Thursday, June 28, 2012

Roll It Up!

I'm not sure how we started with the roll-ups, but they have become a staple in my family's diet.  Ellie requests a peanut-butter and honey roll-up AT LEAST once a day (she doesn't always get one, but she asks for them all the time!).  I love to add peanuts and bananas to my peanut butter and honey.  I use leftover Mexican Night dinner to make rice and bean roll-ups.  They're great for the pool, lunches and they're so versatile that all of the kids love them.  So when I happened to flip over the bag of  La Tortilla Factory Sonoma Organic Wraps and found a chart of roll-up ideas I was ecstatic!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

All Sunscreens Are Not Created Equal...And Why You Should Care

I read an article in Kiwi Magazine about  sunscreen.  I found an article on Healthy Child Healthy World.  Ellie's plastic surgeon was telling me how important it is to use sunscreen on her scar...enough signs that I need to blog about sunscreen???  I agree.  So here's the sunscreen blog.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today I Ate A Rainbow

I've said this slogan before.  I work to make sure that my family eats a rainbow every day and when I first started this campaign in my household, I talked to my kids about it a lot too.  Of course, because I'm always trying to implement new things, I've gotten away from this.  I've noticed that my kids don't pay attention to what they eat anymore.  We've been playing the ChooseMyPlate game, and that helps, but when we talked about eating a rainbow every day, I noticed that they were more involved in their own healthy eating--which is my ultimate goal.  As I was exploring Healthy Child Healthy World, I clicked on the Trusted Partner's link and found comfort in knowing that a lot of their trusted partners are also MY trusted partners. As I scrolled down, I found something called Today I Ate a Rainbow and because it's one of my favorite, kid-friendly, healthy-eating tips, I clicked on it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Healthy Child Healthy World: My New Favorite Website

As I mentioned before, I attended a Kiwi College Webinar on Wednesday called Keeping Your Family Safe From Toxins.   I was afraid it was going to be stuff I already knew, and it pretty much was, but it was important stuff that I needed to hear again.  For example, the Dirty Dozen.  I know about the Dirty Dozen and I can name most of them, but it's always good for me to review them yet AGAIN so I can commit another one on the list to memory.  (In actuality, it's not a big deal for me to remember them since ALL of the produce I buy is organic.)  But there was one statistic that he gave, right at the beginning that shocked me the way the first book I read about the pervasiveness of toxins in our lives did : Over 80,000 chemicals have been invented since the 1950s.  There are  200 foreign chemicals in our children's system AT BIRTH. 20% of these chemicals are untested as to their effects on our children.  He (Dr. Philip Landrigan, M.D)  then showed the slide with a graph of what this really means to our kids.  To summarize (if you click on the first link in this blog, you can watch the presentation, and as I said, this info is right at the beginning) asthma rates have more than doubled since 1982.  That's scary, I hope my kids don't get asthma, but my little brother had asthma and I know it's a disease I could live with.  Then he showed the slide that shows the incidence of Childhood Leukemia.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Trip to Gervasi's Farmer's Market

Two weeks ago was the opening of Gervasi's Farmer's Market and I couldn't go because it was the night of Ellie's dance rehearsal for her recital.  So this week we finally made it!  Whenever I go to the Canton farmer's market I can never get myself up and there for opening, so things are always kind of picked over when I get there.  So I was determined to get there right at opening, 4:00.  I made it there by 4:15...not bad in Melissa-time.  It was about what I was expecting, except for the clientele. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Allergy-Friendly Food for Families

Full Disclosure: I love Kiwi.  I got an email because I've signed up to be a Mom Blogger through Kiwi Magazine saying if I would review a cookbook on my blog I could get said cookbook for free.  Of course I volunteered-who doesn't want free stuff?!?! Because my blog is SO awesome, I was selected to receive the free cookbook: Allergy-Friendly Food for Families: 120 gluten-free, diary-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes everyone will love. I do not have anyone in my house with food allergies, so I am fortunate enough to not need to worry about omitting certain ingredients from our meals, but I was really excited to try some of these recipes because they look really great.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Monster Kids

