Page 1

May 2014



Battling the STEM crisis



some helpful information for your family

Earth Day Everyday By Diane Williamson

Kids’ toys and crafts look a lot different now than they did when we were kids. One of my favorite “crafts” as a kid was to make “birds’ nests” outside with mud and sticks, letting them dry in the sun. Mud, sticks, rocks, pine-cones, paper and string (if you’re lucky) have been the toy and craft items for children throughout history. Commodities like tape and bandaids were tightly controlled by

parents less than a generation ago. Fast-forward to a new era of cheap stuff. Plastic toys and craft products are so abundant that they have become the new hallmarks of childhood. Even while just about every American can recite the mantra “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” in her sleep, individually we throw away 4.4

pounds of trash A DAY. Our Earth is in the midst of a genuine plastic trash problem. The Clean Air Council estimates that 2.4 million pounds of plastic enter the Ocean every day and in every square mile of ocean there are 50,000 pieces of plastic. Recently on a beach in Great Britain, swimmers recently found a washed up yogurt cup circa 1970! While many of us might not feel comfortable talking

with our kids about environmental destruction, the idea that animals eat plastic and die is just about the easiest concept to grasp. Of course, we might want to spare the heartwrenching details, like the fact that mother sea-birds, mistake the unavoidable quantity of plastic trash for food, and bring things like glue sticks, foam

stickers, and balloons to their babies in the nest. Scientists then find the chicks dead and decomposing around these little piles of plastic that filled their stomachs. Unfortunately, recycling is not the solution that it is made out to be. Most plastics are not recyclable—even if there is a chasing arrows symbols on it, it does not mean that it’s recyclable. Plus, even the plastic that is recyclable can only be made into another product one time. At worst, we are teaching our kids to litter, ignoring where something goes once it leaves their sight. The message is: if it is fun now, it doesn’t matter what the consequences are. At best, we have a cute and fun toy or piece of art that gets admired and played with for a couple of days. I also admired my mud birds’ nests for a couple of days until the rain washed them away. As much as I love my kids’ art, I don’t plan on keeping it for thousands of years. The crazy thing about plastic is: we have designed a chemical compound that is almost indestructible to fill the consumer need for disposable items. For those interested in learning more about the plastic trash problem and all of the totally awesome efforts underway to address it, I highly recommend the documentary, “Bag It.” It is informative, funny, and entirely down to earth. (Get it: “Down to Earth”) Solutions to the plastic trash problem are everywhere. At our house we recently made glue/paste out of flour and water (well, it was my mom, actually, but I’ll take the credit). I swear it took less time than it would to locate the product on the shelves at Wegmans. It works really well, and it creates no plastic trash. Recipe for glue: 1/2 cup flour 1/3 cup water Stir. Store in refrigerator. Diane Williamson teaches in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, as does her husband, Paul Hagenloh. They live in Syracuse with their two children, Oscar, 6, and Gloria, 2.

tips and ideas for keeping your family fast, fit, and feeling great

healthy family

Keeping baby’s mouth healthy

cavity-causing bacteria from the parent to baby, increasing the possibility of tooth decay as they grow. “A child’s teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they begin to erupt,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist and a pediatric dental spokesperson for the ADA. “Cavity-causing bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, can be transferred from adult

saliva to children, increasing their risk of getting cavities.: Shenkin points to other steps that parents can take to help children develop a healthy immune system. “Breast milk is widely acknowledged as a good immunity-builder as well as the most complete form of nutrition for infants. This is something on which both the ADA and the AAP agree.” The ADA recommends that parents protect the dental health of young children by promoting a healthy diet, monitoring their intake of food and drink, brushing their teeth or wiping gums after mealtimes and by having infants finish their bedtime or nap time bottle before going to bed. Children should receive their first dental visit within six months of eruption of the first tooth and no later than 12 months of age. For more information, visit the ADA’s consumer website,

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Many of today’s children are being raised by both their parents and grandparents in order to meet the demands of tight family schedules and even tighter financial situations. Not every caregiver is aware of the ever-changing guidelines that protect children against injury or illness, including information that has come to light regarding pacifiers. Parents should be aware that bacteria that cause dental decay could be transmitted from adult to child by sharing eating utensils or by the parent sucking on a baby’s pacifier to clean it. A study recently published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, about the immunological benefits of adult saliva does not, according to the American Dental Association, provide the full picture that adult saliva may also contain bacteria that causes decay. The ADAnotes that licking a pacifier, as promoted in the study, can transfer the

