The art of Slowing down at child’s pace

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Lessons learned from  raising a Toddler

My daughter, Natalie is a great teacher. She’s only 18 months and yet she have taught me far greater & deep lesson about Caring with Respect, a valuable lesson that I needed for my age, and at this time of my life. I never learned this from school, but only through life with her.She have given me the Gift of Slowing down in life, at her own pace.

We loved to take a walk together. This is one way that we bond. Oftentimes, when we get down from our building, we took the elevator. But as soon as we are out, my daughter immediately run to the stairs and starts climbing. Up & down she goes. I always grab her by both hands and pull her back to get on with our walk & immediately she pull her hand out from my grip & go on her way. We do this maybe for a couple of times but she has her own ways to go back again to the stairs. One time after scooping her up, she just screamed,cried & refused to walk. The next time we are going out and she did the same, I let go of her. She go on her own way, she climbed the stairs, up & down for a couple of times while I just stood there, watching her. She’s looking back at me from time to time & smiled . Then she continued with her “ways”. After 3 rounds, she came up to me and pulled my hand, going to the direction of the main door so we can go on for our walk. This time, she was willing. She was finally ready. I learned that just being prepared & present for her helped her. Now I fully understand what does it really mean to “walk with her “. Its not about my pace, but hers.

Recently I found out something unusual with her. I didn’t notice the change until I evaluate what have I done. Normally when she woke up, she cried and refused to go back to sleep unless I stayed with her. I used to do things without telling her what I’m planning to do with her. This always result that she gets upset. I felt like I need to do it in a rush way like changing her diaper, leaving the room, pulling out her onesies, or brushing her teeth. But lately, I decided to talk to her more often of what I want to do instead of doing it while she’s caught off-guard. I decided to take my time, to slow down & care with respect. To let her know if I am going to remove her diaper and wash her, or inform her that I am going to the kitchen to get her milk, or telling her I’m going to brush her teeth. Her reaction changed. She became more calm, more tolerant. She was there waiting for me, as if she really understood me. This really struck me. She let go of her defenses and behaved. This time, I finally knew the power of Narrating what was happening & just observing more to understand her needs better.

Many times, I see my toddler as uncooperative, as whining, and difficult. But I never evaluated my own actions as demanding, insensitive or harsh. But when I started to look deeper at my actions as a parent,I was really dumbfounded why I never realized these things before. I know for most of us parents whose both hands are full with work & day-to day responsibilities, it’s not always easy to be fully present and attuned to a baby or young child who can’t keep up physically or verbally to let you know, “Hey wait a minute! Slow down! “We thought we are always in-charge, that our child are all helpless creatures. We forget that although they may not be physically agile as we are, they have feelings, their perception of things is developing and therefore this stage is critical.

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Educating while caring : Slowing down at child’s pace.

I was deeply moved by the gift of slowing down to a child’s pace and the humbling  lesson  I have learned about “Educaring”. Educaring  means that we should educate while we care, and care while we educate; that these two things are intertwined. So the intimate caregiving activities of feeding, diapering, bathing, and dressing a baby, provide valuable opportunities for a baby to learn about himself and also about others, about the people who care for him. And these are also valuable opportunities for relationship building between parent and child.

The art of Slowing down at a pace of a child illustrates the profound connection and joy available to both parents and young children when we can slow down just a little to be present with, and allow for what naturally unfolds, leaving our agenda behind, and trusting our children to be active participants in their own experience, recognizing that they have a point of view too.

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Babies, even toddlers knows best.Let them eat sand if she like. She does it anyway!

How do we do this? How can we slow down at their own pace and educate them while caring?

I wanna share with you  what I have learned from the excerpt of the book “Baby knows best”  : Raising a Confident & Resourceful Child , the RIE way by Deborah Carlisle Solomon. I didn’t know that these things are so relative and yet it really opened my eyes. This definitely changed my relationship with my daughter.Here are some helpful tips ;

1 – Slow down. Just slowing down creates a sense of peacefulness and allows even a young baby to follow what’s happening. When you think about the difference in how you feel when you’re rushing or even just moving at a brisk pace versus when you take the time to move slowly, it’s not surprising that this would have such a difference for babies.

2 – Practice telling your baby what you’re going to do, before you do it. “I’d like to pick you up now. I’m going into the other room and I’ll be right back.” When we are in the habit of telling the baby what we’re going to do, the baby can relax. She knows there’s going to be no surprises.

