From the Mommy Files…

Another fun summer pastime shot to you know where…

Posted on: July 20, 2011

When I was a kid (and it really wasn’t that long ago), things were different.

They were freer.

As in much more carefree.

We’d run around the neighborhood alone; we could stay out and play all day, as long as we went home when Mom called for us.

We walked to the store alone; we roamed around department stores alone, and met up Mom and Dad at the checkout aisle.

We know much of that has changed as the world has changed.

When I was little, my Thio (uncle) Panagos came from Greece and lived with us for several years before returning to the motherland.

One of our favorite things to do was get ice cream from the Ice Cream Man.

The familiar music would echo through the neighborhood, announcing his imminent arrival.

We’d yell, “Thie, pagoto!!!” (Uncle, ice cream!) and jump up and down with excitement.

He’d either hand us a dollar each or walk out to the curb with us to get some ice cream, a popsicle or push-up.

And we’d savor every minute of it.

It was something he enjoyed too, as he observed the great happiness this brought us.

Well, again, times are a-changing.

This fun summer pastime is also shot to you know where.

Recently, the girls and I met a friend and her daughter at a church festival.

There was the ice cream truck.

“The Ice Cream Man!” the girls yelled, with the same enthusiasm I had.

One asked for a Spider-man popsicle, which meant they all would have Spider-man popsicles.

I wasn’t thrilled with this prospect, since this is a super-sized world, even the popsicles have succumbed to that phenomenon.

Something else struck me, as they unwrapped the popsicles with great anticipation.

The colors were so incredibly vivid.

I knew it must be artificial colors and dyes.

I wasn’t thrilled, but thought, OK, just this once.

They melted faster than you can say, “how was that popsicle?”

And, they stained the girls’ hands.

Red streaks were set in their skin, wherever the popsicle had melted.

We washed and washed, but the dye remained for several days.

I immediately declared no more popsicles.

Well, this past weekend, we were at another festival, and there was the ice cream truck.

Ever-nostalgic, and always wanting the kids to experience all the simple joys, my husband, with all his good intentions, announced he’d get popsicles.

Of course I shot him that look.

You know the look I’m talking about. 😉

I reminded him that we don’t do popsicles anymore, and that we were going to buy forms to make our own.

Of course, once you make the announcement that you will give kids something they aren’t supposed to have, it’s difficult to retract your statement.

And surely, Daddy thought Mommy was overreacting again and not being fun.

Daddy took off on his errand, and returned with two jumbo-sized red, white and blue popsicles.

They looked like rocket ships, and nearly a foot long.

Well, the girls were out of their mind, and went to work on those popsicles with zeal.

Bebs vs. Popsicle

But seeing excitement and enjoyment in those few minutes wasn’t worth it.

Again, the frozen delights began to melt faster and faster. They didn’t even finish half of it.

It was melting faster than Frosty in the greenhouse.

Blue dye covered the girls.

All over their dresses.

Bebs' hand, 2 days later

I was not happy.

We wiped, wiped, wiped.

Nothing worked.

Finally, Daddy proclaimed we’d skip the ice cream truck from now on.

Another simple joy we have to ban.

This also prompted a new nickname for Bebs.

We began calling her “Lady Blue Hands.”

Seems like everything lately is enhanced by artificial colors and dyes.

An article called “Worst Foods of the Week,” illustrated that pretty much all the popsicles out there are loaded with these awful additives.

Even the ones that say “real fruit added” don’t have any nutrition to speak of.

Fla-Vor-Ice, one of my faves growing up, is just water, sugar and dyes.

The article suggests some better alternatives, the best being homemade popsicles.

Open Eye Health posted an article called “Dangers of Artificial Food Dyes.”

This one will really open your eyes.

It talks about how dyes are often added to make fruits that were picked before ripening, look fresher and more appetizing.

It cites an article from Natural News that states that these dyes are made from

Hold onto your hats…



This piece also recommends making your own popsicles from your smoothies or even simply freezing a banana.

Then it ends with a “fun fact” that will make you shudder.

Food dye Red #4, also called carmine, is made from ground up insects – beetles.


Blogger Kelly the Kitchen Kop has written on this topic several times.

Here, she includes a link to an earlier post where she writes about the dangers of artificial colors and dyes and offers some healthy alternatives.

She also includes a link and excerpt from an LA Times article on the subject:

Almost every parent has a story about their kid bouncing off the walls after downing a package of jelly beans or eating a neon blue-frosted cupcake at school. Most blame the sugar.

But some new research suggests that the rainbow of artificial colors may have a bigger effect on children’s behavior. And in other parts of the world, some organizations are starting to take action on these ingredients.”

All of these pieces suggest that these are great reasons to spend the extra money and buy organic or locally grown produce.

A Webmd article cites research that draws a link between artificial colors and dyes and ADHD.

They are in many of the processed and packaged foods we eat.

I’m sure you’re thoroughly convinced now to skip the Ice Cream Man.

What do we do about these fun summery treats?

Do we just ban all the fun stuff?


I guess I better get out the blender and make some smoothies to freeze into popsicles.

And search for some easy recipes for homemade ice cream.

I didn’t need to make more work for myself.

But at least I will have the peace of mind to know that when my kids are enjoying these sweet and fun treats, I know what’s in them.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”


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