Fall Issue of GoodLiving Magazine

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26-27 COMMAND YOUR CLUTTER Organization Makes Life Easier For All by Sharon Toston

28-29 EDITORIAL: WHO LOVES YA BABY? by Pamela Settle



About the Cover This issue’s cover photo is of Madison Harrison, an 8 year-old budding photographer and entrepreneur. Photo taken by Sarha Rush of Sarha Rush Photography. text or call: 352-942-1220


36-38 VAN HARI aka THE FOOD BABE Talks to Goodliving about Good Eating editor’s Q&A by Pamela Settle


46 MY STORY by Rosemary Nickel


Is it possible for a magazine to care about your family?


Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle

Letter from Editor Happy New Year! Yes, you’re reading that correctly and yes, it’s September.

Design and Layout Marcie Kelliher

A friend of mine shared with me that she thinks of Back to School time as the New Year for families who live their lives based on the school calendar. New clothes, new teachers and new schools perhaps. It’s time again to re-structure our lives around homework, bedtimes, practices and report cards.

Guest Writers Dr. Marcie Biddleman Sheriff Bob Gualtieri Rosemary Nickel Sharon Toston

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

To adver se or purchase bulk copies of the magazine adver sing@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.

The majority of the years we have with our children are spent with them in school. From two year-old preschool to high school graduation is 16 of the 18 years, which is why we have devoted so much space in this issue to talking about success in school. Getting our children ready for school and helping them to be successful in their education are two of our primary jobs as parents. And while every child is gifted differently, education in some form is necessary for their success. Study after study shows that education leads to a better future. So it’s stunning to me that in 2015, America is in yet another education crisis. The battles over how to conduct education are polarizing the sides and making guinea pigs out of our children. This is happening at the national, the state and the local level. Right here in St. Petersburg, we have five failing schools in low income, minority neighborhoods. The state’s mandatory testing system is a debacle. Parents are angry and kids are missing out on weeks of instruction. Recess has been eliminated and high stakes testing has all but taken over. It’s highly frustrating for all involved. But for the kids, well, it’s everything. It’s their future and their minds and their physical health that we are playing around with. So while “the system” works itself out, our children need us more than ever to step up and step in to make sure they are getting all they need to prepare them for life. You may notice a little more of a serious tone in this issue, and we’re okay with that. The current social climate lends itself to a more somber discussion of our life here in Pinellas. As the founder of this publication, I set out to create a magazine for local parents that wasn’t all fluff and sales gimmicks. As a parent myself, I wanted a publication that would offer more than the usual fare and stir the pot a little. As an advocate at heart, and by training, it’s clear to me that parents need a stronger voice in politics, in the schools and in their homes. We are raising the next generation. And we have a responsibility to take a long hard look at our culture and our role in it as parents. I truly believe that we have the power to make things better, one family at a time.

Until next time,

Pamela Settle

GoodLiving® Community Challenge This time of year, the calendar is jam packed with walks, runs and bike rides that benefit charities and causes. GoodLiving magazine challenges each family in the county to choose at least one of these events to support with your participation. Children follow our lead and learn compassion by watching us be generous and care for others. These events present teachable moments beyond walking and posting about them on social media. Find ways that your children can get hands-on involvement by learning about the causes and doing a family project in conjunction with the event.

Upcoming Events SPCA Tampa Bay Let’s Go for a Walk Pet 3K Saturday, October 10 • 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. One of the most fun events of the year! Let the dogs out for a fun 1.8 mile walk along the waterfront at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg. Supporters will be walking to end animal cruelty and help raise money to Rescue, Rehab and Re-home homeless and abused animals in our community. Event fun includes a free IHOP pancake breakfast, Doggie waterpark, microchip clinic, vendor tables, food trucks, agility zone and pet costume contest. For more information call (727) 499-0364 or visit SPCATampaBay.org. NEW THIS YEAR for the CATS! International Cat Video Festival Pet Walk Kick-Off Party Friday, October 9th at Vinoy Park SPCA Tampa Bay and Friends of Strays are teaming up to bring the wildly popular International Cat Video Festival back to St. Pete. Sit in the park and enjoy 75 minutes of feline hilarity. There will also be food and beer trucks. Contact the SPCA Tampa Bay for tickets. $10. 2nd Annual Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk Sunday, October 11th • 8 a.m. Join other Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans for the Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk, benefiting breast cancer research at local medical organizations. Race registration includes a ticket to the Buccaneers game that afternoon. Register by Monday October 5th. Cost of registration includes a ticket to the Jacksonville Jaguars vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, a Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk athletic gender-specific t-shirt, chip-timed 5K race entry and a donation to breast cancer research. First 500 to register are invited on the field to be part of a halftime experience. First, second, and third place male and female winners for all age categories receive medals.

Beat the Priest 5K Run Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Dunedin Saturday, October 17 • 8 a.m. check in. This is your chance to Beat the Priest and help support the Tyler Gray Memorial Scholarship Fund by participating in the 5K run or the one mile family walk through the gorgeous trail system in Hammock Park. Runners and walkers are invited to stay for the Our Lady of Lourdes Fall Festival during the day. More information at ComnyCenter.com. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Saturday, October 17 • 8 am registration Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a celebration of survivorship, an occasion to express hope and our shared determination to end breast cancer. Take a step in that direction by supporting the American Cancer Society Making Strides of Pinellas Walk. It takes a community coming together to raise funds, but it also takes education and support of those who battle the disease. Rally with them as they fight the fight against breast cancer. Non-competitive, 5K (3.1 mile) event and celebration held at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Register at Makingstrideswalk.org Light the Night Walk Saturday, November 7 • 5 p.m. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk funds treatments that are saving the lives of patients today. LLS provides patient support services, advocacy for lifesaving treatments and the most promising cancer research anywhere. Friends, families and co-workers form fundraising teams and consumers help by donating at retail outlets. Port of Tampa Bay. Register at lightthenight.org Purple Stride Tampa Bay 2014 Saturday, November 7 • 7 a.m. Walk in support of those who fight pancreatic cancer. It is estimated that more than 46,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year. It has the lowest relative fiveyear survival rate of any major cancer (6%) and is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Sponsored by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network that funds research, patient services, community outreach and advocacy. Event at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg includes a timed 5K run and a family-friendly walk, children’s activities, music, refreshments and more. Registration Opens at 7 a.m. Pre-register by October 18 to get a t-shirt. Purplestride.org Casting for a Cure Fishing Tournament and Dinner Saturday, October 17 • 4:30 pm Help The Foot Foundation raise money to provide orthotic and prosthetic care to children in impoverished countries. Tournament held at Rick’s on the River at 2305 North Willow Avenue in Tampa. Tournament all day - Photo Catch and Release, all photos due to Rick’s by 3 p.m. Tournament and Dinner - $75/person. Dinner Only - $25/person. For more information or to register, go to FootFoundation.org.


2015 Tampa Bay Heart Walk Saturday, November 7 The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against America’s number one and number four killers: heart diseases and stroke. The event is inspirational and fun while promoting physical activity and heart-healthy living. Rewarding for the entire family, your participation helps raise money in the fight to save lives. Walk with friends, family, coworkers and other members of the community you meet along the way. Sponsored by the American Heart Association and held at Raymond James Stadium. Enter your team and have some fun celebrating healthy and happy hearts! Information at TampaBayHeartWalk.org 7th Annual YES! Family Abilities Information Rally Saturday, October 4th The F.A.I.R. is a FREE family-friendly community event designed to help all people fully participate in our community. People of all ages and abilities can visit vendors with games and giveaways while having fun learning about programs, products and services useful to them. Visit more than 200 community partners who enrich, educate and empower those living with disabilities, their families and the general public. All People’s Life Center, 6105 E. Sligh Ave in Tampa. YesUnited.org

The Out of the Darkness Community Walk Saturday, October 24 • 10:30 a.m. Sponsored by the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The event brings together family, friends, colleagues and supporters who walk to raise funds and awareness for AFSP’s vision to create a world without suicide. All funds go to AFSP with 50% of the money raised coming back to the Tampa Bay Chapter to be used locally in education and support. Held at South Straub Park in St. Petersburg. Check in time is at 9 a.m. Register at Community Walks at afsp.org **If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). FCA Annual Banquet Tuesday, September 29th The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is holding their annual Tampa Bay Fundraising Banquet at Grace Family Church. This organization supports volunteer-run clubs in local high schools for Christian students to meet and hold events. Host for the evening is Gayle Sierens, beloved former anchor at WFLA TV. Dinner event and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Table sponsorships are available. Event at 5100 W. Waters Avenue in Tampa. Purchase tickets at FCATampaBay.org. The 4th Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival October 16-17 This is a wonderfully done event for kids and their parents, a regional celebration to explore the wonders of hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). The 2015 festival is along the waterfront campus of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The event is held in conjunction with MarineQuest, the annual open house of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. USF - St. Petersburg Campus, 140 7th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg. stpetescifest.org St. John’s Pass Seafood Festival October 23, 24, and 25 For more than 30 years, John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk has offered festivities for the whole family at the annual Seafood Festival. The event takes place at Historic John’s Pass Village located in beautiful Madeira Beach. The many features of the event include an Art & Craft Show with 60 local and regional artists selling their work, tons of fresh local seafood, a Halloween Block Party, live music throughout the village, trick-or-treating and a children’s costume contest. Johnspass.com


Every once in a while a product comes along that is so cool and useful that you think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Inventor Karen Rzepecki from Erie, Pennsylvania was shaking salad dressing in mason jar that she was reusing and the oil was leaking everywhere making a mess. An avid recycler, she went to the Internet to find a replacement cap for her jars and didn’t find anything. So some creativity, engineering and a Kickstarter campaign later, Karen is now the proud owner of an awardwinning company called reCAP. “I set out to develop the perfect Mason Jar pour cap. My main priorities were to create a product that was safe to use, eco-friendly, able to be manufactured in the United States, and, of course, multi-purpose.” That she did. The reCAP is a perfect 21st Century product. It allows users to actively reuse jars instead of recycling them, which is great for the environment. Glass is also a much healthier storage container than anything plastic, so it’s great for our bodies, too. The caps come in two sizes for two different sized jar mouths, 2.5 inches and 3 inches. They are leak proof and BPA free making them ideal for beverages such as green juices, teas or other drinks you want to carry around.

TIP: Leaving plastic water bottles in a hot car can cause chemicals to leech into your drink, so glass is a safer alternative.

Use jars for crafts and gifts. Bloggers share ideas like this on their website.

Different style lids add to the versatility. A pour top lid for drinks and dressings; a flip top lid for dry good storage; a pump lid for handmade lotions and soaps; and a spray lid for homemade cleaners and essential oil spritzes. reCAP has partnered with Classico® to promote the sustainable idea of reusing their 24 ounce red sauce jars for other purposes. These jars use the regular size reCAP so now is a good time to start saving them for holiday gift giving! Now any gift you can put in a glass jar can come with a reusable reCAP to make the gift more practical and long lasting. Order them at MasonJars.com. Lids are $7 each with replacement parts, koozies, decorative tags, straws and other accessories also available. Wholesale opportunities are available for local retailers. Hint Hint!


