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spring 2016

just get out & GO!

tips to consider

for summer camp tips for

taking care of you

learn the ABCs

of first foods 1

what mamas are made of... exercise + ADHD

it’s no riddle



emotions and outcomes around fetal syndrome diagnosis and support.

photo courtesy of drew photography & events


brave new world: learning to play it safe 6

Tips for Visiting Crowded Places with Your Kids


Starting Solids: Introducing First Foods to Babies


6 Areas for Taking Care of You


Tips for Preventing Child Molestation in Your Family


Get Out + Go! Tips for Leaving Home with Babies in Tow


Do You Know? RSV, Whooping Cough and the Flu


Appy Spring


Family Friendly Meals from Pinterest


Prevent the Summer Slide: Tips for Learning on the Go


A Focus on Family Fitness

10 The Dr. Is In: Tips for Treating Hay Fever

12 Buckle Up for Safety 14 Book Review 16 Made to Measure: Parenting Differently for Each Kid

18 Dad Confessions 20 Make Earth Day Every Day 24 Fashion Finds Spring into Fun! 26 GMO Free: What to Know About the Foods We Eat

32 What Mamas are Made of... 36 Summer Camp + Sleepovers: Safety Tips to Consider

40 Turn it Over: the Art of Reading Food Labels

45 Play it Safe When You’re Near the Water


The Buzz...for All Things Fun for Spring!


Dads: They Play a Big Role, Too!


Book Club or Bust! Tips to Get Started


The Connection: Exercise + ADHD


YES! Spaces DIY: Family Message Center

8 20

36 50

cover cuties, jackson & caitlyn, 6

Jackson wants to be an engineer because he likes to build skyscrapers and snow mobiles. His favorite things to do are play tee ball, Legos, and Minecraft. Caitlyn would like to be a pilot when she grows up {but is concerned about her ears popping}. She also has an interest in being President of the United States. If she goes that route, she promises everyone will have clean water, every playground will have monkey bars, and every neighborhood will have a pool. photos courtesy of Drew Photography & Events multiplicity


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Can you hear the laughter in your backyard and at the local parks? Kids and parents everywhere rejoice that spring is finally here and we are all able to get back outside and enjoy our walks, our playtime and together time without the thicker layers required in winter. Of course, with more “togetherness”, plans for travel, and plans to be in crowded places comes the notion of and need for increased safety measures. We’ve got you covered with tips that can save your children’s lives, the importance of seat belts, a quick video on the importance of having a fire plan for your family, how to be safe around water, and even tips on preventing child molestation in your family. While some of these topics are not what we want to read and learn about, the fact remains that in our world today, there is a much bigger threat of child sexual abuse, kidnapping and more likely to happen, losing your children in crowded places. Having a plan in place will help us all prevent the worst from happening.

We also provide practical tips for preparing to “get out and go”, and we take a look at starting babies on solid foods. We share information on the importance of reading labels and steering clear of processed foods, dyes, GMOs and other nasties that affect our behavior, our moods, and our overall health. Looking for ideas to get your family moving? Have the kids help plan weekend adventures or help plant a garden, which goes right along with ways to celebrate Earth Day all year long. And let’s not forget you, the moms and dads who make it all happen, day after day. Parenting multiples is a tough job on even the easiest of days. We look at how dads contribute when moms need them most, and the changes that women undergo once entering motherhood. Whether you’re eagerly anticipating the summer break, registering the kids for camps, or planning your next outing at the park, Multiplicity has loads of information to keep you safe and help you enjoy the journey!

Talitha A. McGuinness executive editor talitha@multiplicitymag.com

be sure to follow us on.. 4


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

Editor / Creative Director Talitha A. McGuinness Contributing Writers Jessiva Therivel Justin Lavelle Payal Tello Isabelle Lee Meghan Khaitan Nellie Harden Kerry Bergeman Angel Rodrigues Dr. Preeti Parikh Matt Ray Jeff Jackson Cara Krenn Minde Buckingham Paula Yost Schupp Mian Rex Kevin Zelenka Julie McCaffrey Natasha D’Anna Barbara Miller

Contact us: 4700 Hilton Lake Road Kannapolis, NC 28083 980.721.5799 www.multiplicitymag.com

Multiplicity is published as a digital magazine four times per calendar year, with additional supplements as desired. Multiplicity cannot assume responsibility of statements made by advertisers. In addition, though hand-picked and carefully reviewed, Multiplicity cannot guarantee the accuracy of editorial pieces. No portion in whole or in part of this publication may be reproduced without express written consent from the editor. Questions? Email talitha@ multiplicitymag.com.

here’s to sunbursts in captured-intime images, bare feet running, making flower necklaces, and finding rocks in pockets, to longer days, longer hugs and longer evenings for star gazing, dreaming and being in the perfect place of the here & now.

photo courtesy of Firewife Photography

happy spring

tips for visiting crowded places with your kids In the coming months, families everywhere will be making vacation plans. The chance of losing a child becomes a very real possibility and can happen in a split second. 6


by justin lavelle

The mere thought of losing a child in a crowded place is a parent’s worst nightmare. Here are a few tips to help keep your kids safe if they get separated from you, whether you’re at a mall, water park, theme park or tourist spot.

*Create an Action Plan—Make sure your family has an action plan so that your kids know exactly what to do in the event you get separated. Create a clear strategy so your child will panic less and feel more able to handle the situation. If necessary, write the info down and have them put it in their pocket with your cell phone number. Always determine a place to meet at any location you’re going, such as the information desk.

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*Check Out Your Destination a stranger calling their name, but do provide them with a Ahead of Time—Before

making any plans, check out the area where you’re planning to go beforehand with an app like BeenVerified. You can get a snapshot of what the neighborhoods are like surrounding the hotel you’ve selected, or if there are sex offenders living in the area.

*All Hands on Deck—If you’ll

be traveling with your kids alone, call in a favor from your village of family and friends to see if someone can join you. Assign an adult to each child so no one will ever assume someone else is watching a particular child. If the place you’re going will be swamped with people, an extra set of hands is always a blessing.

*Keep Young Kids Close— The child leash gets a bad rap, but for some ages, they can come in very handy. It’s about safe parenting, not someone else’s opinion. A child leash allows freedom, while also ensuring their safety. The same rule of thumb goes for putting an older child in a stroller. *Look for the Helpers—

Teach your kids who to look for in the event of an emergency. Statistically, the person who is least likely to harm a child and offer the most support is a woman with children. So encourage your child to find a mom with kids and ask her for help. Also, point out an employee so your child can see what the uniforms look like. Other good helpers are police officers and security guards.

*Provide Your Children with I.D.—It’s best not to include your child’s name visibly so your child isn’t lured away by

phone number. You can order child I.D. safety tattoos from SafetyTat.com. They are colorful temporary tattoos that are applied to your child. They provide a form of identification that stays in place even when wet.

*Additional Identification—

Prepare I.D. for all your children that includes age, your mobile number, and the number of someone who is not with the group. Include their name, blood type, allergies, height, and weight. Insert into a plastic envelope and put in their pocket.

*Take a Current Photo on Your Phone—Before you leave

the house or hotel, take a photo of your kids with your phone. In the event you get separated, you can easily provide a current photo, as well as identify what your kids are wearing by pulling the photo up on your phone.

*Wear Bright Matching Colors—When going to a

crowded spot, have your family wear shirts of the same color that makes them easily identifiable and helps you keep track of them easier. They may not be the most fashionable, but finding your kids quickly in a big crowd makes it worth it.

*Grab Hotel Business Cards—If you’re staying in a

hotel, grab a few business cards and write your mobile phone number on the card. Give one to each child to put in their pocket. If you get separated, they can show the card to a helper who can then get in touch with you or return your child to the hotel if necessary.

*Use KidTracker for Older Kids—For tweens and teens multiplicity

with mobile phones, download the app KidTracker to your phones. This way, you’ll always be able to find your child. For children old enough to handle the responsibility, you can pick up an affordable pay-as-you-go phone and put enough money on it for the trip. It can then be used for any situation where you want to keep in communication with your kids.

*Encourage Your Kids to Yell—Chances are if you get

separated from your kids, they aren’t too far away. If they cannot see the adults you came with, encourage them to yell out the names of the people they came with by first name (“mom” gets lost in a sea of people). Tell your kids they are allowed to yell anywhere if they’re lost, like a library, movie theater or restaurant.

*Practice, Practice, Practice—

Each time you are off on an adventure with your kids, practice first names and how to describe you and anyone else traveling with you, along with the action plan you’ve created. Because children’s perspectives and understandings are constantly changing, it is important to review the safety action plan. By implementing these easy safety tips, moms and dads can enjoy a family outing or trip just as much as the kiddos!

Justin Lavelle is the Communications Director for BeenVerified.com. BeenVerified helps people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives. It is a great tool to keep your family safe. The company is a leading source of online background checks and contact information.

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


taking care of you..


areas to not neglect

Finding out that you are pregnant with multiples can often start a cascade of worries about how life is changing and what will change for you and your partner. It is so easy to quickly get overwhelmed at the idea of raising multiples and fear losing yourself in the process. I offer some steps you can take after becoming a parent of multiples that will help you be happy, healthy, and hopefully not too insane. As a first step, for both during the pregnancy and in that haze that is the first six months or so postpartum, a support system that includes other parents of multiples is crucial. This support can be either in person or online. Support from others is going to be the needed foundation for 8


this parenting journey and also the foundation to help you, the parent, remember what you need. The next logical step after receiving advice is to set expectations for yourself. These expectations can start during pregnancy, but continue through every stage of parenting. In order to take care of yourself, these expectations have to be flexible and you need to be able to change. If you stay rigid in your thinking, this inflexibility is a set up for failures that can be damaging to your self-esteem. Don’t set strict timelines for events such as your kids giving up pacifiers, sleeping through the night, or toilet training. Putting that pressure on yourself or

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by jessica therivel insisting on deadlines for these major parenting challenges can cause anxiety and a sense of failure if the goal is not met. Be ready and willing to change those expectations based on the results your kids are giving you. Don’t get frustrated if progress is slower than expected. Even if a particular milestone or task is taking longer than you have expected, if your child is still within the pediatrician’s parameters, try to let go of anxiety. Making time for you, but also your parenting partner is often a low priority. It should be one of the highest priorities. It is so easy to feel like you are drowning in a to-do list when you are parenting multiples and the

easiest thing to do at night, once they are in bed, is to flop on the couch, throw on the television, or start mindlessly clicking through your phone. Before my twins were born, my husband and I figured out who we trusted to watch them even at an early age and made plans to start resuming a twice a week date night schedule when they were a month old. In the early days, we did not go far or stay out for more than an hour or two, but there was still something liberating about spending that one-on-one time together. We have maintained that regular babysitting schedule and my girls just turned nine. The long-term benefit is that they are very comfortable with us going out and also see that the love and connection between their dad and me is a priority. If finances are a concern and will make getting a sitter difficult, it still works to commit to at-home date nights. This to me means that phones are plugged in and left in another room. Instead of just flipping through shows, pick a movie or a series to binge watch, grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and make it more of an event. Don’t multitask while watching because the focus should be on each other. For any single parents, this type of self-care is as important for you if not more so, and the same guidelines can work to help you feel like you are taking care of the side of you that needs some fun and a break. Personal enrichment is an area of self-care that can help you achieve a feeling of accomplishment. Personal enrichment to me means finding something that is fulfilling or satisfying for you to do that is not directly related to your

children. This may be fitness related like a sport or a particular favorite exercise class, or it could be a long-forgotten hobby like painting, photography, or reading and joining a book club. You should explore options that require at least 30 minutes of your time each week. If you can find things to work in daily like an exercise class, that will prove even better for you. A few years ago, I started back horseback riding lessons which have been so much fun and something that is 100% just for me. Feel guilty about spending money on yourself or it’s just not in the budget? Activities for personal enrichment don’t have to cost anything at all. Get creative and try having a schedule for going for walks on certain days or certain distances. You can set a goal for reading a certain amount of new books each year. Any of these activities just require a real commitment on your part to be consistent in your participation. Another area of self-care that needs your time and attention as the parent of multiples is in the area of cognition. Cognition as it relates to self-care refers to the thoughts, senses, and experiences that you as a parent are having about yourself. As parents, we need to try to actively manage negative thoughts that we are having about ourselves or our capabilities as parents. This means getting rid of negative self-talk where you get down on yourself for decisions or choices you have made. We have all felt bad at times for raising our voices, mishandling a tantrum, etc., but we need to turn that around and remember the times where we have been positive parents and give ourselves second chances. To help in improving positive self-cognitions, parents will need multiplicity

to try to set attainable goals. A long to-do list can feel like an impossible mountain to climb and because it seems insurmountable, you don’t even try to do any of it. What I find works instead is to pick one or two things to get done in a short amount of time. Be kind to yourself and try to stay away from expectations of perfectionism and unrealistic goals. Too many of these and you will be headed for parental burnout. Finally, the last important task for good self-care is to enjoy a shower or bath. Yes, that’s right, make sure to take a shower. When the babies are little, it is so easy to say you didn’t have time to shower. This can end up having a major effect on your entire outlook for the day. When I was on bedrest for 9 weeks, with 4 weeks of that in the hospital, I still made an effort to get showered and dressed because I felt better to not be in pajamas all day. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you should be taking an hour to get ready each day. The reality is a shower can take less than 10 minutes and a child can cry for 10 minutes without it being harmful. Showering is a basic, but very important step in feeling like you are still a functioning and productive adult. I used to park my twins in their bouncers right in front of my shower door so they could see me and I could see them. This ensured we were all okay. What all of these tips boil down to is finding out what you need to do to take care of yourself. With so many options for self-care, try to focus on one or two and leave the excuses for another day.

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the dr. is in:

tips on treating hay fever in spring

We are excited to head into spring, but along with this time of year often comes drainage, coughing, sneezing, and watery, itchy eyes. Spring fever? Maybe literally! The official term for the symptoms from which people suffer is “hay fever”, affecting anyone who suffers from allergies. Apparently, it is also very common and widespread across the United States, as more than 3 million cases are reported each year. The good news is that it is usually self-diagnosible and you can treat it at home, with no doctor appointment necessary (of course, should you have a severe case causing other uncomfortable symptoms like a sinus infection, see your doctor for treatment). The bad news is that it occurs either seasonally or year round (depending on where you live), and that it can be a lifelong condition with which you must learn to cope. But what is “hay fever” and when is it just a cold? 1) Let’s be clear --- hay fever is NOT a fever. The name can be misleading 10


by dr. preeti parikh

because hay fever is also known as “seasonal allergic rhinitis”, which has nothing to do with a fever at all. It is an allergic reaction to usually pollen-producing plants in certain times of the year and places in the country. Tree pollen is usually highest in the early spring; grasses are often the cause during late spring and early summer. Weeds are most often the cause of allergies during the summer and fall. This is how some people can be affected year-round. 2) Colds are caused by viruses and are contagious. Your immune system is triggered and it tries to fight the virus. Allergies are caused by exposure to allergens and your body’s immune system overreacts and sees it as foreign substance and attacks it. This is how they are different --- allergies are annoying, but not contagious. 3) Symptoms that may be similar to a cold such as nasal congestion, sneezing or watery eyes can be present in both. However, with allergies you may have itchy eyes and an itchy nose with no fever. 4) With allergies, it usually lasts as long as the exposure, so it could be weeks, whereas with an infection, it usually lasts only a couple of days. 5) In both cases, allergies and the common cold can make you feel miserable. Check with your doctor if you are not feeling well so that they can help you determine what you have and get you the help you need.

