Mari-Mac Designs Thanksgiving 2017

“If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you respond to people.”
-Timothy Leary

We spent our Thanksgiving in our hometown of Lufkin. During the holidays, especially the past eight years I seemed to have focused more on who wasn’t with us instead of who actually was there. We all tend to miss our loved ones so much more when we celebrate birthdays and gather for holiday dinners.

My sister Vanessa, her husband Albi and their daughter Liviana with our aunt Sally and my daughter Mia.

The bush behind us was planted around the time we moved in this house in 1990.

Perhaps because I have been so busy this year, I didn’t feel the void that I am use to feeling. Birthdays are hard for me because my dad was always the first to call and sing me happy birthday. This is the first year I didn’t cry for him. As long as I can remember, we have always celebrated my birthday on Thanksgiving. My mom would invite everyone in the Filipino community to our home to celebrate. Since most of our extended family was in another country or another state, it was nice to have a big group to celebrate with. I have lots of home movies of us eating.

Our 2017 Friendsgiving

Our Thanksgiving lunch celebration this year at my mom’s reminded a lot of my past birthdays. We had old friends and and new family members that made the day so special. My husband’s mom and stepdad joined us for lunch. My mom got remarried this year and our family had grown by ten times at least. It makes me happy to see her so happy.My mom and her new husband Roy.

Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a smorgasbord of desserts, a sister karaoke competition and watching home movies. Dolly Parton makes an appearance in our videos. Watch our Thanksgiving video/slideshow. Watch Here

Vanessa, my younger sister as Dolly.

We also took a day to see Ryan’s uncle and aunt that live and hour and a half north in Whitehouse. I love the drive to see them. I was watching the trees give way to pastures and couldn’t help remember a decision we made exactly four years ago. On that particular day, we were discussing my inevitable return back to work at the hospital. Madelyn was just two months old and I had one more month of maternity leave to go. I loved being with her and couldn’t help but cry at the thought of leaving. Ryan and I decided I would stay at home and work on this “sewing thing.” Our girls are now 4 and 6 and it has been the best decision I could have made for our family.

We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out and having great conversations. The guys spent time in the woods while the girls looked for Christmas deals. We also went on wild goose chases for matching pajamas and discussed the evolution of man buns. Ryan’s stepmom Cathy, aunt Tylia and sister in law Paige. My nephew Dean and Mia

We spent some time at the lake near their home and really enjoyed our days off together.

This picture was taken at the church across the street from my Moms house.

I will always miss those that cannot be with us, but I am learning to focus on those that are present.

Thanks for reading!

Love,

Venice

www.venicewilliams.com

Advertisements

One year ago the Jack Wolf IV Memorial Foundation dedicated a Park at Memorial Hermann, The Woodlands

My brother-in-law once told me that the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Perhaps it is because you understand the blessing of one more kiss, one more day that you get to look at your son and one more day that you get to hold him in your arms.

John Charles Wolf IV or “Jack” was born on May 6, 2005 to his parents Paige and John Wolf III. He blessed the earth for five weeks but his memory will live on for a lifetime. The Jack Wolf IV Memorial Foundation was started to honor the memory of Jack, the hospital staff that became like family and the other NICU families that have shared in the same highs and lows.

I learned of Jack and his battle with osteogenesis imperfecta shortly after he was born. My phone was flooded with texts and pictures of the tiniest baby wrapped up a like subway sandwich. Paige’s little brother, Jay, had kept me updated on his nephew’s condition. Jay and I had dated for five years and went to high school together. Our families still live in our hometown of Lufkin. Even though we were not together, he messaged me from time to time. It was usually with sad news. I loved his family and I was happy that he was thoughtful enough to let me know when his grandparents had passed and that he wanted to tell me about Jack.

This December will mark three years since Jay’s passing. It was sudden and devastating for his family. Ryan and I attended the funeral in our hometown. I remember walking into the foyer and seeing a black picture board with family photos that I had taken. I had made that picture board for Jay while we were dating. When I saw his sisters Paige and Ashley, I smiled as best I could trying not to cry. As soon as I saw his mother, I lost it. She held on to me so tight and then his dad wrapped us all up and we all stood there crying.

