2

Trim Healthy Thursday: Week One

My first week of commitment to the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan went well.

The only thing that tripped me up were the two social gatherings I went to over the weekend.  I don’t have any ‘on-plan’ tried-and-tested crowd pleasing recipes yet, so I opted for making healthy choc/date/nut truffles and sausage rolls which I figured were my best options as I had very little preparation time for both events.  Neither of those dishes are on plan, but it couldn’t be helped.  I managed to mostly eat on plan at the events, but in the future I will be:

  • testing out more THM recipes so I can bring an arsenal of them to social events, and
  • filling up on THM food before I go out whenever I’m unsure what will be on offer at an event

I kept our meals simple.  Lots of tuna salad, eggs, and chili with quinoa and veges.  I want to get the basics rights before I branch out into the fancier stuff.  I made a couple of THM recipes from the book that were delicious so I’m pleased I didn’t throw in the towel before giving THM a fair go.

I haven’t weighed myself because I know I will find that too depressing.  I’m sure the scales will show I’m losing weight, which gratifyingly has been the case since giving up sugar again in January, as my clothes are getting looser.  I have taken some ‘before photos’ which I hope to share with some kick-ass ‘after’ photos one day!

 

Are you a Trim Healthy Mama?  Do you have any tips for newbies like me?

0

Dollar Diet: Week 8

I’m really starting to get the hang of this Dollar Diet thing.

We hosted yet another BBQ this week – this time for a group that D belongs to.  I ended up being too sick to attend, but before I gave up the fight and retired to bed, I’d resisted the urge to dash to the supermarket to make sure we had ‘enough’ food.  Take that, enough!

Instead I took a deep breath and told myself that as it was a bring-and-share, of course there would be enough food to go around.  I made three dishes from ingredients we had to hand and that was plenty.  We ended up with so much food left over we ate BBQ sausages for several days.

We attended a combined birthday party for two brothers – one was turning 3 and the other was turning 11.  D is a geek mentor to the 11 year old so he gave him a whole bunch of electronics that the two of them plan to make into an iPod-esque device.  The 3 year old is really, really into dressing up.  We had some ghastly yellow crushed velvet curtains left in our house when we bought it.  Although they were taken down almost immediately, I kept them because I figured they would make awesome robes one day.  And they sure do.  I made a king’s robe out of the curtains, a nightshirt I purchased in week 5, and a tassel I scrounged from a Christmas bag.  A $2 crown, and one bubble-wand ‘sceptre’ later, and this is the gift I gave my 3 year old friend:

 

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Not too bad.

I made a plate of food for the party and for a special church event, and harvested lots of Black Doris Plums and Granny Smith apples from trees in our wonderful backyard.  We are currently feasting on the plums (and I gave some away), and I plan to make apple chutney tomorrow.  D also used some to make more applesauce, which he has discovered is an excellent, free addition to his breakfast.  My Frugalista Auntie swapped us a bottle of her homemade tomato sauce for more of our plums.  I’ve continued to underspend on groceries, even though this week included buying several kilos of ground beef which was being sold at a great price.  Having a surplus each week has meant our food budget can easily absorb a bit of bulk buying now.

I scored a pair of shoes off my mother.  All the women in my family are blessed with enormous feet – we’re all size 10s, so at least we can swap shoes with each other!  I struggle to find shoes that fit me well as I have long toes, a high bridge and very narrow ankles, which means most shoes pinch or swim on me at various points on my feet  and are uncomfortable for me to wear.  I have been loath in the past to spend much money on shoes and often opt for cheap brands, but recently vowed to stop this as it is a false economy.  My cheap shoes rarely last more than two seasons, whereas quality shoes if properly looked after can last for several years.  Anyway, my cheap sandals that I purchased in October last year are already trashed, which left me with one pair of summer shoes.  I was telling my mother about my shoe dilemma when she said she had a pair she never wore because they just didn’t look right with her outfits.  They fit me perfectly, are stylish and they are a quality brand.  Thanks Mum!

