Monday, November 15, 2010

Gifts to Go

With the holidays just around the corner, you’ve probably started making your shopping lists.

Today Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor and Toy Expert for FAMILY Magazine, shared a few tips about “Gifts to Go,” on the WUSAS Moms Like Me segment.

According to Amy, whether you are mailing a package across the country or delivering it down the street, you want to find something sure to please. But what is the perfect gift to send to the cousins in Oregon, give as a holiday hostess gift, wrap for a secret Santa swap or even have for that long car ride back from grandma’s house?

Here are Amy’s criteria for choosing Gifts to Go as well as some great choices for this holiday season.

If you are mailing a package, be sure it is:
Lightweight
Small
Sturdy

If you are getting a toy or game for travel think about:
Limited number of pieces
Quiet sounds
Multiple uses
Consider the number of users - Is it individual or shared?
Independent of interactive?

Here is a listing of great “Gifts to Go” – fun-filled presents that are perfect for holiday giving, last minute surprises or to take with you on your holiday adventures.

Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Imaginets
Imaginets are the perfect travel toy – colorful, engaging, creative and quiet. The wooden carry case has two white board surfaces and contains 42 vibrantly colored magnetic, geometric shapes and a deck of simple to complex design pattern design cards. Or kids can make their own freeform creations. Bring along a dry erase marker to add to the possibilities – making play options endless.

Approximate Price - $24.95 www.mindware.com
Awards – Major Fun Award, NAGC Parenting for High Potential Award, Creative Child Toy of the Year


Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Finn and Maeve Paper Dolls
These charming paper dolls, Finn and Maeve and their fanciful companions, a witch, a fox and a cat, take your child on an enchanted imagination adventure complete with castle ramparts and a fire breathing dragon. Beautifully illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell and packing easily into a carry case, the dolls, outfits and double-sided play stand will delight your child for hours of creative play.

Approximate Price - $15 www.eeboo.com
Awards – Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award

Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Dig It
Doggone fun on the go with Dig It. Nestled inside the perfectly planned travel case are the pieces to the puzzle of where the dog buried his bone. Use keen wit and clever strategy as you work through the increasingly complex puzzle challenges to uncover the golden bones. Tail wagging fun for kids and adults alike.


Approximate Price - $19.99 www.foxmind.com
Awards – Creative Child Magazine Seal of Excellence

Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) green start™ little polar bear storybook and plush box set
Eco-friendly and the perfect pocket pal, this soft, loveable little polar bear comes with a story about the life of an arctic polar bear cub. A great learn and play toy that promotes environmental awareness in a cuddly friend. Other earth friendly sets include a panda bear, an elephant and a gorilla plush each with a book.

Approximate Price - $10 www. innovativekids.com
Awards – Dr. Toy 2010 Best Green Product Award


Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Spot it Pocket
Who can be the first to Spot It? In these four fast-paced games of I Spy, players race to find matching symbols. Packed in a pocket-sized on-the-go case, Spot It is perfect for cars, planes, restaurants, rainy days and grandma’s house. Easy to learn and quick to play, Spot It makes anytime game time.

Approximate Price - $11.99 www.blueorangegames.com
Awards – NAPPA Gold Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, Major Fun Award, Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, ASTRA’s Best Toy For Kids, TDmonthly Top Seller Award


Infant (0-2 years) Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Zoobies Storytime Collection
Just right to snuggle, cuddle and love. A Zoobie is a plush pal, a comfy pillow and a cozy blanket all tucked in one loveable package. Choose your child’s favorite story time friend – Olivia, Spot, Paddington, Mr. Happy, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and more. Some even come with gift books included. So curl up with your little one and her new friend and bring a story to life one page and hug at a time.
Approximate Price - $35-40 www.zoobies.com
Awards – Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Product


Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+)
Eeboo Metallic Colored Pencils
For preschoolers to teens, add some bling to artwork creations with Eeboo’s metallic pencils. Drawings glitter and sparkle with six different colors – gold, sliver, turquoise, aqua, purple and copper. The pencil’s unique chunky triangular shape makes gripping easy for even the youngest artists.

Approximate Price - $7 www.eeboo.com


Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Perplexus
Intriguing, engaging, addicting, amazing. Perplexus captures attention with twists and turns. The goal is to roll a small silver marble through the maze-filled transparent ball. But how do you reach the end? It’s perplexing, absorbing, enticing . . . and so much fun.

Approximate Price - $19.99 www.perplexus.net
Awards – National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, Premio Brasil de Excelencia em Brinquedo


Infant (0-2 years) Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Spot Hand Puppet
Soft, snuggly and oh so cute. Everyone loves Spot. Bring a childhood favorite to life with this adorable Spot Hand Puppet. From his cuddly paws to the brown spots on his back and tail, this puppet is perfect for hours of imaginative play and language enrichment.

Approximate Price - $16 www.kidspreferred.com


Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Ratuki
Furiously fast! Outrageously fun! Race to place your numbered cards on “shared ascending/descending stacks.” Up and down, back and forth. Watch out for the wild card, it changes everything. No reading makes this fun for the whole family (and Shhh! It even sneaks in a little learning too). Are you a quick draw in the numbers game? Then Ratuki is for you.

Approximate Price - $9.95 www.usaopoly.com
Awards – Major Fun, Chicago Tribune’s 10 Cool Games


Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Zingo to Go
Shake, rattle and roll on down the road. Zingo! to Go is like Bingo on wheels. Packed in a travel bag is everything you need for a travel game for the younger set – traffic light themed game boards and a Zingo shaker. With lots of different ways to play, Zingo will keep this kids busy as you drive off into the sunset.

Approximate Price - $14.99 www.thinkfun.com
Awards – Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Product


Infant (0-2 years) HABA Wooden Rattles
Flowers, trains, lions and more. These charming child-friendly wooden rattles are a delight to babies and parents. Their soft bells and clacks, moving parts and bright colors engage babies’ senses. The beech wood construction, quietly pleasing noises and child-safe water-based stains make them a parent pleaser too.

Approximate Price - $8-14 www.HABAusa.com
Awards – Creative Child Seal of Excellence


Infant (0-2 years) Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Educational Balls
Make learning go round. These colorful soft, squishy balls are made of eco-friendly natural rubber and have raised shapes, numbers or letters making them tactilely interesting, fun to play with and a learning opportunity all in one spherical toy. So whether you roll them back and forth, play catch or give them a kick, kids can learn and play simultaneously.

Approximate Price - $5.95 www.rubbabu.com
Awards – Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, Dr Toy Best Vacation Products, Parents' Choice Award, Tillywig Toy Awards, Brain Child Award


Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Word Shout
Shake, rattle, roll and shout. Smaller than a cell phone, Word Shout is a go-anywhere game of quick thinking and verbal speed. Roll the 10 letter dice, be the first to spot a word and shout it out. So pack it in you pocket and get ready to word hunt.

Approximate Price - $6.99 www.patchproducts.com

Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) FuzzOodles
Oodles of fun with twisty, bendy, goofy, play-it-again FuzzOodles. With colorful, hugely furry, oversized pipe cleaner noodles and FuzzOodle parts (think silly eyes, monster toes, grinning lips, beaks, hats and more), kids can make a myriad of creations, take them apart and make something else imaginative, wearable, decorative or just downright hilarious.

Approximate Price - $7.99-24.99 www.giddyup.com
Awards – Dr. Toy's Best Children's Products and Best Creative Products Awards


Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Princess Reading Diary
Just right for thoughts and dreams, with a lock and key to keep it private. The Princess Reading Diary (and other fanciful locked diaries by eeBoo that feature fairies, fawns, castles, mermaids and butterflies) have over 200 inviting pastel pages to fill with secrets and stories, adventures and hopes, the day-to-day and the special moments.

Approximate Price - $11 www.eeboo.com

Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Graffiti Sky Ball
What can leap a tall building with a single bound? It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, it’s Sky Ball. With cool graffiti patterns in bright colors, this “hypercharged” ball’s ability to bounce will amaze you. So get ready to run off some of that winter energy as you bounce and toss Sky Ball. Also available in solid colors and jumbo sized.

Approximate Price - $9.99 www.mauitoys.com

Infant (0-2 years) Preschool (3-4 years) Elementary (5-9 years) Aniwheelies
A complete zoo on wheels. No, it’s not your minivan stuffed with kids. It’s Aniwheelies. These soft flocked, natural rubber animals roll around on wheels by kid-propulsion. From giraffes and hippos to lions and ducks, the colorful assortment of animal choices offers a barnyard of fun.

Approximate Price - $4.95 www.rubbabu.com

Elementary (5-9 years) Preteen (10-12) Teens/Adults (13+) Solitaire Chess
Use chess moves to stretch your synapses. Solitaire Chess is a mental strategy game that uses the components of chess to solve logic puzzles of increasing difficulty. All components from playing pieces to instructions pack in a compact travel/storage case, making it a great on-the-go option for those who like a brain workout.

Approximate Price - $19.99 www.thinkfun.com

Monday, October 25, 2010

Deal With the Candy Witch

Do you dread the candy holidays? They start in February with Valentine’s Day and continue year-round with the biggest candy fest happening on Halloween. What is a mother to do?
The good news is that kids usually forget about the candy after a few weeks. Sometimes letting them go nuts for a day or two gets it out of their systems. Here are a few suggestions to help you deal with the onslaught and avoid turning into a candy witch:

Deal With the Candy Witch
1. Buy a limited quantity
2. Make young children carry their own bag.
3. Sort the candy.
a. Set a limit for each day.
b. Move to the freezer.
c. Throw it away.
4. Plan ahead.


• Buy a limited quantity of the treats so you and your family won’t be tempted to eat leftovers.
• Make young children carry their own plastic pumpkin or bag. When they start saying it is too heavy, it is time to go home.
• Sort the candy. Limit the ones that are high in saturated or trans fats.
a. Set a limit on how much they can have in a day.
b. Set a time limit when the candy moves to the freezer.
c. Set a time limit when the candy will get thrown away.

