Why Can't Everyday Be Halloween? by Jaclyn Kruzie

I love Halloween. I love the colors, the pumpkins, the black cats & witches, the costumes, really I love all of it except the candy. I loathe the candy. It isn't surprising, to people that know me, when I tell them I confiscate all candy on November 1st. My monsters get to choose 5 pieces to hoard away and eat at their own discretion... eat it all at once or eat it sparingly, I don't care BECAUSE THAT'S ALL THEY HAVE ACCESS TOO!

Don't panic, I don't throw away the overpriced chocolate. I happily donate it the first chance I get and get that crap out of my house. Obviously, I loved this book because it was inline with my mad parenting skills.

Why Can't Everyday Be Halloween? is a fun children's book that tells the tale of coming down from a month of monsters and candy. Of course this story relays to kids in a fun way what might happen if you keep eating all that junk; unlike my approach of just ripping off the band-aid (aka take all the crap away).

Anyone with kids needs to get this book!

My full review can be found HERE.

What are some Halloween traditions that you have that do not include sugary sweets?

How We Feel When Our Bodies are Sick

I recently received the book, When You're Feeling Sick for review and I thought it was perfect to adapt into a lesson on sickness for young children. This lesson is ideal for Pre-K to Kindergarten.

Here is a breakdown of the lesson, feel free to use it!


Lesson Plan: How We Feel When Our Bodies are Sick

To introduce & identify both the physical and mental feelings accompanied with illness.

Duration: 45 minutes

  • A copy of When You're Feeling Sick
    • Library copy or purchase here
  • Download The Sickness Song here
  • Monster Gloves (see picture below) I borrowed my monster mitts from my Tickle Monster Kit but anything fun will do
  • Bingo cards (example below)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Box of tissue
  • Little tissue packs for Bingo prizes
  • Prior to the lesson read When You're Feeling Sick
  • Have a basic understanding of how to play Bingo (see basic instructions below)
Basic Class Discussion and Outline:
The basic idea is to identify when our bodies feel bad and what we can do to get better. Begin the lesson by discussing these questions:
  • How our bodies feel when we first feel the effects of sickness
    • tired, cranky, our head feels hot, eyes might hurt, nose might be runny
  • Who do we tell when we start feeling bad
    • if we are at school we tell our teacher and nurse
    • if we are at home we tell our mom, dad, grandma, etc.
  • What is "sick day protocol"
  • Introduce the Sick Book and read it out-loud to find out. Then continue to discuss the following questions. Be sure and put on a pair of sweet, gloves while reading. Make it fun!
      • Why is it important to rest
        • so our bodies can heal and fight the virus' in our bodies
      • Why is it important to wash our hands when we are sick
        • so we don't give the bugs to anyone else.
  • Demonstrate proper way to blow your nose and clean your hands. And also demonstrate how to properly sneeze into the crease of your elbow to avoid "THE SPRAY" of virus monsters. 
Now play The Sickness Song and let the kids wiggle. Prepare to play Bingo.

It's B-I-N-G-O time! 

Tip: Be sure and get a really nice room mom to cut out all the little snot pieces & Bingo cards for you.

We want to review what they have learned and have everyone win a little pack of tissue for their backpacks. Remember this is the kid version. You draw out a picture, they cover it with the little snot glob, the first person to get 3 in a row yells BINGO with much gusto. Obviously I only made 3 cards so you will need to create more variations of the images based on class size. I don't mind multiple kids yelling at once. If you would like to create more using my template email me at nataliemartinezlong(at)gmail(dot)com and I will send you the file. The point of the activity is to play a game, review and everyone is a winner in the end!

***I created these BINGO cards for personal use. They are free but cannot be replicated and resold in any capacity. The images used for these handouts were from two sources:google images: free clipart & a few are actual images from the book and can be found at coybowles.com. Book images were illustrated by Andy Elkerton.***

Below are my version of "snot globs". I had to add a little humor into the game because lets face it, sickness usually is accompanied with a snot nosed child who wants a hug.
image sources: google.com {all images were found through a search for "free clip art"} & coybowles.com.  All images are subject to copyright and are not for resale.

My sweet monster mitts.

Dear Do-Good-er Politicians, Make ALL Medications Affordable

I hate politics... a lot and I only believe about 25% of what is reported on the news. What I hate even more are the months before the Presidential election. All the "hot topics"  and "injustices" that become front and center are sometimes such a joke.

One that really got me was the great cost of an EpiPen. Really. Let's talk about the cost of ANY medical condition and you know what you find?! Someone is making a ton of money off of sick people. With that said, yes EpiPens are overpriced and save lives but so do many other medications. Let's attack the big bad pharmacy as a whole.

