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Parent Atlanta’s No. 1 Parenting Magazine


September 2011 /

Go Play! Words Every Kid

Should Hear Stroller Test Drive

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Birthday Parties

Atlanta Moms Tell All


Grandparents: Nothing Better

We Promise... to help nurture development during the crucial beginning years.

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September 2011

678-445-9191 Austell • Cumming • Dawsonville • McDonough • Roswell • Sandy Springs • Woodstock

Inside September On the Cover: Cover Kid Elias Blackwell, 3, of Lawrenceville. Photo by Liz Blount and Dan Carmody Studio 7 Photography.

Cover Kids , rs Winne60 Page

Vol. 28 Number 9

Features 14 


Tell Your Kids, Go Play!


Publisher’s Note

Research shows that play boosts intelligence, creativity, innovation and optimism. Now go have some fun!


News You Can Use 


The Gift of Grandparents



Prescription Madness

Grandparents Day is this month. Learn how local families – including Georgia’s first family – indulge in the smiles, support and wisdom that grandparents offer. Millions of American children and teens take mood-altering medication but many may not need it.



12   Community Corner Humor in the House  The Gates of Hell Are Built with LEGO

Family Fun Guide 63 

Not-to-Miss Events

Atlanta Baby


Eating Out: The Fickle Pickle

Our testers hit the pavement with  the newest strollers. Also, check out  our tips for decorating the nursery.

65      Free Fun 68      Apple Picking

Unsticking Bored Students –  And Their Bored Teachers

Atlanta educator Ron Clark has the answers.

Special Section

28  Throw a Great Birthday Party!

Local moms share party tales and advice to make your child’s party the talk of the neighborhood. Plus, ways to save on gifts and goody bags.

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Out & About: 


September Calendar

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Liz White



Amy Smith


Julia Sparks Andi Levine Stacy LaVictoire





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Atlanta Parent magazine is published monthly by Atlanta Parent, Inc., 2346 Perimeter Park Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30341. Telephone 770-454-7599, Fax 770-454-7699. Atlanta Parent magazine is available free of charge at more than 1,000 locations throughout the metro Atlanta area. First class subscription only $30 per year. Subscription orders must include check or money order made out to Atlanta Parent magazine. Atlanta Parent magazine welcomes letters, articles, artwork and photographs from its readers and the community. Atlanta Parent magazine is not responsible for the return of unsolicited materials. All rights reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part, is prohibited without written permission.

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Publisher’s Note Atlanta Parent Has A Baby

Bryan Cardinale-Powell

Grandmother. Granny. Grandma. I finally have decided on “Nonna.” On April 26, my only child Laura gave birth to my first grandchild. In an amazing act of generosity, my daughter and son-in-law Kevin invited me to be in the delivery room when that precious 6 pounds, 8 ounces baby boy was born. His parents named him Elliot James Powell. It has taken me till now to decide what I want Little Elliot to call me. I’m definitely going with “Nonna.” Even though the image of today’s grandparent is someone who is vibrant and productive, I don’t know why it took me so long to decide on a name. Atlanta Parent has long acknowledged the amazing contributions that grandparents make to their families. In this issue, we once again take our hats off to grandmothers and grandfathers. Becoming a grandmother myself has caused me to pause and reflect. I am amazed that the kids whose moms and dads grew up reading Atlanta Parent are now moms and dads themselves. I am grateful that the magazine has continued to stay relevant to this new generation of parents. But there have been some profound changes in the 28 years Atlanta Parent has been publishing. Grandparents whose grandchildren are spread out across the country – even world – can now communicate through email, Skype and other electronic means. When Laura was on maternity leave, she’d send video of Elliot to my cell phone. I loved getting those text messages but nothing beats face time. I am lucky. My daughter lives close by and, as Atlanta Parent’s associate publisher, she works even closer, in the office next to mine, in fact. Laura has long pushed for an Atlanta Parent dog. Instead, we now have an office baby. Several days a week, Elliott comes to work. He doesn’t do much but make everyone happy with his cooing and smiles. (He really doesn’t fuss very much at all.) I can be having one of those stressed out moments and then Elliot smiles. Elliot most certainly will outgrow the office at some point, but for now, he’s doing a fine job keeping everyone focused on why Atlanta Parent is committed month in and month out to giving parents the best magazine we can.

How to Reach us: Telephone 770.454.7599


Fax 770.454.7699


The Old Fashioned Way 2346 Perimeter Park Drive Atlanta, Georgia 30341

We welcome your views and comments. Letters that appear in the magazine may be edited for content and space.

8 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

ItFigures by Cynthia Washam

Feel like a mom



Percent of students who consider kickball the best recess game



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Percent of American adults who do not believe children should have to learn a foreign language to graduate from high school

Nearly 100

Percent of European students required to learn a second language, usually English


Percent of students in Luxembourg who learn three or more languages


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Atlanta Parent 9

News You Can Use

by Alexi Wilbourn

“Tons of Fun” Fitness Challenge A STATEWIDE INITIATIVE has been announced in an attempt to help combat the growing obesity epidemic. Georgia state parks are the star of the show, reminding people that traditional exercises are not the only way to get fit and that nature can provide a fun, effective workout too! The Tons of Fun program is aimed at making exercise and nutrition fun for Georgians and will be made available at more than 60 Georgia State Parks and historic sites. Besides the usual hiking, biking and walking that are offered, some state parks offer a variety of events such as organic gardening classes, cooking demonstrations and athletic competitions. Visit or to learn more.

WellStar: Voted ‘Best’ Employer for Families WORKING MOTHER MAGAZINE released its list of the country’s 10 “Best Companies for Kids,” and WellStar Health System in Marietta was the only Georgia-based company to make the cut. With 13,046 employees, the healthcare company offers programs and initiatives that may be hard to find elsewhere, including on-site daycare, business-travel childcare reimbursements, college coaching and support groups for parents of teens. It even throws baby showers for pregnant workers where they learn about time-off policies and childcare provisions.

A Healthier Happy Meal On the Way HAPPY MEALS WILL SOON MAKE NUTRITIONCONSCIOUS MOMS a little happier. McDonald’s will automatically add apple slices to the meal, as well as shrink the portion of french fries by more than half – from 2.4 to 1.1 ounces. The choice of beverages will now include fat-free chocolate milk. The change in the meals will result in a 20 percent average decrease in calories. These changes will begin in September and the company’s goal is to have them available in all 14,000 U.S. locations by spring. In addition, McDonald’s is working on having more fruit and vegetable choices in the future.

Websites Worth Visiting ■ This site encourages kids to use their imaginations and create crafts from household items or recycled materials, promising “extraordinary projects from ordinary objects.” With the free membership, kids can upload photos of their projects, comment and rate other people’s crafts, make a profile or interest group and more. From making a biplane out of a cereal box and straws to creating an old-fashioned piggy bank out of a large water bottle, LooLeDo offers diverse options to please any thumb-twiddling tot, tween or teen.

10 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

■ BrainPOP is an interactive site for students to help them get excited about learning. The site provides animated content, like games and quizzes, that goes along with school curriculum, from social studies to science. It has won countless awards, and BrainPOP is set up so that it is searchable by state standards.

Decatur Residents Get “On the Same Page”

Atlanta Parent’s Beautiful Baby Contest ENTER YOUR STAR-BOUND CHILD in the North Georgia State Fair’s “Beautiful Baby Contest” on Sept. 27, sponsored by Atlanta Parent. You’ll have the opportunity for cute photo ops and the chance to win a plaque or ribbon. Children up to 36 months are eligible and judged in six-month increments, starting with 0-6 months. Dress your child in any sort of outfit: cowboy or bumblebee costume, glitzy suit, frilly dress, even ordinary play clothes. The contest is free to enter, but parents must pay admission to the fair. The contest begins at 6:30 p.m.; registration is an hour earlier. Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Rd., Marietta. 770-528-8989. Adults, $5; ages 7-18, $2; children 6 and younger, free.

New Missing Child App THE FBI HAS CREATED A NEW MOBILE APPLICATION to aid parents of missing children. The free app, compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, allows users to electronically store photographs and important physical identifiers, like height and weight, about their children. This ensures that the information will be directly accessible to law enforcement if the need arises. The application has a feature that allows the user to quickly email the information to authorities, provides tips on keeping kids safe, and instructions on what to do if a child disappears. The FBI Missing Child app is available for download through iTunes.

Give your child the right foundation. Kids ‘R’ Kids will give your child the best start and an advanced educational foundation. Our exclusive and Corporate AdvancED Accredited program is developed by our early childhood educational experts who understand that each child is unique and possesses different attributes. Our curriculum is written to combine all those attributes for the classroom. From reading and writing to math, science, and social integration, each child has the opportunity to authentically experience these topics within a safe and secure environment. It’s this expression of learning that will prepare your child to succeed in elementary school and beyond.

“ON THE SAME PAGE” is a new citywide reading initiative for Decatur residents designed to create a community of readers. Each year, the program, sponsored by Little Shop of Stories bookstore, the Decatur Book Festival, the Decatur Education Foundation and the Decatur Rotary Club, will select a book for local children and their families to read. There will be movie screenings, book groups and a visit from the author. Interested in leading a book group? Attend a special training meeting on Sept. 28, at 7 p.m., at Little Shop of Stories, 133A East Court Sq., Decatur. 404-373-6300. For more information, visit

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September 2011

Atlanta Parent 11

Community Corner

A look at volunteering, good works and charity events

by Alexi Wilbourn

Clip for the Cure NEXT MONTH, YOU CAN GET A NEW ’DO and raise money for breast cancer research at the same time. On Oct. 1, participating Regis Corp. salons – including Supercuts, Famous Hair, SmartStyle and Regis Salons – will donate 10 percent of every haircut to research. Throughout the month, 10 percent of the proceeds from Regis product sales also will be donated. For more information or to find a participating salon, visit

Miracle Jeans Day HAVE A CASUAL WEDNESDAY this Sept. 14 and support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. For as little as $5 you can purchase merchandise to wear with your jeans. All of the money goes to provide medical care for children at the hospitals, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The last day to purchase merchandise to ensure arrival is Sept. 12, so get your jeans washed and log onto to make your donation.

“Dine Out for No Kid Hungry” YOU MAY THINK NOTHING OF IT when you open the pantry door to grab a snack, but this is not everyone’s reality. Nearly 1-in-4 kids – which translates into 17 million children – can’t always count on having enough to eat, according to Share Our Strength. Help end child hunger by participating in the “Dine Out for No Kid Hungry” Sept. 18-24. Find a participating restaurant in your area by logging onto Next time you order your favorite dish at select restaurants, you can take a bite knowing that the meal is helping toward the goal of raising $3 million for the cause.

Sweeten Up Someone’s Day WHO DOESN’T WANT A GOOD REASON to slap on some aprons and start making a giggly, sugary mess with the family? Imperial Sugar’s “Bake It Forward” campaign is a new way to reach out to loved ones, troops overseas, or even complete strangers. Go to to locate a special tin near your home that you can fill with delightful baked goodies. Before sending it off, register the tin so its journey can be tracked online. The campaign wants to create a worldwide movement to refocus everyone on the importance of taking time to care. The “Bake It Forward” website also has coupon links for savings on baking ingredients, user-submitted recipes and uplifting stories.

Do you kno w a do-goode r?

IF YOU KN OW of an ad ult, youth or organizatio n that deser ves to be p please e-m rofiled, ail editor@ atlantaparen

12 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Pictured: Tampa Cast. Photo by Rob/Harris Productions

Fight Autism with Laughter EVERYONE CAN USE A LITTLE MORE LAUGHTER in their lives, especially when it benefits the Marcus Autism Center, dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of more than 4,000 children a year. Motherhood the Musical, which opens in Atlanta on Sept. 22, promises hilarity for anyone who is, has or knows a mother. The musical features local Atlanta actors playing the roles of four women who share their insights of being moms. The show is produced by GFour Productions, best known for bringing audiences Menopause the Musical, Nine and its production of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical. 14th Street Playhouse, 173 14th St., Atlanta; 404-733-5000; Sept. 22Nov. 20. Tues.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. All seats $45, with $5 discount with the code MARCUS; $2 from each ticket sold goes to the Marcus Autism Center.

Two Words Every Child Should Hear:

‘Go Play!’ by Ann Hardie

The next time your son wants to mess around with his Bionicles instead of buckling down to those piano lessons, you might want to go along, at least every now and then. A growing body of very serious research indicates that the simple act of playing – fun for fun’s sake – makes people more intelligent and productive, adaptable and optimistic, creative and innovative, trusting and joyful.


“There has been a general misperception that play is trivial, something you do when all of your responsibilities are taken care of. Those attitudes prevent the benefits of play, which really begin with the onset of life and end with the end of life,” says Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and founder of the National Play Institute in California. Brown’s research stems in part from mapping out the “play histories” of everyone from business executives to murderers, scientists to socialites. He also is author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Human beings are hardwired to play, Brown says. “From a neuroscience point of view, play urges appear to come from the deepest centers of one’s brain, which from an evolutionary standpoint have been around for many, many millions of years,” he says. We all know that children, even babies, love to play. Some researchers maintain that the kicking, punching or writhing that takes place in utero can be thought of as an expression of our play hardwiring. Brown compares play to oxygen. That is, it’s all around us but largely goes unnoticed until it is missing. “We can live to old age without it but there are consequences

when you don’t engage in sufficient play. Hope, optimism, exploration, novelty, creativity and innovation – those things are stunted when play is not experienced,” Brown says. “And if you look at play-deprived adults, the flexibility to handle stress and to deal with the inevitability of life is less robust than if you have been a good player.” Play also teaches empathy, says Jane Turner, executive director of Imagine It! The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. “In terms of pretend play, if I am taking on the role of the king or the queen and you are the peasant, you are going to see what it is like to be the peasant. Or if I am the student and you are the teacher, you are going to see what it is like to be the teacher.” The act of pretending also gives children some control in a world where they generally have none. “In some ways, children are powerless. At least in the context of a pretend role, they can take charge,” Turner says. Isn’t soccer or piano still play? That depends, Brown says. “It well may be very, very positive and an excellent way for kids to use their time. But if kids are being pressured to perform to certain standards, then probably not. Then it is something that is performance-oriented for the parent or it is anxiety-laden for the child.” Cont’d on page 16

14 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

Play Tips 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Make play time a priority, just like times set aside for homework and music lessons. Don’t overschedule your child. An overwhelmed child is not a playful child. Remember the object of play is to have fun, let loose, not brush up on math or reading skills.

Parents can help boost their children’s intelligence, creativity, innovation and sense of optimism through play.


Make up a bedtime story with your kids. Use inspiration from real life to give your main character adventure. Remember, kids like understandable conclusions. The ending can teach a lesson or leave the character with a sense of accomplishment. Or not.


Video and electronic games are all around us. But so are trees and sunshine, sticks and rocks. Make sure your child sees plenty of them.


Be silly, be playful! Kids learn by example. – Ann Hardie

Understand the power of imagination. Applaud your child’s fantasy world – and go along for a spin! Lay out boxes, old dress-up clothes, measuring cups, whatever, and let your child’s creativity go to town. If your child wants you to join in, join in but only if you are willing to play second fiddle. Rough-and-tumble play like wrestling, while difficult to take, is natural and necessary for kids to learn cooperation and fairness. Run around. Tag and other kinds of movement play fire up our brains and improve our health at the same time.

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Atlanta Parent 15

‘Go Play!’ The most effective form of play is unstructured, which means that it is childdirected, says Trudy Post Sprunk, president of the Georgia Association for Play Therapy, a group that uses play to help children express their feelings and work out their problems. “For example, you could ask your child to lead you on a nature walk. You are then willing to follow and listen to the child’s descriptions of what they are experiencing,” she says. While children are naturals at playing – just put some blocks on the floor and watch what happens – many factors today work against child’s play. One is concern over safety. Many parents do not feel comfortable turning kids loose outdoors to conquer the pretend bad guy when real bad guy may be lurking around the corner. Video games and other electronic games have become the play of choice for many kids. “They are here to stay,” Brown says. “There are some really amazing games where the possibilities are quite rich and the kids who are engrossed in them are playing. What I am concerned about is when that activity, which is largely screen activity, becomes the dominant mode of play. Then kids aren’t outside in the three-dimensional world, using their bodies and doing the kind of rough-and-tumble interpersonal skill sets that are the building blocks of becoming a competent adult.” Many overscheduled kids also are buried in homework and extracurricular activities while their overscheduled parents rush to keep up. Sprunk had an 8-year-old client she describes as a hurried, anxious perfectionist. To help himself, he would escape into a small wooded area in his back yard where he pulled together pieces of dead branches. “He explained that it was his tree house and he would not show it or share it with anyone,” Sprunk says. “He had found quiet and peace away from his parents’ hurried lifestyle where he didn’t have to deal with their high expectations.” By keeping his creation secret, no one could make suggestions on how to change or improve it, she says. “It was truly his own creation where only he arranged, explored and problem-solved. It is often in this imaginative world that children

process their life experiences,” she says. During therapy, Sprunk often asks children if they want to be an adult someday. She says many children respond, “No. Being a grownup is no fun.” But the benefits of play extend beyond childhood. “Most parents have given up or lost a lot of their playfulness,” Brown says. “But a state of play should be lifelong in my view.” And parents should remember that kids learn from them. “If a parent says to a child, ‘Go out and play,’ and the parent never plays, then the kid will find it difficult to be guilt-free in playing,” Brown says. Sprunk recommends that busy families actually schedule a time to play. “When special playtime gets on a family’s master schedule, it’s more likely to consistently happen. It is also of immense value to the child to learn and know that their playtime with you is important enough to warrant a specific time.” c

While children are naturals at playing –

just put some blocks on the floor and watch what happens – many factors today work against child’s play. One is concern over safety. 16 Atlanta Parent    September 2011 6222424_ATL_ASeck_ATLParentMag_2.313x9.5.indd 1

8/9/11 1:38 PM

Though busy, Gov. Nathan and Sandra Deal make time to spend with their six grandchildren.

The Gift of Grandparents


by Alexi Wilbourn

Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept. 11. Whether the role of a grandmother or grandfather is mentor, friend, confidante, even partner-in-crime (when it comes to sneaking sweets or letting the dog in the bed), their presence strengthens family bonds. And, of course, they can be a total blast.

You may know them as Georgia’s 82nd governor and first lady, but to their six grandchildren, Nathan and Sandra Deal are just “Poppa” and “Grandmama.” Although visiting their grandparents at the Governor’s Mansion means that they can’t play hide-andseek around the 200-year-old furniture, they do get to swim in the pool and run around 18 acres of landscaped lawn and gardens. While the Deals keep busy schedules, as 18 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

do their four children, they actively work at building relationships across the generations. Sandra Deal usually sees her five oldest grandchildren, who live in Atlanta and Gainesville, every week or two. Although she doesn’t get to visit as often with 5-year-old Ethan, who lives in Butts County, she keeps in touch by phone. “He talks about school and what he’s been doing,” Sandra says, a smile in her soft voice. “He likes to go out

and play by their fish pond and he talks about feeding the fish.” Grandparents can do special things that parents don’t have time for, Sandra says. Some parents get into such a routine that they don’t even take time to read a book with their kids. “My grandchildren used to get in the kitchen all the time, making cornbread, learning how to cut things up, and making hot tea. They grew to love hot tea,” she says, remembering their fun. The Deals also enjoy making memories with their family at their Habersham County cabin on the Chattahoochee River. “They all love playing in the river, throwing rocks, swimming,” Sandra says. (In true grandmother fashion, she notes that her grandchildren only play in the safe, shallow areas and adults always supervise.) “It’s a joy for them – and us – to learn about and observe nature, play, and make up things to do.” For inside activities, Sandra has taught her grandkids to play dominoes. “We play hard!” she laughs. The Deals love to see their grandchildren compete and are always there to cheer them on, whether it’s kayak races, Cub Scouts or theater camp. “It is important for us to support their efforts,” Sandra says. Like the Deals, East Cobb resident Louise Betsch is eager to keep strong bonds with her family, whether they are close or far away. Her son and his children live in Indiana, so Betsch uses technology like Skype to visit with Sara, 11, and Ryan, 7. She sees her daughter’s 2-year-old, Isabel, a few days a week and baby-sits 5-month-old Juliana every day. “We like to blow bubbles,” Betsch laughs. “We read books, sing and go on field trips to PetSmart, Publix, the library. I take [Juliana] to places where she can see, smell and look at new things. I try to take her out once or twice a week.” Besides loving to spoil her grandchildren, Betsch wants to help them grow up to be the best they can be. She tries to give all four of her grandchildren a variety of experiences. When Betsch asked her granddaughter Sara how she learned to hula-hoop so well, Sara responded, “You taught me, Grandma!” Betsch had to smile at the answer. “I had a wonderful inspiration in my own grandmother. She was an incredible woman; she had a special needs child. She had that challenge to face every day, but still she had time to sit down with me to make paper dolls, and would bake bread every week. I loved the smell in her kitchen,” Betsch says. “She kept things going and made such good memories for me.” Paulding County grandparents Lora

“Grie” and Rick “Papa” Stermole spend a lot of time with their two grandchildren, Weston, 5, and Hollyn, 7. Lora, who got her special name from Hollyn, whose speech delay prevented her from saying “Grammy,” frequently watches the kids for her daughter, Stacie Kershner. Lora also sews the grandkids’ clothes and takes them on special outings. As a retired pre-school teacher, she incorporates educational activities into playtime. Rick allows the grandkids to help drive his boat and likes taking them to Home Depot for the woodworking sessions. He also is teaching Weston to golf. “I am thrilled they get to have such a close relationship,” says Stacie. “My parents being nearby – and young for grandparents – means that my kids get to build relationships with them, independent of me.” Kershner also likes that her parents are able to pass on skills such as baking and golf that she can’t. The tight relationship between her parents and children also helps relieve the family. Besides helping with babysitting, her parents are helping to send Hollyn to a private special needs therapeutic school this academic year.

