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Friday, October 29, 2010

What Do You Wear With Peep Toe Ankle Boots?

I just bought several pairs of peep toe ankle boots…now what? I was in need (I use the term loosely) of some new shoes and when I went to my trusty favorite online shoe store I kept seeing these peep toe boots! I was so confused but found myself strangely drawn to these unusual accessories. So I bought a couple pairs and decided I would try them on in person and with clothes and see how I liked them. When the box arrived I ripped it open anxious to see what these boots would look like in person. Upon primary inspection I was very pleased and then became even more excited when I tried them on. I love the fit and the look but can I really wear peep toe shoes in the winter? And if so, how?

I “Goggled” my question “what do you wear with peep toe ankle boots” and was overwhelmed by the number of people who recommend wearing them with tights. Basically, the advice is to wear them with solid colored tights and not with panty hose as the idea is to be intentional about it. Also, while it is easy if your boots are black or brown it may not be as easy if they are an unusual color like fuchsia? What do you wear with them then? Well, then you should match your tights to your bottoms. And most people say that you can and in some cases should wear patterned tights. Simple right?

Armed with this info go out and buy yourself a pair of peep toe ankle boots. I really love mine!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10 No-Sew Halloween Costume Ideas

Written by:
Cristi Driver

There are so many cute Halloween costume ideas for kids that you can make at home – no sewing required! All that is required is some resourcefulness and creativity by using items you already have or buying a few inexpensive items that can be found at most big box stores or second-hand shops.

All of these ideas are cheap, easy, quick and allow for lots of imagination.

Try one of these classic costume ideas this Halloween and your kid won’t be the fifth Spiderman or Disney princess in their classroom or neighborhood.

Black Cat Pair a black leotard or black turtleneck top with black leggings, tights or sweatpants and black shoes. Buy the cat ears and a tail at a costume shop or make your own. Use old black pantyhose to make a tail by cutting out one leg, stuffing the hose with cotton balls to form a long tail, safety pinning the top together and then pinning it to the back top of the pants. Another idea is to get a black feather boa from a costume shop and cut it to the right length to make a furry tail (you can use the leftover fur to wrap around ankles, wrists and waists to make the cat “furry” – the only drawback to this is that it sheds a lot). Use black eyeliner to draw in whiskers and a nose on your little kitty cat’s face.

Pirate You can find pirate accessories at most costume shops that include a pirate hat, eye patch and sometimes other items like a hook or play sword. Instead of a pirate hat you can also tie a bandana around your child’s head. Find a striped shirt or white ruffled top (thrift stores are a good resource), pair it with black pants for boys or for girls, a denim skirt with black or striped tights, and add boots. A cute addition is to find a small stuffed or plastic parrot and attach it to your child’s shoulder. Arrrgh!

Bunny Rabbit Find a white or pink sweatsuit or use a white or pink top or leotard and tights. Purchase bunny ears and a tail at any costume shop or make your own. Make long bunny ears by cutting them out of white and pink construction paper, attaching a bent paperclip to the back of each ear to make them stand up and fastening them to a headband. Make a bunny tail from an old powder puff or with a bunch of large cotton balls glued together and pinned to the seat of the pants. Use pink lip liner to make a bunny nose and brown or black eyeliner to make whiskers on your bunny’s face.

A Bunch of Grapes Buy a bunch of purple latex balloons at party store. Use a purple sweatsuit or purple top or leotard and tights as the base. Blow up all the balloons and then carefully pin them all to your child’s purple clothing. Make a stem out of green felt and bobby pin it to your child’s head.

Gypsy The key to this costume is layers, lots of them. Layer on several flowy, mismatched skirts, scarves and strings of costume jewelry like plastic beaded necklaces and dangly bracelets (if you don’t have these items at home, head to the thrift store). Tie a long scarf around your child’s head and add one big hoop earring. Funky tights with boots are a cute touch. Add bright red lipstick and heavy eye makeup and use brown eye liner to make a signature beauty mark.

Ghost or Charlie Brown Ghost A ghost is the easiest costume ever – white sheet, cut holes, you’re done! You can make it a little more creative and have your child be Charlie Brown from the classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and cut holes all over the sheet and have him or her carry a bag with a rock in it.

Construction Worker Cut the sleeves off an old plaid flannel shirt and put it over a long-sleeve thermal shirt. Pair it with jeans and strap on a tool belt with play hand tools. Add work boots and work gloves and a few smudges of brown face paint or eye liner on your child’s face. Top it off with a plastic yellow hard hat that you can buy most anywhere.

Scarecrow Use an oversized plaid flannel shirt, jeans (add some patches for a cute touch), a rope for belt and to tie at the cuffs of the jeans and sleeves then stuff the shirt and jeans with plastic grocery bags or paper. Add a little bit of straw to hang out of the jeans and shirt. Use face paint to make a scarecrow face and add a straw hat.

