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MAY 2016




VETERANS PARK HOOVER Grab a blanket, your family and friends and head on out to Veteran’s Park in Hoover for a free, family-friendly film every Friday night starting June 3rd. Come out early and enjoy: The Free Kids’ Zone Fun activites with GOLD’S GYM and picnic with food and drinks available from food vendors. Movies start at dusk. FREE! For complete movie line up visit Visit Alagasco’s Facebook page for weekly chances to win The Good Heat VIP seat package! Follow us on Twitter for any weather updates affecting a movie @BYMovieParties or friend us at Rain date: August 5th


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editor’s note

This May in Birmingham Parent This month in Birmingham Parent our big focus is on College & Career. We’ve got a great story line up, such as “1,000 Things to Teach Before They Go,” “Show Me The Money (For College),” and “Scholar Athletes: Why Sports & Smarts Go Together.” You’ll also find a handy college & career planner list that may help in your search for your child’s future education, or maybe your own! But this month isn’t just about colleges and careers. We know it’s a time when you and your family start playing in and around the water, so we’ve got a great story about water safety on page 26. A few special precautions can mean a much safer experience, as the CDC says children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates, a pretty troubling statistic. Don’t miss our tribute to Mother’s Day with “Mother’s Day as a Stepmom: How to Celebrate.” We all have our own ways of enjoying Mother’s Day and honoring our own moms, but don’t forget that stepmom in your life, if you have one. If you are a step mother, maybe this will help you know how to enjoy your day, regardless of how your stepchildren handle it. And speaking of moms, I miss mine and wish she were here to honor. My mother passed away almost 20 years ago, and every year, I continue to miss her and wish I could talk to her one more time. I’ve tried to keep her memory alive with my children, now 23 and 27. I am blessed beyond measure with my kids, and to have the mom I had for 31 years of my life. Moms do so much, and they deserve honor and respect every day, but don’t miss this special day to do it big! Happy Mother’s Day, Carol Muse Evans, Publisher/Editor

ABOUT THE EDITORS: Carol Muse Evans is an award-winning publisher/editor/owner of Birmingham Parent magazine, a publication she and her husband David began in 2004. The Birmingham, Alabama-based parenting publication attracts more than 60,000 readers monthly in a four-county area and receives 10,000 hits per month on its website. The magazine has a 20,000+ print circulation, plus several thousand in readership of the digital edition online. It is the only independently audited free publication in our area, Evans is an award-winning writer and editor who has also has written for several other publications as a freelance writer since the late 80s. She is a graduate of Auburn University in journalism and is a graduate of Scottsboro High School. She is married with two grown children and lives in Alabaster. She is a member of the National Federation of Press Women, Alabama Media Professionals and Southeastern Advertisers and Publishers Association (SAPA). Lori Chandler Pruitt is associate editor of Birmingham Parent, where she is responsible for the calendar and editorial editing. She also is a freelancer for Business Alabama magazine and has written/edited for several other publications. This award-winning writer and editor is a graduate of the University of Alabama in news/editorial and Hueytown High School. She is married with two children. 4 | birminghamparent | may 2016

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editorial Publishers David & Carol Evans Editor Carol Muse Evans Associate Editor Lori Chandler Pruitt Office Assistant Bethany Adams Hunley Calendar Lori Chandler Pruitt Contributors Dr. Vivian Friedman, Charles Ghigna, Paige Townley, Claire Yezbak Fadden, Darin Tessler, MD., Greg Kaplan and Gayla Grace

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BIRMINGHAM PARENT IS A PUBLICATION OF EVANS PUBLISHING, LLC. Publishers: Carol Muse Evans, David K. Evans Sr. Birmingham Parent (EIN20-0694149) is published monthly by Evans Publishing LLC. or Birmingham Parent is © 2016 by Evans Publishing LLC. Family Connections Media ©2016 by Evans Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Editorial submissions are welcome. For back issues, please send a self-addressed 10” x 13” envelope with $4 for postage and handling.



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table of contents





MAY 2016

14 16 20 24




departments Note 04 Editor’s This May in Birmingham Parent


Parenting with Dr. Friedman

8 Short Stuff 0 the Specialist: 30 Ask Keeping Kids Hydrated 38 Park Rater Returns! 41 May Calendar Highlights 42

May Calendar of Events

Party: 46 Poetry Rap Poems






DAY 22 MOTHER'S As a Stepmom SAFE 24 STAYING Around Water



24 Show Me the Money (for College)

5 Things Parents Do that Keep Their Child Out of Their Dream College

Scholar Athletes: Why Sports & Smarts Go Together

ON THE COVER: Elena, age 14 of Birmingham, is dreaming of going away to college not too far in her future. She is wearing a sweatshirt from LJ’s Boutique in Clanton and Pelham (see ad on page 5). Photo by Christy Pierce Photography,, 205-902-0385.

6 | birminghamparent | may 2016


Parenting with Dr. Friedman


In one of your previous columns regarding video games, you said: “The task of childhood, from birth to age 19, is to master cognitive, social, fine motor and large motor skills. The problem is not only that your son is playing computer games for many hours but that he is not engaged in physical or social activity for the many hours of his day that he plays these

games. The games do not have the play value of a board game where social interaction is a key part of the play.” I object to your state-

ment that computer games are not social. There are thousands of people on the Internet playing the epic games with each other. They can talk to each other online. If this is not social what is?

Social skills develop in stages. Not all play is equal. Some types of play are more developmentally primitive than others are. The nine-month-old baby often enjoys “playing” with another baby his own age, but at this age the players do not truly interact. They

simply play side by side, each with his own toy, in what psychologists call “parallel play.” As the toddler matures and moves on to preschool, he begins true cooperative play. In cooperative play there is give and take, win and lose. The preschool age child begins to understand that the other person has a perspective that is different from his. It is this kind of social interaction that is necessary for society to function. While computer games certainly can be interactive as the Internet allows for play with others rather than just play against the computer, they do not allow for the full spectrum of social interaction that one would expect of a mature teenager. Playing with “thousands on the Internet” is not the same as having one or two or three close friends. The thousands that you might play with on the Internet do not demand your empathy or your nurturance. Computer games allow you to win all the time. If you don’t win, you can simply reset the game or sign off. There is no give and take. There is no win and lose. This does not prepare children for life where no one wins all the time. For the socially isolated adolescent,

playing computer games with others online can be mood elevating. The child that has few friends can feel that he has friends online and that he is not alone and rejected. These partial relationships are better than no relationship at all. The problem is that in my experience in my psychology practice, this online friendship typically does not serve as a first step towards face-to-face friendships. It is what it is, but it doesn’t progress. Computer games for well-adjusted and well-balanced adolescents can best be seen as “down time” recreation. They tend to be relaxing and serve well as a break between school and homework, as long as they are not habit forming and demanding of excessive time. They can continue social relationships formed face to face at school, camp or church. Yet they are limited in value and therefore should take up only a limited amount of the student’s day. Vivian K. Friedman Ph. D. is a child and family psychologist at UAB, Department of Psychiatry. Send questions for response in this column to No personal replies are sent.

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Parents for Window Blind Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Kids In Danger and Independent Safety Consulting advise parents and grandparents who are shopping for window coverings to only purchase products that are cord-free and safe for homes with young children. The rate of injuries and deaths has not been significantly reduced since the hazard was first identified in 1983. These deaths and injuries involve children who are 8 years old and younger. Infants, toddlers, as well as school-age children have been harmed by cords on window coverings.   The problem is that the industry’s “safety standard” for how window coverings are designed actually allows products sold in the U.S. to have accessible cords. These cords pose a serious strangulation risk to children, infants and toddlers who sleep and play near them.   Parents are advised to look for and purchase cordless window treatment options – a task made easier as a number of retailers have stopped selling corded window coverings in their stores or online. IKEA and Target stopped selling corded window coverings in 2015. Most recently, we applaud Select Blinds, an online window coverings retailer, for only selling cord-free window coverings beginning March 31, 2016.   “Deaths and injuries from corded window coverings are preventable,” stated Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger (KID). “But until all retailers remove corded products from store shelves and online shopping sites, parents who are unaware of the hazard will unknowingly put their children in danger. We applaud those retailers who have already taken that step.”

Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges Outlined in New Book

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Whether a student aspires to attend the Ivy League or a flagship public university, college admissions strategist Greg Kaplan empowers families to use strategic planning and marketing to develop their children’s skills, passions, interests, and achievements and present themselves as compelling in his book, Earning Admission: Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges. 

Kaplan, a 2009 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, draws on real-world strategies successfully used to convince Ivy League admissions officers to offer admission. He stresses a long-term approach to the college application process, beginning as early as the summer before ninth grade, to ensure that applicants excel with their grades, entrance exams scores and extracurricular activities to be competitive applicants when they apply. For more information visit and connect with him on  Twitter  and LinkedIn. Earning Admission can be purchased from Amazon and other major online booksellers.

short stuff

Shortage of College Graduates in Agriculture Despite a growing demand for food and need for agricultural professionals, a recent study shows few college students are considering agriculture careers. Conducted by ORC International on behalf of Land O’Lakes Inc., the national survey showed only 3 percent of college grads and 9 percent of millennials have or would consider an ag career. “This survey is eye-opening; there is a huge demand for agriculture jobs but a lack of interest, and we need to figure out why,” says John Morris, Jefferson County Farmers Federation president. “Everyone needs to eat, all 7 billion people on this planet, so true ag professionals will always be needed.” A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture job report found more than  20,000 agriculture-related jobs go unfilled each year. However, the ORC International survey showed 54 percent of respondents thought it would be difficult for a recent graduate to be employed in agriculture. In Jefferson County, agriculture-related industries employ more than 55,837 people. “I hope high school students are being introduced to all aspects of agriculture, because we’re not just talking about farmers,” Morris adds.