Grandparents Nancy and Rowland Hawthorne live within walking distance of their grandchildren.

“We just love being a part of their life,” Nancy says. In fact, she and Rowland moved from Denver after 40 years to be near them. “We decided that [the girls] are our only grandchildren and that we wanted to see them grow up and be a part of their lives. That’s what we’ve done, and it’s been very, very much fun.”

Cont’d on page 20

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 19

The Gift of Grandparents

Lora Stermole with grandaughter Hollyn. Rick Stermole teaches grandson Weston to steer his boat.

“I am thrilled they get to have such a close relationship. My parents being nearby – and young for grandparents – means that my kids get to build relationships with them, independent of me.”

–  Stacie Kershner

Atlanta grandparent Nancy “Neenar” Hawthorne’s favorite memory with her grandchildren is going to church on Sundays. “I didn’t have that with my grandparents, and it just makes me feel like a family complete.” Nancy and her husband Rowland, aka “Poppy,” live within walking distance of their three grandchildren, Ellie, 8, Caroline, 6, and Lily, 4, and see them several times a week. They often drive the children wherever they need to be while their parents are busy or at work. Once a week, Nancy and Rowland join their daughter, Anna Henry, and her family for a special dinner. “We just love being a part of their life,” Nancy says. In fact, she and Rowland moved from Denver after 40 years to be near them. “We decided that [the girls] are our only

grandchildren and that we wanted to see them grow up and be a part of their lives. That’s what we’ve done, and it’s been very, very much fun.” “Camp Neenar Poppy,” where the girls spend the night with their grandparents, all piled in a giant bed, is one of the best things about living so close together, the family agrees. “It’s a big deal on both sides,” Henry says. “Everyone always looks forward to it.” But the thing that makes “Neenar” and “Poppy” the proudest is “when [the girls] run up and hug us and greet us with great joy,” Nancy says. The fact that her parents live so close keeps the family tight, Anna says. She loves to see her dad outside with the girls, working in the garden, pointing out birds, and sharing his knowledge. “We like to help them learn,” Nancy says, “especially the things they don’t learn in school.” c

Louise Betsch sees grandkids Juliana and Isabel often but uses Skype to keep in touch with Sara and Ryan (right) who live in Indiana.

Besides loving to spoil her grandchildren, Betsch wants to help them grow up to be the best they can be. She tries to give all four of her grandchildren a variety of experiences. 20 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

Connecting With Grandparents by Jennifer Gregory

Here are five ways that you can encourage your children to connect with their grandparents regardless of how far or close they live to you. Set up a Date Although babysitting grandchildren is a way to spend time together, it is also important for children to spend time with their grandparents on other occasions. For grandparents who live close by, set up a regular time each week or month for your kids to spend time with them. Ross invites her grandkids to stay with her for a week and calls it “Camp Grandma.” During the visit, she makes the week all about the grandchild. She also comes to visit at least every two months and calls twice a week. For grandparents who live in another city, you can also set up a phone date at the same time each week. Sharon Schwinger, mom of three, uses Skype for free video calls over the Internet when her children talk to their grandparents in New Jersey. Write Letters While technology is a wonderful tool to keep in touch, writing letters is a very personal way of communicating. Many people send email regularly, but handwritten letters are special and more likely to be saved for years to come. Have your children and their grand-parents pick out a journal together and take turns writing their thoughts in it. Encourage them to write stories about their lives, share memories of each other, and ask each other questions. For long-distance grandparents, take turns writing in the journal and mail the book back and forth to each other. Share a Book Books are a great way to connect generations, and many classics are still loved by children today. For younger children, encourage the grandparent to read one of their favorite picture books to them. An option for grandparents who live in another town is to make a video recording of them reading a book to your child. They can either send the file to you or upload it to YouTube or similar video-sharing site.

For grandparents who live far away, consider setting up a webcam so that your children can have a video conference with their grandparents. 22 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

If they are unfamiliar with the technology, you can set up the tools for them on your next visit. While your child is watching the video, have her follow along with her own copy of the same book. If your child is reading chapter books, have her grandparents read the same book that she is reading. Encourage them to talk about the book after they have both finished. Once they have finished, have the grandparent pick out the next book to read together. Use Technology to Communicate If you have teenagers, think about how your child likes to communicate with his friends. Encourage your child to communicate with his grandparents using text or instant messaging and, if necessary, show the grandparents how to send a text or set up a chat. Julie Shiley’s teenager, Allie, uses Facebook to keep in touch with her grandparents. For grandparents who live far away, consider setting up a webcam, which costs around $30 to $40, so that your children can have a video conference with their grandparents. “I feel that we have stayed connected by using the webcam, and I am no more than a phone call and picture away,” says Ross. Start a Hobby or Project Together Another way for grandparents and grandchildren to connect is to share a hobby or activity. Encourage the grandparent to take an interest in your child’s hobbies. If the grandparent has a hobby, such as fishing or sewing, have them introduce your child to the hobby. Another idea is for the pair to complete a project together, such as starting a garden or a building a birdhouse. For grandparents living far away, pick a project that they can do during a visit and then talk about while they are apart. “I want my grandkids to have a sense of growing up with family. I was not fortunate to have my grandparents for long; we are the ones that now have the time and patience to give the children our undivided attention,” says Ross. c

Prescription Madness by Cynthia Washam

J Are We Risking Our Children’s Health for the Sake of Control?

essica Hold never was big on playing with dolls or house or Ring Around the Rosie. Her favorite pastime at the playground was studying rocks and leaves. Parents Bryan and Patricia didn’t worry that her interests differed from other girls’. Clearly, Jessica was bright. It wasn’t until kindergarten that her behavior gave them pause. “I thought school was terrific,” says Patricia, “but she wasn’t interacting with other kids.” When Patricia raised the issue with Jessica’s teacher, she was told not to worry; Jessica was a good student. Through the next few years, Patricia appealed to one teacher after another. She moved her daughter to a private school. She spoke to school administrators and school psychologists. “All they cared about was that her test scores were good,” says Patricia. Desperate to help their daughter fit in, Patricia and Brian sought the advice of a psychiatrist, who said Jessica suffered from social anxiety. She was in second grade when he prescribed the first of a series of psychotropic drugs she would take over the next five years. The list included the antianxiety drug Clonapin and the antidepressant Prozac. Other times it was Lexapro or Xanax, both used to treat anxiety, depression and panic disorder. The names of the family interiewed have been changed for privacy reasons.

Guinea Pigs for Untested Drugs None helped Jessica fit in, though they did give her something in common with her peers – several million American children and teens take mood-altering medication, and many of them may not have a serious mental disorder. Doctors these days write youngsters more prescriptions for psychotropic drugs than for acne remedies. Drugs help failing students excel and restless ones sit still. But such success comes at a cost. All psychotropic drugs have side effects, some life-threatening. That may seem an acceptable risk for children to relieve serious mental illness, and many respected psychiatrists support use of drugs 24 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

in those cases. Yet critics claim mentally ill children are a mere fraction of the millions taking mood-altering drugs. They say most are troubled youngsters who would benefit from other therapies or less potent drugs. “We want kids to calm down and make our lives easier,” says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, a psychology professor at Emory University and president of the American Board of Clinical Psychology. “Sometimes it’s just easier to think about giving a pill than dealing with the issues.” Most of the mood-altering drugs prescribed for children were never intended for pediatric use. Volunteers who went through the drug trials required for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were adults.

Information from manufacturers about dosage, expected effects and side effects applies to adults. When physicians write so-called “off-label” prescriptions for children, their patients become unwitting guinea pigs in a drug experiment. Even the FDA acknowledges the risk of giving adult psychotropic drugs to children. Physicians “attempt to treat [childhood psychiatric illnesses] with medications used in treating adult psychiatric illnesses, often in the absence of good information about the safety and efficacy,” explains FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh. Although the FDA encourages pharmaceutical manufacturers to test drugs in children, manufacturers have little incentive to do so.

Benefits Come With Risk The most widely used, studied and accepted psychotropic drugs in youngsters are stimulants. More than 2.5 million American children and teens take stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies have proven the drugs’ effectiveness in improving inattentive children’s performance in school. Yet the drugs come with a risk. Recent research linked stimulant use to sudden cardiac death in children with heart conditions. Some symptoms of heart conditions are so subtle that nobody knows the child has a heart problem until it’s too late. Sadly, many experts say children are being needlessly endangered by parents looking for a quick and easy way to boost their child’s grades. “I get calls all the time from parents and schools demanding kids be put on these medications for behavior,” says Dr. Evan Zimmer, a psychiatrist who at last recommended a therapy for Jessica and her parents that did not involve drugs. Far more controversial than stimulants are antipsychotics. These potent mood stabilizers for decades were used almost exclusively for adults with schizophrenia.

Most of the mood-altering drugs prescribed for children were never intended for pediatric use. When physicians write so-called “off-label” prescriptions for children, their patients become unwitting guinea pigs in a drug experiment. Their use broadened early in the 1990s with the introduction of “atypicals,” antipsychotic drugs that seemed to spare users the debilitating tremors of older medications. Only a few of the antipsychotics most often prescribed for youngsters have been FDAapproved for pediatric use. Exceptions are Seroquel, which is approved for bipolar mania and schizophrenia, and Risperdal and Abilify, both approved for manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Surprisingly, the most common diagnosis in pediatric antipsychotic users is neither bipolar disorder nor schizophrenia, but ADHD. Between 2001 and 2005, the number of children under 20 using antipsychotics soared 73 percent, nearly twice the increase in 20- to 44-year-olds.

Doctors attribute the trend in pediatric antipsychotic use to Harvard psychiatrist Joseph Biederman, who in 1996 claimed a quarter of his young ADHD patients also had bipolar disorder, or manic depression. Psychiatrists just a decade earlier questioned whether bipolar disorder even existed in children. Suddenly bipolar diagnoses in children and adolescents skyrocketed, in spite of psychiatrists’ admission that pediatric cases are tough to diagnose. A list of symptoms published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) includes “distractibility,” “difficulty concentrating” and “talking too much, too fast,” symptoms that are also characteristic of ADHD. Cont’d on page 26

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 25

Prescription Madness Helping Troubled Children Without the Drug Risk Children in the United States take six times as many antipsychotic drugs as children in England. In France and Italy, the idea of a child taking an antipsychotic is practically unheard of. “As many kids are inattentive or disruptive in Europe as in the U.S., but they’re not seen as being disturbed,” says psychotherapist David Cohen. “How they deal with it is different.” He and many of his colleagues believe that American youngsters who are troubled, but not seriously ill, could improve their behavior without resorting to drugs. Here’s how: n  Observe the behavior. If a teacher suggests your child needs psychiatric treatment, Cohen recommends first observing your child in the classroom so you can see the problem for yourself. Your child, of course, might behave like an angel while you’re there. That’s a good sign. It shows your child has self-control. n  Consider behavioral influences. Cohen urges parents to consider how much sleep their child is getting, the quality of his diet, what he’s watching on television, and whom he’s spending time with. Improving behavior may be a simple matter of turning off the TV at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. n  Carefully choose a professional. If you feel you need expertise, bear in mind that psychologists cannot prescribe drugs, but they do provide psychotherapy for children and guidance for their parents. Pediatricians can prescribe drugs, but often lack the time and expertise to counsel patients. Psychiatrists are physicians who prescribe drugs and offer psychotherapy. n  Get a second opinion. If you disagree with a professional’s advice, get a second opinion. Clinicians vary widely in their diagnoses and approaches to treatment.

“Antipsychotics need to be used very judiciously,” warns Kaslow. “They have powerful side effects.” The most common one is weight gain. Children taking antipsychotics typically gain twice as much weight during their first six months as nonmedicated youngsters. Most of the weight is around their waist, raising their risk of diabetes and heart disease. Between 2000 and 2004, antipsychotics caused at least 45 children’s deaths. Six were related to diabetes. Critics worry not only about the known physical side effects, but also about the unknown effects on the developing brain. “We don’t know a lot about the long-term effects,” says Kaslow. NIMH researcher Dr. Gonzalo Laje also admits little is known about how antipsychotics will affect young users mentally in 10, 20, 30 years. “We don’t have those studies in children,” he says. “But leaving a major medical disorder untreated is corrosive to a child’s education. It’s very detrimental to their development.” Yet another class of psychotropic drugs widely prescribed for pediatric patients is antidepressants. Between 1994 and 2002, antidepressant use among children and


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teens tripled. Prescriptions for youngsters plummeted a year later, when researchers discovered that the drugs doubled the risk of suicidal thoughts in teens and young adults. The FDA now requires a “black box” on pediatric antidepressant prescriptions warning of the suicide risk.

Psychotherapy Improves Results For many depressed adolescents, medication simply doesn’t work. Forty percent of depressed youngsters do not respond to their first antidepressant, according to the NIMH. Nor do they respond much better when they switch to another antidepressant. They fare best, according to a recent NIMH-funded study, when they switch antidepressants and add psychotherapy. Studies suggest psychotherapy also enhances treatment for children with ADHD. The 1999 Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With ADHD showed that patients fared better with medication than just behavioral therapy. The best results, though, came from medication along with frequent therapy sessions. Some clinicians contend that although drugs may bring quicker results, psychotherapy is more enduring. “Medicine should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy,” says Kaslow. “Medication doesn’t give coping skills.” She recommends family counseling so parents understand their child’s illness and improve their home environment. “Parents need to say, ‘I want combined treatment,’” says Kaslow. “Some parents want their kids on medication. It makes them feel less guilty. They can say the problem is biological.” Psychologist William Samek contends many disruptive children respond to old-fashioned discipline. “[Drugs] are cheaper and easier than fixing a parenting dysfunction,” he says. “Kids need structure. They need limits. They need rules. The biggest problem I see with parents is not setting limits, and when a child disobeys, they don’t punish.”

“Experts” Were Wrong The first antianxiety drug Jessica took made her so tired she’d fall asleep at lunch. Her psychiatrist replaced it with one that made her jittery. By the time she reached middle school, she was so fed up with pills that she stopped taking them altogether. Her problems, meanwhile, grew worse. Middleschool classmates called her “Casper” because she was as quiet and pale as a ghost.

She felt so isolated she ate lunch alone in front of her locker. After a while, she refused to go to school, spending her days at home in front of her computer. “She was in her room and she wanted to die,” recalls Patricia. Once again, she and Brian found themselves looking for someone who could help their daughter. A dozen specialists evaluated Jessica. They told the Holds their daughter had Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. They said she would never get married. She might not be able to hold down a job. But with the right medication and therapy, she could improve. “They recommended we send her away to a special boarding school that was about $100,000 a year,” says Patricia. “I said, ‘We can’t afford that.’” Patricia had no reason to doubt these psychiatrists, but on a whim she decided to try another psychiatrist whose name she’d recently heard. When Dr. Zimmer reviewed Jessica’s history, his heart sank. “She was mute,” he says. “She couldn’t go to school. She was losing weight and staying in her room. I thought I would see a child who was schizophrenic. Within 10 minutes of meeting her, I was astonished. She was not only remarkably conversant, she had a sense of humor more adult than childlike.” He hesitated to contradict the other experts. But deep down, he knew he was right. “I said, ‘I think you’ve been grossly misled,’” recalls Zimmer. “You have a genius on your hands.” He explained that Jessica had trouble relating to her peers because she was much smarter than they were. She was also shy. To make matters worse, any self-esteem she might have had was eroded by years of treatment for “mental illness.” She was as sure as the university psychiatrists that she was sick. “I saw a child whose life was about to be ruined [by more treatment],” says Zimmer. “I said, ‘Why don’t you send her away to a wilderness camp and let her reboot.’” The first time Jessica called home from her nine weeks at camp, she told her mother she “felt secure.” Physical challenges taught her how to rely on others, and herself. Today, at 13, Jessica is in the gifted program. “She’s a popular child,” says Zimmer, adding that she likes being a big fish in a small pond. Patricia admits her daughter is still a little bored with her classes. But, she continues, “She’s totally changed in selfconfidence. She doesn’t need medicine.” c

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Atlanta Parent 27

Birthday Planning Secrets

Four Atlanta moms spill the beans on how to get it done – right – even when things go wrong.


by Alexi Wilbourn

“Welcome to Pixie Hollow” the banner will read, displayed in front of a 12-by-12-foot white tent draped with winding vines and greenery. The girls will be given the opportunity to change into intricate, colorful fairy gowns and decorate their own fairy wings, while the parents will be whisked away to the “mommy room,” complete with desserts, beverages and movies. Everything about the scene sounds like a fantasy movie, right down to the life-sized fairy greeting everyone upon arrival. Except in most movies the fairy isn’t handing out passes for the 18-foot water slide in the back yard. l From the biggest bashes to the smallest celebrations, most parents know that children’s parties require some planning. Yet even the best-laid plans can hit a snag or two, leaving the host with a roomful of kids and the need for some quick, creative ideas. With preparedness for parties being key, some “birthday veteran” moms share their party successes, mishaps and advice.

Lindsey Upchurch

Mother of Charlie, 4, and Cooper, 1

The biggest consideration for Lindsey Upchurch of Woodstock when planning her son Charlie’s party is the weather. She’s had surprisingly hot weather in midSeptember, so even though last year’s inflatable moonbounce party was a success, Upchurch learned to hold future parties earlier in the day. This year, Charlie’s birthday party will be at a local playground, “which is always hit or miss since you cannot reserve the space,” she says. Upchurch plans to arrive early at the park and is hopeful that everything will work out well for the birthday boy and his approximately 25 guests. Since the party will be held in the morning, she plans on serving coffee for the adults, doughnuts, muffins, juices, water and some fruit. This type of spread is also a budget-friendly option. Upchurch chooses to bake cupcakes instead of a whole cake to make life easier. “I have a cupcake stand and usually buy plastic rings and use different colors of frosting,” she 28 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

says. “This year we are having a Star Wars theme, so there will be black-and-white cupcakes with Storm Trooper and Darth Vader rings.” Her party favors will be inflatable light sabers and candy from a piñata. This is also an affordable way Mom Tip: for the kids to be entertained for the Having each guest duration of the party, costing less RSVP to the party is than $3 a child. important, whether or Because Charlie’s party will be at a playground, Upchurch doesn’t not the child plan on additional games, though will be attending. she may bring bread for the kids to feed the ducks at the nearby pond. In case of bad weather, the pavilion at the playground is covered. Other than that, Upchurch has no backup plan. She is confident that 4-yearolds will have fun running around outside, pretending to be Jedis with their light-up light sabers, even if it rains.

