Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Weekend Pics from Parenting in the Loop

Halloween Weekend in the Neighborhood

It is almost Halloween!

This weekend will be busy with all the ghosts and goblins traveling around our neighborhood tomorrow.

Added to the festivities, I must not forget to adjust my clocks at the end of the night on Saturday so that the extra hour does not catch up with me not realizing it till I get to church at the wrong time on Sunday.

With daylight savings coming to and end there are sometimes problems with sleep patterns for our littlest family members. They only have their inner clocks to alert them. The canine members of our family can also be a little problematic since they also run on their internal clock and feeding schedule. I have learned the hard way that one hour to them is an eternity.

Here are my pics for reading this weekend if you have time!


Consistency is key in whichever approach you take. We always manage to get through this time of year unharmed! Remember my two favourite words. Persistence and consistency! You got this – candy overload and all.

Source: Daylight Saving Time + Halloween = Sleep Sh*tshow :: YummyMummyClub.ca

Getting settled down in the evening and going to bed has it problems at times. Consistency can be rewarded for parents who set a bedtime and a bedtime ritual early on with their little ones. These days that is much easier said than done.

Meditation is something I love introducing to children at a young age. It can help them quiet and self soothe at times when this seems impossible to do. For parents it also provides the same soothing feeling when the inevitable stress sh–  hits the fan!

Meditation for children and parents is a great way to relax before bed, and is one of the most commonly suggested methods for helping children sleep better.


Source: Meditation for Children and Parents – Bring Back Bedtime

As pretty as Fall is we all know that winter winds are just around the corner.

For me the shorter days with sunset so early in the evening makes me wish to ‘hit the hay’ earlier with a good book. It also makes me wish for a nice cozy fire and warm pot of stew on the stove in the late afternoon.

fall tree 4

What are some of your favorite Fall foods that give you comfort as we head into winter weather?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Celebrate the small stuff!

Parenting in the Loop’s Weekend

Weekend Reading from the Parenting in the Loop


This week I have been at the “beach” house in Rhode Island. We are heading into a somewhat rainy few days so hopefully I can catch up on some reading and writing while sitting and spending time with my pregnant daughter and her husband as they prepare for their first baby.

It is officially a “baby” watch weekend  for us…my daughter’s due date is September 1st and we have already made one trip to the hospital this week in the wee hours of the morning for false labor.


“Baby Watch”…


My thoughts have been racing this week and when that happens one of the ways I calm and comfort myself is to cook. Preparing  a good dinner is my way of comforting and loving my family. Enjoying a good meal at the end of the day allows the family to relax and enjoy each other while sharing some really delicious food around the table of plenty.

So today, I am posting some favorites of mine related to creating recipes and involving children in the preparation. Kids are natural creators. Food and the kitchen go together to fuel their creativity.

Weekend foods

Taco Tuesday

I have chosen this post from Motherlode because if you link to it you will see a very short video of a smiling child making “Chermoula” a Middle Eastern pesto which I have never tasted. You can also follow Kids in the Kitchen and get your own ideas for involving the children in cooking adventures during the weekend.

The master plan? Raising children who can be independent in the kitchen, able to prepare a few healthy meals and snacks and with the confidence to tackle a new recipe or task. In our Kids in the Kitchen series, Motherlode’s KJ Dell’Antonia and Cooking’s Margaux Laskey move their very differently aged families toward that goal. Margaux finds ways for her 3-year-old and toddler to help cook, while KJ stands back and coaches her two 9-year-olds and her 11- and 14-year-olds in cooking on their own.

Source: Kids in the Kitchen: Broiled Fish With Chermoula – The New York Times

What better food to share but a loaf of bread. Make this easy one with your children and enjoy the fruits of your effort together with some butter and jam.

Who wouldn’t want children who can be independent in the kitchen, able to prepare a few healthy meals and snacks and with the confidence to tackle a new recipe or task? In our Kids in the Kitchen series, Motherlode’s KJ Dell’Antonia and Cooking’s Margaux Laskey work toward that long term goal with their very differently aged families. Margaux finds ways for her 3-year-old and toddler to help cook, while KJ stands back and coaches her two 9-year-olds and her 11 and 14-year-olds in cooking on their own. This week, both families tried simple bread-making. KJ: Us

Source: Kids in the Kitchen: No-Knead Bread for All Ages – The New York Times

I was so happy for this weekend find on the cookbook shelves at Eataly here in Chicago. It is an authentically good source for Italian food geared for kids and adults alike.It is not finger foods made easy but a real Italian recipe book anyone can enjoy.

