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November-December 2013

ust Dance Gift I d Every eas for on Your e on List

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season


HOLIDAYS . AND NEITHER DO WE. When your pediatrician isn’t available this season, ours are standing by. Open 9am to 7pm on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

* Wait times are updated every 15 minutes and are estimates based on the average time it takes for a patient to be placed in an exam room. Standard messaging fees will apply for texting. ©2013 Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Closed Sundays Moments Magazine | July-August 2012



John Hall Publisher Kevin Atwill Editor

8 Moments Mom

Meet Niki Watkins, the owner and artistic director of Cumming Dance Academy.

Adlen Robinson Director of Content Ryan Garmon Advertising Director

10 Health

We highlight cancer survivor Suzy Griswold, founder of the nonprofit organization Healing Strong.

Jennifer Sami Photographer Jeff Bucchino Graphic Design

18 Community

Contributing Writers Alyssa LaRenzie Crystal Ledford Jennifer Sami

22 Frugal Focus

Host a terrific holiday bash or start new traditions with these festive suggestions.

Consider these options to cut corners and costs to stay within your holiday budget (finally!).

ForsythMom - Page 8

Moments Magazine

is published bimonthly by the Forsyth County News Co�, 302 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Cumming, GA 30040� Advertising rates and deadlines available upon request� Contact Ryan Garmon at (770) 205-8960 or� Follow us online at, as well as: and


Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

Gifts � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 12 Dinner Matters � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 14 Smart Snacking � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 15 From the Cellar � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 20 Home Matters � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 24 Fashion � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 26 Safety � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 28 School Spotlight � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � � 30

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Welcome to The holidays are my favorite time of year, so this likely is my favorite issue of Moments. Well, I say that about each one … There’s always so much to do during the next few months. There are parties to have and attend. Family comes to visit, and we go visit them. There are big meals, trees to be decorated, gift buying and giving. Whether you thrive during this time, or you feel your blood pressure rising, I hope you will read on. This issue will offer tips and suggestions for making the season special, organized and less stressful. I have had Niki Watkins on my “Moments Mom List” for a while, and was so glad we finally connected. What an

inspiring young businesswoman and positive role model for girls! I also can’t wait for you to get to know Suzy Griswold, a mother of two who cured herself of cancer using natural methods. I loved meeting her and later attending her Healing Strong conference. There truly seems to be magic in the air at this time of year. It’s a time for counting our blessings. Please know how thankful I am for all of our readers and advertisers. You are really the ones who make Moments possible. Best,

Adlen W. Robinson is a longtime resident of Forsyth County and mother of four. A contributor to the Forsyth County News for more than 10 years, Adlen is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at


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Moments Mom

More Than

Dancing Shares Lifelong Love with Children


The Watkins, from right, Lee, Niki and Cash. Niki is the owner and artistic director of Cumming Dance Academy.


Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

ost people don’t really know what they want to do with their lives until they are in their late 20s or early 30s. In fact, many people never quite figure out their calling in life. Neither of those scenarios applies to Niki Watkins, owner and artistic director of Cumming Dance Academy. The community obviously supports Niki and the academy as she has won numerous awards, including being named one of the Small Business of the Year Business Leaders Under 40 by The Forsyth County News in 2012. Niki grew up in Americus the only child of a single mother. “I saw my mother struggle,” she recalled. “She worked hard to support me taking all of those dance classes and ultimately helped me get to where I am. I think that shaped my strong work ethic and influenced me to strive for success in all I do.”

Niki Watkins, owner of Cumming Dance Academy, and student Abigail Hall.

Clearly driven, Niki said she feels blessed to do what she loves and says she “eats, sleeps and breathes” her business. Niki began dancing as a toddler and never stopped. By the time she was 15, she was assisting the instructors with younger dancers and realizing how much she loved teaching her craft to others. After running a dance studio in Americus and teaching in preschools, she was ready to move to the big city. In 2001, Niki packed up her belongings and came to Atlanta. After meeting her husband Lee on a blind date and marrying, they began looking for a place to call home and for a studio she could call her own. “At the time there was only one other dance studio in Cumming, so this seemed like a good place,” she said. Cumming Dance Academy opened in 2003, building the current facility in 2006. The new building wasn’t big enough, so they also have CDA II, which is just up the road. In total, there are six studios. With more than 200 classes per week being taught, things are always busy at both locations. The academy is big and beautiful, with lots of windows so that parents can have easy viewing of students. See Dancing pg. 16

“We know we are teaching far more than dance, we are teaching our students values, how to be dedicated, committed, what it is like to be on a team.”