Party Planner

Keri Michaelis

Mother of Foster, 9, Luke, 8, and Nora, 3

Keri Michaelis of Johns Creek learned her party-throwing ways by watching her mother own and run a successful catering company for 12 years. Michaelis was taught that a great theme with attention to detail could create fantastic parties from the smallest of budgets. With three children of her own, she learned quickly that creativity goes a long way in throwing a successful party. One of Michaelis’ favorite birthday parties was for Foster, her oldest son. The theme? Racecars. A far cry from the easily accessorized Spider-Man and pirate parties, this theme undoubtedly would send many mothers Mom Tip: heading for the hills, frantically scanning One of the most the aisles of the nearest party supply store for activities and decorations. Unruffled important things when by the request, Michaelis put her hosting a party is imagination to work, giving each child making memories that a spray-painted cardboard box, stickers, children can look and black paper plates. The task was for back on with each child to create his own “car,” using a smile. the stickers to customize it and the paper plates as wheels. Ropes were fashioned as suspenders so the kids could wear their cars at the party, complete with racecar driver helmets to race around the neighborhood. For the food table, Michaelis used a black plastic tablecloth and masking tape to make it look like a roadway, finishing the spread off with a handful of Matchbox cars. Cont’d on page 30

Party Planner

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 29

Birthday Planning Secrets Trenise Grill

Mom Tip:

Laugh off any mishaps or problems: “It’s a kids party – they only know something is wrong when the parents get upset.”

Mother of Cody, 9, and Karli, 5

Cake In the Box Norcross bakery founder Trenise Grill is known as the “party guru” among her friends and family. She’s been planning parties for nine years and will make it her profession in November. Her most recent project? The aforementioned “Pixie Hollow” Tinker Bell party for her daughter Karli’s 6th birthday. Besides the water slide, wing decorating and fairy costumes, Grill is having a candy buffet, a manicure/pedicure station, and face painting by the girls themselves. “When adults do it, it’s cute, “ she says. “When kids do it, it’s fun.” Fully aware of the weather possibilities when having an outside party, Grill always decorates her entire house with the particular birthday theme in case activities have to move inside. One feature at her children’s birthday parties is a fully decorated, themed “mommy room.” Grill likes to encourage parents to stay at the party so that they’re present in case their child needs them. Parents have the choice of staying with their kid and joining in the festivities, or enjoying time with other

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adults with a movie and snacks. This also ensures that the parents pick up the kids on time at the end of the celebration. On-the-spot thinking can come in handy when hosting a party. Even extravagant parties don’t always go as planned. “We had a party where we had miniature horses and ponies – it was like a huge petting zoo,” Grill recalls. “But apparently none of the kids liked the miniature horses and ponies. They were all deathly afraid, even of the clown, so we turned it into a ‘Gymboree’ party. Parents sat down, playing games with the kids.” Grill planned Karli’s 5th birthday, a princess theme, four months in advance, noting the importance of planning early to avoid later stress.

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Mother of Sam, 8

When planning a party for her son Sam, Jean Marie Bridges of Buckhead explains: “It’s mostly about what he wants.” Although a self-proclaimed party-planner-extraordinaire, Bridges was given a seemingly easy task of organizing a pool party for Sam. She was delighted in the idea of such minimal required effort. “Not much planning is needed for a pool party,” she says. “You give the kids some pool toys and they have a great time in the pool.” Unfortunately, Bridges’ fears of rain came true the morning of Sam’s 8th birthday party. Though still hoping that the afternoon forecast was wrong, she sat Sam down and explained to him the need for a Plan B, also letting him think that he was helping craft the backup plan (his part mainly involved helping clean up the basement for the possible guests). As expected, the skies opened up around 5:45 p.m. that day, and the party was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Bridges had sent out an e-mail notification to the parents that morning about proceeding to her home, not the pool, in case of rain, so every participant was able to still make it to the festivities. The new theme was a “Sports Round Robin.” Plan B, from the kids’ perspectives, was a hit, according to Bridges. “We really did just wing it,” she says. The basement consisted of different game stations, including table tennis, air hockey, a mini-basketball goal hung on the door and some indoor games. The eight boys were divided into teams, switching stations when prompted. The parents loosely kept score, and the winning team emerged victorious with the prize of Snickers bars. As a former Girl Scout leader, Bridges is used to “herding” children and knows that you should have activities planned, especially with boys. She also adds that, with boys’ parties, the dads tend to be the chaperone, so “management of fathers” should also be addressed. Luckily, the Round Robin party was a success and, although he would’ve preferred the original pool party, Sam had a blast. c

Mom Tip:

Bridges advises having a detailed backup plan, especially when doing a weatherdependent party

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Affordable Goody Bags by Alexi Wilbourn

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Bite-sized bears: These bears are more delicious than they are frightening! Grocery and drugstores often sell movietheater box candy for $1, so buy some boxes of gummy bears. Having more than a few guests? Buy a large bag of bears, which is about $2-$3 at grocery stores, and use cellophane and a pretty ribbon to make individual pouches of creatures.

Mini foam fingers: This pint-sized version comes in fun team colors. They’re available online through Oriental Trading Company for $4/dozen (33 cents each)! Gold medals: Make every guest feel like a winner by purchasing “gold medals” from a party supply store. Party City sells 12-count packages for $6, which makes each medal only 50 cents.

One last word of advice: You don’t need fancy bags to hold all the loot! Have your child decorate plain white or brown paper lunch bags with stickers and markers to customize to the party’s theme and include the guests’ names.

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Animal masks: Foam animal masks are a fun way for kids to be entertained during and after the party. You can find them at places like for 50 cents each! Temporary tattoos: Always a crowd pleaser. Buy pages of animal tattoos and cut a couple squares out of the sheet for each child’s bag.

Small votive candle: Although unconventional, a yummy-smelling candle, especially a colored one, is bound to delight all the spa princesses. Even if they aren’t allowed to light them, they’ll still feel like grown-ups. Packs of 9-12 candles are sold for around $3-$4 at Target and Walmart.

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he Chattahoochee Nature Center offers “Green” Birthday Parties for kids who enjoy nature, wildlife and fun! Their fun parties are so easy for parents. Letters from parents: •  “Thanks for helping us create some very special memories. All the boys are still talking about it.” •  “Fun and educational, not a normal party. Great!” •  “Not only was it educational for the kids, but the naturalist was so prepared, the event was completely stress-free for my husband and myself!” The Chattahoochee Nature Center provides everything from invitations to compostable cups and plates, party décor, party favors with reusable canvas bags, drinks, a cookie cake from a local bakery and an organic cotton T-shirt for the honoree. Each party will entertain and educate with a guided nature hike and encounter with the live animal of your choice! Older kids can have a STARLAB party – visit their inflatable planetarium to view the stars as they appear on your birthday. All party packages include free admission for party attendees on party day. Their naturalists help tailor your party for a one-of-a-kind experience. Parties are offered Fridays through Sundays throughout the year. Book online and select from a variety of packages at or call 770-992-2055 ext. 237.


pecializing in personalized parties for girls, Dazzling Diva Day Spa offers a wide variety of spa services that include pedicures, manicures, makeup application, facials and runway fashion shows! You bring the attitude and they provide the rest. Guaranteed to WOW, Dazzling Diva Day Spa is the perfect party place for any little diva. At Dazzling Diva Day Spa, every girl is treated like a queen and their mission is to empower girls with a positive and exciting environment. Owner, Angela Robbins believes that their parties not only entertain young girls but help to build their self-esteem and self awareness. Robbins says that every girl is a diva and every little diva deserves the party of her dreams. Parties are geared for girls 18 and under. Come and experience the glamorous life at one of Dazzling Diva Day Spa’s parties or individual spa services. Party packages start at $300 for 8 divas. Individual spa services are offered every Saturday at Diva Day Out from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Services start at $35 per diva. Whether it’s a party or just a special day, let Dazzling Diva Day Spa pamper the princess in your life! Visit or call 770424-3388 to book your event now.

Hal’s Kitchen

Game Truck Party



al’s Kitchen is Atlanta’s New Cooking School! There’s nothing that will thrill a child who enjoys cooking more than having their birthday party at Hal’s Kitchen. Owner Cyndi Sterne and Culinary Director Jessica Ray specialize in providing a fun-filled, personalized experience to help kids celebrate their special day. With so many different culinary themes available, every birthday boy or girl and their friends have fun while making their favorite foods. Kids can create their favorite cupcakes or delicious cake balls with the “Happy Birthday, Cupcake” themed party, and of course enjoy their decadent creations! Older kids and teens really love themes like “Pasta, Pasta, Pasta” Party where they and their friends can choose from gnocchi, ravioli or noodles, and create various sauces to accompany them. All birthday parties at Hal’s Kitchen include invitations, hands-on cooking instruction led by a professional, exciting planned activities, a specially tailored themed menu, delicious food, recipes to take home, a special gift and a scrumptious birthday cake. For more information, please call 404.847.6991 or visit www.’s Kitchen is located at 206B Johnson Ferry Road on the corner of Sandy Springs Circle in Sandy Springs.


tlanta welcomes Michael and Patrice Honoré to Douglasville, as the newest additions to the Game Truck family. The Honoré family resides west of metro Atlanta and are excited to be involved in a business that brings fun and joy to children. Their children Elijah, 9 and Michaelah, 7 both  know why Game Truck Parties are so popular. Elijah believes that a Game Truck party allows you to play familiar video games with lots of friends while Michaelah enjoys dancing, singing and playing music. Shown below is a picture of their rig - Game Truck’s newest MVGT (Mobile Video Game Theater) – the “All-in-One”.  Its high-end interior sports four large screens with X-Box, Wii and PlayStation consoles, and four plush leather couches. Each console has 4 controllers, which allows 16 gamers can play together.  It is also equipped with plush comfort leather seating than can magically disappear, so that half the theater can be transformed for wheel chair access, a dance floor or space for a rock band. Use the Game Truck for birthday parties, office parties, team building, School or Church functions.  Visit the website, or call them on 888-602 -GAME for more information.

Party Planner

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 33 pinkpastryparlor pinkpastry pastryparlor pastry

Princess & Diva Spa Sweet 16 ✦ SleepOver Baking & Decorating PopStar ✦ Project Runway Baby & Bridal Showers Bachelorette Adult Birthdays too! 8465 Holcomb Bridge Rd. Alpharetta, GA 30022

770-650-PINK (7465) (Parties starting at $220)

Inspire.Create.Deliver. 3L Studios Extreme Kid Parties

“Where Your Child Is A Shining Star” PArtY PACKAgES InCLudE: • Video Director • Video Producer • Camera Operator • Lighting & Gaffing • Audio/Sound • Limo Service

• Red Carpet • Custom Invitations • Professional Styling • Catering & Chef Services • Party Favors • 3-4 Minute Edited Video

Forget cake, ice cream and pinning the tail on the donkey, our extreme parties allows your child to express their creative talent while directing their own performance video shoot.

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Best Party Package in Atlanta! 3 hour party at the ranch for 15 children for only $250 includes:

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September 2011

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angaZoom is an indoor children’s play center that features four party rooms, inflatable jumps, arcade games, a clothing boutique, a snack/gift corner, parents lounge, computer corner, and more assorted fun for children ages two to twelve. They specialize in celebrating that “special” celebration day for you and your little one. They are a full service party location allowing outside food and drinks as well as any of your party needs: cake, balloons, clown/ face painting, ect. Booking your childs special event with them will always be a treat for your child and the stressfree party your are wanting on that special day. Conveniently located off of Georgia 400 exit 11 Windward Parkway its easy for anyone to enjoy. Call TODAY to book your childs special day!! 5530 Windward Parkway Ste. 400, Alpharetta GA 3004 (Right next door to Office Depot and Wild Wings). 770-772-0552.

3L Studios Extreme Kid Parties


t 3L Studios they have taken extreme kid parties to the next level with their unique party experience. Their motto is “Where Your Child is a Shining Star”. With their birthday parties, Quinceanera and Sweet 16 celebrations, they make your son or daughter a shining star on their special day. Each party is customized to provide a once in a lifetime experience for your child and allows them to express their creative talent while starring in and directing their own personal video. Parties include complete catering and a full crew to meet your video production needs. Exotic cars, limos, airplanes, tigers, castles, yachts, personal chefs and more are all possibilities with our packages. Each honoree receives a customized director’s chair, slate, T-shirt and Oscar! Our parties are designed to fit any budget and prices range from $1,500 to $30,000. No detail will be overlooked and your birthday boy or girl is guaranteed to be the life of the party and the star of the show. So let them roll out the red carpet! They promise this will be a party your child will never forget! Call 770-748-9031 to book your event or check them out on the web at

Malibu Grand Prix/Mountasia

Sandy Springs Funhouse

re your kids tired of the same old birthday party year after year? Are you looking for something new, fun and exciting? Host your child’s next party at Malibu Grand Prix or Mountasia! Your child will love racing their friends on hi-speed go-karts through the track’s banked curves, hairpin turns, and exhilarating straight-aways. How about climbing aboard one of the bumper boats for some water fun! Come aboard and soak the ones you love, but watch out – you could be next! You can also try your hand at one of the 18 hole miniature golf courses. Their state of the art game rooms offer incredible games to tickle everyone’s imagination! While you are at Malibu Grand Prix, try your hand in the batting cages – they offer everything from slow pitch soft ball to expert speeds! Looking for even more speed? Strap yourself into one of the custom built, high powered, ¾ scale Indy cars. With birthday party packages starting at just $12.99 per person plus tax, there’s something to fit everyone’s needs and budget! They’re also great for a day of family fun and group outings! Malibu Grand Prix 770-416-7630. I-85 at Indian Trail in Norcross. Mountasia 770-422-7227. I-575 at Barrett Parkway in Marietta.

he Sandy Springs Funhouse is a family fun center for all ages. Kids enjoy the Ginormous Play Center which contains over 22,000 cubic feet of fun. Its open design allows parents to see their children at all times. The toddler zone incorporated into the structure provides a separate space for toddlers while still enabling parents to watch and play with the older kids. And while the kids are busy, big brothers and sisters (and adults) can play laser tag, an exciting combination of tag and capture the flag using very safe, low emitting laser beams and radio waves. You’ll experience the thrill of a submarine adventure when you enter the 5,000 square foot, 2-level arena. The Funhouse also has a large arcade with a “candy free” redemption center. It’s the only place in town where you’ll find Lazer FrenzyTM, an interactive arcade game where you go inside the game to dodge laser beams. The Funhouse customizes parties to maximize fun no matter what age. We also specialize in youth groups and special needs. For more information, visit their website at or call them at 404-843-1121 and set sail for family fun!



Party Planner

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 35

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by Kerrie McLoughlin

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I’m always toting my kids to a birthday party. Buying all those gifts can be a real budget buster, and nobody wants to go into credit card debt trying to impress little kids (and their parents!) with lavish gifts. Below are some money-savings tips to save hundreds of dollars every year on birthday party presents.

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Check your budget. This will be harder for some of you than for others, but I promise if you stop worrying about what other people think, you will automatically save some serious cash. Focus on your own finances, and spend only what you can afford. Plan ahead. Make a list of

upcoming birthdays and parties, plus several last-minute invitations you hadn’t counted on. Computer-savvy moms can set up a spreadsheet, but notebook paper works just fine. If you have gifts ahead of time, you’re likely to spend less on a last-minute present.

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Stock up.

Stocking up on gifts saves money on gas because you aren’t running to the store every time you get a birthday party invitation. I also tend to spend more when my own kids are with me helping to pick out a present for their friend. It’s so comforting to know you have a stockpile of gifts in a big plastic tub somewhere for any birthday party invitation that may come your kid’s way. What to stock up on, you ask? Read on …


Know what a kid wants. Some classic, frugal

gift ideas for kids of different ages include: stickers, crayons, sketch pads, baby dolls, Barbie dolls, balls, puzzles, small cars, beads with string, lacing kits, LEGOs, tea sets, dinosaurs, DVDs and books.

Where to find deals.

Look at thrift stores, garage sales, consignment shops and Craigslist. org because usually a kid doesn’t care if something is used as long as it is useful to them. For new items, check back-to-school sales, sales after school has been in session a couple of weeks, and going-out-ofbusiness sales (think of the huge book store chain that just folded and the savings that were to be had!). There’s a large department store chain (hint: it has a bull’s-eye logo) that has great $1 stocking stuffer-type items year-round. And there’s always the real dollar stores.

Get crafty. The day after Thanksgiving I ventured out to our local huge craft store, armed with a coupon for 50 percent off.

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Unique! Creative! Stress free!

404-319-0180 Santa & Elves * Fire * Tarot Themes * Hula * Magic 36 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

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I stocked up on about 20 sets of the following: three bottles of paint, a pack of paintbrushes, and 10 wooden magnets in different animal shapes. I spent about $5 per set and had the perfect rainyday craft gift for just about any kid.

Card trick.

I haven’t bought a greeting card for a child in 10 years because they are expensive, and they just get thrown away (or recycled, as in my house). I used to make my own cards for kid parties, but then my own kids started wanting to do it. You can go old school and use construction paper, or have your kids make a card on the computer.

Wrap it up. If you have gift bags lying around the house, use them up! I’ve been known to put birthday gifts in Christmas gift bags – year-round – and have never had a kid complain. Otherwise, you can wrap gifts in the Sunday comics section of the newspaper or have your kids decorate plain copy paper with markers, stickers and rubber stamps. c


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Atlanta Parent 37

Ladies &Gentlemen

How to Grow Them at Home by Dr. Valerie Allen

Every new birth gives hope for a kinder, gentler world. A child is not born angry, hostile, abusive or violent; nor is he born loving, caring, kind or considerate. Children gradually learn to become the way they are. As they interact with their environment and significant people it in, they are pushed, pulled, molded and shaped by life experiences. This is wonderful news because it allows us many opportunities to be a positive influence on children. We have the knowledge, strategies and motivation to help children fulfill their potential, become a positive force in society, and a joy to be with. Here are 10 things you can do to help children become kind, considerate and thoughtful human beings.

1 2 3 4 5 38 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

Lower the Volume! Speak to each other in a quiet, calm tone of voice. Avoid calling to your child from another room. Find her, make eye contact, and speak softly. Regulate the background noise from television, radio and other audio/visual equipment; allow only one A/V or e-device on in each room. Use the Magic Words. Set an example by asking, not commanding, your child to do things. Don’t forget “Please,” “Thank you,” “Excuse me” and other nice things that you learned from Grandma. They still work! Have Hands-on Contact. We all need hugs, the more the better. Younger children enjoy cuddling and being held on your lap. Older kids may respond better to a high-five or secret handshake. Teenagers may tolerate a pat on the back or a brief bear hug. Don’t force affection if a child is resistant. Speak with Respect. Teach children to speak to people by name. Children should address adults in a respectful manner, using Mr., Mrs., Ms. or other appropriate title. Offer Acceptance and Belonging. Home should be a safe and loving place, where we find comfort and support. Make your child feel needed and wanted by acknowledging her inner qualities such as honesty, dependability or trustworthiness. Each child should enjoy a unique and significant place within the family unit.

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Expect the Best. Assume that your child will succeed and do well; look at misdeeds or failures as the exception. Focus on typical behaviors – i.e., good grades in school, at home on time, doing chores – rather than dwelling on things that did not go well or pointing out how disappointed you are in something. Show Respect. Treat your children with fairness and honesty. Ask their opinion and follow their advice when possible. Avoid dictating to them; give them an opportunity to make choices whenever possible. Never lie to a child, not matter how difficult the truth may seem. Do not violate children’s confidence by teasing or belittling them. Only in the most extreme situations should you intrude on their privacy by going through their personal belongings or reading their letters, journals or emails. Assume a Reasonable Explanation. When your child gets into trouble, use it as an opportunity to talk about problem-solving skills. Give him a chance to explain the situation. Discuss the behavior and the reasoning that led up to it. Without accusation, take him step by step through the incident and explore his emotions, problemsolving skills, alternative behaviors, and the consequences. The main focus should be his actions, not the incident. Be Patient. It is an eternal truth that children act their age. They are learning how to live life. It is during these formative years we are most instrumental in redirecting their behavior into adaptive and positive channels. Children make many mistakes, many times. It is important we share our moral and social values with them and lovingly tolerate their deviations without condemnation. Criticize the deed, not the doer. Be as You Want Them to Be. Children learn by example. They will respond to stress, frustration and anger in one of two ways: externalizing or internalizing. Externalizing behaviors are abusive tactics such as yelling, crying, teasing, name-calling, temper tantrums and aggression. Internalizing behaviors include withdrawal, isolation, pouting and being silent.

