Introducing Solids to Babies

By Sara Chana, IBCLC

Babies will become orally curious between 5-7 months but that does not mean breastfeeding babies are hungry. Until babies have teeth to chew food properly breastfeeding babies do not need to eat solids. Since breastmilk supplies all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs, women all over the world can exclusively breastfeed their babies till the child well over one year of age. Most successfully nursing babies can totally bypass the ‘smushy’ food stage and when ready, can jump right into finger food. If babies are beginning to reach for food while parents are eating it’s just because they are curious! They are just wondering what their parents are ‘into.’ They want to explore the world orally, but do not need to fill their tummies up with food. This curiosity is a normal stage of development, and babies just need to explore the world through with their mouths. I always teach moms that if they put a delicious cookie and an exciting toy car on the baby’s high chair table the child may taste the cookie, but the car would me more exciting for the child to ‘taste.’

Don’t confuse exploration with hunger – help your child get the most from this developmental time. When babies begin to really become curious about food, somewhere between 9-14 months, begin with different ‘poo-poo platters.’ Give them a plate with different colors, tastes, and textures. Allow the child to get dirty with the food just as you would paints. Let them explore the tastes, smells and sensations and take pleasure in knowing that your child is stimulating different parts of his brain. This phase of discovery does not last too long and at some point children really do want to eat solids but if the child is nursing well, than consuming a lot of solids is not important untill after 14 months. And, don’t worry about the child learning ‘wrong habits’ at the table; you will have plenty of time later to teach your child ‘good table manners.’

In addition:

· Don’t rush the introduction of solid foods. Babies don’t need to eat solids until they have from four to eight teeth, or until they can sit up and support themselves in a high chair, and manage to get more food into their mouths, by themselves, than they do in their hair or on the floor!

· Don’t confuse the need for oral discovery, with hunger. Babies become very orally excited from between five to nine months.

· Do let your infant explore the world of taste and texture by letting her smell, play and mush all kinds of foods. Give her different colors and textures to play with. Rather than push quantities of food into their little tummies that most babies don’t require, allow their inquisitive scientific minds to develop.

· Do be aware that breastmilk changes as the child grows, keeping up with the nutritional needs of the baby, so why the rush into solid foods? Your breast milk is as nutritious for a ten month old as it was for a two week old.

About the Author

Sara Chana is a mother of 7 and was introduced to homeopathy as a result of her 2nd son’s severe eczema, reflux and asthma. As she went from specialist to specialist seeking a cure, each one told her that her son would need to be on medication for the rest of his life, Sara decided to look into alternative medicine. By educating herself and using homeopathic remedies, she was able to cure her son and now specializes in helping moms all over the country with natural remedies for their children. Visit Twitter @sarachanas Facebook – Sara Chana

*Image: federico stevanin /*

A bounty from the garden enhanced with Sun-Maid raisins, this crisp, colorful salad can be served as a first course, or as the main meal!

Bountiful Health Salad



1 head red leaf lettuce, torn in pieces and chilled
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 cup alfalfa sprouts
1 cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
1 cup croutons
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup sunflower nuts
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Salt and pepper


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon basil
1 small clove garlic, minced


COMBINE all salad ingredients except salt and pepper.
COMBINE all dressing ingredients; blend well.
POUR dressing over salad; add salt and pepper to taste.
TOSS well; serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid Raisins.*

How to Create a Daily Schedule to Get Your Family Organized

If you find that keeping your family on track is stressing you out more than organizing your loved ones should, it is probably long past time to create a schedule to make sure everyone is on the same page. Children, especially teenagers, need to learn the value of structure and organization, and there is no better way than everyone in the family learning together. In this way you allow them to share in the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction you all will feel once the schedule is created and maintained. Here are five easy steps to help you get the ball rolling:

The big picture. Before you can begin scheduling, you must have a firm idea of what an average day looks like in your household. Assign everyone in your family the task of sorting out their daily activities, noting any variations of which they are aware or if they come across them unexpectedly. After a week of such research, hold a family meeting where everyone shares their personal schedule. Allow time for each family member to air any grievances they may feel because of scheduling problems. This lets you recognize where problems exist because of the timing of meals, homework, and outdoor or after school activities. You can begin the scheduling process now because you have an idea of the big picture; that is, what your ultimate goals are.

