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Family Matters: Giving up the pacifier


When your baby was little, a pacifier may have been his or her – or your– best friend.

But if your baby is approaching a year and still using a binky, you may feel it’s time to take it away. And even if you don’t care, you may be feeling outside pressure, from well-meaning family or friends.

For some babies, that’s easier said than done. That’s because the pacifier is often one of the earliest and best ways a baby learns to soothe himself. To a young child, it often represents familiarity and security and helps them calm down and even fall asleep. No wonder some don’t want to give it up without a fuss!

If your baby still has a binky habit, however, there’s some good news.

  1. Most give it up on their own – when they’re good and ready. For most  toddlers, it will happen naturally between the age of one and two years – even if you don’t do a thing.
  2. There’s no rush to eliminate it by age 1, no matter what the neighbor or your mother-in-law says.  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry doesn’t think you really need to worry about it until about age three. If your child is still relying on one after that, however, you should step in to help eliminate the habit. Otherwise, your child may develop teeth, gum, and bite problems.
  3. Relying on a pacifier is no worse than sucking a thumb – and it might be better. For one thing, it’s often easier to get a child to give up a pacifier than to quit sucking his thumb, which, after all, is always right there.
  4. If you’ve decided the time has come to banish the binky, many choose to go the cold-turkey method. Depending on your child’s age and personality, you may choose to make a big deal of it, explaining that they are now a big boy or girl and don’t need a paci anymore. You might even make a celebration of it, gathering up all the binkies in the house and making a show of tossing them away. For other toddlers, a less-direct approach might work better: During naptime, hide all the pacifiers, and then play dumb when your child asks for one. Either way, experts say, most children will be upset for only a day or two before moving on.
  5. For other toddlers, a weaning approach works best. First, limit pacifier use to your home; then to just naptime and bedtime; and finally just bedtime. After a few weeks, the habit will be less ingrained, and your child will probably quit on his or her own.
  6. Don’t stress!  Your baby won’t go off to college – or, most likely, even preschool – still using a pacifier. If your family is going through some other stress, like a move, a family illness or a job loss, postpone the pacifier problem a few weeks until the other situation is under control.
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Family Matters: Pet Loss


You can never imagine the pain that accompanies a loss of a pet until it happens to you. 

Our pets are loyal companions who quickly turn into best friends. Many of us have bought clothes to keep our pet warm, made a special cupcake for their birthday, and even taken them on our family vacation. Why would we not grieve when we experience the loss of this treasured family member? 

To an outsider looking in it may seem silly, but these feelings are normal. Talk to someone you’re comfortable with, like a family member or friend. Don’t bottle up your feelings, but express them. Like any other loss you may feel guilt, denial, anger and depression. 

If you have children, pay special attention to their feelings, so they can understand and accept the loss, too. For many children, the loss of a pet may be the first experience they have ever had with serious illness and death. 

Most grief experts suggest that you don’t try to “hide” the pet’s death from children but treat it honestly and openly. If you use vague terms or make up a false story about the animal’s disappearance, you will only create more stress, anxiety and sadness in the child. 

Use simple, direct, but compassionate language that is appropriate to your child’s age and understanding. For instance, children under 5 do not understand that death is permanent, so you may need to explain simply that the animal can no longer move and will not wake up again. 

No matter the age of your child, give them time to get over the loss. Let them talk about their pet, share stories together, and explain that it’s normal to miss them for a long time. 

Finally, it’s important to pay extra attention to any other pets in your household, too. Your other pets will notice the loss of their companion and will grieve just like you. Losing a pet can be hard on your whole family. Just remember these feelings are normal and you need to express them.

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Family Matters: Family Dinner Night


Your smooth, slow summer schedule turns fast and furious as soon as the school bells ring. Getting the kids to soccer practice and dance lessons can quickly bump a nutritious family dinner down on the priority list. 

The solution? At least once a week, make family dinner night a priority – no excuses. 

As a family, plan your menu for the upcoming week.  Let your children have input on what they want for dinner. If your children’s favorite food is pizza, plan a night the whole family gets together to make a nutritious homemade pizza. 

