Forum Posts

Valerie Goebel
Dec 12, 2021
In Kids & Stages
Our family is no stranger to vacations and road trips. We started traveling with our crew from the beginning and as we continued to add to our brood, we were forced to accommodate. While we are currently past "baby mode" we still live in the world that includes a High School, Middle School, Intermediate, and Elementary School aged children. This can be challenging at times but keeping our ultimate goal in mind is key to accomplishing a fun family getaway. What is our ultimate goal? Quite simply, it is to always be together. For you, it may be different. So, determining your ultimate goal is important before you leave for a trip. Then, plan accordingly! We do a lot of outdoor family activities. No joke, A-LOT! We choose these types of vacations and adventures for a variety of reasons: we strive to create a love of God's creation with our children, it's cheap, we always see something new, and it forces us to talk and be together. We have been been participating in outdoor hiking, biking, strolling, walking and exploring since my hubby and I began dating so our memories and love of the outside has only grown as we have expanded our hiking and cultural awareness from our own city to varied states and countries. Hikes and walks have included the city, the country, the mountains, trails, parks, creeks, caves, and anywhere we can explore. Your choices are endless! *Tip Alert* First off, if you are vacationing/traveling while you have a little one, baby wearing is my favorite! I mean, you can totally do a stroller if you travel somewhere with accommodating streets but wearing your baby is something you can do most anywhere you go. I had a friend hand down an Ergo (this is my preferred baby carrier; however, there are many different brands and options. This is not a commercial or paid ad for this particular brand) when I was pregnant with my fourth girlie and she was able to fit and ride snugly until she was four! My life was made so much easier while having three other girls to take care of. Taking your kids interests into consideration is important when traveling; however, you cannot underestimate creating cultural awareness with their fun. For instance, our kids like many others, love theme parks, movies, and things geared to keep them interested. Instead of taking them to a theme park featuring pirate rides, we enriched this interest by taking them to a pirate museum which allowed our kids to read different pirate information, participate in interactive activities, have a scavenger hunt, and were offered a prize at the end of a completed hunt. They had so much fun! From the 6 year old to the 17 year old, we got raving reviews. Did I mention we do prizes even for the most mundane of activities too? My husband understands that not every activity we do will thoroughly interest every age group so we add a bit of fun by offering our kids a prize for different quests such as keeping an eye out for castles while driving four hours across Europe. For spotting a castle first, the child earned one Euro to spend. Finding a bear would earn you 5$ when we were in Yellowstone and spotting a snake earns quite the penny when traipsing through our own stomping grounds since this is a safety first issue for our area. Now that I've spilled some tips, lets take an additional look at some important things we keep in mind while vacationing and traveling with your family. 10 things we use as a rule of thumb for our vacations 1. We try not to separate We had a vacation in which two of our kids could participate on some waterslides while the other two children could not. My husband and I spent most of our vacation being split between attractions which made for a very split vacation and some unhappy parents. Making memories as a family means you need to put a priority on keeping the family together more than just at dinner and breakfast. Try to stay together as much as you possibly can, it makes the trip more meaningful and promotes sibling bonding. 2. We try to hit a happy medium with interest levels Even if something may not interest a child, find a bit of history or an animal that may. For instance, we visit many historical sights because it interests me, my husband, and at least one or two of the children. Before we go, I will do a bit of research about a historical figurehead to tell to the kids as we go so that they can find it a bit more interesting. We have also made sure that if we pick an activity which is hard for one child, that we pick an evening activity/meal that appeals to their taste. For instance, ending the evening at the hotel pool after a hot hike may put a cool ending to a hard day for a child. 3. We make sure each child feels special no matter the venue When hiking, my hubby and I try to take a moment to walk individually with each child. When walking through the streets of a city, I try to walk and talk about the scenery with each child, when we went to a theme park I took a ride with one child while he waited in line with the others (I said we try not to separate but sometimes it is needed). Allowing each child individual time with each parent helps them to be heard, be seen, and feel appreciated. 4. We make sure everyone is well rested If we drive all night, we make sure everyone can sleep in. When we travelled out West, many days were 12 hour driving days (yep, my hubby is a beast!) so sleeping in the next day was a must in order to have happy kids and that goes for all ages; adults included! 5. Take the weather into consideration if you plan to be outdoors Since our most recent big trip was across the United States, I will use this trip as an example. The weather in the Western states was at its extreme during our time from June and into July. Because of this, forecasters suggested any outdoor activities be done from 6-9am or 3-9pm. Taking this into consideration, we chose to sleep each day, eat a large leisurely breakfast, leave at 12pm (yep, they were typically 3 hours away from our location) and do our National Park tours starting at 3pm in order to heed the heat warnings. Taking weather into consideration is important to your family's enjoyment unless you are participating in an indoor activity. 6. Pack snacks and water in your car or travelling packs Hungry children are ill children and this also accounts for adults so keeping something to nibble on while out and about is important for good attitudes and continued interest. 7. Plan for meals On the note of food, be prepared for meal times. Figure out if you should take packed lunches or if there will be available venues to eat from. This is especially important if you have a child with food allergies, a medical condition, or specific food preferences. We have been in a number of places in which there was not the ability to purchase cooked food. We planned in advance with packed lunches but have also stopped by grocery stores to purchase fresh fruit, crackers, and other instant edible items. 8. Make sure your family activity allows access to your age groups While I understand that families may need to separate for a moment or two due to a ride or activity; however, checking the website of your chosen activity for age appropriateness is advised. For example, horseback riding is typically a fun activity for all ages, requires a waiver, and allows for family bonding. For most places; however, children under certain age ranges are not allowed even with an accompanying parent. The same goes for white water rafting, canoeing, tubing, skiing, etc. These are considered unsafe activities for babies even if they are worn by a parent. Check websites and make a call if they are unclear. It is better to check than to be turned away once you arrive. 9. Allow your kids to look at your destination in advance and vote/discuss approved family options If your children are old enough, giving them a say in your activities can give them something to look forward to. Each year we take a trip to the same beach. On day one of the trip, we sit at the breakfast table and map our our week together. Our typical activities involve a biking day, beach days, participating in one of the local state park's activities, pool day, and shopping day. Each year is a bit different but every child gets a voice and at least one activity is planned for each interest and age. Mind you, the beach is an easy place to entertain everyone. 10. Make a souvenir/spending limit for each child Yeah, I know this sounds silly; but, if you go through a gift shop, walk through a tourist town, or attend an attraction, every child will get the "gimmies" at some point. Sellers know they can get you to spend more money by attracting your kids. In order to combat this, we incentivize our kids to think about what they want to purchase, if really need it, and how they will use said item. We incentivize by giving them a spending limit in advance or making them use their own money. Then, we stick with our decision. It can be hard for parents to limit their children because parents want their kids to have the best experience possible; however, more stuff does not equal a better event. The memories you make and the places you introduce to your children are what your kids will remember most. Do you have some key things you keep in mind when travelling with your kids? Do you have multiple age groups in your family? Drop me a comment on your life experiences with multiple age groups and don't forget to join the site! I would love to hear from you. And to give you a peak into some of our family fun, I have made the following video for you!
