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All the Great Toys

And Tips for Your Shopping Adventure!

Holiday Forecast

Surviving even the most challenging family conditions

‘Tis the Season

Remembering our Senior Citizens

Gift Ideas for the Nature Lover

December 2011

Serving: Granger • Mishawaka • Elkhart • South Bend • Goshen • Niles • Edwardsburg • Middlebury • Plymouth

Congratulations! To the talented September Coloring Winners.

Contributors Publisher & Editor-in-Chief:

Betsy Tavernier EXECUTIVE Editor: Kerri Hagens FAMILY MAGAZINES Advertising Account Manager: Jody Rogers FAMILY MAGAZINES Advertising Account Manager: Sue Coates FAMILY MAGAZINES Advertising Account Manager: Abby Jane Klug LAKESIDE FAMILY MAGAZINE TERRITORY Manager: Marcy Blesy

Taylor – Age 5 Meadow – Age 6 Rachel – Age 12

Creative Director: Jena Bontrager Fashion Editor: Kathy Friend Medical Editor: S. Jesse Hsieh, M.D. Distribution Managers: Richard Cox – St. Joseph, Cass & Berrien Counties Wes Bontrager – Elkhart County Joe Dixon – St. Joseph County Michiana Family Magazines would love to hear from you! Please submit press releases, event information and inquiries to:


Financial Bootcamp • Early Education

If you would like your business and/or service to be included in the winter issue, call The FAMILY Magazines at 574.293.FAM1 (3261) to reserve your space. Space is limited.

Find the Hidden Acorn... ...that looks like the acorn pictured to the left for your chance to win a $30 Gift Certificate to Sally & Company Hair Designs!

NEW Way to Enter Contest!

Go to: and click on the acorn symbol on the bottom left side of the website’s home page. Fill out a short entry form and tell us on what page you found the acorn, and you will be entered into this issue’s drawing! Contest ends December 25th, 2011.

Congratulations to Cheri Salasinski of South Bend for being the November Acorn winner! (Page 16).


the family magazine | december 2011

The FAMILY Magazine is a proud member of PMA

Michiana Family Magazines 5230 Beck Drive Suite #3B Elkhart, IN 46516 PH: 574.293.FAM1 (3261) • FX: 574.217.4700 Michiana Family Magazines December 2011 Established in 2006. All rights reserved. Permission from the publisher is required for any reproduction or reprint of this publication. Read The Family Magazines online each month! Go to and flip the pages, cover-to-cover the organic and green way! Volume 5: Number 10 Please use the information compiled by Michiana Family Magazines for your research. Michiana Family Magazines recommends that parents and families interview each business or organization to make sure that it is safe and a good fit for your family. The information presented here and provided by Michiana Family Magazines is for informational purposes only and although every effort has been made to present accurate information, Michiana Family Magazines does not, in any way, accept responsibility for the accuracy of or consequences from the use of this information and/or for the businesses and organizations presented herein. We urge all parents and families to confirm any information given herein through additional research. The views and opinions expressed by the writers, event organizers and advertisers do not necessarily represent those of Michiana Family Magazines LLC, its officers, editors, staff or contributors.

$wipe, $ign, Win contest ends December 31, 2011. You will receive one (1) entry per signature-based “credit� transaction. Prize drawing will occur January 6, 2012. Must be at least 18 years old to enter. Employees of Notre Dame Federal Credit Union and immediate families are not eligible to win. Five (5) cash prizes of $500 will be awarded. Odds of winning will be determined by the number of entries submitted. No purchase necessary to win. To enter by mail, send your name, address, and home telephone number to: Marketing Department, PO Box 7878, Notre Dame, IN 46556. All entries must be postmarked by December 31, 2011. Complete contest rules available at or at any branch location. Independent of the University.




The FAMILY Magazine:

Live Your Best:

7 Find the Acorn Contest

THE FAMILY COVER: Photo taken by Eileen Dimino, Traditions Photography

24 Holiday Forecast

9 Holiday Greetings

Surviving even the most challenging family conditions.

10 The Fabulous Family Holiday Gift Guide

Family Business:

14 Think Christmas with a Twist

Book Review:

9 The Train of Small Mercies

By Lucas and Krissy Miles

26 Love Your Work

By Charrise McCrorey


Reviewed by Susie Cleaver

34 ‘Tis the Season

Kids Book Review:

By Jennifer Smith

9 These Happy Golden Years

Remembering our Senior Citizens

Reviewed by Macey

36 All the Great Toys

Frugal Family:

By Meagan Church

16 Creating Sweetly Memorable Hostess Gifts Frozen Peppermint Cheesecakes in a Jar By Amy Allen Clark

Family Fun:

18 Gift Ideas for The Nature Lover

By Evelyn Kirkwood

Family Boomers:

20 It Starts with a Fall... And it Rarely Ends Well By Dr. Ron Clark

Family Relationships: 22 Unnecessary Arguments By Laurie Puhn

And Tips for Your Shopping Adventure

38 Labor of Love

Theatres Surviving and Thriving Despite the Economy By Stephanie J. Salisbury

40 Timeless Gifts

Better than Seasonal Dish Towels By Michelle Wegner

Calendar of Events:

42 Go to for tons of additional family events – updated daily!

Lakeside FAMILY Magazine:

Special Feature Section targeting St. Joseph, Stevensville, Bridgman, New Buffalo and surrounding communities.



48 Girls Out and About

MiChild Magazine: Special Parenting Resource Section


66 A Yadda Yadda Christmas 68 Picky Picky

Story Time:

67 Snowmen At Night

50 Gifts from the Lakeside

BOOK REVIEW: 49 Matched

Reviewed By Andrea Smalley


52 Avoiding Those Pet Holiday Hazards By Dr. Ed Blesy


Reviewed by Kathy Winkelr

54 A Dozen Fun Holiday Outings

Mommy & Daddy:

By Amy Cahill

70 The Notorious Family Holiday Letter

For the 12 Days of Christmas

By Jane Suter



Tips and Some Memorable Brunch Recipes!

72 A Holiday Cheat Sheet for The New Mom By Sorah Stein and Shanti Bradley

Big Kids:

82 Living the Five Star Life

Respect. Responsibility. Integrity. Sacrafice. Courage. By Michelle Wegner

56 Cooking for the Holidays By Diane Fisher

LAKESIDE people:

58 The Heatfelt Holiday Traditions of Amey Upton By Dawn Williams


60 Holiday Decorating Ideas for Every Budget By Jenny Mitschelen


62 Go to for tons of additional family events – updated daily!

We have it all more at &

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School!

• Outstanding Academics • Safe Environment • Excellent ISTEP Scores • SMART Board Technology • Before and After School Care • Christian Family Atmosphere • Community Service Activities and Involvement • Specialty Classes: Art, Music, Computer, Physical Education • Extracurricular Activities ranging from Sports, Band, Scouting, Drama & More! • 21st Century Learning Facility Recently Renovated and Expanded St. Thomas the Apostle School is Catholic in character, but open to all faith traditions. Approximately 12% of our current enrollment is non-Catholic. Please call our school office at 574.264.4855 for more information or to schedule a tour. Visit us at or! St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School 1331 North Main Street • Elkhart, IN 46514


the family magazine | december 2011 | december 2011

FROM THE PUBLISHER Merry Christmas! Like everyone else, I’m catching myself saying, “I can’t believe the holidays are here.” This lifetime just goes way too fast, and if you are balancing family and anything else, it seems as though you can never get caught up and run fast enough to accomplish all of your tasks … or slow enough to enjoy the good things that come with the holidays and the traditions of Christmas. My lists are full of things to do, gifts to get, people to remember, traditions to start and traditions to maintain. The only thing missing from my to-do list it seems is taking the time to remember the reason for the season. But I have that in my heart, and I’m so excited about the holidays this year that I’m going to make sure I enjoy every inch of it. No drama, no stress, no family battles – well, that may be a stretch. But, I’ll give it my best to keep the chaos to a minimum and to really enjoy the great time with family and dear friends and to celebrate all the gifts that life presents. I hope this magazine issue finds you with peace and love in your heart so that you can enjoy the reason for the season and your special time with family and friends. Make it count; it only happens once a year and is truly a magical time if you let it be. Thank you for a wonderful 2011 – the year from Heaven.


Things We (at Family)


Right Now!

1. Advent 2. Celebrating the Birth of Jesus 3. Peppermint 4. Hungarian Kieflies 5. Holiday Time Off 6. Family Traditions 7. Fuzzy Slippers 8. Finding the Perfect Gift 9. Filling a Stocking 10. The Wonder of Christmas 11. The Polar Express 12. Holiday Shows Every Night! 13. Fabulous Gift Wrap 14. Tastefully Decorated Homes 15. Red Nail Polish 16. Festive Parties

live your best



Favorite Family Christmas Cards Who doesn’t love receiving these personalized Christmas cards from family and friends? Here are a few favorites submitted to us by friends of The FAMILY Magazine.

This was taken in 2004 and was a nightmare shot thanks to a younger daughter who didn't want to smile and a dog who wouldn't sit still (Chief was big on greeting every person who walked by the house). – Dawn Williams

 This one of Kenna and Jonas was taken when she was 2 and he was 4. My friend came over to our place to get some non-posed pictures of the kids. The leaves were just beginning to fall, so they began to run through them and throw them at one another. She snapped the picture just as they were relishing in the fun of throwing leaves at one another. – Meagan Church







Taken in 2007, this is probably one of my all-time favorites because my kids really were dead asleep when we took this shot. Marc and I had been out, and when we came home, they were all cuddled up and sound asleep. So I carefully snapped a few shots and used it as the main image. – Dawn Williams This photo was taken during my son Jonas’ one year photo shoot. He loved the book “Goodnight Moon,” so we put him on a chair, gave him the book and let him “read” it for a few minutes. Being a serious kid, even at that age, when we called his name, he looked up with his big blue eyes just when my friend snapped the picture. – Meagan Church  Each year, we try to send a Christmas card that captures our year in a theme. This card shows the year that Star Wars dominated our household. I never had a brother, so even I got caught up for the first time in the excitement of all things Star Wars! – Marcy Blesy


the family magazine | december 2011

THE BLESY FAMILY | december 2011

live your best


The Train of Small Mercies By David Rowell

Reviewed by Susie Cleaver, Branch Manager Harris Branch Library Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library

July 1968. Robert Kennedy has been assassinated, and his coffin is making its way by train from New York City to Washington, D.C. where Bobby will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from his brother Jack. In Maryland, a young Vietnam veteran is contemplating his life as an amputee. So starts David Rowell’s debut fiction novel “The Train of Small Mercies.” Over the course of the train’s eight-hour trip, the reader is introduced to six Americans and their families and friends – young and old, black and white – who are experiencing the events of that hot and muggy July day. Just as a train starts slowly out of the station, the story takes its time introducing us to the characters until the momentum builds and we are hurtling down the track, anticipating how each one will experience the funeral train and what it will mean to them personally. Maeve, an Irish immigrant and former nanny to the Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, was to have interviewed with Ethel Kennedy on the day of the funeral train. She had hoped to become the caretaker of the Kennedy’s eleventh baby on the way. Still jobless, what will happen to her life? Will the Kennedy family still want and need her? In Delaware, Edwin has always dreamed of having a pool in his backyard. When he finally gets his wish, his inaugural pool party is soon to be hampered by the passing of the funeral train. Has his desire for a pool selfishly focused his life towards the wrong goal? Finally, what is in store for Jamie, Lionel, Michael and Delores? The reader simply goes along for the ride to find out. Through these lives, we learn that our national tragedies are experienced in as many different ways as there are Americans. No two people walk away from the experience the same. But our spirit, which shines forth in times of adversity, unites us all. If you like a novel that centers on a specific event in history, then you should check out “The Train of Small Mercies.”

These Happy Golden Years By Laura Ingalls Wilder

Reviewed by Macey In “These Happy Golden Years,” Laura Ingalls was only around 15 years old and small for her age, yet she was a teacher in a small school house. She accepted a short-term teaching position in the middle of a freezing cold winter. She had left home to earn money for her blind sister Mary to continue attending the costly school for the blind. There were only five students in her care, and most of them were taller than she was. Since the job was so far away from home, Laura had to stay with the bitter and unhappy Mrs. Brewster and her family. The only thing Laura looked forward to every weekend was Almanzo Wilder picking her up in his sleigh to take her home to visit her family. Laura deeply missed her ma, pa, and sisters, Caroline and Grace. When her teaching term was over, she left the Brewsters, and returned home to her family on the prairie. Even when Laura returned back to her home, Almanzo continued to take Laura on sleigh rides. Later, Laura and Almanzo got engaged and were eventually married. They moved to a small house about 12 miles from Laura’s family. There are six books ahead of this book in the series. I strongly recommend that you read this series and this book in particular because it is a wonderful story. I like that it is based on a real person and her real-life events. It provides some nice insights to what life was like in the 1800s. It presents old time values and charm. It is a quick read, and helps you realize how much easier we have things today than they did long ago.

Macey is a 13-year-old middle school student in Edwardsburg. In her free time, she loves reading, playing soccer and riding horses.

live your best

It has become a sort of tradition here at the FAMILY Magazine. Every year, we like to offer some gift ideas to inspire you as you shop for family and friends. This year, check out some of the great gifts available right here in our area!


the family magazine | december 2011 | december 2011

jennifer g design Sterling Silver Bracelet

Jacarte Art Glass

The Gift of Serenity

Cruelty Free Brush Set

Looking for the perfect gift for mom or grandma this Christmas? Check out this beautiful sterling silver bracelet with crystals that represent each child's birth month. A single strand is only $75 and comes in a beautiful white leatherette box, the perfect gift for someone special. jennifer g design is based out of Berrien Springs, Michigan. For more information, visit Price: $75 for a single strand

Know someone who could stand to relax and unwind a little? Then this gift might be just what the yogi ordered! The $199 Happy Holidays deal can be used as a gift card for two months of unlimited yoga at Solace Yoga Studio, a sure win for the yoga enthusiast or yoga beginner in your life! Solace Yoga Studio is located on Edison Road in Mishawaka. For more information, check out their website at Price: $199, a savings of over $100


Jacarte is a remarkable reverse hand-painted crystal, leaving the viewer marveling at how someone could execute such an intricate artistic technique. The inside paintings are inspired by the symbolism of many cultures. The collection is grounded by universal elements of classic urban design. The result is fresh, exciting and an enduring gift that will be treasured for years to come. This gift is available at Max Black Fine Art and Framing, located in the Heritage Square Shopping center. Visit their website at Price: Starting at $285

Give a gift that is sure to be a homerun with the ladies in your life. These amazingly soft brushes feel even better than natural hair brushes. With renewable resource bamboo handles, it’s a gift any makeup lover would appreciate. Find these brushes at Camellia Cosmetics, located at North Eddy Street Commons in South Bend. Price: $50

live your best

The Family Gift Guide

Swiss Valley Ski & Snowboard Area Gift Cards

The Infinity Charm Necklace

The Scarflace

For the Music Lover: Danú

If you know an avid skier or someone who has always wanted to try the slopes, consider a gift card to Swiss Valley. Located practically in your backyard, Swiss Valley offers winter activities for the entire family. Give the gift of an experience that will last a lifetime! Swiss Valley is located in Jones, Michigan. To learn more, visit Price: Gift Cards include $25, $50, $75, and $100

Check out this hot winter trend! The scarflace is just what it sounds like: a cross between a scarf and a necklace. It’s a pretty, lightweight, crochet piece that sparkles with beads: you wear it like a scarf, but it shimmers and shines like a necklace. It’s available in ivory, champagne, silver and black! At a great price, it’s the perfect gift for a friend, mom, daughter, neighbor, or any special lady on your list! You can find this item at Flourish Boutique in Granger and on their website at Price: $22.50


the family magazine | december 2011

The Infinity Charm Necklace is a trio of gold plated charms, including a hummingbird, a vintage coin and faceted Aventurine dangle on a delicate gold chain. Paired with the Amelia Drop Earrings, a faceted Aventurine stone is hinged to a teardrop of smoky glass and framed in hand hammered bezel. You can purchase this gift from Stella and Dot independent stylist Tonya Bowser by visiting Price: Under $60 each

Give the gift of live music! Celebrate the holidays with Danú. This expert ensemble lovingly embraces centuries-old Irish music and song traditions. Performance is Sunday, December 11 at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. To learn more, check out the DeBartolo Performing Arts website at Price: Tickets range from $8 to $40 | december 2011

Neon Clocks

Have a sports lovin’, Coca-Cola Drinking, Harley Davidson riding man in your life? Well, he doesn’t have to be all those things, but if you’re looking for a customizable gift that represents one of his great loves, consider these unique clocks carried at Fenker’s Furniture. They have over 18 neon clocks in stock with images of sports teams, John Deere, Coca-Cola and more. Fenker’s Furniture is located in La Porte. Check them out online at Price of Clock Pictured: $199

Love and Toast

Love and Toast is a body care line that’s loaded with the very best natural and organic ingredients and is not tested on animals. All the products in this line are 97% natural. With the corporate motto that “It is just as important to do good, as it is to look good,” the special lady who receives this item will win on both counts. A portion of sales go to Girls, Inc. Beautifully packaged, this gift item is a great idea for under the tree. Find Love and Toast at Sorella Boutique located at Heritage Square in Granger Price: Ranges from $6 to $15


Lighted Readers

Here’s a sassy solution for those times when you just need a little more light! These Lighted Readers are perfect for dimly lit restaurants, low cabin lights on flights or just reading in bed without disturbing your amour. Choose fun stripes or dignified colors. You can find Lighted Readers at Glance Eyewear Gallery at Heritage Square in Granger. Check out their website at Price: $25

Happy y a d i l o H ! g n i p p Sho

live your best

Think Christmas Dinner with a



the family magazine | december 2011

According to the National Pork Board’s second annual “Holiday Table Trends” survey, eight out of ten Americans want to incorporate global flavors into their holiday menu this year. Experiencing new cultures through food is becoming a flavorful pastime, as evidenced by the increased popularity of fusion cuisine and ethnic ingredients. However, among the top-ranked cuisines (including Spanish, Cajun and Asian), homey Italian is still the international flavor cooks are most excited to incorporate into their holiday meals. To help satisfy this craving for Mediterranean fare, reinvigorate your holiday classic dinner with a new crown roast of pork recipe. Parsley, oregano, thyme and rosemary – herbs typically found in Italian seasoning blends – enhance the savory qualities of pork. For extra flavor, you can enhance the sauce with the addition of aromatic vegetables like fennel and tomatoes or by swapping parmesan cheese for more pungent gorgonzola.

Italian Herbed Crown Roast of Pork with Italian Sausage and Parmesan Dressing Prep time: 50 minutes Cook time: About 2 3/4 hours Yield: 16 servings 1 16-rib pork rib crown roast (about 8 pounds) 4 tablespoons dried Italian herb blend, divided salt and pepper 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage, casings removed 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for casserole dish 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch dice 2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice 1 pound crusty Italian bread, cut into 3/4inch pieces 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese 4 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided 1 cup dry red wine, preferably Italian 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pork in shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons herb blend; season with salt and pepper. Roast until temperature towards interior of crown reaches 145 degrees, about 2 1/4 hours. While pork is roasting, make dressing: In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Use slotted spoon to transfer sausage to large bowl.

❆ ❆ ❆ ❆

Add 2 tablespoons butter to skillet; melt over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion. Cook, until very tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl with sausage. Add bread, cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons herb blend to bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups broth, stirring to evenly moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into buttered 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Cut 2 tablespoons remaining butter into pea-sized pieces; dot them over the top.

