Little Free Library in Glendale!

Have you ever heard of the Little Free Library?

One of our Urban Toot Staffers and his family have decided to take on this very cool project of creating their own mini public library. The exact location hasn’t been determined yet (we’ll let you know when it is).

How little you ask. Very little. Here is a picture of a common library.

Little Free Library

Here is the deal. The Little Free Library says that their Mission is to: 

  • To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
  • To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
  • To build more than 2,510 libraries around the world–more than Andrew Carnegie!

Sounds pretty cool! What is so appealing to us is that it promotes literacy and community. It makes a statement of  “We trust you. we know that you could steal all the books, you could damage our little library but we trust that you won’t.” In other words it builds community.

In today’s world of me, me, me it’s tough to find a worthy project that’s worth supporting. In fact sometimes it’s tough just to find a project not to be cynical about. Today Urban Toot wants to challenge you to be more then just yourself and to get behind a project in which many, many things can go wrong but the Staff at Urban Toot wants to believe that it will go right!

We’ll keep you up to date with what’s going on with the Free Library Project. In the mean time what community projects do you support? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

 

Feature Photo Image from Neighborhood Library Builders Guild’s Facebook Page

No End to Graffiti

Remember back on March 30th when we wrote about Graffiti in Glendale and about how awesome it is that the Neighborhood Services Program goes around the city and cleans it up. That way the Graffiti Taggers pretty much learn that it’s useless to Tag in Glendale because it won’t stay? It’s a great concept except for one thing. You really have to do it or it doesn’t work. In fact things only get worse.

How do we know? Because they have become worse, much worse.

Not only is the Graffiti that we reported to you on March 30th still right there on the path that many school children take when they walk to school but it’s also spread to the Wash where it’s bigger and more of any eyesore!

We originally contacted the city via the graffiti removal web form told about the problem, identified where the problem was and we received a response from John J. Brownell, Senior Neighborhood Services Supervisor that said;

Thanks for the request.  It will be scheduled for follow-up. – John J. Brownell

Guess what? They haven’t done anything. Not one thing to clean this up. It’s been over a month and nothing. Shame on you City of Glendale. Clean up your city!


10 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Preschool

The things to look for in a preschool = the right fit. When looking for a preschool life the options of various programs can be overwhelming. Here are ten questions to ask when looking for a preschool:

1. Class size, as well as the size of the entire school. Small is better.

2. Student/teacher ratio. How many adults are with the children. More is better.

3. Food. What do they serve the children to eat and how often.

4. Quiet time. Are there areas where children can be quiet, such as a play dough, art or reading table.

5. Communication. Listen to how the children are spoken to.

6. Teachers education and work experience : more is better. AA degree preferred as aminimum in early childhood education.

7. Directors education and work experience. BA degree minimum, masters preferred.

8. Art. Are the children engaged in being artistically creative every

day, and how.

9. Music. Is there singing, dancing and music being played all through out the day.

10.Literature. Is there children’s literature in the classroomand being read consistently.

With these questions you can find the rightness of fit for your child based on learning what is the core philosophy of each school you visit. It is a big decision, based on a brief visit, recommendations, and trust. Listen to your feelings.  I know there are many wonderful preschools in Glendale and the surrounding communities to meet your needs.

 

Debbie Bacino has been an early childhood educator for the past twenty years as a preschool teacher, director and parent educator. She is a member of the National Association of Early Childhood Educators, Pasadena City College’s Advisory Board and a local preschool directors networking group. Debbie is the owner and Director of La Canada Preschool. Her vision is to provide the best environment for children to experience discovery and their sense of wonder at this magical moment in human development.

 

Flickr Creative Commons images: Reading by Kaylhew, Crafts by Mrs. Flinger, Music by Cambodia4kidsorg

Good Intentions

When we start something new or make a promise to ourselves it is usually with good intentions in mind.  We start with a positive can do attitude and are not planning on taking a detour or hitting a roadblock along the way.  However life happens and maybe your plan that you thought was such a great idea was not such a doable one after all.  Maybe giving up all sugar for example was a little extreme.

This past summer I started training for a 25k (15.7 miles) Trail Race with good intentions in mind of course.   This wasn’t just any trail race however.  This was the Bulldog named after its long 4.3 mile long hill that climbs up to 2500 hundred feet.  This was a brutal trail race and it was supposed to be my  “first” big comeback race since the birth of my youngest son.  Sure I had run the local races around town but this was going to be my first big test.  For those of you that don’t know, my third pregnancy really threw me for a loop both mentally and physically and finally two years later I felt ready to go at it again.

