Tuesday, December 28, 2010

back to nature

For those of us who live in Manhattan, it's easy to get wrapped up on what classes to take or which playdate to schedule for your preschooler...instead of how to enjoy the great outdoors. Deborah McNelis, creator/owner of Braininsights and a brain development specialist, changes that with the launch of newest activity packet, Naturally Developing Young Brains, designed to support brain development for 3-5 year olds through natural environments.

Nearly 90% of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. To help maximize a child's learning during this influential time, this set of nature-themed exploration activities instills a sense of wonder, an appreciation for the environment and building blocks toward understanding the natural world.

Age appropriate and fun outdoor activities enhance early brain development and learning. Each nature-based activity in the packet also includes a brain insight on the back of the card, giving adults an understanding of the benefits gained through the experience.

These packets make it easy to provide the outdoor play children's brains need.

A portion of the proceeds go toward promoting nature pre-school experiences for all children. These can also be used as fundraisers for your program or organization.

Go to www.braininsightsonline.com for more info.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

happy new year! from Carter's

New Year's Eve isn't just a holiday for adults...sure there's champagne, fireworks and late-night parties but your little ones will want to celebrate the festivities too--even if it's just till 8PM! Don't let them show up to the party in their favorite Dora tights and mini Uggs. This is a red-carpet occasion. Thankfully, the Carter's Holiday collection covers all bases, with adorable party dresses in pink and black velveteen, polka dotted satin and floral prints. They're so perfect for the holiday season that I'm offering the one shown here (size 9 months) for a holiday giveaway. Bright pink, black and grey bubbles decorate this silky satin dress and a black band highlights the empire waist. Normally priced at only $18, now it can be yours for free. Just publish the link to this post on your Facebook or Twitter page, then let me know in the comments below, and you'll be automatically entered to win. Your princess will be the belle of the ball. Good luck--and happy 2011!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

mom, what's for dinner?

As a mom, you can probably relate to that 3:00 PM panic: OMG, what am I going to make for dinner tonight? Darlene Sabella, published author and writer for HubPages.com, says: "Mixing and matching ingredients is always fun and gives you lots of ways to hide healthy foods." Here, she shares some great ideas for quick and easy foods your kids will love.

1 Pasta, please! Now you can throw anything in pasta and with a little red sauce and they can never tell. A great wholesome addition is organic extra firm Tofu. It tastes a little like chicken. Add cabbage which really makes it taste great, with of course, whole wheat pasta, and any other veggie you can hide in the meal. Serve with some great garlic bread and the kids and hubby will never know.

2 Time for Tacos Home made tacos are also a winner. If the family is vegan, you have to make adjustments but you can use ground turkey, and make your own taco sauce. The package sauce is full of toxic ingredients. You can use a healthy lettuce, fresh tomatos, and buy or make your own wheat tacos.

3 Meat Loaf Mania I make a great surprise meat loaf. If you're not vegan, use turkey meat, organic eggs, all organic ingredients, lots of chopped celery to give it a great taste.

4 Lentil Lovers Kids don't know beans are a veggie so you can make lentils in your crock-pot. I add everything in my veggie draw in the refrigerator: just remember to add things at different times as the softer items need to go in last. I use my grater for the carrots so they have a way of disappearing in the meal and lots of olive oil adds the last great touch. Use sea salt for flavor.

5 Breakfast Anytime Breakfast is always a rush time of the day, but their is nothing better than great nutrition from organic fresh eggs. I even use this for dinner sometimes. It's fun to mix up your meals. I add in olive oil, chopped organic asparagus, scallions, and leaks (which are sweeter then scallions once cooked). Also, add mushrooms, then mix your eggs with organic soy milk and pour into the pan. When it's done, top with chopped fresh cold tomatoes with some wheat toast and whatever you might enjoy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Look Great, Feel Good for the Holidays in GothamGear Fitness and Yoga Apparel

We know you're busy--always running from one appointment or event to another, trying to fit 20,000 things into the day before the kids get home from school. Which means you probably find yourself shlepping workout clothes around town until you eventually hit the gym...and taking time to change back to your civilian attire once you finish your workout. Lucky for you, there's Mortal by GothamGear, designed to meet the needs of, well, mere mortals.

