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Please take this issue with you!

Organize for the Holidays • page 6 Simplify for the Holidays • page 12 Enjoy Shows for the Holidays • page 30

Publisher’s Letter ‘Tis the Season The holidays are approaching, and for many of us the thought of shopping, cleaning, decorating and entertaining is outright overwhelming. It doesn’t need to be. In this issue of Nesting you’ll find great tips and advice for staying sane and on track this holiday season. On page 12 local author Melissa Stanton (The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide) shares her strategies for keeping holiday shopping and gift giving in check. Another local, professional organizer Terry L. Cooch,


Nesting • November/December 2010

provides guidance for how to host a memorable holiday party without the usual stress. Look for her “Organize to Entertain” tips on page 6. In our Check it out column, Brooke Balderson provides you with a preview of local holiday happenings your family may enjoy. Happy Holidays! Kim O’Brien

Contents 6 12

Organize to Entertain ... so you’ll enjoy your party as much as your guests will.

Happy (Simplified) Holidays

This season, shop without stress.

24 26 30

Community News Nesting Support Check it out! Holiday events around town.



publisher Kim O’Brien

creative Director Molly Zlokovitz Design contributors Brooke Balderson, Terry L. Cooch Jenn Morson, Melissa Stanton account executive Casey Alls Stephanie Nevin Distribution Manager Kernan Bussiere editorial consultant Cory Place Communications advertising Design consultant Jennifer Goodman, JGoGraphics Published bimonthly by Feather Publishing P.O. Box 613, Crownsville, MD 21302 Phone: 410.923.2310 Email: The acceptance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement by Nesting of products or services. The publisher reserves the right to reject any advertisement or listing that is not in keeping with the policies or standards of this publication. Feather Publishing assumes no financial responsibility for errors in advertisements. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of Nesting by any means without permission is strictly prohibited.

Cover Photograph by Catherine Pelura Lawren Bowen with daughters Mackenzie, 9, and Kaylee 7. Nesting is a registered trademark of Feather Publishing.


Nesting • November/December 2010

e z i n a g r OTO

n i a t r e t En

y your party jo n e l ’l u o y o …s uests will. g r u o y s a h c as mu . cooch By terry l

The holidays are the time to gather with friends and family, enjoy conversation, laughter and togetherness. Being the person who brings holiday celebrations together can be extremely satisfying. At the same time, being the person who has to plan, execute, and clean-up after such gatherings can be overwhelming! It doesn’t need to be. leSS iS More: The simpler entertaining is, the more likely you’ll do it. Reduce stress and protect your energy level by decluttering your kitchen and dining room. In the kitchen, go through cabinets, drawers, the pantry and refrigerator. Eliminate all unwanted and unused items. Donate food you’ll never eat, give away dishes, serving items and cookware you don’t use. Examine the gadgets and single-use appliances. Is the hot dog cooker worth the space it takes up? If not, get rid of it. Declutter in the dining room as well. Having to lift five heavy platters to get to your favorite, largest platter is an energy zapper. Be efficient: Now, examine what’s left. Are your frequently used items easy to reach? Are the serving dishes and bowls easy to stack or nest? Can you get to the bottom of a pile without breaking a sweat? Do you need each and every one of the freebie plastic cups you’ve been collecting? Is the food in the fridge and pantry organized and accessible? Is your countertop clear for food preparation? Reorganize the items in your kitchen to reduce the time and

frustration of inefficient preparation, serving, and clean-up. If space allows, set-up items so helpers (such as your kids or guests) don’t cross into your work zone. Set a realiStic goal: Once the kitchen is ready, determine what you love about entertaining. What do you enjoy? What do you do well? Consider your time, budget and energy level. Design a party around all of these considerations. If you love a creative menu, but hate to cook, then buy prepared foods from a gourmet deli. You’re a talented cook, but not into details? Then skip the flowers and feed your guests well. That’s what they’ll enjoy and remember. If making your house look its best is important to you, then focus on decorating and keep the menu and bar simple. DeVelop a plan: Pick a date, make a guest list and send invitations. Decide on the menu and your entertaining style. (Casual, formal, family-friendly, etc.) If you’ll be cooking, Continued on the next page

