Category Archives: Count Chocula

Spirit of Halloween “Lives” in These Vehicles!

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Halloween Cars and Vehicles

In Delaware, a group of Zombies climb annually out of a rented

Hearse. They turn on the music of “Thriller,” sung by Michael

Jackson. My children and grandchildren tell me this Halloween

tradition lives on, in Delaware, Ohio.

Mom and I were happy to get up, she put on a black and white

top, an orange sweater along with a white ghost pin. I wore this

Halloween shirt, that has spiders’ webs, with black velvet spiders

and a haunted house. On the back of this shirt, which has orange

sleeves is a very large velvet spider. I walked with Mom down to

get our pumpkin donuts, frosted in cream cheese icing, along with

a cup of cider and one of coffee, too. We passed some of the candy

out to the morning servers, teens that Mom has connected with,

over the past two years.

I read a great summary of several famous vehicles that embody the

spirit of Halloween and need to give, Terry Troy credit for his news

in the Automobile Sales pages of Wednesday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer.

 

Here are the three vehicles that will go in order of ‘scary’ effects:

#1.  “Christine,” from Stephen King’s book is a 1958 Plymouth Fury,

who is filled with Satan’s soul, according to the thrilling novel. They

used between 20 or more Fury cars, some were destroyed in stunts or

used for parts. This “Christine” is indestructible and a determined “fury.”

 

#2. “Duel” is a memorable horror story of a 1955 Peterbilt 281 tanker truck,

who is chasing through the desert and mountain two lane roads, poor mild-

mannered Dennis Weaver’s character. He is driving a Plymouth Valiant, 1971.

This was, by the way, Stephen Spielberg’s first feature length movie, a triumph

in suspense and deadly scenes, released in 1971. Loud and scary horn is sounded

in a seemingly ‘driver-less’ truck that is relentless in its pursuit.

 

#3. “The Munsters”  television series was funny and not so scary, in my mind, as

the more hauntingly creepy “The Addams Family.” In the show, the Munster

family has two vehicles of note. One that you see more often is that of the family

car, called “Munster K0ach.” Fred Munster would take the family out for a drive

and the neighbors and other travelers on the road would pull over. This strange

but fun vehicle consists actually of three Ford Model T’s cut up and reconnected.

This iconic car was assembled by the famous George Barris, famous for other

television and movie vehicles. His other car constructions consist of the Batmobile,

Beverly Hillbillies Truck and KITT from Knight Rider show.

The “Munster Koach” used to tour with Fall car shows around the country. There

was a year it made it to the Marion Southland Mall, where my three children were

able to peek inside and see the red velvet interior, similar to the fabric used in caskets.

The goggle-wearing “Grandpa” character played by the great Al Lewis, was called,

“Drag-U-La” and was designed by Tom Daniel and built by George Barris.

 

 

 

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Also, hope you enjoyed this post paying homage to creepy Halloween vehicles, found

in movies and television.

Do you have a scary movie to add, whether or not it holds a vehicle?

Healthy Food Choices for Kids

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I have sometimes wandered away from my theme of witless dating,

but I stay strong in the area of relationships. With helpful

information on how to make healthy food choices, I hope to

inspire you to make some changes in your lives. This includes

any children that you are in communication with, neighbor’s

kids or your grandchildren. Every time you choose to change

something in your family’s diet, it can impact the guests

and friends of your children, too.

The facts that are here may startle you. I was shocked!

I had known our country, in particular, was having trouble

living longer, healthier lives but I did not know, to the

large extent, the numbers involved. Obesity has doubled in

children, ages 6-11 and tripled in teens, age 12-19.

These numbers, collected by the National Center for Health

Statistics are just unbelievable! The time period is from

1980 until 2010. By 2013, there have been a few reversals

in these numbers but not of significant amounts; yet.

Understanding food labels and the amount of news and media

coverage have helped this trend to start heading in the

right direction. I am pleased that Michelle Obama’s part

is playing a big impact, along with magazines that usually

feature articles with juicy and delicious foods that have

saturated fat and hydrogenated fat have also joined forces,

by including good and tasty alternatives.

Here are five ways to educate children to become more

‘savvy’ in the area of food choices.

1. Help your children (and yourself) visualize serving sizes.

Assemble products that you regularly include in your or their

diet. Examples of applesauce, oatmeal and cereals can be an

easy way to measure what is considered ‘regular’ portions.

When labels with nutrition information are looked at, it

helps to realize these are written for an adult’s size or a

2000 calorie adult diet.

Kids from four to eight, are about 2/3rds the size of an

adult. Teens should consume between 80-90% size of the adult

amounts.

Measure out single servings. This will take your cell phone’s

calculator and/or paper to figure out! Serving sizes of bars

of candy and little pints of ice cream can sometimes be based

on only a portion of the actual whole content!