Miss America Recycle that old bridesmaid or prom dress and add a pair of long white gloves, a tiara and high heels. Make a banner using a long piece of white satin ribbon and use glitter paint to write in “Miss America.”

Deviled Egg Use a white sweatsuit or white t-shirt and white pants. Use yellow felt or a huge yellow marker and make a circle in the center of the top. Buy or make a pair of red devil horns, a red spiked tail and a pitchfork and voila, a deviled egg!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2010

September marks the start of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the US. In reading about the month and all of the different festivities what jumped out at me was the phrase "silent killer." There is so much emphasis put on the fact that this type of cancer most often goes completely undetected until it is too late. The reason is simply that the symptoms can be so confusing because they are typical symptoms of a myriad of other illnesses. What is important to me is that you familiar yourself with the symptoms and with the risk factors of ovarian cancer in hopes that you will be even a little more educated about your own body.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yellow Mustard Can Help Fight Cancer?

It seems like I have always been aware of the health benefits of many of the Indian spices that are used in my favorite Indian dishes. Recently it came to my attention that yellow mustard may not only be healthy for you but may also have some cancer fighting properties. Almost as far back as history goes mustard has been know as an anti-inflammatory agent whose main health benefits come from the ingredient that gives mustard its yellow color, turmeric.

Although the anti-inflammatory effects of mustard (turmeric) go way back only recently has it come about that this same agent could have anti-cancer effects. Some even claim that they have seen tumors shrink as a result of the curcumin in turmeric which is thought to be its primary pharmacological component. The low rates of certain cancers in India are seen by some as evidence of this.

In addition, it is now believed that curcumin also has strong anti-oxidant effects and that it destroys free radicals which we all know the physical benefits of…

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3 Healthy Eating Tips for Today

1. Have you seen that the Skinny Cow now makes ice cream bars?? They do and they are awesome! Not only do they satisfy me but my girls adore them too! They come in white chocolate truffle, caramel and chocolate and are only 100 calories each! I bought mine at Food Lion on sale at $3.99 for 6 nbut they are only $4.99 regularly anyway. Totally worth it!

2. I love guacamole but I don't love the calories and my friends feel the same way. In my Shape magazine this month I found a recipe for guacamole made with edamame! Brilliant! Here it is:

Ingredients:
1 12-ounce package frozen organic shelled edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 /2 teaspoon sea salt
1 /4 cup water
1 /3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:
Place edamame in a food processor. Add the oil, vinegar, salt, and water and pulse until smooth. The mixture should look like a thin hummus; if it’s too thick, add more water. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Add parsley and pulse briefly to blend (flecks of parsley should still be visible).

Transfer to a bowl; garnish with more parsley, if desired, and serve with pita wedges and/or crudités.

Nutrition Score per serving:
(1/2 cup): 184 calories, 12 g fat (58% of calories), 2 g saturated fat, 9 g carbs, 10 g protein, 3 g fiber, 108 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 259 mg sodium

3. Switch to whole wheat pasta. I have always heard it is better for you but when I am pasta shopping and reading the labels that is not evident so I decided to do a little research into just what is so much better about it. I found this info from WebMD very helpful:

Pasta (2 ounces dry) Calories Fiber Protein Fat
Barilla Plus Spaghetti* 210 4 g 10 g 2 g
Westbrae Natural Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna 210 6 g 8 g 1.5 g
365 Organic Whole Wheat Shells (from Whole Foods) 210 5 g 7 g 1 g
Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini* 208 8 g 9 g 3.5 g
Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Rotelle Pasta 210 5 g 8 g 1.5 g
* Barilla Plus Spaghetti contains 0.2 g plant omega-3s. Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini contains 0.7 g plant omega-3s.

More About Healthier Pasta Brands

Here are more details about these whole-grain or higher-fiber pastas:

Barilla Plus Penne: While this enriched multigrain pasta isn't 100% whole wheat, it contains a grain and legume flour blend, along with semolina. This blend generally includes lentils, chickpeas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseed and wheat or oat fiber. What this means is that the pasta is high in protein (from the legume flour and the egg whites,) contains some plant omega-3s (from the ground flaxseed,) and will boost your fiber significantly (thanks to the legumes, whole grains, ground flaxseed.) Cooking time for the penne variety is 11-12 minutes.

Westbrae Natural Organic Lasagna: The first and only ingredient is organic whole durum wheat flour. Hard to argue with that, isn't it? I love lasagna, so I've noticed over the years that it is definitely difficult to find a higher fiber lasagna noodle. So I was happy to have found this choice at Whole Foods. Yes, it's definitely whole-wheat pasta, but this fact seems to be less noticeable when it is layered in lasagna. Cooking time: 10 minutes for the lasagna.

