November 2013

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Parent Atlanta’s No. 1 Parenting Magazine


November 2013


Best Children’s Books of 2013

A Full Plate n

n  n

The Adoption Option Family-Friendly Atlanta Landmarks Charlie Brown Saves Thanksgiving

4 Atlanta Parent    November 2013


Vol. 30 / Number 11




The Gift of a Thankful Heart Our children have so much, and they often take their good fortune for granted. Teach your child to have a thankful and giving heart.

Adoption is a time-consuming, heart-wrenching and often expensive process, but oh, so worth it. Read a primer on adopting and meet four metro families who share their story.

42 46

10 News You Can Use 12 The Frugal Family

Saving During the Holidays Preparing T-Day Dinner

Opening Doors to Adoption


8 Publisher’s Note

74 Humor in the House

Charlie Brown Saves Thanksgiving

Make the “kids’ table” the desirable place to be this Thanksgiving with fun crafts and games based on the beloved cartoon character Charlie Brown.



This Year’s Great Books

Atlanta Parent has researched the new books of 2013, from board books for baby to great reads for middle-schoolers and beyond. You’ll find more than one just right for your children.

Family Fun Guide 49

Not-to-Miss Events


Eating Out: R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill Two Outdoor Adventures


Free Fun: Atlanta


Atlanta Landmarks


Meet the Past: Atlanta History Center

The Diabetes You Can Prevent More children are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Learn the symptoms and the important role of diet.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah!

Interfaith families can double the joy of the holidays when they celebrate both Jewish and Christian cultural and religious traditions.

Magazine Association of the Southeast

2013 Award Winner

BeltLine Self-Guided Tours


Marco Polo: Fernbank Museum of Natural History


A Deep Dive: Georgia Aquarium


November Calendar


Holiday Calendar

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Give Your Child the Gift of Reading

Atlanta’s Award-Winning Parenting Publication PUBLISHER Liz White ASSOCIATE Laura Powell PUBLISHER

Compared to Your Baby Can Read® and Hooked on Phonics®

Uses Three Research-Proven Reading Techniques  Phonics  Sight Words  Whole Language


Reading is as easy as 1,2,3! Start your Child NOW! Level







Phrases Sentences Does your child have Asthma???








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Consider volunteering for a clinical research study conducted at Emory University. This clinical trial is for children 1- 5 years of age, who suffer from wheezing. We are trying to see which asthma medication works best for preschool children. You may be asked to participate for as long as 12 months in this study. The study will also determine the best pain reliever/fever reducer for preschool children with asthma symptoms.

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• Asthma medications • Pulmonary Evaluation • Physical Exam • Compensation for time and travel Contact Emory AsthmaNet Study Coordinators for more information:

Jennifer Dodds 404-727-5176 • Denise Whitlock 404-712-1773 • 6 Atlanta Parent    November 2013


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.

© Atlanta Parent, Inc. 2013

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Publisher’s Note About the Printed Word As a former teacher and the daughter of a librarian, I’m more than a little biased about the importance of reading and books. It’s impossible to have a successful school experience and become a functioning adult without a good foundation in reading. That’s my opinion, but study after study backs me up. Children whose parents read to them just 20 to 30 minutes a day are more successful in school. In their careers, those skills help them communicate with their co-workers and supervisors, or with the employees they supervise. That’s why Atlanta Parent’s staff researches and recommends some of the best children’s books every November. We want parents to know about the new books their children will want to read, and read again. But it really doesn’t matter so much what they read, as long as they read. I was a big Nancy Drew series fan, though from my father’s perspective, those mysteries were junk reading. From my perspective, any story that captures a child’s imagination and makes him want to read on is a story worth reading. My grandson Elliot loves to read, and I am happy as I watch him page through a book or enjoy storytime at the library. Granddaughter Eleanor likes books, too, though right now, they’re soft books or board books just perfect for putting in her mouth. In a few months, though, I know she will follow her big brother’s example. As many of our regular readers know, I’m no big fan of e-readers. I think children get too much screen time as it is and I believe an e-reader is just a different experience from a book. Elliot will someday use an e-reader, but for now he’s learning the pleasure of holding a book, and discovering what’s on the next page. And judging from the quantity of books that arrive at Atlanta Parent offices every year, future generations also will have that opportunity – printed books will be around for a long time. Now, find a special book and turn the pages with your child.

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

8 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

ItFigures by Cynthia Washam

The Gift of Beauty

Turkey Tidbits 322 B.C.

Year it’s believed the ancient Etruscans started the tradition of making a wish while pulling a turkey wishbone


Percent of turkeys sold in the U.S. that are raised on factory farms, where they’re so fat they can’t walk


Free Consultation

Percent of Americans who want to spend Thanksgiving with their families


Percent of young adults who spent at least part of their childhood living outside the traditional household of married parents with their biological children

visit website for details


Percent of Americans who agree that if people consider themselves family, they are


Number of miles an adult would have to walk to burn off the 3,000 calories in a typical Thanksgiving dinner

Earth-Saving Stats Nov. 15

Date of America Recycles Day, proclaimed in 2004 by President George W. Bush


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Number of signatures collected in two weeks in May 2012 by students at Sun Valley Elementary School in San Rafael, Calif., asking Crayola to establish a takeback program to recycle plastic markers


Number of school children, from 47 states, who recycled 1.8 million tons of waste during Keep America Beautiful’s inaugural Recycle-Bowl, held in the fall of 2011


Average pounds of materials each student recycled Sources:,, Waste & Recycling News, American School & University,, Newsweek, ABC World News,,,

Mark F. Deutsch, MD, FACS

Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

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Big or Small Save Them All November 2013    Atlanta Parent 9

News You Can Use

by Amanda Allen

Thanksgiving is for Families Almost 44 million

people nationwide will travel for Thanksgiving

53 percent

of families travel long distances for Thanksgiving, only 43 percent for Christmas

90 percent

will drive

44 percent

will travel 50-99 miles, and most of them will drive on Thursday Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Calling All Reindogs

Your dog doesn’t have to be named Donner or Blitzen to join the Reindog Parade at 11 a.m. Dec. 7. All a dog needs is an owner willing to register him in advance, and dress him to take part at the sixth annual Atlanta Botanical Garden parade. Registration for the parade is Nov. 1-Dec. 3; cost is $15 per dog with a maximum of two dogs per owner, plus regular Botanical Garden admission. Puppies and dogs will compete for prizes. A Doggie Expo also will offer products, services and information, and dogs can have their photos made with St. Nick. For more information, see

See a Comet After the Turkey On Thanksgiving Day, plan to spend the evening outside viewing what many are saying may be the “comet of the century.” The comet ISON is already being tracked by scientists and amateur astronomers, but it will best be seen by the rest of us as it passes near the sun on Nov. 28. Some scientists say it will be quite bright then, but others think it could be a dud. Have some binoculars handy because they’ll magnify the comet slightly and darken the sky background, and plan to get outside the metro area’s lights to best view the comet.

10 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Healthier Choices at McDonald’s Do you want fries with that, or would you prefer a side salad, fruit or vegetables? McDonald’s Corp. says it soon will begin offering those choices with its Value Meals. In 2011, McDonald’s reduced the fries portion of its Happy Meals and added apples. It began listing calorie information in its 14,000 U.S. restaurants a year ago, and the company soon will promote only water, milk and juice as the Happy Meals’ beverages.

Help a Child in Need

For a poor child, a simple shoebox filled with small gifts is a treat. Operation Christmas Child, sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, has collected more than 100 million shoeboxes for children around the world since the program began in 1993. Boxes might contain school supplies, small toys, hygiene items, clothing and a personal note from the sender. Packing a box, or boxes, as a family is a good way to open a child’s eyes, and heart, to those less fortunate. National Collection Week for the program is Nov. 18-25, and many churches throughout metro Atlanta are sponsoring the assembly of shoeboxes and also serving as drop-off sites for individuals. For more information, visit

Elves are no Longer Just for Christmas! The Creators of Elf on the Shelf® are bringing families a new way to celebrate birthdays with The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition. Meet the Atlanta authors, Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, at these local book signings. For more information, visit Books-A-Million. Sugarloaf Mills. Books-A-Million. Peachtree City. Nov. 4. 4-6 p.m. Nov. 5. 4-6 p.m. Barnes & Noble. Marietta. Nov. 5. 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Barnes & Noble. The Forum on Peachtree Pkwy. Dec. 8. 2-4 p.m.

Safe Disposal for Prescription Drugs

The U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, by having drug disposal days. Check their website, or for disposal events or sites near you.

Keep America Cleaner – Recycle Take the pledge to recycle more on Nov. 15, America Recycles Day. For many metro families, recycling is as simple as separating cans, glass and paper from garbage and putting it in a bucket on the curb for pickup – yet many families don’t do that. For tips on getting started, and to take the pledge, visit To find a collection site near you, enter your ZIP code at

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 11


frugalfamily by Amana Miller Allen

With the holidays approaching, it’s more important than ever to save, whether the savings come with gift purchases or fun crafts. And use free layaway to avoid gift price shock. Major Retailers Offer Free Layaway on Most Items Walmart kicked off the holiday buying season in mid-August, offering free layaway for toys. Toys R Us, Babies R Us and Kmart quickly matched that offer. While layaway won’t make the items cost less, it will ensure you won’t be hunting in vain for that hot-selling item on Christmas Eve and it will let you spread out the pain in the wallet. Last year, Walmart charged a $5 fee to hold items on layaway.

No Need to Shop Till You Drop:

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Apps Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here. Try these helpful – and free – apps to help you locate bargains on toys, electronics and clothes. Santa probably has them on his phone: n  The Black Friday by BradsDeals app allows you to research and plan Black Friday shopping and lets you see pre-release Black Friday ads for major stores as well as recommended Black Friday deals.

Holiday Shopping Stats

n  An app by also helps you comparison shop Black Friday deals.

BradsDeals app



n  This app from, named “Best Black Friday Web Site” by PC World and PC Magazine, lets you browse ads from dozens of major retailers for Black Friday or all year long. You can create shopping lists with saved ads and get news alerts when new ads are posted, or share ads with family or friends. n’s app claims more merchants and products than any other shopping app.



n  This Cyber Monday app from lets you browse deals from more than 100 major retailers; deals, specials, and offers are constantly updated.

12 Atlanta Parent    November 2013


Average amount holiday shopper will spend on gifts, decor, cards and more.


Percentage of consumers unlikely to shop on Thanksgiving Day. Sources: National Retail Federation,

Get Crafty

With Holiday Decorations This craft, a Toilet Paper Roll Wreath from the Creative Jewish Mom website, is a bit involved but the results are worth the effort. You’ll need lots of recycled toilet paper tubes, or paper towel tubes; white glue or a hot glue gun, and lots of paper clips, if you’re using white glue. Cut tubes into evenly sized rings, the same depth. Start gluing tubes together. (Hot glue is quicker, but white glue and paper clips are a better method if kids help. Use the paper clips to hold the pieces together as they dry flat on a table.) Assemble flowers from the tubes, and create a wreath design. Spray paint if desired. For step-by-step directions, see recycled-toilet-paper-roll-wall-decor.html#tp



HandPainted Holiday Luminaries It’s an Irish tradition to place lit candles in windows. Glass containers with handpainted designs and flameless candles look welcoming in windows or on a table. Supplies and Tools: Black marker; White computer paper; Computer and printer; Provided templates; Scissors; Square and rectangular glass; containers; Tape; Enamel paint: red, green and white; Flat brush; Detail brush; Flameless or wax candles. Create templates using a black marker to draw holiday motifs on paper. Additonal templates at Cut templates to fit inside the containers. Tape templates to the inside of container with design facing out as a guide. Paint over template designs on glass using enamel paints. It may take several coats of paint to attain desired coverage. Let paint dry between coats. Once the painted design is completely dry, remove templates. Fill the con­tainer with flameless or wax candles to display. Note: If using wax candles, do not leave burning candles unattended. –

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 13

Teach Your Children the Joys of a

Thankful Heart

by Jan Pierce


ne of my favorite childhood stories is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s account of the Christmas when Mr. Edwards braved a snowstorm to bring gifts to the family. He had sweet potatoes for Ma in one pocket, and gifts for Laura and Mary in another – a tin cup for each of them, plus a penny and a peppermint stick. The girls were thrilled. Would our children be content with such simple gifts today? Not likely. It’s a challenge to raise thankful children in our consumer-driven culture, but we can train our children in the fine art of having enough. Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we should be mindful of the blessings we have, is a good time to start. 14 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Plant the Seeds: Teach Your Values Agree with your partner on the values you wish to teach your children and encourage them in everyday living Those lessons begin in the nursery and continue to adulthood. In the book Just Moms, Conveying Justice in an Unjust World, Marta Oti Sears writes about a project her 7-year-old daughter took on one Christmas. The year before, she’d participated in a project to give a farm animal to a needy community overseas but this year, her daughter said, “I want to give the whole farm!” The whole farm was a group of animals costing in excess of $2,000. Marta outlines her family’s journey through, “Can we do it?” to “Yes, we did it with the help of friends and family.” You can bet the family had planted those seeds in their daughter’s heart at an early age and they’ll all treasure the memory forever.

Water the Seeds: Tell Your Stories Most of us have stories from our family’s history documenting a much simpler lifestyle. My father received only one gift his entire childhood – a sled made by his father. His was a North Dakota farm family working hard to make a simple living. Knowing his father took the time to make the sled for him made it more than special. When my own children had questions about the concepts of rich and poor, we came up with a saying that covered our philosophy of family life: “We’re rich in love.” The children knew we gave gifts to those less fortunate. They knew we had enough to share with others in times of need. The message they received was the truth  –  we had all we needed and enough left over to be generous. We were content.

Feed and Prune: Model a Thankful Lifestyle Children may learn by hearing stories, but they’ll take to heart the things they see and experience. Have a family meeting

Projects for Your Family n  Allow children to do chores to earn

n  Choose to provide a snack or meal to a

money to give to a worthy cause.

homeless person you pass on the roadways each day.

n  Adopt a needy family through a local

n  Decide how to spend vacation time with an

agency and meet their holiday needs. n  Work as a family to earn money to

donate to a specific family-selected charity. n  Make the decision to sort through old

clothing, toys and other possessions to “pare down” possessions and live with less. n  Take the entire family to a shelter or

group home and help serve a meal.

and talk about the choices you make. Explain why you make certain purchases, what you give to others and why you shop for bargains. Why do you choose certain family activities and not others? When do you refrain from spending? Does fun always require spending a lot of money? Are there opportunities for your family to give time or money to help others? Include the children in the decision-making process.

emphasis on enjoying one another without excess financial drain. n  Regularly plan family fun times including

games, music, food, work projects and other intergenerational or extended family activities. n  At meal times make it a point to discuss the “fine

art of having enough.” What does it look like in real life? What are the distinctions between wants and needs?

Reap the Reward: A Thankful Family The benefit of careful planting, watering and pruning is a healthy family with thankful children. You’ll have kids who understand life beyond their own wants and needs. A thankful heart doesn’t just happen, it’s taught over time. Living out the values of a thankful heart isn’t easy in our consumer-driven world. We have to say no to the want-more, have-more cycles so many families embrace. But we can do it, because it’s the right thing to do. c

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 15

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

© Peanuts Worldwide LLC

by Pam Molnar

Make the ‘Kids’ Table’ a Fun Spot This Year with Crafts and Games 16 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Through the eyes of a child, Thanksgiving is a letdown holiday. Sandwiched between the candy rush of October and gift giving holidays of December, it seems like more of a holiday for the adults. To make matters worse, the kids are seated at a separate table, shushed during the football game and sent from the room just as the conversation gets good. This year, let’s make this holiday more kid-friendly. As a child, I loved watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on TV. Since 1973, the Charles Schultz classic has entertained millions of kids on and around Thanksgiving Day. How many of us fantasized about eating jelly beans and popcorn instead of our mother’s green bean casserole? This year, make the kids’ table the best one in the house by recreating Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. Entertain the kids with a showing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, crafts, games and of course, Chef Snoopy’s famous Thanksgiving meal (Jelly beans, popcorn, pretzels and toast). Decorate the kid’s table with a disposable green table cloth. Add some white tape lines and you have recreated the ping pong table where Snoopy served his guests. Make sure the kids eat the traditional family meal before participating in Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. The kids will rush through their dinner, so when they are done, allow them to see A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. (Buy a DVD on Amazon. com for $9.99). This will give the adults an extra half hour to eat in peace. When the movie is over, move onto the crafts and games:

Games l  Popcorn Eating Contest Popcorn was a staple at Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving. To play the game, give every player a small bowl of popcorn and two pretzel rods. On go, the first person to finish eating his bowl of popcorn, using only the pretzel rods to pick it up, is the winner.


l  Jelly Bean Separation Anxiety Place a handful of jelly beans in front of each person. The players have to separate the jelly beans by color into piles or paper cups. The first one to separate all their jelly beans is the winner. l  Pin the Football in the Goal

Purchase solid yellow shirts at the craft store along with black felt sheets. Make a template of the zigzag pattern from Charlie Brown’s famous shirt. Have the kids trace it on the black felt, cut it out and hot glue it in place. Make one zigzag for each side of the shirt. (Felt might not survive the laundry; if you want the shirt to last more than one wearing, use black fabric and fabric glue.)

l  Chef Snoopy Hat Supplies needed to make one hat: 2 pieces of white 8 by 11½ white paper 5 feet of white parchment paper 1 rubber band (elastic) 1 sheet of black felt Stapler Scotch Tape Directions Tape the two pieces of paper together at shorter end. Fold the paper in half lengthwise and then in half again. This will be the band of the hat. Measure the band around the child’s head and cut off any excess paper. Fold the parchment paper back and forth as if you are making a fan (1” strips). Open up the fan and tape inside the folded band of the hat. Staple into place starting in middle and on ends and then filling in between the staples. Wrap band in a circle but do not secure. Gather up fanned parchment paper and wrap the rubber band around the edge to hold it together. Now flip the band inside out so the rubber band is hidden inside the hat. Secure the band to fit the child’s head. Fluff out the hat so it is puffy on the sides. Trace and cut out Snoopy ears on black felt. Hot glue the ears to the inside of the band.

