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Free December 2016

Vol. 9 Issue 12

Meet the Martin Family page 13

’ Ti s Th e S e a s o n Family Night Out

Publisher: Editor: Contributing Editor: Designer: Web Developer: Sales:

Rodney Beck Jennifer Beck Linda Crumley Michael Crumley Matthew Crumley Becky Beall Charlene Iskra Erica Haun Marj Nye

For advertising opportunities: © Gulf Coast Family Publications 2016

Gulf Coast Family Publications P.O. Box 3803, Seminole, FL 33775 Phone: (727) 612-0783 Fax: (727) 865-5135 Gulf Coast Family Newspaper is printed monthly, and is distributed throughout Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Gulf Coast Family is available in distribution racks in many local Chickfil-a restaurants, McDonald’s, CVS Stores, R-Clubs, Walgreens, Joto’s Pizzerias, Carmelita’s, After Hours Pediatrics, Cornerstone Banks, LA Fitness, Shapes, and Regions Banks in these counties, along with many other restaurants, shopping centers, churches, libraries, government offices, and over 200 day care centers and schools. For questions or comments, call (727) 612-0783 or email Gulf Coast Family Publications encourages your input. To comment on one of our articles or to submit photos and articles for possible publication, simply email Submission of your photos and letters constitutes permission to Gulf Coast Family Publications, publisher of the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper, to use them in all media. All submissions become the property of Gulf Coast Family Publications and will not be returned. We reserve the right to edit as necessary, and all submissions will be used at our discretion.

Dear Santa,

Phothteo of Month

Kimberly and Grace Munce 2 • December 2016

When you arrive on Christmas Eve, could you please throw a quick load in the washer, vacuum a couple carpets and wash your cookie dishes? Thanks! Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

No portion of the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper may be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. The opinions of contributing writers are not necessarily those of the publishers. Gulf Coast Family Publications assumes no liability for products, services, or statements made by advertisers. Neither Gulf Coast Family Publications nor the advertisers can be held liable for typographical errors, misprints, or misinformation contained herein. The publishers reserve the right to edit and refuse editorial and/or advertising which does not meet the publication’s standards. All rights are reserved.

Look for Gulf Coast Family in these locations:




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December 2016 • 3

December 2016



Focus on the Family

to Parent 6 Parent by Jennifer Beck Diaries: Giving Your 7 Dungy Kids the Gift of Spending Time With You by Tony Dungy,

December We 8 This Recommend That You…

9 Movie Night Ways to Have the Best 10 10 Holiday Ever by

Family 13 December of the Month

Meet the Martin Family

14 Reader Photos of the Month

Favorite Christmas Eve 15 8Traditions

12 Sights of Christmas

Tropical Garden 28 The by Jené VanButsel


or Health? 39 Wealth Investment or Expense? by Dr. Kelley Mulhern

Great to Create! 29 It’s Christmas Crafts

16 Family Night Out Coupons 40 Jokes Sights of Christmas for Holiday Stress– 30 12 18 Kids in the Kitchen 40 Planning Judy Adorno, Sylvan Learning Center You’ve Got This Ambassador Marching by Amy Alexander 20 Royal Benefits of Chores Band Tells WWII Story to 34 The by Cindy Barclay, Focus on the Family with Purpose Win State Competition 41 Celebrate by Dr. Kira Wilson 35 Heart Gallery 22 Building Community on the Family 42 Focus  Ask the Veterinarian by Jim Daly 36 10 Christmas Shopping 23 Top by Caterine Wendt, DVM Mistakes Addiction 45 Smartphone by Dave Ramsey of Massage 38 Benefits is a Two-Way Street by Tiffiny Rudkin 24 Trips on a Tank: ICE! Gulf Coast Family 46 The Weekender

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10 Ways to Have the Best Holiday Ever

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Parent to Parent Back when I was a kid and wanted to watch my favorite Christmas movie, A Charlie Brown Christmas, pulling out a DVD or even a VHS tape was not an option. Instead, I had to scour the TV Guide each week during the Christmas season to find out when it would be aired, hope that we didn’t have any conflicts that evening, and most of all, remember to turn on the TV in time! And

year, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll still give you one of those two answers!

any time we inadvertently missed a Peanuts special of any kind (or Rudolph or Frosty), it was a huge disappointment. All this meant that at most, I got to watch it once per year. My kids have no concept! And I realized recently that by now, even most young parents don’t remember life without home movies. By the time my oldest son David was born, we had most of the Peanuts specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas on VHS tape, and he watched it many, many times as a preschooler. So many times in fact, that when he was three years old, he could recite Linus’ “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about” speech word for word and with the same inflections, he would sing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” at the top of his lungs all over town, and whenever anyone asked him what he wanted for Christmas, his answer was either “tens and twenties” or “real estate.” As a matter of fact, if you were to ask him what he wants for Christmas this

With many fond memories of the movie, I was thrilled to see that A Charlie Brown Christmas is the theme for this year’s ICE! at the Gaylord Palms resort in Orlando. We went to see it the day after Thanksgiving, and it did not disappoint—ice skating, Lucy at her psychiatric help booth, Snoopy’s doghouse decorations, Linus’ speech, and of course, the little Christmas tree that just needed a little love. Whether you remember scouring the TV Guide “back in the day,” or if you have been watching on VHS or DVD your whole life, if you like Snoopy and the gang even half as much as I do, it is certainly worth the trip! Until next time,


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Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Giving Your Kids the Gift of



by Tony Dungy

Making your list? Checking it twice? Visit THE MUSEUM STORE at the MFA for wonderful and unique gift ideas for the whole family. Browse a wide selection of jewelry, mens and womens gifts, books, home goods, local & international art, toys,

Cooking around Tampa Bay with the


In 1997, I was the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I was having a fun year on the football field, but several of our coaches used to take walks after practice and discuss what was going on, not necessarily with the team, but with our families. One of the things we came up with was we could us tips, little pointers, reminders of how we could be better. It’s amazing to see how it’s developed from that one thought process in 1997, the idea that men have to work hard to be good dads. You want to put the same energy you do at work into your most important job, which is being a father.


games and puzzles and so much more. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the brand new cookbook Food+Art, Cooking Around Tampa Bay with the Museum of Fine Arts.

The most important offshoot we’ve had from the time that we started All Pro Dad has been the All Pro Dad’s Day breakfasts. Once a month, fathers go to their kid’s schools, a restaurant, or somewhere else and have breakfast with their kids. It gives them the experience of being together and it’s been fantastic. These have branched out all over the country and I get letters, cards, and tweets from people telling me how special that has been.

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We have been fortunate to team up with the PTA because PTA’s have understood how beneficial it is when dads get on the school campuses and become involved with the school and their kids. They have teamed up with us because it really has been important. It’s exciting to see greater involvement from fathers. The more that they are there with their kids, the better the schools seem to run, and the better their kids do in school. Our All Pro Dad’s Day Team recently started a campaign to start 100 new All Pro Dad’s Day chapters. If you would like to start impacting your community today, contact us at to find out you can be involved. I promise you it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever done. December 2016 • 7

This December we recommend that you… READ IT

Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here by Max Lucado Max Lucado loves Christmas. Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. The more trees the better. He loves it because somewhere someone will ask the Christmas questions: What’s the big deal about the baby in the manger? Who was he? What does his birth have to do with me? And the answers he’s found give us all hope.



Christmas Is Here by Danny Gokey

New Year’s Eve at Busch Gardens

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Looking for something to do for New Years Eve? Why not welcome in the New Year while screaming your head off on a Busch Gardens rollercoaster? Or greet the New Year in a more multicultural manner by taking the kids on an African safari and an amazing firework display in Tampa? Busch Gardens, Tampa offers all of these options for the whole family. Fireworks start at midnight and rides will be running straight into the New Year.

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8 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

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Believe – December 2

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A resident of Grundy, VA, considers selling his family business when the economy sours, despite the fact that doing so would mean canceling the town’s beloved annual Christmas pageant. However, he decides to tough it out and help stage the event when he befriends a young boy who still believes in Christmas miracles.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – December 16

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In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

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December 1

December 6

December 6

December 2016 • 9

10 Ways to Have the Best Holiday Ever! The essence of a great family holiday season is found in the memories that are made by just being together and sharing joy. The stresses of shopping, functions to attend, and all of the other clutter are quickly forgotten. But, the happy memories will remain forever in the hearts of our families.

2  Christmas Movie Marathon: Another way to get in the spirit is to make your own festival in the living room. Break out the blankets and cookies and have a movie marathon. The Hallmark Channel offers an array of non-stop holiday movies, and of course there is always Netflix or Redbox.

To help you have the best holiday season ever, we offer these 10 ways and wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

3  Outdoor Activities: It’s too cold outside? So what! Get out there and have fun in the winter splendor. If you’re lucky enough to live in a cold climate, that means doing all the fun things that come with that like sledding, ice skating, and building snowmen. If you live in a warm climate, don’t be discouraged. Find an indoor skating rink or a festival that creates its own snow. Go play.

