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November 02, 2007

Eating Well - Eating Right

Do you call lunch?...Sneaking sips of coffee over the kitchen sink as you wash the kids - finished - lunch dishes. Apparently, this isn't lunch. Who knew? Food on the run is a norm for busy parents.

Eat Right Ontario is an important resource for us -- liquid lunch type of parents. You can speak to a registered dietitian (no kidding - a real - live automated assistant here) about your food concerns for yourself or your picky eater. Available FREE to residents of Ontario.

If e-mail is a better communication for you -- they have an e-mail "Ask A Dietitian" component where you can question and click during nap time.

Ask anything; vegetarianism, pregnancy, introducing solids, healthy eating, weight management, planning healthy meals. The scope is quite wide.

There is also a preschool section for creative food ideas.

Call on a professional to guide your family into Eating Well.


November 01, 2007

Halloween Post-Mortem

Was anyone else shocked to find actual peanuts (in shells) in their child's Trick or Treat bag this year?! What about Reese's Peese's or other chocolates including nuts? I am amazed that in 2007 - a very aware year - people are still giving out items containing nuts. Our bag was full of nut items.

There is a kid in my child's class that has a nut allergy. When I brought in my 24 cupcakes for the class party -- the teacher was very apologetic that she didn't remind me not to use peanut oil in the baking. I actually wondered - who uses peanut oil these days?

Allergies to nut/nut oils can be so severe but yet so simple to avoid...just don't introduce these ingredients into the environment. Perhaps as a parent, we become more aware than - say grandparents about food sensitivities. We are informed by school bulletins and camp newsletters about what nut-free foods are available.

What peanut free things (other than chocolate) did I find in the Trick or Treat bags?...
- granola bars (Quaker)
- juice boxes
- nut free cookies
- cans of pop
- sunflower seeds
- lollipops

Would you knowingly give a nut/nut oil food to a child?

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Winner of the Art Attack Contest - part 3 - a conversation with Crayola

Thanks for all the great art inspirations sent to us by e-mail. Below is the winner of the Celebrate the Scribble book. This art attack shows; independent thinking, action, and choice. Bravo!

Recently my son spent quite a bit of time drawing pictures of the TV, the weight machine and other assorted things in my parents house on sticky notes (the really tiny ones), he then added arrows and stuck the sticky notes all over the house to point to the room or thing they were showing…it was like a great big map he created so you would never get lost on your way to somewhere in Nana and Grampa’s house again!

This is part 3 of the series - a conversation with Crayola


October 30, 2007

Halloween Help - Homemade

Free Clipart

Are you ready for Halloween? Parent Club has already posted some homemade costume ideas (see below). Now, just in time for Halloween, we have some recipes in hand to help you put the finishing touches on your little goblin (or Cinderella in our case).

These recipes come from "The Toddler's Busy Book" by Trish Kuffner. An excellent resource of 365 creative games and activities for 1.5 - 3 years olds (really though, you can adapt most of the activities to thrill older children).

Halloween Face Paint

1 tablespoon solid shortening

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Food colouring

Water (optional)

Small jar or plastic container (recycled applesauce containers work well)

In a bowl, mix shortening and cornstarch until smooth. Add food colouring, one drop at a time until you get the desired colour. Use a sponge or fingers to apply paint to a large area, such as an entire face. To apply to a smaller area, use a small brush and thin the paint with a little water. Remove with soap and water. Store covered.

Homemade Face Paint

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cold cream (we have used hand cream)

1/2 teaspoon water

Food colouring

In small containers, mix cornstarch and cream until well blended. Add water and stir. Add food colouring one drop at a time until you get the desired colour. Paint small designs on face with a small paintbrush. Remove with soap and water. Store covered.


October 28, 2007

The Scribble Interview - Part 2 - a conversation with Crayola

"Don't expect your child's artwork to look like a photograph" says Cheri Sterman, Director of Child Development at Crayola. According to this expert; representational art presents itself around the school age years.

Instead, expect your child to use art to get the Aha! experiences. When our Parent Club test panel sampled the Crayola Ta-Doodles paints the general feedback was -- simply -- too messy. We put this problem to Cheri who smartly noted that it was a beautiful problem solving moment. The child has paint on their hands...there is the Aha! moment. They see their parent wipe their hands and with that they have learned to problem solve.

Through learning children foster cognition. They achieve experience. Their scribbles soon turn into symbols which leads to writing letters. A 3 year old may scribble across a page, but when you ask them about the scribbles they can quickly decipher "it says; My name is Jill." According to Cheri, children learn major cognition through this activity.

Sometimes as parents, we just focus on the mess...focus on the scribbles. It is hard to step back and appreciate the greater learning. Sometimes, we just see the paint on the hands as one - more - thing to put on our already too-busy schedules. The scribbles are quickly picked up and put in a pile to go to the recycling bin. In our parenting efficiency, perhaps we don't appreciate the greater good of the experience.

Talking about scribbles with Cheri has inspired me to create a mess - have fun - and call it art.

This is Part 2 to the series - The Scribble Interview - a conversation with Crayola.