3-Tarry time -It’s the time between when you tell the baby what’s going to happen and when you actually do it. So after you tell the baby “I’m going to pick you up now,” you tarry, or wait for her to process what’s been said and let you know she’s ready. She might raise her arms up or have a look on her face of anticipation and you’ll know that now she’s ready to be picked up. This is important because babies take more time to process than we do. If we just say we’re going to pick you up and then pick up the baby, it will still feel very abrupt for the baby and she won’t be able to quite keep up with what’s going on.

Childhood is fleeting. Time flies so fast that we might not realize it when were so absorbed by the hustle & bustle of parenting. But as for me, I wanted to grow along with my child as she learns from me and vice versa. It is more important than ever to remember that the simple act of slowing down and giving our full attention is a gift that we can give to our children, and to ourselves.

Can you relate to this post?

Or what have you learned about slowing down in Life to appreciate more of it?

I wish that you find your inspiration everyday.Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

50 shades of green smoothie for a Picky Toddler

 

My  super active  toddler is a picky eater. So as my husband. No kidding.Really.So what I had to do for them to get their veggies?

Simple Answer : GREEN SMOOTHIES

I love everything about healthy green smoothies. I’m talking about the pure, raw green,leafy , veggies & fruits smoothies that are packed with nutrients and vitamins and not the commercial smoothies that are loaded with creams & sugars. When I noticed that my daughter is a picky eater,  I tried almost everything just to get her appetite on track, especially eating healthy veggies. She’s fine with fruits.She’s eating them like a horse.But with veggies, she needed a boost. This is the reason why I had opt to green smoothies. This has become our new habit. What’s the bonus? The husband also enjoyed gulping a bottle.

A green smoothie is simply a smoothie or juiced from raw , fresh & natural green leafy  vegetables and fruits blended together . No added sugars or sweeteners. Pure nutrition & goodness. Milk & a good diet is till our top priority for my daughter, but getting her into smoothie is also a way to instill early good eating habits.

But why introduce green smoothies to a baby?

Because this stage is the perfect time for them to get into this. I want my baby & my family to be healthy at the same time their taste buds Happy.

I did my homework before introducing the green smoothie to my daughter. I don’t like to join the smoothie bandwagon just because its the trend or its the “In “. No, you need to make choices that has lifelong impacts. Health is one thing you don’t wanna compromise.

My daughter is sensitive & have a mild food allergy so until now, so I am really very careful of what food I offer to her. She loved it. We just make sure that we give it to her every other day in order not to pressure her tummy. As experts say that  children’s taste buds develop in the first 3 years of life so it’s best to take advantage of this time and offer a wide variety of healthy food choices. This helps to establish a taste bud-brain connection to different flavors and textures. Kale and other dark leafy green vegetables can have a strong flavor but are also great source of nutrients. The amazing chemicals in kale and other raw cruciferous vegetables assist in detoxification. In fact, Sulforophane in these dark leafy greens ramps up phase 2 detoxification in the liver, providing over 72 hours of protection from both environmentally and internally produced toxins. Considering that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children in the US today, I think it’s very important to make sure that older babies and toddlers are receiving at least one small serving of raw cruciferous vegetables every one to two days.

I am really glad how she is taking it in and more than satisfied that my husband also loved it. It really helps me and eases my mind. Now I know why Green Smoothies made such a great buzz. Nowadays, you can see it everywhere. People are talking about it. It sounds Healthy. You know that It is Healthy. When I reflect on this, I,too  have made a goal for myself :

“Without good health, it’s hard to enjoy life. So I’m going to keep myself and my loved ones always healthy.”

What’s your health goal?

We have been into this for quite sometime & I’m telling you, it brings glow to us. Even if I’m always tired from daily out & about, I feel wonderful. Having a full glass of Green smoothie keeps me satiated. Since then, I have experienced dramatic improvements in health, energy and mental clarity by increasing my consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole foods. I do look forward to our grocery shopping and spend more time looking for green veggies & lush fruits to include to our smoothie recipes.