• Plan ahead. Knowing the candy is coming, start to avoid fast food and cut down on fat and refined flours. This teaches balance. Get out your crock pot or slow cooker and make more meals with lots of vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Serve more fresh fruit snacks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Healthy Kids Fun Run

Marc Goldman with the Marine Corp Marathon for the Healthy Kids Fun Run spoke with Peggy Fox this morning about getting kids in shape for the Healthy Kids Fun Run.

FAMILY Magazine has been sponsoring the run as well as the activity fair, Camp Miles for several years. In fact, FAMILY gives out a cash reward to the school that enters the most students.

With one-third of American children fighting obesity, healthy children should be our number one priority FAMILY Magazine has found that sponsoring the Healthy Kids Fun Run is a way for the magazine to encourage individuals and communities to become and stay physically active.

Here are Marc’s tips on making this event fun and healthy:

Running is fun.

Running is a family sport.

Run for distance, speed or both.

Here is the link to the run and fair:
http://www.marinemarathon.com/weekend_events/kids_run.htm

FACTS:
Healthy Kids Fun Run, 9:30 AM
October 30
Ages 6-13
Pentagon North Parking Lot
Advance Registration Needed

Camp Miles
Free Interactive Family Activities
9AM-2PM

You can still register now open for the annual Marine Corps Marathon Healthy Kids Fun. The race will be held in the Pentagon North Parking Lot. Children ages 6-13 are invited to participate in the one-mile just-for-fun event. All participants receive a t-shirt, medal and snacks at the finish line.

Also, Camp Miles will be going on.
Parents, families and runners are invited to visit Camp Miles, a free all-day activity area featuring interactive challenges and games focusing on health and fitness. Camp Miles activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 2 p.m.

This year's activities include:
-CNN - Q&A with health experts including Dr. Sanjay Gupta
-FitArlington - Ring Toss, Fitness Dice, Hoop Jumpers, Ring Toss and more
-Washington Redskins Cheerleader autographs
-Junior League of Washington bookmark coloring activity
-Madame Tussauds wax figure of a surprise celebrity
-City Football Club street soccer game
-Pre-race warm-ups with Fit & Healthy Schools and Clif Bar
-Other great activities hosted by: National Children's Museum, DC United, Verizon Wireless, Max Muscle, FAMILY Magazine, Silver Diner, Toys for Tots and Sarah Stanley Inspired

They have a lot of great information about the race and all the activities on their website.
http://www.marinemarathon.com/Weekend_Events/kids_run.htm

Also, on the website you can download course information and other descriptions about the event.

It will be a lot of fun, and a great way to encourage our children to be healthy and stay physically active. If you go, send us your pictures so we can post them on our Facebook page.

Have fun!

Brenda

Monday, October 4, 2010

Internet Safety

The Wall Street Journal just released information from an investigation concerning online privacy on sites visited by children. They examined 50 sites to see what tracking tools they were using and how much information they gathered from children who visited the sites.

As a group the sites placed 4,23 cookies on the computers of the children who visited the sites. This is 30% more cookies than are found on the most popular US visited sites. In case you don’t know, a cookie is an electronic signature placed in your computer system when you visit an Internet site. It allows other sites to see where you have been on the Internet – to sort of track your preferences and activities.

It appears that companies are watching our kids even more than they are watching us.

Recently we asked the moms who read FAMILY Magazine to tell us what their concerns are about the internet and what they would like to see happen to help create a more secure experience for our children. Most moms said they were concerned. One suggestion was to put a domain name for adult sites that might be xxx.com. Other moms said they were concerned that parents of the friends of their children aren’t using the tools already available to limit access and monitor Internet usage. They felt their children were safe in their own home but not in the homes of some of their friends.

We also asked moms to tell us what fears their children had when it came to the Internet. Many of the children voiced a concern about cyber bullies. In fact, it was alarming how many responses told us threat their child had already experienced being bullied on the Internet.

Children were also fearful of adult pictures that sometimes pop up when they least expect them. They are fearful of sites they may accidentally go to that have content that is adult.

After a recent suicide by a college student, USA Today quoted Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a group that educates families about Internet safety, “…no matter how many kids hurt themselves, the Internet is here to stay. The genie is out of the bottle. This is where kids live today, period. … And as a parent you can’t simply shut it out and protect yourself from the brave new world of social media.”

Education about Internet safety is important. Protecting our kids from bullies and malicious acts of unkindness is difficult. We need to start teaching digital good citizenship early and reinforce the message often. As Jim said, “ The genie is out of the bottle.” And, it is a new world; I am just not sure about the brave part. I think it is kind of scary.

What are you doing in your home to protect your children?

Has your child ever been the victim of cyber bullies?

Let me know. We want to continue this conversation.

Brenda

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going Back-To-Work and Breastfeeding

Now is the time of year when a lot of moms go back-to-work. But what if you are breastfeeding? American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommends to breastfeed for at least a year, but many moms have difficulty reaching this goal once they return to work. Is there a way to successfully continue the positive breastfeeding relationship and work?

American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommends is 1 full year of breastfeeding.

32% new mothers give up breastfeeding within 7 weeks of returning to work.

Successful Return to Work --
Make a Transition Plan
Talk to your employer in advance
Remind yoru employer of the benefits to them
Nursing mom is happier
Less sick days for the baby
Lower health care costs overall
Begin to pump and freeze 2 weeks prior to returning to work
Get a fast, portable breast pump
Stick to your routine for your pumping schedule

*Non Breastfed Babies have
2033 more physician visits
212 more days in the hospital
609 more prescriptions

*According to a study by the Department of Pediatrics and Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center at the University of Arizona


If this topic is of interest to you, the September issue of FAMILY Magazine has a article concerning freezing and thawing breast milk. Here is a link to the complete text. There are also several other articles concerning breastfeeding that are linked to this article.

Information on healthcare reform concerning employed breastfeeding moms:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Developing Positive Parent-Teacher Relationships

Having a good relationship with your child’s teacher will help ensure his success. Why is this important and what can parents do to develop this relationship?



Why is it important to have a positive relationship with the teacher?

It shows your child you care about their education

A prior relationships is helpful if there are problems in the future

Conversations are easier with the teacher





Ideas on how to build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher:



Meet the teacher as soon as possible

Don’t wait until there is a problem to meet your child’s teacher. And, try to meet her with an open mind.



Volunteer in the classroom.

Offer to decorate a bulletin board each month, Xerox worksheets or do other time consuming jobs that takes the teacher away from the students. At the same time, you will get to watch your child interact with other children and meet his friends.



Share your talents.

If you play an instrument, have traveled to another country or exciting place, or have an interesting job or hobby, offer to share it with the class. Children like to learn about new things and are usually very welcoming. Leave lots of time for questions and stories.



Help out with field trips.

If you can’t volunteer in the classroom because of your schedule, try to clean a day to accompany your child on a field trip. If you can’t do that perhaps you can prepare and keep track of permission slips or provide snacks.



Keep in touch.

Keep the teacher informed of any changes or stressful events that affect your child’s performance. Things such as a grandparent’s visit, death or injury of a pet, new sibling or death of a family member can affect a child’s school performance.







What can Dad’s do?



Read to the class once a month.

Eat with your child in the cafeteria once a month.

Attend parent-teacher conferences, concerts and open houses.

Volunteer for special projects or field trips.

The relationship you build with your child’s teacher will be rewarding to you and will benefit your child. It will boost their performance and your teacher will appreciate your involvement. The investment you make in this relationship now will be a positive force for the new school term.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Looking for fun Fall festivals?

September ushers in the beginning of the Fall season. With Labor Day meaning the end of the summer for kids and parents alike, we look ahead to great festivals that are coming up this month.

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for September.

From September 19th through September 24th, George Mason University is presenting the 2010 Fall for the Book Festival. The festival is a week-long, multiple-venue, regional festival that brings together people of all ages and interests. Some of the events include readings, book sales, meeting authors and much more. Events take place at George Mason University’s Fairfax, Virginia Campus and at locations throughout Northern Virginia. Washington DC and Maryland. All events are free and open to the public, however the events featuring Greg Mortenson and Kathryn Stockett need advance reservations. For more information, please visit www.fallforthebook.org.

Young children can celebrate the wonders of Fall at McLean Community Center’s Harvest Happenings. Performances feature Kidsinger Jim and Rocknoceros. The event will be held on September 25th from 11 AM-2 PM. Activities include amusement and carnival games, arts and crafts projects, face painting, temporary tattoos, a moon bounce, prizes and much more. Kids can purchase small pumpkins to decorate. There will also be free popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones for attendants, as well as The Tender Rib selling their entrees. Admission is $5 per person but free for children 2 and under. For more information, go to www.mcleancenter.org.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

As summer is drawing to a close, many of you are getting your little ones ready for their first day of kindergarten.

Today, FAMILY Magazine’s Assistant Editor Amy Bevins talked with Peggy Fox during the WUSA Mom’s Like Me segment about preparing your child for kindergarten. Here are a few of Amy’s tips.

Research shows that children from language-rich homes have an edge when they start school. So talk with your child.

Together observe the world around you. Count stairs. Compare big and little oranges at the store. Use street signs to discuss colors and shapes. Using the names of things adds to your child’s vocabulary. But be sure to keep it a back and forth conversation.

Add to what your child says to make the language richer – “Yes, I see the bird too. See how it has a brown back and a red tummy. That’s a robin. They eat worms. Would you like to have dinner with them?”

Answer and ask questions to teach kids how to hold conversations and how to listen.

Work with your child to retell events in order.

