share. The Brookshire's Blog

Family Matters: Baby’s First Christmas


Baby’s First ChristmasIn just a few weeks, you’ll celebrate your first Christmas with your newborn, and it will be a magical time.

Clearly, babies don’t need a lot for Christmas, but you’ll certainly want to get your little one something snuggly to wear, an age-appropriate toy and maybe a book.

A lot of families adopt a minimalist approach to Christmas, and I almost wish I’d started it right from baby’s first Christmas.

They buy four gifts: something to wear, something to read, something you want and something you need. I love this idea of keeping it simple and keeping the holiday focused on its true meaning.

Another wonderful tradition is to buy your baby an ornament, maybe with his name on it, every year for Christmas. Then, when he’s ready to be out on his own, you can gift him with all his ornaments, and he’ll be ready for his very own tree. My godmother bought me an angel ornament with my name on it each year until I was 18. Then, I took them with me when I moved out of the house.

Handprint traditions are fun as well. I have some kind of handprints from my sons each year of their lives. Sometimes the handprints make Christmas trees and sometimes they are reindeer, wreaths or other fun Christmas pictures, but it’s always THEIR own hands.

One thing we started doing in recent years is the “reverse” Advent calendar. Every day in December, we add a non-perishable food product to a large box and deliver it to the food bank right before Christmas.

Enjoy making memories and traditions with your baby this holiday season!



Family Matters: Christmas Baking


Christmas BakingOne of my favorite memories of childhood is helping my mom with the Christmas baking.

Our house always smelled good at holiday time, and there was never a shortage of baked treats to eat. In fact, lunch on Christmas Day was usually Christmas cookies sandwiched between a big breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls and sausage and the Christmas dinner.

You’d know when the season would start because my mom would make her cinnamon raisin bread. We’d take bundles of those loaves of sweet deliciousness in our arms, and we’d carry them to neighbors and to our teachers who looked forward to them every year. I was back home visiting last year, and someone even asked, “Does your mom still make that raisin bread?” Indeed, she does.

One of the best parts of the raisin bread was helping her knead the dough, punching it down, and wrapping the golden-brown loaves in aluminum foil to deliver to loved ones.

Baking with kids is so much fun. It’s great quality time to spend together over scents of yeast, cinnamon and heaps of sugar.

I loved learning how to knead dough until it was no longer sticky but not yet tough, how to punch it down when it had doubled in volume, and how to never open the oven door when it was baking. I got to talk to mom, too. Sometimes, in a household with five kids, one-on-one time was hard to come by, but I could always count on baking together.

We also baked Christmas cookies, usually three or four varieties, but the highlight of the cookie-baking experience was always the Saturday when we made the sugar cookies. It was an all-day endeavor, and it became a tradition that my mom continues with some of my nephews who live nearby. We’d make the dough the night before, so it would have a chance to chill before we rolled it out and cut the shapes. They included candy canes, stars, trees and even Santa, himself. Then, each kid would get a baking sheet and some decorations, and they could decorate to their hearts’ content. My brother was the painstaking one who’d line up individual sprinkles on the cookies in intricate patterns. My other brother was a dumper: the more colored sugar he could get on a cookie, the better. I was somewhere in between. My favorite part was really creaming together the butter and the sugar to make a light yellow, fluffy cloud of cookie base. It was also being in the kitchen with my mom.

Kids can help with so many Christmas treats. Make a memory and a tradition today by picking out a project to make with them. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Dip pretzel rods in melted chocolate, and roll in Christmas-colored sprinkles. Bake pumpkin bread or pecan pie. Whatever you choose, food, family and fun make the holidays special.



Food Watch: Prepping for Natural Disasters


Prepping for Natural DisastersOn a venture to visit friends during what seemed to be a light rain, I came to find how unprepared you can be going into natural disasters. My drive was great until I reached the road before theirs. My phone made a resounding alarm that made me jump: “TORNADO WARNING IN THIS AREA. TAKE SHELTER NOW.” I looked toward the direction in which I’d be going, and I saw dark, swirling clouds starting to rotate around each other.