This urban-chic, eco-friendly fitness and yoga line for women was designed by Jenny Goodman, a Manhattanite with an active lifestyle and little closet space. Jenny found it difficult to find flattering fitness apparel that moved easily from the gym or yoga studio to the sidewalk cafe or book store. With input from apparel experts, friends, fitness trainers and other athletes, she decided to create her own line, Mortal by GothamGear.

So is GothamGear really so special that it will make you put your Lululemons on a back shelf? Above all, GothamGear is performance wear - every piece is made from technical fabric with moisture wicking, breathability, durability, four-way stretch and comfort features including flat seams, non-elastic shelf bras and waistbands and double-layer gussets (what is a gusset? - check out the website). Jenny believes that it's okay to look great when you are working out - each piece is crafted with urban-chic styling with colors that are meant to mix and match and blend into the urban landscape (no need to look like you are training for the Olympics). The fabric is made from recycled nylon with Lycra so the entire line is eco-friendly. And if that isn't enough, it's all made in the US (look out for new styles coming this spring made right here, in Manhattan). But enough about the nitty gritty.

Do they look and feel great? The Fold-over Waist Yoga Pant does. You can fold the waistband to the height which is most flattering for your body type. This boot-cut pant features a hidden back hip pocket for your keys, cell phone or ID. The Trouser Pant (shown here in Indigo) features functional front zip welt pockets, faux back welt pockets and a slightly flared leg. On top: the Twist-Front Cami, Jenny's best-selling top, (shown here in Washed Blue)--boasts a sweetheart neckline and gathered bust. The shelf bra and adjustable bra-friendly straps make it a perfect fit for any workout routine.

The Squareneck Flutter Sleeve has a feminine flair, thanks to an empire seam and a loose, flirty fit on the bodice. It's so comfy and feminine you'll forget it's workout wear and slip it on for lunch with the girls. Jenny's best-selling pant, the Five Pocket Pant, looks and fits like your favorite boot-cut jean with faux front pockets and faux fly and functional back patch pockets. But my absolute favorite is the uber-comfy Cap Sleeve Scoopneck with shirred sleeves. Sure, it's moisture wicking and has four-way stretch but, have I mentioned how comfortable it is?! I put it on and couldn't wait to get to the gym... If that's not miracle workout wear, I don't know what is!

Just in time for the holidays...go to www.shopgothamgear.com to make your purchase and enter coupon code KIDANDCABOODLE (all caps) at checkout to receive 20% off your order of $100 or more (valid today through 12/25/10).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

expert advice: should I get a nose job as an adult? from plastic surgeon Sam Rizk

I have often thought about getting a nose job. I mean, who wouldn't want a prettier profile? But then I think to myself, "Wouldn't it be weird to all of a sudden show up at my kids' school with a new nose?" So I asked Dr. Sam Rizk his opinion on the procedure and how to handle getting a nose job later in life. Here, his expert response...

Kidandcaboodle: "Is it weird to get a nose job as an adult?"

Sam Rizk: "Rhinoplasty used to be considered a rite of passage for teens, but teenagers are just one group of rhinoplasty patients today. More and more adult women and men are seeking surgery to improve their profiles or correct a hump that has bothered them since childhood, or in many cases, restore a previous rhinoplasty that was sub optimal. About a third of my practice is teens, a third is adults, and the remaining third are secondary procedures to revise earlier surgeries. The biggest difference between a teenage patient and an adult is that adults typically want more subtle changes to be made because they do not want to look different. They want refinements, rather than obvious size reduction or sweeping changes. Most adults would prefer not to tell everyone they know that they have undergone a rhinoplasty, and with modern techniques, that is entirely possible. Your close friends and family may note something different about your appearance, but casual acquaintances will just think you look good but may not know exactly why. I strive to give you the same or similar nose you have, only refined and more beautiful to suit your other facial features. Balance is an integral component to a well orchestrated rhinoplasty operation."

K&C: "Can you explain your 3D procedure?"