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For the Health of It

HEALING STRONG Woman wants to help

others overcome cancer


lmost everybody has known someone who has battled or is battling cancer. Many of us know a person who lost the fight. Until recently, I had never personally known someone who not only won their battle against cancer but did so by curing themselves with something we all depend on daily — food. Did you know that Hippocrates, considered the father of modern Western medicine, actually stressed the importance of using food before medicine to cure illnesses? In fact, he reportedly said, “Let medicine be your food and food your medicine.” This past summer, I was introduced to Cumming resident Suzy Griswold. This mother of two’s battle with cancer and subsequent self-healing is fascinating.

Suzy Griswold has embraced a nutritional program that focuses on extensive juicing.


Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

Jeff and Suzy Griswold , who founded the nonprofit Healing Strong.

Photos: Submitted “I was number 13 to be diagnosed with cancer in my family, and 10 of those members had tried the traditional means of healing before dying,” she said. “I began reading and researching alternatives methods and found some profound truths that doctors were not interested in.” Traditional methods to cure cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. According to Suzy, none of those really address the heart of the problem, which is what caused the cancer in the first place. In October 2009, Suzy was headed for surgery for another ailment when the doctors discovered a mass. After undergoing surgery and radiation, subsequent scans showed lymph node involvement. Even a second opinion concurred that the cancer was active. Chemotherapy was also recommended. “Because of seeing so many family members suffer and die throughout their treatments, I knew I had to research other options,” she said. “My eyes began opening to the fact that there are other options out there and that traditional ways of treating cancer are not as successful as many people think and, in fact, often make people sicker and lead to other problems.” Suzy learned that there has been just a 5 percent drop in the death rate of cancer patients within the past 50 years. “Cancer is actually growing at an alarming rate,” she said. According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, death rates over the past 60 years have plummeted for heart disease, stroke, influenza and pneumonia, but have barely changed for cancer. Suzy also cited a study published in the journal of Clinical Oncology and conducted in Sydney, Australia, that found chemotherapy had a mere 2.3 percent success rate. Combined with her family’s history and outcomes, Suzy began what would become hundreds of hours of research. Her “real” job involves health research — she holds a masters of public health from the University of Texas School of Public Health — so digging deep into the world of natural healing was something she was more than equipped to handle.

Suzy’s quest led her to incorporate a Max Gerson philosophy, which in turn encouraged her to begin a nutritional program focused on extensive juicing, veganeating, essential supplements such as Vitamin D3, CoQ10, Ip6, flax seed, and wheat and barley grass. She cut out all sugar, dairy, meats, bread and processed foods. She did a detox regimen two to three times a day and soon, her body began to heal. Many of her friends and family were not supportive of this approach to healing. It was contrary to what the physicians recommended and foreign to most. There were some who supported her, though, and Suzy said her faith in God was never stronger. Not only did the lymph node involvement subside from 3 lymph nodes to none in 24 months, she no longer had the other health problems she had suffered for so many years. Those included fibroid uterine tumors, neck tremors requiring high doses of medication, anxiety, sleep disorders, high triglycerides and high cholesterol. Suzy was not content to simply live her life, she wanted to share what she had learned and positively impact others. After gathering people whose lives had been deeply impacted by cancer, she formed Healing Strong, a nonprofit designed to connect those dealing with cancer with survivors and, as Suzy calls them, thrivers. This past September, Healing Strong held its first retreat at Simpsonwood Conference Center in Atlanta. I was so excited to attend and hear the speakers. People came from all over the country and Canada to participate in this powerful event. Healing Strong is regrouping after the retreat and a long year of planning. Suzy and her team are praying about their next steps to continue providing hope to those looking to learn and understand more about nutritional support for healing. They know the information they have learned is not easy to glean in mainstream medicine, nor is navigating the online resources when you’re in the middle of your own healing journey and don’t feel well. The desire of Suzy and Healing Strong is to help others, whether they are facing cancer or another degenerative disease. Nutritional-based therapies changed their lives and they hope to help change those of others for generations to come.

