Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Raise Your Kids to Be Money Savvy!

It's never too early to teach your kids about money. Some parents think children are too young to understand the concept of money but they aren't. They see their parents go to work, go to the grocery store, put gas in their cars and they make the correlation long before you explain it to them that money is what buys you what you need. Now, all parents need to do is show their children how to start learning how to budget their money and use it sensibly at an early age.

Parenting magazine suggests using games that involve tasks in your daily routine to show your kids how money works. Some ideas from Parenting magazine (and some added ones of my own) are below!

Lesson #1: Take your kids with you to the ATM
To children, the ATM is like a money tree. You put your card in, enter a number and the money comes pouring out. They don't see that you first have to deposit the money you made while you were at work the past two weeks . So, talk your kids through each visit to the bank and the ATM. First, go inside and deposit the check. Then explain to them that, in the next few days, when you need the money, you will be back to get the money you saved to buy things you need. You explain to them that you worked to make the money, you save it in the bank and, when you need it, you come back for it. Show them the receipt and explain the math, if the child is old enough to understand, so that he/she knows that the money can and will run out if you keep taking it out.

Lesson #2: Saving for things you want but don't need
Children habitually ask for things when you're out running errands. Whether it's the latest cereal, the latest toy or a candy bar on the way out from the grocery store. Next time they tell you they want a small toy or treat, tell them you'll help them save money for it so they can buy it all on their own. At home, draw a chart with a square for each coin or dollar they need to buy the item. Give your child small tasks to accomplish in order to acquire her money (i.e., take out the trash, walk the dog, clean her room, help wash/put away dishes, etc). Each time she gets a coin/dollar, put a sticker on the chart or color it in. When she has enough to fill the chart and can afford her treat, she can go pick up the item she wanted. Try to make the time it takes to accumulate the money no longer than one to two weeks, just as you would at work for a paycheck.

Lesson #3: Start a savings account
When your child fills up the piggy bank, the natural thing to do is head to the nearest toy store to see what he/she can buy with their loot! Try encouraging saving a portion of it. Allow your child to spend half of the money in the piggy bank on what he/she wants & start a savings account with the rest. It's preferable that you start one with a high yield interest rate so that your child can see the growth faster than in a regular account. CDs and Mutual Fund accounts are great options since this account should only receive money and not have many withdrawls. The goal is for this savings to add up for a long period of time to be a solid lesson in saving money for the long haul. You can show your child the statements each month and how his/her money grows without even putting any money into it!

Teaching your kids about money now can help them establish financial security in the future. Many of my adult friends now wish their parents had taught them about saving money early on so they could have applied it as adolescents and into adulthood. Give them the value of money, teach them skills and instill habits that will get them off to a good start early on in life!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fast, Easy to Make Semi-Home Cooked Family Dishes

As a full time working mom, it's not easy to make a healthy, home cooked meal every night. Using semi home cooked recipes makes it easier to get dinner on the table and it's much faster too! With small tweaks to old recipes, almost any meal can be made with less than 15 minutes of prep time! I regularly make the recipes below either as main dishes or side dishes if there are left overs for my husband and daughter. Not only are they home made but they also contain many of the healthy ingredients that should make up our diets.

Baked Ziti with Meatballs
1 lb ziti
1 lb small refrigerated fully cooked meatballs
3 cups marinara sauce
12 oz shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450. Cook 1 lb ziti in lightly salted water until al dente, about 9 minutes. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, simmer 1 lb small refrigerated fully cooked meatballs in 3 cups of marinara sauce until hot, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta and stir into meatball mixture. Transfer mixture into a baking dish and stir in 2 cups of shredded mozzarella. Top with 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Bake until top is browned, about 15 minutes.

Classic Meat Loaf
1 1/2 ground beef or turkey
1 10 oz box of frozen thawed drained spinach
1 bag of sliced, multi colored frozen bell peppers (Melange a Trois at Trader Joe's)
2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 raw egg
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup marinara
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook frozen bell peppers and garlic in skillet for a few minutes until lightly browned. Put aside. Put turkey, 1/2 cup of marinara, breadcrumbs, raw egg and parmesan cheese into large mixing bowl and mix or fold to blend ingredients. Add spinach, garlic and bell peppers and fold into a loaf. Place it on a cookie sheet and cook for approximately 1 hour or until lightly browned. Brush top with 1/4 cup marinara & broil until bubbly. Cut and serve.

Cauliflower Puree
4 cups caulflower
1/4 cup whole wheat pasta
2 cups low-fat milk
1/2 tsp sea salt

Put cauliflower, pasta, milk & pinch of salt in a pot. Bring to boil & reduce to simmer. Cook until cauliflower is tender or about 25 minutes. Cool. Puree until smooth in a blender.