Instead of hitting the shops when I really, really felt the urge to – I gardened.  For some reason I desperately wanted to go op-shopping, you know, just to see what bargains might be had.  I stopped myself and said ‘But Angela, you don’t need anything’.  I was simply bored.  Shopping (even though I never spent stupid money) has been one of my favourite ways to spend time for so long, it’s no wonder it is a difficult habit to break.  I would shop to reward myself, to cheer myself up, to buy a gift to show my love for someone, to experience the thrill of bargain hard sought and won.  This year, I need to fill up my shopping-sized hole with more productive, home-based hobbies.  Like gardening.  So instead of searching for my next fix of Crown Lynn, I weeded my vege patch and finally got round to clearing an overgrown path.

As month two draws to an end, we have saved around $470 this month which goes into our Goodbudget ‘envelopes’ where we have deficits (like holidays to Australia, can’t wait!).  That’s a fantastic result.

 

0

Give it a rest

A few years ago I got myself into a right old mess.

I was busy, busy, busy ALL the time and ended up with a severe case of burnout.  (You can read about it here.)  Recovery from burnout is not straightforward.  Many people never recover, and most people never return to the energy levels they had prior to burnout.  I myself now operate on 80%.  And that’s on a good day.  The only way I can explain it is that it’s like your body has run in this state of extreme stress for so long (and it can for ages after the original cause of the stress has gone) that it becomes your body’s default setting.  Like when  you lose data on your computer and you have to reset it to a particular date to recover what you’ve lost.  When I experience even just a small amount of stress, my body automatically reverts to how it was during burnout.  Yeah, believe me, it’s a pain in the @ss.

Learning to rest is an on-going journey for me.

I haven’t lost my drive to do-everything-I-possibly-can-because-I-don’t-want-to-miss-out-on-something-awesome, but I have learnt to make sure my life isn’t filled to capacity so I have time to rest and just be.

Resting, being idle, downtime, having a siesta, whatever you want to call it is vital for our well-being, and certainly doesn’t seem to be popular in the modern, Western world.  We like to be productive.  We fill our leisure time with activities and events – hell, we’ve even turned shopping into a national pastime at the weekend.  Most people will tell you that their lives are busy.  Getting together with friends can mean booking a lunch date several weeks away because everyone is so busy.  Our kids are busy with sports (with sports fixtures usually held at the weekend because school time is so busy with study), dance class, karate class, art class, piano lessons and play dates.  And this is normal!

Paradoxically, resting can boost our productivity and this is why it is so important.

Some of the world’s best thinkers and inventors came up with their ideas whilst daydreaming.  Archimedes had his eureka! moment while taking a bath after all.

So what can you do to stop the ‘busy’ madness?

  • Put limits on your weekly schedule.  For me this means only having 1 thing on at night during the week (a meeting, family dinner etc.), and only 1 thing on my radar over the weekend (going to a friend’s, doing something fun as a family).  Sure, some weeks are naturally busier than that due to special events, but I try to stick to my limits.  Finding time to just be idle is pretty darn hard when you have wee ones, but it is possible if your evenings aren’t crammed with stuff.  My husband D is an introvert and he needs a lot of down time.  I found out early on in our marriage that he simply cannot handle having something scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights.  His need for quiet time is helpful for an extrovert-who-needs-to-rest like me.
  • Put limits on your kids’ schedules.  My eldest tot is an extrovert, but like all little kids she is easily overstimulated.  If I wanted to, I could take her to some sort of play group every day of the week.  But I don’t.  I deliberately keep Tuesdays and Fridays free.  Sometimes we go out for a walk or to a park or whatever takes our fancy.  But more often we stay home.  Occasionally she gets bored, but that’s not a bad thing.  Sausage will paint, or ‘read’ her books, play in the garden, or have a dance party with me.  Whatever we do or don’t do, it helps her to be a less cranky, tantrumy toddler.
  • Ignoring that I just said to put limits on your schedule, I do have one thing I recommend to add to it: Create a weekly rest spot.  Choose a day or a half day that is always kept free (except for special events).  I’m a Christian, so I try to take the commandment to ‘remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy’ seriously.  I’m not always great at it, but I do find that I am a much nicer, more flexible person when I ensure I have a Sabbath day of rest.  For me it means that on Sundays I usually go to Church in the morning, and forget about housework all day, except for meal preparation – and even that I try to keep simple.  I keep the afternoon free so I can rest or do something spontaneous with my family.  Whether you are religious or not, everyone can benefit from having a regular spot for ‘nothing’ in their week.  Use it to catch up on sleep, or to zone out while lying under a shady tree, to ponder the mysteries of life – like who really did kill Laura Palmer?  Do nothing and try to shake off the guilt of being ‘non-productive’.