SR: "The nose is the most prominent feature on your face; even a small change to your nose will affect your whole appearance in a big way. The modern concept in rhinoplasty is to preserve the general characteristics of the original nose, and make small alterations to straighten or refine the shape and projection, which is what my patients ask for. A natural looking profile and tip are far more desirable today than the pinched look that was prevalent in past decades. The nose is considered to be one of the most complex anatomical structures on the face. The internal structure of the nose is supported by a delicate framework of small bones and resilient cartilage. Even a tiny miscalculation on the part of the surgeon can lead to unsatisfactory results. However, with well orchestrated surgery it is certainly possible to create a beautiful and natural looking nose that will stand the test of time. With my high definition 3D approach, I am able to visualize all the delicate structures of the nose during the operation to fine tune the results I can achieve. The greatest advantage is precision; this technique enables me to make minute changes to cartilage and bone that have a big impact on the final shape of the nose. There are no cons so to speak about using this tool; only advantages in my view. It is most beneficial with more complex cases that require extensive grafts from cartilage and bone. For a primary rhinoplasty, a nose that just has a hump or tip deformity, 3D is less of a necessity, however, even in these instances, there are benefits to utilizing this unique technology."

K&C: "How long is the recovery time?"

SR: "In my practice, we are very focussed on making the recovery phase of surgery as seamless as possible. My patients are busy; whether they are CEOs or soccer moms, they have full schedules and need to get back in the game quickly - within a week or ten days. My Rapid Recovery rhinoplasty procedure allows for speedy recuperation, less bruising and swelling. Most of my patients look good in 10 days and great in 2-3 weeks as more of the swelling resolves. I have moved away from using packing in the nose which was uncomfortable for patients. There is usually a splint required for about 5 days which is removed in my office. Patients report that they have minimal discomfort; they feel stuffy and sore for the first few days but most of them only take Tylenol or nothing at all after that. Minor procedures will have even less of a recovery and it is not unusual for patients to get back to work in a week."

K&C: "Who are the best candidates for rhinoplasty?"

SR: "The best candidates for a High Definition Rhinoplasty are all ages, female and male, who desire a change to their profile, nasal tip and/or base of the nose in a simplified, precise manner with reduced recovery time. I use this technique now on all my rhinoplasty patients and it has become key to my approach in the operating room."

For more info on this and other plastic surgery procedures, go to www.drsamrizk.com.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fanciful Floats: What’s New for the Thanksgiving Parade

By Elise Rosen

A giant animated wooden train, dancing elves and the arrival of the Snow Queen are just a few of the wonders to look forward to as seven new floats make their debut in tomorrow's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

In all, 27 magical moving stages make up the fleet -- along with 15 giant character helium balloons, 800 clowns, 12 marching bands, and 1,600 performers -- for the 84th annual holiday extravaganza in New York.

The delightful "On the Roll Again" features a worldly family of ducks with luggage in tow venturing out on a trip. Lewis the Duck, the mascot for Homewood Suites by Hilton, heads up the three-car train that makes up one of the longest floats in the procession. On parade day, Kylie Minogue will be on board performing "Locomotion" and one of her latest hits.

"The carpenters had an absolute blast making this one,” says John Piper, vice president of Macy's parade studio in Hoboken, NJ, where the floats were on display in a preview Nov. 16. “It was like making a pull toy for your kids, but really huge.”

Piper's team of about 30 designers, artists, animators, carpenters, technicians and electricians work painstakingly throughout the year to bring these whimsical creations from imagination to reality.

On "Elves Raise the Roof," the party starts and keeps on going with frolicking, fun-loving elves dancing atop the towering new float by OfficeMax.

Joan Rivers is to arrive in spectacular form, amidst shimmering snowflakes and icicles, as "Snow Queen" aboard this new addition to the parade. Her daughter Melissa Rivers will play Snow Princess and son Cooper will take the role of Jack Frost.

The other new floats for 2010 are: “Top Hat!” commemorating the Apollo Theatre’s 75th anniversary, featuring Gladys Knight performing; “Home Baked Goodness” of Morton Salt as the backdrop for Jessica Simpson; “Mount Rushmore’s American Pride” showing off South Dakota tourism; and “Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure” from Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer.

