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September 2015

Snack in case of emergency


So, it turns out my mom was right.


(I’m starting to wonder if always? But do not tell her I said so.)

Turns out this whole snacking all the time trend is kind of a problem.

And by kind of I mean, we should probably take a closer look at our collective habits around round-the-clock grazing.

I was surprised at the dentist when Sam had so many cavities. He doesn’t drink juice, has had Sprite seven times in his life and rarely eats candy – at least I thought so. I didn’t realize how often he gets it at school which is a whole different post!

But our (wonderful) dentist said the candy’s not actually the cavity-causing culprit in our case.

These are snacking cavities, he said.

Turns out even snacking on healthy food without periods of rest is problematic.

Experts advise that eating smaller meals throughout the day can help prevent childhood obesity, but there’s a catch. Researchers now know that frequent snacking – or “grazing” – is becoming a major source of tooth decay.

Teeth go through a healing process between meals. When kids snack on crackers all day, or we give kids a bag of fruit chews for a long car ride, the result is a constant attack on the teeth that breaks down the enamel and can quickly turn into cavities.


Good to know.

Learning as I go here, kids.

The moment my babies started eating solid foods, packing snacks in the diaper bag became as routine as diapers and wipes.

I’ll even admit that for my pacifier-resistant baby I used Cereal Puffs to pop in a moment of silence.

Or, peace and quiet in the car.


As passionate as I am about nutrition and making healthy, balanced choices for my children, I’m thankful I never stood on a soap box about it because it would be melting into a big, slippery mess now-ish.

This could have been prevented if I’d listened to my mom.

But what does she know?

Well …

When she first saw the cheerio-cup holder I packed around with Giraffe and Zebra she was aghast.

They eat in the car? Nonsense.
Why all these snacks? Nonsense.

You had breakfast. Desiata at ten. Then you had lunch. Then we ate dinner. And at 3 o’clock you had olovrant.

That’s it.

No obesity. No cavities. No problems.

While the last point is a bit optimistic, the rest is kind of on fleek, as the kids say.

But here’s the thing, we were also pretty structured. We were at school. Or we were at home. We weren’t “on the go” the way so many of us are today.

With flexible (read: random) work schedules, working multiple gigs and siblings going here and there for practice for this and that, I get how snacking has become a thing. I also see, in hindsight of course, how it turned into a habit.

I think snacks still have their place. I think feeding children intentionally to fuel their bodies is still a good thing.

But don’t be fooled, as I was, into thinking that if you’re feeding healthy snacks all day, it’s all good. Because no. Maybe you already knew that, and good for you.

I have silver-capped reminders when my son smiles now.

I wish I had listened to my mom.

Instead I invested in the lesson at the dentist’s office.

So now what?

With school starting, soccer season kicking into gear and trying to (re)create that whole work-life balance thing there will be snacks. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But now instead of this sort of free-for-all, eat when you feel like it pattern we’ve created we’re going to be more intentional.

There will be breakfast.

There will be desiata. (mid-morning snack)

There will be lunch.

There will be olovrant. (afternoon shack)

There will be dinner.

And there will be some emergency snack kits at the ready for days when there wasn’t enough time to eat lunch (did you guys know how little time kids actually have to eat lunch? Partly because they are so eager to get to the playground, and partly because the next wave of students needs to tables, among other considerations).

Whereas I’ve relied on carby kinds of snacks like packaged Fig and Cliff Bars, I’m planning to stock up on trail mix and nuts and protein packed in my favorite Easy Lunch Boxes.


There are good reasons to snack, and healthy ways to do it. Companies like make it easier for those of us transitioning to healthier ways of doing it. Read up on some good tips for healthy snacking here. Gluten-free friends will like this one here. And you guys, there’s chocolate. And that can be totally good for you. All things in moderation, I can hear my dad saying as I write this. He used to have dark chocolate tucked in his drawer. I loved it when he shared! When we visit he still invites me into his study and shares goodies from his stash, sometimes my favorite ones smuggled from the old country.