It is funny how your life turns and moves you from one place to another. We moved to The Woodland in June of 2016. I had always thought that one day it would be nice to be part of their annual Jack Wolf Golf Tournament. I had seen pictures posted by Jay and his family for years. Paige and John have hosted golf tournaments to raise money for the Jack Wolf IV Memorial Foundation for the past ten years. The golf tournament is held at West Forks Golf Course in Conroe, only twenty minutes from our house.

This May I volunteered and had my husband and his friend represent their companies. It was emotional, amazing and encouraging. Johns cousin Amanda and I were beverage girls on Hole 11. We asked each team how they became involved in the Jack Wolf Tournament. Their stories all had the same theme of support and love for Jack’s parents. Most people we talked to had known the Wolfs for years and shared in their emotional rollercoaster during Jack’s life. Paige is so strong, how she does it all I will never know. I am sure it has everything to do with her family and the supportive community that she and John have gathered. Their community will also do anything for a cold one. Click here for a video of this year’s tournament.

Through their golf tournaments and fundraising, they have raised and donated $23,000 this year and $150,000 over the past 11 years to Memorial Herman of The Woodlands. During their stay in the NICU, Paige and John saw a need for a park. Their nieces that would visit and had no where to play while visiting their little cousin. The Jack Wolf IV Memorial Foundation Park was completed this time last year.

I am truly grateful and honored that the Wolfs trusted me and my family to keep Jack’s memory alive. The Great Pumpkin Market was hosted at Wild Stallion Vineyards. We had over 40 shopping vendors, community business that displayed their talents, Familyy ATA Martial Arts provided a demonstration and Boni’s Dance School performed their Nutcracker ballet. We sold over 700 tickets and had nearly 1500 people in attendance, including volunteers and vendors. We were overwhelmed by the support of the community. Mari-Mac Designs and The Great Pumpkin Market will continue to support Jack’s foundation and his parent’s efforts to celebrate their son as long as they will let us. I am blessed to still have their family in my life.

Mari-Mac Designs and Drone FX Pros proudly raised over $4,000 to donate to their organization and for Hurricane Harvey Relief efforts.

The Jack Wolf IV Memorial Foundation plans to use proceeds to purchase sensory features and equipment to their park for our special needs children. To learn more about how you can participate in their annual Golf Tournament, donate to their cause or find out more about this special family. Visit www.jack-wolf.org

To find out how Mari-Mac Designs can help produce, advertise and showcase your next fundraising event. Visit www.marimacdesigns.com

The First Annual Great Pumpkin Market

Mythiquer Pickett with We See Abilities, spreading contagious positivity through inclusion through activities for the special needs community. Visit their site and learn about their mission

Pop artist, Trevor Lee came by to close out the market and spread his message of love and hope. His lyrics are inspiring and I am proud to know him. Trevor is battling t-cell, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He has undergone 67 treatments to no avail. His ‘Get Luv’ tour is headed to a city near you, to find out more about Trevor Lee’s story visit www.trevorleemusic.com

The easiest way to become rich, is make other’s lives richer.

Venice

It’s Fall Y’all!

This is my favorite time of the year! Sewing themed costumes for my family is my jam! This year my daughters refused to go along with my plans until the very last minute! I can’t wait to show y’all what we decided on together. For now enjoy the past four years of homemade costumes, and our Fall activities and pumpkin painting shenanigans!

Marriage help from our kids, books and business

Today my husband and I celebrate 8 years of marriage. Our anniversary celebration consisted of a melon baller, “no trespassing” sign and a wrong turn that lead to a great evening. Ryan and I are complete opposites which make us a great team. Growth in our marriage has come from our growing family, the books we read and learning about business. We are not perfect, but we spend all our time working together to become a better version of ourselves than yesterday.

