Page 1

Sometimes the little ones want to go to school too. We have part-time openings – call for a tour!


BeneďŹ t from a quality licensed child care that has:


Come Grow in Our Garden


(810) 632-2118 2100 Progressive Drive, Hartland, MI 48353 (1 mile east of US-23, south of M-59)

Ă›Ă?Ă›Livingston Parent Journal Ă?Ă›Â¨Â…ÂƒÂƒÂŠĂ›Â…Â‡ÂƒÂ¤~ÂƒÂ…Â‡Ă›Ă?Ă›oooÂ?Canaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYdÂ?[geĂ›

An Independent local publication.

MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Livingston Parent Journal is to share worthwhile information with area parents by listing family-oriented events, educational opportunities for parents, and by providing feature articles and tips on topics relevant to raising children of all ages.

DECEMBER 2013 — EDITOR/ PUBLISHER — Rick & Terri McGarry —WRITERS— Edward Godin, BSN Nancy Rose Meg Koenemann Lauren Lauterwasser —PHOTOS— Cover Photo: Jacqueline Hill — GRAPHIC DESIGN/LAYOUT —

Mindy Simon The Livingston Parent Journal does not necessarily endorse the views of the authors or the products of the advertisers. Medical and health advice is not intended to replace the care of a physician. Member of



In every issue... Off The Wall ..................................................................... 6 Events......................................................................... 11-14 Ongoing Parenting Resources ............................... 18-19

Š December 2012 All rights reserved.

Giveaways ....................................................................... 22

oooÂ?Canaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYdÂ?[geĂ›Ă?Ă›Â¨Â…ÂƒÂƒÂŠĂ›Â…Â‡ÂƒÂ¤~ÂƒÂ…Â‡Ă›Ă?Ă›Livingston Parent JournalĂ›Ă?Ă›3

From The



Our to


Peace on Earth On November 17 there were tornados in Illinois. People were killed and homes were destroyed. On November 19 two dozen people were killed by suicide bombers outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. I cannot see the future, but I would guess that since we went to press there have continued to be tragedies in various places around the world. Yet, many continue to inexplicably believe that 152 miles south of Beirut, over 2000 years ago, a multitude of angels appeared in the sky to some shepherds, announcing peace on earth, and somehow it was true. For a hundred different reasons and with just as many explanations, people have continued ever since that day to promulgate the notion that God visited this planet at that time and is making everything right.

In the face of unspeakable evil and incomprehensible tragedy, in spite of the intense injustices and personal disasters suffered by our family and our neighbors, many defiantly celebrate annually, proclaiming good news that brings joy to all people. They gather with their families, sometimes rehearsing the story, then make merry, giving and receiving gifts, with various levels of awareness and faith. To all of them, and to you, we say this: God Bless Us Everyone

December Happy Birthdays!

We are always looking for more sponsors for the Birthday Club. Email or call 866.806.1680 for details. Kids! Join our Birthday Club and we’ll send you a special treat and let everyone know it’s your special day! Send your child’s date of birth to

01 Lucas Somers Karissa Hawkins 02 Tyler Chodyniecki 03 Alex VanBennekam Reagan Aylor Baylee Kotrba Cameron Pollock 04 Jack Sherman Darren Markowski 05 Ryan Faron Logan Antieau Avery Faron 07 Michael Pope Mikayla Milano 08 Griffin Zaske Jada Stewart Isabella Christine Jones

109 West Grand River, Howell 517.579.2206

10 Mary Cheresko 13 Devon Burton Hunter Young 14 Stefanie Barrett Zach Metcalf 15 Olivia Cooper Maleah Noel Kintner 16 Ripley Avery 17 Ethan Zaborowski Morgan Kotrba 18 Logan Randal 19 Meranda Davie Danny Burr Mason Munsell 21 Dominic Grech

Homemade Chocolate 129 E. Grand River. Fowlerville 517.223.1322

22 David Schneider Sophia Schneider 23 Olivia A Race 24 Brendan Chodyniecki 26 Logan Couch Jakob Stamper 27 Autumn Holsey Hailie VanSickle 28 Gracie Hieber Darian Hieber Cameron Thor Cote Cameron Hieber 31 Brogan Forney

Howell Big Boy 2222 E. Grand River. Howell 517.548.1800

4 ÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÛ

oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ5

ƒÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ


i.c o


.b www



UB ri

ri U so

on Montes t gh

h t o Est. 1987 t e s s nmon

li Instil ng a Lifelong Love for Learning


Call for more information about our quality Montessori educational program & arrange for a tour.