315-299-4681 MAY 2014 SYRACUSE PARENT


meals in minutes

fast and easy meals to get your family to the table on time

Bacon ranch chicken skewers Ingredients (12 skewers) 1/3 cup ranch dressing 1 teaspoon siracha sauce 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch pieces 24 one-inch pieces red onion 12 slices thick cut bacon salt and black pepper to taste Directions Mix ranch dressing and hot chile paste and add in chicken pieces. Marinate in the refrigerator for one to three hours. Preheat grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Thread a piece of onion about 1 1/2 inches down the skewer, then thread the end portion of one strip of bacon onto

meal on a

skewer so the rest of the strip is hanging down. Skewer on a piece of chicken; thread on the next portion of the bacon. Turn the skewer so that the long end of the bacon is again hanging down. Repeat this process of skewering and turning until the entire strip of bacon is threaded, using 4 to 5 chicken pieces. Then add another onion piece and repeat the process for all twelve skewers. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Cook, turning every three to four minutes, until browned on all sides and the meat is no longer pink in the center, 12 to 16 minutes total per skewer. Serve with ranch dressing as a dipping sauce.

Shrimp and pineapple kabobs Ingredients (four servings) 1/4 cup each of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and honey 1 garlic clove, minced 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 can pineapple chunks, drained Directions Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey

and garlic. Set aside 1/3 cup. On skewers, thread shrimp, green pepper and pineapple. Pour remaining marinade over kabobs. Cover and chill for 1 hour along with reserved marinade. Drain and discard marinade. Lightly coat the grill rack with oil. Grill, uncovered, over medium heat or broil four inches from the heat for 5-8 minutes or until shrimp turn pink; turning and basting with reserved marinade.

Korean beef kabobs Ingredients (four to six servings) 1 1/2 lb. sirloin steak, cut into strips 1/2 cup pear juice 1/2 cup soy sauce 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 2 Tbsp. minced garlic 1 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce 1 1/2 tsp. sesame oil




Directions Combine pear juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili sauce and sesame oil. Add sliced steak. Marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Preheat the grill. Thread steak onto skewers. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

what’s inside


feature story

2 It’s your birthday, baby! Celebrating your baby’s birthday.

meals in minutes 4 Meal on a stick

from the editor 6

No gift good enough

healthy family 3 Keeping baby’s mouth healthy 11 Looking for ways to help your child? 18 Healthy habits must start early

calendar 8 What’s happening around you this season

family FYI

cover photo

Pictured is John Perrine, of Syracuse, and Isabella Nicole Tamurian of DeWitt. Photographed by Raine C. Dufrane, owner of Raineydayz Photography. 430.3229 or visit

2 Earth Day everyday 16 Make room for ... babies

learning curve

12 The STEM crisis and bridging the gap 13 We’re in this together: A proud mother’s Q&A

17 A mom’s superstitions MAY 2014 SYRACUSE PARENT


from the editor

No gift good enough I know I will be giving gifts to my mother and mother-in-law on Mother’s Day, May 11. I also know that, no matter how pretty, pricey or practical they may be, they can never express my gratitude and love for both of these wonderful women. My mother, known as “Baci” to my children, has shown me what unconditional Pictured on Christmas Eve 2013 are my love is. She has always been mother-in-law, far left, and my mother, there for me, in good and second from left, with my father, husband, bad times. She has been my kids and I. cheerleader while keeping me grounded. She and my father continue to inspire me with the depth of their commitment to each other. My mother-in-law, whom I began calling “Mom” even before my husband and I married, is the most giving, caring mother-in-law I could ever have hoped for. She has made me feel as if I am not simply a “daughterin-law,” but another one of her children. We have had so much fun over the years, and I am happy to say that she and my parents have a great relationship as well. Since the birth of my children, these two amazing women have served as babysitters while I am at work. This has allowed me to do what I love, with the knowledge that my daughter and son are being cared for by their grandmothers, who cherish them as I do. The bonus in all of this is the relationship my kids have with their grandmothers. It is such a wonderful thing to see – they are involved in each others’ lives and spend quality time together. They are making memories that will last a lifetime – whether it’s decorating eggs for Easter, taking a car trip to visit relatives, swimming in grandma’s pool or just enjoying each others’ company. It’s true that a mother’s love is like no other, but it is also true that a grandmother’s love is equally special. It’s a most precious, special gift that can’t be bought or wrapped in fancy paper and tied with a bow. So, as I hand over the woefully-inadequate gift I get each of them for Mother’s Day, I am mindful of the fact that their gift to both me and my children is priceless, and hope that they know that I recognize how fortunate I am to have them both in my life. Stay up-to-date with us on Twitter, @SRYparent, and at Jennifer Wing can be reached at

