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Creating Creating Healthy Healthy Communities Communities ••

dec/jan dec/jan 2010-2011, 2010-2011, Vol. Vol. II

Holiday Treats

the best ideas for stress free celebrations

Give Local This Season holiday gift guide

TSe IF uid G tg T y gif EAida R ol G ur h IN m o W fro

Creating A Better Path

J.K.LIVIN’ and other charities that make a difference

Year End Resolutions tips for a painless tax season

Life Beyond Peanut Butter the nut butter challenge


TODO Austin is a free, colorful print and online journal for all of Austin highlighting our multicultural heritage. Our mission is to promote the concept of community in an ethnically diverse city. www.todoaustinonline.com

Jake Morse at 817.313.7062 or Kathleen Fitzgerald at 512.284.5492; or sales@todoaustinonline.com


contents

page

17

thriving kids 06 WHOLE KIDS ADVENTURE and ACTIVE LIFE

join forces to promote new enriching program

dishing it up 10 if you can’t stand the heat:

AMBROSIA raw-food restaurant.

17

thinking outside La Boite and exploring quality french pastry.

22 SWEEEEET! In the season of treats, enjoy

these delectable desserts.

24 Love your Cheese: Featuring the best cheeses (some made locally!) from Antonelli’s. 28 Simplicity is the spice of Life. A look

at Simplicity Wine & Eats.

feature focus 32 Creating Change in our Community:

Featured Charities.

gifting 12 GIFT GUIDE ‘10. Keeping it local and

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44

healthy lifestyle 18 you are what you apply - to your skin.

What’s in your body lotion?

20 is there life beyond peanut butter? 30 DIY - Gingerbread House. green spotlight 08 who’s afraid of BPA? Owner Kevin

Brodwick talks ThinkBaby.

creative minds 27 Khabele School: Taking a look at

Public Education.

37 Soul Food healthy focus 38 Will Power: what parents need to know

about preparing for the hereafter.

departments 4-5 letter from the publishers 46 teachable moments BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK facebook.com/Whole.Kids.Lifestyle.Austin

tax season

31 college savings: smart planning tips. pay it forward 26 Pay it forward: A skilled jewelry

32

stress-free. Win over 50 Gifts!

finance tips 09 year end resolutions for a painless

page

designer and stylist gives back.

Tweet with Us on Twitter twitter.com/wklaustin SUBSCRIBE TO WHOLE KIDS LIFESTYLE www.wholekidslifestyle.com

Dec/Jan 2010-2011

On the Cover: Maurice Harris with Elite Fitness and daughter Mya.

Oct/Nov 2010 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 03


Simple Gifts

So when I started to plan our December issue to include our Holiday Gift Guide, I wanted to express simplicity and pick gifts that anyone would love to receive, focusing mainly on local talent and affordability. Then, writer Pat Buchta proposed a story on Coats for Kids, an annual community project that collects and distributes warm winter coats to eligible children and teenagers in Central Texas. He inspired me to take a look behind some of Austin’s local charities whose volunteers and staff members truly give back to the community in unbelievable ways. Writer Brent King met with staff of each organization and is sharing their mission to educate, feed, and support our children in various ways. At Whole Kids Adventure, we are extremely proud to announce a new partnership with ACTIVE Life, an organization whose mission it is to make health the norm. With this partnership comes a unique and innovative concept to Austin that will allow underprivileged families to be part of a program that creates healthier lifestyles. We can’t wait to bring this to our community and feature stories in the near future about how the program has impacted someone’s life in a positive way. Be sure to visit our

letter

from the publishers

website for more on this announcement and to sign-up if you would like to participate with your family or would like to show your support as a volunteer and advocate. Working on all Whole Kids’ endeavors with a team of passionate, talented people keeps me focused, and rarely do we get to make time to celebrate each other and our success (even if it’s just a small milestone). So here’s to all our volunteers and everyone who has helped along the way to create our unique publication. I am honored to work with you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for enriching my life and the lives of so many in our community. As for my personal gift choice for this season, I’ll be looking to find simple and unique ways to express my gratitude and love while supporting local talent. And to my daughter, and wonderful inspiration, I’ll be giving the gift of spending time with Mom on Christmas, to give thanks for putting up with me all year and loving me unconditionally. And to all our readers who enjoy Whole Kids Lifestyle, we can’t thank you enough. Here’s to a new year filled with miracles and the joy of creating healthy communities!

Lene Saint-Orens

P ub l i sh e r a n d F ou n d e r

Whole Kids Lifestyle Founder of Whole Kids Projects

photo by emily fitzgerald | www.efitzgerald.com

The place where I work (call it my office d’enfant) is filled with cascades of toys, cheerios glued to the table, and art supplies everywhere. I’ve always felt fortunate to have toys for my children, a home to call my own, and access to organic produce to stay healthy, not to mention loving friends who remind me once in a while that the biggest gift to give is time spent with family and loved ones.


Change. It’s the only constant, right? In our personal lives, we have the power to make changes for the better, as you’ll see in this issue, and we have opportunities to make changes that will work against us. As the new year approaches, many of us make resolutions for changes we want to make in our lives in order to improve them in some way. Few of us actually follow through with those resolutions and make them stick. Change that we want and strive for isn’t usually easy and can actually require much more of us than we first realize. Surrounding ourselves with positive influences and champions can make it easier to make those big changes. Our champions can be close friends, family, or caring and genuine strangers who truly want to help us improve our lives. Quite often, the positive changes (growth!) we make in ourselves are also a good thing for those around us.

Kids Lifestyle, and it’s the raison d’être for Whole Kids Adventure. We’ve been fortunate to partner with others who are helping us to grow, and in turn that helps us to help others make the positive changes they want in their lives. As you enter the new year, reflect on resolutions you might want to actually achieve and what effort they will actually require of you. If you’re serious about making them happen, you can find the discipline and the help you might need in order to succeed.

Allen Beuershausen

As s o c iat e P u b l i sh er

If you’ve been reading this magazine for some time, you’ll realize that this is a recurring theme in Whole

WHOLE KIDS LIFESTYLE Creating healthy communities PUBLISHER Lene Saint-Orens

Full contributors listing, all bios and contact information can be found online at wholekidslifestyle.com

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Allen Beuershausen

Art Director Dave McClinton www.dmdesigninc.com

COPY EDITOR Tori Haltom

ADVERTISING SALES Allen Beuershausen

STAFF WRITER Brent King

CONTACT US WHOLE KIDS LIFESTYLE info@wholekidslifestyle.com wholekidslifestyle.com


feature focus

WKA & ACTIVE Life make waves By Lene Saint-Orens

announce a very unique partnership with ACTIVE Life, an organization that has been flourishing on a statewide level with the goal to empower people to make healthy the norm by building healthy communities. ACTIVE Life envisions and is committed to creating an American culture, which values, demands and supports healthy for all. To accomplish this goal, ACTIVE Life is organizing a national social movement for healthy change by enlisting and equipping people and places to build and sustain healthy communities.

Two Austin non-profits create new innovative program that promises to make waves beyond the Austin City Limits. If you’re familiar with Whole Kid’s programs, you already know that we’re a unique new concept that is shedding some light on the lack of nutrition education and physical activities in existing pre-K settings and beyond. Our goals are our passion: To fight child obesity by offering programs to children and their families, and to educate them about proper nutrition, physical activity, and growing the local food culture right here in Austin. You will also know that we’ve been exploring our community to find a location to call home, and while we’re in the process of bringing our holistic and unique programs to children in a pre-K setting, we’re thrilled to 06 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

THE UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP Whole Kids Adventure and ACTIVE Life have joined forces to create a scalable, self-sustaining program in which families in need are partnered with a local team of community mentors, healthy living experts, advocates and volunteers. We plan to create positive and lasting changes in the lives of others by providing the benefits of an active lifestyle and healthy nutrition. By creating this unique partnership, both organizations are able to launch and grow already established programs such as ACTIVE Life’s ACTIVE Nutrition Program, and expand on physical and wellness education for both families and their children. Education and community action are sought to be the best solutions to establishing a healthier culture. People need to learn to make the right choices regarding their health and understand the many benefits of those choices. True changes in behavior and attitudes come from the heart and mind.


One of the greatest differences with this program is that families are taught at their homes. Community experts such as Doctors, Personal Trainers, Dietitians, and Chefs, will come to the families’ home and will teach them how to work with tools and resources available at their home and in their neighborhood. Where do you sign up you ask?

THE PROGRAM Over the course of three months, community mentors (health experts) will empower families enrolled in the program to lead healthier lives, and create healthy change in the community. How so? Participants will learn how to incorporate exercise into their every day, attain tips and strategies to make smart and healthy food choices, develop basic cooking skills, and experience gardening. Goals for this program are simple: Families are empowered and will receive the tools necessary to achieve personal goals and maintain better health and a sustainable lifestyle, resulting in reducing the likelihood of having serious health problems later in life.

Interested families and community mentors (experts) are encouraged to pick up the next issue of WKL for a full feature of the first family enrolled into the innovative program, and instructions on how to become part of our unique concept. Registration for families and community mentors (experts) will open in March of 2011. The program is free to qualifying families. Please visit our site at wholekidsadventure.org for more information about the application process, start and duration of the program, and all basic requirements. If you lead an organization that you feel might be providing services relevant to what we’re teaching, or are passionate about a healthy lifestyle and want to become an advocate or volunteer for our program, please be sure to send us an email at info@wholekidsadventure. org. We’d love to hear from you!

Educational resources provided by experts will equip participants with the inspiration and skills necessary to sustain their transformation into a culture of healthy behaviors, attitude and values. While Austin is known as one of the most health conscious cities in the country, for many community members the access to quality produce and healthy choices is still an issue, and can be very difficult to break free of. WKA and AL will work collaboratively as organizations to increase access to healthy living for all families in our community, so our program will be accepting underprivileged families, to teach valuable lessons that will last a lifetime, and to experience the highest possible quality of life. Families will be taught the importance of eating a variety of seasonal foods, and learn the fundamentals about keeping a healthy, balanced diet. We’ll expand on teaching culinary skills that are simple, and focus on the use of low-fat, high-quality ingredients while aiming to transform the existing culture of the families, not changing it. Our experts will teach families how to shop for healthy foods on a budget, how to interpret food labels, and simple ways to get much needed exercise without spending a lot of time or money that they might not have. Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 07


green spotlight

Who’s Afraid of BPA? By Allen Beuershausen

B

isphenol A. Ever heard of it? Most people know it as BPA, a chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, epoxy resins, and a number of other ubiquitous plastics. Billions of pounds of BPA are used each year (2.8 million tons in 2002), and they show up in baby bottles, shatter resistant eyeglass lenses, sports equipment, medical devices, dental fillings and sealants, and the list goes on. It’s a very useful chemical; unfortunately it is also known to mimic estrogen in the body, and because of that, it is considered to be a hormone disruptor.

Bisphenol A is known to leach from many plastics including reusable containers and the internal linings of metal food and beverage cans, but it leaches from them at different rates depending on whether they are exposed to high heat and harsh detergents which are typical of dishwashers, or various other conditions. Aluminum cans and food containers must be lined to prevent corrosion, and these linings contain BPA. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is “some concern” about BPA’s effects on fetal brain development and behavior.1 In 2008, the National Toxicology Program agreed, saying there is “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.”2 A 2008 study by the Yale School of Medicine demonstrated that BPA has detrimental neurological effects on primates at doses equal to the maximum allowed by the EPA.3 A study performed on mice and published in Biochemical Pharmacy concluded that BPA impacts processes related to dopamine and can lead to hyperactivity, attention disorders, and greater sensitivity to drugs that are abused.4 Additional studies have shown that BPA can adversely affect thyroid function, and human studies have shown correlations between high levels of BPA in urine with heart disease, diabetes, and liver enzymes. In spite of all of this, BPA remains legal and widely used in most of the world. According to Kevin Brodwick, founder of Think Baby and Think Sport, two Austin-based companies that manufacture BPA-free products for infants and toddlers and for athletes, the reason bisphenol A is still used is that it is difficult to run laboratory tests on humans showing conclusive and direct effects of BPA on human physiology. One complicating factor is that BPA is fat soluble, so it accumulates in the body over time and it can be impossible to identify where, when, or how it was ingested or absorbed. Governments around the world equivocate on the safety of BPA because of these difficulties. There is no doubt in Brodwick’s mind about whether we should risk ingesting this known toxin, though. He was one of the researchers at the National Institutes of Health who concluded that we should not take any chances on inadvertently consuming it. After reviewing numerous studies including his own, Brodwick concluded that there should be no place for BPA where it might come into contact with food and set out to create his own truly BPA-free line of products. Brodwick had found in his research that many products that claimed to be BPA-free actually were not. For example, baby bottles made of polycarbonates contain BPA by definition, yet some manufacturers have claimed theirs do not simply because 08 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

the testing methods they used didn’t show any or because the products had not been subjected to typical usage before testing. This deception is not unique to BPA users, according to Brodwick. Many “lead-free” paints actually do contain lead, but it doesn’t show up in the tests the manufacturers choose to use. It took two years to find a truly lead-free paint that was suitable for Think Sport’s water bottles. He is determined to only make food containers for children and adults that are truly safe, eco-friendly, and affordable. Think Baby and Think Sport manufacture innovative non-toxic products for people who choose to avoid taking chances on consuming potentially hazardous materials. This doesn’t just mean avoiding BPA, but also PVC, phthalates, lead, melamine, and nitrosamines, all of which have been shown to be harmful in humans. To set themselves apart, they have developed innovative versions of everyday products. For example their sport bottles are equipped with strainers so that solids like ice or tea leaves stay in the bottle when the liquid is poured out. The nipples on their baby bottles are cross-cut so that infants actually nurse rather than drink from them. They also offer conversion and replacement kits to extend the use of their baby bottles to training cups. While there are companies like Think Baby making BPAfree products, the widespread use of bisphenol A in food containers is not likely to end any time soon. It may not be possible to completely avoid BPA and other unsafe chemicals in pre-packaged foods, but you can take steps to minimize your contact with them. Plastic containers marked with recycling #7 are typically made of polycarbonate or similar materials, so try to avoid them. Numbers 1, 2, and 4 are safer choices. Soft or cloudy plastics do not contain BPA. Sport bottles should be lined with stainless steel. Experts also recommend that food not be heated in plastic containers as a general rule. While it is widely accepted that only trace amounts of these toxic chemicals leach from the products that contain them, BPA and others are known to accumulate in the body and it is recommended to avoid them as much as possible, especially in products for infants and children. Better safe than sorry! thinkbabybottles.com | thinksportbottles.com

Photo courtesy of Kevin Brodwick. Copyright thinkOperations, LLC

1 National Toxicology Program, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2007-11-26). “CERHR Expert Panel Report for Bisphenol A” (PDF). Archived from the original on 2008-02-18. http://web.archive.org/web/20080218195117/http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/chemicals/bisphenol/ BPAFinalEPVF112607.pdf. 2 Since you asked - Bisphenol A: Questions and Answers about the Draft National Toxicology Program Brief on Bisphenol A, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences website. 3 Leranth C, Hajszan T, Szigeti-Buck K, Bober J, Maclusky NJ (September 2008). “Bisphenol A prevents the synaptogenic response to estradiol in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of ovariectomized nonhuman primates”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105 (37): 14187. 4 Jones, D.; Miller, G. (2008). “The effects of environmental neurotoxicants on the dopaminergic system: A possible role in drug addiction”. Biochemical pharmacology 76 (5): 569–581


FINAN C E TIPS

Year End Resolutions By Lene Saint-Orens and Kathleen D. Hausenfluck, CPA (Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC)

Del ay Some Pay Unless you will soon be in a higher tax bracket, try postpone receiving some income until 2011. Expecting a holiday bonus? Ask if it can be paid in January. Selfemployed? Don’t send out invoices until the end of the month. You will eventually have to pay taxes on these earnings, but in the meantime, you’ll have the funds at your disposal for the Holidays.

