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What Teachers Wish Parents Knew

Friday, Aug, 21 2015

Back to school is right around the corner, so what is the most effective way parents can help their children do their best in school?  Offer continual support and encouragement of leaning.  How can you do this?  Dr. Diane Sekeres, Assistant Professor of Education at The University of Alabama, offers the following:

1.  Pay attention every day to the information that comes home in your child's backpack. If anything needs to be returned or forms need to be completed, be sure to do that promptly.

2.  Check daily to make sure yiour child has completed the assignments.  Make sure homework and other assignments are in the backpack so they are handed in on time.

3.  Work with your child to plan ahead for projects so they can be done well without the stress of too-little time.  This will help your child lean to organize time and tasks.

4.  Offer occasional encouragement to your child's teacher, letting him or her know what you've noticed about your child's learning and growth. Do what you can to  help the lines of communication stay open between  you and the teacher.

5.  If your child tells  you something that happened in the classromm that concerns you, first check with the teacher for information before you register a complaint.

6.  Come visit the classroom.  Take a day when you can eat lunch with your child, volunteer to help out or teach the children about something  you know well.

posted by: Kathy Keene 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

12 Foods that Sabotage Sleep

Thursday, Aug, 20 2015

The foods you eat for dinner or shortly before bed can prevent you from getting some much-needed zzz's. Here's what to shun for up to several hours before turning in if you want to sleep better and wake rested — from tomatoes and chocolate to cheddar cheese.

Steer clear of celery just before bed. Celery and other foods with a high water content (cucumbers, watermelon, radishes and such) are natural diuretics that may cause you to wake in the middle of the night with a full bladder.
Countdown to bedtime: 90 minutes

Tomatoes are rich in tyramine, an amino acid that triggers the brain to release norepinephrine, a stimulant that boosts brain activity and delays sleep. Other tyramine-rich foods include eggplant, soy sauce, red wine and aged cheeses, such as brie and Stilton.
Countdown to bedtime: Not after dinner

Cheese Pizza
Foods high in fat and fried foods take longer to digest and can cause discomfort that interferes with sleep. They can also reduce the effectiveness of some medications taken at night. Countdown to bedtime: 3 hours

Although a nightcap or a glass of wine before bed may help you doze off quicker, it disrupts sleep later in the night and robs you of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Lack of REM sleep harms concentration, memory and motor skills. Countdown to bedtime: 2 to 4 hours

Black-bean chili
This dish could be a disaster if you eat it close to bedtime. The body has a hard time digesting beans, so stomach-rumbling gas pains will keep you from a good night's sleep, says Helen Rasmussen, a research nutritionist at Tufts University.  Countdown to bedtime: Have it for lunch

Dark chocolate
A small piece of dark chocolate each day helps keep your heart healthy — but don't nibble it right before you go to bed. Dark chocolate (though not white chocolate), hot cocoa and tea all contain caffeine, and if you're caffeine-sensitive, you may find yourself staring at the ceiling instead of snoozing.
Countdown to bedtime: 4 to 6 hours

A handful of gumdrops (or any candy) may cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then fall rapidly as the body releases insulin to bring them under control. You may fall asleep easily, but these fluctuations make it difficult to stay asleep. Countdown to bedtime: 2 to 3 hours

A taco liberally sprinkled with hot sauce may set your taste buds tingling, but eating it within a few hours of lights-out can set you up for a bad case of heartburn and a restless night. Ditto for other spicy foods.
Countdown to bedtime: 3 hours

Save the leftover slice of steak for lunch tomorrow. Foods high in protein and marbled fats, such as steak and roast beef, are slow to digest. If your body is busy digesting food, there's more of a chance that you'll have a restless night. Countdown to bedtime: 3 hours

Carbonated soft drinks
Caffeine, that sneak thief of sleep, can turn up in unexpected places, including root beer and lemon-lime soda. Added to a food or beverage, caffeine must be listed as an ingredient; if it occurs naturally (coffee, tea, chocolate), it doesn't. Check the label. Countdown to bedtime: 4 hours

Dagwood sandwich
A heavy meal just before bed can rob you of the shut-eye you need. Allow at least three hours post-meal before you turn in so your body has a chance to digest the food and you don't feel too uncomfortable to sleep. Countdown to bedtime: 3 to 4 hours

Broccoli is a nutrition powerhouse, but its slow-to-digest fiber will keep your body working hard into the night. Broccoli and its relatives cauliflower and brussels sprouts also contain an indigestible sugar that will produce large amounts of gas. Countdown to bedtime: Have it for lunch instead

posted by: Kathy Keene 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

9 Worst Things You Can Pack for Your Kid's Lunch

Wednesday, Aug, 19 2015

Back to school not only means back to the books, it means back to the bad lunches. Eating patterns that begin in elementary and middle school may encourage poor eating habits into adulthood. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that childhood obesity starts in the home, and introducing healthy foods should be a top priority for parents.