November/December 2010



Continued from previous page

plan plenty of make-ahead recipes and keep to your comfort and talent level. Make a decision about what drinks you’ll be serving. Prepare a shopping list and schedule time to clean and decorate. Here’s a tip: Guests have a great time when they feel they’re being treated. Plan for one or two gourmet touches. Oversized bowls of candy, special candles, or a glass of champagne send a message that your mission is to please. Do, Delegate or Drop: Manage your to-do list by evaluating your plan. Prioritize by importance. Place-tags written in beautiful calligraphy add an elegant touch, but the evening can be a success without them. If the ice isn’t picked up — that will put a damper on the fun. Decide when, where, and how all of your to-do’s will be carried out. If this is your first time hosting a party, allow twice as much time as you planned to complete your list. Most importantly, delegate what you can. Plan early and communicate the help you’ll need. Be specific when it matters. Assume nothing. Don’t ask for red wine if you want a cabernet. If your to-do list is still too long, consider hiring help or letting something go. Keep the focus on sharing your home. Short cuts are the new perfection: Gone are the days when perfection is expected. Knowing how to entertain simply is in. Having a friend who makes party favors frees from the task. It can be just as impressive to 8

Nesting • November/December 2010

If this is your first time hosting a party, allow twice as much time as you planned to complete your list. know where to buy something new and delicious as to prepare it yourself. Take advantage of conveniences so you can enjoy the evening as much as your guests will. Overlook what you missed, spilled, forgot or burned — everyone else will. Do it again: Plan for the next party while hosting this one. Ideas will probably come to you while you’re cleaning up. Jot down the problems you encountered and how you could simplify

further. What would make clean-up easier? How can you get the costs down? If you still felt stress during the party, write a note to yourself about maybe hiring serving or housekeeping help next time around. Include notes about what serving items to purchase or fussy recipes to drop. Keep a copy of the menu and shopping list in a party notebook so you can reuse your successful plans for another event. Hosting a successful party is enormously gratifying. But entertaining does require considerable organizing skills. Moderate goals and expectations, and a liberal use of list-making, are instrumental in creating an atmosphere both you and your guests will enjoy. N Terry L. Cooch is a professional organizer and owner of TLC Home: Designing a Simpler Life. Her website is November/December 2010



Happy (Simplified)

Holidays This season, shop without stress. By Melissa Stanton


’m not a total Scrooge. I enjoy giving gifts. I just don’t like to shop. I don’t like shopping centers, strip malls, or big box stores. I don’t like driving from store to store. I don’t like dodging crowds. I don’t like the amount of time it takes to shop. I don’t like spending lots of money. (Really, I’m not a total Scrooge. I do like giving gifts.) Since I’m responsible for all the gift shopping in my household, I simplify as best I can. If, like me, you’re of two minds about the holiday season, perhaps some of these strategies will help you, too. SET LIMITS One of the best bits of holiday advice I ever received came from a former neighbor, a fellow mother of three, including twins. Like many moms, Lora and I were lamenting the arrival of more toys in our respective houses, each of which was already overrun by barelyused playthings. Lora’s seasonally — and Biblically — smart solution: She told her kids that since Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’s birthday, and Baby Jesus


Nesting • November/December 2010

Continued on page 14

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received just three gifts from the wise men, that’s all they’d be getting as well. I totally buy into that logic. The caveat of the three-gift rule is that it’s for the notable presents Santa (i.e. my husband and I, my neighbor and her spouse, you and yours) give the kids from their Wish List. My children continue to receive presents from assorted grandparents and aunts and uncles, and I do buy them an array of smaller, “non-Santa letter” presents. But the “you have a chance of getting three things you really want” limit helps establish limits. Since some of my ancestors were Jewish, I light a menorah with my kids in recognition of Hanukkah. In our home, each child receives a dollar a night. (I netted a quarter a night back in my day as a Christmakkah-observing


