May 30, 2010

I received my first blogger award!

WOOOOO WHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
Michelle at My Kind of Crafts nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.



Rules for receiving the award are:

1. Thank the person who gave me the award
2. Share 7 things about myself
3. Pass the award on to 15 (sorry...didn't get to that many) fabulous bloggers
4. Contact the bloggers I have picked and let them know about their award!

Thanks Michelle!!

Seven things...hmmm?

1. I am sort of a "jack of all trades". I know a little about a lot! I am a mom, science teacher, volleyball coach, personal trainer, certified as a nutrition specialist, a wanna-be photographer (working on this one), and I'm sure tomorrow, I will add something else to the list :)

2. I want to learn to play my guitar SOON!

3. My husband makes me laugh the most out of everyone I know and I am the most competitive with him!

4. My nickname (which I hated) while teaching was Biology Barbie (I know, BARF!!)

5. I love everything about entertaining! I host parties, coffees, BBQs, and showers as often as I can!!

6. I hope I always remain an athlete and motivated to work out and stay healthy and pass that on to my kiddos!

7. My kids make my world go around and keep me smiling all the time! I am truly blessed

Here are my favorite bloggers! I am passing this award on to them!!
Three Little Birds
Photosmashing
Free People

May 28, 2010

Clarification on give-away entry rules

My sincere apologies to those new to the blog give-away world!!
I should have been more precise when stating the entry rules!! You DO NOT have to have a twitter account! You can easily sign up for one if you would like to.
If you do one of the 5 following things, that enters your name in the drawing one time. Two things, two times, all things, 5 times!
So, by visiting the Little gym website and commenting on my blog post, you entered your name one time. If you also became a fan of ALL THINGS MOM of FB, you entered your name two times, etc.


How to Enter:

1. Visit The Little Gym website here and comment on this post what your kid would like about The Little Gym (example - my kid would love the balance beam)
2. Become a fan of ALL THINGS MOM on Facebook
3. Follow ALL THINGS MOM in Google Friends Connect (click Follow on ALL THINGS MOM Home Page)
4. Email five friends the link to ALL THINGS MOM and tell them about the give-away! CC me on it at Lesliand3ks@gmail.com
5. Follow ALL THINGS MOM on Twitter and tweet this giveaway. Leave this link: http://mommawareness.blogspot.com/2010/05/little-gym-and-all-things-moms-first.html

Be sure and email me at Lesliand3ks@gmail.com your name and contact info (however you would like to be contacted, email, phone, etc.) and let me know how many of the above entry rules you followed (sometimes can't track twitter usernames, or blog identities)!

Does this help?? Any more questions, please email or comment! I would be happy to help!!

May 26, 2010

The LITTLE GYM and ALL THINGS MOM's first GIVE-AWAY!!

Since my husband and I are both athletes (I almost typed "former" and then corrected myself...we will always be athletes, at least in our own minds!), it is very important that we instill a love for exercise and physical activity in our kids lives. As soon as my daughter was walking, my husband wanted to know which sport we were going to put her in. Now that the baby boy is walking, he wants to set up tire drills in the backyard. I know it is crazy, but that's how we roll :)
So we joined The Little Gym. The Little Gym has been a big part of our lives since Kaia was a baby. It was her first "social" activity that I enrolled her in and she was only 9 months old. She loved it so much! I noticed how every time we went she became more comfortable with not only the other kids, but the other moms and dads in the class. She also quickly became comfortable on the equipment and began challenging herself to new tasks and taking risks she normally would not take. It was my favorite 45 minutes of each week because it gave us the opportunity to bond with each other and as she slowly tried new things, I could see her trust in me grow as she knew I would be there to catch her and spot her. Kaia enjoyed the class so much we even had her one-year birthday party there! Even at three-years-old, we still do "rollie-pollies" together and "whoop-te-do's" in the living room floor.

