Archive | January, 2011

Children’s Dental Health Month

31 Jan

February is children’s dental health month!  Each year on the first Friday in February, dentists and their dental team members all over the nation provide free oral health care check ups to children from low-income families across the country.

The ADA’s Give Kids A Smile® program enhances the oral health of large numbers of needy children.  Give Kids A Smile activities also highlight for policy makers the ongoing challenges that low-income families face in finding dental care.  For a listing of programs in your area, click here: http://www.ada.org/1587.aspx.

NOTE:  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children have their first visit to the dentist by their first birthday and every six months thereafter.

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52 FEATS – NUMBER 5

31 Jan

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

I’m currently in a state of crisis.  An overly dramatic statement, I realize, but it feels true nonetheless – at least, it felt true the other night when I was sobbing on the couch, having a panic attack.

Like many people, I have way too much on my plate.  And it’s kind of freaking me out.

Kids, husband, cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry, work, blog, exercise (OK, not so much on that last one)…  How can I keep up with all of it?  How can anyone possibly?  Is everyone else succeeding where I’m failing?

My wonderful, all-knowing husband has me figured out.  He says that my problem is, I work really hard to get on top of everything, and then I have this lull where I feel like things are going smoothly so I can take on more.  And I do.  Then a few weeks later, I’m freaking out.  Again.  (Fortunately for me, this is usually the point in the process where he steps in and rescues me by taking over pretty much everything.  Yes, I chose wisely when I married.)

My knee-jerk reaction when I get in crisis mode?  More planning, more organization, better scheduling.  I feel like I must be deficient in one of those departments, so I need to work overtime to correct it.

But something is telling me that right now, I just need to take a step back.  No amount of work is necessarily going to make it possible for me to complete that gigantic daily to-do list.  So instead of wringing out my calendar until the last bit of organization oozes from it, I’m going to sit quietly and meditate every day this week.

It’s almost counter-intuitive for me, when I get in this frenzied state – the LAST thing I think about is slowing down or stopping.  But this year is about trying to improve myself, trying some things that can make me a better person, or maybe just a happier one.

Meditating isn’t entirely new to me – I tried it for a couple weeks last year and really enjoyed it.  But like so many things, I just find it hard to make time to do it.  (See the aforementioned note on exercising.)

So for Feat #5, every day this week I’m going to set aside time in the morning and time at night to meditate.  I’m not sure how long I will do it each time – I think I’ll just go with the flow and see where it takes me.

I’m looking forward to seeing how meditation will affect the way I tackle my to-do list.  I’m hoping that taking that time out of my schedule every day will actually make me more productive.  Who knows – maybe after meditating, my to-do list suddenly won’t seem so pressing after all.

Anyone care to join me for this one?  Won’t cost you anything and might bring you some peace.  Why not??

Kids’ Yoga at The Yoga Project – New Workshops!

30 Jan

The Yoga Project in Arlington is offering some great new opportunities for kids to experience yoga!  Yoga can provide amazing benefits, including increasing strength and flexibility, enhancing self-awareness, and improving concentration.

The Yoga Project has two studios in Arlington.  The north studio is located at 2745 North Collins Street, near Green Oaks.  The south studio is located at 7807 South Cooper Street.

STORY TIME:

Every Wednesday at noon, come to the north studio for an all-ages, free story time with a yoga twist!

UPCOMING KIDS’ WORKSHOPS:

Hearts and Arrows Pajama Party – TYP North, 2 – 4 pm, Sunday, February 13.  Suggested ages 4-7 years.  A fun Valentine’s themed afternoon as we journey to the land of lost hearts!  Kids will also make valentines for their family, enjoy a sweet healthy treat, and relax with chocolate strawberry foot rubs.

Lions, Tigers, and Yogis, OH MY! –  TYP South, 2 – 4 pm, Saturday, March 6.  Suggested ages 3-5 years.  Let your little yogi experience a circus like never before!  This imaginative adventure into the world of circus acts also includes a snack, a craft, and snow cone foot rubs.