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Don’t * be afraid

*to think outside the box

INTERESTING GIFT IDEAS ABOUND for children or kids at heart. Silly gloves are out there too, but maybe a more sensible option will suit the adults on the shopping list. Touchscreen gloves allow for texting or using smartphones while wearing them. Try North Face brand for a solid pair for the outdoor enthusiast or for the fashionista, a leather set, like from Burberry.


eems that mom often ends up as the name that should be on the “from” part of a gift tag, even though the words dad, sis or Santa find themselves in that spot. When a list of people to buy for grows longer, the ideas can run short. Top sellers, classic favorites and some unique finds should draw smiles when the giftwrap comes off under the tree. After all, no matter who put the present in the box, the thank-you from the person on the “to” part of the tag makes everyone feel the holiday spirit.

Wear In December, a great gift for anyone is something to keep warm. Slippers, wool socks, scarves, 12

Use knit hats and gloves make practical presents, but the style options available this year range from classic to crazy. No one has ever faked a smile when receiving a pair of slippers, right? And who could resist when opening up a silly set. For the traditional person, try some quality comfort with slippers filled with down and Memory Foam, like the BioSense Foot Comforters. Knit hats that put an animal on your head seem to be available almost anywhere this year. Pick a furry friend

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

Electronics top many wish lists, with the category coming in third on the National Retail Federation 2013 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey behind gift cards and clothing. The Kindle Fire tops many best sellers in the electronic category, and retailers continue to feature the iPad and other tablets in their ads. For kids, the LeapFrog LeapPad2, a kid-friendly version with apps for learning, topped several hottest toy lists. Colorful and stylish cell phone cases or headphones, like the popular

line from Skullcandy, are top and less-expensive gift choices on the electronics front, especially for teens to give or receive. A device that supports streaming video from a variety of sources would make a great gift for any family. The Goggle Chromecast allows video from a smartphone, laptop or table to play on TV, with current support for Netflix, YouTube and Google applications. A great gadget for an active person or someone looking to get in shape is the Fitbit Force. The wristband-watch combo tracks daily activity, including calories burned, and sleep trends.



-- Alyssa LaRenzie


White Christmas Irvin Berlin


Of course, the most fun — if not insane — part of holiday shopping is for the toys. Nearly every major retailer creates some sort of hottest toy list, but a few picks jump out. In some throwbacks to the 1990s, Furby and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys have populated the shelves. The Furby Boom is the next generation of the interactive creature, which can sync up with an app. The furry owl-meets-raccoon-like critter will supposedly develop a personality based on its treatment. Ninja Turtles have had a recent rebirth, thanks to the new TV version of the show. The remote control Shellraiser vehicle and Secret Sewer Lair play set are the top picks this year. Some new hits on the market include the Flutterbye Flying Fairy and Zoomer the robot dog. New versions of classic favorites remain popular, like the Hot Wheels Triple Track Twister, the Nerf N-Strike Elite or Rebelle Heartbreaker, FisherPrice Imaginext and Sesame Street’s Big Hugs Elmo. For a more educational choice, the award-winning scientific experiment kit Snap Circuits Jr. lets kids assemble fun electronics.

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Cumming Playhouse Singers Christmas Concert 2013 Dec. 20, 2013 - Fri 8PM

Sounds of Sawnee Christmas Concert 2013 Dec. 21, 2013 - Sat 8PM

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The Return, Beatles Tribute Band Dec. 31, 2013 - 2 Shows - 3PM and 8PM

For tickets and showtime information please visit our website The Cumming Playhouse 101 School Street Cumming, GA 30040 770.781.9178 Moments Magazine | November - December 2013


Dinner Matters

COCKTAIL PARTIES CAN BE A SNAP These tips can make them festive, fun


he first recorded use of the word “cocktail” in the United States was in 1803. The first official cocktail party was given in 1917. Shortly after that, the era of Prohibition caused cocktails to go underground, usually at popular speakeasies. Technically, a cocktail has at least three ingredients, a spirit, a sweet and a sour/bitter element. Most people these days just think of cocktails as any sort of alcoholic drink. Cocktail parties are my favorite type of party to have since there are many small bites and beverages as opposed to a formal meal. The hostess can prepare everything ahead of time and actually enjoy her own party. Here are some tips to ensure your next cocktail party is both successful and fun. Happy holidays! * Plan, plan, plan. Think about how many guests you will have and if the hour you’re having the party will be during a meal. For example, if guests are coming between 4 and 6 p.m., they will likely be hungrier than if they are coming between 7 and 8 p.m., when they have probably eaten something. Plan on serving six to eight different small bites and then set out bowls of olives, nuts and a few dips with crudités and pita chips. * Don’t feel like you have to make everything, there are short cuts everywhere. Pick up some steamed shrimp and cocktail sauce. Just dress up the sauce by stirring in some bottled horseradish and 14

