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Back to School!


MOMMY MAGIC™ mommyzine FALL 2013

What’s Inside Publisher: Mary Susan Buhner Editor: Jen Alderman Contributing Writers: Kara Tamulonis Katie Swick Molly Tittle Jen Kampmeier Paige Miller Jodie Terlisner Photos & Design: Jen Alderman ©2013 Mommy Magic Publishing

Features: Welcome


Party It Up


Mommy Magic


Witty in Pink


Ready for Football?


Monster Mash


Don’t Say Cheese


In Every Issue What’s Hot

Welcome Fall!

Katie’s Corner Quick Crafts Quote Page Fitness Fabulous I Almost Cook A Friend’s Story Mommy Magic Bulletin Board

6–7 20–21 18–19 17 10 19 20 28-29

! e m o c l e W

Welcome to The Mommyzine! Thank you for taking what little time you have to read Mommy Magic始s new emagazine!

It is always a little bittersweet to start a new school year. I love seeing my kiddos excited and filled with enthusiasm for a new school year, meeting their teachers, seeing their friends, and learning new things. It got me thinking that back-to-school time should be no different for us moms. As our kiddos head out each morning eager for their new adventures at school, we as moms should take the time to get ourselves back on track and try new things ourselves. With that in mind, this issue of The Mommyzine will have helpful tips on embracing back to school as the perfect time to reinvent yourself and try new things. This issue will also have fun party tips heading into autumn and ways you and your kiddos can celebrate a family-friendly Halloween. September is ovarian cancer awareness month and The Mommyzine profiles an amazing and inspiring mom and survivor of Ovarian Cancer. Make sure to check out her story in this issue. We hope that you find helpful tips, feel inspired, and most of all, enjoy celebrating motherhood with us when reading this issue of The Mommyzine! Blessings, Mary Susan Buhner, Founder, Mommy Magic

Mommy Magic is an interactive community of real moms, founded by a real mom, to give support

and tips to make the chaos of motherhood easier and more fun! I am Mary Susan, an author, a columnist, a life coach for moms, and host of the Mommy Magic segment on FOX. Most importantly, I have three beautiful (and very busy) daughters! I am a real mom managing the daily insanity of motherhood, just like you!



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Party It Up!

by Kara Tamulonus

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays!

It’s the one day a year it’s totally acceptable (and encouraged) for adults to dress up and eat candy! In my world, I can find a reason to celebrate almost anything, but a Halloween costume party is tons of fun for everyone! Here are a few creative ideas for your Halloween party invitations that will get your guests into a “spooktacular” mood and set the tone for a “spirited” party! Get crafty! Creating your own invitations for your party can allow your creative juices to flow and is a great way to inform your guests about your event. Handmade invitations (created with scissors, markers, and colored paper) of a pumpkin, ghost, or tombstone are affordable and festive. You can also find amazing handmade (by someone other than you) invitations on Etsy!

Create a custom favor. A great way

to take your invitations to the next level is to include a favor with them. You can go all out and create a Halloweenthemed goodie basket to include with your invitation. Here are a few ideas for goodies that the whole family will enjoy: a bottle (or two) of orange soda, orange and black bubble gum, gummie worms, vampire fangs, spider rings, or even a pumpkin!

Dress up and deliver. Add to the fun

by hand delivering your invitations in costume. You’ll get to see first hand the delight on your guests’ faces as you present them with their custom invitations. They will think you’ve cast a spell on them!

What’s Hot

As we pack up the pool toys and reload the backpacks, the nostalgia of what “back to school” brings is tenfold. Itʼs a new beginning and a bittersweet end to another summer watching our kids get older, swim stronger, and grow into their own sense of being. But as we kick off our flip-flops and head back to carpool, itʼs important as moms we not only prepare our little ones for their best year yet, but we don our most

A great bag...Perfect

for toting the many aspects of life from work folders to snacks.This fall, use your bag to add a pop of color–cobalt blues, rich warm reds, and jeweled greens all in more structured shapes for a more ladylike feel. (Coach handbag...$398

