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Family Matters: Another Dog?


DogI’ve been facing a dilemma recently, that being whether or not to get another dog.

I had three of them until they dug under the fence into the neighbor’s yard, and she let them out of her gate without bothering to tell me that they’d gotten out.

I was trying to be a responsible pet owner, I really was, but perhaps an Australian shepherd puppy and a German shepherd puppy weren’t the best choices for a smallish, suburban backyard.

That was over a year ago, and I’ve gone back and forth about getting another dog.

On the pros list: I love dogs. I would enjoy their companionship and having company when I’m home alone. I’d love to “rescue” a stray and give it some love. The boys would like it.

On the cons list: Nothing can change the fact I work long days and am not home to give a dog a lot of attention during daylight hours. I still have the hole under my fence. Vet bills can be expensive.

So, I’m still pondering.

What do you think?



Family Matters: First Words


TalkingBetween 8-12 months, your child should say his first word.

“Dada” is a very common one, and while dads are of the utmost important, the “d” consonant blend is very easy to say. So, don’t despair, moms. It’s just the path of least resistance at this point.

My boys had to do things their own way.

My older son’s first word was “light” and my younger son’s was “bird.” Now, the older one talked later, much later, than average, but I have no idea where “bird” came from with the younger one.
During this time, they’ll probably add another word to their vocabulary, babble and make noises all the time.

If your child isn’t talking, don’t worry, but if he’s not much into babbling, just ask your doctor for a quick check-up.

TIP 7-12 months:  Around 12 months, baby can scribble with a crayon. Give him a washable version and some paper, and let him go to town!



Family Matters: Brushing Baby’s Teeth


Brushing TeethFirst, baby’s gums need to be brushed then the teeth.

By the time they’re one year old, you should be brushing twice a day with a soft toothbrush.

Decay in baby teeth can be painful and cause infections.

When brushing, teach your toddler how to spit out the fluoride toothpaste (they’ll probably enjoy approved spitting), but don’t rinse after brushing. That actually removes the fluoride.

Don’t give your toddler a bottle or sippy cup in bed. If they have to have something, stick to plain water.

Don’t introduce sugary drinks. It’s easier never to start than to wean them from sugar-filled drinks.

Visit a dentist at 1 year old. The dentist can advise you on the best practices for your little one.

TIP 13-36 months: Use a fingertip toothbrush, a soft rubber form that fits over mom or dad’s finger, to get the best brush for your young toddler.



Family Matters: Crying Baby


CryingMy friend, Kristina, had a baby in the late fall, and that sweet little bundle of joy never stops crying.

Ok, that’s a huge exaggeration, but from what I’ve experienced with my two kids, her baby cries more than normal. She’s taken her to the doctor to rule out colic, pain or any other kind of sickness. So, while it’s frustrating, even maddening at times, the fact of life is that babies cry. Sometimes, they cry a lot.

Crying is almost an infant’s only way of communicating. They can’t tell you they’re hungry or cold or wet or dirty, so they squawk about it.

Excessive crying can be caused by boredom or loneliness, colic, discomfort or irritation, gas, hunger or thirst, illness, infection, medications, normal muscle jerks that disrupt sleep or pain.
Once you’ve ruled out pain, changed the diaper, fed them and gave them something to drink, the best cure could just be cuddling. Simple enough, right? We hope so! If your infant’s crying seems out of hand, consult your doctor. They can do a thorough examination.

TIP 0-6 months: Are you cold? If you’re cold, baby is cold. Baby doesn’t need TONS of extra layers, so dress baby like you dress and add an extra blanket if needed.



Family Matters: Birthday Boy


Birthday BoyI could probably write this post every year. In fact, I think I probably have, but where on earth does time go?

My older son will turn 12 on Tuesday, and it feels like he was just born yesterday or the day before.

In the blink of an eye, he went from a 7-pound bundle of joy to a smart, handsome, clever, funny, hardworking young man.

I think back to all those milestones: When he took his first step in the kitchen and I cheered so loudly he fell down and started to cry.

When I left him in the church nursery for the first time and spent the entire worship service worrying.

When he went off to school for the first time and I went home and cried and cried and cried.

When he played on his first soccer and basketball teams. When he wanted to learn Power Point (in the first grade) so he could give his class a presentation on the real meaning of Easter.

When he started middle school and went to his first dance.

It goes by so quickly.

Enjoy every day and every moment, even the tough ones, the mouthy ones, the sleepless ones and the worrisome ones. You never get those moments back.

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Family Matters: Valentine’s Tradition


Valentines

Flowers, candy and stuffed animals are what most people think about when you mention Valentine’s Day. At our house, we treat Valentine’s Day differently; we don’t do the traditional flowers and candy. My husband found after a few years of purchasing items for five women in the house that it is a lot of money spent on things that are short lived. So, he decided to make a new tradition that would not take the “sweetness” out of the occasion. 

Every year, my girls and I are treated to a home-cooked meal prepared by their dad and then a trip to a movie. We go to an early show (saves money), and since we just ate at home, no one is hungry for snacks at the movie (another money saving tip). As a family of six, we do not go to the movie but a few times a year, so this is a real treat for us to go together. The meal is always special knowing it was prepared with love and then sitting together as a family and enjoying it. 

