Monday, December 20, 2010

Article: The Hidden Health Risks of Food Dyes

CMOTC mom Katie B. found this article on food dyes to be interesting and wanted to share it with all of us. It's definitely worth the read! Thank you Katie!


By Milton Stokes, M.P.H., R.D., "Live or Let Dye,"
November/December 2010 issue of Eating Well

How bad is Red 40 and more synthetic dyes?

Americans are now eating five times as much food dye as we did in 1955. That statistic isn’t as surprising when you consider that since then food dyes have made more and more of our foods colorful—from breakfast cereals to ice creams. While natural colorants made from foods like beets are available, many manufacturers opt for synthetic dyes—which may have dangerous health consequences, particularly for children, according to a recent report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This is why the nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based consumer-watchdog group has asked the Food and Drug Administration to ban them. Such man-made food dyes appear in ingredient lists as a name of a color with a number following it: Blue 1 and 2, Citrus Red 2, Green 3, Red 3 and 40, Yellow 5 and 6.

The three most widely used culprits—Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Red 40—contain compounds, including benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl, that research has linked with cancer.

Research has also associated food dyes with problems in children including allergies, hyperactivity, learning impairment, irritability and aggressiveness. A U.S. study published in Science found that when children who scored high on a scale measuring hyperactivity consumed a food-dye blend they performed worse on tests that measured their ability to recall images than when they drank a placebo. A 2007 British study found that children who consumed a mixture of common synthetic dyes displayed hyperactive behavior within an hour of consumption. (These children had not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.) The results, published in The Lancet, prompted Britain’s Food Standards Agency to encourage manufacturers to find alternatives to food dyes. In July 2010, the European Parliament’s mandate that foods and beverages containing food dyes must be labeled as such went into effect for the entire European Union.

Preliminary evidence suggests that many children have a slight sensitivity to food dyes—and a smaller percentage are very sensitive. “We see reactions in sensitive individuals that include core ADHD symptoms, like difficulty sitting in a chair and interrupting conversations,” says David Schab, M.D., M.P.H., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and co-author of a 2004 meta-analysis that found food dyes promote hyperactive behavior in already hyperactive children. Even so, says Schab, this isn’t the most compelling reason to give up food dyes. “Foods with dyes are often riddled with other nutritional problems, like excess calories and fat,” says Schab, who points out that childhood obesity is a far greater public health concern.

Bottom Line: If you’re concerned, ditch the potentially dangerous synthetic dyes. Look for foods bearing the green-and-white USDA certified organic label, but be aware that foods labeled “made with organic ingredients” may still contain synthetic dyes. You can also check product ingredient lists for beet, carotenes, annatto, capsanthin (a paprika extract)—as all are natural colorants. Counterintuitively, the terms “artificial color,” “artificial color added” or “color added” also indicate that nature-derived pigments were used since synthetic dyes must be listed by their names.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Amanda's Saving Money the Homemade Way - Homemade Hair Bows

With Christmas just around the corner, as does everyone, I have a list to fulfill but a very limited budget. I like to look for simple homemade ideas for gifts. I do some baking every year and this year, I found a really neat and easy gift I can make for the young girls on my list- such as my 3 young nieces. Every little girl loves hair bows! Before I even get started, let me tell you how completely NOT CRAFTY I am. I don't like crafts and I am not good at them. But, even I was able to easily learn how to make these bows and was surprised how easy they are!

Here is a picture of the first one I made:

I had never done these before but within a few minutes, I made this adorable bow! I will show you how to make 3 different but similar bows. They were really fun to make and I have two adorable little almost 4 year olds that were happy to model!

To get started:

Here is a sampling of the ribbon I bought:

I didn't pay more than a dollar for any single spool. I bought a lot more than this - this is just a few! I found some in the dollar bins at JoAnns as well as in the dollar section of Target. Dollar stores also have them sometimes.

You will also need:
  • a few dowel rods (costs less than a dollar each)
  • you can get thin or fatter depending on how big you want the curls in your ribbon. I also cut them in half.
  • a few wooden clothespins
  • plain hair clips (I found them in the homemade jewelry section at JoAnns - I got snap-shut clips and alligator clips)
  • glue gun
  • thin thread
To get started, wrap the ribbon around the dowel rods, held on with clothespins.