Lifestream Organic Whole Grain & Flax Linguini: This pasta has the highest amount of plant omega-3s in a serving of the brands I checked out. The fiber ain't too shabby, either (8 grams per 2 ounce serving). The brand is distributed through Nature's Path Foods Inc. in Washington, and has just two ingredients: organic wheat durum flour and organic brown flax meal. Cooking time for the linguine is 7-9 minutes.

365 Organic Whole Wheat Shells: Even the Whole Foods store brand is jumping on the whole-wheat pasta bandwagon. The pasta contains just organic whole durum wheat flour and water. You'll find it in assorted shapes including long narrow tubes (also known as penne). Cooking time for the shells is 14-16 minutes.

Trader Joe's Organic Whole Wheat Pasta Rotelle: You can find a few different shapes of whole-wheat pasta in the Trader Joe's brand, including rotelle, penne, and spaghetti. The only ingredient in this pasta is organic durum whole wheat. Cooking time is 9-11 minutes for the rotelle.

All found at http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/healthier-bowl-pasta?page=2

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

“3 Slimming Tricks you can Use Today” found in the August 2010 issue of Shape Magazine:

This is something I came across in my last issue of Shape that I thought was pretty helpful stuff. I know I am guilty of violating some of these suggestions myself! I hope these tips help you out!

“3 Slimming Tricks you can Use Today” found in the August 2010 issue of Shape Magazine:

Tip from the foodie:
“Cut out the distractions! I never eat in front of the TV, at the computer or while reading the newspaper.” - Dominique Crenn, chef de cuisine, Luce at the Inter-Continental, San Francisco

Tip from the nutritionist:
“Take small bites, chew your food thoroughly, and put down your fork between mouthfuls.” – Lilian Cheung, Ph.D., co-author of the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

And from the Yogi:
“Immerse yourself in the details by being mindful of texture, aroma, and taste.” – Joni Dittrich, Ph.D., Instructor Ubunu Restaurant & Yoga Studio, Napa, California

Saturday, August 21, 2010

How to Clean Organic Broccoli - Weekly Tip

Do you buy organic food as often as possible? I do. Now, I am not claiming to only buy organic or to make sure that my kids only eat organically but when I have a choice I usually choose the organic option when it comes to what my girls eat. So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the broccoli that they so love to eat can also easily be found in the organic variety. I immediately began buying, steaming and feeding my girls the healthy treat!

Have you ever looked closely at organic broccoli? I thought I was looking closely at and giving a thorough cleansing to the florets that I was encouraging my girls to eat and I guess since we can’t go back and look it is possible that I was but I think that possibility is pretty small…The last time I bought organic broccoli I bought it from Wal-Mart since it is less expensive there than the usual Harris Teeter price. I make a point of telling you this because this was the time that I noticed that after I steamed the florets there were hundreds (literally) of little bugs that were all over the florets and that had fallen off into the water! I was shocked and disgusted! I promptly threw all the perfectly steamed florets away and like I usually do when I buy bad food from Wal-Mart I blamed the source and vowed not to ever buy broccoli from there again. The next day I went to Harris Teeter and bought organic broccoli. I brought it home and began to inspect it and low and behold it too was covered in bugs! I looked up the phone number for the store where I bought the produce and intended to get my money back when my more level headed other half (Tyler) said “why don’t you just look on line and see what it says?” Hesitantly I did what he suggested and found that I was certainly not alone.

As it turns out pretty much every bunch of organic broccoli you buy will have these bugs (some call them aphids but I don’t care what they are called) on it. I had been missing them because they look just like broccoli and because they borough so deeply into the florets that they can easily be missed. From what I can tell these bugs exist on the organic variety of broccoli because of the very fact that it is “organic” meaning they do not use pesticides which means that pests can live on the vegetables. Duh. So if I want organic broccoli I need to find a way to clean it thoroughly.

Ok, so I have been experimenting and think I have a solution to getting these tiny bugs off of my broccoli for good! Here is what worked for my step by step:
1. Cut the florets off of the stems and soak them in cold water in the fridge overnight
2. Bring some water to a rolling boil and scoop the florets out of the water and put them into the pot of boiling water
3. Boil for 5 min, scoop (I emphasize scooping because that way you will leave the largest number of bugs behind in the water) them back into cold water and proceed to rinse several times.
4. Put the broccoli back into cold water and into the fridge for when you want to cook it.
5. Get broccoli out, rinse it a couple of times making sure no new bugs are falling out and then steam or cook as usual.

Whew, it is a lot of work but if you want bug-less organic broccoli this is what you are going to have to do.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Parent-Child Yoga

This is a class taught by Angela Gallagher and in case you have not read what I have written about her she is wonderful!

