It’s not about how much time you have. It’s about how effectively you manage your time. – R.L. Adams

One of the most effective skills you can have in life is powerful and effective time management.  Now that you are a parent your schedule has been turned upside down.  What used to work well doesn’t any more.  You are tired, hormones are running through you at breakneck speed, you feel so responsible for your new little child.  Everything has changed.  Allowing yourself the time to re-stabilize is vital.  The ideas here will help as you settle into you new normal.

If there’s one thing I have learned over the years, it’s the importance of paying attention to how you use the precious time you have.  As busy parents and/or entrepreneurs, finding work-life balance is always challenging, but the truth is, it doesn’t need to be overwhelming.  I can tell you as a work-at-home mom that it CAN be done. Even the busiest mom can carve out pockets of breathing room within the day – with the right system in place.

Managing your time is not just good practice, but it is also good for productivity and organization. Follow a time management system that will help you get things done in order to achieve success with your goals. By managing your time properly and efficiently, you can create an organized life!

HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU MANAGE YOUR TIME:

1.   Get Up Early

Take a good look at your morning routine. What time do you usually start your day? How do you spend the first hour (or two)?

There are plenty of examples of how the most successful people are early risers and have a morning routine in place. Morning routines often include:

2.  Create a To-Do List

Creating a to-do list should be a regular habit undertaken daily.

To help you feel like a super-hero and finally cross every item off your list, I recommend you select three goals for each day to ensure that you can complete it. Don’t forget to prioritize the items on the list and review it throughout the day. I like to tackle the most important tasks first, particularly the ones that would take up the most time.

When you work from the hardest task to the simplest, you can actually free up more time later in the day. Also, checking off items as they are completed will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation.

3.  Use Sticky Notes

Some of us use our phones to remind us of our tasks. But you may miss an important reminder if your phone dies or accidentally hit the snooze button!

With Sticky Notes, on the other hand, you can be sure that you don’t miss a task on your to-do list.

Sticky Notes are ideal for displaying reminders of tasks, motivational quotes, and visualizations. They now come in various colors, sizes, and designs, so it should be a fun and interesting way to get things done!

For example, if you’ve got a pile of letters that need to be mailed and that’s an item on your to-do list, why not put a sticky note on top of the pile with a deadline for posting them? It’ll serve as a reminder to get them posted and cleared out of your way.

4. Record It

Of course, you can record your notes digitally using note taking apps or in a text document, or use pen and paper but have you thought of recording them using a digital recorder?

This is a fast and easy way to get things done if writing things down is too much of a fuss.

You can get free recording apps for smartphones. By making a voice recording you can replay the recording and listen to your ideas. This will give you the opportunity to listen from a different perspective.

5. Create a Schedule

Online calendars now make is so easy for us to create schedules.

Using an online planner such as Google Calendar will ensure that you are able to access your schedule on your smartphone, tablet or computer wherever you are.

I love how you can color code different categories of entry and share with friends, family, and colleagues as necessary!

6. Use Pen and Paper

Many of us have gone digital, but I still love the process of writing down things with pen and paper.

For your most important events, tasks and notes use the traditional recording method of pen and paper – use a diary, planner or bullet journal.

You can keep it with you at all times. It won’t distract you with messages or run out of power. You’ll also be able to flick through at a glance to see how much you’ve achieved, past or forthcoming events and outstanding tasks.

7.  Prioritize

Be realistic. Not all tasks and events are created equal, and surely, you can’t do everything!

Find a way to highlight events that are essential so that you can see them at a glance and be sure not to miss them.

On your to-do lists always prioritize these events and complete the most important first. If there are items that aren’t important or not time-sensitive, then considering moving them off your current list and on to another day.

8.  Delegate

I am the queen of delegating and outsourcing!Tweet this!

From my groceries and bulk shopping (think Amazon!) to professional tasks I can hire out, I’ll delegate it.

The truth is that you don’t need to try and be a superhero and do everything yourself.

