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FEB/MAR 2018 • Volume 10 • Issue 1

“ I love s don’t d i k r u o that e any know lif ...” y other wa y's Story The Sutto

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Elegant Extraordinary

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sawyer Carlton, Selena Garrison, Elayza Gonzalez, Nicole Irving, Jennifer Jensen, Crystal Ladwig, Colleen McTiernan, Olivia Pitkethly, MA, LMHC, Meredith Sheldon, Danielle Spano, April Tisher, Lizzie Vasquez EDITORIAL INTERNS Elayza Gonzalez, Christy Piña DESIGN INTERN Marie Wohl



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publisher's letter

birthday time! About two months before each of my boys’ birthdays, the planning begins — not by me anymore, but by them! Guests, venues, activities and the like are all carefully organized by each child. I have recently had to lay down the law that they MUST check with me first before inviting 30 of their closest friends to an all-out shindig in their honor! Of course, I want each of my kiddos to experience the joy that they deserve during this amazing time, but, as a busy mom, I have had to tone down their expectations. I will be honest, I have bribed a kid or two to forgo a huge party in favor of an undisclosed amount of cash to go shopping at the nearest Toys ‘R’ Us and a small family dinner with one or two of their friends at their favorite restaurant. In reality, sometimes a huge party just is not in the budget or does not fit into our busy schedule. And, as my kids have gotten older, sadly, MEET so have I. The days of carving pirate ships out of watermelons have sailed away into the OUR sunset and store-bought cake mix has snuck in. COVER


And I am OK with that.

And that is OK, too. The point, moms and dads, is to just do you! Do what you are able and what you can afford. Leave the “Joneses” out of it and do what you can do for you and your kiddo. The most important thing is that you are able to celebrate the birth of your amazing child who adores you for YOU!

The Sutton Family

Happy planning!

Nicole Irving, Publisher

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The Sutton Family (Kristy, Zach, Evie, 11, Beckett, 9, Elin, 7, Griffin, 4, and Gideon, 2) shares the inspiring story behind what drove them to start fostering children and what has kept them fostering after taking in over 30 children in need.

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Cover Photo by Fredshots Photography.

Do not get me wrong, I have done it all. From painting rocks for a buried treasure hunt at a pirate-themed birthday party with 50 5-year-olds (I am still not sure I have recovered), to carefully piping green grass icing on cupcakes for a soccer party, to even having a UF football player come and showcase his talent for a football party, I have definitely thrown some elaborate parties. I even indulged my kiddo who wanted a money-themed party by creating dollar bills with his face on them for décor!



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FEB ● MAR 2018

happy family • happy community™

conception 2 college™



Myth Busters 70 INFANT

Insufficient Funds


Taming Temper Tantrums EARLY YEARS


Pay Attention! 76 KIDS

Guess What I Heard?


Dear Diary


The Dangers of Drinking


Mike Calsam Getting Back to Work 16 OUR UNIQUE FAMILY

The Sutton Family

34 GET PRETTY Have Your Cake and Wear It Too


36 GET PRETTY Your 3-in-1 Beauty Solution


40 GET HEALTHY Cooking with Class

52 FEATURED TEACHER Kimberly Obenour

Homeschooling 101 Finding Your Fit









Issue 1 FEB/MAR 2018 • Volume 10 • www.gigglemagazine.c om








“I love n’t r kids do that ou life any know y ...” y other wa The Sutt

on Fami

plu s

ly's Stor








Plan a Party Without Breaking the Bank

happy home 44 MAKE IT DIY Birthday Party

forks & spoons 24 DELISH 3 Sweet & Healthy Treats

giggle stamp 60 Ready to Party!


happy community 82 CALENDAR February/March

26 IN THE KITCHEN Time for a Cake Makeover

Cake photo by Kristin Kozelsky.

The Sutton Family's Story PAGE 16 5 Ways to Plan a Party on a Budget PAGE 20

28 DELISH Boxty in the Griddle, Boxty in the Pan

A Dino-mite Dinosaur Party PAGE 54

fe a t u re s 30 54 62

Find our cover stories!

Lucky Charms Dino Party! Your 2018 Family Vacation Planning Guide

The Best Cake Can Come From a Box PAGE 26



life | a day in the life

Photo Courtesy of Patricia Bishop Photography.

A D AY I N T H E L I F E O F :

Mike Calsam Mike Calsam is the co-president of J. E. Decker Construction Group and a lifelong resident of Alachua County. He and his wife, Justine, have two young boys, Nolan (6) and Wyatt (3).



MORNING 5:30 a.m. Our morning starts, and my wife and I get

moving. She takes a shower and starts packing lunches for the boys. I let our dog, Rock, out in the yard. We are not exactly “morning people” so we enjoy easing into the day.

6 a.m. I say my goodbyes as Justine is getting the boys up. I grab my bag with work clothes and make my trek to “the box” (what people in the CrossFit community call their gym).

Really, this is my only quiet time of the day spent listening to the news, making phone calls to some of our field guys, or just thinking about the day ahead. (On Wednesdays and Thursdays Justine works nights at Shands, so I get to sleep in until 6 a.m. and take the boys to school and usually work out in the afternoon. This is definitely the best part of being self-employed and something I am fortunate to be able to do.)

6:30 a.m. David Tate does a great job pushing me physically and mentally at Risen Strength CrossFit. I used to be a gym guy and have seen great benefits to CrossFit regarding mobility, strength and endurance. I definitely like to compete, even if it is against myself. 7:30 a.m. Wrap up my workout, finish solving the world’s problems with Dave and head off to the office. 7:45 a.m. Arrive at the office, check

emails, talk with office staff and jump in the shower.

8:15 a.m. One of the best parts of my job is that no two days are the same. From this point on there is no “typical” day. The routine of my morning makes the chaos of the day equal out. Some days I will bounce from meeting to meeting, and some days are spent estimating or working on qualifications packets. Sometimes I get to pour concrete with the field guys or throw on my toolbelt and help the guys get things done. My career in this industry started wearing a toolbelt and I still enjoy doing it every chance I get.

AFTERNOON 3:30 p.m. Most of the field activities are wrapped up or are in the process of wrapping up and I am in the office. This is a good time to catch up on emails,

review proposals or just catch up with my business partner, Chris Decker, and the rest of the office folks.

5:45 p.m. Back to family mode. Nolan does taekwondo, baseball and football at different times of the year. Wyatt will follow suit in the next year or so as he seems to be developing an interest in sports. I have coached a few of the teams, and I really enjoy interacting with the kids and watching them progress in their abilities throughout the season. It is even cooler when you have them multiple seasons and see the kids grow as people. We have been blessed to have met a lot of great people doing these sports and we look forward to watching all these boys grow up together.

EVENING 6:45 p.m. We are all settled in at

home (hopefully!), and Justine and I cook dinner and help Nolan with his homework. There are lots of spelling words in our life these days! After dinner, it is clean up time. The boys take a bath together and we get the kitchen cleaned up and dishes put away.

7:30 p.m. With the boys clean, we try to spend a few minutes either watching a movie, playing a board game or just being silly. The boys like to wrestle with me as much as they can. 7:50 p.m. Part of Nolan’s homework

is to read 10 minutes a day, so we read to them both and it helps calm them before bed. Lately “Captain Underpants” is pretty popular in our house.

8 p.m. ADULT TIME! Kids are

in bed. We usually spend 10–15 minutes cleaning up the results of two rambunctious boys. Justine went back to school online, so she might have

some work to do. If so, it is a free pass for “manly, gory” movies or football for me. If not, we catch up on shows we watch together or just hang out and enjoy each other’s company over a drink. I definitely married my best friend (and married up), and we enjoy the time without chaos around us. This is when our dog, Rock, gets most of his attention as well.

10:30 p.m.

We head to bed. If we are not reading, we are talking about life, upcoming events and our schedules. Justine does a great job managing it all. I am notorious for saying “send me a calendar invite” for the kids’ events and appointments. No matter what, we make sure we do not go to bed mad at each other. I usually think about how lucky I have been to have such a great wife, beautiful kids, and loving and supportive family and close friends. There is no doubt we have worked very hard for the life we have, but I am convinced there is a certain amount of luck involved in this crazy life. Either way, I am ready to do it again tomorrow!

Want to submit a friend (or yourself!) to be featured in A Day in the Life? Send your information to!









life | lifesavers

Getting Back to Work From Stay-at-Home to Working Parent BY DANIELLE SPANO

There are over 5 million stay-at-home mothers, according to the US Census Bureau’s America’s Families and Living Arrangements report. And while moms still make up the majority of stay-athome parents, there are now about 2 million stay-at-home fathers, 21 percent of whom are home specifically to care for the family, according to the Pew Research Center. However, whether it be for economic reasons or simply because the children have grown up, there often comes a time when a stay-at-home parent decides to re-enter the workforce. Whether you have experience and education in a field of expertise or have no particular proficiency at all, a long gap in employment history raises a red flag for hiring managers. Crystal Spallone was in corporate accounting before becoming a stay-athome mom. “After five years home with my kids, it was very hard to get someone to even look at my resume,” said Spallone. “By explaining the gap, I was letting the employers know I had small children and I felt they would assume I would take more time off than others with older children.” After six months of her search, Spallone wound up finding a job. It was not exactly in her chosen field, but used many of the same skills necessary for accounting and offered flexibility for her family life. While an employment gap may turn off potential employers, an article in the Journal of Management said that people returning to work may, in fact, be better employees by combining past work experience with an enthusiasm for returning to work after time away. There are many organizations now available not only to help companies create re-entry opportunities, but also assist those who have been out of the workforce as they restart their careers. Companies such as iRelaunch and Path Forward offer seminars, learning materials and job


listings for both men and women returning to work. Locally, Santa Fe College has two programs that are designed to help women get into the workforce. Focus on the Future offers free classes and workshops to homemakers who have been financially dependent on federal assistance or another family member who no longer provides such support. This program helps women gain self-confidence and transition into a working role. And while stay-at-home mothers can re-enter the workforce at any age, Back to Work 50+ is another helpful program that helps women over 50 build economic stability. These programs offer coaching and training on life management skills such as time and stress management, interview readiness skills such as developing a resume and interview techniques, as well as offering computer workshops. “Someone who has been a homemaker has acquired a wide range of talents,” Jimmy Yawn, coordinator for the Career Resource Center at Santa Fe College, said. “These programs help them recognize the economic value of those talents and help direct them into the job market.” Of these various programs and resources, some of the key steps for successfully emerging back into the job market remain constant. Networking is essential. Maintain contacts and relationships


with those in your field during your leave. Reach out to them as well as any professional organizations to which you may have belonged to seek employment opportunities. Keep your skills tuned. Stay up to date on the latest in your industry, and use this knowledge in conversation with hiring managers to show you have not gotten rusty! Keep your resume updated and incorporate any functional skills, like time management and budgeting, that you may have mastered during your time at home.

Do not be afraid to make a change. Analyze your skill set along with new skills you have gained through homemaking (organization, budgeting, time management, etc.). If your previous profession is difficult to re-enter, find a new opportunity that suits your newly expanded skill set. Lastly, be confident. As a stay-at-home parent, you raised children, so the sky is the limit! FOR MORE HELPFUL INFORMATION VISIT THE FOLLOWING RESOURCES pathfor sfcollege .edu



life | our unique family


Photos Courtesy of Fredshots Photography.



