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1 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

The Good Stuff 8 -10


Good News

12 - 15

18 & 19

Good Products Holiday Edition Good People

Rev. Dan Campbell, founder of Joining Hands Community Mission Jared Fogle, Heart Walk Spokesperson comes to Tampa

20 & 21 Good Adventures Holiday Edition

24 & 25

Good Eating

Three locally-owned and operated restaurants for a healthy meal

Showing Thanks All Year Long

Features 26 & 27

Jessica creates simple and fun crafts for making hand-made thank-you cards with kids.

I Care About Children and I Vote

28 & 29

Dr. James McHale shares his thoughts about the state of Florida’s children.

31 - 33

It’s a Wonderful Life: Sharing Joy with Our Community’s Elders Authors Sheryl Young and Linda Rodante talked with several experts about how we can easily give some attention to those who need it.

20 Ways to Green Your Christmas Local family man Bob Bugg is surrounded by his wife and grown children at Philippe Park. Read about them in My Story on page 36. Cover photography by Chanda Brae. Chanda Brae is best known for her creativity with families, babies and children as part of Baby Rock Photography. Chanda is also a wedding, portrait, fashion industry photographer. Her work can be seen at

34 & 35

Editor Pamela Ray shares her tips for being green and saving green

My Story by Tom McQueen


Palm Harbor author and speaker shares the story of how he came to write Letters to Ethan, an inspiring look at passing down wisdom to children and grandchildren.

My Story by Bob Bugg


Local patriarch gives a touching look at the importance of taking early and intentional steps to define a family and build a lasting legacy.

Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Ray

Christmas is our favorite holiday and we take in as many events as possible. Each year we don parkas and get our chill on at ICE! in Orlando. The slide is really fun! It’s one of our favorite


Contributing Writers Sheryl Young Linda Rodante Dr. James McHale Jessica Sykes Bob Bugg Tom McQueen

Sales and Marketing Jennifer Harvey

Design and Layout Marcie Frieling

Cover Art Greg Harvey Photography Chanda Brae Website WP by Design Distribution Lee Shiflett

GoodLiving™ Magazine & P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION or (727) 373-8486 GoodLiving™ magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and is distributed to readers at no charge to targeted locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough and southern Pasco Counties. It is available as a digital publication at All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC are not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Readers should verify the advertising information of the advertisers and all specials are valid to the expiration date set by the advertiser. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC reserve the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved.

...from the Editor There’s nothing like a bunch of holidays in a row to inspire family time! It starts with Thanksgiving, when we gather together to eat, watch football, catch up with relatives and most importantly stop to give thanks for and appreciate our abundance. We are a rich people. Whether unemployed, facing foreclosure or coping with a shrinking paycheck, we still live in the wealthiest nation in the world. It may not seem like it to some at the moment, but the glorious thing about living in America is the freedom to pursue dreams and make an impact. Dan Campbell, featured in Good People, is someone who wants to make an impact while helping others to get their dreams back. He converted his house of worship into a mission to assist homeless families. Here, people of all levels of wealth come together to share hope with those facing hard times. So not only do they appreciate their abundance, they share it with those who have less. Bob Bugg, featured in My Story, is giving thanks for his family as they support him through a rare illness that has no cure. He shares how he as a young father made the commitment to put his family first and intentionally built relationships that would become his legacy. Those early actions are important to him today more than ever as he watches the fruits of his labor (his family) love and care for him with strength and faith. Dr. James McHale on pages 28 and 29 encourages advocacy for Florida families. He and others are working to make Florida a place where children can more fully realize their dreams. Research has shown that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before age five, so he and others are giving thanks that they can fight to improve the quality of life for Florida young children. We move around the circle of life to our community’s elders. The story that starts on page 31 will hopefully encourage readers to do something special for nursing home residents or the elderly neighbor down the street. While gift buying and charitable giving may be down again this year, it costs nothing to share a little love and joy with someone who really needs it. Give the gift of your time to say thanks to those who came before you. From everyone associated with GoodLiving™, we wish our readers and clients a most joyous holiday season. We care about families in our community and thank you for the outpouring of praise and support we’ve received. With much gratitude,

Pamela Ray 5 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010


Growing Sustainable Businesses Local business that specialize in products and services that are green or healthy can now join the Sustainable Interconnected Business Alliance for networking, peer support and visibility. Their mission is to create a prosperous, sustainable and just economy in the Tampa Bay area by strengthening local independently-owned businesses.

Transition to Independence

Time to Rally for the Children GoodLiving™ is proud to be a sponsor and participant of the Children’s Movement Florida, a bi-partisan push to bring children’s issues back into focus by the state legislature. They recently toured the state holding Milk & Cookies rallies to stir up local communities. The next step is to organize and mobilize by region to work on the following five priorities: -Access to health insurance and quality health care -Enhanced quality standards for the state’s pre-kindergarten program -Improved screening and treatment of special needs -A statewide parental support and information program -High-quality, widely available student mentoring programs

To read more about how inadequate resources have affected our state, read Dr. McHale’s essay on page 28. Organizations, places of worship and individual people are needed. To get involved in the Tampa area, contact regional coordinator Becky Newell at

When young people in the foster care system turn 18, they are on their own whether they are still in school or not. It’s referred to as “aging out” and can be a challenging time for that parent-less child. This November, the new Job Corps Campus in St. Petersburg will begin housing qualified youth in brand new dormitories, with cafeteria, clinic, fitness center, community areas and job training. While there, they can earn their high school diploma or GED if needed. While foster children have guaranteed space, other young adults in need of assistance may qualify for job training, dorm space or both. They offer two career tracks: healthcare and trades such as carpentry, plumbing and electricity. Applicants must come through WorkNet Pinellas.

Pinellas Trail Happy 20th Birthday to the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail which officially opened 20 years ago this December along the former CSX Railroad corridor. Today, the paved trail spans 37 miles from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg with more miles planned in the future. This nationally recognized treasure will be celebrated on December 4 at Taylor Park in Largo at 10 a.m. Pinellas Trails, Inc. will be hosting the celebration with Pinellas County and municipal governments along the corridor.

news Help for Caregivers Kim Linder has founded a company, Senior Holistic Living, to provide much needed coaching and help to caregivers in our community. Caring for a parent, spouse or child can be lonely, stressful and exhausting. Kim supports caregivers and encourages them to feel acknowledged, empowered, centered and balanced – with focus on the whole person and not just the caregiver role. She says, “A de-stressed caregiver is able to make wiser and clearer decisions for themselves and those in their care.” Her company offers one-on-one coaching, workplace training sessions and seminars for healthcare caregivers. Kim also hosts a one-hour radio show on the topic of caregiving on WHNZ 1250 AM Mondays from 11 a.m. to noon. The live show can also be heard at and Podcasts are on her website at

Whitzend kidZone Finally a fun hangout for the older kids that parents can trust and that provides old fashioned activities where kids interact in person. Whitzend kidZone is a cozy but fun place for kids ages 8-12 and 13-17 to be on Friday or Saturday evenings. It’s like a party in a friend’s family room, but the parents get a night out. It is safe and supervised, bully-free, label-free, smoke-free and drug & alcohol-free. Board games, Guitar Hero, Wii, foosball, pool table, air hockey table, green screen photo area, a stage with instruments and a karaoke machine are just of the fun. Register online. Fee includes pizza.

photo by City of Oldsmar

City of Oldsmar Parks designation According to a KaBOOM! Playground Poll conducted by Harris Interactive, 82% of parents believe children don’t spend enough time playing outside and the National Survey of Children’s Health reports that more than 1/3 of all U.S. children are overweight or obese. The City of Oldsmar, Leisure Services Department was recently recognized by the national organization KaBOOM! which designated the city Playful Oldsmar. Their award honors them for prioritizing play and providing adequate time and space for play.

