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A Little Music, a Little Gardening A Package Ticket Deal for The Symphony and Home & Garden Show!


An Outdoor Hobby that Will Get Your Kids Begging for More Family Time

Taking Care of Young Teeth Seven Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen From a Busy Mother of Five

MARCH 2012

Congratulations! To the talented December Coloring Winners.

Contributors Publisher & Editor-in-Chief:

Betsy Tavernier EXECUTIVE Editor: Kerri Hagens FAMILY MAGAZINES Advertising Account Manager: Tiphanee Vegh FAMILY & LAKESIDE MAGAZINES Advertising Account Manager: Jessica Marietta Creative Director: Jena Bontrager Fashion Editor: Kathy Friend Medical Editor: S. Jesse Hsieh, M.D.

Grace – Age 5p Cameron – Age 8 u Kendra – Age 1 2 q

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: Michiana Family Magazines 5230 Beck Drive Suite #3B Elkhart, IN 46516 PH: 574.293.FAM1 (3261) • FX: 574.217.4700 Michiana Family Magazines March 2012 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 6: Number 3

Child Care • Preschools

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

The FAMILY Magazine is a proud member of PMA

2 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012 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.




The FAMILY Magazine: Live Your Best:

7 Find the Acorn Contest 8 The FAMILY Month Calendar 12 Share Your Instagram Photos

Frugal Family:

20 Trimming the Fat Off Your Grocery Bill By Stephanie J. Salisbury

SPECIAL FAMILY FEATURES 26 Small Space, Big Garden

Kids Book Review:

How a container garden can create a big harvest with ease

Reviewed By Carly

28 Coaxing Spring

10 Mrs. Frisbey And The Rats of Nimh

By Meagan Church

Book Review:

Bringing blossoms Indoors

Reviewed By Billie Clements

30 Simple Ways to Up the Resale Value of Your Home

10 An Elephant in the Garden

Family Fun:

14 Instagram Your Life By Michelle Wegner

Family Arts:

By Evelyn Kirkwood

By Chelle Costello

32 Clearing the Clutter

Setting Small Goals to Conquer Big Messes! By Stephanie J. Salisbury

16 Giselle

34 What’s for Dinner?

By Stephanie J. Salisbury

By Sarah Boulac

A Very Special Production From Southold Dance Theater

Family Boomers:

18 Getting Back in the Driver’s Seat

Meal Planning Made Easy

36 Tips for Planning Your Next Trip to Disney By Amy Allen Clark

How to Take Control of Your Health Care

By Paige Popovic

Calendar of Events:

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


MiChild Magazine: Special Parenting Resource Section


58 Time-Saving Tools for Household Chores


Lakeside FAMILY Magazine:

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


44 A Little Music, a Little Gardening

60 Sleeping Smart

A Package Ticket Deal for The Symphony and Home & Garden Show

By Dr. Asad Ansari

45 Taking Care of Young Teeth

Story Time:


Reviewed by Lisa Felix

Frensh Toast Casserole

Promoting Healthy Sleeping Habits in Children

61 The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution

46 Breakfast for Dinner

Mommy & Daddy:

By Jill Peters

By Laurie Puhn

48 Pet Potty Problems?

62 Married with Good Karma 64 Pump Up The Volume! By Jane Suter


66 Holy Smokes, Batman! This Kid Needs a Lot of Stuff!


Some Insights Sure to Benefit Your Pet... and Your Home By Dr. Ed Blesy


50 Seven Ways To Save Time In The Kitchen From a Busy Mother of Five!

Organization to the Rescue

By Meagan Francis

By Sorah Stein and Shanti Bradley

52 Geocaching An Outdoor Hobby that Will Get Your Kids

Play Dates:

68 Fun things to do with your kids this month!

Begging for More Family Time

By Marcy Blesy


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

We have it all more at &

St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School!

New for 2012-2013!

K-8 Spanish Program and 4-5 year old Pre-K Program. • 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


Things We



May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart might desire.


Right Now!

– Irish Blessing

I can smell spring! With the wonderfully mild winter weather we’ve had and sunshine-filled days, it seems spring hit our area a few weeks ago. I don’t know what to make of it other than I’m very thankful. What a difference the sunshine makes here – people are so much happier! March is such a fun time to enjoy family traditions: discovery walks in the woods, game nights, special dinners (like corned beef, cabbage and potatoes), Holy days and church services, planning for spring break family time, getting the bikes out for a ride, spying new birds returning from southern places, seeing the squirrels scurrying about again… Oh, how I love this time with my kids. We’ve added a new monthly feature to our magazine called The FAMILY Month Calendar found on pages 8 and 9 in this issue – sort of a little monthly snapshot of March and a quick read for you to enjoy. I hope you find it delightful and fun! May you enjoy the spirits and traditions of this fun time of year and may your family laugh together.

1. Shamrock Shakes 2. Four-Leaf Clovers 3. A Mild and Sunny Winter 4. Corned Beef, Potatoes & Cabbage 5. Light Weight Trench Coats (bright spring colors!) 6. Sitting with Family at Church 7. Good Choices 8. Three-Wick Candles 9. Siesta Key, Florida 10. SASSY Magazine! 11. Ethical People 12. Good Wine

Betsy & Family

13. Baby Showers

Want the "organic"/green version of The FAMILY Magazine each month with bonus articles? Sign up for our Email Newsletter on our website and get your own organic copy delivered to your email inbox each month!

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 March 25th, 2012.

Check it Out!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the NEW SASSY Magazine!


& Dime a S A S S Y magazine special promotion.







divine food

& wine


painting the

town red











Congratulations to Mary Marsolais of Mishawaka for being the February Acorn winner! (Page 9). THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012


live your best

The FAMILY Month Calendar 1























You’re Invited...

Inspire Me offers a Fashion Show at the Beiger Mansion with friends Circa Arts Gallery, Pet Palace and Salon Rouge.

Proceeds from ticket sales to benefit the Humane Society of St. Joseph County. RSVP to Nancy Deneen 574.255.4726 ext. 225 or via email Humane Society of St. Joseph County 2506 Grape Rd. Mishawaka IN 46545 8 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012




T H I S M O N T H ’ S OB S E S S I O N S Instagram: We just can’t get enough of this fun photo-sharing and editing app for the iPhone! Share your Instagrams with us and we just might print them in an upcoming issue! Use the following hasthtag in your captions. We’ll take that as permission that we can print your photo and captions in the magazine: #michmag Pinterest: Yes, this can easily form into an addiction. “Pin” all the cool pictures and things you come across on the web to your Pinterest boards, and look at the boards of others to get cool ideas for everything from crafting projects to cool recipes. See what we’ve been pinning:


Light appetizers and cash bar. Clothing, accessories, dog and cat items available for purchase. First 100 guests will receive a goody bag with special gifts.

- March Madness Starts Humane Society Fundraiser - Account Manager, Tiphanee Vegh’s B-Day

Jules Boutique Fashion Show

H O W T O G E T Y O U R C LO S E T R E A D Y FOR S P R I N G ! Professional organizer Jennifer Crutchfield suggests these tips: 1. Donate coats, boots, hats, scarves and mittens not worn this winter. 2. Donate or consign winter clothes that will be too small or out of style by next winter. 3. Make sure kids have everything they need for spring sports now before the season begins.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 6:30PM – 9:00PM $25.00 Donation Beiger Mansion 317 Lincolnway East, Mishawaka IN





Happy Birthday Parent Media Justin Bieber! Association (so your kids Convention think you’re cool) - The FAMILY 1st Inauguration of Presidency – Magazine George Washington gets awards!

I T ’ S A G I RL ! Congrats to Meagan Church! Congrats to Meagan Church, our fantastic writer, on the new addition to her family! Adelyn Grace was born Thursday, January 6th at 7:42 AM and weighed in at 8 pounds and 3 ounces. Her name means “serene” and according to Meagan, Adelyn has lived up to her name thus far. Follow Meagan’s journey, as the mom of now three, on her blog DefiningMotherhood. com. She is currently working on a book project that explores the realities of birth, babies and beyond. Visit or @unexpectant on Twitter for more information or to join in the conversation.

Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner: A dream app for Weight Watcher fans. This handy little app for the iPhone scans the barcodes of your favorite foods. Once the item is scanned, it brings up a small picture of the grocery item and automatically gives you the points and serving size of that item. Staying on track has never been so easy! PA N S I E S A R E T O U G H ! This month, Don Vite from Vite Greenhouses taught us that pansies don’t live up to their name at all. These guys are tough! Pansies are a fantastic spring plant for our area because they can handle cold weather. They bloom in the fall and stay bloomed, even in the snow. They hit their full bloom during the spring thaw.



Our Creative Director, Jena, is having her baby shower!


Happy St. Patty’s Day!


Glance Eyewear 10 Year Anniversay Event

1st Day of Spring!!














Avocado Good source of potassium and monounsaturated fats.

23 F











31 F


MUST TRY DISH New Zealand Rack of Lamb Chop The best part about eating out is trying new dishes and flavors. So, on your next restaurant excursion, head over to McCarthy’s on the Riverwalk located in Elkhart. They have a dish you’ve got to try. The New Zealand Rack of Lamb Chop for $24.50 is specially seasoned and cooked to perfection on their wood fire grill. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it!

CALENDAR EVENTS Disney Live Presents Three Classic Fairy Tales Break out the mouse ears, grab the kids and head to The Morris Performing Arts Center. Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they bring the timeless fairytale adventures of Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to life. There will be two showings on Friday, March 9 at 3:30 PM and 6:30 PM. Learn more and check for tickets at

Sweet Potato Great for vitamin B6 and vitamin C. C RO C K P O T R E C I P E Italian Beef Au Jus in Slow Cooker Serves 10 Ingredients • 6 pounds rump roast, trimmed • 2 packages au jus gravy packets • 2 packages dry Italian dressing mix • 2 cans of beef broth Tomato Rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.


Place meat in crock pot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over beef. Cook on low for six to eight hours.

The Well-Tended Mixed Garden It’s time to start thinking about gardening! Tracy DiSabato-Aust, best-selling author, Ohio Master Gardener and garden designer, will speak about her book “The Well-Tended Perennial Garden” on March 10, 2 PM to 4:30 PM. It’s only $10 if you pay before March 9 and $12 at the door the day of. This event is sponsored by Michiana Master Gardeners and will take place at The Greencroft Community Center in Goshen. Learn more at




live your book reviews best

An Elephant in the Garden By Michael Morpurgo

Reviewed by Billie Clements Reference/Young Adult Librarian Harris Branch Library, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library What do you do when an elephant lives in your garden? You walk her around the neighborhood, feed her, talk with her and play with her as she is only a baby. Life is good until the safety of your family and your elephant become threatened. Michael Morpugo’s “An Elephant in the Garden” is a remarkable tale of a family surviving the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945. The inspiring story is loosely based on historical facts and is a fast-paced, easy-to-read novel of war with a positive ending. Marlene, an orphaned elephant, has been cared for since birth by Lizzie and Karl’s zookeeper mother at the Dresden Zoo. The family has become very attached to the fouryear-old. However, the elephant and all the other potentially dangerous animals will be destroyed so they won’t run wild should the Dresden Zoo be hit by bombs. Fortunately, the zoo director is persuaded to temporarily relocate Marlene to the family garden. When bombs begin to fall on the city, Lizzie, her younger brother and their mother flee Dresden, as do thousands of others. Moving to safety is a greater challenge for the family because they decide to take Marlene with them. How can they move across the German countryside safely with an elephant in tow? Where do you hide an elephant as you seek shelter and food? Along the way, they meet a Canadian flyer who has been shot down and who risks capture to help Lizzie and her family. Hungry and afraid, the family, the wounded pilot and Marlene slowly travel toward safety in February’s freezing weather. With the German soldiers searching for the Canadian and the Soviet army approaching from the east, tragedy seems unavoidable. Through all their struggles, Marlene serves as a model of patience, determination and courage. She gives unconditional love to all she encounters thus encouraging the family to continue the journey to freedom. “An Elephant in the Garden” is recommended for those in middle school and high school.

Mrs. Frisbey And The Rats of Nimh By Robert C. O’Brien Reviewed by Carly Mrs. Frisbey and the Rats of Nimh is the best book I have ever read. I would recommend the book to anyone. It is a detailed story about a mouse named Mrs. Frisbey with four children and her husband who died. Every spring, the animals have to move out of the field and into their summer homes because of the plow. It is close to plow season, and Mrs. Frisbey’s youngest son, Timmy, is deeply ill. She must find a way to make Timmy feel better before the plow comes. With time running short, and Timmy still sick, she has nothing to do but to ask for help. An EXTRAORDINARY breed of highly intelligent rats – of Nimh – offer help as a favor for her husband’s great sacrifices he took for the rats. From her journey, she figures out many interesting facts about her husband’s past and how the rats know him. Will Timmy live or die? Will everybody be safe from the plow, or will it come early this year? This book is a great read.

Hi, my name is Carly. I am 13 years old and love volleyball, track and to paint. Reading is also a passion of mine.




live your best

A fave IG


Good morning! Shine your light for all to see – michellewegner

11: Olive

r’s nose

– tisham


all. – heathe e train at UP M

a on th

My daughter Li

pic of 20

Share Your Instagram Photos! Use Instagram, a fun photo editing and sharing app for the iPhone, to show us what you see around town and what your family and friends are up to. Your photos may make an upcoming issue! Include the hashtag #michmag in your photo captions, and follow us on Instagram, too: thefamilymag. ’ on a Sunday morning – meaganchurch

Best buds chillin

By using the michmag hashtag, you give The FAMILY Magazines of Michiana permission to print your photo and your captions in our upcoming issues.

Ice Car ving Festival at Her itage Square in Granger, IN. Awesome tale nt!!! – thefamilymag


School snack time – mo


Amish country –


My super hero

es – meaganc




family fun


Instagram Your

By Michelle Wegner

About a year ago, I came across an iPhone app that has completely changed the way I see the world around me. It’s called Instagram. It’s free, and it is awesome. Instagram says it best:

Sometimes venturing out and doing something like this is all it takes to remember why we really love to be together and what makes us family.

“It is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your iPhone, choose a filter to transform the look and feel, send to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr – It’s all as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented.”

iPhoneography is an easy hobby to excel at. Even our 8-year-old has a private account on Instagram where she can share her photos with her sisters and a few close family friends.