The More the Merrier Kristy Sutton always knew she wanted to adopt. After the birth of her second child with husband Zach, Kristy experienced a year of postpartum thyroid issues, which led to the conversation of how her and her husband were going to have more children. “I thought I was done with childbearing, but then we traveled to Haiti for some mission work in December 2009,” she said. “There, God softened Zach’s heart to the idea of adoption.” They started pursuing the foster care route knowing they wanted to adopt domestically, and in August 2012 they were licensed to


foster and adopt children. She said once they had their first placement, they knew they would be walking the foster care journey for a long time. “There’s basically more of everything: More chaos, more crying, more hugs, more hits, more volume, more tears, more good, more dirty dishes and loads of laundry, and a ton more beautiful moments to share with even more people,” said Sutton. Over the years, the Sutton family has fostered more than 30 children. In December, they said goodbye to their 33rd foster child and adopted their fifth child, Gideon , 2.


Kristy said her biological children, Evie, 11, Beckett, 9, Elin, 7, and Griffin, 4, have been involved in the family’s fostering journey almost all their lives. In 2012, Evie was just starting kindergarten and four days before their first foster child arrived, Kristy unexpectedly found out she was pregnant with baby No. 4. “This is just our normal,” said Sutton. “Our kids expect us to say yes when a call comes with a new child that needs a safe place to land, and I love that! I love that our kids don’t know life any other way.” Continued on page 18

Continued from page 16

The Sutton family is licensed to foster two children at a time, and there is a limit of five to six children in a home at a time, including biological children. Kristy said they have been over capacity a few times with up to eight children sleeping under their roof some nights. Kristy’s advice for families looking to start fostering is to truly count the costs and prepare for heartbreak. She said there are so many shattered lives in just Alachua County alone, and the Sutton family keeps saying “yes” to fostering as a way to connect with parents and families who need support by loving their kids. “Your life will likely be unrecognizable after foster care,” she said. “You can’t unsee the brokenness, but there’s so much joy in the journey — in this hard calling.” The Suttons, along with some friends, established Foster Florida, an organization that helps equip those on the frontlines of foster care with things like child care, supplies, prayer and meals.

"No one can do this alone," she said.

Visit to learn more about Kristy’s organization and to find support in your community.





life | two cents

Plan a Party Without Breaking the Bank BY SELENA GARRISON AND NICOLE IRVING

We completely understand that planning and executing a fun birthday party on a budget is a struggle! Thankfully, limited funds do not have to mean limited fun! There are lots of ways to cut back on cost, while still providing great memories for your kids.

Continued on page 22

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Continued from page 20

The most important thing to remember is that no one is comparing your kid’s birthday party to any other kid’s birthday party. A lot of times us parents get really caught up in making sure that we look good in front of other parents. The president of the PTA had pony rides at her son’s birthday? Fun! You have a $20 slip-and-slide from Walmart and a garden hose? Just as fun! When it comes to actually planning the party, there are tons of ways to cut down on costs, but here are my top five tips.

1. Location. Choosing the venue for

your child’s birthday party can be a big expense. If you are trying to stick to a budget, you can host a great party at home or at a nearby public park. Many have covered pavilion areas that you can reserve for free or a nominal fee. For information on facility and park reservations in Gainesville, visit Cityofgainesville. org/ParksRecreationCulturalAffairs. If your kiddo has his sights set on a particular venue, try connecting with the parents of a friend who has a birthday around the same time. You may be able to host the party together and split the cost — a true win-win!

2. Invitations. There are so many ways

to save here. The least expensive way to get invitations out is digitally via Facebook or email/text. I like Facebook events because I can easily manage RSVPs, interact with guests leading up to the party and post any last-minute changes due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. If digital invitations are not your style, my next favorite option is the dollar store. You can get eight to 10 cute party invitations with envelopes for $1! If you want specifically themed invitations, you can check online for free printables that you can print at home, just keep in mind that the cost of paper and ink can add up! How many you invite also adds to the cost of the party. If budget is an issue, keep the party small and intimate. Invite as many kiddos as your little one is turning. If he is turning 7, invite seven friends!

3. Decorations. Again, the trusty dollar

the dollar store). Want to go big on the balloons? Purchase a helium tank and blow up as many as you like for minimal cost. If you are having a party that revolves around your kiddo’s favorite theme, such as Disney’s "Cars" or dinosaurs, then use their actual toy cars or dinosaurs as part of the decorations! Just make sure not to use their absolute favorite, in case it gets lost during the party. Then, check online (hello, Pinterest!) for free printable theme items like birthday banners, signs, cupcake toppers, etc.

4. Food. Keep it simple! Consider

planning the party for mid-morning or mid-afternoon so that you do not have to serve a full meal. Stick to homemade cake and ice cream, and call it a day! If you choose to go for a timeframe close to lunch or dinner, pizza is always a hit and you can have the slices double cut — little tummies fill up quickly! Skip the soda cans or juice boxes and instead use plastic cups. Write each kiddo’s name on their cup in Sharpie and have water and lemonade to serve.

5. Favors. If you do favors, keep them

simple (and inexpensive). Again, the dollar store has all sorts of cups, bags, candy and toys that you can use to put together favors easily for under $2 each. Online sites like Oriental Trading also have great deals on large quantity items.

Small toys are an inexpensive party favor.

store has a TON of party supplies. Go with solid white plates, napkins, cups and add hints of color with balloons and table coverings (all available at



Scaling Back

Party for one

Instead of doing a huge, blowout party, offer to let your birthday boy or girl invite one close friend over for a sleepover. Then you can treat the two of them to dinner and a movie.

Limit the parties Have birthday parties only on the even, odd or “big 5” years. On the other birthdays, stick to an intimate family dinner with their favorite meal. Just make sure you do the same for all the kiddos in your family!

a sibling bond should never be Broken Right now, there are more than

65 siblings groups

in out-of-home care in Alachua county.

Due to a lack of foster homes, siblings cannot always be kept together.

will you help keep a sibling group together? Take the first step in becoming a foster or adoptive parent by visiting


forks and spoons | delish


Sweet & Healthy Treats




Celebrating Valentine’s Day with your little ones just became a whole lot healthier. Put aside those conversation hearts and gooey chocolates, and get creative with these yummy options your kiddos will be sure to LOVE, without throwing off your family’s commitment to healthy eating. These three treats make for a great after school snack or even a light dessert!

Watermelon Heart Pops Fruit is naturally sweet, so take advantage of that this Valentine’s Day! • Watermelon slices • Lollipop sticks • Ribbon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS Simply cut your watermelon into heart shapes and skewer with a lollipop stick. If you would like to add a little flair to your pops, tie a ribbon into a bow around your lollipop stick.

Frozen Yogurt Hearts Makes about 30 hearts, depending on the size of your mold These festive treats are incredibly easy to make! While we went with strawberry and vanilla yogurts to stay within the color scheme of Valentine’s Day, you could really use whatever flavors your family likes best! • One 6-ounce container strawberry yogurt • One 6-ounce container vanilla yogurt • Heart-shaped silicone mold

INSTRUCTIONS Simply spoon the yogurt into the heart shaped molds and allow to harden in the freezer, about 2 hours. We did some plain vanilla hearts, some plain strawberry and some swirled with the two flavors.

"Cupid's Arrow" Fruit Skewers These cute skewers mimic Cupid’s arrows, creating a healthy treat that your little ones can fall in love with! • Fruit (we used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) • 6-inch wooden skewers

INSTRUCTIONS After washing, simply slide your fruit of choice onto your skewers, alternating between your selected varieties. Depending on what you are using, you may also want to cut your fruit into heart shapes before skewering. Before serving, make sure your kiddos are aware of the pointy end!



forks and spoons | in the kitchen

Time for a Cake Makeover 7 ways to make boxed cake taste homemade BY COLLEEN MCTIERNAN

Baking is not everyone’s forte. The precise measurements and bake times can be daunting for some, which is why boxed cakes, with their simple instructions and pre-made mixes, can be such a big help! If you are looking to whip up a cake for your little one’s birthday or another celebration during the year, but want something a little more special than your typical cake mix or more personal than a cake from the grocery store, consider these seven tips to help take your boxed cake to a new, flavorful tier.

+ Add coffee to chocolate cake mix

Instead of using water, try using brewed coffee in boxed chocolate cake mixes. If there is one thing I have learned from watching Ina Garten on “The Barefoot Contessa,” it is that coffee really helps the chocolate flavor come through in baked goods. If you do not want to brew the coffee first, you can always just add a bit of instant coffee to the mix, along with the suggested amount of water, for a similar effect.

+ Use whole milk for yellow cake mix

Water does not lend much flavor to your cake, so swap it out for the same amount of whole milk. The fat from the milk will also make your cake a bit denser if you are looking for a different texture than the typical box cake.

+ Consider mayo or sour cream

When it comes to cake, the name of the game to get a more flavorful end product is fat. Add a tablespoon of mayonnaise or two of sour cream for a rich and tasty cake that no one would ever guess came from a box.

+ Swap vegetable oil for melted butter

Replace relatively flavorless vegetable oil with melted butter for a richer tasting cake. This substitution is a quick and easy way to boost flavor.

+ Add extra eggs

Add an extra egg or two to your cake mix for a moister finish. Again, adding more fat to your boxed cake (without overdoing it, of course!) is a sure way to end up with a more decadent tasting cake.

+ Poke it

After baking your cake according to package directions, you can still add more flavor if you find it lacking! Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes about an inch apart on the surface of the cake. Then simply drizzle liquid over top and let it soak in! Depending on the flavor of your cake, you can use anything from sweetened condensed milk or vanilla pudding to lemon glaze or strawberry sauce.

+ Spice it up!

If you are using yellow cake mix, consider adding vanilla extract, almond extract or some cinnamon to your batter before baking. If you are using a chocolate mix, add in some extra chocolate chips for a decadent finish.

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forks and spoons | delish

Boxty in the Griddle, Boxty in the Pan BY COLLEEN MCTIERNAN

… if you can’t make boxty, then you’ll never get a man! Or at least that is how the old Irish saying goes. Boxty is an Irish potato pancake typically made with both mashed and raw, grated potato, that can be eaten as a side dish, as part of an Irish breakfast or on their own! Traditional recipes do not call for cheese, but I am of the school of thought that cheese makes everything better, so this recipe incorporates shredded white cheddar. If you want to keep the dish more traditional, though, you can always omit it.


Makes 8 pancakes • 1 ½ cups grated raw potato • ¾ cup all-purpose flour • 1 cup mashed potatoes* • 3 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped • 1 egg • 1 tablespoon milk • Salt and pepper to taste • 2 tablespoons canola oil • Melted butter or sour cream In a large bowl, coat the grated potatoes in the flour. Mix in the mashed potatoes, cheddar and chives until well incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, salt and pepper, then stir into the potato mixture. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In the meantime, form the mixture into eight patties about ½-inch thick. Add the boxty to the skillet and cook for about 3–4 minutes per side, or until golden. Drain the pancakes on paper towels and eat while hot. Serve with melted butter or sour cream.

Giggle Tip: To save time, you can use pre-made or instant mashed potatoes.








unlimi - 2 weeks ted cla sses!