A spin on Pin the Tail on the Donkey, this game is one for all ages. Create a goal post out of paper and stick it to the wall. Cut out miniature footballs for the players to pin. Blindfold the players and see who can get their football in the goal. l  Charlie Brown Trivia This is a good game for older kids who have seen the movie “a million times.” Come up with your own questions by watching the movie ahead of time or use these questions. 1. 2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.

Who was the first guest Peppermint Patty invited? Who helped Snoopy prepare dinner? Was Sally part of the Thanksgiving meal? What did Snoopy and Woodstock eat when everyone left? What were Snoopy and Woodstock wearing? Who is Sally supposed to write her essay about? What are the only things Charlie Brown can cook? Who says grace at Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving? What time is Charlie Brown supposed to be at his Grandmother’s house? Who got the bigger piece of the wishbone at the end?

Answers: 1. Herself; 2. Linus, Charlie Brown and Woodstock; 3. No; 4. Turkey; 5. Pilgrim outfits; 6. Myles Standish; 7. Cereal and Toast; 8. Linus; 9. 4:30; 10. Woodstock.

l  Charlie Brown Shirts

We Love You, Charlie

Charlie Brown, created in 1947 by Charles M. Schulz, is 66 years old now, but he’s still the lovable, insecure comic-strip kid who been the subject of children’s books and holiday specials that span generations. This holiday season, he and his Peanuts pals also are cuddly plush toys being sold through Kohl’s Cares, a charitable program of Kohl’s Department Stores that supports children’s health and education nationwide. The toys cost $5 each. For another $5, buy an ac-

companying children’s book. A Charlie Brown Christmas, for instance, and a Charlie Brown plush toy. Other characters available in stores are Snoopy and Woodstock. Linus and Lucy are available online only.

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 17


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Kids are born with clutter – clothes, shoes, diapers, wipes, bottles, toys, stuffed animals, paperwork and on and on. And it only gets worse as they grow up and start to participate in activities (ballet shoes, softball equipment, Scout projects, homework papers and such). Try these tips to help your household recover from clutter.


Start by spending an hour a day (so you don’t get overwhelmed) overhauling what your kids already have  –  toys, stuffed animals, shoes, clothes, books, videos. Separate items into two or three piles or bags: throw away, give away (or sell at a consignment store or in a garage sale), and (if applicable) save for a future kid. Then group like items (shoes, leotards, sports equipment) so you can quickly figure out what you are missing or have too much of. Kyle Boeglin, mom of three, says, “I found that my kids’ dressers were overflowing with clothes, much of it never worn. I only kept a few pairs of shorts and pants and their five favorite shirts. It has made it much easier for them to get dressed in the morning because without all the clothes they weren’t wearing packed in there, they can choose their outfits quickly.”

2 3


Notify family and friends that you are trying to reduce clutter. Grandma probably would be thrilled to get the kids a membership to the local zoo, while several people could pool money to pay for a few of your daughter’s ballet lessons. This is also a great way to teach your kids that birthdays and the December holidays are not just about presents. I love those toy storage units with the brightly colored bins. You can either have your child throw everything in the bins however they like, or try to get them to sort by bin (trains in the large yellow bin, books in the small blue bin, animals in the small red bin, etc.). But don’t get too crazy about grouping like items. While this method works well for many things (trains, shoes, Barbies), make sure you have a catch-all system, too (see #4). Consider buying a storage ottoman for a main living area. Target carries a reasonably priced brown faux leather storage ottoman with a no-pinch lid that hides toys and is also sturdy enough as a seat for two. Kids can do a fast pick-up daily or when company is on the way, and then close the lid on the mess.

For parenting resources you can actually use.


5 6

Under-bed boxes and/or plastic storage tubs are nice for storing things like stuffed animals and out-of-season clothes. Consider using simple copy paper boxes; they are not only free, but also fit under many beds so they are hidden. Perform a paper purge. One sample of how well your child colored within the lines at age 3 is fine, but something even more special would be a hand-drawn picture. This is a tough one for softies, so ideas for saving space include putting pictures up in the garage, taking a photo of a set of pictures, giving away pictures to loved ones. Here’s a tip from Caroline Horton, mom of six: “The laundry room is our art gallery. Special pieces of art line the walls, the masterpieces are swapped out when the walls are full and new pieces arrive. With six kids I spend many hours in the laundry room surrounded by art and the kids feel like a million bucks!”

7 8 9 10

Never search for shoes again! Place a medium-size basket by the door from which you normally enter and leave the house for seasonal shoes. Outof-season shoes can be stored in a closet or in a plastic tub in the basement. Take all kiddie DVDs and music/computer/video game CDs out of their cases. Store them in a short, round case or in a disc album with sleeves that hold 8 CDs per page. Do a purge before holidays and birthdays since it’s a given that more stuff will be arriving. I like to pretend I’m moving in a week, and that prompts me to get rid of more things. Keep it up. To maintain your newfound order, have the kids pick up daily, either before dinner or before bedtime, and teach them that it’s easier to do it as it happens instead of letting it get out of hand. c



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November 2013    Atlanta Parent 19

The Adoption Option Opening Doors, Building a Family

20 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

by Malia Jacobson


ccording to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2 percent of American children are adopted. That means adoption touches most schools, neighborhoods, and extended families across the country. Nearly 60 percent of Americans have a personal connection to adoption: They’ve known someone who has been adopted, they’ve adopted a child, or they have placed their child with an adoptive family. Modern adoptive parents and adoptees won’t encounter many of the old stigmas and biases that used to besiege adoptions. Adoption is becoming more mainstream and more open, according to Adam Pertman, author of Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming our Families  –  and America.

But would-be adoptive parents still face challenges, including choosing which type of adoption to pursue, figuring out how to pay mounting fees and navigating the online adoption information.

‘Open’ Adoptions Only 5 percent of modern adoptions are “closed adoptions” in which the birth parents and adoptive parents have no contact and birth records are sealed. Today 95 percent of agencies offer open adoptions, which allow for ongoing contact between the adoptive family and the birth parents. Research from the Donaldson Institute shows that open adoptions are associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process for all participants – adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents. Birth mothers who have ongoing contact with their children through open adoption experience less grief and greater peace of mind. And adoptees have access to their biological families and medical histories. Dave and Suzi Huck of Acworth, who adopted their son James in mid-August, chose Independent Adoption Center as their adoption agency specifically because it promotes open adoptions. “They are pioneers in open adoption and really try to place the birth mother first, to make sure that adoption is right for her.” The process of adopting, especially the waiting, was emotionally difficult, but worth it, Suzi Huck says. “Once we started taking care of this little life, it’s amazing how quickly he was part of us,” she says. “That little hole missing in our hearts has been filled.” In international adoptions, ongoing contact between birth parents and adopted children can be harder to arrange, due to logistics, language barriers, and legal and other complications. But those, too, are slowly cracking open. When Lacey Yantis and Scott Blank traveled to Ethiopia earlier this year to adopt their son Ermias, 1, they were able to meet his birth mother.

The 411 on Adopton November is National Adoption Month, created to raise awareness of kids in foster care who need permanent families. More than 136,000 children are adopted annually in the United States, according to estimates by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. In Georgia, about 4,000 children are adopted every year. Almost half of all adoptions are private, 40 percent are through foster care and the rest are international adoptions. An estimated 2 million children nationwide are adopted. Some 400,000 children are in foster care, but only about half of them expect to be reunited with their parents. About a quarter of those children live with relatives, and the rest live with unrelated foster parents. For more information: n  Adoptive and Foster Parent Association of Georgia, n  Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, n  Independent Adoption Center, n  National Council for Adoption, n  National Foster Parent Association, n  U.S. State Department,

Another factor is the age of the prospective adoptee. Newborn adoptions through the foster system are relatively rare – only 2 percent of children adopted through the public system are newborns. Thanks in part of federal financial incentives enacted during the Clinton administration, public sector (foster care) adoptions increased 40 percent between 1995-1998. By 2008, 55,000 children were adopted from foster care. Foster care adoptions aren’t as expensive as other types of adoption – there are no agency fees, legal fees are often minimal and reimbursed by the state, and parents can claim the adoption tax credit (as can parents adopting internationally or through an agency or attorney). Cont’d on page 22

Domestic Adoptions According to Adoptive Families magazine, 34 percent of U.S. parents adopting a newborn domestically were matched with a child within three months; 19 percent brought their baby home within four to six months. Couples who choose to adopt domestically have several options: private (or “independent”) adoptions through an attorney or an adoption facilitator, adopting through an agency, or adopting through the foster-care system (sometimes called “public adoption”). How can prospective parents choose which type of domestic adoption to pursue? One factor is cost. Agency and private adoptions cost between $4,000 to $30,000. It’s a wide range that includes costs for home studies, post-adoption supervision, and court fees.

Open adoptions are associated with greater satisfaction with the adoption process for all participants – adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents.

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 21

The Adoption Option International Adoptions

International adoption can be a good option for families seeking an infant, like Yantis and Blank (nearly half of the children adopted internationally are infants and 90 percent are under age 5). But those who dream of international adoption face a number of hurdles, including choosing an adoption site from a dwindling list of countries open to U.S. adoptions. Under tighter regulations, the number of international adoptions appears to be tapering off: After reaching a historic high of 22.884 children in 2004, it fell to just 12,753 in 2009. Russia, one of the top countries of origin for American parents adopting internationally, is now closed to prospective parents in the United States. Guatemala, Haiti, Rwanda, and Vietnam are also on the “closed” list, while China and Ethiopia have cut international adoptions drastically and stretched waiting times for adoptive parents. The waiting game adds to the costs as attorney and agency fees pile up over the course of months and years. Parents adopting internationally can expect costs

22 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Agency and private adoptions cost between $4,000 to $30,000. It’s a wide range that includes costs for home studies, post-adoption supervision, and court fees. up to $25,000 for visas, immigration documents, agency costs, and program fees charged by the home country. Lacey Yantis places her family’s adoption fees between $25,000 and $30,000 – a total that doesn’t include travel to Ethiopia or lodging and living expenses during their three-week stay. Adoptive parents traveling for international adoption

also face costs related to time off work and childcare for the children staying at home during the trip.

Building a Family The first step for couples considering adoption: Talk to others who have adopted, advises Lori Ingber, president and founder of Parent Match. “Ask them which agency they used, or which attorney. Ask them about their experience. Talk to as many people as you can.” You want to choose an adoption attorney or facilitator with significant experience with adoptions, she notes – not a friend of a friend who practices law but specializes in DUIs or divorces. Take advantage of the Internet’s expansive power for research, referrals, information, and support – many agencies now have Facebook pages where prospective parents can ask questions, share victories, and support each other through tough days. Most importantly, parents should follow their heart to build a family that’s uniquely their own. c

Four Families Who Decided to Adopt The Hucks: New Parents After a Long Wait Eight-week-old James Huck has started smiling and giggling in the past few days. His parents, Dave and Suzie Huck of Acworth, haven’t stopped smiling since he came into their lives Aug. 13 through an open adoption. “He’s such as blessing,” Suzi says. “We felt like he was meant to be ours from the very beginning. Watching my husband as he holds James has been amazing.” The couple waited six years to have their family, first trying fertility treatments when Suzi was 30, then contacting Independent Adoption Center 2 ½ years ago. Two potential adoptions didn’t work out – one birth mother didn’t want an open adoption, and the second birth mother they met unfortunately had a miscarriage. “We felt an open adoption would be best for the child and in the long run, best for the birth mother,” Suzi says. In an open adoption, the birth mother and father can stay in contact with the adopting family, visit the child regularly and are kept in the loop on the child’s progress. Two days after James was born, the Hucks met with his birth parents and later posed for a group photo with James. Suzi recently sent a text to her son’s birth mother just after James’ two-month checkup to let her know his weight and that he’s meeting all his milestones. She’s trying to arrange a visit with the birth parents soon. Dave is back at work as a production technician for the Weather Channel, but Suzi, a registered nurse at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, is on leave until Feb. 1 (a combination of 120 hours of “mommy leave” the hospital grants and the vacation days Suzie saved for several years). n  Why did you choose an open adoption, instead of an international adoption or fostering to adopt? “We considered fostering to adopt, but we were afraid the birth mother would change her mind and take the child back,” Suzi says. “We weren’t sure we could deal with the heartbreak of losing a child we had come to love. With international adoptions, many of the children are adopted from orphanages and many did not get the love and human touch in the first weeks and months of their lives. Those children are at a disadvantage and do need a lot of attention. We knew I couldn’t stay home indefinitely and that eventually I would need to go back to work.”

n  What was the biggest surprise when James came home with you? “I definitely thought that babies slept more,” says Suzi. “I thought I would feed him and he would sleep for three hours, and my house would be spotless and the laundry always done.” n  What would you tell prospective adoptive parents? “As you’re working on an adoption plan – the agencies tell you to develop a marketing plan to get yourself out there for a birth mother to find you – also work on yourself,” she says. “It’s very stressful, and you start to wonder, ‘What’s wrong with us?,’ that nobody’s choosing us. We didn’t stop living our lives because we were waiting. We got physically active, we took trips, we’re training for a marathon right now. We made memories as a couple while we were waiting.” –  Amanda Allen

The Ringlands: Finding Their Family in Russia Tovah Martin, a special education teacher, and James Ringland, a risk manager for Barclays, of Marietta adopted their boys, Nathan, 7, and Jadon, 5, as infants from Russia. Both of the boys have special needs. Nathan has fetal alcohol exposure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Jadon has pervasive developmental disorder on the autism spectrum. Nathan plays chess and both boys are learning karate. Nathan is a fan of the rock group Kiss, and has posters on his bedroom walls. Jadon is fascinated with cars and lawn mowers. The family’s love of reading led to the adoption of their second son. “There is this story that we use to read to [Nathan] about a young boy with funny blond hair in an orphanage and Nathan said that he wanted a brother with funny blond hair,” Martin says. Before the couple left for Russia to adopt Jadon, they created a book for Nathan to read. “The Story of Nathan” is all about where Nathan is from and how he became their son. The family also has created books about the boys’ favorite things, full of family photos and adventures to places like the Butterfly Garden at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. n  What advice would you give to parents who want to adopt? “You never know what you are going to get when you adopt. You have to have patience and the resources that you need for the children. There are so many parents who we know that adopted kids and were in over their heads,” Martin says.

n  What has this experience taught you and your husband? “It’s taught us how hard it is to be a parent and how much one can love a child,” she says. n  What was the hardest thing for you during the adoptions? “The hardest thing was being away from our sons when we had to leave them in Russia before we got custody,” Martin says. –  Kelli Richardson Cont’d on page 24

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 23

Four Families Who Decided to Adopt The Josts: Building a Family Through Adoption and Fostering The Jost family of Dallas is kept on their toes by their feisty 21-month-old daughter Penny. Mary Jost describes her adopted daughter as a spunky independent spirit who has changed the couple’s lives forever. “We no longer think about ourselves; instead we focus on her and what is best for her. She has filled every day with happiness and joy,” Mary Jost says. The couple chose a semi-open adoption with Gift of Life Adoptions. The family suffered through several failed attempts to adopt, including one where they brought the child home but had to return her to the agency after her father contested the adoption. Jost says those challenges and their strong faith helped them decide to become foster parents. They currently are fostering an 11-month-old boy. “I know that every child will not be able to stay in our home but while they are here we get to teach them about

Jesus and show them love,” Jost says. When they are not busy with their two children, they spend their time at their church; West Ridge Church in Dallas, where Mary Jost volunteers every Sunday. Jost’s husband is a firefighter for Cobb County and she is a stay-athome mom. n  What advice would you give to people interested in adopting? “We highly recommend working with an adoption consultant throughout the process,” Jost says. n  If you could say anything to the birth mom what would it be? “She is my hero and I can never thank her enough for what she has done. She chose life for our daughter to begin with,” Jost says. -Kelli Richardson

The Donnells: Enough for a Basketball Team The best word to describe this family would be “energetic.” Hiram residents Teena and Kevin Donnell are foster parents who have adopted five boys, now 2 to 21 years old. “There is no such thing as a quiet morning,” their mom says. Oldest son Sword and 17-year-old Zeke were adopted about the same time through foster care, Sword at age 4 and Zeke as an infant. Keenan, 8, joined the family when he was a baby, also through foster care. After they adopted Keenan, the family felt that he needed someone his age to play with so they started looking for another child to adopt. Teena was hoping to adopt a girl until she got a call from a social worker about a baby boy that a family planned to give up for adoption. Kaleb came to live with them. A year later, the social worker told Teena that the same couple was having a second child and they were hoping she would adopt him so that the siblings would to be together. The family was on vacation in Hawaii when the birth mom went into labor with Kai. This is why his name is Kai; it’s Hawaiian for “ocean.” Although the Donnells never expected for their family to become this large, they would not have it any other way. The boys say they enjoy their big family and what they have learned from it. “It’s fun sometimes, and sometimes I don’t like it because it’s hard to get away,” says Zeke, a senior at Paulding High School. But I like being around people and I like playing with my little brothers.” The Donnells are not only foster parents but they also want to help save lives. Both Teena and Kevin Donnell work for Paulding County. Teena is a 9-1-1 Database Coordinator and Kevin works for the property maintenance department during the day. At night Kevin attends school to become an Advanced EMT.

