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Volume 8 Number 10

34 Columns



Publisher’s Note Kendra Sumner


Living With Children John Rosemond

Growing Up Online

Discover 8 ways technology can bring your family closer this year.

Gift Giving for Kids

Get your children involved in the spirit of giving with these budget-friendly ideas!




Kids Health Watch

sponsored by Pediatric Associates of Auburn


A Page in a Book Gerry Paige Smith


Parenting Today’s Teens Mark Gregston


Growing Up Online Carolyn Jabs

Holiday Happenings

From parades to tree lightings to musicals, these events will make your season bright!

Bittersweet Bonding

Get your teen ready to launch into adulthood during the high school years.


Dave Says Dave Ramsey


Get This!

Gerry Paige Smith

On The Cover Theresa is five years old and is in

Departments 5

Kindergarten at St. Michael Catho-

Bits and Pieces

lic Preschool. Her parents are


Kathryn and Ben Ward. She has

School Bits

a younger sister Lily and a little brother named Daniel. Theresa loves going to the pool and to the park. Her favorite princess is Ariel. 1


Family Calendar 52

Movie Reviews

Publisher’sNote Where did 2017 go? It seems like we just took down our Christmas tree and toasted in the New Year! Now, we need to redecorate the house, plan our parties, and check our list twice. The Holiday Season is here! This time of year brings such an added sense of joy and love into our home. We start our family traditions with our Christmas tree. The children joyfully place their special, handmade ornaments on the most perfect of spots, and with admiration they stand back and sparkle almost as brightly as the tree. With their stockings hung, biggest to smallest, the house has been transformed into a cozy, winter wonderland filled with garland, jingle bells, angels and cinnamon smells. With the weather quickly turning cold, our hearts and spirits are warmed by reminding ourselves of how special it is to give to others. One of my favorite traditions is taking each of our children to shop for a gift for their brothers and sisters, and for another child we do not know. Sometimes they find the perfect gift, but often times, we end up at the hobby store for supplies needed to make the gift. Some of the best gifts received are those thought up in a child’s imagination and then crafted by hand with love. Not only does this reinforce the importance of giving, it also fosters a personal sense of love for others...straight from the heart. Be sure to check out this month’s feature article, Gifts Kids Can Give on a Small Budget. Try reading it together as a family to help with the brainstorming of ideas on what to give teachers, neighbors and friends this season. One idea for that special, hardworking teacher is to make a “spa at home” treat. It only takes a few ingredients mixed together to make a sweet smelling body scrub or bath salts. For some quick and easy recipes log onto Pinterest, get to mixing, and tie it up with a big, red bow. Another idea that has always been my go-to for the holidays is handprints and fingerprints. As my kids have grown, I’ve tried to capture their handprints throughout the years. Grandparents would love to receive an ornament with a little handprint shaped like a reindeer or Christmas star. So, grab the paint and glitter and get creative! After all the gifts have been bought, made and wrapped, it’s time to think about planning all the fun that December can bring. After all, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” But is it the most wonderful time? My hope is that this year’s festivities do not become so stressful that I lose sight of the true enjoyment of the season. Family gatherings, shopping, and party preparations are essential to our holiday celebrations, however, if not kept in perspective, I could turn into the Grinch. It is easy to get stressed and overworked during the holidays. To help you plan and make the most of this month, we have included our Holiday Happenings Guide. Plan a few fun outings, but try not to feel as if you need to experience them all to enjoy Christmas this year. Families with little children may include two events where Santa can be seen and lights driven through. Others families with tweens and teens may be ready to add a few more activities to their calendars like arts and craft shows, a festive stage play or snow tubing in the mountains. Plan early and take in all the holiday fun with those you love. Merry Christmas to your family from ours!


Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017


Auburn Opelika Lee County’s Foremost Parenting Source

Auburn Opelika Parents Magazine is founded on the principle that parenting is an exciting, diverse, challenging, and significant role in our community. Auburn Opelika Parents Magazine is a community advocate for families and the parenting process.


Publisher Kendra Sumner Editor DeAnne Watson Associate Editor Kelly Watson Contributing Writers Rian Anglin, M.D. Mark Gregston Carolyn Jabs Christina Katz Sarah Lyons Dave Ramsey John Rosemond Gerry Paige Smith Cover Photography Candy Avera

President Jason Watson


Director of Sales Justin Sumner (334) 209-0552 Ad Design Tim Welch


Visit us online at Auburn-Opelika Parents magazine is published monthly by KeepSharing, LLC. Mailing address: 475 Bennington Ct, Auburn, Alabama, 36830. The phone number is (334) 209-0552 and fax is (334) 826-7303. Auburn-Opelika Parents is copyrighted 2016 by KeepSharing LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in Auburn-Opelika Parents magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the owners, nor do they constitute an endorsement of products and services herein.



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LivingWithChildren by John Rosemond

Zero Tolerance for a “Sassy Mouth” Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked this up from a new neighborhood friend who speaks to her mother in a very disrespectful tone, like she’s the girl’s servant. There are no other girls this age in the neighborhood, so I hesitate to put a stop to the relationship but at the same time I want to nip this new skill in the bud before it becomes habit. Do you have any suggestions?


First, there are reasons to forbid a child a certain association, but this is not one of them. Assuming you make it perfectly clear that you will not tolerate similar behavior from her, there is great potential benefit to allowing your

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

daughter to witness this other child disrespecting and disobeying her mother. Second, understand that while part of this is explained as “monkey see, monkey do,” your daughter is conducting an experiment. She has seen the mother’s passive reaction to her daughter’s back-talk and wants to find out what your reaction is going to be. In effect, she’s asking, “Do all adults just ‘take it’ when children disrespect them?” When my daughter Amy was around your daughter’s age, she developed a friendship with a girl who talked to her mother, a single parent, like she was an underling. Thinking that her daughter was angry about the divorce or some such nonsense (following a divorce, it is not uncommon for parents to unwittingly extend some form of behavioral entitlement to children), the mother did nothing but occasionally complain. One day, Amy returned from playing with this friend and began acting like she was possessed by the child’s demons. Determined to nip her sass in the bud, I took her to her room and told her she was staying there for at least an hour, during which time she was to “find the real Amy inside of you and let her come


back out because so-and-so is not allowed to live here.” The next few times she came home from playing with this friend, either her mother or I asked, “Are you Amy or sassy so-and-so?” She would say, “I’m Amy,” upon which we would say, “Then you may come in.” It was a somewhat playful but completely serious way of sending her the intended message: to wit, you can play all you want with the sass-bucket who lives down the street, but you will not carry home any sass from the bucket. That rather libertarian approach allowed Amy the freedom to see her friend’s relationship with her mother with new eyes. She even began reporting to us, incredulously, incidents she had witnessed while at so-and-so’s house. That simply confirmed that we had acted rightly by not prohibiting the relationship (thus increasing the likelihood of some form of rebellion). Eventually, Amy realized that she and this other child had little in common and she moved on. Family psychologist John Rosemond answers parents’ questions on his website at




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C 22nd Annual Cookie Walk for Habitat for Humanity

Come out and share some of your fabulous goodies at the 22nd Annual Cookie Walk on December 2, 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, Auburn. The Cookie Walk is an annual fundraiser sponsored by "WeHelp Coalition" to benefit Habitat for Humanity. We would love to feature your delectable sweets along with an array of beautifully decorated Christmas cookies donated by people throughout our community. Please deliver handmade cookies to Grace United Methodist Church on Friday, December 1, 2:00-7:00 p.m.

A Charlie Brown Christmas December 18-19

Live on Stage at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has warmed the hearts of millions of fans since it first aired on television over fifty years ago. Now the classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation featuring all of your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score. Join, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they mount a play, save a tree, and uncover the true meaning of Christmas. Half-priced tickets for children under age 12; contact the box office at 706-256-3612 to purchase.

Clara’s Tea Party

Clara’s Tea Party presented by East Alabama Community Ballet, will be December 16, at Telfair Peet Theatre, Auburn Campus. Indulge your sweet tooth, mingle with the dancers, and watch Clara as she dances through the Land of Sweets at Clara’s Tea Party on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. For more information and tickets please go to www.

Collinwood Luminaries 2017

The tradition of the Collinwood neighborhood Luminaries was born in 1967 and have become a popular holiday tradition and symbol of the Christmas season. With over 1,500 sacks with candles prepared by the Collinwood neighborhood residents, the candles are set out along the roadway through the neighborhood to “light the path” on the “journey to the manger.” Along the luminary path you will see shepherds, wise men, and angels following the star on their way to see the Christ Child. At the end of the luminary path you will find a live nativity scene – a gift from the youth group of First United Methodist Church of Opelika for over 33 years now. The luminaries follow a one-way route beginning on Collinwood Street at the intersection of North Tenth Street and Oak Bowery Road. The tour winds through the entire Collinwood subdivision and ends on Mclure Avenue. December 14, 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Unveiling the Auburn Gingerbread Village at the Auburn University Hotel & Dixon Conference Center

Join us, December 10, 2:00-5:00 p.m. for the unveiling of the largest Gingerbread Village in East Alabama, in the conference center of the Auburn University Hotel on December 10. After watching the Auburn Christmas Parade, come enjoy complimentary cookies and hot chocolate while admiring the 2017 village. The Gingerbread Village will be on display in the pre-function foyer in our newly-renovated conference center until the start of the new year.

Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour

December 6 - 10 in Opelika Historic District. The tour began in 1993 with just a few homes participating, but has grown to include 60 homes on North 8th and 9th street. The homes are decorated with life-size Santas, angels, toys, carousel horses and Christmas-themed figures. The event is a self-directed driving tour. However, on Saturday night North 8th and 9th streets will be closed to traffic to encourage visitors, neighbors and friends to stroll through the neighborhood. This enables everyone to leisurely enjoy the homes up close, listen to the carolers, and talk with residents dressed in Victorian costumes. This tour begins on North 8th street and 2nd Avenue and includes over ten city blocks. Admission to this spectacular production is FREE. On the Friday night of the tour, the City of Opelika sponsors Christmas in a Railroad town, which includes wagon rides through the Victorian Front Porch Christmas. Lighted Driving Tour: Wednesday, Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, 5-10 p.m. CDT; Walking Tour: Saturday December 9, 6-9 p.m. CDT. Tree lighting with Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and his wife Laura at 6 p.m. at the corner of North 8th Street and 2nd Avenue. (weather permitting). For an entertainment list, please visit Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017


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Alexander City Hometown Christmas Parade, December 4

Auburn Christmas Parade, December 10

Join us at 6:00 p.m. as the annual Hometown Christmas parade kicks off. The parade traditionally includes 3 to 4 marching bands, dancing troupes, musical guests and dozens and dozens of floats and parade entries. One of the largest Christmas parades in the Southeast, the Alexander City Hometown Christmas Parade winds through downtown with elaborate floats, horses and our special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Review and judging stand at the Chamber, 120 Tallapoosa Street.

Join the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and the Auburn Downtown Merchants Association for the Auburn Christmas Parade. The parade will be Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m. in downtown Auburn. The parade entry fee is $25 for non-chamber members and is waived for all Auburn Chamber members. Space for the parade is limited. The deadline for registration is Friday, December 1. Please see the parade entry form and rules and guidelines to participate. The entry form and agreement to parade rules should be returned to the Auburn Chamber of Commerce or emailed to payton@

Opelika Christmas Parade, December 2 The streets of Opelika will be blocked off on the morning of December 2 in anticipation of the 2017 Opelika Christmas Parade, which will begin at 10:00 a.m. If you would like to participate in the parade, please complete an application form. The form and guidelines can be found on the Chamber's website, www. For more information, call (334) 745-4861.

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Sponsored by Pediatric Associates of Auburn

The Best Gift to Give Your Child He is the child sitting alone at the lunch table with his head held low. Her clothes are a little worn and maybe a little dirty or smelly too. She talks or walks in a different manner. We know these kids. We see them every day. We pass their families in the grocery store. We move past them to drop our kids off at the bus stop or at school. We huff and walk quickly past or give a wide berth when they are ahead of us. We are compassionate people, but what message do we send to our children by the way we respond to them? Children are masters at interpreting not only our words, but our body language, tone of voice, and unspoken thoughts that play out over our faces. How we respond to these situations influences how our children will respond not only today but also throughout their lives. Given the current bullying epidemic in the United States, our response in these situations is very important. While we may not be directly or indirectly bullying these children and families, our behavior regarding them teaches our children about appropriate social interaction and behaviors. By altering our responses, we can have a lasting impact on our children’s responses and, over the long term, the bullying epidemic. Bullying, as defined by, is repeated, unwanted, aggressive behavior that

involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying occurs throughout all age groups and in various settings, including but not limited to in person and via social media. The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System indicated that nationwide, 20% of 9-12 graders have experienced bullying. Based on the easy access to social media and rise in the rate of bullying, this number is likely much higher. In fact, claims that 90% of children in grades 4-8 have been bullied at some point in their life. Bullying is not unique to the pediatric population. On a survey conducted by in 2012, 35% of workers surveyed stated that they had been victims of bullying at their jobs. Although bullying can happen to anyone, those with special needs, alternative preferences, or low socio-economic status are most at risk. Bullying can take many forms and occurs in a variety of ways, including verbal, social, and physical. Bullying can have far reaching effects on all parties involved, including not only the bully, but also the victims and bystanders. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, social anxiety, health complaints, and poor academic achievement. Kids who bully others are more likely to engage in risk taking behaviors such as substance abuse and

violence. Interestingly, those who witness bullying are also impacted. Statistically they also have higher rates of substance abuse, mental illness, and lower academic achievement. So what can we, as parents, do to help stop this epidemic? Change must start with us. We have enormous power over how our children respond to others. We need to be aware of both our spoken and unspoken reaction to others in our environment. We need to make certain that our response is the same response that we would like for our children to have. This monitoring of and, if needed change to, the way he behave is the best gift that we can give ourselves and our children this holiday season. Let’s strive to treat every person around us as a precious gift that is to be celebrated. When we see someone struggling, we should reach out to help. A simple hello or a kind word and smile can go a long way to brighten someone’s day and to help our children see that love and kindness is critical to happiness for all of us. Dr. Rian Anglin, a board certified pediatrician, was raised nearby in Valley, AL. She attended Auburn University were she graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Molecular Biology. Despite her strong allegiance to Auburn, Dr. Anglin graduated from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 2007 with her MD. Her passions in practice include promoting early childhood literacy, reducing toxic stress in childhood, and improving the practice of pediatric medicine through office based research. She resides in Auburn with her husband and their two sons.


by Ma de on inc em hig as


Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017


A Page in a Book Books That Make a Splash While there are a few holdouts who don’t like bath time, most kids find a unique delight in water. The same parents who first struggled to lure their toddlers into a bath, quickly discover the challenges of calling kids in from the rain, pulling them away from the museum fountain, and convincing them its time to get out of the pool. From bathtubs and beaches to soapy sinks and mud puddles, the tactile exploration of water draws on kids’ imaginations like the pull of the tides. The following titles celebrate the joys of soggy moments, wet weather and the wonders of water through the eyes of children.




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by Sam Usher (Templar / Candlewick) Waking up to a rainstorm instead of a rising sun puts a young boy’s outside plans on hold. While he insists he likes to play in the rain, his Granddad counsels waiting until the worst precipitation has passed. Trapped inside and impatient to venture out, the boy extols the various watery marvels that he’d like to encounter. Subtle references to underwater beasts, canals and watercraft abound indoors while the boy and his Granddad wait out the deluge. As the rain ends and the duo prepare to explore its remnants, the boy’s earlier imaginings of adventure begin to emerge in watery reflections. Celebrating both the comfort of a stormy day indoors, as well as the pleasure of emerging later into a freshly washed world, Rain is perfect for rainy day reading.

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by Carey Sookocheff (Godwin Books / Henry Holt & Co.) Making time to really think about all the moments he gets wet every day, a young boy takes a deeper dive into the waters that touch his daily life. With brief language, he notes his wet footprints on the deck of a pool. He recognizes the variety of ways he enters the water, sometime inch-byinch, other times with an exuberant cannonball. His tears are wet, as is his father’s shoulder as they embrace. From the bottom of the playground slide to his dog’s tongue, the boy’s keen observations highlight all the ways he can experience the watery parts of his day. Whether it flows as a trickle or a splash, Wet is a peaceful paean to the water that wends through our lives.

Worm Weather

by Jean Taft, Illustrated by Matt Hunt (Grossett & Dunlap / Penguin Random House) Closer to the ground than most adults, our observant children are often the ones who draw our eyes back to the earth when they first spy worms emerging from the ground after a soaking rain. Using very simple pre-reader words, this title follows a boy and girl as they experience a soggy day from its drizzly beginnings, through the deluge, to the tapering close of a rainstorm. Equipped with boots and ponchos, the young pair fearlessly embrace and explore the precipitation. Throughout the watery journey, worms are peeking out from the soil at the kid’s feet. Echoing the limited viewing of the emerging worms, the adults are likewise viewed only in part as their hands reach out to rush kids out of the rain or to pull them from puddles. When the rain ends and the worms retreat, the reader’s view expands to encompass a wider vision of a refreshed world.

Find more reading recommendations at


Autauga County Schools

Ogletree Elementary Students Learn About Pharmacy School!

Students from the Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy visited with 5th graders at Ogletree Elementary to discuss what pharmacists do for a living. The eight pharmacists-intraining quizzed these All-Stars about the do's and don'ts of pharmacy before teaching them how to check their pulses at resting and elevated rates. Thank you to Auburn University for loaning your students to us as all in attendance were very engaged with the subject matter.

