The True Weight of 300 Pounds

More fit people look at me when we’re at the park with our kids and their glances to me feel like 1000 pounds of judgment.

I haven’t always been the size I am now. Currently, according to the the scale in my aunt’s and uncle’s bathroom,  I am EE, which I assume is an acronym for Extremely Eloquent. Nailed it!

I weigh 300 pounds – 304.1 to be completely accurate.

It’s important to note that I have been fighting the urge to write this post for weeks because of my own insecurities. It seems contradictory (read: painfully hypocritical) since I remind my high school students all the time how important it is to be proud of yourself at every stage and to own your insecurities. I explain how much my husband loves me and how powerful my body is for having brought two children into the world.

All of that is true. I believe every word. However, I had to accept the realization that hiding behind layers of clothes and not being my true, authentic self regardless of what the scale read wasn’t going to make me any less overweight. People need to put a face to obesity. We need to be responsible enough to educate ourselves and our children so they can understand and begin to be sensitive to people’s struggles. We teach this with racism, sexism, and even poverty-sensitivity, but somehow it’s still acceptable to gawk and stare at a person who is overweight eating at a restaurant like they are some circus sideshow. Maybe if my story can be heard, people can begin to see that we aren’t monsters.

This is 300.

It should be noted that, while I am using my number so that I can begin to own it, many who echo my feelings are much smaller. Every person’s prison looks different.

My weight gain started in about fourth grade but, back then – before the instant spread of information – it was much easier to be blissfully unaware of one’s shortcomings. I had no idea I looked any different from my friends until sixth grade when I found out a boy in my class was paid in a bet to ask me to be his girlfriend and then give me a pack of Slim Fast as a Valentine’s gift…in the hallway…in front of all of my friends. Yeah, not one of my finer moments. (Sorry if I never told you that, Mom.)

To be honest, it wasn’t really the end of the world for me. I’ve never been like most girls who fawned after boys and wanted to be trendy. While I totally rocked the curled forward/curled back and feathered bangs of the 90’s, Guess jeans (which were from Goodwill and I eventually tore the business end out of during gym class), and silk shirts (mine were from the men’s department), I didn’t do makeup and boyfriends, Barbies or dress up. I did goals and involvement, jobs and volunteering. (Seriously, how did I manage to have friends?!)

It occurred to me later in life that I must’ve had some kind of awareness that I wasn’t physically acceptable. In the fifth grade, I wrote a fan letter to my 90s heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas (don’t act like you didn’t buy his issue of TeenBeat) and I asked my beautiful, cheerleading best friend to send her picture as my own. I must’ve known that I had no chance to hear back from him with a picture of myself in the letter.

Fast forward through high school and college where I tried billions of diets, fad plans, all natural pills, drinks, meetings, calorie counting, and starvation (for those who know how next-level mean I get when I’m hungry, picture how that last one must’ve gone). None of it worked.

The crazy thing is that, like most of you, when I look back at the pictures from those formative years, I would pay good money to look like I did then. At the time, I wanted to crawl in a hole during most social settings because I felt like the biggest cow in the room. I put on a super-believable front of confidence and hilarity but it was painfully isolating to feel that way about myself. I hid behind books, jobs, sports, and layers of clothing, because obviously a tank top and three t-shirts convinced people that I was only wearing that fat suit from “The Nutty Professor” instead of it being my real body under there.

Somehow I got along by being the guys’ gal. I played football with the boys, was a soccer goalie in college, and was usually one of the first picked for intramural teams because I wasn’t afraid to get dirty, but I really just wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere. How could I fit in while simultaneously feeling like I was watching it all from the outside?

I killed it in the gym before getting married and walked down the aisle, slaying it (if I do say so myself) at a solid 175 pounds. Anyone who was there would have been shocked by that number, but guess what? American people are idiots. We are so insanely naive to what real numbers look like spread across bones and muscle that we all assume 175 is the size of a grown man. Not always, my friends. I rocked a bikini on our honeymoon at 175 and would do it again in a hot minute if I still looked like that!