Well the big day arrived and my body was ready, but mentally I was not.  It was literally the HOTTEST day of the summer and I began to have my doubts.  I had been envisioning a top three finish but that soon clearly became not the case.  In the middle of the wretched Bulldog hill all I wanted to do was turn around.  It was hot, I had fallen off the pace and there was an “old “ lady that just passed me up the hill.  My good intentions started to turn into no intentions.  My friend’s husband caught up with me and we started talking.  Clearly if I was able to hold a conversation up the Bulldog with him I was not pushing myself.  We arrived at the aid station at mile 7 and after the volunteer doused me with fabulously cold water something clicked in me.  My race was not going how I had envisioned it to but I was not a quitter.  I said so long to my friend’s husband and was off.  My body was flying up and down the trail and I was passing runner after runner.   I came through the finish line feeling depleted.  I made up so much time I ended up beating my friend’s husband by eleven minutes.  I did not finish in the top three as I hoped but I felt good that I did not let my whole entire race fall apart.  My intentions were to run hard and finish at least third woman.  My reality:  I ran hard the second half of the race and had to settle for sixth woman.  As I drove home from the race that day I felt disappointed and sad that I did not accomplish what I had set out to do. (I was also wising that I was not such a competitive person!)  However I did not let myself completely fall apart which is something I should be proud of.  My goal that I had set for myself with good intentions in mind was not completely fulfilled but I did not abandon it because I hit a roadblock.

When you set a goal for yourself whether it is to include more fruits and veggies in your diet or to workout more often and you hit a roadblock don’t jump ship.  Get over the obstacle and continue where you left off.    It is often thought that if a person eats one so called bad food during the day that their diet is ruined and they may as well continue to eat poorly the rest of the day.  This is not the case.  Get over the “bad food” and jump back to your plan.  The same goes for exercise.  If you can’t get your full one-hour workout in and can only fit in 30 minutes, do it!  Something is better that nothing.

So next time your healthy living plan that was made with good intentions of course does not go as planned don’t jump ship.  Make adjustments and continue on.

 

Katie Valdes MS RD CSSD

Katie is a Registered Dietitian specializing in weight management, sports nutrition and child nutrition. Katie maintains her own practice in Southern California consulting with individuals of all ages.  She has taught university nutrition classes, conducted nutrition seminars and lectures, and continues to author a nutrition newsletter.

She is an avid runner, having regularly run long distance competitively in high school, at USC, and she continues to do it today while pushing two of her three children, ages 25, and 8, in a stroller.  Katie has placed 13th overall female in the Los Angeles Marathon, 4th overall female in the Napa Valley Marathon and regularly ranks at the top of her class in races today.

Katie holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is Board Certified in Sports Dietetics in addition to her Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science from USC.

 

Image from Flickr Creative Commons lululemonathletica

Sports Nutrition Tips for Active Kids

Just because they are young and small, does not mean that kids do not need to fuel properly before a competition.  The proper amount of food and fluid is necessary before a competition and can make or break their performance.

Eat Smart Before You Compete

Save the heavy junk food for after (or not at all) and have your child fuel with meals and snacks that will provide a good energy balance.  Eating the proper foods will not only keep their playing skills sharp but will also keep their minds alert as well.    Have your child eat a healthy meal or snack 2 to 4 hours before they compete.

  • Cereal with milk and fruit
  • Granola bar with yogurt and a banana
  • Turkey sandwich on wheat with milk and fruit.
  • For the child who is too nervous to eat before a game a homemade smoothie might do the trick made with yogurt, fresh fruit and milk.

Drinking the Right Fluids

Making sure your child is hydrated is the key to a great performance. Not being properly hydrated is a recipe for disaster.  To ensure that your child is drinking enough throughout the day be sure to follow these simple steps:

  • Pack a water bottle in their backpack
  • Offer fluids at every meal
  • Offer extra fluids at lunch to prepare for an afternoon game
  • Drink during games and practices
  • Water is best

What to Eat After the Competition is Over

Following competition it is important to eat within 1 hour.  This allows the body to recover properly and to replenish diminished energy stores.  When a meal is eaten immediately after exercise the rate of recovery and replenishment is much higher than if a meal is consumed at a later time (>1 hr).  Any well-balanced meal will do.  If junk food is a must, now is the time to have it.  But remember don’t go overboard because the healthier the foods you put into your child’s body the better they will perform.