Before the first day –

o Take a tour of the school if possible
o Help them memorize their teacher’s name
o Practice the walk to school or the bus stop, noticing signs, colors, letters, landmarks along the way.
o Share memories of your school years
o Sign up to volunteer

And start a family tradition. In my family, I always made chocolate chip cookies to welcome the kids’ home from school. Over warm-from-the-oven cookies, we shared first day of school stories and reminisces.

How will you get your child ready for kindergarten and welcome them home from school?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Looking for last minute summer fun?

August for many families means traveling, getting ready for school to start and trying to find great last minute ways to spend the summer. If your family’s plan is to stick around the area, there are numerous free evens and special deals going on that you should try out before the first school bell rings.

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for August.

If you have Girl or Boy Scouts, make sure to check out the activities that are going on right now at Mount Vernon. Scouts can earn patches and pins by exploring what the site has to offer. This program runs through August 8th. Love the movie “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets”? There’s a tour at Mount Vernon going on right now that takes you through where the movie was filmed and how those locations were used during George Washington’s time. For more information about these events, visit www.mountvernon.org.

Running through Labor Day, the Newseum is offering kids free admittance into the museum. The Newseum’s “Family Fun Deal – Kids FREE” promotion is designed to encourage families, particularly in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, to experience the Newseum. Up to 10 kids will be admitted free with each paid adult admission. This museum offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of new history with up-to-the-second technology and hands on exhibits. For additional information, the public may call 888/NEWSEUM (888/639-7386) or visit newseum.org.

If you’re looking for a night out without the kids but don’t want to shell out a lot of money on a babysitter, Adventure Theatre offers a fun alternative that both parents and kids will love. For only $25 per child, and $10 for each additional sibling, Adventure Theatre offers games, a movie and a Pizza dinner. This program runs every third Saturday a month from 6 p.m.-11 p.m. For more information, call 301-634-2270 or visit www.adventuretheatre.org.

Happy Parenting,
Brenda

Monday, July 26, 2010

Swimming Pool Safety

Today Jolie Perara, Marketing Manager of Washington FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now sharing some pool safety tips.

So what are some things you can do to keep your kids safer at the pool?

The most important tip we can give you is if your child is missing always check the pool first. – not the bathroom or the snack bar!


General Pool Area Safety
Fencing
Locks
Remove Hot Tub Covers

Most of us know about having locked fences around pools and completely removing pool and hot tub covers so kids don’t become trapped under them. But there are a number of other measures that make summer even safer.

Additional Pool Safety
Vigilance – NEVER OUT OF SITE
Touch Supervision
Informed Babysitter
Stay Away from Drains

Vigilance is the number one way to keep your kids safe. Most young children who drown in pools or hot tubs have been out of sight for less than five minutes. It can’t be said often enough, you have to watch your kids around water.

With infants and toddlers, use “touch supervision” meaning you are always within an arm’s length.

If a babysitter takes your child to the pool, make sure he or she knows about pool safety and the need for constant supervision.

Drains can be an issue. Because of the danger of kids being trapped underwater by the pool drain suction, federal legislation was enacted to help ensure all public pools and spas have safety-compliant drain covers and anti-entrapment systems. Make sure your pool is safe in this way.

To keep safe, kids should tie back long hair, remove jewelry, make sure their arms, legs and heads stay clear of the drains and not sit on drains. This goes for public as well as private pools and hot tubs.



Home Water Safety
Caution with Inflatable Pools
Keep the Phone Handy
Remove Toys from Pools
Keep Chairs/Table Clear of Pool
Locate the Circuit Breaker
Missing Child? Check the pool first!

Keep in mind that you don’t have to have an in ground pool to practice pool safety. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water. So think about inflatable and baby pools. Either fence or drain them when you are not using them.

With any size pool or hot tub, keep a phone nearby so you don’t leave your child unsupervised while running inside to answer it and so it’s right there for emergencies.

What if you are lucky enough to have a pool at home? Make sure toys are out of the pool after playtime to lessen the chance of a child falling in while reaching for a toy.

Keep chairs and tables away from the pool fence so that kids can’t climb the fence to get in to the pool.

If you do have a pool or hot tub, clearly label the circuit breaker in case it needs to be turned off in an emergency.

And if your child is missing, always check the pool first.


And remember, these tips apply to any pool from community pools to hot tubs in the backyard. Even if you don’t own a pool, your child may play with kids who do or their camp or daycare may take them to the pool. Be sure to teach them about the dangers of pool drains and pool safety.

Happy Parenting, Brenda



Good links

Water Parks and Spray Parks
http://www.washingtonfamily.com/page/Water-Parks-or-Water-Play

Build a WaterPark at Home
http://www.washingtonfamily.com/page/Homemade-free-water-fun-Make-a-slip-n-slide_

Cool Ice Rinks
http://www.washingtonfamily.com/page/Ice-Skating-Rinks

Monday, July 19, 2010

Best Playgrounds and Playground Safety

Now is the time of year when we are all taking advantage of the wonderful recreational facilities that we have in the Washington Region including some great parks & playgrounds for kids. July is also the month that FAMILY Magazine’s BEST for FAMILIES list comes out with over 50 playgrounds that moms think are great in our area.

However, according to the National Program for Playground Safety, each year over 205,000 preschool and elementary children receive emergency room care for injuries that occur in parks and playgrounds.

So, where are these great playgrounds and how can parents avoid injuries for their children?

Today on the Moms Like Me.com segment, Peggy Fox and I discussed good playgrounds and how to make sure they are safe.

This year there were over 6,000 Best for Families nominees in 93 categories with the voting for the best playground very tight. The number one playground was Clemyjonri Park in McLean. You can find the complete list of all the Best for Families nominees on our web site along with a list of playgrounds with pictures. Here are the links.

http://www.washingtonfamily.com/page/Favorite-Area-Parks-Playgrounds

http://www.washingtonfamily.com/page/Best-for-Families_


WHEN WE VISIT A PARK – HOW DO WE KNOW IT IS SAFE? What is the most important factor?

Safety Factors are:
Surface Material
Design & Spacing
Equipment Maintenance

The most important factor in playground safety is the surface. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the vast majority of injuries reported from playgrounds were from falls.

And, according to the National Program for Playground Safety 15% of injuries could be classified as severe and 49% of those severe injuries were to the head and face.

A proper playground surface is one the most important factors to help reduce these injuries.

Appropriate surface materials include:

-Pea Gravel
-Sand
-Shredded or recycled rubber mulch
-Wood mulch (not CCA-treated – Chromated Copper Arsenate)
-Wood chips
-Materals tested to guidelines (ASTM F1292)
(Manufactured materials tested for cushioning such as rubber pads and engineered wood fibers)


So go ahead and take the kids out to the great parks and playgrounds in our area but be on the lookout for what the surface material is made of. You want it to be a safe experience as well as fun.



Here is a list of the playgrounds that were nominated as the best in our area by our readers. Do you have a favorite park or playground that we don’t have on our list? Send it along!



Washington, DC

Columbia Heights Community Center
1480 Girard Street, NW
Washington, DC
(202) 671-0373
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=652
Featuring an Arts and Crafts Room, a Computer Lab, a Conference Room, a Dance Room, a Game Room, an Indoor Gymnasium (w/stage), two Multi-purpose Room, a Music Studio, an Outdoor Basketball Court, a Playground, a Spray Park and a Weight Room.

East Potomac Park
Hains Pt & Ohio Dr S
(202) 554-7660
East Potomac Park is a 300+ acre peninsula located between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River. Hains Point, at the southern end of the park, is a popular picnic spot with a great view of the city and features a mini-golf course, a playground, a public outdoor pool, tennis courts, picnic facilities, and a recreation center. New equipment is set on rubber mat surfacing which accommodates strollers and wheelchairs. This beautiful park has plenty of shade, bathrooms, picnic benches and lots of areas for kids to run around.

Friendship "Turtle" Park
4500 Van Ness Street, NW
(202) 282-2198
This is one of the best playgrounds in DC, with plenty of slides, swings, tunnels, and climbing structures. There is a fenced area with plenty of shade, benches and picnic tables. Other amenities include a sand box with turtles, basketball and tennis courts, softball/soccer fields and a recreation center.

Guy Mason Recreation Center
3600 Calvert St NW, [at Observatory Cir NW]
Washington, DC 20007
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=51
Parking: parking lot in park. Amenities include a Baseball Field for Little League and Softball, a Hockey/Basketball Court, Large Multi-Purpose Room, a Picnic Area, a Playground & a Small Multi-Purpose Room.

Hardy Recreation Center
4500 Q St., NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 282-2190
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=20
Amenities include a 100'x40' Soccer Field, a Basketball Court, Medium Multi-Purpose Room, Picnic Area, two Playgrounds and two Tennis Courts.

Hearst Recreation Center
3600 Tilden St., NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 282-2207
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=52
Featuring a Basketball Court, Medium Multi-Purpose Room, a Picnic Area, a Playground, a Small Multi-Purpose Field, a Soccer Field, & three Tennis Courts.

Kalorama Park
19th Street & Kalorama Rd. NW.
Kalorama Park is a large playground in the heart of Adams Morgan next to Kalorama Recreation Center. The playgrounds are divided into big-kid and little-kid fenced play areas.

Lafayette Recreation Center
5900 33rd St., NW
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 282-2206
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=53
Features two Athletic Fields with 60' Diamond, a Basketball Court, a Picnic Area, two modern playgrounds (one for younger kids and one for older), a Small Multi-Purpose Room & four tennis courts.

Macomb Recreation Center
3409 Macomb St., NW
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 282-2199
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=54
Amenities include a Baseball Field with 60' Diamond, a Basketball Court, a Picnic Area, two Playgrounds & a Small Multi-Purpose Room.

Marie Reed Recreation Center
2200 Champlain St., NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 673-7768
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=13
Featuring an indoor Swimming Pool, a lighted Basketball Court & four lighted Tennis Courts.