For those of us who love convenience, good customer service and a tasty array of options presented in a clean way, check out to get snacking goodness delivered to your door!

The picture above was one of our first road trips with Sam as an “eater.” Yes. I packed his high chair! And his mashed up avocado/rice cereal/whatever else I mixed in there. As you can see by my face, this wasn’t exactly convenient. Not pictured is Matt’s face. Though, you might imagine what it looked like.

It wasn’t long after this the Cheerio holder made it’s appearance. It was way easier to hand that over to the back seat without even pulling over. And so it began.

He’s seven now and both boys are totally used to eating in the car, and eating just because. Sorry, mom. (And sorry Sam and Jake … know better, do better. You’ll thank me later. Down the road when you realize I totally know everything. It’s okay. I’ll wait.)

So here’s my new food motto: Food is for fueling our bodies, not fielding our boredom.

Eat when you’re hungry, enjoy tasty treats on occasion and be well.


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To “like me” like me, find me on Facebook at Nathalie’s Notes, on Twitter or on Pinterest. I’m a prolific pinner on deadline. Just sayin’.

The nothing niche

Remember when you used to write about nothing?


No, like in a good way.

I’m not sure what to …

Reading your blog was like watching Seinfeld.

You know, I used to take things the worst possible way, but with some therapy under my belt I can see perhaps this is a compliment?


Oh, well – thank you.

So can you start doing that again?


Yes I can. In the time I spent trying to “nail my niche,” I lost sight of the fact that I already had one.

Even though my posts documenting the sleep habits (or lack of them?) of a new mama or about interviewing and writing on deadline while nursing (multitasking at its finest) and about milkshakes and marriage never went viral, I was cultivating my own steadily growing community of readers.

And you sent me notes about what you want to hear more about and I LOVE THAT. Please keep sending them. I am listening. I am taking notes. And I have some big plans for this fall. Like, when I actually get to work normal hours because my littles are at this amazing place called school!

Without you readers I wouldn’t have this little place in the cloud to connect with you and share my writing. I am at a loss for words to express how much that means to me.

So yes, I will write about all the things. I will stop trying to be just this, or exactly that – and just be me, out loud.

I made my first fun purchase with Nathalie’s Notes money from book sales because I’m just sure it’ll help me plan my content, track deadlines and stay organized on all the things simply by sheer adorableness!

EC Planner


Coming up: On Snacktivism | Advil and Ammo (it’s not what you think) | Back to School tips | Currently


If you want to geek out on Erin Condren cuteness with me, check out this link: (it’s totally an affiliate link, I recommend products I love and if you love them too, I get some credit. Yea, us!) If you’re going to order something, send me your email so I can send you a $10 off coupon.

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And away we go. They go?

First day 2015


The weirdest thing happened this morning.

I went to the store. All by myself. And when I had to use the bathroom I didn’t have to worry about anyone licking anything because my sweet angels were in a magical place called school! And the total trip took, like, twenty minutes. Total. For real. 

As we gathered in the library (best invention ever!) my heart was so full with gratitude that we are in a community with these parents and teachers and brave little ones.

I say brave because remember?

First days of … anything. All those unknowns. The who will sit by me at lunch? Where will that even be? And when? What if I spill my tray? (I don’t know maybe you didn’t have so many questions?) Then the what will the teacher be like? Will my teacher like me? Will I like my teacher? (I didn’t actually wonder that, my kids are more confident than I was to have that one on their mind).

What if it’s too hard? What if I have to use the bathroom? What if no one wants to play with me at recess?

And still … with all these questions … these kindergartners, first graders and second graders stepped forward when their names were called, some nudged by parents, siblings and friends, and they moved into the adventure of a new year that awaits.

As these little ones formed a line (or approximated a line, which turned into more of a swarm) they stood side-by-side with peers who will teach them just as much as their teachers, maybe.

