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moms m o s om MAGAZINE

keeping you current with all things mom

elf on the shelf? (or not)



days of



exercise Holiday


Holiday 2014

de-stressing the holidays

guide to

Healthy Skin co-sleeping with baby good or bad?

Join thousands of other moms online for stories, advice, recipes and resources at




holiday 2014

Special Features


– A Holiday Perfected – How to manage this year’s Elf on the Shelf

11 – De-Stressing the Holidays – Quick tips


Create your own Advent calendar and celebrate the holiday season

14 – Ten Unplugged Gifts – For families that want to disconnect

22 – Sugar Cookies – A special treat for the season

25 – More Than Just an Advent Calendar –

A Holiday Perfected

Creative ideas to discover Advent one day at a time


Expert Advice

16 – Twelve Days of Exercise – Quick daily exercises to fend off that holiday weight gain

20 – Ask the Pediatrician – Dr.

Gordon addresses the question of co-sleeping with your baby

26 – The Holiday Guide to Healthy Skin – 12 Days of Exercise

Are sweets good or bad for your skin? How about drinking alcohol?

14 Unplugged Gift Guide

ON THE COVER Tiffany Hutchinson from Orlando is looking forward to many “firsts” this holiday season with baby Holden, including his first photoshoot. Holden was 11 days old the day we took the photos. To de-stress this season, Tiffany plans to do two things; exercise and be pampered! Her wish list... manicures, pedicures, and a massage!


The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014






Why is there a triangle on my face? I guess that means there’s a video, right? YEP! We are pretty excited about a new feature that is integrated throughout this issue. It’s called Aurasma, and it’s really cool. So I’d like you to do something for me. 1. Get out your phone. 2. Download the Aurasma app. 3. Search for and “follow” TheMomsMagazine (case-sensitive). 4. Hover your phone over any image that has this symbol, and watch it come to life! 5. Once you’re a “follower” of TheMomsMagazine, you simply open the Aurasma app and that’s it! Images throughout the magazine will come to life! You can see Aurasma videos on pages 17, 23 and 24! So now that you’ve downloaded Aurasma and you’ve searched for and “followed” TheMomsMagazine, hover your phone over my photo, and WATCH this issue’s letter from the editor!

Volume 5, Issue 6 ~

Holiday 2014

EDITOR IN CHIEF kristi corley

EDITOR shirley neff

MARKETING kristi corley eryn vargo

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS mindy black kirsten evans kendra gilbertson gregory gordon, m.d. heather iseminger heather naples stephanie wentworth

PHOTOGRAPHY sari underwood photography

WEB AND DESIGN andy corley

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Kristi Corley

editor in chief

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Magazine Subscriptions


FOLLOW US @TheMomsMagazine


The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014



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I have a confession to make. But before I share my shadowed secret, I want you to know – I don’t feel any guilt for what I’ve done. Not a shred. Even when my daughter looks at me with her warm chocolate eyes and her turned-down lip. Not even then. Are you ready?

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by HEATHER B. ISEMINGER, blogger at photography by Sari Underwood Photography he Elf on the Shelf has been refused entry into my home. He has pleaded from the pins of Pinterest. Beckoned from the feeds of Facebook. Implored from the images of Instagram. And still? I’ve refused.

I just can’t do it. He would cause anxiety akin to finding out tonight that my daughter has a science project due tomorrow. I would forget about that Elf all the time. I wouldn’t be any good at making sure the little guy was up to no good each evening.

But I have a reason.

And then? The frantic kid tears the next morning would reveal my inadequacies.

I don’t hate that little elf. Nope. Not at all. In fact, he’s endearing. There are more sweet little adventures for him available than I have a mind to create. And that’s just it. For me, he’s one more task I would have to accomplish over the holidays.

There are momma friends of mine who love his little elf presence. They’re fantastic in the design of his elaborate escapades. More importantly, they love doing it and feel no stress – which is awesome. Yet for me? Pure anxiety is not what I want for this time of year.

