share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Brookshire’s Milk


After your baby’s first year of life, they can probably safely switch to cow’s milk (check with your pediatrician for his guidelines, and watch your baby for signs of allergies or sensitivities.)

Brookshire’s brand milk comes from their dairy close to home, so it’s getting to your stores at the peak of freshness.

My younger son used to go through a gallon of milk a day, it seemed. He loved it so much, and it was so good for his growing bones and teeth. Whole milk supplies crucial vitamin D and calcium, and it is important to the development of not only strong bones and teeth but brain cells, too!

Start to introduce your baby to whole milk by adding a small part to his pumped breast milk or formula to see how he tolerates it. Gradually increase the amount of whole milk until it replaces the breast milk or formula entirely.



Family Matters: Kids and Books


Yesterday, we cleaned out a spare room in our house, as it was way overdue for a thorough cleaning.

We had a wonderful trip down memory lane as we did so, boxing up what turned out to be hundreds of books from my boys’ childhoods.

My sons are 13 and 15 now, and we still had bookshelves full of toddler, preschool and elementary school readers that they loved. We had fun talking about the countless hours we’d spend flipping through picture books, reading chapter books, sounding out words as they learned to read, and talking about the imaginary endings they’d make up for some of their favorite stories.

Books were such a big part of their childhood, and it was a little sad to pack so many away. Both boys still read, although mostly for school these days. I have high hopes that all the hours spent with a book in the early days will circle back around, and they’ll read for pleasure when they have more free time.

We sorted the books into piles. Each son got a pile of books that were given to them with special messages written inside from grandparents, aunts and uncles. Then, childhood favorites were added to those piles. “Frog and Toad” for one son, all the hardback Dr. Seuss classics for the other. We boxed those up and put their names on them.

We also made another pile of childhood classics from our shelves, some of which were mine as a child, that we’d keep at my house, and maybe their children can enjoy someday when they come to visit. We boxed those up and labeled them as books to save.

After that, we still had almost 200 books left. We boxed those up, and I made a post on social media about “books free to a good home.” The first respondent claimed them and picked them up two hours later. Those books are now at home with two more little boys on their shelves and hopefully will provide hours and hours of enjoyment, just as they did for mine.

There’s nothing better than a good book for imagination and relaxation. Maybe visit the local library, little library, second-hand bookstore or a yard sale soon to see what treasures you can find.



Family Matters: Foraging Treats for Pet Rodents


While searching for treats for small pets, I came across an absolutely ingenious idea that is not only a food reward for your small rodent (rat, mouse, guinea pig) but also a great foraging activity as well.

Start with a bell pepper. Cut a small hole in the side, leaving the top intact. Remove seeds and pith through the hole. Stuff the bell pepper with a few baby carrots, some 2-inch sections of celery, some sugar snap peas and chunks of the removed piece of bell pepper. Hang the stuffed pepper from a string in your rodent’s habitat, and let him forage in it to get his treats. Remove when vegetables begin to get limp, before they spoil.

 

TIP: Only offer this treat on an occasional basis, as too many fruits and vegetables can cause intestinal distress in rodents.



Family Matters: Pet Bird Treats


Help keep your pet bird cool this summer, even if he is an indoor pet, with some frozen treats that will keep him chilled and help his foraging skills.

Simply freeze some chunks of berry, banana and apple in an ice cube tray. Add in some birdseed if you wish. Let harden, and then give your bird a cube when he needs some good, cool fun.

He’ll enjoy pecking out the parts he likes, and he’ll stay cool doing it.

You can even freeze one of his favorite small toys inside an ice block, and let him chip it out with his beak.

TIP: Peel a banana, and freeze the fruit itself for another way to let your bird enjoy a cold, tasty treat.



Family Matters: Frozen Chicken and Apple Dog Treats


It’s so hot outside, and I can’t even imagine what it feels like to have a layer of thick fur on when you spend a couple hours a day outside.

