The Healthy Aging Partnership offers these suggestions for grandparents and others who want to play a bigger role in young lives:
Be yourself. Youngsters will benefit from and enjoy having someone who listens and gives them their undivided attention. All too often parents don't have enough time to spend with their children and that's where you can help. Be a mentor and a friend.
Arts and crafts, such as making a scrapbook, create great memories and allow you and a child to learn something new together.
Youngsters love to help in the kitchen. The hands-on cooking exercise can be as simple as baking a box cake, with a little measuring and mixing.
Gardening is another kid favorite. Dig in the dirt. Plant. Water. Sow fast-sprouting bean, pumpkin or sunflower seeds that grow with every visit.
Go to the library. Computers and video games may be a new thing, but you can never go wrong with a great story. Teach them about something you love. If you're excited about it, they will be too.
If you don't have grandchildren of your own, volunteer to share an interest or skill with a local youth organization. The American Red Cross, Intergenerational Innovations and Big Brothers, Big Sisters, just to name a few, can help connect older adults with young people in their community.
Spring is a warm, bright, and sunny time of year when you may schedule time for outdoor picnics at local parks and beaches. While you are at it, you might as well pencil in some time to brighten up your herb or vegetable garden with some tasty flowers – edible flowers, that is!
You may have seen floral garnishes adorning fancy meals or flashy desserts; but you may not know that you can eat many of these flowers fresh from the plant after rinsing. Edible flowers can be cooked like a vegetable, sprinkled on top of a favorite dish, used to make soups and sauces, or stuffed and sautéed as a main part of a recipe. They can be made into vinegar, syrups, butters, and jellies, or used in custards, sorbets, and other desserts. They can also be frozen into ice cubes to add extra excitement to an otherwise boring beverage on a hot day. Now is the time of year when many edible flowers are in peak bloom. They may even be in your garden already - just waiting to be added to your next dish!
Some of the edible flowers that may be in your backyard or vases include pansies, violas, chrysanthemums, carnations, fuchsias, geraniums, jasmine, lavender, violets, and certain roses. Flavors range from sweet and honey-like to spicy and peppery, while scents can add a floral aroma or a citrusy tang. Nasturtiums are a popular edible flower that adds a spicy, peppery kick. The purple flowers of banana trees and blossoms of citrus trees (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, kumquat) are edible fruit flowers that may be in your back yard. Many herb flowers, including alliums (garlic, chives, leeks), cilantro/coriander, chicory, dill, mint, sage, and thyme are also safe to eat. Most of the flavors of herbal flowers resemble those of the herbs they come from. These can be added to a dish along with or in place of the herb itself. Several vegetable flowers probably already make a regular appearance in your diet, such as cauliflower (who would have thought?), broccoli, and artichoke, which are all flower blossoms. In addition, the flowers of arugula, okra, radishes, peas, and squash are edible. Squash blossoms appear quite often in the produce stands and taste a bit like the raw gourd from which it came.
Best of all, many edible flowers have vitamin C, vitamin A, and other beneficial essential nutrients. Edible flowers can replace sodium and sugar when used in conjunction with herbs and spices, adding more flavor and aroma to foods. However, keep in mind that edible flowers have a delicate taste that is detected best when added to simple dishes that do not have overpowering flavors.
Many flowers can be safely tossed onto our plates; but there are flowers that are poisonous and should never be eaten. Always make sure a flower is edible before adding it to your food. Some resources that list some edible flowers are at Colorado State Extension and North Carolina State University. In general, edible flowers are best when they are picked during the morning when they have the most moisture. They can be rinsed and placed in a moist paper towel in the refrigerator for storage. Use within a short period to maintain quality.
There are also some safety rules to follow regarding where you find your edible flowers. Do not pick flowers from the side of the road where fumes from vehicles and other contaminants can make the plants unsafe to eat. Do not purchase edible flowers from nurseries or garden centers unless they are grown specifically for consumption. Do consume edible flowers that you have grown from seeds as long as you do not use pesticides or other chemicals. Do introduce small amounts of new flowers one at a time since pollen from the plants may trigger allergies. Do research which parts should and should not be used since each type of edible flower is different.
Flowers are nice to have. Their colors brighten a room, they give off a pleasing aroma, and they bring joy to people who take the time to notice them.
However, one of the most exciting reasons for dietitians to love flowers is that they may be food! Spring is the perfect time to try something new and let an edible flower be a part of your dining room table – and not just as an accent piece in a vase! Pansy Herb Salad 4 cups mixed greens 1/4 cup fresh sprigs of dill 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 4 large basil leaves, rolled up and thinly sliced crosswise 1 large lemon, halved Pinch of salt Fresh ground black pepper to taste 1 /2 cup toasted walnuts 3/4 cup crumbled feta 1 cup fresh pansy flowers
Toss salad greens and herbs in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice (without the seeds) over the greens and season with salt and pepper. Toss again. Add walnuts and feta and toss well. Divide salad and pansies among four serving plates and serve.
Nutrition Fact Per Serving (Serves 4) Calories: 179; Fat: 16g; Carbohydrate: 5g. Adapted from Pansy Herb Salad
International Assistance Dog Week was established due to the efforts of Marcie Davis, a paraplegic for over 35 years and CEO of Davis Innovations, a consulting firm based in Santa Fe, NM.
International Assistance Dog Week
Diabetes alert dog smells blood sugar changes
America's VetDogs CFC
Description of the Various Types of Assistance Dogs
Guide Dogs. Assist people with vision loss, leading these individuals around physical obstacles and to destinations such as seating, crossing streets, entering or exiting doorways, elevators and stairways.
Service Dogs. Assist people with disabilities with walking, balance, dressing, transferring from place to place, retrieving and carrying items, opening doors and drawers, pushing buttons, pulling wheelchairs and aiding with household chores, such as putting in and removing clothes from the washer and dryer.
Hearing Alert Dogs. Alert people with a hearing loss to the presence of specific sounds such as doorbells, telephones, crying babies, sirens, another person, buzzing timers or sensors, knocks at the door or smoke, fire and clock alarms.
Seizure Alert/Seizure Response Dogs. Alert or respond to medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attack, post-traumatic stress and seizures.
Medical Alert/Medical Response Dogs. Alert to oncoming medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attack, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Assistance dogs are allowed to accompany their human partners to places of business including restaurants and shops. Under state law and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they are guaranteed equal access to any and all establishments and accommodations; no extra charge can be levied because of the dog.