24 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

n  What advice would you give to other people who are adopting? “Adopting through foster care is not scary and there are lots of wonderful kids out there who want a home. A lot of people get so intimidated by the process and you just have to be persistent, it’s not that hard. It’s not that intimidating, it’s not that complicated, you just have to stay with it,” says Teena Donnell. n  How have these adoptions changed your outlook on life? “It’s very easy to look at people who are different from you and have different value systems and priorities from you and judge them,” Teena Donnell says. “It’s hard to do that on Mother’s Day, to look down on the women who gave you your children because they cared enough to let their kids have what they couldn’t provide for them. So each of their birth mothers I love, even if their values are different from mine. I love them for what they have done.” –  Kelli Richardson

5 1

2 3

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Reasons to Visit

Universal Orlando

New Transformers: The Ride-3D. Join Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the Autobots as they fight to save planet earth on a thrilling 3D adventure. The ride takes you into the action of the movie with top-rate graphics, a pumped up staff and cool displays to see and touch while you wait. Even guests who are not familiar with Transformers will enjoy this ride! Springfield USA. Simpsons fans can get a dose of nostalgia hanging out in Springfield USA. Go on The Simpsons Ride, take pictures with Krusty the Clown, play carnival games, load up on Simpsons gear, and parents can even get a Duff Beer. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Take in the sights of Hogsmeade and enjoy a Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks. Visit the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction first thing in the morning or later in the day (lines get long and there is no express line). Fans won’t want to miss Diagon Alley coming in summer 2014. Buy a two day ticket for both parks and get a third day free. This deal will save $20 per ticket and tickets must be used by May 22, 2014. Tickets start at $128/adult to visit both Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Extras like Unlimited Express, to skip the regular lines, can be bundled for an additional price. Celebrate the Holidays with Universal. Starting Dec. 7 through Jan. 4, families can catch the Macy’s Holiday Parade (with floats direct from the parade), listen to Mannheim Steamroller and visit Grinchmas at Seuss Landing. –  Laura Powell

For more information visit

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 25

s g n i h t e t i avor r u O f o A Few


Think Oprah, Not Julie Andrews, for a Clever Way to Celebrate Holidays with Friends Photos courtesy of Shannon Brown /


by Dalia Baseman Faupel t may be better to give than receive, but at holiday In her group, favorite things ranged from Christmas time it’s more fun to do both. Marietta mom Sarah ornament-shaped candles to crockpot liners. Everyone took Kirwan did just that at a “favorite things” party she home their swag in pink gift bags (Brady’s favorite color) attended last year. She brought five pairs of her personalized with decorative tape letters. favorite sleep socks to give away, and in return she “I was nervous because I hadn’t hosted anything at home received five different items that were popular with since having kids,” she said. “But it turned out to be a really her friends. fun, easy gathering, and I loved the things people brought.” “It was so much fun, and I got to take home great stuff, Variations abound, but this is the basic format: A host including the perfect shade of lip gloss,” Kirwan said. Now sends out invitations to guests asking them to bring a she’s considering hosting a similar party. designated number of their favorite item (usually three to Oprah may be responsible for the “favorite things” five) under a specified dollar amount (usually $6-$10). frenzy. In 2002, the media mogul launched an annual They can bring them wrapped or unwrapped. The host segment on her daytime talk show known as “Oprah’s provides refreshments or asks guests to participate potluckFavorite Things,” which aired before the winter holidays. style, bringing favorite dishes or desserts. At the party, each She introduced her favorite hand-picked guest writes her name on slips of paper, items to give as gifts, and lucky audience one for every item she brought, and all “After members went home with them all. slips are collected for random drawings. Viewers embraced the idea, hosting When a guest presents her favorite item, hosting my first she draws five names from the group, and exchanges of favorite things at girlfriendsFavorite Things Party those guests get to take home that item. only holiday celebrations. The number of and receiving such This continues until all items have been people who’ve attended or hosted a party a warm and excited introduced and gifted. The host gives keeps growing. When Elizabeth Brady’s friend told response from my guests everyone something to carry home their loot in, and that serves as a goody bag. her about a favorite things party she had I knew that I needed Beyond being a great way to give thrown, the East Cobb mom was inspired to do it again.” and receive during the holidays, favorite to try it. She invited a dozen friends, –  Shannon Brown things parties are creative ways to get to served favorite foods, including Chickknow buddies better or fast-forward new fil-A chicken nuggets and Trader Joe’s friendships. hummus, and organized the exchange. 26 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

At Brady’s party, she chose themed questions for guests to answer as they presented their favorite item, such as “What’s your favorite chick flick?” and “Who is your favorite person?” “My guests were a mix of longtime friends and moms I recently met at school, so fun questions helped bring the group together,” she said. Shannon Brown, who blogs at shannonbrown.typepad. com/life_in_general, has hosted two favorite things parties, and goes all out on décor, activities and favors for her guests. “After hosting my first Favorite Things Party and receiving such a warm and excited response from my guests I knew that I needed to do it again,” Brown said. “Both times my guests left feeling so happy and special. To me that is the mark of a successful party.” Tara Barnett of Roswell attends a neighbor’s annual favorite things party. She said it’s a great way to socialize, and it’s easier than attending a couples’ event. “Since it’s just girls, my husband can stay with our kids and I can enjoy an evening out.” Barnett’s host provided ideas for what to bring, which made it easier to participate. She brought a gift card to her favorite neighborhood florist; she took home a gift certificate to a restaurant that she’d wanted to try. “We’re so busy that it’s Favorite hard to keep up with what’s things parties new and great. This is a fun way to learn about things are creative ways you might otherwise miss,” to get to know Barnett said. buddies better or Popular picks to bring fast-forward new include beauty products, candy, jewelry, wine and friendships. electronics accessories. To narrow the universe of what guests bring, some hosts designate a theme, such as favorite pampering treats or gadgets that make life easier. Search “favorite things” on Pinterest, and a wealth of information appears, from décor to menus. It’s not surprising these parties are so popular, according to Tammie Wilson, owner of metro Atlanta’s The Party Girl Events, because they are low-stress but high reward events. “The formula for a favorite things party has entertainment built right in,” she said. “The main event is gifting, so everyone’s going to have a good time.” For those who are nervous about entertaining at home, Wilson had this advice: “Don’t worry about what your house looks like! Just make sure your guest bathroom, kitchen, and party room are clean,” she said. “Most importantly, make your guests feel comfortable right away. Put on some music you love and open the door with a smile. If you’re welcoming and relaxed, you’ll make it a great party.” c

10 Tips for A Favorite Things Party Tammie Wilson of The Party Girl Events,, offers these ideas:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Establish the price limit for favorite things and the theme, if you want one. Make your guest list, and keep it to a number you’d feel comfortable having in your home. Co-host with a friend, or ask one to come early to help with setting up food and arranging the favorite things when they come in. Set the date and send invitations. If your guests live in the neighborhood, consider a hand-delivered invite, or use evite to easily track RSVPs. Buy bags or boxes for guests to use to take home gifts. Personalized canvas bags can be cheap on sites like and Make a sign-in sheet for guests to note the items they brought, and fill out slips for the drawings. Decorate based on your theme (check Pinterest for fun ideas.) Play festive music to set the mood. Designate a photographer and hand over your camera. Send out photos post-party, accompanied by a list of all the favorite things shared. November 2013    Atlanta Parent 27




Raising a Child Who Loves Reading

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Educators can’t say enough about the importance of learning to read – and loving to read. Reading is the foundation for academic and career success. It opens windows on real or imaginary worlds, and gives us access to worlds and worlds of information.  n  Over the years, Atlanta Parent’s November issues have focused on great children’s books, and on helping children develop a love of reading. Here are 20 strategies* to make sure your child enjoys reading:


3 4 5

Read to your children as soon as they can sit in your lap. Read to your child every day; even just 10 minutes will make a difference. Talking about a book you’ve just read together will enrich your child’s experience. Read and reread books to younger children; repetition makes books predictable and lets young children develop a sense of mastery over books. Encourage your children to read aloud and to share an interesting passage from a book, part of a newspaper article or even a joke. Extend your child’s positive reading experiences – if your child enjoyed a book on dinosaurs, take him to a natural history museum or find another book or DVD to share.

28 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

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Limit TV watching and other screen time to make more time for books. But TV programs based on books or reading-linked children’s programs may encourage reading. Leave notes for your children, tucked in their lunch box or under their pillow or taped to their mirror. For birthdays or other occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s interests. Attend story time with your children at libraries or bookstores. Keep books in the car for reading, or for taking along when you know you’ll be sitting in a waiting room. Help your children find books they enjoy that are tailored to their interests, even if they’re comic books.

Set up a reading reward program; for instance, 30 minutes of reading earns 30 minutes of extra playtime. Don’t stop reading to your child once they are old enough to read themselves; most children can read independently by fourth grade, but listening skills develop at different levels. Make time to read yourself and let your children see you reading and enjoying a book.

Nontraditional Ideas


Traditional Methods

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Help older children find a series that excites them; when a child gets hooked on one book, he’ll read the next one in the series.

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Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. Take advantage of opportunities during the day and read menus, road signs, billboards and food labels. Place magazines around the house that cover topics your child is interested in. Hide an object your child uses every day, then create a scavenger hunt with clues the child must read before he can find the item. Buy a brownie mix and have your child read the directions to bake brownies. Turn your child’s writing and drawings into a homemade book he’ll want to read and share with others. *Strategies were compiled from these November issues: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2003 and 1999.

Listen Up!

Storytelling is a great way to encourage young children to love reading, whether you do it at home as a bedtime ritual, or venture out for public readings. This month, these three exciting storytelling events will entice book lovers:

n  Jerry Pinkney Read-Ins

n  Family Reading Festival

The High Museum / Nov. 3 and 10 (and future dates), 3 p.m. Notable special guests visit the High on select Sundays to read stories illustrated by artist Jerry Pinkney in the exhibit entitled Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney, which features more than 140 of the Caldecott Meda-winner’s watercolor illustrations created during his 50-year career. On Nov. 3, Virginia Hepner, President and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, leads the storytelling session. Future guest readers include Valerie Jackson (host of WABE 90.1 FM’s popular literary program “Between the Lines” and Pearl Cleage, (award-winning author and playwright); among others. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4400. Adults, $19.50; children 6-17, $12; children 5 and younger, free.

MJCCA / Nov. 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The Family Reading Festival, part of the 22nd annual Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center, offers a day of literary fun. Families meet and explore themed hands-on activities with storytellers and authors of Jewish children’s books, cheer with Atlanta Hawks cheerleaders, and sing with the Shabbat dinosaur. Hanukkah-themed activities for the very young include a handprint menorah craft, and older children can create a plexiglass menorah holder in concert with a reading of Rabbi Jamie Korngold’s book, Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-812-4054. $10; parents and children; 6 months and younger, free.

Brer Rabbit Goes Back to Mr. Man’s Garden, Illustration for The Tales of Uncle Remus, 1987

n  Savannah Children’s Book Festival

Forsyth Park / Nov. 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This free festival celebrates the joy of reading with dozens of authors and illustrators from throughout the Low Country and Southeast region, arts and crafts, costumed storybook characters, a graphic/comics area, and a variety of food and entertainment. An interactive book walk leads families through the park, and older kids will enjoy a visit from Robin Bridges, author of The Gathering Storm and the rest of the Katarina trilogy. Drayton St. and Gaston St., Savannah (rain location: Savannah Civic Center). 912-652-3600. Free.

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November 2013    Atlanta Parent 29

Atlanta Parent Magazine’s

Photo by Jason Crawley

Best Books of 2013 What makes a great children’s book? We asked Atlanta Parent’s panel of parent and kid reviewers to answer that question as they poured over books published this year. The result is our best-of-the-bunch roundup for 2013, ranging from board books for babies to engaging elementary reads to compelling chapter books for middle-schoolers and beyond. Baby n  My Turn to Learn Colors (other books in series are Shapes, Opposites and Numbers) by Natalie Marshall (LB Kids, $6.99) As you might expect, this board book is beyond colorful. Big orange carrots, bright yellow lemons, greener-than-green peas and more teach babies to recognize colors and shapes. These durable books have tabbed edges and thick, strong pages that are easy for baby to turn.   –  Amanda Allen n  Sassy: Baby Loves Color and Baby’s World: A First Book of Senses (Penguin Young Readers Group, $6.99 each) These fun board books with bold colors and black-and-white patterns will be a hit with the crawling set. The color book associates everyday objects for fun early learning. The senses book gives baby a chance to touch, smell and see. These durable board books are just two in a series from Sassy.  –  Sherry Crawley

30 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

n  Touch, Think, Learn: Opposites by Xavier Deneux (Handprint Book, an imprint of Chronicle Books, $14.99) This book teaches babies opposite concepts such as “full” and “empty,” and “high” and “low,” and invites them to touch with its scooped-out die-cuts with raised shapes. Feel the “caged” lion and the “free” lion, and more. Also recommended in the series: Touch, Think, Learn: Colors. – AA n  You Are My Baby: Farm by Lorena Siminovich (Chronicle Books, $8.99) This board book, and another in the series, You Are My Baby: Safari, are really two books in one: Turn the big pages to see the adult animal and the smaller ones to see the “baby” – a calf, piglet, chick, lamb or foal. You’ll be charmed. – AA

Preschool to Early Elementary n  Clumsy Duck by Britta Teckentrup (Sterling Childrens Books, ages 3-6, $16.95) Like many of humans, poor Duck thinks that he has a personal flaw. He can’t stop tripping over his clumsy, oversized web feet! Luckily, Duck’s dear friend Chick helps him through frustrating attempts to run, hop and jump until they accidentally discover that maybe land isn’t the best place for ducks to use their skills. Perhaps water is the perfect place to gracefully swim and glide. Leave it to good friends to point out the beauty of our “flaws.” – Felicia Barman n  Colors for Zena by Monica Wellington (Penguin Young Readers Group, ages 3-5, $16.99) Consider this “Art 101” for preschoolers as they are introduced to the color wheel and its primary colors of red, blue and yellow. Young Zena wakes up one day to a world with no color, but she and her beloved dog are determined to go on a quest to see where the colors went. Not only do they discover the primary colors, but they also go a step further and mix these colors to see what surprises are in store.  –  FB n  Dig Dogs Dig by James Horvath (HarperCollins, ages 4-8, $15.99) A great companion to NY Times Bestseller Good Night Good Night Construction Site, construction truck loving toddlers will love the details in this story about construction working dogs who build a city park. The rhyming text follows the dogs as they eat a big pancake breakfast, work with a variety of earth moving equipment, and even excavate an enormous T-Rex bone. The story ends as the dogs relish in a job well done as other dogs enjoy the new park. Check out James Horvath’s follow-up to Dig Dogs Dig, titled Build Dogs Build, to be released in December, as the construction working dogs build a skyscraper.  –  Kevin Powell n  Doug Unplugged by Dan Yaccarino (Random House Children’s Books, ages 3-5, $10.99) Books and school can open up the world to kids. But for Doug, sometimes only seeing is believing. This young robot unplugs from his information download about cities and flies out the window to investigate. And although he has fun on busy sidewalks and among tall buildings, he is happiest when playing with a new friend and returning home to his parents. Perfect for any kid who needs a nudge to get outside and explore, this colorful book is fun for boys, girls – and robots! – SC

n  If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay (Running Press Kids, ages 3 and older, $16.95) This lovely book is a whimsical way to teach the cycles and enduring power of nature. The illustrations are unusual; the author/illustrator cuts layers of paper into textured designs and then photographs the scene. If you are looking for a way to reinforce the idea that good things come to those who wait, add this book to your wish list. – SC n  Lion vs. Rabbit by Alex Latimer (Peachtree Publishers, ages 3-5, $15.95) Bullying is a serious issue. Talking about it with young children can be difficult. Latimer, who lives on the edge of a national park in South Africa, handles bullying in exactly the right way in this entertaining tale: with a silly story, funny illustrations and a lovable hero. If we work together, we can out-smart, out-hop, out-art (yes, that’s a thing) any bully.  –  SC n  Little Acorn Grows Up by Edward Gibbs (Little, Brown & Company, ages 3-6, $8.99) When it arrives in a forest, a little acorn encounters many inquisitive animals who constantly ask him, “What will you be?” This wise little acorn already knows his future and promises to provide shelter, warmth, shade, and food for his forest friends. Little do they know that one day, this little acorn will blossom into an enormous tree and fulfill those promises. -FB

n  Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper (Philomel Books, ages 3-7, $16.99) An ideal book for bedtime, this story of a boy’s trip home from grandpa’s house is presented with muted, soft-focus illustrations that a set a peaceful mood. When they say goodbye, Max’s loving Grandpa reminds him that the moon will always shine for him. Max worries when he loses sight of the moon on the car ride home, but later, he sees it through his bedroom window and realizes it was there all along. He knows whenever he sees the moon it will remind him of his grandfather. The message to young readers is that loved ones may be out of sight, but they need not be out of mind.  –  Dalia Faupel n  Odd One Out: In, Out and All Around by Guido van Genechten (Clavis Publishing, ages 3-5, $12.95) Crabs! Hedgehogs! Snails! This puzzle book will challenge older babies and toddlers – and maybe even parents – to find things over, under and behind. Originally written in Dutch, this large board book will keep kids busy and giggly. And you just might want to dance when you are finished … you have to read it to see why!  –  SC n  Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira; illustrations by Poly Bernatene (Alfred A. Knopf, ages 3-7, $15.99) Sometimes it’s hard to fit in and form new friendships, but you can’t blame a pig for trying! A little pink pig surprises a family of frogs one day when he shows up in their pond and only answers with “Ribbit!” when they ask him why he’s there. The frogs can’t figure out if this unwelcome visitor is mocking them or if he’s simply lost. It takes a wise old beetle to point out that maybe this harmless little pig just wants to make new friends.  –  FB n  Rufus Goes to School by Kim Griswell; illustrations by Valeri Gorbachev (Sterling Children’s Books, ages 3-6, $14.95) Little brothers and sisters can relate to this tale of a youngster who desperately wants to go to kindergarten and learn to read just like older children. The only problem is that Rufus is a pig. Even though he gets himself all of the essentials – a backpack, a lunch box, and a blanket too, the principal thinks that Rufus is only going to cause trouble. After showing up with his favorite book, Rufus finally convinces the principal that he really just wants to read. Who could say no to that?  –  FB Cont’d on page 32