About 30 minutes before pork is done, cover dressing with foil and bake 30 minutes. When pork is done, transfer to cutting board; rest 20 minutes. Remove foil from dressing; continue cooking until top is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain roasting pan and discard liquids; place pan on stovetop over mediumhigh heat. Add wine and remaining 3 cups broth. Bring to boil; cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid reduces to 2 cups, about 12 minutes. Reduce to simmer; add remaining 4 tablespoons butter, stirring until butter melts. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; cook until sauce thickens, just a few seconds. Remove from heat; whisk until smooth. Strain if you like; season with salt and pepper.

Slice roast. Serve with dressing and pan sauce. For more on the survey, holiday tips and recipes, visit

Winter Classes January 9 - March 22

Acting, Voice and Dance

3rd thru 7th grades, 8th thru 12th grades

A comprehensive audition workshop for youth. Acting: Secrets of cold read auditions. Physical and vocal warm ups for auditions. Voice: Learn the basics of reading music. Techniques for cold singing auditions. How to ACT the song. Dance: Learn the basics of tap, jazz, and musical theatre. Develop the skill of picking up choreography quickly and how to look good in an audition.

I wish I were… K & 1st grades

Join us this class session as we go on adventures around the world, discovering new places and things we could be.

Musical Clue

2nd & 3rd grades, 4th thru 6th grades

Inspired by Clue, the Musical – we will use songs and scenes from the show to work on vocal technique and characterization. This class will focus on stage presence, Musical Theatre singing style, as well as ensemble work.

Mystery MADness 2nd & 3rd grades

In this class we will create our own mystery of disappearing people, chaos, and suspense as we develop our skills of stage presence, projection, and working with an ensemble.

Call 574-234-1112 Online at

family frugal

Creating Sweet Memorable Hostess Gifts Frozen Peppermint Cheesecakes in a Jar By Amy Allen Clark

I have a theory that any gift given in a little jar is a tad more special and certainly cuter if it is packaged sweetly. This year I wanted to create holiday hostess gifts that would long be remembered, but also quickly used. What could be more memorable or useful than a tiny cheesecake in a jar? The possibilities with this fun food craft are endless. Convert your favorite no-bake cheesecake into a sweet gift and decorate your jar with your favorite craft technique, whether it is spray paint, decoupage or a scrap of fun fabric. These gifts can easily be personalized and will be a fun treat for your hostess. I guarantee that if you made me one of these, I would have you over again and again!

Supplies Needed For This Project 10 Half Pint Ball Jars Cooking Spray 2 cups of chocolate sandwich cookies (approximately 17 cookies) Âź cup granulated sugar Âź cup unsalted butter, melted 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened, condensed milk 2 teaspoons peppermint extract 2 cups whipping cream, whipped Red food coloring 20 peppermint candies 3 freezer bags 1 rolling pin For decorating jars (optional): Red Spray Paint, Green Grosgrain Ribbon and Hot Glue


Place your chocolate sandwich cookies in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to smash the bag of cookies until they become cookie crumbs. Add your melted butter and sugar to the bag and mash the bag in your hands until the three ingredients pull together to create your crust and are well incorporated.


the family magazine | december 2011

Take the lids off of your glass jars and place them on a cookie sheet to contain the mess. Spray each of the jars with cooking spray. Put two spoonfuls of cookie crumbs into each jar and use the back of the spoon or your hands to press the crust into each jar. Slide the cookie sheet of jars back into the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling. In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk until it is smooth. Stir in your peppermint extract and red food coloring, approximately three drops, to achieve a pale pink color. Mix all of these ingredients well. Fold in your whipped cream. Remove your tray of jars from the freezer. Using a standard ice cream scoop, add one scoop of filling to each of your jars. Use the back of a small spoon to smooth the filling on top until it is level and smooth. Remove the wrappers from your peppermint candies. Place the peppermint candies into a double-bagged freezer bag and use your rolling pin to smash these into small pieces to garnish your cheesecakes. Sprinkle the broken peppermints on top of each one. Screw the lids back on your jars and put these back into the freezer. Freeze for 2 hours or until firm.

How To Decorate Yours Jars

Remove the bands from the jars and set aside. Outside or in a well-ventilated area, spread your jar lids out on newspaper. Shake your spray paint well. Slowly and evenly, spray your spray paint back and forth until all of the lids are covered with the spray paint. Allow these to dry for at least 30 minutes. Plug in your glue gun and allow it to heat up. Tie grosgrain ribbon (any width you desire) into a small bow. Place your spray painted lids on top of your jars and screw the bands into place. Squirt a tiny dot of hot glue on the back of your bow and place it on top in the center of your lid. Hold it in place for a minute. Sit back and bask in your crafting glory. | december 2011


“Free the child’s potential and transform the world.” – Maria Montessori


2011-2012 SCHOOL YEAR


Tuition Discounts Announced for Early Childhood Program!



EC 5-Day Full Day: $5,500 EC 5-Day Half Day: $4,000


530 East Day Road, Mishawaka, IN 46545 • 574-256-5313 •

Accepting New Patients 15045 State Road 23 Granger, IN 46530 All Insurances Welcome!

• Comfortable atmosphere and the latest technology

• Serving patients of all ages • Family-friendly • Patient-focused Foodie. Bookworm. Novice photographer. Java junkie. Knitter & hot glue gun toting extraordinaire. A lover of the simple and family-centered life. Happily living this contented existence within a penny-wise budget and showcasing it on

• Convenient Scheduling Saturday appointments available!

Don’t forget to visit our redesigned, comprehensive website!

family fun

Gift Ideas

for the Nature Lover By Evelyn Kirkwood

A few specially selected presents can help children explore trails or identify what they see in the woods. And don’t forget nature-related gifts for adults as well. It might trigger a new hobby for a retiree or encourage a busy professional to carve out time to spend outdoors with their kids. Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist at Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, suggests owl pellet dissecting kits as a gift to spark further interest in the natural world. Kits include a sterilized owl pellet, forceps and a hand lens. Pellets are the non-digestible material owls cough up after eating. Along with fur, each pellet contains tiny bones which can be identified to discover what the owl ate. Kits are available at the Indiana Dunes State Park nature center, or search online. Brad’s favorite homemade gift is a Leopold bench as a comfortable place to rest and reflect. The simple seat, constructed from just a few 2" x 10" boards, was made legendary by outdoorsman Aldo Leopold, an early pioneer of wildlife management and conservation. Pre-cut kits are available at Indiana Dunes State Park, or search for the plans online. Scott Beam, naturalist at Maple Wood Nature Center in LaGrange, often gets asked for gift ideas for nature lovers, new and experienced. He suggests field guides to birds, trees, mushrooms, insects and other nature-related interests as natural choices. “The Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists” series is especially good for young explorers. For seasoned nature observers, try a guide carrying pack or field cover.

Family Activity: Make a Mini-Plant Press as a Gift

A child’s interest in science and the outdoors can be fostered through gift-giving as well as receiving.


the family magazine | december 2011

Maria Peacock, interpretive services manager at St. Joseph County Parks, Indiana, suggests a mini plant press as a simple gift children can make. Even in December, you can find yellow and green leaves in woods and fields to dry in the press as part of your gift. If outdoor flowers and leaves are hard to find, check with a florist for petals and other discards you can have for free. Choose flowers that do not have bulky centers.

Supplies: • Two 6" x 6" pieces of wood, cut from plywood, or 1-inch thick board, edges sanded smooth (exact size is not critical, just be sure the two are the same.) Many home improvement centers will cut a board for you at little or no cost. • Three squares of corrugated cardboard, the same size as the wood squares. • Eight sheets of newspaper the same size as the cardboard. • Two thick rubber bands. • Optional: acrylic or tempera paints and brushes to decorate one side of a board as a cover for the plant press. | december 2011


Place a cardboard square on top of one of the boards. Follow with four newspaper sheets. Repeat the cardboard-newspaper layers. Top with the last cardboard square and the remaining board. Rubber bands around the outside should exert pressure on the plant press. To press and dry leaves or flowers, insert them between the newspaper sheets. Don’t overlap. In a dry location, leaves or flowers will dry in a few days. Glue them to bookmarks or stationery, or seal in waxed paper or clear contact paper for more easy-to-make gifts.

The Gift List

Need more ideas? Here are a few more gifts that are perfect for nearly all ages. • Real binoculars: There are good quality compact binoculars even a child can hold • A handsome rain hat • A bird song identification program for a smart phone or compact digital player • Fishing pole • Rain gauge and outdoor thermometer for a mini-weather station • Subscription to a nature magazine such as Outdoor Indiana (for older readers and adults) or Ranger Rick (for youngsters) • Wild edibles or venison cookbook • Warm wool mittens or open finger gloves (easier to flip field guide pages) • Blank journal and colored pencils • Annual pass to a local park system

What if one

conversation could change EVERYTHING? Call right now to schedule the most compelling conversation you may ever have had.

Charrise specializes in helping people create a life that ROCKS. She is a certified Business Coach/Consultant, and a certified Transformative Coach. Your first conversation with her will cost you nothing but your time.

• Snowshoes • Bird house kit (which can be assembled and given as a gift in the future)

Evelyn Kirkwood is Director of St. Joseph County Parks in Indiana and host of Outdoor Elements, which is broadcasted Sundays at 9am and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm on WNIT Public Television.

Ask about my signature service, Liberation Day, and receive 10% off if you're one of the first 5 callers.

574.288.2280 • •

family boomers

It Starts with a Fall... and it Rarely Ends Well. By Ron Clark, M.D.

Plus, many people bought these homes in their 30s. Now, they are in their 80s and may have never anticipated living in the same house at this age. But the house is their home. They own it free and clear. They raised their family there, and it holds all kinds of memories. They couldn’t possibly think of living anywhere else. However, that house may now be a hazard and, therefore, dangerous. Dangerous because they may not have the balance, the strength, or maybe the visual capacity they did earlier in life. I know because every month I attend to an individual who, unfortunately, will never go back to their home after a fall. I’ve witnessed the tremendous strain it creates on the family because – instead of having an elective, long-term plan with buy-in from all parties – decisions are made under-the-gun as a result of an emergency situation.

An Ounce of Prevention

What can be done to prevent this scenario?


t’s no secret that, as our parents and loved ones age, walking and balance can become unsteady when they reach their 70s and 80s – sometimes sooner.

In and of itself, this is a fairly minor inconvenience compared to a greater threat that can be a byproduct of these conditions: falling. Serious falls are often a life changing experience for seniors. And while a resulting hip fracture can mend, falls frequently lead to a permanent loss of strength in some fashion. Most patients never quite get back to where they were prior to the event. According to some studies, hip fractures also contribute to a death rate of approximately 10 to 20 percent within a year for those seniors who experience a fall. But avoiding a hip fracture may be possible. It simply requires early dialogue, planning and open communication between the adult children and their parents.

Un-Safe at Home

The number one issue I see is that people outlive their homes. Most homes in Michiana were built in the 50s and 60s, and home safety technology has obviously improved greatly since then.


the family magazine | december 2011

Number one: Start talking to mom or dad now about what they foresee taking place five, ten, fifteen years down the road. What would be their preference? Your parents remember taking care of their own parents at your age. Is there an established family expectation? I realize it’s often difficult to broach this subject. Adult children rightfully respect their parents and don’t want to infer they are telling them what to do. However, the sooner both parties initiate such discussions, the sooner they can work together to plan and maybe get their loved ones out of a situation where they may be at risk. Second: Promote consistent exercise. Understanding this is easier said than done in a climate such as ours in Michiana. But exercise can stem the advancement of osteoporosis – a weakening of bone density that can exacerbate injuries sustained in a fall. If the elements prevent one from getting outside, encourage older loved ones to consider mall walking, or joining one of the many commercial fitness establishments in the area. And, if you join them occasionally for a walk, you can get a visual confirmation of exactly how well they are getting around and maybe even use the time together to talk about future living arrangements. Finally, home renovation: If your parents are intent on staying in their home, they may want to consider adding ambulatory aids such as hand rails, making sure doorways account for walkers if they are being used, or possibly removing their bathroom tubs | december 2011

and installing no-step shower facilities. You may even consider installing a bedside commode as many hip fractures happen at night when seniors get up to use the bathroom in a dark home.

can usually discontinue using a walker in three to four weeks. Factoring in an additional month using a cane, most people with hip replacements can regain full functionality within three months.

Back After theto Fall

The bottom line is that if mom or dad simply refuse to move into a safer environment, then you may need to invest a little to make sure the current home is as safe as possible.

School Specials

Conversely, rehabilitation time from a hip fracture can be much longer and is generally more painful. Again, a hip fracture frequently results in a permanent loss of capacity – meaning people who previously didn’t need a cane or walker to move around will need one now.

Warning Signs

So what are typical warning signs that your aging loved one is becoming a clear and present danger to themselves? The most common sign is when they are bounding from furniture to furniture, such as hanging onto the back of a chair or the back of the couch as they maneuver across the living room, or when they reach out to steady themselves against a wall. They may be doing this to balance themselves or help alleviate pain in their lower extremities. Maybe they have cataracts and are having trouble seeing. Regardless, when you see this type of behavior, a red light should be going off.

While most orthopedic surgeons provide valuable treatment and have the ability to get people walking on their own again, patients usually never quite get back to where they were. Generally, their ability to walk will be dramatically changed from what it was before. The take home in all of this is that there are steps you can initiate to guard against a loved one sustaining a hip fracture. It may require a few uneasy conversations, an investment in some minor home improvements, or even hip replacement surgery, but at least you are in control of the situation. Unfortunately, all too often, after a fall occurs, the situation controls you.

It’s at this time that you may want to consider a visit to the doctor. The physician can assess whether the parent is a candidate for hip replacement surgery in the event decreased mobility is due to a growing weakness in the hips. 5839


The good news is that if you end up going this route, rehabilitation time for a hip replacement is getting shorter and shorter. In most cases, a patient will stay in the hospital two nights or less and 8401




Ron Clark, M.D., is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and serves patients through the Orthopedics Department at the South Bend Clinic.



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family relationships FIGHT LESS. LOVE MORE.



By Laurie Puhn

“There are two sides to every argument, until you take one,” said Milton Berle. Whether you know it or not, smart people have dumb arguments about unimportant things. Rather than continuing to allow such arguments to stress us out and poke holes in our relationship, we can become “conflict-wise” by learning to recognize and sidestep them. For instance, a while ago my husband and I were driving to a 99¢ store to buy some party supplies. I mentioned, “You know, a lot of these so-called 99¢ stores charge more than 99¢ for many of the items they sell.” “Not possible,” he said. “All 99¢ stores sell everything at that price. That’s why they’re called 99¢ stores.” “That’s not true. You don’t know because you haven’t been to one. The 99¢ thing is just a way to get more people into the store,” I explained. “Why would they call it a 99¢ store if it’s not one?” he shot back, still trying to convince me. “Wait a minute,” I blurted out. “This is a dumb argument about a fact. Why don’t we just hold on for 10 minutes, get to the store, and we’ll have our answer?” He agreed, so we shut our mouths and found the answer in the store. (I was right!) We were having a dumb factual argument, exactly the kind of worthless, energy-draining fight I discuss with my clients. The topic could be anything from the name of a restaurant to a random statistic, but the wise response to this type of conflict is to pause and say, “We’re having a dumb argument, let’s stop fighting and check the fact on the internet, or call a friend.” Now that sounds like common sense, right? But if it’s so easy to be sensible in the moment, then I suggest you consider whether you’ve been involved in another type of dumb argument: the post-argument argument. This happens when you’ve gotten what you want but then you have just one more thing to say – and so the fight starts all over again.


the family magazine | december 2011

How come we can’t just quit while we’re ahead? From my perspective as a mediator, the post-argument argument happens because the one word “okay” isn’t good enough for most people. Why? Because, we are driven to win an even greater victory, something more than our mate’s agreement; we want that person to admit that we were 100% right from the start. When we become aware that we are heading down that destructive path, it’s time to close our mouths and leave well enough alone. Anything else is downright, well, dumb. If the above-described arguments (the factual and post-argument ones) sound familiar to you, this third one might, too – the dumb premature argument. An example of this might be fighting over whether to buy a ranch or colonial style house, when you move out of your apartment, in three years, when your child hits kindergarten age. If an argument revolves around something that can’t be acted upon for a long time, it’s premature because facts, preferences and circumstances will change over time. As a result, your opinion will most likely be altered by the time the decision becomes imminent. If you’re arguing about something that doesn’t need an immediate decision, short-circuit the fight by saying, “Why don’t we wait to have this discussion until we actually need to?” Why do we lose our common sense from time to time? Because we are human, and emotion will overtake our logic, if we let it. Hereafter, to avoid dumb arguments, take charge, engage your brain, identify the type of dumb argument you’re having, and button your lip. Most likely, you will have a good laugh instead of a bad argument. | december 2011


Laurie Puhn is a Harvard-educated lawyer, couples mediator, relationship expert, and bestselling author of “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In,” who appears on Good Morning America, 20/20, Fox News and CNN. Most importantly, she is a wife and mother to two young children. Visit her interactive site at



Downtown for the Holidays!

amily Fun! * F r ee F

Live Performances Disney’s Beauty and the Beast A Christmas Carol: Scrooge & Marley The Nutcracker Home for the Holidays Visit website for exact dates and times

Holiday Wine Walk

Wednesdays, Dec. 7 & 14 • 5 - 9 pm $40 per person/night

Historic Holiday Walking Tour*

Enjoy three wine tastings paired with complimentary appetizers at participating restaurants

Sun., Dec. 11 1 – 4 pm

Santa on the Race*

Ice Skating

Fri., Dec. 9 4:30 – 5:30 pm

Santa‘s Trolley Rides* Pick-up and drop-off in front of the South Bend Chocolate Café

Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, 17, 24 Weekdays, Dec. 21-23 Visit website for times

At the East Race Waterway near the Commerce Center

Santa House* & Workshop!

College Football Hall of Fame campus Bring your camera for free photos with Santa! Visit his workshop for free cookie decorating, activities and Gingerbread Village.

Dec. 2 - 24 Visit website for exact dates and times

Howard Park Ice Rink Dec. 2 - 24 Weather permitting.

Visit website for exact dates and times

Shop Local Find the perfect gift at unique boutiques, art galleries and museum gift shops located in downtown and the East Bank Village.

The Roz Puppets

Magic Toy Box* Thur., Dec. 22 • 4 pm Inside the College Football Hall of Fame Press Box

South Bend Medical Foundation

For More inFo on these events and many more: or call 574.282.1110.

family relationships

Holiday Forecast

Surviving even the most challenging family conditions. By Lucas and Krissy Miles

It’s that time of year again. And with the holiday season comes the smell of fresh cut pine, the surgery savor of homemade treats, and the bittersweet tradition of spending quality time with the in-laws.

As memorable as these familiar holiday moments are, so too are the emotions of unmet expectations of years past, holiday gatherings gone wrong, and the saga that is the never ending cultural experience of what we call family life in America. As we all know, family life during the holiday season, especially when relating to our in-laws and extended family, comes with certain challenges. In the bustle of the spirit of the season, even relatively simple tasks, like agreeing upon times to celebrate or deciding whose house you’ll be gathering at, can quickly bring a cold front of frustration and disappointment to even the healthiest of families. These relational storms often blow in unexpectedly, leave you feeling quite frigid, and if left unchecked, have the potential to cause awkwardness and family tension for years to come. But as every good weatherman knows, being properly prepared for the forecast is the key to surviving the elements. So with this in mind, we’ve put together a few weather related relational tips to help you get ready for the winter holiday blast.

Check the Forecast

Sometimes avoiding conflict during the holidays is as simple as checking with your extended family far enough in advance, inquiring of their plans and letting them know yours. Do you experience conflict with a particular family member every year mostly just around the holidays? There is a good chance that conflict stems from unmet expectations. Prepare for the conditions by asking questions like, “Is there anything that I could do to help make this a wonderful holiday for you?” or “Is there anything different that you would like to do this year for Christmas that we haven’t done in the past?” Questions like these help everyone know what they can expect and may even help to divert some of the winter weather.


the family magazine | december 2011

Bottle Up the Sunshine

As those of us in Michiana know, during the winter months the sun can seem quite scarce. To combat the winter blues, we learn to “bottle up” the sunshine, soaking in as much of it as we can throughout the year. The same is true for relationships. Unfortunately, some families find themselves coming together only around certain holidays, or perhaps only for a wedding or a funeral throughout the year. This absence of proximity and time spent has major implications on your family together around the holidays. It is extremely unrealistic to think that a family, which might have relatively limited relationships throughout the year, will somehow come together at Christmas or New Year’s Day for a time of problem free family bliss. You will find a direct and positive correlation between time spent together throughout the year and an increased joy of spending time together at the holidays. So, bottle up this positive family time throughout the year and store it for the more potentially stressful times around the holidays.

Bundle Up

Just like thick layers protect your skin from freezing temperatures, thick skin can protect you during the holidays from all sorts of possible offenses. Holidays are some of the most high-stress times of the year. During stressful situations, we typically filter our thoughts less and consequently increase the odds of saying something offensive. Prepare yourself for potential conflict by expecting that a few odd comments will slip out during your time together as family, and “bundle up” with some thick skin ahead of time in order to prepare your emotions. That way, when Cousin Eddie says, “Man, Clark, this looks like a good turkey. Too bad it’s a little dry,” you’ll be able to smile and say, “Thanks, Eddie. Glad you like it.”

Don’t Be Tossed By the Wind

Surprisingly during heavy storms, wind – not precipitation – is responsible for most of the damage. Likewise, during family conflict, the unforeseen forces of guilt and manipulation are the biggest culprits. Even with the best intentions and the wisest tips, | december 2011

the holidays are an easy time for guilt and manipulation to quickly become the driving factors for making decisions. Remember that you can never please everyone. The wellbeing of your immediate family should always come first. By this, we aren’t trying to justify selfishness when making plans with extended family, but simply that it’s okay and actually quite healthy to make your own traditions. This will go over much better with the in-laws by lovingly communicating the importance of your own family’s traditions in a way that doesn’t make them feel unimportant or overlooked. Perhaps you’re reading this as a parent with adult children. Take note, it is important for your children to develop their own traditions that can be passed down to the next generation. You might be surprised in how your “kids” respond simply by passing the baton to them to become the leaders of the holiday celebration. It might be different than how you would do it, but the overall effect will do wonders in alleviating guilt and manipulation and may just calm the storm. As a closing thought, remember what the season is really about. The baking, the shopping, the gifts, the lights and everything else that goes into preparing for the holidays pale in comparison to the meaning behind the holidays themselves. Learn to laugh at your idiosyncrasies, offer forgiveness for the past and cherish the time that you do have together.

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Married for 10 years, Lucas and Krissy Miles have devoted their lives to helping others. Lucas is the lead pastor of Oasis Granger, a sought after conference speaker, established writer, counselor and world traveler. His wife, Krissy, is a graduate student working on her Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Business Administration, as well as a speaker, foreign language instructor and counselor. The two of them reside happily in Granger.

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This award celebrates second-stage businesses and the positive impact they have on their communities and state. Midwest Orthotics is a full-service orthotic facility providing comprehensive and cohesive care. We serve the entire state of Indiana and the greater Chicagoland area with its 4 offices in South Bend, Indianapolis, Merrillville and Chicago. Our newly expanded South Bend facility includes family-friendly patient rooms, state-of-the art scanning technology, a gait analysis lab and much more. Established in 2000, Midwest Orthotics is a family-owned organization. 17530 Dugdale Drive • South Bend, IN 46635 • 574-233-3352 •

family business

Love Your Work

By Charrise McCrorey

Have you ever wondered if this is all there is? You wake up every morning after hitting the snooze button multiple times and finally drag your tush out of bed. Coffee, shower, dress. You shuffle yourself and others out the door, some small part of you longing for another life. At work, the monotony is much the same. Then, you get up and do it again tomorrow, uninspired and essentially still asleep.

Secret #1: Get Moving

It’s very easy to slip into complacency. Everyone does it. It’s actually pretty cool to be a job hater. You feel a sense of belonging when you whine and moan about the job you hate. It’s like a membership club; you have permission to stay stuck.

Earning money in exchange for this mundane life seems like your only choice. At work, you endure bad attitudes, perhaps adopting them yourself. You spend precious time whining about them; whatever they do to annoy you seems justified to complain about. You dwell in that place of despair and disappointment with only an inkling that things could be different

Instead, you could actually get moving – literally. When you feel stuck, it helps to move your physical body so that you can think more clearly. Your brain gets oxygen, and you suddenly discover clarity where none existed before. One of my favorite strategies when I want to create quality thinking is to take a long walk with my dog and husband. From this place, wild and exciting ideas emerge.

Really? Is this the life you were meant to live?

Secret #2: Focus on Serving

We must not let our work define us. We must define our work through our alignment with our true selves. We must rise up so that we come from our heart in every area of our lives, and especially in our work. Coping is not a sustainable strategy. We must do more than survive. I understand what it’s like to dread the day, heavy and daunting. How did I get from there to here? How do I move from Groundhog Day to the magical place where I leap from bed each and every day with no alarm at all, brushing away the sleep with a grateful heart? Today, my work is so much fun that it feels like play. But I’ve been in both places, and it’s no surprise which place I prefer. I want to tell you my secrets for creating an inspired life that includes work you love.


the family magazine | december 2011

When you make it about you, the worries come crashing into your psyche. What if I’m not capable of doing great work that I love? What if I’m unworthy? What if I can’t see how to begin? When you focus on serving others, your true talent emerges in spite of your doubts and fears. You can’t possibly worry about yourself when you are focused on serving someone else. From this place of serving, your natural desires come alive. Explore them, and look for ways to launch them into work that satisfies and delights you. Ask yourself, “What would I love to do?”

Secret #3: Follow Your Fear

People are intimidated by their fear. They are deluding themselves when they think that it should not be there. They ignore it or judge themselves or agonize over having fear at all. Fear is your gift. It’s there to show you that there is another path – albeit a less safe path – which your spirit is calling you toward. If not for

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Secret #4: Don’t Forget to Dream

When we’re youngsters, we had unbridled, liberated dreams. Along the way, we became disillusioned, disappointed and dumbfounded – dream deficient. I remember a time when I could not articulate any of my dreams, past or present. Life gets in the way of remembering what we want, or what we wanted before we allowed the whirlwind to capture us in its lair.

Secret #5: Love Where You Are Now

Even if you are in a job you don’t love, you can find moments of joy right where you are. You can choose to have your dissatisfaction permeate every aspect of your life, or you can choose to grab those moments of happiness right now when they appear. You can choose to be happy in spite of any circumstance. It’s a whole lot more fun than being a full-time perpetual hater, right?

Charrise McCrorey is a writer, speaker and certified business coach. She founded a business coaching practice in 2006, is creator of the coaching program Full Out & Fearless and works with corporations to facilitate change leadership. She and her husband live in Elkhart.

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hildren are Michigan’s most valuable resource and if we want the future of Michigan to be strong, we need to put children first.

Our state’s economic future and stability, and the safety and strength of our communities depend on children entering school prepared to learn, grow, and become successful future members of the 21st century work force. Strong leaders, bold thinking and an active network of engaged Michigan residents are necessary to create positive change in our state. Now you can be part of it when you join the Michigan Sandbox Party, a nonpartisan movement for Michigan residents who recognize the need to make sure all children are healthy, strong and ready to go when they arrive at the kindergarten door. The Sandbox Party is the go-to place for information and advocacy about early childhood. It’s also the go-to place for the latest information about family-friendly events. You can find a list of family-friendly events from across the state at From conventions attended by thousands of families concerned about Michigan’s future, to sponsoring family days at three Minor League baseball games (the Lansing Lugnuts, West Michigan Whitecaps and the Traverse City Beach Bums), and an education expo at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Sandbox Party is focused on families and the future of Michigan. It’s a growing movement, and one that you will want to be a part of, not only to learn about all the family-friendly events in this state, but to understand the crucial role that school- ready children play in Michigan’s economic revival. We need a strong unified voice and smart leadership to help Michigan’s children, including the most vulnerable, get a great start in school and in life with quality child care and great early learning opportunities. Become a member of the Sandbox Party and lend your voice to this important early childhood movement. Go to


the family magazine | december 2011

InvestIng In early ChIldhood brIngs great returns Today in Michigan, about 35 percent of kindergarteners are unprepared for school. The cost to them, to Michigan and to society is enormous. Not only do children who are unprepared make the classroom more difficult for the children who do arrive ready to learn, but unprepared children are more likely to drain school resources by repeating grades and requiring special education. They’re also more likely to end up on welfare or in prison instead of becoming contributing, taxpaying adults. That’s why investing in children is smart. The rate of return is high. Studies show that for every $1 invested in high-quality early childhood programs, we can save at least $14 in costs associated with more prisons, more police and prosecution, more remedial programs and higher health-care. Through advocacy, leadership, research, and innovative programs, the Sandbox Party addresses the importance of investing in the more than 750,000 Michigan residents between the ages of 0 through 5. Become a member. Go to

| family homes family barbZappia


29 BarbZappia Photography | december 2011

Barb Zappia 15970 Ashville Lane Granger, IN 46530

Hey Kids!

NAME: _________________________________________ AGE: ______ ADDRESS: __________________________________________________ CITY: ___________________________ STATE: ______ ZIP: _________ Color this page and 3 coloring winners will each receive a $25 Gift Certificate to BarbZappia Photography! One winner will be DAY TIME PHONE: __________________________________________ selected from each of the three following age categories: 3-5, PARENT’S NAME: ___________________________________________ 6-9 and 10-12 years of age. E-MAIL: ____________________________________________________ For your chance to WIN, color your best picture and mail or drop entries to: BARBZAPPIA PHOTOGRAPHY • 15970 Ashville Lane Granger, IN 46530 Coloring contest is open to children 12 years and under, and entries must be mailed or dropped by January 2nd. Winners will be notified via phone or email service by BarbZappia Photography by January 12th, and their artwork will be featured in an upcoming issue along with their first name, age and city. For additional coloring contest entries, this coloring page may be photocopied and printed off.


BarbZappia Photography Barb Zappia 15970 Ashville Lane Granger, IN 46530

photography B A C K D R O P S I G H Q E J G K O O L




Have Fun! Photographer Photos Newborn Children Babies Seniors Weddings


the family magazine | december 2011











Find the words below in the BarbZappia Photography Crossword puzzle. Words can be forwards, backwards, diagonal, vertical or horizontal.

Engagement, Studio Lights Camera Photography Granger Location

Backdrops Props Hats, Appointment Maternity Family


Heritage Square Holiday Events

Holiday Open House - Saturday, Dec. 3

Starting at Noon, enjoy complimentary carriage rides, hot chocolate, visits with Santa and holiday sales. Spend $100 at two or more stores and receive a $20 Heritage Square Gift Card!*

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Rita Schmid, M.D.

Rita Schmid, M.D. has joined the Internal Medicine Department at The South Bend Clinic. Dr. Schmid diagnoses and treats adult patients at The South Bend Clinic’s Granger location. She partners with her patients to prevent or manage illnesses, diseases, injuries and chronic conditions. Dr. Schmid completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Cincinnati. She received her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Schmid received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Dr. Schmid is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Schmid, contact The South Bend Clinic, 574-204-7060. You can also visit us online at

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©2011 The South Bend Clinic



family features

'Tis the Season Remembering our Senior Citizens

By Jennifer Smith

With department stores and craft shops filling their shelves with red and green dÊcor as early as summer, we can’t help but be bombarded with thoughts of sugar plums and dancing elves in the middle of June. But by the time the Holiday Season really rolls around, what are you thinking about?


the family magazine | december 2011

100 We hope you’re to get connected to your community


Diane Bennett

Most of us are making those lists and – for those of you who are organized – checking them twice. What happens, though, when we stop and remember that not everyone will have that same opportunity to tear open gifts around the tree, or eat a delicious meal surrounded by loved ones? People of all ages are hurting financially, physically and even emotionally. Look around, and you are bound to find opportunities to give or volunteer in ways that meet the needs of your community. During the holiday season, however, people typically focus on helping the children. Of course, we all know that kids love to receive gifts, and that there are definitely children in our community that could use a warm coat and new toys. But what about those who may look old, but are really “kids” at heart? The elderly are often a forgotten group, particularly when it comes to the holidays. For those of us who may have lost a parent or grandparent, this time of year can be a challenging one. It can be even more difficult for those surviving parents and grandparents, for widows, and for those who have no children, no siblings and no support. We have so many seniors in our area who don’t have the family and community support to cultivate that cheer and joy that comes with the holidays. Rather, they are lonely and often filled with sadness about the life that is only lived in memories, or are missing those loved ones that they’ve lost along the way.

In an effort to respect and honor our elders, consider making them a priority this December.


Coming up May 14th: the LETTER CARRIER FOOD DRIVE

Holiday Happenings'

to STAMP OUT HUNGER in Northern Indiana. Place non-perishable foods by your mailbox for pick-up on Saturday, May 14.

Sunday, May 15, 6:30-11:30am

BIKE THE BEND Downtown South Bend map andCeremony details: Tree For Lighting Dec 2 South Bend Civic Theatre th The 100 Anniversary Christmas Carol

Marley RiverScrooge Park &Day Parade Dec 2May - Dec21, 1810:00am On Saturday, Head to Mishawaka Avenue Grangerin Community River Park Church

Let it be Christmas Dec 8 - Dec 9

Simple things can bring a smile to the face of a senior such as having a new visitor share stories at a nursing home, singing carols with children, or opening a gift purchased just for them. It is those simple things that don’t take much effort that truly can make a difference in the life of an elder.

Memorial Day Parades Southold Dance Theatre

Practical things can be helpful, too. Blankets, slippers, toiletries, books and winter accessories are all things that can help an elderly person stay warm during the winter months. More than that, it lets them know that someone is thinking about them. The knowledge that they are still important, significant members of society can make the world of difference in their attitude on life.

8:00am DecOsceola 11 8:15am South Bend, Western Avenue 9:30am Downtown Mishawaka Center for History

There are ample ways to get involved in the life of a senior citizen, and you probably won’t have to look far.

Consider contacting a local nursing home to help decorate the halls, sing songs or make a new friend. Look for organizations that provide gifts for the elderly, or consider donating items that you hand craft to a local organization or agency that specializes in serving the aging population. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, take a moment to think about how you can encourage a senior in your community. And then think about it again in June, when the candy canes are back on the shelves.

Jennifer Smith is a volunteer coordinator at REAL Services/Area 2 Agency on Aging. A former AmeriCorps volunteer, she has worked with and coordinated local volunteers in the Michiana area.

Monday, May 30 The Nutcracker

Copshaholm @ the Holidays Nov 25 - Jan 8 your Call or email with real estate questions.

For details & web links of these wonderful community events & more see our BLOG at


family features

All the Great Toys And Tips for Your Shopping Adventure! By Meagan Church

Wondering what the hot gift items for kids are this year? Look no further. Thanks to Chuck Harper, owner of Explorations Toys in Granger, we have compiled a gift guide for various ages and stages. But, before we get into the guide, let’s consider a few tips first.

Be age appropriate.

Before grabbing something snazzy and hoping they will like it, consider the child’s age and developmental stage. For instance, one-year-olds are working on dexterity, so find something simple they can play with easily. Too many bells, whistles and other frills can leave them feeling frustrated and annoyed.

Get interactive.

Find an item that you would also enjoy doing and would like to do with them. A game, puzzle or other project will give you a chance to spend time with one another.

Imagine the possibilities.

Seek gifts that encourage creativity and imagination. As the British pediatrician D. W. Winnicott once said, “It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.”

Dirt doesn’t hurt.

Kids spend enough time in front of the TV. Select gifts that will engage them away from the screen even if it means a mess might result. “Don’t be afraid of a mess,” Harper advises parents. “They are already playing enough video games, watching TV and on the computer. Let them get their hands dirty.”

Make the choice.

In the end, the gift you give is your choice. “Get something you want them to have and not what Saturday morning TV says they should have,” Harper recommends. So, what specific toys did Harper suggest? Thanks to his years in the toy business, he gladly shared his expertise and personal preferences. And, he even took the time to demonstrate a few, including the Plasma Car, proving that some of these items can bring joy to adults as well as kids.


the family magazine | december 2011

The Gift Guide Birth to Age 2


Simplicity is best when it comes to babies. Over stimulation and complex items can frustrate them. Sophie’s simple, squishy giraffe design has given her great appeal for babies around the world. She is made of all natural materials – a great asset since she will surely be chewed on. The nubs on the top of her head soothe teething gums, and her ability to easily squeak delights little ones.

Noah’s Ark Shape Sorter

As baby’s age, they need lots of practice when it comes to developing gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This shape sorter features chunky animal pieces that little ones can sort and place into the wooden ark, helping them develop those ever so important skills. As the baby grows, the pieces can be used to teach colors, counting, size comparisons and more. Ages 3 to 4

Plasma Car

What kid doesn’t enjoy zooming around? But a 3 or 4-year-old isn’t always ready for a bike. This easy-to-maneuver wheeled car will give them hours of fun as they practice balance and control. As previously mentioned, even adults can enjoy this one since it holds up to 250 pounds. Ages 5 to 6

Tell Tale

Kids are naturally creative, yet video games and toys with limited functions can stifle those natural tendencies. This card game encourages imagination and exaggeration as it challenges players to create their own stories, teaching them to think outside the box.

Sticky Mosaics Jewelry Box

Another great tool for encouraging creativity is craft projects, such as the Sticky Mosaics Jewelry Box. Through focus, concentration and decision making, this project will result in not only a beautiful end project, but also a functional jewelry box that can be used and treasured. | december 2011

Ages 7 to 8

Wee Enchanted Garden

Teach your child the art of a green thumb with this indoor garden set. Kids will learn more about nature by seeing for themselves how plants grow. Plus, the garden will teach them responsibility as the results will be dependent upon their time and efforts – a priceless lesson and building block for great independence and responsibility as they mature. Ages 9+

Meteor Rocket

Let’s face it; kids like to blow things up. And who doesn’t love blasting a rocket into space? This gift is a great combination of a craft project and science experiment. Kids must follow the instructions to construct a rocket. Then they can experiment with baking soda and various types of vinegar to make it soar to incredible heights. Meagan Church is a writer and mother of 2.5 kids. Her current projects include DefiningMotherhood, and Unexpectant where she explores the realities of modern motherhood for her book project.


Even more ideas…

Looking for more gifts? Here’s a list of other great items for the kid on your gift list: Birth to Age 2

Press N Go Inchworm: Encourage crawling and walking with this inchworm that rolls across the floor when pushed. Skwish: This indestructible toy is easy for little ones to grasp, pull, hang on to and chew.

Ages 3 to 4

Doodle Track Car: Create your own racetracks by drawing a line that the car will follow.