1  Parades and Festivals: There is no better place to ignite the Christmas spirit than to attend a holiday parade or a festival with the whole family. Cities and towns offer parades, snow fests, ice sculpting contests, sledding, hot chocolate, and all of the things we associate with the season depending on where you live. Check the calendars in your area for events and make it a family date.

4  Have a Christmas Craft Party: Allow the kids to invite their friends over and have a Christmas craft making party. Serve lots of treats and have fun creating items that will last for years to come. Pinterest and eHow offer lots of suggestions on easy crafts for kids to make. 5  Spend Time Serving and Giving Back: In order to keep our perspective in the proper context, we should also spend time serving and giving back to our communities during the holiday season. There are countless ways to do that as a family. 6  Learn About Other Traditions: Folks tend to get uptight about the phrase, “Happy Holidays,” but it’s there for a reason. There is more than one going on this time of year. Spend some time as a family learning the holiday traditions and gaining appreciation for other cultures. The more we understand

each other in this world, the more peace we foster– Peace on Earth. 7  Take a One-Tank Trip: Money is tight at Christmas for most, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do a little traveling. Research fun events going on in your region and take the family on a short getaway. Nothing creates lifelong memories more than a family trip. Who knows, maybe the world’s tallest snowman is only 2 hours from your house? 8  Cooking and Baking: Who can resist the smell of Christmas cookies baking in the oven filling the house? Get together as a family to cook, bake, and decorate a whole mess of holiday goodies. Be sure to make enough to give some away to friends and family! 9  Go Christmas Caroling: Yes, the stigma is what it is, and yes, some might find you annoying, but most will be blessed and your spirit will be infectious. Is there singing at the North Pole? Yes. So there should be at your house, too. To make it even more fun, get your family to dress in the costume of their favorite Christmas character. 10  Worship Together: What’s the point of all this celebrating if we don’t worship? Attend and participate in worship services throughout the season (and all year). Rejoice in the good news of the newborn King!

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Where Fut�res Begin Morning Star School - Pinellas Park

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December 2016 • 11

n a i t s i r h C o d Why ? k c i w s e K dads Love Dads love it when they see their kids growing. Learning. Flourishing in every aspect of their lives. And that’s what they love about Keswick Christian School. It’s a safe and welcoming environment where faith is the sure foundation for a high quality education. On this naturally beautiful campus, Christian teachers see helping children excel as more than just a job. It’s a calling. Keswick has a proven heritage of bringing the highest ideals of Christian education to life since 1953. Christian dads love that too.

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12 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

A Home for Christian families

December Family of the Month Meet the Martin Family

We are honored to present the Martin family—Jacob, Jennifer, Scout and Loie— as GCF’s December Family of the Month. When we met with the Martins, three things quickly became evident to us: their love for the Christmas season, their love of all things outdoors, and mostly their love for one another. Jacob and Jennifer first met at church when they were just kids; however it was anything but love at first sight! “We actually did NOT like each other at first,” Jennifer told us. “It wasn’t until years later that we reconnected, developed a relationship and it grew from there.” The two of them will be celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary this April! Both Jennifer and Jacob are small business owners and freelance artists— Jennifer is a professional photographer specializing in births, weddings and families (Jennifer Martin Photography, and Jacob is an artist specializing in carpentry and woodworking (Found Piece,

“Owning our own businesses has been such a blessing to our family. It has given us the flexibility we need to take care of our children the way that we choose, and not feel chained to our work—especially since our careers are so much a part of our personal lives as well.” December is a very special month for the Martins and it brings several holiday traditions their way. “We try to pack December full of gingerbread houses, living room dance parties, seasonal hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, movies (Polar Express & Elf are huge hits over here!) and all of the above since we have a mere four weeks to enjoy it. Every year we visit Disney’s “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” and it has yet to disappoint. It’s something we anticipate and one of our favorite things to do together.” Celebrating each other in their own traditions, devoting themselves to family and friends, and working together for the good of others—these combine to keep love alive and well in the Martin family. We wish our Family of the Month a wonderful December and a very Merry Christmas as you share an abundance of love.

Family Favorites

Restaurants: We love to eat at PDQ, Fresh Kitchen, 4Rivers, and Chipotle. Favorite movies: We are big movie people so the list could go on and on! That being said, The Polar Express is Scout’s favorite—all year round, Band of Brothers is Jake’s and Tangled is the favorite for the girls. Word: “Synergy.” We used to always refer to this in our relationship and connection before we had kids, because we always thought we were better and stronger together as a couple than we were individually. Now that we have kids it means so much more. Local attraction: The beach! Scout is 100% a beach baby and he’s in his element when we are there. Jake also loves to fish, so it works out perfectly. Dream vacation: We would love to visit the west coast and the pacific north west—both are currently on our “to do” list for the future. We have also dreamt about going on a hot air balloon ride and it’s something we really want to do!

Meet the Kids Scout (4), is very active and energetic. He has a funny and goofy personality, not to mention a very infectious smile! Scout loves to talk and is most definitely creative and imaginative. He enjoys play-doh and painting, eating junk food at his grandparents and having sleepovers with his Irish twin and cousin Asa (who was born on the same day). Scout is also a very impressive big brother—always hugging, teaching and guiding Loie to safety (that is when he’s not trying to run her over with his power wheels). Can’t win ’em all! Like his father, Scout enjoys all things outdoors, including hiking, fishing, rock collecting and going to the mountains! You know, just general tomfoolery. He’s currently loving his balance bike,

scooter and power wheels and spends a considerable amount of time outside on both. Loie (19 months) on the other hand is dainty but don’t be fooled, she’s spunky and sassy! She also has a genuinely sweet, playful spirit and loves to show affection—which is something we really enjoy about both of our kids. She’s currently chatty and we spend most of the day trying to figure out what she’s telling us! We have nicknamed her our doll baby because she’s tiny and gives fantastic hugs and kisses.

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 13


PH TOs {of the month}

Send us Your Best Photos


Send your funny parenting stories to Or email photos of your kiddos having fun at home, school, or anywhere in-between to * Please send high resolution photos if possible.

Sadie Mae

Andrew Lyons

Ho, Ho, Ho! It’s Santa Paws.

Let me fix your nose there Frosty!

Nora Calley car and let’s Time is precious! So get in the nutes! go — the mall opens in 10 mi

Atalia Tripp Daddy taught me how to fish, but Grandpa taught me how to catch a fish! 14 • December 2016

Emma Pearson Any day that you can stay in pajamas all day is a good day.

Jax Cake? Nope, we haven’t seen

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

any cake!


8 Favorite Christmas Eve Traditions

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I was talking to a friend of mine this morning whose children are grown and out on their own. My question had to do with whether or not to keep doing one of our annual holiday traditions when it seemed my kids were being pulled to participate in other things, in other directions. “Do not stop your Christmas Eve traditions,” she said. “Traditions are so important; you’ll see it more as time goes by. And once you stop them, it’s very difficult to start them again.”

church together is a year-round family staple, there’s something uniquely moving about the dim lighting, the glow of the candles, and the words of the age-old Christmas hymns.

Every family celebrates special holidays in their own way. Christmas Eve is no exception with families incorporating a wide variety of traditions from the sacred to the sentimental. Here are a few of our favorites. Maybe they’ll inspire you to start a new tradition this year with the ones you love!

5. Caroling the neighborhood. What better way to spread Christmas cheer than to serenade the neighbors? Who knows? If you’re good enough, there might be hot cocoa and cookies in it for you!


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1. Pajama game. In more than a few families we talked to, each family member is allowed to open just one gift on Christmas Eve. Several of these same families know exactly what they’re opening: snuggly Christmas pajamas. This traditional kickoff to the giving and receiving of gifts gets everyone set for bed and looking cute for Christmas morning photos. 2. Christmas Eve hot chocolate and Christmas stories. Before your little elves head off to bed, spend part of the evening drinking hot chocolate and sharing Christmas stories.

3. Candlelight communion. Many of our families treasure memories of attending a candlelight service on Christmas Eve with some * Preschool only even taking communion. While attending

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To advertise, call 727-612-0783

4. Sibling slumber party. The anticipation of Christmas morning can bring together a group of siblings like little else. Some maximize the fun by sleeping together in one room. It’s fun to have someone to whisper to while listening for reindeer hooves on the roof!