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relief for hay fever Things you can do to relieve symptoms if you experience hay fever are: *Listen to the pollen reports for your area. If your child is allergic to grass pollen, and if the grass is being mowed at or around your home, then avoid going outdoors. This goes for parks or other public places, too. *Keep windows closed and keep your AC on. Prevent those pollen spores from blowing into your home and causing irritation to those affected by keeping the breeze outdoors. Be sure to keep windows rolled up and the sunroof closed in the car, too. *After being outdoors change your clothes and take a shower to get rid of the allergens that may be sticking to you. Also, leave your shoes at the door or in a separate laundry or mudroom to avoid tracking unwanted dirt and pollen across your floors. You can use normal saline in your nose to get rid of allergens that may be in your nasal passages. *If these steps don’t work, you should talk to your physician about needing possible medications. These may include nasal corticosteroids, antihistamine sprays, antihistamine pills, decongestants and possible immunotherapy. Dr. Preeti Parikh is a boardcertified pediatrician and serves as the Chief Medical Editor of HealthiNation, a medical expert on thebump.com, medical contributor to Multiplicity, and has contributed to various other publications. Her goal is to empower both parents and children with the right knowledge and tools to achieve their optimal health. She enjoys her free time with her husband and twin children. multiplicity

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buckle up, for safety

by meghan khaitan

We can all sing the jingle “buckle up, for safety, buckle up�. Yet according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children in the United States. However, 1 in 4 parents confess that they fail to properly restrain their kids while driving. 12


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In 2011, 33% of the kids who died in a car crash were unrestrained, which is staggering considering that those deaths could have been prevented. As adults, we abide by the “Click it, or Ticket” laws, so why then don’t we adhere to the “buckle up, every time, on every ride” rule for our kids? The study’s findings are astounding: – 1 in 3 affluent parents with a household income of $100,000 or greater believe it is acceptable to leave their children unrestrained for short distances. This poses great danger to kids, since 60% of accidents involving kids occur 10 minutes or less from home. – Nearly 23% of parents between 18 and 29 are okay with letting their kids travel unrestrained when traveling overnight. Yet, traveling unrestrained at night makes them more vulnerable to being injured in a crash. Night time accidents easily occur due to the obvious: tired drivers or poor sight due to the dark. – Parents with graduate degrees are twice as likely to let kids go unrestrained because they are in a hurry. When drivers are preoccupied by schedules or rushing to get somewhere on time, they are less likely to be fully attentive while driving, putting them at risk for an accident. Parents’ attitudes on buckling up send powerful messages to their kids. Parents need to draw a hard line when it comes to buckling up, just like they would for any other dangerous activity. Parents would never let their kids play

with fire or go jumping off of bridges. As our world becomes more populated, and our streets and highways become more congested with traffic, it is vital that we require kids to be buckled up in age-appropriate safety seats when traveling. The best piece of advice for ensuring it’s no argument territory? Parents should be sure to lead by example, meaning mom and dad must buckle up every single time. Remember that you as a parent are a role model and kids will model their behavior according to what they see, not just what they hear. Reinforce the idea that buckling up is a family commitment by adding in a fun little activity every time the family gets in the car. Take turns saying “1,2, 3, click” and on “3,” everyone clicks. It will quickly become a tradition! Buckling up starts with the trip home from the hospital and there are no exceptions from that point forward. Kids learn and will accept that sitting buckled up in a car seat is a way of life. Just like with many things, if they can do it on their own, they’re more likely to buy into the concept. From the time kids are 2 – 3 years old, they can be taught to buckle themselves. Of course, parents should check the buckles to ensure they are secure. You might want to consider offering a small reward when kids are initially trying to learn. However, once kids grow into a booster seat, strapping into the adult safety belt can be

challenging. Investing in a buckle stabilizer can make latching seat belts easier. Encourage kids to have a contest to see who can buckle up the quickest. Put a quarter in a jar at home each time they buckle up without making a fuss and at the end of the month let them spend their “safety money” on a favorite treat. Something most parents don’t know is that kids are normally between 8 and 12 before standard seat belts fit them correctly. At this age, they may start to balk at sitting in a child restraint, so assure them it is to protect them from injury in an accident. Conduct a standard seatbelt test to determine if they are ready to give up their booster seat. A few things to check include: – Their knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their back and bottom are snug against the back of the seat. – The lap strap should fit across their thighs and the shoulder belt should fit across their shoulder and chest. – Kids are VIPs, so they should ride in the back until they are 13 Creating an attitude of safety will protect everyone in the family. As kids grow into teenagers and start to drive, we as parents want them to be safe. Buckling up is the best way to protect them should a crash occur. Adopting a rule that the car doesn’t move until everyone is buckled will ensure full family participation. Ready? Set. Click!

Meghan Khaitan is a family travel expert and the founder of MyBuckleMate. A must-have for carpools and road trips, the stabilizer keeps back seat buckles propped up and easy to reach so buckling up is always a snap! It is the perfect seat belt solution for kids in booster seats, those with special needs or motor planning difficulties, and adults with limited mobility and Arthritis. multiplicity

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book review by kevin zelenka

Spring may have sprung in some parts of the country, but it’s still cold in others. Whether it feels like springtime in your part of the world or not, I bet we could all agree that it’s always time for a good book. Here are some of mine and my kids’ favorites. Kids wonder about a lot of things, but what would happen IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE? Author Laura Numeroff answers the question and Felicia Bond’s delightful illustrations take us through what happens as a little girl gives her friend, a pig, a pancake. From playing piano, taking pictures, and even building a treehouse, we learn that feeding a pet can only lead to one thing...a familiar ending. Brad Meltzer is well known for his political fiction, but his Ordinary People Change the World series is really where he shines. One example, I AM ABRAHAM LINCOLN, focuses not on the famous man’s presidency which he is so well known for, but who 14


he was and what he believed in before he took office. The book proves that sometimes the greatness in a person happens even before we know it.

There are times when winter gives way to spring right before our eyes and we don’t even see it. The book AND THEN IT’S SPRING by Julie Fogliano walks us through how quickly it can happen. There aren’t a lot of words, but the beautiful illustrations by Erin E. Stead more than make up for it. If your child is a fan of adventure, than THE ADVENTURES OF CRASH ADAMS – ONE EAR RETURNS will be right up their alley. Crash is a fearless 10 year-old girl that uses her clever tricks and resourcefulness to overcome some tough obstacles. If ever there was a role model for little girls…and boys, the book’s writer, Mike Adamick, has found her. Potty training isn’t always that fun, but the book DINOSAURS LOVE UNDERPANTS by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort make the transition a bit more tolerable with a dose of humor. A brief history lesson into the Mesozoic Era and The Great Briefs Tugo-war, along with some great graphics prove that everyone wants to wear underpants. Even dinosaurs.

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Sometimes you need a nap. Sometimes you need a vacation. What does one little tiger try and prove to his older brother? That SOMETIMES YOU NEED A JELLYFISH. This great book written and illustrated by Christopher Routly shares the nine different reasons why one might feel the need to pack a jellyfish before going to visit their grandparents. From using it as an umbrella, to picking an elephant’s nose, this one will have your youngster laughing from the beginning to the end.

We can all agree that any child’s book collection wouldn’t be complete without a couple of classics. I’m not talking about Mark Twain, or Judy Blume, although those wouldn’t be bad selections. I’m thinking more in line with that famous doctor himself, Dr. Seuss. A great choice for the budding reader in the family is HOP ON POP. Read about where Pat sat, balls on the wall, and of course what happens when you hop on Pop, all comprised of little words. Going with a warmer, beachy theme, your kids may love the DOLPHIN DIARIES series by Ben Baglio. Each book is filled with adventure, as the kids learn how to rescue and care

for the dolphins and other sea animals they find through their volunteer efforts. You never know...it may just spark a new interest for your kids! Have a mystery lover on your hands? SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK by Robert Beatty transports the reader to a long ago time at the beautiful Biltmore Estate in North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains. Kids are vanishing and Serafina is bent on finding out why. As the story unravels, the main characters show how true friendship can triumph over evil and transcend all differences. While some younger children love the rose-tinted fairy tales of long ago, older children may embrace the more realistic of the tales in Adam Gridwitz’s Grimm’s Tales series that begins with A TALE DARK AND GRIMM. Old favorite characters like Jack and Jill and Hansel and Gretel come to life with new, darker twists on their adventures, but beware --these stories aren’t by Disney. As kids get ready for summer break, the conversation turns to where you should head for the much needed get-a-way. BEACH HOUSE shares the

very relatable story about the anticipation that builds as you get to your destination, and in this case, then explores the course of events of a family on the beach. Author Deanna Caswell makes me want to drive to the coast and the drawings by Amy June Bates transport me there with my family without even packing a bag. Need something for yourself? Check out THE ESCAPE ARTIST by Diane Chamberlain where a mom is forced to leave town with her son who the courts recently awarded custody to her ex-husband and his new wife. Will she be able to get away with her crime or will she be forced to give him up, tearing the life she knew and made apart? If you’re looking for something more mind provoking, try Jodi Picoult’s NINETEEN MINUTES. As in most of her novels, she creates a world with controversy, filled with questions without clear answers. She shows a world where Peter Houghton is endlessly bullied from the day he begins Kindergarten and what goes through the mind of a teenager bent on revenge.

Kevin is a freelance writer and the stay-at-home father of fraternal twin toddlers. He enjoys spending time with his wife and sons, attending meet-ups with other dads, and an occasional round of golf. He can be found in the kitchen making lunch and mindlessly singing cartoon theme songs, or on his blog where he shares stories about the struggles and triumphs of raising twins. You can connect with him on his blog or on facebook. multiplicity

Kids across the country can now travel to Faraway Woods, a world of delightful characters and interactive stories, thanks to the release of a podcast by award-winning CLIMB Theatre. For children ages 4-9, the podcast helps them exercise their creativity and develop pro-social skills. Featuring professional actors playing fantasy creatures, kids are introduced to the Whimple Snivel and Pladapellaphant, as well as Sticky Wicky, and Mrs. M, a warm wallaby woman. Children listening to episodes of Faraway Woods not only hear the audio plays, they participate in them physically and imaginatively, hopping far and wide, running from lions, and tumbling from helicopters about to crash. The podcast also offers selfguided games and activities parents and teachers can do with their children after listening. Episodes of Faraway Woods are available to the public for free on CLIMB Theatre’s project website, FarawayWoods.org, and via iTunes and Stitcher. The first season, which launched on March 15, will consist of 14 interactive episodes.

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made to measure: PARENTING DIFFERENTLY WITH EACH CHILD by isabelle lee

I have come to the realization that I am an annoyingly contrary parent. I could blame it on having twins with very different personalities…and so I shall. I sometimes feel that being a twin parent is an opportunity to witness a nature/nurture experiment in action. But it’s a lot more complicated than I thought. Although my twins were born on the same day to the same parents, and have had as similar an environment as it is possible to have, that doesn’t make their upbringing identical. They have one very big difference in their experience: me. Since they are both so different, I end up parenting differently with each of them and their unique personalities, hoping that they don’t pick up on too many inconsistencies! I first became aware of it when my two first started to be properly mobile. My son, 16


who I will call Ernest, (not his real name, but appropriate nonetheless), was a very cautious toddler. We used to persuade, encourage and cajole him to climb on a climbing frame, or go down a small slide. “You can do it!” I would say. “It’s completely safe - I’ll catch you,” I would coax him. We praised every tiny step towards overcoming a fear. We would call him courageous, brave, grown-up, you name it. And then there was my daughter, who I shall call Joy (again, an appropriate nomde-plume!). While Ernest was trying to pluck up the courage to go down a two-foot slide, she was hurtling headfirst down helter-skelter. While Ernest was reluctantly climbing onto the first rung of a rope ladder, she would be jumping off the top level of a climbing frame with wild abandon, utterly trusting that we would catch her,

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whether she’d warned us or not. And was I praising these feats of bravery and courage? Not in the least. “Joy, be careful. Think before you jump. Check that it’s safe first. Not so high.” We were desperately just trying to keep her alive! And it doesn’t stop at those first days of teaching courage to one twin, and caution to the other. As they get older, and their personalities continue to develop in very different ways, I find myself constantly promoting the opposite of what they naturally want to do. Ernest loves his Lego sets, always following the instructions to the letter, never using any item for anything other than its original purpose. Joy takes a scarf and wears it like a dress and puts pencil cases on her feet as shoes. Am I congratulating Ernest on his ability to follow complex

instructions and praising Joy’s out-of-the-box creativity? Well, yes, sometimes. But I’m also telling Ernest to use his imagination and make up his own constructions (thank you The Lego Movie – that helped!) and Joy to use things as they were intended, otherwise they get damaged. You try to be completely fair as a parent. As a twin parent, you are acutely aware that any inconsistencies in approach are immediately recognizable, and cannot be explained away as “he/she is older/younger than you.” I realize in doing this, I am often sending mixed messages. To one twin, I’m the one that’s constantly trying to get him to do things he finds scary, playing down the consequences, and teaching the value of taking a little risk. To the other, I’m the one preventing her from just experiencing care-free fun, telling her to stop and think first. Their memories of me when they are grown-up may not match up entirely, but being fair with twins, or with any children, does not mean the same thing as treating them exactly the same way. Children are all born differently, and you have to alter your parenting style accordingly, which becomes much more obvious when your children are the same age. Sometimes I do listen to myself when I am telling one twin they should be reading more, and the other one that they should be more active, and I wonder

“why am I constantly trying to push them away from their natural inclination?” It’s not that I don’t value what they are doing naturally – I must, because I’m always trying to get the other twin to do it. I have to remind myself to stop and marvel at the things they can do naturally, without any push from me. I just also see a value in teaching them what they wouldn’t think to do for themselves, because it will help them be more balanced and rounded (and safe, in my daughter’s case!). So how to get around this and not have your children think that you are inconsistent or unfair? The first step is to be aware of it, and think about how your children will hear what you are saying. They may see you encourage their twin to do something you are telling them not to do. Of course it seems controversial. Make sure you explain why. If you know why you are doing it, your children will better understand and perhaps accept it more easily when you explain.

adaptable to change and open to new experiences. If you have a child that is a bit rigid about keeping to the instructions, it means they are very good at structured, logical thinking and problem-solving. If they never want to follow the instructions or use things as they are meant to, it probably means they are very creative and independentminded. I may approach the parenting of each twin differently, but the underlying message is always the same: I want to help them to be the best versions of themselves they can be. I don’t want to mold them into something they are not, but that doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from a little encouragement to develop aspects of themselves they wouldn’t think to do on their own. I just must always remember to temper it with an understanding and appreciation of their underlying nature.