Balance your Portfolio If you are a business owner, tax incentives such as bonus depreciation and Code Section 179, small business expensing can provide additional tax savings for qualifying business assets placed in service before the end of the year. If you are considering a business purchase, these tax incentives could be motivators to make purchases before the end of 2010. D e d u c t y o u r C e l l Ph o n e Starting in 2010, cell phones are removed from the category of “listed property,” thus enabling business owners to deduct the cost of cell phones primarily used for business purposes without having to keep extensive records. D r a i n FSA F u n d s If you’ve set aside a flex-account of tax-free earnings for medical expenses or child care, be sure you’ve used most of the money before March 15, or you may pay taxes on it. Save for L ater Savings accounts for retirement such as 401Ks and IRAs are tax protected, making this the ideal time of the year to add to an account or even open a new one.

Go Green Replace old windows in your home or upgrade your insulation. In the long run, these energy savers will lower your utility bills, and in the short run, they’ll qualify you for a tax credit, as does a new roof or air conditioning unit. For details on these and other earth-friendly deductibles, check out energytaxincentives.org. The heating and cooling equipment tax incentive, building envelope tax incentive, and biomass stoves credit are all set to expire in December 2010. Discussions about extending these credits are pending, and there is a good chance they will be extended, although perhaps in a modified form.

Pile on the Deductions If you’re a homeowner, the interest you pay on your mortgage is deductible. Submit your January payment a month early and take an additional deduction. If you’re itemizing your expenses, this is a great time to donate to charity. The overall goal is to lower the sum of your taxable income now so your April remittance is that much smaller. Consider deferring your 2010 property tax payment to 2011 if you anticipate being subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).  Generally, accelerating deductions is the most advantageous route unless you will be caught in the AMT trap.   Update your Records If you’ve had a child, gotten married, or been divorced during the year, don’t forget to change your withholdings at work. Keeping those W-4 forms current means you reap any benefits right away and prevent yourself from owing huge, unforeseen sums come spring. Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 09


feature focus

If You Can’t Stand the Heat… By Allen Beuershausen

10 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM


What kind of restaurant has no ovens, no stoves, toasters, roasters, or grills? food restaurant of course!

A raw

Instead of using

heat to process and prepare foods, a raw food restaurant, such as Austin’s own Ambrosia Living Foods Café at 1221 W. 6th Street, relies on blenders, dehydrators, and the cleverness of their chefs to prepare delicious, nutritious food. Raw food, or “living food”, as it’s sometimes called, is said to be better for you because it retains vitamins and enzymes that can be destroyed by heat. It also retains more of its natural flavor. It is typically organic, and never heated above 118° F. While raw foodism is most commonly associated with veganism, those who follow a strict raw food diet might also include unpasteurized dairy products, uncooked eggs, or raw meat or fish such as steak or tuna tartare or sashimi. Some advocate a strictly vegetarian diet, some are omnivorous, and some only eat raw animal products. However, all of them share the belief that uncooked food is much better for you and limit the amount of cooked foods they consume. Because raw food is said to be more nutritious, your body actually feels more satisfied with less food than a standard diet requires. This makes it an attractive diet for those wishing to lose weight even if the main goal is to improve overall health and avoid environmental toxins and additives and preservatives. This can be a great way for children to avoid triggers for developmental disorders that might be related to diet. Raw food diet is also said to enhance the immune system, provide more energy, improve skin tone, and offer other benefits as well. John Wegmann, the founder and owner of Ambrosia, found this to be

the case first-hand. Wegmann was a hard-charging securities analyst working 100 hour weeks on Wall Street and living just a few blocks from the World Trade Center when the September 11 attacks occurred. Thick clouds of dust, ash, glass, and diesel fumes made homes in the immediate vicinity of the WTC uninhabitable for months. When Wegmann was finally able to return to his home, he found it full of dust, mold, and fumes. Even after cleaning it extensively, the smell and the toxins remained, and his health and state of mind quickly began to deteriorate as a result of it. After trying in vain to treat his symptoms with traditional medical treatments, a doctor introduced him to the “living foods” concept and recommended that he leave his contaminated home and restore his body to a natural balanced state by following a raw food diet. Wegmann changed his eating habits, moved to Austin, and has felt great ever since. He’s now a huge proponent of eating living foods, and he ultimately decided to share his passion through his restaurant, Ambrosia Living Foods Café. Ambrosia is an apt name for Wegmann’s charming café, which is located at 1221 W. 6th Street, just a few blocks east of MoPac. The food is delicious, expertly prepared, beautiful to look at, and it even feels like it’s good for you as you eat it. One dish you must try is their living

pizza, a savory delight made with raw marinara sauce, vegan mozzerella, and a raw crust made from a shaped and dehydrated mixture of seeds and nuts. You won’t miss pepperoni or gooey cheese at all! The living pizza is a great way to introduce children to raw foods. Their signature kale salad is refreshing and satisfying, and their Thai noodle bowl, made with spiral cut zucchini noodles and served with a creamy ginger sauce and chili oil is a satisfying meal by itself. Ambrosia’s raw desserts are amazing, too. They offer a daily selection of cakes, tarts, ice cream, and chocolates, all of which are raw. Ambrosia’s food is dairy and gluten free, but you wouldn’t know it from the delicious flavors chef Cory Nowell manages to bring out in his dishes. John and his friendly staff gladly guide their customers to the menu choices they think the customer will like best, and educate them about the benefits of healthy eating. Ambrosia will be a revelation to anyone who believes that a raw food diet can’t be a joy to the senses. Their culinary creations are available for dine in, carry out, and catering from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. They are closed Sunday and Monday. Even if you’re not looking for the health benefits of a raw food diet, you owe it to yourself to try it! www.ambrosiacafeaustin.com

Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 11


Gift Ideas MO m

ENTER OUR HOLIDAY SWEEPS ONLINE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ITEMS FEATURED IN OUR GIFT GUIDE. To enter, simply sign up for our newsletter and submit our sweeps entry form located at wholekidslifestyle.com

1. Love your skin! SkinOrganics products by Ann Webb are all natural, beautifully designed and competitively priced to fit into everyone’s budget. We love that they’re LOCAL and environmentally friendly. Enter our sweeps to win the set! skinorganicsaw.com 2. milk & honey, Austin’s locally owned spa, offers luxury massage, body treatments, facial and skincare and natural nail-therapy in a modern, tranquil environment. One reader is in for a treat and can enter to win a Certificate for $75 toward any service. milkandhoneyspa.com 3. Custom designed chocolates by ChocBite (created with love right here in Austin). Want to go low-cal? Enjoy the miniature ChocBites (smaller version of the bar) guilt-free! Two readers will win a selection of bars. chocbite.com 4. Zhi Tea is a local company selling their lovely teas at the Austin Farmer’s Market. Zhi is focused on supporting local non-profits such as Urban Roots and the Sustainable Food Center. We love the new little bags and dig the ‘Tropical Green’ flavor. One reader can enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate and experience Zhi’s new flavors. zhitea.com 5. Greenling delivers fresh, healthy, nutritious food in a way that is sustainable, directly to your front door. We love the baskets of fresh produce and the time you save trying to pick the best veggies at the store can be spend playing with your kids! One reader can enter to win a FREE local box. greenling.com 6. Our whole staff (to include our awesome male volunteers) is digging the affordable and inspiring little Hippie Halo’s created by Austinite Maranda Pleasant and her daughter Ocean. Hippie Halo’s Philosophy is honest: Building.Conscious.Community. And we agree that ‘There’s a little gypsy in all of us’. Enter our sweeps to win one of the featured halos! hippiehalos.com 7. Designer Casie Stoltz has just recently launched Raven Styling and we are in love with the amazing hand-made vintage pieces created with love that feature Chanel chains and feathers from around the world. Casie’s line Jersey Bean Design is available locally and each piece is unique (and oh-soaffordable!). Enter to win the one-of-a-kind purple lace vintage necklace. ravenstyling.com 8. MODpaper is a luxury couture invitation design studio based in Austin, focused on fresh, modern, one-of-a-kind custom designs that blend luxe, unstuffy classics with clean lines and bold, contemporary color. Have a celebration, wedding, birth or professional soiree coming up? Visit modpaper.com. Enter to win $100 toward design on your next invitation package! 12 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM


Dad

Gift Ideas

1. If you’ve read ‘The Unlikely Making of a YogaDude’, you’ll be inspired to get yourself back in shape. Try yoga, and eliminate back-pain with gentle stretches and just a few sessions! Enter our sweeps to win 1 month unlimited Yoga and one pass valid for 4 classes. yogayoga.com 2. Alchemy Goods is a Seattle based company that upcycles old bike tubes and turns them into little sleeves and messenger bags (and belts). We found our fab sleeve at Wanderland on Lamar and are thrilled about the impact of the tiny number printed besides their logo (ours shows ‘79’). It represents the percent (by weight) of upcycled material that goes into each product. alchemygoods.com 3. Spibelt is the original ‘Small Personal Item Belt’ that will hold your phone and keys while you go for a run, walk your dog, or when you’re on vacation and want to keep your passport and wallet close. We love the different styles and the option to customize. Enter our sweeps to win one (colorful) Spibelt. spibelt.com 4. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding has become increasingly hip in Austin.   We tested the SUP boards in our June/July issue and ended up buying our own boards: now we can can paddle and get fit anytime we want to! Purchase a membership or board for dad this X-mas (and because you wouldn’t want him to ‘get fit’ alone, be sure you grab one for yourself!). We’re giving away FREE sessions to our readers, be sure you enter our drawing. supatx.com 5. Get some alone-time this season and gift some movie passes for the coolest theater in town -> Alamo Drafthouse. You’ll be impressed by the fab gluten-free menu options. Enter our sweeps for a chance to win one of 3 movie packages (2 passes each). alamodrafthouse.com 6. Give a GO LOCAL AUSTIN card and help dad save money for an entire year! Most local stores and even vendors at the Farmer’s Market accept the card and give you a discount or even some free goods when you’re shopping. Check out participating stores and their discounts here: thegolocalcard.com. Enter the sweeps to win one of 2 GO LOCAL cards valid for an entire year! 7. The gift of a hot-lather neck shave and shoulder massage with a precision hair cut will be much appreciated. The Good Life Barbershop, a mother and son owned barbershop in central Austin, is dedicated to keeping all of the old barber traditions alive. Enter to win a Haircut & Straight Razor Shave Combo! thegoodlifebarbershop.com Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 13


Gift Ideas k i d s 1. Discover year-round family fun with a membership to the Austin Children’s Museum. Enter our sweeps today for a chance to win one basic membership that’ll spread joy all year round. Find membership info at austinkids.org

2. Giggles Bibs is the creation of Jamie Hunt from Texarkana. The fun, funky and unique bibs are hand made of shower curtains and easy-to-clean. Check out the website for more products and to find out where to find one near you. One of our readers can enter for a chance to win a handmade bib. gigglesbibs.com

3. Babo Botanicals are natural, organic hair and skin products for baby and kids made on a certified organic farm. You can purchase the lovely Holiday Set’s here in Austin at the office of Dr. Amy Myers/ Austin UltraHealth (please email for appointment) dramymyers.com. To find out more about Babo Botanicals and their honest mission, please visit their site at: babobotanicals.com. Enter our sweeps for a chance to receive one of two lovely sets as gift.

