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Family Matters: Diaper Bag Essentials


Diaper Bag EssentialsIs your diaper bag the size of a suitcase? I seem to remember mine was or felt that way, at least!

My diaper bag was actually a backpack, very handy when you need hands-free for an infant or an infant and a toddler. It was waterproof, also handy for spills, not that I ever spilled a sippy cup of watered-down apple juice into the bag, soaking spare diapers, wipes and making tubes of diaper cream as sticky as a half-eaten candy cane at Christmas. Okay, yes I did.

Diaper bags are a must-have when you have an infant because there’s no telling what they’ll need, even when you leave the house for 20 minutes.

Start with a sturdy bag. You might want a unisex one so your husband can still feel manly when he carries it, or you might want a Kate Spade model that will let you look stylish while sporting a burb cloth over one shoulder. Pick one that is water-resistant or get a water-resistant pouch to put inside. A backpack was handy for me, but you might like a tote style.

Always pack diapers. Always, always pack diapers. You might need four for a 20-minute outing. Yes, I’m serious. I know this from experience. A travel-size case of wipes is also essential. Brookshire’s has both of these items in bulk!

Pack a few empty zipper-lock plastic bags, just in case. You never know when you might have to improvise dirty diaper disposal. They’re also handy for sealing away soiled clothes until you can get them home to the laundry.

Speaking of soiled clothes: pack an extra set for baby, along with a few extra onesies and socks, because socks always get lost.

If your baby uses a pacifier, pack an extra 19 in the diaper bag, just in case the first 18 get thrown onto the car floor, onto the parking lot at the grocery store or borrowed by the toddler for fun.

If your baby uses a bottle, pack a few extras with nursery water and powdered formula packed in travel pouches so it’s easy to dispense for baby.

Pack a lightweight blanket to help with climate control or private nursing. A tube of diaper rash cream can be handy for a chapped bum.



Family Matters: Birthday Hot Chocolate Bar


Classic Hot ChocolateNothing says “comfort” during the cold months more than a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and that’s just what we enjoyed for my daughter’s birthday.

This year, we hosted Grace’s 14th birthday party at our home and let her invite a few friends over for a Tacky Christmas Sweater Birthday Party. We prepared a hot chocolate bar along with a batch of Christmas sugar cookies and a Christmas birthday cake. I prepared the hot chocolate on the stove and then transferred it to a slow cooker to keep it warm so the girls could dip it out for themselves.

The best part of the hot chocolate bar was all the delicious and fun toppings. Our bar consisted of marshmallows, peppermint bars, chocolate chips, chocolate dipping spoons and candies, of course!

The girls had a fun time making their custom hot chocolate, and then they all went outside to enjoy the colder weather with hot chocolate in hand. It was a perfect birthday party, and the hot chocolate bar must have been a success because they didn’t leave a drop for Mom! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to our Lord and Savior.

Classic Hot Chocolate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

1 quart Brookshire’s Whole Milk
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
Reddi-wip®, mini marshmallows and cocoa powder, for garnish

Warm about 1/3 of the milk with chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until chocolate is melted. Whisk in remaining milk, heating until mixture is warmed through. Use whisk to mix hot chocolate until completely smooth. Serve very warm, garnished with Reddi-wip®, mini marshmallows and sprinkled cocoa powder.

Calories Per Serving: 570, Fat: 33 g (21 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 274 mg, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 12 g.

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



Family Matters: Tantrums


TantrumsI was in a store this morning watching a toddler have an epic meltdown. I think it was probably spawned over Dad’s refusal to buy princess fruit snacks, which were laying on the floor of the aisle not far from where the toddler was screaming as if she were being burned by acid rain.

Dad began yelling almost as loud as the toddler. You might think that would have startled her into quiet, but it only served to create a huge racket – and a big scene.

Children this age are exerting their will, testing limits and seeing how far they can push the authority figures in their life. Stooping to their level isn’t always the best solution. After all, you can control your temper; your 2-year-old is still learning.

At this age, children don’t always have the language skills to convey their thoughts and feelings, so hurt, anger, confusion, discomfort, sadness, exhaustion or many other feelings may manifest in screams, tears, throwing things, hitting things and general misbehavior.

First rule of tantrums: Don’t give in. If you buy the princess fruit snacks because she started screaming, she will learn to scream next time she wants something, but you’ve told her “no.”