Do you have a ‘do nothing’ time in your week?

Part of this post first appeared on my other blog Giving Up Sugar.

4

Whanganui Playground Review: Virginia Lake

This is part of a series where I review local playgrounds in and around Whanganui.  Non-locals will want to skip this!

Virginia Lake is the crowning jewel in Whanganui’s tiara.  It is my  favourite place to go in Whanganui and probably our best-loved tourist destination.  I will do a review on the lake itself at a later date, but for now I’m focusing on the cool playground at the Lake.

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In my opinion, Virginia Lake playground is the best playground for toddlers in Whanganui.  Tucked away behind the bird aviary and free barbeque to the left of the main car park, the playground can also be accessed from the Babbage Place entrance and car park (lots of people don’t know this car park exists, keep going a bit further along the road past the main car park). 

Look!  Shade and benches

Look! Shade and benches

If like many parents, you have a baby as well as a toddler – this is the playground for you.  The playground is fully fenced so there’s no chance of your tot doing a runner to terrorize the ducks.  There are two picnic tables, conveniently located in the shade where you can plonk yourself and your baby if need be.  There are rubbish bins just outside the play area.

There is a standard climbing frame with slide that is exciting enough for most toddlers, and I think it’s the best climbing frame I’ve come across in a Whanganui Playground for tots who are crawling/furniture-surfing/climbing/just learning to walk.  When we first came to Whanganui, Sausage was 10 months old and was only crawling, but she loved this climbing frame and was able to haul herself onto it with only a tiny bit of help from me.

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There are two sets of swings – one with two bucket swings, and one with a bucket and a regular swing, although the day we visited the regular swing was out of action (aside from this, everything else was in good nick).

E at the lake

There are three different types of see-saw which is a bit over-kill, but two of them will appeal to slightly older children.

See-saw 1

See-Saw 1

See-Saw 2

See-Saw 2

See-Saw 3

See-Saw 3

There’s not heaps of play equipment, and definitely nothing to grab the attention of older kids, but it doesn’t have to because there’s the lake, ducks, the bird aviary, a fountain, some Winter Gardens, a Cafe , a grassy dell with stage, a band rotunda, several different paths to take around the lake…I could go on.

Pros:

  • Fully fenced
  • Shade, picnic tables and rubbish bins
  • Toddler-friendly play equipment
  • Close to the lake, aviary and cafe
  • Generally plenty of parking

Cons:

  • Not very exciting for school-aged kids

Tots in Tawhero rating: 7/10

14

Trim Healthy Mama: a review

Giving Trim Healthy Mama (THM) eating a go was one of my New Year’s resolutions.

As a rule I try to start new diets or eating plans when my social calendar isn’t filled with temptation in the form of birthday cake.    Now I have Sausage and D’s birthdays out of the way I have started THM with a vengeance.  THM has been feeling a bit like my nemesis for the past year and a half since I first purchased the book.  I tried and failed several times to eat the THM way while I was pregnant, but my cravings were too strong and I think I just wasn’t in the right headspace for it.

I have struggled with my weight for most of my adult life.  After going sugar-free I lost quite a bit of weight, only to gain some back while pregnant with Sausage.  I was just starting to loose some of it again by eating sugar-free and running when I became pregnant with Chip.  And then after Chip was born I put on even more weight(!) due to stress-eating when things were bad with his reflux.  It’s time for it to come off again.  I am on board with THM now and raring to go.  As of Monday, my two month THM trial has begun!

Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett  (image credit)

Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett (image credit)

THM is an insanely popular book in Christian circles and seems to be a successful way of eating for many, many people.  In a nutshell, THM is a carb-controlled eating plan that emphasises ditching sugar and most carbs, and embracing healthy fats and whole foods (as such, it is not a huge change to how I eat anyway).  If you want to make the most of the recipes in the tome-like book, it does require some expensive and hard-to-find-in-New-Zealand ingredients – but the ‘plan’ can be followed without it.

