Monthly Archives: January 2013

5 Ways to Encourage Children to Get Active


Nowadays with the distractions of television, video games, the Internet and so on, it can be hard to convince children to step outside. However, physical activity is vital to children for a number of reasons related to health, personal and mental wellness. Playing sports is a great way to allow children to connect with peers, and encouraging exercise can build healthy habits well into their adulthood. In addition, physical activity is vital for maintaining a healthy weight, as obesity is a growing concern among children today.

Teaching children to love the outdoors doesn’t have to be a chore. If your children are spending too much time on the couch, then the following tips can help you encourage them to head outside.

Consider Their Interests:

Every child has their own set of diverse interests and preferences; it’s up to the parent to find the right opportunity for their loved one. Does your child prefer to play in the water or walk through nature? Do they like to play with a team or in a solo environment? These questions can give parents a better idea of what activity best suits their child. If they’re embarking on outdoor activities for the first time, then try giving them a sample of a variety of sports. Not only will a wide range of activities expose children to what’s available, it will also make it more likely that they’ll stick with an activity long-term.

Make it Simple:

It’s only natural that parents want the best for their children, to nurture them to strive for the top. However, don’t place too much pressure on your child and push them to become a world-class athlete. This can place a great deal of stress on children, quickly turning them away from any outdoor activity. Instead, make the activity as simple for them as possible, focusing on relaxing fun and entertainment. In addition, you don’t want to overload your children with too many tasks or goals. Instead, break down the activity and try to make the endeavor digestible and easy to handle.

Involve the Family:

If children see parents actively engage and enjoy the outdoors, they’ll be more inclined to join in as well. Therefore, try to involve the entire family in the endeavor, playing sports together.  For example, go on a family hike or an outing to the zoo. Camping trips to the beach or the desert are also great ways to expose them to the outdoors. Set the example for your children through your actions, and encourage them to explore nature.

Limit Distractions:

In general, The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that screen time is limited to one to two hours a day. Therefore, limiting your child’s access to distractions indoors can be a great way to compel them to go outside. Take precautions when using this method; if you place too strict a ban on video games or television, it can cause resentment and reluctance.

Integrate into Everyday Activities:

Going outdoors doesn’t have to be a set task; in fact, there are a number of opportunities that can encourage physical activity throughout the day. For example, instead of taking the car, try to walk with them to the grocery store or library. Not only will it naturally keep them outside, it can also create healthy, sustainable habits well into their adulthood.

Brett Callan is a writer for Murray Callan Swim Schools, where their Point Loma swim lessons offer customized support for children. He loves to enjoy the San Diego weather whenever he can, whether from the beach or at a pool.

Posted in brett callan, children exercising, deanna, deanna verbouwens, kids being active, Mangia Mia Fitness Pia, murray callan swim school, point loma swim lessons

My Italian Moms Tips to Warding Off the Flu

By Deanna

I am the youngest of five girls now strong-willed hard-headed women who were raised in a strict Italian house where my mothers’ signature scent was bleach and ammonia – mixed – don’t tell my mother it’s toxic because she will prove you wrong. My father, my poor father not a single male in house unless you count our dog Dudley who whenever he went to the bathroom NEVER lifted his leg he always squatted – so yes, my dad was outnumbered.
My mother was probably the first germ-a-phobe to exist, she loathed anything that was dirty, despised when we had dirt on our faces or in our fingernails, this is the women that invented the “baby wipe” but never had the foresight to copyright it -think I’m joking? Really? Well let me ask you this: did your mom carry a wet washcloth in a plastic baggie to make sure your face was always clean?
Germs could never outlast my mother, EVER, our sheets were changed on a weekly basis, the floors were scrubbed daily, and dust bunnies the poor things they didn’t survive to live an hour – in my house my dust bunnies are multiplying by the day and I think they might be organizing a union. Let’s just say me and cleaning – well the apple flew off the tree and has never landed.
My father diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis drove my mothers germ and cleaning obsession (today, I am pretty sure it would be called OCD) into full tilt; she fought her damnedest to try and ward off every other disease that could possibly enter our abode in order to protect us and my father’s already compromised immune system. She made sure we would be healthy (we ate soy pancakes, bran muffins and tofu crap way before these “health foods” were popular, late 70’s-early 80’s, another post for another time). I can honestly say I never missed school because I was sick…not counting the times I ditched and forged my parents signature (but that’s yet another post for another time, damn I have to write more!) 
Nevertheless, in my efforts to ward off the flu in my house (and general cold and ickiness of the winter) I have adopted my mothers tips to stay germ free and keep my family healthy, the good Lord knows that sick children + a sick husband = a very exhausted mom.
And because I am a giver and not a taker, I am sharing with you my moms tips for warding off germs, you can thank me later with a tall glass of sangria:
  • *Open the windows in your home EVERY DAY even if its zero below. Let me back up a little… first, shut off the heat (so you are not throwing cash out the door) then open at least two windows in the house EVERY DAY for a good ten minutes. You will freeze your ass off as you kill the germs! After your nipples can cut glass close the windows and turn the heat back on (rookie mistake!) Viola! Your house is now germ free and smells … winter fresh!