Go back to school...Take

a foreign-language class, learn to sew, or join that fitness class youʼve been putting off during the busy summer days. Newer classes focus on multiple sources of fitness like spinformer, which is the combination of spinning for 30 minutes and reformer pilates for the next 30. Itʼs a two-for-one bang for your buck and time. Find what most interests you and get signed up.

for Fall

by Paige Miller

fab footwear and kick off our own back-to-school sense of self. This fall, trends are reflective of a more ladylike time–polished, chic, yet relaxed. Color remains key and hues go from hot pinks to rich wines, teals and blue, reflecting all that fall signals. As moms, we deserve to feel and look our best in our many roles during the school year. Here are a couple of our favorite trends to guarantee an “A” for effort on this year’s fall report card!

Cool supplies...With notes coming and go-

ing, send yours in style. When picking up supplies, make sure you update your desk and correspondence with fun notes geared to you. (the stationery studio 23.75

Shine on...In the spirit of doing something for you

and also having an edge on style,update your manicure. Whether you choose to DIY or visit a local salon, this seasonʼs nail colors reflect the warm, rich tones we love about fall. From dark wines to navy, polish your look with the seasonʼs hottest hues. If dark isnʼt what you want,the spectrum jumps to the palest of creams, whites, and golds, offsetting the rich jewel tones. There is something for everyoneʼs taste. (available at $14)

by Mary Susan Buhner

I recently was on an airplane by myself (which never happens) and had an opportunity to read a book (which also never happens). I decided to make the most of the strange but wonderful opportunity and stopped at the airport store and bought a book entitled, “The Best Advice I Have Ever Gotten: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives.” To be honest, my first instinct was to buy a bunch of magazines and escape into reality show drama, but as I looked at all the magazine covers, all the headlines were the same: “Desperate Housewives Marriage Broken” or “Heartbreak for Housewives.” Here I was with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some peace and quiet on a flight and I was considering buying depressing stories about drama. I decided to put my money to better use. I bought this book instead. I boarded the plane and felt empowered and excited to start reading it. I was hooked on the first page. Turns out, good leaders usually have good advice and I was thrilled to be soaking it all in over this two hour mini “vacation” in the air.

As a mom, I sometimes get in the rut of running my kids from game to game, practice to practice, thinking of only of how I am going to fix dinner and cram in a load of laundry before bed. What this book taught me is that although maintaining life is a reality for everyone, it is stepping out into the unknown that brings the most growth. That is, saying the simple word of “Yes” to an opportunity, a situation, or an experience that is not typically in our routine or normal daily chaos can and will bring great personal growth. This got me thinking as a mom, my vocabulary seems to lean more to the “No” category than to the “Yes” category. For instance, “No, you cannot ride your bike without a helmet” or “No, you may not cut your own hair” or “No more are going to make yourself sick!” You get the point. Most times as moms, the “No” word is necessary to keep our kids safe and healthy. On the other hand, we have to start saying “Yes” to things outside of motherhood that can help us grow, evolve, have fun, and help us keep our sanity in the midst of raising our children. It can be finally saying yes to a new friend who has asked you out to lunch, but you always seem too busy to make it happen. It can be trying a new class, taking up a new hobby, or even reading a new book that you would not normally pick up and consider reading. It sounds simple, but as creatures of habit, it can be harder than you think. Saying yes can be powerful and lead you to amazing opportunities. Yes to