Turn your pasta sauce jars into free reusable containers. Photos courtesy of MasonJars.com

Free Financial Instruction for Teens Want your high school student to learn life-changing principles for FREE? Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance is now available at no cost to all Florida high school students, thanks to Florida Virtual School. Register today! FLVS.net Free Online Tutorials FloridaStudents.org is a new website designed to aid students and provide Florida Standards Student Tutorials and Resources. The website has web-based resources aligned to Florida Standards in English Language Arts, mathematics, science and civics, as well as original tutorials created by Florida educators. Approximately 1,700 resources are currently available and more are being added. Additionally, this website contains a link to the Official SAT® Practice website, a free resource for students that is provided by the College Board and Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a personalized learning resource for all ages and offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard. Local Food Project in St. Petersburg A non-profit in St. Petersburg led by Carol Smith is growing, literally! They have acquired new plots for expanding The Community Orchards project, where they will grow fruit trees using food forest techniques to feed people in the areas of greatest need. Would you like to help them connect people to nature and healthy food as a catalyst for healthier lifestyles? They could use your help as a donor or a volunteer as they address poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and social His adventurous career includes time with Hall of Famer greats inequity with our community outreach, training and education. Harry Caray for the Cubs and Tony Kubek for the Yankees. In Find Community Orchards on Facebook and learn more calling almost 6,000 Major League games, Staats has witnessed about the organization at localfoodpark.com. nine no-hitters, including Nolan Ryan’s record-breaking fifth and the inspirational no-hitter thrown by New York’s Jim #Commit2Ten Abbott. He also saw Wade Boggs and Derek Jeter reach the Only 1 in 3 children is physically active each day. To spread 3,000-hit mark with home runs, the first two players in major the word about the lack of physical activity in schools—and across the country—the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is league history ever to achieve that feat. launching #Commit2Ten, a social media campaign challenging the nation to add 10 more minutes of physical activity a day. Visit commit2ten.org to get a personalized fitness profile, a 30-day activity calendar, resources, and support during September, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Position to Win Position to Win is a new book written by our own Dwayne Staats, the voice of Rays Baseball. It takes readers on his journey from a ten year-old boy with a dream to the broadcasting booth with his hero and eventually here in St. Petersburg with the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Throughout the book, Staats underscores a central message: putting oneself in a “position to win” with persistence, preparation and hard work in order to take advantage of opportunities that arise in life. The book is also a deeply personal story, addressing love, loss, resilience and faith – and a testament to the powerful bonds of family. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to Quantum Leap Farm in Lutz, an equine therapy program and the Poynter Institute’s Write Field program. Books can purchased at Amazon.com, retailers and the Rays merchandise store at the stadium.


Stay Aware: Cell phones and social media have made it easier for emergency managers to reach citizens, but they can’t reach you if you don’t sign up. First, go to the county website and register for the Community Notification Service. This is a secure service from the county that will notify you by landline, cell phone number, text and/ or email whenever there is an emergency alert. A new system is in place, so if you signed up before December 2014, you must sign up again. The county also has an emergency app for your phone and they are active on Twitter.

The peak of hurricane season for Florida residents is September and October, and since we haven’t had a hurricane scare recently, it’s time to review evacuation zones, refresh our memories and revisit our survival kits. If you’re new to Florida, then this is a good overview of what is needed to survive a storm because it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.” Pinellas County Emergency Management has a comprehensive website of tools and educational information at their website PinellasCounty.org/Emergency. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find there: Know Your Zone: By entering your address, you will learn which evacuation zone your home has been assigned. Evacuation zones are determined based on elevation and the predicted amount of storm surge flooding for that area. This is not the same as a flood zone and so even if you don’t need flood insurance, you need to Know Your Zone for a hurricane. Zones are divided into letter categories with A being least likely to evacuate and E being the most likely. Emergency managers will announce which zones are to be affected by an incoming storm so you need to know if you are an A, B, C, D or E. You may also be in the highest areas of the county which are non-evacuation zones. In this case, you do not need to flee your home in fear in flooding. For those who can safely stay in their home, the focus needs to be on securing your home from strong winds.

Plans and Supplies: If you’re like most locals, your plan was created years ago and most likely jobs or schools have changed. It’s time to revisit your emergency plan with all family members so everyone knows where to go and how they will get there. Also check with preschools, babysitters, schools and places of employment to know how they will act in an emergency. Emergency planning is like term life insurance: you hope you don’t need it, but you know your family is better off with it being in place. Look in the Prepare Ahead section of the website for recommendations about preparing your home, documents, medications, pets, relatives with special needs, food supplies, first aid and what to do after a storm hits. Check food and water provisions for expiration dates. Check batteries and other tools to make sure they are still in working order. And finally check around with elderly neighbors and friends to make sure they are ready, too. Fire departments require preregistration for any person requiring transportation to a special needs shelter. So give a wave and ask, “Do you need help getting your hurricane plan updated?” Let’s help our neighbors because surviving the storm is all of our responsibilities! Learn about Surge: Floridians tend to get casual about evacuations, yet as we remember the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, visions of citizens standing on rooftops waiting to be rescued comes to mind. Or worse yet, remembering those on the Mississippi coast who were swept away with their homes by mountainous surge waves. If a storm hits our coastline just right, and if we are in high tide, the waves of surge water can devastate the Tampa Bay area. If you wonder what kind of surge water is predicted for your home, the website has a surge map to show you how high the water could rise in your neighborhood. Talk about a reality check!

Host Homes: If you live in a non-evacuation zone and your home is prepared for wind, then you are encouraged to open your home to friends and family who live in areas to be evacuated. Due to the high amount of traffic leaving the area, loved ones may be safer in your home than on the road. More information about Host Homes is on the website.


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We owe this to our children, our most precious resource. They are all “our” children. They are our present, not just our future and we are on the precipice of leaving them a broken, battered world that often appears woefully past the point of redemption. This does not have to be. We can and we will fix this, but only if we put aside our petty differences and act like a well oiled machine. Society has so many things that are completely out of whack and that it actually blurs our perspective. Movie stars, rappers and baseball players make 30 million dollars a year and police officers, firemen and teachers make thirty thousand. Some people live in mansions, while other good folks, families, live in the streets. There is more than enough resources to go around. Surely, we can unite around helping the hungry and homeless. Why do we put so much emphasis on things that don’t matter and no emphasis at all on the stuff that really does matter? Why are our elected officials not leading like we sent them up there to do? Why am I asking so many hard questions? Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten and hot dog buns come in packages of eight? These are the monumental questions I ponder as I stare with a cold shiver at our collective crossroads moment.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE “US” I love, love, love it that neighborhoods around here have distinct personalities. It’s cool that different sections of this vast metropolis have different vibes, sights and sounds. Diversity should be treasured, nurtured and applauded. There are after all, over 4 million of us here in this water swept utopia we call Tampa Bay. Having said that, from time to time, we need to be reminded that we are all one. One nation under God, one region with unique issues and needs and one group of neighbors and friends who have to look out for one another. Unity is essential for any kind of positive and lasting societal changes. When we all paddle the metaphorical humongous wooden ship together, in perfect rhythm, we can turn it around and plot a course towards the promised land. Living in a bubble serves no one, even if it does make one fine defense mechanism. We have to all be prepared to serve the greater good and stand up for what is truly important.


Listen to his show 3 - 6 p.m. on AM 1110

Unity breeds hope and hope is the expectation of a positive result. I believe in us and I have hope. I firmly aspire to the notion that the problems we face will be eradicated in our lifetime. The things that unite us are far greater than the things that divide us. Be the change you seek in this world. If you are sitting on the sidelines, doing nothing but complaining, hush up and get some skin in the game. Never forget, the tried and true axiom, Together we stand, Divided we fall. Being divided is the past, being united is the future and the future is now. Pete O’Shea hosts The Pete O’Shea Show weekdays from 3 - 6 p.m. on WTIS AM 1110, The Neighborhood Inspira on Radio Sta on since 1976. He is also a Chris an Comedian and the author of the book, Pain Was My Friend about his miracle cure from 17 years of back pain. You can order your copy of this life altering book at painwasmyfriend.com.

This Page Sponsored By: A small band of dedicated people, can in fact, change the world. How do I know this to be true? Because it is the only thing that ever has. We can do so much when we stand shoulder to shoulder and think not of ourselves, but of the big picture.


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EDITORIAL Our community leaders set the tone for our community and we vote for those leaders. Whether north or south, black or white, rich or poor, we are a sum of all our parts. At the conference, I learned that in the entire county teachers and schools on a daily basis deal with children who don’t eat at home. Some come to school hungry, not bathed and wearing dirty clothes. Out of compassion (and necessity) teachers will help with clean clothes and hygiene. I met a former high school teacher on another day who told me she kept food in her classroom closet for students who were starving. We just had a huge wave of school supply donation drives. Did you know we have charities who provide food on Fridays so children will be able to eat something over the weekend? Pack a Sack and The Kind Mouse are two such organizations. They need your help all year long. Schools need mentors. Clothes to Kids needs clothing and shoe donations all year long as well. In addition to physical needs not being met, children from all backgrounds come to school with emotional needs not being met. Children with learning and behavior issues who aren’t receiving therapy and counseling. Children whose parents drink or use drugs. Children whose parents are depressed and disengaged. Children whose families have faced job loss, loss of a home or a broken marriage. Children who are coping with dysfunctional relationships at home or are being bullied. Children who are shuffled between parents during the week. Children who lack supervision and discipline at home. Children with illness, disabilities or mental health problems. Children who have endured trauma, verbal abuse or physical abuse. Children who never get outside to play or are latch key kids. Children who have possessions but are neglected emotionally for any reason.

RAISING THE BAR by Publisher PAMELA SETTLE Before the next story on tips for success, I want to share an experience. A few years back, I participated in an all-day discussion about the state of education in Pinellas County. Professionals from education, early education, social services, non-profit agencies, youth programs and concerned citizens were brought together to lay the groundwork for a community plan to increase school readiness, improve school success and create opportunities for post education employment. I chose to spend the day in the school success group, where guess what? Only about five minutes of the entire day was actually spent talking about academics. I hope you’ll bear with me here because I need to speak some truth. The day was spent in discussion about how students are not coming to school ready to learn for a wide variety of reasons. This feedback came from throughout the community. In total, I learned a great deal about what kids in our community are dealing with and it moved me deeply. At the time of this writing, we’ve just read the articles about the failing schools in St. Petersburg and the community is filled with discussions on who is to blame. The answer is that we all are in some way, whether we live in those districts or not.


THEY CARRY THIS TO SCHOOL. To an adult this list may seem part and parcel of life’s harsh realities. However, these circumstances are affecting our children’s ability to learn and succeed in school. Along with these more serious situations, we also need to look at our children’s diet and nutrition, their activity levels, their emotional development and their sense of peace and harmony. We have such a short window of time to raise our children! By being proactive, open minded and willing to take a close look at ourselves as parents, we can raise the bar in our homes and in our schools. As part of my job, I follow many mom discussion groups and read mommy blogs. I see the heartache, the fatigue, the confusion, the alienation, the isolation, the financial challenges, the relationship challenges and the insecurities. I believe life is more difficult for kids and parents today. So much more out there to steer them in the wrong direction from junk food advertising to drug dealers to human traffickers. We’re in the parenting game together, and while each family situation is unique, we all have one thing in common: we do want what’s best for our children. It’s with this in mind, that we have compiled this list of tips for raising the bar in your home and having a fantastic school year ahead!