I then packed on 50 pounds in our first year of marriage because, well, marriage. I gained 80 more pounds with my first pregnancy since, as a lifetime over-eater, this was a license to eat donuts for every breakfast and wear stretch-pants to work because no one could say anything to me. Herein lies my greatest regret in life. No kidding.

The bounce-back from my post-wedding weight gain and two near-death childbirths hasn’t been the rebuilding year(s) I thought they’d be. I mean, how long is it acceptable to wear maternity clothes after your baby is born, really? Like, will anybody really notice if I rock a nursing bra to my daughter’s graduation?

This is 300.

What most people fail to recognize is that when you’re overwieght, you have to think about things differently every single day. It isn’t only the obvious considerations like seat belt extenders on airplanes or choosing a van over a compact car. Please understand what we see when we look at the world.

When we were deciding to downsize our living arrangements and go tiny, I was nervous because of my size. Could I navigate a ladder if we had a loft bedroom? Would I have to turn sideways in the hallways because, giiiirrrlll, these hips don’t lie? Would I even fit inside the shower or on the toilet? Turns out, it’s perfectly fine and we make it work.

In a movie theatre, music venue, or restaurant, I have to consider how wide the arms of the chairs are because slamming my hips into them is like pouring Play-doh into one of those spaghetti-making factories, if they have plastic seats because those babies don’t stand a chance, or if they have tables instead of booths because those suckers were made for infants. I refuse to eat at buffets because, even though my large frame consumes small meals at a time, I feel like I’m on display. It’s as if I am loading my plate at a feeding trough and all of the average-sized patrons are watching and snickering to themselves about me getting seconds, failing to notice the first plate had only a small salad and vegetables.

This is 300.

At home, in our tiny bathroom, the teal rug is flecked with white. This is the remnants of baby powder to ensure that everything goes smoothly throughout the day because, without it, the chafing that can happen behind the scenes is horribly painful. My husband asked me the other night if I somehow had gotten deodorant on my pants. I lied and said yes, but it was baby powder.

More fit people look at me when we’re at the park with our kids and their glances to me feel like 1000 pounds of judgment. Why isn’t she jogging instead of walking? Why did she wear a tank top in public? Why is she pouring her dumps over that bike seat so we have to all look at it? While their stares may be innocent, I feel the shame of a guilty verdict.

To say that my body is a prison would be a gross understatement. The analogy does no justice to my daily life because prisoners, even those doing time for crimes they didn’t commit, have no freedoms and little idea of the world outside. I’m forced to watch it pass by while my mind tells me I should be able to run, go, play, but my aching joints, bad back, and post-baby belly flap suggest otherwise. If you haven’t lived this life-sentence, please accept that you cannot possibly understand what we are going through. Additionally, we wouldn’t want you to feel this. It is painful…all the time.

This is 300.

When weight loss success stories begin with rock bottom moments like when their kid told them their friends called their mommy fat, or when they were made fun of in public, or when the scale would no longer register their weight, I smile. Good for them! Inside I somehow accept that I can never accomplish what they have. On some level I wonder if I self-sabotage because I feel like I don’t deserve to be successful. I have gone through every one of those scenarios…most more than once, but here I am.

To those of us who need to loose 100 pounds or more, it seems unachievable. We’re told, “Set small attainable goals. Exercise. Take in less calories than you’re burning.”

“You don’t say! Well that is brand new information! Why didn’t I think of that?!”

If you’re fit, or even one of those blessed with freak-show metabolism that burns off your fourth Taco Bell meal so you still make it into your size nothing skinny jeans, I applaud you. But I don’t understand your life. I can smell your burrito and wake up four pounds heavier for it.

This is 300.

I hate shopping. No, seriously. It’s the worst. I’ve always hated it because 10 years ago, when I was 175, it was even less acceptable for females to be larger. My size range of 10 to 14 may as well have been special order Big-and-Tall catalogue items. Now I shop exclusively online and happily pay the fee to return my items instead of awkwardly finagling my way around a fitting room only to leave disappointed and feeling even worse about myself.

It kills me that stores have started changing their sizing from 14/16, 18/20, 22/24, and 26/28 to 1, 2, 3, and 4. While I appreciate your attempt at sensitivity, I know if there are any single digits on my clothing tags, they better be followed by an X. Get serious! Nobody believes this shirt is a size two! The day my pants are a size anything below a 16, that long, narrow sizing sticker is staying on this leg, honey! All. Day.