I’m an avid user of social media, and I have never liked the photo sharing options available through any of those services. When I saw a few friends posting super creative photos from their lives, I thought I’d give Instagram a try. There are currently 16 photo filters you can choose from on Instagram, and a few other tweaking options, like the blurring effect, for making your photos creative, funky and fun. The possibilities you can come up with using these filters and options are endless. To make even more brilliant and fun photos, there are several iPhone photo editing apps I use to spruce up my photos, then I load them to Instagram. (More about what apps compliment Instagram later in this article!) Our kids have iPod touches with cameras, so they can get in on the fun as well. The other day, we went to Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Michigan. We got some extraordinary pictures of the sand, ice and snow by the lake. At one point, I saw a really neat ice formation and decided to take a few steps closer to the lake. The waves were beautiful, and the ice and snow were so brilliant. My foot and knee went in the icy cold water at one point due to deceptively solid sand-ice. But did I get the picture? Yes! While I was warming up in the van, Belle, our youngest daughter, fell for the old “sandy ice,” and her fuzzy pink boot went in the frozen water. The older girls had to rescue her boot while Rob returned her to the van with his glove on her bare foot. We laughed and laughed, and had a great time together. We all got some fabulous pictures. Then we got some ice cream – because we weren’t cold enough already. While eating our ice cream, we shared the photos we all captured and were amazed at each person’s unique perspective of the same event. 14 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

Friends have asked me, “How do you get your photos to look so awesome?” I’m almost embarrassed to share, because it is really very simple. I’ll let you in on my secrets here in ten easy steps:

10 Steps for the New Instagram User

Get an iPod Touch, or iPhone, or iPad with a camera. (Word on the

street is that Instagram will be available for Android devices soon)

Take some pictures. Keep it simple. Photograph your favorite things wherever you are or whatever you’re doing. You don’t need a fancy backdrop or perfect photography skills. Just start taking pictures. Download Instagram from the iTunes store with your device. It’s


Create an Instagram account. This just means choosing a user

name and password. They ask you for your email address, but that is all the private information you will need to give. You can create a profile linking to your personal website and a few personal details, or just make up a completely fake name and identity if you want to remain anonymous. Lots of people do.

Click the camera icon that says “Share.” Take a photo from the

Instagram app, or load a photo from your device’s library.

Add a filter or load the photo as-is. After you load your photo,

you can add a caption such as “Most amazing beach day ever.”

In the comments section, you can also add a #hashtag that puts your photo into a category. For example, when I loaded these frozen beach pictures to Instagram, I used the hashtags #frozen #ice #beach #lakemichigan and #michmag (the #michmag

hashtag is the special tag The FAMILY Magazine has created for you fabulous readers as you load photos you’d like to share with other readers!) Find some other followers! Instagram is more fun when you are viewing the photos of others, giving and receiving great comments from other users. In the “Profile” section, there is an option to “Find Friends.” Click on this and all of your friends from Facebook, Twitter or your email accounts that also use Instagram will automatically pop up. Is that awesome or what? Leave Comments. If you want to

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engage with others on Instagram, leave thoughtful comments for the people’s photos you like the best. I have been amazed at the positive, hopeful, kind and encouraging words others have left for me. I am truly a better photographer because of these friends.

Experiment with other iTunes apps for photography. Once you get the hang

of Instagram, do a search for other photography apps that allow you to edit your photos before you post them to Instagram. There are countless photography apps that help you crop, edit, correct, add filters and effects. My favorites right now are Snapspeed, Luminance, Pixlr-o-matic, and Camera+.

Have fun! Instagram just might change

the way you see your world.

I no longer view my world as an endless landscape of corn fields with blue skies. I get excited when I see a fallen down barn. I plan my day ahead of time so I know where the shadows will fall the best at which time of day for a really cool photograph. My kids make fun of me when I pull to the side of the road to snap a picture of a field of freshly fallen snow, but when I look in the back seat of our minivan, there they are, snapping away at the same scenery with their iPod touches.

“She has a smile that can light up a room.”


15045 State Road 23 • Granger, IN 46530

Avis L. Barker, D.M.D.

Excellence in Early Childhood Education Enrollment Open to the Public for the 2012-13 School Year at the

Early Childhood Development Center at Saint Mary’s College

Instagram is such a fun and creative way to share the world around you with others. Have fun, and I’ll see you there! My user name is MichelleWegner. I can’t wait to check out what you create with the world around you. Go ahead and Instagram your life! 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.

- John Link Equipment Specialist

NAEYC Accredited – Promoting Excellence in Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Development Center For information please call:


or online at:



family arts

Giselle Guest artists from American Ballet Theater, Luciana Paris and Roddy Doble. Photo by Renata Pavam.

A Very Special Production From Southold Dance Theater By Stephanie J. Salisbury

As a very young girl, I dipped my toes into the waters of ballet and, fickle like most children, quit a couple of years later to try whatever else my fleeting interests took me. However, I’ve always retained a great appreciation for the dance, instilled in me by my mother, and still enjoy watching a great art such as this on the stage. Such an appreciation puts me in awe of people like Erica Fischbach. Erica is the artistic director at Southold Dance Theater, a regional training company and the resident dance company of the Morris Performing Arts Center. This month, they are putting on a production of “Giselle” that promises to be captivating and inspiring to audiences of all ages. Says Fischbach, “Preparing for a production like ‘Giselle’ takes about a full year. I started putting scenes together in my mind and on paper, editing music and working with our production staff one year before the first performance. This year I was able to start about six months ahead of time. Even though it is a repeat production this year, the dances are changed slightly to accommodate our kids who keep growing and improving! Giselle has around 130 costumes, over 60 props, a backdrop and two different sets. It is a collaboration of myself, the production team, our instructors, and our many generous volunteers who make our productions possible.” “Giselle” is, in Erica’s words, “joyful, intriguing, beautiful, heart wrenching and heartwarming all at once. It is the ultimate story of love, deception and forgiveness.” A recent press release touts the story as, “A favorite of classical ballet fans across the globe, the story of Giselle is a timeless blend of romance, mystery and intrigue. The ballet stars a young peasant girl, Giselle, and turns into a


whirlwind story of torn lovers, broken hearts, vengeful spirits and love from beyond the grave. The role of Giselle is considered to be one of the most technically demanding roles in ballet.” The story is set in a peasant village during the festive time of the grape harvest, where Giselle, who loves to dance, joins her friends in the celebration though she has a weak heart. She falls in love with a newcomer who turns out to be someone else in disguise – the intrigue will not fail to excite! The roles of Giselle and Albrecht will be danced by guest artists Luciana Paris and Roddy Doble from the American Ballet Theatre, and more than 100 young Southold dancers ranging in age from 6 to 19 years old. Even after working in so many capacities with Southold, Fischbach retains her awe of the dance. When asked about this ballet, she mentions in particular the second act: “Act II of ‘Giselle’ is one of the most physically challenging ballets for the corps de ballet. The role of Myrtha is like running a marathon while holding onto free weights. The jumps and the pure classical lines that the body is required to perfect are quite challenging to say the least!” And she knows a great deal about this ballet. Erica choreographed most of the first act, set true versions of choreography for the second act, rehearsed the 10- to 18-yearolds during the week, and then the younger students from other instructors joined her for a full-cast rehearsal on Saturdays. Southold is an incredible company. I’ve seen performances of “The Nutcracker Ballet” in the past and have never been disappointed. Fresh beauty graces the stage each night, and their production of “Giselle” will be no different, I assure you.

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Fischbach says, “I would encourage anyone to come and see our performances, come to our studios, and see what we do. It is amazing and rewarding to teach these children and see the good that dance brings them. They are using their minds and their bodies to improve themselves as people as they learn many skills they will use for life. They are focused and eager to learn more. The atmosphere is happy and positive, and I watch the dancers deal with their daily drama with hugs and their accomplishments with cheers for each other. Dancers have come to me begging for slumber parties at the studio so they don’t have to leave!” Over 200 students, ages three through adult, attend Southold Dance Theater for classes such as ballet, creative movement, combo classes, jazz, modern, tap, hip hop, Pilates, body conditioning and adult ballet. “Giselle” performs on the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center stage at Notre Dame University Friday, March 16, at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 17 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children. For more information or to order tickets, please call the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center office at 574.631.2800. Be sure, also, to check out Southold Dance Theater online at

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.



1/10/12 8:43 AM

family boomers

Getting Back in the Driver’s


How to Take Control of Your Health Care By Page Popovic

As I was waiting at the repair shop recently while the mechanics were figuring out the strange sound coming from the back of my vehicle, it dawned on me that we would all benefit from treating our health care interactions in the same manner as we do those with our mechanic. You don’t just tell your mechanic that you hear a strange noise and let them figure it out from there. This would force your mechanic to drive the car around and conduct expensive diagnostics to find out the source of the sound. Instead, you note when the sound was first heard, when it occurs and any changes there have been in the performance of the vehicle. This extra information gives your mechanic a place to start. If we can do this so readily at a repair shop, then why can’t we seem to do it in a health care setting? Unfortunately, there is something about the medical profession that seems to intimidate most people into silence. Our voices are key to increasing the quality of our health care and reducing its cost. When we are vocal about our history – answer questions honestly and clearly state what hurts, when, where and why – we are providing valuable diagnostic information, not just complaining. If you don’t speak up, you will end up paying for tests and referrals that could have been avoided. I reached out to Kim Charles, MSW, LSW, a geriatric care manager for REAL Services to see if she had some insight into why so many people find it hard to speak up in the health care setting. As she is a health and human services specialist who serves as a guide, advocate and resource for families caring for older relatives, I figured she would have some great insights into the issue. “The patient may be devoting so much time to managing a particular illness or symptom that they don’t take time to think 18 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

ahead to what they really want in regards to their health care,” says Kim. “Another reason is the rapid pace of our current health care system. A patient may become caught up in a plan of care that they don’t understand because they are afraid of asking a “dumb” question. It takes energy and a certain level of expertise to slow down the process to a pace that fits a patient’s own personal style of taking in and evaluating information.” Kim’s insight into this common fear made me realize something… I am very lucky to work in a health care setting. What is daunting to so many others has become less so for me. Although I still worry that I might ask something dumb, I have also learned to ask anyway! I’ve heard too many stories from clinicians where hearing those “dumb questions” made a huge difference in the outcome. Sometimes the questions we are afraid to ask because they seem like something we should know are the most important ones to ask. So what can we do to become more involved in our care? There are a few things which have worked very well for my mom and I as we navigate through her illness and the transplant listing process: • Keep a written health history and include all medications you are taking. In times of crisis, it becomes difficult to remember the details of family medical history, but having this information can be life-saving. • Bring a paper and pen to write down your questions for your health care provider as you think of them and ask for answers to these concerns. During a medical appointment, nerves can make it difficult for us to recall details. Don’t depend on your memory. Write things down.

• Take a family member or friend with you to office visits in order to listen to the information, to ask questions and to talk with afterwards. • If your health care team is speaking in terms you don’t understand, ask them to stop. Medical professionals will often talk in medical terms because that is the terminology that is familiar to them. When you request that they speak in terms you can understand, most will be more than happy to do so. With clear lines of communication, you can ask questions and expect clear answers. I guess the bottom line is that we need to be involved in our care. If you can’t make the best health care decision for yourself, who will?

Paige Popovic is the marketing specialist for Memorial Home Care. She enjoys working on projects with the Gerontology Consortium of Michiana and presenting on topics related to home care nationally. She is also the proud mom of two sons.


Michele Whitt, M.D. Mark Meekhof, Ed Durbin and Virna Evangelista in the Obstetrics/Gynecology Department at The South Bend Clinic. Dr. Whitt specializes in women’s health care, including medical and surgical care of the female reproductive system and associated diseases and disorders. Dr. Whitt earned her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Loma Linda University Medical Center in southern California. Dr. Whitt holds an undergraduate degree from Purdue University, Lafayette, Ind. She is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Whitt, contact The South Bend Clinic, 574-237-9261. You can also visit us online at

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©2011 The South Bend Clinic



family frugal

Trimming the Fat Off

Your Grocery Bill

You’ve probably heard a lot about how you can save using the new extreme couponing craze, but not all of us have time to use this method. For most of us, we find ourselves scraping together an hour or so to do our weekly or biweekly shopping trip, or a quick five-minute jaunt to the gas station to grab something we forgot. The good news is that you don’t have to be a coupon guru to save on your grocery bill. You just have to be willing to make some changes in your routine. For years, I’ve been in charge of the grocery shopping for our family of five, three of whom are now teenagers. Originally, I would spend nearly $650 in a two-week period for food, toiletries and “emergency items” such as the ever-popular, “Mom, I signed you up to donate two dozen cookies for marching band tomorrow” cookies. These days, I have cut that bill by more than half, and rarely do I use a coupon. I’ve found that, when cutting coupons, I’m tempted to buy all kinds of things I normally wouldn’t just because I might get fifty cents off. In the end, I’ll spend more money, and a lot of items will sit unused on my shelf because I never would have purchased them to begin with if I hadn’t had the coupon. My advice? Only clip coupons if they are for an item you already have on your list. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the grocery list, shall we?

It’s All About Planning

First and foremost, put a magnetic white board on your refrigerator. The moment someone in the house runs out of something, whether it is deodorant or cream cheese, have them write it on the board. The same is true for upcoming necessities such as a new notebook for school or cookie ingredients. Such organization saves more than one quick-trip to the gas station or 20 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

By Stephanie J. Salisbury

nearby convenience store, where prices are exorbitant. Ketchup might be 99 cents on a regular grocery trip, but “emergency ketchup” will likely be three times as much. The white board method will help control your food intake. If it’s not on the board, don’t buy it. If it’s on the board and it’s not a necessity, then it’s your call.

Don’t Get Stuck on Brand Names

I understand that nothing tastes quite like a certain favorite brand, and there are a few cases in which it’s absolutely necessary to your palate that you purchase the brand name of some particular food. That being said, most of the time mac and cheese is mac and cheese. My first stop is Aldi. They always have the least expensive milk, bread products, cereal, soup, canned veggies, condiments, meat and a great deal of frozen items. Some of their produce is pretty good as well, but if you’re a big fan of salad, you’ll probably be a bit more picky in this area. A box of cereal might be $3.49 at a regular store, whereas the Aldi brand runs from $1.59 to $1.89. Imagine the possibilities if you’re not married to brand names! They also carry toiletries, but the best prices on those are at the next stop.

The Price Matching Game

For the few items I need with a brand name, or for those that are too expensive at Aldi, my next stop is Wal-mart. They have the least expensive toiletries, and their produce department is more extensive and usually fresh. The Wal-mart website (predictably at has money-saving tips and printable coupons. But the most important lead on saving money at Wal-mart is that they will match any sale price from any other store as long as you have the flyer to back it up. This will save you several stops at, and the gas money it takes to get to, other stores who might

have a better sale price that week than Wal-mart. For instance, if the store-brand milk at Meijer is on sale two for $5.00, you can bring in the flyer and get the Walmart brand milk for the same price. You can check out their terms and conditions on their website.

