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When the f inal school bell rings for summer break this year, many children will plan to come home and spend their three-month vacation in front of the television. However, by providing alternative activities that are still fun and exciting for kids, this summer can be more simulating and benef icial for your children. Here are some suggestions for exciting activities to get kids away from the television and video games this summer: * Plan a fun family day each week and let your children be involved in the planning process. Some ideas you might consider are: a trip to a local park; a day at the pool; heading to a roller or ice skating rink; biking along a local trail or even arranging a treasure hunt around your neighborhood. By setting aside just one day every week for a family fun day, you’ll not only be encouraging physical activity, but also family connections. * Form a local baseball, soccer, swimming or tennis team. If you have a lot of children in your neighborhood of the same age, encourage them to become par t of a spor ts team. They don’t have to be the best team, or the most talented athletes to have fun. It will take a little organization from you to get the team’s practice and competition schedules planned, but the benef its of team playing and outdoor fun will far outweigh the work involved. * Encourage your children to become active in the community by getting involved in charity projects that you can work on together. A great cause for families to take par t in is the Downy Touch of Comfor t program, because it helps kids who are unable to go out and enjoy the summer. Through Downy fabric softener and Quilts for Kids Inc., you can create quilts for children who are hospitalized to give them a touch of comfor t during their medical treatments. This program has already delivered 20,000 quilts to hospitalized children thanks to all the quilters who put their talent to good use. * Organize a talent show. Give the neighborhood children an oppor tunity to showcase their talents - whether it’s dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument or even acting. Host the show one evening for the community, and then take it on the road to your neighboring community centers or a nursing home where residents will appreciate the young enter tainers. Don’t just encourage your children to get out and be creative with their activities this summer - make sure you join in the fun. It will be a great bonding experience and you’ll create special memories to look back on many years down the road.

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HELPING WITH “THE TALK” Kids’ questions about sex can be tough, here’s some help to ease your concerns.

12 KEEPING UP WITH BABY New parents quickly realize that chasing after their little speedsters is no easy feat.


A ROOM WITH NO ACHOO Allergy sufferers and others with breathing problems can find relief at The Salt Room.

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On Our Cover Thanks to local mother, Monica, her daughter, Mya, and her son, Mason. Erika Hopkins

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Testing for metabolic syndrome An easy way to get a picture of your overall health (AR A) - How healthy am I? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. Learning the answer is easier than you may think. You can quickly gauge your health status through screenings for height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose. These tests may prove you are on the path to good health, or they may reveal a more serious health condition, like metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that occur together, increasing your r isk for developing hear t disease, s troke and diabetes. The more of these r isk fac tor s you have, the greater your risk. According to medical guidelines, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these risk factors: * Elevated blood pressure, def ined as greater than 130 over 85 * High triglyceride level, which is the level of fat found in your blood. A number greater than 150 is too high. * Raised blood sugar, or glucose levels, of more than 110. * Low HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol. Men’s levels should be above 40, and women’s should be above 50. * A waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men “Blood pressure, glucose

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or cholesterol levels that are not within the healthy range may indicate the presence of conditions such as hyper tension or prediabetes,” says Lonny Reisman, chief medical of f icer at Aetna. “These conditions can be managed with a combination of diet, exercise or medication.” Healthy lifes tyle changes can reduce or reverse the ef fects of metabolic syndrome. And the earlier you make changes, the easier it will be to reverse the impact of a serious condition such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. If you have one or more of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome, you should talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend taking action, which may include: * Losing weight. Losing even 10 percent of your body weight can really help. * Exercising more often. Increasing your physical activity - striving for at least 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week - is one of the best things you can do for your health. * Adopting healthy eating habits. Your food plan should include lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and dair y, and hear t-healthy fats like olive oil, f ish and nuts. Avoid lots of sugar and heavily processed foods. To read more about metabolic syndrome or to learn what you can do to reach your best possible health, visit

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Amy KD Tobik Photos by Ed Ruping

or years, Clay Kramer suffered from severe environmental allergies. The 11-year-old from Winter Park relied heavily on allergy shots, prescription antihistamines, steroids and over-the-counter medications to get through his day. His mother, Kerri Kramer, was very worried what impact so many medications would have on her growing boy. “He was having a lot of side effects from the medication. I was desperate to f ind something to help him,” Kramer said. “Nobody likes to put their child on steroids.” When a neighbor suggested Kramer take her son to salt therapy sessions to ease his constant congestion, she said she was game to try something new. “Within two weeks, [Clay] was so much better that we didn’t have to give him prescription

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medication anymore,” Kramer said. The side effects from the medication disappeared along with the mood swings. “He was having some tics, too, and we were worried about what was going on. When he stopped taking the medication, it all went away,” she said. Ashley Lewless, founder of The Salt Room in Orlando, said she feels like she is on the cutting edge of technology and wellness when she hears success stories like Clay’s. Her wellness center, which opened in February 2010, provides people with the healing benef its of European-inspired salt therapy. Salt is long believed to provide relief from allergies and asthma, sinus and lung congestions, insomnia and snoring, cold and f lu symptoms, chronic ear infections, cystic f ibrosis, pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as stress. In a salt treatment room, halogenera-

tors are used to crush pharmaceutical grade salt into par ticles small enough (between one and 10 micrometers) to be inhaled deep into the lungs. Visitors to The Salt Room can relax on sleek adjustable loungers in a peaceful environment in one of the private or semi-private sterile salt rooms while passively inhaling a dry salt aerosol. A special playroom equipped with tables/chairs and plenty of toys is also available for children undergoing salt therapy. In addition to the relaxation room, The Salt Room offers a yoga/massage salt room in which clients can pamper themselves with massage, acupuncture or yoga while breathing 100 percent natural salt air. Last month,

The Salt Room added facial ser vices and a skincare line called Skin Fitness Therapy to its menu, provided by an esthetician. Lewless said the salt room concept is somewhat fashioned after the 19th-century salt mines. “Doctors realized none of the salt miners had the same respiratory and sinus conditions the rest of the population had. In the 1850s they started bringing patients down to the salt mines for weeks at a time,” Lewless said. Salt cave therapy, speleotherapy, became a popular healing method. In 1843, the concept on which halotherapy is based was f irst published by a physician. Lewless said the halogenerator was developed eight years ago and since then salt room therapy has become very popular around the world. “There are thousands of salt rooms in Europe, and in Israel they are even in hospitals,” she said. “In Canada, Europe and Israel, [salt therapy] is covered by insurance.” Lewless said The Salt Room is one of only a handful of salt therapy businesses in the United States. “We already know it works. It’s a com-

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plementary therapy – it’s not medicine. It’s just salt like you would get a saline rinse from the drug store,” Lewless said. Lewless said she was f irst inspired to develop her business after watching a news repor t several years ago. “[My husband (Jerry Lewless) and I] were living in Mexico in a little beach town for two years and my husband hadn’t had any sinus infections. During that time I saw a news repor t about [a salt room] that opened in London and sure enough it made sense because people already do saline rinses,” she said. “When I saw this on the news I knew I had to do this. I star ted doing the medical research and sure enough they had plenty of medical research, but it was all out of Russia, Poland and Israel. I decided to go up to Toronto, (Canada) since there weren’t any in the U.S. yet and I went and tested out a couple of salt rooms.” Inspired to bring the benef its of salt therapy to Central Florida, Lewless hired a man from Estonia to build the rooms at her new Nor th Mills location. He covered the interior walls with hand-thrown natural sea salt which created a sterilized and negative ion environment. The salt rooms are kept clean with fresh air supplied by HEPA air f ilters that capture and remove up to 99.97 percent of

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airborne par ticles while activated carbon f ilters remove volatile organic compounds. “After each session, the air is sucked out of the room and clean air comes in and the UV is turned on which kills 98.8 percent of bacteria and viruses on the surfaces and a Clorox wipe is used on the toys after each session,” Lewless said. Clients are also given surgical booties to wear in the salt room so outside materials or germs don’t enter the room. So many clients have repor ted success from the therapy, especially those with respi-

ratory or sinus issues, Lewless said. “It’s anti-inf lammatory and antibacterial, so as they sit in there and breathe in the salt, the inf lammation reduces, it dislodges the mucus that’s in there and they are able to blow it out or cough it up,” she said. The Salt Room is an excellent solution

for many ailments because it provides people with drug free relief, Lewless said. “I have a client with cystic f ibrosis who for the f irst time in four years did not have to go on antibiotics during cold season. It was also the f irst year she didn’t have to be hospitalized,” Lewless said. While Clay still keeps up with his allergy shots to help build resistance, his mother THE SALT ROOM said he no longer relies 1804 NORTH MILLS on prescripORLANDO FL tions to ease his 407-965-3065 severe allergies sympWWW.SALTROOMORLANDO.COM toms. Lewless said she looks for ward to hearing more testaments in the future as people discover the healing benef its of salt therapy. “I love it; every day I am happy to get to work and see what is on the horizon,” she said.