Kids can tidy away their toys and when old enough learn how to load the dishwasher, set the table, do their laundry, water the plants and do other simple chores. By enlisting the help of other household members, you not only empower them by teaching life skills they’ll use for life, you will also get more accomplished in less time.

Managing your time properly and efficiently with these tips is one of the keys to staying organized. When you implement a few smart rules on your daily routine, you will surely have some extra time for yourself. Be sure to do something wonderful and kind, something you truly enjoy. You so deserve it!

8 Ways to Help You Manage Your Time Wisely

What is a Postpartum Doula?

Postpartum doulas are trained to help parents welcome their newborns into their families.  Doulas have usually raised children of their own.  Certified doulas have followed the certification process required by their organization.  This training took me eighteen months.  It involved in home training, studying many books and articles on the subject, 30 hours of training from a more experienced doula, and interviewing several clients on the subject.

Postpartum Doula

Most new parents will tell you that navigating through those first few days after bringing home a new baby is anything but easy! Even for the most experienced parents, bringing home a new baby means changing routines, dividing time and just trying to figure out how to juggle it all.

If mom had a cesarean delivery or any other birth complications, it can make the transition to home even more challenging. The problem that many families run into is finding the help they need to support them through these first few weeks.

A postpartum doula provides evidenced-based information on things such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and basic newborn care. Research shows that moms, dads, and babies have an easier time with this transition if a good support team is in place.

What type of services does a Postpartum Doula provide?

The postpartum doula offers many services to her clients, but her main goals are to help “mother the mother” and nurture the entire family as they transition into life with a newborn. This would include doing things to help mom and dad feel more confident in their roles, sharing education on family adjustment, and tending to the unique needs of a new mother.

Some of the duties include:

  • Breastfeeding support
  • Help with the emotional and physical recovery after birth
  • Light housekeeping so that mom does not feel so overwhelmed
  • Running errands
  • Assistance with newborn care such as diapering, bathing, feeding and comforting
  • Light meal preparation
  • Baby soothing techniques
  • Sibling care
  • Referrals to local resources such as parenting classes, pediatricians, lactation support and support groups

Most postpartum doulas provide service for a family anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks after bringing home a new baby. Families may have her work 1-3 days a week or as many as 5 days a week.

Postpartum doulas often offer nighttime service to help the family transition more smoothly into the challenges of nighttime parenting. Each doula offers different services, so it’s important that each family decide what their needs are and find a professional who can meet those needs.

What do Postpartum Doula’s charge?

The price of postpartum doula services vary depending on what part of the country you live in, what type of service you need (day or night time) and the skill level. They usually charge by the hour and usually require a minimum amount of hours of service.

The range of costs could be anywhere from $30-50 an hour. Some doulas offer discounts if you book them for a certain amount of hours, if you pay in advance or if they are a newly trained. More and more families are asking for postpartum doula service as a shower or baby gift from family and friends.

This is especially helpful for new families who have little or no family support nearby. Postpartum doula service may also be paid for using money from a family’s flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) depending on what the guidelines are for their particular plan.

What is the difference between a Postpartum Doula and a baby nurse?

The postpartum doula’s role is to support everyone in the family, including mom, dad, siblings, and baby. Unlike a baby nurse, whose sole focus is the new baby, the doula is there to support mom through the postpartum period and to help the family as a whole.

How do I find a Postpartum Doula?

Postpartum doulas have been around for quite a while, but have just recently become more popular. The Doula Organization of North America (DONA) both certifies and provides referrals for postpartum doulas.  They list them by city.  When you look them up enter several local cities to find a doula close to your location.

Postpartum Doula


More Information on the Chinese Postpartum Diet

This is a continuation of our conversations regarding the Chinese Postpartum Diet and cultural ideas on post birth recovery.  This is fascinating in that it provides ideas, recipes, and nutrition from a different perspective.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

WHAT IS CHINESE CONFINEMENT?

