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Five Ways to Nourish and Renew Your Spirit + a Giveaway

I’m thrilled to offer you this guest post from Renée Peterson Trudeau. This article originally appeared in her book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. In the spirit of retreat and renewal, Renée is also offering an exciting Year of Self-Care Mother’s Day Giveaway. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see how you can enjoy nourishment, relaxation, empowering coaching and inspiration for an entire year (a $2,700+ value)!


It’s 1976, and my mom and dad are sitting quietly with their eyes closed, hands resting upward — thumb and index finger touching — while my younger siblings crawl on their backs and shoulders. My older two brothers and I sit nearby, holding our own meditation poses, bored, rolling our eyes and counting the minutes until this ritual will end.

At least once a week or whenever things got stressful, my parents would pull all five of their children — ranging in age from ten to one — into our library for a family meditation. As much as I complained, a part of me yearned for this spiritual practice.

Spiritual renewal is essential to our emotional well-being. It helps us nurture our essence, feel centered, build inner strength, live in integrity, and trust life. It allows us to experience a connection to a higher power, feel a sense of purpose, and experience meaning in our lives.

There are many different ways we explore and nurture our spiritual lives. For some this includes spending time in nature, yoga, prayer and meditation, or musical or artistic expression. Some of the daily practices that provide me spiritual nourishment include:

Creating Ritual

We all crave sacredness and ritual in our everyday lives — not just around birthdays and weddings. Rituals can be both carefully planned events and casual but regular remembrances such as voicing gratitude before a meal or creating dedicated space in your day for contemplation.

When we mark important transitions or milestones in our lives — whether it’s your daughter’s first period or your son starting kindergarten —  we connect to the sacredness of everyday life. We remember that life is mysterious and we’re more than our to-do lists!

Cultivating Stillness

Stillness, whether experienced through prayer, meditation, or reflection, is our time to be alone and connect to our inner wisdom or our higher power — what I call our internal GPS system. It’s essential for all of us to carve out time for quiet reflection each and every day.

One of the biggest gifts I’ve received from a daily meditation practice is theability to live more comfortably with what is–whether that’s my husband’s recent layoff or a car accident. Life is like the weather in Texas — constantly changing. Meditation has helped anchor me, so that despite this impermanence and turmoil, I’ve learned how to be still and find my center in the face of it all.


Practicing Service to Others

Mother Teresa says, “The fruit of love is service.”

We are all interconnected. The more we reach out and are present to one another’s pain and suffering, the stronger we become and the easier it is to embrace the esoteric idea that we’re all one. I believe huge shifts in consciousness can occur when we reach out and help one another navigate this sometimes scary, often isolating and perplexing, but beautiful world. Sometime that might look like serving soup at your local homeless shelter and other times, it’s helping out your neighbor who just lost her husband.

Living in the Present

Many great spiritual teachers believe the answer to everything is to just “be here now,” and that our suffering and emotional distress would end if we simply stopped resisting the present moment.

One weekend as I sat on the couch with a full-body cold: a splitting headache, body chills and a nonstop runny nose, I thought about this principle. And, as I watched the things I was missing fly out the window — my friend’s birthday party, my son’s piano recital — I connected to my breath and felt myself arrive in the present moment. I sensed my resistance begin to dissipate and a feeling of peace slowly settled over me. I temporarily suspended my desire for things to be different and I embraced that on the couch, with a cold, was exactly where I was supposed to be.


Choosing Happiness

Three of my immediate family members died unexpectedly between my twenty-sixth and thirty-fourth birthdays. For years I let those losses dictate how much and how often, I could experience joy. Anytime I started to feel light, free, or happy, the old feeling of “waiting for the other shoe to drop” would creep in.

Can you only be happy if things are going your way and all the stars are aligned in your favor?

I believe we’re born with the innate capacity to experience emotional well-being and joy; it’s our birthright to feel good. Happiness comes from within; we’re wired for it. We just have to remember to choose this moment to moment.

It’s easy to forget who we really are. To lose sight of what really matters. To fall asleep and not remember how interconnected we all are and that we’re fully human and, at the same time, divine.

A regular spiritual practice — whether that’s daily prayer or meditation, being in a spiritual community, or singing— serves to anchor us. It grounds us and helps us navigate the challenges we face from just being human. It helps us stay awake.

