Category Archives: double orders of dessert

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.

Valentine’s Day Gifts and Aphrodisiacs

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The usual gifts come to mind when I think of men going

out to shop for us, special people, in your lives. I

also have a few of the standard gifts (on standby) that

‘worked’ with some of my exes. I remember favorites of

my Dad and definitely, a brother or two liked. So, after

reading this post, you may be better informed and aware

of something with a little more interest, or you can

‘blame me’ if your gift falls flat on its face, or gets

thrown out the window…

1. Dove’s Chocolates (come in different chocolate

flavors) and have sweet messages on their hearts.

2. Better quality chocolate, Ghiardelli, Malley’s

See’s Candy’s, Whitman’s, Russell Stover’s or a

local candy making shop could just ‘hit the spot!’

3. Beau Ties from Vermont. There is an attractive

hearts and flower subdued pattern (looks like a

white or cream paisley print) that could be an

excellent gift if your man wears bow ties, like

our Past President of Ohio State University,

Gordon Gee.

4. Em’s Baby Gems Headband. This is made by a

Clevelander, (you can find Emily Marquard on

etsy.com) and there were several adorable patterns

for grandbabies or children. (Girls)

5. Pierre’s Ice Cream has a way to get online and

order messages printed on pints of their yummy ice

cream. I like this idea of special messages, since

they can be personalized. (Dove’s has a whole wide

range of generic love messages.)

There are some cute messages:

a. “I’ll share my heart, but not my ice cream!”

b. “Here’s your own pint to eat.” (those 2 could go

together!)

c. “Being in love means never having to say,

‘I’m out of ice cream!'”

d. “Have you heard the latest scoop? I love you!”

e. “Will you marry me? Please enjoy ice cream anyway.”

6. Tim Horton’s/ Cold Stone Creamery products:

a. Chocolate dipped strawberry turned into ice cream

flavor.

b. I Heart You donut.

c. Ice Cream Cakes such as these three:

“A Cheesecake Named Desire,” “Midnight Delight,” and one

that is shaped like a heart and has red velvet cake with

chocolate ice cream and a chocolate ganache frosting.

When I looked it up on their website, I could not locate

the name. (I saw it at our Delaware, Ohio store, but

did not memorize its name. It is rather pricey, $29.99.

There is a $3 coupon in the newspaper. You may find out

the name, also!

7. WINK stands for products “When In Need of Kindness”

and purchases help a family receive a package of

toiletries at Ronald McDonald House, while their

young one is in surgery. Columbus Children’s

Hospital has a Ronald McDonald House. My youngest

daughter and I visited there. The WINK products

have a wide variety of cosmetics, jewelry and other

toiletries, scented soap, for example.

The Next Portion of this Post has a little history

and some Natural products that may “enhance” your

Valentine’s Day!

1. Douse yourself in saffron. Cleopatra used this

natural ingredient to produce passion with her lovers.

2. Increase your libido with a salad that includes the

natural greens of Arugula. (This comes from ancient

times’ Pliny the Elder.)

3. Chocolate comes from the Aztecs, but this is a weird

twist of nature that was found to be written about this

native tribe. The Aztecs locked up their virgins during

avocado harvest times. The reason is men are very visual

and the testicle like appearance of an avocado! There are

records of increased lust among the farmers/harvesters.

(Now I will never look at those bumpy, dark green things

in the same way!)

Use of the following natural foods and spices can also be

used for your meal and may have a ‘double duty’ or ‘dual

purpose’ to the end of your evening! Hey, there was a

time when I would have tried ANY thing to get my past ]

husband to be more attracted to me…

1. Cloves.

2. Dates.

3. Garlic. (NOT in my romantic world, unless both parties

agree beforehand! Smile!)

4. Jasmine scent.

5. Oysters.

6. Fennel seeds.

7. Sage.

8. Lavender.

9. Asparagas.

10. Cucumber (see Avocado reference, phallic symbol.)

11. Papayas.

12. Cinnamon makes blood flow to special parts of

your body…

13. Ginger has been used as an aphrodisiac, since

thousands of years ago. Both the Chinese and Indian

cultures have included this spice. In Italy, at the

Medical School of Salermo, they use this quotation

about ginger:

“Eat ginger and you will love and be loved, as in

your youth.” (Does this make it watered by the

Fountain of Youth?)

