Setting Expectations for Your Kids

Setting reasonable expectations for my kids and navigating this new parent “epiphany” is something that I will have to practice every day. But it is so worth it.

Do we have reasonable expectations for our kids?

As a parent to young children, doing things together like sitting in a restaurant can be nerve-wracking and unpredictable. If you are anything like me, you stick to the old faithfuls, the loud and slightly overcrowded ones (so that your kids add to the noise, rather than having them ‘be’ the noise).

People-watching is commonplace for me there. I look around at the families, unconsciously examining their table manners, complimenting their kids and feeling guilt-filled relief when someone is having a harder time than me. Let’s be clear about one thing here – the judgments I’m making in these moments, are of myself and the expectations I’ve set for my kids.

Do we have reasonable expectations?

We’ve all seen the families with the “perfect” kids, where no one ends up under the table, they’re eating with their fork and saving half of their chocolate milk for after they eat.

If that is you and your kids, kudos. But that’s not me and mine. And for the longest time, it left me with thoughts like, “why can’t you do that?”

“Why won’t you listen the first time?”

“When I was your age, I had 10 times the responsibility that you do.”

“Can you stop that?”

These sound worse when you lump them together. I don’t say them one after another like this, and most often they remain thoughts in my head. But I am guilty of pulling one out in a moment of frustration.

Reasonable wouldn’t be the way I would describe these. These remarks break onto the surface when I am in an entirely UNreasonable state of mind.

In setting expectations, keep this in mind. You know your child. But, do you know where they are at and what they can do?

So, what’s reasonable? After welcoming twins, our family count went from the “perfect” family of four to a slightly-oversized family of six and I realized something (so simple) that changed my approach to parenting –

Our children are truly one-of-a-kind.

Maybe that’s something you’ve heard before. But now, for me, this ideal has been highlighted over and over again. I hadn’t anticipated that I would need to parent each of my children a little differently.

In setting expectations, keep this in mind. You know your child. But, do you know where they are at and what they can do? Figure out how to meet them where they are, and create an achievable “next step” for them to strive towards.

Setting reasonable expectations for my kids and navigating this new parent "epiphany" is something that I will have to practice every day. But it is so worth it.

Our kids ultimately want to make us proud and the pressure they feel to succeed is real. Know any adults that reflect on their childhood with, “nothing I did was ever good enough for my parents”? If our expectations are met with feelings of frustration or anxiety- on our part or theirs, consider adjusting the expectation next time, even if only slightly.

We can’t change overnight.

Be patient with yourself. Recently, I kept noticing my son and I continually butting-heads. It wasn’t until we were visiting some friends, that they noticed, “wow, where did the sarcastic humour come from?” I had no idea. All this time, he had been trying to make me laugh and I had been missing it, correcting his behaviour – no wonder we weren’t getting along.

Setting reasonable expectations for my kids and navigating this new parent “epiphany” is something that I will have to practice every day. But it is so worth it. Becoming more than “maintaining our image” in a restaurant, we are teaching our kids how to set realistic goals for themselves, start to understand their capacity and ultimately learn to help themselves find success, however that may look to them.

No pressure.

Lindsay Fricker is a mom of four – two plus twins. Kindergarten teacher by day, Lindsay enjoys helping others find ways to navigate the ugly parts of parenting, while keeping their sanity and positively supporting their children. You can read more from Lindsay here or follow her on Instagram @serendipity.six.

How To Up Your Toddlers Daily Fruit & Veg

It’s the eternal struggle of parenthood; how to get your kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables. 

Willow hasn’t been a particularly picky eater. As an infant, she would devour whole avocados, eat cucumber sticks and happily gobble down broccoli. But as she’s gotten older, and is learning to think for herself, she sometimes refuses point blank to eat what we put down in front of her. 

Meal times have become a complicated dance of bargaining and trying to convince her how yummy her food is by eating some myself, which usually backfires as she starts to feed me instead.

She is hard to convince sometimes, so there have been many days she misses out on some aspect of her meal. 

I know lots of kids, especially toddlers, can go through this phase and thought I’d share two fruit smoothie recipes I like to use to sneak more fruit and veggies into Willow on days when her eating is erratic. 