Easy Fitness & Nutrition Tips to Help You Shed Lbs

It is well known that some of the most common New Years resolutions are to eat healthier, lose weight, get in shape, etc. So, since by now about half of those that set New year's Resolutions have broken them, I figured I would interview some of my closest friends and co-workers and ask them what the smartest diet and exercise tips they had to offer. These tips come from people that have fought the weight loss battle and won so take them and apply them to your daily life. They just may help you stick with that New Year's resolution after all...or at least stick with it longer than you expected! Since I got so many responses, there will be a part 2 & a part 3 to this post!

1. Save money and buy in bulk BUT separate out portion sizes into small, snack size sandwich bags. This not only saves money, it is also helping you eat healthier by minimizing how much you eat. If you eat out of the large containers, you will liable to eat much more than just one or even two servings. The snacks that often come in those 100 calorie packs also tend to be not so healthy choices. Instead of eating 100 calories of mini Oreos, crackers, etc, separate out bags of almonds, dried fruit, whole wheat crackers, etc.

2. If you are not feeling like working out, try and remind yourself of the feeling you get when you are done. More often than not, you feel 100 times better and more refreshed than if you had opted to forgo your workout.

3. Retrain your appetite. Instead of eating when you are bored and when you are not really hungry, wait about 10 minutes before you decide to dive into a meal. It is common for people to eat just because it is lunch time or eat out of boredom. Go for a walk, make phone calls, answer emails and, if you are still hungry, then eat.

4. Try to plan your meals at least a day or two in advance, if not a week in advance. It sounds difficult but it's really not. Make several chicken breasts on Sunday night and separate them out. Then make some whole grain rice and maybe grill some veggies. Many foods will keep in your refrigerator for at least a week and you can eat these foods as a lunch or dinner. Make a chicken sandwich on Monday, Chicken Parmesan for dinner Tuesday, fajitas on Wednesday, etc. It'll help you avoid poor food choices when you don't have anything ready to eat at hand.

5. If you are on a diet, focused on your New Years resolution or recently started a strict exercise regimen and you slip, do not give up!! Move on and work twice as hard the next day to make up for it. We all slip sometimes..

6. If you joined a gym, signed up for classes or got yourself a personal trainer recently, try and pay for the memberships or fees up front and in advance. Knowing that you have already forked over all of that cash will give you the incentive to keep going and not miss.

7. Put a mirror on your fridge! When you are about to reach in there for some impulsive eating (boy am I all too familiar with that!), look yourself in the eye and make sure you are really hungry and really want to do that. Believe it or not, it is helpful and helps you confront what's really driving you to food.

8. Say no to the little things. Avoid eating out of the candy jar at work, grabbing an extra serving at lunch, eating that sample at the grocery store, etc. Little bites like these can add anywhere from 75 - 150 extra calories a day to your diet. In about a month, that adds up to just over a pound gained (or lost if you avoid them!)

9. Bet on it. A lot of people at work and at places of employment of friends of mine have started a Biggest Loser contest in the new year. They put $50 each into a pot on the first day. Then they diet and exercise for the next 30 - 90 days. At the end, the winner gets all of the money. If even just 10 people join, that's $500 you win!

10. Eat slow. Eating slow can help you feel full much faster, helping you eat less at each meal. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the point where your body will tell you your full so give yourself time to get there before it is too late and you stuff yourself silly!

Online Security for your Kids

Internet safety for your kids should be one of your top priorities as a parent. Read some of the statistics below to see just how dangerous the internet can be:

--Your child has a nearly 100% chance of meeting a predator in an online chat room
--Only about 25% of youth who encountered a sexual approach or solicitation online told their parents about it
--2 - 4 weeks is the average time it takes a child to be lured from an online relationship to a personal contact meeting
--60% of all websites (1.2 billion) are considered to be pornographic
--The average age of first exposure to online porn is 11 for boys and 13 for girls
--85% of kids surveyed said their parents are not aware of sites they visit while online
--50% of kids have encountered cyber bullying and 1 out of 4 have encountered it on more than one occasion
--73% of victims targeted by online predators were between the ages of 12 and 15 and 33% of those were initiated from social networking sites
--71% have received messages from people they do not know online
--87% of teens worry about consequences of making risky posts online
--67% of boys and 71% of girls admitted to sexting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves to friends.

After reading such alarming statistics, how could you not consider getting some sort of monitoring device to keep yourself informed what your kids are doing online. I recently saw a news segment on two companies that offer internet monitoring for parents. I still have yet to decide which of them I will be purchasing for my home but I will definitely be investing in something like that as soon as my daughter is old enough to go online. There are others besides the two below but these are ones I've chosen to research.

True Care is an online monitoring program that makes it easier for parents to keep their children safe from online social networking. It offers:

--24/7 monitoring of your child's social networking accounts whether they access it from home, school, the library, a friend's house or even via their cell or smart phones!

---Locates questionable content on your child's pages using a customziable database of over 50 key words relating to potential dangers. For example, if you are concerned that your children are talking about marijuana, sex, raves, etc, you simply customize a search that will alert you whenever the key word or words you choose are written anywhere on your child's social networking page

--Parents receive automatic e-mail alerts anytime new relevant content pertinent to your customized key word search is posted

--Know who your child's online friends are with a feature known as Friends Network and Investigate Friends links

--Program also provides one click access to locate sex offenders in your area

--Difficult for you as a parent to understand your teens language and slang terms? The program enables you to know what they are saying with a dictionary of hundreds of commonly used slang and acronym terms.

