Posts Tagged 'winter'

A Souper Way to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

Having a tough time getting your kids to try different veggies? Are you having a tough time getting more into your diet? Try soup.

For most people, consuming an adequate number of vegetables throughout the day can be a challenge. By having a “souper meal,” you have the option to consume multiple servings of vegetables in one meal.

Did you know that the more vegetables are cooked, the sweeter and milder they taste? While enjoying the chicken and noodles in chicken noodle soup, you may be oblivious to the numerous carrots and celery you are eating. When vegetables are cooked, the water soluble vitamins leach out into the surrounding water. Fortunately, those nutrients leech out into the broth of the soup, and can still be obtained by consuming the broth.

Although commonly overlooked for its health benefits, soup is a very healthy meal option and offers a variety of health benefits. When selecting a soup, do your best to stick with the broth-based soups, such as chicken noodle, minestrone, mixed mushroom soup and vegetable rigatoni.

Cream-based soups are loaded with saturated fat. Saturated fat requires a lot of blood and energy to digest, decreasing the amount of blood and energy being circulated to your brain. If you’re trying to lose weight, soup is also a fantastic option because most broth-based soups contain significantly fewer calories compared to the average sandwich and chips lunch, yet, the high vegetable, fiber and fluid content makes soup even more filling.

Additionally, soup can play a significant role in maintaining proper hydration. In general, people tend to consume fewer fluids in the winter because the cold does not stimulate one’s thirst mechanism compared to the heat. Broth-based soups are a great source of fluids and the sodium and potassium content plays a significant role in maintaining hydration levels as well.

Stay warm, stay healthy and enjoy a great soup at your next meal! Try out this recipe for vegetarian vegetable soup. You can let your kids select the veggies and pour them in.

Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

Yield-approx. 1 gallon


2 quarts vegetable broth

2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables

3 medium potatoes, diced

1 can tomato, diced or pureed

1/2 tsp. garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 c. onions, diced

1/2 c. celery, diced

1/8 tsp. bay leaf, ground


  1. Sweat onion, garlic and celery in non-stick skillet until they begin to soften.
  2. Combine all ingredients in stock pot. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add a little more water if too thick for your taste.

8 Things You Should Know About Colds, Flu and Antibiotics


Besides sharing recent holiday cheer, many shared viruses too. Knowing when antibiotics will help – and when they won’t – is key to preventing antibiotic resistance.

“We all need to remain smart about antibiotic use, and by ‘we,’ I mean doctors, nurses and patients,” says Christopher Carpenter, M.D., director of Beaumont’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Program. “We have a program that promotes appropriate antibiotic use in the hospital and with the help of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Antibiotic Resistance Reduction Coalition we are providing materials and education to encourage appropriate outpatient use in our Emergency Center and doctors’ offices.”

The CDC offers the following facts and tips:

  1. Colds, fl u and most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not help and may do more harm than good by increasing the risk of a resistant infection later.
  2. Antibiotic resistance – the development of “superbugs” that are resistant to available drugs – has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.
  3. When antibiotics fail to work, the consequences are: longer-lasting illnesses; more doctor visits or extended hospital stays; and the need for more expensive and toxic medications. Some resistant infections can cause death.
  4. Children are of particular concern because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use. They also have the highest rate of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant “bugs.”
  5. Patients should not demand antibiotics when a health care provider has determined they are not needed.
  6. When an antibiotic is prescribed, take all of it, even if symptoms dis appear. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and reinfect.
  7. The spread of viral infections like cold and fl u can be reduced through frequent handwashing and by avoiding close contact with others.
  8. Viral infections sometimes lead to bacterial infections. Keep your health care provider informed if your illness gets worse or lasts a long time.

How To Keep Your Children Safe in Freezing Temps


Snow can be beautiful, and sure fun to play in, but many local schools have already cancelled tomorrow in anticipation of the below freezing weather. If you and your children have to venture outside, review these tips so that you can prevent cold stress conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.”

Prevent hypothermia by:

  • Wearing multiple layers of loose clothing; avoid tight clothing which can restrict circulation.
  • Change clothing if they become wet or saturated with perspiration.
  • Don’t venture out alone; watch out for warning signs that may not be recognized by the person with symptoms such as shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.
  • Watch infants closely for bright red and cold skin and signs of low energy.
  • Start CPR any anyone found hypothermic with no pulse.

The CDC recommends taking the person’s temperature if you notice any signs of hypothermia. If it is below 95° F, they suggest you seek immediate medical attention. While waiting for emergency responders begin warming the person by getting them indoors and remove any wet clothing. Warm the head and center of the body first with hats, blankets and dry clothing. If the victim is alert enough to drink, warm beverages can be offered (but avoid alcohol).

Frostbite is another concern and occurs when exposed skin and tissue begin to freeze. It is most often found on fingers, toes, ears, cheeks, nose and chins.  It is important to keep these areas warm and covered, as frostbite can begin in 15 minutes or less in some conditions. (See the Wind Chill Chart below from the National Weather Service.)