  • *Use bleach whenever you can – if you question whether or not you should use bleach, use it.

  • *Rinse the families toothbrushes with peroxide EVER DAY, if you have a strong resolve gargle with it too, for me that’s not happening.

  • *EVERY week put the toothbrushes and hairbrushes in the dishwasher, yes, you read that correctly. The dishwasher (works for grimy toys too!) And once a month run the dishwasher (empty) with bleach. Yes, my mom is bat-shit crazy, thats why I am not normal I was poisoned with bleach!

  • *Change your sheets WEEKLY. No exception to this rule, if there wasn’t five of us I can guarantee this would have happened daily – even my mother knew that putting six sets of fitted sheets on a bed, on a daily basis, is a bitch.

  • *Wipe down every sink, counter-top, door knobs, faucets multiple times a day. Lysol wipes are great for this – if you can buy stock in Lysol (rather the parent company: Reckitt Benckise) – do it, trust me, you’ll thank me later as you are retiring in Cabo.
And if you happen to get sick, well, I have a list of my mom’s Italian cold home remedies that will get you up and cleaning your molding in no time! And yes, it involves bleach. 

Posted in cold and flu, deanna, deanna verbouwens, how to ward off the flu, italian moms tips, staying healthy, The Little Buggers

Does Lance Armstrong’s Mother THINK She Raised a Liar?

By Deanna

With the tragedies of Sandy Hook, Hurricane Sandy, our national deficit and what’s going in Syria one would think that no one would care about Lance Armstrong.
We have better things to worry about right? Right?

Hell YES! 

And that’s why I wasn’t that intrigued with the entire Lance Armstrong scandal – years ago it was obvious that Lance was taking performance enhancing drugs, that he was throwing some of the people that were closet to him under the bus, and that he dumped Sheryl Crow. I could care less that he was finally admitting it.  I didn’t give it much thought because well, let’s face it he is just the next athlete in a very long line that has taken performance enhancing drugs that has disappointed his fans and disgraced a great sport – moving on.

Until the other night when I checked my twitter stream and saw a barrage of tweets with the hash tag #doprah. Not only was the hashtag hysterical, appropriate and clever it peeked my curiosity.
I turned on the TV.  And I watched in awe as Lance tried to answer Oprah’s questions sincerely.  Boy did he try.  But all I saw was a man that was admitting his “major flaws” as he called it with absolutely no remorse. To me, it seemed that he was only sorry because he got caught, because too many fingers were pointing at him. 

And that’s when I started to care.

I started to care about his mother, his children, his ex-wife, his current wife and the LiveStrong Foundation. They had live through these lies and Lance Armstrong’s arrogance. The LiveStrong foundation is a foundation that I personally supported, I donned the yellow bracelet, I read their newsletter, I love their emails. I feel a little cheated. Imagine his children, his mother, the Foundation? All defended Lance (as any mother and child would) but now what? How do you recover from this?

I thought of my children whom I never want to feel that insecure, so insecure in their abilities that they have to lie to get what they want.  I don’t necessarily fault Lance for taking the drugs, it the old adage “everyone’s doing it.”  I think his “major flaws” were the lies, the arrogance that he would never get caught, the lawsuits he filed against those that were telling the truth all in the quest of trying to control and cover up so many things that were out of his control.

I wonder what would have happened if he admitted so many years ago to using these drugs the minute the story was leaked? Not much I am sure, now its a web of lies that even Lance can’t get out of. 

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”

Then I started to think about my life, how do I drive home to my children the importance of being honest, respecting others, respecting yourself and never to jeopardize your integrity?  I know that Lance’s mother didn’t raise a liar, so where does the disconnect come from? The fame? The fortune? The glory?

How does it go so wrong? I’m not sure if we’ll ever know that answer, I guess all we need to do is to take care of our children the best we can, drive home some of the most important life lessons:

1. Be honest with yourself and others
2. Respect and love yourself and others
3. Liars always get caught. 

As I step off my soap-box I toyed with watching part two of the the interview, but did not. I Now,  I will certainly stop caring about Lance Armstrong and any other athlete that admits to taking performance enhancing drugs.

There are more important things in the world to worry about. 

Unless of course, if Derek Jeter admits something so incredulous than I will know that there is no hope in the world for any sport.

Derek, you’re clean, right?

Posted in #doprah, cheaters never win, deanna, deanna verbouwens, lance armstrong, liar, That's Life