Nesting • November/December 2010

youngster.) Some Hanukkah-only families provide one gift a night, or they do all or most of their gift-giving on the first night. TRY ONE STOP-Shopping For the children on my list, I pick one toy store. This can be achieved by hitting a big box chain, like Toys R Us, or by sticking with a smaller, locallyowned retailer. Another one-stop option is to select a single boutique or department store — or even a catalog or website — that has a little something for everyone. While it’s certainly easy to shop online and buy from a variety of retailers without ever getting out of your chair, purchasing several items from a single web retailer can save money since free shipping offers usually require a minimum, albeit Continued on page 17

The benefit of one-stop shopping is that it helps control the chaos of unlimited choice. Continued from page 14

rather high purchase amount. Also, one-stop shopping typically means being able to keep track of just one order number, receipt and box for returns instead of many. For me, the greatest benefit of onestop shopping is that is helps control the chaos of unlimited choice. While it’s nice to have variety and options, there is something to be said for having fewer items and retailers to choose from. If you know, for instance, that you want to buy your mom shiny red rain boots, then having dozens of stores to search in is great. But when you don’t know what you want to buy, being faced with limitless options can be overwhelming. You can try one-stop shopping for your entire gift list, or for one person or group of people (such as your kids’ teachers). Your one-stop-shop can be for someone’s sole gift, or for one among several gifts you’ll be giving. For instance, a Home Depot or Bed, Bath & Beyond — or their local, small business equivalents — have several useful and affordable products for most everyone on your list. One store equals one stop, which can equal holiday shopping done. DON’T’ SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF The last thing any home with children needs are more small, Happy Meal-like toys, or useless trinkets from a dollar Continued on the next page

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Continued from previous page

store. For my family’s Christmas stocking gifts I think small, but practical. That means rolls of tape for the daughter who always uses up my tape. My son and other daughter love Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, so I buy them each their own bag. My children seem to consume Band-Aids, so each gets their own box. New underwear and socks are shoved into stockings. I buy $10 worth of scratch-off lottery cards and distribute them with the caveat that any winnings are shared. WRAP IT UP Unless you thoroughly enjoy wrapping presents, say yes to free gift wrapping services whenever they’re offered. I often said no because I liked being able to see the collection of gifts I would be giving, in large part to make sure I had


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shopped equitably among my three kids. But with my children now older and going to bed later, wrapping presents requires alone time I don’t have. Also, does it really matter what a gift is wrapped in? I hate spending money on expensive wrapping paper (sorry, school fundraisers), and I refuse to be put into a panic when I run out of holiday gift wrap on Christmas Eve. Running out of tape can rightfully inspire panic. But paper? No. When I was a kid, my parents wrapped Christmas gifts with the newspaper’s colorful Sunday comics. At the time I did think it was weird and embarrassing, but as an adult I understand the environmental and financial benefits of using found materials to wrap gifts. I try to save the holiday gift wrap for presents I give to people beyond my immediate family. When I give my Continued on page 21

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Nesting 410.923.2310 •

The last thing any home with children needs are more small, Happy Meal-like toys .... For my family’s Christmas stocking gifts, I think small but practical. Continued from page 18

children Christmas presents wrapped in aluminum foil, sheets of paper towel, used printer paper, Happy Birthday gift wrap or a plastic shopping bag tied with ribbon, they do roll their eyes. But after that they rip open the package as they would a gift decorated with scenes of reindeer. To really simplify, and do good at same time, you can make charitable donations in the names of your gift recipients. It’s a wonderful thought, and I put it out to you as an option. Have I done this myself? No. While I think the

idea is a great one, especially when you’re buying a gift for a person who doesn’t really need or want anything, you do need to be sure that the giftee is on board with the idea. I’m guessing most of our kids won’t be thrilled to hear us say, “Guess what! I bought a goat in your name for a family in Kenya.” N Melissa Stanton lives in the Annapolis area. She is the author of The Stay-atHome Survival Guide: Field-tested strategies for staying smart, sane, and connected while caring for your kids (

