The Very *Direct* Doctor

Great doctors start young!

Mondays are a crazy-busy day in our practice. Crazy-good… just busy from the moment we open the door.

At one point in mid-shift yesterday, I ran upstairs to grab a file I needed… ran through one of the rehab rooms… and saw this…

 

playing doctor

Daughter (Doctor) is doing a “consultation” with son (patient).

It was one of those strange moments when, because I was in a hurry, I didn’t really register what I heard them saying until we were home a few hours later.

The scene just looked so cute, though, that I grabbed my phone and took a quick photo!

Couple-a-nutballs, these two are.

Their dialogue went something like this:

 

Doctor: So, tell me what’s going on.

Patient: (In a very whiny voice) I hurt EVERYwhere… ALL the time!!

Doctor: Tell me about your diet.

Patient: I like to eat ice cream, spaghetti, cookies… and chocolate.

Doctor: That’s the problem right there. That’s all inflammatory food. It’s all sugar. Clean up your diet. Your brain can’t work right ’til you do… and you’re gonna’ hurt until you clean it up. Got it?

 

The End.

 

When I asked them about it later, they told me they were just messing around with different scenarios, different types of doctors, different types of patients with different symptoms… and I just happened to stumble upon the scenario with the junk-food eating patient who can’t figure out why he has chronic pain!

Gotta’ love home school!

 

If you notice a change in my bedside manner anytime soon, perhaps I’m taking advice from my 12-year old!

 

Welcome to our life behind the scenes!

 

 

 

 

After 48 Hours!

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a popular personality in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 20 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud home schooling mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen and Dr. Marc in an Investigative & Functional Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, autoimmune conditions, cellular detoxification, mercury detoxification, and more, please contact Dr. Colleen directly at info@drmomonline.com or http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Personalized distance programs are available.

 

Wraps don't replace working out - they enhance your results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back-to-School Anxiety

bus

Sometimes, it’s not just the students who are anxious about going back to school. I’m pretty sure that I have more anxiety about this school year than my kids do!

It’s our 6th year of home schooling… so it’s not anything new or a fear of the unknown that’s got me feeling this way. I don’t second-guess our decision to home school at all now, like I used to in years past.

One of the main reasons that I home school is that I really enjoy my kids. I enjoy being with them, and spending time with them, and watching them learn and grow and develop. I know that these years will go too quickly… so I try to soak it all up while I can. Selfishly, I also love to learn right along with them. I’d really miss home schooling!

Unfortunately, home schooling isn’t all peaches ‘n cream!

In fact, some days can be quite stressful. Especially the days that I’m trying to do too much… wear too many hats.

Our eldest is a breeze. She’s self-motivated, an independent learner, and strives to do what’s right because it makes HER feel good.

Whew!

Our youngest… well… we’re not exactly there!

He’s my resister. He’s a brilliant, funny little guy… but he just loves to drag his feet, wait ’til the last minute to do things… or, wait until his mother’s head is about to explode!

He hasn’t yet developed his own strong work ethic. Last year, I had to “nag” to get him to get through his work many days. He’d rather read and play.

Yeah, well… so would I, mister!

My biggest concern with home schooling is that I don’t ever want school to come before our family. When there’s stress and angst and frustration over getting work done, it sabotages the whole reason I chose to home school.

I want to enjoy my children.

I want us to be happy together while we’re learning.

 

healthy menu, nutrition guide, nutritious foods

Contact me to order your copy of this 8-page nutritional guide while supplies last! $10 + S & H.

 

So, this year, we have some targeted themes and family agreements established.

My son’s theme is responsibility. Whether it’s putting his clothes away properly, doing his chores, being ready to go on time, or getting his math done in a timely fashion, this is the area I need to encourage his development in.

I don’t want to feel like I have to nag him or completely lose my patience with him in order for him to step up and do what’s right. That’s not healthy. And, even though we’ve got several more years before he reaches high school, I don’t think that having a parent or teacher constantly “helping” or reminding you to do your work is a plan for success in high school, college, or beyond!

My daughter’s theme is to control her reactions. In large part due to the stress surrounding her little brother’s choices, she can tend to react in a less-than-ideal way. The flip side of being so driven and motivated is that she can quickly lose her patience for those around her who are not on the same page! (Sometimes, it’s me!) So, “chill” is part B of her theme.

Our mantra is that “Your happiness comes from YOU. Nobody else can give it to you OR take it from you.”

I don’t want to raise children who think their happiness and pleasure come from external sources. That could be frightening and devastating.

You know that saying: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” That’s a big one for ALL of us. I think people who can master that are much, much happier people. I want that for my kids… and for myself!

My theme is to ENJOY. These are my children first and foremost. They are my students second.

While there is much work to be done, especially in my daughter’s case with a new (very demanding) curriculum this year, it’s also my job to intentionally plan for fun, and laughter, and cuddles, and kindness, and for memorable experiences together.

I realize that the biggest road block to having less stress and more fun with my kids is my work schedule. Our family dynamic would be very different if I didn’t have to rush off to the next “job” so often. At this point, there’s only so much I can do about that… so I’ll have to try even harder to work around it as best we can.

I don’t want to look back someday and realize that I placed work before our relationship – whether it’s school work or my work. I know there’s clearly a time for focus on work, just not at the expense of nurturing a loving connection. I’ll let you know when I figure out the “right” balance!

So, the reason for the anxiety I’ve been feeling leading up to the start of a new school year is my concern that we’re going to fall into the same trap… the same ‘ol patterns, once the excitement and freshness of the new school year wears off.

Guess that’s where prayer comes in… because I certainly can’t do this on my own!

Wish me luck! And, feel free to remind me (on a weekly basis, if you’d be so kind) that I said I’d place “enjoyment” at the top of my to-do list this year!

 

***

Whether you home school or not, what are you most looking forward to this school year? Is there anything you’re anxious about… or that you know needs some nurturing? I’d love to hear from other parents!

 

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading authority figure in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen and Dr. Marc in an Investigative & Functional Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact Dr. Colleen directly at info@drmomonline.com or http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Highly successful personalized distance programs are available.

 

 

Life Lessons: How To Become Successful

success, career choice, education, healthcare, motivation

Recently, our daughter has been asking questions about higher education, career choices, and what it takes to be “successful” in life. She’s 11. On the one hand, I think, “Just enjoy being a kid… don’t worry about it!” On the other hand, it’s never too early to start co-creating your ideal life, right?

Her questions have gotten me thinking about all the great advice I’ve received in one way, shape, or form from mentors over the years. It’s been a good review for me.

 

success, career choice, education, healthcare, motivation

“What’s Your Target? What Are You Passionate About?”

 

The first thing we needed to get straight was what she considered to be “successful” – what did that target look like to her? Were we just talking about financial abundance (because 11 year old kids are all over that!)? Or did she recognize that there must be more?

Her basic tenets regarding a successful future included her overall happiness and peace, as well as financial abundance, freedom, and success. She talked about feeling “content” in the world and giving back as much as she can. She talked about raising a happy, healthy family, and having lots of fun… enjoying it all as much as she can.

Cool beans – that’s a nice target to aim for, I’d say.

