Ready for the Revolution?

Food Revolution Day 2013

Ah, food food food glorious food. Last year’s Food Revolution Day, a campaign launched by Jamie Oliver, was a huge success and this year’s should be even better. This Friday, May 17th is the day for people who love food to be a more mindful community making better food choices, and understand food’s impact on health.

Just take a stroll through any-town-USA and it’s clear a lot of folks still haven’t got the message. This worldwide one-day food education event is not only about fun, but continues to raise awareness about America’s ongoing battle with obesity.

Watch this YouTube video with ideas for events in the workplace, in schools and to see who’s supporting Food Revolution Day 2013.

To find an event near you, go to Jamie Oliver says it’s high time to “stand up for real food and for food education.”  His food foundation is chock full of ideas to get involved or launch your own event. Download this free bling to help promote Food Revolution 2013 and the activities in your neighborhood.

More and more Americans embrace a locavore lifestyle which includes making smart food choices as part of living well.  And, we know that that living well never gets old!

As Jamie Oliver says, “Cook it. Share It. Live It.”

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This Mother’s Day

How will you honor the mothers in your life?

Why not start by making it an eco-friendly day of celebration.

First, start with the greeting card. Save paper, ink and postage by sending an e-card this year. And, since most Moms love chocolate, gift her from Fair Trade chocolatiers like Sweet Earth, Dagoba and Green & Blacks Organic. In a neat twist, especially if Mom is a gardener, give her Garden Bon Bons. Warning, these chocolate truffles are NOT for eating. In reality they’re seed bombs (truffles containing seeds, compost and clay) made by the Seattle-based design firm Moulton. Don’t forget the flowers and be sure to make them Fair Trade flowers.  The latest buzz is all about up-cycle shopping and crafter Mom’s will love any of these handmade gifts. Naturally, our favorite online places to shop are Bette Recommends and Bette’s Boutique.

The best way to honor mothers is with what they want most – TIME – time with their children or grandchildren and friends. Spend the day with your Mom at your local farmer’s market. Or splurge on a trip to wine country (bio-dynamic and sustainable of course). A simple online search should turn up one near you. Does Mom enjoy an occasional glass of beer?  Make sure to tap the brew pub and craft brewers in your town who make mindful business decisions based on minimizing environmental impact, and being socially responsible contributors to their communities.

There are more and more sustainable options than ever before available to help us all make this Mother’s Day truly memorable. We’d love to hear about your choices and how you plan to make your Mother’s Day sustainable.

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Later Boomers Must Read!

I recently read a book that all later boomers should read; it may be too late for early boomers. The book is Parents to the End: How Baby Boomers Can Parent for Peace of Mind, Foster Responsibility in Their Adult Children, and Keep Their Hard-Earned Money, by Linda Herman. The book covers the many facets of parenting adult children. It reminds me of two books I read when my kids were toddlers: Reviving Ophelia and Real Boys. I read these books because I was about to navigate raising a daughter and a son. Parents to the End is the next step on this journey.

Just as Reviving Ophelia set the stage for bumps in the road on raising a daughter, in this book, Herman walks us through what early parenting has looked liked for most boomers. There is a good overview of how we moved “self-esteem” to the top of the ladder of importance to our children, and what effects this may have had.

Next she covers separation and individualization, which leads to several anecdotes on when this does not go well. Herman has been a psychotherapist in Seattle for over 20 years, and has much experience to draw from. There are many useful “lessons learned” sections.

Most helpful to me, as a parent of teens, is the summary of action items at the end of most sections such as: creating drive, grief and loss, forgiveness and letting go. This is a very valuable resource for navigating the potentially rough waters of your teens moving into adulthood.

Chapter eighteen covers “The Bill of Rights for Parents of Adult Children”:

  1. The right to be free from abuse
  2. The right to be free from guilt
  3. The right to peace of mind
  4. The right to have reasonable expectations
  5. The right to be imperfect
  6. The right to decide what to do with your own money
  7. The right to decide what to do with your own time
  8. The right to say “no”
  9. The right to selective association…and…
  10. The right to retirement

Having witnessed countless other struggles with some of the “rights” listed above, I found this particularly instructive.

The last chapter covers the “Twelve Truths About Parents of Adult Children” and each of these is equally instructive and even worth future review. This is a book to have on hand for the years to come. You could even do a baseline assessment of your own parenting style with the worksheets in Appendix A. Appendix B walks you through signs to diagnose if your child has a behavior problem (real or perceived). Lastly, Appendix C is a valuable worksheet for “personal coping skills for parents of adult children.”

While reading this insightful resource, I felt as though Linda Herman was sitting beside me. Her straightforward tone and ability to relate experiences provides solid advice and action items.

The Above mentioned books and more great books are available through our Bette Recommends web store.


By Guest Blogger, Austin Kilham, author

With spring upon us, parents of high school students across the country are planning visits to colleges. They’re looking for the right community and academic fit for their child. These same parents may be facing an equally important decision with their own aging parents: As they reach their advanced years, which senior living experience will be the right one for them?

Both processes can be overwhelming, but these five tips can help make the search for the best senior living community less stressful and more rewarding for you and your parents.

1. Do some online research.

When searching for an assisted living facility near your or your parents’ home, begin with some online research. Before you even visit, you can find out a lot about a facility’s location. Find out if it’s near hospitals or doctors’ offices, places to shop, and recreation. If far away from friends and family, find out if there are hotels nearby for when you come to visit. You can also check out local crime reports to find out if a neighborhood is safe.

Find out what other people are saying about a facility in online reviews. Are the reviews generally positive?

The Department of Health and Human Services for each state can be a good place to start your search. Or read reviews from other families in the directory of senior living communities at

2. Take a tour.

Once you’ve narrowed your selection down to a few choices, it’s time to take a tour. Going for a visit is the best way to get a feel for a place. Go with your instincts. Does the place feel homey to you? Are there interesting activities and pleasant common spaces where residents can interact with each other? Are residents using them? Check out the dining room. Is it a nice place to gather? Are the staff you meet along the way pleasant and responsive to you and the people living there?

3. Make a surprise visit.

A guided tour is a great way to get a feel for a facility, but remember, it’s also a way for that retirement community to promote itself — they’ll be putting their best foot forward. Dropping in when you’re unexpected is a good way to see if the tour is representative of what life at that community is like. If the atmosphere has changed dramatically, is less pleasant, or the staff won’t let you in, that may be your cue to look elsewhere.

4. Take a test drive.

Sometimes looking isn’t enough. Sit down to a meal with your parents at one of the dining rooms. Not only is it a good way to sample the food but it’s a great way to meet residents, see how they interact, and see whether they’re enjoying the dining experience.

For a better taste, many senior living facilities offer overnight stays. Having your parents stay for a few nights or over the weekend can give them a great sense of residential life.

5. Keep your parents involved.

Choosing the right senior living facility is ultimately about what’s most comfortable for your parents, so make sure to include them in every step of the decision-making process. It can make sense to do some preliminary research and even touring without them — you may have a parent who is no longer very mobile — but ultimately their input is necessary before any final decisions are made. Working through your parents’ desires and concerns will help you decide on a facility that fits them best during their golden years.

Austin Kilham is an author for, the leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. For more insights about choosing senior living, see Assisted Living: 5 Things You Should Never See, and 5 Things You Should.


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