Salt Air for Breathing Clear With cold season here, and allergies a fact of life for many in Tampa Bay, the salt rooms at Breathing Clear could provide some natural relief without drugs. Salt bricks mined in the Ukraine were shipped here and now line the walls of their therapy rooms. Clients relax in a recliner while they breathe salt infused air. The salt thins thick mucus that lines sinuses and airways – causing congestion and infections. They say it’s safe for children, too.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Local mompreneur Sarapage Bauguss was overcome with joy holding her newborn for the first time. Those feelings were followed by a passionate desire to protect her child and nurture a healthier lifestyle for her family. She says she scrutinized everything she brought home, including common household cleaning products. It didn’t take long for her to discover that most of those products contain dangerous chemicals and toxic additives that she didn’t want around her baby. Her alternative solution became a business and a mission to educate other moms about toxic chemicals. She invented NewLeaf Household Cleaning Products, which are made from simple, pure ingredients, laboratory tested for performance and proven effective. They are formulated with natural and organic ingredients, free of harsh chemicals and fumes and mom approved. Found at local health food stores and at

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Photo Courtesy of Pinellas County

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

news The Season for Fresh Markets is Here! Fresh markets, or green markets, are opening up throughout the Tampa Bay area for the season that typically runs from late October to May. Buying local is a sustainable way to support the local economy while obtaining healthier and more environmentally friendly goods and food. A favorite for families is the Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market that runs every second Sunday at Hillsborough High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In its second season, the market serves as a community gathering place where local farmers, producers and artisans can offer fresh agricultural and related products to generate a sense of local pride and further the economic development of the neighborhood. With a strong focus on sustainability, the market intends to provide a vehicle to educate the community on the importance of good health as they create more business opportunities and residential benefits.

The Downtown Tampa market has the same manager and many of the same vendors. It runs every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and has quickly become a local hot spot.

Celebrating Those Who Give As part of National Philanthropy Day®, November 17, the Suncoast chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will recognize the outstanding achievements of individual, foundation and corporate philanthropists, fundraising volunteers and professional fundraising executives. Without the financial and volunteer support of the community, our local agencies would not be able to serve those in need. GoodLiving™ says “thank you” to all those who give generously to further the goals of their favorite nonprofit organization! Our lives here would not be the same without you.

Free Shipping Day

Save a little gas, time and money by ordering gifts with free, guaranteed delivery by Christmas. More than 500 merchant sites, including, Macy’s, JC Penney, Circuit City, One Step Ahead (children’s catalog), Barnes & Noble and Sharper Image will offer shoppers free shipping. The day for ordering is December 17.

10 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

Buy Fresh, Buy Local Magnolia Organics in San Antonio is making it easier for families to get their hands on fresh, locally-grown organic produce without cooperative fees or contracts. Simply place your order and pick it up at the Downtown Tampa Market on Fridays. Or you can gather your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors and place a bulk order for delivery. Contact M.J. Logan at (352) 588-3687.

Other Local Green Markets

Dunedin Green Market on Fridays and Saturdays Market in the Park at Heritage Village on Saturdays Safety Harbor Farmer’s Market on Thursdays Saturday Morning Market, St. Petersburg Ybor City Fresh Market on Saturday

Move it Challenge

The Move It Challenge, sponsored by Sports Authority, is an invention competition for youth to create new sporting and backyard games that was launched nationally October 1 and will run through January 3, 2011. A grand prize of $10,000 will be awarded to the winner, with four finalists each receiving $1,000. Entries will be accepted online or by mail using the official entry form. Semi-final presentations will be in March 2011 and five finalists will compete in May 2011. Entries are free and there is no limit on how many ideas can be submitted by one person. Customized educational materials designed to inspire kids to create new games, sports training devices and fitness tracking devices, while learning the benefits of staying healthy are available free for download to educators on the competition website:



The Personal Side of Gift Giving Hallmark Recordable Storybook

Fashion Playtes

Choose from favorites The Night Before Christmas or The Christmas Story and recruit a grandparent who lives far away or perhaps a military parent to record the story in his or her own voice. Each page is pre-recorded separately. The recordings are activated when the page is turned. A wonderful keepsake that will live on for years. Other titles available. $29.95 at Hallmark stores.

A personal and interactive gift idea for girls ages 5-12. Girls can log on to their website to design their own clothes, order them, and have them shipped to their doorstep. Parents can sit side-by-side with their daughters and help them create their own, one-of-a-kind wearable fashions, building self-esteem and confidence in the process. Prices vary. Use code livingtampa10 for 10% off $25 or more.

Voice Quilt

Share the gift of voices with someone who is far away, in a hospital or nursing home or celebrating a major milestone. To make a voice quilt, simply sign up on the website and obtain a toll-free call-in number. People all over the world can call in to record a special greeting, song, poem or prayer to share with the recipient. All messages are arranged and loaded on a memory stick that goes inside a specially-designed wood box that when opened plays the messages. Price varies.

Made to Order Chocolate Bars

Handmade treasures are the ultimate in personal gift giving. Find your inner artist and create a one-of-a-kind work of art. Or, give someone you love a gift certificate for an art class or workshop. The Tampa Bay area is rich with artful opportunities. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Have some fun making a custom chocolate bar for someone on your list. At their site you first select a base Belgian chocolate (dark, milk, white) and then add up to five ingredients from their list of over 100. Go traditional with nuts or get crazy with crystallized rose petals or 24 karat gold flakes. Around $5 depending on ingredients. Bulk orders for parties or weddings.

The Clay Studio at the Morean Art Center has plenty of projects for beginners. Paint a clay tray, set of garden stakes or a bowl to fit someone’s décor and personalize it. Kids classes, too. The Dunedin Fine Arts Center has a wide selection of jewelry making classes, among many others.

Inspired Gifts

Make it a night out with friends and learn to paint a masterpiece at Painting with a Twist in St. Petersburg. At Stirling Commons in Dunedin, you’ll find Dunedin Beads, Art from the Heart Paint Your Own Pottery studio and Luann’s Stained Glass where she has unique gifts and offers lessons in stained glass and mosaic.

Grandma’s Chicken Soup Lumnique Personally Designed Candles For a touch of class, send someone a made-to-order candle that uses a soy wax blend, clean burning dual cotton wicks, eco-friendly color dyes and essential fragrance oils that retain their scent while the candle burns. At their website choose candle color and fragrance. For the holidays, they are offering a brand new scent, Winter Forest cold, frosty morning. Each candle arrives in a gift box with a personalized card from the sender. An 8 oz. candle is $30.

12 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

What do you get the hard-to-buy-for friend who lives up in snow country? Or maybe your favorite aunt has a bad cold during the holidays? Send delicious homemade chicken noodle soup. The Original soup package arrives still partially frozen in a wrapped basket that also has a soup mug, spoon and crackers. A very thoughtful gift of warmth and comfort. Soup alone is $29.95 for a half gallon. Many other gifts available to go with the soup.