Now I take Kristian. He loves it too but on a whole other level. He is a wild one and loves to run and jump and fall down. He is also trying new things and challenging himself but I love that it is in a safe environment and all while he is interacting with other children. He loves to watch me run and jump and walk across the balance beam. He even claps for me and then tries it himself.
Here he is!!




This was Kaia at eleven months!




I have been thoroughly impressed with the instructors and curriculum at The Little Gym. The instructors are great about teaching parents how to safely spot their children and constantly encouraging the kids even when they are having a bad day or not wanting to try an activity. The curriculum is top-notch. Parents and kids learn a new sign each class, new songs, and each class has a theme where we work on a different "strength" that our kids possess!

I would recommend The Little Gym to anyone with kids and I am excited to announce the following give-away!
Read more about The Little Gym here!!



This is a local give-away! If you live in San Antonio, this one if for you!!
The Little Gym on Thousand Oaks has FOUR CAMP DAYS TO GIVE AWAY!!!

Read about The Little Gym Camp Days HERE!


The camp day is three hours long so stick around and watch your little one(s) have a ball or meet a friend out for a meal and some shopping and enjoy some MOMMY TIME!!

Your child/children must be 3-8 years old and be POTTY TRAINED!!
Camp days run Mon., Tues., Wed. from 1pm - 4pm and Thurs. and Fri. from 9am - 12pm. You get to pick the day!

Each week has a special theme and each day has a different, creative lesson plan. Your child and their friends will love to go on a new adventure each time they attend camp! The specially designed camp curriculum combines physical activity, gymnastics and play with arts, crafts, and special events.

Even better: If the mommies who win have more than one child, the camp day give-away includes ALL ELIGIBLE SIBLINGS!!
The day is for the FAMILY :) :)

The dates for the camp day give-away are as follows (note: the give away includes ONE DAY of each week so there are FOUR WINNERS):

June 14th - June 18th WILD WEST!
Get ready to "Gitty-up Partner" - for this Wild West adventure here at The Little Gym! Each day of this camp may be wilder than the next - what with "Ropin' Pigs", "Runaway Stage Coach Rides" and of course the "Buckin' Bronco Hoedown!" But leave your holster at home! All you'll need for this Wild West Ride is your smile, your imagination, and a cowboy boot full of "gumption" (whatever that is!).

June 21st - June 25th Jolly Roger's Hidden Treasure
The Little Gym Pirates embark on unforgettable adventures on Pirate Island as they search for the "Jolly Roger's Hidden Trasure" - the silliest pirate that ever tickled a squid! Searching for strange clues that have our little pirates doing everything from straddle rolls to back handsprings is just a sample of what is in store. Will they find the treasures? What kind of incredible pirate gymnastics and games does Jolly Roger do to get his "jollies"? You'll just have to hop on boards and see!


How to Enter:

1. Visit The Little Gym website and comment on this post that you did so
2. Become a fan of ALL THINGS MOM on Facebook
3. Follow ALL THINGS MOM on Twitter and tweet this giveaway. Leave this link: http://mommawareness.blogspot.com/2010/05/little-gym-and-all-things-moms-first.html
4. Follow ALL THINGS MOM in Google Friends Connect (click Follow on ALL THINGS MOM Home Page)
5. Email five friends the link to ALL THINGS MOM and tell them about the give-away! CC me on it at Lesliand3ks@gmail.com

Note: WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED June 4th!! Thanks to the Little Gym for providing ALL THINGS MOM with the camp days. Please make sure your child fits the age criteria before entering. ALL THINGS MOM will contact you if you win and will contact The Little Gym with your name, contact info, and specific date(s) your child/children are planning on attending.

May 25, 2010

Emergency Contact Sheet

The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Make sure your family knows emergency phone numbers and your kids know how to place a call for help!!


Here is a great resource to have! Click on the link below and you can print out as many of these sheets as you would like. Fill it out and keep it close to the telephone! It is great for babysitters or relatives to have this information close at hand in case of an emergency.

EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET

Some other important tips:
- WRITE ALL NUMBERS WITH A DARK COLORED PEN AND VERY CLEARLY
- BE SURE TO INCLUDE ANY ALLERGIES, ESPECIALLY TO MEDICATIONS ON YOUR LIST
- BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL MEDICAL CONDITIONS YOUR CHILD MAY SUFFER FROM
- BESIDES CLOSE TO THE HOME PHONE, KEEP A CONTACT LIST IN THE CAR

Another important thing for you to think about...
My husband and I have filled out a Power of Attorney for my parents to make any medical decisions for our kids on our behalf. We had it notarized and keep it current. Our kids are with my parents frequently and we wanted to make sure, in case of an emergency, that if we could not be reached, my parents would be able to make any decision necessary.

May 24, 2010

Sun screens for your kids....GRRRRRR!

Listening to our local news this morning, I hear bits and pieces of information about sun screens and how some may not be all they are cracked up to be. Then I receive a post from a friend and blog reader (thanks Molly!) with a link attached about how some chemicals in sunscreens may be accelerating cancer cell development AND not protecting our kids the way they are advertising to be. Okay so I am fired up a bit and start doing some research.....and NOW I AM FUMING!!!!

I thought for sure the sunscreen I buy was a good quality lotion. It is the most expensive at the store, and after all, you get what you pay for, right? WRONG! It was rated ONE OF THE WORST! And these are products I am trusting to protect my children, my three and one-year old??

It is so frustrating! I use a lot of things that are considered "natural" but let's be honest, who has the time to investigate every little thing and the money to purchase all these things? So while running through the grocery store, I grab a trusted name (at least I thought) brand sun screen. Those of you who have done the same thing, READ ON!

Here is the article (Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer) Take what you want from it, but the most important thing I did was click on the EWG (environmental Working Group) link below, then click on the Find the best sunscreen for you link, then you can search for the cream you have been using to see it's rating (the scale of good to caution to harmful is there). And you guessed it, mine was not just "caution" but in the HARMFUL category!! The page also shows the EWG's list of best rated sun screens that do not have those harmful chemicals in them. I recognized a lot of the names and most of them you can not buy in the grocery store because they are all natural products and are not carried in the big chain stores. I have seen some of them at Whole Foods and Sun Harvest and even Babies R Us.
Looks like I will be purchasing new sun screen for the hot summer months to come!!

EWG Link to finding a safe and effective sun screen
http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/

If you don't read the article or rate your sun screen at least take the time to look over this page. IT IS GREAT!
It is the EWG Top Sunscreen Tips and includes a chart showing you how to shop for sun screens (which chemicals to check for to have and avoid), then what to do prior to applying sunscreen, and sun tips for infants, toddlers, children, and teens!
It is a must read!! Look for most posts on this issue to come!!

CRY/LAUGH Monday!

I figured we all could use a little laugh on Monday mornings so thanks to Lisa Pullig, here is All Things Mom's FIRST Cry/Laugh Monday Story!!

Last night I was taking off the kids clothes to get them in the tub. I put my little one down on the ground naked and was walking him to the bathroom. I went back to see where I lost the oldest (1-2 minutes TOPS) and when I came back for the little one I saw him standing near the TV console. When I picked him up to take him to the tub I noticed.....where he was standing, he was peeing the whole time. Directly in the line of fire of our DVD player and BOSE speakers. They were both soaked. Just like our parents used to say..."Can't we have ANYTHING nice?!"

Great one Lisa! Looking forward to receiving more cry/laugh stories to post! Email them to me at Lesliand3ks@gmail.com

May 21, 2010

PROBIOTICS and PREBIOTICS

It is a proven fact that an unhealthy digestive system can weaken a persons immune system opening them up to all kinds of problems. We also know how delicate and under developed many babies digestive systems are. We slowly introduce new foods and liquids, take precautions by reading labels on foods, and follow doctors advice when giving toddlers nuts, eggs, shellfish, and berries (*see footnote below). Is there something more we can be doing to help out our kids digestive system and even our own? YES! And the best part, it is easy and very accessible!

