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Daily Dose

Elf on the Shelf

1:00 to read

“Tis the season”, and many of the families I care for have gotten out their “Elf on the Shelf” to help keep the season as merry and harmonious as possible. I think “TEOTS” is genius, as it is a fun way to use positive reinforcement during the holidays as behavior modification.  That elf needs to stay around a bit longer…but then it would lose the appeal.  The anticipation of the elf arriving plays a major role don’t you think?  


With the arrival of the elf I get to hear all of the cute family elf stories during the month of Dec. I also noticed that “TEOTS” has some new “gadgets” and outfits to add to the fun, such as a zip line to swing from and suctions boots so he/she can climb up walls. Ingenious right? Surely they will soon have an array of elf outfits so the elf can have some choices to wear during zip lining.


During the last year there was also a lot of discussion about what our children were hearing on the news and during presidential debates etc. It doesn’t matter your political affiliation, children were picking up on a lot of what was going on.  Even children whose parents were paying attention to all of the bullying during the debates and atrocious sound bites on the news by limiting TV and electronics told me that their children still overheard things. They were concerned about the messages that both candidates were sending…especially to children.  


So…when one of my families took out “TEOTS”  their son, who is almost 3, decided it was the year to name him. “Of course you can name your elf they said”.  The next day he announced that the was looking for the elf and asked his mother, “where is Donald Trump?”. She was a bit confused…until he returned holding the the elf and proudly announced, “ I found The Donald”!!


Out of the mouths of babes. More elf stories this month for sure!!



Your Child

Teaching Kids About the Meaning of Memorial Day


For many kids, Memorial Day is just another three-day weekend celebrated with family bar-b-cues, a visit to the lake or pool, watching the latest action movie or any other of the numerous ways people spend the beginning of warm weather and a holiday. This year it falls on May 29th.

What is often lost in the celebrations is the meaning of Memorial Day and why it is an important reminder of sacrifice and service. Talking to your child about the history of Memorial Day and what it stands for can help them learn about the immeasurable cost of the freedoms they enjoy.

The preamble to Memorial Day was Decoration Day, established in 1868 – three years after the Civil War ended. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Local ceremonies were also held across the northern and southern parts of the United States, honoring union and confederate soldiers.  It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May.

In December 2000,  “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” was passed to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance asks all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

Memorial Day doesn’t have to be only a day of remembrance for our veterans, but also a day to think about and celebrate the lives of family and friends that have been lost.

Most children learn why we celebrate Christmas and other religious holidays. They learn early about what the July 4th holiday is all about. Many a child’s first play is the re-enactment of the pilgrims and Native American Indians gathering to share food on Thanksgiving. But Memorial Day is sometimes given a vague description or is scrambled in commercials promoting holiday savings.

Enjoy this 3-day holiday break from the stress of school and work but also take a little time to talk about the meaning of Memorial Day with your child. And perhaps, stop for a moment of silence at 3:00 pm in remembrance of those who have lost their lives because of their service to our country.

Story source:




Happy July 4! Fun Facts for Kids


Happy Birthday America! Here are some fun facts to share with your kids about America’s most personal holiday.

July 4th became the official birthday of the United States in 1776, when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress, was a convention of delegates called together to represent the 13 colonies. It became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution.

The Declaration of Independence was actually a letter to King George of England written by Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson was just thirty-three years old at the time and the youngest member of Congress. He would later become the 3rd President of the United States, from 1801 to 1809.

In his letter to King George, Jefferson explained why America was declaring its independence with a list of charges against the king. Colonists were angry that they had to pay taxes to the British government, but they had no voice or vote in the decisions that affected their lives.

56 men representing the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence. The signing of this document marked the beginning of an all-out war against the British government for freedom.

The first signature on the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock, a wealthy merchant and President of the Continental Congress. He later served as the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Three U.S. presidents have died on July 4th and one was actually born on this prestigious date. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826. James Monroe died on July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.

It wasn’t until 1870 that Congress made the 4th of July a federal holiday. At first, it was an unpaid holiday for federal employees but Congress changed it to a paid federal holiday in 1941.

The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804. The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by explorers, Lewis and Clark in 1805.