Secondly, yelling back doesn’t do much good, although it may feel right at the time. Talking calmly or walking away (if the child is in a safe place) might be more effective.

Verbalizing their feelings for them is a good way to start quelling the tantrum. Say, “Oh Aria, are you angry right now?” or “I know you’re tired, but this is not how we behave when we’re sleepy.”

Remove them from the situation. Not always a good solution because who wants to leave a cart full of groceries abandoned in the aisle? However, walking them into a restroom or around a corner might distract them enough to calm down.

Point out when other children are throwing a tantrum. Ask your child what they think about the situation.

Finally, remember: they will outgrow this phase!



Family Matters: Oral Care


Oral CareBy this time, your baby has teeth! Those pearly whites allow baby to chew some foods and are well on their way to serving them as they grow up.

It’s never too early to start caring for baby’s teeth.

As soon as they are born, wipe gums with a soft, clean cloth after baby eats. When baby is 7 to 12 months old, you can replace this with a soft toothbrush or finger brush. Clean baby’s teeth and gums after every feeding.

Do not add sweeteners to baby’s milk or formula. At this age, if they get juice, dilute it 3:1. Do not send baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of anything other than water, as it tends to pool in their mouths and sugars can break down teeth.

At this point, check with your pediatrician to see if baby is getting enough fluoride in their diet. After 12 months, you can introduce a child’s toothpaste with fluoride, but it’s probably not necessary before the one-year mark.



Family Matters: Soft Spot for Baby


Soft Spot for BabyWhen your baby is born, he will have “soft spots” on his head. These are actually openings in the skull where it hasn’t fully closed yet.

The first, larger one, is just above the forehead toward the top of baby’s head. The second is more toward the back of the skull.

You might even notice the spot pulsing in time with baby’s heartbeat.

These soft spots are totally normal, designed to help the skull be a bit more flexible as it’s moving through the birth canal. The tissue underneath the opening is protected by a thick membrane, but you still want to treat it with caution. No poking the soft spot, curious older brothers or sisters!

Between two and four months old, the back spot will close, but the top one won’t completely close until about 19 months old, allowing for the tremendous growth that takes place in baby’s first few years.

These spots, called the fontanels, might bulge a bit when baby cries hard or vomits, but they should pop right back into place. If they don’t or stay bulging, this is a sign for concern. If the soft spot is sunken, this is a sign of dehydration.



Family Matters: Holiday Family Tradition


Holiday Family TraditionMaking homemade dressing and gravy for the holidays has been something I have done since I started my own family 25 years ago. It is a tradition at our family gatherings that I will make these items for the feast (they are happy they don’t have too!). My family loves my dressing and gravy and it makes me feel good to know how much they enjoy it. It takes hours to prepare and get that perfect finished item, but I love watching and listening as they sit down to eat.

Over the years, I have made dressing and gravy for other family members to serve at their family gatherings and for special school events during the holidays. My kids are always excited to volunteer mom to cook. I get a kick out of knowing they are happy to share with everyone how good they think it is and that mom would love to do it. I find joy in preparing food and sharing with others…and delight that my kids see this in me.

In recent years, I have begun teaching my girls how to make homemade dressing and gravy, telling them one day I want to sit back and relax and let them take over this job. Of course, they last about half way through the process and then get tired out! Well this week, my oldest daughter volunteered to make dressing and gravy for her work party (of course I figured that meant mom was making it!) but I was pleasantly surprised to find her cooking cornbread, boiling the chicken and chopping ingredients when I got home from work. I helped very little and in the end she had a great finished product. She came home from work beaming, her colleagues raved over how good it was…the excitement in her voice and smile on her face are my reward. She now knows she can do it, and I know when she has her own family she will share this recipe with her children and continue this family tradition.

Praying your holidays are filled with lots of dressing and gravy that fills your tummy and a warmth with family and friends that fills your heart. It’s not just dressing and gravy…it is that “fullness” of family tradition. Count your blessings daily and give thanks for time with your family!

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Family Matters: Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice


Pumpkin Ice Cream PieIt’s officially pumpkin spice season, and pumpkins are popping up everywhere on our shelves at Brookshire’s. There are so many ways to get your pumpkin fix. From pumpkin cream cakes and pumpkin pie to pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin craft beers, there are so many ways to enjoy the wonderful flavor of pumpkin this fall season.