Many adults use yoga practice to increase flexibility, relax, and cope with stress. The Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health is excited to announce a new opportunity exclusive for parents and their child! Parent-Child Yoga is a great way to bond with your child while incorporating yoga practice that instills feelings of calmness and relaxation. This class will be very fun and interactive as the yoga instructor uses animal shapes and noises to help the children learn and explore the yoga experience. All yoga classes are offered at the Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health, and the schedule is listed below. To sign up for any of these classes or for more information please call Angela Gallagher at 414.5942 or by e-mail at angrubgal@yahoo.com.

Date Time
02-Aug 10:00-11:00 A
09-Aug 5:45-6:30 P
16-Aug 10:00-11:00 A
23-Aug 5:45-6:30 P
30-Aug 10:00-11:00 A
06-Sep 5:45-6:30 P
13-Sep 10:00-11:00 A
20-Sep 5:45-6:30 P
27-Sep 10:00-11:00 A
02-Oct 5:45-6:30 P
11-Oct 10:00-11:00 A
18-Oct 5:45-6:30 P
26-Oct 10:00-11:00 A

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coping With Bullying

Has your child even been the target of a bully? Or maybe you are the parent of a child who pushes other children around and you are mortified by his or her behavior? Well, this article is designed to provide parents with some quick and very helpful tips on both sides of the bully story as well as to provide you with some suggestions about where to go to get some more detailed information. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that “bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis,” so let’s get educated on what we are dealing with.

I would like to start by defining “bullying.” Bullying is when a person is picked on over and over again by an individual or group with more power, either in terms of physical strength or social standing ( http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/bullies.html .) This is as good a definition as any. The most important thing to remember here is that the definition can be adjusted to fit the set of circumstances you are in. For example, if your child is 2 years old he or she may not be the only object of the bully’s frustrations but they are still being mistreated by a “bully” and therefore the situation needs to be handled with as much care and attention as if they were teenagers who were afraid to go to school. It is also important to make this note because from what I have seen myself and heard from my dear friends bullying is starting even earlier these days so as the parent of toddlers I suggest getting some basic education on how to handle it.

The best advice I got while handling a recent episode we had was given to me by my retired school teacher mother-in-law. She said “the most important thing you can do right now is let her know that you care about what has happened and that you will handle the situation for her if she wants you to.” Now, this is probably easier for me than it would be for some of you out there with teenage children as a child under 5 is much more likely to ask for their parent’s help than a 16 year old but the advice is still the same for parents of teenagers. By acknowledging the hurt feelings and the need for protection you have successfully crossed the first hurdle by acting in a way that restores confidence. Children (even toddlers) need to know that they are taken seriously especially by their parents. Once this is established they feel a little more secure and the bullying is less likely to leave lasting marks on their emotions. Ignore them or belittle their feelings and you are inviting a whole host of problems for the future. Ignoring a bully in a situation where the children are older can have much more severe circumstances as well since, “numerous high-school students have died when stalking, threats, and attacks went unreported and the silence gave the bully license to become more and more violent” ( http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/bullies.html# ). So please, if you take nothing else away from this then don’t ignore your kids!

Here is what The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says about talking to you child who is being bullied:

  • Ask your child what he or she thinks should be done. What's already been tried? What worked and what didn't?
  • Seek help from your child's teacher or the school guidance counselor. Most bullying occurs on playgrounds, in lunchrooms, and bathrooms, on school buses or in unsupervised halls. Ask the school administrators to find out about programs other schools and communities have used to help combat bullying, such as peer mediation, conflict resolution, and anger management training, and increased adult supervision.
  • Don't encourage your child to fight back. Instead, suggest that he or she try walking away to avoid the bully, or that they seek help from a teacher, coach, or other adult.
  • Help your child practice what to say to the bully so he or she will be prepared the next time.
  • Help your child practice being assertive. The simple act of insisting that the bully leave him alone may have a surprising effect. Explain to your child that the bully's true goal is to get a response.
  • Encourage your child to be with friends when traveling back and forth from school, during shopping trips, or on other outings. Bullies are less likely to pick on a child in a group.

By following some of these simple suggestions you can ensure that you child is actually better for being bullied as these are situations that can and do surface throughout our lives. You can do nothing better than give your child the tools they need to be able to handle such situations with care, grace and confidence.

Here is what some experts had to say about the “bullier.” Some bullies actually have personality disorders that don't allow them to understand normal social emotions like guilt, empathy, compassion, or remorse. These people need help from a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist( http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/bullies.html# ). In my little world this is what I see more often than not. A bully almost always seems to have some emotional scarring and could use having an understanding adult to talk to in order to diffuse their frustrations. It is never too early or too late to start helping you child to work through some of the emotions common to “bullies” and produce an emotionally healthy child in the end. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that “If you suspect your child is bullying others, it's important to seek help for him or her as soon as possible. Without intervention, bullying can lead to serious academic, social, emotional and legal difficulties. Talk to your child's pediatrician, teacher, principal, school counselor, or family physician. If the bullying continues, a comprehensive evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other mental health professional should be arranged. The evaluation can help you and your child understand what is causing the bullying, and help you develop a plan to stop the destructive behavior.”