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434-8889 ext. 331 We want your news! Contributions can be sent to Farah Jadran, Associate Editor, Syracuse Parent Magazine, 2501 James Street, Suite 100 Syracuse, New York 13206. Original contributions become the property of Syracuse Parent Magazine. Contributions cannot be acknowledged or returned. To contact us please call 315.434.8889, or fax 315.434.8883 Syracuse Parent Magazine is a unit of Community Media Group LLC. Published monthly. Deadline for advertising and calendar events is the 10th day of the month preceding publication. Display advertising rates available upon request. Syracuse Parent Magazine reserves the right to refuse advertising for any reason. We do not guarantee any of the information, services, or products published in this or any issue. The opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this paper. Copyright © 2008 by Syracuse Parent Magazine. No portion of Syracuse Parent Magazine may be reproduced without permission from the editor.

feature story

It’s your birthday, baby! Celebrating your baby’s first birthday By Carmen E. Zafar A baby’s first birthday is an exciting event. Nowadays, we have iPhones ready all the time to snap photos of the kids. Back in the day, it was all about developing film and even capturing a home movie of baby’s first steps on Uncle Joe’s brand new camcorder. This month’s cover features two local babies celebrating that special day this month. On May 30, little Julian John Perrine, of Syracuse, and Isabella Nicole Tamurian, of DeWitt, will celebrate their first birthday. The excitement is definitely building in each household. “I am looking forward to

looking back on an eventful first year, full of many amazing moments that we have shared,� shared Heather Tamurian. “Isabella has grown and changed so much in the past year.� From the first time Heather and her husband Peter held their baby girl, the moments and the “firsts� began. The first smile, first laugh and the first time she crawled and stood up on her own. “The first year went very fast,� Heather said. “One day it was just the two of us, the next we were a family of three, and in a blink Isabella is a year old.� As for Julian’s mommy and daddy, they’re looking forward to celebrating this big day with

family and friends. Aaron and Amanda Perrine have already been finding ways to share these memories in the future with their son. “I wrote him monthly letters about new things he was doing, places we went, people he met and anything else I wanted to remember happening,� Amanda said. “As he gets older and doesn’t change so drastically month to month, I plan to write these yearly instead.� Amanda says the camera will be rolling to capture video and, of course, many photos will be

taken. No matter how big the party is or how big the guest list is, the bond between children and parents is one that has no comparison. With this first celebration, comes the thought of many more to come. Happy first birthday, Isabella and Julian!

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here is what’s happening around you

Thu May 1 STORYTIME WITH MISS COLLEEN. Every Thursday at 10 AM. Barnes & Noble story times are always fun, filled with great books, silly songs and cool activities. Great for toddlers and preschoolers. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East, DeWitt.

Sat May 3 NEDA WALK. 9 AM. Long Branch Park, Liverpool. You can create a NEDA walk team for your organization when you register, and this team can be for a school, workplace, or group of friends. Bring your team spirit on walk day, and sport some gear from your group. Contact Julie Steinberg (jsteinberg@nationaleatingdisorders. org) if you have any questions about creating or joining a team.

PARTY FOR THE PLANET. 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Free with paid admission or zoo membership. Join the zoo to celebrate Earth Day 2014. Chat with zoo staff at animal demonstrations and keeper talks featuring some of the zoo’s resident endangered species, enjoy a puppet show and visit “green” booths and exhibitors. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, One Conservation Place, Syracuse. 435-8511.


Sun May 4 CONFLICT RESOLUTION. “Stop Arguing and Start Resolving Disagreements.” 7 to 9 PM. A Family Life, Hope Appeal program. Sponsored by THE THIRD OPTION, an on-going program to build better marriages and the Family Life Education Office. Holy Cross Church, 4112 E. Genesee St, Syracuse. Walk-ins welcome. 472-6728.

Tue May 6 FILM VIEWING. 6:30 PM. Onondaga Free Library, 4840 W. Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. Award-winning film about surfers who take action to protect dolphins, whales and porpoises. Free and open to the public. 4921727. Sponsored by People for Animal Rights, Syracuse.

Staff on call Wed May 7 24 HOURS A day!

BRANCH OUT AND GROW. 7 to 8:30 PM. A support group for separated and divorced. Bishop Ludden High School, 815 Fay Road, Syracuse. Besides support, we will also be showing a meditative video: “Moving On, Growing Closer to God” by DivorceCare and discussing it. All are welcome. Sponsored by Family Life Education (A Hope Appeal Agency). 472-6754, ext. 5.