4. Give the Gift of Healthy Foods to New Moms! NurturMe products are naturally grown and quick dried, to maintain more of their nutritional value and come in light weight, palm-sized pouches. We love the easy to carry and prepare healthy meals for babies, and are a fan of the local company! Enter to win a set for yourself and visit the company’s site for more info about flavors and how to buy: nurturme.com 14 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM


kids

Gift Ideas

5. Get stylish with kidswear by BabyBolt. Crafted in Becka Spellman’s home studio in Austin, TX, the little onsies and tee’s are superb in quality and eco-friendly. babybolt.net. For a chance to win the onsie and teeeeee, please enter our sweeps. 6. Rock ‘n Roll into the new season by giving the gift of drum lessons. Pedro is a local drummer and owner of Drum Lessons Austin. First lesson is $25 (Ages 5-8). Enter our sweeps for a chance to win a FREE lesson. drumlessonsaustin.com   7. Jump! Gymnastics is locally owned and Austin’s most fun way to learn gymnastics. Kids will learn to increase flexibility, strength, coordination, balance, and gain confidence. Classes are available in all forms and shapes and any kid will love this gift! Enter our sweeps to win a FREE class and $25 off registration fee. jumpgymnastics.com 8. Hippie Halo’s are new to Austin but already a huge hit with our kids (and our staff). Created by Austinite Maranda Pleasant and her daughter Ocean, Hippie Halo’s philosophy is Building.Conscious.Community. Kids will love the affordable Halo and wear it proud to any X-mas party! Comes in various sizes and colors - be sure to secure one for yourself! hippiehalos. com. For a chance to win a kids-halo, please enter our sweeps! Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 15


Gift Ideas k i d s 9. Handmade Cotton cloths by Jersey Bean Design (Little Bean). Made locally, those cute cloths are made to order. Just email your design and color preferences to withlovejerseybeandesign@gmail. com. $20 each or 2 for $38. Enter our sweeps to win a set of 2! 10. Say it with music and give the gift of some unique CD’s that will inspire your child to be creative! Our staff picks are Elizabeth Mitchell (Sunny Days), the Okee Dokee Brothers (Take it Outside) and Jungle Gym by Justin Roberts (who was just nominated for a Grammy Award!). Enter our drawing for a chance to win one of the featured CD’s. waterloorecords.com or iTunes.com

11. Miranda R. Mueller is a local artist who’s creating unique customized pieces for children’s rooms. Gift Certificates for personalized art is available at MirandaRMueller.com. Enter our sweeps to win a 8x10 customized piece. 16 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM


h e a lt h y f o c u s

Thinking Outside La Boîte By Veroni ca Me ew e s | Ph ot o by J ef f K au f fm a n [ w w w. j e f f k a u f f m a n p h o t o g r a p h y. c o m ]

There are certain foods that, despite their unanimous appeal, are virtually unattainable in some areas of the country. Austin certainly does not lack in the breakfast taco department. Likewise, we are fortunate to have a fantastic selection of Vietnamese food. But take, for instance, bagels—no, I mean real New Jersey-quality bagels. They are non-existent in our fine city. Good chinese take-out? Equally rare. Another culinary treasure, quite hard to come by until last year, is now right within reach: the heavenly croissant. Victoria Davies hails from Auckland, New Zealand, and arrived in the states in 1997, settling in San Francisco. In 2004, she relocated to Austin and quickly realized something was missing. “In San Francisco, several boulangeries had opened in the past three or four years. I got hooked on really fabulous pastries. When I moved to Austin I couldn’t really understand what was going on… I couldn’t find a proper croissant anywhere!” Taking a sip from her appropriate Eiffel Tower mug and leaving behind a kiss of lipstick, she recalls having a friend bring her back the flakey crescents from Paris. Seeing this need, she and partner Dan Bereczki opened La Boîte. With her front of house and his back of house backgrounds, they first set to work searching for the ideal croissant creator. After tasting Barrie Cullinan’s pastries, they looked no further. Barrie, a former Enoteca pastry chef first trained at Manhattan’s

celebrated Balthazar Bakery, uses local and organic ingredients to create pastries for La Boîte’s morning devotees and pain au lait for their lunch sandwiches, which change daily. The almond croissants (priced at $2.25) regularly sell out after the morning rush, which is no surprise— each one is a perfectly browned little gift, shingled with almond slices, dusted with powdered sugar, and curiously balancing somewhere between savory and sweet. La Boîte (French for “the box”) opened last November in a 160 square foot shipping container refashioned by Mark Meyer of designSTUDIOmodern. “We had been interested in a shipping container for a long time,” explains Davies. There are already so many of them and they’re so robust.” They do contain wheels and are just as portable as their motorized counterparts, but with no impending danger of leaking fuel, something food trailers have been criticized for. All in all, recycled shipping containers are a more sustainable, greener option. Davies also uses all compostable cups and utensils from a local paper supplier and recycles everything possible. Her thoughts on this matter are emphatic. “Recycling is abused in this country. People think that if you recycle it makes everything okay and it doesn’t. You need to reuse!” La Boîte also strives to serve locally grown, raised, and produced foods whenever possible, including Full Quiver Farms cheese, Dai Due condiments and

breakfast sausage, Pederson Farms ham, Richardson Farms pork and Confituras fruit jams and butters, which Davies describes as “just exquisite.” Davies knew she wanted to use Mexican coffee to due its close proximity to Austin, but she didn’t know exactly which region to settle on. La Boîte worked with a local roaster to come up with a coffee blend using shade-grown beans from a fair trade and certified organic co-op in Chiapas called Finca Triunfo Sociedad Civil. She discloses, “We ended up with much better coffee than we’d first realized.” A cup of the brew is low in acidity, boasting subtle chocolate notes, making it a perfect accompaniment to their addictive, airy French macaroons ($1.75 each), available in a rainbow of flavors. La Boîte’s location at the top of a grassy slope on South Lamar makes for an ideal picnic setting with kids (and some good, old-fashioned hill-rolling). Davies says it has been the site of several recent birthday parties. She looks forward to the opening of another location downtown before the end of the year and a third sometime this spring. Finding quality French pastry just got a whole lot easier… but next we’ll be in need of a support group! La Boîte Café 1700 South Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 www.laboitecafe.com | (512) 377-6198

Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 17


h e a lt h y f o c u s

You are what you apply —to your skin!

What’s in your body lotion?

Dr. Amy Myers

Y

ou’ve heard the old adage “You are what you eat.” Now I’d like to add another. “You are what you apply--” to your skin, that is! Substances that affect your overall health and well-being don’t traverse your system through the gut alone. The often-overlooked transdermal (through the skin) route allows substances to enter your bloodstream and circulate throughout your body. So, if you are what you eat, and you are what you apply, the question is, what are you? Whether you are a man, woman, or child, it is likely that you use personal care products daily. From the moment you stumble out of bed, you brush your teeth with toothpaste, cleanse your skin with soap or shower gel, wash your face with face wash, suds your scalp with shampoo and conditioner, use shaving cream and aftershave, apply lotion, deodorant, perfume or cologne, sunscreen, and makeup! Stop for a moment and think about how many personal care or cosmetic products you use in a day. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, the average American uses approximately 10-15 personal care products with a total of 126 different ingredients daily. This figure does not even take into account re-applications of products throughout the day. We brush our teeth three times a day, we wash our hands 6-12 times a day, we re-apply sunscreen every few hours that we are

in the sun, and we may even shower more than once per day. When you do the math, it’s incredible to consider the number of items that we slather across our skin every day. However, the number of products used isn’t the issue; it’s the ingredients in those products and what they do once in our bloodstream that is cause for concern. The cosmetics or personal care product industry in the United States is estimated to be a $50 billion per year industry. That makes it one of the largest and most profitable industries in the country; it spends millions annually on marketing and advertising. It seems that the industry has no limits to its target audience. Just turn on your TV for a few minutes and you will see ads appealing to men, women, teenagers, and young children—from lavenderscented baby wash to glittery nail polish and lip gloss to colognes and perfumes with names like Obsession and Passion. An average of seven new industrial chemicals get approval by the US government daily, and eighty percent of these are approved in three weeks or less with little or no safety testing done. Many of these industrial chemicals are the basic ingredients in our cosmetics and personal care products. What is most shocking about the cosmetic industry is that our government does not regulate the safety of its products. You read

18 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

that correctly—the FDA does not investigate or test for the safety of personal care products before consumers buy them! Instead, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an industry-appointed and funded panel, reviews the safety of cosmetic ingredients. According to EWG, there are approximately 10,500 ingredients used in cosmetics in our country, and in its thirty-year history, the CIR has screened only eleven percent of those ingredients. This means that nearly ninety percent of cosmetics ingredients are left un-reviewed and untested for safety. The cosmetic industry argues that it’s okay to use these toxic ingredients because only tiny amounts are put into each product, and they therefore cannot be harmful. However, as you already know, each of us is using ten or more products a day. If you add to that several applications a day and multiply that over a lifetime, then these toxic chemicals do add up and wreak havoc on our bodies and our heath! What’s even worse is the number of loopholes that the cosmetic industry has in place to make it difficult for even the most educated consumer to read and understand its labels. For example, the industry is not required to use the FDA’s ingredient name convention guidelines and therefore one ingredient can be spelled and labeled many different ways in different products. Any product with the word “fragrance” could have


h e a lt h y f o c u s

virtually anything in it and need not be disclosed to the consumer because the chemicals that go into making a fragrance are considered “trade secrets.” In one study by the EWG, phthalates, a known toxin, were found in 75% of all products yet were hidden on the label under the term “fragrance.” Another of the “dirty dozen,” parabens, a ubiquitous ingredient in hair care products, lotions and other skincare items are known estrogen mimickers. That is, once applied to the skin, they travel through the bloodstream, appearing to the body to be estrogen. This incognito approach causes the body to react as if true estrogen is present in excess. Too much estrogen can cause a decrease in muscle mass, an increase in fat deposits throughout the body, early onset of puberty in boys and girls, reproductive difficulty in men and women, and a host of other issues. While estrogen is an important hormone that regulates many functions in the body, we know that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Infants and young children with developing endocrine systems have an even greater risk of being adversely affected by these harmful chemicals. Using a lotion to moisturize a baby after a bath can mean that, simply because of his or her size, five to ten times as much of the product and its chemical make-up are being absorbed into the bloodstream. Because the infant’s endocrine system is working

non-stop, hormone disrupters and estrogen mimickers are sending mixed signals to the child’s body on how to develop. Boys may develop breasts, girls may have their first menstrual period before hitting ten years of age, and children of both sexes may become overweight or obese. All of these can be external manifestations of the hormone disrupters that are present. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and your family from exposure to harmful cosmetic ingredients: • Permanently avoid any products that contain “the dirty dozen” toxic ingredients: parabens, phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, propylene glycol, DEA, diazolidinyl urea, butyl acetate, butylated hydroxytoluene, ethyl acetate, toluene, triethanolamine, petrolatum and “fragrance.” For a more comprehensive list of toxic ingredients go to the following site: www.teensturninggreen. org/ get-educated/dirty-thirty.html. • Read all ingredients labels carefully! The US government does not regulate the word “natural” or “organic.” To carry USDA Organic Seal of Approval at least 95% of the ingredients must be organic. No seal, no purchase!

• Check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website: www.ewg.org, which has a comprehensive cosmetics database called the “Skin Deep Report,” which ranks over 25,000 products on a 0-10 scale of toxicity.

At Austin UltraHealth, I am committed to educating you to not only what to put in your body, but also to what to put on your body. For that reason I am pleased to announce that we now offer organic, pure, toxin-free products from two companies: KEYS Soap and Babo Botanicals. KEYS is a line of clean, green, vegan and gluten free products that continually ranks best on the EWG’s “Skin Deep Report.” Babo Botanicals is a line of baby and children’s products, whose ingredients are grown on an organic farm in New York, and whose founder served along side me in the US Peace Corps. Both product lines are great for your own personal use or as a gift for the upcoming holiday season. Consider giving the gift of UltraHealth to those who mean the most to you. Wishing you UltraHealth,

• If you can purge the products, throw away everything in your bathroom, kitchen, etc. that contains the ingredients listed above, and replace them with toxin-free alternatives.

Amy Myers, MD Austin UltraHealth www.dramymyers.com 512-383-5343

• If the idea of tossing everything is too overwhelming or cost-prohibitive, set a goal of replacing one item per week or month until you’ve replaced everything.

Austin UltraHealth now offers Babo Botanical products. Sales are by appointment only. Please call 512-383-5343 for your purchase.

Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 19


H EALT H Y LIFESTYLE

Is There Life Beyond Peanut Butter? Story By Alissa Mag ru m – Ph ot o g r a ph y By L en e S a i n t- Ore n s

I

adore peanut butter. I eat it on bread. I spread it on apples and celery. I add it to recipes for protein or I just eat it right off a (big) spoon. Seriously, if you look in my pantry, there are 7 different jars of peanut butter.

I never ate PB&J sandwiches as a kid, so this love affair began in adulthood. My dad was highly allergic to nuts and I always feared accidentally killing him. One mishap with peanut butter making its way into the jelly jar and I would be fatherless, so peanut butter was kept away at arm’s length. Until I stopped at a pit stop around mile 90 of the Ride for the Roses bike ride. I was starving. A smiling volunteer slapped together a PB&J sandwich and handed it to me. I was energized for the last ten miles. Peanut butter suddenly became a basic staple in my world as an athlete, a professional woman and as a working mom. To make things even better, now you can go beyond just creamy or crunchy peanut butter and explore yummy choices like Peanut Butter and Co. White Chocolate Wonderful, Dark Chocolate Dreams and Cinnamon

Raisin Swirl. Caution is advised, as the jar seems to empty very quickly with the help of a giant spoon. I was content in my peanut butter heaven when I was introduced to almond butter. Then I found cashew butter and walnut and pecan and coconut butter. My dad’s nut allergy led me to explore alternatives to nut butter. I soon found soy nut butter and sunflower seed butter. Each one offered something a little different and tasted pretty great. Then arose my question, “Would Ella, my fiveyear-old daughter eat them as easily as she would eat peanut butter?” I curiously wanted to find out, if for no other reason than to make it more exciting to prepare lunch! Ella invited her buddies Allen, Meador and Julianna and their parental units Mimi and Jerome over for the Great Nut and Seed Butter Taste Test. The kids tasted natural peanut butter (no hydrogenated oils), cinnamon raisin peanut butter, almond butter, soy nut butter and sunflower seed butter. The adults also tasted cashew butter.