10 Ways to Vacation Easier with Multiple Age Groups content media
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Valerie Goebel
Jun 24, 2020
In General Discussion
The beginning of our family is not a common one. My relationship with my husband began in high school while he was a foreign exchange student and although our story is an amazing one to tell, I will have to leave the details for a later time. Our beginnings; however, did shape the decision to host a foreign exchange student later in our lives. We made the decision to host and become family to someone from a foreign country because we wanted to give a student the chance to experience what my husband was given many years before: a phenomenal year in the U.S.A. We made the decision to host early in our marriage; however, we decided to put off the process until our children were older so they could fully enjoy and experience getting to know a person at their age level. It was a goal we held to and saw come to realization 17 married years later. Our oldest was 14 years old and entering her sophomore year of high school the following year when we began reading profiles for students. Needless to say, it was an exciting time! But let's back up a moment...how did we get to the profiles, how did we really begin? Great questions! Two years before we began hosting, my husband began his research into hosting organizations. We were determined to find an organization that would be a dedicated advocate for both the host families and the students, have clear rules in place, and one that kept the safety and overall development of the students at upmost importance. These attributes started with the organization having a phenomenal online presence (i.e. website, social media, etc), great interactions with ambassadors and educational coordinators, and testimonials from students, host families, and parents. We looked into several organizations such as AFS, EF Exchange, International Student Exchange, and AYUSA. After careful searching, website scrolling, and calls, we decided to host through EF Exchange. One of the largest reasons why we chose this organization is because of one of the International Exchange Coordinators. His knowledge, attention to detail, and a large amount of resources for both students and families gave us peace of mind that the organization's dedication to the safety and welfare of students along with the compliance and peace within the host family was held to high standards. To start our process, we had an interview with, who would be, our future IEC (International Exchange Coordinator). We talked openly about our goals, hopes, and hesitations. We asked questions and became comfortable with the process of becoming a host family. Come to find out, it was quite simple. My husband and I (ok, more like just me) filled out a plethora of paperwork about our family and answered many important questions such as the names and ages of our children, what types of pets we had, what a typical day may look like in our family, the geography and population of our city, the school's name in which our student would potentially be attending, how many students attended the school, the chores we would expect of our student, ways we planned to handle conflict, allergies we may have, if we were religious and how many times we attended services, if we were open to LGBTQ persons, if we were open to other religions, and many more. The paperwork was simple because we know our family and open honest answers were all we were giving. It was exciting because we finished the paperwork with a letter to our potential student. Once we finished our paperwork, we had a house visit so that our IEC could evaluate our living situation and see where our student would stay. He took photos and we had a wonderful time chatting and drinking a glass of water together. Finally, we were allowed to look at student profiles online and were given a website that allowed for filtered searches including but not limited to gender, age, country, and half or full-year terms. We chose a girl, of European regions, and one who would be entering into her sophomore year. We also wanted to a full school term student. After viewing a few profiles, we narrowed our search down to two students. One student was a referral from our IEC and we found the other through the website. The decision was an easy one to make as we took into account all of our children's personalities and the type of city we live in. Our IEC's student recommendation originated from a large metropolitan city in Germany with easy access to public transportation, no siblings, and she was a vegetarian. Despite her charming personality, wonderful English, and great grades, we knew coming to an American home without public transportation to the big city, with four siblings, who eat a large amount of meat, and live in a very small city might be too much of a culture shock for her. Instead we went for a student who had common outdoor interests with our family, came from a small town so as to consider our city different but not too much a culture shock, and was hoping to have a family with animals. We were a perfect match! EF Exchange filed the necessary paperwork with the local school system and it all became a waiting game to see if the school would accept our student based on how many students had applied, what grade level, and what country. Each school system is different in their requirements such as how many foreign exchange students they will accept but others have further requirements such as ours which will not allow two students from the same country to be enrolled in the same grade level. If you have questions about local school requirements, contact your local Board of Education. Our Board of Education accepts students starting in February so once the acceptance was official we were told the match with our student was a success! Now we had to wait 2-3 days for the Exchange program to contact the student and give them the good news before we could contact them. It only took our student 24 hours to learn of our choice and she emailed us promptly. According to our student, having a family pick you is an amazing day unlike any other. You (as a student) fill out tons of paperwork and then wait to see if you are chosen. To find out you are wanted by another family based on your paperwork is an absolute dream come true. Our student's name is Lia, she is from Switzerland, and we spoke with her as soon as we could arrange a full family meeting which allowed for the time difference to not be a problem for both families. We met via the WhatsApp app and video chatted. We were able to give her a tour of our home, introduce her to our animals, and chat as much as strangers can. It was nice to be given time to get to know Lia as much as we could over messages and video calls before her arrival in July. It really broke the ice and allowed us to become a part of her life before we became her American family. The process to become a host family to a foreign exchange student is super easy and very rewarding if you diligently look for a child who will mesh well in your family. Hosting does not pay in monetary rewards but in lifelong relationship rewards and offers you a chance to learn about a new culture while sharing yours. Lastly, hosting a student fulfills a lifelong dream most of these students have had their entire lives. Take the time to consider if you would like to host a student, you will have a new son or daughter for a lifetime. Finally, if you have any questions about the process of hosting or any reservations you may have, feel free to leave a comment. Simply login as a member to leave a comment and subscribe to receive your free ebook from yours truly.