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How to talk to your kids about sex nswering kids’ questions about sex is one of the responsibilities many parents dread most. Otherwise confident parents often feel tongue-tied and awkward when it comes to sex. But the subject shouldn’t be avoided. By answering children’s questions as they arise, parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex. Here, the experts at offer some advice for tackling this delicate subject: 12 June 2011

■ When do children start becoming curious about sex? Children are human beings and therefore sexual beings. It’s hard for parents to acknowledge this, just as it’s hard for children to think of their parents as sexually active. But even infants have curiosity about their own bodies, which is healthy and normal.

■ What sort of ‘sexual’ behavior do young children exhibit? Toddlers will often touch themselves when they are naked, such as in the bathtub or while being diapered. At this stage of development, they have no modesty. Their parent’s reaction will tell them whether their actions are acceptable. Toddlers should not be scolded or made to feel ashamed of being interested in their bodies. It is natural for children to be interested in their own bodies. Some parents may choose to casually ignore self-touching. Others may want to acknowledge that, while they know it feels good, it is a private matter. Parents can make it clear that they expect the child to keep that activity private. Parents should only be concerned about masturbation if the child seems preoccupied with it to the exclusion of other activities. Victims of sexual abuse sometimes become preoccupied with self-stimulation.

■ Is it OK to use nicknames for private parts? By the time a child is 3 years old, parents may choose to use the correct anatomical words. They may sound clinical, but there is no reason why the proper label should not be used when the child is capable of saying it. These words — penis, vagina, etc. — should be stated matter-of-factly, with no implied silliness. That way, the child learns to use them in a direct manner, without embarrassment. In fact, this is what most parents do. A Gallup Poll showed that 67 percent of parents use actual names to refer to male and female body parts.

■ What do you tell a very young child who asks where babies come from? Depending on the child’s age, you can say that the baby grows from an egg in the mommy’s womb, pointing to your stomach, and comes out of a special place, called the vagina. There is no need to explain the act of lovemaking because very young children will not understand the concept. However, you can say that when a man and a woman love each other, they like to be close to one another. Tell them that the man’s sperm joins the woman’s egg and then the baby begins to grow. Most children younger than 6 will accept this answer. Age-appropriate books on the subject are also helpful. Answer your child’s question in a straightforward manner, and you will probably find that she is satisfied with a little information at a time.

■ What should you do if you catch your child playing ‘doctor,’ i.e., showing private parts to another child? Children 3 to 6 years old are most likely to play “doctor.” Many parents overreact when they witness or hear of such behavior. Heavy-handed scolding is NOT the way to deal with the situation. Nor should parents feel this is promiscuous behavior or will lead to promiscuity. Often, the presence of a

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Still worried that your kid will stump you? Here are some questions about puberty and sex from real teens, along with answers from the experts at


Can a girl get pregnant if she has sex during her period?


A lot of people think that if a girl has sex during her period, she can’t get pregnant. But it is possible for a girl to get pregnant while she is bleeding. There are a couple of reasons why this can happen: ■ Not all vaginal bleeding is the result of a menstrual period. Sometimes a girl will have a small amount of vaginal bleeding at the time of ovulation — the time when she is most fertile. During ovulation, an egg is released from one of the ovaries and travels down a fallopian tube to the uterus. It’s common for girls who are ovulating to have some vaginal bleeding that can be mistaken for a period. ■ Sometimes ovulation can occur before the bleeding from a girl’s period has stopped, or it may occur within a few days after her period is over. Sperm can fertilize an egg for up to three days after ejaculation. So in both cases, having sex before the period is finished can result in pregnancy. Having unprotected sex at any time, including when you’re bleeding, is very risky. Along with the risk of becoming pregnant, there is also a risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia, genital warts or HIV.


I’m 14, and I don’t have my period yet. Is this normal?


A girl’s period, also known as menstruation, begins after she has reached puberty. Puberty usually starts between ages 8 and 13 in girls, but it’s also normal for some girls to start earlier or later than that. On average, a girl’s first period usually comes two to two and a half years after the first sign of puberty (breast development is usually the first sign of puberty, but sometimes pubic hair comes first). However, some normal girls will get their first periods less than a year or more than three years after the first sign of puberty. Another clue you can use to figure out when you might get your period is to check your underwear for vaginal discharge. This clear or whitish, mucus-like discharge usually appears about six months before your first period. If you’re concerned about not having your period, ask your mom how old she was when she got her first period. Girls who get their first period later than average often find that their moms or other female relatives may have gone through puberty later than average also. What sets menstruation apart from other characteristics of puberty like breast development is that no one can tell when it happens to you. So no one will know you haven’t started your period unless you choose to share that information. Some girls may not get their periods until they’re in high school, and that’s fine. Just because you’re 14 and you haven’t gotten your period yet doesn’t necessarily mean that anything’s wrong with you. Some girls may not be getting their first periods because of other reasons: Girls who are underweight or who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa may notice a delay in the beginning of their periods. Girls who are very athletic may not get their periods until they stop exercising or competing so vigorously. Severe stress or certain illnesses can also delay menstruation. It’s also possible for a girl to get pregnant before she gets her first period. Being pregnant means that a girl wouldn’t get her period until she’s no longer pregnant. If you have concerns about when you’ll start your period or think that a medical problem may be keeping you from menstruating, you should talk to your doctor. — From Nemours/

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parent is enough to interrupt the play. You may wish to direct your child’s attention to another activity without making a lot of fuss. Later, sit down with your child for a talk. Explain that although you understand her interest in her friend’s body, she is getting to be a big girl and people are generally expected to keep their bodies covered in public. This way you have set limits without having made the child feel guilty. This is also an appropriate age to begin to talk about good and bad touch. Tell your child that her body is her own and that she has the right to privacy. No one should touch her if she doesn’t like it or want it. Tell her that if anyone ever touches her in a way that feels strange or bad, she should tell that person to stop it and then tell you about it. Explain that you want to know about anything that makes her feel bad or uncomfortable.

Happy Father’s Day to all our Wonderful Dads!

■ When should parents sit children down for that allimportant ‘birds and bees’ discussion? Actually, never! Learning about sex should not occur in one all-or-nothing session. It should be more of an unfolding process, one in which the child learns, over time, what she needs to know. Answer questions as they arise so that the child’s natural curiosity is satisfied as she matures. If your child doesn’t ask questions about sex, don’t just ignore the subject. At about age 5, you can begin to introduce books that approach sexuality on a developmentally appropriate level.

■ At what age should nudity in the home be curtailed? Families set their own standards for nudity, modesty and privacy. Although every family’s values are different, privacy is an important concept for all children to learn. Parents should explain limits regarding privacy the same way that other house rules are explained — matter-of-factly — so that children don’t come to associate privacy with guilt or secrecy. Generally, children will learn from the limits you establish for them.

■ To what extent can parents depend on the schools to teach sex education? Parents should begin the sex education process long before it begins in school. The introduction of formal sex education in the classroom varies; many schools start it in the fifth or sixth grade. Some of the topics addressed in a sex education class may include anatomy, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Parents should be open to continuing the dialogue at home. Schools tend to teach mechanics and science more than values. This is an area where parents can and should have something to teach.