“Ma’am, did you know your tag is still on your pants?”

“Why yes, innocent bystander at Starbucks. What is that number? Read it out loud. Tell your friends!”

When you’re larger, it’s difficult to feel like you look good in anything. Many have been told their entire lives that they are different, gross, or wrong. So when a well-intentioned friend pays us a compliment, our sensitive minds distort it into some kind of back-handed joke or slight about our looks.

Just because we had a grandpa who made crass comments about our size or a boy in grade school who bought us Slim Fast as a prank doesn’t mean the world sees us that way. Some do, but that is our reality. They are obviously inept. We are people. We have feelings, and families, and hopes for the future.

Just as smaller people should learn to walk a mile (okay, like a block) in our Sketchers Shape-Ups, we need to learn to let it go. Laugh so you don’t cry, call it what you want, but loosen up! Odds are you won’t wake up miraculously killing it in a supermodel frame, so we need to embrace it and decide where to go from here. As we do, let’s at least agree to enjoy the journey, even the bumpy, cellulite-filled parts.

This is 300.

Unlike other addictions, we need food to survive. Our reality is that we know our bodies shouldn’t run on a steady stream of cream-filled coffee, donuts from the office, and the Taco Bell Happier Hour dollar burrito we bought on our way home from work and trashed the bag so our family members didn’t know we ate it. We have to be honest with ourselves before we can be honest with anyone else.

“Oooh that girl is wearing one of those step counting watches! She’s probably on her way to eat kale and run at the park in some trendy yoga pants and one of those tank tops with the built-in bra!”

My Fitbit ain’t fooling anybody! I bought that burrito and ate it like a boss! What even is kale, other than the name of a kid who I imagine has friends with other pretentious names like Heath and Talon? I don’t even attempt Spanx, much less spandex yoga pants. Those shelf bras? HA! They hold up nothing and just spread over my back fat so I look like I am smuggling a pack of sausages.

It’s up to us to decide how we move forward from here. Some of us will continue to wallow in our self pity. Some may choose surgery, starvation, or a reality show in which you work out 12 hours a day. It’s a trick to make real people feel like it is attainable. (You know, those of us watching enviously as we devour an entire bag of chips and imagine what our life would be like if we lost our excess weight.) Many of us will continue to struggle. This is a lifetime sentence, even if you are successful.

I still don’t know my choice. I don’t want to just see my kids grow up, I want to be a part of that. I want to climb and race and do the crazy things I used to be able to do when I thought I looked like a monster.

Kid Made Recipe: Peachberry Pretzel Tart

I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of the “pretzels in baked goods” trend. Here’s a sweet and salty pretzel treat  kids can help whip up, that makes excellent use of late summer peaches! Get creative with your peach slice layering, just make sure to cover up the crust evenly. And of course, top with whipped cream. Peachy!

https://www.facebook.com/HelloParentCo/videos/1929059827361380/

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I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of the “pretzels in baked goods” trend. Here’s a sweet and salty pretzel treat  kids can help whip up, that makes excellent use of late summer peaches! Get creative with your peach slice layering, just make sure to cover up the crust evenly. And of course, top with whipped cream. Peachy!

Peachberry Pretzel Tart

Prep Time:   15 minutes   
Bake Time:  30 minutes
Total Time:    45 minutes
Yield:  9×9 inch tart
 

Ingredients:  

  • 3 cups mini pretzels
  • 8 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp almond flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, plus a Tbsp or 2 for sprinkling on tart before baking
  • 4 large, ripe (but not too ripe!) peaches
  • 3 Tbsp strawberry jam

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Crush the pretzels in a food processor, or place in a sealed plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. You need about 2 ½ cups crushed pretzels.
  3. Place crushed pretzels in a bowl and add the brown sugar, almond flour, and melted butter. Mix to combine. The mixture should be moist and hold together if you squeeze some in your palm.
  4. Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhanging on each side.
  5. Tip the pretzel mixture into the pan, and press well to completely cover bottom. Set aside.
  6. Slice the peaches. You want slices no more than ¼ inch thick.
  7. Gently toss peach slices in a mixing bowl with the strawberry jam until they are coated.
  8. Arrange the peaches on top of the pretzel crust. Overlap so that no crust is visible beneath the peaches.
  9. Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar over the top.
  10. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until peaches are tender and slightly bubbly.
  11. Let cool completely before cutting!

