentum of everyday.  Vacations – even a night or two away – can give us the chance to put down the phone, turn off the alarm and good a decent night’s sleep for once.
  • Good memories: making them, remembering them, and trying to re-create them are all important pieces of maintaining healthy relationships.  No one ever reminisced: “Remember that time we paid the mortgage on time? That was so fun!”  Vacations are not only enjoyable, but also meaningful, and allow us to create and share memories with the ones we love.  And some of the best memories are made when we are on vacation.

Vacations don’t need to be expensive, fancy or glamorous.  A trip to the local Super 8 is adventure enough.  And it might be just what the doctor ordered to get through the next few months of winter.

Happy, Healthy Halloween

Find lots of cool ideas for healthy Halloween treats at Produce for Kids

Find lots of cool ideas for healthy Halloween treats at Produce for Kids

I am not a huge fan of Halloween (I know, booo hiss), but I am a fan of candy.  Candy is delicious, fun to eat and a wonderful part of life.  However, it loses its luster when eaten everyday or to the point of illness (I know, I’ve tried).  As Halloween has turned into a month-long celebration, it’s probably a good idea to have some fun, healthy treats on hand rather than just candy corns and mini-Snickers.

The folks at Produce for Kids have lots of cute and yummy ideas for you to try! Check them out here – and Happy Halloween!