My starter 50 SHADES of Green Smoothie :

  • Small bunch of spinach
  • A small bunch of kale
  • 1 piece medium size cucumber
  • 1 lemon (juice )
  • 1 tiny ginger root peeled & chopped
  • 2-3 cups of water /coconut juice
  • 1 green apple
  • 2  medium sized red apples

Blend all together in a Blender, pour into medium sized glass bottles, add a funky straw & there you go, a super packed-vitamins & delish Green Smoothie. Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment on so many varieties of fruits & veggies like Banana, mangoes,  and so much more depending on your personal taste. Do what works for you.

But before you try it for yourself, you need to know some precautions to avoid common mistakes. Here’s what I have learned from the Book “Green Smoothie Revolution ” by Victoria Boutenko. Here’s the excerpt .You can purchase this Here.

  • Prepare your green smoothie first thing in the morning in the amount that you usually consume in one day, one or two quarts (liters). Pour enough smoothie in a glass for your morning enjoyment and keep the rest in a refrigerator or another cold place.
  • Sip your green smoothie slowly, mixing it with saliva.
  • Don’t add anything to your smoothie except greens, fruit, and water. I don’t recommend adding nuts, seeds, oils, supplements or other ingredients to your green smoothie. Most of these items slow down the assimilation of green smoothies in your digestive tract and may cause irritation and gas. I encourage you to stick to the basic green smoothie recipe (fruit, greens, and water) in your daily routine.
  • Drink your smoothie by itself, and not as a part of a meal. Don’t consume anything, even as little as a cracker or candy with it. You may eat anything you want approximately 40 minutes before or 40 minutes after you finished your smoothie. Your goal is to get the most nutritional benefit out of your green smoothie.
  • Do not add starchy vegetables such as carrots, beets, broccoli stems, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, egg plant, pumpkin, squash, okra, peas, corn, green beans, and others to your green smoothies. Starchy vegetables combine poorly with fruit and may produce what my children call “gas 4 less.”
  • Don’t add too many ingredients into one smoothie, such as nine different fruits and a dozen different greens. Try to keep most of your recipes simple to maximize nutritional benefits and to keep it easy on your digestive system.
  • Learn to prepare a really delicious green smoothie so that you are always looking forward to the next one. If your drink is not tasty, you will eventually discontinue consuming it.
  • Always rotate the green leaves that you add to your smoothies. Almost all greens in the world contain minute amounts of alkaloids. Tiny quantities of alkaloids cannot hurt you, and even strengthen the immune system. However, if you keep consuming kale, or spinach, or any other single green for many weeks without rotation, eventually the same type of alkaloids can accumulate in your body and cause unwanted symptoms of poisoning. Please note that you don’t have to rotate the fruit in your green smoothies. Most commonly used fruit have very little or none of the alkaloids and cannot cause the same toxic reactions as greens. At the same time, rotating fruits will enhance the variety of flavor and nutrition in your smoothies.
  • Choose organic produce whenever possible. The absence of pesticides and other toxic chemicals is only one of many benefits of organic food. The most important reason to consume organic food is the superior nutrition of organic fruits and vegetables in comparison to conventionally grown produce. We have been discussing earlier, how deficient most people are. The best way to nourish your body is to consume organic produce and whenever possible, locally grown. I consider it very important to get the fruit that was allowed to ripen on the vine because it is the best for nourishment. Tree-ripened fruit is several times more nutritious and when consumed shortly after picking retains significantly more nutrients.
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50 shades of Green ,Never Mean.
I want to encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity and flaunt that green drink like it’s a trendsetter. Why? Because it is. Health is the new wealth. Period.
Happy healthy-yummy-balanced smoothie sipping and chewing!

5 Free Things to do in Amsterdam

You want to explore Amsterdam but don’t want to smash your budget ?

I know touring Amsterdam can really be expensive . There is so much fun things to do and so much to see . But I wanna share with you how we survived it .  Here’s my Top 7  Free Things to do in Amsterdam that would definitely let you have a taste of its culture , and learn why this charming Dutch metropolis is one of top Europe’s travel hub. I highly recommend these things even if you have young kids travelling with you . It’s all about location . You don’t need to stress out yourself , Amsterdam is  beautiful  &  diversity is all over the city & deserves to be part of your Budget-friendly destinations  in Europe .

