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Less Is More: July 2017

Boating Safety

During boating season, it is important to pay special attention to your adolescent riders. Below are some safety tips that are special for children and infants.

Wear a Life Jacket

  1. Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports.
  2. Make sure the life jacket fits snugly. Have kids make a “touchdown” signal by raising both arms straight up; if the life jacket hits the child’s chin or ears, it may be too big or the straps may be too loose.

Infant Appropriate Life Jackets

  1. According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Office of Boating Safety, babies should not travel on a boat – including rowboats, kayaks, motorboats and sailboats – until they are at the appropriate weight to wear an approved personal floatation device.
  2. Hold onto your baby while also wearing your own life jacket. Car seats are not a good option. If the boat were to capsize, the seat would sink immediately.

Keep Little Kids Warm

  1. Infants and young kids are at a higher risk for hypothermia, so if you are taking a baby on a boat, just take a few extra precautions to keep your baby warm. If you children seem cold or are shivering, wrap them tightly in a dry blanket or towel.

Don’t Rely on Swimming Aids

  1. Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device.

Childproof Your Boat and Develop Some Basic Rules

  1. Explain some basic boat rules and have everyone follow them. Children need to understand and follow rules such as keeping their hands and feet inside the boat at all times and no running on a boat.

Learn From the Professionals

  1. Enroll older kids in a boating safety class. Better yet, enroll with them.
  2. Get a vessel safety check every year for free from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. For more information go to and click “get a free safety check”.

Use Your Best Judgement

  1. A large portion of boating accidents that occur each year involve alcohol consumption by both boat operators and passengers. To protect your safety and loved ones around you, it is strongly recommended not to drink alcohol while boating.
  2. Learning CPR should be a priority. Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.
  3. Make sure there is a working Carbon Monoxide alarm on any motorboat to alert passengers to and buildup of toxic fumes from the engine.
  4. Let your teen operate a boat only in a supervised setting and in adherence to the laws in your area. Laws regarding the operation of a boat or watercraft vary from community to community.

Less Is More: June 2017


June brings more sunny days and weather that takes people out doors. As parents, it is very important that we protect children from harmful UV rays and biting insects. Keep your family safe from the sun and bugs by following these tips!



Sun Prevention for Babies Under 6 Months:

Avoiding sun exposure and dressing infants in long pants, sleeves and brimmed hats is best. However when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to small areas.


Sun Prevention Children Over 6 Months:

*Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and use sunscreen that is at least 15 SPF (Sun Protection Factor), even on cloudy days.

*Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

*Be sure to apply enough sunscreen – about one ounce per sitting.

*Wear sunglasses.

*Limit your sun exposure between 10am to 4pm when UV rays are strongest.

*Still, the first and best defense against sun is covering up.


A sunburn is skin damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Most sunburns cause mild pain and redness but only affect the outer layer of skin. These are called first-degree burns. These sunburns are usually mild and can be treated at home. Skin that is red and painful and that swells up and blisters may mean that the deep skin layers and nerve endings have been damaged. These are second-degree burns. This type of sunburn is usually more painful and takes longer to heal.


How to Treat a Sunburn At Home:

*Use cool cloths on the sunburned areas.

*Take cool showers.

*Apply soothing lotions with aloe vera.

*A sunburn can cause a mild fever and headache. Lying down in a cool and quite room or increasing fluids may relieve the headache.

*Take anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain, swelling and fever. These includes ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).

*Use lotion to relieve the itching when skin peels. There is nothing you can do to stop skin from peeling after sunburn. It is part of the healing process.


When to Call the Dr.:

*There are signs of dehydration: sunken eyes, dry mouth, and passing only a little dark urine.

*There are signs of infection: increased pain, swelling, warmth or redness, red streaks leading from the area, pus draining from the area, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin, and/or a fever.

*Sunburn is not getting better.


Also, this time of year it is important to protect children from bug bites. Follow the following Bug Safety Tips to have a bite free summer.



*Avoid scented soaps, perfumes, or hair sprays.

*Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.

*Avoid dressing in bright colors or flowery prints.

*To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently scrape it off horizontally with a credit card or your fingernail.

*Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and mosquitos can transmit West Nile virus, Zitka virus, Chikungunya virus and other viruses.

*The concentration of DEET in products may range from less than 10% to over 30%. The benefits of DEET reach a peak at a concentration of 30%, the maximum concentration currently recommended for infants and children. DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age.

*The concentration of DEET varies significantly from product, so read the label of any product you purchase. For more information on DEET:

*When outside in the evenings or other times when there are a lot of mosquitos present, cover up with long sleeved shirts, pants and socks to prevent bites.


Less Is More: May 2017

As the weather improves and your children start to spend more time outdoors, teach them the safety basics of their bicycles, skateboards and hoverboards.


Bicycle Myths and Facts

Myth: My child doesn’t need to wear a helmet on short rides around the neighborhood.

Fact: Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home.

Myth: A football helmet will work just as well as a bicycle helmet.

Fact: Only a bicycle helmet is made specifically to protect the head from any fall that may occur while biking.

Myth: I need to buy a bicycle for my child to grow into.

Fact: Oversized bikes are especially dangerous. Your child does not have the skills and coordination needed to handle a bigger bike and may lose control.

Myth: It’s safer for my child to ride facing traffic.

Fact: Your child should always ride on the right, with traffic. Riding against traffic confuses or surprises drivers.

Myth: Bike reflectors and a reflective vest will make it safe for my child to ride at night.

Fact: It’s never safe for your child to ride a bike at night. Night riding requires special skills and special equipment.

Myth: I don’t need to teach my child all of this bicycle safety stuff. I was never injured as a child. Biking is just meant to be fun.

Fact: Riding a bike is fun – if it’s done safely. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize hundreds of thousands of children are seriously injured each year in bicycle falls.



Skateboard Safety

The use of skateboards by children has increased significantly in recent years. Not only do these young skateboarders have a high center of gravity, but they do poorly at breaking their falls.

As a result, there has been a rise in the number of skateboard-related injuries, including those to the arms, legs, head, and neck. In one study of five- to nine-year-olds who received medical treatment, only one third of skateboard injuries were classified as minor; the remaining two thirds were labeled moderate or severe. If your child rides a skateboard, she should wear a helmet and protective padding and wrist guards to minimize the chances of injury. Also, she should never ride the skateboard in or near traffic. Homemade ramps have proven particularly dangerous for youngsters.


Hoverboard Safety Tips

  1. Wear a helmet and when you are just starting out you should wear elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards. 2. Calibrate your hoverboard. 3. Stand Correctly: Stand in the middle, not too much toe or heel with the widest stance possible. 4. Step back to disembark. 5. Look ahead: Maintain a straight posture and look straight ahead, not down.




Less Is More: April 2017

April is Autism Awareness Month. Here are some facts about Autism.

What is Autism?

Autism Facts & Stats



Safety is a major concern for most parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD . Here are safety facts:


Source: Interactive Autism Network Research Report: Elopement and Wandering (2011) Source: National Autism Association, Lethal Outcomes in ASD Wandering (2012)


Source: United States Government Accountability Office, Selected Cases of Death and Abuse at Public and Private Schools and Treatment Center (2009)


Source: Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing (2009)

Sexual Abuse

Less Is More: March 2017

Asthma & Allergen Triggers

March is a good month for parents to revisit their children’s allergy and asthmatic needs. Spring often brings outdoor allergens that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Treatment can be more difficult in children because triggers can change throughout childhood. Most triggers can be broken down into two categories: outdoor allergens like pollens and mold spores and indoor allergens like animal dander, house dust mites, cockroaches, mold, tobacco smoke, and strong odors or sprays.

How to avoid outdoor triggers:

How to avoid indoor triggers:         


All asthma attacks can’t be avoided, but being aware of your child’s triggers and trying to manage their environment to avoid these triggers are important to dodging attacks. Remember that your child’s airways or breathing tubes are sensitive and the sides of the airways in the lungs can become inflamed, sore, thick and swollen when introduced to allergens. This makes it harder for your child to breathe. The goal of treating asthma is keeping your child’s symptoms under control long term avoiding doctor appointments, the hospital and missed days of school.


In addition to avoidance, allergies can be treated by quick relief medications like antihistamines. Antihistamines (diphenhydramine, loratadine, and cetirizine) treat symptoms associated with allergies to decrease nasal congestion, itchy/watery eyes, and sneezing. Nasal steroids (Flonase and Nasonex) can be used daily during allergy season to prevent allergy symptoms.

There are two ways to treat asthma when it comes to allergens: Quick Relief medication and Long Term Control medications. When your child’s asthma is triggered, a medication that can open the child’s airways is the best response. Quick relief drugs are called Adrenergic Bronchodilators. These medications relax the tightened muscles around the airways and are usually administered by inhalation. Inhalation can be administered through an aerosol inhaler (sometimes with a spacer) or through a nebulizer. Long term control can be achieved through preventative medications to reduce the reaction to asthma triggers. Medications used to prevent asthma attacks include steroids and leukotriene modifiers (LTMs).

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention there were 13.8 million asthma-related missed school days in 2013 and this number is statistically rising each year. For parents, it is important to recognize and avoid your child’s triggers, use long term control medications and follow up with Children’s Medical Group when your child’s management plan is not working. Educate your child on how to manage their asthma when age appropriate. Teaching them to avoid triggers, to tell an adult when they have symptoms, and knowing where their medications are and how to properly administer them is very important. Keep your child’s school up to date with your child’s prognosis and provide them with any medication needed to manage symptoms.

Less Is More: February 2017

For some children, the change in season brings with it a shift in mood. Is it a passing phase, or something more serious? Here’s what you need to know about depression, SAD, and your child.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — often referred to as “winter depression” — is a subtype of depression that follows a seasonal pattern. The most common form of SAD occurs in winter, although some people do experience symptoms during spring and summer.


People with SAD may crave comfort foods, including simple carbs such as pasta, breads, and sugar. With excess unhealthy calories and a lack of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, fatigue often sets in. They may become depressed and irritable. Eventually, they are no longer able to maintain their regular lifestyle. They may withdraw socially and no longer enjoy things that used to be fun. It’s as if a person’s batteries have just run down. For parents, SAD can obviously have a sharp impact on the ability to be an effective parent.


Children and adolescents can also suffer these symptoms. They may experience feelings of low self-worth and hopelessness. Children with depression struggle to concentrate on their schoolwork. Their grades may drop, worsening feelings of low self-esteem. Symptoms that last more than two weeks are cause for concern.


Researchers have not pinpointed what causes SAD. There is some evidence pointing to a disruption of a person’s “circadian rhythm” — the body’s natural cycle of sleeping and waking. As the days shorten, the decreasing amount of light can throw off the body’s natural clock, triggering depression. Sunlight also plays a role in the brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin. During winter, your body produces more melatonin (which encourages sleep) and less serotonin (which fights depression). Researchers do not know why some people are more susceptible to SAD than others.


Several effective treatments can help child sufferers of SAD. Simply bringing more sunlight into your life can treat mild cases. Spend time outdoors everyday, even on cloudy days. Open window shades in your home. Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet, one low in simple carbohydrates and high in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.


Parents of children with depression should participate in their child’s treatment and recovery. Learn about the disorder and share what you learn with your child. Make sure your child completes his treatment everyday, no matter what form your doctor prescribes.


Plan low-key quality time together. Your child won’t have the energy for an arcade, but reading a book or playing a family board game can be fun. Encourage your child to get exercise and spend time outdoors. Plan daily walks together. Fix healthy meals for your family, and establish a set bedtime to ensure he gets enough sleep and the same amount of sleep every night.


Your fatigued child will probably need help with his homework. Take time to work through schoolwork together, and communicate your child’s situation to his teachers. Be patient with your child and reassure him that these issues will get better.

Whether noticing symptoms of SAD in yourself or depression in your child, take it seriously. Treating this disorder early and diligently can turn the dark days of winter into a pleasant time of togetherness for your family. Parents can contact our office and talk to one our Care Managers for further assistance.


Source: &


Less Is More: January 2017

Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings or just cold temperatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm.

Winter Sports and Activities

Ice Skating


Snow Skiing and Snowboarding


Sun Protection



Less Is More: December 2016






Less Is More: November 2016

Antibiotic Prescriptions for Children: 9 Common Questions Answered

Parents need to know that using antibiotics when they are not the right medicine will not help and may even cause harm to children. Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections and they target bacteria, not viruses. Before prescribing an antibiotic, your child’s provider will find out if it is the right medicine to treat your child’s infection.

Read on for answers from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to common questions about the use of antibiotics. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have other questions.

1.  My child has a really bad cold. Why won’t the doctor prescribe an antibiotic?

Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are used specifically for infections caused by bacteria. In general, most common cold symptoms—such as runny nose, cough, and congestion—are mild and your child will get better without using any medicines.

2.  Don’t some colds turn into bacterial infections? So why wait to start an antibiotic?

In most cases, bacterial infections do not follow viral infections. Using antibiotics to treat viral infections may instead lead to an infection caused by resistant bacteria. Also, your child may develop diarrhea or other side effects. If your child develops watery diarrhea, diarrhea with blood in it, or other side effects while taking an antibiotic, call your child’s doctor.

3.  Isn’t a nose draining yellow or green mucus a sign of a bacterial infection?

During a common cold, it is normal for mucus from the nose to get thick and to change from clear to yellow or green. Symptoms often last for 10 days.  Sinusitis is a term that means inflammation of the lining of the nose and sinuses. A virus or allergy can cause sinusitis and in some cases, bacteria can be the cause.

There are certain signs that bacteria may be involved in your child’s respiratory illness. If your child has a common cold with cough and green mucus that lasts longer than 10 days, or if your child has thick yellow or green mucus and a fever higher than 102°F (39°C) for at least 3 or 4 days, this may be a sign of bacterial sinusitis.  If your child has developed bacterial sinusitis (which is uncommon), an antibiotic may be needed. Before an antibiotic is prescribed, your child’s doctor will ask about other signs and examine your child to make sure an antibiotic is the right medicine.

4.  Aren’t antibiotics supposed to treat ear infections?   Not all ear infections are treated with antibiotics. At least half of all ear infections go away without antibiotics. If your child does not have a high fever or severe ear pain, your child’s doctor may recommend observation initially.

Because pain is often the first and most uncomfortable symptom of ear infection, your child’s doctor will suggest pain medicine to ease your child’s pain. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are over-the-counter pain medicines that may help lessen much of the pain. Be sure to use the right dose for your child’s age and size. In most cases, pain and fever will improve within the first 1 to 2 days.  There are also ear drops that may help ear pain for a short time. You can ask your child’s doctor if your child should use these drops. Over-the-counter cold medicines (decongestants and antihistamines) don’t help clear up ear infections and are not recommended for young children.

Your child’s doctor may prescribe antibiotics if your child has fever that is increasing, more severe ear pain, and infection in both eardrums.

5.  Aren’t antibiotics used to treat all sore throats?   No. More than 80% of sore throats are caused by a virus. If your child has sore throat, runny nose, and a barky cough, a virus is the likely cause and a test for “strep” is not needed and should not be performed.  Antibiotics should only be used to treat sore throats caused by group A streptococci. Infection caused by this type of bacteria is called “strep throat.” Strep throat generally affects school-aged children and not children younger than 3 years.

If your child has a sore throat, runny nose, and a barky cough, a virus is the likely couse and a test for “strep” is usually not needed.

6.  Do antibiotics cause any side effects?

Side effects can occur in 1 out of every 10 children who take an antibiotic. Side effects may include rashes, allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Make sure you let your child’s doctor know if your child has had a reaction to antibiotics.

Sometimes a rash will occur during the time a child is taking an antibiotic. However, not all rashes are considered allergic reactions. Tell your child’s doctor if you see a rash that looks like hives (red welts); this may be an allergic reaction. If your child has an allergic reaction that causes an itchy rash, or hives, this will be noted in her medical record.

7.  How long does it take an antibiotic to work?

Most bacterial infections improve within 48 to 72 hours of starting an antibiotic. If your child’s symptoms get worse or do not improve within 72 hours, call your child’s doctor. If your child stops taking the antibiotic too soon, the infection may not be treated completely and the symptoms may start again.

8.  Can antibiotics lead to resistant bacteria?

The repeated use and misuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria. Resistant bacteria are bacteria that are no longer killed by the antibiotics commonly used to treat bacterial infection. These resistant bacteria can also be spread to other children and adults.

It is important that your child use the antibiotic that is most specific for your child’s infection rather than an antibiotic that would treat a broader range of infections.

If your child does develop an antibiotic-resistant infection, a special type of antibiotic may be needed. Sometimes, these medicines need to be given by IV (vein) in the hospital.

9.  What are antiviral medicines?   Influenza (flu) is a viral infection that can cause cold symptoms for which an antiviral medicine will work. An antiviral medicine may be prescribed for children that are at higher risk of becoming severely ill if they get the flu. For most other viruses causing cough and cold symptoms, there are no antiviral medicines that work or are recommended.

Less Is More: October 2016 

Flu is the short term for influenza. It is an illness caused by a respiratory virus. The infection can spread rapidly through communities as the virus is passed from person to person. When someone with the flu coughs or sneezes, the influenza virus gets into the air, and people nearby, including children, can inhale it. The virus also can be spread when your child touches a contaminated hard surface, such as a door handle, and then places his hand or fingers in his nose/mouth or rubs his eye.

The flu season usually starts in October and ends in May. When there is an outbreak or epidemic, usually during the winter months, the illness tends to be most pronounced in preschool or school-aged children. Adult caregivers are easily exposed and can contract the disease. The virus usually is transmitted in the first several days of the illness.

All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include: * A sudden fever

* Chills and body shakes

* Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual

* Sore throat

* Dry, hacking cough

* Stuffy, runny nose Some children may throw up (vomit) and have loose stools (diarrhea).

After the first few days of these symptoms, a sore throat, stuffy nose, and continuing cough become most evident. The flu can last a week or even longer. A child with a common cold usually has a lower fever, a runny nose, and only a small amount of coughing. Children with the flu—or adults, for that matter—usually feel much sicker, achier, and more miserable.

Healthy people, especially children, get over the flu in about a week or two, without any lingering problems. However, you might suspect a complication if your child says that his ear hurts or that he feels pressure in his face and head or if his cough and fever persist beyond 2 weeks. Talk with your child’s doctor if your child has ear pain, a cough that won’t go away, or a fever that won’t go away.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that an influenza vaccine be given annually to all children starting at six months of age. Children 6 month through 8 years old may need two doses of the vaccine given at least four weeks apart. Children 9 years of age and older only need one dose.

Flu vaccines are especially important for children at high risk for complications from the flu such as those with a chronic disease such as asthma, heart disease, and decreased immune system function due to a primary condition or from medications such as steroids, renal disease, or diabetes mellitus.

All eligible children may receive the inactivated flu shot. All adults should receive the flu vaccine yearly; this is especially important for adults who live in the same household as someone who has a high risk for flu complications or who care for children under the age of five.

Less Is More: September 2016

Fall sports are in full swing and one of the common injuries we see are concussions. A concussion is any injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function on a temporary or permanent basis. Concussions are typically caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Concussions can happen in any sport but more often occur in collision sports, such as football, rugby, or ice hockey. They also are common in contact sports that don’t require helmets, such as soccer, basketball, wrestling, and lacrosse.

Sports-relates concussions in youth athletes are underreported. Coaches, parents and teachers often fail to recognize the signs of concussions in young athletes. Coaches and athletic trainers should be trained in the identification of concussions, and refer any student athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion to a licensed physician.

Below are some facts regarding concussions according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

* Almost 500,000 emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury are made annually by children ages 0 to 14 years.

* 40% of sports-related concussions involved children between the ages of 8 to 13 years.

* 50% of “second impact syndrome” incidents – brain injury caused from a premature return to activity after suffering initial concussion – results in death.

* Concussions affect child athletes beyond impact sports like football and hockey; sports less commonly considered potential sources of head injury includes volleyball, soccer and cheerleading.

* Football has the highest rate of concussion in sports.

* Girls have higher concussion rates then boys in similar sports.

After a concussion has been diagnosed, it is important for the athlete and parent/guardian to understand symptoms to look for.