 

One of the most important keys to happiness & success:

We talked about how, for now, many of her “life decisions” are being made for her by her father and me… but not all. I explained how critical it is to understand that only YOU are in charge of your emotions, your reactions, and your attitude. Only YOU can decide to be happy. Nobody can take that away. Happiness is internally motivated… and shouldn’t be dependent upon external factors.

I also explained that, once she’s and adult, that level of responsibility shifts into an even higher gear. Again, only YOU are responsible for where you are. It’s not someone else’s fault when something doesn’t go your way, and it’s not someone else’s job to solve your problems – not your boss, not your employee’s, not your spouse, not your friends, not the government, not even mom & dad (although we will always support her, of course!).

Her future is her responsibility.

My future is my responsibility.

While this may sound harsh to some, I actually think of it as a gift. The more discipline we have in this area, the more freedom we feel in return. The sooner we get that WE are responsible for our happiness and success, the sooner things really start to kick into gear.

Next, she wanted to know about choosing a career path and how to ensure it’s a successful path.

Well, crystal ball aside, there are some core points that are likely to lead us toward a successful working life.

 

“When you do right enough, long enough, the end results become predictable.”

 

Here’s what I’ve learned from mentors over the years on this topic of choosing a career path:

1) What are you interested in? Better yet, what are you passionate about?

2) Is it essentially “right” and “good”? Does it add value? Does it help the world &/or the people in it in some way? Does it solve a problem? Does it NOT cause harm or break your moral code (or the law!) in any way?

3) Is it a viable field? Can you actually be financially secure in this field… enough to take care of yourself, save, and help others?

If these 3 initial questions check out fine, then TAKE ACTION!

It’s time to study your craft. Learn everything you can about it. Learn from “masters” in the field. Develop your skill. Hone it. Practice. Train. Continue to learn. Set benchmarks to work toward. Then set the next level of benchmarks once you’ve achieved the first. Sharpen your sword. Seek opportunities and take (calculated) risks in order to get better and give better.

So, now you’re in an expanding field that you (hopefully) love and are excited about, and you’re developing valuable skills and contributing to the overall dynamic of that field. That’s how you begin earning your rewards – it’s for adding value. You have a plan and you’re working that plan.

Pretty simple, when you put in those terms.

 

The plan may need to be tweaked here and there when roadblocks appear. I’ve found that faith, optimism, intuition, ingenuity and creativity play enormous roles over the long haul and when the goin’ gets tough!

However, if we’re doing “good” and “right”, with a high level of skill that we’ve worked for, in a viable field that helps the bigger picture in some way, it’s virtually impossible to not find success. When you get knocked down, get back up and resume. If you’re on target, it’ll work. If you’re slightly off target, make the necessary tweaks, and get back to it.

 

Sometimes it’s a straight line, choosing your path…

For example, I always loved the areas of health, sports, helping others, and teaching. I wasn’t 100% clear on the exact career or profession I’d like to be in (medicine, physical therapy, athletic training, etc.), but I went ahead and chose my general area of interest to study in university anyhow.

 

“Ready, Fire, Aim!”

health, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, weight loss, detoxification

Healthy Living through Nutrition, Exercise, Stress Reduction, Weight Loss, & Detoxification

I chose an undergraduate program in Applied Kinesiology & Exercise Physiology that was science and health based, very much interested me, and offered many options for launching-off points in the end.

Along the way, I was introduced to Chiropractic… and I knew. I immediately fell in love with the investigative process… digging for the cause of the problem, rather than treating the symptom with drugs and surgery.

I enrolled in the next level of school to become a Doctor of Chiropractic. I studied and did what I needed to do to earn the degree and open our practice.

That’s when the REAL learning began!

Since beginning practice, we have studied and trained more than we could have ever imagined back in school, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! “Studying” for real life application is far more rewarding than studying to simply pass the next test!

 

So, there’s and real-life example of the overall formula for success at play:

  • I love natural health
  • Natural, drug-less healthcare is a viable field
  • I took action and moved forward in the field
  • What I do (and this field in general) adds value to the world
  • Chiropractic, specifically, is based upon principles that are very important to me and are “right” and “good”
  • Countless people benefit as a result
  • I study, train, and continue to sharpen the sword
  • I take chances and calculated risks in order to get better, provide better service, and reach more people.
  • I learn from Masters ahead of me
  • I have mentors
  • I give my focused best in the moment, and am genuine and sincere when connecting with people.

 

“Right enough… long enough…”

 

Even when it seems like a straight shot like this, we still need to stay on our toes and stay sharp. The game can change… and you’ve got to be ready to adapt!

That’s why the ongoing study and training are so critical. We can always get better… provide better service, skill, and performance… become a better person… treat others better.

As I told our daughter, sometimes, choosing a career path won’t be so obvious. That’s OK. It might take a few careers to find the right one. Or, life can be made up of many careers that all serve a purpose and add tremendous value to the world.

(Of course, there’s another “career” choice all together… the one centered on raising a family and running an entire household. Arguably, the most important career we could ever possibly choose. The “paycheck” is of a different sort, in this case!)

There’s more than one way to do this dance!

The key is in adding value and being rewarded for your time and skill… as well as reaping the rewards of feeling fulfilled, happy, and grateful at the end of the day, knowing you’ve delivered your best, been the best person in the process, and sharing it all with people you love and who love you.

That’s success.

***

What would you add to the equation? What do you feel is important to know, or do, in order to become successful?

***

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading authority figure in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen and Dr. Marc in an Investigative & Functional Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact Dr. Colleen directly at trombley68@gmail.com or http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Distance programs are available.

 

 

 

 

Organic Gardening With Kids ~ The Planning Stage

lettuce

We’ve planted an organic vegetable garden for several years now.

Before you take me too seriously, you should know that I don’t take myself too seriously where this gardening deal is concerned! In fact, I may be the most casual (a.k.a. laziest) gardener on the planet!

If I plant it and it grows, it’s a win! If it grows and we get to it before any other creatures, it’s a bonus!

What I do take seriously is the non-toxic nature of the entire food-growing business. We’ve never added any chemicals of any sort to the soil; I don’t spray with any chemicals; we use only organic, non-GMO seeds; I still do weeding the old fashioned way – without any chemical warfare, and so on.  I can’t control every little detail of the garden environment, but what I can do, I will.

The kids have taken on increasing responsibility with the garden each year. They like to help work the soil in the spring (for about 5 minutes before they’re completely bored out of their minds!), and they like to water, and help harvest. Weeding has been right up there with tilling the soil… but they’ll do it for a bit.

This year, I raised the bar for them.

I’ve noticed that they’ve gotten into a little rut where their vegetable consumption is concerned. They each have their somewhat short list of favorites that they consume regularly, and a longer list of vegetables that they don’t really care for.

What gets on my nerves a bit is when noses get turned up (not turnip-ed!) at vegetables they’ve never even tried! Oh, I know. They’re the first children in the history of the world who have ever done that!

So, this year, I suggested that we add some new vegetables to our garden.

Our first step in this little project of ours was to do some research into what are considered the healthiest vegetables. I know, they all have merit… but since we’re limited on garden space, we need to be choosy and pick the ones that offer the most nutritious bang for our buck! You can read that post about the healthiest veggies here.

Next, I informed them that we were going on a field trip to a well-stocked produce section at a market near us. Their assignment was to take a look around at the multitude of vegetables, lettuces, and herbs on display and to find the ones from our “healthiest” list, as well as to become familiar with others they hadn’t previously known.