“Agriculture includes researchers, food scientists, agriscience teachers, extension agents, livestock managers, technicians and a whole lot of other disciplines. A well-trained ag student has a good chance at being employed straight out of school.” Morris said he’s optimistic about the future of agriculture because Jefferson County has: ✱ A strong young farmers program ✱ The largest base of consumers seeking local food sources in the state ✱ A robust local farmers market presence in numerous locations ✱ FFA programs in 6 high schools ✱ Ag scholarship programs ✱ Dedicated extension researchers and  coordinators ✱ 4-H programs in several school systems ✱ Programs like 4-H Chick Chain that can support urban agriculture efforts To learn more about job descriptions and starting salaries in agriculture-related fields, go to

Safe & Healthy This Summer

The temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer. Here are some tips to help make your summer the best and healthiest one yet. Heat-related Illnesses claim the lives of hundreds of people each year, so it is important to take these precautions when working or playing outside during the hot summer months. Drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages, Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that is light in color. Reduce strenuous activities or do them during the cooler parts of the day. Don’t feel the burn! Your summer plans may include hitting the beach, or just spending more time outdoors. Make sure you plan to avoid sunburn, which can increase your risk of skin cancer. Seek shade, especially during midday hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin. A long-sleeved shirt and long pants with a tight weave are best. Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck. Wear sun glasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. Rub on sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection. Taking a few precautions can make your summer enjoyable and safe.




BY BECKY The only voice in travel that MATTERS! Catch The Travel Voice by Becky on Saturday’s in Shelby County on FM 99.9 APH Radio at 11 a.m. and anytime on iHeart Radio! Great travel information, special deals, awesome guests, spectacular on location LIVE events and amazing giveaways!

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MAY 2016 COLLEGE & CAREER DIRECTORY COLLEGES & SCHOOLS Birmingham Southern College 900 Arkadelphia Rd. Birmingham, AL 35254 800-523-5793 Founded in 1856, BSC, a liberal arts school, is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Joseph Bruno Montessori Academy 5509 Timber Hill Rd.  Birmingham, AL 35242 205-995-8709 For 30 years JBMA has equipped children with the essential skills and knowledge they need to thrive as a successful adult. Enrolling toddlers - 8th grade.  University of South Alabama Mobile, AL 36688 251-460-6141 800-USA-JAGS The University of South Alabama is a global teaching and research university that provides students with an exceptional education and research opportunities in 100 degree programs.

TUTORING & ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS Alabama Ballet 2726 First Ave. S. Birmingham, AL 35233 205-322-4300 Since 1981, changing lives through dance by promoting and fostering the development of classical and contemporary ballet through high-quality performances, dance education and community outreach.

10 | birminghamparent | may 2016

The Academy of the Arts at Samford University South Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229 205-726-4049 205-726-2810 Music for children & adults at Samford University in Homewood. Preschool piano; Kindermusik; private & group piano, voice, and strings lessons. Dawson Music Academy 1114 Oxmoor Rd. Birmingham, AL 35209 205-871-7324 Dawson Music Academy provides a Christian environment for students of all ages to learn about music. Private music lessons for all instruments, Kindermusik and Music League group classes. Mathnasium The Math Learning Center 410 Inverness Corners Birmingham, Alabama 35242 (205) 437 3322 invernesscorners@ invernesscorners Our goal is to significantly increase your child’s math skills and overall school performance, while building confidence and a positive attitude towards math. The Tutoring Center 2804 John Hawkins Pkwy. Suite 100 Hoover, AL 35244 (near Academy Sports) 205-987-9577 One-to-one tutoring designed to help your child develop stronger academic skills, earn better grades, score higher on standardized tests, while gaining confidence, motivation and focus.


THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH ALABAMA is a place of unlimited possibilities, unrestrained ideas and exceptional accomplishments. Every day, our faculty and students think beyond boundaries in fields as diverse as archaeology, cancer research, disaster recovery, cybersecurity, history, marine science, nanomaterials, and the visual arts. Strategically located in the coastal city and commercial hub of Mobile, the University of South Alabama stands as a catalyst for innovation and discovery. HOW FAR WILL YOU GO? GO SOUTH.



The University of South Alabama

BSC: Preparing the professionals of tomorrow You can go anywhere for a college degree. At Birmingham-Southern College, we’re committed to offering you the hands-on experiences you’ll need to succeed—no matter what field you choose. Our unique January term gives you four weeks of flexibility to pursue your dreams, and our top-notch academic programs will give you the skills to succeed. At BSC, you’ll: EXPLORE the world and discover your own passions. You’ll find your own path, all while building the skills today’s employers want. EXPERIENCE learning in a new way. Tackle challenges you never imagined, then take what you learn beyond the classroom. Whatever you choose—an internship, research with a professor, a one-on-one mentorship, a service project, or your own invention— you’ll get the tools you need. EXCEL before graduation and beyond. Our students are among the very best, and our alumni exceed all expectations. U.S. senators, museum directors, prize-winning authors, NASA scientists, attorneys, entrepreneurs, physicians, and more credit BSC for their success. They’re also eager to help you meet your goals. With more than 50 areas of study, we have countless routes to your future. Come see why Forbes magazine so often ranks BSC No. 1 in the state, and the book “Colleges That Change Lives” lists BSC among just 40 schools honored, calling it “what college ought to be.” ARE YOU READY?

The University of South Alabama offers a superb, well-rounded educational experience with high academic standards. USA’s fields of study are remarkably diverse, encompassing business, the liberal arts, education, engineering, computing, the sciences and health care. USA enrolls more than 16,000 students and has awarded more than 82,000 degrees in its history. With more than 50 undergraduate programs, USA provides many opportunities for students to explore and develop interests that build the foundation of lifelong career paths. Through graduate study in 32 master’s and 13 doctoral programs, students focus on specific areas of learning and research to gain specialized skills. The Honors Program for highly motivated and accomplished students includes course work and extracurricular activities throughout the four years of a student’s undergraduate career.

MISSED THIS ISSUE WITH YOUR AD? Advertise here next May, and in our Back to School issue in August for your educational institution. Call us at 205-987-7700 or e-mail for more information. THE PREMIER PARENTING MAGAZINE FOR CENTRAL ALABAMA

MAY 2015

MAKING COLLEGE DECISIONS: What Parents Should Consider


WHAT BEING A MOM MEANS: Area Celebrity Moms Weigh In

College & Career Planning Guide






USA’s beautiful, tree-shaded main campus spreads across 1,200 acres. The campus includes state-of-theart educational facilities as well as a 116,000-square-foot recreation center, indoor and outdoor pools, a nature trail and a disc golf course. Students enjoy a wide variety of social, cultural, entertainment and athletic activities that contribute to a exceptional college experience.

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1,000 THINGS

to Teach Before They Graduate By Claire Yezbak Fadden

Seth, the youngest of my trio of sons, graduates from high school this month. Mixed in with the pride of his accomplishments comes the reality that I’m being demoted. The title that I’ve coveted for so many years – through measles and bowl haircuts, Little League and Halloween carnivals – will change. For the third time in my mommyhood career, I’ll graciously accept the reclassification from Mom the Manager to Mom the Consultant. Yes, I’ve been through this before. First with Shawn, and then four years later with Jake. I know the routine. I’m familiar with the drill, but that doesn’t make accepting the bittersweet reassignment any easier. I know Seth still needs me, but not in many of the same ways that I’ve grown accustomed to. I’ll expect phone calls like

14 | birminghamparent | may 2016

the one I got from Shawn when he didn’t know how to fix his jammed garbage disposal. Or the e-mail from Jake asking for help on writing his resume before he interviewed for an internship. Kids always need their mother (and father), but now I’m on a “need-to-know” basis. And there’s a lot I don’t need to know. In a couple of months Seth will start college, enthusiastic to take on his next adventure while I wait in the background and wonder if I’ve done all I can to prepare him. My heart sees him as a five-year-old boy curled on our couch watching Homeward Bound for the umpteenth time and crying inconsolably as Shadow, a golden retriever, falls into an abandoned railyard shaft. Wasn’t it just last week he asked why chocolate chips are brown? That same inquisitive kid now barrels out the front

Mostly, I hope Seth knows how much his dad and I love, trust and admire him. Right before our eyes, in what feels like mere moments, he transformed from a helpless infant to an inquisitive toddler to a typical teen.

door – football playbook and economics text in one hand and car keys in the other – ready to start his future. No parent can completely prepare their child for every eventuality – heartbreak, unfair professors, mean bosses, flu-like symptoms, cold lattes, broken appliances, late paychecks, flat tires. But still we try. I look back on these 18 years and

hope my nurturing, guidance and love has equipped him to meet life’s challenges. Seth’s world is changing and so is mine. And it’s during transitions like this that we grownups try to make sense of things. We corral our own goals. Check off items from our Things to Do Before I’m 30 (40, 50) list. Jot down some new ones. My husband Nick and I bought a copy of 1000 Places To See Before You Die. So far, we’ve only flipped through the pages but it won’t be long until we actually have time to visit some. I’m excited to start whittling down my travel to do’s, but blissful tourist thoughts are repeatedly interrupted by another list formulating in my mind: 1,000 Things I Hope I Taught Seth Before Graduation. This roster is a mishmash of sticky notes, random thoughts and verbal cautions that trail behind him as he walks out the door. Important things like don’t wash your orange baseball shirt with your underwear, check the date on the milk carton before you make a bowl of cereal; don’t get into a car with an unsafe driver. I’m sure there are more than a thousand things I’ve taught, either by example or lesson, to my sons. But limited to about

800 words, I’ll share (in no particular order) the top few I hope sunk in. When you can spare a moment, feel free to add the other 989.