a play date with a new friend, yes to catch- Zumba class, get a totally new hairstyle, ing up over a cup a coffee with an old one, take an art class, learn to play an instruyes to a new job, yes to trying something ment, or volunteer for a cause that means that is hard to do. Yesterday was the past, something to you. 3. Take care of yourself. Make your tomorrow is the future, and today is the annual pap test with your OB/GYN, and present, so treat it like a gift. Since finishing the book, I have tried schedule your annual mammogram and to say yes more than no. I have to admit annual dental appointment. Ever notice it is empowering. I feel invigorated and we as moms tend to put ourselves last on open to new things that I would not have our to-do list for health? The irony of it is, we have to stay healthy in otherwise given myself order to care for our family. permission to do. After all, Make your annual appointwe all have extraordinary ments and go so that you lives and we have to give “...Take a deep breath. stay healthy for your family ourselves the go ahead to live them to our fullest poEnjoy the peace and quiet. and yourself! 4. Connect with friends. tential! Somehow over the sum With summer mer I tend to let my own wrapped up back to school BREATHE!� friendships fall to the side. is the perfect time to reI suppose it is because I claim yourself and commit am, like you, spinning the to getting yourself back on plates so fast I just run track. With that, I am hapout of time. With the kidpy to share a few tips that dos back in school, make I have done myself that a list of friends who make work. you laugh, inspire you, and 1. Make a date with yourself. One of the best ways to start empower you. Set up a coffee date or a this process is to actually get out of your time to go for a walk or meet for lunch. house and go somewhere quiet. A library, Friendships and a good support system a coffee house, wherever you want that are vital for us moms. If you are like me, a you can find some peace and that might visit with a good friend always makes me inspire you. Personally, if I am at home, feel energized! 5. Just breathe. A strange concept, it is easy to let myself off the hook by do- ing a load of laundry or cleaning up the but an important one. Once the kiddos breakfast dishes. It helps me to actually are out the door, take a deep breath. Enmake an appointment with myself out of joy the peace and quiet. Breathe! Somethe house and, most importantly, to keep times I find myself so busy I actually hold my breath and don't even realize it. With it. 2. Seek new opportunities to grow the change in schedule, take some deep outside your comfort zone. It could be breaths and just be still and enjoy it! reading a new book or signing up for a cooking class or Bible study. Or, join a

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Are You Ready for Some Football? by Jenn Kampmeier

Back to school means sports in our fam-

also learned that there are several types of cleats and that we needed rubber ones because they cause less damage to the body (or something like that). A whopping 125 later, we walked out with our purchases.

ily!! Are we ready for some football? That has been the question for the past four weeks and counting. My son, Zane, has achieved the ripe old age of seven years old, which means he can play flag football. While he is overjoyed, I am a little apprehensive and worried. My thoughts turn to Being the OCD organized mom that I broken bones and grass stains. I digress. am, I decided that Zane and I should fit his mouthpiece. I pulled out the package, Last week, I received an email from his read the instructions and thought to mycoach letting us know what items we will self, “This can’t be that hard.” (Famous need to purchase. The list was as fol- last words!) Once the water was boiled, I lows: white pants, socks, mouthpiece, placed the mouth piece in for 30 seconds. and cleats. Okay, he has one of those I already had Zane prepped and waiting items, so off to Dick’s Sporting Goods we on the counter. One thing to note, a rubgo. Since I am a single mom and a first ber mouthpiece in boiling water is very hot timer at this sport, I decided to enlist the when you pull it out and you have to be assistance of one of my dear male daddy very precise when dipping it in water then friends. (Sidebar: I could have probably quickly shoving it into your child’s mouth. managed to handle purchasing the items Let’s just say that I struck out on that one, on the list but my male daddy friend is a the next one, and finally mastered a good football coach and well, he knows more fit three mouthguards later. I would like to say that Dick’s Sporting Goods was wonthan I do.) derful and did allow me to return one of Okay, so the shopping experience was the mouthguards. very interesting to say the least. Words like “jock strap” and “cup size” were introduced Now the only thing we need is a real game to my vocabulary. Talking to a seven year to try out all of our new items. We are old about cup size was not a conversation ready for some football and looking forthat I thought I would ever have. Zane felt ward to a fun season. the same way when he responded, “Mom, you’re not suppose to say that word.” I

For Parents. By Parents.

