New Years Resolutions Though the Eyes of a Child

The following is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.  ~Pablo Picasso

Ever miss that childhood wonder, the longing to discover the world around you,  and the desire to just “play”?  I sure do. So, in 2012, I resolve to be more like my five year old.

For many of us, 2011 was a difficult year. In all its stress and seriousness,  I for one forgot how to play.  Being a task-oriented individual, I tend to create a to do list out of the simplest goals just to see that precious check-mark at the end of the day.  Caught in the frenzy of check-marks, it’s easy to lose focus on relationships by placing greater attention on accomplishments.

This year,  I choose to simplify and relish the journey towards my goals alongside my favorite little companions.

Less doing and more being might be my hardest resolution yet, but here’s to those 2012 goals through the eyes of my five year old:

Explore

The grown up version of this goal might be interpreted as “read more”, but that sounds a bit like a chore doesn’t it? That one more thing to check off your list before going to bed each night? Not through the eyes of my five year old. She relishes new books, gets lost in their fantastical, make-believe plots, and stays up late to read them over and over…and over again. She has a voracious appetite to explore new subjects through reading that in turn builds confidence, strengthens communication, and inspires creativity. Funny, those benefits are universal and I’m hoping this grown up can reap some of them as well.

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Kid Friendly Meal Using Pumpkin 3-Ways

The following is by contributor Christen Babb.

 

Pumpkins inspire me. They are truly one of nature’s blank canvasses.

Pumpkins are best known for their ability to be carved into a myriad of artistic masterpieces, decorating the doorsteps of homes across America. However, this ever-versatile gourd can also play the starring role in both savory and sweet foods – from soups and raviolis to pies and even ice-cream!

Since I grew up not celebrating Halloween, I tend to associate pumpkins with the latter: food.  Not only are they extremely versatile in recipes, their nutritional value is often underestimated. Known as a “superfood“, pumpkins pack a punch of  B-vitamins alongside their  mellow,  inviting,  and quintessentially American  flavor.

Using pumpkin as my inspiration , I’m bringing you a nutritious and delicious pumpkin-packed meal:  Healthy Chicken Bites (with Pumpkin!) + Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta Fries + Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

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Work and Home: A Balancing Act for Parents Today

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

For many parents today, financial pressures continue to mount while the economy continues its  lethargic recovery.  Whether you’ve gone back to work full or part-time, away or at home, a paradigm change is created.

We’re challenged to balance our families’ changing  schedules and demanding jobs while maintaining our sanity.  Most of us already know the importance of staying organized, getting help from people you trust,  and learning when  to “unplug.”

But what other practical measures can we implement to relax and enjoy our families while at home?

This is current  struggle of mine, as I have gone back to work full time and with two young children at home.  In fact, it seems ironic that I speak from any position of authority, while frantically schlepping a breast-pump on a cross-country business trip and struggling to schedule meetings around  doctor’s  appointments, ballet classes, and preschool functions.

However, I do hope to leave you with some practical coping techniques to help create rhythm in your busy work-life schedule. I also hope to hear from you and encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Teaching Little Ones How to Handle Money

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

As the years change, so do our goals. In 2011, with the economy still on its way up, a common new year’s resolution is to budget better and spend wisely. We work hard to pinch every penny, but it’s just as important to impart our knowledge and experience (the good and the bad) onto the next generation.

As Dave Ramsey, a well known financial personality says, “Parents are not just responsible for providing food, clothing, and shelter for their kids. They are also responsible for teaching their kids about life—and life includes handling money.” If we don’t teach our children how to properly handle money, someone else – or some other crafty ad campaign – will.

A common way to to teach little ones the value of a dollar is to create a reward system based on a set of simple, kid-friendly responsibilities.

When to Start?

I believe it’s important for kids to start doing simple household chores before they receive a  reward – perhaps as early as 3 or 4 years old.  Tasks such as sorting and putting away silverware, feeding the pets, “folding”  the towels (don’t aim for perfection!) are fun, age-appropriate jobs for eager little helpers. It sets the tone that some jobs are not paid – they are simply responsibilities for being a part of the family. Kids who help around the home gain self-respect and take pride in a job well done. They learn early on that other rewards, such as allowance, are secondary benefits.

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Thanks for Giving: Teacher Thank You’s

The following post was written by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. Yes, there’s the planning, the grocery shopping, and many hours in front of the stove, but I consider this holiday to be the calm before the storm, the last chance to breathe before the busy holiday season. It’s a time to celebrate our faith, family, and friends and meditate over the many rich blessings we have in our lives.

My goal is to teach my children to savor Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving’s sake. Too often, we become bogged down with never ending  holiday to-do’s, shopping lists, and parties galore. We forget to say “thanks” in the midst of our abundant blessings.

Teacher Thank You’s

In an effort to teach my daughter to count those blessings, I let her choose a couple people she wanted to pay special thanks to. This year, she picked her two preschool teachers. We decided to make simple, homemade “Thanks for Giving” bags to let them know we love and appreciate them.

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