The term 坐月子 (zuo yue zi) or literally translated to “Sitting The Moon” means to allow postpartum mom to do nothing but to “sit” (rest) recover for one month after delivery. This practice has been around for thousands of years and it is still being practiced by most Chinese. It is called “Zuo Yue Zi”, literally translated as “sit for one month”. The post-partum mom will stay at home for at least 30 days or longer to rest and recover from major trauma to her body. Many believe that this is one of the most important periods when the mother must let her body recover in a proper way and nourished with confinement meals or she will have many ailments or weaker body.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF CHINESE CONFINEMENT?

1. To allow postpartum mom to fully rest and bond with the baby
2. As the reproductive organs are undergoing some changes after giving birth, confinement allows recovery
3. The confinement food menu also tailored to help accelerate the mother’s recovery from her “weakened” body. This special diet is made up of confinement foods targeted towards specific functions like dispelling “wind” from the body, quelling heatiness, boosting blood circulation, increase mom’s milk supply, revitalizing strength, etc.
4. To prevent postnatal hair loss, backaches, rheumatism, premature again, and other ailments associated with post-delivery.

HOW LONG IS CONFINEMENT PERIOD?

Confinement period usually is done for 30 days but my mom said it’s not unusual to go as long as 40 days.

HOW TO DO CONFINEMENT?

The postpartum mom usually does not do the cooking during the confinement period. In my case, I was lucky enough to have my mom with me as my “confinement lady” . Many women have either their mom or mom-in-law to help them out during the confinement period. It’s not uncommon as well to hire a “confinement lady”. The confinement lady will cook, take care of the baby, take care of the mom, and help you transition into motherhood with your baby (isn’t it awesome?). In western cultures doulas fulfill the role of “confinement women”.  Doulas will come into your home for up to twelve hours shifts for the express purpose of serving you as you recover.  They are specially trained to help you learn to care for yourself and your baby.

CAMBODIAN PORK OMELETTE (PONG MOUAN SNOL)

https://whattocooktoday.com/cambodian-pork-omelette.html

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 T. + 1 t. cooking oil
  • 
1 small onion – peeled and thinly sliced
  • 
2 T. preserved cabbage (roughly chopped) – I sub with preserved mustard greens
  • 
1/2 lb ground pork/turkey
  • 
1 T. sugar
  • 
Pinch of salt
  • 
1 T. soy sauce
  • 
1 T. fish sauce  (this has a very strong odor.  You may wish to omit)
  • 
6 large eggs + 1 t. soy sauce – beaten
  • 
Fresh cilantro sprigs

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the cooking oil on a large (about 12″) non-stick skillet. Add in the onion and cook for about 1 minute. Add in the preserved cabbage/mustard, saute for another 1 minute. Add in the ground meat and use your spatula to break it up. Add in sugar, salt, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Stir to mix everything and cook until the pork is no longer pink and cooked through.
  • 

In the same skillet, add in 1 t. cooking oil. Swirl the oil to coat the pan. Add the eggs and tilt the pan so the eggs cover the surface of the pan. Once the egg is cooked spread the meat mixture on half of the cooked egg, fold over and sprinkle scallion on top. Cook for about 2 minutes on one side until the bottom is set and golden brown. Turn it over and let it cook for another minute. Carefully and gently remove from the skillet into a serving platter. Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro leaves

Nutrition for Mothers Post Birth

This is our second installment discussing the value of proper nutrition after birth.  Here are more suggestion used in the Chinese culture to aid new moms in healing and recovering from birth.  The Chinese Postpartum Diet also serves mothers in that it is rich in proteins and nutrients that help hormones stabilize and provide good lactation.

Several of these entries are taken from websites written for Chinese mothers.  The term “confinement” refers to the month after birth when moms usually stay at home to recover.