I think it’s impossible to ever disentangle genetics from environment. I parent differently with each twin because they are different to me, which starts an Make sure to praise what they endless feedback-loop where are doing naturally so that they you no longer know how much know you feel there is a value is genetics and how much is your to what comes more easily to them. There are always two sides response to those genetics or the environment in which you to every coin: if your child is are being raised. very cautious and afraid of risk, they are likely to be very good So naturally, what do I say when at understanding consequences someone asks which of the twins’ and keeping safe. If they don’t traits are nature and which parts think before they act, and don’t are nurture? It probably depends consider safety before doing on who’s asking… something, they may be more

Isabelle Lee is a delighted but exhausted stay-at-home mom to seven-year-old twins; frequently bemused, often fascinated and perpetually behind schedule. Originally from the UK, she now lives with her husband and twins in California, but is planning a move back across the pond soon. You can follow her blog, on facebook and on twitter. multiplicity

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dad confessions

I am making “mini me’s”. If there is one truth about parenting (and there are probably a couple of hundred), it is that my little buggers are learning how to be adults, to be men, by watching and modeling me. That is an even more profound truth than not to start a land war in Asia. I am my father’s son, as he was his father’s, and as he was his father’s, etc. I said in my wild and crazy youth that I would never act like my dad but, low and behold, I find myself acting in a similar way these days. Now, let’s lay the ground rules. I am not blaming my dad for anything. Years ago there was a concerted effort on the part of society to blame parents for someone’s behavior or misfortune or other worldly malaise. I do not subscribe to such fingerpointing. My dad did the best he could based on who he was, who his role model was and based on societal/cultural norms of the time. He was, as we all are, products of nature and nurture. In many ways, I am very different from my dad. His physical presence was solid and powerful. How else could it be so from a kid who grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea in New York City during the Great Depression? The irony is that he was a quiet guy and as the years advanced on him, his hearing grew worse and he seemed to grow even quieter. However, when he was aroused or challenged, his person commanded immediate attention. And, boy, did he have a temper with an explosive side. Yet, never to my knowledge, did he beat us mercilessly. Spank yes, beat no.

by jeff jackson 18


I am probably not quite as quiet as he was. I used to be extremely quiet, but in the past few years, I have grown almost talkative. I don’t like to talk and I don’t talk to hear myself talk. After all, I already know what I’m the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

thinking and feeling. I don’t feel the urge to get other people to hear me. On the other hand, since I’ve been in sales, I’ve developed a more open nature. I would rather tell a joke than to say just about anything else. The jury is still out on how much the little buggers will resemble me. Will they ever say, “I will never be like my dad” like I did, like just about everybody I know has said at one point or another? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, I see glimpses of their development of being “mini me’s”. They are already more talkative than I am. I know when they are awake in the morning because I hear them talking. Sometimes, they just talk a lot; that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just who they are and how they interact with each other being twins. Mortimer (not his real name) is already smarter than I am --oops! --- than I WAS at his age and he is reading at a higher level than I do...DID. Even Archibald (not his real name, either) is reading pretty well and his math skills are superior to mine at that age. At this stage in their seven year old lives, their emotional development is somewhat suspect, though most would say is totally age appropriate. Case in point, last week at dinner, I had had enough of their whining and general dislike of the food prepared for them. When I was a kid, I had to like

(and eat) everything placed in front of me. Ok, there were a couple of exceptions. One was cooked spinach, which looked like it was dragged from the bottom of the ocean and somehow made its way to my plate. Yuck!!! Double Yuck!!!! To this day, I still cannot eat canned spinach. Fresh spinach for salads is fine, but cooked spinach may very well be camouflaged whale regurgitation. I was never a big fan of cabbage either, but I’ve at least grown to eat it as an adult. Oh, and blue cheese... forget about it. That is definitely from a sick cow. No way! Well, I decided that I had had enough. SMM (Sergeant Major Mommy) and I were not torturing the boys with any exotic foods, much less cooked spinach. It was pizza and everyone knows that pizza is one of the four basic food groups along with coffee, ice cream and hamburgers. Condiments are essentially super foods, especially, catsup, but I digress. So I gave the speech I heard every day in childhood, and if it wasn’t every day, it felt like it. My voice was a little raised...ok, it was a lot raised. I rambled on about how SMM and daddy work very hard to earn money to put food on the table, yada yada yada. Unfortunately, my eloquent mad ramblings did not have the desired effect and the little

buggers didn’t eat anything. SMM sent them to their room. The good news is that they are only seven and so they have a limited attention and memory span. Within minutes, all was seemingly forgotten about the dinner table pep talk and they were playing in their room. The bad news is that daddy -me, moi, superhero -- felt bad about it, apparently worse than the little buggers did. Since it was my time to read to them that night, I sincerely apologized to them and said, “Sorry, I got frustrated since you didn’t eat…” Little Morty looked up at me and said, “Dad, you don’t have to yell at us.” I’m certain that I shrank in that instant to 3” tall. My dad and I never had that kind of communication. He never apologized and since I have always had low selfesteem, I never confronted him. That’s just the way it was. Things are different now. I don’t blame him. Wouldn’t you know, the day after this incident, Morty came home from school with a blank comic book. It was a project from class where he was supposed to write and draw the captions himself. Morty said that he was dedicating the book to me, his daddy. It seems pretty clear that the “mini me’s” I made are much better than the real me.

Jeff Jackson is a daddy, husband, writer, salesman and superhero-in-training. He actively supports men and daddies to be their best. After working in corporate America, a divorce and trying to pursue his lifelong passion of acting, life had different plans. Jeff became a daddy “later in life” and is now married to a wonderful wife and mommy to their twin boys. For the record, he did not have any gray hair before they were born! Check out his blog to get a glimpse of the trials and tribulations of raising twin sons. You can also connect with him on Facebook and on Twitter. multiplicity

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tips for making

earth day every day! 20


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by angel rodrigues


Every year on April 22, 192 countries organize global events to bring awareness to Earth Day. This tradition started in 1970 and is just as important today, because at the end of every day we have to be grateful for the ground we live on. One of the best ways to make sure the tradition carries on is to share its importance with children. Families and classrooms everywhere take great measures to teach and practice good Earth-keeping activities, such as planting new trees, recycling, holding awareness events, and working on legislation that would improve our environment. Here are tips to make sure you and the children in your life carry on this incredibly important tradition on a daily basis, so that the planet will be around for generations and generations to come. multiplicity

1. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. The government, in an effort to keep conservation and the environment relevant to consumers, came up with this campaign slogan a few years ago. By cutting down, finding ways to reuse items and recycle them, Earth Day is easily a part of our daily lives. 2. Upcycle. Taking items and reusing them, but by adding a flair for increased quality or value to them is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Pinterest is a treasure mine to find upcycle ideas. The difference between reusing an item and upcycling it is the difference between throwing some pens into a washed repurposed coffee can, and taking that coffee can and using Mod Podge to attach cloth and hand sew beads around the rim. Upcycling elevates and repurposes, which often times can be more fun and inspiring than simply reusing. 3. Cardboard and Box Be Gone. Parents are always faced with the age-old dilemma of children loving the boxes the toys came in while ignoring the toys. So why not make a toy out of the boxes? Every family goes through countless toilet paper roles and those little cardboard inserts are pretty useless unless they can be repurposed. Instead of throwing them away and creating more trash, glue them all side by side inside a box of any size to create a Hot Wheel storage unit. Use some of those Amazon boxes from the holidays to create containers to collect all the smaller cardboard items for later use. Another idea is to attach some of those package cardboard boxes together to make a train. It can be painted and when dry, a cheap, recycled, repurposed toy for the kids and their imaginations. When these toys all fall apart as all toys

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do eventually, there isn’t really a reason to cry. You used it in every way possible! 4. Grow Your Own Herbs. Adults love to cook with herbs, and kids love to grow things and learn. An everyday activity to celebrate the Earth involves starting up an herb greenhouse. Both parents and children can learn about the herbs, how to grow them, and how they help the environment, not to mention having access to them for cooking every day. Who knows? You might discover a little chef in your house in the process! 5. Make Your Own Cleaners. Everyone who cleans knows that the cleaners we buy have chemicals that can be toxic. Chemicals are not only bad for us, but they’re pretty harmful to the environment, too. Some people feel safer cleaning with bleach and Lysol and just accept the chemicals as a necessary evil to life. The Earth would like to differ, as it offers up natural cleansers that kill bacteria and freshen the air without all that toxicity. Homemade, natural cleaning agents can be made of many combinations that fit most any situation, from kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms, and can tackle everything from killing bacteria to cleaning your clothes and freshening up the air. A few good bases to use include vinegar and even baking soda. Natural scents from herbs, fruit, flowers, and especially essential oils can be added to help with scent, improve your mood and overall well-being. Remove chemicals from Mother Earth now and she will thank you later. 22


6. Pull Out Those Canvas Bags. One of the largest fillers of landfills that is killing our Earth is plastic...through general products and especially plastic bags. Supermarkets, chain stores, and grocery stores across the world buy plastic bags in bulk that are discarded in bulk daily, too. Stores such as Aldi offer an alternative with canvas bags that you can buy to bring your groceries home. Why stop there? Target sells smaller canvas bags in their dollar bins that are perfect for smaller shoppers. Adults and children can equip themselves with canvas bags to shop everywhere. Not only are you helping the environment and lessening waste in the landfills, you are teaching your children to do the same and to be better shoppers and helpers. It’s a win! 7. Detox from Your Electronics. Electronics are a huge part of the everyday life of most people around the world. The general acts of checking email, sending files, logging in to the laptop for a day’s worth of work, and even posting to social media use up a lot of energy that puts a strain on how well our Earth can operate. Whether it is your cell phone, the computers, the tablets, the handheld gaming devices, the home gaming devices, televisions, blu-ray players,

and so much more, electronics are unkind to Mother Earth but there are ways to ease that burden. Creative families have found that establishing hours per day for family use of electronics helps. Everyday electronics can be turned off after a certain time to detox the humans and the Earth from that power usage. Not only will it reduce the energy the technology requires, it will force us to interact more with each other, pick up a book, get moving outside, or use our creativity in ways we may have forgotten. 8. Pick Up Trash. Some kids will say they won’t pick up a mess because they didn’t make it. Maybe it is because they see the adults saying and doing the same. As the saying goes, “be the change you want to see in the world”. Whether it is out in the park on a lunch break, out in the street in front of your house, or on a walk around the mall, trash can be and should be picked up by everyone. There is a Yiddish saying that “if everyone swept in front of their houses the whole street would be clean”. This is very true and a great everyday way to honor Earth day. Keep some disposable gloves handy for when big messes are around so that you can place it in the trash safely. Children will see this being role modeled and

Homemade, natural cleaning agents can be made of many combinations that fit most any situation, from kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms, and can tackle everything from killing bacteria to cleaning your clothes and freshening up the air.

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begin to get the message that taking care of the Earth is everyone’s responsibility. 9. Banish the Water Bottle. Water and specifically bottled water is bought and used everyday. The problem with this quest to keep hydrated is the plastic bottle waste that is clogging our landfills. Despite having the best of intentions, water bottles are a toxic product when they are breaking down on Mother Earth. Instead, reuse those water bottles or better yet, buy a sturdy, long lasting, thermos style water bottle that can be used time and again. Filter the water for the purest possible hydration and fill up the same bottle every day instead of throwing away all that plastic. Reusing a bottle with a wider mouth allows the possibilities of add ins for the water. You can toss in everything from lemon, to chia seeds, to various fruit to flavor your water in a healthy way in the reusable water bottle. 10. Take a Breath of Fresh Air. One of the easiest daily Earth Day activities to do that not only celebrates the Earth, but also cleans the air around any room is to grow plants inside or outside of your home. Whether or not you have a green thumb, there is a plant out there for every skill level and they all have one thing in common; they clean the air. Green leaves work hard to filter the toxins in the air around them and that means fresh air to breathe for

you and your family. Talk to a local horticulturist and find out which plants work best for your household or your type of soil should you decide on a garden. Be it kids, pets, allergies, etc., they will help you find the right plant that helps celebrate the Earth and keep a clean environment right in and around your own home. If you garden, you’re taking it one step further by helping your family to eat clean, local produce made by your own hands! 11. Become More Water Wise. Water is one of our most precious resources, yet we take advantage of and take for granted its supply. Surely, with as many people as are walking this planet today, there is a high possibility that one day we may not have access to unlimited clean water. That’s a scary thought when you consider how much we rely on it in our everyday lives. From doing the laundry to washing our cars, our dishes and even ourselves, we as individuals go through a lot of water. Now is a great time to teach your children early lessons on water preservation and that we shouldn’t take it for granted. A few tips are to encourage them to use what they pour when getting a drink from the faucet, or turning the faucet off when brushing their teeth, or perhaps even waiting to flush the toilet at home after two uses vs. one (this largely depends on the job being done!).

If you water your lawn or garden, try doing it earlier in the day when it’s not as hot and easier for the ground to absorb, and try watering every couple of days vs. every single day. Applying even a few of these tips will make great strides in preserving a pretty precious resource to all of us. 12. Say No to Waste. It takes a lot of energy from Mother Earth to help us humans to make paper from her trees. Then we turn around and use it, waste it, and throw it away. Why not use cloth for things like grocery bags, giftwrap, cleaning cloths, and napkins? You can make your own or try shops on etsy.com where you can have them customized with monograms or to your colors and themes. Then there is the non-stop flow of junk mail and bills that come from the post office every day. What a waste of paper and not very eco-friendly! Switch all the bills over to e-billing and use the junk mail to line pet cages (birds, rabbits, etc), potty train a puppy on it, line drawers, and all those arts and crafts projects you do over the weekends. If you really want to go big or go home, use all that junk mail to create a piñata and have a party celebrating all the things you are doing on a daily basis for the place we all call home, Earth.

Angel Rodrigues is mom to a 10 year old son, 8 year old twin boys, and her 6 year old daughter. She has been married to the best man on earth for over 17 years. She has a passion for writing, humanity, and the common good. You can follow along with her blog or find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. multiplicity

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FASHIONspring FINDS into fun!

by talitha a. mcguinness 24


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

With spring in the air, it’s time to shed those thicker layers and opt for lighter duds. You’ll be comfortable in cropped pants or capris, and a fitted denim shirt is a classic piece you can pair with both shorts and pants. Opt for comfy shoes for chasing the kiddos at the playground. Oka-B has an amazing line complete with flats and flops for the more casual, or even their wedges for your date night or girls’ nights out! If you’re opting for denim or black and whites, be sure to add a splash of color in your accessories.