Teach your child how to react positively when life is unfair, things don’t go his way, or he is disappointed. A child is often a mirror of the adults around him. Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice.

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Dr. Rachel K. Keleske • 11730 Jones Bridge Road • Alpharetta, GA 30005 September 2011

Atlanta Parent 39

Stroller Test Drive

Local parents hit the pavement with some of the newest strollers. They share their likes, dislikes and overall opinions to make your stroller shopping a little easier. Compiled by Laura Powell and Alexi Wilbourn Joovy Caboose Ultralight Double Stroller $269.99 buybuy BABY, New Baby Products Tester: Andrea Bowes, Alpharetta, mother of a 2-year-old and an infant

n  What I love: It’s lightweight; I can easily lift the 21-lb. stroller into my SUV, and it folds up relatively small for storage. The two-handed close is simple. This stroller is one of the easier tandems to maneuver and provides good coverage with a sunshade that is extendable to different sizes and angles. The Joovy also enables the older child to sit or stand when he’s tired of walking through the mall or park, yet he can still stand to see the action. Plus my toddler thinks the ability to stand is more like riding a fun toy versus sitting in a boring stroller. n  I wish it had: adjustable handles (a little high for our tester) and easier access to storage basket. n  The scoop: The best feature about the Joovy is that it has a super-strong frame, quality seat material and overall durable construction that feels safe, yet it has clean lines and is lightweight! This stroller is perfect for my very active 2-year-old and 2-month-old sons. The base model comes with everything I need – the car seat adapter (for my 2-month-old), oversized adjustable canopy, organizer with cup holder, storage basket and padded seats.

Baby Jogger City Mini $239.99, double $429.99 buybuy BABY, New Baby Products, A Room of Their Own Tester: Laura Powell, Decatur, mother of an infant n  What I love: The City Mini is super light and easy to collapse and carry with one hand. It also provides excellent sun coverage. The shade can completely cover your child and has pocket windows with shades that roll back so you can keep an eye on him. I also like that the stroller can lie almost flat, which is nice when using the stroller with a younger baby. The City Mini is easy to maneuver, and the brake is easy to engage even when wearing flip-flops.

40 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

Stroller $249.99, Car Seat: $179.99 Babies ‘R’ Us, buybuy BABY, A Room of Their Own Tester: Felicia Barman, Dunwoody, mother of a 5-year-old, 3-year-old and an infant n  What I love: It’s compact and narrow when folded. It feels very lightweight as it glides along and is easy to maneuver, even with a 30-lb. child in it! The storage basket is just large enough to hold a diaper bag. The matching car seat is a perfect fit for the stroller. It’s easy to get in and out of the base and into the stroller with an easy-to-engage handle. Although the car seat is a little bit heavier than other brands, it is roomier and has a sturdier design. n  I wish it had: a one-handed collapse and a little more sun protection. Although the sun canopy provides great coverage from direct overhead sunlight, it cannot be pulled forward to protect the child from direct sunlight facing the child.. I would purchase the adult cup holder and snack tray accessories.

n  I wish it had: a larger storage basket. The basket underneath the stroller is of medium size, but I could not get my diaper bag in and out of it. The City Mini handle is a little short and not adjustable. Just about perfect for me at 5´7˝, but a little short for my 5´9˝ husband. n  The scoop: A great lightweight stroller, perfect for short trips around town and on vacations, with a good variety of affordable accessories. I really appreciate that the City Mini is so maneuverable and easy to tote around, especially with my child in my arms. Lots of great

Britax B-AGILE Stroller and B-Safe Car Seat

accessories at affordable prices make this stroller fit all your needs. I would recommend getting the belly bar as your child gets older, and they offer a child tray with cup holder. Accessories include a car seat adapter, glider board and a bassinet. A double version of this stroller is also available.

atlanta baby

n  The scoop: This stroller is nice because I consider it a cross between a regular stroller and a jogging stroller, since it has three wheels and is so lightweight. I could use it for everyday use for walks in my neighborhood and trips to the mall, or for travel through airports or for long days at amusement parks. I especially like the versatility of use for children of different ages and sizes (up to 55 lbs.), since I can use it for my 5-year-old, 3-year-old and newborn (with the infant carrier attached).

Mutsy 4Rider Light Frame with seat $545, optional bassinet $225 Amazon, buybuy BABY, Baby on the Go Tester: Laura Powell n  What I love: The stroller is sturdy, durable and glides smoothly. The adjustable handle is awesome and easy to use. It’s an attractive stroller and I received many compliments while out on walks. I really like the accessories. The base model comes with the seat and adjustable canopy. The seat can almost lie flat and be used with infants as early as 3 months. It is reversible so you can have the baby facing you or away. You can also purchase a bassinet with canopy, which I ended up using a lot. I never thought a bassinet was a baby product that I needed. But when we arrived home from the hospital, the bassinet on wheels, my Mutsy, became my baby’s bed for a month.

He slept in it most of the time until we were ready to move him to the crib. It was convenient to roll around our one-story home and the perfect size for a newborn. The frame can also stand on its own. n  I wish it had: a cup holder or snack tray and weighed less. It’s a little heavy. But it folds up nicely considering its size. The collapse with two hands was a challenge for me, but was easy once I got the hang of it (it did require a call to customer service). . n  The scoop: Though pricey, the stroller is very strong and durable and easy to maneuver for its weight. It has lots of cool accessories available at an additional cost, but it is easy to use as your only stroller. There is a car seat adapter, fun seat with steering wheel for toddlers, step up board, a duo seat to make it a double stroller, and more available for the Mutsy.

Baby Trend Sit n Stand LX Tandem Stroller

Chicco Liteway Stroller $139.99 Babies’ R’ Us, buybuy BABY Tester: Anthony Le, Marietta, father of a 20-month-old

Starts at $129.99, price varies by color Babies R Us, Amazon Tester: Felicia Barman n  What I love: The lower price tag makes this double stroller attractive. It can be collapsed with one hand by pressing two buttons. Plenty of storage. The sunshade provides excellent coverage from overhead and sunlight facing the child. A removable rear seat so that one child can sit or stand while the parent pushes, and the other child can sit in the front seat.

n  What I love: The reclining on this stroller is a dream compared to my previous one. It is super easy and reclines flat for newborns, sleeping babies and diaper changes on the go. I love that! That way my son can sleep nicely when he is tired. The footrest adjusts really well too. It turns corners with one hand very smoothly. The wheels are positioned far back so we do not constantly kick them. Good storage space, considering it’s an umbrella stroller that also turns into a backpack.

n  I wish it had: better turning ability and was slightly smaller. Turns are a bit more challenging due to the length of the stroller. You have to give yourself enough room to change directions, but once you get used to it, turning gets easier. Fitting it into my vehicle was a challenge because it’s a little long. n  The scoop: This tandem stroller is surprisingly manageable for its design and not too bulky. I really love the retractable, flexible sunshades!  I’ve noticed that those are very hard to find in a stroller. My other favorite feature is that the stroller  allows an infant carrier to attach to the front seat. It allows children to grow with the stroller, since it can accommodate newborns, toddlers and preschoolers alike.  

Joovy Zoom 360 $269.99 buybuy Baby, New Baby Products Tester: Krista Allen, Braselton, mother of a 2-year-old

n  I wish it had: easier to adjust child straps. More adjustable levels on the back and bottom side to move the shoulder strap up and down, depending on the height and weight of the child. The buckle over the legs was also too short. My 36-lb. toddler is close to the 40lb. capacity for the stroller, and I feel he may outgrow this stroller soon. n  The scoop: Overall, it is a great quality stroller that is easy to take on the road or around town. It’s upscale for an umbrella stroller and has more features. I find the black color elegant and the fabric durable and easy to clean.c

n  What I love: Good suspension system for going over bumps and off-roading with my toddler. It has lots of room to jog and is easy to maneuver with an adjustable swivel wheel. There are reflective strips on the stroller to give it good visibility in the evening. It has a good-sized sun canopy, large storage basket, and good parent console. I also like the side pockets inside the stroller for my toddler’s snacks and stuff. n  I wish it had: more head space for my child. It is nice and wide, but the seatback is shorter than I’d like. n  The scoop: A well-priced jogging stroller that is compact for storage, not too heavy, and very durable for getting out and exercising. I like that it comes with a rain cover and a tire pump that secures to the basket.

atlanta baby

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 41

The Search for the Perfect Stroller East Cobb Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Call for Prenatal Visit Eric B. Karlen, MD • Marisa R. Gadea, MD Salathiel Kendrick, MD • Beth Kemp, MD Shefali Chheda, MD • Tracy Barr, MD Barbara Cossman, CPNP, IBCLC Darlene Coyne, CPNP, IBCLC Deanne M. Fetsch, RN, CPNP Sharon Lebedin, RN, CNP Kennesaw Office in Shiloh Square

3895 Cherokee Street • Kennesaw


Johnson Ferry Office 1121 Johnson Ferry Road • Marietta


by Alexi Wilbourn

Your eyes start to glaze over as you stare at the endless stroller choices in stores and online. A trendy color is the least of your problems as you hopelessly compare the wheeled army in formation. Which has more storage space? How much does the double stroller weigh? It seems like the stroller in front of you has one special feature, while lacking another. Another buggy has what the first is missing but with shortcomings of its own. Who knew that something as seemingly simple as a stroller could cause so much stress? No wonder it’s so hard to pick the right one. Use this handy checklist of stroller options and features to help decide which one is best for you and your child.



Safety should be the No.1 consideration when choosing a stroller. Is the frame flimsy? Does the wheel-lock function properly? Just like someone shopping for a new car, you should shop for a safe stroller, paying attention to user reviews and safety features.

This is important, especially with tandem strollers. You may find yourself in a small or crowded area with no spare space to do U-turns, so test out the turning. Many stores will let you try out the strollers before you purchase one.


Items such as snack trays and cup holders can be lifesavers. Some are included with the basic stroller, while some are optional accessories for purchase separately. These features could be useful when your child wants to eat Cheerios while you shop or when that Starbucks coffee is too difficult to resist.

Extra baskets and bins are the best ways to lighten your motherly load. No need to carry that heavy diaper bag on your shoulder when you can stash it in the stroller.

Collapsibility The stroller is inevitably going into your vehicle. With a baby in one arm, folding the stroller should not be a battle. Look for strollers that you can collapse with one hand or that are simple to fold up.

Weight and Bulk Children can be heavy, so don’t burden yourself with a 30-lb. stroller. Light- and medium-weight models are common these days, so pay attention to the weight when comparing your top choices. Also, note how small or large the strollers are when collapsed. If you have a small sedan, a large stroller might not fit in the trunk.

Sunshades If you plan on being outside often, or even walking through a sunny parking lot, examine how the sunshade functions. There are retractable ones that adjust to block direct overhead sunlight, as well as direct rays facing the child.

42 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

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Adjustable Handles A simple feature, but not one to be overlooked. You stand just 5´2˝ while your spouse is 6´3˝ – do you really think that a fixed handle height will be comfortable for both of you?

Destinations Are you strictly a sidewalk warrior or do you venture off-road for jogging? Read the specifics about where a stroller is made to roll. A basic stroller may tip or fall over if taken on a hilly trail.

Purpose Do you want a stroller that can accommodate a heavier weight so you can keep it as your child grows? Some people also choose to own multiple strollers so that they have the most practical one for specific purposes. Decide what your budget can afford and which stroller is the best value for your family. c

Meet the ‘Everything [but the baby] Giveaway’ Winners Grand Prize Winner Tracy Ryan of Atlanta

Readers submitted entries for Atlanta Parent’s “Everything [but the baby] Giveaway” but only one could win the grand prize of Munire nursery furniture from A Room of Their Own and a custom nursery wall mural from Jennifer Smith Galley – a prize valued at over $2,500! Fifteen other readers won various gifts, from a newborn photo session and print to a baby safety gate. Entrants emailed us reasons for wanting – actually needing – a nursery makeover. Stay-athome-mom Tracy Ryan told the story that caught our attention.

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When the Ryans became parents for the first time, they lived in a small, one-bedroom apartment with the bare necessities – a bed, small kitchen table, couch and a rug. Without a room for a nursery, their son Caleb slept in their bedroom closet for the first year of his life, his crib positioned among a forest of hanging shirts beneath a shelf of loafers and sandals. The Ryans moved into a new home in Vinings this past November. Two months later, Tracy became pregnant with Asher, expected to arrive in early October. After the exciting news that she and her husband Shawn had been selected as the grand-prize winners in Atlanta Parent’s “Everything [but the baby] Giveaway,” Tracy realized that their new son will have something that they were never able to give Caleb – a brand-new nursery to come home to! As winners, the Ryans selected new nursery furniture from A Room of Their Own and a customized mural from Jennifer Smith Gallery, a value totaling $2,500! “We never expected any of this, but the mural painting especially is something that is so special,” Tracy says. Having already picked out nautical-themed bedding for Asher, muralist Jennifer Contino created an ocean view around Asher’s entire room. Stepping into the nursery is like stepping into a live painting. Sailboats float majestically atop the rippling dark blue water, while a distant lighthouse looks like something from a postcard. A large feathery stork perches atop the room’s light switch.

atlanta baby

“Everything looks better than I could have ever imagined, and we are just so thankful and excited,” Tracy says, overjoyed by the room’s transformation. Even Caleb loves going in the nursery to look at the ocean mural. “I’m sure when he’s older, he’ll ask why he doesn’t have trains painted on his walls,” she says. – Marie Phelan and Alexi Wilbourn September 2011

Atlanta Parent 43

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Bringing Home Baby: Nurseries to Grow In by Alexi Wilbourn

Who has time to decorate a nursery? Assuming you can get it done somewhere between work and yoga class, it’ll seem like a matter of seconds before that precious baby outgrows those cutesy bullfrogs and hippos so lovingly stenciled on the wall. Here are few ideas for creating a simple, appealing room décor that will grow with your child. n  Choose a color palette that will appeal to all your family members as time goes on. A coat of paint is one of the easiest, lowest-cost ways to change the appearance of a room. Sophisticated tones, such as turquoise, coral, even black and white, are becoming more common in nursery decorating. They can be adapted to children’s tastes as they grow. n  Many stores with home sections, including Target and Walmart, as well as online retailers such as, offer wall decals and murals that can add character to the

room without paint or artistic ability. Just peel the art off when you or your child gets tired of it! n  Look at decorating websites –, or, to name a few – to get your creative juices flowing. n  Consider a convertible crib. It turns into a toddler bed when your child is ready, saving money in the long run and saving you from having to redecorate the room around new furniture. Cont’d on page 46


Embracing Strengthening

Metro Atlanta Families since 1983


atlanta baby

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 45

You’ve given them life. Now, help prepare them for a good life.

Bringing Home Baby: Nurseries to Grow In Decorating a nursery is more than deciding which paint swatch best matches the sky, or if a jungle theme is better than a fireman theme. Safety should be one of the major considerations.

it’s not too early to start saving for college

Some tips to keep your nursery healthy and safe:

There are many exciting moments and months ahead as your child grows. Time will often feel as if it’s flying by. While we encourage you to cherish every memory and milestone with your child, we also want you to begin thinking about your child’s future. That’s why it’s so important that you start saving while they’re young – it’s easier to save small amounts over time. And when it’s time to head off to college, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you did your best to prepare for college costs.

The Path2College 529 Plan is Georgia’s 529 college savings plan. The plan provides a tax-advantaged way to invest for a loved one’s college education. If you have a newborn, be sure to enter for your chance to win a jump start for your child’s future education expenses by entering the Newborn Sweepstakes sponsored by the Path2College 529 Plan. Learn more by visiting

You could win


towards your newborn’s college education! 46 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

n  Paint: Choose a low- or zero-VOC paint, which is less smelly and contains a limited quantity of harmful chemicals. This will help your baby breathe easier and keep the air free of hazardous chemicals. Although zero-VOC paints can cost $30 or more a gallon, low-VOC paint prices are comparable to those of ordinary paints (around $20 a gallon). n  Furniture: Be sure to check current safety standards for furniture, especially baby gates or cribs. As of June of this year, the Federal Trade Commission banned dropside cribs due to their danger of suffocation or strangulation. Although it’s now illegal to sell or make the cribs, it’s still possible to pick them up secondhand or at garage sales, which you definitely do not want to do! n  Wall Décor: Use lightweight art so that heavy pictures or frames will not fall and injure your baby. Complete sweepstakes rules and details are available at No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Program Manager.


atlanta baby

n  Choking Hazards: Stay away from decorations with long ribbons or strings that can strangle your child. Blinds are a huge hazard for small children, so look for features such as cord wind-ups. Stuffed animals, crib bumpers, pillows, toys and thick comforters could also pose a hazard when your baby starts moving around. c

Atlanta Baby Spotlight Special Advertising Section

Baby Care Connection (Advice for New Parents)

East Cobb Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, P.C.

he birth of your baby is such a joyful event! Amid all the excitement, it can be stressful too, especially if you have more questions than answers. Do you feel like ‘muddling through’ those first months of your baby’s life isn’t your best option? You and your baby deserve better! Baby Care Connection (BCC) empowers parents to care for their newborns with confidence. It educates parents regarding: promotion of good sleep habits, infant massage, colic tips, breastfeeding support, tips on safeguarding the marriage relationship during new baby stress, and ‘nuts-n-bolts’ of baby care for new fathers. Christine D. Carr, RN is certified in Infant Massage and “Happiest Christine D. Carr, RN Baby on the Block”. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at the University of Iowa in 1988 and her Master’s degree in Nursing at Loyola University of Chicago in 1994. She has worked at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in their NICU for more than 14 years. She was nominated for the AJC Nursing Excellence Awards in 2009. She’s a licensed registered nurse in the state of GA. For more information go to www.babycareconnection. com or call 770-345-5710 or 770-402-6950.

ooking for a friendly and professional “pediatric home” for your children? East Cobb Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, P.C. has been committed to children’s health and their well-being for the past 30 years. Their motto is “Caring for Kids”. They take care of your family until the age of 21. Their medical staff reflects their multi-cultural communities. Several of their providers and staff speak Spanish. The website has a photograph and brief biography on each of the doctors and nurse practitioners so that you can learn more about them. L to R: Dr. Marisa Gadea East Cobb Pediatrics maintains an and Dr. Eric Karlen environment that is friendly, professional and responsive to patients’ needs. Both offices have undergone refurbishment to make your visit more pleasurable. And an electronic medical record system is being implemented to move them to the next generation of medical record keeping. A free group prenatal visit is provided for expecting parents in Kennesaw and Marietta/East Cobb. All providers understand what you are going through because they all have children of their own. Call 770-795-4553 (Kennesaw) or 770-977-0094 (East Cobb) to schedule your free visit. For additional information:

Families Of Children Under Stress (FOCUS)

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hen a baby is diagnosed with a lifelong disability or serious medical condition, parents just want to kiss and make it better. This can be a scary and emotional time, and some parents may be so overwhelmed by the medical terms and by their emotions that they really do not understand; they might not even know the questions to ask! Parents often feel relieved to know that they are not alone, that another parent has walked the road they are on. Families Of Children Under Stress (FOCUS) offer comfort and encouragement and is there to help – to listen and cry, to inform and educate, and to offer programs for the families and the baby with special needs through our support groups and programs. Seek support so you can have the information and tools to help your baby and to help meet your emotional needs. FOCUS offers support groups all over metro Atlanta; a newsletter with stories by families about their experiences and information about equipment and resources; an education conference; community respite programs; and several annual activities for the entire family. FOCUS believes that if your baby has special needs, then your family has special needs – FOCUS cares. If your child has a physical, cognitive or developmental disability, please call FOCUS at 770-234-9111 or go to our website at



he youngest learners at Kids ‘R’ Kids’ Infant-Toddler Program are well on their way to a lifetime of learning. Infants, as young as six weeks old, are immersed with stimulating, hands-on play. Kids ‘R’ Kids is a place for love, growth, and discovery. Each activity is designed to assist your child in achieving developmental milestones, while having fun. Expanding the imagination and strengthening the muscles has never been more fun! The Kids ‘R’ Kids Corporate Accredited AdvancED program works to strengthen all aspects of your growing infant/toddler’s development such as building language, developing fine and gross motor skills, as well as social interaction. The Infant-Toddler Big Steps Curriculumtm provides weekly lesson plans and activities designed to develop skills necessary to accomplish developmental milestones. The extensive Infant-Toddler Sign Language Program, which is known to eliminate frustration for children who have yet to form their verbal vocabulary, introduces age appropriate language skills for non-verbal communication. Most of the 46 metro Atlanta locations are open 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to accommodate the various shifts of working and busy families. Please call 770-279-7777 or visit www.kidsrkids. com for more information on all programs for children 6 weeks - twelve years.

atlanta baby

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 47

Top Smart Phone Apps for Moms

Download these applications to your smart phone to stay organized, check symptoms, decide what’s for dinner, and see how many calories are in that hamburger. RedLaser: Not sure if you’re looking at the best price for those new shoes? This app allows you to scan the items barcode to make comparison shopping a cinch! It pulls up search results from other stores for the same item. Free.