Fitness Fabulous

by MollyTittle

Why not make this school year your time an effort to have someone watch you and to revisit your New Year’s resolutions? Es- critique your form. This is critical in having pecially if your resolutions had to do with a results-oriented routine. FITNESS! 3. Work your core (i.e. abdominals). If As a mom, your fitness should be the your core is strong, then it will help with foundation for and reflection of your fam- any fitness routine and most importantly ily’s well-being. If you feel great, your en- everyday life. Try to perform core exercisergy will be contagious. Your commitment es at least two to three times a week for to your health will be the insurance your no less than 20-25 minutes. A strong core family needs to flourish! Here are three is a preventative prescription for low back tips for you, Mom, to be the fitness ring- pain, proper body alignment, better oxyleader for your family. gen intake and organ performance, and a smaller waistline. A great DVD to work 1. Make a pact with yourself or even your your core is my Quick Cuts DVD, availhusband or kids that you will start out this able online at school year with a new attitude about fit- Check it out. ness. Find something you like to do and stick to it, at least through the school year! Keep moving all year long (at least the We ask our kids to commit to school; show school year)! BE the example for your them the same dedication to your new rou- family and BE the change the school year tine. Whatever it may be, lead by example. asks for! Try not to complain about it. Set a time for your workouts, mark it on your calendar, Best of luck and abs in! and do not stray from it. Do not be late for your workouts! You will see results once you commit and stay disciplined. 2. Have a certified professional evaluate your form while you exercise. Whether it’s an appointment with a trainer or having a conversation with the group exercise instructor from the class you choose: make For more workouts with Molly Tittle and to find her Quick Cuts DVD, check out mfitnessonline. com

Over the summer I was at an 80’s-themed

party at a friend’s house. We were “kickin’ it old-school” in the basement, listening to ‘80’s hair metal and pop favorites, and I was dancing like it was 1986. And then my 36-year-old body decided to check in to the present day and I fell and broke my ankle. Somehow I had managed to make it through the birth of three children and cancer treatment without ever making a trip to the ER, but trying to relive my glory days by dancing like a fool bought me a one-way ticket there. I was given a walking boot and crutches and told to stay off the bad foot for a month. Really, I got off pretty easy, but the whole incident got me to thinking about being in the hospital for my double mastectomy surgery and being laid up afterward while recovering. Before the big surgery, I had never experienced so much as a cavity, let alone a six-hour procedure requiring two surgeons and an army of nurses and assistants. To help anyone else that finds himself or herself in that situation, I put together a list of the “Things Nobody Tells You About Major Surgery That You Should Know”:

Cancer Patient Walking: My first big shock of the day came when the nurse came to get me to the OR for surgery, and she MADE ME WALK THERE! In the movies, they always show the patient being wheeled on a gurney down the hall while their loved ones hold their hands and profess their never-ending devotion. My experience was more like a scene out of “The Green Mile.” All I needed was Tom Hanks marching behind me yelling, “Cancer patient walking!” while I shuffled off in my sad little blue gown and green surgical socks. Also, I’m blind as a bat, and they took my glasses, so I couldn’t see where I was going and I almost ran down my surgeon when I walked full steam into the OR. The final insult: They made me hop up on the operating table myself! After all that I half expected them to ask me to hold the clamps for them during surgery. I Need a Java Drip STAT!: It is a wellknown fact that you are not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the day of your surgery, so that was not a shock. But I’m a two-cup-a-morning girl, and I wasn’t prepared for the reality that by the time I finally walked into the OR that I would be experiencing serious caffeine withdrawal. Finally, the anesthesiologist announced that he was about to give me some drugs to put me to sleep, and the java-deprived crank living inside me spoke up and said, “It’s about damn time!” I thought my surgeon, who had been loyally standing by me, was going to fall over from laughing, and he told me later he’d never had a patient say that before. I may have to main-

line a latte before my next procedure. The Cuckoo’s Nest: When I woke up after surgery in the recovery room, I was shocked to find that I wasn’t the only patient there. Nobody warned me that I would be sharing such a bizarre time with complete strangers. I was still without my glasses and drifting in and out of consciousness, which only added to the Twilight Zone experience. I could hear moaning and groaning, and nurses trying to restrain patients who were trying to get up and leave. When I heard a woman

prises waiting for me during surgery, I had prepared myself for this to be a horrible experience, and that it wasn’t turned out to be the last, and best, surprise. I was blessed with gifted physicians who worked hard to leave me with as little physical and emotional scars as possible. I had amazing nurses who took great care of me, and did so while allowing me to hang on to my dignity. And due to the love and support I received from my family and friends, I never for one single moment felt alone. Having a mastectomy is not an experience I would wish upon my worst enemy, but I would gladly tell anyone facing this surgery, “It’s not as bad as you think.” I continue to get stronger and stronger the further I move away from my cancer experience. Well, most of me is getting stronger. Apparently my ankles are a weak spot. Every day the strange and painful memory of my surgery fades a bit, and I am confident that in time all that will remain will be that feeling of love. Well, that and the memory of the other crazy lady in recovery.

