Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring into Healthy Eating

Today on WUSA9’s MomsLikeMe Moment, FAMILY Magazine’s Nutrition Editor, Judy Caplan presented some great information on healthy eating and what is available right now from local farms. This is great information and ideas that will help us all SPRING into a healthy outdoor season. Here is what Judy has to say about opportunities for healthy eating this spring.
Lighten Up and Spring into Healthy Eating
Spring is a happy time of year; a time of renewal. With renewal comes energy. The sun is higher in the sky and the days are getting longer. Let’s harness this new power and use it to shake off the winter blues. Put away those heavy coats and ease up on the starchy, wintry foods. Now is a great time to lighten up and spring into healthy eating.
Try joining a local produce club. Farms usually have a local drop off point where you can pick up your weekly veggies. Some even carry hormone free dairy and poultry products and grass fed beef.
Cool weather veggies like turnips, parsnips, beets, radish, salsify, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards and arugula are now coming into season. These pungent tasting veggies are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants that prevent disease.
Where Can I Find Local Farm Produce?
Here are some local farms that deliver fresh produce and flowers:
• Great Country Farms - 540-554-2073
• Potomac Vegetable Farms - 703-759-2119
• Blue Run Mountain Vegetable Farm – 703-754-4005
• Graceland Farm – 540-439-8171
• Mount Vernon Farm - 540-987-9559
• Virginia Green Grocer – 540-347-4740
• Blue Ridge Center CSA – 540-668-7640
Ready Your Kitchen for Spring
As the days get longer, we often start to crave lighter food. Perhaps we instinctually know that bright leafy greens are now in season. This is also a good time to clean the pantry and toss out food whose expiration dates have passed.

Throw Away Expired Foods
Throwaway foods that are seasonal (sprinkles, leftover frosting, half used bags of nuts) and won’t be fresh next year when you bake those holiday cookies.
Cooking oils go rancid over time so if the bottle of oil in the pantry has been opened and stored for almost six months, throw it out. Buy small bottles of oil (cold pressed) and keep them refrigerated to avoid rancidity. Oxidation (rancidity) causes free radicals, which are not good for the body.
Inspect Your Pots and Pans
Take a look at your pots and pans. If they are looking dull and stained, put on some good music and get scrubbing. Bar Keepers Friend is an amazing cleanser. You’ll be surprised how sexy sparkling pots and pans can be! If you notice flaking on your nonstick pans, throw them out. With all the press of late on the dangers of plastics, it is safer to use stainless steel pans with no coating.

Take inventory of your kitchen tools
• Are your knives sharp?
• Do you have a good grater and micro plane?
• Are there slotted stainless spoons for stir-frying?
• Is the cutting board big enough?
• What is the condition of your dishtowels?
• Are your small appliances working?
• Have you checked to see if your oven thermometer is accurate?
Clean Out the Fridge
Throwaway open bottles and jars that haven’t been used in ages. Clean the bins with hot soapy water. Change that burned out bulb so you can see what is in there. Defrost the freezer and again check dates on products. If foods are older than three months, toss them.

Reconnect with Your Cookbooks
Check out your cookbooks. If you haven’t bought a new one in years, you would be amazed at all the fabulous ones on the market. Put them in the bathroom (!) and by your bed. Looking at cookbooks will ignite your senses and get you ready for all the fresh produce that is about to come your way.

Judy – thanks for the great ideas. They certainly motivated me to get back into healthy cooking in the kitchen and clean out the refrigerator. Thanks!

Do you have some healthy eating tips you would like to share with other parents? Send them along and we will spread the word!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, March 22, 2010

Despite Budget Cuts, Moms Can Help Kids Succeed

In the face of budget shortfalls our school systems are either going to cut classroom time or increase the class size. Either way, our children are going to have less instruction. This leaves a huge void in our education system. Our children already spend far less time in the schoolhouse relative to Asian nations. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend about this very topic. In the end, this situation is a threat our children’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

To make the issue even more complex, American children spend a shocking 7.5 hours per day “using entertainment media” according to The Kaiser Family Foundation. That means our children spend about 53 hours a week on the Internet, playing videogames, communicating on cell phones, or watching television. To put this in perspective, children spend 30 hours a week in school but 53 hours a week in the entertainment world.
So given the tension between less classroom time and a strong entertainment industry, there is only one solution and that is Moms like you and me are going to have to get busy, creative, and more involved in our children’s education.

Obviously we need to communicate with our representatives that education is important to us and that if our educational system breaks down the United States will suffer – we already have seen evidence this is happening.

