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Wise Choices for Moms & Families

© Jessica Fowler Photography


Cover Sponsor See

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5th Annual Christmas Spectacular on Dec.10 at CVCC


Wise Choices for You & Your Family

Dr. Cathy Cook




Life Skills

Many children have calendars filled with activities and obligations, so finding time to teach your child basic life skills can be a challenge. However, finding time to teach your kids basic life skills is essential, since these skills are necessary for them to succeed in becoming happy, successful teens and young adults. Here are a few skills kids should know before they reach high school. LAUNDRY: Taking the time to teach your child how to properly operate the washing machine and dryer and fold clothes means laundry is one more daily chore your child can be responsible for. Even if your child is too young to operate the machines on his own, show him how to sort clothes and properly load the washer and dryer. He could then at least be responsible for loading and unloading his own laundry, in addition to folding it. Don’t forget to pass along tips on how to remove stains safely and replace a button that falls off in the wash. GOOD ETIQUETTE: Making a good first impression in person is very important to succeeding at any activity your child participates in. When your child interacts with others, he is often immediately judged by his manners. Start teaching your child good manners when he is very young and they will become second nature. Be sure to include interpersonal skills, like making good eye contact, and use every opportunity possible to ask him to practice them. For example, let him answer when the server at the restaurant asks him which kid’s meal he wants to order. By the time he is a teen looking for his first job, he will be ready to ace his first interview. While you are discussing being respectful and having good manners with your child, don’t forget to cover

good etiquette online. Unfortunately, what is posted online is there forever and can have long-standing effects on your child’s reputation. WRITING LETTERS: Yes, writing a letter does sound old-fashioned but it is a very valuable skill to have. The need for cover letters for resumes and applications or letters written for legal purposes is still there, so your child will benefit in knowing how to write a wellstructured letter. These days, a letter might be emailed, but it has the same structure as one that is printed out and put in the mail. Help him write a letter to Santa or to grandma, with an address line, salutation, body, complimentary close, and a signature line. COMPARISON SHOPPING: Your child may not be ready to learn how to lay out a complete household budget, but you can show him how comparison shopping is used to stay within a budget. Involve your child when you build your shopping list by looking through store ads to find the best bargain on products you use. If you are buying a big ticket item like a new TV, share with your child the process you are using to compare product features and find the best one that fits your budget.


Wise Choices for You & Your Family


Tammy Usie Publisher


253-212-7270 Cell

Dear Parents of the Chattahoochee Valley, Welcome to our handy, parenting resource guide. I hope you will find lots of helpful choices on products and services for you and your family, along with some informative articles, handy resources and fun features. If you like our magazine, then you’ll love our website, www. There you can read our magazine online, find other resources and use our SHOPPING DIRECTORY. This virtual buying guide provides our readers with a comprehensive list of local, family-friendly businesses. Plus with the ability for consumers to leave reviews on these businesses, it will help other parents make buying decisions. I invite you to go leave a few reviews to help us build this resource and share them with other parents like yourself.


The 1st of the month for the next month’s issue

Tammy Usie

HOO KNOWS SPECIAL FEATURES Hoo’s crafty.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 27

HOO’S hungry.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 8

HOO’S healthy.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 13

hoo’s inspired.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 23

hoo’s Helpful.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 19

hoo’s Parenting.. . . . . . . . . . . page 3 & 25

HOO knew.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 7

hoo’s Picks.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 9

HOO KNOWS® Community Digest does not assume responsibility for products and services listed in this magazine. Ads may not be reproduced, in any way, without written consent. HOO KNOWS® is a trademark of Cinah Media Group LLC. For information on operating your own digest, contact us at 1-888-HOO-5609.

Where to Find HOO? Publix: Columbus & Phenix City Chick fil-A: Columbus & Phenix City Family & Kids of the Chattahoochee Valley

PLUS: Check your local kid-friendly doctors & dentists, attractions, restaurants & retail shops. Children attending FT Benning daycares, preschools & elementary schools each receive a copy, as well as elementary students at most all private schools in Columbus & Phenix all kids attending major daycares and preschools.