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the time you pay $100 for groceries you don’t notice it. Just overcome the sticker shock at the cooler and set it in the cart. The first glass of organic milk your child drinks will give you a sense of relief and you won’t look back. Stop buying packaged cookies and sweets for snacks and dessert. If sweet treats are must have for your family, make them from scratch using whole ingredients or switch to fruit. Increase your dinner menu by incorporating one new whole food meal a week. This helps you to learn new techniques and recipes slowly. Eventually processed meals and fast food can be eliminated from your routine. The Internet is rich with websites that have one pot meals, slow cooker meals, frozen meals, casseroles and pressure cooker recipes. Reduce the amount of sugar, diet and caffeine beverages that you buy and increase the amount of water your family drinks. This is especially important for school aged children.

Food is the fuel that runs our bodies, and just as the right kinds of oil and gas are needed for an engine to run optimally, our cells need the right nutrients to power our bodies adequately. For growing children, their nutrition today is building the foundation for their bodies in the future. For the first time ever, the medical community is saying that our children will not live as long as the previous generation because of increasing rates of chronic disease and malnutrition that leads to a variety of ailments. Malnutrition doesn’t necessarily mean hunger. It means a diet void of usable nutrients. An obese child who eats nothing but junk food and fast food can be malnourished. This leads to diabetes and heart disease in children! All parents need to be concerned with what goes into the bellies of their children. Think of them as a finely tuned race car or luxury car that requires only the best fuels to be ready to learn in school. A brain works better when it is nourished! And for children who have learning challenges, ADD, ADHD, learning disabilities, behavior issues or are anywhere on the autism spectrum, the ingredients in food can be a contributing factor. Artificial dyes, MSG, preservatives, gluten and sugars can make these conditions worse. In some cases changing the diet completely can completely change the child’s life. It’s so critical that at the Brain Balance Center of West Tampa, all clients undergo ALCAT testing to determine food sensitivities. Parents are counseled by a nutrition specialist throughout the program. Similarly, natural health doctors, chiropractors, nutrition coaches and therapists evaluate diet as part of their treatments for children. While we can’t say enough about the importance of quality food, we realize that everyone has their own mix of challenges in the way of money, time, accessibility to fresh food and cooking abilities. The easiest way to make changes is one step at a time. Some easy changes to make: Switching to organic dairy to eliminate the concentration of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that occur in milk, yogurt and butter. It’s $2 to $3 a gallon more for organic milk, but by

Forego the sugar-filled breakfasts during the week and make an effort to prepare a high protein breakfast. Kids need the staying power of protein to get them through their mornings in school. If necessary, make a large batch of scrambled eggs for breakfast burritos or make a breakfast casserole. Whole wheat pancakes with Greek yogurt and fruit, homemade protein bars and even a peanut butter sandwich with a banana are some easy options. Every issue of GoodLiving®’s Guide to Happy Healthy Kids has tips and recipes. Did you know you can subscribe to receive your copy by mail? Do it at GoodLivingMagazine.com.

From the Community: Fit 4 All Kids at All Children’s Hospital by KELLIE GILMORE Everyone has heard the saying “we are what we eat,” but how many parents think about this statement when feeding their families? It is something all of us should consider when preparing meals and snacks. The foods we put into our bodies affect how much energy we will have to get through a busy day. This is especially true for students. What you prepare in the morning for breakfast, pack for lunch or provide as after-school snacks can help your kids feel strong, alert and energized or can make them feel sluggish, tired and—sometimes—still hungry and unsatisfied. The key to providing a nutritious day of food options is to load up on great tasting whole foods and limit the availability of processed foods. What does this mean? Whole foods provide rich nutrients the body needs. They can stand alone, like an apple, a cucumber or lean protein like chicken or fish. These foods are rich in color and provide plenty of vitamins and minerals that help protect our bodies and cells and prevent illness. Processed foods are usually high in calories, fat, sodium and/or sugar and contain artificial ingredients, colors and fillers. Often they are made in factories and sold as neatly packaged goods wrapped in

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plastic and cardboard. Processed foods may have a long shelf life, unlike whole foods grown in orchards and gardens or raised on farms. Making the switch to including more whole foods and fewer processed foods need not be difficult or “all or nothing.” Consider the foods you buy each week at the store and start by modifying your shopping list. Decide how you can buy and prepare a greater variety of whole foods for your family and how to limit processed foods. It may be easiest to start with snacks—instead of buying packaged snack foods like chips, cookies and processed “fruit” items, you can try to make all snacks whole foods. Instead of the apple pop-tart reach for the apple; instead of chips, try veggie sticks and a low-fat dip or a bean and veggie salsa. Leave the fruit roll-ups in the store and go for a bowl of mixed berries, or maybe a fruit parfait made with fresh fruit and low-fat yogurt. Don’t be afraid to splurge in the produce section or at your favorite local produce stand. These foods are key to keeping your family healthy and feeling their best so that they feel energized throughout the day and ready for the next challenge.

American Academy of Pediatrics Urges High Schools to Start Later Studies show that adolescents who don’t get enough sleep often suffer physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance. Getting enough sleep each night is a challenge for teens whose natural sleep cycle makes it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m. – and then must face a first-period class at 7:05 a.m. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a policy statement that recommends middle and high schools delay the start of class to 8:30 a.m. or later. Doing so would align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty.

“Chronic sleep loss in children and adolescents is one of the most common – and easily fixable – public health issues in the U.S. today,” said pediatrician Judith Owens, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement, “School Start Times for Adolescents,” American children simply are not getting enough sleep to keep their published in the September 2014 issue of Pediatrics. minds healthy and ready to learn for school. Contributing factors “The research is clear that adolescents who get enough sleep are too many activities during the week, parents’ work schedules, homework and screen time. The bottom line is that parents must be have a reduced risk of being overweight or suffering depression, are less likely to be involved in automobile accidents, and have in charge of the sleep schedule and stick to the routine. better grades, higher standardized test scores and an overall School-Aged Children better quality of life,” Dr. Owens said. “Studies have shown that According to the National Sleep Foundation, children ages 6-13 delaying early school start times is one key factor that can help need 9-11 hours of sleep a night. At this age, their involvement adolescents get the sleep they need to grow and learn.” with extracurricular activities is increasing at the same they become Many studies have documented that the average adolescent in more involved with computers and other media. Homework the U.S. is chronically sleep-deprived and pathologically sleepy. also becomes more time consuming. Too much stimulation from A National Sleep Foundation poll found 59 percent of 6th screen time and caffeine can lead to sleeping difficulties, bedtime through 8th graders and 87 percent of high school students resistance and nightmares. Sleep problems and disorders are in the U.S. were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 prevalent at this age so it’s recommended that parents intervene hours of sleep on school nights. and set rules to optimize sleep times. Poor and inadequate sleep Napping, extending sleep on weekends, and caffeine can lead to mood swings, behavioral issues such as ADHD and consumption can temporarily counteract sleepiness, but they do cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school. not restore optimal alertness and are not a substitute for regular, Sleep Tips sufficient sleep, according to the AAP. • Teach school-aged children about the importance of The AAP urges middle and high schools to aim for start times healthy sleep habits that allow students to receive 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night. • Continue to emphasize need for a regular and consistent In most cases, this will mean a school start time of 8:30 a.m. or sleep schedule and bedtime routine later, though schools should also consider average commuting • Create a soothing sleep environment that is dark, times and other local factors. cool and quiet • Keep TV, computers, cell phones and tablets out of the bedroom • Avoid caffeinE • Teach natural relaxation and breathing techniques to calm the body • Incorporate gentle massaging with positive affirmations and/or prayer to calm the mind He’d say you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. • Use essential oils on the child or in a diffuser to encourage You’ve got to be your own man not a puppet on a string. peaceful sleep. Young Living Oils have blends especially Never compromise what’s right and uphold your family name. developed for children. You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.


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These song lyrics by Aaron Tippen can apply to a person, a family, a group or a company. It’s about knowing who you are, where you come from, where you’re going and what you stand for all along the way. For parents in particular, having a clear understanding of your own values is necessary before determining the direction of your family. Building a home on shifting sand would create an unstable structure. The same is true for a family unit. Creating a firm family foundation gives children a truth to rely upon, security for the future and clear boundaries to live within. The Internet has created an era of misinformation that can lead many parents to be confused about what is best for any situation or question. With opinions as plentiful as stars and parenting books that would stack to the moon, it’s important more than ever to seek resources of authority and wisdom to determine your own truths about life and success. Take major issues, such as education, and determine what your family values are regarding that issue. Make sure all your actions and words support that value in front of your children, and be intentional about instilling those values into your children as early as possible. Tell your children family stories and regularly use phrases like, “In our family, we place a high value on education,” “In our family we always do our best in school,” “In our family we respect our teachers,” and “In our family there are consequences for misbehaving in school.”

Keeping an open avenue of communication should start as soon as children learn to talk. There is a popular meme in social media that says, “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” Your values about risky behavior should be a part of your family foundation discussion from an early age and can support an overall healthy approach to life. “Just as mom and dad help teach you to eat healthy food, we want to teach you that using any kind of drug or alcohol is unhealthy for you, too. Your body is growing and we want you to grow to be your best self. When you are an adult, you will make your own choices, but while you are a child, we will not allow smoking, drinking or drugs of any kind.” Keep in mind that children can spot inconsistencies a mile away and building their trust is necessary. Modeling healthy habits is the best way to reinforce your family values.

Other major topics for building a strong family foundation are behavior expectations, values regarding the treatment of others, food, exercise, relationships, family time and psychological and spiritual development. Consider these top priorities first and put maximum effort here. And while external values such as team sports, academic achievement and making money have an out-of-balance priority in our society, it’s important to instill internal values for a balanced life. Once the family foundation is determined, parents will need to work hard to fight the battles of culture and peer pressure. That’s where true strength and resolve are needed. We can make the initial lift to get the bar up high, but the fatigue sets in with holding it up over time. Do not grow weary! Find strength to hold true to your values and someday your children will thank you for it.

From the Community: Teach First the Fruits of the Spirit REVEREND DAVE BALDRIDGE First United Methodist Church of Palm Harbor

From the Community Talk about Alcohol and Drugs Openly from DAPHNE LAMPLEY LiveFree! Coali on Director Talking with your child is the first step to preventing alcohol and other drug use. Start early and talk often to build an open relationship with your child. As they move into adolescence the pressures to experiment will become greater so keep talking. There doesn’t need to be a big moment or big talk. Short, frequent conversations are more relaxing and less intimidating. Give your child clear, consistent guidelines and messages about not drinking. As your teen gets close to driving, follow the Graduated Drivers License Law which phases in the privileges for new drivers. Enforce limits on number of passengers and nighttime driving. Remind your teen about safety (for example: buckle up, follow the speed limit and do not use cell phone) and share tips about how to recognize dangers on the road. And, periodically ride together and see what your teen is doing while driving. Information sources: SAMHSA samhsa.gov/underage-drinking/parent-resources

We are taught that these values, the fruits of the spirit, are most important: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. This is true for adults and for their children. Remember that no matter who you are, someone is learning from you.

MADD madd.org/underage-drinking/the-power-of-parents/ high-school-parents/highschool-driving.html

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encourage you to share your opinions with your state legislators today and through the year), we can as parents make it our mission to get our children involved in activities outside of school. For one, this will help a expand his or her feelings of worth and teach that “I am more than a test score.”

