Before having our girls, Brian and I had a pretty good system of honoring both of our family traditions during the holidays. We did a pretty good job spending time with both families. It was easy to visit both families on the same day (our parents live about 40 minutes away from each other). I remember wondering why my friends with kids seemed so stressed after they traveled all day doing their “holiday rounds.”

Then, we had kids. OK, we got it. We understood really quick.

6 Ways to Start Your Own Family-2

Brian and I were the first of all of our siblings to enter the world of parenthood. Until you are a parent, you don’t get it. You don’t get nap schedules. You don’t get the importance of getting the kids to bed at a decent hour. You don’t get the importance of having a well stocked diaper bag. You don’t get the importance of not giving little kids a ton of sugar before bed.

A rushed holiday morning is just no fun. For a few years after having kids, we would do this. Rush around like chickens with our heads cut off, making sure we get to house #1 in time for a formal meal. Spend a scheduled amount of time there (heaven forbid you are not fair to both families), rush off to house #2 and force feed ourselves more pumpkin pie and turkey because it’s Thanksgiving and that is what you do. No thanks.

Last year, we made a change. We made a commitment to make the holidays about 1). our faith, 2) each other and 3). our children. We LOVE our parents and our extended families but they come next. Every year, we both got more and more annoyed with the stress of running around instead of taking it slow, enjoying the moments, letting the girls relax on Christmas morning, stay in our pjs a little longer, make a big breakfast and breathe. I would have these visions of all of us sipping hot chocolate by the fireplace and laughing and enjoying each other but in reality, it was me telling everyone to hurry up because we couldn’t miss Grandma’s turkey and stuffing. Not fair.

As the holidays quickly approach, Brian and I have talked a lot about what traditions we want to have. His family have a bunch and my family have a bunch. It’s impossible to do them all. We wish we could still be a part of everything but it’s just not possible. We sat down and strategized and came up with 6 ways to start our own holiday traditions (without hurting any feelings):

1. Celebrate on different days for different families. For my mom, she would rather us all be together and eat two days after Thanksgiving. That way, we try to rotate each year who we eat with on the actual holiday. For example, this year, we are eating at my parents on Thanksgiving. We ate with Brian’s family on Thanksgiving last year. We try our best to be fair. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. It gets harder and harder as our siblings get engaged and married because they each now have in-laws and extended families as well.

2. Don’t feel like you have to explain your decisions. We have learned to do what works best for us and for our kids. We are blessed to be able to live pretty close to both of our parents, so if we miss a holiday with any of them, we are sure we will see them a few days later anyway. We have learned to turn down events that don’t fit into our plans and guess what? It all works out. Our parents would rather not see us stressed!

3. Remember what the holiday is really about. We talk about this a lot. We want to keep the holidays simple for ourselves and for our kids. Few toys. More experiences. Less stuff. Less pressure. More faith. More love. We have expressed this desire with our families and they are onboard. It’s amazing what can happen if we all just communicate.

4. Pick one favorite from each family and make that the priority. We lucked out because my family does their huge celebration on Christmas Eve and Brian’s family does theirs on Christmas night. So, those our the priorities for us. We make sure we go to our favorite mass with the girls and spend time with each family on different days. No more driving from house to house on the same day. Heaven!

5. Don’t be pressured to do what everyone else in the family does. One sibling may spend an entire week with your parents. Another may just call. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you and your hubby want to do and what is best for the kids. Don’t want to buy your parents another gift card? Want your kids to make Grandma and Grandpa gifts instead? Go for it. I bet your parents will LOVE whatever you do.

6. Keep them simple and from the heart. We live in a busy world especially around the holidays. Holiday traditions don’t have to be elaborate Pinterest-worthy ideas. I bet your kids will remember simple things. They will remember your smile when you relaxed by the fireplace on Christmas morning and watched them open their presents. They will remember that tasty breakfast you made. They will remember the way you smelled in your big bathrobe. Don’t overthink it and enjoy.

Enter to win!

Also, enjoy entering to win a beautiful holiday apron from Chelsea Made and a holiday tea towel from Eden Gray. The apron is a child’s half apron, cotton, fully lined, navy blue with scalloped bottom, Anthropologie-inspired pocket. One size fits all. $35 value. The tea towel is 100% flour sack cotton with shimmery plaid accent fabric. $5 value. Both are machine washable.