Dean Road Kindergartners Visit Pumpkin Patch

Field trip time for the Dean Road Elementary School Kindergartners that visited Jack O Lantern Lane pumpkin patch in LaFayette, Alabama. The students learned about farm living and saw barn animals, how the pumpkins were watered in the field and how to shuck corn off the cob and make corn meal. Life on the farm is fun!

OHTS Advances to State Trumbauer Competition

Congratulations to the Opelika High Theatre Society for winning Best in Show for their performance of The Civil War at the district Trumbauer competition. The Civil War also won Best Technical, Best Costumes, and Best Set! Matthew Johnson was named Best Actor and Daniel Gay, Aquerrah Cannon, Wesley Herring, and Kate Scullen were named to the All-Star Cast. Over 30 students will be headed to State Trumbauer to compete in group and individual events in December. Way to go OHTS!

Wacoochee Elementary Holds Student-led Parent Conferences

Agency Fair for Families of Students with Disabilities

Many parents attended the student-led conferences that were held in October at Wacoochee Elementary School. Parents learned a lot about the many different things their children are learning and how they are progressing in their subject areas. Parents were proud of the fact that their children were leading these conferences.

Auburn City Schools held their inaugural Agency Fair for families of students with disabilities at the Dean Road Recreation Center! This was a great way for families to meet and familiarize themselves with the resources in our community such as Camp ASCCA, The Miracle League, Goodwill, Special Olympics and more!

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017


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Dean Road Rocket Run Fundraiser Winners Earn Special Limo Trip to Acre

Did someone call for a limo to Acre? It was a special day for some of our Dean Road Rocket Run participants! They traveled in style to Acre for a wonderful lunch!" (Note from Acre): Today, we hosted 51 kids from a local school for a “fancy lunch”. These kids were the top fundraisers and spirit winners for their PTO fundraiser. Not sure if they thought it was “fancy”, but pretty sure they had a good time! They had fried chicken, the “best Mac & cheese ever”, and a special cupcake cake with a rocket, compliments of Chef Caleb. We so enjoyed hosting these special kids, and seeing how excited their faces were. They were SO well behaved... probably because the Disney channel was on in the background. We also loved watching our staff interact with them, and truly serve them with servants’ hearts. As a small business, we do not have the ability to give thousands of dollars to deserving organizations, although we wish we could! But we have been blessed with the ability to show love through service, hospitality and food... and we will continue to do that for as long as we possibly can! We can do these awesome things because of the support our community shows US. What an amazing town we live in, don’t you think?!

Auburn City Schools Students Attend Project Lead the Way

Check out (L to R) Sarah Sharman, Emily Antoniak, Laura Bailey and Jacque Middleton representing Auburn City Schools at the Project Lead the Way National Summit Conference in Orlando, Florida! PLTW Summit 2017 is the premier gathering for the PLTW network – a group dedicated to preparing students with the in-demand knowledge and transportable skills they need to succeed in college and career.



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Drake Middle School Spirit

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Autauga County Schools

The Jungle Cats were in full swing at Drake Middle School as they held their annual school-wide pep rally; this year they honored the Auburn High Football Team, Band, Majorettes and Cheerleaders!

Auburn Wheelchair Basketball at Yarbrough Elementary

The Auburn Wheelchair Basketball Team came and demonstrated their skills during PE at Yarbrough Elementary! They allowed of the some students and staff to give it a go by playing a friendly pick-up game of their own!

The Big Reveal at Auburn High School

Seniors at Auburn High were asked to wear their intended college colors revealing the next step in their educational journey! Auburn High School graduates attend universities across the country from Stanford to NYU and everywhere in between. Auburn City Schools wishes these students the best knowing they are more than prepared to take on the world!


Auburn High Theatre Participates in Trumbauer Festival

Wrights Mill Road’s Auburn Reads Night

Auburn High School Theatre earned many “Highest Scores” in their competition categories at Trumbauer Competition 2017 recently! The Walter Trumbauer Festival has provided quality training and performance opportunities for Alabama theatre students at the secondary level since 1940. The educational impact of this event is substantial. The festival consists of 30 individual events, a one act play festival, a studio theatre one act play festival—all for 9th through 12th grades, as well as scholarship auditions and college screening for high school seniors and junior college students. Students qualify for the state competition by earning a rating of “superior” at one of seven district festivals. At all levels of competition, students receive critiques from qualified teachers, professionals and theatre practitioners, allowing them to improve their theatrical skills.

Wrights Mill Road partnered with the Auburn Village Mall for Auburn Reads Night. Families enjoyed games, prizes, reading activities, and book drawings.

Please send your school news to:

Saddle Up and Read at Dean Road Elementary

During a recent PTO meeting, students at Dean Road Elementary put on a Wild West performance for parents to kick off the school's book fair efforts! Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



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First Annual Strum & Strive

Thanks to everyone who came and helped pull this all together! We had a great time listening to three amazing bands and seeing the whole community come together for a fun event!

Dean Road Elementary Pumpkins

There are some creative pumpkins at Dean Road Elementary School for "Book Character Day!" Don’t you think that Pete the Cat looks great as a festive, blue pumpkin?

First Responders Visit Dean Road Elementary

Dean Road Elementary School welcomed City of Auburn First Responders as well as members of the AU majorettes, Tiger Eyes, and Tiger Paws this morning to greet students and open car doors!


Author Visits Pick Elementary

Pick Elementary School students celebrates reading with author Cassie Beasley who wrote “Circus Mirandus�! PES Leaders are PES Readers!" The students were also offered a chance to own one of her books, personally autographed to them!

Autauga County Schools Fire Safety at Cary Woods Elementary

Garden to Table at Drake Middle School

Teachers at Drake Middle School were treated to a salad luncheon using lettuce from the garden which is cultivated by their after-school gardening club (this club is sponsored by Mrs. LeCompte and Mr. Clark).

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Cary Woods Elementary School Explorers learned about Fire Safety on Monday from the Auburn Fire Department.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



Cary Woods Weekly Class Spotlight

This week’s class spotlight is on Mrs. Sanders and her Kindergarten Explorers. Mrs. Sanders holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Auburn University. This is her 23rd year teaching. Kindergarten is her passion. Mrs. Sanders enjoys coming to work each day to work with her students. She sees so much growth in these kindergartners. They are full of wonder and love to explore and she enjoys being a facilitator of that. What Mrs. Sanders’s class is saying: Mrs. Sanders’ students said their teacher is the best. Two students that were interviewed said that Mrs. Sanders lets them “use our imaginations”. They enjoy reading books in the loft, learning about their classmates in journal time, and making cookies. They also love their pet frogs and Blackie, the hamster. They love learning letters and sounds in group time and the art during centers. Sounds like Mrs. Sanders’ making learning very fun! What Mrs. Sanders’s colleagues are saying: Mrs. Sanders is a “rock star” at shared journal and teaching the lifelong skill of negotiation and compromise.




They noted that past students come by for a hug each day which speaks volumes about the love that these kids are feeling. Mrs. Sanders has lots of resources for hands-on learning and find the resources that she needs when she does not. Mrs. Sanders has as much fun as her students while teaching and learning from them!

AEEC Students Interview Artist

Jean Shin and Auburn Early Education Center make the Association of Art Museum Directors industry news. A lucky group of second-graders in Auburn were recently able to interview artist Jean Shin, thanks to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. The students asked Shin about how she became an artist, where she has traveled to show her work, and how public art is made.


Autauga County Schools Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge for a Good Cause

Auburn Junior High would like to thank everyone involved for their support of their “Dodgeball for Disaster Relief� game. They are thrilled with the amount of students who showed an interest in giving back to such a great cause. They sold over 750 tickets for a total of $2,325 dollars. Once again, all the money raised will go to The Red Cross and hurricane relief around the US.

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Yarbrough Elementary Students Learn About Being Leaders

Representative Joe Lovvorn, (District 79) came to Yarbrough Elementary to present Principal Pete Forster with a Community Service Grant for $1,000. While visiting YES, Representative Lovvorn spoke with the YES Student Ambassadors on leadership and how to show leadership qualities in all aspects of your life.




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Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017


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Auburn High School Grant Winners

Here are your Auburn High School FACES grant winners! These grants help fund everything from costumes for English classes to sets of the Constitution for our seniors to a virtual reality-esque table for our science programs. The ideas embedded in the grants are truly inspiring. Amber Berry-Moore (“Choose Your Words Wisely: An Independent Reading Project”); Betty Schiffer, Julie Wentworth, Lauren Ozment, Julie Echols, and Jessica Meade (“Tiger Mochas Squared”); Blake Busbin (“Land of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement in East Alabama”); Caley Bloodworth (“Shaping Watersheds: An Augmented Reality Sandbox”); Clayton Sweeney (“What’s In Your Pocket?”); Holly Robinson and Jessica Barnes (“A Closet of Characters: Portraying the American Dream through a Gatsby Fashion Show”); Jacque Middleton (“Breaking Bridges, Building Engineers”); Jessica Barnes, Holly Robinson, and Lucy Mosley (“All the World’s a Stage”); Lanette Ferguson (“Breaking Down Business Vocabulary and Building Up Business Solutions”); Lauren Ozment and Betty Schiffer (“Learning to Grow at AHS”); Michaela Spence, Cindy Alexander, and Caroline Raville (“Breakin’ Out of the Box”); and Raven DeRamus-Byers (“Reading Our Way to Freedom: Combatting Marginalization through African-American Anthologies”).

Yarbrough Cheer and Flagline

The YES Cheerleading and Flagline Clubs did a wonderful job at the AHS game! Thank you to their sponsors, Mrs. W. Nichols, Mrs. Mooty, Ms. Terry, and Mrs. C. Nichols!

Please send your school news and photos to:

Sister School Night at Wrights Mill Road / Dean Road

Wrights Mill Road and Dean Road celebrated Sister School Night with the Auburn High School Football team. Our students enjoyed meeting the cheerleaders, players, and coaches during the week and on the field for pregame warm ups. In an impressive AHS victory, the team remains undefeated on WMR/ DRE Sister School Night!


Autauga County Schools

Auburn Jr. High School Teacher of the Year

Chambers Academy Selects Mr. and Miss CA

Jennifer Stewart has been named Teacher of the Year at Auburn Junior High School! Jennifer teaches English 9 and Advanced English 9. She is in her 9th year teaching at AJHS, and previously taught for eight years in North Georgia after receiving a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, both in English Education, from the University of Georgia.

Blake Sheppard and Tori Harmon were recently selected by the faculty and students of Chambers Academy to be this year’s Mr. and Miss CA. This honor recognizes two top seniors to represent the values that Chambers Academy was built upon. Congratulations Tori and Blake!


Studying Medieval Europe at Trinity Christian School

Mrs. Sistrunk’s 10th grade World History class finished up their study of Medieval Europe and the effects of feudalism by creating a Feudal Lord's Manor! Each group was given a section of the manor to create, eventually connecting all the sections to create one large manor! One student stated, “I learned how feudal lords and his Manor affected all the lives around him!”

Please send your school news to:

Opelika HS Class Participates in CyberPatriot Competition

Members of Mr. Dean Works’ Information Technology class at Opelika High School recently participated in a day-long cyber defense competition through CyberPatriot--The National Youth Cyber Education Program. CyberPatriot was established by the Air Force Association and The Northrupp Grumman Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor for the CyberPatriot IX. Pictured (l-r): Montell Norman, Martell Norman, Parker McKay, Emily Lux, Mallory Simpkins, and Ama Stephens.

West Forest Intermediate School Principal Named Distinguished Principal

Congratulations to Dr. Pam Fourtenbary, West Forest Intermediate Principal, for being named the District 7 National Distinguished Principal at the awards luncheon of the 2017 AAESA/AASCD Fall Instructional Leadership Conference in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Alabama History Teacher of the Year Dr. Busbin was recently named the Alabama History Teacher of the Year and placed in the top 10 nationwide; now he is working toward recording stories pertaining to the Civil Rights Movement from a local perspective.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017





Walmart Truck Drivers Raise $1,000 for Carver Primary School

The Opelika Transportation Office has chosen Carver Primary School to receive a $1,000 donation as part of Walmart’s commitment to education. Private Fleet truck drivers for Walmart – already among the safest drivers in the country – drove extra carefully during the week from July 22 through July 28, 2017. For every accident-free mile they drove during that week, the Walmart Foundation made a financial contribution to local schools. The Walmart Foundation is donating one cent for each accident-free mile driven by the drivers at each Walmart transportation office. A school in the home region of each transportation office will receive at least $1,000 and as much as $5,000, based on the safety performance of local drivers. During this year’s program, Walmart Transportation offices nationwide contributed over $148,000 to schools in their communities. “This is just one of the many ways Walmart supports education across the country,” said Keith Windham, General Transportation Manager at the Opelika Walmart Distribution Center. “It’s also a great way to engage all of our drivers in raising money for our local schools. This program serves as a great reminder to each of us that children are returning to classes and all drivers need to watch carefully for school buses and school children.” Walmart’s Private Fleet is one of the largest in the United States and its more than 72 offices, including 8,300 drivers, supporting more than 4,500 Walmart stores, Sam’s Club locations and Neighborhood Markets in the U.S. Pictured, Carver Primary students and Mr. Joe Ross, Carver Principal, receive a check for $1000 from Keith Windham, General Transportation Manager at the Opelika Walmart Distribution Center.

Nuts About Nature at Cary Woods Elementary

The after-school program at Cary Woods Elementary School recently took a field trip to the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve & Nature Center off North College! They attended a "Nuts About Nature" program, went on a hike, and enjoyed a camp fire. Thank you to Auburn University and the Preserve providing this educational opportunity to our students!

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Autauga County Schools

Springwood School Robotics Team Participates in BEST

Auburn Fire Department Visits St. Michael Catholic School

The Springwood School Robotics team traveled to Auburn to participate in the War Eagle BEST Robotics competition "Mall Day" on Saturday, October 21. War Eagle BEST is the local BEST Robotics hub for schools located in East Central Alabama and West Georgia. The program, cohosted by the College of Sciences and Mathematics and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University aims to "Boost" Engineering, Science, and Technology for students�. Springwood senior, Elizabeth McClendon is the CEO of the Robotics Team for 2017. The Springwood team had in excess of twenty students present to support the trial run of this year's robot. War Eagle BEST Robotics Game Day which will be held Saturday, October 28, at the Auburn University Student Activities Center.


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St. Michael Catholic Preschool and Kindergarten recently had the Auburn Fire Department come to the school for a visit! The children learned about the fire truck used to battle the blazes, tools the firefighters use to rescue people, and the special clothes and equipment worn by the firefighters to protect themselves from the dangers of their job! After the presentation, Mrs. Erika Bader's class posed for a picture.



Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



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The 4th grade class had a blast on their Macroinvertebrates Field Trip! Students worked with Alabama Water Watch to assess the water quality of the stream by collecting and identifying various aquatic organisms. Some students were inspired to clean the stream by removing an old tire and trash.

©2017 Kumon North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Auburn Classical Academy Visits the Wood Duck Heritage Preserve & Siddique Nature Park

Kumon Math & Reading Center of Auburn-Opelika 1550 Opelika Rd, Suite 36, Auburn, AL 36830

334.501.8586 •

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ACS Child Nutrition Program Awarded Best Practices Auburn City Schools was awarded the USDA Best Practices Award at the Alabama State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program Directors Conference in Perdido Key, Florida! Auburn High School was also awarded Alabama’s Best Practice Award for “Customer Service/Working Smarter, Not Harder.” Pictured on the right is ACS CNP Director Ashley Powell accepting the award.

Come see us at our new office!

719 North Dean Road • Auburn Proudly serving the community for over 10 years Call us today to schedule your complimentary evaluation! 21



Autauga County Schools Spirit of the South

STEM Teacher Honored by Stanford University

Wacky Hair Day at Wacoochee Elementary

Students and faculty at Wacoochee Elementary School enjoyed participating in dress up days during Homecoming week to support the Smiths Station High School football team. Pictured is Mrs. Tammy Senn, principal, and students with their wacky hair!

Mrs. Jacque Middleton, Auburn High's STEM Gateway teacher, received an Exceptional Teaching award from Stanford University! AHS's Rahul Lall (Class of 2017) is currently attending Stanford and nominated Mrs. Middleton as his favorite teacher. (Pictured L to R): Career Tech Director Laura Bailey, Mrs. Middleton and AHS Principal Dr. Shannon Pignato.

F firs

Congratulations to the following schools who placed in the Spirit of the South Invitational Marching Competition: Final 8: 8th-- Zion Chapel; 7th—Realtown; 6th—Valley; 5th—Ashford; 4th—Prattville; 3rd—Auburn; 2nd--Smiths Station; 1st—Daphne.


Celebrating 25 years! L i vi n g. L ovi n g. L e a rn i n g.


GINGERBREAD VILLAGE Unveiling December 10


Caring for your children and laying a foundation for their growth and success has been our calling for the past 25 years. Our unique, caring approach is rooted in an understanding that each child is a gift and a responsibility. These precious little ones deserve our attention, security and love. Just like home. Today, our commitment to your children continues with caring and experienced teachers, a stimulating and secure environment and an atmosphere of living, loving and learning you’ll only find at Growing Room.

Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays in December

CHRISTMAS DINNER December 24 & 25


334-501-2044 | 644 North Dean Road, Auburn, AL M-F 6:30am - 6:30pm | Ages 6 weeks – 12 years

For more information visit 241 S. College Street, Auburn | 334.844.5140 Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

www.growin groomu m 22


Veteran's Day Program at Opelika Middle School

Opelika Middle hosted a Veteran's Day celebration on November 9. Sixth grade students and special guests enjoyed a message from Mr. Paul "Puck" Esposito, Captain, U.S. Navy Retired. Special thanks to the Auburn University ROTC, the OHS Jazz Band, the OMS Singers & Sensations, and all of the 6th grade students and teachers who hosted a spirit walk for all veterans and guests in attendance.


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4th Graders Learn About Soccer at Morris Avenue

The 4th Grade at Morris Avenue concluded their Soccer Unit with a fantastic championship game. As part of their Alabama History curriculum, students were divided into different counties, where they researched various information and demographics about their specific county. They continued their education of their counties within a Sport's Education setting, which enabled them to learn the sport of soccer and link the two subjects together.

Club Day at Northside Intermediate School

Following the monthly Leadership Celebration in November, Northside Intermediate School had it's first ever "Club Day"! Students had a blast participating a variety of clubs including technology, party planners, 4-H, writer's club, sports, and many more.

2320 MOORES MILL ROAD, SUITE. 250 AUBURN, AL 36830 • (334) 887-0099











Autauga County Schools

Trinity Christian School Kindergartners Take Field Trip to Lazenby Farms

Opelika HS Student Signs Diving Scholarship with Auburn University

Opelika High School Senior Conner Pruitt signed a diving scholarship with Auburn University on November 8. Joining Pruitt for the signing were (l-r): Lance Pruitt-father and Debra Pruitt-mother. Back row (l-r): Erik Speakman-OHS Athletic Director, Terry Pruitt-grandfather, Juanita Pruitt-grandmother, Ashley Robertson-sister, Elna Brown-grandmother, Karen Bush-OHS Swimming and Diving Sponsor, and Dr. Farrell SeymoreOHS Principal.

Welcome, New Teachers at Wrights Mill Road!

Wrights Mill Road welcomes our new teachers, Miss Black, Miss Yancey, Miss Thrailkill. Welcome back to WMR, Ms. Griffin.

Dad’s League Breakfast at Wrights Mill Road

Wrights Mill Road’s Annual Egg Crack Ceremony

Wrights Mill Road hosted Dad's League breakfast for our students and their special guests. We always enjoy this encouraging time together!

Over 180 eggs were cracked at Wrights Mill Road's annual Egg Crack Ceremony. New students joined our EAGLES teams to promote being proud, safe, and kind this year!

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Apple Crunch Day at Pick Elementary

Pick Elementary School students, faculty and staff celebrate healthy eating, and Apple Crunch Day with our own Miss Outstanding Teen USA, Jessica Baeder!

Alabama Power Grant at Auburn High

Thank you to Alabama Power for providing a Foundation grant in the amount of $500 to fund the Tiger Talk Toastmasters Youth organization. This grant will purchase materials and support activities for the twenty-five charter members selected to participate for the 2017-18 school year. Pictured are members representing the club from left to right: James Robertson, Marissa Tanaka, Swati Baskiyar, Tyler Tanaka, John Pace (Vice PresidentEducation), Nikitha Sridhar (President), Rod Cater (Alabama Power Manager), Audrey Marshall, Adviser, Celine Pledger, Katelyn Lee, Julia Lawrence (Sergeant-at-Arms), Brett McLean (Vice President-Membership). Michaela Spence also serves as a co-adviser. Members of the Tiger Talk Toastmasters Club will participate in bi-monthly professional development activities designed to enhance their leadership, speaking, writing, and presentation skills. All activities will allow students to think critically, engage in effective presentation delivery, improve listening skills, provide constructive feedback, practice time management, demonstrate self-confidence and poise and serve as leaders in a supportive setting. Auburn High School students, staff members, and community members are invited to participate as observers during the monthly meetings which are held during Tiger Time to learn alongside the members in this dynamic Professional Learning Network (PLN). If

you are interested in learning more about this group email Audrey Marshall at amarshall@ or Michaela Spence at 25

First Responders Breakfast

Autauga County Schools

What a great morning at PES as we honored our First Responders with a breakfast. Auburn High School ROTC presented the colors. Our Auburn City Council reps Ron Anders and Beth Witten were on hand as well to thank them for their service to our community! We are so fortunate to live in such a great community!

Veteran’s Day Performance at Jeter Primary School

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First grade students at Jeter Primary School performed "Sing for America" for parents and guests in honor of Veteran's Day.

Auburn Public Library Holds Goulish Gala with Help from AHS Ambassadors

The AHS Ambassadors enjoyed helping at the Auburn Public Library's Goulish Gala recently! AHS's Daisha Smith, APL Summer Intern, helped organize events for the little ghosts and goblins! It was a frightfully good time!

A Please send your school news and photos by the 20th of each month to:

Wright Run at Wrights Mill Road

Opelika HS Student Signs Track Scholarship with University of Mississippi

Opelika High School Senior Ghania Warren signed a track scholarship with The University of Mississippi on November 8. Joining Warren for the signing were (l-r) Bertha Webb-grandmother and Karitha Brooks-mother. Back row (l-r): Jimmy Johnson-OHS Track Coach, Vanessa Warren-aunt, Alana Spinks-sister, Vanessa Smith-cousin, Michelle Warren-Godmother, and Dr. Farrell Seymore-OHS Principal.

Wrights Mill Road thanks our students, parents, PTO volunteers, and the community sponsors for a wonderful Wright Run 2017. We enjoyed a beautiful day of music, running, team costumes, fun, and Kona Ice while supporting our school!

Auburn High Q & A Session with Columbia University Professor

Our AHS students enjoyed the question and answer session with Dr. Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, a visiting speaker from Auburn University's Littleton Franklin lecture series! Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



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Ogletree Elementary Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year at Ogletree Elementary for the 2018-2019 Auburn City School Campaign is Sarah Goodling, 4th Grade Teacher! Sarah has been teaching at OES for 13 years with all three of her own children attending there at some point in her career.



Auburn HS TigerPatriots Compete in Air Force CyberPatriot Competition The CyberPatriot Team, TigerPatriots, also participated in round one of the Air Force Associations’ CyberPatriot X competition! They competed against other CyberPatriot teams across the country to find vulnerabilities in Windows 7 and Ubuntu 14 images. They also had to set up a Cisco Academy virtual networking system. Wow! GO AHS!






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Autauga County Schools

Alabama College Application Campaign at Auburn High School

Dean Road Elementary Teacher of the Year

Teachers at Auburn High School had on their Alma Mater colors to kick off the 2017 Alabama College Application Campaign! ALCAC is the state-level counterpart to the American College Application Campaign originated in 2005. The campaign is part of the Plan 2020 Vision: Every child a graduate; every child prepared for college/work/adulthood in the 21st Century! At Auburn High, we are dedicated to excellence on all levels, including our system-wide mission of promoting furthering one’s education past graduation.

Hannah Holmes has been named the Teacher of the Year at Dean Road Elementary School! Mrs. Holmes was a 3rd grade teacher at DRES from 2004 – 2007 and has been the Media Specialist there since 2007. She leads various reading initiatives at DRES including the "Birthday Book Club," where for $15 student can order a book of their choice from a wide variety and get a commemorative bookplate displaying their name and birthday that will be affixed to the book moving forward. Once the book has been added to the library's permanent collection, on that student's birthday they will be the first to get to check it out. This is a great way to encourage reading and build the school's library at the same time.

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Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



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Fire Safety at Dean Road Elementary


Children's of Alabama is ...

Dean Road Elementary School says Thank you Auburn Fire & Safety: our kids LOVED learning about fire safety with your fire trailer!

Students at Auburn Classical Academy Dissect Sheep Heart

As part of their study of the circulatory system and the history of medicine, fifth graders at ACA dissected a sheep heart. Students replicated the earliest doctor’s study of the heart by observing and dissecting a sheep heart as well as tracing the flow of blood through the heart.


The third largest pediatric hospital in the United States


Licensed for 332 beds & 48 NICU bassinets


The first LEED-certified hospital building in Alabama


One of the Top 20 employers in Alabama with more than 4,700 employees across the state


The pediatric teaching hospital for the School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham


Home to the Pediatric & Congenital Heart Center of Alabama, where more than 450 cardiac surgeries are performed annually


Site of the only pediatric kidney dialysis program in the state — one of the largest in the country


Home to one of the largest burn units in the Southeast

Russell Campus 205.638.9100 1600 7th Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35233 Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children Lowder Building McWane Building Children’s on Third Outpatient Center Children’s Park Place

1601 5th Avenue South 1600 7th Avenue South 1600 7th Avenue South 1208 3rd Avenue South 1600 5th Avenue South

Children’s South 205.638.4800 1940 Elmer J. Bissell Road Birmingham, AL 35243 Outpatient surgery services, Pediatric Imaging Center, laboratory services and specialty care clinics

Physicians to Children 334.293.5033 470 Taylor Road, Suite 210 Montgomery, AL 36117



Greek Olympics at Trinity Christian School

One of the largest pediatric rheumatology programs in the nation and the only one in Alabama Provides care for more than 90 percent of Alabama children with cancer and blood disorders

Mrs. Jowers's 4th graders finished up their study of Ancient Greece by competing in the annual Greek Olympics!


P Auburn Classical Art Students Study Cezanne Mrs. Goodenough’s art students draw inspiration from Paul Cezanne as they work on their chalk pastels on black paper with oil pastel background.

Auburn Anglers Qualify for State Championship

The Smith/Carr and Holmes/Reed teams qualified for the Alabama BASS High School State Championship at Lake Tuscaloosa in the first qualifier event recently. The Auburn Anglers six-man team finished 14th out of 43 teams!

Readers’ Theatre at Trinity Christian

Mrs. Blackstock's 2nd graders dressed up like their storybook characters and did some readers' theatre!

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ParentingToday’sTeens by Mark Gregston

Being the Parent Your Teen Needs As parents, we put a lot of expectations on ourselves. Before kids, we might have been content to be average Joes and Janes. But the moment that little bundle of joy was first placed in our arms, we felt the need to put on a cape and transform into “Super Parent”! And that’s a hard role to play. But good news mom and dad—your teen doesn’t need you to be a superhero. In my 40 years of working with teens, I’ve discovered that our kids don’t need parents who are perfect saints or super human. Teens simply need parents who are willing to make some necessary changes.

Parents Who Are Willing To Be Imperfect

First, let’s debunk the fairytale that families can attain perfection. Where exactly did that myth come from? No family is perfect. So quit trying. It flies in the face of reality, and yet I find so many families working overtime to look, act, and be the perfect family. Relax. Deal with failures as opportunities to learn. If you have never shared your personal flaws with your kids, they haven’t had an opportunity to see what it’s like to live with imperfection. Instead, they think that faultlessness is normal. The first time they sprout a pimple they’re ready to freak out! Let me offer you this challenge—tonight around the dinner table, share one thing about you that isn’t as perfect as you’d like it to be. By sharing your inadequacies, you allow your teen to connect with you in a different way. It will reaffirm your teen’s understanding and acceptance of himself, while drawing him into relationship with you as well. Teens need parents who are willing to be imperfect.

Parents Willing to Be Disliked

Parents who want to “rescue” their children from pain or suffering are actually hurting their kids more then they know. It usually happens for three reasons: • Parents want to be friends with their kids. • Parents can’t handle the constant nagging of their teen during punishment. • Parents are afraid that if they punish their child, he or she will rebel.

Mom and Dad, your child doesn’t need another friend. During these tough adolescent years they need you to be a parent—to correct them when they make a mistake and love them regardless of their behavior. Teens need parents who are willing to love their kids, even if it means their kids dislike them. So if your daughter gets a speeding ticket, don’t pay for it yourself. If your son is failing a class, don’t do his homework for him. Yes, we should extend grace to our teens. But showing grace doesn’t mean swooping in and saving the day when your kid messes up. That’s caving in. Setting aside time to help with homework is loving. Writing their book report–because you read it and they didn’t–is rescuing. Teens learn independence and maturity when they face hard times more than when everything is going smooth. Handing out discipline isn’t for the faint of heart. I know it can be hard, draining, and exhausting. No matter what your kids might think in the moment, punishment isn’t a cruel action. When done in the right way, it can be an expression of love. And it’s what your kids need from you.

Parents Who Are Willing to Say “No”

Some parents relish being needed by their teenager. They dote on them and take care of their every need. They ask “How high?” when their teens says, “Jump!” They may even take abuse and disrespect from their teen when it is directed their way, thinking, “Oh, they’re just having a bad day.” These parents need to step back and understand that teens need to hear “no” sometimes. If not, it will lead to selfish, bossy, and entitled adolescents who don’t understand when life doesn’t go their way. It’s okay to say “no” as long as you provide a good reason. When your son demands the latest iPhone, you are allowed to say “no” and explain why. When your daughter asks to go to a certain party, you have the freedom to say “no” and provide your reasons. Life doesn’t always say “yes” to our requests. And parents shouldn’t either. 31

Parents Who Are Willing to Let Go

Very few comments made by high school seniors and college students can scare parents more than when young people announce their desire to “fly the coop” and become independent. Those words are tough to hear because in the minds of most parents there is a voice shouting, “We can’t let this happen!” Some parents might think, “What will they do without me?” Other parents wonder, “What will I do without them?” Change is hard, but the desire for independence is actually a very normal and healthy desire in teens. So when your child comes to you with plans to launch out and go to college, move out, or make smaller steps towards independence, I encourage you to consider what your child is actually asking. This may be the opportunity to affirm those character traits and values that you have spent years building into the moral fabric of your son or daughter. Instead of thinking about all the reasons your teen shouldn’t go, think of all that might be accomplished by giving your stamp of approval on an ultimately very necessary transition. Realize that this may be a wonderful opportunity. Teens need parents who are willing to let go. They need parents who believe in them and can even encourage them to become increasingly independent. Isn’t that the goal of raising kids to become adults? Now, I’m not saying that as parents you should throw caution to the wind and go with anything your kid suggests. But I am saying that because your 12 year old will one day become that 18 or 19-year-old young adult, you need to train to let go, and foster independence more and more each year. Trust what you have taught, and are teaching. And even enjoy watching them launch into the adulthood. Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder of a residential counseling center for struggling teens located in Longview, Texas. Mark’s passion for helping teens can be seen in his 40 years of involvement with families as a youth pastor, Young Life area director, and now, as the Executive Director of Heartlight, where he has lived with and helped over 2,700 teens. To find out more about Mark and his ministry to parents and teens, you can visit or

8 Ways Tech Can Bring Your Family Closer This Holiday Soon holiday music will fill the air—punctuated by the rings and dings of smartphones. Regardless of their traditions, lots of families will be making rules about when NOT to use cellphones—during midnight mass, at the Kwanzaa dinner table, while lighting Hannakuh candles, and so on. Most parents can agree that it’s a good idea to set aside part of the holidays to focus entirely on the people who have been able to gather in the same room. At the same time, it’s also helpful to remember all the ways technology can bring families closer, especially at this time of year. Young people, in particular, filter much of their experience through their phones, so turning off the phone for extended periods of time may actually make them feel less connected. Integrating the capabilities of technology into the holiday has several benefits. First, it allows richer contact with distant family and friends. Second, it can simplify holiday chores from party planning to greeting cards. And, finally, it gives tech-savvy kids a meaningful role in making the holidays special whether by documenting every dish at the holiday feast or playing DJ during a family party. Here are just a few of the ways technology can enhance your holidays. Whenever possible, use the simplest apps so as many people as possible can participate.

Plan Parties. Does your neighborhood do an annual caroling party? Would you like to get friends together for a cookie exchange? Do you want family members to take charge of a dish for the family feast? Using an app like Party Planner will help you manage the details from inviting guests and tracking responses to delegating tasks and keeping a grip on the budget. Entering necessary information the first year may take a little time, but it lays the groundwork for effortless traditions in years ahead. Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

Send Greetings. Even though fewer families have time for handwritten cards or newsletters, the tradition of sharing holiday greetings is worth preserving. Use your phone to take a photo or make a short video that captures what’s unique about your family this year. Do something goofy, sing a few lines of a song together, have each family member write or speak about something memorable. Distribute through social media, email or even in an envelope. Do this every year and you’ll create a very special timeline that shows your kids growing up before your eyes. Start a Family Media Channel. Establish a blog or a social media group, and limit access to extended family and special friends. Invite kids, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents to participate, providing whatever support they need to get connected. Encourage everyone to post inside jokes, recipes, holiday memories, bits of family lore. To make people more comfortable about sharing things that are heartfelt or silly, establish a simple rule: What appears on the site can’t be shared anywhere else without permission. Tune Up. Build a festive family playlist for the holidays and other occasions. Ask everyone old enough to talk to make suggestions. Of course, there are holiday playlists available on sites like Pandora but it’s a lot more meaningful—and fun—to juxtapose grandma’s favorites from the 40’s with something your nephew learned in preschool. Chat Long Distance. Coming home for the holidays may be everyone’s dream but it’s not always feasible. Schedule a time for a video chat with distant loved ones. Group 32

chats can sometimes be awkward so encourage family members to take turns. Do a little coaching so kids are prepared to thank relatives for gifts and maybe even model clothes or demonstrate what they can do with a new toy. Light candles or sing together. Ask questions that prompt elders to share memories and stories.