These recipes make roughly one glass, and can easily be split into two servings for little ones. They are such a great snack or drink to accompany breakfast. It’s also a nice way to include toddlers in the kitchen as it’s easy to measure out ingredients and let them tip fruit into the blender. Willow absolutely loves doing this and takes her smoothie making duties very seriously.

pineapple strawberry slushy smoothie recipe
Each smoothie packs an impressive amount of greens & fruit

Pineapple Strawberry Slushy Smoothie

1 cup water

1 cup spinach/kale

1 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

green pineapple mango smoothie recipe
Our go-to green smoothie receipe is smooth, sweet & delicious

Green Pineapple Mango Smoothie

1 cup water

1 cup spinach/kale

1 cup fresh (or thawed) pineapple

1/2 cup frozen mango

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

1 tbsp chia seeds

  1. Blend water and greens first until you have a green juice and there are no large chunks of spinach/kale left. 
  2. Add in your fruit, ground flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
  3. Blend and enjoy! 

These recipes are two of our quick and easy go to smoothies, but the fruit combinations are endless. We’ve had days of greens, strawberry and blueberry smoothies, greens, mango, banana and strawberry smoothies…

Whatever you decide to add into your smoothies, I recommend keeping the frozen fruit to 1.5 cups. Any more and it’ll be too thick to blend. However if you’re using some fresh fruit or thawed frozen fruit, then you can play about with the ratios of water to fruit to see how you like it. 

Blending greens with fruits make a delicious smoothie any picky eating toddler will love.
Willow has always enjoyed her regular smoothies, here pictured devouring one at 18 months old

As you can see I’ve used frozen pineapple for one recipe, and fresh for the other. Using frozen pineapple or fresh (or thawed) pineapple will change the texture of the smoothie. If you want a more frozen “slushy” texture, then keep it frozen. Want something a little thinner and more like a thick juice? Then opt for fresh pineapple, or simply pop a bowl of your frozen pineapple in the microwave to thaw it out before adding.

Pineapple is a great fruit to use as it’s so sweet and can make the smoothie taste more like a treat than a healthy glass of spinach for those skeptical toddlers. It also creates a nice thick foundation to add more fruit to, and I like to use it as my main fruit in smoothies.

Whether you have a picky eater, or simply want to up your kids fruit and veg intake, a smoothie is easy to make, affordable, nutritious and delicious!
I often make a double batch so we can all enjoy smoothies together!

I either use spinach or kale (or both!) to give a good serving of greens alongside the fruit. A great tip for keeping greens from wilting, is to pop your fresh clean greens in the freezer! This seriously improved my smoothie game as I was never having to rush to make smoothies before our produce went off, and I always have fresh greens on hand for when those smoothie cravings hit! 

Buying large bags of frozen fruit from Costco is extremely cost effective and last quite a while if you buy a few different fruits and like to mix up your smoothie flavours as we do.

I also use flax and chia seeds in every smoothie our family drinks. If you’re unfamiliar, flax and chia seeds are nothing short of a magical superfood. 

Both are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, a great source of omega-3 fats, full of fibre, protein, and lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, cancers, and all sorts! They don’t taste of anything, and can be added to just about everything! They’re an effective way of incorporating a nutritional boost for your little ones without any effort. 

Whether you have a picky eater, or simply want to up your kids fruit and veg intake, these two smoothie recipes are easy to make, affordable, nutritious and delicious! Comment below and let me know what your favourite fruit smoothie combinations are! 

Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.

A calm came over me when I realized I was stressed, and I was able to put the chocolate down

stressed mom

I did something yesterday that I never do. I bought and ate a chocolate bar mid-day.

Really, this is something I don’t do. But yet I found myself on a Sunday afternoon, escaping the chaos at our house, at the store in our neighbourhood picking up coffee and buying a chocolate bar.

I snuck into our house, back into the chaos as Mike waited for the all-clear to head back to our basement, (which we are finishing), to continue working on it, while I made my way back to our living room, and plopped myself back into the midst of the laundry I had been folding, with a coffee in one hand and my chocolate bar concealed in a bag in the other.

I waited as kids zipped passed me, not noticing that I was packing heat, before I stole my first bite. I sat there for the next ten minutes, folding laundry, sipping coffee, eating chocolate, while ignoring fights, mess, too much screen time and the sound of drilling coming from our basement.

What is going on here? I had been stress eating more days than not. What was triggering this need for sugar and carbs?

Then it hit me… this whole finishing our basement project was seriously stressing me out. Not to mention that our twins have not napped in over a month.

Ohhhh I’m stressed, that’s the feeling I am having lately.

It’s kind of funny that it took me so long to realize that those two elements in my world have been causing me so much stress.

