The WH Game

wpid-wp-1426820042663.jpegIs your family into games? Or, are they not that into games but you wish they were? Either way, I’m going to tell you about one of the simplest yet most successful games we’ve ever played (and still play several times per week). When I ask “who wants to play the WH game?” as it is so fondly called in our house, the reply is a shrieking stampede for the living room. As some of you might know from my article on childmind.org, I’m a fan of making up the rules as I go along, and the WH game was born in similar fashion.

I originally created the WH game for two reasons: 1) to help my 4 and 5 year old recognize WH words more fluently when reading, and 2) as a compact activity that traveled easily into waiting rooms, long lines and the minivan. What started as six index cards with “who, what, where, when, why and how” written on each has transformed into hundreds of index cards with anything from “how many minutes are in an hour?” to “The endermen were coming to get him” (for the Minecraft-obsessed in our house). But before I make this sound more complicated than it is, let me lay out the basics for you.

Age: Pre-K and older Continue reading

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Oreos are dairy free (and other tasty surprises for the allergy-afflicted)

512px-Happy_Cookie_FridayIan has struggled with allergies since he was 5 months old, the worst ones being dairy and nuts. As avid dairy lovers, we’ve been reluctant to give up our favorite treats, yet it’s hard not to feel a small twinge of guilt every time Ian asks hopefully, “Can I have some of that?” or says “No fank you, those chips will make me throw up in the pool.” So over the last two years we have come up with some easy-to-find, almost-as-tasty substitutes for lots of those puppy-eyed situations. The guilt is somehow less crushing if I can offer an Oreo.

1. Oreos. Have I mentioned Oreos yet? Oreos are dairy free, and let’s face it, delicious and addictive. When I know we’ll be baking “real” cookies or desserts, I make sure to get a couple flavors of Oreos we haven’t had in a while. It usually works, the main problem being that now I’m going to eat twice as many treats.

2. Bagels. Most brands of bagels offer dairy free flavors, Einstein Brothers is a family favorite, but Pepperidge Farm brand is a good grocery store option. I like to keep these on hand as a substitute for the even less healthy freezer waffle.

3. Ghiarardelli 72% Squares and other dark chocolates. Check the ingredients – cocoa butter is not butter. And dark chocolate is more healthy and satisfies chocolate cravings more quickly. Win-win-win.

4. Dole Chopped Sunflower Crunch Salad. This salad is perhaps the Best Salad Ever, with a creamy, delicious, dairy free dressing. Recently, my husband casually asked, “Do you think we could try another kind of salad sometime?” and it was only then that I realized I had been eating this same salad every night for about 3 weeks running. Maybe it was closer to 4. Go pick one up and you’ll understand. Continue reading