 

Recipe Notes:

This tart is delicious with whipped cream or a little vanilla ice cream on top, and don’t forget an extra sprinkle of crushed pretzels.

Kid Made Recipe: Cheddar Corn Fritters

These fritters are quick, delicious, and ready for all kinds of toppings. We like sour cream and avocado, but try salsa, chives, hot sauce, jalapeños, etc.!

https://www.facebook.com/HelloParentCo/videos/1926356787631684/

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At our house, August means fresh, local corn from the farmer’s market. If you can get your hands on some, use it here!  But don’t worry, this recipe works just as well with frozen kernels! These fritters are quick, delicious, and ready for all kinds of toppings. We like sour cream and avocado, but try salsa, chives, hot sauce, pickled veggies or jalapeños if you like it spicy!!

Cheddar Corn Fritters

 
Prep Time:   15 minutes   
Cook Time:  about 10-15 minutes on the stovetop / 2-3 minutes per fritter
Total Time:    30 minutes
Yield:  12-15 fritters
 

Ingredients:  

  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½ cup all puroose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup chopped white or red onion
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernals
  • ⅔ cup diced red pepper
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup neutral oil (vegetable, canola, or sunflower work well)

 

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, cumin and pepper.
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs well.
  • Add the milk and eggs to the flour mixture and then stir gently to combine.
  • Add the onion, corn, red pepper, scallions, and cheese and fold until combined.
  • Heat the oil in a medium, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Cast iron works well.
  • When the oil is shimmering, carefully drop about ¼ cup of batter in for each fritter. Fry three or four at a time.
  • Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, until both sides are golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve hot !

 

Recipe Notes:

Don’t forget the toppings! Avocado, guacamole, salsa, tomato slices, jalapenos, sour cream, scallions, chives… you get the idea!  
 

Kid Made Recipe: Vegan Raspberry Brownies

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Our kids love berries so much they eat them by the handful all summer long, but I always make sure to snag a few pints just for baking. Raspberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven. These brownies are dense, fudgy, flecked with bits of juicy fruit and, believe it or not, vegan! Whether you serve them with toppings or not, they’re treats that make the most of summer’s sweetness!
 

Vegan Raspberry Brownies

 
Makes 1 8×8 inch pan – 16-20 brownies, depending on your cut size
 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 50-55 minutes
Cool Time:  1 hr
Total time: 2 hrs 5 minutes
 

Ingredients:  

  • ¾ cup vegan chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • 1 ⅔ cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1¼ cup fresh raspberries, divided
  • 1 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp almond flour

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the coconut oil and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, lightly mash ¼ cup of the raspberries, then add the applesauce and mix to combine.
  3. Add the brown sugar and fruit mixture to the melted chocolate in the pan and whisk until smooth and uniform.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and almond flour.
  5. Sift over the chocolate mixture a bit at a time, whisking after each addition, until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
  6. Spread batter into a parchment-lined 8×8 pan and smooth the top. Top with the rest of the fresh raspberries.
  7. Bake at 360 for 50-55 minutes, or until sides start to pull away from pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean. These are very fudgy brownies, and depending on your oven they may need an extra 5 minutes or so.

Kiddie Pool Digest: Kids in the Kitchen

Don’t hand over the grill tongs just yet, but this week’s Kiddie Pool has all you need to get the kids cooking.

kiddie pool, parent co summer camp digest

05

The Kiddie Pool Digest will be back each week with a new fun theme and interesting activities, facts, and bits from around the web for curious kids of all ages.

Go pool hopping: Week 1 | Bees • Week 2 | Swimming • Week 3 | Solstice • Week 4 | Camping


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“Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday, America. Happy birthday to us.” This is the holiday that gave us the freedom of speech and a good fighting spirit. Any kid in the world can appreciate the desire to reign sovereign over themselves. So, let freedom ring a little louder for them on this Fourth of July with some hands-on time in the kitchen. You should probably still man the grill, but we’ll put them in charge of dessert.
 