I don’t want to go into the THM way of eating because it feels disrespectful to the authors to give away their trade secrets.  I’m going to encourage you to buy the book instead.  The authors do a great job of explaining how tweaking what you eat in combination can make a difference to whether you burn fat or store it, and these ladies have really done their research.  Let me just say that THM makes good sense to me and does not involve complicated food restrictions or calorie-counting.  THM is not a ‘diet’.  I can eat as much as I like.  I just need to be careful about what I eat in combination and when.

I’ve been a THM Facebook member for several months now, and hardly a day goes by without someone posting their weight loss or improved health success story.  Many members have posted about how GOOD and how ENERGETIC they feel on the THM way of eating, and that’s why I have been desperate to give it a go.  I don’t know about you, but energy is in short supply with the adults in our household.

 

What I like about the book:

  • It’s an entertaining, easy read.  The authors are two Kiwi lasses (hooray!) now living in America. who have been on a healthy-eating journey for a long time.  Their book is largely written as a conversation between the two of them and their banter is often laugh-out-loud funny.  They are great at breaking down the nuts and bolts of nutrition,andmaking the science behind their plan accessible to people like me.  Because generally when it comes to food science, this is me:
    Brownie points to anyone who can tell me what movie I’m referencing…
  • The book is huge.  The authors go into a lot of detail, and I said earlier, they back up what they are saying with research.  Like actual peer-reviewed research.  Not just anecdotal evidence sourced off Dr Google.  Plus I reckon the vastness of the book makes it seem like value for money.
  • The plan is holistic.  Pearl and Serene don’t just cover food.  They look at the impact what you eat has on your hormones, your sex life, your will power to exercise, whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, weight maintenance and more.
  • They recognise that approaches to nutrition differ.  They don’t expect anyone to suddenly change a life time of habits and favourite foods overnight.  They know that some people find eating a healthy diet and making food from scratch easy, while others rely heavily on convenience food to make it through the day in one piece.  The sisters themselves are like this – one is a purist and the other likes to cut corners, so you will often find two versions of a recipe for whatever camp you fall into.
  • They have lots of recipes for you to try.  I hate how some ‘diet’ books are all like ‘check me out, this is how you should be eating’ and then only give you a handful of recipes that will actually work with it.  THM is half eating-plan stuff and half recipe book.
  • You can have dessert.  For breakfast even.  It just needs to be made without refined sugar or loaded with carbs.  They have a considerable number of dessert and treat recipes which won’t make you pile on the weight.  The THM desserts aren’t too different from the way I’ve been eating since quitting sugar back in 2012.
  • There is a huge internet community out there for support and encouragement.  And I mean huge.  The main THM facebook group (there are many, many THM groups) has over 84,000 people in it.  The New Zealand THM facebook group has over 800.  The authors now have an active website and YouTube channel so you can keep up to date and keep motivated.

 

What I don’t like about the book:

  • It’s written for an American audience so some of the ingredients are hard or impossible to find here.  Some of the ingredients needed to fully make use of the recipes I have had to source from overseas, which is something I don’t generally like to do as buying locally is important to me.  However, as I mentioned previously, it is possible to do THM without the fancy ingredients and there is even a Facebook group for people who do this.
  • I think it’s hard to do THM cheaply.  You can’t be vegetarian or eat meat sparingly and do THM.  THM meals require some protein source.  However, I do think that once you are ‘on plan’ and your body is fuelling properly, you probably find you eat less.  Cutting out junk food and lots of carby foods also means there should be more wiggle room in the food budget for protein.
  • It’s written for the American palate.  I’ve tried several of the recipes only to find I didn’t like them, which is disappointing when factoring in the effort taken to source some of the ingredients.  I’m not hugely into creamy, cheesy dishes which some recipes rely heavily on.  However, there are still a ton of their recipes I haven’t tried so I will be persevering.  There are also plenty of bloggers who follow THM and are out there creating THM recipes – so many that I could probably try a different THM recipe at each meal for several years.
  • The dessert/treat recipes rely on sweeteners like Erythritol and Stevia and use other exotic ingredients like almond flour.    I feel uneasy about using alternative sweeteners (I still use them instead of sugar!), but that’s just me.  These ladies have actually done research on them and I haven’t.  I want to get to the point where I don’t feel the need for that stuff – which is (mostly) possible when you’ve been off sugar for long enough.  I’d like to get a few crowd-pleasing treat and dessert recipes under my belt for special occasions and to tackle cravings, but I’ll mostly be sticking to a piece of fruit if I feel the need for dessert.  A criticism I have of low-carb dessert recipes (not just THM) is that they tend to use large quantities of exotic flours like almond.  I would not sit down and eat three cups of almonds, so using three cups of almond flour in a recipe doesn’t feel very ‘whole foods’ to me.  Again, these are just my thoughts and I have done zero research on it!
  • The book is expensive.  It cost me over $60 (NZ).  But it is huge…