Stoddert Recreation Center
4001 Calvert St., NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 282-2193
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=56
Amenities include an Athletic Field with 60' Diamond, a Playground and a
Small Multi-Purpose Room.

Volta Park Recreation Center (formerly Georgetown)
1555 34th St., NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 282-0380
http://app.dpr.dc.gov/DPR/information/rec_center/rec_center.asp?id=15
Features include a Baseball Field with 60' Diamond, a Basketball Court, a Playground, a Small Multi-Purpose Room, a Swimming Pool & two Tennis Courts.


Maryland

Cabin John Regional Park
7400 Tuckerman Lane
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 299-0024
http://www.mc-mncppc.org/Parks/facilities/regional_parks/cabinjohn/index.shtm
Huge park with lots of climbing structures, slides, mazes, play houses, swings, Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, airplane, and cars. Other features include miniature train, snack bar, rest rooms, hiking trails, picnic areas, indoor/outdoor tennis courts, ice skating rink, Locust Grove Nature Center, the Cabin John Amphitheatre and lighted athletic fields. Plenty of shade. During the summer months, evening concerts are offered to the public free of charge.

Candy Cane Park
Beach Drive & Rollingwood Dr.
Chevy Chase, MD
Huge park that has recently been renovated. There are separate big kid and little kid play areas, tennis courts, basketball courts, playing fields, bathrooms, pavilions and shade. The park is located next to Meadowbrook Stables so kids can walk around and look at the horses.

Hadley's Playground at Falls Road Local Park
Falls Road, Potomac, MD
Themed play areas include a castle, fort, pirate ship, and two-lane road, all of which include ramps and other features to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Plenty of open space for kids to run, play ball or ride bikes. Limited shade.

Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Park
1120 Jackson Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20904
301-622-1193
http://www.mcparkandplanning.org/Parks/park_of_the_day/oct/parkday_oct24.shtm
This 95-acre park includes an outdoor and indoor swimming pool operated by the Montgomery Recreation Department, and tennis courts, ball fields, a playground, and small lake. Also includes an outdoor pool and swim center.

Seneca Creek State Park
11950 Clopper Road
Gaithersburg, MD
(301) 924-2127
Beautiful park with a huge playground made with recycled tires. Kids love the zip line, ‘Bouncy Spider Hammock,' and the ‘Dragon' Lots of climbing equipment. Park has a lake, boating, fishing, hiking tails, a disc golf course, pavilions, bathrooms and lots of shade.

South Germantown Recreational Park
18041 Central Park Circle
Boyds, Maryland 20841
17920 Germantown Park Drive
Germantown, MD 20841 (adventure playground)
301-601-4410
http://www.mcparkandplanning.org/parks/facilities/south_germantown/index.shtm
Facilities at South Germantown Recreational Park include hiking trails, picnic facilities, an indoor sports complex, 22 soccer fields with a lighted stadium, baseball and softball fields, a playground, archery range, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, a splash playground, model boating lake, a tot lot, and an indoor aquatic center. Splash Playground - Kids can cool off playing in a massive waterfall, tumbling buckets, a rain tree, water tunnel, 36' water maze with 280 ground-level jets. Lockers, cubbies, showers, dressing rooms, restrooms and a vending are nearby. (301) 601-3580. Adventure Playground - This modern playground includes unique equipment including a medieval castle, pirate ship, world map, mazes, xylophones, and sea serpents.

Watkins Regional Park
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD
(301) 218-6700
Park with playgrounds, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails, Watkins Nature Center, the Chesapeake Carousel, Old Maryland Farm, the Watkins Regional Park miniature train, Watkins Miniature Golf Course, softball, football and soccer fields, basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and 34 campsites.

Wheaton Regional Park
Wheaton, MD 20902
301-680-3803
Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational and educational opportunities within its 536 acres. Take a ride on the train, go horseback riding, have a picnic, go fishing, ice skate or play ball. Relax and tour the botanical gardens and conservatory, attend a nature program, or traverse the trails and discover the park's beauty. Shorefield Area features Picnic Shelters (A-H) and playground, Miniature Train and Historic Carousel, Pine Lake & Trails. Glenallan Area contains Brookside Gardens, Brookside Nature Center and Horse Stables. Orebaugh Area has F. Frank Rubini Athletic Complex, Tennis and Court Facilities, Ice Arena and In-Line Skating Facilities & a Dog Park.

Virginia

Fairfax County Park Authority
www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks
Phone: 703-324-8702
Fax: 703-324-3991
12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118
Park sites throughout Fairfax County
RECenters w/indoor pools and fitness facilities, classes (swimming, exercise, arts, dance, tots, etc.), camps, nature and history programs, day trips, programs for people with disabilities, concerts, leagues, golf courses, ice rink, working farm.

Algonkian Park
20280 Cascades Parkway
Sterling, VA
(703) 444-1459
One of the biggest playgrounds in the area with swings, tunnels, bouncing bridges, slides, and ladders. New equipment, plenty of shade, and lots of picnic tables and benches.

Ashburn Dinosaur Park
43546 Partlow Road
Ashburn, VA
A 16-acre park with three separate playgrounds for different ages. Plenty of shade. There is a picnic pavilion which is a good place for a birthday party, and walking trails leading to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Bull Run Regional Park
7700 Bull Run Dr.
Centreville, VA 20121
703-631-0550
www.nvrpa.org/parks/bullrun/index.php
Bull Run's spacious fields accommodate groups for picnics, camping or special events. Bull Run's scenic woodland and trails offer miles of hiking and solitude. A large outdoor pool is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Disc golf is open April through October. A public shooting center, which includes sporting clays, skeet, trap, wobble trap and indoor archery, is open year-round. The children's playground is open year round and is conveniently located near restrooms. This summer marks the opening of Atlantis Waterpark. The new features include a 25-foot high play structure with a 1,100-gallon dumping bucket, water slides, waterfalls and squirters.

Burke Lake Park
7315 Ox Road,
Fairfax Station, VA
703-323-6600
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burkelake/
218-acre lake with fishing, boating, rowboat rental, camping, a miniature train, a carousel, outdoor volleyball courts, open fields, an 18-hole par 3 golf course, clubhouse with snack bar and driving range, disk golf, horse shoe pits, an ice cream parlor, picnic areas with grills, 3 playgrounds, trails, amphitheater, and a brand new miniature golf course. Swimming and windsurfing are prohibited.

Chestnut Hills Park
N. Harrison St. & 27th St. N.
Arlington, VA 22207
http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/ParksRecreation/scripts/parks/ChestnutHillsPark.aspx
Features include portable Toilets, Water Fountains, School-Age Playground (combination school-age and pre-school) and a Community Garden. Fenced in. It is located adjacent to Greenbrier Stadium and Running Track.

Clemyjontri Park
6317 Georgetown Pike
McLean, Virginia 22101
703-388-2807
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/PARKS/CLEMYJONTRI/
Features a unique playground where children of all abilities can play side-by-side. It is a playground where every child is welcome. Children who use wheelchairs, walkers or braces, or who have sensory or developmental disabilities, can have a parallel playground experience. At Clemyjontri ramps connect structures, swings have high backs, arm rests and special safety features, rubber surfacing allows wheelchairs to roll easily, lowered monkey bars provide easy access, equipment is designed to be sensory rich so all children can participate with peers, & wider openings allows easy access to play structures. Other features include a carousel and a picnic pavilion. The entrance road leads to an 81-space parking area and a drop-off zone for vehicles whose passengers need close access. Future development will include other amenities in the surrounding 10 acres of space.

Costello Park
99 Adams Street
Manassas Park, Virginia 20111
is a 25 acre park featuring a recreation center, a community pool, a playground, five baseball fields, three softball fields, two tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, several picnic areas with grills and a covered pavilion. Costello Park is open year round from 7:30 a.m. until dusk. Also in Costello Park is the Stone House. The Stone House serves the community as additional meeting space for the various City ‘non-profits'. The Recreation Center is open to Manassas Park residents upon completion of the Recreation Center Application.

Fantasy Playground
(outside Tall Oaks)
12298 Cotton Mill Drive
Lake Ridge, VA 22192
A large, wooden play area is located on Cotton Mill Rd. Other amenities for children include18 Tot Lots and 12 Basketball Courts.

Great Falls Grange Playground
9818 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA
(703)938-8835
Newly renovated playground with rock climbing walls, tire swings, merry-go-round, and a cave with dinosaur fossils. Plenty of shade, benches, pavilions and picnic tables.

Great Falls Park
9200 Old Dominion Dr.
McLean, VA 22102
Visitor Information
(703) 285-2965
http://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm
There are many opportunities for outdoor recreation at Great Falls Park including Falls and River Viewing, Bicycling, Bird Watching, Boating, Climbing, Fishing, Hiking, Horseback Riding & Picnicking. Great Falls Park has fifteen miles of hiking trails, five of which are multi-use for horseback riding, hiking, and biking. Trail maps are available at both the entrance station and the Visitor Center.

Hayes Park
1516 N. Lincoln St.
Arlington, VA 22201
http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/ParksRecreation/scripts/parks/HayesPark.aspx
Features include: restrooms, water fountains, Picnic Shelter, Picnic Table, School-Age Playground (combination school-age and pre-school, enclosed), Tennis Court (2 courts with lights), Basketball Court (1 court with lights), Spray Park (accessible, Summer only). The Spray Park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10:00am to 8:00pm. Please note that hours of operation for the Spray Park may vary on holidays.

Lacey Woods Park
1200 North George Mason Drive
Arlington, VA 22205
http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/ParksRecreation
Park Hours: Sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset except on lighted facilities.
Features a Multi-use field, School-Age Playground (combination school-age and pre-school), accessible restrooms, lighted Basketball Court, water fountains and picnic shelter found at comfort station, rental picnic shelter is in woods, includes use of open green space area, picnic tables, charcoal grills, nature trails & Ornamental Garden. Some special features are a fenced park with wooded area, open green space, and fire ring.