True Care is easy to use, even if you are not computer savvy. The online monitoring through True Care is provided on a membership basis and can be canceled at any time. It is not something that needs to be downloaded or installed on your computer or purchased at a store. You access the program through a user identification and password selected by you. True Care also offers a 30 day risk free trial period to see if the program is something that will work for you.

WebWatchers is different in that it's a software that needs to be purchased or downloaded and installed on your computer. Some may prefer this option as opposed to a membership service that True Care offers. Web Watchers features include:

--Monitoring of your children's key strokes in real time from anywhere

--Ability to block any webpage based on content or web address

--Read Instant Message (IM or Chat) conversations

--Read incoming and outgoing mail

--Logs every keystroke

--Take pictures of screenshots to you can see exactly what is typed, surfed, read and then show your children later if confrontation is necessary

--Record online and offline activities

--Quickly sift through data using keywords chosen by you.

--Sorts, sifts, rearranges and prioritizes recorded data instantly

--Completely invisible so your children do not know they are being monitored.

These are just some of the features offered by Web Watchers. Once the software is purchased or downloaded, you have 5 days from the date of purchase to request a refund if you are not satisfied. Parents do not need to have advanced computer skills to use the program.

Below is a page with excellent (free) online resources for parents on internet safety. Articles include Adding Privacy Settings, Starting Dialog About Internet Safety, Educational Video Tools to Watch With Your Children and more. Click Online Resources for more information.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bob Revolution: The BEST Jogging Stroller on the Market

A few moms have recently asked me about my jogging stroller. I was an avid runner before having a baby and, to my surprise, I became even more of one after my daughter was born. I thought it would be the opposite but, after she was born, I just did not have the time to drive to the gym, get a good workout and get home in between breastfeeding, burping, changing, etc. Since I needed to stay in shape, I decided to just run around my city and take her with me! Put her in the stroller, go for a run and she naps peacefully while getting out for a bit too!

When I decided to buy a jogging stroller, I looked at many of them and decided on a Jeep model from Babies R Us. It seemed sturdy and the price was right. It was only about $150 and, since I already had a main stroller that was over $300, I really didn't want to spend another $300-400 on a jogging stroller that I was not sure I would use much. I was not sure if my daughter would like it, was not sure if she would sleep in it, was not sure if she would STAY asleep in it so, why spend a lot of money when I was not sure if it would work out.

Well, to my surprise, after I began running, I loved it. I loved getting out of the house, getting my daughter out and getting a good workout with her. The problem was, the stroller!! It was not quite as sturdy as I thought.. It was rickety and made noises after just a few runs. The front wheel did not swivel so, if I took the stroller into a store to use the restroom, buy water, etc, it was impossible to maneuver. The stroller was also not very smooth. If I pushed it, it would roll only a little bit and then stop. Sure it had nice gadgets, such as an iPod hook up with its own speaker and cup holder but that was not what I purchased it for. I have an iPod with earphones. What do I need the speaker for?

So, after realizing that I was using it a lot, almost daily in fact, I opted to research jogging strollers once again. I interviewed moms, dads, salesmen and anyone else I could ask about which one they would recommend. I wanted the best stroller on the market for the price. I asked everyone and most of the reviews online pointed me to the BOB. I thought they would but the BOB is approximately $400 so I was not sure it was worth it. Well, I found it for $350 and not only is it worth it, it is INCREDIBLE!! I love it.. What a difference running with the BOB as opposed to the Jeep stroller! It flows easily, has state of the art shock suspension to adjust to the growth and development of your baby, has durable fabric, a welded frame for optimum strength and durability, a swivel front wheel (with adjustment to control steering), easy two step folding system, almost complete recline for comfort and more! It only weighs about 23 lbs and you do not even feel it while you run. BOB also sells tons of accessories for it too. I bought the car seat adapter/food tray. Not because I still use my car seat but because it is a combination accessory and I needed the food tray. My daughter props her feet on it and puts her toys there . I also purchased the handlebar console and sun shield. The handle bar console is great because I use it to put two water bottles and my wallet, ID, keys, etc in the zippered compartment. The sun shield protects my baby from UVA/UVB rays comppletely. It also protects her from wind and flying insects. It allows her to see out while being protected. It is perforated for ventilation so it is an ideal and much needed accessory. For more information on the BOB revolution and other BOB models (including double and triple models!), visit their website at

BabyWise: The Cliff Note Version

As a new mom, a good friend and great mom recommended the book BabyWise to me. Having seen how well her two boys turned out, I never doubted the book and began reading it immediately. I wanted my husband and care takers to follow the BabyWise
routine as well, however, I knew they wouldn't read the book. So, I decided to type up an abridged version for them from the notes I took while reading the book! I will post it on the blog in several segments, the first one being below. Enjoy and, buy the book if you can. It's an excellent parent tool for both parents and kids!

