Beat the Heat: Blueberry Coconut Pops

Submitted by Jennifer Zarrilli, Registered Dietitian at Connecticut Children’s

We all know kids and sugar can be one troublesome combination. Aside from the rush of energy that inevitably results in tears or a nap, refined sugar is just altogether no good for both adults and children. Now everyone deserves a sweet treat once in a while, and if that treat happens to be super healthy, well that’s all the better! But that’s easier said than done…believe me, I have attempted quite a few recipes in my day, and most of them have left me slightly disappointed…

Oh, but not these!! Not only are these frozen blueberry coconut pops absolutely, positively delish…did I mention, they are also super easy to make! All you’ll need to do is gather the following ingredients to get started and it’s a piece of cake from there! (Well, it may not be cake but I swear the taste will leave you and your little one just as pleased!).

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1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp maple syrup, grade B (may try 1 pureed banana to limit added sugar)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk (I use light coconut milk)
1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
Yield: makes 8 popsicles

1. In a small sauce pot, combine blueberries, water, and 3 tablespoons maple syrup. Bring to a boil until liquid is syrupy and thick. Remove from heat. No need to mash the blueberries, keep them as is.

FullSizeRender (9)2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons maple syrup, coconut milk, and almond milk.

3. Fill popsicle molds a little over half full of coconut-almond milk. Spoon in blueberry mixture to fill the popsicle mold.
FullSizeRender (11)4. Place mold in freezer for 1 hour. Remove molds and insert wooden sticks into each popsicle cavity. Place mold back in the freezer for at least another 4 hours until ice pops are solid.

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**Recipe from The Little Epicurean

Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month: Reilley’s Story

Nearly 300,000 children across the country suffer from Juvenile Arthritis. 13-year-old patient Reilley Walden shares her experience with the autoimmune disease in honor of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month.

10672388_797258520296640_6046651196654694998_n1Hi! My name is Reilley Walden and I am 13 years old. I am a patient at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. I started coming to Connecticut Children’s when I was 7 years old because I was diagnosed with JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis).

To be very honest with all of you, I was very scared when I was first diagnosed. I didn’t know anyone at the hospital at the time, and I also didn’t know anyone else with JIA that I could relate to. I felt alone.

Visit by visit and moment by moment I got to know the doctors better and they helped me cope better. I have had some tough times finding the right medicine. I was put on a shot called Enbrel and it worked very well for me. I am currently on Remicade infusions. It seems to be working well so far.

One thing I say to myself is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and ” I can do anything anyone else can do.” These quotes give me strength. I also recommend staying as active as possible; I did powder puff football for the town and I was a cheerleader this year in Jr High. I also do a toy drive every year for the last 6 years in November for Connecticut Children’s.

This is my story. What’s yours? I would also like to say thank you to Dr. Zemel and all the staff in the Rheumatology department!

Special Baby Bottle Makes a Big Difference for Grateful Family

*Editor’s Note* Every year, patient David Newman hosts a lemonade stand to help purchase special bottles for babies with cleft lips. Born with a cleft lip himself, David understands just how important these bottles can be. Below is a thank you letter from a family who directly benefited from his Lemonade Stand.

Finding out that your child has a cleft lip or cleft palate is a very hard thing to grasp. Your emotions are running wild asking yourself a million questions.

IMG_0283My husband and I found out at 20 weeks that our son was going to have a unilateral cleft lip, the exact same thing that I had. We knew instantly who to contact and that was Connecticut Children’s Craniofacial Team, who actually repaired my cleft.

When Anthony was born we found out he actually had a cleft in the soft palate as well. This was more concerning to us because we were always told that the cleft in the palate could make it very difficult for Anthony to gain weight properly. Our saving grace was the pigeon bottle that we received from the Team.

20150630_160843This bottle has allowed our son to be able to gain his proper weight and allowed him to be able to eat right after his cleft lip repair two weeks ago. Without sounding overly dramatic, this bottle has been our saving grace and has allowed some type of normalcy into our home.

The only way that we have been able to obtain this bottle has been through the Craniofacial Team because they are very hard to find and also very expensive. One of the best things also about this bottle is that it has allowed our son to be a lot less gassy.

The pigeon bottle allows you to make sure that your baby isn’t sucking in that much air. Finding out that there is a young man raising money for not only our son but other cleft babies to receive this bottle has melted both my husband’s heart and mine.

IMG_0290This bottle is so important for cleft babies to have. We would like to thank him and the Connecticut Children’s Craniofacial Team for everything that they have done for us.

Thank you.
The Williams Family
Abby, Alex and Anthony

Angel Eye Cameras Making a Difference in Connecticut Children’s NICU


It was a Mother’s Day Angela Negron will never forget. The day started with hugs and kisses from her husband and 4-year-old daughter Ariana. Negron was also 22 weeks pregnant with her second daughter at the time and couldn’t wait to meet the newest addition to her family. Turns out, baby Daniella couldn’t wait either.

“We were celebrating Mother’s Day when my water broke,” said Angela Negron, of Columbia. “I look at my husband and we both knew something was very wrong.”

Ernesto Negron rushed his wife to the hospital where she was immediately put on hospital bed rest for the better part of three weeks just trying to keep her in as long as possible. On June 9th, little Daniella was born weighing in at just a little more than 2 pounds.


“I just can’t even put into words how I feel between being heartbroken that she has to be so premature and go through this,” Angela Negron said. “It feels like she’s not mine almost because you don’t go through the normal motions of taking your baby home with you.”

But some new technology is now making things a little easier for families like the Negron’s. Overhead cameras called Angel Eye Cams now give parents of premature infants, like Daniela, being cared for at Connecticut Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit the chance to log in and see their babies at any time of day from any location in the world.


“It’s like peace of mind, especially for us because we live almost 40 minutes away,” Ernesto Negron said.

Doctors said the cameras are giving mothers such as Negron a sort-of virtual support.
“I think it’s going to be a great help for the family as a unit to stay involved with the baby and stay involved with each other during this time,” said Dr. Victor Herson, Connecticut Children’s NICU medical director.

The web cams are mounted above the incubator on a long, specially constructed arm. The cameras give parents and other family member’s access to a live video stream, which they can watch at any time from their computer or mobile device.


“Our plan is to outfit every NICU bed with a camera, both here in our Hartford NICU and also at our NICU in Farmington,” Herson said.

Right now, there are three Angel Eye Cams at the NICU in Hartford. An expensive accomplishment made possible, thanks to nine Connecticut’s rotary clubs.

“It’s $2,500 per camera,” said Ed Silverstein, who is the president of the Newington Rotary Club. “We’re talking about an investment of close to quarter of a million dollars to get all these cameras.”


Not only that, but Silverstein understands how invaluable technology like this can be to a family in these circumstances.

“The Worcester, MA rotaries were among the first to do this. When they tracked the family members that had been among the first to take advantage of this technology, they linked an IP address to an uncle on an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea who was logging in to see his nephew.” Silverstein said. “It goes right to the heart.”

While the rotary clubs work on raising more funds for these special cameras, Angela Negron said she will be checking-in on Daniella from home since her husband is back at work, and the doctors told her she has to rest.


“They said I can’t drive for six weeks, so that’s going to be tough,” Angela Negron said. “That will be extra wonderful having the camera that I can see her. I’m going to call it Daniela TV. My oldest will think her baby sister is famous!”