All Entries For family

Are You Always Trying to do Everything for Everyone?

I like to write blogs based on subjects I can relate to because I think what I’ve written ends up being more interesting.   If that’s the case, this should be the most interesting thing I’ve ever talked about because I felt like the results of this study were speaking directly to me.  And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Posted 4/6/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 36 comments   13,234 views
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Tips for a Healthier Spring Candy Fling

Candy tempts me just as it does everyone else, especially when it is chocolate. Estimates suggest that Americans spend over $2 billion a year on Easter candy making it the third largest candy-consuming holiday. In a SparkPeople poll asking which Easter candy is most tempting, Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are the leader. They are the most tempting to me too especially after Easter when they are on the clearance table!
Many of us have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. We love the melt-in-your-mouth texture and flavor of chocolate especially when we enjoy it with family and friends during celebrations. We hate the guilt that loving it brings as well as the potential damage it can do to our weight loss goals. With Easter only a few days away, the clearance candy is not far behind. Here are some strategies to help keep your spring candy fling in check.
Posted 4/5/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 29 comments   10,057 views
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Babies Are Smart From the Very Beginning

I’ve always believed that babies catch onto things faster than a lot of people give them credit.  That’s one reason I’ve never used “baby talk” with my kids, and discourage my 5-year-old from talking like that to my 5-month-old.  “Just talk to her like a regular person,” I tell her.  “That’s how the baby learns our language, from how you speak.”   We all take pride in seeing our babies grow and develop.  I think babies are like sponges, soaking in everything around them, so the more I can facilitate that learning experience, the better.  That’s why I was interested to read about a new study that says babies might comprehend words and their meaning sooner than expected.
Posted 3/30/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 16 comments   8,832 views
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Why You Should Drag Your Reluctant Teen to the Dinner Table

I have a teenage son.  He is your typical high-schooler; he has his driving permit, participates in some school sports, and plays in the high school band.  He is striving for complete independence from his parents, yet is secretly still glad to have mom and dad around most of the time.  He often hangs out with his friends in my basement, playing pool, air-hockey, and euchre.  My husband and I have nick-named them the ''basement boys.''
So a few weeks ago, three of the ''basement boys'' decided to arrive on my front doorstep at 4:30 pm.  Their plan was to capture my son, eat at the local pizza place and then head to the basketball game.  I, on the other hand, had a better idea and invited them to stay for dinner and then go to the game.  Luckily, I had prepared a large pot of soup and had enough to feed the crew.  They agreed to stay for our evening meal. 
Posted 3/22/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Becky Hand : 23 comments   7,668 views
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Does Healthy Cooking have to be Complicated?

As my kids get older, I find myself focusing even more on meal planning.  I want my kids to try a wide variety of foods.  I don’t expect them to like everything I cook, but I want home cooked, healthy meals to be second-nature to them.  Growing up, my mom was (and still is) a great cook.  She was always trying new recipes, and now I’ve become just like her.  My husband commented the other day that “you never know what we’re going to be having for dinner” because I’m constantly mixing things up.  Granted, I’m just like my mom in that I don’t deviate from recipes.  Someday I’d love to learn to really cook, where I can throw together a bunch of random ingredients in my refrigerator to create a delicious meal.    But I’m not at that point yet.
Posted 3/16/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 21 comments   7,750 views
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Get in the Kitchen

It seems that one of the biggest obstacles folks have to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the kitchen. 

Cooking healthy and fresh food isn’t as daunting as it seems. You just have to approach it like you approach exercising. Plan your time.Be proactive. 

Here’s the deal: the Spark rule is to start with 10 minutes of fitness a day, right? This way you aren’t overwhelmed, but you still receive the benefit.  Shouldn’t this same rule be applied to the kitchen? I know it can be overwhelming to attempt to plan your week ahead of time in this fast and furious time that we live in.
Posted 3/12/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 25 comments   7,430 views
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What Kind of Example Are You?

What kind of examples did you have while growing up? Who were some people in your life that helped shape your habits and behaviors?

My grandfather was probably one of the largest influences in my life.  Maybe that’s because I was named after him? I will always admire my grandpa. He was a man of character.  He lived his life by working extremely hard, loving God and taking care of his family.  Grandpa set so many examples for me, just by the way he lived.  He knew that there were others watching, and he knew how to live his life by example.  I hope to live my life the same way.