The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014

All too often I equate the holiday season with the burden to meet lofty expectations. I feel the pressure of perfection. It’s as if Pinterest is looking over my shoulder whispering, “You’ll never get it right.” And the looking-all-together mommas are always 10 steps ahead. As a newlywed years ago, I purchased my first Martha Stewart December issue. (She did Pinterest perfect during a time when pointed thumbtacks held our favorite torn-from-magazine pins.) With that single purchase I dove into years of striving and straining holiday stress. Gifts were wrapped in coordinated paper, ribboned with glittering bows and homemade name tags. Elegant deserts traveled to parties and gatherings. Elaborate decorations were festooned throughout my home. Every single minute wore me out. I may have presented myself with my Martha smile, but behind the scenes? Scary. And altogether Scrooge. I wish I could say I quickly pared down my too-high holiday expectations. I didn’t. Even with the addition of children in our home, my standards didn’t change. Not only did I mentally compete with other moms around me, it seemed as if I was in a race against myself. But in the last few years I have felt a shift – a quake in my soul, cracking my perfected shell. I’m not sure when or how, but it’s happened.


baked goods are often replaced with bakery items from the store. And wrapping paper that doesn’t match is used to cover presents, with one roll of red tulle knotting easy-bows. Momma? Your holiday doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. When we stop striving. When we slow. When we savor. We find the glorious, and uncover the significant. The pressure of perfection strips our memories of their warm glow. The stress to amaze can reduce our holiday to a frazzled mess we regret. Stop striving, momma. It’s hard. I know. But choose the brilliance of a memory instead of the heaviness of attempted perfection. Our children won’t remember coordinated packages or cupcakes shaped like snowmen. They won’t care if break-and-bake cookies attended their class parties. When they’re our age they won’t think back to pristine houses with elegant themed decorations. No. The memories our children will cherish are of the nights warmly nestled under blankets watching the candles dance, listening to our voices read their favorite stories. They will treasure the moments we spend – not the money. This season is an expression of hope. I want to sink into the glittering peace it brings. Its beauty isn’t found in the stress of perfection but in the memories we create.

I am unfurling my white, tight-knuckled grip on the perfect holiday vision. With each loosened finger, I have embraced more of the unspoiled quietness and hope that this season brings.

Drink in the small, tender moments with family. Spend evenings gazing at twinkling lights and flickering candles. Hear music’s lifted notes, breathing in every tune. Slow to embrace this season – its hope, its joy, its peace.

My decorations are mismatched. Little hands clump ornaments together helter-skelter on our tree. Homemade

Your holiday may not make the cover of a magazine. But it will be perfect.

The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014

De-Stressing the Holidays Repeat as many times as needed: “I will not compare my holiday to a Pinterest holiday.”

Create a winter wonderland with snowflakes your kids cut from coffee filters and hang with dental floss.

Suggest a used holiday book exchange among playgroups or your circle of friends in lieu of purchasing gifts.

Give your children the gift of perspective. Find local charities that allow children to participate and volunteer at least once over the holiday season.

Allow your children to paint holiday scenes on a few windows or the sliding glass door with tempera paint. Their creations will be perfect, and it’s super easy to clean.

Make cranberry and popcorn garlands. Simple and elegant.

Decorate cookies together. You can be elaborate, or you can go all out with some sprinkles and breakn-bakes. Remember – low stress is the goal.

Host a family holiday movie night complete with cookies and popcorn – for dinner! Bundle up in pajamas, grab a thermos of hot cocoa, and drive around looking for the best lights in town.

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GIFTS For Families That Want To Disconnect By Stephanie Wentworth

This year has really seemed like THE year of technology. From the type of headphones we're using, to the camera on our phones, we've started a revolution, a technological era. However, with so many new features in electronics – and even with social media networking – it’s so easy to neglect real, face to face interaction, including with our families. I made this short list to give everyone a simple guide to gifting with the true meaning of the holidays in mind: family.

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BOARD GAMES We always love to sit around our fireplace playing a good, classic board game. Granted, our toddler doesn't understand 95 percent of the directions and is really just watching us play, but it gives us a really good reason to sit down , turn the TV off, and just relax, laugh, and have fun together as a family! I love Clue and Monopoly because they can be ridiculously lengthy – or as short as you'd like! The directions are easy and there's a lot of hand motions that my toddler can get involved with. Rolling the dice and moving our pieces are his favorite!