1. Go to the Bloemenmarkt

Holland is famous for its Tulips and other beautiful blooms , so why not indulge yourself into amazing array of flowers displayed in Bloemenmarkt. There’s no charge to wander past the stalls of the city’s wonderful floating flower market , the Bloemenmarkt (daily opens at  9am–5pm, some stalls close on Sunday), which extends along the southern bank of the Singel. Popular with locals and tourists alike , the market is one of the main suppliers of flowers to central Amsterdam, but its blooms and bulbs now share stall space with souvenir clogs, garden gnomes, Delftware and similar souvenir keepsakes .

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Tulips blooms in Bloemenmarkt

 

2. Discover Begijnhof

Ah,This one is my favorite . If you’ve been into the busy streets of Amsterdam that is packed with tourists then why not have a Breather, right within the city . Go to Begijnhof . Its  little gateway on the north side of the Spui leads into this hidden gem, where a huddle of immaculately maintained old houses looks onto a central green. This is one of the city centre’s most beguiling sights, and totally free. It was founded in the fourteenth century as a home for the beguines – members of a Catholic sisterhood living as nuns, but without vows and with the right of return to the secular world.

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One fine afternoon in Begijnhof

3. Listen to lunchtime concerts at the Concertgebouw

There are regular free lunchtime concerts at this impressive Arts venue, home of the famed – and much recorded – Koninklijk (Royal) Concertgebouw Orchestra. It has become renowned among musicians and concertgoers 
for its marvelous acoustics, and after a facelift and the replacement of its crumbling foundations in the early 1990s it is looking and sounding better than ever.

4. Walk or take a Nap in Vondelpark

This is a famous park in Amsterdam and if you want some peace & quiet ,then find yourself a space near the lagoon in Vondelpark then just admire this beautiful place.You can feed the ducks ,people watch , or just ride your bike along its bike paths.There are many artwork and sculpture displayed in here that might catch your attention .Amsterdam is short of green spaces, which makes the leafy expanses of the Vondelpark, the city centre’s main park, one of its best attractions. The park possesses a wide variety of local and imported plants, an excellent rose garden, and a network of ponds and narrow waterways that are home to many sorts of wildfowl. There are other animals too: cows, sheep, hundreds of squirrels, plus a large colony of bright-green (and very noisy) parakeets. We had a lunch picnic here and my daughter enjoyed it .

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Lush greens in Vondelpark

5. Take a stroll along the Red Light District 

With a kid tagging along with us , I feel squemish of bringing along my toddler  in here . I mean this place is known for scantily- clad women displayed in red framed windows! Most parents will raise their eyebrows for exposing your child to sights like that. But when I observed how quiet and safe the place is , i didn’t see any reason to miss this area . If you go here in the morning , you can see packs of men, young and old , couples holding hands and pointing in shock of it all, giggling groups of women ,teenagers , and busloads of Japanese tourists toting cameras and making selfies. This is proof enough that De Wallen deserves a visit, if not a little look in.  But photography of the women are strictly prohibited ,so be careful .

It’s your choice ,you need to experience passing by the RLD and  then probably you will understand what i felt when i see this place.

6. See Amsterdam’s finest church

If you are an Architecture buff and interested in religious building such as old churches, then you wouldn’t wanna miss the finest churches in Amsterdam, all can be reached by foot .

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Zuiderkerk as seen from Prinsengracht

The Westerkerk, is the biggest church in Amsterdam  just along Prinsengracht,  The church still dominates the district, its 85-metre tower – without question Amsterdam’s finest – soaring graciously above its surroundings. This church became the symbol of this city . The church was designed by Hendrick de Keyser and completed in 1631 as part of the general enlargement of the city, but whereas the exterior is all studied elegance, the interior is bare and plain.Zuiderkerk is the first Protestant church in the city . During  summer season, its tower may be climbed offering the nice view on canals and old houses of the area.

7 .  Watch people climb the I Amsterdam Letters in Museumplein 

Finally , You are in Amsterdam so what’s the best way to make memories of it than to take a selfie & watch people clambered on top of the letters . Discover why people of all ages climb on top of it , or why  Tourists flocked in here each one of them  striking their signature poses . Museumplein is an amazing place  and totally crazy in Summer.

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People watching at Museumplein

Have you’ve been to Amsterdam ? How was your experience ? I would love to hear your comments from your trip .

Thank you for stopping by and reading !