What could be better than two of my favorite desserts in one: pumpkin pie and ice cream, oh my! This recipe for pumpkin ice cream pie is the perfect dessert for your holiday gatherings or just to keep for you to enjoy!

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling
Freeze Time: 4 hours
Serves: 10

Ingredients:
CRUST:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

ICE CREAM:
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
3 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 cups Brookshire’s Whole Milk
4 whole cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
hot fudge, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter in a bowl; stir until evenly combined. Press into bottom and sides of 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned at the edges. Let cool completely.

Whisk together 1 cup sugar, egg yolks and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in 4-quart saucepan. Stir in milk, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk until smooth. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and mixture coats the back of the spoon. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. Let cool, and then refrigerate until chilled. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer ice cream to pie crust, smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Freeze for 4 hours or until set. Garnish with hot fudge sauce.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Fat: 18 g (10 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 147 mg, Sodium: 245 mg, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Fiber: 3 g, Protein: 5 g.

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



Family Matters: Pets and Holiday Food


Pets and Holiday FoodI don’t know about you, but I’m pretty thankful for my dog, Astro. He’s sweet, loving, even-keeled, a great and loyal friend, and a great protector.

It’s so important, at this time of the year, to make sure you’re taking care of your pet and protecting their health, too. While you might think that you’re giving them treats, some things around the holidays we enjoy can be very, very bad for your pet!

First of all, no candy. At all. Especially not chocolate, which can be deadly for dogs.

The ASPCA offers these other tips:

  • A small bite of turkey is okay as long as it’s not on the bone and is well-cooked.
  • Sage is an essential component of most turkey seasonings and dressings, but it may contain small amounts of essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal distress, especially in cats.
  • No cakes, pies or other sweets!
  • Watch the bread dough, too, especially if your pet likes to snatch things off of the kitchen counter. Bread dough can expand in their stomachs, causing them all kinds of problems.

Bottom line, pets don’t celebrate holidays with food the way we do. It’s perfectly fine to keep them on their regular feeding schedule with their regular food.



Family Matters: A Whole New World


A Whole New WorldNO!

If that’s your toddler’s favorite word, you aren’t alone.

No, she doesn’t want to put on her shoes.

No, she doesn’t want to go to the store, and no, she doesn’t want to leave.

No, she doesn’t want to take a bath, and no, she REALLY doesn’t want to go to bed.

As frustrating as it is, it’s normal. Blessedly typical development for your little one.

Your two (or three) year old is caught up in exploring her world, a world where she is fully mobile, can walk from room to room unescorted and can discover the wonders around her. She’s also learning about limits, how it’s not safe to wander out the back door without a parent and how pulling the cat’s tail might not be the best of ideas. All of that is important stuff.

You can help by setting limits. Yes, kids like limits. They like to know it’s OK to go play in their bedroom alone, but not in the backyard. They need to know that when mom says “Don’t touch,” it’s for a reason (it’s hot, it’s sharp, it’s dangerous).

You can be on their side. “I know you’re having fun and don’t want to leave the playground, but you’ll see Camden in two days, so let’s go home and you can help me make dinner.” Distraction works, too.

You can reinforce and praise good behavior. “Thank you so much for not throwing a fit when I told you to pick up your toys!”

Give them choices. “You can pick up your toys now and we can watch a movie, or you can choose not to pick up your toys, which means I’ll have to take the toys away for tomorrow and you can’t play with them.”

Whatever routes you choose, be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent.



Family Matters: Sweet Potatoes


Sweet PotatoesSweet potatoes are one of the best first foods for your little one! I think they were the first food, after cereals, for both of my boys.

You know sweet potatoes are packed with all the great things an adult needs; the same goes for baby. Plus, a little one is apt to enjoy a sweet potato as a first food because it mimics the flavors in breast milk and first formulas, which are slightly sweet.

Sweet potatoes and all orange vegetables, really, are great for baby’s vision development!

They’re super easy to prepare for baby.

Peel your sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Boil potatoes in water until VERY tender and almost falling apart. Drain, reserving some of the liquid.

Puree sweet potatoes in a food processor or blender with the reserved water, formula or breast milk until the consistency baby can tolerate. Freeze in ice cube trays for individual servings or serve immediately after they’ve cooled.



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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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