Scan with your smart phone to view our web site.

oooÂ?Canaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYdÂ?[geĂ›Ă?Ă›Â¨Â…ÂƒÂƒÂŠĂ›Â…Â‡ÂƒÂ¤~ÂƒÂ…Â‡Ă›Ă?Ă›Livingston Parent JournalĂ›Ă?Ă›7

…ÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ

6BdbZcid[<gVXZ Twenty-six years ago, I was a new mother with a beautiful, yet challenging baby boy, Jordan. Amid the chaos and unpredictability of that first year of his life, there were two things Carl and I knew with certainty: Jordan didn’t take no for an answer, and Jordan never gave up. From his first breath, our precious boy was volatile and ornery. He would thrash angrily whenever we would try to change his diaper (yes, it took a team of two), as if he were furious at being disturbed. Similarly, he would rage when I switched him to the other breast during feedings. It was clear that this was a boy who was going to fight to have things his own way. As he grew up, he had a lot to say, and was easily infuriated when we couldn’t decipher what he was trying to tell us. He seemed so uninterested in pleasing us that, at one point, I worried that he might be a sociopath. When he would construct a tower out of blocks, Carl and I might say; “Wow! Look at that great tower you’ve built!” Unlike other kids, he glared back, and in one swift motion crashed the tower to the ground. He instantly caught onto the warm fuzzies, baby talk, and hollow praises many parents are quick to award their kids, and wanted no part of it. He has always been a steadfast contrarian. As he grew, he would never buy into conventional wisdom. To this day, Jordan makes his own observations and builds his own truths before accepting anyone else’s. He definitely hears his own drummer. I had long dreamed of being a mom. I have always adored kids and spent many years as the top neighborhood babysitter, fully booked due to my great competence, enthusiasm, and deep connection with children. Motherhood would surely be even better, I imagined, with my own precious child to nurture. The reality, however, was something quite different altogether. Returning to Jordan’s first year, the relentlessness of parenthood and dealing with his unpredictability were taking their toll. Between the exhaustion, post-partum hormonal imbalances, and my expectations, it was overwhelming, and I started feeling like a failure. Resentment crept in, which led to even less patience, even though more patience was needed. I felt doomed to an exhausting vicious cycle. I foresaw years of pushing and getting pushed back. But, a moment of grace changed my life forever. How ironic that my own mother was the catalyst for this moment of grace. At the time Jordan was born, we had a decent relationship. You might say we were in a period of détente. Growing up, though, our relationship had been explosive. As a child, l felt like I couldn’t do anything right, and I didn’t understand why. I was smart, a hard-working student, and was well liked in school and the neighborhood. Each day, I tried to prove my worth to her, but invariably, something I said or did seemed to affect her like nails on a chalkboard. Conflicts flared at every turn. For instance, I loved wearing the latest clothing styles, but my mother was a firm believer in hand-me-downs, and I felt ashamed, believing that I was

vain and superficial. When I would save up my babysitting money to buy my own clothes, she would tell me I was “frittering away” my money. At age ninety-one, she remembered and told me the story of how, at age seven, she had been shamed by her mother for wanting a brand new, beautiful gray corduroy dress. In retrospect, I wasn’t the overly vain one — she thought she was. To avoid rubbing her the wrong way, I did what all children do: I assumed something was wrong with me and I tried to hide whatever it was. Trying to keep myself contained was a struggle, though. I had a big personality. I was too much. Feeling so misunderstood, I would rage when she would frustrate me. To be sure, the family circumstances around my birth were tragic and challenging. Mom was overwhelmed and depressed, having been widowed two months before I was born. She was thirty-three years old, and had three children and a newborn. When my intense personality began to emerge as a toddler, I became a thorn in her side. I was the squeaky wheel, always making my needs and desires known. “Why can’t you just be like the others?” she would ask. The question itself filled me with shame. There was something wrong with being who I was, and at that young age, I couldn’t understand why or what I might do about it. Let me be clear, though: I never doubted that my mother loved me. She just didn’t seem to like me very much. Years later, as a new parent, I still carried around an indignant rage for how I felt she had treated me. With this longstanding tension simmering just below the surface, I was a worn out mother of a demanding seven-month-old baby who ended every exhausting day with a forty-five-minute rage before falling off to sleep. One night, when Mom was visiting, she experienced firsthand this intense nighttime ritual. After Jordan had finally fallen asleep, we peeked into his crib. As we watched him contentedly suck his thumb, Mom smiled and whispered, “Look at him. What a sweet angel he is when he’s sleeping,” repeating that classic refrain of parents on their last nerve, when, at last, their child blessedly sleeps and their hearts soften. Her comment cut me like a knife. Instead of feeling grateful that she could give my son the loving acceptance that she hadn’t been able to give me, she triggered something massive in me, and I shut down. With an uncharacteristic blank stare on my face, I hissed, “No, I don’t see that. Not even when he’s sleeping.” Something had changed, and Mom later told me that my vacant eyes alarmed her. She blurted out, “But, Nancy, he’s just like you!” Sharp inhale.

“What?” In that millisecond, I experienced a moment of grace, a profound knowing with mind, body, and heart that changed my life, my mom’s life, and the lives of my children. Instantly, in seeing Jordan as being in my shoes for the very first time, I had the answer to the question that had been plaguing me all my life: what had I done to be treated this way? I hadn’t done anything. I was just too much for her to handle. I had been feeling overwhelmed by Jordan, and now understood that my own mother had felt the same toward me.