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 31

Best Books of 2013

n  Spot the Dot by David A. Carter (Ruckus Media Group/Scholastic, ages 3-5, $12.99) Lift, pull, spin and look! This bright and interactive book will have young children entranced. Manipulate the pages to spot the dot, and learn colors along the way, too. Watch out when you get to the last page – there’s a big surprise! – SC n  Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Viking, ages 3 and older, $16.99) This is a cute must-read if your children are wondering how to conduct a proper tea party in your home … with a Tyrannosaurus Rex as their guest! Of course, they must follow etiquette by taking turns making small talk, serving tasty refreshments, playing music and more. They must also be gracious hosts when this extra-large guest happens to make a mess. Afterward, they’ll be eagerly waiting for their special friend to return the favor and host the next teatime.  –  FB n  The Night Before My Birthday Book by Joni Rubinstein; illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal (Three Hearts Presents, all ages, $20) On the eve of a birthday, most children go to sleep with great anticipation of the big day. The vivid illustrations and flowing rhymes tell the story of children who have visions of layer cakes, sweet ice cream, twinkling candles and more. Parents will love this keepsake book, which is sure to become a family tradition on the night before that most important day.  –  FB

Pre-K to Elementary School n  Bluebird by Bob Staake (Random House Children’s Books, ages 4-8, $17.99) Like soothing classical music, this enchanting book has no words, but it won’t even occur to you to miss them. Created by New Yorker cover artist Bob Staake, the crisp angles of a city juxtaposed with a muted color palette allow the story to shine through. Gently and deftly handling issues of loneliness and friendship, of loss and hope, this wordless volume is thoughtful and tender. – SC

32 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

n  Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale; illustrations by Guy Francis (Harper, ages 4-8, $17.99) Clark is really excited about school. Maybe even too excited. He plays a little too rough and talks a little too loudly until his teacher tells him: sometimes the rule is stay cool! Clark comes up with fun rhymes to help him remember, like, “Easy does it, that’s the way. Then my friends will let me play.” He makes new friends thanks to his rhymes, and that’s something to be excited about.  –  SC n  Ding Dong! Gorilla! by Michelle Robinson; illustrations by Leonie Lord (Peachtree Publishers, ages 4-8, $15.95) A little boy answers the door expecting a pizza delivery and finds a gorilla on his doorstep instead. But that’s not the bad news. An easy to follow repetitive structure tells the goofy tale of a mischief-maker creating mayhem while mom is otherwise occupied. The gorilla is depicted in funny situations, creating messes while trying on mom’s dresses and trying to bake a cake! Readers know all along who is really to blame, and enjoy being in on the joke.  –  DF n  Don’t Be Afraid to Say No! by Ilona Lammertink; illustrations by Lucie Georger (Clavis Publishing, ages 5-7, $15.95) “No” can be a hard word to say, especially when you’re scared your friends won’t like you anymore, or you don’t want to hurt your friends’ feelings. This book provides realistic scenarios and sends a profound message to children by pointing out that when you say “yes” to your friends, you’re really saying “no” to yourself. Parents can use this book as a tool when trying to teach their children how to be assertive and true to themselves. – FB

n  Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, ages 4-8, $16.99) A friendly-looking purple monster named Larry introduces a red button (it’s not 3D; it’s just part of the illustrations) but tells readers to not push it. He then changes his mind and whispers, “You should give the button one little push.” Who could say no? When the button gets pushed, some surprising things happen to Larry! Kids have fun pushing the button, shaking the book, and scratching Larry’s tummy. This is a winner for reading aloud to a group. – DF n  Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld (Scholastic Press, ages 5 and older, $17.99) Hilarious! In this picture book, an exclamation mark wonders where he fits in when he realizes he’s not like his other punctuation friends. He’s so sad, he thinks about running away. Suddenly, a curious question mark appears and changes his whole life. In response to tons of questions, he finds out what he does best: exclaiming words and phrases! Yippee!  –  DF n  Fraidyzoo by Thyra Heder (Abrams Books for Young Readers, ages 4-8, $16.95) Little T is afraid to go to the zoo, but she can’t remember what scared her there. Her family plays a guessing game to help her recall, with wonderful illustrations, including Dad in a pink tutu. Little T learns to face her fears, then it’s her sister’s turn.  –  AA n  Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin (HarperCollins, ages 4-8, $15.99) Four grey monsters love playing with colors, first making primary colors then making secondary colors. The bright colors splashed all over the pages will catch the eye of toddlers and older kids alike, especially at the book’s conclusion when the monsters make “SUPER tropical MEGA monster rainbow swirl with raspberry on TOP!” Kids will enjoy pointing out the colors the monsters make throughout the story, hooking them in to make a variety of colors of their own after reading. – KP

n  My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page; illustrations by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, ages 4-8, $16,99) This sweet book goes through the various rites of passage that different animals encounter during the first 24 hours of life. In first-person accounts, each newborn animal shares its own eyeopening experience of riding piggyback with its mother, taking its first steps, snuggling in its father’s feathers and more. A helpful glossary gives more insight into these amazing young creatures.  –  FB

n  My New Teacher and Me! by Al Yankovic; illustrations by Wes Hargis (Harper, ages 4-8, $17.99) I know what you’re thinking, and yes, the author of this book is who you think he is – the Weird Al Yankovic well known to those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s. His quirky and exaggerated sense of humor comes through in this whopper of a tall tale. Is Billy telling the truth? Well, ask his new teacher, Mr. Booth. With impeccable rhyme and silly illustrations, this book will be a hit with any kid with an adventurous spirit.  –  SC

n  Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus based on the creation of James Dean (Harper, ages 4-8, $9.99) You might think you know this classic ditty, but everybody’s favorite blue cat brings a decidedly cool spin to this groovy book. With Pete at the wheel, the cats and dogs on the big yellow bus have a rockin’ ride to school. Pete’s creator is Atlanta-area artist James Dean. If you don’t have any Pete the Cat books in your collection, start now!  –  SC Cont’d on page 34

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 33

Best Books of 2013 n  Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty; illustrated by David Roberts (Abrams Books for Young Readers, ages 5 and older, $16.95) Rosie Revere is a quiet child by day, an inventor/engineer by night. Urged on by her Aunt Rosie, who is based on the fictional Rosie the Riveter of World War II, Rosie Revere builds a heli-o-cheese-copter that she thinks is a failure, until her aunt shows her it’s not. The inspiring story is a rhyme and the artwork is colorful and detailed. – AA n  Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton (Harper Collins Children’s Books, ages 4-8, $17.99) Students can’t help but get excited about an upcoming school field trip, and Splat the Cat is no exception. When the Cat School plans a trip to the zoo, he is bursting with anticipation to see the penguins. Unfortunately, poor Splat misses his opportunity when the field trip goes awry thanks to his mischievous friend Seymour. Now it’s up to Seymour to make it up to his friend Splat so that maybe he can have his “Penguin Day” after all.  –  FB

34 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

n  Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson (Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, ages 4-8, $15.99) Once you read this book, you will be convinced that all trees are magic. Your children will be tapping, wiggling, shaking and clapping to help the seasons change. With crisp illustrations and careful rhyme, this book will appeal to a wide age range of children and help them learn the magical ways a tree changes through the year.  –  SC n  Toys in Space by Mini Grey (Random House Children’s Books, ages 5-8, $16.99) Do you feel like you spend half your life telling your kids to put away their toys? Have you felt the panic of a misplaced lovey? Yeah, we’ve all been there. This fun storybook will remind your kids of the importance of taking care of their things … and make them wonder what happens to their toys when they don’t – like maybe having an adventure on a spaceship.  –  SC

n  Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth; illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler (Peachtree Publishers, ages 4-8, $15.95) Vibrant illustrations bring to life the story of a boy who is left in the care of his older sister one afternoon. He wants her to read to him from his book about tigers, but she’s busy reading her own book. During lunch, a growling tiger appears in the boy’s soup, and leaps from the bowl! A battle ensues, with the boy employing plenty of familiar kitchen items to defend himself. Finally, his sister agrees to read to him and the tiger suddenly disappears. Was it ever really there? Young readers will have their theories.  –  DF Our parent reviewers have a love of children’s literature and plenty of experience selecting books and reading to little ones: Amanda Allen, Felicia Barman, Sherry Crawley, Dalia Faupel, and Kevin Powell each contributed to this section. Books appear in order of publisher-recommended reader ages, but several can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Best Books of 2013 For Older Kids

Young Reviewers Pick Their Favorites Atlanta Parent asked young reviewers to hit the books and get back to us with their recommendations for their peers. Thank you to these educators who helped coordinate book reviews by their students: Ann Evett and Holly Lanford of Henderson Middle School, Laura Kamenitsa of Inman Middle School and Terri Kaplan of Westminster Middle School. A select number of reviews appear here and the full roundup can be found on

(under construction)

n  The 9 Lives of Alexander Baddenfield by John Bemelmans Marciano; illustrated by Sophie Backall (Viking, ages 10 and older, $16.99) From the title of this book, you may have thought Alexander Baddenfield was a cat, as cats are normally thought of having nine lives. But in fact, he is the last of the Baddenfield family, known for their cruelty and short-lived lives. Knowing this, Alexander devises a plan to gain eight more lives. He wastes every single one of them being reckless and feisty, and doesn’t break the chain of short-lived lives. You’re sure to chuckle through the humorous story of Alexander Baddenfield’s nine lives.  –  Emma Bussey, 7th grade, Westminster Cont’d on page 36

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 35

Best Books of 2013

n  Beeholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco (Knopf, ages 9-12, $16.99) A young orphaned girl named Bee and her caregiver Pauline, are both members of a traveling circus in the 1940’s. As the story unfolds, Bee deals with a diamond-like birthmark on her cheek, the cause of which is unknown and the challenges of life on the road. I enjoyed reading this novel because I was able to see the characters change as the storyline developed, and I particularly liked the setting within a traveling circus.  –  Lea Lobanov, 8th grade, Westminster n  Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan (Dial, ages 12 and older, $16.99) What are the seven most important things in your life? That is the question Holly Sloan asks in her tale of love, sadness, and belonging. Willow Chance and other funny and unusual characters try to answer this question. All of these characters come together beautifully and bring the story to life, encouraging readers to believe that no matter how hard life gets, there will always be someone who cares.  –  Isabella Pu, 7th grade, Westminster n  Escape from Berlin by Irene N. Watts (Tundra Books, ages 8-12, $19.99) Two girls become friends when they are evacuated from Germany during WWII through Kindertransport, a secret train that carried mostly Jewish children out of Nazi territory to start new lives with new families in other countries. They never expect to see each other again once they arrive in England, but amazingly find themselves working in the same London hospital. Each girl is reunited with a family member at the end, but it is a mixed happy ending because they have also each lost a parent during the war. It’s a very detailed and realistic book about how people my age survived WWII, and I really cared about these characters, their experiences and their friendship.   –  Leah Faupel, 6th grade, Elkins Pointe

36 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

n  Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein (Delacorte Press, ages 8-12, $15.99) If you love games and reading, you’ll love this story. Luigi Lemoncello, the Willy Wonka-like game-maker and designer of a small town’s new public library, has created a home for books that is incredible, filled with holograms, video ceiling panels, floating book ladders and interactive displays. Twelve lucky 12-year-olds, including Kyle and his friend Akimi, win an essay contest and get to sleep over in the new library before it opens. Mr. Lemoncello asks if they want to play a game to win a huge prize: escape the library without using the front door or emergency exits. They have to use library resources to solve clues and find the secret escape route. It’s a suspenseful book with funny dialogue and puzzles to solve along with the characters. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.  –  Leah Faupel, 6th grade, Elkins Pointe

n  The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward (Razorbill, ages 8-12, $16.99) The Whipple family has broken more world records than any other family on the planet. There’s just one exception: Arthur Whipple. He hasn’t broken a single World Record, not even one. Arthur thinks it’s not exactly his fault. Then suddenly everything seems to go wrong. His whole family seems to be losing their sparkle for breaking world records, and Arthur is the only one who might know who’s causing this.  –  Eliza Fleming, 6th grade, Westminster

n  Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voight (Knopf, ages 8-12, $16.99) Do you want to read a book that has mystery, detectives, lying and kidnapping? Read this story about a boy named Max who tries to solve the mystery of his missing parents. He’s really good at solving other people’s mysteries, but he can’t solve his own problem of his missing parents. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the next book to see what happens to Max next.  –  Joshua Marston, 6th grade, Inman Cont’d on page 38

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November 2013    Atlanta Parent 37

Best Books of 2013 n  The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail written by Ricahrd Peck, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Dial, ages 8-12, $16.99) What if you found yourself the size of a mouse, living in England and fearing squirrels the size of Buckingham Palace? The mouse’s nickname is Mouse Minor and if you are looking for a nail-biting, laugh-out-loud and just plain adorable book, this book is perfect for you. Mouse Minor and other amazing characters such as his Aunt Marigold took me on an amazing journey through a mouse community in Buckingham Palace in England. I highly recommend The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail to anyone looking for something fun and adventurous to read.  –  Addison Dascher, 7th grade, Henderson n  The Saturday Boy by David Fleming (Viking, ages 10 and older, $16.99) Derek writes letters to his father while he is deployed in Afghanistan. I loved the connection between Derek and his father, and I think that is important to understand the connection that written letters can give us. I enjoyed The Saturday Boy and I recommend it to all.  –  Grace O’Gara, 7th grade, Westminster

38 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

n  Stick Dog by Tom Watson (HarperCollins, ages 8-12, $12.99) Stick dog reminds me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Stick dog is a fun and joyous book with crazy but cute drawings that make you laugh. I liked it because the book had cool names for the dog and each dog was unique in their own way. Poo Poo was my favorite. She was obsessed with squirrels, and she always had something witty to say.  –  Sidnie Stewart, 7th grade, Henderson

n  Unlucky Charms by Adam Rex (Balzer + Bray, ages 8-12, $16.99) An evil sorceress fairy queen, Nimue, has an evil company that makes breakfast cereal that will make you smarter. She wants to take over the world and kidnaps the Queen of England. A ragged group of kids and a librarian work to stop Nimue from taking over. They chase, attack, and pass through a rift in time to try and stop her. I recommend this funny book and you might want to read the first book in the Cold Cereal Saga to fully enjoy this wild adventure.  –  Alysscia Carlisle, 8th grade, Inman

n  What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays (EgmontUSA, ages 10 and older, $16.99) Grover Johnston loves to make beautiful art out of bamboo and leaves, but he mostly thinks about the recent loss of his mother. This sad book will lift you up when other people in his town help him deal with the death of his mother. Grover’s sister, Sudie, is my favorite character in the book. She is a brave and adventurous girl who has a great spirit. If you are looking for a great book, then this would be the book for you. It is sad at some points, but that is what keeps it alive.  –  Cara Kennedy, 7th grade, Henderson n  The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders (Delacorte, ages 10 and up, $16.99) Anyone who loves chocolate, magic and mysteries should read this book. A family, with twins Oz and Lily, move into the most magical house in London at 18 Skittle Street, with a boarded up chocolate shop on the ground floor. It turns out the old owners of the chocolate shop invented chocolate with magical powers. I liked this imaginative book because of the adventures that Oz and Lily take and all the magic in the book.  –  Ani Woodard, 7th grade, Inman c

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See a Movie on Dyslexia “THE BIG PICTURE: RETHINKING DYSLEXIA,” a 2012 HBO movie with an uplifting message, will be screened at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn. The movie will be followed by a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public. Please call 770-279-3941 to reserve a seat. For directions to the school, see Courtesy of Shadow Creek Films

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Learn How One “Can” Make a Difference DOES YOUR CHILD love building blocks and construction? Then you won’t want to miss “Canstruction” building day on Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. at Colony Square. Your family can watch designers as they create artworks made entirely of food cans. After the competition, all the canned goods are donated to area food banks. This is a great opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your child’s imagination. The creations are on display Nov 8-17. Colony Square Atrium, 1201 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. Free admission.


St. Martin’s Outdoor Classroom Recognized THE CLASSROOM INCLUDES everything its preschoolers and early elementary students could desire to learn about nature, animals and science. The greenhouse, a pond, rain barrels, composting station and various plants and flowers provide ample opportunities for lots of experiments and learning. The Southern Early Childhood Association Outdoor Contest awarded it an Honorable Mention for “Creating a Nature-Inspired Outdoor Learning Environment on a Shoestring Budget.”

