Tag Archives: health

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

ChopChop Big PicnicParsnip and Dill, I tell my kids. Those are my secret ingredients for delicious chicken soup. Well not my recipe I confess, but passed on to me by Grandma Nettie, Auntie Kimbo’s grandmother. They know that “Auntie” Kimbo is not really their aunt, and that her name is Kim (Kimberly but don’t tell her I told you!).  They also know that Kim and I have been friends since we were six, and somewhere Kim turned into Kimbo, as those things go with longtime childhood friends.

In any case, my kids and I love to cook together and it has been fun as they grow to watch them conquer more and more complex cooking tasks on their own. And by complex I mean my 10-year-old is up to the cracking the eggs into a bowl without bits of shell getting in. One of the most rewarding moments of motherhood so far was the birthday morning that I woke up to heart-shaped pancakes made for me by my 13-year-old daughter. My child had cooked for me , and that felt revolutionary.

I like to cook with them for the same reason that I like to keep a small (o.k. weed infested) garden in our backyard. I like for them to know where their food comes from. To understand the process of how what we put into our body is made, and that they can make food for themselves, it does not have to come in a package or be bought off a shelf. We had been big fans of the quarterly publication ChopChop Magazine for years, loving to try the healthful recipes and snack suggestions within its colorful pages. ChopChop is a non-profit  with the mission to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families.

Currently, 1 out of 400 children under 18 in the U.S. has diabetes, and nearly 1 in 3 is obese. ChopChop’s goal is to reverse this trend by teaching kids and their parents how to create healthy, delicious meals that are easy to prepare and use fresh, nutritious ingredients. ChopChop doesn’t demonize particular foods or use scare tactics. They just offer simple, healthy, and affordable recipes for children and parents to make together.

When we found out ChopChop had come out with a  ChopChop cookbook  we were thrilled.   We were sent a copy as a lead up to our participation in The Big Picnic, and when we received our copy of the cookbook  I had the kids pick out a recipe for us to try.  With four kids coming to a consensus can be challenging to say the least, this time somehow they all enthusiastically agreed that they wanted to make Matzo Balls to add to Grandma Nettie’s Chicken Soup.

The ChopChop Cookbook is made for kids so it is easy for them to read and follow the well explained simple recipes. Personally I never knew I could make Matzo balls, so to find them so easy to make surprised me. Of course the kids all wanted to crack the eggs so I was grateful that the recipe they chose called for 6! Of course rolling the Matzo balls was the most fun, but watching them fluff up as they cooked came pretty close.

big pic2

Inspired by National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September, The Big Picnic is being hosted on September 22nd by ChopChop and partner organizations including The White House as a virtual community picnic in which families across the country will cook and eat together at their own picnics. It will be a fun event with a serious goal: preventing childhood obesity.  Who doesn’t love a picnic!?! They are a great way to remind us that cooking and eating healthy food together is lots of fun—a time to share and enjoy. This event is all about good food and good company!

You can join The Big Picnic however you like, spread out a blanket , eat at a picnic table – outside or in. Invite friends, family,  neighbors, and make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. Take pictures or video and share with the hashtag #bigpicnic, and as a participant you will be eligible to win prizes like subscriptions to the magazine, a copy of the  ChopChop cookbook or other fun surprises. We’ll be there, eating our Matzo Ball Soup!

You can also Enter to Win a ChopChop cookbook and a one-year ChopChop Magazine subscription Below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is an original post written by me as part of a program with The Mission List. I received a ChopChop cookbook + magazine subscription for culinary inspiration; as always all opinions are my own.




Build Something Incredible With WaterAid In Madagascar This Summer

Build Something Incredible With WaterAid In Madagascar This Summer


Photo by  Igor Laszlo

Photo by Igor Laszlo

Madagascar is an Island nation in the Indian Ocean with a population of around 22 million. When Madagascar is mentioned, a lush landscape of biodiversity and unique wildlife is conjured in the imagination . When I learned I’d be writing about the WaterAid campaign to provide clean water and sanitation to thousands of children there, I called our friends Jim and Annick who had grown up and lived in Madagascar.

They describe the country as a tropical paradise, with unique cultural diversity, and as one of the most beautiful places on earth. While consistent with our perceptions of Madagascar, much of the population also lives in poverty. Jim adds that occasionally something will happen to remind you that this paradise is also one of the poorest places in the world.

This summer, let’s build something incredible… children’s futures! Be part of a unique project transforming the lives of Madagascar’s schoolchildren with taps and toilets.

Woman and kids copy

Photo by Igor Laszlo

In Madagascar, the lack of taps and toilets is a big problem.

Every year, 13,000 children under five die due to water-related diseases. With half the population under 16, young people across the country are affected in many different ways.

This summer, you have an amazing opportunity to transform the lives of 12,000 children. With your help, we can reach 31 schools with over 100 toilets and 150 taps in total.