[Caption credit: Lewis the Duck,mascot for Homewood Suites by Hilton, at the Macy's parade studio in Hoboken, NJ. Photo by Elise Rosen]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

expert advice: from Examiner.com's Parenting & Education Examiner Rhonda Cratty

I have been asked to write a post on the pros and cons of sending your children to accelerated schools. Not easy to answer because there are no sure-fired recipes, no guidelines, and no education that fits all highly gifted children. Each child needs instruction at their level.

There are many resources available, professionals who give individual intelligence and achievement tests; you, as well as your child’s teacher, will have an opportunity to express observations. It is with this data your child’s educational needs will be discovered.

Most educators in regular classrooms are able to individualize their curriculum within their classrooms. Not with more work, but deeper level questions using best practices.

Many parents entertain the idea of early admission or skipping grades, yet worry about the emotional impact. Again once you have found out your child’s educational needs, it depends on the child, largely on the emotional maturity of him/her. Remember he/she might be the smallest, last to get driver’s license, etc…This is a decision to make with your child’s school.

Nevertheless, there are situations where a child with exceptional ability runs into a “ceiling.” This might be the time to look into an accelerated school sometimes called a GT school. These schools are designed to research and implement best practices of acceleration and enrichment to increase the academic performance. They are atmospheres in which all students receive a challenging education. Students must be identified to be admitted into programs, usually schools have limited enrollment.

It is difficult to attempt to evaluate the impact of a particular school environment on a child I have not worked with, however there are many environments to explore, such as a resource room, or ability grouping, or a particular instructional method such as creative problem solving, the range and diversity that is available to your child and the results of each is striking. Merely placing children in a particular setting, or providing them with a particular set of activities, does not necessarily lead to success. Changing the learning environment without changing the depth of lessons seems nonproductive. Further, lessons need a base in scope and sequence, and standards, not fluff that simply entertains.

A well-constructed acceleratedprogram brings gifted students together and provides them with an intellectually stimulating and important set of ideas, together with giving them practice to use their own ability to problem-find and problem-solve, with a solid scope and sequence seems to yield very positive measurable results, bringing about significant student learning gains in core areas of curriculum content.

You, as parents, are not alone. Turn to your child’s school, teachers, and principal to discover your child’s educational needs and where to find the services offered to students who are gifted or talented, or who, because of their abilities, have the potential for an extraordinary level of achievement; in doing so you will be helping your little one reach their personal best.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

beat the monster blues

My kids callout to me every night after I've tucked them safely into bed..."Mommy, there's a monster in here!" They are usually referring to a toy or piece of furniture that takes on a subtly scary form once the lights go out.

Can you relate? Are your kids afraid of monsters? Do monsters keep them (and you) up at night? 73% of all children ages 4-12 struggle from some form of nighttime fear. Many of those children are convinced that a monster is in their room.

ByeByeShop.com has the solution for these kids. Bye Bye Monster Room Spray — a soothing spray made with essential oils that help induce sleep — wards off the worst nighttime fears by providing little ones with a sense of control, enabling a better night's sleep.

The spray is just one piece of a complete bedtime solution for children aged 4-12 who suffer from nighttime fear by Bye Bye Monster Shop, a Minnesota-based company with a mission of creating peace of mind in today's world. The children's spray is available with a beautifully illustrated book, "Bye Bye Monster; Joey's Adventure on Monster Street," an engaging tale about a little boy and his monster friend, 'Barley' who helps children control their fears. The set is complete with a cuddly, stuffed 'Barley' monster to help calm fears and promote a good night's rest!

Go to www.metroimma.com to learn more or www.byebyeshop.com for more info.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

expert advice: from Bobbi DePorter, accelerated learning expert

Think your kids need help with their learning skills? Instead of getting frustrated with them, meet Bobbi DePorter. This teen and accelerated learning expert has changed the lives of over five million kids through her SuperCamp and Quantum Learning school programs. Here, she shares her insight with KidandCaboodle moms...

Kidandcaboodle: How did you get started on this career path? What first got you interested in helping students excel?

Bobbi dePorter: "Having the opportunity to study with Dr. Georgi Lozanov from Bulgaria in the late 70s was the learning point in my life. I applied his “accelerated learning” methods to my adult programs and saw a big difference in the students’ ability to learn. Then I saw a need to teach kids how to learn. The assumption is that they go to school and should know how to learn effectively. Yet we found most don’t know how. When we teach kids how to learn, most say: “Why didn’t anyone teach this to me before?” It makes a big difference for them."

