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Healthy Chicken Salad Wrap

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I mentioned in my last post that wraps were great to pack for lunch, and since Mondays will now be Recipe Mondays, I thought I’d kick it off with a delicious wrap recipe.


Healthy Chicken Salad Wrap

2 – 3 medium flour tortillas
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
¼ cup red and yellow bell peppers, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp plain yogurt
¼ cup cheddar cheese cubed or shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Add chicken, cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, bell peppers and celery into a bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper. Warm tortilla slightly to make it easier to fill. Place ½ – 1 cup of chicken filling on top of the tortilla and wrap.

A wrap is a nice break from boring sandwiches and there are lots of great flavors for tortillas like spinach, sundried tomatoes, pesto, etc. that you can choose from.

September 14, 2009   No Comments

Ideas for packing lunches for your child

brownbagMy daughter just started Kindergarten so packing lunches has been added to my list of things to do. That list is quite long already so I’ve been keeping my eye out for quick and easy lunch ideas to help make sure that particular task doesn’t take up too much of my time.

There are no microwaves or fridges at the school for student use so everything has to be made ready-to-eat. Here are some ideas that you can use for your own child if they’re heading to school, or they make great lunches at home when you’re busy with other things and don’t have time for a long lunch.

Fruit – My kids are fruit fanatics so sending any kind of fruit along with lunch always gets a little 5-yr old thumbs up. You can cut a kiwi in half and pack it in a container with a spoon. Bananas, apples and grapes are oldies but goodies. Watermelon, strawberries, raspberries pears, nectarines and peaches are easy to pack too.

Veggies – Baby carrots and snap peas are quick and easy to send for lunch. You can buy them pre-washed so all you need to do is throw them in a baggie and you’re set. You can cut up other veggies like celery, cucumber, cauliflower, or even broccoli if your kids like them like mine do. You can send a small container of ranch dressing if they like to have a dip with their veggies. If your child isn’t a huge fan of vegetables, here are some ideas to get them to eat more.

Cheese – After you buy a block of cheese, cut half of it into slices and keep it stored in the fridge in a container. You can throw a few slices in a baggie each morning.

Buns – Sandwiches are always a good option for lunch but they take up a lot of space in a small lunchbox so I like to make buns instead. A whole wheat bun with some cheese and ham is what I send. My mom used to make me peanut butter and jam sandwiches when I was in school but since allergies seem to have increased, schools now ask parents not to send anything that contains nuts. (Not to mention a PB&J sandwich isn’t the most nutritious choice.)

Pizza – We like to make pizza from scratch since it’s cost efficient and a lot healthier than delivery. My kids love to eat cold leftover pizza the next day so a slice of pizza once in awhile would be a nice change from buns or sandwiches every day.

Wraps – A tortilla wrap can be rolled around just about anything to make a tasty lunch. If you have some leftover chicken or turkey, add some lettuce and a bit of cheese in. If you don’t have leftover meat, some canned tuna or salmon also works.

Beverage – My kids don’t drink juice very often so I have a reusable drink container that I send with filtered water. The school also has a milk program and I think most other schools do as well.

Dessert – Around here, fruit is dessert, not cake and ice cream. I have some fruit cups, apple sauce, etc. that I send with my daughter. Homemade pudding is a nice treat occasionally. When we’re running low on fruit, I pack a little bag of crackers like Wheat Thins or Triscuits.

You know when your child comes home with an empty lunchbox that you packed a winner. Either that or they traded someone else’s lunch for their lunch. :)

September 11, 2009   1 Comment

Teaching Babies To Read

Here’s an interesting guest post about teaching your baby to read. I’ve been using many of these tips with my own kids and the result is nothing short of amazing. Enjoy!

Can preverbal babies learn to read? And if so, how?

From as young as 4 months old, babies are capable of learning to read – and they do it by learning whole words. Whole-word reading describes the process whereby a person recognizes a word at sight, without sounding out the individual letters.

According to Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, coauthors of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, “[Whole-word reading] is simply memorization and has little merit beyond the performance.”