We are expecting


Y ou! Maria V. Gonzaga, MD OB/GYN

1900 10th Ave. Suite 300 Columbus, GA (706) 341-3311 |


Wise Choices for You & Your Family

SHOPPING GUIDE activities Academy Dance..................................26 Chattahoochee Valley Libraries....23 Clement Arts/ Studio Elevare........ 10 Elite Dance............................................. 5 iCON Wrestling...................................22 Painting with a Twist....................... 12 Performance Dance’s The Nutcracker. 15 Prodigy Dance Centre.......................27 RiverCenter..........................................32 The Columbus Museum................... 10

Childcare/ education TELL THEM

Calvary Christian...............................29 East West Carlson Gracie Team....... 2 First Presbyterian Day School.......29 SENT YOU! Grace Christian School....................29 Growing Room....................................28 Kumon...................................................30 Lakewood Child Development ......28 Mathnasium........................................30 Night Owl Kids Care..........................25 St. Luke Schools.................................29 Sylvan Learning Center...................30 Westminster Christian.....................29

Food & Beverage Chick-fil-A.............................................. 5 Chill Yogurt Cafe................................20 Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet........................ 12

healthcare Columbus Counseling......................22 Columbus Spine & Performance...22 Comprehensive Women’s Care........ 5 Cook Dental Care.................................. 2 Dr. Alberto Lugo, DMD......................22 Family Counseling of Columbus...20 Pediatric Dentistry of Columbus..... 9 Pediatrics at Brookstone Centre... 10 Rivertown Pediatrics.......................... 8

Home/ Handy Mary Varner, Realtor.........................25 Turfscapes Lawncare........................22 Warehouse World Mini Storage.....22

Shopping/ Retail Baby Elements.................................... 12 Jessica Fowler Photography..........27 Mickayla’s Place - Resale................ 12 Once Upon A Child - Resale.......... 20

VENDOR BOOTHS NOW ON SALE! 7th Annual Kids Camp & Summer Fun Fair y March 12 - National Infantry Museum Call2T1a2m-7m270 Powered by: Family & Kids and


HOO knew?

Crazy Christmas Facts The world’s largest Christmas stocking was 106 feet and 9 inches (32.56 m) long and 49 feet and 1 inch (14.97 m) wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents. It was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007.

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Approximately 33 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.

In 1836, Alabama became the first state in the US to declare Christmas a legal holiday. In June of 1870, Christmas became a federal holiday in the US and Oklahoma became the last state to declare Christmas a legal holiday in 1907.

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The tallest Christmas tree ever displayed was in Seattle, Washington in 1950. The Christmas tree was 221 feet tall!

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During the Christmas season, nearly 28 sets of LEGOs are sold every second.

Tammy Usie creative boutique & brokerage



Wise Choices for You & Your Family





These bright bites are sure to please parents and kids alike. Easy and quick to make, and a great way to add some fiber and flavor to any dinner.

DIRECTIONS Preheat the grill. In a bowl, mash the black beans, olive oil, and garlic powder with a potato masher or fork until very creamy. Gently mix the black beans, and mustard with the ground beef. Season the mix with salt and pepper. Divide the mix into 8 equally portioned patties. Brush the grill with the oil and cook the burgers until a golden crust is formed, about 2 minutes per side. Serve the sliders on toasted, grilled hamburger buns, topped with a crunchy coleslaw.

INGREDIENTS • ¼ cups cooked black beans • 2 tbs olive oil • 1 tsp garlic powder • salt and pepper to taste • ½ lb. ground beef • 1 tbs dijon mustard • 8 slider buns • coleslaw of your choice makes 4 servings @ 2 sliders per serving


APPS to LOVE ChoreMonster Take the tension out of chores with this app for your 4-12 year olds. Kids earn points by completing chores and earn rewards like ice cream, an hour of Xbox, or even a family camping trip. Parents manage the chores and the rewards they can earn.

the playmatic Bursts of color and popping bubbles engage little ones who need only tap the screen or shake the phone to make things happen. Bonus! No annoying noises or pop ups or in game purchases! Literally made so there is no need for you to help or worry.

sky guide Sky Guide’s interactive experience makes learning your way around the sky intuitive and fun. Hold up your device and the app automatically aligns with the sky above (day or night!) to show you constellations. Click on stars to learn about them, track satellites, and monitor the path of comets.

toca hair salon In this kid-friendly app, your little ones get to be the stylist, with six fun characters to choose from. Cut, color and style hair any way you want, using lots of different hair styling tools. Trim mustaches, spray mohawks bright pink and give someone the curls they’ve always wanted!



