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Good People Gina Wilkins & Lewis Hill

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Good Eating

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Features

GoodLivingMagazine.com

A Note from Pinellas County Schools Dr. Michael A. Grego

Be a Woman of Action

News from the Children’s Movement of Florida Dave Lawrence

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I am a

A Note from Juvenile Welfare Board All Kids Matter Dr. Marcie Biddleman

20-21 Celebrating the Holidays On Board a Disney Cruise Pamela Settle

22-23 TBWOA.com

Strong is the New Beautiful Thais Leon-Miller

24-27 Bringing the Soiree Back to Life Pam Settle

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About the Cover Esther Edwards, featured in our cover story, with her daughter Lilly, at Clearwater Beach. Photo by: Stacia Kelly Photography Lifestyle, Children & Family Portraits staciakellyphoto.com 727-366-6403

Sweet Truths about Holiday Foods Brenda Watson

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Local Doctors Warn of Holiday Health Hazards

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Getting Through the Holiday Season Without... Barb Hennessey

36-37 The Edible Peace Patch Kip Curtis, Phd.

38 My Story Don Germaise


®

Holiday Issue 2013

Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle

Design and Layout Marcie Kelliher

ContribuƟng Writers Dr. Marcie Biddleman Dr. Michael Grego Dave Lawrence Thais Leon-Miller Brenda Watson Barb Hennessey Kip Curtis, Phd. Don Germaise

DistribuƟon provided by ASAP Distribution

To submit good news ideas or events news@goodlivingmag.com

To adverƟse or purchase bulk copies of the magazine adverƟsing@goodlivingmag.com

GoodLiving™ Magazine & GoodLivingMagazine.com P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656 info@goodlivingmag.com GoodLiving™ magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and is available to readers by a paid annual subscription available at tampabaygoodliving. com. Promotional copies are distributed through establishments as a courtesy to their customers and clients. Additional copies are donated to local schools as a community service. To request copies, contact info@goodlivingmag.com. 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 our hearts to yours, we wish you all the best in 2014. Happy New Year!

Letter from the Editor

I can hardly believe we are nearing the end of 2013 already! Seems time is passing faster and faster with every year. It’s been a busy year and we are deeply grateful for everyone who read GoodLiving® magazine in 2013. We know how busy parents can be! Quiet time to read a magazine is a luxury and so we do not take it for granted that you give us your time. GoodLiving® remains a free community magazine and that happens because companies advertise. We seek out only good companies and good organizations because our brand promise is to provide information about the best resources in Pinellas County. Good companies we want to recognize are Achieva Credit Union and Florida Hospital North Pinellas. These major advertisers have supported this publication for the long term because their corporate philosophy is in line with our mission. They too care deeply about the well being of families right here in Pinellas County and it shows in how they do business. We hope that you will recognize this genuine commitment and give them your patronage. The same goes for the many small business and non-profit organizations that reach out to families through our magazine. Again, we only partner with the “good guys,” to bring our readers the best our county has to offer. Many of these good companies are linked to the non-profits we feature. We salute them all for their hard work and caring hearts. You’ll read about some caring hearts in this issue as we focus on hunger. Hard to fathom that we have chronic hunger in a well-to-do county like ours. Sure, we know there are lower income families and senior citizens, but do we really know about the ones who regularly go to sleep hungry? We shouldn’t tolerate this for one minute. We are a population of nearly one million. Surely we can give enough to feed those in dire need. My son proved that one person can make a difference, even a young person. He learned about students who needed extra food for the Thanksgiving break through a food drive at his school and the news didn’t set well with him. His class was tasked with bringing individual cereal boxes, so he ventured out to collect as much money as he could to buy even more cereal. By asking adults and local business owners for $5 each, he collected $150 in two weeks, enough to feed breakfast to 500 kids. That’s a lot of impact for one second grader! But it illustrates a simple solution with simple math. If we all seek to make a small contribution toward the feeding of 7,000 hungry kids each day, we can do it. We hope you’ll enjoy our end of year Holiday issue. But more than that we hope you’ll be inspired by what you read. Until next time,

Pamela Settle


adventures Wild Wonderland 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 runs select evenings and requires a separate ticket. lowryparkzoo.com

First Night St. Petersburg Ring in the New Year at First Night in Downtown St. Petersburg. This is a family friendly event starting with First Kids at 4 p.m. at the Morean Arts Center where children will make crafts, enjoy music and a petting zoo. In Williams Park, The Warehouse Arts District Artists (WADA) will Light Up the New Year with Luminous Flight illuminated sculptural lanterns. Participate in hands-on demos including glass etching, flight based clay creations, and a decorating a Chinese style Dragon. Join the Dragon Procession to the Waterfront at 10 pm. Also a TASCO Young Talent Showcase and Pathfinder Tree Climbing. Adults and kids will take in arts and culture with fireworks, stories, music, food and more until midnight. firstnightstpete.com

Downtown Tampa on Ice photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Disneyworld 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. Disneyworld.com

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It’s not quite Rockefeller Center, but Downtown Tampa on Ice is going to do it Florida style. The outdoor ice skating rink at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a temporary fixture from Thanksgiving week to January 5th. Take the family ice skating along the river or schedule a private holiday party under the stars. Sessions of 90 minutes cost $10 per person including skate rental.


adventures Frosty the Snowman at ICE! A perennial chilly favorite at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando is ICE! running through January 5th. More than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures will tell this classic tale of Frosty the Snowman as only they than can do at ICE! This year they have four ice slides, a live ice carving zone and an ice nativity. The hotel itself has holiday decorations, entertainment and shopping that makes for a nice day trip. Florida resident rates available. For tickets and information go to gaylordpalms.com/ice.

Legoland

Global Winter Wonderland

Christmas Bricktacular with holiday-themed festivities on Saturdays and Sundays in December is included with park admission. Take a family photo in front of the giant LEGO® Christmas Tree, scour the park in the Santa Scavenger Hunt and enjoy decorations and holiday entertainment throughout your visit.

For locals traveling to or through Atlanta, this very unique and brand new lantern festival and multicultural theme park may pique your attention. The Global Winter Wonderland features giant illuminated lanterns depicting creatures and scenes that include a Christmas holiday village, animals real and imagined, and people and scenes from around the world. Highlights include recreations of some of the world’s greatest architectural achievements, including the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Chichen Itza, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The eco-friendly lanterns, some of which tower more than 50 feet high and span nearly 100 feet wide, are illuminated with low voltage LEDs and fluorescent lights, and several structures are powered by solar panels. This family-friendly event also features numerous carnival rides and games, international cuisine, arts and crafts, live entertainment, and celebrations of holiday traditions and various cultures from around the world.

The fun continues after Christmas as LEGOLAND Florida celebrates their Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve parties that features nightly fireworks over Lake Eloise Dec. 26-30, 2013. Watch a spectacular fireworks display with special 3D viewing glasses that turn ordinary fireworks into millions of exploding LEGO bricks. Bring the kids for a very special Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party on December 31st. Kids get to rock out in Miniland USA with a live DJ Dance Party. The grand finale features an impressive LEGO fireworks display and a chance to watch the BRICK Drop at just the right time for kids, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) - otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST.

New this year and running through January 5th at Turner Field. Tickets are on sale now and available for purchase at globalwonderland.com or by calling (770)723-3862. Tickets are $24.99 for adults, $18.99 for seniors, and $16.99 for children. Prices are inclusive of all the rides and live entertainment. Children 4 and under are admitted free. Global Winter Wonderland is open daily from 5pm-11pm.

Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens Celebrate the Season with Holiday Lights at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. You and your family can stroll through 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.

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When it comes to the holiday-themed events, it’s always exciting to take the family to see something new. In its second year, ar Busch Gardens has again outdone itself with Christmas Town®, a nighttime wonderland of all things Christmas. This year they have three times more snow and installed over one million twinkling lights to shine over these festive activities: Visit SnowWorld® and slide down eight new slides, make a snowman, play in the soft white snow or pack the perfect snow balls to test your aim in the target practice area. Enjoy a trip back in time at Holiday Hills, a nostalgic town with a live brass band playing seasonal favorites.

Joi Join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Zoe and everyo everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends in the all-new all new show show, E Elmo’s Christmas Wish. Join the Madagascar friends including Gloria, Alex, King Julien and the penguins in Madagascar Live! Operation:Christmas Vacation. Climb aboard the Christmas Town Express for a Christmas carol sing-a-long while circling the Serengeti on a beautifully lit vintage-style steam locomotive. And finally, stop by the beautiful North Pole home at Welcome to Santa’s House. While the elves are busy preparing for Christmas, Mrs. Claus is in the kitchen baking holiday treats, but even Santa himself will take a break from his busy holiday schedule to meet and take photos with families in his private study.

Journey into Jungala to see a nature-inspired Christmas, including a larger-than-life Christmas tree that comes alive every Christmas Town is open 18 select nights from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. fifteen minutes with spectacular dancing lights. through December 23 and requires a separate ticket for admission. Stroll through Mistletoe Memories and take in the romantic topiaries, For more information or to purchase tickets, visit ChristmasTown.com. flowers and sparkling white twinkle lights that fill the trees overhead.