Take your kids to the grocery store. Let them have a choice in what foods they eat. Ask questions: Do you want carrots or broccoli? Give them the power on what they want to eat. Teach your kids how to use the NuVal scoring system. Make a game out of picking the most nutritious scores.  Pick a lower scoring item in a category and see if your kids can pick out a higher score than you. Teach your kids the higher the score of the product the more nutritious it is for them. 

Prepare the family meal together. When the kids get involved in the meal preparation, they appreciate the meal more. Let the younger kids count ingredients out,  and wash and dry the produce. The teenagers can actually start participating in the cooking of the meal. Let them sauté the onions or brown the chicken. 

Make cooking educational. Have your child work on their reading by letting them read the recipe to you. Have them measure ingredients and teach them that two half cups equal one whole cup. Show your kids that cooking is a science. Let them see that oil and vinegar don’t mix on their own or what happens when vinegar and baking soda are combined. 

At the dinner table, turn off your electronics. We have become so accustomed to having our cell phone sitting on the table while we eat. Turn the ringer off on your phone and set it in another room. Turn your TV off and talk to each other about your day. Ask your family what the best and worst parts of their day were or something new they learned that day. If your family is trying a new food that night, talk about the taste, texture and appearance of the food. 

For busy evenings, plan ahead. If you know Tuesday nights are busy, prepare a casserole in advance, freeze it, and heat it up for Tuesday’s dinner.  If you find a recipe that requires a lot of preparation, do some prep work the night before. Find creative ways to use your leftovers, like adding the leftover taco meat to your macaroni and cheese. If you see canned or frozen vegetables are on sale, stock up. Whenever a busy night comes up, those vegetables will come in handy.

Make family dinner night fun and exciting. Have themes for family night; like Fiesta night or Italian night. You can choose a night where the kids are in charge. Let the kids make the menu, help your kids prepare the food and let them serve the food. Make family dinner night a night your family looks forward to. 

Dinner time is not only a time to share a meal with your family, but a time to share a part of your life.

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Family Matters: Safe diets for dogs


Those big brown eyes, that puppy dog gaze. Even if your dog isn’t usually a beggar, it can be tempting to want to “reward” him or her with the occasional people-food treat.

But in trying to reward your dog, you can actually do it harm. Some common foods can actually be poisonous to your pet.  

You have probably heard that you’re never supposed to feed chocolate to your dog, but there’s actually a much-longer list of foods that can be dangerous. 

 Even a small amount of some of these foods can harm your dog.

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts (and many other nuts, including walnuts)
  • Alcohol
  • Rhubarb
  • Avocados

Just avoiding that list, however, isn’t enough to keep your pet healthy. Hidden ingredients like garlic, onion powder and extra salt can lurk in many prepared foods. And most dogs do not need the extra fat and salt that’s present in many “table scraps” that you may be tempted to offer. Too much fat in a dog’s diet can lead to obesity, heart problems and other health problems just like in a human. And because most dogs are so much smaller than the average person, it doesn’t take much of the bad stuff to cause illness or obesity.

That’s because dogs, like people, have specific needs when it comes to calories and nutrients. Commercial pet foods tailor these formulas specifically to these needs, and in the past few years, have increasingly created specialized foods for the different stages of a dog’s life.

 While puppy food, for instance, has long been available, you can now also buy foods especially for older dogs,  for those that need to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, or formulas made from all-natural ingredients.

If you still want to give your dog the occasional treat, consult your veterinarian for recommendations on vet-approved, made-for-dogs snacks. However, it’s generally considered safest to keep any “people food” to a minimum, and limited to simply cooked, lean foods like chicken, beef and plain white rice. Since your dog can’t exactly make his own lunch, you owe it to them to give them the food they need to thrive.

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Family Matters: Hammock Days


Do you remember going out in the backyard and lying in the hammock for hours back in the “good old days?”  Well, with all the hot temperatures this summer, even late at night, lying in the hammock is not the place you want to be.  

I took a week of vacation to spend time with my family prior to school starting back. We had been wanting a hammock, so we decided to just splurge and get one during this time. We put the hammock together in the middle of the living room (it was just too hot outside) and funny thing, once we got it put together we decided to just leave it, since it was cool inside. Who wants to be outside in the heat?  