This website offers a little more than a place to make a keepsake photo book. With inspirational quotes and meaningful templates, creating an inspired gift is much easier. Also make calendars that send a message of love each month or create a wall poster using your own photo along with an inspirational quote. Prices vary.

A Personal Masterpiece

This unique online service turns any photo into a work of art by creating amazing, high-quality artwork of family, friends, pets and more. The pieces are created by actual artists, not just computer software. Upload photo and pick from oil painting, pencil sketch, Lichtenstein style, watercolor and more. Takes about a week and is a pretty good value starting at $45. Framing is available too.

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For the Techies Epson Artisan 725

Printing quality photos at home straight from the camera or phone makes the Epson Artisan 725 a convenient addition, especially for making crafts and scrapbooks to preserve memories. It even makes coloring sheets from photos for the kids! This all-in-one printer has the world’s fastest 4”x6” photo print speeds, automatic two-sided printing, superior image enhancing tools and can scan, print and access memory card slots from any room in the house with Wi-Fi connectivity. $199 at or major retailers.


A helpful accessory for those who like to travel the world or venture into the yard with their laptops and need better range to access wireless internet sources. The Wi-Fire is a compact, range-extending USB device that enables you to access a wireless Internet connection from up to 1,000 feet away - three times the range of your internal wireless adapter. With it you can connect wirelessly to the Internet faster and at stronger signal levels. You gain distance, penetrate obstructions, resist interference and close up all of those frustrating dead spots you find where you just cannot connect. $49 at

Toshiba Canvio Hard Disk

Give the gift that can help someone save their valuable digital photos and videos collected on smartphones, computers and mp3 players so they don’t face the tragedy of losing irreplaceable memories. Practical and caring at the same time! Toshiba’s Canvio line of sleek external hard drives for PCs and Macs are easy-to-use, light weight and portable solutions. Capacities up to 1TB have enough space to store up to 285,000 digital pictures, 263,000 digital music files or 820 DVDs. The Canvio drives are found at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, or at The Canvio is made with recycled materials, too.

Kids Corner Solar Sound Speakers

No plugs or batteries needed with the new Solar Sound 2 Solar-Powered Bluetooth Stereo Speakers - a compact, portable stereo speaker that can play music wirelessly via Bluetooth while charging its battery under the sun. Compact and light weight, the sleek design includes touch screen remote controls and a built in microphone for hands free communication when driving. Easily portable and a great outdoors companion, it is definitely a must-have accessory for Florida fun seekers. Buy the only solar powered wireless travel speakers on the market at

Freeloader solar charger

Charge any hand-held device anywhere, anytime by freeloading power from the Sun. Solar panels channel power to Lithium-ion batteries. Solar Technology International offers three different versions of the Freeloader. All of them are sleek, compact and easy to use. Starting at $29.99, the Freeloader solar chargers can power an iPod, mobile smartphone, PSP, GPS, PDA or e-books. They offer different sizes and capacities, plus accessories for charging compact digital, DSLR and video camera batteries. Keep handy for the hurricane survival kit too! Buy at


Just in time for Christmas, the TOMICA line of die-cast cars, trains and accessories is making its American debut at Toys ‘R Us stores. To start, the line has train, destination and deluxe play sets which merge together to create a city that has working parts. For instance, the fire station has flashing lights and an alarm. Other brands of die-cast vehicles fit in the city just fine. These toys will make a great gift to encourage creative construction, role playing and hours of fun with all those little cars and trucks.

The Last Ornament

This lovely children’s book by Judith Vicary Swisher tells the story of beloved Christmas tree ornaments from their perspective. Their family loves trimming the tree each year and then proudly displaying the Christmas tree for admirers. All is good until the train is missing. $14.95 at


A fast-paced board game for players age 7+ that teaches vocabulary. Players read a definition like “partially dried grape,” and the first to call out “raisin” gets to move ahead on the board. Created by a teacher and available for $29.99 at

Gabbit™ iFrogz Headphones

A gift idea for hard-to-buy-for teenagers is a comfy pair of headphones. As an alternative to earbuds, iFrogz has developed the comfort series, a lightweight set of on-ear headphones called the CS40s. Currently available in nine colors for $39.99. Each pair has an adjustable headband - so they’re great for the entire family. The CS40s also fold for increased portability.

Share a conversation starter with your favorite family this year. Gabbit™ gives parents an easy way to connect with their kids on long car drives or just about anywhere. Press a button and hear a question that will engage families in spontaneous, meaningful communication without any pressure for the “right” answer. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go? What’s your favorite thing about the person sitting next to you? Plus hundreds more in five categories: This or That, What If?, Favorites, Friends & Family, and Zingers. Faith-oriented questions are incorporated into every category. $19.99 at Christian retail outlets or at


14 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

people Rev. Dan Campbell

one person can make a big difference “Younger people want to help with money, but also with their hands,” so JHCM welcomes volunteers from all walks of life who want to work directly with families. “We encourage teenagers to volunteer during the holidays making crafts with children of our clients so they have a gift for their parents.” People can also volunteer to be personal shoppers with the families who come for food and toy donations, and he needs a lot of both.

The personal shopping experience was designed to give some dignity to the process, especially for the dads who often have a difficult time getting help from someone else so they can provide for their children. Clients are pre-qualified and then given a shopping appointment where they can select food and toys that fit the family. Donations are accepted from November 2 to December 24. Rev. Dan Campbell stood in front of his congregation and asked a very hard question, “Would the community miss us if we were gone?” That was the breeze that sparked the flame for this small Methodist church in Holiday to close as a place of worship and re-open as a full-fledged 501(c)(3) charity called the Joining Hands Community Mission ( JHCM).

“Too many families in Pasco County are in crisis,” says Dan, who serves as the charity’s CEO. He also serves as president of the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County. According to Dan the number of homeless families (with at least one child in public school where the data is collected) doubled from 2008 to 2009, from 1,124 to 2,400 respectively. “There are also 14,800 homes currently in foreclosure in the county. Because families are living together, there is a potential for another 150,000 people to be homeless in the near future.” He adds that utility companies are charging enormous deposits, making it more difficult for families to live on their own after foreclosure.

“We have families with children living in their cars by a 24-hour Walmart so they can use a bathroom. With no emergency family shelters in the county, we have nowhere for them to stay. Sadly there are now about 40 to 60 camps set up in the woods.” A man of calling and action, Dan set out to join ministry and social services together. He now hosts churches like Generations Church in Trinity who use his program as a mission field for youth and adults. Any organization can contact Dan about helping.

Jared Fogle

Clients receive more than material goods. Staff and volunteers with JHCM do their best to offer hope along with support services that can help them improve their situation. Joining Hands Community Mission is a Pasco County outreach initiative of the United Methodist Church Gulf Central District and Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa. To learn more about Dan, his mission and their holiday giving event, go to

Jared Fogle of Subway fame visited Tampa Bay to help promote the Nov. 6 Heart Walk and encourage kids to be healthy, fit and “never ever need to wear pants as big as Jared used to wear.” After losing 245 pounds while in college, Jared has dedicated himself to inspiring others to lose weight or stay fit by telling his story.