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Statue Of Liberty

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Fun facts

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Watch & Learn

 
kiddie pool summer digest for kids, watch and learn
 
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Brunch Bread Bake – Kid Made Recipe

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Super Rainbow Breakfast – Kid Made Recipes

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I Tried out for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

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https://vimeo.com/172090906

Independence Day Trivia Challenge

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Fireman Sam-Safety Fireworks

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Fourth of July-Schoolhouse Rocks

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Jokes for your kids
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Free (printable) Patriotic Party Decorations

[su_button url=”https://www.parent.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/22382-01.pdf” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#ffffff” color=”#395a7c” size=”10″ center=”yes” radius=”0″ icon=”icon: star-o” icon_color=”#f7664d”]Download The Decorations[/su_button]

*Source: Uncommon Goods

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TAKE A DEEP DIVE

Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

kiddie pool summer digest for kids, deep dive
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Photo: Belle of the kitchen

Supplies
  1. Ingredients for homemade ice cream or store-bought flavor of choice.
  2. Ingredients for homemade cookies or refrigerated cookie dough.
  3. Red, white, and blue sprinkles.
  4. Aluminum foil.

Optional: Ice Cream Ball for making ice cream at home.
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Make and bake your cookie flavor of choice (we like a classic chocolate chip or sugar cookie). Just be sure the cookies are on the smaller side so the ice cream sandwich doesn’t become a little too epic for the little people.
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While cookies are cooling, it’s time to make your ice cream if you’re going all in with the homemade version. If using the Ice Cream Ball, add all necessary ingredients and put the kids to work. Tell them to get rolling and let them wear themselves out with it for the 25-30 minutes it takes the ice cream to set.[/su_column] [/su_row]
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Once cookies are completely cool and ice cream is set, get the assembly line ready with cookies, ice cream, and sprinkles.
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Let the kids scoop a walnut-sized ball of ice cream in between two cookies (a melon-baller works great for this).
Have them flatten the cookie sandwiches slightly and then roll edges in sprinkles.
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[su_row][su_column size=”1/4″][/su_column] [su_column size=”3/4″]Wrap each patriotic ice cream sandwich in foil and place in freezer to set. (If you have more than one kid, assign each a role of either scooper, sprinkler, or wrapper.)
Let set for at least an hour.
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Covet & Collect

 

kiddie pool summer digest for kids, covet and collect products

 
 

Yaylabs Softshell Ice Cream Ball

$31.99

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Burlap Cotton Kids Apron 

$12.39

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Opinel Le Petit Chef Set Guard, Knife and Peeler

$38.61

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sushi bazooka

Sushi Bazooka sarter package

$14.96

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bento box eyes

Cute Bento Decoration Box Fruit Fork

$1.99

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president block set

President Block Set

$89.00

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Get your groove on

kiddie pool summer digest for kids, music playlist

  1. Kids in America by Kim Wilde
  2. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. by John Mellencamp
  3. Firework by Katy Perry
  4. Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
  5. Saturday in the Park by Chicago
  6. Shake it Out by Florence and the Machine
  7. I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash
  8. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen
  9. Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John
  10. Living in America by James Brown
  11. American Pie by Don McLean
  12. What a Wonderful World by Sam Cook

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 Page Turners

kiddie pool summer digest for kids, books

Scrambled states of America

The Scrambled States of America

by Deborah J Short

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apple pie fourth of july book for kids

Apple Pie Fourth of July

by Janet S. Wong

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  firefly july

Firefly July

by Paul B. Janeczko

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ABC USA

ABC USA

by Martin Jarrie

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LOOK UP THE STARS

Aquila

kiddie pool summer digest for kids, stars

Who better to lead us into a celebration of America’s independence than the constellation for our national bird, Aquila, the Eagle? Did you know that we launched the spacecraft, Pioneer 11, in 1973 and it’s heading for one of Aquila’s stars? We’ve got a while to wait though. It will take the Pioneer about 400 million years to do its flyby.