Members Only

The benefits of belonging to a membershipbased store such as Sam’s Club are only worth the cost of membership if you are dead set on brand name items, and you either consistently consume a great deal of food as a family or do a lot of entertaining. Most of the time, you can pick up less expensive brands in smaller amounts for a better or at least comparable price. That being said, if you are so addicted to Hot Pockets that you will eat seventeen of them in a week, it’s probably worth the $40 a year to join.

Hidden Gems

My favorite thing is to find new and interesting places to save money. My best friend took me to a store in Goshen called The Dented Can. Most of the merchandise comes from other vendors and various sources around the country, so the bargains range between good and fantastic! “We keep our prices low by finding good deals we can pass on to our customers,” says Paul Royer, owner. “I had an interest in doing this for a long time, and finally an opportunity presented itself.” The Dented Can came to fruition about eight years ago in a barn-like structure located in a rural area in Goshen, 25743 State Road 119. Unlike Aldi, they do accept credit in addition to debit cards, which can be helpful, and they carry mostly name-brand items at a discount. The store is open Monday through Saturday starting at 8:30 a.m. Twenty percent of their stock revolves, so you can get your regular items but find other price-busters each time you shop.

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“Come by and see our deli, produce, cooler, and freezer items, as well as our regular grocery items,” invites Royer. “There is always something new!” 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.

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In Concert, A Collection of Contemporary Works

Saturday, March 17, 7:00 p.m. Enjoy the exciting works of Midwest at O’Laughlin Auditorium choreographers that will delight and inspire. Tickets: 574-247-1590



Saturday, March 18, 2:00 p.m. at The Lerner Theater, Elkhart Tickets: 574-293-4469

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For your chance to WIN, color your best picture and mail or drop entries to: ORANGE TREE GIFTS • 322 West Cleveland Road • Granger, IN 46530. -- Coloring contest is open to children 12 years and under, and entries must be mailed or dropped by April 2nd. Winners will be notified via phone or email service by Orange Tree Gifts by April 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.

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Bariatric Surgery

Lose weight. Gain years.

People like to talk about what you lose with bariatric surgery, which is of course the weight. But no one ever talks about what they gain, which is life. If you’ve had trouble losing weight and think bariatric surgery is right for you, we encourage you to learn more about the Elkhart General Hospital Bariatric & Metabolic Institute. It’s the only program in the region with surgeons who are fellowship trained in bariatric surgery.

To learn more about our free bariatric seminars, call 574.523.3264.



family features

Home & Garden

Small Space,

Big Garden How a container garden can create a big harvest with ease.

By Meagan Church

Gardens can be a beautiful thing. Imagine the plump, juicy tomatoes falling off the vine and ready to eat. Or the fresh green beans full of much more flavor than the frozen variety. Having delicious produce at your fingertips can be a beautiful thing. But then the reality sets in. Do I have room for a garden? What about the time and effort? Weekends can be crazy enough without having to spend hours pulling weeds.

It wasn’t just the harvest that pleased us, but also the ease. It took a bit of up front work to create our bed and soil mixture, but once the garden was in place, it was smooth sailing. Now that we have the foundation, subsequent years will be even easier.

I had dreams of growing a big garden just as my family did when I was a child. Finally a few years ago, we moved into a house that had a yard with space where we could actually try out our green thumbs. Unfortunately, we didn’t anticipate the poor, sandy soil. So, we spent a summer growing three green beans, a bit of lettuce, a pepper or two, lots of shriveled up tomato plants, unproductive pumpkin vines and a lot of weeds. Thankfully, the following year we took a new approach: the square foot or raised-bed garden.

Big Harvest in a Small Space

With the guidance of the book “All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew, we embarked on a new way of gardening. It required much less space to grow the same amount of plants we had previously attempted. Thanks to the rich soil in a contained space, we enjoyed a plethora of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and more.


So what made us turn away from the traditional row garden format to a more contained one? We realized some great benefits. Even if you don’t have a large backyard, you can still grow your favorite plants in small areas. We used the design Bartholomew suggested, which was to create a 4-foot by 4-foot box using 2-inch by 6-inch boards. Using string, we then created 16 squarefoot squares for us to fill with our favorite plants. Each square can be filled with one large plant, such as a tomato or pepper, or a number of smaller ones, such as carrots or green beans. By giving each plant its appropriate space within a square, we created a more efficient layout and omitted the aisles found in row gardens that grow nothing more than weeds.

Grow Where You Go

If there is no room for a box, don’t worry. Take a smaller approach by using planters set on your porch, patio or in your landscaping. Add beauty by choosing pots and containers of different colors, textures and sizes. Don’t forget about hanging


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baskets. They aren’t just for flowers. They are also a great way to grow herbs and smaller vegetable plants. Place planters at a height and location that is easily accessible, so you don’t have to stoop and bend to reach your plants. Just make sure each container has sufficient drainage.

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Weeds be Gone

Placing containers at whatever level you choose makes pulling weeds easier and much more accessible. Plus, you only have to pull weeds from a small amount of space. With a row garden, weeds would also be consuming the rows and areas between the plants, giving you more to pull. By creating your own soil from the mixture above and making sure there is a bottom to the container, no or very few weeds will be able to grow, saving you time and your manicure. If you’ve been dreaming of a beautiful garden, but want to take an easier approach, raised bed or container gardening could be the right fit for you. Just imagine the bountiful harvest without the pesky weeds. Your manicure will thank you. 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.

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family features

Home & Garden

Coaxing Spring

Bringing Blossoms Indoors

By Evelyn Kirkwood

If the season’s bleakness has you yearning for cheer, you can coax spring with a few snips of your garden shears. One of the easiest ways to bring color into your home in late winter is to force forsythia branches into bloom, says Steve Bornell, manager of plant collections at Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Niles, Michigan. “Forcing” is the process of encouraging a plant to bloom ahead of its anticipated outdoor schedule. This yellow-flowering shrub is a common landscape plant that blooms in spring. Folklore says it will snow three more times once forsythia flowers, but you can try to fool winter! It’s relatively easy to force, unless extended severe cold has frozen and killed the flower buds, says Bornell. For your comfort and the plant’s, cut and collect branches when the temperatures are above freezing to avoid shocking the cuttings when you bring them inside. Use a sharp knife or garden shears. Strip off buds or twigs that will be under water when you place them in a vase. Bornell recommends placing the cut branches in a container of tepid water and making a fresh cut at the base of the stem, before putting them in a vase with water. Some sources suggest keeping the cuttings in a cool, dimly lit location until the buds show color. It may take a week to several weeks for the buds to peek out, although the closer to their normal bloom time outdoors, the sooner they will open indoors. Your forsythia blossoms will last longer in cool temperatures. Keep the vase away from heat and change the water every few days. Try other shrubs, too. Bornell suggests wild cherry, serviceberry, spring witch hazel and arctic willow (for its delicate foliage), as well as many fruit tree. It’s fun to experiment with any flowering shrub you have in your yard.


Although spring officially arrives on March 20, it will be a few weeks before daffodils and tulips bring full color to your gardens. Forcing a few branches indoors can jump start your spring!

Family Activity More Ways to Coax Spring

By March, pussy willow, a native to wet areas, is already showing its fuzzy gray heads. Inserting the cut stems in a vase of water will yield elongated yellow catkins, and the stems may even sprout roots. To preserve the cute, gray “cat paws” as is, keep the stems in a vase without water. Silver maples are in flower now as well, their spiky red buds bursting. Bring branches indoors in a water-filled vase to enjoy their early color. Spotting a robin on your lawn as the grass begins to green is a sure sign of spring. Kids will delight in the new growth they helped create when they sprout grass seed in a small plant pot on a windowsill. Make Your own Floral Preservative

To help your forced branches or any cut flowers last longer, add to 1 quart water: 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white vinegar 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon chlorine bleach

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. To reduce your risk of colorectal cancer: • Begin regular colorectal cancer screening after age 50. Screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer.

Fill your vase with this treated water.

• Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. A diet that is high in red and processed meats can increase your risk for colorectal cancer.

Finding Flowers

• Don’t smoke and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Visit Fernwood Botanical Gardens (Niles, MI) throughout the season to see a spring parade of flowering shrubs and trees. Visit Potawatomi Greenhouse and Conservatories (South Bend, IN) for their annual spring plant display usually around Easter. potawatomi-park/conservatory

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.

• Maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly. Physically active adults are less likely to develop colorectal cancer as sedentary adults.

In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, call (574) 523-3303 to receive a FREE colorectal cancer home test kit. Limit 5 per household, while supplies last.

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family features

Home & Garden



to Up the Resale Value of Your Home By Chelle Costello

Have you been wondering how to up the resale value of your home without emptying the bank? We’ve got you covered! I spoke with Peggy North, broker and owner of At Home Realty Group, and Dan Kelley, broker and owner of Remax 1st, for easy and cheap home renovation when it’s possible and what to do when it’s not.

Buy New “Little” Things

There are lots of smaller things people really look for when checking out homes that the owners could easily provide. For example, North says, since people tend to look for anything that says new, update those bath fixtures and light fixtures. “Get a newer shower curtain,” she advises, “and paint the walls so they look fresh and neutral in color.”

Remove Little Things

Kelley reminds us that we must give potential buyers a blank slate so that they can imagine themselves in the space. “When removing the clutter, also remove personal effects and pack away family photos,” he says. Think about it – when a buyer walks into a home to see if it “fits” they’ll have a hard time seeing themselves in it if all they see is you.

Clean Everything

Make your home what North calls “white-glove clean.” For one, she says, “people look for freshly cleaned carpets. Also keep your home clutter free, as clutter detracts from the space and floor plan of the house and makes a house seem smaller than it is and sometimes too much furniture can do the same thing.” 30 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

Kelley adds, “Don’t forget inside closets, refrigerators, under sinks and in the dishwasher. Have a clean sink with the dishes put away.” While you’re at it, take a look at your curb appeal. Don’t let a little chipping paint and dirty gutters keep you from selling that house. Maintain the lawn and landscaping, and clean and maintain the furnace and other mechanicals. But especially, both say to watch out for odor. “Buyers are almost always turned off by cigarette and pet odor,” North says. “This is a big deal breaker.”

Ask a Realtor

“Homeowners tend to have “blinders” when assessing and looking at their own home,” Kelley says of the home’s curb appeal, “so they should always invite a realtor to go through the home with them to point out changes that will make the home more presentable and sellable.” He cites landscaping, the front door, and the entry area as a few of those “blinders.” Realtors often present simple and cheap solutions to these, and some are even willing to come to the home for free, so it only makes sense to take advantage of their services.

Some Projects Aren’t Worth the Resale Value...

Watch out for new flooring in moderately priced homes. North says, “In a moderately priced home, install new carpet instead of real hardwood to make your home attractive at a cheaper price. However, in upscale homes, use granite and tile instead of Formica and vinyl. Buyers expect granite and tile, so it may take longer to sell that house if it’s missing. For example, I had an upscale listing

($300k) that had Formica and vinyl and wasn’t selling. After my seller upgraded with hardwood, granite and stainless steel appliances, it sold right away.” North also suggests to beware of any ultra-trendy choices – you want your potential buyers to envision themselves in this space, so keep remodeling and design classic. While that lime-green laminate flooring may be perfectly you, it could turn others off.

“The ironic thing about selling a home is that most sellers will do the projects or the items they have put off for years just to sell it,” Kelley concludes. “So many times we hear, ‘I have made the home better for someone else and should have done it all along for me.’” So even if you’re not looking to sell, perhaps now is the time to spruce up the house – just for you. Chelle Costello lives in South Bend and teaches English at Indiana University.

…And Some Are

“Kitchen Renovations!” North affirms when asked what projects are worth the effort. “New kitchen flooring, cabinets, countertops and appliances can be costly, but could be worth it.” North also suggests a bathroom addition. “Another bath may not only be a convenience, it may enhance the sale possibilities of your home.” So while you’re saving money in other areas that don’t pay off, invest in that second bathroom and watch your returns boomerang.

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family features

Life Organization & Planning

Clearing the Clutter Setting Small Goals to Conquer Big Messes! By Stephanie J. Salisbury

This is just about the time of year when I step back and stare at my house, thinking, I have got to get this place in order. The holidays have long since been over, and I have no excuse for the clutter. There’s just so much… stuff! It’s the whole reason we have a house to begin with, you know. George Carlin said it best: “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” For those of you who are tired of losing papers, misplacing keys and tripping over jackets, reclaiming control of your home is easier than you might think. All you need to do is set small goals and work from there. As someone who has cleaned houses professionally for over 17 years, I can tell you that if you try to tackle the entire house as a de-cluttering project all at once, you will lose your momentum in a couple of hours and get very little accomplished. It took at least a year to accumulate, so it stands to reason that it’s going to take a while to make any real headway. To help you on your path to clutter-free living, here are some tips to get you started an hour or two at a time!

On the Surface

The quickest, easiest way to make a cluttered home appear tidier is to get rid of surface stuff. I have a tendency to toss mail, newspapers, magazines, kids’ school information, tax forms and receipts on the counter when I walk into the kitchen. I shove things aside while I’m trying to cook, I sort through it again when I’m looking for something in particular, and I’m forever frustrated that I can’t find what I need when I need it. The best solution? Try using a set of vertical files which you can buy for just a couple of bucks. Even one vertical file and a few manila envelopes (labeled Bills, Kids, Receipts) can do wonders. By standing up your paper clutter in the corner, counter surface stays clean, and you can easily sort through and find particular pieces of information when you need them. 32 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

Skeletons in Your Closet

Clothes closets, linen closets, all-purpose closets – they tend to get things shoved into them but never in any sort of organized order. I find it best to use the two-pile method: a pile for keeping and a pile for donation or a yard sale. Pull everything out of your closet and begin to organize it into these two piles. If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in a year, chances are you’re not going to, even if they’re your “I-will-get-into-these-size-0-jeansagain-someday” jeans. It’s good to have a dream. It’s not good to have clutter. Be honest with yourself. If you become a size 0 again, will those jeans even be in style? If you are in the mode to clean out and clear out, then donation is the best idea. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other local shops will take clothes, games and other household items off your hands and give you a tax-deductible receipt for your donation. You may also be interested in organizing your goods for a yard sale, or taking them to a local consignment shop where you get a percentage of the sale but don’t have to go through all the work of holding your own sale. Consignment shops are different from resale shops. At a consignment shop, you take what you want to sell, and if it sells, you get your money and the shop takes a percentage of the price. At a resale shop, however, they choose what they want out of the items you bring, and they pay you up front. There are even genre-specific resale shops for older items, such as Mod Closet on the lower level of 201 E. Main Street in Elkhart. Shop owner Doni Funkhouser focuses almost exclusively on clothing and accessories from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. “We try not to go beyond that,” she laughs. “I need to have parameters or I’d be a hoarder!” In addition, consignment and resale shops are a great idea because, in Funkhouser’s words, “It reduces our carbon footprint

as a community to reuse the things we already have instead of creating demand for more to be manufactured.”