Our children have just turned 6 and 4 years old. Mia just started Kindergarten and Madelyn is in preschool 2 days a week. Our daughters are our greatest accomplishments and our biggest critics. Having children means your have a tiny version of yourself imitating your every move and reminding you to be intentional with your words. I catch myself threatening my kids with punishment and no intention on follow through. They have caught on to my bluff and use it against me. In business, if you are not consistent and make good on your word, you lose customers fast. Now I am much more intentional with my communication with others, especially my children. If I promise a reward for competing their reading log, I make sure to hold up my end of the bargain. Yesterday as I dropped my kids off at their aunt and uncle’s house, Mia asked why my face was so mad. I didn’t realize that I was still thinking about an incident that happened before we left the house (Maddy peed in the floor) and I was also thinking about Ryan’s impromptu meeting for work on a Sunday. Our anniversary falls on Monday so we planned on celebrating the day before. As I drove the kids to spend the night at my sister’s so that we would be kid-free for my husband’s surprise plans. I told her that I was just thinking about earlier and I was sorry. “I am going to miss y’all tonight,” I said. “Why would you miss us?” Asked Mia, “you have been mad us most of the time.” I swallowed hard when I realized the truth behind her last statement. Perception is reality and her perception was that her mother was upset at her. In reality I was just tired and thinking about other things. I took a breath and apologized for being so grumpy. I reminded myself that it was ok to fail as long as I learned from it and moved on. That’s the hardest part isn’t it? Trying to move on and learning from previous mistakes, breaking old habits and being aware of how you appear to others. We all should be more aware of how our actions and our faces are being translated by others.

Ryan and I discovered that we loved learning as long it was something we cared about. I have not always been the best at reading. I usually read a paragraph three times before I get the meaning. Since we discovered Audio books, our lives have changed. We have read/listened to so many books this past year. We even have some on repeat. Our favorite category is non-fiction books. We enjoy books on business, marriage and life. Here are a few of our favorites as well as some of our favorite quotes.

  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill written in 1937, it teaches a philosophy that can help anyone succeed in any line of work, to do and be anything they can imagine.
  • Courtship after Marriage by Zig Ziglar weather you have been married for 5 months or 50 years, Zig has a no nonsense approach to improving your marriage. He is very entertaining to listen to offers his experiences in his own marriage as advice for others.
  • The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber this should be required reading for anyone wanting to start a business. Ferber explains the difference between working on your business vs working in your business
  • Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss the book that changed our way of thinking and posed the question, what am I working for and why? This book showed us how to live the life we want while working in the business we want. He also has amazing podcasts where he interviews top performers in business, government, fitness and Hollywood.
  • The Power of Ambition by Jim Rohn With The Power of Ambition you can take charge of your own personal happiness, chart your own course through life and let your legitimate ambition create whatever you desire, take you wherever you want to go.

In business, you are taught to not take thing a personal. The sure way to fail in business is by letting your emotions cloud your judgement and make wrong decisions. In marriage we see everything as emotional and personal. When it comes to feelings, everyone has a right to feel how they feel. Although your intention may not be to hurt the other person, that doesn’t stop them from having those feelings. In relationships you must take that into account. Communication about how something was perceived can clear up about 90% of arguments. The hardest and most valuable lessons that I have learned about relationships that help tremendously in business are

  1. Don’t take things personal- this is difficult since relationships are about feelings, but too often the other person’s view of you has more to do with their own experiences and less to do with your words.
  2. Be intentional with your words- when you say things like “I will never forgive you” or “ruined my life” those words have weight that can be carried through a person’s lifetime. In business if you promise quality and timely service, and you do not hold up to your end of the bargain, it is hard to gain trust and keep customers.

3. Get use to the word ‘No’ -money is the number one cause of divorce. I will not always get to buy the shoes that I want or take that vacation I have dreamed about, that is life and being upset over it does not help you get those things. In business, I hear the word NO a lot and it can make a person want to give up and stop pursuing their dreams. That is the secret, get use to hearing the word NO. Right before you hear the word YES, you will want to give up and throw in the towel. That is God and the Universe testing the strength of your passion.

Ryan and I have been working closely together to grow our family business. He is the smartest person I know and I have had to learn not to take things personal when it comes to discussing finances. I also have the entrepreneurial mind, while he is the manager who things about things analytically and not emotionally. I run on emotion that helps spur new ideas. Together we have grown Mari-Mac Designs. Click on the link to learn more about us and why we got started.