40 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

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November 2013    Atlanta Parent 41

just kids

A quarterly focus on Special Needs

The Diabetes You Can Prevent by Amanda Allen


o parent wants to hear bad news when it comes to their child’s health, but more parents are getting an unhappy diagnosis: Their child is at risk for, or has developed, Type 2 diabetes. Parents cannot control whether their children develop Type 1 diabetes, but they can take steps to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

“Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmuine disease and there’s nothing parents can do to prevent it,” says Kathy Davis, Diabetes Program Supervisor at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Lifestyle plays a big role in Type 2, though. The statistics on Type 2 are disturbing: Researchers estimate 1 in 3 children will develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, joining the 186,300 people who are diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 every year. Type 2 used to be called adult-onset diabetes, and was rare in children, but no longer. Another disturbing fact: 43 percent of Georgia third-graders are overweight, a big risk factor for developing the disease, Davis says. Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s body does not make insulin, and it’s usually diagnosed in children or young adults. With Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use the insulin it produces or it does not produce enough. People with Type 1 must take insulin, while those with Type 2 either take insulin or another medication that helps their bodies more efficiently use the insulin they produce. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but it’s increasingly being diagnosed in children, and a big factor is obesity. Some 80 percent of children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. Other risk factors include a family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, race and ethnic 42 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

background and whether the child’s mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant, Davis says. Type 2 diabetes is a constant cycle, she says: When blood sugar is uncontrolled, children feel hungry all the time and lethargic, too tired to exercise; they might overeat and gain more weight, leading to more blood sugar spikes, more hunger and more lethargy. “If you can prevent that cycle, children are much better off,” Davis says. “Diet and physical activity are something we can change.” Children who develop Type 2 diabetes are also at risk for other adult diseases, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, Davis says. If parents are concerned that their child might be at risk, they should talk with their doctor and see if their child should be tested. At Children’s Healthcare, the Health for Life program gets children at risk for Type 2 diabetes and their families back on track, teaching healthy eating habits and promoting exercise. Children who participate in just 30 minutes of exercise a day and manage to shed 5 percent to 10 percent of their body weight can stave off Type 2 diabetes. Davis says CHOA treats about 400 new diabetes cases a year, and about 10 percent of those cases are children with Type 2. c –  Kate Parrott contributed to this article.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes n  Frequent


n  Frequent


n  Hunger n  Feeling


n  Blurred


n  Weight


n  Dry


n  Upset


n  Headaches

Diet and Diabetes: This Chronic Disease Can Teach Us All How to Make Healthier Food Choices by Sue LeBreton


y 12-year-old son has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for almost five years. Diabetes is a challenging disease to manage and I have come to respect it as an adversary. We monitor him constantly. We prick his fingers up to 12 times a day to check the level of glucose (sugar) in his blood. We accept that no matter how diligent we are, some days we do not get it right. Yet when I put myself into a scientific frame of mind and place my mommy concerns aside, I marvel at this rare opportunity to see physiology at work. Diabetes offers a glimpse of how normal bodies seamlessly manage whatever we put into them without us even having to give it a thought. Here are some tips about healthy lifestyle that have been reinforced since diabetes joined our family.

n  Eat

Fruit, Not Juice

Juice is a great rescue food when a person with diabetes needs to get their blood sugar to rise quickly back into the normal zone. But that is not the effect you and I need. Thanks to the fiber, whole fruit is absorbed more slowly making us feel full longer. To help your blood sugar stay stable when eating fruit, add some protein to your snack. Apple slices and nut butters or fruit with cheese help maintain energy over the long haul. You want to avoid that quick burst of energy followed by an energy crash.

n  Fiber Counts Not only is fiber important to the health of your digestive system, it helps stabilize your blood sugar. When we calculate the number of carbohydrates my son is eating we subtract the grams of fiber because these grams reduce the amount of insulin he requires. The fiber is digested more slowly, helping to keep blood sugar level. When you are buying cereal look for brands that have at least 3 g of sugar per serving. Cont’d on page 44

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 43

just kids Consider sneaking extra fiber into foods. I have made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with cooked lentils and my son ate them, happily unaware of the added fiber. The result? No blood sugar spike after eating cookies.

n  Eating at Home is Healthier Restaurant food is higher in fat and sodium and should be a rare treat. When you cook at home you can control the ingredients. When our son eats restaurant food his body requires extra insulin for up to eight hours after eating. Not so when we eat at home. n  The

Pizza Factor

The toughest food we have found to adjust for is pizza. Eating restaurant or delivery pizza

strains his body for hours. When we make pizza at home using either a homemade, pita or nann bread crust and low fat cheese, we do not need to make any special adjustments to his insulin. After watching how hard it is for his body to cope with pizza we know the rest of our bodies are working overtime as well. n  Candy

Can Be Dandy

People with diabetes can still eat candy or sugary treats but they need to compensate for them with insulin. Candy makes a great rescue food, bringing blood sugar levels up quickly when they drop below normal (a dangerous thing for people taking insulin). When might non-diabetic people benefit from a sugar boost? Candy can help during an athletic event to compensate for the impact of

exercise, say on a long run or bike race when there is no time to stop and eat a piece of fruit. And of course, candy and sweets have a place in celebrating special occasions.

n  Move Your Body When my son sits in front of his game console for any length of time I need to give him extra insulin as his blood sugar begins to rise from lack of activity. Exercise helps keep him closer to his normal range. This simply reinforces that our bodies are made to move. Exercise helps our heart and lungs and evens out blood sugar levels. When you hear that someone is following a diabetic diet it should mean that they are eating healthy and exercising, behaviors that can benefit us all. c


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770-394-9791 44 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Spotlight on Special Needs Resources Porter Academy

Families Of Children Under Stress (FOCUS)


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


orter Academy is dedicated to educating children Pre-K through 8th grade by utilizing individualized programs that are appropriate to each student’s developmental level and learning style. If one technique is not proving effective for a particular child, then the teachers will try alternative techniques until they find one that works. The team of teachers, therapists, and administrators work together to develop academic abilities, foundational abilities (e.g, processing skills, attention, motor skills), and self-esteem. To accomplish the above goals, Porter Academy utilizes 1)small homerooms grouped by social-developmental level, 2)assessments to determine academic and developmental level, 3)individualized academic programs, 4)small group instruction of core academics to ensure comprehension, 5) use of physical movement and multi-sensory techniques to enhance learning efficiency, 6)social guidance and intentional character development, and 7)therapeutic support (speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and music therapy within a group setting). Porter Academy fosters lifelong success through the development of cognitive, academic, social, and psychological abilities that provide a strong foundation upon which the child can build. Visit www.porteracademy. org or call 770-594-1313.

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November 2013    Atlanta Parent 45

Merry Christmas +Happy Hanukkah How to Balance Dual Celebrations During the Holidays by Christina Katz


oliday joy can be doubled, rather than halved, when you choose to light the menorah and decorate the Christmas tree to honor the cultural and religious traditions in your extended family. Forget the “December Dilemma.” When it comes to religion, families increasingly run the Judeo-Christian gamut. In our family, we have Orthodox Jews on one side of the family tree and born-again Christians on the other side. My husband and I both share the same beliefs about diversity, tolerance, and spirituality. And that’s what we intend to pass on to our daughter. As a woman who was raised Catholic and has been happily married to a Jewish man for 13 years, I can attest that once you become the parent in an interfaith family, you quickly become accustomed to not being able to please everyone. But since the wisdom of your hearts brought you and your partner together, why not call on that same source of wisdom to guide you through creating your own version of happy holidays?

Here’s what our family has learned from holding the middle ground over the years: n  Talk

to Each Other

The bottom line on family celebrations, holiday or otherwise, is to always do whatever you and your spouse deem best for your family. The only way to come to an understanding about what this means is to discuss it with each other. Be prepared for this to be an ongoing conversation, and probably one that you revisit each year. Decide if you will embrace the deeper meaning of the holidays, including religious services you will attend as a family. n  Protect

Your Joint Point of View

Never let bossy or opinionated family members horn in on conversations that rightly belong between you and your partner. You only have one spouse, and that’s the person whose opinion you should value most. Your kids come next and the grandparents after them. Don’t treat your parents like children or allow them to treat you like a child. This behavior will only create conflicts between you and your spouse. n  Ignore

Disapproving Outsiders

Never apologize for being an interfaith family, even if people in your extended family or circle of close friends do not approve of your union. You are not seeking their permission. Creating harmonious and joyful dual holidays in your own home is your parental right and your familial duty, even if it means agreeing to disagree with certain members of your extended family. n  Stick

to Separate But Equal

Christmas may be more common and commercial than Hanukkah, but don’t let that trump your holiday fun. The nice thing about Hanukkah is that it lasts for eight nights. Light the menorah candles and say the Hanukkah prayer every night, if you possibly can. You may be amazed at how moving and inspiring such simple rituals can be, even on busy school nights. Look for the quieter, more awe-inspiring moments in Christmas as well, such as ending the day admiring the beauty of the decorated tree and window lights. 46 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Holiday Family Reads Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter and Marilyn Hafner (LB Kids, $8.99) Lots Of Latkes, A Hanukkah Story by Sandy Lanton and Vicki Jo Redenbaugh (Kar-Ben Publishing, $14.95) When Mindy Saved Hanukkah by Eric Kimmel (Scholastic Paperbacks, $3.95) It’s A Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook by Stephanie Spinner and Jill McElmurry (Aladdin, $8.99) The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson and Eloise Wilkin (Golden Books, $3.99) ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas or Account Of A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore (Applesauce Press, $13.95) How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Random House, $14) The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (Houghton Mifflin, $12) My Two Holidays, A Hanukkah and Christmas Story by Danielle Novack and Phyllis Harris (Cartwheel Books, $5.99) Light The Lights, A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah And Christmas by Margaret Moorman (Cartwheel Books, $6) Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15)

n  Keep

Both Sets of Traditions At our house, we celebrate as much of both traditions as we can, without a worry about whether the holiday dates overlap. For me, this means the Christmas tree, the presents, the cookies, the big dinner. For my husband this means lighting two menorahs for eight nights (one for him and one for my daughter), and having our daughter’s friends over for potato latkes and some lively dreidel games. n  Don’t

Double Your Gift Budget

We make an effort to celebrate the bounty of two holidays without going overboard. If you are an interfaith family, your kids’ friends may consider them “lucky” because they assume that they get double the gifts every holiday season. However, that’s not necessarily the case at our house. Our daughter typically gets a little present on the first day of Hanukkah and a bigger present on the last day of Hanukkah. One set of grandparents sends a couple of little Hanukkah gifts and a check and the other sends a couple of stocking stuffers and a check. The number of gifts she receives is essentially the same as it would be if we only celebrated one holiday.

n  Share

the Love

Another thing we enjoy about dual holidays is that our daughter can share traditions about both holidays with her friends, no matter what religion they follow, exposing them to a culture they may not have had the opportunity to learn about. n  Participate


When invited to join a new or old tradition on either side of the family, give the ritual a chance. We will try just about anything once. But we reserve the right to say no to pressure or anything that makes us uncomfortable. Maintaining an atmosphere where you can say yes or no to your parents without stern chastisement may not come easily in your extended family system. But start trying it, or you’ll never get there. n  Honor

the Choices of Others

We don’t try to protect our family members from our choices. They need to be exposed to what we value, if we expect them to understand and accept our choices. However, we also try to respect the choices that each of our family members make without imposing our life choices on them. The Jewish families get Happy Hanukkah cards and the Christian families get Christmas cards. When we cross over, we go with “Happy Holidays.” c

Why do the Jewish Holidays Keep Changing Dates?

Introducing Thanksgivukkah 2O13 Nov. 27-Dec. 5


t may seem that the Jewish holidays change dates from year to year, but in truth they don’t. Hanukkah always falls on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev on the Jewish calendar. But the secular calendar and the Jewish calendar are as different as night and day. Rather, they’re different because of night and day! A solar year is the time it takes for Earth to revolve around the sun one time, and it’s the method used to calculate the Gregorian (or Western) calendar that’s most widely used. The Jewish calendar is lunar; it follows the phases of the moon, so days begin at sundown. Because sundown times vary, and lunar months are shorter, the two calendars differ by several days. Just like the Gregorian calendar uses a leap day, the Jewish lunar calendar recalibrates with a leap month so that holidays arrive in the correct season. This year, for the first time since the 1800s, Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving. “There will likely be a lot of latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) around the Thanksgiving table,” said Rabbi Fred Greene of Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell. Eating foods fried in oil is a way families recall the Hanukkah miracle of oil that helped save the Jewish people. A small amount of oil, which should only have been enough to burn for one day, instead created light for eight days. “These holidays blend beautifully, actually,” Greene noted. “We can take the Thanksgiving message of gratitude and combine it with the message of Hanukkah, which is that it’s our job to bring light to the world. Hopefully we take time to give thanks for our freedoms, including religious freedom, and then go beyond that to start giving. Bring light where it’s needed.” The first candle of Hanukkah this year will be lit at sundown on Nov. 27. This makes Nov. 28, Thanksgiving, the first full day of the holiday. Happy Thanksgivukkah! –  Dalia Faupel

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 47

Family Fun Guide Eating Out



Free Fun






Holiday Events

Not-to-miss events for November

a Atlant s ark Landm 2 5 Page



Waiting for Balloon

Fiesta de la Familia

Alliance Theatre Nov. 2 and 9, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Zoo Atlanta / Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Two childlike hobo-clown characters are waiting near the railroad tracks for “balloon,” but neither of them knows what a balloon is! Through trial and error, and plenty of audience interaction, the two discover the joys of balloons, and also the fun in learning about the world around them. This program, part of the Theatre for the Very Young series, is a playful introduction to gentle clowning and found object puppetry. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-7335000.$

Take a salsa class, listen to live mariachi music, and see flamenco dancing performances at a celebration of Hispanic heritage and culture. Spanish-translated keeper talks, animal encounters, character meet-and-greets, crafts and more are planned. 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-9453. Adults, $21.99; children ages 3-11, $16.99; younger than 3, free.

Family Fun Guide


Waiting for Balloon / Photo by Greg Mooney

Family Science Night: Sandfest Tellus Science Museum Nov. 22, 5-9 p.m. Super Why and Princess Presto visit Tellus for an evening of handson science as visitors discover the unique properties of sand. Kids create sand art to take home, make colorful sand keychains, examine sand types through a microscope, and take home samples of each. Guests can also participate in a community sand painting and learn from experts with the International Sand Collectors Society. 100 Tellus Dr., Cartersville. 770-606-5700. Adults, $14; children ages 3-17, $10.

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 49

Family Fun Guide R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill 1812 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta 404-872-2942 Open 24 hours, 7 days a week

R. Thomas’ Deluxe Grill is a rarity in Atlanta – a restaurant that’s been around for almost three decades. Driven by the zeal of its namesake owner, Richard Thomas, to bring healthier fare to Atlanta, R. Thomas serves mostly organic, vegetarian and “super foods.” You can still get


peanut butter chocolate pie or a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, but these options sit side-by-side with raw veggie dinners and freshly squeezed juices. The food is so good, your kids won’t know they’re eating healthy. n  What’s on the menu: The “breakfast anytime” entrees, such as the seafood and white cheddar California omelet ($12.25) and French toast ($12.75) make for a hearty meal anytime. Vegetarians have options like basil tofu lettuce wraps ($8.25) and meat lovers can dive into dishes like the signature Thai Express bowl ($16.00) with chicken, quinoa, veggies and a spicy peanut sauce. Try one of the fresh juices (starting at $3.50) or a Tropical Delight smoothie ($6.50, with strawberries, apple and honey). Half-size kids’ smoothies are $3.25. n  Why parents like it: It’s the perfect spot for breakfast, dessert on date night, or just a fun and healthy place to feed the kids. The covered

patio has a tropical Key West vibe, and the menu includes beer, organic wine, and warm sake. n  Why kids like it: The kids’ menu includes pasta ($6.25) and organic PB&J ($5.25), while my son enjoyed washing down his scrambled eggs, toast and home fries ($5.69) with fresh coconut juice ($4.25, served in the shell.) Children love visiting the exotic birds kept in spacious cages outside the restaurant, which Mr. Thomas occasionally brings out to entertain kids. During our visit, he placed a fuzzy dove on our heads and introduced us to Sparkle, a talkative parrot he hatched from an egg almost 70 years ago. The birds serve as a welcome distraction for fidgety toddlers. –  Karen Robbins

Outdoor Adventures on Tap! The Chattahoochee Nature Center celebrates the great outdoors with two special events this month. n  The new Wildlife Walk and Woodland Trails opens on Nov. 9 at 10:30 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting, bird of prey show, crafts, paper airplane contest, and more. n  National Take a Hike Day on Nov. 17 includes naturalist-led hikes at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Also, there will be a scavenger hunt challenge with prizes for exploring the grounds. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $10; children ages 3-12, $6; 2 and younger, free.

The National Wildlife Federation’s annual Hike and Seek event takes place at Piedmont Park on Nov. 2, noon-5 p.m. The family-friendly (meaning easy!) less than two mile hike includes a scavenger hunt, nature games and crafts, live wildlife displays, and naturalist stations. Families can go at their own pace. Register in advance and make sure to arrive between noon and 1 p.m. 1320 Monroe Dr. NE, Atlanta. $12; children 3 and older $7; younger than 3, free. National Wildlife Federation Hike and Seek

50 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Family Fun Guide


An Atlanta BeltLine Self-Guided Tour


hat is the Atlanta BeltLine? It’s one of the biggest urban redevelopment projects in progress in the U.S., and it started as a grassroots effort! This 22-mile loop of historic rail lines, parks, trails, homes and transit currently connect five neighborhoods, but ultimately will link 44 communities. Free monthly bus tours and guided walking tours are available, but the best bet for small children are self-guided tours, printable from the BeltLine website. Self-guided tours are broken up into five segments; Southeast, Southwest, Westside, Northside and Northeast. Our family decided to do the Northeast BeltLine segment, which leads from Monroe Drive to the Inman Park/Reynoldstown MARTA Station. We drove the tour, using the map, and watching as the trails changed from street level to under and over street If You Go level at points on our way. The highlight for our family Atlanta BeltLine Tours was stopping at the historic Fourth Ward Park, just south of Ponce City n  Bus and Guided Walk Tours: Market and just west of the BeltLine (Best for ages 9 and older) Trail. Fourth Ward Park is the first n  Self-Guided Driving Tours: BeltLine Park to break ground and (Best for younger children) sits on the site of the old Ponce de Leon amusement park. My children n  Completed BeltLine Parks and enjoyed watching the ducks swim Trails:, around the retention pond and the playground was a huge hit. The tour gave us all a better understanding of the BeltLine’s depth. It’s not just a way to get somewhere; it encompasses transportation, public health initiatives, mixed-use projects, public art, and economic development. It was also a great lesson in social studies and science for my children as an in -progress example of what our capital city is doing in the Piedmont region, and we could see the work of Trees Atlanta in the green space we saw around us. –  Marteeta Cannon Spradling

Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 51


Atlanta Landmarks

It’s November: holiday season is officially here. In case you’ll be playing tour guide for out-of-town family or friends, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite picks for “only-in-Atlanta” fun and flavor. These are spots that shout ATL; you can’t find these experiences anywhere else.

