share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Man’s Best Friend as Your Walking Buddy


Just like humans, dogs need exercise too. When dogs exercise, their bone, joint and emotional health improves. Dogs make great walking and jogging buddies. Next time there is a sunny day, put a leash on your dog and take it on a walk or jog. This way both you and your dog are improving your health. Do not forget to bring water for you and your pet.



Family Matters: A Wave Bottle!


Some days—often it’s a Saturday—you just need something different to do. That’s all there is to it—you’re bored.

Here’s a fun craft idea kids will enjoy and it’s easy to keep the supplies on hand so that you’ll be ready the next time boredom strikes your house!

 

 

Wave Bottle

Materials needed:
Cooking Oil
Water
Blue Food Coloring (or any other color)
Empty bottle from soda (2 liter, 1 liter or 3 liter)
Super glue

Directions:
Have your child fill a bottle halfway with cooking oil, and then add some water that has been dyed with food coloring (hint: use a funnel!) to fill it 3/4 of the way full. Replace the cap and glue it on with super glue.  As you place the bottle on its side, the waves will roll gently.

Kids will have so much fun watching the surf….and adults will find it strangely relaxing, too!



Family Matters: Breakfast Ideas


Health experts everywhere agree: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Parents may agree, too, but they’re faced with the challenge of actually getting their children to eat breakfast!

Some kids are groggy in the morning, and others are part of a routine so fast-paced that sitting down to a meal seems like a luxury.Here are a few suggestions for portable breakfasts that are easy to carry with you in the morning. And PS: 

Adults like these foods, too, so make plenty!  

  • Peanut butter on a whole-wheat English muffin, topped with sliced banana.
  • A snack bag filled with dried cereal, walnuts and dried cherries!
  • A hard-boiled egg, tangerine and a handful of whole-grain crackers.
  • A stick of skim mozzarella cheese, a chunk of whole-grain bread and some grapes.
  • A whole-wheat pita stuffed with cottage cheese and sliced peaches or blueberries.
  • A whole-grain waffle toasted and spread with peanut butter and apple sauce.
  • 2 pcs of whole grain bread spread with soft cheese and topped with strawberries.

 



Family Matters: Baby’s First Craft Project


Are you coming up on Baby’s First Mother’s Day? Here’s a fun project that babies of any age can participate in, and it makes a great gift for moms, grandmothers, aunts and cousins.

Make hand print butterflies by dipping your baby’s hands in paint! Place both color-dipped  hands near the top of the paper with thumbs about two inches apart. Then dip their hands in another color of paint and have their hands go in opposite direction (just below the other hands) with the thumbs about 2 inches apart again (sometimes it’s easier to rotate the paper instead of the baby’s hands!).

Let the hands dry and paint a body down the middle. Write “A Handful of Love” on the butterfly body and place a small photo of the child on it. Add pipe cleaners on the head for antennae.

Older children can make the same project with much less help from you!

Note: take lots of photos of this project. You’ll want to remember it!



Egg-ceptional eggs


You can buy all sorts of egg-decorating kits, but have you ever tried it on your own?

It’s not hard!

Keep your plans simple and don’t over-estimate your abilities at the fancy projects!

1. Prepare the eggs. Either hard boil them and dry fully, or blow the raw egg from the inside of the shell by piercing each end with a needle (beginners should stick with hard boiled eggs!).

2. Create the dye bath. Combine 1/2 – 1 Tbs of food coloring with 2 tsp vinegar in a cup that is deep enough for the eggs. Add water to about the half way point. Gently place the eggs into the cups. Try using a soup spoon to ease the eggs in. The longer they are left in the dye, the darker the color shade. Experiment with different combinations of colors. When you remove the egg from the dye, pat dry with a paper towel and place in a holder.

Easy techniques:
1. Crayons: Color on the Easter eggs before placing in the dye.

Simple dots, lines, shapes or swirls…the wax will resist the dye and your picture will show through.

2. Rubber Bands: Wrap rubber bands around hard cooked eggs, then place them in food-coloring dye. Remove eggs, pat dry with paper towel and remove rubber bands. The parts of the egg covered with rubber bands will not be colored. Once the rubber bands are removed, you can drop the egg into a different color dye.

Recipe courtesy of McCormick, Inc.



Family Matters: Fast Chicken and Rice


Just about everyone can use the same word to describe their family: BUSY.  A day at school is the equivalent to working a full-time job, after all, and bringing home school work is just like working overtime.  And we wonder why there’s never enough time to fix a great meal!

Here’s a busy-family favorite recipe because it’s quick and really tasty—even for picky young eaters! If you have some leftover cooked chicken pieces, you can save even more time, since you won’t have to do that initial cooking.

