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DEC/JAN 2019 • Volume 10 • Issue 6





Tis the Season!






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PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nicole Irving GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Megan Sapelak, Grace Downey VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Shane Irving ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Betsy Langan, April Tisher EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Sayeh Farah EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER Kara Winslow CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jimmy Ho Photography, SincerelyGone Photography, Indigo Photography CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sara Buechler, Jessica Franklin, Nicole Irving, Crystal Ladwig, Natalie Richoux, Isabella Sorresso, Danielle Spano, April Tisher, Tracy Wright

EDITORIAL INTERNS Leah Antovel, Sara Buechler, Amanda Roland, Rebecca Santana, Isabella Sorresso



5745 SW 75th Street 101 SW 140th Terrace Unit 286 Suite C Gainesville, FL 32608 Jonesville, FL 32669 Gainesville Office: p. 352.505.5821 Fax: 877.857.5140 Giggle Magazine is a registered trademark property of Irving Publications, LLC. All rights reserved. Giggle Magazine is published by Irving Publications, LLC. © 2018

Irving Publications, LLC reserves the right to edit and/or reject any advertising. Irving Publications, LLC is not responsible for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. Nothing that appears in Giggle Magazine may be reproduced in any way, without written permission. Opinions expressed by Giggle Magazine writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s opinion. Giggle Magazine will consider all never before published outside editorial submissions. Irving Publications, LLC reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates.


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publisher's letter



Parents.... Beckett and


You can do it! How old are they? 4 mon t hs, (Beck e t t is two minu t es ol der!)

life's a rat race

What is their favorite food?

When I look back on this year, I would say that it has been a very eventful year for our family. Our oldest was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, our youngest “retired” from gymnastics after 5 years and our middle, well, he turned thirteen and that means we now have two teenagers in the house.

They still only have had the bottle, but they let us know almost to the minute when it's time to eat.

Parents, I know we have all been here. We have all had a year that all it feels like we are doing is participating in the “rat race” to get to the finish line alive. You know, those years when fellow parents at the pick up line ask, “How are you doing?” and all you want to do is cry in your Starbucks from exhaustion, yet you manage to squeak out an “I’m great, how are you?” Well, my loves, you aren’t alone! This was my year of weeping in my latte. I have tried with all my might to hold it together this year. However, as much as I didn’t want to allow it, I fell apart. Tears for a disease I can’t cure. Tears for no more meets for my little one and tears that I now have two teenage sons. But, through the tears, there was also pride. Pride in Tyler that he took his new diagnosis like a champ and pride in my youngest that he felt comfortable enough to speak up and challenge himself with new sports, even if I tried to bribe him to stick with gymnastics. Yup, I did that! The rat race got the better of me this year, and even though I might not have taken first place, I also didn’t quit either! The silver lining was seeing my boys grow and flourish in ways I never would have imagined. So, if you had a crazy 2018 like we did, know you are not alone! Know that it is ok to cry in your mocha, sneak out for date night, play with your kiddos and let the laundry sit and order take out as much as you want if that means more family time and less dishes. Trust me… it might be what the universe has planned for you!

What is their newest milestone? They are both laughing and starting to talk to each other. They have also started to roll over. What makes them smile? Mommy and big brother. They also love to hold hands. What is their Christmas wish? That big brother doesn't get really loud toys.


Nicole Irving, Publisher

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Call tod ay for a


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happy family • happy community™

conception 2 college™ 82 EXPECTING


Lotus Birth 84 INFANT

2019 Trending Baby Names


Developmental Milestones


Snacks For the Brainiac 90 KIDS

Interactive Reading for Beginners


Yoga & Meditation



Ready, Set, Swap!

giggle stamp 44 Llama Llove

How to Make Bathing Fun for Kids


forks & spoons

30 GET HEALTHY Picky Eating Vs. ARFID: What's the Difference 32 GET PRETTY Best Self-Tanners to Keep that Glow Year Round

68 HOMESCHOOL CORNER Avoiding the Homeschool Burnout

18 IN THE KITCHEN Cooking Up Fun: Tools for Your Young Chef 21 DELISH Your Grandest Gingerbread House Yet! 24 DELISH Sauce Ideas to Jazz Up Your Latkes

happy home 36 MAKE IT

DIY Simmering Holiday Potpourri 40 CLEAN IT

fe a tu res

Swap it: Alternatives to Ammonia




Issue 6 DEC/JAN 2019 • Volume 10 •




learn We Won! Board Games Promote Health in Families


What You Need to Know About the Half-Cent Sales Tax

happy community 100 CALENDAR December/January


Holiday Babies: Ensure Those Birthdays Stay

Special Around the Holidays Our 2018 Great Big Holiday Gift Guide Local Holiday Fun for the Whole Family

53 77


Hacking the Holidays!

28 GET HEALTHY Beware: How Lead Poisoning Can Sicken our Children


Gingerbread Photo by Jimmy Ho Photography

26 GET HEALTHY Not Just for Candy Canes: Peppermint Perks & Health Benefits




Dimple Flesner 14 2 CENTS





How Do You Say Hello?


Tis the Season!







Find our cover stories! Celebrating Your Holiday Baby PAGE 47 52 Gifts for Everyone on Your List PAGE 53 Holiday Fun in Alachua For the Whole Family PAGE 77 The 2019 Top Trending Baby Names PAGE 84




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life | a day in the life

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

Dimple Flesner Dimple is a triple gator, obtaining her bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D all at the University of Florida. After working at the college for 10 years, she loves being a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband, Shannon, who owns an ecommerce business, have three children Mira (12), Sophie (10) and Asher (2).

MORNING 6 a.m. My internal alarm clock (or sometimes my external

alarm clock, my husband) wakes me up. I take some quiet time to read my daily devotional, think about my day and ask God to guide me. Morning prayer centers my heart and reminds me to be grateful for the day ahead. Hopefully, this gratitude sets the tone as I attempt to tackle the morning craziness outside my bedroom door!

6:30 a.m. I check on the girls to make sure everyone is up

and going through their routines to get ready for school. Usually, Mira is trying different hairstyles in the mirror with her chosen outfit. She wants me to lend her a jacket and a necklace to complete the ensemble. Sometimes, I say yes. I am just glad she thinks I am cool enough to borrow my clothes! And, yes, we wear the same size. Mira has grown up on me.



Sophie may still be in bed, asking for 30 more seconds of sleep. Or, she may be dressed and already eating breakfast. Her tutu skirt with chucks are the pick of the day. The very first thing she does when she sees me is give me a hug and tell me she loves me. Sophie is still my little girl. Shannon is reviewing his work emails, making coffee and ensuring everyone stays on task. He checks that lunchboxes and backpacks are ready to go. We exchange a sweet kiss and laugh at a private joke. I think about what a good husband and dad he is as I head back into the bedroom.

6:45 a.m. I take a quick shower to

give myself a boost before I have coffee to activate my brain. I dry my hair, put on a little makeup and hurriedly get dressed. I need to say my goodbyes before Shannon takes the girls to school.

7:15 a.m. With just a few minutes

before my family walks out the door, I reassure Mira that she will get an A on her world history exam, I respond to Sophie's "see you later alligator" with the canned "in a while crocodile," and I tell my husband to have a good day. We all exchange hugs and I love you's. When Shannon takes both girls to the elementary school, they head in different directions. Mira volunteers in a kindergarten classroom before she catches the bus to middle school. Sophie runs the track with friends before she goes to the fourth grade centrum.

7:30 a.m. I sit down with my morning

coffee (yay!) and review my plans for the day before my two and half year old wakes up. I return some emails, peruse Facebook and send a few texts. As I finish my coffee, I hear Asher calling for me and see on the video monitor that he is now standing up, ready to climb out of his crib!

8 a.m. I make scrambled eggs for

Asher as he gets the bowl and fork of his choice. He usually wants to watch a funny video while I get everything ready, or he just wants to be held. I like it when he wants to be held until my arm gives out! After we eat breakfast, he wants to immediately play outside, cook in his play

kitchen or build his railroad track. We manage to do all three for a little while. I reflect on how blessed I am to be able to stay home with this little one.

especially considering how uncoordinated I am! Both girls work hard to balance school, volunteering and activities.

9 a.m. When I am volunteering,

they eat light snacks while I get dinner ready. Chicken and rice is their favorite. Mira immediately buckles down to do her homework, which includes studying for an upcoming exam and brainstorming for a research project. She is in sixth grade at the most demanding middle school program in Gainesville. She is very motivated to do well without any persuasion, which I find remarkable. Because I was pregnant with Mira while I wrote my dissertation, I like to think my love of learning passed on to her!

Grandma or a sitter comes for a few hours to watch Asher. I may tutor children at Talbot, sell holiday grams at Lincoln, solicit local businesses to fundraise for our schools, help a new teacher accommodate for students with disabilities, or run errands for the elderly community my mother lives in. I drop off the kids' gently used clothes, shoes and toys they boxed up over the weekend to Hospice or Family Promise. I try to get to the gym a few times a week. I go through some HIIT exercises and weights with my trainer, so I can build up that arm strength and keep up with my son after just turning 45!

AFTERNOON 12:30 p.m. I am home and able to

hang out with my favorite guy for a while before his afternoon nap. Once he lies down, I work on a journal article I am helping to write about empowering middle and high school girls to go into math and science fields. I connect with a beginning teacher I mentored while coordinating UFTeach. We discuss the challenges of being a high school teacher in an impoverished district. We also highlight successes and rewards of the job. I am grateful I had the opportunity to work with such inspiring pre-service teachers as they received their education minor.

2 p.m. It is time to pick Sophie up

from school. We may run a few errands, like the grocery store, gas station, or pharmacy. Once we are back home, she gets her homework done and is coaxed into reading, not her favorite past time. The three of us play hide and seek, listen to songs on her piano, or get out a board game for a bit.

4 p.m. It is time to pick Mira up from

the bus stop. Sometimes, Mira stays after school for Girls on the Run. We take Sophie to gymnastics and watch some of her new techniques before class. I am simply amazed. She is very talented,

5:30 p.m. The kids are all starving, so

EVENING 6 p.m. This is the witching hour!

Shannon is home and wants to tell me about his workday. Mira wants guidance on her math homework and Sophie wants help with a craft. Asher is clinging to my leg and just wants to be held. I desperately try to give each person my full attention, which of course is impossible. We finally settle down to eat. The goal is for the five of us to eat together; unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.

7 p.m. We relax together on the couch

to watch Wheel of Fortune and share the good, the bad and the ugly of the day. Asher calls out random letters, and the girls insist I should apply for the show as I guess the phrases! Soon, it is time for Asher's bath and the girls' showers. Later, Shannon puts Asher to bed with some music and snuggling. Mira and Sophie hang out in the living room, talking and laughing, until bedtime.

9 p.m. With goodnight kisses and

prayers, the girls head to bed. Shannon and I also go to our bedroom. We discuss our days in more detail and go over plans for the rest of the week and weekend. We usually watch a Netflix movie, a DVR'd comedy or our favorite, Shark Tank. Eventually, we both fall asleep, so we can tackle the wonderful, messy, fun chaos the next day!

Want to submit a friend (or yourself!) to be featured in A Day in the Life? Send your information to! 12


COME SHARE YOUR STORY We lead with what ignites and inspires us. At every age and in every place, we lead with our strengths, we lead by celebrating our differences, and we lead by lifting one another up. Join us at the 2019 Inspiring Women Leaders conference. Learn from leaders in diverse fields, take part in important conversations, share your stories, ask your burning questions, and network with a vibrant community of leaders.


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March 7-8, 2019 | University of Florida | GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019


life | 2 cents

Ready, Set, Swip Swap! BY TRACY WRIGHT

In the past, the only ways people could sell and buy used items for less were through yard sales, classified ads and via word of mouth. Since technology has advanced, sites like Craigslist have provided more localized commerce to the consumer. But safety issues with Craigslist like misleading ads and pornography have forced people to create their own ways of buying, selling and trading items to reach people more safely and effectively. Enter Swip Swap Facebook pages. Swip Swap is a Facebook group that allows users to sell or buy items for those who live in local areas. Swip Swap pages were born out of Facebook Marketplace which is geared toward buying and selling in a local area. Typically, these groups are managed by administrators who have to approve membership and who post stringent rules for posting and selling. The administrators will do some vetting of potential new members, making it safer than other sites. Swip Swap becomes a posting board with photos of items for sale like home decor, clothes, shoes, baby items and more. The Gainesville Swip Swap page has rules which includes banning spam, go fund me promotions or promotion of someone’s own business or multilevel marketing products like Avon, Jamberry or Rodan and Fields. Disrespectful or rude behavior including foul language are removed without warning. There are several administrators of the page to help enforce rules and admit approved members or delete ones who do not follow proper rules. “Some people have really great stuff and sometimes it’s just what someone else is looking for. Before Swip Swap I would just basically throw things out for lack of knowing what else to do with it,” said administrator Heike Youngblood. “When we were moving, I had a great trundle bed. I was going to throw it out, but I decided to list it on Swip Swap. It sold in 20 minutes. I made a little extra money and it made a little girl so very happy when they came to pick it up.” The attractive part about Swip Swap is the high amount of traffic these pages receive which make things much easier to buy or sell. “I used Swip Swap and was able to sell stuff very quickly,” said local mom Jennifer Bhatia. “Craigslist didn’t give me much traffic at all.” The localized Swip Swap helps to brings community members together and helps each other out in times of need as well. “I think Swip Swap being local reaches out to more people. When approving people, we always look for people who live in the



surrounding communities,” Youngblood said. “I've seen people asking for clothing, food, diapers and other items because they are in a bad place and can’t afford it for their kids. The community reaches out and gives what they are able to, which makes it very beneficial.” Swip Swap has replaced yard sales for many people as well. “I've been able to sell furniture and other household items on Swip Swap and reach a broader audience than I would have in a regular yard sale,” said Diana Brown. In addition, there is an events section on the page where people can promote planned in-person sales and pop-up shops selling personal items. Currently there are more than 77,000 members on the most popular Gainesville Swip Swap page but there are others as well. Swip Swap pages can also be grouped for certain items like car parts. For those who want to take the Swip Swap concept into their own home, hosting Swip Swap parties has become a popular way to swap old clothing or home décor with friends while having a good time. It’s a great way to complete spring cleaning by cleaning out your and kids’ closets, browsing through old or unused kitchen or party wares or holiday decorations. It’s best to invite people with like-minded tastes and ensure that there is a minimum of three attendees. Ideally, eight participants would attend but up to 20 could work. Real Simple advises that party hosts should be clear what’s consider swappable to ensure that the items being brought are closely priced. Gently used is a clear direction since it ensures that items being swapped are not too pricey or ratty. Whether you have clothing, toys or décor, group by category to make it easier for guests to find. Take turns shopping and use post it notes for guests to mark desired items. Make the match of what guests brought with what they can take home. Once everyone is finished, leftover items can be donated to local charities or families. Whether buying, selling and trading online or in person, it’s clear Swip Swap has become the way to go for many!