Brainstorming. If you have access to one of those fancy glass dry erase boards, use it to begin the brainstorming process, which is essential to the success of any well thought out plan. If not, stick to a marker and a large pad of paper. After the big picture meeting, your family should all be able to brainstorm more clearly in order to figure out what each member requires for their optimal day. During brainstorming no idea is considered too crazy, so make sure to write everything down. You can cross it off later.

Forming the initial schedule. Once everyone has made their opinions known, now is the time to create a preliminary, trial schedule. Make the schedule itself as large as possible. Use poster board and colored markers. Tell your family that this is the schedule and everyone will follow it. Be as strict as you can, even if you meet with resistance from your children (or your spouse). Also make sure to follow it yourself. Good parenting strategy includes modeling for your children. If they see that you aren’t following the schedule, they won’t want to either.

Following the schedule. Test it out for at least one week. Note any slip ups or inconveniences that result. Be sure that your children practice taking responsibility for their actions, which means you can remind them if you absolutely must, but remember that now is the ideal time for them to begin practicing those strategies for themselves.

Revision. After the week is up, sit down for another family meeting. Let everyone speak out about how they felt the week went. Decide as a group if any changes need to be made. Amend the schedule as necessary and practice it until it is routine!

Delightfully wheat-free and bursting with orange flavor, this recipe for Wheat-Free Orange Quinoa Muffins from the Elm Cottage Bed & Breakfast will enliven any morning!

Wheat-Free Orange Quinoa Muffins


3/4 cup rolled oats (for gluten-free, omit oats and double quinoa)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1-1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 oranges
1 large ripe banana
1/3 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 egg
2 egg whites
2/3 cup chopped pitted dates


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the rolled oats into a fine flour. Add it to the cooked quinoa and mix in the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

3. Grate one orange for zest and set aside. Remove pith, chop segments into small pieces and place in large bowl. Peel other two oranges and separate the segments.

4. In food processor, process the banana with apple juice, whole orange segments, brown sugar, honey, oil, egg and egg whites. Pour into the bowl with chopped orange segments. Stir in the dates and orange zest and mix well. Add banana-orange batter to dry ingredients and mix until well blended.

5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack; serve warm or let cool.

*Recipe and courtesy of Image provided by Elm Cottage Bed & Breakfast.*

Brighter, flawless-looking skin that looks as though it has been illuminated is within reach! Harnessing the healing power of nature for gorgeous skin, the specific enzyme in Luminaze has been harvested from a mushroom that grows on trees high in the Swiss Alps. Whether you are seeking an age spot corrector or just overall skin lightening, Luminaze is a safe, all-natural formula that is used twice a day after cleansing. Not tested on animals, Luminaze is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and most importantly, does not contain hydroquinone, which is a harsh ingredient that has been banned in various countries due to its harsh properties.

Instead, the Luminaze enzyme was chosen by researchers when it became evident that the bark surrounding the mushrooms found in the Swiss Alps were decolourized. It is these same properties that were found to lighten the color of the bark that result in the breakdown of melanin in the skin for a dramatic improvement in the appearance of dark spots from sun damage and aging.

After one month of using Luminaze twice daily after washing her face, “Mom” has noticed her skin is clearer and brighter, and her complexion is overall more even. The solution lasted for one month exactly, and was simple to use following the two steps below twice a day after cleansing:

STEP 1: Apply the patented Active Luminaze™ Enzyme from Pump #1 all over your face, spreading evenly and thoroughly.

STEP 2: Apply an equal amount of the Bio-Activator solution from Pump #2 all over your face.