■ At what age should girls be told about menstruation? Girls (and boys!) should have information by about age 8, some of which may be provided in school. Instructional books are helpful, but mothers should also share their own personal experiences with their daughters, including when their periods first started and what it felt like, and how, like many things, it wasn’t such a big deal after a while. — From Nemours/ Health information provided by from the health experts of Nemours. © 2 0 0 8 T H E N E M O U R S F O U N D AT I O N / K I D S H E A LT H

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Reap the benefits of a homegrown kitchen garden By Kim Ossi, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

No matter the reason you’ve been itching to dig up some earth — from saving money to “going local,” or even getting to know your neighbors through a community garden — we’ve sussed out the details to get you from digging dirt to harvesting your bounty.


One of the most important parts of the garden equation is the quality of your soil. Jon Traunfeld, extension specialist with the University of Maryland Extension, said to examine the soil where you have chosen to grow your garden and look closely at the top four to six inches: ■ Hospitable soil will be dark, crumbly and drain easily. It also will be filled with soil critters like worms and high in organic matter. ■ Inhospitable soil will be compacted and drain poorly. It will have few worms and will be low in organic matter. “If you put your seeds into the ground, chances are they’re going to grow,” said Jessica Babcock, seed technician for Seed Savers Exchange (www.seedsavers. org). But if the soil is more on the inhospitable side, some options include: ■ Bringing in quality gardening soil from your local garden center and mixing it with your existing soil. ■ Having your soil tested to determine what nutrients are missing and then adding those nutrients in through soil amendments, like compost or lime (found at garden centers), while tilling the hard, compacted ground. BONNIE WELLER/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/MCT ■ Starting a garden right on top of the grass, through a raised bed, or Good garden soil should be dark, crumbly and drain easily. by using pots.

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“One general thing (about gardening) is don’t be intimidated,” Babcock said. “Lots of times people say ‘I’d like to garden, but I don’t really know how,’ so they don’t do anything.” Here are some guidelines: ■ Evaluate what you eat: A garden is of no use to you if you end up growing foods you don’t enjoy. “If you know you like to eat carrots, plant carrots — don’t plant radishes,” Babcock said. ■ Examine the light at your potential plot: Vegetables and herbs usually need “full sun,” which, according to Traunfeld, means six to eight hours a day of direct sunlight. That’s not to say you can’t plant a vegetable in partial shade. “Less sun means that plants reach for light and can become spindly; individual leaves may be larger; fruit production will be lower; and overall plant health is reduced,” he said. If your garden has partial shade — three to six hours of sun a day — Traunfeld suggests growing leafy greens of all types, like lettuce, spinach, radish and Asian greens. “It also depends on your climate,” Babcock said. “If you’re in a really warm area, some things might benefit from a little shade, especially in the heat of the day.” If you don’t have enough light — or space — in your yard for an in-

ground garden, you could try container gardening. Many plants grow well in containers, which can be placed in the spot where light is available or you have room. ■ Research what will grow well in your area: Some plants will not thrive

where you live, or grow at all. Find your gardening zone at Your local cooperative extension may offer guides for gardeners as well. ■ Seeds vs. transplants: Traunfeld recommended starting with both seeds and transplants, depending on the plant. “Things like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, if you want to grow those things, you really have to use a transplant,” he said. “Go to a good garden center to buy them. … With herbs, you pretty much want to go with transplants.” These types of plants need to go in the ground when the soil is warm. So if you plant from seed in the ground, you’ll end up about six weeks behind plants grown from transplants. “But for all the other things, like lettuce, beans, cucumbers, squash — then starting with seeds is the way to go,” Traunfeld said. And “greens, kale, lettuce, spinach — these things should go in as soon as you prepare your garden. … Onions, Swiss chard,” too, as these are all coolweather plants or have a long growing season.


The goal of every kitchen garden is to grow foods you enjoy eating.

■ Hybrids vs. heirlooms: Hybrids are plants that have been bred to have certain characteristics (flavor, heavy yields, heat tolerance, etc.). Heirlooms are plants that have been passed down through families for generations, so Peppers are they’re particularly suited best grown to where they originated. from “Hybrids are good transplants. because they’re pretty good standbys. … And chances are they’ll grow pretty well for you,” Babcock said. “And there really is a lot more variety in (heirlooms) — green, black, purple, orange, white; you can

have all sorts of colors and flavors.” ■ Compost this, not that: You always can buy compost, which may be the best option if you’re a rookie, Traunfeld said. But you also can create a small chicken wire enclosure or dig a pit in the garden and dump in herbicide-free lawn or kitchen waste. What shouldn’t you put in the compost pile? “Dairy, meat, cooked foods, stuff like that. No pet waste,” Traunfeld said. Occasionally turn your compost pile with a garden fork. Your compost is ready to be added back to your garden as a fertilizer when it looks and smells like soil, and you can’t identify any of the individual items you added to your pile.

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FLORIDA VEGETABLE GARDENING GUIDE Vegetable gardening offers fresh air,sunshine,exercise,enjoyment,mental therapy,nutritious fresh vegetables,and economic savings,as well as many other benefits.Vegetables can be grown year-round in Florida if attention is paid to the appropriate planting dates.While this guide provides recommendations primarily for home gardens,the information may be useful in other situations,such as container,community,and market gardens. SITE For convenience locate the garden near the house,on a well drained site,close to a source of water,and in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.With proper care,vegetables may also be included in the landscape among ornamental plants.Coastal sites are also suitable.Where possible,rotate the garden from place to place to help control soil diseases and other pests. PLAN Before planting,draw a garden plan that includes the name,location and planting date(s) of the vegetables you want to grow. Make a list of supplies and order or purchase seeds early if you intend to grow your own transplants. The Planting Guide lists which vegetable seedlings transplant easily and which do not.Vegetables that are difficult to transplant should be seeded directly into the garden or started in containers first. SOIL PREPARATION Gardeners often plant on whatever soil type is available,but it is usually worthwhile to improve the garden plot with additions of organic matter. Spade or plow the plot at least three weeks before planting.At planting time, rework the soil into a smooth,firm surface. M A R L I N L E V I S O N / M I N N E A P O L I S S TA R T R I B U N E / M C T

Raised garden beds can be costly to construct but have benefits.

Remember: “Starting small is the key thing,” Traunfeld said. “Small” might mean container gardening. “You could start just trying to grow some things in flower pots on your front porch,” Babcock said. But if you’re ready for a ground-based garden, Traunfeld said the easiest way to get started is, before the grass starts to come in, “cover the area with whole sections of newspaper, and then put down something like compost, shredded leaves or any kind of organic material.” That will kill the grass so you don’t have to dig it up or rent a tiller.

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“If you put compost on top, in the spring you can plant right in the compost,” he said. “If you plant tomato transplants you can take a trowel and cut through the paper and plant it right in the ground.” Raised beds also work, but it will be more expensive since you’ll have to pay for the surrounds of the bed and bring in quality soil. But the benefit is an “instant garden,” Traunfeld said, which is really good if you have “cruddy” soil or it doesn’t drain properly. He also warned gardeners choosing this method to be wary of the soil you’re getting from your local supplier:

ORGANIC MATTER Most Florida soils benefit from the addition of organic matter,such as animal manure,rotted leaves,compost,commercial soil mixes and cover crops. Thoroughly mix liberal amounts of (un-composted) organics in the soil well in advance of planting,preferably at least a month before seeding.If you do not plan to use inorganic fertilizer,spread 25 - 100 pounds of compost or composted animal manure per 100 square feet.Composted organics may be applied at planting time.However,un-composted manures should be worked into the soil 90-120 days before planting.Due to inconsistent levels of nutrients in compost,accompanying applications of inorganic or organic fertilizer may be beneficial.To avoid plant stunting,organic amendments low in nitrogen. COVER CROPS/GREEN MANURE Green manure is fresh plant material turned into the soil.Planting and plowing in green-manure crops during the off-season is beneficial.The following cover crops are recommended:cowpea,velvet bean,soybean,and sunflower in summer and cereal rye (FL 401),crimson clover,and Austrian winter pea in winter.