My pup has plenty of shade and water when he has to be outside during the day, but it’s also great to be able to make him some cold, tasty treats to enjoy to help him beat the heat.

This super-simple recipe is nice for him to enjoy when he is outside in the hot, summer sun.

Frozen Chicken and Apple Dog Treats

Ingredients:
2 cups chicken stock (prepared without onion)
1 apple, thinly sliced

Directions:
Place multiple apple slices in the compartments of an ice cube tray. Pour chicken stock on top of apple slices. Freeze until solid. Serve to your pet one at a time when he’s outside to help cool him off.

TIP: Substitute fresh green beans or shredded carrots for the apples or coconut water for the chicken stock.



Family Matters: Catsicles


I recently adopted a cat. More accurately, he adopted me. He was abandoned by a neighbor who moved away. After a few months of seeing him wander the neighborhood sadly, I couldn’t take it anymore, and he became mine. He’s mostly an outdoor cat, so he needs to stay cool and healthy in the summer heat.

He loves this catsicles, and I’ve learned that they sell milk for cats (don’t use human milk! Your cat can’t digest it well, no matter what myths you see and hear!)

Keep some of these in your freezer, and your cat will come running.

Catsicles

Ingredients:
2 bananas, mashed
2 cups cat milk
1/4 cup dried cat food, crushed

Directions:
Combine the mashed banana and cat milk in a bowl; mix until smooth.

Crush the cat food, and place in the bottom of a small paper cup (like the kind you use in a bathroom). Pour banana mixture on top. Freeze cups until mixture is firm. When ready to serve, peel cups away from catsicle, and let your cat enjoy it outside.

TIP: Your cat might also enjoy eating wet cat food frozen. Simply freeze a pate-style food in a paper cup. When ready to serve, peel cup away, and let your feline enjoy it outside.



Family Matters: Summertime Fun


Summertime FunSummers are a toddler’s best friend. Nothing is more fun than all the adventures you can have while traipsing about town with your toddler.

Splash pads are so much fun for you little one. Put toddler in a swim diaper, invest in a swim shirt to help protect them from ultraviolet rays, and prepare to have a great time. Splash pads are fun because there is no deep water. They can usually run in and out of jets of water at their own pace, and they have more control over how wet they get. They can even stay cool, and they have a good time from the periphery of the action if that’s their personality.

The local zoo or aquarium is a great place to visit with your toddler. If they enjoy your first visit, invest in a season pass for many memorable hours with fabulous animals.

Check out story time at your local library. Aside from developing a love of literature, story time can help you and your little one make some new friends, possibly learn some new crafts, and engage in group activities together.

Check into other group classes like music lessons, gym or yoga classes, or swim instruction. Your toddler will learn socialization skills and have a lot of fun while learning a new skill.

Plant a garden or grow a few potted vegetables with your toddler. Involve him in the process from beginning to end, and let him eat the fruits of his labor.

Visit playgrounds outside of your neighborhood. Your little one will like new scenery, and you will both make new friends.



Family Matters: Outdoor Fun


Outdoor FunSummertime is a great time to have fun with your little one outside!

Babies love bubbles! Maybe they can’t blow them yet (and you really don’t want to find out what happens if they get soap in their mouths), but they will enjoy bubbles when you blow for them! Put on a show with bubbles. Let baby “pop” them and feel them in his fingers and on his skin. You can even set up a bubble machine nearby and hear baby giggle.

Put a swing in a shady tree or set up a backyard swing set. Strap baby in safely and let him swing. Baby will love the proprioceptive discovery (the feeling of his body moving through space).

Set up a wading pool with a few inches of water, and let your little water baby splash to his heart’s content. Remember to never leave baby alone for a second! Fill the pool with baby’s favorite water toys, some sponges, some cups or other fun objects to enjoy the water. Make sure to use fresh water every time your little one is going to use the pool, as standing and stagnant water attracts mosquitoes.