Lucky Charms

Magically Fortuitous BY SAWYER CARLTON

From four-leaf clovers to wishbones to pennies found heads up, certain items around the globe have become symbols of luck. These items are now found in pant pockets, dangling above bed frames and strung from necklaces. But where do these legends originate? What do they really do? Here is a list of some of the (lucky number) seven most common lucky symbols.


The story behind the horseshoe is debated. According to Irish legend, upon witnessing a blacksmith fit and shoe a horse, the devil — a hooved creature himself — decided he wanted a pair of his own shoes and approached the blacksmith. Noticing that the creature was the devil, the blacksmith made the devil’s set too small, trimmed his hooves too short, drove the nails too close together and pinched them too tight to remove. The legend says that the devil limped away in pain and vowed to never go near another horseshoe again. Now, these metal crescents are placed above the threshold of a room to ward off evil. It is common practice to hang the horseshoe in a “U” formation to collect good luck and fortune. If the shoe is hung upside down, all the luck spills out.


said to be representative of “keys to the kingdom of heaven” and symbolize authority. In Japanese culture, three keys tied together were thought to unlock doors that lead to love, health and wealth. Wear a key around your neck to bring knowledge and success to your daily life.

Rabbit’s Foot

With origins based in African American hoodoo culture, the rabbit’s foot is said to bring fertility. Because rabbits are known to reproduce so quickly, legend says that the carrier of a rabbit’s foot, will soon have children. According to Scientific American, in order to be considered lucky, it is said that the rabbit’s foot must come from the left hind foot and that the rabbit must be obtained in a cemetery. Common practice has now phased out that specification and luck can still be enjoyed by those carrying a faux, plastic, color-dyed rabbit’s foot.

According to the Goethe-Institut, legend says that the Virgin Mary sent ladybugs to help protect crops from aphids and other pests, which ladybugs eat. It is thought to be lucky when a ladybug lands on someone, with the number of black spots indicating the number of months one will encounter good luck. The more vibrant the red of a ladybug, the more powerful the luck. It is also said that killing a ladybug is considered bad luck due to its historic relation to the Virgin Mary.


In Sweden, a ladybug crawling on a young girl’s hand is thought to be taking her measurements for wedding gloves, indicating she will marry soon. In Burgundy, if a ladybug lands on a young lady, the number of spots on the ladybug’s back is indicative of how many children she will bear. Ladybugs are often seen on baby clothes because of their fortuitous power.

Lucky Number 7


With the power to unlock mysteries only available to the keeper, the key is a symbol of power, knowledge and success. Greek and Roman tradition believes that a key represents the “Key of Life,” which has the power to unlock doors through which prayers travel to reach gods. Gold and silver keys crossed, such as the ones found in the Hierophant tarot card, are

Rooted in Native American culture, the dreamcatcher is believed to filter out all the bad dreams for whoever sleeps underneath it. According to “Chippewa Customs” by Frances Densmore, web-like trinkets were hung from the loop of a child’s cradle to trap evil, like a spider web traps insects. There is typically a small hole in the middle of the dreamcatcher where the good dreams may pass through. Hang one above your bed to have sweet dreams all night long.

The number 7 seems to be a universal reoccurring theme through life. There are seven days in a week, seven seas, seven continents, seven wonders of the world, seven colors in the rainbow, and there are typically seven black spots on a ladybug, which is lucky in and of itself. The number seven appears often across religions as well. Before telescopes, there were only seven celestial bodies visible from Earth – the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter – which may explain why many religions adopted seven gods or deities. There are seven major chakras recognized in Hinduism and seven lucky gods in Japanese tradition. For many, the number seven is a lucky, protective symbol seen all around.


In Hinduism, elephants are the animals of several powerful gods. Building off their religious importance, these massive creatures became a symbol of luck in ancient folklore and mythology. In the practice of feng shui, the elephant represents protection, wisdom, good luck and fertility. Because of its strength, it is often placed in the entrances of homes and establishments as a symbol of stability and protection. According to Greek philosopher, Aristotle, elephants are the wisest creatures in existence and capable of expressing grief and compassion. Their understanding of emotion combined with their impeccable memories makes elephants the perfect good luck symbol to place in a home office or student study area. An elephant figure with the trunk up symbolizes the showering of good luck. Many Eastern cultures believe that an elephant figure with its trunk down is bad luck, while Western cultures say it symbolizes fertility as it is storing and accumulating energy. Two elephants with their trunks intertwined is representative of friendship and love. Next time you see a symbol of your favorite three-ton mammal, see what good luck it can bestow upon you.


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health | get pretty

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Taking care of your skin can be an involved process, with multiple steps and products required to maintain clean and youthful looking skin. Even if you ascribe to the most simple of beauty routines, you most likely have makeup remover, face wash and a moisturizer in your bathroom to keep your face fresh and hydrated. But what if you could combine those three essentials into one simple step? With micellar water, you can! Micellar water, while relatively new to the American beauty scene, has long been a favorite of French women. This gentle cleansing solution consists of micelles, which are droplets of cleansing oil, in soft water. These oil droplets then draw out oil and dirt from your skin, leaving your face nice and clean without using harsh soapy ingredients. And unlike traditional cleansers, micellar waters do not have to be rinsed off with water, allowing the hydrating ingredients to soak into your skin for a perfectly moisturized finish.

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health | get healthy

Cooking with Class

Preventing and Treating Kitchen Burns BY JENNIFER JENSEN

The kitchen can be a place of wonder, for both children and adults alike. Magnificent treats and savory snacks are whipped up in this section of the house, and cooking as a family can be a great source of fun. But, the kitchen is also dangerous. Each year 250,000 children require medical attention for burn injuries, according to the American Burn Association, and the leading cause of home fires and related injuries is cooking equipment.

Preventing burns

According to UF Health, common causes of burns include more than just fire and touching hot objects. Burns can also result from electrical burns, chemical burns and scalding from both hot liquids and steam. Most scald burns to small children are caused by hot food and liquid spills in the kitchen. In order to prevent these types of burns from occurring in the kitchen, Janet Popp, nurse manager of UF Health Shands Burn Center, recommends using baby gates, playpens and highchairs to keep children away from the cooking areas unsupervised. Popp also suggested using back burners and turning pots and pan holders inward so that children cannot easily grab them. Kitchen appliances, such as slow cookers, deep fryers and smokers, along with their cords, should be kept away from areas where children can easily reach them. Hot foods and liquids should also be kept away from the edges of counters and tables. Of course, these measures should be taken on top of installing smoke alarms and placing fire extinguishers in key areas of the home. The best way to prevent burns when your children are helping you in the kitchen is to assign them age-appropriate tasks. Nan Jensen, extension agent with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, recommended setting clear safety guidelines and kitchen rules before you start cooking.


Young children should avoid assisting where heat is involved, but Jensen suggested letting kids between the ages of 9 and 12 operate small appliances, like blenders, juicers and microwaves, and use techniques such as baking, broiling, steaming and sauteing to prepare various foods — all with adult supervision.

Treating burns

Many people have heard of the old home remedy of using butter or margarine to treat burns. While plenty of home remedies are used to treat various afflictions successfully, this is not one. “Do not place anything oil based — e.g., butter — on wounds,” said Popp. In fact, something such as butter can keep in the heat and cause an infection, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In the case of first-degree burns, which leave the skin dry and pink without blisters and are often the result of flash burns, the burn should be kept clean and hydrated. You can apply water-based lotions to help combat the dryness and aloe gel for the pain. However, “if a burn appears over a large area of the body in young child or elderly person, seek medical attention,” said Popp.


Second-degree burns, which form blisters or weeping wounds that are dark pink/red from contact with flame, hot liquids or hot metals, can be managed at home by cleaning daily with mild soap and antibiotic ointment and dry dressing, said Popp. Third-degree burns show up as dry, waxy and pale or dark wounds. Someone who sustains this type of burn should always seek medical attention, said Popp. And any wounds caused by electricity or prolonged exposure to a flame, hot liquid or grease should be treated medically. In general, Popp said anyone who sustains a burn and is feeling ill should seek medical attention. People who have a history of medical conditions that could complicate the healing process, such as diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, heart attack or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, should also head to the hospital. We all know that accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, but hopefully by following these few recommendations and staying alert in the kitchen, you can prevent any burn-related injuries. *ALWAYS CALL 911 AND SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR IN THE CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.




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The games have been played, the cake has been cut, and now it is time for all of your little one’s friends to head back home. But you are not quite done yet! Instead of handing out bags of candy as mementos of your kiddo’s party, consider one of the following DIY party favors. These three favors are all relatively easy to prepare, and your little birthday boy or girl can help out.



Lip Balm Makes about 8 containers of lip balm

Your little one can definitely help out with these DIY lip balms! We kept ours relatively simple, but you can also include cosmetic-grade shimmer dust for a nice sparkle or almond oil for an extra moisturizing finish.

• • •

8 tablespoons Vaseline (we used a Vaseline with cocoa butter so it was extra moisturizing and smelled great!) Lipstick Vanilla extract Lip balm containers (we purchased ours at Hobby Lobby)

Scoop the Vaseline into a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments until completely melted. Snip off about half of the lipstick and mix it with the melted Vaseline until well combined. Then add a few drops of the vanilla extract for a light vanilla flavor and mix well. Pour into lip balm containers, seal and allow to harden, about 20 minutes.

Homemade Chalk Makes about 8 pieces of chalk

Chalk itself is not terribly expensive to purchase, but if you are looking for specific shapes or colors, it can be more cost effective (and fun!) to make it at home. Giggle Tip: *We found it easier to use disposable items as we did not want to get leftover plaster stuck in our sink drains!

• • • • • •

1 cup Plaster of Paris ¾ cup water Tempera paint Disposable bowl* Disposable spoon* Silicone mold

Combine the Plaster of Paris and the water in a disposable bowl and stir with a disposable spoon or other stirring implement until well combined. Add in a few drops of the tempera paint color of your choice. How much paint you add will depend on how rich you want your chalk color to come out. Then simply fill your silicone molds with your chalk mixture and allow to dry for about 3 hours.

Slime Makes about 8 containers of slime

If there is one party favor that is sure to be a hit with kids these days, it is slime. You and your kiddo can easily mix some up at home and color it to fit the theme of the party.

• • • • •

One 4-ounce container of glue 1 cup water K teaspoon borax Food coloring Plastic sauce containers with lids

Mix ½ cup of the water with the glue until well combined. Add in a few drops of food coloring and mix until you are satisfied with the color (we used about 6 drops of a neon green food coloring). In a separate container, mix the borax with the other ½ cup of water until dissolved. Then slowly combine the borax with the glue mixture until a putty starts to form. You may not need to use the entire borax mixture. Knead the slime until well combined and then store in the sauce containers. GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018


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learn | homeschool corner

Ne w fe at ur e! The final legal requirement is an annual evaluation. You will need to submit a letter to the school district from a certified Florida teacher attesting to your child’s academic progress. This is typically done in late spring or early summer, but it is required no later than the anniversary date of your letter of intent. The letter does not need to include any specific information about your child’s progress. It simply attests that your child is or is not making adequate progress. The most common evaluation methods include nationally normed tests and portfolio assessments where a certified teacher reviews your child’s portfolio. Consider reaching out to homeschooling groups for information about specific evaluators that they can recommend.

Other considerations

Homeschooling 101: Getting Started BY CRYSTAL LADWIG

You have thought about the idea for what seems like forever, went back and forth on the decision, and finally decided to homeschool your children. While there is a sense of relief that comes with making the choice, there is a lot to do before you are ready to start teaching. So, where do you begin?

