10 Fun and Easy Super Bowl Party Ideas

10 Fun and Easy Super Bowl Party IdeasWill you be hosting a Super Bowl party this year?  I love having people over for the party, but I don’t want to a) spend a lot of money on decorations, or b) spend hours on the decorations and food! Here is a roundup of fun food and decoration ideas from around the web that helped us create 10 Fun and Easy Super Bowl Party Ideas.

Let’s start with some simple decorations.

Source: The Flair Exchange blog
Source: The Flair Exchange blog

1. You can get fake grass or turf at Home Depot, Lowes and maybe even at your favorite craft store.  It’s not super expensive and shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to make this fun tablecloth. You can find out how to make it on The Flair Exchange blog.

DIY Goal Post Tutorial
Source: She’s Kinda Crafty

2. DIY Goal Post

This one might actually take a little more time to create, but if you’re already at the hardware store be sure to pick up some PVC pipe for the DIY goal post. Directions on how to make this can be found at She’s Kinda Crafty.

https://www.evermine.com/blog/individual-7-layer-dips-super-bowl-snack/
Source: Evermine Blog

3. Touchdown Taco Dip

One of my favorite recipes is the 7 layer dip or touchdown taco dip.  There are several variations of this dip online and I’m sure you have your personal favorite.  The thing that I hate is that your guests end up hovering over the food and not watching the game.  Last year we prepared our dip in individual cups so guests could sit down and enjoy the game with their food in their hands.  Warning: Make small cups, this is filling!  Looking for a recipe? Here’s a good one on the Evermine blog.

Source: Life in the Lofthouse
Source: Life in the Lofthouse

4.Taco Cupcakes

Another fun individual serving idea is to make tacos in little muffin tins.  You can use wonton wrappers or even flour tortillas and fill them with your favorite taco fixings.  For directions, check out Life in the LoftHouse.

 

Source: Tide and Thyme
Source: Tide and Thyme

5. Bacon!

Since we’re talking about finger foods, I found this fun recipe for Beer Candied Bacon that sounds intriguing! I may just have to try these for our own Super Bowl party and report back to you. You can find the full recipe at Tide and Thyme.

Source: Pizzazzarie via ForRent.com
Source: Pizzazzerie via ForRent.com

6. Gridiron Punch

All this food is making me kind of thirsty! This recipe from Pizzazzerie sounds incredible, just keep the kids away from this one.  Beer, pineapple juice and sprite mixed together and served in mason jars.

Source: Style Me Pretty
Source: Style Me Pretty

7. Super Bowl Bingo

For some of us, the Super Bowl commercials can be more fun than watching the game.  Style Me Pretty has a printable Super Bowl Commercial BINGO that you and your guests can play during the game.  I can’t wait to see this year’s Budweiser commercial, they are always my favorite.

Source: Hostess With the Mostess
Source: Hostess With the Mostess

8. Football Photobooth

For a little half-time fun, how about creating a fun photo booth with football-themed props. Hostess With the Mostess has a tutorial on how to make this fun backdrop and super easy props.  I know I said I didn’t want a lot of prep on decorations, but I promise you that this one is easy!

Source: Queen Bee Coupons
Source: Queen Bee Coupons

9. Chips and Guacamole

You could always add a little team spirit to your Super Bowl party. I love how Queen Bee Coupons added blue corn chips with guacamole for a fun “SeaHawks” inspired treat. You can’t go wrong with a big bowl of guac!

Source: Amazon
Source: Amazon

10. Color Coordinate with your Team Colors

…and finally for our last of the 10 Fun and Easy Super Bowl Party ideas, you could have a lot of fun with red, white, and blue treats like this candy arrangement I found on Amazon. You could easily replicate this by gathering your favorite treats from the candy store, too.

Tell us, who are you cheering for this year in the Super Bowl? Will you be hosting a Super Bowl party? Will it be adults only or families and kids?  