Group Text. If video chatting makes everyone (especially teens) self conscious, try using GroupMe, a free app that allows everyone in the family to see the same text messages. GroupMe works with SMS and every Smartphone platform. Give it a try in your immediate family, and then expand the group to include cousins and other relatives. Play Games. Ask pre-teens for the best family friendly games or find apps that simulate classics like Scrabble and Checkers. Help grandparents sign up so they can play across the room or across the country. If someone in the family is lucky enough to get a video game system, be sure at least one game is easy enough and light-hearted enough to be played by all ages. Consider creating customized games for your family. For example, try making up a scavenger hunt that involves taking photos connected with family traditions—a beloved family ornament, a sleeping relative, Grandpa’s favorite cookie, the dog wearing a holiday hat. Collect Photos. On special occasions, everyone takes photos and videos on their own phones. Even if someone says, “Send me that picture,” people forget and fragments of the holiday disappear into the undifferentiated photos on various devices. This year, set up a password protected site on Flckr, Instagram or even Google. Send the link to everyone in the family. Ask them to upload their favorite photos and videos to a create a collective album. Embracing these possibilities with an open heart makes it more likely that everyone will respond well at the times when someone says, “Let’s put away our phones and drink in the joy of being together right here, right now!” Carolyn Jabs, M.A., has been writing the Growing Up Online column for ten year. She is also the author of Cooperative Wisdom: Bringing People Together When Things Fall Apart. Available at Amazon and Cooperative @ Copyright, 2017, Carolyn Jabs. All rights reserved.



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There is nothing more heartwarming than a gift made by a child. Handmade gifts are affordable, fun to make, and can be given to parents, grandparents, teachers, and siblings. Here are some gifts that are sure to make someone special smile this holiday season. Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017




All you need is a child’s cooperation, some paint, and a little creativity to make a gift that will be cherished for years. Handprints, fingerprints, and even footprints can be used to make a variety of crafts and art. Websites like Pinterest are full of ideas of how to make a handprint into a picture of Santa, a Christmas tree, reindeer, or snowmen. There are literally hundreds of possibilities. Try putting your child’s prints on an apron, ornament, tea towel, oven mitt, or T-shirt to give to a special someone. Make sure to follow the directions on the paint to ensure that the design lasts for years. As a bonus, your kids will love getting messy during the process.

Tasty Treats

Kids love to help out in the kitchen, so why not put together some tasty treats for some sweet people in your life? Get the kids involved in the holiday baking and put together a plate of cookies the kids can help deliver to a neighbor or friend. Putting a homemade cookie mix into a mason jar also makes an easy gift that kids can help with. Finish the jar with a holiday bow and instructions and it’s ready to be delivered.

Frame It

Photos make a favorite gift for any proud aunt, uncle, parent, or grandparent. Get kids involved in picking out favorite photos from the past year and putting them into a collage with handmade drawings or a poem. Try making a scrapbook page that can be framed for a special gift. Picture

frames can be made with decorated popsicle sticks, clay, or an existing frame can be painted or decorated with mosaic tiles, buttons, or other craft supplies. Affordable frames can be found at local thrift stores or the dollar store.

Personalized Gifts

Nothing is more thoughtful than a gift made to fit the recipient’s personal tastes. Talk to your child about the their favorite hobbies and tailor the gift to their interests. For example, use permanent markers to decorate golf balls for the golf lover in your life, decorate a plain coffee mug for the coffee lover in the family, have your child create a special bookmark for the bookworm you know, or use fingerprints to decorate wooden utensils for your favorite chef. Kids can also use scrapbook paper, stickers, craft supplies, and cardstock to make custom stationery. Making personalized gifts also helps teach kids to be observant of other’s interests that may be outside their own.

Utilize Beads

Beads are an affordable and versatile craft item that can be used for a variety of gifts. Small children can string beads on a pipe cleaner to make a candy cane or cross ornament. Older children can make personalized jewelry or key chains for loved ones. Pony beads can be melted to make into a suncatcher, mobile, or even a bowl. With beads, you can give your child some ideas and let their creativity lead them.


Spa at Home

Do you know someone who needs some rest and relaxation? Try mixing equal parts white or brown sugar and olive oil for an easy sugar scrub that is a great gift for anyone who deserves a day at the spa. There are many recipes for homemade soaps, sugar scrubs, and bath salts available online. Many can be mixed together in just minutes and cost very little to make. This luxurious gift may be quick and affordable, but it is sure to make your recipients feel loved and appreciated. There is great value in teaching kids to give gifts to others. They learn to be generous, thoughtful, and experience the joy of giving. They also learn the important lesson that gifts do not need to cost a fortune to be cherished. AOP Sarah Lyons is a freelance writer and stay at home mom to six children. Her kids enjoy creating special gifts for loved ones.

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Stone Mountain Christmas

Thru January 3 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd Stone Mountain, Ga 30083 Have a Holly Jolly Christmas at Stone Mountain Park, where the true magic of the season is in the air. Enjoy the glow of more than two million lights, festive music and visits from some your favorite holiday characters. Start a new tradition and create memories that will last a lifetime for your kids...and you. Rudolph The RedNosed-Reindeer 4-D! Skylights Spectacular: A Musical Walk-through Experience. Clarice the Reindeer joins Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer® and Bumble™ the Abominable Snow Monster at Rudolph’s Merry Little Meet and Greet. Kids of all ages can meet these heartwarming characters or catch them in the nightly Christmas parade! Enjoy live performances that are sure to get you in the Christmas spirit. All aboard the Singalong Train to hear your favorite Christmas tunes as well as the heartwarming story of the first Christmas in The Gift. Wander through the Wonderland Walkway, a dazzling tunnel of lights guiding you to the Snow Angel® Palace, where YOU are a part of the experience as we tell the story of Angelina the Snow Angel in A Wish For Snow. Bring your Christmas wishes and visit with Santa Claus. 800-401-2407

The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum’s North Pole Express

December 1-3, 8-10 and 15-16 1919 9th Street Calera, Al 35040 “All Aboard” says the conductor, and your family’s journey begins to the North Pole! Through the dark night, the magical train makes its way to the top of the world! Upon arrival at the brilliantly decorated North Pole, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the elves board the train to visit with your family and give each child a keepsake! Be sure to bring your camera to get a photo of your family with Santa and Mrs. Claus! You’ll enjoy chocolate milk and cookies, sing Christmas songs, and listen to a special Christmas Story! The North Pole Express will make lasting Christmas memories for you and your family! For even more fun, be sure to wear your pajamas! 205-668-3435

all through the dancing Holiday House, Santa’s Workshop, Winter Carnival and more! Your magical night does not stop with the lights. Santa’s Village is a must for guests of all ages. Roast marshmallows on the bonfire, treat your tastes buds to delicious holiday treats, do some holiday shopping at Bucky’s Gift Shop or the many concessions that abound. Children of all ages will enjoy the many rides in our Winter Carnival. Tis’ the season to be jolly with Old St. Nick. You will find Santa taking pictures and discussing holiday wish lists with children at Santa’s Workshop. 770-945-8787

26th Annual Fantasy in Lights

Thru January 6 17800 Us Highway 27 Pine Mountain, Ga 31822 Callaway Gardens’ Fantasy In Lights, in Pine Mountain, Georgia, is not only the South’s most spectacular holiday light and sound show, it is one of the world’s “Top 10 Places to See Holiday Lights,” as named by National Geographic Traveler. Follow the links below for complete details on 2017 Fantasy In Lights. Sunday, Dec. 31 - New Year’s Eve Party at Fantasy In Lights 800-898-4868

Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents “A Christmas Carol”

Thru December 24 1 Festival Drive Montgomery, Al 36117 A heartwarming must-see that will get you into the spirit of the holiday season with Scrooge’s search for redemption and a spectacular, magical evening of ghosts, spirits, festivity, and goodwill. Under new direction this season, there are sure to be a few extra surprises in store for all who love Alabama’s favorite holiday tradition. “God bless us, every one!” Recommended for ages 5+, Run time: approximately 2 hours* with intermission 800-841-4273

The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center ad on page 22

Thru January 3 Lake Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway Buford, Ga 30518 As drive through our holiday inspired front gate, you crossover the magnificent snowflake bridge, through the 12 Days of Christmas, pass the illuminated diamond wonder light, under the blanket-lit bridge,

Throughout December 241 S. College Street, Auburn, Al 36830 Gingerbread Village Unveiling- In partnership with Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction Master of Integrated Design and Construction Program presents the 2017 Auburn Gingerbread Village. The date will be determined soon, so check the website for updates.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017


Magical Night of Lights

Thanksgiving Dinner -Ariccia will feature four-course dinner in addition to the a la carte menu on Thanksgiving. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling, 334-844-5140. Christmas Dinner- Let our culinary team do the cooking for you and enjoy a delicious four course holiday meal in Ariccia, on December 24. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling, 334-844-5140. New Year’s Eve Celebration- Ring in 2018 with a five course sharing menu in Ariccia, a champagne toast at midnight and live jazz band in Piccolo, December 31. Reservations are required, by calling, 334-844-5140.

12th Annual Interfaith Christmas Nativity Exhibit

November 29-December 3 3460 Carter Hill Road Montgomery, Al 36111 Help your family keep the true meaning of Christmas in their hearts from the start by attenging this Community Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ. This spectacular event features nativities from around the world and special music by local performers. This display is sure to warm the hearts of the young and old alike.

26th Annual Christmas Light Festival at the Montgomery Zoo ad on page 19

November 30-December 3, December 7-10 and December 14-31 The Montgomery Zoo, 2301 Coliseum Parkway Montgomery, Al 36110 See the Montgomery Zoo transformed into a Winter Wonderland sparkling with thousands of lights and festive decorations. Take a leisurely stroll, a brisk train ride or see the lights from atop the Zoofari Skylift Ride.  Visit Santa, enjoy the live nightly entertainment and no winter’s night would be complete without some warming hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies.   334-625-4900

Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park

Thru February 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd Stone Mountain, Ga 30083 Snow tubing in GA? Yep, we have it! Snow Mountain at Stone Mountain Park is a winter wonderland of fun. With a 400-foot tubing hill and 2 moving sidewalks to take you back to the top, your Snow session will be packed with fun. Snow Mountain offers single tubes, double tubes, and family-sized tubes that can accommodate up to 8 guests at a time. New!!!! Galactic Snow

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Tubing! Experience LED Lights, Lasers, Music and more on all sessions starting 6pm and later. 800-401-2407

Christmas Holidays at Hills & Dales Estate

December 1916 Hills and Dales Drive LaGrange, Ga 30240 Experience our circa 1940’s, tinsel-laden Christmas tree, brilliant Poinsettias and other seasonal decoratoins during the holiday season. The Fuller E. Callaway family home and the visitor center will be decorated for the holidays this December, Tuesdays to Saturdays. Regular tour prices apply. Also offering wreath workshops, family tabletop luminaries workshop, mixed green Christmas wreath workshops and Children’s Christmas Celebration. 706-882-3242

Broadway Parade and Tree Lighting

December 1, 6:30pm 1100 Broadway Columbus, Ga 31901 Christmas lovers rejoice as Santa is escorted in by his entourage, including special guest appearances from Santa, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, and Mayor Teresa Tomlinson. Sing along to traditional Christmas carols at the lighting of the giant Christmas tree and play in the SNOW! There will be hot chocolate, candy canes and lots of fun for the entire family. Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday attire and to bring their camera to partake in the many photo opportunities! For the third year, Columbus State University’s Servant Leaders have partnered with Uptown Columbus on the Uptown Tree Trail, a trail of ornately decorated trees in the median of Broadway to shine all holiday season! Bring a toy or $2 donation and play in Santa’s Castle of Fort Benning Bouncy House. 706-596-0111

Holidays on the Harriott

December 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16 Downtown Riverfront, 213 Commerce Street Montgomery, Al 36104 Full Holiday Meal, Live Entertainment and Cash Bar

“The Nutcracker” presented by Southeast Alabama Dance Company

December 1-3 Dothan Civic Center, 126 North Andrew Street Dothan, Al 36303 36th annual performance of this holiday classic. Watch as snowflakes dance, flowers waltz, dolls come to life and the Nutcracker turns into a charming prince. 334-702-7139

Christmas at Arlington

December 1-3 331 Cotton Avenue, Southwest Birmingham, Al 35211 A beautiful event held right before Christmas which showcases the home in period decor. 205-780-5656

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas

December 1-3 Columbus State University at Riverside Theatre, Bay Avenue and 10th Street, Columbus, Ga 31901 What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited about decorating the Christmas tree. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and has been waiting for Christmas to come. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? In this merriest of

stories Nancy proves once again that a little fancying up can go a long, festive way! 706-507-8400

An Ecletic Christmas

December 1-9 Falk Farm, 1733 Claude Road Eclectic, Al 36024 It was the night that saved the world. The star shone so bright in the night sky. There was not room in the inn. Forced out into the cold night air surrounded with animals, Christmas was born in a stable. Come join us in December to experience the true story of the first Christmas. In the atmosphere of an outdoor walking trail, you and your guests will be part of live drama that is set during the Roman Empire. As decreed by Caesar, everyone must be counted in the census. As you make your way to Bethlehem, you will visit the field where shepherds received the angel’s message and news of the Messiah. Then visit the wise men as they journey in search of the New Born King. You too shall be counted. Reservations highly recommended. 334-578-4846

Holiday Spectacular’

December 1-17 301 19th Street North Birmingham, Al 35203 Celebrate the holidays with a spectacular display of all your favorite music of the season! RMTC Conservatory students perform alongside Birmingham’s best local artists to warm your heart and set the stage for a magical holiday season! 205-324-2424

12th Annual Eufaula’s Christmas Tour of Homes

December 2 Historic Downtown Eufaula Eufaula, Al 36027 Stroll through history and witness the magnificance of

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Eufuala’s finest homes aglow in holiday splendor. This delightful tour boasts lovely, unique homes decorated for Christmas as only Eufaulians can do. Experience Christmas as never before in some of the South’s finest homes! 888-383-2852

Santa Cluas 10K at Callaway Gardens

December 2 Callaway Gardens, 17800 US Hwy 27 Pine Mountain, Ga 31822 This run course travels through the Callaway Gardens lit “FANTASY IN LIGHTS” and includes marshmallow, chocolate, and candy cane miles. Stick around after the race for your picture with Santa!

21st Annual Cookie Walk

December 2, 8:00am-1:00pm Grace UMC, 915 E Glenn Avenue Auburn, Al 36830 Benefiting Habitat for Humanity. It has been 22 Successful years! Habitat for Humanity Annual Fundraiser is still a unique way to welcome in the Holiday Spirit of generosity and celebration. Folks from the Lee County community come out to buy fresh and delicious holiday-decorated cookies. The big event is sponsored by the Auburn WeHelp Coalition of 12 local churches. Our guests “Walk” the aisles lined with tables displayed with thousands of home-baked holiday Cookies and goodies while they select their favorites. After generously filling their boxes, shoppers happily pay only$6 per pound. 334-887-7003

Auburn UMC Christmas Market

December 2, 8:30am-2:00pm 137 South Gay Street, Auburn, Al 36830 Free admission, community-wide Christmas Market. Shop for arts, crafts, foods, decorations and more. 334-826-8800,,

Bi-City Christmas Parade

December 2, 10:00am Broad Street and Broadway Columbus, Ga 31901 The Bi-City Christmas Parade will begin on Colin Powell Parkway, go down Broad Street in Phenix City and end on Broadway in Columbus. The parade will consist of holiday themed floats, horses, motorcycles, clowns, marching units and much more! 334-448-2701

City of Opelika Christmas Parade

December 2, 10:00am Downtown Opelika, 1032 South Railroad Avenue Opelika, Al 36801 This year theme: Christmas Showcase and is sure to be a lot of fun. If you would like to participate in the parade, please complete an application form. The form and guidelines can be found on the Chamber’s website. 334-745-4861

Ho! Ho! Ho! Hike!

December 2, 10:00am-2:00PM Louise Kreher Forest Preserve & Nature Center, 2222 North College Street Auburn , Al 36830 Come hike the preserve for a fun “santa-hunt” where we look for this elusive visitor in red! Later we return to the amphitheater where we will gather for a cup of hot cocoa and warm fire. Admission is $3 per person. Donations of canned goods will be accepted for the East Alabama Food Bank. Cancelled if rain. 334-502-4553

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

Atlanta Children’s Christmas Parade

December 2, 10:30am Peachtree and 16th Street Atlanta, Ga 30308 With floats, giant helium-filled balloons and marching bands, the Children’s Christmas Parade will be the largest holiday parade in the southeast. Thousands of spectators will be lined up along the streets eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa and the official beginning of the holiday season in Atlanta.