Thu May 8 MONTEZUMA BIRDING HIKE. 9 to 11 AM. Montezuma Audubon Center’s forests and wetlands are teaming with life. A two-mile long walk over flat terrain will provide excellent opportunities to hone visual and audio identification skills of songbirds and waterfowl. Bring binoculars or borrow a pair from us. Fee: $4 per child; $6 per adult; $20 per family. Savannah, N.Y. LOCAL AUTHOR SHOWCASE. 6 to 7:30 PM. May 8 and 9. Stop by for a meet and greet event, as multiple local and area authors will be here to discuss their books and sign copies. The subjects include fiction, mystery, history, environment, children’s books, family/childcare and more. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East. DeWitt. 449-2948.

Sat May 10

Prenatal Consultation!


800 S. State St. Free Admission. Door prizes and giveaways. This fair is presented by the ARISE Early Recognition Screening Program. Contact: Rudy Friedberg, 671-3090.


8086 Oswego Rd. Phone: 652-1070



601 North Way Phone: 487-1541




MOTHER’S DAY TEA. 2 to 4 PM. Event to be held annual. The Tea will be held at St. Michael’s Church in Camillus and will benefit the HLACNY tuition assistance program and the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. HLACNY is a not-for-profit homeschooling group serving the Central New York and greater Syracuse area. Tickets:

MOTHER’S DAY STORYTIME. 11 AM. Come for a storytime featuring, “Oh the Things My Mom Will Do,” a story celebrating motherhood and all the touching things moms do out of love, by author/illustrator Marianne Richmond. Great for children ages 3 to 5. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East. DeWitt. 4492948.


calendar MARSH VOLUNTEER EVENT. 9 AM to 1 PM. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to enhance forest habitat for birds and other wildlife by participating in a native tree planting project at Montezuma. Work side by side with NYSDEC Wildlife Biologists. Lunch provided. Free. Savannah, N.Y. MOTHER’S DAY BIRDING AND NATURAL SPA. 2:30 to 4 PM. Spend some time with mom and Mother Nature to celebrate Mother’s Day. The afternoon will start with attendees making a body scrub from natural ingredients. Then, head out on the trail to see if you can spot the elusive Cerulean Warbler. Fee: $6 per child, $8 per adult, $25 per family. Savannah, N.Y.

Thu May 15 TEEN HOME SCHOOL NATURE SERIES: PLANT A FOREST. 1 to 3 PM. Homeschoolers ages 11 and up can help diversify the forest by planting various wildflowers, shrubs and seedlings to make more food for birds and other wildlife. The children will also use an online citizen science tool called Yard Map to monitor the condition of the forest. Fee: $8 per student. Savannah, N.Y.

Sat May 17 CATCH THE KEEPER DAY. 10 AM to 3 PM. Free with paid admission or zoo membership. Enjoy a fun day of keeper talks, feeding times, animal enrichment and training. Interact with our zoo keepers and learn more about the animals they care for here at the zoo. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, One Conservation Place, Syracuse. 435-8511.

Wed May 21 BRANCH OUT AND GROW. 7 to 8:30 PM. A support group for separated and divorced. Bishop Ludden High School, 815 Fay Road, Syracuse. Besides support, we will also be showing a meditative video: “Moving On, Growing Closer to God” by DivorceCare and discussing it. All are welcome. Sponsored by Family Life Education (A Hope Appeal Agency). 472-6754, ext. 5.

Thu May 22 “BELLWEATHER RHAPSODY” BY KATE RACCULIA. 7 PM. Talk and Signing with Syracuse native Kate Racculia for her new novel, “Bellweather Rhapsody,” a heart-thumping mystery of music and murder, wherein the past repeats itself, and in doing so becomes malleable again. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East. DeWitt. 449-2948.

Sat May 24 ART ON THE FARM. 10 AM to 2 PM. Young artists will explore the wonders of seeds in, “The Life of a Seed,” and how they grow into colorful plants and food for people and animals. Each artist will plant a sunflower seed to take home and care for. Activity for grades first through third. $15 per artist. All materials provided. Register via email or call 289-2706.

BIRDING AND BOATING ON THE SENECA RIVER. 1 to 4 PM. Come for the first canoe-kayak paddle of the season on the Seneca River. Bird songs will rain down from the tree canopy while paddling the tranquil waters around Howland’s Island. Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one from us. Fee: $8 per child without rental, $13.50 per adult without rental, $25 per solo kayak rental, $40 per canoe rental (maximum two adults plus one child). Savannah, N.Y.