Holiday Giveaway

Oh, and yes, you can still sign up for the 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Recipes online program! We started November 12th but we are going until the 23rd. Still time to get some yummy holiday recipes and support!

1. To enter the giveaway, you must be a fan of BMoore Healthy on Facebook. Also, you must be receiving my monthly newsletters. Click here to sign up for my newsletter.
2. Use the Rafflecopter tool right here to enter to win. This giveaway is available to US residents only. Good luck! The contest ends Monday, November 24th at 9:00 PM. A winner will be announced shortly after that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Top 10 things to say NO to this holiday season.

by Betsy on November 11, 2014

ON NOW-2

When I think back to the holidays when I was a kid, I have visions of my mom’s apple pie on Thanksgiving, waiting outside after midnight mass on Christmas Eve listening for Santa’s sleigh, and learning how to wrap my gifts for my parents and sisters that I bought from Santa’s workshop in the basement of my school. Simple.

As adults, we overcomplicate things. We fall victim to the season’s high expectations of running around like crazy people, spending tons of money on gifts and gorging on food we know isn’t the best for us or our waistline. Holiday stress has become as much of a tradition as Santa coming down the chimney.

As adults, we overcommit ourselves. We have way too much on our plate on a normal day. Add the holidays to that plate? Well, let’s just say that now we are stuffed and in a food coma.

We also put way too much pressure on ourselves with inherited traditions, even when they no longer fit into our busy lives. If grandma made 25 different kinds of cookies when we were little, we feel like we have to do the same.

My secret to cutting down the holiday stress and craziness? Just say NO.

Here are my top 10 things to say NO to this holiday season:

1. Some of the parties, get-togethers, playdates, gift exchanges – I sure wish I could attend and participate in everything that I get invited to but it’s just not possible. Finding a healthy balance is especially important during the holiday season. Don’t worry about having an excuse. Just be honest and tell your friends/coworkers/family that you can’t make the event. Look at your calendar and make note of all the events you are invited to, decide which ones make the cut and go from there. It feels good to get things off your plate.

2. All of the gift giving – You are not a Grinch if you feel like giving elaborate and expensive gifts is crazy. Consider doing some homemade gifts. Madilyn, Juliana and I have some fun, homemade gifts planned for cousins this year. Homemade gifts are great for kids to work on. They become a craft for your kids to work on. Your kids will LOVE giving them because they created them. Plus, they won’t break the bank! Also, it’s OK to say no to some gift-exchanges. Yes, let them go. We are on Operation Clear Out the Clutter in the Moore house so no extra gift exchanges here this year.

3. Trying to be Martha StewartPinterest is so amazing but it can also be the devil. Oh man, there are so many things I want to do this holiday season! Yeah, maybe pick 2 and call it a quits? Don’t strive to have a Martha approved dinner table, menu, crafts, homemade wreath AND homemade dresses for your kids. It won’t happen. Pick your priorities and move on, sista.

4. Family drama – Every family has it right? Decide what family events are most important and go to those. Try to not let things get to you when you are there. Remember, others don’t define you and they sure as heck better not upset your holiday happiness. Don’t let them.

5. Making poor food choices - Temptation is everywhere especially around the holidays. Eat before you go to parties. Fuel up on healthy foods for breakfast where you most likely can make healthy choices at home. Sign up for my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Recipes program that is going on now (YES, you can still sign up!) and prepare yourself with healthier options and support. Make my Holiday Energy Bars (recipe below). Perfect snack or breakfast bar. Make a batch and cut up into squares  – take to work, playdates, etc.

6. Using the busy season as an excuse to skip workouts - Oh heck no! Wrapping presents and sipping cranberry cocktails does not count as working out. Stay on track. Exercising also keeps us accountable to eating healthier. It’s all related.

7. Letting yourself stay up all night - I am guilty of this many nights. I already have visions of myself staying up in the late hours wrapping gifts and baking cookies. Decide on a few nights where you do this if you are a night owl. The rest of the nights, get yourself to bed at a decent time. Not enough sleep leads to exhaustion. Exhaustion leads to poor health choices. Poor health choices leads to sickness. Not good friends.