Place the ribbon covered dowels across a cookie sheet and put in a 200 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Take out of oven and unclip the pins and let ribbon slide off- it will be curled!

To Make the bows:

1) First I will show the process for a large clip, similar to the one shown above:

This bow, like the first, is a little thicker and bigger. After curling the ribbon, cut 6-8 pieces about the same length. Take a long piece of thread, folded in half and lay across the table. Lay the pieces of ribbon in the middle of thread as shown below:

Gather the string around the ribbon and tie tightly into a knot (Don't worry about the ribbon staying perfectly aligned- you can adjust it). Then just fluff and pull the ribbon around until it looks right!

To get the clip ready, lay out a piece of ribbon that will match the bow and put a strip of blue from the glue gone on it. Place the clip on top of the glue.

Put a little more glue on the clip and wrap the ribbon over it.

Put a dab of glue gun glue on the ribbon where it is tied together and attach to the clip! Allow to dry and it is done!

2) Here is a smaller version of the same style:

To make is smaller, just cut the pieces smaller and maybe use fewer pieces. (on the ribbon above, I used 8 pieces, for this one, I used 5). You tie it and attach it just the same way:

3) Long curly pony holder:

Cut 4 longer pieces of curled ribbon (approximately 6 inches or so)

Gather them together in the center and put a single stitch through it to hold them together in that spot.

After putting in the stitch, take a small piece of ribbon (an inch or less) and put glue from the glue gun on it. Wrap the small piece of ribbon around the middle of the bow and an elastic pony holder to attach them together and you are done! You may need to trim the ribbon a little to make it all the same length.

These bows are fun to do and easy and cheap! As I mentioned before, I didn't pay more than a dollar for a spool of ribbon- some were only 50 cents! I paid a total of about $20 for ALL supplies (the dowel rods and clips included!) and got enough supplies to make dozens of hair bows. This works out to be less than a dollar a bow. These would cost $5 or more for a single hair bow in any store.

Obviously, the options are endless. If you are good at tying bows, you could tie a bow with straight ribbon and glue to the clip. JoAnns also had a huge assortment of little flowers and such- all you would need to do would be glue those on a clip and be done. Definitely a low cost way to give a beautiful gift with a personal touch!

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tastefully Simple Cozy Comfort Gift Collection - and the winner is...

Carrie H.
(comment #18)

Congratulations on winning the Cozy Comfort Gift Collection!! Please email us ( your contact information (email address).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Giveaway - Tastefully Simple Cozy Comfort Gift Collection!

****This giveaway has ended****

We are very excited to announce that one of our own CMOTC moms (and president) Denae G., is giving away a Tastefully Simple gift collection product on our blog. Specifically, for this giveaway, Denae is donating a Cozy Comfort gift pack - YUM! (photo to the right)

Denae is a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful 4 year old twin girls: Kennedy and Kerrigan. She has been a Tastefully Simple Consultant for a year and a half, originally starting out just to be able to pay cash for Christmas. Now, much to her surprise, it has become a nice little business for her. What’s her favorite part about being a Tastefully Simple Consultant? She loves that she can combine her two favorite things - food and entertaining – then call it work!

The Cozy Comfort gift collection includes: Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup Mix, Nana’s Apple Cake Mix and Bountiful Beer Bread Mix all wrapped up in a pretty taffeta bag. It’s actually the most popular teacher’s gift this time of year. As Denae says, “What’s a better way to help a teacher than by a home cooked meal, prepared easily.” This gift is perfect for their busy days with our kids, but sharing the love of a great dinner with hers/his. And… we wouldn’t tell if you decided to keep it for yourself. :)

Be sure to check out her holiday gift collection sale going on now through December 15th. Select holiday gift collections are 25% off! Go to her website to view all of the great Tastefully Simple products. You can also send her an email or call her at 419-957-8306. Or become her friend on Facebook where she posts shares all the great sales and promotions for her Tastefully Simple products.

To enter to win this yummy Cozy Comfort treat (required entry):

Become a Facebook friend of Denae Teeters Griggs – click here to go to her profile. In the friend request message to her, type the statement “I need beer bread!” Once you have done this, comment* below stating you sent a FB friend request to Denae.

If you are already Denae’s facebook friend, that counts too. Just write “I need beer bread” on her FB wall, then comment below stating you’ve done this.