Expires 6/30/14




here is what’s happening around you

Mon May 26 MEMORIAL DAY BENEFIT. 8 AM to Noon. Columbian Presbyterian Church. Benefit for LaFayette Outreach. LaFayette Outreach is a local food pantry and service-referral agency, and relies exclusively on grants and donations to help feed neighbors in the area south of Syracuse. Silent auction, plant sale, bake sale, ice cream sundaes, and a free kid’s craft area. All proceeds will be donated directly to LaFayette Outreach. 677-3293, or

Tue May 27 BARNES & NOBLE BOOK CLUB. 6 PM. Join our book discussion group by the fireplace on the fourth Tuesday of the month. Please contact the store for the May selection. New members are always welcome. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East. DeWitt. 449-2948.

SOCIETY OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS GROUP. 7 PM. Welcome, Central New York children’s writers and illustrators! Come for a discussion at our children’s stage. A great way to get information and connect with local authors and illustrators. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East, DeWitt.

Fri May 30 GIFFORD FAMILY THEATRE PRESENTS A DR. SEUSS STORYTIME. 4:30 PM. Fun for all ages, the Gifford Family Theatre will present a lively, engaging Dr. Seuss storytime with costumed

For over 40 years, Pediatric Cardiology Associates, LLC has been providing cardiovascular services throughout the Central New York region, to children and young adults with congenital heart disease. PCA performs noninvasive services, including fetal, transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, EKG services, stress/exercise testing and MRI/MRA.

Accepting referrals from pediatricians and primary care physicians. 725 Irving Suite 804, Syracuse, NY 13210 Marie S. Blackman, M.D., Director Emeritus Nader H. Atallah-Yunes, M.D., FACC Craig J. Byrum M.D., FACC Matthew Egan, M.D. Daniel A. Kveselis, M.D., FACC Frank C. Smith, M.D., FACC




Phone: (315)-214-7700 | Toll Free: (877) 404-5868 | Fax: (315) 214-7701

characters from their 2014 production of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. A Green Eggs (no ham) Hunt will round out the festivities. Barnes & Noble. 3454 Erie Blvd East, DeWitt.

Sat May 31 ARISE & RIDE FOR RAMPS. 10 AM to 4 PM. Four-Hour Charity Motorcycle Ride, 5K Run, Chicken BBQ, Music, Family Fun. Through donations and the support of our dedicated ramp-building volunteers, the ARISE Oswego County Ramp Program has provided ramps for over 160 families. Lighthouse Lanes, Oswego. Contact: Jim Karasek, 342-4088, ext. 206. HEALTH & WELLNESS DAY. 11 AM to 3 PM. Method 360, 314 E. 1st Street, East Syracuse. Join local women for a day of health and wellness with fitness demos, information from local awareness causes and upcoming events. Prize drawings will be designated for the day. For more information, visit

Ongoing ANIMAL DEMONSTRATIONS. 10 AM to 4:30 PM weekends beginning May 24. Free with paid admission or zoo membership. “In the Wings” bird show, the ever-popular Elephant Encounter, penguin feedings, keeper talks and various animal demonstrations. Rosamond Gifford Zoo, One Conservation Place, Syracuse. 435-8511.

tips and ideas for keeping your family fast, fit, and feeling great

healthy family

Looking for ways to help your child? Neurofeedback may be an effective solution to the challenges faced by your family. Bestselling author Dr. Daniel Amen said, “Brain dysfunction is the number-one reason people fail at school, at work and in relationships. When the brain is ineffective so are we.” The brain, he points out, “is the super computer that runs your life.” A highly organized spider web of pulsating activity with a consistency like Jello, the brain is easily injured by a bump to the head, toxins in our environment and stress in our lives. You may have never thought of it this way, but anxiety, depression, sleep problems, inattention and lack of self-control are clear signs of brain dysfunction. Medications are designed to reduce symptoms, but do not resolve the underlying cause

of these life-altering conditions. Neurofeedback is a brain exercise approach which enhances the function of the central nervous system by training the brain to regulate its own behavior. Impact the function of the brain and you can impact everything from sensory processing to behavioral and emotional control, sleep, movement, pain perception and learning. Many neurofeedback clients are able to avoid, reduce or eliminate medication. Neurofeedback, which was originally developed by NASA, is a game-based learning process. The brain responds to reward-based learning, each individual is challenged at his or her own level. It is pleasant and relaxing, a gradual learning process. Our goal is to guide the client to the brain state where they feel the most comfortable: alert, mentally and emotionally calm and physically relaxed. This is achieved by showing the client the

ebb and flow of their brainwave activity through a video game or audiovisual display that feeds this information back to the brain. The response to this training process is often quick and profound. Racing thoughts quiet down, anxiety dissolves, sleep improves, chronic pain lessons, energy increases, behavior problems resolve, and performance is enhanced. Significant developmental gains are often achieved in areas such as self-control, attention, IQ, social and educational skills, speech and coordination. With adequate reinforcement the effect can last a lifetime. Priscilla Young, CNS, is a neurofeedback specialist at Syracuse Neurofeedback. For more information, go to or contact Priscilla Young at 350-8816 orpryoung60@ and schedule a free initial consultation.