Legal Requirements

Florida law requires that caregivers choosing to homeschool contact their local school district in writing to formally notify the district of their choice. That letter of intent must include your child’s name, birthdate, address and parent signature, and it must be filed with the district no more than 30 days before you start homeschooling. Some districts, including Alachua County, have online forms that can be submitted instead of a written letter. In addition to the information required for Florida law, Alachua County’s form requires the


child’s social security number, grade, gender, race, phone number and email address. You will also need to indicate whether the child will be taught using Florida Virtual School or a parentprovided curriculum. You will be required to submit a similar letter to terminate homeschooling if you choose to do so before high school graduation. Florida law also requires that caregivers maintain a portfolio for each student and present it to the school district within 15 days if a written request from the district is received. The portfolio can be digital or paper, but it must include a sample of the work and lessons completed. The specific items included in the portfolio are entirely up to the parent but should represent the child’s educational progress. Keep this portfolio and any lesson plans or notes for at least two years. It is a good idea, but not required, to keep records longer for students in high school.


Beyond legal requirements are the practical considerations you will need to make. Think about your goals for homeschooling. You will want to select a homeschool method and curricula that match those goals. It is also good to start talking to the various homeschooling groups and co-ops to learn more about their policies and enrollment information. There are several resources in the area to help you find a homeschool group including Facebook groups, the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and Finally, think about when you want to start homeschooling. It does not have to coincide with the public school calendar at all. Homeschooling is challenging, yet rewarding. There is a lot to learn, and the first year is a transition for everyone. Take your time and seek out help from other homeschoolers. It is worth it!

Dr. Crystal Ladwig is a veteran special education teacher, college instructor and researcher turned homeschool mom. Crystal specializes in working with children with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health issues as well as children considered 2e (gifted + a disability).


learn | family learning

Finding Your Fit

Which Book Style Best Suits You? BY MEREDITH SHELDON

E-books, Nooks and Kindles let you access books at the swipe of your fingers. With the advancement of technology, books are leaving the shelves and are shifting digital. Whether you are a traditional paperback junkie or a digital book lover, there are a wide variety of formats to get yourself reading. But, is there one that is best? No. Erin Phemester, the youth services senior manager for the Alachua County Library District, said there are perks to using all formats of books. It all depends on you. “The best style of book for reading comprehension is one that will actually be read,” she said. “If you prefer audiobooks or e-books and will finish a book in that format, that is the best format for you to read.”

Electronic Books

Instead of searching for the right book in a store, you can easily find an electronic book with the tap of your finger. The biggest benefits to these books, Phemester said, are convenience and accessibility. Electronic books are more accessible to people who might have some form of visual impairment as it allows them to increase font size and change background colors, Phemester said. These books are also interactive. Readers can highlight words they do not understand, click on words they do not know how to pronounce to hear them spoken aloud and they can click on links throughout the story to connect to the web for more information.

Audio Books

While it is different than actually reading words off a paper, an audio book is a great way to keep you reading when you do not


have time to sit and read a book. Audio books are perfect for travelers, busy parents or even family activities. Pop an audio book on your bluetooth while in the car driving to work or sitting in the carpool line. Phemester said it is also a great family activity. “Here at the Library District, we often see families selecting audiobooks for long car rides so that they can all listen to a great story together,” she said. People with vision problems can also use audio books as a way to listen to books without any need for the written option, Phemester said. And audio books can also be a great accompaniment for readers with dyslexia.

can negatively affect your sleep patterns, according to a Harvard Medical School study. The light stimulus from the electronic book can affect your melatonin production, interfering with your sleep cycle.

How to Find Your Fit

To find what format works best for you, Phemester said to visit your local library to try out all of the formats. Between audiobooks on CD and MP3, regular print, large print, paperback, hardback and electronic books, there are so many options to satisfy your reading needs.

We cannot forget traditional, paperback books. One of the best benefits to a physical book, Phemester said, is the experience. “As a parent, I enjoy the tactile experience of sharing physical books with my children,” she said. “There is still great joy in sharing a large picture book and turning the pages to discover where the story will take us next.”

Readers may find that they enjoy a variety of book formats to suit their various needs throughout the day, Phemester said. There is not one format that is best for everyone, and reading in multiple formats can actually help improve literacy and reading skills. “Reading in multiple formats helps them to learn the visual and auditory code of the written and spoken language,” she said. “For other readers, reading in multiple formats may be preference and we here at the library are happy to help fulfill this preference.”

If you have a hard time sleeping at night, a physical book may be your best friend. Reading from a screen right before bed

Need help finding your fit? Visit your local library for advice and access to all of the reading resources you need.

Physical Books


learn | featured teacher

Kimberly Obenour Why were you inspired to teach?

AT WHAT SCHOOL DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK? W.W. Irby Elementary WHAT GRADE/AGE DO YOU TEACH? Second Grade WHAT SUBJECT DO YOU TEACH (IF APPLICABLE)? Everything! They only get a break from me during specials.

Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond for his students? An administrator who is truly devoted to making her school a better place? Giggle Magazine wants to know! Visit to submit your favorite educator for a chance for him or her to be featured in one of our upcoming issues.

What is your favorite activity to do with your students? I love teaching science! It is so fun to impress their growing minds with exciting experiments (even if they don’t always work out, i.e. planting white pumpkin seeds). A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to have a parent volunteer to hatch chickens with our class. Since then, she has come back every year to hatch chickens with my class. They absolutely love it! She brings in a different breed of chicken every week and the kids get to pet them and learn about all the different kinds of chickens. It is first-hand experience with an activity that most people do not get to experience, including myself! I incorporate it into a whole life cycle unit about animals and plants. It is nice to be able to bring fun things into the classroom and teach through those activities.

What advice would you give to parents of children starting in your class? Be involved! Read to your child and have them read to you, even if you are just reading short books on the way to baseball practice or the menu at a restaurant! Also, the parent knows the child best, so share any information you might think is helpful within the classroom. The teacher wants your child to succeed, and having a parent on board makes that a much easier and enjoyable task!

What is your favorite part of the school day? When we do a read-aloud lesson. I love reading and I want my students to capture that love and enjoy it as much as I do. A read-aloud gives me the opportunity to share my love of books with the students and get them as excited as I am to discover new books! Seeing a child later choose that book out of the library or look for other books by that author makes my day!

How do you wind down from a long day of teaching? Reading, shopping and chatting with my best friend (who happens to be a teacher as well).

What do you like to do outside of the classroom? I read all of the time! I am also lucky enough to live in the same town as my family, so lots of my time is spent with them. I go to the beach whenever possible. My mom and I love to road trip together, so I am always on the go somewhere!

What has been your funniest interaction with a student? This is hard because quite a few students pop into my head, but no specific instance. They were just incredibly memorable kids! Just a reminder for parents though, children LOVE to come in and share all about their home life!

What is your favorite book? That’s tough! My favorite children’s book would be “Our Tree Named Steve” by Alan Zweibel or any Mo Willems book. As for adult books, I am going to go with two authors I really enjoy: Liane Moriarty and Beatriz Williams. I have read every book each of these two authors has written!


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A TEACHER? This is my sixth year teaching. All six years I have been lucky enough to teach at Irby Elementary. I taught first grade my first two years and then moved up to second grade where I have been for the last four years!

It is hard to resist a profession that supports your love of colorful pens, children’s books and Pinterest! But really, I had some amazing teachers growing up, and I have some amazing teacher friends that inspire me every day. Teaching is not always easy and it is not a job that you “leave at the office.” Being able to make a positive impact in a child’s life is what inspired me to become a teacher!





Is your little one fascinated by prehistoric lizards? Does she know her Tyrannosaurus rexes from her pterodactyls? Does he have more dinosaur toys than you know what to do with? Well then, a dinosaur-themed birthday might be just the ticket this year! From table dĂŠcor to on-theme food and games, this handy guide will point you in the right direction to throwing a truly delightful dino party.

Game Time Give the kiddos mini dinosaur toys and wooden spoons and see who can make it to the finish line fastest without dropping their dino! For this dino dig you will just need sand, a large container (a kiddie pool could work for larger parties) some dinosaur toys, and shovels and brushes. Break out your Easter eggs for a dinosaur egg hunt! Fill just a few eggs with miniature dinosaur toys and then hide them with some empty eggs outside for a fun spin on a scavenger hunt.

Giggle Tip: You can also use your little one’s favorite dinosaur toys to decorate. Top with mini party hats to get them in the festive spirit! 56


Continued on page 59


We used food coloring to dye vanilla icing green to give the illusion that our T-rex cake topper (we got ours from Etsy for $25) was stomping around in the grass. Use chocolate rocks on the top and sides of the cake to complete the outdoor feel.


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Continued from page 56

1. These easy-to-make pudding cups will be all the rage with their “cookie dirt”!


2. Download the digital file for this prehistoric party poster at 3. Don’t forget your veggies! Fill cups with a dollop of ranch dressing and some carrots, peppers and celery for a healthy option. 4. & 5. Tyson® Fun Nuggets and pretzel stick “bones” round out our table of themed food. 6. Use fake greenery to give your party the atmosphere of a lush jungle. 7. We purchased these bright dinos at Hobby Lobby for $9.99 each.


giggle stamp | birthday party supplies

Ready to Party!

Dinosaur Cake Topper

$25, PSWeddingsandEvents Baking your own cake or other sweet treat? Jazz it up with a fun cake topper! Whether you go with a themed cake topper, like this ferocious T-rex for a dino party, or something a little simpler, treat dĂŠcor is the way to go.


There is a lot that goes into planning a birthday party for your little one. From on-theme decorations and prizes to treat toppers and carriers, there are many little pieces that contribute to making your party a success. Here are some of our favorite birthday products to help get you started!

Kikkerland Galactic Ice Tray

$9.99, Michaels If you are going the DIY route when it comes to favors, consider using decorative ice trays, like this space one, to make your own themed chalk (check out page 44 for step-by-step instructions!)

Celebrate It Cookie Cutters

$0.99 each, Michaels Is your kiddo more of a cookie monster than a cake lover? You can easily keep cookies in theme by using cookie cutters or colored frosting.

4-Piece Ice Cream Bowl Set

$11.99, Whether you are serving ice cream alongside your little one’s cake, or ice cream is the main attraction, these bright bowls add a pop of color to the table.

Unicorn Horns

$20 each, Wearables are a great way to get everyone in the party spirit! You can stick to the basics with simple party hats or go with something that fits your theme, like these Unicorn Horns for a fairytale party.

Party Sprinkles

$22.95, If you are looking for a fun and easy party activity, bake cupcakes and allow your little one and her friends to decorate them! Provide sprinkles, gel icing and candy, and then let their imaginations run wild!

Celebrate It Treat Toppers

$3.99, Michaels Who says toppers are only for cake? You can still decorate cupcakes and other small baked goods, like brownies, with smaller treat toppers! You can opt for something that matches your theme, or go for something more generic and classic, like these party hat toppers.

PL8 24 Cupcake Carrier

$39.99, If your party is at a venue outside of your house, you will need a treat carrier to safely transport your little one’s baked good of choice. This cupcake carrier includes an adorable stand that can hold either 24 cupcakes or one 9-inch layer cake, depending on your needs.