In that millisecond, I experienced a moment of grace, a profound knowing with mind, body, and heart that changed my life, my mom’s life, and the lives of my children. Did that mean Jordan would feel as I had? Would he follow in his mother’s footsteps and ask himself what was wrong with him? In that moment, the idea that he could feel the kind of pain that I had felt, because of something I did, was abhorrent to me, and powerful enough to create an instant commitment to do everything in my power to prevent that from happening. The enormity of these revelations jolted me right out of my self righteously indignant childhood story about “the way she treated me.” By stepping out of that story, I opened the door to feel compassion for my mother and what she had gone through in raising me. I could now see with sickening clarity how easy it would have been to unconsciously go down the same path as hers. Like an emergency defibrillator, these truths shocked my heart into unconditional acceptance for my feisty, determined, ferocious, and precious little boy. In that moment, I vowed I would understand and accept Jordan as he was and never make him feel wrong for being himself. Twenty-six years later, I value my decision to accept Jordan’s disposition, his outlook on life, and his personality one hundred percent. I had to look at it like this: Jordan was born with a feisty, strong-willed temperament. He can’t help his strong feelings, and it’s not his fault that he’s not easygoing. Allowing him to be who he is was the first step in raising him to become the best version of himself. Excerpted from Raise the Child You’ve Got - Not the One You Want, by Nancy Rose. Calling herself “The Acceptance Advocate,” Nancy offers presentations and workshops, and writes about the fundamental need of children to be accepted as they are, and her new model of parenting called Leading with Acceptance. Look for another excerpt about the power of acceptance at

oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ9

~‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ


DECEMBER Sunday 1 Child of the Promise Broadway-style show brings to life the complete story of the birth of Christ starting with the prophecy of the Old Testament to a proclamation of his eternal reign, told through a rich tapestry of songs. Hartland Center for the Performing Arts 3 & 7pm $15 Winter Marketplace A variety of fresh produce, arts/crafts, home décor and gift items offered by local area vendors. Howell Opera House 10am-2pm $5 517.540.0065

Tuesday 3 Creating Ornaments Stained glass & paper Christmas ornaments. Ages 6 and up. Studio West Gallery 6-8pm $20 810.534.6200

Thurs-Sun 5-8 Into the Woods A baker and his wife wish to have a child, Cinderella wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack wishes his cow would give milk. Presented by Community Theatre of Howell. at the Howell Freshman Campus Thurs- Sat 7:30pm Sat & Sun 2pm $8 It’s a Wonderful Life Presented by Brighton High School at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts

Thursday 5 Cookies with Santa Crafts, cookies and a picture with Santa. Drop off a wrapped present with your child’s name on it if they plan to attend. Restored Life Health Center 6:30-8:30pm $5 517.507.4343

December 6-25 Holiday in the Park The half mile rustic drive through Howell City Park will be lined with a hundred trees decorated for the season. 517.546.0693 x0

Fri & Sun 6 & 8 A Christmas Carol Presented by the Community Theatre of Fowlerville at the Alverson Center for Performing Arts Fri 7pm, Sun 2pm 517.223.9409

Fri-Sun 6-8 The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus Presented by the Hartland Players Encore Youth Theater, based on the book by L. Frank Baum. Hartland Music Hall Fri & Sat 7:30pm Sat & Sun 2:30pm Living Christmas Story is a drive-through event with live animals and 150 volunteers who portray a story in 12 scenes. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served. Brighton Assembly of God 6pm FREE 810.231.3724

Fri & Sat 6 & 7 Hayride with Santa Sing your favorite holiday songs and warm up with hot chocolate and cookies. Howell Nature Center Fri 6 & 7pm; Sat 5, 6, & 7pm. $8 517.546.0249

Friday 6 Jill Jack Band and the Detroit Children’s Choir celebrate the release of Jill Jack’s first holiday CD. Howell Opera House 7pm $20 517.540.0065

Sat & Sun 7 & 8 The Nutcracker Presented by Fountain Dance Ministry, and featuring professional guest artists as well as local dancers. Jane Tasch Theatre Sat 7pm Sun 2pm $20 810.229.7690 Car entry fee.

Reservations required. Please call ahead.

~~ÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ11

Sunday 8 Holiday Concert by the Livingston County Concert Band. It’s the Holiday Season, Sleigh Ride, Russian Christmas Music, and A Christmas Festival. Howell High School Auditorium 3pm $8 810.227.8086 Winter Marketplace see December 1 Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus The one-room school and Christmas tree will be decorated with early 1900 decorations. Santa’s helpers will help children make holiday decorations. Refreshments and Christmas cookies will be available. Lyon Schoolhouse 1-4pm FREE 810.250.7276

Monday 9

Sat & Sun 7 & 8 Chorale Family Christmas Concerts Saturday 7:30pm First United Methodist Church in Brighton and Sunday 4:30pm at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church

Snacks with Santa horse-drawn hayride or sleigh ride, a holiday sing-a-long (complete with cozy blankets, song sheets and jingle bells), snacks (fruit, cookies, juice, hot cocoa, and coffee), and a visit with Santa by the Christmas tree. Kensington 10:30am, Noon and 2:00pm $10 810.227.8910

Breakfast with Santa Sausage, applesauce, juice, coffee and a gift from Santa. Howell Nature Center 9 a.m. & 11 a.m. $8 517.546.0249

Christmas in the ‘Ville Mass balloon launch, pet parade, hay rides, pictures with Santa, Christmas market, chili dinner, reindeer petting exhibit and Dashing thru the Snow 1 mile fun run/walk and 5K.