For additional entries – of course we will give you multiple chances to win! – do the following: (please create a separate comment for each of the three entry options)

  • Become a follower of the Columbus Multiples Mom blog OR sign up for email notification (of blog posts) via feedburner (both are in the left margin). Once you have done this, comment* below stating which you did. If you are already following us or subscribing through emails, that counts too. Comment* below letting us know.

  • Become a fan of CMOTC on facebook. Search for CMOTC in facebook and select the one with the photo of our club or click this link, then click “like.” Once you have done this, comment* below stating you did. If you are already a fan, that counts too. Comment* below letting us know.

PLEASE make sure you use your full name or at the very least your first name and last initial, as it will be hard to determine for sure who is the winner if there are multiple people entering with the same first names.

Winners will be selected on Tuesday December 14th at 9pm by random selection, using Be sure to check the blog on Tuesday December 14th to see if you won. If an email address is not included in your public goggle account profile, you will need to contact us within three days or we will have to select another winner. See giveaway policies for more information.

*Comment section is located below the "You might also like..." section and within the "Posted by..." line. Click on the word "comments" (which will have a number before it showing how many comments there are at that moment) to enter a comment for each of your entry options. Please let us know if you have questions.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Teacher Gifts: Great ideas given by the expert - a teacher!

What to get your children's teacher(s) for the holidays... that's a question on many of our minds right now. CMOTC mom Carrie H., who is a teacher, offers us some insight into the perfect gifts (and also ones to avoid). Thank you Carrie for sharing your teacher's perspective on this topic!


At Christmas, there are so many people on our list that we want or need to buy a gift for. Often times, one of those people is our child's teacher, or in some cases there's more than one teacher. When buying for your child's teacher, my best piece of advice is to do it thoughtfully. Thoughtful doesn't mean the same as expensive. One thing I keep in mind is that this person spends more time with my children during the weekdays than I do, and I want him or her to feel appreciated and loved through our gifts, not like it was an obligation to buy for him or her.

Here is a list of gifts I recommend for teachers:
  1. Gift cards - Starbucks, Bath and Body Works, local restaurants. Even a $5 gift card to Starbucks or Caribou to pick up a drink before school can be an appreciated treat.

  2. Movie tickets -I received these a few years ago from a student, and I was SO thankful! It was exciting to use them on a "date" night for my husband and myself.

  3. Books donated to my classroom

  4. A gift that supported my hobby-in my case, this was scrapbooking supplies. What hobby does your child's teacher have? Ask your kids-chances are they have a good idea :)

  5. School spirit items-PTOs or other school organizations often sell "spirit" wear around this time of year. Since schools often have "casual" Fridays or other special "dress down days", teachers may appreciate something that shows his/her school spirit.

  6. A gift that supported a collection-in my case, nativities. My students knew that I collected nativities, and I thought it was sweet when they remembered that small detail about me and supported it.

  7. Dry erase markers, colored grading pens, etc.-by this time in the year, those things are starting to wear out, and it's nice to have new ones to start in January. Or even, gift cards to Office Max, United Art and Education, Lakeshore Learning, Meijer, etc. for school supplies. (sometimes teachers get allowances from the school for supplies, but most have to use their own money or just go without.)

  8. Personalized stationery

  9. Nice jar candles from Yankee or B&BW

  10. Unique food gifts-Tastefully Simple and other companies like that have some yummy, practical foods that are a great alternative to the typical sweet food a lot of teachers get.
Here are a few ideas to shy away from or rethink before you give them:
  1. Cookies, candy, other sweet treats.

  2. Ornaments

  3. Christmas figurines and decorations

  4. Coffee mugs

  5. Teacher knickknacks
All in all, showing your teacher that you appreciate them as an individual and recognize their life outside of the classroom is important. After all, teachers are people, too. I would encourage you to remember how important their job is, and show them in an appreciative way.

Happy holidays.

~ Carrie

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Article: How Can I Prepare My Pet For Multiples?

CMOTC mom Kathleen P. found this great article on preparing your pets for the pending birth of your multiples and wanted to share it with everyone as a great resource. Thank you Kathleen!


Below are several suggestions for a smooth transition for both your children and pets.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian for a routine health exam and necessary vaccinations.

  • Spay or neuter your pet. The pet will have fewer health problems and also may be calmer (less likely to bite).