Jared knows that a big part of GoodLiving is feeling good and taking care of our bodies. We asked Jared, “What does GoodLiving mean to you?” and he said, “Good Living, to me, means having proper balance in your life. It means following moderation with nutrition and exercise but also making sure you have fun.


18 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010



From the Pinellas beaches to Orlando, you’ll find events and celebrations for creating wonderful memories. GoodLiving™ has some of our favorites listed here and more at So whether you want to experience the magic of Disneyworld or an old fashioned family street festival, these events won’t disappoint! Santa Parade and Snowfest on December 4 in downtown St. Petersburg is a day of delight. The Santa Parade begins at 10 a.m. and travels along Bay Shore Drive ending at Straub Park. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Snowfest at Straub Park has 65 tons of snow, toboggan rides, glice skating and more! Wristbands are $5. Santa will also be in the park on select nights in December from 6 – 9 p.m.

Lowry Park Zoo is magical during Wild Wonderland where children of all ages can see live reindeer, millions of lights, elaborate holiday displays and free unlimited zoo rides all evening. Wild Wonderland starts December 10 and runs select evenings.

Santa Fest and Holiday Parade in Tampa is December 4 at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The downtown park will be transformed into a winter wonderland with crafts, holiday entertainment and visits with Santa . The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on December 4. Parade begins at 4. Sponsored by Tampa Parks and Recreation.

The annual Holiday Parade in downtown New Port Richey is December 11 at 7 p.m. Before the parade, enjoy a day long festival in Sims Park.

Nobody does holiday magic like Disneyworld. Cinderella’s castle is breathtaking as it lights up the festivities at Magic Kingdom. The awesome and memorable Christmas Candlelight Processional at Epcot Center is a moving choir performance of Christmas hymns with a celebrity reading of the Christmas story. The countries share their holiday traditions and foods as well. And then each evening, someone hits the switch at Hollywood Studios to turn on the Osborne Family light display, one of the largest such displays in the country. The entire downtown area covered in lights is something you just have to see to appreciate.

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” at ICE! at Gaylord Palms in Orlando from November 19 thru January 2. Walk through this attraction to see two million pounds of hand-carved sculptures. The journey ends with a giant ice slide. Bring hats and gloves to go with the provided parkas. New this year is SNOW! and combo tickets are available.

Downtown Dunedin has its Holiday Parade and Old Fashioned Christmas celebration on Saturday December 11. The parade begins at 4 pm before the quaint downtown area turns into a fun-filled family Christmas event with horse-drawn wagon rides, kid train rides, old fashioned games, carolers, entertainment. Shops are open, too.

It’s not quite Rockefeller Center, but Downtown Tampa on Ice is going to do it Florida style. The all-new outdoor ice skating rink at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park will be a temporary fixture from Thanksgiving week to New Year’s Day. Take the family ice skating along the river or schedule a holiday party under the stars. Sessions cost $10 per person including skate rental.

Celebrate in Downtown Dade City with Magical Night Christmas Parade on December 3 at 7 p.m. The annual Church Street Christmas Stroll is the evening of December 11. Enjoy a historic brick street filled with magical wonders of the season, fully decorated homes, hundreds of luminaries, strolling carolers, choral groups, hot cocoa and more!

photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Celebrate the Season with Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. You and your family will stroll the beautiful gardens amidst 425,000 twinkling lights as the Gardens transform into a holiday wonderland. This event is free to children 12 and under and a suggested donation of $2 per adult. Starts November 26 through January 2 from 6 – 9 p.m.

Ring in the New Year at First Night in Downtown St. Petersburg. This is a family friendly event starting with First Kids at 5 p.m. where children will make crafts, enjoy magic, dancing, bubbles and a petting zoo. Adults and kids will take in arts and culture with fireworks, stories, music and more until midnight.

photo courtesy of Pinellas County


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GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

Adoption and Foster Care Need our Attention By Terry Collier

November is National Adoption Month, a time to celebrate families who have already opened their homes to children in need and to encourage others to consider becoming an adoptive or foster family. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and that is true. However, it is also true that it takes an entire community to support the parents who care for our most precious resource: children.

A child who remains in foster care until 18 will have lived in an average of 17 foster homes, and if they haven’t been adopted by their 18th birthday, they will “age out” of the system with little or no stable support in their lives. Many have nowhere to live and struggle to finish high school.

Some agencies in attendance were the Department of Children and Families, Juvenile Welfare Board ( JWB), Eckerd Youth Alternatives (EYA), SPC, Gulf Coast Jewish Family Service Centers and the Guardian ad litem program. One major topic was determining how SPC could benefit the organizations by reducing costs and increasing adoptions.

Abandoned and neglected children and youth in our community deserve a better path in life other than growing up in a failed system. And then sadly many will transition to another failed system – prison. JWB Board Member and Juvenile Court Judge Irene Sullivan in her book Raised by the Courts said, “We must keep kids in school and get them to college or technical training. A path to potentially high paying jobs is the only way to stop street methods of getting paid.”

Leaders from Pinellas and Pasco Counties came together earlier this year to discuss how organizations can do even more to help children in need. Some 40 leaders came together for a session at the St. Petersburg College (SPC) Collaborative Lab to discuss the issue of adoptions and the care of youth and children in the Florida foster care system.

Aging out of the system was another top priority at the collaborative lab and one project is already underway. In November, SPC, JWB, EYA, Ready for Life and the new Job Corps Campus will host the first of many “Rally your Future” events to help identify and work with youth aging out or aged out of the system. Young people in attendance will be informed of services and opportunities, as well as a free career assessment by SPC’s career counselor Dr. James Gonyea.

National Adoption Day is celebrated each year resulting in 25,000 adoptions over the past 10 years. In Florida, Governor Crist announced an adoption initiative in 2010 and has made the The residents of Pinellas and Pasco Counties are blessed to have such wonderful and gifted leaders working in behalf of these issue of youth and at-risk children a major priority. According to the Progress Energy Heart Gallery of Pinellas and children, but they can’t do it alone. It takes a whole community and that means YOU! Pasco County, there are over 4,000 children in the local foster care system, and nearly 500 who are available for adoption.

Contact one of these agencies for more information on adoption and foster care: Florida’s Adoption Information Center Heart Gallery of Pinellas/Pasco Counties Heart gallery of Tampa Bay Adopt US Kids Eckerd Youth Alternatives Gulf Coast Community Care Adoption Family Enrichment Center Florida One Church One Child Adoption Program The Children’s Home Youth and Family Alternatives Gift of Life Adoptions Heart of Adoptions

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eating It’s Cranberry Season!

The holiday season is full of activities and so finding healthy food on the run may pose more of a challenge for busy families. GoodLiving™ has found three restaurants that offer a fresh alternative to fast food. They are quick and affordable, and have take-out services to make a good meal ultra convenient, too.

Fresh cranberries, the red cousin to the blueberry, are at their peak from October through December – the time when they contain the highest levels of beneficial nutrients. Choose fresh, plump cranberries that are deep red in color. They should be firm to the touch. 

Fresh cranberries can be refrigerated for several months and frozen for several years. To freeze, spread the fresh cranberries out on a cookie shoot and place them in the freezer. Don’t wash them first; you can rinse them in cold water prior to use. Once you thaw the berries use them immediately, as they will be very soft. 