6. Stuffer scramble. One family reported a hilarious tradition that started on the parents’ first Christmas together: Having just married 6 days earlier, they realized they had no “stocking stuffers” for one another. In a panic, they set out for Kmart and had only 15 minutes until closing to come up with unique, funny gifts for one another. It was so much fun, they’ve done it every year since— on purpose! 7. A scattered, dashed, covered, and smothered Christmas. If your Christmas Eve service makes a big family meal difficult, you could join the ranks of families who enjoy a holiday meal at Waffle House! It’s one of the few places open on this holiday and makes for a low-stress, budget-friendly meal on the way home. Because nothing says celebration like syrup. 8. Light ‘em up. Light up another family’s Christmas Eve by playing elf. One family we polled does this on their Waffle House stop by secretly paying someone else’s check. Then they leave the restaurant and watch from the car. They love seeing the joy and surprise on the face of the unsuspecting diners when they learn it’s “on the house.” You can also light up the night for someone who has to work on Christmas Eve, such as a pharmacist at a 24-hour drugstore or a gas station attendant. December 2016 • 15

We all know that eating out often can add up! So, it’s important to know where the best deals are for the family. Here are some great places in the Tampa Bay area that are family friendly and are offering some great specials.


Free Drink With Purchase


Limit 1 coupon per person. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Expires 1/31/17.

Buy 1 get 1 ½ off Valid from 4–6pm

½ off second entreé of equal or lesser value. Limit 1 coupon per person.Cannot be combined with any other offer. Expires 1/31/17.

$5.00 OFF

any purchase of $25 or more!

with any other special, Please present coupon when ordering. Not valid 01-31-17. Limited to one Discount, promotion or coupon. Enjoy through locations in Pinellas y’s Coupon per household. Good at participating Sonn GCF and Hillsborough Counties Only.

16 • December 2016

4871 Park Street N. St. Petersburg FL

727-545-3057 Catering and Take Out available

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

FRESH FOOD FAST Dine-In or Drive-Thru Catering

Park Blvd.

4601 Park Blvd. Pinellas Park, FL 33781 Catering: 727-362-1007


ine 54th Ave. N. sR d. N.

4th St. N.

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4526 4th Street North St. Pete, FL 33703 Catering: 727-873-7999



49th St. N.


Catering Available for Tenders, Sandwiches, Salads Spend over $100 in catering With this ad. Valid at Pinellas Park and Clearwater PDQ only. Expires 1/31/2017.



Valid at Pinellas Park and Clearwater PDQ only. Expires 1/31/2017.

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

Valid at Pinellas Park and Clearwater PDQ only. Expires 1/31/2017.

December 2016 • 17


in the kitchen

Established in April 2003, Young Chefs Academy offers cooking classes to children in a safe environment that encourages discovery and creativity. While learning food preparation skills is the main ingredient at YCA, each class adds a heap of kitchen safety, a scoop of etiquette, a handful of table setting, a pinch of menu planning, and laughter to taste.

Usher in the flavors of the Season with these tasty recipes!

Spiced Pumpkin Mini Tarts This December, Young Chefs Academy is fully embracing the flavors of the season, utilizing the freshest ingredients to enhance the recipes we teach to our ambitious Young Chefs. This month, we’ve got pumpkin on our minds! One of our favorite recipes to make with our Young Chefs is Spiced Pumpkin Mini Tarts – not only is it a portable treat, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to work on pastry skills such as piping, blind-baking crusts and decoration. Check out the complete recipe on our website at – and for an extra challenge, make your own pie crust!

Cool Kids Cook

18 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

“Food brings families together. It’s a representation of love to me. We are teaching life skills at Young Chefs Academy. What a great idea to teach them to children, who can continue them on.” ~Jessica Yuen, Seminole Young Chefs Academy, Owner.

Apple Slab Pie What’s better than apple pie? More apple pie! With juicy apples underneath a buttery, flaky, pie crust, this terrific dish makes a whopping 20 servings. The recipe is easy to make – just ask our young chefs. And if you are afraid of pie crust, put your worries away right now. We promise this crust is easy. If the kids can do it, you can do it! This Apple Slab Pie can be made two days in advance, and is 100% deliciousness….yep, it’s a winner! Oh, and serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you will be in pie heaven. For the complete recipe visit our website at


Responsiveness To advertise, call 727-612-0783

45 Locations

Serving Pinellas Point to Tarpon Springs

For information call 727-578-5437 or visit Responsibility

Excellence in pre-school, Voluntary PreKindergarten, and before and after school care for children age 2 months through 8th grade.


9690 Seminole Blvd • Seminole, FL 33772 • 727.350.4587 •

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oda t s u t es! c s s a t a l n C o C 16 0 2 l l a F for

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p U k o o C n u F e m o S ! A C Y h roll wit y to en


December 2016 • 19

NCS Royal Ambassador Marching Band Tells WWII Story to Win State Competition On November 12, more than 80 bands from all regions of Florida converged on the Tampa Bay area for the annual state competition hosted at Tropicana Field by the Florida Marching Band Coalition (FMBC). The winners were: 1A (1–24 wind players): Mater Academy, Hialeah Gardens 2A (25–35): Northside Christian School, St. Petersburg 3A (36–56): Palm Beach Central, Wellington (25–35) 4A (57–80): Jupiter High School, Jupiter 5A (81+): Park Vista, Lake Worth

This is the 5th state title for the Royal Ambassador Marching Band from Northside Christian in the last 10 years. With a score of 90.15, Northside’s band scored higher than most bands double and even triple their size. Judges were impressed by the caliber of musicians at the small Christian school and they were “wowed” by the story line of this year’s band show which showcases the iconic Rosie the Riveters of WWII. Before the 2016 marching band season began, Northside Christian was honored to have 92 year old Milka Bamond come to band camp and tell her stories of being a B-17 riveter in Detroit during WWII. Northside Christian chose to theme this year’s show around WWII after being selected to participate in ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The band will be traveling to Hawaii in the beginning of December to perform on the decks of naval battleships with some of the best bands and choirs from Japan and the US. Band Director Nathan Farrell notes, “our students felt a real connection to Milka and the many Veterans who fought and lost their lives protecting our country.

20 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

This year’s show was more than just a show for them. Many felt a sense of duty to honor their great grandparents who served in WWII.” The show opens with “Johnny” the sailor saying goodbye to his sweetheart and heading off to war. The audience is then escorted back in time listening to popular songs from the 1940s including a trio singing the Andrews sister hit, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.” Spectators throughout Tropicana Field erupted Saturday night in applause at the end of the show when the ending of WWII is announced and Johnny safely returns home to hold his love in his arms after she worked for many years as Rosie the Riveter. The small Christian School was one of the only bands to receive a standing ovation from the audience at the end of their program.

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 21

p o h S ! l a Loc

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22 • December 2016

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Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

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have? That can get overwhelming and expensive for everyone. Talk with them about this and work toward an agreement to draw names for gifts or donate money to a common cause.

Christmas Shopping Mistakes

5  Not listening. Listen to the hints your loved ones drop about what they need or want this year. Maybe your Aunt Sally mentioned in July that she would love someone to help her in the garden or cousin Bob keeps losing guitar picks. A thoughtful gift like this will mean a lot to the person.

Here are the top 10 Christmas shopping mistakes and how you can act differently:

6  Not having a thought-out list on paper. If you think you can spend time in “Christmas retail world” and not get distracted by all the shiny toys, you’re in for a big surprise! You’ll be more likely to buy impulsively if you do it that way. Write down what each person you’re buying for would like and stick to the list. Stay focused!

We’ve all paid the “stupid tax,” making costly decisions with zeros on the end. And a lot of those decisions happen when we’re caught up in the emotion of the Christmas season and procrastinate a little too long. Make this year different than before!

1  Not prioritizing. Instead of getting stressed out with all the parties, baking and shopping in addition to your normal daily life, set some priorities before you’re bombarded with a million requests. Think about what things are “must do” and which are “would be nice to do.” It’s all right to say no to keep yourself sane. Shopping for gifts is more fun when you’re not completely stressed out. 2  Not having a budget written down. Before you make a gift list and head to the mall, set aside a reasonable amount of money for gifts. Make a commitment that you won’t add $20 to the fund just because you saw something cute that your niece would love. 3  Using credit cards. Once you have your budgeted amount of money, stay away from credit cards! You will still spend 12-18% more if you use plastic and you’ll be paying it off come next year! Doesn’t paying with cash and going on about your day sound more relaxing than having a credit card balance looming over your head through the holidays? You betcha. 4  Buying for everyone. Do you really need to buy gifts for every family member and friend you

7  Not shopping around. “Shopping around” doesn’t mean you have to spend 24 extra hours running from store to store to save 10 cents. Take a look at your gift list and do some comparative price-checking online before you head out into the retail and traffic madness. This will save you money, time and stress! 8  Waiting until the last minute. Giving the gift of procrastination is not the most appealing gift out there. Don’t find yourself stressed out on Christmas Eve just because you didn’t invest a little bit of time to plan. 9  Forgetting to plan for next year. Be on the lookout for outrageous sales on things your loved ones will need throughout the next year. If you time the sales just right and clip some coupons, you could land a major discount on something you were going to buy in a few months for a birthday or wedding gift. Remember to have a list and budget for this, too. 10  Forgetting why we celebrate. If this season becomes all about shopping and gifts, you’ve missed the whole point. People— not things—matter. The miraculous birth of a baby who changed the world is what matters. Used with permission from

A safe and loving place where children have fun learning

REGISTER NOW FOR 2017 Ages 2 through *VPK (*9 – 12) Full Time / Part Time Hours 7:30 – 5:30 Phone: 727.573.1012 Email:

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

Classes are Filling Up!