K&C: Were you a good student? What challenges did you encounter in your own studies?

BDP: "I was a good student in most of my classes, and some I struggled with and didn’t know why. My Spanish class in particular was very difficult for me. I since learned that I’m highly visual and have very low auditory processing. If I had known that then, I could have used different strategies to learn a language."

K&C: Do you think there’s too much/too little emphasis placed on giving young kids an accelerated education these days? How is this impacting them and their role in society?

BDP: "There is a teaching methodology that is very effective called “accelerated learning” that is the basis for our Quantum Learning methods. It’s about engaging, joyful, meaningful learning that challenges students to do their best. I want to make sure we don’t confuse the term “accelerated.” I believe you’re asking about starting kids at a younger age, passing kids up to the next grade or more challenging classes? I believe that we need to be aware of each child’s abilities and learning styles and keep challenging them just beyond their abilities."

K&C: What are the biggest challenges in education facing teenagers today?

BDP: "Pressures to get top grades, be good at sports, have outside activities and be of service to get into good colleges. It is a lot of pressure and their schedules are packed. It’s at a time when kids are also discovering who they are and trying to fit in."

K&C: Can you briefly explain your 8 Keys of Excellence?

BDP: "The 8 Keys of Excellence are principles to live by. When integrated, the Keys create a positive core that guides our behavior. The Keys are: Integrity, Failure Leads to Success, Speak with Good Purpose, This is it!, Commitment, Ownership, Flexibility and Balance."

K&C: What do you hope teenagers get out of your program?

BDP: "From our SuperCamp, Quantum Learning for Students, and 8 Keys of Excellence programs, students learn effective learning skills such as reading, writing, thinking, speaking, memory and note-taking, and life skills that include good communication and relationship skills."

K&C: What can parents do to help their kids excel academically?

BDP: "Parents can work to have good communication with their child. We say Listen More, Talk Less. Be aware of their child’s personal learning style and have conversation around what works best for them. And create a good, inspiring and creative study area – a place where their child wants to study."

K&C: Can you share a personal success story with one of your students that stands out in your mind?

BDP: "I think of Sara who was already a good student. At SuperCamp she really discovered that she can make her dreams happen. It gave her the confidence to try out for things, to speak up and express herself. She became Miss Teen Georgia, got accepted to Georgetown U and got her dream job at Walt Disney World. She credits all this from the “shift” she discovered at SuperCamp to really believe in herself and be secure in who she is and what she has to offer.

Nick also comes to mind. In high school a counselor told his mother in front of him that he would never make it to college and that he should focus on a vocational track. He attended SuperCamp and applied the learning skills he learned to his schoolwork with good results that built his confidence back up. He recently graduated from a four-year university and is happily employed."

K&C: What are your goals for the future? What upcoming projects will you pursue?

BDP: "SuperCamp continues to grow with new US and international sites. There are now over 56,000 graduates. Our Quantum Learning school programs for administrators, teachers and students are also growing where we now have programs statewide in some states. Over 50,000 teachers have attended Quantum Learning trainings, impacting over five million students. We have recently formed the Excellence Effect movement to take the 8 Keys of Excellence character program to families and schools everywhere at no-charge, with a goal of reaching 50 million kids by 2015."

For more info, go to www.supercamp.com.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

expert advice: recipe for a healthy birthday party, from registered dietitian Robyn Flipse

I am a mom of two (Harrison, age 4, and Ava, almost 3). We started a healthy eating plan this September and I am determined to stick with it. Every day we write down how many fruits, veggies, proteins, etc., they eat so we can see if we've had a healthy day. I am not neurotic about it but am just trying to get them thinking in a healthy way. And they are into it, so why not?

What throws us off is the birthday parties. Most moms say: "It's one day, big deal! Let them enjoy!" But sometimes, between the two kids, we go to three birthday parties each Sunday and they end up eating sweets and pizza all day long!!

