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Family Matters: Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth


Brushing Your Dog's TeethDoes your pup suffer from an all-day case of morning breath?

Brushing your dog’s teeth should be a regular part of his hygiene routine, especially as older dogs have a tendency to lose teeth.

For starters, dry food is better for dog’s teeth than wet foods. The crunch factor helps clean plaque off of teeth.

Start your dog off on a teeth-brushing regime when he is a puppy, so he’s accustomed to always having that task in his life.

Go to the pet store and pick a toothpaste. Human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs, as it contains fluoride, so choose one formulated for a dog. Grab a dog-specific toothbrush while you’re there.

To brush his teeth, catch him while he’s calm. Snuggle him in your lap or wrap your free arm around him. Place a small dollop of toothpaste on the brush. Then, gently pull back his gums and brush his teeth. Dogs don’t need to rinse, but do offer him a bowl of clean water afterward.

Flossing is optional.



Family Matters: Fun and Exercise For Your Pet


Fun and Exercise For Your PetToys aren’t just for kids; your small pet loves them, too!

Small animals like hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs or mice love a good toy. Not only are they fun, a lot of these toys are great exercise for animals cooped up in a small area.

Try plastic running balls. These rigid, plastic domes have a little door (and plenty of ventilation) for your hamster, gerbil or mouse. Place the animal inside and put the ball on a flat surface, like the floor (not on a table or countertop where he could roll off and injure himself), and let him run wild. Placing the ball inside a clean, DRY bathtub works, too, and lessens the chance of the ball getting stuck under furniture, where you have a hard time getting it out.

Tunnels are also great toys for small animals. Either attached to their cage or freestanding, tunnels can give them other options of places to run and explore. Try placing a treat in one corner and see how quickly your small pet finds it.

Small rubber balls are fun, as are ball pits! Miniature versions of this childhood favorite provide your pet with great exercise (and a fun place to burrow in and sleep).

Fiddlesticks and chew toys are also good options.



Family Matters: Good Pets For Your Family


Good Pets For Your FamilyLast weekend, I went to the zoo with a little friend. She loved the birds so much she squawked and flapped and imitated them for hours after we got home.

After we got home, her mom started looking into what kind of bird would be best to get her for a pet to have at their house.

Bird Talk Magazine ranks Cockatiels as the best bird to have for a pet. According to the magazine, these birds are affectionate and talkative, and not very expensive to maintain. They are very social birds and can be taught to perch on a shoulder, to nuzzle or to give “kisses.”

The African Grey Parrot was the No. 2 choice. Owners reported liking the size of the bird, its intelligence and, after the initial investment, says they are not too expensive to keep.

Cockatoos, Conures, Macaws and other varieties of parrots also made the list.

The Bird Channel also recommends Budgies, Canaries and Finches as good pets for kids.

All experts recommend making sure the child is mature, can control impulses, and won’t harm the delicate bird if you consider it as a pet.



Family Matters: Grooming Your Cat


Grooming Your CatNot only does your dog need to be groomed, especially if he’s an outdoor sort, but your cat should get some pampering, too.
Cats are somewhat self-cleaning. Their tongue is designed to help keep them clean and neat, but if your cat gets smelly, you might need to step in.

Bathing a cat can be about as fun as wrestling an alligator, but here are some tips to make it an easier process.
Choose a time when your cat is most mellow, maybe after an afternoon nap in the sunshine. Don’t attempt this right after they eat, however, as it can upset their stomachs if they get stressed out during the process.
Trim their nails before you attempt a bath, for your safety.

Place a fluffy towel or rubber mat in the bottom of a sink or the tub, whichever you use. This will help with traction.
Place an oven rack or cookie cooling rack in the tub or sink. This gives kitty something to cling to, besides your arm, during the bath process.

Make sure water is warm but not too hot or too cold. Don’t suds their faces; they usually hate that. Using the water wand, gently and thoroughly wet the cat, and massage some specially formulated shampoo (made for cats, not for humans and definitely not dish soap) into his coat. Rinse thoroughly.

Immediately scoop your cat up with a towel wrapped snugly around him and dry thoroughly.



Family Matters: A New Sibling


A New SiblingIt seems that the time between 24 and 36 months is a prime time to introduce your toddler to a new sibling.

I know I agonized over this when my older son was 19 months old. I cried. I cried a lot. How would he feel? Would I love my younger son as much as my firstborn? (resoundingly yes!) How would the older son react?

Introducing a toddler, especially an older one, to a new baby isn’t always easy. At 19 months, my older son hardly noticed the new guy in town, but I watched some of my friends struggle with this.

Introduce the concept while Mommy is pregnant, not when you bring the baby home from the hospital. Talk to your toddler about pregnancy in terms he can understand. You don’t necessarily have to assign a time value to the experience; he likely won’t understand what “four more months” means. If you know the gender of your baby and have a name picked out, start using that with your toddler. Let him help pick out toys or clothes for the new baby.

Make a big deal about getting your toddler a new bed or a new room if he’s moving out of his nursery. Start this process well before the baby is born, so your toddler has time to settle in.

Have your toddler buy your little one a present for when he’s born. You might want to get your toddler something special that the baby can “give” him at the hospital.

Finally, when it’s time for delivery, make sure your toddler has someone loved and trusted to spend time with when you’re delivering his sibling. Bring him up to the hospital or birthing center as soon as possible after the baby is born to meet his new sibling.

After you bring the baby home, remember your older child might want extra cuddles and reassurance and might act out a little. Don’t scold him too harshly. You know what an adjustment this is for you; imagine what he feels like, too!