The Process of Hosting a Foreign Exchange Student content media
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Valerie Goebel
Mar 19, 2020
In Kids & Stages
Teenagers are fickle things dealing with raging hormones, changing bodies, and developing minds. Most of the time, they are unsure of what they want in life and stay in a constant state of unfulfilled wishes as they battle this uncertainty. Meanwhile, others know exactly what they want in life and are frustrated when they are unable to attain it due to age, maturity level, parental rules, and the like. All of these thought of "wants" and "desires" can be but are not always helpful or advantageous. What do we do when the attitude of a raging teenager strikes? The first thing and most important thing is to keep calm. Am I a perfect example of this? No, I cannot say I have always kept my calm; however, I can promise that the hearts and attitude of my children have not changed when I have acted out of emotion. In fact, it has instead, forced them on the defensive, frustrated them further, and validated the notion that I would not listen. When I have taken their attitude just as I would if I was listening to the local weatherman, sat them down, truly listened, and spoken with them, I can hear their heart and they can hear mine. The key thing is to listen. It is important that you seek to understand before seeking to be understood. Sometimes they listen to reason and sometimes they don't; however, keeping calm is the key to offering them the respect you expect in return. Proverbs 15:15 states: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Keep calm, and address your child with facts and not emotions unless it is to tell them how much you love them. Showing them unconditional love despite their poopy attitude will keep your relationship strong long after they move out because, no, they are not cute little kids stealing cookies out of the cookie jars. Instead, these cute kids turned into adult looking, loud mouthed, opinion speaking, independence seeking teenagers...which leads us to the second key element. To deal with a teenager's attitude, you need to have clear firm consistent guidelines and consequences. Hopefully, you began your parenting with clear guidelines and consequences when your child was little and followed through as they grew up because starting this process when they are teenagers is sure to be met with rebellion and frustration. Each family is different with their rules. In my family of seven, my children are required to help with household chores, call us while they are out to keep us up updated, always tell the truth, be kind to their siblings, and limit their screen time. To break these rules means our child will face consequences. For each family and for each child, consequences can be different. There is everything from extra chores, grounding, to loss of privileges. The most important thing; however, is to have your children's hearts. When they mess up, they need to have consistent consequences while also knowing they are loved. My kids know they are loved by me deeply. They do not always agree with my choices nor do they enjoy everything I ask them to do; however, they trust that I have their wellbeing in mind when they are asked to follow certain guidelines, expected to behave in a certain way, or fulfill a particular responsibility. When I am met with their obstinance, a conversation or family meeting is typically all we need to have. I allow them to vent their frustrations in a calm and respectful way just as they are expected to listen to me as well. Sometimes we find a resolution and sometimes they are still expected to comply with something they are not thrilled about. In the end; however, their knowledge of my love for them is what drives them to obey. I encourage you to pray through your journey of teenage hood. It is so rewarding to watch your child blossom from a helpless being to an independent contributor of society. It is equally as scary. Trusting God to take care of your child is crucial for your peace of mind and your relationship with Christ is vital for your relationship with your children. I heavily lean on my Savior as I parent. Who better to consult then the one who made them?! I would love to hear other pieces of advice you may have for raising teenagers and what to do when they have an attitude.. Simply login as a member to comment and subscribe here to get the latest updates and messages from yours truly! I look forward to reading your teenager advice! Happy parenting!
How Do You Deal With the Attitude of a Teenager? content media
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Valerie Goebel
Mar 19, 2020
In Kids & Stages
What different discipline did/do you use for a toddler who has frequent tantrums?
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Valerie Goebel
Jan 30, 2020
In Nutrition & Fitness
Let me just start by saying that I am not getting paid to write about my exercise regimen. This post is written to highlight a journey to health I daily walk through and highlights the programs and things I do within this journey. I am not the skinniest, healthiest, or fittest person out there. I absolutely love Krispie Kreme doughnuts, chocolate, and I am a self-proclaimed coffee snob (aka I like a little coffee with my creamer). I do; however, try to take care of my body in the time I have as a mom, wife, writer, and mini-farmer. I must keep in mind that my older kids are busy, my four year old does not like to ride in a stroller anymore, and my hubby is gone often so it makes life a bit tricky when I set out to exercise. When my kids were small, it was easy for me to set them up in a stroller with a snack, toy, or with a blanket (to sleep) and take off down my neighborhood road to get a run into my day. As the kids aged, it was more difficult and a bicycle was required to help them keep up. I am currently in a difficult stage where my kid does not sit in a stroller happily content and she doesn't ride her bike well enough to go with me. When these stages hit with each child, I had to find an alternative. Sure, I still found small spaces of time to run (these days it is with my big girls), but I needed something I could count on daily. Insert yoga! I fell in love with yoga since it greatly improved my mobility with back issues which steadily arose after 25 years in childcare. Before I found yoga, I tried many different high cardio workouts which were all the rage. These were not bad; however, they were not for me. I mean, who wants to vomit after completing an hour long video? Better yet, who has a full hour?! I certainly did not, and I found myself not exercising because I dreaded it. It was a sunny morning I was sitting in my rocking chair next to the window in my bedroom when I happened upon a yoga app called Asana Rebel. The app gave me 5 minutes of free yoga each day and it was here I felt my back and core muscles improve, my mind relax, and I felt energized (not like throwing up) after completing the routine. I began to search out other yoga providers which would allow me to stay within the walls of my home (I didn't want to pay for a gym membership or be at the mercy of a sitter). I found and tried several youtube videos when one particular couple grabbed my attention. Their names are Juliana and Mark. Unlike other yoga videos, this couple set up their videos to be visually attractive, personally engaging, and they invited others into their lives while they traveled, hiked, blogged, and journaled their journey. I cannot say that I agree with everything Mark and Juliana believe/do. In fact, I am not quite sure of all they believe; but, I do agree with their motto "Your decisions today define your tomorrow." I had this quote on my whiteboard at the church I worked as the Preschool Director. It was a quote I read every day as I stared at my to-do list and prioritized what should be completed. My decisions for my body today affect my health tomorrow. I know Juliana and Mark are advocates of whole-body health and promote a healthy diet and exercise as a combined effort to fuel your body. I can definitely get on board with these ideas because I believe them as well (cough, pardon me while I grab a doughnut after I eat my organic salad and homemade vinaigrette). The company/website I landed on when meeting Juliana and Mark is called Boho Beautiful. My daughter and I enjoy doing yoga, pilates, and workout videos together most mornings and I like to think I am instilling a healthy attitude and whole body wellness within my daughter when we do these videos together. After we finish the Boho Beautiful yoga video, my daughter almost always asks if we can watch one of Juliana and Mark's "What we eat in a day" video. After picking one and watching it, she typically picks one meal they made and asks if we can try it that day. Considering Mark and Juliana are vegan, the meals they make are always full of healthy ingredients that the girlie and I are more than happy to attempt with their easy to follow steps. Beyond my love of running, as I wrote earlier, I also enjoy running and walking; however, this is a trickier task with all the kids and is less scheduled. I can grab a run when we pile in the car as a family and trek to the nearby football field for all of us to run the track. The little girls (referred to as "the littles") typically romp through the football field, race, or ride their bikes while the big girls (referred to as "the bigs") run around the track, climb stadiums, and race each other. It is quite a fun time as a family. Other times I grab a run is when I can get out of the house while one of my bigs (aka the big girls) or my hubby is home to watch the littles. Sometimes I even take a big girl with me! Lastly, for fun and exercise, we hike as a family. This is not a weekly event; however, we try to get out at least once a month for a hike. In fact, we may even take bikes! It depends on the area we choose and the mood we are in. The entire family has a bike to use (including our foreign exchange student) and we have a wagon for those who are not quite as coordinated to keep up just yet. These hiking and biking trips are ALWAYS full of great memories. You can believe me when I say, your kids are not going to remember every movie or t.v. show they watch growing up; but, they will remember taking cool hiking trips. I can remember every hiking trip I ever took with my parents and grandparents growing up. The scenery was stunning and something fun or exciting always happened to solidify the memory into my brain. Getting out to enjoy the weather, take in God's goodness, and relishing one another's company laughing and talking is the absolute best. So, you've heard from me. Now it's your turn! How do you exercise? Does it include your family? How do you manage to squeeze it into your schedule? And while you are mulling these questions over, scooch on over to the subscription box here so that you can become more a part of Cobblestone Life. I want to read your comments, learn things from you, and answer questions. I can't wait to read how your exercise regimen is!