Happy Holidays! Call us today for a free and confidential consultation. We are here, every step of the way. VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR A FULL LIST OF OUR SERVICES

Ashley Banks, CFP®, CDFA™ Financial Advisor Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Donna Carroll, CDFA™ Financial Advisor Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

Tower 24 2550 SW 76th Street, Ste. 110 Gainesville, FL 32608


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life | lifesavers

How to Make Bathing Fun for Kids BY NICOLE IRVING & LEAH ANTOVEL

bathtub, ie, an empty bowl on the floor. Give their friend a time limit and take them out of their bath. Hopefully, your kiddo will follow suit. Also, use a timer; this will help get them used to a set time frame for bath time. Once the timer goes off, that is it. Have something special or a reward after, like their favorite book or soft PJ’s waiting.


Bath Time Favorites to make it more fun for everyone!

1. Kair Air Cushioned Bath Visor helps with the

age-old problem of children fearing the sight of a tub after they got shampoo in their eyes one time before. $14.99/

2. BabyDam Bathwater Barrier allows you to By the end of the day, us parents are counting down the minutes to get into a hot and relaxing shower or bath after a day of chasing around kids and a long day at work. Some kiddos are not so easy to please. The reality is that baths and showers can be a nightly struggle filled with tears and floors filled with water and bubbles. If you are feeling defeated every night, have no fear. Kids crave rituals; so, begin creating a bath time schedule. Start at the same time each night, have scheduled play time with bubbles, read a short story or sing a song, then start the scrubbing. Have them play a role in their bath time and have them pick out their choice of washcloth and use their favorite shampoo and bath wash for “cleaning time”. Once done, sing a song while you rinse them clean. However, not all kids like the water so bath or shower time can become a scary place. Ease them into it. If they enjoy pool time, but not bath time, have them wear their bathing suit in the bath. Scrub down with bubbles really good and tell them that they have to take the suit off to rinse off. Instead of filling the shower, use their favorite cup and rinse them off that way or, take the showerhead down and let them hose themselves off. Don’t get upset if they get water out of the tub this way, its just water Mom! Some kids have too much fun in the bath and never want to come out! For these parents, it can become a slippery wet mess to wrangle them out. To combat this, bring their favorite stuffed animal in the bathroom and put them in their own “imaginary”



control how much of the tub you fill and keep your baby happy and safe and save water consumption. $49.99/

3. The Submarine Spray Station from Yookidoo is

intended for children 6 months and older and allows your child to watch the water as it is pulled from the tub and runs through the product. $29.95/Amazon

4. The BABY LOOVI Foam Bath Alphabet is

most appropriate for children ages 2 years and up, especially preschoolers, and includes 52 pieces of both animals and letters. Simply get the pieces wet and stick them to the tub walls. $24.99/

5. Crayola’s Bathtub Crayons will allow your

child to embrace their inner Picasso without all the scrubbing for you afterwards. $3.99/Target

6. Crayola’s Color Your Bath Bucket Bath Bomb

will provide a similar, more age-appropriate and wallet-friendly bath bomb for your kids! Don’t worry! The dye will easily wash down the drain when bath time is over and will not leave you with the headache of a stained tub. $5.99/Target


Celebrating 20 years of exceptional patient care!

Take Care of You. 352.331.3332

Helping You Live a Healthy Lifestyle. GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019


forks and spoons | in the kitchen

Cooking Up Fun: Tools for Your Young Chef BY NATALIE RICHOUX

Curious Chef, Starter Set $19.99, With genuine, high quality cooking utensils, your little chef extraordinaire will be off to a great start to help you in the kitchen making that holiday feast or preparing delicious cookies for a decorating contest. Both starter sets include an apron, whisk, mixing spatula, spoon, cookie cutter and measuring cups.



Kid Chef by Melina Hammer $15.99, Books-A-Million Hammer has crafted a book of inspiring kids recipes for everything from snacks to main dishes to desserts and even teaches skills like how to stock the pantry, create a grocery list, handle knives safely and use the stove.

R2D2 Star Wars Popcorn Maker $29.95, Have fun with this fresh popcorn maker where they can make a variety of popcorn using different types and colors of kernels, oils and butters to put their own unique spins on popcorn while having fun with an out of this world popcorn machine.

Real Cooking, Ultimate Baking Starter Set $19.99, For kiddos who love to make sweet treats, this is the perfect set for them to create delicious and beautiful cupcakes. This set includes real cooking utensils, silicone cupcake mold, pastry bags, pastry tips, an egg cracker, mixing bowl, cupcake mix, frosting and sprinkles.

Photos courtesy of manufacturers

Sterline, Non-Slip Mixing Bowls $25.99, Help them mix-up their kitchen creations with these non-slip bowls. Perfect to give them a little extra help and independence, these bowls will stick to the counter so they can stir up their favorite recipes without having a parent or adult help them.

Having help in the kitchen is always nice and can also spark a lifelong love of cooking for your kids! If you have a budding chef, finding the right age appropriate, useful and fun kitchen gadgets are key to their culinary success! We have rounded up some of the most fun kiddo inspired gadgets and accessories for your little culinary master!

(352) 380-0901 3545 SW 34th Street Gainesville, FL 32608






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forks and spoons | delish

forks and spoons | in the kitchen

Your Grandest


Gingerbread houses are a holiday must, but sometimes they can be a bit daunting. With our tips and tricks for making the best gingerbread house, you can step away from those store-bought kits and make a home-made gingerbread house that tastes just as grand as it looks.



Preparing Preparation is everything when it comes to making your gingerbread and assembling your houses. When your royal icing glue is drying right before your eyes, your cookie walls are wobbling and you still haven’t put the candy shingles on the roof, the pressure will be on. Being as prepped as possible will make the construction of your gingerbread house easier for you and your helpers. First things first: the cookies. For a successful gingerbread house that will impress all the neighbors, you will need a gingerbread cookie recipe that is not going to fall apart. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to find a recipe that produces a denser cookie, like a ginger snap, that isn’t soft when cooled. After you’ve cut out your cookies with a sharp knife, stick them in the fridge for 30 minutes and bake them straight from the fridge to make sure the butter in the dough is nice and cold, which makes the cookies less likely to spread in the oven which will ensure all of your house walls and roof are the right size after they bake. When your cookies are done in the oven, set them aside to cool completely while you get together all of your other supplies. Perhaps the most important thing to have prepared when getting ready for your gingerbread house is the icing. The icing is the glue that will hold your sweet chateau together, so you need it to be pipeable, yet sturdy. The best kind of icing for gingerbread houses is royal icing, a super-sweet, meringue based icing made of egg whites and confectioners sugar. When this stuff hardens, it is basically cookie cement, making it perfect to hold your gingerbread house together. Once you’ve made your icing, put it into some piping bags so it doesn’t dry out before you use it. To make your gingerbread house stand out, you need to gather some edible decorations. Decide how you want to decorate your house and what kind of treats you want to use to adorn your creation. A great way to organize your decorations is in a cupcake tin. The little compartments are perfect for holding mini-marshmallows, gum drops, peppermints, pretzel sticks or anything your holidayready heart desires. Having all your decorations visible instead of wrapped up in their packaging makes it easier for little hands to reach – and to snack on.


You’ve already prepared your work station, the cookies are cooled, the icing is ready and you’ve gathered extra hands to help you build your Christmas castle, so its time to get to work. A trick to make decorating your walls and roof a little easier is to decorate them while they are flat on your work station. This lets you have a flat surface which is easier to work on, and, since gravity is not your friend while making gingerbread houses, it prevents the icing and decorations that you put on your cookies from falling off. After you are done decorating the exterior, grab some tall glasses or coffee cups. These will help you prop up the walls while you are gluing them together with the royal icing. When you are ready to build, pipe a good amount of royal icing on the edges of the cookie walls or roof and connect it to its neighbor, using the cups to prop up the cookies. After gluing, let the icing dry for a good 10-15 minutes before removing the cups. This will ensure that all your hard work won’t come crumbling down. After your house is all put together, you can add some finishing touches. Dust your house with confectioner’s sugar to look like snow and use your leftover royal icing to drip off the roof to look like icicles. Add some nice gingerbread yard decorations with ice cream cones for trees and big marshmallows for snowmen. Finally, your gingerbread house is complete, and you can sit back and admire your creation.

Giggle Tip: Short on time? Look in stores or online for a pre-assembled gingerbread house! 22


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forks and spoons | delish

Sauce Ideas to Jazz Up


Are your latkes lacking? Say no more! Nothing is worse than a potato pancake with no pizzazz. Half of what makes latkes so good are the sauces, but apple sauce and sour cream have been done year after year. So why not try one of our new latke sauce recipes that are sure to impress guests at your next holiday party!

add some

pizzazz to your

latkes! 24


Remixed Deli Favorite Ingredients 16 ounces of cream cheese, softened 8 ounces of smoked salmon, chopped 1 tablespoon of chives, chopped Cappers for garnish

Directions Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, place in fridge overnight, top with capers and enjoy!

SOUR CREAM WITH A KICK Ingredients 1 cup of sour cream 2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish 1 tablespoon of chives, chopped 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice 1/2 tablespoon of Worchester sauce Pinch of salt Pinch of pepper

Directions Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, place in fridge overnight and enjoy!

Set It and Forget It Cranberry Sauce Ingredients 2 cups fresh cranberries 1 cup sugar 1 cup water Zest of 1/2 an orange

Directions Add cranberries, sugar and water to a saucepan. Stir frequently over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil and add orange zest. Cook for 30 minutes on low until the sauce sticks to the back of a spoon. It’s as easy as that!

Keeping It Classic Mushroom Gravy Ingredients 2 cups of beef stock 1/2 package of sliced portabella mushrooms 2 tablespoons of butter 1 tablespoon of flour 1 teaspoon of thyme Pinch of salt Pinch of pepper

Directions Add 1 tablespoon of butter and flour to a saucepan and sauté over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beef stock, reduce heat and cover until gravy coats the back of a spoon. In a separate saucepan, add the remaining butter, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté the mixture until the mushrooms reach your desired level of doneness. Add the cooked mushrooms to the gravy, stir, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

A Sweet New Take On An Old Favorite Ingredients 2 McIntosh apples, cored & chopped 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped 1/2 sweet onion, chopped 2 tablespoons of honey 2 tablespoons of butter Pinch of salt Pinch of pepper

Directions Combine honey and butter in a skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the apples, parsnips, sweet onion, salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are translucent, but do not caramelize the vegetables. Transfer all ingredients into a blender, puree until smooth and serve. GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019


health | get healthy

Not Just for Candy Canes: Peppermint Perks & Health Benefits BY REBECCA SANTANA

Between the candy canes and peppermint mochas, it is easy to forget that peppermint is more than just a holiday treat. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), using mint in medicine dates back to the early Egyptians and today herbalists use peppermint oil and fresh mint leaves (Bo He) to soothe sore muscles, awaken the senses and ease digestive problems. Put down your recipe book and start on those at-home remedies. According to Pete Taylor, acupuncture physician and herbalist, he utilizes Bo He often in his practice at Gainesville Holistic Healthcare and often combines it with other herbs to create a formula applied topically or ingested. When used topically, Bo He can relieve skin irritation and clear up rashes. When ingested, it can help ease cold and flu symptoms as well as soothe a sore throat. Additionally, you can use it to make tea to alleviate a variety of health ailments. Because peppermint oil is extremely concentrated, you won’t want to add more than two drops to your tea and in high doses, peppermint oil can be toxic. Peppermint oil used as a tea or additive to tea can help with stomach pains, bloating and digestion. Though peppermint oil tea can be enjoyed hot or cold, you’ll want to drink it hot to experience digestive benefits. Peppermint oil is highly concentrated, so think about diluting it with a carrier oil like jojoba oil, avocado oil or coconut oil before putting it directly on the skin. For exfoliation and invigoration, try a peppermint


sugar scrub. Combine 1 cup of sugar, 8 to 10 drops of peppermint oil and ¼ cup of a mild oil (such as avocado oil or coconut oil) in a jar. Just like that you have a fun and festive body scrub that will invigorate the senses and get you in the mood for the holidays. To soothe a dry, itchy scalp, dilute a few drops of peppermint oil with a carrier oil of your choice and apply it straight to the scalp. Leave in for about 30 minutes before washing out with a gentle shampoo. You can also add a few drops of oil to your conditioner to revitalize and refresh every time you wash your hair, but do not worry, it will not make your hair greasy as peppermint oil is light and evaporative. For full body revitalization, you might consider a Bo He tea bath. According to Align with Plants, herbal bathing is an efficient way to align our bodies with the healing powers of plants and can help revitalize our skin and help expel toxins from our body. There are numerous places to purchase it, such as Walmart, Whole Food or Amazon, or you could grow your own to have the freshest Bo He for a bath. Put the herb in a porous, drawstring bag and add optional essential oils for other skin and body benefits. Once you have filled your drawstring bag, you can attach the bag to your bath faucet and let the water run. Soon you’ll have a rejuvenating bath that will invigorate your skin and leave you smelling like the season.