My week of vacation was spent lying in the hammock in the middle of my living room with my children – watching television and movies, playing Nintendo and computer games, taking naps and most of all, talking about things happening in their lives. I can honestly say it was one of the most relaxing and rewarding weeks I have spent with my children. We laughed and played and everyone fussed over whose turn it was to lie in that hammock.  

It has been weeks now and the hammock still remains in the living room. It is occupied daily after school with the kids reading their books, taking catnaps or talking to each other about how their day went. I am not sure when we will remove the hammock from the inside of the house. Our living room is not large – you have to push the hammock to the side to get to the couch-  but it doesn’t seem to matter. This is a time I know they will never forget. (And neither will their friends who have been over and laughed in disbelief at the sight of it.) It is the small things that can make the largest impact in the life of your family.

Set aside some quality time this week for your own family.  Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with them. 

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Family Matters: New from Huggies!


Diapers would be a lot easier to change if babies would just sit still.

But as any parent knows, babies have a lot more interesting stuff to do than just sit there while you’re trying to change that dirty diaper – grab your necklace, practice sitting up and rolling over, or flat-out making a break for it.

So parents of escape artists and wiggleworms should check out the new style of diaper from Huggies. Just arriving in stores, Huggies’ Little Movers Slip-On diapers are designed to slip on and off faster and easier.

They look much like training pants, but with the same great absorbency and leak protection as disposable diapers.

The design of Little Movers, in fact, does look similar to Huggies’ Pull-Ups. Little Movers are all one piece, with stretchy, pre-attached sides that allow them to be pulled on quickly, just like underwear. No tabs to line up and fasten (or re-fasten, if your baby squirms.) And if your baby balks at lying down on a changing table, you can pull these on even while she’s standing or sitting.

They also have breakaway sides, so you can remove soiled ones as quickly and easily as taking off a regular diaper.

These come in three sizes. The smallest size will work for babies as small as 16 pounds. By the time most children grow out of the largest size, they will be old enough to begin potty training, so you can move them right into the thinner, less-absorbent training  pants. Or, if you’re really brave, underpants.

They are arriving in many stores now; check in the diaper aisle.

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Family Matters: A more natural dog food


The biggest trend in pet food the past couple of years has been the rise of natural, healthier foods _more meat that pets need, fewer fillers and artificial ingredients that they don’t.  But until recently, many of these ultra-premium pet foods came from newer, smaller, sometimes untested companies, and were often hard to find in your favorite stores.

That’s why we are happy to announce we’re now carrying a new, natural pet food, from a company you probably already know and trust: Purina.

The longtime pet food leader has just introduced Purina One Beyond, a high-quality dry kibble that has no fillers and no artificial preservatives.

The first ingredient? Real meat. (That means no meat byproducts.) Each recipe also includes vitamins, minerals, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, like spinach, carrots and apples, to provide all-natural nutrients to keep your pet their healthiest.

There are two adult dog flavors, one with chicken and whole oatmeal, and the other with lamb and whole barley. Purina One Beyond also offers two recipes for adult cats: salmon and whole brown rice, and chicken and whole oatmeal.

Beyond the emphasis on good nutrition, Purina is committed to sustainability with this new product. The manufacturing facilities are committed to responsible processes; the Denver facility, for instance, uses some solar power. The pet food comes in packages made from 92 percent renewable materials, printed entirely with vegetable-based soy inks, which are also more renewable than other inks.

The brand has also made a commitment to help homeless or abandoned pets. Last year, the Purina ONE brand donated more than a million pounds of food to U.S. animal shelters.

Purina One Beyond is a natural extension of the Purina One line, which includes more than a dozen canned foods, dry formulas and treats for dogs, and several other dry food recipes for cats. Look in the pet-food aisle of your neighborhood store to  see which one might best suit the four-legged members of your family.

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Family Matters: Back to School Nutrition


Walking into a new classroom with new faces can be scary! The easiest way to make a new friend is to just smile. A beautiful smile results from having adequate amounts of calcium, fluoride and vitamin C. Calcium and fluoride help our pearly whites have the strength to bite into a juicy apple. Vitamin C aids in keeping our gums looking healthy. Dairy is a great source of calcium, so fat free milk, low fat yogurt and 2% cheese are good additions to our lunch menu.