2. Help your child to check out the details. These are in the

little fine print on the label. When there is a long list of

names of ingredients that you don’t even recognize, this food

item may not be healthy! Artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners,

high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated anything

should signal this food product is of lower nutritional value.

Making this process a game rather than a ‘lecture’ will help

to interact and make this meaningful. Ingredients which you

cannot pronounce often mean, ‘lab-created, fake, food-like

items.’ This was a suggestion from a registered dietitian,

Tara Dellolacono-Thies.

Of course, going to natural food places, including farmer’s

markets, can be a wonderful fun activity for families. Point

out, there are usually no labels on foods that are actual

fruits, vegetables and homemade products, usually include

more natural ingredients.

Comparisons can be made while watching television, with

advertisements that may mislead people into thinking they

are ‘good for you.’ Any opportunity, including driving

down the road, on billboards, can open up discussions on

food choices. Asking, rather than telling, really helps in

these ‘off the cuff’ situations.

I remember, as a child, my parents really wanting us to stay

away from sugary cereals. We still considered it a ‘treat’ to

get ones like, “Sugar Crisp” or “Frosted Flakes.”

When I went away to college, I gorged on dumb things like,

“Captain Crunch” and “Count Chocula,” which came out in 1971.

Buying things, like Hostess products out of the dorm vending

machines, ostensibly to ‘help me study and stay awake,’ such

as “Twinkies,” “Ho Ho’s,” and those pink-colored, coconut

marshmallow iced chocolate balls, called, “Sno-balls” were

my downfalls.

When they talk about “Freshman 5 pound weight gains,” I had

probably ten pounds! I read recently of a famous person,

Maria Menounos, who gained 40 lbs. There is a photo of her,

in April’s “Ladies Home Journal,” that is unrecognizable!

3. Evaluate the numbers and figure out how that computes in your

child’s daily intake. Immediately, I think of salt and sugar

levels in foods, in this message! Discuss the listed numbers

noted for calories, fat, sugar, fiber and cholesterol.

I have been shocked how sugary items, including cereals, have

salt in them. Then, salty items like snacks, have tons of sugar

in them. When evaluating a packaged food for an elementary

school’s lunch box, aim for 175 calories or less per serving,

one gram or less of saturated fat, no trans fats, no more than

13 grams of sugars and no more than 210 milligrams of sodium

content. Try for at least 2 grams of fiber. These were also

suggested by the woman dietitian named, Tara D.-T. I usually

look for 5 grams’ fiber in my whole wheat or whole mixed grains

bread. I have found better cereals these days, particularly, in

the natural foods’ aisles.

4. Compare and contrast whenever you have a chance to do this.

No matter when you see food products, on television, in ads

and even on billboards, you have an opportunity to bring up the

subject of good food choices.

My grandchildren and I play that fun game of, “My father/

grandfather/mother or whomever, owns a grocery store and in it,

he/she sells something that starts with a __ (insert first letter)”

This has often been a way to find out where they find the item,

which is one of the many questions that you ask: “Can you find

it in the Meats’ department?” Once we discover from questions,

the product they were thinking of, I get an idea of their favorite

foods. Also, it gives me a moment to prosthelytize.

Under this category, Tara D-T. suggests looking for a high-percent

daily value of important growth vitamins, such as calcium, iron,

zinc and Vitamin D. These important nutrients, by the way, are

also important for all of us, during our aging process, to keep

our brains and bodies strong and healthy!

5. A plan of action should be to translate this knowledge into

good, healthy choices. Once you, your child and family have

become more adept and practiced in this area, you can be less

worried about the times you do ‘slip up,’ with a fast food meal

or a fun time at the movies, eating the popcorn with partially-

hydrogenated fat poured over it. Our Delaware Strand buys a

better product, made from Promise margarine. It isn’t nearly

as high in fat content.

Sorry, this is one of my big downfalls, along with donuts,

candy and ice cream! I have been unable to give up these and

simply, try to limit them.

The trend for teens to drink those high calorie pops, energy

drinks, with loads of caffeine, and flavored coffees, needs to

be addressed. I hope that if this seems to be common among

your teens’ friends or group, that you may wish to suggest some

limits to this. I would say, after my own experience of being

‘denied’ certain foods, that it is best not to boycott these

altogether. As parents you could instead suggest moderation.

Limiting to an extreme, I will remind all of you who were teen

‘rebels’ out there, causes the reverse action to be produced!

With time and practice, children will begin to include the power

of reading food labels before choosing foods. Teens may think

twice, as they stand in front of the vending machines at their

school, work or play centers. By understanding food labels,

the more kids know about what they are eating, the more often

they will choose healthier food choices.

I hope that this will be another way to start Spring, with a

renewal of your New Year’s resolutions to become healthier and

lead longer lives. This include all members of your family,

beginning with the little ones! They are much more open and

less resistant to changes and as mentioned, this can be an

interactive experience.