Once I arrived, everyone was on their phone trying to figure out what was going on. The wind picked up, and then it was silent. Next, quarter-sized hail showered down around the house, followed by a torrent of wind and rain. At that moment, we decided to run to the storm shelter. We went to the storm shelter twice that night – six of us along with the family dog – and the realization of how much we lacked set in.

It was a great opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of storm shelter use. However, since I work in grocery, I thought mostly of what foods could keep for extended periods of time to not only prepare for such an event, but to help keep you alive if you were trapped. Food should have a long shelf life with little to no cooking required, and it must meet the needs of all family members (including pets).

Canned meats and vegetables can keep a few years on average depending on the product. Highly acidic canned goods like fruit and juice store well for less time (12 to 18 months). Water can also last quite a long time.

Thankfully, Brookshire’s has a plethora of high-quality canned products that will help you stock up if need be. I really like their vegetable assortments, which are picked at the peak of freshness and come with a handy pop top. No can opener needed!

Also, consider how your food is stored. If you’re preparing for a natural disaster, make sure that your food and water are stored away from the outside door, away from the elements. Keep these items elevated and, if possible, in a storage area of their own.

You most likely won’t need to hide in your storm shelter for years at a time, but you never know when a natural disaster may hit. It’s best to prepare in advance, and that will be one less thing to worry about when the time comes.



Family Matters: Age Appropriate Birds


Age Appropriate BirdsSome birds are great companions for older adults, and some birds are tailor-made for kids.

If you are bringing a bird into a household with small children, some experts recommend a canary or finch as being the best bird for kids.

Why is their song a little sweeter?

Well, they don’t desire a ton of human contact, so they’re better for kids who aren’t adept at handling a bird. Canaries have a sweet voice, which children tend to like. Canaries can be kept by themselves, but you’ll need to buy a finch in a pair, so he has a friend.

Another kid-friendly bird is a cockatiel, which are not hyper and whistle well. These birds don’t like staying caged for long, so an older child might be better-suited to taking him out and playing with him.

Parakeets are great for older children, too, because they have a sophisticated vocabulary, and they are not too large. Plus, they don’t mind a smaller cage, which is well-suited for a child’s room.

The Pionus, a type of parrot, is another good choice. They are sweet, friendly and rarely bite.

Finally, a Meyers parrot is a quiet, calm variety of parrot. They don’t bite often, and they can form a loving relationship with a lot of different people.



Family Matters: Homemade Dog Treats


Homemade Dog TreatsI love making treats for my pup.

Now, let me just say first that dogs don’t NEED food as treats. This is a human emotion that we impose upon them. They are just as happy with extra playtime and cuddling. (Maybe humans should be, too). If you do give them treats, homemade ones are fun for you and your pet (check with your vet before giving your pet any human food).

Peanut Butter-Banana Frozen Treats

Ingredients:
2 over-ripe bananas
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions:
In a bowl, mash bananas until smooth. Whisk in remaining ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Pour mixture into ice cube molds, and freeze. Let your pup enjoy!



Family Matters: Feeding Your Rabbit


Feeding Your RabbitWe went to the state fair recently and spent some time walking around the rabbit exhibit. There are so many breeds and types of rabbit, each seemingly cuter than the next.

Rabbits make good small pets. They can live either inside or outside, and they don’t require a lot of exercise. They certainly don’t make much noise. You can even litter-train them.

One of the best things about bunnies as pets is that they can eat so much human food. No Doritos, mind you, but a bunny should be able to eat small portions of the following things:

  • Arugula
  • Beet greens
  • Bok choy
  • Carrot greens
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Dandelion greens
  • Green peppers
  • Romaine lettuce (NO iceberg: they can’t digest it)
  • Mint
  • Raspberry leaves
  • Radicchio
  • Swiss chard
  • Cauliflower
  • And SMALL amounts of: Kale, broccoli, carrots and collards


Family Matters: Handle With Care


Handle With CareCats aren’t called man’s best friend. That title is reserved for dogs.

