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Family Matters: Hot Weather Safety for Your Cat


Hot Weather Safety for Your CatThe best place for your cat during summer months is inside. If your feline gets frisky and needs to go outside, there are ways you can help keep him cool.

First of all, provide plenty of water and shade. An automatic water bowl provides fresh, clean water all day long. Make sure there is a porch, patio or tree cover in your yard to help provide shade for your cat. Cats are likely to seek cool places under a porch, house or other structure, so make sure those places are safe and secure for your cat.

Groom your cat frequently to remove his excess hair, and also to check for fleas and ticks. Your vet can prescribe medications and topical ointments to help treat and prevent both.

If you have an inside cat, it’s cute to see them curled up on a windowsill, but make sure that area doesn’t get too hot for your cat. Those areas inside can get just as hot as places outside.

Of course, never leave your cat in a hot car.



Family Matters: Hot Weather Care for Your Dog


Hot Weather Care for Your DogMy pup, Astro, is not a huge fan of the summer months. While he doesn’t have a heavy coat, he, like all dogs, is totally covered with hair! That keeps him hot. He solves this problem by digging a swimming pool-sized hole in the backyard and lying on the cool dirt.

If you don’t want your dog digging to China to stay cool or if you can’t control it, there are other ways to help him through the warm months.

First of all, make sure he always has access to plenty of clean, cool water. I fill Astro’s bowl with ice in the morning before I leave, and it keeps his water cooler during the day.

If your dog stays outside during the day, make sure he has adequate shade. If a tree, porch or patio isn’t available, consider installing a camping canopy or other shade to give him shelter from the sun. Some pet owners provide a hard-plastic child’s wading pool filled with a few inches of water, depending on the size of your dog, to splash around in. Drain every evening as to not attract mosquitoes.

Don’t over-exercise your pet on hot days. If your dog is already accustomed to taking a walk, it’s probably still fine, but bring water with you. Make sure he drinks when you’re finished. Limit your walks to the cooler parts of the day, and never walk your pet on hot asphalt. Remember, you have shoes on, but he does not.

If your dog goes outside, check him regularly for fleas, ticks and other insects that creep and crawl, especially in hot weather. Your vet can prescribe both internal and topical treatments for these pests.



Family Matters: First Aid for Your Small Pet


First Aid for Your Small PetTreating your small pet, like a hamster, guinea pig or mouse, at home can be difficult. Parts are small, and these animals are extremely skittish when hurt. They can even snap and bite at you.

There are measures you can take at home to help your pet before you take them to a veterinarian. Small cuts probably don’t need to be treated professionally, but remember that your small animal doesn’t have a lot of blood volume. So, if you’re in doubt, take him to the vet.

At home, hold or secure your pet firmly (but not too tight!) by wrapping him in a clean towel. Use the body of a syringe (without the needle) to flush the wound with saline or clear water. Dry with gauze and apply an antibiotic ointment. Keep him isolated from other pets until the wound heals.



Family Matters: First Aid for Your Feathered Friend


First Aid for Your Feathered FriendWe strive to keep our pets safe, but accidents can still happen.

Birds can run into a window, get tangled in their cages, or even have a close encounter with another pet.

If your pet is injured, use your best judgment on getting it to a veterinarian, but there are measures you can take at home to help, too.

If your bird has broken his wing, cut the toe off of a sock and slip your bird into it, pulling his head out the cut end so he can breathe. The wing is bound by his side and he can’t flap it. See your vet.

If the bird is bleeding, use baking powder or styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Then, place a gauze pad over the bleeding and apply appropriate pressure. If the wound is on its leg or foot, apply antibiotic ointment and cover.

In the case of an encounter with another pet, use hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound and cover it. Your bird should be taken to the vet for an exam.

Keep your bird at rest after an injury. Make sure they are warm, dry and in a peaceful environment. If you suspect infection or shock, take him to the vet immediately.



Family Matters: Books for Baby


Books for BabyI can’t stress enough how good books are for baby.

Board books. Pop-up books. Books with big, bright pictures. Even books that play music (although I resisted them forever).

Cuddling your toddler on your lap and reading to him is one of the best things you can do for your little one. First of all, they get cuddle time with you and that’s priceless. Secondly, they begin to appreciate reading while listening to the sound of your voice. Thirdly, they are developing their imagination and learning things each time a page turns.

Provide your little one with all kinds of books. My sons liked board books with the windows that opened and revealed another picture. They also loved ones that stimulated more senses with different textures they could feel, reflective surfaces and other sensory gems nestled among the pages. By the time they got to preschool, sight words were as commonplace as lunch and naptimes because they’d seen them so frequently on the pages of a book.

What will your little one’s favorite story be?



Family Matters: Dental Care


Dental CareEven before your baby sprouts a pearly white, you want to start taking care of her gums in preparation for teeth.

Babies get their first teeth at all different ages, but it’s probably safe to say they’ll have several by the time they’re in their second half of their first year.

From infancy, wipe baby’s gums with a soft, warm cloth to clean them after eating.

After the first tooth arrives, clean it with either a soft cloth or a soft finger brush. If you want to use a toothbrush, use one made for babies with soft bristles. Also, use a toothpaste formulated for babies. Adult toothpaste has too much fluoride for your tiny tot.