Talitha was born a fashionista, sharing a love for beautiful clothing and trends that are timeless. Now with a family of 6, she stretches her budget to the limit, making everyone look great for less! multiplicity

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the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


by kerry bergeman

rowing up I had only one friend in my entire class that had food allergies. She was deathly allergic to peanuts. This was not common and wasn’t treated with the delicateness that we show our children these days. Unfortunately, because of this, she passed away from eating a product that was manufactured in a facility that also dealt with nuts. These days it seems every other child I know has a severe allergy to at least one food including my own children. My oldest has what Johns Hopkins calls a “secondary allergy to cow dairy”. She doesn’t display the typical rash, shortness of breath and other anaphylactic symptoms of a typical allergy, yet it is far more severe than just an intolerance. Ingested in any form she will get intense intestinal issues ranging from constipation, cramping, diarrhea, nausea and other such painful symptoms. My youngest two start having major breathing issues when they ate avocados. After researching this fruit as an allergen, I noticed a recurring theme. Maybe they weren’t actually allergic to the avocado itself, but the latex that is injected into them to give them a nice sheen. WHAT?! How is this allowed? Why are our FDA regulations allowing even the tiniest of latex and other “chemicals” to be injected into our foods, and especially those that we deem as healthy like fruits and vegetables? This led me down a road of really investigating the foods my family eats and their impact on our lives. GMOs, gluten, dyes, preservatives, organic, home grown, and free-range are all words that are tossed around with regard to


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food now, but what does it all mean? How do I know what is really good for my family and what is harmful? While it seems so many lines have blurred, I think we can all agree that the best way to feed our bodies is to grow our own food, raise our own animals, cook our own foods. But with the demands of work and school and extracurricular activities, how in this day and age can we do that? It seems impossible, so we as the consumer need to make the best decisions based on the information we have available to us. I would love to eat all natural and organic, but the truth is it is expensive, especially when you are feeding a family of six. I try to plant a garden each season and hit the farmer’s markets as much as possible. When this isn’t an option, I pick and choose what products need to be organic as much as



possible and that takes us to the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen”. The dirty list is comprised of fruits and vegetables that were found to have over 45 different chemicals on or in them (hint...a few even had as many as 67)! Do you want to put one chemical in your child’s body, let alone 45-67?!? The “dirty dozen” list are those fruits and vegetable to steer clear of or buy as organic only: 1. Celery 2. Peaches 3. Strawberries 4. Apples 5. Domestic blueberries 6. Nectarines 7. Sweet bell peppers 8. Spinach, kale and collard greens 9. Cherries 10. Potatoes 11. Imported grapes 12. Lettuce On the flip side are the clean fifteen which resulted in no

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to very few chemicals and pesticides when tested. 1. Onions 2. Avocados 3. Sweet corn 4. Pineapples 5. Mango 6. Sweet peas 7. Asparagus 8. Kiwi 9. Cabbage 10. Eggplant 11. Cantaloupe 12. Watermelon 13. Grapefruit 14. Sweet potatoes 15. Sweet onions It is a good rule of thumb to get into the habit of following these lists when possible. Although it is near impossible to wash off pesticides, it can help in the reduction of chemicals we eat and that is better than nothing. GMOs, one of the most tossed around words in the food industry today, were created to help stop the need for so many chemicals and pesticides on our

foods, but with this, the fear of new allergens and toxins are brought to light. For every article I researched on GMOs, I found one that counteracted what I just read. Hasn’t the food industry been altering and modifying fruits, vegetables and plants since farming started? I plan to continue to avoid GMOs and pesticides as much as I can until further evidence is provided that it isn’t or won’t be harmful to my family. It is just too risky to give these products to our children who are still growing and developing. Another challenge I deal with daily are dyes. I have clearly noticed that dyes, particularly red and blue, cause my daughter to reel with hyperactivity. She can’t control herself and just bursts into energy. She is just very sensitive to the dyes and sugar in foods and this has become a common thread among many families with children who fall on the ADD spectrum, among other behavioral issues, too. I try to bake our own sweets when possible and flavor our foods in an all-natural way when I can. For example, I use fresh strawberries mixed with vanilla yogurt to make her strawberry yogurt so it is dye free. There are countless studies out there that claim dyes cause hyperactivity, while never proved inconclusively, the studies show over and over that foods and

drinks given to children cause, at the very least, an outburst off hyperactivity shortly following. We as parents know that hyperactive children tend to make more impulsive and less rational choices and decisions, which typically ends in someone getting in trouble.Yet marketers have done a fabulous job in making us believe that the only food that is good for you is the pretty food, so the food industry continues to add more CHEMICALS to our food for no other reason than to make them look attractive. As with organic, it is nearly impossible to live a dye free life. Kids are exposed to sugary, dyed drinks in school, on commercials, in books, at parties and billboards, and so on, so they want it and let’s face it --- the sugar tastes good. Even if we pack their lunches, control their snacks, and eat mostly at home, they want to have what their friends are having. Until the U.S. FDA regulations become stricter on the use of GMOs, dyes, and pesticides in the foods that we enjoy and use to nourish our bodies, we must continue to educate ourselves on what to purchase and when, how to best prepare our food, and so on. The key is also to educate our children early on so they know the effects of bad foods on our bodies and minds, and to make better choices “most” of the time!

more tips on clean eating... *limit processed foods by shopping on the periphery of the store (i.e. the deli counter, produce, meats, etc.). *limit what you eat out of boxes --- and read the labels to be sure you can pronounce and know what is in the food you’ll be eating. *eat more veggies because they’re loaded with vitamins and nutrients to help you function at your best every day (they also have lots of fiber that keeps you filling full). *limit alchohol as it can dehydrate you and ends up being nothing more than empty calories. *craving the sweets? look to fruits and natural sweeteners like honey instead of the processed junk that fill the checkout aisles.

Kerry Bergeman is the mastermind behind New2Two.com, a peek at life as a mother of fraternal AND identical twins! Her blog is about life with twins, dealing with infertility, raising awareness for bully prevention, and the challenges of having a daughter with a severe intolerance to dairy. She also teaches part-time at the local community college and runs Mommies of Multiples on Facebook. Kerry is the Brand Ambassador/Senior Spokesman of the Twingaroo twin carrier - the first and only ergonomic twin carrier that features a built in diaper bag. Connect with her on facebook, twitter, and instagram. multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples




the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples



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what mamas are made of...

a glimpse into the shape shifting of women during motherhood

photo courtesy of janet kuzma photography



the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

by talitha a. mcguinness 33


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

ou know how little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, and little boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails? I got to thinking…what are mamas made of? I’m sure the answer to this question differs depending on who you ask. Our kids may say hugs and kisses and fulfilled wishes, yet our husbands (if they’re being generous), may say mamas are made of patience and grit like no one else. Combining the two, it could easily be said that mamas are the literal glue that holds the family together. By definition, motherhood “is the state or experience of giving birth to and raising a child”. Yet, as simple as that sounds, it seems to fall flat compared to what mamas do (and live to tell about) each day. Motherhood is a stage in life that is new to every woman upon having her first child (or in our case, children). It’s unchartered territory, and although there are books and other mothers on which to rely and garner strength, wisdom and let’s be honest, guts to tackle what is expected of us, all of this falls away when it comes down to what we make of it and what works for us and our family. Motherhood creates a whole new world for us, one in which it sometimes takes the majority of our kids’ growing up years to even figure out. That woman we were B.C. (before children) isn’t lost forever, but she’s definitely tucked away for a really long time --- unless we can understand by kinan copen and appreciate 34


the importance of finding a good balance to who we are. As our children are born and require around the clock feedings and diaper changes, mamas are required to function on less sleep than ever before. We understand that it may be many months (ergo years!) before our twins and possibly even other children sleep through the night without our assistance and attention. We nurse, we feed, we rock, we sing, we snuggle and we soothe until they drift back off to dreamland, meanwhile, the last full night of sleep may have been at some point two years prior to their arrival (because we all know we didn’t sleep during pregnancy!). That is one of those “lasts” that mamas never remember...the last night you slept peacefully and fully before you had children (for those reading this who are contemplating pregnancy and starting a family --- cherish it with every comfortable position in which you find yourself!). As our children begin to move and toddle about, mamas get so caught up in chasing after them, entertaining them, feeding and keeping them clean, and in that regard, doing mounds of laundry to keep the house up. This is on top of possible work responsibilities, whether at home or in an office space. Did I mention laundry?

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Our little tots require more and more of our time and attention, and it’s so easy to see why we shift from being someone who may have had sole focus on one area of our lives like a job and enjoying the company of our partner, to becoming a master at multi-tasking all of the new roles we acquired when the kids came along. Our “me” time dwindles to near nothingness, as we are overtaken by new responsibilities and expectations from those who depend on us most. Our former selves become mere shadows left to the past. Once our children begin school, we take on yet even more roles of chauffeur, tutor, and negotiator (anyone ever have to deal with the wardrobe wars for your kids at the start of each day?!?), among many others that come and go depending on the situation. Sure, dads play their own significant roles, and they vary from family to family, but sometimes (let’s be honest --most of the times), mamas still do the majority of the home life work, on top of juggling their own career and also getting the kids to and from play dates, school, and extracurricular activities. You can imagine how all of this is compounded for single moms or those who have partners who travel or are away in the military. With so many balls in the air, on even the best of days, it’s easy to see why mamas often feel like they’re drowning, with no life raft in sight. This is where that “village” comes into play. If you don’t have a natural village of family around you to support you when you need it most, create your own. They will

be your life preserver. Just as motherhood is at one point, new to each of us, it also goes through many stages, some more challenging than others. It goes without saying that mamas must become so many things to and for their families. In any given day, a mama will play cook and maid, preparing for the day ahead and cleaning up the spoils of that same day. She may play teacher, patiently offering up little reminders of how things should be, how we are to act in public, and even more important, how we treat others. On the worst of days, she may even play nurse, offering up hugs and bandaids as the best medicine she can give. She will be the voice of wisdom when one child is hurt by a sibling or friend, or when the world seems to be falling apart for another. She will be a shoulder to cry on, an embrace to rely on, and an ear for sharing all of lifes ups and downs, even when her heart may be breaking, when she has work left over from yesterday, when she has hardly said “hello” to her husband, and chores still to be done before bedtime and rising to do it all over again. Rest assured that when even the most put-together mamas seem to have it figured out, a dear friend said it best --- you can bet they are like ducks in water...calm, cool and collected on the surface, yet paddling ferociously to stay afloat!

No matter what stage of motherhood you find yourself in now, just know that soon, it will inevitably change. With our kids growing and developing, their needs of us change. So how do we navigate this shape shifting season of our lives? There’s something really important you need to know and embrace. You are worth fighting for, mama! You are worth more than the sum of your kids. Our children and our significant others take a lot from us, so it’s not being selfish to preserve or set aside moments in each day to ourselves. It also doesn’t make us bad as mamas to feel any of the things mentioned in this article (and then some!) --- it only makes us humans with a lot on our plates. Taking that time to hone in on things in which you’re most interested will be medicine to your soul. Exercising, exploring your hobbies and interests, or even making time to visit with your favorite people, people who get you like no one else, lift you up and help you be a better you, all help to recharge and refresh us when we need it most. Mamas are miracle workers. They are laborers, and they are care takers. Yet even more strangely, they can be lost, empty and lonely, even when they have millions of things to do and are surrounded by those who love them most. Most of all, mamas are role models, for our kids, for other mamas, and anyone else watching (and likely even critiquing --- which is okay as

long as they keep their opinions to themselves). When all is said and done, mamas are constantly shifting roles and it’s not only important that we’re healthy for our children, but for ourselves, too. There’s a really big lesson in that. I’ve always heard that as moms, we’ll never forget to do anything for our own children, while we often sacrifice our own needs, time and desires. Perhaps we should focus on putting ourselves first in some circumstances, and then provide for our children and families. Just like the saying goes “an empty cup can give no more”. I’m certainly learning the hard way (and have a long way to go!), but sometimes, we accomplish more by doing less. How is this possible, you ask? When it feels like your children are literally sucking the life right out of you, just breathe. Yep, just breathe. Just take a moment to understand and realize that in the big scheme of things, the piles of unfolded laundry (that grow mountainous by the day), the sink full of dirty dishes and the cranky and tired kids, you are a mama. For only a little while do they need you for every second you can give, every embrace you can share, every breath you have to give. In the blink of an eye, your role in motherhood will shift again and you’ll be left with the memories of how things once were. It goes without saying, no poem or rhyme could ever convey what mamas are truly made of.

Talitha is a twin mom with two singletons, an adoring wife to an amazingly patient and supportive husband, and a multi-tasker of multiple businesses and her whirlwind home. She juggles carpool, after school activities, magazine and design deadlines, along with volunteering for several non-profit boards, yet still manages to wake at 4:30am to fit bootcamp into her crazy lifestyle. In all of her spare time, she enjoys reading and sleeping! multiplicity

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by mian rex

summer camp & sleepovers: things every parent should consider


any years ago, I was a camp counselor at the YMCA’s Camp Cheerio in North Carolina. It was an unforgettable summer. I had the privilege of working with hundreds of children and watching them develop a strong sense of self-identity, build their self-esteem, learn through first-hand experiences, and make new friends. But most of all, it was a safe place for the children while they had fun. However, after my own experience and training for children’s safety and awareness through the radKIDS program, the word “camp” many times gives a sense of false security to parents and especially to children. As a working mom with three active boys aging from 7 to 12 years old



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and a traveling husband, I just realized summer camp registration is in full swing. I don’t know about you, but spring just started and I am already feeling as if I am behind on planning for Summer Camp! As they say, “Let the games begin”. Now the race is on for scheduling our children’s summer and I would like to offer a sense of security in your decision of where they go and for how long vs. a sense of urgency that has helped me when selecting the right camp for my children. Making the Best Decision Camps have been growing at an alarming rate over the past ten years. As of 2012, the American Camp Association (ACA) shows that camps have become a $15 billion dollar industry, which employ more than 1,500,000 staff to work in various camp positions, and an increase in international staff of 20% from other countries to help expose campers to different cultures. With over 11 million children and adult campers and growing, I want to provide you, as parents, additional knowledge to help with your search and decision. First of all, here are some interesting facts about camps provided by the ACA: • Any organization can legally call themselves a camp, but rules vary from state-to-state; • Only 25% of camps in the U.S. are accredited; • 6 states don’t require camps to be licensed at all; • 28 states don’t require criminal background checks of employees.

With stats like these, it’s easy to see how things could err on the side of wrong or how a seemingly fun summer experience could turn ugly. I’m not saying camps are dangerous places for your kids, but one specific accreditation I support is the ACA Accreditation. In a world where we don’t allow our children to play further than just down the street and follow them to the bathroom, it simply provides that extra layer of best practices to ensure a safe, nurturing environment for our children. However, don’t let that be the only safety net, as no accreditation process, no licensing program, no set of regulations or laws can guarantee our children’s safety. It’s just that camps who take that extra step are demonstrating their commitment to providing the safest and most nurturing, fun environment we want for our children’s summer camp experience.

Camp Director can be very helpful in your decision-making process. Some of these may even be listed on their website. Here are a few biggies on my list of asks:

If you are interested in learning more about the ACA Accreditation and guidelines, please check out their website at www.acacamps.org. If you’re just beginning your summer camp search, this website will also provide a list of camps with the ACA Accreditation.

• Who goes to the hospital with the child and who stays with them until a parent can arrive?

A Few Questions to Ask Understanding important questions to ask the Camp/

• Is the camp accredited? • How does the camp recruit, screen and train staff? • Are background checks completed on ALL employees? • How old are the camp counselors in relation to the campers? (*ACA recommends at least 80% of the staff be 18 or older, and that all staffers be at least 16 and a minimum of two years older than the campers they supervise). • Are there medical staff on site and what is the extent of their training? (*You should have a sense of the nearest health facility to the camp. Accidents happen, so you want to ensure there’s somewhere close by that can accommodate.)

• What is the counselor to camper ratio? (*ACA guidelines vary depending on age and any special needs.) • How is the discipline handled at the camp? • How will parents be contacted in the event of an emergency?