How I Found Freedom by Putting My Phone Down

As moms, we want our kids to spend less time on electronics. We want them to focus on school, friendships, and develop their talents instead of mindlessly scrolling social media, watching YouTube, and playing video games. We encourage them to read or to go outside and play. But… what happens when you aren’t practicing what you preach?

Recently, I realized I had become a slave to my phone. It became like an extension of me. I had to have it. Specifically, I had to have social media. I constantly looked for moments that were “post-worthy” and documented them through pictures and videos. I stressed when I didn’t get a good picture or when I didn’t have anything to post about. When people looked at my social media pages, I wanted them to see what a cool, fun, loving family we are. I wanted the words I posted to be poetic, inspirational, and powerful. I was focused on likes, follows, and creating content. Of course, I rolled my eyes at the thought of being an “influencer” but there I was on every occasion, trying to be like everyone else on social media.

Putting My Phone Down

I was sitting at my daughter’s Christmas concert more focused on recording the concert than actually watching it. As I sat through their songs, my attention was on deleting old pictures and freeing up space for new ones. That is when I had an epiphany. I should have been watching my daughter and enjoying the concert instead of trying to capture something for my followers. That idea stayed with me the rest of the night.

We went out to eat after the concert. I took pictures of the kids playing while we waited for the food. We laughed. We talked. I was there in the moment. When I got home, I didn’t feel the need to share the videos from the concert or the pictures from dinner. I started to think I wanted more moments like that. Moments that weren’t preserved by digital evidence but that were preserved as memories.

That was the day that I decided that not everything has to be documented and uploaded to social media. I put the phone down. Sometimes, I lost it completely.

Moments Not Documented

In the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed moments with my family and didn’t want to share it with the world. I’ve found more time for friends, laundry, and hobbies. Last weekend my daughters and I had an Art Day. I didn’t document it but we painted masterpieces. My son and I played outside although no video evidence exists. These moments seem more special to me because I wasn’t distracted by my phone or the desire to share them.

Did I lose followers? Probably. Did my Facebook and Instagram stats suffer from my lack of posts? Probably.

Did I discover joy and freedom in allowing myself to be in the moment instead of capturing it? Yes.

Finding Freedom

I think to some extent, we’ve all become slaves to our phones and social media. To break those chains and find freedom, we need to allow life to happen without trying to stage photos or create content. We need to preserve memories in our minds and cherish our moments instead of looking for something “post-worthy”. Moments tend to lose their value when we overshare them.

Our children need to know that life is not staged for an audience. They need to know that not every moment needs to be shared.

As a Social Media Manager, I know it sounds crazy to say that we all need to find freedom from social media, but it’s true. Because we use our phones for just about everything these days, I am not suggesting that you throw it out. Modern technology is useful but its time we took our lives back to find a healthy balance.

Helpful Tips to Limit Phone Use

  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb
  • Keep your phone out of sight
  • Remove time-consuming apps (including social media apps)
  • Do not charge the phone in the same room that you are in
  • Develop hobbies and talents

Let’s try it! It might have a negative effect on our Facebook algorithms but what if it helps us find a healthier rhythm in our life? So what if we are not an influencer on social media? What if we only influence our greatest responsibility (our family)? I love that by putting down the phone, I can have found freedom! Can you do it?

 

 

The Power of Intention and The Opportunity To Give

 

We are always looking for that great deal, the blowout sale, or the win of a negotiation. It’s definitely a thrill. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve won a prize when I score some of those unreal snags! But what if instead of GETTING something for the win…we give? What if we are presented with the opportunity to give?

Power of Intention

Over the past two months, I have restructured my small business. There have been many times where I thought, I should charge more, say no to certain requests, and even at times, doubting what I was doing completely. But each time this happened, I felt almost as if God was sending me a message, telling me to open up my heart and take the opportunity to give. So that is exactly what I did. The interesting thing about being given the opportunity to give is that we all encounter this in different ways every single day.

People can give in so many ways, tangible and intangible. I really believe in the power of intention and that what you put out into the world comes back to you in even greater ways (good and bad). When I was younger, I would have scoffed at this idea and even written it off as some new age, hippy garbage. Well. not so much anymore. I’ve seen the proof.