Holiday Gift Guide Romo Robotic Pet Run by an app for iPhones and iPod Touch this robot can be your child’s new best friend while he or she learns the capacity of technology. Romo is a curious digital creature who lives in your phone and explores your world on his roving base Just download the app and dock your device. Romo senses his environment and interacts with his surroundings. $149 and found on Amazon.com

GoldieBlox The book and construction set, stars Goldie, the girl inventor who loves to build. In playing the game, young girls follow the story while developing an understanding of basic engineering skills. GoldieBlox demonstrates that engineering and science are fun and accessible fields for females. GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, $29.99. Available at Toys ‘R’ Us or Amazon.com

Zeenie Dollz The Zeenie Dollz are fashion-forward, environmentally friendly toys created for young girls to develop their sense of power to improve the Earth. The Zeenies are stylish yet vibrant ecowarriors, and each of the six dolls possesses a unique eco-power that protects the environment including Evee, Protector of the Skies, Lina, Protector of the Rainforest and Yana, Protector of the Oceans. $49.99 at zeeniedollz.com

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Holiday Gift Guide Nhócchi Puppets Developed by a husband and wife team to bring their combined engineering experience to their art. Nhócchi puppets inspire a spirit of creativity for kids to use their imaginations to create plots and adventures for the animal cast. Each one is handmade, using a fabric woven in communities in the mountains of Asia. $25 each at nhocci.com

Magic Path of Yoga Game Players roll the die, draw a card that matches the color they land on, and perform the yoga pose on the card for 10 seconds to round the board. The first player to collect one card of each color wins! A great introduction to yoga, this game strengthens and tones the muscles and improves posture. Also includes a fully-illustrated, step-by-step yoga instruction book. $29.99 at Amazon.com.

Flipzles® Created by an artist and stay at home mom, Flipzles® are double sided puzzle play sets, encouraging problem solving and creative play. Each of the interlocking wooden pieces is also a stand alone character or object that goes with the theme of the puzzle. Children can use the the puzzle frame as a backdrop to make up their own imaginative stories. Less than $20 on Amazon.com.

littleBits The Base Kit for the littleBits experience is a set of 10 color-coded modules that snap together magnetically to create larger circuits. Includes everything you need to start designing and prototyping your own interactive creations, including a 9V battery, an attractive, re-usable case and the ever-popular DC Motor. There’s also a new, expanded activity booklet with great projects like the Art Bot and Three Wheeler. This Kit is sure to kick-start your creativity...from ages 8 to infinity! List price is $99, but cheaper at Amazon.com.

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Holiday Gift Guide Gifts Ideas for Grown Ups 1. Dropcam Dropcam is a cloud-based Wi-Fi video monitoring service with free live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing that makes it easy to stay connected with places, people and pets, no matter where you are. Prices vary by model. Dropcam.com

2. The Justin Case

1.

The Justin Case by Innovative Technology is a portable 7 inch tablet or iPad case with a built-in rechargeable battery. Ithomeproducts.com

3. Picture Keeper Picture Keeper is a device that backs up your digital pictures from computers and smart phones using embedded software. No installations, wires or passwords. Very simple way to protect photos. Prices vary by model. picturekeeper.com

4. The Watershot The Watershot is an underwater camera housing for the iPhones or Galaxies. Housing has glass lens port and black rubberized baffle for optical image clarity. Mounts for other lenses, filters and a tripod. Base model is depth rated to 40 M / 130 FT. Prices vary by model. Watershot.com

2.

5. The Slingshot from BlueFlame The Slingshot from BlueFlame is a water-resistant, portable speaker system with Bluetooth ability. It’s perfect for the shower, pool, beach or anyone you want to play music. Blueflamegear.com

5. 4.

3.

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people

Making Sure Kids Eat Two Local Heroes Fill Backpacks and Bellies By THAIS LEON-MILLER & PAMELA SETTLE Editor’s Nore Most of us take food for granted and waste more than we are willing to admit. We also may not realize that right here in Pinellas County, about 7,000 children go hungry everyday. These are children who have no control over their circumstances. They are the innocents. And they are our neighbors; real children who are part of our greater Pinellas County family. The holidays are a time we focus on giving food to charities that provide holiday meals. The spirit of giving peaks and we are moved to drop some cans into the food donation box. But what about the rest of the year? What about the children who know the pangs of hunger the remaining days of the year? Pinellas County Schools feed free breakfast and lunch, and in some schools dinner, to qualifying children. These children, though, go home for the weekends and the long holiday breaks from school and may not eat until they go back to school. This is something that Gina Wilkins and Lewis Hill couldn’t live with. Separately, and together, they fight the good fight against childhood hunger. They lead their respective organizations and manage a small army of volunteers who pack donated food items for children to carry home. This act of love is the lifeline for children throughout our community. Did you realize that a pack of peanut butter crackers and a box of raisins would mean so much? We didn’t until we met these remarkable Good People.

Gina Wilkins

Founder of The Kind Mouse Productions It doesn’t take a long time speaking with Gina before you hear the smile in her voice. There is no mistaking the enthusiasm when she is discussing her project of feeding hungry kids across Pinellas County. The Kind Mouse Productions is Gina’s brainchild, inspired by a 2011 CBS 60 Minute Report “Hard Times Generation: Homeless Kids” ( June 26, 2011). Gina was working as an architectural draftsman and had seen a lot of her colleagues fall into a slump due to an ailing economy. She felt

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that she needed to do “something” but wasn’t sure what until she saw the news report. The segment put children’s homelessness under a microscope and Gina immediately connected with it. Families being forced to split up due to home foreclosure or a family of four living in a cramped hotel room resonated strongly with her. To learn how to set up a non-profit organization, she sought help from Lewis Hill, founder of Pack a Sack 4 Kids, and Bob Dillinger of Nourish to Flourish, two organizations that focus on feeding kids. She learns as she grows, including how to do fundraising and volunteer recruitment. By this Christmas, Kind Mouse will be feeding 100 kids in Pinellas County on a weekly basis. “We work with the schools in St. Petersburg to find out which kids need the most help, the hungriest of the hungry. Then [without knowing the identity of the families] we offer our services and make sure they aren’t going to bed hungry.” The stories she tells are sobering. “There was a boy who came in with his mom and when he saw our logo on a Mouse Nibbles bag, he exclaimed that he had been eating them all summer long.” He went on to thank Gina for the granola bar that was packed in one of the bags. She later learned that he, his fourteen year-old sister and his mother had all shared it for dinner the previous night. “These are hard-working, educated families who have fallen on hard times. Some of these people have Master’s degrees. This could be any one of us.” Gina is not only focused on making sure every child is fed, she also wants to make sure that the entire family stays together, including the pets. When Janette Rivera of The Vinoy received an email from Gina requesting a donation, Janette, an avid animal advocate, asked about the families’ pets. Realizing the importance of the family pet, they started requesting dog and cat food, leashes, and supplies to add to the donations. The Kind Mouse hosts The Hotel Food Drive Competition, running from November 25th to December 16th. This well-timed event ups the amount of food stuffs sent to each family during the holidays. Gift cards for local grocery stores are the coveted item for this time of year, and she is praying for a big turnout to ease some of holiday volume. Gina addresses this nonchalantly as she does all the other sacrifices and hard work she has put into this project. Working out of her two-bedroom home, she handles the majority of the picking up, sorting, fundraising, and promotion of The Kind Mouse. She shrugs this off even as she explains that she is now committed to the project full time. “It’s 100% full-time and 100% volunteers. Hungry children are more important.” While she gives a great deal of credit to her volunteers, she doesn’t have enough of them and needs the manpower, and gift cards, desperately. Gina doesn’t stop though, and continues to live up to the organization’s name. “Kind” representing the legacy that she wants to leave behind and “Mouse” being her nickname since birth, Gina Wilkins continues to do what she can for the children of Pinellas County, one nibble at a time.


people Lewis Hill

Founder of Pack a Sack 4 Kids

also has his share of poignant stories. The ones that really break his heart are the ones where he knows a child is in a position to make a tough choice: to eat the food, or share it with a hungry friend or sibling. No young child in modern America should have to make that choice, but it happens right under our noses. It seems simple enough. Garner donated food. Recruit volunteers. Coordinate with individual schools. And every Friday get 1,400 small bags of food into the backpacks of children. Maybe it seems simple because Lewis Hill makes it look easy. He works every day in a small office out of the First United Methodist Church of Clearwater. Something that started in 2007 as a small project to keep him busy in retirement is now his full time mission. Pack a Sack operates with a letter of agreement with Pinellas County Schools to be the provider of supplemental food for needy students. Currently they serve students in about 40 different schools, working closely with principals to make it all run smoothly.