Stone Mountain Park 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain Cost: $28; ages 3-11, $22. parking, $10 If the impressive Confederate Memorial Carving, the skylift, the 1870s-replica town, the indoor and outdoor play experiences for kids, the Antebellum Plantation, and the scenic railroad aren’t enough, Stone Mountain Park is almost always hosting a special event or festival.

CNN 1 CNN Center, Atlanta Cost: $15; ages 4-12, $12 News junkies thrill at the chance to see the inner workings of CNN and the creation of live global news broadcasts.

The Wren’s Nest 1050 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW, Atlanta Cost: $8; children, $5 The home of author Joel Chandler Harris, of Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus fame, is a museum, and one of the only Queen Anne Victorian homes still standing in Atlanta today. Every Saturday, the Wren’s Nest hosts professional storytelling sessions.

52 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Center for Puppetry Arts 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta Cost: $8.25 for museum admission; show prices vary CPA, the largest museum dedicated to the art of puppetry, has been around since 1978. In addition to high quality puppet productions, hundreds of puppets from different eras and countries (including Muppets!) are on display.

Family Fun Guide

Martin Luther King Jr. Center 449 Auburn Ave. NE, Atlanta. Cost: Free The historic site honoring the legacy of MLK Jr. includes his birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and Freedom Hall, where you can view Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize and the largest collection of materials about the American civil rights movement in the world.

Centennial Olympic Park 265 Park Ave. West NW, Atlanta. Cost: Free. Fees for skate rental and ice time. The iconic Fountain of Rings – the largest interactive fountain in the world – is a can’t-miss crowd pleaser, and Holiday in Lights and the outdoor skating rink make this park a winter winner.

The Sundial 210 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta Cost: The view: $8; ages 6-12, $4; ages 6 and younger, free Have a meal, or just the 360-degree panoramic view of Atlanta’s skyline. The Sun Dial sits at the top of downtown’s Westin Peachtree Plaza, the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere.

World of Coca-Cola

121 Baker St NW, Atlanta. Cost: $16; ages 3-12, $12; ages 2 and younger, free An afternoon spent visiting The Vault, watching the bottling process, singing along to old Coke commercials and tasting drinks from around the globe appeals to anyone who’s sweet on soda.

The Varsity 61 North Ave. NW, Atlanta What’ll ya have? No visit to Atlanta is complete without a meal at The Varsity, open since 1928, where placing an order is half the fun! Make sure everyone knows the lingo for ordering their dogs (red, Yankee or walking?) and an FO (Frosted Orange drink).

COLONNADE The Colonnade 1879 Cheshire Bridge Rd., Atlanta If your guests are craving Southern fried chicken, this is the spot to go. They’ve been serving that dish – and plenty of Southern classics – since 1927! Babies to great grandparents are comfortable here.

– Dalia Faupel

Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 53

Meeting the Past

at the Atlanta History Center


n a recent Friday my young boys and I explored over-sized playhouses, discovered a drawing compass, and fashioned a dream home with the original architect of the Swan House. We hiked trails and spotted wild animals with spyglasses. We whispered to sheep and compared their wool to cotton picked on the Smith Family Farm. Beyond the popular Atlanta History Museum and the Centennial Olympic Games Museum, we experienced an enthralling and educational day at the Atlanta History Center. The Swan House brings history alive for children with historical interpreters dressed as characters from the past. The Inman family cook walked my son through the process of making butter and the family butler let him dust shelves with an authentic horsehair brush. Many people do not realize the Swan House is family-friendly, but live interaction with historical figures captivated my son for our entire tour of this 18th century home.

54 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Family Fun Guide

If You Go Atlanta History Center 130 West Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta 404-814-4000, n  Cost: $16.50; ages 4-12, $11; ages 3 and younger, free n  Meet the Past: Smith Family Farm, Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 12:304:30 p.m. Swan House, Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 1-4 p.m. (Hours subject to change)

My boys explored the Connor Brown Discovery Trail, unearthing new finds as they ran from one discovery station to the next. We peered at the forest through strategically placed spyglasses and made rubbings at stations along the trail. Boulders, bridges, streams, and benches linked each feature of the History Center and ensured there was never a dull moment. Our last stop was Smith Family Farm. The home with no bathroom and a detached kitchen initiated a series of questions from my kindergartener that lasted the whole tour. “Why is the laundry hanging on the fence?” “What is growing in that garden?” “Why is she cooking over the fireplace?” He soaked up every detail of 1860s farm life shared by characters from the past and docents who answered questions about historical elements. Don’t let your kids believe history is boring! At Atlanta History Center the past is packed with energy and excitement. It jumps out of books, takes hold of your kid’s hand, and leads on to adventure. –  Lesli Peterson

Marco Polo: International Man of Mystery


ntil I took my 11 year-old twin girls to see the newest exhibit at Fernbank, they thought Marco Polo was only a game played at the swimming pool! After a brief introduction and timeline of the explorer, we saw items from 13th century Venice, the epicenter of all European trade and the city where the 17 year-old Marco began his trip with his father and uncle. We followed his route along the Silk Road through Armenia and Persia with displays of maps, artwork and traditional

clothing. Our journey continued across Central Asia to the life-sized Mongolian ger, a portable structure in which the nomadic peoples of that time lived. Once inside the circular tent, one of my daughters asked, “Where did they sleep? Where was their kitchen?” She couldn’t believe that an entire family could live in such a small space! The route then took us to the lush, green mountains of Cathay (now China) as we viewed exquisite silks, brocades and ceramics from Kublai Khan’s Mongol Empire. The exhibit culminates with a golden statue of Marco Polo and replicas of ships used at that time. Kids will love entering the ger, or yurt, and seeing the small furniture, elaborate rugs and open space for the fire pit. Parents will love the printed guide for children to take through the exhibit and look for various objects along the way. This “scavenger hunt” kept my children’s interest and attention, as well as the “Where’s Marco?” maps showing where we were along the route. The exhibit is open through Jan. 5. –  Rebecca R. Leffler

Family Fun Guide

Marco Polo: Man & Myth Exhibit Fernbank Museum of Natural History 767 Clifton Rd, NE, Atlanta 404-929-6300; n  Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. n  Cost: $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free.

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 55


at the Georgia Aquarium

Atlanta Parent Steps Behind the Scenes by Charlotte D. Cruce

My 13-year-old daughter Katherine and I recently spent the entire day checking out a new exhibit, doing a behind-the-scenes tour and having a penguin encounter at the Georgia Aquarium. We’ve visited many times before, but today was our day to dive deeper! Penguin Encounter If you were a penguin, you couldn’t pretend you didn’t hear your mom calling! Each penguin has a distinctive call (a braying sound) that distinguishes each one’s voice from all others. We love penguins, and were fascinated to learn facts like these during our encounter experience. Our group was able to get up close and personal with some new penguin friends, and even touch them, during our time behind the scenes. We expected them to be sleek and smooth, but we were surprised that their feathers are so soft! And did you know that penguins’ feather patterns are like people’s fingerprints? No two are like! Their feather patterns act as camouflage, or countershading, in the water. But when they molt every year, they lose the protective oil covering on their feathers and have to stay out of the water for several weeks. Their strong wings have bones, and they can’t fly with them, but instead use them like paddles for swimming. We visited with Lulu, a young female penguin who had been hatched at the Aquarium and had just molted into her adult feathers. After posing for pictures with Lulu, we were permitted to come close to her, touch her back and watch her play with her 56 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

enrichment items. We were even able to hear some vocalizations from Lulu, which her handler told us would increase as she reaches breeding age. We also met a young male, Taki (all the penguins born at the Georgia Aquarium are given Swahili names in honor of their African heritage.) Taki, although younger than Lulu, was much bigger and covered in soft, downy feathers. While we interacted with him, the handlers taught us about various species of penguins (do you know how many there are? 18!), their habitat range and how they live in a large community. Thirteen of the penguin species are endangered, and we learned about threats to their existence and where colonies can be found – larger penguin breeds are in the coldest climates and smaller breeds are in warmer areas. Penguin lovers will find this interactive encounter very memorable! Animal Encounters are offered twice daily, and pre-registration is a must. No photos or electronics of any kind are allowed, other than the photo taken for you with your new penguin friend.

Family Fun Guide

Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies We next headed over to the new exhibit, Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies. Much like the Bodies exhibit in Atlantic Station, this exhibit focuses on plasticine bodies of marine life, displayed on large pedestals or behind glass. From small fish, invertebrates, rays, sharks and even a whale shark, my daughter and I thought this exhibit was fantastic! More than 18 full bodies of sea creatures are on display along with over 150 individual organs or other smaller creatures, making this an exhibit you can really spend a lot of time in. We did just that! We were fascinated by what we learned reading about each of the sea creatures on the descriptive placards by each display. Most impressive to me was the pregnant shark with her pups or the insides of a flounder, while my daughter said the specimens of the whale shark and the exploded grouper were her favorites. Guests start the exhibit on the ocean’s ‘surface’ and slowly work down to creatures found in the very depths of the ocean, until we ‘resurface’ at the end.

Behind-The-Scenes, Sea Keeper Tour Friendly intern Kendall led our Sea Keeper behind-the-scenes tour group high above the Ocean Voyager tank where the whale sharks swam below, to where Beluga Whales and sea lions were being fed in an off-exhibit area, and then down below where the filtration systems and commissary crew prepares the food and the veterinary team cares for all the inhabitants. It’s one thing to see Aquarium life as a visitor, looking through the glass with hundreds of other people, but it is something else entirely to really see how people ‘man the ship’ of the Georgia Aquarium! From the tons of salt needed for the tanks, to the large elevator lifts used to put the whale sharks into their exhibit, to the areas where the veterinary team treat and even breed different fish and animals, this tour showed us what’s involved in the day-to-day operations of this amazing facility. For

If You Go Georgia Aquarium 225 Baker Street, Atlanta. 404-581-4000; n  General Admission: Adults $29.95-$34.95; ages 3-12, $23.95$28.95; ages 2 and younger, free n  Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies: Free with admission n  Penguin Encounter: $54.95 (available for ages 7 and older). Other Animal Encounters Include Dolphin and Sea Otter: prices vary. n  Sea Keepers Behind the Scenes Tour: $48

staff members, no job is too big or too small; our guide, explained how it takes thousands of staff and volunteers to keep the Georgia Aquarium in top shape. We enjoyed hearing from staff members about their jobs and their passion for the work they do. Several different tours are available, check each for group sizes, prices and age requirements before booking.

Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 57


November S M T W TH F S


Visit our Calendar at for calendar updates and ongoing events and attractions in Atlanta.


Events may be canceled or changed after our deadline.


Submit your Family-Friendly Calendar Event at least 8 weeks prior to the event by visiting

classes American Girl Crafts. American Girl Boutique and Bistro. Crafts inspired by the stories of American Girl. Saige’s Horse Collage Craft, Nov. 1, 4-6 p.m.; Saige’s Hot Air Balloon Craft, 11 a.m.1 p.m.; Hot Cocoa Cozy Craft, Nov. 5, 4-6 p.m. and Nov. 10, 1-3 p.m.; Pet Gift Tag Craft, Nov. 11, 4-6 p.m.. Ages 8 and older. 1202 North Point Circle, Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. Free.


Please call the event beforehand to confirm dates and times.

OSIYO TO NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE If the history and culture of Native Americans interest your family, you’ll find two interactive ways to experience both this month! (You might even learn to speak a tribal language; we said “hello” in Cherokee above!) Indian Festival and Pow-Wow Stone Mountain Park OCT. 31-NOV. 3. Native American dance, music, craft demos, cooking traditions, storytelling, and wildlife presentations. Hwy. 78 E., Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690; $15; 3 and younger, free; parking, $10. Thurs.-Fri. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Basic Archery. Panola Mountain State Park. Take aim! Join a certified instructor to learn archery basics and take aim at the bull’s eye. Basic equipment is provided. Nov. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24. Times vary; preregistration required. 2600 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Adults and children ages 9 and older, $10. Parking $5. Home Depot Kids’ Workshop. All locations. Learn tool safety while building a craft and receive a kidsized orange apron. First Saturday of each month. Nov. 2. 9 a.m.-noon. Visit for locations. Ages 5-12. Free. Mommy and Me Preschool Program. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Nov. 7, 14, 21. 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117. Ages 3-5. Free with museum admission. Adults, $7.50; children 4-12, $5.50; 3 and younger, free. Magic Mondays. Atlanta History Center. Storytime, sing-a-longs and crafts. Nov. 11. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4110. Adults, $6.50; ages 5 and younger, $5.50. Second Thursday Program. Southeastern Railway Museum. Parents and tots program includes circle time, an activity and craft. Ages 1-4. Nov.14. 10:30 a.m.noon. 3595 Buford Hwy, Duluth. 770495-0253. $7 per child, one adult free, additional adult, $8. Build and Grow Clinics. Lowes. Clinics teach kids to build wooden crafts. Free apron, goggles and merit patch. Visit for times and locations. 800-445-6937. Pre-register. Free. INK Craft Weeks. Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. Penguin craft, Nov. 4-8; Monster craft,Nov. 11-15; Caterpillar craft, Nov. 1822; Thanksgiving craft, Nov. 25-29. $1 with museum admission. Mon.Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., 1-5 p.m. 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville. 770-536-1900. Adults, $8; children, $6.

58 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

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Southeastern Indians Heritage Program Atlanta History Center NOV. 9. 11 A.M.-4 P.M.

Indian Festival and Pow-Wow

Lil’ Bean Heads Crafts. Bean Head Toys. Create an art project twice a month. All ages welcome, but smaller children may need assistance. First and third Wednesday of every month. 3-4 p.m. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-2980. Free. Art Workshops. Vinings School of Art. Take a drawing, painting or pottery class. Supplies included. Ages 2 1/2-13. Saturdays, 10 and 11 a.m. 1675 Cumberland Pkwy., Smyrna. 678-213-4278. Pre-register. $15 for one-hour workshop.

Crafts, performances, interactive experiences and discussions led by Native American artists and experts. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4000; Adults, $16.50; ages 4-12, $11; 3 and younger, free.

exhibits Centennial Olympic Games Exhibit. Atlanta History Center. Learn about the exciting 1996 Olympic Games that were held in Atlanta. Permanent exhibit. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sun, noon-5:30 p.m. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4000. Adults, $16.50; ages 4-12, $11; 3 and younger, free.

Crafts for Kids. Lakeshore Learning Store. Make a different craft each week. Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 4287 Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770-578-3100. 3 and older. Free.

Dairies in DeKalb. DeKalb History Center. This exhibit focuses on the history of dairy farming in DeKalb County in the 20th century. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 101 East Court Sq., Decatur. 404-373-1088. Free.

Toddler Thursdays. High Museum of Art. Create masterpieces to compliment the museum’s current exhibits. Ages 2-4. Thursdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4400. Free with admission. Adults, $19.50; ages 6-17, $12; 5 and younger, free.

Dolphin Tales. Georgia Aquarium. The live show incorporates dolphins, live actors, dramatic costuming, and special effects. Multiple shows per day, times vary. Reservations recommended. Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 225 Baker St., Atlanta. 404-581-4000. Adults, $29.9534.95; ages 3-12, $23.95-$28.95.

Family Fun Guide



LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Phipps Plaza. Come play, build and look at a variety of LEGO exhibits. Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat.,10 a.m.9 p.m. (Last admission 2 hrs. before closing.) 3500 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta. 404-848-9252. Adult, $19; ages 3-12, $15, 2 and younger, free.

The Punchline NOV. 16. 1 P.M. Kids, grab your dancing shoes! Mr. Greg and his Funtastic Band stage an interactive, high-energy, fun-filled show (best for preschoolers), performing songs from the highly acclaimed Parents’ Choice Award-winning Lots of Fun! CD. Mr. Greg (Greg Roth) and his music are frequently featured on Atlanta’s PBS station. Song themes include environmental awareness, kindness and respect, and physical fitness. 280 Hildebrand, Atlanta. 404-2525233. $12.50; younger than 1, free.

Marco Polo: Man & Myth. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Experience the story of the ultimate adventure traveler, Marco Polo. Follow Polo’s adventures and view a collection of more than 80 objects representing an epic journey that spanned 24 years and thousands of miles. Through Jan. 5. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., noon-5 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free. Moneyville. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Explore the history, science, math, and economics behind the fascinating subject of money. Through Jan. 12. Museum closed Wednesdays. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Adults and ages 1 and older, $12.75; younger than 1, free. Target Free Second Tuesday the second Tuesday of every month (free admission starting at 1 p.m.) Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies. Georgia Aquarium. Features the world’s largest plastinated sea creatures including a 6-foot-wide devil ray, a 15-foot-long mako shark and an 18-foot-long, 3,000 pound whale shark.. Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 225 Baker St., Atlanta. 404-581-4000. Adults, $29.95-34.95; ages 3-12, $23.95$28.95.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit. Atlantic Station. Travel back in time and experience the wonder and tragedy of this ill-fated ship. Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.5 p.m., Fri.- Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Last ticket sold 1 hour before closing. 265 18th St. (second floor), Atlanta. 404-496-4274. Adults, $24; ages 3-11, $16. Turtle Tours. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. Through stories, hands-on exhibits and crafts, museum mascots Sandy the chipmunk and Spring the turtle introduce the youngest visitors to history. Second Saturday of each month. 11 a.m. 6075

Family Fun Guide

Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. 404851-9111 Donations encouraged. Turtle Travels. Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Find out firsthand what it’s like to be a turtle. Watch a swimming loggerhead sea turtle, explore turtle anatomy and get nose to beak with turtles in a crawlunder aquatic tank. Through Jan. 3. Mon.Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 2020 Clean Water Dr., Buford. 770-904-3500. Adults, $10.50; ages 3-12, $6.50; 2 and younger, free.

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 59



Today’s West! Booth Western Art Museum. An exhibit displaying contemporary art from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Through April 13. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. and Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville. 770-3871300. Adults, $10; ages 12 and younger, free.