Generosity and the Opportunity to Give

When my husband and I decided to open our business, we started with basically nothing more than a huge dream and a lot of little loans. We did (and are still doing) everything ourselves to get our business together. We’ve put so much blood, sweat, and tears into getting it off the ground. We are still brand new and barely lifting this jet plane of the runway, but at least we are on the runway! Along the way, we have had some surmountable generosity come our way. Each time it feels like a message, to encourage me to give to someone else.

Give it Away

Through our business journey, I’ve met some amazing people. One, in particular, is a woman who runs a very successful business with four locations at the moment and she always takes the opportunity to give! She started her business small, much like we are doing. One of the most poignant things she has said to me is “just give it away, people will come back to you.” This is exactly what I did.

The opportunity to give has been presented to me numerous times. I could have charged a premium for an item, or increased a price for lessons, or charged for a painting I did on a whim. Instead, I resolved to take those opportunities to give instead. The tugging feeling that I had to give was there and I took it. Now, you may be saying to yourself, that doesn’t sound like good business sense at all! How in the world will she ever succeed? I am trusting my intentions. I will put good out into the world and I am already receiving it back in so many ways, through relationships, contacts, business, and personal gains!

Karma

Starting the new year off, I will continue to look for opportunities to give. It’s not a  resolution, but a continuation of an intention set from someone else (I believe), and that is how the karma continues. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to give, you’ll be amazed at how your own life will change for the better.

How To Talk To Your Child About Creating a Family Routine

 

creating a family routine

Happy New Year! I love January! It feels like a fresh start and a great time to think about your family routine. As parents, we reflect on the previous year and think about our resolutions for the new year. In my experience as a school psychologist and former educator, I get a lot of questions from parents asking for help when their children have big emotions and, oftentimes, express themselves with their behavior. This is my nice way of describing temper tantrums and meltdowns. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. My children have temper tantrums too. I’ve learned that there are things that we can do as parents that help our children be successful and express their emotions. One way that we can help our kids is by creating a family routine.

Why create a family routine now?

With the winter break coming to an end and school starting back up, it’s a great time to reflect on your family’s daily routines. You can keep what’s working for you and ditch what’s not. From my experience, there are certain times of the year when it’s best to evaluate your current routines that you have in place. This can be done when your family experiences a major change, such as having a baby, the start of the school year, a break in the school calendar, a family member’s deployment, and/or change in family structure. If you don’t have a daily family routine in place, don’t stress. I’m here to help you create one that works for you.

creating a family routineWhy is a family routine important?

Creating a family routine is important because it helps us (and our kiddos) to know what to expect and prepare for it. Also, when we have clear expectations, this provides a sense of security as we are able to predict what will happen next. For example, if I allow my kiddos to watch television some days when they get home from school and, on other days, make them do their homework first, it sends an inconsistent message to my children. Not surprisingly, this can make completing homework more of a challenge. Instead, if I were to have an after-school routine in place, it would set clear expectations for my children. This incentivizes my children to complete their homework so that they can earn the opportunity to watch a show on television.

The big take away here is that having family routines make individuals feel a sense of security and know what is expected of him or her. A huge bonus with having a routine in place is that you are able to minimize temper tantrums, meltdowns, and pouting!

Questions to Consider for Your Family Routine:

What is…

  • going well for your family?
  • NOT going well for your family?
  • one thing that you could change that would make things easier for your family?

Tips for A Successful Family Routine:

There are several tips and tricks that I use to make coming up with a routine easier and involves the whole family. Here are some quick tips:

  • Keep is simple
  • Include the whole family in creating the family routine
  • Post the routine in a prominent place that all family members can see
  • Consider your ultimate goals when coming up with a routine

creating a family routine

Common Family Routines:

  • Morning routine
  • After school/work routine
  • Bedtime routine
  • Mealtimes
  • The weekends

“How to Talk to Your Child About…”

 

The “how to talk to your child about…” is going to be a monthly blog article on Tampa Bay Moms. Have a question for Amy? Want to see a specific topic covered? Amy would love to hear from you and see if she can answer your questions.