Here are some good “Bully Survival Tips” for older children from http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/problems/bullies.html# :

Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a coward's response — sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away, or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.

Hold the anger. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor — it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).

Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe that bullying is a part of growing up (even that it is character building) and that hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.

Practice confidence. Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).

Take charge of your life. You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think about ways to feel your best — and your strongest — so that other kids may give up the teasing. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like yoga. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers, or writing. Joining a class, club, or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel great about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the mean kids.

Talk about it. It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend — anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.

Find your (true) friends. If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of the above tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor's not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is — petty, rude, and immature.


The most important thing that we can do as parents is be aware of what is going on in the lives of our children. Your presence and understanding alone have boundless power in the lives of your children regardless of which side if the fence you are on.

**I also used the web site http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/bullying for a lot of my information and noticed they have many resources for parents who are dealing with a bully situation. **

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer Safety - 10 Tips for Parents

Lucky for me not only are all three of my brothers physicians but one of them is an Emergency Room physician in Dallas, TX. If it was not for him I would never have paid attention to the correlation between the arrival of summer and the dramatic rise in emergency room visits for children. Safe Kids USA cited the following stats:


  • drowning deaths increase by 89% during the summer
  • bike deaths increase by 45% during the summer
  • fall deaths increase by 21% during the summer
  • motor vehicle deaths increase by 20% during the summer
  • pedestrian deaths increase by 16% during the summer

Staggering isn’t it? Well, in the interest of keeping my children and yours out of these statistics I have written the following article.

Before we get into the “meat” of the issue I wanted to make a point of letting you know that I cannot tell you the number of times during my research for this piece I ran into the statement “I just turned my back for a second” spoken by endless numbers of shocked parents so I will advise you first and foremost this summer DO NOT TURN YOUR BACK FOR A SECOND! Ok, let’s begin.

This spike in traumas in the summer is no wonder since kids are not only out of school for the summer but the increased time on their hands coupled with the beautiful weather means they are doing a lot more playing and spending time outdoors. In combination with the outdoor activities of children parents are also spending more time in the sun doing things like sun bathing, barbecuing, gardening (mowing the lawn)and just plain enjoying the weather. I searched for a good article to reference and I found a couple worthy of mentioning. The following tips came from http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/safetyfirstaid/a/summer_safety.htm and I found them quite comprehensive and very helpful. I know the list is long but I have trimmed it down as much as I thought I could and it is worth every second you spend reading. The information could help to keep your little one safe all summer long!

  1. One of the best ways to stay safe this summer is to wear a (properly fitting) helmet and other safety gear when biking, skating and skateboarding, and when riding scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and horses. Studies on bicycle helmets have shown they can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
  2. Use layers of protection to prevent a swimming pool tragedy. This includes placing barriers completely around your pool to prevent access, using door and pool alarms, closely supervising your child and being prepared in case of an emergency. Lack of adult supervision and drowning go hand in hand. In summer, kids drown at nearly twice the rate that's typical for the rest of the year--reflecting a steeper summertime increase than exists for any other kind of accidental injury to kids. Drowning is "not like in the movies," says Cianflone. There is no wild flailing and commotion. "The child will simply just slide into the water, very silently and very quickly," she explains. In a pool setting, for example, an adult might suddenly notice a child at the bottom of the pool and have no idea how long he or she has been there. Resuscitation may be possible, but often serious damage has already been done. "You can get them back from a cardiac standpoint," explains Lozon, as children typically have resilient cardiovascular systems, "but they will have severe neurologic damage." The most basic, common-sense advice to prevent children from drowning is to have an adult watching the water at all times. Sounds obvious, like something any parent would do instinctively, but Cianflone says a kid drowning is usually "a matter of everybody was watching, but nobody was watching." The solution, she says: Having a designated adult with his or her eyes on the water at all times and the ability to jump in quickly. (http://www.ihavenet.com/Health-Summer-Safety-Reasons-Kids-End-up-in-ER-How-to-Prevent-It.html )
  3. When cooking outdoors with a gas grill, check the air tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from insects, spiders, or food grease. Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing. If you ever detect a leak, immediately turn off the gas at the tank and don't attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed. Newer grills and propane tanks have improved safety devices to prevent gas leaks.
  4. Make sure your home playground is safe. Falls cause 60 percent of playground injuries, so having a safe surface is critical. Concrete, asphalt or packed dirt surfaces are too hard. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips or mulch.
    Use softer-than standard baseballs, safety-release bases and batting helmets with face guards to reduce baseball-related injuries to children.
  5. If you are a soccer mom or dad, beware that movable soccer goals can fall over and kill children. Make sure the goal is anchored securely at all times and never allow anyone to climb on the net or goal framework or hang from the cross bar. Remove nets when the goals are not in use.
  6. To prevent serious injuries while using a trampoline, allow only one person on at a time, and do not allow somersaults. Use a shock-absorbing pad that completely covers the springs and place the trampoline away from structures and other play areas. Kids under 6-years-old should not use full-size trampolines. (**we violated this one like CRAZY when we were kids…**)
  7. Don't allow a game of hide-n-seek to become deadly. CPSC has received reports of numerous suffocation deaths involving children who crawled inside old cedar chests, latch-type freezers and refrigerators, iceboxes in campers, clothes dryers and picnic coolers. Childproof old appliances, warn children not to play inside them.
  8. If summer plans include camping and you want heat inside your tent or camper, use one of the new portable heaters that are equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). If oxygen levels start to fall inside your tent or camper, the ODS automatically shuts down the heater before it can produce deadly levels of carbon monoxide (CO). Do not attempt to use alternative sources of heat or power to warm a tent or camper. Traditional camping heaters, charcoal grills, camping lanterns, and gas generators also can cause CO poisoning.
  9. Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of open windows. Guards should be installed in children's bedrooms, parents' bedrooms, and other rooms where young children spend time. Or, install window stops that permit windows to open no more than 4 inches. Whenever possible, open windows from the top - not the bottom. Also, keep furniture away from windows to discourage children from climbing near windows. (**window falls increase dramatically during the spring and summer months**)
  10. Summer also means yard work. When mowing, keep small children out of the yard, and turn the mower off if children enter the area. If the lawn slopes, mow across the slope with the walk-behind rotary mower, never up and down. With a riding mower, drive up and down the slope, not across it. Never carry children on a riding mower.

