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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

CDC: Doctors prescribing fewer antibiotics to kids
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Thursday found that since the early 1990s, there’s been a 10 percent drop in prescription rates for antibiotics for kids 14 and younger.

Do Parents Put Too Much Pressure on Students?
In China, 68 percent of adults think parents pressure students too much, and just 11 percent think they don’t push them hard enough.

Domestic worker bill sparks outrage from parents
A bill making its way through the state legislature is supposed to
protect the rights of domestic workers, but critics said it will make it tough for parents to hire a babysitter.

Is “diet” a dirty word?
Here’s an update on the earlier post today about the controversial, new book (not yet available) “Maggie Goes on a Diet,” (Alohan, 2011) and how many experts, including the one quoted extensively in the previous post, believe that encouraging overweight children to diet can be psychologically damaging.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Generation Limbo: Waiting It Out
Meet the members of what might be called Generation Limbo: highly educated 20-somethings, whose careers are stuck in neutral, coping with dead-end jobs and listless prospects.

Montgomery County debates merits of teen curfew
Montgomery’s top elected official, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), has proposed a countywide curfew for ages 17 and younger: midnight on weekends, 11 p.m. during the week.

IUDs: The best contraception option
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are the most effective form of reversible contraception available and safe for most women, say recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Colleges look hard to replace earmarks
Dozens of Massachusetts colleges are scrambling to find alternate ways to pay for research programs, campus construction, and other initiatives to make up for the loss of federal money once delivered through so-called earmarks.

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Tips and Tricks for Pesky Ticks

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Have a child who loves to play outdoors? Then take note of these updated facts and tips about an ever-present summer pest: the tick.

Over the last several years, tick bites and cases of tick-related diseases have steadily risen in the United States. The Washington Post blogged that Lyme disease may be the fastest growing disease in the world, while the New York Times described the dangers of babesiosis, a new malaria-like sickness transmitted via ticks.

But its summertime and children want to enjoy the warm months outside. So how do you prevent tick bites and stop the chances of illness? Follow the steps below!

* Understand the Danger – Warm months (usually April to September) are considered prime time for these tiny bugs. They thrive in humidity and wooded areas, so know the possibility of tick bites exists when camping or playing outdoors. Also, avoid brushing against plants when walking near trees or bushes.
* Wear Bug Repellent – Use products that have 20 percent or more DEET in them for your skin or clothing, and repellent that contains permethrin for clothing, backpacks, or camping equipment. Remember to reapply DEET-based products after several hours or following exposure to water.
* Sleeves, Pants, and Socks – Try to wear light colored clothing, with long sleeves, pants, and foot coverage. The less skin shown, the less chance of a bite. If steamy weather prevents this option, remember to perform a thorough tick check, since you are at a higher risk for exposure.
* Check the Sweet Spots – Ticks often hide in places less obvious on the body, so remember to look under the arms, around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, and always search your hair. It’s also smart to shower soon after you’re back inside, and go through your dirty clothes to see if you’ve carried any back home.
* Protect the Backyard – Spray your backyard with a bug prevention agent in springtime to help eliminate ticks. Don’t put your play areas in wooded environments, and use rocks, gravel, or wood chips to separate trees and vegetation from play areas. This keeps ticks more or less in one spot, opposed to throughout the whole yard.
* Don’t Forget the Pets! – Dogs and cats can track in all sorts of creatures, so be prepared to shell out a little cash for tick prevention. Buy a tick repellent collar or speak to your veterinarian about the best possible solution for your furry friends.

Know any other tips about ticks? Share your comments below!
All tips based off of information from the Center for Disease Control and the “Stop Ticks on People” organization.

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No “Boys” or “Girls” At Swedish Preschool

Monday, June 27th, 2011

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Many of you read and responded to our previous blog post about a Canadian couple raising their child “genderless.” Yesterday another report brought the gender-neutral trend back into the media spotlight.

So you give toy trucks to boys and baby dolls to girls, right?

That’s what we typically buy for young children, often unconsciously aligning with the unspoken gender norms that form our world. It’s just second nature.

But inside the Swedish “Egalia” preschool, children play with toys and read books specifically designed to slash gender stereotypes. Even language, like the pronouns for “him” and “her” have been altered, with students addressing each other as “friends” instead of girls or boys.