 

 

Playing Outside Without Me? Are They Safe?

This Winter Break was monumental for my little family. I became “comfortable” with my two girls, ages 6 and 8, playing outside without me.

Ages six and eight… Old enough to be outside alone?

I’ve always wanted them to be more active and this Winter Break… WHOA… They have been VERY active. They are outside on their scooters, on the playground, playing hide-and-seek with the neighborhood kids.

But I gotta tell you, I’m a nervous wreck.

We live on a pretty secluded street, and I have threatened my daughters’ lives if they go into the street, but there are so many drivers who just don’t pay attention.

Additionally, my older daughter has an eye condition called aniridia, which renders her legally blind.

So, this Winter Break has been a struggle for me allowing them to have independence and freedom.

I remember my own upbringing… At 6 years old I was hopping on my bike and traveling several streets over to my friend’s house… And my mom wouldn’t see me for hours.

So, why am I so freaked out about allowing my daughters to be out on the driveway and sidewalk by themselves?

children playing outside

Am I just nuts?

Too overprotective?

Or am I being smart… Especially in this day and age of texting while driving and human trafficking?

Yes, I know I’m being a little overdramatic, but it happens.

And already my girls are pushing their boundaries.

“Mommy, why can the kids across the street PLAY in the street and we have to stay on the driveway?”

“Mommy, if I’m really careful, can I please ride my scooter to the playground?”

“Mommy, if we stay on the sidewalk, can we go all the way around the block?

My answer… Has been to drink massive amounts of wine and explain the concept of “baby steps”.

You know what’s also difficult… I would almost trust my younger daughter to be a little more independent. Maybe ride her scooter around the block and such… But I just don’t really have the trust in my older daughter. Yes, her eye issues play a part in it, but have you ever just had a flighty child?

Audrey is the little girl who would help a stranger find his “lost dog”, she would absolutely be tempted by someone offering her candy and she would chase a butterfly right in front of a moving vehicle.

But I can’t exactly allow my younger child more freedom than my older one.

So, for now, I think allowing them to play outside on the driveway and sidewalk for hours is a very large leap for this Mommy…

So, I will continue to “sip” my wine, spy on them from the second-story window and appreciate that they are outside, being active and making friends.

Why Not Strive to Just Be Your Selfie

Trout pout. Shameless. Duckface. Alonie.

What do you visualize when you see those words? Does “selfie” come to mind? Me? Well, I’m a certifiable lurker. I see you. Posting those selfies of your beautiful face. Your post-workout dewy flushed complexion. Your self deprecating caption in hopes that your observers won’t classify you as narcissistic. Or your inspirational quote to motivate others. I zoom in to see if digital lashes have been applied. Yes, I judge you. I see your exposed cleavage. Then, I judge you. I label you. Sometimes I cringe at you. I AM you.

It’s been a hot minute, but I too, post these photos. Trying to seduce my iPhone in an effort to get the right angle for that perfect selfie. I inventoried my social media account, I have posted seventeen selfies in two years alone. I am blessed with a built-in selfie stick. These incredibly lanky arms.

According to my timeline, some days I am just truly feeling myself. Apparently about every 43 days. I did the math.

On those days my mom swag is level 2000 and it needs documentation. These are the moments where good skin makes a rare appearance. When my hair doesn’t scream I am the lion, hear me roar. My kid is probably taking his first nap in weeks and the laundry is done. This is my occasional reflection of triumph and self-worth. Not to be confused with Selfitis, a daily occurrence of duck face. Who has that kind of time?

Vincent van Gogh painted over 30 “selfies”/selfportraits in only three years. THIRTY.

But he’s a highly regarded artist right. Not to be thought of as self-absorbed. Mentally ill? Maybe. I barely get 5 likes on a selfie yet someone paid $71.5 million for his self-portrait entitled “Without Beard”. In this Van Gogh self-portrait, you can tell that he was feeling pretty good about his singular ear in addition to enhancing some very chiseled features. Which is basically just the art form of photoshop from 13 decades ago. Vinny did gift this selfie to his mother. Most likely trying to convince her and probably himself, that he was healthy and happy. PS he was a patient at a mental institution at said time. Self-admitted. I can only imagine he had a few good days and wanted to bang out the evidence with oil on canvas.