PICNIC SET This is probably my favorite gift on the list. A picnic kit is the perfect gift to give a family. We love ours, and it can be used in so many different ways! Family picnics can be on the beach, at a park, in your back yard, in your living room, you name it. There are so many memories to be made with this gift!


GIFT CARDS I specifically chose a Disney gift card for this guide because, well, I am probably a little biased. I love how a Disney


The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014


gift card can be used for so many different memory making experiences that don't even have to be at the parks. We have used ours to eat at the Disney Boardwalk, Downtown Disney, Disney Quest, and a number of other fun locations. This teeny tiny little piece of plastic gives the family you're gifting so many options!

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BOOKS Swing by your local book store and pick up a few of your favorite books, a book light, and a box of hot cocoa. Toss everything into a basket and you've got yourself the perfect "night in" gift for a family who just needs some down time. SMORE'S KIT Who doesn't love smore's? This choice on my guide doesn't really need too much of an explanation, but I do have to admit that this is one of our favorite family memories. It's inexpensive, easy to gift, and can be given to anyone!


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7 10 8 9 10

OUTDOOR GAMES I love a good game of corn hole, which has become a family tradition for my house on Thanksgiving. I found these custom corn hole boards on Etsy, but if you have a handyman in your family, you might convince him to build them for you!


MATCHING PJ’S Every year I search high and low for matching pajamas for our family. It is a ton of fun for us to sit together as a family and watch The Santa Claus on Christmas Eve in our matching PJ's. It can be pretty difficult to find perfectly matching pajamas for the entire family, but even makes a matching men's set, which is what made theirs my fave!


TICKETS How awesome would it be to receive day passes to your local aquarium or zoo as a gift? This is such an easy gift and doesn't require much wrapping! Don't forget to ask for discounts or free admission for kids!

FONDU KIT As a kid, I always loved it when my mom brought out our fondu set. We had so much fun cooking our own food, and because it takes longer than a microwave, we were forced to sit at the kitchen table and discuss our days, goals and activities! FAMILY GROWTH CHART This is an item I still don't have myself, but it’s on my list every year at Christmas. I love the idea of having a shared growth chart for everyone. These are great, and can move from house to house and eventually become a family heirloom. This chart from Mrs. Signs and Designs on Etsy is very affordable and can be customized with your family's name. Good luck with your gift giving this season and Happy Holidays from our families to yours! The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014


CHALLENGE: 12 days of fitness DURATION: Perform this full circuit for 5-10 minutes,


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DAY 10 10 Deadlifts a-rowing

DAY 9 9 Mountain climbers climbing

DAY 11

12 Burpees “Happy H

11 Squats a-jumping


DAY 8 8 Calves a-raising

DAY 7 7 Triceps a-dipping


6 Hips a-

Y 12

s, shouting Holidays!”


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Do you recommend co-sleeping? I do not recommend cosleeping. I do agree that when humans slept in caves, newborns slept with or on top of their mothers. I also recognize that babies sleep their best on their mother’s belly. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend cosleeping either. The AAP cites the small number of children who are crushed and suffocated each year in the United States as a primary reason. My main objection to co-sleeping is failure to see it work. Co-sleeping has to end sometime. Your child cannot still be sleeping with his mother when he is 14 years old. So, somewhere between birth and 14 years old, cosleeping must end. The transition to his own bed gets increasingly difficult as the months and years go by. When is it easiest to end a bad habit? Consider an example of a child holding a pencil incorrectly. If he begins holding it incorrectly the first time, and it is not corrected, he will continue to improperly use it. Attempting to correct the issue later on only presents new challenges and a hard-to-break habit. As with anything, it is best to avoid bad habits from the start. One of the families in my practice came to me frustrated with the baby’s