Credit: National Weather Service Forecast Office

Credit: National Weather Service Forecast Office

Monitor these high risk areas for signs of frostbite such as a pale, blistered or gray appearance. Tell children to alert you if they feel their skin burning, or if they begin to have any numbness.

How to Treat Frostbite:

  1. If any of these symptoms occur, get indoors immediately.
  2. Remove any rings or constrictive jewelry, and soak the area in warm water.
  3. Warm area slowly, avoid hot water and heat lamps, as more damage can occur.
  4. If the area is not able to be submerged, apply a warm washcloth compress, but never rub the frozen area.
  5. Continue warming methods for the rest of the body and watch for restored color and feeling.
  6. If after a few minutes feeling is not restored, seek medical attention.

When travelling by car, you still need to be prepared. Road crews and first responders are working around the clock, and if your vehicle gets stuck, you may be waiting for some time. For each person in your vehicle pack full snow gear, blankets or sleeping bags, a warm change of clothes, food and water, an emergency vehicle kit, first aid kit (include chemical hot packs) and flashlights.

Remember, don’t leave the house without a hat, gloves and scarf, covering all exposed skin.

Stay warm and be safe.

Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System

A Surprisingly Perfect Christmas with Modifications

christmas explosion

The holidays this year were surprising to me. I’ve always been one to love Christmas. I love shopping, wrapping pretty gifts with bows, making homemade bread and cinnamon rolls to give as gifts and trimming the tree with lights shining in all the right spots highlighting the ornaments we bought while traveling in Europe.

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

The gifts had bows, but they never made it under our tree. I made a box of instant dessert bread and called it good. I didn’t even put up my nice ornaments. Yes, I chickened out. I went to Target and bought three packs of shatterproof (challenge accepted!) ornaments for a grand total of $12. It’s a good thing, too, because in a moment of unsupervised curiosity, my little guy (now aged 2) took the ornaments off the tree and put them in a neat pile on the floor. Then he took the light bulbs out of several strings of lights and put those in a neat pile on the floor, too. So I came home one day to a dark, naked tree and a kid who was very proud of his organization skills. We were a bit concerned when we couldn’t find one light bulb and thought we’d have to go digging around in dirty diapers when it appeared under the tree skirt. So, crisis averted. For now.

Our friends and family were incredibly generous with the gifts. We didn’t get many matchy-matchy gifts, but the ones we did get were doubles for a very good reason. There would have been World War MCMXXLII (we’ve gone WAY beyond single-digit wars at our house) if only one kid received a bus, or a Thomas the Train. Gifts even went beyond the boy/girl barrier. My little guy got a baby doll and my little girl got several cars and her own Thomas. I like that.

But I have to say, I’m glad it’s over for now. I’m sure as they get older it’ll will seem less chaotic. It’s tough enough being a full-time working mom. Then you add all the added fun of Christmas to that and it gets overwhelming.

I’m looking at it this way: I have more than 300 days to prepare for this year. Bring it on.

—Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

The Santa Visit is Overrated


This guy is important. And popular. So popular that he only takes appointments at some places, keeps VERY limited hours at others and can be pricey. Did I mention pricey?

What happened to the $5 Polaroid photos? The ones that truly captured the moment – whether you were smiling, screaming or dazed and confused. What happened to the casual Santa visit, where you could just walk up to the costumed character in the mall and tell him about your new list or how you’ve turned yourself around and have really been behaving for your mom lately?

I realize that it’s probably not a great job for most (think: germs, crying kids, skeptics). But then I also think about how great it’d be to sit there for a few weeks and witness non-stop joy, happiness, anticipation. If only my clients loved me half as much. You wouldn’t have to pay me much.

So why are we seeing a shortage of Santas? And why do we, as parents, make our kids put on special clothes, fix their hair perfect in an attempt to look perfect, wait in line for hours, only to spend less than five minutes talking with the Big Guy and getting a photo? After six years of this, I’m sad to say I think I’m over it.

Our weekends are packed and honestly, I think the kids would have much more fun doing something in the holiday spirit rather than trying to be patient standing in line. It’s hard enough for me. I can only imagine how hard it is for a 3-year-old and 6-year-old to “behave” without any toys in one spot for an hour.

When my 6-year-old told me he knew “it wasn’t the real Santa”, I had an ah-ha moment. He doesn’t care about the lap visit, the photo as much as I do. He knows Santa is “watching” and will get his list no matter if he sits on the imposter’s lap or not.

So, next year I’m not sure I’ll be stressing over making sure we have the right outfits and trying to squeeze in a visit amongst the plethora of other holiday activities. I think kids are happy just happening upon some random “Santa” at any holiday event. I can always whip out my phone and snap a shot. We don’t need the “perfect” Santa shot to make our Christmas any better.

Do you make a big deal out of your Santa visit?

