Archive for July, 2007

Scary Youth Safety Statistics

StrangerDangerI’ve been looking for a good book or video on safety because my son will just open the front door without asking and thinks that it would be okay to go with a stranger if they had a toy for him (I know, because I asked him).
We talk about stranger danger issues but Cedar just wasn’t getting it. I was curious if a video or book might help. Cedar saw the commercials for the video The Safe Side and kept asking for it.

We ordered it and watched it and I’ll be back with a review. But first I thought I’d offer some facts from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The majority of parents worry about their children and stranger danger issues and that’s good because statistics are alarming.

Current statistics from The U.S. Department of Justice.

The numbers can be tricky when it comes to missing and abducted youth. Here’s a good article that can help you sort out the figures. No matter how skewed the numbers, it’s a fact that kids are harmed and go missing every day.
To learn more visit:

The Office for Victims of Crime

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

In my next post I’ll cover what we thought of the video and other ways you can help keep your kids smarter and safer.  

Posted in Uncategorized, Child Safety | 3 Comments »

Important Recall Information!

One of my favorite home bloggers, Maricar at Keeping the Castle, alerted her readers to this important recall for Castleberry’s canned food items. This is a very serious recall if you’re a Canadian reader. So look over the list here and check Castleberry’s site for updates.

Chili recallMaricar has the scoop from MSNBC:

FDA investigators believe Castleberry Food failed to properly cook some or all the products, allowing the Clostridium botulinum bacteria to survive the canning process.

The bacteria produce a toxin that causes botulism, a muscle-paralyzing disease.

“We’re not talking here about a bug that lands you in the bathroom for a few days with diarrhea. We’re talking about a toxin that puts you in the intensive care unit,? said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA’s lead food safety expert. “This is foodborne illness with an extra kick in it, big time.?

From the Castleberry’s site:

“The Great Value Chili products included in this recall are distributed and sold in Canada ONLY. The Great Value brand in the United States is not associated with Castleberry’s or this recall.”

Check your cupboards as some cans have been reported to burst open. You can learn safe disposal methods and how to get a refund here.

Here’s the entire list of recalled items: (more…)

Posted in Uncategorized, Health, Healthy Eating, Recall Information | 1 Comment »

How Fat Can We Get?

human jawsThe race to get fat is on!

And, according to research released by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, most Americans are going to place in this race with a big fat blue ribbon.

The research points out that if Americans keep gaining weight at the current rate they’re gaining; in just eight years 75% of Americans will be overweight and 40% will be obese.

Raise you hand if you’d like to come in last in this race.

Our kids are affected as well. It’s not fair to train them for a contest that will kill them.

Sorry if I sound agitated, I do tend to be chipper and positive — look on the bright side.
But when my son and I go to the city park I count far more chubby kids than slim kids. More parents sitting on the bench then playing Frisbee or swinging with their children. It’s sad. Many of the people my age aren’t going to live to see their grandkids. Fat will do them in early — if they even have grandkids. Studies show that overweight individuals have a much harder time conceiving.

Right off the top of my head I can think of two revolutionary ways to stop this…

Eat better and exercise.

Cutting out soda and fruity sugary drinks will help too. As will trimming down food portion sizes and actually hanging out with our kids; setting a good example by playing with them, outside in the fresh air.

Other key points found by Johns Hopkins:

But no one is entirely off the hook. The overall fact remains that 75% of ALL Americans will likely be overweight by 2015. Imagine what this will do to the already escalating health care costs.

This is serious. I hear peppy talks by fitness trainers. I see nicely worded articles about slimming down youth. I feel all warm and fuzzy when I learn that yet another overweight pregnant woman thankfully gave birth to a healthy baby.

But honestly, I think we’ve reached the point where happy pep talks and saying “robust” when we mean “grossly overweight” has got to stop. It’s not working. Maybe knowing that we’re willfully harming our children will work. Maybe considering that there soon won’t be enough healthy people to care for the unhealthy people will work. Is death a motivator to get in shape?

Maybe…

If you’d like to see your children grow up healthy and happy you can visit:

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Youth Becoming Healthy

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences kids page

Healthier US.gov

Why not make a choice right now that you and your children will lose this race. All you have to do to get started is click on a link above. It’s that simple.

Posted in Child Abuse, Exercise, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition for Adults, Weight Management | 3 Comments »

It’s Hard Being A Dad

A new study discussed by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports that many dads are having a bad time.

A whopping 59% of dads say that it’s harder to be a dad now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. While another 26% says that it’s pretty much the same.

Only 12% of dads feel like it’s easier to be a dad today.

The oddball part of this study was that a majority of mothers say that dads are doing a better job when it comes to raising kids, cleaning, and helping out around the house.