Green Market Café

Friends of Jolene, founder and owner of FreshGo, were surprised to see her open a restaurant instead of running for governor. This go getter was a busy working mom who couldn’t help but notice the lack of healthy dining options. Five years ago she opened this restaurant at 600 34th St. N. in St. Petersburg. If you don’t live close, then keep this restaurant in mind when heading to the beaches, Ft. DeSoto and attractions in St. Pete. It’s easy to find and has a drive thru. Only hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats are used. A juicy, delicious burger is on the menu, along with wraps, homemade soups and salads. Vegetarian options are on the menu daily. Knowing that parents need finger foods for little ones, Jolene used her ingenuity to develop mac & cheese bites which were yummy. FreshGo also caters, which is ideal for parties and work events where healthy, delicious food is wanted. 727-328-WILD 600 34th St. N. • St. Petersburg

Conveniently located in Oldsmar, the brand new Green Market Café offers wraps, flatbreads and salads all made with fresh ingredients. Nothing ordinary and boring here. Owner Andrew Koumi has developed a menu that brings flavors together for an outrageously delicious meal. He opted to forego having a freezer and instead has food (including local produce) delivered twice a week. The meal portions are large and the prices are fair. Inside the café is Kiwi, a counter where you can order frozen yogurt with flavors like Mango-Orange or Taro and then add fresh fruit on top. To Andrew, fresh isn’t just about the food. The décor is intentionally bright and youthful and the menu will always be changing. 727-787-5494 3150 Tampa Road, Suite 1A • Oldsmar

Fresh At 507 N. Franklin Street in the heart of downtown Tampa, owners Brian and Jeff have opened Fresh. It’s a healthier and fresher dining option, especially for those heading to the museums, the St. Pete Times Forum, Downtown Tampa on Ice or any other downtown venue or event. They get a big lunch crowd, but they also have a cereal bar for those wanting a little crunch for breakfast – or a snack. They are open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. The menu has a diverse selection of panini sandwiches, soups, salads, cereals and frozen treats. Fresh offers a call ahead take-out service so working moms can grab Fresh dinner to go. 813-229-5500 507 N. Franklin Street • Tampa

24 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

You can throw the frozen berries directly into any baking recipe you are preparing, just add a few extra minutes to allow for the temperature change. If you are going to juice the berries, don’t throw away the pulp. The whole cranberry has been show to possibly help prevent cancer.

Terry Walter’s new book, Clean Start, contains about 100 recipes, pictures, tips, serving suggestions and inspiration to cook meals with fresh and clean ingredients. While many of the recipes are vegan or gluten free, she says this book is for everyone because the dishes include foods that we should all be eating. Walters, a working mom, knows cooking can’t take a lot of time these days so her recipes are busy-mom friendly. To get kids on board, she suggests teaching children to eat a rainbow of color at meals, plant a garden or take them shopping to include them in the process. Purchase at or at major bookstores.

Remember, when choosing cranberries (and most other fruits) the deeper the color, the more highly concentrated are the anthocyanin benefits. An Austrian study suggests that as fruits fully ripen, their antioxidant levels actually increase, so an excellent reason to buy as much local produce as possible.

Susie’s Favorite Protein-Fruit Smoothies

In a blender: Start with about a cup of your favorite fruit juice (all juice, no added sugar) and 2 splashes of pomegranate juice. Add 1/2 cup of the egg white protein, 2 scoops of Profibe and 4 tablespoons of the lecithin granules. Next add 1/2 to 1 whole banana, 1/2 to 1 cup of cut up fruit. We use pre-cut fruit packages. Add 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries or cranberries and about 1 cup of frozen strawberries. This is for two shakes, so adjust accordingly. Susie Bittiker is Your Fresh Chef. Her recipes can be heard on WHNZ radio, AM 1250, Saturdays from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. The purpose of Susie’s show is to help listeners kick the convenience food habit and put delicious and healthy meals on the table with a minimal effort.   

Showing Thanks All Year Long by Jessica Sykes

Most written communication is electronic these days; however people still appreciate a hand-written note, especially if it comes from a child. Hand-made thank you notes are an affordable and personal way to teach thankfulness and gratitude for kids of all ages. We hope these craft ideas will inspire your own creativity, plus they can be fun activities for Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

Balloon Pocket Card

This is such a fun card that still uses the beautiful element of a handwritten thank you while adding a little surprise to delight the recipient. With the balloon tucked in its little pocket and the message written on the balloon, this is sure to elicit a big smile! Materials: Coordinating Designer Mat Paper (I used Amy Butler Prints by K&Company) Card stock 81/2 x 11 Balloon Double sided tape Ribbon or Twine Hole punch Tiny Clothespin (Or any clip) made for scrapbooking

Fingerprint Card The creativity is virtually endless for this type of card. Its sweetness and simplicity is appropriate for a wide range of ages. The leaves and pumpkins are made from a child’s fingerprints.

Directions: 1. Cut card into a tag shape by folding top corners together (without creasing) and cutting on an angle where the two corners meet.

2. Make the pocket by cutting a square or rectangle shape and folding it in half, using double sided tape to secure both sides making a pocket. 3. Blow up the balloon, twist (but do not tie off ) and secure with a clip so you can write your thank you message, Deflate and tuck into the pocket.

4. Punch a hole in the top of your tag and tie your twine or ribbon. Bend the twine in half to form a loop, push loop through hole and bring the bottom pieces through the loop and pull to secure to the tag.

5. The message card is printed on cardstock and using a business card template in Microsoft Word labels. The text was realigned and a border was added in order to cut them out. 6. Clip the card slightly askew to your pocket.

Materials: Colored Pencils Blank Card Washable Markers in Red, Orange, Green, Yellow and Brown Cardstock Twine 3D foam squares or dots Hot glue or craft glue

Directions: 1. Draw a bare branched tree to the left of your card with your colored pencils. Using a child’s pinky fingers, color the tip of the finger with a color and place fingerprint on branch. Use different colors and vary it.

2. Using the child’s thumb prints (each pumpkin is a thumb print from each of my daughters), color their thumb tip with the orange marker and press firmly next to the tree. Draw pumpkin stems with colored pencil. 3. Write your message on card stock and cut out in an oval or whatever shape preferred.

4. Tie a small bow in your twine and glue to your message. Place a 3D sticker to the back of the message and place it on your card to add dimension.

Yarn Handwriting Thanks Card This is such a great way to add personalization and still add a creative, handmade element since the word is written in a child’s handwriting. Materials: Any card or notecard of your choice. Several colors of yarn Craft Glue

Directions: 1. Have your child write the word THANKS on the front of the card in their own handwriting. 2. Using the glue, lay yarn on each letter in the exact pattern of the handwriting. 3. You are done!

Jessica is happily married and mom of two ridiculously cute daughters. A writer, versatile crafter, and amateur sewer, she writes a fun blog over at sharing about her family, creativity, and her faith.


26 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010


Not long ago, I sat in the emergency room at All Children’s Hospital with my 8-year-old daughter. As I held her, I became aware of something that touched my core. My thoughts flashed to a recent rally I’d attended sponsored by the Florida Children’s Movement, a bi-partisan group of parents, teachers, military leaders, business community members and others fed up with Florida’s horrific national standing in how we care for our children. I sat with over 1,300 people and heard Movement organizer David Lawrence plead with us to begin thinking of all children as “our” children. Though Lawrence’s message struck a chord with the gathering, I only fully embraced the power of what he’d said after scanning the faces of the children who shared the emergency room with my daughter that night. Every child’s eyes told the same story. They were all relying on the grownups around them to take care of them, to help them be okay.