7) Little things count. Let that car merge in front of you. Pick up someone else’s trash. Put the seat down. Recycle. Smile.

1) Trust your instincts. They will lead you on the right path.

8) You love your family, but you choose your friends, so choose carefully.

2) Common courtesy counts. Please, Thank You, I’m Sorry, Pardon Me are not on the endangered word list, so use them freely. Open doors for women and your elders. Pull the chair out for your date. Turn off your cell phone in public.

9) Never compromise your health. It’s your most valuable asset.

3) Stay grounded. You’ll always have a home and two people who never tire of hearing about your victories, defeats, goals and challenges. 4) You won’t know unless you try. (I borrowed this one from my mother, Florence – to which she’d add – try, try and try again.) 5) Choose quality time over quantity stuff. 6) Break big projects into small pieces. Don’t wait until the night before that 25-page term paper is due to write it.

10) Pray. Pray some more. 11) Call your mother. Mostly, I hope Seth knows how much his dad and I love, trust and admire him. Right before our eyes, in what feels like mere moments, he transformed from a helpless infant to an inquisitive toddler to a typical teen. Now he stands on the edge of manhood, a confident, responsible, capable adult. And if I do say so myself, Seth, you’ve done quite a terrific job.

Claire Yezbak Fadden, an award-winning columnist and freelance writer, is the mother of three sons. She lives in California. E-mail her at net or follow her on Twitter@claireflaire.

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Yes, the time passed quickly. You always meant to start a savings account for your child’s college education. But now he’s a high school senior and those plans for a college nest egg never happened. So what do you do now? Start your scholarship search!

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College costs are on the rise and even the thriftiest of families can’t keep up. There is money available to qualified, detail-oriented and tenacious applicants. All it takes is a time commitment and attention to detail.

Will My Child Qualify? Your student wasn’t captain of the debate team, an all-star football player and your family heritage isn’t considered a minority. Can your child still qualify for scholarships? The answer is a resounding yes! No matter what the income level, ethnic background or grade point average, your student can qualify for a variety of scholarship opportunities. For example, scholarships awarded on merit do not factor financial need into their award decision. Other scholarship awards do not always go to the students with the highest GPA. “Some scholarship programs are known for selecting students who do not necessarily have top grades,” says Ben Kaplan, author of How to go to College Almost for Free (HarperCollins). “Most scholarship programs aren’t myopic. They take into account that applicants have much more to offer than simply the sterile grades that appear on their official transcripts.”

The real key is to apply for as many scholarships as you can. Don’t eliminate any of your options by narrowing your search. The more applications you have out there working for you, the greater your odds of receiving award letters. The real key is to apply for as many scholarships as you can. Don’t eliminate any of your options by narrowing your search. The more applications you have out there working for you, the greater your odds of receiving award letters.

When Do I Start? “It’s never too early to start finding out about what kinds of scholarships are available,” advises The Scholarship Handbook (The College Board). Start researching scholarships that you qualify for in your sophomore or junior year of high school. Most high school counselors will provide students with a list of scholarship opportunities. These can change every month with new ones being added and others dropping off because the deadline for applications has passed. “You might have missed the window for one scholarship,” says Ernie Williams, community college scholarship specialist, “but there will be another and those deadlines come around the next year, too. So be prepared.” It’s important to get organized early. Request scholarship information now. You can file it away for future use and be certain not to miss the deadline again. Where’s the Money? Kaplan figured out the scholarship game early in his quest for higher education. “By the time I headed off to college, I had applied for about three dozen merit scholarships and won more than two dozen of them,” says Kaplan, “and amassed nearly $90,000 in scholarship winnings – funds that I could use at any school I desired. Corporations, associations, organizations, institutions and community groups can’t wait to give away college money.” There are many ways to find out about scholarship opportunities: at school, online, government agencies, community business, family and friends. “Cast a wide net by pursuing scholarships that most students can apply for,” says Kaplan, “yet narrow

the focus by seeking scholarships open only to students with your unique personal characteristics.” “Think of it as a job,” Williams says. “It may take you three hours to properly prepare an application. Take the time to fill out all the paperwork, make sure your references are appropriate and accurate before you submit it. Then if you get a $500 scholarship, it’s worth it. No job is going to pay you that much per hour. Of course it’s a time investment, but it can be a very lucrative one.” Where most students fall down in the scholarship application process is that they don’t pay attention to details. “I repeatedly tell students to make sure that they completely understand the instructions,” says Williams. “Read the directions carefully. If the instructions say typed or black ink, don’t turn in something handwritten in red ink! “Many applications don’t even make it to consideration because they’ve been filled out in a hurry with inaccurate or incomplete information,” says Williams. “Take the time to do it right. It will be worth it.”

Avoiding Scams Because college costs continue to rise, many families are looking to alternative funding sources. Unfortunately, a growing industry of scholarship search services is also on the rise. Some do a

responsible job; others border on fraud. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides scholarship and financial aid scam information on their website as a means to alert parents about potential rip-offs and how to recognize them. According to the FTC, unscrupulous companies guarantee or promise scholarships, grants or fantastic financial aid packages. Many use high-pressure sales pitches at seminars where you’re required to pay immediately or risk losing out on the “opportunity.” There are six basic telltale signs that the FTC cautions students to look and listen for: 1) “You can’t get this information anywhere else.” 2) “The scholarship will cost some money.” 3) “We’ll do all the work for you.” 4) “The scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.” 5) “May I have your credit card or bank account number to hold this scholarship?” 6) “You’ve been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship.” or “You’re a finalist” in a contest you never entered. If you suspect that a scholarship search service isn’t operating inside the law, or you just want more information about scholarship swindles, visit www. With some advance planning, organization and a commitment to financing a college career, your student’s scholarship search will be well on its way. Claire Yezbak Fadden is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @claireflaire. | 17



that Keep Their Child Out of Their Dream College By Greg Kaplan

1. Waiting to think about applying to college until senior year of high school. By the time your child is a senior, their grades, skills, and high school accomplishments will be set. Success in applying to college is the result of years of hard work, planning and strategy.  Waiting until senior year of high school is too late.  Successful applicants employ a long-term approach to develop skills, interests, and passions that admissions officers find valuable, excel in classes consistent with what they want to study in college, and prepare for the ACT/ SAT. Be mindful at the beginning of

18 | birminghamparent | may 2016

photo by Christy Pierce Photography

Earning admission to the most selective colleges in the country has become increasingly difficult as the number of applicants from the United States and abroad skyrockets. In 2014, almost 250,000 applications were submitted for just 14,000 spots in the Ivy League while one of the top public universities, UCLA, received 85,000 applications for 5,800 spots in its freshman class. With so much competition, it is important to avoid the following common and damaging mistakes that parents often make when their children apply to college:

your child’s high school career that he is on the path to success for him to become a valuable college applicant.    2. Thinking all ACT/SAT prep programs are created equal.  Your child has a unique learning style. You must find the ACT/SAT prep program that will enable her to score as high as possible.  Determine the best possible prep program for your child based on her needs and your budget.  Your child may need a custom learning plan based on her strengths

and weaknesses. Interview tutors and program coordinators.  Find out how students perform after completing the prep program, especially previous students who started with a similar score as your child.  ACT/SAT prep can be costly, but finding the right program for your child will be the difference between acceptance and rejection.    3. Not focusing your child on developing high-value skills, interests and passions. Admissions officers look

To boost your child’s odds of admission, encourage her to develop skills, interests

for athletes for their sports teams, musicians for their orchestras, and leaders for their student organizations when admitting applicants to their incoming class. To boost your child’s odds of admission, encourage her to develop skills, interests, and passions that admissions officers value, including music, performing arts, and athletics, and leadership in service and interest organizations.  The more talented your child is in a high value field, the better his odds of admission.        4. Encouraging your child to get involved in too many activities. You may be tempted to encourage your child to try out for every team, get involved with every club, and volunteer for every cause in high school to create a long resume for her college applications.  Admissions officers focus on quality, not quantity. Being involved in many activities but accomplishing little in them will not impress admissions officers; excelling in a few activities your child cares

and passions that admissions officers value, including music, performing arts, and athletics, and leadership in service and interest organizations. The more talented your child is in a high value field, the better his odds of admission. about will. Colleges ask applicants to provide details about the time spent with each activity.  Your child will be able to impress admissions officers by describing her accomplishments in activities in her applications.    5. Failing to tie all of your child’s skills, interests and accomplishments together with an application theme. Like with a great movie, a compelling theme can tie together the different components of your child’s college application and help him stand out among a sea of qualified applicants. For example, if your child is an aspiring psychology major, he could intern at a local university’s psychology

lab, volunteer with an organization that provides counseling services, and tie her personal statement to her interest in studying psychology. The psychology theme brings your child’s passion to life, and helps demonstrate the value your child will bring to a college campus. Greg Kaplan is a college application strategist and author of Earning Admission: Real Strategies for Getting into Highly Selective Colleges.  He focuses on empowering families to develop their children’s high value skills, interests, and passions and market the value they would bring to colleges. See for more information.



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Why Sports & Smarts Go Together By Claire Yezbak Fadden

It wasn’t until we were driving to the scholastic awards banquet that I realized my son, an all-star soccer player, wasn’t comfortable with another label that also characterized his accomplishments – honor student. We were about to enter the dining hall where he, among 30 other seniors from his graduating class, were to be awarded their gold cords as lifetime California Scholarship Federation members.