This conclusion is drawn at the end of an anecdote from Hirsh-Pasek about a reading toddler. The child read a set of words shown to him by his mother, but says Hirsh-Pasek, when asked to read some different words, he became flustered. Write the authors, “He had learned how to memorize words, perhaps from their shape… but he had not really learned to read.”

Critics of early reading tend to pit whole-word reading (“bad”) against phonics-based reading (“good”). Hearing their arguments, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a case of either-or. In reality, almost all children learning to read depend on both strategies. Whole-word reading is easier, so most children learn their first words this way, before they know the sounds letters make. Many kindergarten and lower-grade-school teachers teach some sight words before starting on phonics.

When children learn to read whole words at what is considered a normal age, no one criticizes them. But some people find it unsettling, “wrong” even, for a very young child to be reading – and so they attack the method in order to prove that the child isn’t “really” reading.

Whole-word reading is just the first rung on the ladder of learning to read – as we can see from an analogy drawn by another early-learning critic, David Elkind. Elkind compares reading whole words to understanding the concept of nominal numbers (numbers as names) – the first rung on the ladder of learning math. He compares reading phonetically (sounding out words) to understanding the concept of ordinal numbers (numbers as part of a sequence), and reading phonemically (recognizing that letters can be pronounced differently depending on context) to understanding the concept of interval numbers (numbers as abstract concepts).

There comes a point at which reading cannot progress without phonics – there are just too many words to rely on memory alone. Children must move on to phonetic reading followed by phonemic reading in order to become successful readers. But just as we do not criticize a child who reads phonetically but has not graduated to the phonemic level, so it seems unfair to pour scorn on the abilities of a toddler who simply has not graduated from whole-word reading to phonetic reading.

Another concern expressed by critics of whole-word reading is that children will not know to read words from left to right. When choosing a TV- or computer-based program for your child, be sure to select one that includes an arrow for indicating the direction of reading. If you’re using cards or books, it’s a good idea to run your finger under each syllable of every word as you read out words.

Amazingly, babies taught to read whole words often begin figuring out the rules of phonics for themselves – in much the same way as babies learning their native language spontaneously figure out grammar rules. A new teaching-reading system for babies includes a specially designed phonics program aimed at facilitating the young child’s natural ability at decoding words. More proof that when it comes to teaching reading, it’s not a case of either-or – you can teach whole words and phonics right from the get-go.

Please visit BrillKids.com to learn more about teaching your baby to read.

August 13, 2009   2 Comments

Wednesday's Q – Would you pierce your baby's ears?

I remember hearing from a few different moms that their babies had spent the day with a friend or close relative only to come back with pierced ears. In all cases, the mom was not aware that this was going to happen. Also in all cases, the mom was furious.

It reminds me of the episode in “Friends” where Rachel’s sister took her daughter and got her ears pierced and Rachel was extremely upset.

I know that if someone took my daughter for the day and brought her home with pierced ears, I would flip out.

When I saw this question brought up in the September issue of Today’s Parent magazine, I thought it would be fun to find out from Baby Tips readers what they thought of it as well.

Would you pierce your baby’s ears?

Would you pierce your baby's ears?

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August 5, 2009   2 Comments

Cool off hot food quick for your toddler

baby-foodIf your toddler loves to eat anything hot like oatmeal or soup, then you know how time consuming it can be to cool it off so they can eat it safely.

If you have an ice cube tray, freeze milk in it and keep it in your freezer so you can throw a frozen milk cube in the oatmeal to cool it off quickly.

If you don’t have time to freeze milk for hot cereal, toss in some frozen berries if you have them. My kids love eating frozen blueberries in their oatmeal.

For soup, frozen vegetables works wonders. It cools it off fast plus you can sneak in some extra veggies.

July 11, 2009   No Comments

Having a spot o' tea to develop skills

If you’re looking for something a little different for your child to do today, try having a tea party! This is often something I forget about, but both my kids love it.

Tea parties can provide hours of fun, literally. I set my kids up at the table with their cups and teapot, give them a bit of water, and all I hear is giggling for the next two hours.

