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Family Matters: Cold-weather flea protection

True or false: Pet owners don’t need to worry about fleas in the winter.

False! While this may have once been commonly accepted, we now know that fleas can and do survive in colder weather – especially indoors, and especially in the milder climates of the southern U.S.

In fact, fleas may even be a bigger threat in the cooler months, as many pet owners slack off on the preventative measures for dogs and cats in the fall and winter – meaning more fleas are breeding and just itching to get into your home and onto your pet.

So, to keep fleas at bay, veterinarians and pet experts advise that pet owners treat their four-legged friends all year long. Otherwise, you’ll risk flea infestations, which can lead to more than just nasty little fleas on the carpet and annoying flea bites. Flea bites can cause allergies, infections, and skin disorders. They can also spread tapeworms, tularemia (a disease spread by fleas and ticks that causes headache, fever, and fatigue), and even Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a potentially fatal illness that can affect both dogs and humans.

These flea-prevention tips are courtesy our friends at Sergeant’s, which makes many effective flea- and tick-control products for pet and home.

Prevention goes a long way: Follow your veterinarian’s advice and treat every pet in your household every month, all year long. If you keep fleas from getting a foothold in your home in the first place, you won’t have the more-difficult task of getting rid of them later.

Treat each pet monthly – preferably on the same date so you don’t forget a dose. Bathe your pet to remove dirt and as a first step in treating flea or tick infestations. A flea comb removes flea dirt (flea feces) and dead fleas.

Treat the home, too. Regularly wash pet bedding. If you have or suspect an infestation, wash pet bedding again, then vacuum carpets, and treat your home with a household spray, powder or fogger.

Don’t forget the yard. Spray your yard and your home’s foundation, to kill fleas lurking outside.

Use an effective anti-flea treatment. Squeeze-on, topical treatments are easy to use and very well tolerated by pets. You can now purchase topical treatments at grocery stores and other retailers, eliminating an extra trip to the veterinarian’s office. For instance, Sergeant’s™ Flea and Tick Squeeze-On protects pets against adult fleas and ticks and prevents eggs and larvae from developing into adults. It contains Bitrex, a bittering agent, to help prevent ingestion. Sergeant’s Evolve™ Flea and Tick Squeeze-On is specifically formulated for the weight of your pet, both in dosage and active ingredients. It not only protects against adult fleas, but also prevents infestation and protects against flea eggs and larvae for up to nine weeks.

Family Matters: Refocus on the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching and with the weight of the economy, many people are struggling with family, finances and job situations.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed with things that matter only to the outside world and lose focus of what is really important for our family.

Make this holiday season a time to refocus on your kids and family:

1. Plan holiday meals and let your children help prepare the food.  Kids love to cook but a lot of times not given the opportunity to learn especially during the holidays when “everything has to be perfect”.  The perfect meal is one prepared by the entire family…when everyone is involved there is love, laughter and memories being made.  Yes, the kitchen will probably be a mess after you all get through, but is that what really matters?  Don’t let these times pass without enjoying your family to the fullest and teaching your kids the importance of working together to make something special.  Teaching your child to cook is a life lesson in more ways than one.

2. Sit and talk to your children about making gifts this holiday season for family and friends instead of purchasing them. Something made, you will find is priceless to the ones receiving it…the thought counts for so much more than the amount of money spent.  There are so many great things you can work together as a family to make that will be treasured for years to come by those receiving them (or enjoyed immediately if eaten).  Part of the fun of working together, as a family, is figuring out just the right item(s) you can make. You will find that making special gifts will require lots of “together time” as a family…a wonderful added benefit!

3. Find a family who might be struggling this holiday season, purchase food items from Brookshire’s and prepare a meal and deliver to them. One warm meal can make a difference; just ask someone who has had to do without one.  The cost is not much…the return is invaluable.  Teach your children the true joy of giving…it is the small things that make the largest impact in someone life.  Let your family be a blessing to someone else this holiday season.

Count your blessings daily and give thanks for the time you share with your family!

Family Matters: Safe cold and flu relief for babies

As a parent, it’s heartbreaking when your baby is coughing, sneezing, crying and clearly suffering from the symptoms of a bad cold.

Of course you want to offer relief. But even though it may seem tempting to give a suffering baby just a tiny bit of cough or cold medicine intended for older children, there are extremely good reasons you should never do so without seeking the advice of your doctor first.

First, a refresher is in order, especially if you did not have an infant at the time the rules changed: Over-the-counter cough and cold products for infants under age 2 were voluntarily removed from the market by manufacturers in 2008, responding to concerns raised by the Food and Drug Administration. Now, even cold medicines for older children carry a warning that they are not to be used in children under age 4.

The new rules apply to products containing these decongestants:

  • Ephedrine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Phenylephrine

They also apply to these antihistamines:

  • Diphenhydramine
  • Brompheniramine
  • Chlorpheniramine

There had been numerous reports of illness and even some deaths in children under age 2 who had been given these products, according to FDA reports. Often, this was due to misuse or over-dosage by caregivers who may have misunderstood label instructions.  In addition, these medications have little effect on the duration or severity of an infant’s cold symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It is important that parents do not attempt to modify doses of medications meant for older children and give them to infants anyway. For instance, do not attempt to guess what a “safe” dose of a children’s cough medicine would be for your six-month-old.

