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Family Matters: Making Bath Time Fun


Making Bath Time FunSplish, splash, baby is taking a bath!

Toddlers can bathe every day unless you have a little one with extremely sensitive skin, and it’s always more fun if parent and baby are both having a blast.

  1. Help teach your toddler colors by making each bath time a themed color. Add a few drops of food coloring to the bath and place objects of that color into the bath with your toddler. We promise a few drops of food coloring won’t stain your child or the tub.
  2. Ice, ice baby – Put a few ice cubes into the warm bath water and let baby chase them.
  3. Bath paints are easily made by adding a few drops of food coloring to shaving cream. Let baby go to town all over the tiles.
  4. Give baby a strainer or colander to play with. They’ll love seeing the water flow through the bottom.
  5. Foam shapes are fun. Cut them out of sponges you can buy at Brookshire’s.
  6. Blow up balloons and add them to the bath.
  7. Play music in the bathroom.
  8. Read baby a book while he’s relaxing in the bath.
  9. Set up a glow-in-the-dark bath! Use washable glow paints, dim the lighting in the bathroom and have glow-in-the dark stars for baby to play with.
  10. Have baby dive for treasure. For an older toddler, let them put on goggles and throw marbles or coins into the bath water. They don’t actually even have to put their face in the water, but it might help baby be comfortable getting their head wet.

Of course, closely supervise all these activities.



Family Matters: Life is good…


Life is goodIs life good? This can be answered many ways by different people. It depends on how you are looking at life in general. Did you wake up this morning? If yes, then I would say “life is good.” Do you have a roof over your head and a safe place to rest? If yes, I would say “life is good.” Do you get three meals a day? If so, “life is good.

We need to take a step back and look at the things in our life that are truly good and stop focusing on the ones that may not be exactly what we think they should be. Everyone has visions of how they want to live and things they want to accomplish, but the truth of the matter is that most of the time, our dreams fall short, or so we feel. It is things we take for granted (everyday things) that we often overlook. If you concentrate on the good in your life, things you should be thankful for, you often find that the other things seem to disappear or don’t matter as much anymore.

I have a sign next to my computer that states “Life is good at the beach,” and anyone that knows me can tell you this is so true for me. Though I only get to the Texas coast every few years, the beach is my place to relax, leave all my worries behind, take in the ocean, gather seashells and admire the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Normally, you sleep late on vacation, but I am up every morning by six o’clock to walk the beach and pick up shells: true serenity that restores my soul. I think God made the beach just for me!

Life is good, so good, and once we realize it, we will all be happier. Find something each day that you can say “Thank you, Lord, for blessing me,” and you will begin to see life differently. “May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes”…translation: may you find serenity in your daily life and know that life truly is good. Give thanks daily for the abundant life you live, trials and tribulation…they define you!

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Family Matters: Wacky Days of April


Wacky Days of AprilIt’s no joke! April showers not only bring in the rain, but they also bring in some pretty weird, wild and wacky holidays! April 1 gets the ball rolling with April Fools’ Day. This sets the agenda for a whole month full of fun, bizarre days to celebrate. Don’t worry about coming in late in the game of April’s wacky days; there is a day for just about everyone and everything!

April Fools’ Day 1
Whole-Grain Sampling Day 1
Peanut Butter & Jelly Day 2
Love Your Produce Manager Day 2
Chocolate Mousse Day 3
Cordon Bleu Day 4
Deep-Dish Pizza Day 5
Hostess Twinkie Day 6
Caramel Popcorn Day 6
National Beer Day 7
World Health Day 7
Pet Day 11
Cheese Fondue Day 11
Licorice Day 12
Peach Cobbler Day 13
Pecan Day 14
Eggs Benedict Day 16
Cheeseball Day 17
Garlic Day 19
Chocolate-Covered Cashew Day 21
Earth Day 22
Jelly Bean Day 22
Cherry Cheesecake Day 23
Picnic Day 23
Pig in a Blanket Day 24
Zucchini Bread Day 25
Pretzel Day 26
Babe Ruth Day 27
Prime Rib Day 27
Blueberry Pie Day 28
Shrimp Scampi Day 29
Oatmeal Cookie Day 30
Raisin Day 30

There are plenty of fun days here to get you and your kiddos in the kitchen cooking up a great time! So, no matter which days you choose to celebrate, you can be sure it will put a smile on the faces of those you love.