–Sarah Jo Sautter, Parenting Program Blog Editor and Publisher

Use the Snow to Work on Motor Skills

sleddingIt’s cold and snowy during Michigan winters. Here are some great ideas to get your family moving and your kids working on improving their motor skills.

An outside snowy day is the perfect place to play. Getting ready for snow fun can be both challenging and rewarding. Putting on the snowpants, snugging the straps, pulling on the boots, zipping up the coat, placing the hat on, and finding just the right spot for your thumb in the mittens are all fine motor and body awareness skills children can achieve when given the time and the incentive. A  little help may be needed  for the youngest ones.

Once out the door in all the layers, a whole snow filled playground awaits in the yard. Running with boots on, wow that’s hard work! Check out the snow, is the snow soft, crunchy, wet, flaky, good for packing, or powdery?


  • Make a snow angel, that’s exercise, now try to get up without squashing the angel. Does it look like you?
  • Ready to make a snowman? Pack a snowball tight, now roll and roll, keep pushing it, use your arm, trunk, and leg strength. Now make 2 more and ask mom or dad to put them on top.  Find  some coal for eyes and a carrot for the nose and you have the perfect snowman.
  • Make a footprint path in the snow for your friends and parents to follow. Take big steps and small steps, jump with 2 feet. Try out some snow shoes, that will make walking a bit more challenging.
  • Play games outside. Hide and seek, red rover, red light- green light, kick ball, hockey, football or baseball can all be fun in the snow.
  • Ready for sledding?  Younger children enjoy being pulled on a sled, while the older ones seek the hills. Sledding down and climbing back up over and over builds great strength and endurance. No hills in your yard? Not a problem. Pack some snow and make your own hills. Children can pull each other on sleds for a good workout. Let your  imagination take over and be creative.
  • Build a fort, shovel a path, look for animal tracks, or make animal tracks, these are all ways to enjoy being outside.
  • Are you ready for more adventure?  Go ice skating.  Many rinks have open skate. Rental skates are often available and they may also provide plastic PVC walkers for children to help with balance. Bring your own bike or skating helmet with you. Ice skating is fun and challenging. It incorporates balance, coordination, and strength. Children about 3 years old can really start to enjoy skating, they don’t have far to fall and they will enjoy the quick progress they will make.
  • How about a skiing trip? Many places have equipment rental and lessons for the whole family. And they often have adapted equipment so that even members of the family with physical challenges can participate. Skiing is great for strength, balance and endurance. And just pure family fun.


After such and exciting day the kids will climb out of the layers of clothing, pile up the boots, and are ready for a snack. Soup or hot chocolate are just perfect to warm up all over. Expect your kids to go to bed early after such a fun and exhausting day.

–Amanda Froling, MPT and Carol L. Julien-Buell, MPT, Beaumont Hospital

Sing a Holiday Song To Stimulate Language Development

image credit: epiclectic

image credit: epiclectic

Happy Holidays! This is such a joyful, exciting (and busy) time of year! Holiday traditions often involve families getting together, socializing, and having fun. Music and songs are also prevalent, and this is a great way to stimulate speech and language development in children. Singing along to your favorite songs with your children is a great place to start, and there are some simple ways to incorporate even more learning into your favorite songs.

Benefits of singing include improvements in:

  • Understanding of reciprocal communication
  • Vocabulary development
  • Rhyming skills
  • Concentration and memory
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Fine- and gross-motor development (particularly when dancing and finger-play is included)

Below are a few links for holiday songs that can be fun to sing with your children and families:

Hanukkah songs

Christmas songs

Kwanzaa songs

New Year songs

There are several methods that teachers and speech-language pathologists use to support language skills while singing. These can be easily integrated into your own favorite songs and activities.

  1. Try pausing before the last word in a line (e.g., Jingle bells, jingle …), and see if your child can finish. This is building attention, memory, language, and rhyming skills.
  2. Add extra verses, changing one detail (e.g., I had a little dreidel, I made it out of clay…I played it all night long…). This encourages children to be creative and flexible, as well as supporting vocabulary development.
  3. Make a “mistake” while singing and see if the child notices and can fix it! This is a great way to help improve attention and listening skills.
  4. Adapt a non-holiday song to include holiday and seasonal topics (e.g., The Santa on the bus goes ho, ho, ho).
  5. Make up your own songs that include following directions to teach comprehension for a variety of topics and motor movements.

Try some of these techniques with your children next time you sing a holiday song. They will have fun creating new verses to beloved songs and laugh when the words suddenly change! These can also be adapted to nursery rhymes or other favorite songs throughout the year to stimulate speech and language development.

–Sara Lipson, M.S., CCC-SLP and Kellie Bouren, M.A., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologists, Children’s Speech Pathology Department, Center for Children’s Rehabilitation at Beaumont


Enter your email address and you'll receive notifications of new posts in your in-box.

Join 2,808 other followers

Free Developmental Screening

Confidential online developmental screening for children up to age 5