Pantry Raid

Sometime during the year, we decide we want to make more interesting meals, follow new recipes, or try something different. Then we don’t. Our cupboards almost all contain some food we’re never going to eat, and it just sits in there until it expires. Pull everything out, check expiration dates and toss what’s gone bad, but sort a separate pile of still-good items you know you’re not going to use and take them to a food pantry or church donation center ASAP. Most of these places get a massive influx of food during the holidays, and it quickly runs out, leaving them with bare shelves and hungry people. Any non-perishable item can be donated, not just cans. So that different brand of fancy Mac & Cheese that your kids didn’t like as much as the off-brand, someone can, and will, get use out of it before it goes bad in your cupboard.


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Remember, Small Steps…

If you’re wondering where to begin, start with surface stuff, work your way into the layers of accumulated clutter with a fresh outlook, and you will make leaps and bounds in just a few short weeks. Grab some large cardboard boxes from your local grocery store for sorting purposes and perhaps some shoeboxes for things like mementos, photographs and small toys. A few inexpensive purchases such as those vertical files, maybe a coat tree to organize hoodies, a shoe-cozy to hang over the door, some stick-on hooks for robes, nightgowns and other things that get left around the bedroom will help eliminate stuff hanging on the backs of chairs and on the floor. Set small goals for de-cluttering. You will feel a sense of accomplishment, and it will empower you to keep plugging away!

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.


DARING HEROES. EVIL FOES. A RACE AGAINST TIME. In the tradition of “Raiders” and “Star Wars,” this funhouse ride of moviesized comic book images, live actors and sound effects will dazzle kids age 7 to 97! Tickets from $8-$30 on sale now at and 631.2800.


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family features

Life Organization & Planning

What’s for Dinner?

Meal Planning Made Easy

“We let perfection be the enemy of good,” says Tama Crisovan, nutrition educator for the Family Nutrition Program through Purdue Extension. But, planning and preparing tasty, healthy meals for your family doesn’t have to result in a nightly gourmet feast. There are simple ways to tackle this task and create meals that will fortify your family.

Forming A Game Plan

If the thought of planning, shopping and cooking meals every day makes your head spin, remember to start slowly; perfection is not the goal. Tama suggests beginning with a “dinner audit.” Before you can take those baby steps toward healthy meals, you need to know what you’re already doing. For one month, simply write down what you actually eat for dinner. This will give you an idea of what is working for your family and what isn’t. Next pick two nights during the week and plan not only what you will make, but who you will be feeding and who will be doing the cooking. By starting with just two dinners, you can let your new skills start to simmer, and soon planning for a full week or even a month at a time will seem like a piece of cake. There are lots of strategies that can help you keep track of your plan. Some families put a menu on the fridge mapping what they’ll have each night, down to the side dishes. Others plan their picks on a white board or line up index cards with the week’s recipes. Doing what works for your family is the key. 34 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

By Sarah Boulac

Maya Parson, writer for Edible Michiana Magazine and mother of two, has a knack for whipping things up in the kitchen. She takes a spontaneous approach by planning two more involved meals each week. She’ll plan a roast chicken and pork chops, for example, and use the leftovers to create another meal, like soup, tacos, a casserole or enchiladas. This takes care of four out of the five weeknight dinners. The fifth is usually more basic like whole-wheat spaghetti with sauce and maybe some veggies to kick it up. Maya uses the weekends to make more elaborate meals or experiment with new recipes.

Stocking the Pantry

What you need to keep your pantry stocked with will depend on your family’s preferences, but when it comes to shopping, “the list is everything” says Tama. After you know what’s on the menu, make your list. Coupons and sales can be helpful if you use that item, but beware of processed foods and spending money on something you wouldn’t normally buy just because you have a coupon. “I find it’s a lot easier to get excited about cooking when you have ingredients that you’re excited about,” says Maya. She likes to check out local farmers’ markets to see what produce they have available and then finds ways to incorporate them into the week’s meals. While this might not work for everyone, she explains the more time you spend preparing food, the more comfortable you will be in the kitchen, and your skills will evolve.

Boosting Nutrition

“Anytime we cook anything at home, it’s going to be better than anything we eat out, health wise,” says Tama. To pack an even bigger nutritional punch, she suggests planning your meals around the vegetables. “Frozen vegetables rock! Someone’s already washed and cut them up for you,” she says. Check out the new USDA food guide at, which illustrates that half your plate should be fruits and veggies. Eating seasonally is another way to save money and enhance the nutritional value of the foods you eat. Besides, tomatoes in the winter just aren’t very tasty. “People should go easy on themselves when they meal plan,” Maya says. “As long as you’re eating foods that are nutritious, what really matters is that you like them and that they’re manageable for you.” Strive for small changes like planning more fruits and veggies, eating as a family at least twice a week, and eating out once less a week. As Tama said to me, this will have a huge impact on the health of your family, on your pocket book and on your own sanity!

More Tips and Tricks

To combat picky eaters and allergies in her children, Maya suggests, “If you always offer at least one thing that they like to eat… they’re much more likely to come to the table and have a positive attitude about dinner.” Tama does a lot of double batching, making twice as much and stashing half away in the freezer for a hectic day. Maya cooks enough for an extra person or two so there are plenty of leftovers for lunch or to create another meal later in the week. Many of us are guilty of wasting food. Tama suggests working up to planning five meals a week and using leftovers, freezer meals, or maybe takeout on the other two days. “Start really simply,” says Maya. “You don’t have to have a fancy meal for it to be healthy and good tasting.

Sarah Boulac has an MA in psychology and specializes in educating parents and caregivers on infant and toddler care. Along with writing, in her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.



family features


Life Organization & Planning

Planning Your Next Trip to

Our family spent our Thanksgiving holiday in Florida this year. It was our first real family trip and our first time to the Magic Kingdom. I am a Disney newbie, although I had the incredible opportunity to see many Florida sites with the Orlando Visitor’s Bureau with my son last year as a trip for just the two of us. I will admit it; I was nervous about it all. I wanted to surprise them. I wanted the day to be magical. I wanted the weather to cooperate. I wanted the crowds to be minimal. And I wanted us all to have the best time of our lives. Is that too much to ask? Lucky for us, all of these things really did happen, and we had a magical day at the Magic Kingdom. Accommodations were provided by the grandparents as well as a cooler filled with drinks and snacks for us to take on the road 36 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

By Amy Allen Clark

and a few to nestle in a bag that I carried with me. The truth is, we went into it knowing it was going to be an expensive day. We also went into it prepared financially for this day, and I worked some extra freelance jobs to cover the expense. To make sure that your trip is as magical as ours, here are a few things that we learned on our first trip to Disney:

Preparation is Key Financial Preparation

Whenever our family is tackling a big financial project, we set aside money into a separate savings account to prepare for whatever that financial goal might be. Consider talking with your bank about opening accounts for your Disney trip. Have an automatic transfer made for $25 or more each month put into this account all year long and then you will have the money saved when it is time to make your family trip. Savings can be had when booking your travel through places like AAA, and

additional savings can be found by printing a free Orlando Magicard to take with you when visiting restaurants and attractions in Orlando. Safety Preparation

I don’t need to tell you that Disney is a big place and safety is very important when visiting theme parks. Each child was assigned a buddy to be their partner throughout the days, and they were to hold their buddy’s hand while we were there. We took additional safety precautions by printing out recent pictures of our children to keep in our wallet and bags just in case something should happen and they were separated from us. With a handy Sharpie, I wrote my cell phone number on their arms, so if they were separated from us, someone could quickly call and reunite us. Meal Preparation

You can bring snacks and drinks into the park with no problems. We packed fruit snacks, granola bars and bottles of water in a bag with no objections. Rely on these snacks and bottles of water to help cut some of the costs. I recommend visiting MouseSavers. com to find the best cheap eats while you are at the parks. We did get table service for the evening, but you want to call ahead since reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance of your vacation. Since we called the reservation number the morning when we arrived, we ended up at the Plaza. The table service was about twelve dollars more than the fast food service in the park and quite a bit better with a lot more food included with our meal. If you want to explore the menus before you go, you can view all the menus for the parks at menus.htm.

according to importance. We rode the rides with the longest wait times first so that we could make sure that we got those out of the way before the crowds and wait times got really long. If you aren’t’ sure what rides would be best for the age group of your kids, I do recommend buying the Disney’s Magic Kingdom Tour Guide GPS+ because this actually will give you a plan for your day based upon your age group. They have tour plans for adults and teens, parents of preschool children, parents with children ages 4 to 8, and senior Disney lovers. It gave us a great starting point for deciding how to make the most of our day. Use FASTPASS to Make the Most of Your Day

FASTPASS isn’t anything you need to sign up for; it is simply a way to place a reservation on rides with long wait times. On the map that you receive when you come into the park, it will have a FASTPASS icon next to the rides that you can FASTPASS. In the Magic Kingdom, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Jungle Cruise, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Peter Pan’s Flight are the rides you can FASTPASS. Head to those rides and you’ll see a FASTPASS machine. Insert your admission ticket into the machine and a receipt will print out a time within a one hour window when you can come back to the ride. Head to other rides with shorter wait times and then come back at the designated time to go through a faster line. Add a free Wait Time App to Your Mobile Phone

No need to invest in a pricey “wait time” app. The free Disney World Wait Times app will work perfectly since all wait time information is user generated. Check the wait times on the rides and use that to help decide which rides you want to go on.

Souvenir Preparation

Souvenirs are a big expense, and children can be plagued with horrible cases of what our family lovingly calls, “a case of the gimmies.” At the same time, I remember the amazing souvenir ears I got and how much I wanted those items when I went to Disney. I hit the Disney Store for t-shirts and small toys, which were a third of the price that they would have been in the shops at the park, and a girlfriend recommended picking up ears at a local party store (only $5.99 each). The kids were thrilled with their ears and shirts, which they wore throughout the park, and they didn’t even ask for anything while we walked through the park thanks to this little bit of preparation. Navigation Preparation

When you pick up your tickets, you can grab a handy map of the park. Thanks to my iPhone, I was able to get some reinforcement for the map with Disney’s Magic Kingdom Tour Guide GPS+ from CXI Gaming (cost was $1.99). This helped us navigate the parks easily and find what we needed quickly. We also had everything in our GPS before we left including directions on how to get to the park and how to get back to where we were lodging.

Getting the Most Out of Your Ride Time Make a Plan of Attack

Along with your navigation preparation, discuss as a family what rides are most important to you and order them in a list

Amy Allen Clark: 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 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012


MARCH 2012 Calendar of Events Sunday

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.


Storytime at Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore

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).

Storytimes 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 or at 574.282.4607.

Wednesday Lapsit

Francis Branch Library, South Bend

Every Wednesday at 10 AM enjoy books, 38 THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

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 www.libraryforlife. org 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 www. for more info.

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

Every Wednesday 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.

Mom and Baby Exercise Class

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

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.


Family Programs at Curious Kids’ Museum

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 Cage Fitness

Thomson’s Physical Therapy, Niles, Michigan

STAR Martial Arts, Elkhart

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.

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.


Who’s Hiding in the Bittersweet Branch Library?

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).

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Bittersweet Branch

Beginning March 1, the Cat in the Hat is hiding in a different location each week in Children’s Services at the Bittersweet Branch Library. Find him and receive an entry slip for a drawing to be held Friday, March 30. Two lucky winners will choose books from a selection of new paperbacks. Children are allowed to enter the drawing one time per week.

*Please be sure to call ahead to confirm times and information. Have an event you’d like to submit? Visit! Baby Boot Camp

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

Baby Boot Camp stroller-based fitness classes are designed specifically to help moms get fit. Classes combine strengthtraining 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

Sharing Box Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Harris Branch

March’s Sharing Box features the book “I See Spring” by Charles Ghigna. Enjoy reading about the wonders of spring that are all around us – from raindrops and robins to bluebells and butterflies. Then make your own bouquet of three flowers to take home. Ask for this Sharing Box anytime during the month of March at the Children’s Services desk.

Friday, March 2

Expo + Facebook = Strategy for Success Century Center, South Bend

It’s a workshop from Your Business Needs Fans. Takes place March 2nd, 3 PM, Expo for Women Main Stage at the Century Center. There will also be Mini Workshops at the Your Business Needs Fans Booth throughout the Expo on March 2 and 3. Free event. For more info on the event and on Your Business Needs Fans, call 574.344.8895 or visit

Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra Winter Concert DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra presents its annual winter concert. The program is scheduled to include the winner of the orchestra’s concerto competition. For more information, visit

Saturday, March 3 Maple Chili Lunch

Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter, New Carlisle

Join the park for a taste of homemade chili, cornbread and desserts made with maple syrup from their own sugar bush. After lunch, everyone will head to the sugar bush to tap a tree and visit the sugar house to see maple

syrup being made (weather permitting). Registration and payment are required by February 24. $6 adults, $3 kids 6-11 and kids 5 and under get in free. For more info, call 574.654.3155 or visit

PM. Tickets on sale now! For more info call 574.235.9198 or visit

South Bend Symphony Orchestra Presents

Join us for an evening of musical entertainment that the whole family will enjoy. Cost is $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors. Show starts at 7:30 PM. For ticket information, contact the box office at 574.807.7080.

Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

South Bend Symphony Orchestra Presents “Inspired by the Bard” with Actors from Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Enjoy an evening of scenes from “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “Hamlet,” and “Henry V” along with Music by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Walton. Show starts at 8 PM. For more information, visit

Sunday, March 4

Good Shepherd Montessori Open House Good Shepherd Montessori, South Bend

Good Shepherd Montessori School will host a spring open house for children and parents. Come check out the beautiful art, music, gardening, and work children do at the school! From 1 to 3 PM. For more info, visit or call 574.288.0098.

Monday, March 5 Treetop Tales

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Harris Branch

Children of all ages are invited to listen to stories, sing songs and participate in fingerplays at Treetop Tales on Mondays, March 5 and 19 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, inquire at the Children’s Services desk of the Harris Branch Library or call 574.271.3179.