This year resolve to be a part of feeding kids in Pinellas County. Contact either Gina or Lewis and learn how you can donate money or food. Contact InformaƟon Email Gina at Gina@thekindmouse.org. Follow TheKindMouse on Twi er: @TheKindMouse and like them on Facebook. Email Lewis at hill0635@aol.com or call him at (727) 644-4795

The program is successful because community organizations have signed on for the long haul to be a part of the program. The community organization commits to raising funds or obtaining the donated food on an ongoing basis. They also provide volunteers each week to pack the sacks that will be delivered to the schools. Many of the volunteer organizations are churches, but civic groups, companies and families are chipping in, too. “I have moms who call up and want to do food collection as part of their child’s birthday party,” said Lewis. No matter who calls to help, he will find a way. He believes that children should not go hungry. “I want to do away with hunger. That’s my goal,” he says. But for now he knows that there is a constant supply of hungry kids. “I don’t pay too much attention to the numbers. We just feed hungry kids.” Lewis

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TM

Community Challenge

Fill the Food Banks!

During the month of December, every resident of Pinellas County is asked to give a donation of food to at least one food pantry in the county.

Hunger continues to be a problem in Pinellas County. But the GOOD NEWS is that our county is filled with loving, caring individuals who work for and volunteer at charities throughout our county all year long. These organizations step up their efforts during the holidays and make it easy for anyone and everyone to help out. Please be a part of the giving season. No matter your individual situation, there is someone who needs you and someone you can help. One person can make a difference! Giving $5 will provide a meal. Collecting food items from friends and neighbors is an easy, meaningful way to be filled with the spirit of giving. Committing to volunteer once a month is a resolution that will do more for you than you realize. It is in this true spirit of caring and giving, that GoodLiving magazine has issued a community challenge called, “Fill our Food Banks!” We are asking each and every person in the county who is capable, to give at least one item of food to a food bank or to a collection drive. If you can’t make a donation of food, then please find a way to give a small financial contribution or volunteer your time. The following is a short list of food banks that need your help. There are many more that can be found at 211Connects.org. Contact them by phone first before dropping off food as hours of collection vary by organization.

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Abundant Life Ministries 1550 Belcher Road South Largo, FL 33771 (727) 210-LIFE x5433 abundantlifeministries.cc Calvary Episcopal Church The Beach Community Food Pantry 1615 First St. Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785 calvaryirb.org/foodpantry.htm Countryside ChrisƟan Center Helping Hands Ministry 2565 Blackburn Street Clearwater, FL 33763 (727) 724-1290 countrysidechristiancenter.org F.E.A.S.T. Food Pantry 2255 Nebraska Avenue Palm Harbor, FL 34683 (727) 789-5275 feastfoodpantry.com First United Methodist Church of Pinellas Park Can Cupboard 9025 49th Street North Pinellas Park, FL 33782 (727) 546-5741 gbgm-umc.org/firstfl

Northwood Presbyterian Church Food Pantry 2875 State Road 580 Clearwater, FL 33761-3231 (727) 797-8276 northwoodpc.org Lealman United Methodist Church Food Pantry 4090 58th Avenue North Saint Petersburg, FL 33714-1133 (727) 526-6240 flumc2.org Maƫe Williams Neighborhood Family Center 1003 Dr. ML King Jr. Street North Safety Harbor, FL 34695 (727) 791-8255 shnfc.org Northside BapƟst Church Benevolence Ministry Food Pantry 6000 38th Avenue N. Saint Petersburg, FL 33710 (727) 381-3642 nbcstpete.com/benevolence Oldsmar Cares 163 State Road 580 West Oldsmar, FL 34677 (813) 415-7373 oldsmarcares.org


R.C.S. (Religious Community Services) Food Bank 700 Druid Road Clearwater, FL 33756 (727) 443-4031 rcspinellas.org SalvaƟon Army Clearwater Social Services 1521 E. Druid Rd. Clearwater, FL 33756 (727) 446-4177 salvationarmyclearwater.com/more_about_ us.htm SalvaƟon Army St. Petersburg Food Assistance 1400 4th Street South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 821-9123 salvationarmysouth.org/FLA.htm SalvaƟon Army Tarpon Springs Social Services 209 S. Pinellas Ave Tarpon Springs, FL 34689 (727) 934-4476 salvationarmy.org St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church Ministry of Helping Hands 1507 Trotter Road Largo, FL 33770-4366 (727) 584-2318 x330 stpatrick-largo.org St. Paul United Methodist Church Open Arms Ministry 1199 Highland Avenue Largo, FL 33770 (727) 584-8165 stpaulumc.org St. Petersburg Dream Center Ministry 1360 16th St. S. Saint Petersburg, FL 33705 (727) 520-1909 stpetedreamcenter.org

Outreach Programs Reach Out for More Help.

Can you help them this season? Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services: They need soup, peanut butter, jelly, cereal, canned fruit meat and veggies, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, rice, new and gently used toys. 14041 Icot Blvd. in Clearwater. (727) 479-1800. gulfcoastjewishfamilyandcommunityservices.org Calvary Chapel of St. Petersburg has a strong homeless outreach program. They like to give gift bags to the homeless for Christmas and could use new XL tees, socks, candy, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes (all in small travel sizes). Call Roger Ambrose at (727) 639-7823 to find out how to help.

Abundant Life Ministries’ Pastor Anthony McDaniel says “We’ve Tampa Bay Harvest 13620 49th Street North Clearwater, FL 33762 (727) 538-7777 x1 tampabayharvest.org St. Petersburg Free Clinic 863 3rd Avenue North Saint Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 821-1200 x114 stpetersburgfreeclinic.org

bitten off a big project this year.” They’ve become the distribution branch for Metropolitan Ministries and will be distributing meals to 7,200 people. They need food and toys. Toys don’t have to be new but should be in virtually new condition. They also are OK with people dropping off meats that need to be refrigerated or frozen, and are OK with taking unusual meats like venison. They regularly give out groceries and allow people to come select both food and toys in the holiday season. This is help for the truly needy. People can drop off food between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. 1550 Belcher Rd S. in Largo. (727) 210-5433.

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a note from

Pinellas County Schools Dear Parents, Pinellas County Schools is committed to increased achievement for all students. In that spirit, one of the larger initiatives the district has launched this year is our Beyond the Classroom digital extended learning opportunity. This effort is extending learning beyond the school day for all students by providing free access to several online resources that will motivate them to read more and help them improve their skills in many subjects, including language arts, math, science and social studies. The initiative includes several efforts, including one specially aimed at students in Title I schools that that will give them equal access to the technology they need to be successful. Called “Connect for Success,” this initiative has made it possible for third- and fourth-graders at three-dozen Title I schools to check out Dell laptop computers to use at home. Those students also will have access to online educational resources. Families without Internet service will be able to purchase discounted Internet service from Bright House Networks. The district has also launched another major initiative aimed at increasing achievement for all students. The Bridging the Gap initiative is specifically focused on closing the achievement gap

between black students and their peers. The plan involves five goals and action steps to boost achievement, increase graduation rates and improve student engagement for African American students throughout the district. The district recognizes that community support is crucial to the effort’s success. To solicit feedback and direction on the initiative, Pinellas County Schools recently invited more than 100 educators, students, clergy, business leaders and other community members to a special Bridging the Gap summit. Pinellas County Schools also plans to hold additional events to give more community members an opportunity to share their ideas about the initiative. Our objective is to provide the best possible learning experience for all students. Thank you for your involvement in your child’s education and for working with us to achieve our vision of 100 percent student success. Sincerely, Michael A. Grego, Ed.D.

:: News from the Children’s Movement of Florida :: By DAVE LAWRENCE chair of The Children’s Movement The Children’s Movement of Florida is a non-partisan statewide organization of Floridians insisting on increased investment in children’s early learning years. As 2013 comes to a close, The Children’s Movement -- a “voice” on behalf of all Florida’s children – continues to spread the message of the importance of early childhood investment not only in Tallahassee, but across the state. Here is just a glimpse of the year to come:

Parents Caring, knowledgeable adults are central to children’s healthy development. All parents have questions and concerns about their children, but not everyone has trusted sources for the answers they need – and all parents can benefit from information and support. The Children’s Movement – along with more than a dozen state agencies – is working to provide and publicize a statewide platform (phone, web, and mobile) in multiple languages focused on providing parents with the most-up-todate information about their children’s development.

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Early Learning The wisest path to public education reform in Florida (and America) is to give children the best possible opportunity to enter school ready and eager to learn. With this in mind, The Movement is pushing to support adequate funding for School Readiness and for voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) to ensure children’s access to educational, enrichment programs that support working families and the academic and social skills needed for kindergarten and beyond.