e of Contents
(1) The Babywise Routine
-Guidelines for
Feeding Time
-Guidelines for WakeTime
-Guidelines for Nap Time
(2) Sleep Patterns
(3) 3 Rules for Baby to Wake Up Happy

3 components:
(1) Feeding &
Diaper Change Time
-At least 15 - 30 minutes of continuous eating (not snacking) followed by adiaper change every 21/2 to 3 hrs up to 8 weeks of age & ending up every3-4 hours between 2 months to 1 year.
(2) Wake Time
-Immediately after eating, keep baby awake as long as possible (30-90 min)
(3) Sleep Time
-Put her down for a nap until the next feeding is due

Guidelines for Feeding:

-Weeks 1 to 8
Feed baby every 3-4 hours from the beginning of each feeding except atnight. Average 7 to 8 feedings (not snacks) every 24 hour period. Ifshe sleeps longer than 5 hours though, wake her up to prevent her from missinga feeding in the day.

-Weeks 8 to 15
Feed baby every 3-4 hours for 7 to 8 feedings a day & drop the late nightfeeding. This may mean feeding every 2 hrs or less starting at
6pm to get enough feedings throughoutthe day. By week 12 to 15, most babies can go 3-4 hours between feedings,so, by week 15 you may be at 5 to 7feedings per day.

Week 16 to 24
Baby maintains 4 to 6 liquid feedings per day with 3 of them (breakfast, lunch& dinner) also supplemented with baby food.
-By Baby's 16 to 24th week, you will introduce solids & continue with 4-6liquid feedings per day. If you're breastfeeding, you may need to add more tomaintain milk supply.
-By Baby's 24th week, her main mealtimes should be lined up with the rest ofthe family. Liquid (2-4) feedings should be spread throughout the day &given just before solid food meals
-As you begin introducing solids, you're not adding feeding periods, justadditional foods. Breastmilk or formula should be given or offered before eachsolid meal. Breastfeeding moms must maintain a minimum of 4 - 6 feeding periodsa day to maintain milk supply.

Week 25 to 1 year
Baby should be at 3 meals a day with the rest of the family. If still breastfeeding,add 1 - 3 more liquid feedings a day before or in between meals.
-By Baby's 25th week up to 1 year, she should continue to eat throughout theday with 4 to 5 nursing periods before each meal throughout the day.

Guidelines for Wake Time:

-Wake time should be 30 - 90 minutes, depending on the baby & earlier naptimes or duration of feeding.
-Wake time can be you with the baby or when the baby remains awake but alone.Examples of wake time with the baby are singing or reading to her, bathing,walking, or playing with her. Examples of wake time for her on her own areputting her in the crib to follow the mobile, in her swing to play & watchthe toys dangle, laying her on her floor gym face up to reach for the toysabove her (helps w/ hand-eye coordination), in a bouncer or playpen or inher infant seat to look around & follow mom & dad's movement around thehouse.
-An important part of wake time is "Tummy Time". Babies need tummytime to strengthen their neck muscles since their heads grow so quickly in thefirst months. Put your baby down on a playmat for tummy time several times aday for a few minutes at a time. She should get a total of about 30 minutes oftummy a day. Make sure she's near or next to you at all times during tummy timeto prevent choking or suffocating.
-Avoid watching tv while holding the baby or turn her away from it. Althoughshemay seem facinated, it will put her brain into overload. The rapid changinglight patterns from scene to scene & the change in volume will heighten hertension. She's not able to neurologically handle such rapid light and soundchanges.

Guidelines for Sleep/Nap Time:

-Nap time should be 1 to 2 1/2 hours when she eats every 3-4 hours a day. Ifbaby isn't napping well, cut back on wake time because they may be overstimulated. Fatigued or over stimulated babies become hyper alert, fighting offsleep through crying.
-Some crying is normal when putting her down for a nap or sleep time. It willeventually dissipate. Crying for 15-20 minutes at first is normal & willnot emotionally or psychologically harm her.The
American Academy ofPediatricsrecognizes several periods of crying as a natural part of ababy's day.

Sleep Patterns:

-Newborns: If feedings are kept routine & constant, nap times willtoo. When there are too many changes in her daily routine, this will affect hernap/sleep time as well. Naps should be 1 to 2 1/2 hours long. Nighttimesleep should be no longer than 5 hours to give her adequate nutrition &calories to grow. This will also help mom sustain adequate milk production bynot going to long without nursing.
-Babies 2 months: By this time, she should be dropping her night timefeeding & sleep 7 to 8 hours a night.
-Babies 3 to 5 months: By this time, there will only be
4 to 6 feedings a day & she should besleeping 10 to 12 hours a night. By 5 months, the 3rd nap time may be dropped.This means Wake times & other nap times will last longer.
-Babies 6 to 16 months: By 6 months, she should drop her late afternoon/eveningnap, leaving only 2 nap times during the day. One in the morning and one atnight lasting 1 1/2 to 2 hours long.
-Babies 16 months and up: By this time, she should be sleeping 10 to 12 hours anight & taking only one nap in the afternoon for 2 to 3 hours.