Weekend Reading

Silver Spoon for Children


Review: The Silver Spoon for Children – Favorite Italian Recipes January 31, 2010 in Uncategorized We got this cookbook for our eight year old for Christmas. Till today, we had only used the pizza recipe and we mainly took the lazy route and bought pre-made pizza dough. That did not test the quality of the book too much. Today, we embarked on a two-hour extravaganza and made gnocchi with tomato sauce and an orange cake. We used canned tomatoes but, apart from that shortcut, we made everything else from scratch. It was a huge success. The gnocchi tasted totally authentic. It was really fun to make them, much easier than fresh egg pasta. The potato and flour combination has the same consistency as play dough. You roll it into a thin sausage and chop it into gnocchi. It’s perfect for all age groups. I think we had a first all family cooking epiphany with the four-year old to the four+ year olds working together like a fairly well-oiled machine. Gnocchi cook really quickly and you have to scoop them out as soon as they float to the top. We made enough to freeze half of them for a future dinner.

weekend reading

Source: Review: The Silver Spoon for Children – Favorite Italian Recipes | Cheap Talk

The Silver Spoon for Children

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wherever you are stop for a moment of gratitude…

Weekend Review Reading Selection

Yay it’s the weekend! Sailing into Summer…

My weekend is a precious time for me and my family. I try to stay away from screens although with a blog it is difficult not to maintain some daily presence on social media. One thing that I enjoy in particular is Friday night dinner with friends. It is a time to relax and unwind for Papa and me where we can kick back and be ourselves while enjoying some good food that I don’t have to prepare.

Another favorite thing for me to do on the weekend is cook with my granddaughter when she is at our home. Sometimes we make sweet things, other times savory. We love to eat homemade pizza on Saturday and sometimes have movie night.

I also love to read so here are some of my suggestions.

Summer Weekend

Sailing into Summer

Since I recently had shingles, I found this very interesting. Luckily for me it was a mild case but since it was on my face and close to my eye, it gave me a great amount of initial anxiety and concern. One thing I can say is if you develop a rash of any sort and you have had chicken pox then you need to see your doctor right away so he can check it out and prescribe an anti-viral medication to keep the virus from spreading. The sooner the better in the case of shingles.


Shingles, kids and pregnant women – know the facts Many pregnant women have written to us expressing concern about being exposed to a family member who has shingles. Usually it is their parent or grandparent, or another older adult who has the virus. However, did you know that children can get shingles, too?

Source: News Moms Need » Blog Archive » Shingles, kids and pregnant women – know the facts

While I am happy that Caitlyn Jenner has raised the transgender discussion to a new level, personally I find it difficult to put my thoughts into the right words. So I have relied on reading many of the more serious articles concerning the transgender topic. Certainly we as women can relate to this particular article as a important aspect of transgender dignity.


People who haven’t lived their whole lives as women, whether Ms. Jenner or Mr. Summers, shouldn’t get to define us. That’s something men have been doing for much too long. And as much as I recognize and endorse the right of men to throw off the mantle of maleness, they cannot stake their claim to dignity as transgender people by trampling on mine as a woman.


Source: What Makes a Woman? – NYTimes.com

How do you read people you come in contact with on a daily basis? This is kind of a fun article which will test your ability to read people’s emotions. Try it out and then use your ability this weekend.

If you are among those people who are mystified by moods, new research offers hope. A new study shows that certain types of reading can actually help us improve our sensitivity IQ. To find out how well you read the emotions of others, take the Well quiz, which is based on an assessment tool developed by University of Cambridge professor Simon Baron-Cohen.


Source: Can You Read People’s Emotions? – NYTimes.com


Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!

Family Summer Safety

Summer Safety

Safety is a concern for your family during these months when you are having picnics and may be around water. Children pose specific safety concerns at this time of year.

Here are some suggestions:


Sandy Fun

Summer Food Safety:

  • Cleanliness: Handwashing is most important and then keeping surfaces clean when you are preparing food so you do not cross contaminate any of the foods. Always  thoroughly wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Cooking: Make sure foods are cooked thoroughly and to the proper temperature so that bacteria and germs are destroyed. Allow food to rest for the recommended time so that the internal temperature of the food continues to destroy germs.
  • Chilling: Did you know that a room temperature bacteria can double in your food every 20 minutes? Refrigeration kills bacteria so keep foods at cold temperatures so that you do not get sick.