They were to pick 2 vegetables each that they’ve either never tried, or haven’t eaten in several years because they had decided that they didn’t like them for whatever reason. (Whine, whine.)

Then, we had a conversation about whether or not those vegetables could be grown in our “growing zone”,  and what on earth a growing zone even is! If we can grow it here, and it’s on the healthiest list, and it’s one of the veggies they’ve not been eating… BAM! We’d be purchasing organic seeds for the veggies in question.

They were involved in price comparisons and shopping for the seeds. I like to call it a math lesson!

An upcoming assignment for each of them is to find 3 “healthy” recipes per vegetable that they will (attempt to) create… and consume.

I figured if they chose their own food, understood its nutritional merit, selected the seeds, nurtured the garden, planted the seeds, cared for them through to the harvesting, and then prepared the vegetables in their chosen recipe, there would be a much greater chance of them expanding their little vegetable horizons!

See the home schooling flavor to this…? I’m a two birds with one stone kinda’ gal!

(This was right before he tried to bowl with the cabbage!)

The 4 newbie veggies we’re adding to our garden this year are beets, kale (I’ve grown it before, but they don’t remember it!), leeks, and radishes. These are in addition to the usual suspects: 82 gazillion varieties of lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, snow peas, tomatoes of all sorts, peppers, cauliflower, onions, zucchini, cucumber, as well as strawberries and raspberries.

I might need to kick out the neighbors so that I can take over their yard with a bigger garden!

So far, we’ve selected the seeds we needed ASAP – the ones that can be directly sowed into the garden already, and the ones that we need to start indoors now. That was all part of the lesson, too.

Next stop, more seed starting indoors and direct sowing… and planning our garden & container layouts.

C’mon warm weather!

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

 

Top 10 Healthiest Vegetables

tomato seedling

With our spring planting season right around the corner, I was recently talking to my kids about planning our vegetable garden. It’s part of their “home school” curriculum. It’s a two birds with one stone type of thing!

 

We were discussing what vegetables are considered to be the most nutrient dense, as well as the ones known to be the easiest to plant and reap the benefits from.

 

Of course, you’re not exactly going to find a vegetable out there that’s “bad”. Some are certainly higher in glycemic index. Not as high as a candy bar, however. Others are considered “nightshade” vegetables and can aggravate autoimmune conditions and chronic inflammation.

 

So, while most most vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrition, our ‘research’ led us to a rather consistent list of the “Top 10″ healthiest vegetables that are considered better than others.

 

1. Cruciferous Vegetables are the heavy hitters, nutritionally speaking. They’re  filled with cancer-fighting, immune-boosting phytonutrients, plus vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid.

These cruciferous veggies are most nutritious when they’re eaten raw, lightly steamed, lightly sauteed, or stir-fried. Use real (grass-fed) butter or pure coconut oil for cooking, or extra virgin olive oil at super low temps.

Nutritional no-no’s that will destroy the nutritional benefits are: over-cooking, microwaving, cooking in margarine or fake butters, or cooking in polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Broccoli
Cauliflower
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage (all varieties)

 

2. Dark green leafy vegetables can be eaten raw in salads or used for lettuce wraps, or added to sandwiches. These are big power players in our “loaded salad veggie salad topping”. We also add them to smoothies – especially after they’ve been frozen. We make kale chips for snacking. And, of course, they can also be lightly steamed or sauteed, used in soups,  casseroles and stir-fries.

Leafy green vegetables are high in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids and B, C, E and K.

Kale
Spinach
Swiss chard
Collard greens
Parsley
Red and green lettuce
Mustard, turnip, and beet greens

 

3. Asparagus is a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C, K and B complex – especially B6 and folic acid. In addition to being incredibly delicious when lightly steamed (with a bit of grass-fed butter & pink sea salt added… oh, my!), added to salads, or grilled in the summertime, asparagus has also been associated with reducing weight, inflammation and depression. Not too shabby.

 

4. Allium foods, like garlic and onions, are best known for their natural antibiotic properties and can help boost immunity, reduce inflammation and fight infection. I recommend you go out of your way to add these to various dishes… it’s like adding a super-powered vitamin with the benefit of delicious taste!

Garlic & Onions

Leeks
Shallots
Scallions
5. Carrots help protect against cancer and improve eyesight with super high levels of carotenoids and vitamin A. They’re also a good source of vitamins B, C and K, fiber (when raw), potassium, magnesium and folate.

We all know there are a gazillion ways to enjoy carrots. I love to see kids munching on a whole carrot – very Bugs Bunny-like and makes me smile every time! We also like to dip them in almond butter (instead of peanut butter), guacamole (instead of using corn chips), and hummus.

 

6. Tomatoes are very high in lycopene, carotenoids, and vitamin C. These may very well be the most popular “vegetable” grown in home gardens… and they’re not even sure if they’re really a vegetable. Regardless of whether you consider tomatoes a vegetable or a fruit, they’re delicious and nutritious. Nothing compares to a fresh tomato right off the vine!

However, if you’re suffering from an autoimmune condition or chronic cellular inflammation, you may need to cut out tomatoes and other “nightshade” vegetables… at least ’til you’ve done the work to correct the underlying causes of your immune imbalance.

(Contact me if you have no idea what I just said!)

 

7. Beans and Peas are technically “legumes” and are considered to be more challenging for our bodies to assimilate. Hence, all the advice about properly soaking and preparing your beans before consumption.

Beans contain fiber, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. They can be added to salads, soups, chili, mixed with brown or wild rice, etc.

Examples:

Peas
Lentils
Soybeans
Lima beans
Kidney beans
Garbanzo beans/chick peas (or “tiny bum peas”, as my kids call them!)

 

8. Sweet potatoes and yams are very rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, B6, C, potassium, iron and fiber. These are higher in natural sugars than many of the other vegetables, so keep that in mind.

They are delicious when baked whole, or made into sweet potato “fries”, or sauteed in grass-fed butter or coconut oil, or used in soups, casseroles or stir-fries. Sweet potatoes also add delicious flavor when grated raw and used in salads.

 

9. Bell Peppers are great sources of potassium, manganese, fiber and vitamins A, B, C and K. They’re in the same boat as tomatoes, though: confused as to whether or not they’re a fruit or a vegetable, and in the “nightshade” family of inflammation-causing foods.

They can be sweet, colorful, and flavorful additions to salads, stir-fries, fajitas, and of course, enjoyed on their own, raw.

 

10. Summer and winter squash are rich in carotenoids, vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium and fiber.

Squash can be added to casseroles, soups, stir-fries and many other dishes or served alone.

 

Remember, with these Top 10 Healthiest Vegetables that variety is key. If you’re currently only eating a few of these, branch out and try adding at least a  couple more.

Every vegetable (and fruit, for that matter) comes with its own unique little gift of nutrients. The more variety you consume, the greater the gifts!

So, this is where our little organic gardening project began… by determining which vegetables offer the greatest nutritional benefit, and why they’re important to our diets.

How are YOUR gardening plans coming along? Anything new this year?

Oh, and what about this list? These were the most common “healthiest” veggies found in our internet searches… but what are your thoughts? Are there some that carry a big nutrition stick, but aren’t on the list? Please share!

 

 

 

Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading expert in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.

Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness  provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.comhttp://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.

Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .

For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen in an Integrative Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact her directly at trombley68@gmail.com. Distance programs are available.

“Oh, I Could NEVER Home School!”

Copy of 104_2274

I know all you other home school types can relate to this. When people find out that I home school, it’s uncanny how often I hear in response, “I could never home school!”, or a similar type of response.

It’s one of those, “If I had a dollar for every time somebody said this to me…” moments! I’d be amassing great wealth!

Of course, to me, since we’re in our 5th year of home schooling, and it’s ME who’s actually leading this parade, I see no mystical powers or superior of genius intelligence being required to pull this off!

I’m not sure what, exactly, is so foreign or seemingly unattainable to these folks… so it just cracks me up, knowing that I never really “planned” on this, so to speak.

It just kind of unfolded and has continued to unfold over the years as I continue to feel “called” to do this at this time. How long will we do this? I don’t know. For now, I don’t see an end in near sight.

This is another one I hear all the time from moms…

“Oh, my goodness… I don’t have the patience to home school!”

I always surprise ‘em when I immediately respond, “Yeah, me neither.”

Seriously. I am not Mother Teresa here! My patience can wear thin with the best of ‘em.

I’ve come to accept that it is what it is, and I am who I am.

I have, however, improved in this area… through intention and diligent effort. I’m definitely more patient than I was a year or two ago.

The kids know this about me: “I’ll ask you or tell you once… twice… three times NICELY and CALMLY.” Then… look out. I don’t like behavior that stinks of laziness, or a lack of respect. If I sense it, I’m not OK with that. Tranquility may temporarily go out the window.

Here’s the thing. Even the kids would agree that I am  Fair and Consistent. They know what’s expected of them AND what to expect. That is one of our saving graces in the home school journey of ours.

Years ago, I heard a doctor at a conference talk about parenting and he connected some behaviors to a physiological perspective – specifically the stress response cycle commonly referred to as fight or flight.

We all agree that if our child is in an acute crisis – running out into a street with an oncoming, speeding vehicle, for example – we will react instinctively to save them and do whatever it takes. We may yell, we may hurt their arm as we yank them out of the streets… but it was short-term and with a life-saving purpose in mind. “Normal” life resumes afterward.

He likened this to stressful “outbursts” that a mom might have. He painted the picture of a mother bear…  accompanying her cubs on the early stage of their journey, nurturing them, protecting them, teaching them useful lessons of survival , playing with them, guiding them down the forest path.

Then, when a little cub steps out of line, into danger… WHAP! Mama Bear may figuratively cuff that cub in the head to get it back to safety! Now, it’s back to nurturing, loving, protecting, teaching… “normal” life resumes.

I’ve carried that with me for years. It makes sense for me.

Actually, the visual I’ve repeatedly given the kids is that we’re traveling down a 2- lane highway together in this thing called life. I will love you, nurture you, play with you, enjoy your company, guide you, teach you what I know, allow you room to explore and have fun, and provide opportunities for you along the way, as we stay on the road together. 

You have your own free will and your own personality, so you will make many of your own choices. I don’t demand that you stay perfectly on the yellow center line at all times. Anywhere between those outside white lines is fabulous, because that’s the path that is based upon our core values and principles, and, oftentimes, your safety.

If you start to venture outside to the paved shoulder, we’re going to have “that talk” about making good choices and being responsible.

If you stray off to the gravel shoulder…WHAP!

I’ve made it abundantly clear that I love them unconditionally… even if they’re straying to the shoulder… or are in the gravel. Yes, even if there’s a WHAP. (Oh, settle down. The “WHAP” is a figurative expression for getting the cubs back in line! Although, there have been times when I may have sounded like a mama bear…) I am the first to apologize if my reaction is ever out of line. Even if mama bear is “right”, sometimes the reaction is less-than-ideal. (sigh)

 

 

I’m a little bit envious of all the home school moms (and dads) I meet who seem so calm, cool, and collected. Heck, many are down right tranquil! “I’ll have what she’s having!”

Ah, yes. They leave me with something almost tangible to strive for.

I do have plenty of times when I’m able to slow things down… and we snuggle and read books, or do a craft together, or play a game together, or go for our nature walks. But generally, I tend to be more of a go-go-go type person.

Even though I’d like to continue working on becoming more peaceful in this process, I have learned to embrace my ups and downs. I give the kids a mix: some days, it’s simply about completing our core tasks with focus and staying on (somewhat of a) schedule so that we can get to work on time… but then I balance that with other days that are completely low-key and far more relaxed, and some where we don’t even get around to school ’til late morning or even after lunch! (gasp!)

I throw in regular field trips to science centers, nature centers, museums, and theaters, as well as clubs and extracurricular activities the kids participate in so that those “experts” can pour into my kids in ways where I have less knowledge or experience. I feel I need to do that, along with those ultra low-key days, to balance out the rushed, task-oriented days when we have to hurry to get to work.

 

 

Of course, another of the most common questions I hear is, “How do you find the TIME?”

“Are you kidding me?! I DON’T have time for this!!”

But I do it anyway, because it still feels way better to me than all my other options.

Oh, if you only knew! This time thing is my biggest source of stress. I don’t have the time I desire for home schooling my kids the way it looks in my head when I plan our days and weeks.

I have visions of frolicking in nature for much of our days… and painting fabulous murals outside on a sunny day… and building a tree house or clubhouse… and traveling to the places we study for a first-hand look and even learn their language.

My mind is a wonderful place to live!

I fully admit that I am spinning too many plates these days. However, I’ve chosen to spin at this time. I just need to work on how often I spin some of them!

I am too rushed most days. We rarely “fit it all in” and complete everything on our list before it’s time to pack it up for the day and head into work. Most of the time I feel I’m not doing enough. I’m sure I’ll get over that by the time the kids get married… I think!

(I’ve heard it’s the curse of many a home school mom! “Am I doing enough?”)

Then, there are the days that I’ve carved out in my schedule when I’ve demanded that I not go in to the practice so that I can dedicate the day solely to home schooling… or, more accurately, being with my kids in a non-rushed way. These are our favorite days.

We accomplish more, we learn more, we experience more… and we have way more fun together.

So, I continue to “try” to balance the various roles I have. Certainly, there are the housekeeper and cook roles that I’m training my family to contribute more to. (I somehow missed the day when I was voted in as the sole cleaner-upper of our home… so I’d like a re-count, please.)

I’ve worked on my schedule so that I’m up for hours before the rest of the gang, getting my book writing, blogging, and various DrMomOnline-related business ventures done before the craziness begins. Sometimes, this work bleeds into the rest of the day, which can be a source of stress. I’ve set two-way parameters for this: the kids don’t get to interrupt my work time (if they happen to get up earlier than usual), and my work time doesn’t get to interrupt their kid time or home school time.

I switch “hats” several times throughout any given day, which most folks do I’m sure. It goes from Colleen hat (when I do my morning rituals), to DrMomOnline and entrepreneurial hat, to mom and caregiver and cook hats, to teacher hat, to more mom and caregiver and housekeeper and cook hats, to Colleen hat when I take time for my exercise, to Dr. Colleen hat when we go to the practice, to taxi driver and cheer leader hats when I cart the kids to their activities, to more DrMomOnline entrepreneurial hat, if I can squeeze it in before mom/caregiver/cook/housekeeper hats to end our day.