Change up the way you use peppermint oil this season and instead of only using it to cook delicious treats, use it to help you get healthy on the inside and outside! *Always consult your physician before adding any essential oils to your routine or diet.

Peppermint oil used as a tea or additive to tea can help with stomach pains, bloating, digestion, and itchy eyes.

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health | get healthy


How Lead Poisoning Can Sicken Our Children BY TRACY WRIGHT

Approximately 15 percent of Florida’s children have too much lead in their body, and lead poisoning can result in long-term issues with bone growth, poor muscle coordination, damage to the nervous system, developmental delays and behavior issues, among other symptoms. One of the main sources of lead is paint produced before 1978 which can be in homes, on old toys and painted furniture, and in contaminated soil. As paint on older structures breaks down, it can seep into the soil which could endanger playgrounds and open spaces or even vegetables that were grown in that soil. “Lead poisoning is a serious issue and should be treated seriously,” said Stephanie Kirkconnell, M.D., a pediatrician at Alliance Pediatrics. “Over time, it can cause serious neurocognitive effects. In our office, we screen for lead poisoning regularly at 12 and 24 months via a questionnaire. If there is a chance that the child has been exposed to lead, we follow up with a blood draw to test their exposure.” Parents who are worried about lead exposure should talk to their pediatrician especially if their child is under the age of three. While many may think paint as the main source of lead, other sources of lead can be plumbing and pipes, lead bullets

! 28

and fishing sinkers, lead acid batteries, and hobbies involving soldering, stained glass, jewelry making, pottery glazing, and miniature lead figures. “Parents should examine their habits and occupations in addition to exposure to paint and soil,” Kirkconnell said. “If a parent or someone who comes into contact frequently works with materials that may contain lead, they should change their clothes after pursuing these activities and wash their hands. For example, if someone is a mechanic, they should change their clothes before entering the house and wash their hands immediately. Those who pursue hobbies using lead-based paint should think about doing their work outside the home but not near soil.” Lead exposure is much more harmful for children because of their developing bodies and nervous systems. This also includes unborn children so pregnant women should also be aware of their lead exposure as well. Symptoms of lead poisoning include abdominal pain, irritability or behavioral problems, headaches, fatigue, metallic taste in mouth, muscle or joint weakness. If someone suspects lead poisoning in their child, they should call 911 or their poison control center. Once at a medical facility, lead level will be checked. Moderately high levels of lead in children can result in treatment called chelation therapy which is

an IV based therapy to remove lead levels from the blood.

Lead poisoning is a serious issue and should be treated seriously. Over time, it can cause serious neurocognitive effects.


Stephanie Kirkconnell, M.D.

The best treatment for lead poisoning is prevention, so if parents suspect that items in their homes may contain unsafe levels of lead, they should speak to an ablation specialist who can test and remove the paint with dangerous lead. You can also have your plumbing checked especially for those living on a well. Surprisingly, newer homes (5 years old or less) have more of a chance for lead exposure. Some plumbers still use lead solder to join copper pipes, which exposes the water directly to lead. Residents should contact their water utility to test their water and can install a filter to remove lead. Luckily, lead exposure in Alachua County and in Florida is lower than the rest of the country because the amount of older homes is less than in the Northeast, Kirkconnell said. However, screenings are still important, and awareness is key.

For more information about Lead, visit The National Lead Information Center page on the United States Environmental Protection Agency Website at:




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health | get healthy

Picky Eating vs. ARFID:

What's the Difference? BY REBECCA SANTANA

Nothing complicates dinnertime for parents more than a child who is a picky eater. Trying to find something healthy and nutritious that your child will eat can be difficult, but picky eating is a normal part of growing up. However, if your child’s picky eating has caused them to lose weight or stops them from eating in public, they might have Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder or ARFID. According to the fifth edition of “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” ARFID is an eating disorder and should be treated as such. Children with ARFID don’t usually experience body dysmorphia or worry about their weight, but as they develop, ARFID can sometimes lead to other eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia. According to Susan Connolly-Nelson, clinical manager at the Eating Recovery Center, up to 5 percent of children struggle with this disorder. People with ARFID usually have very few things they are willing to eat like a picky eater, but it goes beyond that. Every meal can be a little anxiety inducing for someone with ARFID. Sometimes these individuals are afraid of eating because they afraid they might choke or vomit. Gainesville resident Michelle Reed has had ARFID all her life. Due to a childhood condition called pyloric stenosis, Reed vomited almost every time she ate in her adolescence. Because of her disorder she struggled to maintain her weight, a key sign of ARFID, said Connolly-Nelson. “You really don't want to eat because you are afraid you will vomit, so having thrown up a lot of the foods I ate as a child, I cannot eat them now,” she said. Sometimes, ARFID is triggered by a traumatic experience. For some, the fear of choking or vomiting can overpower the want/ need to eat. This refusal to eat can lead to malnutrition and being underweight. A child afflicted with ARFID may not get enough calories, which can stunt growth. They may have to use supplements like Pediasure to maintain their weight. Regular picky eaters usually don’t have to supplement their meals because they consume enough calories, despite their limited diet. Children with ARFID sometimes have a general disinterest in food and eating in general. They may forget or refuse to eat, and eating in public can cause major anxiety. Some will even skip events or outings all together because even the presence of food can make them nervous. Picky eaters don’t usually have issues with



eating in public, and they won’t avoid events with food. Reed rarely eats in public and doesn’t usually like going to restaurants because of her limited diet. “When trying new foods, I have to be extremely calm and only at home, never in public as that adds to anxiety,” she said. Though there is limited research on ARFID treatments, experts say some forms of exposure therapy may be helpful in reducing food anxiety. One of the best things you can do for a child with ARFID is to be accomodating, Reed said. "My mother was a nurse and very accommodating to my issues..."

5% OF children STRUGGLE WITH THIS disorder UP TO

Even with ARFID, your child can still grow up healthy and happy, just be patient. They might need some extra time to eat or have to take supplements, but it shouldn’t disrupt development as long as you treat it correctly. Be understanding of their needs and understand it for what it is, an eating disorder. Though it might make dinnertime a little more complicated, keep in mind your child’s specific needs. A picky eater might get mad if you make them eat something they don’t like, but someone with ARFID will react very differently. If you think your child has ARFID, visit a health professional to determine the best treatment.

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health | get pretty


The Best Self-Tanners u to Keep that Glow Year Round BY ISABELLA SORRESSO

Fake It ‘Til You Make It! When it’s Christmas time and you’re busy buying gifts, baking cookies and decorating the house for family gatherings, the last thing on your mind is keep up your summer time glow. But, alas, there is a safe and easy way to re-capture that bronzy glow you are craving: self tanners! Self-tan comes in a variety of forms, shades and applications, so whichever you prefer you’ll be sure to find your desired way to get sun-kissed skin!


x z Photos courtsey of manufacturers


1. St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse $42.00, Using a mousse is a lightweight option that’s easy to evenly spread across the body. 2. Arbonne Liquid Sunshine Tinted Self-Tanner $46, This non-oily, quick-drying formula provides a natural-looking tan, visible within 2 hours after application. 3. L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self-Tanning Milk Medium $12.99, This luxurious lightweight milk gradually delivers an even, natural glow while nourishing and softening the skin with Vitamin E.



4. Ethique Bombshell $32, The world's first (and only,) solid self-tanning bar! 5. TanTowel Body Tan Towelletes $29.00, Throw a few Tan Towelletes in your bag for a non-streaky self-tan on the go. 6. Beauty by Earth Natural Self Tanner $27.99, This tanning lotion is vegan, cruelty-free and will give you an even, healthy-looking tan.


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happy home | make it



Simmering Holiday

Candied Cranberry!


Ahhhh…the scents of the season! Nothing is better than walking into a home filled to the brim with the fresh scents of the holiday season! Notes of cinnamon, lemon, pine, cranberries filling the air just scream Happy Holidays! What better way to fill your home with those sweet aromas than to create your own potpourri!


Crock pot or slow cooker (please remember to keep this out of the reach of small children)


For all of them, we recommend placing all ingredients in your crockpot or slow cooker, cover with water, leaving 1-2 inches free at the top, place on low heat and let simmer with top off. Continue to brew for smell until you are done. Discard when finished. Note: Feel free to adjust all ingredients to specific smell preferences! You can’t go wrong adding less or more of an ingredient!

3 lemons cut into slices 4 rosemary sprigs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 bay leaves Water

3 cinnamon sticks 2 apples, cut into slices 1 teaspoon whole cloves ½ teaspoon nutmeg 1 taplespoon vanilla extract Water

1 bag fresh cranberries 2 cinnamon sticks 2 oranges, cut into slices 1 tablespoon fresh cloves 1 apple, cut into slices 1 lime, cut into slices Water

2 oranges, cut into slices 1 tangerine, cut into slices 3 cinnamon sticks 1 lemon, cut into slices 1 cup fresh cranberries 1 tablespoon whole cloves Water

Pine cuttings 3 cinnamon sticks 1 tablespoon vanilla Water



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happy home | clean it

Swap It:


Nothing feels better than a house that sparkles from top to bottom after a good cleaning. Windows are shined, counters are wiped, tubs have been scrubbed and floors have been mopped. But how many of you have noticed the actual ingredients of your cleaners? One that should stand out on your radar and have you pause is ammonia. Ammonia has been a staple in a large amount of cleaners for everything from windows to floors, but it might be time to swap out those cleaners! According to PHD-candidate Ă˜istein Svanes, at the Department of Clinical Science, at the University of Bergen (UiB) and lead author on a study recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that individuals who used ammonia on a daily basis to conduct household cleaning and chores for 20 years had a decreased lung function equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Additionally, the same study shows that individuals who use cleaning products containing ammonia are at a 40 percent increased risk of developing asthma. Cleaners that contain ammonia have an irritative effect on the mucous membranes of the airways which can cause the mucous to breakdown and change the airways also causing a decrease


in lung function and eventually leading to lung related diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma. The most common household cleaners that contain ammonia are window and glass cleaners, multi-purpose cleaners, oven cleaners, floor waxes and toilet bowl cleaners. Due to the new information about the harms of ammonia, many companies are switching to alternative chemicals to still provide a cleaner that can get your house just as clean but without the detrimental effect ammonia has on individuals. Mrs. Meyers and Windex have already launched vinegar-based products into the cleaning market. Mrs. Meyers makes a vinegar-based cleaning agent that can help you in the bathrooms to get rid of hard water stains, soap residue or mildew in your bathroom. All you do is apply a small amount directly to the area and then wipe clean, no rinsing is even necessary. Windex has launched their vinegar-based window cleaner that will get windows sparkling clean without any streaks (and using a coffee filter is great to keep lint from getting stuck to the window). Or, you can swap your entire cleaning regiment for a safe to use, ammonia free cleaning line from brands like Branch Basics or Norwex


If you are not looking to swap your cleaners at this time, there are extra precautions you can take when using a cleaner with ammonia. Instead of spraying the chemical, either use a bucket to dip a cleaning cloth in or spray directly into the cloth instead of directly onto the surface. According to the same study published by University of Bergen’s Department of Clinical Science, the small particles that are released when sprayed can remain in the air for hours after cleaning and these small particles can travel deep into the lungs causing infection and decreased lung function. If it is not possible to use a bucket or spray onto a cloth, be sure you are using the product in a wellventilated area or using a fan to disperse the concentration on ammonia. When cleaning, you should always wear gloves and mask regardless if using ammonia free products or not. A clean home is a happy home, but getting that beautiful, shiny home can come with fewer risks to your health so, try swapping your cleaners and take precautions to protect yourself and your family when using cleaners in your house.

Al t

e rn a t i v e

a Cl e

n e rs!

Baking soda and vinegar This mixture is great for cleaning stainless steel appliances, or as a substitute for bleach-based bathroom cleaners. Castile Soap When mixed with water, this product can be used as an all-purpose cleaner. Lemon Juice The acidity in lemon juice is powerful enough to break down grime. Olive Oil Olive oil, when mixed with vinegar, makes for a versatile furniture polish. Olive oil and salt removes stubborn food residue on cast iron pans without scratching your cookware. Essential Oils Simply combine baking soda, water and your favorite essential oil to make your own fabric spray.