Wise Choices for You & Your Family

Dance • Music • Art • Drama Spring 2017 registration now open:

Classes help support adoption and foster care.

Dining Deals


With deals this good, save the mess and dine out!



Chick-fil-A, Phenix City


Chick-fil-A, Wynnton Rd

Kids’ meals are half off with the purchase of an adult entrée. Limit: 4 kids per adult

5-7:30p: Free kid’s meal with regular priced combo 5-7:30p: $.99 kid’s meal with regular priced combo

Chill Yogurt Cafe & Pizzeria

Kids 12 & under eat free (1 topping 8” pizza & drink) with purchase of adult entrée (11” pizza and a drink). Limit 1 per adult. Dine in only.

Sweet Frog Yogurt

6-8pm. Buy one yogurt mix, get one 50% off


thursday MOE’s Southwest Grill

5-9pm: Free kid’s meal per $5 minimum adult entrée


5-8pm: Free kid’s meal with adult entrée

Steak & Shake


Stevi B’s Pizza

Atlanta Bread Company

Texas Roadhouse

5pm-close: Free kid’s meal with an adult meal Chill Yogurt Cafe & Pizzeria Buy one regular 11” pizza, get one of equal or less value at 50% off with valid school ID. Limit 1 per customer, with ID only.


4-10pm: Up to two free kids’ entrées with adult entrée. For kids 10 and under

Ruby Tuesday

5-10pm: 2 kids under 13 eat free with adult entrée

Free kid’s meal with every $8 purchase Kids eat for $.99 after 4pm Sundays: Kids 12 & under get Jr. Kids Meal for $1.99 with adult entrée (certain holidays are excluded)

Willy T’s

11-5pm: 1 free kid’s meal per regular meal purchase

Monday-Friday Steak & Shake Happy Hour, 1/2 price shakes or drinks from 2-5pm

TGI Friday’s

3-10pm: Kids under 13 eat free with adult entrée

every day

Willy T’s

Golden Corral

4-9pm: 1 free kid’s meal per regular meal purchase

Kids 3 & under eat free with adult meal purchase

Hartz Chicken Buffet

Children 3 & under eat free with purchase of an adult entrée. Kids ages 5-7 get discounted prices

All locations are Columbus, GA unless noted. Specials are subject to change without notice. Please verify them directly before dining. If you know of a kid’s special not listed here, contact

Wise Choices for You & Your Family

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How to tackle the norovirus What a week in the office! There has been an outbreak of presumed norovirus in our community, and we are seeing tons of sick kids. Norovirus is extremely contagious, and you may already be shedding the virus (exposing others) before you even get sick. At the same time, you may also be contagious for two to three days after you are better. Norovirus is the most common cause of the “stomach flu” or “food poisoning.” Knowing this, it is difficult to know when you have been exposed to this virus. But, a day or two after exposure, your child (or you) may suddenly develop abdominal cramping, vomiting (more common in children) and diarrhea (more common in adults). Some children and their parents are “lucky” enough to get both. The mainstay of treatment is to stay hydrated. This illness is typically fast and furious, but you have to make sure that you are replacing the fluids that you are losing (from both ends). After your child has vomited you want to wait for at least 30 minutes before offering sips of clear fluids; some sort of liquid with electrolytes (it’s very important to replenish what you are losing). And I mean SIPS. If you give the fluid too quickly and in too large a volume, you may see it come right back up. As your child tolerates sips, you may advance to a


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Sue Hubbard, MD

larger volume each time. If your child is doing well for several hours but then vomits again, start back over with smaller volumes. Continue to make sure your child has tears when he or she cries, wet diapers (they may not be soaked), urine when asked to go try and “potty,” and drool or a moist mouth. These are signs of hydration.Once the vomiting has subsided, you can let your child begin to eat. But I would avoid all dairy. It is important to offer foods with some protein as well. I start with crackers, noodles and rice; then I add in chicken or beef. Veggies and fruit are OK as well. As your child feels better, his or her appetite will return; don’t push. You probably don’t want a big meal either if you have been sick. Fluids are more important than food. Adding probiotics is also helpful to put “good bacteria” back into a damaged gut. Prevention is key but difficult, as there are millions of viral particles in your child’s stool and vomit; and these particles can be spread via the air as well. Clean surfaces with a dilute bleach solution and wash your hands.