20 | birminghamparent | may 2016

That’s when Shawn reluctantly told me he didn’t want to go. “I won’t know anyone here,” lamented the 17-year-old. “This isn’t my group of friends. I won’t fit in.” I attempted to ease his concerns by telling him that he had met the same criteria as all the other students at the banquet. It was then that I understood the bigger message Shawn was sharing – one that is believed by many people – the varsity soccer captain

can’t also be an outstanding student. An athlete can’t also be a scholar. But the partnering of commitment in the classroom and commitment on the playing field propels many teens to achieve excellence in all parts of their lives. It’s a winning combination. Being part of a team helps prepare students for life. When you’re part of a team, you’re automatically accepted by teammates. You’re a part of something bigger. “Athletes learn goal setting for the group,” says Mary Blackman, former health and physical education coordinator for the San Diego Office of Education. “Some kids have difficulty accomplishing academic goals. But when they join a team, students learn how to set small measurable goals and meet those goals. “They learn that practice does make a difference. Student athletes have to plan their time and be punctual. You don’t want to miss the team bus. All of these life skills carry over to the classroom,” she says. Just where does this stereotype originate? The dumb jock. The computer nerd. A teen is either a serious student or a ballplayer – you can’t let anyone know that you want to be both. But why can’t the softball shortstop also get straight A’s? Can the kid who’s taking honors physics also be the varsity quarterback? Both of these scenarios and others can be achieved if we send our children the right messages. It’s not a choice between the two. Teens can excel at sports while also excelling academically. Parents should support both accomplishments. Being involved in extra-curricular activities is an important part of the high school experience. It doesn’t matter if your student plays tennis, chess or the clarinet. School activities give students an opportunity to meet other teens they might not get to know otherwise. “The broader-based the team is, the better the experience will be for the student’s development,” adds Blackman. “Being part of a team helps break down the barriers. You spend time with people whose backgrounds are a bit different than yours.”

Nurture Your Student Athlete The messages parents send their children have tremendous impact on them. If you have a teen who works hard in school and enjoys sports, here are some ideas to help you nurture her as both a student and an athlete:

Focus on the Effort – Not every kid will be team captain, an honor student or MVP. That’s why it’s important that the message your child receives from you is that you’re proud of their efforts, both scholastically and athletically. School studies always come first and as long as your student is putting in their best effort, then they will receive the most benefits from their classes and their exposure to sports. Identity – Teens often fall into a labeling game: jock, smart kid, ballplayer, nerd. Help your child separate her identity from the things she does and the sports she plays. She should be able to see herself as someone who has many interests: Paula who plays field hockey, writes poetry and likes math. Her sole identity shouldn’t be tied into being the field hockey goalie. Stay in Balance – Don’t push your child to focus solely on sports. Student athletes must “make grades” (a C average in both academics and citizenship) to be eligible to play a high school sport. Assist your child in this balancing act. While you make certain she’s at practice on time and that she has the proper equipment, also check to see that homework assignments are done and school work is being kept up. Take Time for Fun – Teens will learn some great lesson and make life-long friends through their school activities. They also may need some help in fitting in fun. There are many demands on your teen’s time: practice, homework, school projects, parttime jobs and household chores. Help her carve out time for family events and an appropriate social life. Playing a board game with her brothers or working on a jigsaw puzzle with Dad will provide much-needed downtime. It can also give you an unstructured opportunity to talk.

Once inside the banquet hall, Shawn was surprised to see several of his good friends, including the class president and captain of the volleyball team. None of his pals, girls or boys, had talked about their academic accomplishments before the banquet. But all of them were there to receive their gold cords, and a handshake from the principal. With proud, picture-taking parents in the audience, each student stood up to accept the award. One by one they shared their plans after high school. I watched as my soccer-playing scholar shared his college dreams. That’s when it occurred to me. He’s not a scholar or an athlete. He’s just another kid, doing what he loves to do. Claire Yezbak Fadden is an award-winning freelance writer and the mother of three scholar athletes. Follow her on Twitter @claireflaire.


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Mother’s Day as a Stepmom: How to Celebrate By Gayla Grace

What’s a stepmom to do on Mother’s Day? Do we insist that honor be bestowed upon us? Do we create expectations of what our stepchildren should do for us? Do we allow the biological mom to get all the attention for the day?    Mother›s Day can be a hard day for stepmoms because it reminds us of the time and energy we invest in our stepchildren that might include little reward. And if our stepchildren do try to show their appreciation, it can be an awkward and insincere effort, usually prodded by their father. If you play an active role as a stepmom, you deserve some recognition for your efforts. That doesn’t mean you’ll get it from your stepchildren. Sometimes children  feel it dishonors their mom to show appreciation to their stepmom on Mother’s Day. It’s okay, however, to ask your spouse to honor and acknowledge you for your efforts with his children. I’ve learned to enjoy Mother’s Day with no

22 | birminghamparent | may 2016

expectations from my stepchildren. If they offer a gift or choose to honor me in some way, I’m thrilled. But even if they don’t, I remind myself it’s a privilege to take part in shaping another child’s life and affirm myself for what I offer. I know my husband appreciates the role I play and we’ll celebrate the day together. Some stepchildren love to recognize their stepmom on this special day and will make a sincere effort to let you know how much you mean to them. A host of variables play into how a stepchild reacts on Mother’s Day. The length of the marriage, the age of your stepchildren, the biological mom’s behavior, and the environment in your home contribute to your stepchild’s behavior. If your stepchildren honor you, embrace the offering. But if they choose not to, don’t take it personally.

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If your stepchildren honor you, embrace the offering. But if they choose not to, don’t take it personally. Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy the day, regardless of what your stepchildren do. Pick one or two, or construct one of your own, to create a day that will leave you feeling special for the valuable role you offer your stepfamily. 1. Spend Saturday night at a bed and breakfast and wake up Sunday morning to a scrumptious breakfast prepared for you. Re-connect with your spouse as you reminiscence and celebrate the good things happening in your stepfamily.   2. Find another stepmom who’s  having a difficult time and spend the afternoon with her. Encourage her efforts and talk through her challenges. Laugh together and affirm one another. Find positive ways to offer your support on an ongoing basis.    3. Spend the day at a nearby lake, beach, bike path or hiking trail. Absorb the beauty of nature while you count your blessings in your life. Set goals with your spouse that will help you become more connected in your stepfamily such as regular game nights, stepmom-stepdaughter shopping dates, or movie nights as a family.   4. Attend your favorite church or place of worship wearing a beautiful corsage, signifying the important role you play as a stepmom. Take pride in participating in your stepchildren’s lives as an additional parent.   5. Give yourself the gift of relaxation with a good book, time at the movies or a day at the spa with a girlfriend.  Eat at your favorite restaurant and tell your family you’ll be taking the day off from chores. Pamper yourself in whatever way feels special to you. Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be a difficult day for stepmoms. If you create expectations of how you want your stepchildren to honor you, it will result in disappointment. But if you choose to create your own special day, you’ll make memories that leave you feeling blessed to be a stepmom. So go ahead – plan your own celebration! You deserve it!  Gayla Grace is a freelance writer who has been a stepmom to two children for 20 years.

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Staying Safe Around the Water By Paige Townley

Summer is synonymous with swimming. And whether at the pool, at the lake or at the beach, it’s important to practice water safety – especially with children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 1 through 4 have the highest drowning rates. In fact, drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1 to 4 than any other cause except birth defects. Among children ages 1 to 14, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes. To avoid becoming one of these statistics, there are many steps that can be taken to keep children safe in or around water.

Expose Children Early Expose children as early as possible to the water. “By the time a child gets older, they have had time for fears to firmly establish,” says Laysea Chasteen, director of aquatics for the Hoover Family Branch of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham. “If that happens, it’s so much harder to break those fears and move past them.” That exposure to the water, adds Dollie Brice, instructor at Samford University and head of the Samford Summer Swim Program, can come from numerous places, not just a pool. “With little ones, let the water trickle down over their faces in the kitchen sink, or get the hose in the back yard,” she says. “Kids naturally love the water, and it can be so much fun. Have fun with them and expose them to water as soon as safely possible in the context that you can.” Supervision Required With children, supervision is important at all times. “Young children under the age of 4 should be within an arm’s reach of an adult at all times so that if something happens, the adult can easily reach and get them,” says Brice. If an emergency does occur, it’s important to have the proper rescue equipment by the pool, as well as a phone nearby so someone can call 911 immediately. And even if a child is swimming in a public setting with lifeguards on duty, parents or a designated responsible adult should actively supervise children. “If your child is around water, stay off of your cell phone or anything that takes your attention away from your child,” Chasteen adds. “Being on the phone is essentially the same as leaving them unsupervised.” Security Even when children aren’t in the pool, there are still many steps to be taken to ensure an accident doesn’t occur. Barriers at least four feet high with gates that are self-closing should completely surround a pool, and a pool (or hot tub) should always be covered when not in use. Toys should be kept away from the pool when not in use, inflatable toys should be deflated, and tricycles and other riding toys should never be used near the pool. “If you have a backyard pool, consider placing a safety alarm on it,” Brice adds. “There are different versions depending on the pool type, 24 | birminghamparent | may 2016

and it alerts you if something is in the pool. Most alarms have an in-house remote that receives alerts up to 200 feet away from the pool.”