3 Rules for Baby to Wake up Happy:

-You highly influence your baby's wake up disposition:
(1) Mom, not baby, decides when nap starts
(2) Mom, not baby, decides when nap ends
(3) If she wakes up cranky or crying, its because she hasn't had sufficientsleep, has a dirty diaper, loud noises, getting sick or is uncomfortable insleeping position.
-When babies fall asleep they transition from active sleep to relaxed sleep in30-45 minutes. During active sleep they may stir, fuss, cry or make noises. Donot pick her up or attempt to console her unless she cries for an extendedperiod of time (longer than 30 minutes). Babies need to become accustomed toyour schedule for them in order for them to eventually adhere to it.

Pediatric Advice

Below are some notes I took from my daughter's pediatrician. Some is information she told me, some is from pamphlets that she gave me and the rest is from books, magazines and websites I came across as an expecting mommy.. I received so much information that I found it useful to take some notes for myself while preparing for my new arrival! Hope you can all benefit from them as well!

Pediatrician Book: Feeding Suggestions
Table of Contents
(1) Freshly Expressed Milk Storage
(2) Milk Thawing
(3) Water for Baby?
(4) Introducing Solids
(5) Signs of Food Allergies
(6) Foods & Feeding By Age
(7) Colic Symptoms & Solutions

Freshly Expressed Milk Storage
-4 hrs at room temperature
-24 hrs in cooler w/ 3 ice packs
-5 to 7 days in refrigerator
-3 to 6 months (6 if at 0 degrees)
-Thawed milk can be refrigerated for 24 hrs
-Don't store thawed breast milk
-Don't store milk kept in cooler longer than 8 hrs
- Never refreeze thawed milk

Milk Thawing
-Warm milk under cool then warm running water for a few minutes OR
-Put milk in container with heated water
-Don't ever heat milk directly on stove
-Don't ever microwave milk
-Thawed milk must be used within a 24 hour period if refrigerated & within 1-2 hours if left at room temperature
-Don't refreeze leftover thawed milk

Water for baby?
-Breastmilk & formula contain enough water but some parents offer water for taste & variety
-If you give her water, limit it to 2 oz a day until at least 4 months. Use only boiled tap water or bottled water with added flouride. You can also use weak chamomile tea as part of the 2oz per day for fussy babies

Introducing Solids
-Should not be introduced until at least 4-5 months.
-Introduce only 1 solid food at a time to determine if it agrees with her or causes an allergic reaction.
-Always give with a spoon, not a jar or bottle
-Babies with only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon & should not be force fed.
-Stay away from foods that are a choking hazard such as raisins, grapes, sliced hot dogs, peanut butter, nuts, chips, meats, any food that's hard to chew & any food about the size of the baby's trachea.

Common Signs of Food Allergies
-Difficulty breathing
-Constipation, diarrhea or vomiting
-Watery eyes, coughing or runny nose
-Excessive bloating or gassiness
-Unusual daytime crankiness

Suggested Foods & Feedings by Age
Babies 0-4 months
-BREASTMILK: 8-10 feeds day for total 16-32 oz
- No solids at all

Babies 4-5 months
-BREASTMILK: 5-6 feeds day for total 24-36 oz
-SOLIDS: Rice or single grain cereal up to 1-2 times a day
-No vegetables, fruits, juice or proteins

Babies 5-8 months
-BREASTMILK: 8-10 feeds day for total 24-32 oz
-SOLIDS: Single grain cereal, cereal & fruit mix, oven dry toast or teething biscuits up to 2-3 times a day
-JUICE: Infant 100% juice max 4oz a day
-VEGETABLES: Strained or mashed soft vegetables 1/4 to 1/2 cup a day up to 7 months
-Soft boiled vegetables after 7 months
-FRUITS: Strained or mashed w/out peels max 1/2 cup a day up to 7 months
-Some soft fruits after 7 months
-No proteins

Babies 8-10 months
-BREASTMILK: 2-4 feeds day for total 20-30 oz
-SOLIDS: All baby cereals 1/2 cup a day, toast, 1/2 plain bagel, crackers & bread up to 3 times a day
-JUICE: 100% infant juice max 6oz a day
-VEGETABLES: Cooked, chopped soft vegetables only
-Soft or canned packed only in water or fresh peeled, seeded & chopped fruits
-PROTEINS: Ground or finely chopped lean meats, egg yolks, few teaspoons of
plain yogurt & cheese

Babies 10-12 months
-BREASTMILK: 1-2 feeds day for total 16-24 oz
-SOLIDS: All baby or unsweetened cereals 1/2 cup a day, toast, 1/2 plain bagel, crackers, bread, mashed potatoes, rice or pasta up to 3 times a day
-JUICE: 100% infant juice max 8oz a day
-VEGETABLES: Cooked, chopped or in sticks for finger food only
-Soft or canned packed only in water or fresh peeled, seeded & chopped fruits
-PROTEINS: Ground, chopped or small tender pieces of lean meats, egg yolks,
cooked beans, plain yogurt & cheese