Thanks for reading and I’ll leave you with a few pictures from Ryan’s Anniversary surprise. For breakfast I received pancakes, eggs, coffee and sausage in bed! We took a walk with the family before church. My sister and brother in law watched the kids that night.

Ryan asked if we had a melon-baller, it was my only clue as to what he had planned for the evening. After our off the grid picnic we took a wrong turn and ended up at a bar where we played pool and watched the Texans. This bar also had sand volleyball, horseshoe pits and karaoke! Score!! I had the best night ever. Happy Anniversary baby!

Monday morning run courtesy of my sister and brother in law!! Thanks Drone FX Pros

The Great Pumpkin Market: Spring, Texas

TGPM-tealBGThe Fall season is without a doubt a favorite in Texas. If you are from anywhere in the south, you are probably most excited about the break from the heat. The cooler temperatures allow for spending more time outdoors. This year Mari-Mac Designs, along with Drone FX Pros is excited to help produce the First Annual Great Pumpkin Market, held at Wild Stallion Vineyards  on Saturday, October the 14. Click for Video

This year we will be supporting the Jack Wolf IV Memorial Foundation. This foundation was started over ten years ago when Paige and John Wolf III lost their son to a disease know as Osteogensis Imperfecta. Each year they have held a golf tournament in Jack’s honor. Video: 2016 Golf Tournament

They have used the money raised to build a park dedicated to their son at Hermann Memorial Hospital of The Woodlands. This year, through the donations of sponsors of  The Great Pumpkin Market, they plan to add playground features for children with “different” abilities. The new handi-capable equipment will allow for everyone to fully enjoy the park. Read more about Jack, his park and his foundation here.

Since planning of the event, we experienced Hurricane Harvey. Ticket sales will go directly to those in our community that have been affected by flooding. Tickets are on sale now for $8 and will be sold at the door for $10. Buy tickets here–> Eventbrite

The Great Pumpkin Market is a shopping with 40+ shopping vendors, games and activities for the kids and food trucks. Bring your cameras and take photos in our pumpkin patch! Plan for a fun-filled day with your family enjoying demonstrations by area dance schools and fitness experts.

Come out to The Great Pumpkin Market and support a great cause! For more information on The Great Pumpkin Market visit our website’s Event Page or our Facebook: Event Page

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and supporting my community!

XOXO,

Venice

Read more about the author click here–> About

 

 

 

 

Denim Lace Purses and Kindergarten

Denim Lace Little Explorer Purses are HERE and just in time for school!  Get them for $10 in my shop Mari-Mac Designs. These will be on sale for 24 hours only or until they sell out.

I had a lot of fun digging up Fall fashion inspiration in my girls’ closets. I love how the denim and lace go perfectly with all the Fall colors.

My oldest just started Kindergarten and has had a cough and runny nose since she started. I suppose it was inevitable seeing as how this is her first year to be in school full time.

These purses were originally designed for tissues. I wanted to be able to allow my children to practice proper hygiene and be more independent without spreading germs. My original tissue holder was my pockets or bra. Yes, I know gross! I needed tissues to be easily accessible in case of the dreaded snot-rocket. Sorry for the visual, but its true. I always had tissues in my purse, but getting to them before the girls smeared snot onto their arm or the front of their clothes was the issue

With our Little Explorer purses, I just send my little school girl off with a fresh supply of tissues hanging around her neck. She has been trained and it makes me a proud mommy!

Other than a tissue purse, our Little Explorers have been used to hold snacks for toddlers or small rocks and treasures. My girls have started to get into Shopkins lately, as annoying as theses small toys can be, they are pretty cute and spur the girls’ imagination.

I hope the school year is going great for everyone, adults included!

XOXO

Venice

 

 

Red, White and Blue Labor Day Giveaway

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for taking time to enter this giveaway! I have received a lot of new followers and I just wanted to say THANK YOU! These goodies will be shipped just in time for the Labor Day Weekend!