So I wondered, "How can I make the birthday party experience more healthy without ruining all their fun?" I asked New Jersey-based registered dietitian Robyn Flipse for her advice. Here, she shares some excellent healthy eating tips...

"Birthday parties offer young children a chance to be the star in their own show and share a few fun-filled hours with playmates. I can't think of anything that they look forward to more! While the socialization is invaluable, the menu may not always be, so the real question is, which is more important?

My first suggestion is to look at all of the birthday parties and other special occasions your child may attend in the context of the entire year. If they average one or two a month, there is really nothing to worry about. Let them enjoy the foods and drinks being served and offer them their usual meals and snacks for the rest of the day. If your child receives more than one invitation in a single day, it is best to select just one party to attend rather than trying to go to them all, just as you would have to decide for yourself if you were invited to three events in one evening. And what toddler is going to have the stamina for three birthday parties in a single afternoon?

This leads to another important point: We need to teach our children about moderation in the same way we teach them good manners and their ABCs, by example and plenty of practice! I have always counseled the parents in my practice that taking all of the tempting choices off the table does not teach a child how to select a well balanced diet. So just as children must learn they cannot fill up on spaghetti and Italian bread and skip the salad and meatballs, they also need to learn they can have a sweet drink with their pizza then a fruit cup instead of cookies for a snack later that day. Parents provide the choice and guide the decision."

KidandCaboodle: What's the best way to survive a kid's bday party as far as eating healthy is concerned?

Robyn Flipse: "Don't think of it as a challenge to your child's nutritional survival, but rather, as a good time, just like when you go out for dinner and split a bottle of wine, order an expensive entree and indulge in a decadent dessert you don't normally have at home. There are 365 days in the year and three meals a day, so you have 1095 chances to feed your children what you want, the occasional party fare can't undermine that."

K&C: Should you eat a meal beforehand so it's easier to forego the pizza? Is there a healthier alternative to serve?

RF: "Feed your child the meals and snacks that he/she would normally eat before and after the party since the excitement of a party usually blocks their appetite, and much of that pizza and cupcake go uneaten. The party food should be at the discretion of the host and those attending should only make special requests or bring their own food if they have special dietary needs, such a gluten free."

K&C: Is there a healthy kind of cake to buy if you're the one giving the party? Is there an alternative to cake that you can bring for your kids to eat if you are a guest?

RF: "The cake and candles are a big part of the celebration and for most toddlers, the decorations on the cake are more important than how it tastes, so stick with the party theme when selecting the cake and make the servings small. Half the battle to achieving a healthy diet for your children is helping them choose the right portions to feel satisfied, not stuffed, after eating."

K&C: What's a healthy alternative to chips? Soda? Other junk food that might be served?

RF: "Stick with age-appropriate foods the children are familiar with and can be easily served and eaten unassisted, meaning without utensils. There are plenty of whole grain and lower fat and sodium chips on the market to choose from, in addition to pretzels and popcorn for munching, and endless beverage choices ranging from 100% fruit juices to lemonade and assorted fun-colored and flavored punches. Occasional sweets and treats are fine as long as parents are aware of how often they serve these items and ensure that the rest of their child's diet is balanced."

K&C: Do you have any suggestions about dealing with the goody bag? What can the host put in to make it healthy and what can parents do to keep their kids from getting sugared out?

RF: "Why not fill those goodie bags with dollar store trinkets like stickers, fun bands and washable tattoos? My sons loved those when they were little and they provided some entertainment for the rest of the day."

K&C: What about the candy-filled pinata? They have them at a lot of these parties and I insist that my kids collect as much as they can then we bring the candy home and they get to eat one at a time and they collect the others. They take pride in showing friends their collections. Any other ideas?

RF: "Your strategy is an excellent one! Let the children use their scavenger skills to gather the scattered candy then take it home to count it, group it, trade it and otherwise learn from the experience. Doling it out over time is another good lesson in moderation, just as is needed with their Halloween candy."

K&C: Any general healthy eating tips for kids?

RF: 1. First and foremost, allow your children to develop a positive feeling about eating and experiencing new foods by avoiding too many taboos and rules (unless for religious or health reasons). Research shows that children whose diets are the most restricted have the greatest food issues and eating disorders later in life.