Common Colic Symptoms & Solutions
-Colic "Rule of 3" is crying that occurs for more than a total of 3 hours throughout the day, 3 days a week for 3 consecutive weeks.
-Crying that starts off quietly & escalates to an ear-piercing pitch.
-Arching her back when she cries.
-She can temporarily be soothed by burping, the pacifier or the swing.
-Sleeps or dozes off during feedings during feedings, not swallowing & digesting

-Babies with some of the above symptoms often have GER (Gastroesophageal Reflux) instead of colic. Zantac can help relieve discomfort during feedings & reduce the spitting up. All babies spit up to some degree but they shouldn't be spitting up large amounts (vomitting) at every feeding. Zantac will help reduce the burning babies experience in their throat and esophagus from stomach acid. To prevent baby from spitting up the dosage, use a slender syringe & squirt the medicine toward the back of her cheek so she swallows it.
-Keep baby upright or no more than semi-reclined for at least 20 minutes after each feeding.
-When possible, have mom or dad soothe the baby after feeding to improve bonding, comfort & psychological feeling of comfort in the baby from the baby instead of from other friends or family.
-Elevate the head of the crib by rolling a towel and placing it under the mattress
-Breastfeed for 10-15 minutes from one breast, burp, then do the same on the other breast. Start on the opposite breast at the next feeding.
-Sucking is calming so don't let baby fall asleep sucking at the breast since she isn't actively swallowing & digestings. Offer a pacifier if she's done
eating & has fed for an adequate amount of time.
-Pick a consistent bedtime & make it obvious its bedtime. Do this by creating a nightly routine by exaggerating the differences between day & night feedings. You could dim lights, rock her, play gentle music, swaddle her, read to her & put her to bed after feeding & burping.
-Downsize daytime naps. They shouldn't be any longer than 1 to 2 1/2 hours at the most, diminishing in time & quantity of naps throughout the day as they get older.

SafetyTat: A Removeable Safety Tattoo for Your Child

Here's an idea I think is pretty clever. I know I get pretty nervous when I take my daughter to a crowded mall, amusement park, carnival or sporting event! As much as I don't like to, I use a "backpack leash" to be on the safe side and make sure my little one doesn't wander. Well, a new, innovative company came up with a great idea. They created temporary child safety tattoos known as SafetyTat.

A mother of 3 created this product when while at an amusement park, she decided she needed a way to identify her kids if they happened to be lost. She also wanted whoever found them to know who to contact immediately. So, she wrote her cell phone number on their arm and explained to them why she was doing it. She stressed to them that they should stay together and ake sure never to lose sight of their siblings or their mom but, if they are separated, they can use the number to help find their mom again. The kids were instructed to tell any adult near them, should they become lost or separated from the group, that the number to contact their mom was on their arm.

Since it was not a permanent ink pen, the number needed to be re-written several times due to sweat, heat and clothes rubbing on it. After a number of other parents commenting on what a great idea she had, she decided to develop SafetyTat. Her slogan is, “the tat that brings kids back”. For more information on safety tips and ordering your own SafetyTat, visit the SafetyTat Website. They are sold in packs of 6 or 18 and cost a little more than $1.00 each. That seems very much so worth my child's safety and I'll definitely be ordering some.

I was not paid or reimbursed in any way by the SafetyTat website to post this blog.

Keeping Your Family Safe

Keeping a child safe and out of harms way is a common concern among parents. Budget cuts in state prisons and local jails are causing a growing number of criminals to be released early and back into our communities. As a law enforcement officer and someone that interacts with criminals on a daily basis, I take every precaution to ensure mine and my family's safety. Parents should do the same and educate their children on safety. Since most parents work full time and children are often left alone or with caregivers, they should teach their children what to do in cases of emergencies, when approached by strangers and while walking to and from school.

While many children are taught to be friendly and greet others, they should be taught when it's appropriate and when it is discouraged. When they are alone and walking to school, they should always walk with an adult and/or with a group of friends. They should not stop to talk to anyone nor should the stop if approached by others in a vehicle. Children as young as kindergarten should also have some sort of communication device. While a standard cell phone would not be a good idea for a child, there are cell phones that have pre-added answer and call buttons, limiting the calls that can be made from a phone. The Disney D100 is an option that allows for 20 contact numbers to be added. Calls and messages can only be made to and from those numbers. Some of these phones are also equipped with GPS. This gives parents the ability to regularly monitor their children's whereabouts.