Dr. James McHale James P. McHale, Ph.D. is a professor and department chair for the USF St. Pete Psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and specializes in family theory and research. Dr. McHale’s current research program examines the role of coparenting and family group dynamics in families of infant, toddler, and preschoolaged children. He also maintains active interests in infant mental health, community psychology, family diversity, and primary prevention. Visit the Family Study Center at

Lawrence was right. How is it that we, as a state, have lost sight of our single greatest responsibility? Why is it that Florida now ranks among the worst states in the nation on virtually every measure of how we care for our children? The litany of legislative cuts over the past decade to services and supports for pregnant women and young children, and the impact these “budgetary” decisions have had on children and families is astonishing. They have been chronicled in a compelling report “Investing in Florida’s Children: Good Policy, Smart Economics” assembled by researchers at Florida State University. The data are almost beyond belief.

The list continues – and the results of this neglect of our state’s Advances in science have established that ninety percent of a infants, toddlers, and preschoolers shows up later in sobering ways. child’s brain development has been completed by the age of In 2009, 30% of Florida’s fourth graders did not meet even minimum five. Ninety percent. Yet Florida’s short-sighted approach to our state’s budget appropriation dedicates just 3% of available reading proficiency on the FCAT. funds to essential programming for our children. Florida is one of only four states where less than 2/3 of ninth graders graduate from high school within four years with a regular diploma. Of every 100 Florida students today, only 76 will ever graduate from high school – only 51 will attend college and only 32 will earn a B.S. degree within six years.

It is time, today, for Floridians to begin putting a stop to this insensitive neglect of our state’s most precious and unfettered resource. The first five years of children’s lives is the most effective time to influence our future society and workforce. Before age Fully 75% of applicants for the military are ineligible due to failure to 5, children establish the building blocks for thinking, learning graduate from high school, a criminal record or physical fitness issues. and positive social interactions that affect both their individual Every high school dropout loses a quarter of million dollars in lifetime lives and the contributions they make to society as a whole. Our earnings, ultimately costing taxpayers up to $288,000 in additional state’s future depends upon every Florida child being healthy, costs of health care, public safety and other social programs ready to learn and successful in school and life.

Florida currently ranks 47th in the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester, despite the critical importance of good prenatal care for the gestation and delivery of healthy infants. In the 1980s, Florida’s neonatal intensive care unit follow-up programs for babies born prematurely or with developmental problems were among the nation’s best. In recent years, Legislative cuts drastically reduced funding so there is now little follow-up of low birth weight babies despite research showing long-term gains by doing so.

Florida has the second highest number of uninsured children in the nation (822,000 or 19% of our state’s children). We rank 41st (ninth worse in the country) in child abuse deaths, yet the 2010 Florida Legislature cut our state’s Healthy Families program, which effectively prevents child abuse before it ever occurs, by one-third in the last session.

We are a better people than our state numbers indicate.

Early Steps, a screening and intervention program designed for all Florida children with early-identified developmental delays is now so dramatically underfunded they recently changed eligibility criteria for children to qualify for services. The result: young children now must wait until their developmental delay is even more severe before they can qualify to receive services. Florida’s economic downtown has heightened parents’ need for affordable child care so they can work, but the majority of Florida’s child care for young children under three is minimal to poor. Average wages for child care workers of $9 an hour without benefits (under the national average) contributes to child care staff turnover rates of 30-40%. Keeping trained staff is almost impossible. At present, Florida serves less than 25% of infants and toddlers eligible for federally sponsored Early Head Start, a comprehensive, high-quality program with positive outcomes. Our state’s pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds began in the ‘80s funded by lottery dollars at $3,600, at which time it was a full-day program with degreed teachers. Twenty-five years later, Florida spends $1,100 less per child in a three-hour a day program without degreed teachers, ranking our state at the bottom of national spending. We are the only state in the nation to actually decrease funding for pre-K two years in a row. And in 2009, Florida met only three of the 10 quality prekindergarten standards established by the National Institute for Early Education Research. This is a decrease from the previous year.

Advances in science have established that ninety percent of a child’s brain development has been completed by the age of five. Ninety percent. Yet Florida’s short-sighted approach to our state’s budget appropriation dedicates just 3% of available funds to essential programming for our children.

In Pinellas – the county in Florida boasting the largest number of children in the state – we should be leading the way to assure that our state and our elected officials realign what we consider most important. Familiarize yourself with the voting records of current elected officials on children’s issues. Demand policy makers to prioritize concerns for the state’s children in every decision they make while in office. And respond with your vote if they do not. Each of us needs to take greater responsibility for the actions of elected officials that affect our children’s welfare. If we do not, we join them in being culpable for our state’s woeful record in caring for children.

We are all in this for children together. Children are looking into all of our eyes, expecting, deserving to be cared for. For more information, visit the Children’s Movement of Florida website,


28 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

It ’s a Wonderful Life

Sharing Joy with Our Community Elders

by Linda Rodante and Sheryl Young

With the busy holiday season fast approaching, let’s not forget those who reside in local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and rehabilitation centers – our community elders who need a loving touch, attention and simple good cheer. They have lived full and wonderful lives, but now many exist in a lonelier world with little interaction with what’s outside.

While shopping and charitable giving may be limited this year, the gift of your time takes no more than some easy planning and the willingness to brighten someone’s day with touches from your wonderful life.

Seniors comprise a large part of our local population. The over 60 crowd in Pinellas County is 27.4 percent of the entire population, with those 85+ accounting for 13.6 percent of that figure. In Pasco County, citizens 60 years and older represent 29.9 percent of the county’s population, with nearly 12 percent of them over age 85. That’s up 32.5 percent in the last five years. In Hillsborough County, statistics show those 65+ account for 11.8 percent, with another 15% who will reach that age within five years. The population of seniors in these three counties is approximately 400,000. A 2010 profile from Florida Elder Affairs shows that more than 66,000 of this number are senior and disabled citizens who are dependent on some kind of outside-the-home care on a temporary or permanent basis.

So while we see active seniors out and about, there are tens of thousands others we don’t see. They are the more elderly and frail who can be found living in facilities as well as senior mobile home parks, apartments and homes. They have varying degrees of ability and many have no families around to care for them. They are our neighbors – our often forgotten neighbors. Out of sight -- out of mind, even during the holidays. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to reach out to the elderly is by working with your own neighborhood care facilities.

What do these facilities do for their residents -and how can we help?

Ramona Pozo, Activity Director for Manor Care in Tampa’s Lake Magdalene area, says their center hosts in-house interdenominational holiday parties and they welcome all kinds of volunteer attention for their long and short-term residents. Some ideas for helping: Individuals or family can come in any time to just say hello, hold someone’s hand, talk to the residents or read to them in rooms designated for activities.

Groups can come in to perform seasonal music or drama. She advises that many facilities require prior arrangements to avoid scheduling issues. Bring general gifts like blankets, socks, gloves and dolls that can be given out. Bring yummy treats, but understand these need to be distributed by employees because of possible dietary restrictions.

Pozo informed us that at most facilities, volunteers can also spend time with residents individually in their rooms. But a background check is needed in advance for first-time volunteers.