My Favorite Fitness and Exercise Regimen content media
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Valerie Goebel
Jan 12, 2020
In Parenting
Children are becoming more and more independent from figures of authority; however, most of the independence I see is leading to self-destruction in their future as students' inability to follow directions and guidelines translate into adult workplace nightmares, job loss, and safety hazards. As a parent, I have strived to raise my girls to be independent, self-motivated, decisive, respectful Women of God who are not swayed by common opinions but can create and formulate opinions of their own based upon God's Word. This is no easy task by any standards; however, a few of my ideas may help those who wish to do the same with their children. Here are a few- six to be exact- tips I have practiced as a parent: Allow Your Child to Choose an Action while explaining their Future Consequences: I have allowed my children to make decisions starting at a young age after explaining the consequences of these actions. Mind you, these were done with trivial non-life-threatening decisions. I have done this for choices that will have positive outcomes but also for negative outcomes. For example: I woke up to find the girls' room in complete hurricane mode. After making a pile of the items which needed to be cleaned up, I asked my two daughters to clean the pile. After 15 minutes, I walked downstairs to see one girlie particularly defiant and unwilling to comply with the task I requested. "Girlie," I explained in a calm voice. "I understand you don't want to clean the room; however, there are a lot of things Mommy doesn't want to do and, as a responsible person, I have to do them. I have asked you to clean up your pile. I'm fine if you don't clean up the pile; however, you are not allowed to leave the room until this room is clean. You cannot play. You cannot go outside. You cannot draw. It is up to you how long this will take." My daughter looked at me with the stubborn face of a set decision. "I don't want to clean the room." She calmly said. "Ok," I answered, "I guess you will be in here as long as you feel that way." It took my daughter 3 hours to clean up a small pile of items that day; however, I chose a parent and she chose a child. Her choice lost her three hours of playtime and the next time I asked her to clean her room, she complied. This will not work with everything we ask our children; however, it helps children to have a voice and a chance to see what positive and negative consequences will happen when they are openly allowed to make a choice. Allow your child to Help You Make Decisions (when appropriate): When we have a fun family outing day in which we did not have anything in particular to do, we allow our girls to have the choice of two different fun activities and then we all vote. It is fun to make a pro and con list with them, explore options and allow them to voice their opinions in family matters. You will show your child that you value their opinion and want to hear what they have to say. Additionally, you will be surprised at what kids find important or interesting to do. This simple act will, additionally, foster your child's deduction skills when making decisions for themselves later. Allow your kids to problem solve on their own This is tough in a world in which most parents want to make their children's lives easy nor will allow them to fail. Because I have allowed my children to problem solve from such an early age, they have become quite independent. I loved to watch when they were especially young and would attempt to accomplish something without help. For example, I watched from the table as my daughter pushed a stool to the counter to get a cup from the cabinet. When the stool was too short, she tried to climb. When climbing resulted in nothing, she pushed the bar stool up to the counter. She finally made it up to the counter to get a cup, set it down, slowly came down the barstool, grabbed the cup from the counter, and made herself a glass of water. The look on her face as she announced to me that she got a cup was priceless. I was so proud of her problem-solving skills and she was proud of her accomplishment. It boosted girlie's confidence and self-esteem which made a trivial task turn into a major milestone and motivation to find other things she could master. Just imagine if I had gotten the cup for her, it would have been faster but had no consequence to girlie's development. Allow Your Kid to Get Angry Anger is a normal emotion; however, it is how we address this emotion in which can lead to trouble. Allow your child to be angry but teach them how to voice their frustrations with respect both in action, tone, and demeanor. Not only will you be teaching your child how to respond to this normal human emotion, but your lesson also allows them to think rationally while doing so. This instruction has a lifelong benefit which will affect their ability to work with peers, employees, employers, and with their future spouse and children. Allow Your Child to Work out Social Problems For as long as I can remember, I have allowed my girls to work through social issues with coaching and as little intervention as I could. This began when my oldest was two years old and she had to share toys with her close friend "Why don't you take turns?" I would ask. My best friend and I would set a timer for children to learn to take turns with particular toys. It is a sweet memory to reminisce of. As my children went to school we would have conversations, to the side, about behaviors of other peers and how to respond when friends would say/do something. As the girls continued to grow it turned into "how to respond to text messages, how to respond to this boy, and how to stay out of girl drama." I have watched my children grow, learn, and develop over their years and have cherished how much they involve me in their social lives and ask for advice not because I am perfect; however, it is because they trust me. I have never bulldozed them by approaching one of their friends, and I have listened when my kid has said, "Mom, I can do this." I have always told them I would step in only if the situation warranted it due to safety. I don't remember a situation I ever had to do this with. Listen- God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason-Listen: Sometimes the things your kids will tell you are important. Sometimes the things your kids don't tell you are even more important. A mom's intuition is not to be tampered with. Truly, if you notice something is off with your kid, go with your gut. One example of this was the year my daughter was in first grade. She had always been happy with school; however, suddenly, she was more emotional, angry, short-tempered, weepy, and exhausted when she came home. I was listening and I was listening hard. She wasn't saying much about school or friends, but her emotions and actions weren't right. After a lot of probing, I finally figured out what was going on. Her regular teacher was on maternity leave and the substitute was less than loving. In fact, the substitute was making my normally happy child miserable. After contact with the school, a visit from the principal, and observations in the room, the situation was corrected. My daughter came home bubbly and full of stories about her day. Success! Listening to words and body language is more important than lectures on behaviors. In the end, we are not perfect parents. Only Jesus is the perfect Father to all. We are simply His servants raising His children under His guidance. I wish I had everything figured out, but then why would I need God? My every move is based on my reliance and guidance from Him. As a mom, God is truly my life preserver. So, whatever tips you read from up above, know that each one is bathed in prayer just as each moment with my children is bathed in prayer. My children are awesome, but it is all God. What tips can you share that you have helped you guide your child to more independence and self-motivation? What have you leaned on in your Cobblestone Life parenting? *Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a behavioral therapist. I am a licensed teacher and mother of four children. The information given below is strictly my own opinions and life experiences. If you have questions and concerns about your child, you should address these with your child's pediatric doctor.
