What to Say to a Five Year-Old When a Grandparent Dies

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I love Sleepy Planet and their work with parents regarding healthy sleep habits for children.

Jill and Jen offer advice about many other parenting issues as well.

I only wish I lived in Los Angeles so I could meet them in person.

Here is a post from their Facebook page which deals with the sensitive time when a young child loses a grandparent.

Please visit Sleepy Planet sometime soon.

via Sleepy Planet’s Facebook page:

Talked today with a dad whose mom just passed after a long illness, and he shared the conversation he had with his son, age 5, to tell him the news.


Dad: Hey Sam, I have something to tell you. Grandma went to heaven last night.


Sam: Oh! I wasn’t expecting you to say THAT.


Dad: Yeah. Remember we talked about how her body was slowing down, and that pretty soon it would stop working?


Sam: Yup.


Dad: And that even when her body stopped working, her body would die but her spirit would go to heaven?


Sam: Yeah, I can see her in heaven.


Dad: You can?


Sam: Yeah, cause whenever I want to talk to her, I can just think of her in my heart.


Dad: That’s so true. That’s really nice.


Sam doesn’t seem upset so far, though mom and dad know that his feelings may change, and they’ll offer whatever support he needs.

“Food Glorious Food”-Children in the Kitchen,Kid’s Snacks,The Obesity Challenge

IMG_4848I loved cooking since I can remember.

Admittedly,over the years my style has changed, given what we now know about foods, GMO’s, saturated fats and so much more.

What has not changed is my desire to involve my family in what I choose to serve them.

Now with a grandchild to consider, I am enjoying the time that I can include her in my cooking.

How do you include your family in the kitchen…is the kitchen the center of your home?

What have you done to get your children more involved in the kitchen?

via Home-Cooked Challenge: Kids in the Kitchen – NYTimes.com.


For me snacks are an absolute dilemma, I love to snack, but choose to munch protein bars when I am on the go…they give me the energy I need in between my breakfast, small lunch and dinner.

However, when it comes to children and grandchildren, I sometimes find myself at a loss and turn to graham crackers, fishy crackers, or cereal in a bag as a quick fix…along with some fresh fruit or carrots…yogurt is always a go to in our house as well.

I was particularly interested in this post at Toddler Approved…it is sponsored post. I was tempted to try the subscription that is offered at $7/month to have tasty snacks delivered to my door, but reconsidered this choice since then they do not allow for food allergies.

What do you do when it comes to snacks for your kids and grandkids?

Toddler Approved!: Trying New Snacks With Your Kids.


Some of my tips include…

1. Have kids go on a rainbow grocery shopping hunt with me and help them select a few foods for us to buy for snacks and meals. Choosing the snack themselves means the likelihood that they will eat it again is much higher.

2. Have kids make the snacks and create something fun. Last week we made an ant snack with carrots and apples and peanut butter. Even though my son hates carrots, he was more willing to try a bite because it looked cool. We also made the strawberry mice featured above at our VBC Summer Camp. The kids usually won’t try nuts or string cheese, but they totally did because it was silly to eat when it was a mouse.

3. Spy on other kids and see what they are eating. When I work at preschool or go to the park I love seeing what other moms bring their kids for snack. I always take mental notes (especially if my kids ask to try a taste of a friend’s snack and like something).

What are your tips?

via Toddler Approved!: Trying New Snacks With Your Kids.


This week “obesity” was defined as a disease…

As a nurse, I find this an interesting discussion and wonder what others are thinking.

Is this a good definition and will it help with this crisis?

Defining Obesity as a Disease May Do More Harm Than Good | TIME.com.

Parents, Will You Vaccinate Your Child Against “Cancer Causing” HPV?


New research strongly suggests that the HPV vaccine works.


The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and a principal cause of cervical cancer — has dropped by half among teenage girls in the last decade, a striking measure of success for a vaccine that was introduced only in 2006, federal health officials said on Wednesday.


“These are striking results,” Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Times’s Sabrina Tavernise. “They should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccination rates. The bottom line is this: It is possible to protect the next generation from cancer, and we need to do it.”


But unless these numbers change a significant number of minds, many parents won’t.

via Will Parents Still Turn Down an ‘Anti-Cancer Vaccine?’ – NYTimes.com.


Are you willing to have your child vaccinated to prevent cancer from a sexually transmitted disease? If I had children whose ages fell within this category I would choose to vaccinate.

After all, if my mother had not allowed me to be vaccinated in the 1950’s I might have developed polio and died or become permanently disabled.

During those years prior to the polio vaccine, I lost a friend to polio… literally overnight…he died while his parents were rushing to be by his side at an Adirondack’s hospital near where he was enrolled in summer camp. He was in an “iron lung” machine, which was all too common in those years but he died before his parents arrived.

Something for parents to think about…

the HPV vaccine is proving to be effective.

What will you do?

Accept it or deny it for your child?

How will you explain your decision to your child?

Do Your Kids Eat Everything?…Tell theTruth!

IMG_4193Cooking for kids…always a challenge

I love to cook…but over the years my “go to meals” have changed…


become somewhat boring…


Jennie Perillo, InJenniesKitchen and her book Homemade with Love.

I was losing my edge especially now…

that I very often am cooking for three generations in one house.