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Family Matters: Wild Birds


Wild BirdsOne of my favorite things, every spring, is to watch the birds come back to my yard.

Their migration always starts with the cardinals. I have two pairs who live in my big oak tree. Then, there are the robins, always the “first sign of spring,” but mine like living in Texas, I think, as I see them most of the year. The doves and the sparrows are next, then the mockingbirds (which drive my dog crazy), the finches and the hummingbirds.

Thomas Moore’s Texas Wild Bird Seed makes it easy to keep my feathered friends happy and well-fed.

The bird seed attracts cardinals, chickadees, blue jays and finches, adding color and variety to your backyard flock.

The seeds themselves come in many varieties, including black oil sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, shell-free no-mess mix and a songbird mix. (I’m trying that one next!)

It’s easy to feed the birds. Thomas Moore recommends replacing seeds every one to two days, emptying old seeds before replenishing the feeders. During slower seasons, don’t fill the feeder as often to prevent waste. Available at Brookshire’s, the wild bird seeds are a great way to attract birds to your backyard, and it might be the start of a new hobby for you and your family as you watch them!



Family Matters: “Me Time” for Mommy


“Me Time” for MommyWhoooo weeeeee, those first six months of baby’s life are quite the ride.

You’re exhausted beyond all possible endurance, your body is doing all kinds of amazing – and weird – things that you weren’t expecting and another human is attached to you at almost all times.

You wouldn’t trade it for the world, but you still need a break.

“Me time” is good for new mothers. It makes you a better parent, gives you some respite from your rapidly changing world, and refreshes and rejuvenates you.

Getting “me time” in can be as simple as taking a long bath. Don’t just let it be a bath; make it a spa experience with scented body washes from the personal hygiene aisle at Brookshire’s. Treat yourself to your favorite scent and soak away. Or, add about 1/4 cup Epsom salts to your bath, sprinkle in your favorite essential oil and relax. Give yourself a facial at the same time by mixing oats with raw honey and placing slices of cucumbers over your eyes to help the bags (yes, you probably have them, we all did).

“Me time” can also come in the form of finding a quiet corner (let Dad be in charge of baby!) and reading your favorite book or magazine with a cup of Brookshire’s Best Coffee.

Make time for your favorite hobby. Mine, at the time my boys were little, was scrapbooking with actual paper, scissors and glue! I would spend any free time I had at my work table, happily creating new designs. Is your hobby sewing? Make time for 30 minutes a day for that. Do you love crossword puzzles or yoga? Make sure to schedule time for yourself.

Whatever it is, from a monthly Girls’ Night Out or Bunco game to quiet time to rest and recharge, make “Me Time” a priority!



Family Matters: Get More Dairy


Get More DairyOnce your baby is about six months old, they’re ready for more dairy in their diet.

Now remember, this does not include cow’s milk (save that until baby is one year old), but it can include things like yogurt, cheese or baked goods.

Yogurt is a great way for baby to get calcium and the “bacteria” in yogurt that is good for digestion. Yogurt is also a great way for babies to get the fat they need. Choose a Greek yogurt that is high in calcium and protein. Stay away from varieties with artificial sweeteners.

Cheese is another good way to get dairy into baby’s diet, starting at about 8 months. Small cubes of cheese that they can chew or gum on are a good way to snack and to practice fine motor skills. Mozzarella cheese sticks or string cheese is good, too. You can also make cheese toast with American cheese and whole-grain bread. Mac and cheese with whole-wheat elbow macaroni is a good choice, too.

Using cow’s milk in baked goods is just fine for baby. Banana bread, zucchini bread or biscuits are a great start.



Family Matters: Savvy Snacking on the Go


Savvy Snacking on the GoThere are lots of great ways to keep your toddler healthy and happy, and his belly full when you’re on the go. Savvy snacking doesn’t have to be complicated. Just pack a few of these essentials.

Dried fruit – Raisins, dried mangos, banana chips, prunes, dried apricots and dried cherries all make great snack choices.

Kale chips – What a great way to get your toddler to eat greens! Easy to make at home, these are a fabulous alternative to processed foods.

