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Family Matters: First Aid for Your Pup

First Aid for Your PupYou should have a first aid kit at home for your hound.

You never know what kind of mischief your pup will find!

The first aid kit should include:

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting — do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex, disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103° F or fall below 100° F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile, non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
  • Tweezers
  • A pillowcase to confine your pet for treatment
  • A pet carrier

In addition, make sure to post your veterinarian’s information, an emergency vet’s information and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline number, (888) 426-4435, somewhere that’s easily accessible.

Family Matters: Grooming Your Feathered Friend

Grooming Your Feathered FriendYour pet bird will preen with pride when you give him a good grooming.

Start by checking his beak. Bird beaks should wear evenly, and be sure your pet bird has something in his cage that he can use to peck at to help with his beak. If his beak is uneven, contact your vet who can help trim it evenly.

Then, move on to his nails. Overgrown nails can cause problems with your bird’s feet. Trim with human nail clippers or a pair of dog nail clippers. Only trim a small amount each time.

If your bird is allowed out of his cage, he’ll need his wings trimmed. Leave this to a professional the first time, but watch closely so you can do it yourself at home. Be careful not to cut any blood feathers, as treatment will require first aid.

Finish up by misting your bird. Your bird might really enjoy getting a little wet because that will encourage him to groom himself. Choose a frequency that does not stress your pet bird; some birds will tolerate a daily misting; others will only enjoy once a week. Using a spray bottle with room temperature water, lightly spray your bird all over. Then, let him groom himself. Be sure he is out of drafts when you do this.

Family Matters: Grooming Your Small Animal

Grooming Your Small AnimalLuckily for you, your small pet, like a gerbil or guinea pig, is a fastidious groomer by instinct, so there’s little for you to do.

Small animals don’t really need to be bathed unless there’s some sort of extenuating circumstances, but they can use a nail trim on occasion. Use small human nail clippers to trim the tips of your small animal’s nails. Don’t take too much off, as they need their nails for traction, digging and burrowing.

Check your small pets’ teeth for signs of even wear, and make sure they have something available in their cage to chew on. Ferrets actually require a daily brushing of teeth, so make sure you’re committed to doing that before taking one into your home.

Feel free to brush your small pet or clean his ears with small cotton swabs and a drop of baby oil.

Shop the Sale: Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork Chops

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork ChopsWhooooooo weeeee!

The first couple of weeks of having the kids back in school were an exercise in military-grade logistics.

As always, one thing that makes hectic days more streamlined is my slow cooker.

Dinner tastes like you spent hours working on it, and you did but just not in an active kind of way.

The original recipe for this dish called for homemade barbecue sauce. Yum, I love homemade anything and encourage you to do so when possible.

But Wednesday nights? When you’ve gotten the high schooler to cross country practice by 6:30 am and the middle schooler to theater practice by 7:30 am and worked a full day yourself before you all go to church in the evening? Nah, use a Brookshire’s bottled barbecue sauce!

When you’re at Brookshire’s this week, grab a family pack when you’re picking up your barbecue sauce. Get the meal in the slow cooker to be ready for a hearty family meal in the evening.

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork Chops

6 (about 5 oz each) boneless pork chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 yellow onion, diced
1 (8 oz) can pineapple chunks, plus 1/3 cup pineapple juice

Rub the pork chops with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside. In a large bowl, combine barbecue sauce, red pepper, diced onion and pineapple chunks; mix until combined.

Place about 1 cup of sauce in the crockery of the slow cooker. Place pork chops on top of sauce. Pour remaining sauce and reserved pineapple juice over pork chops.

Cover with the lid. Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until cooked through.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 292, Calories from Fat: 47, Fat: 5 g (2 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 103 mg, Sodium: 548 mg, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 15 g, Protein; 45 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Healthy Living: Back to School Breakfast Baked Oatmeal Cups

Back to School Breakfast Baked Oatmeal CupsBack to school breakfasts are wreaking havoc with my psyche this year.

I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day (and my personal favorite), and the PRESSURE to deliver a nutritious, delicious, easy and convenient back to school breakfast is mounting.

I haven’t stressed out about breakfast in the past, but this year, one of my kids will need to take his breakfast to school. For whatever reason, this is throwing a kink in my best-laid breakfast plans.

So, it’s back to the drawing board for his school breakfasts.

I was referred to this recipe on a blog called “Flex with Faith Fitness,” written by a super mom, teacher and fitness instructor committed to a healthy lifestyle. It fits all my requirements for a fabulous school morning breakfast: it’s healthy, easy and can be made ahead of time. It’s also delicious.

I can’t wait to try these!

Baked Oatmeal Cups

coconut oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large bananas (or 2 cups unsweetened applesauce)
1 Tbs raw honey
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
pinch of cloves
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
toppings of your choice (such as fresh berries, chunks of fresh fruit, nuts, pure maple syrup, chocolate chips, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat muffin tin with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray, or use paper liners. Paper liners tend to work best if you’re freezing these.

Combine eggs, vanilla, bananas and honey in a large bowl. Mash bananas and mix well. Set aside.

Combine oats, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir well and combine with banana mixture. Stir in almond milk and mix well.

Divide oatmeal evenly between prepared muffin cups, and add toppings of your choice.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes or until golden-brown.

Serve immediately or freeze.

Makes 12

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 175, Fat: 4 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 35 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 6 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Product Talk: DiGiorno Artisan Melts

DiGiorno Artisan MeltsAs summer gives way to the school year, I have to give thanks for one product that got us through the long summer days: DiGiorno Artisan Melts.