Have a fun and most importantly a safe summer!

Friday, April 30, 2010

What Do You Look For in A Food Label?

When you look at a food label what are you looking to see? I never really know but in an effort to make sure my family eats well I decided to delve a little deeper into the topic. I found a good bit of information and thought I would share.

So, the first thing I will point out is the serving size. This is probably the most important part of the food label as it sets the stage for how to interpret the entire rest of the label. I am pretty good about remembering to multiply the calories by the serving size but I am definitely guilty of forgetting that this multiplication also applies to everything else listed on the label. One component of prepackaged foods that I really want to watch is the sodium. Cans of soup are often bad about having a ton of sodium in them and after you multiply the percentage by the serving size the results can be pretty alarming! Of course all of these numbers are based on a 2000 calorie/day diet which may or may not be the right kind of diet for you. If you would like to find out how many calories you should be getting in a day use this really cool calorie counter to help http://nutrition.about.com/od/changeyourdiet/a/calguide.htm It will even tell you what you need to do to get to your goal weight with and without exercise. You really have to check it out!

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires that food companies publish values for Iron, Calcium and vitamins A and C. Some companies may include information about other nutrients like folic acid and niacin if they are contained in measurable amounts.

I was also interested in exactly what standards have to be met by a food in order to be able to make a claim like “fat free” or “low sodium.” Here is what I found at http://www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/fns/nutritional/foodlabel.htm :
· Fat Free- less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving
· Low Fat- 3 grams of fat (or less) per serving
· Lean- Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and no more than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving
· Light (Lite)- 1/3 less calories or no more than ½ the fat of the higher-calorie, higher-fat version; or no more than ½ the sodium of the higher-sodium version
· Cholesterol Free- Less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams (or less) of saturated fat per serving


To Make Health Claims About... The Food Must Be...
Heart Disease and Fats Low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
Blood Pressure and Sodium Low in sodium

So you can rely on the claims made by food companies knowing that they actually do have a well defined set of standards to adhere to.

A couple of other things of note:
· Look for foods low in calories from fat as this is best for a healthy heart.
· Look at the amount of saturated fat in the food you eat. Doing so and keeping the number low will help keep your cholesterol low and avoid heart disease.
· Try to eat less than 300mg of sodium daily. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure so try and keep the amount of sodium you eat daily as low as possible.
· Fiber is good for you
· The source of your protein could also carry with it some fat that you do not need. Try to get protein from a low fat source such as beans.

There are a couple of good sources of information out there but they all say similar things. Just try to read the label and stay healthy!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shed That Baby Weight!

Everyone knows that those last few (15+) pounds of baby weight are a beast to get off. I remember struggling with the last eight of both of my two pregnancies until I thought I was just going to have to resign myself to keeping them forever. Neither diet nor exercise nor both together seemed to be doing any good. We have all been there so anything that can assist in removing that extra poundage from the back side of me is more appreciated than you know. Agreed? I stumbled upon this when I was reading my Parents magazine and thought I would share. I love that they make meal suggestions. Most importantly, I want to point out the “Lose the Baby Weight” newsletter that you can sign up for if you would like to have something come to you regularly. http://www.parents.com/baby/new-parent/lose-baby-weight/?ordersrc=rdparents0202

Along with diet and exercise, which were the key things with me, I would also recommend getting a pair of Spanx if you don’t already own some. These really helped me to get back into my skinny jeans only three months after giving birth to our second child.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Do You Have Planned For Today?