scream from the other side of the room, “I just can’t take it anymore!” I considered the possibility that I had been accidentally routed to the psych ward (although in my head I responded to her, “I hear you sister!”). I foolishly thought a recovery area would be a quiet, calm, and private place where you could peacefully transfer out of anesthesia to consciousness, but I found out the hard way that “Recovery Room” is actually hospital code for “Holding Cell”. It’s Not as Bad as You Think: Even though I wasn’t prepared for all the sur-

Get Crafty!

by Jen Alderman

Looking to jazz up your playroom? My husband and I built a simple stage in the corner of our basement so our kids could “rock out.� It was relatively easy, inexpensive, and only caused one minor argument. For anyone who has worked on home improvement with a spouse, that means success.

STAGE CRAFT Materials: wood, nails, paint = $80 Instruments to create rock-star kids = $100 9 yards of fabric for curtains = $50 + 1 argument with husband in the fabric store Childhood memories that will last a lifetime = PRICELESS

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I Almost Cook Blog Presents...

Football Favorites! BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP - serves 5–8 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened to room temperature 4–5 tablespoons Marie’s blue cheese dressing (or similar) 2 1/2 cups cooked, cubed chicken (I buy the already roasted chicken from the store and shred it. Ha!) 4–5 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce (I use Fred’s) 6–8oz sharp cheddar cheese In an 8 x 8 square dish, spread softened cream cheese over the bottom of the dish. Spread a light layer of blue cheese dressing over the cream cheese. Mix chicken with wing sauce (add more sauce to suit your taste). Top with cheddar cheese to cover chicken. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and dip is hot. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips. Mindy, Chicago, IL COWBOY CHILI - serves 5 Brown one pound of ground beef. Chop up small onion. Chop up small green pepper. Fry up onion and green pepper with beef. Drain grease. Dump into pot. Add can of diced tomoatoes. Add two cans of chili beans. Add cup of water. Simmer it in a crock-pot. (Add cooked macaronni and mushrooms if you like.) Serve with side of sour cream, shredded cheese, and Fritos. - Karen, Indianapolis, IN REDNECK DIP - serves 6–8 One pound Sausage Jar of salsa Block of Velveeta cheese Can of Ro-Tel Throw in Crock-Pot Serve with chips or veggies Jennifer, Raleigh, NC

NANIE’S MAC ‘N’CHEESE - serves 6–8 2 Cans of cheddar cheese Campbell’s Soup Box or Bag of your kiddos’ favorite shaped noodles or macaroni shaped pasta 1 bag of seasoned croutons Cook the noodles - strain them. Dump into a dish. Open cans of soup. Scoop cheesy soup in with noodles/pasta. Mix together. Take croutons and put in a ziploc bag. Fun part for your kiddos AFTER it is properly sealed (by you to be on the safe side) let them smoosh, stomp, and pound the croutons into tiny pieces. Take the bag of smooshed croutons and sprinkle on top of noodles and cheese in dish. Pop it in to the oven at 325 for 8–10 minutes or until croutons are toasted and it looks yummy to eat! - Mary Susan, Mommy Magic