– www.wateraidamerica.org

Jim also clearly remembered visiting the Morondava area of Madagascar where  WaterAid will be working this summer to improve water and sanitation conditions. He remembered well because he became horribly sick after a meal there with one of the worst intestinal illnesses he can remember.  As he described the geography of the area, it sits on the West Coast Canal of Mozambique where hurricane season ricochets between the coasts of Mozambique, Tanzania, and Madagascar. The topography of the region is flat, and sits by the ocean, and despite its beauty, the clean water supply becomes tainted each year with the storms, and heavy rains, causing a surge in water related illness around that time. Jim states that “You are in Paradise, but Hell is not too far away”. For a child without access to proper healthcare, an illness like the one Jim experienced can be deadly.


Morondava Beach Photo by Igor Laszlo

Morondava Beach Photo by Igor Laszlo


Over the next few weeks you can follow the story as children in Madagascar get the water and sanitation they need to keep them healthy enough to build their dreams.

Children like Perlette and Zafera.

Follow their story on Twitter #buildfutures or Donate to help the project reach their goal.


Perlette: “I want to be a doctor”

“I am 13 years old. I love school, as it is the only way to be clever. When I am older I want to be a doctor and treat sick children. I have missed school because of drinking dirty water. It may stop me from being a doctor.”


Zafera: “I want to be a midwife”

“Science and geography are my favorite lessons. When I finish my studies, I would like to be a midwife like my aunt. If we have water and toilets here, we will be more engaged in our studies.”

All summer long they will be posting real-time updates on the two girls, the progress of the construction with a celebration on Sept. 19 when kids return to schools with taps and toilets for the first time. Check out the plans!

Please join me on an incredible journey. I’ll be bringing you stories and pictures from Tsimahavaobe school in Morondava, so you too can see the amazing transformation.- Ernest Randriarimalala,  WaterAid Madagascar


global team

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all-powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.


Love & Water

Love & Water

Love & Water

“Water Is The Driving Force In Nature”- Leonardo da Vinci

Love is another driving force in human nature, like water it has the ability to be pure and powerful, and we need to help each other like we need Love & Water.  Water is the lifeblood of the world, and it is hard to appreciate how valuable it is unless you don’t have it.

Worldwide 800 million people do not have access to it and 2.5 billion have nowhere safe and clean to go to the toilet.  As a result, 2,000 children die every day from easily prevented diarrheal diseases with countless more unable to attend school. Millions of women are unable to work because they spend so much time collecting water and caring for sick children.- Water Aid

Clean water and sanitation are two issues that I am passionate about. Read the rest of this entry

No More Excuses! Stream Fitness Videos With Gaiam TV.

No More Excuses! Stream Fitness Videos With Gaiam TV.


Oil Painting by Elizabeth Atalay

























My introduction to unlimited access to streaming fitness videos with Gaiam TV could not have come at a better time! I’m not much for New Years resolutions, but I do appreciate the start of the New Year as a great time to re-set routines. Since the holidays my fitness routine has faltered, and in 2013 I am determined to get back on track.  As many of you know, as a mom, having total control over your daily routine is not always an option.  The past few weeks have been a frustrating example of this for me, having just sworn to myself to get back to the gym, and start practicing Yoga on a regular basis. First a dishwasher debacle left me home on six separate days just waiting for service people in what seemed interminable time windows. When they say they’ll be there between 9am-12 noon, why do they come at 11:59 every time?!   Then this morning I am paying the price for what was a fantastic ski weekend in Stowe, VT.   After a fun day of skiing (despite the cold), we had to push it like we always do, and squeeze in a visit to the Trapp Family Lodge, and a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s factory before heading home.  They were both worthy side trips, but we did not get home until around 11pm last night.  Only two out of four of my kids made it to school this morning.

No more excuses though, Read the rest of this entry



Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

1,000 babies are born every day with HIV.  By the year 2015 that number could come close to zero.  That is the goal of  (RED), and until June 10th you can take part in the (RED) RUSH TO ZERO campaign to help make that happen!  Check out the (RED) RUSH TO ZERO website to find out ten things you can do through June 10th to contribute. Two easy steps I am planning to take today to get started are to visit Starbucks  like I love to do, and check in on my foursquare account, which will then automatically donate a dollar to The Global Fund!  Then I am going do a little shopping on-line and pick a (RED) product to purchase, which will also donate to the (RED) RUSH TO ZERO campaign. Both actions are easy and fun for me to do, and it makes me feel good to know that the money I spend today on things I would buy anyway, will go towards such an important global cause.  If you need another good reason to take a look at how some of your favorite brands are getting involved, Father’s Day is coming up soon (I’m thinking the Dr. Dre headphones look pretty cool for dad)! 



You can track (RED) Money at work in Africa. To date, over $190 Million has been contributed to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS (from (RED) partners and events). *100% goes to programs on the ground via the Global Fund-supported HIV/AIDS programs in 6 African countries: Ghana, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia. Over 14 Million people have been reached by programs (RED) supports.