2. Serve as an example of how to enjoy all foods in moderation so that nothing is viewed as more important than anything else, and therefore less likely to be coveted or abused when available. Imagine your child saying no thank you to the ice cream at a party because he knows he can have some later at home.

3. Include children in as much of the feeding process as possible, from planning meals to shopping for and preparing food to cleaning up. These are lifelong skill everyone needs to master.

4. Don't call any otherwise edible food or drink by scary and inappropriate names that can confuse your child, such as "junk food," "garbage," "crap" and "bad for you." The amounts and combinations we eat, or don't eat, are the problem, not the individual foods.

5. When planning your child's next birthday party, ask her what foods she would like to serve, you may be surprised by the answer!

For more info on Robyn Flipse and lots of healthy eating tips, go to www.RobynFlipse.com.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

expert advice: from Dr. Elizabeth Lee, plastic surgeon

Whether you've had one, two, three kids--or more!--chances are your body looks and feels different than it did before you ever gave birth. And all the diet and exercise in the world (IF you could muster up the time and energy to do it!) doesn't always bring things back to normal. Luckily, there are cosmetic surgery procedures on the market for those of us who need some reshaping--like the Mommy Makeover (average cost: $12,390), a post-pregnancy procedure designed to counter sagging skin.

Hesitant about going under the knife? I know I am! Before you book your appointment, check out http://www.realself.com/was-it-worth-it, a community where members share their unbiased opinion and stories about cosmetic treatments and plastic surgery. Each person rates their treatment (worth it/not worth it) and offers his/her comments. The Mommy makeover shows a staggering Worth It Index of 95, post-pregnancy procedures to counter sagging skin.

Here, Dr. Elizabeth Lee, a Bay Area plastic surgeon and member of RealSelf’s doctor community, talks about her Mommy Makeover procedure. Are you willing to give it a try?

Kidandcaboodle: What is a mommy makeover?
Elizabeth Lee: "A mommy makeover generelly involves surgery to both the breasts and abdomen, the two areas most affected by pregnancy and nursing."

K&C: Why is it so appealing to moms?
EL: "Some of us stretch out and lose our shapes in such a way that we can never get back to a comfortable body contour with just diet and exercise."

K&C: What are the pros and cons of the procedure?
EL: "Breast surgery can restore breast shape and size. Tummy tuck can help tighten the "core" muscles that may become permanently separated during pregnancy. In addition to contouring the body, repairing these separated muscles may improve posture and core body strength. Taking out excess stretched skin on the lower abdomen makes women much more comfortable both physically and emotionally. Of course, surgery has risks and it is important to be healthy and to plan properly for your recovery."

K&C: How long do the results last?
EL: "Results are permanent, but the aging process goes on and gravity continues to work against us. Barring more pregnancies or large weight gain, breasts and tummy will never be as loose and droopy as they were before the mommy makeover."

K&C: How long is the recovery time? Do you have any advice on how to recover when you have a baby or other kids at home?
EL: "Recovery is a gradual process. The majority of swelling and tenderness resolves in the first two weeks. However, the healing process continues for up to a year. For six weeks after surgery you will be much more tired than usual and need more sleep. This fatigue usually improves by week seven. You will need full-time help with young children for two weeks after surgery. The best way to ensure an easy recovery is to plan for adequate help."

K&C: How can this procedure help a mom's self-esteem?
EL: "Becoming a parent changes a woman's life in many ways. Handling young children can be exhausting. Our relationships to our jobs, our spouses, our friends all change. Having a body that no longer resembles our internal image of ourselves can be uncomfortable. Healthy eating and exercise cannot tighten up what is stretched out and sagging. We feel more powerful and competent when our bodies are intact. A mommy makeover can help a woman feel whole again."