A Page In A Book

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Wise Choices for You & Your Family

Recommending the Best Books for Children and Teens By Gerry P. Smith

A Wonderfully Different World

Children are born into a world where a diverse world population is increasingly connected through technology. Each new generation has an increased opportunity to make friends with kids whose journeys may be very different from theirs. These titles explore common ground shared between the variety of cultures, lifestyles, and belief systems in our child’s world.

Peace is an Offering

By Annette LeBox, Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (Penguin Random House)

Whether it’s a shared cookie or the comfort of a hug, peace is a gift that is within every child to offer...and to receive. Peace can be the calm that follows worry, the departure from conflict or the quiet times that offer respite from our busy lives. Soft pencil and watercolor images illustrate simple gestures and kind words can both act as a balm as well as enhancing our sense of community. In a world characterized by so many differences, this title takes a step back to refocus on the shared pleasures and generous actions that all people welcome as a part of offering the peace that everyone deserves.

Happy in Our Skin

By Fran Manushkin, Illustrated by Lauren Tobia (Candlewick)

A celebration of skin and all its marvelous power, this rhyming romp touches on all the good things that our skin can do. It keeps our insides in and the outside out. When our skins gets a scrape, it creates its own patch as it heals. Decorated with freckles, bumps, dimples and fingerprints, our skin is our own special everyday covering that is distinctly our own. With shades of cinnamon, honey, cream and cocoa, this lively title is a delicious celebration of the very special skin we live in.

Who We Are! All About Being the Same and Different By Robie H Harris, Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott (Candlewick)

Entering a crowded amusement park with his family, Gus remarks that there are so many people there. His sister Nellie points out that while that’s is true, there only ‘one’ of Gus and ‘one’ of her. As they navigate the park, filled with other patrons from various cultures and backgrounds, they discover the importance of their own individuality along with an appreciation for the rich tapestry of likewise unique people in their world. Celebrating diversity, Who We Are is a rich examination of all the little things that make each child a uniquely special individual.

Learn to Draw


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Family Fun Day at Peachtree Mall. 10:30am-Noon. Free. Play area inside of Macy’s Court.


Winter Holiday Celebration. 4pm. Get ready for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Columbus Public Library; attend-it


Sesame Street Live. 10:30am and 6:30pm. Columbus Civic Center;

3 WCS Holiday Marketplace & BBQ 10 Fundraiser. 8am-Noon. Free. Wynnbrook Conference Ctr, 500 River Knoll, Columbus; 706-323-0795;

3 Breakfast with Santa! $5-$10. Living

historians and vintage crafts. RSVP. National Infantry Museum; 706-685-5814

3 Home Depot Kids Workshop. 9am-

Noon. Free. Ages 5-12. Columbus; 706322-9240. Phenix City; 334-297-2045

Day Out with Kelly’s Zeroes. 11:30am-4pm. Equipment displays, demonstrations, living historians. National Infantry Museum’s WWII Company Street; 706-685-5814


Lowe’s Build & Grow Clinic. 1011am. Free. 1st-5th grades. 6750 Veterans Pkwy, Columbus; 706-320-9292

10 Visit with Santa. 11am-4pm. Courtyard next to Barnes & Noble, Columbus Park Crossing;


3 Country’s Reindeer Run. 9am. Benefit-


3 Bi-City Christmas Parade. 10am. Be- 10

Phenix City’s Night of Lights. 7:30pm. Free. Concert and fireworks. Phenix City Amphitheater, 508 Dillingham St Jingle Arrgh the Way. 7:30pm and Sat 10am, Sun 2pm. $5-$10. CSU Riverside Theatre, 901 Front Ave, Columbus;

2 MOPS/ MOMSnext meeting. 9:15am.

Wynnbrook Baptist Church, 500 River Knoll, Columbus; 706-323-4374 or


WCS Holiday Marketplace & BBQ Fundraiser. 11am-6pm. Free. Wynnbrook Conference Ctr, 500 River Knoll, Columbus; 706-323-0795;

2 Broadway Holiday. 6:30-8:30pm. Free. RiverCenter Lawn;


The Polar Express Pajama Storytime. 7pm. Free. Barnes & Noble; 5555 Whittlesey Blvd, Columbus; 706-653-7880


Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas. 7:30pm. Family Theatre, 2100 Hamilton Rd, Columbus;

2-3 Cottonmouths

ing Children’s Miracle Network. Country’s on Broadway; gins Colin Powell Pkwy in Phenix City; 334-291-4719