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

fresh parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. * Purchase some good quality chicken salad and stir in halved grapes and fresh tarragon. Serve dollops on endive leaves. Cut smoked salmon into small pieces and put on good quality potato chips. Top with a little sour cream and some fresh chives or fresh dill. * Let your guests help. When your friends offer to bring something, don’t hesitate to let them. Pass along a recipe or be specific with what you need most. * The most expensive part of having a party is usually the alcohol. Instead of trying to provide a full on open bar, consider having one or two signature drinks already prepared, and then beer and wine. If you do not have a bar, designate a particular spot where people can help themselves. Make sure there is plenty of ice. You almost always need more than you think you will. * Don’t turn your nose up to paper plates and napkins. There are so many lovely designs out there, and cleanup will be a breeze. I like to provide a real glass for cocktails though. A dollar store is a great place to stock up and you will never again worry about accidents. * Keep the lighting in mind. Turn off the overhead lights and opt instead for lamps and candles. Whatever you do, don’t forget music. A little background music does wonders for getting a party started and keeping the atmosphere festive. * The most important thing to remember when playing host to a party of any type is to have fun. Don’t worry if your house isn’t spotless or your food is ready made. Your friends are coming to see you and enjoy the party. -- Adlen W. Robinson


Smart Snacking

Sugar cookies to the rescue Go-to recipe is a holiday delight


ome of my fondest memories are of cooking with our children. While I am admittedly not a professional baker, making cookies is something even those of us who are baking-challenged can do successfully. This foolproof sugar cookie recipe is my go-to favorite, whether you are baking holiday cookies for gifts, Santa or anytime. Happy baking!

Growing together and depending on each other.

Sugar cookies

¾ cup all-purpose flour ½ cup cake flour ¾ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened 1 1/3 cups sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (not imitation) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Adjust rack to middle position. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or use a Silpat. Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream butter with 1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, three to five minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix another minute. Add flours and mix one more minute, just until combined. If dough is too soft, place in the refrigerator for half of an hour or so. You can also make the dough ahead and refrigerate. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl. Using a tablespoon, make balls with the dough. Gently roll in sugar and then place on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Continue until you have 12 per cookie sheet. Bake the cookies, one pan at a time, until the edges are light golden, about nine to 11 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

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Lemon: Add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest when you add the egg. Add 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest to the sugar before rolling the dough balls in the sugar. Almond: Reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon, and add ½ teaspoon almond extract along with vanilla extract. Combine sugar for rolling the dough balls with ¼ cup sliced almonds in a food processor. Use almond sugar to roll the dough balls in. -- Adlen W. Robinson

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419 Tribble Gap Rd. • Cumming Moments Magazine | November - December 2013



Moments Mom Continued from Page 9


Cumming Dance Academy is a dream come true for owner Niki Watkins.

“I have been planning this building for my entire life,” Niki said. There is an info screen telling parents any pertinent information and updates, and there is a store that has everything from ballet shoes to leotards and accessories. Niki has 14 teachers, all of whom she says are fantastic. There is a natural camaraderie among them that she attributes to their shared passion for what they’re doing. 16

“We all love our students and want to get to know each one,” she said. The feeling is evidently mutual — 75 percent of the students have been there since the studio opened. There is also a strong retention rate among the staff. “I love longevity,” she said. “Five of my teachers have been with me since

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

the beginning. We are like family.” When asked about how she manages teaching, running a successful business, marriage and raising a busy 4-year-old son, Cash, Niki said finding a balance is always challenging. “My husband is so supportive and we are definitely a team,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without him.” After being around so many women and girls, how is it raising a son? “It’s awesome,” she said. “He is taking karate now, so that is very different from what I am used to.”

Cumming Dance Academy owner Niki Watkins began dancing as a toddler (inset).