Break the Piñata Bank

$20, If you are incorporating games into your little one’s special day, you may want to give out prizes to the winners. These adorable piñata piggy banks are a great option for boys and girls alike.

My Cinema Lightbox – Vintage Edition

$65, Don’t forget the signage! If you are looking for something that can stand the test of time and be reused in the years ahead, consider something like a lightbox or a letter board. That way you can swap out the letters for different themes and different kiddos instead of purchasing a new sign every year.



Your 2018

Family Vacation Planning Guide BY DANIELLE SPANO

It may still be early in the year, but the time has come for you to open up that new 2018 calendar and pick out some dates for your next family vacation! There truly is no better time to start planning; booking early often comes with savings. Additionally, school holidays and vacation dates are popular travel times, and they book up fast! You got the whole year to work with, and it can be overwhelming with so many places to go and so many things to see. Here are some ideas to help you get your 2018 vacation on the calendar! 62



Hawaii Say “aloha” to the Hawaiian Islands for a tropical vacation like no other! Hang ten as a family and take group surfing lessons. Feast on both food and entertainment at a luau where you will dine on traditional Polynesian food and work off your meal with a little hula dancing. Explore the beauty of the islands by hiking up a volcano, swimming in a waterfall, taking a helicopter ride to get an aerial view or just enjoy the ocean view as you relax and get a beachside massage. Hawaii (the big island), Oahu and Maui are some favorite islands for family getaways.

Colorado If your family is more snow than surf, Snowmass Resort in Colorado is ranked one of the country’s top family ski destinations. The whole family can hit the slopes with skiing for all skill levels. The resort features a 25,000-square-foot Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center with areas perfect for little novice skiers. There is more winter fun to be had with snowmobiling, dog sledding and hiking. Marvel at the remains of pre-historic animals, including the “Snowmass Mammoth” at the Ice Age Discovery Center, and cap off the evening with the famed dining and nightlife in nearby Aspen.

Mexico Grab your passports for a short flight to Cancun or Riviera Maya, Mexico. Take in the mystery of the numerous Mayan ruins such as the well-known Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the beachside ruins at Tulum; or Cobá, home of the tallest Mexican pyramid. Combine the local and historic culture with entertainment at Xcaret, an eco-archaeological theme park teeming with water activities, a Mayan village, wildlife and more. Get your adventure on and swim with dolphins, zipline through the jungle or snorkel in one of the peninsula’s many cenotes, underground caves created from sinkholes.

Costa Rica Combine adventure with awe-inspiring natural beauty with a trip to Costa Rica. This small country offers a large variety of destinations from beaches to rainforests to volcanoes. Relax on one of the country’s many beautiful beaches. Put on your adventure hat and go white water rafting through rainforests or hike the famed Arenal Volcano. Do not forget to take a dip in the therapeutic thermal hot springs in the volcano’s surrounding area! Get to know the culture in the capital, San Jose, with its numerous museums, shops and even a zoo. The various habitats allow for a multitude of wildlife, so keep your camera ready! While a Costa Rica vacation is sure to be an adventure, the laidback lifestyle of the locals and purity of the country’s natural beauty is reflected in their popular greeting, “pura vida,” meaning pure life.

New York New York City is the city that never sleeps and offers something for everyone. For the foodie, venture into Little Italy for a traditional meal or grab a slice at one of the city’s many pizzerias Take a bite of the Big Apple’s history at the Statue of Liberty, a national monument and icon of the city. You can keep your feet on the ground with just general access to the island, climb a little over 200 steps for views from the lower pedestal or make the 377-step climb (146 of those on a spiral staircase!) up to the crown for unparalleled views. All that climbing will surely leave you hungry, so consider a picnic in the heart of the city at Central Park, where you will find beautiful bodies of water, playgrounds, gardens, a castle and even a zoo! In the evening, watch the city come alive in Times Square and enjoy a Broadway play.


Cruising “Seas” the day with a cruise vacation! Today’s ships have endless activities to keep the whole family entertained while at sea. Unpack once and wake up each day in a new and exciting location to discover, as your ship serves as your floating home base to make memories of a lifetime at every port. Cruise right from your own backyard with ships sailing from ports throughout Florida or fly to a port where you can take in a different part of the world. Explore Europe’s vast history with a springtime cruise or cool off your summer on an Alaska cruise! The Last Frontier offers an awe-inspiring experience with landscapes, wildlife and adventures that will give the kids plenty to brag about when they are back at school! Add excursions like dogsledding, helicopter rides to glaciers and whale watching to your must-do list! Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand new ship is coming to Alaska in 2018, and you can be among the first to sail on the much-anticipated Norwegian Bliss. With an onboard go-kart track, laser tag, the musical hit Jersey Boys and more, this ship will make your Alaska adventure pure bliss for the whole family!

All-inclusive fun If keeping your feet planted firmly in the sand is more your style, consider an all-inclusive resort for your family vacation. All-inclusive resorts are set in some of the most desirable tropical destinations with multiple accommodations to choose from, allowing you to choose a room or villa that most comfortably fits the family. The resorts are filled with activities, hangouts, pools and entertainment to make the whole family happy. Visit the surrounding city or remain on the resort premises, which offers many options to keep the whole family occupied. Depending on the resort, most activities, foods and drinks are included, so there is no worry about racking up a large bill to pay upon checking out at the end of your trip. Beaches Turks & Caicos offers over 20 restaurant options, an on-site water park and water sports like kayaking, windsurfing and snorkeling. If that is not enough to keep your family smiling, little ones will squeal as they meet their favorite Sesame Street® characters and teens will love the X-BOX® Play Lounge. While the family plays, you can sit on the beach and relax by the clear turquoise waters of one of the world’s best beaches! You can also find Beaches resorts in Negril and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, another 2018 hot spot! Another popular family-focused all-inclusive is Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana. With character experiences, a water park, and play areas for all ages, you can add the Dominican Republic to your 2018 must-see list!

Disney destinations While you may be ready to see the world, your kids might just want to see the mouse. Theme park vacations are always a favorite, but you may be ready venture a bit farther. Adventures by Disney are immersive, authentic experiences that show you the world with that immeasurable Disney magic. Itineraries are designed to cater to the entire family. Adults can enjoy wine tastings and private dinners as the children enjoy special Disney movie nights. The kids can see the world in a way that makes it fun for them — participating in a scavenger hunt at the Louvre in France or learning how to make pizza in Italy. Older kids can take archery lessons in South Africa or go horseback riding in the Canadian Rockies. In true Disney fashion, your trip will be filled with unique experiences that complement the culture and history of the destinations you visit. Whether it is a kid-friendly river cruise along the Rhine, a guided tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands or an adventure through Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park, Adventures by Disney has an itinerary that will make your family vacation an adventure of a lifetime.

Danielle Spano had over a decade of experience throughout the travel industry before opening her own Gainesville-based Cruise Planners travel agency selling all vacations from cruises, resorts, and theme parks to custom trips and more.









EXPECTING Myth Busters


Insufficient Funds

TODDLER | 2-3 Taming Temper Tantrums

EARLY YEARS | 4-5 Pay Attention!

KIDS | 6-9 Guess What I Heard?

TWEENS | 10-1 3 Dear Diary

TEENS | 14-18 The Dangers of Drinking



c2c | expecting


Myth Busters Debunking common pregnancy myths BY ELAYZA GONZALEZ

All moms-to-be are bound to be exposed to pregnancy myths that are just that — myths! While some tips and facts ring true, others are old wives’ tales that can lead to worry and cause panic for no valid reason at all. It is important that pregnant women do everything they can to ensure baby’s safety as well as their own, but they can also separate fact from fiction and experience an easy-breezy pregnancy. Myth: Spicy food induces labor. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is no evidence that indicates spicy food can trigger labor. You can still enjoy spicy foods, but do not count on a baby coming into the world any sooner! Myth: Say no to caffeine. Although caffeine is absorbed through the placenta, you do not have to do without your daily coffee fix entirely. According to the American Pregnancy Association, there is conflicting research as to how caffeine affects the fetus. Until there is more conclusive information, Mayo Clinic advises pregnant women to limit the amount of caffeine in their diet to less than 200 milligrams, which is about the amount in one 12-ounce cup.

Myth: Jumping induces labor. Put the jump rope down and relax; jumping does not induce labor. If you want to keep exercising during pregnancy, experts at the Cleveland Clinic say walking would be the better option. Although walking will not induce labor either, it might start contractions. Ultimately, the cervix only opens when it is good and ready, but there is no harm in taking a stroll while waiting for baby’s arrival.

Myth: Having cats can lead to birth defects. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that results from infection by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which can be found in cat feces. According to, a service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, soon-to-bemoms should stay away from litter box duty and not feed cats raw meats, which increases the risk of bringing the parasite into the home. Taking these simple precautions allows moms to be healthy while enjoying cuddles from their furry friends.

Myth: Evening primrose oil can be used to induce labor. OK, maybe this oil can actually induce labor, but it can also cause your uterus to rupture, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The body converts the oil into prostaglandins, which can help soften the cervix, but the oil has no federal oversight or dosage control. An overdose can be dangerous to mommy and baby, so speak with your health care provider before ingesting this oil.

Myth: Sex will hurt the baby. Contrary to popular belief, sex will not physically hurt babies. They are protected by the amniotic sac, uterine muscles and a thick mucus plug that seals the cervix. So long as you have a low-risk pregnancy, you can safely have sex with your partner. However, you do still need to be careful of sexually transmitted infections as those can be transmitted to your baby.



Myth: You cannot lift your arms above your head. Some pregnant women worry that if they lift their arms above their head, the umbilical cord will get wrapped around their baby’s neck. This is false. The truth is umbilical cords are not affected based on how women position their bodies during pregnancy.


If you have any questions about any potential myths being truths, ALWAYS consult your doctor before trying/using any method or product while pregnant.



c2c | infant { 0 -1 Y E A R }

Insufficient Funds Solutions for insufficient breast milk supply BY COLLEEN MCTIERNAN AND LIZZIE VASQUEZ

Breast-feeding is an important element of healthy development in newborns. Not only is it a great connection for mothers to make with their babies, but breast-feeding also provides newborns with essential nutrients that promote healthy growth. It is no secret that breast-feeding can be difficult. If you find yourself questioning if your little one is gaining enough weight, you may have insufficient milk supply.

Signs of low milk supply

According to Teresa Glaser, a local international board certified lactation consultant, most mothers come to her with insufficient milk supply concerns between seven days to 12 weeks after birth. She said that if you notice any of the following signs during this period, then your baby may not be getting enough milk.

1. Baby is not back to birth weight at 14 to 16 days old. 2. Baby is fussy between feedings 3. Baby is not gaining between 0.5 to 1 ounce per day after day five.

4. Baby wets fewer than five diapers and does not stool at least once a day.

5. Baby feeds for only 5 minutes or less before pulling away and not latching back on.

6. Baby’s feedings are less than two hours apart (you may see this behavior at 8 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months of age due to growth spurts).

Of course, the most important sign is your gut instinct. “Even if it’s your first baby, mothers have a very intrinsic ability to pick up signs or a feeling that things aren’t right, something has changed in the picture,” said Glaser. If these signs apply to you, then consider the following test. Three hours after feeding your baby, Glaser recommended pumping both breasts for about 20 minutes and measuring the resulting milk. You should have approximately 3 to 4 ounces at two weeks, 4 to 6 ounces at four weeks and 6 to 8 ounces at six to eight weeks. If you are under the minimum amount, you should speak to your pediatrician or lactation consultant about supplementing your infant with formula to ensure that your little one is receiving enough nutrients to continue growing as he or she should.