“Look at it and smell it. If it smells bad you don’t want it; if it smells earthy, it’s good to use. You also can ask the company if they have any test results they can share. See if they know if it’s really acidic or alkaline.”

IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE Vegetables cannot tolerate standing water from excessive rainfall or irrigation. Yet,at the same time,vegetables need soil moisture to grow and produce. Frequency of irrigation depends upon the age of the crop and your soil type. Young plants need frequent,but light irrigation;maturing crops need more water,but less often.Sandy soils demand more frequent irrigation than clay, muck or amended soils.Conserve water by using mulch,organic matter,and techniques such as drip irrigation.Make a slight depression at the base of plants to hold water until absorbed by the soil.

■ Too much, too soon: “The big one is biting off more than you can chew – trying to do a big garden the first year,” Traunfeld said. ■ Pest control: Not just insects, but deer, birds, groundhogs and rabbits. As far as insects go, the Maryland extension office only recommends organic pest control on vegetable gardens. “The first thing you can do is … sweep them off into a bucket of soapy water or go through squishing them,” Traunfeld said. But he suggested getting to know other gardeners in your area to learn what insects are truly

pests and which are beneficial. ■ Weeding and feeding: “The second (most common mistake) is weeds,” Traunfeld said. These can crowd your plants and compete for soil nutrients. And “you’ve gotta fertilize; you’ve gotta water,” Traunfeld said. ■ Improper spacing: Both Babcock and Traunfeld agree plant spacing is another very common error. “Really pay attention to what the plant tag says or you read (online),” Traunfeld said. ■ Giving up too soon: “Everything is different every season,” Babcock said. “Just because something doesn’t work this year, doesn’t mean it won’t work next year.” Try a different location next year. Water more, water less. Or, try a different variety of the same plant. Consider your garden an experiment, and just savor every bite you’re able to harvest.

RESOURCES ■ Find your cooperative extension: ■ Find your zone: ■ “Starting a Vegetable Garden,” step-by-step instructions: GardeningBasics/index.cfm

■ National Gardening Association: ■ American Community Garden Association: www.

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Where to find Coupons

Store displays a great place to discover bargains By: Mary Edwards

Many new couponers do not realize the many dif ferent places to f ind coupons — for free. When mos t people think of coupons, they think of the Sunday newspaper. And while the newspaper is s till the No. 1 place to f ind the bes t valued coupons, there are many other places to f ind grea t coupons. Check out your local grocer y s tore. Check ing the rounder s (w hen you f ir s t walk into your s tore, w here the ads are kept) and look ing for cardboard displays throughout the s tore are great ways to f ind coupon booklets. Some booklets are placed by the manufac turer and some are s tore book lets — f illed wi th coupons that can only be used at that s tore — but can be s tacked wi th a manufac turer coupon to maximize your savings. Also, keep an eye out for “sample s tations.” When you see employees handing out samples, they usually have 20 June 2011

coupons to hand out also. If you don’t see them, jus t ask. As you’re shopping throughout the s tore, keep an eye out for tear-pads on the shelves, coupons taped to products, peelies s tuck to produc ts, and s tack s of coupons on display tables. Also, check out the bot tle necks for hang tags. They can be found on all sor ts of bot tles-wine bot tles, soda bot tles, detergents, cooking oils and more. Another great place for free coupons is online. Many manufacturers of fer printable coupons and mos t s tores will accept them with no issues, but remember to never ever photo copy coupons. You can check direc tly on manufac turer websites or coupon printing sites like and While you’re looking online for printable coupons on manufac turer s websi tes, f ind the “contac t” but ton and reques t coupons. You will be surprised at how quickly your mailbox and/or email box will f ill up with coupons. Another option is to trade

coupons wi th your fr iends and family. I have a group of friends that I trade coupons wi th each month. We do not have pets at our home, but we do have kids, so I gather all of my pet food and pet essential coupons and trade for kid’s juice, diapers, wipes and more. Also, when you’re out on Sunday at cof fee shops, car repair shops and res taurants you will f ind that many people leave their paper s behind. I t doesn’t hur t to ask the owner or manager if you can take the inser ts. Always remember to get your coupons in multiples of two. If you are buying the newspaper, purchase them in t wos — buy two, four, six or eight. If you’re grabbing a coupon booklet, grab two. When an item goes on sale, buy one get one free, you can use a coupon on both the item your

paying for and the free item, so be sure to have two coupons. The simple truth about coupons is tha t we can not af ford not to use them. Visit the Simple Truth Foundation website, simpletruthfounda, or thebr ick, for resources, and look for a class near you. You may also schedule your own in-home class with 10 or more gues ts. Our mission is to provide resources for you to become a success ful coupon shopper. Mary is an instructor with the Simple Truth Foundation, a Central Florida organization that helps people make their finances stretch by taking advantage of coupons. For more information on the organization, visit

June 2011 21

(Family Features) Between the sleepless nights, spit-up and countless diaper changes, new parents quickly realize that chasing after their little speedsters is no easy feat. “When our f irst son was born, my husband and I focused on baby-proof ing the house to meet our little guy’s needs. Before we knew it, his energy had surpassed ours and we needed to not only adapt our home but ourselves,” says Laila Ali, professional athlete and mother to toddler son and soon-to-be-born baby No. 2. Huggies teamed up with Laila to help parents conquer the chaos of parenthood by offering exclusive tips for the everyday mom. According to Laila, and other modern moms struggling to keep up, little bundles of joy can often have parents wishing for more hours in the day. “With only a few lifestyle changes, your baby’s exciting milestones don’t have to be accompanied by crazy days, puffy eyes and fast food dinners,” Laila says. “From squeezing in daily f itness routines to f inding little ways to reward yourself - it’s possible to maximize your energy as you chase after your running, dancing and playing little mover.” Check out these tips, and don’t forget to enjoy this special time in your active baby’s life. To learn more about parenting rewards from Huggies and obtain other tips on how to enjoy the amazing ride of parenting, visit

1. Get moving.

Finding time to hit the gym isn’t always easy with a baby at home, so f ind ways to incorporate aerobic activity into your day. Walk to the library or supermarket whenever possible, and be sure to get your toddler out of her stroller so she can walk some of the way, too. If walking to your destination isn’t an option, park the car far from entrances and enjoy those extra steps of exercise.

2. Surround yourself with support.

From sharing parenting advice to all those special f irsts in your baby’s life, connecting with other parents is a great way to surround yourself with needed suppor t. Huggies Brand is helping moms all over the country come together by teaming up with Meetup, the world’s largest online network of local groups, to host 60 “Keep-Up Mee22 June 2011

tups” from January to March. “Keep-Up Kits” will be given away to help Meetup Moms keep up with their little mover.

3. Laugh.

From the spit-up to the spilled milk, don’t be afraid to laugh off the silly situations. Laughter real-

ly is the best medicine, relieving stress and burning extra calories. Remember, parenting is never perfect, so the next time you f ind yourself in the middle of that messy diaper change don’t let yourself stress; laugh it out instead.

4. Accept a helping hand.

For a f irst-time mother, it’s hard to realize you really can’t do it all. Keeping up with your little speedster all day can be exhausting. When feeling overwhelmed and ready to pull out your hair, it is OK to admit that you really could use that extra helping hand. Accept your family or friend’s offer to come over and keep your little one entertained for a couple of hours. Don’t second guess this decision; be grateful and accept the favor because you deserve it (and others relish the time with your bundle of joy).

Setting aside time to work on something you enjoy can help clear your mind and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Don’t be afraid to try out different hobbies until you f ind the one that f its your schedule and interests. If possible, incorporate your little one into your new hobby as this can make for some very special bonding time.

5. Don’t forget to sleep.

7. Stay organized.

Between the late-night feedings and roundthe-clock diaper duty, it may seem impossible to get more than a couple hours of shut-eye. To keep from feeling like you are going to fall asleep while at the stroller wheel, try to f it in a midday nap while your baby snoozes. For the working mom, head to bed as soon as possible once the little ones are tucked snuggly in their beds. Teaming up with your partner and switching off middle-of-the-night

feedings and diaper changes can also save you from exhaustion.