Friday, March 9

Disney Live Presents Three Classic Fairy Tales Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they bring the timeless fairytale adventures of Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to life. Featuring dynamic storytelling, award winning music, stunning costumes and glittering special effects to captivate audiences. It’s pure magic happening at The Morris. There will be two showings on Friday, March 9, at 3:30 PM and 6:30

Zeitgeist! Bethel College: Everest-Rohrer Auditorium, Mishawaka

Your Business Needs Fans Facebook Training Workshop Trine University, Mishawaka

Don’t miss this workshop! The topic: It’s All About Fans! How do you get fans and once you get fans what do you do with them? Hands on, interactive training live on Facebook. Bring your laptop! Cost is $30. Only $20 for previous workshop attendees. From 9:30 AM to 12 PM. For more info, call 574.344.8895, or visit

Saturday, March 10

Jules Boutique and Salon J Spring Fashion Show and Fundraiser

Boscos, located behind Jules and Salon J, Goshen

Giving back has never been so fashionable. This Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser starts at 7 PM with doors opening at 6:30 PM. Ends at 11 PM. $5 at the door which will go to The Boys and Girls Club of Goshen. Also enjoy a cash bar and 20% off storewide! For more information, visit

Geocache Chili Dump St. Patrick’s County Park: Harvest Room, South Bend

Bring some chili to contribute to the lunch pot and learn how to use a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) device on a high-tech “treasure hunt” at St. Patrick’s County Park and throughout the world! Bring a GPS unit if possible; limited loaner units are available. A special geocache course will be set up just for this event! Bowls, spoons, fixins and drinks provided. Registration is required by March 7. $5 per person. From 12 to 4 PM. For more info, call 574.654.3155 or visit

The Well-Tended Mixed Garden Greencroft Community Center, Goshen

Tracy DiSabato-Aust, best-selling author, Ohio Master Gardener and garden designer, will speak about her book “The Well-Tended Perennial Garden.” Proceeds support the Michiana Master Gardener non-profit THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012


educational programs. From 2 PM to 4:30 PM. $10 before March 9, $12 at the door. For more info, call 574.533.0554 or visit

Saturday, March 17 Party For A Cure

Juday Creek Country Club, Granger

Monday, March 12

The “Party For A Cure” promises to be an evening of fun and inspiration, taking place on St. Patrick’s Day, 2012! You can be a part of our mission by supporting Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)! The evening’s festivities will include a live and silent auction, dinner, dancing, games, entertainment and fun, especially with Gordy Young as your host! From 5:30 to 11 PM. $75 per person, which includes dinner. For more info contact Beth Ernsberger:, 574.273.1810.

Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Bittersweet Branch

Sugar Camp Days!

Winter Day Potawatomi Zoo, South Bend

Come join the Potawatomi Zoo as they host their third Winter Day of the 2012 season! From 12 to 3 PM. $5/person, kids ages 2 and under get in free. Free for Potawatomi Zoological Society members. For more info, call 574.288.4639 or visit

Storytime Sampler

Storytime Sampler continues at the Bittersweet Branch Library on Mondays, March 12 and 26 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 information, call 574.259.0392.

Thursday, March 15

Good Shepherd Montessori Parent Coffee Good Shepherd Montessori, South Bend

Please join Good Shepherd Montessori for morning coffee and come visit with parents of current Good Shepherd Montessori students. Topics of conversation include parenting, education, arts, creativity, positive discipline and peaceful living. From 8 to 9 AM. Free event. For more info, call 574.288.0098 or visit

Lucky Leprechaun at the Library Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Bittersweet

Bring the family and join the Notre Dame Leprechaun for a “wee bit of Irish fun” at 7 PM. The Leprechaun will share a story and teach everyone an Irish jig. For more information, inquire at the Children’s Services desk of the Bittersweet Branch Library, or call 574.259.0392.

Friday, March 16

Jazz Coffeehouse Concert Bethel College, Dining Commons

Join us for an evening of musical entertainment that the whole family will enjoy. Admission is free and open to the public. Starts at 8 PM. For more information, contact the Bethel College department of music at 574.257.3393.


Bendix Woods County Park, New Carlisle

Join us in celebration as the end of winter nears! Watch sap cook into syrup, enjoy a pancake and sausage breakfast (a New Carlisle Lion’s Club Fundraiser), tour the Sugar Bush, purchase home-made baked goods made with pure maple syrup, enjoy family music and much more! Break the winter blues and stay the day! From 8:30 AM to 3 PM. $7 per vehicle.

Third House Meeting Indiana University South Bend, University Grill

Third House Meetings offer the community updates from legislators while the Indiana General Assembly is in session. Third House Meetings are free to the public and held once a month during the Indiana General Assembly Session. Advance registration is required. From 9 to 10:30 AM. Visit for more info.

Casino Night Matterhorn Conference Center, Elkhart

The Elkhart Luncheon Optimist Club is hosting their annual Casino Night Fundraiser. Doors open at 6:30pm. Enjoy Black Jack, Texas Hold ‘Em and more. Win prizes in our raffles and bid on silent auction items. Hang out with Jack and Bruce from Sunny 101.5. Tickets are $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door. Every ticket gets entered for a chance to win a $500 cash prize. All proceeds go to the Elkhart Luncheon Optimist Club to help more local children. Buffet from 6:30 to 8 PM. Game tables open at 7 PM. Event ends at 10:30 PM. Cash bar. For more information call 574.596.8438.

Michiana Area Genealogy Fair 2012 Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Downtown

Attend the South Bend Area Genealogical Society’s (SBAGS) 14th annual Genealogy Fair 2012. Doors open at 9 AM. Guest speaker, Mark Middleton has lectured

extensively on computer technology and project management for genealogists. Middleton will present two workshops: “Scanning Photographs: the Standards, Best Practices, and Equipment” at 10:30 AM. And “The Latest in Computer Technology: For Your Genealogical Research” at 1:30 PM. Admission is $6 at the door ($5 with coupon available at all library locations). For more information, contact Bill Minish of SBAGS at 574.277.1183 or email

Wednesday, March 21 Riverdance Farewell Tour The Morris, South Bend

Now in its 17th phenomenal year, Riverdance, the internationally acclaimed celebration of Irish music, song and dance, comes to The Morris. “A phenomenon of historic proportions!” raves The Washington Post. “An explosion of sight and sound that simply takes your breath away,” cheers the Chicago Tribune. Discover why nothing in the world compares to the original! Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, there is no better time to share the magic of Riverdance. Show starts at 8 PM. For more information or for tickets, visit

Friday, March 23

Notre Dame Glee Club Spring Concert DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame

Presented by the University of Notre Dame Department of Music. The Glee Club presents its annual spring concert. Selections will include classical choral music for men’s voices along with arrangements of folk songs, spirituals, and popular music. Show starts at 8 PM. For more info, visit

Saturday, March 24

Lakeland Offers Free Baby-Sitting Class in Niles Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles

To help adolescents learn how to be safe sitters, Lakeland HealthCare is presenting “BabySitting with Confidence.” Created specifically for adolescents, this course covers a variety of topics intended to give participants the confidence and knowledge for caring for small children. From 8 AM to 12:30 PM. Free event. This class is available to anyone who has completed the 5th grade. Pre-registration is required and class size is limited. For more info, 269.556.2808 and visit

Paws to Read Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Library, Downtown

Children in grades 2-5 are invited to enjoy

a special reading-aloud experience by reading to a canine companion from 2 to 3 PM. Children will be paired with Barney, a Saint Bernard, and his handler for one 15-minute session. Registration is not required; just check in at the Children’s Services desk. Participants must receive parental permission. For more information, call 574.259.5277, ext. 242.

Sunday, March 25

Human Nature, The Motown Show The Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

Human Nature, Australia’s leading pop vocal group is storming America in a big way with their first US tour, a new album release, The Motown Record and a spectacular PBS Special. “Human Nature: The Motown Show presented by Smokey Robinson” is a spectacular hit-driven evening of entertainment, featuring Motown songs that leave audiences young and old dancing in the aisles and cheering for more. From 7 to 9:30 PM. For more info, visit

Thursday, March 29 AWAKE Support Group

Memorial Home Care, South Bend

The topic for this group is CPAP/BiPAP Adherence. Respiratory therapists will be available to answer questions, and there will be free machine/pressure checks. Refreshments provided. From 6 to 7 PM. Free event. For more info, call 574.647.8692.

Upcoming April Events Tuesday, April 3

Eklhart County Historical Museum, Elkhart Spring Break History Days

Drop in and visit the Elkhart County Historical Museum during your spring break! The museum will be offering a different historical craft or activity each day. From 10 AM to 4 PM. $1 for a three-day pass. For more info, call 574.848.4322 or visit

Tuesday, April 10

Spring Chamber Orchestra Concert Bethel College, Everest-Rohrer Auditorium, Mishawaka

Enjoy an evening of musical entertainment that the whole family will love. Admission is free and open to the public. Starts at 7:30 PM. For more information, contact the Bethel College department of music at 574.257.3393.

Thursday, April 12

Good Shepherd Montessori Parent Coffee Good Shepherd Montessori, South Bend

Please join us for coffee and conversation with current parents of Good Shepherd Montessori students. Topics of conversation include education, parenting, peaceful living, positive discipline, the arts, and environmental justice. From 8 to 9 AM. Free event. For more info, call 574.288.0098 and visit


to our monthly distribution partners Allied Pediatrics Chic-Fil-A Clay Preschool & Church Debbie Werbrouck School of Dance & Music Early Childhood Development Center at Notre Dame Elkhart General Hospital Eye Site Optical Family Sports Time Pub Friends Preschool & Daycare Granger Community Church Growing Kids Learning Center Gymnastics Michiana Kumon Learning Center Menno Travel Midwest Orthotics Mutual Bank Notre Dame Federal Credit Union Once Upon a Child Soccer Zone South Bend Clinic South Bend Medical Foundation St. Thomas the Apostle School Strikes & Spares Traditions Photography Trinity Lutheran School Victorian Pantry YMCA of Elkhart If you would like to receive The FAMILY Magazine at your familyfocused business or organization each month, please email your request to: THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012



Special Section A Little Music, A Little Gardening A Package Ticket Deal for The Symphony and Home & Garden Show

Breakfast for Dinner French Toast Casserole

Potty Problems?

Some Insights Sure to Benefit Your Pet... and Your Home

Seven Ways To Save Time In The Kitchen From A Busy Mother of Five!


An Outdoor Hobby that Will Get Your Kids Begging for More Family Time

lakeside living

A Little Music, A Little Gardening...

A Package Ticket Deal for The Symphony and Home & Garden Show!

The Southwestern Michigan Home, Garden and Leisure Show and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra have been sharing the same March weekend at the Mendel Center for a few years now. This year, for the first time, they are collaborating to offer their respective patrons an opportunity to experience both shows at a discount.

A Two-Show Ticket Package provides the purchaser the chance to see “Celtic Celebration” – Saturday, March 17 on the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Mainstage and entrance to the 32nd Annual Southwestern Michigan Home, Garden and Leisure Show any day of the show, March 16th – 18th, in the Grand Upton Hall and other adjacent areas of the LMC Mendel Center. A complimentary glass of wine or beer will also be available to Two-Show Ticket holders on the Saturday of the show only. “Celtic Celebration” features the SMSO with guest artist Deborah Henson-Conant on electric harp and the Lake Michigan Youth Orchestra. The evening includes a Pre-Concert Conversation an hour before the performance with conductor Robin


 Fountain and other guest artists and a Post-Concert Reception with the evening’s musicians mingling with audience members. It promises to be a lively and unique evening of Celtic music in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

The Home and Garden Show features nearly 100 exhibitors and special guests, free workshops on a variety of topics from buying real estate to landscaping. There are also prize drawings, givea-ways and special discounts for products and services in many aspects of home, garden and leisure. Nationally known antiques and art appraiser Dr. Lori, star appraiser of The Discovery Channel’s hit reality TV show “Auction Kings,” will be at the show for four special presentations sponsored by United Federal Credit Union on Saturday and Sunday. The Two-Show Ticket Package prices range from $15 - $30 depending on seat location. Tickets are now available through the SMSO office. Call 269.982.4030 for more details or to order your tickets.

lakeside living

Taking Care of Young Teeth



Thousands of local parents are connected to The Lakeside FAMILY Magazine through Facebook, Twitter & E-Blasts.

Healthy teeth and a healthy mouth give children more than just a beautiful smile. A healthy mouth supports overall health. But far too many children have preventable oral health problems far too young. Left untreated, tooth decay causes pain and infection, which can lead to problems in eating, speaking, playing, and even learning. There is plenty that parents and caregivers can do to help prevent tooth decay and other oral diseases.

First Things First

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) says that children should have their first visit to a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday. The first tooth usually comes in between 6 and 12 months of age – schedule an appointment and get started on good oral health care from the beginning. The AAPD says that, in one study, children who saw a dentist before their first birthday had dental costs that were 40 percent lower in the first five years than costs for children who had not seen a dentist by their first birthday.

Establish Good Habits

Kids need help establishing good dental care habits. Make sure they brush twice a day, floss every day, follow a healthy diet and visit the dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings.

• Using a soft-bristled brush, kids should brush for at least two minutes. Some power toothbrushes have a builtin timer. Before teeth appear, clean baby’s gums twice a day with a soft cloth or baby toothbrush and water. • Parents should floss young children’s teeth once a day, until they can do a good job themselves, at least until age 7 or 8.

WHY? To connect with other parents, get instant updates on fun things to do and parenting news, enter Facebookonly prize giveaways and more. GET IN THE LOOP. SO YOU CAN GET THE SCOOP.

• Make sure they eat foods with vitamin C, which helps gum tissue stay healthy, and calcium, for strong teeth.