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Valerie Goebel
Jan 11, 2020
In Love & Marriage
My husband and I were married on a rainy hot day in mid July. Our engagement had been long by many peoples standards, two years to be precise. Our long engagement; however, made way for many things to be discussed before the vows were ever spoken over our happily ever after. One of the important topics we discussed were boundaries we wished to set in order to protect our marriage. The statistics for marital divorce, during that time, were high and we were determined not to be a part of the percentage. Our plan: save our marriage before it began. Although time with one another in marriage helped to expand, define, and erase some of our initial boundaries, the topic of boundaries was one of the most important things we spoke of during our long engagement. These "rules" were not set to control, limit, manipulate, or create hostility. Perimeters were instituted so that we could protect our marriage. One thing we never pretended to be immune to was the big "D" word. Divorce. And so, our first rule set up was that the "D" word was never to be used to manipulate, threaten, or be used when it came to our marriage. This was not because we were immune, however, it was a rule we created because no matter what, this was not an option. And so, our rules were created. Here are some boundaries we created to safe-guard our marriage: 1. The "D" Word (Divorce) is not to be mentioned in reference to our marriage: There are always options and this word should never be used to manipulate or threaten the other. If we safe guard our marriage and keep it strong, this word should never need to be used. 2. We will not ride alone with anyone of the opposite sex unless it is family: This doesn't just safeguard our marriage but also each individual. 3. We will tell each other about all individuals we work with: There are no hidden men or women in our lives. We tell one another about our days each day and openly converse about the individuals we work with or talk to. 4. We do not go out or meet with individuals of the opposite gender alone: I understand work may sometimes require lunch dates with someone (of an opposite gender) from a different company; however, we have always been able to bring along another co-worker for these meetings. 5. We communicate communicate communicate! Talking with one another about our days, our hopes, our dreams, our failures, our worries, our struggles is part of the process and must be discussed. 6. We communicate if our "love tank" is low: Think of a gas tank on your vehicle. When the gas is low, the light comes on. The same is true for us. If we are feeling less than loved, we let our spouse know our feelings. 7. We are open about our attractions: If we are around someone who attracts us, we let our spouse know and make sure to engage as necessary but to be aware, set boundaries, and not to engage more than necessary. We know we can both fulfill this particular boundary because the other spouse is approachable. Our spouses are to be our accountability, not jealously judgmental. My husband and I are very careful to be thankful for each others' honesty rather than make the issue about ourselves. We are careful to be open, non judgmental, and approachable. 8. We have frequent sex and let our partner know if we need it: I know, I know! This is a taboo subject for many; however, my husband and I are very open to let people know: You are the only righteous outlet for your spouse! If your spouse is in need of sex, don't leave them "hangry!" This can create unhealthy lifestyles in which your spouse turns to such as pornography, infidelity, and lust. Just don't go there! 9. Allowing our spouse to participate in activities with friends: Sometimes a guy needs to be a "guy" and a girl need to be a "girl." We allow each other to go our with our individual friends when it is needed/offered. We don't do this frequently; however, it is important. Family time comes first, and we put this as our top priority. 10. We serve others together: Get involved in something outside of yourselves. Help others in need, volunteer together, make memories. These activities will not only help those who your are serving, they will grow you and your spouse in your marriage. 11. We share household chores and burdens together: no one individual needs to feel like the household is "on" them all the time. For Example: My husband washes dishes and folds laundry with me. I mow the lawn and take the trash out. We work together. 12. We parent together: My husband and I present a united front with the kids and talk about disagreements in parenting later. We are always a team. There is never a "Mom vs Dad" war when it comes to parenting and the kids know that. Also, we do not use the phrase, "Wait until your (insert parent), comes home." or "Your (insert parent) is going to punish you when he/she gets home." 13. We have full access to each other's accounts and devices at all times: This rule is not because we don't trust each other but because we *do*! This includes passwords, finances, subscriptions, emails, phones, computers, etc. EVERYTHING! The cool thing about boundaries within marriage is they are always adaptable to you and your spouse. These boundaries are healthy and work for my husband and I. You may take these and tweak, copy, omit, or change some; however, the important thing is to talk about these with your spouse. It will not only strengthen your marriage, but will allow you both to be confident of the protection and clarity you have surrounded your marriage with. What are some healthy boundaries you and your spouse instituted within your marriage to protect and strengthen it? If you are not married, what are some you would like to see? If you and your spouse had hard lessons learned within your marriage, what are some you did not think you needed to institute and did? Feel free to share below! We would love to read your comments!
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Valerie Goebel
Nov 21, 2019
In Life & Career
Ha! Where did this phrase come from? Work-Life Balance was a phrase coined in the 1970's-1980s and everyone from mothers, fathers, singles, and couples have been trying to chase it ever since. As women, we struggle with the myth of work/life balance. We chase after something we hear and think we see we can attain. Do not be fooled. There is never a balance. Each day brings it's own set of challenges and due to this, there will always be something which needs to take priority in each moment. Imagine yourself with two, three, maybe four children. On any given day, can you imagine that you give each child the exact amount of time than the others? No! Why not? Because each child has different needs on each day. Imagine child #1 has no homework, child #2 needs help studying for a test, child #3 is playing contentedly, while child #4 needs to be nursed. It is easy to look at the situation and say, "Ok, Child #2, grab your study sheet and meet me at the couch so that we can go over the material while I nurse Child #4." Each child requires a different amount of time each day just as your job, time with family, and social life requires different amounts of time. For some, this may be labeled as a "juggling act" but as Mercy Lokulutu spoke about in the Propel Leadership Series headed up by Christine Caine, juggling is something that requires coordination. There is no way I want to be juggling my children, husband, work, friends, etc. Instead, Mercy says she prefers to call it "cradling." Instead of believing a myth of work-life balance, we should determine to, instead, choose priorities in our life that we will focus on. Too many priorities and we are in danger of definitely "dropping" stuff (we definitely do not want it to be family). Pick three things to cradle and embrace these things when it is appropriate. It does not mean that when we go to work, we stop being mothers or wives. Instead, we need to embrace it all and pray to God as to what we need to prioritize each week, each day, each moment, in order to finish our days well and strong within His will. Give us some of your tips as to how you embrace your life with your family and other responsibilities.