At Superior Residences of Brandon, Activities Director Sharon Sullivan says the staff takes personal time with each resident. They give hand rubs, do their nails, and organize crafts and arrange group sings. Special activities relating to the season are planned as well as the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Last winter, Pozo stopped by a dollar store and bought twenty pairs of gloves for some of the ladies who often felt cold. This was a hit, and it would be wonderful if volunteers could help out too! During the Christmas season, one of her favorite things is to fix hot chocolate and marshmallows for the residents. She says the residents love sweets and chocolate because the smell and warmth of the hot cocoa brings memories of home. Offer to bring in hot cider or cocoa packets as a way to help.

31 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

It ’s a Wonderful Life , cont ’d ...

Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg will be doing Hanukkah services for their residents. But they also have started a Skype program that could be very exciting especially for the holidays! Menorah Manor has computers situated in their common areas and WIFI throughout the facility. Volunteers can help residents talk to their out-of-town loved ones via Skype, a software application that allows voice and video phone calls over the Internet. This is a great idea for the teen techies who want to help! Yet another group of people who need Holiday cheer

It takes a little more investigation to find people who may be living alone or are considered “shut-ins.”

We caught up with Nancy Drourr at Hillsborough County’s Meals on Wheels headquarters. Nancy says Meals on Wheels could use more volunteers all year long, but was very enthusiastic about getting some extra help for holiday meal deliveries.

Elves for Elders a program sponsored by Better Living for Seniors in Pinellas County has angel trees in all the county’s Beall’s stores. With the help of local agencies, they have identified Medicaid clients who have no one around to buy them presents. Choose and angel and brighten someone’s holiday. Ask the leadership of your place of worship for a list of the elderly and shut-ins that are on the membership list. Organize groups to perform, visit or drop off gifts to those members. Give children a chance to read a holiday story, make a craft or sing a song. They will never have a more grateful audience. Carry greeting cards made by young children (see page 26 for ideas) in your bag and let the young ones hand them to an elderly person at the grocery store, pharmacy or bank. Similarly, spread some joy to the neighbors you never see, even if you just leave it at the door.

Or organize a school or youth group to make holiday cards for those who receive meals from Neighborly Care in Pinellas County. Contact their volunteer coordinator at (727) 573-9444 “We have pick-up locations all around the county and it only takes about an hour. We assign our volunteers a route, so they get to help out. to know the people they’re serving.”

Round-up of general suggestions for holiday visits Almost everyone we spoke with says it’s a great opportunity for family outings. Residents’ and patients’ faces especially light up when it is a small child who presents a gift or card. This is an ideal learning situations for moms with preschoolers. It’s something to do before they start school that will teach their children to value and assist other people less fortunate than themselves.

While becoming girls of courage, confidence, and character, Girl Scouts troops reach out to spread holiday cheer and brighten days. Here are just a few examples:

Let children know what to expect before going. Explain that many of the people will be old, may not be able to speak, and could be in wheelchairs. Bringing a card or small gift makes it easier to initiate conversation. Make sure you’ve called ahead to ask how many gifts or treats to bring and what is appropriate at the particular facility you plan to visit. If you want to make the gift more personal, make it by hand. Ask for names of residents that never receive visitors or letters. Send or bring cards with their names to these particular residents. You might even want to extend this activity all year round. Read books, poems or Bible verses aloud. Do wholesome comedy or drama skits. Reading the Thanksgiving or the Christmas story can give your children a reason to dress up. Dogs are welcome! If your dog is well-behaved and housebroken, call ahead to learn the facility’s policies. Most facilities are now aware that dogs are good therapy and most residents love animal visits.

Buy a gift for an elderly resident through Elves for Elders. Find the angel trees in Pinellas County Beall’s stores

Certain residents may have permission to go outdoors. Volunteer to accompany them around the facility if weather permits. One-on-one attention is valuable (check ahead if background checks are needed). Music and performing of any kind is always well received. Plan a short program of new and old songs. When finished, walk around and shake people’s hands. The personal touch is a blessing.

photo courtesy of Palms of Largo

Small gifts you can take: costume jewelry, socks, gloves (think dollar stores), combs, boxes of tissues, small, lightly-scented hand lotions and nail polish for women or treats to be handed to an employee

Brownie Troop 618 in Oldsmar has visited Harbor Chase of Palm Harbor for the past two years and, according to Troop Leader Deb Pierce, “It’s kind of like a part of life for the girls. It’s what we do – try and take the holidays into people who might not be able to get out.” The girls make visits throughout the year, too, including Halloween for a costume parade. Brownie Troop 148 and Daisy Troop 389 presented a holiday program at an assisted living facility in Zephyrhills, and are planning on doing so again this year. Girls from Junior Troop 1251 and 753 will present a Veteran’s Day performance at The Landings at Sea Forest in New Port Richey, and will sing carols at a local nursing home. For four years, Brownie Troop 132 in the Riverview/ Brandon area has visited the Alafia Village Nursing Home, making it a tradition. The girls learn new songs each year, and make ornaments to accompany cards for each of the residents. Older Girl Scouts in Troop 137 and Daisy Troop 474 sang carols at A Rose Garden Assisted Living Facility in Palm Harbor. In addition, Brownie Troop 104 from Tarpon Springs visited the facility to sing carols and hand out beaded ornaments and cards. The residents found their visit “delightful,” “so wonderful” and “very cheerful.”

“It was a wonderful experience for our troop to see the joy they brought to strangers just by spreading a little kindness,” said Sarah Zweifel, Troop 104 leader. “One of the most endearing comments from the girls was when they acknowledged that they understood some of the residents don’t have families like they do. We plan on making our holiday visits an annual event.”


32 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010



Go digital. Instead of paper holiday greetings (which cost money, add to recycling or landfill loads, and use oil resources for delivery), send electronic cards or whimsical options like to turn yourself and family members into virtual singing elves.

20 Ways to Green Your Christmas

By Pamela Ray

In many ways the modern green lifestyle is very similar to the old fashioned values and behaviors of our great grandparents. People in today’s world are seeing the importance of making changes and are intentionally saying no to wasting resources. Those changes are not only good for the environment; they are good for your bank account and relationships too.


1 2

Make gifts by hand. Create great holiday memories with kits or craft workshops to make something beautiful and meaningful.

Give gifts that build future value such as sports, music or art lessons.

3 4

Share the gift of time and service. Consider a lunch date, movie night, home-cooked meal, babysitting services, yard work or car wash. To create a special holiday memory, take a loved one to a holiday event and make it a tradition. Encourage relatives to chip in to buy a season pass to the zoo, local aquarium or museums that have year long educational programs and family events.

6 7

If you prefer to send hand-written notes, make your own cards with paper you already have or look for cards printed on recycled paper. Photo cards on recycled paper are available at Eliminate envelope waste by sending postcards or folding and sealing notes so you can address them on the outside. Every bit of paper you save, really adds up and it saves you money on postage!


9 10


Re-use packaging from previous years, use the funny pages or use recycled wrapping paper. Get creative and use unique containers to hold gifts, such as cloth sacks or boxes from other products.

Eliminate the paper and use only ribbons and bows to embellish gifts. Select fabric ribbons that can be reused.

An Asian tradition from the past is one of the biggest trends in wrapping – fabric. Use scarves and other material cut from old dresses, table cloths, etc. You can also go ultra chic with scarves and the “how to” book from



Decorate with Nature. Use natural items from around the house to decorate your tree such as, popcorn, berries and outdoor greens. Mother Nature will be so proud!