My boys LOVED these for lunch or for a snack after a day of swimming or playing outside, so I’ll definitely continue buying them as an after-school snack or weekend treat.

DiGiorno Artisan Melts, found in the frozen foods section of Brookshire’s near the garlic bread, are a flatbread crust topped with a variety of fresh toppings.

My kids like Pepperoni Speciale, but DiGiorno also offers Spicy Sausage Pomodoro, Chicken Bruschetta and Quattro Formaggi/Four Cheese.

They’re simple to make. Simply heat them in the microwave, toaster oven (our preferred method) or the conventional oven.

The perfect snack or meal, these are quick, tasty and easy to make, even for a teenage boy.

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Dine In: Power-Packed Pasta

Power-Packed PastaMy sons are both running competitive cross country this year with their respective schools, and I couldn’t be more excited for the change in pace from the Saturday soccer games we’ve (gladly) attended for the past 10 years.

Their first meet is coming up, and we’re going to be prepared by carb-loading the night before, for energy, because it never seems like teenage boys have enough fuel to get them through the day, let alone an athletic event.

For the night before a race, a cross country runner should eat a meal high in carbs and moderate in fat and protein. They should also drink a lot of water, or “camel up” as the saying goes.

Since our meets are on Saturdays, Friday nights are the perfect time for a power-packed meal.

Power-Packed Pasta (i.e. Spaghetti and Meatballs)

1 lb whole-grain spaghetti

1 lb lean ground beef
2 Tbs whole milk
2 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbs panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbs parsley, chopped
1 Tbs dried oregano

1 white onion, diced
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (48 oz) can tomato sauce
2 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
1 (4 oz) can tomato paste
fresh parsley, oregano and basil, to taste
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Start your sauce first. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When it starts to become fragrant and shimmers, sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic, and stir for 1 more minute. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and all spices. Stir together. Bring to a boil, and then turn heat to medium-low to let simmer.

While your sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs. Preheat oven to 400° F. In a small bowl, combine milk and breadcrumbs. In a large bowl, place ground beef, cheese and spices. Add in moistened breadcrumbs. Mix thoroughly. Shape into balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Bake at 400° F until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add meatballs to sauce immediately.

Bring a large stock pot of water to a rolling boil. Add whole-grain spaghetti; cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well. Serve with sauce and meatballs, with a side salad and garlic bread.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 524, Fat: 12 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 123 mg, Sodium: 1616 mg, Carbohydrates: 69 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 17 g, Protein: 38 g.

View this recipe to print or add items to My Shopping List.

Family Matters: Pacifiers

PacifiersAs the mom of a child who spent many, many years in speech therapy, I feel qualified to offer this tip: If your child can walk, limit pacifier use to bed only.

I see LOTS of toddlers walking around with pacifiers.

A pacifier is a great object for self-soothing, and many babies need to suck to relax themselves and soothe that instinct. However, a toddler should be replacing the pacifier with other self-soothing habits.

Walking around with a pacifier can inhibit speech, either because there is something in their mouth preventing them from speaking or because extended use of a pacifier can lock a child’s mouth into an unnatural position, making it more difficult for his tongue and mouth muscles to develop normally.

Pacifiers can also push against teeth, making them come in at an unnatural angle.

Some pediatricians recommend ridding baby of the pacifier all together by 18 months. I’ll readily admit that both of my boys used them until they were after 2, but only in bed, for naptimes and bedtimes after about 9 months. Also, our speech issues were not pacifier-related. Although, I talked to lots of moms in the speech language pathologists’ waiting room who did admit a pacifier contributed to their toddler’s speech issues.

Family Matters: Teething

TeethingAround the time your baby hits the second half of their first year, you might see teeth sprouting, if you haven’t already.

The age for a first tooth varies widely. Some babies are born with them, and some don’t sprout until closer to a year. It’s all normal, so don’t fret.

Between 4 and 7 months old is average for a first tooth.

When baby starts drooling a lot, gets a little fussy and you can see raised ridges on her gums, she’s probably teething. She might refuse food or chew on anything she can get her hands on. Again, all normal.

Some children experience diarrhea as a result of teething, but doctors can’t agree on whether this is actually a symptom. Some say that the increase in saliva production (the drool) also causes some upset tummy issues. Same with fevers. There’s no physiological reason for a child to spike a fever when they are teething, but enough babies do it that a lot of moms consider it normal.

When your baby shows signs of teething, you can give her a little infant Motrin or Tylenol for the pain. Let her chew on something cool, even a soft rag that you’ve put in the freezer. Teething toys or rings are also great for baby as she gets her first teeth. Carry some with you at all times and keep them handy!

Family Matters: Baby Smiles

Baby SmilesI have a new nephew, a cute little guy with a head full of hair, born about two weeks ago.

He’s precious.

My sister-in-law recently texted a picture of him smiling at us.

Totes adorbs, but did you know that he’s not REALLY smiling?

Babies don’t reward all your hard work, sleepless nights and constant care with a genuine grin or coo until about six weeks of age. Despite how hard your mother-in-law might protest, yes, it’s just gas or an involuntary reflex.

That doesn’t mean baby can’t be happy or content or even grace you with what looks like a smile, especially if he’s sleeping. In reality, the purposeful expression of happiness will come in a few weeks. Hang in there, Mom and Dad. He’ll be smiling at you for years to come.

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

Product Talk

Each Monday we feature a new or interesting product.

Healthy Living

Tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, every Tuesday.

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On Wednesdays, get a tip or idea on using an item in the circular.

Family Matters

Ideas for the whole family come to you every Thursday.

Dine In

Stop fighting the crowds, save money and dine in, every Friday.

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