Q&A: preventing illness in the winter and homemade gifts

Shannon has a two-parter:

"1. How do you protect your children from "germs"  during these winter months? I have a 2 yr old and a 3 month old - the little guy is fairly protected in his car seat when we are out and about, but the toddler is into everything. Should I be spraying Lysol everywhere we go?

2. We would like to give some home-baked goods for Christmas gifts, and therefore need a simple and surefire recipe I can throw together while watching 2 little ones. Any suggestions?"

I think that exposure to a certain number of germs is healthy, assuming your kids have no immune issues and aren't preemies in the RSV zone. The best defense against getting sick all the time is to feed them lots of fruits and vegetables and be anal about washing hands every time you come in the house, before eating, and any other time you think of it.

Do NOT use antibacterial soap, as it's counterproductive (causes super-germs that can't be killed) and not good for kids. instead, just use regular soap (liquid or bar) and wash for the length of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" all the way through. Purell is fabulous for use outside the house, as the alcohol will kill germs without all the negative effects of the antibacterial agents in those hand soaps.

If you're washing hands a lot, eating well, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep, the kids should be able to fight off the normal germs and there's no need to disinfect everything they touch. Once your kids are in daycare or preschool, though, all bets are off. They will get sick. And they'll bring it home to the baby. There's not much you can do about it, so use the same precautions to help them try to stay as healthy as possible.

For your second question, how about a fudge wreath? Pretty simple, but almost everyone likes fudge. (Although I'd beg you not to put raisins in fudge. Please. For the children. Also, be very careful with nuts in gifts.)

Does anyone else have any easy food gifts to make that Shannon can do with two teeny kids "helping?"