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Family Matters: Cold & Flu Season


Cold and flu season is upon us, but with a little help from Brookshire’s, your little one can get through the worst of it with only a little discomfort and inconvenience.

Baby 0-6 Months

During cold season, it’s important to have one key piece of baby gear to help your infant when he’s congested: a bulb syringe! Baby can’t blow his nose or clear mucus from his mouth or nasal passages, so it’s important that you have the right tools to help him out.

The NeilMed® NasaBulb™ for stuffed-up noses is a safe, sanitary way to help your infant breathe better. Made of high-grade silicone and easy to clean and sterilize, this nasal aspirator is clear, so you can easily see if you’re helping to clear baby’s nasal passages (and makes sure your tool is clean!). Simply insert the tip at the edge of baby’s nose, squeeze the bulb, and remove mucus from his nasal passages.

Baby will breathe better when he has a cold and so will you.

Baby 7-12 Months

When baby has a cough or excess mucus, you’d like to help them relieve their discomfort naturally, and Zarbee’s Naturals™ has a dietary supplement to help you do just that.

Their organic agave and ivy leaf extract helps your baby to clear mucus when they are coughing. Safe for infants older than two months, this natural liquid formula in a grape flavor is easy to dispense to your little one to help get rid of the mucus causing his cough.

Baby 13-36 Months

When your toddler gets sick, it’s important to keep him well-hydrated and to keep his electrolytes in balance, but sometimes that’s difficult if he’s too listless to eat or drink.

Tippy Toes® Freezer Pops are a fun way to get electrolytes into your little one and get him feeling better in no time.

Safe for toddlers age one and older, these pops restore fluids and electrolytes lost through illness to help prevent dehydration and the headaches and side effects that come from losing vital nutrients.

Simply keep them in the freezer and take one out when your child needs a boost. Variety pack flavors include wild berry, grape, orange and cherry.



Family Matters: Fleas in the Winter


sad looking dogBecause we live in the South, our temperatures don’t usually get below 30 degrees very often, which means fleas and ticks can breed all winter long.

That, in turn, means we have to protect our pets all winter long!

Fleas and ticks can carry heartworms, which are fatal for your four-legged friend. You also don’t want an infestation of fleas in your house or one of the other diseases spread to humans by a tick bite.

Winter is the best time to treat your house and your yard and to keep treating your pet for fleas and ticks.

For your pet, use a topical flea and tick-prevention ointment, usually applied behind the neck, or an oral supplement prescribed by their vet. Both of these are usually administered monthly and are good for 30 days.

For your yard, while fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are less active, use a chemical spray (available at any home improvement store) that you attach to the end of your hose. These pesticides should last 3-6 months and are safe for your pet and your children. (Let dry before letting your pet or your child back outside).

If you have a flea infestation inside your home, call a professional exterminator who can treat the house for you to eradicate the pests and prevent future infestations. Make sure you’re also treating your pets as well.



Family Matters: Keeping Your Cat Flea-Free


wide-eyed catMy cat, Carl, used to be an outside cat. When I adopted him, he was riddled with fleas. After some intense treatment, he’s flea-free, but I have to keep him that way!

Even though he’s an indoor cat now, he’s still exposed to my dog, who goes out all day and plays in the yard.

It’s important to use flea prevention for all of your animals, whether they go outside or not, to help keep them healthy and happy. Carl gets a topical flea and tick treatment once a month. I apply it to the back of his neck. He thinks he’s getting a massage and purrs loudly.

You can also get a pill prescribed by your veterinarian, but Carl won’t chew a pill. It depends on the temperament of your cat.

These treatments usually last 30 days and are administered monthly.

Your cat can also wear a flea-repellant collar, which is usually saturated in a substance that fleas can’t stand.

Besides causing intense itching from their bites, fleas can cause tapeworms in cats.

Treat your cat monthly for fleas, whether he goes outside or not, to keep him healthy and happy!



Family Matters: Cake Mix Pancakes


Cake Mix PancakesOver the holiday break from school, my son reminded me of something we’d made a long time ago that we hadn’t tried again since: Cake Mix Pancakes.

So, we decided that we needed to make some of these delicious treats again as soon as possible.

These are so simple and super fun to make with kids. You basically use a boxed cake mix as a pancake batter, and then add just a few other ingredients. You can use any kind of cake mix. We’ve used red velvet for Christmas, and that would be fun for upcoming Valentine’s Day as well. Our first foray into Cake Mix Pancakes was with Devil’s Food; that was delicious. We’ve also tried vanilla and lemon. I’d love to try a spice mix, too!