20 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

The kids’ favorites were the Peanut Butter & Co. Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter and the almond butter. Soy nut butter was described as “yucky” and all the kids agreed that they were “not really into” the sunflower seed butter. Perhaps sequestering the kids for the tasting might have made our experiment more reliable as kid group think seemed to take over. The adults (self included) agreed that each butter had its own unique texture and taste. A different nut or seed butter option for every day or mood. Fantastic! The experiment proved a success when Ella asked me to make her an almond butter and honey sandwich. One problem—I need a bigger pantry and a few more spoons, because my seven jars of peanut butter have been joined by their almond, cashew, soy nut and sunflower seed friends. Go grab a jar and a spoon and enjoy! A special thank you to my nutritionistlicensed and registered dietician, Traci Miller from Working 4 Wellness, for comparing contrasting the nut and seed butters nutritional properties.


Traci Miller, RD, LD Working4wellness.net P r o d u c t Sunbutter f f f f f sunflower seeds

Soynut

Almond

Cashew

Peanut Butter

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl

Calories in 2 Tbsp

200

170

190

180

190

160

Total fat

16

11

17

15

16

11

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Sat fat

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Polyunsaturated fat • • • • • • • • • • • •

Mono fat

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Trans fat

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Cholesterol

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Sodium

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Total carb

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Dietary fiber

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Sugar

• • • • • • • • • • • •

protein

• • • • • • • • • • • •

notes

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

2

• • • • • • • • • • • •

6

• • • • • • • • • • • •

8

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

120

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7

• • • • • • • • • • • •

4

• • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7

• • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1.5

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7.1

• • • • • • • • • • • •

2.4

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

140

• • • • • • • • • • • •

10

• • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Great source of Vitamin E

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

2.5

• • • • • • • • • • • •

4

• • • • • • • • • • • •

10

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

65

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7

• • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

6

• • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

2.6*

• • • • • • • • • • • •

9.4*

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

9

• • • • • • • • • • • •

1

• • • • • • • • • • • •

1

• • • • • • • • • • • •

4

• • • • • • • • • • • •

great source of Vitamin E, potassium and magnesium, highest fiber content of any nut or seed

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

3

• • • • • • • • • • • •

4.4*

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7.6*

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

10

• • • • • • • • • • • •

7

• • • • • • • • • • • •

2

• • • • • • • • • • • •

2

• • • • • • • • • • • •

8

• • • • • • • • • • • •

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

2

• • • • • • • • • • • •

-

• • • • • • • • • • • •

-

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

0

• • • • • • • • • • • •

35

• • • • • • • • • • • •

13

• • • • • • • • • • • •

2

• • • • • • • • • • • •

9

• • • • • • • • • • • •

6

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Great source of the B vitamin Niacin

*the mono and polyunsaturated data under peanut and cashew butter did not come from the central market brand labels

Nut and seed butters are a great source of protein and healthy fat for the whole family. They are a great way to make sure you and/ or your child stay full longer if included with a meal or snack. You can stir into oatmeal or a smoothie, spread them on fruit and vegetables and use them in sweet or savory dishes. They are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Reduction in the “bad cholesterol” or LDL (low density

lipoprotein) cholesterol has been shown with consumption of monounsaturated fats. Saturated fats found in animal fat can increase LDL levels and lead to the production of arterial plaque. If you start your family off eating the natural, organic nut and seed butters- they’ll never miss the sugar and saturated and/or trans fat of other nut butters. Model nutritious eating now for healthier & longer lives later!

One note: some natural nut and seed butters add palm oil to lessen the stirring required. Hydrogenated fats (a trans fat) was used in many of these products until it was required to list the amount of trans fats in all products. Trans fat is definitely a worse health risk than a saturated fat, yet …try if you like a product with palm oil on the label …look for one where it is low on the ingredient list.

Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 21


feature focus

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SWEEEEET! 22 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM


1. Spicey Fig Cake with Cinnamon Frosting and Candied Nuts Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 10” pan 1 c granulated sugar 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature 2 large eggs 1 1/2c Fresh Fig 1c. Apple Sauce 1 tsp Vanilla 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt In a food processor, prepare the figs by cutting off the stem and blend whole until smooth. Set aside. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

2

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add fig, apple sauce, and vanilla. Add sifted flour 1/2c at a time. Mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool. C i n n a m o n F ro s t i n g Makes enough to frost one cake. Ingredients 4 c. confectioners’ sugar 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 tsp vanilla Using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth, add vanilla. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar, until smooth, scrapping the sides and the bottom to illiminate lumps. Add ground cinnamon, mix well. C a n d i e d N ut s 1 ½ c mixed nuts ½ c maple syrup 1/8 tsp Sea Salt In a heavy skillet brown nuts, add maple syrup and sea salt. Mix often to prevent burning. Let sit to cool. Use as garnish on top and on the sides of frosted fig cake.

recipes by

Alisha Guthery-Morse photography by

Dino Parenti

2. Double Chocolate Cake w/ Orange Maple Glaze (GF) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 10” spring form pan with parchment and butter.

Approx. 12 servings 1 ½ c broken dark chocolate pieces 1 c. sugar 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 2 Tbl Cocoa Powder 9 eggs 1 tsp vanilla Using a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar and cocoa powder. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 60-65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool. O ra n g e M a p l e G l a z e 3 small oranges, thinly sliced 2 c. maple syrup In a heavy pan, on low heat, lay orange slices across the bottom. Cover with maple syrup. Simmer on low until the oranges become slightly translucent. Let cool slightly before pouring on top of the Double Chocolate Cake.

3. Date Butter cookies Heat oven to 325 Makes approx. 2 dozen. Dry 1c flour ½ tsp sea salt 2/3c almond meal (2/3 c fresh almonds ground in a blender) 2 sticks butter (for vegan use 2 sticks earth balance butter) ¼ powder sugar ¼ Brown Rice Syrup ½ tsp almond extract 1c dates – pitted Sift flour and salt. Mix almond mixture into the dry. Cream butter with powder sugar and mix in wet. Mix in dates, mix until broken and fully incorporated. Mix all ingredients together.

¾ tsp cardamom 1/2 c orange juice 1c Apricots chopped 2 sticks butter (for vegan use 2 sticks earth balance butter) ¼ powder sugar ½ Brown Rice Syrup 1 tsp vanilla ½ tsp orange zest Soak orange juice and chopped apricots overnight. Blend apricots with orange juice in blender. Sift flour and salt. Mix coconut with flour. Cream butter with powder sugar. Mix in wet, including apricots and orange juice. Bake 15-20min at 325. Rotate half way in between.

5. Very Nutty Brownies (GF) Preheat oven to 350 Serves approx 12 2 c bittersweet chocolate 6 eggs ½ c sugar ¼ c Tbl cocoa powder 2 c ground toasted nuts (pecans work nice) Grease an 8”x8” baking pan lined with parchment. In a double broiler melt chocolate and butter. In an electric mixer, beat eggs until very frothy, add sugar and continue beating until the mixture becomes more thick and yellow in color. Slowly add the chocolate mixture and the cocoa into the mixture. Fold ground and chopped nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 20 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.

6. Chocolate Pistachio Coconut Bark 16 oz. good semi sweet chocolate 1 c. pistachio ½ c. toasted coconut

Bake 15-20min at 325. Rotate half way in between.

Prepare 9”x12” pan with parchment paper.

4. Orange Apricot Cardamom

In a double broiler, melt chocolate until smooth.

Heat oven to 325 Makes approx. 2 dozen. Dry 1 1/2c flour 3/4c finely shredded coconut 1 tsp sea salt

Pour over prepared pan. Sprinkle pistachio and coconut. Allow to cool for 2-4 hours. Break into pieces to serve.

Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 23


All items can be purchased at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop 4220 Duval Street Austin, TX 78751, 512.531.9610 www.antonellischeese.com

Food styling by Lene Saint-Orens. Photograph by Allen Beuershausen.

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12

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3

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1) Fresh Mozzarella Region/Producer: Lioni/ New Jersey Milk Type: Pasteurized Cow Style: Fresh

2) Herb Chevre Region/Producer: CKC Farms/Blanco, TX Milk Type: Pasteurized Goat Style: Fresh

3) Vera Pagliettina Region/Producer: Italy Milk Type: Pasteurized Cow, Sheep, and Goat Style: Soft-ripened/ Bloomy

4) Camembert Region/Producer: Star Thrower Farm/ Minnesota Milk Type: Raw Sheep Style: Soft-ripened/ Bloomy

24 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

5) Raclette Valais Region/Producer: France Milk Type: Raw Cow Style: Semi-soft

6

6) Toma Piemontese, DOP Region/Producer: Italy Milk Type: Pasteurized Cow Style: Semi-soft

7) Branzi Region/Producer: Italy Milk Type: Raw and Pasteurized Cow Style: Firm

8) Farmhouse Region/Producer: Sand Creek Farm/Cameron, TX Milk Type: Raw Cow Style: Firm


1

8

9

10 7

CH EESE + ACCOUTREMENTS 9) Campo de Montalban Region/Producer: Spain Milk Type: Cow, Sheep, and Goat Style: Hard

10) Castelmagno Region/Producer: Italy Milk Type: Raw Cow Style: Hard

11) Blue Region/Producer: Brazos Valley Cheese/Waco, TX Milk Type: Raw Cow Style: Blue

12) Point Reyes Blue Region/Producer: Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company/ California Milk Type: Raw Cow Style: Blue

13) Accoutrements: Palmina 2008 Dolcetto Prosecco Fleur de Sel Blue Heron Farm Bourbon Cajeta Savannah Bee Company Tupelo Honey and

Honeycomb L’estornell Organic Arbequina Olive Oil Koeze Cream Nut Peanut Butter Clusters Cocoa Puro Kaka’wa Beans Barrie Breads Ciabatta

Fine Cheese Company Fig Crackers 14) Cheese Accessories: Laguiole Cheese Spreaders Antonelli’s Wood

Paddles Fruitwood Planks McCalman’s Mastering Cheese Werlin’s American Wine & Cheese Book

Dec/Jan Oct/Nov 2010-2011 2010 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 25


pay it forward

Raven Styling Photo and Article by Lene Saint-Orens

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ustin’s vibrant fashion scene is growing, and local designers are popping up everywhere with new creations. Now, one eco-minded designer is launching a styling company with the vision to give back to the Austin community while providing men and women the ability to define their personal style by giving them the freedom to experiment with design and fashion in simple ways. Before Stylist Casie Stoltz, a native of Illinois, moved to Austin several years ago, her life was a dreamy as the looks she creates for busy professionals. She has been creating one-of-a-kind pieces since she was eight years old and, during her early career, was in constant motion, flitting between Scotland, London, and the US, attending college, and working on her line Jersey Bean (named after her beloved bunny rabbit) while collecting unique vintage pieces, such as Chanel chains or feathers from all over the world, along the way. Since moving to Austin, Stoltz has been inspired by the diversity of the city and is focusing on men for her new venture. “I feel that there are not many places in town where men can go and make lasting relationships with a stylist and be able to have someone that knows what there needs are as far as sizes or unique style,” Stoltz says. “Men shop much differently than women; their focus is to be in and out and get what they need.” Of course, Stoltz still loves to push people out of their comfort zone when it comes to fashion, and that’s just what her clients love about her. The look of Jersey Bean Designs is multi-faceted and exciting, incorporating fun styles and inventive techniques with an attention to details and a desire for creative, rare, and inspired pieces. So it doesn’t come

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as a surprise that the next step for Stoltz, with the official launch of Raven Styling, will be the branding of her two new lines—JBD for men and Little Jersey Bean for children, which was born as friends continued to ask her to craft unique pieces as gifts for their kids. Stoltz practices everything she preaches. “The first time I was able to give back to charity was when a friend was in need for her non-profit and I was able to make a difference by just simply throwing her a jewelry party.” Stoltz has been determined to give back to the community ever since. “It’s not always easy, when stores open left and right that mass-produce jewelry and copy designer items for the fraction of a price,” she says and smiles. “But I persevere and focus on making a difference in our community, because it all comes back, tenfold.” To learn more about Casie Stoltz and Raven Styling, please visit her site at www.ravenstyling.com.

ON NICK: bold stripe shirt by Original Penguin $88, shawl collar sweater by Original Penguin $135, pants by Original Penguin  $98, tweed blazer by Shades of Grey  $218, knit tie by Culturata  $78, shoes by Grenson  $325, aligator belt by Fullum & Holt $425 -servicemenswear.com


Khabele School

thriving kids

By Moya Khabele

“The History, Revolution, and Evolution of Education”

we cannot trust that they will use their time wisely nor positively contribute to their community on their own.

Co-authored by Moya and Khotso Khabele, founders and directors of the Khabele School.

The Alternative Educational Movement

The Khabele School is a 6th through 12th grade college preparatory school in downtown Austin currently serving 200 students. The school’s mission is to provide a learning environment in which “every community member falls in love with learning, realizes their profound beauty and lives with courage and authenticity.”

The Industrial Revolution and Public Education The compulsory American education system was founded in the 1830’s inspired by the Jeffersonian notion that for a democracy to work, children need to be able to read, write, and understand the role of citizenship. Influenced by the Industrial Revolution, public school systems were modeled after factories. A major goal was to generate consistent results out of human beings, much like effective factories create standardized manufactured goods. Although society was moving in the direction of mechanization, educational reformers, including John Dewey, believed that learning was a social and interactive process. Dewey taught that a healthy democracy was not solely built on voting rights and literacy, but on an active, engaged, and socially conscious populace. To achieve this level of engagement, school would need to be a place where people can develop in their own unique way, engage with experiential learning, and learn to collaborate with peers and mentors. The progressive education movement was born. Although numerous studies have shown that experiential learning increases all standard measures including grades, matriculation rates, and intellectual curiosity, progressive philosophies and programs have yet to penetrate mainstream secondary education. Why are we as a society slow to respond?