Increasing supply

If you suspect you have insufficient milk for your baby’s needs, your first step should be reaching out for professional help. However, there are some steps you can take at home to work on increasing your supply.

Foods to help get your milk flowing If you are looking for another way to give your milk supply a boost, drink 6 to 8 ounces of water at each feeding to stay hydrated. You may also try incorporating a lactation tea into your daily hydration routine. Oats are another great way to increase your supply. Glaser recommended consuming your oats as a porridge or drinking oat milk instead of eating sugarloaded oat cookies.

Once you have determined that your supply is low, Glaser recommended making it a habit to pump both breasts for 15 minutes after each daytime feeding. This will help to increase your level of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates breast milk production. “The more your breast is emptied … hopefully the more prolactin flow you’ll get,” she said. You can also supplement this routine with an additional round of power pumping after your last feeding before bed. This technique involves pumping both breasts for 10 minutes, then relaxing for 10 minutes. Then you pump for another 10 minutes and rest for another round before pumping for a final 10 minutes. This 50-minute routine will help to hyper-stimulate your breasts. You should notice increased milk supply within the week. If you do not notice a difference in your milk supply, then Glaser advised renting a hospital-grade breast pump along with a medical grade infant scale to help track your baby’s weight gain. *ALWAYS REACH OUT TO YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING YOUR BABY’S FEEDINGS, WEIGHT AND BREAST MILK SUPPLY.

Giggle Tip:

Snuggle up! Glaser said that skin-to-skin contact helps to increase your breast milk supply.

Sensory Storytime Sensory play is an important component of childhood development. With the help of the University of Florida’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), the Library District developed Sensory Storytimes. Also, sensory toys are available for checkout with a library card. These Storytimes and toys provide sensory play for all children, especially children with sensory integration challenges.

For locations and

c2c | toddler

{2-3 YEARS}

Taming Temper Tantrums Decoding the reason for your toddler’s tantrums BY OLIVIA K PITKETHLY, MA, LMHC

If just reading the headline makes you want to cringe, relax. We have all been there. The complete meltdown accompanied by a strawberry-colored face, salty streaming tears and screams that only dogs could hear. Yep, we know it well. Although we have experienced it, sometimes we cannot figure out why. Is he angry or sad? Is he sick? Is he in pain? Did we pour the juice in the wrong colored cup? Researchers at the University of Connecticut published a study in the journal Emotion on this very topic. They studied 13 toddlers, ages 2 and 3 years old, and their method was pretty unique. Parents placed the child in a onesie equipped with a microphone and transmitter that recorded the child’s sounds for up to four hours at a time. Vocalizations were categorized as screams, yells, cries, whines and fusses. Children this age have yet to develop an adequate vocabulary to communicate how they feel. So, yelling and crying, and sometimes throwing items and hitting people or things, are the only way they know how to express themselves. The research study identified that screams and yells were associated with feelings of anger, while cries, whines and fusses were associated with sadness. Christine Powers, mother of three, identifies with the results. She said she knew when her children were frustrated because they tended to become louder with their tantrums. “Usually they scream, a lot of repeating themselves with urgency The reason behind about an issue that in normal circumstances the frustration is would not affect typically because them,” she said. “A dog stepping on the corner they are tired, sick of their blanket causes or overwhelmed. the world to end and then I know they are at the end of their rope.”



The reason behind the frustration is typically because they are tired, sick or overwhelmed. “Right now, we are experiencing a lot of this due to a younger sibling trying to keep up and be heard,” she said. Powers brings up a good point: being heard. It is something we all want, whether we are 3 or 83. Once you recognize the root cause for your child’s tantrum, validate his feelings. Saying things like, “I know you are angry right now” or “I feel sad sometimes too” lets your child know that it is normal to have these feelings and that you are here to help. Although you want to normalize their feelings, children need to know that some behaviors, such as hitting people or breaking items, are not acceptable. Instead, redirect them to expressing themselves in a healthier way. In my practice, I encourage parents to create an “angry box.” Fill a plastic bin with items such as scrap paper, play dough and a punching balloon. When you recognize your child is amping up to tantrum level, remind him to go to the “angry box” so he can learn how to help himself manage his emotions. Children can work out their frustrations by tearing the paper, squeezing play dough or a stress ball, or hitting a punching balloon. For children who are dealing with sadness, you can also include soothing items, such as soft plush toys, a piece of candy or pictures of their favorite people or places. It may take a few tantrums for your child to get into the habit of using these items to cope, and that is OK. How many times have we, as adults, thrown “tantrums” only to realize there was a better way to handle our feelings? Model your own healthy coping skills so your child will do the same. It is an important skill to pass down to future generations.




c2c | early years {4-5 YEARS}

Pay Attention!

Improving your little one's attention span BY APRIL TISHER

Children today are not how I remember children being when I was a kid. They are not the stuff sitcoms and Disney movies are made of either. They do real school work in kindergarten. They play competitive sports and learn to play musical instruments by age 5. I am often in awe at how capable children are, but I also wonder if we are expecting too much of them too early. How long should we expect young children to sit still and stay focused on one thing? One’s attention span literally means the length of time for which a person is able to concentrate mentally on a particular activity. If you have children you might notice that their ability to pay attention to things they are interested in is much better than focusing on homework or chores. At least that is how it works in my house. Reading a school book for 20 minutes is “just too much,” but playing a video game for 30 minutes goes by in a flash with no complaints. According to Speech Therapy Centers, the average 4-year-old can listen to a story or engage in an activity for 10–15

minutes. After 15 minutes, even 5-year-olds will get fidgety and begin to lose interest. The key is to keep the activities hands-on and engaging and to watch the child for cues of boredom. By kindergarten most children are able to ignore minor distractions and focus on a single activity for 10–15 minutes. Talbot Elementary School’s Susan Quinones, a 13-year veteran kindergarten teacher, explained that while her students are expected to sit and focus for a 90-minute reading block, she feels that is way too long for their age. She said she and her team of colleagues break that time period up with station activities, brain breaks and GoNoodle videos, which focus on combining physical activity with learning. Quinones stressed that the more movement her students get, the better they seem to absorb the information being presented to them.

If your little one is still struggling to stay focused, try some of the following methods to help improve his or her attention span. • Physical activity is No. 1. This is one of the reasons Morning Mile programs at local schools have been such a success. Movement of the body motivates the brain and reduces the wiggles. • Removing distractions, either visual or auditory can improve focus. • Chunking is a great tool used to keep students on task. This simply means not trying to get an entire assignment done in one sitting period, but dividing it into smaller manageable tasks. • Taking brain breaks or attention breaks, similar to the ones Quinones mentioned above. Sometimes just a few minutes to stretch, walk around or get some fresh air will make it easier to concentrate when returning to the task at hand. I have also seen my children’s teachers use the “shake the sillies out” method. • Playing memory games. • Reducing or eliminating screen time; this seems obvious, but how many children do their homework with televisions in the background or cellphones in their pockets? The distraction potential is too great. • Chewing gum while focusing on a project at home or doing homework can also help with focus and attention.






c2c | kids {6-9 YEARS}

Guess What I Heard? How to quell gossip in children BY APRIL TISHER

Remember the telephone game? The one often played in groups as an ice breaker where one person whispers something in the ear of the person next to them and then that persons whispers it in the ear of the person next to them and so on until the last one in line says aloud what they heard. What the last person hears is a far cry from the original message. The point of the game is to illustrate just how distorted facts become as they are repeated from person to person. Even my first grader finds this game hilarious because she knows the last participant is going to say something ridiculous. My hope, though, is that she is getting the bigger message. This is exactly how gossip works. The game is fun and harmless, but in the real world, things said get repeated and not always in the way we intended.

to remain private, you are spreading gossip; and that is when it becomes an issue. This is an important distinction to not only teach our children at a young age, but also to ensure we are modeling the same behavior. If we are engaging in gossip, repeating things we hear to others in front of our children, you can be sure they will do the same. Gossip can be harmful. According to a study focused on students between the ages of 5 and 11 published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, children who are rejected by their peers through damaging gossip are more likely to suffer academically. Girls are the most likely to be negatively affected by this form of social aggression and suffer from lowered self-esteem, but it can affect boys, too. A popular technique to teach a child about gossip is to squeeze the toothpaste out of a tube then ask them to put it back in the tube. When they realize that it cannot be done, the lesson can be made that the toothpaste is like unkind words (or actions) — once said they cannot be taken back. Samantha Bell, mom of two and a VPK teacher at First Christian Academy has been working in child care for close to 20 years. Her advice for stopping gossip in its tracks is her belief in the Golden Rule: treat people the way you want to be treated. At home she said anytime her teen repeats something that could be gossip she asks these questions: 1. Is this directly from the person’s mouth? 2. If so, do they want you sharing it? 3. Would you want someone saying this about you? In her classroom of younger children, Bell said her go-to is to simply ask the child if what they are talking about has anything to do with them. If it does not, then they should walk away. To simplify this during class time she uses a technique she learned from her mother (also a preschool teacher) by touching the top of her nose, which means “mind your business.” This means the children know to walk away without her having to actually say anything to them. The less attention that the gossip gets, the better. Michele Masson, RN, mom of two elementary-age girls echoed this same lesson. She said she talks with her girls about how badly they feel when others talk about or say mean things about them. By explaining that that is how others feel when they are talked about helps them to understand why they should not repeat what they hear and fuel the gossip. Masson also tells her girls to speak up when they hear gossip by telling the person spreading it that it is not nice to do so.

Gossip is defined as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. simplifies it by saying when we talk to or have conversations with people we share our thoughts, ideas and feelings. However, when we say mean things, tell stories that you are not sure are true, or reveal information you know is supposed



Treat people the way you want to be treated.

I think I can

I think I can I think I can . . . and at Oak Hall he will. Giving your child the tools to Accepting students 3 years old - grade 12

8009 SW 14th Avenue • Gainesville, FL 32607 • 352.332.3609 •

c2c | tweens { 1 0 -1 3 Y E A R S }

Dear Diary Balancing your tween's privacy and safety BY OLIVIA K. PITKETHLY, MA, LMHC

Somewhere between elementary and middle school, your tween will stop talking to you. One day she might have been giving you every last detail of the latest gossip at school, and the next day she completely shut down, giving only singleword responses to your questions. It is frustrating as a parent, but this is normal tween behavior. They are experiencing new feelings that they want to keep private as well as asserting their independence by withholding information. It is a new stage of life for them and they are figuring things out. While they may not be expressing themselves to you, it is important they have a healthy outlet of communication while in this stage. Keeping a diary or a journal is a useful tool for your tween to communicate her feelings without repercussions, such as getting in trouble with parents or friends breaking her confidentiality. Fletcher Eaton, father of three, said that two of his children enjoy expressing themselves through personal and creative writing and art. He said if he or his wife have concerns, they will access the journals. Eaton said they have not really needed to do it yet, but their children are aware that they might. “We don’t want to stifle their creativity or openness, so we incorporate it into the overall openness of communication in our house,” Eaton said. “We try to foster a healthy balance between openness and respect for each other’s privacy. We are fortunate that all three of our children talk pretty openly about their group of friends or issues at school.” Maintaining that balance can be tricky to navigate, but here are a few tips to get you started. GIFTING A JOURNAL Bookstores and craft stores have a wide variety of journals available. Peruse the shelves and find one that “fits” your tween — favorite color, interest, or style — and present it to your child as a gift. Let him know that it is good to get things off his chest, and writing or drawing in a journal is a great way to do it. If you kept a journal as a kid, you might want to share that with him, giving him a peek inside your world at his age. READING THE JOURNAL Let your child know that although it will be mostly private, if you have



serious concerns about him, you will be reading it. It is important that you are honest from the start so there are no surprises later on. Define “serious” concerns with your child — signs that your tween is using drugs or alcohol, engaging in sexual behavior or showing symptoms of depression are all important issues that need to be addressed. If your child states he will not keep a journal because you might read it, have an open conversation about it. Ask what he believes the repercussions will be if you read something you do not agree with. Take this as an opportunity to explore your different opinions and experiences. You may end up learning something about each other and improve your communication. CONTINUING TO COMMUNICATE While communication with your tween may have slowed down, it is still important to let her know she can always come to you with anything. Continue to validate her feelings and explore how she feels about certain situations. For instance, if she says that a friend of hers was caught drinking alcohol, ask how she feels about that. Does she think it is normal to be curious about alcohol? What were the consequences of her friend’s behavior? Does she think the parents overor under-reacted?

