Blog Posts by The_Stir

  • 7 New Rules for Raising Healthy Eaters

    Getting your toddler to eat healthfully can be a lot like wrestling an anaconda in a bathtub of Jell-O. Actually, wrestling the anaconda might be a lot easier -- and a lot less stressful.

    Kids want to play with their food, they refuse to eat outright, or they binge on a different food every day. What's a mom to do to make sure her child is getting the nutrition he needs?

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    "Relax," says Michelle May, MD, a family physician and author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

    From the moment they're born, children have the ability to know when they're hungry. While it's your responsibility to decide what you will offer, it's up to them whether they will eat it. Having a positive, low-key attitude about eating makes meal-time more pleasant and therefore more successful.

    Here, Dr. May's tips for raising a healthy eater.

    Don't Bribe or Threaten Your Child When It Comes to Food

    Once they're old enough to

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  • 5 Ways Soda Can Make Your Food Pop

    Flickr photo by thebittenword.comFlickr photo by thebittenword.comSoda just isn't for sipping. It can be a great addition to many traditional foods and gives them a little something-something extra to keep taste buds popping with flavor.

    More from The Stir: Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag -- Seriously!

    Here are a few of my favorite soda recipes (or pop recipes if you're so inclined to use that term instead):

    1. Coca-Cola Cupcakes I'm picky when it comes to my cupcakes, so I was a little skeptical about tainting their simple goodness with cola. But after tasting them, well, I'd like to buy the world a Coke so everyone could make their own delicious cupcakes. The Coke really complements the chocolate, and they're divine!
    2. Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce The grills are going at this time of year, and the perfect barbecue sauce is a must. This version that uses Dr. Pepper packs a great sweet-and-sour pow and is perfect for slathering on chicken, beef, pork ... anything that hits your grill, really.
    3. Roasted Soda Can Chicken In
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  • Online Dating Assistant: Would You Get One?

    So this is an interesting twist on the ol' meet-the-mate-of-your-dreams scenario! According to an article in the Washington Post, a new company, Virtual Dating Assistants, will take the work out of finding possible online loves for busy singles. Just pay them $600 and they guarantee to contact, woo, and get clients to the "so let's go out this Saturday" point with two mates per month. If you bump it to $1,200, you're guaranteed five.

    Basically, your online profile could be viewed and assessed by a professional woo-er, who will contact, email, and charm you, then pass off the emails to the guy you'll really be meeting with. And you'll never be the wiser.

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    It's hard to imagine that it's really so difficult to wade through all the available women online. It also raises some questions of etiquette and integrity: Do you ever admit to the initial mode of meeting? If so, when?

    The founder of Virtual Dating

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  • Dryer Ate Your Bra? 5 Laundry Tips That Will Keep Them Safe

    How Can I Recycle This?How Can I Recycle This?I'm sick of finding a comfy bra ... only to have it eaten by the dryer.

    It happened again last weekend -- and naturally it wasn't one of my quick Target grabs but the $50 Victoria's Secret splurge now slated for the garbage can.

    So what's a lady to do: Give up on treats for the tatas? Or become a bra-savvy laundry queen?

    More from The Stir: How to Care For Your Bras

    If you're opting for number 2, here's how to make it happen:

    1. Consider hand-washing. Keeping these delicate materials out of the washer and dryer can prolong their lives. Make sure you don't try to wring the water out of the bra after the wash -- especially if it's got foam padding. Blot with a towel if it's seriously soaked, then lay it flat to dry.

    2. Opt for a laundry ball. We're digging the new Berry Ball from Berry Perry ($13.99). It's huge (they even make more than one size to accommodate different bra sizes), but that's because it also offers room for your pretty undies. The plastic of the

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  • Best Grilling Recipes: 3 Alternatives to the Classic Burger

    Flickr photo by Rubber Slippers in ItalyFlickr photo by Rubber Slippers in ItalyThe grilling trend I've been seeing at barbecues so far this summer?

    Creative burger recipes that veer from the traditional ground beef topped with a slice of American cheese. Here are a few tasty versions I was lucky enough to sample all in one weekend:

    More from The Stir: Turkey Burger with BBQ Sauce & Cilantro

    1. Buffalo Burgers

    My friend's buffalo burgers are legendary; the meat is so gamy and flavorful on its own, you don't need a lot of additions. Ground buffalo (or bison) is simply seasoned with salt and pepper, then grilled and topped with sharp cheddar cheese.

    2. Turkey Burgers

    The trick to making a moist turkey burger? Use half white meat and half dark. It's not as healthy as an all-white version, but for a once-in-a-while special occasion, it's okay to cheat. My same friend who makes the buffalo burgers also makes a killer turkey burger -- ground turkey (half white/half dark), diced shallots and garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper.