Our Fundamental Relationship to Children Our inability to respond and adapt our educational system to meet the needs of our young people is at least in part due to the fundamental way that we relate to children in our society. We come from a legacy of child labor, corporal punishment, and a general lack of respect for children. While we have made huge strides in combating abuse and mistreatment, this legacy continues to inform our relationship to children to this day. Children are seen as people who must be controlled, supervised, and contained. We feel that

In 1907 Maria Montessori began a movement sparked by a deep respect for student-generated learning, individual learning styles, and hands-on activities. A few years later in 1919, Rudolf Steiner birthed the Waldorf approach, which incorporates interdisciplinary, practical and conceptual elements with a focus on helping the child access his/her imagination and destiny. In 1921, Alexander Sutherland Neill created Summerhill, an independent British boarding school. Summerhill gave the students the right to influence the school community by giving each student voting rights and a chance to choose their own curriculum. Soon after WWII, Loris Malaguzzi saw the immediate need to create education that cultivated the principles of respect, responsibility and community and helped to found the Reggio Emilia movement. Decades later, thousands of schools are functioning on the foundation that young people should be respected and given the opportunities to be active participants and co-creators of their education.

The Integration of the Wisdom of the Traditional and the Progressive Our public schools offer the foundations of subjectspecific curriculum, age groupings, curriculum disclosure, and results-oriented evaluation and reporting. Our alternative educational movement offers experiential, child-focused learning that integrates respect, collaboration, curiosity, and self-generated learning. Theorists in both camps have tended to argue their position to the exclusion of the other. The educational revolution we need will happen when we find a third way, based on a synergistic integration of the two. This is the quest of the Khabele School and many other new schools that do not recognize themselves as progressive nor traditional. We aim for both. It is possible to integrate elements of both movements to come up with more effective and inspiring paradigm. Project-based learning mixed with teacher-led lectures, field trips mixed with testing, inquiry-based discussions mixed with graded assignments, freedom mixed with accountability, student-led democracy mixed with adult authority, curiosity mixed with structure. As a society, we are deeply committed to our public school roots, the foundation of our democracy. We believe in equality and education for all. Instead of throwing away the infrastructure and wisdom of our public school system and starting from scratch with progressive methodologies, why not integrate the best elements of both? Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 27


feat u re f ocu s

Simplicity is the Spice of Life By Veronica Meewes

composted by UT-based non-profit Break It Down. In doing this, they save 3000 gallons of water per week—that’s three tons of waste saved each year! “If we used standard plates, we’d be running our dishwasher non-stop,” Benson stresses. “We have a lot of product that goes out on the tables. We would be wasting a lot of water and electricity.” Besides saving the environment, prices can remain consistently low as a result of the practice—hence, glasses of wine starting at $4 and capping off at $8 and tapas from $4.95 to $6.95. Simplicity proudly points out that they can seat over a hundred diners while producing less waste than an average family of four. The very little that is left after composting and recycling (“everything that can possibly be recycled,” says Benson) fills only three 33 gallon bags of trash at the end of the week. “I hope people get the message from us. We’re trying to do our part to keep from filling up the landfills basically. Anything we can do…is going to be useful in the future.”

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hen describing one of Austin’s many wine bars, “kidfriendly” and “eco-conscious” are not usually the first terms that come to mind, but the last thing Simplicity Wine & Eats is trying to be is another typical wine bar. That is clear from the first page of their menu and website, which declare they are “an Austin wine bar…without the snotty attitude,” followed by a decree of “simple furnishings, complex food and wine.” Upon entering the establishment, the first part of that promise instantly comes true when you are met with an assortment of mismatched furniture, ranging from tall bar tables, to round faux wooden tables of the cafeteria persuasion, to large, country-style couches. Situated on Burnet Road next to the legendary Omelettry, there is ample parking behind the building and casual patio seating on the front porch. No air of pretention here! Simplicity was originally conceived by Parind Vora, of Jezebel notoriety, as a low-cost way to sample high quality food and wines. Though the website still references Jezebel, which burned in a fire this past summer, Syndi Benson actually purchased Simplicity this past September, leaving her career in business sales to do so. “I really liked the green concept they had going on here,” she explains. “I really wanted to be a part of it.” You see, the most intriguing part about Simplicity is that Benson and her staff take pride in maintaining a virtually zero waste restaurant. “We’ve always used compostable dishes, utensils, and napkins to keep down on water,” explains Benson. Simplicity’s utensils, supplied by local mom and pop business To Go Co, are made from bamboo, cornstarch, and wood. All waste is 28 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

While some businesses have good intentions but lack the follow-through or struggle with getting employees behind the mission, Benson praises her eco-friendly staff. She notes that no extra effort is needed to get them on board with the restaurant’s vision. “They are very well-minded on conserving, composting, and recycling. It’s ingrained in their beliefs,” she says. With such thorough and sincere efforts in maintaining a green establishment, I was surprised to see printed menus at all. It seems that with seasonally rotating selections, chalkboards would be a more sustainable option. In Parind Vora’s absence, Jezebel chef Justin Mowery


continues to develop the menu, which spans the globe from traditional Spanish dishes like tortilla espanola or papas aiolo ($4.95 each), to Asian-influenced plates like grilled pork satays with Asian peanut sauce or Thai basil calamari cucumber salad ($5.95 each), to classic French appetizers like escargot ($5.95) or baked brie en croute ($6.95), to Cajun specialties like shrimp and grits ($6.95) or andouille sausage ($5.95). I couldn’t help but think that the colorful options would have gone together much better had it not been for the eco-ware. Compostable as it is, the flavors from each very different dish tended to seep into one another in the material of the plates. Perhaps a more defined menu would be more appropriate given the circumstances. Flavor coordination aside, there are some really great dishes on the menu. The braised lamb, roasted garlic, and heart of palm beggar’s purses ($6.95) are wrapped in buttery pastry dough and perfectly complemented with succulent tamarind date puree and chipotle oil. The wood-charcoal grilled paella, reserved for Friday nights, was creamy and delicious, although it resembled more of a risotto, lacking the crispy and desirable socorrat (crusty bottom found on traditional paella and the best part, in my opinion). The bacon-wrapped heart of palm ($4.95) is a delectable paring of textures and flavors and would serve as the perfect accompaniment to one of their boldly spicy micheladas. Since tapas are intended for sharing, you can expect enough bite sized pieces for yourself and several friends—or your gastronomically adventurous children! However, there are several dishes on the menu suited for even the pickiest of young eaters. You can’t go wrong with hummus ($4.95) or a seasonal fruit and cheese plate ($5.95), and there will always

be room for Nutella s’mores ($5.95). I would recommend opting for the lower, larger tables if you have more than two people in your party or plan on getting several plates. Four of us sat at a tall bar table and ended up moving to accommodate our plates. Simplicity features over 30 wines by the glass and over 50 by the bottle. A different wine is featured daily and available for a mere $4 a glass. All retail bottles are 20% off at all times and the available selections line the interior of the restaurant. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of local wine in such an otherwise sustainable and eco-conscious environment. However, there is certainly no lack of worldly selection and the price is definitely right. While the adults enjoy the vino, little ones can sip on root beer floats made with Maine Root on tap! Sink into a couch against the mirrored wall at Simplicity and you might forget for a second you are even in a wine bar. The atmosphere is more comparable to being in a friend’s house. The music is just loud enough, no dress code required, and you certainly won’t be in the minority if you come with children in your party. Benson recalls, “Last Friday night, we had probably seven couples with kids!” I love the concept of Simplicity! In fact, I’d like to see them take it one step further by simplifying the food and wine down to several complementary selections written on a chalkboard daily. Sometimes less is more. Simplicit y Wine & Eats 4801 Burnet Road, Austin Texas 78756 www.simplicitywinebar.com | 512.419.0200 Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 29


Ingredients 3/4 cup butter 7/8 cup packed light brown sugar 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 cup honey 2 eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons ground allspice 6 egg whites 4 (16 ounce) packages confectioners’ sugar, sifted Various Candies for Decoration

Directions

DIY:

Gingerbread House

First cut out in thin cardboard: a side wall, 4 1/2 x 8 inches; an end wall, 4 1/2x5 inches; a triangular gable, 4 1/2x3x3 inches; and a roof rectangle, 4 1/2x9 inches. Tape the rectangular end wall piece to the triangular gable piece: match the long side of the triangle, 4 1/2 inches, to one of the 4 1/2 inch sides of the end wall. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey. Gradually beat in 2 eggs. Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together; stir into creamed mixture. Wrap dough in parchment paper, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 6 portions, 2 slightly larger than the others. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the 4 smaller pieces to approximately the size of the side wall and the end wall with templates; cut out two of each. Roll out remaining dough, and cut into two rectangular roof pieces. Transfer gingerbread onto greased baking trays. In a preheated 375 degree F (190 degrees C) oven, bake gingerbread for 10 minutes, or until crisp. When removing from the oven, leave the gingerbread on the baking trays for a few minutes to set, then transfer to wire racks. Leave out overnight to harden. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 2 egg whites. Gradually beat in approximately 5 cups confectioners’ sugar. The icing should be smooth and stand in firm peaks. Spread or pipe a 9 inch line of icing onto a cake board, and press in one of the side walls so that it sticks firmly and stands upright. If necessary, spread or pipe a little extra icing along either side to help support it. Take an end wall and ice both the side edges. Spread or pipe a line of icing on the board at a right angle to the first wall, and press the end wall into position. Repeat this process with the other two walls until they are all in position. Leave the walls to harden together for at least two hours before putting on the roof. Spread or pipe a thick layer of icing on top of all the walls, and fix the roof pieces in position; the roof should overlap the walls to make the eaves. Pipe or spread a little icing along the crest of the roof to hold the two pieces firmly together. Leave overnight to set firmly. When ready to decorate, make the remaining icing. In a large bowl, lightly whisk 4 egg whites, and mix in remaining confectioners’ sugar as before. Use this to make snow on the roof, and to stick various candies for decoration. Finish with a fine dusting of sifted confectioners’ sugar.

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Planning for Your Child’s College Education Kuru vi l a M an i, C FP ®

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hen it comes to researching how to plan for your child’s college education, most parents find that it is a complicated process that leaves them with more questions than answers. Step 1: Identify and Prioritize Goals The first question is whether a college education is necessary for your child. For some families this is a dream that they don’t think can ever be realized or something that may not be appropriate for their child. For other parents, it is a rhetorical question as they see college as mandatory for their children. The financial argument for a college degree is compelling. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007, the average male college graduate between the ages of 25 and 34 earned 58% more than the average male that completed only high school or had a General Education Development (GED) certificate. Among women the same age, college graduates earned 78% more than non-graduates. The second question concerns whose responsibility the expenses are. There are many families who expect to pick up all the costs through graduate school as well as many families who don’t plan to pay any of the costs. In this article, we are going to assume that most of us will end up somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. Funding your child’s college education could be one of the largest expenditures you ever make. If you have more than one child, the financial commitment is even greater, but don’t forget that paying for college is not your only financial concern. Providing for your own retirement has to be considered since there aren’t grants, scholarships, or federally guaranteed loans available for retirement. Step 2: Analyze and Evaluate the Data Once you have decided that your child is going to go to college and that you are going to help with the some of the costs, the next step is to understand realistically how much college is going to cost. The bad news is that the cost of a college education continues to increase much faster than the general rate of inflation. With many states in or near fiscal crisis, public colleges and universities are seeing cuts in their budget that will force them to increase tuition even more. So where can you find information

on costs of colleges and universities? For Texans, the website www. collegefortexans.com is a good place to start. Sponsored by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, this website has checklists for students, information about private and public colleges in Texas, and information on applications and financial aid. It also has detailed breakdowns of costs including tuition, books, and room and board for each different college and university located in Texas. Another tool is Sallie Mae’s Education Investment Planner®, found at go.salliemae.com/plan/. This site can help you compare costs of universities across the country as well as determine what level of savings you will need in the coming years to help pay for college costs. College is an expensive proposition. The average cost for a public university in Texas for 2010-2011 is almost $20,000 and over $30,000 for a private university, with some private schools costing nearly $50,000 per year. While these are daunting figures, there are options available that can reduce costs. Step 3: Develop a Plan As you develop a plan, realize that there are several ways to pay for a college education. Pay As You Go plans include payment through savings, jobs, workstudy, and parent contributions, Pay Later plans are implemented through loans, Someone Else Pays plans formulate payment through scholarships and grants, and All of the Above. While you can hope that your child will earn a full scholarship, hope is not a safe strategy for something as important as a college education. You can give your child more options for college if you start to save now. The first step is to establish a savings budget. You can use the College Calculators to figure out how much to save on a monthly basis. Once you have figured out how much you can set aside, use a tax deferred option like the 529 Plans or Coverdell Education Savings Account to start setting money aside Step 4: Implement the Plan While your focus should be on savings before your child is ready for college, there are Federal tax breaks aimed at families currently paying for college.

finan ce tips

These include the following: Hope Scholarship Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Tax Deductions for Tuition and Fees, Deductions for Student-loan Interest, Tax-free Scholarships, and Tax-free Educational Assistance. There are many caveats with these including uncertainty about which of these will continue to be funded by Congress in the coming years. For those who children are close to college age, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the only form you need to fill out for most types of financial aid, including the federal Pell Grant, federal subsidized loans, and state grants. The FAFSA needs to be submitted as soon after January 1 as possible for the following fall semester. To complete the form, you must include information from your family’s completed or estimated income tax return. Another resource that can be very helpful when it comes to the financial aid process is www.finaid.org. Step 5: Review and Monitor the Plan Planning for college is a complex process. As you discuss the options with your family and your financial advisors, you should start incorporating saving for college into your family financial plan. Your plan should incorporate intermediate terms goals like college and long-term goals such as retirement, but you should expect some trade-offs as you try to balance these goals. You may have to work longer than you would like or your children may have to borrow more money than they would like. The important thing is that with a plan it is possible to understand the scope and be able to meet these major financial responsibilities. I will leave you to consider perhaps the most crucial question when considering these plans: Is your child’s college education an expense or an investment? Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through ING Financial Partners, Inc. Member SIPC. (512) 472-6264. KM@ManiFinancial. com. Mani Financial Services is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners, Inc. 