Sunscreen is something everyone should use especially women who are pregnant as their skin is more sensitive to the sun. Sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer and will age your skin prematurely.

A baby burns more easily than older children because their skin is thin. Sun safety is so important especially for babies younger than 6 months.

Sun Safety:

  • Stay out of the sun between 10a.m. and 4p.m. when the sunlight is strongest. Babies that are younger than 6 months should avoid the sun altogether.
  • Wear your hat with a brim along with your UV protection sunglasses.
  • Wear lightweight clothes that cover arms and legs.

A Day at the Beach…Martha’s Vineyard

Summer Water Safety:

Never leave your children alone around water. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
• Don’t be distracted when watching your children at the pool or beach. Make sure someone is always watching them and do not rely on family members unless they are specifically designated to watch your children at a given time.
• Use a proper fitting Coast Guard approved life vest for children under 5 years old
• Learn CPR.

Here’s to a safe summer!

Source: News Moms Need » 

Tags: CPR, food safety, food-borne illness, sun safety, sunscreen, water safety


TGIF-Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading:

weekend chicago



OMG…this weekend we may see the temperatures rise above freezing here in Chiberia (Chicagoland) and just perhaps some of this snow will melt and the ice on our stoop will disappear…FINALLY!

So many interesting articles appeared in my feed this week. I am excited to share some of them with you.

Morals, values, opinions and the Core Curriculum currently a hot topic is discussed here. This article really got me thinking. See what you think!

 So as a parent, I will teach the morals, the values and my opinions. The schools will teach my children to question me. In that way, we all end up on the right side of history.

Moral facts or mere opinions that vary from culture to culture, what do you think?

The Convent of the Sacred Heart Greenwich Middle School Parent Blog is on my favorite list. There are always some great posts that generate a lot of thought on my part about what my grandchildren will face in the future.

As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshman in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.


For me, sleep comes fairly easily and now that I am a grandmother, when I awake during the night, getting back to sleep is not usually a problem. But for many moms and women in general, this is not the case. Are you too stressed or worried to sleep well? Or do you know someone that is…then this NYTimes article may shed some light on why sleep is so evasive.

Why all the angst over bedtime, the one part of the day that, barring nightmares, ought to bring deeply needed peace? Many believe that sleep deprivation among women has worsened. In the “Women and Sleep” study, 80 percent of women reported being just too stressed or worried to turn out the proverbial lights.

Another weekend, my husband and I try to have dinner out on Fridays, most of the time with friends but sometimes just the two of us. We unwind at a local restaurant, where the waitstaff knows us and where we can enjoy eating and relaxing. I have to plug the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group because they have been a dependable favorite of ours for so many years here in Chicago. They do not disappoint!


Lettuce Entertain You



Enjoy a meal with your significant others this weekend!

TGIF…Some Weekend Reading!




Fall Weekend


For too many reasons to list, I have been absent from ParentingintheLoop for awhile.

I missed writing and hopefully will be getting back into my routine.

This week there were so many things that caught my eye while looking through parenting posts. Back-to-school is always a time of year that has been a struggle for me. Getting settled into a routine and the shortening of daylight leaves me sometimes anxious for what the winter will bring. I am an optimist but Fall has its sentimental moments which are not always my favorites.

Cooking is my time to relax and lately I have been throwing my efforts into more healthy choices for all three meals of the day especially lunches. I have been drawn to some interesting recipes and since we have a nut allergy in our family that is something that keeps me looking for homemade food choices especially when it comes to snacks.

Here goes some of my choices from this week. TGIF!

I love granola and most are exposed to nuts in the processing or contain nuts so they do not have a place on my kitchen shelves. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it looks very promising and a great snack or something to throw in my bag to munch on while running the day’s endless errands.

In case you’ve missed the commercials and advertising that we have been inundated with since mid-July, it’s Back-to-School time! Parents everywhere are reluctantly turning their attention to that universally dreaded task—packing the lunchbox. While I am a well-known proponent of unexciting lunches, I do like to dazzle the children with a variety of homemade treats.