Last but not least, the stand by’s:

Roses or flowers of any kind. Possibly you may

get the right one, that your loved one enjoys.

Make sure no allergies!

Jewelry, depending on how serious you are.

(Again, make sure no allergies, some jewelry

is hypo-allergenic, which is best if you don’t

have a clue!)

Earrings and bracelets don’t mean you are in

a permanent ‘bind.’ They usually bring smiles.

Watches for either sex are definitely classy

gifts.

I would choose neck ties, for my teaching

brother and father. I would choose sweaters

or nice, artistic shirts for my other brother.

I chose to buy nice clothing for an ex or two.

What worked best for you in the past? Go with

that again!

For me: Hint, hint! I enjoy a delicious meal out

at a nicer restaurant, where I am willing to put

a dress or skirt and blouse on, wear hose and

be relaxed. No dishes or cooking! Always works

with me!

There may be a whole other post out there in

the blogging world that gives you suggestions

for romantic, seductive music!

Let us know and tell us about the ones that don’t

work, too!

Recent Letters from Mom

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There are several people who are close to me, who I greatly admire,

that are caregivers to one or both of their parents. I have mentioned

my Mom moving from her (and Dad’s) Lake Erie cottage over a year

and a half ago. Mom had many choices of senior apartment centers.

These facilities have good safety practices in place, provide a more

interactive, “better” environment than living by herself.

She happened to (luckily) like the place that was almost directly across

the road from where my brothers and my sister in law live. The move

was definitely met with a deep sigh of relief when we had her there,

especially during the winter months! No worries about Mom falling on

unshoveled sidewalks nor icy steps out of her house!

I may have mentioned, more than once,  that we have corresponded

through the “snail mail” system since I went away to overnight camp,

college and moved away from home. I have been wanting to share

some of my mother’s noticeable changes and some of her wacky

character traits that have stayed the same. I enjoy her being a “wild

and crazy” 83 year old woman who is not just my Mom, but a dear

friend, too! She encouraged me always to be myself and to have a

spunky nature. She, on the other hand, has gone more towards being

full of “piss and vinegar!”

Mom’s letters have become erratic in their appearance and content.

I notice this especially since she uses a lot of dabs of white out along

with numerous misspellings and tangled words. Here is an example of

her attempting to spell the word, “survivor,” where you can tell, poor

thing, that she is sounding it out: “servyver.” I had to use the context

of the sentence to decipher it: “I am a servyver.”

Another sounding out and combining word sentence is describing her

favorite food from the dining room lately as “a huge sandsuage with

lettuce, tomato and onion.”  She later mentions by ordering this from

the (senior apartment center) dining room, it ensures she gets a lot of

beef! I can tell it is a combination of sandwich and sausage.  I wish to

point out that one sad part of her mind going just a bit is that she used

to do the crossword puzzles, up until the month she moved into her

apt. and had her minor heart attack. We could tell she was starting to

misplace things and she had bounced checks even before the medical

situation came along. All of this, is a little disheartening, remembering

her role as a teacher of English, Literature and Spanish. It is more

noticeable to me, not my brothers, who are no longer the recipients of

her letters.

She asked me after I left on my last visit in mid-September, in one of

her letters, “Did you take my key? I cannot find my checks nor my credit

card.”

My brothers and I have been trying to get her to establish a routine

with her keys, one is on a wrist band- the key to her apt. door. And the

other is on a lanyard, necklace around her neck- the outer door key.

I am sure because I have read some of your experiences on your blogs,

my older friends, that include this part of aging. This is both frustrating

and somewhat fascinating to see the parts that are held onto so tightly,

such as the distant past memories.

The threads that get most tangled up and show a complete loss of

understanding of basic functions are the saddest ones. I have to bite

my tongue when she repeats watering a plant within five or ten minutes

of the last time she did it. She wonders, aloud, why her plants seem to

“die more here” (meaning the center) than they did at home. I also,

have to not say a word, when for some inexplicable reason, she turns

the apt. key to the left, right, then left again to unlock it. Then, when she

is leaving, turns it to the right, left and then right again to lock it. This

new ritual is totally weird, to me!

She wrote in her letter last week, “They gave me another door key for

the one that got ‘lost.’ I just hope it doesn’t take off on me again!”