Be Alert

Watch for signs of oral health problems. Talk to your dentist if you see warning signs such as: • Changes in performance at school – listening, concentrating and learning. @LakesideFAMILY1

• Sucking on cheeks or lips. • Reluctance to smile. • Problems chewing foods. • Problems sleeping. • Aching teeth or gums. You can also talk to your dentist about sealants, which can be applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. Sealants are one more way you can help prevent cavities and keep your kids’ smiles healthy and beautiful. For more information about kids’ dental health, visit LAKESIDE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012


lakeside cooking

Breakfast For Dinner French Toast Casserole

By Jill E. Peters

My friends always tease me about my “menu” chalkboard. Some have emailed to see what’s for dinner that week in case they want to show up just in time to eat. Others ask looking for ideas for their own family meals. I must admit though, I seem to have fallen off the wagon a bit. When my boys were younger, it was always easy to plan a week’s worth of dinners and stick to it. Now I plan around practices, games, swim lessons and anything else that seems to happen when you live in a house with teenagers, a seven year old and a school administrator (my husband). Sometimes there is just no way to avoid eating in shifts or after 8 p.m. What I do still try to do, at least every Sunday after looking at the schedule for the week, is make a list of at least five meals based on what I know I have the ingredients for, so I won’t need to run to the store when dinner is being put together late or if we need to eat before heading out for a game. I won’t lie; I have raised a team of picky eaters, or maybe they have inherited it from their picky-eating father? Whatever the case, I do my best to make everyone happy at least once a week! There are certain meals I know I can get a smile and a “that was good, Mom” out of my boys. Typically, once a week, we have breakfast for dinner. We never seem to be able to have breakfast together, even on the weekends, and it is a meal that we all like. Many times, we have eggs – scrambled, poached or fried – and pancakes are always a hit, especially for my youngest. But every so often, I will throw in a surprise A-Ma’s French Toast Casserole. A-Ma is what my boys call my mom, a name given to her by my oldest that has stuck! My mom introduced French toast casserole, I believe, one Christmas morning. We fell in love – it was crispy on the top, sweet and thick with no need to add syrup. It was already in there! We continued for several years to have French toast casserole for Christmas morning and Easter brunch. It dawned on me about a year ago that I too could make French toast casserole, but not just for breakfast! I make it for my breakfast loving family at dinnertime! I watch my local grocery store for French bread in their “day old” rack and freeze it so I have it on hand. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to suit my “picky” eaters (feel free to add nuts back into your recipe). When I make it for dinner, I put this recipe together in the morning as it needs to soak for at least six hours before baking. 46 LAKESIDE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

A-Ma’s French Toast Casserole

8 eggs 1 ½ cups half and half (I have used milk and heavy cream as well with success) 1/3 cup maple syrup (I use the syrup that is in the fridge, nothing fancy) 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 10 to 12 slices French bread Topping: 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 2/3 cup maple syrup 2 cups chopped pecans, if you don’t have picky eaters like me Directions: 1. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish. 2. Mix the eggs, half and half (milk or heavy cream), syrup and sugar in a bowl. Place the bread in the baking dish and cover with the egg mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak overnight or for at least 6 hours in the refrigerator. (If I don’t get the casserole in the fridge to give it at least 6 hours to soak, I will flip the bread pieces over about an hour before baking so that the entire piece is coated in the egg mixture). 3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator.

4. Prepare the topping: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and syrup and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. (This is where you would add the pecans if you like). Pour the mixture over the bread and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Even on the craziest of nights, I know I can please my family with A-Ma’s French Toast Casserole. It’s a guaranteed empty dish. I also add either bacon or sausage and fresh fruit to the meal, and everyone is happy! So whether you are looking for an easy week night dinner or something to impress your guests, this is a meal that is sure to please.

Jill E. Peters is a stay at home mom of three boys and wife of a school administrator. She has a passion for volunteering her time to school programs and non-profit organizations by helping with fund raising. Jill also loves to entertain, cook and coordinate events.

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lakeside pets

Pet Potty Problems?

Some Insights Sure to Benefit Your Pet… and Your Home By Dr. Ed Blesy

Pet urine can create serious problems. It can damage flooring, furniture or grass. When destructive in the home, it can even strain the human-animal bond. That said, from a veterinarian’s perspective, inappropriate urination can also be a useful tool in diagnosing a pet. I will also often use urine samples to help me assess the overall health status of my patients or to identify an illness. There are many reasons that may cause a pet to suffer from inappropriate urination. If you’ve discovered that your pet is having problems, read on. Below are some reasons why our furry friends often have these issues.

Oh, Do Behave!

Below are some of the behavioral issues that result in inappropriate urination: Snip, Snip! Neutering pets is not just for avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Mature male cats and dogs that are not neutered can have a tendency to mark an area with urine. An obvious problem occurs when this marking is done indoors. To make matters worse, male cats that are not neutered can have extremely strong smelling urine. Talk with your veterinarian about the best time to neuter in order to prevent problems. Litter Woes I have heard this story too many times. A client has a cat that is not using the litter box. If you are considering obtaining a cat or kitten, please review some basic recommendations for keeping them happy and healthy. This in turn will help avoid litter box problems. A wonderful website for current or potential cat owners is


No, My Lawn! Lawn damage from dog urine is related to nitrogen. A product of the breakdown of protein, nitrogen is excreted in urine. The dead spots on the lawn have basically been over fertilized. Acidity of the urine has nothing to do with the spots. Shortly after urination, one may try diluting the areas with water. A diet with a different amount of protein may also help. One may also try and teach a dog to urinate on a designated area made with material such as gravel.


Behavioral issues are only part of the problem. If dogs or cats have discomfort with their urinary tract, they may not urinate where we want them to. Painful urinary tract conditions include bacterial infections, crystals or stones, cancer and trauma. Another common cause of urinary tract discomfort is feline idiopathic cystitis. Even after extensive testing, the exact cause of urinary tract discomfort cannot be identified. Up to 50% of young cats that are showing signs of urinary tract discomfort can have this disease. If you have a pet that is urinating inappropriately, passing blood in the urine, or acting uncomfortable when urinating, call your veterinarian immediately.

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When It Just Can’t Be Helped…

Urinary incontinence is a symptom of illness. Owners will notice a pool of urine usually where their pet was sleeping. The condition is most often found in older, spayed female dogs. Veterinarians will do tests to determine if the incontinence is related to a weak sphincter muscle that controls urine flow from the bladder or other health conditions. The other conditions that can lead to incontinence cause the pet to produce an abnormally large amount of urine. This includes diabetes and chronic kidney disease. If the sphincter muscle is the problem, medications can control it.

Talk to Your Vet

There can be many causes of inappropriate urination, and it may indicate a serious health condition. It can also be a sign that your pet is faced with a painful condition. Please call your veterinarian if your pet is urinating inappropriately. This problem should not be ignored. Your pet, you, and your home, will thank you.

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Great Lakes Montessori is built on a foundation of three pillars: • Excellence in Education through the Montessori Teaching Method • Respect for our Country • Reverence for God

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lakeside parenting


Ways To Save Time In The Kitchen

From a Busy Mother of Five!


By Meagan Francis


f you asked a group of moms their No. 1 obstacle to getting dinner on the table, I’m guessing most of them would say “time.” If you’ve got little kids, you may literally have a toddler hanging off your leg – or a baby dangling from your bosom – as you try to cook. If your kids are older, after-school activities and homework can get in the way. Here are some ways I’ve found to shave off moments here and there that add up to less hurry and stress!

Never Peel Another Potato

(Unless you want to.) If peeling potatoes is your thing, then by all means go ahead. But you can skip that step a lot of the time, especially if you don’t mind your potato dishes lumpy and go for varieties with thin, tender skins like Yukon Gold or baby red potatoes. Let’s put it this way: I cook with potatoes a lot, and I never, ever peel them. If a recipe requires a peeled potato, I either don’t peel the potato and try the recipe anyway, or I move on to a new recipe. Give ‘em a good scrub and toss them in the pot whole, sliced or chunked. Unpeeled potatoes have more nutritional benefits, and it goes without saying that they’re a lot less hassle to prepare.

Poach That Chicken

Are you squeamish about touching raw chicken? I don’t blame you. One super-easy way to cook chicken breasts without ever touching them is the simple poach. Here’s how I do it: 1. With kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, saw through the plastic covering the chicken, then impale the breasts, lift them out of the packaging with the blade and deliver them to the pot. Look ma, no hands! The pot should be big enough that the chicken fits snugly in one layer. 2. Fill the pot with enough cooking liquid (stock, water with herbs or veggies in it, white wine, or even plain water will do) to completely cover the chicken and then some, by about an inch. 3. Bring pot to a boil, cover and turn down to a simmer. You can leave the cover just ever so slightly ajar to let some steam escape. 4. After about 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the chicken continue to cook for 10-15 more minutes. This should be plenty of cooking time for most pieces of chicken, though you should obviously check to make sure it’s done. 5. Now you can shred it, cube it or stick it in the fridge for a future recipe. We use it for chicken tacos, barbecue sandwiches, pot pies, salads – the list goes on. If you search for “poached chicken” on, lots of options come up.

Roast Those Veggies

After a few of my readers on my blog sang the praises of roasted veggies in their comments, I gave it a shot – and I’m not sure I’ll ever eat a carrot cooked another way again. It really is the easiest thing in the world: toss on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, and stick in the oven until browned and caramelized. A good temperature to work with is 350 degrees as it seems to cook evenly and still gets the veggies nice and caramelized. But the nice thing about roasting is that you can adjust the temperature depending on how much time you’ve got. I’ve roasted at temps as high as 450 degrees when in a real hurry. (But you’ll have to watch that heat closely!) Other than checking periodically, you won’t have to do much babysitting, and, they won’t take up any precious space on the range. Another reason I will forever sing the praises of the roasted veggie? Because my kids now love Brussels Sprouts and actually fight over who gets the last carrot!

Organize Your Kitchen Logically

This is one of the things I obsessed over most in the midst of our kitchen renovation, and I’m still moving items around to get them in just the right spot, so I don’t have a perfect plan yet. But as a general rule, I’m trying to keep things near where I’ll use them and readily at hand. For example, I keep all my most often-used utensils, particularly the ones I’ll often need to grab with one hand while holding a hot pot with another – like tongs, stirring spoons, and spatulas – in a pitcher to the right of my stove (not the left, because I always grab and stir with my right hand). Spices are now in a drawer to the right of my stove, too, and pot holders are directly to the left. They’re little things, but can make a big difference when you’re trying to deal with a lot of moving parts.

Set Aside More Time

What? This is supposed to about saving time; now I’m telling you to devote more time to cooking? Well, yes. One of the biggest revelations I’ve had over the past year is that a family dinner – including all the prep and cleanup – will always feel like a rushed, slapped-together affair if I try to squeeze it in around everything else. Of course, there are going to be days where there is simply too much going on to spend two hours in the kitchen, but I try to keep our schedules completely clear between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. at least three weeknights per week. On those nights, the less I try to rush the whole dinner process, the more relaxed I feel and the more we all enjoy it. Also, I’ve found that if I set aside a few nights a week where we are wholly devoted to a sit-down family dinner featuring a real meal, it feels like less of a failure on the nights when I’m too frazzled to do much more than punch numbers into the microwave.

Embrace Repetition

If you watch too much Food Network, you can start to get the idea that a meal only counts as “homemade” if it’s been simmering for hours in a complicated sauce, or that you owe your kids the horizon-expanding experience of trying new vegetables, spices and flavor combinations every day. But let’s face it: kids like familiar foods, and the more you make something, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. There’s really nothing wrong with repeating the same five to 10 or so meals over and over again (sure beats hitting the drive-thru in frustration), and the more comfortable you get with preparing certain dishes, the more you can start to experiment and add to them without throwing the whole night into a tailspin.

Master a Few Basic Dishes

The less you have to think, plan, fret, consult recipes or scour cookbooks at dinnertime, the faster and more easily you can get dinner on the table. My staples include black beans, whole roasted chicken (which up until a couple years ago I had never made, and I have kicked myself ever since because it’s so easy and such a crowdpleaser), chicken noodle soup (made with the carcass of the roasted chicken) and smashed red potatoes (with garlic and sour cream). They’re things I am so familiar with I could make them in my sleep, and they didn’t take much cooking technique or talent to learn. If you master a few staple dishes and then make sure to keep the necessary ingredients on hand, you’ll never find yourself staring in the fridge at 6 p.m. wondering what to make because you’ll always have a backup plan.

Meagan Francis is a mother of five and lives in St. Joseph, Michigan. She is also author of “The Happiest Mom: 10 Secrets To Enjoying Motherhood.”



lakeside activities

Geocoaching An Outdoor Hobby that Will Get Your Kids Begging for More Family Time

By Marcy Blesy

If your house is anything like mine, too many hours are spent engaged in the use of electronics. Video games. Check. iPod. Check. Computer. Check. And when not plugged in, my husband and I spend our time running the boys between activities. It’s a rare day when we find ourselves with nothing to do, and on these days we are often in separate rooms of the house checking email and playing video games. But an atypical trip to a local park on a beautiful fall day in October gave us the much needed push towards more family time and introduced us to an exciting hobby, geocaching. As our kids played at Lemon Creek Park, outside of Baroda, my husband and I observed a couple walking through the nearby woods. They seemed to be searching for something. They walked off the path of the defined nature trail, so their behavior was curious. My husband spoke with the couple as we left. He told me they were geocaching. Geo-what? And so began our family’s education into this fun “sport.” What is Geocaching? Geocaching, as defined by the official website, is “a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at the location.” In the year 2000, the site was created. It’s the common meeting ground for those that hide and those that find the caches. To begin, register a username for free on the site. Enter your zip code to locate caches near 52 LAKESIDE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

you. Choose which ones you want to find. They are also rated as to the difficulty of the find and the terrain. Then enter the GPS coordinates into your GPS handheld device or download a free app on your smartphone that lists the coordinates for you. We use our smartphone, so I will speak of that in this article. We use the app, c:geo. The map displays small green boxes where a cache, or container, is hidden. What Are You Looking For? The container itself is the cache. It may range in size from micro (film canister or smaller) to large (5 gallon bucket). Occasionally, one may be instructed to find a nano, a subcategory of micro, which is a container so small that tweezers could be needed to pull the logbook out. Within each cache is a logbook that requires the finder to enter his username and date the cache was found. It’s that simple. Some of the more unique containers we have found were the inside of a magnetic bolt stuck to a parking lot pole light box and a tape measure (pictured to the left) which was both the logbook and the container found in a guardrail along a quiet country road. If the cache is a large container there may be “treasures” inside for your kids. You now have a use for all of the fast food restaurant and carnival toys that pile up. For every “treasure” you remove, you must add one of equal or higher value to be found by the next geocacher. When you return home, log in your finds on the website under your username. This entry can also be made from your smartphone. Replacing the green box icons on the map will be smiley faces showing the geocaches you found. Yeah! What Supplies Do You Need to Geocache? Other than the GPS unit (or smartphone), we carry a plastic bag with “treasures” to replace the ones our kids may take from a larger cache. We also bring tweezers if we have a logbook in a nano-sized container that needs to be pulled out and a pen to write on the logbook. Sometimes we have to use a permanent marker. One of our favorite geocache finds was not in a container but on the back of a magnetic sign which was the logbook itself. This took us forever to find, and it was right in front of us the whole time. Who Hides These Things? As of today, there are 1,627,398 caches hidden around the world with 5 million registered geocachers. Why I didn’t know about this sooner, I really can’t answer, but most of my friends had never heard of it either. When logging a cache, you have access to the username of the person hiding it. Through the site, I contacted Punk7242 through email. Mark Jaske and Sharon Metcalf of Stevensville, the two person Punk team pictured in the bottom left, graciously answered my questions. Having found over 1500 caches in 10 different states since 2009, they are geocaching royalty in my book. They began hiding their own caches later that same year. “We decided to wait until we had found quite a few geocaches and understood the sport well before hiding our first one. It’s amazing