For Niki and her teachers, dance classes are about more than dancing. “This year, we implemented a power word character development program,” she said. “For example, if the word is ‘inspire,’ the teacher will ask the students who inspires them and conduct a little talk with them after class.” Niki said she strives to be a good role model for students. “We know we are teaching far more than dance, we are teaching our students values, how to be dedicated, committed, what it is like to be on a team.” She went on to note that, despite having so many girls around, there is limited drama. “Our middle and high school girls are so incredibly busy, with classes,

Niki said the community has been so supportive of CDA and she loves giving back. “I feel incredibly blessed to not only do what I love, but also live in a place that has been so supportive of what we are doing—this is a great place to raise a family and have a business.” rehearsals and their school work, we just don’t have time for that,” she said. Speaking of rehearsals, Niki said they don’t say the “R” word. “We have performances and productions, but not recitals.” Of all the performances CDA does, she said her favorites are the ones they do out in the community. “I love when we perform at assisted living facilities, and we dance at many 5Ks, as well as at the Christmas in Central Park.”

-- Adlen W. Robinson


For more information call 770-781-4922 or visit 419 Tribble Gap Rd., Cumming

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013




a larger number of people than you would for dinner. Specify the time, and have a good plan of action for your food. (See article on page 14 of this issue for other tips). A list reminding you when to put what in the oven, or when to take what out of the refrigerator is imperative. You could also enlist a friend or two to help you with various tasks, such as gathering dirty dishes and glasses or loading the dishwasher.

Dinner Host a dinner for three or four couples. Keep it casual and serve the meal family style. Or enlist the help of one of your friends, and plate the meal in the kitchen and serve it in the dining room.

Tree-Trimming Party


or most of us, the next few months are filled with family gatherings, end-of-year parties and other festive happenings. Now is a great time to start new family traditions and to honor the old ones. If you want to entertain this season, but aren’t quite sure where to start, here are some ideas to get you in the mood to host.

Open House An open house is a terrific way to invite a large number of people to your home, without having to worry about serving a specific meal at a certain time. Your invitation should specify the time, for example 4 until 8 p.m. If you are inviting a particularly large group, it is fine to stagger the times a bit. Invite half the group from 4 to 6:30 p.m., and the other half from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Plan your food accordingly. Set out a platter of ham, and then at “halftime” refurbish with another platter you have in the refrigerator.

Cocktail Party Like an open house, a cocktail party allows you to invite 18

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

This could be with family, or could involve friends and neighbors. Set out hors d’oeuvres and spiced cider, and let

everyone pitch in while decorating the tree. Another idea is to go with a group of friends to one of our local Christmas tree farms and pick out your tree.

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Cookie Swap This is a great way to get a big variety of Christmas cookies, by just making a few dozen. Specify in your invitation how many dozen cookies people need to bring. If children will be involved, it is nice to combine a cookie-decorating party with the swap. As this can be messy, it may be helpful to place a big plastic tarp under the table where the children are working. That way, cleanup is a snap. Be sure you have plenty of plastic wrap, foil, and sturdy paper plates.

Brunch When everyone’s weekend nights are so jam-packed with events, it’s nice to get an invitation for something that begins at 10 or 11 a.m. A brunch is also an economical way to entertain, since people tend to eat less. Plus, as I always like to say, a few dozen eggs costs a whole lot less than beef tenderloin.

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Children’s Party Children will feel special if you have a party just for them. Obviously, this kind of party takes special planning and forethought. The most important thing to remember is that it is for the children. They won’t care if everything is less than perfect. Let your own children be a part of the planning and the preparation. Have some holiday crafts the children can make — ornaments are always a big hit. Let the kids decorate their own pizza or cookies. If you will be doing “messy” projects, note that on the invitations. Otherwise, children may show up dressed in their best holiday attire. As a treat, have one of Santa’s special helpers show up in costume and be sure to take a lot of photos. -- Adlen W. Robinson

v Moments Magazine | November - December 2013


From the Cellar

Irony Wines inspire Affordable options pair well with many dishes


noun \ˈī-rə-nē also ˈī(-ə)r-nē\: the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think especially in order to be funny; a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected.