Signs to be observed by the parent/guardian are:

* Appears dazed or stunned

* Is confused about assignment or position

* Forgets instruction

* Is unsure of game, score or opponent

* Moves clumsily

* Answers questions slowly

* Loses consciousness (even briefly)

* Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes

* Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall

* Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Symptoms reported by the athlete:

* Headache or “pressure” in head

* Nausea or vomiting

* Balance problems or dizziness

* Double or blurry vision

* Sensitivity to light or noise

* Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

* Concentration or memory problems

* Confusion

* Just not “feeling right” or “feeling down”

When should you call for help? Call 911 if your athlete has a seizure, passes out or is confused or hard to wake up. Call your Dr. immediately if your athlete has new or worse vomiting, seems less alert, or has new weakness or numbness in any part of the body. Watch closely for changes in your athlete’s health and be sure to contact your Dr. if your athlete does not get better as expected or has any new symptoms, such as headaches, trouble concentrating, or changes in mood.

Less Is More: August 2016

Water Safety: Pools, Beaches, and Boating

Pool Safety

Boating Safety

Beach Safety


Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics (


Less Is More: July 2016

Home Fire Safety

What is the best way to keep your family safe from a home fire? Installing smoke detectors, creating and practicing family fire drills and teaching children what to do in case of a fire are important to ensure safety in a fire. Below are some tips on how to implement each of these ideas.

Smoke Detectors

* Install smoke alarms outside every bedroom or any area where someone sleeps. Also install them in furnace areas. Be sure there is at least 1 alarm on every level of your home, including the basement, or at each end of a mobile home.

* Place smoke alarms away from the kitchen and bathroom. False alarms can occur while cooking or even showering.

* Test smoke alarms every month by pushing the test button. It is best to use smoke alarms that have long-life batteries, but if you do not, change the batteries at least once a year, such as when you change your clocks in the fall.

* Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

* Never paint a smoke alarm.

* Clean (dust or vacuum) smoke alarms once a month.

* Use smoke alarms equipped with a flashing light and an alarm in homes with children or adults who are hard of hearing or deaf.

Fire Drills – Be Prepared!

Even young children (3 and older) can begin to learn what to do in case of a fire.

* Install at least 1 smoke alarm on every level of your home.

* Have an escape plan and practice it with your family. This will help you and your family reach safety when it counts. When a fire occurs, there will be no time for planning an escape.

* Draw a floor plan of your home. Discuss with your family 2 ways to exit every room. Make sure everyone knows how to get out and that doors and windows can be easily opened to permit escape. If you live in an apartment building, never use an elevator during a fire. Use the stairs!

* Agree on a meeting place. Choose a spot outside your home near a tree, street corner, or fence where everyone can meet after escaping. Teach your children that the sound of a smoke alarm means to go outside right away to the chosen place.

* Know how to call the fire department. The fire department should be called from outside using a portable phone or from a neighbor’s home. Whether the number is 911 or a regular phone number, everyone in the family should know it by heart. Make sure your children know your home address, too. Teach your children that firefighters are friends and never to hide from them.

* Practice, practice, practice. Practice your exit drill at least twice a year. Remember that fire drills are not a race. Get out quickly, but calmly and carefully. Try practicing realistic situations. Pretend that some exits or doorways are blocked or that the lights are out. The more prepared your family is, the better your chances of surviving a fire.

Note: Parents of very young children or children with special needs should have a safety plan that fits their child’s needs and abilities. For example, a child who is hard of hearing or deaf may need a smoke alarm with a flashing strobe-light feature. Parents with children younger than 5 years must plan on an adult rescuing them in the case of a house fire; they are too young to be able to reliably rescue themselves.

Know What To Do in a Fire

* Test any closed doors with the back of your hand for heat. Do not open the door if you feel heat or see smoke. Close all doors as you leave each room to keep the fire from spreading.

* Crawl low under smoke. Choose the safest exit. If you must escape through a smoky area, remember that cleaner air is always near the floor. Teach your child to crawl on her hands and knees, keeping her head less than 2 feet above the floor, as she makes her way to the nearest exit.

* Don’t stop. Don’t go back. In case of fire, do not try to rescue pets or possessions. Once you are out, do not go back in for any reason. Firefighters have the best chance of rescuing people who are trapped. Let firefighters know right away if anyone is missing.

* Stop, drop, and roll! Cool and call. Make sure your child knows what to do if his clothes catch fire.

o Stop! – Do not run.

o Drop! – Drop to the ground right where you are.

o Roll! – Roll over and over to put out the flames. Cover your face with your hands.

o Cool – Cool the burned area with water.

o Call – Call for help.

For Your Sitters

When you are away from home and someone else cares for your children, make sure that your children and the sitter will be just as safe as when you are there.

* Let your sitter know about your family’s escape plan.

* Remind sitters never to leave the children alone.

* Remind sitters that you do not allow smoking in or around your home.

Leave emergency information near the phone. Include the local fire department phone number, your full home address and phone number, and a neighbor’s name and phone number.

Some Other Basic Precautions

* Never leave small children alone in the home, even for a minute.

* Do not smoke in bed.

* Dispose of cigarette butts, matches, and ashes with care.

* Keep matches and lighters away from children.

* Be sure your gas water heater is off the ground. Spilled flammable liquids will be ignited by the pilot light.

* Do not clean clothes with flammable liquids.

* Place a barrier around open flames.

* Do not wear loose-fitting clothing near a stove, fireplace, or open space heater.

* Have your heating system checked and cleaned yearly.

* Check electric appliances and cords regularly for wear or loose connections.

* Use only 15-ampere fuses for lighting circuits. Never use a substitute for a fuse.

* Place fire extinguishers around the home where the risk of fire is greatest – in the kitchen and furnace room, and near the fireplace.



Less Is More: June 2016

June brings more sunny days and weather that takes people out doors. As parents, it is very important that we protect children from harmful UV rays and biting insects. Keep your family safe from the sun and bugs by following these tips!

Sun Prevention for Babies Under 6 Months:

Avoiding sun exposure and dressing infants in long pants, sleeves and brimmed hats is best. However when adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to small areas.

Sun Prevention Children Over 6 Months:

*Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and use sunscreen that is at least 15 SPF (Sun Protection Factor), even on cloudy days.

*Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

*Be sure to apply enough sunscreen – about one ounce per sitting.

*Wear sunglasses.

*Limit your sun exposure between 10am to 4pm when UV rays are strongest.

*Still, the first and best defense against sun is covering up.

A sunburn is skin damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Most sunburns cause mild pain and redness but only affect the outer layer of skin. These are called first-degree burns. These sunburns are usually mild and can be treated at home. Skin that is red and painful and that swells up and blisters may mean that the deep skin layers and nerve endings have been damaged. These are second-degree burns. This type of sunburn is usually more painful and takes longer to heal.

How to Treat a Sunburn At Home:

*Use cool cloths on the sunburned areas.

*Take cool showers.

*Apply soothing lotions with aloe vera.

*A sunburn can cause a mild fever and headache. Lying down in a cool and quite room or increasing fluids may relieve the headache.

*Take anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain, swelling and fever. These includes ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).

*Use lotion to relieve the itching when skin peels. There is nothing you can do to stop skin from peeling after sunburn. It is part of the healing process.

When to Call the Dr.:

*There are signs of dehydration: sunken eyes, dry mouth, and passing only a little dark urine.

*There are signs of infection: increased pain, swelling, warmth or redness, red streaks leading from the area, pus draining from the area, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin, and/or a fever.

*Sunburn is not getting better.

Also, this time of year it is important to protect children from bug bites. Follow the following Bug Safety Tips to have a bite free summer.


*Avoid scented soaps, perfumes, or hair sprays.

*Avoid areas where insects nest or congregate, such as stagnant pools of water, uncovered foods and gardens where flowers are in bloom.

*Avoid dressing in bright colors or flowery prints.

*To remove a visible stinger from skin, gently scrape it off horizontally with a credit card or your fingernail.

*Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease and mosquitos can transmit West Nile virus, Zitka virus, Chikungunya virus and other viruses.

*The concentration of DEET in products may range from less than 10% to over 30%. The benefits of DEET reach a peak at a concentration of 30%, the maximum concentration currently recommended for infants and children. DEET should not be used on children under 2 months of age.

*The concentration of DEET varies significantly from product, so read the label of any product you purchase. For more information on DEET:

*When outside in the evenings or other times when there are a lot of mosquitos present, cover up with long sleeved shirts, pants and socks to prevent bites.


Less Is More: May 2016

Care Managers

Providing the best possible care for patients is the number one priority at Children’s Medical Group. Our facility is a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH). This means that our practice is committed to giving your child the best possible care. This is only possible when parents communicate openly about their child’s history and symptoms. Keeping appointments and taking prescribed medication is also important. To manage children with chronic diseases, providers often enroll a care manager to assist with additional care.

Care Managers support parents in many ways:

Care managers can assist with coordination of services for our patients with acute, multiple, complex, and/or chronic care needs.

Care managers provide health education for our patients and their care givers to promote self-management, increase pro-active health care, and improve outcomes.

Care managers focus on team based work to enhance and increase our patients’ successes, in all areas of their lives.

Care managers identify, refer, and coordinate local, state, and/or federal resources to enhance the lives of our patients.

Care managers identify goals, action steps, and building skills to accomplish desired goals.

Care managers work with our post emergency, urgent care, or hospitalization patients in which care givers need added support to proactively manage our patients’ health care conditions.

Care managers offer mental health counseling with a focus on prevention, goal attainment, and growth promotion.

Care managers assist patients through a series of phone calls or visits.

Our care managers here at CMG are Laurisa Cummings, LMSW and Karen Sprague, RN. Our Care managers can assist patients with ADD/ADHD, autism, asthma, behavioral concerns, delays in development, health and nutritional needs, elevated BMI, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety and other acute and chronic conditions. Please talk to your provider if you have an interest in meeting with a care manager.

Less Is More: March 2016

Asthma & Allergen Triggers

March is a good month for parents to revisit their children’s allergy and asthmatic needs. Spring often brings outdoor allergens that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Treatment can be more difficult in children because triggers can change throughout childhood. Most triggers can be broken down into two categories: outdoor allergens like pollens and mold spores and indoor allergens like animal dander, house dust mites, cockroaches, mold, tobacco smoke, and strong odors or sprays.

How to avoid outdoor triggers:

How to avoid indoor triggers:         


All asthma attacks can’t be avoided, but being aware of your child’s triggers and trying to manage their environment to avoid these triggers are important to dodging attacks. Remember that your child’s airways or breathing tubes are sensitive and the sides of the airways in the lungs can become inflamed, sore, thick and swollen when introduced to allergens. This makes it harder for your child to breathe. The goal of treating asthma is keeping your child’s symptoms under control long term avoiding doctor appointments, the hospital and missed days of school.

In addition to avoidance, allergies can be treated by quick relief medications like antihistamines. Antihistamines (diphenhydramine, loratadine, and cetirizine) treat symptoms associated with allergies to decrease nasal congestion, itchy/watery eyes, and sneezing. Nasal steroids (Flonase and Nasonex) can be used daily during allergy season to prevent allergy symptoms.

There are two ways to treat asthma when it comes to allergens: Quick Relief medication and Long Term Control medications. When your child’s asthma is triggered, a medication that can open the child’s airways is the best response. Quick relief drugs are called Adrenergic Bronchodilators. These medications relax the tightened muscles around the airways and are usually administered by inhalation. Inhalation can be administered through an aerosol inhaler (sometimes with a spacer) or through a nebulizer. Long term control can be achieved through preventative medications to reduce the reaction to asthma triggers. Medications used to prevent asthma attacks include steroids and leukotriene modifiers (LTMs).

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention there were 13.8 million asthma-related missed school days in 2013 and this number is statistically rising each year. For parents, it is important to recognize and avoid your child’s triggers, use long term control medications and follow up with Children’s Medical Group when your child’s management plan is not working. Educate your child on how to manage their asthma when age appropriate. Teaching them to avoid triggers, to tell an adult when they have symptoms, and knowing where their medications are and how to properly administer them is very important. Keep your child’s school up to date with your child’s prognosis and provide them with any medication needed to manage symptoms.


Less Is More: February 2016

Depression in Childhood

Depression is not commonly thought of as a childhood illness, but surprisingly, statistics show that one out of every forty children in the US suffers from childhood depression. Diagnosing depression in children or adolescents can be tricky. Children often have the blues that can lead them to feel sad, bored, lonely or even irritable. This is normal, however, it’s when these symptoms linger, become persistent and begin to affect daily activities, schoolwork or relationships that parents should intervene and talk to their doctor.

For parents, these are signs and symptoms that should be noted. Changes in appetite

Changes in sleep

Difficulty concentrating

Fatigue/Low Energy

Feelings of worthlessness/guilt

Increased sensitivity to rejection


Boredom/Loss of interest in favorite activities

Self-critical/blaming oneself for things out of his/her control

Physical complaints (such as stomachaches or headaches) that do not respond to treatment

Social withdrawal

Thoughts of death or suicide

Vocal outbursts or crying

Treatments for childhood depression include various forms of psychotherapy and medication. Treatment can also include working with family members, friends, or with the child’s school. Common psychotherapies used to treat depression are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). Both are time-limited, structured therapies that are typically in group or individual sessions. CBT tries to help a patient recognize and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior that may contribute to depression. IPT focuses on a problem solving approach to interpersonal relationships that can both cause and result from depression. Common medications used to treat depression in children are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRI’s, that have been approved by the FDA for treating children. According to sources, “the best studies to date indicate that a combination of psychotherapy and medication is the most effective method to successfully treat childhood depression”.

Below are some recommendation to improve communication between you and your child from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Show them genuine concern, so they know what they say really matters to you.

Ask them questions, to help them become active in the conversation.

Remember that they notice your tone of voice and your reactions, not just what you say.

Ask them about their interests, and show them you know something about what they like to do.

Ask them how they would like you to communicate with them.

Learn about Facebook and other social media.

Understand that it takes time for them to trust, and they may not say too much at first.

Be patient with them and try to understand where they are coming from.

Remember that they know what’s going on in their lives better than anyone else and they know themselves best.

Take what they say seriously even if you don’t agree.

If you don’t understand something that they say, ask them to explain.

Recognize that they won’t always hear what you have to say.

Don’t be judgmental because this will shut them down.

Try not to make them feel rushed – spend time with them.

They have the right to information and they believe that information is power.

They don’t want to feel different than everyone else and they don’t want to be rejected because they are different.

They are afraid of what you will think of them.

Even if they need medication, they’d prefer not to have to take it.

If they are prescribed medication, they’re concerned about being over-medicated and they’re afraid of possible side effects.

Taking medication is very personal and they don’t want the whole world to know their business.

They need reassurance that taking medication doesn’t mean they’re crazy.

They need to be reassured that things will get better.

Understand how important their friends are to them and help them stay involved with them.

Encourage them to stay involved in their treatment and not give up hope.

CMG has a Care Management Program that works with patients with depression or related problems. Your first step in seeking treatment is to discuss your child’s need with a provider who will evaluate your child and determine his or her needs for further intervention.


American Academy of Pediatrics

National Alliance on Mental Illness

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology


Less Is More: December 2015

Congratulations!! You have made it a full year of changing yourself into a healthier, better you. Hopefully you have a better attitude, a different outlook on life and a smaller frame. If you’re not satisfied with your results, then keep plugging along right into the New Year. Just because it is a new year, doesn’t mean that you have to have a new, new year’s resolution. It can be one that you are continuing on from the year before, as long as it is something that you are actually working on changing.

If you need a break then take this month and remember what the holidays are really about; Family. We all know that all families have their fair share of arguments, differences, misunderstandings, and may not talk to each other except when they really have to. What is good to know is that some of them will actually put away their differences and be cordially to one another when getting together during a major holiday. If not then here are a few pointers to help you keep your sanity during these times.

I hope these few little helpful hints will help you get through the holiday gatherings with your family. From CMG to you, we would like to wish you a healthy and happy holidays as well as a joyous New Year!

Works Cited:


Less Is More: November 2015

We are now entering into the holidays where feasts galore happen. These feasts depending on how big your family is may happen more than once. Even the most disciplined people struggle with the temptations during this time of the year. I am here to help and give you some ways where you can still indulge in the family’s favorite holiday dishes. First and far most important thing to help keep your healthy diet intact is a strategy.

Here are ten ways to help keep you on track.

1. Trim back the trimming. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream — additions that don’t add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline. Trim calories wherever you can so you leave the party feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.

2. Wear snug clothes and keep one hand busy. When you wear snug-fitting attire, chances are you’ll be too busy holding in your stomach to overeat. While you stand around looking posh in your holiday finery, hold a drink in your dominant hand so it won’t be so easy to grab food.

3. Chew gum.  When you don’t want to eat, pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth. This works well when you’re cooking or when you’re trying not to dive into the buffet.

4. Be a food snob. If you don’t love it then don’t eat it. Scan the buffet for foods you truly treasure and skip the everyday dishes that are available all year long. Don’t think it’s your responsibility to sample everything on the buffet. Go ahead and indulge in your personal holiday favorites, then find a seat and, slowly and mindfully, savor every mouthful.

5. No skipping meals. Always eat normally on the day of a party. Experts say that people who skip meals to save up calories tend to eat everything in sight once they get to their holiday get together. If you eat sensibly throughout the day then it will take the edge off the appetite and empower a bit of restraint. Start with a nourishing breakfast, have a light lunch, then a small snack or salad shortly before the event.

6. Check it out. First things first. When you arrive at the party, grab a sparkling water with a twist, and wait at least 30 minutes before eating. This will give you time to relax, get comfortable in your surroundings, and survey your food choices on the buffet before diving in. A buffet is an invitation to eat all you can, and unless you carefully scrutinize it and make wise choices, you’re likely to overeat.

7. Add fun and games. The purpose is to take the focus off of the food and get family and friends more active during the holiday parties. Think horseshoes, badminton, sledding, ice skating, or building snowmen. Indoors, try a spirited game of charades, or rent an instructional dance video followed by a dance-off. Anything to get the body moving and burning all of the calories that you just consumed.

8. Alternate alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories — especially holiday favorites like eggnog. All you have to do to cut your alcohol calories in half are to alternate water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages.

9. Skip the appetizers. Steer clear of the appetizers rather than munching on them. If you need something to hold you over until the meal then go for veggies, fruit, salsa, or a small handful of nuts.

10. Limit the variety. Put only a few items on your plate when you go to the food table. You can return as many times as you like, but only take a few each time. If anything else make a decent size plate but with each item make your portion size smaller that what you normally get. The variety stimulates your appetite, and if you limit your choices to just a few items and stick with these, it will be easier to control than eating an oversized plate full of food that will make you feel like you lost the battle.


If you do end up forgetting your strategy and end up splurging, don’t beat yourself up. Just get right back normal eating and exercising and try to do better at your next family holiday feast. Happy holidays from CMG to you and good luck staying strong through this holiday season.

Work Cited:


Less Is More: October 2015

Fall is just around the corner. It is getting to that time of the year where shorts and flip flops are packed away and jeans and sweatshirts get dusted off. Just because it is getting cooler outside, it doesn’t mean to stop working on becoming a better, healthier you. Make a few phone calls and join a local gym. Here are some in the Tri-city area.

Planet Fitness

3 locations: Bay City (989) 671-2100 Saginaw (989)799-1300 Midland (989) 832-7300

Check out their website at

They sometimes have deals where its $0 down.

They have 3 different memberships to suit your needs and will go great with your budget.

  1. Curves


  1. Old Town Gym of Bay City


  1. Seung Ni


  1. YMCA

All of these above seem to be able to work with any budget. Even if you still can’t afford the minimum membership or class then grab a friend and go walk around the mall a few times a week. Please don’t let your hard work go to waste and you end up having to start all over next year. Stay warm, happy and healthy.


Less Is More: September 2015

It’s that time of year again. Children are back to school and all of their extra-curricular activities have started or will be soon. Please don’t let this stop you from becoming a better, healthier you. There is always time to get a workout in or at least few minutes to relax and breathe away the stress. The key is to think about your day and where you have extra minutes squeeze a workout in.

Here are some ways you can fit a workout or partial workout into your busy day.

For more workout ideas, click the following link. . It may change as the seasons change but this page contains different workout zones. The first one is Specialty Workouts that features a wedding dress workout, a 5 minute wakeup call for your whole body, a Halloween Candy-Crusher workout and much more. The second one is Cardio Workouts that features cardio workouts that anyone can do, an 11-minute miracle workout, a 30-minute Latin Spice workout and much more. Lastly it has Targeted Toning workouts that feature different 10-minute workouts, 5-minutes a day workouts, Yoga and Pilates workouts and much more.

If you truly want this for yourself then you will find the time. If you have to split up your workout to a few minutes here and a few minutes there then that’s ok. As long as you get your workouts in, it doesn’t matter how you do them. “Think of trying to push a car up a hill. If it slips a bit, and you catch it and keep pushing, you haven’t lost much. If it slips and you let it slid, you’ll have to go back down the hill and start all over again. It’s the same in weight loss. Accept the tiny slip and keep on pushing. Why climb the same hill twice?”