6. Take up a hobby.

Organization is key to keeping stress to a minimum. From making sure the diaper bag is prepared prior to a long car ride or day at the playground, staying organized and scheduling your day can help you stay cool, calm and collected.

8. Reward yourself.

Parents deserve rewards for all that they do on days other than Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

What’s even better is getting rewards on items they already purchase, like diapers. This season, enjoy a winning code in every pack of Huggies Little Movers diapers to cash in for prizes like Starbucks gift cards and iPods. Submit each on-pack code online and see details at to win.

9. Take a break.

Take regular breaks away from your children. It’s easy to brush off the importance of “me time,” but it’s a must to keep you at your best - whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book or going for a drive, “me time” cannot be underestimated.

10.Remember to treasure those ‘aww-inspired’moments.

Last but certainly not least, remember to sit back and enjoy the ride of a lifetime: parenthood. From sharing photos of your toddler on w w to connecting with other parents via w w, remember to treasure each and every moment.

June 2011 23

Single Parenting

Single moms seminar offers hope By Laura Camper, The Anniston Star, Ala.

(MCT) — In 2010, Shak ir ra Law at tended an event for single mother s tha t she hoped would provide infor ma tion for her and her k ids. She also received the 2010 Mom Scholar ship — her ticket back to school to f inish the phar macy technician program she had s tar ted before becoming a single mother. “I t was r ight on time,” she told the women ga thered Wednesday for this year’s Single Moms Seminar sponsored by Jack sonville Sta te Univer si t y Wellness-Annis ton. “I was at the end. Jus t as I fel t like giving up, they came and they helped me.” One year la ter, La w has landed a job as a phar macy technician wi th a drugs tore chain and is looking for ward to being able to more easily suppor t her self and her t wo children, ages 2 and 1. She is one of the success s tor ies of the communi ty. Rachel Ak ins, w ho brought her li t tle boy to this year’s seminar, is hoping to follow in Law’s foots teps. “I want to do medical billing 24 June 2011

and coding,” Ak ins said as she bounced her 19-month-old son on her k nees. “You k now, you don’t get Pell grant s or any thing for those classes and I don’t have any money to pay for the classes.” The program a t JSU is a t wo-month program and she believes i t would give her bet ter job oppor tuni ties in the fu ture, bu t wi thou t the scholar ship i t seems out of reach. The scholar ship was jus t one of the of fer ings at the seminar. All around the per imeter of the room a t The Br idge on Gur nee Avenue, local agencies manned tables ready to give the women a t tending infor ma tion abou t the ser vices they could of fer them. Cur ley Davis, super visor of the Depar tment of Human Resources jobs program, said being able to get the infor mation to the women is a s tep in helping them become self-suf f icient. The agencies can wor k together to f ill in gaps and give the women the suppor t they need to change their lives for the bet ter, he said. His is probably one of the bet ter

k now n programs. O ther s in the room such as Family Link s, Interfai th Minis tr ies and Communi t y Enabler may not be as well k nown to the women. “We probably sent out 10 0 refer rals from our caseload telling them about this,” Davis said. Fred Smi th, direc tor of JSU Wellness-Annis ton, said the seminar is impor tant because one event can’t provide the suppor t the women need. “I t’s a process,” Smi th said. “And we’re connec ting them wi th

all the ser vice provider s here.” Seated at a table in the back of the room wai ting for the program to begin, three women were leaf ing through the information they had received already. Bu t as they cha t ted, they also found suppor t. “We wanted to lear n we’re not alone,” said B et t y Welch of Annis ton. Kimber ly Hous ton agreed. B eing a single mom can make you feel isola ted, La w explained.

“Ever y bod y says, ‘You can do i t. I t’s not hard,’” Law said. “But until you really have to put your foot to the pavement and see what’s going to happen, you really don’t k now. So, I guess you can feel isolated and alone like nobody’s going to be able to help you.” That suppor t is impor tant as the women tr y to take on the role of both mother and father, and each one’s dif f iculties may be dif ferent. One may have a hard time f inding child care while she wor k s; another may be wor k ing bu t ha ving a hard time making ends meet. The seminar is kind of a one-s top shop for f inding the ser vices they need. The wellness program is funded by JSU as par t of its community outreach. Dr. John Hammet t, dean of the College of Education Professional Studies at JSU, said the program takes a holis tic view of wellness — both physical and social — and the seminar f its right into the university’s mission. “We tr y to prepare teacher s to go ou t there and make a dif ference in the lives of young people,” Hammet t said. “Bu t i t’s only half the bat tle. The other half is at home — the home life the children have.”

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June 2011 27

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calendar June 2011

● Summer Events ● Concerts ● Shows Featured Events ● Cub Club Preschool Summer Series at the Zoo! ● ZZ Top, Hard Rock Live ● Cirque du Soleil: Alegria St. Pete Times Forum

Monthly June Events

Friday, June 3

Star Wars Weekends Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios June 3-5; June 10-12

First Fridays Art Stroll Ivanhoe Village Orlando 6 p.m.-9 p.m.

The annual special event wraps up with the first two weekends of the month. The revamped Star Tours ride — now in 3-D — will be open as the park celebrates the legendary saga.

The art galleries and shops of Ivanhoe Village open their doors to local artists to showcase their work! Stroll North Orange Avenue between Princeton and New Hampshire and enjoy. 407-484-5839

World Ballet Competition 2011 Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, Orlando

Florida in the Civil War Orange County Regional History Center Daily 06/12/11

See beautiful ballerinas pirouette their way to glory at the World Ballet Competition! A unique international event which brings together competitors aged 10-22 from around the globe of all levels of experience. 407-849-4669

History Center visitors can discover Florida’s contributions to the Civil War and learn about the challenges the state faced during the war between the states. 407.836.8500,


Reptile Discovery Center Venom Programs Reptile Discovery Center Each Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

A summer-long schedule of family fun including themed pool parties, dive in movie nights, family golf clinics, themed arts and crafts and much more! 407-597-3600

Visitors to the Reptile Discovery Center can watch snake handlers extract venom from a variety of snake species and learn how the venom is used for medical and research purposes. 386.740.9143,, http://www.reptilediscoverycenter.c om

Science Park Orlando Science Center Daily except Wed The OSC’s Science Park exhibit presents basic scientific principles in an engaging, hands-on manner. Visitors can experiment with magnets and coils to see how electricity and magnetism are related, construct a paper structure that floats on a column of air, shoot an air cannon, and experience natural phenomenons such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and thunderclouds. 407.514.2000,

Summer Blast! Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek 30 June 2011

Each series includes three classes. For more information or to register call 407-323-4450 ext 123 or e-mail

Thursday, June 2 Wednesday, June 1 The Mommies — A Musical Blog Plaza Theatre, Orlando 2 p.m. It’s all about The Bump and everything that comes after! From the writer of Menopause The Musical comes a theatrical show for today’s moms: those who shop and socialize online! Event Cost: $36. 407-478-1220

Cub Club Preschool Summer Series at the Zoo! Central Florida Zoo Join us at the zoo this summer for our popular preschool series for children ages 2 to 5. The Cub Club program is an imaginative way to share the marvelous world of animals with your child while engaging in an active lifestyle together! Cub Club kids and their parents can choose from a variety of fun animalthemed series they will enjoy together!

Eco Camp at Ed Yarborough Nature Center, Geneva Time to register for the Eco Camp at the Ed Yarborough Nature Center. Eco Camp blends traditional summer camp activities while increasing a child’s appreciation for nature, science and the environment for children ages 8 to 14. For campers, ages 12 to 15, Field Biology Boot Camp focuses on higher level topics such as biology, water resource, management and more. Campers will have a hands-on experience with plants and animals in their ecosystems. The cost is $110 per week. For more information and to register, call 407-3490959.

Orlando City Soccer Citrus Bowl 7:30 p.m. The local Lions continue their inaugural season with a home contest against the Charlotte Eagles.