Reading, writing and arithmetic all require good vision. Vitamin A is the vitamin of choice when it comes to vision. Red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamin A. To see different colors you must eat different colors!  

New friends can also bring along new germs. Vitamin C and zinc are heroes in the immune system. Oranges, lemons and limes are full of vitamin C, along with cantaloupes, broccoli and strawberries. We can add zinc to our diet through meat, seafood and whole grains.

Make this a great school year by picking nutritious foods! 

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Family Matters: Feeding Baby Safely


It’s a big step in the care and feeding of your baby: The day you begin feeding solid foods.

While you may receive lots of well-meaning advice from grandparents, friends, and even the occasional stranger, you should recognize that recommendations may well have changed since the advice-giver was feeding their baby.

Always consult your pediatrician before starting your infant on solid foods. And brush up on some of the current prevailing wisdom on safely feeding solids.

When to start: Most babies can start eating solid food when they are between four and six months of age. That’s when they are able to swallow foods, as opposed to pushing back with their tongue against a feeding spoon. Yes, Grandma may say that she started feeding cereal when her baby was just six weeks old and it helped the baby sleep through the night, but today, pediatricians recognize infants can’t properly digest or swallow solids that young, and cereal served from a bottle can be a choking hazard.

Veggies first? You may have heard you should offer vegetables before trying fruit, so a baby used to applesauce doesn’t turn up her nose at the stronger tastes of things like pureed cauliflower or peas. Guess what? Researchers say it doesn’t really matter.  Babies are born with an innate taste for sweet foods, and that preference doesn’t change whether they’re fed peas or peaches first.  

Don’t hold the spice: The preference for bland, un-spiced baby food is largely a cultural issue. In other parts of the world, babies are served food that’s spiced the same way as adult food, and there’s little research that spicy foods harm children. Use common sense and stay away from really spicy things that may harm babies’ sensitive mouths and noses – no wasabi or habaneros – but a little cinnamon, ginger, cumin or even mild chiles like poblanos may tickle your baby’s palate and help them learn to eat a wider variety of foods while young.

Safety first: Baby-food recalls are often a parent’s big worry, but they’re actually quite rare. A much bigger safety issue is just following safety rules for proper feeding and food-handling.   

• Do not feed baby directly from the jar of food, unless you plan to use the entire jar at one meal. Saliva from your baby’s mouth can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria in the food. If you must serve from the jar, throw away any uneaten portion.
• Never microwave baby food. Uneven heating can cause hot spots that can burn baby’s mouth.
• Never leave a baby alone with food _ not even for a minute, while running to answer the phone.
• Don’t feed honey to a baby under 12 months; some pediatricians, in fact, now recommend 18 months as the cutoff.
• Slowly introduce potentially allergenic foods like peanut butter, eggs and wheat. A few years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that research does not support holding off on allergenic foods until after age 1, clearing the way to offer them to babies sooner. However, many pediatricians still suggest going slowly, especially if your baby has eczema or there’s a family history of food allergies or asthma.



Family Matters: Waffle Bowls


July was declared National Ice Cream Month in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. Celebrate by decorating a waffle bowl and filling it up with creamy, cold Goldenbrook Farms Ice Cream! 

See these waffle bowls in the July issue of Celebrate Cooking.  Available online and in all Brookshire’s stores. 

 

Wacky Waffle Bowls

Serves: 10

Prep Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients:

1 (7 oz) pkg waffle bowls

1 (6 oz) pkg white baking chocolate, melted

1 (8 oz) pkg semi sweet baking chocolate, melted

Toppings: shredded coconut, sprinkles and chopped nuts

Goldenbrook Farms Ice Cream, flavors of your choice 

Directions:

Place semi sweet chocolate baking squares and white chocolate baking squares in separate bowls. Place bowls one at a time in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate. Microwave chocolate in 15 second intervals, stirring after each time you microwave until chocolate is melted. 

With a spoon pour melted chocolate over the rim of the waffle bowl. Make sure you cover both the inside and outside rims of the bowl. 

Decorate each bowl by adding your favorite color sprinkles, chopped nuts or shredded coconut. 

Allow chocolate to harden. Add a few scoops of your favorite Goldenbrook Farms creamy ice cream to waffle bowls and serve. 

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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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