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A Sweet Superfruit for Summer Meals
(Family Features) From backyard barbecues and family picnics to a bright addition to seasonal recipes, sweet cherries not only provide a boost of flavor but also pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, helping keep you and your family healthy during busy summer months.
Cherries can help reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure as well as relieve stress and gout, and can improve sleep quality.
The perfect time to take advantage of the goodness of Northwest-grown sweet cherries is through August. Eat fresh cherries straight out of hand as a snack, bake them into a pie or pair with ice cream for a sweet summertime treat.
The rich fruitiness of sweet cherries helps blunt the sharp edge of dried fruit in a quick and easy Cherry Sauce recipe. Low in sugar and versatile, this sauce can be used as a base ingredient for cocktails, a glaze for meats, a spread for sandwiches, a topping for yogurt and more. Add some ginger or orange peel to complement your menu and you may have a new, nutritious summer favorite. Or, for a sweet, simple snack, use cherries to make an appetizer like Cherry Bruschetta.
Find more recipes and ways to use cherries at nwcherries.com.
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 4 cups fresh Northwest-grown sweet cherries
- 4 cups dried cranberries
- 4 peels (2 inches each) fresh ginger (optional)
- 3 tablespoons citrus zest (optional)
- black pepper (optional)
- fresh herbs (optional)
- raspberries (optional)
- In medium saucepot, add water, syrup and sweet cherries. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally and more frequently as sauce begins to form.
- Add cranberries; continue stirring. Once reduced, remove from heat and add fresh ginger, citrus zest, black pepper, fresh herbs and raspberries, if desired.
- Cool 30 minutes-1 hour before transferring to wider, shallow pan for speed cooling.
- Once cooled, store refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 weeks.
- 18 slices (1/2-inch thick) small baguette-style bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup diced yellow sweet pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lime peel
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Arrange baguette slices on cookie sheet and toast one side 5 minutes. Turn slices, brush with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and bake 5 minutes.
- Combine cherries, cilantro, sweet pepper, green onions, lime juice, lime peel, garlic salt, pepper and remaining olive oil; mix well.
- Top each baguette with thin slice cheese, 1 tablespoon cherry mixture and sprinkle of basil. Serve warm or cold.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Cherry Sauce)
Photo courtesy of Northwest Cherry Growers (Cherry Bruschetta)
Northwest Cherry Growers
How Medicaid Expansion Can Benefit North Carolinians
(Family Features) North Carolina will gain 37,000 more jobs and insure 365,000 more people by expanding Medicaid. In addition to the new jobs and newly insured North Carolinians, according to a report from researchers at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the state would increase its business activity by $11.7 billion in communities statewide in just three years, between 2020-2022, by expanding Medicaid.
Experts say North Carolina, one of just 14 states yet to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, is missing out on the opportunity to give its state economy a booster shot and open doors to health care services for many working families currently unable to afford private health insurance.
“Medicaid expansion is a job creator and can extend health coverage to thousands of previously uninsured North Carolinians who are falling through the gaps in our current system,” said Susan Shumaker, president, Cone Health Foundation. “States that have already expanded Medicaid are better equipped to tackle critical health care concerns like opioid addiction and infant mortality rates, issues that need to be addressed here at home in North Carolina.”
North Carolina has a higher rate of uninsured residents than the national average. In fact, roughly one-sixth of North Carolinians between the ages of 19-64 are uninsured – nearly 1 million people. North Carolinians are twice as likely to be uninsured as their neighbors in West Virginia and Kentucky.
The report, released by Greensboro’s Cone Health Foundation and Winston-Salem’s Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, shows all 100 counties in the state will benefit from the positive effects of Medicaid expansion with every county expected to see job growth, more people enrolled in Medicaid and increased economic activity. The report provides a county-by-county analysis of the benefits of Medicaid expansion, which will add additional revenue for the state that could be spent on education, infrastructure and other needs.
“This report confirms what we’re hearing from families across the state – increased access to quality health care and economic opportunities helps communities thrive, and research shows that expanding Medicaid delivers both,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “Every community stands to benefit from Medicaid expansion. The evidence shows that closing the Medicaid gap will improve population health, support vulnerable North Carolina families and boost the economy across the major sectors.”
The report notes that North Carolina has some of the strictest Medicaid eligibility requirements in the country. Parents who earn more than $10,000 a year are not eligible for Medicaid, and single adults and childless couples are not eligible for the program – regardless of their income level – unless they are disabled or elderly.
Find out more about the potential coverage and economic benefits in your county at NCMedicaidExpansion.com .
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and Cone Health Foundation
3721 Lynn Road, Suite 112, Raleigh, North Carolina 27613
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5 Time-Saving Laundry Tips
(Family Features) Between sorting, washing, pouring, transferring, drying and folding, laundry can often feel like a daunting chore.
While you can’t skip laundry completely, you can stop those baskets from overflowing with these time-saving tips from the laundry experts at Whirlpool.
