Healthy Eating Essentials


Hello Highchair Organizer audience! My name is Lauren Pickens. I am a fellow lifestyle blogger and writer, and I am proud to introduce my first guest blog on this site. Today I thought that I would share some of my personal secrets to something that we all struggle with, healthy eating. As I am a college student, I try to keep the base of my diet as natural as possible to keep up with my busy lifestyle. However, due to time and budget constraints it can become easy to eat processed unhealthy foods. Below, I have listed three items that I make sure to have in my kitchen at all time that make eating healthy meals easy and affordable whether you are making meals for a single person or a family.

1. Avocados


Photo credit: Farmanac
This super food will get you full and satisfied in no time. There are so many ways to eat them. You can make some easy guacamole with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh salsa. Or, add a few slices to a turkey sandwich to make it more filling.
My personal favorite way to eat avocados is put them on top of whole grain toast for breakfast. When they are ripe (when the avocado can be easily squeezed), just put it directly on your toast and sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper to taste. This is perfect for those days when you need to throw something healthy together for breakfast!

2. Detox tea

Black tea

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
If you are a tea lover, then you should give detox tea a try. The brand Yogi makes detox teas in a variety of different flavors. You can find this brand at Walmart and all major grocery chains, and a box goes for an average of about three to five dollars. They are all natural and are a healthier alternative for morning coffee on days that you feel a little sluggish or lethargic.
Detox tea can help to cleanse your body and regulate the digestive system. I can really tell the difference when I drink it 3-5 times a week. If you have gone through a week of unhealthy or binge eating, drinking detox tea every day for a week can help you get back on track.

3. Spinach


Photo credit: michelle@TNS
This leafy green vegetable is full of vitamins, iron, and calcium. You can incorporate spinach into all three meals of the day in order to create colorful and healthy dishes.
Breakfast: Adding spinach to a smoothie can be an easy way to create a great tasting green smoothie. Blend together about five pieces of ice, three strawberries, one banana, a handful of spinach, and about a ½ cup of water or soy milk. Green smoothies can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t tried one, but this recipe is great because the sweetness of the fruit camouflages any taste of the spinach.
Lunch: For an easy lunch salad; I toss together freshly washed spinach leaves, dried cranberries, some feta cheese, and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette.
Dinner: Spinach is great to add into any pasta dish and works well with a variety of sauces, including pesto and cream based sauces. When you have boiled the pasta just cook the spinach down in a separate pan with a bit of coconut or olive oil and add it to the dish once you have added the sauce that you are using. This simple addition turns an ordinary pasta dish into a more health conscious alternative.

Follow me on Twitter at @laurenpickens92, and tell me in the comments below if you have any holy grail food items!

Parents, do you have this number?


National Poison Help Line

1-800-222-1222 is the telephone number for every poison center in the United States. Call this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a poison expert. Call right away if you have a poison emergency. Also call if you have a question about a poison or about poison prevention.

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.

For more information on poison control visit








Who has time for reading…YOU do!

Experts suggest reading with your child for at least 20 minutes each day.  If your days are anything like mine, 20 minutes can sometimes be almost impossible to squeeze in. Parents often compliment me on my children’s vocabulary. My son is 5 years old and is in Kindergarten.  He reads on a 2nd grade level and loves books.  My daughter just turned 2 and speaks extremely well.  She always has a board book in her possession and loves “story time”.  I credit their vocabulary and love for books to my consistent focus on making sure they are around books as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions on how we manage to get at least 20 minutes of reading time in our day-everyday. These few simple principles have worked in our family and I have shared them with many other families and they too find them successful.  I challenge each of you to try them with your family and let me know how it goes.

1. Keep a Sight Word List in a sheet protector in your car

Sight wordsHere is an example of one of my son’s Sight Word sheets.  I store them in the back of the passenger’s car seat.  He grabs one each day on our way to school and reads the words to me.  I make sure he is pronouncing them correctly and that he knows them. Our commute to school is at least 20 minutes, so I know he is getting at least 20 minutes of reading into his day.  On the way home from school (or after-school care) he reads a beginner reading book.  If he does not know a word, he will spell it to me and I will assist him with it.