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FEATURE FO C US

A Better Path By Allen Beuershausen

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ead-end jobs. Seemingly inescapable poverty. Illness and obesity. Dysfunctional relationships. These are the norm for many disadvantaged youth. Many grow up believing that their options in life are limited and that their lot in life was predetermined due to individual or environmental circumstances. And why not? This is what they’ve seen and heard from their parents and peers, and the adults in their life got this message as they were growing up also. Many of these young people never hear that they can actually change their circumstances for the better. They, like many of us, don’t recognize that our lives are ultimately determined by the choices we make and that we make many life-defining choices without realizing it. Fortunately,

there are organizations such as the j.k. livin’ foundation that help at-risk youth to see that they can have a better life. j.k. livin, a non-profit foundation created by actor Matthew McConaughey and his partner Camila Alves is “dedicated to helping teenage kids lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women.” The name j.k. livin stands for “just keep livin’” and was inspired by a line in the movie Dazed and Confused, which McConaughey was filming when his father passed away. In dealing with his father’s death, he adopted this line as his mantra to help him get through each day. As he reflected upon the phrase and began to adopt it in every facet of his life, McConaughey realized that it keeps him focused on his values. He proceeded to start a

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production company, record label, lifestyle brand, and foundation based on the concept of being true to himself and helping others. Seeing that inner city youth lack the social resources and role models they need in order to do this for themselves, he and Alves decided to create a foundation that would teach important life skills and values to at risk youth and impress upon them the need to live a balanced and successful life. At its core, the mission of j.k. livin is to help young people to see the value in bettering themselves and their prospects in order to become valuable citizens of their communities and the world. The foundation takes a holistic approach to building self-esteem and self-respect in their students and teaching them the importance of taking


responsibility for themselves and their actions. They work with students at high schools in low-income areas where students are at much greater risk of dropping out of school, being involved in crime, and other selfdestructive behaviors. Much has been written about what it takes to lift at-risk youth out of their circumstances, and j.k. livin’s approach seems to follow best practices advocated by numerous experts in child development. j.k. livin takes a holistic approach to help their target demographic. A look at a typical month’s lesson plan is perhaps the best way to illustrate this. jkl has a simple but powerful lesson plan for each month of their program. The plan for each month starts with a quote from McConaughey about a value the kids should incorporate into their lives. One month it might be about finishing what you start, the following month it might be about the importance of gratitude. Next, there are exercises that help each child to reflect and discover how that value will help them in their personal and social lives. In the case of the lesson on gratitude, the students learn about the scientifically proven benefits of showing gratitude. Then they are instructed to list the things they are grateful for, no matter how big or how small. They choose a person on their list to whom they are grateful and write a simple heartfelt letter expressing their gratitude to that person and how Photos courtesy of jklivingfoundation. All rights reserved.

he or she has made the student’s life better. This may seem like a small thing to many people, but to some of the children going through the program, it’s a fundamental shift in how they conduct themselves and view the world. The second week of each month features a guest speaker who could come from any walk of life. The students are told who the speaker will be beforehand and what the topic of discussion will be, and then they must write down two or three questions they would like to ask the speaker. Week Three focuses on nutrition and health. McConaughey is well known for his devotion to healthy eating and vigorous exercise, and it’s important to pass this knowledge and habit, if not passion, to j.k. livin’s students. Research has shown that healthier and more active children tend to have more self-esteem and to do better in school, and this is not lost on McConaughey. The final week of each month is spent reviewing the lessons of the month and discuss ways of making the lessons and practices a lifelong habit. To help cement the lessons in the students’ lives and teach them the importance of giving back, j.k. livin also has the students participate in service days which have included helping to clean up Venice, CA, packing CARE packages for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and serving meals to underserved families. There are typically two to three service days per semester.

The j.k. livin approach has proven successful. The foundation was formed in 2008, and since then they have been helping 300 to 400 students per year in four schools in Los Angeles. They are now active in Austin, where the program is run by Maurice Harris of Elite Fitness. Of the students, about 95% complete the program, showing that the students are seeing the value and results in it. Of the participants, 90% graduate from high school, which is well above the average for students in the host schools. The program is continually refined with the input of the participating teachers and the assistance of Communities in Schools who helped develop the curriculum. Many of the students have stayed on in the “Graduate Program,” in which they help mentor new students. Studies have shown that peers can be even more effective mentors than authority figures. As McConaughey says, “The kids in our program are learning simple and positive choices they can make for their future. If these kids start early making smart and healthy choices and actually feel their quality of life improve, they will continue these actions into adulthood.” Seeing how j.k. livin is doing all the right things to help their students make lasting changes in their lives, there is no doubt that many of them will become great men and women. jklivinfoundation.org

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FEATURE FO C US

Creating a Better Tomorrow with Little Helping Hands By Brent King

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ike fluffy ducklings our children follow us around watching, listening, and learning. Often compared to sponges, the rate at which they absorb from their surroundings is truly remarkable. For good or for bad we are all products of our environment. Sigh and pat your tummy after every meal, and there’s a good chance your child will too. It’s that ability and incredible need to learn at such an early age that inspired Marissa Vogel to teach her own young child about caring for others and the responsibility to give back to the community. She began with an internet search for volunteer activities appropriate for younger hands and found very little. After finding that other parents held a similar interest, Marissa started Little Helping Hands with the hope of inspiring generations of volunteers. “I hope to make volunteering for children just another thing that they do, like playing soccer,” Marissa says. “I want it to become another part of their lives.”

the Ronald McDonald House and Caritas of Austin. It gives families a chance to learn and practice basic cooking skills while helping others. Lil’ Green Hands is a program involving activities to stimulate learning about how to care for the environment. Families might help with park clean-up, gardening, or even harvesting. The program supports numerous organizations all over Austin. Family FUNdraising teaches families how to become involved in familyoriented, unique, and fun fundraising events for charity organizations. Hodgepodge Helpers is the program that does everything else. It might be a one-time special project, or helping the Austin Food Bank sort products. Through this program Little Helping Hands assists numerous non-profits and government run agencies that highlight what volunteering is all about—helping someone else. Little Helping Hands began in December of 2009, and in just over a year they have volunteered more than 2,800 hours. More than 900 adults have participated. “The parents get as much out of the activities as the children do,” Marissa says. “It’s good for us to step out of our bubble.” What’s really exciting is that over 1,100 children have had the opportunity to learn something new, to care about others, and to give back. “Most of the children are between the ages of four

Little Helping Hands is a one-stop shop for finding volunteer activities that cater towards getting the whole family involved. There are usually 17 to 18 activities each month that fall into one of four core categories providing a variety of opportunities for all interests. The Kids Cooking for Charity program supports 34 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

and eight,” Marrisa told me, “but they’ve been as young as two and as old as 17. Most of the older children come because they have younger siblings.” The website www.littlehelpinghands. org is a virtual fountain of information. Interested families can read about the organization, make donations, and buy products from the online store. Finding a volunteer activity is as easy as clicking on a button to view and sign up for upcoming events. You can follow them on Facebook as well as Twitter. Marissa is passionate about Little Helping Hands putting in more than 60 hours a week to ensure that families have the resources they need. When I asked her about expanding she was optimistic. “There’s already interest in other communities,” she explained. “First though we have to show that it’s a viable model, sustainable. Then we need to come up with the resources so that we can expand.” Very little is more important than teaching our children to be compassionate for other people, to care about the environment in which they live, and instilling in them the habit of giving back. It’s the idea behind Little Helping Hands and Austin is a better community because of it. www.littlehelpinghands.org


Standing Up for the Littlest Voices: The CASA Volunteer

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by Brent King

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t’s dark outside, and the light from passing cars sweeps across the room illuminating a colored-in clown picture and a crayon drawing of a red woman holding the hand of a green child, pages taped to the otherwise barren wall just above the bed. She’s burrowed in under the covers trembling as the footsteps come up the stairs. She digs in deeper and tightly squeezes her eyes shut. She knows it’s not her mommy’s fault. She knows it’s the stuff she drinks and still she hopes. “Not tonight Mommy, please, not tonight,” She whispers. The door opens and the lights flicker on. “Melissa? It’s okay,” A woman’s voice says. “My name is Karen.” Melissa pokes her head out from the covers, confused. She sees a woman in a blue blazer standing by the door. “Hi Melissa. I’m from Child Protective Services. I’m here to take you to your Aunt’s. Everything is okay. You’re going to be staying there for awhile.” Thousands of times a year Child Protective Services remove children from their parents’ care due to neglect or abuse and places them into foster care. Sometimes that placement is with a family member, other times it’s with a family licensed for foster care. When this happens, the welfare of the child is in the hands of the state. It’s up to a judge to try to decide what is best for the child. The parent(s) will have their side of the story. The caseworker will have their side too. Who will still stand up for the child? Who will take the time to listen to their side of the story? Who will talk to the teachers, the neighbors, the doctors, and their friends? Who will take all of this data and present it to the judge so that they may make an informed and educated decision about the future of the child? Who will make sure the child’s voice is heard? A CASA volunteer will. The Court Appointed Special Advocate program was born in 1977 from a desire to ensure children were receiving fair treatment from the court. Seattle, Washington Superior Court Judge David Soukup understood that in cases where a child was abused, or neglected it was up to him to decide the future of the child. He says, “When you’re involved with a child and you’re trying to decide what to do to facilitate that child’s growth into a mature and happy adult, you don’t feel like you have sufficient information to allow you to make the right decision. You wonder, ‘Do I really know everything I should? Have I really been told all of the different things? Is this really right?’” Those questions and the resulting CASA program changed the country’s judicial system and the lives of millions of children. In 1985, President Ronald Regan presented the CASA Association the Presidential Volunteer Action Award for “Outstanding Volunteer contribution demonstrating accomplishment through voluntary action.” In 1989, the American Bar Association endorsed using CASA

volunteers to work with attorneys and to speak in court on behalf of abused and neglected children. In 1990, Congress authorized the expansion of the program by passing the “Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990” (P.L.101-647) stating that a “court appointed special advocate shall be available to every victim of child abuse or neglect in the United States that needs such an advocate.” CASA of Travis County became the 4th CASA program in Texas beginning in 1985 with 43 volunteers helping 85 children. Now they maintain a base of approximately 400 volunteers and help in excess of 1,100 children each year. Since its inception, CASA of Travis County has helped more than 6,000 neglected and abused children. Last year alone 444 CASA volunteers helped 1,106 children in the Austin region. So far this year, CASA has 330 CASA volunteers assigned to cases. There are around 220 new volunteer trainees, from which 128 have completed their CASA training, but they need more. Melia Graber, the CASA of Travis County volunteer coordinator says, “Right now we are serving a little over 80% of the kids in Travis County that are in the care of the Department of Family and Protective Services. Our judges would like for us to be on all the cases, to be able to do that we need more volunteers.” CASA volunteers receive 30 hours (ten classes, each three hours in length) of formal training in the CASA University, as well as 3 hours of courtroom observation. The training is selfpaced but Melia says, “On average it usually takes people between two and three months to complete both the classroom sessions as well as the courtroom observations. All volunteers go through background checks to ensure that they are suitable for the CASA program. “We run state and national checks, sex-offender registries check, a driver’s record check and a check of the Central Registry, which indicates whether an individual has had previous experience with the Department of Family and Protective Services.” Melia tells me, “In addition to these checks we also require three personal references for each volunteer. We start running background checks once a trainee has taken their first training class.”

Gather as much information as possible, speaking with family, friends, teachers, and doctors Spend time with the child or children, getting to know them, earning their trust, and building a relationship Work with the Department Family Protective Services and submit written and verbal reports to the judge deciding the case

One of the most important things a volunteer can do is to help reassure the child that someone is there for them; someone cares and is looking out for them. Often during the course of a court case the caseworkers may change, and the attorneys may change. The CASA volunteer might be the only one to see the case through from beginning to end. Also, caseworkers are often over worked, trying to handle several cases at once, so the CASA volunteer works with them to make sure that the child receives the services they need and to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. The Schedule of a CASA volunteer is flexible, and they are paired with a staff professional to help guide them each step of the way. When they complete the training CASA volunteers are sworn in as legal Officers of the Court. Most volunteers find the experience so rewarding that the year-to-year retention rate is over 80%. Running a CASA program takes money. It costs an average of $1200 per child to provide a CASA representative. This covers such things as training and support staff. CASA of Travis County receives funds from a variety of sources. About 31% comes from government grants and another 30% from foundation grants. They get about 11% of their budget from the United Way and Workplace Giving but the rest has to come from donations or fundraising. Melia says that they are always looking for private donations. As well as private donations that can be made via www.casatravis.org, “We also greatly appreciate donations of gift cards to support our program,” Melia says. “Gift cards from Wal-Mart, Target, and other stores help us to take care of unexpected needs and occasionally grant special wishes for our CASA children. Gift Cards to Office Depot, Staples, Hobby Lobby and other stores help us tremendously in our day to day work of running and fundraising for CASA of Travis County.”

When a child is removed from their home due to abuse or neglect it is always a sensitive situation that the judge has to handle carefully. This is where a CASA volunteer is so essential. The judge sends a request to the CASA home office for a volunteer. The home office locates a volunteer who is then officially assigned to the case by the judge.

Being a CASA volunteer is so emotionally rewarding because the volunteer can be certain that they will positively affect a child for the rest of their life. The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to go to their website and read about the program. There’s a button you can click to begin the process or you can call Melia Graber at 512-459-2272 for more information.

The volunteer will spend on average 20 or more hours a month on the case for at least one year. They will do such things as:

If you can, help ensure that when it’s dark and she’s huddling under the covers, the footsteps that she hears are those of someone coming to tuck her in, to give her a kiss, and wish her pleasant dreams. Become a CASA volunteer and help save a childhood.