Artificial Dyes
Start reading exactly what is in the packaged food you serve your children. Studies suggest that the increasing use of dyes in our food supply leads to hyperactivity, chromosomal issues, lymphoma, and tumors.

Candy has absolutely zero nutritional value and is high in sugar. Instead, give your children sweet but nutrient-dense alternatives. Something like watermelon or berries will give them the bright colors they see in candy and a sweetness that is good for them.

Children need snacks that will fill them up, not leave them hungry. Chips are a common processed food that children reach for when they want an easy and tasty snack, but they will only leave them wanting more. If you grow up eating junk, it is much harder later on to get away from it. Our bodies become addicted to the sugar and chemicals we eat. If you learn proper eating habits at a young age, this addiction will not occur!

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Foods containing HFCS are a major contributor to digestive problems. This highly processed sweetener doesn’t require normal digestion.  Instead, it is more rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and goes directly to your liver. It is thought to contribute to the growing cases of fatty liver, diabetes, and obesity.

Juice Boxes
Although many juice companies claim to make juice boxes with real fruit juice, the drinks are high in sugar and calories. Steer clear from giving your child a drink that will have them bouncing off the walls at school.

Preventing soda consumption sets your kid off on the path to a healthy lifestyle. According to Harvard School of Public Health, people who consume one or more cans of soda a day have a 26 percent greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.

Spray Cheese
Although it may be convenient, spray cheese has no place in your kid’s lunchbox. It contains twice the amount of salt that normal cheese does and chemicals that should not be consumed by any living person.

Sugary Fruit Snacks
Products like fruit snacks and Fruit Roll-Ups may seem healthy, but when you take a look at the nutrient breakdown, you may think otherwise. The first ingredient is typically fruit concentrate and is void of the nutritional benefits and fibers of fruit.  It is essentially concentrated sugar.

Sweetened Sports Drinks
Instead of quenching your thirst, these drinks tend to make you thirstier. Sweetened sports drinks claim to help rehydrate. Instead, you receive empty calories, high sugar content, high sodium content, harmful dyes, and over nine teaspoons of sugar in a 12-ounce bottle.

White Bread and Crackers
Giving your child simple carbohydrates will only give them more sugar. Highly processed white flour-based food, also known as starch, white pasta, and white bread, are just empty calories.  Your body metabolizes this as sugar and it can become toxic.  Opt for whole-wheat bread and crackers for a healthy and delicious alternative.

posted by: Kathy Keene 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

Crock Pot Egg and Broccoli Casserole

Tuesday, Aug, 18 2015

3 cups cottage cheese
3 cups frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 T. finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
Additional shredded Cheddar cheese, opt.

Combine first eight ingredinets in large bowl.  Pour into a greased 3-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.  Stir.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 2-1/2 to 3 hours longer or until a thermometer reds 160 degrees.  Sprinkle with additional cheese if desired.

posted by: Kathy Keene 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post


Friday, Aug, 14 2015

If you're taking Fido or Fluffy with you on vacation, advanced planning is the key to making sure you all have a good trip. Kansas State University veterinarian Dr. Susan Nelson offers the following tips:
1. Do restrain your pet in some way while traveling in a vehicle. Cats and small dogs tend to travel best in secured crates, while specialized harnesses for larger dogs help keep them strapped in the vehicle. Letting pets run loose in vehicles can be extremely dangerous because the animal can get between the driver's feet and the pedals.
2. If your pet gets nervous or nauseated during car rides, talk to your veterinarian about medications that can ease anxiety and motion sickness.
3. If you're traveling with a dog, do stop every two to three hours so he can relieve himself and get some exercise.
4. If you're traveling with a cat, leave her in her crate even when you stop at rest areas. Bring a litter box so the cat can use it inside the car during extended trips.
5. Line your pet's crate with absorbent material or newspapers in case the pet doesn't make it to the rest area or the litter box. Do pack cleaning supplies--just in case.
6. Bring a supply of tap water from your home. This is water your pet is accustomed to drinking so it can help minimize gastrointestinal issues that may result from consuming water the pet isn't used to drinking.
7. Never leave a pet in a car unattended, especially in warm or hot climates where heat stress and heat exhaustion can develop.
8. If you will be crossing state lines with your pet, do bring a health certificate issued by your veterinarian. Such certificates are required by every state. The certificates are valid for 30 days.
9. Do have identification for your pet, which should include tags and a microchip. Also, be sure to label the crates or carriers.
10. Carry a photo of your pet in case it gets lost and you need proof of ownership.

posted by: Kathy Keene 3 month(s) ago Comment On This Post

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