share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Keeping Your Feathered Friend Active


Keeping Your Feathered Friend ActiveEvery once in a while, you have to let a caged bird sing or, in this case, exercise.

You’d feel all penned up in a cage, wouldn’t you? While it’s not exactly the same for your pet bird, you do need to make sure it gets enough exercise to keep him healthy and happy.

One thing you can do is put a ladder in his bird cage so that he can climb up and down it at his pleasure. When he sees the ladder, he will be compelled to climb it to the top.

Purchase foraging toys from your local pet shop. These toys allow you to hide food or millet treats inside so your pet has to work for them.

Let him fly, literally. Provide a safe, enclosed space, and let him flap his wings. If your bird’s wings are clipped, take him out of his cage and put him on a perch to let him flap around.

Hang a small bell in your bird’s cage; he will reach for it and ring it.

Offer your bird things to tear up, like newspaper or eucalyptus branches. He’ll get a good workout shredding.

Finally, place your bird on the floor at one end of a hallway (with doors to the hallway closed). Go to the other end; call him and let him hop to you.



Family Matters: Caring for Your Kitten


Caring for Your KittenYou just brought your new bundle of fuzzy joy home. Now, what do you do?

Most kittens are ready to be weaned and rehomed at 8 weeks, so you’ll have a little ball of love on your hands.

First things first: take your new kitten to a veterinarian for a complete checkup and shots. You want to start his life with you in a healthy way.

As for food, offer your kitten a brand of food specially formulated for a younger cat. Either wet or dry food is okay. Just make sure it’s chock full of the nutrients kittens need to grow big and strong. Kitten meals should be about 30 percent high-quality protein.

Teach them good bathroom habits immediately. Most cats love to stay clean and don’t need much litter box training. Introduce them to the litter box in the space where it will remain permanently. Let the cat scratch around inside. Bring her back to the box frequently the first several days or until she has it down pat.

Pet your cat frequently to help it socialize. If it tolerates being held, snuggle with it and let it fall asleep on your lap or chest.

Provide your cat with toys like small balls, squeaky toys and things that move. You might need to provide it with a scratching post to protect your furniture as your kitten’s claws grow.



Family Matters: Exercise is Fun with Your Dog


Exercise is Fun with Your DogWhen I mentioned that I was writing a blog on doggie exercise, my boyfriend immediately offered that some people dance with their dogs.

Um, okay

I can just picture him twirling Astro, my 95-pound mutt, around the dance floor. Maybe they could get matching tuxes or something.

He wasn’t kidding.

Sure enough, get your dog to exercise by having him move and groove around the room with you.

Start by clearing furniture to give you both a large enough space to dance. Turn on some tunes and encourage him to weave through your legs, turn circles, leap into the air, spin around and back up to you.

Keep some low-fat treats in your pocket to reward him for participating.

Did you know doggies do yoga, too? Where do you think “downward dog” came from? Astro has downward dog mastered. Partner yoga moves can help your dog relax and relieve stress. Look for YouTube videos guiding you through the moves with your pup.

Play! Of course, this is great exercise. Throw your dog a Frisbee or a ball, and let him catch it or fetch and retrieve.

You can always take him on a brisk walk as well.



Family Matters: Terrifying Threes


Terrifying ThreesThe Terrible Twos had nothing on the Terrifying Threes in my house.

Both of my sons sailed through the second year with ease, but it was the older toddler years that were, ahem, challenging to say the least, with us.

I don’t think I’m alone in that, either.

Between tantrums and talking back, that was a tough time period.

Toddlers are testing their boundaries, whether they’re two or three years old.

They WANT to know what their limits are. Knowing their limits helps them feel safe to explore within the boundaries, so to speak. Don’t be afraid to set firm limits.

Knowing what to expect helps them cope, so a schedule, a bedtime, manners, behaviors and familiar activities can have a beginning, an end and a firm structure in place.

Sure, kids need free play; that’s not what I’m saying. Don’t let them set their own bedtime or wait until they’re too strung out because they’re ravenous to feed them.

Don’t let them continue with a bad behavior because it’s “cute” or it’s easier for you. It won’t be easier in the long run, I assure you.



Family Matters: Immunizations


ImmunizationsTo keep your baby healthy, it’s important to immunize them against childhood diseases. Even if he doesn’t appear to have anything wrong with him, immunizing him will keep him and others around him well.

Pediatricians recommend immunizations at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months and 6 months.

You don’t necessarily have to do them all at these times (some parents choose to delay or spread them out more), but it’s important for your baby’s health to have them done at some point early on.

When you bring baby to the doctor for shots, bring a lovey, pacifier or other soothing object. You might want to feed him or nurse while he’s getting his shots to give him something to help soothe. Hold the baby on your lap or closely to you when they get their shot, instead of laying them out on the exam table.