So ultimately, we can begin to let go, trust the rhythm and flow of life and relax into the beauty of our true nature.

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The preceding was based on the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ©2013 Renée Peterson Trudeau.

Life balance coach/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family.  Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her online at www.ReneeTrudeau.com


Enter Renée Trudeau’s Year of Self-Care Mother’s Day Giveaway and enjoy nourishment, relaxation, empowering coaching and inspiration for an entire year! This is a $2,700+ value that includes an all-expenses paid trip to Renée Trudeau and Deborah Kern’s Putting Yourself First: The Ultimate Self-Care Retreat for Women at Omega Institute , a RTA-Certified Facilitator Deluxe Starter Package to lead self-renewal groups/retreats, a personalized, high-level coaching session and much more.

Learn how to enter the giveaway. Entries close May 11.

Photos: Susan Sachs Lipman, Graphics: Renée Peterson Trudeau

Enter the OgoSport PlayRefuel Contest

Outdoor Play Equipment from OgoSport

Where do you and your family like to play and eat?  Share your tips and take part in OgoSport‘s PlayRefuel Summer Contest! The contest is designed to help families discover places to eat and play in cities and towns across the U.S.  Share your favorite playgrounds, parks and outdoor spaces (Play), and/or places to grab a bite with kids (Refuel). You’ll be entered in a drawing for a $250 OgoSport gift basket and other fun prizes. The contest runs through August 31. Winners will be announced in fall.

Here’s how to play:

1. Enter OgoSport’s Twitter or Facebook contest page: playrefuel.com/2013contest

2. Click on either Twitter or Facebook.

3. Submit the name and location of a favorite place to eat or play and two brief descriptions of what you like about it.  If on Twitter, use the hashtag #playrefuel; on Facebook enter the contest link for details.

You can also send submissions via a postcard or letter to:

OgoSport, LLC
Brooklyn Navy Yard, Bldg. 3 Suite #408
63 Flushing Avenue, Unit 137
Brooklyn, NY 11205

4. Each submission – up to 10 – will enter your name in our raffle drawing for a chance to win a $250 OgoSport gift basket in addition to other prizes.

Get inspired by OgoSport’s disks, darts, bits, kits and other fun sports equipment for outdoor play.

I look forward to playing, refueling, and sharing my top spots for both.

The OgoSport Mini Disk FORA


This post is sponsored by OgoSport. The opinions expressed are my own.

Photos: OgoSport



Go Green for Earth Day with Method Detergent

My family and I have been huge fans of Method home products for a long time. We particularly enjoy the bottles of glistening hand and dish wash, in pretty colors and scents, that grace our kitchen sink. We appreciate that Method has also started to make bottles  from recycled ocean plastic.

So, of course I was excited to learn that Method is now making laundry detergent and products in its signature and other scents and that I was being asked to give them a try.

I chose a 50-load bottle of Fresh Air scented detergent. I greatly appreciated the pump bottle and its ease of transport and use. I learned that Method laundry detergent is plant-based, yet ultra-concentrated. That means less production, product and packaging waste. (Because Method detergent is 8x concentrated, it uses drastically less water and 36% less plastic, and requires 33% less energy and oil to produce than most widely-available detergents. Its bottle, too, is made from 50% recycled plastic, which made our family very happy.

My local market offered Method detergent in two scents, “Free and Clear” and “Fresh Air”. While I normally lean toward unscented or lightly scented products for home use, I did want to try one of Method’s signature scents (and they’d never steered me wrong with their dish soap.) I opted for a bottle of “Fresh Air” detergent and immediately brought it home and put it to use. I loved the scent. I found it to be very clean without being cloying. It offered a subtle, lovely, “clean laundry” smell that I somewhat associate with detergents I’ve liked in the past, though Method’s is far subtler. For someone like me who doesn’t like laundry detergents in obvious scents, this is great. I’m eager to try their other scents, too, lavender cedar, sweet pea and spring daisy.

I washed multiple loads of laundry. white and colored,  for a trip, and everything turned out great. I decided to try Method as a stain remover on a stubborn stain that had occurred earlier in the week when the red yarn on a favorite sweater ran into the white during hand-washing. Even though this was a stain that had set in over time, Method worked phenomenally, after other stain removers had not. Method allowed enough improvement (with a pleasant smell!) so that I can actually wear the sweater.