Owl Prowl 30-45 minute walk along the woods with a naturalist calling owls. Brighton Recreation Area 5-7pm 810.229.6566

Saturday 7 Christmas at the Farm Heated petting zoo, puppet show, elf village, wagon ride, sing-along, visit with Santa, crafts, horse and pony ride. Northfork Outback Stables Noon-3pm $13

Joy to the World/Global Advent Christmas musical arrangements; inspirational stories, artisan gallery; ethnic foods and a global marketplace featuring Fair Trade goods. Cornerstone Evangelical Presbyterian Church 2-5pm. $10 810.227.9411

Tic-Tac-Toe Game Hands-on workshop for children ages 5-12. Free workshop apron, commemorative pin and certificate of achievement. Home Depot 9am-Noon 517.548.3742 Holiday Open House Visit with Santa, meet Santa’s reindeer, puppet show, Vintage Strings of Michigan, Echoes of Praise Bell Choir, Holiday crafts and stories, and refreshments. Brighton Library 11am-3pm 810.229.6571

Chess exhibition Michigan FIDE Master Seth Homa will give a simultaneous chess exhibition. Hartland Educational Service Support Center 6:30pm 810.599.6770

Tuesday 10 Visit with Santa Bring your camera for a special story time. Hartland Library 6:30pm 810.632.5200

Wednesday 11 Reading With Reindeer Read stories, make a craft, and get your picture taken with a real live reindeer. Fowlerville Library 5:30pm FREE 517.223.9089

Fri & Sat 13 & 14 Camelot Ballet performance by Williams’ Dancers of Williamston. Alverson Center for Performing Arts Fri 7pm Sat 2pm $15 517.655.5993 Hayride with Santa See December 6 & 7

Friday 13 Parents Night Out Open gym, games, movie, and a snack. Ages 5 & up Old Hartland High 7:30-11:00pm $15 810.626.2170 Moms Night Out Free child care for infants and children up to age 12. Fellowship Bible Church 6:30-11:00pm 810.632.7263

Saturday 14 Breakfast with Santa Holiday music, crafts, and pancakes. Bennett Recreation Center 7:30-9:30am $5 517.546.0693

Book Signing Livingston Parent Journal Cartoonist Bill Loebs will be signing copies of his new comic book Human Interest Stuff. Café at The Commons 9am-Noon 866.806.1680

Messiah The Hartland Community Chorus performs the complete Messiah. Hartland Music Hall 7pm $10 810.626.2150 Christmas at the Farm see December 7 Breakfast With Santa See December 7

~ÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ

Howell for the Holidays Singer/songwriters Music Doing Good, from Houston, return with a performance of joyful song. The Howell Opera House 7pm-Midnight $20 517.540.0065 Light Up The Park Santa arrives to town in a fire truck to “flip the switch”. Christmas caroling, live nativity, pictures with Santa, Creche display, hayrides, refreshments and crafts. Downtown Pinckney 5-7pm 734.878.6206

Outdoor Live Nativity, as well as crèche display and refreshments. Hardy United Methodist Church 7-8pm FREE 517.546.1122

Christmas Open House The Livingston Centre Historic Society Open House features holiday music and refreshments to showcase the 100 year old Iosco Methodist Episcopal Church at the fairgrounds in Fowlerville. Family Holiday Show The Ragbirds present their Ebird & Friends Holiday Show with Jill Jack, Lindsay Lou, Sean Ike, Katie Lee and Laith Al-Saadi. Hartland Music Hall 3pm $20

Wednesday 18 Contra Dance All ages welcome. All dances taught on site by a professional caller with live music of guitar, fiddle, and dulcimer. Howell Opera House 7-9pm $5 517.540.0065

Thursday 19 Swing Dance Music provided by the Premier Big Band directed by John Murphy. The professional Howellbased 18-piece band, including vocalist Barbara Niemi, offers a wide range of jazz and swing dance music of the 1940s through 1950s era. Howell Opera House 7pm $7 517.540.0065

Friday 20 Parents Night Out Games, crafts, and snack. Ages 5-10 Barnard Community Center 6-11pm $15 517.546.0693

Saturday 21 Swim with Santa Howell Aquatic Center 1:00-2:30pm $6 517.546.0693 Christmas at the Farm see December 7

Sun & Mon 22 & 23 Polar Express Tour the train and hear the book. Pancake breakfast, cookie decorating, stringing cranberries and popcorn, reindeer food, Polar Express necklace, Silver Chorus, elf certification, live reindeer and a visit from Santa. Registration required for some events. Downtown Hartland 10am-2pm 810.632.5200

Skate With Santa Bring a full size toiletry item and receive free skate rental. Have your picture taken with Santa for only $3 Kensington Valley Ice House Sun 1:153:05pm; Mon Noon-1:50pm Admission $5, Skate Rental $3 810.494.5555