Lake Accotink Park
7500 Accotink Park Rd.
Springfield, VA - 22150
703-569-0285
http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/accotink/facilities.htm
Its 493 acres include a 55-acre lake with boating, fishing, hiking, miniature golf, a carousel, snack bar, tour boat rides, trails, picnic areas and playgrounds. Boats powered by electric motors, sailboats under 15 feet and kayaks are allowed on the lake. Pay $2 launch fee at marina. Swimming and windsurfing are prohibited.

Ratcliffe Park
10300 Sager Ave
Fairfax, VA 22030
Features basketball courts, a Little League field, small multipurpose field & playground equipment

Signal Hill Park
9300 Signal View Dr
Manassas, VA 22110
(703) 335-8874
http://www.cityofmanassaspark.us/public_documents/manassasparkva_parksrec/signal
A 110 acre site with a Water Park, four multi-purpose fields, an ASA regulation softball field, 100 sq. foot playground, one mile of asphalt trail, large pavilion with restrooms, a pond area, and several picnic areas with grills. Signal Hill Park is open year round from 7:30 a.m. until dusk, and is located off Signal View Drive near Manassas Drive.

Van Dyke Park
3720 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA
Features a lighted basketball court, exercise trail, multipurpose play areas, picnic shelters, playground equipment, lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball court and a future location of city community center

Woodmont Park
2422 N. Fillmore Street, Arlington, VA
(703) 228-6525
Woodmont Park has new play equipment and nearby facilities for a wide range of ages. Play area includes play houses, rocking whale, slides, a rope bridge and monkey bars. Other facilities include benches, pavilion, basketball court, and a baseball field.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What’s Fresh at the Farmer’s Market?

July and August are two of the most bountiful months for fresh fruits and vegetables. Now is the time stop at one of the many produce stands and pick up some of this bounty. Here’s what’s in season:
Veggies
• Corn
• Cucumbers
• Eggplant
• Green beans
• Lettuce
• Summer squash
• Tomatoes
Fruits
• Apricots
• Blueberries
• Cantaloupe
• Kiwi
• Peaches
• Plums
• Raspberries
• Strawberries
• Watermelon

Keep a supply of reusable bags in the car so you will be ready when you see a stand. Try sampling varieties that are not on your usual menu. Be daring! Once you get home the fun begins.

Sorting Veggies
Touching and smelling the produce is a large part of the fun. Start by sorting the vegetables. Keep tomatoes in a bowl on the counter because they do not do well when refrigerated. Use the really ripe ones immediately. All the other veggies can go wrapped in plastic bags into the refrigerator (less esthetic but they keep longer); however, no one seems to agree on eggplant. Some say to refrigerate others not. I would leave the eggplant out and use it within a day or two. If after two days and the eggplant has not been used, then refrigerate. I like leaving as many vegetables out as possible because not only are the lovely but they are also easy to grab for a snack. Plus seeing them is a reminder of what to cook for dinner.

Sorting Fruit
Cantaloupe, peaches, apricots, plums, and kiwi can also be left out if not ripe. Berries generally go right into the refrigerator as do watermelon. Watermelon is best served cold. If the watermelon is not quite ripe, leave out.

Easy Ways to Turn Produce into Meals (Always wash fresh produce before using.)
Grilling is one of the easiest ways to cook vegetables in the summer. This works best for eggplant, summer squash, and tomatoes. You can add in onions too. (If you cook onions on the grill, instead of in foil, leave on the skin.)

First rub veggies with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and /or your favorite herbs like fresh basil, thyme, fresh garlic, and a squirt of fresh orange or lemon and either wrap in foil or put straight on a grill. First rub the grill grates with olive or canola oil. Always remember to clean your grill before you cook. Rule of thumb: Make sure to burn off all the grease, etc. after each use and then take a wire brush to the grates before you use the grill again.

There is much debate about the best way to cook corn. Corn can be cooked right in its husks on the grill, husked and wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill, or husked and boiled for a short time. Corn can also be cut off the cob and added to salsas and salads.

Parchment paper is another quick delicious way to cook vegetables. You can take fish and add tomatoes, green beans, onions, lemon zest and seasoned salt, roll it up and put it in the oven. Zucchini pancakes, sautéed squash blossoms, and ratatouille are some quick ways to use this abundant vegetable.

Of course, fresh salad and salsa are tasty ways to use fruits and vegetables together. Watermelon salsa with corn, chili peppers, onion and mango make a great combination. Experiment with new dips like red pepper hummus, Babaganoush (made with eggplant), and homemade ranch dressing (made with yogurt) and serve with lightly steamed green beans, fresh cukes, and sliced tomatoes. Fresh or lightly steamed veggies make a nutritious accompaniment to any summer meal. Sliced fresh cucumber, thinly sliced onions, and red pepper flakes mixed with seasoned rice vinegar make a good side with grilled fish and store bought sushi.

With the berries you can make fruit tarts and berry coulis (sauce) for ice cream and sorbets. Berry coulis is also good to drizzle on grilled fish served with fresh lemon slices. Add berries to cereal or fresh yogurt and put them into fruit smoothies. You can also freeze berries and pop them straight into your mouth for a refreshing snack! The options are unlimited. Caramelize peaches and apricots and add a dab of crème fraise.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dealing with Homesickness at Camp or College

In the past, parents and doctors have thought homesickness was an unavoidable part of childhood. In fact, 95% of boys and girls report feeling homesick at summer camp. Mild homesickness may remit spontaneously after a few days, but severe homesickness typically worsens over time.

Summer camp is an expensive experience and highly rewarding. But homesickness can ruin your child¹s camp stay. It doesn't have to be that way at camp or when you send them off to college.

On Monday Brenda Hyde, Publisher of FAMILY Magazine, was on WUSA9 to share with parents more about this topic.

So how do parents prevent homesickness if it is universal?

There are ways parents can anticipate and lessen the distress that homesickness can cause among kids and teens at summer camps, hospitals, boarding schools and colleges so that homesickness will not get in the way of the important character-building lessons that these experiences bring.

PREVENTION

Talk About It

Talk to kids about the experience ahead of any separation, whether it's for camp, college or a hospital stay of even a few days. What you say beforehand matters and it is very important for the intensity of homesickness.

Homesickness Is Normal

One of the most important things for parents and doctors to recognize, and to say to kids before any separation, is that it's normal, not strange, to feel homesick. In fact, research has shown that 90 percent of children attending summer camp feel some levels of homesickness and that 20 percent face a serious level of distress that, if untreated, worsens over time and interferes with their ability to benefit from a camp experience.


Involve the Child

Involve children in the decision to spend time away from home, so that they have a sense of control.



Practice
Arrange for a practice time away from home. This would be extremely important for a child who might not have gone to summer camp and is heading off to college.

Learn About Camp
Work with the child to learn about the camp or school so they know what to
anticipate. Try to meet other campers.

Know if Your Child is Ready
Above all, know whether your child is really ready for a separation. If you are not sure, ask their doctor, but not while the child can hear the conversation.


DEALING WITH HOMESICKNESS

Take Action – Camper
Do something fun, such as play with friends, to forget about homesick feelings.

Do something (write a letter, look at a family picture) to feel closer to home.

Go see someone who can talk with you to help you feel better.

Think about the good side of things (activities, friends) to feel better.

Think that time away is actually pretty short to make time go by faster.

Try not to think about home and loved ones to forget about homesickness.

Think about loved ones to figure out what they would say to help.



Take Action - Parents

Parents ¬ write your child and suggest these action items.

No Telephone Calls or Texting

At summer camps, anecdotal evidence suggests that telephone calls, and to a lesser extent instant messaging, exacerbate homesickness during relatively short stays away from home. Such real-time correspondence also erodes the burgeoning independence that camps and trips are designed to nurture. Therefore, parents are strongly discouraged from insisting they talk with their homesick child during a short stay away. Chances are great that such contact will only increase the distress for both parties. Old-fashioned
letters may be the best way to maintain contact with home. They lack the emotionally quality of a telephone call, and they require narrative reflection, which promotes understanding of one¹s experience. Keeping a journal also helps.



Make NO DEALS

Under no circumstances of planned, recreational separations from home should parents ever make a "pick-up deal" with their son or daughter.48 Promising that "if you don¹t like it, I¹ll come pick you up" reduces the child’s likelihood of success for several reasons. First, the subtext of such deals is "I have so little confidence in your ability to cope with this normal response to separation that I believe the only solution is for me to rescue you." Such expressions of anxiety and doubt contradict the recommended expressions of optimism and confidence outlined above. Second, such deals plant the seeds of homesickness by giving young people the expectation that they will not like the new place. Negative separation attitudes are powerful predictors of homesickness. Third, such deals prevent the development of effective coping by pointing young people toward an escape route. Fourth, such deals paralyze surrogate caregivers who, after enthusiastic support and coaching, may be faced with a child who says, "My parents said that if I didn’t like it here, they would come to get me." Parents are then faced with 2 equally unsatisfactory choices: (1) fulfill their promise, pick the child up, and deprive him or her of a wonderful opportunity to grow and develop; or (2) renege on their promise and suffer an erosion of trust in their relationship with the child.

All in all, summer camp and other separations from home can be great "life training" experiences for children, building their independence and teaching self-reliance and social skills that they'll use throughout life.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Preparing for First Overnight Camp

Sending a child to their first overnight camp is a big step. It is a seperation process—not just something that happens one gorgeous sunny summer day. While much energy will be focused on your camper and this great growth experience, it is important to also remember that you must prepare for the separation as well.

Today Brenda Hyde, Publisher of FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing ideas on how to prepare for that first overnight camp experience.