Read the entire case history of the child Meet the parties involved

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A Child’s Love Knows No Color by Brent King

It started with the hair. Just before Amy Ford, President of Parenting Across Color, became a foster parent to a six-monthold African American girl in 2002, the first of countless questions running through her head was what to do with the little girl’s hair. This is a perfect example of not knowing what you don’t know, as well as a peek into the tremendous challenges faced by parents who adopt children of a different race. It is the simple yet vexing questions like this one that motivated founders Dr. Ruth McRoy and Ora Ann Houston to start a support group in 2003 for interracial families that eventually became Parenting Across Color. Amy took over as facilitator of the group in 2005 when Dr. McRoy moved to California and has since incorporated the group into a non-profit organization. “I wrote a book called ‘Brown Babies Pink Parents’ to share with other adoptive parents everything I didn’t learn in preparing to mother African American children. Through the book, a lot of interest is being generated about support groups like ours. I’ve received calls from people in Washington D.C, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and other places asking me how they can start something like Parenting Across Color. Expansion is certainly something we are looking into.” Amy is passionate about helping out these families. “According to the Texas Department of Family Protective Services annual report, in 2009 36% of adopting parents were of a different race than the children they adopted.” She emphasizes, “And those parents receive zero training on how to deal with that. They receive training on the challenges of being an adoptive parent but not on how to raise a child of a different race. There are a lot of questions out there and not many places they can go for answers.” That’s why Parenting Across Color is such a wonderful support tool for these families. “The Parenting Across Color support group meets on the second Saturday of every month at St. James Episcopal Church in East Austin.” Amy says, “We currently support 78 families in our group. All are from Austin and the surrounding areas. We usually have 20 or so families show up at the monthly meetings. What’s so great about the monthly meetings is that the parents can come to a safe place to talk about their fears. Then can spend time with other families that are going through the same thing. Also, thanks to the St. James Episcopal church and Lutheran Social Services, we are able to offer child care during the meetings, so if nothing else parents get a few moments of rest while the kids play.” A lot of families who are awaiting a cross-racial adoption come to Parenting Across Color to help prepare themselves for the challenges that lie ahead. The website www. parentingacrosscolor.com has links to numerous resources as well as a way to contact Amy directly. 36 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

Amy is a woman committed to helping as many people with questions and concerns about multiracial families as possible. She often speaks to and leads workshops for child welfare agencies in the area on the day-to-day practices of parenting across the color line. “There are a disproportional number of African American youth in our foster system, which is operated by mostly Caucasian people. It takes a village, and I am doing my part to help where I can. Lessons on skin and hair care are something I can do in my sleep. So that’s something I do; I teach them how.” Being a parent is a tough enough job without having to wade through waves of doubt and uncertainty. Every child needs and deserves the love of a parent and Parenting Across Color is helping to ensure they get it. How did the hair issue turn out with the six-month-old back in 2002? “I was lucky,” she says, laughing. “She didn’t have any hair, so I had time to learn.” parentingacrosscolor.com


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The Spirit of Giving By Patrick Buchta

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he holiday season means many things to us. It’s a time to come together with our families, share in the warmth and love of our fellowship, and renew our spirits for the upcoming year. How we each recognize and interpret that experience is unique to each of us according to our beliefs. Of course, we are all aware of the commercial aspect of this season. For many, it becomes an all-consuming race to the finish line to purchase all the things we need to make the experience seem complete. This is not always a bad thing. Markers for our economic health come directly from consumer spending that occurs during these months. But many, some of whom have no families or loved ones to experience this time with, are left out in the cold, so to speak. It is no wonder that depression and suicides peak during winter months when so many individuals feel more alone and isolated than throughout the rest of the year. Personally, I can’t get enough of the holiday season. That certain magic in the air has stuck with me since I was a kid. Each cheesy holiday song or movie, festive lights in neighborhoods, cozy evening spent with friends around a fireplace is precious to me. I still feel that pang of sadness in my stomach when I take the tree to recycling on a cold winter morning and realize I have to wait a whole year to do it again. It’s an extra excuse for me to unapologetically be the sentimental ham that I already am by nature.

No matter what religion of dogma we subscribe to, I believe the holiday season in its best sense can unite us and remind us each year that kindness and good do still exist in the world. For one month, we can drink enough from this cup to last throughout the rest of the year. No matter how commercialized this season has become, I still believe in looking at the cup as half full rather than half empty. Imagine a world in which every month was just like the other, and we had nothing to remind us how to give and love each year. With that sentiment, I want to focus for a moment on the true spirit of giving, what this season could and should truly represent for each of us. I am often in awe at those of us in the community who endlessly give of their time,

talent, or financial resources to help those in need. The most compelling of these stories to me often come from children, who, through pure hearts, decide on their own that they must help other children who do not have as much. One story that almost moved me to tears was from my friends Brad and Robin Pippins, whose young son came up with a unique idea all on his own. When he learned that other kids his age would not get Christmas gifts like he was accustomed to every year, he decided to do something about it. Being that Andrew was from a Cajun family, it made perfect sense that he would put everyone to work making gumbo and sell it to neighbors and friends to raise money for these underprivileged kids. When all was said and done, Andrew raised $250 that was donated to the Christmas Bureau. At this time, Andrew was five. Working at KVUE Austin, again and again I see kids across the community who give back. KVUE’s annual Five Kids Who Care program profiles inspiring young people who creatively come up with new ways to help others and are tireless in their dedication. One example is Buck Schroeter, a leukemia sufferer, who identified a need to make sure sick kids in hospitals have enough toys, games, and entertainment to get them through this traumatic time with as much joy as is possible. As a former sick kid myself, I spend many holidays in the hospital and can tell you firsthand that any little reminder of this festive time of year is welcome. When tests, tubes, and surgeries were the ever-present reality of my childhood life, it was those extra little holiday touches from nurses and doctors that made the situation bearable. One doctor brought me a stuffed plush clown tree ornament that I was able to hold during surgeries as I fell under anesthesia. Buck Schroeter, now fourteen and in remission, has one of the most successful donation campaigns in town. Go to BucksBarn.org to help Buck give. Let’s let these children be our guide this holiday season and remember that the most fulfilling of spiritual experiences comes through helping others. You’re never alone unless you choose to be. Get out and get involved! There’s always, always a need if you take the time to look for it. For those of us with families, try to remember others that need your help in the community. Get the kids excited about helping others. They’ll feel good about it and grow into kind, generous souls because of it. If we can remember to keep this in our hearts, the holidays can take on a much deeper meaning than ever before, and we can learn to keep that spirit all year long. PATSNEWLIVER@BLOGSPOT.COM Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 37


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Will Power: What parents need to know about preparing for the hereafter By Michelle Savage-Mena

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f you have not already written your will, chances are it is not on the top of your already lengthy to-do list. To do: buy groceries, write an asset distribution plan, scrub bathroom, pay bills. Everyday taskmaster parents scramble to survive, so it’s not surprising that nearly 60 percent of Americans fail to put into writing their postmortem wishes. Maybe we’d rather not think about the inevitable. Whatever the reason for shirking this morbid task, it is extremely important, especially when you have children, to make a will and do it right. As a single parent with few financial assets, I wondered if bothering with a will was pointless. While considering my assets, meaning anything in my life with lasting value, I realized my son means more to me than any possession, meaning there is no asset more worthy of protection. Immediately daunted by the process of constructing a will, I called local attorney Travis M. Smith of The Smith Firm PLLC, who kindly guided me through the steps. Smith describes a will as, “your voice from the grave.” If you do not specify to your loved ones how to handle your assets and the guardianship of your children, you bequeath a briar patch of stress and paperwork to your grieving family. If something happens to you today, who assumes guardianship of your children? If you are divorced and share custody, your ex will likely become the primary guardian. If you want members from your family to maintain visitation or even partial custody, be sure to outline this. This arrangement is not legally binding for your ex but in the event your ex is not fit to be a full-time parent, your will may be used as evidence in court to place your child in more suitable care. If you currently maintain sole custody of your children, you may want to obtain legal advice about your options, especially if you want to prevent a previously estranged biological parent from stepping in. Determining which arrangement is best for your family takes careful consideration. Feel lucky if you have too many good options from which to choose. Consider who knows your children best and would try to follow the model you set in

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terms of education, lifestyle, spiritual beliefs, activity level, and location. Try to assess who is both physically and financially fit to keep up with your charges, and, more importantly, make sure they accept the job. If your children are old enough, let them weigh in on the decision. In addition to guardianship, your will appoints an executor or trustee who will carry out your orders. You must also decide who has durable power of attorney, which simply means someone to handle your financial affairs if you are mentally or physically unable to do so yourself. Trust accounts may be created for your children and distributed as you indicate. Your selection for medical power of attorney authorizes someone to make all medical decisions for you if you are unable. In a will you can be specific about your wishes of whether or not to be kept on life support in a coma or vegetative state. You can also leave detailed funeral arrangements. If you want to be cremated and celebrated with a party full of fire dancers, write it down. So is a will a DIY document or do you need a lawyer? Normally I am all for anything you can do yourself. I did a DIY divorce by downloading paperwork and filing it myself. I cut my own hair more often than not, and in general I resent things I cannot do by myself such as getting a good massage, falling in love, or math. A will, however, is not something you can renegotiate after the fact or grow out under a hat. Naturally having something in place is better than nothing at all, but do your research. Seek legal council and be as meticulous as possible. Some folks go the old-school route of jotting down a handwritten (holographic) will. Many websites offer templates, but not all internet documents are created equally and not all homemade wills hold up in court. You spend your entire life ensuring that your children are clothed, fed, and nurtured, so take a bit of time to secure their future in the event that your finale comes sooner than later. This article is not official legal advice. Please consult a law professional with specific inquiries.


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Coats for Kids: A Tradition of Giving by Pat Buchta

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or some, the holiday season marks an opportunity to give back to community… a chance to take a small portion of time and talent to help others in need. For KVUE Chief Meteorologist Mark Murray and Community Service Supervisor Lynn Sparks, it’s a yearlong effort that has lasted throughout their careers. KVUE’s Coats For Kids program, now in its 24th year, has become one of Austin’s longest-running and most successful charitable campaigns. Since its inception, KVUE has partnered with Jack Brown Cleaners each year to organize donations of new or gently used coats to underserved children throughout the community. During these tough Texas winter months, it’s something that’s crucial to keeping children healthy and in school. “A lot of people think that Austin, being a warm climate, doesn’t really have a need for warm winter jackets, but nothing could be further from the truth,” explains Murray, now in his 21st year with the Coats for Kids program. “Just a quick drive around town on a cold winter morning and you’ll see hundreds of kids walking to school without a jacket. Your initial response is, ‘Well, they just forgot the jacket.’ When you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there just isn’t a jacket at home. Any teacher will tell you that when it gets cold, there are more absences in their classroom. And it’s not good to have kids out of school. Kids without warm winter jackets are more likely to get sick. And the other thing is, wearing a nice winter jacket to school makes a child feel good. Talking to teachers, the need was obvious… let’s keep kids warm, let’s keep them in school, let’s keep them healthy.”

thousand coats per year during our main distribution day, and a surplus day to serve charitable organizations such a Caritas,” says Sparks, who has been with the program since the beginning. Mark Murray and Lynn Sparks both seemed reflective, almost sentimental, in their retelling of the history of this cause that has meant so much, and has been such a part part of their lives for so long. So I asked one final question: After giving so much of yourselves over the years, what have you gotten in return? “What I like best is that it affords everyone the opportunity to participate and donate. You don’t have to have cash to donate… you can give something that’s in your life to pass along. One of the really cool stories is that we get kids who were once recipients of the program who come back and volunteer years later, because it was such a meaningful thing to them,” claims Sparks. Murray adds, “When you walk down that line and see thousands and thousands of kids either in t-shirts or wrapped in blankets to keep warm, you can’t help but be changed by that experience. It motivates me to continue to make this one of my top priorities here at KVUE.” Deadline for pickups and cash donation is December 8th this year. Distribution at the Palmer Events Center is December 11th. For more information on donating or volunteering, visit KVUE. com or jlaustin.org

From humble beginnings in a dirt parking lot, the donation drive has grown over the years. After KVUE gets the word out through a massive marketing campaign, coats are collected and dry-cleaned by Jack Brown cleaners. The whole process finally culminates in a massive citywide distribution day at the Palmer Events Center which is staffed by volunteers who help collect, organize, and distribute the donated coats. As the need has grown, so has the program. The Junior League now provides the budget, administration and logistical support for the project. Since that happened, Coats for Kids has almost quadrupled in size. “In the beginning of my involvement, my job was to help get the word out to donate new or gently used coats. In the last few years, we’ve evolved our message to accept cash donations, because through bulk buying, we can purchase many more brand new coats. Now, I’m involved in the planning throughout the year with Jack Brown Cleaners and the Junior League of Austin, and our radio partner, KASE 101. The program has expanded to Del Valle now, and the Junior League will add a Health Fair this year so nonprofits can connect with their clientele on distribution day. We now distribute about thirty Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 39


thriving kids

Modeling Philanthropy In Your Children By Courtney Clark

The easiest way to raise a generous child is to be a giver yourself. It may seem daunting, however, to model philanthropy for your family if giving back to the community has dropped down on your priority list. The good news? It’s easy enough to tune in to your own passions and find a cause to get excited about, plus your whole family will reap the benefits. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for getting involved and modeling philanthropy to your child, but this life stage guide will help you start off on the right foot. Don’t be discouraged if you are getting started late. Just jump in and start working this system from the beginning, and the investment in your community and your family will soon pay off.

is. In other words, invest your time, talent and treasure in your identified target areas. As they grow, your children will appreciate seeing your values in action in a multitude of ways, and you’ll be engaging deeper with your chosen nonprofits by combining the two things they need most: resources and manpower.

The Pre-Parenthood to Toddler Years Find your real passion within the service sector. Go experience and discover different philanthropic options, and do it as early as possible. Do you get excited about animals, senior services, disaster response, literacy, feeding the hungry? Do you like to work directly with clients, or do you imagine using your professional skills as back-office support for the nonprofit’s operations? Work outside your own expectations here. Having and even enjoying children doesn’t mean you have to contribute solely to child welfare organizations, just like having a family member with an illness doesn’t mean you have to get involved in that field. Try on different issues and ways of helping before you start to settle on your passion.

The Elementary Years Now is the time to involve your child in your philanthropic actions. Involvement doesn’t always have to mean serving soup at a soup kitchen. Think about ways they can do meaningful things, such as donating some of their toys every year before birthday and holiday presents flood the house. I knew a family that had that tradition, and the children learned generosity without even realizing that’s what it was. Sharing their belongings became a part of everyday life.