Health Care We need to make sure that all children are covered and as healthy as they can be. Almost a half-million of Florida’s youngest, most vulnerable citizens do not have health insurance. The Movement is working to extend KidCare coverage to include children of “lawfully residing” immigrants as allowed by federal law We are nowhere near the “promised land” for children, but the progress made in 2013 gives us more reason to hope… and to continue the privilege of working on behalf of all children in the year to come. ChildrensMovementFlorida.org


a note from

Juvenile Welfare Board “All Kids Matter”

With the holiday season upon us, we are reminded of what really matters. Family, friends, good health and neighborly goodwill. With so much to be thankful for, we must not forget that many families in our community are struggling and need our help. In this issue, I wanted to share a little perspective with you, along with what the Juvenile Welfare Board and others are doing to help. Plus, offer ways you and your family can get involved to make a difference. Did you know that a quarter of all children are living in poverty and over half of all students qualify for free or reduced lunch in Pinellas County? Did you know about 7,000 children in our county are considered “chronically hungry” and go to bed hungry each night or don’t have adequate food on the weekends? And when last year’s homeless point-in-time count was done, a third of all people counted as “homeless” in Pinellas County were children. The Juvenile Welfare Board believes all children and families matter. Our Neighborhood Family Centers serve as “hubs” to provide support services to our community’s most vulnerable and are situated so services are easily accessible. Our weekend backpack food program provides “shelf stable”, pre-packaged, nourishing meals so our county’s hungry children are fed. And our

Family Services Initiative – a partnership between JWB, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network and PEMHS – provides real-time assistance to struggling families. Families start by calling 2-1-1 where their immediate needs are assessed and assistance is provided to help them become self-sufficient. Last year, the Family Services Initiative helped over 1,600 families – a total of 4,400 individuals! The Juvenile Welfare Board invites you and your family to get involved. Whether you’re inspired to help during the holidays or make a New Year’s resolution to volunteer, our community’s children and families greatly need your time, talents and treasures. To learn more, contact the Juvenile Welfare Board at (727) 453-5600 or Communications@JWBPinellas.org. Or, if you or a family you know needs assistance, call 2-1-1. The Juvenile Welfare Board wishes you a happy, healthy holiday season, as we all work together to strengthen Pinellas County’s children and families. Because all kids matter! Dr. Marcie Biddleman Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board


Celebrating the Holidays on Board a Disney Cruise Editor’s Review by PAMELA SETTLE from 60 different countries, and each one of them was well-trained and well-suited for providing this level of personal care and comfort.

The Most Magical Place on Earth takes its magic to the high seas every time a Disney cruise ship sets sail. We couldn’t imagine just how magical this cruise would be, but our family was enchanted from the time we set foot in the terminal until the time we left with our luggage to go home.

The ship events never disappointed either. The Sailing Away dance party on deck with characters set the happiness tone for the entire cruise. We would dance under the sky again for the Christmas show and on Pirate night. I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or the parents. Each day’s newsletter was filled with activities that started with Sunrise Stretch on deck at 7 a.m. and ended with dancing in their clubs past midnight. The hours in between were filled with classes, youth activities, shows, movies, crafts and games, all suited for the variety of ages on board. The versatile and talented entertainment staff skillfully led men through a fantasy baseball draft in the O’Gill’s lounge and then led the high-energy kid’s show on deck, and then karaoke and Bingo in the activity rooms.

That entertainment staff also put on some fabulous shows in the gorgeous Walt Disney Theater, too. We saw three musical productions We sailed the Fantasy for a seven-day trip to the Western Caribthat week that carried the same quality as the shows you see in the parks, bean with port stops that included Castaway Cay, Disney’s private complete with singing, dancing, characters, puppetry, pyrotechnics and island in the Bahamas. But honestly, the ports on this cruise were special effects. Three generations of families were together in front of secondary, as the ship is the main reason to sail with Disney. live entertainment, something that probably doesn’t happen much at Like so many of the other families on board for the Thankshome – making the experience all the more memorable. giving-week cruise, we traveled with extended family and had When families weren’t together at shows, at meals or in port, kids adjoining cabins with verandas. This may be the most perfect way were in their camps. The targeted age group for their kid magic to spend a week with family, as it had just the right amount of is three through 12 with two clubs, The Oceaneer Lab and The togetherness and separateness. As veterans to the Disney experience, my family had an idea of what to expect, but it was fun to witness the magic through the eyes of our relatives who don’t live in Disney’s back yard and haven’t yet been to the parks with their children. It started in the terminal where Mickey and Minnie were on hand to greet guests. Each family is piped aboard to the ship’s Atrium which is designed to have the glamour and style of the early cruise ships but enough whimsy and color to give it the Disney signature feel. The ship atrium and halls were already decked for Christmas, adding a festive flavor to the entire cruise. Our first day on the ship started with lunch in the buffet dining hall, Cabanas. We were greeted by Aries, a most-friendly young lady from the Philippines who swept the children away to help them get lunch while the adults got settled. My sister-in-law was immediately taken in by this level of customer service and was sure from that moment that she wanted to take Aries home. We discovered that this would be our experience for the entire cruise with most all of the crew on board the Fantasy. Crew members on our ship hailed

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Oceaneer Club. These adjoining areas are a kid’s dream come true with video games, movies, animation lessons, crafts, contests and an opportunity to play in Andy’s room from the movie Toy Story. Younger children can spend time in the It’s a Small World Nursery and teenagers hung out in Vibe or Edge to enjoy age-appropriate activities like cooking classes, crafts, dances and games.


Parents got to play and relax, too, especially when the children were securely occupied at their camps. They took in shows, attended classes, watched movies and relaxed poolside. The adult-only area is at the front of the ship with a private pool, whirlpool, sun deck, bars, fitness center and spa. The Senses Spa and Salon offers facials, massages, manicures and hair services. The food. Oh my goodness, the food is abundant and varied and going hungry is never an issue. The highlight is that you have three dining rooms for a sit-down dinner and you rotate each night, carrying your same serving staff with you. While Enchanted Garden and the Royal Court are beautifully appointed, the Animator’s Palate is by far the most creative way to dine. Screens throughout the dining room bring Crush to life to converse with diners and drawings on placemats are animated by staff behind the scenes. This is the type of Disney magic that cannot be found on other cruises and is pure delight. Overall the food quality was above average. There were some lighter, healthier options if you looked hard, but most of it was rich and tasty. The children’s menus could use a little work, though. Seven nights of the same burgers, mac and cheese and pasta got old and all of it could have used more flavor. For older children, the adult menu’s lighter fare items were a good compromise. The entire week of family togetherness for Thanksgiving week was a blessing and we all highly recommend this is as a family holiday vacation. (Be sure to book the holiday weeks early as those fill up very quickly.) The Thanksgiving meal and Formal Night were occasions to dress up and take pictures, but it was Pirate Night that will stand out in our memories. There is nothing like seeing thousands of people, from infants to 80-year old grandparents all dressed as pirates. From the dining rooms to the deck Pirate show, “Aaargh” was in the air and junior swashbucklers waved their plastic swords with dreams of seeing Jack Sparrow in person – and they did! By day seven, I had another seven days in me. And so did everyone else as the common feeling was wanting more. Granted a Disney cruise will cost more than other lines, but if you are looking for an experience that is family-friendly, positive, happy and full of magical moments, then this is the way to cruise for you. On my cruise I ran into two other families from Pinellas County and between the two of them they had been on a total of 37 Disney cruises! They have become Castaway Club members to take advantage of discounts, but they also recommend using a travel agent that has cash-back bonuses and watching for the occasional Florida resident specials that are posted on DisneyCruise.com on Mondays. We have plenty of photos to remind us of the rare time we had together as a family; grandkids with grandparents and all of us at the dinner table. Our own special kind of family magic was enhanced by the Disney experience, and the week will live on in our hearts and in our memories forever. We can’t wait until the time comes to sail together again.

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STRONG is the New Beautiful Pamela created a Facebook page but found that most of her clients were word of mouth referrals. “The testimonials from these women were amazing. A lot of them were saying that this experience had changed their lives.” Running has always been a lifeline for Pamela. She has been running since she was in 8th grade, although not anything competitive. As she got older, she wanted to challenge herself more, running for longer distances. By the time she thought up Fab 50, Pamela was consistently running half marathons. But what about those of us that aren’t in “marathon shape?” Pamela assures us that’s not a problem. “We are women of all shapes and sizes, of all different fitness levels. Anyone can do this.” Plenty of women have; 250 women have gone through the training program including the roughly 100 women who just participated in a half marathon run November 24th.

Pamela Paul

Fab 50

Women on the Run by THAIS LEON-MILLER

One of those runners was Kellie Gilmore, a self-described “nonrunner” when she first met Pamela. It started when Kellie wanted to see what the running craze was about and signed up for the Iron Girl 5k. She ran into Pamela, who was a co-worker at All Children’s Hospital, at that race and joked with her, “I don’t know what I am doing!” After the race, she ran into Pamela again who offered to send her an invitation to train for and run a half-marathon for her fiftieth birthday. Kellie laughed again, sure that this was not for her. By the time the invitation came, she had made a life-changing decision. “I thought that maybe this would be a good time to complete a challenge I didn’t think I could.” One of the deciding factors was going to watch a half marathon race in person.