[camp] was a safe place for the children while they had fun. However, the word “camp” many times gives a sense of false security to parents and especially to children. multiplicity

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radKIDS® and How it Helps With any overnight adventure, kids are forced to make decisions for themselves. They are often confronted with life situations and choices that they’ve never before faced. Do you believe you have armed your child with life skills that will not only help them at camp or sleepovers, but in life generally? When I was in 3rd grade, I was almost abducted by a man in a car who stated my mom had been in a wreck and was at the hospital. He begged me to get into the car. I froze with fear, but luckily, an adult happened to be nearby and ran my way. It’s certainly every parent’s nightmare and I was lucky someone came to my rescue. Fast forward to a child in my neighborhood who was approached by three males in a car asking for directions. Again the outcome was lucky. Even though the child froze, the child’s parents came around from the backyard and scared off the men. In that moment, it made me relive a memory that I had long forgotten. In the blink of an eye, life can certainly change and I’d like to know that my kids would know how to handle a similar situation at home, at a friend’s, or if and when away at camp. It was around the same time that I became an instructor and am now an advocate for radKIDS®. radKIDS® provides educational opportunities for children and parents concerning awareness and personal safety strategies, instilling confidence and reducing the possibility of adverse physical control and/ or harm. The foundation base of the program focuses on 38


personal safety and life skills development which the child learns and accepts as his own. With so many “dangers” looming for our children, it is often easier to avoid these conversations so as not to scare a child unnecessarily. However, radKIDS® research shows that it’s not the conversation that is scary, it is the lack of a plan or knowledge of what to do that scares them. As a parent, the program helped me better understand children’s expectations, teaching vs. permission and telling vs. expectations. Listed below are some of the topics covered in the child’s classroom: • Home, School and Vehicle Safety • Out and About Safety • Internet Safety & Bullying • Good-Bad-Uncomfortable Touch and more. • Stranger Tricks (including Physical Defense against Abduction) What You Need to Consider About Sleepovers One of the many lessons I learned from radKIDS® was what to know about sleepovers. Many times, children are reluctant to express their fears about sleepovers because they are very excited about the

new experience. For the first time, they are getting to stay overnight with a friend or friends...it’s new territory with all sorts of possibilities looming. As parents, I believe we share the same fear, too. Tips that I learned and like to incorporate with my own children and caution other parents with include: • Before any sleepover, have a conversation with your child explaining the importance that they can call at ANYTIME time to talk. Upon arrival, please share with the adult the same rule in front of the child. • Having a verbal sign between you and your child should they want to come home is encouraged because many times they are feeling pressure from their friends or the adult to stay. For example, “Mom, how is Buster feeling?” This way it sounds like a natural conversation, but it lets you know the child is feeling uncomfortable. It goes without saying that your child should never be made to feel that once they decide to go, they have to stay for the duration. There are so many reasons they may decide differently, including just not being old and mature enough to handle the overnight stay yet.

children are often reluctant to express their fears about sleepovers because they are very excited about the experience...it’s new territory with all sorts of possibilities looming. As parents, I believe we share the same fear, too.

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The main goal is to always pay attention to your child’s attitude upon arrival and when they return home. Remember to listen to your gut instincts, too. Protecting your child is not being overbearing or overprotective --- it’s being responsible!

other safety tips for your kids... *encourage your children to make noise - we’ve always taught our kids to “be seen and not heard” when we’re out and about, but should they ever be approached by someone trying to abduct them, they should make as much noise as possible (i.e. knocking over things at the grocery store, shouting and causing a commotion to put everyone around on alert that something is wrong)

Additional questions you may consider or want to ask the adult of the home before the night of the sleepover: • Will older siblings be present? • Have you met them or do you know much about their family, their parenting style, etc.? • Will they be having friends over at the same time? • Will the children be supervised and to what extent? As parents, beginning conversations about topics that are disturbing in nature is the hardest leap. Understanding the difference between how adults handle safety issues vs. the child’s perspective is definitely an eye opener. This is why I believe the radKIDS® program offers life skills for both parties. To learn more about radKIDS®, classes offered in your area and Teachable Moments, please visit www.radkids.org. Taking advantage of their program, you and your child would be properly prepared for safety at Summer Camp and Sleepovers.

*consider a family camp experience - if you’re not ready for your children to experience sleep away camps (or feel they themselves may not be ready), look into family camps or those that tailor programs toward mother/daughter or father/son experience. It would give you peace of mind, would allow them the experience and would undoubtedly, reinforce your bond and create special memories for you all. *create a family fire plan - your home is your safety net and it’s easy to get comfortable living the day to day. In a fire emergency, would your children know how to respond? Create a family fire plan and practice it several times each year. Children should know how to respond, where to exit and signs to look for in the event of smoke, extreme heat, etc.

Mian considers herself blessed to be married to her best friend for 11 years, with whom she has three handsome boys. She serves on the Board of Directors at Union Prep in Indian Trail, NC and currently serves as VP of the PTO Board at Fairview Elementary School. She became a RadKids Instructor and Health Coach over 3 years ago and currently works with Subway as their Catering Director. multiplicity

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turn it over: learning the importance of reading food labels by nellie harden

The food we know and love has become WAY more processed in our lifetime. Crops become more complicated, populations continue to rise, and the divide between nutrition and “edible” becomes more vast. But, take heart...there is good news! We, as parents, can take charge and arm ourselves with some knowledge today so we can begin, or continue, on a path of real health with real food, and stay away from those additives and preservatives that harm us and our growing families. When you go to the store, are you armed with label knowledge? The front of the packaging is made to entice. Graphic artists and art directors are made to appeal as much as possible to as many of our senses, so we pick up that 40


product confidently and can’t wait to dive in. The back of the package, in small, off to the corner print is where the truth lies. That is where we are going to focus in this feature. First, let’s start with the “Nutritional Label”. A typical label will have serving size and servings per container. These are important to take a look at because when we have free range eating, especially for our kiddos, I can guarantee they are eating more than 2, 3 or more servings of whatever this is. The only thing to ever really have complete free range eating with is your veggies. Especially those dark greens. Water, of course, is also free range. This is real, 100% water here though, not flavored, colored, or otherwise different

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from just good old plain H2O. Next, you will notice calories. I have gotten away from putting so much emphasis on calories in my years as a nutrition coach, because I have realized time and time again that it isn’t as easy as the picture I remember from my 6th grade biology book with calories in and calories out. The “integrity” of your food matters far more than a calorie count, so don’t get too hung up here. Look further down the label. The fat in our food is a topic that needs to be looked at in conjunction with your ingredients label. Ingredient labels are listed in decreasing abundance meaning that the first ingredients are the largest amounts listed and then at the bottom are the smallest amounts. I will say that even

if there is just a little bit of something, it can do a lot of damage depending on what that “something” is. Saturated/ Hydrogenated and Trans fats are what our bodies would most appreciate us staying away from. Unsaturated fats benefit our bodies and there is a true need for healthy fats in our diet. Conversely, saturdated fats, which are mostly animal derived, can be stressful on our bodies and cardiac systems. When fats go through high pressure hydrogen, are heated and treated with chemical solvents to make things such as margarine, then a third class…those trans fats…are created. These raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. These also interfere with cell metabolism and can break down vital fatty organs like our brain and nervous tissues. Seeing as neurons in our brain are the only cell in our body that does not replicate itself like all the others, I think we would all agree that we want to protect it as much as possible. Sugars are a whole other subject. Complex carbohydrates in plant based foods are good for you and simple sugars in sodas, pre-packaged sweets and treats are not. That seems pretty elementary, but the WHY is less known. First, let me give you a visual that every 4g of sugar on your label is a teaspoon. Grab a bag of sugar from your cabinet and chew on that for a second. Sugar literally shuts down the immune functions of the body. Studies show that downing 75-100g of simple sugar, which is what you would find in 2 average 12 oz.

We, as parents, can take charge and arm ourselves with some knowledge today so we can begin, or continue, on a path of real health with real food and stay away from those additives and preservatives that harm us and our growing families. sodas, suppresses the immune system and it is most impactful 2-4 hrs after ingestion, but still in effect 5 hours afterwards. Like many moms, I am working hard to support and help balance my kids’ immune systems, and the last thing I want to do is shut it down! What about behavior? Some brains are very sensitive to sugar and it alters their behavior, attention span, learning ability and good sense. There is evidence of adrenaline levels peaking and staying at a high plateau long after a dose of sugar, and the low blood sugar drop afterwards is never fun for anyone. I have experienced this myself and I am sure many of you have as well. Does your child have the best attitude with you after a

play for effects of sugar on the brain multiplicity

huge sugar rush or are they erratic and you are wondering where this alien came from? I will also mention that sugar promotes heart disease and more cravings and the sugar/ caffeine double-punch of soft drinks is an uncomfortable roller coaster for any metabolic system in your body. Fiber, on the other hand, is your friend. A small list of the fabulous fiber functions are in helping promote healthy intestinal bacteria, reduce cancer risk, increase gut movement, reduce cholesterol, slow fat absorption, steady blood sugar and curb overeating! Good, natural sources from whole food plant produce is a buddy you want around every day! When you look at the “vitamins” section of your label, please note that someone at the FDA ages ago decided that Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron were the go to’s. Most labels have these. There are hundreds of thousands of vitamins, minerals and enzymes in our world of whole foods and these 4 are not the entire story. Calcium is super important, but the amount that is actually taken

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into your body depends on how acidic the product is that you are consuming. Key words to veer away from include “fortified” and MSG, an excitotoxin. Also stay away from “hydrolyzed” anything, yeast “extract”, protein “extract”, “textured” protein and the caseinates, which all always contain MSG. We are asking, and in fact demanding and taking for granted, that our bodies repair all of this harm, while we also ask relentlessly that our immune system work at its best all the time, that we recover from illness and injury quickly, and that we can keep a clear head and well functioning body. A

body in constant distress is much less effective at giving you what you need or want for yourself and your children.

ingredient list for your foods. In general, the shorter the better and as close to whole food as possible.

“Nutrition Detectives” is a wonderful family program created by Dr. David Katz of Yale University and you can click here to order a free DVD for your family!

#5- Fiber is your friend!

Dr. Katz goes through 5 key principles for families and label reading. #1- Never trust the front of a package #2- The first ingredient listed is always the biggest #3- ID harmful ingredients #4- Always look for a short

Learning about label reading and sharing with your children gives them the power to know what is and isn’t good for their growing bodies. My girls, who are 10, 8, 8 and 6 know when we are buying food to “turn it over”, look what it has inside, and then make a decision. I have gotten to a point that they do not need to even ask many times now. They know. Giving them that education on label reading early sets up a lifetime of successful eating habits for generations to come.

Nellie Harden has been Married to her best friend for 14 years and is a mom of four little, amazing, girls. In addition to being a homeschooling mama she works with families, schools and corporations to inspire healthy living around the world through good nutrition practices and growing whole foods. She also enjoys writing about all of life’s adventures on her blog.

When every twin parent hears... how do you do it?

double trouble! are they twins or just really close in age?

are they identical?

were they natural?

bless your heart!

We say, you’ve got this and we're here to help! the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples.



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What to do when they get here should be the last thing on your mind. From breastfeeding, sleep training, getting them on a schedule, and how to twin proof your marriage, Twiniversity classes have you covered. From the best-selling book What to Do When You’re Having Two, parents leave armed with information to help them thrive with their multiples. Expecting? Twiniversity Part I has everything you need to know BEFORE your bundles of joy arrive! Class highlights include doctor’s office tips, equipment you will need, how to find help, delivery day tips, dealing with a NICU stay, and much more! Babies already arrived? Part II covers “a day in the life of your twinnies”, from the moment they open their eyes until you close your eyes at night, and everything in between.

For more information or to sign up, visit twiniversity.com.

classes now available in New York City, Chicago, and online!

when it comes to water,

play it safe!

by minde buckingham



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Long before I ever became a mother, I was an Auntie. I was that woman who adored her nieces and nephews. They made me smile and I enjoyed watching them explore life. One afternoon I decided to pick up two of the kids and take them to feed the ducks. Never did I imagine that our planned outing would quickly turn into a scary adventure. I didn’t want to take them too far, so I decided to take them to a park just a few blocks away. It was a beautiful spring day. At that moment everything seemed perfect, but shortly after we arrived, I knew this was not the spot. There were no ducks! We were just about to leave when my nephew fell over the rail and into the river below us. It happened so fast! I have replayed the event over and over inside my head. He lost his balance, his arms went up, and into the river he went. I was literally standing right next to him, yet I had no time to react. Watching him fall into that water was absolutely terrifying. At that moment panic entered every part of my being. I was left standing there with a toddler by my side and a little boy floating underwater downstream. There was nobody around and I was hysterical. I screamed for help with every breath that I had in me. I was not a strong swimmer, but I dove in after him. I can’t begin to describe the terror and what was going through my mind as I tried to get to him in the muddy water. The river was fast moving and full of debris. I was getting pounded (as was he) by branches and other debris floating around us. My memories haunt me with the long minutes of struggle inside that river. I feared I wouldn’t have the strength to get us out alive. I was struggling to stay afloat with him lying limp across my chest. I screamed and I cried. By grace, I was able to grab a willow branch that I wrapped around my wrist and used as a rope to pull us in. Somebody else had heard my plea and came to help pull us onto shore. That day I was granted a miracle. I was able to return my nephew back into the arms of his loving parents. We were both treated for hypothermia and suffered the after effects of muscle aches and bruises, but we were alive!