Today it’s just a couple of clicks. The notorious selfie. The thirst trap. Call it what you want. In my opinion, I think it’s everything we want to emulate. In these fleeting moments of feeling worthy, we choose to share it with our friends. It’s not putting our validation in their hands. Though I have a huge love for my hype moms who build each other up, people’s opinion of you should be irrelevant. My selfie is a reminder that on a really rotten day, I have the ability to turn things around. My selfie is a souvenir from the person I aspire to be. Screw the “likes”, the approval-seeking culture, just be your selfie.

 

You Are Not Enough

Before I begin, I should let you know that I’m a dad. So, what’s a dad doing writing on a mom’s blog anyway? Well, I feel like I have had something rolling around in my head that I want to say – to my wife, and to other moms and dads. SO, I’m taking a shot at this, I hope I don’t screw it up because I think it’s important: You are Not Enough.

Circus


You Are Not Enough

The Song that Started it All (and may also now be stuck in your head)

We all know the movie, “The Greatest Showman”. It’s been a while since I watched it, but the haunting song “Never Enough” (*listen here*) drew me in and stuck with me. It’s a beautiful, moving, bold song. And as I listened, I realized it’s easy to hear the lyrics in a manner that reinforces the idea that you are not enough. Sad, right? But here’s the good news: if you listen to the song closely, it says “…’cause darling WITHOUT YOU it will never be enough.” As I thought about it, I realized that it’s true – we ALONE are not enough, and never will be… As parents, as partners, as humans, we desperately need other people. We desperately need a “YOU”.

From here, the idea grew: We need to stop trying to be the be-all and end-all for our kids. Stop expecting ourselves and our families to DO everything and BE everything society says we should be. And, stop mounting endless pressure on our significant others, or other parents to conform to an impossible standard. We will ALL inevitably fall short of these expectations. Ultimately, stop trying to act like you’re enough. Because let’s face it, we’ve been on this earth long enough to know that we’re not…

So Now What?

Let’s pause, exhale and come to the shockingly refreshing realization that YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH for your children. Just like the song, this post isn’t intended to be depressing and guilt-inducing. There’s a way to make things better. Here are a few thoughts on how you step into a life surrounded by a real community (and by the way I’m still working on it, so let’s do it together):

1. Be Confident:

The fact is, you are uniquely made to raise your children, and you’re absolutely perfect for them. So, walk in confidence that you’re doing your best for your kid. You just need some help.

2. Find Your YOU:

The “YOU” is different for everyone. My wife Rachael and I have a son with autism. And, though we’re fortunate enough to be parenting him together, we’re definitely not enough for him. And, we’ve realized, that’s okay. We need God, we need extended family, we need our neighbors, we need our therapists and teachers, we need other special needs parents to relate to. Without a real community, it’s just not enough. It’s okay if your community looks a little different – different isn’t wrong it’s just different.

3. Let People In:

It can be hard work. Somehow, we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s easier if I just do it alone, and that’s a dangerous lie. Show people the mess of life. Show people who you really are. Be vulnerable, and show people your struggle. And when you share real life, your friends will step up because they love you. And, better yet, when they need you they’ll feel comfortable enough to give you an opportunity to love them back.

4. Connect With Your Spouse:

For most, this person will be the most vital part of their community. For all us dad’s out there reading a mom blog, let’s not underestimate the power of encouraging the mothers of our children. As parents, let’s pursue the best environment for our children. And, let’s do it together. My wife and I have a therapist, (one of the many important “Yous” in our lives).