Pamela Paul is a runner. Like most runners, she works through the issues plaguing her mind on her runs as if she were running toward clarity. Right before her 49th birthday, she was training for an upcoming race and fighting through a serious depression that had taken hold. As she ran, she made a commitment to not be in the same place next year for her 50th birthday. She got home and started reaching out to friends, asking them if they would be willing to run with her on her next birthday after a training program of six months. They responded and one year later, Pamela and her friends were crossing the finish line of a half marathon, a first for most of them. After the race, many of the women told Pamela what an amazing experience they had. So much so, that Pamela decided to make it official and Fab 50 Women on the Run was born.

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Kellie Gilmore and Bonnie Kay


“The testimonials from these women were amazing. A lot of them were saying that this experience had changed their lives.” She witnessed the joy on their faces of the runners when they crossed the finish line. It was so contagious that she couldn’t help from crying tears of joy herself. Kellie conquered her fear in 2011 and has just completed running her fifth half marathon this November. Not only did Kellie become a runner, she became a Squad Leader for Fab 50. She works with the close to 40 members who meet weekly in the Largo location, motivating and training the next group of women for the next run. “The camaraderie is amazing! Everyone is so supportive and pushes one another throughout the week. These groups really help encourage each other.” To hear Kellie tell it, that is one the strongest reasons to be a part of Fab 50. This is clearly more than a group of women runners; this is a community of women who stand by one another and cheer each other across the finish line. A particularly inspiring moment was a mother and daughter who joined the group. Two weeks into training, the mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. She didn’t let the news stop her and she continued training while undergoing chemo. She continued to train and made it to the 8 mile mark before deciding to take a break and focus on treatments. When the day of the race came, Kellie was standing at the finish line, cheering on members as they crossed. She looked up and saw a girl pushing a woman in a wheelchair toward the finish line. It was the mother/daughter team! The mother ran with the daughter as far as she could and the daughter pushed her mother in the wheelchair when she needed to take a break. Together, they crossed the finish line in a flurry of cheering, hugs, and tears. The inspiration doesn’t stop there. Fab 50 is growing in members and locations as well. There are now training programs in Largo, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs with more planned to open in the future. Fab 50 also offers a Virtual Training Program for women who are unable to make the weekly Saturday morning training sessions. “The virtual program sends weekly emails and keeps you connected with other members. Squad captains make sure that even though they don’t see you face to face, you are still being accountable with your workout.”   Training sessions last six months, meeting once a week, with the goal of running a half marathon (13.1 miles.) Fab 50 Women on the Run and Pamela Paul are always looking for more women who want to experience the joys of running. Go to fab50womenontherun.com for more information.


Bringing e Soiree‘ Back to Life Meet entrepreneur and entertaining enthusiast Esther Edwards. This single mother from Belleair is raising two teenage daughters and launching a business that seeks to revive the art of the small soiree. What exactly is a soiree you ask? It is a small gathering meant for friendship, conversation and fun. Her company, Soirée Everyday! with Esther Edwards is a comprehensive party planning resource for the home cook or anyone who might be a little intimidated by the idea of having small, elegant and fun parties in their home. In–home entertaining was more prevalent in times past, when fewer women worked outside of the home and life was simply more… simple. In today’s modern world of fast data, fast jobs, fast kids and fast friends, people are missing out on the fulfilling experience of entertaining at home. “It’s the joy of the invitation,” says Esther. “When you invite someone into your home, you are giving them a gift of your time and hospitality. Who doesn’t feel special when they receive an invitation to intimate gathering?”

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by PAMELA SETTLE

The key word is intimate. Large parties serve a very different purpose. The soiree is having three couples over for dinner, conversation and maybe a board game. It’s a small dessert party for a dozen of your neighbors. It’s an afternoon tea with six lady friends where the conversation happens face to face. It’s whatever creative spin you can put on a small gathering where the end result is a quality time with old or new friends. The soiree is something anyone can do and Esther has a solution for every reason someone has for not entertaining. “If someone feels their home is too small or too messy to entertain, then borrow the home of a friend or a relative who has the right space for entertaining. If kids are an issue, go together and share a babysitter at someone else’s home. If money is an issue, ask friends to each bring a dessert and have a dessert party. People want to be involved. They want to participate. Remember the end result is having a good time and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be.” This passion for entertaining and helping others find their inspiration for entertaining drives Esther’s work. Through a series of web videos, articles on her website and a book to be released in 2014, Soirée Everyday! with Esther Edwards is a companion, encourager and entertaining coach. She will walk you through the many ways you can add a little Soirée to everyday life, even if you think that you don’t have enough time, money or space.

photos by Stacia Kelly Photography


An Introduction to Planning e Soiree, Eser style.. “Relax! My best piece of advice is to be relaxed. Then be organized. If you are organized, you can be relaxed.” To get organized, make a plan-of-attack for preparing food and your home. A Soirée isn’t all about the food; it’s also about how you present your dishes in the most comfortable setting with your theme and decorations. Address how you want to decorate your table and display the place settings. Determine the lighting and music you will need to set the right mood and what platters and utensils will be needed for your menu. Adding the details to your setting usually can be done the evening before your party, making the day-off checklist that much shorter. Go ahead and set the table and set out your serving dishes and platters the night before. In an effort to be as organized as possible, make a timeline. Go through each recipe to see what you can do in advance. Make notes on your recipes or other lists you’re using to keep organized. Check your fridge, freezer, pantry, pots and pans – make sure to make a thorough list based on your menu and how you will be preparing your setting. Get the shopping done all at once and prep food over a few days’ time. Pull out recipes for each item you are preparing, even if you know them by heart. The night before, make a list and timeline for what needs to be done before your guests arrive, right down to the re-heating instructions and lighting of the candles. If the idea of cooking everything from scratch is frightening, there are plenty of ways to be creative. Every city has specialty food stores and bakeries where you can find decadent treats and baked goods, as well as delicious cheese and fruit assortments that will compliment any menu. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If that means placing an order with a bakery or asking your neighbor to help set up lighting for a backyard party, then by all means, ask for help.

Choosing a Location Indoor, outdoor, patio or pool – a location for your next Soiree can easily be found around your home and near your kitchen. Choose a location that goes equally well with both your theme and the weather. It’s really just a matter of matching the location with the right serving style and menu.

“Relax! My best piece of advice is to be relaxed. Then be organized. If you are organized, you can be relaxed.”

Serving Style Once you have decided on a theme and the area where you will be hosting your Soiree, you need to decide on a serving style that works best. You will need to consider how many guests there will be. Does this number include children? Will this be a casual or formal affair? A sit-down meal is a formal style where you plate and serve guests in courses like at a restaurant but with a lot more love. It’s the most intimate and also makes the biggest statement that shows your guests how much they mean to you. A buffet is a very comfortable way for a group of friends to enjoy dinner at their own pace. It’s also a lovely way to showcase your menu. This style allows you to set out a beautiful presentation of your dishes.

The Se ing Start with a simple idea – a tropical-themed party, comfort-food family dinner, a country barbecue, garden brunch. Let your ideas guide the look of your Soiree. Make a basic diagram of the space to know where to put the buffet or dining table, seating and drink station. Take into account your natural surroundings and furnishings to incorporate into your setting. Don’t be afraid to move furniture to open up more space. Add elements to your table, buffet or stations that compliment your theme. Try using plates and bowls that complement the color of the food. Use platters, cake stands, plates and bowls. Attractive everyday dishes, glassware, and flatware work well and depending on your theme, add details consistently throughout. Centerpieces of fresh, seasonal flowers work beautifully in any setting. Candles add ambiance and warmth as well. Whatever elements you choose, create a sense of unity with repeating patterns. A color theme with just 2 or 3 color variations is all you need. Include plans for seating arrangements, lighting and music to fit with your style, setting, and theme.

It Really Is All In The Details Even the most informal party can have style and elegance. Pay attention to the details. Think about what element you desire to stand out, think about what you want your guest to notice or what you believe they will love the most and amp it up. This can be the way you set up the entrance to your home, how you display your food and how you set and decorate the table. The details you add are your loving touch. When you Soirée Everyday! you open your heart and your home. The passion naturally flows and every expression you want to convey comes through the details.

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Soirée Everyday! wi Eser Edwards Holiday Menu Recipes

Sage and Sausage Stuffing Serves 8 12 slices (1 1/2 packages) New York Brand® Texas Garlic Toast 1 pkg Johnsonville Italian Mild Sausage Links, casings removed 1/2 cup butter 2 medium onions, chopped 2 cups celery, chopped 1 cup green pepper, chopped 1 tsp. rubbed sage 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cups chicken broth Salt & pepper Bake Garlic Toast in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes; cool and cut into 1 1/2” pieces. Transfer pieces to a bowl; lower oven to 325°F. In a large skillet, brown and cook crumbled sausage until no longer pink. Drain. Remove from skillet; set aside. In the same skillet, melt butter and saute onion, celery and green pepper until tender. In a large mixing bowl, combine sausage, vegetable mixture, Garlic Toast and sage. Add eggs and broth; toss gently. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a buttered 3 to 4 quart baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 325°F for 60 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should read 165°F when done.