I learned that day how quickly things can happen. Now that I am a mother, this memory haunts me even more. I share my story with hope that I may reach even one parent, who may think differently about water safety. --- contd. pg. 49 the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


starting solids: the abc’s of introducing first foods to babies


ood. It’s something we all love and can’t live without, but when it comes to introducing solids to babies, when is the “right” time to introduce it and what are the factors to consider when it comes to multiples? Because suggested milestones for babies are based off of a 40 week gestational period, it is important to keep in mind that if your multiples were born prematurely, they will not be on track with what the “books” say. For example, if your baby is born 5 weeks early, expect them to take approximately an extra 5 weeks to do what babies who were born around 40 weeks will do. And of course, remember

by payal tello 46


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that every baby is different, and that they each develop at their own pace. When it comes to feeding, keep in mind that babies’ stomachs are already really small. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that you wait until your baby is of 4-6 months of age before offering solid foods, and suggests breastmilk as the primary source of nutrition until 6 months. According to Kellymom.com, babies’ stomachs and digestive systems are not mature enough to process solid food until around the age of 6 months. “From birth until somewhere between 4 and 6 months of age, babies possess what is often referred to as an ‘open gut.’ This means that the spaces between the cells of the small intestines will readily allow whole proteins and pathogens to pass directly into the bloodstream. This… means that large proteins from foods (which may predispose baby to allergies) and disease-causing pathogens can pass right through, too.” But, when it comes to multiples and premature babies in general, it is just as important to look at some developmental milestones in addition to age (both adjusted and actual). Things to look for when considering introducing solid foods to your littles: ● Baby can hold their head up unassisted: You want to make sure that they can hold their heads up so that you don’t run the risk of them slumping, causing their airways to close

while they have food in their mouth. ● Baby opens their mouth when food is headed in their direction: There is a difference between when babies show interest in food, and when they are actually developmentally ready to eat. This has to do with the tongue-thrust reflex (which is when baby pushes out their tongue when their lips are touched). This reflex aids baby in feeding through breast/ bottle and you will know they have outgrown this reflex when they no longer push objects out of their mouth when you try to place them inside. ● Baby shows an interest in food: When you notice that your baby is paying attention to what you are eating and reaches for what you are eating, it may be a good time to gradually introduce them to solids. ● Baby has a noticeable increase in milk intake: If you notice that baby is demanding more milk and this increase is unrelated to teething, a growth spurt, or illness, it may be time to take their feedings to another level. A few words of caution: If you decide that traditional baby food is the best route for you and your littles, be cautious of the sodium content of their foods. Too much sodium in baby food can not only form a dependency, but can lead to later health issues. You also want to be sure that you do not overfeed your baby. If your baby begins to reject food, trying to get that “train multiplicity

in the tunnel” can cause their stomach to stretch and can contribute to obesity in the long run. It’s important to note the implications of cereals* (whether it’s Cheerios or some form of “baby cereal”). Babies’ digestive systems are not equipped with the digestive enzymes needed to process grains (until around the age of one), which can lead to the destruction of healthy bacteria in the gut, as well as harm their intestinal lining. *Please consult with your physician in the event of medical concerns, as this information is not to be used as medical advice. In addition to the traditional concept of “baby food,” there is an alternative method to introducing foods to babies called baby led weaning (BLW). BLW is the practice of allowing your child to feed themselves from the very beginning. The belief behind this is that babies are not meant to consume food for nutritional purposes until the age of 1, and that “Food before one is just for fun*.” BLW allows children the opportunity to explore their food through the senses of, not only taste, but through touch, smell, and sight, and can also prevent overfeeding since baby is in control of how much food goes in their mouths. It allows babies the ability to differentiate textures and natural flavors, versus the same consistent liquidy purees (which are often times a blend of different kinds of food). This method also helps teach baby to chew when eating, versus teaching them to swallow their food first, and later to chew, which occurs when using purees. According to

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contd. from --- starting solids Babyledweaning.com, “It’s ‘baby-led’ in the sense that you let them do what they need to do while they’re learning, and as the parent, you resist the urge to get wound up in knots about how much they’re eating and whether or not they like it. The main thing is…it’s all good clean (messy) fun.” Also, because of the built-in gag reflex, babies are very unlikely to choke if offered solid food. (The gag reflex helps keep food from getting too far back into the mouth, and if/when they gag, it is just your baby working through their learning experience of eating.) *keep in mind that if there is a history of allergies, consult with a physician or specialist before introducing those foods. There is much evidence that supports the belief of BLW, and it is practiced world-wide, especially in countries without access to commercialized baby food. This in no way means that there is anything wrong with purees, but just think about the time, money, and energy you would save if you could simply prepare “one meal” for you and your littles! (It can make getting food in your own belly a little easier, too! What mom can turn down a chance to sit down and eat?) At the end of the day, it is important to remember that all babies, regardless of age and prematurity, develop at different rates and that YOU are the expert of your baby. No matter what method you choose to introduce solid foods to your littles, if you keep in mind the things mentioned above, you and your babies will be on your way to enjoying meals together in no time!

Payal is a proud, first time mother of toddler twincesses. She recently completed her babywearing education through the Center for Babywearing Studies, where she realized that babywearing was not only a lifestyle choice, but is a passion she wants to teach and share with others. She founded gentleparentingtwins.com, where she is dedicated to sharing her own experiences with raising twins through her passion for babywearing, gentle parenting, natural living, and more. She strives to empower parents and caregivers within her communities, both online and local, as a Trained Babywearing Consultant. You can follow her adventures on facebook, twitter and instagram as Twinmommy101. 48


essential guide for

first baby foods

6 mos. 8 mos. 10 mos. *consult your pediatrician if wishing to start solids before 6 months old

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fruits: banana, apple, pear, apricot, mango, peach, plums, prunes, pumpkin veggies: carrots, parsnips, peas, squash-zucchini, sweet potato, green beans grains: oatmeal, rice, barley

fruits: blueberry, melon, citrus, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, papaya veggies: broccoli, beets, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, white potato meat: chicken, tofu, turkey, beef, eggs, pork grains: pasta, quinoa

fruits: citrus, strawberries citrus, cranberries, grapes, kiwi, papaya veggies: dried beans, corn, spinach, tomatoes meat: fish grains: whole wheat breads dairy: cow milk, yogurt, cheese

contd. from --- water That day I had two children under foot. It terrified me to know that in order to save one child’s life, I had to leave the other one alone. We are parents of multiples; we can never let our guard down. It only takes one second of your life to rock your world. We MUST practice Safety First, so here are a few water safety tips that may come in handy. NEVER GO ALONE: Even as an adult handling two children with nobody around can quickly become dangerous. DO NOT go to a lake, a river, or the ocean by yourself. In the flash second I had to make a decision, I had to leave one baby alone. You don’t want to make that decision. Take someone with you. Even at the pool, the people around you are not watching your babies. They are watching their own children. It is best practice (especially when they are little) to have two adults. Do not rely on older children to assist you. In emergency situations, they too become very frightened and it is not fair to place that burden on a child. LET THEM FLOAT: When you are near ANY body of water with children that cannot strongly swim on their own, please put them in a PFD (Personal Floatation Device). This is so very important, even if you have no intentions of

swimming or going into the water. On any boat, a dock, or by the shore, a PFD is needed. There are many options from which to choose, but our toddlers did great in “Puddle Jumpers.” They are best used between the ages of 2 and 4. Please note that pool floats, water wings, pool noodles, and other swimming aids should never be replaced by “Coast Guard Approved” floatation devices. Also, be sure to check the weight limits provided with each floatation device. Life Jackets are also a great option for infants and adults. SWIM IN SAFE AREAS AND BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS: Oceans, lakes, and rivers can be very dangerous. The currents and various temperatures can change quickly. Please be advised that it only takes minutes for a child (or adult) to suffer hypothermia in cold water. Your chest hurts, you become short of breath, and your muscles freeze. You become lifeless in a matter of seconds. Even the strongest swimmer should never be left unattended. Water parks are a lot of fun, too, but make sure your multiples stick together, and know where they are at all times. You should be watching your children when near water, so put down your book, your phone, and your iPad. Enjoy the moment with your multiples and keep them safe. TIME LIMITS: Kids love the water! They will swim if given

the opportunity until they get sick (and at any temperature!). Be aware of the amount of time your child is in the water. It is recommended that you pull them out after 30 minutes to rehydrate and rest. No child under the age of 12 should be in a hot tub longer than 15 minutes. It is recommended that you do not take infants and toddlers into a hot tub. STAY HYDRATED: It is possible to get dehydrated in water. Make sure your multiples have fresh water to drink. START THEM EARLY: The AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) recommends that all children age 4 and older participate in swim lessons. Children can safely start swim lessons as early as age 1. Every child should be taught how to float, swim safely to the water’s edge, and how to pull themselves out of the water without any assistance. LEARN CPR: Everyone should learn CPR and First Aid Safety. As a parent, you never know when you may need it; as a citizen, you may save someone’s life! Never underestimate the power of water. About 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water; it is a necessity of life! Water is in the air we breathe, in the food that we eat, and it is in the puddles beneath our little ones’ feet. Your multiples will come in contact with it; it can be a source of joy and pleasure, but never let your guard down. Be prepared and Be Safe.

Minden Buckingham lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Mike and twin girls. She is a stay-home mom and enjoys running the daily carpools. Minde enjoys spending time with her family, trips to the coast, photography, and writing. multiplicity

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too close for comfort

a look at preventing child molestation in your family by paula yost schupp Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. – Aesop’s Fables It is something we hear as children and we frequently think about it in business or when making large purchases. Unfortunately, for many parents, the idea that someone they know or even love could sexually abuse their children is so far from their mind that their children easily fall prey. The Darkness to Light program states that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by the age of 18. Of those children, about 90% know their perpetrators. In fact, teenagers are often juvenile offenders who victimize younger children. As many as 40% of children are sexually abused by older, or more powerful children. The positive to this is that adolescent sex 50


offenders are more responsive to treatment than adults. They do not appear to continue to reoffend into adulthood, especially when provided with appropriate treatment. For parents, you must be vigilant and unapologetic in doing whatever it takes to keep your children safe. Taking the Darkness to Light training is one of the best steps for raising your awareness and feeling empowered to do whatever it takes to protect your children. To sign up for a training in your area, visit www.d2l.org. I found the training personally useful because I have sons who will eventually reach the age when they cannot go into the bathroom with me. D2L taught me how to loudly announce my presence and to not be

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afraid to continue to make it known until my son exited the restroom. More importantly, it taught me that the random pervert in the bathroom is not the person I need to fear. In truth, I need to fear anyone who has an opportunity to have a one-on-one encounter with my sons. This can include athletic coaches, Sunday school teachers, preschool teachers, daycare workers, and even members of your own family. Pedophiles are master manipulators. They are smart and they lurk in places where children congregate. They are literally wolves in sheep’s clothing. A key element of protecting your children includes limiting one-on-one encounters with other people. Ask yourself if an activity your child is engaging

in will possibly expose them to such an encounter. If it will, eliminate that activity in favor of something else. Look at the geographical layout of your child’s location. Does every daycare or Sunday school classroom have a window? Can anyone walking by easily see what is happening inside that room? Does the facility have security cameras that can monitor your children’s safety? Has the staff of the location received a training to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse? Many parents feel uncomfortable asking these types of questions. They fear coming across as a trouble maker. No parent should ever apologize or feel uncomfortable for seeking to protect their child from sexual abuse. The ramifications of sexual abuse can include addiction, poor future relationship choices, future exposure to domestic violence, depression, and suicide. It is critical that parents investigate the environments of their children. It is also critical that we as a community support parents in asking these types of questions. We should all demand higher standards for protecting our children. Never make parents feel that their questions or concerns lack merit and reject any internal desires to be defensive in the face of such questions or concerns. Further, make sure your children know the proper term

for their “parts”. Pedophiles prey on children who call their parts other things because they know that it makes prosecution of these crimes far harder. Our society has a history of teaching children absolutely ridiculous things to call their body parts. This is an incredibly dangerous precedent. For instance, if a child refers to their private parts as a “kitty” or a “cookie,” and then tells a trusted teacher or friend that someone “touched their kitty” or “ate their cookie” their report will go unrecognized and unfortunately, the abuse will likely continue to cycle. Also, have a plan about how you will respond if your child ever reports criminal or attempted criminal activity. The hope is that by avoiding one-onone situations and heavily investigating the physical surroundings of your child, that will never be an issue, but you need to be prepared. Often when children report such acts, parents are so horrified that they scream or express rage. A victimized child has often been told by a perpetrator that they will get into trouble if they tell anyone about the abuse. Thus, grooming the child to keep silent. If the child does report to a trusted adult and then sees anger, this proves the abuser right. Children will then retract their statements and no one will ever truly know what happened. It is also of critical importance that you believe your children.

It is estimated that only 4-8% of child sexual abuse reports are fabricated. Most of the fabricated reports are made by adults involved in custody disputes or by adolescents. Always remember that pedophiles are master manipulators. Often, they prey on single women in order to get to her children. Many women believe their child’s abuser is in love, and he is, with her child. If your child tells you something shocking, please believe them. Children who are believed are children who have better longterm results. Children who are treated like liars are more likely to suffer long-term negative effects. They are also more likely to endure years of abuse because the abuser will not stop. He will just get better at lying. He will also tell the child that he wasn’t believed when speaking up and will not be believed if he speaks later. To the child, his statements are true. The child will then remain silent and the abuse will continue. The longer the abuse goes on, the more likely the child will suffer long-term ill effects. If you have concerns about a child in your life, you should immediately call 911 or reach out to your county’s Child Welfare Services. It’s a responsibility we should never take lightly or forget. 1. Finkelhor, D. (2012). Characteristics of crimes against juveniles. Durham, NH: Crimes against Children Research Center. 2. Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA). (2000). The effective legal management of juvenile sex offender. Retrieved from www.atsa.com/ppjuvenile.html 3. Everson, M., and Boat, B. (1989). False allegations of sexual abuse by children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 28, 2:230-35.

Paula Yost Schupp currently serves as the Chair of the Child Protection Team in Cabarrus County, NC. In addition to being a federally licensed U.S. Patent and Trademark Attorney, she holds a Masters in Clinical Mental Health. Paula is happily married to her husband of six years. They have three children, one adopted and two from scratch. To read more about Paula, visit her website. multiplicity

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photo courtesy of jane goodrich photography

get out and go!

tips for leaving home with babies in tow

by julie mccaffrey 52


Driving away from the hospital with multiple newborn babies seems like the most amazing, yet scary thing that you will ever go through. That is until you try to leave the house for the first time with your multiples. Getting more than one baby fed, changed and dressed and getting yourself ready, all while packing a bag that prepares for anything that might come up while you are out would make even the most social of butterflies want to stay home! With these few tips each trip out can be a little bit easier!

pack right and pack often

Start with a slightly oversized diaper bag and just make sure it has a ton of pockets. For each baby, make sure you have any supplies you need to feed them for at least one feeding, an extra outfit for each of them, as well as all supplies to change their diapers including a changing pad, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream. Having two diapers for each baby for each hour you expect to

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be out seems like a lot, but that will make sure you are covered for any blow-outs. Make sure to include an extra swaddle blanket (they can be used for a cover-up, changing station or just a clean place to put one baby down) and an extra pacifier for each baby. Packing a wet bag or just a few storage bags is a must so you have a place to put wet or soiled clothes. You don’t want those mingling with your clean things, and especially not with their bottles and other items they may put in their mouth. When you return home from your outing, be sure to re-pack anything you used right away to ensure you aren’t missing anything on your next outing.

prep the house to get out the door

It may seem crazy, but time is everything when it comes to trying to get out the door and go. Have the car seats by the door ready to load up the babies. Have the diaper bag packed and keep it close to the door, too. Have your stroller and baby carriers already loaded into your car. Get yourself and everything you need for your outing ready before loading the babies into their car seats. Once they are loaded, you want to be able to just pick up their car seat carriers and load them into the car to be on your way. One missing, but very necessary item for your outing can increase the time it takes to get out the door exponentially, and no parent of multiples needs that!

timing is everything

No matter what time it is, make sure before you head out the door that the babies have clean diapers and full bellies. Morning is often the time that babies are the calmest, so getting out early can help avoid fussy babies. Newborn babies sleep a lot, so take advantage of those naps and get out of the house when you know they will be happy to sleep. If you have older babies, be sure to keep in mind their nap schedules, as some babies don’t do well when their routines are interrupted, even by just the tiniest bit.

make a list ahead of time

Your first trip out with newborns will likely be to your first pediatrician’s appointment and there is a good chance when you get there, you will forget everything you wanted to ask. With everything you have to remember to do and load in the car just to get there, is it any wonder? At home, keep a list for each baby with all of your questions and concerns and take it with you to the appointment. If you are headed to the grocery store or pharmacy, make a list ahead of time so you can get in and get what you need and don’t waste time wondering around the aisles. There are even great grocery apps to help you keep tabs of the things you need or are running low on. Try GroceryIQ for starters. Designed by coupons.com, it helps you manage your lists and save money while shopping, too.

dress the babies right

Layers are key so you can easily remove or add clothes to keep each baby comfortable. Look for clothes that give you easy access for diaper or outfit changes. Zippered outfits are also great for outings instead of having to deal with tons of snaps.

prepare for the worst

Assume you are going to be out longer than you intend so you have plenty packed in your diaper bag. Create a bag of extras that you keep in your car all the time so if you forget something in your diaper bag, you have an extra stash. If you are using a stroller with air filled tires, keep a bike pump in your car. No one wants to carry both babies that far in car seat carriers, not even in a pinch!

don’t forget yourself

Make sure for every outing you have a change of clothes for yourself (for those big spit ups or blow-outs). Pack snacks and a water bottle for yourself, too. If you’re not carrying a separate bag, make a place in the diaper bag so you have quick access to your phone, keys and ID. Most importantly, try to relax and enjoy the outing. At least one of the babies will cry while you are out and you will forget at least one thing you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to take along your partner or a friend on your first few outings. Before you know it, you’ll have it all down pat and will be out in a flash!