2. While you prepare dinner allow your children to read books at the highchair and/or dinner table


I keep small board books in The Highchair Organizer ( While I am preparing dinner (this takes at least 20 minutes), I pull a book out for my daughter and she “reads” them.  She is only 2 and too young to read, but she thinks she is reading although she is only flipping through the pages and looking at pictures. This is developing her love for books.  If you have older children, allow them to sit at the dinner table and read while you prepare dinner.

3. Have your older child read to your younger child

We have implemented story time in our family.  My 5 year old gets to pick out a book that he gets to read to my 2 year old. While he is reading to her, mom and dad will read something to ourselves.  Now our children see their parents spending time with a book as well.

4. Read a book to your children at night time

This one is pretty easy.  We read one book at night to the children right before bed.

As you can see, with these few principles in place, you can make sure your children are getting that recommended 20 minutes of reading in each day.

Volunteer much?

Giving back is something I always try to do…in some form or fashion.  My passion for the past 3 years has been working with a non-profit organization called Not By Bread AloneNot By Bread Alone gives food boxes to 70 families in need each week – no questions asked.  Why this is important to me is simple.  As a girl, my grandmother would always say to me “You don’t know where you’re going. You only know where you’ve been.”  Simply stated you don’t know where this game called life will take you.  You only know of the fortunes you’ve had in the past. With that in mind each Friday for 2 hours I assist in making and passing out food boxes.


It is never too early to get your children involved in volunteering.  My 2-year daughter goes with me each week while I volunteer.  While she is too young to officially “help”, she is not too young to understand what we are doing.  My dedication to the project instills in her the spirit of volunteerism. Getting involved in volunteering at a young age can set a life-long pattern of advancing the common good. There are many great opportunities for community service for kids that will expand their social circle, teach them empathy and compassion, and increase their chances of success in life.

Encourage your kids to start by looking into volunteer opportunities with the organizations closest to them. Their school may have a volunteer program that can arrange placements for them. Perhaps they could volunteer at a local library or community center? Joining a scouting organization is another great way to find opportunities to give back to the community. Whatever the organization, whatever the cause, giving back is a good thing!

FREE Circus Sundays at Piedmont Park 2014 (March 16)

Originally posted on Occupy My Family:

Location :  Piedmont Park poster_Circus Sundays
Atlanta, GA

Time:  3:00 PM

Details:  There needs to be more play in the world, more ways to let go and forget, more excuses for us to strip off the clothing of repression and slip into the suits of merriment. it’s with great delight we introduce the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of Circus Sundays!


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Happy Family makes our family happy!

Some things in my family’s busy life style have become an automatic necessity. For us it is healthy foods that we can use on the go.  It is not uncommon for me to run from a business meeting straight into story time at the library.  Or fly out of the house after breakfast with a bag filled with a healthy snack for my 1 year old to munch on until lunch time.  For my family that healthy snack is Happy Family brand of superfoods.  What I love about the Happy Family brand of superfood is they are organic, healthy, and yummy.  My kids love them!  I keep the Happy Baby squeezes in my diaper bag for food “emergencies”.  I pack the Happy Tots superfoods in my son’s lunch.  This way I know he is getting at least one serving of fruit and veggies each day.  I keep the Happy Puffs in The Highchair Organizer for my daughter.  This is a perfectly healthy snack for her to munch on while I am preparing dinner.  I even keep a few of the Happy Tots Plus squeezes for me to have when I am out running errands.  They are filling and they keep me from getting sucked in a fast food restaurant.
Well, the fabulous folks at Happy Family are giving a Welcome Baby gift set to one of our lucky readers.
Please leave a comment below on the Happy Family brand of organic superfoods to automatically be entered for a chance to win.  ***This contest has ended***
Welcome Baby gift set – a $35 value
  • Happy Family reusable tote bag and an organic cotton Happy Baby t-shirt
  • A selection of our most popular baby products including: Happy Bellies cereal, Happy Puffs, Happy Yogis, Happy Munchies rice cakes and Happy Baby stage 1 and 2 pouches.
  • Nutritional Resources like our Infant & Toddler Nutrition Guide, Allergy Reference Chart and Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen wallet cardsImage

For more information on the Happy Family brand of superfoods, visit their website at

The fabulous opinions expressed here are our own!  The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. We will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.