However, the majority of dads reported just the opposite — siting dads today as worse with kids and home tasks than dads 20 or 30 years ago.

FamilyWhy do dads today feel worse about themselves today? Well, dads today are doing more. I know that when I have more to do it can feel more stressful and then I end up feeling like I’m doing a bad job. I’m thinking that’s what going on with dads today. Sure they’re doing more — but have they adjusted to the routine.

Still, how long have moms been doing the bulk of the work on the home front and holding down jobs. Studies continually show that even when a mother works as many hours as a father, she still does the majority of the household chores as well. Additionally, it’s not just household stuff moms do more of. Children sited in this same study, report overwhelmingly that they had more contact with, and felt closer to their mom vs. their dad.

The above information is why it’s hard to be too sympathetic towards the plight of upset dads. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy to see that dads are stepping up. But part of me wants to say, “So you do more chores and childcare now, buck up already.”

I’m not trying to rag on the dads; it must be tired me talking. Guess who works full-time and does the majority of the work at my house?

What about at your house? Is there an honest 50/50 split where work, chores, and childcare tasks are concerned?

Posted in Uncategorized, Parenting | 1 Comment »

Change the World: Starting at Home

Our neighborhoods, communities, and towns could use a family make-over and this make-over, need to start in our own homes.

Father & Son TimeAccording to research, in 1965 parents spent an average of thirty hours a week with their children.

Guess how much that’s decreased? Parent’s today spend sixteen or less hours a week with their children — on average. Some families fall below this line.

Our kids are going to grow up thinking that time without parents is the norm — how will they parent? Make family a priority. Today.

Here are a few tips that can help your family to spend more time together:

Eat meals together. This seems like a given. But family mealtimes aren’t as typical as they once were. If you need tips on how to get started and cool stuff like conversation starter visit The Family Table.

Un-tech your car: I love music in my car. But when my son’s with me we usually turn it off and talk. I didn’t used to do this. One day I noticed that Cedar was yelling at me over the music. He wanted to talk; he always does. Do your kids? Turn off the stereo, get rid of the DVD, and put away the cell phone.

Lower your standards (about most stuff): How clean does your house need to be? Do the kids really need to be in bed by nine on the weekends? A game of Trouble or Candy Land is way more fun than sorting laundry or bed anyhow. If your kids suddenly lost you, how do you want to be remembered? As a stellar dusting machine or a fun person that your kids loved to hang out with.

Budget for more time, not more money: It’s not always possible to cut out an income, or even part of one. But you never know until you try. Can your family be a one income family. What would you need to give up? This move would strap some families on real bills but I know families who could give up two movies a week and one of their three cars and be able to afford to work less. Less work time equals more family time. If you can swing it; it’s something to consider.

For great ways to spend some active time with your family visit NIH, We Can.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Colic Can Make You Crazy!: Solutions That May Help

Colic can be a very frustrating occurrence for parents both new and experienced.

DSC_6254_a 200x151.jpgAll babies have fussy periods but if your baby is otherwise well-fed and cared for and still exhibits the following behaviors he may have colic:

Does the fussiness run along this tell-tale time line?

If your baby exhibits most of the above there’s a good chance he has colic.

The first thing to do is don’t lose it. It can be hard to stay calm but try to keep things in perspective.

  1. This stage won’t last forever.
  2. Other parents go through this.
  3. Your baby is normal he just has colic.

Cold comfort I know. Sometimes when parents get too frustrated they may accidentally hurt their baby. You don’t need to become this frustrated. Here are some things you can do when the crying becomes too much:

  1. Have your partner take over baby duty for a while.
  2. Call a friend, family member, or neighbor. Have them come over so you can have a break.
  3. No one to call? Walk away. It’s better to put your baby in his crib, swing, or other safe place, shut the door and walk away for a little bit — watch some TV, sit on your porch, anything that you think might chill you out a little is ok to try.

Longer term solutions: Tips for relieving colic.

  • Pick your baby up: Many baby experts believe that the more you hold your baby the fewer episodes of colic a baby will exhibit. I wore my son all the time when he was a baby in his baby carrier and he did seem to have fewer long-lasting crying fits than friends I knew who held their baby less than me.
  • Try swaddling: This works wonders for some babies. try different types of blankets — fuzzy, smooth, warm, or cotton weave. Never swaddled a baby? Here’s how.
  • Breastfeed: Bottles push extra air into your baby’s small tummy. Breastfeeding is the perfectly nutritious way to feed your baby and is more soothing to most babies than a bottle. If you do feed your baby formula talk to his pediatrician to see if a formula change might help — it sometimes can.
  • Move around: This can stop colic cold. The only issue with constantly moving around with your baby is obviously that you become tired. Try a baby swing, ride in the car, or bouncy seat.
  • Baby massage: This is a great way to keep your baby and you calmer. Massage incorporates fluid and soothing movements along with touch that your baby will love. Here’s a baby massage primer.