She recommended that we schedule a time to “check-in” weekly with each other. We go over the highs and lows of the week, the things that irritated one another, the things that went well and the things that didn’t. And, most importantly, we check in during a peaceful moment. Not at the peak of emotions while we’re both trying to win an argument, but at a scheduled time where we can listen to each other and improve. It’s worked for us, so try it, and see if it can work for you. You can even schedule check-ins with your children and their teachers and their coaches  – you might be shocked at what you can accomplish.

Circus tent

Don’t Go it Alone

We’re better together –  we’re stronger in community.

So, as you set out to make your goals for the New Year, let’s stop trying to shoulder the parenting burden alone – it takes a village to raise these crazy kids! We need to stop trying to be independent heroes when we’re designed to be in the community. I truly believe that in our family, growth and success as parents have been better reflected by our dependence on others than our independence from others.

How has the idea of a community impacted your life?

6 Rules For Picky Eaters and Sensory Problems

Food to expand on for sensory and picky eaters
Food to expand on for sensory and picky eaters

It’s that time again! You hear the soundtrack of Jaws in the background as you head to the dining room table to serve dinner. “He better eat dinner” I mumble. Mealtime was the absolute worst for me. My son was diagnosed with Autism and a sensory disorder. I notice when he would be appalled by certain textures and gag to the point that he would vomit. It has not been easy, that is for sure. I realized this was more than just picky eating. It can be hard to decipher between sensory issues and picky eaters. I have outlined for you 6 Rules For Picky Eaters and Sensory Problems

Yes, we all know that toddlers are savages. They are mini-bosses running around demanding attention and snacks. However, if you have a child with sensory processing disorder or a picky eater, mealtime is the equivalent of a root canal without the numbing effects.

I am here to share some advice and tips with you from my own trials and what has worked for us in feeding therapy. I am excited to share these six rules for picky eaters and sensory problems.

Rule # 1 Do not give up

Yes, I know! What a corny thing to say. Especially as you sit there with spaghetti on your head from food flying all over. After you say a few prayers, maybe even a little “serenity now repetitions (Seinfeld fans will get this reference) you have to remember that mealtime needs to be calm. The more stress and pressure you put on your child, the more retaliation there will be. Keep trying to complete dinner, but know your end goal. Try to understand that they can get uncomfortable with sensory problems. These rules for picky eaters and sensory kids should be put in place for good structure.

Try with a few spoonfuls and see how it goes. If you feel you are not getting anywhere, try to understand what the problem is. Are they not comfortable, do they need a little distraction like a toy or maybe their book? Anything that will calm the mood, I say go for it. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be able to eat if someone was screaming in my face. I know we all lose our cool, especially after trying to make a meal and someone refuses to eat. Start small and build up slowly. Following these 6 rules for picky eaters and sensory problems will make things easier, I am proof!

young boy refusing food

Rule #2 Mess is best

For SPD kids, getting their hands messy and involved with different textures actually helps. My son HATED being dirty. He refused to have anything on his hands and face. He would cry and whine and freak out a little. I at first, would run to get a wipe to clean him. WRONG! Then I realized this was setting him back. His SPD is so severe, he gags and will throw up at the sight of some foods.

We then started playing with food and things he has aversions to. Some ideas are pudding, jello, bananas, and even slime. I can tell you that daily exposure has drastically reduced his anxiety around food and has opened him up to trying new things. Try sensory activities 1-2 times a day with food and without. You can add this as an extra rule for picky eaters and sensory problems.

Rule # 3 Taste and See

When I want to introduce a new food, I don’t allow Aiden to see the food first. Why you may ask? Because he automatically will assume this is something he hates, he knows it is new and then it’s vomit central. I very sneakingly take a little of the food and place it on his lip. He then licks the food and determines if he is interested. I take this queue and then show him the new food. He is then curious or opposed. I allow him to show me at his own pace, what he will accept.

I have accepted that he also has things he just doesn’t like or won’t eat and I have to be okay with this. As long as your child is thriving and getting nutrients, that is all that matters.

Rule #4 No snacks, don’t fall back

That’s right I said it. No snacks before mealtime. I do not want your child to starve and I am not a mean mama, but you want your child to be hungry for the meal. My recommendation is to feed them meals and then have snacks spread out over a 2 hour period. So let’s say you eat dinner at 6. Their snack time should have been at 4 pm. No, Johnny can’t have Doritos at 5:30 pm and be hungry for dinner.

