January is off to a great start!

January came and went so fast here at the Mabelhood.  It’s been a pretty special month! Two Mabel babies both arrived on January 21st.

After the mumps scare in the NHL, our Hockey Combo labels are now being used by four teams: the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers & San Jose Sharks.

Thanks to @AngryJulie for the picture!

This month the Community Relations Committee organized volunteering for staff members at the Good Shepherd.   Tasks included sorting toiletries, clothing, toys and food for the food bank.  This is set to become an ongoing initiative with staff heading there once a month to help out.

Mabel’s dodgeball team hit the courts for the first time a few weeks ago.  With one win under their belt, they feel confident it will be a great season.

 

Hope your 2015 is also off to a great start!

 

School Lunches

Making school lunches seems to be an energy drain for most families. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some ideas to help you make 2015 a stress-free school lunch year:

1. Delegate

Sign them up for pizza lunch and accept all “bring a friend home for lunch invitations” they can wrangle!  Not every meal has to be as healthy as the menu at Canyon Ranch Spa. Balance their need for nutrition with your need for sanity.

2. One list & one rotation

Create a list together with your children of 5 lunches that they enjoy.  Most of our stress comes from thinking “WHAT CAN I MAKE FOR LUNCH TODAY?”  It’s the need to think creatively that exhausts us.  Well, I say forget creativity! You’ve been spending too much time on Pinterest. Go for a pragmatic formula instead. Research shows most families eat the same 4 or 5 meals over again and again for dinner. Why not apply the same principle to lunch?  Once you have the lunch list, your only work is in making sure the items are on the grocery list, and packing it.

3. Pack strategically

Don’t forget to label!

Mornings are a pressure keg. Take some of the stress off by packing lunches at some other time of day – maybe the most low-key time of your day is right after kids go to bed? Or pack them while you simmer dinner on the stove. Heck, why not pack three days worth of lunches at once?

4. Let the kid’s solve the boredom problem

If your kids complain they are tired of getting wieners and beans for lunch, explain you will happily remove them from the list of 5 lunches, once replacement school lunch recipes have been discovered. Have them scout out lunch options by looking at what their friends are packing. Imitation is the highest form of flattery isn’t it?

5. Pass the torch

Eventually, you’ll want your kids doing this job for themselves. That means you should spend time teaching your children to pack their own lunch, so you can pass the torch on to them.  Kids tend to eat better when they pack their own lunches, so the earlier the better!

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

Raising a sensitive cloud child.

Last night, I lay in bed with my 5-year old, waiting for her to fall asleep.

“Anna,” I whispered, “Are you awake?”

“No,” she whispered back.

I smiled to myself. I had wanted to chat. But I knew she needed her sleep, so I kept quiet.

Instead, I stared at her eyelashes in the dark and started thinking. Thinking about how amazing she was. How much she had changed and learned in her 5 years in this world. How well she handled having two little sisters join her family. How hard the transition to JK has been for her and her sensitive little personality. Still. In January.

Change is hard for her. When things are different, she gets easily upset. She regresses a little. She doesn’t seem so grown up anymore. Every time we overcome one little hurdle at school (‘Mommy – why is show & share different at big school? Why aren’t I allowed to keep my toy behind my back after I’m done showing it?’) another one seems to come up.

But then there are moments like earlier that day. When her eyes got wide as she told me excitedly about the dinosaurs they learned about today. And when she watched me making popcorn… her belly laugh at the sight of the kernel actually turning into a piece of popcorn.

“Did you see that??” she laughs. “How awesome!”

My grown up little baby girl. She straddles the line between becoming a kid and still needing her Mommy and Daddy for almost everything.

She wants to take the long way to school – stopping to pick up sticks and talk about the stream we pass. Which is great. But then we get to school, and she also wants me to come into her class and stay with her just because she’s not ready to go in when the bell rings. She wants to learn to print all sorts of new words. But even when she needs help, she wants to do it all on her own, because she’s still uncomfortable with her teachers. She wants to bring a stuffy to hold onto during quiet time. But she also wants to put it away when she’s good and ready – not when she’s told to.

After one day when she was having particularly rough time at school (and I felt like a failure), I updated my Facebook status to “How do you solve a problem like Anna?” It was meant as a joke – but a friend left this comment:

“How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?”

And I had a moment of clarity. The answer is – you don’t.

Anna is the first kid, so she has to be the “tester” – she needs to break new ground and figure this brand new world out – paving the way for her two younger sisters. And if she’s going to do it her own way – all the better.

I realized I can’t pin Anna down and I shouldn’t want to. I realized that every time I lose my grown up Anna for a little bit, I’m going to remind myself that I’ve got a cloud on my hands.

And I vow to do my best not to try and pin her down.

 

About the Author:

Heather Dixon is a copywriter at Mabel’s Labels, a smoothie aficionado, a runner and a Mom to three highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her).

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