13880 Feather Sound Drive Clearwater, Florida 33762 December 2016 • 23

on a


24 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

This year’s ICE! attraction featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas was great fun for the whole family. The expert craftsmanship and detail that goes into creating the ICE! exhibit is evident from the very first scene, where Charlie Brown begins his search for the true meaning of Christmas.

The final stop on the tour was a beautiful, life-size nativity scene carved out of crystal-clear ice. This is the ICE! attraction’s signature scene, giving guests an opportunity to reflect on the story behind the season.

The ICE! attraction is kept at a frigid 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Calf-length parkas are available before you enAs we progressed through the self- ter, and are available in all sizes, guided tour, we enjoyed seeing Char- including children’s. And hot choclie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the olate is also available at the exit to Peanuts gang as the beloved classic warm your frozen insides. story unfolds through over a dozen amazing interactive ice sculptures It is difficult to describe just what 2 and displays. From iconic scenes million pounds of carved ice looks such as Snoopy’s decorated dog- like – in fact, I’m not sure you can house and Charlie Brown choosing fully appreciate it unless you experithe perfect Christmas tree, to their ence it for yourself. If you can find holiday play rehearsal and Linus’ fa- time during the busy Christmas seamous scene on stage, we were able son to make the trip over to Orlando to experience Charlie Brown’s jour- to see this breathtaking exhibit, you ney first hand as he rediscovered the will certainly not be disappointed. true meaning of Christmas!

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 25

Since 1991 Family Owned Bakery specializing in Delicious Desserts

Home of Florida Keys Finest Key Lime Pie


on a

Celebrating 25 years!

and Toucan’s Café

Sunday “All-You-Can-Eat” Breakfast served 9am–1:30pm Includes juice, coffee & cobbler Retail/Wholesale • Catering & Fundraisers available

12777 Walsingham Road • Largo, FL 33774 727.593.1884

Mon. – Thurs. 10am – 6pm • Fri. & Sat. 10am – 8pm • Sun. 9am – 3pm

ICE! by the Numbers • ICE! is Florida’s favorite frigid Christmas tradition, with over 20,000 square-feet of frosty 9-degree bliss played out in a winter wonderland of exciting hand-carved sculptures. Also, featuring five 30-foot ice slides and an all-new, awe inspiring tribute to the unforgettable A Charlie Brown Christmas. • 9 degrees, the lowest recorded temperature in Orlando can be found only inside the ICE! tent, the second being January, 1985 when Orlando reached a low of 19 degrees. • ICE! is made up of ten vignettes including the Nativity Scene—the ten themed areas are comprised of nearly 200 independent sculptures. • 2,000,000 pounds of ice is used to create ICE! This is roughly the same weight as three fully loaded 747 airplanes during takeoff. • More than 5,000 individual blocks of ice are hand-carved and transformed into the “Florida Freezer.” • Four days—the number of days it takes the ICE tent to cool down to a chilly 9 degrees. • 10,000 hours is the approximate amount of man hours spent to carve ICE! totaling more hours than the Earth takes to orbit the Sun. • 40 artisans travel over 7,000 miles from Harbin, China to Kissimmee, Florida to carve ICE! doubling the miles from East to West Coast of the United States. • Fout, 2-story slides made entirely from ICE!

ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort 6000 W Osceola Parkway Kissimmee, FL 34746 November 18, 2016 – January 1, 2017 Open daily, including holidays. Hours vary. 26 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Frequently Asked Questions I understand ICE! is 9 degrees… what should I wear? All guests are provided calf-length, hooded winter coats to keep them warm. Coats are available in all sizes, including children and infants, and up to an adult 4XL. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are required. Hats and gloves are recommended—and are available for purchase. Think Christmas morning in Alaska... and dress accordingly!

Do I need boots? All pathways through the ICE! exhibit are carpeted, and boots are not required. We do recommend wearing comfortable, walking shoes. Shoes with a closed toe are required. Is ICE! wheelchair and stroller accessible? The ICE! attraction is accessible by both wheelchairs and strollers. May I take photos? Guests are welcome to bring cameras and take photos of the ICE! attraction. Many of our guests experience a “fogging” of the lens when exiting into warmer temperatures. This, however, usually goes away once the camera warms up. Please check the manufacturer information regarding the cold tolerance of your camera equipment. But let’s face it, our northern cousins have been taking winter photos outdoors for decades. But let’s face it, our northern cousins have been taking winter photos outdoors for decades. Can I lick the ice? Come on...what kind of question is that? Of course you CANNOT lick the ice.

How long does it take to walk through the attraction? You can spend as much time as you would like inside the attraction. Keep in mind, it’s 9 degrees inside the exhibit, so you’ll want to bundle up. Most guests stay in the exhibit 30–60 minutes. Are the ICE! slides for adults too? Big kids are kids too! The slides are made for guests of all ages. Children must be able to walk up the stairs on their own in order to ride the slides. Can I re-enter the ICE! attraction? ICE! is a one-time entry attraction. However, you may step outside of the exhibit to warm up and then re-enter. You may not leave the attraction, get something to eat and then go back in. Can I watch the stage shows if I’m not an overnight hotel guest? Yes, the live stage shows are open for day guests to enjoy, free of charge. Please check our weekly Entertainment Calendar for show times.

Belleair Montessori Academy… Where a Child Loves to Learn! • Family owned for over 60 years • Located in the beautiful town of Belleair • Open 7am – 6pm / year round program • Part-time and full time programs • Ages 1 – 4 • Summer learning program • Free VPK • Child care scholarships accepted from Pinellas ELC

Why choose a Montessori school?

• Multi-age groupings that foster peer learning • Teacher, child, and environment create a learning triangle • Students learn through sensory-motor and practical life activities

SUNSHINE IS HERE! Let Flowers Say It All… Happy Birthday To You, Thanks For Caring, Feel Better Soon… Sometimes All It Takes Is A Bloom. We deliver them to St. Petersburg, FL or nationwide.

Four primary Montessori goals:

• Awaken the child’s spirit and imagination • Encourage independence • Develop kindness and self discipline • To help the child learn how to observe, question and explore ideas independently Cathie Hernandez, Director Patti Andre, Assistant Director

Lic. #C890669

905 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Belleair, FL 33756


727-584-2867 To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 27

28 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

t a e r G It’s ! e t a e rmas Crafts to C ist Chr

Minnie Mouse Ornament 1. Select a red bulb. 2. Take a black sharpie marker and draw a circle around the top third of the ornament. Then fill the circle with black marker. 3. Paint white dots on the bottom portion of the bulb. 4. Cut out two small circles from the black foam for the Minnie ears. You can use a quarter as a guide. 5. Take a ribbon and tie a bow. 6. Glue on the ears and the bow. 7. Hang your ornament on the tree!

Staned Glass Nativity 1. Create and cut out a silhouette of the manger scene using black construction paper or card stock. You can find many templates on the Internet. 2. Trace the manger onto a piece of Con-tact paper and cut it out. Cut out slightly smaller than the silhouette. 3. Cut up a bunch of little squares of colorful tissue paper. 4. Peel off the backing of the contact paper and begin to layer down all the pieces of tissue paper. 5. Tape or glue down the contact paper art to the back of the silhouette. Use a hook or string to hang on the tree.

Penguin Light Bulb Ornament

New Client SPE CIA L S 25% OFF

Rebecca Lindquist


7145 22nd Ave N St. Petersburg 33710


727-742-0315 or book online at


These penguin light bulb ornaments are quite adorable and are very easy to make. The light bulb shape is perfect for penguins and it is a great way to up-cycle.

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

1. Clean the glass light bulb with rubbing alcohol. 2. Next paint 2-3 coats of white paint over the entire bulb. 3. Allow time to dry between each coat to avoid paint drips. 4. Paint on the black tuxedo. 5. Paint on the penguin eyes, beak and sweet cheek blush. 6. For the hanger, knot a string into a loop and hot glue it to the cap of the bulb. December 2016 • 29

12 Sights of Christmas


Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

’Tis the season for family traditions! Busch Gardens Tampa’s Christmas Town, the Bay area’s biggest Christmas celebration, is returning this year and is now included with any annual pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park. Even Busch Gardens’ most familiar fans will barely recognize the portions of the park that convert to Christmas Town through special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and Christmas lights everywhere! This year, Christmas Town has more snow, even more event nights and more Christmas is a time for family, joy, fun – and lots of Smiles! Now we than a million twinkling lights! Christknow that the weather outside may not be frightful, but Christmas in mas Town transforms the park into a Florida can be so delightful. nighttime holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, While balmy breezes and swaying palms may not be everyone’s idea of a typical Christmas, Floridians have found some pretty unique ways filling guests’ senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors, and continuto celebrate the season. And, for those who just can’t do without ice and snow, we have that too... we even have a town named Christmas! ing a beautiful tradition for Tampa’s families.

