Support the Reading Habit

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Now that school is out, encourage your children to read this summer. Perhaps you can set up a special place for reading and writing in your home. This well-lit spot with lots of books available can become your child’s favorite spot.

Visit the library often and help your child have their own library card. Let them pick out their own books.

Be a good role model for your child. By spending quiet time yourself reading, you are demonstrating its value to your child.

Consider giving books to children as presents and as recognition for special achievements. Birthdays and special events are perfect times to give a child a new book.

Let kids sail off to far-away places this summer through books. Do you remember your favorite books from childhood?

Best to you and your family,

Lee Jackson

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Your Health is Under Attack

The video, “Hungry for Change” will forever change the way you look at yourself, the way you look at food, and your concept of  diet and good health. If possible this week-end, set aside time to watch this free video at It may well be the most influential video you will see. It may even be the turning point in your life.

Get ready for an “a-ha” week-end,

Lee Jackson
Nutrition advocate and author

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Eating “Real Food” and Making Healthier Choices for Kids

Percent of people per state with a BMI greater...

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More than one in six children and teenagers are obese according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  All we need do is look around and see the re-sizing of America.

There was to have been a voluntary ban on fast food ads on TV as these were said to be helping super-size young children. Has this happened? And if it did happen, would it help matters?

According to a group of physicians, voluntary guidelines have not made a difference in reducing ads placed on TV. They say it’s time to get tougher with the food industry about not advertising junk food to young children. The assumption here is that young children often can’t tell the difference between ads and programming. If fast food ads were banned, they say, this could decrease obesity and overweight by 17 percent.

Looking at the bigger picture, we can see it is not only the food industry’s problem. It is one for all families. Studies show that one in five children (ages 2 to 5) is overweight or obese before entering kindergarten. These children aren’t even in school yet so the school lunch program can’t be at fault. So obesity isn’t only the school lunch problem.

That places much of the responsibility on parents and caregivers of young children. They are the ones in charge of the food that goes on the table. And for families with small children, they are in charge of what their children eat. They need to know about healthy eating and portion size for themselves as well as their children.

With all the media talk and writing about good nutrition, you would believe everyone would be well aware of what constitutes healthy eating. But I still find it hard when I go to the grocery store to see all the processed food, soda pop, and other less-than-desirable food going into grocery carts, often, too, of those who need it the least. I often wonder whether anyone is eating “real food”.

Parents – do you know what your children are eating?

To the good health of you and your family

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and nutrition advocate and author

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Happy Independence Day Holiday!

American flag
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I’m proud to be an American. For all our faults and shortcomings, I feel blessed to live in a country free from tyranny and persecution. I value the freedoms we hold dear. May God continue to bless America, the home of the brave and the land of the free.

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Home and family living coach

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Children’s Activities for Snow Days

You say, “What will children do again today since we have another snow-day?” This has been a recurring question and theme these last winter days – at least here in the Midwest, as I am sure in many parts of our country. The children, and you, are probably tired of looking out the window at the snow coming down, or watching the birds at the bird feeder. Some may have even ventured outside, but I wouldn’t recommend it if your area is as cold as it here in Missouri.

Having something to do can be a problem, or a fun challenge, especially if the “vacation” has been extended. I always found it helpful to pack away some toys, especially around Christmas time, and then when the novelty of holiday toys had worn thin, it was time to bring out the long forgotten ones.

Hopefully, video games or TV are not the prime activity during these days. We hear so much about the sedentary life style of all age groups, including children. It’s important to plan some active games – to get out and move. This is also one way to stay warm! Maybe you and your child or children can take turns using the exercise equipment you have acquired. Get out the jump rope and see how many turns can be made before the timer goes off. Or jump on one foot. Turn on some music. Kids love to dance to music.

There are quieter activities, too, such as reading, drawing, coloring, and playing board games. Kids like to be creative. This can be seen in their dress-up play and their manipulative play. Cooking is always a good activity to engage in. They love to pour and measure and taste.

For an activity that uses food products, but is not to be eaten, is to make play dough. Here is the recipe from Amy Houts’ new cookbook, Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities.

Play Dough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Food coloring

Children can help measure and pour ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan. use a few drops of any food coloring you desire.

An adult can place pan over medium heat, cooking and stirring until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from pan and let COOL. (This is important, as children will want to dig right in – it is so appealing, but so hot!) Keep in an airtight container in a cool place. This play dough stays soft and pliable.

Keep those creative juices flowing and help your kids have some fun, safely, while you are all snow-bound. They may not remember how cold it was, but they remember how you played with them and how much fun they had when the snow came down.

Lee Jackson
Books for home and family

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Get Your Kids Off the Sugar Wagon

Most parents will tell you they know when their child overdoses on candies, cookies, and sweetened sodas. Their once-lovable, mild-mannered child becomes that exasperating, rawdy, hyperactive brat.

Does sugar cause hyperactivity? There is still much debate over this, but those who live with, or work with children, will tell you that sugar has been the culprit.

Helping your child cut back, or eliminate, sugar can be one of the best things you can do for your child. This can help him or her do better in school, have more friends, possibly sleep better, and certainly be much more pleasant to be around.

But what is a parent to do?

  • Get rid of the sodas! If it’s not around, it will not be a temptation.
  • Get rid of the cookies, candies, and ice creams. Some people can cut down gradually. For others it needs to be “cold turkey”.
  • Set a good example. Cut back or eliminate your own consumption of sugar.
  • Reinforce good behavior. Remember to praise and reinforce your children for choosing wholesome, healthy foods over others.

But what will take its place, you ask?

Keep lots of fresh fruits and vegetables ready to eat.

Have water in pitchers handy. Tell them they need to stay “hydrated”. That sounds like what an athlete might say – it sounds better than saying, “drink lots of water”.

Encourage your children to get outside and exercise. Playing video games or watching TV doesn’t require much action. Help them create healthy habits from a young age.

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How to Prevent Kitchen Accidents

Edison Edicraft toaster, ca.Image via Wikipedia

Here is a list of potentially dangerous home situations. I suggest you discuss them with another member of your family. What would you do if any of the following occurred in your home?

Jennifer has just broken a glass in the sink. How should she clean it up?

Halley just came home from the store with some cleanser and bleach. Where should they be stored?

Meridee is washing dishes but wants to go and turn on TV. What should she do first and why?

She also splashed some water on the floor. What should she do?

Juluis has a pizza in the oven and is ready to take it out. What should he do first? Then what? Then?

Matt is tall but not tall enough to reach a high shelf for a plate. Other than call for help, what should he do?

B.J. was making some toast and a slice got caught in the toaster. What should B.J. do?

Hope you’ve come up with  safe ways of handling these situations.

Here’s to working safely in the kitchen,

Chef Crombie

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Sell Spirit and Hope

The South Park character Chef.Image via Wikipedia

Instead of despair and frustration, think and talk about possibilities and hope. Hope for the future and hope our lives get better. These dismal days will not last forever. After the storms, the sun will shine.

Good things continue to happen to us, our friends call us, there is food on the table. We are blessed with what we have. It may not be all we want, but it is what we have, and for that we are truly thankful.

Chef Crombie

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