Want to help your children be motivated about school? Help them set some goals. Several studies have shown improved academic performance when parents help their children set some educational goals. Rather than focus on a competitive goal, together determine personal learning goals.

Find clubs, Meetups and neighborhood youth groups that explore an interest or develop a skill. Here children can meet other children who share a common hobby. This could include community gardening, video gaming, 4H, cooking, civic engagement, conservation, robotics and more. Talk with the children’s librarian at your local library. They are fantastic resources for information in your community. Also check the bulletin boards at your community recreation centers. Having friends with similar interests will develop confidence and make school easier.

Ask your child what he’d like to do differently this year compared to last year, giving him a boost with some leading questions. Perhaps he’d like to improve his math grades or be a better listener. The trick is to let the child determine his or her goals. This is empowering to a child and gives them a sense of control over their destiny. This lesson will continue through life and be one of the best skills you can teach. A good goal is one that is achievable, measurable and timely. For children who have larger goals, break them down into incremental steps so achievement of a goal comes sooner. For example, if a child wants to raise a grade from 70 percent to 100 percent, it may be better to aim for 10 percent increases over a set period of time. This allows the parent to monitor progress and assist with strategies like additional study time or tutoring.

Join scouting. Several different kinds of scouting organizations are in our county. They enlist adult volunteers to teach skills, build leadership and instill confidence. Community service is often involved and kids learn a lifelong value of helping others when they can be hands on with their peers. Start a business. Many young people are venturing into entrepreneurship at very young ages. The Internet has created a vehicle for a child without a car and a busy school schedule to reach customers around the world. It’s an exciting time for kids to learn about business and earn their own money.

Create a vision board with the goals in writing and include some fun visuals to stimulate the brain every time the child sees it. This can be as simple as a small poster board or a more elaborately designed bulletin board. Place the board where the child can see it every day. Include some supporting positive affirmations as well, such as, “I am going to be a good listener today,” “I am going to work hard in math class today,” and “I am in control of achieving my own goals.” An important part of goal setting is celebrating your child’s success when their goal is attained. Some experts don’t recommend offering rewards or enticements to help children achieve goals, but parents know what motivates their child best.

Numerous articles and studies have been circulating that warn parents about the dangers of too much standardized testing in schools. The concerns are that children are losing their creativity, their abilities to think for themselves to problem solve and their individual uniqueness. Other concerns are for the children who do not test well that they will dislike school, have poor self esteem and develop chronic stress. The priority placed on testing scores in schools has also caused a reduction of the amounts of art, music and physical activity during the school day. We can’t solve the testing issue today (although we


From the Community I am Eight and I Have My Own Business! by MADISON HARRISON this issue’s cover girl

My business is PHOTOS WITH MADISON. I focus on capturing memories of little girls and their dolls or boys with their toys. I have also photographed a wedding and other events on my own too. I make money but I also donate my time. I have a “back to school” photo shoot on September 19 to help food pantries. My two favorite achievements were my very first photo shoot and collecting the dresses from the community, giving the dresses to the foster girls and taking their pictures in the dresses. I love having my own business because I get to be creative and do nice things for people. I like that I can do it my way. (As told to mom, Andrea Harrison.) PhotosWithMadison.com.

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From the Community There is No Shame in Seeking Help by TIFFANY WERHNER, MS, LMHC, PA

So far there is no explanation as to why so many more children are suffering from attention deficits, learning disabilities, sensory disorders, executive functioning delays, behavior challenges, medical conditions, allergies and anxiety. The realm of “special needs” has grown to an unmanageable level for school systems, and not all children who need help are qualifying for free assistance at school. There simply aren’t enough dollars and therapists to give attention to those who struggle, or don’t reach their potential in the classroom. It may not be a dysfunction or a disorder, it may just be a child who need extra help with math or reading. And it may be a child who has difficulty coping with these and other challenges. Whatever the issue, if a child needs more than the parent and the school can provide, then outside help is necessary. We’ve come to believe that everything we need should be provided by the education system, the healthcare system or the government. That simply isn’t the case, even if it once was. Most insurance policies cover very little in the way of therapies including physical, speech, occupational, behavior and mental health counseling. We’re on our own to provide for our children however we can. We are their advocates and we are fully responsible to help them become the best they can be. To find what you need, consult friends, ask at the school, ask your doctor and scour the Internet. There are coaches who use technology to do sessions via your computer. There are therapists and centers that accept payment based on financial need. There are support groups, online classes and peer groups in the community. Many libraries offer free tutoring. Seek out the help your child needs and cut corners in your budget however necessary to afford the cash payments for therapy, tutoring or counseling.

From the Community Therapy Builds a Stronger Foundation by Amy Perry, OTR/L Owner and Occupa onal Therapist at Founda ons Therapy

Therapy for kids addresses the building blocks needed for development. If a child is struggling in an area, an occupational, physical, and/or speech-language therapist can evaluate and find where the hole is and create a plan to fill it. Early intervention is ideal, but any age can benefit from therapy. The stronger the foundation, the easier it is for your child to learn and grow in order to enjoy home, school, and community activities. Therapy brings purpose and enjoyment to learning.

In regards to teen counseling, family counseling and teen support groups, I often hear parents say, “We should have done this a lot sooner…” It saddens me to think of how many families waited too long and lost a child due to depression or poor self-esteem. There should be no shame in seeking professional help. There are often significant positive results from attending counseling. In several cases, preventive and proactive approaches address depression, suicidal ideations, bullying, poor self-esteem and poor social skills that their child had been dealing with on their own and was feeling isolated and unsupported. Often, a child or teenager will not disclose these issues to parents. They may find it easier to talk in a support group or in individual counseling where an objective professional is able to detect red flags before it becomes a crisis. We all need to work together to eliminate the unnecessary stigma that is still attached to mental health counseling or support groups. Due to this stigma, families are less likely to seek professional help, until there is a crisis or it is too late. Seeking professional help sooner than later can not only change lives, it can save them. Join me live on Wednesday nights from 8-10pm, for the “Moments of Clarity with Tiffany” psychology talk show on 1340 AM radio, WTAN. The show is open for listeners to call in and ask questions. You can also download the “Tune in radio” app for smart phones. Also at the Safety Harbor Behavioral Health and Counseling Center, we offer a High School Teen Group every Tuesday from 5-6 pm. Call (813) 922-1453 to register or show up 15 minutes early to fill out some short paperwork. ONLY $20/session or $85/5 sessions. Safety Harbor Behavioral Health and Counseling Center located at: 685 Main Street, suite C, Safety Harbor FL 34695

We are all products of our environment, and while some kids are more sensitive than others, they all feel the effects of what is happening inside the home and they carry it to school. Creating and managing a peaceful home environment takes everyone’s cooperation. It is a core belief that needs to be a part of the Family Foundation Plan. Adopt the mindset that you will have a good environment in your home and make it happen. For moms, that means some tactful diplomacy with spouses, a firm set of guidelines for the kids and personal self awareness and discipline for yourself. Picture yourself as a stranger in your home. Is there constant yelling? Is the house a disorganized mess? Is there excessive drinking and drug use (prescription drugs, too) happening? Do you see depression, sadness or loneliness? Is there negative language, cursing or insults being thrown around more than the opposite? Is there mutual support and love being shown? Are members of the family isolated and disconnected? Is there too much exposure to media and the Internet? Is there a lack of money, stability or security?

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This one is difficult, admittedly for the adults in the home, because only the adults can change their home life for their kids. At times this may seem impossible, overwhelming and hopeless. The good news is that it is never hopeless. Our community is filled with resources to help families with their relationships, their financial management, behavior issues and learning how to adopt a positive lifestyle. The best place to start is calling 211 if you need some serious help for your family. Counselors there can connect you with local resources. Private counselors are abundant and can work wonders, and so can your local house of worship. Nearly every church in this community has trained pastors and lay leaders who can give you a compassionate ear and find some way for you to get the help you need. Don’t isolate yourself. Empower yourself and your family to live up to your full potential and enjoy a happy, healthy home.

An infant learns how to self calm, but who teaches a school-aged child how to relax his or her mind and body after a long day? Yes, kids have stress. It could be peer pressure at school, a lack of academic confidence, perfectionism, behavior issues or struggles within the family. It’s a skill that needs to be taught and utilized not only at bedtime but before a test or whenever stress appears. Learning to understand emotional signals and to have body awareness will go a long way to staying in control as they get older.

Teachable Techniques Deep Breathing: An effective way to slow down the heart rate, lower blood pressure and provide a feeling of being in control. Anyone can do this at any time. Breathe in deeply to a count of four, hold the breath for a moment, release it slowly and repeat until relaxed. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Relieve stress by tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body, one at a time, including the face, jaw, hands, shoulders, belly and feet. Visualization: Using one’s imagination to slow down the chatter of the mind and help release negative thoughts and worries. Together create beautiful, peaceful scene that can become the child’s “happy place.” Describe color, smells and soothing sensations to create a full sensory moment that will calm. Add calming aromatherapy with lavender by using a diffuser. Stretching: Teach gentle stretching of large muscle groups to relax the body. Music: Play quiet, calming music known to relax the mind. Physical Closeness: If a child like to cuddle for security, encourage some quiet time hugging and petting a beloved pet. If appropriate for your child, offer some cuddle time for security and love. We all need at least 12 hugs a day to maintain mental health. Physical touch is important to feeling loved and it reduces stress hormones. Even for teenagers. Meditation: Stopping for some quiet time to breathe, relax and the clear the mind has multiple health and mental benefits. Include positive phrasing or prayer to settle the mind.


From the community Yoga Breathing by SARAH SCHABER owner of Om Sweet Om. Practicing yoga breathing teaches us to breathe long and deep through the nose while expanding the belly and utilizing all of the lungs. When we do this, the body and mind relaxes instantly. This is so helpful for children, teaching them the importance of mindful breathing through all situations that they encounter to help them to think more clearly, relax and have more energy.

Last but certainly not least is the importance of being involved with the child’s school. It’s so easy for parents to drop off and pick up, and never set foot within the school. Building a relationship with the teachers, administrators and PTA members will not only connect you to the school, but it will show your child that school is important. Attending events is also important, and so is being a part of the PTA or other parent organization. They not only support the school, they share important information about advocating for education. If you are thinking that your school is not open to parents or that you don’t like what your PTA does, then the answer is, go and get involved anyway. Be a change agent. Be a cheerleader for your child’s education. Learn what the issues are and offer suggestions. Find help for your school within the community. Go to school board meetings. Write letters to state legislators. Students and parents are the customer. If you need to be the squeaky wheel, then be the squeaky wheel in a positive, proactive and cooperative manner.

