Page 1


CO U N T Y ’ S





ha p p y f am ily • h ap p y c ommunit y


FEB/MAR 2010 • Volume 2 • Issue 1

acelebrating love

the secrets to a happy marriage

preparing for FCAT! the Gordons

a family of 13! how young is

too young for coffee?

biirthday speci



Nicole Irving President Shane Irving Vice President Chris Wilson Managing Editor Leslie Vega Art Director Contributing Writers Wendy Joysen, Alison Walker, Mary Reichardt, Helen Kornblum, Dana Kamp, Melissa Ortiz, Alexandra Bitton, Christina Vila, Janet Groene, Jeannine Dupler, Sondra Randon, Brooke Kelly Photographers Laurel Housden Photography, Kelsey Lynn Photography, The Verve Studio, Lifeprints Photography by Shandon Sales Specialists Shane Irving, Chris Wilson Web Master Julie Rezendes Mission Statement giggle magazine is a modern and refreshing magazine for the families and communities of Alachua County, Florida. With our sole purpose of keeping families and communities connected, giggle magazine will keep readers intrigued, informed and inspired, with up to date information and heartwarming stories. Irving Publications, LLC reserves the right to edit and/or reject any advertising. Irving Publications 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 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.

irvingpublications 5745 SW 75th Street #286 Gainesville, FL 32608 p. 352.505.5821 f. 352.240.6499 giggle magazine is registered trademark property of Irving Publications, LLC. All rights reserved. giggle magazine is published by Irving Publications, LLC. Š 2010

happy family • happy community


32 17 48

every month 8 Charity of the Month Children’s Home Society

26 St. Patrick’s Feast! 30 Local Lifesavers

Going Green for St. Patty’s Day

32 Family Spotlight

The Gordon Family of 13



12 Celebrating Love

28 Legal Side of Things

Informing families of the important legal issues that affect them

Local couples share their secret to a happy marriage

17 The Ultimate

36 All Kidding Aside

Tough questions answered about kids, family, school, parenting, and everything in between

Birthday Party!

Endless ideas for the ultimate giggle birthday party

38 Organized Solutions

Professional organizer Helen Kornblum helps us find easy ways to keep our busy family lives organized

35 Health & Wellness How Young Is Too Young For Coffee?

41 Giggle Dollars Allowance

45 For Dads. By Dads. Coaching Your Child’s Team

46 Why I love raising my family in Gainesville

The Ottenwesses share what they love about their hometown

48 Giggle Trips

giggle takes you to The Georgia Aquarium

on the cover Celebrating Love The Ultimate Birthday Party The Gordon Family Too Young for Coffee? Preparing for the FCAT

al ac h ua

co unt y’ s


FaM Ily

M aGaZ InE


12 17

h a p p y f a m i l y • h a p p y c om m u n i t y


FEB/MAR 2010 • Volume 2 • Issue 1

acelebrating love

the secrets to a happy marriage

preparing for FCAT! the Gordon’s

a family of 13! how young is

too young for coffee?

32 35 36

biisrthday special








Cover model, Monte Photo courtesy of Verve Studio



If you live in Alachua County and are interested in receiving giggle magazine for free, visit our web site at to subscribe now! giggle

magazine • feb/march 2010






Letter from the Publisher


hat better way to start 2010 than with an Ultimate Birthday Party Special Issue. From local party spots to proper party etiquette, this month’s giggle has it all. Angela and Amy from Adore Weddings and Events share their tips on planning the perfect party for your little one, with no detail forgotten. My favorite tip: Leave off the location on the invitation, so that guests HAVE to RSVP to find out where the party is! What a brilliant idea! Being a Mom of three, I have planned 10 birthday parties in the last five years for my little boys, with each party individualized to fit their personalities. From pirates to horses, safari to dozers, I have done it all. Each one has created memories that MOMMY will hold dear. We hope that our birthday party guide helps you create your own birthday party memories to last a lifetime! Candy Hearts, chocolate covered strawberries, truffles -- oh my! Valentine’s Day is celebrated by the littlest of sweethearts to long-time love birds. We were so moved by our local couples who shared their secrets to their happy marriages. What beautiful testaments to their love. Did you know that an astounding 187 million roses were produced last year for Valentine’s Day? Can you say, “WOW!”? We tracked down some neat statistics and “did you know” facts for your Valentine’s Day enjoyment!

“giggle trips” takes you to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA! Thanks to Laurel Housden Photography, whose photos capture the essence of this underwater world, we have a sneak peek into the World’s Largest Aquarium. Perfect for a long weekend away, the Georgia Aquarium will not disappoint. I grew up drinking hot tea. The smell of coffee made me sick and I never had the desire to touch the brown liquid to which my father added a tablespoon of milk. That all changed when my sister introduced me to “French Vanilla creamer” when I was 30 years old. Since then, coffee and I have been best friends. As a fully grown “short” adult, I didn’t worry about whether or not my intake of the hot “joe” would affect my growth or if the increase in caffeine would keep me up. For goodness sake, I needed the extra boost to help me stay up for feedings and diaper duty! But, with the Starbucks craze sweeping the nation, has coffee become a staple in many tweens’ diets? In our Health and Wellness section, we try to answer the question, how young is too young for coffee? 2010 seems to be off to a good start! With St. Patty’s day feasts to cook and birthday parties to plan, we will certainly be busy bees! Moms, Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas -- sit down, relax, grab that hot cup of coffee and enjoy our newest giggle magazine!

the cover shoot!

aNicole Publisher

in other giggle new

Putting together the ultimate birthday party A special thanks to:

The Robinson family and all of our birthday party guests


distribution locations!

Tot Spot Thrift Store Oak Hall School Brentwood School CCC

And don’t forget to




visit our for new community events! www.

Enroll today and receive

FREE Registration Stronger, healthier babies.

Kiddie Academy of Gainesville

6476 SW 75th Street Gainesville, FL 32608 (In Brytan Community off of Archer Road)

Every day, we do all we can




Enroll today and receive

FREE Registration Stronger, healthier babies.

Kiddie Academy of Gainesville

6476 SW 75th Street Gainesville, FL 32608 (In Brytan Community off of Archer Road)

Every day, we do all we can


p charity of the month



ore than 100,000 children are helped each year in Florida by the Children’s Home Society. From those 100,000 children, about 1,900 alone are served by the Mid-Florida Division, based in Gainesville.

The black tie event helps raise funds for the local Children’s Home Society chapter and increases awareness about what the organization is and what it does, said Anchors.

The Children’s Home Society (CHS), according to its Web site, is a Florida-based nonprofit organization that was founded in 1902.

This will be the second year the event is going to be held at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said Fajack. This year, the event’s theme is “Spectacular Safari.”

Fourteen divisions make up the nonprofit organization, including the Mid-Florida Division based in Gainesville and encompassing 18 counties. The executive director of the MidFlorida Division, Jennifer Anchors, who has been working for CHS for 11 years, said there are many ways the community can help the organization and ways the organization helps the community.

“I love the theme, and the museum just lends itself perfectly to the theme,” Fajack said.

“People can donate time, donate money or provide gifts for the holidays,” Anchors said. “You can adopt a child.” One service provided by CHS is Family Partners, which is an in-home program that helps parents having difficulties at home learn effective parenting skills. Another service the organization provides is its Family Visitation Center, which allows children in foster care to maintain a bond with their biological parents. A new way people can help is by volunteering or donating items to the Tot Spot Thrift Store, which sells children and adult clothing, furniture and toys for girls and boys. One can also adopt a child through CHS’s adoption services, which places a child currently in foster care in a new and permanent home. The Mid-Florida Division of CHS relies heavily upon the work of volunteers and the generosity of donors. In March, Gainesville area residents can help in another way. On March 28, the Children’s Home Society Gainesville Auxiliary will be hosting its 23rd annual “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” The Gainesville Auxiliary helps the Mid-Florida Division with local fund raising and provides community education about the organization, said Reggie Fajack, who is one of the chairs for the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” event. “The Auxiliary is trying to help Children’s Home Society with its values and its missions,” Fajack said.