Less Is More: August 2015

Water, Water, everywhere, and not a drop to spare. Water on the ground; water in the air. Though it may evaporate, it never goes away. Snows onto your mountain-top; flows into your bay. Animals needs water, people need it, too. Keep it clean for me and I’ll keep it clean for you. Water is the rain; water is the flood. Water turns dirt into mud. Sometimes water’s blue; sometimes water’s green. Sometimes water’s dirty, but we like water clean.

I know that there are probably a good handful of people out there who don’t drink water. Hopefully with these few water facts maybe I can get them to start drinking a glass or two here and there. Did you know that water contained fluoride, an essential mineral needed for the formation and maintenance of enamel in addition to resistance to tooth decay? It sure does! Fluoride is naturally presented in some well waters and is added to 70% of all municipal water supplies in the United States. Here are six key functions of water.

Individuals require enough water each day to replace what it lost in urine, perspiration, stools, and exhaled air. Adequate Intakes of water from fluids and food are set at 11 cups per day for women and 15 cups per day for men. A cup size is an 8 ounce cup. It is very important to keep hydrated when we are working out. If you work out within an hour, water is enough to replenish you while over an hour will take a fluid that has sodium and electrolytes. In addition to being dehydrated you can also become hyponatremia which is a condition when you acquire a high intake of water or low blood sodium level and excessive water accumulation in the brain and lungs.

I hear most people say that they don’t drink water because they don’t like the taste of it. Here are a few ways where you can spice up the flavor a bit. If you can only drink water if it is cold then make sure you are always fully stocked on you ice cubes.

In both of our office, our friends, The OrganWise Guys are here to help our children to drink more water. In our waiting rooms there are pamphlets where at the top is blue and they say Choose Water. Our friends The Kidney Brothers and Peri Stolic (The Intestine) are featured on the front. On the back at the top it states drink at least 4 glasses of water each day. Underneath, it has the days of the week as well as 4 water glasses next to each day. You can play a game with your children to help them drink more water. Each glass that they drink make sure you circle or they can circle it. Let’s say if they get all 28 glasses of water (4 glass/day for all 7 days) circled take them to do what they want to do. Like a movie, dinner, or even Kokomos, as long as they get to choose. If at first it doesn’t go as well as you hoped still give them a little incentive for at least trying. Like a couple of dollars.

The key is to drink more water and less sugary drinks. Kids will repeat what they see. So if you’re not drinking water or more water, then your kids won’t either. So grab a glass, add some ice, pour the water and enjoy something nice. .


Less Is More: July 2015

Feeling any better yet? Just remember that it takes time but each little step helps. What really helped me and I am hoping that it will help you to, is being educated about physical activity and nutrition. The main thing to keep in mind is the amount of energy in (calories from food and drinks) and energy out (calories burned from physical activity).

Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. For health benefits, physical activity should be moderate or vigorous intensity (see below for example of activities). I won’t lie to you, it will hurt but that’s ok because your body will heal itself when you are resting (not working out). Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight will help prevent and control most major diseases as well as many different health conditions. Our weight may be the result of many factors such as genes, metabolism, behavior, and environment but we have control over most of these factors by our diet and exercise.

Maintaining a healthy weight means keeping a balance of energy (calories). In order to maintain your weight the energy in (calories you get from food and drinks) must equal the energy out (being physically active). If you want to lose weight than the energy out (physical activity that burns up calories) must be more than the energy in (eating fewer calories or foods lower in fats). Gaining weight is when you have more energy in (calories you get from food and drinks) than out (being physically active). If you can’t remember all of this or it’s confusing then simple remember that 3500 calories = 1 pound of body weight. So if you burn on average 500 calories a day for the full 7 days a week than you will burn 1 pound per week. If you eat more than 3500 calories a day and don’t exercise than you will gain weight.

Eating smaller portions and paying attention to your food choices will help you maintain or lose weight. is a website that talks about Portion Distortion. This website also has a couple of Portion Distortion Interactive Quiz PowerPoints that shows you how portion sizes have changed over the last 20 years. If you click on the following website , this will help you to get started on eating smaller portions.

Here are the examples of moderate and vigorous physical activity.

Moderate physical activities include:

Vigorous physical activities include:

Best of luck on becoming a healthier you!


Less Is More: June 2015

Last month we talked about implementing a little exercise into our daily routines. This month I want to introduce you to something called ChooseMyPlate. I heard about it around my work but never really understood it until I read more about it in my nutrition class. After hearing and reading about it I wanted to learn more so I jumped onto the website Here I found out how helpful ChooseMyPlate really was to a wide variety of consumers.

If you haven’t heard, MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times. MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image – a place setting for a meal. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl. With this in mind it serves as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices. The MyPlate icon emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups. MiPlato was launched as the Spanish-language version of MyPlate in 2011. provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information. Here are seven interactive diet planning tools and how they can help you.

  1. Food-A-Pedia. Enables you to identify and compare the nutrient content of foods
  2. Food Tracker. Can be used to identify the calorie, nutrient, and food group content of diets. Its interactive features allows you to modify food selections and portion sizes. The program provides instant feedback on how the changes would affect calorie, nutrient, and food group intake.
  3. Physical Activity Tracker. Can be used to compare your level of physical activities to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. It can also be used to plan your activities and evaluate progress in meeting your physical activity goals.
  4. My Weight Manager. Provides tips for weight loss and helps you track progress in meeting weight loss goals.
  5. My Top 5 Goals. Presents 19 options for goals related to weight management, physical activity, calorie intake, food group intake, and nutrient intake. You can select and track progress on meeting up to five of these goals. For example, you can set a weight goal, and receive a calorie intake plan that will help you reach the goal. Graphs on changes in weight over time and tips for weight loss can be generated by this tool.
  6. My Reports. Can be used to track changes in food group, calorie, and nutrient intake; and changes in physical activity level. Over 40 different reports can be generated. The reports automatically compare your results to the appropriate recommendations.
  7. My Recipe. Build and save your favorite recipes for tracking, and analyze the nutrition info.

As Americans are experiencing epidemic rates of overweight and obesity, these online resources and tools can empower people to make healthier food choices for themselves, their families, and their children. There is so much more to check out then the seven I have listed above. For example under the SuperTracker & Other Tools tab there is a What’s Cooking? (Recipe website) option. This is an interactive tool to help with healthy meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping. I encourage you to check it out and sign up.

There is a limitation to ChooseMyPlate but they can be eliminated. It is inaccessible to people who do not use the internet or don’t have access to it. Your local library can help out with a solution for this. Most of them have computer labs and all you need is a library card to have access. Library cards are free. There are also printable materials that you can print. If you don’t have access or can’t get access to the internet every day, keep a journal and then when you are able to log in add you progress and check your reports.

Instead of plunging in all at once, remember baby steps will help you change your behavior, eating habits, and even your physical activity in the long run. Replace one thing at a time instead of redoing your whole diet at once. The best thing that you can do in regards to change is to remember (Quoted by Socrates) “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”, and take baby steps to change your ways to a more positive healthier you.

Until next month have the spirit of encouragement!

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Less Is More: May 2015

It is time to get pumped up now! I only hope by now that you have a new or even slightly new outlook on life. A happier one rather than a negative one. I wanted to wait until the spring to introduce less inactivity because we will have more of a better outcome then what we would of if we did it earlier in the year. Spring is when everything gets a fresh start. Flowers, leaves, grass, birds, etc. even us. We did the prep work already, (learning positive self-talk, being more optimistic, and learning all about stress) now we just have to put it all together with a little movement. In the end you have the perfect solution to becoming a better, healthier you.

Let’s start out small then add more as we go. Having the extra time in a day to do any sort of exercising seems to be the biggest problem that most of us have. Well my fitness pal, I’m here to tell you that you do have time. Here are some ideas to get you moving a little bit more and if you click on the link  this will provide you with a tracking activity sheet to help you track your activity.

Here are some multi-tasking activities that you can do.

There are many things that you can do to weave exercise into your life. The idea is to keep moving. Remember to start small and maybe add 5 or if you feel comfortable enough to 10 more reps to your daily work out.


Less Is More: April 2015

Stress is a real health problem that should be addressed quickly. Stress is not just a feeling nor is it just in your head. It’s a built in physiologic response to a threat. Last month we looked at what causes stress and some ways to handle it. In this edition we will look at health problems that are caused by stress and how you can measure the amount of stress that you are under.

Let’s look at some of the most significant health problems that are related to stress.



Have you had any recent major life changes?

Do your beliefs cause you stress?

How do you cope with your stress?

Kicking the negativity and the stress out of your life will not only make you feel happier but it will also keep you healthier. When times get tough and you just want to give up because that’s the easiest thing to do, please remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and practice makes all the difference! I believe you can do this so keep your chin up and soon enough you’ll be where you want to be, a more positive, healthier person.

Work Cited:


Less Is More: March 2015

Heading into the third month of becoming a better, healthier you, we will be focusing on stress. Stress happens to all of us it is just a matter of how you respond to it that will determine your attitude. The short-term normal stresses in life are when you go for a job interview, take a test, or even run a race. There are also long-term or chronic stress that last over a long period of time like problems at work or conflicts in your family. Overtime if these chronic stresses are not dealt with then they can cause severe health problems.

Let us look at some things in your life that can cause stress. Here are a few things that cause stress that are in your personal life.

Here are some stressors in the social and work status that may cause stress in your life.

We all have the choice on how we handle stress. If we don’t use our resources then stress will take advantage of us and lead us down the path of smoking, heavy drinking, overeating, insomnia, and/or even drug use. Here are seven positive ways to handle the stress in your life.

You now have a list of possible things that can cause stress and a list of things to help you handle stress so put them together and start taming your stress.

Work Cited:


Less Is More: February 2015

How is it going with becoming more of a positive person? Since it’s only been a month, it’s probably still rough for you and that’s ok. I didn’t expect for it to happen in a month and hopefully you didn’t either. Just remember that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, it takes time. As long as you keep working on it little by little, you will have a brighter outlook in no time. Last month we talked about positive self-talk and I would like to continue this month on the same path. This will keep you focused on your positive self-talk as well as having a healthier outlook on life. This month we will talk about being more optimistic. Being an optimist or pessimist boils down to the way you talk to yourself and that is why I wanted to continue on this path of becoming more of a positive you.

Let us start off by defining what optimism is. It comes from a Latin word optimus meaning “best”. An optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation. They believe, expect and/or hope that everything will turn out well even when something bad happens to them. They also believe that they are responsible for their own happiness. On the other hand there is pessimism. Pessimists constantly explain the happenings in their lives in a way that makes them have the impression that the world is going to end. They tend to blame themselves while assuming that whatever went wrong will stay wrong and will bring everything and/or anyone else down with it. That doesn’t sound like a good cup of tea now does it?

So let’s choose sunny-side up. Every morning you choose to wake up grumpy or happy. If you roll out of bed on the ugly side you will face a long, tough day. This only means that you will have to work extra hard at pulling yourself out of your gloomy mood. Our brains are not hardwired for optimism or pessimism so we really do have control over whether we see the glass have empty or half full. We can program ourselves to think positively over time but ultimately it is a matter of choice on whether one wants to make optimism a habit. Personally, I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t. There have been studies on optimists and pessimists and the results are a no brainer. Optimists are generally healthier, have stronger hearts, and tend to even live longer. There was a study that concluded enthusiastic people have more activity in the left prefrontal lobes of their brains, while those that have more activity in the right prefrontal lobes tend to get stuck in negative comments. As you become more aware of your negative reactions the quicker you will be in changing them into positive thinking. The sense of control is the antidote to pessimism. The more you surround yourself with inspiration, the more optimistic your life will be.

Here are six positive characteristics that optimists have that increased their overall happiness and made them healthier as well as reducing depression and chronic stress.

  1. They think about, reflect on, and emphasize the good things in life.
  2. They are grateful and thankful for all their blessings.
  3. They don’t complain when something bad happens.
  4. They feel that nothing can hold them back from achieving success and reaching their goals.
  5. They believe in abundance.
  6. They are confident that the world offers plenty of opportunities for everyone to succeed.

Here are some ways to help you crossover to the positive side of life.



Life is too short to be miserable, so start and keep turning your thinking around. Positive thoughts, an optimistic outlook, and overall happiness can advance your prospects for work, relationships and other life experience. When practicing optimism, remember to keep a flexible frame of mind. Except change, and be ready to adjust to it.

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Less Is More: January 2015

Another year has come and gone! Let’s try something new for this year. For the New Year’s Resolution, in the first six months, let us focus on becoming a better, healthier person. For example concentrate on less negativity, less stress, and/or less inactivity. If we just focus on losing weight then we are not living a full 100 percent healthy lifestyle. We have too much stress and negativity going on in our minds that we can’t focus on what we want, to look and feel good. Having less stress in your life will make you feel as light as a feather.

Positive self-talk is a way people can encourage themselves. The self-talk portion is the conversation you have in your head about yourself and the world around you. Starting with this we can change our ways to become a better, healthier person. Self-talk can affect your perspective and you have to recognize if you have a negative self-talk in order to change. Listen for words like “I can’t”, “I never”, and/or sometimes “I always”, these are signs of negative self-talk. The “I always” can be negative or positive. It all depends on the words that follow behind them. A positive “I always” would be “I always do my best” while a negative “I always” would be “I might as well face it, I will always be fat”. Recognizing negativity can be tricky, especially if it is something that you do out of habit. Another good start to having positive self-talk is to start by simply noticing how often you talk down to yourself. “It’s not who you are that holds you back, It’s who you think you’re not”! If the voice you hear in your head belongs to someone you would never want to be around then it’s simply time to replace it.

Shifting your language will be uncomfortable at first but people who focus on the present and appreciate what they have today are more happy, energetic and hopeful. Happiness opens your mind to new possibilities, creative thinking and become interested in social situations. The goal is to have happier thoughts so that it gives you fewer things to feel bad about. There are two mindsets you can be in one is a “fixed mindset” which is the belief that your qualities or talents cannot be changed and the other is a “growth mindset” which is the belief that you can always develop more. Our goal is to be in the “growth mindset”.

Teach your kids about positive self-talk and watch it build your family’s confidence. Let your kids know that using positive self-talk takes practice. It’s a lot like getting into shape. It will hurt and feel uncomfortable at first but the outcome will make you feel powerful. Practice, practice, and more practice will help their minds get stronger so they can make healthy choices. One of the best times to teach your child is when something seems too hard or makes them nervous. When doubt becomes a creeper, teach them that they can do something about it. Teach them to put a positive spin on things if they don’t succeed. For example instead of them saying “I messed up that pass, I am terrible” have them refer to it as “That pass didn’t work out like I wanted. I’ll practice passes and try again next game”. With this in mind you are teaching your child that you can’t control what happens to you but you can control the way you see it and with that you can change what happens next for the better. When you hear your child say something negative, take this three-step approach; Find out what’s wrong, reassure them that you love them, and help them choose a positive statement to say instead. Afterwards, ask them to say something positive about themselves. By you teaching your child positive self-talk, one day it may end up helping you in return. If your child notices one day that you are being negative hopefully they will stop you and help return you to looking on the brighter side again.

Hope you have a positive new year! May all your negativity dissipate and remember “It’s not who you are that holds you back, It’s who you think you’re not”! So take the positivity pledge and start living a better, healthier lifestyle.

Positivity Pledge

I shall no longer allow negative

thoughts or feelings

to drain me of my energy.

Instead I shall focus on all the

good that is in my life.

I will think it, feel it and speak it.

By doing so I will send out

vibes of positive energy into

the world and I shall be grateful

for all the wonderful things it

will attract into my life.

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Less Is More: December 2014

It’s that time a year again where everywhere you look there are Christmas lights, trees, reindeer, snowmen, etc. decorated in yards across your town. The only thing missing to make it a winter wonderland is the snow. Do you have your Christmas shopping all done? All your gifts wrapped and under the tree? Stockings hung and stuffed? Your child’s Christmas list for jolly ol’ St Nick on its way to his house? If yes to all or most these then stop, take a deep breath and smile because you my dear are one of the few that keep themselves stress free and ahead of the “game”. Unlike the rest of us in which we tell ourselves, I still got time and drag our feet just a little bit more. It’s not so much the time but the second guessing that gets to us. Did we purchase the gifts in the right color, size, length, height, width, gaming system with games, etc. that the person wanted? Did we spent an equal amount on everyone? Was it too little of an amount that I spent or did I overdo it? How am I going to get Christmas gifts when I barely get a paycheck? Sooner or later any thought of Christmas will have most of the procrastinator clan clenching their teeth and their heads spinning in circles because of the stress that we put upon ourselves.

For those who are in a financial bind reducing what you spend and what you spend it on can lift a lot of unnecessary strain. Instead of presents do Christmas stockings or cards with $5 or $10 in it and write something from the heart. Even a simple I love you, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year/ Holidays, etc. will do. If it is to family it shouldn’t matter what you get them as long as it is from the heart. If you are crafty person, maybe make something for everyone. For example, go out and buy blank Christmas bulbs, some acrylic paint and make everyone a Christmas bulb to hang on their tree. Something that my family has tried and seemed to have worked was whoever wants to girls by a present for a girl and boys by a present for a boy. Number each for both groups and one’s who brought a gift can pick a number and take that one. Trading was ok in my family and I’m sure it will be ok in yours. This year I think it’s just a gift card to somewhere. I think they drew names for the kids and kids still exchanged gifts. Making changes can be very difficult and a bit depressing but the outcome will be much more than you can imagine. Try to change your focus from what wasn’t under the tree to time well spent with family!

As I grow older and this may not be for all, presents don’t mean much to me anymore. I would rather sit around a crackling fire and listen to someone read a Christmas story while snuggled up with loved ones or watch an annual Christmas show/ movie like “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Reminisce about the fun and good ol’ days like they just happened. Forget about the troubles in the world and enjoy the time spent with family because one day and one by one they won’t be here for long.


Happy Holidays from CMG!


Less Is More: November 2014

Remember, remember the fifth of November. The Gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason should ever be forgot! The fifth of November to remind you was when an English soldier and a member of a group of Roman Catholic conspirators, who attempted to carry out the Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James I of England and King James VI of Scotland. This man, Guy Fawkes had high hopes of blowing up the House of Lords on the fifth November in 1605 while the king, the entire Protestant aristocracy and the nobility were inside. Guy Fawkes had been assigned the task of lighting the fuse to the explosives. He was arrested on November 5, 1605.

As you are remembering the fifth of November, don’t forget to remember a few more holidays this month. November 11 is a day to remember our Veteran’s. Thanksgiving which is the last Thursday of the month seems to be forgotten, at least by the stores anyways. They go from Halloween right into Christmas. What about the turkey, the dressings and most of all the origins of this holiday?

Thanksgiving to some is their favorite holiday because of its meaningful origins, the feast laden with comfort foods, the gathering of family and friends, as well as it inspires us to take the time to be thankful. Why do we have to be thankful for just on one day? How about 30 days’ worth of being thankful of something? Each day being something new and when it comes to the fifth of November, the 11 of November and Thanksgiving take an extra moment to remember what this day means.

It was a long stormy sea journey of 66 days until the legendary pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. They sailed across the Atlantic in a 17th Century sailing vessel named the Mayflower. Some pilgrims had died during the harsh winter that year but in the spring of 1621 a native Indian, Squanto, had come to their rescue and taught them how to survive by growing food. With a severe drought upon them in the summer of 1621, the pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer to please God and ask for a bountiful harvest. Squanto and the rest of the Indians taught the pilgrims how to grow corn, beans, and pumpkins. Autumn of 1621, the pilgrims invited the Indians and they all came together to celebrate “The first thanksgiving feast”.  Here is a couple of did you knows regarding this first thanksgiving dinner. Did you know there is no evidence to prove that turkey was a part of the initial feast? The food actually consisted of ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries, etc. according to the firsthand account that was written by the leader of the colony. Did you also know that even though pumpkin pie is a modern amenity for thanksgiving dinner it was unlikely to be part of the first thanksgiving feast? Since pilgrims did have pumpkin, they boiled them. Since they had a diminishing supply of flour it led to the absence of any kind of bread. Finally in the year 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed that the last Thursday in November is thanksgiving.