From the Community Join your PTA by Jessica Summers President, Pinellas County Council PTA PTA is the largest child advocacy organization and is comprised of volunteers. It is not your typical cookie baking, fundraising organization but a membership driven organization that gives its members a voice by which they can speak on behalf of children. PTA welcomes all families and encourages family engagement through programs like All Pro Dads, Health and Safety Fairs, Family Day in the Parks, and Educational Days that show families how they can help children with school. PTA is the voice for the voiceless. We need parents, businesses, and the community to step up and join PTA and be that voice for all children. Every child one voice

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What is the best thing parents can do to make this a good school year? The best thing parents can do to make this school year a good year for their children is to constantly remind and reassure their children of their potential and to maintain calm through challenging situations as the child will feed off of the parent’s reactions. -- Darrell Fulford, Principal, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School The best thing parents can do for their children to help them have a good school year is to ensure that their children are held accountable through a loving support system that includes the parent’s personal daily engagement. -- Gina Tanase Burkett, Head of School, Academy Prep Center of St. Petersburg The best thing parents can do to make this a good school year for their children is to model positive thinking. Ask your child about their favorite class or activity, or the best part of lunch or recess. Don’t let your first words be “How was so-and-so today? Did he/she say anything to you, or did they get in trouble?” Parents can set the tone for positive interactions with teachers and peers that will last well beyond the school year. -- Mrs. Rose Smoot, Principal, St. Paul Catholic School Be a “Learning Role Model” for your children. Be a lifelong learner yourself. -- Robert J Fine Jr., Headmaster/President, Admiral Farragut Academy Encourage routines. Children could establish routines that minimize thinking about where they left their books, iPad, and homework. Routines minimize unnecessary stress. Minimize video games and other media that do not contribute to the improvement of academic, creative, physical and social-emotional skills. Help spark a love for reading and learning. Read and explore their interests and expose them to your interests. For older students, make sure they have read their assignments thoroughly. Let children learn how to stand up for themselves, learn how to overcome adversity and take risks. The following quote from a colleague summed up the thoughts of many teachers. “Please give your student(s) a break. Learning (regardless of the subject) is a process that involves varying degrees of failure as well as success based upon the likes/interests, skills, and physical and psychological makeup of the individual child in question. Allow yourselves and your child to accept this process while still maintaining high, long-term expectations. Also, please do not equate your student’s self worth (in your own mind or to your child) with his/ her academic achievements and/or failures. It is high school and they are children; please allow and encourage them to find joy in both. -- Mike Murphy, Headmaster, Shorecrest Preparatory School

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COMMAND YOUR CLUTTER Organization Makes Life Easier for All by SHARON TOSTON I was working in the office one day when my phone rang. A woman who introduced herself as Kristen began speaking frantically about how she needed help decluttering her entire home. She went on to explain that both of her sons attended middle school. She wanted to know if I could work with her family because both of her sons were diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD. She worked part-time as a home health care nurse, and her husband was an attorney and worked 50-60 hours per week. She wanted to get organized, but also learn how to stay that way, as well as come up with solutions to help her sons be more successful in school. When I first walked into their home, I noticed that there was stuff everywhere. It was a beautiful home, but it needed some attention. There were items all over the kitchen counters and dining room table, toys and books on the staircase, toys on the desk, pantry items in the laundry room, and so on. I knew we had our work cut out for us, but Kristen was eager to get started and learn.

Here Are Some of the Steps We Took to Command Kristen’s Clutter!

Declutter. This is always the first step, and sometimes the most painful. It is letting go of things that you may have an attachment to. The goal here is to get rid of any items that are not functional any longer. These items may be broken, not practical, never used, don’t fit, etc. Start a box for donation, or several if the donations are going to different places. Have enough boxes on hand to fit the needs of the area you will be working on. You will also need a supply of heavy duty trash bags for any items that are not donation worthy. A rule of thumb for making decisions is “a maybe is a no because it’s not a yes yet.” It sounds weird, I know, but most people know if the item is a yes to keep or a no to get rid of right away. 80% of items might be a maybe, and that’s where people get hung up for several hours trying to make decisions. They sometimes get overwhelmed or tired, and give up before the project gets done. The “Maybe” rule is a way to speed the process up and coax people into making quicker decisions. Take the donation items away that very same day! Put them directly in the car and drive to your donation location of choice. Plan ahead and make sure they will be open before you make the trip.

Garage before.... and after!


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Put “Like with Like.” This is a common saying in the

Tackle the Pantry. Create a separate area in the

professional organizer’s vocabulary. For the items you decide to keep, always put like with like. For example, all books should be together in one area, all school supplies should be together in one cabinet, the majority of the toys should be in one room especially if there are multiple children, etc. This way, when you are looking for a particular item, you know there’s only one place to go.

pantry for breakfast foods, lunch items and snacks. Arrange them in the pantry so they are easy for your children to reach. If there are foods that need your approval such as candy or soda, then put them on a higher shelf so the access is limited. It’s best to get in the habit of creating a meal plan for the week or weeks ahead, but at the very least create a grocery store checklist of staple items and items you buy every time you go to the store. This will help cut down your time spent at the grocery store.

Get the Whole Family Involved. Parents always want their kids to clean up their room. They hear time and time again, “Mom, where’s my (insert item here)?” In my opinion, if parents want their kids to be organized, they need to lead by example. Getting everyone on board and involved in the project will only make each individual more successful and teach them accountability.

Set up Stations thoughout the house. Especially for children with ADD/ADHD, the less visual and noise distraction in each area of your home, the better. It is best to have toys in one room, study area and school supplies in another, and any arts and crafts or toys that need supervision in a separate area so that Mom and Dad only have access to this area.

“A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place.” This phrasehas been around for ages and it works IF you work it. Create a place for kids to drop their backpacks, lunch bags, shoes, and most importantly homework. If you teach them to put things in their place, it will not only help them develop a routine, it will help you keep your sanity throughout the school year. Best Tip: Create an action station for incoming mail, homework and papers to sign that works for the entire family. I call it Command Central. This is usually where the family calendar is located. Put several hanging folders in a vertical box and label the folders. Some examples could be “To Pay,” “To Read,” “To Sign,” “To Research,” etc. The children that are old enough can simply put any papers that need to be signed in the folder. It is up to the parent to check the folder daily and make sure the paper is signed and returned with the child to school before the deadline. This is an example of how the family needs to work together. If the child is not old enough, then the parent needs to check the backpack on a daily basis.

Create Binders. Binders are a great place to keep and organize artwork, school certificates and report cards. Parents should be in charge of the certificate and report card binder, but consider getting kids involved in the artwork one. Buy a 3-inch 3-ring binder in your child’s favorite color. Get out the puffy paint, glitter and glue and let them customize it for themselves. Buy a supply of page protectors and let them be in charge (if they are old enough) of deciding what artwork makes it in their special folder. This helps parents keep the artwork at a minimum, but also gets kids involved and teaches them to purge or declutter. Some kids have a hard time letting go of things just like adults. Kristen and I worked together attacking each room one at a time. Not only did she learn how to get organized, but how to stay that way. She has sent me pictures of some projects she has done on her own, and I check in with her periodically to see how her sons are progressing. Kristen made the commitment to get her house under control, and now it is more manageable for her to keep up with as her sons grow and learn to keep organized too. I hope these tips have helped you in some way and that you can also make the commitment to make your life easier by having less stuff and having a place for everything in your home. For my grocery store checklist, please email me at commanderofclutter@ gmail.com, and I will send it to you free of charge! Remember, it’s a process to get organized. Be patient with yourself and stick with it. Figure out what’s not working and find the solution. I know you can do it!

Organize the Clothes. This step can be a challenge, especially with growing children. It is best to keep only the clothes appropriate for the season in their dresser drawers and in their closet. If possible, in the summer, keep winter coats, jackets, sweaters and such stored in storage bags or bins on the shelf in the closet, attic or garage. Kids need limited choices to make it easy for them and it only creates chaos when things that aren’t necessary are in their space. Sort through clothes at least twice a year and donate those that no longer fit. If they are old enough, get the kids involved in the process. It can only set them up for success later on in life.

Sharon Toston is the owner of Command Your Clu er. She personally organizes homes and offices for people in the Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. Sharon is best known for helping solo entrepreneurs get prepared to step to the next level in their business.

For more informa on: Visit her website: commandyourclu er.com Read her blog: tampabayorganizer.com For a free on-site or phone consulta on call: (727) 420-1746.

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school ready. Parents can barely afford quality care on today’s middle class wages and lower income parents resort to solutions that potentially put a baby in harm’s way (in Pinellas County, there are approximately 3,000 children on the waiting list for childcare subsidies.) We created an economic reality that requires families to need two, three or four jobs to make ends meet. What can we do to improve the state of our childcare system so it can do a better job of early childhood development for all children?

Fall 2015 seems a bit early to be talking about the 2016 presidential election, but maybe not. The candidates are still lining up and getting their initial looks as potential leaders. I can’t think of any time better than RIGHT NOW for parents to decide that they want to have a voice regarding our the future. Before I continue, I want to bring something somber to your attention. In 2014, researchers at Princeton got a good deal of press from their study that shows America is no longer a democracy, but an oligarchy where wealthy elites set the direction of policy regardless of what the majority of Americans want to happen. The researchers had this to say, “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” I think to some extent, most Americans already realize that lobbyists are paying their way through all levels of government. It’s frustrating, but at our patriotic core, we still hold onto a thread of belief that “We the People” still matter and that by voting, the elected representatives work for us. They only work for us if we press the matter and demand action and answers. And they have to know we VOTE. A few nights ago, I was inspired to write a question to a candidate who is actively answering questions posed from the public. I sent my question about a healthy food supply and the rising incidence of childhood diseases to AskBen@BenCarson.com. As a physician, I am eager to learn his position on this. The activity got me to thinking about my many other concerns and I’m sure I share some of them with fellow moms and dads. For instance: Family policy in America is well behind other Western nations, especially in terms of maternity/paternity leave and flexible work schedules. What are we going to do to improve this? The age range from zero to five is the most critical in child development, yet our nation treats childcare as if it weren’t important. Salaries for childcare workers are too low and turnover is high. Centers can barely afford to stay open, let alone provide the quality care that is necessary to nurture children and get them


Now that our public education system is being turned into a one size fits all system, we have increasingly more children who need supplemental help. Additionally, as we see continued increases in ADHD/ADD, autism, allergies, learning disabilities, asthma, food sensitivities and more, we have more and more children who require different types of therapies to help them develop to their potential. Most insurance policies pay very little for therapies such as occupational, physical and speech. Schools cannot meet the demand and only the most severe cases are provided therapy. Most parents cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs. Do we continue to let our children flounder or do we invest money into helping our children reach their potential? Potential that cannot be measured on a test! American education is in chaos and the voices of parents are falling on deaf legislative ears. How do we de-politicize education and refocus the attention away from power and money and ON TO the needs of the children? Additionally, how do we stop the attack on teachers and create a system that properly compensates them for their professional expertise? We have children in this country who are without homes, without food, without proper mental health care, without strong parental leadership and without hope. The past eight years has seen nothing but budget cuts to programs that are lifelines to children and families who are legitimately in need and in crisis. Likewise, charities and ministries have seen reduced donations or have closed down permanently. What can we do to rebuild a responsible safety net system and provide adequate mental health services in America? We need to take a serious look at the student loan program and make some corrections from the past. Plus we need to stop outrageous tuitions that are putting our young people in debt When can we get this started?

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At what point did it become okay for a credit card to charge 22% interest while the banks will only pay a half of a percent on a savings account? How can Americans be encouraged to save and create sustainable lives for their families this way? Why did the banks get that bailout? Whose side is the government on? Along these same lines, the middle class is slipping away. Families are struggling to pay rising utility bills and grocery bills (notice how when the gas prices went down the cost of groceries did not?). Healthcare costs have gone up for many families, and parents are foregoing their own health care. Housing costs in America are too high. These financial strains and more are strapping families at a time that salaries are simply not keeping pace. Don’t talk to me about employment rates. Talk to me about the livability of those wages. Which candidate is going to take a real look at everyday Americans and address the issue of salaries as compared to the rising cost of living? The economy is said to be improving, but Americans are still not getting raises, especially the ones in the public sector.