Ages 5 to 6

Baseball Guys: Along the lines of army men, these guys are small, sports themed figurines. Doinkit Darts: This magnetic dart set will develop your sharp shooter’s abilities, while decreasing the danger of traditional darts.

Ages 7 to 8

Spot It: This fast-paced card game is fun for all ages. Its small size makes it easily transportable and a great way to kill time, while waiting for dinner in a restaurant. Friends Forever Bracelet: Create 22 bracelets to share with friends.

Ages 9+

Ultimate Nail Studio: Complete with a nail dryer and pedicure slippers, this set is sure to please any girl who enjoys a nice mani/pedi. Spooner Boards: Mimic skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing moves on this popular freestyle board, while developing balance, coordination and core strength.

Notre Dame Baseball

Winter Youth Clinic

December 27 - 30, 2011 • Kids Ages 6-12 9am-12pm • Space is Limited • Sign Up Today! Camp instruction is by the University of Notre Dame Baseball staff. All phases of the game will be covered including hitting, defense, pitching and base running. For questions or additional info please contact Coach Chuck Ristano at For more information and application forms, go to: sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/110811aaa.html

family features

Labor of Love

Theatres Surviving and Thriving Despite the Economy By Stephanie J. Salisbury

In a country where many used to think nothing of dropping five dollars for a latte at a big chain, people have become a lot less reckless with their cash over the last several years, especially in Michiana. Having a job you love takes a backburner to just having a job. That’s where people like John Shoup and Tami Ramaker are lucky. John Shoup, artistic and technical director for Elkhart Civic Theatre at the Bristol Opera House, began volunteering back in 1984 and has been working with the theatre ever since. He builds the sets, he’s on the production committee, he directs, he acts – you name it! He also knows what a struggle it is to maintain a theatre at this time. As a not-for-profit organization, funding comes from ticket revenues, private donations, corporate or private underwriting (when a business or individual directly pays the costs for a specific show or season), and in-kind donations such as costumes, props and building supplies. “Donations and underwriting have been severely limited by the current economy,” says Shoup. “We’ve been pretty fortunate, though, and haven’t seen a decline in ticket sales – that’s a good thing!” Tami Ramaker, artistic director for South Bend Civic Theatre (SBCT) agrees. “The nonprofit business model is being challenged significantly, intensely so in the past decade, particularly for the arts. In the past two years, since the economy hit such a low, SBCT has successfully replaced lost donations with increased ticket sales, enough so to stay even, to not lose ground, which is saying a lot, actually.” So why are people still willing to spend their hard-earned dollars on theatre? Jack Cittadine, project manager for the renovation of the Lerner Performing Arts Center (formerly known as the Elco), says, “It’s a quality of life issue. It makes Elkhart a place we want to live. Arts are vitally important! You want to attract new people and new industry? The first thing people do is see the quality of life and decide if they want to live here. Now we have


the family magazine | december 2011

a magnificent, restored theatre, a ballroom that can seat 500 people – we put in a fantastic audio/visual system from Crown International, right here in Elkhart. We have the ability to bring in anything we want – any large Broadway show; we could do classic movies. We’ve had 120 bookings just since July 1st.” That sentiment rings true everywhere it seems. “Live performance enhances the life of a community in so many ways,” begins a passionate John Shoup. “Many people think that it is mostly about giving performers, musicians and technicians a chance to get the “drama” out of their systems, and it is partly that. But it also allows the audience to enjoy a great story line or relish a beautiful song. Theatre, along with all live performance arts, can uplift the spirit, hold a mirror up to the culture and allows us to reflect and evaluate, or just allow us to escape into a fantasy world.” Perhaps even more importantly, it helps to shape the young people of our society. Shoup continues, “Theatre allows our children to stretch and grow, to think outside the box, to problem solve and to become more secure in their abilities to stand up in front of a group of people without fear.” Tami Ramaker has the same passion for what she does. “As an art form, theatre has a tremendous capacity to transform lives and is accessible to a broad range of audience members and participants. Audiences grow through the questions our plays ask, the issues they explore, and the dialogue they inspire. For participants, young and old learn more about themselves, and, by living in another character’s shoes, they learn to empathize with others who may be radically different than they are. I know of no other place where life skills like confidence, teamwork, discipline and real commitment are learned more completely than in the theatre process.” Most importantly, theatre and other arts are instrumental in enhancing the economy. Shoup puts a wise spin on things: “We help other businesses by bringing people into the town or city where we perform. These people, in turn, use local hotels, restaurants, tourist locations and specialty stores to continue their theatre experience. Having a theatre in your town is a win-win situation.” | december 2011


Jack Cittadine, an attorney, believed so strongly in the Lerner Theatre restoration project that he did all of his work as project manager pro bono. The entire project took three years.

Adding a bit of humor, Jack Cittadine tells us, “If you break even, it’s a home run, and if you make money it’s a grand slam. I think we have the possibility of a home run – maybe even a grand slam!”

These people believe in the theatre. They believe in the value of the arts in our lives. They are strong, intelligent, hard-working people that realize not only the value of performance on the stage, but of performance in your own job and in your community.

Elkhart Civic Theatre is celebrating 50 years at the Bristol Opera House this year. Shoup invites us: “We have a great combination of musicals and plays this year, which includes the area’s community theatre premier of the Tony award winning, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

If you would like to contribute to the arts, there are several ways you can do so. “Attend!” says Tami Ramaker. “Attend often, and bring friends! You will grow as a person and celebrate life in a radically different way if the arts are a part of your family’s routine.” Be willing to spread the word about what’s happening at your local theatre. John Shoup says, “Local television, radio and newspapers need to continue to support the live performing arts – theatrical, dance, symphonic and visual. Help us get the word out that Michiana has an amazingly vibrant and exciting arts community just waiting to share its talent.”

For more information on attending, donating or volunteering, check these websites for information. Stephanie J. Salisbury is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She lives in Middlebury with her husband Stephen, and their kids Zachary, Michael, and Aria. Stephanie works at the Daily Grind in downtown Elkhart, and has written a novel, a non-fiction Christian self-help book and a collection of short stories and poetry.

UMSH DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING CENTER SERVING MICHIANA Providing Michiana with State-of-the-Art Diagnostic Technology The Diagnostic Imaging Center at Unity Medical and Surgical Hospital (UMSH) provides both inpatient and outpatient medical imaging and radiology procedures. Our Board Certified Radiologists and expertly trained staff offer exceptional quality in both images and diagnoses. Conveniently located in Mishawaka, the Diagnostic Imaging Center is only steps away from the parking lot providing convenience and ease of access service to patients. We are a full service center with a caring and personal touch.

4455 Edison Lakes Parkway • Mishawaka, Indiana 46545


family features

Everyone has someone on their Christmas list who has everything they could ever possibly need or want. Maybe their Christmas wish list is so extravagant you know you could never possibly afford to buy them a pony, a new iPhone 4S and the new flat screen TV they have been leaving you hints about – hints taped as notes to the flickering TV you inherited from your inlaws newly refurbished basement. Everyone knows someone it’s impossible to shop for. My husband’s arms are too long. Well, they are just right for him, but they are too long for any shirt that I have ever bought him. I really can’t buy him clothes. He returns them. Always. Then instead he buys himself a do-it-yourself soda pop maker with 17 varieties of pop you can make yourself. My mother-in-law sees my need for domestic assistance whenever she comes for a visit, so I get an annual array of festive dish towels for our kitchen. My father-in-law has received about a thousand golf balls over the years, with socks to match.

Gift s

By Michelle Wegner

cried, they sobbed uncontrollably – major score for us and our talent for gift giving. Now, I don’t think they have watched that video since because they can’t quite figure out how to use the DVD menu, but I am sure it is locked away in their memory as the best gift they have ever received (aside from the argyle socks, of course). That same year, I uploaded, edited and scrapbooked the twenty or so pictures we used in the video for them, so they would have easy access to the pictures and memories if they couldn’t figure out the DVD. They cried at this, too, which led to me spraining my arm from patting myself on the back. We have really tried to be unconventional in our gift giving. A special tradition between Rob and me is the annual “Christmas Letter.” No, we don’t send it out to a 150 people from our address book. We send one to each other. We began the tradition in 1994, our first Christmas together. The letters are usually pretty mushy. Here are a few bits and pieces from our 18 years together so far. (Warning, serious mush.)

After the thousandth golf ball purchase, Rob and I stepped back to think for a minute. While on the golfing green, did he feel our love for him radiating from the golden glow of the golf ball as it captured the light of the sunset? Did he feel the warmth we have for him as he snuggled into his new argyle socks? We had to admit to ourselves that he probably didn’t.


We decided to make gift giving personal. We gathered all of the pictures we could find from Rob’s childhood and pieced together a three minute DVD video. The song we chose to go with the photos was “You Are My Sunshine.” Rob’s mom used to sing that to him when he was little.

Michelle, I want to help make your dreams a reality. I want to tell you the truth even when it’s hard. I want to build our family together. I want to always be inseparable. I want to be faithful to you in word, thought, and deed.

I was 9 months pregnant with our third daughter at the time, so the family graciously offered to visit our way instead of us having to trudge to Chicago, hopefully avoiding a “No room at the Inn, birth-by-stable situation.” None of us will ever forget the look of astonishment on Mom and Dad’s faces when we started the DVD for them. They wept, they


the family magazine | december 2011

Rob, you are a dreamer. Your dreams inspire me to live life wildly and freely. You have magic inside of you that draws the magic out of me. You inspire me to live radically and on the edge. What more could I ever ask for in a husband … 1997

We had a lot of time for mush in our five years of marriage before babies. The letters from then till now all have a pervading theme of tiredness, but lots of love and great memories. 1998

Little did we know Christmas last year what would lay ahead of us. We didn’t know we could be stretched so much, hurt so much, or how tired a person could possibly be. Little did | december 2011

we know our hearts would be completely transformed as we watched our precious baby girl be born and turn into a great big smiley face right before our eyes.

DVD that will inspire elderly family members.

And more recently, we have seen our family develop its own little personality with all the quirks and kinks, uniqueness and joy.

Make scrapbooks out of old photos.


We see our three little girls growing into young women before our eyes. It is a wonderful thing, and suddenly I feel like we are in a new phase with them. No more baby stuff. They can walk on their own, get dressed on their own, I feel like my hands are free for the first time in 10 years! With this new phase come new blessings and new problems. I’m sure we will learn more than we ever thought possible about raising three young ladies. It means so much for us to read back through these old letters and reminisce about our lives together way back then up till the present. Quite honestly, I will treasure these letters more than any material gift, except maybe an iPhone 4s, but it’s a close call.

If you don’t know how, ask someone under 18. They could probably teach you in fifty seconds. Stores like Hobby Lobby are full of scrapbook materials, and there are endless websites that will help you get lots of ideas for really neat scrapbook pages. Write meaningful letters that are timeless.

Print them on fancy paper and keep them in a special folder. Maybe even handwrite them in cursive, although now that Indiana doesn’t require kids to learn cursive anymore, they might not be able to read it fifty years from now. Maybe add a sidebar translation with block letters and all caps. Have fun this Christmas. Be creative, thoughtful and timeless with your gifts. You and your loved ones will be so, so glad you did.

It is easier than ever to throw together a timeless gift that the special people in your life will treasure. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.


Katie Elms, M.D. Katie Elms, M.D. joins the Pediatric Department at The South Bend Clinic. Dr. Elms completed her pediatric residency at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Dr. Elms graduated magna cum laude from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Elms, contact The South Bend Clinic, 574-233-7337. You can also visit us online at

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©2011 The South Bend Clinic



Michelle Wegner is mom to three spirited little girls, Maddie-12, Whitney-10 and Isabelle-6. Her husband is a pastor at Granger Community Church, and they have been married for 17 years.


Calendar of Events


songs, finger plays and fun for children up to two years. Call 574.282.4641 for more info.

Imagine That! Toy Store, Mishawaka


Drop-in Craft Day Every Sunday enjoy “Drop-in” Craft Day from 1 to 5 PM. All ages are welcome and an adult must accompany children. Pay $5 for the craft of the day to create and then take home with you! Call 574.254.1600 for more information and for a schedule of upcoming classes also available at the store.


Storytime Sampler Bittersweet Branch Library, Mishawaka

Storytime Sampler is held every second and fourth Monday of the month from 10:30 AM to 11 AM. This fun library time provides a sampling of the materials used in the preschool and toddler programs. Registration is not required. Call 574.259.0392 for more information.

St. Joseph County Public Library, Storytime Room

Every Wednesday at 10:10 AM and 11 AM, enjoy early literacy activities for children ages 2 to 3 ½, including stories, songs and games. Pre-register at or at 574.282.4607.

Storytime at the Library 10:15 AM– Centre Township Branch, South Bend; Lakeville Branch, Lakeville 10:30 AM – South Bend Branches: River Park, Tutt, LaSalle, German Township

Every Wednesday enjoy stories, music, and movement that build early literacy skills and help your young child prepare for future learning success while developing a love of books. Open to children ages 5 and younger; families welcome. Visit for more info.


Drop-in Craft Day

Every Tuesday near the fireplace in the bookstore, join story time with books, interactive songs and an art project or other activity for young children. Story time is at 11 AM and 1 PM and lasts 45-60 minutes. Check out the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore Facebook page for an upcoming list of readings (click on the ‘Storytime’ tab).

and an adult must accompany children. Pay $5 for the craft of the day to create and then take home with you! Call 574.254.1600 for more information and for a schedule of upcoming classes also available at the store.


Come get that pre-pregnancy body back while you stimulate your child’s development and learning. Classes are offered every Wednesday morning at 9:30 AM, and free childcare is provided for toddlers during the class (for mothers with more than one). Call for pricing info. For more info call 269.687.9110.

Every Thursday enjoy “Drop-in” Craft Day from 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM. All ages are welcome and an adult must accompany children. Pay $5 for the craft of the day to create and then take home with you! Call 574.254.1600 for more information and for a schedule of upcoming classes also available at the store.


Downtown South Bend’s First Fridays The first Friday of each month explore downtown South Bend from 5 PM-9 PM. Visit for a listing of events taking place, including activities and experiences for kids, adults and families.


Storytime at Borders Borders Bookstore, Mishawaka

Every Saturday at 2 PM, kids can enjoy a new book read aloud, along with an occasional craft or activity. Storytime is free and lasts no longer than an hour. Call 574.271.9930 for more info.

Storytime at Hammes Notre Dame Imagine That! Toy Store, Mishawaka Every Wednesday enjoy “Drop-in” Craft Day Bookstore from 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM. All ages are welcome Family Programs at Curious Kids’ Museum

Francis Branch Library, South Bend

Every Tuesday at 10 AM, enjoy stories, music and movement that build early literacy skills and help your young child prepare for future learning success while developing a love of books. Open to children ages 5 and younger; families welcome. Call 574.282.4641 for more info.

Lapsit for Prewalkers St. Joseph County Public Library, Storytime Room

Every Tuesday at 10:10 AM, enjoy books, songs, finger plays and fun for children up to two years who haven’t yet mastered walking on their own. Pre-register online at www. or at 574.282.4607.

Wednesday Lapsit

Francis Branch Library, South Bend

Every Wednesday at 10 AM enjoy books, the family magazine | december 2011


Mom and Baby Exercise Class Thomson’s Physical Therapy, Niles, Michigan


Storytime at Hammes Bookstore & Café on Eddy Street

Every Thursday at 11:30 AM, join story time with books, interactive songs and an art project or other activity for young children. Story time is at 11 AM and 1 PM and lasts 45-60 minutes. Check out the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore Facebook page for an upcoming list of readings (click on the ‘Storytime’ tab).

Drop-in Craft Day Imagine That! Toy Store, Mishawaka

Curious Kids’ Museum and Discovery Zone, St. Joseph, MI

Every Saturday from 12 PM – 4 PM, the museum hosts family-friendly programs that are fun for all ages. Check out the new Discover Zone (for children ages 3 and up); also hosting Saturday family programming at the same time. Call 269.983.2543 for more information. Admission fee or membership to museum is required.

Ongoing Events Music for Munchkins

Wedertz Music Academy, Osceola

Join us every Tuesday from 10 AM to 10:45 AM for a fun piano group lesson. This music class is a great way for 3 to 4 year olds to get practice with note reading, rhythm, counting, movement and more! Only $12 per class. For more information, contact Alicia at 574.975.7776.

Sharing Box Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Harris Branch

This month read The Mitten: a Ukrainian Folktale by Jan Brett about a boy named Nicki who loses his white mitten in the snow. Soon a mole, a rabbit, a hedgehog, an owl, a badger and a fox all take refuge in the lost mitten. They are all sleeping snugly until bear joins them and sneezes. Make | december 2011

*Please be sure to call ahead to confirm times and information. a set of paper mittens to take home. Ask for this Sharing Box anytime during the month of December at the Children’s Services Desk.

Cage Fitness STAR Martial Arts, Elkhart

Cage Fitness is tested and designed by 9-time Welterweight Champion, Matt Hughes. However, unlike MMA, there is no contact and no partners! Cage Fitness is designed to work out your entire body in only 25 minutes! Come try a free class before you decide you love it! For more information call 574.522.5425.

entry slip for a drawing to be held Friday, December 30. Two lucky winners will choose books from a selection of new paperbacks. Children are allowed to enter the drawing one time per week.

A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley The South Bend Civic Theatre, South Bend

South Bend Civic Theatre presents a new look at an old favorite with “A Christmas Carol: Scrooge & Marley” from December 2nd to the 18th on the Wilson Mainstage. Tickets range from $16-$20. For times and more info, visit

Baby Boot Camp

Library Locations Accepting Donations

Central Park, Mishawaka on Mondays. Granger Community Church, Wednesdays and Fridays

All Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library Locations

Baby Boot Camp stroller-based fitness classes are designed specifically to help moms get fit. Classes combine strength-training exercises with cardiovascular drills. Pilates, yoga and abdominal exercises help improve core strength. The stroller, resistance tubes (and even your child!) are used as an integral part of the workout. Starts at 9:30 AM. Free! For more info visit

The Sharing Box: Downtown Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Downtown

Can’t wait until Christmas? Have fun while you wait for the big day by reading the book Counting Christmas written by Karen Katz. Then make a paper bag Santa puppet to take home. Children, with an accompanying adult, are invited to come anytime during the month of December to Children’s Services at the downtown Mishawaka Library.

Wee Discover Curious Kids Museum, St. Joseph, MI

Wee Discover helps preschoolers discover the world around them by reading different stories every week with hands-on learning play experiences. Parents enjoy sharing this experience with their children and meet other parents. Join us every Wednesday from 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM. Free with paid museum admission or membership. For more info, visit

Who’s Hiding in the Bittersweet Branch Library?

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Bittersweet Branch

Beginning December 1, Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s pet in the Peanuts cartoons by Charles Schultz, is the character hiding in a different location each week in Children’s Services at the Bittersweet Branch Library. Find him and receive an


Check out the events at

Angels are Making Their Rounds Bethel College, Everest-Rohrer Auditorium, Mishawaka

Enjoy an evening of musical entertainment that the whole family will love. $8 adults, $7 students. For ticket information, contact the box office at 574.807.7080.

Disney’s Beauty and The Beast The Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

Don’t miss this Disney favorite live on stage! Shows are held on December 2 and 3. On December 2, show starts at 7:30 PM. For more info on times and pricing, visit

During the month of December, all MPHPL locations, in cooperation with the “Sole Food” Project, will be collecting new hats, gloves, scarves, socks and slippers for the residents at the Center for the Homeless. Patrons are encouraged to knit or crochet winter gear items. New store bought items are also accepted. Donation boxes will be located at the downtown Mishawaka-PennHarris Public Library, the Bittersweet Branch Library and the Harris Branch Library. For more information, call 574.259.0392.

