Expand Your Families Perspectives by Hosting an International Student


Sitting down to enjoy meals as a family more frequently. Exploring your city and learning about it’s history. Learning and making new memories together. Experiencing a new culture and seeing American culture through new eyes. These are just some of ways our host families have described hosting an international student.

The cultural benefits that come with hosting are very valuable for you and your family. In addition to just learning about other cultures at school or in a textbook, your children can learn first hand the differences and similarities of other cultures. Invite your family to open their minds to new perspectives and experiences. Whether it be tasting foreign food, hearing a different language or learning how teenagers in other countries live.

There’s a specific type of motivation that comes from seeing someone your own age challenging themselves on a personal level. Our students take themselves out of their comfort levels to travel from abroad and study in the U.S. Upon arrival, they are in a completely unfamiliar environment, living with a new family, and learning all their subjects in a foreign language.

Making the decision to open your home to a new family member and a new culture is an experience much like spending a period of time in another country. It’s also something you can do without even having to leave home. Something that sums up the experience for me is this quote, “it’s not about the places you go, it’s about the people you meet along the way.”

Why not create that type of experience for your family?

At gphomestay, we facilitate meaningful cross cultural relationships between international students and warm welcoming American host families. Our biggest concern is that our students be placed with families who will help guide them through their American experience and education. When our students truly become a part of your family than we consider our efforts successful.

To learn more about hosting an international student attending one of our partner schools near you, please contact me.

Amber Perry




Halloween is a good time to remember children’s oral health!

6QyxOnpF42jhGQvUwxfOKSLirJ9tABOHRhwbNToYOv0Halloween is right around the corner and according to CNN more than $2 billion will be spent on candy for nearly 42.1 million trick-or-treaters ages 5-14. So it’s a good time to consider the impact of candy consumption on children’s oral health!

Sugar does indeed cause cavities and cavities, in addition to causing pain and dental care costs, also cause missed school days, difficulty concentrating, and embarrassment. All good reasons to make your child’s oral health a top priority!

As a pediatric dentist I am acutely aware of how much damage candy can do to teeth but as a parent I also know that it’s nearly impossible to keep it completely away from my children, especially during holidays like Halloween.

So here are my tips on Halloween and oral health care:

  • Some candy is worse for teeth than others. Sticky, gooey candy like gummy worms and caramels can get lodged in the crevices of your teeth where bacteria have more time to feed on them. If you’re going to let your kids eat sweets, stick with chocolate, which is more easily washed and/or brushed away. And definitely stay away from anything labeled “Sour.” The high acidity of these fruity/sour candies can weaken and wear away tooth enamel, which is essential to healthy teeth.
  • Let them eat Halloween candy but only for a day or two. I let my own kids keep their Halloween candy for 24 hours and then I take it away. It’s the exposure to sugar on a regular basis over an extended period of time that is bad for teeth.
  • Get them to brush and monitor their brushing. The American Dental Association suggests that children brush their teeth two times a day, twice a day but parents should require more brushing and flossing when they know their children are eating candy and other snacks that might stay on teeth. It’s not enough to just tell them to brush. One of the biggest culprits of tooth decay is bad brushing so parents should brush their children’s teeth until age 8 to be sure they are doing a thorough job.
  • Hand out a non-candy treat. As a dentist I would love to see parents give out toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss at Halloween! But the truth is that there are many non-sweet treats that can bring more joy than a quick sugar high. Small toys, popcorn, fruit, money, bubbles, stickers, erasers and more make great Halloween treats.

Have a Happy Halloween! Don’t forget to brush and don’t forget to see your dentist for an annual exam.

Chelsea Clinton offers advice to parents on how to help kids get informed, get inspired and get going!

TP photo 2

Photo from the Times-Picayune

nolaParent recently attended Chelsea Clinton’s book promotion event at Lusher Middle School and had the opportunity to ask her a question following her presentation.

Her new book – and her first – It’s Your World:  Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Going — is targeted to 10-14 year olds and encourages them to make a difference in issues they care about.

So we wondered if she had any advice to parents on how they can encourage their children to get informed, get inspired and get going – and she had the following wise words:

Ask kids what they care about.  “Sometimes people ask me what kids should care about.  We should ask kids what they care about.  Kids will tell you what they care about.”

Help them stay the course.  “It’s our responsibility as adults, as parents, teachers, ministers, as people who are in trusted positions with kids, to help them figure out how to translate their passions into real actions.  You also have to help them assess if what they are doing is having the impact they want.”