My head is exhausted by the end of the day. Sometimes, I just run out of time for some of those hats… and a layer of dust grows on my furniture!

But, I wouldn’t give up that home school teacher hat for anything right now!

My kids are learning through witness and experience how to schedule priorities, as well as how to prioritize a schedule. Time management has become a skill set of theirs at a young age!

So, nope, it’s not perfect.

I’ve wondered oftentimes if I was actually “capable” of home schooling. I’ve found out that I am. Nobody cares more about my kids’ than me (and my hubby, of course). My home school might look and feel and sound different than others… but I’ve learned that comparing myself to other home school moms is a rotten thing to do to myself!

I don’t have the patience of a saint. But it’s not all bad, either. I’m fair and consistent, remember? My kids have learned to be more responsible with their time, and mine. It’s a journey!

And, no, I “don’t have the time”… but I’m happy to make it. This is one of the most important things I could possibly do. I’m all in, no matter how rushed it can be some days. The way I see it, it’s not perfect… but at least we’re together in our little imperfect life!

I’ll have it all figured out, one of these years!

 

 

Learn & Master Series

Is Reading Getting in the Way of Their… Learning?!

Kids Reading... Everywhere!

I don’t know the answer to that… I’m just asking! Thinking out loud. Wondering if it’s even possible for kids to read too much…

Every week, my wonderful little home schooled people sign out anywhere from 40-50 books from the library. And they read ‘em. All.

In fact, they’re usually done before the week is up… especially my daughter. Turbo reader.

Their reading has taken over. We have to kick them off the couch, or wherever they’re reading, to go DO something else… MOVE their bodies!

Other parents laugh when my husband and I grumble about their reading habits.

I know, I know. I’d rather have them reading than not reading. I hear ya.

However, when they start doing silly things like, walking down the stairs while reading, or crossing a parking lot while reading, or reading on every boat ride or car ride, or missing out on incredible scenery because they’re “busy reading”… it crosses some quirky, previously undefined line in the laws of teacher/student and parent/child relationships!

Since they’re both such avid readers, and they recall SO much of what they read, I’ve often said, “If I could just plant amazing literary works and encyclopedia-like material in front of their eyes all the time, I’d have this education thing locked up!”

I do have some ground rules (like no goofy comic books on school days and no “junk-food-for-the-mind” books), although I don’t want to become the “book police”. Shoot, I’m already pretty busy being the food police, the chores police, and the character police!

(That was a joke.)Home School Guitar Learning System

I also “strongly encourage” them to read at least one biography per week. It doesn’t always happen, but it sounds good in theory. They sign out several reading level-appropriate chapter books, as well as books that are just for fun. I sign out a literary “classic” for us to read together each week… or month, however it works out. We also sign out several history-related reference books and supportive literature for the current lesson in history we’re studying.

OK, so maybe I’m part of the problem!

Oh, and we also sign out a handful of fun, creative, artistic, sometimes silly books that we like to read together at bedtime. Yes, my kids are “older”, but they still love this bedtime reading ritual we began when they were toddlers. There are so many wonderful children’s authors and illustrators… I look forward to story time just as much as the kids!

Yes, I’m definitely part of the problem!

The other day, something struck me.

As I was rushing around in the morning, trying to finish my morning study time… so that I could get to my writing… so that I could squeeze in a work out… so that I could get to home schooling the kids… so that I could feed them… so that I could tidy up the kitchen real quick… so that I could finally “go to work” (HA!) in our practice, I wondered aloud,

“WHY do we never get all our school work done in any given day???”

Duh.

When you read that paragraph above, it seems obvious what the problem is… ’til I tell you that the study, writing, blogging, and most work outs all take place before the kids are up and ready for school.

Although the demands on my schedule are silly and definitely cause interferences in our home school accomplishments, I realized that my kids would learn so much more of what they’re “supposed to” learn if they’d stop reading so much!!

Ha! I had to laugh out loud at myself when I thought that!

It’s kinda’ sorta’ true, though…

We’ve wasted many hours of the teacher’s time when they’ve pleaded with me to wait for them to finish a chapter (or an entire book) so that we can begin a lesson! If they’d stop reading their “leisure” books so much, they’d have more time for history lessons, and geography games, and science experiments… you know, the stuff we’re “supposed to be learning”.

I’m being a wee bit facetious in this blog, by the way.

I love that my kids read.

I strongly dislike that their reading has caused them injury because they become SO involved in the story that they run into things or miss a couple stairs! Goofballs.

I wish we’d get more “schooly” stuff done… but I’m learning to live with the fact that these kiddos are stinkin’ smart in their own ways! They blow me away on a regular basis with various factoids they’ve learned from their “leisure” reading. Pretty cool.

I just continue to encourage them to keep their reading habits in check. They need to be able to carry on a conversation with live human beings; they need to play and laugh and dance; they need to do their school work; they need to do their chores; they need to spend time outside; they need to participate in their sports and activities; and they need to practice their music.

Life is a balancing act.

 

So, in your mind, is there such thing as TOO much reading? Please share your thoughts!

 

 

Learn & Master Series

Our 2012-2013 Home School Curriculum

104_2275

Teacher's Pets!

I never thought I’d ever write a post about what we do for home school… because other home schooling families seem WAY more organized and “with it” than us!

However, this year, in our fifth year of home schooling, I finally realize, “Hey, we’ve actually made this thing work… even without perfect schedules and a perfectly organized home!”

Really, the reason I’m writing a post about what we use for our home school curriculum is two-fold:

1) I’ve had several people ask. Usually they ask when I’m right in the middle of something else and I don’t have much time to go into it all… or remember it all! I figured if I write it down, I can just show them.

Efficiency. I like it.

2) I also figured, if I write it all down, someone will hold me accountable to it come November when I’m potentially falling off track… or when I’ve forgotten all the curriculum investments I’ve already made!

Before I tell you what we use for our home schooling, let me clarify a couple things. First, we don’t use ALL these things every single week. With some of them, I ‘float’ in and out of as needed… or as I remember!

(See reason #2 above!)

Also, as any teacher would tell you, our list is never complete. Wherever and whenever an opportunity or tool for learning presents itself, I’m on it. I would anticipate, and hope, that this list would grow as our school year unfolds and I add more to their educational experience.

By the way, we have two lovely children that we home school. A 10-year old girl who does primarily 5th and 6th grade work, and a 7-year old boy who does a tiny bit of 2nd grade work, but mostly 3rd and 4th grade.

What We’re Using for our Curriculum:

Math:

Our primary curriculum is Saxon Math. I throw in Math-U-See for my son, too. Both kids supplement with Time4Learning and IXL, mostly to keep them occupied when I’m working. I also occasionally add some Life of Fred for my daughter.

Language Arts:

Bob Jones University Writing & Grammar – rather self-explanatory! I also like Time4Learning for various grammar-ish lessons. “Grammar-ish” is not a word they teach, in case you were wondering.

The kids (especially my daughter) write in their journals regularly.

For more literature-based work, we use Moving Beyond the Page units – usually 2 or 3 per semester. I also have a running list of classic literature that we read together and discuss. Right now, it’s The Odyssey.

