Category Archives: Parenting

Winning at Dinnertime with the Kids

Pirate "Dinner Winner" plate for kids - love this...makes dinner so much easier and fun!


Dinner has been one of the most despised words in my household for the past few years.  It started when my oldest was beginning to eat solid foods.  To make a long story short, he had an oral aversion sensory disorder that caused us issues with foods that we are still working past.  My youngest copied his big brother’s refusal to eat many foods, making dinner-time even harder on us.  As parents, we are concerned with making sure our children are fed and nurtured so they can be healthy and grow, but my husband and I felt like we were failing for the longest time.  We have made amazing progress the past year and my discovery of Fred & Friends has made progress even easier to attain.

Fred & Friends created one of the most genius plate designs I have come across – the Dinner Winner plates.  These plates help reduce the overwhelming feeling of the dinner plate, spacing foods out and giving order to them.  As children move through the spaces on the plate, they get a sense of accomplishment, being able to see the progress they have made.  There is a special space at the end with a cover to keep a treat hidden for dinner winners!

I received the “Supper Hero” and Pirate style Dinner Winner Plates and they couldn’t have been a better fit for my boys.  They get excited with each bite, asking me to read what they just uncovered on their plate.  Most kids, including my own, have a hard time keeping their hands off of their dessert but the cute covers keep the treats a surprise and hidden away from fidgety, curious fingers.  These plates are fun and definitely a help for fussy eaters.  I highly recommend them!

Love these plates and my kids love them too!


Another fun set of plates from Fred & Friends is the Mr. and Ms. Food Face plates.  These are so much fun!  I admit my creativity lacks but my husband is having a lot of fun with these.  The sky is the limit – create hair from spaghetti, a necklace of peas, earrings of olives…you name it!

Kids are bound keep their attention on their plate with the Dinner DJ plate.  With a spoon/fork/knife that mimics a tone arm, twistable knobs, and a record-style spinning plate, this set will keep your child entertained as they eat.  This would be a perfect gift for a music appreciative family!


Isn't these taco trucks adorable?  Maybe I can convince my kids to eat tacos now!


Fred & Friends also has fun utensils and products for specific foods, such as tacos.  Aren’t these Taco Trucks adorable?  The trucks are full of detail and are sturdy enough to last your children for years.  And check out these fun chop sticks for kids!

Make sure to take a look around the rest of Fred & Friends too – they have so many fun products that would make great gifts.  I think I know where I might be doing some of my Christmas shopping!

Understanding Patau Syndrome

We all know about down syndrome but it isn't the only thing you need to watch for when you are pregnant at 30 or older - learn about Patau Syndrome

My husband and I are very happy with the size of our family, but sometimes we can’t help but get baby fever.  Although we have no intentions of making our littlest become a big brother, it could happen.  It would be a blessing and we would be grateful for the addition to our family, but baby development is often a big concern when you are 30 years or older so that is something we need to be aware of.

The correlations between advanced maternal age and the incidence of Down syndrome is commonly discussed, but there are other syndromes associated with advanced maternal age that are not as widely known. Trisomy disorders are the most common chromosomal disorders of babies born to mothers of 35 years and older.

Each individual has 23 pairs of chromosomes – 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes and 1 pair of sex chromosomes. When fragments of chromosomes are deleted, duplicated, inverted, or translocated, chromosomal abnormalities occur. A trisomy disorder is a duplication abnormality characterized by three copies of a chromosome, instead of the typical pair. Patau syndrome manifests as a trisomy of chromosome 13.


How Common is Patau Syndrome?

Each year, 1 in 16,000 babies are affected by Patau syndrome. The risk of a baby developing Patau syndrome is significantly increased at the maternal age of 35 and increases each year onward.


Signs and Symptoms of Patau Syndrome

Characteristics of Patau syndrome include:

  • Cleft palate or cleft lip
  • Clenched hands
  • Extra fingers and toes
  • Eyes that are set closer together
  • Ears that are set low
  • Small head


How Does Patau Syndrome Occur?

According to, the chromosomal problem in trisomy 13 is typically due to an egg cell containing an additional copy of chromosome 13. When the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell, the result is 47 chromosome rather than the typical 46.

Trisomy 13 can manifest in one of the following ways:

  1. a)  Non-disjunction – When all of the individual’s cells have 3 chromosome 13s. This is referred to as Trisomy 13.
  2. b)  Mosaicism – When only some of the individual’s cells have 3 chromosome 13s. This is referred to Trisomy 13 mosaicism.
  3. c)  Translocation – When cells contain part of an extra chromosome 13. This is referred to as a partial trisomy.


Diagnosing Patau Syndrome

Prenatal Screening

Prenatal ultrasounds may show evidence of extreme physical abnormalities, such as limb and organ deformations, which may indicate a likelihood of Patau syndrome. Prenatal trisomy tests may also be used to assess the risk that your child may have a chromosomal abnormality. Non-invasive prenatal DNA testing options that require only a blood draw from the biological mother are also available.


Diagnostic testing

If screening tests show that there is a high probability your child has a chromosomal abnormality, more than likely your physician may present you with diagnostic testing options. Some of your options may include invasive procedures, such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.

For couples who have a family history of genetic disease, or a previous pregnancy with a genetic disease, it is a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor to better understand if prenatal tests should be considered.


Diabetes in the Classroom: Tips for a Successful School Day

Tips for children with diabetes attending school


Children with diabetes need more care and monitoring than their peers. Communication and training is very important in order to provide appropriate diabetes management. This is especially true for those hours when children are at school. Making sure that school nurses, educators, and support staff are ready to handle the ups and downs of diabetes can allow children to enjoy every school activity with confidence, giving parents peace of mind.

Know your rights and get the proper paperwork in place. Children with diabetes have the same right to education and participation in field trips and sport activities as any other child. By law, schools cannot discriminate against children who have diabetes and are required to provide trained staff to monitor blood sugar levels, give insulin, and administer glucagon injections if needed.

The best way to get this process started is by having a 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan  (IEP) in place.  These plans mean that school staff must provide reasonable modifications to policies and procedures so that children with diabetes have the same opportunity to learn as other children. Work with your school to get this process started. Make sure everyone who cares for your child has a copy to refer to so everyone is on the same page about what to do and when.

Identify caregivers. In most cases, this is your school nurse. If you don’t have a school nurse, ask who will be in charge of caring for your child and what training they have had. You may need to call your superintendent’s office to find the proper resource at your child’s school.

Once caregivers are identified, work with them to make sure they understand your child’s plan of care completely. This includes how to treat hypo- and hyper-glycemia as well as indicate the types of situations in which you should be contacted.  If your child has an insulin pump, make sure that both your child and any caregivers know how to use it. Today’s touch screen insulin pumps are simple to learn, even for people with no previous experience. Touch base with caregivers regularly to see if they have questions or if you identify gaps in your child’s treatment at school.

Teach them the signs.  To give children the best chance to learn, it is important for teachers, aides, and school staff to be familiar with your child’s symptoms of a high or low blood sugar.  If needed, make a list of your child’s most common symptoms. Maybe they become cranky, irritable, or lethargic as blood sugar levels drop. Teach adults to identify these symptoms quickly and check glucose levels as needed. Make sure your team of caregivers is ready to handle any situation including emergencies.

Speak up if you need to. If you feel that something isn’t right with your child’s care, speak up and find the resources to correct the situation. The American Diabetes Association offers Safe at School Advocates who can help you build a better relationship with your school or district, support better communication, and keep your child safer from day to day.


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