This morning, I read this piece from Jennie’s recipes in Relish Magazine


I  smiled…as I adore pesto…

I have decided to try using parsley instead of my usual basil, omit the pistachios since….

there is a “nut allergy” in our family

I will add cheese to liven up the flavor.


I’ll be the first to admit that when I think about cooking for kids, pesto isn’t the first recipe that comes to mind. Yes, there are adventurous eaters out there, you know, those kids whose parents’ claim they eat everything. To that, I say spill the beans. No one likes everything, including myself, a professional food writer and recipe developer—and that’s okay. This is perhaps the most important tidbit of advice to remember when you approach feeding your children.


Relish Blogs – Fresh Homemade Summer Pesto.

Who Do You Trust When It Comes to Car Seats and Baby Gear?


“Do not try this at home”

A baby car seat is, in my opinion, the most important purchase a parent makes…

Do your homework when making your decision.

You definitely want to consult “The Car Seat Lady”

If you are a Facebook user, then her page is also a must

Another person to involve in your baby gear decisions is,

The Baby Guy NYC“, Jamie Grayson…

Jamie is also on Facebook…

So, if you or anyone you know are about to purchase a car seat or baby gear of any sort…

Run to your computer and check out these two …

They have done all the work for you!




Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.

Six Months Since Sandy Hook



I Promise to honor the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I Promise to do everything I can to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence.


Today is six months since 26 people were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook School. Twenty of those who died were small children.

We must not forget them.


Please take a moment to read about Sandy Hook Promise and do what you can to remember all these victims and their forever grieving families.

Noah Posner, a little boy who died in his classroom that day is honored by his grandmother in her heartfelt writing on her blog….Farine.

Go there if you can and share his grandmother’s painful moments.

Tantrums, Infant Sleep, Baby Gifts-Weekend Reading

child playing on the beach

Tantrums…meltdowns…I don’t know anyone who hasn’t witnessed this behavior. Many of us can even remember losing control as a child.

For me, one of my most memorable meltdowns was when I was staying at my grandparents house with my dad (my parents were divorced)…my dad left for work and I was screaming for him not to go and leave me. I was about 5 years old.

While still out of control, my aunt appeared and yelled “shut up” at me. I had never heard those words and I had no memory of ever being yelled at…it was scary.

I remember feeling very alone, abandoned…no one came to comfort me. From that moment on, I never liked my aunt. This dislike carried through adulthood. She abandoned me when I needed a loving person most.

If we can recall our own meltdowns, perhaps we can more easily empathize with our children’s frustrating moments.

Hugs, understanding and help to put words together to describe emotions are ways we can help little ones navigate these “scary” moments.


Yes, thankfully. And it’s not only normal, but reasonable. As five experts on child psychology recently explained to me, toddlers’ irrational behaviors are a totally understandable reflection of their inner turmoil and frustrations. In sum, their world is turning upside down and they don’t yet have the skills to handle it. Tantrums don’t mean your kid is a spoiled brat or needs therapy; tantrums mean he is normal.


Do you crave sleep or do you remember craving sleep when your baby was a newborn? Did you turn to a baby sleep “expert”, who wasn’t really an expert?

How do parents find help ?  What books or websites did you find helpful when you have questions about parenting?



Enter the ‘baby sleep expert’. An entirely unregulated occupation that requires no qualifications, no experience and no code of ethics. In any other field we would run a mile, but we’re tired – oh so very tired – so tired we can’t think with our usual logic and reason, they dangle the golden carrot of ‘sleeping through the night’ in such a way that we repress any doubts we do have and naively believe their claims and trust their respectability and thus blindly trust their instructions.


What a wonderful simple little gift for new parents in Finland. Interesting how it affected the infant mortality rate in Finland.


Expectant parents often get plenty of presents from friends and family members, but in Finland even the government sends a gift.

The Finnish government regularly distributes maternity grants to help expectant parents care for a fussy newborn. Parents can pick between the maternity package, a colorful box that is filled with baby-related goodies such as reusable diapers  and colorful onesies, or a cash grant of 140 euros.

The  maternity package wasn’t designed just to be a fun gift, it started as a way to help promote healthy habits for new parents. The grants started in 1937, when the Finnish government passed the Maternity Grants Act to help counteract a high infant mortality rate. Before the act was passed the infant mortality rate was extremely high with 65 deaths  for every 1,000 births, according to the BBC.

Today it is 3.38 for every 1,000 births, according to the CIA World Factbook.

What You Need to Know About Baby Amber Teething Necklaces

baby amber necklace

Do you or anyone you know use amber necklaces to relieve teething pain?

As a mother-child nurse, I am always skeptical about such claims when it comes to putting a child at risk.

What do you think about product claims that have no scientific evidence when it comes to children and baby items?

I am very leery, especially if there is any possibility of harm when using these necklaces even if they do “work”.



This is an easy call.


The complete lack of any good evidence that amber necklaces relieve teething pain means that there is absolutely no benefit to offset the risk of wearing them.


Remember that in risk assessment, the size of the risk depends on two factors –


  • the likelihood of the event happening,


  • the severity of the consequences.


In this case, one consequence could be death by choking, and in my book, that rules them out completely. I’m disgusted that they are sold in some pharmacies (here).


via Amber necklaces and teething babies | Science or not?.