Elemental Kids: Kids in the kitchen

How did food swapping go?  Do you and your family have a new favorite food.  When I try new foods and I actually like what I tried, I get so excited because I have something new and different to eat.  We all know we can get bored with certain foods we constantly eat, so mixing it up can always be a wonderful option to go for in our lives.  

This week Emilie and I are going to share some tips on how to involve your children in the kitchen.  There are so many ways your whole family can be involved in the kitchen.  Try out some of these tips for this week and I promise you will see how easy it can be.  Remember children need guidance first then they can slowly begin to complete the task on their own.

 Try the I do, We do, you do approach.

- Laura

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Benefits of children cooking in the kitchen:

  1. A Meditative Experience- Your using all five senses when cooking, so when all senses are engaged you are naturally more mindful.  Have you ever been cooking an old family recipe and it brought you joy because it reminded you of memories you had with the people you cooked with? Senses are powerful.

    (Emilie’s Tip) Let your little ones interact with individual ingredients. Put salt in their hand and ask how it FEELS. They can even put a little bit on their tongue to explore the taste & texture.

    If you want to learn more on how to stay mindful in the kitchen then check out this wonderful article by Headspace on mindful cooking.

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2. Exercising our fine motor skills-   Next time you chop, pour, stir, flip, etc.. think about all the muscles you are using to do these tasks. For kids, when they complete these tasks it helps build those muscles they use for writing, cutting, independently opening a bag of chips at school, or picking up or holding something. For the little ones, let them help you stir or arrange food on a baking sheet.  Amazon has a variety of kid safe knives, kid cook books,  cooking sets, and many other accessories to allow your child to safely help you in the kitchen.  On a budget? No problem! Target dollar spot and the Dollar Tree have tons of kid friends kitchen utensils.

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3. Math and Science skills- Cooking is a great way to practice measuring, weighing, cooking time, converting temperature, changing quantities, and the reaction certain ingredients can have with each other to create something delicious and mesmerizing.  I struggled in these two subject areas, so becoming truly hands on with concepts I was learning helped me to fully grasp them. Also, I was having fun and learning!

4. “Feeding” our Creativity- Some are creative writers, drawers, painters, but some are creative in the kitchen.  Try a “chopped” challenge with your family (not as difficult ingredients of course :) and see what they create together.   Watching people cook can also spark creativity.

(Emilie’s Tip) Kids feel creative when their empowered to make choices! When I work with kids, I give them freedom to make up their own smoothie recipes and THEY LOVE IT. Give several ingredient options (nut butters, fruit, even cacao powder!) and make a rule - like their recipe must contain at least 1/4 cup of a veggie (spinach and cauliflower are my go-tos). They get to pick the quantities for everything else! They learn soooooo much about what they like/don’t like.

Here are a few more resources to help you and your family get started in the kitchen:   Kids Cooking Kits Monthly Subscription    Sur La Table Cooking Classes Calendar    Sur La Table Summer Cooking Camps   Cooking is a great way to bring ALL together. Leave Emilie and I a comment or a picture of what you and your family decided to try in the kitchen this week.  Yoga for ALL  Love for ALL  Cooking for ALL  Laura and Emilie


Here are a few more resources to help you and your family get started in the kitchen:

Kids Cooking Kits Monthly Subscription

Sur La Table Cooking Classes Calendar

Sur La Table Summer Cooking Camps

Cooking is a great way to bring ALL together. Leave Emilie and I a comment or a picture of what you and your family decided to try in the kitchen this week.

Yoga for ALL

Love for ALL

Cooking for ALL

Laura and Emilie


People Pleasing: a little blog chat

Hey Loves,

Are you a people pleaser?

Be Honest.

There's no judgement here.

Most of my clients identify as people pleasers. Which on the surface feels like a very positive trait - especially if you're a female in the business world or managing a family - or BOTH! Understanding how to identify peoples needs and meet them is a highly sought after skill for everyone - except, it doesn’t always work out for you. So, here's the thing... People pleasers are blocked from living their best life. They don't feel true joy because, they live & thrive off others slight praise. Living off external influencers will NEVER allow you to feel whole, within. Which, my dear, is no way to live. 