In order to meet the needs of our growing children, parents must speak up, ask questions and vote. But first, we need to know which candidates will be looking out for the kids. So the question is, “Who loves ya Baby?” Who out there among the federal and state candidates genuinely cares about our babies?

Baby boomers continue to age, and Generation X will be coming around the corner. Both generations have lost significant amounts of retirement funds or never had the chance to build a retirement due to the recession and job loss. What are we going to do with the massive number of elderly citizens who can’t afford to get old? What are we going to do support the caregivers, who by the way, are mostly women who care for kids and parents at the same time while working. Who stands up for those women? These are just a few of my pressing issues for presidential candidates that dig deeper into the state of the American family. Of course we are concerned about national security, job growth, healthcare and social security, but as parents, we are also concerned about much, much more and those issues never seem to get talked about. I want a candidate who cares about children and families enough to talk about solutions to the issues we face everyday.

Note to Parents None of this matters unless we as parents actually get informed and make waves. In Pinellas County, voters under the age of 45 are severely underrepresented.

Parents, Grandparents, Teachers and Family Advocates:

What You Can Do: • Get all adults in the family registered to vote • Do research and learn about the candidates • Think about what you need to make your family better • Send candidates the questions you have • Attend meetings and rallies • Volunteer on campaigns • Get out and VOTE

Send your questions to ParentsVote@goodlivingmag.com. We will be compiling the questions here along with your questions to send to the media and to candidates throughout the campaign season.

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a note from Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County Investing in Children. Strengthening our Community. Dear Parents, One of the most important gifts you give your child—in addition to nurturing and love—is the opportunity for a good education. Supporting your child’s learning is key to his or her lifelong success. September is National Attendance Awareness Month, and as the new school year kicks off, the Juvenile Welfare Board ( JWB) reminds parents and caregivers that attendance matters and every day counts. Helping your child develop good habits, like attending school each day, starts early.

Do You Know? Starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, too many absences can cause your child to fall behind. Absences add up. Your child can fall behind even if he or she misses just one or two days every few weeks. Good habits start the very first month of school, so it’s important to set the stage for good attendance at the beginning of the school year. Being late or tardy may lead to school attendance problems, and many schools have adopted policies where a certain number of tardies equals an unexcused absence. Good school attendance is an indicator of future success, such as reading on grade level by third grade and graduating from high school. Recently, JWB and our partners launched Early Readers, Future Leaders, a grade-level reading campaign aimed at increasing reading proficiency by third grade, which is a pivotal milestone along a child’s educational path. School absences, starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, can impede a child’s ability to achieve this critical milestone. So it’s important to help your child form good attendance habits early.

Know the attendance policy for your child’s school and keep a copy handy. Set a regular bedtime and morning routine. Lay out clothes and pack backpacks and lunches the night before. Don’t let your child stay home from school unless he or she is truly sick. Develop back-up plans for getting your child to school if something comes up. Call on a neighbor, family member or another parent when needed. Avoid scheduling appointments or extended trips for your child when school is in session.

Because all kids matter! Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman, DM JWB Executive Director

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Pinellas County Schools Pinellas County Designated as Model Community for High School Career Academies Only the Second District in the U.S. to Get This Distinction

• Microsoft Technology Associate Certifications (various) • CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, Server+ and Security+ • Microsoft Office Specialist • Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash

Centers for Excellence and Career Academies are at high schools Planning for the Future. Planning is key to getting on a path toward throughout the county. A trip to the PCSB.org website will lead you to their Career Education listings by school. However, a destination that best meets your interests, your goals and your we want to get you excited about the many career paths our abilities. In today’s rapidly changing work environment, students now more than ever need to get on a path that leads to employment, Pinellas County students can take advantage of through our and this applies to students who plan to attend college and those will school system. Some of these programs will be making their way to middle schools, too, so planning early can give your kids jump right into the work world after high school. an advantage. Students in these career education programs are To make high school more relevant, the Pinellas County School enrolled at that high school and they take required academics Board, along with the Pinellas Education Foundation and Ford alongside their specialized course work. The following chart of Next Generation Learning embarked on a five-year plan with programs reads like a college catalog, however this is high school a goal to enroll 50% of high school students into one of their and there is no additional tuition. The list is diverse to meet many career programs. At not quite half way through the plan, the needs of the job market as well a wide variety of interests, the program is already seeing increases in GPA and graduation abilities and goals for students. for students enrolled in career programs. They are at 35% enrollment, so not far at all from their goal. At the Superintendent’s Report on Career and Technical Education, Dr. Michael Grego spoke to a group of community leaders at the Pinellas Education Foundation’s Gus Stavros Center. Also present was Cheryl Carrier from Ford who came to announce that Pinellas had become their second Model Community in the U.S., and with it, a check for $25,000 to fund a National Conference to share successes with other school districts. That conference is scheduled for February at the Tradewinds Resort. In Dr. Grego’s presentation, he stated that Pinellas graduation rates are fairly typical for America: 72 percent for males and 82 percent for females. However, when isolating the students who are in a career program at a local high school, those graduation rates go up significantly to over 90 percent. Looking only at the rates for black males, a high risk category in any community, the rate is an impressive jump. Black males in a non-program high school path have a 68 percent graduation rate. For the ones in any of the numerous career programs, that rate goes up to 92.8 percent.

Career Pathways and Areas of Focus Offered in Pinellas County High Schools: Culinary Management Arts Catering

Parents may not realize that students in some programs can earn certifications for training at little to no cost for public school students. In 2012, students earned a total of 672 certifications. That number went up to over 1,700 for 2014. This is giving Pinellas students a jump on the competition for jobs and postsecondary education. Consider at Countryside High School for example, students enrolled in their Center for Computer Technologies and its supporting information technology courses have the opportunity to earn internationally recognized industry certifications which include:


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Food and Beverage Preparation Menu Development Front-of-the-House Duties Back-of-the-House Duties Use of Commercial Tools and Equipment

Veterinary Science Anesthesiology Equine Science Surgical Nursing Animal Behavior Breed Identification

Anatomy Biology

Chemistry Pharmacology Surgery Parasitology Handling and Restraint Grooming Federal and State Laws

Construction Technologies HVAC Dry Wall Painting

First Responders Program

Homeland Security Health Educators Social Workers

Criminal Justice Academy

Center for Wellness & Medical Professions

Masonry Carpentry Roofing Plumbing Ceramic Tile Electrical Emergency Management Specialist Emergency Medical Technician Paramedics Health & Safety Engineers Community & Social Service Specialist Air Traffic Controllers Fire and Ambulance Dispatchers Fire Fighters Protective Service Workers Security Guards Emergency Telecommunication Criminal Justice Operations Court Procedures Constitutional Law and Rules Public Service Speech Sociology Allied Health Certified Nursing Assistant First Responder Medical Doctor Dentist Radiologist Pharmacist Veterinarian Pediatrician

Academy of Information

Technical Support and Networking Programming/Database Web and Digital Media

Academy of Finance

Financial Planning Management Money Management Tax Preparation

Center for Advanced Technologies

Business, Economics and Technology Academy

International Business Business Administration Entrepreneurship Web Development Network Administration Network Implementation Multimedia Design and Development

Academy of Engineering

Introduction to Engineering Design Digital Electronics Computer Integrated Manufacturing Civil Engineering and Architecture Engineering Design and Development Biotechnical Engineering

Dry Wall Painting

Automotive Collision and Refinishing Automotive Service Technology


Marine Biologist Environmental Engineer Marine/Fisheries Technician Meteorologist Water Quality Technician Forestry Specialist Park Ranger Aquaculture

Academy of Construction Technology and Architectural Design

Automotive Academy

Academy for Marine Science and Environmental Technology

Accounting Banking and Credit Computer Technology and Applications Insurance and Real Estate Investments International Trade Securities (Stocks and Bonds) Economics Leadership and Community Involvement Marketable Skills for Job Placement Advanced Mathematics Advanced Science Computer Applications/Programming Multimedia/Television Production Scientific Research

Graphic Arts Academy

Silkscreen Operations Computer Operator Film Assembly Offset Press Operator

Center for Computer Technologies Graphic Design Specialist Web Designer

Career Academy for International Culture and Commerce

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Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) AutoVIZ Masonry Carpentry Roofing Plumbing HVAC Ceramic Tile Electrical Advertising Artist Digital Production Artist Digital Designer Illustrator Media Designer Technical Designer Web Page Developer Bindery Operations Camera Operator Plate Making Supply and Paper Sales Network Administrator Assistant LAN Manager Computer Repair Specialist System Integrator Computer Support Analyst Network Support Specialist Help Desk Technician Help Desk Support Analyst International Business Accounting Administrative Specialist Global Studies

a note from the

Pinellas County Sheriff Now that school is back in session, you can be sure that from the time you drop them off until the last bell rings, your children are solving math equations, writing essays and stimulating their brains. But what do they do once class is dismissed? According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, 30 percent of American middle school children are completely unsupervised in the afternoon, a time that on school days is the peak of juvenile crime. But whether you, a spouse, or another caregiver are available to supervise your children in the afternoons, after-school programs offer Explorer Post #900 a host of benefits for their physical, academic and social development. The Pinellas County Sheriff ’s Office law enforcement explorer program, Explorer Post #900, offers young people Children who spend time in extracurricular activities, such as sports, general interest clubs or musical instrument lessons, hone their creative- the opportunity to experience firsthand the challenges and thinking, problem-solving and communication skills in a safe, controlled rewards of public safety careers while being mentored by current deputy sheriffs. Post #900 Explorers are immersed in several environment. After sitting in a classroom with likely minimal physical facets of our agency’s operations, from Patrol and Corrections activity every day, children need the opportunity to burn their pent-up to Investigations, Forensics, Training and more, and they have energy and physically strengthen their muscles and bodies. earned national championships in several law enforcement After-school activities enable children to learn new skills that they exploring categories. aren’t taught during school hours as well as reinforce what they learn To learn more about Explorer Post #900, visit post900.com or in the classroom. They build stronger relationships not only with their peers, but also with adults who supervise the activities and act as email post900@pcsonet.com. positive role models aside from students’ parents. Pinellas County is home to a wide variety of after-school programs for its youth. Here are a few we offer here, at the Pinellas County Sheriff ’s Office:

Sheriff’s Teen Citizens Academy The Sheriff ’s Teen Citizens Academy is a 6-week program that allows Pinellas County teens the opportunity to take a behindthe-scenes look at the Pinellas County Sheriff ’s Office. The program is geared toward teens between ages 14 and 18 who have an interest in law enforcement but not able to commit to a longterm educational program or a law enforcement explorer program. To learn more about the Sheriff ’s Teen Citizens Academy, visit pcsoweb.com/sheriffs-teen-citizens-academy, or contact Community Programs at (727) 582-6612 or email communityprograms@pcsonet.com.

Police Athletic League The Pinellas Sheriff ’s Police Athletic League (PAL) is an after-school program that provides mentoring, organized sports activities, academic tutoring and summer camps to Pinellas County’s at-risk youth. From tennis and boxing to Teen Council and drumline, PAL offers a host of activities to engage young people and develop them into future productive members of society. For more information about the Pinellas Sheriff ’s Police Athletic League, visit pinellaspal.com, or contact Executive Director Neil Brickfield at (727)692-0785 or pinellaspal1@gmail.com.