The basement, on one hand, was supposed to be done in September, but between contractors cancelling, Mike trying to find time here and there to hack away at it, and life in general, it’s been delayed. I am crossing my fingers at this point that it will be done for Christmas.

We’ve also been holding most of the kids toys hostage, (out of necessity, not intentionally), in a storage area in our basement, along with our seasonal bins of clothes, other than a few I rescued and am now co-habiting with upstairs.

The kids and I miss their dad, we miss the space down there, and we generally feel like life has been on pause. Add naps being over, and we are all going a little cooky.

Toddler's silly face

But when I was able to pinpoint why I’m stressed, and recognize that it was circumstantial and temporary, this calm washed over me.

Maybe I don’t have to gain five pounds while we finish our basement. Maybe I can plan better for the weekends, go take a bath, read a book, or fall down a Netflix rabbit hole while we are in this mini survival mode.

For me, it’s pinpointing that feeling that is making my heels drag that is half the battle. Once I know what it is, I can problem-solve, which for this “doer” is the best medicine.

Join us for our weekend and my confession about our lengthly basement renovation…

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I Felt Like I Was Pregnant… But I Wasn’t (Video)

Feeling sick

Last week I was under the weather. In fact I was so dizzy I fell into my bedside table. Thankfully Mike was there to step in and take over parenting and folding laundry. I know, I’m lucky!

What I don’t mention in this vlog is I felt so sick all week it started setting off some panic attacks at the end of the week. I felt so “off” that I couldn’t function. I am finally back to normal now.

Also, Mia thinks she can disappear. So there’s that.

Welcome to our home…

Don’t forget to subscribe to Nesting Story on YouTube so that you don’t miss a video!

Where Does Our Food Come From? A Family Lesson While Making a Natural Heating/Cooling Bag DIY

This blog post was created with Hellmann’s® and JONES Voice

 I am ready to admit it. For a long time, especially while I was pregnant with our twins and the year following, I was just trying to survive. I would race out to the grocery store whenever I had a minute, especially just after my husband, Mike would get home from work, so I could zip out kid-free and just get it done. I would grab loads of produce and then grab our family’s staples; foods I knew were easy to cook and everyone would actually eat.

A lot of the time when I am stocking our kitchen in such a rush, I don’t really think too much about what the ingredients are in our foods. I am big on fresh produce, but as far as everything goes, I just opt for what is easy and has some nutritional value.

I know so many moms who are hyper aware of ingredients and base their decisions while shopping on their vast knowledge. There are times when I feel a bit guilty and embarrassed that I don’t know more about our food.

Our oldest kids; Holden who is seven-years-old, and Beau who is five-years-old, have hit this extremely inquisitive age. They want to know how everything works and how everything is made. This means that I need to start learning the answers to all of their questions quick, and sometimes just jumping on Google doesn’t always cut it.

I have started including them in activities around our house, like gardening, and picking up magazines and books that have loads of photos and information on food, for them to pour through and understand what we eat a little better.

Recently I had the opportunity to watch a live stream on Facebook as three families took a tour of a Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon canola farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. The live event was very informative and in the end I felt relieved learning about the simple ingredients: egg, canola oil and vinegar, that go into the perfect jar of mayonnaise.

I decided to take this little lesson one step further with our kids, and create an everyday item using foods from a farm: a seed/grain heating/cooling bag. To get started, I cut out two pieces of fabric into rectangles, eyeballing what size would sit comfortably on my shoulder. I then sewed three sides together, leaving a small opening on one side.

Before filling the bag with grains and seeds, I sat down with Holden and Beau handing them each a cup. One contained oats and the other contained flax seeds. I then asked them where these grains and seeds come from. Beau proudly stated, “an egg,” and Holden thought he was correcting her by answering “heaven.” Oh boy! I had my work cut out for me.Hellmanns

As Holden and Beau each poured their cup into the bag, I explained how these were each grown on a farm and talked about the simple ingredients in many of their favourite foods.Hellmanns 2

Hellmanns 3

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After Holden and Beau finished pouring their cups into the bag, and I finished answering many questions about farming, we sewed it up and each took turns trying out the heating pad, which worked really well! I have since enjoyed our little educational and practical DIY project more than anyone.

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Although I still feel like I have a long way to go on educating my family and myself more about what is in our foods, I think this is a great start.

You can learn more about Hellmann’s mayonnaise and the simple ingredients that go into making a tasty jar here…

Check out more about Hellmann’s and “Where does your food come from” by visiting Hellmann’s on Facebook.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Hellmann’s. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Hellmann’s.