The Preschool Years At this stage in the game, put both your time and your money where your mouth

The Junior High Years Dialogue with your child about the whys and wherefores of sacrificing to support a cause. There’s no better way to get them to understand financial need (both your family’s and that of others) than to start introducing the idea of a finite amount of money, and that every dollar

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spent in one place equals less to spend in another. By making room for giving in the family budget and discussing what you’ve given up to prioritize that contribution, they’ll see that even parents don’t get to do everything they want. They will realize just how precious your resources are when they see you share with others that have even more limited means. The High School Years Guide your child to explore how their own interests intersect with the needs of the community. Whether your child is a budding artist, athlete, entrepreneur or doctor, opportunities abound to help them find their own personal passion at this point. Even if it doesn’t align with your chosen family philanthropy, if you’ve modeled well, your young giverin-training will soon be ready to fly the coop. Choosing philanthropy for your family speaks loudly about your own passions, empathy and dedication. By developing those skills and putting them to action where they’re needed most in the community, you’ll be nurturing kindness, courage and service in your child.


thriving kids

Through the Eyes of A Child By Vicki Parsons Hi, I’m a kid. I’m nine. I’m the one who still has to sit in the backseat of the car and hold her mom’s hand when crossing the street. I’m also the one who has to eat all her broccoli before getting dessert. You may think of me spending my time out on the softball diamond or soccer field or riding my bike. I see me differently.

Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School says Dance Like a Star… on a Student’s Budget $10 Classes Every Sunday, Exclusively for Students WHO: Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School WHAT: Student Rush Sundays at the BCS WHEN: Sunday Afternoons WHERE: Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance Education Center 501 West Third Street (at San Antonio Street) Austin, TX 78701 • 512.476.9051 Ext. 126 AGES: High school and college students FEE: $10 – 1 class, $15 – 2 classes (one individual on same day) AUSTIN, Texas—Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School (BCS) is pleased to announce a new offer: Student Rush Sundays. Any and all high school and college students presenting a valid student ID have the opportunity to take a dance or fitness class at the BCS any Sunday afternoon for $10 (normally $17). Classes are open to all skill levels including those seeking new experiences, a childhood passion revisited, or even an athletic edge. Student Rush Sunday’s offer the Butler Community School’s least expensive way to experience its high quality dance offerings. Student Rush Sundays offer a variety of classes including: Ballet Fit at 1:00 pm Zumba at 2:00 pm Modern at 1:00 pm Contemporary Jazz at 2:30 pm Students may attend one class each Sunday for only $10—or an individual may take two classes in the same day for $15. To redeem this offer students must show up 15 minutes before the class begins with a valid student ID. No pre-registration required. Cash, check and credit card accepted. ABOUT THE BUTLER COMMUNITY SCHOOL The vibrant and active Butler Dance Education Center and Community School, which opened in 2007, was conceived as a hub for movement where people of any age or skill level are encouraged to pursue a life of health and fitness. In addition to the professional company, the Ballet Austin Academy and administrative/artistic activities, Butler Community School (BCS) classes are offered seven days a week with dance styles ranging from ballet and contemporary jazz to hip hop and theatre dance, a full-service award-winning Pilates Center, dance fitness, and more.. In September 2010, an eighth studio was completed, bringing the Butler Dance Education Center to 36,000 square feet. This professional level studio is now the third largest studio in the Ballet Austin facility. ABOUT BALLET AUSTIN As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its “classically innovative” vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, and one of the nation’s largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their new home at the Butler Dance Education Center and Community School in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and artistic director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin “a company with big ambitions” originating work that is “absorbing.”   CONTACT INFORMATION 501 West Third Street Austin, Texas 78701   Box Office: 512.476.2163 Academy: 512.476.9051 General info: 512.476.9151 Fax: 512.476.3973   IMAGES: Contact David Wyatt at david@wyattbrand.com and 512.450.4395 for print-ready, password-free images MEDIA: For interviews, details contact David Wyatt at david@wyattbrand.com and 512.450.4395 WEB: www.balletaustin.org This project is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

I found a place downtown, on the corner of 3rd and San Antonio, where my imagination is stirred and my energy is used to develop my social skills, self-expression and coordination. You see, I’m the one who has visions of sugarplums dancing in her head. I am also the one who has dreams of being a Broadway star. At Ballet Austin, two schools have rocked my nine-year-old world. I am a student in the Ballet Austin Academy, where I take ballet classes three days a week. This year I am going to star in Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker. I get to dance on stage at the Long Center with Clara and all of the professional dancers. It will be one of the highlights of my young life. But there’s another school at Ballet Austin –the Butler Community School (BCS). There, dance and fitness classes are open to kids, teens and adults. That’s where my other dream of dancing on Broadway is growing. The BCS Kid’s Zone is a place for kids like me to dance, play, and even sing! Some of my friends take the drop-in Broadway jazz, tap, or musical theatre triple-threat classes with Broadway veterans Danny and Rocker. I am enrolled in the BCS Kid’s Zone Musical Theatre Performance Workshop. We will be performing an original musical called Magic in Manhattan in December. I get to play one of the lead roles! Even my little brother is in the show. There is so much to do at Ballet Austin. I like the ballet and the Broadway. But I see my friends learning cool street moves in hip-hop, or doing different types of movement in a fun modern dance class. I still like riding my bike at home and playing with my friends at school, but I really love the dance classes that I get to take at Ballet Austin. The Butler Community School Kid’s Zone is open to kids age 8–12 and includes classes in musical theatre, tap, jazz, hip-hop and modern. Drop-in classes and pre-registered courses are available year round. Ballet Austin is located at 501 W. 3rd Street, and classes are held seven days a week for kids and adults. The Ballet Austin Academy is the official ballet school of Ballet Austin, and the Academy is currently accepting Spring registrations for children as young as age three. Learn more at www.balletaustin. org or by calling 512.476.9051 ext. 126. Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 41


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The Oil We Shouldn’t Eat by Randy Jewart

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n the beginning of December, world leaders are again convening to discuss commitments from governments to deal with the threat of a warming world. A local Austin group is participating in an exciting global art project aimed at focusing attention on the importance of this meeting. Austin Green Art is proud to be one of twenty international art projects being unveiled this month by  350.org  through a suite of satellite photographs. According to environmental writer Bill McKibben, 350 is the most important number in the world. Climate scientists have established 350 parts per million as the carbon threshold for a nonwarming world. 350.org is an organization dedicated to promoting international climate action of any kind that brings us down from 390 to 350. Choosing to eat locally produced, organic vegetables and to get involved in growing your own food is one area in which individuals can make a significant carbon impact and, more importantly, start to shape a cultural shift away from a consumer-based life-style. Industrial agriculture runs heavy machinery with petroleum, fertilizes with petroleum, kills pests with petroleum and ships food all over the world with petroleum. Writers like 42 | Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM

Wendell Berry and Michael Pollan have inspired Oprah, Michelle Obama and millions of others to recognize the health, quality of life and moral issues around taking responsibility for eating local and organic foods. AGA has partnered with Johnson’s Backyard Garden Farm, the largest CSA (member-based) organic farm in Texas, to make a 15-acre art piece that at once rebuilds the soil on the farm and highlights the importance of local food production in the climate movement. The piece is composes of alternating bands of winter rye and a mix of oat and vetch. In addition to being visible in satellite photos, anyone flying in and out of Austin from October thru April can look down on the largest art-piece ever made in Austin and see “350” growing as a soil-building cover crop in the field. On NPR this summer, reporters read a letter from a listener in response to a piece on the BP gulf oil spill. The listener lamented that regardless of the specific blame, devastation and solution, each of us is intimately connected to oil consumption each day. Bill McKibben reminded us in Vermont this summer that regardless of whether that oil spilled into the Gulf or was refined successfully and burned, the environmental devastation is the same. Almost every person on the planet is lucky enough to eat a few times everyday. Taking responsibility for what we eat can stop climate change, improve community health, and create jobs. It’s the foundation of a moral relationship between humans and nature.


h e a lt h y f o c u s

AsthmaPulse: A Comprehensive Asthma Application by Amy A. Persaud

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ustin is the allergy capital of the world.The food and air to which we are exposed is filled with not only allergens but also pollutants and chemicals which make allergies even worse for those suffering with asthma! Monica Nudurumati, the creator and founder of AsthmaPulse, oversees the care for her son who has been living with asthma for about ten years. She quickly found that asthma can be frightening and overwhelming. Armed with the experience of caring for her son, Monica and her team are working hard to create software to help with chronic disease management. AsthmaPulse is an application with extensive features useful for tracking and charting your peak flow, symptoms, medications and triggers. To help asthmatics stay current on research, discoveries and breakthroughs, AsthmaPulse provides updates on the latest news. Patients using AsthmaPulse are often aware of what’s happening on the asthma front before even their doctors are. Available at the iTunes app store, AsthmaPulse provides emergency medical contact for those suffering in the dangerous red zone. Once preset to do so, the app will automatically call a patient’s doctor or emergency personnel for help. This sort of aid is crucial since typically when an asthmatic’s peak flow number dips into the red zone they are unable to speak for themselves. According to Monica, the future will hold a continuous evolution of how we monitor our health. “The healthcare industry is evolving. How we track and manage our health is changing, and we now have effective and proactive ways of taking control of our health and improving the way we live. Tools like AsthmaPulse help people stay on top of their lung health.”

What people are saying about AsthmaPulse: “First, let me get this out: WOW!!! This app is so user-friendly, feature-rich and a very useful too! As a mom of two kids who have asthma, I need all the help I can get! This app does so much for us. I cannot wait to walk into the doctor’s office with solid, organized data about how the kids are doing. The app will better help their doctor help me help them! Less guesswork, no forgetting their journals and therefore not having all the info that the doctor needs to best treat them. All their information at my fingertips! Thank you so much for creating this app!” -Momuv24ever “AsthmaPulse is the best asthma app ever! Very thorough, comprehensive and easy to use. I love the help screens and the user experience, Thanks. I can now stay on top of my asthma as I should! Good Job!” –Narayana Monica has the right strategy in place and is gaining momentum by creating other apps, including a diabetes app, which is set to release in a few weeks. AsthmaPulse is a tool to achieve healthy living for those with asthma and allergies. They will continue their focus on sharing and community features, delivering personalized information and apps, and being positive ambassadors of AsthmaPulse and fighting asthma every day across. To learn more, visit www.asthmapulse.com. Don’t take a breath for granted! Fight asthma and allergies now!

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Dec/Jan 2010-2011 | WHOLEKIDSLIFESTYLE.COM | 43


music matters

Pho to and Ar ticle by L en e S a i n t-O re n s

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ustin City Limits has wrapped up for this year, and we were lucky to connect with Elizabeth Mitchell, who performed two days at the Austin Kiddie Limits stage along with her husband Dan Littleton and nine-yearold daughter Storey. I first learned about Mitchell, an educator and long-time member of indie duo Ida, when my daughter was still a baby and I was in need for tunes that would make our commute in the car bearable. I was hoping for unique songs that would be refreshing and relaxing. I came across her 2006 album You Are My Little Bird, and we have been supporters of her music every since. Mitchell greets me on day two of Austin City Limits with a sweet smile and speaks softly when she invites me into her little “Zen” behind the stage. “What’s your daughter’s favorite song?” she asks. I smile and answer “’Sunny Day.’” She smiles back and says proudly “It’s one of the two songs that Storey wrote to be included on the new album.” It’s not a secret that family comes first for Mitchell, so it’s natural that her latest album Sunny Day, recorded by

Smithsonian Folkways, was a family project including her musician husband and daughter. The themes are soothing and not just so for children. And that is where the current kid-renaissance owes much to Mitchell, whose music isn’t just loved by modern children but also a hit by parents of all ages. What inspires Mitchell? Certainly her background of being a life-long educator and having worked in nursery classrooms with children from all different nationalities, her daughter Storey, and children of all ages, who she’s seeking a deeper connection with through her gentle, soothing style that combines folk with Appalachian sounds and has family-style music accompanied by roots themes. Modernized Woodstock songs, as she describes it. It comes naturally for Mitchell to sing songs such as ‘Tsuki’ in Spanish, and she expresses her love for uniting beyond national borders through travel to places far and wide. While traveling to Japan with her family (I soon learned that her daughter is home-schooled and

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along on every trip), Mitchell connects with even more nationalities and loves to incorporate traditional ancient Japanese songs into the modern world tunes. She told me she plans to travel back to Japan in 2011. With so much passion, it’s not surprising that Mitchell is giving back in many different ways, and one of her these ways is to donate her time to playing charity concerts. When her schedule allows, she’s out to support what she believes in (the education of young children and equal access to music for all) and strives to bring families together by playing 300-year-old melodies that connect timeless to ancient. And where would Mitchell be, after a complete set and interview round on a sunny day in Austin, Texas? She is sitting next to me with her family, drawing a flower on my daughter’s CD, surrounded by children waiting for the next artist. “That’s where music feels really good,” she explains. She smiles and asks politely, “Do you mind taking a picture of me and my friends?” youaremyflower.org


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teachable moments Photograph by Lauren Lesley

As a dad who’s traveling frequently for work, I try to spend time with my daughter as often as I can to nourish our bond and to not miss more time than is already ‘lost’ while I’m away. This year was the first for me to enjoy Austin’s annual Austin City Limits Festival with my daughter, Julianna, in tow, and even though she typically does concerts in style with mom, she was excited to have both of us at the event. This picture was taken by Lauren Lesley between set’s and while waiting on her favorite artist, Elizabeth Mitchell, to perform “John, the Rabbit”. I fondly remember this special moment while I reflect on how the music and her interaction with some of the artists inspired her so much, resulting in a greater interest in music, and her wish to learn to play the piano. I encourage parents to give the gift of music (live music if you can) to your child this season, to hopefully inspire them to create something musical of their own. Keep on singing.

December/January 2010 JEROM E - AUSTIN, TX

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WHOLE KIDS LIFESTYLE is published every two months by WHOLE KIDS LIFESTYLE L.L.C. All rights reserved. Subscription rate is $28 annually. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of our Publisher or Associate Publisher. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us. Thank you.

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WKL Dec-Jan 2011