To learn more about Luminaze, to locate a store near you, or to order online, visit

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Firm Uses Mushrooms for Eco-Friendly Packaging

Are you frustrated by the sheer amount of plastic “packing peanuts” that arrive in your mail order boxes? Those tiny pieces of synthetic material that stick to your clothes and can wind up in every nook and cranny of your house? If you’ve ever been concerned about the environmental effect those packing materials can have, you may be interested to learn that Evocative Design, a plant in New York founded by Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer, has sidestepped using synthetic material altogether. Instead, their design calls for mushroom parts to comprise the bulk of the packing material, primarily mycelium, the roots of the mushroom you normally wouldn’t see.
McIntyre and Bayer, both in their twenties, have discovered a way to produce mycelium in such a way that it grows together with seed husks or other related offshoots of agricultural production to form shapes that are ideal for packing. They also make a lovely green alternative.

As eco-friendly solutions grow ever more popular, Evocative Design has found itself in exactly the right place at the right time to help out the environment while making a tidy profit for themselves. Business has been so good, in fact, that the young gentlemen behind it have decided to expand into footwear and vehicle bumpers. One of the advantages, they believe, is that the fungus they use can be changed and its growth conditions altered in such a way that there is some flexibility in what it can produce.

Bayer first noted that mycelium had elastic properties as a child on a farm in Vermont. When he teamed up with McIntyre, the boys exhibited their business savvy when they chose packing materials over insulation, figuring that they’d make more money. Now they run an attractive business that may utilize promo codes for interested customers.

Not too bad for a couple of former engineering students who recently turned a deal with the corporation known for producing Bubble Wrap.

The geniuses behind this eco-friendly design also recently increased their workshop area, where employees grow mycelium, mix it with other byproducts like seed husks or stalks, then create the preferred piece by placing it all into a plastic mold. While the mixture remains covered for five days, the mycelium becomes an adhesive as it grows over and through the feedstock. The next step insures that any future mushrooms will be prevented from sprouting as the mixture is heated to kill any fungus.

Anything that can be made of plastic, the boys believe, can probably be replaced with mycelium.
Evocative now employs 42 workers, has received millions of dollars in grant money, and attracts big name companies like Dell, who have an investment in pursuing green initiatives like the one offered by Bayer and McIntyre.

One of the benefits of these fungal chips is that they are created from cloned mycelium, meaning there are no spores involved so no one handling them should have an allergic reaction. In addition, they are completely biodegradable and break down within six to nine months. They can also be eaten, though McIntyre and Bayer don’t recommend this approach to recycling.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for Sidepon where you can find OldNavy online promo codes or Pac Sun coupons online along with many other codes and coupons for your favorite brands.

With its pretty presentation and fancy ingredients, this appetizer is lovely to serve at an elegant brunch, an afternoon tea party, or a bridal shower. You can prepare the salad ahead of time, but don’t cut up or add the avocado until just before serving, as avocado quickly turns brown when exposed to air.

Quinoa-Crab Salad in Lettuce Cups


1 cup white quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
8 ounces cooked crab meat, picked through for shells
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus 12 to 16 tarragon sprigs for garnish
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
pinch of white pepper
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads Bibb lettuce, separated into individual leaves paprika, for garnish


1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool to room temperature.

2. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, crab meat, avocado, capers, and tarragon.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking and gradually drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the quinoa mixture and stir gently to coat.

4. Just before serving, arrange the lettuce cups on a platter or place on individual salad plates. Spoon ¼ to ⅓ cup of the quinoa-crab salad into each lettuce cup. Sprinkle with paprika and top each serving with a sprig of tarragon.

Makes 12 to 16 Lettuce Cups.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Quinoa Cuisine.*

Sausage is great to cook with because it adds big flavor to just about anything. Here, it makes a robust sauce for sturdy quinoa pasta. We think uncooked sausage is best in this recipe, but you could also use precooked sausage; just dice it in ½-inch pieces and sauté in Step 1 for about 5 minutes to brown and heat through. This makes a great weeknight dinner — just add a salad and some garlic bread.

Hearty Turkey Sausage Ragu


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
12 ounces Italian-style turkey sausages, casings removed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (8-ounce) box quinoa pasta, any shape
Kosher salt and black pepper


1. In a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently and breaking into chunks with a wooden spoon or spatula, until cooked through, 7 to 9 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the flavors have had a chance to meld and the sauce is thick, about 20 minutes.