Disclaimer:  As you look over the Chinese nutrition websites you will see some prettying interesting items:  Snake Head Soup, Pigs Feet Salad, etc.  Please ignore these if they are troublesome to you.  Or, stretch yourself and try some new things.  Either way, we are looking at nutrition from a culture different than our own.  Look at it as an adventure.

https://whattocooktoday.com/chinese-confinement.html

Confinement food is the food that is prepared during this first month after birth. It is special and tailored to nourish your body, help you to recover/heal and to boost milk supply for the baby.

Here is what to focus on for confinement meals:
1. High protein and low fat food
Protein helps to promote wound healing and rebuilding inside our bodies.   Low fat food is to prevent indigestion.
2. Small frequent meals
6-7 small meals throughout the day is suggested. 3 main meals and soups and teas in between. It helpes to sustain your energy throughout the day and to prevent indigestion.
3. Adequate calories
You will need to rest after you baby is born. Even though the postpartum moms don’t move around much adequate calories are needed to help with recovery, energy needed to care for a newborn, and breastfeeding. Adequate calories doesn’t mean “empty calories” (food that doesn’t serve much nutrition other than racking up your calorie quota). Tea such as red dates tea, dang shen teagoji berry tea, and Chinese herbal soup are often used to add adequate calories.
4. Food rich in iron
Blood was lost during delivery/C-section and therefore it is important to eat food rich in iron such as: animal offals, pork, chicken, fish, dark green vegetables.
5. Adequate hydration
It is a myth to say that a postpartum mom should not be drinking water during confinement. It is important to keep yourself hydrated with water, milk, Chinese herbal tea, Chinese herbal soup. Avoid and coffee and caffeine tea in that they act as diuretics, causing the body to stuff off water.
6. Include dietary fiber
It is not uncommon to become constipated during confinement because of less activity.  Including fiber in you diet will help your system reboot more quickly.

 

SLOW COOKED TUMERIC GINGER CHICKEN

 

EASY SLOW-COOKED CHICKEN

Yield:  4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 




1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken thighs/breast – I prefer thighs
  • 
4 cloves garlic – finely minced
  • 
 2- inch ginger slices – finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red cayenne pepper – optional
  • 
1/4 cup of chicken stock or water
  • 
Salt to taste

Garnishes:

  • 
2 stalks spring onion – finely chopped
  • 
Small bunch coriander leaves – roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut the chicken into large chunk pieces. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper (if using) and let the chicken marinate for about 30 minutes.
  • 



When ready to cook, place a large heavy-bottom pot with tight-fitting lid on stove-top. Place the chicken inside the pot. Add the chicken stock/water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cover the lid. Let it cook for the next 1 to 1 1/2 hour. The meat will be really soft and juicE.
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle on the spring onion and coriander leaves and enjoy! This recipe is super easy and super flavorful

 

 

Nutrition for Mommy After Baby is Born

Super Easy Asian Chicken Macaroni Soup (Instant Pot or Stove-top)

There are a million ideas on how to care for yourself shortly after baby arrives.  If you go on the Internet you will find healthy diets, exercise routines, doctors who want to serve you, and on and on.  The amount of information is literally overwhelming.  How on earth do you find the care best for you?

A doula will help you with this!  Our training is specifically for the first few months after you deliver.  We are specifically prepared to discuss the options regarding baby care, lactation, nursery set up, car seats, and pretty much anything else that might interest you.  When you hire a doula you have someone familiar with the many different areas of mommy and baby care.  I know I often research different items for my clients.  This is great for me in that it expands my knowledge.  It also serves my clients in that we learn together.

One of the many subjects  I have found interesting is the manner is which other cultures care for new mommies.  In America we tend to expect mothers to bounce back and get back to normal immediately.  This is not the way of most other cultures.  In other cultures mothers are encouraged to take time to heal and to acclimate to motherhood.  I enjoy bringing this thinking to the mothers with whom I work.