The important thing is that they do something.  “Don’t always feel pressure to do something new.  If what you’re doing is working then keep doing it.  If you see something else working in an area you care about and you know it’s effective then it is more likely to have the impact you want if you join that then if you start your own thing.”



Chelsea Clinton in NOLA to promote new book that encourages 10-14 year olds to make a difference on issues they care about

I have JUST returned from an event at Lusher Middle School where Chelsea Clinton (daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton) spoke to more than 480 middle school students about her new book — It’s Your World:  Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Going.

If you weren’t one of the lucky people who got to hear her speak and answer questions from the audience, you still have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of her at a book signing tonight at 5:30 pm at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Street (Uptown).  To buy a ticket to the event, which includes a copy of the book, visit here.

In addition, Clinton plans to stop at Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a non-profit that improves the quality of life of low income homeowners, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, veterans or single head of households with minor children, through home repair and revitalization of New Orleans’ neighborhoods.

New Orleans is one of about 20 cities on Clinton’s book tour, which include stops at local schools, book stores, non-profits and more.

This is Clinton’s first book and is targeted to 10-14 year old readers.  It brings to light some of the challenges we face in our communities today, highlights some of the young people who have taken steps to tackle them, and offers advice on what young people can continue to do to help impart change.

Clinton talked about some of the things that shaped her childhood and what issues would become important to her.  She said that she always loved reading, especially newspapers at breakfast, even at a young age.  Reading newspapers helped her learn about what was going on in the world, how she felt about things, and which issues were most important to her — and all without relying on an adult to tell her about it or shape an opinion.  She also has a love of books, and specifically mentioned “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth,” which helped to outline some of the actions she could take as a young girl to make a difference in the world.  She also mentioned the importance of her Grandmother Dorothy in helping her understand the importance of education and going to school.  These things helped form her book, which shows young children that they can start making a difference now on issues they care about whether they affect family, community or the world.

She spoke of one girl – Haile Thomas – whose father had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  At age 8, Haile wanted to do something to help make her father’s situation better so she started researching and making healthy family meals.  Eventually her father’s diabetes was reversed and her entire family enjoyed a healthy, plant-based lifestyle.  From there she took her knowledge and started spreading the word to other kids about how they can help create happier, healthier family lifestyles.  Now she has a cookbook, a youtube series, a foundation, and speaks around the country about her mission.

I am definitely going to buy the book.  I’m going to give it to my 10-year-old to read and then I’m going to read it too.  I will also try to heed the advice she gave nolaParent.com on what parents can do to help encourage kids to take action and get involved (that story here.)!



How to consign at the Children’s Clothing Exchange

Childrens Clothing Exchange Collage

This week is the first regular selling week of the Children’s Clothing Exchange – the enormous consignment sale that takes place in a hidden away, old community center (Valencia Club, 1900 Valence Street) in Uptown New Orleans two times a year (Fall and Spring).  For a decade I have heard about it but have never participated in it.  It is steeped in shopping and selling stories.  Some people talk about the riches they made by simply cleaning out closets and playrooms and dropping off their gently used and worn items for others to buy. And others speak of the piles of smocked onesies, blazers, ski outfits, toys, bikes, and other equipment they find for mere pennies.

Two weeks ago I cleaned out our play room and took my toys and other treasures for consignment and below are my notes.  Keep these in mind if you want to consign at the next Children’s Clothing Exchange – and please share your tips and experiences as you shop this week!

Consign early and often. I dropped off Thursday at 930am and Saturday at 3pm and I was able to find parking and a work space to tag my items but I have heard that weekend days and the weekday night time slots are a zoo.

Don’t take your kids with you (but they are welcome). The first time I dropped off I was solo. The second time I was with my kids. It was helpful to have them there to help me carry stuff in but they were not helpful when they realized what was going on and asked to walk back out with two items I was planning to sell.

Ladies in Charge

Come prepared. I bought giant ziplock bags so I could group large items with their accessories. I wrote down very simple content pages – ie Fisher Price Imaginext Batman Cave with cars, accessories, figures – and put them in the bags then zipped them and taped them shut. (The ladies running the show suggested this so that kids can’t get in and play with and/or lose pieces before they are out the door).  I did a little price searching on ebay and came with my own pen and tape even though there are some supplies on site. I used everything and it made it all a whole lot easier.