3. While the sauce is simmering, cook the quinoa pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add to the sauce pot, tossing to combine. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Quinoa Cuisine.*

Green Job Opportunities for New Graduates Grow Despite Economic Downturn

Schooling in the 1980s and 90s saw an increasing focus on conservation efforts, as numerous environmental problems came to the fore. Now, those children are graduating college and looking for opportunities in the work world to make a difference and still earn a regular paycheck.

The intervening years have only brought more problems and more attempts to address them from government bureaucracies, private sector business, and non-profit organizations. The job market in some sectors has faced setbacks owing to the recent economic turmoil, but the green sector remains strong, and graduates looking for socially conscious work have a number of opportunities to choose from.

The Non-profit Sector

Arguably the hardest hit by the 2009 down-swing, non-profit job opportunities are still available for graduating students. Though the pay is typically less than in other sectors, the work is often gratifying and always public oriented. The current focus is on growth in the business side of non-profits, including operations managers, development officers and financial planners.

Many students seek higher pay than what is offered here, but that should not stop you from exploring options. Most student loan plans offer generous repayment schedules and loan forgiveness after a set number of years. It is worthwhile to explore these before writing off the opportunity for your dream job.

Green Government Jobs

A large number of new hires are entering the government sector, because pay is decent and there are choices. Several bureaucracies are now using direct hire to recruit directly from college campuses, and the federal government is one of the largest employers of environmental professionals. Whether it is the USDA forest service, EPA, or even state level work, the increasing number of retirees are leaving vacant positions to fill.

Several of the nation’s largest cities are also investing heavily in green technology, making it even easier to find a great job. Degrees in architecture, communications, and political science are currently most valuable in San Francisco, Boston and New York City, and the municipal sector is expected to grow as more cities see the benefits of investing in green technology. Portland also has several programs in need of new hires, and Detroit has seen an influx of federal investing in the green sector.

Private Sector Greening

Generally, green jobs that offer the most pay are located in the private sector. These jobs are more competitive and often require coursework in both business and sustainable management. The good news is that the private sector is facing an increase in retirees just like the government sector, and they are hiring fast enough to fill them. The type of work ranges from more business-oriented management to creative positions perfect for students with degrees in the arts.

Green job candidates will have more success with backgrounds in both sustainability and business, though this is a requirement. It is just as important to spread the green message as it is to streamline production processes and find funding for campaigns. The environmentally conscious generation faces a growing number of job opportunities.

About the Author

Author Richard Barnes is an eco-friendly student taking classes for political management online.

*Image: jscreationzs /*

Shampoo and condition your lustrous locks for a cure! Hair care that not only gives your hair volume, body, shine and protection, but gives back, as well? Endurance Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner by Cureology offers color-treated hair protection against UVA and UVB rays, ozone, pollutants and free radicals. This is a sulfate-free formula that is 100% free of phosphates, waxes, fillers, salts, parabens, harmful petrochemicals and is Cruelty Free!

The best part? Founded by a breast cancer survivor, Cureology is committed to social responsibility! This company is proud to be a 2012 sponsor and is donating a portion of distribution sales to National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. to provide funding for FREE mammograms, education and cancer research.

At Cureology Beauty they adhere to the following principles:

Procure and use only ingredients that are available from renewable sustainable resources when and wherever available.

Use only organically grown ingredients.

They do not add harmful salt or other thickeners to our formulations which are harmful to the hair, hair color and scalp.

Cureology Beauty is the only hair care line that utilizes a Dual Proprietary Sun Screening System to help protect the hair, hair color and hairline from the ravaging effects of UVA and UVB rays as well as Ozone.

Cureology Beauty utilizes a proprietary blend of botanicals, antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and Omega3 to create the most beneficially fabulous hair care line in the world.

Mom” found the Endurance Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner to be an eco-fabulous beauty find, leaving her hair healthier and smelling lovely after each shower. Plus, using it just makes you feel like you are doing something good for yourself and others!

To learn more about Cureology Beauty, please visit

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*