As we move about in our daily lives, there are people watching. Some of those people may be none other than your children, your co-workers, and your family. Do you realize that everything we do, is helping to shape an ‘image’ of us based on what others see through our actions?  Here's a metaphor for you: Say you're in the car driving and there are very simple arrows painted on the road that tell you which lane can turn, go straight forward, etc.  You realize that you are about to miss your turn and so you decide to completely ignore those lines and turn right from the center lane, cutting off the driver next to you, which causes them to slam on their brakes, along with the multiple cars behind them. Instead of going around the block, it is easier for you to do what is convenient and not what is necessarily right. Or maybe you’re working on a project at work and you find a shortcut that doesn’t correct a problem permanently, but will work for the short term. That way it can be someone else’s problem later. What sort of example have you just set? What are you telling the world about how you live your life? 
Posted 3/5/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 22 comments   6,953 views
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Early Snacking Helps Avoid Later Weight Issues

My oldest child has always been a great eater.  She’s very active and has a big appetite.  She’s willing to try new foods (within reason) and is always asking when the next meal or snack is being served.  She’s a healthy eater (although she does have a sweet tooth like her mama), and is happy to snack on carrots or tomatoes if she’s hungry and dinner isn’t ready yet. 
I give my kids reasonable portions and encourage them to ask for more if they want it, because I hate to waste food and don’t want to force them to continue eating if they aren’t hungry just to clean their plates.  I’m hopeful that the way I’m teaching my kids to eat will help them avoid weight problems later in life.  I want them to develop a healthy relationship with food and not have to worry about “diets”.  We are big snackers in my house, so I was happy to see results of a new study regarding snacking and weight gain in young girls.
Posted 2/17/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 17 comments   16,787 views
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Diet Friendly Dining: Quaker Steak & Lube

I had to do a double take the first time I passed this restaurant. Born out of a desire to preserve "the culture of those old gas stations and high-powered muscle cars," The Lube isn't your ordinary wings joint. If you are looking for a new place for a night out with the guys or a family-friendly restaurant that focuses on dad, The Quaker Steak and Lube might be worth checking out. Not only have they won "Best Wings USA" they have over 100 local, national and international awards for their sauce recipes as well as a focus on healthy kids options. Oh yea, there are plenty of cars, trucks and motorcycles too!
Of course, there are plenty of high fat and high calorie options to tempt you. Yes, many are extremely higher in sodium and only slightly better when you request no added salt when ordering. However, you can also find some health conscious options as well. Although the restaurant doesn't make their nutrition information readily available, the team at Healthy Dining Finder has. Here are some of the healthier options and special request suggestions they highlight.
Posted 2/6/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 20 comments   19,220 views
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Letís Move! and Physical Activity: Nominate a Champion of Change

Hey, SparkPeople! We know that plenty of you are Spreading the Spark and sharing your passion for healthy living beyond the confines of the internet. We've heard stories of how you influence your friends, your co-workers, your family, and even your kids and your community through your healthy habits and better choices. Every meal you make, every workout you complete, every pound you lose--it all gets noticed.

Back when SparkPeople was a mere "spark" in Chris Downie's eye, his own healthy habits inspired his co-worker, which in turn inspired others. All these years later, look at how many people Chris' healthy choices have affected and motivated! We know plenty of you have stories that are equally as inspiring.

We want you to get the recognition you deserve, so that's why we're so excited to tell you about the The White House Champions of Change initiative for physical activity.  The deadline is January 23 at midnight, so you don't have much time!

What is it?
The White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country that represents President Obama's vision of out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world through projects and initiatives that move their communities forward.

More than one out of every three American children is overweight or obese, placing them at greater risk for chronic disease and contributing to rising health care costs, as well as declining productivity. In 2009, the magnitude of the problem moved First Lady Michelle Obama to launch Let’s Move!, a comprehensive, collaborative initiative to combat childhood obesity. Last April, the White House hosted a Champions of Change event to highlight the work of chefs in improving school nutrition programs. This year, we are seeking recommendations of individuals and organizations that are increasing access to physical activity and play for young people. 

Tell us about an individual who is helping youth in your community get the recommended 60 minutes of activity per day. Please use the form below to nominate a champion to come to the White House to be honored for his/her work:
Champions may increase access to physical activity through some/all of the following:
  • Organized or competitive activities for teams and/or individuals, including youth with disabilities;
  • Unstructured play;
  • School-based activities, including physical education, recess and activity breaks;
  • Outdoor activities that promote time in nature;
  • Afterschool or summer programs.
Posted 1/20/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 4 comments   6,624 views
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Your Spouse is Getting Healthier, So Why Aren't You Happy?