So if you need a little coaxing to get into the spirit of the season, then take your family to one of these merry and bright destinations and watch the smiles grow!

Also new this year is the addition of Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland, where

St. Early Jerome Childhood Center Space Available for Fall


•Preschool for Ages 2 – 4 •Free VPK Program •Full & Half Day Options


guests get to meet and take photos with Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and Bumble. What’s even better than that? A portion of the proceeds from Christmas Town will benefit All Children’s Hospital here in the Bay area. Christmas Town is open 23 select dates through Dec. 31. Guests can experience all of the Christmas celebrations throughout the day, and park closing times will range from 8pm to 10pm throughout the event.

St. Augustine Nights of Lights

There is always a lot happening in St. Augustine. Ramp it up 1,000 times and you have St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights Festival—2 months of 2 million Christmas lights, magical memories and a heck of a lot of fun! This year’s dates run from December 1st to January 31st. With a display that is ranked as Top 10 in the WORLD, St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights is a must see and a whole lot of fun.

A faith-filled Register Now! beginning 727-596-9491 10895 Hamlin Blvd, Largo 30 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with your family at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special event held select nights in December at Magic Kingdom theme park!


Christmas at Gaylord Palms

With Christmas Carols in the air, special holiday entertainment, and a spectacular version of the Wishes fireworks themed to the evening’s festivities, you’ll experience an unforgettable evening. The party beEven as the sun shines bright with no snowflakes ingins at 6:00 and ends at midnight. sight, Christmas at Gaylord Palms kicks off the season this December with Snoopy, snow, and so much more. With exciting new additions and the return of favorite experiences, the Kissimmee resort becomes the ideal place to celebrate the holidays in Central Florida. During Christmas at Gaylord Palms, your family will marvel at lavish holiday displays that include more than 2 million twinkling Christmas lights and acres of larger-than-life decorations. Enjoy visits with Santa, Cirque Dreams UnWrapped Live Stage Show, ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas, Story time with Mrs. Claus’ and if that’s not enough, wander through the atrium’s lush gardens (over 500,000 plants) sprinkled with poinsettias and other grand holiday displays.


LEGOLAND Christmas Bricktacular

Celebrate the holidays as a family when LEGOLAND Florida hosts its annual Christmas Bricktacular, beginning weekends in December. Visitors can participate in extraordinary holidaythemed LEGO builds, interact with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier Characters and experience snow falling down on Fun Town. LEGOLAND Florida is an exciting, family-friendly place to spend the holiday season. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions all dedicated to families with children age 2 to 12 and one of the widest selections of LEGO products available, LEGOLAND Florida is a great place to celebrate the season and pick up the Christmas gifts that are on every child’s wish list – LEGO! For more information visit





THE SAME THING. | 727.244.8968 4691 100th Way N, St. Pete (Just 1 mile from Madiera Beach)

Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 31


The Nutcracker presented by the Next Generation Ballet From the moment the lights dim, audiences are transported to a magical place filled with marching toy soldiers, a growing Christmas tree, giant mice and new this year, snowflakes falling magically through the air filling the theater. Internationally renowned guest artist perform along with the award-winning dancers of Next Generation Ballet and a cast of nearly 175 dancers and gymnasts.

Come early for family photo with Santa Claus and enjoy caroling in the lobby! Choreographed by NBG Artistic Director Peter Stark, this production has marvelous costumes with inventive, whimsical touches. This Nutcracker is a standout among many. For more information visit www.


There’s nothing that beats the pleasures of Florida living like enjoying a boat parade in tee-shirts, shorts and flipflops while the rest of the nation is just digging in for a long, cold winter. Here in the Tampa Bay area every December families have an opportunity to take in some of the biggest and best boat parades in the country. Two of our favorites are the St. Petersburg Illuminated Boat Parade at Vinoy Park scheduled for December 10th and the Treasure Island Holiday Boat Parade scheduled for December 11th. For detailed information on both of these parades and on over 70 other Christmas Boat parades in the state, visit

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 ictorian V Christmas Stroll

Come experience the innocence and charm of a Victorian Christmas. Escape the commercialism and stress of a modern Christmas and capture the warmth and joy of an old-fashioned holiday with your loved ones at the Henry B. Plant Museum’s 35th annual Victorian Christmas Stroll. The Victorian Christmas Stroll preserves the essence of an old-fashioned Christmas and is treasured as one of Tampa’s most popular family tradition. For information visit

USA Seller of travel& STCANADA #38227 #TI 61471

32 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

12 9

Edison and Ford Holiday Nights

During the holidays the homes and gardens of Thomas and Mina Edison and Henry and Clara Ford are seasonally decorated and visitors have the option of taking a self guided tour or a guided tour with an Estates site historian. The Edison and Ford Holiday Nights includes nightly entertainment by school and community groups, culinary demonstrations, book signings and appearances by artists, and the “Children’s Tree Trail” a forest of trees decorated by Lee County Students. The Estates Museum and Edison Botanic Research Lab will also be open during the event.

Christmas Services

For many families living in the Tampa Bay area Christmas is one of the most important holy holidays of the year. It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and it will be celebrated throughout the area by many churches and ministries, all highlighting ‘the reason for the season. This Christmas, let’s follow the example of Linus’ in the Peanuts classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

Achieve Your

At LIFT ACADEMY, all children are celebrated as unique and special individuals. Our experienced, compassionate staff are dedicated to uncovering each student’s gifts, developing confidence and nurturing academic and social success.

Maximum Potential

• Serving students ages 5 to 18+ • Challenging curriculum • Warm, bully-free environment • Small, neuro-diverse classrooms • Individualized instruction • Before & after school care • Social skills development • Gardiner, McKay & Step-Up accepted

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire can be inviting at this time of year, however those looking for more in the way of holiday entertainment might want to consider one of the many seasonal concerts and shows offered by area musical, theatrical, church and community groups here in the Tampa area in December. From traditional favorites to humorous holiday romps, there is something for just about everyone’s tastes.


Florida Aquarium’s Holiday FantaSea

This December, experience a new “Holiday FantaSea” when you bring your family and friends to celebrate the holidays at the Florida Aquarium. Santa and his diving elves are coming to town on select Saturdays in December and from December 26th to 30th the Florida Aquarium will have a play area featuring real snow for the kids. There will also be magnificent holiday light shows and a mesmerizing model train display.



Christmas Concerts



LiFT admits students of any race, color, nationality or ethnic origin. Please visit our website for more information.

Bridge the Gap to College LIFT UNIVERSITY is designed for neuro-diverse students who can benefit from the college experience, including those with intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism, and a variety of learning disabilities. LiFT U is a person centered transition program, offering students a unique and highly individualized opportunity to further their education while developing skills necessary for independence. • Mathematics • Reading Comprehension • Life Skills

• Budgeting • Career Readiness • Gardiner and McKay Scholarships accepted

LIFT UNIVERSITY AT OAKHURST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 13400 Park Blvd Seminole, Fl 33776 727.258.7659 l i f t u n i v e r s i t y @ l i f t a c a d e m y. o r g




LIFT ACADEMY AT OAKHURST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 13400 Park Blvd cALL TODAY Seminole, Fl 33776 for a private 727.258.7659 tour. L I F TAC A D E M Y. O R G



To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 33

The Benefits of Chores How my daughter with special needs found confidence through work by Cindy Barclay

From the time my daughter Bethany, who has Down syndrome, could move about, I gave her chores to do. I’d sit her on the kitchen counter, and we’d sort silverware. She loved to help set the dining table. And we would make a game of carrying the clean laundry from the dryer to the living room and throwing it in a pile so we could fold it.

nity, self-confidence and satisfaction— all things we want in abundance for our children. If we exempt kids from work because they are “special,” we may unintentionally send the message that they are somehow incapable or helpless. And children who love to be productive are more likely to carry these traits into adulthood.

Did it slow me down? Absolutely. But it was worth teaching Bethany the value of work—that it can be fun, satisfying and rewarding. I also wanted her to understand how important her contributions are to our family.

When I first started assigning chores to Bethany, I felt uncertain. Part of me wanted to make her life easier, and I wasn’t sure how much she understood or what she’d be able to accomplish.

Work is crucial to a person’s well-being and sense of purpose. It produces dig-

But I also didn’t want to compound Bethany’s disability by denying her opportunities to work. To my surprise, I

discovered that she flourished with the challenge of doing chores.

shocked that our daughter is able to “do so much.”