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Sincerely, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri


Talks to GoodLiving® about Good Eating! Editor’s Q & A by PAMELA SETTLE

Q: What was the spark that first set you on fire to become some such a vocal advocate for change?

Q: This is the back-to-school time of year and so the stores are filled with promos for convenience foods for breakfast and lunch boxes. I walk through the stores and I feel for moms who are short on both time and money and wonder how they can possibly fight the marketing blitz, the high cost of groceries and the many time demands. What words can you share with those moms to inspire them to step in and fight the good fight against processed, packaged and preservative-laden foods?

A: I was floored when I discovered that several American food companies are using harmful additives that are not used — and in some cases banned — in other countries. One of those products was an iconic staple that almost every American, me included, has had at one time or another: Kraft Mac & Cheese. I found it hypocritical that Kraft was selling Mac & Cheese overseas with natural dyes, paprika and beta carotene (real food) and meanwhile, here they were selling petroleum-based food dyes (yellow #5 and yellow #6 linked to a myriad of health issues) to their fellow Americans. This double standard made me so angry, I started a petition. After receiving over 365,000 signatures and leading a strong campaign, Kraft finally came through and announced they are removing artificial colors from all of their Mac & Cheese.

A: I recently reviewed some school lunch ingredient lists that are published online and was mortified. It makes me so angry that children are being fed partially hydrogenated oils (not even considered safe by the FDA!), MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, GMO ingredients… and the list goes on. This is the worst of the worst food! The store-bought quick lunches (like Lunchables) are just as bad and don’t provide good nutrition. For many children, they are eating this food every day, and it is setting them up with bad habits that can continue throughout their lives. Although I’m not a mom (yet), I think it is vitally important to pack homemade lunches for your children to avoid controversial chemical food additives that are linked to health issues. To make it easier, come up with a short list of go-to meals that you can make ahead on the weekends and keep in the freezer. Utilize leftovers from dinner whenever possible - just freeze individual lunch-sized portions in freezer-safe glass jars and reheat them in the morning. Starting kids out with green juices and smoothies is an excellent way to help them get used to eating “green stuff ” and their taste buds will learn to like bitter foods (like vegetables). One of my friends makes a big batch of smoothies for her kids and freezes them in reusable food pouches.


It’s alarming that the FDA allows additives or practices that are banned or restricted in other countries and linked to health risks like growth promoting antibiotics, azodicarbonamide, BHT, BHA, and parabens - and that really fuels my fire. Q: You’ve taken on some large food corporations demanding changes and you’ve done it as a single advocate with vocal supporters. Thinking about moms and kids, what do you consider to be your top five major David vs. Goliath achievements? A: As a food activist I consider it a victory every time a major food corporation removes a risky ingredient or discloses its ingredients for the first time in history, but my biggest achievements have to do with my own family. Seeing their health change as a result of my work, brings me the most joy! Another accomplishment has been the awareness that these campaigns

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have brought to the consumers. When consumers begin to notice where their health is being compromised they can begin to make better choices. It has been through the collective voices of all the members of The Food Babe Army that we have been able to greatly raise awareness about what is happening within our food supply and behind closed doors. Here are some other notable accomplishments: Kraft It took over 365,000 signatures, countless TV interviews, and the loud voice of the Food Babe Army but we were finally able to force one of the largest food companies in the country to remove artificial food dyes - which are linked to hyperactivity in children - from all of their Mac & Cheese products. Starbucks In August 2014, I published a blog post, You’ll Never Guess What’s In A Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (Hint: You Won’t Be Happy), which exposed their lack of transparency about ingredients and that the Pumpkin Spice Latte contained Class IV caramel coloring that is linked to cancer, and no pumpkin! This blog post went viral and within days major news outlets picked up the story. This August (one year later) Starbucks published the new ingredients in their reformulated Pumpkin Spice Latte, which now includes real pumpkin and no caramel coloring, on their blog. Starbucks is in the process of removing caramel coloring from all of their drinks, and has stated that they will list their drink ingredients online (for the first time in history) in 2016. Chipotle In March, 2013 as a result of our efforts, Chipotle published its full ingredient list on all menu items, including which items contained GMOs. This year, Chipotle stepped up further and became the first major restaurant chain to go GMO-free (except for their meat and drinks). Cereal In January 2015, I launched a petition asking Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove the preservative BHT from their cereals in the United States, as they have done in other countries. BHT is thought to be an endocrine disruptor and linked to cancer in some animal studies. The petition received over 30,000 signatures in just 24 hours, and within hours General Mills told the press that they are working on removing BHT from their cereals in the U.S. and Kellogg’s told reporters that they are “actively testing natural alternatives” to BHT. General Mills has made progress and has since removed BHT from some varieties of their cereal - Golden Grahams, Cocoa Puffs, Banana Nut Cheerios, and Corn Chex.

Q: I’m always advocating for people to vote with their dollars. Most of us may not have the resources to take on the giants in the way you are, however every single consumer can have an influence by spending their money on quality food products. How have you seen this make a difference? I’m curious too about letter writing. Have you seen that letter writing makes a difference, too? A: Voting with your dollar is one of the most powerful things a consumer can do. Every purchase counts. In order to survive, food companies have to keep an eye on their bottom line. When consumers vote with their dollar they send clear messages about what they want to see more of in the marketplace and what they are not willing to support. Using your voice makes a difference. Calling a company headquarters and asking questions, sending an email and posting on social media are all ways an individual consumer can make a powerful impact! Q: Before people can be advocates, they first need to understand the why and then they need to be willing to ask for something better. That takes a great deal of education about what is making modern food unhealthy. What ingredients would you specifically like to educate our readers about? A: I highlight the top 15 “sickening ingredients” in my book The Food Babe Way, but here are 5 to get you started: Preservatives - Some common examples are sodium phosphate, nitrates, BHA, BHT and TBHQ. These additives are potentially cancer causing and/or endocrine disruptors. Preservatives are commonly found in cereals, crackers, snack foods, cakes. Try choosing fresh foods that do not have a long shelf life or organic brands that do not use preservatives. MSG & hidden MSG additives - Used as a flavor enhancer, MSG is one of the most fattening ingredients that can also cause adverse reactions in some people. Hidden forms of it can be listed as yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, natural flavor or textured protein. It is commonly found in restaurant foods, chips, dips, frozen dinners, salad dressings and soups. This additive makes you eat more than you should - which is why the food industry likes to use it so much!

Artificial Sweeteners - These may do more harm than good, they may slow down your metabolism and “train” you to crave sweets. Also, the presence of artificial sweeteners in a product doesn’t automatically mean high-calorie sweeteners aren’t present, too. Some food manufacturers use both. Look for aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, erythritol, acesulfame Chick-fil-A potassium, and acesulfame K on the label. You can also find them In February 2014, they announced a plan to use antibiotic free under brand names “Nutrasweet,” “Sweet N’ Low,” “Equal” and chickens within the next 5 years. This was my #1 request to them “Splenda.” They can be found in sodas, candy, yogurt, desserts when I met with them in 2011. and many other processed foods. Try and find foods that are sweetened with natural sweeteners like fruit, honey, maple syrup, My latest campaign to get the antibiotics out of the meat at Subway is one of the most important causes that I’ve been fighting 100% pure stevia or coconut palm sugar. for. I envision a world without despicable farming practices and Artificial Trans Fats - These are found in partially hydrogenated without controversial food additives in the future, and with the oils, an ingredient that the FDA is currently considering to ban. help of the entire Food Babe Army I believe it will happen. Trans fats can raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, and are a leading cause of heart disease. According to the CDC, they can be linked to 7,000 deaths and 20,000 heart attacks!

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This is another example of why we must learn about the ingredients in our food. They can be found in many shelf stable food items like crackers, cookies, bakery items, doughs, pies and snack foods. Try and choose foods that do not have partially hydrogenated oil listed on the label and that use healthy oils instead like olive oil and coconut oil. Artificial Food Dyes - In Europe, a company that decides to use artificial food dyes like Yellow #5 or Red #40 has to apply a warning label on their product that says “May Have An Adverse Effect on Activity and Attention in Children.” Since the FDA approved artificial food dyes, they have increased exponentially in the marketplace - risking our children’s health even more. Food companies use artificial food dyes to make processed food look more appealing and for cosmetic purposes only. They are also linked to skin issues and asthma according to scientists who have reviewed studies at The Environmental Working Group and Center for Science In The Public Interest. Q: Do you believe adults and kids are getting enough good nutrients from the Standard American Diet? A: The typical American diet is filled with chemical food additives. Many of the additives that the FDA deems safe have not be studied long term and no one has studied the cumulative effect of all the food additives we are eating. The Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, Michael Taylor, recently admitted to the Washington Post, “We do not know the volume of particular chemicals that are going into the food supply so we can diagnose trends. We do not know what is going on post-market.”

in fact these drinks are linked to an increase in obesity! A calorie isn’t a calorie when it’s made up of chemicals that affect how much you eat and the way your body metabolizes those chemicals. If all that wasn’t bad enough - almost all brown drinks are artificially colored with “caramel coloring,” which isn’t anything like real caramel. Although it sounds innocent, this color is created by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure – a process that produces a cancerous substance called 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI). Q: What’s next on your battle plan that you can share with us and how can we be involved? A: Change is happening and I’m seeing a lot of progress across the industry, as more and more companies are starting to remove artificial and unnecessary additives from their products. Luckily, as FoodBabe. com grows, so does our ability to affect these changes more quickly. Our voices are being heard and we will continue to spread the truth. When consumers learn the truth about the food industry, they want to share this information with those around them and thus become powerful teachers and activists in their homes, workplaces and communities. One individual consumer can be a catalyst for a lot of change by just sharing what they have learned. I want people to know that you don’t have to be intimidated by this information and I make it very simple for people to get involved.

The public is fed up with being taken advantage of. They see their families getting sick, they have family members who have died of cancer, and they want someone to hold accountable. This These food-like substances are made from chemicals that are is a movement about transparency in the food system. Everyone cheap, provide zero nutritional value and improve the bottom deserves to know exactly what they are eating and our job will line of food manufacturers. The question really should be how are not be done until we all have this information. food additives making us healthier? I’d like to see the data that food additives are helping human health, rather than lining the pockets of the food industry. Join the Food Babe Army J at FoodBabe.com a They also haven’t helped us understand why they have voluntarily Vani Hari is a revolu onary food V taken out certain controversial food additives for people in other ac vist, creator of FoodBabe.com, countries but not for us here in the United States. Europe has author of the #1 best selling book taken a precautionary principle towards many of the additives I The Food Babe Way and was named have investigated and banned them for their citizens. Why isn’t one of the Most Influen al People the United States doing the same? on The Internet by Time Magazine. In her work, Hari has influenced how food giants like Kra , Subway, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks create their products, steering them towards t more healthful policies. Q: What do you think about the beverages that kids are consuming, Vani V teaches people how to make namely the caffeine and energy drinks, the sweet drinks with high the right purchasing decisions at the grocery store, how to live an fructose corn syrup, flavored milks and the so-called diet drinks? organic lifestyle, and how to travel healthfully around the world. A: Most of these drinks contain a huge amount of refined sugar The success in her wri ng and inves ga ve work can be seen in the way food companies react to her uncanny ability to find and in just one serving, and many people (including children) are expose the truth. She lives in North Carolina and travels around drinking much more than just one a day. All of that sugar will the world to speak about health and food awareness. She is put you on the road for a future of poor nutrition, weight gain, currently planning her next campaign. type 2 diabetes, and other health complications. Don’t be fooled by the false claims that drinking low calorie “diet” drinks help with weight loss. The reliance on low calorie chemical-filled drinks just perpetuates the problem even more;


Editor’s Note: Also join us at GoodLivingMag on Facebook for more discussions about speaking out for healthier kids!