Now let me pause here and recognize that I could totally take a page from your book. I could learn to take things in the stride, go with the flow and accept more. My entire being says CONFRONT. CONFRONT. CONFRONT. I get uncomfortable when stones are left unturned. When I’m out of my comfort zone. When I don’t feel valued. So, I ask the tough questions - but, constantly. Which helps me to be a killer coach, but sometimes less than desirable to a loved one. I'm always learning from my clients.

So - let's just put it out there: at the end of the day, the grass may be greener, but we all have a lawn to manage. We can learn so much from each other. This post is about understanding one small aspect of your sweet, human self and learning how to improve it - because you're beautiful, my darling, and you don’t have anything to prove. 

one of these mornings the chain is gonna break but up until then, child, im going to take all I can take
— aretha franklin, chain of fools

The thing about people pleasing is that the chain always breaks. You always end feeling less than. You don't get credit for your effort. Your effort becomes expected, not praised. Expectations are raised right at that moment you're at capacity - but, you say yes. Yes! I'll take on the project. I'll pick up the kids. I'll bring the homemade, gluten free, nut allergy compliant cupcakes. I'll make the costume. My kid will wear the orange shirt. I'll pay the money. I'll go for drinks with the client. OMG I'm exhausted just typing it all. You do it all, and NEVER feel enough.

I'm a big fan of homework and reflection, so let's talk about solutions. Below is an activity I give clients. Do it. Take your time. 

How are you valued? (reliable, the sweet one, the clean one, the smart one...)

What's your real value? (shed the labels - who are you really???)

What are you saying yes to right now? (what obligations have you committed to? what upsets your partner, but makes you genuinely happy? What conversations do you cave to? what foods do you eat that aren't inline with how you want to eat?)

What do you wish you could say no to or stand up for?

OK, so what can you change? (there are so many things out of our control, but so many things in our control that we just give to others)

What is the impact of your change? (who/what will be impacted from your change? Is it livable?)

Being less of a people pleaser doesn't mean you become a selfish asshole. It means you take ownership of your skills and time. It means you own your value. It means other people will SEE YOU and value you as well. Because you have so much value. 

This is a heavy post, so reach out with any thoughts or feelings - I'm here for ya!

Much Love,

Emilie

Elemental Kids: mindful summer for the fam

Hey friends, Laura here! I'm so excited to share with you this summer! I thought we could kick things off with a chat about what mindfulness actually is and how you can incorporate this concept into your family and summer activities.  I mean, who doesn't want to feel true connection with your kids and enjoy a summer full of fun & soul.  

As a parent, you know that summer can be exhausting and move by too quickly. Instead of thinking about this in terms of DOING MORE, let's look at mindfulness through the lens of being purposeful. So, what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, in my mind and heart, is taking in every moment and feeling without judgement.

Mindfulness looks like being here now when talking to one another, staying present during the simple tasks like washing the dishes, driving or eating food. It's about noticing the little signals and feelings of your body and mind throughout the day.  It allows us to have Mind Full of Love.

Kids are actually pretty great at being in the moment, but learning how to articulate their feelings and discovering coping mechanisms takes time. As parents, guardians, and teachers we can guide our children to practice being mindful of those emotions and how to balance and cope with them. When you open discussion with your kid(s) try to use vocabulary that allows your child to connect with you on their level, not yours! Don't open a conversation with a specific goal or agenda, simply follow their lead.

A great starting point is talking about feelings and emotions. 

  • "What is sad, happy, shy, frustrated, or mad?" 
  • "What does it feel like when you have each emotion?"
  • "How does your body respond to these feelings?" (heart racing, red face, tummy tension)

It's important to let your children know that their emotions are valid and acceptable.  Remind them that feelings will constantly change moment to moment, but identifying each feeling is helpful. During a family discussion time, try sharing an example of a moment you felt sad or mad.  Express how you were able to cope with that challenging moment in your life, through breath, seeking support or journaling. In my years working with children, I have noticed they love having something to relate to and someone to relate with; so don't be afraid to be vulnerable with them!