Before we dive into this subject, PLEASE note to ask your child's pediatrician FIRST before starting them on anything. There is a lot of good info out there about probiotics and their positive effects but along with them are the studies that in some kids no positive effects have been found. I know all these conflicting studies are frustrating, especially as a mom. I just wanted to make sure I bring it up and you can read those safety concerns here.

PROBIOTICS
Thanks to a Biology background, good pediatricians, and a close friend who is extremely knowledgeable in chinese medicine, I have always given my kids probiotics when they began taking any sort of antibiotic. If you haven't done this, you will be amazed at how the probiotic can counteract many of the nasty side effects the antibiotic may be causing your child to have (especially the painful diarrhea and diaper rash that comes along with most antibiotics). Since my daughter was rarely sick and she has always been "regular" (she is so not going to like reading these posts when she is older), I never really paid that much attention to all the positives the probiotics were providing her. Then my baby boy came along. From day one, he had painful and irregular poops (post #4 and we are already talking about POOP, our lives are so exciting!! :) ). He also hit 9 months and got sick because of chronic ear infections week after week after week, so I was constantly pumping the kid full of antibiotics and probiotics. I quickly saw a pattern, when he was on the probiotics, his digestive issues seem to fade.

Now that he has tubes in his ears and not getting sick as often (knock on wood), and I have him on a probiotic supplement during cold and flu season, definitely when he is on antibiotics, and when he is having GI issues. I am hoping to BOOST his immune system by strengthening his digestive system, and help him out in the poop department. So far, it seems to be helping! I also supplement my daughter during those times as well. She takes a chewable tablet in the morning and my one year old gets a powder put in his milk or juice twice a day. Not to mention, they both eat a yogurt with probiotics in them once a day (CHECK YOUR YOGURTS...not all of them have them).

There is also a ton of research out there that says the probiotics may hlp reduce the risks of colds, flu, allergies, GI issues, headaches, eczema in babies (will let you know on this, both my kids have it), autoimmune disorders, thyroid issues, and many more. By the way, I also take a probiotic everyday (in pill form called ALIGN, you can get it at Costco and many other places) and it has really helped me out with my GI issues too (read isults to our probiotic and digestive system health here...UNBELIEVABLE how many things disrupt the digestive environment we should keep)!! Enough of my personal stories....here are the links and good info you really want!!

There are many types of gut flora, the two I try to supplement my kids with are :

LACTOBACILLUS GG

ACIDOPHILUS

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

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I really like this website. It gives both perspectives from a scientific standpoint and highlights safety concerns. If you have a minute, check it out:
Probiotics for kids with diarrhea and other ailments: What every parent needs to know

Here is another concise article with a lot of info on probiotics.
Good article on Probiotics

Read more about how probiotics can benefit those with migraines, thyroid, and many more autoimmune disorders. Also proven to reduce eczema in infants!

More Reason for Probiotics (July 2002)

Where to get Probiotic supplements:
Health food stores (Sun Harvest, Whole Foods, Trader Joes)
Many grocery stores
Some Pharmacies
MANY online stores (my favorite - NATURE'S SUNSHINE)

PREBIOTICS
I know it seems like I give my kids everything on the planet, but I really don't. In fact, I have always been weary of taking anything myself (even tylenol) and I am really hesitant to give my kids anything without a ton of research. One thing I am not hesitant about is using natural supplements and nutrition to help the body do what God made it to do! So the best advice I take and give is look into this route first and always!!

That's where Prebiotics come in!

So what are they?

Think of them as food for the “friendly” bacteria in your gut.

Prebiotics are hard-to-digest food ingredients that can be metabolized by probiotics, the beneficial microorganisms living in your digestive tract (Gibson and Roberfroid 1995).