Immediately after delivering your baby your body is going thorough major changes.  You spent nine months making another human being.  That has taken it’s toll on your immune system, your energy level, and your mental state.  Now your hormones are readjusting.  If you are breastfeeding your body is leaning how to produce the right amount of milk for your baby.  You are healing and getting back to normal.  You are bonding with your precious baby and adjusting to the responsibility of caring for another person.  The changes you are going through are huge and they take time.  Part of my responsibility as your doula is to streamline the adjustments and help you find peace.

Over the next few weeks we will discuss advantages from other cultures that will help you find your ‘best you’ in the process of mothering.  I am excited to share these with you because I know they will serve you well.  Look over the different ideas and find what works best for you in your situation.

My first topic is nutrition for mommy immediately after you baby is born.  The Chinese take the care of new mothers very seriously.  New moms are encouraged to stay at home, become acquainted with their new babies, and heal.  There is actually a special diet they are encouraged to consume.  This diet is specially formulated to help with milk production, mood stabilization, and healing.  It is called the Chinese Postpartum Diet.  It can also be called a confinement diet because the Chinese see the first month after birth as a period of confinement.  This diet is rich with protein and vegetables.  The families of the new mother often prepare the foods for her to enjoy.  There are also companies available to deliver the food on a daily basis.

THE CHINESE CONFINEMENT DIET                                      https://whattocooktoday.com/chinese-confinement.html

Confinement food is the food that is prepared during this first month after birth. It is special and tailored to nourish your body, help you to recover/heal and to boost milk supply for your baby.
Here is what to focus on for confinement meals:
1. High protein and low fat food
Protein helps to promote wound healing and rebuilding inside our bodies.   Low fat food is to prevent indigestion.
2. Small frequent meals
6-7 small meals throughout the day is suggested. 3 main meals and soups and teas in between. It helpes to sustain your energy throughout the day and to prevent indigestion.
3. Adequate calories
You will need to rest after you baby is born. Even though the postpartum moms don’t move around much, adequate calories are needed to help with recovery, energy needed to care for a newborn, and breastfeeding. Adequate calories doesn’t mean “empty calories” (food that doesn’t serve much nutrition other than racking up your calorie quota). Tea such as red dates tea, dang shen teagoji berry tea, and Chinese herbal soup are often used to add adequate calories.
4. Food rich in iron
Blood is lost during delivery/C-section and therefore it is important to eat foods rich in iron such as: animal offals, pork, chicken, fish, dark green vegetables.
5. Adequate hydration
It is a myth to say that a postpartum mom should not be drinking water during confinement. It is important to keep yourself hydrated with water, milk, Chinese herbal tea, Chinese herbal soup. Avoid and coffee and caffeine tea in that they act as diuretics, causing the body to stuff off water.
6. Include dietary fiber
It is not uncommon to become constipated during confinement because of less activity.  Including fiber in you diet will help your system reboot more quickly.

 

SUPER EASY ASIAN CHICKEN MACARONI SOUP (INSTANT POT OR STOVE-TOP)

An easy one-pot Asian-style macaroni soup recipe that many seek comfort in, from kids to adults. It can be made with Instant Pot or stove-top. A wonderful recipe for busy weeknight dinner.

One of my favorite soups from childhood is this Asian Chicken Macaroni Soup. My mom never cooked pasta at home when we were kids simply because she had little knowledge about food from other countries at that time. Macaroni though, it’s one kind of pasta, perhaps the only pasta she knew, that she used it often with soup. You can ask other Asian kids who grew up in Asia, and they most likely know macaroni soup 🙂 This is like macaroni and cheese for the kids here in the U.S.