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Valerie Goebel
Nov 18, 2019
In Nutrition & Fitness
Self care can be a phrase/word/idea that many people do not understand the definition of, much less participate in. According to the Oxford Dictionary "Self Care" is defined as: the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. The act of taking an active roll in your mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health is one neglected and misdefined by adults who interact in this rat race of a generation we live in. Our culture tells us we are not successful unless our schedules are so full we forget to take time for a meal. Society labels you as "lazy" if you take the time to nap. And, how dare you get a full night's sleep. No, the trend is to brag about how few hours of sleep one is operating on. You've seen the episode of Myth Busters where they compare an intoxicated driver with a sleep deprived driver, right? If you haven't, you should. It is very eye opening. One fact that we must attend to is that self care is an act that replenishes you rather than depletes you. Replenish. That is a word we know, right? We replenish the gas in our car, the shampoo in our shower, the food in the cat's bowl. But how many of us use this word in relation to ourselves? Replenish is a word which means to "restore to a former condition." So, in order to provide yourself with self care, you would need to restore yourself to a previous condition. Let's explore this idea for a moment. When someone decides to restore something which has been left in neglect, it is an intentional act. This could be a restoration process of a car, a house, a yard, a dresser. All of these items would require one to intentionally look at the product, assess the damage, and make decisions and purchases based upon the evaluation done in order to bring the item back to it's former glory. If we, as creative individuals, will do that for an inanimate object, how much more should we do that for humans? For ourselves? Self care is an intentional practice of assessing what we have depleted from ourselves and replenishing, restoring, and reviving that area. It is taking an active roll in our own personal lives. Cars don't happen to restore themselves just as renovations don't just happen to a neglected home. Why do we think this will happen to us? Assess yourself. What do you need? Think about yourself in compartments, first. You have four key areas to look at: Emotional, Physical, Mental, and Spiritual health. These are all important areas to keep healthy. Just as a gas tank on a car needs to stay filled in order to run, we also must keep all these areas filled. You cannot expect to give at work, school, home, family, kids, friends without taking the time to replenish. We, as a society, are depleted. It is time we take an honest look at our lives and learn to evaluate before we begin to run on empty. An empty tank is not helpful to those around us; in fact, an empty tank begins to pull from the other tanks around it. How so, you ask? Well, just try to talk to a person who needs a bit of self care. Are they life giving in their conversation? Chances are, the depleted person is exuding an short temper, an angry demeanor, and an easily frustrated state of mind. Let's add complaining, self-pitying, and emotional to that list of adjectives. Wow! This doesn't sound like a life giving person to me! So let's look at your compartments again, how are they looking? Are you spiritually drained? You need to pray. Are you physically depleted? You may need a nap. Are you emotionally strained? A run may help to relieve stress or maybe a yoga class. Are you mentally zapped? Think about catching a movie or cup of coffee. Notice these things do not require you to do something for someone else. Again, the activity you participate in needs to replenish rather than drain you. This can mean you say "no" to a few things. It can mean you say "no" to hanging out with friends, "no" to answering texts during a meal, "no" to emails while sitting on toilet (admit it, we've all done it). For every "yes" you say, you have said "no" to something else. Conversely, the opposite is true. For every "no" you say, you have said "yes" to something else. Let's look at some examples of this in action. Ex 1. You say "no" to answering a text at dinner so you said "yes" to listening to your spouse's day. Ex 2. You said "yes" to an extra spreadsheet at work so you said "no" to sit down dinner at home and grab a hamburger on your way home late. Self care is intentional, prioritized, and thought through. It is saying "no" to some things in life (like the extra cookie) and saying "yes" to others (green tea, why yes!). It is taking time to evaluate yourself so that you can positively effect those around you rather than being a drain. Self care is an essential part of your well being so let's take the time to practice it consistently. How do you care for yourself? Give us examples of how you prioritize your life to self care? Maybe you currently neglect yourself but have an idea of how to better prioritize. Tell us about it. Oh, and grab a cup of coffee while you do it.
Self-Care? What is it? Why is it Important? content media
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Valerie Goebel
Oct 24, 2019
In Love & Marriage
While the old 1980's adage, "More than 50% of marriages end in divorce" does not necessarily hold true any longer, the importance of date night is still pertinent to a healthy relationship. Husbands and wives come together every evening to run through their day, bathe children, eat dinner, and hit the sack (aka the bed). Even if children are not involved, most couples are so tired by the time they come home the most intimate part of their conversation past a reply to "How was your day?" is a "good night" after brushing their teeth (or did we do that?). What happened to the romance? Where did the butterflies go? (Apparently, they migrated.) One of the most crucial parts of marriage is being the person your spouse married. Sure, we all change and mature over time; however, the person your spouse was attracted to is not the tired "Grey's Anatamy" watching woman huddled in the corner of the couch sipping tea nor is it the sprawled out zoned out man staring at the latest game. The person your spouse married was attractive in conversation, demeanor, and physical appearance. How do we get that back? Step away. Was that an incomplete sentence I just typed? No, it was an answer, a demand, heck, if you live in the south and need a more hospitable approach; a "strong suggestion." But, really, with all the tech we have in our society today we are infinitely reachable between text messages, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Marco polo, WhatsApp, Skype, Remind, Bloom, and a whole host of other apps we may not have downloaded (yet) on our portable devices. Additionally, we carry so much responsibility it is almost impossible for most of us to look away (yes, I'm preaching to the choir). The answer to the problem is to step away. If I am at home, I cannot look past the dishes needing to be cleared/washed/put away, the porch that could use a broom, the paperwork my children need me to sign, spilled jam on the table, dirty rag on the sink, shoes shoved into the corner, dog water that needs a refresh, check to be written, cat to be let out, lawn mowed, laundry washed/dried/folded, etc etc etc. You know the drill. The beauty of stepping away is that you remove yourself so completely that you cannot complete a task, answer an email, or connect with anything other than God and your spouse. How do we do this? The first question is whether you want to spend money or not. There are a plethora of ways to step away which can be, both, free or require payment. Here are a few: Free: Fee: - Take a Walk - Eat out at a restaurant - Eat a Picnic - Catch a Movie - Play a game - Go Bowling - Read to one another - Go Dancing - Cook together - Travel - Take a Hike - Attend a sporting event The next question to answer is "Why do we need to do this?" The answer can be spelled out in so many ways but the best way to sum them up is to tell you: It Is Healthy. When you spend intentional time connecting with your spouse without distraction you are building trust, communication, connection, perseverance, understanding, and intimacy. You are setting an example for your kids and others around you to say, "My marriage is worth it." Not only that, but your spouse feels worth it. A date gives you time to destress, listen to your spouse, participate in a bonding activity, communicate on deeper levels about feelings/worries/celebrations, help you to understand him/her on current topics, and develops a couple's perseverance to make their marriage work. Your spouse gets to see the man or woman they married apart from distractions! Does anyone put time into something they plan to throw away? The answer is no. Anything worth keeping is worth investing in, and your spouse is definitely at the top of that list. How do you date your spouse? What tactics do you use to step away even when you are home? How can you better work to make dates a priority?