This is a great recipe to make with kids because they can easily stir the batter and help flip the pancakes.

Top these fun and festive pancakes with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate chips or anything else you like. They’re fun for holidays, birthdays or just a plain, old Saturday morning.

Cake Mix Pancakes

Ingredients:
1 box Brookshire’s Devil’s Food Cake Mix (or your choice of flavor)
1 cup milk
1 egg

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together until a thick batter forms. This will be thicker than regular pancake batter, but you still want it to be pourable. Heat a griddle sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to medium heat. Drop 4 heaping tablespoons of batter onto the hot griddle. It will spread, so give yourself plenty of space. Cook on first side until spatula easily slides under cake (the chocolate will burn easily, so watch it closely). Flip and continue to cook through. Remove and serve immediately with butter, syrup or powdered sugar.

Makes 12 pancakes

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 101, Calories from Fat: 23, Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (1 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 212 mg, Potassium: 17 mg, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 11 g, Protein: 2 g.

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

 

Chef’s Tip:

Use less milk if you’d like a thicker pancake. The exact number of pancakes will depend on how much milk you use and how big you make the pancakes.



Family Matters: Eczema


Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common condition that affects 10 percent of infants and children. It’s basically dry skin and nothing to worry about.

More scientifically, eczema is a skin condition that usually has two components: dry, easily irritated skin and allergies.

Children with eczema have a tendency toward dry skin and do not retain moisture well. Their skin can take on a dry, rough texture and be prone to irritation. Dry skin can be itchy, leading to scratching that can lead to more irritation. Eczema can really be a vicious cycle for your child.

Underlying allergies can be a big component of eczema, even if you’re not aware of what the allergies may be. Already dry and irritated skin is less able to handle an allergic reaction and heal itself quickly.

Eczema can look like dry skin, with red patches or white bumps, in localized sections or in folds of the skin. It’s rarely covering the body, but it can in severe cases.

The best way to treat eczema is to moisturize from the inside out! Make sure your child stays well-hydrated, and then use an over-the-counter or prescription topical cream, lotion or ointment on their skin regularly.

Avoid irritants like perfumed lotions or detergents.

Try to identify triggers, like foods or environmental factors that may cause flare-ups. Your pediatrician should be able to order allergy testing that can help you identify these things.



Family Matters: Soothing Gas Pains


When my second son was born, he was a champion eater. He also had some award-winning gas pains. He’d draw his legs up toward his tummy and howl after a feeding. It was horrible. Babies get gassy when they swallow air, either when they are feeding, sucking on a pacifier or simply crying.

He ended up having to take a prescription gas-relieving medication, but there are so many things you can try (and we tried) to naturally help relieve gas in your infant.

First, keep their head higher than their body during feedings. That way, the milk sinks to the bottom, and air goes to the top without getting trapped. If you’re bottle-feeding, using a bottle with a collapsible liner allows air to be removed from the bottle as the baby feeds, so there’s not excess air trapped there as well. If bottle-feeding, using a low-flow nipple also helps with reducing air intake.

Burp your baby after feeding, or even during if you’re nursing and switching sides or if baby takes a natural break. Hold him on your shoulder and pat or rub firmly until he belches. If he doesn’t burp, wait a few minutes and try again.

You can help your baby work out gas by laying him on his back and pumping his legs in a bicycle motion. Hopefully this will help him pass gas. Rubbing his belly gently might help as well.

Sometimes a warm bath can also help relax them enough to pass gas.

If the problem is chronic, take a look at what formula you’re using or what you’re eating. You might need to eliminate foods from your diet if you’re nursing or change formulas if you’re bottle-feeding.

Finally, over-the-counter gas drops might provide some relief for your gassy baby! Check with your pediatrician.



Family Matters: First Foods


Around six months old, baby will start eating solid foods!

Some pediatricians recommend the transition around four months; pay attention to your baby. If he’s still vigorously thrusting a spoon out of his mouth at four months, try again at five or six. I think I tried at four months with my first child, which caused some digestive issues, so we tried again at six months with no problem. Jjust pay attention to your child’s needs! Baby should be able to hold his head erect and upper body stable before he starts solid foods.

Cereal is a good first food. I preferred single-grain oatmeal to rice (rice was constipating for both of my boys). I mixed it with breastmilk. You can use formula or water to get it to a consistency your baby can eat easily. Just a few spoonfuls should be enough to start.