Lose It: Set weight loss or nutritional goals for yourself and keep track of your daily diet and exercise. Add new foods to keep track of and also log your daily nutrition intake (carbs, protein, vitamins, etc.). Several local schools are using this app as part of their P.E. and health programs. Free.

How to Cook Everything:

Cozi: Use the virtual date book to keep track of everyone’s schedule, create shopping lists and keep a family journal. Plus, each family member you add will be color-coded for convenience! $1.99.

Browse more than 2,000 recipes and 400 illustrations that are simply laid out with organized shopping lists and built-in timers throughout the recipe (so there’s no need to figure out that pesky oven timer). $4.99.

Whyzz: Mom, where do babies come from? Find an answer to all your kids’ tricky questions with the help of this smart app. Focused on the 4-7 age group, there are more than 50 categories of questions to search for your right answer. Free.

For parenting resources you can actually use.

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September 2011


Special Advertising Section Grocery IQ: No more worrying about stopping by the grocery and forgetting your paper grocery list on the kitchen table. This app allows you to make lists for different stores, as well as sort your items by aisle and share them with other family members. You can even access coupon offers. So next time your husband stops by the store on the way home, he’ll have no excuse for forgetting to pick up your favorite chocolates. Free.

Mom Maps: Not sure where to take the kids on that day off from school? Mom Maps provides information, including addresses, directions, phone numbers and reviews, for different “kid spots” in your area. You can also add your favorite local spots to the app for other families to enjoy. Free.

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atlanta baby

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 49

energy + support =

s s e succ

Atlanta educator Ron Clark offers parents and teachers simple and powerful solutions to effective teaching in his new book, Molasses Classes.


by Ann Hardie

on Clark, whose teaching successes at schools in Atlanta and New York City have made him an education superstar, has a name for classrooms with listless students and even worse, uninterested teachers: molasses classes. Ron Clark Academy, the middle school Clark founded in southeast Atlanta in 2007, has drawn attention for being one of the most unstuck places in the country. It is a place where Clark, who teaches math, global studies and reading, and his colleagues jump on desks, convert classrooms into planets, and do anything else they can think of to help kids fall in love with learning. Though private and pricey, most of the students receive financial aid. The school relies on outside funding from a variety of sources, including donations from the likes of the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Delta Airlines. Atlanta Parent talked to Clark about his views on education and the roles for teachers – and parents.

50 Atlanta Parent    September 2011


AP:  Can you describe your school? RC:  Our school is old meets new. In terms

of respect, manners, discipline, we are very traditional. But on the flip side, we are very bold and out there and modern when it comes to our methods. We have music in almost every lesson at some point of the day. I have a red button on my wall. When I hit it, the whole room turns into a disco. I walk on my desk and the kids get on their desks, too. The kids are encouraged to express themselves. They are part of the lesson – they are not just receiving the lesson.

AP:  What makes your school so successful?

RC:  We encourage our teachers to teach

with passion, creativity, to be innovative. The school is very challenging for the kids, but we make it fun. In almost every situation when we are able to make something wonderful happen for the kids, it is because the parents and the teachers are willing to work together.

AP:  Talk more about the partnership between

parents and teachers. RC:  We have an open house for parents where we roll out the red carpet, literally. The parents come in and we make them feel like rock stars. We visit the home of every child before the first day. The parents always say, “No one has ever done that before.” It is a very brief visit. I talk about what we can do to make sure their child gets the best education possible, what I expect from homework, the things I need from them.

AP:  What do you need from parents? RC:  They need to set a positive tone in the home. If they are

upset with a teacher or something that happens at school, we ask them not to complain in front of their child. They need to make sure they work on homework with their children in the proper way. Some parents will say to me, “My child just gets frustrated.” But what happens is that the parents get frustrated first. We tell our parents, take a break, bake some cookies with their child. You’ve got to find a way to make homework a positive experience.

AP:  How do parents undermine you? RC:  I have parents show up and they are upset with a

grade. They want to be helicopter parents, to swoop in and save the day. Even when I won’t change the grade, they will tell the child, “I am happy with your effort.” I hate when parents say, “Last year, he got straight A’s and he had a good teacher.” Sometimes the teachers are giving those A’s so parents and administrators will leave them alone. I’m afraid parents in our country would rather have kids on the honor roll and getting an OK education with an OK teacher than making C’s and D’s getting an excellent education. It drives me crazy.

AP:  Your school is private. Do you think public schools can be as successful?

RC:  The program I am doing in Atlanta is the same thing

I did at the public schools in New York City and in North Carolina. All of the teachers at our school were public school teachers who did the same thing in their public schools. It is all about how you interact with children. Some things are very simple. We gave our students a list and asked them what they most wanted to see in a teacher. The No. 1 thing was a teacher who smiles. They wanted a teacher who was happy.

AP:  Why aren’t more teachers smiling? RC:  No. 1 is the focus on testing. No. 2 is because the pay

is horrible and last year teachers put $1 billion into their own classrooms. No. 3 is a lack of respect. Teachers across the country complain to me that parents do not treat them with respect. We hate it when a kid does something wrong and we call in the parent and the parent will say to the child, “Is that true?” It is like a slap in the face to the teacher because I just told you that it happened.

Some Tips To Help a Child Succeed For parents: n  Be prepared to work hard. If you want your child to succeed, show them what it means to study, to spend hours immersed in a book, and to do extensive research beyond what is required. n  See the potential in every child. Children become what you see in them. If you say over and over that they aren’t good in math, they will label themselves as a bad math student and grow to hate the subject. n  Limit chaos in the morning. You want it to be dramafree so that your child starts school with a calm spirit. Even if you aren’t a morning person, force yourself to get up early and start the day right. n  Use the time in the car to discuss what your child is learning in class. The music is more fun…but getting your child in the habit of sharing the knowledge he is learning in class will help him greatly in the long run. n  Don’t allow a video game system unless you are prepared to be a prison guard. Even if a child is polite and doing well academically, spending countless hours in front of a screen is not OK. n  Make studying fun. Tape key bits of information on the milk carton, underneath the sofa or in the sock drawer. Approach learning with a fun, confident attitude and children will follow suit.

For teachers: n  Not every child deserves a “cookie.” Only reward excellence, whether the “cookie” is a passing grade, a field trip or even an actual cookie. Giving praise that isn’t earned only sets students up for failure in the long run. n  Use music to excite, motivate and inspire. Playing classical music during a test, singing songs that tie in with the curriculum, or even staging an all-out academic musical makes learning fun. n  Love what your students love. Whether it’s iCarly, Twilight or the NFL, if you want to get closer to a child, you have to be able to talk about the things that they care about. n  Realize that kids need to move. Give them plenty of opportunities for physical expression: acting out lessons on Greek mythology, creating educational chants, and moving to the tunes of popular songs.

Source: The End of Molasses Classes: 101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers

Cont’d on page 52

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 51

energy + support = success2

Open House

Friday, October 21, 2011

The bright blue slide at the Ron Clark Academy offers a quick trip from the second to the first floor.

AP: What about the focus 

on testing? RC: Every year I tell my staff they are not to mention end-of-grade testing. I want kids to realize that learning is wonderful and an educated life is a great life. If kids learn how to love knowledge, they will become lifelong learners. We do have end-of-year tests and assessments and accountability, but the kids are not stressed about it. And because of that, our test scores have been outstanding. We are not going to improve anyone’s aptitude by teaching kids how to test well. Teachers can’t even drink their coffee because they are so worried about test scores. The average amount of time that teachers stay in this profession is 4.5 years. They come out of college and they are eager and full of passion and they get in the classroom and are told to teach to the test. They are like, “This is not what I signed up for.” We are shooting ourselves in the foot.

AP: What can a parent do if their kid  hates school? RC: I would be less concerned with a kid saying he doesn’t like school than I would about a kid who says he doesn’t like to learn. I would try to find things that he loves. Whether it is dinosaurs or robots, I would really push him in that area and not just leave the education up to the school.

AP: That means that parents must  be very active participants, right?

RC: The more involved the better. You get one shot to be a parent. c

52 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Cont’d on page XX

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 53

Healthy Homework Habits

(for Parents)

Putting the helicopter in storage helps your kids learn independence and work ethic. by Teri Cettina


hen Travis Cohn Royce was in grade school, his most faithful homework buddy was his mom, Lisa Cohn. At the time, Travis was enrolled in a challenging public school program that often required several hours of homework each night. Lisa sat next to Travis at the kitchen table and helped him do his schoolwork. Over time, she got more involved – volunteering in Travis’ classroom and regularly staying up past midnight to help her son finish projects. “I admit, I even did some of his homework for him on occasion,” Lisa says. “Sometimes he had so much work he couldn’t get to bed at night.” In retrospect, Lisa admits she was too involved. “I may have focused too much

54 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

on seeing him perform well rather than simply enjoy school,” she says. Travis’ intense homework requirements may not be typical of most children. However, having a parent as a homework helper is becoming more common, even for kids with only modest amounts of homework. A study by the nonprofit Public Agenda group discovered that about one-fourth of American parents have occasionally done part of their children’s homework for them. Some experts believe the true figure is higher, that many parents today see it as a mark of good parenting to be their child’s study partner. Whose homework is it, anyway? Ruth Peters, a clinical psychologist and author of Overcoming Underachieving: A Simple Plan to Boost Your Kids’ Grades

and End the Homework Hassles, says that homework is supposed to be for kids, not parents. In fact, she says, homework is a child’s first chance to develop a healthy work ethic. “It teaches them how to do something they don’t particularly want to do, on command. It’s comparable to learning to do your job independently when you’re an adult,” she says. Here’s how to help your child take more responsibility for his work – and take some pressure off yourself: Learn the Homework ABCs John Rosemond, a family psychologist and author of Ending the Homework Hassle, offers these guidelines: n  A is for “All By Myself”: “Put the child in a private space. Homework shouldn’t be done in a family area like the kitchen or the homework itself will soon become a family affair,” says Rosemond. n  B is for “Back Off”: “Be very conservative about the amount of help you give your child. Be available to consult, but not to give answers,” advises Rosemond. Cont’d on page 56

Homework Assignment:

The case for – or against – homework. by Mary Kate Hoban As shocking as this may sound to your third-grader, teachers were once students too. And chances are, many of them hated homework. But that doesn’t mean they won’t assign it. Morgan Carney, a senior in the University of Georgia’s education program, is student teaching high school English. “As a student…I’ve always complained about homework. But as a teacher, of course I will assign it,” she says. “It reinforces and enriches the learning process and teaches vital time-management skills.” But the benefits of homework remain a subject of ongoing debate. Some teachers – and parents – believe homework should be erased completely from the schedules of students, who are increasingly overwhelmed by school and extracurricular activities. Others think some subjects need to be reinforced at home, just not all subjects. And still others think teachers should ratchet up homework even for the youngest students. Renee Wickham, who teaches middle school science at St. John Neumann Regional

Catholic School in Lilburn, began her career in Gwinnett County Public Schools in 1979. At St. John Neumann, a private school, Wickham continues to assign the same amount of homework she always has but notes that the Gwinnett school system gradually has shifted in favor of less homework. Public middle school teachers are discouraged from giving homework, she says, while teachers at her school are expected to give 90 minutes to two hours of homework a night. “The right amount of homework is the amount that is going to help that student excel. I don’t give homework as busy work. Each assignment is designed to reinforce or practice concepts covered in class,” Wickham says. “Not only does doing homework help with skills, but it also helps with the characterbuilding piece of their education.” Just as all teachers were once students, many teachers are also parents. Sharon Burnside, a second-grade teacher at St. John Neumann, says students, even those in lower grades, should get homework – to a point. When her daughters were young, Burnside spent many years complaining about the

amount and complexity of the homework. She recalls sending incomplete assignments back to school with a note saying that the assignments took entirely too long. Still, homework remains a key component in the curriculums of most Georgia schools. Some schools follow the formula that there should be no more than 10 minutes of homework a night per grade – 10 minutes in the first grade, 20 in second, etc. David Zimmerman, who teaches science at Cousins Middle School in Covington, rarely gives homework. At the same time, he believes language arts and math demand homework because the subjects are learned through drills and repetition. “Students need to see that education cannot just stop when they get home,” he says.

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Montessori School of Alpharetta

Now enrolling children ages 15 months – 12 years •

[Special Education Guide ] Advertising Section

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 55

Healthy Homework Habits (for Parents) The Suzuki School is a private preparatory preschool for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Our curriculum surrounds children with activities and experiences designed to maximize emerging growth in all areas of development.

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Program Components Infants through Kindergarten Enrichment Programs Include French, Spanish, Chinese, Gymnastics, Ballet, and Sports Movement Low Pupil/Teacher Ratios Degreed Teachers Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm founded 1976 2 convenient Buckhead locations


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Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, ESL, Portuguese, and Hindi classes for children and adults! 5975 Roswell Rd., Bldg C, #311 Atlanta 30328 (855) MY-VOYAGE • (855) 698-6924 56 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Younger children may need a little more guidance when they first start doing homework. However, Rosemond suggests that even young kids can study spelling words or vocabulary alone by speaking the words into a tape recorder, pausing for a few seconds, then saying the answer on tape. They can replay the tape later, practicing their own answers during the pauses. n  C  is  for  “Call  it  Quits  at  a  Reasonable  Hour”: Give your child a deadline. Rosemond says children shouldn’t do homework after 8 p.m. Unfinished work simply goes back to school the next day. Most of the time, your child really shouldn’t need to stay up late to finish schoolwork. Teachers generally follow National Education Association (NEA) guidelines of 10 minutes of nightly homework per year of schooling, through early middle school. That means first-graders should have 10 minutes of homework, while sixth-graders should have about 60 minutes. Know How Much to Help Compare homework help to how much you help your child with other tasks, such as dressing and eating, suggests Cathy Vatterott, associate professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Vatterott’s research focuses on the role of homework in schools and families. “Five- and 6-year-olds might need a little help from you on these tasks while middle school students are much more selfsufficient,” she says. “Approach homework the same way – helping only as much as is appropriate for your child’s age.” Don’t Become the Teacher It’s fine to proofread assignments or point out simple math mistakes, says Peters. However, if your child redoes the work and still gets it wrong, or is confused after you’ve explained it once, your job is done. “Just send the homework back with a note asking the teacher to please explain this topic to your child again,” she says. This also helps the teacher see what topics she might need to review with the class. Marshal Your Resources If your child truly is struggling with a subject, consider outside help. “Parents don’t always make the calmest tutors for their own children,” says Vatterott. If you can afford it, hire a tutor recommended by your school, pay an older student to be a homework buddy, or consult an independent learning center.

“Five- and 6-year-olds might need a little help from you on these tasks while middle school students are much more self-sufficient,” she says. “Approach homework the same way – helping only as much as is appropriate for your child’s age.”

– Cathy Vatterott, associate professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis

Motivate Reluctant Learners Some kids seem naturally motivated to work hard in school. But if your child is less than gung ho about schoolwork, you may need to resort to a reward/take-away system. For grade-school children, Peters suggests that their chore charts include daily homework as a task. You might give your child poker chips for finishing his chores, including homework. “The chips can be exchanged at the end of the week for an allowance, TV time, special time with mom or dad – whatever motivates your child,” she says. If you have to remind older children more than once to do their assignments, they still have to do the work, but they also should lose a privilege such as TV time. “Don’t worry that you’re bribing your kids,” says Peters. “You’re actually jump-starting them so they know this work is expected every day.” Stay Out of the Science Fair Here’s where even the most hands-off parents can easily get lured in. One of your child’s classmates has a mom who is an engineer and a dad who is an architect, and they’re going to help their child, so you start feeling competitive. However, the experts say it’s important to pull back.

“It’s better for your child to do a satisfactory project that they completed mostly on their own than for you, the grown-up, to help them create a fabulous project that wins the science fair. That’s just cheating,” says Peters. “Even if your child doesn’t fully understand, you can say, ‘I understand how disappointed you feel. I feel the same way, too, but we didn’t cheat. This was your own work and that’s worth a lot.’” Let Them Make Mistakes If you swoop in to help at the last minute, after your child shirks responsibility for an assignment, you set the stage for bad future habits. Vatterott says you wouldn’t believe how many parents of college students call professors about their children’s assignments or grades – something that was almost unheard of a decade ago. It can be tough to not interfere, but the experts agree that kids sometimes need to pay the price for their choices. Rosemond once refused to take his daughter to the store for supplies when she waited until the last minute to complete a project. “She never made that mistake again,” he recalls. After battling with her son about his homework, Vatterott, too, put the ball back in her child’s court. “It took a couple of really bad report cards for him to decide on his own that it wasn’t really fun to disappoint his teacher and himself.” As for Lisa Cohn and her family, her youngest daughter enters second grade this fall. Will Lisa again become the Amazing Homework Mom, as she was with her now teenage son Travis? “No,” she chuckles. “I’m a little burned out on homework. I’ll be there to monitor and guide her, but that’s it. I know she’ll do fine.” c

French classes for children Saturday program • 15 years of Montessori Curriculum • School & Summer Programs (up to 12 years) • FREE GA Pre K • 6 weeks to 6 years/ 6:30 am to 6:00 pm • Karate, Ballet, Art, Spanish, Music

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September 2011    Atlanta Parent 57

School Matters

by Alexi Wilbourn

America’s Best High Schools TEN SCHOOLS IN METRO ATLANTA are among the top public high schools in the country, according to Newsweek, which has been ranking schools for more than a decade. The top high schools are, in alphabetical order, Brookwood (Snellville), Chattahoochee (Johns Creek), Harrison (Kennesaw), Johns Creek (Alpharetta), Milton, Oconee County (Watkinsville), Parkview (Lilburn), Riverwood International Charter (Sandy Springs), South Forsyth (Cumming) and Walton (Marietta). The rankings were based on graduation rates, college matriculation rates, AP tests taken per graduate, average SAT/ ACT scores, average AP/IB/AICE scores and AP courses offered.

Drew Charter School Gets $1 Million Grant

What Did You Learn Today? IT’S ONE OF THOSE AGEOLD QUESTIONS. Maybe you’ll get a mumbled response, an elaborate tale or nothing at all, but that might be changing thanks to a new project aimed at sparking conversation and learning. The edu180atl project was created by a group of educators. It showcases new stories each school day from kids, parents and teachers about what they learned. Stories are published on the edu180atl project blog. Visit and share what you learned today!

AFTER “RACING TO THE TOP” IN A LOCAL INITIATIVES PROGRAM, Charles R. Drew Charter School in Atlanta will receive about $1 million over the next three years to create one of Georgia’s first STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) schools. The innovation is in the “A” for arts. STEM schools already exist, but the arts portion at Drew Charter is what made Gov. Nathan Deal most excited about the program.

lovett Please join us for an oPen house: Sunday, November 13, 2011 K–Grade 5, 1:00 pm Grades 6–12, 3:30 pm

The Lovett School is an independent school for families seeking excellence in learning, character, and community in an environment that develops the whole child.

The Lovett School practices a nondiscriminatory admission policy. Financial aid is available.

Macy’s $25,000 Classroom Makeover ATTENTION FACEBOOK FANS. You could win $25,000 for your school! Press “Like” on Macy’s Facebook page, then click on “Outfit Your Class” to nominate your favorite K-12 class by Sept. 10. Students (13 years and older), teachers and parents can all enter this contest. The winning classroom can use the prize money to spruce up their environment however they choose. The winning classroom will be randomly selected Sept. 30. Get clicking!