I guess I wish her “old” self were still able to write like she did because

I so enjoyed and treasured her letters! I did keep many which had

memories recounted, stories shared and her thoughts for many

years on all kinds of subjects! We even would carry on “debates” on

issues and also, would describe parts of shows to see if the other

managed to stay up ( and not fall asleep in the middle of them!) She

is much more of a “night owl” and thus, can sometimes ‘fill in the

blanks’ on our favorite shows. I have to remember the best blessing,

though, which several of my friends whose mothers have passed on,

that having her, no matter what shape her mind is in, that is the treat

and the pleasure. I also, know this is just the “tip of the iceberg” due

to her possible declining over time, both in mind and body…

On to the lighter, more funny side of Mom! She likes to daily order for

her dessert, chocolate ice cream and cookies “to go” which she saves

for guests and if we would like, we can take about 30 home with us

each month! My sister in law and brother sometimes take a few back

home across the street.  But the bulk of the cookies are all bagged up

and in the refrigerator for me!

Well, Mom was “dismayed” recently, written in her letter, that “They

are now cracking down on us residents and not allowing us to order

a dessert to eat and one to take back to our room.”

“I always told them,” she goes on (being a little sneaky and conniving)

to explain, “I need two cookies for my bedtime snack!”

Another totally funny (at least to me) direction she writes about is my

male friends and my different  dating experiences.

Here is how Mom addressed the recent turn of events with “new”

Mark. Also, the way it is going with my guy friends, Bill and Gary,

probably. She may also be referring to the Lenny fiasco! You never

know with my Mom! She keeps me guessing!

“Sorry about the beau dissapoinments. No fair! They took a lot of

your time. Guys just think of themselves!” (Yes, she misspelled the

word, “disappointments.”)

Another part of her letter to me,

“Don’t worry so much about being alone! I am fine being in my being

in aloneness. You will find things to occupy yourself. The dog makes

me feel useful, I sometimes sew and recently I take notes on the

lessons that are on the Catholic chanel, History chanel and some

science shows and I don’t know that chanel! I like watching the Hy-Sy

chanel, too.” (She missed “channel” and “Sy-Fy” which, even I,

occasionally write “Sci-Fy” instead.)

This next episode of her life, her trip to the grocery store on the bus,

may be amusing in its entirety.

“I filled my cart up with chocolate candies and dog chewies. I had to

get these since Nicki needs to use the few teeth she still has left in

her mouth. I bag up the candies for the servers in the dining room.

The kids like the candy and I like that they help me get my cookies and

a banana.  Then, at the check-pit: no credit card accepted except one

I don’t have—–So, I just left the stuff at the check-out. Said I was sorry.

What I wanted was unable to my taking home, what a waste of 2 hours!

I tried to think of the bus ride and the seerch for the items as some

form of an exercise.” (I think you will get the gist of what she was trying

to say without my pointing out spelling and syntax errors.)

Before Mom signed off on this letter about her grocery trip, she wrote

a thought someone else had suggested about the men in my life:

“Give the guys a foot to rump. (at least in imajunation!) And be aware

that is it their loss, not yours. You are speshul and happy weather to

you!

Love, Mom

Hugs! NIcki sends xxxxs!”

If you are taking care of a parent, other relative, are a home nursing or

hospice staff worker, you are very special indeed! I admire your strength

and courage to face this daily. I hope you will feel free to write some

helpful suggestions on how to stay in a positive frame of mind. I also,

wonder, how to help her with the keys and the credit card, checks and

money. We want to give her a little and yet, if we give more, it can be

lost, misplaced or stolen.

P. S. In the nursing home, where I was the Activities Director, we would

go to the office with the elderly clients, they would “sign out” their cash

and we (my activity assistant and I) would put the money in an envelope

to hold for them. Once at the store, we would help some of them choose

their purchases, then when checking out, we would pass the envelopes

to each person.

This worked well, but took a lot of supervision, time and energy. We

usually took 10-12 people in our wheelchair accessible bus. It amazes me,

when I think back upon those times. Maybe partly due to the fact I was

(10-14 years) younger at the time. But mostly due to the fact that we were

not related to any of them, it went so much more smoothly!!

Additional facts about Caregivers provided by the Family Caregiver Alliance:

44 million Americans provide unpaid care for an adult family member or

friend.

2/3rds of caregivers are women.

Average age of caregiver: 48 years old.

Average number of hours given during a week to caregiving: 21.9 hours.

70% of caregivers have to cut back on their profession or work, reducing to allow

more time to give care to their family member or friends.