Choose edible décor. Apples, pomegranates and other seasonal fruits and yes, vegetables, look wonderful on your table and can be eaten or at least composted so they create no waste.

While many people think artificial is the greener option because the trees are reused year after year, the sad truth is that the majority are used for only four years before being tossed into the trash. Also of course, fake trees take significant energy to produce, package and ship (most are made outside of the U.S.), and are petroleum based.

If you are not going to reuse décor items, dispose of them in an eco-friendly way, preferably avoiding landfills at all cost. Give away via places like, thrift stores, schools, nursing homes, etc. Crafters scour sites like Craigslist for items they can incorporate into their art.

Buying a cut tree from a tree farm (especially one that employs more eco-friendly practices, i.e. fewer chemicals), is not a bad choice because these trees, like any other consumable, are replaced by new ones. If you do purchase a cut tree, be sure to find a way to compost, recycle or chip it.

12 13



The world of LED holiday lights has exploded. You can get almost every type of holiday light in this money saving, Earthsaving option. LEDs use up to 90% less energy than traditional lights and are more than twice as energy efficient as CFLs.

For outside the home, the most Earth-friendly option is solar which costs not a penny to operate.

15 16

When it comes to candles, the absolute best choice is pure beeswax. Beeswax burns cleanly (inside air pollution can be much worse than outside), gives off the aroma of honey and lasts longer than conventional candles that are made from petroleum. The real question is what to do with your old lights. The conundrum is whether to use the old ones or buy the newer, better varieties. It’s up to you to decide, but generally speaking it’s better to continue to use what you have (maybe lighting fewer than in the past) and avoiding buying new until your existing lights are damaged, deemed unsafe or simply ready to be replaced. And when they are ready to go, send them to for free recycling or ask in your town whether there is somewhere to recycle them.




When hosting holiday parties, use reusable glass or plastic ware, and recycled paper napkins. At, you can find various biodegradable paper plates and cutlery to keep your party green through and through.


Buy Organic or Locally-Grown Produce to make the most out of food resources and fuel. Support local family farmers who grow sustainable meat and produce. Not only does it taste better, you’ll be doing your part for the planet too.


34 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

My Story by Tom McQueen

Letters to Ethan

A Grandfather’s Legacy of Life & Love When people ask what motivated me to write Letters to Ethan, my answer often takes them by surprise.

As a licensed marriage and family therapist for over a quarter of a century, I had children and adults come to me for grief counseling that had lost a parent or loved one. What I would often hear would be things like, “My Dad left me a house, a car, and some photographs in a box. But what I really wished that he had left me was a note or a letter telling me how he felt about me or leaving me some advice about life.”

When I thought about their feelings, I saw the merit in writing “legacy letters” to my son on his birthday each year from the time he was born. In those letters I recounted some of the experiences we had during the year and how much I loved him and appreciated him more as each day passed. At his wedding three years ago, I gave Joe those letters as a part of his wedding present and as a gift that I wanted him to pass on to my grandchildren as well.

A Florida resident for 31 years and a licensed marriage and family therapist, Tom McQueen currently lives in Palm Harbor with his wife, Dottie. When he is not spending time with his family, McQueen serves as president of the American Family Foundation, headquartered in Palm Harbor. For more information about McQueen, Legacy Nation and Letters to Ethan, visit and

Then when my grandson Ethan was born, I realized that I had 30 years of mistakes and miracles as a parent. So I tried to identify the most important lessons that I learned about life from the time that I was growing up to this very day. I remembered struggling with questions like, “What’s the purpose for living?” “Does God really love me?” “How do you deal with conflicts and everyday challenges and obstacles?” “Does respect, integrity, love, and trust really mean anything anymore?” My purpose in writing the book was not to say, “Ethan, this is what I did to manage my life and I think you need to follow my advice.” No, I wanted him to understand that there will be many joys as well as obstacles in his path throughout the years and that it’s important to use one’s intellect, emotions, and will to get the most out of those joys and obstacles, to learn and to grow as a result of experiencing them.

With the endorsement of people like Dick Vitale at ESPN, legendary football coach Lou Holtz, and Rudy Ruettiger (inspiration for the movie, Rudy) our not-for-profit corporation, The American Family Foundation, has created Legacy Nation, a website where parents and grandparents can go to begin writing their own legacy letters to their children and grandchildren. The website is and builds on the theme of my book. In addition, I do presentations on “Faith, Family, and Miracles” in churches throughout the country. My prayer is that Legacy Nation will become a hope and a help for people who read my book, Letters to Ethan, and that they will join us in restoring a sense of faith, hope, and love in the lives of our children and grandchildren.

36 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

My Story by Bob Bugg

My life changed quickly and dramatically in September 2009. My ankles were swollen. “Mr. Bugg, your kidney biopsy shows that you have a very rare blood cell disease – amyloidosis.” There is no cure for amyloidosis and treatment options are very limited.

In early 2010, I was hospitalized at Moffitt Cancer Center for a bone marrow transplant. The bone marrow transplant was not successful and I started chemotherapy. To date, my treatments have not been effective.

I’m Bob Bugg. I was a civil trial attorney until approximately 10 years ago, when I became a full time mediator. In my “spare time” I loved teaching - Bible study classes at church, a non-denominational men’s Bible study, and courses as an adjunct law professor at Stetson Law School.

But if you really want to know me, you need to know that 38 years ago, I married my high school sweetheart, Patra. We have 3 children who have blessed us with 4 grandchildren. (Two more will arrive in 2011!) Children (and grandchildren) are a gift from God, entrusted to us for a short time. We made a decision early in our marriage that, after our faith in God, our family would be our priority. It is critically important for fathers to establish the priority their family will have in their lives. Many things compete for our attention and often the family ranks below our jobs, making money, or recreational pursuits. Children are an investment and the time invested in my children was the best investment I ever made. It is good to be successful at work and important to balance work with good recreational activities, but only when a father makes an intentional decision to put his family first, that he finds real success.

Even young children understand where they stand in your priorities. From the time my children were young, they knew, and my office knew, that I was to be interrupted anytime they called. They never abused the privilege but knew they were the priority of my life.

Do your children know they are the priority of your life? If not, tell them and then show them. Do it now, don’t wait. You never know what the future holds. Trust me, I know.

38 GoodLiving / Nov•Dec 2010

Three things have sustained me through this difficult journey - my faith, my family, and my friends. I was raised in a Christian home and at an early age, I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. During the most difficult days of my transplant, scripture and hymns (some learned as a young child) would come to my mind and bring peace and comfort.

I regret the impact my illness has had on Patra and our children. Their faith has been strengthened. The investment we made in our children is already paying dividends. They are displaying the character traits that any parent would be proud of. We are confident our grandchildren will be raised in Christian homes where God is honored. We have wonderful friends who have supported us in many ways and they are amazing prayer partners.

I have a win-win guarantee as I fight this battle. If God heals me, I win. If a miracle does not occur, I still win. The moment I take my last breath here on earth, I will be transported into the very presence of God. God is in control. I want to live each day in a manner pleasing to Him so that He will be glorified. I’m proud of my accomplishments as an attorney, a mediator, a teacher. But MY LEGACY is my family.

2010 Holiday Issue  
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