If you start early, baby will be accustomed to having her tooth and gums brushed, and the sensation shouldn’t bother her too much.

As your baby gets more teeth, make sure to brush every morning and every evening, and don’t let your child go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, even if it’s diluted. The sugars pool in the mouth overnight, and they are not good for baby’s teeth.

My older son was never a fan of having his teeth brushed, even though we started from day one. Soon, we discovered that letting him hold his own toothbrush and providing him with ample brushing time after mom was finished solved the problem.



Family Matters: Baby Box


Baby BoxHave you seen that some hospitals are giving new parents a baby box? Yep, a cardboard box. It’s not full of supplies; it’s for the baby.

The baby box is supposed to help reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by providing baby with a safe place to sleep.

A mattress that is too soft, blankets or even the parents’ bed can be an unsafe place for your newborn.

While a cardboard box might not be the adorable Moses basket or plush bassinet you’d dreamed of snuggling your baby into, the firm surface is safer for baby to sleep on. (I read there is a firm padding on the bottom, so your baby isn’t really just sleeping on cardboard.) Newborn babies can’t turn their heads well, so if they are pressed up against a spongy mattress, a blanket or even a stuffed toy, it’s almost impossible for them to move their head to get a better breath of air.

No matter where your baby sleeps, putting them to sleep on their back is best. You can swaddle your baby for the fresh-from-the-womb feel, but avoid using too many blankets. If it’s cold, dress your baby in a blanket sleeper, and if you do swaddle, use a lightweight, gauzy cotton blanket.



Family Matters: Quick & Easy Stacked Dinner


Quick & Easy Stacked DinnerI was looking for something quick and easy to fix for supper recently, and after looking through my pantry, I decided to make something out of items I already had to save a trip to town. Below is a recipe I put together. It came out great, my family loved it, and they wanted to know where I got the recipe!

Quick & Easy Stacked Dinner

Ingredients:
1 (10 ct) pkg Brookshire’s Large Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 lbs ground hamburger meat
2 pkgs Brookshire’s Taco Seasoning
1 can Brookshire’s Sweet Corn, drained
1 can Brookshire’s Black Beans, drained
1 can Brookshire’s Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 pkgs (8 oz) Brookshire’s Colby Jack Grated Cheese
shredded lettuce, fresh tomatoes, sour cream, sliced avocado and hot sauce, optional

Directions:
Wipe the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12 glass pan with olive oil (or vegetable oil). Layer with flour tortillas and set aside. Brown the ground meat; drain well. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water; simmer until warm. Mix the corn, black beans and diced tomatoes together in a large bowl (drain canned items). Put a layer of ground meat on top of the tortillas. Add a layer of corn mixture, and then add grated cheese; repeat the process. Do 2 layers of items, ending with grated cheese on top. Place dish in the oven, and cook for 30 minutes at 400° F. Remove from the oven, and it is ready to eat. The tortillas on the bottom are crunchy, and the middle is soft…yum!!

My family added lettuce, fresh tomatoes, sour cream, avocado and hot sauce. We also ate it with Brookshire’s Seasoned Tortilla Chips and cheese dip. A quick and easy stacked dinner that satisfied the whole family.

It was fun trying to figure out what type of meal I could make out of what I already had at home. So…if you are ever exhausted and just dread a trip to the grocery store, take a second to look through your cabinet. I bet you can come up with something fun to eat, too. Count your blessings daily, and give thanks for time with your family!

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



Family Matters: Leftovers


LeftoversSometimes, no matter how well we plan, some leftovers are inevitable, which is perfectly fine with me. This means a night of hassle-free cooking after working all day.

This week on Monday, I put a roast, carrots and potatoes in the slow cooker to cook on low heat all day. This recipe is so easy. You just add a can of fat-free cream of mushroom soup and a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix to the slow cooker with your roast and vegetables. It’s really yummy, and you could eat leftovers of this for the next day. However, my family isn’t crazy about having the same meal the next day.

The next day, I took the leftover meat only and put it in the slow cooker with a chopped onion and barbecue sauce to make barbecue beef sliders. This meal was so easy to throw together using the leftovers from the night before, and it was a huge hit with my kiddos.

So, clean out the fridge at least once a week and get creative! Cooking is about creating not wasting, and using leftovers is actually a great way to make something new!



Family Matters: Introducing Your Cat to Your Baby


Introducing Your Cat to Your BabyWhich came first, the baby or the pet?

In a lot of cases, the pet came first and the baby joins the family later. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be an either/or proposition.

Plan ahead as you prepare to welcome baby into your family.

Set boundaries with your cat and the baby’s room immediately. Keep the door closed, or firmly remove the cat whenever he enters. Make sure the nursery is deep-cleaned to remove pet hair or dander, especially if it was a room your cat used to frequent. Do not let your cat sleep on the baby’s bouncy chair, crib, rocking chair or anything else that will be exclusively the baby’s.

Take your cat to the vet to make sure he is up-to-date on all of his shots before the baby arrives.

Keep the cat’s nails trimmed.

If the cat is accustomed to being held, get him used to sitting next to you instead of on your lap.

Do not tolerate any aggression toward the baby, and monitor them closely until you know how your cat will react to his new family member.



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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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