Establish Rules It’s important to follow pool rules in a public setting, but parents should also create guidelines that the entire family understands and follows. “Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail,” Chasteen says. “For example, set limits based on each person’s ability. Do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.” Schedule Swim Lessons One of the best ways to ensure a child is safe around the water is enrolling them in swim lessons with a certified swim instructor. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that children are not ready for formal swimming lessons until after their fourth birthday (because they cannot voluntarily hold their breath for significant amounts of time before that age). Although the AAP believes infants and toddlers aren’t immune from drowning after participating in swim lessons, lessons at an age younger than 4 could help teach a child to love the water and potentially help parents become more comfortable having their child in and around water. “We offer a parent and child class for children as young as 6 months up to the age of 3, which is a great way for not only the child to adjust to water but also parents as well,” says D’Awvalo Turnipseed, supervisor of the aquatics department at St. Vincent’s One-Nineteen. “The class promotes water safety while getting children comfortable in the water. It’s a great way to build a child’s confidence so that they aren’t scared of water later on. The class also demonstrates to parents some safety tips they should take when in and around water as well. So it’s beneficial to both parent and child.” Swim programs typically vary as to the age children can enroll, and some offer private lessons in addition to group classes. When selecting a program, parents should always select a class that fits their child’s personality and ability. Adds Chasteen, “We encourage parents to enroll [their child] in private swim lessons until at least the age of 3, then after that they can choose between private or group lessons.” Paige Townley is a Birmingham based freelance writer.

Safety around water should always be top priority. Here are other tips to follow:

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Keeping Kids Hydrated By Darin Tessier, MD

Happy Mother’s Day! Mothers are very important and needed in a child’s life. We learn different things from our mother and she is often the only one we will listen to for advice. As the fun-filled summer months approach, it is important to remember a few tips that moms can relay to their families on heat and hydration while we’re out in the elements. Guidelines for hydration in child and adolescent athletes are available and new research evidence underscores the importance of hydration and hydration education for young athletes, coaches, parents, and youth sports organizations.

Darin Tessier, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with Brookwood Baptist Health.

Educate Your Kids about Dehydration Younger athletes don’t always recognize the early warning signs of dehydration. Therefore, before the start of the season, parents and coaches should give youth athletes a quick primer on dehydration. The warning signs every athlete should recognize include dizziness, thirst, headaches, cramping and weakness. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), children are less likely to freely drink proper amounts of fluid during physical activity and can dehydrate easily during activity. However, if given a sports drink (as opposed to plain water), children are more inclined to voluntarily hydrate during exercise. If your child does because dehydrated, it’s important to note that children become hyperthermic faster than dehydrated adults in the same environment. Even a 1 percent to 2 percent reduction in body mass reduces aerobic performance in 10 to 12-year-old boys. Water or Sports Drinks Generally, sports drinks are unnecessary for younger child athletes because they often contain high amounts of sugar. However, electrolyte enhanced

30 | birminghamparent | may 2016

sports drinks will play a greater and more effective role over water in hotter weather, same-day multiple sports sessions, older youth athletes who work longer and harder, and in sports situations with few opportunities to refuel with food. A sports drink can motivate younger athletes to drink more because it may taste better than water. However, sports drinks should follow the 6 percent to 8 percent carbohydrate guideline to minimize weight gain and side effects from high-sugar content. As a general practice, make sure your child follows these guidelines issued by The National Federation of State High School Associations: ✱ Drink regularly throughout all physical activities. An athlete cannot always rely on his or her sense of thirst to sufficiently maintain proper hydration. ✱ Drink before, during, and after practices and games. ✱ Drink 16 ounces of fluid 2 hours before physical activity. ✱ Drink an additional 8 to 16 ounces 15 minutes before physical activity. ✱ During physical activity, drink 4 to 8 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes (some athletes who sweat considerably can safely tolerate up to 48 ounces per hour). ✱ After physical activity, drink 16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during physical activity to achieve normal hydration status before the next practice or competition. The volume and color of the urine is an excellent way of determining if your child is well hydrated. Small amounts of dark urine indicates its time need to drink more, while a “regular” amount of light-colored or nearly clear urine generally means your child is well hydrated.

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Oak Ridge, Tennessee: A Perfect Mix of Learning, Family Fun and the Great Outdoors By Lori Chandler Pruitt

Oak Ridge, Tennessee bounds with beautiful natural resources, offering tons of outdoor fun, from off-roading to kayaking, parks and 85 miles of walking, running and biking trails. Oak Ridge also has an incredibly fascinating history. During World War II it was the fifth-largest city in Tennessee, but so secret it couldn’t be found on a map. That’s because Oak Ridge was a city founded by the U.S. military in the early 1940s as one of three major sites of the “Manhattan Project,” the massive wartime effort that produced the world’s first atomic weapons that ended the war against Japan. It was such a secret effort that those who worked at the plants did not know exactly what they were working on. It’s easy to learn all you want about that era in history here, and perhaps the best place to start is the Secret City Commemorative Walk in Bissell Park, which recognizes the remarkable efforts of the city’s founders. Many attractions further detail the story but

also offer lots of hands-on learning fun, such as the American Museum of Science & Energy, the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge, and the New Hope Visitors Center. This city remains a very significant research hub; for example, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is responsible for such important developments as flu vaccines, dental X-ray shielding and touch screen computer technology. Historic Jackson Square, the “original” downtown Oak Ridge, features the Oak Ridge Playhouse, the town’s original movie theater and Oak Ridge Art Center. The former Oak Ridge Mall is being transformed into a new downtown center, Main Street Oak Ridge, with 600,000 square feet of shopping, restaurants, residences, office and a new hotel. It is expected to open this fall. In June, Oak Ridge celebrates its role as the “Secret City” with its annual Secret City Festival, June 10-11, with live music, vendors, food, children/youth activities, bike and auto exhibitions, reenactments and much more. For more information, go to

The Zika virus has caused concern for many travelers. The single-stranded RNA is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of a mosquito (Aedes species), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. Only about one out of five infected becomes ill. Pregnant women, regardless of their trimester, should take extra caution when considering where they’re traveling to, as the virus can cause birth defects. Here are some tips to prevent getting infected when traveling: • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites. • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated for effectiveness and follow the directions for use. If you have a baby or child: • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age. • Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. • Cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting. • Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, or cut or irritated skin. Adults:

Traveling with Extended Family on the Rise Multigenerational trips are continuing to rise. According to MMGY Global Portrait of American Travelers, multigenerational trips are expected to increase by seven percent this year. Family travel has grown in value as senior folks are leading more active and healthier lives and are tagging along on family trips with their children and grandchildren.   Additionally, U.S. News and World Report posted an article about working parents using their limited vacation time to get their families together for a trip, including extended members. Families are enjoying all kinds of vacations including adventures like safari tours in Africa. The structure of families has also shifted, and now includes same-sex parents, as well as single, foster, divorced, and stepparents. Courtesy of MedJetAssist 32 | birminghamparent | may 2016

• Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face. • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items. • Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last. • If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully. • Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing. Courtesy of MedJetAssist

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Family amenities with you in mind | 33


The Gulf Breeze Zoo Has a New Train


All Aboard! Gulf Breeze Zoo’s new train was recently unveiled, and you won’t want to miss it on your beach trip this summer. The zoo’s new train is one of fewer than 400 to scale replicas made by Chance Rides of Wichita, Kansas. These rare trains are one-quarter-scale replicas of the original 1863 C.P. Huntington steam engine train purchased by the Central Pacific Railroad. C.P Huntington trains and the construction of the infamous Transcontinental Railroad are the setting of the recently popular AMC television series Hell on Wheels. Tickets are $3.50 per passenger and are sold at the zoo’s front desk and café. The Gulf Coast area’s award-winning Gulf Breeze Zoo is home to more than 800 exotic animals. The zoo offers many hands-on animal encounters and activities perfect for field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located just off Highway 98. Admission to the zoo is $15.95 for adults, $11.95 for children. Military, senior and group rates are available. Call 850-9322229 or visit for information.

Traveling By Plane? Here are Some Quick Carry-on Guidelines If you are traveling by air this spring and summer, a little planning ahead could help you avoid problems at the screening line at the airport. According to the TSA website,, you are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage, the TSA says. Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening. Exemptions to the carry-on rule are child nourishment and medications. Medications should be clearly labeled for easier screening. Go ahead and remove them from your bag for the screening process to save time. Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool medically necessary liquids must be completely solid at the security checkpoint, according to the TSA. If these accessories are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening as other medically necessary liquids. Other supplies associated with medically necessary liquids such as IV bags, pumps and syringes must undergo X-ray screening. If you are entering the U.S. from a foreign country, you may carry duty-free liquids in secure, tamper-evident bags, more than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in your carry-on bag if: • The duty-free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight. • The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening. • The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours. 34 | birminghamparent | may 2016

IF A FAMILY MEMBER HAS SPECIAL NEEDS: Passengers with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome or autism, can be screened without being separated from their traveling companions if traveling with one. You or your traveling companion may consult the TSA officer about the best way to relieve any concerns during the screening process. You may also provide the officer with the TSA notification card or other medical documentation to describe your condition.

IT’S ALL HERE... Everything you need to keep the family entertained

There is no better place to spend a family summer vacation than lounging on coastal Alabama’s beautiful beaches. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach boast gorgeous warm weather, an array of family-friendly events and activities, delicious culinary options and 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches. Amongst the many activities available to visitors, one of the most popular is fishing. Orange Beach is home to one of the largest charter fishing fleets in the Gulf. Throughout the summer, the area attracts fishing fanatics from across the country to compete in many deep sea fishing tournaments. Many offer categories for all age groups. Inshore fishing and pier fishing are also popular in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. From back bays and lakes to the Gulf State Park

Pier, there are many locations to hook the perfect catch. Many area restaurants offer a program called “hook ‘n’ cook” where families can bring in their catch to be prepared by a local chef. The Alabama Gulf Coast is a wonderful place to spend time this summer. From affordable accommodations and delectable dining options to activities and adventures for visitors of all ages, there’s no better place to be than Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Visit to learn more about the Alabama Gulf Coast. While there, be sure to request a copy of the 2016 vacation guide, a 100page magazine that features a photographic tour of the area, and includes complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do, and great places to eat.