Instead, seek a physician’s advice for any symptoms that seem particularly severe, especially for infants under three months of age. For babies three months and over, you should probably call your doctor if a cough lasts more than a week, a fever hovers at 102 degrees or your child refuses fluids.

In the meantime, attempt to bring relief with other, safer remedies, approved by the FDA:

Infant formulas of acetaminophen or ibuprofen: Usually provided in a liquid form administered by droppers, these medicines can be used to reduce fever, aches and pains. Choose your favorite name brand, or select store brands/generics that provide precisely the same medication at a cost savings. Acetaminophen is considered safe for babies over three months, and ibuprofen is considered OK for those over 6 months.

Cool mist humidifier: This can help baby’s swollen nasal passages shrink, allowing for easier breathing.

Plenty of clear fluids: Staying well-hydrated will help flush cold viruses out of your baby’s system faster.

Saline nose drops or spray: Helps relieve stuffy noses by thinning out mucus. In children under one year, you can try combining nasal drops with a bulb syringe or aspirator, to suck out excess mucus. (Children over about age 1 often actively protest any attempt at suctioning.)

Product Talk: Orville Redenbacher Lives!

There really was an Orville Redenbacher. That wasn’t just a funny name that some marketing guys dreamed up to sell popcorn.

If you’re old enough, of course, you already probably knew that, because you remember the TV commercials ol’ Orville used to make in the ‘70s and ‘80s, wearing his trademark bowtie and glasses and talking a mile a minute about popcorn. He really was an Indiana popcorn farmer, who had started out as a popcorn-obsessed kid and then set out to develop the world’s best, fluffiest popcorn. He launched his self-named company in the 1970s, and the rest was TV, and grocery store, history.

Mr. Redenbacher passed on about 15 years ago, but the popcorn brand he started is still one of the best-loved in the U.S.  And just like the entrepreneur who started it, the brand keeps managing to reinvent one of our favorite snacks – with new ideas like their single-packet Flavors.

These flavor singles come in three varieties –Extra Cheese, White Cheddar, and, taking a cue from a popular potato chip flavor, Sea Salt and Vinegar. Each comes with a separate seasoning packet, so you can decide if you want just a light sprinkle of seasoning or an intense flavor. And, because they are sold individually, not in a multi-pack box, you can try all three, or stock up on each family member’s favorite flavor.

The new flavors join a big lineup of Orville Redenbacher’s products, including microwave popcorn in kettle corn, caramel corn, nacho cheese,movie-theater butter, and light varieties.

I understand why Orville’s popcorn has such staying power – it really is good, popping up big and fluffy and with few inedible widows, and with true, bright flavors.

And, of course, it’s benefited from our growing awareness that when it comes to snacks, popcorn is a pretty healthy choice. It’s a whole grain, so it delivers more fiber than the average salty snack food. And years ago, Orville Redenbacher’s ditched the trans fats and lowered the salt content in its leading variety.  So you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging. Seems that even back in the day, Orville Redenbacher was really onto something.

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Posted in: Kids, Product Talk

Family Matters: Table Manners

The holidays are stressful! All that last-minute cleaning, cooking, and preparing for guests, so take care of something now that doesn’t need to wait till the last minute – improving your children’s table manners.

Holiday dinners can be stressful for kids too – all those adults at the table, all that fancy food. And, you can’t expect your children to have perfect manners overnight. You must work with your kids now to teach them good manners. As parents, you must lead by example. If your elbows are on the table and you’re talking with your mouth full, don’t expect your children not to do the same.

Don’t make dinner a time of lectures and scolding. Praise your children for doing the right things instead of scolding them for doing the wrong. The key is to praise and reinforce. Here are a few table manners you and your family can work on now so they are ready for the holidays:

  • Before and after meals, make sure to wash your hands.
  • No pet, toys or electronics should be brought to the table. This includes cell phones.
  • Remove any hats before coming to the dinner table.
  • Place your napkin in your lap.
  • Wait until everyone is seated at the table before eating.
  • Ask politely if you need anything passed at the table. Don’t forget to say please and thank you.
  • Remember eating is not a race. Take your time and chew your food.
  • Don’t stuff your mouth. Only eat what you can.
  • When eating your food, keep your mouth closed.
  • If someone asks a question while you have food in your mouth, wait until you have swallowed before answering.
  • Avoid eating with your hands, unless appropriate.
  • Bring your food to your mouth rather than leaning too far into your plate..
  • Leave a little liquid in your glass to prevent slurping.
  • Ask to be excused before leaving the table.

Healthy Living: A Happy Healthy Halloween!

Halloween was historically a celebration marking the end of summer and the harvest season. Over the centuries, many of the old traditions have endured, just in a slightly different form.