 

Katie Valdes, MS, RD, CSSD rnkvaldes@aol.com

Katie is a Registered Dietitian specializing in weight management, sports nutrition and child nutrition. Katie maintains her own practice in Southern California consulting with individuals of all ages.  She has taught university nutrition classes, conducted nutrition seminars and lectures, and continues to author a nutrition newsletter.

She is an avid runner, having regularly run long distance competitively in high school, at USC, and she continues to do it today while pushing two of her three children, ages 25, and 8, in a stroller.  Katie has placed 13th overall female in the Los Angeles Marathon, 4th overall female in the Napa Valley Marathon and regularly ranks at the top of her class in races today.

Katie holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is Board Certified in Sports Dietetics in addition to her Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science from USC.

 

 

Flickr Creative Commons Image Sources: Virginia’s Photostream, Humphrey’s Photostream, and Rick McCharles

Baby it’s hot outside

Summer is fast approaching and warm weather is just around the corner.  In fact we experienced some spring heat this past weekend.  As the weather gets hotter keeping our kids hydrated becomes a top priority.  When playing outside or in sporting events children acclimate to the heat but not as quickly as adults do.  Children also have a greater ratio of body surface area to mass, meaning that they have more skin surface area from which to gain or lose heat for each pound of body weight.  This is good except when it is hot and the outside temperature exceeds the skins temperature.   So in turn kids gain more heat from the outside temperature and are unable to get rid of it as quickly.  This is due to the fact that children have a lower rate of sweat loss than adults.   So what can you do as a parent to keep your kids safe this summer in heat?

  1. Expose your kids to the heat slowly.  The more days they spend outside playing in the heat the more their body will acclimate to it.  Increase the amount of time they spend playing in the heat each day and they will soon adjust.
  2. Make sure to keep your kids properly hydrated.  Water is always best.  Excessive amounts of juice and sports drinks only add unwanted calories and sugar.  Sports drinks however are very useful if your child is playing in a sporting event in a hot environment and a lot of running is involved.  If your child does like plain water, flavor with fresh fruit slices or make fruit ice cubes to place in the water.
  3. Proper hydration can be met in a variety of ways.  Think beyond water.  Below is a list of foods that you can include in your child’s diet throughout the day to make sure he/she is staying properly hydrated.

           20 Top Foods to keep you hydrated (greatest to least hydrating)

 

1.Cucumbers
2.Iceberg Lettuce
3.Sweet Peppers
4.Watermelon
5.Tomatoes
6.Canned mushrooms
7.Papayas
8.Honeydew melon
9.Onions
10.Peaches
11.Pears
12.Applesauce
13.Yogurt
14.Squash
15.Pasta Sauce
16.Oranges
17.Cooked Cream of wheat
18.Canned plums
19.Mandarin oranges
20.Cottage Cheese

  1. Studies show that kids will drink more when the beverage is cold.  So be prepared and have ready to drink sippy cupsor bottles filled with water that are easily accessible to your child. Put them in an easy to reach place in the refrigerator or carry a small cooler in your car during the summer months.

Play it safe this summer and keeps your kids cool and hydrated.

Katie Valdes MS RD CSSD rnkvaldes@aol.com

Images from Flickr Creative Commons: Water Fountain Drink, Hot Summer,  Kids Playing, Drink of Water

Pet Safety Tips!

I was recently at my vet’s office, Parkview Pet Clinic in Glendale, and saw a flyer printed by the ASPCA which read, “101 things you didn’t know could harm your pet”. I consider myself to be pretty cautious and careful with my two Labs but I was interested to see if I knew of the 101 things.  I learned a lot and wanted to share with you.

The first thing that I learned was: “of the 167,000 poisoning cases handled by the Animal Poison Control Center in 2012, the no. 1 culprit was human medications” (ASPCA).  This seems crazy to me since all of our medications are in the cabinet above our sink in our bathroom.  I have yet to see either of my Labs crawl onto the sink counter and open the cabinet but I also understand that people might leave their medications laying around the house where pets can get to them.