Cranberry Sauce Servings vary; approximately 8-10 1 lb. fresh cranberries, washed and dried 2 cups granulated sugar 1/3 cup water 1 cinnamon stick 1/2 tsp. ground allspice 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 orange, zested and juiced In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Add the orange juice and zest, stir and allow to cool before serving. TIP: Use various martini, margarita or any other fancy glasses you have handy to serve this out of. Not only does it give elevation to the table by sitting up higher – it’s pretty so showcase this menu item in a way it will be noticed.

Shrimp in Spicy Thai Coconut Sauce over Rice Serves 8 2 Tbs. canola oil 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh ginger 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh galangal root or powder* 1 Tbs. finely chopped lemongrass (use the tender interior only) 1 Tbs. finely chopped seeded Thai bird chiles or serranos 1 Tbs. finely chopped garlic 2 lb. jumbo (21 to 25 per lb.) or extra-large (26 to 30 per lb.) shrimp, peeled and deveined 3/4 cup well-shaken unsweetened coconut milk 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 2 Tbs. fish sauce 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro *Galangal is a cousin of ginger, prized in Thai cuisine for its spicy heat and citrus-like flavor. It’s available in many Asian grocery stores, but if you can’t find it, you can omit it and double the amount of chopped fresh ginger. Heat the oil in a 12- to 14-inch wok or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chile, and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until opaque on the outside and partially cooked, about 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, and fish sauce and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are just opaque in the center, about 1 minute more. Spoon the shrimp onto 6 dinner plates, and top with any sauce remaining in the wok. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Serve over white jasmine or basmati rice.

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Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking


Bloody Mary Soup Shots with Seared Steak Skewers and Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives Makes approximately 16 servings 8 oz of your favorite cut of steak 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice Bleu cheese stuffed olives 1-28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes in juice 2 green onions, chopped 1/2 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce 3 Tbs. vodka (optional) 1 Tbs. prepared horseradish 1/2 tsp. celery salt

Black Pepper Raspberry Sorbet

with Prosecco Cocktail Serves 8

Season steak with salt and pepper and cook to a medium temperature; let it sit and come to room temperature without cutting. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Place tomatoes with juice, green onions, 1/2 cup broth, Worcestershire sauce, vodka, horseradish, celery salt, and lemon juice in blender. Cover; blend until smooth. If mixture is too thick, thin with additional broth by tablespoonfuls. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to pitcher.

1-750 mL bottle Prosecco, chilled 1 Tbs. freshly ground cracked pepper 1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened slightly Fresh raspberries and/or mint leaf for garnish In a large bowl, sprinkle the pepper all over the sorbet and fold it in with a rubber spatula. Cover and freeze for about 3 hours, until firm. Chill 8 champagne glasses. Using a 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop, place 2 scoops of sorbet in each glass. Pour about 1/3 cup of Prosecco into each saucer.

TIP: Skewers and soup can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Garnish with fresh raspberries or mint leaf.

Pour Bloody Mary mixture into shot glasses or small glasses.

TIP: The Black Pepper Raspberry Sorbets can be frozen for up to 3 days.

Garnish each with a small cube of steak and olive on a toothpick or skewer.

Esther is the host of Soirée Everyday! with Esther Edwards, an interac ve television show that takes you on a culinary experience through cooking and entertaining. She is also the author of Soirée Everyday! Cooking and Entertaining Guide. Her passion and inspira on come from growing up in the kitchen next to the ul mate party planner – her father. His legendary baked goods and crea ve theme par es sparked her desire to make these happy moments possible for the culinary-challenged, as well as those who simply believe they have no me. A er working several years as a Sous-Chef de Cuisine, Personal Chef and Event Planner, she has developed a system that teaches home cooks of every background and skill level simple, crea ve and uncomplicated ways to add a li le soirée to their everyday life. You can reach her at soireeeveryday.com as well as at facebook.com/soireeeverydaywithestheredwards. To keep herself fit, Esther is trained Mike Labua, owner of Elite Body Personal Training and Fitness in Palm Harbor. See their ad on page 23. photos by Stacia Kelly Photography

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Sweet Truths about Holiday Foods By BRENDA WATSON The holidays are here and with them come the temptations of candied sweet potatoes, flakey rolls, cornbread stuffing and sugary cookies! Remember, starchy carbohydrates found in pastas, cereals, grains and pastries convert to sugar in the digestive tract, putting a sugar load on our systems that can cause weight gain, digestive upsets and even chronic disease. You see, overall good health is dependent on good digestive health, which is achieved when you cultivate an internal community of “good” bacteria, or probiotics, in the gut. It’s the food you choose that provides the environment for your “good” gut bacteria to grow and crowd out the “bad” pathogenic bacteria that are linked to chronic conditions associated with obesity—beginning with silent inflammation and leaky gut. Indicators of silent inflammation are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol/triglycerides and more. But silent inflammation may also be present when gut microbes are out of balance, which you may not even feel. So you may ask, “What should I eat in order to cultivate a healthy gut”? Here are 3 simple rules:

Track teaspoons of sugar Carbohydrates (minus) Fiber (divided by) 5 = the number of teaspoons of sugar (in a serving of food) Eat between 6-8 teaspoons of sugar daily if you have positive markers for silent inflammation (less than 12 otherwise)

Eat lean protein throughout the day Additionally, be sure to eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits and high fiber foods. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a healthy diet, including 20-35 grams of fiber per day. And remember, it’s okay to enjoy healthy fats, which make foods taste delicious. So this holiday season, watch out for starchy carbohydrates and sugars, and also treat yourself to one of your favorite holiday foods, but remember, if you eat it every day—it’s not a treat! Brenda Watson, C.N.C. For over 20 years, Brenda Watson has dedicated her career to helping people achieve vibrant, las ng health through improved diges ve func on. A dynamic health advocate, author, speaker and celebrated PBS-TV health educator, she is among the foremost authori es in America on op mum nutri on and diges on, natural detoxifica on methods, and herbal internal cleansing. Brenda recognized a growing need within the natural products industry for a line of safe and effec ve diges ve care products during her extensive clinical work, and in 1999 she accepted the challenge herself. The result is the ReNew Life line of superior-quality diges ve health supplements based in Palm Harbor, Florida.

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Local Doctors Warn of Holiday Health Hazards Nothing can ruin a Merry Christmas like an unplanned injury, so AFC Doctors Express has compiled these tips to keep everyone healthy and happy throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Safety Checklist Avoid Packaging Problems Sometimes, people become so frustrated with hard plastic wrapping around toys and electronics that they cut themselves on the sharp edged packaging or with scissors, tools and knives when trying to pry the packages open. An average 6,000 people a year go to the emergency room due to packaging-related injuries (Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC). Immediately discard plastic wrappings or other packaging before they become dangerous playthings.

Deck the Halls Without Falls

Roast on an Open Fire

Santa looks festive on your roof, but don’t hurt yourself getting him up there. The CPSC estimates that during November and December more than 13,000 people will need medical help from decorating-related injuries, such as falls, burns and lacerations. Stay safe by keeping ladders on level ground, keep kids away, clear debris, extend ladder three feet beyond the edge of the roof and do not stand on the top two rungs of the ladder.

Each holiday, around 230 home fires start with Christmas trees. These fires cause an average of four deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in direct property damage.

Button Batteries are a HAZARD A 2012 study by the Journal Pediatrics reports that every three hours, a child under age 18 goes to an emergency room due to button battery ingestion. These small batteries are often used to power toys, watches, remote controls and other electronic devices. Batteries that become lodged in the throat or intestine can generate and release hydroxide, resulting in dangerous chemical burns. To protect your kids, install batteries in toys before wrapping them to keep them out of the hands of curious kids.

Encourage Helmet Head Some of the most hazardous holiday gifts have wheels – including scooters, skateboards, inline skates, bikes and motorcycles. Broken bones, sprains, head and spinal injuries are common around the holidays, especially when excited adults and kids want to try out their new wheels. According to the CPSC, non-motorized scooters was the toy category associated with the most injuries (15 and younger) in 2011. To stay safe, all wheeled gifts should come with a helmet. For scooters, skateboards and inline skates, the CPSC also recommends wrist guards, elbow and knee pads. All safety gear should be sized to fit. 

Make Sure Chestnuts - Not Christmas Trees -

Make sure live trees are fresh (deep green, not brown); trunk should be sticky and wet with resin; and make sure a large number of needles don’t come loose when you tap the tree trunk on the ground. Artificial trees should have a “fire resistant” label. Also keep all trees away from heat sources like fireplaces and candles, use lights tested for safety by nationally recognized testing labs and do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. It could cause a flash fire.

Carve the Turkey, Not Your Fingers Carving accidents are prevalent during the holidays because hosts are often rushing, talking and drinking when cutting up the turkey, ham or roast. Stay cut free by: • Never cutting toward yourself. Your free hand should be placed opposite the side you’re carving. • Keep knives dry because a wet handle is slippery and could cause your hand to slip on to the blade, resulting in a nasty cut. • Keep all utensils sharp so you don’t have to force the cutting or carving. • Make sure the carving station is a NO KID zone.