  • Consult with a veterinarian and pediatrician if the thought of your newborn interacting with the family pet is a concern. By working with experts before the baby is born, you can resolve problems early and put your mind at ease.

  • Address any pet training and behavior problems. If your pet exhibits fear and anxiety, now is the time to get help from an animal behavior specialist.

  • If your pet’s behavior includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or swatting at you and others, redirect that behavior to appropriate objects.

  • Train your pet to remain calmly on the floor beside you until you invite him on your lap, which will soon cradle a newborn.

  • Consider enrolling in a training class with your dog, and practice training techniques.

  • Training allows you to safely and humanely control your dog’s behavior and enhances the bond between you and your pet.

  • Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Always supervise all pets with infant/children interactions.

  • Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recording of baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing, and us the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your pet by offering a treat or playtime.

  • To discourage your pet from jumping on the baby’s crib and changing table, apply double –stick tape to the furniture.

  • If the baby’s room will be off-limits to your pet, install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate. Because the barrier will still allow your pet to see and hear what’s happening in the room, they will feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises.

  • You can use a baby doll to help your pet get used to the real thing; carry around a swaddled doll, your dog will then get use to the routine.

  • Talk to your pet about the baby, using the baby’s name you selected.

  • Sprinkle baby powder/baby oil on yourself so the pet gets used to the new smells.

When you come home with your babies.

  • Make arrangements for your pet ahead of time, since you and your spouse will both be spending time at the hospital. Try to stay on same schedule of letting them out, food, walks and attention.

  • Be stocked on pet food and treats (always make sure they have water).

  • If pet is with a dog sitter/friend/family always have a letter prepared if your pet requires medical attention, leave them the veterinarian contact information.

  • Have your spouse/dog sitter share a blanket that the baby was swaddled in at the hospital, so the dog can get use to the scent.

  • When you get home, walk in first to see your pet, they are mostly likely stressed from not seeing you for so many days. Give a treat and make a fuss to see them.

  • Then bring in the babies in the carrier, using the babies name show the pet, even let them sniff.


How about all of you? Any more advice on how to prepare your pets? Stories to tell? Please share!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spotlighting our Super Duo Winners!

In September we were lucky enough to have two capes and two masks graciously donated from Baby Pop Designs for a giveaway on our blog. The lucky winner of this great giveaway was Sara W. Here are some photos of her fearless super duo in action. As Sara said, the photos are of them in motion... it's hard to stop the heroes who are fighting hard to save the house after all.

Super Bennett and Super Kendyll give Baby Pop Designs two thumbs up on their new super hero attire (I believe Sara's exact words were "they freaken LOVE the capes and masks"... enough said).

Looks like our work here is done. Another successful blog giveaway resulted in happiness. Look for more happiness to be shared soon, with another blog giveaway.

Thank you again to Sherry at Baby Pop Designs for the great giveaway!

By the way, if you want to order your super duo (or single or trio or more) a cape and mask set (or princess or prince set), you still have time. Orders placed before December 10th will be received before Christmas. Go to Baby Pop Designs to check out their fun product guaranteed to bring joy to any child.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kelly's Art Easel: Homemade Card Trees and Advent Calendars

For December, I thought it would be fun to give you some create ideas for displaying your cards and creating advent calendars... homemade, easy, fun for all ages and inexpensive!

Tomato Cage Card Trees:
This craft is so easy and so functional! A unique way to display your holiday cards this season. I saw this in Real Simple magazine a while back and then again in this year’s Family Fun magazine. There are many variations, but here’s mine:

  • scissors
  • tin foil
  • cardboard
  • tomato cage
  • ribbon
  • Binder clips or mini clothes pins

Get a tomato cage from a garden supply store (or if you’re lucky like me, on garbage day from your neighbors!)

Turn the cage upside down so the part you stick in the ground is up.

Either duct tape (Family Fun instructions) the tips together, or I just tied a little ribbon around the points to hold them together, much like the top of a tepee.

I then cut star shape (out a cereal box) and wrapped it in tin foil to make it silver. I left a bit extra to make a “pocket” for the points of the top of the tomato cage to hold the start in place.

I bought mini clothes pins, but mini binder clips also work. Use this to pin the cards to make the “branches”.

Next up, Advent Calendars!