Remember if you get too frustrated call someone for help. You can also call Parents Anonymous if there’s no one else to call. It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help when you’re frustrated. Parenting is hard work and asking for help makes you a better, stronger parent.

How do you calm your baby down when he’s upset? 

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Ease Moving Frustrations

Ah summer. Popsicles, swimming, rest and relaxation. And moving!

uhaul It’s true more families move during the summer than at other times of the year. I understand why, parents don’t want their kids switching schools mid-year; the housing market flourishes; less snow. But, geez, what a way to ruin a perfectly good season.

I actually had this post titled, “Moving Made Easy” then I realized, no move is easy.

There’s always a glitch or two along the way. No matter if you pack and move yourself or hire a moving company something always goes wrong.

And, if you’re claiming to have found a way to avoid moving glitches you should write a book and make bank.

Despite this, there are some some things you can do to help keep your move as smooth as possible. *Note: these moving tips cover tips for packing and moving yourself. Moving with a moving company is a long post all to itself. Which I promise to do later.

Pre-plan: Always make some preliminary plans. Make some lists. Typical lists may include:

  • Which rooms you need to sort and get rid of before the move.
  • Comparison of moving truck costs and or moving companies.
  • What your family is going to need left out during the move. Clothing and toothbrushes are a good place to start — go from there.
  • Set up services well in advance; this includes canceling your current services (phone, electric, gas, etc.)

Your rented moving truck:

  • Price and reserve well in advance. Call and pester the company every once in a while. Long story short, when we moved from Humboldt to New Mexico the U-Haul company “forgot” that we reserved a truck. We got a truck at the VERY last minute but only after having to drive three towns over to pick it up.
  • Make sure you get the insurance recommended by the moving company. The last thing you need is to pay for another vehicle crashing into you. You can check your insurance first because some polices do cover moving trucks.
  • Start online. The best deals on trucks are usually given when you reserve online.
  • When something goes wrong don’t be afraid to complain. Remember the moving truck we almost didn’t get? The one they finally gave us had a broken air conditioner. Imagine no air, moving from California to New Mexico, in July, through the Mojave desert; with a four year old. Nightmare! We complained (a lot) and got some considerable money back.

Packing:

  • Start early. No matter how early I start I’m always throwing stuff in garbage bags at the last minute. That’s not smart packing and exactly how things get lost or broken.
  • Make sure to have all the packing materials you need.
  • If you want to score free boxes go check out the local supermarket at 3am. That when many stores are unpacking their merchandise and usually have no problem with you carting away tons of them.
  • See here for a great comprehensive how-to pack article.

The actual move:

  • Reserve hotel rooms far in advance for cross state moves.
  • Pack a good first aid kit in each vehicle and the moving truck.
  • Make sure each child (and you) has a box of stuff they’ll need for the trip. Cell phones, clothing, a few toys, coloring books, snacks and plenty of water.
  • Map out your route. I think it’s a good idea to map out a few alternative routes in case of road construction or other delays. National Traffic and Road Closure Information can help you plan and so can AAA if you have a membership. Make sure the maps walk out the door with you when you go.

Need more (of course you do) we could never cover it all here: Century21 has a good site with tips and tricks for having a smooth move with the kiddos.

Posted in Uncategorized, Home and Mortgage | 3 Comments »

Green Ideas for Kids!

images.jpgKids can make a difference for our planet as well as any adult.

Kids today, have a distinct advantage over us adults — they’re being raised in an environment and communities that are already aware of the consequences of not being green.With a little help from parents who care, kids today are going to change the world we live in for the better.

Read and discuss this list with your kids! Your kids (and you) can try these easy ideas for going green and saving the planet.

Recycle: Okay, that’s a given in most places today — but not all. In my neighborhood in Albuquerque there were barely any recycling resources. If this is the case where you live write a letter, or have your parents help you write a letter to public officials in your area. Make your voice heard. You can even draw a picture to show how you feel. Don’t know where to write try starting here.

Don’t let go: Of that cool balloon. Each time a helium balloon floats away they may end up hurting animals and fish. Helium balloons fall (eventually) back down to the earth and strong winds can blow them to our oceans. A sea animal may try to eat the balloon and that could kill the animal. Balloons can also wrap around small animals and hurt them. No matter how much fun it is to let your balloon fly — don’t. If you want to fly something fun that won’t hurt animals try building a kite with your parents.