Keith Watson Productions, the company designing the event, plans on using a lot of animal print in the décor. A local theater group will be putting on an act similar to that of “The Lion King,” with “chic animal costumes,” Fajack said. There also will be a performance by Ezee Band. “It’s a good time,” Fajack said. “There’s a lot of dancing. It’s just a lot of fun.” At the safari-themed event, more than 100 items will be featured in a silent auction and local celebrities will be in attendance. More than 1,200 tickets were sold for the event last year, helping the Gainesville Auxiliary raise more than $85,000 for the MidFlorida Division of CHS. This year, the Auxiliary hopes to raise just as much as last year, if not more. “It’s our biggest event of the year,” Anchors said. Fajack said the event is made possible by all of the support from the community. “Many of the vendors have been with us for years, and they go all out for the event.” Anchors believes the tremendous support CHS receives from Gainesville is unparalleled. “We’re very thankful to the community,” said Anchors. “Gainesville is a real help to Children’s Home Society. We’re thankful for the help and support of our community.”


Tickets for “Puttin’ on the Ritz” can be ordered in advance for $140 each by calling 352-334-0955 or by ordering online at Tickets also can be purchased at the door for $150 per person.

The right time to take the next step. Prepare your child for school and for life.

Now is the perfect time to take a step that will help better prepare them for school and for life. Our Life EssentialsÂŽphilosophy provides the perfect combination of nurturing, school preparation and fun. Call now to schedule your personalized tour and discover more about our learning community.




Kiddie Academy of Gainesville 6476 SW 75th Street Gainesville, FL 32608 (In Brytan Community off of Archer Road)


We offer: * Monday - Friday 6:30 am - 6:30 pm * Secure Entrances and Webcams * Clean, Sanitary Conditions * Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum * Balanced Daily Programs * Nutritious, Well-balanced Meals and Snacks * Trained Staff * Appropriate Staff/child Ratios

celebrating love



the Dyces

the McMillins

Marv and Nancy McMillin {Married October 17, 1954} We try to put God first in our lives and we treasure each other.

the Rogerses

Daniel and Talia Rogers {Married December 15, 2001} Prayer, open and honest communication, and selfless FRIENDSHIP.

the Kolbs

Tom and Donna Kolb {Married July 22, 2000} We keep God first place in our marriage and I try to keep laughing at Tom’s jokes even though I have heard them before! He is funny which is one of the things that attracted me to him.

Byron & Kathy Dyce {Married October 14, 1979} We’re still in love because our friendship remains and we honor our wedding vows through our journey together every day.

the Haineses

Roger and Beth Haines {Married June 17, 1972} Be lovers, of course, but also be partners and friends. Then you’ll respect each other’s strengths and find the real sweet spot in your relationship.

the Schwartzes

Amy Gundel Schwartz and Andrew Schwartz {Married October 3, 2009} The secret to our happy marriage is our courage and commitment to each other; the excitement of the unknown makes us love each other more and grow as a couple. Wedding Photo by Steve Graff

Photos by Lifeprints by Shandon and Kelsey Lynn Photography, wedding pictures provided by couples

from this day forward

What is your secret to being happily married?

fun valentine’s day facts Celebrate

Valentine’s day in one of these romantic towns!

About 6,000 marriages occur each day in the United States. (Above from

Loveland, Colorado Loving County, Texas Romeo, Michigan Lovelady, Texas Romeoville, Illinois Valentine, Nebraska Love Valley, North Carolina

did you

know? According to

There was an estimated

187 million roses

produced for Valentine’s Day in 2009.


152 million Valentine’s Day cards

Valentine’s Day ranks second to Christmas, with being exchanged by Americans.


According to the company’s website,

NECCO, the candy

Conversation Hearts in 1866, produces eight billion Sweetheart

company that started making Sweetheart

Conversation Hearts during the six weeks prior to Valentine’s Day.

From February 12-14, the Empire State Building in New York City will

red, pink and white lights feature

in honor of Valentine’s Day.


magazine • feb/march 2010


share your funny moment with us! send it to: you may just see your story here!











If we love it and would use it, we stamp it.





Parent Must-Haves!


















parent must haves 1. Keep your little one’s juice in the container and not on them with the No Squeeze juice box holder ( 2. Florida sun is hot and sticky, keep baby cool with a Pinwheel fan ( 3. Extended shopping trip? Stroll’r Swivel’rs make it a breeze to carry extra bags ( Inglesina Zippy Stroller and JP Lizzy Diaper Clutch found at Miracles Maternity (352-338-2040) 4. Carry all your toddler’s favorite snacks in one convenient place with the Packin’ Smart Stack-n-Seal ( 5. Never sure if it is clean enough for them to eat off of the table? Disposable table toppers by Neat Solutions helps take the guess work out. ( 6. Never worry about your shopping cart rolling away again with the Cart Stopper (





If you have something you think deserves the giggle stamp, send us an email at




heading p

e imat t l u the

e l g gig y a d h birt arty p


Party Ideas! for the

gainesville mom & dad Photography by Verve Studio


birthday parties


Ultimate Birthday Party

Angela and Amy from Adore Weddings and Events share easy, creative, do-it-yourself ideas to put together the ultimate giggle birthday party!

ith w t r a t s the

the candy bar

! s l i a t e d

thank you tags

the party favors

Oodles of Birthday Goodness

As a mom, when I think of party favors, I immediately think of ‘Thank you’ gift. This can go hand-in-hand. Can you find or create something that will work with your theme? With some of the themes we have come up with here are some favors you could do: • Candy Bar station Party guests get a container or bag which they fill up. • Gumball containers • Picture frames Party guests make the frame and you take a Polaroid of them on or in front of something. • Bubbles • Jewelry boxes or tiaras • Movie ticket • Ice cream gift certificate for one scoop at a local ice cream shop • Matchbox or Hot Wheels toy cars • Collection of farm animals or one nice animal • Stuffed animal • Cookies • Goody bags with a mix of anything and everything • Small airplanes

cookie favors

Where to find the ultimate giggle birthday party items you see here: Present Cake and Cupcake Cookies Mrs. Debbie’s Sugar Art 352-472-9895 Invitations, Thank You Tags and Place Card The LV Studio 352-359-5816

This is an area where you can have a lot of fun and make it over-the-top or keep things simple. Either way, use the favors as a way to communicate a simple ‘Thank you.’

Cupcake Place Card Holder

giggle tip: Before the party, create a simple template thank

Balloons and Lanterns The Plant Shoppe 352-371-6249

you note for your child to fill out. Leave blanks for the guest’s name and gift. This way, you’re teaching your child the importance of sending out a proper thank you.



Personalized Cake Plate Polkadot Patch Boutique Event Planning Adore Weddings & Events 352-338-7577

birthday parties p

game ideas Creative & interactive games are always something you should have at a party. So, when looking at games to have at a birthday party, keep in mind the following things: • Age of the birthday child • What does the child really like to do? • Allow the child to have input • How much time do you have during the party for games? • Is there a purpose?

it keep


Once these questions are answered, then you move on to some ideas of games to choose from: • Detective • Create an obstacle course • Carnival games • Costume contest • Dress-up contest • Relay races • Carrying eggs on spoons • Spoon on your nose • Soak sponge and use it to fill up a bucket with water • Capture the Flag • Scavenger hunts • “I Spy” games • Magic tricks • Egg and spoon relay race • Bike races

Other fun party themes Oodles of Birthday Goodness

• Carnival •Medieval • Butterflies • Cowboys • Farm • Petting Zoo • Water/Fish • Pool Party • Princess • Arts & Crafts • Baking • Tea Party • Movie Night • Jungle Safari • Beach/Hawaii • Scavenger Hunt • Sports • Backyard Campout • Pirate • All Things Bouncy • Spa Day • Tool Party • Planes, Trains, & Automobiles


magazine • feb/march 2010



Angela and Amy answer your etiquette questions.