Rules to enter:

1) Subscribe to our newsletter.

Here: Marimac Designs

I know uhhhhhgg! I promise to only send you fun and exciting news like sales, other giveaways and maybe what I had for breakfast. Just kidding… maybe.

2) For extra entires only

Like and share this on -> Facebook

Like and share this on -> Instagram

Subscribe to our Channel -> YouTube

That’s it folks! See told ya it would be easy. I’m at the Queen of Convenient! I hope you like and share us with your friends! We love new friends.

Xoxo,

Venice

5 organization and productivity tips for the Stay at home mom

I have never been neat or organized. This may be a shock to some, while others know my "beautiful mess" all too well. My dream is to have that beautiful living space where everything has a place and my house is always ready for surprise visitors. The reality is that my floor is always covered in toys and food crumbs. I hardly remember where I put anything and sometimes I feel like any progress I have made is completely undone the next day. My frustrations with cleaning and organizing turn into stress. This stress appears to snow ball throughout the day leaving me irritable, exhausted and self-defeated. Something needed to change! Hopefully doing these 5 simple things can help to ease your stress and create a better home environment for you and your family.

1) Stay off your phone- yah I can feel the eye rolls and "pfffffts" right now. Seriously, scrolling through Social media and constant checking for new emails is the biggest time waster. If you start your morning with this activity, you are not able to stay focused and productive. I check emails twice a day and check in on social media at certain times that my schedule allows. I only pick up my phone to complete work such as writing and editing after I have had a workout and breakfast. I start checking and responding to emails after I have gotten the girls breakfast, while they are making their beds and getting ready for the park or the day.

2) Make your bed- I started this routine when my husband and I got married, 7 years later he actually does it too. It may seem simple, but starting your day with a nicely made bed motivates you to do other activities that give you same satisfaction. Once that one activity is done, you will naturally organize and clean other areas.

3) Morning workouts- I know working may seem to have nothing to do with organizing but you would be surprised! I have heard on more than one occasion from friends that workout with me, that starting the day with a run or a 30 minute workout gives them the energy and motivation to check things off their list! If I miss my opportunity to workout before the kiddos wake-up, I will set my mind to workout while we are at the park that morning. Convincing myself to make time for this is a big step to success.

4) Have a plan- this is the hardest step and has taken me years to master, I am still struggle with it. In the morning after I put clean dishes away and start a load of laundry. In the evening I load the dishwasher and fold the clothes. This doesn't happen every day, but you must have goals. I have also started meal planning. The evening struggle at dinner time was my biggest issue. Having a plan for dinner eases my stress level immensely. We have also decreased our grocery budget by 25% since we started. I typically plan out our week on Sunday afternoons. My husband either puts the girls down for a nap or takes them to the park or other activity while I relax and make out our food and activity schedule.

5) Get plenty of rest – I worked nights for 7 years before I started staying at home with my girls. I cannot stress enough the importance of sleep. If you are having trouble going to sleep, ask yourself a few questions. Did I get enough physical activity today? Is my phone the last thing I see right before I go to bed? Stay off your device at least an hour before you go to bed. Activity on your phone keeps your mind working, instead read or watch something for entertainment (fiction). The morning is the best time to be productive for work, cleaning or even to take the kids to the park. It can be a struggle to get things done and to bed on time, but not taking care of yourself will sabotage all your efforts. Some of you may have babies that are struggling with their bedtime routine. My toddler and preschooler still get up in the night and come to my bed. I give you permission to take a nap! If you need the rest by all means take it!

My kids deserve the best of me and taking care of myself allows me to better take care of them. If I do not plan for success for my day and my family, I am planning for failure. I struggle with keeping a routine, but anything done for three weeks will become habit. The benefits that I get from planning have made our life happier because we are able to spend more time together.