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happy home | fix it

Hacking the Holidays! BY NICOLE IRVING

Time is money, money is time! So, save some time and money this holiday season by cutting corners and diving in to some of our favorite holiday hacks and fun this year! Your family and wallet will thank you for it!

Hack #1

Hack #2

Reuse, Recycle, Re-Giftwrapping

Saran Wrap your Christmas Tree

We all have a mom, aunt or grandmother that can spot a beautifully packaged gift a mile away, then, sets her eagle eyes on it, and waits. As soon as the gift gets passed out, she screams.. .”WAIT, do it a carefully, I want to save the wrapping!”

She is a giftwrapping-regifter! And, she is a genius! By both saving time and money, and not to mention the planet, she is spreading the holiday cheer year after year by recycling not only awesome paper, but, boxes, shirt boxes, bags, bows, tissue paper, wine bags and more! How to: 1. Set eyes on the most amazing paper. 2. Watch who picks it up 3. Have them open VERY carefully, then, take and use for next year!

B es t fo r s to r age i n a basem en t o r a gar age

We know, this sounds odd and will only work with an artificial tree, but, this is a tested out method of putting away your tree in a jiffy! How to: 1. Unplug tree and take off any “heir loomed” ornaments. 2. Put them away safely. 3. Move tree away from any walls 4. Take a BIG roll of saran wrap and your closet responsible child and begin wrapping away from top to bottom, by walking around and around your tree until all the ornaments are safely packed in tight. This is a win win for next year… just cut off saran wrap and fluff! Viola!

Other easy to do hacks!

Tip: Do not put in the attic and make sure to take off all family favorite ornaments!

1. Use ornaments to adorn gift wrapping and personalize gifts.

Hack #3 The Warm Blankey

How fun is it to load up the car with the family and head out on a crisp December night to drive around and look at lights? The ooohhhss and ahhhhssss from the kiddos is what the magic of the season is all about. But, no one likes to be cold and chilly in the car! How to: 1. Place favorite blankets in dryer on medium for 10 minutes before leaving. 2. Take out and fluff and bring in the car with you!

Hack 4:

2. No space for all the holiday cards you get, place in basket next to couch or on coffee table 3. Did your family outgrow the dinner table? Instead of trying to get everyone “sitting” together, create smaller, intimate tables around the house and on the back porch and set up a main buffet station in the kitchen to keep tables de-cluttered and food centralized. 4. Wrap gifts as you buy them and write the first letter of their name or their initials somewhere on the paper or under a bow in pencil so you can know how to label it later on in case they are found!






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giggle stamp | llamas


Move over unicorns, your time has come and gone! We’re entering the era of all things llama and alpaca. They’re cute, they’re cuddly and they’re fluffy, so it’s easy to see why these products are taking over!


$17.00, Enjoy a piping cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate from this happy and adorable hand sculpted llama mug that has a little reminder to “Llive Happy” on the inside rim!



Stencils and Crafts INC Etsy Shop, $8.99 The perfect way to carry your love for llamas wherever you go, this llama in a teacup lapel pin can put your love and appreciation of these cute and cuddly animals on display whether you stick it on your lapel, bag or purse!


$16.99, Show your love for llamas and alpacas to every visitor and guest who comes to your house with this functional, yet very stylish alpaca door mat.


$29, Make mealtime fun for your little ones with this two-piece feeding set that features a colorful llama print. It’s study and durable and is dishwasher safe, so perfect for the messes little ones get into!


$118.95, Comfort meets cuteness with these playful platform sneakers that show your love for these fluffy friends each time you wear them (and you get a little smile when you look down at your feet and see these adorable herd animals).



Photos courtsey of manufacturers

$39, Stay warm this winter with this cozy blanket that is designed with rows of llamas and geometric patterns that create a fun blanket for you to use to stay toasty and appreciate the cuteness llamas have to offer!

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Holiday Babies! Ensure Those Birthdays Stay Special Around the Holidays


Birthdays are milestone celebrations for parents and eventually become very special for children as well. As opposed to holidays like Christmas and Easter, birthdays are a child’s one very special day. For children born in spring or early fall, birthdays are singled out and parties at a local skating rink or at school make that child feel so special on their day. However, many children’s birthdays are born on or around the holiday time, specifically Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s, making it difficult for parents to keep their children’s birthdays seem special amidst the holiday hoopla. Children may end up getting “duo gifts” from friends and family, or worse, people are too busy to attend separate birthday celebrations. But there are things parents can do to help keep their child feel special on their birthday even though it is such a busy time of year. Small strategies can go a long way. For Jaime Swanson, mother of

four whose two sons were born around Christmas, it has always been important for her to not have them overlooked at the holidays. “My oldest boy is 7 and was born December 28th and then our third who is now 5 was born on December 21st. It is a crazy week in our home as we have a birthday, then Christmas, then another birthday,” Swanson said. “We do family parties for each of them which makes for a long week, but I want them to be celebrated. “To keep things straight we have planned a themed party for them and we tend to give them gifts along those lines for their actual birthdays. Then we avoided that for their actual Christmas gifts. It is very important to me to allow my boys to be celebrated on their birthdays and not let the holidays be overlooked.” Local mom Brittany Hensley’s daughter turns six on January 2nd of 2019 and she always makes a special effort to make sure

Our daughter was born on December 30th. Since many of her friends are traveling during this week, we do a day trip with just our family on her big day.

- Local mom, Mary C. Jordan

her daughter’s day is special. In addition to celebrating on the 2nd, Hensley does what many others do—celebrate a half birthday in July. “On my daughter’s birthday I make sure there are special decorations out and she gets to pick where we are going to dinner, which helps make her day special,” Hensley said. “We also always do something small and special for her half birthday in July. We get a cupcake, sing happy half birthday, and get her one special gift.”



Another key tip from many parents is to ensure that birthday decorations and wrapping paper are used and not use Christmas décor to celebrate birthdays during the holiday. Local mom Christine Loftus’ birthday is December 29th and her daughter Aubrey’s is January 3. She recalls that when she was growing up, her parents made sure that all Christmas decorations were put away before her birthday. Loftus always received gifts wrapped in birthday wrapping—a tradition she has kept for her daughter.

Tips from Our Readers on how to celebrate birthday’s around the holidays!

Other options to try to focus around the birthday and not the holiday are to ban holiday music around their child’s birthday, ensure that photos are taken around birthday decorations (lots of balloons can compete with holiday lights and tree) and purchase or make a beautiful and colorful birthday cake or dessert that embraces the birthday theme.

“Our daughter was born on December 30th. We love that she’ll never have school on her birthday. Since many of her friends are traveling during this week, we do a day trip with just our family on her big day,” said local mom Mary C. Jordan. “We’ve been fortunate to have lots of great weather and almost always make it to the beach. Even if it’s not ‘beach weather’ the kids love to play in the sand, fly kites, and have ice cream. After all, who but a Florida kid can spend their winter birthday at the beach every year?”

Jenny Highlander's two sons were both born in December “Both my boys are December birthdays. They were both born at North Florida during the season when the duck pond was lit and I could hear the Christmas music from my room when I was having both of them (and I walked the pond in labor late at night!!), so we always make a point to visit the duck pond. Teague was born on December 22nd and I’ve had so much fun with the theme for his parties - candy canes one year, snow themed another. We serve hot cocoa and we’ve had a bonfire and we just make a point to celebrate their birthday but it always has a special holiday twist which makes it extra special.Also, because we have two December birthdays we always have one big birthday party. The boys don't mind sharing and it makes it easier because the month is already so full of celebrations that trying to plan two parties and get people to attend is almost impossible. Usually we pick a date between their birthdays and celebrate together. They share a lot of the same friends still so it works out great. They pick the theme together and we double up on cake."

“We keep my son’s birthday special by celebrating on his birthday just like any other kid would. We understand it’s a very busy time of year and many friends may be traveling. We just keep the focus on the friends and family who are able to share the day with us. I have learned to plan early to get on people’s calendars and to beat the Christmas shopping rush. We make sure to celebrate my son’s birthday at school on a day most of the class is planning to be in school. That may mean we celebrate two weeks before or after his birthday - but that way all his friends at school are there to celebrate. I’m literally sending out a save the date this week for his December 30th bday!"

Jamie Waters' Daughter Rae's birthday is December 19th “We try to celebrate her birthday at places not set up with as much holiday decor or set up a place at home with decorations all about her birthday. And, we don’t “blend” her gifts.”

Photos courtesy of Giggle readers

On the flip side, despite the distractions, other parents also choose to see the positive in having their children’s birthdays during the holidays.

Nicole Bodlak's son’s birthday is December 30th

Photos courtesy of Giggle readers

Jodi Hunt on husband Brian Hunt’s New Year’s Birthday "We kind of wrap his birthday into New Year. I feel bad for him because we always go to Minnesota for Christmas to spend it with his family and when we get home we are so tired from the trip we will usually go to the beach, but that’s it now that we have kids. But, before kids we would party hard and it would be a birthday / New Year's celebration!"

Melisa Furlow's birthday is December 27th “My birthday is on December 27th. I always made sure my family wrapped my presents in birthday paper. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but you’d be surprised how many just use Christmas paper because it’s out. And, of course, you NEVER EVER give a 'Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday' present!”

Suzie Carlisle's daughter is a New Year's Eve baby! Laura Holley was born on Christmas Day “My birthday is on Christmas Day. My husband started celebrating my 'half year birthday' on June 25th in 2009 and it sort of stuck from there. He threw me a surprise party that year and boy was I surprised! Growing up was interesting; my mother always went out of her way to separate my birthday from Christmas. Small things like always using birthday paper for the birthday gifts and always having birthday cake with candles after Christmas dinner.”

“I really struggle to keep it special for her. Having a party for a NYE birthday is challenging. Birthday parties aren’t really my jam anyway, so when I get overwhelmed with the holidays, I don’t really think about it until it’s too late to book a party. That’s why she didn’t have a real party until she turned six and hasn’t had one since! Even still, it’s hard to get party guests around the New Year. We just usually do something special with one or two friends instead of having a party.”

Emily Pridgen on her and her daughter's December birthdays "When I was growing up we always had my birthday party with friends at the beginning of November to beat the craziness of the holidays. I always wanted a party on my actual birthday but never did and still haven’t. For my daughter's birthday we always have a party for her close to her actual birthday and I go above and beyond for her to make her feel special. We do not allow anyone to give her gifts wrapped in holiday wrapping paper, it has to be birthday paper!"




GREATNESS When Bubba and Ingrid Scales opened Wild Birds Unlimited in 2002, they wanted it to be more than just a store. They envisioned a friendly community resource where Gainesville’s gardeners and nature lovers could not only find supplies for cultivating bird-friendly environments in their own yards, but connect with the larger environmental community.



4212 NW 16TH BLVD · (352) 381-1997 · NEW HOUR S! M-S 10 - 6, SUN 11-4 · GAINESVILLE .WBU.COM

This vision was personal for Bubba and Ingrid. Before opening Wild Birds, Ingrid had been a secondary school science teacher and Bubba a nature tour operator and consultant. The newly married couple were looking for different a way to share their love of the natural world with their neighbors. “We simply hoped to bring the joy of observing birdlife to a community of backyard enthusiasts,” Ingrid said.

Today, Wild Birds Unlimited is a lively space offering a range of treasures that celebrate the beauty of birds and local wildlife. Along with bird feeders of varied sizes and types are decorative items for the garden such as birdbaths, mobiles, and sculptures, as well as bird- and outdoors-themed t-shirts, accessories, note cards, and a small inventory of binoculars for serious birdwatchers. Consistent with Bubba and Ingrid’s mission of environmental education, Wild Birds also offers an assortment of books for both adults and children on birds and local wildlife as well as a carefully curated selection of bird- and animal-themed toys and games and, because exploring the outdoors works up an appetite, Wild Birds also offers organic chocolate and shade-grown coffee. All these goodies—many handmade or locally made—make Wild Birds a perfect holiday shopping destination but if you find yourself overwhelmed by choices, no worries—the friendly staffers, all avid bird lovers, are happy to share their knowledge whether you need recommendations for a special gift or advice on where and how to set up a bird feeder. Bubba also shares tidbits of local bird lore and bird feeding tips—including videos of unusual local backyard birds—on Wild Bird Unlimited’s Facebook page.

5th Annual



Wild Birds Unlimited is now ramping up for the fifth annual Pints and Predators, its most-anticipated event of the year, to be held at First Magnitude Brewing Co. on FEBRUARY 16 from NOON to 5:00PM. Pints and Predators is a fundraiser for local wildlife rehabilitators and a family-friendly educational festival offering the public a rare opportunity to see a Bald Eagle, owls, hawks, bats, flying squirrels, and other creatures of the night up close while learning about and supporting local conservation and wildlife rehabilitation efforts. All proceeds from Pints and Predators benefit the participating wildlife rehabilitators.