Super Easy Asian Chicken Macaroni Soup (Instant Pot or Stove-top)

 

INGREDIENTS

There are really no “fixed” rules when it comes to this macaroni soup. You can add whatever you like.
Chicken: I suggest using dark meat pieces like thighs or drumstick, but feel free to use breast if that’s what you like
Veggies: If cooking with Instant Pot, I suggest cutting the carrots into large chunks so they won’t turn into mush, corn, peas, sliced onions, squash, etc.  I love to load up my soup with many vegetables.  They are healthy and so colorful!
Aromatics: I used whole garlic that I smashed and bullion, any flavor                                                                                                                  Chicken broth: you can use store-bought chicken broth or homemade. I happened to have bone broth in my freezer and so I used a combination of store-bought chicken broth and that.

CUSTOMIZE THE RECIPE

Like I mentioned earlier there are really no fixed rules and you can use whatever you like to make it yours. Here are some suggestions:
Meat: You can use pork loin, beef stew pieces, cooked ham cubes
Meatless: You can use beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc
Veggies: You can add celery, mixed veggies
Broth: You can use vegetable broth or beef broth depending on your choice of meat or no meat

More later on this diet and recipes!!  Check out the website:  Whattocooktoday.com.       https://whattocooktoday.com/chinese-confinement.html

 

 

 

 

Homemade Fruit Popsicles

This Homemade Fruit Popsicles recipe is an easy, healthy andrefreshing treat or snack to make for your kids this summer!  These popsicles are made with only 5 ingredients including fresh fruit and vegetables, in 5 minutes (plus freezing time)! Make a variety of flavors by using different combinations of fruits, juices, and yogurts! A great healthy dessert to enjoy after a day of fun in the sun!

Course baby food, Dessert, Snack                      Cuisine American

Servings 6 popsicles                                 Calories 100.1kcal

Author Laura

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to the container of your Vitamix in the order listed.
  • Blend for 50-70 seconds or until the mixture is smooth.
  • Evenly distribute the mixture into the six wells of a popsicle mold.
  • Secure the lids and sticks on top of the mold and place it in the freezer.
  • Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Remove the molds, run each one under hot water for 30 seconds and then release the popsicle.
  • Enjoy immediately! To freeze for later, once the popsicles are removed from the molds place them on a baking sheet to flash freeze them for 30 minutes.
  • Place them in an airtight, freezer-friendly container or Ziploc bag until you are ready to enjoy them!

Summer Treats to Keep You Cool!!!

Recipes for sweet summer treats to help you stay cool………………

Triple-decker Citrus Popsicles Recipe

Serve a treat that’s as pretty as it is tasty. The trick to this pop’s tri-colored look is simple: freeze the first layer alone for 45 minutes, then add a second layer and freeze again, and finish with the third. Freeze the complete pop overnight to keep it solid even in the sun’s hottest rays.

Ingredients:

1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from 2 to 3 blood oranges) 1 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice (from 3 to 4 large tangerines) 1 cup freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice (from 1 to 2 grapefruit) About 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar 1 to 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Step 1

Taste the blood orange juice. Add 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. lemon juice and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Taste again to see if it has the right sweetness and tartness for you, bearing in mind that, when frozen, the juice will taste more subdued; add up to 1 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. lemon juice if needed. Repeat with tangerine and grapefruit juices, using the same range of sugar and lemon juice for each.

Step 2

Fill each of 8 popsicle molds (see Notes) 1/3 full with blood orange juice and freeze, making sure they’re level and upright, until firm to the touch, about 45 minutes.

Step 3

Fill each mold 1/3 more with tangerine juice and freeze just until firm to the touch, another 45 minutes. Carefully insert sticks, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches of each sticking out. Freeze until sticks feel solidly anchored, about 45 minutes.

Step 4

Fill each mold to top with grapefruit juice, cover, and freeze 2 hours or overnight.

Step 5

To unmold, run warm water over the individual molds just until popsicles release from sides, 5 to 15 seconds.

Step 6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per popsicle.

Chef’s Notes You will need 8 popsicle molds (1/3- to 1/2-cup capacity), paper cups work. Just tear away the paper when the popsicles are frozen. Use popsicles sticks from the craft store.