3 Visit with Santa. 11am-4pm. Courtyard next to Barnes & Noble;

3 Minecraft

Mania. 2pm. Columbus Public Library;


Victorian Christmas Open House. Sat 10am-5pm. Sun 12:30-5pm. Free. Visit with Civil War Santa;

10 The Nutcracker Ballet by Performance Dance Centre. 7pm. $15-$22. Columbus State University Hall;

10-11 Story Time with Mrs. Claus. Sat 11am & 1:30pm. Sun 1:30pm. $12. Callaway Gardens;

10-11 The Columbus Ballet pres-

ents The Nutcracker. Saturday at 7:30pm. Sunday at 2:30pm. $20-$40. RiverCenter, 900 Broadway, Columbus; event/the-nutcracker


11 “Santa’s Sleigh is on Its Way” Story-

4 MCoE Band Holiday Concert. 4pm.

Minecraft Monday. 4pm. Free. North Columbus Library;

11am & 1:30pm. Sun 1:30pm. $12. Callaway Gardens; How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Sat 7:30pm, Sun 2:30p. $15. CSU University Hall, 706-561-8085; Free. RiverCenter, Columbus; Santa Visits Riverside. 5-8pm. Fort Benning;


8-10 Fancy Nancy Splendiferous

3 Breakfast with San-

Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball. 7pm. Free. Costumes, dancing, music, activities and more. Barnes & Noble, 5555 Whittlesey Blvd, Columbus; 706-653-7880

ta. 8am. $25. Proceeds benefit Children’s Miracle Network. Columbus Trade Center; 706-2253701

Christmas Spectacular by Elite Dance Academy. 6pm. Chattahoochee Valley Community College. $15 adults, $5 kids. Tickets at studio or door. 334-297-0404

3-4 Story Time with Mrs. Claus. Sat

vs. Rivermen. 7:30pm, $14-$30. Little Mermaid. Fri & Sat. 7:30pm. Sunday 2:30pm.


Christmas Carnival at Moon Lake. 3-9pm. Free. Idle Hour Park, Phenix City.


Christmas. 7:30pm. Family Theatre, 2100 Hamilton Rd, Columbus;


9-11 Little Mermaid. 7:30pm. Sunday 2:30pm. Springer Opera House;

time. 11am. Free. Barnes & Noble, 5555 Whittlesey Blvd, Columbus; 706-653-7880



La Leche League meeting. 10am. Columbus Library, 3000 Macon Rd; lllofga. org/columbus.html


Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas. 7:30pm. Family Theatre, 2100 Hamilton Rd, Columbus;


Little Mermaid. 7:30pm. Sunday 2:30pm. Springer Opera House;



22 Christmas Celebrations at Your Li-


A Christmas Carol. 7:30pm. $28$58. RiverCenter, 900 Broadway, Columbus;

MOPS/ MOMSnext meeting. 9:15am. Wynnbrook Baptist Church, 500 River Knoll, Columbus; 706-323-4374; Hanukkah Celebration. 4:30pm. Free. Mildred L. Terry Public Library; cvlga. org/events

16 Cottonmouths vs. Macon Mayhem.

7:30pm, $14-$30. Columbus Civic Center;

17 Visit with Santa. 11am-4pm. Courtyard next to Barnes & Noble, Columbus Park Crossing;

brary! 4:30pm. Free. Mildred Terry Library;



Cottonmouths vs. Ice Flyers. 7:30pm, $14-$30. Columbus Civic Center;

24 Crayons, Crafts and Kool Kids Out-

door Vending Fair. 10am-1pm. Broadway Median, 1000 Block; uptowncolumbusga. com

17 Holidays on the Homefront Mini- 24 Visit with Santa. 11am-4pm. Courtcamp & Jammies Party. 2-6pm. $10. Ages 5-11. National Infantry Museum; 706-6539234

17 Rivertown Christmas with Allen Levi

and friends. 7pm. $12-$75. RiverCenter, 900 Broadway, Columbus; rivercenter. org/event/rivertown-christmas

17-18 Story Time with Mrs. Claus.