Should you stay with your kids or drop them off?

Around age seven, it is acceptable to drop the kids off at a party and leave. However, it is still acceptable for parents to stay at this age, as well. If a child is younger than seven, parents should stay with them during the party.

Should you bring siblings of the child invited?

No. Siblings should not attend the party, unless they were specifically invited.

How much money should be spent on a birthday gift?

Our general guidelines when purchasing a gift are: For an acquaintance, spending $10 to $20 is acceptable. For a “best friend,” $25 or more can be appropriate. For family members, the amount spent varies from family to family. giggle tip: Be creative. Allow your child to help pick out their friend’s gift.

How do you tell your child that 40 kids is too many to invite? There is a general rule of thumb to consider when making a guest

list. Allow your child to invite as many friends as the child’s age, plus one. For example, if a child is celebrating their fifth birthday, six friends should be invited. If the child is turning nine, then ten friends should be invited. You may choose to add or subtract one or two children to this equation. Only you know your limits.

Do you have to invite your child’s entire class? No. But, if your child is social, a party can be held in the classroom if

Oodles of Birthday Goodness

What is the time frame for sending out thank you cards? One option, which is highly recommended, is to attach the thank you cards to the goody bags. If you send them out after the party, mail them within two weeks. If after four weeks you haven’t sent thank you cards out, don’t worry about it. The main goal when hosting a birthday party is to make the party fun, stress-free and memorable. The best way to do this is to make plans well in advance. When planning games, make sure everyone goes home a winner. Be prepared by having all games, food, party favors and prizes set up in advance. But, most of all, remember to have fun celebrating another birthday with your child!


If you adore but like the traditional cake cutting... For the ultimate cupcake loverthe giant cupcake pan!




Photo courtesy of

pre-approved by the teacher. The parents of the child would make a cake or cupcakes and small party favors or goody bags for the entire class. Otherwise, have the child choose three to five of their closest friends in the class to invite to a party elsewhere. giggle tip: If you only plan to invite a portion of your child’s class, mail invitations as opposed to handing them out in class.


favorite birthday

party venues BY MARY REICHARDT

Gainesville parents have a variety of birthday party venues to choose from where great fun and memorable occasions are guaranteed. Here are some of giggle magazine’s favorite birthday party hot spots.

Florida Museum of Natural History:

Westside Park: On the corner of 8th Avenue

and 34th Street, Gainesville residents can host a great outdoor party at this park. Along with the usual playground equipment, Westside Park also has a half-pipe for skating and skateboarding enthusiasts and a community pool (small entry fee required).

ip:ing t e l g gig things not go.

lan on Plan ording to p epared pr acc e r a the ou when way y That frustrated ens. p & not itable hap inev

Oodles of Birthday Goodness

o2b KIDS: Parents can relax or have time to take a

million pictures, while an o2b KIDS party leader directs the themed party for your child. Elaborate themes such as the “Pirate Party” and the “Once Upon a Time Party” ensure a fun and imaginative time for all. o2b Kids provides all the decorations, party favors, lemonade, even the invitations! Also, guests are allowed to stay and play as long as the host parents are present. Parties start at $150 and last two hours. To book your o2b party, contact a fun counselor at the location nearest you. Visit for detailed information and locations or call the corporate office at 352-338-9660.

Splitz Bowling Center: This new facility is part of the Skate Station Funworks complex behind Newberry Crossing Shopping Center and features the most up-to-date bowling technology, a full restaurant that serves brick-oven pizza, and other menu items, a sports bar, full arcade and plenty of staff walking around, ready to provide assistance. Splitz also offers laser tag as a new, exciting event for both the young and young at heart. Splitz has party packages and private party rooms with bowling lanes for lots of birthday fun. They provide party hosts, coins for the arcade room, pizza and unlimited soft drinks. Call 352-332-2695 for more information.



Sun Country Sports Center: For a fun-filled party full of physical activity and exercise, tumble over to Sun Country Sports Center’s west facility in Jonesville. Kids are sure to sleep well after tumbling, climbing and dancing around the spacious facility. Parties are fully supervised and parents never worry about any cleanup. From cheerleading to rock climbing, kids are challenged and entertained while parents relax and enjoy the fun. The guest of honor receives lots of “goodies” and each guest leaves with a “free class” card, among other prizes. Refreshments and paper products are provided by the parents, but invitations, balloons and supervision is all provided by Sun Country staff. They suggest booking these popular parties early at or by calling 352-331-8773. Birthdays are wonderful times and, while planning the party can be a lot of work, it’s not meant to be stressful. It’s important to plan early, choose well-respected vendors and a great location that’s easy to find and well-suited for your party plans. A great party will be remembered forever. It may not seem like they even notice all the hard work, money and time spent planning, kids really do appreciate the effort. Whatever you decide, remember the main goal is FUN, but also safety. Good luck and have a blast! b

Photo courtesy of

Children ages 4-12 can celebrate with up to 14 friends at the University of Florida’s educational history museum. From butterflies to fossils, kids are sure to enjoy these fun party themes. This two-hour-long event includes a museum tour, crafts, activities and goodie bags. The museum is located on the University of Florida campus. For complete costs and details visit or call 352-273-2061 to make a reservation.

# 4 weeks:

Before the Party Day

• Choose a theme • Create a guest list • Choose a date, time and location • Purchase decorations and party favors/ goody bags • Think about what you can borrow and pull from other areas in your house to add to the party

# The m m m m m m m m m m m m m

3 weeks:

• Send out invitations • I would not put a location. Therefore, they MUST RSVP to find out where the party is going. This way you are guaranteed to know who is coming and who is not. • Plan your food menu

2 weeks:

• Plan games/entertainment • Order cake and balloons

1-3 days:

• Prepare food • Decorate location • Label the favors for each guest • Charge camera batteries

Party Day:

• Last minute food prep and decorations • Pick up cake

Ultimate Birthday Party Checklist!

9” Plates 7” Plates Luncheon napkins Beverage napkins Cups Table cover Plastic cutlery Invitations Thank You notes Blow outs Drinks Hats Streamers

Mylar/Latex balloons Cake Candles Food All “meal” items Snacks Ice cream Games/Activities Items needed for game/activity m Banner m Confetti m Door sign m m m m m m m m m

m m m m m m m

Centerpiece Party extras Camera/Film Charged Batteries Piñata Curling ribbon Ice

Oodles of Birthday Goodness


magazine • feb/march 2010





magazine • oct/nov 2009


St. Patrick’s

Feast Day

Photos by Verve Studio

tasty treats for good luck! Irish Soda Bread Muffins GIGGLE MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE!


2 ¼ cups flour ¼ cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 stick softened butter 1 cup buttermilk 1 egg 2/3 cup raisins ¾ teaspoon caraway seeds


Prepare muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and flour. Place rack in middle of oven and pre-heat to 375 degrees. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using the back of a fork, cut softened butter into flour mixture until it appears crumbly. In separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Combine buttermilk mixture and flour mixture. Mix with large spoon. Add raisins and caraway seeds. Mix until combined throughout. Fill muffin cups and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

*giggle tip: use a kabob skewer to test center to make sure muffins are done. If muffins are done when you pull out the skewer, your skewer should be clean.

Cool muffins in pan for five to ten minutes. Transfer muffins to wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an air-tight container. Serve warm or cool.