how quickly someone will find a geocache once it’s been published on Most caches are found within 24 hours of being published,” says Jaske. He continued by explaining how one might choose where to hide a cache: “Many caches are placed in areas where the hider wanted to take you. It is often a place you would have never discovered if not for seeking the cache.” Philomena Vida, owner of The Hollywood Store and Deli on the corner of John Beers Rd. and Hollywood Rd. in Stevensville, has a geocache hidden on the outside of her business property. “I have seen people keep looking when the cache is right in front of them, and they can’t find it,” says Vida. I can attest to this as my family searched and searched before we found the tiny container attached to a …. Never mind. Find it yourself! It’s called “Hollywood, Michigan!” and was hidden by Jaske and Metcalf, with the permission of Vida, as most geocaches are on public property for obvious reasons. Said Jaske, “Geocaches are not allowed to be commercial in purpose. We wanted to place a geocache there for the historical significance of the store that has stood there since 1870. The listing was reviewed and approved on that basis.” What Are the Benefits of Geocaching? We have had some wonderful experiences geocaching. One afternoon, we knocked out five caches while bicycling around town. We visited a cemetery, two small parks, a funeral home parking lot, and a small creek. While on vacation, we turned a boring rest stop along the interstate into a geocache find. Even when my husband was pumping gas in Tennessee, the GPS app showed there was a cache hidden near the Taco Bell next door. Sure enough we found it before he was even back in the car. We’ve learned new words, too, like “Murophobia,” the title of one of the caches (all caches have titles). Murophobia means fear of mice, and this particular cache was found in the claws of a stuffed animal mouse, pictured in the bottom right. This find made me scream. The boys have learned to share mostly, though it helps when my husband and I both bring our phones. We’ve learned patience as the GPS gets us close, but not always precisely to the location we search for. But most of all, we’ve just really laughed, at ourselves for missing something so obvious like the cache hidden in a sprinkler head at a park or the way “Muggles” (what geocachers refer to as suspicious humans) stare at you like you’re crazy when you’re digging through bushes. Jaske and Metcalf agree. “Geocaching is a great activity and fun for the whole family. You can go geocaching whenever your schedule permits, and because there are over 1.6 million geocaches worldwide, you are always near a geocache and never know what you will discover. We have met so many great people geocaching.” Geocaching is even great for all those groups your kids belong to. Jaske and Metcalf have received email from Cub Scouts. It’s free. It’s fun. It gets your family out of the house. It brings you to places never explored. It builds memories. Check out geocaching for yourself, and I just dare you not to become a fan. For further information, rules, and different types of geocaches, visit

Marcy Blesy is a mother, former teacher and current freelance writer. She resides in southwest Michigan.



MARCH 2012 Lakeside FAMILY Calendar of Events Mondays

10:30 AM. For more info, call 269.983.7167 or visit

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman


Baby N Me

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 Lincoln Township Library, Stevensville

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

Tuesdays 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 library at the same Free event. MAGAZINE | MARCHtime. 2012 54 THE FAMILY

Story Time

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. maudpreston

Wee Discovery Curious Kids’ Museum on the Bluff, St. Joseph

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

Mom and Baby Exercise Class

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

craft activities for kids ages 3 and up at all of their locations! Please visit www.

March Events Friday, March 2

Michigan Blood Drive at Lakeland HealthCare Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph

Every two seconds in the United States, someone needs blood, but less than 10 percent of eligible people donate blood. Healthy donors are the only source of blood-there is no substitute. Help your community by giving blood at a Michigan Blood Drive at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, St. Joseph, in Frederick S. Upton Education Center, Rooms 5 and 6. From 9 to 5 PM.

Saturday, March 3

Grand Mere Volunteer Steward Workday Grand Mere State Park, Stevensville

Looking to volunteer? Help to remove invasive trees from the trails. Just meet at the main entrance parking. And if you’re interested in enjoying a short hike afterwards, bring your hiking boots! You’ll need to hike a little to get to the work location as well. From 10 AM to 1 PM. For more info, contact Heidi at to join!

Tuesday, March 6

Pawsitive Reading Program Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

“Dog is man’s best friend” the old saying goes, and the Bridgman Public Library is helping to prove that with its Pawsitive Reading program. The program will be on the 2nd Tuesday of the month through May, 2012. Pawsitive Reading is a program that can be a tool to help all children who have difficulty reading. Teacher, parent or guardian may call the library at 269.465.3663 for a 15 minute appointment between 6 and 7 PM with the service dog and handler. The session helps the child improve his or her reading skills. Whether the dog learns something is a matter of conjecture. Cost is free. For more info, visit

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

Friday, March 9


Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

Lakeshore Learning Store Sterling Heights, Michigan

Every Saturday from 11 AM to 3 PM, Lakeshore Learning Store offers free

Disney Live Presents Three Classic Fairy Tales Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they bring the timeless fairytale adventures of Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to life. Featuring dynamic storytelling,

*Please be sure to call ahead to confirm times and information. award winning music, stunning costumes and glittering special effects to captivate audiences. It’s pure magic happening at The Morris. There will be two showings on Friday, March 9, at 3:30 PM and 6:30 PM. Tickets on sale now! For more info call 574.235.9198 or visit

Saturday, March 10 The Crossing

Foundry Hall, South Haven

Enjoy a combination of traditional Scottish and Irish music as well as original pieces from the group. Tickets are $8, $6 for members. Show starts at 7:30 PM. Doors open at 7 PM. For tickets and more info, visit

Tuesday, March 13 Morning Book Discussion

Lincoln Township Public Library, Stevensville

Read and discuss a feel good story with the morning book club, “Dream When You’re Feeling Blue” by Elizabeth Berg. This is a free event. From 10:30 to 11:15 AM. For more info, call 269.429.9575 or visit

National Dance Company of Ireland’s Rhythm of the Dance

Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre, Benton Harbor

What better way to get into the Irish spirit! You’ll enjoy this show that features Irish dances, costumes and storytelling. Prices start at $22. Show starts at 7 PM. For more info, visit

Wednesday, March 14 Yoga at the Library

Lincoln Township Public Library, Stevensville

If you have always wanted to try Yoga, Instructor Maria Rosner will be at the library to introduce people to basic steps. The cost is free. From 6 to 7 PM. For more info, call 269.429.9575 or visit

Saturday, March 17 Third Coast Ensemble Foundry Hall, South Haven

Enjoy music from this group that includes guitar along with instruments like the mandolin, mandola, Irish tenor banjo, harp and more. It’s purely acoustic, and you’ll hear styles from classical to swing! Tickets are $7 at the door, $5 in advance or for members. Doors open at 7 PM. Arrive early to reserve your seat. For more info and to get tickets, visit

Scrapbooking Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

Join Sue Tolsma a Creative Memories Consultant and fellow scrapbookers as they scrapbook in both digital and traditional. If you are stumped and need new ideas, this is the place to be. Sue has lots of new and exciting techniques in scrapbooking that she loves to share with a fellow scrapbooker. Call and reserve your spot 269.465.3663. You may come for the day or just for a few hours. Bring your own sack lunch or take a break and purchase lunch from one of our local restaurants

Tuesday, March 20 Evening Book Discussion

Lincoln Township Library, Stevensville

Take a Ride on the Nonfiction Side “Making Toast” by Roger Rosenblatt. is a free event. From 6:30 to 7:30 For more info, call 269.429.9575 or

with This PM. visit

Wednesday, March 21 Reading BEE-lievers

Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

Bridgman Elementary Teacher Becky Hoehn and library staff Denise Malevitis together with cooperation from Bridgman Schools and a host of adult volunteers, are here to assist children in 3rd and 4th grade in a wonderful reading program. Reading BEElievers is a program to encourage children to read. From 3 to 4 PM. Meet in the Bridgman Library Story Hour Room and Children’s Area. For questions contact

Riverdance Farewell Tour The Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

Now in its 17th phenomenal year, Riverdance, the internationally acclaimed celebration of Irish music, song and dance, comes to The Morris. “A phenomenon of historic proportions!” raves The Washington Post. “An explosion of sight and sound that simply takes your breath away,” cheers the Chicago Tribune. Discover why nothing in the world compares to the original! Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, there is no better time to share the magic of Riverdance. Show starts at 8 PM. For more information or for tickets, visit

Friday, March 23

Notre Dame Glee Club Spring Concert

Selections will include classical choral music for men’s voices along with arrangements of folk songs, spirituals, and popular music. Show starts at 8 PM. For more info, visit

Saturday, March 24

Lakeland Offers Free Baby-Sitting Class in Niles Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles

To help adolescents learn how to be safe sitters, Lakeland HealthCare is presenting “BabySitting with Confidence.” Created specifically for adolescents, this course covers a variety of topics intended to give participants the confidence and knowledge for caring for small children. From 8 AM to 12:30 PM. Free event. This class is available to anyone who has completed the 5th grade. Pre-registration is required and class size is limited. For more info, 269.556.2808 and visit

Couponing! Bridgman Public Library, Bridgman

Join Melissa Linkfield as we learn all about Couponing. From 10:15 AM to 12:15 PM. Meet in the Louise Christensen Community Room. Please call to register for this class at 269.465.3663.

Sunday, March 25

Human Nature, The Motown Show The Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend

Human Nature, Australia’s leading pop vocal group is storming America in a big way with their first US tour, a new album release, The Motown Record and a spectacular PBS Special. “Human Nature: The Motown Show presented by Smokey Robinson” is a spectacular hit-driven evening of entertainment, featuring Motown songs that leave audiences young and old dancing in the aisles and cheering for more. From 7 to 9:30 PM. For more info, visit

Tuesday, March 27 Knitting for Beginners

Lincoln Township Library, Stevensville

Learn to Knit with Library Director Mary K. Hill. This event is for those with little or no experience. Space is limited. Registration is requested. From 7 to 8:30 PM. Event is free. For more info, call 269.429.9575 or visit

DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame

Presented by the University of Notre Dame Department of Music. The Glee Club presents its annual spring concert.



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

Special Section

Time-Saving Tools for Household Chores Sleeping Smart

Promoting Healthy Sleep Habits in Children

Married with Good Karma Pump Up The Volume! Holy Smokes, Batman! This Kid Needs a Lot of Stuff! Organization to the Rescue

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.

Time Saving Tools for

Household Chores Having a clean and tidy home is a high priority for many people, but so is having time for fun and relaxation with your family. Cleaning can take a lot of time, but there are some handy tools that can cut down on how long it takes to get that satisfying clean. “If you have a plan of attack, and then equip yourself with a few time-saving tools, you really can get your house clean in a lot less time,” says Debra Johnson, training manager at Merry Maids, a nationwide cleaning company. Here are Johnson’s five house cleaning “must-have” tools for saving time while getting the job done right: • A 50-foot heavy-duty extension cord. This lets you plug in the vacuum cleaner once, instead of having to lug it around to different outlets. • A sturdy step ladder. Having a two- or three-foot step ladder lets you get to those hard-to-reach areas, like air vents near the ceiling, light fixtures and the highest shelves. • A cleaning caddy. A portable tool caddy lets you keep most of what you need right at hand. Stock it with a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner, oil soap for wood surfaces, nonabrasive cleanser, microfiber cloths for dusting, paper towels, sponges, latex gloves to protect your hands and a squeegee for windows, mirrors and tub and shower doors. You may want to get a caddy for each floor of your home and stock them with appropriate cleaning supplies. •A sturdy carpenter’s apron. These handy canvas aprons have multiple pockets that can hold additional items, such as old toothbrushes for cleaning grout and hard-to-reach areas, a widget (a small tool with a blade for removing stubborn dirt), and dryer sheets for cleaning mini blinds and computer and TV monitors. • A steamer. Cleaning with steam lets you clean and deodorize multiple surfaces around the house. Johnson says that steam is quick and powerful, and since you’re only using water, you eliminate the need for using products. You can get a handheld steamer for smaller jobs, or an upright version for tackling floors. If you have hardwood floors, make sure the model you have is made for cleaning sealed floors. Before you put your cleaning tools away after each clean, Johnson says it’s a good idea to make sure they’re ready for the next cleaning session. “Make sure your spray bottles have enough cleaner in them and that your brushes, sponges and wipes are clean, dry and ready to go. That way, when it comes time to clean again, you can just grab your tools and get started. And the quicker you can start, the quicker you can get done.” For more tips to easily keep your home fresh and clean, visit


Need child care? Need preschool?

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It’s Time to CONNECT! W

e all have hopes and dreams for our children. We picture them as happy young learners who eventually grow into high-achieving adults who in turn raise their own happy young learners, and so the cycle goes. What we sometimes don’t understand is that it doesn’t happen by accident. High quality early learning experiences are critical to every young child’s development and are more important than ever in terms of school readiness. Research has long since demonstrated that children’s early learning experiences determine their foundation for future learning and success. Children who experience high quality early learning – including support for health and emotional well-being – are more successful in later school years, less likely to repeat a grade, and more likely to graduate high school, attend college, and become the happy, productive adults of our dreams. The indisputable fact is that parents or caregivers are a child’s first and most influential teacher. Parents encourage their child’s learning and development every day with everything they do. Parents support healthy brain development, PARENTS, EXTENDED FAMILIES & THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILDCARE physical development and social and emotional CONNECT is your one-stop online source of everything you need to know about early development when they childhood care, support, training and resources. engage children whether by reading a book aloud or CONNECT and find child care and preschool providers that can best meet your needs. taking a walk and pointing out simple things such as CONNECT and use the map to locate resources in your community that support you and young trees, flowers, birds and children in your care. houses. CHILD CARE & PRESCHOOL PROVIDERS CONNECT to promote and market your licensed child care and preschool service by listing it for free. CONNECT and update your organization’s profile on the searchable database resource.

But parents and caregivers can’t always be that teacher and that means the choices made in terms of child care and preschool are important. To put it simply: Quality matters.

So how do we foster quality in Michigan? How do we help parents and caregivers know what to look for when selecting an early learning setting for their children? And how do we help the people who operate those settings improve their skills and environments? As Michigan’s authority on early childhood, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation is working to help Michigan families find and access the high quality early learning opportunities their children – and all children – deserve. For more information about Great Start CONNECT, or a Great Start to Quality Resource Center near you, call (877) 614-7328. The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is a public/private initiative working to restructure Michigan’s investment in children from birth to five through state and local community efforts. For more information about ECIC and its work, go to Your Online Child Care and Preschool Resource Together we can give every child in Michigan a Great Start.