Sat 11am & 1:30pm. Sun 1:30pm. $12. Callaway Gardens;

19 A Visit from Santa! 10:30am. Free. Columbus Library;

19 Cantus Christmas. 7:30pm. $34. RiverCenter, 900 Broadway, Columbus;


MOPS/ MOMSnext meeting. 9:15am. Wynnbrook Baptist Church, 500 River Knoll, Columbus; 706-323-4374;


Santa at Your Library! 10:30am. Free. Mildred L. Terry Library; attend-it


Frosty’s Frosting Party. 4:30pm. Free. South Columbus Public Library;

21-23 Little Mermaid. 7:30pm.

Springer Opera House;


Books and Cookies with Santa. Ages 11 and under. 4pm. Free. North Columbus Library;


Make & Take Craft. 4pm. Free. Phenix City-Russell Co Library; phenixcitylibrary. com


Market Days on Broadway. 9am-noon. Different activities each week. 900, 1000, & 1100 blocks of Broadway, Columbus; 706596-0111 or Michael’s Kids Club Meeting. 10am-Noon. Ages 3+. See store for details. Storytimes at Barnes & Noble. 11am. 5555 Whittlesey Blvd. 706-653-7880

yard next to Barnes & Noble, Columbus Park Crossing;

Family Storytime at Phenix City Public Library. 11am. 1501 17th Avenue, Phenix City; 334-297-1139

24 Story Time with Mrs. Claus. 11am.


$12. Callaway Gardens;


Kidz Flicks: Happy Feet (PG). 10:30am. Free. Columbus Library. 3000 Macon Road;

28 Kidz Flicks: Happy Feet 2 (PG).

10:30am. Free. Columbus Library. 3000 Macon Rd;

29 New Year’s at Noon for Children.

11am. Free. Columbus Library; attend-it

29 Happy Noon Year Celebration! 11am. Free. Mildred Terry Library; cvlga. org/attend-it

Ludy’s Christmas Light Spectacular. Over 140,000 lights sequenced to music. 5784 Ironstone Drive, Cottonwood subdivision, Columbus; Fantasy in Lights. Travel through five miles of lighted scenes on either the Jolly Trolley or your vehicle; Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain; callaway

Please call ahead to confirm event dates, times and age appropriateness, in case changes were made after the info was obtained. For more info, visit


Cottonmouths vs. Ice Flyers. 7:30pm, $14-$30. Columbus Civic Center;


MOPS meeting, 9am-noon. First Presbyterian Church, 1100 First Ave; columbusfpc. org/mops


Moms Group. 6-8pm. Philadelphia Baptist Church, 7807 Lee Road 246, Smiths Station


Toddler Tales at Barnes & Noble. 10am. 5555 Whittlesey Blvd; 706-653-7880


Chattahoochee Valley 706-243-2669

Phenix City-Russell County 1501 17th Avenue, Phenix City 334-297-1139




Wise Choices for You & Your Family

HOO’s Fun

Hidden Picture

Sleepy Santa Can you find...

More Santa Fun at

© All rights reserved. Not for commercial use.

Hoo’s helpful Keeping plants indoors has many benefits. They enhance your decor, purify the air and improve food taste if they are of the herbal variety. However, some house plants are toxic to the touch and taste of humans and pets, so they should be placed well out of reach or given away to a friend who does not have young kids or pets. It is not only the leaves on toxic plants that are poisonous, but the flowers, berries, and soil can contain toxins also, as well as the water in the plant dish. Also check your patio and garden for any of these plants. It can be hard to identify a plant that is given to you as a gift or as a cutting, so keep a new plant out of the reach of kids and pets until you are certain of its identity.



Here are some of the most common houseplants that are considered toxic to humans and pets: • Philodendron • Dieffenbachia • Azalea • Arrowhead • Oleander • Hydrangea • Ivies • Lilies • Rhododendron Though many easy-to-grow houseplants are tropical in nature and tend to contain toxins, there are some non-toxic plants suitable for growing inside that don’t require a lot of gardening expertise, such as • • • •

Boston ferns Spider plants African violets Wandering Jew

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV

From your home for Christ-centered Christmas music:


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Wise Choices for You & Your Family


Located in The Landings at exit 8 off I-185 | 2521 Airport Thruway, Columbus, GA 31904 706.507.3737 | |


HOO’S at the Movies

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a monster calls Rated PG-13 | Ok for kids 13+

A visually spectacular drama, based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel, from director J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”). This movie follows 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall), who attempts to deal with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness and the relentless bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and finds a most unlikely ally when a Monster appears at his bedroom window. This feel good movie follows fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith. Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, this movie stars Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Lewis MacDougall.

sing PG | Ok for kids 6+

In “Sing,” Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly star in a musical comedy about finding the shining star that lives inside all of us. Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, “Sing” stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist (and scoundrel) who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

space between us Rated PG-13 | Ok for kids 13+

A space shuttle embarks on the first mission to colonize Mars, only to find that one of the astronauts is pregnant. Shortly after landing, she gives birth to the first human born on the red planet – never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot – an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he’s never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl in Colorado named Tulsa. When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, he’s eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars – from the most simple to the extraordinary.