Don’t get me wrong, I do not and simply cannot make everything from scratch… with my schedule this is impossible . As much as I would love to do scratch cooking there are some shortcuts that I do take. As a grandmother, I have learned to accept my limitations albeit sometimes not so gracefully. Limitation is not something  to which I willingly succumb, being limited makes me feel old but on the other hand I have to be realistic and acknowledge that I cannot do everything. It is better to prioritize what is truly important and let the other things take care of themselves. This post from Yummy Mummy Club Canada made me think about some of the convenience foods that although they sound healthy their ingredient list belies their nourishing label.

See what you think. TGIF.


But when I do buy packaged foods—after all, they do come in handy now and again when you’re a busy parent—I rarely read the nutrition facts table. Instead, I skip right to the ingredients list, which is the most important bit of information on the package or box. The shorter the list, the better, and ideally you want to see real food ingredients instead of fillers, stabilizers, and additives.


One of my favorite cook books Homemade With Love is from Jennifer Perillo. She is an exceptional scratch cook and I love her recipes. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting her and actually enjoying a luncheon she prepared at her hotel her in Chicago. I credit Jennie with bringing me back into the kitchen after being an empty nester for several years. If she could prepare such a lovely lunch in a hotel room kitchen I should be able to return to my kitchen easily with her cookbook in my hands.

Jennifer just announced yesterday that her first issue of Simple Scratch Cooking : A Homecook’s Journal for Making Easy, Everyday Meals will be out in October. I am beyond excited to receive my copy soon…in time for the winter when I find the most comfort in cooking a lovely meal at dinner time. TGIF


I’m leaping, and my heart is beating out of my chest as I do so. Finally taking a little control of my professional destiny with this project. So, here it goes…
The first issue of Simple Scratch Cooking: A Homecook’s Journal for Making Easy, Everyday Meals is available for preorder. If you believe in me, and my work, please share with everyone you know. I’m offering a 10% special discount for orders placed by 10/15/14 (use code SSC1015 at checkout). I plan to spend what would’ve been our 10th wedding anniversary on 10/16 packing, and shipping, the inaugural issue.


Here’s to a wonderful weekend. TGIF everyone!


How To Prepare Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder Plate

This week marks the celebration of Passover. I learned about the celebration of Pesach in my Catholic school religion class many years ago when we were discussing the Last Supper during Holy Week.

Both celebrations were Seders.

What I never learned about was the significance of the Seder plate.

So when a friend of mine brought me a Seder plate from her trip to Israel, I decided to learn how to prepare a Seder plate:

  • Shankbone or neck of poultry, is a reminder of the “mighty arm of G-d” as the Bible describes it. It is also symbolic of the Paschal lamb offered as the Passover sacrifice in Temple days
  • Haroseth  a mixture of apples, nuts, wine and spices, is symbolic of the mortar the Jewish slaves made in their building for the Egyptians
  • Parsley a vegetable (parsley or potato is generally used), is dipped in salt water to represent tears.
  • Horseradish is a bitter vegetable (celery or lettuce can be used). Those who do not put chazeret on their Seder Plate sometimes put a dish of salt water in its place
  • Hard-boiled egg, interpreted this as a symbol of mourning for the loss of the two Temples (the first was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.). The egg symbolized this loss and traditionally became the food of mourners.
  • Bitter herbs  represents the bitter life of the Israelites during the time of their enslavement in Egypt.

I find joy in the celebration of both holidays which are full of joy, hope and rebirth.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

How To Prepare a Seder Plate – 

Christmas Wishes to Jennie

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Merry Christmas Jennie!

And so, my gift to you is a super easy, really one bowl recipe for gingerbread—or should it be called  gingerbread cake? Perhaps I should eat one more slice to try and decide.

via gingerbread cake {a one bowl recipe} – In Jennie’s Kitchen.

If you are at all like me, I am always looking for a gift that is very special at Christmas time when it comes to my family and friends.

Since I love food and trust me most people do…I look for unique cookbooks by unique cooks.

Homemade with Love

is one of those cookbooks.

Jennie Perillo is one of those cooks.

As the year 2013 comes to an end, I am looking back at some of the wonderful people, I have met this year.

Jennie is one of them.

Last spring, I was introduced to Jennie through a group of Instagram bloggers from NYC.

She was launching her first cookbook, Homemade with Love. At first, I was drawn to her by her story.