Solution to Improve Education
Voice your concerns to your representatives
Become more involved in your child’s education
Define areas important to you or your child
Math & Science
Performance Arts
Visual Arts
Find resources outside the classroom that can build these areas
May have to find a new school (private or public)

If the school where your children attend has cuts in place that you really can not accept, you may have to look outside your current school for the solution. Maybe you need to move to a different school system, or you may need to enroll your child in a private school. We all know how critical a good education is, you will just have to evaluate your own personal situation and what is best for your child. There are many parents who have placed their children in private schools and made other sacrifices to be able to afford the costs.

Of course, FAMILY Magazine is ready to help moms. We are dedicated to searching out the best and most creative ideas to help your children learn the skills they are going to need in the future.

The best way to stay in the loop is to keep visiting or the FAMILY Magazine site. And you can fan us on Facebook at FAMILY Magazine of Washington. Our online guru, Jolie Perara will have breaking news and ideas there every day. She also has some math games she is going to be sharing with our fans.


One way moms like you and me can get more involved in our child’s education is to teach children how to set and achieve goals—a very important character trait.

The first step as a parent is to guide your children to make realistic goals—ones that they can successfully achieve. On the other hand, the goal must not be too easy. A challenging goal teaches our children to wrestle with a problem, instilling those core values like tenacity and hard work. So, the goal must be challenging yet achievable.

One word of caution, as moms we must gauge our child’s emotional level. If they are feeling low—an easy, short-term goal will boost their self-esteem.

Some simple guidelines to help our children set goals is to
1. Talk about what they want to achieve
2. Why that goal is important to them
3. Breakdown the task into manageable and achievable

Do you have some ideas that you think will help keep our kids competitive in the global economy? What are you doing in your household?

Share with us and we will share your ideas with our readers.

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kid Friendly Fun

There is lots going on in the Washington region right now. So what is out there for families, something the kids will really look forward to attending? This morning on WUSA9 News Now, Jolie Perara the Marketing Manager with FAMILY Magazines shared ideas for more kid and family fun.

Here is what Jolie had to say:
There is a great theatre performance taking place April 16 to the 18th at the Warner Theatre, Storybook LIve.

This is a story by Nickelodeon featuring Dora the Explorer.
But this is not ordinary theatre performance. This show gives kids an adventure where they can leap into Fairytale Land, journey through Fillthingham, hop into Wonderland and jump on the clouds.

Although this is not a typical show, here are a few etiquette tips for taking kids to the theatre.

1. Eat before the show.
2. Arrive on time.
3. Vist the restroom before the show.
4. Laugh when it it funny, applaud when spectacular and stand and applaud at the end if it is great.

Second event if you have time – Gesher Used Book Sale
March 18-21 except Saturday. Prices for books are 50 cents to $2.

Great way to explore new ideas.

Gesher Jewish Day School
4800 Mattie Moore Court
Fairfax, VA 22030

Do you have any suggestions on ideas for great area family fun? Please share them with me!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, March 1, 2010

Family-friendly events for the month of March.

Spring is approaching and with that comes Spring Breaks, warmer weather and restless kids. Are you looking for somewhere to take the family? Are you looking for something educational but yet still fun? Are you looking for something that you’ll be entertained at as well? Look no further!

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for the month of March.

Imagination Stage is presenting the new musical, Peter & the Wolf based on the Sergei Prokofiev story and music. Peter & the Wolf is currently running through March 21. Recommended for ages 5 and up. It is being performed in the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Go to or call 301-280-1660 for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office at 4908 Auburn Avenue in Bethesda daily from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Tickets are $10-21 and group rates are available.

Big Apple Circus- Bello is Back! In Bello is Back! the playfully elegant Bello, with his gravity-defying hair, trademark tuxedo, white gloves and spats, returns to the one–ring intimacy of the Big Apple Circus after an absence of nine seasons. Bello is sure astound and delight one and all! On the “Welcome Back Bello” committee: their lovable star clown Grandma, the spirited Big Apple Circus Band, and winning new ringmaster Kevin Venardos, joined by spectacular acrobats from Italy, Russian wizards of the trampoline and the flying trapeze, a graceful flight on the aerial silks, fiery steeds and cavorting canines, playful Chinese contortionists, and Picaso Jr., the sensational Spanish juggler! With no seat under the Big Top more than 50 feet from the ring, even if you’re really small you won’t miss a thing! The show runs March 6-March 27 at the Dulles Town Center in Dulles, VA. For more information check out

McLean Storybook Festival is being held on March 13th. Come enjoy entertainment by special guest Barry Louis Polisar, stories, craft projects, books, and book-related materials, refreshments, and more! Children can meet some of their favorite storybook characters in person. For ages 3-8. The cost is $5 per person, free for children age 2 yrs and old. It is from 11:00:am to 12:30:pm. It is being held at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, VA 22101.

Looking for fun activities to do in March? Visit the FAMILY Magazine web site. Our calendar of events has many great activities. And, this month Liz McConvile will be posting a list of special March celebrations, parades and themed events in our “Web Extra.”

Have a fun March, and Happy Parenting!