To date, most research has focused on certain oligosaccharides, in particular:

• fructooligossacharides (FOS)

• galactooligosaccharides (GOS)

• inulin

These are actually carbohydrates, albeit carbs that humans can’t digest. The only energy we get from FOS, GOS, and inulin is provided by our gut flora.

Bacteria in the colon ferment the oligosaccharides, producing short-chain fatty acids, lactate, and gas. The process provides us with a bit of energy, but not much: FOS and inulin yield about 1.5 calories per gram (Niness 1999).

A variety of bacteria can metabolize the nondigestible oligosaccharides. However, two groups--the probiotic bifidobacteria and lactobacilli--seem to thrive on these prebiotics.


Bottom line: YOU CAN BOOST YOUR CHILD'S HEALTHY BACTERIAL ENVIRONMENT GAINING ALL THOSE POSITIVE EFFECTS BY CONSUMING NATURAL FOODS!!
Here are the natural sources that you can feed yourself and your kids to "feed" that healthy bacteria in your gut boosting it's livelihood, therefore balancing out your bodies natural healthy environment.


Natural sources

Oliosaccharides are found in breast milk, which may partly explain why breastfed babies experience fewer infections (Boehm and Moro 2008).

FOS, GOS, and inulin are also found naturally in these foods:

• Onions

• Garlic

• Milk

• Bananas

• Wheat

• Oats

• Artichokes

• Asparagus

• Leeks

• Chicory


Read the entire article below
Prebiotics: How to feed your family’s friendly gut flora

I hope I have sorted through some of this information for you! There is A LOT out there and it gets confusing!
I like to get to the BOTTOM LINE (if you haven't noticed). My bottom line is this...
When my kids are more susceptible to becoming ill, I supplement with probiotics. These times are: cold and flu season, when taking antibiotics, and times of tough GI issues (stomach bug, diarrhea, or stressful situations).
All other times, I am working to UP their intake of PREBIOTICS by feeding them whole foods that will help the healthy bacteria do it's job more efficiently!!

May 20, 2010

KID AND MOM OF THE WEEK!!

Each week I am going to gather great mom stories about their AMAZING KIDDOS and post a Kid and Mom of the Week! If you are the mom that is shy about bragging as most of us are, but love celebrating your kids, you will love this!
They are wonderful little creatures and should be celebrated and encouraged constantly! Let's not forget that stellar mom who is behind all that goodness! Good Job Kiddos and Good Job Mom!!

So here is our first one!

COLE HEDGPETH
Cole is the smartest 10 year old I know! He loves to read and learn. He is a boy scout, on the swim team, and in a robotics club (that you have to be hand chosen for). Cole is a great big brother to two younger siblings.
Last week Cole lead his team to WIN the entire 4th grade class Battle of the Books competition! Sound exciting? It gets better! Cole read 19 Bluebonnet Books and the competition involved questions about ALL 19 books! Questions about authors, characters, plot, selective passages in those books!! Cole SMOKED the competition firing off answers!
They now advance to the district competition this week! Good Luck Cole! We are all cheering for you!


Cole's Wonderful Mother...Cassandra!
Last week I get a phone call from Cassandra. After getting two kiddos ready for school and on the bus, she dropped off another at MDO, what's next? Off to Cole's school for the Battle of the Books competition. I could hear the nervousness in her voice as she explained to me that last year Cole's team won second place and although they were very proud of him, he was very disappointed! She told me how he had stayed up the night prior going through those 19 books, studying and reviewing with his father. She was so anxious and excited for him. Rushing to catch the last ten minutes of the competition, she told me she would call me later.
In about half an hour, I GET THE CALL! She was out of breath, almost in tears, and happiness sprung from her voice! "Lesli, can I share this with you?". "Of course, I replied". "HE WON, HE WON", she shouted! I could hear the strain to fight back tears. "He was so awesome"! "His smile"! "He had the biggest smile"! "He wore the purple ribbon and held up the trophy with the biggest smile"! I was smiling ear to ear as I listened to her GUSH about her smart son! This had made her day! Her week!
"District, WE ARE GOING TO DISTRICT"! "I am going to make signs!" "I am so excited"! "I am so happy for him"! "He worked so hard"! "I feel silly, but I am so happy"!
We chatted another ten minutes about how FAST he answered, and how accurate his answers were! She told me how other moms in the crowd kept commenting to her how SMART Cole is, how amazing he was, how he has a super memory! We joked about how Cole got his father's brain but how she will take the credit for it anyway :)