I worked in the hospital for a long time and one of the repeating causes of hospitalization was uncontrolled diabetes. Some were there because they simply didn't take care of themselves but a lot more were admitted because they could not afford their medication AND supplies needed. Here is a post that I really found note worthy:

"Recently, you may have seen the public outcry over the cost of EpiPens. While I sympathize with you, I want to share with you a couple of pictures. These two pictures represent the cost of the life saving devices and medications that I have to use/take daily. It will never end, because my disease currently doesn't have a cure. I have Type 1 Diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease. In short, my body attacked my pancreas, rendering it unable to produce insulin. EVERYONE needs insulin to live. Only difference between you and I is your body produces it's own. I have to inject mine. Every time I eat, and every time my blood sugar is at an unsafe level. Please do not confuse this with the more commonly known Type 2. Type 2 is where your body becomes RESISTANT to insulin, which is why Type 2 in most cases can be managed by diet and exercise. No amount of diet or exercise will make my pancreas work again. Now that we have that established, back to the two pictures. The first one is the ESSENTIAL supplies and medications that a Type 1 needs to survive and live a healthy life. The second, are considered "luxury" items. (I'll never understand why they are considered that by many insurance companies, but that's another story for another day). Those prices are the retail prices of the specific items for a ONE MONTH SUPPLY. Just one month! As most of you know, not everyone has health insurance, and even more don't have sufficient coverage, and while they may not pay FULL retail price, they still pay very large deductibles and co-payments. This is ridiculous! This is NOT OK! Did you know that the very same insulin in Canada costs about $25 a box? The very same insulin! It's almost $800 here in America! How is this fair?! There are mothers out there PLEADING with others to help them afford their 7-8 month old baby's LIFE SAVING MEDICATIONS AND SUPPLIES. How is this ok?! We need to see a change. You shouldn't have to pay $3,000 A MONTH just to keep yourself or your child alive!!
Please, I never post things to share. I don't ask for much but this, THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. PLEASE share this post. We need to make a change, and we need it NOW. Our lives are NOT for profit!"
#mylifeisnotforprofit #makeinsulinaffordableforallamericans
              Author: Crys Allen of Boise Idaho

So here is my outcry for all you do-good-er politicians  
Make ALL Medications Affordable.

Cockroach Milk

One of my absolute favorite instagram accounts is Science by Guff

It's a little weird, super-awesome and loaded with FACTS.  

"Yeah, this one’s kind of gross. Scientists recently found that the “milk” found in cockroaches is actually super good for you. While only Diploptera punctate produces “milk” (or at least the bug equivalent) to feed its young, these protein crystals in the mid-gut of the cockroach are four times more nutritious than cow’s milk and have three times more energy than buffalo’s milk. How do they plan on milking these cockroaches? Did I ever think I’d write that exact sentence? Anyway, scientists are trying to sequence the genes of these milk protein crystals so that they can make them in a lab. “The crystals are like a complete food – they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids,” says Sanchari Banerjee, a researcher on the project. They hope that this research will aid in coming up with solutions to worldwide food shortages."


Source: #Science #Entomology #Cockroaches #WeirdScience #BestOf  Guff.com #nutritionwithnat

Dance Like Yo Daddy! 2K16

National Dance Day 2K16

 I hope you danced like yo daddy today!

Shout out to my sister, Heelys & B.A.C.A. for getting the party started!  


A Look at School Lunches

After surviving eating lunch with my kids, I asked myself "What do school lunches look like in other countries?" 

Are they better, the same or dare I think WORSE
So I did what any good parent would do, I YouTube'ed it.  
Buzzfeed had the scoop. --> {pun intended, nerdy food joke}

When I was a kid I LOVED to eat lunch at school. It is pretty safe to say that today's school lunches {in America} are terrible. There are many factors that play into why school lunches have taken a nose dive in appeal here in the US with obesity being the number one concern. With that said, there are so many rules and regulations that schools must abide by that is has worked as a double edged sword.

The FUN of food has been removed and replaced with even more processed items {but with added fiber- like that will save us}. Food is not associated with fun but more with frustration. 

You can't eat your birthday cupcakes before this time

No Popsicles at track & field day because they are considered a competitive food item {even though the heat index might be 105 degrees!}

There are so many cant's that no one wants to come up with the can's

But Japan did. Their obesity rates were on the rise. They brought food {and a toothbrush} to the forefront and began to educate their children.

This is Japan.
This is Japan's school lunch program.
>>>Be like Japan.<<<

Food for Thought: Bizarre Ingredients We Eat

The Bizarre & Nasty Ingredients We Eat!

My weekly grocery shopping happens in one of two forms: The Mad Dash or The Turtle Pace

  • The Mad Dash is when I grab  tried and true foods and run. 
  • The Turtle Pace is when I have a lot of label reading to do (and am kid-free #canigetanamen). 