Use it as reason to clean up and clean out. There are a few options open to you when you consign – donate, pick-up at end, mark for half price days, etc. A friend of mine uses the white tags and doesn’t allow half price selling on her items so that at the end she can pick up her items, see what sold, and then use that info for the next sale. I used the yellow tags so that everything I took in would either be sold or donated at the end. My advice is to use this as an opportunity to clean out and maybe make a little shoe money.

tagged bag

Don’t get overwhelmed. Easy for me to say. I looked at what I had to go through and nearly gave up before I even started. But the truth is that it is pretty manageable and goes quickly once you take the first step. I put everything that needed to go by the front door. My husband loaded it in my car. I easily found a parking place one block away. The first drop off took about 90 minutes but included an entire car full of toys, bikes, etc. The second drop took about 15 minutes because I had one load and knew what I was doing.

Shop Early and Often. The shopping part of the sale officially begins this week – and the half-price sale starts Saturday, September 26 – but what I didn’t realize is that you can unofficially start shopping for toys, equipment and I think some clothes like boys blazers during the drop-off segment.

Was it worth it?  I dropped off merchandise tagged at about $450 so I could make about $225 (they take half), but overall I can’t help but think that it was worth the effort.  After all, despite what I make (which I will report at the end of the month), I have a cleaned out playroom that can now be used as a study and hang out space for my older kids.  I would think it you were a mom with young kids it would definitely be worth your while to check out the sale this week!

{It Happened to Me} My Child is Gifted


I have two beautiful daughters, one four and one nearly two. Both are fun, beautiful, smart, curious, determined, energetic girls. I could continue with the adjectives but I think it is clear how in love with and proud of my children I am. My older daughter, C, is smart. Very smart. I know this is something all parents say and my previous string of adjectives may dilute how true this statement is, but early on I realized that she was different than her peers. She started memorizing books around two years old and will correct me if I add or remove a word. She argues with my husband and me and can come up with compelling reasoning why she is right (we still win, we are her parents). When she turned four and began preparing “big girl school.” we took her to get tested for giftedness. Sure enough, she scored in the 99th percentile of children her age and is officially gifted.

Just because a child is gifted, however, that doesn’t mean that they don’t still need their parents. One of the harder things to remember about gifted children, in school and in everyday life, is they need attention like every other child. C is usually a fantastic child, eager to help out and listen, but some days, in daycare (and at home), she starts to act out. This usually happens when she gets bored. It can be difficult for her to sit still and listen to an explanation she has already heard. Also, her teachers know she understands right away so they focus on helping other children learn. This sounds simple and is very understandable, but for C, she gets upset because she wants one-on-one attention too. At home I ask both girls questions: about their days or what they want to eat or who they played with. Anything really. C answers every time. I have to remind C that her sister Q needs a chance to respond. She does not particularly care for this because she KNOWS the answers and loves sharing her knowledge–she wants to talk and interact.  But I want to give Q a chance to speak too and inevitably I spend more time trying to get an answer out of Q then it took for C to respond.

Physically C is exactly where she should be for her age. She started walking early, she loves to dance and sing and play. She has no fear of heights or slides or fireworks. She does, however, get really frustrated when she knows how something should be done but her body cannot complete the task. Potty training was an experience. Starting around 18 months, she would tell her Daddy or me that she had just gone, in complete sentences, but was unable to realize what was happening before she was actually going. It was confusing for us to reconcile how she always knew what happened afterwards but not before. It led to frustration for her because she wanted to use the potty. Physically, the nerves to let her know she had to potty were not developed enough at 18 months.

These small things are examples of the larger, more complex part of raising a gifted child. Although C is very advanced for her age as measured by intelligence, she is right where she should be emotionally. She has her fits and temper-tantrums like any small child and does not yet know how to control all of the emotions she feels. C wants to be independent and do everything on her own but also want me there with her. As her mother, I constantly have to remind myself that this child who speaks so eloquently still has not learned how to control herself.

A dear friend of mine (who has a threenager going on ferocious four-year-old herself) commented on why children like Frozen so much: they relate to Elsa–much like Elsa they are constantly told to act properly, hide what they are feeling, conceal their emotions, etc. This really struck me as true for C. Because she is so intelligent my instinct is that she should understand situations more advanced than she is emotionally ready to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, I know she is still young, but sometimes I think I can explain to her why she needs to do something, like wear long sleeves in the winter, and that she will be ok with it. Just because she understands what I am saying does not mean she emotionally is able to handle the disappointment of not getting to wear a pink sparkly dress. She gets upset, cries, pouts, and generally helps me remember she is four and just wants her way.