Want to become an organized, calm, even tempered parent?



learning curve

the ins and outs of educational and stimulating activities for your children

The STEM crisis & bridging the gap By Maria C. Moore

passion in STEM. Construction toys, like LEGO Bricks, develop an early interest in these subjects. By engaging children in these activities at a young age, we begin to open doors that may have otherwise been closed.

We are facing a crisis in our country: a crisis in the decrease of our children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Many of the jobs of the 21st century are jobs in STEM. Whether it’s a mechanical engineering position at Lockheed Martin here in Central New York or a job in information technologies for Exxon Mobil in Dubai — STEM is accounting for numerous jobs. In fact, jobs in STEM fields are growing faster than any other industry except health care. By 2020 there will be 9.2 million STEM jobs, with 4.6 million in computing alone, and the Bureau for Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55 percent faster than non-STEM jobs over the next 10 years. As jobs in the STEM field are increasing, the national interest in STEM-based careers is declining. Part of the U.S. 2020

initiative announced at the White House Science Fair last year reflected the urgent need to do more to encourage students to go into STEM professions. When asked what holds them back from a career in STEM, a common response is the lack of knowing anyone who works in the field. Without anyone to model from or ask questions, these children are steering clear of jobs in the STEM field, and looking elsewhere. As a nation, we need to engage our children in STEMbased activities at an early

age to foster their interest and to realize that STEM – based careers are a viable option. It has been said that people who choose a career in science, technology, engineering or math, made an emotional connection early on when making their career choice. And often, they can trace that moment back to a pivotal experience in their lives that connected them on an emotional level for the first time with their chosen line of work. There are fun and engaging activities to ignite children’s

There are new interactive enrichment programs to engage children by making it fun. By taking the learning out of the classroom with more hands-on learning, children can really gain an appreciation of how things work. As a parent of two young children, I began looking locally to see what options were available for our children. I was surprised by the lack of enrichment programs, and that drove me to bring Bricks 4 Kidz to Syracuse. Knowing that children often choose a STEM based career by making an emotional connection early on, I was excited to find an enrichment program based around LEGO Bricks, allowing children to get excited about STEM, and learn about STEM career options. At a recent enrichment class in Jamesville a student told me he wanted to be a LEGO teacher just like me when he grew up. I will never forget the excitement in his eyes when I asked him, “How about being a LEGO engineer for LEGO instead.” That thought had never crossed his mind, but I hope I have ignited a fire in that little master builder. Maria C. Moore is the Owner/Director of Bricks 4 Kidz – CNY. At Bricks 4 Kidz, they teach children STEM using LEGO Bricks. To learn more about Bricks 4 Kidz visit



learning curve

cuts because of the dangers. Though It’s amazing what you can learn in right after I had Olivia, those were my five minutes, so we did just that with demands — sushi and coffee. your local NBC 3 and CW 6 evening anchorwoman, CNY Central’s Megan What advice would you Coleman! Read on and learn give new parents when about her thoughts on this C e g a n ole ma M n preparing a young child month’s topics.

What was the most memorable moment for Olivia’s first year and Henry’s?

for a new baby brother or sister?

As my belly began to grow, Olivia was very curious. We talked a lot about her being the big That is the hardest sister and talked about it W e’r r question. The changes for months. We got a few e e in this togeth happen so quickly from books about becoming a big the time they are born to the sister, too. We moved her out of time they turn one. From week to the nursery and she had her big girl week, they change so much physically, room. but it has to be the verbal changes… Also, it was really important to have definitely. Once they’re able to start Olivia potty-trained before Henry communicating, it’s amazing. was born. We were trying to avoid We did a lot of sign language in the first year. Once Olivia was able to start being verbal, I loved it. “I love you, momma.” It just makes your heart melt. Henry just started saying it, too. It’s the most heartwarming experience. The most memorable moment? There are so many, too many.