High Museum of Art NOV. 29, NOON- 5P.M. Celebrate The High’s new special exhibit of Western art with an afternoon of skills needed to survive and thrive in the Wild West! Artisans, crafters, makers and survivalists demonstrate and lead mini-workshops in yarn spinning, blacksmithing, canning, hide tanning, and more. Guests can also enjoy live music by Sourwood Honey and tours of the new exhibition. Go West! Art of the American Frontier from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is on view until April 13, 2014. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4400. Adults, $19.50; children 6-17, $12; children 5 and younger, free.

Wit in Wood. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. See the whittle work of Moses Robinson, from animals to dancing couples. Through April 2014. Open Wed. and Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 6075 Sandy Springs Cir., Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. Adults, $3; ages 6-12, $1; 5 and younger, free.

ice skating Atlantic Station. New this year. Nov. 15-Feb. 14. Opens daily at 4 p.m. 17th St., Atlanta. 404-4104010. For pricing and times, visit atlanticstation. com. The Pavilion in Olde Town. Indoor/outdoor rink in a botanical setting. Nov. 15-Jan. 5. Visit icedays. com for times. 949 S. Main St., Conyers. 770-5547506. $7 skate fee; $2 skate rental. Centennial Olympic Park. Skating in downtown. Sessions run 90 minutes. Nov. 23-Jan. 4. Visit for hours. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. $10/person including skate rental. Lake Lanier Island Resort. New location at Sunset Cove offers enclosed area and dining. Nov. 23Jan. 6. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov.-Dec.; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Jan. 7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy., Buford. 770-9458787. $12/person. Astor Holiday Rink at St. Regis Atlanta. Twinkling lights, holiday melodies, hot cocoa and s’mores. Nov. 27-Jan. 5. 12-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 88 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-563-7797. Adults, $30/hr.; ages 15 and younger, $18/hr. Reservations recommended. The Rink at Park Tavern. Heated tent, state of the art sound system and rink-side dining. Nov. 28Feb. 17. 4:30 p.m.-midnight. Mon.-Fri. Sat. and Sun. 10:30 a.m.-12a.m. (Adult skate nightly 8:30 p.m.-midnight.) 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-2490001. $15/All day skate.

movies Hidden Universe. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Take a tour of deep space through images captured by Hubble and the world’s most powerful telescopes. Through Jan. 2. See for show times. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. IMAX tickets: adults, $13; ages 3-12, $11; 2 and younger, free. Penguins. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Follow a brave king penguin on the journey of a lifetime. Through Jan. 23. See for show times. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. IMAX tickets: adults, $13; ages 3-12, $11; 2 and younger, free.

nature The Sky Tonight. Fernbank Science Center. An astronomer leads the tour through the constellations, planets and events of the evening sky. Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23. 11 a.m. 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta. 678-8747102. Adults, $7; ages 3-18, $5; 2 and younger, free. Candlelight Hike to the Mill. Sweetwater Creek State Park. A mile-long night hike leads to the ruins of the Civil-War era New Manchester textile mill. Candle lanterns will be provided and wear close-toed shoes. Ages 6 and older. Nov. 9. 7-9 p.m. 1750 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs. 770732-5871. Pre-register. $5/person; parking, $5. Tree and Forest Folklore Hike. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Join a horticulturalist on an evening journey through illuminated woodland trails. Learn to identify common species in the region and enjoy marshmallows by the campfire. Nov. 9. 6-9 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Pre-register by Nov. 6. $15 per person.

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

Could your baby, toddler or kid be one?

Atlanta, New York, LA

404-636-1974 60 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Family Fun Guide

Calendar Fernbank Forest Guided Tour. Enjoy the great outdoors with Fernbank educators on a guided tour of Fernbank Forest. Learn about forest maintenance and issues related to invasive plant species. Ages 12 and older. Nov. 10. Sun., 1-3 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6400. Pre-register. Adults, $17.50; children, $15.50. Beaver Moon Night Hike. Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Learn how furry friends actively prepare for winter while gazing at the bright Autumn moon. Perfect for families. Nov. 16. 5:30-7 p.m. 2020 Clean Water Dr., Buford. 770-904-3500. Adults, $11; ages 3-12, $8; 2 and younger, free. Full Moon Night Hike. Panola Mountain State Park. Wildlife is seen often as you take a hike as the sun sets and the moon begins to rise. Bring a flashlight and hiking boots. Nov. 16. 5 p.m. 2600 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Pre-register. $7/person; parking, $5. Native Ectotherm Exhibit. Autrey Mill Nature Preserve. Visit local reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 9770 Autrey Mill Rd., Johns Creek. 678-366-3511. Donations encouraged. Trail Hikes. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Journey through the CNC trails using biofacts and activities to spark your curiosity. Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; 2 and younger, free. Atlanta Audobon Society Bird Walk. Panola Mountain State Park. Bring your binoculars for a gentle hike through the park’s Power of Flight area. Wear long pants and sleeves. All ages. Nov. 23. 8-11 a.m. 2600 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Pre-register. Donations of birdseed appreciated. Parking, $5.

special events Teen Arts Night. City Center. Teens can bring instruments, poetry, artwork and short stories to share. Includes a slice of pizza and a soda. Nov. 1. 6-8 p.m. 8534 Main St., Woodstock. 678-494-4251. $5. Fiesta de la Familia. Zoo Atlanta. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with live entertainment, Spanish-translated keeper talks, animal encounters, crafts and more. Nov. 3. Regular hours are 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-9453. Adults, $21.99; children ages 3-11, $16.99; under 3, free. Model Railroad Days. Southeastern Railway Museum. The museum will be a stop on the Piedmont Pilgrimage, the Piedmont Division NMRA annual tour of model railroads. Vines Garden Railway will have a “G” scale layout setup in the main exhibit hall. Nov. 9-10. 10 a.m. -5 p.m. 3595 Buford Hwy, Duluth. 770-4950253. Adults, $8; ages 2-12, $5; under 2, free. Science at Hand Day. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Learn what it’s like to be a scientist and explore different scientific fields. Enjoy one-on-one discussions with scientists and community volunteers and learn about sciences through hands-on activities. Nov. 9. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404929-6300. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free.

Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 61

Calendar S’mores for All. Oakhurst Garden at the Wylde Center. Roast s’mores, jump in the giant leaf pile and listen to live music. Nov. 9. 6-8 p.m. 435 Oakview Rd., Decatur. 404-371-1920. Free. Family Reading Festival. Marcus Jewish Community Center. Enjoy kid’s author talks, readings, and overall celebration of reading at this annual book festival. Nov. 10. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-812-4005. Parents, free; children, $10. Family Science Night- SandFest with Super Why! Tellus Science Museum. Meet Super Why and Princess Presto and discover the uniqueness of sand through demonstrations and handson activities. Kids can create sand art to take home, make unique sand keychains and more. Nov. 22. 5-9 p.m. 100 Tellus Dr., Cartersville. 770-6065700. Adults, $14; children ages 3-17, $10. History Tours. Piedmont Park. Learn about Piedmont Park’s history and the city of Atlanta. Saturdays through Dec. 11 a.m. Meet at the Green Market Info booth near 12th St. park entrance. Piedmont Park. 404-875-7275. Free. Fulton County Free Saturday. High Museum of Art. Admission is free for Fulton County residents with I.D. on the first Saturday of each month until 1 p.m. Nov. 2. Regular hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000. Free.

62 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE Atlanta Symphony Hall NOV. 29-30. 8 P.M. A high-flying musical concert brings the drama of a cirque show to Symphony Hall! A performance as much for the eyes as it is for the ears includes aerialists, daredevil cyclists, contortionists, jugglers, dancers and acrobats alongside a live soundtrack of classical masterpieces and contemporary hits. Performers include Olympians, gold medal winners and world record holders. 1280 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4200. $22-$60.

storytelling Story Time by the River. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Join the librarian as she uses books, puppets and songs to share stories about nature. Nov. 6. 10:30 a.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770992-2055. Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; 2 and younger, free. Veterans Expressing Their Stories. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Bring families, children and grandchildren to hear veterans from all branches

Family Fun Guide

of services over the past 70 years as they share experiences through storytelling. Nov. 10. 3-5 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Free. Children’s Story Time. FoxTale Book Shoppe. Ageappropriate stories followed by dance and song. Mondays and Saturdays. 11 a.m. 105 East Main St., #138, Woodstock. 770-516-9989. Free. Next Chapter JV Book Club. FoxTale Book Shoppe. This book club is for ages 6-12 and includes a snack, discussion and an activity. Second Friday of every month. 4:30 p.m. 105 East Main St., #138, Woodstock. 770-516-9989. Free.

Storytime with Miss Cynthia. Perimeter Barnes & Noble. Join Miss Cynthia every Wednesday for some wacky fun and crafts with a new story each week. 10 a.m. 120 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta. 770-396-1200. Free. BORN TO SING

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.

Wren’s Nest Storytelling. The Wren’s Nest. Wren’s Nest Ramblers host storytelling sessions every Saturday. 1 p.m. 1050 Ralph D. Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. 404-753-7735. Adults, $8; children $5, 4 and younger, free.

theater Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Jr. The Grand Theatre. Features all of your favorite characters including Alice, the White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and many more. Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. 7 p.m. 7 North Wall St., Cartersville. 770-386-7343. Adults, $15; children, $10; under 2, free. Waiting for Balloon. Alliance Theatre. Two childlike hobo-clown characters learn what a “balloon” is. Enjoy this introduction to gentle clowning and the joy of creating puppets from found objects. Ages 18 mos.-5 years. Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. $10. Theater in the Park. Dunwoody Nature Center. Performance of the Shakespeare play, “As You Like It.” Find out if “all the world’s a stage” as actors from Georgia Perimeter College bring the Forest of Arden to life in the Center’s open air meadow. Set up a beach chair, blanket, and picnic lunch starting at noon. Nov. 2-3. 1 p.m. 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody. 770-394-3322. Adults, $5; children, free. The Dragon King. Center for Puppetry Arts. A wise and fearless grandmother is determined to find out why the Dragon King is holding back the precious rains. Through Nov. 3. See for show times. 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. 404-873-3391. $16.50; younger than 2, free. The Grimm Lives of the Inbetweens. Alliance Theatre. Enjoy this mash up of knights on bicycles, princesses with braces, bullies, jocks and more through interactive theatre techniques and quirky renditions of Grimm’s fairy tales. Ages 9 and older. Nov. 4. 7 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. Adults, $20; children, $15. Shrek the Musical. The Milton Center. Based on the Oscar winning DreamWorks film that started it all. The hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre comes to dazzling new life on the stage. Nov. 8-17. See for show times. 86 School Dr., Alpharetta. 404-543-2381. $12-$15 per person.

Frosty fun! Snow Mountain Park offers five

football fields of man-made snow for snowman building, snowball shooting and tubing down a 400-foot hill (and shorter mounds for little ones.) Nov. 25-Feb. 17. Adults, $28; children 3-11, $22.

Little Women. Elm Street Cultural Arts Village. The four March sisters face family joys and challenges in the 1860s in Massachusetts. Nov. 15 and Nov. 22. 7:30 p.m., Nov. 16, 17, 23 and 24. 2 p.m. 8534 Main St., Woodstock. 678-494-4251. $12 per person.



hanks to all our Talent Showdown Winners and Semi Finalists Atlanta Parent Magazine’s

family block party

Entertainment • Food • Music

Tales for Tots by Once and Again Books. Marietta Whole Foods. Enjoy a storytelling session every Tuesday at 10 a.m. 1311 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. 770-726-9170. Free.


Interactive Games & Activities

Tales for Toddlers. Bean Head Toys. Stories read in the indoor tree house, then kids make a craft to take home. Every Thursday. 10:30 a.m. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-8512980. Free.

Accepting applications December 2013 To find out more visit

beyond atlanta Augusta Market at the River. Augusta Riverwalk. Browse local produce, baked goods, art and more on the banks of the Savannah River. Saturdays through December. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. 8th St. Plaza, Augusta. 800-726-0243. Free. Family Fun Days. The Rock Ranch. Enjoy farming attractions and kids activities at the Rock Ranch. Every Saturday through Nov. 16. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 5020 Barnesville Hwy., The Rock. 706-647-6374. Admission, $15; ages 3 and younger, free. Savannah Children’s Book Festival. Forsyth Park. Celebrate the joy of reading and the magic of storytelling at this tenth annual festival that includes more than 60 authors and illustrators. Nov. 16. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Drayton St., Savannah. 912-652-3600. Free. Historic Trolley Tour. Downtown Augusta. Take the Lady Libby Trolley for a kid-friendly ride to see some of Augusta’s most famous homes and the Augusta Canal. Saturdays. 1:30 p.m. 560 Reynolds St., Augusta. 706-724-4067. Preregister. $12 per person, includes admission to the museum. River Giants Exhibit. Tennessee Aquarium. A collection of freshwater fish at legendary sizes, the “goliaths” of freshwater. Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. One Broad St., Chattanooga, Tenn. 800-262-0695. Adults, $24.95; ages 3-12 $14.95. c

Southeastern Railway Museum

The contact information in the article “Take a Ride and Explore the History of Trains” in our October issue was incorrect. They are at 3595 Buford Highway, Duluth. 770-476-2013.

Family Fun Guide

Advertising Sales Reps Must Like CHOCOLATE & Making a Difference

ATLANTA PARENT is looking for ad sales talent to add to our team. Must enjoy working in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Requirements include a minimum of one year face-to-face, full-time sales experience. A college degree preferred. Attention to detail, computer skills and the ability to work with our contact management program a must. Expectations: 25-30 phone calls and 2-3 appointments per day. If this sounds like you, email us a cover letter and resume to

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 63

Enter to win prizes ! See a holiday performance, have a chat with Santa, attend a parade, get a Christmas tree and more! Visit by November 15 to enter.

To advertise your holiday events on this page in December, call Jennifer at 770-454-7599. Deadline: November 11.


Forest Yule Hwy. 155


It’s Officially Christmas time

Open daily until dark starting Thanksgiving Day.

FREE Hot Apple Cider & Candy Canes! Hayrides & Petting Zoo Open on Weekends! ▲ Fraser Firs ▲ Virginia Pines ▲ Leyland Cypress ▲ Cryptomerias ▲ Balled Trees for transplanting ▲ Snow Flocked Trees ▲ Fresh Wreaths



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770-954-9356 64 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

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Atlanta is the place to be for holiday events. Make figure-eights at an outdoor ice rink, sing along with music performances, share your wish list with Santa and dance under the twinkling light displays this holiday season. Holiday Events Macy’s Pink Pig. Lenox Square Mall. Atlanta’s famous pig train takes families through a life-sized storybook ride. Nov. 2-Jan. 5. Nov. hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 12-6 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 3393 Peachtree Rd., NE, Atlanta. 404-233-6767. $3/ride.

Stone Mountain Christmas. Stone Mountain Park. More than two million lights and over a dozen performances and activities. Nov. 9-Jan.1. U.S. Highway 78 East, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690. Adults/children, $40. $10 parking. Dessert Party. Northlake Mall Center Court. Children celebrate with holiday sweets, treats and crafts. Nov. 16. 1-3 p.m. 4800 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta. 770938-3564. Free for Simon Kidgits Club members; $5 for non-members.

Macy’s Pink Pig

Global Winter Wonderland. Turner Field. Larger-than-life lantern designs of landmarks from countries all over the globe. Nov. 21-Jan. 5. Nightly 5-11 p.m. 755 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta. 770-7233862. Adult, $24.99; ages 5-12, $16.99; 4 and younger, free. Winter Wonderland. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Cultural- and holidaythemed performances and activities. Nov. 23. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd., NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Included with museum admission. Adults, $17.50; 3-12, $15.50; ages 2 and younger, free. Elf Party. Bean Head Toys. Have your picture taken will real life elves, decorate a cookie and make a craft. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., NE, Sandy Springs. 404-851-2980. Free. Nativity Tour. Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. More than 250 Nativity scenes from around the world. Nov. 30-Dec. 1; Dec. 4-8. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Fri. 7-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 2-4 p.m. 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 404373-8338. $5 adults; 11 and younger, free.

Light and Tree Displays

Radio City Christmas Spectacular Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Nov. 7-23. Showtimes vary.


holiday visit to Manhattan to see the world-famous Rockettes perform at the classic Radio City Music Hall is certainly a trip to remember. Atlantans, however, do not have to travel all the way to the Big Apple to see The Rockettes’ high-kicks in person. These athletic ladies are traveling to Atlanta and will perform classic numbers, such as the “Parade of Wooden Soldiers” and “The Living Nativity”, as well as new numbers with dazzling costumes, new sets and a 50-foot LED screen for 2013. 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta. 770-916-2800. $27-125.

Magical Nights in Lights. Lake Lanier Islands. Seven mile drive through holiday lights, plus a Holiday Village with carnival rides, pony rides and holiday treats. Nov. 15-Dec. 31. 5-10 p.m., including holidays. 7000 Holiday Rd., Lake Lanier Islands. 770-9327200. $60/car. Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Nearly one million energy-efficient bulbs, including giant snowflakes, bumble bees and a “praying Santa mantis”. Nov. 16-Jan. 4. 5-10 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave., NE, Atlanta. 404-8765859. Adults, $20; ages 3-12, $14. Gift of Lights. Atlanta Motor Speedway. Millions of twinkling lights, including glowing versions of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. Nov. 22-Jan. 4. Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. 704-637-5363. $15/car, weekdays; $20/car weekends. Cont’d on page 66

Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 65


Holiday in Lights. Centennial Olympic Park. Thousands of lights adorn Centennial Park. Nov. 23-first week of Jan. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. Free. The Lighting of Atlantic Station. Atlantic Station. More than 250,000 lights, plus Santa visits, kids’ activities and a magical snowfall. Nov. 23. Activities during the day, followed by the tree lighting after dark. 17th St., Atlanta. 404-4104010. Free. Lighting of the Great Tree. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Music and entertainment in the gazebo, a parade, photos with Santa, dance teams and kids’ activities. Nov. 28. 5:30-8:30 p.m. 185 West Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 770-822-5450. Free.