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star walk

GET SOME STAR-GAZING ASSISTANCE

Star WalkStar Walk for Kids: Learning Astronomy and Space 


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Go Pool hopping!

Click a tile below to check out a past digest


Kiddie Pool summer digest, save the bees world environment day


01 | Have a BEE – autiful World Environment Day!


Kiddie Pool summer digest, swimming pool


02 | Swimming! Into the Deep End


kiddie pool solstice


03 | Celebrate Solstice


kiddie pool digest camping


04 | Camping


We’ve selected these great products because we want them to be on your radar! However, we also would like you to know Parent Co. is an Amazon Affiliate Partner and we will earn a small share of revenue if you decide to purchase a product using one of these links. By supporting us through this program you are helping to keep the lights on and the banner ads off.

Kid Made Recipe: Cookout Double Feature

The best summer cookouts are made of more than just what’s on the grill. We’ve got two winning recipes to up your cookout game.

https://www.facebook.com/HelloParentCo/videos/1902667530000610/

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The best summer cookouts are made of more than just what’s on the grill. You need awesome sides and a home run dessert to round things out. Just in time for the holiday weekend, we’ve got two winning recipes to up your cookout game. Delicious grilled (or broiled) French Bread Bites and Red White and Blueberry Sundaes. Get your kids to help out with the prep and you’ve got the goods to go along with all those burgers and dogs!
 

Grilled French Bread Bites

 
Makes 16 slices
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cool time:  1 hr
Total time: 1 hr 20 minutes
 

Ingredients:  

  • 1 large baguette
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernals (about 3 medium ears)
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Coarse kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Slice baguette in half lengthwise
  2. Lay bread on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush both sides generously with olive oil
  3. Arrange tomatoes in a single layer on top of oiled bread.
  4. Sprinkle corn on top, then basil leaves.
  5. Place mozzarella slices on top of the veggies, leaving some space so the veggies show through.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Grill directly on grate for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubble and bread is crisp and browning. You can also place under the broiler on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes until cheese is bubbly and bread is crisp and browning on the edges. Watch it carefully, this happens fast!
  8. Let cool for a minute or two before slicing!

Recipe Notes:

This would also be delish with a brush of pesto instead of plain olive oil under the veggies! And feel free to sub or add any other summer veggies you love!
 

Red, White and Blueberry Sundaes

 
Makes up to 8 mini sundaes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Cool time:  1 hr
Total time: 1 hr 20 minutes
 

Ingredients:  

  • 3½ cups fresh blueberries, divided
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pint Vanilla ice cream
  • 1 pint Strawberry ice cream
  • Red white and blue sprinkles
  • Fresh cherries with stems for garnish

 
 

Instructions:

  1. Place 2 ½ cups blueberries in a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan with the maple syrup and lemon juice.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat slightly.
  3. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally once the berries start to burst.
  4. Use the back of a spoon to mash about half of the berries while they cook.
  5. When mixture has thickened slightly, remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds. Make sure you blend them in well.
  6. Allow the jam to cool for 30 minutes or so, then spoon into a jar. Refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To make sundaes, layer the bottom of a small bowl or jar with blueberries, then add vanilla ice cream, a dollop of blueberry chia jam, strawberry ice cream, and maybe dress it up with sprinkles and a cherry!
Whipped cream would not be out of place here either!

How to Get Your Baby Started on Solid Food in 10 Easy Steps

Here is a foolproof method for getting your little one started on the right foot (or tongue, as it were) on their gastronomic adventure.

So your baby is ready to start exploring the wonderful world of solid foods? Congratulations! Before you know it, she’ll be asking for 20 bucks and the car keys so she can go “chill” with her friend Ava who is “so cool.” But for now, you’re in for a treat!

Yes, in this fleeting moment, you hold the fate of your little angel’s future relationship with food in your hands. It is very important that you don’t mess this up! When your child grows up and inevitably leaves you behind forever, the last thing you want is to be riddled with regret about their terrible eating habits.

With that being said, here is a foolproof method for getting your little one started on the right foot (or tongue, as it were) on their gastronomic adventure.

1 | Make sure that your baby is actually ready for solid foods

Starting too early will cause nothing but frustration for you and baby. However, if you start even five minutes too late, the window has closed and your baby’s life is ruined.