Port Columbus’ Victorian Christmas

December 2-3 National Civil War Naval Museum, 1002 Victory Drive Columbus, Ga 31901 Santa Claus is coming back to town, and he’s setting up shop at the National Civil War Naval Museum! On December 3rd and 4th, the museum will hold it’s annual holiday event, The Victorian Christmas Open House. Families can enjoy special programming on the Victorian-era roots of many of our modern Christmas traditions. The weekend will feature a host of community entertainment, museum tours, shopping in the Museum store, and refreshments. As always, Santa will be available during this event to visit with children and pose for photos. This event is FREEand open to the public, as a token of appreciation from the museum to the amazing supporters in Columbus, Georgia and surrounding areas. 706-327-9798

Santa Claus Special at The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum

December 2, 9 and 16 1919 9th Street Calera, Al 35040 Take a train ride filled with Christmas Cheer as you ride the Santa Special! Board our vintage train decorated for the season and take a train ride where Santa will visit with all the boys and girls! Talk with Santa and tell him what you would like for Christmas! Santa will have a treat for every boy and girl! Make sure to bring your camera to get a photo of all the sights and make a picture of your family with Santa! The Santa Special train ride lasts approximately 1 hour. Please arrive 1 hour prior to your departure time to pick up your tickets 205-668-3435

Annual Hometown Christmas Parade

December 4 Comer Street Alexander City, Al 35010 Join us as we light up the night, when Alexander City’s Annual Hometown Christmas Parade winds its way through the streets of Alexander City the first Monday of each December. Spectators are invited to line the parade route to watch bands and dancers perform, see the festively decorated floats, and wait for the much anticipated arrival of Jolly Old St. Nick himself.

and Christmas themed figures. The Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour has been voted one of the southeast’s top rated tourism events and featured in Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Living. The event is a self directed driving tour. However, on Saturday night North 8th and 9th streets will be closed to traffic to encourage visitors, neighbors and friends to stroll through the neighborhood. This enables everyone to leisurely enjoy the homes up close, listen to the carolers, and talk with residents dressed in Victorian costumes. This tour begins on North 8th street and 2nd Avenue and includes over ten city blocks. Admission to this spectacular production is free. On the Friday night of the tour the City of Opelika sponsors Chirstmas in a Railroad town which includes wagon rides through the Victorian Front Porch Christmas tour which includes tour guides who take you back in time while enjoying the festively decorated homes. Lighted Driving Tour: December 6-10, 5:0010:00pm, Walking Tour: Saturday December 9, 6:00-9:00pm. Tree lighting with Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and his wife Laura at 6L00pm at the corner of North 8th Street and 2nd Avenue. (weather permitting).

Montgomery Ballet presents the 42nd Annual Performance of “Nutcracker”

December 8-10 Davis Theatre, 251 Montgomery St Montgomery, Al 36104 Join the Montgomery Ballet as it presents the 42nd annual performance of The Nutcracker.  The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman.  Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same..the story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads.

Alabama Ballet presents George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”

December 8-10 and 15-17 2726 1st Avenue South Birmingham, Al 35233 Tchaikovsky’s beloved melodies transport the young and young at heart to a magical world where mischievous mice besiege a battalion of toy soldiers, and an onstage blizzard leads to an enchanted Land of Sweets. 205-322-4300

Sounds of the Season

December 4, 11 and 18 1142 South Perry Street Montgomery, Al 36104 Each Monday before Christmas, the Candlelight Tour serves as an opportunity for the public to view the Governor’s Mansion holiday decor, enjoy live choir performances and sample Alabama-made goods at the gift shop.

December 8-10 and 15-17 3601 Sixth Avenue South Birmingham, Al 35222 Kick off the holidays with Sounds of the Season, a concert of favorites both sacred and secular. Featuring surprise guest artists and familiar faces, the concert will feature a variety of solo and ensemble performances to set the perfect mood for the holiday season. Opera Birmingham is teaming up with the U.S. Marine Corps to provide toys for less fortunate children in the community this season through their TOYS FOR TOTS program. To participate, please bring a new, unwrapped toy to Sounds of the Season, and let’s make sure EVERYONE has a Merry Christmas!



Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour

23rd Annual Christmas in a Railroad Town

Governor’s Mansion Candlelight Open House and Tour

December 6-10 Opelika Historic District, 8th & 9th Streets The tour began in 1993 with just a few homes participating, but has grown to include 60 homes on North 8th and 9th street. The homes are decorated with life size Santas, angels, toys, carousel horses


December 8, 6:00-9:00pm Historic Downtown Opelika, 1032 S Railroad Ave Opelika, Al 36801 Whether you’re a young child or simply a child at heart – there will be activities for everyone at this great night

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out in historic downtown Opelika. Join us for Christmas in a Railroad Town. Visit with friends and enjoy a variety of food vendors and restaurants. Bring the kids to write letters to Santa, enjoy pony rides, caroling, entertainment and other new activities! Guaranteed fun for adults includes Loft Tours, personalized gifts made on site and bundles of sweet treats for sale. Local retail shops will be open late for all your Christmas needs. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be available for family photos! Be transported back in time and take a wagon ride through the Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour. Leave straight from Christmas in a Railroad Town and be delivered back once you’re done. Enclosed trolley rides also available at the Museum of East Alabama.

costume, the dinner will be one typical of the season and era, the entertainment will involve 4H club members partnered with community leaders and educators performing skits, choral pieces and band performances.This celebration is recognized as an Alabama Lee County 200 Bicentennial Event and will serve to teach, inspire, and entertain all participants involved.

Christmas Phantom and a Humane Society overrun with iguanas, coyotes, sheep and myna birds. 60,000 patrons have made this a genuine Christmas tradition in Columbus.


Christmas On the Coosa

December 14, 15, 16; 5:00-8:00pm 1001 Andrews Road Opelika, Al 36801 Christmas Crafts: Make and take your own Christmas crafts. December 19, 2:00pm. Ages 6-10years, Fee $15. Christmas Wreaths: Decorate wreaths with all your favorite things and hang them on your door to display at Christmas. December 5, 3:30pm. Ages 5-12years. Fee $15. Rocky Brook Reindeer Express: Come take a train ride through the lights at Municipal Park! Enjoy food, hot chocolate, face painting, entertainment, pictures with Santa and more! Ages 2nd grade and younger.

334-745-0466 www.

December 9 Gold Star Park, Ready Street Wetumpka, Al 36092 Wetumpka’s Christmas on the Coosa continues to bring people from all over the state to enjoy Wetumpka’s family atmosphere and unique heritage. Called the “City of Natural Beauty” Wetumpka is a quaint, historic town nestled along the banks of the Coosa River and is home to the annual Christmas on the Coosa celebration. The event features activities and events for the whole family. The day-long Christmas on the Coosa celebration features a car show, children’s character breakfast, entertainment for children and a show case for local talent. The annual street parade features over 100 entries and passes along the area for arts & crafts vendors. The evening continues with a ski-in by Santa and the ends with a grand fireworks finale. 334-567-5147

Christmas at The Alabama Nature Center

December 9 3050 Lanark Road Millbrook, Al 36054 Join us for our 10th annual Christmas at the Alabama Nature Center. Enjoy hayrides, Christmas crafts, decorating cookies, a movie special and much more! Learn how to create your own nature ornament, get pictures with Santa, enjoy our Christmas movie special, and make sure to go on the hay ride!  Christmas is always fun here at the ANC, we will have hot chocolate for sale and plenty of activities to keep you warm. This Christmas is sure to be filled with holiday fun at the NaturePlex! Bring your camera and take a picture with jolly Ol’ Saint Nick! 800-822-9453

Jingle Jog 5K and Santa Stroll Fun Run

December 9 Toomer’s Corner, 100 N College St Auburn, Al 36830 The fun run/walk kicks off at 4 p.m. and will begin and end at Toomer’s Corner and venture onto campus. The 5k race will start at 4:30 p.m. and also begin and end at Toomer’s Corner after circling the Auburn University campus. On the race course, participants can expect to see hidden jingle bells and Santas of all shapes and sizes! Participants are encouraged to come in their best Christmas attire because Active Auburn will also host the Best Dressed Runner/Walk Contest and the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest, with awards presented after the races are complete.

“Back in Time”- A Historical Holiday Celebration

December 9, 5:00-8:00pm Pioneer Park, 6500 Stage Rd Loachapoka, Al 36835 The 4H “History Seeker” will provide for guests an evening of historically-accurate dining and entertainment within the preserved buildings of Pioneer Park. All proceeds from the evening will serve to benefit The Lee County Historical Society. All participants will be in

Auburn Christmas Parade

December 10, 5:00pm 122 West Magnolia Avenue Auburn, Al 36830 The entire community is invited to celebrate the season with the Auburn Chamber Christmas Parade in downtown Auburn. The parade will include Aubie, Santa, Christmas characters, live music and lots of other favorites! For float entry forms, contact Auburn Chamber.

Columbus Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”

December 11-12 RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway Columbus, Ga 31901 Join us for The Columbus Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker at the River Center for the Performing Arts.Featuring a full orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, professional sets, costumes, and a company of national and local dancers. 706-507-8367

LaGrange Symphony Orchestra Concert “Embrace the Spirit of the Seaseon”

December 12 301 Church Street LaGrange, Al 30240 Drive into a light display set to music like none other… over 155,000 lights! Featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. 706-882-0662

Messiah Sing-a-long with the Montgomery Chorale

December 12, 7:00-9:00pm Church of the Ascension 315 Clanton Avenue Montgomery, Al 36104 Join the Montgomery Chorale in this community sing-along of Handel’s Messiah. This free community event. 334-265-3737

“Gifts of the Magi”

December 14-16 New Horizon Community Theatre, 411 West 8th Street West Point, Ga 31833 heart-warming, captivating musical treat, drawn from two short stories by the immortal O. Henry. It is Christmas in New York, but for two young lovers, Jim and Della, the prospects are bleak, as both are out of work and penniless. Their dilemma is solved when both part with their most precious possessions in order to buy presents for each other thereby creating, at least for a magical moment, an aura of warmth and giving in the cold, impersonal winter city. 706-643-7529

“A Tuna Christmas: The Next Generation”

December 14-17 & 19-23 Springer Opera House, 103 10th St Columbus, Ga 31901 Putting the fun in DisFUNction, a brilliant new cast of master comedians continues the legacy of Columbus’ legendary Holiday cult favorite. Springer favorites Jim Pharr and Ben Redding will play all 24 citizens of Tuna, the tiny Texas town that erupts in holiday mayhem every year with a disastrous production of “A Christmas Carol,” yard displays vandalized by the



Opelika Parks and Recreation


Birmingham Ballet presents ‘The Mutt-cracker’

December 15 BJCC, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N Birmingham, Al 35203 The Mutt-cracker, a new twist a “classic tail”, is essentially Birmingham Ballet’s The Nutcracker with the addition of dogs performing along side the dancers. The holiday favorite is brought to life with masterful story-telling and exciting dancing by professionals as well as local talented aspiring youth. 205-979-9492

Christmas at the Cave

December 15-16 and 22-23 5181 DeSoto Caverns Pkwy Childersburg, Al 35044 Come walk in a Winter “Underland” for a family-fun event for all ages. Will holiday treats, classic Christmas movies, caroler and sing-a-longs, as well as a special visit from St. Nicholas himself, Christmas at the Cave at the majestic DeSoto Caverns is the best way for your family spend the most wonderful time of the year. 256-378-7252

Variations Dance Studio Presents “Nutcracker” ad on Inside Front Cover

December 15-17 Opelika Performing Arts Center, 1700 Lafayette Parkway Opelika, Al 36801 This holiday season, enjoy the magic and beauty of our premiere performances of “Nutcracker”. Follow Clara into a dream-like world of dancing snowflakes and see all the colorful treats found in the Land of Sweets! Whether it is a first time experience or an annual holiday tradition, don’t miss your chance to reserve a seat at this beautiful holiday ballet. 334-275-5013

21st Presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet:

Presented by East Alabama Community Ballet ad on page 5

December 15, 16, 17 Telfair Peet Theatre, 350 West Samford Avenue Auburn, Al 36849 Since 1995, the East Alabama Community Ballet has brought the magic of The Nutcracker to the Auburn/Opelika area. There is no more festive way to start the holiday season than by experiencing this ballet classic. Follow Clara, as she

visits the Land of Sweets and meets a prince, mouse king and queen and dances her way into your heart! Buy your tickets online.

Clara’s Tea Party ad on page 5

December 16, 10:00am-12:00pm Telfair Peet Theatre, 350 West Samford Avenue Auburn, Al 36849 You are invited to a Tea Party with Clara! Ideal for children ages 10 and under, Clara’s Tea Party gives children an opportunity to watch a shortened version of The Nutcracker Ballet, meet the dancers, and take memorable Christmas photos. Light snacks and sweets will be provided. For adults, Clara’s Boutique, a unique collection of Christmas and Nutcracker themed gifts, will also be open.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”

December 18-19 RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway Columbus, Ga 31901 A Charlie Brown Christmas, the Emmy® and Peabody award-winning story by Charles M. Schulz, has warmed the hearts of millions of fans since it first aired on television over fifty years ago. Now the classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation featuring all of your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score. Join, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they mount a play, save a tree, and uncover the true meaning of Christmas. 706-256-3620

Cantus Christmas & Vega Quartet

December 19 RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway Columbus, Ga 31901 In its eighteenth annual holiday concert, the professional chorus CantusColumbus, directed by William J. Bullock, recounts the Christmas story with classical masterpieces and audience carols. The chorus is assisted this year by the renowned Vega String Quartet and the Legacy Hall concert organ and piano. This beautiful holiday tradition is the perfect way to prepare to receive the true message of the season. 706-256-3620

Annual Christmas Tree Recycling

December 30 1032 South Railroad Avenue Opelika, Al 36801 A project of Opelika Tree Commission and Keep Opelika Beautiful. This takes place the Saturday after Christmas at the Opelika Chamber from 8am12pm. Citizens receive a tree seedling in exchange for the tree. 334-749-4970


Christmas In Camelot Lighted Tour

Throughout December, 4:30-10:00pm Camelot Way Opelika, Al 36801 The magic of Christmas comes alive throughout Camelot with the many large Christmas Cards, painted under art teacher, Roslyn Stern, by Opelika High art students. The neighborhood lights are adorned with lighted wreaths and all the houses are decorated with the wonders of Christmas. This drive-through event begins at sundown.

Santa On the Corner

Toomer’s Corner, 100 N College St Auburn, Al 36830 Santa Claus will be in downtown Auburn on select December weekends. Bring your family! Donations will be accepted to The United Way.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

The Ludy’s Christmas Light Spectacular

Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve 5784 Ironstone Drive Columbus, Ga 31907 Drive into a light display set to music like none other...over 155,000 lights! Featured on ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”. 706-443-6975

Follow the Shepards Christmas Walks & Under the Bethlehem Star Light Show Weekends December 1-23 Explorations in Antiquity Center, 130 Gordon Commercial Dr LaGrange, Al 30240 Follow the journey of Joseph and Mary as they travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem and learn new insights into the Christmas story. These walks can be done in conjunction with the Christmas multimedia presentation in the evening. Reservations required. 706-885-0363

Christmas Village at the Historic Langdale Mill

Weekends in December US Hwy 29 at Fob James Road Valley, Al Beginning the first weekend in December, experience the spirit of the season in Historic Valley. There is a life-size nativity scene in the meadow, the Madonna light-sculpture, and the Christmas Merry-go-Round that has given over 1,000,000 FREE rides to families. As you take a walk through history, you will be greeted with caroling and much more festive fun. Also, don’t miss the “A Cotton Mill Christmas” production at Langdale Theatre, as the local actors tell the history and stories of Valley, Al. 334-756-5290

Auburn Parks and Recration ad on page 4, 16, 27

425 Perry Street Auburn, Al 36830 13th Annual Poloar Express Holiday Celebration: All aboard the Polar Express! Children ages 12 and under are invited to hop aboard the Polar Express on Saturday, December 3 at Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center. Children under the age of 12 months are FREE with the purchase of an adult ticket. The “train” will depart at 9 a.m., Noon and 2:30 p.m. Activities include arts & crafts, sweet treats, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and much more! Children are encouraged to wear their favorite holiday pajamas while they participate in indoor and outdoor activities. Tickets for the event will be on sale Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 8 and 9, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center. The cost per ticket is $12 for adults and $6 for children 13 months and older. 11th Annual Holiday Art Sale: December 9, 9:00am4:00pm at Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center, Frank Brown Rec Center and Harris Center. The Holiday Art Sale is a great place to get a head start on your Christmas shopping while meeting local artists selling their own unique handmade work. Admission is FREE and open to the public! The event features local and regional artists selling handmade works, including pottery, paintings, personalized items, photography, handmade soap, jewelry, gourmet food items, scarves, hats, candles and more! A portion of the proceeds from sales support the Auburn Arts Association and their many art education programs. 29th Annual Daddy Daughter Date Night: Tickets go on sale December 4. Extra night this year! Five dance nights will be held at the Clarion Inn & Suites on S. College Street. Daughters, dads, granddads, and uncles are invited to dance the night away and enjoy refreshments, door prizes, dance contests,


keepsake photos, and an evening of memories. Special guests will also be in attendance! 2018 event dates are as follows: February 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10. 334-501-2930

Junior League of Lee County’s Annual Hoilday Poinsettia Sale Auburn, Al 36830 Poinsettias are available in two sizes and three colors (red, white, and marble.) Prices are $12.00 for 6.5-inch and $22.00 for 10-inch plants. Orders may be placed with any JLLC member or online at Orders may be picked up on December 5th or 6th at the Elks Lodge in Opelika. Delivery options are available on November 21st and December 5th for businesses or residences in the Lee County area ordering 10 or more plants.

Old Alabama Town Holiday Open House

301 Columbus Street Montgomery, Al 36104 Our annual Holiday Open House, often the first week of December. We open up the Living Block and Ordeman House, and feature live holiday music, storytelling, costumed villagers, cookies and hot cider, pioneer tree ornaments for kids, and even photos with Father Christmas. Free to the public. 1-888-240-1850



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City of Millbrook Spirit of Christmas

3113 Park Court Millbrook, Al 36054 The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be November 30, 6:00 p.m. on the Village Green. There will be caroling, a live Nativity, refreshments for sale, the Tree Lighting and the Christmas Lights and Music show. The annual Millbrook Spirit of Christmas Parade will be Saturday, December 2. The theme for this year’s parade is “A Peaceful Christmas”.