When asking Bethany to take on a new assignment, I modeled the chore first. Then I worked with her and explained the reason for the task as well as how to do it. I included lots of praise and encouragement. I made games of our chores and provided rewards. I eventually added an allowance.

God doesn’t expect His children to do the impossible, and neither should we. But He does have plans for our children with special needs, and those plans include learning the value of work—and gaining confidence in themselves along the way.

As Bethany got older, I gave her new responsibilities. Now 15, she cleans her bedroom, does her own laundry, cooks two meals a week, helps with the grocery shopping, unloads the dishwasher and pitches in with home projects. Our whole family is proud of Bethany. We love watching her navigate life with purpose and a positive attitude. I’ve talked with other parents who seem

Printed with permission from Focus on the Family. Cindy Barclay writes for parents of children with special needs.

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Active, inquisitive and funny, Navaih recently found a love of drumming in addition to baking and riding her bike. Someday, Navaih would like to become a pediatrician but for now she’s just enjoying her math classes and playing Disney Infinity games.

Destiny Adoption Services and Consulting, Inc is a private not-for-profit adoption organization that provides adoption services to birth parents who are considering placing their child for adoption and to prospective adoptive parents who wish to grow their family. Our team offers the best in support services for the adoptive family and the birth parent, including counseling services and assistance connecting the right child with the right family in both private and dependency adoption. We understand the adoption journey will be one of the most profound moments in your life, and we want to be by your side every step of the way.

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Adrieonna’s sense of adventure shows when she’s baking in the kitchen, swimming in the pool, or practicing her gymnastics. Smart and silly, Adrieonna loves telling jokes and playing pranks. Adrieonna’s favorite include pandas and lady bugs, pop musicians Ariana Grande and Zendaya, her math classes, swimming, and playing games like Life and Tag.

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Athletic and fun, Aaron is proudest of his talents in wrestling and football. Aaron is setting his sights high – he wants to be president someday! His campaign promises include lowering taxes and having more homeless shelters. He enjoys being around people whether it be in the weight room or just playing video games. Photo courtesy of Tim Boyles Photography Aaron particularly enjoys playing Modern Warfare, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty on his PS3. He likes listening to rap music, going to school, and eating Chinese food. Someday, Aaron would like to have a pit bull as pet. Aaron’s ideal forever family would be supportive. Having an interest in video games would be a big bonus.

For more information about the Heart Gallery visit or call 727-258-4806. December 2016 • 35

Ask the Veterinarian By Caterine Wendt, DVM Inappropriate elimination includes urinating or defecating outside the litter box as well as spraying. This behavior can be demonstrated by cats of any age and stems from a variety of causes. Other than territorial behavior (spraying), the three most common causes include: multiple medical conditions, stress, inter-cat aggression, and litter box issues to name a few.

Spraying or Inappropriate Elimination?

While the end result may appear the same to cat owners, spraying and inappropriate urination are different. Spraying involves urinating on a vertical surface such as a wall or door while inappropriate elimination is usually found on horizontal surfaces such

floors, furniture, laundry baskets, etc. Urine spraying, or marking, is a specific territorial behavior most commonly associated with un-neutered male cats (toms) or multiple cat households. Spraying is also possible in a neutered male cat if for some reason neutering did not remove all testicular tissue- this can occur more often when a male cat is cryptorchid which is when the testicles have not dropped and an abdominal exploratory is needed to find the intra-abdominal testicular tissue and sometimes not all tissue is completely removed in this most rare of circumstances. Spraying behavior is also motivated by a need to identify property or territory or to cover the scent of other cats, even those feral or stray cats hanging outside your home. In contrast, inappropriate urination is more of a general behavior and is not moti-

vated by territorial behavior. Cats are extremely sensitive to STRESS. Events such as moving, changes in routine, or any stressor may cause inappropriate elimination. Reduce these and other stressors whenever possible, or decrease their impact. Help your cat through stressful changes by making sure your cat has a quiet, safe place to retreat, such as a cat tree, hideaway, or window perch. In addition, consider using Feliway Spray, or Comfort Zone Plug-in with Feliway which is a diffuser that spreads feline pheromones throughout a room. These products contain a pheromone-like substance designed to help calm cats. Catnip is always a great natural alter-

native as well and you can purchase it inside toys or as loose, dried leaves which you can spread on a towel and then throw away the catnip when your pet is done having fun.

Litter Box Issues

Your cat may have developed a litter (substrate) preference and may not like the feel or smell of the current cat litter. Covered litter boxes will only intensify the smell of a scented litter and may cause your pet to avoid that litter box. Try different types of litter, including

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Factors That Contribute To Inappropriate Elimination In Cats clumping or non-scented litter, there are many options to help stop or control inappropriate elimination. Also, use litter boxes with lower sides for easy access (as cats get arthritis too!), place the litter box in the area where the cat spends the most time, and increase the number of litter boxes. Veterinary behaviorists recommend 1 litter box per cat plus 1. For example, if you have 2 cats at home, you should have 3 litter boxes. Most importantly, maintain a clean litter box. Remove waste from their litter boxes at least once daily, and wash the litter boxes weekly so your cat is not compelled to eliminate elsewhere in your home.

Medical Conditions

Several medical conditions cause an increased need to urinate or defecate.

These conditions include colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, megacolon, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, endocrine disease, kidney or liver disease, bladder stones, urine crystal formation, and feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) also called Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC). A cat that is going to the litterbox often or spending too much time in the litter box can often be confused as being constipated but more often the cat is having trouble urinating. Especially male, overweight cats are prone to getting complete urinary blockages which is an immediate life threatening condition. These medical conditions can promote inappropriate elimination. Have your cat examined by your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment of such medical conditions.

Your Veterinarian will be able to collect a urine or fecal sample and examine it for any signs of disease but bloodwork and imaging (X-rays) may also be needed to fully identify the underlying concern. Too many cats end up in shelters or euthanized due to undiagnosed manageable and treatable conditions that caused them to eliminate inappropriately so don’t skip the Veterinary visit as medical concerns need to be ruled out before consider-

ing the problem to be only behavioral in nature. And if it is behavioral in nature there are treatments for that as well. Your Veterinarian will help you find out what is the best management for your own cat.

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Benefits of Massage by Tiffiny Rudkin, Jade Tree Wellness Center, Inc.

So, a friend calls me and says, “Tiffiny, I have these headaches almost daily and it’s affecting my life. Is there anything you can do to help?” I say, “Of course. Come see me for a massage and I can see how tight your neck muscles are.” He comes in and I do an assessment. It seems that his neck muscles are wrenched all the way down into his back. I tell him massage can help but he must be devoted to it. It may not be fixed in one treatment but it is fixable. Four sessions later, my friend comes in and his headaches are completely gone. I still see him every two weeks. This is just one of the many benefits of massage. Massage helps to increase blood flow, increase lymph flow (which in turns increases our immunity), lowers blood pressure and encourages relaxation. While there is a long list of things that Massage is good for, these are just a few. Massage helps to pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, including the skin, improving circulation. Massage can reduce stress and release endorphins which are amino acids that work as the body’s natural pain reliever. Massage encourages better sleep, reduces anxiety and depression symptoms and also manages back pain and normal every day aches. Massage not only works on the muscles and blood flow aspects but also aids in moving energy throughout the body allowing an improved sense of general well-being. This includes physical, emotional and spiritual effects.

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One more quick story. A man I network with sent his wife in for a massage so she could relax. He said after the fact, “Have you seen that Snickers commercial where you aren’t yourself and then someone tells you to eat a Snickers bar and you become yourself again?” That was his wife before and after her massage. When mama is happy, everybody is happy! While there are many different modalities of massage, all have their place in our society. Some modalities include Sports massage, pregnancy massage, TMJ massage, Craniosacral therapy, Acupressure, Aromatherapy, Therapeutic massage, Swedish relaxation and many more. Massage is good for Sciatica, Frozen Shoulder syndrome, leg pain, plantar fasciitis and is even good for breaking down scar tissue. Abdominal massage can help with digestion problems and keep bowel movements on the go. Most of all, we as humans are born into a touching world. As we get older, touch is no longer as accepted as it was when we were 1-5 years old. To have a safe and therapeutic or relaxation touch weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or as often as you can helps keep us smiling and sane in an insane world. If you thought that massage was just a luxury, I hope that you will find this article helpful in reassuring you that it is NOT a luxury, but a preventative maintenance for the most important machine you will ever operate, YOUR BODY!

Wealth or Health? Investment or Expense? by Dr. Kelley Mulhern, Thrive! Chiropractic & Wellness, LLC “So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” - A. J. Reb Materi

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During the Holiday Season, we’re reminded to be grateful for all the wonders we have in our lives, including our health. The irony is that we often make poor choices regarding our health this time of year. We experience too much stress, we spend too much money, we eat too much food, we sleep too little… and all of these things can cause us to get run down or sick.