“Where Children are a Blessing” ❤ Pre-K to 6th Grade ❤ A Beka Curriculum

❤ After School Program activities: Spanish, French, guitar lessons, piano, lessons, karate, and praise dance ❤ Onsite tutoring in all subjects ❤ Summer Enrichment classes for Pre-K & Kindergarten ❤ Summer Camp for ages: 6-13, which includes four field trips per week


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Lovett ad FINAL 58 Atlanta Parent Atlanta Parent 4.875w x 4.625h

September 2011


Your little princess will love entering make believe in this enchanting hat. And what little guy doesn’t want to be a knight in shining armor? Princess Hat 1 yard of pink tulle Fabric glue 2-inch wide lace trim Thin silver ribbon Pink craft foam (11x17 inches) Stapler Elastic cord Knot one end of the tulle, then place it in the center of the craft foam sheet. Roll the foam into a cone and staple the overlap together. The top staple will secure the tulle. Evenly trim the bottom of the cone, then glue the lace trim around it. Cut the elastic cord to the desired chin-strap length, knot each end, and staple the ends to the inside of the hat. Spiral silver ribbon around the cone from top to bottom and glue it in place. For the ultimate princess, use spray-glitter or stick-on gems to bedazzle your royal hat! Source:

And for all the heroes in shining armor:

Knight’s Shield Tin foil Construction paper Glue Marker or pen Scissors Magazines, stickers, markers and any other embellishments for your shield Empty toilet paper roll Draw a shield on the tin foil (any shape you want!). Cut out your shield and glue it onto a piece of construction paper. Trim the construction paper to match up with the foil. Time to decorate! Create a family “crest”, use stickers, or cut out terrifying dragons from magazines to glue onto the shield. Tape or glue to empty toilet paper roll to the back of the shield as a handle. Source:

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 59

Cover Kids winners! CONTEST 2011 Who knew Atlanta was home to so many adorable children? After ooh-ing and aah-ing over more than 600 Cover Kids entries, we narrowed the field to 50 super cute semi-finalists. Our friends at HOP Models and Presence Models & Talent helped us pick this year’s finalists. They had their photos snapped by Dan Carmody of Studio 7 in Roswell. Thank you to each family who submitted photos this year!

Asia Beckham Decatur

Sarah Bowman Milton

Cameron Chappell Johns Creek

Neil Dhingra Atlanta

Anne-Lise and Markus Von Wismar Atlanta

Tayden Ware Gainesville

60 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

finalists Blake Baldwin Kennesaw

Xavier Brooks Stone Mountain

Amelia Dyar Mableton

Blake Gaines Kennesaw

Taj Price Lithonia

Kori Samuelu Woodstock

Blakely Sharpe Atlanta

Kaleb Ornay Woodstock

Michael Simon Atlanta

Jake Baskerville Decatur

Cooper Patterson Loganville

Olivia Phillips Douglasville

Jacob Smith Woodstock

Olivia Stockton Woodstock

semi- finalists Annalisa Allen Norcross

Ava Botherton Conyers

Ryan Brill Atlanta

Caleb Carter Marietta

Emma Casteel Oakwood

Martina Goveaszzo Cumming

Safwan Khan Stockbridge

Evan Kalinauskas Flowery Branch

Makayla Casteel Oakwood

Emerson Courage Atlanta

Jabari Crosby Douglasville

Haley Day Alpharetta

Sydney Fisher Flowery Branch

Emma Kate Kalinauskas Flowery Branch

Ariel Korman Marietta

Liliana Lepore Atlanta

Joshua Litvak Atlanta

Madison Lossie Milton

William Lossie Milton

Eileigh Patterson Marietta

Christopher Poston Atlanta

Luke Szegedi Roswell

Brady Traub Dunwoody

Kaden Velez Lawrenceville

Jomary Vigoa Austell

Ashton Williams Stone Mountain

Frederick Williams Stone Mountain

Kevin Woods Atlanta

Alex Sautter Atlanta

September 2011    Atlanta Parent 61

Family Fun Guide * Eating Out


Out and About


Rug Rat Romp



Not-to-miss events for September

Go Let’s e Appl ! g Pickin68 Page


Decatur Book Festival Decatur Square Sept. 2-4

Bring all your eager bookworms to the largest independent book festival in the country! Browse through thousands of books, meet with best-selling authors, enjoy poetry and novel readings, live music and entertainment, visit the interactive children’s area, and participate in a festival-wide treasure hunt. Skippyjon Jones leads the Saturday morning parade! Visit for scheduled events and times. 101 East Court Sq., Decatur. Free.

2 3

Sesame Street Live

Sesame Street Live Presents Elmo’s Super Heroes Philips Arena Sept. 8-11. Thurs., 6:30 p.m.; Fri., 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sat., 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5:30 p.m.; Sun., 1 and 4:30 p.m.

Sing and dance along with Elmo and the Sesame Street gang as they try to put the “super” back in Super Grover. Kids will learn timeless lessons from their favorite colorful characters through this Broadway-quality production. 1 Philips Dr., Atlanta. 800-745-3000. Tickets, $17-90.

North Georgia State Fair

Jim R. Miller State Park Sept. 22-Oct. 2. Mon.-Thurs., 4-11 p.m.; Fri., 4 p.m.-midnight; Sat., 10 a.m.midnight; Sun., 12:30-10 p.m. Your family will love this good oldfashioned carnival fun! Listen to live performances from your favorite country music stars, visit the petting zoo, watch (or enter) the beauty and beautiful baby competitions, and have a blast on the amusement rides. 2245 Callaway Rd., Marietta.; 770-423-1330, or 770-528-8989 after Sept. 6. Adults, $5; students 7-18, $2; 6 and under, free. Ride tickets, $1 each. Parking, $3.

September 2011

Atlanta Parent 63

Family Fun Guide The Fickle Pickle

1085 Canton St., Roswell 770-650-9838; Hours: Mon., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Tues.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Closed on Sundays Located in Historic Roswell, the Fickle Pickle sits in a charming Victorian home built in the late 1800s. This cute restaurant offers a good – and delicious – array of options. And kids eat free every Tuesday night! n What’s on the menu: In keeping with its name, the restaurant serves up fried Cajun pickles with a delicious rémoulade dipping sauce as a yummy appetizer (a half order is plenty). I loved them! Then you’ll want to indulge in some traditional classics with a twist. The dinner sandwiches come with a rating system based on how many napkins it takes to clean up after each one. (The Creole grouper is rated a whopping fi ve napkins. The scrumptious shrimp burger is rated three, though I thought it really


merited at least four.) The mac-n-cheese bowl options range from pimiento cheese and bacon to the “Rajun Cajun,” which comes with your choice of blackened chicken, sausage or shrimp. The lunch menu, served all day, offers a variety of hot and cold sandwiches as well as salads. n Why kids will like it: From the giant pickle sitting on the front porch to the artwork hanging throughout the house, the Fickle Pickle does not lack for kid-friendly character. The “Little Gherkins” kids’ menu features the staples, all for around $5: chicken fi ngers, burgers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and mac-n-cheese. All come with chips, a drink and a cookie. The food is prepared quickly, which is good, considering my 9-year-old cousin and I were starving!

n Why parents will like it: The transformed house offers plenty of options for indoor or outdoor dining. The back patio is big enough for kids to roam around, and the various rooms inside provide a relief from outdoor heat. There are even tables on the front porch for smaller crowds or couples who want a more private dining experience. The entrees are all priced under $10. Bottled beer and wine are also served. –  Mary Kate Hoban


Biking the Silver Comet Trail

Zoo Atlanta’s Fiesta de la Familia


Bring your family to this Latin party at Zoo Atlanta! There will be live entertainment, Latin music, photo ops with Dora and Diego, and animal encounters. Talks from zookeepers will be translated into Spanish. You’ll also get to take advantage of some of the biggest ticket discounts that the zoo offers. Save more than $5 per ticket! 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-5600. Adults $15, children $10, under 3 free.

or those who don’t know, the Silver Comet Trail is a 12-foot-wide concrete path for walkers, runners, skaters and cyclists. It starts in Smyrna and extends 61 miles to the Alabama state line. We enjoy biking it as a family because it is great exercise and we love being outdoors. The ride is easy because of the flat terrain. Our 7-year-old daughter has biked over 25 miles on one outing, albeit at a slower pace than the spandex-clad racers! The path is shady for the most part, which makes for a comfortable ride even when it’s hot. Marker zero on the trail is at Mavell Rd., 13 miles northwest of Atlanta. Rambo Rd. is another good place to start. From there you can travel west toward Rockmart. About 8.7 miles away you go through an 800-foot turn-of-the-century railroad tunnel. The kids love it! Another good starting point is Coot’s Lake. From there you can ride toward Rockmart, about 11.3 miles one-way. The trail runs through forests and cuts

64 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

through large hills with impressive rock formations. One of our favorite breaks is at mile marker 9.4, Sailors Parkway. Our daughter loves getting off the trail to visit the local DQ (less than a mile from the path). If you do not own a bike, you can start at the Highland Station Shopping Center (South Cobb Drive) or Floyd Road Silver Comet Depot. Both areas have bike rentals and repair shops. Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , v i s i t – Rosana Lassing

Family Fun Guide

Oct. 2, 9:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

Atlanta Parent Magazine’s Family Block Party Oct. 8, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Mercer University, Atlanta Campus Don’t miss Atlanta’s best family festival! Participate in more than 50 kid-friendly activities, enjoy live entertainment and storytelling, enter giveaways and much more! 3001 Mercer University Dr., Atlanta. $5/person; kids 2 and younger, free.

Free Fun

Museum Mania and More Woodruff Arts Center: Target Family Thursdays The Woodruff Arts Center’s Target Family Thursdays program offers a range of interactive experiences for the entire family, from theater performances to storytelling, arts and crafts to acting workshops. The program includes: A Child’s Garden of Verses, a performance for very small children and their grown-ups presented by the Alliance Theatre; Toddler Thursdays, where parents and children explore art works at the High Museum of Art through letters, colors and shapes; fl ashART, a drop-in art-making workshop for high school students; acting workshops for kids of all ages; and Into the Woods, a musical by the Alliance and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with references to classic fairy tales. Must pre-register for some performances and activities. For a full schedule of events and to pre-register, visit woodruff 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta; Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22. 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.

The High Museum of Art

The King Center

Waffle House Museum This museum is the site of the very fi rst Waffl e House, built in 1955. Waffl e House has since grown into an iconic American restaurant with over 1,600 locations in 25 states. This restaurant has been restored to look and feel like the original diner, and the rest of the museum features Waffl e House memorabilia from the past 54 years. 2719 East College Ave., Decatur. For more information, visit waffl our-story/waffl e-house-museum. Free tour Sept. 10, noon-3 p.m. Call 770-326-7086 to schedule tour on a different day. Cont’d on page 66

Waffle House Museum


inspires imaginations unlike anywhere else. Camp H2O provides a wonderful opportunity for kids and their imaginations to explore the aquatic realm. Camp is open to children 6 -11 years of age. The camp week will include animal encounters, opportunities to meet the biologists, behind-the-scenes experiences, and much more! Campers can sign up for daily or weekly program options. Program dates: December 26th – 30th. Visit | 404.581.4000 WHERE IMAGINATIONS GO TO PLAY. |

Job No.: 11AQUA484

Client: Ga Aquarium

Desc.: Atlanta Parent - Sept 2011

Live: NA Trim: 7.5” W x 4.625” H Bleed: NA

Color: 4C Process

Built @:Fun 100% Guide Family Printed @: 100%







September 2011

Prod. The Final Word.

Atlanta Parent 65

Free Fun

The King Center The King Center is the national memorial honoring Atlanta’s favorite son, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the legendary civil rights leader of America’s nonviolent movement for equality and peace in the 1960s. The center features books, films, photos, displays, historic items and much more to educate visitors about his life and philosophy of nonviolence. You can also visit the crypts of Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, a civil rights icon in her own right. 449 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta; 404-526-8900; Open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park holds a free live fire demonstration for visitors using authentic Civil War artillery. After the show, hike in the park, visit the museum, or have a picnic in one of the specified areas. The park also offers a self-guided cellphone audio tour. Visitors dial the tour number, enter a three-digit stop number, and listen to the accompanying information via their mobile phones. 900 Kennesaw Mountain Dr., Kennesaw; 770-427-4686; Artillery demonstration: Sept. 4-5, 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3 p.m. Park open from dawn until dusk.

Mayfield Dairy Farms Take a few hours to indulge in one of life’s simplest pleasures – ice cream – and learn all about where milk comes from. The free tour of the Mayfield Dairy factory starts with a short film of the company’s history and explains how the fresh milk makes it from cow to fridge. Then watch how those signature yellow jugs are made. Kids can even “milk” a life-sized replica of a Jersey cow. The tour wraps up at an oldfashioned ice cream parlor. Make sure to bring some pocket change. A fresh scoop costs $1.50-$3.50. 1160 Broadway Ave., Braselton; 888-298-0396; Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; no tours Wednesdays. –  Alexi Wilbourn

Mayfield Dairy Farms

66 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

Family Fun Guide

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September 2011

Atlanta Parent 67

Head to the Hills and Go Apple Picking Mercier Orchards

by Rachel Roberts Quartarone


unshine, vivid colors and crisp mountain air – it’s no wonder Atlantans flock to the hills of North Georgia each fall for the great outdoors. The area is known for its apple picking, along with related autumnal activities like pumpkin patches, corn mazes, leaf watching and harvest festivals. Apples are at their prime in September and October when the weather is perfect for strolling through orchards and plucking fruit fresh from the trees. Children love picking and filling their bags, while doing a little snacking along the way. Apple picking is a great way to get some exercise and show your kids that food does indeed grow on trees. Ellijay (and Gilmer County), located about 90 minutes north of Atlanta, is known as “Georgia’s Apple Capital.” The region produces 600,000 bushels of apples each year. Apple houses and stands line the roads, but only a few allow you to pick your own. When to Go Depending on the variety, apples are harvested as late as November. Popular varieties include Gala, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Rome Beauty, Arkansas Black and Winesap. Call ahead before you go to make sure your favorite is in season. If you’re not a fan of crowds, make your trip before pumpkin and festival season starts. Traffic jams on Highway 52 near Ellijay are common during October’s peak leaf-watching weekends and during Ellijay’s Georgia Apple Festival (georgiaapplefestival. org), which takes place the second and third weekends of October. If you do plan a visit on an October weekend, arrive early for smaller crowds. The orchards tend to be the busiest in the afternoons.

68 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

Where to Go n  B.J. Reece Apple House: 9131 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay; 706-276-3048; Best for: Weekend activities, good value, weekday “U-pick” availability This popular apple house is available for “U-pick” every day from the first weekend in September until October 31 – sometimes even into November, depending on availability. The peak of apple season is from mid-September to early October. Later in the season, you’ll find less variety. However, a wide assortment of bagged apples is available in the Apple House market. You can even try a taste of each apple in season to find your favorite. To pick your own, simply pay the $2 orchard entrance fee and buy a bag to fill with apples. Prices range from $5 for a half-peck to $14 for a half-bushel. On weekends, kids will enjoy a petting zoo, hayride and apple shooting cannon – each available for an additional fee. Don’t leave without stopping by the Apple House for some apple treats like fresh cider, fried apple pies, apple bread and cider doughnuts. n  Hillcrest Orchards: 9696 Hwy. 52 East, Ellijay; 706-273-3838; Best for: Weekend activities, kid-friendly dwarf trees, petting zoo (open daily) One of the busiest orchards along Highway 52, Hillcrest is in full festival mode during September and October during its “Apple Pickin’ Jubilee.” While the market and petting zoo are open daily, the only time for self-picking is during the jubilee, which runs the last three weekends in September and every weekend in October. For $6, you gain entrance to all the festivities, including wagon rides, cow milking, pig races, apple bobbing and live entertainment. Entrance to the petting zoo is extra. There’s also a wide variety of delicious food to sample. From boiled peanuts and homemade ice cream to hot dogs and fried apple fritters, you won’t go hungry here. Seven varieties of apples are available to pick. Bags cost $6 for a half-peck, $9 for a peck and $14 for a half-bushel. Small children will especially enjoy picking from Hillcrest’s dwarf trees with apples hanging well within reach. n  Mercier Orchards: 8660 Blue Ridge Dr. (Hwy. 5), Blue Ridge; 706-632-3411; Best for: Gimmick-free apple picking, knowledgeable staff, wide variety of apples Located in nearby Blue Ridge, about 17 miles from Ellijay, this picturesque orchard is the largest in the state. Family owned for over 60 years, the growers take great pride in their green growing practices and the 50 varieties of apples they produce each year. Mercier also grows blueberries and strawberries during the summer months, and the market and deli are open year-round. Do-it-yourself apple picking is on the weekends through late October, depending on availability. The apple adventure starts with a tractor ride to the orchards and a brief talk about Mercier’s history. Helpful orchard staff will point you to the self-pick varieties, where you can fill your bag with any combination. Prices are $6 for a half-peck and $12 for a peck. On your way out, be sure to pick up some hot apple pies, famous in these parts.

Family Fun Guide

Don’t Miss Atlanta’s BEST Block Party!

Saturday, October 8 Mercer University Atlanta Campus

10 am - 4 pm More than 50 family-friendly activities! ENTERTAINMENT TODDLER ONLY PLAY AREA STORYTELLING • CRAFT ACTIVITIES TRICK-OR-TREAT STREET • EXHIBITORS • FOOD brought to you by Atlanta Parent Magazine

Admission: $5 per person Children 2 and under FREE Admission includes 3 activity tickets BUY TICKETS ONLINE at Don’t miss an opportunity to reach families from the entire Metro Atlanta area.

Call about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities: 770-454-7599 or

Get involved! Volunteer at Family Block Party. E-mail

Rug Rat Romp: Kiddie Gardener Series


Be on the Prowl at Zoo Atlanta! Watch for the debut of the Sumatran tiger cubs this month. The time and date will be announced depending on the health and development of the cubs and their mother, Chelsea. In the meantime, you can follow the cubs on the zoo’s tiger cub cam at 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-9453. Visitors 12 and up, $20.99; children 3-11, $15.99; 2 and under, free.

ultivate a green thumb in your child at the Kiddie Gardener Series at the Smith-Gilbert Gardens, held the second and fourth Fridays of the month. It’s designed specifi cally for kids ages 3 to 5. Children will be all ears for the reading of a garden-related story and will have a chance to walk through the gardens, admiring the plants and creepy critters. Your little gardeners can jump out all their jitters during the song and dance portion. The Smith-Gilbert Gardens is located at 2382 Pine Mountain Rd., Kennesaw. Kiddie Gardener Activity on Sept. 9 and 23, 10 a.m. 770-919-0248. Be sure to call and pre-register as classes fi ll up. Kids, $5; adults, free. Garden hours: Mon.- Sat. 9 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. –  Alexi Wilbourn

16th Annual

Thanks to Our Sponsors:



SEPT. 10 2011



Equitable Management Corporation Fountains of Olde Towne

EAST COBBER Parade Staging Area

Festival Site

70 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Family Fun Guide

Parade Starts at 10am Festival: 11am-3pm Fountains of Olde Towne Shopping Center MORE INFO: or 770-640-7070

out & about: Oakland Cemetery

by Beth Balga

Photos courtesy of Oakland archives


ot many people say, “It’s a beautiful day, let’s go to the cemetery.” But after walking through Oakland Cemetery, my family might. On a recent balmy evening, we took the Civil War twilight tour through this historic place, which is the final resting place of many famous Atlantans, including Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, legendary golfer Bobby Jones and 27 Atlanta mayors, including Maynard Jackson, as well as thousands of fallen Civil War soldiers. Designed in 1850 as a public burial ground, Oakland Cemetery, located just blocks from the Georgia Capitol, expanded to 48 acres in the 1860s to accommodate the Civil War casualties from the various battles around Georgia. It became a popular place for carriage rides and picnics where families could reminisce about their lost loved ones. Following the Victorian era, Oakland fell into disrepair. It wasn’t until 1976, when the Historic Oakland Foundation was created and the cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, that preservationists began to restore Oakland to its original grandeur. Still an active cemetery, with about one burial a month, Oakland evokes haunting images of European and New Orleans’ cemeteries. With beautiful, well-tended gardens, the place offers spectacular views of the Atlanta skyline and pays tribute to the honorable souls buried in the elaborate mausoleums as well as more modest family plots. The topics of the twilight tours, which run through Oct. 16, vary, from Atlanta’s founding fathers to the art and architecture of death. There also are tours focusing on African-Americans and Jews buried at the cemetery. Many distinctions of earlier life were maintained in death, as AfricanAmericans were buried apart from whites and Jewish sections were separate from Christian. Detailed pamphlets on each section are available in the visitors’ center. Our Civil War twilight tour was lively and interesting, but not recommended for children under 10. (It’s too hard for the younger ones to follow a leader for more than an hour, while resisting the urge to climb on the monuments.) Our tour guide, historian and author Bruce Stewart, shared anecdotal stories about the wartime leaders and soldiers, the heroes as well as the unsavory characters buried there. He brought alive the history of Atlanta.