26 giggle

Batter makes 4 large Muffins

visit our website for more tasty recipes!

in the kitchen p Irish Potato Sweeties GIGGLE MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE!

d Ingredients


Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 bay leaves 2 lbs. beef stew meat 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into large slices 1 shallot, peeled and chopped 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup beef stock 3/4 cup Guinness (or any stout beer) 1/2 lb carrots, sliced 3 stalks celery salt & black pepper Directions Heat dutch oven and add the oil and the bay leaves. Cook the bay leaves briefly and add the meat. Brown meat on all sides. Add the sliced onion and cook until it is clear. Reduce the heat to low and add the shallot, thyme, rosemary and flour and stir well. Add the beef stock and stout; simmer, stirring, until the stew thickens a bit. Add the carrots and celery and cover. Place the pot in a 275º oven for about 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste before serving. Note: This recipe will feed a family of four, but you may want to double it if you’re serving more than four people.

5 tablespoons softened butter 1 ½ cups whipped cream cheese 3 ½ cups confectioners sugar 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut 3 tablespoons cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar Directions In mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until blended smooth. Add confectioners sugar, beat until blended completely. Mix in coconut with spoon. On separate plate, mix cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. With clean, dry hands, roll cream cheese/coconut mixture into potato-shaped balls. Roll “potatoes” in cinnamon mixture until lightly dusted. Tap on plate to shake of any extra. Cover cookie sheet with wax paper, fill with “potatoes” and place in refrigerator to chill until ready to eat.


magazine • feb/march 2010



the legal side of things

Bicycle Laws 101

What Every Florida Bicyclist Should Know BY ATTORNEY ALISON WALKER with the law firm of Folds & Walker, LLC Additional information provided by Sondra Randon, Esq.

inter and early Spring in Alachua County provide the perfect conditions for outdoor activities with your family. The weather is crisp, the sun is shining and the clouds are few and far between. One of the many activities popular in our area is bicycle riding. Whether you are a veteran century bicyclist (100-mile rider), a weekend warrior or a preschooler learning to ride for the first time, knowing and understanding Florida’s bicycle laws are almost as important as your brakes. Definition Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes defines a “bicycle” as follows: “[e]very vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels.” Although most children learn to ride a bike at a young age, anyone under age 16 is prohibited from operating or riding on a motorized bicycle. Rules of the road When riding on the road, a bicyclist is treated the same as a motor vehicle and is obligated to obey all traffic signals that a driver of an automobile must follow. You must ride your bike on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic. If you are traveling at a speed slower than traffic, bicyclists should ride as close to the right-hand side of the road as possible. Riding on the sidewalk When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian. A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing a pedestrian. Although a bicyclist may ride in either direction on a sidewalk (since the laws of a pedestrian apply), the crash risk is three to four times as great for sidewalk riders who ride facing roadway traffic as for sidewalk riders who ride in the direction of traffic.

If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need not be given continuously. Equipment Regulations A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a white light on the front of the bicycle visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a red light on the rear of the bicycle visible from 600 feet to the rear. Every bicycle must have a permanent, attached seat. A bicyclist may not wear a headset, headphone or other listening device other than a hearing-aid when riding. The Florida Bicycle Association cautions that wearing a headset blocks out important audio clues needed to detect the presence of other traffic. Child Bicycle Safety A child age 16 or under must wear a properly fitted helmet. A bike may not carry more people than what it was designed or equipped to carry, except that an adult rider may carry a child securely attached to his or her person in a backpack or sling. If not secured to the adult rider in a backpack or sling, a child under age 4, or one who weighs 40 lbs. or less, must be placed in a seat or carrier that is designed to carry a child of that age or size and that secures and protects the child from the moving parts of the bicycle. Failure to follow these rules may result in the issuance of a traffic citation and possibly a fine. Accidents Happen If you are in an accident with a motorist or with a bicyclist, here are some tips to remember: 1. Treat the accident as you would a motor vehicle collision. 2. Call 911 immediately. 3. Do not leave the scene and try not to move your bicycle or car. 4. Make sure you report the accident to the police. 5. Get the name and number of any witnesses to the accident. 6. Have a camera phone? Take pictures of the scene and the accident immediately after. 7. Consult with a reputable attorney if you are ticketed or suffer from injuries.

Turning Signals To signal turning right, either extend your left hand and arm upward or extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle. A signal to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled before turning.

28 giggle

This information should not be used as a substitute for seeking needed advice from an attorney or other qualified advisor regarding your individual needs.

Photo courtesy of


O A K H SAC HLO OLL Engaging Minds. Building Character.

Now ENrolliNg for 2010-2011

Quality academic program Small classes in a safe, nuturing environment l A strong Character Education program teaching values and manners l weekly art, computer, library, music, physical education and foreign language classes l l

For more information about grades Preschool - 5, call Director of Admissions Nancy Coleman at (352) 332-1452 or visit us online at

our community’s life-saving answers for every age!

Going Green

for St. Patty’s Day BY DANA KAMP

I’m not sure if it’s the former teacher in me or the fact that my mom was an elementary school teacher and a principal. But, when a holiday comes around, my mind goes into all-out theme mode! Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day in our house has meant wearing something green, eating something green at each meal, putting green sprinkles on our dessert and doing some kind of artwork involving green paper, glitter and shamrocks. This year, why not change things up a bit and go a step further with our use of green? We can combine this lucky Irish day with our continuing quest to “go green.” Here are seven (lucky number) simple tips: Go on a “treasure hunt” around the house for items to use in your arts and crafts projects. Most likely you have scrap paper, paper towel rolls, magazines, mismatched buttons, half-used glitter containers, torn ribbon and all kinds of “junk” that can be used for activities instead of being thrown away. Designate a basket for future “treasures,” so that you’re always reminded to save whatever is still usable before discarding it. Make your own green household cleaner. It’s amazing what baking soda and water can clean! Instead of spreading more chemicals around your home, check out for safe, inexpensive cleaning supplies. You can even add organic food coloring if you want your cleaner to literally be green! Throw in a bamboo dish towel and you are ready for green cleaning!

Give a green gift. While I’m sure another shamrock mug is just what your child’s teacher wants, this year opt for a creative, useful green gift. Grab a reusable tote bag and fill it with recycled notebook paper, recycled pencils (check out Smencils at, eco-friendly pens, a reusable and washable lunch tote, and some organic cookies. Add a bamboo plant (said to bring good luck) to help with cleaner air in the classroom. Collect newspapers and magazines to donate to a school. Preschoolers can cut out pictures and use them for art projects, while older children can use them for history and current event discussions. This prevents using paper to print out articles from a computer and most schools have recycling bins, so the “leftovers” can be recycled. This may even spark some “green” interest among the students and teachers.


your food and grow something! Let your children save the seeds from bell peppers, tomatoes or cucumbers. Cut off the top of a juice box, put in a little dirt from your backyard, plant the seeds and see what you can grow. Place the container in a kitchen window sill or somewhere little ones can see the progression. This is a fun way to share many lessons -- reusing our food, saving money on groceries, and how plants can help clean our household air. Plan a green date with your loved one. Save gas and money by skipping the “Kiss me, I’m Irish” T-shirt and going out to enjoy green-tinted beverages. Cook some corned beef and cabbage, make a key lime pie (or any green dessert), grab a blanket and have a candlelit picnic. Give a consumable gift by using icing to create “Lucky Coupons” on chocolate bars and eat them as they are redeemed! Enjoy the green outdoors! Take your family on a nature walk or bike ride instead of driving around town. Instead of flowers, collect different leaves and plants to create an all-green bouquet for your table centerpiece. Pick up trash from the ground or streams and encourage your children to throw their own garbage into the trash can instead of littering. Take the time to explore and have fun. You may just find a four-leaf clover!



olidays Make all h ecycle :R ly d n eco-frie e your festiv s! n o ti ra o c de

Marriage for a Lifetime BY JILL NASH Founder of Women of Influence

Dates: Take turn scheduling dates once a week. Go out to lunch or dinner, a movie or a simple walk in the park. Romance: It’s easy to forget about romance once married, especially with children. But, it doesn’t take much time or effort to light a candle, put on soft music or tell your spouse what you love about him or her. Listen:

Sometimes your partner just needs someone to listen. They don’t always need advice, just a willing ear.