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Common sense tells us it’s far easier (and cheaper) to keep your current state of health… and to prevent illness… than it is to recover your health once you’ve had a health crisis. Treating an illness or disease can be a huge expense. In 2015, healthcare spending reached $10,000 per person. Would you rather invest that money in an illness, or in your health and in your family? Imagine if people invested in preventive care for their bodies. What if they ate healthy foods…man-

aged their stress…and routinely cared for the structure of their bodies over the years? What if they used proper exercise and regular chiropractic care to keep their nervous system running their body the way Mother Nature intended? Exercising to stay physically fit, managing your stress, receiving structural care before degeneration sets in, and eating healthy food is an investment in your future health. If you can prevent chronic diseases and degeneration, you’ll save thousands of dollars and untold heartache in the future. Don’t accept pain and disability as a given. Choose to dance with your daughter at her wedding, romp with your grandkids, and live life to it’s fullest by investing in prevention.


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for the Month

Top Ten Things To Say About a Christmas Gift You Don’t Like…

10. Hey! Now there’s a gift! 9. Well, well, well… 8. Boy, if I had not recently shot up 4 sizes that would’ve fit. 7. This is perfect for wearing around the basement. 6. Gosh. I hope this never catches fire! It is fire season though. There are lots of unexplained fires. 5. If the dog buries it, I’ll be furious! 4. I love it – but I fear the jealousy it will inspire. 3. Sadly, tomorrow I enter the Federal Witness Protection Program. 2. To think I got this the year I vowed to give all my gifts to charity. 1. I really don’t deserve this.

Christmas Eggnog If you see a fat man… Who’s jolly and cute, Wearing a beard And a red flannel suit, And if he is chuckling And laughing away, While flying around In a miniature sleigh With eight tiny reindeer To pull him along, Then lets face it…

Planning for Holiday Stress–You’ve Got This by Amy Alexander

Your eggnog’s too strong!!! The Three Wise Women Do know what would have happened if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of men, don’t you? They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought disposable diapers as gifts!

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to think about your holiday dinner, trimmings, shopping, pie – and everything else the holiday season brings. Although, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, some consider it to be the most stressful. So, in the hustle and bustle, what can you do to stay healthy, stress-free and keep heading towards your fitness goals?

1. Be realistic. Don’t put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to make the holidays perfect. Do what you can. Make realistic plans and focus on enjoying time with friends and family. As you celebrate, remember to exercise. Go for a run outside or take a group fitness class at a gym like Lifestyle Family Fitness — working out is a great way to relieve stress. This will keep you on track to reach your goals and give you a nice head start to your fitness resolutions. 2. Organize and budget. Make a list of what you need

to do or purchase. Set a budget for yourself and stay within that budget. A lot of stress comes from overextending yourself financially. Start shopping now — you’ll beat the crowds and it’s a great way to get in an extra workout by walking the mall!

3. Exercise and eat healthy. It’s too easy to let every-

thing go during the holidays. Ever heard yourself saying, “I’m too busy, I’ll start eating healthy after the New Year.” Between co-workers and family tempting you with candy, pies and other heavenly treats that show up uninvited, you can really pack on the pounds if you’re not careful. Don’t give in. Why not keep your fitness goals you worked so hard for during the other months? Indulge in the sweets and treats, but set a limit for yourself and stick to it. Make a plan, ditch the second trip to the dessert table and stay active to burn excess calories and reduce stress. After all, the holidays are a time to be thankful, not stressful! Remember, YOU are important! Take care of yourself, have fun and enjoy the season — and you’ll see the benefits of your hard work and get a head start on reaching your New Year’s Fitness Resolution! Amy Alexander is an ACSM certified personal trainer and RPM instructor.

40 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Celebrate with Purpose by Dr. Kira Wilson

What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? Gifts, baking, shopping, parties, eating, and busyness are sure to be on your list. How about faith, family, giving, love, joy, peace, and Jesus? While you may agree that these are words associated with Christmas, many of us may not purposefully pursue or experience these meaningful facets of this special holiday.

As an educator I encourage parents to look for learning opportunities everywhere and Christmas is no exception. The Advent season (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) provides opportunities to discuss the events of the Christmas story and our response to the Christmas story. Children will follow your lead when it comes to finding meaning in Christmas.

Reading the events of the Christmas story is a good place to start. Gathered together at the dinner table or just after dinner on the couch, the story can be read from Luke Chapter 2 in the Bible or from a beautifully illustrated children’s book. You might read the entire story the first night and then focus on certain aspects of the story on different nights throughout the month. Singing Christmas carols in the evening is another way to share the story and events of Christmas. From O’ Little Town of Bethlehem to Hark the Herald Angels Sing, the lyrics tell the wonderful story of the Christ child being born, the shepherds seeing the star, the wisemen traveling from afar, and the angels rejoicing. As you read and discuss the story, share how your life is different as a result of the Christmas story. The Christmas season provides a fresh opportunity to share your faith with your children by telling them what you believe about the Christ child and how His life has effected yours. Draw parallels between your experience and those of the characters in the Christmas story. The shepherds saw the star that led them to the baby. What was the “star” that led you to Jesus? The wisemen came a great distance to find the new born King. Where were you, in your life’s journey, when you met Him? The angels and heavenly hosts rejoiced with shouts of praise. In what ways do you rejoice because of His birth?

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Encourage your children to respond with purpose to the story by connecting the attributes of love, joy, and hope, to their words and deeds in their celebration of Christmas. Sharing a meal, anonymously giving gifts, baking for the neighborhood, visiting a nursing or retirement home to sing as a family, or including single parents and widows in your celebration are ways that your children can learn what it means to love others and think of others more than themselves. Celebrate with purpose. Take time to share His story with your children and help them respond in a way that will make Christmas meaningful. Dr. Kira Wilson is the Director of Covenant Academy in Pinellas County. With more than 30 years in Christian education, her passion is to encourage and equip teachers and parents to develop in children a love for learning and a love for God. She cherishes family time with her husband of 38 years, three children, and two grandchildren. December 2016 • 41

with Jim Daly Q: We’re celebrating the first Christmas with our newborn twins. As they grow older, do you think we should let them believe in Santa Claus? Jim: Our organization doesn’t endorse any specific viewpoint regarding Santa, Christmas trees and other Western traditions. Some families enjoy these aspects of the Christmas season; others consider them detractions from the true meaning of the holiday. I’ll say this, though: If you choose to allow your children to believe in Santa Claus, just be sure to tell them about the real St. Nick. St. Nicholas lived in Asia Minor in the fourth century and was well known for his compassion for those in need. He was also a humble man who relied on secrecy to avoid receiving praise for his actions. Tradition says he once rescued three young women whose father had no money for their dowry; at that time, girls who remained unmarried risked being sold into slavery. So one night St. Nicholas sneaked into the


family’s home and left gold coins in the girls’ stockings, which were drying by the fireplace. That historic figure is, of course, where we get our modern version of the jolly fellow in the red suit who loads up stockings on Christmas Eve. The original St. Nick is also a good reminder of what the heart of this season is all about. It really is about gifts, and not just the kind you put under a tree. It’s a baby, born in a manger, given as a gift to all mankind. It’s about each of us giving from whatever abundance we have to someone else less fortunate. It’s about caring for people in need and making their world a little brighter.

HELPING KIDS DEVELOPE A SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE Q: Our family loves Christmas! Our only concern is that our sons (ages 5 and 7) are at a stage where they focus on themselves and what presents they’re getting. We’d like to help them learn to be less self-centered and to think about others. Any ideas? Danny Huerta, Executive Director, Parenting: Your kids are normal—which isn’t good! We all need encouragement to put others ahead of ourselves, yearround. The holiday focus on “getting stuff” provides context for teaching children to think about the needs and wants of others. One great way to convey this lesson is through family activities. Doing even simple things together gives

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children an opportunity to consider “us,” not just “me.” Building a snowman, shoveling snow, making a craft or baking cookies together are great ways to highlight the importance of family and cooperation. Christmas-related traditions such as a family Advent calendar can build unity while teaching about the real reason for the season (for free Advent resources and activities, see You can shift the emphasis off of self through service to others. Talk with your kids about how the first Christmas wasn’t about getting; it was about giving the world the perfect Gift. Then ask them to think about ways they can give selflessly to others—like making cookies and delivering them to an elderly person, or helping to clear snow from someone else’s driveway. Giving shows kids the sacrifice involved in what others give to them. This helps them develop gratitude.

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You can also encourage each member of the family to make gifts for each other instead of buying something. The effort of handcrafting or baking something engages our minds and hearts in thinking about the recipient while we’re doing it.

There’s no better time than the holidays to teach the value of thinking of others more frequently than one’s self. And that’s a gift that will keep on giving!