Saturday, December 3


Make a wind chime out of recycled silverware. From 10 AM to 12 PM. Hang it up for beautiful music in the backyard or give it as a gift. If time allows, participants can also make a recycled pop can craft. Please bring leather gloves, if able. All craft materials will be provided. For ages 10 and up, accompanied by an adult. Registration and payment are required by Nov. 30. Cost is $6 per person.

Thursday, December 1 Author Visit

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Harris Branch

Indiana young adult author Mike Mullin will discuss at 5 PM his novel for teens, “Ashfall,” the story of a 15-year-old boy’s search to find his family after a volcano erupts. For more information, contact call 574.271.3179.

Friday, December 2 Deck the Halls

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Downtown

Deck the halls with boughs of holly…it’s time to trim the tree! Children of all ages are invited on December 2 or December 3, anytime from 9 AM to 5:30 PM to help Children’s Services decorate their tree. Children may make an ornament to hang on the library’s tree and one to take home. For more info, call 574.259.5277, ext. 242.

Downtown South Bend Tree Lighting

College Football Hall of Fame, South Bend Don’t miss the fun in downtown! The annual tree lighting is on December 2nd at 5:45 PM, and there will be fun events running throughout the month.

Children’s Activity Day: A Down Home Christmas Elkhart County Historical Museum, Bristol

Explore some of our area’s favorite holiday traditions through fun crafts and activities. $1 per child. From 1 to 4 PM. For more info, call 574.848.4322.

Recycled Wind Chimes St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn

Christopher’s Christmas The Lerner Theatre, Elkhart

Patchwork Dance Company will preview Michiana’s own holiday tradition, “Christopher’s Christmas” at The Lerner Theatre in Elkhart on Saturday, December 3 at 2 and 7 PM. The production will also include community outreach through two days of special abridged daytime versions for area students. Tickets range from $8-$20. For more info, visit

Children’s Activity Day: A Down Home Christmas Elkhart County Historical Museum, Bristol

Explore some of our area’s favorite holiday traditions through fun crafts and activities. $1 per child. From 1 to 4 PM. For more info, call 574.848.4322.

Water Conservation Seminar and Free Kit! Elkhart Environmental Center, Elkhart

If you’d like to stop pouring money down the drain and take home a free water conservation kit then join at the Elkhart Environmental Center for a free Water Conservation Kits and Program at 2 PM. Participants will receive a water conservation kit to install at home to save money and water. This kit is free for all City of Elkhart water customers and $15 for non-city water customers. For more info, visit

Monday, December 5 Treetop Tales

Mishwaka-Penn-Harris Library, Harris Branch

Children of all ages are invited to listen to stories, sing songs and participate in finger plays at Treetop Tales from 1:30 to 2 PM. Registration is not required and all ages are welcome. An adult caregiver must attend with children aged 7 years and younger. For more information, call 574.271.3179.

Wednesday, December 7 Toddler Time at Penn High School Penn High School, Mishawaka

The Child Development students at Penn High School are excited to announce Toddler Time starting December 7th and running through December 22. Toddler Time is a 45 minute long activity time for children ages 1 ½ - 3 and a parent. It is led by students enrolled in Child Development and is designed to help them learn about toddlers through direct interaction and observations. There is no cost. Contact Christy Obenour at Cobenour@phm.k12 or 574.259.7961 ext. 2667 if you are interested and to learn more.

Thursday, December 8

Home School Program: Winter Weather Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter, New Carlisle

Welcome, home school families! How do animals (and people) survive during the winter? Discover why winter is so cold, how snowflakes form and how to make simple weather predictions. Registration is required by Tuesday, December 6. $3 per student. For more info call 574.654.3155 or visit

Saturday, December 10 Science and Stories: Freeze It! Elkhart Environmental Center, Elkhart

On Saturday, Michelle will lead participants in discovering the wonders of ice and the


the family magazine | december 2011

effect that below zero temperature have on liquids. The fun begins at 2 PM. All supplies will be provided. A $3 donation per child is appreciated. Space is limited, please call to register: 574.293.5070.

Women Experience the Outdoors: Silk Scarf and Ornament Painting Bendix Woods County Park, New Carlisle

Need a last minute gift for someone special, or a fun accessory to brighten up a favorite outfit? Paint a “Habotai” silk scarf with a beautiful tie-dye or watercolor effect. Participants will also paint a glass ornament to take home. All materials will be provided. Class is for adults or teens with an adult. Registration and payment are required by December 7. Fee $18 per person. From 9 AM to 12 PM. For more info, call 574.277.4828.

Holiday Music Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Harris Branch

Enjoy a variety of holiday music. Pianist Andy Schmidt will perform a variety of musical selections on December 10 at 2 PM, and classical harpist Devon Haupt will fill the library with beautiful music on Saturday, December 17 at 2 PM. Both musicians will perform in the main area of the library, giving patrons the opportunity to browse through the shelves as you enjoy the music. For more information, call 574.271.3179.

Sunday, December 11

Southold Dance Theatre Presents the Nutcracker Ballet The Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

What better way to bring in the holidays than with this classic ballet, brought to you by Southold Dance Theatre! Show starts at 2 PM. Shows on December 10 available as well. For more info visit

Danu: Christmas in Ireland DeBartolo Center, Notre Dame

Make it a Celtic Christmas with this popular ensemble. Show starts at 2 PM. For more info, visit

Monday, December 12 Storytime Sampler

Mishwaka-Penn-Harris Library, Bittersweet Branch

Storytime Sampler continues from 10:30 to 11 AM. Storytime Sampler provides a sampling of the materials used in the preschool and toddler programs. Adult caregivers are expected to attend and remain with their children. Registration is not required. For more info, call 574.259.0392.

Tuesday, December 13 Craft of the Month Group

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Bittersweet Branch

Visit anytime between 4 to 6 PM to make a Candy Cane Mouse. Give it as a gift to someone or hang it on the tree! This program is open to teens, adults and children aged 7 and up with an adult helper. Registration is not required, and the free program will continue while supplies last. For more information, call the Bittersweet Branch Library at 574.259.0392.

Thursday, December 15

Cooking Class with Chef Laurent: Winter Favorites Chef Laurent, Inc., Granger

Chef Laurent, a native of Brittany, France with a culinary background in European cuisine, offers various classes to enhance your cooking skills. Learn how to make farmer’s vegetable soup, beef bourguignon and stuffed chicken from 5:30 to 7:00 PM. $45. For more info visit

Saturday, December 17 Bingo Day!

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Downtown

Did you know that December is National Bingo Month? Visit the downtown branch on Saturday for a day of bingo fun. Children in preschool through 1st grade will enjoy a rousing game of snowy picture bingo from 10:30 to 11 AM. Children in grades 2 through 6 can try their hand at traditional number bingo from 2:30 to 3 PM. Small prizes will be awarded. Children who bring a donation for our Pet Refuge drive will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free book! Pre-registration is encouraged and will begin December 3. Walk-ins will be welcome the day of the program. For more information, call 574.259.5277, ext. 242.

Wednesday, December 21 Movie Caption Contest

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library

Eighteen teens aged 13-18 can win a free movie rental from the Mishawaka-PennHarris Public Library. Stop by any MPHPL location and visit the Young Adult area anytime between December 5 and 17 and enter the Movie Caption contest. Each MPHPL location will have three different movie images. Teens are invited to look at the image and make up their own caption for the picture. Judging is based on originality,

spelling and creativity. Six people from each location will win. Winners will be announced on December 21.

Thursday, December 22

Cooking Class with Chef Laurent: Sweets Chef Laurent, Inc., Granger

Chef Laurent, a native of Brittany, France with a culinary background in European cuisine, offers various classes to enhance your cooking skills. There are two classes on sweets available, one for kids ages 10-17, from 11:30 to 1 PM for $25. The adult class is held 5:30 to 7 PM for $45. For more info visit

Saturday, December 31

New Year’s Eve Gala Featuring The Tom Milo Big Band The Palais Royale, South Bend

Don’t miss the 10th annual New Year’s Eve Gala at the Palais Royale on Saturday, December 31. Enjoy a fine dining experience and the opportunity to ring in the New Year on the area’s most historic dance floor. Photographer Peter Ringenberg will be | december 2011

available to take photos for a nominal cost. Again this year, black tie is optional. By popular request, this year’s event features The Tom Milo Big Band, an 18-piece big band well-known to dance couples. $100. For more info visit

JANUARY EVENTS Tuesday, January 3

Make Your Own Hydro Bracelet Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Downtown

Children in first through sixth grade are invited to make their very own hydro bracelet on January 3 anytime between 10:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Using water and clear tubing, children can add small beads and glitter to make their very own work of art! Instructions will be provided, but parental assistance is suggested. Registration is not required, and the free program will continue while supplies last. For more information call 574.259.5277, ext. 242.

New Patient Package

Consultation with a Skin Care Professional including Visia® Complexion Analysis, First Treatment and Products for 25% off.

Call 574-968-3510 for details or go online to Mishawaka Office 611 E. Douglas Road, Suite 108

Elkhart Office 500 Arcade Avenue, Suite 300 *Must be new to Centre Yourself to receive this package. Offer runs through 1/31/2012.


Monday, January 9 Theatre Class

South Bend Civic Theatre

Join the SBCT for “CRASH into 2012: A Comprehensive Audition Workshop for Youth.” Classes run from January 9-22. Cost is $90. For more information on classes and times, and to register, visit


Special Section Gifts from the Lakeside Girls Out and About Avoiding those Pet Holiday Hazards A Dozen Fun Holiday Outings Cooking for the Holidays Tips and Some Memorable Brunch Recipes!

The Heartfelt Holiday Traditions of Amey Upton Holiday Decorating Ideas for Every Budget


girls out & about

Want to share what you and your best gal pals are up to? Submit your photos and descriptions to ?? and simply fill out our online questionnaire!


ho doesn’t love clothes?

Well, if you have little rug rats who grow faster than weeds, shopping for those clothes might make you love them less. But thanks to some creative thinking from Rebecca Badger of Bridgman, she and her friends found a fun way to revamp their kids’ wardrobe – and more impressively, did so without spending a dime! Rebecca got the whole thing going thanks to a little inspiration during her winter organizing: “Well, the idea came from cleaning out closets and taking inventory of what we needed for winter. Then I thought, I bet some of my friends are doing the same thing and maybe we could swap out clothes. I asked a few people, and they loved the idea!” For this particular clothes swap, the gals decided to focus mainly on clothing items for their sprouting kids, but they’re considering doing another clothes swap some evening just for themselves.

The Rules

a buzz among those friends on what will be available. Facebook is great for that because people can just post what they have or need,” Rebecca explained. Couldn’t be simpler, right? Rebecca, the ever-awesome hostess, also provided coffee and muffins for the guests to enjoy while they shopped.

How It Worked

So, how did this all go down? Mass chaos? Pandemonium? Mayhem? Of course not. Rebecca was smart and had people draw numbers and sent everyone shopping two at a time. People could take up to two items per person they were shopping for. So for example, one mom was shopping for herself and two kids, so she could take six items per shopping round. The girls continued in this rotation pattern, though some stopped after a round or two after gathering all the spoils they could handle. So, really, what could be better? Coffee, shopping for free while simultaneously organizing your kids’ closets, and spending time with your best gal pals – it’s a win any way you slice it!

1. You have to bring clothes in order to take clothes 2. Make sure everyone brings clothes for the current season 3. Make sure clothes are clean and stain free

For Darcy White of Stevensville, she thought the clothes swap was a big hit because it helped her stay clutter free for the season: “I like that I don’t have to store this stuff until my garage sale in the summer.”

The Prep

Carrie Noll of Bridgman echoed the same sentiment and hoped that it would be a repeat occurrence: “It was really nice to get rid of the piles of clothes. I hope to do this again when it gets warm. I needed pj’s for Quinn, and I found several!”

If you’re the one organizing the clothes swap, don’t think you need to open a mini boutique for it to be a success. According to Rebecca, the prep was a cinch. Just choose a location, get the word out through e-vites, or as Rebecca also suggested, the omnipresent and all-powerful Facebook. You can even form an event page to help everyone get organized. “Try and get a feel for what people are looking for and what they have to bring. Then try and create


lakeside family magazine | december 2011

The next time you see you’re little guy or gal with ankles peeking out of their practically new jeans, or if your closet is busting at the seams, consider hosting your own clothes swap. Your burgeoning closets and your growing kids will thank you!

lakeside book review | december 2011




Thousands of local parents are connected to The Lakeside FAMILY Magazine through Facebook, Twitter & E-Blasts. WHY? To connect with other parents, get instant updates on fun things to do and parenting news, enter Facebookonly prize giveaways and more.

Reviewed by Andrea Smalley St. Joseph /Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library Cassia lives in a perfect society, one that maintains its perfection by strictly controlling every aspect of each citizen’s life, from the calories in each meal that they eat to the person they will marry – their “match.” Cassia doesn’t question her lack of free choice until she is matched with her childhood best friend, but is mistakenly given information about another boy. As her fascination with the boy from the mistaken match grows, so does her awareness of the flaws in her society, as well as pressure from her family, friends and the government to conform. This first novel in a series ends with Cassia experiencing choice for the first time in a dramatic and life-altering way. With “Matched,” Ally Condie has written one of the most intriguing and well-crafted examples of young adult dystopian fantasy. The central themes of safety vs. freedom, growing self-awareness, making difficult choices and exploring the unknown will resonate with many teens of both genders. Both the romance and the rebellion complement rather than overwhelm the plot, and while teen boys may be leery of the love triangle that develops, they shouldn’t be. With universal themes, skillful character building and great pacing, “Matched” is a story with broad appeal. Those who follow Cassia’s journey will be eager to read “Crossed,” the second book in the series.


lakeside living

Gifts from the


The hunt is on! And if you’re looking for memorable gifts to dazzle your loved ones this Christmas, check out what some of our local retailers have in store for you.


What’s in store for the Christmas season? Take a look at CHARM IT! with amazing charms and bracelets to collect and wear. From moving parts to unexpected surprises, these $5.00 charms take jewelry to another level. Girls 4-15 will be “charmed” this season with their CHARM IT! bracelet! You can find CHARM IT! At The Toy Company, 208 State Street, in St. Joseph, Michigan. Price: Charms are $5.00

Holiday Treats for Fido!

Don’t forget to grab something sweet for your furry friends this Christmas. At FuzzyButz Pet Bakery in St. Joseph, Michigan, their specialty is their fresh baked treats! Christmas is their favorite time of the year, and they carry a huge variety of holiday goodies. Candy canes, snowmen and stockings are just a few of the hand decorated items they offer. FuzzyButz Pet Bakery is located at 306 State Street in the heart of downtown St. Joseph. Check them out at Price: Treats range from $.90 to $2.00


lakeside family magazine | december 2011 | december 2011


Nora Fleming Platters and Dishes

Know someone who loves to entertain or has a flair for decorating? Here’s a gift they’ll love! Nora Fleming platters, serving dishes and oven-safe casserole dishes are “it” gifts this season. Choose the dish, add a decorative mini and voila – perfect for any holiday or fun occasion! These dishes are a great way to save space and money as you can use one unique dish for many occasions. Find Nora Fleming dishes at Perennial Accents, 220 State Street in St. Joseph, Michigan. Perennial Accents will even gift wrap your item for free! Learn more at Price: $12.50 to $62.99

Schleppbags by Trumpette

Schlepp your heart out! These Fabulous Schleppbags designed by Trumpette are the perfect gift for that special girl in your life. Offered in a variety of “activities” so she can schlepp the different things she loves! Available in three sizes: large, small or mini. You can find these adorable bags at Little Princess Treasures located in New Buffalo, Michigan. Price: Mini Small Large

$38.50 $49.50 $79.50

Melissa and Doug Doorbell House

Ding Dong! Fun is at the door of this “sound”ly-built wooden doorbell house. Four electronic doorbell sounds, four unique locks with matching keys, and four pose-able play people are included with this charming cottage! The keys are attached to the house, so they won’t get lost, and the sturdy handle allows this exciting house party to go wherever children go! You can find this fun item at Kids’ Kollection, located at 2542 S. Cleveland Avenue in St. Joseph, Michigan. Price: $30.00

lakeside pets

Avoiding Those Pet

Holiday Hazards By Dr. Ed Blesy

The holidays are upon us. Please take a moment to review some common hazards your pets may face at this time of year. Upset Stomach?

The most common ailment I see this time of year is gastrointestinal upset. One might suspect this ailment if numerous spots of vomit and diarrhea are found throughout the house, especially on the freshly cleaned carpet. Dietary indiscretion may occur


lakeside family magazine | december 2011 | december 2011

when pets discover fatty or spicy scraps on a counter or in the garbage. If you decide to give your pet a rich, tasty treat, do not be surprised if vomiting or diarrhea soon follows. Worse yet, your pet may become significantly ill with a painfully inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis). Pork and poultry bones should be avoided. They can splinter and cause trauma. Keep an eye on those plants, too. Mistletoe can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets if they eat it. Although it’s rare, pets can also develop heart related problems from ingesting mistletoe. Amaryllis bulbs can lead to weakness and seizures in dogs. And if there is a live Christmas tree in the home, there is usually a tree stand holding water with leached fertilizer and bacteria. Stomach upset can result from drinking this water. Do not worry about the poinsettia, however. Their toxicity is well overrated.

The Not-So-Sweet Side of Sweets

If your family is like mine, you may notice a steady abundance of sweets in the home from Halloween through the New Year. I think most dog owners know about chocolate’s toxicity to dogs. Signs can range from stomach upset to seizures and death. Baking and dark chocolate have the most toxicity. Small dogs are more susceptible than larger ones. But some might be less aware of Xylitol, an artificial sweetener. It can be used in baking, and it is found in sweets like gum. Signs of ingestion can range from stomach upset to even liver failure.

Cat Care

I am worried about my young cat. She has been patiently waiting for us to put up the Christmas tree and ornaments again. Keep an eye on all those shiny, dangling objects that look like toys. Cats can


be extremely finicky when it comes to food flavors, but eagerly chew on ribbons, rubber bands or tinsel. Don’t ask me why they chew on these objects. I just don’t like to surgically remove these things when they are lodged and cutting through the intestines. Another warning: do not use liquid potpourri if you have cats. I have seen some ugly oral ulcers caused by the product. It can also cause skin and eye damage.

Go-To Numbers

Finally, since we cannot avoid every emergency, it is important to know how to contact a veterinarian when needed. Determine how your veterinarian covers emergencies. As a back-up plan, I also suggest having four other phone numbers handy for my clients in southwest Michigan: Animal Poison Control Center: 888.426.4435 Southwest Michigan Animal Emergency Hospital: 269.381.5228 Animal Emergency Clinic of South Bend: 574.259.8387 North Central Animal Emergency Center (near Michigan City): 219.785.7300

Dr. Ed Blesy graduated from veterinary school in 1997, and later moved with his family to practice in beautiful southwest Michigan. In January of 2006, Dr. Ed opened St. Joseph Animal Wellness Clinic, PC in St. Joseph, Michigan.

lakeside outings

A Dozen Fun

Holiday Outings

For The 12 Days of Christmas By Amy Cahill

Put a little magic in the 12 days of Christmas with one of these 12 southwest Michigan holiday traditions. Whether outings like the Reindog Parade and visiting a Christmas tree farm are family favorites or a new adventure, they’re sure to make the season bright for you and your children.

