On Monday afternoon I visited one of the Moms2B sites in Columbus. I first learned about the Moms2B program last year while I was campaigning across Ohio and I really fell in love with the program. I was introduced to the program by Twinkle Schottke, a woman who truly lives up to her name. She is the program director, and she has a personality that truly twinkles and sparkles with love and enthusiasm for young mothers and their babies.
Moms2B is a prenatal program, almost like a “club” for women who are pregnant or when their babies are in their first year. There are eight locations in the Columbus area, mostly located where there is high infant mortality. Most of the weekly meetings are in churches. At these meetings the women are served a good nutritious meal and helpers entertain their other children by reading stories to them and helping them color and paint and play. Then the moms sit around a circle, introduce themselves, and tell how old their baby is or when their baby is due. Usually there are a couple of speakers — a lactation consultant, maybe someone from WIC. They also get lessons about safe sleep for babies, nutrition, and “kick counts” — the way you count how many times your baby kicks you in a 10 minute period — which can be an indication of a baby in distress.
In addition to the weekly education and support sessions, the moms receive a $5 Kroger gift card for attendance, and transportation assistance if they need it. The program really helps women at high risk for infant mortality deliver healthy, full term babies. But what I really saw was women bonding with each other, helping each other, and learning to be better moms! And I truly believe that every mom wants to be a better mom!
I talked to the originator, Dr. Patricia Gabbe, a pediatrician and researcher at Ohio State about her dreams to expand the program to other parts of Ohio. They now have the data to show that the program really does reduce infant mortality. I can’t wait to see where the program goes.
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Later that evening Mike and I hosted well-known historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin for dinner at the Governor’s Residence. She was in Columbus to speak at the Ohio Capitol Speaker Series this week and graciously agreed to come to our home for dinner the night before with many community leaders.
Our 9-year-old grandson Parker was still in town, so as we were riding to Columbus one day, I played a little bit of Doris’ memoir “Wait Till Next Year,” just so he could learn a little bit about her. Parker’s dad runs the Asheville Tourists, a minor league baseball team. Her book is her own story of her life, and it is centered around her love of baseball, and the role it really played in bonding her and her father together. In the first chapter she tells of how exciting it was when her dad taught her all the intricacies of keeping score, and then relating the entire game to her dad, play by play, when he came home from work. After just listening to the first chapter, Parker was hooked. Mike read the rest of the book to him. I’m not sure which of them enjoyed that the most! When Doris arrived for dinner, I introduced Parker to her as her newest fan. It was so much fun to watch the two of them talk together about baseball.
We didn’t ask Doris to talk at our informal dinner, but she was gracious enough to take questions from our guests. The questions were thoughtful and her answers were fascinating. It was truly a memorable night for all of us. We were pleased to hear her speak the next day about her new book, which is about leadership. She talked about the five men she has spent the last 50 years with — the ones she has extensively researched and “lived with” — Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.
Lots of other things were going on here this week. Sunday was a beautiful day, and what fun it was to honor all of our volunteers from our past ice cream socials at the Governor’s Residence for an Ice Cream Social just for them. We had about 400 people, beautiful weather, and a whole lot of fun. Some told me that in all their years of helping at the Ice Cream Social, they had not actually had any of the pie themselves — by the time they finished working, it was gone! So there was plenty of pie and ice cream this time for everyone. We plan on being back to the farm next year for our regular ice cream social.
And today I got to spend time in the gardens with all of our volunteer gardeners. Most of these are actually master gardeners and they come from all over the state. They really are the ones that keep the gardens in good order.
I thought of a couple of recipes to share after my busy week. The first one is just a simple recipe that Dr. Gabbe developed for the kids at the Moms2B program. I’m trying it with my grandkids. It’s nutritious and good and you can use it as a dip with all kinds of things. And when I think “Take me out to the Ballgame,” I think of Cracker Jacks! When we have baseball themed parties at the office, I make my own little bags of caramel corn. You can always add peanuts to make it more like Cracker Jacks. It’s always a fun treat!
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Peanut Butter Dip
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup vanilla yogurt
Mix together until smooth. Use as a dip with apple slices, carrot sticks, celery, graham crackers and other crackers or chips. It’s nutritious and delicious!
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Fill a large roasting pan with 5-6 quarts popped corn.
In another pan, prepare:
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 pound butter
1/2 cup white corn syrup
Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Blend in:
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda
Pour mixture over popcorn, mixing well.
Place in 250 degree oven for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally from bottom. Spread on sheet of waxed paper and allow to cool.
First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.