Onto some Thanksgiving Day traditions. While new ones are becoming a tradition, like black Friday starting on Thursday evening, here are a few that most tend to do every year. One is feasting at a family reunion. Parents (Grand or not) cook a mighty delicious thanksgiving meal while the children play. Everyone sits around the table and tend to say some form of grace. Afterwards if you’re a child you may get lucked out on clean up duty if you were the one to set the table. The main course of your dinner is tradition number two, the stuffed turkey. Some will stuff it and other won’t but you will also have at least one or two of the following on your table; pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, corn, and/or sweet potatoes. The third one is the parades. Most know and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! The final and last tradition is football! Most men with some women who love the game of football will sit down to watch our beloved Detroit Lions go up against the Green Bay Packers.

Here are a few Thanksgiving Day poems I would like to share with you.


Thanksgiving– By: Judith A. Lindberg

T is for the trust the pilgrims had so many years ago

H is for the harvest the settlers learnt to go

A is for America, the land in which we live

N is for nature and beauty which she gives

K is for kindness, gentle words, thoughtful deeds

S is for smiles, the sunshine everyone needs

G is for gratitude… our blessings big and small

I is for ideas, letting wisdom grow tall

V is for voices, singing, laughing, always caring

I is for Indians, who taught them about sharing

N is for neighbors, across the street, over the sea

G is for giving of myself to make a better me


The Pilgrims Came– By: Annette Wynne

The Pilgrims came across the sea,

And never thought of you and me;

And yet it’s very strange the way

We think of them Thanksgiving Day.

We tell their story old and true

Of how they sailed across the blue,

And found a new land to be free

And built their homes quite near the sea.

The people think that they were sad,

And grave; I’m sure that they were glad-

They made Thanksgiving Day-that’s fun-

We thank the Pilgrims every one!

Thank You from the CMG crew to all of you!

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Less Is More: October 2014

A Virus is an ultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nm in diameter), metabolically inert, infectious agent that replicates only within the cells of living hosts, mainly bacteria, plants, and animals. It is composed of a RNA or DNA core, a protein coat, and, in more complex types, a surrounding envelope. ( Tis the season for the influenza virus and this year we have a surprise visitor from 1962, the Enterovirus D68. In this edition, we will go over some information about the EV-D68 (Enterovirus D68) as well as touch up on the flu virus (Influenza virus).

What is EV-D68? It is one of more than 100 non-polio enteroviruses. It can cause mild symptoms like fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, body and muscle aches. The more severe symptoms are wheezing and difficulty breathing. It is a respiratory illness that can be found in the respiratory secretions such as saliva, nasal mucus, or spit. It spreads from person to person by means of an infected person sneezing, coughing, or touching a surface that is then touched by others. People are likely to be infected with this virus in the summer and early fall. There are no vaccines for preventing EV-D68 infections. Citizens who are at risk for this virus are generally infants, children, and teenagers. The reason why is because they don’t have the immunity or protection from previous exposures to these viruses. Children with asthma may have a greater risk for severe respiratory illness. Yes, adults can be infected as well but they are more likely to have no to mild symptoms. The ONLY way that EV-D68 can be diagnosed is by doing specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat. Hospitals and some doctor’s offices can do tests to see if ill patients have an enterovirus infection but they cannot determine the type like EV-D68. Here are some ways that you can protect yourself from getting and spreading EV-D68 as well as any other respiratory illness.

Now that we have gone over some information on Enterovirus D68, we will now review a little on influenza. The flu (influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads around the United States every winter, usually between October and May. It is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread the same way as the Enterovirus D68 by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get the flu though the risk of getting it is higher in children. The flu can lead to pneumonia and will make existing medical conditions worse. Unlike the EV-D68, there is a vaccine for influenza. These vaccines have 2 options, one is the flu shot which does not contain any live influenza virus and the other is a nostril spray which has a live but attenuated or weakened influenza virus. After the vaccination it will take up to two weeks to develop protection that lasts several months up to a year. Influenza viruses are constantly changing and only change in two different ways. One way is antigenic drift which are small changes in the genes of influenza viruses that happen continually over time as the virus replicates. Usually viruses that are closely related to each other share the same antigenic properties. When an immune system that has been exposed to a similar virus will usually recognize it and respond. This is also known as cross-protection. Influenza viruses are changing by antigenic drift all the time but antigenic shift happens only occasionally. The other type mentioned in the last sentence is antigenic shift which is an abrupt, major change in the Influenza A viruses resulting in a new substance. This new substance causes agglutination of red blood cells (hemagglutinin) and/or new hemagglutinin and neuraminidase (any various enzymes that are found especially in viruses that catalyze the breakdown of glycosides containing neuraminic acid) proteins in influenza viruses that infect humans. An example of this is the H1N1 virus that occurred in the spring of 2009. When shift happens, most people have little or no protection against the new virus. Ways that you can protect yourself from getting and spreading the flu are the same ways listed above in the EV-D68 section in addition to getting the yearly flu shot.

So as October comes and goes every year, hopefully you will remember to get your yearly flu shot and breathe glistening through winter.

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Influenza Vaccine sheet handed out when your child’s given flu shot @ CMG.

Less Is More: September 2014

Summer is coming to an end and fall is in the air. After a long summer break of staying up and sleeping in, an early school wake up can be tough for your child. Since your child is used to staying up and sleeping in for three months, getting your child to go to sleep at a decent bedtime may be a rough transition. As adults, we drink coffee, tea, pop, and anything else that contains caffeine to wake us up. Those drinks are not recommended for your youngsters so here are some ways to help you transition your kids into a healthier sleep pattern for school.

Most important let’s start off with knowing how much sleep your child should get. If you have newborns they should typically sleep about 15-18 hours a day. They will only sleep in short periods of 2-4 hours and premature babies may sleep longer while colicky ones shorter. When your newborn becomes a 1-4 month old they should be sleeping 14-15 hours per day. Their longest sleeping pattern should run 4-6 hours. Before you know it your 1-4 month is now 4-12 months and while up to 15 hours is ideal most of them only get about 12 hours. Your newborn has turned into a 1-3 year old toddler and they should get 12-14 hours per day but don’t be discourage if they only get 10. Your 3-6 year old preschoolers should get 10-12 hours per day. Nap times at this age will gradually become shorter. The 7-12 year old school-aged kids should get 9-11 hours per day and the teens 12-18 years should get 8-9 hours a day.

Here are some ways to help transition your children back into school time.

Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite. Hopefully theses few tips will ease your child back into the early school wake up time.

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Less Is More: August 2014

The yearly back-to-school mad rush is on! Kids are raring to go back to school and show off their new school gear. From clothes to sports physicals all of these are an important part of getting your child prepared for entering the new school year. For some of us, it is very difficult to remember everything your child will need when school starts up again after a lazy summer. A back-to-school to-do checklist will be your best friend in the mist of running around to make sure you get everything your child will need.

Before you start shopping for the new school year it is a wise decision to make a list of what is needed. Here are some items that you may want to include on the list no matter what grade your child is going into.

The most important and #1 thing to do is to make sure your child is up-to-date on any vaccines required by the school. Along with the vaccines another very important thing to get done is the yearly physical/well check. Although it may not seem crucial to you, a yearly physical exam by your child’s doctor is an important part of your child’s overall health care. This appointment will allow your provider to fill out any necessary forms needed from a daycare health appraisal to a high school sports form. Check with your child’s daycare or school to see if they have a form that they want filled out. Afterwards check the return time on these forms with your provider. Some doctor’s office may require a longer return time than others. Our return time here at Children’s Medical Group (CMG) is 24 hours. This annual physical is above and beyond a sports-specific exam by means they are much more thorough. For teenagers, not only do they address the overall health issues but issues such as drinking, smoking, sexual activity, depression and drugs. Having a yearly physical gives the physician a history of the child’s progression over a period of time. This helps detect any emerging problems. Exercise options may be discussed to move your child from little or no exercise to achievable goals. If your child is already in a training program overtraining injuries can be a problem. Your physician may address sports-specific issues and will have your child’s history of past illnesses or injuries that maybe important to a sport activity.

Your child’s form may not get filled out if they are delinquent in these visits. If you wait until the last minute to try and get your child an appointment, due to the availability of these appointments there may not be anything left within your desired time frame that’s required before the first sports practice. If you are worried about your child missing school, don’t fret. Look at the schools calendar for half days, days off, vacations, and/or breaks is a good time to schedule an appointment.

With your check list in your hand, you are now ready to plow through the madness to make your kid’s school year the greatest. These are fun years of exploration for your child. Make sure they are getting the balance right by setting aside one day during each year to see your child’s physician.

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Less Is More: July 2014

Mosquitoes! They are everywhere! From dusk and back again at dawn, they are sneaking around trying to take a bite out of you. Mosquitoes can ruin your summer fun, but have no fear because mosquito repellent is here! A little education on mosquitoes can help keep you and your family enjoying all of your favorite summer activities the entire way into the night.

You may get bitten the most by mosquitoes at their peak time of dawn and dusk. Repellents come in many different forms, which include aerosols, sprays, liquids, candles, clip on etc. Depending on what you are looking for some are made with chemicals and others are naturally made. Products that are registered with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some lemon eucalyptus oil and para-menthane-diol provide longer-lasting protection. DEET is a chemical used in most insect repellents. It is a colorless, oily liquid that has a mild odor and is considered the best defense against biting bugs. DEET is an acronym for the chemical name of diethyltoluamide. Studies show that people who use products with higher amounts of DEET have longer protection. Ones who used DEET amounts around 10% seemed to repel insects for about 2 hours, while products with 24% lasted an average of 5 hours. Studies have also concluded products with the amount of DEET greater than 30% do not offer extra protection. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends repellent that is used on children should contain no more than 30% DEET.

Here are a few ways to help get rid of mosquitoes around your home. The most important way is by draining sources of standing water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water so eliminating items that hold water such as trash cans, unused children’s toys, empty containers, old tires, etc. can limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed. Also check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.

Listed below are some Do’s and Don’ts when using repellents.

Throughout the night, you and your family took the precautions and kept up with reapplying repellent but everyone still ended up with some mosquito bites. Here are a few ways to help calm the itch, hopefully won’t leave scars, and reduce the risk of an infection.

  1. Wash the area with soap and water.
  2. Apply calamine lotion, hydrocortisone or any other anti-itch cream. Some people use a paste of baking soda mixed a little water.
  3. Put a cold pack or an ice cube on the bite. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  4. Take an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl, Claritin to relief swelling, redness, and itching.

Remember these helpful prevention and aftercare tips about our pesky little friends and your summer family fun nights won’t ever have to be cancelled.

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Less Is More: June 2014

Schools out for the summer! Another year has gone by and a new class is graduating all around us. From high school to pediatrician’s office, the little ones that we cared for are all grown up. In this nerve racking edition, my plan is to help ease those nerves and glide you on your way to adult hood.

Transitioning from high school to the next level, whether its college, workforce, adult doctors, etc., can be an emotional roller coaster for young adults. Here are some tips that can help you and your child navigate through this important time in life.

Parenthood doesn’t have to end when your child turns 18. By offering them the emotional support, you can make this transition from high school to their next milestone a breeze.

Good luck to you in the future!

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Less Is More: May 2014

Rain, rain go away; Come again another day. We all want to play outside today. For me, the old saying April showers bring May flowers, is a month too early. It should be May showers bring June flowers. With May being so rainy these past few years, I want to take a moment and go over some flood readiness.

When it rains, it pours and when it pours, it floods. Here are some helpful pointers to keep you dry and safe.

  1. Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters. With doing so it will help your family make a strong flood evacuation route. Once you have a solid flood evacuation plan, make sure you practice it with your family.
  2. With having a flood evacuation plan, having an emergency kit is not a bad idea, especially if your end route is not at an emergency shelter. Here are a few ideas the kit may include and keep in mind it may be for 3-5 days:
  1. Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure and/or protect them before a flood strikes. If you know there will be a flood, before you evacuate, be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water, or there are fallen power lines near-by. This will help with any possible electrical fire.
  2. Just in case you and your family are in a hurry and an electrical fire does happen, make sure you have a fire extinguisher. Make sure you and your family knows how to use them as well.
  3. Buying and installing sump pumps with back-up power will help with some of the flooding.
  4. For your drains, toilets, and other sewer connections, install back flow valves or plugs to prevent floodwaters from entering your home and contaminating it.

Now that the flood has been here and gone, here are some precautions when returning home.

  1. Try to return to your home during the daytime so you don’t have to use any lights and end up causing an electrical fire. If you have no choice but to return home after dark make sure you use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, and/or torches. Use extreme caution when returning to your house due to flood waters may have buried or moved hazardous chemical containers of solvents or other industrial chemicals from their normal storage places.
  2. Your electrical system may be damaged. If you forgot to shut it off during the preparations and you are now seeing sparks or smell burning, immediately shut it off at the circuit breaker.
  3. If there has been a back flow of sewage into the house, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during the clean up.
  4. When cleaning up the house make sure you clean the walls, hard-surfaced floors, and many other household surfaces with soap, water, and disinfectant solution of 1 cup bleach to five gallons of water. Pay closely attention to thoroughly disinfect surfaces that come in contact with food, such as counter tops, pantry shelves, refrigerators, cupboards, etc. Any areas where children play should also be very well cleaned.
  5. Wash all linens and clothing in hot water or dry clean them. For items that can’t be washed or dry clean such as mattresses and upholstered furniture, air dry them in the sun and then spray them thoroughly with disinfectant spray.
  6. Steam clean all carpet. Make sure you remove and discard all household materials that can’t be disinfected, such as wall coverings, cloth rugs, dry wall, etc.
  7. After clean up, consult with your utility company to make sure that it is ok to use electrical equipment including power generators. This is important because it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home’s electrical circuit without approved, automatic-interrupt devices. Without the proper connection it can become a major fire hazard.

When you are indoors and all you can here is pitter patter, pitter patter, on the rooftop. Then when it drip drops, drip drops onto the window pane and soon it will be puddles all around. You know that you and your family will be safe if ever those puddles turn into a body of water.

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Less Is More: April 2014

Music is all around us, all you have to do is open yourself up to it. All you have to do is listen for it. From indoors to outdoors, to birds chirping and people carrying on conversations, there is an assortment of melodies all around you. When you finally hear the music you may notice your mood changes accordingly to the sound of the melody you hear. For April’s edition of Less Is More, I want to open your eyes to music; how it can affect you emotional wellness and in return affect you physically.

As a huge musical listener, it amazes me how music can affect my mood, mental thinking, and ambition. According to researchers, from all the way back to ancient philosophers like Plato, Confucius and the kings of Israel to current investigators today, music has a beneficial effect on mental health. When we start to listen to the rhythm (a regularly recurring pattern or beat of a song) of a song our heart actually begins to sync with it. Ready to pick a song and listen to your heart? If you have a slow heartbeat with a strong diastolic pressure (The period during the normal beating of the heart in which the chambers of the heart dilate and fill with blood) it is telling your brain that you are listening to a sad or depressing song. On the other hand, if your heartbeat is fast, you are more likely listening to a “pump me up” song as I call them. For the mellow heartbeats it can be associated with love, joy or at ease. As well as rhythm, tones (any sound considered with reference to its quality, pitch, strength, source, etc) are equally as important. A cheerful music piece signifies a cheerful communication to your brain and in return makes you happy. A depressed music composition is the same way, though when it sends the communication; it makes you feel depressed and unhappy. In addition to cheerful and depressed musical tones, you have the mellow and heartfelt songs that make you feel relaxed, refreshed, and just plan touches your heart.

In more depth with music and your mood, let’s try some music therapy. Listen to upbeat music in the morning. The morning hormones related to the “get up and go” that you feel begins to peak around breakfast. Encourage this morning hormone with putting on some cheerful, motivational music shortly after you have awaken each morning. For those of you who have Anxiety, Depression, and/or sadness, try this. All of these chronic diseases often go hand in hand with each other feeding off of one to lower your mood. Set aside time each day to listen to soothing music (classical, soft rock, soft tones as wind chimes, waterfalls, rain storms, feng shui, etc), meditate, or a bath with soothing music. Even as a huge musical lover, I don’t overdo it on fast or hard rock music. Too much of the quickened and hard core rhythms will begin make your heart beat produce a vague message of anxiety, depression, anger, etc to your brain. You can keep listening to the songs you love but break them up a bit with other emotional wellbeing tunes.

I don’t know about you but as for me, I have to listen to some upbeat, rock hits, lets’ get pumped kind of music to get the motivation I need to get things done. It can include any type of exercise (Cleaning, biking, running, etc) or a good workout, whatever it is the upbeat music is pumping out of my speakers. That is the secret to my ambition to do things I don’t want to do but have to do. Try it sometime. Start off listening to a few upbeat songs before starting to clean, work out, etc. Don’t think about what you are about to do, just listen and let it sync to your heart. Let it get your heart a pumping, in which will get your blood a flowing and then next thing you know you have a little pep in your step and ambition in your heart to get your things done. Try it, what can it hurt?

You can count on me with music helping you out when you need it the most. When you are stuck in the mud and can’t get out, put on a song that will lighten your mood. Take a step back and watch the amazing work of music in process. If you listen to the right set of tones you can begin to feel the effects more quickly than you have ever dreamed of.

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Less Is More: March 2014

The sun is shining brighter and warmer these last few weeks and in return the hopes of spring have joined us once again. As March leaves us and April approaches, individuals with spring allergies may stay hibernating until the summer. No need to worry though, there are ways to help you play outside. If you are taking allergy medicine to help keep your allergies in check, learning how to avoid the triggers may minimize the need for them.

Let’s start with learning the top seasonal allergy triggers; Pollen and Mold. Pollen is the fine greenish-yellow dust coating your car. It is a powder that helps trees, grasses, and flowers reproduce. Tree pollen is normally the spring culprit, grasses get you in the summer, and ragweed in the fall. However, outdoor mold spores float in the air just as much as pollen does. Though, they take a bit longer to reach their peak (July in warmer states, fall in cooler ones) mold still gets to those who suffer from allergies. Here are some ways to avoid outdoor spring allergy triggers.

Coming back in from outdoors does not mean you have escaped your spring allergies. There are plenty of triggers indoors as well as outdoors to make you feel miserable. Carpets and drapes can trap the pollen that was brought inside by your pets, kids, and even shoes. Here are some ways to avoid indoor allergy triggers.

Spring is coming and no matter whether you are indoors or outdoors, you can’t avoid allergens altogether. By taking a few cautionary steps, you may be able to welcome spring with a smile and embrace the sun on your toes!

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Less Is More: February 2014

First pump

Every beat

Breathing in and out

Resting or running

Universal all around

Attribute and authentic


Your Heart

Your heart is your best friend. It has been with you from the beginning, all of your ups and downs, and will be with you until the end. So, why not take care of it? According to American Academy of Pediatrics, in the United States and most industrialized countries, heart disease is the number one killer in both men and women. Some types of heart diseases that are preventable are the ones closely linked to diet and lifestyle choices, though others that are hereditary, infectionous or other uncontrollable factors may not be. I will review some common types of heart diseases with you.

*Coronary Artery Disease which is characterized by blockages in the coronary arteries (Arteries that supply blood to the heart) that results in a reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle, depriving it of vital oxygen. People who are at a higher risk are as followed; family history, genetics, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and/or stress.

*Heart Arrhythmias are disturbances in the hearts normal beating pattern. Irregularities occur in many different forms in which all forms have their own potential causes and treatments. For example it may feel like fluttering or racing heart. The more serious arrhythmias may cause bothersome or even become life-threatening. You can reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

*Heart Failure is a term that means a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart doesn’t pump enough blood as well as it should to meet the body’s needs. For most people when they hear heart failure they automatically think that the heart has failed or stopped working and there’s nothing that can be done. Your heart tries to compensate in five different ways before the heart and body can’t keep up any more. The five are;

1) Enlarging. When the heart chamber enlarges, it stretches more and can contract more strongly, so it pumps more blood.

2) Developing more muscle mass. The increase in muscle mass occurs because the contracting cells of the heart get bigger. This lets the heart pump more strongly, at least initially.

3) Pumping faster. This helps to increase the heart’s output.

4) The blood vessels narrow to keep blood pressure up, trying to make up for the heart’s loss of power.

5) The body diverts blood away from less important tissues and organs to maintain flow to the most vital organs, the heart and brain.

*Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle where it becomes enlarged, thick, or rigid and can have many symptoms, signs, causes, and treatments. In rare cases the damaged heart muscle tissue is replaced with scar tissue. As this disease worsens the heart becomes weaker. In turn makes the heart unable to pump blood through the body and maintain a normal electrical rhythm. There are four main types of cardiomyopathy and the rest are sometimes referred as “unclassified cardiomyopathy.” The four main ones are as followed; Dilated cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Restrictive cardiomyopathy, and Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia.