Light Up the Bluff

If your family loves the glow of Christmas lights, the tree lighting ceremony on the bluff in St. Joseph is a must. The annual event is planned for 6:30 p.m. December 2nd at Lake Bluff Park overlooking Lake Michigan. The event includes traditional carols, lighting the community tree and then lighting the entire bluff. Thousands of lights turn the five-block Lake Bluff Park into a winter wonderland. The lights will be on throughout December and are synchronized with Christmas carols.

The Osmond Brothers Christmas

Join the Osmond Brothers for some holiday cheer at 7 p.m. December 3rd at the Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre at Lake Michigan College. Wayne, Jay and Merrill Osmond will sing holiday classics. Ticket costs range from $26 to $46. Call 269.927.1221 or visit the Mendel Center Box Office, 2755 E. Napier Ave., Benton Harbor, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday for tickets. For more information, visit

Reindog Parade

Is your dog a member of the family? Include your pooch in your holiday fun at the Reindog Parade December 3rd in downtown St. Joseph. St. Joseph Today organizes the annual parade, which is open to all area canines and their owners. “Last year it was huge,” says St. Joseph Today spokesperson Sue Hartwig. “I bet we had 200 to 300 dogs.”

A Visit with Santa

Following the Reindog Parade, Santa will be welcoming young visitors to his house at the corner of State and Pleasant streets in downtown St. Joseph. Children – young and old – can whisper their Christmas wishes to Santa every weekend throughout the holiday season. Santa will be available from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. While you are downtown, be sure to check out the adorable snowmen statues adorning the street corners, and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at one of the many local businesses.

Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

There’s something magic about the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree, and southwest Michigan offers numerous Christmas tree farms to choose from. Stevensville resident Dustin Kyncl has visited Pinecrest Christmas Tree Farm in Galien every year since he was born. In addition to selling trees, the farm offers sleigh rides and complimentary hot chocolate. “[It’s] a tradition his parents started with him and now we are continuing with our kids,” Rachel Kyncl says. “It is one of our major highlights of Christmas season.” To find a Christmas tree farm near you, visit the Michigan Christmas Tree Association website at

Fernwood Botanical Garden

Enjoy breakfast with Santa at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 13988 Range Line Road, Niles. The big guy will be eating from 9:30 to 11 a.m. December 3, 10 and 17. Following the breakfast, Santa’s elves will help children make a holiday craft.

It costs $2 to enter the parade and there are prizes for the Best Dressed Dog and the Best Group of Dogs. Judging and registration open at 11 a.m. at the corner of Elm and State streets. For a copy of the registration form, visit

Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 6 to 11 and free for children 5 and younger. Advance registration is required. For more information, call 269.695.6491.

If you don’t have a dog, you can still join the fun as a spectator. Santa Clause will march down State Street with the dogs beginning at noon. Hartwig estimates nearly 1,000 people had a barking good time at the event last year.

Ice skating at an outdoor rink and then warming up with a cup of hot chocolate is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. The John and Dede Howard Ice Rink in St. Joseph offers open skating every day of the week.


lakeside family magazine | december 2011

Ice Skating

Daily admission is $5 per person and skate rental is $3. The covered rink includes a warming area with a snack bar and restrooms. If you go, don’t forget your wallet. The rink only takes cash or checks. For more information, visit

A Christmas Carol

Christmas isn’t complete without a visit with Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” at the Twin City Players Playhouse, 600 W. Glenlord Road, St. Joseph. The Twin City Players offer a unique adaptation of the timeless tale. The play runs the first two weekends in December. The Twin City Players’ website,, offers additional information. | december 2011



A Magical Family Christmas

The Nutcracker, The Snow Man, The Twelve Days of Christmas – the Southwest Symphony Orchestra has it all at its December 10 concert, “A Magical Family Christmas.” Dancers from The Citadel will perform Tchaikovsky’s famed “Nutcracker Suite No. 1” with the orchestra. The program also includes an adaptation of the children’s book, “The Snow Man,” and a holiday sing-along. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. December 10 at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Mainstage. Tickets range from $35 to $15 for adults. Students are $5 and children 12 and younger are free. For more information, the symphony’s website is

North Berrien Holiday Open House

Get some decorating ideas at the 2011 Holiday Open House at the North Berrien Historical Museum. The event includes more than 25 trees decorated by local businesses and organizations. For children, there will be crafts and gingerbread houses to decorate. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 2nd and 3rd, and noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 4th at the museum, 300 Coloma Ave., Coloma. Admission is free, but there is a $5 charge to decorate a gingerbread house. Visit for more information.

Christmas cookies and happy hearts... This is how the holiday starts! Thank you for a wonderful year. MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM: SUZI, SHELLI, DAWN, JENNIFER, and NICHOLE

A Family & Kid Friendly Salon Open Monday-Saturday 269-465-3444 4520 Lake St. • Bridgman, MI

Welcome Christmas at Andrews University

Spend an evening or two at Andrews University as the choral ensembles and wind symphony perform holiday favorites. The Andrews University choral ensembles’ “Welcome Christmas” concert begins at 7 p.m. December 2nd at the Howard Performing Arts Center in Berrien Springs. Tickets are not required.

Newborn-Size 14 for girl's clothing. Newborn-Size 6 for boy's clothing. Gifts, accessories, and toys!

The Wind Symphony Holiday Concert begins at 8 p.m. December 3rd at the Howard Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, and free for children 12 and younger. For additional information, visit

Curious Kids Museum

Need just a couple of hours to get your holiday shopping and baking done? The Busy Parents Special at the Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph will thrill your kids. Parents can drop children 4 and older off at the museum, 415 Lake Blvd., for two hours of supervised fun December 19th through December 23rd. Sessions run from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and include crafts, stories, snacks and museum time. Cost is $15 for museum members and $20 for other participants. To register, call 269.983.2543.

Amy Cahill is an award-winning freelance writer based in Stevensville, Mich. She and her husband have two children who provide most of the inspiration for her parenting articles.

Looking for something unique this holiday season... Then Little Princess Treasures is your destination spot. Offering Schleppbags by Trumpette, Books to Bed pajamas with your favorite characters, Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Lion and the Mouse to name a few. We are sure you can find something unique for that special little one in your life.

Open Daily! 269-586-2275 122 N. Whittaker St. New Buffalo, MI 49117

lakeside cooking

Cooking for the

Holidays Tips and Some Memorable Brunch Recipes By Diane Fisher

Brunch can be much the same way. Everyone loves brunch, especially at the holidays – not too early, not too late. As the children get older and no longer demand to open Christmas gifts at 6 a.m. brunch makes a lovely new tradition. Below you will find two of my family’s (and clients) favorite sausage recipes. The first, Sausage Spinach Mushroom Casserole can be completely assembled the day before it is to be cooked. The second, Sausage Potato Spinach Frittata can have all of the components cooked/cut in advance, stored in zip-lock baggies and quickly assembled, started on the stove top, and finishing up in the oven. The Sausage Potato Spinach Frittata can also be quickly adapted to gluten or lactose-free for your guests who need this. Serve either dish with some pre-made sweet bread or muffins, a quick salad, fresh fruit and you are ready to go!

 Sausage Spinach Mushroom Casserole

Expecting guests this holiday? Keep your time with them as relaxed as possible. Work on ways to do as much prepping for your holiday meal the day before. I hate greeting my guests at the door out of breath, sweating and worried about the meal being ready on time. I have learned, over the years, to make as many things ahead as I can think of. The cranberry relish, the assembly of the potato casserole, the pies, the relish tray and cheese ball are only a few. I have even started cooking turkey the day before. Slice it and put it in an ovenproof casserole with some of the drippings, cover it, and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, just place the covered casserole in a preheated oven and bring it back to the proper temperature (165 degrees). It tastes as though it was just carved from the bone. Think of it! No bones, no fighting with the electric knife, no runaway juices – just a relaxed holiday gathering.


lakeside family magazine | december 2011

(Serves 10-12) 2 ½ cups seasoned croutons 1 roll Bob Evans Original Sausage 4 eggs 2 ¼ cups milk 1 (10 ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup 1 (10 ounce) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry 1 (4 ounce) can of mushrooms, drained and chopped 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese ¼ teaspoon dry mustard Picante sauce and fresh herb sprigs (optional for garnish) Spread croutons on bottom of greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Crumble sausage into medium skillet. Cook over medium heat until browned, stirring occasionally, draining any drippings. Spread over croutons. Whisk eggs and milk in large bowl until blended. Stir in soup, spinach, mushrooms, cheeses and mustard. Pour egg mixture over sausage and croutons. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake egg mixture 50-55 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top. Garnish with herb sprigs and picante sauce if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. | december 2011


 Sausage Potato Spinach Frittata

(Serves 6-8) 1 pound fresh sweet or hot Italian sausage, or frozen vegetarian sausage crumbles 1 cup chopped sweet onion 3 cups chopped red potatoes, skin on 8 ounces sliced portabella mushrooms Red pepper flakes, to taste Salt and pepper, to taste 10 ounce package frozen spinach, thawed, drained, squeezed, and placed in a zip-lock baggie 8-10 eggs and 1 cup half-and-half, placed in a zip-lock baggie Feta Cheese, optional Brown the fresh sausage in about 1 teaspoon of oil in an ovenproof deep skillet, or thaw the frozen vegetarian sausage crumbles. Add the sweet onion and red potatoes. Cover and cook on a medium high heat until potatoes are fork tender (about 15 minutes). Add the mushrooms, pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms sweat. At this point, cool, cover and place in fridge overnight.

(Frittata: before bake)

The next morning, remove the covered skillet from the fridge, place it on the stove top and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Empty the baggie of spinach into the skillet, and then empty the baggie of eggs and half-and-half on top, keeping the lid off. Leave it on the burner until the egg mixture starts to bubble around the edges. Place the whole skillet in a 350 degree oven until it is bubbly around the edges and set in the middle. Remove, top with feta cheese, allow it to rest for 5 minutes and serve!

Note: If you are concerned about your skillet being oven safe, use one without a scratch resistant coating, and cover your handle with aluminum foil (shiny side out). The foil will divert the heat from damaging the handle. Your guests will love that you had time to visit with them and could still provide a memorable meal!

Diane Fisher owns Catering By Design, LLC in St. Joseph, Michigan. She is married to Mike and they have three grown children and one granddaughter. She gives cooking classes for all ages at Perennial Accents in downtown St. Joseph.

Do the words “math homework” strike fear in your child…or you? What if we told you that we can change that fear into better grades and higher self-confidence, and eliminate the frustration, tears, and fights over math homework? Imagine how much better homework time would be. Discover how a better understanding of math can change your child’s attitude. Before you know it, your child could be crazy about math. Your neighborhood center is located next to the new Martin’s Supermarket at 5651 Cleveland Ave., Stevensville, MI. Visit to learn how convenient and affordable your child’s soaring selfconfidence can be! Also opening a Granger, IN location this winter!

855 429–MATH

2 n d –12 T H G RA D E S • SAT & A C T P R E P • H O M E W O R K H E L P • S U M M E R P R O G RA M S

lakeside people

The Heartfelt

Holiday Traditions of Amey Upton By Dawn Williams

By definition, a tradition is something that is handed down from generation to generation, like a belief or a custom. When I try to envision this process, I imagine the powerful roots of a tree slowly growing and extending over time, making its way through dense ground and curling around varied rock to ensure strength and survival. Traditions are very much like trees. They require a commitment from someone to grow and nurture them in order to become the solid foundation for any family to cherish. In the Upton household, that person is the wonderful and loving wife of Congressman Fred Upton. From a very young age Amey Upton understood the importance of tradition and family, especially during the holiday season. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Amey was the youngest of five children and only in the second grade when her father passed away. “After my father died my aunts and uncles were like our guardians, but we all lived so far away and were only able to see each other once a year, so we’d rotate houses for the holidays,” explained Amey, who recalls looking forward to the yearly road trip. “We didn’t travel very much so the all-day drive to Bristol or Rhode Island was a very big deal.” No matter the location, once everyone was under the same snowy roof, the season was celebrated with the traditions passed down from Amey’s German-born great grandparents. “Every year on Christmas Eve, we’d put up the tree and all the kids would go to bed,” she remembered. “While we were sleeping, Santa would decorate the tree with white tissue paper that was cut into lace and stuffed into the limbs to look like snow. Not exactly the most attractive tree!” laughed Amey, “but we loved it. It was  Photo of that infamous Christmas tree, also layered with brightly taken in 1982. colored balls and beads that were scalloped around, and the toy ornaments were always hung on the lower bottom branches so the little kids could see them.”


lakeside family magazine | december 2011

Meg and Stephen Upton (when they were little).

Below the tree was the family’s nativity scene made from clay and carefully set atop fresh, live moss surrounded with bricks or logs. “We never put lights on the tree or any other fancy decorations, only ornaments that were passed down from generation to generation.” Meanwhile, over at Fred Upton’s house, the big family tradition centered around plenty of delicious food, especially the annual Christmas breakfast. “Fred’s mom was famous for her Arizona Eggs that involved dozens of eggs and all of the kids taking turns stirring the pan,” said Amey. “By the time those eggs were done, it was more like a grainy, smooth sauce, but it’s quite delicious.” Over the years, the Uptons have maintained most of the same holiday traditions they grew up with. “Fred and I still honor the exact same tree decorating tradition, but after Meg (24) and Stephen (20) were born, we started a few new ones of our own.” A favorite annual craft that Amey makes is a boxwood wreath for her front door. “I make it every year, and it’s so therapeutic,” she explained, “especially during the holiday rush because you have to stop everything, sit down and cut up this delicious-smelling boxwood into little pieces and carefully place each sprig into the wreath until it’s ready for the red bow.” Some of the other Upton holiday traditions include reading “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore and skiing in northern Michigan at Boyne Mountain. Amey recalls what she was told was a favorite memory of Congressman Upton’s dad; , the Upton kids shared many great times skiing. “His favorite memory about those ski trips were the tremendous snowball fights they’d have after supper. Just like boys, plus one hardy sister!” Attending church with her children is another holiday family tradition, but there were two special occasions involving pink shoes and a piggy bank that put a smile on Amey’s face every time. “Once when my daughter was 3, she snuck a pair of bright pink Barbie high | december 2011


heels into her coat pocket and without us knowing, put them on just before walking down the aisle of the church, and it made the loudest clickety-clackety noise you could imagine. We all laughed so hard.” A few years later, Amey’s big-hearted son was 5 years old when he secretly decided to make a very generous donation to their church. “Once again, unbeknownst to us, it was the middle of the service and Stephen had taken the entire contents of his piggy bank, emptied it into a plastic bag and was now dumping the coins into the brass collection plate. This made a huge noise, and he was so embarrassed that his face turned bright purple!” “These are the things that you remember most about the holidays though,” said Amey with a smile in her voice, “the tender moments with our kids.” Children have always meant a great deal to the Upton family. In fact, if Amey had her Christmas wish, it would be for more people to support the charity closest to her heart, Lory’s Place. Founded in 2004 and located in St. Joseph, Lory’s Place is a grief-healing and education center for kids faced with the loss of a loved one. Its mission is to provide a safe and comforting atmosphere along with support groups for kids ages 3 through adult.

Come and Share in the Joy of Christmas! SERVICE TIMES December 24th – Christmas Eve Services 3:30 pm – Song Service 6:30 pm – St. Paul’s School Christmas Service 10:00 pm – Candlelight Service December 25th – Christmas Day Services 8:00 am 10:30 am

“I know what it feels like to experience loss at such a young age,” explained Amey, thinking of her father. “It’s taken me 40 years to process that and figure out how loss impacts a life, but the people at Lory’s Place do such great work. It’s truly an incredible resource.” Perhaps equally incredible is the inspiring message that Amey would like to send to family and friends this season. “It’s gratefulness. I’m grateful because even though we all have difficult times, we have each other. And it’s not about your way or my way, but in finding how we can all move forward together.” On that note, it’s perfectly clear that the traditions of an altruistic spirit and love for family have definitely been preserved well in the Upton home. Thanks to Amey.

Enjoy the Upton Arizona Egg Recipe! Margaret Tyler Vial’s Christmas Eggs

• Grease sauce pan with olive oil • 2 Dozen eggs • Green Herbs, cheese of your choice & Pepper to taste • Use same portion of milk to butter (for every 2 eggs, add 1/2 eggshell worth of milk) • Use skim milk and unsalted, whipped butter 1. Break eggs into saucepan two at a time, and whisk together with equal portions milk and butter. 2. Cook on medium heat, being careful not to get too hot. 3. You will be stirring a very long time, patiently, and it’s our tradition for everyone in the family to take turns stirring!

Dawn Williams is a freelance writer from southwest Michigan with a passion for meeting new people and uncovering what makes them tick. Her husband and three kids share this creative spirit, but aren’t nearly as nosey.

2673 West John Beers Rd. | Stevensville, MI 49127 | 269-429-5141 |

lakeside dĂŠcor

Holiday Decorating Ideas

for Every Budget

By Jenny Mitschelen


lakeside family magazine | december 2011 | december 2011

It’s that time of year again! Time to unpack our holiday decorations for another month of festivities! We all love transforming our homes for the month of December. There is no better way to get our families and guests in the holiday spirit. This year, combine some new wallet-friendly pieces with the ornaments and décor you use year after year. Deck your halls without breaking the budget.

Candles, candles everywhere!

Soft glowing light is complimentary to you and your guests. Once you’ve turned the lights down low, bring out candles by the box full. From tall and tapered to short and stout, candles set a celebratory tone. For the most dramatic impact, group them as you would other collectibles and display them on or in front of a mirror or silver platter for added shine. Bundle taper candles together and tie them with a bow to give as a gift. This is a great idea for a hostess.

Haul out the holly!

A holly bush in your yard brings year round beauty to your landscape. The lush green leaves and red berries are especially lovely in the winter when snow dusts the tops of this popular Christmas favorite. If you do not have a holly shrub, think of planting one. They do well in most climates and are easy to care for. You can purchase small holly plants at most garden centers. Use holly clippings in fresh floral arrangements or to adorn a garland or wreath. A few fresh sprigs peeking out anywhere in your home will create instant holiday charm.

Think outside the box…

The ornament box, that is! Ornaments aren’t just made to be placed on your Christmas tree. Try displaying them on tables in oversized bowls or clear glass urns. You can even use round glass balls as place cards by writing guests’ names on them in permanent metallic marker or glitter glue. Place them around your dining table and send them home with your guests as a memento.

Return to the old favorites

Stringing popcorn and cranberries into a garland is fun for the whole family and brings homespun charm to your holiday décor. Pop your popcorn then pop in your favorite holiday DVD or CD for family entertainment as you string!

Go retro!

What’s old is new again! Go on a scavenger hunt at an antique mall, thrift store or maybe even Grandma’s attic. Whether ornaments or Christmas lights are truly


vintage or a reproduction, it’s always fun to give a nod to yesteryear in our holiday traditions.

Brown paper packages tied up with string…

…or ribbons or raffia! Even if there is no gift inside, boxes wrapped in plain, brown packing paper and tied with the bow of your choice, create an easy holiday display. Stack them in various sizes on tabletops or nestle them in a corner for a fun vignette.

Decorate with books

If you have some timeworn classics around your house, try stacking two or three and tying them with your holiday ribbon or string to display on a shelf or table. This is especially charming if your books have a winter or holiday theme.

Fruits and veggies can be festive!

Luscious citrus fruits piled in a lovely glass bowl can be very eye catching as well as appetizing. Nestle cinnamon sticks or sprigs of greenery for added color and charm. For something unexpected, try spray painting walnuts and gourds in silver and gold to display in a basket. Dry artichokes and pomegranates and dust them with gold spray paint or fine glitter to use in your vignettes.