Cassandra was a super mom that day without even knowing it! She shined with pride watching her kiddo succeed! It inspired me! It made me look forward to the next 10 years. It made me want to be a better mom! I didn't tell her any of this but I am now....Cassandra YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOM and it shows through your words, actions, and wonderful kids! Thanks for inspiring us!


Oh yeah...did I mention, SHE IS GORGEOUS??

May 19, 2010

Pesticides in produce linked to ADHD in kids

This REALLY bothered me! My mom saw it and dvr'ed (is that a word?) it, my husband saw it at the gym and came home all fired up, and then I read the article and felt like I needed to share it.

If you don't have time to read the article or watch the videos, get this as a bottom line!
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOUR KIDS
- Buy organic, make sure to wash
The best advice for parents — and anyone who wants to avoid pesticides — is to choose foods least likely to contain them. The Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy organization, advises shoppers to buy organic versions of a dozen fruits and vegetables that grow in the ground or are commonly eaten with the skin, because they’re most likely to be contaminated.

Make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables under cold running tap water and scrub firm-skinned produce with a brush. Be sure to rinse frozen fruits and vegetables, too.

But don’t wash produce with soap. The Food and Drug Administration says that could leave behind residues of detergent, yet more chemicals that everyone would do best to avoid.

- Follow the DIRTY DOZEN rule! The EWG came up with a list of the 12 "dirtiest foods" that contain the most amount of pesticides and the cleanest 15 so you as a consumer would know which ones to shop organically for.

The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15
Download the guide on your computer or your iphone at the link below!
Download the Guide | Environmental Working Group


This website is great! A lot of useful information on pesticides and protecting your kiddos!
http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php

Today Show Clip from May 17th 2010

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Read the entire article from the link below!!
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/37156010/

Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned medical expert on natural health and wellness, tells us why and how he uses the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

Where to find organic produce
Local grocery store (slim pickings at mine)
Whole Foods, Sun Harvest, Trader Joes
Local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership
We just signed up last week! When we lived in Las Vegas there was not a local CSA I could join. Once we moved to Texas and got settled I started looking right away. Now we have found a farm that only sells certified organically grown fruit and veggies. You pay a seasonal fee and pick up a basket of a variety of fruits and veggies each week.
To learn more and find a local CSA to join in your area visit the link below.
http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

May 18, 2010

WELCOME TO ALL THINGS MOM!

WELCOME to ALL THINGS MOM! Okay so let's get right to it, I am one of those moms! I hear something disturbing about things that may affect my kids and I jump online, on the phone, or over to the library or bookstore to learn more. So I decided to put all those things in one place...RIGHT HERE!

So here is your chance to take a peek into what is "ruffling my feathers" or what I feel passionate about, especially when it comes to my babies! I also wanted a place to pass on and gain information that may be useful in raising my children. The more feedback from you I get, the more useful it is to everyone because let's face it, all kids are unique and different and your experience may help out another mom who is thinking or feeling the same thing so PLEASE...COMMENT AWAY!!!
Happy reading and I hope to hear from you soon!

p.s..I tried to get my blog address to match the blog title but it was taken (and so were about 10,000 others I tried) so note the address when passing along :)

p.s.s..To learn more about me and why I started this blog, click on the "about me" and "why blog" link above!!