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  • Planning for Baby: 3 Financial Things to Do Now

    pregnant Womanpregnant WomanSometimes it just feels easiest to say, "Charge it" when you have a sippy cup in one hand, a screaming baby in the other, and five things you're convinced you need to buy RIGHT NOW to get ready for baby, who's about to arrive any minute.

    Lady, put the credit card down ...

    Before you go getting all spendy, get to know the whole picture about how pregnancy affects your finances and the steps you should take to prepare for your baby's first couple of years. We're talking baby #1, #2, #6 ... you get the picture.

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    Too Young to Have a Baby?

    Here are our top three tips for getting your finances in shape for your pregnancy.

    . Create a Budget.

    Creating a budget is critical to financial success and it will help you keep your spending in check. To start, take a look at your financial situation, which includes everything from your income to your debt to your savings. If you understand your financial net worth, you'll have a much better idea

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  • 22 Surprising Safety Hazards Around the Home & Garden

    Flickr photo by greenkoziFlickr photo by greenkoziJune is National Safety Month. How safe are your home and garden?

    You might be surprised ...

    Check out these surprising home safety hazards you may or may not be aware of in your home or garden:

    More from The Stir: Guns in the House

    1. Plastic packaging: Did you know that many lacerations and puncture wounds occur when people use kitchen knives to open hard plastic clamshell packages? In 2004, more than 6,400 people went to the emergency room for injuries resulting from plastic packaging. Source: CPSC

    2. Flooding: Did you know flooding can cause indoor air quality problems in your home long after floodwaters have receded? Microorganisms in floodwaters may present a health hazard. These organisms can penetrate deep into soaked, porous materials and later be released into air, causing illness and allergic reactions when inhaled. Source: National Safety Council

    3. Pools, spas, hot tubs: Did you know drowning is not the only common risk associated with swimming pools and hot Read More »from 22 Surprising Safety Hazards Around the Home & Garden
  • Popcorn Kills Kids: Should Foods Have Warning Labels?

    Flickr photo by veggiefrogFlickr photo by veggiefrog
    Choking is the leading cause of death and injury among children, especially those under the age of 4.

    In 2001, about 17,500 children were treated in emergency rooms for choking; 60 percent of those incidents were caused by food.

    Kids under 4 are at the highest risk -- they have small airways and fewer chewing teeth (first molars, which grind food down, don't come in until about 15 months; second molars around 26 months).

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    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wants to do something about it.

    The AAP says that food should be subject to as much scrutiny as toys, and wants the FDA to require mandatory warning labels on foods that are known choking hazards. It's also asking manufacturers to redesign hot dogs.

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    The 10 foods that pose the highest choking risk:

    1. Hot dogs
    2. Peanuts
    3. Carrots
    4. Boned chicken
    5. Candy
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  • Couple Born on Same Day in Same Hospital Getting Married

    Flickr photo by clevercupcakesFlickr photo by clevercupcakesRomantic wedding stories melt my heart and I think this Pennsylvania couple were just destined to be together.

    Amy Singley
    and Steven Smith were born on the same day (April 17, 1986) in the same hospital -- their mothers even shared a room together in the maternity ward.

    The two moms became friends and stay connected through church.

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    And now that they're all grown up, Amy and Steven are getting married.

    So romantic. Someone should make a movie about this starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

    Amy and Steven went on their first date when they were sophomores in high school. Amy says that she knew on the second date that he was the man she would marry.

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    They are getting married on June 12!

    Happy wedding you two!

    Written by Michele Zipp on CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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  • 6 Tips for Surviving (and Enjoying!) Family Road Trips

    When my husband decided we'd drive from New York to Florida for our Disney vacation, my friends started pulling out the sympathy cards.

    A 2,000-mile road trip with a 4 1/2-year-old sounded ominous.

    But I'd do it again. Yes, I said again.

    Surviving -- even thriving -- on a road trip just takes a little planning:

    1. Map your route. I don't just mean the roads you'll use but where the rest stops are, where you have friends with houses (and clean bathrooms) along the way, and where you can find kid-friendly eats.

    Planning beforehand allows you to gauge whether your kids can wait for a potty break; but it also ensures you're stopping in safe neighborhoods.

    More from The Stir: Flying with Baby? Tips for the Airport and Plane.

    2. Pack the car wisely. Put everything your kids will need for entertainment within their reach so you aren't constantly unbuckling your seat belt to grab the art pad or the packet of crayons.

    Because of frequent road trips to see my

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