Remember to take care of your best friend, adopt a heart healthy lifestyle, and in return it will take care of you.

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Less Is More: January 2014

(To the tune of the restaurant birthday song)

“Happy Happy New Year from all of us to you. Happy Happy New Year from the CMG crew. We hope you have a good year, the best one in town. Forget about the last one and turn that frown upside down”. January is the month where you start a New Year’s Resolution. What’s it going to be? How did you do last year? For the month of January, I will be giving you some helpful hints to have a healthier 2014.

We all have our bad habits that we want to eliminate. We start on a good note and then after a while it all goes downhill. Are you wondering why that is? It’s due to not having a pleasing substitute. You can’t really eliminate a bad habit; you have to replace it with something else. Too often we reach for the closest and easiest food at our fingertips, instead of working a little for a healthy snack. For an example; we open the cupboard and the first thing we see are potato chips or cookies. Instantly without thinking we grab one of them and start munching with the hardest part being opening the bag. Change it up and put healthy snacks in your eyesight. If you’re craving cookies or something sweet, trade that in for a low calorie treat. Here are some healthy habits to overrule the bad ones.

Smoothies, water, and unsweetened tea is the way to go when trying to jump on the caffeine free flow. It’s easier said than done I know, but if you find a pleasing substitute it won’t be just for show. Here are some healthy drinks to replace the unhealthy.

Click on the link above for nutritious facts and sample different smoothie recipes for all of the healthy ingredients listed above.

The first month is always the hardest but if you can remember the jingles then you will be on your way to a healthier 2014 in no time.

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Less Is More: December 2013

“Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the fire is so delightful. Since we’ve no place to go. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” Yes my fellow readers, it is that time of the year again where Christmas lights go up everywhere around you, Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, and the roads are awfully slick.

To beat Jack Frost at his own game here are a few warmly courtesies to help you win.

Winter days and cooped up kids do not mix well, so take them on an afternoon of fun once in awhile. Whether it is sledding down a local hill, skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing it will burn off their surplus of energy. When going out to do so, depending on road conditions drive safely.

Hang up your stockings and decorate your Christmas tree. Have a wonderful and safe holiday with your family.

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Less Is More: November 2013

November is a month of giving thanks to those you love and appreciate. Each new day provides us with opportunities to recognize and acknowledge those who deserve our appreciation.  Even though it’s long gone, November 11 is a day for the Veterans. If it was not for them, you would not have the freedom you have today. Thanksgiving always falls on the final Thursday in November. While you and your family are gathered around the table enjoying the foods of Thanksgiving, don’t forget to remember how this holiday came to be.

Here is a Thanksgiving poem I would like to share with you.

More Than A Day by Karl Fuchs

As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,

It brings up some facts, quite profound.

We may think that we’re poor,

Feel like bums, insecure,

But in truth, our riches astound.

We have family and friends we love;

We have guidance from heaven above.

We have so much more

Than they sell in a store,

We’re wealthy, when push comes to shove.

So add up your blessings, I say;

Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.

Enjoy what you’ve got;

Realize it’s a lot,

And you’ll make all your cares go away.


Happy Thanksgiving from the CMG crew to all of you!


Less Is More: October 2013

Can you believe that it is October already? It is almost time for little monsters, fairies, witches and ninjas around every corner that are roaring to hit the trick-or-treating trail. I would like to remind you of a few Halloween safety tips to ensure everyone has a fun but safe holiday.

Carving pumpkins to make Jack-O-Lanterns is continuously exciting but also very dangerous. Here are some recommendation that will make making Jack-O-Lanterns enjoyable and safe.

For adults who have children that still want to help but are not old enough to use the kid friendly pumpkin carving kits, here are some ideas that will still get the child involved.

Picking out the costume is a big deal for kids. Let your child pick out what they want to be but make some alterations in order to make it safe. Here are some suggestions that will hopefully help.

Michigan weather can be unpredictable so make sure your child is dressed accordingly. Halloween will be here in no time and with all the excitement, safety can be the last thing on your child’s mind. Here are some of the “do not forgets” while your kids are on the trick-or-treating trail.

Whether you are trick-or-treating with your kids or letting your older ones go out on their own, here are a few “roaming the street” reminders to lessen pedestrian injuries.

For those who are the treat givers this year here are a few reminders to make the trick-or-treaters safe in your yard.

To avoid belly aches and candy disappearing all in one night, try making a good meal prior to taking the kids out trick-or-treating. By filling up on their dinner, hopefully it will discourage them from filling up on Halloween candy and will give parents a chance to check the wrapping. A good way to keep the youngsters from eating all the candy at once is to ration the treats for the days after Halloween.

Halloween is a wonderful holiday that is enjoyed by both children and adults. Taking precautionary steps will ensure that everyone has a safe and fulfilling experience.

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Less Is More: September 2013

As we say good-bye to summer and hello to fall, we start to transition ourselves from warmer weather back into cooler temperatures. In this edition, we will learn about preventative sports injuries and how the crisper air will affect your child in three different ways.

Did you know that no sport is 100 percent safe? Please do not let that stop your kids from playing sports because according to American Academy of Pediatrics, there is a decent amount that coaches, parents, and players can do to minimize your athletes’ risk of injury. Here are a few different ways to help protect your child in any sport that they may want to play during the school year.

As autumn draws near air gets chillier and this can bring on colds, croup for the younger kids and asthma related problems. The well-known common cold which is a group of symptoms in the upper respiratory tract caused by a large number of different viruses gets the best of us every year. It mainly occurs during the fall and winter seasons. Common colds usually start with a sudden sore throat followed by a clear, watery nasal drainage, sneezing, and/or fatigue. There is often no fever with common colds. Since the common cold is viral not bacterial, antibiotics won’t help a viral infection unless it turns into a bacterial infection in your lungs, sinuses, or ears. Here are some ways that will help prevent you from getting the common cold.

Croup is another prevalent virus that tends to occur in the fall and winter. It is usually brought on by the same viruses that cause the common cold. Croup is an inflammation of the Larynx (voice box) and trachea (wind pipe) and is associated with signs of a respiratory infection in young children. Symptoms are caused by narrowed airways and can include a barking cough, raspy, hoarse voice; and/or crowing noise when breathing in. The cough is very distinctive and is compared to the bark of a dog or seal. Here are a few of the home treatments that usually ease symptoms.

Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease of the bronchial tubes (wind pipes) which carry air in and out if the lungs. Symptoms may include frequent cough (especially at night), shortness of breath, wheezing and/or chest tightness, pain or pressure. There are many triggers that will set off an asthma attack and her are some examples; Stress, poor weather conditions (cold air and change in temps), allergens, exercise, strong odors from chemical products, tobacco smoke, and even infections (colds, flu and sinusitis). Although you may be living with asthma for the rest of your life you can live with it free of symptoms by following your treatment plan. Here are a few ways to help you prevent an asthma attack.

Knowledge is the key to embracing the different aspects of autumn. Weather its children playing sports or fighting viruses prevalent to the season using preventative strategies is key to maintaining good health for you and your children.

Works Cited: The-Best-Medicine-Sports-Safety-Guidelines.aspx


Less Is More: August 2013

August means getting ready to return to school. Returning to school means shopping for new clothes, back packs, sports equipment, setting up appointments for sports physicals, and the list goes on.  Every family member’s schedule gets shuffled around when school starts.  Kids have to be carted to practices, sporting events, to part time jobs, baby sitters, etc.  Many of these activities have over-lapping time frames.  When do you fit in homework, eating, and rest?  There are consequences to all these activities.  Let’s focus on getting enough rest.

Your child wakes up tired and cranky when he or she doesn’t get the sleep they need. They get drowsy in class, at work, during practices and extracurricular activities.  If they are of driving age they could be sleepy behind the wheel of your car.  If your child is drowsy he or she may react more slowly and perform worse in sports.  Grades may drop.  Social problems may develop because they become moody and have difficulty controlling their emotions.  Teens need at least 9 hours of sleep every night, more than their younger siblings and more than adults.  It’s a fact that teenagers natural biological clock push them toward later, bedtimes and later rising times.  Did you know it’s possible to build up a “sleep debt”?   You can’t catch up on sleep in just one day or night.  Sometimes it takes days to get back to normal.

How do you get your kids to rearrange or reduce their activities without them feeling they are losing out on what they feel is important to them?   Explain that without sufficient sleep no one works at their peak performance.  A drowsy athlete can let down their teammates.  Sleep deprivation can make concentration and paying attention difficult.  Work with your child to build sleep into their busy schedule.  Reduce social activities if it leads to later bedtimes.  As a parent you have to be involved in enforcing bedtimes, sports, and work schedules.  Everyone feels sleepy at times.  When sleepiness interferes with daily routines and activities or reduces the ability to function it’s called “problem sleepiness”.  Drinking caffeinated beverages may help for a short time, but the caffeine may make falling to sleep more difficult.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 26% of car crashes involve drivers under age 25.  There are serious sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and insomnia that need the attention of a physician.  If your child is getting enough rest but still feels sleepy during the day, schedule an appointment with their doctor.

There isn’t a substitute for sleep. Evaluate your child’s daily activities and sleep-wake patterns to determine how much sleep is obtained.  Gradually move to an earlier bedtime if more sleep in needed.  If the schedule doesn’t permit the earlier bedtime perhaps a nap can be worked in between getting home from school and heading out to a sporting event.

Most of the information provided here was from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institutes of Health website at  That site can be reached through our  I clicked on patient education then patient education web resources.  Less is not more for your body and mind when related to sleep. Get your shut eye!

Sweet dreams.   


Less Is More: July 2013

It’s the month of July when fragrant flowers are planted. Dappled shade plays across your outdoor deck or patio floor. It’s a place where you feel relaxed and protected.  Maybe it is a walled garden space that has hanging lanterns or a fire pit that adds a little touch of magic.  Maybe there is a pool or other water feature or maybe it’s just in the comfort of your own living room.  It’s a place where you can sit back sip a cold glass of ice tea or lemonade.  You can watch the kids play games in the backyard, in the fresh outdoors, without concern for their safety.  Maybe when you were a kid of say 7 or 8 your special safe place, or hide-a-way was a play house like mine was.  My dad provided me, and any friends I wanted to invite, a place to play inside a converted corn crib on our farm.  He made a table to fit inside its narrow walls and a light that could be used if we were out after dark.  This was the sort of place where you could share a secret with your best friend.  I have a secret don’t tell anyone, but mom puts this goopy stuff on her head and it turns her hair red.  People say, oh what pretty red hair you have.  She never says how she got it.  She only smiles and says- thank you.  I saw the box the stuff comes in.  She buys it at the grocery store.  Don’t tell anyone I told you!

It’s not easy now a days to find a place you can feel protected, safe, and don’t tell is a given. Did you know that this office is such a place?  There are laws that protect your privacy.  We strive to keep this place comfortable and safe for you.   It’s a place where you share your children’s medical information and were committed to protecting it.  Their chart, or computer record, is a listing of services he or she received in our office whether from one of our providers or our office team members.  We may need to share some of your child’s medical information for treatment.  For instance, maybe you brought your child into the office because of an injury while playing a sport.  His or her finger hurts and looks crooked.  The provider may determine that an orthopedic (bone) specialist needs to see the child.  Our referral department staff would have to give some of your child’s medical information to the specialist office to obtain an appointment for your child to be seen for further treatment.  Another way we may share information is to bill your insurance company for payment.  Our front desk staff may call you with an appointment reminder regarding the need for an immunization or medical care at the office.  These are only a few examples, but we only share the information within the disclosure law.  To review our privacy notice you can visit our website at, click on Patient Privacy and read through the information.  Even if you have received the notice electronically you can obtain a paper copy and were provided a copy when established as a new patient.

One thing we don’t want to keep private in our office is how to stay healthy and eat right. The month of July Hardy Heart and Luigi Liver from the Organ Wise Guys (OWG) make an appearance.  What better time to have fresh picked corn on the cob then during the 4th of July celebration.  Pick up a copy of the OWG handout for tips on how to serve corn.  Notice the Avocado-Corn Salsa.  I fixed a similar recipe this past weekend only it was a corn salad and didn’t have avocado. I used corn on the cob I cooked the night before and had left over.  I cut the kernels off and added chopped yellow pepper, onion, radishes, tomato, cilantro, lemon and lime juice, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a few drops of hot sauce. Yum!

Remember if you are attending professional fireworks displays or creating your own this 4th of July to take precautions to stay safe.   The relaxed Michigan fireworks law makes it easier to purchase and set off fireworks.  The National Council on Fireworks, the National Fire Protection Association, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the CDC have statistics on how many Americans are injured each year and tips on how to prevent them.  The age groups most likely to be injured by fireworks are 10 to 14 year olds.  Remember to not get too close to fireworks.  Light them in an open area away from buildings and dry vegetation and it’s a good idea to wet down the area before you start.  Children of all ages need to have adult supervision even for sparklers.

Happy Independence Day!


Less Is more: June 2013

June, schools out it’s time for summer vacations-yeah! Camping trips, theme parks, travel to other states, or countries may be part of your family agenda.  Whatever your doing make family time active time.  Have every family member choose an activity they like to do.  Write it down on a piece of paper and put them in a hat.  Make sure everyone knows the rules.  Sitting on the sofa watching reruns on TV is not a choice.  Draw out one or two activities for a day or week whatever works best for you and do them as a family.  Maybe someone wrote down bike riding.  Even if you’re not on vacation this is something you can do together.  Ride bikes to the grocery store, library or sports events.  Parents or older kids may be able to ride their bike to work or a friend’s house.  Swimming could be another choice.  Try doing laps in your own pool, or in a lake while camping.  Join more than one thing together.  Ride bikes to the area Y and go swimming.  Invite friends to get in on the activities.  Have a jump rope or dancing contest.  Activities don’t have to require new skills.  Try walking, include the family dog, climb stairs, go hiking.  Activities can include chores as well.  Working together in the garden, doing housecleaning, sweeping the garage or sidewalk all work.  I bet when chores are included your kids will be more apt to load up the hat with things they like.  The idea is to keep moving.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and teens be physically active at least 60 minutes on most, if not all days. It doesn’t have to be all at once.  Adults should do a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes, or 30 minutes 5 days a week.  Remember even if your child has asthma he or she still can be physically active and involved in sports.

Pack a lunch to take with you on your excursions. Take fruits or veggies that are easy to pack.  Apples, berries, and bananas would be good choices.  Celery and carrot sticks pack well too as does low fat cheese and whole grain crackers.  A sandwich made with whole wheat bread or a pita pocket with hummus, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber is a great choice.  Remember to stay hydrated.

At CMG this month one of the Organ Wise Guys (OWG), Windy the lungs focuses on berries and peppers as foods of the month. Berries are at their peak during the summer months.  When I was a kid strawberry short cake would occasionally be our entire meal.  My mom would put a huge bowl of strawberries with their sauce in the middle of the table with homemade baking powder biscuits to pour the berries over-yum!  Notice I said, occasionally she would do this.  I grew up on a farm and had lots of physical activity to help keep unwanted pounds off.  One of my not so fond chores was to pick rocks out of fields that my dad was getting ready to plant.  Sometimes I had to pull weeds out of fields that had beans growing in them.  Windy, the lungs likes peppers for their source of vitamins A and C and other vitamins and minerals.  Bell peppers come in lots of colors and during the summer months are less expensive.  When in the office this month be sure to pick up papers from OWG with recipes using berries and peppers.  There are also tips on how to store them.

Visit our website, go to the patient education section and click on the Patient Education Web Resources then choose Patient Education from the National Institutes of Health it will take you to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) site.  You will find all kinds of health information for the public.  If you search family activities you will find lots of ideas to keep active as well as ideas for nutritious foods for meals and snack planning.

Live healthy with exercise and smart nutrition.


Less Is More: May 2013

Our nation’s families have been confronted with disasters we never expected to be faced with. Tragic events have changed our lives in ways that many of us can’t imagine.  How do you explain to a child that their sister, brother, mom or dad won’t be coming home again- ever?   Children can cope more effectively with a disaster when they understand what is happening and what they can do to protect themselves.  has suggestions on how to talk to children about disasters.  One thing children of all ages and adults don’t need is unnecessary details.  Basic information should be provided but graphic details or exposure to disturbing images and sounds do not benefit their understanding of what’s happening in their world.  Be sure to ask children what questions or concerns they have.  Sometimes they misunderstand what they have seen or heard.  Reassure children if able to do so.  If you are overwhelmed by the event share your feelings.  Let them know they have the right to be upset.  If you are having trouble coping remember it is not bad for your child to see you feeling distressed.  It allows the child to “own” their feelings.

There are many secondary losses that follow a disaster. Homes may have been destroyed.  There may be a move involved, a change of school location, which may mean being separated from friends.  A child’s reaction to a new situation varies greatly by age, developmental level, experience and support provided by parents and caregivers.  When faced with circumstances beyond the usual experience like a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or acts of violence children may develop a variety of symptoms such as depression, anxiety and bereavement.  Immediately following a disaster try to identify a child who would benefit from counseling.  Protect the child from further trauma by limiting exposure to media on a computer or television.

If you go to our web site  and click on patient education web resources you can access Healthy Children-patient education from the AAP.  In this site you can click on other resources.  One of them is a publication written by David J. Schonfeld, MD and Marcia Quackenbush, MS, MFT, CHES.  This publication was supported by a grant from New York Life Foundation.  This booklet is titled After a Loved One Dies-How Children Grieve and how parents and other adults can support them.  The tone of this booklet speaks gently but frankly about death.   Topics this guide covers are:

Helping children, helping family

Why a parent’s role is important

Helping children understand death

How children respond to death

Attending funerals and memorials

Helping children cope over time

Getting help

Taking care of yourself

Looking to the future


As the guide states dealing with grief in a direct and honest way helps to respect the memory of the loved one who died.

Remember at the best of times children are most concerned about what affects them. At times of stress they may feel even more self-centered.  Don’t expect them to act more “grown-up.”  They may even revert to younger age behaviors.

Think about setting up guidelines at home for safety and prevention to prepare for a disaster. Find out what risks you have in your area.  For example if you live on or near a water source like a lake or river you may what to included what to do in case of a flood.  Create a family disaster plan.  For example what to do in case you are separated.  Plan what to do if you are asked to evacuate.  Have available local emergency phone numbers.   Make an emergency supply list.  Practice and maintain your plan.

If you are worried about your child’s behavior or development in these uncertain times contact professional resources for assistance. Some resources are a pediatrician or other health care provider, a teacher or school counseling service.  Bereavement support groups for family and children, and community-based mental health services.  No matter what age a child is, keep a dialogue going, the underlying message is to convey “it’s okay if these things bother you.  We are here to support each other.”

May our nation’s heart be comforted and our resolve strengthened.


Less Is More: April 2013

Spring has sprung-somewhere. Winter hibernation is supposedly over.  To me this season change is the time I am prompted to think more about body image and changes I need to make instead of in January with New Year’s resolutions.  Spring is when everything gets a fresh start.  Yes, you can get ahead start during the winter months, but there is something about sunshine and the return of song birds and even the noise of cars going down the road with the radio blaring out base notes that spurs action.   Spring is to rise from winter hum-drums and focus on new beginnings.

Body image can be a major disturbance in adults and kids. Putting on a bathing suit can be a traumatic experience for some of us.  I’ve never been a big fan of the bathroom scale.  I won’t allow numbers to dictate who I am, but that isn’t how young people think.  Shifting focus from weight to health is the way to go.  Having a positive rather than a negative view of our bodies as parents can help motivate kids and help to avoid body image crises.   Young people with a positive image of themselves feel more confident and out- going.  A negative image creates anxiety and isolation with greater risk of weight gain and eating disorders. Kids Eat Right, suggest as parents we don’t emphasize how punishing our workout was.  Don’t discuss the latest diet craze or how we don’t like our thighs or other body parts as they influence how our kids view their bodies.  They will worry about their thighs, tush, or tummy and become self-conscious.  Nutrition and fitness are better goals than obsessing over weight.   Children need to enjoy regular meals and make smart snack choices.  They can participate in sports for physical activity or enjoy playing with family and friends.  Walking, bike riding, dancing are some activities they can do to aid physical fitness.

If your child complains of teasing at school about their weight,, suggest you address this bullying issue with a school administrator. Talk with your children about pictures of models in magazines, online, and TV.  None of us are “perfect.”