Some babies have no problem with shots. Others scream and scream and scream.

After your baby is over three months old, you can give them a weight-appropriate (ask your pediatrician) dose of Tylenol right before the appointment to help quickly ease the pain of the shots. Sometimes a cold or warm compress is soothing.

If a hard, red knot appears at the site of the injection, notify your doctor immediately.

Otherwise, baby may be fussy, and that’s totally normal.

Bring your shot records with you to each appointment or have your physician’s office print you a copy of the day’s immunizations at each visit to keep in your records.



Family Matters: Development in Babies


Development in BabiesWhen my younger son was about 9 months old, he suddenly stopped bearing weight. He stopped sitting up, scooting or pulling up.

I panicked. My older son had just been diagnosed with autism, and to see his little brother, who’d been progressing so well, suddenly stop was frightening, however misguided it was.

It turned out that my younger son was just a little hypotonic, meaning he had low muscle tone. His “abrupt” decline probably wasn’t as pronounced as I thought it was (I was probably hyper-vigilant because of the older son’s diagnosis), but it was still something to be addressed.

We had him evaluated by what, in Texas, is called Early Childhood Intervention (most states have a similar program for children from birth to 3 years old). He was assigned a wonderful occupational therapist who appeared to come twice a week to play games and cuddle with him, but the therapist was really performing targeted exercises to help make him stronger.

Within a few weeks, he was back to proper sitting, scooting and pulling up to standing.

There is a huge range of normal development in babies, but if you ever have any question, consult a medical professional. It’s always better to 1.) have peace of mind and 2.) be proactive. If there is something to address, the earlier you get on it, the better for your baby. If there isn’t, at least you can SLEEP like a baby!



Family Matters: Easter Bunny Pops


Easter Bunny PopsWith Easter coming up soon, what could be better than Easter Peeps? You know Peeps, those adorable marshmallow bunnies and chicks that as adults we say we don’t like them, but secretly we really do and we eat them when our kids are not looking! Kids and big kids at heart still get excited when they see these fluffy marshmallow chick and bunny Peeps in their Easter baskets. If you didn’t know, they’re yummy to eat straight out of the package, too.

If you are like me, you want something quick, easy and super cute to take to your Sunday Easter dinner. With several little kids (and big kids) at the table, these bunny pops will be perfect. These are super easy to make, so I can recruit my 14-year-old daughter to help. She can actually make these by herself, which is also a bonus!

You and your kiddos can make these Easter Bunny Pops with a few simple ingredients found at Brookshire’s (you may have to get the super cute paper straws at a local craft store).

Easter Bunny Pops

Ingredients:
Peeps Marshmallow Bunnies
Brookshire’s White Bark Coating
pearl sixlets
wax paper
paper straws

Directions:
Use the Easter Bunny Peeps for this project. Take the desired number of bunnies out of the package, and separate them from each other.

Insert a colorful paper straw into the bottom of each bunny marshmallow.

Cover a sheet pan with wax paper. Melt white candy bark in a glass or plastic bowl in the microwave in 20-second to 30-second increments until melted, stirring in between cooking times. Dip each bunny into the melted bark, letting the excess drip off. Lay on the sheet pan.

Place a candy pearl on the back of each bunny to make a tail.

You can even wrap these up in individual clear bags, and tie with a cute bow to give as gifts. As you’re celebrating with your family and friends, remember that the true reason of your celebration goes beyond the Easter basket…Easter represents new life.



Family Matters: Earth Day Pancakes


Earth Day PancakesEarth Day is April 22nd this year, and we love to celebrate it.

Earth Day is a time to inspire everyone to appreciate our environment. For more than 40 years, Earth Day has been a special occasion to set aside time to plant a tree, pick up trash, plant a sustainable garden or clear out harsh chemicals in your home for a more natural approach.

These Earth Day pancakes are a perfect way to kick off the day with your kids. They’ll love the whimsical nature of these tasty treats, and it will start the day the right way!

Earth Day Pancakes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups Brookshire’s Baking Mix
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla
blue and green food coloring (preferably natural)

Directions:
Mix baking mix, buttermilk (or regular milk), egg, sugar and vanilla. Mix until most of the lumps are gone.

Separate batter into two bowls. Add blue food coloring to one bowl and green to the other bowl. When that’s well-mixed, you might want to put the green food coloring into a squeeze bottle or into a plastic bag with the corner snipped off.

Preheat your griddle to medium heat. When it’s hot, place a dollop of blue batter onto the griddle, then draw “continents” on the pancake with the green batter to represent the Earth. Cook until edges are dry and bubbles stay open. Flip and cook another minute or two, or until cooked through. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 320, Calories from Fat: 97, Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (3 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 51 mg, Sodium: 831 mg, Potassium: 235 mg, Carbohydrates: 46 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 18 g, Protein: 9 g.

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



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.



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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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