When Halloween was first celebrated in America, the poor would go from door to door asking for “soul cakes” in exchange for prayers for the family’s lost loved ones. The old “soul cakes” tradition has transformed into what we know today as trick or treating.

When I was younger, my family would go to the church fall carnival instead of trick or treating. My brother and I were not there for soul cakes, but candy; lots and lots of candy. As soon as we got home from the carnival, my brother and I would pour all our candy out on the dining room table and begin the great candy trade. (I was allergic to chocolate so Halloween was not as fun for me as it was for my brother.)

If you want your children to experience the fun of Halloween, it does not mean you have to let them overdose on the sugar. Many children end up coming home with enough candy to last them a month! Instead, think of ways to limit the sugar shock, both for your own family and the neighborhood kids:

Hand out healthier treats: Candy bars aren’t your only option.

  • Fruit makes a nice alternative. Consider Full Circle raisins that have a NuVal score of 8, apples with a NuVal score of 96, bananas with a NuVal score of a 91 or oranges with a NuVal score of 100.
  • Food is not the only thing that you can pass out. You can also give out pencils, stickers, glow sticks and crayons.
  • Many snack companies have gotten the message and sell small treat-size packages of better-for-kids snacks like pretzels, goldfish crackers, fruit wraps or granola bars. If you have leftovers after the trick-or-treaters are all gone, these foods are better suited to after-school snacks, sports team practices, or to pop into a lunch box, too.

Donate some of the haul:  Instead of having candy left all over your house for a month, look into a local candy buy-back program. Many dentists have a program where they “buy back” candy from children and send the candy overseas to our armed forces. Double win: You get the candy out of your house, and you donate to the brave men and women who are protecting our country. If you can’t find a candy buy-back program near you, check online for programs that send candy to our brave soldiers.

Ham & Cheese Frittata

Ham & Cheese Frittata
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

12 large eggs
3 Tbs half-and-half
1/2 tsp Food Club Salt
1/4 tsp Food Club Ground
Black Pepper
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 cup asparagus, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 oz deli style baked ham (thick sliced), chopped small
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Set oven to broil and adjust rack about 5 inches from broiler. In a large bowl whisk eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper together. Stir in cheese. Add asparagus, chopped ham and green onions. Pour egg mixture into oven safe baking dishes.

Bake ham and eggs 30 to 35 minutes, or until set.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 207, Fat: 14 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 441 mg, Sodium: 593 mg, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 18 g

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Posted in: Cooking, Kids

Healthy Living: Healthy Lunches

It’s that time of year again, summer is ending and school is just around the corner. Parents prepare their children for the start of the school year by purchasing new school uniforms, new school supplies, and helping to finish all the school summer projects. What parents may fail to adequately prepare is healthy school lunches. As you prepare your child for the school year, do not neglect their nutrition. A healthy mind stems from a healthy body and a healthy diet.

A healthy diet includes all three nutrient classes: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All three nutrients make the body healthy and strong. A proper diet is essential in children, as they need these nutrients in order to grow strong, both physically and mentally. A carbohydrate is the body’s energy source. Good carbohydrates to include in your child’s lunch are: fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread products, and low-fat dairy products. Try to avoid empty, unhealthy carbohydrates, such as: chips, cookies, crackers, and sweets. Protein is important in normal growth and development. It helps children develop strong muscles. Good protein sources include: beans, nuts, turkey, ham, and peanut butter. Lastly, healthy fats are important in your child’s development. Healthy fats include: salad dressings, such as Italian dressing and low-fat Ranch dressing as a nice side to dip their carrots or celery in.

Just because your child needs a healthy lunch, does not mean it needs to be boring. A few tips to encourage your child to eat their healthy lunch include:

  1. Include a low-fat dip, such as peanut butter or low-fat ranch with the vegetables (carrots, celery) so that your kids enjoy the taste more.
  2. Instead of a sweet dessert, include a low-fat yogurt, Jell-O, or fruit choice, as these are sweet and healthy substitutes.
  3. Instead of including regular potato chips, use baked chips or pretzels as a healthier alternative.
  4. When preparing sandwiches, use whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Go easy on the mayonnaise.
  5. As for drinks, include low-fat milk or water frequently. Use juice or soda sparingly. These are full of sugar and empty calories.

America’s Dessert with a Cherry on top

No dessert could be simpler than the
ice cream sundae–a scoop of ice cream,
a sweet topping, and the ubiquitous whipped cream and cherry at the top.

However, icons are never really that simple,
and, perhaps more than any other dish,
the sundae is an American icon.

Like people, nations are what they eat. More than any other native dish, the ice cream sundae is an essential reminder of the American genius for invention, passion for indulgence, and reputation for wackiness…it’s as messy and irresistible as democracy itself.


Want s’more ideas

Make different varieties of s’mores?

• Add peanut butter to your graham cracker
• Use a chocolate graham cracker
• Add toasted coconut to your s’mores
• Use cookies in place of graham cracker
• Add different fruits to your s’mores: banana, strawberry, etc.
• Add pretzels to your s’mores

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Copyright © 2010-2014, Brookshire’s. All rights reserved.
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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