Obviously The Turtle Pace is a must when you are reading labels and comparing products. Label reading gets tricky and frustrating about 10 seconds in. That's one reason I started posting Try This, Not That food product comparisons. My intention is that it will alleviate some of the stress associated with label reading. While most of the Try This, Not That posts focus on the calorie copntent and nutrient breakdown (carbs, fat and protein), they do not breakdown the ingredients. 

There are some ingredients that are commonly used that might make your stomach hurt! I'm a visual person and when I came across this graphic my eyes nearly popped out of my head --> human hair and anit-freeze! 
No Sir. 

It's time we get educated on what these "mystery" ingredients really are.

Despite the fact that there are certain regulations on what a food label should contain, the labels often give us only partial information. Have you ever wondered about the meaning of L-cysteine, an ingredient that can be found on labels on some types of breads? This weird-name ingredient is an amino acid used in the baking industry as dough conditioner, and the cheapest and most common way to synthesize it is from human hair

Or were you aware that cellulose, an ingredient found in different kinds of food, is actually wood pulp processed and manufactured for food supply?

Take a close look at the infographic below and learn the origins and meaning of 14 bizarre food ingredients.

14 Bizarre Ingredients Hidden in Your Food Labels
A special thank you to Dana for providing the graphic details!

A Girl and Her Baggage

I loathe stored, plastic shopping bags.

I don't know exactly why I hate collected plastic bags (especially in a kitchen). It stems back to my childhood and the 900 plastic Wal-Mart bags that my mom stored on the side of our refrigerator for safe keeping. I hate those things but man were they a necessary evil. We used them for everything but my two favorite uses were: 
  1. gift bags (and you better hope the old receipts were removed). 
  2. travel luggage. Yes, you read that right. I'm pretty sure one of my brothers still uses a plastic bag instead of actual luggage. #truthbomb
I also hate grocery shopping-- another story for another post. And what do you get 900 of when you finish grocery shopping? Plastic-freaking bags. So after 15 years of vowing to bring my own bags to the grocery store, I. FINALLY. REMEMBERED. 

I was feeling all puffed up with pride and even snapped this picture to text Sweet Stuff when I realized the sad truth. Where my bags came from...

Yea, that's right, I brought all the bags I had been collecting on the side of my refrigerator.

I have officially turned into my mother.

Now they will be stored in my trunk. Cycle broken. I'm a fighter.

#acceptanceisthefirststep #thestruggleisreal #breakthecycle #baglady #greenliving #gogreen

Summer Hydration in School-Age Children

To wrap up the school year, a local elementary had a health fair and I was asked to teach a class. My assignment was to teach the kids the importance of staying hydrated. I decided addressing second graders would be best if I used the Go, Slow and Whoa approach used by the We Can! campaign.

Here is a breakdown of the lesson, feel free to use it!

Lesson Plan: Summer Hydration in School-Age Children

Objectives and Goals: 
To introduce the concept of making wise beverage choices using the Go, Slow and Whoa approach.

The basic idea is to designate a variety of beverages into four categories (Go, Slow, Whoa and STOP) based on nutritional content. This is  a very basic list and numerous beverages can be discussed and added.

It is important to discuss that beverages in these categories are not "bad" just that sometimes we need to make choices based on what we are doing.

What to Create:
  • a poster board of a traffic signal with black foam board and construction paper
  • search google images and collected, printed and laminated all the drinks listed on the image above
  • large Stop sign
    • I got a large Stop sign poster from my local teacher supply store and taped a paint stick to the bottom for a handle. {picture below}
References to Read:

Class Discussion:
Go: healthiest option and appropriate for everyday consumption.
Slow: occasional drinks, not everyday choices. These beverages usually contain added sugar.
Whoa: least healthy options. These beverages contain added sugar, fat and in some cases caffeine. They provide excess calories and should be chosen on special occasions and not weekly.
STOP: The STOP category lists 2 beverages that are not appropriate for school-age children to consume: coffee (cold or hot) and energy drinks. 


*Sports drinks are listed in both the Go and Whoa groups. Sports drinks are a GO when a child is actively participating in prolonged play or sports (at least 45 minutes of active play and when there is excessive heat and perspiration). It is a WHOA drink if chosen in place of water or during casual activities (watching TV or leisure activities like bowling, etc.). 

Food Fun: Ice Cream {in a Bag}

It ain't Blue Bell but it's fun, fast and fresh! 

Make single servings of ice cream {in a bag} in just a few simple steps.

This is a simple recipe that is easy to prepare and simple to create. I do this with my kids to kick-off summer. We pick fresh berries (strawberry, blueberry or blackberry- depending on the farm and season) and then come home and make our ice cream. It's fun but I also spin it off as a science project and a sweet treat for their hard work after "picking" all day.

#foodfun #nutritionwithnat #summertime