Mr. Potato Head Make a Mr. Potato Head out of crazy materials. Hartland Library 10am 810.632.5200

Women’s Expo Live music, chair massages, and pampering. Restored Life Health Center 10am-2pm $5 517.507.4343

Cardboard Cars Make a cardboard car you can sit in or a model car you can play with. Hartland Library 10am 810.632.5200

Train Engine Build it, then add rub and smell stickers. Lowes 10-11am FREE 517.548.3475

Pixar Short Films Free, fresh popcorn Hartland Library 6:30pm 810.632.5200

Sunday 15 Santa Central Play reindeer games, make crafts, enjoy a hayride and snack, and share a wish list with Santa. Hudson Mills Metropark 10:00am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm $6 734.426.8211

Mon & Tues 30 & 31 School’s Out We’re In See December 27

Monday 30 Holiday Cookies No-bake cookies and other holiday goodies. Hartland Library 10am 810.632.5200

Tuesday 31 Castaway Play Café Lock-in Unlimited Bounce and Structure, Unlimited Laser Tag, Atomic Rush on Free Play, and Pizza & Pop Castaway Play Café 10pm-6am $45 517.545.7386


Monday 23

Skate With Santa Disco Skate Jam with Santa. Bring a full size toiletry item and receive free skate rental. Have your picture taken with Santa for only $3 Kensington Valley Ice House 8:15-10:05pm Admission $5, Skate Rental $3 810.494.5555

Up Make an adventure book, one of Kevin’s eggs and earn the Ellie Badge. Hartland Library 10am 810.632.5200

Thursday 26

Friday 27 School’s Out We’re In Gym Games, Open Bounce, Crafts, and Gym Play. Bring lunch and snack. Hartland Sports Center 9am-5pm $5/hr or $35/day 810.632.7222

~€ÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ13

Out of the County Worth the Drive: Even with the Kids December 3-15 Elf The Musical With Santa’s permission, Buddy the elf embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. Detroit Opera House $24

December 6-22 The Wizard of Oz Travel with Flint Youth Theatre from Kansas to Munchkinland, along the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, journey with Dorothy, Toto and their friends to find the great and powerful Oz. Music and lyrics from the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg. $18 810.237.1530

December 12 Praise Holiday Concert Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Marvin Sapp. Fox Theatre 7pm $28.50

December 13 2nd Annual Holiday Pops Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra will perform excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Guests include Measure for Measure and Skyline High School’s Bel Canto and A Capella Choruses Hill Auditorium 8pm $10 734.994.4801

December 7 Sing Along With Santa Santa reads Clement Clarke Moore’s The Night Before Christmas and leads a singalong of holiday favorites, followed by refreshments and pictures with Santa. Present by the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra at Bethlehem United Church of Christ 4pm $12 734.994.4801

December 7 Gifted Education: Kick it up a Notch II Q & A, presentations with parent or educator emphasis, plus vendors. Topics include Meeting the Needs of Gifted in the Classroom, Perfectionism and Advocacy. Emerson School 8:30am-4:50pm

Car entry fee.

Reservations required. Please call ahead.

~ÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ

oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ15

The centuries old jolly elf in the well-tailored Santa suit looked down at my adoring eight year old to ask the timeless question, “What would you like for Christmas, young man?” Hearing the words “young man” obviously pleased my beaming child who seemed to immediately gain an air of increased self-importance. Being known at home (and even sometimes out of the house) as mommy or daddy’s baby was becoming a bit of an embarrassment to him. In response my boy took a deep breath. It reminded me of the way he inhales to yell at his brother if he performs the deadly sin of touching his “good” Legos. What came out of my firstborn’s mouth was truly unsettling. In just under fifteen seconds he listed all twelve of his heart’s current greatest desires, including important details like manufacturer, holiday availability, and price. He delivered this monologue with the fervor of a revival tent preacher and the accuracy of a well paid prime time news anchor. When finished, he took another deep breath as he had turned a very slight shade of blue. He looked up into the amused eyes of someone who has heard it all. He was waiting for some reassurance from the Christmas icon that he would accept this most important of all Christmas quests. With a rehearsed smile towards the camera, the bogus Kringle bellowed, “You got it!” As if on cue, my boy likewise faced the camera with a delightful smile that promised the overpriced photo keepsake would receive the proper adoration from friends and family in both 8X10 and wallet size. A less enthusiastic elf on Santa’s payroll delivered my boy back to me. He had a candy cane in his mouth and his eyes were glazed over like he’d been given sedation for a doc to stitch a cut or set a bone. Being a nurse, I recognized the look but the source was new to me. My son was high... on the anticipation of Christmas riches. His look said, “Santa promised and SOMEONE had better deliver”. It was clear. Santa had sold me out. Sitting high atop his gumdrop adorned throne he granted wishes with reckless abandon. He delighted children while horrifying the parents who were stuck mentally calculating their impending holiday debt and chewing overthe-counter antacids in doses much higher than the printed labels suggested. My greatest fear at that moment was realized when my youngest son likewise ascended the faux ice steps to conspire with this Godfather of Yuletide Joy to finish planning my financial ruin. He was sent back to me complete with the same “fix”. I spent the next 9.5 days tracking down everything on their lists. The final and most bitter indignation was deciding which presents were to be tagged and credited to that seasonal genie who was running amok without even a three wish restraint. How can he sleep at night?