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


Sleeping Smart

Promoting healthy sleep habits in children

Nearly 25 percent of all children experience some type of sleep disorder at some point in their childhood. Though often thought of as an adult problem, sleep disorders can affect children, too. The difference is that oftentimes children do not have the awareness or language to express exactly how they’re feeling. That’s where parents can help. Parents should monitor their children’s sleep habits and talk to their primary care physician if they think their child might benefit from a sleep study. Why is it so important? Some evidence suggests inadequate sleep may have an impact on a child’s IQ and daytime functioning. Sleep disorders in children also tend to affect the whole family. When a child doesn’t sleep well at night, everyone in the family can feel the consequences during the daytime. One of the most important things a pediatric specialist wants to rule out first is obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder when a person stops breathing repeatedly during the night, which can cause serious health problems. The good news is that when treating children with obstructive sleep apnea, the usual course of action is simply taking out the tonsils and adenoids. One of the things that’s significantly different in children than in adults is that if I don’t sleep well, I’m tired the next day. But if a child doesn’t sleep well, they can become more agitated. That’s why hyperactivity in children can be a sign of inadequate sleep. According to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, clinical reports indicated that an estimated 25% to 50% of children and adolescents with ADHD had sleeping problems. 60 MI CHILD MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

By Dr. Asad Ansari

When getting tucked in with a teddy bear and a kiss on the cheek isn’t enough to help your child get to sleep and stay asleep at night or at naptime, they may have some type of pediatric sleep disorder. Talk to your pediatrician about any symptoms you see. Sometimes a minor adjustment to a child’s routine is all that is needed to see improvement. Other times, a sleep study may be needed to help your child achieve a restful and productive night’s sleep and a happier daytime for the whole family.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene • Stick to a regular bedtime.

• Do not allow stimulating activities, or food, a few hours before bedtime. • Make sure children get regular exercise (but not too close to bedtime). • Ensure that their bedroom is only a place to sleep. Limit all other activities in their bedroom, other than sleeping.

Dr. Asad Ansari is board-certified in Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Disease, Pediatric Pulmonology, and Pediatric Sleep Medicine. He is a physician in the Pediatric Specialties Department of Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Story Time

The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution Gentle Ways to Encourage Your Child to Eat—and Eat Healthy By Elizabeth Pantley Reviewed by Lisa Felix Bittersweet Branch Manager Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library From the bestselling author of “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” comes this follow up book about another parenting challenge. For this book, Elizabeth Pantley got input from test families that included 172 parents and 294 children from many backgrounds and family situations all over the world. Pantley evaluates why children become picky eaters and summarizes the “Fundamental Four” things that affect a child’s eating habits: attitude, environment, amounts and rules. There is another section with tips, tricks and tactics for solving picky eater problems. The last section includes kid-tested recipes from popular cookbook authors. Among them are recipes for hummus, sweet potato veggie nachos, and pocket pizzas. The focus in this book is not only on meals for picky eaters, but also on making meals healthier and helping parents see beyond the standard macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. When children are more involved in meal choices and preparation, they are more likely to eat the meals and learn the importance of nutrition.



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

Mommy & Daddy

with Good Karma

By Laurie Puhn

Would you marry the same person all over again? I hope so. But, if you have to stop to think about your answer to that question, then here are some things you can do today to elicit a more immediate positive response. The first thing to do is to consciously choose the right words and actions to infuse your relationship with mutual respect, appreciation, companionship and intimacy. The second action to take, which is often overlooked, is to uphold the “right” state of mind. By doing this, you will build and maintain love in your life because the right state of mind produces the spirit of good karma to nourish your relationship.

My Spirit of Good Karma

One night some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to add good karma to my marriage. My husband was at a fundraiser at a beer garden. He was certainly enjoying himself. I was at home with our two kids. Our three-year-old son, Blake, had recently developed a rash on his behind, and although it was healing, it was very itchy. All of a sudden, Blake scratched it repetitively while in the bathroom by himself. It started bleeding, a lot. He cried for me to come in. At first I tried to figure out if it was internal or external blood. It was external, but even so, Blake was in pain and bleeding. I struggled with what to put on the cuts that


were on the skin that rubs together. I tried a bunch of things as I also worked to prevent Blake from scratching more. He was crying. I was very upset. But my husband wasn’t because he was out eating and drinking with the guys unaware of the turmoil at home. In the midst of this, it was time to put my baby daughter Emma to bed. I bathed and fed her, and buckled her into the swing. I returned to Blake who had settled down and fallen asleep on the couch. The episode was exhausting and stressful for him and me. I finished up Emma’s bedtime and breathed a sigh of relief. What now? Do I call my husband to tell him what happened? Do I ask him to come home now thinking that Blake might wake up crying and in pain? If he doesn’t pick up his cell phone, do I leave a voicemail telling him to call me immediately because it is important? Do I give him the news that would instantly turn his night around from good to bad? Do I allow my stress to give me an excuse to yell at him for not being home when I needed him most?

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What choice did I make? My heart and spirit of good karma took control and told me the right answers to these questions: “Leave him be. Let him enjoy himself. There is nothing he can do now to improve the situation.” Certainly, I could handle a few more hours until he came home. I chose to view his absence that night as a reminder of his importance to our family and the love and support his presence gives me. So, the next morning I told him what happened and how his absence made me realize how helpful he is at calming things down and caring for our kids.

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Sometimes, good karma is created when you consciously choose to give your mate a break from the tumult of family life. Other times, you can build up karma simply by the act of looking at the crumbs your mate left on the table and then without yelling about the mess say, “Let me clean that up for you.” A little bit of good karma goes a long way to create a ripple effect that inspires love and kindness in a relationship.

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

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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

Mommy & Daddy

Pump Up The Volume! By Jane Suter

Do you hear that? THAT, my friends, is the sound of my children talking. Why yes, yes it does sound like they’re screaming. And that’s the problem. You see, every word that comes out of their mouths is in ALL CAPS. And no amount of Ctrl, Alt, Delete can stop them. They are, what you call, loud talkers. In fact, everything is high volume. Their music – curse you Kids Bop. Their robot battle noises – SURRENDER OR DIE EVIL ALIEN! SKERRRR-PLOOOSSHH! And, even when they are in the shower – (insert musical number here). While I imagine it must be wonderful to be so totally stoked you had to holler every syllable, I really can’t remember ever being that excited for more than 10 minutes. Maybe I’m getting old? So, I try (unsuccessfully) to modify their behavior. Every day I repeat the same phrases: “Use your indoor voice” and “I’m right here; you don’t have to yell everything you say.” Yet, they 64 MI CHILD MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012

are seemingly incapable of doing this. It’s like telling the movie “Airplane!” to stop being hilarious. As you may imagine, this scream-speaking causes a few problems for me that no amount of Tylenol can relieve. Here’s a snapshot of what a few dozen strangers overheard last week in the grocery store: (1) “My mom said the ‘S’ word!” (2) “Mommy, why do you hide food?” And my personal favorite, (3) “You know what pee tastes like!” Unfortunately, everything they hollered is true. But, what the horrified strangers (who stared at me like I was a freak) didn’t hear was the explanation. Allow me to clarify. First of all, I did indeed say the “S” word. But it isn’t the big hairy one you’re thinking of. You see, in our house we have a rule against

saying the word stupid. However, when the stacked-up shopping carts at the grocery store are stuck together so firmly that I’m forced to mount them in order to pull them apart, I’m gonna’ call them names. Trust me, stupid was the least offensive save after my mouth committed to the first consonant. I should get a medal for my restraint. As for hiding food, no, I am not a hoarder. I also do not have an eating disorder. My problem is my secret romance with peanut M&M’s. It’s my little guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, my boys and my husband will eat every last delicious love nugget in one sitting if I don’t hide them. So, I squirrel them away in a place where no man, or child, would dare go. I stash them behind my cleaning supplies. Genius, right? Of course, I hide them in a Ziploc bag. I’m not crazy …

It was awful. But I couldn’t just walk away, so I quickly finished diapering him and then spent the next few hours trying to bleach my tongue. Nevertheless, it is now a sad fact that I do, indeed, know what pee tastes like. Just not by choice. I am fully aware, in the end, that my sons’ loud-talking is entirely my fault. When my children first started to speak, I foolishly encouraged them. Mea culpa. And, truth be told, when I was their age, I had a nickname that encompassed my own demure nature: Motor Mouth. Now, I’m not saying this high volume atmosphere is for the faint of heart. It’s primarily for the hard of hearing. But at least they are enthusiastic. They are living a life out loud, and what more could I ask of them? So pump it up boys. We’re going to the grocery store again!

Now, about the urine. Here goes. My husband thinks its super funny to tell our boys this one particular story of when they were babies. I was changing Reece’s diaper and talking away to my little guy, when, like a geyser, he erupted. You got it, straight into my opened mouth.

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.

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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


Holy Smokes,


This Kid Needs a Lot of Stuff! Organization to the Rescue...


By Sorah Stein and Shanti Bradley


eeling overwhelmed with all of the accessories, doodads and accouterments that you’ve seemingly amassed since the arrival of your little one? Does it seem like this rather small person has more stuff taking up space than the adults? For any superhero mom, this is normal! In addition to the new addition, you’ve also likely acquired diapers, wipes, a crib, changing table, stroller, car seat, bouncy seat, high chair, exersaucer, and the list goes on.

To The Bat Cave!

Have no fear – this stuff can be organized in such a way that even Bruce Wayne couldn’t help but envy your skills. The changing supplies are usually a great place to start. Some parents have one designated spot for diaper changes. Many choose to use a more portable method, while others institute a sort of hybrid system that combines the two. No matter which route you chose for your home, a small tote with two or more compartments is a great way to tame and keep track of all the supplies it takes to clean and care for baby’s little bottom. One spot for spare diapers, one for wipes, include a little of your favorite protective cream or ointment, and it’s all set. Larger packages and refills can always be stashed in a closet and the tote replenished at the end of each day, or in the morning once the caffeine kicks in.

To the Batmobile!

Having a kid today generally means being on the go – at least to some extent. Getting ready to leave the house suddenly takes on an entirely new meaning. Always having a diaper bag packed and ready to go is key to cutting precious minutes off of your preparation time, not to mention reducing the likelihood of a difficult or embarrassing situation while out and about (think handing your professor a clean diaper instead of your term paper). Your diaper bag should contain one or two sets of extra clothes, diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer and a burp cloth or two. Moms and dads often find it helpful to each have a separate bag. After all, moms and dads rarely do

things the same way, and what is necessary to one (such as spare Hershey bars) may not be the same for the other. For example, a breastfeeding mother might also carry a spare shirt for herself and extra breast pads. The father of that same baby is likely to need to carry bottles and a small cooler of expressed milk. Besides, what guy really wants to carry the lime green paisley print tote bag? You know he’s eyeing that Craftsman duffle! Making the system work means making sure that the bag is refilled appropriately every time you come home.

Where Does She Get Those Wonderful Toys?

Now on to the larger toys and accessories. How exactly do you organize strollers, high chairs and items like exersaucers? Part of the solution is in what you have to begin with and how it’s used. Is the stroller mainly used at the mall, the park, or for walks in your neighborhood? If it is more often used when you are on outings, rather than around the house, then it is far more practical to keep in the trunk of the car rather than in the garage next to the car or in the living room. Most highchairs can be folded to an extent so that they can be set out of the way when not in use. If you eat on the go often, go on play dates or often visit family, then consider instead a chair that is more on-the-go friendly. There are many models out now that can be folded up and taken along wherever and used in the same way at home. However you decide to organize your super-mommy gear, remember that your baby sidekick will only be small and needing these things for a short time. Loading up on all of it at once might happen because of baby gifts, but keeping things in the garage, basement or shed storage until you need them and putting them back away can help with space constraints. Keeping your daily supplies organized will also help alleviate any last minute disasters and babies wrapped in paper towels while you make an emergency diaper run.

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. MI CHILD MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012


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

P lay Dates

P lay Dates

Itching for you and your little ones to get out of the house? But are you scratching your head wondering where to go? Look no further! Check out these fun and educational activities taking place this month and the beginning of April!


Give Them Their Sugar!

The end of March marks the end of winter. If that’s not a cause for sweet celebration, we don’t know what is! Grab the kids and head on over to Bendix Woods County Park in New Carlisle for Sugar Camp Days. Show the kids how sap is made into syrup and then enjoy a pancake and sausage breakfast, part of a New Carlisle Lion’s Club fundraiser. And don’t miss the chance to take your family on a tour of the Sugar Bush and purchase some homemade treats made from pure maple syrup. They’ll be family music and a whole lot more. The event will be held on Saturday, March 17 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM. Only $7 per vehicle. So load up the family and get ready to embrace the sugar rush!

Adventures in Babysitting

Remember that 80s movie with Elisabeth Shue, the babysitter who managed to do everything wrong? It might be a funny plot for Hollywood, but in real life, we’re guessing you might want your babysitter a little more prepared. If your maturing kid is beginning to nag you about earning cash and embarking on her own adventures in babysitting, arm her with what she needs first. Lakeland Community Hospital in Niles is offering free babysitting classes for anyone who has completed the 5th grade. Your future babysitter will learn about caring for small children and how to be a safe and all-around awesome sitter. Topics covered will include: Questions to ask before taking a job Expectations of a babysitter Telephoning in an emergency Home and fire safety Infant and toddler care First aid and choking Discipline Food preparation

The class is held on March 24th from 8 AM to 12:30 PM. It’s free, but pre-registration is required and class size is limited. For more info, call 269.556.2808 and visit

This Will Keep Them Busy…

If your kids are off for spring break, you might be scrambling to find some planned activities to help direct their energies. Look no further; bring the kiddos to the Harris Branch Library! They have programs throughout the week that they can attend. The library only asks that kids ages 7 and younger be accompanied by an adult. Here are a few of the fun activities on the roster: Treetop Tales On Monday, April 2 from 1:30 to 2 PM, kids of all ages and their caregivers are invited to hear stories and participate in finger plays and songs. Registration is not required. Walk-in Crafts Be creative! Children of all ages are invited to participate in Walk-in-Craft Day on Tuesday, April 3 from 2 to 4 PM. This self-directed activity includes a variety of projects. Kids are welcome to complete one or all of them. Registration is not required and the program will continue while supplies last. What’s Cookin’ in the Café Children in grades 3 through 6 are invited to join Martha Eck from the Book Nook Café on Wednesday, April 4 from 1:30 to 3 PM for a hands-on cooking experience. Space is limited. Registration is required and begins Wednesday, March 21. For more info on any of the following programs and some of the others offered but not mentioned here, contact Children’s Services at the Harris Branch Library or call 574.271.3179.

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I use MyChart to keep Layla’s daycare providers current on her immunizations and allergies. It’s easy to print the latest list.” MyChart provides you with a high-level summary of your child’s or dependent’s medical records. It’s easy, safe, secure, and quite possibly a little peace of mind.

To request a MyChart account, call 1-800-LAKELAND or visit THE FAMILY MAGAZINE | MARCH 2012


Online Access to Your Medical Records is Now Available!

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FAMILY March 2012.indd 76

2/27/2012 10:33:53 AM

LAKESIDE Magazine March 2012  

LAKESIDE Magazine March 2012

LAKESIDE Magazine March 2012  

LAKESIDE Magazine March 2012