Another tool that parents have is the internet. One of the biggest concerns parents face is the growing number of sex offenders living in and around their cities and neighborhoods. Cases such as the Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard kidnappings, along with the most recent Norma Lopez murder have recently brought to the more attention to protecting our children against sex offenders. An excellent parent recourse is the Megan's Law website. It's a government run website that parents can use to look up sex offenders living in and around their neighborhoods, places of employment, parks and schools. In addition to the Megan's Law website, parents can also check sex offenders in their area through the Family Watchdog website. This website offers a free to help locate registered sex offenders in your area. All you need to do is enter an address and a map will immediately show up identifying where registered sex offenders live. Just click on the squares that appear and see photos (where available), addresses, convictions and other information about the offender. You can search areas near your home, day care, relatives' homes, schools, parks and any other area your children are in or around.

Family Watchdog also offers a notification service that' s simple to use. You specify addresses that you want to watch and the distance around those addresses and Family Watchdog will do the rest. The site can also monitor specific offenders when searched by name. It is a good idea for parents to utilize this website to pre-screen any coaches, teachers, caregivers, friends' parents or any other adult their children may come in contact with. The site updates their data daily from multiple state sex offender registries. If you register with the site, the site will alert you as soon as a convicted sex offender registers an address in your area. It's simple and it's freeIn addition, Family Watchdog also alerts you when an offender moves in or out of your area by text or email. Other services they provide are updating you about crimes in your area and about any recall or advisory issued by the government about food or other products. Lastly, they also offer an extensive library of safety tips related to product, family and child safety!

Tools such as the children's cell phones, the internet and your local police are all available to parents to ensure their children's safety. Parents should take every precaution to make sure that their children don't fall victims to a crime. Awareness is the best defense to protect your family. Knowing the people that your child comes in contact with and being aware of those that live, work and play around your children is something that every parent should do.

Below are some statistics that are shocking, but that parents need to be aware of. Don't let your family become a victim. Be proactive instead of reactive. Be aware of your surroundings and the people that are around you and your family.

According to the US Department of Justice:
1 of 5 girls and 1 of 6 boys will be molested before their 18th birthday.
--90% of all sexual assaults against children are committed by someone whom the victim knew.
--The typical sexual predator will assault 117 times before being caught.
--The re-arrest rate for convicted child molesters is 52%.

Snyder, H.N., US Department of Justice Statistics, 2000. Sexual Assault of Yong Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics.

--Center for Sex Offender Management, (2001). Recidivism of Sex Offenders, Full Report and Statistics.

Making Every Moment a Teachable Moment

Increasing Your Child's Vocabulary, Recognition, Speech and Comprehension with Daily Tasks
Teachable moments are anywhere and everywhere. Parents should take every opportunity to teach their children as they go through the day. School isn't the only place children should be learning. All parents have to do to take advantage of teachable moments throughout the day is realize that there are teachable moments in virtually anything and everything you do. Below are some examples that I used when my daughter was a toddler.
When you wake up in the morning, ask your little one what the numbers on the alarm clock are. Even toddlers can begin to recognize numbers at an early age! Ask them what shape the alarm clock is. A square, a rectangle, a circle?
1. When eating breakfast, continue with shapes and ask about the shape of the top of a cup, the plate the table, etc. Expand with asking about colors too. What colors are in the food? Fruits and cereals come in many different colors so it's easy.
2. Have your little one match colors together in his breakfast as he or she eats.
3. After breakfast, move on to colors and shapes with clothing. You don't have to let you little one choose his clothing since he may not make the wisest choice for the weather but you can pull out a few choices and have him pick the matching pieces.
4. After breakfast, go out for a short walk. Look at the houses, leaves, cars, people, airplanes, birds, etc and make your child aware of his or her surroundings.
5. On your way to preschool, kindergarten or just to run errands, ask your child about environmental cues. Most children can recognize the signs to popular stores around their neighborhood because they see them often and hear you say them. This is a great opportunity to teach letters as well. If they recognize the Target sign, ask about the first letter in the word. What letter is that? Is there another "T" in Target? Is it a big T or a little T?
6. Identify people in stores while running errands. Teach children the difference between a young boy, a teenager, an adult such as a mom and dad and an elderly person such as a grandpa.
7. Look at prices of items when shopping and teach your child (usually 5 or above) about prices and rounding up numbers. Prices tend to be easily rounded up at grocery stores since most end in 95, 97 or 98 cents.
8. When paying, show your child the money and see if he or she can figure out how much to give the cashier. If the bill is $7, show your child a $5 bill and a $10 bill and see which one he thinks will be enough to pay for it.
9. When taking a bath at home, filling up a glass of water or filling up a bucket in the yard, show your child the difference between half full, half empty, empty and full.
10. At the end of your day, recap and see if your child remembers what he or she learned throughout the day. See what they have retained and what they have to continue to work on the following day.
There are countless other ways to take advantage of the environment around you and make every moment in the day a teachable one. As a former teacher, I try to do this as often as possible with my little one and I've seen it make a notable difference in her recognition, comprehension and speech. It has helped increase her vocabulary and expand on her curiosity. Now she asks me about many things as opposed to me having to pique her curiosity about it.