This month at Children’s Medical Group the Organ Wise Guys, Sir Rebrum, Hardy Heart and Peri Stolic focus on finding ways to add nutritious foods to meals and snacks. Fresh beans such as green beans, edamame, and lima beans are healthy choices.  Nuts are tasty treats that can be added to breakfast cereals, grilled fish, salad, or just eat out of hand as a snack.  Per Sir Rebrum nuts boost brain power and Hardy Heart says their “good” fat helps lower high blood pressure and the risk of diabetes and even some cancers.  Peri Stolic says green beans make her smile. J

Involve your children in cutting, mixing, and food preparation at meal times. They will not only learn a skill to last a life time, but have fun interacting with a role model – you.

Now if I could only get into spring cleaning.

Less Is More: March 2013

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? We all have food preferences, not just likes and dislikes but foods we grew up eating through cultural traditions.  America is a nation of mixed cultures and our shared multi-ethnic diversity allows us lots of flexibility in our food choices.  This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers ways to “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” with foods from all corners of the globe.  We have an array of options to create a healthy eating pattern.  A spokesperson and registered dietitian for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vandana Sheth, said “with the countless and increasing varieties of foods that are available today, people who live virtually anywhere can follow the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines and its MyPlate symbol to eat healthfully within the preferences of any culture.”

One means the Academy used in the past to focus on improved eating habits was to put plenty of color on your plate. Adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to your plate not only creates a festive meal but each color of food has different nutrients and potential benefits, so the more variety in the diet the better.  Create games for kids to pick out foods they like to go with a favorite color.  This month Children’s Medical Group will have a float in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.  On the float is a rainbow.  The rainbow can be used as a food palette.  Ask your child to think of a healthy food for every color.  For example blue for blueberries, yellow for yellow peppers, green for celery and so on.

The OrganWise Guys make appearances in our office every month. This month Hardy Heart and Peri Stolic are guiding us in ways to include nutritious foods in our meals and snacks.  Hardy suggest including a wide variety of fish and shellfish for a heart healthy diet.  Try using fish such as tilapia in a taco.  Peri wants you to know how important stem vegetables are like asparagus.  Asparagus contains vitamins like vitamin K which helps in blood clotting.  If you have a cut vitamin K helps in the healing process.  Celery, another stem vegetable, is a great snack food that has a built in scoop.  Use it to scoop up hummus or fill with low fat cream cheese.

Eating is not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition per Jim White at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If your diet doesn’t fit your lifestyle and unique needs it won’t work in the long run.  Career persons busy work days may lead to on-the-fly meals.  Try keeping single-serve packages of crackers, fresh fruit, trail mix, canned tuna in your desk.  Student smart snacks can combine lean protein and carbohydrates for fuel.  Try apples with peanut butter, almonds with low-fat cheese, banana and yogurt.

Whatever your food preferences, lifestyle, or cultural traditions, food can be customized to fit you the way you live. Enjoy!


Less Is More: February 2013

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? What better month for American Heart Month then February with Valentine’s Day right smack dab in the middle.  February is all about h e a r t s. We are all aware of what Valentine’s Day represents – a celebration of a chosen or greeted sweetheart on Saint Valentine’s Day.  Valentine cards or gift boxes of candy are often in the shape of a heart.  The heart shape is from our heart which is near the center of our body or central core.  The human heart is the central, vital, or main part where our real feelings are said to come from.  So if you receive a Valentine card or other gift in the shape of a heart you know it comes from that persons inter-most region or source of love and devotion.

You may have received a flyer in the mail from Covenant Center for the Heart. Covenant has a month long celebration of American Heart Month.  They call it 28days/28 ways to say “I Love You” to your heart.  Each day of the calendar offers suggestions on how to stay heart healthy.  A couple examples are visiting a Covenant Laboratory Services location to receive a free lipid panel screening coupon.  For locations and hours go to  On the thirteenth you are invited to a free Healthy Heart Diet class at the Cardiovascular Health and Wellness Center.  There are various dates available.  Call 1-866-268-3262 to register.

Here at Children’s Medical Group (CMG) we are focused on good fats and low fat dairy as the Organ Wise Guys foods of the month. Ms. Calci M. Bone wants you to know that skim milk and other reduced-fat dairy products, like reduced-fat cheeses and yogurts are naturally nutrient-rich foods.  They provide calcium, potassium and other minerals as well as vitamins and protein that promote human growth and development.  These reduced-fat dairy products help build strong bones and teeth.  Hardy Heart wants you to know that “good fats”- monounsaturated fats have a beneficial effect on your health when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated fats or trans-fats which are considered bad fats.  Instead of using coconut oil, palm oil, butter and most margarines use olive oil and canola oil.  For snacks try cashews, almonds or low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks.

If you’re thinking candy, especially chocolate, may be great as a Valentine’s gift but better skipped for this heart healthy month here is a little tidbit from the Archives of Internal Medicine. People who often eat chocolate appear to weigh less than people who skip this treat.  Researchers studied chocolate consumption of over 1000 men and women who didn’t have heart disease, diabetes, or high “bad” cholesterol.  The results showed that those who ate the most chocolate, an average of twice a week, had a lower body mass index than those who didn’t eat chocolate.  Earlier studies show chocolate may aid blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.  Sounds to me like an endorsement for chocolate lovers everywhere to enjoy a treat.

With all my heart have a Happy Healthy Valentine’s Day.


Less Is More: January 2013

It’s the “New Year”. Are you convinced if you make a resolution and stick to it the year will be a great one?  Or have you carried over the same resolution you had last year and maybe years before that.  The dictionary says resolution 1a)the act or process of resolving something or breaking it up into its constituent parts or elements  b)the result of this  2a) a resolving or determining;  deciding  b) the thing determined upon; decision to future action; resolve   3) resolute quality of mind.  Norman Vincent Peale in an article from January 1988 says resolution consists of just two short words.  Each has only two letters, but they’re packed with power.  They can generate enormous energy.  They can sweep away discouragement and failure.  They can make it possible for a person to accomplish just about any worthwhile goal.  What are those two dynamic words? Do it!

I think the word resolution itself is a little daunting. It has been used and abused.  I don’t make resolutions anymore, instead I set goals.  Goal consists of the word go.  Back to the dictionary, the word go 1)to move along; travel; proceed  2)to be moving  3a) to be in operation as a mechanism action b)to work or operate properly; function.  I set simple small goals.  I reach that goal and move on to the next; reach that and so on.  By doing that, breaking it down in smaller segments, each goal seems more obtainable.  Both words resolution and goal involves an action or decision.  We have to remember to just do it. You don’t have to be stuck where you have been. Don’t let insecurity, fear of failure, or lack of faith in your own abilities become stumbling blocks.   Making positive change is not a finished product.  There is always room for stretching.  The potential is there.  Something in us says we want to do better.  There is transformation at hand, a vision that gets hold of us.  We need a revelation, a revealing or disclosure.  I desperately need to lose weight. I’m going to reach my most cherished dream.  Then we need to realize our goal-which results in a vast change.  Review the action you keep putting off, the dream unfulfilled.  Ask yourself is this a good idea and if the answer is yes just do it. To do it means taking the first step in the right direction.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield magazine, Living Healthy has a suggestion for doing it, exercise, inside in bad weather.  You don’t have to be outdoors to tone muscles and get your heart pumping.  Some things they suggest are:

Turn chores into a “work-in” for you and your kids-burn calories by cleaning rooms.

Dance to your favorite lively music.

Join an exercise class.  Try yoga, kickboxing or body sculpting.

Work out as a family to fitness videos or DVDs.  Buy a family gym membership.

Exercise as you watch favorite TV shows.  Get off the couch and left weights, do leg lifts.

Remember if your kids do go out that they wear proper fitting warm clothes, goggles or wrap-around sun-glasses, as well as gloves or mittens. If your kids are going sledding, make sure they stay clear of obstacles like trees, poles or benches.  Just do it in 2013.


Less Is More: December 2012

It’s the holiday season –fa- de- la- tee- DA? It’s also the pull your hair out, go around in circles, spin your tires season.  Stress! Stress!! STRESS!!!    How do we manage it all?  How many of you have kids that are still being hauled all over to sports events in between your trips to the mall, make that plural – malls?  How many craft items are still waiting completion before they can go under the tree?  Don’t forget all the ingredients you need to run to the grocery store for, to bake those cookies just like grandma used to make.  How about all those last minute schedule changes?   Your immediate family can’t come to your house for the festivities, now you have to pack everything up and drive to their house.  This is all between yours and your spouse’s full time jobs (if you are lucky enough to have them) and work engagements and church commitments. With all these things whirling around you step back and take a well deserved break.  Step back and reevaluate the reason for the season.  Step back and D E L A G A T E.   Don’t delude yourself that you can do it all.  If old family traditions are messing with your health both mental and physical create new ones.  Create traditions that don’t jeopardize your health.  Old traditions aren’t worth the negative outcomes after the holidays are long gone.

Don’t think that this season, the winter season, is just affecting you. Watch for signs of seasonal affective disorder, SAD in your kids.  SAD tends to occur as days grow shorter in the winter months.  As in many forms of depression SAD occurs more frequently in girls than boys.  Some factors that may contribute to SAD are heredity, age, body temperature, hormone regulation and availability of sunlight.  Some symptoms are lack of energy, carbohydrate cravings and increased appetite with weight gain, less interest in activities, increased sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, social withdrawal, decreased energy and concentration.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, says SAD can sometimes be confused as hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, infectious mononucleosis, and other viral conditions because of similarity of symptoms.  Your physician to successfully manage SAD may use different tools for treatment.  These may include, assessment using a depression screening tool, monitoring diet, recommending exercise options, and teaching stress management techniques.

Whatever the holiday season, or winter season brings your way, take a breath, enjoy the lights and smells and family celebrations big or small. Take one day at a time and be gentle with all those that cross your path.

Happy gift wrapping but most of all have a Joyous Noel!


Less Is More: November 2012

I have been struggling with what message to write this month about living a healthier life style, and It finally hit me that I wasn’t suppose too. This month is to be a simple message of thanksgiving.  This issue may not make it to you in time for Thanksgiving Day, but it isn’t supposed to be just for a day.

It is with all sincerity that CMG extends its thanks to you for the faith you have placed in us to be the providers of your children’s health care.   We do not take the responsibility lightly.  You have entrusted us with your most precious of possessions. In our culture each year the shopping day is extended longer into the day of Thanksgiving.  It’s quick eat our turkey dinner and “hit the mall”.  We forget how to be grateful for what we have been given.   When our kids watch us they see how we respond to the world around us, and they understand the view of the world far more than we sometimes give them credit.  As our kids see the needs of the world and how we treat each other they form views of how to use wealth, resources, education, which include time, talent, and opportunities.  We are never too young to learn to give from the heart.

I have been with CMG for going on twenty four years and I want to take this time to say thank you not only to you our parents and children of this practice, but for my fellow employees and the doctors for giving me the opportunity to work with all of you in helping to build this practice.

There are people struggling to put roofs over their heads and food on their tables but we must remember to give thanks through all circumstances. Thanks to our family and friends and organizations that are there to help in times of need.

Thank you!


Have a blessed Thanksgiving.


Less Is More: October 2012

Children’s Medical Group wants to make all aspects of your child’s care easier, whether it is from services we provide here in the office, or community resources we can direct you to. This includes helping you find insurance coverage for your children if you don’t have any.  It is important for individuals to have the necessary information and services to make healthy choices.  Community resources can compliment your child’s care.

Every state has a health insurance program for infants, toddlers, and teens in working families.   MIChild is such a coverage  in Michigan.  Each state has different eligibility rules.  Just a $10.00 per family monthly premium gives kids health and dental care from MIChild.  As long as your child sees the health plan’s doctors (like us) there is no additional cost.  The Michigan Department of Community Health offers MIChild through several health plans.  Two of the plans we participate with are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and HealthPlus of Michigan.  You can apply on line at or or call 1-800-988-6300.

If you are in our office and your child doesn’t have any insurance, mention it to any of our staff. We can provide you with brochures from MIChild and Healthy Kids as well as Help with Health Care –Resources for the Uninsured, from Blue Cross Blue Shield and Blue Care Network of Michigan.

If your child needs special care for a chronic illness, he or she may qualify for Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS). Even if you have other health insurance you can apply for CSHCS, and it includes families of all income levels.

Health care is an important issue in this November’s presidential election. Many voters have questions about the complex health reform law.  A good resource for education on health care topics important to you is WebMD.  Go to click on Voters Guide to Health Care.  The current Affordable Care Act opens new health insurance markets.  Each state by 2014 is required to have an American Health Benefits Exchange.  This online market is where people without access to affordable employer coverage can shop for a health plan.  The Affordable Care Act is one way to address these issues.  The WebMD website highlights what the law includes along with its alternatives.

Hope you have been enjoying the beautiful fall colors Michigan has to offer. See you at the voter’s booth in November.  Stay healthy.


Less Is More: September 2012

It’s that time of year again when there is much too do about the flu. You don’t know when that person next to you, on the bus, in the mall, at church, at school, at work, (you get the picture), sneezes, coughs or just speaks to you is spreading the influenza viruses.  When a person with the influenza virus coughs, sneezes or speaks it releases the virus into the air and other people inhale the virus.  When these viruses enter your child’s, or their grandparent’s or your nose, throat, or lungs they began to multiply, causing disease.  Just touching the surface that the flu virus is on, like a door knob, can spread the virus, and that person then touches his or her nose or mouth.  Now you know why it can spread through your child’s day care or school so easily.  Think about all those runny noses!  Stress to your child to hand wash, hand wash, hand wash, and kept him or her home if sick.

Anyone can get influenza but children have the highest rates of infection. A person who has the flu can spread the viruses-that means they are contagious.  For most people, symptoms only last a few days.  They include:  fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose.   Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for the flu.

If a person has a weakened immune system getting the flu can make them even sicker. The flu can cause high fever and pneumonia and worsen existing medical conditions.  I am one of those persons so I get the flu shot every year.  The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) are sources we use for education and hand outs in our offices.  You can go to their websites for flu resources.  MDCH:, CDC:  This article is a condensed version of what you will find.

Each year thousands of people die from influenza. You can protect yourself and family by getting the flu vaccine.  Check out the MDCH “FluBytes”  article for everyday preventative actions to help prevent influenza and other illnesses.  Question:  When should you get the vaccine? Answer:  As soon as it is available.  This should provide protection if the flu season comes early.  You can get the vaccine as long as illness is occurring in your community.  Influenza can occur at any time, but most influenza occurs from October through May.  According to the CDC in recent seasons, most infections have occurred in January and February so getting vaccinated in December, or even later, will still be beneficial in most years.

Call our Bay City or Saginaw offices and make your child’s flu vaccine appointment.

Less Is More: August 2012

It’s back to school time summer is coming to an end and fall is in the air.  After a long stretch of vacation time you know the first week of school comes with serious struggles.  Your child’s body clock wants to stay up later and sleep in later.  Getting your child to go to sleep at their “school year” bedtime can be a difficult transition.  Check out  for tips from an expert, Dr. Michael Breus.   Dr. Breus is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

How much sleep should your child get? Toddlers (1-3 years) need 12-14 hours of sleep, once they reach 18 months of age.  Preschoolers (3-5 years) need 11-13 hours of sleep, school-aged kids (5-12 years) need 10-11 hours and teens (13-19 years) 9-10 hours.  About two weeks before school starts, have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier then they have been during vacation, then after three days increase it to 30 minutes until they are within 30 minutes of what should be their school bedtime.  In many cases your child may have to go to bed before the sun has set.  Try using room darkening shades or drapes to make the bedroom dark.  Dr. Breus also suggest your child exercise each day.  Keep them outside as long as you can so they will be tired.  If they are using electronics in the evenings, have them powered down an hour before bed.  Have your child relaxing, reading and getting back into a routine.

Another thing the start of the school year brings is the need for a new backpack. WebMD also contains some good backpack safety tips.  When choosing a backpack, remember materials like canvas or nylon weigh less.  Wide, padded shoulder straps will not dig into the shoulders like skinny straps can.  A waist belt can be an important feature.  It distributes some of the weight off the back to the hips.   Pack the heaviest items closest to the back.  Packs with compartments help distribute the weight evenly.  Experts say a child shouldn’t carry more than 15% to 20% of his or her weight.  Use your bathroom scale to weigh the loaded pack.   Wearers should use both shoulder straps.  Slinging the pack over just one shoulder is a bad habit that can lead to back or shoulder pain.  Your child needs to stand up straight while wearing a backpack.  If he or she must lean forward the pack is too heavy.  When lifting the pack have your child squat down and bend at the knees while keeping his or her back straight.

Remember to take time and effort in the morning to have something nutritional for your child to eat. A good start to their morning could be a piece of whole grain bread with peanut butter, cereal, and some fresh fruit.  Be a good role model, don’t just grab a cup of coffee and a pop tart and head out the door, make beneficial choices.  Your child does notice.   Good nutrition fuels kids for school.  Oh, and remember to pass along those high water jeans to the next shorter child in line.  Have a happy school year.


Less Is More: July 2012

I noticed, while we were up north camping, a friend of ours was heading out on her quad runner for a ride on one of the many trails available in the Mio area. It was in the high 80’s but she was dressed in jeans and a long sleeve shirt.  While that seemed strange given the weather, she was in proper clothing to go out in a habitat where her skin could be exposed to ticks..

When you are in our office you will notice we have many educational brochures in regards to disease prevention. One of them called, Lyme Disease and Related Disorders, is from the Michigan Lyme Disease Association.  The information supplied here is from that brochure. In the United States there are two tick species that have been identified as harboring and transmitting Lyme disease.  The species  Ixodes scapular is found in the eastern US and Ixodes  pacificus, is on the west coast.  These Ixodes species are smaller than the common American ”dog tick” which doesn’t usually transmit Lyme disease, but can transmit the agent of the Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Between these two types of ticks people are at risk of a bite from the spring through winter seasons. These ticks are usually found in principally woodland and bushy areas.  They feed on a variety of wild animals such as birds, mice, and deer.  Domestic animals such as cats, dogs, horses, and cattle can also carry ticks.

Once bitten by a tick it can remain attached to its host and become engorged with blood for 2-4 days before dropping off its host. An early symptom of Lyme disease is a slowly expanding red rash not always at the site.  Other symptoms are flu-like and include fatigue, headache, neck stiffness, jaw discomfort, pain or stiffness in muscles or joint, slight fever, swollen glands or reddening of the eyes.

Untreated Lyme disease can progress to more serious states. The joints, the heart, and the central nervous system can be involved.  The symptoms are easier to treat if detected earlier, but in its later stages the disease also responds to medication.  Antibiotics are the treatment of choice.

Prevention measures are:

Avoid tick habitats.

Dress properly if you must go into a tick habitat.

Check for and remove any ticks on your family members as soon as possible after leaving a tick                        habitat.

Check pets for ticks and use tick-control.

To learn more and be safe in our Michigan Wonderland pick up a brochure in our office. It will give  advice such as the proper way to remove a tick, how to clean the area of the bite site.  Pictures of the ticks to help identification and examples of what the rash can look like.

Have a fun filled July.


Less Is More: June 2012

If you’re a Blue Cross Blue Shield member like me it’s possible you receive the Living Healthy magazine. Living Healthy is mailed to Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan subscribers three times a year.  The recommendations in the magazine are based on best medical practices and not intended to take the place of professional care.  This spring issue is packed with articles from how to save money by showing your Blue Cross Blue Shield card at participating retailers, activities for fun and fitness in Michigan, how to avoid injuries and when to go to the ER or urgent care center.

As Healthy Living points out us Michiganders have a lot of activities available to us in the great outdoors.  Michigan has 97 state parks and five national parks.  So we have everything from canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and swimming all available in our extended backyards.  My husband and I have a trailer in the Oscoda County Park in Mio.  The park is on the Mio pond which is just before the Au Sable River flows over the Mio Dam.  One activity we enjoy is taking a lazy tube float down the river.  The Au Sable River provides year round events.  One of the main attractions is the nationally known Au Sable River Canoe Marathon.  The canoe teams have to ford five dams from where the race starts in Grayling to where it ends in Oscoda.  Teams come from all over the world to compete in this event that starts in the afternoon and goes through the night.  It’s usually about two in the morning when the first teams come through Mio.  If you don’t mind the early hour the walk way on the dam is opened up to spectators.

Unlike many sports rowing and paddling work your upper body rather than your legs. The abdomen, back, and shoulders get a workout.  As with any sport you need to condition your body.  Just balancing in a canoe can be tricky.  If you’ve never tried it some instruction may help.  A dip may not only be cold and wet, but dangerous.  Local paddling clubs, such as the one in Bay City, can assist in finding best courses, trip planning, safety gear, and spotting obstacles.  The American Canoe Association recommends:

Always wear a properly-fitted life jacket.