8. Following every family tradition - This is a tough one because we feel guilty if we don’t make every kind of cookie we had growing up! Nope, our kids don’t care. They would rather us be present with them and happy. Yep, they would prefer that to 25 different kinds of cookies and a crazy, stressed out mama. Pick a couple of family traditions each year and rotate them!

9. Being afraid to make up your own traditions - Once you have your own family, don’t be scared to step outside the traditions you grew up with and make some of your own.

10. Forgetting what the holiday season is really about - What does the holiday season really mean to you? Ask yourself that. Is it a religious occasion for you? Is family most important? Is it a time to unplug and unwind? Keep your priorities in order and I bet your holiday season will be less stressful this year. Yes, these Holiday Energy Bars are a priority. Now, go make them!

Gluten copy

Holiday Energy Bars

Ingredients:

1/3 cup nut or seed butter (I used SunButter)

1/3 cup molasses

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 cup quinoa (uncooked)

2 eggs

2/3 cup of canned, unsweetened pumpkin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup unsweetened coconut

1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips

1/3 cup ground flaxseed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients and bake in a 9X13 in baking dish. If mixture seems too wet, add a little more quinoa. Nuts would also be so great in this dish. I have to avoid because of my Juliana’s allergies. Bake for about an hour. Check periodically and use a toothpick to see if it’s done.

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for the 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Recipes online program! We start November 12th and you can sign up anytime until November 23rd. 

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Top 7 tips for a less stressful holiday season

November 4, 2014

Today, when I walked into Macy’s with my two girls, the Christmas music playing over the loud speakers totally took me by surprise. My oldest, Madilyn, said, “Look mom, Christmas trees!” Yep, the holiday season is coming and it is coming fast. My husband and I have been talking a lot about the holidays lately […]

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Top 5 tips to NOT eat all the leftover Halloween candy. Yes, you can do it.

October 27, 2014

I have great memories of Halloween as a kid. I remember one year in particular I could not wait to go outside for trick-or-treat. I was all decked out in my witch costume and I was so excited to run around my childhood neighborhood and get lots and lots of candy! My sisters and I […]

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Giveaway: My new favorite book!

October 21, 2014

Gut imbalance -> Silent inflammation -> Obesity This simple statement hit home to me the other day when I read it in Brenda Watson’s book, The Skinny Gut Diet that just hit bookstore shelves and of course, Amazon. For the last couple of months, I have been on a personal journey to get in better […]

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Top 5 reasons to leave the kids for the weekend. Plus, a meal my kids didn’t eat.

October 14, 2014

When my almost 5-year-old, Madilyn, was younger, my hubby, Brian, and I NEVER left her with anyone for more than a few hours.  We were new parents and totally paranoid that something could go terribly wrong – like Madilyn would never sleep without us or not eat or something. Things are totally different with Juliana, […]

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Top 4 ways to get rid of your “mother’s apron” and a veggie spiral slicer giveaway!

October 7, 2014

Lately, I have been on a mission to get in better shape. My stomach has always been my “trouble” area and after carrying and delivering two large babies, well, let’s just say that a “mother’s apron” has been around – for almost 2 years. Ugh. Of course, I am proud of the fact that I […]

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Top 5 ways to control the toy chaos plus an easy, healthy breakfast muffin recipe.

September 23, 2014

Two things really drive me bonkers: 1. toys taking over my house and 2: wasting good food which, in turn, leads to wasting money. About every three days, I lose my cool and want to start throwing my kids toys away. Yes, I want to throw them ALL in the garbage. Maybe not all of them […]

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On the day you went to preschool. Plus pancakes.

September 16, 2014

On the day you went to preschool, Mommy snuck into your room early that morning and watched you sleep. She took a photo, of course. On the day you went to preschool, you had to hang your new dress on your closet doorknob. On the day you went to preschool, you had to wear your […]

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Taking a leap and an easy weekday dinner recipe.

April 23, 2014

I have been asked to cook for a local family. Yes, can you say “Dream Job!” I am so excited. Every week, I am going to spend an entire day at their home and cook them all their meals for the week. Have I done this before? Nope. Did I go to the culinary? Nope. […]

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