It can be assumed you won’t find any Disney princesses in this establishment.

Some parents are thrilled at the prospect of having a child unaltered by     what they believe are society’s biased beliefs. Others are unsupportive of the taxpayer-funded preschool, located in a liberal district of Stockholm.

But what’s wrong with boys who play with trucks and girls who play with dolls?

One article quotes a teacher explaining that girls are expected to be “nice and pretty” while boys are meant to be “manly, rough and outgoing.” The Egalia preschool is supposed to give children a chance to find their own sexuality, without the reinforcement of stereotypes. Some also commented that they have no problem with stereotypical behavior exhibited in children, as long as their actions are treated with equality.

But what do you think? Do you believe Egalia is setting children up for real-life or has this school gone too far?

Photo by Jim Franco

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I Want to Eat… Dirt?

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

I want to eat... dirt?So you’re pregnant and have an intense craving.

You would love to munch on something refreshing, and full of minerals. But you really want this snack  to be natural tasting… or maybe dark, like chocolate, but not quite the same… and crunchy.

Wait.

Are you craving dirt?

Don’t be alarmed. Research shows you are not the only one longing for this earthy compound. Also known as geophagy, munching on dirt and clay has been documented throughout history as a way of regaining minerals, particularly in tropic environments. Soil often holds high levels of iron, copper, and calcium, all of which are hugely important during pregnancy.

While this craving is less publicized in the United States, women here on our soil (and  apparently eating our soil) still admit to wanting a dirty, little snack on occasion. According to some reports, this was most common in the South and throughout other warm states.

Recent studies have also acknowledged the possible benefits of this atypical behavior. Uncontaminated dirt and clay may build the immune system and even provide necessary vitamins to the consumer.

But before you grab a bowl of dirt from the backyard, and curl up on the couch with a big spoon, remember that most studies are still in their infancy stages. Though geophagy is not a new concept, we don’t recommend trying it – the idea of eating dirt is definitely unconventional in mainstream medicine practices.

What do you think? Is this research completely bizarre, or have you and your friends ever experienced these cravings?

[Photo credit: Jim Franco]

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A New Spin on Summer Snacks

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

When the weather turns warm, certain seasonal foods pop into our minds for picnic lunch ideas or evening cookout dishes.  Chicken salad and pasta salad are classic hit recipes with most families, and can be quick, delicious entrées to whip up. But sometimes, particularly on those scorching hot days, these mayo-based salads can seem too heavy and saturated with calories.

Here are two new ways to enjoy the summer dishes, but with a lighter and healthier approach. By mixing in hummus instead of mayo for homemade chicken and pasta salads, you can cut a few calories and tantalize your taste buds with new flavors. Give them a try, and let us know what you think!

Hummus Chicken SaladHummus Chicken Salad

Ingredients:
1 Cup Grilled Chicken Breast, Cubed
1 Tablespoon Finely Diced Scallions
2 Tablespoons Diced Celery
2 Tablespoons Diced Red Pepper
1 Tablespoon Water
½ Cup Sabra Hummus
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Yields 2 servings.

Directions: Combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve in a bowl of radicchio as a salad, on a sandwich, wrap, or as an appetizer with veggies, chips or pita.

Basil Pesto Hummus Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
1 lb. Fusilli pasta (cooked according to package instructions)
1 cup pitted kalamata olives, rough chopped
1 cup fennel (2 small bulbs), finely chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped
1  (10 ounce) container of Sabra Basil Pesto Hummus
¾ cup Roasted Red Pepper (1 whole pre-roasted red pepper)
½ cup Chives, minced
1 cup pasta cooking water, reserved
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Fennel fronds for garnish

Serves 4-6 as a main course

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1-cup pasta cooking water.

2. Prepare all of the vegetables.  In a big bowl, toss the vegetables with the Basil Pesto Hummus. Add pasta, and pasta water and stir to combine. Sprinkle with black pepper.

3. Serve at room temperature, drizzle each portion with a little splash of olive oil and sprinkle fennel fronds overtop.

Please note: If this is made a day ahead and refrigerated, add water before serving to achieve a creamier consistency. Also, wait until just before serving to add the olive oil and fennel frond garnish.

Recipes by Colombe Jacobsen

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