Pray together: If you are not used to it, it may be uncomfortable for you to pray together. But, there is great power in the prayer of agreement.


respect, to him, equals love

Invest: A good marriage takes time, effort and money. Read books from authors you respect. Make friends with some couples that you believe have a healthy marriage and find out what they do. Go to a marriage seminar. Many churches have these events annually or go online to see where one is happening close by.


hen I was younger, I was naïve. I was career-oriented and I couldn’t understand what stay-at-home moms did. Surely, they must sit at home watching soap operas, visiting with friends and eating Bon Bons.

Of course, now that I have three children of my own, I am a little wiser and I have eaten my words. I realize at every stage in life, children take a lot of time and energy. As Valentines Day finds us, I’m reminded of the importance of investing time and energy into my marriage. As a reminder to myself and I hope to you, I would like to share advice I’ve received over the years that contribute to a healthy marriage.

Photos courtesy of


make time for each other

Time: Make time for each other everyday, even if it’s

just 20 minutes. It is vital for a couple to connect daily and it’s equally important for children to see their parents connecting. It will give children a sense of security.

Love and Respect: What a woman needs is for her husband to adore her, cherish her and make her feel like she is at the top of his list. At the top of a man’s list is his need to be respected by his wife. Respect, to him, equals love.

Jill Nash is the founder of Women of Influence. WOI is a group of women who desire to live life with passion, purpose and excellence in all we do… our relationships, our careers, our health and our communities. The group meets once a month for terrific lunches, timely encouragement, incredible learning experiences and a lot of fun. The community is welcome to attend any of the upcoming events. For recommended reading and additional marriage tips, or to learn more about Women of Influence, you may visit the group’s Web site at

Join the

Women of Influence Monthly Luncheon

“Marriage For A Lifetime” 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., UF Hilton

February 15, 2010


magazine • feb/march 2010


p family spotlight Jan sat down with giggle to answer some real questions about her life, her faith and her parenting techniques for our readers. giggle: Did your faith have an impact on your decision to continue having kids? Jan: We knew God wanted to use our family to touch the world. We decided early on that we would just trust Him with how to grow it. We decided not to be legalistic about birth control. Matt pointed out that we control lots of things in our lives and early on we did use it. I just never felt like we were done having kids. I would hate to get in the way of someone God wanted to be in the world. giggle: Your children range in age from age 3-24 (Stephen 24, Andrew 22, Lee 21, Ben 19, Jill 17, Luke 15, Kelly 13, Lauren 10, Jonny 8, David 5, Justin 3) Do you want to have any more children? Jan: I’m getting older so I don’t think we can. I actually went through a grieving process when I realized there wouldn’t be any more babies in the house!

a local family with 11 children! The Gordon Family of 13 Jan Gordon Opens up about God, Birth Control, and Life With 11 Children BY MARY REICHARDT Photos by Lifeprints Photography by Shandon

In the early 1980s Matt Gordon’s neighbor introduced him to her sister, Jan, who was moving to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida. What began as a friendship between two people who enjoyed hanging out and running together quickly blossomed into strong emotions neither was ready to confess. “I actually quit running with him because my feelings were so strong, and I wanted God to lead me to the man I should marry—not my emotions,” Jan said. “Plus, I had no idea how he felt about me.” Three months later, there proved to be more at work in the couple’s relationship than just feelings. A group trip turned into a date for Jan and Matt, when all their friends cancelled. They went on the Christian spring break outreach trip anyway and, by the end of Jan’s sophomore year of college, Matt had proposed. They married three short months later and never looked back. Matt graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in civil engineering and was pursuing a Master’s degree in business administration. Jan was finishing nursing school, when the couple decided to start a family together. Both are one of five children, so it’s no surprise they didn’t stop at just one. ..or two…or ten.

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giggle: So, I’ve done the math—you’ve actually spent nine years and three months of your life pregnant! How has that affected you physically? (Jan looks great) Jan: You know, people say to me that my body must be totally worn out, but I feel great. I never had to have a C-section and I only had an epidural with my first child because I was induced. The rest [of my children] I had all natural and it was so much better for me. giggle: What are some key things you would say you must have to run a large family? Jan: Be consistent in God’s word and when you’re home, be home. Be engaged with each other. I get up early before the kids to regroup and refresh my mind, which helps a lot. Also, we never allow name-calling—the kids must always respect each other. And I live out of my planner—I write everything down.

giggle: With so many people vying for your attention, how do you and your husband find time for each other? Jan: Well, we are pretty strict with a weekly date night and we take time to talk at night and reflect when everyone is in bed.

HOW do they do it? How many gallons of milk per week? Only 4—we’re all water drinkers.

Method of transportation?

Used to be a 15 passenger van—we’ve been able to downgrade a little since some of the older ones are away or driving themselves.

How do you celebrate birthdays? giggle: What three things would you say every mom needs? Jan: A Bible, running shoes and chocolate chips! With two kids graduated from college, three currently enrolled in college, a couple in high school, a few who Jan home schools and another child just out of diapers, Jan Gordon’s life won’t be slowing down anytime soon. When asked what she would most want people to know about her family, she took the opportunity to give tribute to her husband who is now a local pastor of Gator Christian Life Church. “Matt is a great manager of our family. He’s made a lot of good decisions.” b

It’s usually an overnight, 18-hour process with lots of friends.

Favorite family meal?

Homemade pizza— we even make the dough from scratch! wThe entire Gordon Family


magazine • dec/jan 2009


How young is too young for BY CHRIS WILSON


What’s the difference between a mocha and a macchiato? Chances are your middleor high-schooler can fill you in. Coffee and cafe drinks are extremely popular among tweens and teens. But, some health professionals and parents are worried about the kid-and-coffee combo. Locally, Buchholz High senior Carly Muir said she started hanging out at local cafés, including Maudes Classic Cafe in downtown Gainesville, when she was in eighth grade.

“If you have to study anyway, a caramel makes it worth it,” Muir said.


Kids see pictures of their favorite celebrities walking the streets of Beverly Hills with a takeout cup in-hand. They also see the frothy, whipped cream-laden, caramel-covered drinks that look more like milk shakes. And, let’s face it -- it’s even fun for adults to hang out on those comfy chairs, sipping a steaming cup of joe.

Photography by Laurel Housden Photography

According to Starbucks’ nutrition guide on the company’s web site, a grande (or medium size) caramel brulee frappuccino with milk at Starbucks contains 430 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat, which is nearly half the recommended daily intake of saturated fat. “By consuming the heavy coffee drinks like Starbucks offers, teens get a lot of empty calories, which can be a contributing factor in obesity as well as poor nutrition,” explained Bowers. Some experts recommend that if kids insist upon drinking coffee, they should ask for decaf and skim milk, which are healthier alternatives.

It’s Called a

Coffee & Nutrition? Most doctors agree, coffee is not going to directly lead to any major health problems. There is even disagreement about whether coffee or caffeine will stunt a child’s development or growth. Caffeine, however, is a drug that is addictive. “It can effect sleep, and teens often don’t get enough sleep as it is,” Michelle Bowers, ARNP, of Healthy Steps Pediatrics in Gainesville told us via e-mail. “Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of health issues. Caffeine also has other physiological affects, such as rapid heart rate, anxiety and the jitters.”