Pictured: Christina Opett, WBU employee & board member of Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation

While Wild Birds Unlimited focuses on the pleasures of backyard birds, Bubba and Ingrid are deeply aware of the need to advocate for wildlife beyond backyard boundaries. For this reason, Wild Birds actively partners with several local conservation organizations and licensed wildlife rehabilitators including Lubee Bat Conservancy, Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation, and Florida Wildlife Care. Since its founding nearly 18 years ago, Wild Birds Unlimited has fulfilled Bubba and Ingrid’s dream of creating a community to celebrate local birds and wildlife. “We hoped that the visceral pleasure of seeing a creature of such grace and beauty would lead to a broader appreciation of nature and how humans can affect its quality,” Bubba said. “In short, we have striven to create a community of almost accidental conservationists, cardinal by cardinal.” GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019



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8. Learning Resources Pretend & Play Doctor Kit for Kids, $26.99; 9. Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog, $14.99; 10. Cinemood, $299; 11. Unicorn Rainbow Beauty from HABA, $39.99; 12. The Original Miracle Melting Shark, Unicorn, & Elephant, $15.99; The Bungalow 13. Let's Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar, $14.99; Walmart 14. PLAY-DOH Buzz'N Cut Play Set, $14.99; Select Retailers





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Is your child troubled

by depression? Sarkis Clinical Trials is part of an international clinical research study that will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of an investigational drug for depression in children and young people between the ages of 7 and 17. If your child is still experiencing symptoms of depression, he or she may qualify to participate.

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learn | family learning

[ Challenge Accepted ]

We Won!

To win these games, you must focus, strategize and out-smart your opponents.

Board Games Promote Health in Families BY LAUREN FISCHER

Clue - Become a detective and delve deep into a who-done-it murder mystery. Was it Mrs. Peacock with the lead pipe in the library? Checkers - Strategically move your checkers diagonally square by square as you capture your opponent’s checkers one by one. Sorry! – Hope for lucky cards and plan your plays wisely to be the first player to get all their pawns safely home. Just don’t be Sorry! and get sent back to the start. Blokus – Challenge your spatial thinking while trying to get all of your pieces onto the board by filling your territory and blocking opponents. Aggravation - Up to six players must try to send their marbles all the way around the board using die rolls and potentially dangerous shortcuts.

Are hectic holiday schedules and dark winter evenings putting your family in a funk? Well, dust off Candy Land, Monopoly and Sorry because a good old-fashioned family game night may be just what the doctor ordered. This kind of quality family time promotes family bonding, creates joyful memories and decreases the body’s stress response according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In addition to colors, numbers and vocabulary, games help children develop life skills necessary to become successful adults according to the AAP. Following rules and taking turns develop selfregulation skills while communication and conflict resolution with other players develop social skills. Games are also an opportunity for children to exercise creativity, collaboration and problem solving. Whether you’re looking to challenge your teen or delight your little one, here are a


few of the best board games to get your family game night going.

[ Perfect for Little Ones ]

Relish in the nostalgia while engaging the youngest members of your family with these classic childhood board games. Candy Land – Practice colors and counting while racing along the rainbow path towards sweet victory for the player who reaches the Candy Castle first. Chutes and Ladders – Help your children navigate numbers as well as the good deeds that launch you up the ladders and the naughty deeds that send you sliding down the chutes. Operation – Young children practice fine motor skills while removing Cavity Sam’s ailments like a headphone headache. Wait for everyone to squeal with joy when the tweezers touch the side of the cavity and Sam’s nose lights up and the buzzer goes off.


Monopoly – The classic property-trading game has room for eight players and lots of competition. Themed Monopoly boards are available ranging from Star Wars to national parks so hold a family meeting and pick the perfect board.

New Twists on Classic Games Monopoly Deal is a card-game

version of the traditional board game. It’s portable, includes the strategy and luck of the original game and only takes 15 minutes a round. The goal of Mexican Train is to play all of the tiles in your hand onto multiple chains or “trains” extending from the central station. Figuring out strategies to get all of your tiles on the train faster will keep you saying, “one more game!”

Heads Up is a hilarious, app-based

guessing game where team members shout out clues to help the person holding the phone to their forehead guess the word on the card before time runs out. Categories range from celebrities to That’s so ‘90s and it can be played with up to 100 players!

NOW OPEN Special Delivery! We are proud to introduce the newest member of the family, our brand new Comprehensive Women's Health campus featuring a birth center, state of the art clinic and surgery suite, and more. We will begin seeing patients in our new home November 13, 2018.

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724 NW 43rd St., Gainesville, FL 32607 • GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019


learn | homeschool corner

Avoiding the Homeschool Burnout BY CRYSTAL LADWIG

We don’t get to call in sick or take a personal day. We have crazy schedules involving multiple kids, multiple ages to teach, co-ops, sports, scouts, lessons, volunteering, church, managing the home and let’s not forget school. Many homeschooling parents also work outside the home. It’s no wonder that homeschool parents occasionally experience a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year and feel burned out. What does homeschool burnout look like?

Most of us remember those last days of the school year when we were kids. We were tired of school, dreading every last minute that seemed like an eternity as we anxiously awaited the beginning of summer. That’s burnout. Then there are those times when no break is in sight, yet we still felt that weariness and dread. That’s also burnout. For homeschooled children, burnout has some interesting comparisons. Yes, some homeschoolers may dread school work, be tired of the day to day routines, and anxiously await a break. Homeschool burnout also has relational factors as children and caregivers spend more time together doing school work and activities than some families typically do. Homeschooling parents experiencing burnout may occasionally feel depressed but more often experience exasperation and exhaustion. New homeschooling parents often experience anxiety about being able to do it all, about choosing the right homeschooling approach or curricula, and about making sure their children learn all they need to. Veteran homeschooling parents may become tired and weary. Homeschooling mom Ana Willis from the blog “They Call Me Blessed” argues that the biggest cause of homeschool mom burnout is “the neglect of ourselves and the incapacity of saying no.” With parents and their children spending as much time together as we do, it becomes vitally important that we address burnout quickly when it happens.

Overcoming Burnout

Before a parent can help their child overcome burnout, she has to take care of herself. Start by getting support. No one understands the joys and stress of homeschooling more than another homeschooling parent. At the same time be careful not to compare yourself to others. When you begin to feel the tell-tale



chronic exhaustion of burnout, take time to rest and do something you enjoy. Perhaps most importantly and most difficult, learn to say no. Easing your schedule allows you and your children to relax, enjoy learning and experience life together. Remember, our children follow our lead. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is also among the most effective tools at overcoming burnout: flexibility. We are blessed to be able to choose a less stressful educational approach or to take a few days off of school when we or our kids begin to feel burned out. We can change the schedule and even the curriculum if we decide it’s not working. Set aside the homeschool to-do list and focus on activities to break the cycle that contributed to burnout. Find fun activities to do with your children. Go on walks. Exercise together. Read aloud to them more. Play. Create. Watch a good movie. Focus on enjoying your children and your family. Gainesville homeschooling mom, Denise Holway, says that doing enjoyable things with her children helps the family to reboot and reminds her "that it’s not all about the book work, but heart work.” Despite our best efforts, sometimes life experiences cause us to continue to feel burnout. Don’t be afraid to utilize outside resources if you find yourself in a stressful season. There are some great technology resources many homeschool families find helpful including websites such as Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, Curiosity Corner, and Brain Pop, as well as streaming videos of documentaries, movies based on literature, and academic reality shows. Remember, we all feel stress sometimes and that may rise to the level of burnout. Stop. Breathe. And remember why you chose to homeschool in the first place. Then adjust your schedule, have fun with your kids, and take time to regroup.

Before a parent can help their child overcome burnout, she has to take care of herself.

Lubee Bat Conservancy PRESENTS

Love our bats WATCH THEM LIVE

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Love Our Bats is a national campaign designed to raise awareness and promote action for bat species locally and globally. Through our partnership with, Lubee will introduce individuals around the world to our beautiful bats via cameras placed in their habitats. We believe that direct observation of the bats playing, socializing and raising their young will be an endearing way to delve into the lives of these gentle yet misunderstood mammals.

1309 NW 192nd Ave. Gainesville, FL 32609



learn | featured teacher

Becky Dyroen-Lancer What subject do you teach? Art. It was my favorite subject in school. There is always something magical and inspiring about walking into an art classroom - like a breath of fresh air for the creative soul.

Why were you inspired to teach?

AT WHAT SCHOOL DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK? Kimball Wiles Elementary School WHAT GRADE/AGE DO YOU TEACH? Kindergarten- 5th Grade Art

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK? All books by Eric Carle are fabulous! “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See” are two of my favorites.

What advice would you give to parents of children starting in your class? Be involved from your child’s first day of Kindergarten to the day they graduate high school and beyond. Volunteer! Join the PTA! Go on field trips! Help in the classroom! As a mom of 3 boys, I have always tried to be involved with their schools. I’m currently PTSA President of Kanapaha Middle and on the board of the Alachua County Council PTA. Volunteering can make a huge difference in your child’s school experience.

How do you wind down from a long day of teaching? Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond for their students? An administrator who is truly devoted to making their 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.


Wind down? Haha... that’s funny. The “to- do” list is way too long for that.

What did you do before you were a teacher? I’ve had a different path than other teachers. I was on the 1996 Olympic team for Synchronized swimming, performed in Cirque du Soliel’s “O” in Vegas for 5 years,


What awesome projects are your students working on? Recently I had the students do a project called “Draw a Dragon”. We have a bearded dragon as an art-room pet, who was happy (sort of) to be a live model. Students sat on the carpet with clipboards and drawing paper and drew an observational drawing of the dragon that sat in the middle of the circle. After that, they added imaginary elements to their picture, such as wings, fire breath, costumes, and small buildings (making their dragon giant). It was so much fun to see their interactions with the dragon and their imaginations soaring.

Photo courtesy of Becky Dyroen-Lancer

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A TEACHER? This is my fourth year teaching!

I believe that every student has greatness inside of them. It is my aspiration to create opportunities through art for them to be able to have the to see the spark of greatness, to believe they are valuable, to see possibilities that they can rise to great heights in their lives. Sometimes all it takes is one person to believe in them to allow greatness to come forth.

moved around the country supporting my husband in his Ph.D., then landed in Gainesville. After coaching the local synchro team for a few years I started my amazing adventure in teaching. I love that I’m an art teacher! Dream job!

The mission of Open Arms Child Development Center and First Lutheran Church is to

Invite, Disciple, Send, and Share the love of Jesus.

CALL FOR TOURS! 352-373-5856 Open Enrollment Begins February 1, 2019 Infants through VPK | PartTime / Full Time / VPK | Located just a few blocks from UF Campus

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learn | your schools

What You Need to Know About the Half-Cent Sales Tax BY LEAH ANTOVEL

The money will be used to do everything from fixing leaky roofs to renovating entire classrooms and removing portables.

After the midterm elections on Nov. 6, it can be difficult to understand the impact items on the ballot, pass or fail, will have on our lives. The votes have been tallied and one of those items, the Half-Cent for Schools, has passed. Looking past the legal jargon, what does the new sales surtax mean for Alachua County residents? Jackie Johnson, public information officer for Alachua County Public Schools, says the tax will go into effect in January of 2019 and is intended to improve the condition of run-down and potentially harmful schools in Alachua County. With roughly $500 million of projected revenue over the next 12 years, the money will be used to do everything from fixing leaky roofs to renovating entire classrooms and removing portables. According to a flier provided by the district, some of the money generated will also be allocated to create entirely new facilities for current


and future generations of students. Due to roughly $168 million dollars in facilities funding for public schools in Alachua County being cut over the last decade, Johnson says the Alachua County Council of PTA’s advocated for change. The Citizens for Stronger Schools helped the school district by raising money and running the campaign. Other supporters for the grassroots initiative included the League of Women Voters, the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce and the Gainesville Sun. Although the sum of money generated by the sales tax in Alachua County increasing from 6.5 percent to 7 percent may seem daunting, Johnson says the total economic impact per household is only $5 a month. Not to mention, upwards of 25 percent of that money will come from individuals who attend local events but do not live in Alachua County. Also, life expenses like food and medicine are on the list of


items that will not be taxed. As for pricier items, the maximum amount that can be collected is capped at $25. Residents in Alachua County can visit the Alachua County Public Schools website to view comprehensive lists of the many projects the district hopes to complete through the Half-Cent for Schools. Although the lists do not include all projects, residents get an idea of where their hard-earned money is going. The projects are broken down by building, so individuals, especially parents, can gain a better understanding of how their children’s academic lives will improve in the future. They can also compare work being done in their child’s school to work being done in other schools throughout the district. For more information, visit

Celebratin Celebrating MIDDLE SCHOOL GRADES 6-8


MILLHOPPER 40 Years of Academic E 40 MONTESSORI 40 Years Years of of Academic Academic Excellence Excellence

MMS graduates are known for being poised and accomplished, ready to excel in the area’s top high schools — the majority of Left to Right: Analia Castellanos, Venumadhava Mirel, Madison Palmer, Maui Schw MMS graduates Sofia are accepted Vivas, Eduardo Santos, Nicole Brandt, Nikolai Gutierrez-Hernandez, A into Advanced Placement, Cambridge International Our graduating 8th Graders have been accepted to the f Left to Right: Analia Castellanos, Venumadhava Mirel,and Madison Palmer, Maui Schwartz, Arden Leedy, Nicholas Wilkie, Baccalaureate programs. Left to Right: Analia Castellanos, Venumadhava Mirel, Madison Palmer,International Maui Schwartz, Arden Leedy, Nicholas Wilkie, Sofia Vivas, Eduardo Santos, Nicole Brandt, Nikolai Gutierrez-Hernandez, Aviv Amdur, Shashank Pothu Our middle school program provides advanced Eastside High School’s Baccalaureate Program, Buchholz Hig Vivas, designed Eduardofor Santos, academics in an emotionallySofia safe setting the Nicole Brandt, Nikolai Gutierrez-Hernandez, Aviv Amdur, Shashank Pothu