The ASPCA explains that symptoms of poisoning vary but your pet may experience vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy.  If you experience this with your pet you can call 24/7 to the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.  Be prepared with your pet’s breed, age and potential poison.

Now is the moment of confession…..yes we have had to call this number.  When our Lab puppy was a few months old, she got into some grapes.  One of the kids left a bowl on a coffee table and the puppy grabbed a bunch and ran off to eat them without anyone noticing. (Just for the record I was not home at the time!).  When I returned home and found an empty vine of grapes I panicked.  I knew that grapes are toxic to dogs!  We called the poison control center and they walked us through a process of helping our dog.  They charged us $75 to our credit card but I will share the secret with you for free.  If you discover that your dog has just eaten something toxic you can induce vomiting right away with the attempt to get it out of their system right away.  Give your dog a soft piece of bread and then 1-2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.  You can stir the peroxide into some peanut butter or yogurt, something that your dog will enjoy eating quickly.  Then head outside and wait for your poor puppy to vomit. She will pace around and feel terrible, not fun to watch. Then she will throw up the toxic food that she shouldn’t have and will feel much better.  It was super fun for us to count the grapes in a puddle of puck!  We had round two with another dog that got into some chocolate.  Having shared this with you, if you have an emergency you can also head to the emergency clinic or vet’s office for professional intervention.  Poisoning is nothing to mess around with.  Sometimes stomach pumping or surgery is needed in these situations.

 

Now that I have totally scared you and gotten your attention, here are the lists of items to look out for…..

Household Items

Household Items: ibuprofen and aspirin, acetaminophen, cold and flu meds., antidepressants, vitamins, diet pills, anti-cancer drugs, tobacco products, detergents, fabric softener, drain cleaners, oven cleaner sprays, disinfectants, bleach, lime/scale remover, paint thinners, lighter fluid, insecticides, flea and tick products, rodent bait, mothballs, fly bait, lead and liquid potpourri.

Harmful Foods: chocolate, gum and candy, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, onions, garlic, salt, tea leaves, coffee, alcoholic beverages, raw yeast dough, spoiled foods and fatty foods.

Objects: balls, sharp objects, coins, buttons, batteries, twist ties, rubber bands, cotton swabs, glass, hair pins, jewelry, nylons, paper clips, plastic wrap, yarn or needles & thread, dental floss, electric cords, wax, socks, and towels.

Harmful Foods

Common Plants: aloe, amaryllis, Andromeda japonica, Asian lily, asparagus fern, Australian nut, autumn crocus, azalea, belladonna, bird of paradise, bittersweet, black locust, branching ivy, buckeye, Buddhist pine, caladium, calla lily, castor bean, ceriman, clematis, cordatum, corn plant, cycads, cyclamen, daffodil, daylily, devil’s ivy, dieffenbachia, dumb cane, Easter lily, elephant ear, emerald fern, English ivy, eucalyptus, ferns, fiddle-leaf-philodendron, Florida beauty, foxglove, glacier ivy, gladiolas, gold dust dracaena, golden pothos, heavenly bamboo, honeysuckle, hurricane plant, hyacinth, hydrangea, iris, Jerusalem Cherry, jimson weed, kalanchoe, lantana, lilies, lily of the valley, lupine, marble queen, morning glory, mother-in-law, mountain laurel, narcissus, needlepoint ivy, nepthysis, nightshade, oleander, panda, peace lily, philodendron, poison hemlock, precatory bean, privet, red emerald, rhododendron, ribbon plant, sago palm, stain pothos, schefflera, striped dracaena, sweetheart ivy, tulip, water hemlock, wisteria, yew and yucca.

Trouble Areas: doors and windows, balconies, bathtubs and since, toilets, washer and dryer and fireplaces. Dogs are more likely to be injured in these areas of your home.  Keep your pets away from these places or watch them closely when they’re near them if you can.

Outside the Home

Outside the home: algae, antifreeze/coolant, fire pit/grill, fences or gates, deck lattice, non-pet safe de-icing salts, compost, gasoline, oil, pesticides, fertilizer, pools and hot tubs.  Make sure that your dogs are safe if they enjoy the outdoors by keeping them leashed and away from these potential dangers.

I know this is a lot of information.  I felt that it was important to write because I have heard of too many stories of pets lost due to poisoning.  My sister-in-law lost her beloved dog due to raisin poisoning.  He got into a container of trail mix and ate a large amount of raisins.  When dogs eat raisins it causes them to go into renal failure.  So very sad.  We have also had our brushes with potential life threatening poisonings but thankfully have not lost a pet.  Let’s all keep our furry ones close and safe!