 

7 Books to read with your Child

If you have read my post about “Raising a Book Lover in your Child “ then you might also be interested to know what’s in our bookshelf for books to read. Whether you want to update your selection of books or curious what other books you want to read with your children , then this post is for you. Here’s my daughter’s favorites . We love to read these every single day .

1.The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle 

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One of the  greatest Childhood’s classics . This book is renowned Bestseller ! It is story of a caterpillar who eats its way through a wide variety of foodstuffs before turning into a cocoon & eventually  turning into a beautiful butterfly . My daughter loves the “holes “in the pages of the eaten food , it’s unique pages ,colorful drawings  & simple ,appealing writing. It’s hardbound and compact so it can fit to your tiniest baby bag or purse . This book is a useful tool for you to introduce healthy eating habits to your Little one.

Other book by Eric Carle that has become our favorite was the Touch & Feel Playbook.

51Zd5Eoi+VL._AC_UL320_SR312,320_We love his books because its full of color and aids your child’s discovery skills.The first concepts in learning are introduced with different textures ,words & pictures.

These are really perfect for Books to play with ,& toys to read to your babies & toddlers.

 

 

 

2. My Friends by Taro Gomi 

 I love  the simple words  and bright illustrations of this book. It tells about the wonderful adventure of a little girl’s friendship with animals and learning life skills through them .Our favorite part was the last page where I substitute the word “BABY “from the phrase   “I learn to love from a FRIEND like you “. This always signal my daughter to shriek & hug me whenever we finish reading and closing the book .

3.Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman 

 Goonight, Gorilla is a modern classic . Our favorite bedtime cuddle book. A simple picture book that always makes every bedtime stories magical , even humorous .They’re colorful, with the animals drawn in an adorable rotund manner, and simple. I find them very fun to look at and I happen to love the simplicity.

goodnightgorillaThe little details too add a wonderful touch. Look for the mouse faithfully toting around a banana from page to page and a pink balloon that bobs about in the background. Children will have no trouble identifying the animals either, in the giraffe’s cage, there’s a toy giraffe on wheels, in the elephant. Teach your child to point on the subtle things found in the pages like the pacifier ,balls & balloons.

4. That’s not my Lion… by Usborne touchy-Feely books 

51qmrC4bo8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_This is my daughter’s first touchy-feely book  before Eric Carle’s playbook.

She loves to run her fingers through the rough paws & the hairy mane of the lion .It carries EU Toy Safety Directive ‘CE’ logo. This is a bold, bright  book for babies containing beautifully designed high-contrast images that are easy for newborn babies to focus on as well as touchy-feely patches to bring the pictures to life. In it, each picture contains a tactile element to help very young children develop important sensory skills. This padded ‘soft touch’ hardback is perfect for sharing or can be propped up for babies to see. They have so many series to choose from.

5.Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

809849My daughter loved the Lift-The Flap pictures on each page.This book has an  appealing story with simple,bright animal images .

As you lift the flaps in search of an ideal pet , a host of different zoo animals will be revealed, until the right pet is finally discovered. Simple, stylish and highly interactive, this book invites constant re-reading. The sturdy flaps are perfect for small fingers to lift, and children will still love this book when they are ready to start school.

She also love another book by this author ,“The ABC Zoo “.She always have fun flipping up the Flaps and discover the fun by herself.

6. The Frog prince -by Ulf Stark & Silke Leffler 

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Written by famed Swedish author ,Ulf Stark with collaboration with the amazing illustrations of Silke Leffler , my daughter was immediately attracted to its colorful pages .In The Frog Prince, your child can  learn about the special bonds of friendship when Prince Karl is turned into a frog and Princess Klara did  everything to save her friend.

This is the type of book you really need to read aloud with your child and letting her run her fingers through each character displayed .

Also ,the characters in this book can be found in the soft toys section in Ikea  so if she get attached to it ,you can get her the toy itself..what a threat while reading !

 

7. Gonnie gaat varen by Olivier Dunrea

9789025756147Gonnie gat varen is a Dutch water book perfect for babies & toddlers fun reading during bath times . I try to encourage fun while reading and this lovely book is her best companion during lazy tub times. This is a story of a Gosling’s adventure while sailing .With  his friends Gijsje , Eddie & Teun  sailing becomes fun. My daughter loves to munch on the pages as well .

 

 

 

We love to discover new books , what’s in your shelf ? Do you have any favorite set?

Hope you are having a wonderful time reading !