November/December 2010




thinks global, shops local

Community News Midnight Madness

When: Thursdays, December 2 and 9, 6 p.m. to midnight Where: Downtown Annapolis Cost: Free (except for what you’ll buy) Merchants will be open for shopping and dining until the clock strikes 12. Free and discounted parking will be available in several garages. For more information: 410.626.6030 or

ALS Artisan Boutique

Learn how Nesting got its start Check out our appearance on ABC 2 News at


410.923.2310 •


Nesting • November/December 2010

When: Sunday, December 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Sheraton Annapolis Hotel Cost: Free (except for what you’ll buy) More than 55 regional artists will sell handcrafted jewelry, children’s items, pottery, paintings and more. The event will include door prizes, raffles, a silent auction, refreshments and a signing by Lisa McCue, an illustrator of children’s books, including the Corduroy series. Now in its eighth year, the ALS Artisan Boutique has raised more than $150,000 for The ALS Association, which is dedicated to helping people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”). ALS is a devastating and always fatal neuromuscular disease. Since it attacks only motor neurons, the mind remains sharp despite the progressive degenerating condition of the body. information: About the For more information boutique, email leslieschwartz3@gmail. com. To learn about ALS, contact the ALS Association at 301-978-9855 or visit N Send your mom- and family-oriented community news to Listings are included when space allows.

Nesting Support Groups & Clubs Annapolis AP Moms Group

For moms who practice attachment parenting (i.e. co-sleeping, breastfeeding, etc.) Email:

Annapolis Hip Mama Meetup Group


Anne Arundel Moms Group Phone: 410.551.2345

Chesapeake Moms Club

From the Bay Bridge to Centreville Website:

Columbia Area Mothers of Multiples

Serving moms in Howard and Carroll counties and the surrounding Baltimore metro area Location: Christ Episcopal Church, Columbia Website:

DC MetroMommies (Anne Arundel County Chapter) Phone: 410.867.6854, Email:

Isabel’s Gift NICU Support Group

Location: Anne Arundel Medical Center Contact: Kari Barcome, NICU social worker, 443.481.6114

MIS (Miscarriage, Infant Death and Stillbirth) Support Group St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, Edgewater Contact: Ann O’Sullivan, R.N., 443.481.6114

MOMS Club of Annapolis

Website: Email:

MOMS Club of Pasadena, NW

Methodist Church, Edgewater Contact: Ann O’Sullivan, R.N., 443.481.6114

MOMS Club of Severna Park

Parenting Resources

Phone: 410.863.1125 Website:

Support for mothers in Severna Park, Arnold and Millersville Phone: 410.544.9778 Website:

AA County Birthing Circle

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS)

Meets the last Tuesday of the month. BWMC Tate Center 1st floor conference room. Contact: Cheryl Gilman, 410-353-6834 Website:

Professional Moms at Home (PMAH)

Annapolis and Glen Burnie Family Support Center

Phone: 410.798.1413 Website:

Serving full- and part-time stay-at-home moms throughout Anne Arundel County Website:

Subsequent Pregnancy Support Group

Location: St. Andrew’s United

Free educational programs, parenting and childbirth classes, and developmental assessments. Child care is offered for parents attending the programs. Phone: 410.269.4478 Continued on the next page

Nesting Support Continued from the previous page

Better BedRest, Inc.