LA LA LAND PG-13 | Ok for kids 13+

In this modern take on the Hollywood musical from director Damien Chazelle, the Academy Awardnominated writer and director of “Whiplash,” Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart. Also stars John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt and Finn Wittrock.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY PG-13 | Ok for kids 12+

A rogue band of resistance fighters unite to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the galaxy. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” takes place before the events of “Star Wars: A New Hope” and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Directed by Gareth Edwards, this movie stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk. .

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Decide what traditions are most important to you and be realistic when selecting ones you want to follow this year. For example, if you have a baby that has just learned to crawl or a toddler, your decorating will need to be toddler-proof. That may mean those breakable ornaments should stay safely packed away and should be replaced with homemade, nonbreakable ornaments and crafts. Also, don’t feel pressured to master Pinterest level crafts and events, or what you see friends share on Facebook. Do what you are comfortable with so you are not overstressed trying to meet expectations that don’t work with your available time, budget and abilities.

It is all too easy to feel stressed rather than joyful during the holiday season. There are so many distractions that it can feel like the minute you start to finish up one task, ten other obligations come up that are difficult to say ‘No’ to. Here are some tips that will help Next, use modern technology to help you plan a holiday season that you you filter all the overwhelming input will look back upon as a joyful one. you receive during the holiday season

HOO’s INSPIRED about where to shop to find the best gifts and the best bargains. Send email ads to a ‘junk email’ folder, so you don’t have to look at them every time you check your email. When it comes to holiday events, you may also have to pick and choose in order not to feel overwhelmed. Some events, like the annual family holiday gathering, you can perhaps simplify to avoid feeling stressed. For example, if you are hosting, ask family members to assist by bringing a dish. Also, it is important to anticipate in advance how busy you will be with attending seasonal events during the holidays and give yourself a break in other areas. Consider delaying setting new, challenging fitness or professional goals until January, when you make your resolutions for the New Year.

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Our kids live in a world filled with opportunities for science learning. Finding meaningful ways to explore everyday science can sometimes be a daunting task. Giving kids the tools to explore simple physics, chemistry and structures around them can expose them to scientific principles through play. The following toys and tools explore more closely scientific principles that are constantly working in the world around us, every day.

Primary Science Mix & Measure (Learning Resources)

While children are early arrivals to the attraction of scooping and pouring, this kind of play is also an ideal opportunity to fine tune the activity into an introduction to volume measurement and very basic math. The Primary Science Mix and Measure set includes 4 measuring cups, 3 measuring spoons, a lidded bowl and a simple scale. Designed with small hands and short attention spans in mind, activity cards guide young learners through explorations that expose them to density, quantity, weight and more. Kitchen counters, tub ledges and bathroom sinks are the new frontiers of early science learning!

Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set (Learning Resources)

As STEM learning increases for our kids, finding resources to support it is more important than ever. For the kids who are curious about computers, programming, and video games, the Robot Mouse Coding Set is an ideal primer for understanding the science behind these marvels. Coding cards guide kids through simple click programming as they plot the mouse’s path through a maze toward the cheese. Spatial reasoning, forward thinking and problem solving become child’s play as the basic concepts of coding are made simple.

Smartphone Science Lab

(SmartLab Toys)

What if a smart phone could become a conduit that channels kids’ attention past the screen and toward exploring the world around them? The Smartphone Science Lab comes with a collection of optical attachments (plus slides and an experiment book) that transforms the phone into a tool for exploration. Opening young eyes to light waves, pixels, microscopic viewing, satellites, filtered optics and more, this smart phone ceases to be the destination for a child’s attention, and becomes a channel for their broader, independent learning.