Brush your teeth: Now, simply brushing your teeth won’t save the planet– you will have a beautiful smile though. However, you can help to save lots of water by turning off the sink faucet each and every time you brush. Also stay away from pump dispenser toothpastes; they add much more waste to our landfills than a normal tube. Some companies are even making toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes that you can recycle. Take a look at your local co-op and see what’s available.

Let someone else play with your stuff: Before throwing that old toy away see if a friend of yours might want to trade one of their toys for your old toy (always ask an adult before doing this). If no one wants your toy donate it to a thrift store or charity that gives toys to other children who may not have as many cool toys as you do.

If you want to learn more about how to save your planet visit The Environmental Kids Club. At this website you can even become an official planet protector and get free coloring books and games.

Or read this book: Good Earth Art: Environmental Art For Kids, for more ideas

Have fun and always stay green!

Posted in Healthy Living | No Comments »

Help Your Child Become A Happy Reader

Why a happy reader? Many children learn to read; not all of them have a good time doing it though. A reader who enjoys the process is more likely to make reading a life-long pursuit rather than just read when she has to.

Here are some ideas that can help your child become a reader who loves to read.

JGS_Reading 200x300.jpgTalk and listen to your baby: Current research shows that babies absorb much more from simply listening to your words than was previously thought. When you talk often and clearly with your child (that includes listening to her thoughts as well) you’re giving her an early start towards a love of words and sounds.

Read together: This one’s a given. But with time demands; work, chores, meals, and more, family reading time can often be compromised for other tasks. I’ve run out of time in the day and not been able to sit down with my son and read — maybe you’ve done this too.

Parents aren’t always perfect, still, each day try to spend at least 30 minutes reading with your child. The dishes can wait — really, they’re not going to walk off (no matter how hard we wish).

Make book hunting an adventure: The smell of old books and hunting for 25 cent books can be so much fun. Take your child book hunting often. Try the library, new and used bookstores, garage sales. Make it a big deal when you find a great book. Your child will grab onto your excitement.

Read aloud: This isn’t the same as reading with, or to, a younger child. As your child masters reading skills let her read to you. My mom worked all day when I was young. She was pretty busy. Something good I remember about those busy days is that each night while she cooked dinner, I’d read to her; first Pippie Longstocking, and then other, tougher books.

The part I remember most is that she seemed actively engaged in the story — which may be the key to this tip. When your child reads to you, laugh, ask questions, let her know you’re listening and benefiting from her reading to you. And don’t make this time about correcting her skills — just let her read and have fun.

Other ideas: Draw pictures with letters, write words, make your own books, get some books in various languages, and listen to books on tape.
Tips adapted, in part, from The U.S Department of Education.

Posted in Parenting, Communication, School and Learning | 3 Comments »

Have a Wonderful and Safe 4th of July!

0616769-R1-036-16A_a 250x203.jpgThe 4th of July is a great time for families to get together. A nice warm day, picnics in the grass, icy watermelon, slip & slide fun (hey, do they still have slip & slides?), and the amazing firework displays.

It’s a fun and family focused day of the year.

But sadly, many accidents can and do occur on the 4th each year. Not to put a damper on the day’s festivities but there are some simple facts you need to know to keep your family safe and healthy this 4th.

Facts & figures

I could give millions of accident stats for the 4th — there’s no shortage. However, let’s just look a few biggies offered by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • In 2005, 10,800 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries.
  • The highest risks of fireworks injury are to school-age children. In 2005, nearly half of the people injured by fireworks were under the age of 15.
  • Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, or scars or even death or disfigurement that can last a lifetime.
  • Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, reach temperatures of more than 1,000° F.
  • Based on the amount of time and quantities in use, fireworks pose a higher risk of fire death than any other consumer product.

On July 4th there are more U.S. fires reported that on any other day of the year — and fireworks account for half of these fires. The figure that surprised me was the sparklers — which are seemingly harmless. I always have let my son use them in the past but I’m re-thinking that this year. Each year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) promotes a list of safety tips for 4th of July firework safety.

This year however, the AAP is doing something new. The NFPA has come forward with, instead of safety tips, a new recommendation that tips aren’t needed. What’s needed is a call for everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals. The AAP agrees with the NFPA and so this year’s tips are a little less bulky and a lot safer…

Legal or not for consumers, fireworks are too risky for amateurs leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

Besides saving you some reading this tip could save your family money, stress, and more importantly maybe your health or life. So follow this year’s one tip. Gather the family, pack a picnic, and head to the nearest community fireworks festivities for a fun and safe 4th.

Safe & happy July 4th wishes from Family Resource!

Posted in Child Safety, Holidays, Personal Safety, Healthy Living | 1 Comment »

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