36 vacation-rental houses with lake views and twosix bedrooms • Nine-hole putt-putt golf course • Zip line • Beach with 120-foot water slide •

Two pools Boat ramp & docks with fi sh-cleaning facilities • Two volleyball courts • Tennis & basketball court • Outdoor movie theater • Playground • •

Chesnut Bay Resort | | 256.526.7778 4480 County Road 44 | Leesburg, AL 35983 | 35

Photo by Jerrod Brown Studios

Established in 1931, The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport has been welcoming traveler to The Magic City and serving Central Alabama’s gateway to the sky for more than 80 years. Governed by the Birmingham Airport Authority since its establishment in 1986, the airport has evolved into a catalyst for growth and economic development for the entire region. In 2015, Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport served over 2.6 million passengers with four major airlines,

Following his reveal, Vulcan returned to Birmingham in pieces. It was not until 1939 that the big guy was perched atop Red Mountain, where he still stands today.

Did you know that Vulcan, Roman god of forge and metal works, was chosen to symbolize Birmingham and the state of Alabama because of his figurative representation of the iron and steel industry? Sculptor Giuseppi Moretti was commissioned by city leaders to design and build this 50-ton statue, which was completed in only a matter of eight short months. Vulcan was “birthed” in June of 1904, just in time for his debut at the St. Louis World’s Fair. There, he was placed on display inside the Palace of Mines and Metallurgy and Moretti won a prize for his work of art.

Every June, Vulcan Park and Museum commemorates the creation of the world’s largest cast iron statue and one of the most memorable pieces of civic art in the United States at Vulcan’s Birthday Bash. This year, Vulcan will turn 112, and we invite you to join us as we celebrate him in style on Sunday, June 5, from 12 – 4 p.m.! Sing “Happy Birthday” alongside Mayor William Bell and other partiers during a fun-filled, family celebration held at Vulcan Park and Museum. Adults are $7, children are $5, and children under 4 and Vulcan Park and Museum members are FREE. Admission includes birthday refreshments as well as a wide variety of exciting activities for guests of all ages. See for full details!

1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209 205.933.1409 . 36 | birminghamparent | may 2016

American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines, over 100 daily flights to 25 cities. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport welcomes families with family friendly amenities to make traveling with your little one, easy and convenient. In BHM, families will find family bathrooms, nursing rooms, and kidzones with children’s television programming. BHM is guided by the principle that COMMUNITY MATTERS, the Birmingham Airport Authority takes pride in working with neighborhood schools, families, and businesses to achieve a safer and more prosperous community in which to live, work, and profit. The Birmingham Airport Authority has several community programs, for more information, visit

Birmingham Airport


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park rater

The Park Rater Returns! By Patrick Rimmer

What is a Park Rater? That’s a great question. Have you ever had a friend or coworker tell you about a great park or playground for your kids to play on? Everyone gets excited to go to a new park and when you arrive it’s disappointing. The promised great playground is single slide and the swings are broken. My job is to check out local parks and tell you the truth. Sometimes people like a park so much that they ignore the problems. Being a Park Rater is not just a job, it is a calling. In fact, a Hollywood movie was made about my work. Perhaps you’ve seen it….“Raters of the Lost Parks.” The movie is available in the two-for-one bin at the dollar store. For my first park back in action, I wanted something truly unique and spectacular. I found it in Tuscaloosa. Snow Hinton Park was well known as a nice walking park located off of McFarland Boulevard. It has nice open green spaces and a one mile walking track. It had a lackluster playground until they built the newest addition. It rises out of the park to almost four stories tall. It is a complex mesh of webs leading up to a lookout post. Then it’s a quick walk over a suspension bridge to the main event – a 38-foot-tall corkscrew slide. It is literally the tallest playground slide in the Southeast. The Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Board went all out building this behemoth. According to published reports, they spent a quarter of a million dollars on the installation.


 38 | birminghamparent | may 2016


It was money well spent. The installation was designed by a company called Kompan. They are a European company founded by artist Tom Lindhardt. He started the company 40 years ago after learning that children had been using one of his massive art installations as playgrounds by climbing all over them. According to the company, the design of the web of cables will catch a child from falling if they should slip. This is good to know because the height of this playground is impressive. One of the missions of Kompan is to get older kids active and playing on playgrounds. This is definitely something that would accomplish this. I believe the climbing area is suitable for kids under the age of 12 as long as they climb to where parents are comfortable. I could see a time where a child’s ambition might get the better of them and they need to be rescued. As far as falls from the installation, a cursory check of news reports had not brought up any falls. So now for the actual review of the park, Snow Hinton Park is an older park, with older park problems. There are bathrooms but they are along the walking trail. There

is only one bench next to the new climbing installation, but very few parents will want to sit when their kids are on the wires. The park has wide open areas that encourage kids to run around and play catch. The playground is magnificent, a number of teens and pre-teens climbed on it and they enjoyed the slide as well. The slide is covered for most of the ride adding to the excitement and it adds an element of safety to the final part of the playground experience. The park is next to one of the busiest streets in Tuscaloosa. That is good and bad. It is easy to get to but there can be safety issues with young children and a busy road. Another plus for the park is that it is near two shopping areas. If kids get hungry, or thirsty or you need a break, retail therapy is close by. In the end this playground is one word….AWESOME. It is a workout for young muscles and the look of pride on some of the faces of those who made it to the top was wonderful. Patrick Rimmer is the nom de plume of a man from the exotic locale of Montana. He is married and has 2 kids. He currently lives in the Birmingham area.


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WIN or Pay Nothing! Contact Bill Gordon & Associates at 1-800-670-4805 to start your application today! SERIOUSLY INJURED by a TRUCK or Commercial Vehicle? Get Justice! We’ve Recovered Millions. No money out of pocket! Call Our Attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION! 1-866803-2781. SERIOUSLY INJURED in an AUTO ACCIDENT?  Let us fight for you! If our attorneys don’t win, you don’t pay!! Call today for a FREE consultation! 1-866708-0811. MISCELLANEOUS A-1 DONATE YOUR CAR FOR BREAST CANCER! Help United Breast Foundation education, prevention, & support programs. FAST FREE PICKUP - 24 HR RESPONSE - TAX DEDUCTION 855-306-7348 Safe Step Walk-In Tub: Alert for Seniors. Bathroom falls can be fatal. Approved by Arthritis Foundation. Therapeutic Jets. Less Than 4 Inch Step-In. Wide Door. Anti-Slip Floors. American Made. Installation Included.Call 800-701-9850 for $750 Off. A PLACE FOR MOM. The nation’s largest senior living referral service. Contact our trusted, local experts today! Our service is FREE/no obligation.

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THE ABOVE ADS HAVE NOT BEEN SCREENED BY THE SOUTHEASTERN ADVERTISING PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION (SAPA) or BIRMINGHAM PARENT; Therefore, any discrepancies thereof shall not be the responsibility of the aforementioned association or this publication. Your publisher has agreed to participate in this program and run these ads as a service to the Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association.


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Ride, Slide, Relax! 40 | birminghamparent | may 2016

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calendar highlights

Calendar sponsored by


The year is flying by! It’s already May – soon to be the end of another school year and the beginning of summer. Start the break off right by contacting your public library to sign up for summer reading programs that are fun and educational. Don’t forget that Monday, May 30 is Memorial Day, a day where we honor those in the armed forces who gave their lives for our nation.

TRAVEL TO OLD ALABAMA TOWN IN MONTGOMERY May 7 for the 19th Annual Herb Day Festival. The theme is Some Like it Hot, recognizing the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year, capsicum (pepper). A free, fun-filled educational event for the whole family, 8am-3pm. Lectures, demonstrations, music, children’s activities and the opportunity to find that perfect Mother’s Day gift in the open air market. Information,


THE BABY BIRDS ARE COMING! Support the Alabama Wildlife Center in its annual Baby Bird Shower. From 11am-2pm, come to the AWC at Oak Mountain State Park and bring a gift ( support us/wish lists/Baby Bird Wish List); tour bird nursery and aviaries, and enjoy free refreshments and children’s activities. Free after paid admission to Oak Mountain State Park. 205-663-7930.


MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU! May 4 is a special day at the Albert L. Scott Library in Alabaster. From 4-5:30pm, a Star Wars program blasts off for families with children six years old and older. All children must be with an adult. Wear a costume! Attendees without a costume receive a Star Wars mask while supplies last. Signup is suggested. 205-664-6822.


Visit the Southern Museum of Flight’s newest exhibit, JENNYS TO JETS: BIRMINGHAM’S MILITARY AVIATION HISTORY. In conjunction with the museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, this exhibition commemorates and pays tribute to 100 years of worldwide aviation service by the men and women of the Alabama (Air) National Guard. Through August 1.

NEED SOMETHING FUN TO DO FOR MOTHER’S DAY? Take Mom on a Southeastern Outings Dayhike to the Cahaba Environmental Center at Living River. It’s a 3-mile moderate hike along the Cahaba River at the site of the center, which is under development. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 7 and older able to complete the hike welcome. Depart 1:30pm from McDonald’s Riverchase Galleria. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680,


MEMORIAL DAY IS MAY 30, a day to remember those who gave their lives for their nation in the armed forces. The American Village in Montevallo will offer a day of remembrance and celebration with musical tributes, historical reenactments, wreath laying ceremonies and special tours that will remember the fallen, salute veterans and those currently serving our nation. Information, schedule,

30 | 41


Calendar sponsored by


Infant Safe Sleep Learn about safe infant sleep practices as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics at the Exchange Club and Alabama Safe Sleep Outreach Project.