Luckily for me, my fun, beautiful, smart, curious, determined, energetic daughter helps me learn every day how to be the best Mom I can be; how to love unconditionally, how to be more understanding, patient, and compassionate, how to relax and enjoy the moment. Because above all else, I want my children to be happy; I want them to know how much I love them, their amazing stories and intense emotions, their warm cuddles and their growing independence.

Three Must-Read Books for New Moms

Last night we attended what we thought would be a low-key birthday party for our longtime friend, Uncle Lee, who is not actually anyone’s uncle. He and his wife, Mandy, pulled off a quick little last-minute shin-dig at the Davenport Lounge. After hugs, kisses and a few high-fives, Lee whipped out his phone and showed us a favorite picture… a sonogram of their first child. This wasn’t just a birthday party. More kisses, more hugs, more high-fives and few added tears of joy.

Lee and Mandy are that couple everyone prays will be parents someday because everything they bring into the world is always good.

While I’ve learned over the year to offer parenting advice only when asked, there are a few things new parents don’t typically think about while marinating in gestational bliss.

There is a reason you hear so many mothers joke/lament about the last time they actually read a book. And since you have some time before baby arrives, try to get in as much reading as possible because you will soon be tired and hormonal and your brain will turn to mush.

Here are three books every new parent should read before giving birth.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

The most valuable thing you can wrapped your head around before baby arrives is the importance of sleep and it’s direct impact on the cognitive development of the young, developing brain. Sleep training is the first real parenting mountain that you must climb because it involves allowing your child to be uncomfortable (cry), albeit only temporarily, so that healthy sleep habits are established. Healthy sleep = happy child. Every child is different, of course, but if you understand the science behind sleep as it relates to babies and children, you will be ahead of the curve. This is one area you don’t have to learn as you go. Arm yourself and start thinking about how you feel about all this sleep training stuff. And be warned: sleep training is a hot topic in the parenting jungle. You will find very strong opinions with every approach… and there are many. Take the time to figure out where you might fit into the conversation.

bright from the start

Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3

Again, we’re talking brain development. If you don’t think screen time directly impacts your kid’s long-term ability to think, learn, focus, sustain, communicate, relate, or stimulate, think again. For the “normal” child, apps and videos are babysitters, not educational tools. They do not help your child become smarter no matter how you slice it. Accept that and move on. This book with help you set your kid’s brain up for success.

belly laughs

Belly Laughs, 10th anniversary edition: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth

Long before launching a worldwide crusade against vaccinations, McCarthy actually used to make us moms laugh so hard we’d pee, which, by the way, happens more and more once you have kids. So do your kegels. If you can’t laugh about it, what’s the point? Find the humor and enjoy the ride.

Books to help you “Choose Kindness” inspired by the book WONDER, by R. J. PALACIO,

Envision a world where all people are accepted for who they are and not how they look.


April, one of my girlfriends from college whom I have always looked up to as a sweet blessing to our world, is mother to a super hero with Crainiofacial syndrome. Together they are working very hard to raise awareness of Craniofacial Acceptance Month.

Inspired by the book Wonder by R. J. PALACIO, a #1 New York Times Bestseller and listed on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, Random House launched an anti-bullying initiative called the Choose Kind Campaign.

In an effort to help children understand the wonder of our differences and importance of choosing kindness over bullying and ugliness, April and her friends have put together a Choose Kind Wish List for their school library. Families are invited to donate any of the books listed to help build the library. Each donated book has a nameplate for dedications and the books are even marked as “Choose Kind” books! This is such a brilliant idea.


Here is a list of children and young adult books that celebrate differences and encourage understanding, compassion, acceptance, empathy and inclusion.