*Sources for informa on include Consumer Product Safety Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Preven on, Na onal Capital Poison Center and Na onal Highway Transporta on Safety Administra on. AFC Doctors Express Urgent Care offices are located in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. doctorsexpress.com

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Guest Columnist Barb Hennessey

Getting Through the Holiday Season Without... This column is dedicated to my older brother, Steve, and to his wife, Susan. She died at age 65 on September 24, 2013, after years of struggling with brain cancer that recurred after being treated aggressively several times. Susan and Steve decided to stop treatment in May. Steve was able to keep her comfortable at home surrounded by pets, friends and family. Susan was a registered nurse and a US Air Force veteran. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years of service.

FAST FORWARD THREE MONTHS LATER: My family and I are preparing for the first holiday season since Susan’s death.

The spirit moved me to speak at Susan’s memorial service. The following is the message that I gave to my family, friends, and neighbors that day as a way to thank all them for their caring support to Susan and Steve during her illness.

Allow yourself to create new traditions for the season and experiment with ways to cope with your sadness and stress. Be aware of those words OUGHT and SHOULD. Only you can decide what you are capable of doing during the holidays – or any other emotionally charged occasion.

“First, honor your pain and the jumble of emotions surrounding the loss. You are now beginning the second phase of life after death. Grief is the INSIDE feelings and emotions you experience from a trauma or loss. Mourning is the OUTSIDE expression of what is inside. Help each other to move through your grief. Be supportive of each other’s need to listen, cry, laugh, and share the memories of Susan. The playwright, Robert Anderson, wisely noted, ‘Death ends a life, it does not end a relationship.’ You are now on a journey with grief. The journey is different for everyone, and it is the same for everyone in that grief always involves intense emotions. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but trying to avoid it altogether is useless and can be self-defeating. Louise Hay said, “Tears are the river of life, shed in joy as well as sadness and fear.” Tears are a sign of healing… let them flow whenever and wherever they come. The journey can include a range of intense emotions from denial, anxiety, frustration, through disorientation and disorganization, to anger, guilt, depression, relief, and gratitude. Grief is unpredictable, circular, messy and ongoing. Continue to support each other as you create the “new normal” in your life without Susan…”

These are my suggestions for getting through grief that can be triggered any time there is a holiday, anniversary, or other special occasion. First, remember that the only way to the other side is through the grief. There is no way around it.

Open your heart to spiritual support. Communicate with your family and friends about what you feel like doing. At the same time, be sensitive to their needs. Remember everyone is on their own grief journey. Tears will come…public or private…all is well. What would it say about your loved one if you did not cry freely? Know that you can laugh and have fun too. You may well be laughing and crying together over a special memory or story. Encourage the sharing of stories and use your loved one’s name! Include your deceased loved one in the celebration in any way that feels right to you. Let others know your plans in advance so that they can participate. Decorate their gravesite. Cook their favorite food. Give gifts in their name. Donate to their favorite charity or cause. Assemble a group memory book with family members and friends contributing pictures or mementos along with a written remembrance. What a priceless legacy. Take gentle care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eat nutritious food, rest, exercise. Both sugar and alcohol are depressants, enjoy in moderation. Grief is circular. It ebbs and flows at will. Grief transforms you. Nature does not know extinction. It only knows transformation. Barb Hennessy, MS, CRC is a Certified Grief Mentor and a Somatic Intuitive Practitioner, skillfully assisting her clients in resolving grief and trauma. Barb is the founder of The Joy Within, a unique method for helping clients to release emotions buried in the body. She speaks to groups, facilitates Grief CafesSM and provides staff trainings on stress management and healthy grief. Information for this article was derived from materials provided by Grace Terry at Grief Resolution Resources and Carole McLeod of Grief Matters. Visit her website at thejoywithin.us or contact her at (727)409-7428.

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Holiday Issue 2013


eating

Healthy Homemade Dipping

Kids love to dip just about everything they eat into ketchup, Ranch dressing or some other type of condiment. In fact, dipping makes eating vegetables way more fun, but unfortunately many of the store-bought condiments contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, dyes and chemical preservatives. Reading the ingredients on a bottle of Ranch dressing just about requires a chemistry degree. Local mom Kellie Rae learned this the hard way when she discovered her toddler’s face turning red every time he ate Ranch. “He would wipe his mouth with the back of his hand and the skin around his mouth would turn red for a while. I went to Google and discovered that the chemicals in the dressing were probably to blame.” She switched to a refrigerated brand that advertised “no preservatives” and the redness went away. But for Kellie and other moms, there are easy ways to make dips that are free from the dangerous chemicals and dyes. In her new cookbook, Homemade Condiments, Jessica Harlan offers 75 classic recipes and gourmet twists on your favorite condiments using fresh, natural ingredients. Sauces and dips can add flavor, zing and variety to healthier dishes like grilled chicken or steamed vegetables. Any level cook can follow her step-by-step instructions to serve up healthier, tastier food. Jessica has shared three of her recipes with GoodLiving® readers that moms will love. Her beautiful hardcover book can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Tomato-Based Barbecue Sauce Sweet and tangy, ketchup-based barbecue sauces that reign in Kansas City, Memphis, and St. Louis are the quintessential barbecue sauce. This version has a kick thanks to chipotle powder, but when it’s cooked with meat, the spiciness tones down. If you don’t have chipotle powder, use 1 tablespoon smoked paprika plus 1 teaspoon ground chile in place of the chipotle and regular paprika. Makes about 12 ounces

Ingredients 2 tablespoons butter ½ cup minced sweet onion (about 1 small) 1 cup ketchup ½ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup molasses 1 teaspoon chipotle powder 2 teaspoons paprika ½ teaspoon celery seeds ½ teaspoon kosher salt Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat it until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, vinegar, molasses, chipotle powder, paprika, celery seeds, and salt. Stir to combine. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and darkened.

Honey Mustard A classic, spicy-sweet condiment, honey mustard is a favorite for kids and adults that tastes better when homemade. The flowery flavor of the honey really comes through, more so than with store-bought versions, which merely taste sweet. You can experiment with different honeys including local varieties with a pronounced flavor. Makes about 6 ounces

Ingredients 1/2 cup mustard powder 1/4 cup boiling water 6 tablespoons cider vinegar 1 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon honey Place the mustard powder in a small bowl. Add the boiling water, using a spoon or small spatula to stir the mustard and water into a smooth paste. Stir in the vinegar. Switch to a small whisk and whisk in the turmeric, salt, paprika, and garlic powder until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the honey. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature to allow the heat of the mustard to temper. Let mustard sit for up to 1 week to reach the desired level of heat, checking after the first 3 days. Transfer it to a sterilized jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Dilly Ranch Dressing Buttermilk is the secret ingredient for creamy dressings — it is tangy, thick, and relatively healthy. Use it either low-fat or full-fat. This is an herby dressing with fresh herbs, but you can also make it with dried if that’s what you have on hand. Since dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh, you’ll need about a teaspoon of each. If you do use dried herbs, it’s a good idea to make the dressing an hour or more before you plan to serve it and let it sit in the refrigerator to allow the herby flavor to permeate the mixture. Makes 8 ounces

Ingredients ¾ cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 2 tablespoons sour cream (low-fat or full-fat) 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill 2 teaspoons minced fresh chives 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley ¼ teaspoon garlic powder ¼ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon kosher salt In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Add the dill, chives, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and whisk to combine. Serve immediately if using fresh herbs or refrigerate for an hour or more if using dried herbs. The dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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Holiday Issue 2013


eating Cookbook Finds Classic Snacks Made from Scratch Eating healthier should be the goal. So when it comes to kids wanting popular snack treats, they are almost always made from the over-processed and artificial ingredients that we are trying to avoid. Classic Snacks Made from Scratch is a new cookbook featuring full-color photos and 70-plus recipes for homemade versions of your favorite brand-name treats like Goldfish, Twinkies, Oreos, Fruit Roll-Ups and or PopTarts. Why? Because making these treats from scratch means you can leave out the harmful chemical additives and preservatives, and you can control the quality of the ingredients that you use in your own kitchen. These tasty delights far surpass the originals in terms of flavor and nutrition. “As a nostalgia addict and DIY fanatic, replicating classic snacks from my childhood has become an obsession ever since I made my first batch of marshmallow fluff,” says author Casey Barber. “It’s a kick to pull a batch of oatmeal crème pies out of the oven or see my friends’ surprised and gleeful reactions to the first bite of a homemade Dorito.” $17.95 from Ulysses Press and available at Amazon.com.