Sometimes less is more

Remember, you don’t have to use all the decorations in your arsenal to create holiday ambience. White candles in glass urns, unadorned greenery and plain white lights have timeless appeal. Whether used in a country décor setting or a contemporary atmosphere, this minimalist style is always inviting and serene.

Little hands make the best decorations

Thank you teachers, room parents and childcare providers for our most precious decorations of all. There is nothing like seeing children’ s smiling faces as they proudly bring home their school-made masterpieces. There is also nothing more heartwarming than seeing your teenager’s kindergarten handprint or school photo (crafted into a glitter-and-construction-paper treasure years ago) hanging on your tree year after year. These prized possessions cannot be replaced. In the midst of our design-obsessed excitement, we must always remember that it’s the memories that matter most.

Jenny Mitschelen lives in Bridgman, Michigan, with her husband and three adorable children. Having studied interior design for 20 years, Jenny is a decorator and owner of a home based interior design franchise.

DECEMBER 2011Lakeside Calendar of Events Mondays Baby N Me

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

library at the same time. Free event. 10:30 AM. For more info, call 269.983.7167 or visit www.

A program for parents, caregivers and their babies from newborn to 24 months. Parents guide their babies through creative movement, songs, dance, story-time and more with the help of instructor Teri Sue Wines. Parents will have the opportunity to interact with their babies, meet other parents and give their babies a chance to play with others. Registration is required. Free event. From 10:45 to 11:15 AM. For more info, visit


Bedtime Story Time

Wee Discovery

Stories, songs and crafts for preschool and early elementary ages. Free event. From 7 to 7:30 PM. For more info, visit

Preschool story and hands-on discovery activities. Free with admission of $4 per person or your membership. 10:30 AM. For more info, visit

Lincoln Township Library, Stevensville


St. Joseph/Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library, St. Joseph

Story Time for ages up to age 3 and story time for ages 3-5 are held in two locations within the library at the same time. Free event. 10:30 AM. For more info, call 269.983.7167. www.

Curious Kids’ Museum on the Bluff, St. Joseph

Mom and Baby Exercise Class

Baby Laptime

New Buffalo Township Library, New Buffalo

Enjoy a special time for songs, stories and lap rhymes for you and your baby, ages 3 to 18 months. This is a free event. From 11 to 11:30 AM. For more info, call 269.469.2933.

Story Hour Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

Come join Teri Sue for lots of fun as she reads stories and sings songs. Make great crafts and have a snack, too! Registration is required. For 2-5 year olds. Free event. Starts at 10:30 AM. For more info, call 269.465.3663.

Toddler N Me Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

For parents, caregivers and their child from 2-5 years old. Parents guide their toddlers through the joys of toddlerhood with creative movement, songs, dance, finger plays and more with the help of Teri Sue Wines. Parents will have the opportunity to engage one on one with their little one, meet other parents and give their little one a chance to play with others. Registration is required. Class offered 9:30 to10 AM or 11:30 to 12 PM. Free event. For more info, call 269.465.3663.

Story Time St. Joseph/Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library, St. Joseph

Story Time for kids up to age 3 and story time for ages 3-5 are held in two locations within the


Story Time

the family magazine | december 2011

Thomson’s Physical Therapy, Niles, Michigan

Come get that pre-pregnancy body back while you stimulate your child’s development and learning. Classes are offered every Wednesday morning at 9:30 AM, and free childcare is provided for toddlers during the class (for mothers with more than one). Call for pricing info. For more info call 269.687.9110.


Walk-in Story Time Lincoln Township Library, Stevensville

Enjoy stories and songs for preschoolers. Free event. From 10:30 to 11 AM.


Storytime Fun New Buffalo Township Library, New Buffalo

A program designed for preschoolers, bring your child and enjoy stories, songs and crafts! From 10:30 to 11:15 AM. Free event. For more info, call 269.469.2933.

Fun Friday Lincoln Township Library, Stevensville

Stories, songs and take-home crafts for preschoolers. Free event. From 10:30 to 11 AM. Visit


Lakeshore Learning Store, Sterling Heights, Michigan

Every Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM, Lakeshore Learning Store offers free craft activities for kids ages 3 and up at all of their locations! Please visit

DECEMBER EVENTS Thursday, December 1 Holiday Tea

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

The Bridgman Library is starting the holiday season in style. On Thursday, December 1st, they will host a Holiday Tea from 1 to 2 PM. They will be serving all the traditional tea fare with a touch of holiday magic. Registration is required, but the event is free. Call the library at 269.465.3663 or register online at

Friday, December 2

Disney’s Beauty and The Beast Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

This is a great show! Watch this beloved Disney film turned Broadway music onstage! Show starts at 7:30 PM. For more info, visit

A Christmas Carol Twin City Players Playhouse, St. Joseph

What Christmas season would be complete without seeing this beloved favorite? The show runs the first two weekends of December. See it on this date at 8 PM. $12 adults, $11 students and seniors, $7 kids under 12. For more info, call 269.429.0400.

Saturday, December 3 Visit Santa’s House Santa’s House!

Bring the kids and come see Santa on the corner of State and Pleasant Street. Santa will be home at the following times and days: Saturdays December 3 – 24, 12 to 5 PM. Sundays December 4 – 18, 12 to 3 PM. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 PM to 6 PM. For more info, visit

Holiday Spa Open House! Women’s Health Center and Medical Spa Services, St. Joseph

Join the staff of the Women’s Health Center at Southwestern Medical Clinic in St. Joseph for a morning of magic and fun at our annual Holiday Spa Open House! We will be revealing two new skincare products that you won’t find anywhere else in Berrien County! Bring a friend who is new to our practice and both of you will receive a free | december 2011

*Please be sure to call ahead to confirm times and information.



skincare treatment. Enjoy relaxing music, light refreshments and enter to win our fabulous door prize. Product discounts are guaranteed to be exceptional. From 10 AM to 1 PM. Free event. For more info call 269.429.8010 or visit

Reception for Buchanan Art Center Student: Faculty Show Buchanan Art Center, Buchanan

Lake Michigan College Mendel Center, Benton Harbor

Get in the Christmas spirit with the Osmond Brothers! Show starts at 7 PM. For more info, visit

Come to the Show Place and Hess Gallery at the Buchanan Art Center to enjoy the StudentFaculty Show. Enjoy refreshments and awards to be held from 5 to 7 PM. A one-hour choral showcase will begin at 7 PM by Southwester Michigan College Select Voices and the Buchanan High School Redbud Chorale. For more info, call 269.697.4005

Superhero Ice Cream Party

Honoring World War 2 Veterans

The Osmond Brothers Christmas

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

On December 3 the Bridgman Public Library will host a “Superhero” ice cream party from 1 to 2 PM for children ages 4 thru 10. We will have a story, a superhero craft and ice cream in the Louise Christensen Room. Superheroes may come dressed as their secret identity or in their costume. Free event. Call the library at 269.465.3663 to register as the program is limited to 30 participants.

Reindog Parade Downtown St. Joseph

Don’t miss this fun, annual parade which is open for dogs and their owners. There will be prizes for Best Dressed Dog and Best Group of Dogs. Cost is $2 to enter. Judging and registration open at 11 AM at the corner of Elm and State. Learn more and download the registration form at

Monday, December 5

Amazing Family Movie Mondays Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

The Bridgman Library is having Amazing Family Movie Mondays for the month of December from 3:30 to 5:30 PM. The movies will be Elf on 12/5, How the Grinch Stole Christmas on 12/12 and the original Miracle on 34th Street on 12/19. No registration required. Free event. If you have questions call the library at 269.465.3663 or visit

Tuesday, December 6 Holiday Adult Craft

Lincoln Township Public Library, Stevensville

Put together the ingredients for delicious holiday cookies. Limited to 12 people. Be sure to register. Free event. From 7 to 8 PM. For more info call 269.429.9575 or visit

Wednesday, December 7

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

Remembering December 7th 1941: This year we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. To honor our veterans, the Bridgman Public Library will host a month long display from the “Lest we Forget” organization. Also on display will be the replicas of World War II airplanes built by Thomas J. Murphy. Mr. Murphy was a Crew Chief Flight Engineer during WW II. On December 7th from 2 to 3 PM there will be an opportunity to meet with World War II veterans and hear their stories in The Louise Christensen Community Room. Free event. Visit

Seniors and Nature Sarett Nature Center, Benton Harbor

Seniors along with any adults can learn about birds and their feeding habits with Chuck Nelson. You’ll be able to go out on the trails by foot or golf cart. Only $2 for members, $5 per person otherwise. Starts at 2:30 PM. To register, call 269.927.4832.

Saturday, December 10 Family Game Day

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

On Saturday, from 1 to 3 PM, the Bridgman Library invites you and your family to a Family Game Day. Bring the kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends; be prepared to have a great time! For more info, call 269.465.3663.

Wednesday, December 14 Lakeland HealthCare Heart Lessons Class Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

The Bridgman Library will host a Lakeland HealthCare “Heart Lessons” class at 1 PM. The class will identify risk factors for heart disease and identify lifestyle changes that may help you decrease your risk of heart disease. For more information contact Lakeland at 269.556.2872.

Registration is encouraged but not required; walk-ins are welcome.

Sunday, December 18

Artsbridge: Isabel Jackson and Perry Heppler First Presbyterian Church, Benton Harbor

Artsbridge is all about showcasing the wide range of artistic talent found right here in our own neighborhood. On this date, enjoy holiday organ music provided by Isabel Jackson and Perry Heppler. There will be hymns and carol singing afterwards, too! This is free and open to the public. Starts at 4 PM. For more info, call 269.925.7075.

Monday, December 19

Curious Kids Museum: Go Shopping! Curious Kids Museum, St. Joseph

If you’re looking for a way to go Christmas shopping without the kids, Curious Kids Museum has just the ticket. From December 19-23, you can drop the kids off for some supervised fun (kids 4 and older). Sessions run from 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 3 PM. Cost is $15 for museum members and $20 for other participants. Call 269.983.2543 to register.

Wednesday, December 28 Sledding on Pear Hill

Sarett Nature Center, Benton Harbor

Enjoy winter with your friends while sledding! Kids can bring their sleds and join the naturalists in the park for a snow-filled afternoon. Only $1 for those 7 and up. Starts at 1 PM. For more info and to register, call 269.927.4832.

JANUARY EVENTS Sunday, January 1 Flow

Krasl Art Center, St Joseph

This exhibition includes paintings, prints and photography that explore the various meanings of water. Art represented spans the 20th century. Come check it at from 1to 4 PM. Ends January 8th. For more info, visit

Surf Art Exhibition: Mike Killion Third Coast Surf Shop, St. Joseph

Don’t miss the Surf Art Exhibition at Third Coast Surf Shop at 212 State Street. You’ll see the works of Mike Killion who is a surfer and photographer out of Chicago. For more info visit

The Local Parenting Resource for Expectant Parents and Families with Younger Children

Special Section

A Yadda Yadda Christmas

  The Notorious Family Holiday Letter

A Holiday Cheat Sheet for The New Mom Living the Five Star Life

Respect. Responsibility. Integrity. Sacrifice. Courage.

 

a d d a Y A a d d Ya

M i C H I L D • S P E C I A L PA R E N T I N G F E AT U R E S E C T I O N

mi Corner Our tips, picks, news and advice.

s a m t s i r h C

Part of what makes Christmas so special is the joy and magic it brings to our kids. Nothing can beat the look a kid’s face the first time he sees Santa, or the first time she makes her first snowman. We asked our readers to share the funny comments and observations their kids have made about Santa and anything related to Christmas. Their answers made us laugh. We think you’ll get a kick out of them as well. Shelley: When one of my sons was about 3, he asked Santa (at UP mall) for a pencil sharpener. It was all he had been talking about for a month. Santa, ever witty apparently, quickly looked to my next son in line and said, "And what do you want, young man? An ink pen?" Heather: My parents are professional Santa and Mrs. Clause each year. One little kiddo pointed at my mom dressed as Mrs. Clause and asked my dad dressed as Santa, "Santa Clause, is that your mommy?" Shannon: My grandson tells me when a toy comes on TV that he wants it. Every toy he wants. I asked him why do you tell grandma you want every toy out loud? He replied he wanted to make sure Santa Clause hears him. Stephanie: When told Santa was coming soon to bring him presents, my 2-year-old asked, "Big Ho Ho come my house?" Keri: Somehow Santa accidently put an apple in my son's stocking that had a bite in it. He got such a kick out of how a reindeer bit his apple! Marcy: One year my children found a bell in the yard after the snow melted, probably from a Christmas decoration. They are convinced, to this day, that it belongs to one of Santa's reindeer. And, who knows, maybe they are right!


mi child magazine | december 2011 | december 2011

Story Time


Snowmen At Night By Caralyn Buehner and Illustrated by Mark Buehner Reviewed by Kathy Winkel Children’s Services Supervisor Harris Branch Library Mishawaka Penn Harris Public Library There’s nothing like cuddling up with your child and a good book on a cold winter afternoon or evening. Why not begin with a favorite winter book, “Snowmen At Night” written by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by her husband Mark. After the child narrator has made the perfect snowman, complete with a top hat, crooked smile and carrot nose, he leaves it for the night. When he gets up the next morning, the snowman looks much different than it did the day before, which makes him wonder what snowmen really do at night when we are all tucked into bed. In this story, the reader will discover that snowmen do come to life and have a grand time sipping iced cocoa, playing games, running and having races. They ice skate, roll in the snow and even giggle. Of course, they also throw snowballs and have awesome snowball fights. The snowmen even take wild rides down the hills. This book is definitely not just for children. Readers of all ages will love the colorful and magical images of the snowmen. They are friendly, silly, happy and parents will find themselves smiling and giggling along with their children as they share the story. There is an added bonus to the illustrations. On one of the last pages in the book, the reader will find this message: “Don’t forget to look for hidden shapes that have been painted in all these wintertime scenes. See if you can find a cat, a rabbit, a Santa face and a Tyrannosaurus Rex.” This picture book is perfect to share with very young listeners (2 to 4 year olds) and it will remain a delightful story for older children as well. Enjoy this story as the first snows begin drifting around your house. If you like “Snowmen At Night” there are two others by the Buehners about snowmen, “Snowmen At Christmas” and “Snowmen All Year” which are equally as enjoyable and fun to read, listen to and search the pages for hidden pictures.

Here is a list of other favorite “snowy” stories perfect for wintertime sharing:

“Annie and Snowball and the Wintry Freeze” by Cynthia Rylant “Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson “The Big Snow” by Berta and Elmer Hader “The Biggest, Best Snowman” by Margery Cuyler “Elmer In the Snow” by David McKee. “Mama, Will It Snow Tonight?” by Nancy White Carlstrom “Poppleton In Winter” by Cynthia Rylant “Snow Bears” by Martin Waddell “Snow Day!” by Lester L. Laminack “Snowballs” by Lois Ehlert “Snowy, Blowy Winter” by Bob Raczka “White Snow, Bright Snow” by Alvin Tresselt “Winter Is the Warmest Season” by Lauren Stringer

M i C H I L D • S P E C I A L PA R E N T I N G F E AT U R E S E C T I O N

mi Corner Our tips, picks, news and advice.

A Picky Picky


In our Picky Picky section, we are always on the lookout for fun, interesting products. And what better time to be on the hunt than around Christmas! Check out some of these fun gifts to possibly leave under your Christmas tree this year!

Linus’ Blanket from Charlie Brown

This is sure to become a favorite cuddle object in your home! And after all the holiday excitement, what could be better than to curl up with Linus’ classic security blanket and take a nap? (Or share it with a toddler, if you must.) This 30" x 30" Linus Blanket is super soft, and some of the proceeds of your purchase even go to charity according to the packaging. Available exclusively at Urban Outfitters and online at Price: $36.00

Daddy Diaper Tool Bag

Some gifts just make you smile, like this fun diaper bag designed to look like a tool bag Dad can lug around. This tough and durable diaper bag is ornamented with silver rivets and made of faux suede. It measures 17.5" x 6" x 12.5" and has a Velcro closure, seven outside pockets, a small zipper pocket inside and optional adjustable shoulder strap. So for the new Dad ready to get to work, this might be the fun Christmas gift you’re looking for. To purchase the bag or to learn more, visit Price: $46.99

Bonding Over Beauty by Erika Katz

In the book “Bonding Over Beauty,” author Erika Katz introduces a new guide for mothers looking to build open communication with their daughters using fun beauty activities to facilitate the dialogue. Erika teaches moms how to talk to their daughters about all things beauty, hygiene and even puberty. As a beauty expert and mother of a tween girl, Erika wrote the book to help moms establish trust with their daughters. Included are fun bonding activities to ease the awkwardness between mom and daughter when discussing sensitive topics such as when she can wear makeup or shave her legs. Price: $14.95


mi child magazine | december 2011 | december 2011


barbZappia photography

Worx Toys Speedster Racecar

This toy is all the rage! Worx Toys are interactive vehicle and storybook systems that entertain and educate curious little minds about how things work with shape-code commands that identify each vehicle’s parts with light and sound. The corresponding stories explain how these parts work and what they do. This Speedster Racecar responds to shape-code commands that serve to light up the different parts of the vehicle, such as the engine, transmission and shock absorbers. The Speedster Racecar features working gull-wing doors and sequences of light and sound that are activated by simply pushing the Speedster forward or backward without having to engage the shape-codes, making it perfect for younger children. Learn more about this fun, education toy at Price: $30.00

ssion Free se and ies for bab up to n childre is 5 with th ! coupon


Run, Jump and Play with


SureStep is the perfect bracing system for children who have trouble with stability. By wearing SureStep, your child will have: • Better coordination • Improved balance SureStep is a local, family-owned company. • Fewer falls Our product is manufactured right here in • Enhanced mobility South Bend and sold worldwide. • Increased endurance • Greater stability 17530 Dugdale Drive • South Bend, IN 46635 877-462-0711 •

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Mommy & Daddy

The Notorious


Holiday Letter By Jane Sutter

Boots crunching in the icy grass, I make my way to my mailbox. As I crack open the frozen door, I am met with 18 catalogs, four bills and six hand-addressed, plump, white envelopes with various festive stickers sealing their contents. Yes, it’s December – time to open the grenades that are, The Family Christmas Letters. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they will arrive by the handful: some boring, some hilarious and all potentially worthy of “The Biography Channel.” Maybe I’m just nosey, but I love reading these self-published report cards. Whether written in prose to mimic “The Night before Christmas” or told from the dog’s perspective, these yearly updates are riddled with misspellings and effused with twinkling embellishments. All of life’s boring details are absent. What is presented, especially if the author has

children, reads like an application to Harvard: Bobby had a terrific summer. After organizing a food drive for the poor in Haiti and being the youngest person ever to swim the English Channel, he finally broke the genetic code and cured cancer. He is super excited to start kindergarten this coming year, as he wants to restructure the curriculum and transform the school lunch program into a vegan-friendly environment.

100 We hope you’re to get connected to your community


Diane Bennett 574-968-4236

Coming up May 14th:

Leslie is also marvelous. Oh, how we looovee our Leslie! She has just returned from a mission trip to Africa where she personally dug a well for a village using a shovel she forged out of a mixture of discarded rubble and the contents of her makeup bag. Now that she’s home, she intends to finish her doctorate in pediatric medicine while modeling for Vogue in her spare time.

to STAMP OUT HUNGER in Northern Indiana. Place non-perishable foods by your mailbox for pick-up on Saturday, May 14.