Latte’ Because It Costs a Lot

The other factor that teens may not think about is the cost. Sure, it’s better for your teen to spend more than $4 on that toffee nut latte than any number of other things. However, youngsters should know that they can save some money by cutting back or switching to straight “joe” instead of the sugary alternatives, like frappuccinos.

Coffee is Better Than Energy Drinks

Most medical professionals do agree that coffee is a better option for a “caffeine buzz” than the popular energy drinks, such as Red Bull or Monster. “Nutrition For Dummies” author Carol Ann Rinzler explained that two cans of energy drinks can contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar and unnecessary mega doses of vitamins. There are plenty of things worse for teenagers than coffee. But, it’s always helpful to know the buzz on teens and coffee.


magazine • feb/march 2010



all kidding aside

Retired elementary school counselor, Wendy Joysen, answers tough questions about kids, schools, parenting, & everything in between.

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is an assessment given to students in grades 3-11 to measure selected benchmarks in math, reading, science and writing. These tests will be administered to students February 9-11 for writing in fourth, eighth and tenth grades. Students in grades 3-11 will be tested March 9-19 in the areas of reading, math and science. While at school, students are given daily instruction in the Sunshine State Standards, which prepare them for this assessment throughout the year. There are many steps you and your child can take to help reduce anxiety before the test:

Be prepared. The Florida Department of Education has

extensive information and sample test materials available on its Web site at There also is a free, online educational program for Florida students called FCAT Explorer, which reinforces reading and math skills outlined in the Sunshine State Standards. You can find the program at www. • Have your child get at least eight hours of sleep a night. A student’s brain and body need rest to rejuvenate and remain strong every day. • Eat a healthy diet. A diet high in protein and lots of vegetables and fruits is great for your brain and developing body. Stay away from foods and drinks with a lot of sugar, processed foods and fried foods. • Get to school on time. Rushing to school and getting into class late increases stress levels and could cause a student to miss the test. • Come to school prepared. Make sure your child has the necessary items they need to have a productive day, such as glasses, a sweater or snacks. • Wear comfortable clothing. Wearing tight or uncomfortable clothes can be a distraction. Wear clothes that you feel

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comfortable sitting in that are not to tight around the waist or too itchy. Also, make sure to bring a jacket or sweater in case the room is chilly. • Listen carefully. Make sure you listen carefully to the teacher’s instructions, follow directions and use the test-taking strategies that you have practiced in class. • Learn simple breathing exercises. Breathing techniques can quickly relax your body. When you start taking slow, deep breaths, your body will recognize it as a symbol to relax and visualize yourself doing well. Alachua County school guidance counselor Karen Doll understands how stressful the FCAT can be for her students. Aside from the techniques listed above, she feels it is important to stay away from the words “test” and “fail.” She says the students will respond to the positive attitudes from the adults around them. Doll believes that one of the most important things you can do to help your child prepare for the FCAT is to read with your children. It is important to help them think and predict what would happen next in a story. There are several books and DVDs available to schools and families that can help alleviate stress that is linked to the FCAT and help students prepare for a positive experience. One book that helps ease tensions and fears about the FCAT for elementary children is “FCAT & FDOG: A Tale of Two Very Unusual Animals,” by Bob Scallan. Using humor, Scallan helps relieve test anxiety and teaches children that the FCAT is not that bad ( There also is a DVD series for elementary children called “Bud and Dud: Do Your Best on the FCAT.” This DVD accomplishes the task of relieving stress, teaching effective test taking tips, changing negative attitudes into positive attitudes and motivating children to do their best by using dogs and cartoons. This DVD is available through BUD Publishers, Inc. or at

Photo courtesy of

Beginning this month, many of your children will be faced with an assessment at school that is known to be stressful and cause great anxiety. For many students, the pressure they feel to perform well on these assessments can lead to health problems and affect their performance on the test. It is important for you and your children to know that they can improve performance and control nervous tension by changing their attitude and practicing good stress and anxiety management.

For middle and high school students, guidance counselors and teachers are available to help students prepare for the FCAT. These professionals will have the books, resources and worksheets you will need to practice and be ready for test week. There also are many different Web sites available to help you prepare for the FCAT. These can be found simply by using your search engine and typing in “FCAT Preparation.” The FCAT and all of the build-up surrounding it can be a stressful time. But as parents, you have the tools necessary to help your child succeed. Help your child have a positive attitude. Tell your child you have confidence in them. Your positive attitude will increase your student’s self-esteem and build their confidence. This will help them accomplish great things! b



Professional organizer Helen Kornblum helps us find easy ways to keep our busy family lives organized.


Organized Children

One of the most enduring gifts you can give your children is the ability to organize. You can teach fundamental skills and habits at age appropriate levels that will enable children to prioritize, set goals and stay on task. Here are ways to develop and enrich your children’s organizing abilities: • Establish and be consistent about daily rituals and activities, such as getting dressed, naptime and bedtime. Predictability helps young children make successful transitions during their day as they build trust in their relationships and surroundings. This is a stepping stone to time management! • Teach your children by modeling and participating in the behaviors that you want them to develop. Make a game out of putting toys away. You’re not just stacking the cars back on the shelf; you’re driving them to the garage for maintenance. • Set up play and study spaces that are child-friendly for using and storing toys and other materials. Include shelving and containers that your child can reach easily. Use pictures (for pre-readers) or labels to show everyone where things “live.” •

Emphasize positives in your language. For example, “Let’s clear the table so we can play that board game.” Using “we” suggests company and teamwork. “You” can sound punitive and lonely.

• Facilitate the task to ensure your child’s success. Young children can help you set the table if you put the cutlery and napkins where they can reach them. Children can help you cook dinner if you give limited but satisfying tasks. • Praise in a concrete and meaningful way. Tell your child, “I couldn’t have done that without you.” Or “I appreciate how much easier you made that for all of us.” You will be nurturing responsibility — the child’s desire to do what is expected of her because it makes her feel good and seems right. • Modeling the behaviors you want to encourage may be hard for you at first, but everyone will benefit from the routines that keep your household organized. Helen Kornblum is a professional organizer in Gainesville, FL. She owns

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magazine • feb/march 2010




giggle dollars


How much are you paying your kids? BY ALEXANDRA BITTON


o many options should be explored before opting for or against allowances, deciding on an amount and ultimately, forking over cash on a weekly or monthly basis.

To give or not to give an allowance?

As a rule, the point of offering children an allowance is to help teach money smarts by allowing them to learn to earn, spend and save wisely. In order for allowances to remain effective teaching tools, a few general ideas and rules can be applied. First and foremost, the subject should be approached in a family discussion once children demonstrate an interest in money. Establishing rules that are consistent, such as an amount, payday and what expenses should be covered by an allowance, will keep allowances a positive learning tool. The amount of allowance could be based on age. Some experts suggest a dollar for every year of age. Other factors include what expenses the children are expected to cover with their allowance and the family’s overall financial situation.

“The amount of allowance could be based on age.”

Photo courtesy of

Children may receive an allowance that is taken from the family’s regular spending budget and simply redirected to cover their own expenses. For instance, rather than spending a dollar on a candy bar when visiting the grocery store, redirect that dollar as allowance giving the children the choice of whether to buy such indulgences. The amount spent remains the same, only the decision of spending power has shifted hands. A second rule generally agreed on by most experts, including Dr. Benjamin Spock, is that an allowance should not be tied to regular household chores. This can eventually lead to serious bartering issues with clever children who understand how to strike a deal. Chores are simply a part of life and must be accomplished on a regular basis whether or not somebody notices or offers rewards. Some work is simply required of every member of a family and the reward is just being part of the family.

should maintain the same consistency, thus helping children learn to plan their spending, saving and giving. Finally, for those innovative, extra motivated future bankers, offering extra jobs for additional pay is a good way to teach social and fiscal responsibility and to promote innovation and initiative. Children should be given opportunities to earn money and given room to be innovative about the earning process. For instance, doing work above and beyond their

“...helping children learn to plan their spending, saving and giving.” regular chores, such as mowing the lawn, washing the car or cleaning the pool can be assigned a monetary value.