Once in a blue moon, I’ll get in the mood for some traditional spelling lessons. Not too often, though. I correct their spelling in their journals, if necessary. I once read that kids who read a lot are usually great spellers because they’re exposed to so many words through their reading. Since we sign out (and read) dozens and dozens of book from the library each week, I figure we’ve got the reading and spelling thing covered for the most part!

We use Handwriting Without Tears, too.

Science:

This is a hodge-podge of fun! I use the monthly kits from Magic School Bus as part of a foundation to build upon. I also rely heavily on local nature centers and science-based programs that we attend in our area. We’ll research the topic in advance, listen to the experts, then have follow-up discussion and note taking.  We do several field trips each month.

I also refer to the curriculum from R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey. We utilize Discovery Education streaming for lots of science supplementation (as well as history, geography, etc.) The kids LOVE to watch Beakmans’s World episodes on Netflix. I have them take notes on the subjects discussed in each episode. (My son would prefer to dictate to his mother! Who wouldn’t?!)

Finally, my kids would tell you that their life is an ongoing science lesson, having two parents deeply vested in the world of health, physiology, nutrition, movement science, brain function, metabolic recovery, etc. etc.! We talk nutrition, exercise, anatomy and physiological function on a daily basis.

If I ever feel like I might be missing something, I just sneak a peak at our state standards to remind myself what I’m supposed to make sure these people of mine are learning about!

History:

We love Story of the World and all the accompanying literature recommendations. I also use Veritas history cards and system, as well as their literature recommendations. Our library people hide under the desk when they see us coming!

Again, the kids love Netflix options like Liberty’s Kids to help them with history. We have Mike Huckabee’s videos and will soon be acquiring the Drive Thru History series on America… and hopefully more to come.

Geography:

Geography kind of falls in place with much of our history studies, but I’ve also added some more American-based geography through the Scholastic “Which Way USA?” maps and books on each state. We’re also continuing our study (“tour”) of the National Parks, as well as a tour of national monuments and landmarks. Sounds like a lot, but it’s just a nice, light way to continue to reinforce American geography.

I also let the kids play on websites like SheppardSoftware.com – they have some great geography games and quizzes that have really helped the kids.

Grandpa makes sure they’re learning some Canadian geography and social studies along the way, too!

Here’s a really fun thing we did last year to help us dive into geography and “world studies” in a different way: we chose a favorite “famous” person of the kids’ – Justin Bieber – and we followed his World Tour. We’d print maps and educational info from EnchantedLearning.com to learn about the countries he was visiting… AND we’d follow his mother-approved posts on Facebook and tweets on Twitter to keep it fun and engaging for the kids. It was a fabulous bonus that Mr. Bieber made his own videos and commentary of beautiful cultures along the way. They LOVED this… and I loved having Justin Bieber’s help! We’ll see who’s on tour this year!

I also have Mapping the World by Heart that we haven’t actually used too much just yet.

Foreign Language:

We have Rosetta Stone for Spanish. The kids have also taken French and Spanish through our local home school group classes, as well as online through CurrClick.

Memory Work :

I’ve finally made this a “formal” part of our home schooling curriculum this year. Each child has their memory binder where we’ll add their memory work throughout the year. Some of the categories are: famous quotes, famous speeches, national anthem, prayers & scripture, Presidents, states/capitols, etc.

Keyboarding:

We use the Mavis Beacon program.

Computer:

The kids have used Time4Learning for years, as well as other mother-approved educational (and some for purely fun!) websites.  We’ve taught our daughter basic functions for creating and saving her work in Word. It’s our son’s turn for that this year, as he is becoming adept in keyboarding now.

They’re also both starting to work on their own websites/blogs. My daughter will begin helping behind the scenes in our office this week with some computer work –  basic data entry and running reports. Maybe I should start planning my retirement!

Home School Connections:

Once a week, the kids attend home school classes with a bunch of other home schooled kids. They’ve taken some great classes through this program in the past: engineering, literature discussion, foreign languages, world cultures, physics, phys-ed, etc. This semester they’re taking more literature discussion, the 50 states, geology, pioneer days in Jamestown, science – light & electricity, engineering – how bridges & roads are made… neat stuff! They love it!

Physical Education:

At home, we incorporate movement into each day. The trampoline is still the most popular form of exercise for the kids, but their scooters and bikes are a close second. We go on walks, go swimming (for as long as we can), the kids do Just Dance on Wii for “break time”, play catch or frisbee…

As far as outside the home, this fall both kids are in gymnastics. Soon, they’ll back to skating, and hopefully, our son can add karate.

Art:

We use Mark Kistler’s program… not too regularly, though.

Performing Arts:

In the past, the kids have been involved with productions through our church. That’s coming up again soon… we shall see if it comes together this fall or not!

 

So, there you go. That’s what we’re using as our main outline this year.

 

Need Help Making Healthier Choices? Contact me to get your own copy of The Healthy School Days Menu!

 

Home School History Field Trip Turns to Vaccine & Health Lesson!

Ampule and syringe.

Yesterday, the kids and I ventured out for one of our many September home school field trips. It was at a local nature center, but the topic was to be more focused on the history of our local Detroit area.

I just love the teaching style of the man who does most of these classes – he’s a wealth of knowledge and an absolute riot! He captivates the kids from the moment we arrive. I always expect the unexpected when we attend his classes… he over-delivers each and every time.

Yesterday, we were discussing a replica of a painting that hangs in The Henry Ford Museum that portrays an event hosted by Henry Ford in the 1930’s to honor the 50th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s groundbreaking work with electric light. Quite the who’s-who, as you can imagine.

Then, my nature guy took a little diversion and started talking about the lack of children in the scene. He went on to describe how infectious diseases used to be far more common and used to kill significantly more people than nowadays. He specifically discussed the tragic effect these diseases had on children.

You know where he went next, right?

Yep. Vaccinations.

Actually, he called them “immunizations”, which is a misnomer, as they do not impart immunity.

Thankfully, it was a short visit on his soap box… which is good, because I was inching closer in order to rib-check him right off there into the nature observatory behind him! I’ve experienced enough years of listening to inaccurate and incomplete “science” on the subject of mass vaccination that I can usually roll with it in social settings for the sake of being *nice*! But I really didn’t like seeing these young minds looking up at him intently, absorbing what he was teaching.

He told the kids how lucky they are now because “they all get shots when they’re little so that they don’t get these diseases anymore”.

Um, no. That’s not exactly right… AND, it was quite a blanket generalization, to say the least!

That’s not why MY kids haven’t had diseases! And, yes, we do still see some of these diseases lurking… at least according to the docs who are still heavily pushing whooping cough vaccines for all ages these days.

My kids were confused… looking at me like, “But… but… WE didn’t have shots, mom…!”

Now, this man is wickedly smart… and a fabulous teacher. But, he has clearly bought into inaccurate information that has simply been regurgitated and passed down over the years.

The odd thing was, not 15 minutes before discussing this famous painting, he was teaching the kids all about the dangers of food contamination that people had to deal with during this time period. He taught them how families would carefully preserve their meat in crocks using fat and grease for antimicrobial purposes, since there was no refrigeration at that time. He also detailed how careful they had to be with their canning process since it could be dangerous if not done properly.

Hello!

We also briefly discussed the lack of plumbing and what that meant for sanitation purposes and personal cleanliness & hygiene… including the lack of hand-washing!

