Tag Archives: Food & Recipes

Growing things together with your kids outdoors

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If you’re anything like me, I’m on some level always feeling that I’m not spending quality time with my kids like I want to. But at the same time, I’m also somewhat incapacitated. Between work, the stuff on the calendar, and meeting the kids’ basic needs, I often collapse at the end of the day in one exhausted heap.

One thing we’ve started doing as a family is working outdoors together. From planting a garden to landscaping to planting new trees on our property, I’ve found it rewarding.

The nature of gardening and landscaping is that it is an ongoing process, not a one-time thing. You’re planting new life. It needs water, sunlight, and care. So at the outset, you’re committed. You’re going to get out there with the kids on a regular basis.

If you’re like me and can only handle so much (or not any) playing dollhouse or Star Wars light-saber fights or painful “Fine” responses as you try to engage your teen, this is a game-changer. I’m going to lay out 3 important lessons that getting outside as a family instills in your kids.

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Unless you were born with a green thumb, working with plants is going to take patience. You’ll need to learn how to plant and care for plant life.

Getting a garden started takes persistence and patience. It’s not done in an hour. You have to prepare the soil, plant the produce and herbs you are going to grow, and prune and water what you’ve planted.

It can be tedious at times. In a world in which research papers are as easy as a google search and in which 200+ tv shows and movies are at my kids’ fingertips on Netflix at any given moment, working outdoors is a valuable character-builder.

Not everything worth having, can be acquired quickly. Often those things of greatest value take time and patience. It’s not always as easy as Tweeting an acquaintance for a job recommendation. Sometimes it is, but I want my children to be prepared for the times when it’s not. For those times when waiting is required in order to see results.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

Your children know what is most important to you, by how you spend your time. Spending quality time with them will show them that they are important to you.

Working together with your spouse and kids will deepen the bond you all have. It will draw you closer. And this close bond will create trust.

When my girls are in the face of intense peer pressure, this foundation of trust will assure them I will always be there for them. That no matter what, I have been there and will be there for them.

Having a supportive and dependable family structure is vital for kids. These traits are indicators for success down the road. This falls on your shoulders.

HARD WORK

My kids are skilled at finding the path of least resistance. Left to themselves, they would play video games all day, never bathe or change their clothes, and never clean up after themselves. An onlooker may wonder if the chores we subject our kids to our actually physically painful to them, judging from the sighs and grunts that leave their mouths.

All that to say, diligence and hard work do not come naturally. In part, it is up to us as parents to help foster these quality traits in them. They may hate us for it at the time, but in the long-run, they will thank us.

The most effective way to teach your kids to have a good work ethic, is not just to force them to work hard, but to get in there and work with them. Set an example. Get your hands dirty. Show them how it’s done.

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CONCLUSION

Whether you are planting a garden in the spring or taking a Saturday morning to plant a tree to shade your front porch, these are projects that will guarantee family time and teaching opportunities in days to come.

Make the most of your time. Take advantage of those opportunities. You will blink, and these years will be passed. Slow down and determine what you want to instill in your kids now.

How about you? What benefits have you found from working outdoors with your family?

Vitamins and Supplements for Optimal Health and Vitality

Optimal Health and Vitality

photo courtesy of Peter Argue

Are you looking to optimize your Health and Vitality?

I’m sure you have heard it. There are those that believe that taking any extra nutritional supplement is a very quick way to flush down expensive urine, and that all that our bodies nutritional requirements can come from the food we eat.

But vitamins and minerals are essential to life, and if we are not getting at least the recommended daily allowance of these micronutrients, our immunity and vitality is definitely compromised. Busy lives, high stress, illnesses, medications, poor diet and lifestyle habits or ANY one of the above can wreak havoc on our body systems. Therefore, let’s be safe, and add a few key supplements to your good health arsenal. Alongside a proper diet, exercise and a positive attitude, here are my recommendations. And please know, that the following supplements are generally extremely safe, but with any new addition to your daily regimen, always check with your physician to make sure there aren’t any contraindications to your present health profile.

Consider adding these top supplements to your daily diet:

A good quality men’s multi vitamin and mineral

Taking a daily multi is a good way to help reduce your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and even stroke. A multi can help slow down the aging process, increase energy and boost the immune system. When you look for the men’s multi that best suits your needs, consider your age and overall level of health, and look for one with little or no iron. Men are at an increased risk of heart disease if/when they take too much iron. Centrum Silver is a good bet because it’s totally free of iron. And please remember to take your daily mutli after a big meal. Without a lot of food, a multi vitamin can nauseate you.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s):

Omega 3-6-9 are called essential fatty acids because our bodies do not produce them, so we have to supply them. A good blend of “good fats” is integral for health as they help restore energy, aid in healthy hormonal balance (keeping a healthy level of testosterone is vital for optimal health), maintain good cardiovascular health and have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure. And they also have an anti-inflammatory response in most of our body systems and especially aid in better joint health. Find a supplement that combines all 3 of the EFA’s so that you are assured a good combination of each. I like Udo’s Oil. This can be found in any good nutrition store.

Boron:

Take boron to protect your prostate. Most men do not get enough of this mineral. Not only does it fight cancer, it can improve memory and concentration too! With as little as 3mg a day, your prostate health can be protected. It’s a tough little mineral to find, but I know that GNC carries it. And if by chance you can’t find it, eat raisins and almonds and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods contain lots of boron.

Next week, I am going to change my emphasis from supplements for health to supplements for performance and muscular repair. I’ll offer tons of insight for increased muscle mass and lowered body fat.

Got questions or concerns about vitamins and supplements and your health??

Post your questions right here and I’ll do my best to get right back to you here in the Fitness Lab at HeadsUp Dad!

Shawna L. Marshall B.A.,BKin.,H.D