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Valerie Goebel
Oct 24, 2019
In Kids & Stages
Is this really a topic for kids or is it for all mankind? Really, sharing is a daily battle we all fight. I know as a mom I struggle with sharing the last piece of chocolate with my kids; yet, this is something I expect them to do. If we, as adults, have a hard time sharing, how can we expect our kids? The answer begins with us. In order to teach our children about sharing, we must lead by example. I must say, it is not easy as a mother of four girls who is asked to share my shoes with a child who may scuff them; however, I share with strict rules (hey, no judgement! Those shoes were 80$!). I try to lead by example and though I am not always perfect, it gives me an example to use when my children argue as to why they shouldn't need to share. You know the prime reason they need to share? Because God commands it. Proverbs 3:27 "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." 2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. The best way my husband have taught our children to share is to not make it optional. More than 2000 verses refer to money, wealth, and contentment in the Bible. Ultimately, we do not own anything we have, God does. Therefore, we remind our children who the true possessor is and how He has allowed us to temporarily have control over all our things whether it be money, food, or possessions. How do you teach this to toddlers and preschoolers? Well, sharing isn't really sharing when it is forced; therefore, we used the strategy of "taking turns." Additionally, children (like adults) are not able to put something down when immediately asked. Even as adults, it takes us a moment to put aside something we are currently working on. Children are even more fix minded. Time is something children struggle to comprehend; therefore, we combined the two difficult mindsets--time and turn taking-- into one lesson. For example: When there was a need for a child (#1) to "take a turn," we coached the child (#2) who wanted the turn to ask, "May I have a turn in 2 minutes?" This gave the child (#1) holding the item a chance to finish playing before giving the item up. I have used this tactic in both professional and personal environments with much success. Within our personal household, all toys and bedroom supplies are shared between the sisters; however, each child has their own "special place" aka a shelf. On this shelf, our children were able to store very personal belongings in which the other siblings had to request use of; such as necklaces, special toys, notes, money, or pencils/pens. This "special place" gave my children the opportunity to have something personal in which they were in control of "sharing" without Mom and Dad insisting on turn taking. My older girls have learned to share shoes, clothes, books, jewelry, and makeup among other things; but, always with rules. Examples of their rules are: 1. If you want to borrow an item, you must ask. 2. The person borrowing the item must return it to it's rightful place. 3. If you break it, you replace it. We agree with rules because it creates a sense of responsibility and encourages the girls to respect one another's items without entitlement. We've had many occasions in which we must revisit the Word of God as it applies to our possessions; however, this is a lesson we all, not just my children, revisit. Our possessions our not our own; rather, they are all to be used to glorify God.
Teach your kids about sharing content media
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Valerie Goebel
Oct 24, 2019
In Kids & Stages
The answer to this question is dependent upon so many unchangeable factors such as your older child's age and big brother/sister's personality. However, equally dependent is what type of preparation you have done leading up to the arrival of your little one. *Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or specialist in any way. I am a licensed teacher and mom of four who is writing about views and experiences all my own. If you are experiencing significant problems, contact your doctor for more advice. The preparation my husband and I choreographed for our first, second, and third child was both intentional and timely. The mindset we instilled was based around how this new sibling was equally "their" baby just as much as Mommy and Daddy's baby. It was important to develop this attitude in order to instill a sense of leadership rather than replacement inside our older children's minds. Many discussions were had which centered around the helplessness of baby and the importance of how baby cannot feed, change, wipe, clothe, or do anything by themselves. We spoke of the job God had bestowed upon us when He entrusted us with one of His new creations. We spoke of the importance of this privilege. We were baby's teachers, family unit, supporters, and caregivers until they can one day take care of themselves. This wasn't just my job or Daddy's job--it is and was everyone's job. I remember the transition I, myself, had with the birth of my baby brother. It had been a long hot summer for my mother, and my brother did not make his arrival until the end of August. I knew I was going to be a sister but was not prepared for the changes which were to take place in order for that role to be assumed. My mother and father left late one evening, and I awoke to my grandmother in the house. I did not know her very well, she was different, and I didn't appreciate her arrival and absence of my parents. I missed my mom and did not understand why she had left me behind. It wasn't until the second day after my brother's arrival I was allowed to visit with my mom and see him. Brother's bassinet was pointed out by my parents as I stared through the glass wall separating us from the hospital nursery. I saw my mother for a brief time and then returned home. After three (total) agonizing days, she returned with a bundle of wailing limbs who took so much of her time I immediately wanted to send him back. Looking back, I felt replaced. To my parent's defense, they did not know about the intense emotions and internal turmoil a small preschooler could have over a new addition to the family. My brother's arrival and consistent illnesses created a gulf in our relationship which did not begin to close until my 14th year. When I revisit these memories, I am filled with grief for both myself and him. His relationship with me was tainted before we had the chance to meet. I vowed to do things different for my children; not because I am better than my parents, but because I KNOW better through my own experiences and remorse. My pregnancies were shared by all members of our family. Sure, I was mom; but I was also the vessel used to bring the new member into our family. This was everyone's baby and we all had a part to play in order to influence their life. So, all ultrasound visits were attended by everyone, doctor's appointments were filled with questions from both mom and siblings, the bedroom was decorated with everyone's help, and the siblings bought gifts for baby while baby (ahem, mom and dad) secretly bought gifts for them too. Birth was no different. Everything was appropriately communicated upon the need to go to the hospital and siblings came as soon as baby was close to arriving. Everyone sat in the waiting room eagerly awaiting their first glimpse of baby. Special arrangements were made with hospital staff for the siblings to help with the baby's first bath and my oldest was even old enough to watch the birth of her last baby sister and cut the cord! Although we still had our ups and downs as a family, because our children understood they were not being replaced; rather, they were being promoted, our transitions were pretty smooth. Including the new siblings continued at home as we read stories while I nursed baby, baths were still assisted with, diapers were changed (tediously) with the help of big sisters, and so much more. If there was any way to include a sibling, we tried. Siblings need to know they are not pushed aside, but they are promoted, appreciated, and a definitive part of helping this new little one navigate the world. Every child reacts to a new family member differently, whether it is a brother/sister or a new aunt or uncle. Transitions are hard. There are ways to ease transitions and the best way is through communication and love. There are so many ways to be inclusive in this process. Share with us some ways you, yourself, were able to ease the transition of a new sibling.