Katie’s Korner

by Katie Swick


self r e H g in d in ey to F

rn u o J s ’ m o AM My

mom recently told me (in the most loving, supportive manner possible) two things: 1) Stop wearing yoga pants out of the house (insert: all the time). 2) Wear makeup more. While moderately devastating, the spirit of what she was saying is spot on: Do more with what you have. She knows I’ve hated being heavy for a long time, and she knows I’m working really, really hard to lose (I’m down 17 lbs!!). But, part of being heavy, and the self-loathing that came with it, manifests itself in what I can only describe as “letting myself go”. I’m married, I’m not hideously unattractive without makeup. I’m gainfully employed. To be honest, I just got lazy and let myself go for a while. And that, my friends, is the ever “so” slippery slope that can come with weight gain, age, putting our kids (who always looks pretty awesome, I’m sure) before ourselves, or any combination of self-esteem deflating things that plague we American women throughout our lives. So, here is the deal; Take off the shabby yoga pants that are too big or ugly or which look like jammies or which just do NOTHING FOR YOU (there is a story behind mine, and it doesn’t include buying AWESOME yoga couture from Lululemon). Maybe, put on a little makeup. But take care of YOURSELF! Here is what I have found that does for me: I flat-out feel better when I put just a little energy into looking less like a hag. I don’t eat as much when I am feeling tired, stressed, or overwhelmed, and because I feel better about myself, I have found that I am not walking about town as much in seven-year-old XL yoga pants—which I own in black, grey, and brown. I love those pants, and I can’t wait for the day I’ve lost enough weight that they fall off and I have to retire them. I may enshrine them. As I have embarked on the journey of (trying) to like what I look like, irrespective of my size, here are the things that are working for me: (1) I wear makeup more, and I’m having fun with it. I’ve thrown caution to the wind

(a bit) and started wearing more colors, and some brighter lipstick to add drama. I probably manage six days a week, although I excuse myself from this when working around the house or yard, or going to the grocery store. (2) I have purchased a few, low-cost items in fun, on-trend colors. They are really soft, flowy dresses that are about 98% muumuu and 2% fashion. They are comfortable, bright, light, and pretty. (3) Accessorize. I’m not investing much in clothes because shopping still depresses me, and because I am indeed losing weight and don’t intend to wear whatever size I buy for long. So, I’m investing in some super, duper fun (not necessarily expensive) statement bling. And you know what? People have recently started asking me about my jewelry! And, no one says, “Does this necklace make my butt look fat.” Quite the opposite, big statement necklaces and earrings draw attention up. Long neclaces make me look longer, and distract from a bigger midsection and large rear end. (4) Spanx. We used to call them girdles, ladies. Go watch you some Mad Men—foundations were KEY to those awesome curvaceous looks in the 40s and 50s, and it’s no different now. Plus, jiggling belly fat and muffin tops depress me, and when I wear my Spanx kids don’t ask me if I’m “gonna have a baby.” Add to this a REALLY GOOD BRA —rolls of back fat visible because your bra is ill-fitting? Not okay. (5) Wear clothes that fit. Period. You can do this on a budget. If you are a size 16, don’t wear an 18 and don’t wear a 14. It’s not flattering. I’ve done it - in both directions. Hidden in too-big (yoga pants) clothes, and squeezed into too-small jeans. Buy yourself basics if you have only a little to invest, or if your size is changing. Switch out those accessories (see above) to make a white T-shirt and jeans look like four different outfits.

A Friend’s Story My dear friend Donna is healthy and is busy balancing back to school, football practices, Boy Scout meetings, volunteering, working, and family life. This sounds pretty common for many of us moms this time of year, but for my friend, it is a special blessing.Three years ago, Donna felt a weird lump when she pressed down on her stomach. She was busy slimming down for her sister’s wedding, but no matter what she did, she could not get rid of her tummy bulge (a common complaint among us moms, right?!). That fall, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She was shocked, and as her dear friend, I was saddened and shocked as well. After all, Donna was young. Young moms don’t get ovarian cancer was my first thought.

by Jodie Terlisner

Her symptoms were so mundane—I was shocked. It was everyday stuff that many of us face—swollen or bloated abdomen, indigestion, feeling tired all the time….the list was pretty run of the mill for any busy mom. The statistics were anything BUT mundane! That year in Indiana, 300 women would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer—and 29 would survive it. Donna is one of those 29! She was diagnosed with stage one (that rarely happens). Because Donna visited her doctor and she was properly diagnosed, she is back at volunteering, chairing events and watching her boys at football practice without chemotherapy and radiation on her to-do list this fall.