Every once in awhile I’m required to have a sip of the delicious tea. :)

It may get pretty messy, but if you just use water, it’s easy to wipe up. You can even plan ahead and lay down a few towels to soak up any spills.

The important thing is that playing “tea party” is a great way for kids to develop their fine-motor skills by pouring the water into the cups and back into the tea pot. I think that’s worth a little spilled water!

For more fun activities, check out this article I wrote:

Fun and Free Educational Activities For Your Toddler

July 6, 2009   No Comments

When regular safety latches don't cut it

If your baby is anything like mine were, they are extremely determined!

Both my children were very curious and had to touch and get into absolutely everything in sight.

The standard child safety mechanisms did not work at all. My son figured out the fridge safety lock before I could even put it on.

In this case, it’s time to get creative.

I remember my grandma putting wooden spoons through door handles to keep us out of the pantry. It worked too!

In my old home, the stairs doing down to the landing were at an angle which made it impossible to put up a baby gate. I had to lay a chair on its side to keep my son from falling down while he was in the crawling stage.

When my daughter was learning that she could climb on chairs to reach high items, we had to tie the chairs to the table with a rope. With a rope!

While wooden spoons stuck through cupboard doors and chairs laying on their side and ropes tied around the kitchen table are not exactly “designer” and attract weird looks from visitors, they work!

Don’t forget that these stages pass quickly and you’ll soon be looking for even more child-proof ways to keep your house from being destroyed or protecting your baby from injury.

Babies have a magical ability to move at lightning speed while you have your back turned, and contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually have eyes in the back of our heads.

You’ll also have to accept that you need to keep your eyes on baby at all times. Running to the bathroom for a quick tinkle was out of the question for me. I had to take my babies in there with me every time.

Now I can’t keep them out of the bathroom even though I beg them to give me some privacy, but I do remember those days of bathrooms full of babies fondly.

Even though you might be going insane trying to keep your own baby out of everything, don’t forget to savour those precious moments of their childhood because they don’t last long.

July 1, 2009   No Comments

Taking monthly pictures of your new baby

My little cutie patootie the day after he was bornI always meant to take pictures of my babies each month to have as keepsakes, but somehow that never happened. I really regret not doing that so I’m going to make sure I shape up and take pictures with the next ones.

Nicole Balch, a blogger with amazing taste (read her blog and you’ll see) does this with her new baby. Check out the adorable-ness of baby photos. She even made those ribbons herself. How sweet!

June 30, 2009   No Comments

Personalized baby gifts

When I attend baby showers or someone in the family has a new baby, I’m always trying to think of some really cool gift ideas to give them.

I remember receiving a lot of onesies, bibs and diapers when my children were born, but how cute would personalized baby clothes be? Adorable!

When I was born, my dad had shirts made with my picture and name on them. I still have mine and I always will. They’re great gift ideas because they’re practical AND they become keepsakes. Plus they’re just so freakin’ CUTE!

I guarantee you that if you gave a new mom a personalized baby outfit at her baby shower, you’re going to get a room full of awwwwws. Not that it’s a competition to see who gives the best gift….but you know, sometimes it is, hee hee :)

June 18, 2009   No Comments

Tips on Buying Jewelery for A Baby or Child?

Many people wonder what age is okay for a baby or child to wear jewelry. Although there are no hard and fast rules about when the child should wear jewelry, the decision should be left to the gift giver and the child’s parents. When considering buying a gift of jewelry for a child, consider the following:

  • Will the child be responsible enough to wear jewelry? Could the jewelry be lost? Will the child possibly flush it down the toilet, even by accident?
  • Are there any allergies to gold or silver?
  • Is there a choking hazard? It is important to know what to be aware of when buying jewery for a child.
  • What type of jewelry would be best for the child? Necklace, bracelet, ring, earrings?

Ask Yourself a Few Questions

These are just a few questions to ask yourself before you invest in baby jewelry. It is always a good idea to talk to the child’s parents first, as well. After the parents tell you okay consider the following tips for buying the perfect baby jewelry gift:

  • What is the child’s birth stone? Birthstone jewelry is always a hit!
  • If you are buying for a little girl, consider small stud earrings.