The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was Edward Rutledge, aged 26, and a delegate from South Carolina to the Continental Congress. The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, aged 70, and one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Today, July 4th is celebrated throughout the country with patriotic parades, fireworks, picnics, concerts and family gatherings as many citizens fly the American flag in support of our many wartime heroes and our independence.

Have a fabulous 4th!

Story source:


Your Child

Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when family and friends gather to share good food, stories and memories together. Many folks enjoy a game of touch football and the always-pleasant Macy’s day parade as well. Most of all, it’s a day of giving thanks for all the blessings and challenges we each face throughout the year- knowing we face them side-by-side.

For kids, the message of Thanksgiving may not have quite sunk in yet, but there are several ways you can help teach your children how Thanksgiving and gratitude go hand-in-hand.

Several experts offer these tips for putting the thanks in Thanksgiving:

Playing the gratitude game!   Kids love games and this is one that can make them think about the things they are thankful for and have fun at the same time. Lennay Chapman, author of "Secrets to a Rockin Life”, has created "The Gratitude Game."  It’s pretty simple and will keep the kids on their toes! The game needs ideally three or more players and one person to serve as a timekeeper. Have everyone sit in a circle with one person starting off saying, "I am grateful for [fill in the blank]." That person has five seconds to come up with something for which they are thankful, whether it be their favorite stuffed animal, food or activity. As soon as the first person finishes, the person to the left goes. "The key is to say what you are grateful for without repeating, and without pausing for more than five seconds," says Chapman.

Create a Thankfulness jar! Robert Nickell, a well known syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and family oriented websites as well as creator of Daddy & Company, suggests creating a “Thankfulness Jar” for the family.

Have the children decorate a jar or basket, placing a notepad and pen next to it. Leave the jar out the week before Thanksgiving and have family members and caregivers write down things for which they are thankful. They can be big things, or small little gestures. This gives people time to think about it and write heartfelt answers. During the Thanksgiving meal, have the children pull them out and read them during dinner.

“Thankful Turkey” decorations! Another creative idea Nickell shares are "Thankful Turkeys." "Draw the old-fashioned hand turkey or be more elaborate, but have children write something they are thankful for on each of the turkey's feathers," he suggests. They can be used as place cards or decorations on Thanksgiving Day.

Thankful Writing! Have each child write thank you notes to every family member who comes to share the meal with your family. In those thank you notes, have the children specifically focus on what it is about that family member that makes them so special.

It’s show time! What better day than Thanksgiving (with a captive audience) to put on a play or read poems? Encourage children to collaborate and put together a Thanksgiving show or write a Thanksgiving poem about thankfulness. Have them perform the show or read their poems after dinner.

Be an example! Another great way to teach children gratitude is to model thankfulness. Volunteer with your children at places where, not only can they help others, but see how fortunate they are.

Create a family, “giving fund” so that everyone chips in, and then uses the money to donate to a charity.

Children are often grateful, they just don’t have a name for the feeling they are experiencing.

These simple tips are fun ways to give gratitude a name and expression.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Story source: Alaina Sullivan,

Daily Dose

Don't Let Christmas Chaos Overwhelm You

It is the night before Christmas and I think I am feeling like many mothers (and fathers) out there, overwhelmed!! Each year I try to plan to have a “calm” holiday with an organized gift list, and everything wrapped early so that our family may spend quiet time together today in anticipation of Christmas.