Julie McCaffrey is a mommy to 3 kids, including one set of twins. Julie owns BabyNav Baby Planners where she offers personalized consultation to new and expecting parents. She is a modern baby gear expert and loves to help moms and dads navigate everything from baby gear to preparing for multiples to getting back to work and getting the whole family on a routine. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or check her out at www.babynavbabyplanners.com. multiplicity

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test your knowledge of...

rsv, whooping cough, the flu While vaccinations have certainly made many infectious diseases rare or a thing of the past, several others continue to be a part of our every day lives. We touch on a few of the most common and hope that these facts and tips help you avoid them at all costs.

Most babies end up with a wheezing cough and some even require hospitalization.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV RSV is highly contagious and is the #1 cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in U.S. infants. Because many twins and higher order multiples are born prematurely and their lungs sometimes underdeveloped, they are even more susceptible to contracting RSV, and especially so during the late fall, winter and even early spring. Symptoms are flu-like, including a fever, runny nose and/or nasal congestion, and cough.

Excluding children with colds or other respiratory illnesses (without fever) who are well enough to attend child care or school settings will probably not decrease the transmission of RSV, since it is often spread in the early stages of illness prior to the development of more severe symptoms.



Avoid It: Frequent hand washing and not sharing items such as cups, glasses, and utensils with people who have RSV illness should decrease the spread of virus to others.

Whooping Cough Sadly, reported cases of whooping cough have risen sharply since 2004, as

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parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. The medical term for the disease is pertussis -- the “P” in the DTaP vaccine. Antibiotics are not especially helpful in treatment, so vaccination is essential for prevention. Children who develop whooping cough literally run out of breath when coughing, causing them to inhale and create a “whooping” sound. Pertussis is caused by a bacteria, and starts with cold-like symptoms. The dry, hacking cough can last for up to 10 weeks. Children ages 7-10 are most susceptible. Avoid It: Regular booster shots help, Schuchat said, especially for pregnant women who want to protect their newborns. Mothers can pass immunity on to their babies, which helps them through their first

months. In fact, a whooping cough booster shot in the third trimester protects 90 percent of babies in their first year of life, according to the CDC. The Flu Is it a cold or the flu? You have a headache, your body hurts and you feel downright miserable. Sometimes it is hard to tell which of the two you have, as these illnesses can have similar symptoms. The flu more commonly causes high fever, chills, body aches, extreme fatigue, and nausea and/or vomiting. Being highly contagious, the flu is spread by coughing, sneezing, or unclean hands. The peak season for the flu is October through May and millions are diagnosed each

year, spanning every age group, with children being the most diagnosed. While most children get better on their own, the flu can lead to serious complications like pneumonia, especially in younger children or those with a compromised immune system. The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccination for anyone, including adults, older than 6 months. Avoid It: It has been found that

antibiotics don’t work on viruses, so they won’t help someone with the flu get better. Sometimes an antiviral medicine can be prescribed by your doctor to help reduce the length of time

a person is ill from the flu. However, these medications are effective only against some types of flu virus and must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms appear. The easiest and safest way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands often and thoroughly. Avoid sharing cups, utensils, or towels with others. If you do catch the flu, use tissues or your arm whenever you sneeze or cough to avoid spreading the virus. With these tips, you’ll be ready to fight off any unwanted diseases and keep your family going strong!

appy spring

fun, educational apps for everyone in the family!

brili app Because most children thrive on routine, Brili is a new app to help set structure and expectations in a fun way. Brili displays kids’ routines as a game, showing them what’s next, the time they have left, and prompting them at the appropriate times to keep them on track. Parents can monitor in real time from a separate device, from anywhere. Plus: Kids benefit from reassuring structure and consistency, while feeling great about their progress.

for the preschool and under crowd ABC Expedition is an app designed to help children with their alphabet. However, this app not only helps kids with their alphabet; it also helps children learn various animals too. This is promised to be a fun app for both parents and kids. What’s The Sound? is a great attention grabber for little ones and a fun way to get them identifying animals by the noises they make. for those 5 and up Animals for Kids is a funny educational game for all ages. Besides watching beautiful cartoon animals your task will be to clean the habitats from trash and see how funny animals rewards you. Math on the Farm is a learning app based on stories. Kids answer multiple choice questions correctly to score points and get a glimpse of the app’s creativity! The stories are themed on a farm, featuring fruits, flowers, vegetables, cattle and domesticated animals. Interactive animation and bright colors are hallmarks of the app. multiplicity

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by the mom squad

family friendly meals... found on pinterest Sure, the days seem longer with more daylight to get things done, but with spring sports, weekend adventures making new memories with the family, and lazy afternoons playing outdoors with the kids, time slips away quickly and before you know it, it’s dinner time yet again! Need a quick and healthy fix? Check out the 4-Ingredient Spring Pasta, a new dish they’re sure to love. If your kids are funny about chicken, try cubed ham instead! Running even shorter on time or just want to stay outside a bit longer? We totally understand! Give these Strawberry Cream Cheese sandwiches from My Fussy Eater a try. Use real ingredients like fresh strawberries and organic cream cheese, and maybe even wholemeal or sprouted grain bread (like the Ezekiel brand 56


found in your grocer’s freezer). You may just find a new healthyfor-you-food that you all like and these would be super duper for picnics, too. Have a little more time to prepare your meal or looking for something a little more filling? Check out The Worktop’s Pancetta Fried Rice bowls. You can customize these to your kids’ likings and add more adventurous fixings for the adults. Not a fan of pancetta? Use chicken or tofu instead.

mango “nice” cream

share a special treat with the kids and family, try Super Healthy Kids’ When all else fails, dish out Creamy Mango “Nice” Cream. some yummy tacos with There’s no dairy and no added Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps. sugar, using frozen mangos and Try Cooking Classy’s healthier bananas to do the trick. You version, without the shells and can also add in some frozen use romaine lettuce instead! strawberries when you begin to The kids will love trying them puree. Top with sprinkles or a and they can be dressed up or berry sauce, or go even healthier down, depending on how fussy the eater. It’s also nice and quick, with chia seeds, crushed nuts or and saves well for leftovers, too! frozen chopped fruits. Eat yummy. Eat healthy! If you’re looking to indulge and

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4-ingredient spring pasta

strawberry cream cheese sandwiches

pancetta fried rice

turkey taco lettuce wraps multiplicity

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by the mom squad

It’s no mystery that kids seem to let the structured learning slide during the summer, as there are so many fun things to do, places to go and people to see. With these simple tips, you can help incorporate learning from your own backyard, or on the go at the park and in your community, and even on vacation.

prevent the summer slide:

tips for learning on the go! 58


*There’s nothing better than exploring nature.

Now is the time to be looking for caterpillars and their chrysalis, or even tadpoles so that you can watch and teach your kids about this cycle of life. Some of these things can be found in your own backyard. If you live near a farm, see about visiting to see the new baby animals. Kids will love watching the new baby chicks and ducks, and even baby goats and other animals. By summer, they’ll still be small enough to watch and enjoy! If you’re not where you can see living animals to study their growth and development, check out Nature Gifts to order butterfly kits, tadpole kits, and more. You and your kids can watch the cycle occur from the beginning phase to the end, resulting in critters and creatures all your very own!

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ccording to the National Summer Learning Association, many students will face 2-3 months’ summer learning loss in reading and math, without programs or encouragement to keep their minds and bodies engaged.

*Visit your local market

Spring and summer brings out the best in all of us, and especially the foods we eat. Farmer’s markets are a great resource to explore and thankfully, have grown in popularity, even in some of the larger cities. Spend a Saturday morning combing through the vendors, exploring all of the varieties of fruits and vegetables grown local to you. Your kids can even learn about how they garden and why it’s important to them. For some, it’s still a large part of their livelihood. If you have the space and the time to commit, consider your own garden with a few hearty and easy to grow plants. Tomatoes, squash and cucumbers are among the easiest. Your kids can help research what plants will do best in your area, help plant and take care of the garden

by watering and weeding, and then help reap the rewards by picking when they’re ready to eat! You can even start many of these plants indoors now to have them ready to go in the ground or pots outdoors by early May. This easily teaches about different types of soils and how to enrich them, as well as how to grow your own food. There’s a huge independence and global responsibility lesson in that alone!

*Make plans to visit the patch There is nothing more delicious than picking and enjoying your own berries. Summer months are full of opportunities to enjoy strawberries, blueberries and more. Many farms even give tours, explaining their cultivation processes and how they help the local economy and communities by providing healthy, sustainable foods.

*Keep a journal

For older kids, encourage them to keep a journal, writing about their summer experiences and especially any trips or travels you take. For younger childre, encourage them to draw pictures of the things they’re seeing and learning about. They can simply label things with your help to keep up their writing.

*Prevent boredom

Hearing “I’m bored” over the summer comes with the territory of having kids. You can put them to work (find some chores until they find something else to occupy their time), or create a visual: Have you... B - been creative? O - outside play? R - read a book? E - exercised for 20 minutes? D - done something helpful?

*Get to work

Let them create a summer business and they can get started planning now. It may be a car wash service for the neighbors, or even something as simple as a lemonade stand on the weekend. If you have an animal lover, let them walk and groom dogs. Are they good with younger kids? Let them help entertain at birthday parties. Parents can always use an extra pair of hands, and they may even be able to share a talent like face painting or singing & dancing! No matter what route you choose, there are so many options to keep your kids moving and learning over the summer break!


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a focus on...

family fitness 60


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by cara krenn

Find ways to work out with your kids. They’re not excuses, they’re sponges. Lead by example. ~ facing40.com If you feel like your family is turning into a bunch of couch potatoes, or if you’ve simply fallen into a fitness rut, spring is the perfect time to “clear out” bad habits and focus on family fitness. Re-set your family’s health routine with some fun ideas below: Make fitness an every weekend family adventure. Busy schedules can make it hard to coordinate weekday workouts for the family. Instead, each weekend choose a new “adventure” for your family to enjoy together. Get the kids invested by having them involved with the brainstorming process. You can keep it simple by scheduling a new hike or visiting a new park, or get creative by trying an activity such as ice-skating, paddle-boarding, bowling, a trampoline park, or even paintballing! Take a family walk or bike ride before or after dinner. This is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, particularly during the spring, summer and fall months. At our house, we love walking before dinner to catch the sunset together. Our kids also enjoy an occasional post-dinner “pajama walk” that makes it even more exciting! Have a family “happy hour”

dance party before dinner. Blast your favorite tunes and gather the kids together for a pre-dinner dance-off. You can “shake out your sillies” and burn off some energy before sitting down to a family meal and there’s nothing better than laughter after a long day at the office or running the kids. Buy fit and “active” gifts. When holidays or birthdays roll around, consider purchasing active gifts such as balls, bats, frisbees, scooters, bikes, hula hoops, pogo sticks, etc. that encourage the family to get moving. You could even look at a family pass to a local trampoline park or consider gift certificates for new adventures like white water rafting, river tubing, ropes courses and more. Kids will love trying new things, and the adults will love feeling like a kid again (you’d be surprised how much fun mom and dad can have with a hula hoop or plasma car!). Turn art time into a “fitness craft” that will allow hours of play down the road. Get the family involved in making homemade kites, a corn hole toss game, decorating bikes --- whatever motivates your kids to have fun outside. Create a family fitness challenge. Get creative and set up a fun month-long challenge. You can

start simply and set one goal each week, such as eating more vegetables, walking or running every day, or even drinking more water. You can also ramp it up and set one fitness goal per day to keep things interesting. Each day, cross off a new goal that you’ve worked together to meet. Pinterest has thousands of printable calendar ideas. Try a race. Find a local race, such as a family “fun run” 5k or a seasonal race (4th of July run, Turkey Trot, etc.) that you can train for together. Younger children may even enjoy heading to the race in costume or dressed in a family team color. Older kids may prefer something a little “crazier” like a mud run. Remember, it’s not the pace that matters, but getting your family moving. Give yourself extra points for finding a charityoriented race to help motivate the whole family. Get the kids involved in cooking. Let kids have fun at the grocery store by selecting a fruit or vegetable they’ve never tried before or plant a spring garden. Kids can be involved in planting, watering, and caring for their vegetables as they grow. They may be more willing to eat fruits and veggies they’ve hand-picked themselves. For more family fitness ideas, check out First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative for active families at LetsMove.gov. Her printable checklist of activities can be found here. Regardless of what you choose, just move!

Cara is mom to fraternal twin girls and a singleton boy. She is the author of the e-book Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins, a handy guidebook for new twin parents. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. multiplicity

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the buzz...for spring all things fun

left to right: cibo placemat for containing messes on the go; manta portable pop-up shelter, perfect for shielding the sun wherever you go; monkey mat, perfect for... well, anywhere; teach the kids about gardening with twigz’s mini greenhouse and watering can; splish and splash with step2’s spill and splash sea water table; catch and watch little ladybugs in the ladybug dome; piggy paint because those little tootsies are going to be on the loose; never miss a healthy snack with booginhead’s squeez’ems and pack’ems, perfect for anywhere on the go. 62


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when dads play a big role, too

by matt ray


It’s no secret that dad’s roles are changing in today’s families. Men are no longer the sole breadwinner, and men’s and women’s roles are converging more than ever before. Nearly 10% of dads stay home to care for the kids, while moms drive off to work each day. Dads are a necessary foundation within the family unit, and never more so than when a mom goes through a turbulent pregnancy. *pew research center When a couple learns they are pregnant, they soon begin to dream about what life will be like when the baby arrives, how their lives will change and all the joy the baby will bring. They rarely think about the possibilities of something bad happening --- of their baby being diagnosed with a fetal syndrome, risking their

health and possibly the entire pregnancy. It’s a risk we all take at trying to conceive, and especially when twins and more come into the picture. During her second pregnancy, my wife, Krista and I learned around 12 weeks that we were pregnant with twins. With little time to absorb the shock of the multiplicity

news, at 16 weeks, we learned there was a discordance in the amniotic fluid that warranted additional and more frequent monitoring with our specialists. We were seen once each week to monitor the babies’ vitals and fluid levels. Ultimately, at week 23, we were told that it was time for action. Our little Madeline had too much amniotic fluid and little Leslie had virtually no visible fluid in her sac. Words like Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), growth and fluid discordance, fetal stress, and shared placenta were all words tossed around like we were taking a walk in the park. Of course to the doctors, this is something that they often see with twins, yet to us, it felt like our world with the new babies was crumbling around us before it had even started.