"It is important they have a healthy outlet of communication"

BE PATIENT It is both frustrating and sad when your child seems to be growing “away” from you. But, be patient with him. Know this is an important time in his life as he prepares for adulthood, and remember it will eventually get better. Talk to parents of older children for support during this time. Always make yourself available so when your tween is ready to talk, you are there to listen with open ears, an open mind and an open heart.




c2c | teens { 1 4 -1 8 Y E A R S }

The Dangers of Drinking Talking to your teen about underage drinking BY JENNIFER JENSEN

Parents worry about their children. That it just a fact. And once a child moves into his teen years, many parents start to worry that their child might try alcohol. Although parents cannot be with their children every second of the day, they can offer them the tools and advice to try to prevent them from drinking underage. One of the best ways parents can prevent alcohol use is by keeping an open dialogue and talking to their kids about the health and safety risks involved. Gainesville Police Department Public Information Officer Ben Tobias said there isn’t a “right age” for when parents should talk to their kids about underage drinking. “Each kid is going to be receptive to this information at a different age,” said Officer Tobias. “When parents think that it’s an appropriate time to speak with their children about the dangers of underage drinking, they should do so.” However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), 32 percent of eighth graders reported drinking in the last year. That same survey also reported that 16 percent of eighth graders reported drinking in the last month, and 64 percent said alcohol was easy to get. To prevent your teen from joining this statistic, try having ongoing conversations about the issue. Movies, TV shows and news stories can be a good starting poaint for these conversations. Try to avoid lecturing, but make it clear you are not OK with your teen drinking alcohol. Ask open-ended questions, such as “Why do you think those kids were drinking?” or “Have you ever been offered alcohol?” to get the conversation started. Parents should remind teens that while drinking alcohol might not seem like a big deal, it is a powerful, mood-altering drug that slows down the body and mind, impairs judgment, slows down reaction time and affects vision. Not to mention, it is illegal for them to consume. Tobias said parents should also let teens know how quickly the effects of alcohol can occur. “Underage folks don’t realize that by the time they’ve had six to seven drinks that they have gone way too far,” he said.



And therein lies the dangers. Safety risks of underage drinking include many things from DUI incidents to cases of alcohol-induced sexual assault, Tobias said. “It really is incumbent upon parents and teachers to help their kids understand the risks and dangers of drinking underage before law enforcement has to step in,” he said. Alcohol use can also cause severe injuries that lead to an emergency room visit. A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 2011 alone, about 188,000 people under 21 visited an emergency room for alcohol-related injuries. According to the NIAA, a person who begins drinking as a young teen is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than someone who waits until adulthood to use alcohol. Drinking at a young age can also potentially affect brain development, since research has shown that our brains keep developing well into our 20s. Per the NIAA, alcohol could affect brain structure and function, which may cause cognitive or learning problems and make the brain more prone to alcohol dependence.





Stay involved in your teen’s life by keeping the lines of communication open and showing support for his interests.


Be a good role model. Your teen is watching your actions. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.


Meet your teen’s friends. And if you can, meet their parents as well. If you suspect a friend might be a bad influence, encourage your teen to make other friends.


Set clear rules and restrictions for your teen about alcohol use. This may include not riding in a car with kids who have been drinking and not staying at a party where anyone is drinking.


Know what your teen is doing. Those teens who are unsupervised are going to be more likely to experiment. Make sure your teen checks in with you at certain times of the day, such as after school.


Encourage healthy activities. Hobbies, clubs, sports, and part-time jobs are good ways to keep teens busy, giving them less time to get involved with underage alcohol use.

Now Open

3215 Hull Road • 352-846-2000 • The Scoop on Poop! was created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, Allenwood, PA.

community | calendar

february | march FEBRUARY 2


Broadway Babies 9:15-10 a.m. Sun Country Sports - West This parent-toddler program will help your little one explore music and dance through props, costumes and fun-filled activities. Admission ranges from $10 for members to $12 for nonmembers. Event repeats every Thursday. FEBRUARY 1

i.Baby & Me Class 5:45-6:30 p.m. Independance Studio Moms, dads and grandparents are welcomed to join their little ones between the ages of 18 months and 2 ½ years in a dance and movement class. Classes cost $10, but the first one is free! Event repeats every Thursday. FEBRUARY 2

Stay and Play 9-11 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Kiddos 5 years and younger will develop basic motor skills as they participate in obstacle courses and bounce around in the Bounce Room before ending with Circle Time and a snack. Prices range from $11 for members to $13.25 for non-members. Repeats every Friday.


FEBRUARY 2 Groundhog Day


Tot Times: ABC's of Art 11 a.m. Harn Museum of Art

Splash Jam 5-6 p.m. Sun Country Sports - West Swimmers of all skill levels can join in for 30 minutes of mixed group instructional time, followed by 30 minutes of open swim time. Prices range from $15.75 for members to $19 for non-members. Event repeats every Friday.

Tour the Harn with your little ones with this program designed for children ages 2–5. Space is limited, so arrive 15 minutes early to register.



Children between the ages of 3 ½ and 5 will participate in a coach-led warmup, receive instruction on each gym apparatus and have open workout time during this one hour program. Prices range from $12 for members to $15 for non-members.

Community Capoeira Class 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Bo Diddley Plaza Apex Martial Arts offers this free AfroBrazilian martial arts class for all ages. Event repeats every Saturday.

Gym Jam Jr. 5-6 p.m. Sun Country Sports - West


Frogs and Friends Friday 2 p.m. Education Building at Morningside Nature Center Little ones are welcome to join Morningside Nature Center animal caretakers as they feed the amphibians and reptiles.


Gym Jam 5-7 p.m. Sun Country Sports - West Children 5 years and older will participate in a coach-led warmup, receive instruction on each gym apparatus and have open workout time during this two hour program. Prices range from $18 for members to $20 for nonmembers. Repeats every Friday.




Parent's Night Out 6-10 p.m. o2b Kids! Gainesville Supercenter Five to 13 year olds will enjoy group games and other fun activities as well as a pizza dinner. Prices range from $15 for O2B members and $25 for non-members. F EBRUA RY 2-4

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire Friday: 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Alachua County Fairgrounds Step back in time with your family and enjoy jugglers, dancers, food and the medieval marketplace. Tickets are $18 for adults, $8 for children 5–17, and children under 5 are free. F EBRUA RY 3

Living History Day 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Morningside Nature Center Living History Farm Join the Morningside Nature Center as interpreters portray day-to-day life on an 1870 Florida farm. Experience the agriculture and history that Florida was built on, for free! F EBRUA RY 3

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Guided Walk 10 a.m. - Noon Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Take your family out for a guided tour of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens’ 24 major collections. This tour is $8 for adults, $4 for children (5-13) and free for children under 5 as well as members. F EBRUA RY 3

Splash Jam Noon - 1 p.m. Sun Country Sports- West Swimmers of all skill levels can join in for 30 minutes of mixed group instructional time, followed by 30 minutes of open swim time. Prices range from $15.75 for members to $19 for nonmembers. Event repeats every Saturday.



Super Bowl Sunday FEBRUARY 4

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group 2-3:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you are dealing with the loss of a pregnancy or child, join this free support group to help cope with your grief. RSVP is requested. FEBRUARY 4

YMCA Open Gym for Kids 3-5 p.m. North Central Florida YMCA Drop in to this non-instructional free time for kids to socialize, play and explore the gym in a safe and stimulating environment. Admission is $5. Event repeats every Sunday. FEBRUARY 6

Stay and Play 9-11 a.m. Sun Country Sports- West Kiddos 5 years and younger will develop basic motor skills as they participate in obstacle courses and bounce around in the Bounce Room before ending with Circle Time and a snack. Prices range from $11 for members to $13.25 for nonmembers. Repeats every Tuesday. FEBRUARY 6

Get Air Gainesville Toddler Time 10 a.m. - Noon. Get Air Gainesville Parents jump for free with children 46 inches and under during this time designated for Little Air jumpers. Admission is $10 per child. Event repeats every Tuesday and Thursday. FEBRUARY 7

i.Baby & Me Class 10:30–11:15 a.m. Independance Studio Moms, dads and grandparents are welcomed to join their little ones between the ages of 18 months and 2 ½ years in a dance and movement class. Classes cost $10, but the first one is free! Event repeats every Wednesday.

Gym Jam 1:30–3:30 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Children 5 years and older will participate in a coach-led warmup, receive instruction on each gym apparatus and have open workout time during this two hour program. Prices range from $18 for members to $20 for non-members. Repeats every Wednesday. F EBRUA RY 7

Barnyard Buddies 3 p.m. Morningside Nature Center Living History Farm Little ones can help the staff at the Living History Farm feed the animals. This program is free, but the staff does accept donations of carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, melons and squash for the animals. Event repeats every Wednesday. FEBRUARY 8

Harn Museum Nights: Global Art 6–9 p.m. The Harn Museum Learn about culture, politics and poetry through art from around the world, while enjoying free refreshments. Admission is free. FEBRUARY 9

Valentine's Day Sleepover 6:30 p.m. – 9 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Drop the kiddos off at Sun Country for a night of rock climbing, gymnastics and more fun activities. Pizza, snacks and breakfast will be provided. Prices range from $35 for members to $45 for non-members when paid in advance to $50 the day of the event. FEBRUARY 10

Watch Your Step! 5K 8–10 a.m. Commuter Lot in the UF Cultural Plaza Run on a combination of trails in the UF Natural Area Teaching Laboratory and campus roads at the second annual Florida Museum 5K. Registration is $30 for adults and $25 for UF students.