Ceramics Classes Super Awesome Cool Pottery Orlando Classes will cover and review basics of handbuilding or wheel throwing techniques and tailor demonstrations to meet the class needs. All materials included (up to 25 pounds of clay). Please bring an old towel and wear an old T-shirt to class. 407-452-2452

Saturday, June 4 Silver Spurs Rodeo Silver Spurs Arena Kissimmee 7:30 p.m. Featuring bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, and barrel racing, along with crowd-pleasing cowboy clowns. Enjoy some exciting rides after the rodeo, the annual Osceola County Fair.

WBC All Stars of Dance Bob Carr Performing Center, 7:30 p.m.


The international stars at the All Stars of Dance, featuring principal dancers of New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Momix and Paul Taylor Dance Company, perform.

Featuring 1973-1987 cars and trucks. Friday Night Cruise through Old Town begins at 9pm. Live bands throughout the evening. 407396-4888

Sunday, June 5 Bravo’s Top Chef tour Lake Eola Park 10 a.m.-4 pm. Chefs from the hi TV program will put on four 45-minute challenges during the farmer’s market.

Cranes Roost Sunset Cinema Cranes Roost Park 8 p.m. Get together with family and friends for a fun, free movie under the stars in the plaza area. St. Stephen Lutheran Church sponsors a feature film every month for the entire family. Food and beverages will be available for purchase during the event.

LA Phil Live: Gustavo Dudamel Conducts Brahms Orlando Metro Area An immersive sight and sound experience, featuring full concert performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic led by Gustavo Dudamel, broadcast live from Walt Disney Concert Hall. For theaters search LA Phil Live. 904-797-7689.

Saturday, June 11 Sunset Cinema Cranes Roost Plaza 8 p.m.-10 p.m.

Bowling for Beds Aloma Bowling Center Winter Park 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Bowl-a-thon fundraiser to benefit The Mustard Seed of Central Florida. Includes bowling, shoe rental and fun. 407-671-8675

Water Carnival Roth Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando Maitland Includes all rides, hot dog, chips and a drink. Bring your family out to play fun water games, jump in bounce houses, slip down water slides, and more! $5; $25 family. 407-645-5933

Fight Hunger Walkathon Cranes Roost Park 9 a.m.-noon Jewish Family Services and Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando would like your participation in helping raising awareness and put an end to world hunger.

Monday, June 6

Beginners will learn proper grip, aim and set-up, along with all the necessary elements needed to build a fundamentally sound golf swing. Our immediate and advanced players will build on fundamentals and we will work with them to improve specific areas of their game. The camps include 15 hours of instruction and will focus on all aspects of the game: etiquette, basic rules, putting, chipping, pitching, full swing and golf course management. Boys and girls aged 5 to 15 can attend. Camps last from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $175 per student per session and includes drinks, snacks and lunch each day. For more information and to sign up, call Nate Moore at 407-862-5113.

Tuesday, June 7 ZZ Top Hard Rock Live Orlando 8 p.m.

Wekiva Golf Junior Summer Camps Wekiva Golf Club 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Performing live in concert. To purchase tickets for this event, 407351-LIVE.

Swing into summer! Our summer camps provide excellent golf instruction and a whole lot of fun for junior golfers of all ages and ability.

Wednesday, June 8 Ice Skating RDV Sportsplex

Orlando Join us for public ice skating seven days a week! Skate to a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights. RDV Ice den is the coolest place around. Times vary, please check ahead. Event Cost: $9.50-$12.50. 407-916-2550.

Thursday, June 9 Katy Perry UCF Arena Orlando 7:30 pm Performing live in concert. To purchase tickets 407-823-3070.

Popcorn Flicks in Central Park Central Park, Winter Park 8 p.m.-10 p.m. The City of Winter Park and the Enzian Theater present the classic film “Blue Hawaii,“ starring Elvis Presley and Angela Lansbury. The event is free, and so is the popcorn. Rain-out date will be June 23.

Friday, June 10 The Pepsi-Cola Friday Night Cruise Old Town Orlando

An event produced by the St. Stephen Lutheran Church, enjoy a free showing of the 2001 film Shrek. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

Dancer’s Pointe Bob Carr Performing Center 1 p.m.


Dancer’s Pointe Recital “The Ipod Shuffle“ 407-849-2577

Sanford Farmer’s Market Downtown Sanford The Sanford Farmer’s Market is every Saturday year-round and features vendors offering fresh food from sweets to vegetables. Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment. A Kid’s Play Zone is available with water games and treats to snack on. For more information, visit

Orlando Predators Jacksonville Sharks Amway Center 7: 30 p.m.


Arena Football Game. 407648-4444.

Sunday, June 12 Orlando



Friends June 2011 31

Elizabeth Parson’s School of Dance Bob Carr Performing Arts Center 2 p.m.

Exhibit going on at the Museum until summer. Geneva T-shirts are also on sell as well as historic prints; vanity licenses plates; books, including A History of Geneva; Maps, Charts and Aerials of Geneva; Steamboat Days of Geneva and History in Photographs. The newest book, Geneva Treasureland, available is a reproduction of a 1912 book advertising land for sale in Geneva. Come out to the museum every second and fourth Sunday of each month!

Recital 849-2577

Thursday, June 16

Chorus Orlando Youth Theatre 2 p.m.-4 p.m. “Come Travel with Me.“ Kick back and enjoy the ride as songs about the sweet south, the Big Apple and San Francisco highlight the show. Event Cost: $12 - $15. 407-254-4930


Baubles & Bling King Center Performing Arts Melbourne 1 p.m.



A Sophisticated Showcase. 321-242-2219

Young Chefs Academy Classes/Workshops Winter Park 11 a.m.; 4:15 p.m.


Children of all ages will have the opportunity to experience the joy of creating, cooking and tasting new foods. Weekly classes features hands-on participation through a variety of themed cooking activities and new recipes each week.


House of Blues Gospel Brunch House of Blues Orlando 10:30 a.m.; 1 p.m.

Friday, June 17

Sundays feature an inspiring gospel performances and an amazing buffet. 407-934-BLUE

Def Leppard Florida State Fairground Tampa 7:30 p.m.

Monday, June 13

Performing live in concert with very special guest Heart. To purchase tickets 813-740-2446.

Orange County Regional History Center Summer Camp Orange County Regional History Center 9 a.m.-3 p.m. History Center summer camps offer children grades K-8 an opportunity to explore their creativity, expand their imaginations, and enhance their knowledge of the world around them. Early drop-off and late pick-up available. 407836-8580

Tuesday, June 14 Geneva Jams Geneva Community Center 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Come for a free evening of old-time music that you have been hankering for at the Geneva Jam at the Geneva Community Center. 32 June 2011

Saturday, June 18

This is toe-tapping acoustic music - bluegrass, old country, and some gospel for you to enjoy. Hot-dogs, hamburgers or sausage, chips, dessert, and drinks are for sale at a very modest cost from 6:00 to 7:00 PM (or until the food runs out). The music starts around 6:30 PM. A 50-50 raffle is held each month where the winner gets half the pot. The other half of the pot and the food proceeds help pay for the upkeep of the Geneva

Community Center. Come for a good time!

Wednesday, June 15 Museum of Geneva History 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Visit the Museum of Geneva History and see railroad displays, old-fashioned kitchen & bedroom, pioneer craft area, family genealogy records, Geneva history and more. There is a special Quilting

Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat King Center for the Performing Arts Melbourne 2 p.m.; 7:30 p.m. The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors comes to vibrant life in this delightful musical parable. 321-242-2219

Keith Urban St. Pete Times Forum Tampa 7:30 p.m. Get Closer World Tour 2011. To purchase tickets, 813-301-2500.


Jazz Jams Uptown Eddie Rose Amphitheater 8 p.m.-10 p.m.

SeaWorld invites active, certified K-12 teachers to pick up a complimentary Fun Card.

One of the area’s best outdoor concert series continues at Cranes Roost Park, showcasing celebrated modern jazz musician Steve Cole.

Tuesday, June 28 LabRats SAK Comedy Lab Orlando 9 p.m.

Sunday, June 19 Pangea SCAR Adventure Race Katie’s Landing Sanford 7 a.m.

Promising improvisers and Graduates of Sak University students play in various improvisational formats to gain experience in a performance situations. 407-6480001.