The Joy of Morning... Anytime

What to Know Before You Go

Historic Oakland Cemetery 248 Oakland Ave. SE, Atlanta 404-688-2107; n  Dates: The cemetery is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Through Oct. 16, guided twilight tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. In addition, guided walking tours run on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. through November. n  Cost: Guided tours cost $10 for adults, $5 for children. Self-guided walking tour maps are available at the visitors’ center/ museum shop for $4.

Two historical markers within Oakland describe its connections with momentous events of the Civil War. In 1862, Union operatives known as Andrews’ Raiders commandeered a locomotive at present-day Kennesaw and raced north to cut telegraph lines. They were captured and condemned as spies. Seven were hanged near Oakland’s southeast corner and interred in the cemetery before removal to the National Cemetery at Chattanooga. On high ground north of the Bell Tower, a two-story farmhouse stood in the summer of 1864. It served as headquarters for Confederate commander John B. Hood during the Battle of Atlanta. Visiting the Civil War section was particularly moving. The thousands of uniform headstones, from both sides of the battles, convey the great loss that war caused and of the individuals who gave their lives. Since the 1890s, the soldiers’ graves have been “guarded” by the Confederate Lion, a commemorative sculpture modeled after the Swiss “Lion of Lucerne” and carved in 1894 from the largest block of marble quarried in Georgia up to that time. c

Family Fun Guide


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September 2011    Atlanta Parent 71


After a long, hot summer, celebrate the start of the fall season at these family festivals around town. Try your hand at colorful carnival games, channel your inner crafting passion, or just enjoy live entertainment and music.

Photo by Kazushi Takeuchi

Charges may apply for some festival activities, such as inflatables and activity stations in addition to entrance fees.

Cartersville Pioneer Days. Sam Smith Park, downtown Cartersville. Arts & Crafts show, Dixieland family rides and games, fireworks, musicians and dancers. Parade on Sat., at 10 a.m. Sept 2-5. Fri., 4-11 p.m.; Sat.- Sun., noon- 11 p.m.; Mon., noon-10 p.m. 1155 Douthit Ferry Rd., Cartersville. 770-974-9033. Adults, $5; younger than 12, free. Wristbands for unlimited rides each day, $20 each. Decatur Book Festival. Decatur Square. Browse through hundreds of books, meet with best-selling authors, enjoy poetry and novel readings, live entertainment, visit the interactive children’s area and participate in a festival-wide treasure hunt. Sept. 2-4. Visit decaturbookfestival. com/2011 for scheduled events and times. Free. Johns Creek Arts on the Creek Festival. Perimeter Church. Live music and dancing performances, plus an Artists’ Market and exhibits. Sept. 3-4. Sat., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sun. 1 p.m.- 6 p.m. 9500 Medlock Bridge Rd., Johns Creek. Free. Love the Lake Festival. Cauble Park. Art and craft vendors, parade, food, live entertainment, children’s activities, and a puppet show. Sept. 3-4. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-6 p.m. 2293 Beach St., Acworth. 770-423-1330. Free. Marietta Art in the Park. Glover Park. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival with fine art vendors, children’s activities and demonstration area. Sept. 3-5. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. 50 N. Park Square, Marietta. 770-592-7180. Free. Powers’ Crossroads Country Fair & Art Festival. Newnan. A charity event featuring Southern culinary favorites, 21 bands playing country, bluegrass, blues, folk and gospel, demonstrations, exhibits, vendors and pony rides. Sept. 3-5. 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. 4766 W. Hwy. 34, Newnan. 770-253-2011. Adults and children, $7; younger than 7, free. U.S. 10K Classic Family Festival. Cobb Galleria Centre. Family festival centered around the 10K road race on Labor Day. Live music, kids’ activities, batting cages, clowns, pony rides and more. Sept. 3-4. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon5 p.m. 2450 Galleria Parkway Atlanta. Free. Yellow Daisy Festival. Stone Mountain Park. More than 500 crafters, live entertainment, clogging demonstrations, children’s activities and festival foods. Sept. 8-11. Thurs.-Fri. and Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Hwy. 78, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5633. Free; parking, $10. East Cobber Parade & Festival. Fountains of Olde Towne shopping center. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, face painting, carnival rides and parade. Sept. 10. Parade starts at 10 a.m., festival 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 736 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. 770-640-7070. Free.

72 Atlanta Parent    September 2011


Johns Creek Fall Festival. Newtown Park. Crafts, carnival games, moonwalks, obstacle course, food and live music. Sept. 10. 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. 3000 Old Alabama Rd., Johns Creek. 678-512-3200. Free.

Atlanta Arts Festival. Piedmont Park. Fine arts exhibit showcasing 200 artists, entertainment, children’s activities and food. Sept. 17-18. Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 400 Park Dr. NE, Atlanta. 770-941-9660. Free.

Taste of Kennesaw. Downtown Kennesaw. Taste food from local restaurants, enjoy live entertainment, and take the kids to the children’s zone with inflatables, a trackless train and more. Sept. 10. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-423-1330. Free, tickets for samples range from $1-$4.

JapanFest. Gwinnett Center. This year’s theme is “Discover Japan.” There will be musical performances, martial arts demos, workshops about Japanese kimonos and a tea ceremony, a kids’ area with crafts and games and much more. Sept. 17-18. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 404-842-0736. Adults and children older than 6, $8; 6 and younger, free.

Gwinnett County Fair. Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Livestock shows, carnival rides, games and live entertainment. Sept. 15-25. Mon.-Fri., 4-11 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 1-10 p.m. 2405 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Lawrenceville. 770-963-6522. Adults, $5; children 6-12, $2; younger than 6, free. Hapeville Happy Days Festival. Jess Lucas Downtown Park. Live music Friday; games, rides, and arts and crafts Saturday. Sept. 16-17. Fri., 7-11 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 680 South Central Ave., Hapeville. 404669-8269. Free. Inman Farm Heritage Days. Minter Farms. A printing press, steam engine, cotton gin and other antique machines on display. Food, craft sale and live music. Sept. 16-18. Fri.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 283 Hill’s Bridge Rd., Fayetteville. 770-461-2840. Free. Art in the Square. Downtown Gainesville. Live entertainment, including belly dancing and music, food, Youth Artist Market and more. Sept. 17. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Downtown Gainesville. 770-535-6865. Free.

Family Fun Guide

Marietta StreetFest. Glover Park on Marietta Square. Antique and craft dealers from across the state; classic car show. Sept. 17. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Downtown Marietta.770-794-5710. Free. Roswell Arts Festival. Roswell Town Square. Live performances and arts and crafts for purchase. Sept. 17-18. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Downtown Roswell. 770-641-3705. Parking and shuttles available at City Hall. Free. Sandy Springs Festival. Heritage Green. Children’s park, live entertainment and more than 600 artists, crafters, vendors and entertainers. Lightning 10K and 5K races, silent auction and pet parade. Sept. 17-18. Sat., 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 6075 Sandy Springs Cir., Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. Adults, $5; children 6-17, $2; younger than 5, free. Shakerag Arts and Crafts Festival. Shakerag Knoll. More than 100 art vendors selling handmade jewelry, pottery, candles and more; children’s activities, live entertainment and food. Sept. 17-18. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. 191 McIntosh Tr., Peachtree City. 770-631-2542. Free.

Beyond Atlanta

Suwanee Day. Town Center Park. Celebrate the City of Suwanee with games, kids activities, all-day on-stage entertainment and more. Sept. 17. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 370 Buford Hwy., Suwanee. 770-945-8996. Free.

Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival. Callaway Gardens. Various arts and crafts activities, face painting, classic car show, live music; balloon launches; movie on the beach. Sept. 2-4. Fri., 4-9:30 p.m.; Sat., 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 6 a.m.-6 p.m. 17800 US Hwy. 27, Pine Mountain. 706-663-6812. $12.50 until 9 a.m., then $25.

Taste of Smyrna Festival of Delectable. Downtown Smyrna. Taste food from local restaurants, enjoy live music and take the kids to the enormous, interactive Kids Zone. Sept. 17. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 2800 King St., Smyrna. 770-4231330. Free, tickets for samples range from $1-4. North Georgia State Fair. Jim R. Miller State Park. Live music, free attractions and shows, farm animals, fair food and more at the largest fair in metro Atlanta. Sept. 22-Oct. 2. Mon.Thurs., 4-11 p.m.; Fri., 4 p.m.-midnight; Sat., 10 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 12:30-10 p.m. 2245 Callaway Rd., Marietta. 770-423-1330 or 770528-8989 after Sept. 6. Adults, $5; students 7-18, $2; 6 and younger, free. Ride tickets, $1 each. Parking, $3. Duluth Fall Festival. Taylor Miller Park. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, parade, 5K road race and silent auction. Sept. 24-25. Sat., 9 a.m.6 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. W. Lawrenceville St. and Main St., Duluth. 855-385-8841. Free. Riverfest Arts and Crafts Festival. Boling Park. Arts and crafts, children’s area, antiques and best scarecrow competition. Sept. 24-25. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hwy. 5, Canton. 770-704-5991. $5/person. Fiesta Georgia. Georgia International Horse Park. Celebrate Mexican Independence with live music, Latino culture, authentic food, and arts and crafts. Sept. 25. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. 1996 Centennial Olympic Pkwy., Conyers. 404-350-0200. Free.

Apple Pickin’ Jubilee. Hillcrest Orchards. Apple picking, cow milking, mule-drawn wagon rides, pig racing, live entertainment and more. Sept. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and weekends in Oct. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 9696 Hwy. 52 E., Ellijay. 706-273-3838. $6/person; petting farm, $3. North Georgia State Fair

Hip Hop in the Park ATL. Piedmont Park. Hiphop and music showcase for up and coming artists who have positive music to share. No cursing or profane language allowed. Sept. 25. Noon- 7 p.m. 1320 Monroe Dr. NE, Atlanta. Taste of Johns Creek. Chattahoochee High School. Samples of culinary treats from over 50 restaurants and a Kidz Zone with fun and games. Sept. 25. 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. 5230 Taylor Rd., Johns Creek. 404-435-9263. $15 in advance, $20 at the door; ages 4 and younger, free. Crossroads in Crabapple Antique and Arts Festival. American Country Antique Dealers and local artists are featured at this oneday show in Historic Crabapple. Food vendors, children’s activities and roaming musicians. Downtown Crabapple. Oct. 1. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free.

Mountain Music and Arts & Crafts Festival. Vogel State Park. Bluegrass and gospel music, spinning, blacksmithing and bowl carving. Sept. 10. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 7485 Vogel State Park Rd., Blairsville. 706-7452628. $2-5 plus $5 parking. Pine Log Arts and Crafts Fair. Pine Log UMC Campground. Live entertainment, barbecue, and arts and crafts. Sept. 10-11. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Off Highway 411, Rydal. 770-607-5350. $3/person; children younger than 12, free. Arts in the Heart of Augusta. Augusta Commons. Over 35 different cultures will be featured, international cuisine, live entertainment, children’s area and literary village. Sept. 16-18. Fri., 5-9 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., noon-7 p.m. Historic Downtown Augusta. 706-826-4702. Adults, $7, $5 in advance; children 10 and younger, free. c

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Home Depot Kids’ Workshop. All locations. Learn tool safety while building a craft this month and receive a kid-sized orange apron. Ages 5-12. Sept. 3. 9 a.m.-noon. homedepot. com. Free. American Girl Crafts. American Girl Boutique and Bistro. Sept. 8, Bitty Bunch Friendship Tree, 11 a.m.; Sept. 15, Julie’s Embroidered Card Craft, 4 p.m. Sept. 18, Julie’s Bracelet Craft, 1 p.m. Ages 8 and up; 1202 North Point Circle, Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. Free. Second Thursday Program. Southeastern Railway Museum. Moms and tots program includes circle time, an activity and craft. Sept. 8, 10:30 a.m.-noon. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 770-4950253. Ages 1-4. $7/child; one adult free. Turtle Tours. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. Museum mascots Sandy (chipmunk) and Spring (turtle) give history tours with hands-on exhibits and crafts. Appropriate for ages 2-5. Sept. 10. 11 a.m.-noon. 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. Free. Chocolate Lollipops. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Make your own lollipops with melted chocolate and candy molds. Sept. 10, 11. 1- 2 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-876-5859. $6/child plus admission. Garden admission: Adults, $18.95; children 3-17, $12.95; under 3, free. Kids Cooking. Piedmont Park. As part of the Green Market, young chefs take a class from local experts and learn how to prepare simple, healthy meals while trying new fruits and vegetables. Ages 3-17 (children under 5 require adult supervision.) Sept. 17. 11 a.m.- noon. Pre-registration required. $10/child.

74 Atlanta Parent    September 2011




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Center for Puppetry Arts Through Sept. 18. Thurs.-Fri., 10 and 11:30 a.m.; Sat., 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.; Sun., 1 and 3 p.m.

Mommy and Me Preschool Program. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Sept. 1, Owney, the Mail Train Dog; Sept. 8, Red Light, Green Light!; Sept. 15, Glover Factory Workers; Sept. 22, Harvest Time!; Sept. 29, All Aboard the Southern Crescent! 10-11 a.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-4272117. Most appropriate for ages 3-5. Adults, $7.50; children 4-12, $5.50; 3 and under, free.

EnviroVentures Saturday Drop By. Piedmont Park. Kids make crafts while parents shop at the Green Market. Sept. 3 and 17. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 1320 Monroe Dr., Atlanta. 404-875-7275. Free.


The Ugly Duckling

Toddler Thursdays. High Museum of Art. Create masterpieces to complement the museum’s current exhibits. Appropriate for ages 2-4. Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4550. Free with admission. Adults, $18; children 6-17, $11; under 6, free.

Crafts for Kids. Lakeshore Learning Store. Sept. 3, Back-to-School Backpack Tag; Sept. 13, Personalized Desktop Caddy; Sept. 17, Make-You-Own Fossil; Sept. 24, Autumn PopUp Card. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 4287 Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770-578-3100. Free.


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This play, inspired by a story by Hans Christian Andersen, is about a misfit duckling who sets out to explore the wonders of the pond and finds his true self along the way. 1404 Spring St., Atlanta. 404-873-3391. Tickets, $16.50.

Make It and Take It Weekend Workshops. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. A hands-on workshop for ages six and up. Kids learn history while creating their own journal. Sept. 17. 10-11:30 a.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117. Adults, $7.50; children 4-12, $5.50; 3 and under, free. Star Wars Red Carpet Event. Pottery Barn. Dress up like your favorite character, bring a camera for a photo-op, and enter giveaways and more to celebrate the Blu-ray release of the Star Wars saga. Sept. 17. 3 p.m. Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta.; North Point Mall, Alpharetta. Free. Tree Top Excursions: Introduction Climb. Panola Mountain State Park. Explore the park’s canopy using a rope and harness. Moderately strenuous. Sept. 17. 1-4 p.m. 2600 Ga. Hwy. 155, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Pre-registration required. $15/person; $5 for parking. INK Craft Weeks. Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. Make a different craft each week this month. Themes: Pirate Week, Sept. 5-9; A Day to Remember, 9/11 Week, Sept. 12-16; Elephant Week, Sept. 19-23; It’s Fall Week, Sept. 26-30. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville. 770-536-1900. $1/ person in addition to museum admission, adults and children, $8. National Geographic Little Explorers. Pottery Barn. Kids ages 3 and up will learn about tigers and other big cats through activities, songs and more. Sept. 24. 10 a.m. Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta.; North Point Mall, Alpharetta. Free. Art Workshop. Vinings School of Art. Take a drawing, painting or pottery class. Ages 2-13. Saturdays, 10 and 11 a.m. 1675 Cumberland Pkwy., Smyrna. 678-213-4278. Pre-register. $15/1 hr. workshop.

Family Fun Guide

Build and Grow Clinics. Lowe’s. On select Saturdays to teach kids to build wooden crafts. Kids receive a free apron, goggles and merit patch. Visit lowesbuildandgrow. com for locations. 10 a.m. 800-445-6937. Pre-register. Free. Lil’ Bean Heads Crafts. Bean Head Toys. Create an art project the first and third Wednesdays of the month. All ages welcome but smaller children may need assistance. 3-4 p.m. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-2980. Free. Weekends in the Naturalist Center. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Activities include animal encounters, science explorations and more. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sundays, noon-5 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd., Atlanta. 404-929-6400. Activities included with price of admission. Adults, $17.50; children 3-12, $15.50; under 3, free.

dance & music Concerts in the Park. Thrasher Park. A1A, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, performs. Sept. 2. 7:30-9:30 p.m. 45 South Peachtree St., Norcross. 678-421-2025. Free. Mountain Music Series. Red Top Mountain State Park. Various artists perform bluegrass and mountain music. Sept. 3. Open stage, 6-8 p.m.; concerts begin at 8 p.m. 50 Lodge Rd., Cartersville. 770-975-0055. Free admission, parking, $5. Riverside Sounds. Riverside Park. The Soulphonics & Ruby Velle performs. Sept. 3. 7-9 p.m. 575 Riverside Rd., Roswell. 770-641-3705. Free.



Celtic Woman. Fabulous Fox Theatre. Internationally renowned female contemporary ensemble give fans an opportunity to attend an exclusive filming of their new live concert. Sept. 6 and 7. 7:30 p.m. 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-8812100. Tickets, $30-55. Concerts by the Springs. Heritage Green. The Return performs. Sept. 11. 7-8:30 p.m. Lawn opens at 5 p.m. 6110 Bluestone Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. Free. Moonlight and Music Concert Series. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse Lawn. Abbey Road Live (Beatles Tribute Band) performs. Sept. 23. 8 p.m. 185 Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-2639. Free. Glover Park Concert Series. Glover Park. Bring a picnic dinner and listen to Pieces of Eight. Sept. 30. 8 p.m. 50 Park Sq., Marietta. 770-794-5601. Free.

Chattahoochee nature Center SEPT. 3, 8-10 P.M. Put on some sneakers or boots and hike through the wetlands or woods with a naturalist. End your exciting night adventure by roasting marshmallows. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055, ext. 237. Ages 5 and up, $10/person

Panola Mountain State Park SEPT. 10, 7:00 P.M. Channel your inner explorer and hike to the top of Panola Mountain. Be sure to bring a flashlight to illuminate the night-dwelling creatures and wear comfortable shoes. 2600 Hwy. 155, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Preregister. $7/person; parking, $5.

Music At noon. Centennial Olympic Park. Live music at lunchtime. Tuesdays and Thursdays in Sept. Noon-1 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404223-4412. Free. Wednesday WindDown. Centennial Olympic Park. Local jazz, R&B and blues artists perform Wednesdays in Sept. 5:30-8 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. Free. Singin’ Bean Kids Karaoke. The Singin’ Bean. The coffee shop offers more than 94,000 song choices for kids. Ages 3 and up. Fridays in Sept. 6-8 p.m. 195 B. North Perry St., Lawrenceville. 678-534-5220. $3 minimum purchase. Ultimate Playdate. East Cobb Park. Enjoy familyfriendly music from Jay Memory. Wednesdays in Sept. 4-7 p.m. 3322 Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770-591-3160. Free.

exhibits Heroes of Sandy Springs. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. Exhibit honoring police officers and firefighters of Sandy Springs. Learn about the history of these departments through historical photographs, archives, artifacts and film clips. Through Feb. 15. Museum hours, Wed. and Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and by appointment. 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. Adults, $3; children ages 6-12, $1; children 5 and younger, free.

