Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stress Less This Holiday Season

tips to stay healthy during the holidays

Hi Moms! My name is Danielle Shea Tan, Certified Health Coach and Founder of Healthy Mamas for Happy Families.  Parent Talk was kind enough to invite me to write a guest blog post about how we as moms can reduce the stress that comes with the holiday season. I hope my tips help you – please enjoy!

For many of us busy moms, the holidays are bittersweet. The sparkling decorations, the joyful celebrations, the thoughtful gifts and delicious meals are all reason to feel smitten with the holidays. But, every mom can attest that sheer madness occurs to make these memories so beautiful. The shopping, cleaning, planning, prepping, schlepping, smiling, driving, dressing, and eating can be endless – and downright tiresome! I’m here to tell you - it is POSSIBLE to enjoy the holidays without the burnout.

To make your holidays more joyful, you need a plan for lowering your stress. It’s got to be a simple, practical plan that you can commit to.. Let me take you through three simple steps for creating your plan so by the end of this article you’ll be glowing with excitement for the holiday fun to arrive.

Step 1: Remind yourself how you reduce daily stress. What works for you personally?

Knowledge is power. If you already know your body and which activities successfully reduce your stress levels then you’re way ahead of the game If you aren’t sure of what works, here are a few activities that are proven to reduce stress:

Step 2: Ask yourself which holiday activities are the most stressful and the least joyful for you. What are 1-2 things you can do differently?

Some of these activities like spending time with your rude Uncle Charlie are unavoidable. But, are there any stress-inducing holiday responsibilities that you do have control over? For me, it was the shopping that caused me serious stress. I love to shop and I love the holiday spirit that envelopes you at the mall, but the crowds, the lines, the bright lights and loud music make it very stressful for me. I realized this a couple of years ago and have switched to shopping almost 100% online. Here are some ideas for how to make some stress-reducing holiday responsibilities a little less stressful:
  • Shopping – Skip the malls and buy online.
  • Wrapping – Pay to have your gifts wrapped online or at the mall (it’s usually a non-profit donation!
  • Cooking – Start making double and freezing any soups or sauces now. This way you’ll have pre-made dinners to rely during the week when you need to start prepping for a big holiday meal. 
  • Decorating – Divide your decorations into what’s required to make the house feel cozy and spirited and what’s a nice to have.  Start by only putting up the required decorations, then if you get around to it, you can add more later on. 

Step 3: Schedule your simple plan in your calendar now.

When we’re truly committed to something, we schedule it in our calendars - a work deadline, a family activity, a date night. Commit to 1-2 simple stress-reducing activities each week and mark it in your calendar today. Remember to make it simple and easy to commit to considering all the extra holiday responsibilities. For example, if exercise is your relief, commit to two workouts a week or 15 min/day instead of your typical workout routine.  Finally, pick the one activity that is the least joyful for you and commit to getting it off your plate or taking a different approach that makes it less stressful.

Now that you’ve committed, tell us in the comments your plan for reducing stress this holiday season.

For more information on my nutrition and lifestyle coaching services for busy parents and to receive a free gift to further enhance your healthy lifestyle, visit Use the savings code “healthymama15” to receive 15% off any of my programs through December 31, 2013. In the meantime, you can also follow me on my blogFacebook and Pinterest.

Join the Healthy Happy Holiday Challenge (we start later this week!).
It's only $37 because I want to motivate moms to participate and join in on the fun! 

About the Author

Danielle Shea Tan is a certified health coach who helps busy moms and their families nurture healthy habits and face nutritional and lifestyle challenges with an upbeat attitude and manageable solutions. Danielle's on a mission to change what parents believe about their families’ day-to-day ills—from stomachaches to fatigue, inability to concentrate to constipation. While most parents grasp for answers to these issues, like age or stage, Danielle believes that the majority of these issues can be solved FOREVER through small tweaks to diet and lifestyle. Her goal is to set families up for healthy futures where they feel great.

photo credit: orangebrompton via photopin cc

Monday, November 11, 2013

Here's why you need to go to the Kindergarten Expo in Needham.