Featuring a 3 hour Sport race and a 6 hour Elite race. With Map and Compass in hand chart your off-road course on bike, boat & foot to the finish!

Monday, June 20

Kid’s Library Book Day Seven Sisters Coffeehouse Orange County Library

Stetson Mansion Tours Stetson Mansion DeLand

Families attending the downtown library branch’s Friday Tiny Tales, Storybook Fun, or Toddler Time storytimes. 407-488-2508.

Experience the grandeur, the history and the magic of the Stetson Mansion during this 1 1/2 hour tour led by a personal tour guide. The tour will detail the history of the mansion and more. Call for reservations. Event Cost: $10-$15, call 386873-0167 for more information.

Wednesday, June 29 light show at the Plaza fountain. Shows are at 7, 8 and 9 nightly in March, April, May and June. For more information on this event, please contact Jerry Sullivan at 407-571-8860.

Tuesday, June 21 Thursday, June 23 Hair Bob Carr Center Orlando 8 p.m.



Bellies for Babies Doubletree Orlando

Will Bleakley Memorial Softball Tournament Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex, Clearwater Co-ed softball tournament to raise funds for the Will Bleakley Memorial Scholarship Fund at USF. Events for the whole family. 727669-1992.

Sunday, June 26

Hair follows a group of hopeful, free-spirited young people. The score includes the musical numbers “Let the Sun Shine In,“ “Aquarius,“ “Hair,“ “Good Morning Starshine“ and others. Nudity. To purchase tickets for this event, 407-849-2577.

Bellies for Babies is a Formula Drive and Fund Raiser for Formula One Life providing desperately needed formula for orphans and children of HIV-infected parents who have no other nutritional options. Event Cost: $19-$25; call 407-616-6313 for more information.

Cirque du Soleil: Alegria St. Pete Times Forum Tampa 1 p.m.; 5 p.m.

Wednesday, June 22

Saturday, June 25

Martin Lawrence Amway Center Orlando - 7 p.m.

Choreographed Show Cranes Roost Park


A sight-and-sound extravaganza with a 20-minute custom choreographed water, music and

Orlando Predators Georgia Force Amway Center 7:30 p.m.


Arena Football Game. 407648-4444.

Alegr a, a Spanish word meaning happiness, joy and jubilation and features an international cast of 55 performers and musicians from 17 countries. 813-301-2500

Performing live on stage.

Monday, June 27 SeaWorld




Generation S SAK Comedy Lab Orlando 9 p.m. Pure improvisational comedy with The Next Generation of Sak Superstars. 407-648-0001.

Alligator and Demonstrations Brevard Zoo


Families can watch the alligator and crocodile demonstrations and feedings from the bridge to Wild Florida. For more information, call 321-254-9453 or visit

Thursday, June 30 Trains, Trains, Trains Antique Railroad Exhibit Lake Mary Historical Museum 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Antique trains and model train displays are on display as part of the Historical Society’s popular exhibit. Invite a friend. Ages: 4 & up. 407.324.3002, June 2011 33


In the age of texting, learning to write is still important by Renee Burke, 2012 OCPS Teacher of the Year and Boone High School Journalism teacher

In a time where tex ting is king, writing has become synonymous with work, boredom, and the FCAT. This association is taboo and causes fear and groans to ripple through a classroom when students hear it. Obviously, the more a person practices writing the bet ter he will become, but get ting kids to actually write can be painstaking, so look for ways to make i t fun and remember enthusiasm is infectious. Even if you aren’t exci ted about writing, act like it, and you will be amazed at how quickly your kids become excited too. One ac tivi ty to do is the “Telephone Stor y.” Give each family member a sheet of paper. Have each person write three sentences in the center of the paper. These should contain a character, a setting, and then a si tuation. For example, “Alone in her room, Sarah looked at the mess around her. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Did this really happen to her?” Fold the sheet and pass it to the nex t per son. Wi thout opening the paper, the nex t person will add three more sentences 34 June 2011

before folding in half again and passing to the nex t person. Continue to do this until ever yone has had a turn and/or until each paper has been folded four times. With a family of four, this gives you four s tories to read and laugh about. Many s tor ies won’t make any sense, but kids have fun thinking of their 12 sentences to contribute. Along those same lines, you can also have the “Clif f hanger Family Stor y Book.” Use a computer, iPad, or spiral notebook, whatever is easies t for your family. Have someone begin a stor y with a few sentences. Then each day other s should add to the s tor y wi th a few sentences or paragraphs. There doesn’t need to be a leng th requirement to each entr y, but each entr y mus t end with a clif f hanger for the nex t person to address. For example, “Mar vin and his pet dragon were strolling through the woods when they spot ted a yellow wand. Intrigued Mar vin shook the wand to see if i t had magical power s. Then suddenly . . .” The nex t person picks up the stor y but leaves a s tar ting point for the nex t entr y.

The crazies t adventures happen making these stories fun to write and read aloud. Each week or two begin a new stor y. In addition to reading bed time s tories, write them too. Another game is “It’s my stor y.� When reading a bedtime, stor y stop in the middle and have the child write or, depending on age, tell you his ending. In addition to it being a fun writing exercise, it is an excellent way to increase creativity and problem solving skills. You can do the same thing with a book your child already knows well. The dif ference is the child writes the ending he would have prefer red to read. Either way, this activity builds writing skills, which is the ultimate goal. It is impor tant to instill a love of reading and writing at a young age. The earlier you begin writing activities with your child, the easier, and more enjoyable it will be for him to write on command later.

June 2011 35

Valynn A. Sala-Diakanda Mommy/Author/Stor y teller Website: w w w.asockstor Children: Emmanuel, 2 years old, Soraya, 1 month old By Amy KD Tobik

Promoting li teracy is a high pr ior i ty for mom Valynn A. SalaDiakanda. The Apopka writer said she considers her f irst toddler book published in 2011, “Sock Pink, Sock Blue. Where Are You?” her gift to children and parents ever ywhere. The 8.5-by- 8.5-inch paperback picture book, whimsically illustrated by Erin Curran of Oviedo, features two curious adventure socks, Sock Pink and Sock Blue, who sing, play, and dance their way ever ywhere, around the house, the car and even outdoors. Valynn’s said her goal is to open a child’s imagination through her writing, using ever y day events to quickly learn the world around them. The home environment is so rich, she believes, providing families 36 June 2011

with numerous imaginative oppor tunities. In addition to writing and marketing her book, Valynn also regularly par tners with nonprof it organizations and other groups to provide stor y time activities for local children.

What motivated you to write a book for toddlers? My son did. When he was born, I went to a lot of literacy events with him. As a mother, I knew that it was good to read with my child. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a master’s degree, and I think I wanted to make sure while I was staying home with my child I could engage in his education.

Where did you get your first concept for the characters? It just clicked one day. I was doing laundr y (and I am always losing things) and I wondered, ‘Where do all these socks go?’ Then I thought of all the activities I do with Emmanuel and how I am always telling him to get his socks and shoes together and something clicked and I thought, “This could be used to engage children during reading time.” They can identify with a lot of things in the book.

What has been most rewarding about building a career around your children? Being with my children def initely has been the rewarding par t. I used to do some consulting with nonprof its and I realized what I was doing was ver y separate from my family life. I found I would have to look for a babysit ter, and I really wanted to f ind something I could do and involve my children.

How do you balance your business with two young children? There are times I am up late at night wor king on the business that I can’t do during the day. I f ind that balance when they are sleeping.

Are you planning on publishing more books? Yes, I am. I have been working on a series of them. My nex t one will include the tex ture of the socks. I’m bringing lit tle things to life for kids. It allows them to use their imagination.

What lessons do you hope to instill in your children? The No. 1 thing is I want them to know that with God ever ything is possible. I tr y to incorporate our religious beliefs with ever ything we do. I want them to know we aren’t doing something only because there’s money to be made. I rebranded myself to be with my children. It’s bet ter than the corporate world, it’s a blessing.

