Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

Reader Question:
  1. We are attending Thanksgiving at my in-laws and I am concerned about how they will treat my children. My husband is an only child and we have three very rowdy young boys. Last time we visited, my in-laws made several negative comments about the boys. My sons have no cousins and were bored for most of the afternoon. I thought they did as well as could be expected given they had nothing to do after the meal. Any thoughts on how to prepare?

 

Something about family and food gatherings brings out the best and worst of families. Before you go, plan some sort of entertainment for the kids. Bring board games, an electronic interactive game, maybe go outside and play for awhile and work off some energy, or do what my family did for years—go bowling. None of us were regular bowlers, which made the event more fun. After we ate and pitched in with clean up, a group of us headed for the bowling alley. Grownups and kids bowled together and were loud and crazy. It was a fun activity that allowed those who wanted to get of the house for awhile to do something together. And those who stayed behind had a chance to rest and relax. Let your in-laws know ahead of time that this year you will have activities for the kids after the meal. They are welcomed to join you or use the time to rest. Hopefully this will take care of the negative comments. But if those comments are still made, smile, tell your in-laws that family dinners are not easy for rambunctious boys but they are really trying. Stay on top of them with your discipline. Tell your in-laws that you are doing the best you can and hope for a little grace for the holiday.  If not, you be the one who offers grace.

Reader Question:

Q: Thanksgiving is a holiday that doesn’t seem to get its due. I want my children to understand the meaning of the holiday, as it is an important part of American history. What kinds of activities can I do with my children that will teach them more about this important day?

 

A: I agree that Thanksgiving doesn’t get the same attention as other holidays. Yet it is an important part of American history that should not be relegated to a big meal! Here are a few ideas. Print up a paper that says, “I am thankful for…” and everyday in November have your kids fill in the blank. Then, read a few of their answers on Thanksgiving. Print up an Indian sign language charts and use them to write a story. Cook a few original colony foods (you can look these up on the Internet) and talk about the first feast. My children couldn’t believe eel and squirrel were on the menu of the settlers. Try your hand at several colonial crafts like weaving and pottery making with homemade clay. Get an archery board and shoot arrows. Build a campfire and try to cook something over it. Activities like these will make the holiday come alive and give an appreciation of what times were like during colonial days. Finally find quotes about the holiday like this one from Abraham Lincoln, “But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own…” and talk about what Lincoln meant and how we can remember to give God the glory for all we have.

1 holidayTis the season for alcohol to flow regularly. Office parties, get togethers, holidays celebrations.

But does your age make a difference when it comes to alcohol consuming?

As you age, you lose muscle mass, body water and tend to add more fat. Alcohol doesn’t distribute in your fat, meaning it will circulate in your bloodstream more and be metabolized in your liver. The liver gets bigger as we age, but less efficient. And the enzyme responsible for breaking down alcohol decreases too.

Aging means less alcohol has more effect than when you were younger.

Think about medications you may be taking. Drug-interaction is a major concern with alcohol. One of the common problems is acetaminophen (Tylenol) and alochol. The two can damage the liver.

Long-term alcohol use can also raise blood pressure and irritate the stomach.

The brain  is more sensitive to alcohol and cognitive impairment happens more quickly.

Sleep is more affected and interrupted.

Aging matters. The effects of alcohol are more problematic on the liver and brain. Moderate drinking, defined as two drinks per day for men and one for women, can have some health benefits, but moderate is the key. So limit your consumption this holiday season and go for the nonalcoholic options. Your aging body will thank you.

recipe_food_cooking_860779_oStart your engines…the holiday eating season officially begins in a week. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the eating frenzy will be in full force!

If you are like most of us, you will put on an extra pound or two. And while that doesn’t sound too bad, most of us don’t lose that weight after the holidays are over.

So here are a few tips to prevent that holiday weight gain:

1) Don’t go into deprivation mode and try to resist the goodies. Mentally, this is a set up to overeat. Depriving yourself makes you want it more. Instead, tell yourself you can have it, but have it in moderation.

2) Take a bite or two and then stop. Research shows that the greatest satisfaction with food is in those first few bites. Take them slowly and savor them. Then push it away. You get the pleasure, but not the guilt!

3) Move as much as possible. Take stairs instead of the elevator. Park a ways from the mall and walk. Bundle up and take a walk. Think of ways to move more if you can’t exercise regularly.

4) Don’t go hungry to parties or events. You will overeat. Drink a full glass of water, eat a small piece of fruit and take the edge off your appetite.

5) Park yourself close to a low cal party item. If you nervously eat during holiday get togethers, make it the low cal items. Carrots and hummus versus the Christmas cookie tray.

6) Now, you are not going to like this last tip, but it does help prevent weight gain during the holidays. Weigh yourself regularly! I know, that sounds crazy but it is a reality check that keeps you accountable. People who weight themselves gain less weight.

You can do this. Get out there an enjoy all the festivities. Stay mindful of what and when you eat, pace yourself and you will do just fine!

 

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