Moments Magazine | November - December 2013


rothers Jay and Chris Indelicato head up Irony Wines in Napa Valley, Calif. They grew up helping their grandfather work the vineyards that had been in their family for generations. When they left for college, they never thought they would return to the family business. As they have been known to say, “Life is full of gentle ironies.” The brothers’ wines are as delicious as they are affordable — what a great combination! The 2011 pinot noir

is fruity, but also has some cocoa notes. This would be great with your Thanksgiving turkey or with some grilled salmon. We enjoyed it with some French onion soup — the gruyere cheese topped classic soup paired perfectly. I like to offer a white wine with holiday dinners as well, and the Irony chardonnay is perfect. At less than $12 a bottle, it’s a true bargain. The Irony reds are just a bit more at $13, so still quite affordable. The cabernet sauvingion and the merlot are also quite good, so you really can’t go wrong with the wines on the Irony label. Any of them would make a fantastic hostess gift. The web site,, is unusual in that it offers wine pairing suggestions for when you order various take-out cuisine. Who knew there was a suggested wine for when you order Kung Pao chicken from your local Chinese takeout place? -- Adlen W. Robinson


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Moments Magazine | November - December 2013


Frugal Focus


Plan ahead and think creatively

t’s that time of year again. Time to determine your budget for the upcoming holiday season. Once you and your spouse arrive at a number, what are some ways for cutting corners on costs without anybody ever being the wiser? Consider the following: If your children are quite young, consider shopping at thrift stores. After a good cleaning and colorful wrapping, young children will never



Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

know (or care) that their toy wasn’t brand new.


If you have older children, consider making them prioritize their wish list to the top two or three items. We used to also insist that our children be realistic — nobody is getting a brand-new BMW, so don’t bother asking.


If you entertain quite a bit during the next few months, think about the cost of menu items. Brunch is less expensive than dinner; ham is less expensive than beef tenderloin. Plan accordingly. Instead of doing all of the * cooking, have a pot luck holiday party and let your guests all bring a dish and a bottle of wine to share.


Spend a day in the kitchen and make gifts to give. Everybody loves to get home-baked treats. You can get containers at a dollar store. You can

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also make homemade hot cocoa mix and attach the instructions along with a cute holiday mug. Again, the dollar store is a great resource.


For close friends, hand out “coupon” gifts. Free baby-sitting, home-cooked dinner, dessert and coffee, girl’s night out, movie night, etc. For large family gatherings * where gifts are exchanged, suggest drawing names so everybody doesn’t have to buy gifts for each person. White elephant gift exchanges (with

a rule of exchanging only used or re-gifted items) are not only cost effective, they’re hilarious.


Think creatively when wrapping gifts instead of buying expensive paper. Turn to standbys such as newspaper, butcher paper (decorated with stickers or glitter pens), scraps of material or plain boxes that can be painted, etc. -- Adlen W. Robinson


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Moments Magazine | November - December 2013



Home Matters

Head off Seasonal

Holidays don’t have to be hectic


tress is unhealthy, both physically and mentally. Experts say the key to dealing with stress is to try to prevent it from happening. For those times when you are under stress, learn some techniques to help navigate the situation. Sometimes stress seems synonymous with the holidays. One of my friends said she cannot enjoy this time of year because there’s just too much to do and never enough time. Sometimes I think we let the media affect our holiday enjoyment factor. We are bombarded with images of the perfect Thanksgiving Day dinner, the ideal Christmas tree, the most beautiful people who all seem relaxed and happy. Our children see these images too and almost daily tell us about another toy or item they hope they get for Christmas. Besides being busy, many of us may feel financially stressed. Although some stress is probably unavoidable (can traffic get any worse?), there are 24

some steps you can take now to help alleviate some of it. Here are some tips for maintaining a jolly outlook during the upcoming season:  Take care of you! This is first on the list, because it’s generally the last thing women think of. Take time out every day to relax. Even if it’s only 20 minutes. Listen to music, take a bubble bath, read, or just enjoy a few moments of silence.  Examine your expectations and adjust them as necessary. If you think this time is all about material things, then chances are your family members feel the same way. Talk to your children (and spouse) and try to get on the same page about the meaning for the season.  Exercise. I know, I know. Who has the time, right? But even if it’s just 10 minutes of walking on the treadmill or doing some sit-ups, you will feel better mentally and physically.  Make a list of what you really do need to buy and for whom. I have a few friends who are overwhelmed

