Creating Wonder-Inspired by Nature

Teaching your kids to love nature.

By Lisa Niver Rajna
lisa

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep
and suck out all the marrow of life, to put to rout all that was not life and
not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Not all of us can make a commitment to nature like Henry David Thoreau to go live on Walden Pond, but we do not have to go to such lengths to inspire our children to love nature. By creating wonder and a connection to the environment we can all protect our planet.

We can even share seeds and caterpillars with our children without even going very far outside! As Janine M. Benyus states in Biomimicry:

Bringing children back into nature and nature back into childhood is a job for teachers and parents and friends willing to take a child outside for a lark. There need not be an ‘official’ park involved; finding a place where green things grow, even if it’s a crack in the sidewalk, is enough.

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Haunting Halloween Recipes

Halloween is a great time to have some fun with your kids in the kitchen. Here are a few easy, fun recipes to share with your family.

grilledchesepicSpookie Grilled Cheese: What kid doesn’t love a grilled cheese sandwich. But this one up’s the Halloween anty by cutting out your favorite spooky shape in the middle making the perfect filling meal before the little ones head out for a night full of candy and fun.

Spookie Grilled Cheese (Serves 4)

Butter
8 Slices Pumpernickel or Dark Rye Bread
4 Slices Cheddar Cheese (more…)

Sibling Rivalry

Tips on dealing with new siblings.

By Rachel Bernstein
RachelYou all know the family. The one in which the siblings seem to magically get along, support each other, work well together, and talk through difficult moments with little to no yelling, or homicidal threats. You also know there is a reason you probably only know one family like this. It is a rarity. It doesn’t exist in nature in large numbers. Parents aspire to have that sense of familial calm and sibling cohesion, and may feel that it will always be beyond their reach. Then, a new sibling is brought into the mix, and that aspiration for familial magic seems like an ever-more-distant hope.

Truth be told, familial magic can always be created. When parents already have a child, or children, and find out they are pregnant, there are a few tricks to put up your sleeve.
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Overloaded with Your Kid’s Art

Finally there is a way to get help organizing all of your kids’ artwork.

By Dana Hostage
DanaHostageHave you unpacked your child’s backpack yet from the last day of school? What does one do with the backpack contents when it’s finally unpacked? With certainty, that stack of artwork the teachers sent home is in there and most moms will simply add it to the pile of artwork collected throughout the years.

What can you do with it? Rachel Ray had an interesting post by Katia Hetter on her blog about Purging Picassos. Katie suggests asking your kids which art pieces to keep and which to toss and explaining to them why the need to toss. What child would actually agree to throw out their masterpieces? We have all done it: tossed some art into the trash when no one is around hoping that you’ll never be asked to produce it again.

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Family Fit Fete

By Laurie Searle
Laurie SearleThe school year is approaching and that means busier, bustling days.

We interrupt our regularly unscheduled summer vacations of carefree bonding with kids and return to the structure of school programs and extra-curricular activities.

It’s a sluggish notion to get back into the routine knowing there are few moments to spare for space, connection and fitness. Fitting in physical fitness is a challenge, but doesn’t have to be a long laborious‘to do’. Physical stimulation every day, as a family, releases stress and promotes mindfulness on the myriad of things grasping at our attention whether it’s calculus or dinner prep.

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Paper. Pencils. Confidence.

By Nathalie Kunin
SamaraWhat do these three things have in common? Well, they’re all on our first day of school checklist. And that third word—Confidence—can’t be found in the back-to-school section at Staples.

Before the first day of school, our children start to become consumed by questions like Will I like my new teacher? Will I make new friends? Will there be even more homework this year?

As parents, we can set some goals for ourselves for this year. We can value and celebrate our children’s strengths—not dwell on their weaknesses. We can ward off their nerves and trepidation with support—not criticism. We can anticipate success—not failure. Our involvement and encouragement are undoubtedly the most influential factors in their academic achievement.

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Staying Healthy During the School Year

Are your children prepared to return to school?

By Peter S. Waldstein, M.D., F.A.A.P and Julia A. White, M.D., F.A.A.P
Peter WaldsteinBack to school time is upon us, which is a great opportunity to make sure your child is ready from a health perspective. There are new requirements this year for adolescents for vaccines. It is also a great time to refresh on illness prevention while being at school.

Staying Healthy
Maintaining proper health begins at home. Back to school time is a good excuse to refamiliarize your children on the importance of hand washing at home and school. Most illness is spread through contact, and hand washing has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent your child from becoming ill while at school. Washing before eating, after playtime, and anytime before touching the face, mouth, or eyes is key. If you are not able to wash, you may use hand sanitizer instead. You can consider packing a small travel-sized Purell bottle in your child’s bag to encourage proper hygeine. Also remind your child to cover coughs with the arm. Should your child become ill, he or she should stay home to prevent others from becoming ill. Check with your pediatrician if you are unsure if they should stay home.

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Empower Your Children in Their Relationship with Food

By Sherly Shooshani Daneshgar, MS RD

Sherly ShooshaniAmerica is facing a real epidemic. The incidence of childhood obesity and Body Mass Index (BMI) has tripled over the past forty years. Childhood obesity is a primary concern of the nation and the healthcare community. It is estimated that over 30% of our nation’s youngsters are overweight and 15% are obese.

The dichotomy of this situation is that while obesity is on the rise throughout the country, in our subculture of Los Angeles, we are obsessed with thinness. How are we going to help our kids find a balance? (more…)