Sort clothes ahead of time. One way to make laundry more manageable is to sort as you go. Instead of tossing dirty clothes into a hamper, distribute items into separate bins. While the exact division depends on your wardrobe, you’ll want to separate dark and light colors, as well as clothing that needs special care.
Pretreat stains. Once a stained garment makes its way through the dryer, chances are the stain is set for life. Protect your clothes by pretreating stains as soon as possible to help keep even the toughest stains from setting in. If you’re unsure of how to treat a particular stain, such as spaghetti sauce or grass, Whirlpool offers a Stain Guide within its laundry app that provides helpful, step-by-step instructions*.
Keep your space organized. Just like it’s hard to cook in a messy kitchen or work at a cluttered desk, you’re less likely to be productive in a sloppy laundry room. Clean and organize your laundry area periodically so you have easy access to the supplies you need and a clean surface for folding fresh laundry or switching loads.
Take advantage of technology. New smart home technology is making laundry faster and easier, such as Whirlpool’s Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with the Load & Go™ dispenser. This innovative feature allows you to skip a step in your laundry routine by eliminating the need to measure out and add detergent every time you start a load for up to 40 loads**.
Whether you are on the run or across the room, you can control your washer and dryer using an app on your smartphone or a compatible voice-enabled device for hands-free assistance. You can track how much time is left on your load while cooking dinner, assign washing settings while enjoying family movie night or begin a cycle when running errands. Touch-screen technology also guides you to the correct washer or dryer presets, or you can pre-program cycles of your own to tackle specific care settings for items like baby clothing or bulky comforters.
Finish with ease. For some, it’s not the washing that makes laundry a drag, it’s the folding. Hitting the tumble button to shake out wrinkles is one solution, but there are alternatives. Use your dryer’s end-of-cycle buzzer as an easy way to keep track of when a load needs your attention or make folding a fun game with your family.
Find more information at whirlpool.com.
*Wi-Fi and app required. Features subject to change. Appliance must be set to Remote Enable for remote control capabilities. Details and privacy info at whirlpool.com/connect.
**Model WFW9620H. Based on an 8-pound load of laundry. The Load & Go™ dispenser capacity varies by model.SOURCE:
Science Made Magical
(Family Features) When you see something you can’t explain, it can be easy to mistake those moments for magic, such as a balloon floating into the sky or water disappearing from a surface right before your eyes. However, the truth is these moments aren’t magic but scienceat play. Observing the laws of physics or chemistry can, at first glance, seem too fantastical to be explained, but science can explain a lot.
These moments serving as creative ways to engage kids in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning may be one of the best tricks of them all. STEM touches many aspects of daily lives, and finding the connections between the classroom and the “magical” STEM moments of day-to-day life can inspire children and pique their interests in these topics.
Consider these simple tricks that help convey the “magic” of science:
By holding an ordinary pencil by the eraser between your thumb and index finger then shaking it at just the right speed, it appears to become made of bendable rubber instead of wood. However, it’s simply an optical illusion. The effect is due to visual persistence, which occurs when many different images blend into a single image in the human mind. This is the same reason people can see a rapid sequence of changing images and recognize it as a movie.
There is a popular magic trick in which a magician takes an ordinary looking cup, pours water into it and, after a series of gestures, appears to make the water disappear. The viewer is surprised when the cup is flipped over and no water drips out, as if it has vanished into thin air. The science and answer to this mystery is a substance called sodium polyacrylate. This is a “hygroscopic” substance, which means that it acts like a sponge and absorbs water almost instantly. When the cup is lined with this substance, any water that meets it forms a mixture that is a solid gel. Unassuming audiences think the water has suddenly disappeared, when in fact the mixture is simply stuck to the base of the cup.
The art of talking with the tongue and not moving the mouth or face is called ventriloquism. When a skilled ventriloquist does this sitting beside a puppet that has a moving mouth, the human brain is tricked into thinking the puppet has come to life and is speaking to the audience. It works because humans use their eyes to find sound sources. The area of the brain that processes sounds entering the ears also appears to process stimulus entering the eyes, providing a novel explanation for why many viewers believe ventriloquists have thrown their voices to the mouths of their puppets.
Knowing how the magic works doesn't necessarily make these tricks any less fun, and these simple tricks help teach children how STEM plays a role in everything, including fun and games. Another way to encourage children with STEM at an early age is encouraging them to participate in a program such as ExploraVision, the only STEM-related competition of its kind. It allows kids of all ages to create ideas for new technological innovations in response to current real-world issues. Participants work on their projects to supplement their science education, while also developing problem-solving, analytical and collaboration skills.
Parents and students can learn more about the competition and how to enter, and teachers can find free tips for engaging students, at exploravision.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
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Welcome to the Raleigh Kids Directory. We simplify the search for families to connect with local businesses by including all area services in one full color publication. Our publication caters to educational resources, camps, sports, child related activities, pampering for mom, and dads, and family events.