Wetumpka Tree Lighting & Progressive Nativity/Luminaria Gold Star Park, Ready Street Wetumpka, Al 36092 Lighting of the tree will be December 5, 6:00pm. Luminaria/Nativity and Open House will be December 8. 334-567-5147

Winter Wonderland

17th Street Plaza Birmingham, Al 35233 Take a spin on the ice with the cityscape as your backdrop. The ice rink is open through January 16. The boxcar is fully stocked with hot chocolate and other winter treats. 205-521-9933

Magic Christmas in Lights

Bellingrath Gardens, Theodore, Al 36582 In this Gulf Coast holiday tradition, guests stroll through a dazzling light display that features more than 1,100 set pieces, 3 million lights and 15 scenes throughout the 65-acre Garden estate. In addition, the Bellingrath Home is decorated in its holiday finery and enhanced with beautiful poinsettias. Magic Christmas in Lights includes nightly choral performances on the South Terrace of the Home on Sundays through Thursdays. In addition, guests may purchase hot chocolate on Live Oak Plaza to warm the heart and soul. 251-973-2217 | AOP


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Teaching kids value of giving Q. What are some ways to teach preteens the value of giving versus getting during the holiday season?



in the entire giving process. Let them experience the grateful, and sometimes ungrateful, responses that go along with giving. With a little thought and planning, you can create some incredible teaching and family bonding experiences that will change everyone’s lives forever!

Budgeting for taxes Q. I recently started my own business, and I know I’m supposed to pay taxes quarterly. How do I budget for those, and how much do I save?


A. You should always establish a separate checking account when you open a business. All your business income, and nothing else, should go directly into that account. Nothing else goes in or out of that account except for business expenses. What you have left, by definition, is profit. When you take that home, set aside 25 percent for your federal, quarterly estimates. In most cases — especially with a small, start-up business — that will put you pretty close to what you’ll need. If you make more than $60,000 to $70,000 in profits, however, you may want to kick that percentage up a little bit. It’s always better to save too much than too little.


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As a parent, one of the best things you can do is be a living, breathing example of the importance of giving and caring about others. There’s nothing wrong with having some stuff, but many of today’s marketing messages can lead kids to believe it’s all about them. And the sad truth is advertising firms are often more aggressive with their teaching than parents are in theirs. I would encourage you to find giving experiences in which you can participate as a family. Volunteering for a day at a homeless shelter is a wonderful example of giving that requires absolutely no money. Or maybe you could pull out your wallet, and spend the day shopping for groceries and Christmas gifts for families who are financially less fortunate. Make sure your kids are involved physically, mentally, and emotionally

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ents. The high school years are meant to be a preparation to launch them from home out into the world. Bear in mind that entire books have been written to help adults recover from the behavior of their misguided parents, who unconsciously clipped their wings because they couldn’t cope with the uncomfortable feelings that come with letting go. Your goal is to stay alert as you bravely prepare for a separation that is inevitable.

IF you feel weepy and clingy about the physical distance that will arise between you and your future young adult, you will set her up for feelings of guilt and obligation that won’t serve her as she forges her own path in the world. Teens need incremental independence and appreciate your assistance getting used to the consequences of their choices. If you coddle your teen, do all her thinking for her, intercede in the face of every life challenge, swiftly grant every whim, and then abruptly withdraw your assistance after college, your child is bound to struggle.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



DON’T set your child up for a big fall, especially if

Create A Say Anything Space Don’t shy away from serious topics with your teen. Drugs, alcohol, date rape, sexual assault, gender identity, sexual preference, and birth control are just a few topics that need to be faced squarely and discussed openly with your teen before he leaves home. One way to broach these topics might be to watch and discuss topical films together that you wouldn’t necessarily share with younger children. The key here is to establish an open door of communication through which no topics are off-limits. If this makes you squeamish, it’s time to deal with uncomfortable topics whether you like them or not. Enlist your spouse’s ear to get your concerns off your chest first and share the responsibility of holding challenging discussions. Everyone in the family will likely become more accepting, mature, and open-minded thanks to your willingness to open up.

you have well-behaved or reticent teen, skilled at avoiding parent upset and disappointment. A rebellious or strongminded teen will be less concerned about hurting parent feelings and can make choices that please him more easily. But teens of any disposition need support and encouragement to make a smooth transition from the safe haven of home into self-reliance. Besides, there are ways to keep teens close to your heart while gently encouraging the independence that will help them grow the wings they will need to soar out into a world full of happy life choices.

Illuminate Paths To Earning Most teens like money. Money means, among other things, freedom to a teenager. Modern money skills include exploring the possible ways to earn as well as the savvy ways to save, spend, and invest. If you find you spend a lot of time discussing managing money, maybe it’s time to educate yourself on current paths to earning. Try to keep your fearful assumptions about possible career paths in check. If your teen is an artist, explore the plethora of online earning opportunities that exist today. If your teen enjoys physical movement, research the jobs that allow her to be on her feet rather than sitting behind a desk. And try not to obsess about future job security. Get a career counselor involved to help your teen explore jobs that maximize her natural talents and curiosities.

Discuss Relationship Wisdom Intimacy with another person requires a strong sense of individuality. Encourage your teen to see all relationships as learning opportunities. Use high school social situations as opportunities to discuss what she needs and wants in various types of relationships, to consider what attracts and repels her, and to explore which groups feel the most comfortable. Peer pressure is strong in high school, so if you don’t ask these questions, your teen’s self-awareness may not increase. Conversations about the role of relationships encourage self-knowledge, which can lead to happier connections in the long run. When it comes to

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Reconsider Ultimatums Let your teen decide where he stands on family traditions and rituals. “As long as you are living in this house, you will go to church every Sunday along with the entire family,” is one possible approach. But another way is to establish a cut-off date for family obligations. Perhaps after the age of 16 your children could decide whether or not they will attend a family commitment like religious services or not. If your teen does not wish to join in, let her experience what it’s like to abstain. Then, if she decides to come back around you will know it’s because she wants to rather than because she must. And if she does not wish to participate right now, it’s your job to get used to the idea. Your teen will grow up and make her own choices in the future, anyway. If this is a hard truth for you to swallow, perhaps you need to start practicing relinquishing pressure now.

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creating lasting relationships with others, self-awareness is paramount. Therefore don’t place too much emphasis on finding “the one” or being part of the popular crowd. Your acceptance of the needs and wants of your teen will go a long way towards her future happiness.

Interrupt Anxiety With Spontaneity Making the leap from home into the big wide world is a major life transition that can trigger worry. A helpful technique for any parent to learn to help break the cycle Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

of negative thinking is anxiety interruption. When you notice the tight shoulders or the snappy disposition, why not suggest a little walk or drive or maybe even a spontaneous shopping trip. This may seem like a strange parenting habit but what you are helping your teen do is break the cycle of stress before it starts affecting the decision-making process. Focusing constantly on the problems at hand blocks spontaneous solutions from bubbling up. So when your teen is struggling with what feels like a big decision, teach him how to move away from stress, let go of anxious thinking, and shift focus 44

Anticipate alone-time shortages, especially during the emotionally intense graduation year. Then strive to instill selfreflection, self-care, and self-expression, so these habits will be there to comfort your teen in the future. Writing, drawing, biking, and knitting all induce a state of creative flow. As the departure date to leave home approaches, you may notice teens are more absorbed with friends and social activities than interested in spending time alone. But moments of quality down time are when people connect with inner guidance and are crucial to leading a healthy, well-rounded life. And remember, if you want your teen to discover and follow his bliss, you are going to have to set a good example. Your hobbies will come in handy, as you both cope with the natural feelings of grief that are sure to arise as you and your teen prepare to part on happy terms. AOP Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz is readying herself for the inevitable day she has to say goodbye to her teen. But, like many parents, she can’t say she’s looking forward to it.


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Recommending the Best Toys and Products for Kids

From the earliest age we surround our children with bright primary colors and strong contrasting shades to engage their senses. It’s believed that newborns discern black and white, only developing the ability to see color around three months. Once babies notice and differentiate color, parents begin to use everyday moments to introduce the youngest eyes to red, green, yellow, blue and more. When toddlers’ eyesight refines so does their interest in colorful objects and this fascination continues to evolve as they grow. As we age we discover broader palettes, even cultivating our favorite colors that accompany us into adulthood. Celebrating the exploration of color in variety of engaging ways, the following items offer a rainbow of resourceful color play.

by Gerry Paige Smith

Rainbow Counting Bears and Cups

Think & Learn Smart Scan Color Chameleon

Just the right size for little hands, this bright brigade of bears leads the way for small children exploring a colorful range of teachable moments. Featuring 60 small bears in six colors, six matching color cups, a storage container and an activity book available as download, this collection has endless educational outcomes to explore. These boldly colored bears stimulate open-ended play and learning activities that can help develop kids’ fine motor skills, cognitive understanding and visual perception. Color matching, cup stacking, sorting and early number sense enjoy a great beginning with these bears. Ideal for supporting counting games, Montessori math as well as autism therapy, Rainbow Counting Bears and Cups offer a broad spectrum of tactile color experience as part of every day play.

The Smart Scan Color Chameleon climbs to the top of learning electronics with innovative games and goals that get kids up and moving on the hunt for color. Kids use the hand-held chameleon scanner to learn colors and numbers associated with the included paint chips before being directed to seek out other specific chips. The color hunt can also expand into the larger house setting with additional games that challenge kids to find and scan other colors. Children are soon scrambling around their surroundings seeking new colors to scan. This kind of open-ended discovery is ideal for keeping kids engaged and learning. Just as versatile and colorful as its namesake, the Think & Learn Smart Scan Color Chameleon packs a lot of learning into one fun resource.



Square Up!

Color-Changing Lab Putty


Reminiscent of a flat Rubik’s Cube, this color-driven game places two players in a head-to-head race to see who can sort and manipulate color tiles the fastest. Equipped with their own lidded tile board and individual color cube shaker, the game play starts when the players shake their cubes and slam them down together. What follows is a vivid, lightning-fast race of color tiles on each players game board as they strive to duplicate the color pattern revealed in their shaker cube. The first to match the pattern with their tiles wins the round by quickly closing the clear lid down on their board, framing their colorful victory. Challenging spatial cognition and strategy, color sorting is just the beginning of this invigorating game as two players race to Square Up!

(Lab Putty)

In its resting (cool) state, the putty is dark violet. But when fingers begin to explore the thermosensitive putty surface, touch points begin to warm up into a bright pink. When the whole of the putty color has morphed to pink, placing the putty in a chilly spot (refrigerator or cool water) for a moment recharges the color-change exploration. Stretching, twisting, and shaping the putty provides an additional tactile stimulation that offers a degree of stress-relief and creative play. Non-toxic, non-drying and residuefree, this little bit of color science is also a perfect portable for travel entertainment. Putting the power of color-change in your grasp, this morphing lab putty is easy to pick up and hard to put down!




Gerry Paige Smith is a syndicated columnist recommending the best products for kids and their families. Discover more at



FamilyCalendar Monday, November 27 Faculty Recital: Alina Windell, flute and Jeremy Samolesky, piano Goodwyn Recital Hall, AU Campus. 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online until the day of the show or they can be purchased at the box office one hour prior. Young Writer’s Club Auburn Public Library. Do you love to write and tell stories? We will do one hour of fun writing exercises and sharing our work in a safe environment. Grades 2-5, 3:30-4:30 p.m. (334) 501-3296.

Tuesday, November 28 Auburn Parks and Rec Monthly Market Visit the Harris Center from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. to find the best produce, jams, jellies and bounty of Lee County! This event is FREE and open to the public. Baby Time Auburn Public Library. Babies and their favorite adults enjoy 20 minutes of stories, songs, bounces, and tickles during Baby Time. Stay afterwards to socialize and play! Ages birth-24 months. 9:30-10:15 a.m. or 1:00-1:45 p.m. library. Music Under the Dome Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Columbus. 5:00 p.m. The Schwob School of Music continues with its Music Under The Dome series with wine and cheese served. The event is free, but tickets are required. Reserve yours at

Wednesday, November 29 Concert Band Concert Telfair Peet Theatre, Auburn Campus. 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online until the day of the show or they can be purchased at the box office one hour prior. Toddler Time Auburn Public Library. Toddlers and their favorite adults enjoy 30 minutes of interactive stories, songs, movement rhymes, and a fun craft during Toddler Time. Stay afterwards to socialize and play! Ages 18 months-3 years. 9:30-10:00 a.m. or 10:30-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m. library. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” BJCC, B’ham. Based on the beloved 1964 animated special, this adaptation brings everyone’s favorite reindeer to the stage. This new production features a mixture of adult and young performers as all your favorite characters - there’s the Abominable Snowman, The Misfit Toys, Clarice and of course Rudolph himself. The songs include the title track (originally recorded by Johnny Mathis), Jingle, Jingle, Jingle and Holly Jolly Christmas.

Thursday, November 30 A Little Lunch Music Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Auburn. 12

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

p.m. Make a lunch date with the finest musicians from our region. Join us for an informal come-and-go performance. Auburn High School and Symphonic Winds Concert Julie and Hal Moore Center for Excellence, Auburn. 7:30 p.m. Preschool Time Preschoolers and their favorite adults enjoy 30 minutes of interactive stories, songs, movement rhymes, and a fun craft during Preschool Time. Stay afterwards to socialize and play! 3 – 5 years. 9:30-10:00 a.m., 10:30-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m.

Friday, December 1 A Chili Country Christmas We Piddle Around Theatre, Brundidge. Pots of piping hot chili with all the fixin’s are served family-style at the historic theater. Preshow, musicians strum dulcimers, fiddles and banjos, bringing to you the songs of the season. Then master storytellers from across the country take center stage and weave their magic with the spoken word.

Santa’s Castle organization provides toys for children of Fort Benning Soldiers, who because of financial difficulties would otherwise not have toys during the holidays. @Santa’s Castle has been serving the Fort Benning and Columbus area since 1986. or call 706.596.0111. Anime and Manga Art Club Auburn Public Library. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Ages 10-18. Have fun drawing and socializing at this fun new club! Bring your own art supplies and creativity and share your love of all things Anime and Manga! Chris Tomlin Christmas: Christmas Songs of Worship Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.

Saturday, December 2 South’s BEST Robotics Competition See Friday, December 1 for details. 47th Annual Montgomery Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show See Friday, December 1 for details.

Shelia Jackson & Company Holiday Concert Troy. The Troy Arts Council is pleased to present the Shelia Jackson and Company Holiday Concert featuring the vocal stylings of our own Shelia Jackson and her talented friends from throughout the Wiregrass!

Victorian Christmas Open House at Port Columbus It’s our gift to the amazing community we serve. We’ll have FREE refreshments, awesome holiday entertainment and programming, and photos with Santa Clause available for purchase!; 706-327-9798.

Letters to Santa Auburn Public Library. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Choose from an array of festive stationery, markers, and pencils and enjoy cookies, cider, and a little music as you write to Santa your holiday wishes! Parents, please join in the fun so that even the youngest new writers can clearly express themselves, and the librarians can get clear addresses for Santa and his elves! (334) 501-3296.

22nd Annual Cookie Walk for Habitat for Humanity Grace United Methodist Church, Auburn. Come out and share some of your fabulous goodies from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The Cookie Walk is an annual fundraiser sponsored by “WeHelp Coalition” to benefit Habitat for Humanity.We would love to feature your delectable sweets along with an array of beautifully decorated Christmas cookies donated by people throughout our community. Please deliver handmade cookies to Grace United Methodist Church on Friday, Dec. 1, 2:00-7:00 p.m.

South’s BEST Robotics Competition Auburn University. BEST stands for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology, and is a national program with fifty local competition sites in eighteen states. Each year, middle and high school student teams are tasked with building a robot to compete against other schools in that year’s challenge. 47th Annual Montgomery Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show Admission: Adults $2 or weekend pass $3, Youth 18 and under FREE with student ID and paid adult admission. FREE parking, FREE door prize ticket with each paid adult admission. $1 Wheel of Fortune for the kids and young at heart! Everyone that spins... Wins! WCS Holiday Marketplace Wynnbrook Conference Center, Columbus. Over 60 vendors to help you with your Christmas Shopping list! There will be donuts/coffee and hot dogs/chili for breakfast and lunch available Saturday for purchase. Vendors can request application at rggyates@aol. com. Broadway Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting Uptown Columbus. 6:30 p.m. Sing along to traditional Christmas carols at the lighting of the giant Christmas tree and play in the SNOW! There will be hot chocolate, candy canes and lots of fun for the entire family. Bring a toy or $2 donation and play in Santa’s Castle of Fort Benning Bouncy House. A non-profit organization that runs solely on volunteers, the


Jule Collins Smith Museum Art Sale Auburn. 12:00 - 6:00 p.m. JCSM is pleased to feature nationally acclaimed quilter, Cathy Fussell. Meet local artists and artisans, enjoy cocktails and mocktails, hear music by local duo, Martha’s Trouble, and stock up on gifts for the season. Offerings include Original pottery, jewelry, glass, and quilts. Admission is free. Cash bar. Martha’s Trouble will perform between 12 and 3 p.m. 5K Walk To Fight For A Cure Loachapoka. Come fight cancer and raise awareness with the Loachapoka Life Changers at 7 a.m. The walk starts at 6091 Stage Road, Loachapoka. For more information, contact Belinda Jackson at Family Winter Venture FDR State Park, Ga. Enjoy an out of doors adventure at our Large Group Camp area. We will investigate the trees along the trail and look for mammals and other wildlife near Lake Franklin. ½ mile walk. Preregister and pre-pay or correct change at the door. Meets at the Large Group Camp Shelter. $3 plus $5 parking. 706-663-4858.