I am blessed to have Donna as my friend and to be inspired by her grace every day. As moms, we have to take care of ourselves and each other. If As Donna was getting her youngest ready for first by chance you can relate to any of these sympgrade and happy that her third grader would be toms, please consult your doctor. If you happen there to lead the way, she was balancing how to to be visiting with a friend over coffee and she battle ovarian cancer now in her to-do list. I recall mentions feeling some of these symptoms, enshe was knee deep in running the Boy Scout pop- courage her to contact her physician. As women, corn drive and chairing a run/walk fundraiser for friends, and moms, we MUST put our own health our church’s food pantry & medical clinic. She did at the top of our own to -do list and look out for not have cancer or chemotherapy in her plans for one another along the way! the fall of 2010. It was so scary and so sudden!

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month


Swollen or bloated abdomen Indigestion Fatigue Pelvic discomfort or pain For more information visit

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Monster Mash! I love Autumn and all

the festivities that surround this time of year, especially Halloween. I am a bit biased since my actual birthday falls on Halloween. I grew up bobbing for apples on my birthday and making homemade costumes (my favorite was making my stoplight costume). The prepping of a costume, carving pumpkins, hay rides, bonfires—all of it brings back great family memories for me. With that, every October we have a family Halloween costume party. It is a great excuse to dress up, eat smores and hop on a hay ride. Adults and kiddos alike dress up and embrace the “Monster Mash Bash” we host. It is not fancy and that is the great thing about a family party in autumn—the


fancy the better. More importantly, it is about connecting with friends and family and enjoying the memories that are being made as a family. Some of my favorite tips for hosting a family Halloween party: *Use candles, lanterns, and of course jacko-lanterns to decorate and create a warm mood. *Take pictures from past Halloweens and enlarge them. Place them on easels around the food...such a fun, easy, and affordable way to decorate a table! *Bite-sized food is


a must. Easy and no mess. Small sandwiches and

treats are yummy and fun to eat for all ages. One of my favorite treats is made by taking a cake pop stick (sold at craft stores) and placing a ghost peep on the stick. Put them in a small vase and let kiddos grab them to eat. Fun, no mess, and easy! *If you have a bonfire, smores are a must! Watch kiddos around the bonfire with their costumes on, of course. Add Reese’s cups to the selection of candy—graham cracker, marshmallow and a Reese’s cup smooshed between—yummy! A great party favor for kiddos and adults are delicious cake pops too! *Halloween costumes. Homemade, store bought or a little of both. It doesn’t matter—just

by Mary Susan Buhner

have fun with it as a family and enjoy the memories you are making together! *Have a Halloween costume contest. Moms and dads included! You can give prizes you pick up at the dollar store, but getting the whole family in on the costume contest can be a hoot!

Don’t Say Cheese! For most of us, this time of year feels like it has been put in fast forward. The weeks between Labor Day and the holidays seem to get closer every year, and there is always an endless to-do list to accomplish before Santa is hauling his happy butt down the chimney. At the top of many lists is taking a family photo for holiday cards or gifts, and this task can be about as much fun as listening to cats sing “Jingle Bells.” Here are a few tips to make this annual ritual a bit more jolly:

Holiday Photo Tips by Jen Alderman

fireplace is nice, but try changing it up a bit this year. Take it outside and capture them playing in the leaves. Let them have a pillow fight in your bed in their holiday PJs. You will get great, relaxed shots of your family if they don’t realize they are being photographed, and your photos will be unique and stand out from the crowd of holiday cards.

3. CUT THE CHEESE: I’m guilty of this, but I truly wish that we didn’t teach our kids to say “CHEESE” as soon as the camera comes out. It seems to cause kids to 1.LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD: It is easy plaster these giant fake grins on their facto sit the kids on the floor or pose them es, and makes it very difficult to capture standing around a tree and then stand the “real” side of who they are. Instead, over them and start snapping away. But ask them to say funny-sounding words or you might do better to get down on their tell them a joke as you click the shutter. A level to take the photo. By coming down shot of your children laughing will always to their height, the perspective of the be better than one of them looking like a photos will be a better representation of wax replica of themselves. you child’s personality. Being on their level also makes it a more interactive And when all else fails, bring in some experience, and may motivate your little help. Make an appointment with a phoone to cooperate a little more. tographer. Maybe even bring back that recording of the cat’s version of “Jingle 2.LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Bells” to capture some giggles from your A photo of everyone seated around the little elves.

MommyMagic Mommyzine Fall 2013  
MommyMagic Mommyzine Fall 2013