Hello!

I couldn’t help but visualize all the statistics and historical data I’ve read over the years that documents the timeline and trends of diseases dissipating BEFORE the introduction of mass vaccination.

What was rather funny about this situation was, as I looked around the room, I realized that I was amongst “friends”. Several of the home schooling moms were giving our nature guy the fish eye, too. Apparently, some of the kids in attendance were not vaccinated due to scientific and philosophical reasons… AND, some had stopped vaccinations due to vaccine-induced injuries.

Whoa. Didn’t see that coming! How’s that for a sign of the times?!

I wonder if, 50 years from now, the next nature guy will have to explain mass vaccinations to the next group of students. He might say something like, “While it seemed like a good idea *in theory*, once the pharmaceutical companies took over the world, vaccines simply became far too dangerous and were far too many in number. We witnessed the birth of a whole new category of conditions like Autism and Asperger’s and various spectrum disorders that were suspiciously linked to vaccinations.”

I’ll tell you what, at the very least, nature guy’s vaccine talk made for an incredibly good health lesson with the kids on the way home!

First, we agreed that our nature guy is wonderful and brilliant and we think he’s one of the best teachers ever. Then, we agreed that he doesn’t know everything… but that doesn’t make him any less of an expert on the things he does know about!

I explained the *theory* of how vaccinations are supposed to work and how the various components of our immune system identify the invading microorganism and how they are supposed to respond if that microorganism is introduced again in the future.

Yes, in theory, it’s a great idea. If would could simply take a shot and be “immune” for life? Are you kiddin’ me?! That would be fabulous!

Unfortunately, it has not turned out to be that simple.

To make matters worse, the vaccines themselves are loaded with a stomach-turning combination of  toxic and dangerous ingredients. Could this be why so many families are seeing the connection between vaccinations and the “newer” spectrum disorders and conditions like autism? Many argue that it’s just too much (too soon) for our bodies… especially little bodies with immature immune systems.

Until there’s evidence of the safety and efficacy of vaccines, I’m out. It’s a personal choice based on science. However, I believe that each of us should have the right to make that choice for ourselves. If you believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines, then you should have the right to vaccinate. I respect your right to choose. I just always encourage parents to do their homework on the subject – take a look at the pros and cons, and the risks involved. I’m not a fan of following the status quo… based on regurgitated information… just because that’s what we’re told to do.

Anyhow, it was an interesting lesson yesterday, to say the least! The vaccine topic was only 5 minutes of the whole lesson, but it was just so casually presented – and so incomplete – that it struck me as majorly annoying! It felt like I was in a drug commercial, silently screaming, “You can’t SAY stuff like that!! It’s simply not TRUE!!”

By the way, we did learn a TON about some local history… and even some nature!

Back to (Home) School: I Almost Made the Wrong Choice!

Little hands drawing between school supplies and apples

As you may recall, we’ve been home schooling for a few years now. This will be our fifth year educating at home. I’m still not really sure how it happened… it was never something I had planned on in the early years with munchkins. It just kind of evolved into something that fits best with us.

Interestingly, it has never been a 100% black and white choice with me. I see the pros and cons of home schooling my children, and I see pros and cons of sending them to a more conventional school setting.

In fact, I struggle with the decision each and every year, multiple times per year… frequently questioning if I am making the best choice for the kids… if they are missing out on anything ‘big’ by home schooling. The fact that we’re headed into year five gives you a pretty clear indication what my answer has consistently been!

Three years ago though, these types of nagging questions and doubts became so powerful that I actually sent the kids to school for half a semester. While there were certainly some positive elements to that choice, overall, it was a disappointment.

We’ve been back at the dining room table ever since!

Last year was *interesting*.

The fall semester was just a tad bit on the rocky side – there was some new resistance creeping in from my youngest, as he started having to do some “real school work”. At times, it was a battle of the wills, but it has definitely gotten better as we’ve come to understand each other’s styles.

Around the Christmas holidays we lost our one and only staff member at work, and that meant I needed to be in the office daily. Subsequently, a revolving door of assistants in our practice this year has resulted in the kids and I going in to the practice far more than ever intended.

If I had planned on it, it would have worked out better, I’m sure. The challenge was that we kept thinking, “It’s only for a little while… this won’t last long… you’ll be back to your *regular* home school schedule (and life) before you know it…”

That never happened, so I never really had a plan for how to make this crazy schedule really work well. Looking back, it felt like my life was one big ‘reaction’ rather than a plan!

The kids love seeing all the other families and children that regularly frequent our practice, and they love socializing with people of all ages there, but the whole routine had gotten pretty old for them, too!

It may have taken us a bit longer than I would have liked, but we did eventually get through the major ‘academic’ tasks of the school year. However, a big challenge I was having with this schedule was that the kids weren’t able to participate in nearly as many of the extracurricular events and classes that I find so valuable – sports, music, field trips, etc. That part was really, really hard on me. Also, I was just too mentally exhausted most of the time to really focus on making things “fun” for them, day in and day out.

Guilt.

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I had an impromptu business meeting that unexpectedly turned to a major conversation about my schedule and, therefore, our schooling choices. As it turns out, I’m going to continue being  needed in the practice on a very frequent basis.

This was not the “kicking off a fabulous new school year” news I was anticipating!

Several hours (and tears) later, we came to the conclusion that we might need to send the kids to public school this year, while we worked on some of our larger projects that seem to keep getting placed on the back burner. That way, too, the kids would be able to regularly experience music, art, theater, sports… and, of course, make some new friends.

 

I combed over the school district’s website, reading every document. I studied the curriculum. I even went so far as to go to the local school they’d be attending, poked around the school yard and peeked in the classroom windows, trying to envision my kids there. I had a small myocardial infarction as I counted the number of desks in each classroom.

That night, I did not sleep. At all.

My stomach hurt. My head hurt. My heart hurt. This was just SO hard, making this decision. (I’ve often joked that I kinda’ sorta’ envy the people who don’t give their school choices a second thought… when I think of how much thought and energy I invest in this choice!)

I spent most of the night crying… as I mentally compiled a list of all the things “not right” about this potential choice. {I’ll eventually write a post about this list, I’m sure.} By the time everyone else in the house awakened the next morning, I had made the decision that, although it wouldn’t be as easy as I’d like, I would make home school work with my schedule… no matter what.

(Feel free to check back with me come October/November… if I’m not institutionalized, that is!)

The thought of sending my kids to school at this particular time in their lives created such an overwhelming visceral reaction in my body (and soul!) that I’m willing to get as creative with my schedule as necessary in order to make home school work…  or car school… or work school… or wherever-we-can school!

Actually, I found the whole process very interesting and completely revealing. I discovered that my “mother’s compass” is definitely on the job! I can’t believe how profoundly my entire body and mind rejected the idea of sending the kids off to school.

Of course, conventional schools have their benefits – in fact, some of my favorite people and closest friends are school teachers. Of course, it’s the right choice for so many. Just not me. Not right now, at least. My heart told me that loud and clear! I have a feeling that our kids will be back in the public school mix at some point in their educational careers, I’m just not sure when.

So, while this upcoming school year will be busy trying to balance home school with time in the practice, with Dr. Mom Online time, with a brand new (and very big) venture we’re starting, AND remaining dedicated to keeping things FUN for the kids, I’m determined to do my best to make this work.