You, like so many other parents out there may be asking yourself "what should we do today?" Having a 3 and 5 year old that question has been entering my mind with regular frequency these days. I want to make sure that they are not only entertained but being intellectually and physically stimulated while feeling productive. Sound like a tall order? Here are some suggestions I have for a summer packed with fun, free (or very cheap) kids’ activities that will have you shining like the star parent you are!

1. Buy a book about birds and get outside to try and find them for yourself. This is a great way to get outside and to keep the children focused on an activity with the goal of finding a certain type of bird in mind.
2. Play cards. Buy cards designed for children and play the memory game, go fish and crazy eight’s. Both my girls love to play with the princess cards!
3. Do puzzles.
4. You hate to match socks after doing the laundry right? Well, dump them out and have your little one do it! They will have a blast!
5. Make cereal jewelry. Pour out doughnut shaped cereals such as Fruit Loops and Cheerios into a bowl and have your child separate them by color and then have them string the cereal into a necklace and/or bracelet.
6. Have a scavenger hunt. Choose some (15-20) items for them to look for like “find something red,” or “what does mommy use to start the car” etc.
7. Read a story and then cut and paste a collage from magazine photos that remind you of what you just read.
8. Let your little darlings draw activities out of a bag. Write a few of these ideas down on a scrap of paper and let them choose what they will be doing in this fun way!
9. Cook with the little tikes. Kids love measuring and stirring and then in the end you will have a delicious treat that you can all enjoy as a family! Choose an easy recipe from right here under the “recipes” tab. http://recipes.kiddingaroundintown.com/
10. Plant a garden of things that grow easily like peppers and tomatoes and them have your kids do all the maintenance like watering pulling weeds and picking the produce themselves.
11. Clean the house. My little ones love to clean with me! I give them a Swiffer with a shortened handle, a damp washcloth or a feather duster and they are off not to mention the house gets cleaned!
12. Don’t forget the public library! They have great free stuff all summer long for the kiddos to do including preschool film on certain days. You can find their activities on my web site or on theirs.
13. There are also many great, free web sites with games, worksheets you can print out, recipes you can make and many other fun and free activities geared towards children. Here are some of my favorites:
A. http://www.printactivities.com/ will allow you to print worksheets with the letters of the alphabet and the letters are big enough to color
B. if you are looking for a more comprehensive web site then this is awesome for reading, writing and counting and is absolutely free as well http://www.beginningreading.com/Free%20Workshe.htm
C. http://www.nickjr.com/ also has many things you can do for free like play games, print work sheets, browse through recipes that and kid friendly not only for simple cooking steps but also for eating
D. And there are many web sites where you can download children’s stories for free or inexpensively like http://www.storynory.com/ , http://www.lightupyourbrain.com/ or http://www.audible.com/

Enjoy your summer!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Children's Birthday Party Ideas

I was having dreams about the princess not showing up! This is how much anxiety I felt about my daughter’s 4th birthday! I am not only not an anxious person but I am also a person who has been in enough stressful situations to last both me and you an entire lifetime. Seriously. And I did not carry them into the peacefulness of my slumber. So the fact that I was essentially having nightmares about the disappointment of my 4 year old’s birthday party made me think that maybe I should write. What you will find here are three really awesome kid’s birthday party suggestions that can get even the most stressed parent out of a tizzy.

This is what I did. My daughters are both enamored with princesses. I wanted to have a princess come to my daughter’s 4th birthday but since we were inviting her entire class at school I did not want to have it at my home. I could not imagine cleaning up after that number of kids and their parents. So, I had the party at a restaurant and had Cinderella show up there. She was wonderful with the children. She told her story, took photos with everyone and taught my daughter and her guests a dance. If you are in the Piedmont Triad area I highly recommend contacting www.fromarttozebras.com if your little one is into princesses. If you do not live here then find a princess near you. This party was a huge hit!

My second suggestion is not one that I have done yet but a friend brought it to my attention or I would not have ever thought of it. Find a creature teacher in your area. In the Piedmont Triad you can use www.creatureteacher.org . This is good for girls and for boys since the animals are chosen by you. You can choose bunnies and hamsters or snakes and spiders or even mix and match. The best part about this might be that for the kids’ favors you could go to a used book store and buy books that go with whatever theme you choose so they can go home with an educational and exciting gift! I really hate “junk” favors that you wind up trashing the minute you get home. What a waste.