Contact us for more information: (919)945-6135 or TheRaleighkidsdirectory@gmail.com
KID YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS
Why Dads Should Get Involved in Playtime
Why Dads Should Get Involved in Playtime
(StatePoint) Experts say that it’s just as important for dads to provide emotional comfort to their kids as moms, and that playing is one of the best ways for dads to serve as role models and strengthen bonds. It all starts with finding the time.
“There are so many distractions taking us away from playing with our kids -- from technology to work commitments to household chores,” says Dr. Erik Fisher, psychologist and expert contributor to TheGeniusofPlay.org. “But unstructured play is crucial. No matter what the age, kids learn valuable lessons from this time spent together.”
What’s more, studies suggest that playtime with dads may also be beneficial to children’s health. Those families where fathers had increased involvement with childcare -- particularly with such physical tasks as playing with kids, taking them for walks outside, bathing or dressing them -- experienced a decreased likelihood of childhood obesity from age 2 to 4, according to a 2017 study published in the research journal “Obesity.”
The good news is that incorporating play into your family schedule does not need to be a daunting task. Check out these fun ideas for dads from The Genius of Play, a national movement providing families with information, inspiration and hands-on ideas to make play an important part of their child’s day.
• Quicksand: Lay two even trails of pillows on the floor. These are the “stepping stones” players need to land on to avoid falling into the quicksand! The pillows should be at least a foot apart from each other. Take turns jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone. Anyone who touches the floor must start from the beginning. Whoever makes it to the end first wins!
• Dolls: Experts say that it’s important for fathers to play with their kids in gentle ways beyond roughhousing. Not all dads played with dolls as children, but this is an example of play that offers an opportunity to teach children about love, as well as model healthy emotions and desirable social behaviors.
• Scavenger Hunt: Write a list of items kids should look for and see how many of those things they find. Indoor objects can be a book, a blue sock, etc.; outdoor objects can be a green leaf, a rock, a feather, etc.
• Building Together: Whether you use simple blocks to create a tower or interlocking pieces to form a race track or maze, construction toys offer opportunities to collaborate and problem solve together, while helping the child develop spatial reasoning and explore science concepts like gravity.
• Homemade Map: Before setting off on a trip, talk with your kids about where the family is headed. Together, draw a map, including your starting point, destination, and major stops and landmarks along your route, complete with illustrations.
For more play ideas, expert advice and other play resources, visit TheGeniusOfPlay.org.
Playtime is beneficial for healthy child development. From spontaneous games of catch to hands-on arts and crafts, there are many ways that dads can, and should, get in on the fun.
Pushing for a Strong Start for Babies
(Family Features) More than 10,000 babies are born each day in the United States. Where they are born and where they live during the first years of their lives can make a difference in their chances for strong starts.
Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life.
According to the “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019,” published by Zero To Three, an early childhood development nonprofit organization, babies in many states face persistent hardships that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, such as staggering child care costs and lack of comprehensive paid family and medical leave.
“Families are struggling every day, in every state, and we are urging our leaders to act,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero To Three. “Most of our investments in early childhood start too late, at age 4 or older. By that time, some of the most important years of brain development have passed. Today’s babies become tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders. Now is the time for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make every baby a priority through policies built on the science of brain development and budgets that put babies and families first.”
To help ensure a brighter future for all babies, the organization is working with Congress through events like “Strolling Thunder” to help drive support for policies and programs that prioritize the needs of babies, toddlers and their families. Its policy agenda includes establishing a comprehensive national paid leave program that provides adequate time off to care for newborns or newly adopted children, and allows families to take leave if their child or another family member is experiencing a serious illness; expanding access to quality, affordable child care by increasing investments in the child care system while also working toward a comprehensive, long-term solution for working families; and increasing investments in programs that support babies’ healthy development, such as Early Head Start, and infant and early childhood mental health.
“As a director of an early childhood education program, I can speak firsthand to the struggle associated with providing high-quality care and education programs for young children while balancing that against what parents can reasonably afford to pay for child care,” said Jessica Carter, a “Strolling Thunder” parent from North Carolina. “As a mother of two, I can also speak firsthand to the fact that if I did not receive discounted tuition at my center, I would not be able to afford child care costs and would be forced to stay at home with my children. As a result, our family would not have affordable access to health care. Further, our children would not benefit from the social and educational benefits they receive in a group care setting.”
In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives, and join the team that’s fighting for their futures at thinkbabies.org/strollingthunder.SOURCE:
Zero To Three
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Furry Friends and a Welcoming Workplace
(Family Features) Pets are more than just members of the family – they also make great co-workers. As more offices work to create pet-friendly environments, a survey conducted by Mars Petcare shows that workspaces allowing furry friends are more likely to attract and retain (human) talent. Consider these four ways to make your workplace more pet-friendly and find more information at BetterCitiesForPets.com.