Any prayers are definitely welcome!

 

Contact me if you'd like a copy of the Healthy School Days Menu for only $10! (while supplies last)

 

Back to School Solution for Healthy Meals and Snacks

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Whether your kids go to school or are home schooled, back to school time means it’s time to figure out how to feed our kids a variety healthy foods… day in and day out.

It’s one of the leading challenges (OK, complaints, really) that you’ll hear from parents during the school year!

And, sadly, buying into the school lunch programs offered by schools is rarely a truly healthy choice. I’ve dissected many a school menu only to be left shaking my head in disappointment.

Years ago, when our eldest first started school, I realized the need for a third party guide of sorts… something to refer to when it was time to make healthy food choices for the upcoming school day. I couldn’t believe how quickly, and at what a young age, our kids started paying attention to what “everyone else” was eating or what teachers were telling them was “healthy”.

Nuh-uh. That wasn’t going to fly!

Goldfish crackers, pretzels, graham crackers and a carton of milk were NOT on our list of health-promoting foods!

So, I created the original “Dr. Mom’s Healthy School Days Menu” to use in our own family. It was cute… it was funny to the kids… and it worked. The kids could see what qualified as “healthy” choices. The whining was hushed!

Soon, word spread in our practiced. Parents wanted to see this menu guide that we were using… and they wanted their own.

OK. I took my little hand written card stock menu and gussied it all up, until “voila!”, the official “Healthy School Days Menu” was created!

It’s actually more of a nutrition guide than a “cook book”, really. It’s 8 pages of mini nutrition lessons as well as several ideas for healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks… all meeting Dr. Mom’s criteria for the “Circle of Health”. It also touches on some of the hottest topics in health and nutrition: childhood obesity, gluten sensitivity, and the controversial nature of dairy and grains.

If you’d like your own copy to launch the school year in a healthier way, let me know – I’ve only got less than 20 of the originals remaining… and I’m selling them at less than HALF the price of what they were previously selling for!!

The Healthy School Days Menu is now only $10 while supplies last!! (+ S&H)

If you’d like to order one, contact me and I’ll give you the scoop! (The website for the menu is still “down” after being hacked… so just contact me directly.)

 

 

 

Becoming A Runner ~ Couch to 5K With The Kids

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A few weeks ago, I decided that my kids would like to start the Couch to 5K running program.

(Kind of me, don’t you think?)

Why did I decide this? Simply, I wanted to add a new activity to gym class in our home school curriculum and I felt the need for a third party to defer to in times of resistance by the participants!

I know for a fact that both my children are great runners. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes – beautiful, natural, easy stride. Especially my daughter, the eldest. It’s enviable.

They’ve taken track & field camps before. Those kids can run.

However, for some *strange* reason, when mom wants them to “go for a run”, it’s a whole different story. The whiny pants come out… the “I can’t”s are uttered… the “I’m so tired” is dramatically expressed. Brother. Whose children are these?!

I decided they should take a more serious crack at running. Shoot, if they were in school they’d have to, right?

Thankfully, it’s about more than just “keeping up with the conventionally schooled Jones-es”! I’d love for them to someday love running like I do.

Yes, it’s for their health. But more importantly, God willing, it’s something they can always do… always count on… always have for their own, no matter where they go or what they do. (Same is true of walking, of course.) All they need is some decent shoes and they’re good-to-go.

Running is my number one activity of choice for freedom, stress reduction, pain reduction (yes, you read that correctly!), processing, burning off steam, anger management, “me time”, prayer time, thinking, and creativity….

I often joke that, if I could just run more, I’d soon solve all the problems of the world… and write more books! (My first two books and several other products were “written” or created as I was running. I dictated them into a small digital recorder to be transcribed later.)

I also made it through my mom’s sickness, and eventual passing, by becoming what I consider a “real” runner… someone who truly loves to run… craves running. I credit God and running for teaching me how to take things (literally) one step at a time and to take notice of the blessings along the way… no matter how small or well hidden they may be.

This is what I look forward to when I run.

I want my kids to have something like that as they get older… something that connects them to what’s big and important.

So, why did I choose Couch to 5K (C25K)? I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about this or researching it. I have several friends who did the C25K program and loved it. These are all people who swore they’d never be runners. And now they run. I think they even smile when they do it!

It’s a super simple program to turn a non-runner into a happy runner!

Even though the kids run, per say, like kids do… when they feel like it, I wanted them to learn to push themselves.

So, we’ve been hitting the trails for the last 5 weeks.

Heading out for a run...!

I learned really quickly that the BIGGEST CHALLENGE is not at all about the physical act of running. It’s all about “head space”. Self talk.

I did not anticipate that I’d be granted such a perfect opportunity to work with the kids on this through this program! (And to work on improving my own skills in this area, of course!)

This has actually become our primary ‘theme’ of our running time – to control our thoughts and self talk – to intentionally “plant positives”. Science has proven for years that our thoughts effect our physiological function – whiny, negative thoughts lead to poor performance and physical difficulties, while positive, empowering thoughts enhance performance and function.

Plus, let’s not overlook the obvious here: thinking in a more positive, empowering way just FEELS better! Duh.

Being intentional with our thoughts and self talk is the name of the game. How well they run – time & distance – although an important part of their physical education and health, is secondary to becoming the master of their own mental and emotional domain!

We use running as our time to practice this with the intention to apply it in other (less-controlled and predictable) areas of our life.

We’ve failed miserably at times… and the whining takes over… or the former-coach mom becomes a little too intense for a moment or two… or ten. But, each time, we talk (pre, post and during the run) about intentionally placing proactive thoughts in our head and playing an active role in creating our reality. We get back on track.

It has been extraordinary to watch the kids grow into runners in just a few weeks. They are unequivocally better runners, but it’s the secondary effects of running that have made their mom proud. They’re both more confident, more positive, more determined… and I haven’t heard “I can’t” since week one.

I’ve taught them how to find that elusive “groove” when running – the place where your body takes over, your mind relaxes, there is no pain, and you could go on forever. We tend to find that groove when we’ve gotten our self talk on the right track and we’re nicely distracted – having a nice conversation, or taking notice of nature around us, or singing, or talking about something funny… that works most of the time… until the laughing becomes too intense and mom is bent over at the waist in a fit of laughter.

It happens. These people are funny!

Several times now, each one of them has confided in me during a run that they “feel like a real runner”. It’s an awesome thing to witness!

They are runners. They met the goal of the entire 9 week program in week 3 – to run 30 minutes or 5 Kilometers without stopping. I just wanted them to know they could do it, so I pushed them beyond the outline of the program… just for fun! They were SO proud of themselves – it was great!  They’ve done that a couple of times since then, but mostly I just let them follow the general flow of the program now… enjoying their running time.

Oh, my favorite quote of our running so far?

On one rather warm day when we were all pretty saturated after the run, I made a request to cease excessive bodily contact with the coach due to the sweaty condition of all participants.

My son responded with, “Mom, this isn’t sweat… it’s AWESOME SAUCE!”

Classic!

* * *

How about YOU? If you’re a runner, what do YOU love about it?

If you’re not a runner, is it on your to-do list?

What’s YOUR stress-busting exercise of choice?

Please share!