Think of your child as an avocado. Each has about a 15-minute window of ripeness. As with most things, each child is different, but two key developmental milestones generally indicate food readiness. First, the ability to sit up with gentle assistance. Second, the ability to flap her arms into her groin area and get poop all over her hands when you change her diaper.

When baby hits these milestones, it’s go time! Hose her down and strap her into the high chair.

2 | About that high chair

Selecting the right high chair is likely the most important decision you will ever make. It might seem easy, but it’s not. There are many options and features, but the most important ones are the tray table and the seat.

Specifically, the tray table needs to be made of durable and tasty plastic so baby can gnaw on it safely and enjoyably. If possible, try to find one infused with earthy tones of cardamom and rosemary.

The seat needs to have substantial cushioning in the head rest area so baby doesn’t concuss herself when she flings her head back against it every 10 seconds.

3 | Initial food selection is critical

Try starting out with a nice baby cereal, such as oatmeal or barley (if you’re super hipster) mixed with a small amount of breast milk or formula. Mix until the consistency is that of fresh sap harvested from a Vermont maple tree on a snowy day.

4 | Select an appropriate baby spoon

It should be small enough to fit into baby’s mouth and yellow or green in color. Do not under any circumstances use a red spoon unless you want your baby to develop irreversible bloodlust at an early age.

Scoop a very small amount of cereal, about the size of the fingernail on Donald Trump’s index finger, onto the spoon. Gently place the spoon into your child’s mouth and tip the handle up slightly. Remove the spoon.

When the cereal re-appears on baby’s chin, scoop it back up with the spoon. Stick the spoon back into baby’s mouth. Repeat 27 times.

5 | Avoid starving your infant

Prepare a bottle of baby formula or breast milk and feed your baby so she doesn’t starve.

6 | Progress to stage-one baby foods

Approximately two weeks later (no less than nine days and no more than 18 days), introduce mush. You can buy prepared baby food at your local grocery store if you are lazy, or you can prepare it by hand from fresh fruits and vegetables if you actually care about your child.

Be sure to start with vegetables and not fruits! It is important to start with vegetables so that, in a few years, your child will have the residual vegetable benefits in her system when she decides not to eat anything except for bread anyway.

7 | Remember Step 4

Spoon a small amount of vegetable into your child’s mouth. When it comes out, catch it with the spoon. Stick it back in. Repeat 34 times.

8 | Never forget Step 5

Prepare a bottle of baby formula or breast milk and feed your baby so she doesn’t starve.

9 | Progress to sugar and animal slaughter

Introduce fruits, and then stage-two fruits and veggies, and meats (if you hate animals) when your child is ready.

10 | Alternative approach

Give up until she is ready to eat bread.

Gestational Diabetes Made Me a Better Mom

Handling a gestational diabetes diagnosis well can be controlled, and it ultimately made my family healthier and me a better mom.

Diabetes gets a bad rap and deserves it, but gestational diabetes actually changed me for the better. I had this diagnosis with all three of my children. It was a hard pill to swallow during my first pregnancy, but one I readily accepted with my next two because gestational diabetes taught me a lot about myself, my health, and the kind of mom I wanted to be for my kiddos.

Flunking the glucose test

I wasn’t all that worried when I flunked the one-hour glucose test during my first pregnancy. I had eaten a large bowl of ice cream the night before after polishing off some Mexican food with my in-laws. I fasted correctly for my three-hour test, but hung a lot of my hopes on the claim that the majority of women fail the one-hour test and do fine on the three-hour test.

Well, I flunked the three-hour also.

When the nurse called me at home, I cried because it just did not seem fair. Self-pity took over for the rest of the day. I had already had two miscarriages prior to this pregnancy, which made me feel like I was owed a perfect nine months of getting fat and feeling comfortable baby kicks.

I wanted to eat pancakes for a mid-afternoon snack and have milk shakes at every meal. After a sleepless night, I did some on-line research. It was comforting to hear that a lot of women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes. And like most things, women can handle it.