And lastly, I have recently seen that one of my past feature businesses has taken up kid’s event planning. I have not yet used her but it is nice to know that in the event that you either lack time or are finding yourself short of motivation that there is someone out there who is willing to do it for you! You can find her at www.kiddievents.com

Do you have any other good ideas?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Smart Start of Forsyth County - Annual Book Drive

February 22, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Deal, Community Education Specialist
Smart Start of Forsyth County, 336-714-4344


Smart Start and Kiwanis Unite for Book Drive

WINSTON-SALEM, NC—Local Kiwanis Clubs and Smart Start of Forsyth County have come together for the fifth year to launch a book drive for children ages birth to five. This year’s Book Drive is in memory Dewey Yarborough, Golden K Kiwanis Club member who passionately supported the Book Drive efforts from the beginning.

The book drive is a campaign designed to generate book donations for Smart Start’s parent resource bags. These bags are given to new parents and contain information that parents need to provide a healthy, happy, and safe beginning for their children. Each bag also contains a new or gently used children’s book. The Kiwanis Clubs in Forsyth County support the drive by donating books on behalf of their speakers and encouraging their members to give to the drive. “Many households with children don’t have a single children’s book,” says Chuck Kraft, executive director of Smart Start of Forsyth County. “It’s important that every child have access to books – the foundation for early learning,” says Kraft.

The book drive officially begins March 1st and ends April 18th. Smart Start hopes to collect 2000 new or gently used preschool books. Books in Spanish and books for infants are especially needed.

Collection sites include the American Red Cross, Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, Clemmons Library, Kernersville Library, Lewisville Library, Goodwill Industries, Kaplan Company, Salem Gymnastics, Smart Start of Forsyth County, St. Paul UMC, The Montessori School of Winston-Salem, the Fulton, Jerry Long, Kernersville, Robinhood Rd. and Winston Lake branches of the YMCA and the YWCA - Gateway. All monetary donations may be sent to Sarah Deal at Smart Start of Forsyth County, 7820 North Point Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Smart Start is a nonprofit organization that administers programs to improve the quality, affordability, and accessibility of child care, as well as provide access to health services and necessary family support to the community.

For more information about the drive contact Sarah Deal at 336-714-4344 or
sarahd@smartstart-fc.org.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Imprints for Families

This is what the folks at Imrpints for Families want you to know:

For nearly forty years Imprints has worked to serve families with babies and young children in our community.

Through home visits and group meetings parents and their children receive the necessary support and education for healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes, early developmental screenings to catch delays and continued educational support to help children start school ready to learn. . Through our programs, we support parents in our community because we believe that family is critical to the success and well being of every child. Our intensive services range from Baby Sign, where you can teach your baby to communicate before he/she can talk, to group parenting classes where you can learn how other parents incorporate learning into the routines of daily life. Our programs and services are all based on the belief that parents are children’s first and best teachers. Imprints can show you how to make the most of your child’s early learning experiences.

Imprints offers intensive parent education and support services to parents with from children birth through five years of age. We use the Parents as Teachers Born to Learn curriculum, a nationally recognized curriculum based on the most current brain research, which provides parents with information on child development and parenting strategies. Services are available in English and Spanish. The following services are included as part of Imprints:
Home VisitsFamilies enrolled in Imprints receive monthly home visits from certified parent educators. The Parents as Teachers curriculum is used to share well-researched child development and parent support information. During the home visit, the parent educator talks with parents and shares activities with them and their children to stimulate child growth and development.

Group Meetings
Imprints offers group meetings on discipline, kindergarten readiness, and other parent-requested topics. Group meetings provide the opportunity for parents to share common parenting concerns and issues in a setting facilitated by a trained parent educator.

Assessments and Screenings
Imprints offers screenings of children’s overall health, hearing, and vision. Parent educators can use the Ages and Stages developmental screening tool as an interactive activity involving parent and child.

Referrals
Parent educators with Imprints can help families access early intervention and community resources. The parent educator supports parents through the referral process.

Teacher Consultation
Imprints works with licensed child care programs, More-at-Four, Head Start and Title I classrooms to facilitate parent-teacher communication and provide teacher training on a variety of subjects.

Imprints Cares
Imprints also offers a high quaity, competitively priced, before and afterschool program called Imprints Cares. Imprints Cares provides children with a smooth transition to and from the classroom. During the program, Imprints implements developmentally approprite practices through center-based play. Children engage in age-appropriate activities and interact with staff and peers to promote optimal social and emotional develoment. All children are supervised by on-site teachers and teacher assistants, and Imprints provides a nutritious, healthy snack.

Parents who send their children to Imprints Cares feel confident that they are cared for by the same knowledgeable staff who teach them during school hours. Schools benefit from positive feedback from satisfied parents and additional opportunities for their staff. Both parents and schools enjoy the benefits of homework time at school with hands-on teaching support.

For more information visit their web site.