Mindfulness in Action: 

To practice mindfulness as a family, take one of your simple daily tasks and discover the present moment: feel the body here & now, notice your breath, listen to the sounds around you, recognize the feeling in your feet, hands, and entire body.  Throughout the exercise remember to breathe in a Mind Full of Love. Try to complete the exercise once a day together or separately for a week then at dinner each night discuss your experiences.

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The book, Unstoppable Me, by Wayne W. Dyer is a great map piece to explore mindfulness and feelings! The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. There are questions at the end of the book to help spark discussion and to further reinforce the author’s message.

Leave us a comment below & let us know how this works in your fam!

 

Home Organizing made SIMPLE

 I've felt a strong pull to simplify, streamline & therefore strengthen my life & business. After connecting with Emily Hamilton, owner of Gather by Emily, I knew I wanted - no NEEDED - to work with her! Emily is a professional organizer that goes beyond the usual call of duty. Her services spam from client & event hosting to business management to home & office organization. Ummmmmm, yes please?! Emily came over and in LESS THAN AN HOUR my entire home office was whipped into shape. IT WAS A DREAM! Click through the before & afters!

After we finished, Emily hopped on a Facebook Live with me to share her expertise with my Elemental Living Community - you can catch a replay here and check out her top tips below. 

Emily's Top Organization Tips:

1. Keep it simple - I often meet people who have bought right bins, made perfect labels, and ordered everything from the Container Store, but they still feel totally overwhelmed. Really the solution is to simplify and own fewer things. The fewer things you have to organize, the less time and resources you have to spend organizing them.

When you begin decluttering/simplifying, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING: no bins, drawer organizers, or file folders. You never know what you'll find along the way or what you can repurpose to avoid purchasing even more clutter!

2. Put things that are alike together. This not only helps you easily find items, but also alerts you when you need to buy more. It even prevents you from purchasing extra when you don't need to. 

  • All pens should be in the same place. Go through and test them and throw out the ones that don't work.
  • All batteries should be together, even if they aren't the same size.
  • All stationery, envelopes, stamps, etc should be together. 
  • Throw out or donate duplicates, worn out/broken items, or things you just don't like.

3. Paper and packaging is A PROBLEM.

  • Throw out mail as soon as you get it. 
  • Enroll in paperless billing and bank statements.
  • Go through receipts - toss for items that can't be returned. Scan items that need to be retained for records and save them on the cloud. *I like Cam Scanner.*
  • When you buy office supplies, toiletries, household items, etc, remove any extra packaging as soon as you get home. It takes up more space and and allows you to see exactly what you have easier.
  • Magazines, Toss them! If you have articles/recipes that you want to save, see if you can find them online and save them to Pinterest or a Bookmarks bar instead of saving the whole magazine.
  • Books, if you wouldn't spend your valuable time to read them again, donate them to the library for a tax write off or try to sell them on Amazon.

4. When you begin organizing a space, take everything off & out first. If you're clearing off your desk, take everything off. It will look MUCH WORSE before it looks better, but I promise this is more effective! File or scan papers. Toss old batteries, odds and ends, pens that don't work, etc. Put back only what you consistently use or what brings you joy.

For example, I hate writing with pencils. I don’t hand-write that many things for my job, so there is no need for me to have 20 pencils in a cute cup just because someone gave me a nice monogrammed set. Even though they’re pretty and I like the person that gave them to me, they have no function in my life. So, I put them in a bag and gave them to my friend who’s an elementary school teacher. She has plenty of function for them.

Now, you don’t have to throw out literally everything. Above my computer, I have a note from my best friend that makes me laugh every time I read it and ticket stubs from an event my husband and I attended together. Certainly these things don’t serve a particular function, but they make me happy to see them. That said, you do not need to keep every thank you note you’ve ever received. Encouraging notes and good memories are important, but so is the clear, white space we mentally and physically need for creativity and rest
— Emily Hamilton, owner & organizer Gather by Emily

5. Once you have made a point to HAVE less, make it a mission to BUY LESS. Bring less into your home/office and you'll have less to keep organized. Spend your time and resources on other people, experiences and bettering yourself, not on *things* that you'll use up or wear out.