The CHOOSE KIND Library Book List

  1. Monday is One Day Levine, Arthur: (p-k) Working Parents; Family Differences
  2. Mama Zooms Cowen-Fletcher, Jane: (p-1st) Wheelchairs
  3. Moon Rabbit Russell, Natalie: (p-1st) Self-Acceptance; Unlikely Friendship
  4. Just a Little Different Mayer, Mercer: (p-1st) Differences; Interracial Families
  5. What’s Wrong with Timmy? Shriver, Maria: (p-1st) Down Syndrome
  6. Skin Again Bell Books: (p-2nd) Race; Identity
  7. Howie Helps Himself Fassler, Joan: (p-2nd) Cerebral Palsy
  8. Clifford Vista el Hospital Bridwell, Norman: (p-2nd) Hospitalization
  9. The Name Jar Choi, Yangsook: (p-2nd) Cultural Diversity; Self-Acceptance
  10. Night Shift Daddy Spinelli, Eileen: (p-2nd) Socioeconomic Difference
  11. How Kind! Murphy, Mary: (p-2nd) Good Deeds
  12. What Can You Do?: Inspiring Kids to Play Haring, Kevin Arnold: 9p-2nd) Spina Bifida
  13. I Accept You as You Are! Parker, David: (k-2nd) Acceptance of Difference
  14. Dotty the Dalmatian has Epilepsy Peters, Tim and Epilepsy Foundation of America: (k-2nd) Epilepsy
  15. Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed Pearson, Emily: (p-3rd) Kindness;Social Responsibility
  16. Lost & Found Jeffers, Oliver: (p-3rd) Friendship
  17. Alex & Lulu: Two of a Kind Siminovach,Lorena: (p-3rd) Friendship Despite Difference
  18. Frog & Toad are Friends Label, Arnold: (p-3rd) Unlikely Friendship
  19. How Full is Your Bucket? Rath, Tom: (p-3rd) Behavior, Emotions, Self-Esteem
  20. Will You Fill My Bucket? McCloud, Carol: (p-3rd) Behavior, Emotions, Self-Esteem, Cultural Differences
  21. My Mouth is a Volcano Cook, Julia: (p-3rd)Behavior, Emotions, Self-Esteem, Respecting Others, Manners
  22. Diana Estubo en el Hospital Givaudan, Diana C.: (p-3rd) Hospitalization
  23. Let’s Talk About It: Extraordinary Friends Rogers,Fred: (p-3rd) Disabilities
  24. My Princess Boy Kilodavis, Cheryl: (p-3rd) Unconditional Love; Gender Roles; Acceptance
  25. Zoom! Munsch, Robert: (p-3rd) Wheelchairs
  26. I’m Just Small,That’s All Braithwaite, Karalee: (p-3rd) Dwarfism
  27. Lee, The Rabbit with Epilepsy Moss, Deborah M.: (p-3rd) Epilepsy
  28. No Fair to Tigers Hoffman, Eric: (p-3rd) Courage; Standing up to Injustice
  29. Mixed Blessings Cosman, Marsha: (p-3rd) Interracial Identity; Multicultural Differences
  30. The Lemonade Club Polacco, Patricia: (p-3rd) Cancer; Friendship and Support
  31. My Brother Charlie Robinson, Holly and Ryan Elizabeth Pete: (k-3rd) Siblings of Difference; Autism
  32. Ballerina Dreams Ferrara, Joann: (k-3rd) Overcoming Obstacles; Determination; Hope;Courage
  33. My Brain Won’t Float Away Perez, Annette: (1st-3rd) Hydrocephalus
  34. Stand in My Shoes Sornson Bob: (p-5th) Behavior, Emotions, Self-Esteem
  35. Rosa Giovanni, Nikki: (p-5th) Differences; Race; Civil Rights; Courage
  36. Imagine Me on a Sit-Ski! Moran, George: (1st-4th) Cerebral Palsy
  37. What is Dyslexia? Hultquist, Alan M.: (1st-4th) Dyslexia
  38. Nice Wheels Hooks, Gwendolyn: (1st-4th) Wheelchairs
  39. Make Way for Dymonde Daniel Grimes, Nikki: (1st-4th) Self-Acceptance; Race
  40. Children, Just Like Me Kindersley, Anabel & Barnabas: (k-6th) Cultural Diversity
  41. Stretching Ourselves: Kids with Cerebral Palsy Carter, Alden R.: (k-6th) Cerebral Palsy
  42. Can I Tell You about Dyspraxia? Boon, Maureen: (1st-6th) Dyspraxia
  43. The Goodenoughs Get in Sync Kranowitz, Carol Stock: (1st-8th) Sensory Processing Disorder
  44. The Barn at Gun Lake Tuitel, Johnny and Sharon Lamson: (3rd-6th) Cerebral Palsy
  45. The Great Gilly Hopkins Paterson, Katherine: (3rd-6th) Fostercare
  46. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Lord, Bette: (3rd-6th) Race; Immigration; Cultural Diversity
  47. The Lemonade War Davies, Jacqueline: (3rd-7th) Sibling Rivalry; Pride; Values
  48. Hey World, Here I Am Little, Jean: (3rd-7th) Self-Awareness; Emotions
  49. The Thing About Georgie Graff, Lisa: (3rd-7th) Dwarfism; Self-Confidence
  50. Rules Lord, Cynthia: (3rd-7th) Autism; Siblings of Difference
  51. Liesl & Po Oliver, Lauren: (3rd-7th) Depression; Friendship
  52. The Great Unexpected Creech, Sharon: (3rd-7th) Friendship; Forgiveness
  53. Bridge to Terabitha Paterson, Katherine: (3rd-7th) Friendship; Loss
  54. Wringer Spinelli, Jerry: (3rd-7th) Peer Pressure; Character; Gender Roles; Bullying
  55. Jacob Have I Loved Paterson, Katherine: (5th-9th) Self-Knowledge; Sibling Rivalry
  56. Eleanor and Park Rowell, Rainbow: (7th-12th) First Love; Self-Acceptance; Individuality
  57. Stargirl Spinelli, Jerry: (7th-12th) Individuality; Popularity
  58. Maniac Magee Spinelli, Jerry: (7th-12th) Race; Orphan Identity; Defining Family
  59. King and King de Haan, Linda and Stern Nijland: (3rd-5th) Diversity
  60. The Sissy Duckling Fierstein, Harvey: (K-3rd) Diversity