Hosted by:

Upcoming Events: February 14th - Your Mind: Friend or Foe? March 14th - Overall Health of Your Organization April 11th - Leading with Excellence May 4th - Leadercast Gainesville - Main Event

LEADERCAST @LeadercastGainesville

I wanted to join the SWAT Team, and I knew I needed to get healthy for my little girls. Gainesville Health & Fitness gave me a lot of the tools that I needed to get fit. It’s like a second home to me now. - Daniel Rengering (#hotcop)

Read the full story at Thank you to our sponsors! GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018



Teen Driver Challenge 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Alachua County Sheriff’s Office The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office staff will train your teen to be a safer driver during this free oneday, eight-hour course. This hands-on challenge requires your teen to bring her own vehicle and lunch. Find the paperwork on the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office website. F EBRUA RY 10

UF Health Shands Childbirth Education Class 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Room 2147 This expansive course covers the birthing process, pain management options and postpartum care. It includes a tour of the labor and delivery and mother/baby units. The class costs $50.

FEBRUARY 14 Valentine's Day FEBRUARY 10

Kids Day

FEBRUARY 16–17 & 22–24

High Springs Music in the Park

Thursdays and Fridays: 7 p.m. Saturdays: 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. P.K. Yonge Performing Arts Center

2–4 p.m. High Springs Community Center & Museum

Bring the family out to P.K. Yonge to enjoy the choreography, singing and acting of their spring musical. Tickets cost $15.


Santa Fe College Zoo Storytime 10–10:30 a.m. Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo Bring the kids out for a free story time hosted by Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo and the Alachua County Library. F EBRUA RY 14

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Group 5–6:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you are pregnant or recently gave birth and feel guilt, depression or anxiety, you may benefit from attending this free support group.


This concert is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. FEBRUARY 20


Five Points of Life Kids Marathon 9:15 a.m. Southwest Rec Center Kids in kindergarten through eighth grade can take part in this Kids Marathon that promotes health and physical fitness.

UF Health Shands Newborn Care Class 7–9:30 p.m. UF Health Shands Room 2147 This class is designed to help new parents learn to care for their newborn and covers topics such as diapering, soothing and infant safety. The class is $15 to attend.


Ninja Jam


9:30 – 10:45 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Designed for boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 13, this class includes 30 minutes of mixed group instruction and 45 minutes of open ninja time. Prices range from $15.75 for members to $19 for non-members.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Dudley Farm Historic State Park Designed for kids between the ages of 3 and 12, Kids Day features handson crafts, old fashioned games, demonstrations and more. Admission is $5 per vehicle with up to eight occupants.


P.K. Yonge presents Pippin

Ninja Jam 2:15– 3:30 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Designed for boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 13, this class includes 30 minutes of mixed group instruction and 45 minutes of open ninja time. Prices range from $15.75 for members to $19 for non-members.


2nd Annual Gainesville VegFest 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Depot Park With entertainment, food, vendors and children’s activities, this family-friendly event is intended to showcase a healthy, sustainable and compassionate lifestyle. FEBRUARY 17

Back Handspring and Tuck Boot Camp 1–4 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Send your aspiring tumbler to this boot camp to help him/her finally master the back handspring and back tuck. Prices range from $26.25 for members and $29 for nonmembers when paid in advance to $40 the day of the event.



Parent's Night Out 6–9 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Parents, take a night for yourself! Drop your kindergarten-aged or older children off for a night of gymnastics, games, rock climbing and more. Parent’s Night Out is available to Sun Country Members only, and prices range from $20 per child in advance to $27 per child the day of the event. FEBRUARY 25

Active Streets + 352Creates 2018 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Downtown Gainesville This event in downtown Gainesville hosted by Active Streets Alliance and 352Creates promotes healthy, active lifestyles as well as community creativity. The event will also feature performances by Gainesville Circus Center.






M A R CH 3

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Group

Gym Jam Jr.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Guided Walk

10–11:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you are pregnant or recently gave birth and feel guilt, depression or anxiety, you may benefit from attending this free support group. FEBRUARY 27

Morning with Daniel Bernstrom 10–11 a.m. Alachua County Library Millhopper Branch Combined Meeting Room Author Daniel Bernstrom shares his love of picture books and details the process of writing your own stories. FEBRUARY 27

Evening with Daniel Bernstrom 6:30–8 p.m. Alachua County Library Headquarters Branch – Meeting Room A Author Daniel Bernstrom shares his love of picture books and details the process of writing your own stories. FEBRUARY 27

UF Health Shands Breastfeeding Class 7–9 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Room 2147 Perfect for expecting mothers, this class teaches you the benefits of breastfeeding, optimal latch positions, how to store pumped milk and more. The class costs $15 to attend. MARCH 2

Tot Times: Spy Color 11 a.m. Harn Museum of Art Tour the Harn with your little ones with this program designed for children ages 2–5. Space is limited, so arrive 15 minutes early to register. MARCH 2

Frogs and Friends Friday 2 p.m. Education Building at Morningside Nature Center

5–6 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Children between the ages of 3 ½ and 5 will participate in a coach-led warmup, receive instruction on each gym apparatus and have open workout time during this one hour program. Prices range from $12 for members to $15 for non-members. MARCH 2

Parent's Night Out 6–10 p.m. o2b Kids! Gainesville Supercenter Five to 13 year olds will enjoy group games and other fun activities as well as a pizza dinner. Prices range from $15 for O2B members and $25 for non-members. MARCH 2-25

Ripcord Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays: 7 p.m. Fridays: 8 p.m. Saturdays: 5 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. Sundays: 2 p.m. Hippodrome Theatre Perfect for parents looking for an adult night out, this comedy will be playing on the mainstage Tuesdays through Sundays during most of the month of March. MARCH 3

Junior League of Gainesville Tour of Kitchens 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Proceeds from this self-guided tour of local kitchens go toward Action Against Hunger programs and the Junior League’s Miracle on Main Street event for families in need. M A R CH 3

Living History Day 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Morningside Nature Center Join the Morningside Nature Center as interpreters portray day-to-day life on an 1870 Florida farm. Experience the agriculture and history that Florida was built on, for free!

Little ones are welcome to join Morningside Nature Center animal caretakers as they feed the amphibians and reptiles.



10 a.m. – Noon Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Take your family out for a guided tour of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens’ 24 major collections. This tour is $8 for adults, $4 for children (5-13) and free for children under 5 as well as members. M A R CH 3-4

GFAA Fine Arts Fair at Tioga Town Center 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tioga Town Center This family-friendly arts event features live entertainment, 125 artists and a Kid’s Zone for the little ones. M A R CH 4

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group 2–3:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you are dealing with the loss of a pregnancy or child, join this free support group to help cope with your grief. RSVP is requested. M A R CH 10

Teen Driver Challenge 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Alachua County Sheriff’s Office The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office staff will train your teen to be a safer drivers during this free oneday, eight-hour course. This hands-on challenge requires your teen to bring her own vehicle and lunch. Find the paperwork on the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office website. M A R CH 10

UF Health Shands Childbirth Education Class 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Room 2147 This expansive course covers the birthing process, pain management options and postpartum care. It includes a tour of the labor and delivery and mother/baby units. The class costs $50.

M A R CH 10

M A R CH 17

M A R CH 24-25

Kids Day

Can You Dig It?

Spring Garden Festival

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Florida Museum of Natural History

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Dudley Farm Historic State Park Designed for kids between the ages of 3 and 12, Kids Day features hands-on crafts, old fashioned games, demonstrations and more. Admission is $5 per vehicle with up to eight occupants.

At this geology-themed event, children will have the opportunity to watch volcanic eruption demonstrations, participate in hands-on activities and explore displays on fossils, gems and more!

M A R CH 10

M A R CH 17

Danscompany presents The Wiz

Back Handspring and Tuck Boot Camp

1:30 & 7 p.m. Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Bring the family out to watch Danscompany of Gainesville’s spring concert. M A R CH 13

Uf Health Shands Newborn Care Class 7–9:30 p.m. UF Health Shands Room 2147 This class is designed to help new parents learn to care for their newborn and covers topics such as diapering, soothing and infant safety. The class is $15 to attend. M A R CH 14

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Group 5–6:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you are pregnant or recently gave birth and feel guilt, depression or anxiety, you may benefit from attending this free support group.

MARCH 17 St. Patrick's Day M A R CH 17

Ninja Jam 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Designed for boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 13, this class includes 30 minutes of mixed group instruction and 45 minutes of open ninja time. Prices range from $15.75 for members to $19 for non-members.

1–4 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Send your aspiring tumbler to this boot camp to help him/her finally master the back handspring and back tuck. Prices range from $26.25 for members and $29 for non-members when paid in advance to $40 the day of the event. M A R CH 17

31st Annual Puttin' on the Ritz

MARCH 26-30

Alachua County Public Schools Spring Break

7–11 p.m. Hilton University of Florida Conference Center

M A R CH 25

Enjoy a night filled with dancing, food, drinks, live entertainment and silent auctions all while supporting the Children’s Home Society.

1–4 p.m.

M A R CH 18

High Springs Music in the Park 2–4 p.m. High Springs Community Center & Museum This concert is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. M A R CH 21

Ninja Jam 2:15– 3:30 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Designed for boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 13, this class includes 30 minutes of mixed group instruction and 45 minutes of open ninja time. Prices range from $15.75 for members to $19 for non-members. M A R CH 23

Parent's Night Out 6–9 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Parents, take a night for yourself! Drop your kindergarten-aged or older children off for a night of gymnastics, games, rock climbing and more. Parent’s Night Out is available to Sun Country Members only, and prices range from $20 per child in advance to $27 per child the day of the event.


This event features about 150 booths with plants, garden accessories, food and more, as well as live entertainment, live auctions, and a children’s area with fun activities for the little ones. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children between the ages of 3 and 13.


Acton Children's Business Fair This one-day marketplace gives children the opportunity to create, brand and launch their own business. Applications for tables are due Feb. 25. M A R CH 26

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Group 10–11:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you are pregnant or recently gave birth and feel guilt, depression or anxiety, you may benefit from attending this free support group. M A R CH 27

UF Health Shands Breastfeeding Class 7–9 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Room 2147 Perfect for expecting mothers, this class teaches you the benefits of breastfeeding, optimal latch positions, how to store pumped milk and more. The class costs $15 to attend.

Thanks to all of our amazing patients, we’ve outgrown our current offices! We’re building a state-of-the-art facility with a free-standing birth center. Along with the new COMPREHENSIVE location, we’re also getting a new name, WOMEN'S HEALTH Comprehensive Women’s Health. We’ll still have the same great doctors, midwives, and staff that you’ve come to know and love and we’ll have even more great services just for you at our new location just off 43rd Street and Newberry Road.

To find out more about our growth and services, log onto or call 352-332-7222.

OBSTETRICS • GYNECOLOGY • GYNECOLOGIC SURGERY • INFERTILITY • MIDWIFERY • WELL-WOMAN CARE Tracey Botha MD | Richard Brazzel, MD | Sheyna Carroccio, MD | Kelly Chamberlain, MD Jill Delker, MD | Karen Harris, MD | Ann Hatfield, MD | Eduardo Marichal, MD | Amy Million, MD | Erin Werner, MD Kelly Cynkar, ARNP | Stephanie Davis, PA-C Christina Bennet, CNM | Julie Davey, CNM | Amanda Husband, CNM | Cindy Nelly, CNM Erin Smith, CNM | Monique Stevens, CNM GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018

6440 W. Newberry Road, Suite 508 , Gainesville, FL 32605 •





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Giggle Magazine February/March 2018  

Dinosaur Birthday Party, Vacation Planning Guide, Lucky Charms, and More!

Giggle Magazine February/March 2018  

Dinosaur Birthday Party, Vacation Planning Guide, Lucky Charms, and More!