6 FRIDAY Aldridge Gardens Plant Sale 9am-5pm, Aldridge Gardens, Hoover. Two-day sale features native plants, butterfly plants, hydrangeas, roses and perennials. “Pass along” plants that lived at the gardens will be featured at bargain prices and volunteers are ready to help!

7 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine.

1 SUNDAY 32nd Annual Springfest 11am-3pm, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Adamsville. Family fun! Enjoy food, games, plant sale, auction, cake booth and chances to win prizes, including a $2,000 grand prize. Fundraiser for church programs and grounds. Information, Springfest. FREE admission. Oak Mountain Spring State Fair Oak Mountain Amphitheater. Lots of fun for the whole family! Attractions, rides, games, live music, entertainment, food and more. Through May 8. Information, hours, Southern Bazaar 11am-5pm, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center. Information booths, arts and crafts, boutique clothing for women and children, shoes and jewelry. Proceeds from sale of discount shopper armbands will go to the Ronald McDonald House. 205-243-8543. FREE admission.

Greater Birmingham Music Educators Alliance Festival 1-5pm, Alys Stephens Center, UAB. A day of interactive programming and performances. Learn about all the ensembles and musical resources within the community and learn how to be a part of it. Featuring performances by Scrollworks, Music Opportunity Program and the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra. FREE. Southeastern Outings Dayhike 2pm, Buck Creek, Helena. Moderately easy, less than 4 mile hike. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 7 and up welcome. Depart 2pm from the Helena City Park parking lot, Highway 261 in Helena. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680, seoutings@ Birmingham Barons vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos – Autism Friendly Game 2pm gates open; 3pm game, Regions Field. Amenities include a “social story” that explains the game, reduced volume and

noise, safe, quiet zones and a designated area for mascots. Limited number of free tickets for autism families; limit tickets to immediate family. Tickets $5 after free tickets are sold out. Tickets,, Lauren Quinn, 205-2244867.

2 MONDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos 11:30am, Regions Field.

4 WEDNESDAY May the Fourth Be With You 4-5:30pm, Albert L. Scott Library, Alabaster. Special Star Wars program blasts off for families with children six years old and older. All children must be with an adult. Star Wars Lego, activities, light refreshments and more. Fans are encouraged to wear a costume and may receive a Star Wars mask while supplies last if they do not have a costume. Signup is suggested. 205-664-6822.

19th Annual Herb Day Festival 8am-3pm, Old Alabama Town, Montgomery. Theme: Some Like it Hot, recognizing the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year, capsicum (pepper). A free, fun-filled educational event for the whole family. Lectures, demonstrations, music, children’s activities and the opportunity to find that perfect Mother’s Day gift in the open air market. Information, Southeastern Outings Dayhike 10am, Smith Mountain Fire Tower area (near Lake Martin). A hike on the trail to this historic tower. Scenic, 3.6-mile moderate hike. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 8 and up welcome. Optional dinner afterward. Depart 10am from Publix at The Village at Lee Branch in Greystone. Doris Hatch, 205-901-8367. Hikes for Tykes 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on program for preschool children and their families. Look for dinosaur plants with Miss Anwen! www.freshairfamily. org. FREE. 36th Annual Trussville City Fest 11am-9pm, The Mall in Trussville. This favorite family outdoor festival features music, food, dance, arts & crafts, booth vendors, fireworks and more. Admission $5 per person (children 2-under free); once inside, all kids activities free. Information, www.

PLEASE NOTE: Events may change after publication deadline; please phone ahead to confirm important information. The deadline for submitting calendar items for the June 2016 print issue is May 6. Mail calendar items to: Calendar, Birmingham Parent, 3590B Hwy 31 S #289, Pelham, AL 35124; fax to 987-7600; e-mail to calendar@BirminghamParent. com; or enter directly to the online calendar at Entries added online after the print deadline will not appear in the print version. Information cannot be accepted over the phone. Birmingham Parent publishes a calendar 11 times a year. January events are included in the December issue. Guidelines: Birmingham Parent’s calendar is intended to be a resource and service to the community and our readers. Events which are open to the public, fundraisers, free classes, etc., are events that may be included in our monthly calendar. We reserve the right to reject any event or listing due to rules or space restrictions. For questions regarding calendar entries, call 987-7700 or e-mail 42 | birminghamparent | may 2016

Calendar sponsored by

Aldridge Gardens Plant Sale 9am-noon, Aldridge Gardens, Hoover, see May 6.


MOTHER’S DAY Southeastern Outings Dayhike 1:30pm, Cahaba Environmental Center at Living River. Threemile moderate hike along the Cahaba River at the site of the center, which is under development. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 7 and older able to complete the hike welcome. Depart 1:30pm from McDonald’s Riverchase Galleria. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680,

9 MONDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals 7:05pm, Regions Field.

10 TUESDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals 7:05pm, Regions Field. 50-cent hot dogs, social media night.

11 WEDNESDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals 11am, Regions Field. School Day, AAA Wednesday. www.

12 THURSDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals 7:05pm, Regions Field. Thirsty Thursday, Buffalo Wild Wings, Thursday Night Concert Series. Band Concert 7:30-9pm, Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School. 205991-5963, www.olvbirmingham. com. FREE.

13 FRIDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Jackson Generals 7:05pm, Regions Field. Mark Buehrle bobblehead giveaway, Star Wars Night, FIAT Friday, Friday Night Fireworks. www.

14 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. www.

Southeastern Outings Dayhike 9am, Cahaba Lily Walk, Bibb County. Come see the largest display of blooming Cahaba lilies in the world. Easy, five-mile hike. Wear old sneakers or sturdy river shoes, bring a picnic lunch and drink. Well-behaved, properly supervised children 7 and up welcome. Optional dinner afterward. Depart 9am from McDonald’s Riverchase Galleria. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680, seoutings@ Hikes for Tykes 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on program for preschool children and their families. Talk about the functions of flowers, fruits and seeds. Make bean seed necklaces! www.freshairfamily. org. FREE. Itty Bitty Birthday 10am-4pm, McWane Science Center. Itty Bitty Magic City is turning one and it’s time for a party! Special programs, live entertainment, outdoor activities and birthday cake. 205714-8300, Alabama Wildlife Center Baby Bird Shower 11am-2pm, Alabama Wildlife Center. About 1,000 baby birds will arrive at the AWC this year! Bring a gift ( us/wish lists/Baby Bird Wish List); tour bird nursery and aviaries, free refreshments and children’s activities. Free after paid admission to Oak Mountain State Park. 205-663-7930. 38th Annual Do Dah Day 11:01am parade begins, 12:01pm festivities begin, Caldwell and Rhodes Parks, Birmingham’s Southside. Do Dah Day is one of the city’s oldest and most anticipated events! Kids fun area, bands and more. Bring your friendly, leashed animals. The Do Dah Day non-profit organization raises money to benefit animals in the Birmingham and Jefferson County areas. Information, Alabama: Where to Go, What to Do 2pm, Hoover Library. Todd Keith, author of Insiders’ Guide to Birmingham, shares ideas and tips for fun (and sometimes free) day trips, weekend getaways or family vacations. 205-444-7840. FREE.

Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra in Concert 2pm, Jemison Concert Hall, Alys Stephens Center, UAB. Triumphant last hurrah of the regular season! Blake Richardson, director.

Celebrate Your Smile Seeing patients of all ages.

15 SUNDAY Birmingham Boys Choir Spring Concert 4pm, Wright Center, Samford University. The choir has been incorporated as a non-profit civic organization since 1973. Boys from more than 35 schools in the greater Birmingham area participate. Information, 205-767-9219, www.

17 TUESDAY Setting Yourself Apart in a Job Interview 7pm, Hoover Library. Key points for appropriate attire, behavioral questions and responses, researching companies and follow-up. Presented by Sylinda Daniel, Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce. Information, 205-444-7816.



Includes a FREE take-home tray and belaching gel for maximum results. Offer valid for all new patients. Must complete a teeth cleaning and exam to receive offer. Some restrictions may apply.

18 WEDNESDAY Infant Safe Sleep 6pm, Exchange Club Center, 2300 10th Court S., Birmingham. Learn about safe infant sleep practices as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ideal for expecting parents, child care providers, parents, grandparents and professionals who work with parents and children. The Exchange Club and the Alabama Safe Sleep Outreach Project have partnered to offer this free training. Session limited to 25 people. Register at https:// FREE. Regions Tradition Greystone Golf & Country Club. May 18-22. Information, tickets, schedule,

19 THURSDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Montgomery Biscuits 7:05pm, Regions Field. Thirsty Thursday, Buffalo Wild Wings, Thursday Night Concert Series. | 43


Calendar sponsored by

30 memorial day

formations that make Alabama the unique and beautiful state that it is. Birmingham Barons vs. Montgomery Biscuits 3pm, Regions Field. Salute to Armed Forces, youth baseball clinic.

23 MONDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Montgomery Biscuits 7:05pm, Regions Field. www.

24 TUESDAY 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, Hoover. May 24-29. Tickets, information,


20 FRIDAY 2nd Annual Barber Historics Barber Motorsports Park. Threeday event will feature on-track racing from museum-quality racing cars including the IMSA GT series that thrilled fans between 1971 and 1993. Car displays, barbecue competition, live entertainment and more. Presented by the Historic Motor Sports Association, ZOOM Motorsports and the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Tickets, Birmingham Barons vs. Montgomery Biscuits 7:05pm, Regions Field. 1948 Barons replica hat giveaway, Friday Night Fireworks, FIAT Friday, First Responders Night.