This was a bleed stain that had set in! Method is tough on stains, but easy on the planet. Now you can enter to win a year’s supply of Method laundry detergent and products. I did!

Happy Earth Day!

Other Slow Family posts you might like include:

What Our Kids Can Teach Us About Recycling
Live a Slower, Less Expensive and More Meaningful Life: A Teen’s 10 Tips for Recycling and Reuse
Back to School: Green Sandwich and Snack Bags
Earth Day and Every Day: 11 Ways to Make Gardening Extra Fun for Kids

This post is sponsored by Method. The views expressed are my own.

Make Yummy Desserts with Tillamook Yogurt

Ever since Tillamook introduced its regular and light yogurt, we’ve been eating it, well, almost as quickly as we eat Tillamook cheese. We recently decided to branch out from breakfast and check out some of the yogurt recipes on the Tillamook site. We were very glad we did!

My mom used to make yogurt pie, using a graham cracker crust. I so associate it with my childhood summers, and have made it for my family over the years. I was especially delighted to find this recipe for Yogurt Pie made with a shortbread crust and drizzled with melted chocolate. It’s delicious and kicks the traditional yogurt pie up a notch, while still being very easy to make.

Yogurts also make wonderful bases for smoothies and shakes. The Bronson Sunrise Smoothie is terrific in the morning, after a bike ride, or after school. We also like all these Shake recipes, which can be made in a blender to create a shake or a smoothie.

Tillamook yogurt contains no artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors or colors, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial growth hormones.

Click the coupon below for “Buy one, get one free” Tillamook yogurt coupons.

Read my review of Tillamook yogurt flavors.

Tillamook provided sponsorship and coupons to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Join the Great American Backyard Campout June 23

Would you like to attend an overnight, family-friendly campout with a celebrity chef cooking your meals, live entertainment, fun outdoor activities and all the Coleman gear you need provided?

What is it? The Coleman Company, Inc. is hosting a private camping event for 15 families. I get to choose 5 of those families from amongst my blog readers!

Why are they hosting this event? Coleman has partnered with National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to sponsor this year’s Great American Backyard Campout. Coleman and NWF want to inspire parents to get their families outside, even if they’ve never camped before.

If I win, what do I get? The winners will receive a family ticket (for a family of up to five) to attend the Coleman Great American Backyard Campout event. You are responsible for your own transportation, so it’s better if you live close enough to drive. We won’t exclude you because of distance, though – if you’re willing to make the trip, you can enter! At the campout, you and your family will get:

  • A full campsite worth of Coleman gear for you to use at the event, and take home with you when it’s over
  • Meals, recipes and outdoor cooking instruction from a local celebrity chef
  • Fishing instructions from a Shakespeare fishing pro fisherman
  • Stargazing with an astronomer
  • Live campfire sing-alongs with a local musician
  • Guided morning hike with a delicious breakfast at the destination
  • Easy ways your family can help the environment while camping from Leave No Trace
  • Lots of Coleman helpers to lend a hand if you have questions about the outdoors
  • Plenty of fun leisure activities, like a bean bag toss, Frisbee throwing, card games and more

My family has never been camping before. Can we still attend? Absolutely! This event is designed for campers who don’t have a lot of experience, or any experience at all. Plenty of Coleman folks will be available to give you a hand with your gear and answer any questions you may have. We’ll also have modern facilities and running water at the campsite, so there’s no need to worry about going too “extreme” your first time out.

Where is the event located, since I have to travel? Lake Berryesssa – Chaparral Cove, 7600 Knoxville Road, Napa, CA  94558

When is it? The Great American Backyard Campout takes place on June 23, 2012. Coleman’s event will be taking place from 11 a.m. on June 23 until 10 a.m. on June 24.

What is the Great American Backyard Campout all about? Great American Backyard Campout is part of National Wildlife Federation’s “Be Out There” movement, which is designed to provide tools that inspire parents and children to spend time in the outdoors. Over the next three years, NWF’s goal is to get 10 million more kids playing outside on a regular basis. Spending a night under the stars is the perfect way to start.

That’s a lot of info – but now I’d really like to attend with my family. How does the contest work? It’s easy! Leave a comment on my blog & tell me these things:

  • Your name and email address. We’ll only call or email you if you’re a winner, and we won’t disclose your info to anyone else.
  • If you’re willing to travel to the event location on June 23.
  • Why your family would like to attend the campout.