 

COCONUT-LIME CHIA PUDDING POPS

Cool-down with a nutritious and creamy, summer treat. Don’t have a popsicle mold? That’s ok. Use a mason jar! Mix ingredients in a small mason jar, shake, add crushed raspberries, a spoonful of chia pudding, and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. Not only is this method mess-free but it’s also super cute!Coconut Lime Chia Pudding Pops Recipehttp://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/coconut-lime-chia-pudding-pops

Cool-down with a nutritious and creamy, summer treat. Don’t have a popsicle mold? That’s ok. Use a mason jar! Mix ingredients in a small mason jar, shake, add crushed raspberries, a spoonful of chia pudding, and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours. Not only is this method mess-free but it’s also super cute!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chia seeds
2 (14-oz.) cans coconut milk, well shaken
4 tablespoons agave nectar
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup crushed raspberries
How to Make It

Step 1: Put chia seeds, 1 can coconut milk, and agave nectar in a large mason jar or other closed container and shake well. Chill, shaking periodically, until liquid has mostly been absorbed and mixture has a pudding-like texture.

Step 2: In a large measuring cup with a spout, whisk lime zest and juice, remaining can coconut milk, sugar, and shredded coconut until sugar is dissolved.

Step 3: Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture into 3-oz. popsicle molds, then drop in a couple of crushed raspberries, then add a spoonful of chia pudding. Repeat until molds are full. Insert popsicle sticks in molds and freeze until solid, 4 to 5 hours.

Keeping Cool During the Heat Wave!

As you pull out the fans and swamp coolers, what are other suggestions for keeping cool now that summer has arrived? I imagine we each have our special secrets for beating the heat. We live close to the beach so heading out of the house is one of the first ideas that comes up. We pack an ice chest and pile into the car for ‘the Cool’.

With little ones dehydration is a major concern when the temperatures rise. For breastfeeding babies, offer them the breast more often than you usually would. This, of course, means you need to be drinking more liquid too. Keep ice cold water, fruit juice (non acidic), vitamin drinks, and popsicles around. Your beverages need to be things you are able to enjoy, otherwise you will not drink them. Sodas and caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea tend to act as diuretics, causing your body to shed water. This is not something you want happening in the heat.

If you feel your baby is not well hydrated speak with your pediatrician about the possibility of giving him a little water or formula from a bottle. Caloric intake is critical for newborns, so it is very important your pediatrician agrees with this thought. Also, if it is really hot let baby lay on a blanket or towel with just a diaper on. This will help baby self cool. Do not lay baby in front of a fan, but be sure she is in an area where air is moving and cooling.

You can keep your home cooler by keeping window shades and shutters partially closed. Keeping direct sunlight from coming in will help your place maintain a lower temperature. Where we live, in California, we open our windows daily. Much of the country does not do this due to the sweltering heat from out of doors. Folks often keep the temperature in their home high thinking this is best for their kids. I encourage you to talk with your pediatrician about the best temperatures for baby. Hot is not best.

If baby is sweating and showing preparation she is too warm. Take off extra clothing. Use cotton T-shirts and diaper only. If you wish, remove the T-shirt to help baby cool down. Be sure baby is lying on a cotton towel or blanket that absorbs perspiration. This will make her more comfortable Older children will usually tell you if they are too warm. However, it is important you pay attention to their body heat. Sometimes they are very involved in what they are doing and forget to stay cool.

When it is very warm keep beverages out on the counter so you remember to drink them. Have bottles of water easily accessable for toddlers and children. Make it fun to stay hydrated for all of you!!!