Advocacy, public awareness and volunteer driven non-profit providing support, resources and information to pregnant women who have been prescribed bedrest by their physicians or midwives Phone: 410.740.7662

Holistic Moms Network

Resource for holistic parents and individuals interested in becoming one Phone: 877.HOLMOMS, Website:

International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)

Non-profit organization working to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans,

providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) Phone: 800.686.ICAN Website:

La Leche League

Serving Maryland, Delaware and the Washington D.C. metro area Website:

Milk Share-Breast Milk Donation Clearinghouse for parents to learn about milk donation and connect with other families Website:

Tot’s Line for Anne Arundel County Free information, advice and referrals for parents and caregivers Phone: 877.817.TOTS N

The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide Field-tested strategies for staying smart, sane, and connected while caring for your kids By Melissa Stanton Seal Press/Perseus Books

“Perfect for ... any mom who has felt she has the best job in the world, and the worst job in the world, all within a two-minute timeframe.” — “A terrific resource [with] plenty of practical advice.” — Washington Parent

Don’t Stay Home Without It!

Featured by the Associated Press, The Baltimore Sun, ABC News, and other media. Available at bookstores and 28

Nesting • November/December 2010

“The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide speaks volumes without being preachy, overtly tongue-in-cheek or feeding the ‘Mommy Wars’… There’s support throughout the book that is relative to all aspects of motherhood, whether you are a SAHM (stay-at-home mom), WAHM (work-at-home mom), or a mother re-entering the workforce.” — Mom Writer’s Literary Magazine

“Becoming a stay-at-home mother shifts your entire world, and Melissa Stanton gets it. This intelligent, sensible, hands-on guide will help at-home moms navigate the rocky waters of time, money, self-image, self-esteem, sex, friendship, and everything else.” — Ericka Lutz, author of On the Go With Baby

“Thanks to this book [stay-at-home moms] have somewhere to turn whenever [they’re] feeling a little lonely, under-appreciated, or overwhelmed.” —

Check it out! Holiday Happenings by Brooke Balderson A Christmas Carol at Toby’s Dinner Theatre (Baltimore) Toby’s is featuring the Broadway version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The show opens on Friday, November 12, and runs through January 2. Call 800-88-TOBYS for details and reservations. 11th Annual 5K and 10K Run-Walk Turkey Chase (Edgewater) Burn off calories before Thanksgiving dinner with a morning run or walk in the YMCA’s Turkey Chase on the grounds of Camp Letts. Proceeds from the race benefit the Y’s Building Bridges scholarship program. The race festivities will have pony rides, face painting, balloons and a continental breakfast. Details and registration information for this Thanksgiving Day event can be found at Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents The Nutcracker (Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore) Kick-off the Christmas season by joining the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Ballet for a family concert featuring excerpts from this classic holiday ballet. Saturday, December 4, 11 a.m. Ticket prices start at $12. Lights on the Bay (Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis) Pile into the family car for a scenic 30

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drive through the “Lights on the Bay” display. The event, which costs $14 per car, opens November 16 and runs through January 1. Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade (Eastport) Cruise down to Annapolis’ Ego Alley at 6 p.m. on December 11 to see the Eastport Yacht Club’s Parade of Lights. Swanky ships display their Christmas spirit by decking out their decks in as many lights as possible. For details go to The Talent Machine’s Annual Holiday Spectacular Show 2010 (Annapolis) This family-friendly show stars local performers — all kids —showcasing their amazing singing and dancing talents. The holiday spectacular runs December 17 to 23. For information go to Breakfast with Santa & Friends (Baltimore) Get into the holiday spirit while enjoying a hot breakfast on the zoo’s Mansion House porch. The kids will make unique holiday crafts, visit with Santa and enjoy Santa’s frolicking penguin friends. Sunday, December 19 from 8 – 10 a.m. Ticket information is available through the zoo’s website, N Freelance writer Brooke Balderson lives in Annapolis.

Courtesy of Gary Branich Photography

Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade 2009

November/December 2010




Nesting Magazine  

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