I have three and 2/3 children; Caden (7), Ellie (5), Vince (2) and Gender-Unknown, appearing around August 9th.  For reasons unknown to me, this is the first time I've used my kids names on this blog.  Two college friends write a blog, Not Raising Brats, and have takes great care NOT to use their kids names, using nicknames instead.  I'm not sure WHY they chose to do this, but I figured they probably had a good reason and I should probably do the same.  After a year of blogging, I still have yet to come up with a good reason not to use my kids' names so I decided to post them.  (I also realize that most people reading this blog already know my kids' names.) So this post is about them, Caden, Ellie and Vince. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Doing Your Own Detective Work

I'm still working on reading The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O'Brien.  I know it's been a long time since I've mentioned that I was reading it, but I took a break to read a few novels for book club and I'm back to it again.  Last night I was reading a chapter called "Dr Conflict Of Interest--Or Interest(s)?".  It was about how so many specialists and scientists who are "the face" of different projects (the example she gave in the book is Dr. A. Wesley Burks, who is working on a peanut allergy vaccine) are actually getting funding or on the board of conflicting organizations or corporations (in this case pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, Gerber, Mead-Johnson (who makes Enfamil baby formula). 
Without going into too much detail here, I just wanted to pass along a little of the info that O'Brien presents in her book.  I've mentioned lots of doctors or specialists on here before and I trust them because I *think* they're doing the right thing for the right reasons, but to be honest, I don't really know. So when I found O'Brien's list of ways to check out where these doctors get their funding or on which board of directors they sit, I decided to pass it along to you, so that you too, can check out some of these specialists.  So, to be an educated consumer of products AND information, O'Brien says you need to do 3 things:
1. Whenever you read or hear an "expert opinion" consider the funding source.  Google the name of the doctor, organization, or medical institution and add on or more of the following terms, "disclosure," "speakers bureau," "grant," "consulting fee," or "funding."  Chances are you'll hit a goldmine of information...
2. Insist on full disclosure.  If the expert is not forthcoming in disclosing his or her funding, insist upon it.  Take it up the chain until you get it from someone at his or her organization...
3. When considering these experts and their opinions, weigh the influence that patents, royalty feed, speaking arrangements, television appearances, and the like might have on their reputation and financial success.  Discuss this with your friends.  How much money go these guys get from these corporate sponsorships?  Start to picture them like those race car drivers who have their sponsorships and endorsements blazoned across their uniforms. 

So the next time you come across an article where an "expert" is telling you that this or that product is "the best" check out their website, google their name, make sure that they're not motivated by funding to promote this product. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Webinar: Keeping Your Family Safe From Toxins

I got an email from Kiwi today about another webinar that they're doing.  I haven't been able to attend the last few, since I've been busy losing my mind, but now that I think I have things back under control, (until August, anyway) I'm going to register and attend this new webinar, Keeping Your Family Safe From Toxins.  The more I thought about this webinar topic, the more I realized, this is what it's ALL about for me. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Praise of McDonalds?!?

I know, you're probably shocked, but let me explain.  My daughter recently had minor, out-patient surgery.  Since it was near her eye she had to go under general anesthesia so she wasn't allowed any food after midnight before the procedure, which was scheduled for 11:30AM.  Since she had to miss breakfast, her favorite meal of the day, we told her that she could have ANYTHING she wanted for lunch, to help ease the fear of the surgery and to make up for her hunger.  She chose McDonalds.  I was hoping for IHOP, but I made a promise and the reward of McDonalds seemed to help ease any fear she had about going to surgery. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

10 Reasons You Should Plant Trees

I blogged about taking my kids to Mount Union College's Nature Center.  While we were in the visitor's center, I picked up a flier from the National Arbor Day Foundation. It lists 10 reasons why you should plant trees.  It also says if you join the Arbor Day Foundation ($10 membership) you'll get 10 flowering trees.  When I get a chance (probably 2030) I want to try to match up the trees they send with the growing conditions in my yard (sun, part-shade, shade, etc). 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pool Snacks