The Result

Learning how to manage and earn money is an essential part of life many learn only once they leave their parents’ home. Teaching these skills to children will be a great advantage once they must manage their own money as adults. For more information, visit

Keep things consistent. Adults expect to be paid consistent wages in a timely fashion for their work. Allowances


magazine • feb/march 2010



read. learn. explore.


iggle reading



“These things are fun and fun is good.” One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

Whether your young child has a lackluster approach to reading or has a tendency to hand you a stack of books ready to snuggle up, there are many ways to make read-aloud time more fun for both you and your child. Your choice to carry out the read aloud as a duty or as a privilege will transmit to your child, so a positive spin on the experience will more likely contribute to attitudes and activities that foster a love of reading. Making things fun for kids, including reading, is a matter of simply involving them in the process. Children generally don’t take well to a passive role in anything that they do. For example, they like to help in the kitchen (and are more likely to eat what comes out of it if they do), and they like to choose their own clothing and dress themselves starting at an early age (gasp!). When children see their parents enjoy certain activities and tasks, they are likely to want to become involved in those activities, too, including the pleasure of reading. Of course, kids can’t learn to read just by watching adults do it. But, through observation, children can learn active behaviors associated with reading, like choosing a book, turning pages and enjoying it. The decoding of words comes later. Even when your child starts to actually read, reading aloud to him or her doesn’t have to stop for many years. If you help to make reading an interactive and positive experience, your child will begin reading on her own before you know it. Kids who love to be read to, and who eventually read themselves, will entertain themselves with books long before the process of learning to decode is complete. There is an assortment of books that include manipulatives on each page (lift the flap, textured pages, pop ups, recorded voices and noises, etc.) that can involve your child in the book and make reading

more enjoyable. But, to engage your child in the book doesn’t necessarily mean that the publisher need be the one to provide the bells and whistles.

Some things that you can do that require little to no preparation beforehand: • Be enthusiastic and dramatic about the way you read. Read the characters’ quotes as you imagine the characters’ voices to sound. • Choose age-appropriate books and books you love OR let your child choose the book. • Ask questions to encourage participation (“Why do you think that little pig decided to build his house with straw?”) • Let your child turn the pages. • Allow your child to interrupt you (or turn back to a previous page). • Choose books with lots of pictures. • Let the child sit on your lap, or snuggle up close. • Select books that include songs, rhymes, or other rhythmic devices (like repetition). After a few pages or after reading the book a couple of times, your child will be able to read with you. • Take your child to the library; there are all sorts of people and other children there enjoying books, and there are seemingly endless choices. Check the schedule for read aloud events; your kids can have fun with a small group, and you can observe the librarian model some fun read aloud strategies. • Use a puppet, stuffed animal, plastic figure, or doll that could serve as characters in the story. Model for your child the first few times you use this technique by moving the toys as the characters would, and speaking as you imagine the characters would. After a few turns, get your child to take over. • Choose some music appropriate to the story to play before, during and/or after reading the book. • Insert the name of your child and his/her friends and family members in the story. Be alert for this one, as you need to keep track of who is who; my daughters will call me on it if I mix up the new characters’ names!

Photos courtesy of

Making Reading Fun for Your Children

• Make connections to the story and encourage your child to make connections to the story (“When you wear your little red jacket, you look kind of like Little Red Riding Hood. Don’t you think so?”) • Comment on and ask questions about the illustrations in the book. • Choose books from the Caldecott Award list (ask your librarian, Google “Caldecott Award” for a list of titles awarded annually, or look for the seal on book covers that indicates it was an award winner or nominee).

“Choose books with lots of


For older kids who are learning to read and for independent readers:

Photos courtesy of

• Make sure he or she has a reading space that is reading friendly: it should be comfortable, well-lit and free of distractions. • Create family reading time, whether you all sit around and read silently or take turns reading aloud (you could even coordinate a family “poetry slam”). • Show your child that you enjoy reading and that you value reading by reading yourself. • Visit the library often. • Ask your child about the book he or she is reading when you have some time at dinner, in the car, while waiting in the doctor’s office, etc. • Do a book exchange with one or more of your child’s friends for new material and for reading suggestions. • For older elementary and young middle school-aged kids: choose books from the Newbery Award list or from the Sunshine State Young Readers Award list for winners and nominees of great titles. • Let them read picture books, comic books or graphic novels. • Read the same title as your child, and discuss the characters, events and themes of the story.


magazine • feb/march 2010


44 giggle


for dads. by dads. p


Coaching Your Child’s Team BY CHRIS WILSON


ith the hectic work week followed by checking off things on the “honey-do” list on weekends, Dads can have trouble finding extra time to spend with their kids or to socialize. Admittedly, signing up to coach a group of energetic kids can sound that much more exhausting. But, lots of Dads love the way coaching a team can create a better family and help the community. As anybody who has ever experienced youth sports knows, there are both good and bad things that can come from coaching your own child’s team. But, the positives certainly outweigh the negatives, especially for fathers of really young kids who are still learning the fundamentals of athletics. “Generally a lot of the same parents coach from season to season and sport to sport,” said North Central Florida YMCA sports director Dennis McSherry. “They also tend to stick with groups of the same kids, because the kids become friends.” McSherry said the YMCA, like many other youth sports organizations, seeks interested parents for every new season. The YMCA relies on parents to coach its youth soccer, flag football, baseball and basketball programs. “We have a coaches meeting where we go over rules of the sport and the YMCA’s expectations of our coaches,” McSherry explained. “We go over the Y’s core values, what we expect, the discipline that’s allowed. But, we also stress that everybody gets equal playing time. All the kids have to play for at least half of each game.”

Photo courtesy of

McSherry admits that the YMCA, which performs background checks on all of its coaches, offers instructional elements and fundamentals of most sports, while club-oriented leagues might desire a more specific knowledge of the sport that needs a coach. “But, at our level, all that is required is a willingness to help out,” he said. “It definitely helps if you have some knowledge of the game. But, we’ve had cases where a parent will coach soccer, then follow the same group of kids to basketball even though they’ve never really had experience in that sport. For the parents, there are coaches who might be out of their element. But, these are cases where the parents learn things as well.”