 

I will be posting weekly updates on how I’m going with the THM plan.  I’m really excited to give it a go.  Because it seems to work.  Judging by the daily testimonies of people who have struggled with their weight for years and years, who have tried every diet out there, who have given up dieting in frustration, who have a long list of health complaints – THM seems to work for them.  I’m praying it works for me too.

 

Have you heard of Trim Healthy Mama?  Would you give it a go?

0

Dollar Diet: Week 7

Yet another unexpected event was lobbed at us this week, trying to derail our savings – fleas.  Yes, fleas.  One day while sitting in our kitchen I was attacked by fleas which bit me ALL over my body.  For anyone flea bites are horrible, but for me they are a disaster.

For some reason my skin reacts badly to any sort of insect bite and I end up covered with welts.  I’ve been this way since I was a child.  As you can imagine, my flea attack left me feeling and looking incredibly attractive.  At one point I couldn’t even wear shoes because I had bites on my feet.  To add insult to injury, we don’t even own any pets!  I am blaming our neighbour’s cat Fluffy, who thinks his territory includes our place and he occasionally comes calling inside our house.  I have no idea where else they may have come from.  D called in the pest exterminator while I escaped to the sanctuary of my parents’ house.  As we were essentially evicted for a day, our food budget was derailed by an extra trip to the supermarket (although we still came in a little under budget), and of course we had to fork over $100 odd dollars to the pest exterminator.  Gah!

But nevertheless we press on.

D made a huge batch of stewed apples (using a little bit of dextrose) thanks to my Auntie swapping rhubarb and cooking apples with us for more plums.  I stewed the rhubarb and made 7 more jars of plum chutney.  The stewed apples will last us a good wee while.  D has been enjoying applesauce on his cereal each morning, Chip has tried a new ‘solid’ and I can use it as a sweetener in recipes.

We had a party for D’s birthday on Sunday, and I resisted the temptation to buy in more food to make sure there was ‘enough’.  Instead I made everything from scratch from ingredients we had to hand.  Sausage and I made melting moment biscuits, and I made a rhubarb and apple crumble, hamburger patties, corn fritters and a salad.  I also made an orange punch from last week’s leftover bottle of orange juice and a bottle of soda water left over from Sausage’s party.  Frugalista!  We asked guests to bring a plate of food to share instead of gifts, and we had a BBQ.  D’s Mum made his birthday cake.  It was a low-fuss and brilliant.  There were loads of kids running around having a ball, and adults engrossed in good conversation.

I have also resisted the urge to get more things for my children.  Some of Chip’s onesies are a bit stretched around the shoulders as they are hand-me-downs from Sausage, so he looks like he is channeling the off-the-shoulder look ala ‘Flashdance’.  He could also do with more cot sheets.  Normally I would hit the shops right away and I did have the car keys in my hand at one point.  But I hesitated.  I thought ‘Does he really need more onesies?   Does my baby really need a huge wardrobe of clothes?  And can’t we make do with the few cot sheets that he has?  Sure, they will be in and out of the laundry more often but that’s okay’.  Chip is just getting into 9-12 month clothing so I dug into his ‘bigger’ clothes pile and found a few onesies that are quite presentable.  Then I nicked a cot sheet from his sister’s stash, so he’ll be fine.  If they start to look a bit thin, I can always make some out of single sheets from an op-shop.

I have enough.  There is enough.  Now breathe Angela, breathe.

4

How to read to your kids (without feeling like a total idiot)

My tots are currently two years old, and six months old.  I love how completely different in character they are already.  Sausage is a total bookworm and always has been.  Even at a few months old she loved being read to, and was able to focus for the entire length of a board book.   Now, if the house goes suddenly quiet you can expect to find her sitting on the couch with her nose in a book.  Chip, not so much.  He will look at a page or two, but that’s it.  He’s far more interested in trying to turn the page, rather than at looking at the page.  He is an active kid who I’m pretty sure will need to be channeled into lots and lots of sport one day.