21 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine. 11th Annual Zoo Run 5K 7:30-10:30am, Birmingham Zoo. This run benefits the Marine Mammal Center! Race begins in the zoo parking lot and ends in Trails of Africa. Kids races begin at 8am in the children’s zoo. All participants receive free admission to the zoo with the chance to purchase additional discounted tickets for that day only. www. Book It! 5K 8am, Veterans Park, Hoover. The Friends of Hoover Library present 44 | birminghamparent | may 2016

this race to support the Hoover Library! Run, walk, dance or stroll along the trail course. The fun continues after the race and includes games, crafts, inflatables and two shows by the BMX Trickstars. Registration required. Information, Cahaba Lily Festival 9am-5pm, West Blocton. Information, Southeastern Outings Dayhike 10am, Alabama Nature Center, Millbrook. A tour of the Alabama Nature Center on the former Lanark Estate that features 350 acres of striking forests, fields, streams, wetlands and parks that are traversed by five miles of boardwalks and trails in three regions. Bring $4 per adult and $2 per child admission to center. Well-behaved, carefully supervised children 7 and up welcome. Depart at 10am from the McDonald’s at Riverchase Galleria. Dexter Duren, 205-393-0927. Hikes for Tykes 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on program for preschool children and their families. Join Fresh Air Family storyteller Verna Gates for a magical mystery tour and to build fairy houses/ forts out of natural materials. www. FREE. Ranger Day 10am-3pm, McWane Science Center. Get ready to celebrate the great outdoors! Junior Rangers

are invited to spend the day learning more about our national parks. See National Parks Adventures in IMAX, meet real park rangers and spend time with Smokey the Bear! 205-714-8300, event/ranger-day. 2nd Annual Barber Historics Barber Motorsports Park, see May 20. 7th Annual Bob Sykes BBQ and Blues Festival Noon-8pm, DeBardelaben Park, Bessemer.

Southeastern Outings Dayhike 10am, Hargis YMCA Retreat, Chelsea. Easy 4-mile hike in a scenic area. Bring water and wear good walking shoes/boots. Depart 10am from the parking lot beside the chapel at the retreat. Optional lunch afterward at Applebee’s in Chelsea. Edd Spencer, 205-3175868,

28 SATURDAY Pepper Place Market 7am-noon, 2829 2nd Ave. South. Fresh produce, vendors and more. Rain or shine.

Birmingham Barons vs. Montgomery Biscuits 6:30pm, Regions Field. Kids T-shirt giveaway, ZOOperstars! church night, Girl Scouts campout. www.

Hikes for Tykes 10am, Birmingham Botanical Gardens. A hands-on program for preschool children and their families. Would you rather be a pollywog? Read the book, Would You Rather Be a Pollywog? At the Japanese Garden and ring the Friendship Bell! FREE.



2nd Annual Barber Historics Barber Motorsports Park, see May 20. Southeastern Outings Dayhike 1pm, Montevallo Parks Trail. Easy 4-mile hike. Depart 1pm from the McDonald’s Riverchase Galleria. Optional dinner afterward. Dan Frederick, 205-631-4680, Exploring Wild Alabama 1:30pm refreshments, 2pm program, Alabama Wildlife Center. Alabama is blessed with a variety of habitats! Larry Davenport and Ken Wills will share their in-depth knowledge of the features and

MEMORIAL DAY Memorial Day at the American Village American Village, Montevallo. A day to remember the fallen, and salute veterans and those currently serving our nation in the Armed Forces. Musical tributes, historical reenactments, wreath laying ceremonies, special tours. Information,

31 TUESDAY Birmingham Barons vs. Chattanooga Lookouts 7:05pm, Regions Field. 50-cent hot dog night, social media night.

events & attractions ALBERT L SCOTT ALABASTER PUBLIC LIBRARY • Story Times: Tunes & Tales: Wednesdays at 3:30pm in Library Meeting Room, all ages. Toddler Tales: Fridays at 10:30am in the Library Meeting Room, 2-3 year olds 100 9th Street NW, Alabaster, AL, 35007. 205-664-6822, www. library AMERICAN VILLAGE Highway 119, Montevallo. 205-6653535, BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS When visiting the Gardens, be sure to download the treasure map to take with you. documents/treasuremapforweb.pdf 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham. 205-414-3900, BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE • Courage under Fire: The 1961 Freedom Rides Bus Burning. In honor of the 55th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides, BCRI presents this photography exhibition through May 22 in the Odessa Woolfolk Gallery. 16th St. N., Birmingham. 205-3289696, BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART • Bart’s Art Cart! Free drop-in art program for kids and families features a different theme from galleries and art activity each month. Saturdays from 11am-1pm. • Bart’s Books. A storytelling program for children ages 4-7. 11am-noon, Saturdays. • All the Colors of the Rainbow: Uzbekistan Ikats from the collection of Peggy Slappey. The BMA has hosted and originated many Asian art exhibitions over the years, but never one about Central Asia and Uzbekistan. See the beautiful colors and workmanship of these garments. 2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd., Birmingham. 205-254-2565, BIRMINGHAM ZOO • Dino Discovery! The zoo’s newest exhibit features 12 life-sized, North America-native animatronic dinosaurs at heights of nearly 20 feet, weighing almost seven tons and measuring 85 feet in length! Explore a trail filled with these magnificent creatures. Additional fees apply. Through July 31. In-park Special Attractions:  • Giraffe Feeding & Keeper Chat, Saturday & Sunday 11am-12pm & 2-3pm, $3. Sea Lion Training, Daily 10am & 2pm • Predator Zone, Saturday & Sunday 11:30am & 3:30pm 2630 Cahaba Road, Birmingham. 205-879-0409, HEART OF DIXIE RAILROAD MUSEUM 1919 Ninth St., Calera. 205-6683435,

MCWANE SCIENCE CENTER • Itty Bitty Magic City. This 10,000-square-foot area allows infants to kindergarten to learn in a fun and playful environment. Celebrate the exhibit’s one-year anniversary this month, 10am-4pm on May 14! • Body Worlds Rx. The institute for Plastination – organizers of the renowned Body Worlds anatomical and health exhibitions, presents this unforgettable educational exhibition. This public health experience features a collection of authentic human specimens including whole-body plastinates, organs, translucent body slices and body configurations that show complexity of the human body and its vulnerability to illness and diseases. Through May 1. • Hall of Heroes: Discover Your Super Powers. Learn the circumstances that create superheroes, discover the ideals that heroes uphold and push boundaries as to what it truly means to be heroic! Exhibit features the five disciplines that are the basis for all super powers: body, mind, mastery, gadgets and the elements; and a half scale replica of the 1960s Barris Kustoms’ Batmobile and much more. Begins May 14. • Member Mondays. Every Monday, McWane Science Center members receive extra perks while visiting! Also, on the second Monday of each month, McWane opens its doors from 5-8pm for its members. IMAX Movies: • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Mankind faces a new threat as Batman embarks on a personal vendetta against Superman. In the meantime, “Doomsday” is created by Lex Luthor, and it’s up to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman to stop them from destroying Metropolis. • National Parks Adventure. A trio of adventurers’ quest to experience America’s wildest, most historic and most naturally beautiful places becomes the ultimate offtrail adventure. Narrated by Robert Redford. Opens May 20. • Wild Africa. Come on a spectacular ride across, over and through the magical realms of the most dramatic continent on earth. • Robots. Today’s robots are nothing short of astonishing. Get a sneak peek into the future. Through September 30. 200 19th St. N., Birmingham. 205-714-8300, VULCAN PARK • Darkness into Life: Alabama’s Holocaust Survivors through Photography and Art. Vulcan Park and Museum, partnering with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, presents this sensitive exhibit of photography by Becky Seitel and art by Mitzi J. Levin. The paintings and photographs accompanied by educational narratives. Through May 16. 1701 Valley View Drive, Birmingham. 205-933-1409,

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poetry party

by Charles Ghigna

Rap Poems May is an aMAYzing month! It makes us want to dance and sing. It makes us want to rap!

Night Rain

City Faces

The City

Night rain tiptoes Down the street

The hustle And bustle Of people Downtown

The farm has charm But I like gritty I like the sounds Of the soulful city

Working And waving And walking Around

I like the mountains I like the sea But the beat of the street Is music to me

So many people So many places So many stories On so many faces

I like to travel I like to roam But the sound of the city Calls me home

Softly to a Gentle beat Plays upon My windowpane Washes darkness Down the drain

Here are a few rap poems to help put a little spring into your step!

NOW YOU TRY IT! Choose a subject to write about. Once you get started it’s hard to stop! You may want to make a book of them! 46 | birminghamparent | may 2016

For more poetry activities, visit the Father Goose website at Want to submit YOUR poems for publication? Parents, here are some magazines that publish poems written by children: • http://www.,

Suddenly, you’re in a whole different state of

fish tales. getting hooked. landing the big one.

The mild climate of the Alabama Gulf Coast means great family-friendly fishing all year round. From bay fishing to offshore deep-sea charters you’ll find what you really catch is a pretty perfect day. GulfShoresOrangeBeach






Register online today!

YMCA of Greater Birmingham

Birmingham Parent Magazine May 2016 Issue  

The May issue of Birmingham Parent magazine is here! Read up on the 1,000 Things to Teach Before They Graduate, find college tuition resourc...

Birmingham Parent Magazine May 2016 Issue  

The May issue of Birmingham Parent magazine is here! Read up on the 1,000 Things to Teach Before They Graduate, find college tuition resourc...