Thursday, November 29, 2007

Toy Safety at Christmastime

From Newsweek:
It’s a tough year to be a toy-buying parent. In recent months, almost 25 million mostly Chinese-made toys have been recalled because they have dangerous amounts of lead or magnets—which can cause intestinal damage when swallowed—in them. Then there were Aqua Dots, pulled when it was discovered that the popular beads were coated with a toxic chemical that metabolizes into gamma hydroxy butyrate, or GHB—the date-rape drug. Last week California filed suit against 20 toy companies, alleging that they had knowingly exposed kids to unlawful levels of lead.
The article goes on to give practical tips for making sure toys are safe for kids--you can read the rest of the article at Newsweek.

December Family Events Calendar

Rotary Holiday Lights • Through Sun, Dec. 31 • Riverside Park, La Crosse
• More than one million lights illuminate Riverside Park from 5-10 pm daily (5-9 pm on Dec. 24 & 25), including a 140-foot Christmas tree, drive-through tunnel of lights, live entertainment on select nights, hayrides, carriage rides, animated light displays, live Nativity scene, and Santa. More info: (800) 658-9424 or

Old World Christmas • Weekends through Christmas, 8 am-5 pm • downtown Winona
• Wagon rides and visits with Santa, strolling carolers, Christmas decorations and lighting, sales. More info: 452-3722

Light Up Galesville • Daily, 5–10 pm, through Dec 31 • Trempealeau County fairgrounds, Galesville
• Lights display, Santa Claus, sleigh rides, free hot chocolate and coffee.

Holiday Lighted Parade • Sat, Dec. 1, 5:30 pm • Goodview
• Numerous lighted Christmas floats, elves, and Santa. Parade route follows 6th St., beginning at 40th Ave. Fireworks and refreshments to follow in Memorial Park. More info: 452-2618

Breakfast with Santa • Sat, Dec 1, 7 am – 11 am • Pickwick Fire Department
• Have breakfast with the department’s firefighter Santa Claus; kids can have pictures taken with Santa. $5. More info: 454-2263

Visit with Santa Claus • Wed, Dec. 5, 5–7 pm • Kryzko Commons, Winona State University
• Have your picture taken with Santa. Punch and cookies will be served.

Breastfeeding Class • Thu., Dec. 6, 1:30 pm • Community Memorial Hospital
• This class will help expecting mothers to prepare for breastfeeding their baby. Cost: $10 per participant/couple.

Gingerbread House Contest
• Fri., Dec. 7 – Mon., Dec. 17 • Bank lobbies in downtown Winona
• The five banks located in downtown Winona will be sponsoring a gingerbread house contest; come see the houses on display in the banks’ lobbies. Vote on your favorites Dec. 7–13.

Breakfast with Santa • Sat., Dec. 8, 8 am – noon • Buffalo Town Hall, Buffalo
• Pancake breakfast, raffle, bake sale, and pictures with Santa. Adults $5.50, children $3.

Christmas for the Birds • Sat, Dec 8, 9:30 am • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge
• Build a birdfeeder from recycled products to give our feathered friends a happy holiday. All supplies and materials, including seeds, will be provided. A short presentation about winter bird watching will take place during the activity. Meet at the refuge office. More info: (608) 539-2311

Christmas Toy Store • Sat., Dec. 8, 9 am – 1 pm • National Guard Amory, 1303 Homer Road
• All parents who are in need of some help providing a Christmas gift for their children are encouraged to attend the Christmas Toy Store, which is sponsored in conjunction with Hiawatha Valley Marines Toys for Tots. Toys are free; parents will be asked for the first names and ages of their children. New toys will be put out throughout the day. More info: Christine Bellock, 458-5203.

Drop ‘n’ Shop • Sat., Dec. 8, 10 am – 2 pm • Community Bible Church, 69 East Third Street
• Do your Christmas shopping while your kids enjoy games, coloring, crafts, and other fun activities. Cash or non-perishable food items will be collected for area food shelves in conjunction with the Ten Days of Giving.

Christmas Wonderland Parade of Lights • Sat., Dec. 8, 7 pm • Downtown Rushford
• The 12th annual Christmas Wonderland Parade of Lights includes visits with Santa, hot chocolate and cider, and cookies and caroling at the Rushford Fire Station. Monetary donations to the SEMCAC food shelf are encouraged.

Concert for the Hungry • Sun, Dec. 9, 2 pm • Winona State University Performing Arts Center
• WSU hosts the 7th Annual “Holiday Concert for the Hungry” with the WSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the WSU Chamber Orchestra. Admission is a non-perishable food item as part of the Ten Days of Giving. More info: 457-5257

CPR Holiday Train • Mon, Dec. 10, 5-6 pm • Amtrak Depot, Winona
• Live performance featuring Tracey Brown, Juno award-winner Colin Linden, and the critically acclaimed family duo Ennis from the lighted Canadian Pacific Railroad Holiday Train. “Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early and check the arrival time prior to attending as this schedule is subject to change.” Food items and cash donations will be collected to benefit Winona Volunteer Services. More info: or 452-8612 (Amtrak station)

WCDCPA Holiday Fair • Sat., Dec. 15, 10 am – 2 pm • Winona Mall
• The Winona County Day Care Providers Association sponsor their annual Holiday Fair, including food, vendors, and visits with Santa.