If you want to expose them to eating properly at mealtime and actually want to try new foods, then I highly suggest you do this. I also would suggest no large consumption of water, juice or milk before mealtime.

Rule # 5  Don’t be a punk

Now listen, I know how hard it is and how terrifying toddlers are. I sometimes daydream of being stuck in my bathroom, just so I don’t have to come out for a few hours and face the music. Remember that you are the parent. You need to be strong and lead by example. Don’t cower when they say no or possibly hit you in the eyeball with a pea.

Stand your ground and in a loving tone, advise your toddler or child that we are all going to eat dinner nicely. I have found that taking turns has really helped. I allow Aiden to feed me and then it’s his turn to take a bite. I use the 15-minute rule as well. If we are still getting nowhere in 15 minutes then we take a break and return in 5 minutes. Don’t let this go on for an hour and give them food poisoning. You obviously will know in your soul when enough is enough. Always refer to these rules for picky eaters and sensory problems when you are having a rough time.

Rule # 6  Praise them

Sorry I couldn’t figure out a catchy title for this one. I digress! The best thing you can do during this difficult time is to praise your child. When they take a bite, pick up utensils, touch the food or anything relative to moving in the “ I may eat” direction, I praise. This will make your child want to do more and will also help calm the dreary mood of mealtime.

Every child is different and even as adults, we all have different food preferences. I suggest keeping a journal of the flavors and textures that are working and ones that are not. You can start building from a base with foods and then adding things in for additional nutrients.  For food and some great info visit:

https://tampabaymoms.com/health-wellness/5-lunch-ideas-for-the-picky-toddler

https://blog.brainbalancecenters.com/2014/07/sensory-friendly-foods-child-will-love

If your child persists with having difficulty with eating, it may be time to talk to your pediatrician to see if it is something more like a sensory disorder. I hope these 6 rules for picky eaters and sensory problems will assist you in your struggles at mealtime and make your life a lot easier!

Healthy Habits For A Mid-Life Momma

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Healthy Habit Avocados
Healthy Habit: Avocados

I spent my 40th birthday on hospital bedrest pregnant with my soon to be born son. Fast forward to today and my bundle of joy is now a lively teenager. The years have gone by, and I will celebrate my 55th birthday in 2020. With age comes an expanding mid-section in my mid-life, I’d rather not mention.

This fact was unavoidable when I stepped on the scale on December 30, 2019. Thanksgiving and Christmas brought bountiful dinners and delectable desserts, which added many unwanted pounds. The number on the scale stared up at me. One that I’d never seen before. With my eyes wide open, I realized I had to take action.

Am I the only one in this dilemma? Somehow, I think not.

Within hours of this revelation, I went to the closest location, offering a weight-loss option I’d joined nine years ago and had lost 50 pounds. Now post-menopausal, am I able to shed the pounds and recreate the dramatic results I’d achieved before?

Time will tell.

Is your scale showing you never before seen numbers? Do you want to reverse the direction of the needle on the scale? What choices will you make in 2020 to change the tide and see a healthy new you?

Achievable Goals

Here are a few things I will focus on to achieve my goals.

  1. Join a program to help track my food intake. I’ve been down this road before. The first time I joined a points-based weight-loss food system, I was extremely skeptical. The points were intimidating and overwhelming. However, the weekly weigh-ins surprised me when the weight started to drop off. The results on the scale sold me. Becoming aware of my food intake was key to this success.
  2. Use exercise to gain results. Let me start by saying, I do not like to workout. Childhood asthma prevented me from running or joining any strenuous sports activity. I never got over this hurdle except for a brief time in my early 20’s. The question now is how to add in exercise to my life as an author, blogger and a special needs mom?
  3. Answer: I joined a paid app called Do Fasting, which offers a workout option. Yes, I know, there’s that word again: workout. But the exercise sessions are fifteen minutes total and include warm-up and cool-down stretches. When the app suggests an activity I can’t do (planking), I move on to the next one. Once I lose weight, I hope to master the ones I skipped. The cost is a one-time fee of $29.99. A free app I downloaded today is called 7M workout. They offer a range of 7-minute exercises focusing on arms, legs, weight loss, no jumping, core, and beginner, to name a few. I’m excited to use this app for the variety it offers.