At 9 p.m. Pacific Time June 7, I’ll be selecting 5 winners from the entries I receive from you. I’ll inform the winners individually, and we’ll coordinate with Coleman to get you everything you need before the campout. Then, we’ll see each other on June 23!

If you have any questions about the contest, let me know. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out from Coleman and get back to you as soon as I can.

And if you don’t want to enter the contest, please enjoy the Great American Backyard Campout in a backyard or in a campground near you!

Camping in Brookyn, NY. Photo: Peter Fisher

Other images: National Wildlife Federation

Here’s a link to the Official Contest Rules (note that my closing time is slightly different) on the Because I’m Mommy web site.

Peter Rabbit Organics and Giveaway

Too bad Peter Rabbit Organics weren’t around when my daughter was little. We would have snatched the pouches up by the dozen. For starters, they’re delicious — extremely flavorful and unusually fresh tasting, not qualities normally associated with purchased baby food. They’re completely organic and contain 100% fruit or veggies — no added sugar, salt or artificial ingredients. The portions are generous – each pouch contains 70-85 calories and plenty of fiber and vitamins. The pouches are easy to use, either with a spoon or to eat directly from. They’re extremely portable and durable and don’t need refrigerating before opening. And, unexpectedly, you can even re-cap each BPA-free pouch and refrigerate to finish later. All good!

Our testers of all ages (kid to adult) enjoyed all 5 sample flavors. “Strawberry Banana” and “Mango, Banana and Orange” were exact blends of those ingredients, resulting in flavors that were very bright and evenly balanced. “Sweet Potato, Corn and Apple” had a deep and distinct sweet potato-and-apple taste, with a subtle hint of corn. Both squash and apple flavors came through nicely in the bolder tasting “Carrot, Squash and Apple” blend, with the carrot being exceedingly subtle. “Pea, Spinach and Apple” offered a nice taste appropriately dominated by fresh pea, with a hint of sweet apple. (We couldn’t taste any spinach, though we’re sure it was there!)

All the flavors we tasted were quite good. You’ll have to try a few to find your little one’s personal preference. (Older testers liked the fruit flavors and thought those would make good on-the-go snacks for sports teams.) Peter Rabbit Organics are available at lots of stores around the U.S. and online. (I also learned that the products are U.S.-made.)

I’m giving away a box with 12 assorted flavors of Peter Rabbit Organics, so that one lucky reader can try them, too! To enter, leave a comment on my blog and let me know what flavor you or your little one is most looking forward to trying. I’ll choose a computer-generated random winner. The giveaway closes Friday, March 9, Midnight, Pacific Time. Good luck!

Please note: Though I am occasionally sent products for review, I am not compensated, and reviews are honest, factual to the best of my knowledge, and my own.

Giveaway: Win Tickets to The Wiggles Big Birthday Show in Oakland Aug. 12

Fruit salad! Incredibly, The Wiggles, the colorful, energetic quartet of children’s entertainers from Australia, are celebrating 20 years as a group, with a 31-city North American Big Birthday Tour. They will play in Oakland, CA Friday, August 12.

I am fortunate to have 2 family 4-packs of tickets to give away for each concert — 2:30 pm and 6:30 pm at the Paramount Theater in Oakland. To be entered, subscribe to my mailing list, in the right column of the blog, and leave a comment here or on Facebook to let me know that you subscribed. Also let me know which show you’d like tickets for. Enter to win by Sunday, August 7, 9 pm Pacific Time. The winners will be chosen by random drawing. (If you’re already a subscriber and wish to enter, just let me know in the comments.)

The show promises to be quite participatory. Organizers are suggesting that audience members dress as their favorite characters, yell, “Wake up, Jeff!” whenever the Purple Wiggle falls asleep during the show, and enter the YouTube video contest to become the Fifth Wiggle and perform with the group onstage.

In addition to entertaining, The Wiggles will donate a portion of the proceeds from all ticket sales to support Reach Out and Read, a school readiness initiative that serves 1/3 of the most underserved children in the U.S.

You can also help local animals through East Bay SPCA and ARF at the Oakland shows by donating dog food and new or gently-used pet bedding or blankets.

Show tickets are also available through Ticketmaster. Use the discount code: UKELELE.

The Wiggles Original Album Cover

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