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

because they haven’t done any of their Christmas shopping. If you have gifts that need to be mailed, make sure you note those and take care of that first. Once you have it all down on paper, you’ll feel more organized and able to tackle what’s left on the list.  Have a family meeting and discuss some fun activities you would like to do this holiday season. Among the terrific possibilities — baking cookies; touring the town looking at Christmas lights; visiting Santa; going to see a holiday play; and volunteering at a soup kitchen.  Keep perspective. Your children and family will not remember how “perfect” things looked. What they will remember is your loving attitude, even when things go wrong.  Keep your sense of humor. Nothing defuses a bad situation faster than when you can laugh about it. Happy holidays! -- Adlen W. Robinson


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It’s all about


Evident in colors, elements and tones


his fall’s clothing trends are all about getting close to Mother Nature. Leslie Andert, women’s department manager at Belk in Cumming, said the season’s fashion trends tend toward “earth colors” and other earthy elements such as animal prints, leather and metallics. Of course, the classics such as jeans and leggings paired with boots remain popular. Color pallets for fall reflect the hues of autumnal leaves. “It’s all those earth tones like browns, golds, the burnt orange and deep auburns,” Andert said. “And for footwear, it’s all about boots, boots, boots.” Debbie Allen, owner of Savvy Exchange on Market Place Boulevard, added that gray and silver tones also are popular. She said sweater dresses and long tunics paired with leggings are in this season too. According to Andert, patterns this fall reflect the animal kingdom with everything from “ducks to elephants to leopards.” “If it has an animal on it, it’s popular right now,” she said. Accents on clothing this fall include “a lot of leather” and metallic pieces, Andert said. As for jewelry, large, chunky pieces are in demand, Allen said, and yellow gold is making a comeback. “Layering smaller necklaces with statement pieces also continues to be a trend,” she said. -- Crystal Ledford


Moments Magazine | November - December 2013


Photos: Crystal Ledford

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Moments Magazine | November - December 2013




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y son recently turned 2, and I feel like I’m still learning about car seat safety. Between all the different manufacturers and various recommendations, it’s often unclear which seat is best for what age, height, weight and position. I’ve seen them in the $400 range, but then there are many that are $100 or less. My first time shopping for one, I was willing to spend the extra money for the peace of mind. I remember thinking “the one that costs more will save my little boy if I get into a car accident.” But then my practical side kicked in and I realized it’s not a game of price. “Any national brand that you buy at a name-brand retailer and is labeled as meeting the National Highway Traffic Administration standards will be a safe choice,” Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said. If it’s on the shelves at a retailer, the administration has certified that it’s safe. So then it comes down to preference. Let’s start with infant seats. There are two primary types; convertible car seats and infant carriers. Convertible car seats are intended to be rear facing, but can be converted to forward facing when the child is older. Infant carriers typically come with a base and a separate carrier that latches 28

into the base. You can buy the bases separately, so if you have multiple cars, you don’t need to purchase separate seats for every car, just bases. I wish every car seat could be designed this way. Once the base is installed safely, you just have to lift out the carrier to move it from car to car.

Georgia law says children can ride in a booster seat beginning at age 4, or at

40 pounds. They must also

be in that seat until they’re at least 8 years old and at least 4’9” tall

Adding to the convenience, many infant seats are also part of a stroller system, meaning the carrier itself actually attaches to a stroller, so the infant doesn’t need to be removed from the car seat to go on a walk. This is a great feature because you rarely want to wake a sleeping baby. For me and my infant, I went with the Peg Pérego Primo Viaggio SIP. Why? Because it was the most expensive

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

thing I could find and all my rich friends had one. But if I had to do it again, Chicco makes a great car seat, the KeyFit, that’s intuitive for installation and comes as part of a stroller system which fits the seat snugly within the stroller. I’ve also heard a lot of good things about certain Graco models. When a child becomes too large for the infant carrier, you can continue to keep him or her facing the rear by moving to a convertible car seat. Like the infant seat, the convertible should face the rear as long as possible, as recommended by the NHTSA. Shivers cited Safe Kids Worldwide, which says “keeping children rear facing is five times safer than forward facing.” The convertible car seat is a tricky beast. They’re designed to last to different heights and weights and they all have different designs and features. I thought about going with the Peg Pérego again, but opted for the next highest ranked among friends — the Britax Roundabout 55. After the convertible car seat comes the booster seat. This is where it can get tricky. The seat is designed, on average, for children ages 4 to 7, but that depends on size. My son’s a little guy for his age, so I anticipate at 4, he may still be small enough to fit into our convertible car seat designed for 55 pounds. However,