A covered sand box is also a fun place to play (the cover is for when you’re NOT using it, to keep animals from using your baby’s play place as a litter box). Buckets, shovels and other scooping objects can keep baby occupied for hours, plus the sand (since you’re keeping it covered) should stay nice and cool.

Balls are fun outside toys! In all sizes and textures, balls are fun to throw, kick, roll on and bounce. Engage in reciprocal play with your baby or let him play alone.

Chalk is fun for outside play, too. Plop down on a cool sidewalk, stand at a wood fence, or even use the brick siding of your house or a stand-up easel for some creative coloring.

Taking walks, riding in a stroller, a safe bike carrier, going to the zoo or park, or even just spreading a blanket in the grass and enjoying the fresh air are great activities to do outside with your baby on a summer day.



Family Matters: Caring for Your Baby in the Heat


Caring for Your Baby in the HeatCaring for your baby in the hot weather months, especially since we live in the South, just takes a little extra care and attention than when the weather is more temperate.

Infants can’t always regulate their body temperature properly, so it’s up to you to pay attention to the cues that baby is too hot or too cool.

First of all, baby doesn’t need to be bundled up in blankets during the summer months. This includes covering their carrier or car seat. Let air circulate around your baby to help keep them cool. Swaddling at night is fine if your house is cool and air-conditioned, but don’t wrap baby up in the heat of the day or if it’s too warm in the room.

Keep air circulating around your infant, but it’s probably best not to point a fan directly at them.

Baby is too hot if she is sweating, red or flushed, or breathing rapidly.

Keep her dressed in loose-fitting, cotton clothing during the summer. Hats are great to help shield their faces and heads. Remember that babies also lose heat from their heads, so removing the hat helps cool baby off, too. Keep baby in shade and not exposed to direct sunlight if you are outdoors. Consider a window shade for your car window if baby’s car seat is next to the door.

Decrease the temperature of baby’s bath slightly in the summer months. Use cooler water for baby’s bath for a refreshing and enjoyable bath time! Water that is just about body temperature should be perfect for baby.

Make sure you are offering breast milk or water often to keep baby hydrated, as that will help her regulate her body temperature best during summer months.



Family Matters: The Chores Can Wait


Chores Can WaitThis morning (Saturday), I woke up with a to-do list a mile long. Make that a mile and a half.

I wanted to get the grocery shopping done early. I had laundry backed up all week. There are at least four problem areas in my house that have stuff piled so high that someone might call “Hoarders” on me for an intervention if I don’t get them sorted out soon. The bathrooms weren’t cleaned this week. There was yard work that needed to be done if the homeowner’s association wasn’t going to be paying me a visit, and my list didn’t even include the daily things that just need to be done.

I drove my older son to work and came home ready to tackle the tasks at hand.

“What are we going to do today?” my younger son asked.

I started to list off the things I was going to get done today.

“Okay,” he said, quietly.

“Why?” I asked him. “What did you want to do today?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said, noncommittally.

I went toward the shower, determined to get through my list.

Then, I stopped. I’d worked all week. He’d been cooped up in the house all week. I knew that he was itching to get out and do something. I knew he wasn’t asking me to do anything extravagant or expensive. I knew that he just wanted a few minutes of my time. Actually, with his brother at work, it was a golden opportunity.

I will admit that I hesitated for a moment. Oh, that list!

I went back to the living room.

“Do you want to go to the park?

Walks with Mom are his love language. Ever since he was a toddler, it was our thing to do together, even if we only made it 50 feet down the driveway and collecting rocks, which he’d hand me like treasures, all the while clutching one in his chubby little baby hand.

His freckled face exploded into sunshine.

“Yes!”

We went to the park. We walked on the trails for about an hour. We both came home with enough happiness to fuel the entire weekend.

I didn’t make it through my whole to-do list today, but that’s fine. It will all still be there tomorrow, but the chances to take walks with my teenage son are a precious commodity. I’ll always put those on the top of my to-do list.

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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.

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