Here are some tips on making this a positive experience:

----TIPS FOR CAMPERS

Prepare In Advance – try out sleeping at Grandma’s house
If your child has never slept away from home, try sending him or her to stay with a grandparent or friend for a night or two. Following this “overnight,” reward your child for his efforts and relate the experience to the upcoming summer.

Learn Daily Living Skills in Advance
Daily living skills are an important element of any quality overnight camp program. An 8-year-old child should be able to brush her teeth and hair, and make her own bed - maybe not perfectly, but good enough for camp.

Develop Bedtime Routines
Bedtime routines are important to a good night’s sleep and can be adapted for camp. If your child sings a song at bedtime with a parent or sibling, help them sing it alone or with a stuffed animal. This will help them adjust to a night at camp without you. These routines are important to children as they provide a level of stability that can be comforting when away from home.

----TIPS FOR PARENTS

Prepare for Departure Day
Keep positive and don’t show any of your own anxiety to your child. Be overwhelmingly positive. Remember to tell your child that it was one of the most glorious times of your life and how much fun you had at camp. Provide your child with a sense of encouragement and stability needed – not a horror story of spider, ghosts and crying yourself to sleep!

Don’t Brag About Your Newfound Freedom
For parents with children out of the house, this newfound independence can be intoxicating for some and depressing for others. Don’t paint a picture of heaven with your child at camp or talk about all the exciting plans you have while they are away. If you plan on taking a vacation, be cognizant of the effect on your child.

Write to Your Camper
Be careful what you write. Letters from parents that reinforce how miserable they are without their child can be difficult for a child to deal with. While it is important that they know you love them – hearing how miserable you are (or are not!) without them can be a tough message to receive. And finally, encourage siblings and grandparents to write as well—children love receiving mail at camp!

So – the bottom line is to recognize there is a process to the summer separation. Going off to an overnight camp can be a remarkable growing experience. If you prepare your son or daughter to the best of your abilities, you can relax and take comfort in having made a good decision even better.




TIPS FOR CAMPERS

Prepare In Advance – try out sleeping at Grandma’s house
Learn Daily Living Skills in Advance
Develop Bedtime Routines
TIPS FOR PARENTS

Prepare for Departure Day
Don’t Brag About Your Newfound Freedom
Write to Your Camper

Preparing for First Overnight Camp

Sending a child to their first overnight camp is a big step. It is a seperation process—not just something that happens one gorgeous sunny summer day. While much energy will be focused on your camper and this great growth experience, it is important to also remember that you must prepare for the separation as well.

Today Brenda Hyde, Publisher of FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing ideas on how to prepare for that first overnight camp experience.

Here are some tips on making this a positive experience:

----TIPS FOR CAMPERS

Prepare In Advance – try out sleeping at Grandma’s house
If your child has never slept away from home, try sending him or her to stay with a grandparent or friend for a night or two. Following this “overnight,” reward your child for his efforts and relate the experience to the upcoming summer.

Learn Daily Living Skills in Advance
Daily living skills are an important element of any quality overnight camp program. An 8-year-old child should be able to brush her teeth and hair, and make her own bed - maybe not perfectly, but good enough for camp.

Develop Bedtime Routines
Bedtime routines are important to a good night’s sleep and can be adapted for camp. If your child sings a song at bedtime with a parent or sibling, help them sing it alone or with a stuffed animal. This will help them adjust to a night at camp without you. These routines are important to children as they provide a level of stability that can be comforting when away from home.

----TIPS FOR PARENTS

Prepare for Departure Day
Keep positive and don’t show any of your own anxiety to your child. Be overwhelmingly positive. Remember to tell your child that it was one of the most glorious times of your life and how much fun you had at camp. Provide your child with a sense of encouragement and stability needed – not a horror story of spider, ghosts and crying yourself to sleep!

Don’t Brag About Your Newfound Freedom
For parents with children out of the house, this newfound independence can be intoxicating for some and depressing for others. Don’t paint a picture of heaven with your child at camp or talk about all the exciting plans you have while they are away. If you plan on taking a vacation, be cognizant of the effect on your child.

Write to Your Camper
Be careful what you write. Letters from parents that reinforce how miserable they are without their child can be difficult for a child to deal with. While it is important that they know you love them – hearing how miserable you are (or are not!) without them can be a tough message to receive. And finally, encourage siblings and grandparents to write as well—children love receiving mail at camp!

So – the bottom line is to recognize there is a process to the summer separation. Going off to an overnight camp can be a remarkable growing experience. If you prepare your son or daughter to the best of your abilities, you can relax and take comfort in having made a good decision even better.




TIPS FOR CAMPERS

Prepare In Advance – try out sleeping at Grandma’s house
Learn Daily Living Skills in Advance
Develop Bedtime Routines
TIPS FOR PARENTS

Prepare for Departure Day
Don’t Brag About Your Newfound Freedom
Write to Your Camper

Monday, June 14, 2010

10 Summer Fun Things to Do

Summer is here and it won’t be long before you are looking for something to do with the kids. It does not take long for boredom to set in. But don’t panic yet. Today Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing some tips on some unusual things to do with your kids in the Washington area.

1. Become a Junior Ranger
2. Introduce your Kids to Flashlight Tag
3. Pick Your Own Farms - Smile Purple
A mouthful of sun warmed blackberries yields a purple smile.
4. Kick up your Heels at Contra Dancing
www.contradancers.com.
5. Live a Little History with Reenactments
6. Start a Kid’s Book Club
7. Take Them Out to the Ballpark – A trip to the Minor League games
www.baysox.com
potomac.nationals.milb.com
www.frederickkeys.com
8. Centuries of Growth - National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
9. Watch the Women Play – Washington Freedom Soccer
10. Let Them be Bored


1. Become a Junior Ranger
With 19 locations in the metro area from Rock Creek Park, Wolf Trap and the Lincoln Memorial to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and Ford’s Theater (and dozens more across the US), Junior Ranger programs teach kids ages 6-14 about National Parks through activities, games and more. Visit www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.htm.

2. Introduce your Kids to Flashlight Tag
Remember the long summer evenings playing outside until darkness fell? Give your kids the gift of summer memories by teaching them some your childhood games. Check out www.gameskidsplay.net for a list of directions to many childhood favorites.

3. Pick Your Own Farms - Smile Purple
A mouthful of sun warmed blackberries yields a purple smile. Take the kids for a memorable day at a pick your own farm and let them enjoy truly fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out www.pickyourown.org to find a farm nearby.

4. Kick up your Heels at Contra Dancing
The Virginia Reel isn’t just something your kids learn in 4th grade gym class. Try Contra dancing for toe-tapping, hand-clapping family fun. With live music and plenty of good-natured instruction, you and your kids can have old fashioned fun spinning and sashaying through timeless dances. To find a Contra dance location near you visit www.contradancers.com.

5. Live a Little History with Reenactments
Feel history enfold you at living history reenactments. As an epicenter of our country’s history, the DC area hosts a myriad of historical reenactments including the anniversary commemoration at the Manassas Battlefield Park July 17-18 (www.nps.gov/mana) and the Civil War encampments at Rose Hill Manor Park (www.rosehillmuseum.com).

6. Start a Kid’s Book Club
Book Clubs aren’t just for the moms. Gather a small group of kids, choose a book and plan some fun activities to share the story. For example, read Little House in the Big Woods and make homemade butter the way Ma did in Chapter 2. Read Hatchet and try out some survival skills. Make bread like the Little Red Hen or at night, look for bats like Stellaluna.

7. Take Them Out to the Ballpark – A trip to the Minor League games
Minor League baseball is a more affordable treat for the entire family. You get the full ballpark feel (the crack of the bat, the hot dogs and popcorn, the 7th inning stretch) at a fraction of the cost. And who knows, maybe you’ll see the next “Hank Aaron” in waiting.
www.baysox.com
potomac.nationals.milb.com
www.frederickkeys.com

8. Centuries of Growth - National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
A tree older than George Washington? The National Arboretum is home to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum which features bonsai trees dating back more than 400 years. Many of these remarkable trees were being shaped and formed before our country began. www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/collections/bonsai.html

9. Watch the Women Play – Washington Freedom Soccer
This summer, Washington Freedom, DC’s women’s professional soccer team, takes the field at RFK and the Maryland SoccerPlex for the second season of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league. www.womensprosoccer.com/dc

10. Let Them be Bored
It’s ok to let your kids be bored once in awhile. Set out craft supplies, books, and puzzles and let them discover how to entertain themselves. They might just surprise you with their creativity

Monday, June 7, 2010

Looking for some great Family-Friendly entertainment?

June marks the end of the school year for many schools and that means many parents are looking for fun and interesting ways to keep their children entertained.

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for spring.

Adventure Theatre presents the United States premiere of The Red Balloon, based on the 1956 film and book "Le Ballon Rouge" by Albert Lamorisse and adapted for the stage by Anthony Clarke. Directed by Roberta Gasbarre, The Red Balloon marks the fourth production of Adventure Theatre's 58th season and runs through June 13, 2010. Adventure Theatre's The Red Balloon features Pasquale, a lonely French boy, who befriends an enchanted and sometimes mischievous red balloon. The charming pair draws inquisitive looks from adults and the envy of other school children as they wander the streets of Paris. Tickets can be purchased through the box office by calling 301-634-2270 or online at www.adventuretheatre.org. Tickets are $12 for children 12 and under and $15 for adults. Group rates are available. Children under the age of 1 are free. All performances will take place at Adventure Theatre, 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD, 20812 in the historic Glen Echo Park.

Get the family together to go back in time at this year’s Virginia Renaissance Festival. June 12 & 13 marks the last weekend for the festival. Each weekend had a special theme and this weekend celebrates Celtic Heritage. The festival runs from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania, VA. For more information visit their web site at www.varf.org.