JUDY

Ideas for making the transition from crazy school year to summer easy

 

Summer Baskets
Since schools have shut down, kids have been forced to deal with a lot of changes. The school year ended so abruptly. No more socializing with friends. No more face to face learning from kind teachers. No sense of normalcy. No more routine. If there ever was a time to celebrate the end of the academic school year, this is it.
Summer Baskets
Enter the summer basket, a bucket or basket filled with goodies to mark the end school and kick off the summer months.
A sweet friend does this for her kids and I absolutely love the idea. Sometimes she assembles the basket around a theme, like the year they got a dog the basket was filled with all things puppy. Most of the time, it’s an assortment of thoughtful summertime gifts and treats.
Summer Baskets
The thing that makes these baskets so special is all of the thought that goes into them. Think through things that are unique to each child, the things that make them who they are. Look for small gifts to reflect their personalities and interests.
If you don’t have children of your own, consider making the day of a niece, nephew, neighbor or friend.
Summer Baskets
Here are some ideas to get you started:
For younger kids
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Chalk
  • Crayons and markers
  • Art supplies
  • Card games
  • Trading cards
  • Fishing poles
  • Kites
  • Walkie talkies
  • Silly string
  • Bubbles
  • Pool toys
  • Squirt guns
  • Outdoor water fun (Slip N’ Slide, sprinklers)
For older kids
  • Tennis rackets
  • Summer apparel (flip flops, beach towels, hats, sunglasses)
  • Books
  • Card games
  • Art supplies
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Amazon gift cards
  • S’more ingredients
  • Treats like candy or soda
  • Starbucks gift cards
The size and amount spent on your summer baskets can vary and it doesn’t have to be big or expensive. What matters is acknowledging and applauding your child’s resilience during an unusually challenging year.
TakeThemAMeal.com

Part II: Banana Boat S’mores

Assembling these delicious banana boat s’mores is a cinch.  Start assembling the bananas when dinner is cooking. Or, set out your ingredients for all to see.  Each family member or guest can put together their own dessert creation.  15 minutes in the coals and their work of art is ready!  (many fire pits in our national parks have grills on them). If you prefer, you can also wrap the stuffed bananas in foil and place them just off center of any glowing coals — just turn them once so they cook evenly all the way through. By the time we are finished eating dinner, dessert is ready.

 

Campfire Banana Boat Chocolate Caramel S’mores

YIELD.    Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
·       4  ripe bananas. (depending upon how many you wish)
·       12  marshmallows (3 to 4 per banana), or a handful of mini marshmallows
·       12  squares dark chocolate (3 to 4 squares per banana)
·       1/4 cup  caramel chips
·       8  graham crackers (2 per banana), crumbled

Other ideas: dried fruit, nuts, granola, crumbled cookies, hot fudge, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS
1.     Cut a slit in the each banana, and open the skin up slightly. Scoop out a few small chunks of banana (and eat!).
2.     Stuff 3 to 4 marshmallows in the scooped out sections of the banana, then tuck a square of chocolate beside each marshmallow. Sprinkle a few caramel chips over top.

3.    Close the skin of the banana as much as you can, and place the bananas directly on a campfire grill. Alternatively, wrap the bananas tightly in foil and place directly on coals. (Be extra careful when pulling them out of the coals and opening.)

4.     The banana skins will blacken as the bananas cook. Grill until the chocolate and caramel melt, and the marshmallows begin to look squidgy, 5 to 7 minutes.

5.     Using metal tongs, carefully transfer bananas on plates. The bananas might release some water, if they do, use a paper towel to wipe off.

6.    Sprinkle the crushed graham crackers over top, and serve with a spoon for scooping.

RECIPE NOTES
Bananas cooked directly over the grill will have a slightly smokey flavor. When wrapped in foil, they have less smokey flavor and will take a few more minutes to cook.

When camping it is so easy to use plastic continuers to keep things organized.  Ingredients and tools can be stored together so they are at you finger tips when needed.  You might want to find a few opaque containers to hide the treats.  Or they might have been raided by the time you are ready for dessert!!!

You may have noticed a couple of beginner camping posts here at The Kitchn, and in the second one, I talk about how I pack my food while camping. I usually put together a little box of treats, like the one pictured above, and I can get quite a few desserts out of it. Plus it keeps everything in one place, which is very handy while camping.