How long do older siblings take to adapt to their new sibling? content media
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Valerie Goebel
Oct 24, 2019
In Parenting
Making your own baby food is really trial an error mainly because you must take into account your child's taste buds, age, and the texture your choice of food produces once ground. * Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist. I am a licensed teacher and mother of four children. The information given below is strictly my own opinions and life experiences. If you have questions and concerns about your child, you should address these with your child's pediatric doctor. There are a variety of fruits and veggies just waiting to be ground; however, you can't get started without a grinder, blender, food processor, baby food maker. Lets start our conversation from here. I cannot advocate for any particular machine which makes baby food mainly because I have tried many different types through my years of raising my four girls and all of them did the same thing: grind/puree food. My first baby food processor was a cheap 10$ Parent's Choice mini blender. It did the job quite well; however, the cup was small and only made 1-2 jars. By the time I had my second and third child, I was a pro and made large batches of baby food so I resorted for a blender from my local super market put on "puree" mode . It worked, and I never had a problem. I would freeze the small portions in ice cube trays for a couple of hours and pop the cubes into a labeled (with name of food and date made) freezer bag. By the time I had my fourth little girl, my sister-in-law had been gifted the latest 100$+ machine that came with silicone molds, plastic freezer jars complete with screw on lids, freezer jar holders, and a book of recipes. I used the contraption basically because it was the "latest and greatest;" however, I found myself resorting to my old blender. The fancy contraption still did not make as much baby food as I wanted. Additionally, thawing the food in the plastic jars took forever and was a headache all in itself. Don't get me wrong, I was super thankful for my SIL's kindness; however, I just wanted something to pulverize my kid's food. It didn't need to be a fancy color, have a fancy book, or be sold at the latest baby store. My solid opinion is to invest in a good blender. As my children have aged, baby food has turned into healthy breakfast and snack smoothies that the baby blender could not have made enough to feed them with. I will admit that I went back to my old Parent's Choice baby food processor to bake and cook with. It was a great little gadget to have for many years and served me well. When my oldest turned 14 years old, it decided to die. My $10 had been spent well. Moving on to food. I tried to make several different types of food for my children. We always started with vegetables. I had learned from many parents the difficulty of first trying fruits for your baby only to have them avoid the more bitter taste of veggies. When starting our children on food, we were strategic to begin with a vegetable which would digest easily on their stomach. Our first choice: butternut squash. Not only is this veggie easy to process, but it is relatively cheap, has a bit of a sweet taste, and was readily accepted by all my children. Other fruits and veggies we tried with ease included: * apples * sweet potatoes * pears * rice and oatmeal (not a fruit or veggie, I know) * strawberries * avocado * bananas * tomatoes * peaches * broccoli * blueberries * zucchini * apricots * carrots * beets * spinach Foods we tried and failed to puree properly included: * Peas- the hulls never really pureed properly * Green beans- the strings never pureed properly * Blackberries- the seeds wouldn't puree * Bananas- turned brown without lemon * Corn- the hulls were impossible to grind * Any type of meat Although I really to make a lot of our own baby food because it saved money and gave me peace of mind as to how my children's food was processed, I also knew my own limits. I tried many foods; however, some were just easier to buy than to make. Others had textures my children would gag or choke on (i.e. corn, peas, green beans) and purchasing a trusted organic baby food was easier and much more palatable to my children. I cooked each of these foods separately in order to test for food allergies; however, I had a lot of fun with mixing foods to give my girls new tastes. For example: Strawberries and bananas were great together as was avocados and rice or spinach and rice. It was strangely satisfying to mix foods for my kids and every food they ever ate was pre-tasted by me...even the store bought baby food. If the food wasn't palatable to my taste buds (and I'm not a picky eater), then it wasn't served to my children. Keep in mind, that did not mean they didn't eat peas. I would try 2-3 different brands of pea baby foods before I made my choice of the better taste and quality food. Yeah, I know, I was THAT mom. In the end, I would use my blender/baby food processor and add small cooked pieces with distilled water and grind the food to the desired consistency my girls were developmentally ready to eat. Of course they started out with watery soup-like textured food (i.e. it uses more water to make this); however, it finally progressed to thick potato-like consistency (less water to make) and then to small pieces. We practiced baby-led weaning in our home and no meat was ever served until they were able to self feed small pieces because store bought meat is gross and our organic chicken was impossible to grind. We must all keep in mind that babies are born with the ability to live off of their mother's breast milk exclusively for the first year; therefore, my children were not lacking in protein or any nutrition vitamins since they were still drinking breast milk. Even if you feed your little one pediatrician recommended formula, the same rings true. Formula is formulated to meet all the nutritional needs of your child for the first year. Don't worry if your child does not prefer some foods. It typically takes 7 tries of a new food for a baby to develop the taste buds to enjoy it. If your child doesn't like a new food, keep trying! Every child and their taste buds will be different. The important thing is to break out of your own tastes and allow your child to eat foods you may not even prefer. Your child may grow up to eat foods you detest; however, you will never know if you don't train them to try new foods. Sometimes the only way to allow your child to try unique foods is to make your own. The stores only carry baby foods that are more popularly sold which means beets, broccoli, and avocado will be hard to find. Let us know some other unique mixtures you may have tried or other tactics you have learned which made feeding your little one easier.
How do you make your own baby food? content media
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Valerie Goebel
Oct 24, 2019
In General Discussion
Asking someone how they relax is like asking someone what their favorite dessert is. There are multiples ways for people to relax but what is your definition of relaxation? Is it hanging out with friends for a evening out? Would you rather be alone and isolated from the world for a bit. Many of these answers depends on the environment you live, career you have chosen, type of personality you boast, and people who make up your world. Relaxation is a matter of personal choice; however, here are a few options you may find appealing... Top 10 For the Need to Be Isolated Individual: 1. Pray There is no better way to relax then to start a dialogue with the Lord about life. 2. Take a bath Soothing music, bubbles, Epsom salts, candles, and/or a magazine can add to your down time unless you prefer to meditate in solitude. 3. Go for a Run, Walk, or Stroll Sometimes the only way to get away is to, literally, run or walk away! Leave your responsibilities to someone else and get away. 4. Take a Nap What better way to get away from everything than to turn your brain and body off for some much needed rest. 5. Eat Step away from the people/responsibilities you are intertwined with to feed yourself. Nutritional snacks/sustenance combined with isolation is sure to energize your body. 6. Read Immersing yourself into another world is a great way to step away. 7. Meditate Close your eyes and concentrate on your inner self. Shut down your mind to all around you and breathe deeply. 8. Practice Yoga The deep stretches and breathing are great to awaken your body while renewing your mind. 9. Get a Massage Deep tissue massage is shown to have multiple affirmative health benefits including but not limited to the muscles, mind, and organs. 10. Drink a cup of tea/coffee Just as heat relaxes muscles, heat can also relax the mind. This can be done alone or with friends. Top 10 for the Extroverted Social 1. Grab Dinner with Friends Going out to eat to unwind with close friends is sure to take your mind away from immediate demands. 2. Go Dancing The rhythm of movement combined with the pleasure of a partner is sure to make you smile. 3. Watch a Movie This one can be done alone or with friends but watching movies is always better with someone to bounce your thoughts off of. 4. Take a class Whether is a sport, spin class, sewing, knitting, painting, etc. Meeting up with individuals with similar interests is always fun! 5. Go on an adventure! Spelunking, hiking, rock climbing, and rappelling are all sports one can do alone; however it is not recommended due to safety reasons. Take a friend and have fun! 6. Volunteer for an Animal Shelter This may not be human interaction, but it is interaction with an animal who very much needs some loving attention. 7. Start a Project Design a new room for your home, make a new craft, and consult others as you progress or invite them to join you. 8. Volunteer Yes, I know I already mentioned volunteer work but this time I mean for humans. Many organizations can use help such as your local library, the senior citizen center, local schools, hospitals, and other organizations and non-profit groups. 9. Talk to a friend Yes, I mean talk. Not text messaging or emailing. Meet a friend in person or simply make a phone call. Human interaction is priceless. 10. Start a Group Earlier I wrote "take a class." This is not the same because in this category, you are the one to lead the group. Find a particular interest that helps you relax and create a group. Maybe you like to walk dogs, garden, or read. Start a group that enjoys the same activities you do. Learning to relax is really based upon learning what works for you. What do you do to relax? Is what you do based upon your personality (introverted vs extroverted) or upon your life circumstances?
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Valerie Goebel

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