for children on the taller or heavier side, getting a convertible or combination seat that goes to a higher weight may provide extra safety longer. A combination seat only sits facing forward and can be used with a fivepoint harness and later as a booster seat with the vehicle’s seat belt. It should also be noted the convertible car seats are designed to be both forward and rear facing. While Georgia law dictates children must be at least 1 and 20 pounds to ride facing forward, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises to wait until 2. Booster seats are going to be your child’s home for about four years, so pick a good one that works for the child and your car’s design. Georgia law says children can ride in a booster seat beginning at age 4, or at 40 pounds. They must also be in that seat until they’re at least 8 years old

and at least 4’9” tall. I joke often that my son will be riding in a booster until he’s 15, but I’m a firm believer in going above and beyond when it comes to safety. And when choosing a booster seat, the Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection recommends using a high-back model for cars with low seats and no headrests. For cars with headrests, use a backless model. Headrests can also be removed in some car models, for parents who prefer a high-back booster model. Many of the high-back booster seats are similarly designed to convertible seats, and even infant seats of the same brand, so if you purchased a certain brand of convertible seat and liked it, many of the same features will be the booster version. -- Jennifer Sami


CAR SEAT SAFETY In all the confusion surrounding child safety seats, some aspects are certain. All children 8 and younger are required to be in a car or booster seat in the back of a vehicle. No matter what the brand, Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said the “most important part is buying the appropriate seat for your child and making sure it’s installed correctly. “A seat that fits your child and your vehicle, and is one that you will use correctly every time you travel is the wisest choice, he said. The county’s fire department CARS, or Children Are Riding Safely, program is always available by appointment to ensure parents have properly installed a car seat, said Shivers, adding that as many as 90 percent of seats inspected are not installed properly. “Our mission when we perform these inspections ... is to educate parents, caregivers and guardians on the proper installation and use of their specific child passenger safety seat,” he said. “But we don’t do the work for them.” The inspector will install the seat as a visual guide for the parent, but will then remove it so the parent can install the seat to learn how to do it on their own, Shivers said. According to Shivers, a child is properly seated and secured when “the seat belt should come across the center of the

shoulder.” He also noted to limit toys and loose items given to children. Exceptions can be items like a mirror that hook into the car so they are secure in case of sudden stops. “Anything that is loose in a car can become a very dangerous projectile in the event of a motor vehicle accident,” Shivers said. “Care should be taken to limit the amount of unsecured items in and about a vehicle passenger cabin.” Shivers doesn’t recommend buying a used car seat. For those who do, however, make sure the seat hasn’t: reached its expiration date; been recalled; and been in an accident. “Child safety seats are generally only certified for six years from date of manufacture,” Shivers said. “Any car seat that’s been involved in an accident in a vehicle that could not be driven away from the scene is going to be deemed unsafe. You never want to use one that’s been used that you don’t know the history of.” Regardless of brand, a seat is only as good as its installation, so Shivers recommends getting an inspection to ensure each new car seat is installed safely as your child grows. “The important thing is that it’s the proper seat for the age and size of the child first and foremost,” he said. “Followed immediately behind that is if it’s installed properly. It does absolutely no good if it’s not installed properly.”

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Moments Magazine | November - December 2013


School Spotlight

Get to know your schools

Whitlow Elementary Fun facts: The school is named after George W. Whitlow, who served in the U.S. Navy and played for the St. Louis Cardinals. His family donated the land for the school. 

Special programs, clubs and activities: Parents and community members are VIPs in learning at Whitlow through the Very Important Partners program at the school. Whitlow also offers Watch Dog Dads, for fathers who want to be active in the school and a Partners in Education program for the community, in addition to the school Parent-Teacher Association. The school has a population of more than 30 different cultures. “We love to celebrate our diversity and our new generation of science and technology learners by preparing our students to be thinkers and problemsolvers for today’s world,” Castleberry said. -- Jennifer Sami 

Principal: Lynne Castleberry Address: 3655 Castleberry Road, Cumming, GA 30040 . Castle b e rr y R d

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its three-year goal to become STEM certified by the state. STEM, short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math offers real-word training in science labs and outdoor learning environments. Students also can become engineers, programmers and scientists on the school’s STEM Career Fridays. Contact: (678) 965-5090 Fax: (678) 965-5091 30

Moments Magazine | November - December 2013

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Moments Oct-Nov  
Moments Oct-Nov  

Forsyth County's new Moments Magazine issue for October/November!