To some, our Valentine’s tradition may not be what you consider spectacular, but to our family, it is something we look forward to each year. The money spent on flowers, candy and stuffed animals is something that no one remembers weeks later, but the time my husband spends making Valentine’s special each year, we will forever hold dear. 

Don’t go broke trying to show those you love the most that they are special. Focus on your family by personally adding a little “sweetness” to their Valentine’s. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you are given with them.  

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Family Matters: Around the Dinner Table


Family DinnerYes, I’m one of those people who enjoy making New Year’s resolutions and then not keeping them. Some of my resolutions this year are to eat healthier, continue with my exercise program and participate in more race events. However, my number one resolution is to be committed to family dinnertime.

Family dinnertime does not have to be perfect. Don’t expect your meals to always turn out delicious where everyone is raving about your cooking. Also, don’t expect your kids to always be polite and on their best behavior. Let’s be real; good food is only as good as the people you enjoy eating it with. Dinnertime is about sitting down at the table for at least 30 minutes and catching up with everyone. Let the kids tell you what went on at school, open up to one another and share life’s events with each other.

As the kids are getting older and having plans of their own, it gets harder and harder to have that regular family dinnertime that I long for. However, my New Year’s resolution is to not stress over this but instead embrace the fact that they are growing up and that I need to start planning ahead for our family meals together. This is where my slow cooker is going to take action! I can throw everything in it before we leave out the door in the mornings, and it’s ready by the time we get home in the evenings. 

I’ve already started this week off pretty good with Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings. It’s easy enough to put together in the morning and finish up when you get home in the evening. This recipe is a winner and allows for more quality time around the dinner table!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours on Low

 Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
   or 1 rotisserie chicken from our deli (deboned and cut into pieces)
2 Tbsp butter
1 can Brookshire’s Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Brookshire’s Cream of Celery Soup
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 oz onions finely diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 (10 oz) can Brookshire’s Biscuits

Directions:
EXCLUDING THE BISCUITS: Put all ingredients in the slow cooker, cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours. About an hour before serving, remove chicken and pull into pieces (if you used chicken breasts) and then return chicken pieces to the soup mixture.

Place the torn biscuit dough into the slow cooker; cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

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Family Matters: Pet Grooming


Pet GroomingI read an article in the newspaper recently about a pet grooming salon that takes pretty pets to the extreme.

For example, one woman had her poodle dyed red, bright red, with the word “Bama” shaved into his fur for her favorite sports team.

Another had her dog tie-dyed for attending a festival honoring the hippie band, The Grateful Dead.

Still another had her Swarovski crystals embedded in her pooch’s nails during her mani-pedi.

Pampering your pet is nothing new. Many, even most, pet owners take their dogs to be bathed, brushed, clipped, manicured and trimmed, but I was curious to see what extreme the pet owners I know took their pets’ beauty regimes.

So, I polled my friends on Facebook.

The most popular answer was that pet owners took their dogs to be bathed.

“I just can’t deal with doing it myself,” one friend said. “It makes a mess no matter where or how I do it.”

The second most popular answer was having long-haired dogs – and cats – trimmed and clipped.

“Keeps Mitzie’s fur from getting nappy under her belly,” a friend explained.

One friend does have a personal groomer for her horse to braid its mane and tail before shows.

“Hey, it’s part of the judging process,” she defended the VERY expensive treatment.

However, one answer stood out above the rest.

I have a friend who took her black cat to the groomer to have stripes shaved into its fur.

“We were trying to convince my son that Blackie had turned into a skunk overnight!”

I forgot to ask whether or not it worked. 



Family Matters: Learning


BabyBetween 7 and 12 months, your little one is learning cause and effect. If he drops something, he knows it’s gone, and he knows you’ll likely pick it up.

You can reinforce this learning and motor skills with a simple and fun game. Belly laughs are guaranteed.

Blow up a balloon but don’t tie it. Give it to your baby and show him how to let it fly. Then, watch it zoom around the room. If you are playing outside, adding a little water before you blow up the balloon makes this game even more fun. Don’t forget baby will immediately try to put it in his mouth, so supervise closely!

 TIP 7-12 months: Put an ice cube (or several) on the tray to baby’s high chair or on a baking sheet in front of him. Let him feel how cold and wet it is. Let him push it around and play with it as it melts.



Family Matters: “Why”


BabyWhy ask “why”? If you have a two year old, you know there doesn’t have to be a reason. “Why” is a normal part of the developmental repertoire for a toddler. Yes, it can be maddening, but it’s a crucial stage for your little one. 

When your toddler asks “why,” sometimes he wants an explanation, and sometimes he doesn’t know how to express himself any other way. Sometimes it’s totally random. Always answer his questions, even when it’s been asked 97 other times. You could try answering “why?” with a question of your own, turning it back to him to develop critical thinking skills. When he asks why he should put the ball away, ask him, “Why do you think you should put the ball away?”

TIP 13-36 months: Bring a stroller when you go to shopping centers, parks, malls or on trips, but let your toddler walk a little too, holding their hand of course. They enjoy the independence.



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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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