PUTTING OTHERS FIRST CAN HELP PREVENT A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT Q: Our three teenagers seem to have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. I know that sort of goes with the territory, but it’s driving me nuts. Do you have any advice?

It can be challenging as parents to teach our kids contentment and gratitude— and the difference between “needs” and “wants”—but these are important life lessons. Here are some tips on emphasizing these character traits. First—and this may get a little uncomfortable—there’s no substitute for you modeling the right priorities. Take an honest look at yourself. Think of what your children learn if you’re never satisfied with what you have and always “need” more. More than likely, they’ll see happiness as something that’s continually just out of reach. Have the courage to adjust your own perspective if need be.

Second, teach your kids a solid work ethic. Many teenagers expect something for nothing. But what they need to learn is to earn the things they want. Whether it’s a part-time job or tasks around the house, let your kids work. It’ll teach them the value of a dollar. It’ll also teach them delayed gratification, and the rewarding feeling of accomplishing goals through perseverance and patience. Finally, look for opportunities for your teen to help those in need and less fortunate. It can be as simple as helping an elderly neighbor with yard work or cooking for a sick family member. By genuinely serving others, your kids will learn the joy—and reward—of putting someone else first rather than acting out of self-interest.

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Danny Huerta, Executive Director, Parenting: For various reasons, this seems to be an epidemic in our society. Teens (and many adults) often feel entitled. They think they “need” it all and feel they “deserve it” without having to do anything to get it. That attitude can cause problems.

JAN 25 – 29


DURING STRESSFUL HOLIDAY TIME, OFFER KINDNESS TO RELATIVES Q: Do you have any advice for dealing with extended family members who don’t get along? My in-laws like to host big get-togethers with all the relatives, but they’re always marked by tension and dissension. I don’t want to offend my spouse or his parents, but I’m tired of all the conflict. Can you suggest a solution?

Jim: This a common situation—in home after home, family gatherings that are supposed to be filled with love and warmth end up turning into tense, uncomfortable confrontations. But “common” isn’t the same thing as “unavoidable.” One option is to be honest. When you get an invitation, tell your in-laws that To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 43

with Jim Daly


you appreciate their thoughtfulness, but aren’t going to be able to join the party. You don’t need to defend yourself or offer a long explanation. Just state your position and leave it at that. Naturally, you and your spouse will have to be in agreement on this.

Q: My son (age 13) is suddenly very interested in girls—and vice versa. Many of his peers are already dating, but my wife and I feel that this is just too young. How can we teach him about healthy relationships that don’t involve romance?

A second choice would be to attend the gathering, but minimize your contact (if travel is involved, make plans to stay at a hotel rather than in your in-laws’ home). Tell them that you’re looking forward to spending time with them, but don’t want to get involved in a feud with other members of the family. If the party disintegrates into a shouting match, politely excuse yourselves and head for home.

Danny Huerta, Executive Director, Parenting: My son is 13 as well. While “crushes” are normal at this stage, kids need help handling the powerful feelings of attraction. Society encourages romantic (and too often, physical) relationships at younger and younger ages and normalizes intense boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. So this is a good time to underscore the basics of friendship that are essential to all healthy relationships.

There’s also a third option. You could approach the next family gathering with an entirely different attitude. Try to see it as a time for reaching out in kindness and grace, even when it’s hard. Look for opportunities to extend love to some unlovely people. In the process, you may end up having a bigger impact in all their lives than you might suspect.

One great place to start would be to find out about the friends that your son has right now—both guys and girls. Talk with him about the character qualities that good friends exhibit. These include (but aren’t limited to) trustworthiness, commitment, genuineness, loyalty, empathy and compassion. Does your son exhibit these traits in his friendships, and do his friends show them? Are their interactions characterized by respect, honesty and concern for others? Or do they treat others with disrespect and hurt them with pointed sarcasm? A true friend builds others up and wants what is best for the other person. Good friends don’t ask the other person to do what is wrong. Instead, they encourage others to be the best they can be.

Of course, this isn’t just a one-time conversation. Keep checking with your son about his relationships, encourage him to consider how he has been a friend (or perhaps not such a good friend) to others, and challenge him to make needed changes. As your son grows he will learn that romantic feelings come and go, but a solid friendship is foundational to relationships of all kinds. By teaching him how to be a good friend now, you’re making an investment that will yield dividends for years to come.

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family, host of the Focus on the Family radio program, and a husband and father of two.

44 • December 2016

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Smartphone Addiction is a Two-Way Street by Most parents say their teens are addicted immediately, contrasted with less than 50 to their smartphones and other mobile percent of parents. devices, and at least half of those same The good news is that many device users teens agree. actually recognize these habits as a concern. But when it comes to setting a positive About half the parents surveyed, as well example, parents aren’t doing such a great job. as one-third of the teens, report making a regular effort to reduce the amount of time According to a recent report from they spend on their mobile devices. Common Sense Media, 78 percent of teens check their devices at least once an hour, while 69 percent of parents do the same. Parents aren’t quite as preoccupied with replying to text messages and other digital communication: More than 70 percent of teens feel the need to respond

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Call today for a free consultation and quote.

727-458-2065 |

John F. Norris, MD, FACC, FHRS Medical Director Board-Certified: Cardiology, Electrophysiology Fellow: American College of Cardiology Fellow: Heart Rhythm Society

License #G16000115243

Experienced, leading-edge care for the heart’s electrical system. Cardiac Arrhythmias Atrial Fibrillation Specialist Implantable Cardiac Devices 516 Lakeview Road, Villa 5 Clearwater , Florida 33756 (Two blocks south of Morton Plant Hospital)

(727) 587-6999

To advertise, call 727-612-0783

For cardiac arrhythmias, trust the area’s leader in complete, state-of-the-art medical & surgical treatment. December 2016 • 45

The Gulf Coast Family Weekender




Tampa Bay International Auto Show Tampa Convention Center



Christmas in the Wild Lowry Park Zoo

Enjoy a merry and memorable evening with this unique, but traditional holiday event in the special setting of the Zoo at night.

Florida Orchestra Pops: Holiday Pops Straz Center

Share this Florida Orchestra tradition with friends and family and get into the spirit of the season by celebrating the most wonderful time of the year with everyone’s favorite Christmas carols, yuletide tunes, musical chestnuts and more. Jeff Tyzik conducts.


Holiday Lights in the Gardens Florida Botanical Gardens


Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom


ICE! at Gaylord Palms Gaylord Palms


Ice Skating at Tampa’s Winter Village Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is transformed with the sights, sounds and activities of the holidays for children and adults of all ages.






Into the Woods Straz Center This witty and wildly theatrical re-invention is Into The Woods as you’ve never seen it before!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints

Go Bucs!

18 Ruth Eckerd Hall


Candlelight Processional at Epcot Narrated by Ming-Na Wen


New Year’s Eve


Outback Bowl Raymond James Stadium


Ruth Eckerd Hall

46 • December 2016

St. Petersburg rings in the New Year with music, lights, dance, fire, bubbles, stories, creative fun, fireworks and much more! Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper



S AT / A C T P R E P




Delivering Ace the next report card with Sylvan At Sylvan, Results Matter Sylvan students typically see up to two to three times more growth in their math and reading scores than if they hadn’t come to Sylvan*. With Sylvan, you’ll get:


DON’T WAIT! Get started today for $49!




• Programs to fit your family’s busy schedule – and budget.



• Our personalized four-step process – Sylvan Insight™. • Our proven tutoring approach blends amazing teachers with SylvanSync technology on the iPad®.


70 60


50 40 30 20


Sylvan: St. Petersburg & Seminole 3951 Tyrone Blvd. St. Petersburg, FL








*See the complete Sylvan Field Research Results at


To advertise, call 727-612-0783

December 2016 • 47


College & Career Preparatory Charter


» 100% Graduation Rate for the 2015-16 School Year from current parents » ACT Scores Outperformed the State Average in 3 of 4 Subject Areas TESTIMONIALS “Pinellas Westcoast has been a wonderful experience for » 21 Century Learning Environment for the 21 Century Student our son. Public high school just didn’t fit his needs and private school just didn’t fit our budget. Pinellas Westcoast » Smaller Class Sizes Than Traditional High Schools and its caring teachers and staff as well as the small class » College and Career Prepatory Curriculum size was exactly what he needed and it’s FREE.” » Building Capacity and respect for Academic Success “The school has been a blessing to my son. Thank you to » Fully Accredited the teachers at Westcoast for never giving up on my son » Strong Parent Communication to Ensure Your Student’s Success like his old school did” st


We are still enrolling but spots will fill quickly. Don’t miss out on this 21st Century educational experience.

Call or email today to schedule your personalized tour!

21810 US Highway 19 North Clearwater, Florida 33765


Principal: Ed Erickson Office Manager: Mrs. Sue

Gulf Coast Family - December 2016  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...

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