It's pool time!  We went to the pool for the first time this summer on Sunday.  We have a pass and I plan on spending quite a bit of time outside at the pool this summer.  We went right before lunch and left at lunchtime so we didn't have to eat there, but it made me think about pool snacks.  I'd forgotten how hard it is to pack healthy snacks for my kids to eat at the pool!  I don't want to spend the money, or eat the unhealthy food that they have at the snack bar, so it's time to brainstorm what foods can sit in the hot sun for hours.  The first thing I thought of was cheese, because what food tastes better than cheese when it's been sitting in the sun?!?  But really I needed to sit down and brainstorm how to keep my kids fed at the pool, while not cultivating botulism. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


I wasn't green today.  Today I took my daughter up to Akron Children's Hospital for outpatient surgery.  She had to be sedated, which is very far from natural.  I was scared to death, she was fine.  It was only for a mole on her left temple to be removed, not a huge invasive surgery, but just that small procedure requires general anesthesia when it's so close to her eye and she's a squirmy five-year-old.   It gave me a new appreciation for parents of special needs kids who are constantly in and out of the hospital for medical procedures.  It was really hard to trust someone else with her life like that.  I don't usually think of myself as someone who doesn't trust doctors or avoids going to the doctor until things are REALLY bad.  I was surprised how easily I was spooked by the whole thing.  It was more about the anesthesia than the procedure.  I've had moles removed...they take about 5 minutes in the doctor's office.  But I've never been under general anesthesia.  I've been in the hospital 4 times, my birth and the birth of my three kids.  Only one of those kids was with anesthesia, which wasn't a good experience. The idea that she was going to have heavy, strong medications in her body made me nervous.  I didn't know if she would have a bad reaction, if she would have a hard time recovering from the anesthesia, or if everything would be fine. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Way to Go Disney!

A few days ago my husband sent me a link to an article he found about Disney banning junk food ads in their programming.  Today I got a Slow Food newsletter and it had the same topic in it.  I figured it was a sign and that I should probably blog about it. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MyPlate--The Board Game?

I know, it seems odd, but it's really pretty cool!  A friend of mine found it at a teacher resource store and bought it for us.  It's a preschool-based game, but my toddler and my soon-to-be-second grader had fun playing it too.  Each player gets MyPlate place mat.  It's divided into the food groups.  There are 50 food cut-outs with a picture of the food and the name of the food on the back.  The backs of the food cut-outs are color-coordinated with the food groups so kids can check their answers.  You spin the spinner, land on a food group, take, or give.  If you get a food group, you select a food from that food group from the pile of food in the middle.  If you get a give or a take you either give one of your foods away to another player or take another player's food.  Before the crying and food throwing started, my kids had a great time playing this game. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gervasi Farmer's Market Opening Day!

It's almost here!  The winery that's half a mile from my house is going to start having it's Farmer's Market next, June 13th from 4-7pm in cooperation with my new friends at Countryside Conservancy!  The produce that I was getting from Breezy Hill Farm in the early spring will now be available to pick up even CLOSER to my's THAT for fresh LOCAL produce?!?!  I checked out the vendor list this year and it looks like they're going to have more farms and REAL food this year than they did in the past.  I know that the first year they did their farmer's market it was really more of a local vendor's with soaps, plants, pastries, kind of thing.  I'm excited that it looks to be more of a place where I can get fresh, organic, produce. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

More on All Natural

Sometimes I talk and I don't really think he's listening, but this time he was!  My husband sent me a link today about lawsuits and All Natural claims, mostly focusing on Tropicana.  It's basically what I found yesterday (FDA rules and such) but it's a bit more comforting to know that there are groups out there that are working to revise the guidelines for "natural" claims---like 7Up (really, 7Up?  REALLY???) So here's the link to the article.