Cats get a bad rep sometimes, as being more aloof and standoffish than other types of pets. Training your cat to be friendly is a great way to forge a fabulous bond with your feline friend.

Handle them with care. Cats don’t like to roughhouse like dogs often do. Touch, hold and pet your cat gently from an early age. They will be more responsive, loving and touching if they feel you can be trusted to treat them gently.

Your cat can be taught to come when you call him. Use a gentle voice to repeat their name, and reward them with a small treat when they respond to their name and to your command.

Be affectionate with your cat, and keep him close to you, whether that’s letting him sit on your lap while you watch TV, letting him take a nap beside you or letting him walk over you when you’re sitting at your desk. You may want to wrap him in a soft blanket and cuddle him close to you as well. Take care when you’re picking him up, as that interaction will set the stage for how much he lets you cuddle.



Family Matters: Transitioning from the Crib


Transitioning from the CribTransitioning your toddler from his crib or co-sleeping situation to his own bed can be a little daunting, but it might be an effortless move.

When it’s appropriate for your toddler, start by putting the new bed into his room. Talk about the new bed. Let him sit on it, climb up and down from it, and start to let him lie on it with his familiar blanket or stuffed toys.

His first bed might be a toddler-sized bed, depending on his age. You may or may not put a safety railing on one side, and put the other side against the wall. Your child might not need the safety rails, depending on his comfort level and yours, and whether he’s likely to wander.

You might start the transition with his nap times, and build up to spending the entire night in his Big Boy Bed.

Make his new bed exciting! Find bedding, pillows or stuffed toys in a theme he loves, and use those on his bed.

Some children need a quick transition, and it’s best to take the crib away when you introduce the new bed. Other children need the security of having their crib around, just in case.

My older son moved out of his crib at a pretty early age because his baby brother was taking it over. We moved him to an entirely new room, and he never missed the crib when he had his new toddler bed.

Whenever and however you choose to transition, you probably don’t need to fight your child over it. When he is ready, he will move. He probably won’t still be sleeping in a crib when he goes to kindergarten. At some point, he’ll want the “big boy” status the new bed imparts.



Family Matters: Baby’s Feet


Baby's FeetMy friend’s daughter is just about 10 months and has just taken her first steps. But she’s decided she hates all kinds of shoes and socks.

That’s OK!

In fact, many pediatricians actually recommend letting your little one learn to walk in bare feet. They can get a good feeling for how their foot grips the floor, they can develop a natural gait and they’ll probably be more confident and comfortable as they venture forth into the world. The bones of the foot don’t fully develop until about 5 years of age, so baby’s foot is naturally flexible and wiggles into the best position for them to feel comfortable walking as they take their first steps.

When you do buy baby shoes, let it be a flexible, soft shoe, not the hard ones with ankle supports that we probably wore as toddlers.



Family Matters: Kangaroo Care


Kangaroo CareSkin-to-skin contact is great for your new baby!

Sometimes called “kangaroo care” because a mama kangaroo carries her baby snuggly in her pouch, skin-to-skin contact has been shown to calm your infant, stabilize her temperature and heartbeat, and make her happier.

Start immediately. When baby is born, place her directly on mom’s bare chest. If mom is recovering from the birth, dad’s bare chest works exactly the same way.

As much skin-to-skin contact a baby can get in the first weeks of life is best. It has been shown to reduce allergies, help with feeding and, of course, help with bonding. If baby is breast-feeding, this can happen naturally and frequently, but don’t forget about dad. It’s important for him to spend the same kind of time with baby.

Kangaroo care is also important for preemies and babies born with a few complications, like unstable blood sugar.

Don’t worry if the delivery was rough, and you can’t initiate kangaroo care immediately. Do it when it’s safe for all involved.



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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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