You could select little gold beads or gold ball earrings, small diamond studs, or perhaps small pearl earrings. (Make sure she has pierced ears). If you are buying for a boy, and you want to buy him a ring, make sure the ring is at least a little bit masculine. You probably don’t want to get him a ring with a stone or a lot of sparkle.

Also, for an older boy you may want to consider buying him a necklace. A necklace will never go out of style. Plus, he will be less likely to lose a necklace, and he can always grow into it. Also, with a necklace, you can add a charm. Does he like basketball or baseball? Buy him a charm to go with his favorite sport.

Talk To the Parents

Are you considering a star or a cross? Talk to the baby’s parents. You may want to know their wishes or their religious affiliation. You don’t want to be caught off guard giving a cross to someone of the Jewish faith.

Something else to definitely consider when buying jewelry for a baby is to perhaps select a matching piece for mommy. It would easily be a nice touch, and it would become a keepsake for both mother and child. Matching jewelry for mommy and baby can certainly help out the new daddy.

Many men have depended on gifts of jewelry to make their women happy. So, it stands to reason that a new daddy will really score some points if he brings two pieces of jewelry to the hospital – one for his wife and one for his new baby. When mommy has her first portrait taken with the new baby, imagine how thrilled she will be to see the matching pieces.

There is nothing more sentimental than the gift of jewelry for a tiny loved one. And remember, you can buy children’s jewelry for special occasions such as the little one’s first steps, first word or first haircut.

Baby Bracelets

Usually when speaking of baby jewelry, bracelets are what come to mind. That is because they are the safest jewelry for a baby. There is much less of a choking hazard. Many baby bracelets are very plain and can often be engraved with the child’s name.

Other times, you’ll see baby bracelets with little blocks on them that spell out the name. I have heard that some childtren have actually learned how to spell their name, because they continually saw it on their bracelet. Now that is a keepsake worth remembering.

Some bracelets come with charms that rattle. These types of charm bracelets often cause concerns for the mother. They are worried the baby will put the bracelet in its mouth. This too, could cause a choking hazard.

Another concern is that the baby may be sensitive to the silver or gold. Although most baby jewelry is considered hypo-allergenic, if your little one is wearing any kind of jewelry, you will want to keep your eye on them just in case there is some sensitivity to the metal.

Also keep in mind that charms that come with a bracelet are normally tightly woven in, so the child cannot bite it off. Infant jewelry also has very safe clasps. Pins or sharp latches are definitely out.


Sometimes a family member will aquire jewelry that is considered an heirloom and it will be passed down from generation to generation. Another neat idea is something that has been popular for many years.

You buy the brand-new baby girl a necklace with a simple gold bead or pearl on it. Then for each special occassion such as birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Baptism or other religious occasions, you add another gold bead or pearl. By the time she is all grown up, she has a fully beaded necklace or a lovely pearl necklace. She can wear this for years to come and throughout her adult life.

Toddler Jewelry

Besides infant jewelry you may get excited to buy for a toddler. This age group is usually interested in some type of jewelry and body adornment. Little girls generally love to wear hair clips and barrettes, so if you are considering jewelry, I am sure it will be a big hit. And they are more interested in fun pieces.

Toddlers might like sports jewelry such as we spoke of earlier for older boys. Or they may enjoy something fun and sparkly. Often times mom and dad will let their child pick out their own jewelry, and this helps them appreciate it more and longer.

One popular style of jewelry for toddlers is ladybug pieces. Ladybugs are symbols for good luck. Although a child’s first jewelry piece may be a simple gold band or bracelet, as the child gets older, you will want to consider adding to their jewelry collection.

Ladybugs are very cute and boys and girls alike will love to wear a jewelry piece with a little bug on it. I am not quite sure what the fascination is, but I have seen many children wear ladybug jewelry. You can purchase jewelry for all age groups at your favorite retailer, or you can shop at various online jewelry sites.

About the Author

Sara was a Jewelry sales profesional for 25 years. She now writes for Glitter Secrets.com and other sites to inform readers on buying jewelry.

June 16, 2009   No Comments