2018 8th Grade Graduating

2018 8th Grade Graduating Class 2018 8th Grade Graduating Class

Buchholz High School’s Academy of Entrepreneurship, and Gainesville Hig

Our graduating 8th Graders have been accepted to the following programs: emerging needs of adolescents. Middle School students Our graduating 8th Graders have been accepted to the following programs: Eastside High School’s International Baccalaureate Program, Buchholz High School’s Academy of Finance, develop character, discover individuality and build There’s no denying the importance of a good education. Millhopper Montessori’s unique methods Accredited with Eastside High School’s International Baccalaureate Program, Buchholz High School’s Academy ofProgram. Finance, Buchholz High School’s Academy of Entrepreneurship, and Gainesville High School’s Cambridge intellectual acumen as they mature into compassionate, allow each student to explore and learn, all in a safe and secure environment. Millhopper students High School’s Academy of Entrepreneurship, and Gainesville High School’s Cambridge Program. creative leaders.Buchholz Students become skilled communicators develop into poised, compassionate and creative leaders who are prepared for the next level. and effective collaborators, Accredited with scoring high on standardized Accredited withexecutive function. The tests and exhibiting high Affiliated with STEAM-enhanced curriculum is taught in an authentic, Age 2 - 8th Grade Accredited by multi-disciplinary context, engaging young minds in Affiliated with Outside the classroom, students real-world applications. Affiliated with 352-375-6773 • Affiliated with become members of the National Junior Honor Society, 8505 NW 39th Avenue rise to the challenge of a leader-developing ROPES course, DCF License #C08AL0723 complete community internships and much more. They 352-375-6773 • Ages 2-8th Grade Now Enrolling graduate from MMS exceptionally prepared for high 352-375-6773 •personal Ages Grade Now Enrolling Call today for 39th yourAvenue tour! 352-375-6773 • • 85052-8th NW 39th Avenue 8505 NW Call to Schedule a Tour GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019 school and the worldNW to come. 8505 39th Avenue Call to Schedule a Tour73

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DRIVE-IN MOVIE NIGHT Just 40 minutes outside of Gainesville is the Ocala DriveIn movie theater. During the holidays, the drive-in shows classic Christmas movies and new Christmas favorites.


Holiday Fun

For the Whole Family BY AMANDA ROLAND

When: Show times to be announced Where: 4850 S. Pine Ave. Ocala, Florida 34480 Cost: Adults: $6, children 6-12: $3, children under 5 are free Info:

TREE LIGHTING AT THE THOMAS CENTER Every year, the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department hosts an annual Tree Lighting Celebration at the Historic Thomas Center. Free for the whole family, you are invited to enjoy the beautiful decorations and lighting of the tree. Santa will also be there to visit with the children and hear their Christmas wishes. When: December 1 from 6-8 p.m. Where: The Historic Thomas Center Cost: Free Info:

POND LIGHTING AT NORTH FLORIDA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER After a whole year of waiting, it’s finally that time again! Time to decorate the tree, go shopping for our loved ones and fill our days with holiday activities that the whole family can enjoy. In the Gainesville area and neighboring towns, there is something for everyone and every budget to see and do. So, take a sip of hot chocolate, grab your blankets and head out for a fun filled holiday season!

THE HIPPODROME The Hippodrome puts on plays with local talent year round and during the holidays is no exception! This year, they will be playing holiday shows. Every Christmas Story Ever Told is a combination of all our favorite Christmas stories, carols and traditions performed by three actors with a comedic twist. And, the season wouldn’t be complete without Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, a classic that can be enjoyed at any age. When: Every Christmas Story Ever Told: November 23 to December 22 A Christmas Carol: November 25 to December 22. Where: The Hippodrome Theater, Downtown Gainesville Cost: Prices vary Info:

NFRMC is excited to host its Annual Pond Lighting at the duck pond right by the hospital this year. Families are invited to come out to enjoy the lights and decorations, as well as live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, ornament decorating and lots of holiday activities. When: December 1 from 5 -8 p.m. Where: The Pond at North Florida Regional Medical Center Cost:Free Info:

THE NUTCRACKER AT THE PERFORMING ARTS At the Phillips Center, the University of Florida Performing Arts presents Dance Alive National Ballet performing The Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is a holiday classic that is beloved around the world, and is a wonderful and beautiful tradition to start seeing with your kiddos each holiday! They will ooh and awe at the beautiful dancing, intricate decorations and moving music during the entire performance. When: December 14, 15 and 16, times vary Where: Phillips Center Cost: Prices vary Info:



1ST ANNUAL HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING HOSTED BY SHOP AT BUTLER Butler Town Center will be hosting their 1st annual tree lighting, and Shop at Butler is partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida to host the event. Your family can enjoy live music from special guests, face painting and even a visit from Santa himself. The tree lighting will occur at the end of the event as well as a presentation from the Ronald McDonald House. When: December 8 from 2:30 - 6 p.m., Santa Visit: 3 p.m. Where: Butler Town Center, 3217 SW 35th Blvd Cost: Free Info:


The Santa Fe Singers lead by Lynn Sandefur present an evening full of beloved holiday music that can be enjoyed by the whole family. When: December 6 at 7:30 p.m. Where: Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall Cost: $9/$15 Info:

SANTA’S WORKSHOP AT THE OAKS MALL Santa will be in the Oaks Mall at his Workshop until December 24 this year, and he’s got his smile ready for some pictures. Santa will be available for pictures or to reserve a time slot so you can skip the line. Make sure your little ones have their wish lists ready to let Santa know exactly what they want this year.

Hosted by LifeSouth Blood Center, this event will offer games, food, music and family-friendly activities. Santa will be making an appearance by helicopter at the Santa Fe College North Fields! He will be available for photos and LifeSouth will be hosting a blood drive.

When: Now – December 24 Where: The Oaks Mall Cost: Prices of photos vary Info:

When: December 8 from 10a.m. – 1 p.m. Where: Santa Fe College North Fields Cost: Free

In Kissimmee until January 6, 2019, Gaylord Palms Resort hosts a chilly family event called ICE! where you can come gaze upon huge ice sculptures and displays depicting the beloved classic A Christmas Story. The event is held indoors at the resort and kept at frosty 9 degrees.

UNICORN HILL CHRISTMAS TREE FARM Unicorn Hill Farm is the oldest Christmas tree farm in Gainesville. Here you can bring your whole family and cut down your own live Christmas tree so that you have something to put all those presents under. The staff at Unicorn Hill encourages families to bring cameras to capture all of the sweet memories that you all will make as you pick the perfect tree. When: Open starting December 1 Where: 3605 NW 69th Street Cost: Tree cost vary by foot Info:

HOLIDAY AT SANTA FE! Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall at Santa Fe presents Holiday at Santa Fe! The event includes fun crafts, refreshments, a chance to meet Santa and a holiday musical performance. When: December 1 at 2 pm and 6 pm Where: Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall Cost: $9/$15 Info:





When: Now - January 6, 2019 Where: Gaylord Palms, 6000 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746 Cost: $14.99-$28.88 Info:



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INFANT | 0-1 2019 Trending Baby Names

TODDLER | 2-3 Developmental Milestones

EARLY YEARS | 4-5 Snacks for the Brainiac

KIDS | 6-9 Interactive Reading for Beginners

TWEENS | 10-13 Yoga & Meditation

TEENS | 14-18 How Do You Say Hello?



c2c | expecting


Lotus Birth Is This New Trend Too Risky? BY LEAH ANTOVEL

The placenta and umbilical cord are essential to the healthy development of a fetus. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the umbilical cord connects the placenta to the fetus. The placenta is responsible for producing pregnancy hormones, like estrogen and progestogen and facilitates the exchange of nutrients, oxygen and waste products between the mother’s blood and the fetus’s blood without the two intermingling. Some women are starting to embrace the importance of the placenta and umbilical cord in what is termed as a Lotus birth. Traditionally, the placenta and umbilical cord become obsolete outside of the womb. The APA says that during after-birth, the placenta is removed from the woman’s uterus and discarded and the umbilical cord is cut shortly after the baby is born. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline for Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping, they strongly encourage cutting the cord approximately 1 to 3 minutes after birth, or once the cord stops pulsating, strongly discourage cutting the cord less than one minute after birth. WHO says that waiting a few minutes to cut the cord improves the baby’s health and there are more nutritional benefits when compared to prematurely cutting the cord. Recently, women are opting to add lotus births, both unconventional and controversial, to their birth plans. Understandably, you might be wondering what exactly a lotus birth is. Dr. Kathleen Green, M.D., says that a lotus birth, or umbilical nonseverance, is when a baby remains attached to the placenta after they are born. The placenta is then placed in a bag with salt and herbs to preserve it and help it dry out and after a period of 3 to 10 days, the umbilical cord falls off naturally. In Shivam Rachana’s book called Lotus Birth, she says that the practice began to rise in popularity in the 1970s. At the time, a woman named Clair Lotus Day began to question why primates like Chimpanzees were not cutting the cords of their young, and she decided to have a lotus birth with her son, Trimurti. Although the practice is said to have originated in Australia, Jeannine Parvati Baker, yoga master and midwife, is said to have brought lotus births to the US.



According to the book, advocates of lotus births believe keeping their babies attached to the placenta is spiritually and medically beneficial to both mother and child. First, women who opt for a lotus birth find that they have to navigate the need to be gentle with the placenta and their babies simultaneously which can promote a slower pace and more rest to allow the mother to heal and bond with her infant. Additionally, the mother believes that since baby was attached to the placenta in the mother’s stomach, keeping the baby attached can result in a closer bond between mother and child and a smoother transition from womb to world and can remove the possibility of psychological damage when the cord is clamped. Finally, some mothers who support lotus births believe that babies receive oxygenated blood from the placenta, and waiting to cut the cord encourages healthy brain function as they grow. However, none of these beliefs in lotus births are supported by research as, according to Green, there is very little research that has been conducted on the topic. She also emphasizes that lotus births pose a high risk of infections, jaundice and neonatal hepatitis to babies because once the placenta is outside of the body, it lacks blood flow and begins to decay. “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), our governing body, is against it,” says Green. The mother is also inconvenienced because she not only has to take care of her baby, but the placenta as well. Green urges parents not to ignore the risks and discredits the proposed benefits. She believes it is better to avoid having a lotus birth for the health and well-being of mother and baby.


There are Pro's & Con's to Lotus Births. For more information, visit If you plan on having a lotus birth, please consult your doctor beforehand.

Lesson #2 More moms prefer which hospital? Answer: NFRMC.COM



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

Baby Names That Will Be Trending In 2019 BY LAUREN FISCHER

Do you have names yet? This is probably the second most asked question of pregnant women behind, “how far along are you?” Everyone from your mother to your barista wants to know what potential names you have chosen for your little one. Choosing whether or not to share baby names before your infant’s arrival may be a simple choice but actually choo¬¬sing a name can be much more difficult.

You can also turn to the numerous lists of popular baby names. These lists are helpful to see current name trends as well as help you choose or avoid trending names.

Choosing the name your child will carry for his or her lifetime is a hefty task. Parentsto-be have many unique formulas for constructing the proper name but there are a few common themes that can help guide the process.

The most popular names in the coming year are almost always predicted by the most popular names in recent years according to You will likely see some of the names from the SSA’s 2017 most popular names list on birth announcements in 2019.

1 2 3 4

Searching your family tree for first, middle and last names to call your babe by can be a great way to honor someone important to you. Choosing a name based on its origin is a way to recognize your family heritage. For example, Aiden and Kennedy are both Irish while Boden and Emerson are German. Favoring alliteration can narrow down name choices to those that start with the same letter as baby’s last name. Loving a nickname can help you work backwards from the nickname to a formal name such as Olivia from Liv.


You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the 2019 trending baby names. The Social Security Administration (SSA) and have done the work for you. The SSA tracks names based on applications for social security cards and uses the SSA data along with user interest on their site to predict trending names.



Emma Olivia Ava Isabella Sophia Mia Charlotte Amelia Evelyn Abigail

Liam Noah William James Logan Benjamin Mason Elijah Oliver Jacob

In addition to the overall most popular names, the SSA and track names that are quickly rising in popularity. The lists are quite different but these 20 names are also very likely to be trending in 2019.


The SSA noted the greatest change in popularity in the following names from 2016 to 2017:



Ensley Oaklynn Dream Oaklyn Melania Emberly Octavia Paisleigh Yara Kehlani

Wells Kairo Caspian Nova Colson Kace Kashton Koa Gatlin Bjorn

While reports the following names are quickly increasing in popularity and likely to take the top spots in 2019:



Nova Luna Kinsley Mila Emilia Elena Everly Camila Eliana Aurora

Ezekiel Maverick Theodore Mateo Greyson Ezra Santiago Elias Asher Bryson

Baby name options are endless but we’re betting you’ll meet a few sweet babies with the trending names from these lists in 2019. Maybe a Caspian, Greyson, Mia or Luna?