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City of Chicago


The twinkling of the city lights as far as the eye could see was indeed breathtakingly beautiful and unlike anything he had It was dark by the time we got to the Hancock Center on seen before. Just two days earlier, we had stood 103 floors above Michigan Avenue and my son was tired from the long day. the city at the Sears Tower, oops, I mean Willis Tower. It was “Mom, do we have to go up there? Can’t we go back to the daylight and the view was much less romantic. Still awe inspiring hotel?” I put my arm around his nine year-old shoulders and and thrilling for an avid Lego builder who loves the idea of reassured him that it would be worth the effort. We stepped into skyscrapers. I took advantage of our birds-eye view to show the elevator and watched the counter go up to 94 while trying to him how roads and railroads are designed. We looked for the pop our ears. The doors opened, we stepped out, my son took one landmarks and we talked about life in the big city. He couldn’t look out the expansive windows of the observation deck at what get over how big it was and was enthralled with its complexity. is now called 360 Chicago and let out a most-impressed, but (Funny, earlier I had felt something similar about the Giardano’s breathy, “Wow.” deep dish pizza we had for lunch!) This trip to Chicago was an exploration of culture and architecture, and fortunately for us, the Windy City had more than enough to keep us busy. In fact, we barely scratched the surface of all there is to do there for kids and families. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel across from Lincoln Park called the The Lincoln Hotel. Recently remodeled, it was chic and hip and comfortable. And even better for us, directly across the street from a weekly morning market. Fresh berries from Michigan were brought in that morning, so we got some green juice and a gourmet grilled cheese (Wisconsin cheese of course) and had our feast in the soft Midwestern grass. It was July and a cool breeze off the lake was a real treat for us Floridians.

Skydeck Chicago


We walked off our breakfast by going through the fabulous and famous Lincoln Park Zoo. The park setting of this zoo has a relaxing vibe, and I truly enjoyed seeing so many families and camp groups buzzing along with us. This is a city zoo, and free for all to enjoy.

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Our next architectural adventure was on the water. We boarded a boat operated by the Chicago Architectural Foundation (CAF) for a two hour guided tour on the Chicago River. A retired architect with a passion for Chicago’s renowned architectural prowess gave us a history lesson as we floated past the towering beauties. I was fascinated at the juxtaposition of old and new. The details of their combined multi-generational blend was more apparent to me at this vantage point, low and slow. My budding architect took at least 100 photos.

Chicago Architectural Foundation

As we climbed the stairs from the river back up to Michigan Avenue, we not too far from what used to be the Marshall Field’s Department Store on State Street. On our way to dinner, we stopped at Fanny Mae’s for a chocolate treat and then at Garrett’s Popcorn for a late night snack back at the hotel. Walking down Michigan Avenue is just as much fun for a snacker as it is for a shopper. As we walked into the iconic building, I whispered, “You have never seen a store like this before. They don’t make them like this anymore.” I guided him toward the center and said, “look up.” Corinthian columns lead the way to a spectacular atrium. The center dome covers 6,000 square feet and is the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence. We dined in the historical Walnut Room on the Seventh Floor and chatted about the history of Chicago and how ladies would take the trains into the city to spend the day shopping and dining in that very same restaurant.

Choose Chicago

After dinner, a required stop by the famous Navy Pier, an active destination for locals and visitors to enjoy with restaurants, bars, a theater, a boat dock, shopping and the iconic Ferris Wheel that gives a lovely view of the skyline. We didn’t stay for the fireworks, instead we watched them from our cozy spot at 360 Chicago. The downtown area of Chicago is rich with culture, from gorgeous city parks to world- class museums to theater and opera. Stay in one of the many luxury downtown hotels, or keep it simple like we did at the Hotel Lincoln. No matter where one stays, the lakefront and the river are within walking distance or a short cab ride, as are the many shopping and dining opportunities along State Street and Michigan Avenue. Chicago is an ideal destination for families looking for a new and exciting travel destination. A three-, four- or five-day vacation is a snap from Tampa Bay. Arrive into O’Hare, Midway or Rockford Airports and take transportation to downtown. Getting around the city is safe and easy for families with an abundance of taxis, buses and Uber drivers. However, much of the ambience needs to be experienced on foot. We get so used to our scenery in Florida, and while it’s beautiful, we enjoyed our urban vacation and the opportunity to teach our son about a famous city, the city with the big shoulders and an even bigger personality.

Adam Alexander Photography

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Must Eat Local Foods An authentic Italian Beef Sandwich at Portillo’s. (Coming in 2016 to Brandon!) An authentic Chicago Hot Dog, all the way, at locations throughout the city. A deep dish pizza at Giordano’s or Pizzeria Uno. Caramel and Cheese Popcorn at Garrett Popcorn.

Adam Alexander Photography

Highlights for Family Travel to Chicago

And too many high quality restaurants to mention here! But you can eat your way through your vacation no matter your preference.

There are Some Gorgeous Hotels to Choose From for Your Adventure

Purchase a CityPASS for discounted rates to the most popular downtown attractions:

Hotel Lincoln sits on a very nice boutique property in a quiet area across from Lincoln Park.

• The Field Museum of Natural History • The Shedd Aquarium • Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower • Adler Planetarium OR Art Institute of Chicago • Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) OR 360 Chicago (previously John Hancock Observatory)

The Peninsula Chicago has baking classes and programs like Princess for a Day through its Peninsula Academy. The Four Seasons has its very own Ice Cream man and a dedicated Kids Clubroom, plus classes and services designed for teens.

Chicago Architectural Foundation’s River Cruises and Architectural Tours Find out more at Architecture.org Bobby’s Bike Hike combines Chicago history with trivia and prizes. And for parents concerned about city traffic, Bobby’s Tike Hike: Kids Edition tour uses only the city’s parks and lakefront paths to move around. BobbysBikeHike.com

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago: A Four Seasons Hotel has a Candy Man with a cart full of sweets. The hotel will pitch a tent in the guestroom for the young campers in the family. In addition to its pool and its prime shopping location, the Park Hyatt considers every kid a VIC (Very Important Child). Trump International Hotel & Tower also offers a special travel program for kids complete with kiddie cocktails, coloring books, board games, movies and more.

Navy Pier with its IMAX theatre, Children’s Museum, a Carousel and Ferris Wheel. Additionally, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater offers a Family Series that includes Short Swissôtel has a dedicated kids suite package that includes Shakespeare! Productions. adjoining rooms, complimentary breakfast and 4 VIP tickets to either the Shedd or Field Museums. Has a pool. Chicago’s motto is urbs in horto—or “City in a Garden.” With the largest park system in the nation, Chicago combines quality with quantity. Near downtown is Lincoln Park with its Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo. In the middle of this lively city sits Millennium Park, an ideal family spot and home to music festivals, concerts and cultural events. After a relaxing picnic, take in three works of art: The Pritzker Pavilion by Frank Gehry, Cloud Gate (The Bean) by Anish Kapoor and Crown Fountain by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. Sustainable city fans will appreciate that the park is built on top of a parking garage and Millennium Station, therefore it is arguably the world’s largest rooftop garden. To the east, the new Maggie Daley Park is a departure from your typical local park. Equipped with an ice skating rink, state-of-the-art play areas and a rock climbing wall that stands at about 40 feet tall with a total surface area of 19,000 square feet, kids have plenty at their disposal for expelling energy.

The Intercontinental Hotel is known for its indoor, heated Junior Olympic swimming pool.

Aside from museums, architecture, ethnic culture, history and parks, Chicago is rich with theater, opera, comedy, live music, festivals, dance and art. For the over 21 crowd, a lively night life keeps the city popping to the wee hours of the morning.


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Hotel Lincoln

My Story

wide variety of topics. Any mompreneur who has created her own business from scratch or wants to start one from scratch is welcome to join my community of amazing mompreneurs. In the group you can ask for support and resources to help you build your business. At the website click to “Join The Mom Community Today.” It’s FREE and you’ll also receive a bonus on “How To Create A Wickedly Awesome Life,” tips I’ve learned along the way to help you in your mompreneur journey.

I’ve always been the kind of person who was willing to ask “Why?” in just about any situation. I am not particularly outspoken or radical, but I ask a lot of questions and am willing to do what is necessary. For me, those questions led me down two different paths– paths, I’ll call the less-traveled roads. Today, they intersect and run parallel at times, which was not something I planned for at all!

Additionally, if you would like more information about homeschooling, I am creating a special webinar to share how I homeschool and run my business. It will be live and you will be able to ask questions. Send an email to info@motivatingothermoms. com if you would like to be notified of this event.


First, about five years ago, I started my own business helping moms with life after experiencing Postpartum Depression with my second baby. I felt alone, judged, and of course DEPRESSED!! I didn’t want other moms to feel what I had felt and so I set out to do something about that. Eventually, my business transitioned into helping moms build their own business from home and create a life they love. My husband and I both work from home running our own businesses and we were humming along with busy schedules and kids in school. What we didn’t plan for was that my daughter Liberty would start having challenges in school. Her nickname is Little Miss Sunshine, but in second grade she was already stressed out and coming home crying. We began to see her bright light dim and it was heart breaking. Visits with her teacher gave me clarity about what we needed to do. My gut, and my mother’s heart, spoke to me and I knew that homeschooling was our answer. I pulled her out of school that week.

I recommend you check into these homeschool co-ops in Pinellas County. These are great groups that are full of homeschoolers that are happy to support you and answer your questions: Love of Learning, Homeschoolers of Pinellas and Ovations School of the Arts. If I can offer hope to any mom out there, I offer this encouragement: never say never. If a change is necessary in your life because you want more, it is possible to create a new and better reality. Also know that you are not alone. Many other moms have walked away from corporate jobs to find alternative ways of earning money with flexibility and fulfillment. And many other moms have walked away from structured education to give their children the educational opportunities they want them to have. Whatever you aspire to do, IT IS POSSIBLE. And there is a network of women in this community who can help you. Don’t be afraid to leave the rat race for the roads less traveled.

Our older son was generally happy in school, but he complained about being bored. I was very unhappy about the amount of testing he was going through in fourth grade, but he and I didn’t get along very well and most days I was happy to send him to school. However I had a feeling that the solution was to pull him closer, love him more and so I did just that. One week after we brought him home, he was a completely different kid! Homeschooling was the right choice for us, even though I’ve had to slow down a bit. Our lives haven’t been the same. We are all much happier and are closer than ever. We have created a freedom that we could not have dreamed of, spending our days together learning and exploring life. Navigating along these two paths at the same time is both a joy and a challenge. My consulting business is helping other moms like me be successful with their business enterprises. Entrepreneur moms experience life with kids in unique ways. We need to know that others are finding success and sharing our same challenges. My Motivating Other Moms community provides that support along with timely, topical information to help us along our journey. At my website, MotivatingOtherMoms.com, subscribe to my original podcasts where I chat with Mom Entrepreneurs on a


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P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677