Are you threatened by the lifestyle change your spouse has made? Have you ever said things to your spouse about their lifestyle change that have made him/her feel bad?

I have to tell this story that really happened just a few weeks ago.  I was having a discussion with a friend we’ll call Sam about my transformation and lifestyle change.  He had a lot of questions, which I was happy to answer.  But I wasn’t sure where he was going with this line of questions. 

Finally, we came to the point of his inquiry.  He told me about a mutual friend of ours (we'll call him Bob), who is morbidly obese.  I had seen Bob myself recently and honestly his poor health broke my heart.   Sam told me that Bob had been working on his health a few years back.  He had been going to the gym and was trying to eat better.  I was super excited to hear this, but I had to ask why he stopped.  Apparently he was making some progress and had lost just enough weight for it to be noticeable.  That’s when the support at home ended!  
Bob’s wife had told him she was worried that he was going to lose weight, get sexy and leave her.  You can probably guess what he did.  He stopped going to the gym and gave up any progress that he had made and gained back all of his weight if not more.

This story is devastating to me, absolutely devastating.  The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get.  I’m confused about why Bob didn’t talk with his wife about the situation to ease her fears.  Why didn’t he explain that he was doing it to be a better husband to her?  I’m confused about why she would completely sabotage his progress like that. Would she rather see him dead?
Posted 12/19/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 35 comments   8,074 views
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10 Things Your Daughter-in-Law Wants to Tell You

It’s so true that when you get married, you marry your spouse’s family as well. No matter what, you'll see your in-laws time and again at family gatherings, holidays, and birthdays--and even more regularly if you live close. Your relationship with your spouse's family can be wonderful, but even the best relationships can have tension.

Take the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship: You’ve got two women who love the same person fiercely (albeit differently), and it can lead to weird, unnecessary competition. Add in the fact that you (a younger generation) are figuring out how to do things your own way, and comments from your mother-in-law can seem judgmental, even if they come from a good place. Likewise, she (an older generation) can feel like her experience and knowledge isn’t taken seriously when you want to do things your own way or act against her sage advice.

A little open communication and understanding can go a long way when it comes to this relationship. So can remembering what brought you into that relationship in the first place: love. In that vein, mothers-in-law, here are just a few of the things your daughters-in-law want to tell you.
Posted 9/12/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 35 comments   170,364 views
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Getting Fat: What's Love Got to Do With It?

I love my wife. I also love food. A new study shows if I want to steer clear of gaining even more weight I better keep on loving my wife and do everything necessary to avoid divorce.
You've probably seen the research that shows men who get divorced tend to get fatter.
Interestingly enough, women who get married get fatter; women who get divorced tend to lose weight.
This isn't news to my wife. She has long sworn by the divorce diet. Not that she has a lot of failed marriages to use as data for a personal study, but she was married once before and it was after that union that she got into perhaps the best shape of her life.
And then I came along to ruin it.
So now we face a conundrum: We stay married, and she has the better odds of gaining weight. Or we get divorced and she slims down while I pork up.
I don't mean to joke about divorce. I know it's a serious subject. But I just can't help taking jabs at this recent study.
The first headline I saw was, “Weight gain hits women after marriage, men after divorce.”
Posted 9/7/2011  2:00:00 PM By: John McGran : 52 comments   17,420 views
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9 Things You Should Never EVER Say to Your Husband

Communication is the foundation of any good marriage. When you're with someone day in, day out, for years on end, issues are bound to crop up. If you think a topic warrants a discussion, you should absolutely feel comfortable discussing it with your husband. But certain issues, like friends, weight and the bank account, might be hot-button issues that need to be treaded upon lightly. From serious to silly, here are nine things you should probably never say to your husband.  
Posted 9/5/2011  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 27 comments   1,122,200 views
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Taste Preferences Develop Earlier Than You Might Expect

My 4 and 2-year old are very curious about the baby growing in my belly.  My daughter often asks if the baby likes peanut butter or cheese, two foods that are staples in my diet these days.  I try to explain to her that the baby doesn't exactly taste what I'm tasting, but that's a hard concept for a 4-year old to grasp.  Now I'm learning that maybe the baby does taste more than I would have thought.  New research shows that what a woman eats during pregnancy could shape baby's taste preferences later in life.
Posted 8/23/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Jen Mueller : 26 comments   10,605 views
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