When introducing solids, you only want to introduce a new food every three to four days. This way, you can make sure that if baby has a reaction, you know which food he is reacting to. After cereal, mashed avocado is a good one to try, or pureed sweet potato. Cooked and pureed carrots and other nutrient-rich veggies are good first foods. Then, move on to fruits, and cooked and pureed meats after that.

Don’t get discouraged if baby rejects a food once, twice or several times. This is normal! Keep trying. After you’re sure he is not allergic, mix it with something you know he likes to introduce it again.



Family Matters: Gifts of Time


Gifts of TimeIt’s the holidays again, and I broached the subject of Christmas gifts with my boys before Thanksgiving.

“What do you think you might like for Christmas this year?” I asked.

They both struggled for an answer.

At ages 15 (almost 16, it’s important to note) and 14 (and a half), there really aren’t many things they WANT.

They are the first to admit they’re pretty lucky guys.

They have the phones, the computers, the gaming consoles and most things kids want these days. They each have a bicycle they’ve put many miles on. They each have their own room, with their own stuff, in their own place.

They were kind of at a loss as to what to ask for.

However, one child loves roller coasters and theme parks, and it happens that a theme park within easy driving distance is getting a new roller coaster when they reopen in the spring. That child will be getting tickets to opening weekend (Shhhhh! If you see him before Christmas, don’t tell!).

The other child has poured his heart and soul into his theater class for the past three years, taking extra lessons at our local civic theater. That child is getting tickets to a premier show in a nearby big city this year.

This year, Christmas gifts are not a toy or an electronic. They’re an experience. Their tickets will come with an entire weekend away with the entire family to experience a city, it’s culture, it’s food, their favorite things and their family.

To me, and hopefully to them, that’s better than any video game you can buy.

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Family Matters: Safe and Fun Feline Treats for the Holidays


Safe and Fun Feline Treats for the HolidaysWhile cats don’t always eat table scraps, they are kind of sneaky about going into the kitchen and munching on your holiday feast while you’re eating in the dining room.

However, holiday indulgences that we love aren’t always good for your feline friend.

Turkey is one of them.

Turkey isn’t bad for your kitty (well, the bones are), but the richness of a roasted bird might not agree with his digestive system. You know what that means for you.

Do not give your cat anything with bulb vegetables like onions, garlic or leeks. They cause anemia in cats.

Absolutely no gravy, which typically contains garlic, onions or mushrooms.

Speaking of mushrooms, they are toxic to cats. Keep your kitty away from them.

Don’t give your cat bread: yeast also causes digestive issues.

Liver, while it sounds like a good idea, can cause organ toxicity in cats. Just avoid it.

Of course, avoid chocolate, candy or any other sweets.

Your vet probably has an emergency number for holidays. Post it on your fridge. Also, have the number for the Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA). Their number is 888-ANI-HELP, or 888-426-4435.



Family Matters: What Treats NOT to Feed Your Dog During the Holidays


What Treats NOT to Feed Your Dog During the HolidaysWith the holidays upon us, it’s tempting to feed our canine best friend some treats from the table. After all, we’re indulging, so why shouldn’t he?

There are a list of good reasons why!

I want to feed my dog, Astro, all the same treats that I’m enjoying, but not everything that’s good for me is good for him.

First of all, please don’t feed your four-legged friend bones from your holiday turkey, ham or even crown roast. No bones, period, unless they come from the pet food aisle at Brookshire’s and are engineered specifically for dogs. Real animal bones can fracture and cause serious, even fatal, damage in your dog’s digestive system.

Secondly, beware of holiday plants. Poinsettias and mistletoe are both poisonous. You also don’t want your pup ingesting needles from your Christmas tree! Keep these plants out of reach of your dog, and keep him away from your tree.

Chocolate is also poisonous to your dog in certain quantities. Don’t leave out dishes of chocolate, and closely monitor any chocolate treats in the house during the holiday season.

Alcohol can also be fatal to your pooch. While he might not WANT to attack your glass of glog, keep anything with alcohol in it far away from your pet.

Onions or any other bulb vegetable (like garlic, leeks and chives) are also bad for your dog. Don’t feed him table scraps with any of those ingredients.

Raisins and grapes are also super bad for your dog, so if he gets into the fruitcake or cinnamon bread, call your vet immediately.

Most vets offer emergency service (or a backup) on holidays. Make sure you have that number handy in case your four-legged friend DOES indeed get into something he shouldn’t eat.

In the meantime, provide his favorite (dog-approved) treats and his regular foods, and give him lots of love and attention to keep him from focusing on table scraps.



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