You know, the next time you DO have some time, cook a batch of chicken up, shred it, and pop it in the freezer. That way, you can make this recipe anytime, and save even more precious minutes.

So take it from us—we feel your pain! But we have some recipes that can really help. Stay tuned for more Busy Family Favorites!

Fast Chicken and Rice
Serves 4
Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 (8.8 oz) package cooked brown or white rice in a microwaveable reheating pouch.
1 pound chicken breast tenders, halved crosswise (or cooked chicken pieces)
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1/4 cup bottled stir fry sauce
1/2 cup packaged slivered almonds

Directions:
Stir peas into the rice pouch. Heat according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook and stir chicken in hot oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir the rice mixture into the skillet. Stir in stir-fry sauce, heat through. Sprinkle each serving with almonds.

Note: If you have pre-cooked chicken pieces, simply reheat it in the microwave and stir in the cooked peas and rice, as well as stir fry sauce. Cooking time? Five minutes or less!

Nutritional information:
per serving: 311 calories, 9 gr fat (1 gr saturated fat), 402 mg sodium, 66 mg cholesterol, 25 gr carbohydrates, 2 gr fiber, 31 gr protein.

 

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Family Matters: Stormy Weather Disasters


In this part of the country, it seems like it’s always storm season. Tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms and thunderstorms give us more than our fair share of potential disasters. If you find you must evacuate your home, don’t leave your pets behind. They’ll be much safer with you….and after the experiences of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, most emergency management resources realize that pets need consideration, too.

Check with your veterinarian, animal hospital, kennel or shelter to see if you can board your pets during a disaster, or make an arrangement with someone outside your area that you’ll care for each other’s pets in a crisis.

If storms seem imminent, keep a container of extra pet supplies, including clean water and medications, for quick access in an evacuation.

If you are waiting out a storm or other disaster at home, keep pets inside and offer comfort during any noise or confusion. Just your presence will help them feel better!



Family Matters: Cubby Boxes


It’s been this way for ages: kids love boxes. Ever noticed on Christmas morning that the gifts are great, but the boxes are even better?

Kids like simple things and you can help them. If you ever get a new appliance or other large item, save the box! Depending on the size and shape, you can cut a door and windows for a great little house, or flip it over to make a car or boat. Tape on some fabric for curtains or make a couple of peepholes. Kids will really enjoy playing peek-a-boo with Mom and Dad, and they’ll fill their boxes with teddy bears, dolls and whatever else suits their fancy. This type of activity encourages creativity and the boxes are generally free.  If you don’t have a big purchase planned, ask at the appliance store and they may have an extra box you can have.



Family Matters: Those Growth Spurts Do Slow Down!


In those early months, babies grow—and eat—at a tremendous rate. They nearly triple their weight and grow nearly 12 inches by their first birthday. It’s important to remember that this growth rate will slow down a bit after the first year. Babies will lose their “baby fat” and slim down a bit.

Preschoolers only need about half the calories per pound of body weight than babies do! If you’re not ready for it you may worry that your child is eating less and perhaps has a health issue. 

Kids often go on ‘food kicks’ where they develop extremely picky habits, refusing to eat whole food groups, or insisting on eating the same food every day. For the most part, that’s really not anything to worry about, though it’s also a good idea to suggest kids “try” foods whenever they’re served…to help develop new tastes. Experts say it can take 15 or more tries before a new food becomes one a child will eat. 

It’s important to remember that some people love to eat  and others only eat to survive. If your child isn’t a recreational eater, don’t worry! It’ll be easier for him to eat healthy when he’s not tempted by all sorts of goodies!



Family Matters: Leftover Pasta, Anyone?


The one drawback to pasta is that it’s hard to judge how much to make, because it expands as it cooks. I sure hope you don’t throw away that leftover pasta! Besides serving up more leftovers for lunch, extra cooked pasta can come in really handy.

You can make Mexican Pasta Skillet in a snap! Heat a teaspoon oil in a skillet. Brown 1 pound ground turkey, 1 chopped onion and 2 teaspoons cumin. Stir in 1 can mild enchilada sauce, 1 can Mexican-style corn and 1 cup of leftover cooked pasta. Add some chopped parsley or cilantro and shredded cheese just before serving. 

Or Try Spaghetti Pizza. Mix 2 cups leftover spaghetti  with a beaten egg, and press this pasta crust into the bottom of a baking pan. Top with spaghetti or pizza sauce, some pepperoni and handfuls of mozzarella cheese. Bake to melt it all, and serve in wedges.

Wow, it almost makes you want to cook up extra pasta on purpose, just so you can make these recipes!



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