Avoid challenging weather or water conditions beyond your abilities.

Learn about your route in advance.

Don’t paddle alone.

Dress for conditions.

Other things you might need are water proof containers for food and drinks, sunscreen and bug spray. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.  If canoeing and kayaking aren’t your thing then swimming in Michigan’s more than 1,000 public beaches may be a good alternative.  Swimming is a good workout for your heart and lungs while increasing flexibility and range of motion.  It puts less stress on your joints than weight-bearing activities.  It’s never too late to take swimming lessons.  Whatever activity you decided on Living Healthy wants us to remember an outdoor workout is good for your body and mind.  You have lots of choices, but skip the one that so many of us make-doing nothing.


Less Is More: May 2012

Not only do April showers bring May flowers, but they bring May Allergies too. Allergies can be especially irritating during springtime months.  Unfortunately allergies are one of the main causes of asthma attacks.  Asthma is a chronic (long-lasting) lung disease where the lining of the airways of the lungs are swollen or inflamed.  At Children’s Medical Group (CMG) we strive to keep your child’s asthma symptoms from worsening and affecting his or her lifestyle.  One way to do this is by educating you and your child as to what asthma is, what are the symptoms, things to avoid and how it is treatable.  Many children with asthma are allergic to pollen, mold, dust mites, certain foods, pet dander or other common irritants.  These irritants are also called “triggers.”  A trigger can also be an irritant such as tobacco smoke.  Cigarette smoke is a significant trigger for asthma as it is very irritating to the lungs and upper airways, and not just in smokers.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency secondhand smoke is a problem too.  Secondhand smoke can worsen asthma symptoms and cause more frequent asthma attacks in kids.  Cold air, or a cold virus, or in some cases exercise can also trigger an asthma attack.  When this happens the airways swell and produce thick mucus.  The muscles around the airways tighten, narrowing the airways making breathing difficult.  An asthma attack can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Some symptoms of an attack are, repeated coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, speaking in short sentences, reluctance to participate in vigorous play. Severe symptoms are, blue or gray lips or fingernails, flared nostrils when trying to breath, sinking of skin or muscles between the ribs.  These are some but not all the symptoms. Symptoms often improve in the teenage years.  However, for most children asthma remains active all their lives.  If your child is not having symptoms doesn’t mean the asthma has gone away.  The airways are still inflamed.  Follow ups are needed with your provider and a treatment plan followed.

A treatment plan may include quick-relief medications used when your child is having an attack and long term control medicine to help prevent attacks. Your provider will go over medication doses with you and the nursing staff will provide education on how to use whatever is prescribed for your child. A health coach may also be available to assist in your child’s progress.

At CMG we have handouts available for your child that has been diagnosed with asthma, (that’s where a lot of this information is coming from). We also have group counseling available periodically at both our Bay City and Saginaw locations.  We send a letter letting you know when our next available class is scheduled.  You may then call and sign your child up.   Remember to call your child’s healthcare provider immediately, if your child has severe wheezing, trouble breathing, wheezing that has not improved after the second dose of asthma medicine, or a peak flow rate less than 50% of the personal best.  Don’t let asthma restrict your children’s activities. We’re here to discuss your concerns and gain better control of their asthma.

On another note, now available in NextMD is access to your child’s personal health record. The process is fully automated and occurs within minutes of your request.  Have a great spring.


Less Is More: April 2012

Are you and your family ready for all the spring and summer sport activities?  You may be preparing for sport events of all kinds.  You are probably watching such events as soccer, softball, baseball, skateboarding, that your children are participating in.  Maybe your whole family is into bicycling.  I like to watch my daughter and one of my granddaughters compete in triathlons.  That event involves swimming, bicycling, and running.  Whatever activities you and your children are involved in you need to keep safety first.

According to WebMD having the right safety equipment can save lives.  One of the most important pieces of safety gear is a helmet.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says it’s important to select an activity-appropriate helmet.  Per the CPSC skateboard helmets for example are designed to absorb high-speed impact and cover more of the head than bicycle helmets.  Bicycle helmets have greater ventilation and should be replaced if cracked, damaged, or involved in an accident.  Football helmets are designed to absorb multiple impacts.  Multi-sport helmets may be worn while biking, inline skating and riding non-motorized scooters.  Check to see if the helmet is CPSC-compliant.

Convincing your child to wear a helmet can be difficult.  How often have you thought or said I never wore one when I was a kid and never got hurt.  I must admit I’m not a good example and a good example is what’s needed.  If you wear one yourself it sends the right message.  Your child is more likely to wear a helmet if you can point out a role model who wears one.

Let your child choose his or her own helmet.  He or she will be more likely to wear it, if it’s not that yucky, ugly one dad or mom picked out.  Besides your child being happy, a bright reflective color makes it easier to see your child.  Make sure the helmet fits the head all the way around but not too tight nor should it move more than 1 inch in any direction.  Tighten the straps, than tug.  It should not pull off.  Helmets are just one piece of safety equipment.  There is a lot of other gear that should be worn while playing any sport.  Check out the WebMD link for more of their sport safety tips.

This weekend, April 14th, a special event is taking place.  It’s the Covenant Kids Telethon from noon to 6 pm on WNEM TV5.  The donation dollars are used for the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Peds Diabetes Clinic, Peds Emergency Care, and Peds Intensive Care Unit. CMG will be represented.  Join us in helping the Covenant Kids.


Less Is More: March 2012

Did you know that March is National Safety Month, National Kidney Month, National Nutrition Month, and probably a lot of other national events that haven’t come to my attention? The event that I would like to focus on is National Nutrition Month.  National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ADA) to promote nutrition awareness and education.  The majority of the information in this month’s news letter is from information on their website,  According to registered dietitian and ADA president, Judith C. Rodriguez, National Nutrition Month is to encourage Americans to take time to look at their eating patterns and begin to make the small improvements that, over time, add up to significant health benefits.

This year’s theme for National Nutrition Month is “Eat Right with Color.” This month the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics wants you to make healthy choices by incorporating a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy into your meals.  A rainbow of foods creates nutrients each with different benefits for a healthful eating plan per the ADA spokesperson Karen Ansel.  A great way to build a healthy plate is to make half of it fruits and vegetables.  Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables a daily goal.  Here are a few ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables.

  1. Make a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
  2. Cut up ready to eat favorites like red, green, yellow or orange peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes and keep handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or quick nibbles while waiting for dinner.
  3. Place colorful fruit in a bowl on the table where it can be easily grabbed for a snack-on-the run.
  4. Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
  5. Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruits are hot and slightly golden.Look for more suggestions on the website. When making fruit choices remember dried, frozen or canned in water or 100% juice as well as fresh fruit. Vegetables fresh, frozen and canned all count just make sure to choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added canned vegetables.
  6. Talk to your kids about weight. Weight is a sensitive subject, especially for children and teens and women who are asking if their butt looks big in a new pair of jeans. Deciding how to approach weight issues with young people needs careful attention. How you handle the topic can have lifelong implications. Here are some suggestions from ADA.
  7. Be physically active your way. Do what you can and build up. Even 10 minutes a day of physical activity makes a difference. Children and teens should get 60 minutes or more a day.
  8. Reduce the size of your portions by using smaller plates, bowls, and glasses. The color of your plate makes a difference too. If you put spaghetti on a red plate it looks like a smaller portion and you may be tempted to add more. Instead serve it on a white plate. The portion will appear larger. Keep a journal of what you eat. You’d be surprised what you snack on if you are sitting in front of the television or taste of while you are cooking.
  9. Make at least half your grains whole. Choose 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Check ingredients on food packages to find whole-grain foods. Vary your protein choices. Try seafood, nuts and beans as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs. Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk. They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories. If you are lactose intolerant try lactose-free milk or calcium-fortified soy beverage. It’s a good thing my parents aren’t around anymore to read this. I grew up on a dairy farm. We drank 100% whole milk. Other choices weren’t an option. We saved the heavy cream off the top of the milk for homemade ice cream. The times they have changed! Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Enjoy your food but eat less. Check out to get your personal daily calorie limit.
  1. Don’t talk. Do Something: If your child is elementary age or younger and your concerned about his or her weight, don’t talk about it, just start making lifestyle changes as a family. Serve regular, balanced family meals and snacks. Turn off televisions, video games and computers. Be active together.
  2. Don’t play the Blame Game: Never yell, scream, bribe, threaten or punish children about weight, food or physical activity. If these issues are turned into parent-child battlegrounds, the results can be disastrous. The worse children feel about their weight, the more likely they are to overeat or develop an eating disorder.
  3. A United Front: Make sure both parents and other important relatives are on the same page.
  4. Talk with Your Health-Care Provider: If a health professional mentions a concern about your child’s weight, speak with him or her privately. Discuss specific concerns about your child’s growth pattern. Ask for ideas on making positive changes in your family eating habits and activity levels.
  5. Seek Advice: For kids and teens, check out local programs and professional who specialize in youth. Look for a registered dietitian with a specialty in pediatric weight management. Many hospitals have comprehensive programs with education and activities for both kids and adult family members. Some options may be covered by your health insurance plan.
  6. Focus On the Big Picture: The key is health, not weight. If your family starts eating better and moving more, your children may “grow into” their weight as their height increases. Compliment your children on lifestyle behaviors (“Great snack choice,” or “You really run fast”) rather than on the loss of a pound or two.Look to the American Dietetic Association on many more topics on eating healthy. Some other topics on their website are, Nutrition for Kids and Teens, Raising Healthy Eaters from Preschool to High School, Eat Right at School. Plus you will find National Nutrition Month 2012 Recipes to try.Happy and Healthy Eating


Less Is More: February 2012

At Children’s Medical Group (CMG) we are committed to working with you, the parents of our pediatric patients, to improve the quality of care for your children. We do this while striving to keep costs down, and providing care that follows proven protocols also known as “clinical guidelines” or “evidenced-based medicine”.  We provide a safe environment for your children’s appointments with us as well as a team effort in their treatment.  Part of this “whole” patient care concept is our participation as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) practice.  If you have visited our website at  you will see that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan selected us for PCMH designation two years in a row, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

As you know PCMH includes a partnership with you in the care of your child. Having a medical home means we trust you to provide us with health information, tell us about needs and concerns, keep scheduled appointments, and take part in planning your child’s care, to name a few things we expect from you.  Some things you can expect from us are respect for the privacy of your child’s medical information, provide care when you need it, and to give you advise on how to keep your child healthy.  For more information regarding our responsibilities to each other, go to our web site, click on Patient Education then click on Patient Centered Medical Home.  There is also a video you can view.   Our web site also lists community resources to aid you in a variety of needs.

Another resource available from our web site is NextMD (upper right hand corner). To enroll ask someone at the front desk.   Enrollment is specific for each patient (parents can sign up individually).  Once you have enrolled you can request appointments, physical, sports and daycare forms.  You can ask general questions regarding appointments, referrals, billing, and medication refills.  You can also ask medical questions (regular and personal-provider only).  Not only do we keep current with medical guidelines, but we are using available technology to allow you more contact with us.  Check it out we’re on Facebook!

We feel our patients and the community benefit when we promote quality care from all available resources.


Less Is More: January 2012

Can you believe it is 2012! If you are like me you’ve done an inspection of the past year and found it lacking in many areas.  The good-ole-days haven’t been so good.  Sometimes we have to step-back look at things with a different perspective or new purpose.  Throw out the rubble and start afresh.  Just having a new focus can get the creative juices flowing.  My house has been in need of a new front door for several years (it still has the name on the knocker from the previous owner).  You have to pull on the knob with both hands to get it to open.  When it does open you practically fall on your rear from the force.  My living room window is so drafty that it blows your hair like a spring breeze in the middle of the winter.  This year, this year- it’s getting replaced.  Halleluiah!  Lower heating bills.  All the repairs and updating is going to generate a new look.  Of course the room is going to need to be repainted and new carpet selected.  Ummmm – new furniture.   Well maybe like adding new foods to your baby’s diet, limited introduction is a good idea.

Having a new project for yourself can have the same satisfaction as redecorating a room and less costly.  When you focus on yourself, whether it’s for just changing up your routine, getting out and meeting new people, losing weight, you’re the one who sets the limits.  Think about different ways to make little changes.  Don’t stay in the same old rut that’s dull and unrewarding.  You want to WOW yourself.  The tri-cities have a lot of venues to get you out and about.  The Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail organization is creating miles of non-motorized trails for whatever your penchant is, running, biking, walking etc.  The trails also lead to wildlife marshes, the river front, state parks, recreational facilities, and more.  If seeing nature up close and personal is not your thing try the new Dow Bay Area Family Y.  There is an indoor track that overlooks the pool.  A lazy river, aerobic exercise room, equipment room, child care available while working out, and day care to name a few things. Connecting to your community physically can transform your quality of life.  Explore what’s in your own backyard.  When you’re done with all the healthy exercise treat yourself.  There are many stores, theaters, art galleries, besides restaurants to expand your mind not your waistline.

Remember your new purpose is now a positive attitude because you have persevered and accomplished what you set out to do. You gave yourself permission to grow and with that growth you are now phenomenal.


Less Is More: December 2011

Do you have your Christmas shopping, your wrapping of gifts, your cookie baking, your holiday grocery shopping done?   More importantly has your child’s list for Santa been sent to the appropriate location?  If you said yes to all these than you deserve the supernal (as thought from the heavens or the sky, celestial, heavenly or divine) parent award.  The rest of us still have our feet dragging on the ground and they are digging trenches.  We are stressing over what we haven’t got done yet or over whether or not what we have done is right.  Did we purchase the right gift in the correct color, the correct size?  Was the game for the X Box or Wii?  Should we have spent more?  Did we forget to send Uncle Al a Christmas card?  Soon any thought of the holiday has us clenching our teeth and our head spinning backward.  Remember before this happens to you that healthier living isn’t just about less weight, but less stress, less inactivity, less negativity.  In these trying financial times reducing what you spend and what you spend it on can lift a lot of unnecessary strain.  For example this year my family is just doing Christmas stockings.  I had my reservations about doing this because, like so many of us, I have a picture in my head of what a Christmas celebration should look like.  Making changes can be difficult.  I had to change my focus from what wasn’t under the tree to time well spent with my daughter, my son-in-law, and best of all my granddaughters.

I also have a picture in my head as to what Santa looks like. I just can’t imagine Santa not eating the cookies and milk left for him because he wants to be healthier.  Somehow I think Santa is immune to all the things you can possible get due to poor eating habits.  I just can’t, and don’t want to see, Santa with big biceps and a buffed abdomen.  I prefer the jolly ole elf whose tummy jiggles like a bowl full of jelly.

Unfortunately we humans need to aim for a healthy weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is what will help us prevent and control many diseases and conditions.  Our weight is the result of many factors such as genes, metabolism, behavior, and environment.   Maintaining a healthy weight means keeping a balance of energy.  More energy in (calories you get from food and drinks) than out (being physically active) over time means weight gain.  More energy out (physical activity that burns up calories) than in (eating fewer calories or foods lower in fats) over time equals weight loss.  Eating smaller portions and paying attention to our choices can help keep this balance.  With Christmas almost here there are many yummy treats we want to sample.  Grandma’s pies that are better than anyone else can bake, Aunt June’s home- made candies and the list goes on.  Pick your favorites, eat fewer of them, have a snow ball fight after dinner, and enjoy your family time together.

Happy Holidays from CMG

Less Is More: November 2011

When I was thinking about composing November’s newsletter, for a reason I’m not sure of, I was wondering what it would be like If I were a cartoonist and controlling the number placement on the calendar. I was thinking about the numbers as being animated.  The numbers would be moving around the calendar trying to find and fit themselves in the appropriate squares for the month.  Number thirty is running around like crazy bumping into all the other numbers twisting and turning as it struggles to reach the bottom of the page.   Eleven and twelve are doing a little dance as they each attempt to get in the same box.  Finally number eleven grabs number twelve and throws it into the box for the weekend Saturday crew.  Twelve gave a sigh of relief and closed its eyes while settling into the upper right hand corner.  Fifteen wasn’t having any problem at all finding its spot.  It remembered there were hundreds of thousands of deer hunters waiting for it to arrive.  Finally one by one they each popped into their spot but poor number twenty four.  Twenty four was spinning out of control he just couldn’t seem to remember where he belonged. He thought there was something special about his day, but what was it?  He looked to all the other numbers for support, but they just seemed to have forgotten him.  He took a quick glance at the month of October that was grayed out at the bottom of the page.  There the thirty first sat all askew.  It looked a little scary and out of shape and green in the face, but still seemed happy about something.  What was up with that after all it wasn’t special like – like say a holiday.  A holiday!  That’s it, how could he forget.  Yup, he counted one, two, three, hurray the fourth Thursday in November.  Oh! Oh!  Number twenty four was all puffed up.  He, number twenty four, was marking the holiday of Thanksgiving.  He quickly jumped up in his corner and put on a turkey size grin. His day was arriving soon.  It didn’t seem to have a lot of fan fare, but for some reason he felt blessed for being able to mark the day.  Too bad he couldn’t ask another number to join him in sharing the blessing it felt like the right thing to do.

Here are a couple of recipes you might want to add to your family traditions in exchange for ones less healthy.

Vermont Cheddar Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes                                               8 servings about 1 cup each

3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1 ½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese divided

¾ cup non fat buttermilk

½ teaspoon ground pepper and ½ teaspoon salt

¼ cups fresh chives

Cook potatoes with enough cold water to cover bring to boil over high heat until tender 20-25 min. Drain and return potatoes to pot.  Mash, stir in 1 ¼ cup cheese until melted.  Add buttermilk salt and pepper stir to combine.  Gently fold in 3 tablespoons chives.  Transfer to serving dish garnish with remaining ¼ cup cheese and 1 tablespoon chives.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower                                                                                       stand in for mashed potatoes

8 cups bite size cauliflower florets about 1 head for 4 people

4 cloves garlic crushed and peeled

1/3 cup non fat buttermilk

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided

1 tsp butter

½ tsp salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

snipped fresh chives for garnish

Cook cauliflower until tender. Place cooked cauliflower and garlic in food processor, add buttermilk and 2 tsps.oil, butter, salt and pepper, pulse several times until smooth and creamy.  Transfer to serving bowl drizzle with remaining 2 tsp. oil and garnish with chives if desired.

CMG wants to share with you our thanks for choosing us as your child’s care givers.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Less Is More: October 2011

I had an opportunity last weekend to spend time with my daughter’s family. I was able to soak up some late October sun watching my oldest granddaughter play soccer.  My youngest was on the playground playing with a friend.  That afternoon my daughter and I left for Grand Rapids to check out Art Prize.  I got my walking in as the art displays were all over town.  My daughter had already run over 11 miles that morning.  Her and my son-in-law exercise and lift weights before heading to work most week days.  They are a very active family.  Now that colder weather is coming our way, and limiting outdoor activities, we all need to seek out different activities to keep in shape.  Being active doesn’t mean having to join a gym, although that is one option.  In this Less is More I would like to point out some of the tri-city area available activities.

Covenant Hospital in Saginaw offers wellness classes. All classes are held in the Andersen Wellness Center unless otherwise indicated.  They have yoga, pilates, barre, and zumba classes.  For more information or to register for classes, contact Bonnie Hartwick @ 989-583-4600.  The Midland Fitness Centers are for Dow employees, spouses and eligible dependents.  Dow retirees and spouses and approved contractor employees and spouses.  There are two locations.  The Employee Development  Center (EDC) located at Corporate Headquarters.  The 1287 Building near Michigan Operations, on the corner of 3rd and Buttles.  They offer personal training – one-on-one interaction with a fitness professional, group exercise classes and specialty classes.  They also have nutrition counseling with a registered dietician.  You can call EDC Fitness Center at 989-636-3256 and the 1287 Fitness Center at 989-638-7783.   You can also join the Michigan Steps Up team.  Visit their website at  or call 1-877-422-4244 for more information on how to improve your health. Per their brochure they have free personal plans that help you set and track your personal goals.  Free healthy recipes and snack ideas.  Free Make Health Your Choice magazine.  They have other programs and materials to help you increase your physical activity and more.

Being physically active helps the entire family. If your kids grocery shop with you park as far away from the store as you can so you will have to walk further.  Walk in the mall.  Maybe your church has a gym you can use for free.  You could play basketball, volleyball or play tag as well as be a part of an exercise group.  Take dance classes or dance around your house.  No matter what you choose keep moving.  You’ll feel better for the effort.