My husband comes home to a wife who is proud of her accomplishments. I am guilty of greeting my husband at the door and knocking him over with my complaints of the day. You're life is what you create it to be. My issues of inadequacy were just that…. "my issues." Once I learned that I wasn't in competition with anyone else but myself, I started to see my shortcomings as a challenge. I am proud to say that I no longer cry on my bed with a pile of laundry taller than me. I wake up and look forward to my day. I enjoy being a stay at home mom more now than I could ever imagine. Being a stay at home mom is the toughest job I have ever had. At home, you do not have a manager to keep you accountable and on task. My only accountability comes from my girls who insist that I feed them every three hours. They could care less about the laundry or the dishes I have piled up. I am the manager, the boss and the creator of my own destiny. Stop asking yourself "how do I get more time" or "what am I going to cook for dinner?" Instead you should ask, "How am I going to take over the world today?"

morning run with Zoey

walks to the park are always an adventure

planning for activities with my family is just as important as planning meals.

making time for my health is the biggest gift I can give myself and my family
when the kids are at grandmas

Meatballs are the best way to get three meals in one! Spaghetti and meatballs, meatball sliders and zucchini boats!

The secret to fitness 

I use to wake up to my mom doing her aerobics before work. She would stand with her arms outstretched to the sides, balancing on one leg while swinging the other back and forth as high as she could. “You’ve got to exercise to keep your belly small.” She would say as she switched legs. “It’s good to sweat to keep cool.” Mom would say as she whistled to call the wind. A breeze would stream gently past and she smiled certain of her accomplishment. 

Some days, after dinner, we would ride our bikes or take a walk. “It’s good to walk after you’ve eaten, your belly feels better because walking makes you fart,” She would say. My mom always motivated us to stay active. She was and still is a great example to her children. 

I have always been an active kid. I grew up playing soccer during P.E. with our class and continued playing through high school. At home we would help in the garden and play kickball in the yard with the neighbors. The only thing that kept us inside was when the Texas summers reached temperatures in the 100s. 

Now that I am 35 I can actually say that I am in the best shape of my life, physically and mentally. I was a lot skinnier in high school, I also could eat anything I wanted and never gain an ounce. I have had a lot of ups and downs with my weight and staying on a good workout routine. During and right after college, the only way I would “workout” was to join a women’s soccer league. Eventually I would become pregnant so soccer was not an option. After I had my first daughter, I struggled to stick with a workout routine. I started a Facebook group in the Spring of 2012 called “Healthy Mommies, Happy Babies.” It was a local group that would schedule workout-play dates. The sidewalks in my neighborhood were awful for running with a stroller. I chose a nearby park with nice running trails. I met two girls that came to workout often. We would do a stroller workout and sweat our booties off that entire summer. We kept it going for a year, until I became pregnant and we moved to a neighborhood that had great sidewalks. We still keep in touch. 

After I had my second child, I struggled to get back into a routine. My husband tried to help the best he could. He made me workout videos from Zumba to T-25. I also had p90x which seemed impossible even though I use to do it before I had kids. I even joined a gym and started going to a 5am spin class. The spin class helped me lose enough weight so that my knee didn’t bother me as much and I could start running again. I did get back to running. As soon as I scarfed down dinner, I would be out the door. Since I worked nights, I was only able to do this a few times a week. 

It wasn’t until after I started staying at home that I found the secret to sticking with my fitness goals. I needed a routine in the worst way for phsycal and mental shape. 

One day, on our neighborhood ladies Facebook page, a lady asked if there was anyone who was willing to go running with her. She wanted to get back in shape but needed a buddy. I excitedly agreed and met her at 5:30 the next morning. From there I started holding workout groups at my house. We have always had a very underutilized garage workout area. My husband installed a pull-up bar and we moved the squat rack so that we could actually use it. For almost 8 months I hosted groups Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. My girl, Melanie started hosting Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. A few girls got a running group going in the evenings with their husbands.  

My Beautiful Workout Group threw me a surprise going away party “cue tears”

Then I moved 30 miles away, I tried coming back to join in as much as I could. I am proud to say that they kept it going and even added more workout times. 
Workout visit with my girls
Right after I moved I tried to visit as much as possible, my workout routine was off. I have always tried to motivate my husband to workout and he finally made agreed.  I pretty much cried and told him that I needed someone to hold me accountable and he needed to be that someone. 