grandparents. The grandparents had recently decided that they could no longer babysit their grandson overnight or in the evenings. The parents had been co-sleeping with their 8-monthold son. He had always co-slept well for his parents. The grandparents, though eager to help, had been unable to sleep or get their grandson to sleep while the parents were away. Co-sleeping was dividing the family. The parents were frustrated with the grandparents. The grandparents (who wanted to help) were exhausted and frustrated with the parents. After a long discussion with the family and several weeks of hard, emotional work, their son finally learned good sleep habits. Fortunately, this family recognized the problem and corrected it. Too often,

parents do not see this as a problem, or worse, one parent wants to co-sleep and the other does not. I have found several families where mother and child sleep together and the father sleeps in the guest room. This ultimately damages the couple’s relationship and eventually their family. Parenting begins with a newborn that is completely dependent. Good parenting should create a self-sufficient, independent person. We parents need to let our kids “grow up.” We need to teach our children to do tasks and then back off. Teach your son to dress himself, and then let him dress himself. Teach your daughter how to feed herself, and then let her feed herself. Teach your baby how to sleep and let him sleep. The easiest way to impart good sleep habits to your child is to develop these habits from the beginning. By co-sleeping, even for a few months, you miss the best, most natural opportunity to give your child the gift of good sleep.

Dr. Gordon is the proud father of eight children. He is the Vice President of “The Gift of Swimming” (a local charity that provides swim lessons to Orlando’s needy children). In early 2010 Dr. Gordon started to share his pediatric and parenting experience.


The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014


By Dr. Gregory Gordon Author of Raising Good Parents – A Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

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The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014




The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014

My favorite holiday memories include Christmas music, hot chocolate and sugar cookies. I have decorated holiday cookies with my mother each year for as long as I can remember. This holiday season I was able to continue that tradition but with my own daughter! It was a fun and messy adventure that I hope I will never forget. I am providing you with my favorite sugar cookie recipe and I hope you will use it to create memories of your own either baking with or baking for someone you love this holiday season.

Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing Ingredients: 4 cups powdered sugar 2 tablespoons meringue powder 6 tablespoons water Directions: 1. Lightly combine powdered sugar and meringue powder. 2. Gradually mix in water, 1 tablespoon at a time. 3. Mix well, about 10 minutes, until mixture appears glossy. 4. If mixture is too stiff, add in additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. If mixture becomes too thin, add more powdered sugar one teaspoon at a time.

Royal Icing Tips:

Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 stick margarine 1 large egg 1 cup sugar ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla

• Create a border around the outside of your cookie with the royal icing and allow that to dry (1-5 minutes) before icing (or “flooding”) the rest of the cookie.

Directions: 1. Beat margarine in large mixer. 1 minute 2. Add sugar. Mix 1 minute. 3. Add in large egg. 4. In separate bowl mix together flour, salt and baking powder. 5. Add vanilla to wet mixture. 6. Slowly add in flour mixture. 7. Scoop contents of bowl onto plastic wrap. 8. Cover securely and refrigerate overnight. 9. Heat oven to 350 and bake 8-10 minutes.

• An easier icing tip: Check your local grocery store for premixed and pre-colored tubes of gel icing! These work great, are less hassle, and produce easy results!

Allow cookies to fully cool on drying rack before icing.

• Allow royal icing to fully dry before packaging or stacking on top of each other. Sometimes this may take 24 hours.

Please see the video below* for instructions on how to decorate these exact sugar cookies using the royal icing, a squeeze bottle and toothpicks!

Want to see more cookies made by Heather? Check out her Etsy shop for holiday cookies like these! prettyprettypastries

*Download the Aurazma app, search for and “follow” TheMomsMagazine (casesensitive), then hover your phone over the image below and watch it come to life!

The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014


LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER! Join a team led by local Orlando BE A C HBO DY coaches to inspire and support your success! or call to RSVP: 407-415-4744 (Install the Aurasma mobile app, then search for and follow TheMomsMagazine to see this video.)