K&C: Is there a memorable patient's reaction or story about someone who underwent the procedure that you could share?
EL: "Most of my patients feel much better about themselves, exercise more comfortably and feel that they have more energy for their lives when they don't feel miserable every time they look in the mirror or have to get dressed."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fashion's Night Out: First Dog Event

Fashion goes to the dogs. But it's a good thing! This year, Fashion's Night Out focuses on a huge number of amazing fashion events--including one for your favorite pooches! On Friday, September 10th from 7-10 PM, you can shop for the latest canine fashion, dog carriers, accessories and spa and grooming services at THE DOG STORE (170 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065; 212-317-5982). Hosted by Edward Alava, it promises to be an amazing event. The best part: Proceeds will benefit Frankie’s Friends, an organization that provides money to New Yorkers who cannot afford medical care for their pets. Sponsored by NYC and The Hamptons Veterinarian Dr. Cindy Bressler, Isle of Capri Restaurant, FUR by J Mikel, Best Pet Rx, Canine Celebrations, and Throw Me a Bone NYC. For more info on Fashion's Night Out events, go to www.fashionsnightout.com.

happy new year: from Manischewitz

Dreading spending time in the kitchen preparing for Rosh Hashanah? Need a quick and easy last-minute recipe idea? Whether you're cooking for four or fourteen, Manischewitz comes to the rescue with some delectable dishes that will help you welcome in the new year.

We've all grown up on Manischewitz basics--matzah, chicken soup, even gefilte fish. Now there are ways to incorporate a little Manischewitz into all your meals. The company just launched some new staples that are sure to impress.

There's an all-natural Beef Broth (in a new 32-ounce reusable container--great for cooking for a crowd) that beefs up just about everything, a Vegetable Broth that adds flavor, a Chicken Broth (also in the reusable container) with no MSG and a revamped, ready-to-serve Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls that's all natural with no MSG and no trans-fat.

Will it replace Bubbe's version? That's up to you. But if she's not around to cook it, it's a great alternative.

Manischewitz also offers some delicious recipes to try. Check them out below, and see more at www.manischewitz.com. Have a happy new year!

Cooking Time: 45 min

3/4 cup baby carrots
3/4 cup leeks, chopped (rinse well)
3/4 cup rutabaga, chopped
3/4 cup green bell pepper, sliced
28 oz (2 cans) Manischewitz® Vegetable Broth
1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
6 (6oz) Mahi Mahi filetsManischewitz®
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste
6 onions
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons parsley

1. Marinate vegetables in 2 oz vegetable broth, ginger, garlic, vinegar and sugar for 30 minutes.
2. Season Mahi Mahi with salt and pepper; grill on both sides until flaky.
3. For each onion, cut 1 inch slice off the top and a thin slice off the bottom so it will sit flat, discard the slices. Peel the onions and with a melon baller scoop out the inside of each onion, leaving the outer 2 layers. Char onion cups on grill and fill with cooked rice.
4. Heat remaining vegetable broth; add marinated vegetables and cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender; add Mahi Mahi; garnish with parsley.
5. Serve with rice filled onion cups.

Cooking Time: 30 min

2 tablespoons Manischewitz® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 spanish or white onion, diced
5 cooked sweet potatoes, skinned and mashed coarsely
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
Manischewitz Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 package of pre-made frozen ravioli rounds or wonton wrappers
Small cup of warm water
corn starch
2 tablespoons pareve margarine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Manischewitz® Beef Broth
1/3 cup non-dairy whipped topping
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine (optional)
Fresh parsley for garnish To make ravioli:
In a large frying pan on a med-low heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until they turn translucent. Add the mashed sweet potatoes, cumin, curry, allspice, garlic, salt and pepper to the onions. Mix well and allow to sauté for an additional 3-5 minutes. Set aside potato mixture and let cool to room temperature.

Preparation: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small soup pot; add desired amount of salt. While you wait for the water to boil, sprinkle counter with a little corn starch and lay out the ravioli rounds. Gently dab the perimeter of the ravioli with some warm water (this acts like a glue) and drop a spoonful of the sweet potato mixture in the center of the dough. Fold closed and pinch the ends of the ravioli to secure. Drop ravioli into the boiling water and cook until they float to the top, about 4-5 minutes. Scoop out with slotted spoon and keep warm on a plate.

To make creamy sauce:
Melt margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until mixture is well blended. Gradually stir in beef broth and non-dairy whipped topping. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to boil and thickens. If using optional wine, add now. Simmer, stirring frequently, over very low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve:
Drizzle creamy sauce over sweet potato ravioli and garnish with fresh parsley.