RESPONDING TO ANGRY OUTBURSTS Many parents expect that by the time their child enters kindergarten, the temper tantrums of toddlerhood will be just a memory. However, some school aged kids have a bit of difficulty managing their angry feelings and seem to always be exploding when they become upset. Here are some tips to help your child bring his temper under control. First, it is important to remember that during an angry episode, trying to reason or bargain with your child will not help. Simply stay with him, and ensure that the area around him is safe and that he can’t hurt anyone or himself. Keep your cool, even if your child calls you names, and speak to him in a calm tone of voice. Let him know that you will speak with him once he calms down. Express that it is OK to feel angry sometimes but the unacceptable behavior he is displaying is not the right way to manage his emotions. If the episode is a

response to you enforcing expectations or denying his request to purchase something, it is important to stand your ground and don’t give in. When he has calmed down, it is time to help your child identify what makes him so upset. If he came home from school feeling angry and he won’t talk about it, you may have to talk to his teacher and do some detective work to find out what went wrong that day. At home, watch your child for signs of frustration to identify what seems to trigger angry episodes. After the angry episode is over, make a comment like ‘I notice you are feeling frustrated and angry when it is time for bed. What can be done to make this transition easier in the future?’ By doing this, you are teaching your child to use problem-solving skills to resolve frustration. Hopefully, over time, your child will use his coping skills, without a reminder from you, to avert angry episodes.


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Wise Choices for You & Your Family

HOO’s FUN Jokin’ Around about Disney life

What kind of car do Disney moms drive? Minnie Vans!

Why can’t you hand Elsa a balloon? She’ll Let it Go, Let it Go!

What is Tarzan’s favorite Christmas song? Jungle Bells!

Talking! Saying "Thank You" Spanish: Gracias German: Danke sehr Japanese: Domo Arigato French: Merci Italian: Grazie Hawaiian: Mahalo Russian: Spasiba Chinese: Do jeh, daw-dyeh

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CHRISTMAS CARDS If you are looking for an easy keepsake idea for the kids to make and gift to the grandparents and/or other family members this holiday season, this is the craft for you!

DIRECTIONS First trace your child’s hand on the green cardstock. Trim out. Repeat for each card you want to create.


Now grab your brown cardstock and cut out a rectangular tree trunk shape.

blank cards or folded cardstock

Using glue dots, glue down the handprint “tree” and the tree trunk piece underneath it to the front of the card.

green, brown, yellow paper

Grab your rhinestones. Have children place glue dots on the back of each rhinestone and then place them in the center of the “handprint tree.” Then, cut out a star from the yellow cardstock and add it to the top of your tree. At this point, you can either add more or go straight to personalizing the inside so you can mail it right away! Don’t forget to add your child’s name and age on the card, so the receiver will always know when it was made!

Prodigy Life

Prodigy Vibes

Prodigy Mind

Prodigy Dance Centre 7613 Fortson Rd, Columbus, GA 31909


Design by Krystle Albert

glue dots rhinestones pencils and pens

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Wise Choices for You & Your Family

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“After teaching for more than 20 years, Westminster allows the freedom to train the whole child – academically, socially, physically and spiritually in a Christian environment.” – Sue Moore, K4 Teacher Teaching the

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A family road trip during the holiday season is a fun way to spend the days when the kids are out of school but the planning involved can be a challenge. Here are some travel tips that will help make your road trip an enjoyable experience. • Before you hit the road, ensure your vehicle is ready for the journey. Check tire pressure and fluid levels, and perform any maintenance, like an oil change, that your vehicle needed. If you are not sure your child’s car seat is installed properly, have it checked by a certified technician. • Create a packing list for each family member. About age 8, kids are able to follow a list and help pack their own bags. Check each child’s bag to see that he actually packed the items on the list and nothing more. Use this list to check items off when packing for the trip home, to avoid leaving items behind. Don’t forget to pack your phone charger. • A roadside assistance plan is very helpful if your vehicle breaks down in a remote area, so consider getting one if you don’t already have one. Some plans have apps for your phone that allow you to request assistance without having to remember the phone number. • Have your health insurance cards with you and pack a first aid kit. • Pack a small cooler full of healthy snacks, like fruit, veggies, and cheese. • Have a supply of games or drawing supplies available to keep the kids busy, or be ready to go with a good old fashion iSPY or the alphabet sign game.

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Will the planet of Who survive? Will Horton pay attention to Gertrude? Will Maysie ever return for her egg?

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Family & Kids Chatt Valley Dec 16