What were your main health and nutrition concerns during pregnancy? My physician always recommended staying healthy and not over-indulging. People always say, “You’re eating for two,” but it’s a few hundred calories more that you should be eating. During my first pregnancy, I was more cautious with exercise just to be safe. I did yoga during both pregnancies and it was tremendously helpful with the relaxation and stretching. I also went on walks. I really could have done a little bit more but you really do become protective over your body. The last thing you want to do is jeopardize your body. Also, I avoided coffee and that was very challenging, especially when I was waking up at 2:30 in the morning for work. I also did not eat sushi or cold-

changing two diapers at one time! She understood the concept of having another baby at a young age. She has always been very protective of Henry and she is very gentile with him. If you have another baby, this is always something to think about. We are always thinking about how Henry will handle it when we have another baby. Olivia always asks, “When is the next baby coming?” She is already coming up with baby names, and she says she only wants a sister because she already has a brother. The time is flying by. My family was in town (from Kansas) recently for a joint birthday party. We had a scavenger hunt for them in our backyard. Olivia turned 4 years old on April 15. When she woke up, she asked, “Do I look bigger? Do I look older?” And in May, Henry will celebrate his second birthday. Megan Coleman is the content managing editor at CNY Central and an evening NBC 3 news anchor. Follow her and start a conversation on Twitter at @MegsNewsFlash; we already do!

Gambling might seem like harmless fun at first but can become an obsession and can lead to other risky behaviors. More than financial health is at risk.


A proud mother’s Q&A


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some helpful information for your family

Make room for… BABIES!

“This just in…you’re having twins! No, wait. Pardon me. You’re having triplets!” It’s time to celebrate and shout with glee and go to tell Kelly Carter when you’re a multiple mom to-be. Carter, founder and president of Multiple Moms Mingle (MMM), is hip to this cheerful rhyme, as she has been welcoming new and expectant mothers of multiples into her Central New Yorkbased group since 2006. After having her own set of twin daughters in 2005, Carter longed to create a hub for mothers of multiples to celebrate friendship and support each other in a way only these particular parents would understand. So, eight years ago, she stood before 11 other multiple moms and hosted her very first MMM meeting. The rest is “twinstory”! Since the inaugural meeting, the club has grown to include 180 members who enjoy a wealth of benefits. Any new prospective member is first introduced to the popular Big Sister/Little Sister program. The new member is paired with an existing member who has multiples older than one year in age, and the big sister acts as a trusted mentor, sharing the tricks of the trade. Starting that registry, feeding two babies at a time, bathing three babies at once — you name it, she’s been there! Special bonds are created through these pairings, and these dynamic duos are often seen sitting side-by-side at MMM’s monthly meetings at Ruby Tuesday. These gatherings, held in a



private dining room, are the perfect time to discuss group business, chat with fellow members and take part in a special program, all while enjoying a delicious dinner. Meetings also provide a chance for members to access the group’s libraries, borrow clothes from the preemie closet, discuss upcoming play dates and make plans for the big summer picnic and holiday parties. The fun doesn’t stop at meetings. It lasts morning, noon and night on MMM’s private Facebook Garage Sale page. It’s a multiple parent’s paradise! Members sell anything from bottles and blankets to pack ‘n plays and playhouses to each other at rock bottom prices. The moms look out for one another by posting tips on which stores have the best discounts each week, offering coupon swaps and listing popular online savings codes. The steals and deals on this exclusive site are quite the bargain, and the shopping peeks during two Semi-Annual Babies and Children’s Clothing, Toys and Equipment Sales. More than 30 member families sell their new or gently used items to the general public, and the group’s love is multiplied when they donate items to local charities after each event. They’ve stocked several vehicles to the roof with goodies for families in need. If your life is about to get a little more “twinteresting” or you’re already sweet on a triple treat, contact Multiple Moms Mingle at multiplemomsmingle@ or visit

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learning curve


er nB

g a m o- M o



e tiv Am c e other’s persp I wasn’t always superstitious. I used to walk under ladders with great abandon. I encouraged black cats to cross my path and I never thought twice if a mirror broke, except to worry that I might cut myself. Then I became a parent. Suddenly I was all about “the jinx” and avoiding the jinx. And not even talking about the jinx as that could jinx things from the top down. When The Boy was a baby people would ask, “How’s he sleeping?” “Oh, just great,” I’d blithely say as the glow of new motherhood surrounded me. “Started sleeping right through the night by 12 weeks.” Ya know what happened that night? He woke up … three times. Three times that night and every night for the next week. I never discussed his sleeping patterns again without vigorously knocking on wood. I refuse to discuss general health for fear of inviting the jinx. Please don’t tell me what’s going around school or who has what because the mere conversation could infect the family. I became a mother and along with eyes in the