don't make resolutions create habits written on a chalkboard next to an apple, weight and measuring tape

Healthy Tips For 2020

Along with being aware of eating habits and adding exercise, what other tips can offer great rewards to staying healthy overall.

Doctor Approved Weight Loss Tips

The folks from Eat This, Not That!, offers 25 Doctor-Approved Weight Loss tips in this article.

Here are the ones that resonated with me:

Get Adequate Sleep–Dr. Calder recommends 7 to 9 hours because a lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels and contribute to weight gain. Another article from Very Well Fit agrees.

They state: The strongest link between sleep and food intake came when researchers from St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York did MRI scans on people who had been deprived of sleep. They found that when people didn’t get enough sleep, they craved more junk food.

As a night owl myself, this is an excellent reminder not to sabotage my weight loss.

Eat More Eggs–I love eggs. Dr. Lustig says the protein from eggs is satiating and shares that your body spends more energy converting it to a metabolite that can be burned, which aids in weight management. Who is ready to eat more eggs? Me!

Feel Fuller With Avocados–Dr. Bhatia, the author of The 21-Day Belly Fix, says, “The heart-healthy unsaturated fat in a delicious serving of avocados helps me stay full, which keeps me from snacking too much. Avocados are packed with vitamins C, K, and B6, and have pre-and probiotics–keeping my gut-healthy!” That’s news to me. Pass the avocado, please.

Choose When to have your “cheat” meal – This is my favorite tip: Blasé Carabello, MD, Professor and Chief, Division of Cardiology at East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine jokes, “There isn’t a food I avoid entirely. One cheeseburger never killed anybody unless they choked on it. However, I do limit myself to one per month since the dish is high in heart disease-causing saturated fat and served in a processed bun made with refined carbohydrates.”

On occasion, fulfilling a craving rather than resisting it is a game plan I can get behind.

Last Healthy Habit

Another healthy habit started soon after my son was born and spent six months in the NICU. Hand washing. I became a believer in its effectiveness when my husband and I stayed cold and flu free for two years after our newborn came home from the hospital. I even shared my new found passion for keeping my hands germ-free on my blog.

What healthy habits are you planning to adopt in 2020? For me, I’m hoping many of these tips will help my mid-section disappear as I enjoy my mid-life momma years. Post your healthy habit tip below to help another mom out.

Gasparilla Boat Invasion with the Kids

Ahoy mateys! Happy Gasparilla! The Gasparilla Kids parade was January 18th and is one of the best children’s events in Tampa! But for those who had to miss out, this weekend January 25th you still have a chance to show the kiddies a good time at the Gasparilla Boat Invasion and I am here to show you how!

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Gasparilla is not only a fun tradition for Tampa residents, but it can also be a great excuse to celebrate with family. Every year my family in Tampa and Miami gets together on Davis Islands and we watch the Gasparilla boat invasion (and eat a lot of food!). Parking is on a first-come, first-serve basis and free. We find a beautiful spot, grab chairs and watch the kids try to catch beads from the boats passing by! It starts at 11:30 and goes until 1 pm.  It would be a perfect way to break up your day since the parade doesn’t start until 2 pm off of Bay to Bay.

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You can choose to go home and escape the afternoon parade or stay! Why not continue the celebration and have a fun party at the park? Nearby is the Davis Island Seaplane Basin. Also, scachatta is a must at any Gasparilla party and the best in town is from Alessi’s Bakery. You will be a hit at any party if you show up with a couple of boxes! 😉

So don your eyepatches, watch the Gasparilla boat invasion and practice your Pirate lingo because this is the (second) most wonderful time of the year!

Aye aye mateys!

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