Yummy in the tummy? The Rise of the Baby Food Revolution.

If I had to do it all again, I would have made my own baby food. I never did embark on that particular parent adventure because I thought homemade baby food was for hippies and helicopter moms. Making baby food just seemed cumbersome and unnecessary since I could just buy a few jars during my daily trip to Target. But that was seven years ago and since then baby food sales have been on a steady decline. Why? Because moms are making baby food at home.


Millennial moms (those born between 1981-1994) research everything from sunscreen to car seats, so it makes perfect sense that we are educating ourselves about what we put into baby’s belly.

“As a new mom it is reassuring to know exactly what is going into your baby’s mouth, and that you had a hand in creating it,” says Touro dietitian Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN. “Making your own baby food allows you to shop seasonally and locally for fresh, clean foods. It also increases the variety and flavors available to your baby. This all ensures that your precious baby is provided with the peak nutrients essential for growth and development.”

​Making your own baby food is healthier no matter how cute those babies in the commercials are or how sleek the newly designed glass bottle looks. On the other hand, over-the-counter baby food is convenient and because of advancements in technology, the quality and nutrient value in baby food is improving, but you’re going to pay for it.

For example, a jar of Beech-Nut banana baby food is $1.50. The price of one banana is $0.23. This means that for every jar of baby food you buy, you’re paying a convenience fee of $1.27 to Beech-Nut so that it can market its products and pay its shareholders. That’s just the business of it all.


Baby food pouches like Ella’s Kitchen and Happy Baby exploded onto the baby food market in the early 2000s and have since seen significant growth. The pouches are expensive, which balances out declining sales of traditional baby food. Personally, I loved the pouches but because they were expensive, I tried to save them for certain “situations” like shopping at Target with a screaming baby, driving home with a screaming baby, waiting in the check out line with a screaming baby, not to mention our general on-the-go lifestyle. I also hated how wasteful the pouches were; You can’t recycle them.

beabaIf you’re curious about making homemade baby food, here are two great recipes from Touro dietitian Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN. And be sure to Save-the-Date for a Baby Food Making Class at Touro, where Julie and ZukaBaby owner, Erin Reho Pelias, will host an interactive baby food making class on Thursday, August 7, 2014, from 6-7:30pm. You’ll learn everything you need to know! Register today for this free class. One lucky parent will win a Beaba Pro Baby Food Maker!


Pumpkin Sweet Potato Puree

Broccoli, Pear and Kale Puree

Facts and resources for Autism Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? Most of us have met an individual with Autism, and there is plenty we can do to help increase awareness. Here are some facts about Autism:

Fact 1

Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that there is variation in the way it affects people. Those on the autism spectrum have unique abilities, presentation in symptoms, and challenges.

Fact 2

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Fact 3

Boys are four to five times higher risk than girls.

Fact 4

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication;
  • Persistent deficits in social interaction;
  • Restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behavior;
  • Symptoms are present in the early developmental period;

The Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.

Here are some great opportunities for us to participate:

  1. Connect in your neighborhood by contacting your local Autism Society. The New Orleans local branch is the Autism Society of Greater New Orleans (www.asgno.org). They sponsor many events and provide informational sessions about Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  2. Encourage your kids to participate in activities that involve children with ASD, such as Miracle League.
  3. Contact your representatives at the state and federal levels and ask them to “Vote 4 Autism.”
  4. Make a donation to the Autism Society to support education, awareness, advocacy, research, and assistance for families living with autism. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.


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