Navigating Needham Kindergarten

When my family moved to Needham almost 5 years ago, we had an incoming kindergartener and 2 younger kids. I knew nothing about the school district, and I was surprised to learn that kindergarten was only a half day! I quickly starting stopping moms at the Y or Roche Brothers to ask for advice about what programs were available for the second half of the school day.  I managed to figure out a solution that would work for us and to pull it together in time for the school year. How I would have LOVED to have 5 experienced parents at my disposal in one place to hear about the different options and how they handled the second half of the kindergarten day! Well, if you are new to the Needham public school system or you have a child who will be starting kindergarten in the Needham public schools in September, 2014 or September, 2015, you are in luck! 

On Wednesday, November 20th from 7pm to 9pm at the Pollard Middle School lecture hall, the first Navigating Needham Kindergarten panel will take place. This brand-new event, co-sponsored by Parenting Expedited and Parent Talk, will feature 5 Needham parents who have all sent their children through the kindergarten program in Needham public schools or chose a private kindergarten or have used different programs to "cover" the second half of the school day (and after-school care). The panel members have sent their kids to the KASE program, NEDP, Tobin, and Chestnut, to name a few, and they will happily answer YOUR questions about logistics of the school day, why they chose one program over another, or any other questions you might have about kindergarten such as "Can kindergarteners buy lunch?", "How does bussing work for after-school programs?" or even "What does KASE or NEDP even mean?" One thing to keep in mind is that the panelists will NOT discuss the kindergarten curriculum or specific teachers or schools- the school district will hold an orientation meeting in January that introduces new families to the kindergarten curriculum. 

Following the panel discussion, programs that offer full day, half day and after school programs will have staff available at information tables to answer specific questions about THEIR programs so that you can get the official word on what each program has to offer. In order to keep yourself organized, Parenting Expedited will also be handing out information booklets about the kindergarten alternative/after school programs so you can review everything you learned.  This is a great way to jumpstart your planning for the 2014 school year. Kindergarten and KASE registration begins in March, 2014, and many of the after-school programs already have waitlists for next school year- find out which ones and how you can make that work in your situation!

Don't hesitate to sign up- it's $10 for Parenting Expedited/ParentTalk members and $15 for non-members. You can register at

About the Author
Shanna McClennen is a mother of 3 girls, ages 9, 7, and 5. She is looking forward to FINALLY having all 3 children in the same school next year when her youngest starts kindergarten.

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Friday, November 8, 2013

Babysitter Meet and Greet with UrbanSitter in Needham

UrbanSitter is hosting a Babysitter Meet & Greet with Chocolate Therapy
for a wine & chocolate pairing!
You'll have the chance to sample delicious wines and chocolates,
interview sitters and learn more about UrbanSitter.

What: Babysitter Meet & Greet with UrbanSitter
When: Tuesday, November 12 | 7-9PM
Where: Wingate | 589 Highland Ave, Needham
Click here

These sitters are scheduled to attend:
> Jamie M.
> Traci L.

> Audrey R.
Contact UrbanSitter Boston Manager
Hope to see you there!
The UrbanSitter Team

Monday, November 4, 2013

In Need of a Date Night?

One of our sponsors,, is co-hosting an awesome night out sweepstakes. Who couldn't use a night out on the town? This is your chance to win everything you need for a kid-free night out!

  • $100 Gift card to Tea Collection for PJ's for the kids
  • $100 Gift card to
  • Round trip transportation from Uber ($100 credit)
  • Dinner for Two at Cinquecento
  • One night stay at XV Beacon (up to a $500 value!!)
In order to enter, head over to Tea Collection to get in the running. There will also be some great runner-up prizes too. The contest ends Sunday November 10th. Winner will be notified via email.

We would love to see a Parent Talk member win this awesome prize. Good luck!

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