The Nutcracker • Sat., Dec. 15, 2 pm; Sun., Dec. 16, 1 & 4 pm • Mayo Civic Center, Rochester
• The Rochester Dance Company will present The Nutcracker at Mayo Civic Center’s Presentation Hall. The production will include more than 75 talented young dancers from Rochester and the surrounding area, dancing alongside professional guest artists. After each performance, audience members will be invited to attend a Land of Sweets Party at the Civic Center (for an additional $6 cost), where they can enjoy holiday treats and capture memories by taking photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara and other Nutcracker characters. Cost: $15-$18. Reserve tickets through the Mayo Civic Center Box Office, 507-252-1010 or online at

Big Family New Year’s Eve • Mon., Dec. 31, 5:30 – 10 pm • Central High School, La Crosse
• Food vendors, family board games, inflatables, live entertainment, dancing, open gym, toddlers’ area. Bonfire and fireworks at 6 pm. More info:

Did we forget your event? Add it in the comments section.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Help Us Make a Kid-Friendly Cookbook

Dear friends,

The ECFE PTA is hoping to gather together a collection of recipes that are child-friendly, either those that children like to help cook or those they really like to eat. Quick and easy recipes are also a good bet. Please consider submitting more than one recipe. Our book will include the following sections:

Appetizers and Beverages
Soups and Salads
Side Dishes
Main Dishes
What to Pack for Lunch
Kid-Friendly Cleaning Tips
Craft Recipes
This and That (a catch-all for recipes that don’t fit elsewhere)

The finished book will also include ECFE children’s artwork and will be available for purchase in the early spring.

Please turn in your recipes by Friday, December 14. You can submit recipes and make suggestions by e-mailing Jill Krase jillkrase ~at~ charter . net. (Replace the "~at~ with the
ppropriate keyboard symbol and remove spaces from her address, of course.) You may also pick up recipe forms at the ECFE office at Goodview School.

All recipes should include a title, the name of the person who submitted it, an ingredients list (be sure to include container sizes, e.g., a 16 oz can), and clear directions.

Thanks for contributing to this effort!

Sleep May Affect Postpartem Weight Loss

A new study finds that sleep, as elusive as it may be, may play an important role in helping women lose weight after the birth of a baby, according to MedPage Today:
OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 21 -- Women deprived of only a couple hours of sleep a night after the birth of a child may find it more difficult even a year later to lose weight gained during pregnancy.

New mothers who slept five hours or less per day when their babies were six months old were three times more likely to have retained at least 11 pounds at one year than those who slept seven hours per day, showed results of a large cohort study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The story cautions that "the study was not designed to show whether increasing sleep duration after the birth of a child would help women lose weight." Read the whole story at MedPage Today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Winona Health Fantasy of Trees

The sixth annual Winona Health Auxiliary Fantasy of Trees will be held on Friday, November 16, from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. and on Saturday, November 17, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Watkins Manor Great Hall, 175 East Wabasha Street.

The Fantasy of Trees will feature beautifully decorated holiday trees, which will be available for purchase by sealed bids. The themed trees have been donated and designed by various businesses, organizations and individuals. At the end of the silent auction, the highest bids will be accepted and the winners will be notified by phone. Also available for sale will be holiday centerpieces, wreaths and decorations individually priced and sold from display. See's Candy will also be available for purchase

On Friday, entertainment will include Jean Smith on the Watkins Great Hall organ from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. and Emily Brom playing the flute from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

On Saturday, entertainment will include harpists Jonelle Moore, Kathy Geiger, Vickie Kunz and Barb Manahan from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m., Taff Roberts reading a Child's Christmas in Wales at 2 p.m.., and Jean Smith on the Watkins Great Hall organ and Emily Brom playing flute throughout the day. Also on Saturday, Santa will visit from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Parents bring your cameras for a photo with Santa.

Raffle tickets to win a sleigh centerpiece, grapevine tree or a floral reindeer will be available for one dollar per ticket on both days. Proceeds from the sale will be used for Auxiliary projects including healthcare scholarships and a patient lift system. For more information please call the Winona Health Volunteer Services Office at 507.474.3328.

Photos from Flippin' for Books

About 300 kids and 250 adults attended the 2nd Annual Flippin' for Books Literacy and Wellness Fair on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Senior High.
Thanks to our many sponsors!

Eating pancakes, sausage, and fruit is even more fun when it's free!

Every child received a free book to take home and read.

Creating with Wikki Stix
Face painting, courtesy of the MN Marine Art Museum

Many local organizations offered kid-friendly information and activities.

Early Childhood Family Education's booth--looks great Stephanie & Ann!

Storytime with guest reader, Ms. Michael Nelson

Winona County Public Health nurses provided a car seat clinic
with support from ECFE PTA. Approximately 30 carseats were checked
& properly re-installed.

The smile says it all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Minnesota Marine Art Museum Family Programs

Toddler Tuesday is November 13th!
10:30am- Noon
Come and Go as You Please!
Attention all Toddlers (not yet in kindergarten)! Grab your favorite grownup(s) and head over to the Museum for a kid-friendly discovery day in the galleries! Expect to do some activities, exploring, snacking and more! This busy morning will engage you in a variety of ways, and even give you and your grown up something fun to think about the next time you visit! Sponsored by Target.


This site is for you if you're a parent, grandparent, professional, or community member who wants to support Winona's youngest citizens--kids ages 0-5.