You can also tell who the black sheep of the family is: Ann is doing well. She, and that guy she married, are moving into an apartment soon. Seems what’s-his-face finally got a job. We pray for them daily.

Sunday, May 15, 6:30-11:30am

Oh, it’s all so delicious! And, have I mentioned the obligatory paragraphs regarding tragedy and death? This is standard protocol in most holiday letters. There you are, reading happily about the kids and the beach vacation and then BLAM! Faster than you can say Rudolph, everything gets all dark and frosty.


Holiday Happenings'

BIKE THE BEND Downtown South Bend map andCeremony details: Tree For Lighting Dec 2

They always start off the same way: “On a sad note ...” or “Perhaps you’ve heard …” And then the gore fest commences. In shocking detail, every minute element of grandpa’s hip replacement fills the page. That, unfortunately, leads to the story of the violent car wreck, where death was avoided only by the grace of God, or the story of the surgical procedure that went terribly wrong. (Some of these authors make Stephen King look like a “Sesame Street” writer.) And then, just when you think you can actually hear the ping of the heart monitor Aunt Jenny is hooked up to, it goes right on back to candy-coated perfection. With a jingle of saintly gratitude, the essayist offers a silver lining, “We realize now it was a blessing” or “I guess we learned a valuable lesson.”

Marley RiverScrooge Park &Day Parade

Such plucky optimism these yuletide correspondents have. It makes me all warm inside just thinking about it – but not gushy enough to type up my own tome.

Dec 8 - Dec 9

You see, over the years I have realized I simply cannot compete with these superstar families. Yet, with each holiday post I receive from them, I still feel thrilled just to be included on their mailing list. To be honest, I am truly happy for their outstanding accomplishments, even though, by comparison, it makes me look like that kid who stuck his tongue to the pole in “A Christmas Story.” Happily, I’m okay with that. I know the truth – the simple, wonderfully un-remarkable details of my family that make me fiercely proud 365 days a year. Even though I won’t send out an epistle, I will shoot off a holiday picture. I sure hope it looks good. If it does, then I’m off the hook for not personally saving a rainforest or hand-feeding beached baby whales. The recipient will have to see how happy we are and feel glad we thought of them. But next year, watch out! My boys may just be old enough to change the world, become astronauts or learn how to fly. If that happens, I’ll be sure to write it all down and send it to you, in a five page Christmas letter, with a festive sticker sealing the envelope.

South Bend Civic Theatre th The 100 Anniversary Christmas Carol Dec 2May - Dec21, 1810:00am On Saturday, Head to Mishawaka Avenue Grangerin Community River Park Church

Let it be Christmas

Memorial Day Parades Southold Dance Theatre Monday, May 30 The Nutcracker

8:00am DecOsceola 11 8:15am South Bend, Western Avenue 9:30am Downtown Mishawaka Center for History

Copshaholm @ the Holidays Nov 25 - Jan 8 your Call or email with real estate questions.

For details & web links of these wonderful community events & more see our BLOG at


Jane Suter is an award-winning writer and mom of two very energetic boys, one in kindergarten and the other in second grade. Born in Chicago, she is proud of her Midwestern roots.

M i C H I L D • S P E C I A L PA R E N T I N G F E AT U R E S E C T I O N


A Holiday Cheat Sheet for the New Mom By Sorah Stein and Shanti Bradley

Whether your baby is a newborn still keeping you up at night or an older infant, the first holiday season can be overwhelming and full of questions. We have a few pointers that will, hopefully, help you and your family get through safely and sanely!

Great aunts, grandmothers, uncles and cousins. Oh, my!

Always make sure that everyone who wants to hold the baby washes their hands first. Come ready with the hand sanitizer if need be. Many people sharing germs with baby is a sure way to have a sick little one on your hands. If your little one already has the sniffles, do not take baby out and about. Remember that while a fever or cold may not mean much for a toddler or older child, it can mean big trouble for an infant. We are certain that baby’s doctor will be more than willing to provide a letter of excuse for you to any offended family or loved ones. Also, despite the fantastic photo opportunity that holiday gatherings present, don’t let people who are ill hold the baby, no matter how wonderful the picture would turn out to be.

On the topic of photos…

We know there are very many things that would make an adorable photo. However, Christmas stockings should never double as baby carriers, tinsel and ornaments are not appropriate baby toys, and wrapping bows do not belong on baby’s head. Yes, these and others would make for great pictures, but unless your name is Anne Geddes, do not attempt them at home! Please let your local photo studio or professional photographer shoot the fun and artsy shots for you.


mi child magazine | december 2011

While at home, yours and others

If you have a little one toddling about, keep decorations and other potential dangers out of reach. Whenever lighting candles, make certain they are on a shelf or table baby cannot get to. Better yet, use LED candles when possible. No, they don’t make the whole house smell like freshly baked cinnamon rolls, but they don’t burn children either. Each holiday season more than 1600 people are injured by fire, and approximately 400 people die from burns, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Scheduling visits with friends and family

Try to arrange visits around your baby’s nap and feeding schedules. A well-rested and fed baby is much more likely to be a happy baby. As much as possible, maintain your baby’s routines around feeding and sleep as well. This might mean toting along a port-a-crib and favorite book to Grandma’s, but everyone will be much happier if the baby gets her nap. You’ll also want to plan ahead for baby food, formula or extra bottles of breast milk. Baby can’t exactly have turkey and stuffing, or potato latkes with the rest of you!


Always keep wrapping supplies out of baby’s reach. Wrapping paper and accessories can be dangerous for baby to play with – and ingest. When dealing with gifts given to the baby, be sure to keep a list so that you can send out the thank you cards later. Also collect all of the receipts for anything given to the baby. This is helpful if something doesn’t work or fit. It’s also a useful way to deal with any inappropriate gifts like action figures or Barbie dolls baby obviously can’t play with yet, shirts with crude slogans on them or

very noisy toys. This way, you can make returns or exchanges without offending anyone, especially your mother-in-law. | december 2011


The loved ones that love to argue

There’s at least one in every family. Expect that you will have comments about how your mother, mother-in-law and grandmother did things, how you and your partner turned out just fine, and how wisdom comes with age. Politely and respectfully thank your loved ones for their points of view with a comment such as, “You’re right, you did a great job with me/us. I just hope this one turns out half as good!” At the same time, realize there are some things that you should never allow with baby. When in doubt, blame your family doctor or pediatrician. We assure you they have no problem being portrayed as the bad guys here. If asked beforehand, your doctor may even be gracious enough to supply you with a brief letter explaining the baby dos and don’ts, ready for any questioning relative. This way, when Aunt Sally aims the spoonful of sweet potatoes at your newborn’s mouth, you can feel free to step in the way and say that the doctor really insists that baby not have things like that yet.

Shop Smart for Kids! Get ahead of the rest and get your kids ready for winter and cold temps. Save $$$ with low prices on gently used winter coats, boots, hats and gloves. And, Once Upon a Child has so much more! Save on brands that kids crave: Old Navy, Gap, Justice and so much more!

The holidays are supposed to be about family and sharing time with loved ones. Unfortunately, in normal families, this usually results in a fair amount of stress as well. The stress with a baby for the first time, or even the fifth time, can often feel magnified. Preparing for what you know Aunt Sally is going to do and say, and for the gifts you know cousin Fred will come up with, can really make things go more smoothly for everyone. Remember, when in doubt, keeping your baby safe and healthy is your number one priority, not the feelings of your extended family. Authors’ note: we apologize to all of the Aunt Sallys and cousin Fred’s out there. No offense intended; we’re sure you’re wonderful!

4024 Elkhart Rd. • Goshen • 574.830.5332 HOURS: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm • Sun 12pm-6pm (Near Dunlap area, by Walmart) 5936 Grape Road • Mishawaka • 574.247.1099 HOURS: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm • Sat 10am-6pm Sun 12pm-5pm (Located in Indian Ridge Plaza, near Softa Select)

Shanti Bradley, BA, CD, CLS, lives in South Bend with her husband and two children. She is available for prenatal informational support, continuous labor support, postpartum care and education.

Sorah Stein, MA, BCBA, CSE, lives in South Bend with her husband and three children and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Certified Sexuality Educator, working primarily with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

GYMNASTICS MICHIANA Safe, Positive, Fun Environment

Students as young as 1 1/2 years old Small class sizes Progressive program from recreation to competition Birthday parties

3390 N. Home Street • Mishawaka • 256-0502 •

M i C H I L D • S P E C I A L PA R E N T I N G F E AT U R E S E C T I O N

Big Kids

Living the


5 life

Respect. Responsibility. Integrity. Sacrafice. Courage.

By Michelle Wegner

We have two middle schoolers in our household. As most parents of this age group are aware, every single day there is huge drama about who is wearing what, which clothes are not washed or are missing from their fabulous wardrobe. We try to be compassionate, patient and understanding, knowing that middle school is a rough age. They aren’t making it up when they say that everyone will notice if their shoes don’t go perfectly with an outfit, or if their hair is tinted green over the summer from one too many swims in a neighbor’s overly chlorinated pool. Not that it’s happened here, but I’m just sayin... Middle schoolers are tough on each other. So, any outside help in raising them and helping them become their best selves is always appreciated. This is why we are so grateful for the presence of Five Star at the middle school our children attend. Five stars is the rating motels and movies use as a symbol for excellence. Five Star, the community service organization that has been working in 13 middle schools in Michiana for the past five years, is dedicated to helping kids build their own Five Star Life. Each family has their own set of values they want to pass along to their children. In our family, the five principles Five Star teaches (they spend four weeks on each one) are very important values we also teach at home: Respect, responsibility, integrity, sacrifice and courage. We were amazed when our daughter came home and started acting out what she learned at Five Star. She was more respectful, took more responsibility for herself, and we saw her trying to be more kind and patient with her sisters. We were in complete shock and awe at the transformation in her little life and attitude.


We teach these principles at home, but when she had the opportunity to learn and discuss them with a coach who is a friend and fun mentor to her, she “got” it. The values we were teaching at home were being reinforced by some very fun activities and cool people at Five Star (apparently way cooler than her parents). For us as parents, we are thankful for the reinforcement of our family values in a fun environment and in a school setting. mi child magazine | december 2011 | december 2011

Five Star is a not-for-profit organization that exists to build self-esteem and character into tweens –1300 kids a week. Students gather one day a week after an already long day of school to hang out, do homework, play fun games, have a discussion with their coach and have a crazy fun time while learning important life lessons and character-building skills. Five Star has been at Grissom Middle School for five years. The school was searching for a character building program, so when Seth Maust came in the office, he sold them on this program. When the program first started, they were hoping 20 students would sign up. Now, they have to turn away 60 students a year because Five Star has become so large. Aside from a weekly afterschool meeting, Five Star students can also participate in day trips to Manowee Ranch, using ropes, horseback riding and other fun activities to push students past their comfort zone while in a safe environment. This helps them to learn to trust each other and depend on one another while building self-esteem and awareness. If your child or a middle schooler you know has the opportunity, encourage them to be a part of Five Star at their school. As we learned, they are partnering with the values we already have in place here at home and are doing an amazing job encouraging kids and mentoring them. Who knows, your middle schooler might actually start helping around the house or being kind to his brother or sister. It happened here!

Find the Hidden Acorn... ...that looks like the acorn pictured to the left for your chance to win a $30 Gift Certificate to

Sally & Company Hair Designs! New Way to Enter Contest! Go to: and click on the acorn icon on the bottom of the web site’s home page. Tell us what page you found the acorn on and you will be entered into this issue’s drawing! Contest ends December 23rd, 2011. Congratulations Cheri Salasinski

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“My favorite session was when coach Seth talked about "your fox hole.” This meant picking friends that have your best interest and that are nice and faithful to you. After that lesson, I learned that I didn’t have real good people in my fox hole. Soon after that I had dropped those friends who didn’t care who they would become or didn’t care how they would turn out. Once I did that, I was improving in school and my grades went from C’s and D’s to A’s and B’s. By the end of the year, I made honor roll!” ~ From a student enrolled in the program “People that knew me back when I was younger and see me now hardly recognize me. I walk with such pride and confidence in myself. I have kept Five Star a part of my life, and now I am coaching other kids just like me. I have this amazing opportunity to use my gifts to plant seeds in young students’ lives. I continue to hope and pray that I can make such a change in someone’s life as I have had made in mine.” ~ From a Five Star Coach

Michelle Wegner is mom to three spirited little girls, Maddie-12, Whitney-10 and Isabelle-6. Her husband is a pastor at Granger Community Church, and they have been married for 17 years.

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Prenatal Programs at Elkhart General Hospital At Elkhart General Hospital, maternity care starts long before the delivery of your baby. We offer services for expectant families months before they enter the Hospital, including special classes and instruction on topics such as breastfeeding, the labor/delivery process, infant CPR and sibling preparation. Knowing what to expect and being prepared for an infant’s arrival will lead the way to a truly rewarding childbirth experience – for the entire family.

For an Elkhart General Hospital Special Beginnings Maternity Center Prenatal Programs brochure, call (574) 523-3303.

600 East Boulevard • Elkhart, Indiana 46514

SUPPORT | december 2011




Make them your

FIRST choice. Month after month, they help bring you the #1 local parenting resource.

Advertise in our NEW Resource Directory guide! • Ad in EVERY issue • Ads are limited in increments of 3 per category – be exclusive! • Get the BEST LISTING on our high-traffic website & highlight your business in all searches & categories - Art & Culture - Birthday Celebrations - Bridal - Camps - Charities - Childcare & Preschools - Classes & Lessons - Counseling - Entertainment - Expecting/New Mom - Faith - Field Trips - Financial - Health, Fitness & Beauty - Holiday & Seasonal - Home Improvement - Indoor Exploration - Medical

- Music - Nature & Outdoor Adventures - Pamper Me - Parenting Support - Parks & Playgrounds - Pet Resources - Photographers - Productions & Entertainment - Real Estate - Restaurant Deals & Fun - Schools & Education - Shopping - Sports - Theater - Trade Associations - Travel - Wellness

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Call or email us & get your Ad placed today! 574.293.3261



Want to promote YOUR Business to Michiana Families?

family fun

Parent time, movie time, getaways, holidays! This is where family fun is always front and center. Check our directory profile each month for exclusive offers and information!

For a list of fun activities, visit






Safe,Positive, Fun Environment

• Students as young as 18 months old • Small class sizes • Progressive program from recreation to competition • Birthday Parties

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• Complete in-home design service, I bring everything to you! • No project is too small. • It’s all about your lifestyle, taste, budget and timeline. Decorating Den will see your project through, from concept to completion, giving you personalized service and a space that is uniquely yours!

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Each franchise is independently owned and operated.




The Howe School Preparing Global Leaders Since 1884

Our Mission is


The Howe School is a co-educational, college preparatory school for grades 7-12. Howe is a traditional high school and middle school replete with vigorous classes, a wide variety of extra curricular activities, and sports & clubs with the added spiritual dimension that provides for a balanced student life experience. • 260.562.2131


E S I T R E V AD | december 2011


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Thank You! Notre Dame Athletics

to our VIP Magazine Partners... who help in large part to provide these magazines and resources to you and our community:

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Advertiser Index: 32 Pearls Family Dentistry . ........................ 17

Heritage Square Mall .................................. 32

Physicians Hospital System ....................... 39

ABC Clinic ................................................. 33

Inspired Homes . ........................................ 35

Power in Motion . ....................................... 59

barbZappia photography . ........................... 69

Inspired Homes . ........................................ 71

Re-max Excellence . ..........Resource Directory

Bristol OHair Port ..............Resource Directory

Inspired Homes . ...............Resource Directory

Sally & Co. ................................................ 75

Budget Blinds ...................Resource Directory

Kangeroo Klippers . .................................... 55

Season Pass . ...................Resource Directory

Concord Ridge Equestrian Center .Resource Directory ........................................ 19

South Bend Civic Theatre ........................... 15

Decorating Den .................Resource Directory

Kids’ Kollection .................Resource Directory

South Bend Clinic . ..................................... 33

Dragonfly Designs . .................................... 25

Lakeland HealthCare .................................. 83

South Bend Clinic . ..................................... 41

DTSB, Inc. ................................................. 23

Lakeland HealthCare ................84/Back Cover

South Bend Medical Foundation ................. 31

Early Childhood Development Center,Inc. .Resource Directory

Little Princess Treasures ............................ 55

Southhold Dance Theatre ............................. 7

ECIC .......................................................... 28

Mathnasium . ............................................. 57

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School .. 59

Elkhart General .......................................... 76

Midwest Orthotics . .................................... 25

St. Thomas the Apostle School .................... 6

Elkhart General .............................Back Cover

Midwest Orthotics . .................................... 69

The Centre, P.C. . ........................................ 45

Emergence Business Solutions .................. 19 ........................................ 33

The Howe School . ............Resource Directory

Fit Stop ...................................................... 21

Notre Dame Baseball . ................................ 37

The Montessori Academy . ......................... 17

Gymnastics Michiana . ............................... 73

Notre Dame Federal Credit Union .................. 3

The Wellness Center .........Resource Directory

Gymnastics Michiana . ......Resource Directory

Oasis Granger ............................................ 32

Hawkins Water Tech Inc ............................. 27

Once Upon a Child ..................................... 73


the family magazine | december 2011

Searching for a New Family Doctor?

We’re Accepting

New Patients

Please join Lakeland Family Care of Niles in welcoming John W. Howard, MD, to our practice. Dr. Howard is seeing patients alongside Rosa Johnson, DO, (right) and Ellen Tambunan, MD. Dr. Howard is originally from South Bend, Indiana — Lakeland HealthCare’s attention to excellent and compassionate patient care attracted him to our health system. “I became a doctor because I wanted to work with people and help them live healthy lives. We all need someone to trust when difficult situations arise, or when we need advice or help. I am here to listen and show my patients the same care I would want.” To schedule an appointment with Lakeland Family Care of Niles, call us at (269) 684-6000. Our practice opens daily at 8:00 a.m. and stays open until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays. Longmeadow Medical Suites 4 Longmeadow Drive, Suite 2 Niles, Michigan

Serving Patients in a

New Location

Beginning Spring of 2012 At the new 42,000-square-foot Lakeland Medical Suites, Niles, a dynamic group of expert physicians will come together to transform the delivery of quality healthcare in our community. Specialty practices moving into the facility will include: • • • • • • • •

Ambulatory Infusion Clinic, Niles Lakeland Cancer Specialists Lakeland Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Lakeland Comprehensive Weight Loss Center Lakeland Ear, Nose and Throat Lakeland General Surgery Lakeside Urology Southwestern Medical Clinic, Niles — Center for Women’s Health • Van’s Medical Equipment of Lakeland

Located across the street from Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles Lakeland Medical Suites 42 North St. Joseph Avenue Niles, Michigan

Lauren Outlaw, MD Obstetrician and Gynecologist

One devoted physician. Two convenient locations. Obstetrician and Gynecologist Lauren Outlaw, MD is accepting new patients at For Women Only and Bittersweet Medical Associates. Dr. Outlaw offers obstetrics, reproductive analysis, endometriosis, gynecologic surgery, prenatal and postpartum care, labor and delivery management, hormone replacement therapies, family planning and health consultations. To schedule an appointment, please call the nearest location. Bittersweet Medical Associates 12340 Bittersweet Commons Blvd. Granger, Indiana 46530 (574) 271-8610

For Women Only OB/GYN 1215 Lawn Avenue, Suite 100 Elkhart, Indiana 46514 (574) 293-2893

Elkhart General egh.

Medical Group


The FAMILY Magazine December 2011  

The FAMILY Magazine December 2011