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FamilyCalendar Saturday STEM Storytime Auburn Public Library. Preschoolers - 2nd grade children and their caregivers are invited to join us for a storytime on Saturday mornings that is all about STEM. 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math This storytime will focus on these concepts in a fun, interactive, story-driven format Please note: Some activities may involve messy fun! (334) 501-3296. Home Depot Kids Workshop: Gingerbread House Opelika. Home Depot Kids Workshop First Saturday of every Month 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon. FREE hands-on workshops designed for children ages 5 – 12. All children get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Sunday, December 3 South’s BEST Robotics Competition See Friday, December 1 for details. 47th Annual Montgomery Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Show See Friday, December 1 for details. Highlight Tours Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Auburn. 3:00 p.m. Experience a public tour that focus on collection highlights. Travis Tritt Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.

Monday, December 4 Hometown Christmas Parade Alexander City. Join us at 6:00 p.m. Marching bands, dancing troupes, musical guests and dozens of floats and parade entries. The Parade winds through downtown with elaborate floats, horses and our special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Review and judging stand at the Chamber, 120 Tallapoosa Street. Tiger Strings Youth Orchestra Concert Telfair Peet Theatre, AU Campus. 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available online until the day of the show or they can be purchased at the box office one hour prior. Guitar Ensemble Concert Goodwin Recital Hall, AU Campus. 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online until the day of the show or they can be purchased at the box office one hour prior. Daddy-Daughter Date Night Tickets Go On Sale 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Tickets sold online. www. Girls, get ready to dress up and enjoy and evening of dancing, refreshments, pictures and other surprises with your Dad. Five nights are available...please make your reservations

early, as space is limited. $35 per couple and $5 per additional child. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Kaufman at or 334-501-2930. AACT Young Performers Auditions for “Animal Fables by Aesop” Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center. 4:00 - 6:30 p.m. Auburn Area Community Theatre announces open auditions for ages 12-18 for this delightful musical. Come prepared with a one-minute comedic monologue and to sing 30 seconds ONLY of any acapella song. Teens interested in working with technical/production roles and tasks should contact Cora Connelly by email: connelly517@ The first rehearsal/read through on December 11. Regular rehearsals will begin January 3. Saturday rehearsals are mandatory. For already scheduled school obligations, you may be excused from ONE Saturday rehearsal. Rehearsals Monday and Wednesday, Jan. 3 - Mar. 1. 4:00-6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00 - noon. Show in March. (706) 590-2503 •

Tuesday, December 5 Christmas Wreaths Covington Rec Center, Opelika. 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Decorate wreaths with all your favorite things and hang them on your door to display at Christmas. $15, ages 5 - 12. 334-705-5560. AACT Young Performers Auditions for “Animal Fables by Aesop” See Dec. 4 for details.

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FamilyCalendar Jazz Band Telfair Peet Theatre, AU Campus. 7:30 p.m. Baby Time Auburn Public Library. Babies and their favorite adults enjoy 20 minutes of stories, songs, bounces, and tickles during Baby Time. Stay afterwards to socialize and play! Ages birth - 24 months. 9:3010:00 a.m., 10:00-10:30 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 6 Student Chamber Ensembles Concert Goodwin Recital Hall, AU Campus. 7:30 p.m. Toddler Time Auburn Public Library. Toddlers and their favorite adults enjoy 30 minutes of interactive stories, songs, movement rhymes, and a fun craft during Toddler Time. Stay afterwards to socialize and play! Ages 18 months-3 years. 9:30-10:00 a.m., 10:30-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m. SiriusXM presents The Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Tour Atlanta Symphony Hall.

Thursday, December 7

minutes of interactive stories, songs, movement rhymes, and a fun craft during Preschool Time Stay afterwards to socialize and play! 3 – 5 years. 9:3010:00 a.m., 10:30-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m.

Friday, December 8 A Cottonseed Christmas John Emerald Distilling Company, Opelika. 6:0011:00 p.m. Come join us for this once a year concert with lots of your favorite local musicians doing their rendition of various holiday tunes. We are adding a holiday market this year hosted by Perch Jewelry Studio and of course lots of food and drink! Stay tuned for more details to follow. www.

Saturday STEM Storytime See Dec. 2 for details.

The Great Xscape Tour Columbus Civic Center, Ga.

Auburn Christmas Parade Downtown Auburn. 5:00 p.m.

Georgia Country Christmas featuring Old Dominion Atlanta Coliseum. Joe Bonamassa Montgomery Performing Arts Centre. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® Samford University, Birmingham. www.

A Colonial Christmas at the American Village See Dec. 5 for details.

Saturday, December 9

Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour See Dec. 6 for details.

Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour See Dec. 6 for details.

Santa at Riverside/Tree Lighting Ceremony Santa returns to Fort Benning from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the lawn of Riverside, the historic home of Fort Benning’s commanding general, located at the intersection of Lumpkin and Vibbert on Main Post. This free event is open to the whole Fort Benning community, on post and off, and to mark the occasion of our Centennial Celebration, it will include the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and the planting of a Centennial Tree. Santa will sit for visits and photographs with the good children of Fort Benning. Plan to park in the lot on Vibbert Avenue to the north of Riverside. For more information, call 706-545-1853.

Christmas on the Coosa Wetumpka. Christmas extravaganza with arts & crafts, parade, food, classic car show, entertainment and activities on the Coosa River culminating with a spectacular fireworks exhibition at dusk.

A Little Lunch Music Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Auburn. 12 p.m. Make a lunch date with the finest musicians from our region. Join us for an informal come-and-go performance. www.jcsm. Community Day: A Celebration of Diversity Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn. 5:00 p.m. Our theme is celebrating diversity in the Auburn community. :A Little Art Talk” at 5 p.m. Create vellum paper lanterns about your community with LocAL Market artists during our drop-in studio from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy music and other performances by local musicians and artists. View artwork from JCSM Outreach Program Participants. Have conversations with diverse groups over cookies, hot chocolate and cider. Preschool Time Preschoolers and their favorite adults enjoy 30

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

Second Saturday at Columbus Museum 1251 Wynnton Road, Columbus. 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. Free Admission. Drop by the art cart with your children and grandchildren each month to explore various mediums of art, enjoy art related stories, and participate in gallery hunts at the Museum. Children of all ages are welcome and encouraged to participate.

Annual Holiday Art Sale Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center and Harris Center, Auburn. This event features a variety of handmade goods from over 60 artists. Handmade items available for purchase include pottery, paintings, photography, pet goods, jewelry, wood-turned items, gourmet foods, embroidered and appliquéed goods, candles, and more. www. Jingle Jog 5K and Santa Stroll Fun Run Downtown Auburn. 4:00 p.m. The fun run and 5K will begin and end at Toomer’s Corner and venture onto campus. Participants are encouraged to come in their best Christmas attire because Active Auburn will also host the Best Dressed Runner/ Walk Contest and the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. ActiveAuburnJingleJog5kandSantaStrollFunRun. Second Saturday at Pioneer Park Loachapoka. On the second Saturday of every month, a group of history re-enactors gather at the LCHS Museum in period attire to demonstrate their arts and crafts. Blacksmiths, spinners and weavers, gardeners crafts and seasonal activities are scheduled, and someone is always cooking up a meal in the fireplace or outdoors. The Whistle Stop Pickers dulcimer group meets at the Museum at 1 p.m. AU Singers Telfair Peet Theater, AU Campus. 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® Samford University, Birmingham. www.

Sunday, December 10 The Columbus Ballet presents: The Nutcracker. See Dec. 9 for details. Unveiling the Auburn Gingerbread Village The Hotel at Auburn University. 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. Join us for the unveiling of the largest Gingerbread Village in East Alabama in the conference center of the hotel. After watching the Auburn Christmas Parade, come enjoy complimentary cookies and hot chocolate while admiring the 2017 village. The Gingerbread Village will be on display in the prefunction foyer in our newly renovated conference center until the start of the new year. www.auhcc. com. Highlight Tours See Dec. 3 for ddtails. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® Samford University, Birmingham. www.

Monday, December 11 2017 Governor’s Mansion Christmas Candlelight Tours See Dec. 4 for details.

Tuesday, December 12 Family Discovery Walk Kreher Preserve& Nature Center, Auburn. 3:30 p.m. Explore the preserve and learn something new each month about plants, wildlife and nature with a trained naturalist. 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. For families with children ages 5 to 12. Groups meet at the pavilion. Baby Time See Dec. 5 for details.

Wednesday, December 13 Pruning and Tool Sharpening Workshop Davis Arboretum, Auburn. 9:00 a.m. Learn proper pruning techniques and tool sharpening from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Members $45; non-members $60. Spaces

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FamilyCalendar are limited. For more information call 334-844-5770 or email us at LitWits Book Club: Awesome Book Covers Auburn Public Library. 4:00-5:00 p.m. Ages 13-18. LitWits is a genre based book club. Read any book within that genre and bring it with you for group discussions and themed activities. Toddler Time See Dec. 6 for details.

Thursday, December 14

Cookie Swap Auburn Public Library. 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Join us for an afternoon of sharing sweet treats and their recipes Please bring three (3) dozen of your favorite holiday treats to share, along with copies of the recipe You may send your recipe ahead of time, and we will make copies for you. Send the recipe to: libraryevents@auburnalabama org, with the subject line, Cookie Swap Recipe. Coffee and hot chocolate will be provided. Registration is required, please register by Wednesday, December 13. Variations Dance Studio Presents The Nutcracker See Dec. 15 for details.


Guided Adult Nature Hike Kreher Preserve & Nature Center, Auburn. 8:30 a.m. Nature Hikes offer excellent opportunities to socialize and learn, while enjoying fresh air and exercise in our beautiful outdoors. Hikes are for adults only and offered the second Thursday of each month from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Hikes are free to the public. Donations are welcomed.

Lake Paddle With Santa at FDR State Park 2:00 p.m. Join Santa’s flotilla on Lake Delanor. Hot chocolate and cookies included! We provide life jackets, paddles, Santa and canoe, kayak, paddleboat or row boat. Pre-register & prepay at the park office. Limited space. Dress for the weather. Meet at Fishing Dock 1:30 PM. $5-$10, $5 parking fee. Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Montgomery.


Preschool Time Preschoolers and their favorite adults enjoy 30 minutes of interactive stories, songs, movement rhymes, and a fun craft during Preschool Time. Stay afterwards to socialize and play! 3 – 5 years. 9:30-10:00 a.m., 10:30-11:00 a.m. or 1:00-1:30 p.m.



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Friday, December 15 Rocky Brook Rocket Reindeer Express See Dec. 14 for details. The Auburn Public Library Puppet Troupe Shows full of laughs, wonder, and puppets sure to delight every one of all ages! Each show will feature TWO performances for your entertainment. All ages, 10:30-11 a.m. and 3:30-4:00 p.m. (334) 501-3296. Variations Dance Studio Presents The Nutcracker Opelika Center For The Performing Arts. 6:30 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. This holiday season, enjoy the magic and beauty of The Nutcracker presented by Variations Dance Studio of Auburn. variationsstudio. The Nutcracker Ballet presented by East Alabama Community Ballet Telfair Peet Theatre, Auburn Campus. Come join us for performances at Auburn University’s Telfair Peet Theatre on Friday, December 15, 7:00 p.m., Saturday, Tea Party and Production Saturday, December 16, 2 p.m. and final show Sunday, December 17, 2:00 p.m. The Auburn Public Library Puppet Troupe Join the Auburn Public Library Puppet Troupe for shows full of laughs, wonder, and puppets sure to delight every one of all ages! Each show will feature TWO performances for your entertainment. All ages, 10:30 - 11 a.m. and 3:30-4:00 p.m. Contact Engagement and Outreach for more information, libraryevents@auburnalabama org * (334) 501-3296. A Very Merry Holiday Pops with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Atlanta Symphony Hall, Ga.

Saturday, December 16 Rocky Brook Rocket Reindeer Express See Dec. 14 for details.

Academy Dance Center presents ‘Babes in Toyland’ RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. This charming holiday adaptation is excellent entertainment for the whole family and features a large ensemble cast of local children and adults. The Nutcracker Ballet presented by East Alabama Community Ballet See Dec. 15 for details. Clara’s Tea Party presented by East Alabama Community Ballet Telfair Peet Theatre, Auburn Campus. Indulge your sweet tooth, mingle with the dancers, and watch Clara as she dances through the Land of Sweets at Clara’s Tea Party at 10 a.m. For more information and tickets please go to Teen Holiday Ornament Glassblowing Workshop Columbus Museum. Participants will be guided on a step-by-step process to create their own ornaments. Super Saturdays at LaGrange Art Museum 112 Lafayette Pkwy, LaGrange, Ga. 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Free family art day! Spend the afternoon at the Museum. Families, neighbors, and friends can tour the current exhibit and explore an art activity. Saturday STEM Storytime See Dec. 2 for details. A Very Merry Holiday Pops with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra See Dec. 15 for details. Celebrate the Holidays with Birmingham Ballet’s The Nutcracker

Sunday, December 17 Academy Dance Center presents ‘Babes in Toyland’ See Dec. 16 for details. The Nutcracker Ballet presented by East Alabama Community Ballet See Dec. 15 for details.


Teen Holiday Ornament Glassblowing Workshop See Dec. 16 for details. Janet Jackson: State of the World Tour Philips Arena, Ga. Celebrate the Holidays with Birmingham Ballet’s The Nutcracker George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® Samford University, Birmingham. www.

Monday, December 18 A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The classic animated television special comes to life in this faithful stage adaptation featuring all of your favorite characters and classic Vince Guaraldi score. Half-priced tickets for children under age 12; contact the box office at 706-256-3612 to purchase. www. Handball Club Winter Classic Beard Eaves Memorial Coliseum, Auburn Campus. Annual friendly youth handball tournament for 3rd 7th graders held at Auburn University, the Home of USA Team Handball. In 2016 we had over 100 kids participate. www.auburnopelikahandball.usetopscore. com.

Tuesday, December 19 Fun Time/Juice Party with Teddy Covington Rec Center, Opelika. 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Bring Teddy or your favorite toy to play games with! $15, ages 5-10. 334-705-5560. A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage See Dec. 18 for details. Handball Club Winter Classic See Dec. 18 for details. Holiday Movie & Related Crafts Lewis Cooper Jr. Memorial Library, Opelika is hosting holiday movies and related crafts from December 19-22. For more information, visit http://www. Monthly Market Harris Center, Auburn. 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. The best produce, jams, jellies and bounty of Lee County! This event is FREE and open to the public. www. Baby Time See Dec. 5 for details.

Wednesday, December 20 Holiday Movie & Related Crafts See Dec. 19 for details. Toddler Time See Dec. 6 for details.


FamilyCalendar Christmas with Jennifer Nettles & the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Atlanta Symphony Hall, Ga.

Thursday, December 21 Holiday Movie & Related Crafts See Dec. 19 for details. Gamers Society Auburn Public Library. The Programming Room will be open every Thursday, 4:00-7:00 p.m., for Yu-GiOh, Pokemon, and video games Gamers must bring their own materials The Auburn Public Library will provide materials for video game play. Games must be rated E, E10, or T; no rated M games. Ages 10-18 years. Preschool Time See Dec. 7 for details. Home Free: A Country Christmas Montgomery Performing Arts Centre. www.

Friday, December 22 Cards for Christmas with SantaStory Read with Santa FDR State Park, Ga. Get your picture taken with Santa and help him write Christmas Cards for delivery to our park neighbors who may need some camper cheer. Listen to Stories read by Harris County Library staff. Meet at the Park Office. $5 parking. 706-663-4858. Holiday Movie & Related Crafts See Dec. 19 for details. Home Free: A Country Christmas Montgomery Performing Arts Centre. www.

Sunday, December 24 Saddle-Up with Santa FDR State Park, Ga. Saddle up with Santa Claus and wrangler elves to celebrate the holiday season with a 1-hour, guided horseback ride through the winter woodlands. Bring a picnic lunch and drinks for after the ride. Must pre-register by calling Roosevelt Stable. 706-628-7463.Meet at Roosevelt Stables $35 plus $5 parking. 706-663-4858.

Thursday, December 28 Totally Sports Covington Rec Center, Opelika. Sports, sports and more sports! Come enjoy flag football, basketball and more! Fee: $25 ages 5-12; 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 334-705-5560.

Saturday, December 30 Young Eagles Day Columbus Airport, 3250 W. Britt David Road, Columbus, Ga. 8:30-11:30 a.m. (weather permitting). All kids ages 8-17 are invited to take a Free airplane ride over Columbus! Most flights last 20 minutes. The goal is to provide a fun and educational aviation experience. 706-324-2453 Saturday STEM Storytime See Dec. 2 for details.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017

January Jan. 6-21: Alabama Dance Festival An annual dance festival including dance classes, workshops, performances, and community residency activities. Birmingham. 205-602-3599. www. Jan. 11: Riverdance RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Columbus. The international Irish dance phenomenon is back by popular demand with Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour. Jan. 18-21: Birmingham Boat Show BJCC. Jan. 27: 6th Annual Polar Plunge Samford Pool, Auburn. 9:00 a.m. The aim of the Auburn Polar Plunge is to raise financial support for the brave athletes of the Lee County Special Olympics. Once you’ve registered, your goal is to get as many people as possible to “sponsor” your plunge. There will be prizes for the people that raise the most money, as well as prizes for the winners of our costume contest. Register Online: CityofAuburn?season=1694803 Jan. 27: 5th Annual Alabama Oyster Social Alfa Pavilion (Big Red Barn) in Auburn. www.alabamaoyster Jan. 29: East Alabama Arts: “Cinderella” Opelika Center for the Performing Arts. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists!