Dining Out at Home Cookbook 2 Love Starbucks’s Pumpkin Spice Latte or Olive Garden’s Baked Pasta Romana? Now home cooks can make the same treats and meals in their own kitchen and control the quality of the ingredients that go into them. CopyKat.com’s Dining Out at Home Cookbook 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the original. Serve the most widely loved dishes from your favorite restaurants at home without the hefty cost of dining out, the extra salt and unnecessary calories. You’ll be shocked how spot-on these recipes really are! Author Stephanie Manley was inspired by her love of restaurant quality food, but knew it wasn’t realistic or healthy to eat out every night. Follow Stephanie online at CopyKat. com or on Twitter @CopyKatRecipes. $14.95 by Ulysses Press and available at Amazon.com

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No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook Turn up the flavor—not the heat! The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook is a full-color recipe collection that will keep your stress level and kitchen temperature lower during our long, hot summer. Featuring 101 fast and fun oven-free meals (and over 80 photos), The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook has recipes for easy breakfasts, entrees, and desserts, including Breakfast Prosciutto Pear Sandwiches, Salmon Mango Ceviche, Tex-Mex Chipotle Beans, Very Berry Parfait Pudding, and Raspberry Mint Frozen Yogurt. “When the heat is on, you can give your oven a welcome reprieve and instead force your grater, blender, and food processor to work overtime to outsmart the dog-day heat,” explains author Matt Kadey. “Far from carrot sticks, lifeless salads, and PB&J sandwiches, creative no-cook meals can provide a balance of convenience, nutrition, and gourmet taste—especially if you’re willing to step outside of your normal culinary repertoire.” Go ahead and master the art of chilling out by making these no-cook dishes the focal point of your summer menu. $15.95 by Ulysses Press and available at Amazon.com

The Edible Garden: How to Have Your Garden and Eat it Too Whether you are a hardy homesteader or just getting started with a few herb pots on your windowsill, The Edible Garden offers food for thought on creating your very own urban haven that is as beautiful as it is delicious. Master gardener and BBC personality Alys Fowler has devoted her life to teaching people how to grow their own food and edible landscaping. Here, Fowler shares her trademark wisdom and inventive tips to help your garden grow abundantly—from saving and sowing your own seeds, to mixing the world’s best compost, to brewing your own herb teas and growing such a bounty of veggies that you will have to learn how to pickle and preserve them! Good for the pocket, good for the environment and hugely rewarding for the soul, The Edible Garden provides a taste of the good life to anyone willing to pick up a trowel. Learn How To: • Mix trees, edibles and flowers in the same plot • Sustainably forage for wild food • Plant the prettiest vegetables for container gardening • Cook deliciously hearty harvest dishes • Make gifts from the garden: canned jams, chutneys and fruit liqueurs


The Edible Peace Patch Project Digging Deeper to Change Eating Behaviors and Keep Boys in School By KIP CURTIS, PHD Founder and Executive Director of the Edible Peace Patch Project

One of the great of joys of running an organization like the Edible Peace Patch Project is the opportunity to collaborate on really cool projects that make a huge difference in kids’ lives. Last month, for example, we launched our Wellness Kitchen Program, a partnership with All Children’s Hospital’s Fit4All Kids initiative. Their expert nutritionists developed a series of recipes based on the food we grow in our school yard Peace Patch Gardens. This new program takes it a step further. First we learn to grow the food and then we learn how to prepare it to eat. We started at Campbell Park Elementary School, home to a garden installed by volunteers earlier this year on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Students in eight different classes participated in the Wellness Kitchen Program. It was fun to watch them file into their science lab, a little confused about the new set up, and then listen intently as we talked to them about food choices and trying new things. The classrooms have mini-kitchen stations where college students volunteer alongside staff. Together they help students figure out

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the recipes in order to prepare the food items and plate their dishes. On this day, we made a vegetable plate with chickpea dip. Something happens when kids prepare their own food. Their pride in a job well done is seen in their faces as the final product was served up for everyone to enjoy. And then they sat quietly consuming healthy food they had just prepared, including the vegetables. Of course, not every student liked everything that was served, but everyone participated, and everyone at least tried all the food items. After the cooking lesson, we took our vegetable scraps back to the Peace Patch Garden. These scraps became part of our compost pile where they will they would decompose into dirt for next year. Campbell Park Elementary is of special interest. We know that in south St. Petersburg, a significant number of boys do not graduate from high school. The number is controversial because calculating the number is difficult. Estimates from 2009 indicate that around 70 percent of boys were not graduating. After speaking with Principal Robert Ovalle, we identified a group of fourth and fifth grade boys and created an intensive program for students most at risk for dropping out. It’s an unfair and structurally challenging set of circumstances. These are boys whose behavior has gotten them in trouble, set them back academically, and in many cases set them up for series of school-based failures. The problem is not their intelligence, we work with these boys twice a week and they are some of the


smartest kids any of us have every met. The problem is they have been rejected by a system that has no other way of integrating them, and they are slowly being driven away from school. For their assignment, they were given an $80 investment to use for plants and seeds to get the garden started. They tend to the garden twice a week by doing a variety of chores to keep the garden healthy and robust. As the garden grew, so did the students. During the first few weeks, focus was an issue and they often found ways to distract each other and cause trouble instead of working. I can’t count how many time I was “accidentally” sprayed with a hose. As the weeks progressed, they came to us to ask what work has to be done. They started saying things like, “I wish we could come out here every day,” or “This is the best part of my day.” Through it all, friendships have grown and we could visibly see the fruits of our labor take shape. Our first Wellness Kitchen class included many of our garden boys. Their faces lit up during the discussion, but the best part was watching them glow as they showed off their work to their classmates during our visit to the garden. They had clearly developed a proprietary attachment to the landscape. We saw how powerfully it had become theirs. They walked their peers through the garden, and told them which plants were which. They shared recent lessons about bugs and explained the value of coffee grounds as a fertilizer and bragged about the irrigation system that had recently been donated to them. On the way back, some of the girls from the same class wondered out loud why they weren’t being allowed to participate. “We want to do the garden, too,” one of them exclaimed. She sidled up next to me and negotiated. “If they do Monday and Thursday, why don’t you talk to my teacher about letting the girls do it Tuesday and Wednesday. How about that?” I told her I would look into it. And I will.


My Story by DON GERMAISE

Then a funny thing happened. Lexi collected her 60 cans of food in just one day. As agreed, I gave her $30. She handed it back to me. She also gave me the $50 she saved from her own allowance. Lexi said, “Dad, poor people need to eat more than I need to go to the concert.” I cried tears of joy that day. I am crying now as I write these words to you. My daughter remembered the lesson I taught her while she was growing up. It really is better to give than to receive. Lexi is now a sophomore at USF, where she volunteers on campus with several organizations. Every holiday season, we still make it a point to spend four or five days volunteering to help the needy. It puts us in the holiday spirit.

My daughter Lexi was 14 years old and going through those difficult teenage years when she knew everything and her parents knew nothing. We could not connect at all. In Lexi’s mind, my sole function in life was to provide a roof over her head and $10 allowance a week. We had not gotten along well for years. I figured that was life with a teenager. It hadn’t always been that way. We had always been a family of volunteers. We worked in the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent, picked up trash with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, and helped out at church with any project they had. We started giving to needy causes when Lexi was a toddler. It was our fun family activity. However, as my daughter entered adolescence and joined the “Me Generation,” she stopped volunteering. She would rather hang out with her friends. One day, Lexi wanted an $80 concert ticket and asked me for the money. I told her she needed to save her allowance. She told me she only had $50 and pleaded for my assistance. I offered to help. I agreed to give her fifty cents for every can or box of food she collected from neighbors for the Metropolitan Ministries food drive. She got mad and stormed off, saying she could never collect that much food. She needed the money to buy that ticket the next week!

Local Charities

Ronald McDonald House: rmhctampabay.com Metropolitan Ministries: metromin.org Salva on Army: salvaƟonarmytampabay.org Neighborly Care Network: neighborly.org The Kind Mouse: TheKindMouse.org

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This year, there are more than 20,000 Tampa Bay families struggling to make ends meet. They can’t even think about buying Christmas gifts, because they have to pay rent and buy food. There are thousands of elderly shut-ins and nursing home patients who have no one to wish them a Merry Christmas. There are families with children in the hospital, whose only holiday wish is good health. There are military veterans, who served our country gallantly, who will sleep beneath a cold highway overpass on Christmas Eve. If you want your family to have the best holiday it has ever had, I recommend spending a day helping people less fortunate than we are. Hold a neighborhood food drive. Spend an afternoon visiting a nursing home and hand out Christmas cards. Work a shift at the Metropolitan Ministries holiday tent. Cook a meal for Ronald McDonald House guests who are spending Christmas nursing a sick child back to health. Help your children learn what my daughter learned: It really is better to give than receive.

Don Germaise was an award-winning television reporter for ABC Ac on News, in Tampa, for 19 years before re ring in 2012 to devote his me to community service. He is most remembered for his hurricane coverage, popularizing the phrase “hunker down” in 2004. In re rement, Don volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries, Ronald McDonald House, The Crisis Center, Keep Tampa Bay Beau ful, People For Hai , Partners For Life, Hands Across The Bay, and Our Daily Bread. He also reads to kindergartners in Hillsborough County Schools one day a week.


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