Why is it that I have failed again? Not only are we in the midst of Christmas preparations, but we also have a wedding in just seven days. If you could see my “office” right now, you would be surprised that I could even blog today. The top of my desk is strewn with journal articles, rehearsal dinner seating charts, year-end CME (continuing medical education), and lots of ribbons and gift enclosure tags. I am not even sure what goes with what; I hope I don’t send in the seating chart for my CME hours! I am also decorating the mantels with fresh garland, arranging flowers and trying to keep the new puppy (old post) from eating the Christmas ornaments and the fresh greenery. While I am doing all of that I must tell you that the sons are either asleep, watching TV or working from home and “cannot be bothered”. It is at this time each year that I know I have “FAILED” as a mother. The visions of family singing carols beside the tree that they helped decorate, are a figment of my imagination. This is when I think it must be different if you have daughters. Do girls rally to help their mothers with the preparation of Christmas? Do they come and ask to help decorate the tree (if they are older than eight), or are they dying to learn to tie a bow on a gift? About this time while I am in a major reflective mood, a precious patient of mine who is now a freshman in college, drops by to deliver a coffee cake and at the same time admires the berries that I am using to decorate. It must be a different world with girls. So, on this Christmas Eve, I wish that I could tell you “all is calm”, but I think I still have a lot to get done before I sleep tonight. I am sure that mothers and fathers everywhere feel the same way, and that is what is wonderful about parenting. We are all in this together. By Christmas morning it will somehow all get finished and the family will get to gather together to open gifts, have Christmas breakfast or lunch or dinner and hopefully appreciate how fortunate we are to be a family. For those precious moments it does seem “perfect’ and I am thankful for that. I will take many pictures to remember these times together. I wish you a Christmas morning of memories after a chaotic week.  Merry Christmas.

Daily Dose

Accidents Can Happen Any Time, Even on Holidays

Well, Thanksgiving evening and I am going to write really quickly about “normal” family days.

As everyone knows, we have an approaching wedding and we now have a son who “does” two Thanksgiving events with soon to be in-laws. The eldest son was nice enough to invite his younger brother to join him for drive to the country for Thanksgiving lunch and some “shooting” on the ranch. While they headed out for Thanksgiving lunch, I was at home preparing Thanksgiving dinner for our side of the family. Perfect day!! So… about mid-afternoon we get a phone call from eldest son. “Hi Mom, everyone is okay”, but the youngest has had an accident and has lacerated his brow while at the ranch and it looks like it needs some stitches”. The youngest has also previously had a pretty serious dog bite to his face about 8 years ago, and still has scars to show for it. This time it is in his brow line and it is from the “scope” on the rifle. Can you tell that we are not a hunting family? Of course I am hugely relieved that he is OK, they are going to stay and eat lunch, have put ice and a “butterfly” on it, and will be home in several hours. I continue to cook while calling all of my doctor friends, and forwarding them a picture of his injury, (what did we do before emails and phones with cameras?) So now, while I thought I would sit down and blog on a topical subject, I am actually clearing the table, and heading to the plastic surgeons to get the “baby” son’s face stitched. This whole afternoon actually makes me reflect on how fortunate we are that he only needs stitches, and how many accidents “lurk” around every corner. I am thankful for good friends, and good doctors.  He will be fine, and we will all sit down for dessert after we get back. I hope everyone has had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. Next week back to business!  I guess I will get to take out the stitches! That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again soon.


Labor Day History for Kids


For younger Americans, Labor Day signals the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. Communities, families and friends often celebrate with parades, parties and cookouts.  Many children and young adults don’t know the significance of Labor Day and how it came to be. Here’s a brief history that can help explain this national holiday to youngsters.

Labor Day is also known as the “workingperson’s holiday.” That’s because it was created to celebrate and honor hard working Americans that helped build this great country.

So, how did Labor Day come to be? It began in the 19th century.

During the second “Industrial Revolution” America was experiencing an explosion of new and exciting ideas and inventions. In the late 1800s lots of people from rural areas and farms, as well immigrants from other countries, moved into the cities looking for work. This population explosion completely altered the landscape of the American city.

One of the most historical inventions was the creation of the assembly line – a way for workers to make more products quicker and cheaper.  Another major change was in transportation. The steam engine allowed trains to carry products and passengers faster and farther than ever before. Coal became the primary source of power to move the train engines, heat buildings and generate electricity. With an abundance of people looking for jobs, factory and mine owners had plenty of willing workers to choose from. While this may have been good for the owners, it was not so good for the workers.

During these times, many people labored very long hours, with little pay, in unsafe factories and mines to produce the products needed. Even children as young as six years old worked all day in the same factories and mines and made even less money than the adults. Their jobs were physically and mentally hard as well as dangerous.