Yoga Story Time Picnic and Party – TYP North, 12 – 1:30 pm, Wednesday, April 13.  $10 per child, adults free, lunch included.  This fun celebration of spring is for preschool aged kids and their grownups.  Enjoy lunch, fun with friends, and lavender foot rubs.

Workshops are $20 per child.  Parents can drop off their children, or wait in the studio lobby during the workshop.  All little yogis must be potty trained and ready for imaginative play.

For more information, or to register, click here.

Updates on Feat #4: Checking Messages

30 Jan

 

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

For the original FEAT NUMBER 4 blog entry, click here.

DAY 7:

Aaaaaahhh…the last day of Feat #4 is finally here.  This was a long week!  But I am extremely pleased to say that I’ve purged myself of most of my message-checking compulsions.  It’s not the first thing I think about when I open my eyes in the morning, nor is it the last thing I want to do before I shut them at night.

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned with this Feat is that it’s OK to check my email and facebook a few times a day – I do use them for work and blogging, and they keep me connected with my friends.  But there’s no reason to ever look at them while I’m doing other things.  Eating dinner?  Leave it alone.  On an outing with the kids?  It can wait.  Stopped at a red light?  Don’t even think about it.

This week of “detoxing” really helped me put things in perspective.  Not once did I miss an urgent message by waiting an hour or two.  No one died, no one needed me desperately, no one even noticed I was gone.

But what an eye-opening thing it was, to realize just how much time I had spent looking at my computer for no good reason!  I couldn’t believe how twitchy my hands were those first couple of days, staring at my iPhone but trying SO hard not to give in…

But I made it.  And I feel all the better for it.  I gained so much quality time with my family, and with myself, that it was worth it.

I encourage all of you to take this break.  Look up, look around you.  Things are happening, and you’re missing out!

Feat #4:  Definite success.

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Weekend Calendar Reminder

28 Jan

Here’s a quick look at what’s going on this weekend – click on the links or check out our calendar for all the details!

Friday, January 28:

Babe, the Sheep Pig at CATS in Arlington

Saturday, January 29:

Texas Discovery Gardens Special Event

Puss ‘n Boots at Artisan Center Theatre in Hurst

Kidtoon Movies at Studio Movie Grill (Arlington  Highlands)

Kids’ Fishing at Bass Pro Shops

Nature Kids at Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

Babe, the Sheep Pig at CATS in Arlington

Sunday, January 30:

Kidtoon Movie at Studio Movie Grill (Arlington Highlands)

Babe, the Sheep Pig at CATS in Arlington

Zucchini-Carrot Muffins

28 Jan

My kids love – I mean, LOVE – these muffins.  And they’re chock-full of healthy stuff, so I never feel guilty about serving them for dessert or even just for a snack.  Because of all the fresh ingredients, they don’t keep very long at room temperature.  I usually make a double-batch and freeze them, then pull out a few at a time, for what we plan to eat over a day or two.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (or grind oats in food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded or grated zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded or grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray nonstick spray into muffin tins or use paper cups

2.  Drain zucchini well.  I put it on paper towels and pressed more paper towels on top of it to squeeze out the water.

3.  In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

4.  In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, applesauce, yogurt, sugar, honey, and vanilla.

5.  Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture.

6.  Fold in the zucchini, carrots, pecans, and raisins.  Scoop into the prepared muffin tins.

7.  For mini-muffins, bake about 15 minutes.  For regular-sized muffins, bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Crockpot Potato Soup

28 Jan

This is definitely the best – and easiest – potato soup recipe I’ve ever made!  (I wish I could remember where I got the recipe.)  Sometimes I add corn to make it more of a chowder.  We like to eat it with Hawaiian rolls, and I usually skip the bacon to make it vegetarian for my hubby.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cream or half-and-half
  • real bacon bits, optional

DIRECTIONS:

1)  Combine potatoes, chopped onion, carrots, celery, broth, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper in a slow cooker.

2)  Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

3)  Stir together flour and cream or half-and-half; stir into soup.  (This would also be the time to add corn.)

4)  Cover and cook 30 minutes longer or until hot. If desired, sprinkle bacon bits over each serving.

Makes about 2 quarts

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