I visited a diabetic counselor the next week, and we worked on a food plan. She explained that patients rarely need insulin if they follow the diabetic guidelines about portion control and making good food choices. It seemed pretty straightforward and, lucky for me, I had my husband on hand to listen to the medical advice. I got a monitor, testing strips, and some pen needles to check my blood sugar four times a day.

That evening, I had my first diabetic friendly meal, and it was bacon and eggs. I obviously had a lot to learn because that is not the meal of champions. I complained loudly, calling diabetic eating the equivalent of the Atkins diet.

Figuring it out

I needed a mind shift because changing the way you look at food can be hard after years of never thinking about it. I was blessed with genetics that let me eat whatever I wanted and not gain a lot of weight. It helped that I was a super active child and teenager. Looking back, my biggest hang-up amounted to years and years of irritable bowel syndrome with no real answers. I know now that my body was screaming for some quality fiber in-take, but I was too oblivious.

In my mid-20s, a bulge began to hang around my middle. It was nothing serious, but I was not staying in shape or making healthy choices. My husband and I were newly married and both working full-time, no kids. So we enjoyed happy hours, appetizers, and desserts with thoughtless abandon.We exercised some, but nothing that made a huge difference.

The gestational diabetes diagnosis corrected my mindset about eating. It was no longer acceptable to have a plate loaded with white, starchy, carbohydrates and little to no color. I needed to up my fruit and vegetable game big time.

But even more than that, gestational diabetes gave me confidence when it came to becoming a mom. I was shocked at my ability to cut down on sweets and eliminate dinner rolls from my diet. Without question, I became a dutiful student who followed all of the doctor’s orders. Before this maternal time in my life, I would have made a lot of excuses and ignored what was best for me.

Gestational diabetes even introduced me to some new loves. I discovered the deliciousness of cashews, eggplant, kale, spinach, red peppers, honeydew melon, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, Brussels sprouts, and avocados. Having a nutrition plan is so different from dieting. It does not in any way mean a person should starve.

In my case, I just had to learn that a pizza with a side of garlic bread does not a healthy meal make. Instead I learned to opt for the pizza (sans crust) with a spinach cranberry balsamic salad and a cup of berries. Both are equally delicious, I swear to it.

My husband, my kids, and me

The first two weeks with gestational diabetes felt hard. Me – the girl who loved bagels and fettucini alfredo – had to start questioning what was best for my baby and my body. But a few weeks after being diagnosed, I noticed I felt really good. I started having normal bowel movements and trying new things at restaurants. My pregnancy weight stayed healthy, and I delivered an absolutely perfect baby girl. 

By association, my husband also began eating healthier. His big conflict had been portion control, plus my obsession with having a bread basket on the table at all times. Since I cooked the majority of the meals and did all of the grocery shopping, he ate what I ate. This was great post-gestational diabetes, but had been a problem pre-gestational diabetes.

The diabetic eating plan had us both feeling so great that I made sure we kept on eating that way. We learned to make awesome chef salads, while getting used to thin crust pizzas and open face sandwiches. I took pride in making sure my kids ate the same way we did. We made our own baby food and never introduced juice.

This has really helped in the whole “kids are picky eaters” department. We are not perfect, and I want my kids to enjoy sweets, so they still eat candy and ice cream. But we always have a fruit or vegetable on our plates during mealtime. I still serve chicken nuggets, but they come with a kale salad and some watermelon.

The best part is that we all eat plenty of food. We just enjoy the unhealthy items in moderation. I want my kids to have a positive body image. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t eat something for fear of weight gain. It’s more about being aware of good food choices, especially as a person gets older.

What started out as gestational diabetes has become a new way of healthy living for me and my family. My kids think eating fruits and vegetables for snack is fine, and they notice when these foods are missing at mealtime. The introduction of variety, like dragon fruit or apple chicken bratwurst, can be fun. Our diabetic friendly way of eating also pretty much ensures that my children will never go hungry at a friend’s house, because they have seen it all. 

A lot of things about pregnancy and motherhood can’t be controlled – placenta previa, stretch marks, and mustard-seed poop explosions, for example. Handling a gestational diabetes diagnosis well can be controlled, and it ultimately made my family healthier and me a better mom. It’s been a great opportunity to learn, grow, and change for the better.