Sausage as a baby being read to by Oma

Sausage as a baby being read to by Oma

I myself, am a book nerd.  I come from a long line of book nerds.  My idea of the best way to pass time is to curl up somewhere comfy and read (sadly this doesn’t happen often at the moment!).  I remember being shocked to discover at school that some kids DIDN’T LIKE TO READ!  This just blew my mind.  I couldn’t understand how anyone could dislike reading, when for me books were transportation to new worlds where good friends were just waiting to be found.  In books I could live someone else’s life, dream someone else’s dream, go back in time or explore an alien planet.

I believe that most kids who don’t like reading are either in two camps: they come from a home where they aren’t read to very often (some not at all 😦 ), or they haven’t met the right book yet.

For me, reading to my kids comes naturally.  I do it multiple times a day.  Often the same books over and over and over and over, and did I mention over again?  But I realise that some parents struggle with it.  They themselves don’t like reading, or they feel self-conscious about reading aloud to their kids.  Other parents struggle to get their kid to sit still for 1 minute so they can actually read a book in its entirety.

Here are my tips to make reading aloud an enjoyable experience for everyone:

  • Choose your tot’s books.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you don’t enjoy their books, I guarantee you that your tot will pick up on it.  Your tone of voice or facial expressions will betray you.  If you like the books you read to your children, you will enjoy it as much as they do, and read to them more often.  Choosing good books is akin to preparing for battle.  There is a minefield of spectacularly rubbish children’s books out there.  And I mean so rubbish I cannot understand how it got published.  (Steer clear of pretty much anything that is merchandising for a kids ‘character’, they are generally terrible.)  Fortunately there are also many, many fabulous children’s books that won’t make you wince in pain every time your tot asks you to read it to them.  Once your child is old enough to express an opinion, by all means let them choose some books, but make sure you are still bringing plenty of great books into your home.  Even teenagers should be regularly given good books that will stretch, challenge, inspire and entertain them, lest they should think that Twilight is the epitome of great literature.
  • Have a quick read of a new story FIRST so you can unleash your inner actor/actress.  Use silly voices or accents.  Go on.  You can do it.  I often randomly decide that a particular character happens to be Irish or American, or another one is particularly gruff and gravely-voiced, while another speaks in a high-pitched squeak.  Sausage loves it when I do different voices for different characters and will often tell me off if I forget that the fox in ‘The Gruffalo’ has a French accent.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t do other accents well – your kid won’t know!  Your kids will think you are the cleverest, funniest storyteller ever.  No one reads ‘My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes’ better than my Dad who is the master at silly voices and gets special requests to read it all the time.  One reason it’s great to channel Meryl Streep is that if your kid is a one-page-and-I’m-done sort of kid, it may increase their attention span.  If I do a different voice, it holds Chip’s attention much longer – although he will often give me a funny look as if he can’t quite figure out what’s peculiar about Mummy.
  • Read with the appropriate emotion in your voice. No one likes being read to in a monotone or bored (see above point) voice.   If the character in the book is excited, use an excited tone.  If they are scared, use a scared tone.  Sausage loves it when I pretend to cry or yell or whisper, and is thrilled beyond measure every time D or I get to the scary end of ‘I am the Big Bad Wolf and here I come’.

  • Know your child.  The better you know your child, the easier it will be to get books that they love.  Your fidgety kid might sit still for a book about knights or hedgehogs if that’s what they’re into.  And keep paying attention.  Your once dinosaur-loving kid may quickly shift interests from Stegosaurus to Ancient Rome.  Or Richard Scarry.
  • Create reading rituals.  It’s easy to get into the habit of reading to your kids daily if you make it part of your routine.  Many kids need a bit of quiet time in the afternoons so this is a perfect opportunity, and of course a few stories before bed make bedtime much more fun for both of you (kid snuggles, yay!)  You can even schedule a regular trip to the library for more reading time.
  • Read aloud like no one else is listening.  Because 9 times out of 10 it’s just you and your kids in the room.  Our books from childhood stay with us.  They help shape us into who we are, how we see the world.  I’m sure we have all seen a favourite book from childhood and greeted it like an old friend.  Be part of that memory for your kids.