If anything I needed to be a constant example to everyone around me. Something I try to remember is to always strive to facilitate fitness for my family and with those around me. Everyday is a struggle but it can also be fun! Never let an opportunity pass where you can sweat with a friend. 

Mia’s first ride with mom and dad (Maddy not pictured in chariot)
Happy campers, Hanks Creek (click picture for website)
Family hikes
Family workout at my moms
Soccer stars, Bear Branch Park
Best gym in the neighborhood
My number 1 accountability partner, Daisy
Incline push-ups. Glad he doesn’t read my blog
Running therapy
Family bike rides still going strong (2017)
Morning run in my old neighborhood
My mom mows while I workout
New gym equipment- paralettes/ Ryan loves the straps

Ashley and yoga paddle board.
Impromptu workout! Yes please! My artist friend, Melissa Polomsky (click picture for website)

Getting Kids to eat their Vegetables in 3 steps

The girls both have went or are currently going through this phase where they need to be prompted to finish their vegetables. Yes every mothers daily struggle. When we are eating with others and they comment on “how we are so lucky that our kids eat their food” I take a deep breath and internally snarl. “Lucky nothing!! If you knew how many hours we have spent sitting at the table encouraging good eating habits, scaring them with possible illness and guilting them by explaining real world hunger your mouth would drop. Getting kiddos to eat their vegetables starts with a few habits that will make dinnertime less stressful.

  1. Make Healthy food available- The easiest way to encourage healthy eating habits is to have fruits and veggies washed and prepped and easily accessible. As a result when you open up the fridge to pull out the easiest thing to snack on, it should be something healthy. By keeping healthy foods front and center, you naturally keep junk food hidden or out of your grocery cart completely
  2. Be an example- a friend of mine told me that her husband would not eat vegetables in any form or fashion. The first challenge would be to get your husband to eat better. When our children see that we eat what they eat, they really have no reason to complain. I understand that they will anyways, but it is that practice what you preach mentality that gives you credibility. Keep at it and eventually you will discover veggies that the whole family will love.
  3. Meal Plan and cook at home- I plan out a 5 day dinner plan for our week. I try to make sure that I plan for easy meals on days that we are busy. You run the risk of going through the drive-thru after soccer practice because it is SO much easier and you did not plan ahead. I plan for at leas one crock-pot meal and another that I can just throw in the oven.

Dinner time is stressful enough without having to cook three separate meals. If little Johnny does not like meatloaf surprise, you can guarantee the alternative is not his favorite macaroni and cheese. You have two choices for dinner 1) Take it 2) Leave it. Honestly the reason my kids love vegetables and finish their food is because my husband and I set that example everyday. When I want cake or cream cheese out of the package I make sure they are napping or I’m hiding in the closet.

Every parent does it, you scare the crap out of your children so that you can control them. “Johnny don’t play in the street you will get run over by a car.” My favorite “An Apple a day keeps the doctor away” Or what about “If you don’t eat your food, your soul will leave your body and eat dirt!” Ok perhaps that last one is a bit intense and only Filipino mommas that mean business use it.

My mom grew up in the Philippines where everyone loved anything American- the BeeGees, designer clothes and cowboys. We often tell the girls how their grandma was raised on rice and soy sauce. We may fabricate a tad, but the fact that there was not a lot to go around was very true. I myself grew up on bologna sandwhiches and hotdogs and rice. Our vacations were day trips to the lake and camping.  I didn’t realize how modestly we lived. We want our children to be grateful for everything. We want them to know the value  nature and everything it provides. We want them to always praise God and thank him for his blessings before every meal.

It is not easy to start new habits let alone stick to them.  The first step is to be conscious of your own actions and your own example as a parent. I always ask myself “How can I positively manipulate my children today?” Then if all else fails….  Plan B. Scare the snot out of them until they cave. Just kidding, or am I?

XOXO

Venice

Picking blackberries
Helping make pancakes
Chicken Lettuce wraps- click picture for recipe
Smoothies!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Grilled Apricot Salad – click pic for similar recipe
Chicken pineapple stir fry

Filipino BBQ
My mom cooking in her “dirty kitchen”