As conditions worsened, the workers decided they needed better and safer places to work, higher wages and an age limit on who could be hired. They formed groups known as unions to help make this happen. Sometimes the union workers would hold marches and protests to complain about the bad conditions and low pay. It wasn’t long before unions grew in membership and spread to different trades (or jobs) around the country.

To accomplish the changes the unions wanted, members organized strikes, protests and rallies. Some of the factory, companies and mine owners fought against the unions by firing the members, bringing in new workers and hiring people that would attack the protesters. On several occasions, police officers were involved in breaking up the protests or removing union workers. Sometimes the protests and strikes became very violent and people lost their lives or were severely injured. It was a very difficult time for people standing up for the right to work in a safe place, for a reasonable amount of time and to be paid an honest wage.

On September 5, 1882, almost 10,000 workers marched to Union Square in New York City marking the first unofficial Labor Day parade in U.S history.

Every year after that, this celebration of workers became more popular in other parts of the United States. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to pass a law making Labor Day a holiday. The same year, other states such as Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York also began passing laws recognizing Labor Day as a holiday.

Seven years later, in 1894, Congress passed an act that made Labor Day a national holiday. From that time till now, the first Monday of September is dedicated to celebrating the bravery and tenacity of American workers.

Happy Labor Day from the KidsDr!



Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips


Thanksgiving dinner is one of the largest meals prepared every year. We all know the pressure that comes with getting it “just right.”  Whether you’re a seasoned pro or tackling your first Thanksgiving meal, has some great tips for making sure your meal is not only delish but safe to serve as well!

·      Check label for freshness: Temperature labels show if the bird is fresh or frozen. If you plan to serve a fresh turkey, purchase it no more than two days before Thanksgiving.

·      Purchase two thermometers:  One is a refrigerator thermometer to ensure the turkey is stored at 40 °F or slightly below and the other is a food thermometer,   to make sure the cooked turkey reaches a safe 165 °F.  Checking the food thermometer to see if the turkey is completely cooked is critical for making sure you don’t have a turkey that looks done, but is raw in the center. It’s happened to just about everyone at one time or another! Check the turkey’s temperature by inserting the thermometer in three places: the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the thigh, and the innermost part of the wing. Another type of food thermometer is one that is oven safe and can be inserted into the turkey before you place it in the oven. Place the probe from the top of the turkey (near the neck cavity) horizontally to the deepest part of the breast; making sure it's not touching the bone.

·      Thawing a frozen turkey: Before a frozen turkey can be cooked, it needs to thaw. To thaw by refrigerator: Plan ahead - allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below. Place the turkey in a container to prevent the juices from dripping on other foods or shelf. Cold water thawing: Allow about 30 minutes per pound. First be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product. Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. This can take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours depending on how many pounds the turkey weighs. Microwave thawing: This one is tricky but convenient. Since microwaves heat at different temperatures, follow the microwave oven manufacturer's instruction when defrosting a turkey. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving. If you’re not sure about the amount of time – call the manufacturer or check online to see if there are instructions for your model.

·      Steps to take when cooking a turkey: Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before touching any food to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness. Do not wash the turkey. This only spreads pathogens onto kitchen surfaces. The only way to kill bacteria that causes foodborne illness is to fully cook the turkey. Keep raw turkey separated from all other foods at all times. Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils when handling raw turkey to avoid cross-contamination. Wash items that have touched raw meat with warm soap and water, or place them in a dishwasher.

Congratulations! You’ve prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving turkey and there is plenty left for other meals and sandwiches. What do you do next? The first thing is to refrigerate any left overs within 2 hours after the meal is finished. Store leftovers in shallow pans or containers to decrease cooling time. This prevents the food from spending too much time at unsafe temperatures (between 40 °F to 140 °F). You can also freeze any leftovers. Do not store stuffing inside a leftover turkey. Remove the stuffing from the turkey, and refrigerate the stuffing and the meat separately. Avoid consuming leftovers that have been left in the refrigerator for longer than 3 or 4 days (next Tuesday to be exact). Use the freezer to store leftovers for longer periods of time. And if guests want to take some of the remaining turkey and dressing with them (and who doesn’t?), keep leftovers in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs if the food is traveling home with a guest who lives more than two hours away.

The staff wishes you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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