The role of a coach, especially in the first stages of athletic development, is to simply allow kids the chance to learn a sport and have fun. Coaching presents many challenges for parents. But, it also comes with rewards. Positives In Coaching Your Kids:s

• Spend more time with your children • Meet other Dads and people in your community • Get yourself into better shape or stay in shape • Experience the rewards of teaching kids • Offer positive support to your kids and their peers

Things to ask yourself before coaching your children:

• What are the positive and negative aspects of coaching my child? • How will my child respond to Dad being the coach? • Can I separate the roles of coach and Dad? • In what ways will I treat my child differently than other players on the team? (From the Association for Applied Sports Psychology)

Great Resources:

• “Parenting Young Athletes The Ripken Way” by Cal Ripken, Jr. • “Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport” by Jack Perconte

The time commitment to coaching can be minimal. Most leagues for kids under age five only have a practice or game commitment of one hour per week. Older children and more competitive leagues may require a commitment of a few hours each week. At the YMCA, McSherry said the most a parent would be expected to coach is about three to four hours per week. giggle

magazine • feb/march 2010


why I love raising my family in


a J

ered and I moved to Gainesville from Ann Arbor, MI, in 2004. Moving from Michigan to Florida was quite a culture shock for us, but we definitely were comforted by living in another college town and enjoying all that comes along with it. Jered got a job in Trenton, I got a job at UF and we moved to Newberry. In September 2008, our beautiful son Eli was born. There are many things that we have enjoyed living in Gainesville. But, if I had to pick just one thing that sets Gainesville apart, it would be the phenomenal medical care. When I was 20 weeks pregnant with Eli, we learned that he had fibular hemimelia of his right leg. This meant that he was missing the fibular bone in his lower right leg, his right leg was a bit shorter and he only had four toes on his right foot. It was very hard for Jered and I to learn this about our baby and we were worried for him, to say the least. During my pregnancy, we received wonderful care at North Florida Regional Medical Center. My Ob/Gyn was Dr. Eduardo Marichal. When Eli was 7 months old, he had a symes amputation of his right foot performed by his pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Shands, Dr. Raymond Woo. That was one of the scariest days of our lives, but our doctor took great care of our son. Three months after his surgery Eli got fitted for his first prosthetic leg. His prosthetist, Paul Prusakowski of Gainesville Prosthetics, has been a life saver and is an important resource for our little boy. Eli is doing great and taking unassisted steps like crazy these days. He loves playing at the park, going to Sun Country Sports Center and playing outside with his dogs, Rosie & Frank.

the Ottenwesses Jered, Kristina and Eli

Photo by Laurel Housden Photography

giggle 46giggle 46


magazine • june 2009



magazine • feb/march 2010



giggle trip

Tsunami Under Glass! Atlanta’s Awesome Aquarium

BY JANET GROENE Photography by Laurel Housden Photography

A young girl’s hand tightened on her father’s as they walked into the main gallery of the Georgia Aquarium and she saw a huge wall of shimmering water alive with brilliant fish. Her eyes widened to goblet size and for a moment words failed. Then she breathed, “It’s a tsunami!” With eight million gallons of water, the Georgia

Aquarium is said to be the world’s largest.

It’s not just one big fish bowl, but a world of waters brewed for different types of sea creatures. One gallery features only cold water species, another holds creatures found in Georgia’s coastal waters. It’s especially meaningful to Floridians, who see these same species on Atlantic shores. The Aquarium also has a Dolphin Conservation Field Station at Marineland, near St. Augustine. In another gallery, you can stand in a see-through tunnel while turtles, sharks and other denizens of the deep swim over and around you. In the River Scout section, you can see fresh water species, including American alligators, electric fish yellow-bellied sliders and a six-footlong emerald boa. Pretend you’re snorkeling in the Caribbean when you visit the Tropic Diver gallery, which has coral reefs teeming with life. A thrilling film is shown in the 4D Theater, where you’ll watch a 3D movie while the fourth dimension adds movement, smells and other realistic sensations.

A living museum of the sea, the Georgia Aquarium is never still. Arrive early and stay late. Multi-day or annual passes are a good buy, allowing visitors to come often for special events, shows and seminars. You can also book a children’s birthday party or sleep-over here. Each exhibit is alive and in constant motion. Effortlessly, children are drinking in lessons in ecology, conservation, oceanography, animal husbandry, climatology and so much more. Future oceanographers can take the one-hour Behind the Scenes Tour for an additional $50. A Quick Dip Tour (ages 5 and over) takes 30 minutes and costs $15 extra. It’s a good overview for rushed visitors. Group events also can be arranged, a boon for parents who plan field trips for school groups, scout troops or home schoolers.



What else is in the neighborhood? The

Georgia Aquarium is a major vacation worth a special trip in itself. So are many of Atlanta’s other attractions, such as Six Flags and Stone Mountain. Each calls for a visit of two or three days. The Atlanta Botanical Garden easily merits a full day, especially if good weather invites pleasant strolls through garden after garden, plus a breath-taking orchid house. An excellent children’s play area allows parents to rest tired feet while children run, climb and explore. Kids also love the butterfly conservatory. Fernbank Museum of Natural History is a beehive of educational, family-friendly fun and the city also has a children’s museum called Imagine It. Turner Field is the place for home games of the Atlanta Braves and you might also visit the Atlanta Zoo.

Make it count!

er d i s in o!


If You Go: For more information: (404) 581-4000, The Kids Corner at the website provides interactive fun, learning and puzzles. For general Atlanta tourism information, (800) ATLANTA, Getting there: Northbound on I-75/I-85 take Exit 248C (International Blvd.) Turn left on International Blvd. right on Spring St., left on Baker St., then right on Luckie St. The Aquarium is on the right and has an adjoining parking garage. From the airport take MARTA to the CNN station downtown. From there it’s a walk of 10 to 15 minutes. Hours: The Aquarium is open every day but hours vary seasonally, so check ahead of time. Guests are admitted up to one hour before closing.

Calendar of Events February 2 Groundhog Day February 5-7 Hoggetowne Medieval Faire Alachua County Fairgrounds Info: 352-393-8536 February 12 Winter Olympics begin February 12 Family Fun Night Sun Country West 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Info: 352-331-8773 February 12 Valentine’s Day Sleepover Sun Country West 6:30 p.m. - 9 a.m. Dinner, breakfast, snacks and plenty of fun activities included Members or non-members are welcome! Info: 352-331-8773 February 13-14 Lifesouth Five Points of Life Marathon Weekend February 14 Chinese New Year! February 14

Valentine’s Day February 15 President’s Day February 16 Mardi Gras February 17-20 Urban Meyer: Scramble for Kids February 20 Gainesville Florida Heart Ball Benefitting American Heart Association 6:30 p.m.

February 26-28 2010 Winter Fine Arts Festival Tioga Town Center February 27 Kids 4 Kids 3rd Annual O2B Kids Fun Run 1.5 Mile run benefitting the Child Advocacy Center & Cure Dales’ Duchenne 8:30 a.m Registration February 28 Phoenix Fox Trot One mile run for Pompe research 11:30 a.m. Hawthorne Trail Info: March 4-7 Just Between Friends Sale Alachua County Fairgrounds March 7 Kuisine for Kids Benefits the Child Advocacy Center Embers Wood Grill Info: 352-376-9161

March 19 Alachua County Summer Games Special Olympics of Florida Challenge Park, Gainesville March 20

First Day of Spring March 20 Tour of Kitchens Hosted by Junior League March 27 March for Babies Benefiting March of Dimes Westwood Middle School Start time: 8 a.m. Info: 352-378-9522 March 28 Puttin’ on the Ritz Annual Fundraising Event Benefiting the Children’s Home Society 7 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. Florida Museum of Natural History Info: 352-334-0955


March 13 Race the Tortoise 5K O’Leno State Park, High Springs Check in: 7:30 a.m. Info: 386-454-3814 March 13 The Wiz Dancecompany of Gainesville 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Info: 352-371-0761


March 20 2nd Annual Child Abuse Awareness Run in Memory of Kaedyn Short The Child Advocacy Center 9 a.m. Info: 352-376-9161 giggle

magazine • feb/march 2010


Give your child a head start

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The American Association of Orthodontists recommends you bring your child in for an orthodontic exam early-usually around age 7, while facial growth and tooth eruption are still occurring. Our doctors will check for several conditions that, if left untreated, can be difficult and costly to correct at a later age or even cause damage to the permanent teeth. Drs. A. Page Jacobson and Dawn L. Martin have over 45 years of combined experience and offer comprehensive orthodontic care for children, teens and adults. Plus, be assured that our doctors always look at the most conservative treatment methods available.


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Giggle Magazine February/March 2010  

Celebrating love, birthday issue, preparing for FCAT, family of 13.

Giggle Magazine February/March 2010  

Celebrating love, birthday issue, preparing for FCAT, family of 13.