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c2c | toddler {2-3 YEARS}

Developmental Milestones Making Sure Your Toddlers Are On Track BY AMANDA ROLAND

Watching your babies grow and change is magical. Their first words, cute gestures and wild laughs fill us with so much excitement, but it can be alarming if you feel like your child is falling behind developmentally. So, what developmental milestones can we be looking for in our 2- to 3-year-olds to make sure they are right on track, and what can we do to help them? Associate Director for the Center for Autism at the University of Florida and Research Assistant professor in the college of medicine, department of psychiatry Dr. Ann-Marie Orlando outlined specific milestones to look for growing 2- to 3-year-olds and what parents should be expecting from their little ones in their speech and communication. “At the ages between 2 and 3, as children get older, they are improving their intelligibility,” she said. At this age, it is a big time for language explosion and comprehension, according to Orlando. They go from understanding 200 to 300 words at age 2 to understanding 900 words at age 3. “We know that they are probably able to use about 50 to 100 words at this time, and by the time they are 3, that increases to about 500 words that they can say and people can understand,” she said. “They are starting to put two or three words together.” If they are not doing things like responding to their name, seeking their parent’s attention or pointing to something as to say “hey, do you see what I see?”, then this could be a sign that your child is a little behind in their development. “Parents have a lot of intuition about their children, and if they have any kind of concern, then they should consult a health professional immediately,” Orlando said. Orlando urges parents to continue getting check-ups at regular intervals, and if they do have concerns, that would be a great time to bring them up. If you notice that your child is struggling, there are many options for you and your family to help get your little one back on track,




When it comes to promoting proper development in your child, just interacting with them is one of the best things you can do as a parent. such as speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists. Make sure to consult your child’s pediatrician to look into these options. “There are programs in place for children under the age of three such as Early Steps, which is a great support for families in terms of teaching families how to support their children’s development,” Orlando said. When it comes to promoting proper development in your child, Orlando says that just interacting with them is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Talking with them, reading to them, exposing them to new experiences and allowing them to socialize with other children can all help develop language and communication skills. “Playing with your child is so important,” she said. “Getting on the floor with them and demonstrating to them how to play and interact. That’s what really helps develop language is interacting with your child.”

Foster Family Focus: The Sweat Family

Amanda and Jason Sweat have been fostering for four years, and they have welcomed 15 children in their home during that time.

Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Absolutely! Don’t be afraid to ask questions and plug into local support groups and resources. You won’t be alone; you’ll have a village supporting you! Once your eyes are opened to this world, you will never be the same. There will be struggles and difficult times but seeing children grow and thrive and seeing biological families gain skills to restore their family is so rewarding! More foster parents are currently needed to serve local youth. For more information on this rewarding journey, contact Nicole Hernandez at 352-213-7219 or GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | DECEMBER/JANUARY 2019


c2c | early years

{4-5 YEARS}

Snacks for the Brainiac BY JESSICA FRANKLIN

The school year is halfway over, and our children might be starting to feel the pressure that often accompanies the acquisition of new skills and information. We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While that may not be a particularly scientific analysis, science does suggest that frequently snacking on apples can help with brain development and learning! Their richness in antioxidants protects brain cells from damaging free radicals, and they offer a healthy alternative to candy when the sweet tooth flares up. Apples are far from the only superfood that we should be including in our little learners’ diets. Start them off strong in the morning with eggs for breakfast. They are the purest form of edible protein, which will help children maintain focus and concentration in school. Another option, if a hot breakfast doesn’t quite fit in your family’s schedule, is to hard-boil a carton of eggs on Sunday night and eat them on the go throughout the week. Deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches make great lunches as well! Another quick and easy breakfast that supports brain development is oatmeal. Studies suggest that it helps improve mood and memory retention. For an added benefit, mix some cinnamon or antioxidant-rich berries in with it!



Super Foods


Greens, especially kale, are well known for their nutritional value, but getting kids to actually consume them is a challenge all its own. An easy way to sneak them into your picky eater’s diet is to use them in a smoothie! Mix a handful of fresh leafy greens, such as kale or spinach, with some full fat Greek yogurt, ice, water and a handful of frozen organic berries for the ultimate brain snack. Wrap the day up with a healthy dose of vitamin D and omega-3’s by serving up some fish for dinner! These essential nutrients help protect against memory loss and support focus. To incorporate the healthy fats that are so important to brain development, throw in a green salad with some avocado, some nuts or seeds, some olive oilbased dressing, and whatever other salad toppings you enjoy. We can all benefit from learning to include these superfoods into our diets. From toddlers who need all the support they can get during their developmental leaps, to their exhausted parents who need help staying focused on everyday tasks, to their grandparents who need help fighting the memory loss that often accompanies aging, the benefits of a healthy diet can be observed over the course of an entire lifetime.

Nuts and nut butters: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews Seeds: flax seeds, chia seeds Berries: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries Good Fats: avocado, olive oil, coconut oil Protein: non-fat Greek yogur t, cheese sticks

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c2c | kids {6 -9 YEARS}

Making Reading Interactive for Beginning Readers BY AMANDA ROLAND

Every parent wants to do the right thing for their child’s education, but sometimes it can be hard to navigate the best way to help them succeed, especially when it comes to reading. We can agree that setting our children up to be strong readers is so important, but how can we help them when they can’t sit still, have trouble focusing or simply hate reading altogether? By making the reading time with your child interactive and exciting, you’ll see your reader go from struggling to strong.

Start with where you read

Even as adults, it is easy to decide to read wherever we are most comfortable, and a lot of times that is our beds. While this seems like the perfect place to curl up with a good book, it actually could be the worst place for a beginning reader. When you read in your bed, your body starts to feel tired and relaxed as if you are getting ready for a good night’s sleep. For our kids, this could make focusing on what they are reading difficult because they could be thinking about how tired they are, or they simply may be too tired to even stay awake. To fix this, let your child find a new reading spot that they like, or create one with them. This could be on a bench by a window with their favorite stuffed animal, or you can help them make a blanket fort or “discovery cave” by draping some blankets over chairs. You and your reader can crawl in their cave with a few flashlights and see what kind of stories can be discovered in whatever book they are reading. Letting your child decide where to read might just give them the confidence they need to become a rock star reader.

Make the story come to life

Some children might find reading boring, or they may have trouble visualizing what is happening in the story. If you know that your reader is particularly artistic, have them grab some paper and colored pencils to illustrate the story. If you and your child are reading a shorter story, wait until the end of the story and ask them to draw what they read. Or if it is a chapter book, have them illustrate a scene after each chapter. Encourage them to go into detail with colors and names of characters. This will not only allow them to mix something they love with reading, but it will help them better comprehend what they read. Also, if your child has comprehension tests in class on what they read, make sure to keep the illustrations so they can visually study for their tests. This technique will produce an active reader who is able to better visualize what they are reading.



Teacher Tip: Reader's theater is a popular reading strategy used in the classoom that can easily be practiced at home. Simply take any story and turn it into a play. Assign roles for you and your child and act out the parts of the story together. Encourage your child to have a loud, expressive voice while reading their lines fluently.

Involve your other children

If you have multiple children, have your beginning reader read to them or with them instead of just you. While it’s very rewarding to sit with your children while you read together, it is important that your children learn to read with people other than just their parents. If your learning reader has an older sibling that they look up to, have them read together. If they see their older sibling enjoying what they are reading, it might encourage them to what to be just like their big brother or sister. Or if you have little ones even littler than your reader, ask your reader to read their baby brother or sister a story before bed. This will make them feel accomplished and proud that they get to read to their little sibling. What could be better than seeing your children spend time together while watching your beginning reader improve? These tips could be just what your learning reader needs to get them excited about reading. Make their reading time interactive, and watch your learning reader turn in to the strong reader you know they can be.



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c2c | tweens

{ 1 0 -1 3 Y E A R S }

Yoga & Meditation How Does It Benefit Your Tweens? BY SARA BUECHLER

Transitioning from elementary school to middle school can be a stressful experience for your tweens. Homework is more tedious, tests are more frequent, and it is at a time where they’re going through hormonal changes. It’s a lot. You want your tween to be happy, healthy, and successful in school without being distracted or succumbing to peer pressure, depression or worse. The practice of yoga and meditation are an extremely beneficial activity that can help have a positive impact on your children and their body, mind, spirit, and overall health.

School Setting

The benefits of yoga can help your children in school, because with a more focused mind, and decreased stress and anxiety, students can tackle on their assignments with a positive mind space because they are practicing mindfulness. Recent studies have also shown that yoga and meditation help students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by improving their systems such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity, and thus improving school performance as well. Meditation can also aid in traumas and large stressors that your children might have to deal with. The number of tweens who practice yoga is on the rise too. According to the National Health Interview Survey, 3.1 percent of US children – about 1.7 million – practice yoga, which is about 429,000 more than in 2007 (data from 2012). Maggie Rucker of Flow Space yoga studio says with less stress and anxiety, students can perform better on exams. It also helps with social anxiety and allow students feel comfortable in their own skin and therefore around others. Yoga is a great tool to clear unwanted perspectives and allow in new ones, Rucker said. This is a great asset for pre-teens to use as their brains develop and can apply to the health rituals throughout their lives. Yoga also allows pre-teens to maintain the natural flexibility they often have and then lose over time. Brinn Strange, owner of AUXO Fitness, said yoga could provide mental clarity and focus for pre-teens in school. The three-part breathing techniques practiced in yoga can be used when a student is anxious about a test or in a stressful social situation.

“Being able to lower your heart rate and clear your mind through breathing techniques can be empowering for pre-teens, which helps give them a sense of control during a time in their life when so many rules and decisions seem to be made for them,” Strange said. Yoga teaches one to be accepting of your personal journey and of others, Strange said. It is a judgmentfree zone, and this practice of acceptance is something everyone can benefit from.

Getting Started

To ease your teen into a new yoga routine, you can start right in the comforts of their own home. There are multiple YouTube videos/channels catered to beginners who want to learn how to meditate or do yoga. All they would need is a yoga mat and a quiet area to practice. One channel in particular is, “Yoga Ed,” an educational company dedicated to changing education through the practice of yoga. They have multiple videos catered specifically for pre-teens. SeanVigueFitness is another YouTube channel that has a selection of videos for teens and/or for beginners. The videos from him can be used along a 5 or 6-day period.



c2c | tweens Techniques

There are dozens of different yoga poses and/or meditation strategies out there, and down below are a couple tween friendly techniques:




Sitting still with your eyes closed and counting slowly from 1 to 10, and if a thought enters your mind, you revert back to one.


TION TA Having I D a pile of cotton

balls, or any small, soundless object in front of you, and for each minute, move the cotton ball to the side whenever a thought enters your mind. After each round, try and have less cotton balls moved over.


Mountain pose – Stand with your hands to the side, and slowly move them into a salutation (or prayer), and then slowly move your hands to the sky and bend backwards. This pose is great for straightening out the spine and stretching after a long day of hunched over a school desk.

GAStandard O Y forward fold –

with your feet slightly apart, bend forward from the hips and put your head down. This pose stretches the hamstrings, and the spine. It also relieves anxiety and stress that your student can have before an exam.


Benefits OF Yoga





• • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

• • • • • •

Improve their posture and alignment Strengthen the immune system Develop a strong and flexible body and core strength Improve digestion Promotes better sleep Increases balance and coordination Aids in body awareness Manages weight Improves breathing

Eases stress and tension Builds concentration Improves focus and attention span Reduces anxiety Expands imagination Improves mood and cognitive function Balances energy Develop resilience


Increases their confidence and positive self-image Develops self-control and discipline Improves mind and body connection Motivates social awareness and self-awareness Feel included in a non-competitive activity Detaching from electronic devices while in session

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

How Do You Say Hello? BY APRIL TISHER

Make eye contact, give a firm handshake, introduce yourself and finish by saying “it’s nice to meet you.” When waiting in line, sitting on the bus or in a waiting room, strike up a conversation with those around you about the weather or local news story. These are some of the things I was taught when coming into a new social setting. I’ve worked hard to instill these same things for my children, but sadly, some of these social skills are becoming less the norm. I see teenagers struggle (even my own) to look up from their devices and make eye contact when meeting someone new. I see teens (and adults alike) staring at phones in waiting rooms instead of making conversation. So much of our personal communication involves facial expressions and tone of voice; both of which give context clues as to how the speaker is delivering their message. Many things can be misconstrued when reading a text or e-mail and the worry is that the generation of children growing up dependent on so much technology today won’t develop these personal skills.

Julie Mishoe, MSW, says the research is showing that in this age of social media, people think that they are more connected than ever. But, this truth is that our suicide rates are as high as ever, and one of the leading causes reported is how lonely people are feeling. Friendships that are cultivated behind the screens are not creating the kind of community that our hearts truly long for. Teens will text, snap or insta message their friends when the are in the same room instead of having a conversation in person. They may read their friends words, but can they see the pain, fear or joy in their faces? The answer is no, says New York Behavioral Health in their Impact of Social Media Use article. Mishoe, who has spent a great deal of her adult life working with youth, explains that people are quick to post memes, share videos and voice their opinions on social media in a way they would never actually do to a friend face to face. There is a false sense of security we have with social media accounts and less accountability too. How will this translate when you have a class with that person the next day? On the other hand, some teens are involved in their friends lives via technology they honestly feel as though they cannot disconnect; “What if they need me?” So how can we try to curb this unhealthy obsession that makes tech zombies out of our kids. This is where we go back to the old advice of lead by example. Ask yourself if you have healthy habits when it comes to your own technology use? Be sure to set guidelines from the very start about when the use of phones, smart watches or tablets is acceptable. Set and stick to time limits until you know your teen has the ability to self-regulate their own screen time. Mishoe says it is important for us all to remember that social media is a highlight reel of people’s lives. Becoming too reliant on social media leads to depression from the fear of missing out on events others are posting about, academic issues, physical ailments due to lack of proper sleep and the ability to converse with others while taking normal social cues.