Every once in a while though, I do stop and wonder why it is that I feel the need to buy my children most of the things they want. In fact I find myself often going even beyond that point and buying them things they’ve never seen before. At the ages of seven and ten they’ve been to Disneyworld four times including a Disney cruise to the Bahamas. They’ve experienced countless overnight stays in hotel waterparks. When they lose a tooth, the Tooth Fairy brings $20 per molar. Most friends think that’s excessive. I received $5 as a kid in the 60’s. I figure my boys get the same, only adjusted for inflation and cost-of-living increases. So it’s all my mother’s fault. She gave me $5 a tooth at a time when 50 cents was the standard payout. She also always gave me everything I wanted for Christmas. She made me feel like I was, by far, the most important person in the world. In fact, she instilled in me the artificial sense of self-worth that throughout my life the world has often taken issue with. And as much as we promise ourselves and everyone within shouting distance of the tetherball pole that we shall not grow up to be like our mom and dad, in many ways that is exactly what we do. At some point in all of our lives we wake up with the disturbing realization that we act, in some way, just like our parents did. I have absolutely no doubt that my mom passed the spoiling gene on to me, as assuredly as she did the gene for premature male pattern baldness (thanks, Ma!). Her example instilled in me devotion and love for my children, expressed by “spoiling” them. I’ll admit it. I honestly enjoy spoiling my kids. Spending a lot of time with them and a lot of money on them is second nature to me. I figure as long as I don’t have to dip into my 401K before they go to college it’s all good. Sometimes I feel a little guilty at the sight of our overflowing toy room, but when that happens, I simply blame mom. And if someday when my boys have children they blame me for the same thing, I can live with that. Edward Godin, BSEd, EMU, BSN Wayne State is a local R.N. He and his wife Becky have two children, Eddie 10, and Alex 7.

Christmas was a resounding success, as it always is at our home. The looks on my little ones’ faces as they first see their Christmas haul, is worth all of the money in our current line of credit, because they are the lights of our lives, the center of our universe.

~ƒÛÝÛLivingston Parent Journal ÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛoooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛ

Parents get to exercise their powers of logic and patience with baby toys. They come in packaging designed to survive a direct bomb hit. It is therefore necessary to stay up all night removing the product from the packaging before showing it to the baby who wants to play with it immediately. Extracting the toy from its prison usually requires two adults, a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, and a closet full of batteries. Incidentally, I’m confident that changing the packaging on children’s toys could significantly increase the life expectancy of the planet. Once the product is set free, Mom and Dad want to take it for a spin so they can show the baby how to use it. Dad will proudly show off all of the toy’s capabilities to Mom, and Mom may or may not be impressed with how much Daddy knows about colors and nursery rhymes. The baby will gaze upon the toy into which money and time have been invested and play with it for five minutes before wanting to be entertained by the next thing. Unless the parents can stir up a parade in the living room, it is necessary to have at least a hundred toys on hand at any given time in order to keep the baby occupied. Really, the toys are unnecessary since infants find almost everything to be fascinating. Anna would find microscopic pieces of lint or flaws in the tile and scratch at them for hours. I lost three leg freckles to that pudgy finger. Random household objects like paper towel rolls, measuring spoons and egg dividers create the most fun, although parents tend to ignore these in favor of toys that have been evaluated by some obscure committee of experts. Toys do have benefits. For instance, children will learn how to “push” rather quickly, since many of the toys will talk or play music when the child depresses its mid-section. They concentrate very hard, get that little fist ready, and push, then laugh and clap when the desired reaction is achieved. When they find your belly button, you will feel obligated to sing a song every time the child pokes it.

In the never-ending quest to stimulate Anna as a toddler, I cleared Wal-Mart of all the toys marked “Six Months and Up.” One of these items was a tiny little bongo that promised to teach the baby numbers, letters, and music. They only had one of these left on the shelf and the batteries were dead so I couldn’t test it in the store. Two months later, I finally replaced the batteries and gave it to her.

Despite the packaging and the directions being English, Toca de Tambor was indeed a Spanish-only toy.

When I turned it on, I heard, “Escucha!” I looked for the button to switch the toy from Spanish to English, and it was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, Anna thinks this is the best toy she’s ever seen and proceeds to pound on the bongo that is encouraging her by shouting, “Fantastico!”

Shocked, I said, “Cows say moo!”