Granola bars – There are plenty of great recipes out there for homemade varieties, or buy something like KIND for your toddler’s nutritional needs.

Roasted chickpeas – My boys used to love these, and I couldn’t help but sneak a few from their baggie, too. Again, these are also easy to make at home, adding the seasonings your little one likes.

Sweet potato chips – Another great idea for a snacking powerhouse and super simple to make.

Homemade fruit leathers – Yummy, fun and highly portable (just stock a few wipes for sticky hands).

Homemade beef jerky – You control what goes in, so you know your little one is getting maximum nutrition and a ton of protein.

Cold grilled cheese – Why not?

Cereals – Look for a whole-grain variety that’s easy for your toddler to pick up.

Applesauce or fruit sauces – Homemade or from the store without added sugars.

Fruit – Sturdy fruits like bananas, apples and pears are easy to toss into the diaper bag.

String cheese – A great snack and a good way to get more dairy into your child’s diet.



Family Matters: Homemade Banana Bread


Homemade Banana BreadAbout a year ago, I found a recipe for banana bread made with buttermilk that is fantastic; it is so moist and has the best flavor. This is now our favorite bread recipe…it is delicious for breakfast (quick and easy for kids before school), snack time or a bedtime treat. You can heat a slice in the microwave and add a little butter – my husband’s favorite thing to do! It has been a family tradition to bake loaves of strawberry bread and give as gifts to close friends and teachers, and serve at family gatherings. Now, we have added this banana bread. If you enjoy bananas, this is a must-try recipe!

Homemade Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup Brookshire’s Buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups  ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:
Cream together the sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time using a mixer. Stir baking soda into buttermilk then add to the mixture. Sift flour and baking powder; add to the mixture. Add vanilla and mashed bananas next; mix in and stir in pecans as the last item. Pour in a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans, less cooking time). Bake at 300° F for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until bread is done (check with toothpick). Let cool shortly before removing from pan, or cut immediately and enjoy fresh hot bread with a glass of milk. Note: Bake it in a bundt pan for a fancy look and sprinkle with powdered sugar; it is a great party item.

Plan an afternoon and try this banana bread recipe – time in the kitchen with your family is an opportunity to bond and grow relationships. It may become a favorite family recipe that you can pass on for generations to come. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!



Family Matters: Lucky Ice Cream Floats


Lucky Ice Cream Floats St. Patrick’s Day may be over, but you can still have some “green” fun in the kitchen this weekend. Your kiddos can still feel lucky with delicious – and decidedly green – ice cream floats that are simple for kids of all ages to make.

Start out by chilling the glass you will be using in advance, so the ingredients stay nice and cold. With an ice cream scoop, dip 2 to 3 scoops of Goldenbrook Farms Lime Sherbet into the glass. With a steady hand, carefully and slowly pour in the Brookshire’s BLAST! Lemon Lime. The combination will begin to foam. Stop pouring before the foam reaches the top of the glass. Add a fun straw to the drink and enjoy every sip!

For more kid-friendly recipes, pick up a free copy of Celebrate Cooking Magazine available online or at your local Brookshire’s.



Family Matters: Bathtime for Your Pets


Bathtime for Your PetsLast weekend, we gave my 95-pound rescue dog, Astro, his first bath. Well, at least the first time we’d bathed him since we got him in July.

Yes, it was long overdue.

The most difficult part was getting Astro into the bathtub. He didn’t like it, at all. He dodged and ran into my closet, which is an adventure in and of itself. (In the summer, we’ll bathe him outside, but it was too cold last weekend for an outside bath.) Then, he slipped through our grasps and got into the bedroom. He tried to hide under the bed, but a dog that stands hip height can’t quite make it. We finally got him into the bathroom and got the door closed, and two of us lifted him into the tub. Once in the tub, he didn’t mind at all, and I think he kind of enjoyed the warm spray from the shower head and the lather. (It took three times of lather, rinse and repeat to get him clean!)

According to the ASPCA, what we should have done was spend a few days slowly introducing him to the concept of bath time by bringing him into the bathroom, teaching him to step in and out of the tub by himself, using treats and rewards, and letting him hear the running water and get accustomed to it.

That would have helped.

Another way to give your pooch a good bath time memory is to give him treats AFTER the bath and to play with him. Trust me. I’ve filed all this information away for next time.



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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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