Holiday Celebration Under the Stars with the Animals North Georgia Zoo Nov. 29-Dec. 1. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Starlight tours, 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m.


ake the drive to the North Georgia mountains to enjoy an evening at the zoo’s animalfilled holiday celebration, including a live nativity scene with camels, starlight tours, a marshmallow roast and Christmas carols. 2912 Paradise Valley Rd., Cleveland. 706-348-7279. Starlight tours and hayride (general admission included). Advance tickets: Adults, $25; children, $23. At the gate: Adults, $30, children $28. General admission (excludes tour and hayride). Adults $7; children, $5. 23 months and younger, free.

Macy’s Great Tree Lighting. Lenox Square Mall. Lighting of Atlanta’s largest tree. Nov. 28. Live show begins at 6 p.m., lighting at 7 p.m. 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-233-6767. Free.

Holiday Market. Due West United Methodist Church. More than 45 vendors sell holiday creations, children’s gifts, jewelry and gift baskets. Nov. 2. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 3956 Due West Rd., Marietta. 770-590-0982. Free.

Holiday Crafts and Markets

Holiday Bazaar. Medlock Bridge Clubhouse. Items at every price level for checking off shopping lists. Nov. 13. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. 10150 Groomsbridge Rd., Johns Creek. 615-504-2867. Free.

Holiday Craft Classes. Area Michaels Stores. Make a different craft weekly, including a craft turkey, snow globe, reindeer ornament and felt stocking. Nov. 2, 9, 16 and 23. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 30-minute sessions, every half hour. Ages 3 and older, $2/child, includes supplies.

Holiday Fair. Waldorf School of Atlanta. Shop in the artist market, candle dipping, jump rope making and face painting. Nov. 9. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 711 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur. 404-3771315. Free admission; activities extra.

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Winter Wonderland. Fernbank Museum. Annual Winter Wonderland exhibit features trees and other displays decorated for the winter holidays. The exhibition will twinkle with lights, glimmer with color, and shine with a variety of cultural ornaments and emblems that recognize the diversity of celebrations, holidays, traditions and events around the world. Nov. 22-Jan. 5. 767 Clifton Rd., NE, Atlanta. 404929-6300. Included with museum admission. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; ages 2 and younger, free.

Holiday Festival. Dunwoody United Methodist Church. More than 135 artisans, kids’ zone and pony rides. Parents can shop while their children play at a craft station ($10 for 90 minutes) or use drop-in childcare (fee applies). Nov. 9. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 1548 Mt. Vernon Rd., Dunwoody. 770-3940675. Free. Holiday Gift Show. Northside Methodist Preschool. More than 75 vendors with items for all ages. Nov. 15-16. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Ladies Preview Night, Nov. 14. 5:30-8 p.m. 2799 Northside Dr., Atlanta. 404-351-1107. Ages 14 and older, $3.

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66 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Family Fun Guide

Elegant Elf Marketplace. Lake Forest Elementary School. More than 80 vendors with hand-crafted wares. Breakfast with the Elves (for families). Nov. 16. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Nov. 17. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 5290 Sandy Springs Cir., Sandy Springs. 770-552-1665. $5. Ages 10 and younger, free. Holiday Craft Market. Pinckneyville Park Community Rec Center. Handmade gifts, pottery and décor, plus activities for kids and raffle prizes. Nov. 16. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 4650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Norcross. 678-2770920. Free. Holiday Marketplace. St. Pius X High School. More than 150 artisans featuring jewelry, pottery, paintings and other handmade items. Nov. 23. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 2674 Johnson Rd., Atlanta. 404-636-3023. $3/person. Blown Glass Holiday Ornament Class. Decatur Glass Blowing. Glass artist Nate Nardi teaches participants about glass-making tools, safety procedures and how to create a holiday ornament. Nov. 30. 10-11 a.m. 250 Freeman St., Decatur. 404-371-1920. Members, $30; Nonmembers, $35. Advanced registration required at

Theater Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Center for Puppetry Arts. Rudolph is back with this faithful adaptation of the holiday story. Nov. 7-Dec. 29. Showtimes vary. 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. $20.50. A Very Grinchy Christmas. Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Southern Ballet Theatre’s version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Nov. 23-24. Sat., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 800-224-6422. $11.50$18.50. A Christmas Carol. Alliance Theatre. A musical performance of the classic story. Nov. 29-Dec. 29. Sat., 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 and 8 p.m. For additional weekly show times, see 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. $20-65. Cont’d on page 70

The Children’s Nutcracker Come experience the

Joy of the Season Presented by

The Academy of Ballet December 14th & 15th St. Pius High School 2674 Johnson Rd. NE, Atlanta Tickets $10, $15, $20


Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 67

Santa Arrives Don’t miss the man in red’s grand appearance at the following malls. Santa will be spreading cheer throughout the holiday season at most area malls. l  Town

Center at Cobb. Nov. 1. 6-8 p.m. 400 Barrett Pkwy., Kennesaw. 770-424-9486. Free.

l  Lenox

Square Mall. Nov. 6. 2-3 p.m. 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-233-6767. Free.

l  Arbor

Place Mall. Nov. 9. 10 a.m. 6700 Douglas Blvd., Douglasville. 770-947-4244. Free.

l  Mall

of Georgia. Nov. 9. 5-7 p.m. 3333 Buford Dr., Buford. 678-482-8788. Free.

l  North

Point Mall. Nov. 10, 2-3 p.m. 1000 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 770-740-9273. Free.

l  Mall

at Stonecrest. Nov. 16. Noon. 2929 Turner Hill Rd., Lithonia. 678-526-8955. Free.

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68 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

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l  Atlantic

Station. Nov. 23. 17th St., Atlanta. 404-410-4010. Free.

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Family Fun Guide

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Fun with Santa Kids want to spend more time with Mr. Kringle? These activities provide that chance and perhaps the opportunity to whisper their wish lists to Santa Claus himself. Santa Saturday. Town Center at Cobb. Santa parade, seasonal craft-making activities and holiday-inspired offerings. Nov. 16. 8:30-9:30 a.m. 400 Barrett Pkwy., Kennesaw. 770-424-9486. Free. Santabration. Mall of Georgia. Santabration with Christmas parade, performances by the Academy of Performing Arts Superstar Dancers, the 50-foot tree lighting and a special Movies Under the Stars screening of “Home Alone”. Nov. 9. 5-7 p.m. 3333 Buford Dr., Buford. 678-482-8788. Free. Polar Express Experience. Southeastern Railway Museum. Breakfast, lunch and Polar Express experience. Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21. Breakfast, 8:30 a.m. Lunch, noon. Polar Express, 3:30 and 6 p.m. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 770-476-2013. Each event individually ticketed. Breakfast and Lunch, $16 each. Polar Express, $20. Ages 1 and younger, free. Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Alpharetta Welcome Center. Nov. 16. 11 a.m.1 p.m. Refreshments served until 4 p.m. No reservations required. 178 South Main St., Alpharetta. 678-297-0102. Free. Mingle with Kringle. Downtown Newnan. Mingle with Kringle and bring a camera for photos. Nov. 29. 6-8 p.m. 6 First Ave., Newnan. 770-2538283. Free. Breakfast with Santa. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Breakfast with Santa, sing-a-long songs, crafts and a keepsake photo. Nov. 30. 8:3010:30 a.m. 185 East Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 770-822-5450. Seating is limited, pre-registration required. $11/person. (Infants 12 months and younger free with paid adult). Cookies with Santa. Zoo Atlanta. Nov. 30. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 800 Cherokee Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-624-2809. Free with zoo admission; Adults, $20.99; 3-11, $15.99; ages 2 and younger, free.

Family Fun Guide

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 69

HOLIDAY CALENDAR Let it Snow Show Atlantic Station Nov. 15-Feb. 14. Ice skating Nov. 23 Tree Lighting and first Snow Show.

The Nutcracker. Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. The tale of a magical Nutcracker, a Rat Prince, dancing sugarplums and one lucky little girl. Nov. 29-Dec. 22. Fri., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sat.,10 a.m., 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 6 p.m. 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 800-224-6422. $13.50-$21.50.


tlanta meteorologists may not be able to guarantee a white Christmas, but the folks at Atlantic Station sure can. Daily Snow Shows begin Nov. 23 at the Lighting of Atlantic Station, with children’s activities planned during the day preceding the illumination of more than 250,000 lights after dark. New this year: an ice skating rink. 17th St., Atlanta. 404-410-4010. For skate times and pricing, visit Illumination and Snow Shows, Free.

70 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Holly Jolly Film Fest. Fernbank Museum. For a limited time only, see some of your favorite holiday specials like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in Fernbank’s auditorium theatre. Guests will also enjoy holiday-themed crafts and activities and a chance to take a picture with the holly-jollyest dino of them all, Santa-saurus. Sat., Nov. 30-Dec. 14. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Included with museum admission. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; ages 2 and younger, free. Visit for details.

Hanukkah Events Hanukkah Scavenger Hunt with PJ Library. Temple Beth Tikvah. Kindergarteners and first or second graders hunt for clues to find the meaning of Hanukkah. Nov. 17. 1-3:30 p.m. 9955 Coleman Rd., Roswell. 770-642-0434. Adults, $10; 10 and younger, $5. Includes lunch. Register by Nov. 12. Hanukkah Hippo Hop. Hippo Hop. Hanukkah stories, songs, crafts and play time at the indoor playground. Nov. 24. 12:45-2:45 p.m. 1936 Briarwood Court NE, Atlanta. 678-812-4161. Free. Hanukkah Hootenanny Family Celebration. Marcus JCC Atlanta-Zaban Park. Menorah lighting, songs and a special performance of “Milton the Menorah” by The Bible Players. Dec. 2. 5:15-7 p.m. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-812-4161. Free.

Family Fun Guide

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Meet the Holidays: Hanukkah. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Join the Imaginators for the Festival of Lights, listen to a reading of Mazeltown and make a banner to decorate the house for Hanukkah. Dec. 15-16. Sat., noon and 3 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Regular museum hours are Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.4 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission, $12.75 for ages 2 and older.

Beyond Atlanta Christmas at Biltmore. Biltmore Estate. Holiday décor of the main house, plus live music, visits with Santa, gingerbread house workshops and evening candlelight tours. Nov. 2-Jan. 12. Asheville, NC. Exact dates and pricing vary. Visit for details. The Polar Express. Great Smoky Mountains. A 75-minute round-trip train ride with Santa Claus visit. Includes warm cocoa, carols and a treat while reading along to the story. Nov. 8-Dec. 29. Departure times at 226 Everett St., Bryson City, NC. 800-8724681. Adults, $40-74; 2-12, $26-$50; ages 23 months and younger, $10-$15. Christmas Made in the South. James Brown Arena. Stroll the aisles to find a special holiday gift for that hard to shop for friend. Nov. 15-16. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Nov 17. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 601 Seventh Street, Augusta. 706-7223521. Adults, $7; ages 12 and younger, free. Miracle on South Division Street. Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre. Follow Clara, the family matriarch, as she runs her soup kitchen and tends to the family heirloom – a twenty-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother. Nov. 15-16; Nov. 22-23; Dec. 5-7. Dinner 7 p.m.; Show 8 p.m. Third Avenue, Building 32100, Fort Gordon. 706-793-8552. $30-45.


Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Marcus JCC Atlanta-Zaban Park. Family musical production about brave Hershel, who rescues Hanukkah from a bank of goblins. Presented by Company J, and recommended for ages 3 and older. Dec. 5-8. Showtimes vary. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-812-4002. Adults, $10-15; children, $10-12.

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Day Care, Mother’s Morning Out, Church Groups & Day Camp outings available



Menorah Lighting. Fountains of Olde Town Shopping Center. Atlanta’s tallest menorah is lighted, presented by Chabad of Cobb. Dec. 3. 6:30 p.m. 736 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. 770-565-4412. Free.

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Cont’d on page 72

November 2013    Atlanta Parent 71

Classified Pages Party Planner


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Lights of the South. Hayride through over four million lights, plus a lighted Christmas tree maze, roasted marshmallows, Mrs. Claus’s kitchen and pictures with Santa. Nov. 20-Dec. 30. 6-10 p.m. 633 Louisville Road, Grovetown. 706-825-6441. Adults, $8; 4-17, $5; ages 3 and younger, free. Holiday Gingerbread Village. Augusta Museum of History Rotunda. Local bakers create gingerbread creations of historic structures of the Augusta area. Nov. 21-27; Nov. 29-30. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Nov. 24 and Dec. 1. 1-5 p.m. 560 Reynolds St., Augusta. 706-722-8454. Adults, $4; 6-18, $2; ages 5 and younger, free. Fantasy in Lights. Callaway Gardens. Drive through more than eight million twinkling lights and a garden decorated for the season. Nov. 22-Dec. 30. Opens at 6 p.m. Hwy. 27, Pine Mountain. 800-225-5292. Adults, $17-$28; 6-12, $8.50-$14; ages 5 and younger, free.


has a birthday!

Holiday Show and Sale. The Art Center. Featured art from more than 500 artist members. Nov. 23-Jan. 10. 420 West Main Street, Blue Ridge. 706-632-2144. Free.

Make your next family celebration extra special by hiring one of our

North Pole Limited. Tennessee Valley Railroad. A round-trip journey to the “North Pole”, featuring storytelling, light refreshments and an appearance by Santa. Nov. 22-24, 29-30; Dec. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22. 5:45 and 7 p.m. 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, TN. 423-894-8028. Ages 1 and older, $24; Ride in Santa’s private car, $48/ person. Buy tickets at

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Share Atlanta Parent with a friend! 72 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

Festival of Trees. Unicoi Lodge. Beautifully decorated trees throughout Unicoi Lodge. Nov. 25-Dec. 12. 1788 Hwy. 356, Helen. 706-8655356. Free admission; Parking, $5. Christmas Walking Tour. Museum Complex. Live music, decorations and holiday displays. Nov. 29-30; Dec. 6-7; Dec. 13-14. 5-8:30 p.m. 840 Museum Drive, Anniston, AL. 256-237-6261. $10/car. The Nutcracker. Imperial Theatre. Dance Augusta brings the holiday tale to life. Nov. 29. 7 p.m.; Nov. 30. 1 p.m. or 4 p.m.; Dec. 1. 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. 749 Broad St., Augusta. 706-722-8341. $17-40. Tour of Lights on Seminole. Seminole State Park. Lights displays throughout the park. Nov. 30Dec.29. 7870 State Park Dr., Donalsonville. 229861-3137. Free to drive; donations appreciated. $5, parking. c

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November 2013    Atlanta Parent 73


by Tiffany Doerr Guerzon

Preparing T-Day Dinner Some say you’re a grown-up when you move out on your own or get married. Some say you’re not a grown-up until you have a child of your own. I disagree. The actual moment in which you become a true adult is when you are responsible for cooking Thanksgiving dinner. There is a moment of truth when you look at that turkey, and the realization hits, that you – and you alone – are responsible for stuffing and cooking the thing. Then, there are the side dishes, pies and rolls. On my first Thanksgiving, I put the defrosted bird on the counter and just stared at it. Whose idea was this anyway? I thought. Couldn’t I just serve popcorn and toast like Charlie Brown? I was considering boiling the thing for soup when my husband saw the turkey, and his eyes lit up. “I can’t wait!” he said, then wandered out of the kitchen. I sank into a chair. It looked like I was going to have to cook this sucker. I started tearing bread for stuffing, giving the bird occasional sideways glances. I swear it was mocking me. After heaving the turkey into a roasting pan, I looked for an orifice to stuff. Cautiously lifting the flap of skin where the neck should have been, I peered inside. That must be the spot. I grabbed a handful of stuffing and tried to put it in, but my hand met an obstruction. I dropped the stuffing, washed my hands multiple times, and then called my mom on speakerphone. “Did you remove the neck and giblets?” she asked “Huh?” I said. “They’re inside, in the cavity,” she said. I reached inside the turkey, and pulled out an obscenely long neck and dripping bag. The bag contained several slimy objects and a tiny little heart. Hannibal Lector would have been delighted. “Boil the neck and chop up the giblets for the gravy,” she said. “And serve it with what, fava beans? No thanks!” I said. I turned off the speakerphone with my elbow, then swept the innards into the trash can. I washed my hands multiple times, and poured a glass of wine. The turkey’s cavity now yawned emptily. I put down my wine and started shoving stuffing inside. Hmmm, there was a lot left over. Then I remembered my mom saying something about stuffing both ends. I turned the pan around and gazed at a tiny tail. Did she really mean to stuff its butt? Could this get any more disgusting? With a sigh, I stuffed the turkey’s back end, and then put the whole thing 74 Atlanta Parent    November 2013

into the oven. After washing my hands multiple times, I finished my wine and poured another glass. The turkey was in the oven; I could take a break. I was sitting at the kitchen table reading when my husband wandered in again. “Why isn’t the oven on?” he asked. Arrg! I jumped up and turned the dial. Looking at the clock, I realized I had been reading a long time. No way was the turkey going to be done on schedule now. I started on the side dishes while I contemplated how to get them all cooked. I had planned on roasting the turkey first, then cooking everything else. Now that the turkey would be in the oven longer, I would have to do things differently – or we would be sitting down to dinner at midnight. As I started on the green bean casserole, I mentally rearranged my plan. The green beans could be nuked, the rolls could go in while the bird “rested” before being carved, and the pies could bake as we ate. Perfect. By the time the turkey was done and I had figured out how to make gravy, it was past 9 p.m. The gravy was lumpy, but tasty – and delightfully organ-free. I sat back in my chair and gave my full belly a satisfied pat. I had conquered Thanksgiving Dinner. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the mountain of dishes and pots waiting to be washed, and sighed. I was definitely a grown-up. c



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