More than just an

Advent Calendar by KENDRA GILBERTSON


rowing up, Christmas was one of my favorite times of the year. There were certain things that I knew would happen every year and I looked forward to doing them with our family:

1. We would always pile in the car and drive through the neighborhood, what we called candy land, looking at the Christmas lights; 2. Each Christmas Eve we would attend our church’s candlelight service and then join our family and friends at their annual open house; 3. And we always had an advent calendar. Most years, the advent calendar was just one of the cardboard ones that had a piece of chocolate for each day, but I have a vivid memory of my brother and I taking turns getting that little piece of chocolate each day. Fast forward and now I have a family of my own. The transition to married life and life with kids at the holidays is not always easy. I so desperately want to pass along to my kids all of the same traditions I had growing up, and so does my husband. One of his favorite memories growing up was their advent calendar as well, so it was an easy choice to continue the advent calendar tradition with our children! My husband went to work making this great advent calendar that will hopefully last for many years to come. I filled each bucket with a fun activity that we can do as a family throughout the holiday season. Some of the family fun activities include putting up the Christmas tree, reading the Christmas story, looking at lights in other neighborhoods, decorating cookies, and watching Christmas movies. Some of the buckets will also include something fun, like a piece of candy or a small toy for the kids to enjoy. Over the years I’m sure the type of activities will evolve, but I hope this rustic advent calendar – and the fact that we will be doing activities as a family – will be one of the most cherished memories my kids will remember about celebrating the Christmas season.

The Holiday Guide to Healthy Skin By Mindy Black Licensed Esthetician and CEO of Inner Beauty Skin Care



The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014

Steer clear of sugary treats: Between holiday parties and cookies from grandma, it’s hard to avoid desserts and sweet treats this time of year. It’s no secret that you should limit yourself to one serving (your skin will thank you) because high fructose levels can wreak havoc on your skin. Also, think twice about what you’re putting into loved ones’ stockings! Promote health and beauty by replacing candy with your favorite lip gloss, nail polish or a cleanser.

2 3

Keep your skin clean: Parties, family time, endof-year quotas, shorter days, I’m with ya sista! There is little to no time for you, especially during the holidays. But that doesn’t mean your skin care routine should suffer, and it certainly doesn’t have to be complex. A good cleanser, exfoliant and moisturizer are all you need!

Lay off the alcohol: Alcohol constricts the blood vessels and can cause the skin to become red, sensitive and even hot to the touch, making it uncomfortable. However, from holiday office parties to family gettogethers, you may not be able to resist a drink or two. Believe me, I get it. Start your pregame with a few glasses of water (more than the recommended amount), and alternate between alcoholic beverages and


water throughout the night. This way, you won’t wake up with dehydrated skin or that nasty hangover!

Combine: 1 cup cooked oatmeal 4 teaspoons honey ¼ cup milk

Cure hangover skin: Had one drink too many? Dehydration caused by drinking alcoholic beverages can cause dullness, itching, dark circles and even breakouts. First, you’ll want to get your drink on again (yes, I just said that), but this time with water only. Second, try a honey oatmeal mask.

The oatmeal will calm inflammation, the honey will hydrate your skin, and the lactic acid in the milk will give you a gentle peel, sloughing away the hangover and dark circles. Still feeling dehydrated all over? Throw some of this mixture in your bath and forget about that headache.

When buying over-the-counter scrubs, you can’t control the ingredients and the efficacy, and often times they can do more harm than good, especially if you have sensitive skin. Our favorite at-home exfoliant is:

Lemon and Honey Scrub* ½ cup fresh lemon ½ cup sugar 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 Tbsp. raw honey

The lemon is a good source of vitamin C and works as a natural astringent (like a toner) to even skin tone and tighten pores. The sugar, a source of glycolic acid, acts as the exfoliant, which will improve skin texture. The vitamin E in the olive oil will soothe, and heal the skin, while the honey locks in moisture, reduces inflammation and prevents new breakouts.


*Makes a great homemade gift for girlfriends! Skin care should be part of your daily wellness routine. It can’t be an occasional treatment. The holidays are a busy time, but staying committed to you is your guide to ageless skin, because only you can control how you age. For additional tips and tricks, join Inner Beauty Skin Care on Facebook for Sunday Facial Night.

The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014



The MOMS Magazine • • Holiday 2014

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The Moms Magazine, Holiday 2014  

This holiday season is about de-stressing and enjoying the unplugged, quieter moments. Choose to forget the Elf on the Shelf and focus inste...

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