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Unlike our last pregnancy, this pregnancy was stressful on all of us. We had been told about the possibility of a fetal syndrome like TTTS presenting itself, which compared to other parents who don’t learn of it until it’s too late to do anything about it, we considered ourselves lucky that the doctors were being proactive. We now knew what we were watching for, but it became a waiting game filled with anxiety and questions as the weeks passed by. Every week the doctors watched and waited. TTTS affects monochorionic twins, or those who share a placenta, as the nutrition and blood flow is discordantly shared through blood vessels from one twin to the other. This causes one to become anemic (the donor), and results in system overload in the other (the recipient). Time marched on and we had finally relaxed into ou 20th week of the pregnancy --- no news is good news --- yet at 23 weeks, we received the official diagnosis we had hoped would never come. I remember the fear and confusion. I was also very worried for and about my wife and my older child. Prior to week 23, the physicians recommended that we travel to Tampa to meet with a specialist, Dr. Ruben Quintero. We met with him to discuss treatment options and the criteria for each. Of course, we also did a lot of research on the disease and agreed to be patient while Krista was monitored once each week. On the day of the diagnosis, we tried to schedule a fetal ablation surgery with Dr. Quintero in 64


matt with his girls. . Tampa, but he was out of the country. Our next option was to travel to Los Angeles to have Dr. Chmait, another fetal surgeon who once trained under Dr. Quintero, perform the much-needed surgery. With time against us, we had to wait until the following Tuesday for Dr. Chmait to perform the fetoscopic laser surgery. It felt like a lifetime and we were so worried about the babies during that time. I was a train wreck throughout the ordeal, but my wife, as always, was very calm and level headed. For the next seven weeks after the treatment, everything seemed somewhat normal. We were back home, Krista was on bed rest and I was working and helping out around the home as much as possible. However, at week 30, Krista’s water broke. She went to the hospital and spent the next four weeks there. While Krista was more than well cared for by hospital staff, I worked when I

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could, managed the home and took care of our toddler, while also managing to visit with Krista in the hospital. Overall, while it consumed me for many months and I went through whirlwinds of emotions, ultimately it gave me hope and the realization of the blessings of modern day science and the miracles that are now my daughters. Going through this experience, and watching my wife go through it, reconfirmed my love for my wife’s independence, selfawareness and her toughness. When all was said and done, we welcomed Madeline and Leslie at 34 weeks, weighing 4lbs. 13oz. and 5lbs. 2oz. respectively. To celebrate them, our family joins hundreds of other participants, many of them fetal syndrome survivors, at The Great Candy Run in Jacksonville, FL each year. It is such an honor to give back to an organization that funds research of fetal syndromes to help families just like ours.

book club or bust!

tips for starting a kids’ book club

Have budding readers in your house? If they’re anything like ours, they don’t thrill at the thought of doing summer workbooks to keep things fresh for the coming school year, but the idea of a summer book club may be the ticket! Here are a few tried and true tips to help you along the way.

*Get families on board.

The book club will work best if there are at least 3 families (including your own) participating. Since most schools end in May or early June and start back in August, this gives you at least 3 monthly times to meet. If you have younger children, you may want to meet twice each month since the books won’t take as long to read, and you may even be able to cover more than one at each meeting. Each family gets a chance to host and select the book, which for the kids, is the best part. They can choose something with

their own special interests in mind and it’s wonderful to see how animated they get during the book conversation.

*Let the kids lead.

This works especially well if you have older kids (7 and up), so that they can choose the books they want to read, and then lead the discussion at the time of the book club. Many novels now include discussion questions in the back or online, so this is a great place to start for them. Parents can always jump in to help spur the conversation, too, but the kids should feel ownership and pride over what they’re doing. Easy questions to start with might be to ask which character they most related to, how does their life differ from the story line, how did certain scenes make them feel, were there situations with which they could sympathize, etc. multiplicity

*Encourage participation.

It never fails that in a large group there will always be a few kids who are more outgoing than others. Encourage involvement by all participants by ____ games. If you have a beach themed book, take a beach ball and write questions on each stripe. As the kids toss it around to each other, they get to pick the question they feel most comfortable talking about.

*Go all out --- or not.

We enjoyed hosting our book clubs, as we loved to create fun foods and decorations themed around whatever book the kids selected. All of the participants seemed to enjoy trying new things and just being part of the fun of it all. Whether you choose to serve simple, light refreshments or go all out, makes no difference. Just have fun with it and know that the kids will, too!

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the link between

exercise & adhd by natasha d’anna 66


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esearch shows that for older children, 1 hour of exercise allows them up to 4 hours of focus. The trick is encouraging and sometimes even participating or setting an example to make it work. *additude.com During the early 1980’s, research began for answers regarding ADHD, as the recognized behaviors were of chronic restlessness, impulsivity and the inability for a child to stay focused. As awareness of these behaviors amongst children in school by teachers and professionals began to rise, the number of ADHD diagnoses rose, as well. When doctors recognized that hyperactive children also had significant problems staying on task, following instructions or listening to their teachers, they began to look at what factors were contributing and ways in which to harness the hyperactivity in order to increase focus. The behaviors expressed were soon diagnosed as a hyperkinetic disorder, but with further research, soon changed to attention deficit disorder, or ADD. The direct focus on the behaviors of hyperactivity and impulsivity with the inattention to remain on task became the beginning of the understanding phase of the syndrome. On the other hand, ADHD was beginning to gain more recognition in the behaviors expressed by diagnosed children. This was mainly due to the struggles expressed with hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. As ADD and ADHD are still relatively new in the clinical world and very popular amongst young children, many older people are not aware that they have this diagnosis until adult age. A diagnosis typically comes between the ages of 5 and 12. Typical symptoms of ADHD include: multiplicity

*hyperactivity & impulsivity *interrupting conversation *frequently talking and moving *struggling to pay attention *easily distracted It is thought that some of the most successful and famous people may have revealed their diagnosis through their behavior, personalities and work. Perhaps among those are Walt Disney, Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake, Richard Branson and the great Philosopher Albert Einstein, to name just a few. It can be safe to say that with the disorder also comes creativity along a spectrum. However, there is a common misconception that people with ADHD become too distracted to get anything done. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. There is an estimated 7% of adults and 2 out of every 3 children who are affected by this disorder, making it one of the most common disorders affecting children today. However, many parents are starting to turn their backs on prescription medication and seek alternative care for their children such as clinical therapy. The Journal of Attention Disorders shows that the number of prescriptions increased from 34.8 to 48.4 million between 2007 and 2011 alone, making prescriptions for the treatment of ADHD a billion dollar industry within the pharmaceutical realm. The general thought is to help children learn to

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deal with their disorder through focus strategies and emotional stress management, yet because of recent studies, exercise also seems to offer that fix --without any nasty or harmful side effects to go with it. When we exercise, endorphines are released, but so are other chemicals that improve the brain’s areas of focus and attention, as well as its ability to handle and cope with anxiety and emotions. The natural result for a kid with ADHD who exercises is that they are more readily able and susceptible to learn when it’s time. The truth is that when people with ADHD find something about which they’re passionate, they will dedicate and push themselves harder than most --and usually succeeding beyond their dreams! So what does this mean for my ADHD kid? The ability to exercise your brain, body and build stamina and to become passionate about something is a great beginner for young children who are diagnosed with ADHD. Since kids are in school for so much of their time, that’s a great place to start. Enrolling your child into a school system with advanced Physical Education classes for structured and guided activities is very important, as is the general assumption that the school encourages movement throughout the day. Some

school systems are keying in on the link between focus and exercise and offer stretching breaks or even begin the day with some form of aerobic exercise to help the students start their day off right. Outside of the educational system are programs which provide activities focused on enhancing the ability to create executive control in the brain. Many schools are beginning to see the value and importance of offering these extras, or you can research for similar services in your area for after school or summer programs for your child. Specifically regarding exercise, aerobics and gymnastics are the top 2 choices for exercising a child’s physical and mental muscles. A semi-disciplinary sport that can be both professional and recreational allows for unstructured play, while building endurance to focus on the next step or task. Check out places like The Little Gym, indoor trampoline parks, or even your local Parks and Rec that offer programs to easily fill this need.

encouraging them to bike throughout the neighborhood or find some new greenway trails and get exploring. They could also train with a running club at your local YMCA to run in a local charity race as a culminating event. It may even be worth looking into a Crossfit or Bootcamp style gym where there is a focus on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and where class circuits and people are constantly changing. Having a routine outlet for their hyperactivity and impulsivity allows kids to be primed for learning. Focus from exercise results in increased executive functioning skills, which are required for organization and time management, all important to your child’s maturity and academic development. One last key to success is to have your kids set goals and then reward them when they reach them. It could be completing their first 5K or attending so many sessions at the gym, or even improving on a challenging gymnastics or dance routine. Just be sure to steer away from food as rewards and look to activities like going to see a movie, buying a new book or a new building set, or maybe even a special outing or trip as acceptable.

For older kids, they may be more inclined to invest their time and energy into a school or intramural sport. If they’re not inclined to work well as part of a team, they can also explore We all know that exercise more individual types of exercise improves our overall health and like karate and kickboxing, our moods. When kids with ADHD dance, or even running groups. incorporate more of it within their Other ways to keep things daily lives, the evidence is clear --interesting (which kids with they are clearing their heads and ADHD often need), include boosting their brains, too!

Natasha is a mom of twin girls, an educator, a self-published writer of a children’s book titled Twindollicious and a blogger, where she shares all things twin like and fashion for kids. She worked in the field of education for almost 10 years before fulfilling her dreams of having children of her own. It was then that she felt she could truly make a difference in a person’s life --- in this case, these two Twindollicious girls with great personalities. Connect with her on facebook and twitter. 68


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Need to rethink how you use the spaces in your home? In 5 easy steps, YES Spaces helps you determine the issue, the space and the people to make your design idea work perfectly for you and your space.

Let YES Spaces help you take your DIY to the next level!

spr ing skn!eak pee

life’s a circus... learn to live it up! featuring tips for reigniting passion, coping with behavioral challenges, a special back to school insert, & more! multiplicity

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family message center by barbara miller


s a working mom of five, some days I am just desperate for ways to teach my children to be a little more self-reliant. I noticed that one of my friends had a small white board on an easel on her kitchen counter, and it’s brilliant because she writes on it each night just what her kids need to do the next day. But with five children to juggle, I needed more room to track schedules. The boards that I designed for this project are for a family with three children but really, that’s a lot more realistic; not everyone is as crazy as me! The Design Tacky gold frames are easy to find in thrift stores, and I was lucky enough to come across a stash of over 60 matching frames with glass at my local Habitat ReStore. Needless to say, the art was horrible, but I knew the frame and glass would be perfect. Glass works just like a white board and both dry and wet erase markers work perfectly, so all I had to do 70


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was to create a design that put a solid color behind the glass in order to show off the writing. I decided to create an erasable weekly calendar so the kids could see the whole week in advance, and add their own notes. I also created a matching board with white board space for general reminders and cork board to pin up schedules, artwork or photos. The Materials *1 frame for each board you intend to make (mine are 2’x3′) *I used pads of white board and burlap to create the surfaces for my boards. *10′ of screen molding if your board is 2’x3′ *White satin spray primer and paint in one *Decorative buttons *Gold thumb tacks *Unpainted wood letters and any decorative motifs you like *Glue gun and glue *Glue stick The Process Watch the video first, as these instructions are meant to help you remember the order or answer any additional questions.

found that a heavy adhesive showed through the fabric; the glass will hold the fabric in place once the piece is put together. *Reassemble the frame, glass, and fabric covered cardboard *Measure the inside distance from top to bottom of the frame and cut two pieces of screen molding to length (you can have this done at your local hardware store). *Using hot glue or another clear drying adhesive, attach these lengths to the glass covering the line where your burlap squares meet *Measure each length of screen molding individually to be sure your horizontal pieces fit correctly. Cut and glue them. *Apply your day of the week initials or decorative elements and you are ready to go! If you decide to make the second board, follow the same procedure, but discard the glass or buy a frame without glass. *Take the cardboard from the frame to a frame department

and ask them to cut some foam core to size *Apply the burlap and white board squares *Put the board into the frame and attach the screen molding in a grid as described above *Use your child’s names or initials to give them ownership over the board *Glue buttons to thumb tacks to make decorative pins for the cork board section The Outcome Load up the boards with all the info you need to make life easier! These boards not only help give you peace of mind, but they are a valuable learning tool for your children. Use them for young nonreaders by drawing symbols (i.e. waves for swimming, a broom for chores, etc.). You can make these in any color palette that works with your decor. I liked the idea of bright colors --- anything that makes to-do lists seem a little more fun is good in my book!

*First, dis-mantel the frame *Paint the frame and the lengths of screen molding *Use the cardboard from the frame and draw a grid for your calendar (I liked 9 squares leaving room for general reminders or notes) *Cut burlap squares to fit your grid and glue them to the cardboard with a glue stick. I Barbara is the mom of 5 and a professional ASID interior designer. She uses her experience designing high end homes as inspiration for creating stylish, home decor projects you can do yourself on a budget. When she isn’t designing homes, remaking thrift shop finds or driving carpool, she can be found serving on the board of the Portland Children’s Museum, contributing pro-bono hours to local school design committees or supporting child-centered non-profits nationwide. Also, connect with her on facebook and pinterest. multiplicity

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we know they’re not always this angellic. we also know they don’t come with manuals.

let us be your guide. Baby Gear Guide 2015 A unique resource to help parents thrive in their first few years with multiples, Multiplicity’s annual Baby Gear Guides showcase helpful products and information to make your life with a little easier. Subscribe today and see what you’ve been missing!

available to subscribers in print and online now! 72


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The creator of the Twiniversity online resource delivers the definitive survival guide for all parents of multiples --- from pregnancy through the first year The rate of twin births has risen by 79% over the last three decades, and continues to grow. Expectant parents are overwhelmed with questions: do I really need two of everything? Can we do this ourselves or do we need help? Will I have to rob a bank to raise these babies without going broke? A twins mom herself and national guru on having two (or more!), Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the trenches. What to Do When You’re Having Two covers: *making a Birth Plan checklist *sticking to one sleep schedule *double-duty breastfeeding *must-have gear *building one-on-one relationships with each child early Brimming with tried-and-true tips --- from the diaper budget to stroller sanity --- this is the must-have survival guide for parents of multiples. Natalie Diaz has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Family Magazine, and more. She was named one of the top 100 Social Media Moms on Twitter by Disney and has recently been nominated for a She Knows Parenting Award.

Order your copy today!


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Profile for Multiplicity Magazine

Multiplicity Spring 2016  

Multiplicity's spring issue is loaded with tips on keeping your family safe! From things to consider for sleepovers and summer camps, tips f...

Multiplicity Spring 2016  

Multiplicity's spring issue is loaded with tips on keeping your family safe! From things to consider for sleepovers and summer camps, tips f...