Come out to Sky Meadows State Park June 26th-27th to sleep under the stars for the Great American Backyard Campout. Bring your tent and supplies and you can get help setting up your site. There will also be programs on hiking, backpacking and more at the Outdoor Skills Station sponsored by Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. Dinner will be provided by Bloom in Marshall. There will be an appearance by Smokey the Bear & music by the group campfire. Other activities include meeting some native wildlife, guided nature hikes and candlelight tours of the Historic Mount Bleak House. Advanced registration is $18.65 tax included and $30 plus tax at the gate. For more information visit www.backyardcampout.org or call 800-933-PARK.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Making home a learning community

Last week Obama administration officials took part in National Lab Day around Washington DC. National Lab Day brings hands-on, exciting, and experiment-based learning to kids all over the country, with a major focus on science, technology, engineering, and math—also known as STEM. However, considering today’s headlines that are wrought with systemic problems—such as uncontrollable oil spills, cancer, and economic crisis’s—I have to wonder if one day of hands-on learning in STEM subjects will improve the quality of education enough to address these substantial challenges this generation will face as adults. I think we can all agree it won’t.
The first thing moms can do is to broaden their definition of home from being just a place to eat, sleep and play. Home should be thought of as a learning community.
Families that are defined as learning communities have the following characteristic:
1. Develop conversations that larger than the family. For example, if you live a neatly manicured suburb, talk about what it might be like to live without a HOA association. Then, get involved in an organization that helps to revamp a park in a low-income area, such as KaBOOM!
2. Be committed to mastering skills. Mastery takes patience and time, so it is helpful to understand the three step learning process. The first step of teaching is to introduce the idea through modeling. The second step is let the child develop the skill through trial and error, and the final step is when the child can demonstrate with confidence the concept.
3. Set a schedule for learning, especially during the summer months. For instance, no electronics until 15 minutes of math is practiced and 15 minutes of reading is finished. The key is to be consistent.
4. Set up learning stations in the home. Learning stations can be as simple as a plastic tote filled with tools necessary to develop thinking in STEM areas.

The next generation will need a first-class workforce that is strong enough to tackle tough problems, and one way families can help is to be committed to nurturing an environment of learning in the home. For more information on how-to do this visit www.washingtonfamily.com

Monday, May 3, 2010

Are you looking for somewhere great to take the family?

Spring is here and with that comes restless kids. Are you looking for somewhere to take the family? Are you looking for something educational but yet still fun? Are you looking for something that you’ll be entertained at as well? Look no further!



Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for spring.



Running through October both Congressional Plaza and Rockville Town Square are hosting Mommy & Me And Daddies Too. The first event is at Congressional Plaza on Thursday, May 13 and then at Rockville Town Square on Tuesday, May 18. Both are from 10 am-Noon. Join them for fun, free programs for you and your little one including face painting, balloon animals, live entertainment, kids eat FREE and much more! Mommy & Me is brought to you by Federal Realty Investment Trust and the merchants and restaurants at Congressional Plaza and Rockville Town Square. For more information, visit congressionalplaza.com or rockvilletownsquare.com or call 301-998-8178.



Little Tots Summer Fun Series is a free interactive family entertainment series at various locations through Maryland and Virginia. The dates and locations are Downtown Silver Spring, MD on Wednesday, May 26, Virginia Gateway in Gainesville, VA on Wednesday, May 26, Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg, MD on Wednesdays, May 5 & 19, Fairfax Corner in Fairfax, VA on Wednesday, June 2. Entertainers will include Mad Science, Blue Sky Puppets, The Great Zucchiini, Katie 4 Kids, Kidsinger Jim, Animal Ambassadors & Peter McCory.



ViVa! Vienna! is hosted by The Rotary Club of Vienna, VA from Saturday, May 29-Monday, May 31 and located along Vienna’s Historic Church Street. This event, a time of family fun and pleasure, serves as a major fund raising opportunity for the Rotary Club so that it may, in turn, provide support for charitable, educational, and community groups the following year. The proceeds generated from ViVa! Vienna! are used to support local civic initiatives and contribute to local and international humanitarian activities. In 2010 The Rotary Club of Vienna will be able to donate $124,000 to these causes. In the past three years, over $300,000 was donated from proceeds generated by Viva! Vienna! Festival includes food, amusements, entertainment & vendors. Local Vendors will offer a great variety of foods including Pizza, Barbecue, Hot dogs and hamburgers, Italian sausage, Thai, Lebanese, and Chilean meals, Popcorn, kettle corn, and funnel cakes, Shaved ice treats and cotton candy, Candied apples, Soft and homemade ice cream. Free Shuttle bus service from James Madison High School and Vienna Metro Station on Saturday & Sunday till 10 p.m., Monday till 6 p.m. For more information visit www.vivaviennava.org or call 703-255-4742.



Happy Parenting,

Brenda

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sport Snacks – Make Them Healthy

Mom’s Like Me Segment with Judy Caplan, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Editor for Washington FAMILY Magazine
Sport Snacks – Make Them Healthy
Outdoor sports are getting ready for the end of the year tournaments. The weather is getting warmer and the humidity is rising. Before you run out to Costco to buy the standard fare, you might ask yourself, “Are snacks really necessary after a team practice or a game?”
Here are some tips to snack on:
1. Keep Kids Hydrated
Children always need to drink fluids when they are exercising, especially if the weather is warm. Plain water is always best for hydration. If you buy bottled water or have your own plastic water bottle, be sure to avoid BPA plastics and those labeled 3, 6, or 7. The numbers are on the bottom of the bottles.

2. When Are Sports Drinks Necessary?
Sport drinks are high in calories and sugar and are not necessary. That is not to say they should never be used, especially if your child is exceedingly active, sweats excessively, or has a diet low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The main function of sports drinks is to supply electrolytes. The main problem with sports drinks is the amount of calories. A 12 oz. bottle of Gatorade has 310 calories practically a meal’s worth. If you buy Gatorade, G-2 is a much better lower calorie version.

3. Consider the Calorie Expenditure
You need to consider the calorie expenditure during your child’s practice and games. If he or she is running long distances, doing intense short sprints, is a major sweater, and does not have a weight problem then sports drinks are probably fine even though not necessary. However, one bottle is usually enough to replenish lost electrolytes, and after that he or she should move on to water.

4. Nutrient Content of Packaged Snacks
Same considerations go for packaged, refined starchy snacks. It is not only the calories in the snacks that matter but the quality of the nutrition in the snack. 100 calorie packs will control calories but your child is still ingesting refined flour, refined sugar, Tran’s fats, and too much sodium.

5. Fruit, Veggies, Whole Grains, and Nuts
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts are loaded with minerals and electrolytes. Try to increase their intake of these magnesium and potassium rich foods during the week, not just on practice or game days.

WARNING: Know that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has just found that one in five teens now has elevated cholesterol levels. Exercise helps keep cholesterol low. Maybe teaching our kids not to eat junk during and after sports is as important as teaching them not to drink and drive. It may save their lives down the road.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adopting an Older Child

With all the news about the young child that was adopted and then returned to Russia, parents who have been thinking of adoption might be reconsidering.

Monday morning on WUSA9 News Now, Jolie Perara, the marketing manager for FAMILY Magazine talked about adopting an older child. She talked about how when the child is not an infant, it is very different than adopting an infant and is sometimes a challenge. It is similar to adopting a child with special needs or one that has emotional problems.

Here are some things to think about:

Bonding will take longer.
(Especially if the child looks different than you)
Child will take longer to adjust as well.
You will need more time to devote to the child.
You may have more doctor appointments and need counseling.
Your child may need tutoring and help with school adjustment.
Your routine is going to change dramatically.

If you adopt an older, special needs, or troubled child, many may come with bad habits and emotional baggage. Certainly the bonding time may take longer. It may also take longer if the child looks a lot different than you do or than what you expected. This applies to infants as well. It takes time to get used to these things. You might take one step forward and two steps backward some days. Don’t let the guilt set in. Loving any adopted child is sometimes a challenge. You can still provide for him and nurture him just the same while both of you adjust.

Whether you are considering an older, special needs, or troubled child, consider carefully if your schedule and lifestyle are flexible. Adopting a child who needs extra time, attention, and care will mean a change in your routine. You may have doctor appointments, therapy sessions, counseling sessions, and school conferences on a regular basis. Problems occur unexpectedly causing sudden changes in plans.

Whether you have a specific child in mind, or are waiting for a referral, here are some things to do in advance.
--Find out all you can about the child. What is known about the child? What information is missing?
--Line up your medical, counseling, and educational services. Most communities have preschool programs for children with special needs ages three and four or who are at high risk.
--Line up your own support team. Do you have family members or friends that you can call when you need a break or need help?
--Look for support groups. You may want to join an adoption support group or a support group for children with special needs. Your local social services office or pediatrician should be able to help you find what you need.
--Look for books about adoption at your local library. Find ones both for yourself and for your new child.

Older adopted children often experience a “honeymoon” stage after placement in an adoptive home. This is followed by a testing period, accompanied by feelings of grief and loss for whatever home or family they once had. They may experience periods of depression or rebellion. Often individual therapy is necessary to deal with issues of separation and loss and family therapy may be useful, also.

Although adopting an older child is difficult, adding to your family and enriching the life of your new child is rewarding. Whatever the age and background of your adopted child, love, patience and flexibility are the keys to success.

Happy Parenting,
Brenda

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Enviromential Education Week

This is National Enviromential Education Week. Going green not only helps the enviroment it also teaches children to understand that they are in charge of their actions. And when kids act responsibilly that has a positive impact in our families and communities.

One of the easiest ways to educate children on enviromential issues is by focusing on water conservation especailly since so much of American water sources are stressed.

This morning, Jolie Perara, Marketing Maganger for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly water conservation.

Water Conservation is simple and kid-friendly.