Maggie Mason, M.S.W.

Mother of two humans and two canines. Author and therapist in “pre-mom life”.

Earth Day in Glendale!

Earth Day

April 21 & 22

Looking for some good Glendale Earth Day Celebrations? You should check out whats happening at Descanso Gardens!

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
Saturday | 3:30 p.m. | Under the Oaks Theater

“If music be the food of love, play on!” Revel in the pleasures of the Bard’s luminous comedy presented by the California Shakespeare Ensemble in the shade of Descanso’s oak trees. Enjoy live harp music ahttp://urbantoot.com/wp-admin/edit.php?page=cal#nd purchase selections from an organic wine bar as part of the revels. Free with admission. Recommended for ages 12 and older.

Mobile Homeboys in concert
Sunday | Noon-2 p.m. | Under the Oaks Theater

This rocking ensemble is a Descanso musical favorite. Sit back and enjoy an afternoon of hard-charging country-flavored rock and roll. Free with admission.

Earth Day Activities & Barbecue
Sunday | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Main Lawn

Learn more about ecosystems at Descanso’s annual Earth Day celebration. Children can explore nature through hands-on activities. Discover the “locavore” culinary movement, celebrating locally raised food, at Patina’s eco-friendly barbecue where mouth-watering selections will be sold. Most activities free with admission.

 

 

 

 

Gardening With Your Little Ones

Spring is right around the corner believe it or not and that means that it is time to start planning your vegetable garden.  Growing a vegetable garden is a great family activity.  Not only does it allow for some family bonding time, it teaches your child about where food comes from.  And if your child has been involved in the gardening process they are more likely to eat the vegetables they have grown themselves.

Peak your child’s interest by reading books on gardening together.  Some great fun reads are: How Groundhog’s Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry and Muncha, Muncha, Muncha  by Candace Fleming.  You can also visit local farmer’s markets, pick-your own vegetable farms and community gardens.  This will allow your child to talk with the growers themselves.  Now let’s get started!

  1. Vegetables love the sun so pick a nice sunny location in your yard.  If you don’t have a yard, don’t despair, a couple of large containers will work just as well.
  2. Prepare your dirt with some good soil amendments/fertilizer that can be found at local nursery or hardware stores.
  3. Pick your veggies.  Depending on where you live you will either want to start your vegetables from seed or plants.  Some good, easy-to-grow, and nutritious choices are tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, beans, and if space allows, pumpkins.
  4. If you are feeling adventurous, add some herbs to your garden as well.  Some great summer choices are basil, chives, oregano, thyme and cilantro.
  5. To keep your plants healthy make sure to water regularly and watch out for pesky bugs.  You can purchase organic pest sprays, ladybugs and/or praying mantis to help keep pests at bay.

Since growing vegetables can take some time, have your child keep a journal of the plants growth, either through words or pictures.  This will not only keep your child interested but it will also help you keep track of when your plants should be harvested.  All that is left to do now is to sit back and eat your veggies.  If your child was not eating vegetables before, I guarantee you they will be eating their vegetables now.

Katie Valdes MS RD CSSD

Katie is a Registered Dietitian specializing in weight management, sports nutrition and child nutrition. Katie maintains her own practice in Southern California consulting with individuals of all ages.  She has taught university nutrition classes, conducted nutrition seminars and lectures, and continues to author a nutrition newsletter.

She is an avid runner, having regularly run long distance competitively in high school, at USC, and she continues to do it today while pushing two of her three children, ages 25, and 8, in a stroller.  Katie has placed 13th overall female in the Los Angeles Marathon, 4th overall female in the Napa Valley Marathon and regularly ranks at the top of her class in races today.

Katie holds a Masters Degree in Nutrition and is Board Certified in Sports Dietetics in addition to her Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science from USC.

 

 

Images sources from flickr Creative Commons: Seeds, Enormous Cucumber, Planting

 

 

Bruce Davidson and Nature in Los Angeles

Bruce Davidson is a Magnum photographer and he recently spoke to the New Yorker about tree’s and nature. Urban Toot thought that it was fitting that for this Earth Day the tree’s of Los Angeles get some of the love and recognition that they deserve!

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.