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Sugar and It's Impact on Your Children's Weight

A child's diet is something that a parent establishes as a very young age. Some children are very picky eaters while others have to be stopped from over eating. Some children love vegetables while others refuse to eat any at all. One aspect of diet that most children have in common is sugar. Almost every child likes sugar and items that contain sugar. Once it is introduced, it tends to be preferred because of its appealing taste. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar, however, is one of the leading factors in obesity among children now. It is something that needs to be controlled in everyone's diet. Children, along with parents and older siblings, should be aware of the sugar content in foods they eat and how it affects their bodies.
There are foods which naturally contain sugar, such as fruits, which contain fructose. Then there are foods with added sugar such as cereals, cookies, oatmeal, etc. Whether the sugar is natural or added, it has the same effects on the body.
Parents need to be mindful of the amount of sugar in items they bring home and the amount of sugar in each serving. Most cereals have approximately 15 grams of sugar per 3/4 cup. Most children have at least two cups a day, totaling more than 30 grams of sugars in cereal alone. Milk also contains approximately 13-18 grams of sugar per cup. Most children love yogurt but most yogurts have at least 18 grams of sugar per serving as well. Milk, cereal, fruit and yogurt are all staples in ca child's diet and all items that can add up to a lot of extra sugar being consumed. Mothers need to be mindful of items they buy and bring home. They need to read and understand nutritional labels. Just because there are only 5 grams of sugar per serving doesn't mean an item is good for your child. It could have 20 servings in a container, adding up to more 100 grams of sugar total.
This does not mean that parents must eliminate all sugars from their family's diet. What it means is that parents need to be mindful of the sugars their families consume. Juice is one of the items that contains the most amount of sugar per serving. Most juices, even if they are 100% real fruit juice, have more than 30 grams of sugar per cup. Dr. Lauren Lubin, M.D. recommends giving your child a piece of fruit as opposed to drinking the juice. It is not only more filling but it is also providing more nutrients. Cereals are another culprit of sugar in children's diets. Parents should restrict sweet cereals completely since children should be able to treat themselves but these cereals should be kept to a minimum. They can be served as treats on the weekends, mixed with low sugar versions of the cereal or served in small servings only a few days a week. When serving yogurt, Greek yogurts are a great option since they are natural and have little, if any, added sugar. As for treats and junk foods, Dr Lubin adds that there is a place for those types of foods in everyone's diet as well. It is not a good idea to completely restrict these foods from a child's or an adult's diet. Restricting leads to binging when the item is eaten again. These foods need to be eaten in moderation and, better yet, only on special occasions such as birthday parties, weddings, holidays, etc. Parents should also monitor serving sizes of these foods since they tend to have high caloric value along with high sugar contents.
Serving your family a proper balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your family. Recently this has been difficult to accomplish in the US because most households have to very busy working parents. In addition, it's much cheaper to eat unhealthy, fast, easy to eat foods such as frozen meals, dollar menu drive-thru items and packaged, preservative filled goods. It is more expensive to eat healthy and buy organic foods so most parents skimp on quality and focus on quantity. In the last twenty years, the obesity rate in the United States has risen to more than 25% of the population. In the next 20 years the obesity rate is expected to rise up to 40%. That's almost half of the US population being obese.
As previously stated, the Center for Center for Disease Control and Prevention cited sugar as the main culprit in adding to the obesity rate in the US. If we don't change this now, it'll only continue to worsen as it has in the last 20 years. About 20 years ago, the fat free craze took over. It was the latest fad and the new way of "eating healthy". If the food did not contain fat, it was assumed it was good for you and you could eat as much of it and as often as you want. Fat, however, was replaced by sugar in these fat free items and what does sugar turn into when it's not burned by the body? It is turned into fat. So, eating fat free is not better than eating regular foods. In fact, you are better off eating the original version of most foods since they contain fewer additives and artificial sweeteners.
Most people would never consider eating spoonfuls of sugar throughout the day but families do this unknowingly do this regularly. Most of the liquids consumed, such as soda, juices, sports drinks and milk, all contain at least 15 grams of sugar per serving, more often twice that amount. Most popular cereals are also laden with added sugars in the form of corn syrup, glucose, brown sugar and fructose. Cookies, candy bars, cereal bars, waffles, trail mix and pretzels are other common foods in a child's diet that adds extra calories and especially added sugar.
Parents, school districts, day care centers and food makers in general should focus on providing healthier, nutritious meals to children at home and at school. Foods laden with carbohydrates and sugars don't provide the nutritional value that a child needs to make it through a day. In addition, Mike Adams, editor of Natural states that any sugar and carbohydrates not burned through activity is stored by the body as fat. Snacks and meals should be comprised mostly of protein, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains. Fruits should be consumed but in moderation. Treats should always be allowed but parents and schools should monitor the consumption of these items and it should not be readily accessible to children throughout the day. Children do not inherently have self-control, it must me learned and taught.
Help this country avoid reaching nearly 50% obesity and help our youth get healthy. Encourage healthy, balanced meals and snacks. Encourage physical activity instead of video games. Teach your children about nutrition and the importance it plays in their lives.

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