Jennie had lost her husband suddenly. She and her two daughters were left without their anchor. Jennie found solace in her love of cooking.

As she grieved for her husband, she began to create Homemade with Love.

During her publicity tour, Jennie stopped in Chicago where I live. She did a book signing at a small bookstore.

As luck would have it…I read about the book signing after the fact.

I was so disappointed…

Well, I took to Twitter and sent Jennie a message asking if she was doing any other signings.


But I was welcome to stop by her hotel and she would sign my copy.

I was more than thrilled.

Not only did Jennie sign my copy of Homemade with Love but she invited me to a media luncheon which she had prepared in her hotel kitchen. I was actually tasting some of her recipes and they were easy enough to make in this tiny kitchen.

Homemade with Love

I had fallen in LOVE.

I knew when I read about Jennie and read Homemade with Love…I was being reintroduced to my love of cooking again.

You see, I had been an empty nester after taking care of my own family and my mother and now I was helping to parent my granddaughter…I needed to cook again for a family.

Jennie came into my life and resurrected my love of cooking at a moment when I needed a new inspiration to cook again for a family.

Jennie, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of new horizons.

Thank you.

Jennifer Perillo

What saying NO really means to kids.

Gingerbread Fun!

Gingerbread Fun!

Interesting findings here with only 30+ children observed.

Kids gravitate to the things we as parents say NO to.

Now most of us realize this even though it may be on a subconscious level. The NO word only increases the risk that our kids and grandkids with go for the forbidden.

The important finding here is that if we say NO to certain foods our kids will only want those foods more…so in order to keep them away from non-nutritious foods we should decrease the opportunities where we have to say NO. Example being …not to have candy laying around the house and therefore we won’t have to say, “No, that is not good for you.”

Now good luck with the Holiday Season that is upon us…when we all have lots of treats around our homes. Now is a good time to begin to keep them at a minimum not just for our kids’ sake but our own as well.


For those of you who are familiar with the evidence base on parental feeding patterns it won’t come as a surprise to you that just saying “No” (restriction) isn’t a wise plan – yet there are many who feel that the ability of parents to “just say no” is a viable defense against our current food environment.

Tuesday…Why I Love My “Virtual Friends”

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

I am going back to introducing some of my favorite bloggers and their blogs. Over the last five years it has been my pleasure to meet many “virtual” friends through an eclectic collection of blogs.

For me, “working” at home and from home has its advantages and disadvantages…one of the disadvantages is the inevitable loneliness that comes with the home-based territory.

Thank goodness, my “virtual” friends are a click away and provide discussions that some of my “real” friends cannot, since they don’t share my work at home status nor are they taking care of grandchildren and to be truthful, I just don’t have that many “real” friends. Over the years, I have made an effort to have a few good friends than a lot of casual ones.

But now with blogging and social media, I have many casual, virtual friends.

As a grandmother, I am thankful for this. I love blogging and I love visiting blogs and social media. Blogs help me understand the world through my children’s generational lens and the lens of my contemporaries. Since I spend a lot of time with my grandchild, I appreciate the world she lives in and also the world that she will inherit from my generation and that of her parents.

YoniFreedhoff is one of my “virtual” friends, through his blog, “Weighty Matters”.

It is a blog that is both serious and humorous. He is a doctor and I am a nurse so his humor is not wasted on me.

Nutrition is something that continues to fascinate me…it is a field that is ever-changing and has life long implications for each and every one of us. Yoni keeps me focused on the new innovative and the old tried and true approaches coupled with a tongue in cheek attitude.

Here is his latest post on a controversial Manitoba Child Care Lunch Regulation Program. It is humorous to a point but there are also serious implications, too much government intervention into how we feed our families, as well as the “stupidity” of those who are interpreting this new “food policy police policy”!

Family doc, Assistant Prof. at the University of Ottawa, and founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute – a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre. Nowadays I’m more likely to stop drugs than start them, and love going to work in the morning. You can also follow me on Twitter at YoniFreedhoff


It’s quite possible that the single stupidest school lunch policy on the planet comes courtesy of a strange interpretation of the Manitoba Government’s Early Learning and Child Care lunch regulations (an earlier version of this article incorrectly pointed at the Manitoba Child Care Association as the source of the strangely interpreted policy).

via Weighty Matters: Parents Fined For Not Sending Ritz Crackers In Kids’ Lunches.