So, look up, put the phone down and strengthen your social bonds in person!








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community | calendar

december | january DECEMBER 1



Children’s Holiday at Santa Fe

Splash Jam

Living History Day

2 & 6 p.m. Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall

12-1 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West

9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Morningside Nature Center

Enjoy a family-friendly evening with crafts, refreshments and festive musical performances that’ll put you and your family in the mood for the holidays. Children and UF students pay $9 per ticket. Adults pay $15.

Kids of all ages can enjoy a dip in the pool even during the holiday season. Bring your child for an instructor-led workout and 30 minutes of free swim. Members pay $16.50 and non-members pay $20. Repeats every Friday-Sunday.

Take a step back in time, and explore the past at the Living History Farm. Enjoy nature and old-timey characters for free every first Saturday of the month.



Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

Gym Jam Jr.


6-8 p.m. Historic Thomas Center Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe welcomes you and your family to join in celebrating the holidays with Santa Clause and loads of Christmas lights. DECEMBER 1

Fall Farm and Cane Festival 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Dudley Farm Historic State Park

Children between 3 ½ and 5 will have the opportunity to participate in a coach-led warmup and end practice with an open workout and trampoline time. Entry is $21, but members receive $2 off. Repeats every Friday.

3-5 p.m. North Central Florida YMCA Keep your kids active and drop in on this non-instructional play time every Sunday. Let your kids tire themselves out exploring the fun and safe atmosphere. Entry is $10 per child.


Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Guided Walk

Dive into rural lifestyle, and try your hand at grinding sugar cane at this commemorative event. Tour the farm, listen to music or make crafts with your kids. Entry is $8 per vehicle.


5-7 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West

YMCA Open Gym for Kids

5-7 p.m. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Enjoy a guided tour of the gardens the first Saturday of each month. Spend some time appreciating nature for only $8 per person and for free if you’re a member.



GLAM Craft Show 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. First Magnitude Brewery Pick up some unique Christmas gifts at this artisan craft show. You can find anything from funky home decor to baby bibs, and no matter who you’re shopping for, you’re bound to find something you love.






Annual Homestead Holidays

Frogs and Friends Friday

12-4 p.m. Historic Haile Homestead

2-3 p.m. Morningside Nature Center

University of Florida vs. Michigan State

Enjoy live holiday music and and a stroll through history. Appreciate the Homestead’s famous “Talking Walls” and Victorian finery at this free event.

Kick back with some creepy crawly critters at this free educational event. Join a Morningside Nature Center animal caretaker in learning about live amphibians and reptiles. DECEMBER 7


First Day of Hanukkah DECEMBER 4

Get Air Gainesville Toddler Time 10 a.m. - Noon Get Air Gainesville Let your little ones jump out their energy on a variety of bouncy obstacles and trampolines from Tuesday-Thursday. Children get in for $10 and one parent jumps for free. DECEMBER 5

Gym Jam 1:30-3:30 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Children 5 and up will have the opportunity to participate in a coach-led warmup and practice their gymnastics before cooling down with an open workout and trampoline time. Entry is $21, but members receive $2 off. Repeats every Wednesday. DECEMBER 7-21

Circus Camp for Kids

Stay and Play 9-11 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Kids 5 and under can enjoy a gymnastics room, bounce around in The Bounce Room and finish off their morning activity with a snack. Members pay $11.50 upon entry and non-members pay $14. Children under 2 get in for half-price. Repeats every Friday. DECEMBER 7

Parent Night Out 6-10 p.m. o2b Kids! Gainesville Supercenter Try to squeeze in a date night, and leave your kids to a fun night of games, activities and a pizza dinner. Their O2B Play Leaders will make sure they have a fun and safe time while you enjoy your evening. Members pay $15 and nonmember $25. DECEMBER 7

9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Gainesville Circus Center Give your kids something to do during Winter Break. Kids five and older will try juggling, flying trapeze, tumbling and more. The fiveday camp is $240 and does not include lunch.

Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa Visit 6-8 p.m. Downtown Mainstreet Park Enjoy a night of lights and holiday spirit while strolling through one of Alachua’s finest parks.


Tot Time: Cool Colors 11 a.m. Harn Museum of Art Tour the Harn and bond with your kids over fun crafts with this free artmaking program. Children from 2 to 5 are welcome to participate the first Friday of every month.



Candlelight Visits 6-9 p.m. Historic Haile Homestead Get a rare chance to see this historic plantation lit up by candlelight. Admission is $10 upon arrival or $7 if purchased in advance.


12 p.m. Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Don’t miss this home basketball game! UF students get in for free, and other ticket prices vary. DECEMBER 8

Splash Jam 12-1 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Kids of all ages can enjoy a dip in the pool even during the holiday season. Bring your child for an instructor-led workout and 30 minutes of free swim. Members pay $16.50 and non-members pay $20. Repeats every Friday-Sunday. DECEMBER 8

LifeSouth Operation Santa Delivery 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Santa Fe College North Fields Experience this fun-filled family event, and get your picture taken with Santa, who is ditching his sleigh and arriving by helicopter. You can give blood or just participate in the free festivities. DECEMBER 8

Dudley Kids Day 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Dudley Farm Historic State Park Watch hands-on demonstrations, make crafts and play old-fashioned games at this inexpensive event. Learn about history and the farming way of life for $5 per vehicle. DECEMBER 8

Alachua Christmas Parade 2-3 p.m. Downtown Main Street Park See Santa, live music and other festive floats as they make their way down Main Street in Alachua at this free event.






Danscompany Presents Cinderella

Mommy and Me Onstage

Ninja Jam

5 p.m. Phillips Center for Performing Arts

9:30-10:45 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West

Join professional dancers on stage while ballerinas rehearse for their debut performance of the Nutcracker. Let your child get up close and personal with this holiday classic.

Children 3 to 13 can explore their true ninja potential. Coaches will lead athletes through a 30-minute instructional period and end with 45 minutes of open ninja time. Member pay $16.50 and non-members pay $20. Every third Saturday of the month.

1:30 & 7 p.m. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Danscompanyofgainesville. org Make your holiday dreams come true with a little Bippity Boppity Boo. Bring the family out to meet Cinderella and all your favorite dancers at this Gainesville holiday tradition. DECEMBER 8

Back Handspring and Tuck Boot Camp 1-4 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Group 5-6:30 p.m. Postpartum Wellness and Family Counseling If you’re pregnant or a new mom and you’re feeling guilt, depression or anxiety, you might benefit from this free support group. Connect with other mothers who are feeling the same way. DECEMBER 13

Have your little gymnast master the back handspring and the back tuck at this one-day camp. Experienced coaches will walk your children through a variety of drills to improve their skills. Non-members pay $30.25 and members pay $28. DECEMBER 9

Stop Children’s Cancer Holiday Traditions Concert 4-5:30 p.m. Phillips Center for Performing Arts Enjoy performances from P.K. Yonge, Eastside High School and Buchholz High School, the Gainesville Youth Chorus and the Alachua County Youth Orchestra. Following the event will be a VIP reception. DECEMBER 11

UF Health Shands Breastfeeding Class

Harn Museum Nights: Create at the Harn 6-9 p.m. The Harn Museum Have fun creating at the Harn. Enjoy a night of crafting, reading and dancing at this night of arts. The event is free for the whole family. DECEMBER 14-16

Dance Alive National Ballet presents The Nutcracker Friday: 7:30 p.m. Saturday: 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Sunday: 2 p.m. Phillips Center for Performing Arts Experience a magical evening with your family at this spirited holiday classic. Tickets range from $15-$45. DECEMBER 15

UF Health Shands Childbirth Education Class

7-9 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Explore the benefits breast milk, helpful latching methods and pumping/storing tips at this twohour class. Register ahead online and pay $15 upon arrival. DECEMBER 12

Santa Fe College Zoo Storytime 10-10:45 a.m. Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo Start your visit to the zoo with storytime. Sing, dance and listen at this free event every second Wednesday of the month.



9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Go over pain management skills, postpartum care and the birthing process in this extensive course. The class is $50 and includes a tour of the labor and delivery unit.



Cirque Musica Holiday Presents Wonderland 7 p.m. Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Listen to your favorite holiday tunes played by a live symphony orchestra. You’ll love the music and the kids will get a kick out of the acrobats, aerialists and hilarious holiday hijinks. Tickets prices vary. DECEMBER 18

University of Florida vs. Mercer 8 p.m. Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Don’t miss this home basketball game! UF students get in for free, and other ticket prices vary. DECEMBER 18

UF Health Shands Newborn Care Class 7-9:30 p.m. UF Health Shands Hospital Learn about diparing, soothing and infant safety at this class for new parents. For $15 speak with professionals about how to care for your newborn. DECEMBER 19

Ninja Jam 2:15-3:30 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Children 3 to 13 can explore their true ninja potential. Coaches will lead athletes through a 30-minute instructional period and end with 45 minutes of open ninja time. Member pay $16.50 and nonmembers pay $20. Every third Wednesday of the month.

When injury runs in the family, run to ORTHOcare after hours.

The Rushing family’s need for speed sometimes slows them down, like when Ace broke his ankle trying to score. Instead of taking him to the E.R. on a Saturday, his mother rushed him to UF Health ORTHOcare, where our expert specialists treated him fast, so he can steal home again.




Alachua County Public Schools Winter Break

DECEMBER 25 Christmas Day



Harn Museum Nights: I, Too, Sing America

The Great Invader Rally

6-9 p.m. The Harn Museum Experience art in a whole new way with your whole family. With fun activities, performances and more, this free event is a great way to get out of the house. JANUARY 12


University of Florida vs. Butler Time TBA Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Don’t miss this home basketball game! UF students get in for free, and other ticket prices vary.

6 p.m. Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Don’t miss this home basketball game! UF students get in for free, and other ticket prices vary. JANUARY 12


Downtown Countdown and New Year’s Eve Celebration 9 p.m. Downtown Gainesville Ring in the new year with with great music, free noisemakers and lively dancing at this free event.


New Year's Day

Collector’s Day 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Florida Museum of Natural History Experience a wide range of wacky collections and characters at this Gainesville tradition. JANUARY 16

Ninja Jam 2:15-3:30 p.m. Sun Country Sports – West Children 3 to 13 can explore their true ninja potential. Coaches will lead athletes through a 30-minute instructional period and end with 45 minutes of open ninja time. Member pay $16.50 and non-members pay $20. Every third Wednesday of the month.



University of Florida vs. South Carolina 7 p.m. Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center Don’t miss this home basketball game! UF students get in for free, and other ticket prices vary. JANUARY 9

Santa Fe College Zoo Storytime 10-10:45 a.m. Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo Start your visit to the zoo with storytime. Sing, dance and listen at this free event every second Wednesday of the month.


University of Florida vs. Tennessee

Alachua County Public Schools Student Day Off

9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Morningside Nature Center Start the new year off right by volunteering to remove invasive plants and pick up trash. Reward yourself after with music, games and food.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day


The Monsters and the Monstrous Exhibit Opens 11 a.m. Harn Museum of Art Learn about monsters from all over the world and see how society has defined and shaped what we call “monsters.” Kids of all ages will be fascinated at this free event. JANUARY 26

Teen Driver Challenge 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Send your teen to this 8 hour class to make them a safer driver. Bring your own vehicle to participate in this free, hands-on course. JANUARY 26

2nd Annual Special Needs Resource Expo 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Trinity United Methodist Church Free event with food trucks, vendor tables and information and resources for families with children of all ages JANUARY 26-27 & FEBRUARY 1-3

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire JANUARY 19

Ninja Jam 9:30-10:45 a.m. Sun Country Sports – West Children 3 to 13 can explore their true ninja potential. Coaches will lead athletes through a 30-minute instructional period and end with 45 minutes of open ninja time. Member pay $16.50 and non-members pay $20. Every third Saturday of the month.


10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Alachua County Fairgrounds Time travel with your family to medieval times. Enjoy dancing, music and a wide variety of food options or visit the medieval market. Adult tickets are $18 and children’s tickets are $8.

2nd Annual





Resources for Infants- Young Adults!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2019 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM

FAMILY FUN TIME: Local Author/Children’s Advocate, Kandra Albury Superheroes for Hope

Location & Hosted by:

Trinity United Methodist Church 4000 NW 53rd Ave Gainesville, FL 32653

Local Fire Department with a Fire Truck Beau the Therapy Dog Obstacle Course with Balance 180 HOPE- Horses Helping People, Inc.

For More Info: Check out the Event on Facebook!

Free Handouts for Parents & Children Food Trucks: Cilantro Tacos, PDQ, and Hyppo! (Food is not free)

Thank you to our Sponsors! Alachua County Council of PTAs & Giggle Magazine





Profile for Irving Publications, LLC

Giggle Magazine December/January 2019  

Our annual holiday issue is out! Gift guide, 2019 trending baby names, gingerbread houses and more!

Giggle Magazine December/January 2019  

Our annual holiday issue is out! Gift guide, 2019 trending baby names, gingerbread houses and more!