Karen Bergamo Moore lives in Camillus with her husband and son. She works in the communications office at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is active in Boy Scouts and enjoys running 5Ks with her son. Follow her on twitter at @kmoore623.


back of my head, I developed the mentality of someone in the Middle Ages trying to survive an outbreak of the Black Death. “Talk not of the plague sir, lest you bring it upon our house!” I spilled salt the other day. Not even knowing why, I tossed some over my shoulder. Since I didn’t know which shoulder I was supposed to throw it over to avoid whatever bad juju spilled salt brings, I tossed it over both shoulders. Then I had to sweep it up. Even superstitions don’t cut a mom a break. My rational self knows that simply talking about health or good sleep habits won’t bring them to and end, and yet I can’t stop myself from knocking on wood. But then again, when a ballplayer is in the midst of a winning streak no one mocks him if he doesn’t change his socks for a week. At least knocking on wood doesn’t smell. As parents are apt to do, I’ve passed a couple of my habits on to The Boy (why is saying “rabbit rabbit” on the first day of the month supposed to ensure good luck anyway?), but so far, the superstitious habits have remained mostly my own … knock on wood.


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A mom’s superstitions

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healthy family

tips and ideas for keeping your family fast, fit, and feeling great

Healthy Habits Must Start Early America, the average one- to eight-year-old child eats less than one serving of vegetables per day. Older children eat 1.2 to 1.5 servings per day, with a significant proportion of vegetable intake coming from white potatoes, often consumed as French Fries.1 Similarly, fruit consumption is the same story, with fruit intake averaging 1 to 1.5 servings per day, with more than half coming from fruit juice. 1

By Wendy Scinta, MD, MS One of the most common questions I hear as a childhood obesity medicine specialist is, “How do I get my child to eat fruits and vegetables?” In

How has this happened to our kids? As a country that has become increasingly dependent on the consumption of processed foods, fruits and vegetable are often overlooked. Consider your

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typical supermarket: how many aisles house unhealthy, shelf-ready foods compared to fresh produce? These foods are convenient, tasty, and addictive. Getting a child to enjoy fruits and vegetables is a challenge, and involves a “memory” that begins in the womb. Food preferences are believed to be transferred through the amniotic fluid and can pre-program that fetus to prefer the tastes, textures and flavors that mom enjoyed while pregnant. 2,3 (I am convinced this is true, as I struggle with the selective palate of my 13-year-old son, who prefers “hospital food” over anything else. I was in my residency at Duke when I was pregnant with him doing endless inpatient rotations, so I shouldn’t be surprised.) Similarly, when breast feeding, it is believed that the memory of fruits and vegetables and the presence of salty or spicy foods is passed onto the baby through mom’s breast milk. 2,3 Children (and most adults) preferentially like sweet. This is why when advancing the diet of an infant, we are told to advance to fruits last —after the cereal, and vegetables. Unfortunately, there are many children who go directly from the bottles to the French fry. So do we give up? Never! It is always possible to help your child to enjoy fruits and vegetables. You just need to remember two words: exposure, and creativity. Here are some examples of how you can tackle this problem:

Age 0-2: Starting with pregnancy, eat as your would like your child to eat. After birth, remember that breast is best. When nursing, be aware that what you eat (and drink) will affect the current and future palate of your child,

so try your best to eat healthy. If you can’t nurse, that’s OK. Just follow a careful transition process from formula, to cereal, to veggies and finally fruit. Try to expose your child to the truest forms of fruits and veggies possible. Fruit juice is of little value, but cut up pieces of fruits and veggies always work.

Ages 3-5: This is such a critical time! Often our kids like finger foods and snacks at this age. Make sure you include cut up fruits and veggies when you travel. Don’t be fooled by “fruit flavored” snacks. They are nothing more than sugar.

Ages 6-12: By this age, your child knows what he or she likes, so being covert may help. Try to sneak fruits into smoothies, and use veggies (such as cauliflower) as the basis for “mashed potatoes” or incorporated veggies into sauces (using puree) and even as the basis for some desserts (don’t knock it until you’ve tried black bean brownies- delish!) Constant re-exposure is key.

Adolescents: Taste buds change, particularly in the teen years. What was gross last week can be awesome this week. Don’t give up! And make them part of the process. Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, practices at Medical Weight Loss of NY in Fayetteville. More information can be found by calling 445-0003 or by visiting Article notes: 1. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Nov. 25, 2011. 2. Pediatrics 2007;120;1247. 3. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 639, 113-120, 2009.



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