1. Turn the water off when you are brushing you teeth, saving 25 gallons a month.
2. Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap, then reuse the water to water houseplants.
3. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap to get cold water.
4. Limit the amount of bottled waters you consume because it takes 3 liters of water to produce I liter of bottled water.
5. If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.

Conservation teaches kids to understand that we have a responsibility to each other and that we all are in charge of our own actions.

How do you teach children about protecting our environment? Do you have “Green” activities around your home? Please share your families tips and ideas with us online.

Happy Parenting,
Brenda

Monday, April 5, 2010

Great Family Friendly Entertainment

Spring is approaching and with that comes Spring Breaks, warmer weather and restless kids. Are you looking for somewhere to take the family? Are you looking for something educational but yet still fun? Are you looking for something that you’ll be entertained at as well? Look no further!

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox discussing family-friendly events for spring.

Starting this April and running through October both Congressional Plaza and Rockville Town Square are hosting Mommy & Me And Daddies Too. The first event is at Congressional Plaza on Thursday, April 8 and then at Rockville Town Square on Tuesday, April 20. Both are from 10 am-Noon. Join them for fun, free programs for you and your little one including face painting, balloon animals, live entertainment, kids eat FREE and much more! Mommy & Me is brought to you by Federal Realty Investment Trust and the merchants and restaurants at Congressional Plaza and Rockville Town Square. For more information, visit congressionalplaza.com or rockvilletownsquare.com or call 301-998-8178.

Celebrate Spring at the Fairfax Corner Spring Festival! It’s being held Saturday, April 24 from 12 to 3 pm and promises to be a great day for the whole family. Bring the whole family for a day of fun with live entertainment, exciting interactive exhibitor booths, fabulous giveaways, face painters, balloon artists, FREE goodie bags for the first 250 families attending and a chance to win a $500 Fairfax Corner Shopping Spree! Live on the Grand Plaza Stage: at Noon is Mad Science: Up, Up, and Away!, at 1 pm is Reptiles Alive!, and at 2 pm is The Unicycle Lady Show. For more information visit www.FairfaxCorner.com.

Coming Saturday, May 1st to Bethesda Row is Celebrate Mama! It’s being held from 11 am-4 pm. This is a free event for mamas of all ages and stages. The event features giveaways, arts & crafts, raffle prizes and entertainment. Shop the Mama Marketplace for the perfect Mother’s Day present. For more information visit www.celebratemama.com.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring into Healthy Eating

Today on WUSA9’s MomsLikeMe Moment, FAMILY Magazine’s Nutrition Editor, Judy Caplan presented some great information on healthy eating and what is available right now from local farms. This is great information and ideas that will help us all SPRING into a healthy outdoor season. Here is what Judy has to say about opportunities for healthy eating this spring.
Lighten Up and Spring into Healthy Eating
Spring is a happy time of year; a time of renewal. With renewal comes energy. The sun is higher in the sky and the days are getting longer. Let’s harness this new power and use it to shake off the winter blues. Put away those heavy coats and ease up on the starchy, wintry foods. Now is a great time to lighten up and spring into healthy eating.
Try joining a local produce club. Farms usually have a local drop off point where you can pick up your weekly veggies. Some even carry hormone free dairy and poultry products and grass fed beef.
Cool weather veggies like turnips, parsnips, beets, radish, salsify, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards and arugula are now coming into season. These pungent tasting veggies are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants that prevent disease.
Where Can I Find Local Farm Produce?
Here are some local farms that deliver fresh produce and flowers:
• Great Country Farms - 540-554-2073
• Potomac Vegetable Farms - 703-759-2119
• Blue Run Mountain Vegetable Farm – 703-754-4005
• Graceland Farm – 540-439-8171
• Mount Vernon Farm - 540-987-9559
• Virginia Green Grocer – 540-347-4740
• Blue Ridge Center CSA – 540-668-7640
Ready Your Kitchen for Spring
As the days get longer, we often start to crave lighter food. Perhaps we instinctually know that bright leafy greens are now in season. This is also a good time to clean the pantry and toss out food whose expiration dates have passed.

Throw Away Expired Foods
Throwaway foods that are seasonal (sprinkles, leftover frosting, half used bags of nuts) and won’t be fresh next year when you bake those holiday cookies.
Cooking oils go rancid over time so if the bottle of oil in the pantry has been opened and stored for almost six months, throw it out. Buy small bottles of oil (cold pressed) and keep them refrigerated to avoid rancidity. Oxidation (rancidity) causes free radicals, which are not good for the body.
Inspect Your Pots and Pans
Take a look at your pots and pans. If they are looking dull and stained, put on some good music and get scrubbing. Bar Keepers Friend is an amazing cleanser. You’ll be surprised how sexy sparkling pots and pans can be! If you notice flaking on your nonstick pans, throw them out. With all the press of late on the dangers of plastics, it is safer to use stainless steel pans with no coating.

Take inventory of your kitchen tools
• Are your knives sharp?
• Do you have a good grater and micro plane?
• Are there slotted stainless spoons for stir-frying?
• Is the cutting board big enough?
• What is the condition of your dishtowels?
• Are your small appliances working?
• Have you checked to see if your oven thermometer is accurate?
Clean Out the Fridge
Throwaway open bottles and jars that haven’t been used in ages. Clean the bins with hot soapy water. Change that burned out bulb so you can see what is in there. Defrost the freezer and again check dates on products. If foods are older than three months, toss them.

Reconnect with Your Cookbooks
Check out your cookbooks. If you haven’t bought a new one in years, you would be amazed at all the fabulous ones on the market. Put them in the bathroom (!) and by your bed. Looking at cookbooks will ignite your senses and get you ready for all the fresh produce that is about to come your way.

Judy – thanks for the great ideas. They certainly motivated me to get back into healthy cooking in the kitchen and clean out the refrigerator. Thanks!

Do you have some healthy eating tips you would like to share with other parents? Send them along and we will spread the word!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, March 22, 2010

Despite Budget Cuts, Moms Can Help Kids Succeed

In the face of budget shortfalls our school systems are either going to cut classroom time or increase the class size. Either way, our children are going to have less instruction. This leaves a huge void in our education system. Our children already spend far less time in the schoolhouse relative to Asian nations. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend about this very topic. In the end, this situation is a threat our children’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.

To make the issue even more complex, American children spend a shocking 7.5 hours per day “using entertainment media” according to The Kaiser Family Foundation. That means our children spend about 53 hours a week on the Internet, playing videogames, communicating on cell phones, or watching television. To put this in perspective, children spend 30 hours a week in school but 53 hours a week in the entertainment world.
So given the tension between less classroom time and a strong entertainment industry, there is only one solution and that is Moms like you and me are going to have to get busy, creative, and more involved in our children’s education.

Obviously we need to communicate with our representatives that education is important to us and that if our educational system breaks down the United States will suffer – we already have seen evidence this is happening.

Solution to Improve Education
Voice your concerns to your representatives
Become more involved in your child’s education
Define areas important to you or your child
Math & Science
Music
Performance Arts
Visual Arts
Find resources outside the classroom that can build these areas
May have to find a new school (private or public)

If the school where your children attend has cuts in place that you really can not accept, you may have to look outside your current school for the solution. Maybe you need to move to a different school system, or you may need to enroll your child in a private school. We all know how critical a good education is, you will just have to evaluate your own personal situation and what is best for your child. There are many parents who have placed their children in private schools and made other sacrifices to be able to afford the costs.

Of course, FAMILY Magazine is ready to help moms. We are dedicated to searching out the best and most creative ideas to help your children learn the skills they are going to need in the future.

The best way to stay in the loop is to keep visiting MomsLikeMe.com or the FAMILY Magazine site. And you can fan us on Facebook at FAMILY Magazine of Washington. Our online guru, Jolie Perara will have breaking news and ideas there every day. She also has some math games she is going to be sharing with our fans.

GOAL SETTING

One way moms like you and me can get more involved in our child’s education is to teach children how to set and achieve goals—a very important character trait.

The first step as a parent is to guide your children to make realistic goals—ones that they can successfully achieve. On the other hand, the goal must not be too easy. A challenging goal teaches our children to wrestle with a problem, instilling those core values like tenacity and hard work. So, the goal must be challenging yet achievable.

One word of caution, as moms we must gauge our child’s emotional level. If they are feeling low—an easy, short-term goal will boost their self-esteem.

Some simple guidelines to help our children set goals is to
1. Talk about what they want to achieve
2. Why that goal is important to them
3. Breakdown the task into manageable and achievable
pieces

Do you have some ideas that you think will help keep our kids competitive in the global economy? What are you doing in your household?

Share with us and we will share your ideas with our readers.

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, March 15, 2010

Kid Friendly Fun

There is lots going on in the Washington region right now. So what is out there for families, something the kids will really look forward to attending? This morning on WUSA9 News Now, Jolie Perara the Marketing Manager with FAMILY Magazines shared ideas for more kid and family fun.

Here is what Jolie had to say:
There is a great theatre performance taking place April 16 to the 18th at the Warner Theatre, Storybook LIve.

This is a story by Nickelodeon featuring Dora the Explorer.
But this is not ordinary theatre performance. This show gives kids an adventure where they can leap into Fairytale Land, journey through Fillthingham, hop into Wonderland and jump on the clouds.

Although this is not a typical show, here are a few etiquette tips for taking kids to the theatre.

1. Eat before the show.
2. Arrive on time.
3. Vist the restroom before the show.
4. Laugh when it it funny, applaud when spectacular and stand and applaud at the end if it is great.



Second event if you have time – Gesher Used Book Sale
March 18-21 except Saturday. Prices for books are 50 cents to $2.

Great way to explore new ideas.

Gesher Jewish Day School
4800 Mattie Moore Court
Fairfax, VA 22030


Do you have any suggestions on ideas for great area family fun? Please share them with me!

Happy Parenting, Brenda