Ongoing Chick-fil-A Family Night at Tigertown Every Thursday night. Expressions of a BraveHeart Program A fine arts program for teens and young adults with special needs (ages 11–21), sponsored by Opelika Parks and Recreation, utilizing Auburn University faculty and students, as well as community volunteers. Two 30-minute sessions of art, dance/creative movement and music will be offered and participants will select 2 of the 3 classes. Expressions meets every 2nd and 4th Monday twice a month for 1.5 hours. Opelika Sportsplex, 334.705.5560. Holiday Safari Dec. 18 - 31. Cooper Library, Opelika. 10:00 a.m. A Holiday Safari program featuring 6 live animals. Participants will select a present from beneath a small Christmas Tree containing a clue which corresponds to one of the surprise guest animals. All will have an opportunity to get hands-on during this special program. The event is free, but registration is required. Email or call 334-705-5378 to register. Live Jazz at Ariccia Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30. Auburn Hotel and Dixon Conference Center, Auburn. Join Piccolo within the Hotel at Auburn University every Friday and Saturday evening for live jazz from 8-11 p.m.


Meditation Garden and Labyrinth Come and Find the Quiet Center... in the Meditation Garden and Labyrinth, provided as a community service by Village Christian Church, 700 East University Drive, (across from Auburn Early Ed.). 334-887-5111. Try the practice of walking meditation or simply sit and enjoy the sights and sounds. The garden and labyrinth are always open and guests are always welcome. S’mores n’ More Dec 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 18, 21, 23, 26, 28, 29. Gather around the fire pit on the Ariccia Trattoria, Auburn, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m, patio to sip on hot chocolate while building your own gourmet s’more with smorgasbord of toppings. S’mores n’ More is every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in December (Except for December 16th). 334-844-5140.

Performances “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Dec. 7 - 17. Prattville’s Way Off Broadway Theatre. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. True to the spirit of the well-known movie, this will be a wonderful holiday outing for family and friends to enjoy. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. 334-595-0854. ”Christmas Belles” Nov. 30 - Dec. 3. Red Door Theatre, Union Springs. It’s Christmas-time in the small town of Fayro, Texas, and the Futrelle Sisters—Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye—are not exactly in a festive mood. A cranky Frankie is weeks overdue with her second set of twins. Twink, recently jilted and bitter about it, is in jail for inadvertently burning down half the town. And hotflash-suffering Honey Raye is desperately trying to keep the Tabernacle of the Lamb’s Christmas Program from spiraling into chaos. But in true Futrelle fashion, the feuding sisters find a way to pull together in order to present a Christmas program the citizens of Fayro will never forget. Their hilarious holiday journey through a misadventure-filled Christmas Eve is guaranteed to bring joy to your world! “A Christmas Carol” Nov. 19 - Dec. 24. Alabama Shakespeare Festival. A heartwarming must-see that will get you into the spirit of the holiday season with Scrooge’s search for redemption and a spectacular, magical evening of ghosts, spirits, festivity, and goodwill. “Cinderella” Dec. 2, 9, 10, 16. Presented by the Birmingham Children’s Theatre. BJCC, Birmingham. Free Santa photos prior to each show. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Approx. 1 hour and 30 mins. “An Eclectic Christmas” Dec. 1- 8. Eclectic. Come experience the true story of the first Christmas. In the atmosphere of an outdoor walking trail, you and your guests will be part of live drama that is set during the Roman Empire. As you make your way to Bethlehem, you will visit the field where shepherds received the angel’s message and news of the Messiah. Then visit the wise men as they journey in search of the New Born King. Walking tours begin December 1 - 8 at the Falk Farm, 1733 Claude Road, Eclectic. The 6 and 8 o’clock time slots each night are reserved for Handicap accessible. Reservations may be made by calling 334.578.4846 Or by visiting Admission is free. www. “The Great Gatsby” Jan. 25 - 28, Feb. 1 - 4. Springer Opera House. The breathtaking glamour and decadence of the Jazz Age comes to the stage in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

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“Newsies” Dec. 1 - 3, 8 - 10, 14 17, and 21 23. Springer Opera House, Columbus. Fresh from Broadway, this exhilarating song and dance sensation from Disney tells the captivating story of the 1899 New York newspaper boy strike. Led by 17 year-old runaway Jack Kelly, an army of orphan street kids takes on the world’s most powerful publishing empire and shuts it down. “Snow Queen” Jan. 6 - Feb. 3. Alabama Shakespeare Theatre, Montgomery. The fairy tale that inspired Disney’s “Frozen” and the White Witch character in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, comes to life on stage. Children will be spellbound as Gerda struggles to free her friend Kai from the clutches of an evil queen with a frozen heart. With the help of faith and loyalty, Gerda proves that love can triumph over evil. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Support & Parenting Groups A2Z Local Homeschooler’s Association For homeschooling families in the Auburn/Opelika Lee County area of Alabama. A2Z Loop is an all-inclusive support group open to all homeschool families in the Auburn/Opelika area regardless of differences in beliefs, cultures, nationality, race, religion, or method of home schooling. For more information call 334-728-1162 or email: Alabama Mentor’s Foster Parent Training Classes Offered in the Opelika Auburn area. Call 334-705-8877 x 18 to register or email: Auburn UMC Children’s Day Out Program Every Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.–12 noon. $10 per child for the entire morning, $2 each additional child. Attendance will be on a first come-first served basis. Contact Barbara Dawsey at 826-8800 for more information. Auburn United Methodist Church. Auburn Mommies, a fun group of moms in the Auburn/Opelika area that meet weekly for playgroups and Mommy and Me walking twice a week. We also have a Mommies Night Out once a month. Http:// auburnmommiesinalabama/. Auburn Mommy and Me Big Dog Running Co, Auburn. 10–11 a.m. Social time, story time, music/ movement, arts & crafts. Ages 9 months–3 years. Free! 334-209-2580. Auburn MOPS 1st Wednesday of each month, September-May. 9–11:30 a.m. Trinity United Methodist Church, Opelika. Meetings open to moms with preschool children ages 5 years and under. $5 per meeting; childcare $5 per child. $25 yearly membership dues. Weekly playdates, monthly moms night out, resources, and more. AuburnOpelikaMOPS; Bible Study Fellowship Held at Parkway Baptist Church, Thursdays at 10 a.m., (334) 546-1386.

Bosom Buddies (a breast cancer support group) Meets at The Health Resource Center the first Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. (334) 528-1260.

Miracle League To volunteer or for more information, www.miraclefield. org or

Breast Feeding class meets the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon on EAMC’s third floor. Call 528-1260 to register.

MOMS Club of Auburn, a group of stay-at-home moms that meets about twice a week to provide support for each other and fun interaction for kids. New website is

Caregiver Support Group Caring for a family member or friends can be rewarding, but it’s not easy. Whether you are the caregiver for your parents, spouse or a dependent child, this group is for you! Learn ways to cope with every day stresses of caring for someone you love. Gain tools and resources to help you on your journey. This program is supported by the Opelika Sportsplex, Lee-Russell Agency on Aging and HomeInstead Senior Care. This group is open to the public. Meets the last Monday of each month at 12:30 p.m. at Opelika Sportsplex AAC. Instructors are: Valeri White (Sportsplex), Bridgette Sager (Home Instead Senior Care), Lisa Askew (Lee-Russell Council of Gov). Food Allergy Support of East Alabama The Food Allergy Support of East Alabama group offers support through the sharing of information and resources. We are also working to increase awareness of food allergies in the state of Alabama. For more information, visit our website at www. or call Barbara at 334-8263082; GRACE - Post-Abortive Support Group Are you struggling with feelings of regret or sadness from having a pregnancy termination in your past? Do you feel like you can’t share these struggles with anyone? Would you like to find healing and forgiveness? You are not alone. Women’s Hope Medical Clinic wants to help you! You are invited to take part in our GRACE abortion recovery group. This confidential group gives you the opportunity to process the grief of your termination in a safe and non-judgmental setting. If you would like more information about the times, dates and location for this group, call or e-mail Sherry at Women’s Hope: 334.502.7000 or Don’t let the regret of the past rob you of the joy in the future. Call us today. We are here to help. La Leche League, a support group for nursing moms, meets the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. @ Cornerstone Family Chiropractic, Airport Plaza, 323 Airport Road Suite E, Auburn. For more information call LLL of Auburn/ Opelika, Leader, Josie Ettinger (h)334-257-3950 or (c)334-740-8780. Lee County Department of Human Resources Now recruiting foster/adoptive families. To learn more about fostering and adoption please call our office at 334-737-1100. Please join us in this endeavor to help our foster children. Lee County Parents of Chinese Children helps children understand, see and grow up with other families that look like their family (white parents/Asian child). The group is 100% free! We try to eat out at Asian establishments monthly and have playdates. Families that are waiting to adopt are welcome! We accept any families with adopted children from all Asian countries. Contact Melody at for more information.


MOPS of Auburn We meet the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month at Auburn United Methodist Church from 9:30 - 11:30. Childcare is provided, although we ask that you make reservations if possible. Meetings are open to mothers with children ages 5 and under. mopsofauburn Opelika-Auburn Newcomers Club A club for new women in town which offers fun social activities, meets for lunch on the 3rd Thursday of every month. Call Joan at 501-4974. Parent Educational Workshop - Autism Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy. 2nd Tuesday of each month, 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 800 2nd Avenue, Opelika. Parent Support Group - Autism Lee County Autism Resource and Advocacy meets the 1st Monday (unless national holiday), 9:00-11:00 a.m. and the next evening (Tuesday) from 6-7:30 p.m. Visit for complete information. Email or call 334-740-0716. Single Moms Outreach of East Alabama Single Moms Outreach of East Alabama offers 2nd Saturdays, group classes, and more. Contact Penny Messer at 334-444-6827. Email or find us on facebook. Teen Moms (for moms under 20) is a ministry that connects trained adults with pregnant girls and teenage moms. Support meetings, classes, job preparation, devotions and games. Call Laura Fuller at laura@ or 334-501-5637. Therapeutic Foster Care Program Foster a Child’s Future Today - Become a Therapeutic Foster Parent! Certification classes are free. Please call Joanna Fisher Champagne at Lee County Youth Development Center’s Therapeutic Foster Care Program. (334) 749-2996, Ext. 311 - You can make an eternal difference in a child’s life! Trinity UMC (Opelika) Mom’s Morning Out Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:45–12. $15 per child, $5 each additional. Trinity United Methodist Church.

Sports Auburn Men’s Basketball Dec. 3, 6, 9, 23, 30. Jan. 6, 9, 27. Auburn Women’s Basketball Nov. 29. Dec. 9, 19, 28, 31, Jan 7, 14, 28. Auburn University Football Nov. 25. Auburn University Gymnastics Dec. 1. Jan. 12, 26. Auburn University Swimming & Diving Dec. 1, 2, 3, 17, 18, 19, Jan. 12, 13, 14. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

Justice League


MPAA Rating: PG-13 Overall: B Violence: CSexual Content: B+ Profanity: BAlcohol / Drug Use: C The MPAA has rated The Justice League PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action. Since the credits rolled on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Caped Crusader has softened, even if he still isn’t sure of his deceased colleague’s motives. However, the time for mourning quickly concludes when yet another antagonist shows up on the blue planet. Following the comic genre template, an extended backstory sequence explains Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). He is this episode’s villain, and one who initiated a huge battle on Earth many years ago. Fortunately he was sent packing, but neglected to take his baggage with him: three glowing “Mother Boxes” that, if placed together, will destroy the world... maybe even the universe. He discovers one of the boxes is stashed on the island of Themyscira, also the home of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). His violent visit, joined by a swarm of CGI flying somethings, motivates WW aka Diana Prince to team up with Batman to send the prehistoric predator on his way once more. The pair also recruit to their cause Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. Teen audiences wanting to see these DC Comic conquerors duke it out will enjoy the many battle sequences of these titans, though there is little blood or gore. Perhaps the most disappointing issue with this film is a subtle decision in the wardrobe department. Wonder Woman is already the singular member of the Justice League to be stuck going to work in awkward swimwear. Parents may want to take this opportunity to illustrate the entrainment industry’s incessant need to continually define women as “eye candy”.

MPAA Rating: PG Overall: B+ Violence: BSexual Content: AProfanity: AAlcohol / Drug Use: B The MPAA has rated Coco PG for thematic elements. Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) comes from a cursed family. It all began when his great-great-grandfather decided to pursue a career as a songwriter and abandoned his wife Imelda and their young daughter Coco. She banned her descendants from having anything to do with music. Even though that was four generations ago, Miguel is still suffering the effects of her edict. Then comes Dia de los Muertos - the Day of the Dead. While his parents, Abuelita (grandmother) and great grandmother Coco are preparing for the celebration that honors deceased ancestors, the twelve-year-old attempts to sneak out with the hope of entering a talent contest being held in the town square. But everyone’s plans are disrupted when the stringed instrument is destroyed. The unfortunate incident does have one fortunate result – it provides a clue to Miguel’s heritage. Armed with this information, the boy breaks into the mausoleum of Ernesto De La Cruz to steal his famous guitar that is on display there. Although his intentions are just to show his closed-minded relatives that they should let him play music, the theft has unexpected and supernatural results. Much of the story takes place in Land of the Dead which may be frightening for young viewers, especially when much of the comedy comes from literal portrayals of characters losing their heads, dropping their jaws, or having their eyes pop out. Along with these somewhat ghoulish images, the plot features a dark villain with murderous intentions. Despite this, Coco offers a heartwarming tale best shared with older children rather than the little tikes.

The Star


MPAA Rating: PG Overall: B Violence: B+ Sexual Content: AProfanity: A Alcohol / Drug Use: A The MPAA has rated The Star PG for some thematic elements. The Star portrays the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ through colorful animation with a good dose of artistic flexibility... meaning the tale starts with a talking rodent. Abby (voice of Kristin Chenoweth) is our “mouse on the wall” that allows us to meet young Mary (voice of Gina Rodriguez) when she is visited by an angel. When the young woman is told she will give birth to the Son of God, Mary is more than willing to accept the assignment. Fortunately, within the context of this movie, everyone demonstrates great faith in Mary’s announcement, including her chosen man. His biggest concern is capacity live up to the responsibilities of being the father of Jesus. That’s when the next heavenly communication takes place, giving Joseph the assurance he’s up to the task. Definitely created to keep the attention of children, The Star’s main attraction is Bo the donkey (voice of Steven Yeun). Desperate to escape his servitude for a miller’, which means walking in circles to grind grain, Bo’s greatest desire is to provide transportation to a king. Although the biblical story’s sequence of events is somewhat shuffled and the Good Book’s narrative didn’t include three “wise” cracking camels (voices of Tracy Morgan, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey) or other supportive farm animals, the spirit of the occasion still shines through. And that may make this movie a worthwhile reminder of the “reason for the season”.

MPAA Rating: PG Overall: A Violence: B+ Sexual Content: AProfanity: AAlcohol / Drug Use: BThe MPAA has rated Wonder PG for thematic elements including bullying, and some mild language. It’s as plain as the nose on your face that Auggie Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay) is no ordinary ten-year-old. Born with a genetic defect (that is never clearly identified in the film), the boy has undergone 27 surgeries in his short life and still has a face only a mother could love. Consequently, the youngster has been sheltered from the outside world and home schooled – until now. Auggie’s mother (Julia Roberts) has decided that he should attend a real institution as he begins the first year of middle school. She logics that most of the other students will be new too, so it should ease the transition. Despite all the pep talks, and the support of his father (Owen Wilson) and sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), the whole family is secretly quite concerned about how Auggie’s facial deformities will be seen by his peers. Much of this movie follows the quiet child as he tries to establish himself in a new environment that is less hospitable than the walls of his of own home. Watching Aggie navigate the challenges of his situation would provide enough material for a good plot, yet this thoughtful script (which is based on a novel by R.J. Palacio) takes the story into unexpected territory by examining the feelings of jealousy, neglect and isolation as the perspectives of his sister and other friends are shared. In a subtle way, it exposes the fact that we all carry scars – even if they aren’t as visible as the nose on Auggie’s face. And it demonstrates the power that’s unleashed when ordinary people doing kind things.

Auburn Opelika Parents I December 2017



Come find out if ASMS is right for you by visiting

Current Alabama 9th or 10th graders can apply

ASMS Day. Prospective families get a chance to

I have to be a ‘genius’ to be accepted to ASMS?”

our campus Saturday, Nov.12 or Dec. 3 for

see student-run classroom demonstrations and

learn about a school that could change your life

forever. Register for ASMS Day at ASMS is our state’s only fully public, residential

high school for sophomores, juniors, and seniors

seeking advanced studies in math, science, and the humanities. Applying to ASMS is FREE – and so are tuition, room, and board if you are admitted!

online at Many people ask, “Do Answer: Absolutely NOT! ASMS is made up of students who are intelligent and work hard for

academic success. In 2017, the 82 ASMS grads

earned $13 million in merit-based scholarships with an ACT composite class average of 29.5.

Questions? Email or call 251.441.3250.

Alabama School of Mathematics and Science 1255 Dauphin St., Mobile, AL 36604 251.441.2100 -




For more information, visit


Auburn Opelika Parents December 2017  
Auburn Opelika Parents December 2017  

Community Holiday happenings in this issue!