Family Matters: Baby Loves Buttons


Baby Loves ButtonsButtons, buttons and more buttons! Not the kind on your clothing (although your baby will probably love those, too) but the kind you push on toys, elevators or electronics. Your child ages 7 to 12 months will love buttons.

As baby’s fine motor skills develop, they become more adept at skills like pushing buttons, and they will want to push every button they see.

Choose toys for your baby that have buttons that will show them cause and effect. Push the yellow button, and a cute animal pops out of a window! Push the blue button, and a honking noise sounds from the toy. Baby will learn his actions have a result, and it’s a hugely rewarding feeling for your little one.

It also helps his fine motor skills as he learns to use one finger to produce a result.

Let your baby push buttons in an elevator, and watch the button as it lights up. As they get older, this helps with number recognition, too.



Family Matters: Never Shake a Baby


Never Shake a BabyPaul and I have a standing joke. “Don’t drop the baby,” he says, claiming this is the extent of his knowledge of newborns.

It’s pretty good advice.

Don’t shake the baby, either.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is another name for abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, inflicted head injury or whiplash shake syndrome. It’s a serious brain injury caused by forcefully shaking an infant or toddler. It can result in death or serious developmental injuries.

Basically, the injury deprives a baby’s brain of vital oxygen. The injury doesn’t usually happen by accident; an adult inflicts it upon a child. If a child survives the injury, it will cause serious brain damage.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is 100 percent preventable. If you find yourself losing patience with 3am feedings, colicky crying or the day-to-day rigors of taking care of an infant, please seek help. Your doctor, therapist or other health professional can get you help. Just don’t shake the baby.



Family Matters: Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Barbecue


Slow Cooker Pulled Beef BarbecueWhat’s for dinner is always the question of the day. I ask myself this question every day because I’m the one doing all the cooking for my family. Next to grilling, my second favorite way to cook is using my slow cooker. Dump everything in the slower cooker, turn it on and walk away – it’s that easy!

One of my family’s favorite slower cooker meals is Pulled Beef Barbecue. This beef is so yummy; I can just eat it straight from the slow cooker. However, it’s best piled on buns. This recipe makes so much that you can use this beef in many other recipes like soups, burritos, tacos, pastas or even to top off a pizza.

Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Barbecue
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Serves: 10

Ingredients:
3 1/2 lbs boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into pieces
1 pkg McCormick® Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Place beef in slow cooker. Mix seasoning, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar and water until blended. Pour over beef. Cover.

Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Remove beef from slow cooker. Shred beef using two forks. Return beef to slow cooker; mix and heat with sauce. Serve on sandwich rolls, if desired.

Slow Cooker Tip: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 556, Fat: 37 g, Cholesterol: 157 mg, Sodium: 98 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 44 g.

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



Family Matters: Easter Eggs


Homemade Easter Peanut Butter EggsAbout three years ago, I decided to stop putting candy in my kids’ Easter baskets. It almost never got eaten, and they were more about the iTunes gift card anyway. It was kind of a letdown, but it was really just not something they were interested in.

However, we started making our own Easter treats! Now, not only do they eat what we make and love it, but we also get to spend some quality time together in the kitchen, which is our favorite place to be.

These are so much fun to make! There is no baking required (so you can eat them more quickly!), and there are a lot of hands-on steps. You can really make these any size. We’ve done lots of bite-sized versions, and then my son, of course, had to try a super-sized egg, which he kept all for himself.

The spring-colored sprinkles make these pretty and festive, or you can use drizzles of colored decorative icing.

TIP: Some kids don’t like getting their hands dirty and that’s fine. Slip their hands into a plastic baggie sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to keep their hands clean, but still let them participate in the egg-shaping.

Homemade Easter Peanut Butter Eggs
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Brookshire’s Unsalted Butter, softened
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup Food Club Graham Cracker Crumbs, finely crushed
1/2 cup Food Club Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Food Club Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tbs shortening
Food Club Sprinkles, for decoration

Directions:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip butter for 1 minute. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add crushed crumbs, peanut butter and vanilla. Combine well.

Using your hands, shape the peanut butter mixture into 16 egg-shaped ovals. Place on baking sheets that have been lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

When eggs are firm, melt your chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on medium-low power until smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Dip each egg in the melted chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off before placing on the waxed paper or wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles and chill again until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Serves 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 309, Fat: 18 g (9 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 125 mg, Carbohydrates: 37 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 2 g.

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



Family Matters: Making Your Home Safe for Your Dog


Making Your Home Safe for Your DogGetting a dog is sort of like having a toddler – they can get into things you never saw coming!

To prepare a safe haven for your pooch, consider pet-proofing very much the same way you’d child-proof.

Use child-proof locks on cabinets that contain cleaning agents, chemicals or even food that your dog could get into and could be potentially harmful. Make sure all medications are on high shelves or in other places your dog can’t reach.

Consider putting a latch or at least a lid on your trash can, or secure it in a cabinet with a latch. That way, your dog can’t get into it and eat something he shouldn’t!

Keep the toilet lids closed. Do you really want your pet drinking toilet water?

Secure cords that your pet could trip over, so he doesn’t knock lamps or other appliances over on top of him.

Keep children’s toys with small parts out of reach of your dog, too.

Some house plants are poisonous. Research them before bringing them into your home and around your pet.

In your garage, make sure that your car isn’t leaking antifreeze, which can cause kidney failure in your pet, or that you don’t have paint, oil, gas, fertilizer or any other chemical agent accessible to your pet.



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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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