Less Is More: September 2011

October starts the beginning of the holiday season and it’s just around the corner. Halloween starts the season off with fun for family and friends and edible temptations everywhere.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed stores are already jammed with Halloween fare.  Many stores have display after display of candy for trick-or- treaters.  What follows that?  Donuts, pumpkin and apple pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas cookies, homemade fudge, popcorn balls … on and on whatever is on your family’s list of favorite treats.

So how do you avoid extra founds during the holiday season.  Be aware of the temptations and set limits.  Know that holidays may be directed at kids, but we adults don’t need to over indulge ourselves either.  Limit your child’s candy munching to Halloween night don’t open the bags of candy you purchased early.  Buy only the amount of candy you think you’ll need for trick-or treaters and don’t buy your favorite candy bar hoping for leftovers.  After Halloween have your kids pick out some favorite treats and put them in little bags they can take to school in their lunchbox, or save for an afternoon snack when they arrive home, or after their homework is done.  Doling the candy out over a period of days allows for portion-control.  Also knowing the approximate amount of calories in a bag of candy filled with miniature, fun size, snack size bars helps you determine what can be added as a snack or two to your child’s regular eating schedule.  Your child should have three meals and one or two 100 to 150 calorie snack a day.  Most bite-size bars run from around 40 to 100 calories apiece.  For example one fun-size Twix and one fun-size packet M&M’s with peanuts would be about 150 calories.

Don’t allow your child to skip meals.  When your child gets too hungry he or she may turn to quick fixes of high calorie fattening treats.  Think how you feel around 10am and there are donuts in the break room.  Try to have plenty of healthy choices available for your child.  Some choices could be fresh fruit such as grapes, plums, medium size apples or oranges.  Veggies such as celery and carrot sticks that are already cut up and maybe a low calorie dip.  If your family is going to a Thanksgiving or Christmas party reduce your calories earlier in the day.  Choose a breakfast, lunch and snack that are based on lean protein and veggies and light on fat, sugar, and starch.  Drink lots of water before lunch and dinner.  Drinking water before meals helps fill you up.

What goes hand-in-hand with watching your calorie intake?  You’re correct, exercise.  What comes with holidays? Stress!!! With stress comes over eating.  Exercise is a two for one, it helps to reduce stress and control your weight.  Your son or daughter maybe involved in several sports right now such as soccer, basketball, volleyball.  All of which will help minimize the impact of holiday over indulgence.  For yourself maybe consider a membership to the new Y soon to be opening.

What ever you do don’t deny your kids or yourself holiday goodies.  Pick theirs and your favorite, watch the portions, skip seconds and get back on track the next day.

There is another season just around the corner.  One that isn’t as much fun, but important.  That is the flu season.  Watch for CMG’s flu clinic schedule coming soon.


Less Is More: August 2011

Are trips to the mall and the big box stores on your to-do list in the next few weeks? The yearly back-to-school mad rush is on.  Shopping for clothes and school supplies and getting sports physicals are all part of getting your child prepared for entering the new school year. says although it may not seem urgent a yearly physical exam by your family’s pediatrician is an important part of your child’s health care.  Per Dr. Paul Stricker, M.D., FAAP, and author of Sports Success Rx your Child’s Prescription for the Best Experience, the annual physical is often the only visit teenagers have with their doctor every year.  The annual physical is beyond a sports-specific exam.  These exams are much more thorough.  For teenagers not only do they address overall health issues but issues such as drinking, smoking, sexual activity, depression and drugs.  Having a yearly physical gives the physician a history of the child’s progress over a period of time.  This helps detect emerging problems.  Wellness guidelines may also be offered as childhood obesity is so prevalent in our nation.  Exercise options may be discussed to move your child from little or no exercise to achievable goals.  If your child is already in a training program overtraining injuries can be a problem.  Your pediatrician may address sports-specific issues and will have your child’s history of past illnesses or injuries that maybe important to sport activity.  The pediatrician will also have detailed accurate immunization records.

If your child has had their yearly well check the sports physical can be filled out from that information.  Remember if your child hasn’t had their yearly well check exam and will be in need of a sports physical to schedule with your physician early.  Early in the summer break is a good time to schedule an appointment.  Don’t wait until the week before the sport practice is to start as appointments may not be available within your desired time frame.

Sports can improve your child’s self-esteem, but also cause harm if too much pressure. These issues are not limited to athletes. Whatever your child’s interest your pediatrician wants to make sure it’s a healthy one.  A balance of home life, school, sports, social activities, are all a part of overall health.  These are fun years of exploration for your child.  Make sure they are getting the balance right by setting aside one day during each year to see your family pediatrician.

Remember local activities going on this month. The Labadie and Catholic Federal 5K race Saturday, August 6, 2011.  Starting time is 10:30 am.  According to the Catholic Federal web site the race is held on the Bay County River Walk ending with the Finish Line at the Labadie Pig Gig presented by State Farm.  The race is open to all runners and walkers.   There is also a Kids Race for children 12 and under.  Entry for participation may be too late for this year but cheers for the runners are always welcome.


Less Is More: July 2011

We’re over half way through 2011 so there has been more than enough time to revisit those New Year’s resolutions regarding losing weight. So where do you stand, up, down, no change?   As I mentioned in a past article I had lost weight.  I then joined an exercise class and lost a little more.  Then the class ended and vacation started.  So what’s my story?  Yup, I’ve gained some back.  But, I’m not giving in to my old bad habits.  It was hard exercising and I couldn’t keep up with some of the others in my class but, I was finding I had a little more strength and endurance.  I felt better doing chores around the house.  Now I’m busy doing lawn care and gardening which has taken the place of the exercise class and has the added bonus of being out in the fresh air.  A couple of weeks ago I was able to go swimming.  Swimming is one activity your family may want to add to your summer fun.  It is a wonderful exercise for young and old alike.  However, like all things fun there are some rules to follow.  Here are some tips.

If you go to you’ll find additional tips.  Also, don’t forget the sun block, and if you have toddlers running around life jackets may be in order.

While you are enjoying all the summer events in our neighborhood, the Pig Gig, River Roar, Rocking the River, all the area fairs, etc. why not think about giving something back. Michigan as well as the rest of our nation is hurting for jobs.  Many are out of work.  It hasn’t escaped my household as my husband is unemployed.  But, if you look around there is always someone worse off then you.  The Good Samaritan Rescue Mission is just a few streets away from CMG.  According to an insert in my church bulletin called Mission News for the Pews, there is a group in Bay City called the Bay City Noon Optimist Club that have helped kids celebrate a birthday at the mission.  They provided presents and birthday cake and ice cream.  According to the club they give the kids something to remember so they can have a little normality and hope in an otherwise unsettled life.  Maybe you and I don’t have a lot in these hard times, but we can always give a little more to those who have less.  It doesn’t have to be monetary.  Canned fruits and vegetables and dry goods like noodles are appreciated.  Visit  to learn more about the shelter.  The mission here in Bay City is just one suggestion to help the homeless.  Look for other ways thru established organizations, your church affiliation, get you kids involved.  Helping others can be fun and it’s a good thing.

Less Is More: June 2011

In April I did a letter on sport safety tips and May one on sun safety. This month is on something you might not expect, lawn mower safety.  Too often I see kids riding on lawn mowers and I want to cringe.  The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has guidelines to protect yourself and your family when mowing, as well as what chores your child should be able to master depending on their age.

Check out to find the details of these guidelines.  A couple of these guidelines that I think should be pointed out are.

No passengers.  Don’t let kids ride with you on the riding lawn mower.

I can relate to this guideline and feel it could apply to all motorized pieces of equipment. My sister and I were riding on a tractor with my father and he was going around the field pulling a drag behind the tractor.  He was going the same direction every time except the last one when he turned in the opposite direction.  My sister fell off the tractor and was run over by the large back tire.  Your response is to lean into the turn and just that change in direction caused her to lose her balance and fall.  Luckily the ground was worked up and soft and the drag missed her and she wasn’t hurt badly.  If we had been pulling a mower deck the outcome could have been deadly.

Clear the field.  Keep your children clear of the mowing area.

Just because you instructed your child to stay off the lawn doesn’t mean he or she will. I had a co-worker whose daughter was run over when she jumped off a swing set just when the driver of the mower put it in reverse.  She received major injuries.  Also, remember mowers throw objects.  Before mowing pickup objects that could become projectiles.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 12 to operate a walk-behind mower and they should have supervision until you are confident it is being done right. It is recommend a child be at least 16 to use a riding mower.

May your summertime bring you well-manicured lawns, but more importantly safe children.


Less Is More: May 2011

Well Michigander’s are you ready for less rain and more sunshine? I know I am.  Even for Michigan this is a bit much.  But, I guess we should count our blessings we don’t live in Mississippi or Louisiana.  Those folks just can’t catch a break.  This month’s newsletter is about being safe in the sun.  Avoiding sun exposure doesn’t seem to be too difficult at this time.  Hopefully, the need for the American Academy of Pediatrics family safety tips, for us is just around the corner. Who doesn’t want to be outside sunbathing, swimming, and barbequing in the backyard. If you are reading this on our new and improved website you will find the full details on these tips under patient education, or you can check them out at

Babies under 6 months should avoid sun exposure and be dressed in lightweight long pants and long sleeved shirts and brimmed hats to prevent sunburn. That seems like a lot of clothes in hot weather, but that beautiful new tender skin should not be exposed to the sun. Per the AAP if adequate clothing and shade are not available you can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to small areas, such as your babies face and the back of the hands.

Young children should have sunscreen applied at least 30 minutes before going outside. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF), ratio of time you can spend under the sun safely, should be at least 15.  Remember even on cloudy days you should apply sunscreen.

Older children again use sunscreen with SPF of 15 or greater. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.  Avoid sun exposure during peak intensity hours between 10 a.m.  and 4 p.m.  Wear sunglasses and cotton clothing.

Don’t forget to protect your lips from hot weather. Wearing a lip balm is recommended.  The lips are thinner than other parts of the body.  Our lips don’t have the sweat or oil glands that other parts of our body have and get dry quickly during hot weather.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays results in premature aging, wrinkles and sagging of the skin. Also, there is the risk of skin cancer.  Melanoma, a serious skin cancer, can be triggered by too much time in the sun without proper protection.  Be sure to purchase sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection.  Don’t forget to check sunscreens expiration dates.  Most have a three year shelf life.  Shorter if exposed to high temperatures.  To make application more fun for kids buy some of the formulations that have gimmicks like tinting and sparkles.  Plus bright colors will help you find spots you missed.

This past mother’s day weekend I learned even certain animals need sun protection.   I had mentioned I would be doing a newsletter at work and I thought I would do it about the need for sun protection.  My granddaughter’s are in 4H and one of them said did you know pigs need to wear sunscreen.  She is raising four pigs to show at the Ionia Free Fair.  She said they have to have aloe rubbed on them.  I guess that beats trying to get them to wear hats.


Less is More: April 2011

Are you and your family ready for all the spring and summer sport activities?  You may be preparing for sport events of all kinds.  You are probably watching such events as soccer, softball, baseball, skateboarding, that your children are participating in.  Maybe your whole family is into bicycling.  I like to watch my daughter and one of my granddaughters compete in triathlons.  That event involves swimming, bicycling, and running.  Whatever activities you and your children are involved in you need to keep safety first.

According to WebMD having the right safety equipment can save lives.  One of the most important pieces of safety gear is a helmet.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says it’s important to select an activity-appropriate helmet.  Per the CPSC skateboard helmets for example are designed to absorb high-speed impact and cover more of the head than bicycle helmets.  Bicycle helmets have greater ventilation and should be replaced if cracked, damaged, or involved in an accident.  Football helmets are designed to absorb multiple impacts.  Multi-sport helmets may be worn while biking, inline skating and riding non-motorized scooters.  Check to see if the helmet is CPSC-compliant.

Convincing your child to wear a helmet can be difficult.  How often have you thought or said I never wore one when I was a kid and never got hurt.  I must admit I’m not a good example and a good example is what’s needed.  If you wear one yourself it sends the right message.  Your child is more likely to wear a helmet if you can point out a role model who wears one.

Let your child choose his or her own helmet.  He or she will be more likely to wear it, if it’s not that yucky, ugly one dad or mom picked out.  Besides your child being happy, a bright reflective color makes it easier to see your child.  Make sure the helmet fits the head all the way around but not too tight nor should it move more than 1 inch in any direction.  Tighten the straps, than tug.  It should not pull off.  Helmets are just one piece of safety equipment.  There is a lot of other gear that should be worn while playing any sport.  Check out the WebMD link for more of their sport safety tips.

This weekend, April 16th, a special event is taking place.  It’s the Covenant Kids Telethon from noon to 6 pm on WNEM TV5.  The donation dollars are used for the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Peds Diabetes Clinic, Peds Emergency Care, and Peds Intensive Care Unit. CMG will be represented.  Join us in helping the Covenant Kids.


Less Is More: March 2011

So how is it going? Have you reached any of the goals you’ve set?  I’ve lost 4lbs, which may not seem like much, but for me it’s a big deal.  I think it must all be in my hands though, because the only difference I’ve noticed are my rings spinning around.  Also, I’ve joined a two times a week for 10 weeks exercise class at my church.  I hope it continues beyond the 10 weeks.  It’s great because it is shortly after work and free!   Check out offers in your own neighborhood.

I just received a flyer from Lifestyle Matters announcing a Balanced Living Seminar in Pinconning at the Pinconning High School.   It starts tomorrow March 17th and continues Monday, March 21st, and Thursday March 24th.  This series says it’s for lowering stress, reaching  and maintaining  long-term goals, solutions for building a better brain, better habits, a better life.  You can visit them at  Like all advertised programs you need to check them out to see if they are for you or not.

I’ve received an e-mail that Blue Cross Blue Shield, as of March 5th no longer maintains the Feel Great in Eight website.  But, Blue Cross invites everyone to join them at A Healthier Michigan, where there are blogs you can comment on.  Plus there is the Healthier Michigan FaceBook page with online discussions about wellness, goal setting, exercise, nutrition, etc.

If you didn’t reach any goals you set maybe you need to get rid of some old habits that are hindering you. We all collect reasons for not doing something.  I’m always carrying around stuff in my purse I don’t need.  It keeps getting heavier and heavier and more and more disorganized.  I’ll even switch to a different bag and move everything over into that.  Because, I can’t do without eight lipsticks, or maybe that business card that at this minute I don’t remember why I saved.  My purse is also a file system that has lost its way.  Those bills, receipts, recipes, out-dated coupons just don’t belong there.  I need to change my ways.  Throw something out of my bag.  Reevaluate what I need see if it still has value in my life.  See whether it still has purpose or ever had purpose.  Why carry it around.  My shoulder would feel better with less and so would my health.

Here’s some information about the benefits of the family meal from The Journal for Nurse Practitioners (JNP). Dr. Catherine Snow from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education tracked 65 families over 15 years with a focus on mealtime conversations as a key to language acquisition.  She found that family meal conversations help promote greater vocabularies in children.  Expanded vocabularies help with reading skills and good readers tend to succeed in all school subjects.  JNP listed some ways for making family meals a reality.  Some suggestions were:

Prioritize your week and schedule at least 3-4 family meals per week.

Plan a menu for the week and include healthy foods.

Be creative with place and time of meal (e.g., Saturday morning breakfast, picnic before sports


Encourage all family members to help in meal preparation.

Make your family meal a distraction-free zone and turn off all electronics (Ph., TV, etc.).

Teach children and young people how to cook.

Avoid subjects that may lead to conflict.

Remember the importance of frequent family meals and their impact on dietary and behavioral well-being on our children. The benefits outweigh the struggles in changing out routines.

See ya in a month.


Less Is More: February 2011

How’s it going? Did you get started in the Feel Great in Eight program?  Making a change takes commitment.  Like everything worth having it takes effort.  The effort is different for everyone.  None of us can run a marathon without some preparation.  Like toddlers baby steps maybe in order.  Someone like myself, who is no longer in her tweens, twenties, thirties, forties ok let’s just stop there…may have to set small goals. I can reach that goal then set another a little more challenging.   I can join an exercise class for seniors-yikes!  A low impact swim class might be another choice.  Some in our office have or are doing zumba, kick boxing, palates and are asking others to join them.  It helps to have someone to keep you accountable.  Encouragement from an exercise partner helps when things are moving a little too slow or you lose track of your vision.

What a gift it would be to have the ability to foresee the outcome of everything we do and think. If we saw all the times we placed obstacles on our path what would we do differently?   I can’t lose weight because my whole family is overweight.  It’s just the way we are.  What if Richard Simons had thought like that.  What if you were told you had a nice voice, but not good enough for the church choir.  So you never tried out.  Think Beyonce’.   If I want to make a major change for a healthier life I must consider the outcome.  Lose weight… hmm… let me see less chance for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure; more ability to keep up with my kids, more endurance.  More clothes because I get to buy a new smaller size, yes!

 Maintaining a healthy weight requires keeping your body going and being physically active. You have to balance the amount of energy in and energy out.  How do you determine if you are overweight?  Your body mass index (BMI) is an accurate estimate of your total body fat.  Here is a shortcut method for calculating BMI.

( Example:  for a person who is 5 feet 5 inches tall weighing 180 lbs.)

  1. Multiply weight (in Pounds) by 703                                 180 x 703 = 126,540
  2. Divide the answer in step 1 by height (in inches)          126,540/65 = 1,946
  3. Divide the answer in step 2 by height (in inches)
  4. to get your BMI                                                                           1,946/65 = 29.9

Classification of Overweight and Obesity by BMI.


Underweight                                                                                    <18.5

Normal                                                                                         18.5-24.9

Overweight                                                                                 25.0-29.9

Obesity                                                                                               >30.0

Extreme Obesity                                                                             >40.0


Talk to your doctor to see if you or your child should work on your weight.

Looking for good online resources to help children learn about health? Check out!  Developed by NAPNAP, CDC, and LYSOL, a website with activities aimed for 6-9 year olds that enable children to have fun as they learn about various health and safety topics, such as personal hygiene, nutrition, exercise and safety.

Kids don’t forget to fuel up in the morning. According to the American Dietetic Association, if you eat a healthy breakfast you will think more creatively, concentrate better, score higher on tests, maintain a normal weight, and perform better in sports and other extracurricular activities.  Some breakfast foods to try are fruit-filled breakfast bars and yogurt, toasted bagel with cheese, peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, fruit smoothie.  Mmmm a smoothie would be my choice.

Also, don’t forget that February is heart health awareness month. Check out Covenants calendar with daily heart health tips at  Friday February 4th is National Wear Red Day to support the fight against heart disease.

Till next month have the spirit of encouragement!


Less Is More: January 2011

Welcome everyone to “Less is More” an interactive exchange of ideas for better healthier living

with, Children’s Medical Group, (CMG) staff, patients, and parents. Through this news letter we hope to provide information on various websites, local classes, insurance bulletins, events etc. that promote healthier life styles.

As many of the CMG staff are aware through our health insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield, (BCBS) we are mailed bulletins to our homes that contain health information that is available to us free of charge.   BCBS provides health coaches for chronic conditions by phone. Reduced membership fees to Weight Watchers, web sites, reminders about flu shots and so on.  Parents you may have similar information available to you through your insurance carriers such as BCBS, HealthPlus, Blue Care Network, and Aetna to name a few.

Check out these websites sponsored by BCBS and  I have made a CMG group on Feel Great in Eight and it is hoped that other interested parties will join me on a new eight week program beginning January 10th for a healthier 2011.

Healthier living isn’t just about less weight, but about less stress, less fatigue, less inactivity, less negativity. With a healthier life style we actually want to gain something.  What we gain is more. More control, more energy, more positive attitudes, more time, more self-esteem and the list goes on.

Better living includes keeping our minds active as well as our bodies. To have success we have to get our minds engaged with positive words.  Not:   “I’ll try” but   “ I will”. Don’t sabotage yourself by thinking I’m not good enough to join a swim team, a pom pon team, track team.  I can’t lose weight I’ve tried everything.  Don’t be practical minded and manufacture a ca-zillion reasons for not doing something.  Think of your toddler or you at an early age.  Full of wonder, gung ho, everything new and exciting.  No one has offered up those self-deprecating thoughts-you’ll never make it. Think big, why keep ourselves small by making excuses.

Remember our minds and bodies are ours.   We can change our mission statement at anytime.  We can toss out old habits and create better choices.

The new year lies before us. There’s no time for regrets.  I can and will make a change.  Help is available to reach our goals. Let’s get started.