MOMPRENUER is a regular feature of MOMS LIKE ME magazine highlighting business owners who are mothers in the community. If you would like to be considered for entry into MOMPRENUER please inquire with Amy K. Tobik at

June 2011 37

SUMMERSHAPE-UP If you’re diligent, these quick and easy moves can help sculpt your body

Do everything in moderation. That’s the advice personal trainer Pam James offers everyone who hops on the fitness bandwagon. It’s far better to start slowly than to do too much and risk injury or burnout, said James, the wellness director for the YMCA of Arlington, Texas’ Central Branch. It takes time to gain weight and it’s going to take time to achieve the body you want, James said. “Stop beating yourself up,” she said. The same goes for dieting. Stop seeing food as the enemy, James said. Deprivation only leads to binging and weight gain. Her final advice: Do what you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, walking or whatever. For those ready for a little midsummer strengthening, the following exercises, demonstrated by James, will firm and tone the hips, thighs and buns. Do each move 12 to 15 times, two times a week. If you stick with it, fabulous, fit and firm glutes are just four to six weeks away. — Jan Jarvis, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Donkey kicks

■ What you need: resistance band shaped in a figure eight ■ What to remember: Hold your abdominals in as you move. 1. Slip one foot, then the other in a rubber resistance band shaped in a figure eight. Start out on your knees and elbows with your body in a straight line. Make sure to hold your abdominals in.



The bottom line

Dead lift or good morning ■ What you need: two 5-pound weights ■ What to remember: Breathe. Do not hold your breath. 1. Start in a neutral position hold-

ing the weights in front of you. 2. With knees slightly bent, bend forward, reaching down to mid-calf. 3. Bend the knees slightly and keep abdominals tight as you return to a standing position.

2. While balancing on one knee, bend the other at a right angle and push your foot — sole side up — toward the ceiling. Return to original position.


Reverse lunge

■ What you need: A step 4 to 6 inches high and two 5-pound weights

■ What to remember: Maintain good posture throughout exercise 1. Stand with shoulders down, heart lifted upward and belly button drawn in. Hold a 5-pound weight in each hand. Step back with one leg while your front leg remains on the step. 2. The knee should make a right angle over your ankle — not over your toes. Return to the starting position using your front heel to push yourself up.

38 June 2011


Waist not

Want great abdominal muscles by September? Start now with some simple but effective exercises that tighten and strengthen muscles. Traditional crunches and the old-fashion bicycle maneuver are often recommended for abs, but Glory Thomas, a certified professional trainer at Inursha Fitness in Fort Worth, Texas, says those traditional crunches — even hundreds of them — don’t do much, and the bicycle is difficult for beginners to do correctly and safely. (If you don’t keep your muscles contracted, you can hurt your back). Thomas recommends doing these three exercises, which she demonstrates in the photos, in repetitions of 10 at least three times a week. Two of them involve a high-quality exercise ball, widely available, for less than $20. The balls are at the top of a list of exercise essentials compiled by the American Council on Exercise. Thomas adds that abdominal muscles are one thing we can exercise all day long, even when we’re not working out. “Just concentrate on contracting your pelvic floor muscles as if you really need to tinkle and are holding back until you can get to a restroom.”


Full body squeeze tick-tock

Crunches with a ball between your feet 1. Lie on your back with knees bent, and exercise ball between your feet. Place hands behind your knees, grasp the ball with your feet and ankles and raise it up over your lower torso. 2. Put one hand behind your head and one on the lower abdomen to feel the contraction. Exhale as you slowly lift your head and shoulders up off the mat, using your abdominal muscles to execute the crunch. Slowly lower your head and shoulders as you inhale, maintaining control. Be sure to keep your back pulled down to the floor and the ball between your feet. Repeat the crunch 10 times.

Crunches on an exercise ball 1. Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor and scoot forward as the ball rolls back slowly, until you are lying back with the ball in the small of your back, knees bent, thighs and torso parallel to the floor. 2. With one hand beneath your neck, contract your abdominal muscles and your pelvic floor muscles. Exhale as you lift up your head and shoulders by 30 to 40 degrees off the ball, in a crunch. 3. Inhale as you relax and return to your starting position. Repeat crunch 10 times. (For better balance, spread your feet a little wider. To work harder, move your feet closer together.)

— Carolyn Poirot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

1. Lie flat on your back with legs outstretched, then lift your knees to a bent position and grasp, with your hands, the backs of your legs, behind your knees. Slowly pull your torso up to about a 45 degree angle, making your belly concave. Imagine your belly button is being pushed back against your spine. 2. Stretch out both arms in front of you and hold center position for 15 seconds. Lie back slowly, then repeat 10 times. 3. As you gain strength, add a twist to these sit-ups. After achieving that center position, slowly stretch your arms out to the right (at about a 2 o’clock position) and hold for several seconds. Then stretch arms back to the center and hold for several seconds. 4. Now stretch to the left (10 o’clock) and hold for several seconds. Return to center and hold again. Repeat, reversing the tick-tock motion. Repeat the series 10 times. P H O T O S B Y R O S S H A I L E Y / F O R T W O R T H S TA R -T E L E G R A M

June 2011 39



Up in arms

Strong, sleek arms and shoulders might be easier than you think. “Upper arms are not difficult to target because there are so many things we do that utilize our arms,” says Ken Davis, fitness director at Larry North Fitness in downtown Fort Worth. “A mother uses those muscles when she picks up her baby, and all of us pick up sacks of groceries or gallons of milk. If people become more aware, they can turn simple chores into effective exercise.” Sculpting your arms and shoulders requires little equipment; just inexpensive resistance tubing or light weights, even homemade ones. For instance, 1-gallon milk jugs filled with water weigh about 8 pounds, says Gwen Robbins, 48, a senior trainer with Larry North. Here, Robbins used 5-pound weights.With all these exercises, switch to a lower weight if you cannot maintain good control at all times; change to a heavier one if the movements are too easy. — Carolyn


Shoulder presses

■ The idea: To work the three-headed muscle on the back of the upper arms. Can be done standing, sitting or lying back on a bench or the floor. 1. Use the same dumbbells (or ones that are slightly lighter) that you used for the biceps curl. Grab a weight in each hand and lie back on an exercise bench. Raise your arms over your head holding the weights steady, palms facing each other. Do not rock or move your arms for balance. 2. Hold weights above your head for several seconds and slowly lower the weights down on either side of your head, rotating your wrists until they face down. 3. End the movement with elbows bent, dumbbells behind the top of your head. Repeat 10 to 12 times, keeping the movement slow and controlled.

Bicep curls ■ The idea: To work muscles in the front of the upper arms. Can be done seated or standing, with light weights or a resistance band. 1. Sit on the edge of a bench or chair, feet shoulder width apart, arms hanging at your sides, palms facing forward. Pick up a 3- to 5-pound weight in each hand and slowly begin raising the weights up to your shoulders. 2. As you raise the weights, rotate your wrists toward your body. 3. Continue raising your arms until they are fully contracted. Then, keeping your spine perfectly straight, lower the weights on each side, until your arms are again fully extended. Repeat slowly 10 to 12 times.

Triceps extensions

■ The idea: To work the side and rear shoulders. Can be done standing or seated, but standing offers the advantage of working overall core muscles as well as shoulders. 1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing each other. The weights should be next to your shoulders and your elbows below the weights. 2. Exhale and tighten abs as you slowly press dumbbells toward the ceiling, arms slightly bent. (Arms can be a little forward to prevent arching your back.). 3. End the movement with arms straight overhead; pause slightly. Then, slowly lower weights straight back down to starting position in a fluid, controlled motion. Repeat 10 to 12 times for one set.

40 June 2011

P H O T O S B Y A M Y P E T E R S O N / F O R T W O R T H S TA R -T E L E G R A M

June 2011 41

SHARE. SWAP. SYNC UP. MEET UP. is an online community of moms just like you – and best of all – moms who live near you. Created for and by moms, it’s a special destination where you can connect locally and totally be yourself. New moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. Work-from-home moms. And here, moms take on just about everything from pediatricians to potty-training to politics. It’s where moms share stories. Swap advice. Speak their minds. Make new friends. Even make plans to meet up live. Isn’t it time you had a place like this to call your very own? Join the conversation today.

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