I was so full of joy, love and gratitude at how welcoming the teachers and principal were, how encouraging and fun it was to see my parent friends and to witness these acts of bravery, I didn’t have the little cry I expected to have about my baby being off to school.

I told myself that’s because it’s a JumpStart program, not “real” school. But, so it begins.

And I think we’re ready.

So far the answer to what I’m going to do all day is think about my kids. Write a bit. Go to the grocery store delightfully by myself, clean the fridge without stopping twelve times.

And, now that I think of it, have myself a little cry.



I wrote more about this transition in my last column: Savoring the Seasons as they Come … what do you bet I write about it again? Like, say, tomorrow.

Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons” available at local bookstores and online. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting. To contact her, visit Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting.

Savoring the seasons as they come

Savoring the seasons as they come

Aug 4, 2015

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

Raising the Hardy Boys

  Hardy Boys August clip

The other night, my family set out to enjoy Newberg’s spectacular Old-Fashioned Festival fireworks display. What was truly incredible, though, is the epiphany I had in the middle of it. 

There we were, four of us on a blanket spread out on Renne Field, surrounded by thousands of other people.

My oldest was leaning against his dad while my 5-year-old sat in my lap. We squirmed and shifted, trying to find the sweet spot of comfortable snuggling, if there is such a thing on the bare ground. 

Jake got settled before I did. He began oohing and aahing over the display as I continued to consider ways to achieve a bit more comfort. 

Eventually, I realized that in my attempt to get it exactly right, I was missing the show.

Just then, a group of teenagers walked into the middle of us. Yes, across our blanket, but that’s a story for another time.

It hit me then that in not too long, my boys will want to go to the show with their friends instead of us. I don’t have a lot of years of this little guy wanting to sit in my lap. This childhood of his, a thing I intended to savor, is already swirling past me like a current I can’t quite keep up with. 

My boys are only 7 and 5, and I’m already finding myself surprised at phases that were once a big deal but are now just a blip on the continuum of front row seats to the development of a person.

I’m thankful I took notes and photographs to remind me. I already forget to take my gingko biloba, which doesn’t bode well for my long-term memory prospects.

In considering my fireworks epiphany, it occurs to me how much I’ve already missed out on by trying so hard to get it right, to get comfortable with changes as they come. 

As I write this, my favorite month is upon us. There’s still summer enough to savor, yet the anticipation of fall is already in the air.

This year, my anticipation of school is more pronounced than usual, as it marks a new season in my life as a writer and mother. Come September, it seems, both of my little darlings will be at a place called school.

I have to let that sink in: both boys out of the house. At the same time.

Apparently, I will drop them off in the morning, then collect them seven hours later. Unless, of course, someone gets sick, or falls off the monkey bars or what have you. 

It’s not as if they’ll be setting out to sea or anything, but still. My babies need me differently now.

Of course, there will still be all the usual stuff. You know, like the making of meals, the pocket-checking, the washing and folding of clothing, the coaching through situations, the negotiating of screen time and such, the reading, bathing and snuggling.

There will still be snuggling, won’t there? At least for a while, right?

But there will also be something very new. Time. At home. Alone.

People naturally ask, so what are you going to do with all that time?

I’m confused by the question. Seriously?

I’m going to do all the things, that’s what. I’m going to actually finish things like sentences, projects and novels, and maybe even clean the oven. I hear that’s a thing.

The follow up question every time is: Are you going to go back to work?

To that, I respond: I never actually stopped working.

But I will get to do it more often, and maybe at more typical hours, instead of at, say, 2 a.m. 

You know what else I’m going to do? I’m going to enjoy it. 

Family Fireworks

If you look close, I’m on the right with Jakey snuggled in. Matt and Sam are beside us. I’m thankful my friend Crystal took this picture even though she didn’t know what was happening in my head and heart at that very moment, I now have a visual to help me remember not to miss the show!

Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons” available at local bookstores and online. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting. To contact her, visit Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting.