Halloween Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Halloween Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Over the years, Halloween has changed in the way we celebrate with kids.

As a grandmother, I remember pretty much freedom circa 1950’s, when I went “Trick or Treating” with friends in our very large sprawling Yonkers, New York apartment complex still known as Glenwood Gardens. So much was different! Seven six story buildings were connected by a winding basement which became our Halloween parade route. All in all we fearlessly rang the bell of about 108 apartments and collected candy from almost everyone. Sometimes we would have to go back home to empty our stash so that we could go back out and collect more.

This weekend begins the Halloween celebrations so get ready to see costumed adults and children trick or treating at your door on Monday!

Here are my reading picks to keep the holiday a happy one for kids and parents!

Halloween is a time for fun and exciting costumes, trying to scare others as well as getting to go out trick-or-treating with your children, but as your children get older, around 4 years of age (from my personal experience) it is time to talk about dealing strangers. Here’s some tips for talking to your child about strangers and staying safe on Halloween.

Source: Dr Dina Kulik Talking to Your Kids About Strangers and Staying Safe on Halloween – Dr Dina Kulik

If you see a Teal Pumpkin this weekend it means that the treats given out will be okay for kids with food allergies. Halloween Weekend

Teal pumpkins have become the symbol of food allergy awareness at Halloween. When you see a teal pumpkin, it means that non-food treats are available for kids with food allergies or other dietary restrictions.

Source: Will You Keep It Teal for this Halloween

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

We will watching the World Series what about you?

Let them eat cake…and a Rainbow!

Let them eat cake…and a Rainbow!

Rainbow Cake

Grandchildren are truly a gift and I love them dearly.

My grandson is just a one year old and he already has a taste for some sophisticated foods thanks to his parents and their efforts to introduce him to a varied selection of fruits, vegetables and proteins.

For an eight year old, my granddaughter also has a sophisticated palate . She has been sampling various foods from early on but was found to have severe peanut and food allergies at age one so a great amount of vigilance has to be taken especially when we are eating in restaurants. Store bought baked goods are particularly problematic for her as cross contamination is clearly an issue of concern.

So this weekend when both of my dearest were together it was an appropriate time to celebrate with a Rainbow. I have been in love with this cake since I first saw it about 4 years ago and I actually put one together for my granddaughter’s 3rd birthday! It is a spectacular picture when you initially cut into it and view the vivid colors. It is a smile built into a confection.

One of the best and most fun parts is to let the kids “doodle” on the icing to make this cake a personal piece of artwork as well as a dessert…it becomes a vision to behold and the kids love the excitement of getting the first colorful piece on their plate. What a sense of accomplishment they have enjoying some of their own efforts.

Baking this beauty is a labor of love as it takes patience, pans of colored cake batter, tons of softened butter and egg whites galore. It seems to magically come together layer upon layer…as you remember the acronym Roy G Biv ….Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo Violet. Although the actual cake has 6 layers by combining the blue and indigo into one layer.

1st Birthday

 We celebrate our two grandchildren

and

the joy they bring to our loves…

the same joy we feel

when we see a RAINBOW across the sky

Rainbow Doodle Birthday Cake

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

 

Fall weekend

Fall is upon us as is the school schedule along with holiday celebrations like Halloween  are not far off. The weekend fills up fast with Fall activities like apple picking, pumpkin patch visits, football games and raking leaves.

Fall is my second favorite season only to Spring which brings more light back into my windows on the world. I love the seasonal changes but the darkness and gloom of the midwest winters sometimes take a toll on my energy level.

My Fall weekends are precious especially if they are sunny ones that are accompanied by the gold and reds of the trees telling their final stories before the slumber of winter.

Along around mid-September If you are like me your work schedule revs up and if you work from home the distractions are innumerable. Some of you are trying to do chores and run a business from your home with a baby or a toddler in tow. If that is the case then this post is definitely for you.

I am so excited about this piece! I’ve wanted for so long to find someone like Jamie Krenn to address these issues and questions for those of us who work at home, because no matter what type of parent you are- it is overwhelming to mix anything with caring for small children. We all need to know about what this wonderful, resourceful woman has to say about how to juggle the schedule of emotions within parenthood and work. Join Jamie Krenn at CoHatchery in Park Slope for a workshop this Friday, August 26th, from 4:30-6pm about working from home, more productively. Here’s a helpful Q&A, enjoy!

~Rebecca Conroy, Editor of A Child Grows in Brooklyn

Source: A Work-from-Home Workshop Not to be Missed! | A Child Grows in Brooklyn

Chicago may be rainy this weekend but that just might offer some time to change out summer clothes for the cozy layers that cooler weather requires or maybe even sink into the sofa with a good book.

Whatever you do enjoy your time with family and friends this weekend.

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Labor Day marks the end of summer and the start of school.

Lunch Box and Labor Day Weekend

I know here in the midwest many schools are already back and the mad rush for supplies has slowed down to a crawl but some of us are last minute shoppers and wait until our kids see what others are buying. This procrastination is sometimes hard but great if your kids want to be like the rest of the pack. It keeps you from running to exchange things and filling up an already busy weekend schedule.

My friend Julie Cole from Canada has some great suggestions on her blog page for school supplies and helpful items that will withstand the test of time throughout the school year. Julie is a mom of six so she has plenty of experience in the back to school shopping routine. She is one of my favorite moms to read especially on weekends when I have some extra time. Her blog posts are humorous, helpful and always a delightful break for me. I met Julie a few years ago at a conference of bloggers and every year I look forward to seeing her and catching a quick hello and hug from her.

I hope you enjoy her posts as much as I do. And catch her at Mabel’s Labels as well, there is a link on my side bar. It is no fun losing kids’ stuff. Also if you have kids with allergies there are labels for lunch boxes and bags that alert teachers and the lunchroom staff of you child’s allergies.

 

It’s that time again! Back to school, back to reality. Here are some great products to help all your days be smooth ones.  Let’s talk litterless lunches:

Source: Favourite Back-to-School Products From a Mama of Many :: YummyMummyClub.ca

Have a great Labor Day Weekend Everyone!

Benefits of Grandparents Babysitting

Benefits of Grandparents As Babysitters

Babysitting benefits are no surprise to me as a grandmother. Grateful is the word I use to describe how I feel when I am with my grandchildren whether babysitting or just visiting. They are the light in my life and I am proud to admit that.

It amazes me when I hear grandmothers say…”I have my own life”…and I don’t want to be a babysitter almost as if babysitting their own grandchildren is demeaning and takes away from “their own life”.

My grandchildren are a unique part of this stage of my life and I am both happy and proud to grandparent. It has been a blessing to see our family grow to include another generation.

GrandparentsWhen you’re a grandma, there aren’t many things better than spending time with your grandchildren. And, according to research, babysitting your grandchildren doesn’t just add joy to your life — it can also help keep you sharp as a tack in your golden years.

This blog’s name reflects the fact that parenting is indeed a “loop” handed down from generation to generation in a family.  Grandparents are a significant part of that “loop”. Sharing among generations to me is one of the important parts of being a family.

Now, a study has shown an added benefit to “babysitting”…you can actually stay more mentally sharp in these “Golden Years”. Grandchildren for me put the “gold” in these years.

So bring me the grandkids ..I cherish my time with them!

Source: Grandmothers and Dementia – Benefits of Grandparents Babysitting

Tips for Helping Kids Make Their Own Lunch

Tips for Helping Kids Make their Own Lunch

 

kids lunch

School has started or will start very soon and so will school lunches.

Yikes! As a mom my school lunches were not all that interesting nor were they all that healthy, I have to admit at this stage of my life as a grandmother. But for the past two years I have watched my daughter make lunch for her daughter, who is now in 3rd grade and it was such a vastly different food experience than in my days of kids’ lunches.

I began to research information on interesting lunches that were both healthy and tasty. Sometimes the healthy part was hidden and could not even be tasted except by very discerning tastebuds. Along with my daughter we came up with some beautiful combinations that my granddaughter both enjoyed and requested again and again.

We loved Planet Lunchbox to help keep lunches fresh and cool or warm. They can be decorated and personalized with magnetic designs purchased along with the lunchbox itself. There is also a great carrying case that has a pocket for a cooling pack which worked very well for my granddaughter throughout her school year. Kids’ lunch bags seem to self destruct after one year but this one will easily make it through three years will minimal care, along with the stainless lunch box itself. Since it is a pricey combination this is a good thing to know before you make a purchase.

Kids can also learn to fill up these lunch boxes pretty easily themselves with some assistance and suggestions from their parents or grandparents or even from their friends who might already be making their own lunches. My granddaughter has a nut allergy so her choices are dictated by how foods are made and packaged. Many times cookies and baked goods have to be homemade. Convenience foods are usually not appropriate for many nut allergic kids so that makes food choices very important for my granddaughter. Both she are her mother are vigilant about label reading even if it is something they buy all the time. You never know when processing or ingredients will change in your favorite go to snack or food staple

When it comes to kids making their own lunches there are a few tips we found helpful. I wish I had known some of these things when I was much younger and sending my daughters off to school with their lunch bags.

Being Positive

We found this key to success when kids are making their own lunches. If you practice some indifference when it comes to perfection especially related to how the finished product looks, your child will feel so much better as he or she attempts to make a sandwich that looks like one that you made. Remember that being positive will be rewarded in the end.

Take kids to the grocery store to help pick out foods for lunch.

This is so important. If they are in charge of their choices it makes them more vested in the process. It probably helps to make a small list of possible food selections prior to actually getting to the store to avoid chaos in the aisles.

Kids can choose their own foods

Create a designated area for food prep and storage of lunch friendly items

If you have room it would be extremely helpful to have an area where your children can do their preparation and where foods are readily accessible when needed. This will cut down time and hopefully create less mess. Again, letting your children help with setting up a prep area will help them become part of the kitchen team.

Get Creative

One of my favorite kids’ friendly cookbooks is from Momables by Laura Fuentes. She has a wonderful website and three books that are our favorites for family recipes that are easy, healthy and great for snacks and meals.

kids lunch

There are many months of lunches ahead…don’t get discouraged if your children slack off once in awhile. Revisit and tweak the process with them to keep them from getting bored. They are no different than we are when it comes to forming a habit. It takes time and patience with yourself and with them.

Happy Lunches Everyone!

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pick from Parenting in the Loop

Now that many schools are back in session it is time for kids with allergies to begin another challenging year in some cases as they try to avoid exposure to their food allergens.

Here is a great piece in Spokin that I thought would be handy for those parents of kids with food allergies.

Only one weekend post for this week while I am enjoying a back to school adventure in Los Angeles.

weekend readMANAGING THE LUNCHROOM   My daughters have multiple allergies which make managing all things lunchtime essential.

1. Label your child’s lunchbox with their allergies. Big + Bold

 

2. Review your lunchroom or cafeteria menu ahead of time and make alternative plans for high-risk days. When our lunchroom serves fish sticks, we ask our school to allow for our fish allergic daughter to eat lunch in a separate area.

 

3. Make arrangements for having the lunch area wiped down including the tables, both the top and underneath, and chairs each day to avoid cross contact. My daughter has a sesame allergy, so we need to be careful in the event a child wipes hummus on or under the table. Depending on the school, I ask the person who is closest in proximity to my daughter to execute this task.

Source: Maggie’s lunchroom guide

Enjoy one of the few summer weekends left.

Feeding Baby Cow’s Milk

Feeding Baby Cow’s Milk

baby

Why do experts recommend waiting to introduce cow’s milk until a child is 12 months old?

Source: Cow’s milk: When and how to introduce it 

Our grandson just turned 1 year old! A baby’s first year of life is marked by so many growth and development milestones but yet it seems in the blink of an eye they are standing, cruising and then walking.

Obviously this is a grandmother’s perspective as new moms know it seems like forever before a newborn sleeps through the night and then forever till he sits up, crawls, holds his own bottle and begins to eat some “real” food!

At the one year mark our baby can now begin to drink cow’s milk or milk other than breast milk or formula which will make some trips away from home a slight bit easier. Prior to one year an infant’s digestive system is not ready for the high concentration of protein and minerals in regular milk. In addition cow’s milk is deficient in iron, vitamin C and other nutrients nor does it have the healthy fats for your growing infant.

horizon_milk

When your baby is mature enough milk becomes a staple in his diet with all of its calcium and vitamin D. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth as well as regulate blood clotting and muscle control. Protein is also found in milk along with energy providing carbohydrates.

The big question is usually how much milk should your child be drinking. Here are the AAP recommendations.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), most kids will get enough calcium and vitamin D if they drink 16 to 20 ounces (2 to 2 1/2 cups) of cow’s milk a day. Offer 1-year-olds whole milk (unless they’re at high risk for obesity).

Don’t offer more than 3 cups of milk a day or your child may not have room for the other foods she needs to round out her diet. If your toddler’s still thirsty, offer water.

Happy Birthday to your 1 year-old!

Rainbow Cake

1st Birthday

It is exciting times… toddling to 2!

The Mystery of Parenting Unraveled

The Mystery of Parenting Unraveled…

Mastery of life is not a precondition to becoming a parent. We assume the responsibility of teaching someone else how to do what we have not yet figured out. We teach, even as we learn through and with our children.

Source: Abby’s Road: The 1st rule of parenting is there are no rules – The Forecaster

parentingOften as parents and even as grandparents we literally muddle through the challenges of raising children and grandchildren

Why?

Because aren’t we all a work in progress…always learning new things and new ways of becoming better versions of ourselves?

So why do we have so many rules and tips on parenting floating around the web?

It is always helpful to have lists and guides in the form of rules and tips when we are insecure. Raising a child is one of those skills which can make even the best of child experts unsure of themselves and their skills.

Remembering there really are no hard and fast rules to raising a child is a place to start when you first bring your little helpless baby home. Preparing is helpful to keep your own sanity intact but so is listening to your gut.

Being present in your child’s life is unspeakably important as is teaching them kindness and empathy.

But knowing that every child and parent dyad is unique and respecting differences will help you sustain yourselves as you parent over the years to come.

 

Weekend Picks from ParentingintheLoop

Weekend Picks from Parenting in the Loop

Here are my favorites for this week. I cannot believe that in two weeks it will be

Labor Day Weekend. Where did the summer go?weekend picks

I Am “The Good Wife” circa 1955 in Spirit | Today’s Grandmum

What a fascinating funny article that first appeared in 1955 when I was a child! Was this really what was expected of women in those days? Here is what I remember as a little girl from that era.

The Best Way to Put Baby to Sleep

If you want a restful night’s sleep and you have a baby you might find this helpful. Everyone’s baby is different but there are some things that can definitely help a baby to self soothe and actually become a good sleeper. A rested baby will help make your weekend more restful.

Dr. Judith Owens, a pediatrician who is the director of sleep medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, told me that she would focus here on what she termed “sleep onset associations.” That is, on helping the children learn how to fall asleep independently at bedtime, which should then generalize to an ability to fall asleep when they wake in the night. So it’s lovely to use the song at bedtime as a going-to-bed routine, but it’s important that the actual moment of going to sleep should be after the bottle (and ideally, after brushing teeth after the bottle) and after the song. It may be that the baby who wakes and cannot soothe himself is actually falling asleep with the aid of the bottle and the song, and then finds himself without those props in the middle of the night. “What they want to do is clearly demarcate the soothing intervention on the part of the parents, the song and the bottle from the actual act of falling asleep,” Dr. Owens said. That probably means moving the routines a little earlier, so that after the song is done, the babies get to fall asleep by themselves. And that, in turn, probably means some difficult nights. You can separate the twins for this transition period if you want, or keep them together; whatever you think would make it easier. Co-sleeping — unless it’s something you believe in and want to practice over the long term — may just leave you with another sleep problem to solve down the line. But you want to get through this to a new equilibrium where you can all enjoy the song and the bedtime ritual. “Learning to self-soothe in regard to sleep is a real developmental skill,” Dr. Owens said. “It can be taught, and it’s an important milestone in self-regulation.” Do you have a health question? Submit your question to Ask Well.

Source: Ask Well: The Best Way to Put Babies to Sleep – The New York Times

Should you salt your child’s food?

A really good question since your child will be eating salt in various foods for a very long time. How young can a child start eating table salt on his food? Admittedly, I do not add salt to anything I make for my almost year old grandson and although the veggies, meats and starches taste very good unsalted they just might have a bit more of an enticing flavor with some added salt. I was happy to see this post in the NYT which helped me with my dilemma.

Is it safe to add salt to a 5-year-old’s food? Reader Question • 175 votes A Yes, in moderation. High salt intake is linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, and the American Heart Association and other groups recommend that children limit sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams a day (a teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 milligrams of sodium). But kids typically get far more than that, usually from restaurant fare and processed foods, which account for 77 percent of the sodium in Americans’ diets. “

Source: Should You Salt a Child’s Food? – The New York Times

Have a good weekend everyone and enjoy some moments of gratitude.