TEAM UP! Explore Science and Sports! Imagine It! The Children’s Museum. Kids discover the science behind their favorite sports. Through Sept. 11. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr., Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Adults and children ages 2 and older, $12.50. After: images from Haiti. Emory University’s Robert W. Woodruff Library. See the work of Atlanta-based documentary photographer Bryan Meltz in this rotating exhibit featuring an in-depth look at Haiti in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. Through Sept. 9. Sun., 1-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Fri., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 540 Asbury Circle, Atlanta. 404-727-6861. Free.

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Art in nature: nature in Art. Chattahoochee Nature Center. An exhibition of abstract artwork inspired by nature, scattered throughout the Nature Center’s grounds. Through December. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. Adults, $8; Children 3-12, $5; under 3, free. 770-992-2055.

Living in Space Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center SEPT. 12-DEC. 31. MON.-SAT., 9 A.M.-4 P.M.

Anne Frank in the World: 1929-1945. Parkside Shopping Center. Learn about the life of the Frank family and others who lived in the Secret Annex, plus a replica of Anne’s room in the annex. Fifth grade and higher. Tues.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 12-4 p.m. 5920 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs. 770-2061558. Free.

Inspired by the International Space Station, the exhibit allows aspiring astronauts to be crewmembers and participate in astronaut activities. Plan a space trip, perform simulated science experiments and more. 2020 Clean Water Dr., Buford. 770-904-3500. Visitors 13 and older, $10.50; children ages 3-12, $6.50; Gwinnett County residents get $3 discount.

Attic Treasures: Memories of the Carr Family. DeKalb History Center. A one-room exhibit of the history of the Carr family, best known for their construction business from the 1920’s to 1940’s. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 101 E. Court Square, Decatur. 404-373-1088. Free. Exotic Ectotherms. Autrey Mill Nature Preserve. See reptiles and amphibians from around the world. Saturdays in Sept. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 9770 Autrey Mill Rd., Johns Creek. 678-366-3511. $3/ person; $5/family. The Smith Family and The Civil War Exhibit. Archibald Smith Plantation. Catch a glimpse of the activities surrounding the Smith family in this exhibit commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Mon.-Sat., tours start on the hour beginning at 10 a.m. with last tour at 3 p.m. Sun., beginning at 1 p.m. with last tour at 3 p.m. 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770-6413978. Exhibit admission with regular tour ticket. Adults, $18; children, $15.

mazes Cagle’s Dairy Corn Maze. Canton. Have fun in the 10-acre corn maze, enjoy tasty concessions and visit the bonfire. Sept. 2- Nov. 13. Fri., 5- 11 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.- 11 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. 362 Stringer Rd., Hickory Flat. 770-345-5591. Corn maze: $10/person; younger than 3, free; farm tour, $7/person; hayride to bonfire, $7/person.

Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze. Dawsonville. A 12-acre maze, pumpkin patch, “Great Goat Trek” attraction, hayride and bonfire. Sept. 3 - Nov 20. Sept. hours: Fri., 4-10 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4525 Hwy. 53 East, Dawsonville. 888-6748257. Maze $10; combo hayride/maze $13. Buford Corn Maze. Buford. Corn maze, hayride, corn box, old time farm demonstrations. Sept. 9- Nov. 12. Sept., Fri. 5- 10 p.m., Sat. 1- 11 p.m., Sun. 1- 9 p.m.; 4470 Bennett Rd., Buford. 678835-7198. $12/person.

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76 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Family Fun Guide

Calendar Colonel Cob’s Corn Maze. Oxford. Admission to corn maze includes attractions such as farm animals, corn cannon, giant mountain slide, inflatable cow jumper and a “treasure mountain.” Sept. 16Nov. 6. Fri. 6- 10 p.m.; Sat. noon- 10 p.m.; Sun. 1- 5 p.m. 797 Macedonia Church Rd., Oxford. 770-855-1530. Corn maze, $8/person; hayride, $4; hayride to Bonfire, $7 (no bonfires on Sun.). Southern Belle Farm. McDonough. Enjoy the hayrides, pumpkin patch, kids area, petting zoo and more. Sept. 17- Nov. 6. Sat. 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. Sun. 1- 6 p.m. 1658 Turner Church Rd., McDonough.770-288-2582. Ages 3 and older, $12; 2 and younger, free.

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Corn Dawgs. Loganville. The Southeast’s largest corn maze with farm animals and other fun activities. Sept. 23- Nov. 6. 995 Leone Avenue, Loganville. 770-786-9000. Dr. Sonya Windham

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movies B At the Movies. Milton. Sept. 10. Tangled. Birmingham Crossroads, Milton. Begins at dusk. 404-897-6266 for weather hotline. Free.

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Movies on Main. Stone Mountain Village. Bring a blanket, picnic and cooler and enjoy familyfriendly movies on the lawn in Stone Mountain Village. Rio, Sept. 17. Dusk. 922 Main St., Stone Mountain. 770-498-7334. Free.

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Movies in the Park. Canton. Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Sept. 24. Brown Park, Canton. Pre-movie festival begins at 8 p.m., movie at sundown. Free. Sensory Friendly Films. Select AMC Theatres. Families affected by autism and other disabilities can experience popular films in a comfortable and accepting environment. Oct. 1, 10 a.m. Dolphin Tale. Discover Mills, Lawrenceville. Phipps Plaza, Atlanta. Southlake, Morrow. Autism Society of America-Greater Georgia Chapter, 770- 904-4474. All tickets $6 and available at ticket window on show day.


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nature Family Bird Walk. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Join master birder and wildlife volunteer Zelia Lebeau for a family bird walk perfect for beginning birders of all ages. Sept. 3. 8:30-10 a.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $8; children 3-12, $5; 2 and under, free. Fly Fishing Clinic. Panola Mountain State Park. Focuses on casting, safety issues and tricks of the trade. Bring snacks, water and sunscreen. Georgia fishing license required for anglers 16 years and older. Sept. 10, 10 a.m. 2600 Hwy. 155, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Pre-register. $15 or $12 with own gear. $5 parking. Kiddie Gardener Series. Smith-Gilbert Gardens. Kids can walk through the gardens, listen to storytelling, sing and dance. Ages 3-5 only. Sept. 10, 24. 10 a.m. 2382 Pine Mountain Rd., Kennesaw. 770-919-0248. Pre-register. Kids, $5; adults, free. A Bug’s Life Adventure and After School Snack. Oakhurst Garden. See a variety of butterflies and bugs, catch/release live bugs and taste honey from their bees and flowers, along with a snack of fruit and local Oakhurst honey. Sept. 15. 3:30- 4:30 p.m. Ages 5-8. 435 Oakview Rd., Decatur. 678-642-4977. Pre-register. $12.


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Family Fun Guide

September 2011

*Atlanta Parent Reader Survey, Readex Research 2009

Atlanta Parent 77

Calendar Friends of Price Park. Leone Hall Price Park. Take a tour of the park to see the meadows, creeks and learn how to enjoy nature. Sept. 17. 8:30 a.m.- 11 a.m. 4715 Stilesboro Rd, Kennesaw. 678-414-0430. Free. new Manchester History Hike. Sweetwater Creek State Park. A mile hike leads to the five-story ruins of the Civil-War era New Manchester textile mill. Climb inside the ruins and view the whitewater rapids. Saturdays in Sept., 10 a.m.-noon. 1750 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs. 770-732-5871. $3-4/person; parking, $5. The Sky Tonight. Fernbank Science Center. An astronomer leads the tour through the constellations, planets and events of the evening sky. Saturdays in Sept. 11 a.m. 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta. 678-874-7102. Adults, $4; students, $3.

Child Models We’ve booked kids for $2,000 per day and more, others at $50 - $60 per hour.

special events Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Fan night. Georgia Aquarium. Kick off college football season with this sports-themed celebration. Music, food and an appearance from the University of Georgia and Boise State cheerleading squads. Sept. 2. 5-10 p.m. 225 Baker Street NW, Atlanta. Adults, $19.95; children, $14.95. Cobb County Adopt-a-Thon. Bishop Park. Watch police K-9 demonstrations, participate in raffles and meet adoptable shelter animals in need of a home. Sept. 10. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. 1060 Al Bishop Dr., Marietta. 770-499-4136. Free.

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Grandparents’ ice Cream Social. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Honor your grandparents by enjoying an old-fashioned ice cream social, sponsored by Bruster’s. Sept. 11. 1-3 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Free admission and ice cream for grandparents! All others, $3 for ice cream; Admission: adults, $8; children, $5; under 2, free. Second Sunday Funday. High Museum of Art. Go on an interactive tour of the John Marin and Radcliffe Bailey exhibits before making a watercolor masterpiece of your own. Sept. 11. 1-4 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-7334400. Adults, $18; children 6-17, $11; 5 and under, free. Windward Challenge 5K Run/Walk. Alpharetta. Annual event benefiting various non-profits in the metro area. All participants receive a t-shirt. Sept. 15. 6:30-9 p.m. Kids’ Fun Run begins at 6 p.m. 1000 Alderman Dr., Alpharetta. 770-518-8002. Pre-register at risk/windwardchallenge/entry.html. Timed race, $25; untimed race, $20; Kids’ Fun Run, $10. Prices are $5 more the day of the race. FirED Up! 5K. Fire Station 19. Funds college scholarships for eligible Grady and Washington High School graduating seniors. Sat., Sept. 17, 8 a.m. 1063 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta. Register at or drop by Fire Station 19, Sept. 12-16, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. $20/person. Room to Read Races. Brookhaven Station. Benefits Rooms to Read, a child’s literacy and education advocacy program. Sat., Sept. 17, 8 a.m. 4047 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-769-5737. Register at; $30 pre-registered, $35 race-day for 5k; $40 for 10k anytime.

78 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Family Fun Guide

Chase A Cop 5k and 1-Mile Fun Run. Tribble Mill Park. Benefits Gwinnett Masters Special Olympics and Sheriff’s Beat the Heat program. Sat., Sept. 24. 8 a.m. 2125 Tribble Mill Parkway, Lawrenceville. Register at by Wed., Sept. 21. $20 for 5k by Sept. 18, $25 after; $15 for Fun Run until Sept. 20, $20 after. Fourth Saturday Family Fun Day. Centennial Olympic Park. This month’s theme is “Our Many Cultures.” Sept. 24. Noon-4 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-543-7407. Free. Pumpkin Fest. Pettit Creek Farms. Enjoy hayrides, a corn maze, a petting zoo and inflatables as you search for the perfect pumpkin. Sept. 24- Nov. 6. Mon.-Fri., 2-6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 337 Cassville Rd., Cartersville. 770-386-8688. pettitcreekfarms. com. Adults, $12; children, $10; under 2, free. Run the Farm for FOCUS. Cedargate Farms. Benefits FOCUS, a non-profit that serves children with disabilities or medical conditions and their families. Sat., Sept. 24. 5k, 10k trail run, 8 a.m.; 1-mile family walk, 9 a.m. 848 Copeland Rd., Newnan. 770-234-9111. Register at; $25/person Walk of Heroes 5k. Richardson Health Center, Decatur. Presented by the Brighter Tomorrows Foundation. Includes a 5K run/walk, tot trot and Community Hero Fun Day. Sept. 24. 5k, 9 a.m. Tot Trot, 10 a.m. 445 Winn Way, Decatur. 404508-7875. Pre-register at In advance, $20. Day of race, $25. Tot Trot, $7. netherworld Haunted House. Norcross. This terrifying haunted house, with two separate attractions, was named No. 1 in the southeast! Not recommended for small children. Sept. 23, 24, 30. 7-11 p.m. Oct. 1- 31. Sun. 7- 11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. 7:30- 11 p.m. Fri.- Sat. 7 p.m.- midnight. Nov. 4-5, 7- 11 p.m. 6624 Dawson Blvd, Norcross. 404-608-2484. $22/person for the main haunt, The Nightmares; $27/person for The Nightmares plus Raw Meat. Yule Forest Pumpkin Patch. Inflatables, talking chicken show, petting zoo, a pioneer rabbit village and more. Opening Oct. 1. Mon.-Fri., 4-7 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Cartersville. 355 Hwy 155 North, Stockbridge. 770-954-9356. $6/person, or $8 to include funzone and small pumpkin; free admission/hayride on Wednesdays to kids wearing a costume; some activities extra, $1-$7.

storytelling Storytime by the River. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Storytime for toddlers at the nature center. Ages 3-5. Sept. 7. 10:30-11:30 a.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $8; children, $5; under 2, free. Latin American Folktales. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Stories from Latin America, Portugal and Spain with songs and instruments. Sept. 10. 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Garden admission: Adults, $18.95; children 3-17, $12.95; under 3, free. Children’s Garden Storybook Time. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Storytelling in the Children’s Garden’s Amphitheater. Wednesdays in Sept. 10:30 a.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta. 404876-5859. Garden admission: Adults, $18.95; children 3-17, $12.95; under 3, free.

DARWin EXHiBiT Fernbank Museum of Natural History SEPT. 24- JAN. 1, 2012 MON.-SAT., 10 A.M.- 5 P.M., SUN., NOON-5 P.M. OPENING CELEBRATION, SEPT. 24, 10 A.M.-2 P.M. Let your curiosity get the best of you at Fernbank’s newest exhibit. You can enjoy a look into the life of Charles Darwin, the famous scientist. The exhibit features awesome fossils, live animals, special kids features and tools used by the scientist. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Adults, $17.50; children 3-12, $15.50; 2 and under, free. Father Goose Brigade. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. The Southern Order of Storytellers features tales with the Father Goose Brigade. Sept. 16, 7 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Adults, $3; children, $1. Storytime at Little Shop. Little Shop of Stories. Storytelling three times a week; Thursday nights, milk and cookies provided and kids can come in pajamas. Sundays, 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 11 a.m.; Thursdays, 7 p.m. 133A East Court Sq., Decatur. 404-373-6300. Free. Tales for Toddlers. Bean Head Toys. Stories read in the indoor tree house, then kids make a small craft to take home. Thursdays in Sept. 10:30 a.m. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-2980. Free. Wren’s nest Storytelling. The Wren’s Nest. Wren’s Nest Ramblers host a storytelling session every Saturday afternoon in Sept. 1 p.m. 1050 Ralph D. Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. 404-753-7735. Adults, $9; students, $8; children, $6.

theater Kuchipudi: Telling a Story Through indian Dance. Aurora’s Children’s Playhouse. Sasikala Penumarthi performs as part of the series designed to introduce kids to theater. Sept. 3. 10 a.m. Show is about 45 min. 128 Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. Tickets, $7. Charlotte’s Web. City Center Auditorium. An adaptation of the novel by E.B. White with true friends Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider. Sept. 9, 16. 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10, 11, 17, 18. 3 p.m. 8534 Main St., Woodstock. 678-494-4251. $9. into the Woods. Alliance Theatre. The Tony Award-winning musical with the central message, “Careful what you say…children will listen.” Through Oct. 2. See for show times. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4650. Tickets, $25-45.



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Atlanta Parent 79

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Wicked. Fabulous Fox Theatre. The famous musical about how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch got their start, long before Dorothy ever arrives in Munchkinland. Sept. 14- Oct. 10. Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 1 and 6:30 p.m. 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-8812100. Tickets, $36-$133.

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80 Atlanta Parent

September 2011

Thoroughly Modern Millie. Earl Smith Strand Theater, Marietta Square. The musical tells the story of a Midwestern girl who arrives in New York City with plans to marry for money. Sept. 16-Oct. 2. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m. Sun., 2 p.m.; Sept. 29-Oct.2, additional 2 p.m. show on Sat. 117 N. Park Sq., Marietta. 404-3779948. Tickets, $27.50-48.70.

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beyond atlanta Remembering Our Heroes. Army Post at Fort Oglethorpe. The 6th Cavalry Museum’s second annual event includes two World War II battle re-enactments, a parade, a cook-off and historic vehicle and equipment displays. Sept. 3. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 6 Barnhardt Circle, Fort Oglethorpe. 706-861-2860. Admission, $10, includes 3 tickets to sample food from the cook-off and vote for your favorite. Farm Heritage Day. Chestnut Oak Center in Pike County. A day focusing on the role agriculture has played in shaping our country with live demonstrations, farm animals and old-timey artisans. Sept. 10. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Hwy. 19 and Sandefur Rd., Meansville. 770856-2144. Fun and Fitness Day. George T. Bagby State Park and Lodge. Zumba classes, outdoor games, golf and tennis lessons, nutrition seminars and more. Then stick around for a multi-generational sockhop. Sept. 10. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. 330 Bagby Pkwy, Fort Gaines. 877-591-5575. Free. Parking, $5. Railfan Weekend. Tweetsie Railroad. The original locomotive #12 will pull an 1870s vintage coach car around the mountain. Shop tours, historic documentaries, memorabilia room, photo specials and a chance to ride in one of the locomotives. Sept.10 and 11. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln., Blowing Rock, N.C. 877-893-3874. Weekend pass: Adults, $48; children 3-12, $33. Regular admission: Adults, $34, children 3-12, $22; under 2, free. c

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September 2011

Atlanta Parent 81


by Jeni Marinucci

The Gates of Hell Are Built with LEGO


ost of my children’s toys are in this house by mutual agreement. They agree to own far too many, and I agree not to be scared when the batteries slowly die and Buzz Lightyear groans “To infinity…and beyond!” in a scary devil voice all night long. But the worst toy by far has got to be LEGO. The fact that LEGO is a four-letter word is no coincidence.

I hate those things with the passion of a thousand white-hot burning suns. But despite my feelings for LEGO, my kids love them and will do almost anything to acquire more, more, more! Dr. Phil would say that LEGOs are my kids “currency.” Well, guess what Dr. Phil? LEGO is so not working for me! I didn’t always hate them. I played with LEGOs when I was a kid during the 1970s. But back then you could only build things with right angles. If you were lucky enough to find a door or window frame in a LEGO set you were excited to build a house with an exit. “Woohoo!” we’d shout. “This structure will now meet existing municipal fire codes!” Modern LEGO kits come with blueprints, construction permits and personal fire brigades with oxygen tanks and hoses should a fire threaten to destroy them. Yes, things are different now. LEGOs

82 Atlanta Parent    September 2011

come in sets with upward of 1,000 pieces and manuals as long as War and Peace. The big sets are bulky to store, the medium ones don’t work with any other building sets, and the tiny pieces are the perfect size for serious foot injury after a walk through the LEGO minefield that once was my family room. I used to think my kids had short attention spans and no ability to concentrate since they would give up after 17 seconds of trying to locate a lost jacket, made no effort to find their lunchboxes in the morning, and sometimes needed me to remind them to put on pants. So I was dumbfounded as I watched them sift through a 45-gallon Rubbermaid storage bin for hours to find the one blue LEGO piece with the eyeball on it. Recently, my eagle-eyed son informed me that one very special piece of LEGO was missing from his collection of 19 billion

bricks. He spread out piles of colorful LEGOs and started frantically combing through them. Bricks were stuck together in configurations that just weren’t … well, natural. Little yellow heads mingled with dismembered limbs and tiny deep-sea diver helmets. A miniature medieval flag perched atop a headless basketball player. Two pairs of legs attached to a red brick that was then stuck to a set of monster truck wheels. It was chaos. He tried to explain exactly what he was looking for, but his detailed description of “the little beige thingy with the thingy on the thing!” was difficult to follow. I was finally able to identify it by checking online, after scanning pages of assorted LEGO pieces. This month when I emptied my vacuum canister, it contained three things: dust, Cheerios and the missing piece. I find LEGOs everywhere. Bathtub drain clogged? LEGO! Something irritating in your shoe? LEGO! Underwear doesn’t feel right? Don’t ask. In my search for a babysitter, I started thinking about the things I should ask prospective caregivers. Things like what childcare experience they have or if they have criminal records. But I’ve decided that I can turn a blind eye to lack of references, pretend not to hear them when they inform me of their upcoming court dates, and simply stick my fingers in my ears when they tell me they own six pet cobras, operate a slaughterhouse part time and live on a farm called “Rusty Nail Acres.” The only question they need to answer properly is, “Do you like LEGO?” c

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September 2011  

Go play! Words Every Kid Should Hear; Stroller Test Drive; Birthday Parties - Atlanta Moms Tell All; Grandparents: Nothing Better

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