I have never lived down that episode. Tim has his own moments, for which he is unapologetic. Anna had a mobile with farm animals. I tirelessly imitated each farm animal sound, but one day I caught Tim describing the tastiness of each animal. He calmly overruled me. “No, cows say sizzle.” As the children get older, toy assembly for Christmas becomes far more complicated because it must be done in hiding. Trying to put together a dollhouse in a closet requires more patience than I am capable of producing, so Tim assembles anything that has more than a paragraph of instructions. One Christmas, Tim was absolutely buried with work, so I valiantly tried to take over some of his construction duties. I started with something simple: the box advertised “7 pieces” although the component identifier went all the way to the letter Z. Clearly I was set up for failure from the beginning. I kept my grumbling to a minimum, but needed to ask questions such as, “Is the hammer fully charged?” and “Why don’t they give you screws that fit?” He patted my head, told me I was pretty, and threatened my life if I ever went near the tools again. Excerpted from The Mom Comedies: Do Dragonflies Roar? by Lauren Lauterwasser

oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ17


y name is Meg, and I am addicted to cookie cutters. I have a hard time not buying them whenever I see them at garage sales or on clearance after various holidays. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re just so cute and versatile! We use them often, and not just for baking, although they get used for that purpose, too. For example, we have done stamping projects with them, and they are frequently used with our homemade play dough. This is an example of an easy â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and adaptableâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; craft using cookie cutters that we like to do during the Christmas season. It can be adapted for kids of all ages. We have done versions of the craft foam ornament that were very simple with childdrawn decorations, much more sparkly (and messy) glittered creations, and everything in between. Use what you have at home to allow your children to create their own ornaments this year, and if glitter isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t your thing, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never know! Just offer what you are comfortable with, and let the kids have a good time creating some Christmas memories that you will be able to treasure year after year.

Tip: Depending on the size of the foam sheet and the size of the cookie cutters, you may be able to get 2 or more ornaments per sheet. Just play around with the arrangements before tracing in order to maximize your materials. (Or, if your kids are ďŹ&#x201A;ying solo like Mia did, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry about a little bit of wastefulness. This is part of the learning process. Once I realized what she had been doing, I showed her how to get 2 ornaments per sheet, and she continued on.)

U Punch a hole in each ornament for hanging, making sure that the holes are not too close to the edge of the foam. If you happen to have different shaped hole punches, you can offer choices. Mia opted for the star punch, while Logan preferred the square one. Tip: It is much easier to do this before decorating, as Mia quickly discovered!

U Have children decorate their foam ornaments. Tacky glue works well for adhering most any embellishments that you have on hand. However, if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have tacky glue, regular white glue will work, too. Buttons, beads, sequins, yarn, pipe cleaners, glitter, and pom pons are all items we have used for this. Tip: Since my kids are old enough, I let them squeeze the glue directly from the bottle. For younger children or larger groups, I would suggest pouring some glue into small cups or bowls and then giving children Q-tips to dip in the glue before applying it to the craft foam.




U Lay a cookie cutter on top of a piece of craft foam. Trace around the cookie cutter and cut out the foam shape. School-age kids may be able to do this by themselves, but younger kids will require some adult help. (Mia, age 6, traced and cut out all of her own designs. In fact, I got busy with something else, and she kept right on going until she ran out of foam! She even came up with a cool, layered star design using different sized cookie cutters. My little guy, Logan, age 4, needed more assistance. He told me which cookie cutter to use on which color of foam and then I did the tracing and cutting for him, leaving him to do the embellishing.) Repeat this step to make as many ornaments as you would like.

Tip: We used Christmas cookie cutters: stars, bells, trees, stockings, etc., but any cookie cutter will work.





Tip: Our craft foam came in a multi-color package from Dollar Tree, so you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to spend much money if you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen to have any craft foam at home. It is readily available at many stores including: Walmart, Michaels, Jo-Ann, to name a few. Tip: You can make ornaments using any color craft foam, not just traditional â&#x20AC;&#x153;holidayâ&#x20AC;? colors like red and green. We had pink, blue, yellow, orange, and red craft foam at hand, so Mia and Logan happily used those colors to create their ornaments.

Tip: To avoid having pencil or pen marks on the ornaments, just ďŹ&#x201A;ip the foam cut-outs over and decorate the sides that were not drawn upon. Tip: For a super-simple and less sticky variation, just have your child decorate his ornament with washable markers.

U Add ribbon, yarn, thread, a pipe cleaner, or string and then display the ornaments on your Christmas tree, in a window, or from a doorknob. Mia selected her own ribbons and threaded them through the holes, and then she asked for help with tying knots. Logan chose some red and white bakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s twine and had me do this step for him. Tip: I always use a pen or a marker to add the kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; names and the year on the back side of the ornaments after they have completed them. This prevents any mix-ups and it makes a nice keepsake. Tip: Consider making several and giving them as gifts. Or tie them onto packages in place of gift tags. Meg Koenemann is a crafty (and tired) mama of two and an aspiring freelance writer. Her husband has requested that she please stop buying cookie cutters! For more Christmas craft projects and other family fun, visit her blog, Because I Said So (and Other Mommyisms).

Â&#x2021;Ă&#x203A;Ă?Ă&#x203A;Livingston Parent Journal Ă?Ă&#x203A;¨Â&#x2026;Â&#x192;Â&#x192;ŠĂ&#x203A;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Â&#x192;¤~Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x203A;Ă?Ă&#x203A;oooÂ?Canaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYdÂ?[geĂ&#x203A;

oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ21




A place for all things free.

Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season

Order Mouthwatering Gifts

2013-2014 with The Nutcracker Tuesday, December 17 at 7:00 p.m.,


Quality 16 Cinema in Ann Arbor

giant strawberries | #1 seller fancy berries | over 35 million berries dipped

During this special in-cinema series, audiences will be able to step inside the famed Royal Opera House during the holiday season and experience the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ nest ballet from the renowned, iconic Covent Garden stage. Livingston Parent Journal will be giving away tickets in our weekly events newsletter. Email to subscribe.

Save 20%



Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure on Blu-ray Kate & Humphrey and their 3 wolf cubs (Smokey, Claudette and Runt) are happily preparing to celebrate their ďŹ rst winter holidays together when their smallest cub mysteriously disappears. They must now go on a new journey across the wilderness to ďŹ nd and bring back Runt before the winter festivities.



19 99 +s/h

â&#x20AC;&#x153;They were HUGE! We were really impressed.â&#x20AC;? - Carline, Temecula, CA

To redeem this offer visit or call 888-927-2066 *20% off minimum product purchase of $29.00. Discounts do not apply to gift cards or certiďŹ cates, same-day delivery, shipping and handling, taxes or third-party hosted products (e.g. wine). Discounts will appear upon checkout and cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Discounts not valid on bulk or corporate purchases of 10 units or more. Offer expires 12/25/2013. Livingston Parent Journal has 3 copies to give away on Facebook sometime in December.


E SAV % *


Bonus features include games and music videos.

25.49 at

SEND BOUQUETS FOR ANY OCCASION anniversary | birthday | just because

Livingston Parent Journal will be giving away 4 on Facebook Hurry! Flowers from $19.99 +s/h

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist Finn Baxter and his family move from California to Maine to their new house. Finn is terriďŹ ed and believes the house is haunted. While he sets up traps to catch the ghost, his parents get stranded across town and Finn is home alone with his sister. Their house is targeted by three thieves.

Visit or

$9.96 at

Make the Switch to DISH Today and Save Up To 50%

Livingston Parent Journal has 7 to give away on Facebook sometime in December.

2 Hours of Educational and Engaging Content Fairytales, Nursery Rhymes Sesame Street Monsters Mother Goose, Hansel and Gretel, Jack Be Nimble Special Bonus Feature: CinderElmo! $12.99 at Livingston Parent Journal has 5 to give away on Facebook


call 888.926.8303

*20% off discount will appear upon checkout. Minimum purchase of $29.00. Does not apply to gift cards or certiďŹ cates, same-day or international delivery, shipping and handling, taxes, or third-party hosted products (e.g. wine) and cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Discounts not valid on bulk or corporate purchases of 10 units or more. Offer expires: 11/15/13.

l Promotiona prices only ... starting at




Where available.

s for 12 month er or le with Hopp

Not eligib 2 offer. iPad


For 3 months. Offer subject to change based on premium movie channel availability.


Call Now and Ask How!


All offers require 24-month commitment and credit qualification. Call 7 days a week 8am - 11pm EST. Promo Code: MB0913. *Offer subject to change based on premium movie channel availability.

Portal Masters can now wield the power of choice as they defend the Cloudbreak Islands and battle the evil Kaos. Skylanders SWAP Force lets players freely interchange the top and bottom halves of 16 special characters by mixing and matching their powers and moves into more than 250 unique character combination. Livingston Parent Journal will be giving away one starter pack at the book signing for our cartoonist Bill Loebs at the CafĂŠ at the Commons, December 7th, 9am-Noon.

,%'/-ARVEL3UPER(EROES players take control of over 100 unique Marvel characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Wolverine and more as they unite to stop Loki and a host of other Marvel villains from assembling a super-weapon capable of destroying the world. Players will chase down Cosmic Bricks as they travel across LEGO Manhattan and visit key locations from the Marvel Universe, such as Stark Tower, Asteroid M, a Hydra base and the X-Mansion.The game is available on Xbox 360ÂŽ, PlayStationÂŽ3, Wii Uâ&#x201E;˘ and PC. Livingston Parent Journal has 2 for Xbox and 2 for PS3 to give away. Email

22 Ă?Ă&#x203A;Livingston Parent JournalĂ&#x203A;Ă?Ă&#x203A;¨Â&#x2026;Â&#x192;Â&#x192;ŠĂ&#x203A;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Â&#x192;¤~Â&#x192;Â&#x2026;Â&#x2021;Ă&#x203A;Ă&#x203A;Ă?Ă&#x203A;oooÂ?Canaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYdÂ?[geĂ&#x203A;Ă&#x203A;

oooCanaf_klgfGYj]flAgmjfYd[geÛÝÛ¨…ƒƒ©Û…‡ƒ¤~ƒ…‡ÛÝÛLivingston Parent JournalÛÝÛ23

Livingston Parent Journal December 2013  
Livingston Parent Journal December 2013  

Local, Family Events, Things to Do, Strengthening Families