I LOVE advent calendars and want to challenge myself to make a different one each year and this year I found 2 great ideas to share…

Christmas Tree Advent Calendar: Countdown to Christmas!
  • Download template from Family Fun here.
  • Construction paper
  • Clothes pins
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scotch tape
  • Markers/crayons
Cut out template and trace onto paper (we didn’t have enough construction paper, so I had my kids color copy paper and I used that instead).

Cut out the “cones”, right now they’ll just be 1/3 of a circle.

Put a thin line of elmer’s glue on one side of the circle third.

Roll carefully into a cone and then use a clothes pin to hold the cone together until the cone dries.

Repeat this again with either 12 or 24 cones (depending on how long you want to countdown until Christmas).

Next, fold paper like an accordion and draw some stars. Cut them out and write on each one the days numbered, 1-24 etc.

Cut a piece of pipe cleaner into about 1-2 in. pieces and tape to the back of each star.

Once the cones are dry, remove the clothes pins and place the pipe cleaner end into the top hole of the cones.

Don’t forget to place some treats under each tree. Some ideas are candy, little toys, handmade coupons (good for a hug, 10 minutes of tv, etc.) and anything else you can fit!

I display my calendar on a serving tray, so I may move it off the table for mealtimes.


Here’s one more easy idea, from Family Fun, for an advent calendar that uses photos of doors you cut from magazines! Click here for the instructions.

I hope you and your kids have fun making these projects AND enjoying them all month! Happy holidays!
Check out Kelly's Etsy store here. Or you can find her on Facebook here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fun Kid Thanksgiving Appetizers and Treats

Family Fun Magazine always has a ton of great kid holiday ideas, no matter the season. For Thanksgiving, I love their ideas for treats and appetizers. So far, over the years, we have done three Turkey treats/appetizers (photos from Family Fun):

The fruit gobbler:
This is really easy and fun! My oldest son, at four, helped me make the skewers (I cut off the sharp ends after we put the cheese and grapes on since we had younger children - they still went into the melon fine).

Gobble me up:
Seriously cute and all healthy too, my kids like laying out the apple and orange segments as feathers.

The candy corn and cookies are easy for younger kids to put in to help with this fun treat. We made these when my son was three and though they weren't picture perfect, he had a blast.

My kids and their cousins all really loved these. They are fun to make with your kids and add some festive fun to your gathering, not to mention they are all very yummy to eat! There are a lot more ideas on their website - check them out - appetizers and desserts/treats. (The names of each treat shown above are hot linked to the recipe.)

As far as standard recipes, I've also made the apple pie party dip with cinnamon chips many times (for whatever occasion) and it has been a HUGE hit... often requested by people (for me to make).

In addition to these things, they also have great crafts, activity sheets and games for Thanksgiving.

If you are looking for some fun Thanksgiving themed kid appetizers or desserts, as well as fun kid activities for many ages, check out the Family Fun Thanksgiving area.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Katie's Nutrition Nook - Avoiding Weight Gain this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again - we eat, drink and make merry now and worry about the consequences later. According to a 2000 Study of Holiday Weight Gain*, Americans only gain about 1 lb each year from Halloween to New Year’s Day. Sound like no big deal? The problem is that 1 lb frequently results in “creeping obesity”-- 20 years of holiday weight gain never lost can result in a 20 lb weight gain and put you at risk for many health problems.

So how can you prevent weight gain this holiday season?

Here are some tips:

1) Regular physical activity
  • If you’re already exercising, continue it! If you aren’t, it’s a great time to start! Work physical activity into your busy schedule by: parking further away, taking the stairs, walking to look at Christmas lights, shoveling snow or even building a snowman!

2) Plan ahead/Control the situation

  • Going to a holiday party or out shopping? Here are some tips: Take healthy snack options with you or eat a healthy snack before you leave home, position yourself away from the food, limit your plate to 2 items at a time and fill up on veggies first. Do all of this and you’ll be less likely to splurge on all those holiday treats!

3) Eat a Healthy Diet

  • Model it after My Pyramid: make half your grains whole, focus on fruits and vegetables, keep your meats lean & exercise portion control
  • Increase water intake (especially before meals) and limit alcohol consumption

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season!

~ Katie

* Yanovski, J. A. et al. 2000. A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain New England Journal of Medicine. Volume 342:861-867

Blog Widget by LinkWithin