I recently heard the quote (and his book with the same title) by Dr. Wayne Dyer, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” Didn’t he mean, “I’ll believe it when I see it??” Absolutely not! Dr. Dyer is a new name to me, though I don’t know why, looking at his work, the length of time he has been in the field and his remarkable contributions. I hope you will check him out yourself at his blog, http://www.drwaynedyer.com/blog/.
On this eve of the New Year, many of us are evaluating the past year and setting goals for the New Year.
Yet, how do we transform our good intentions into goals attained? Moreover, how do we impart this skill to our children? Believing is the Key. Once we believe it, we will see the path to it and the good intention will be turned into a reality.
Are you living based on your perceived limits?
“Sure, I want to have family movie nights, but the family just won’t cooperate.”
“I can never afford to shop for organic food.”
“I am just not strong enough to face that issue.”
“Alcoholism is in my genes.”
“My husband will never change.”
“Johnny has ADHD.”
“My daughter’s classmates are just bullies.”
Dr. Blaslotto, at the University of Chicago, conducted a study with basketball players. Look it over yourself
here, http://curtrosengren.typepad.com/occupationaladventure/2004/10/another_visuali.html but the short of it was, the players who simply laid down and visualized free throws preformed better than those who put in extra practice time and those who were told to essentially forget about basketball.
The “winners” were the ones who could SEE themself achieving the free throw!
If you want to be a winner, and you want your child to be a winner, you have to do what a winner does! You have to believe that you WILL do it! Johnny WILL pay attention and you WILL feed your family well and
you WILL face your fears.
Others WILL support you. If you are surrounded by limits and people who think by limits, find new people to surround yourself with. Seek the help of a coach, or a therapist, or a pastor, or a personal trainer.
YOU WILL DO IT THIS YEAR, and I want the success stories to flow in this very blog!
Cape Cod Mommies RULES!
Wishing you all a safe and happy new year!
Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts about family safety in the New Year.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
By: Gabrielle HathawayM.S., IBCLC
I recently went to NYC with two of my daughters. I grew up in Manhattan, but have raised my children on Cape Cod. I had forgotten the frenetic pace in the city, especially at Christmastime. We visited Times Square and throngs of people were shopping, sightseeing, and getting ready for New Year’s Eve. I saw a few babies, but they always seemed to be sleeping, perhaps trying to tune out the chaos; we weren’t so lucky.
I am reminded of the way that nursing forces you to slow down sit down (most of the time!) and focus on your baby. As tired as I was in those newborn days, I remember the gift of nursing my baby in the middle of the night when everything was quiet and still. I never got over the amazement in knowing that I created this little being.
So, in this last post of 2012, I urge you to hold your children close and enjoy this time. Your kids will eventually sleep through the night, eventually wean, and someday be able to entertain themselves. For now, savor the early years – you won’t believe how fast the time goes!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Oh friends, this was not the blog I imagined writing the week before Christmas. I was working on something festive and light, happy and magical. Then December 14th occurred and we witnessed an unimaginable tragedy unfold. Since then I am having trouble holding it together, spontaneously crying when I look at my babies and needing to hold them close. I try to hide these “big emotions” from my little ones who aren’t aware of what’s occurred in the world, but I’m sure they can sense the underlying sadness I’m feeling.
(Pic by my lovely friend, Lee Sutton)
Cape Cod Mommies contributor, Tracy Lamperti, had a wonderful post a few days ago about the response our children may be feeling and how we can help them. She used the words “vicarious trauma” and it was so helpful for me to read this term, because this is exactly what I’m feeling and what I hear so many of my friends are feeling as well. We keep telling ourselves, “this is not our pain” and yet we feel it tremendously. We are traumatized – by the unimaginable hurt these families are experiencing and a new sense of danger in our daily lives. Any parent understands that once you have a child, the most vulnerable, precious piece of yourself is running around in the world and, in the end, your ability to protect that treasure is limited. This tragedy was a very, clear reminder of our loved ones’ vulnerability and our powerlessness in certain situations.
But here’s the thing, my children don’t know about their fragility, they only know their strength. They feel the power in their bodies
as they jump and run and twirl. They feel the unending love streaming from their family and they have no idea of the fears their parents harbor as they watch their babies leap over boundary after boundary. This is what I’m focusing on right now, as I work to push past the vicarious trauma we’ve all experienced from this horrific act. Provide my babies with that safe harbor I spoke about in my last post, a place that’s calm, loving, and supports their exploration. I am working to let go of my increasing anxiety about the world so I’m not passing that fear onto these growing girls.
And here’s the other thing, it’s still Christmas. A magical, beautiful, loving time of year. I don’t want to lose that magic. Nobody wants to lose the magic. So we are seeing people bring light and love to one of the darkest holiday seasons many of us have ever witnessed. So many are making efforts to help, to comfort, to provide, to love the people in Connecticut. Right now people all over the country are making paper snowflakes and decorations to send to the Sandy Hook School’s new location, so that those traumatized children will have magic return to their lives. On Friday, the Yarmouth Police Department is going to Newtown to bring decorations, home baked goods, and items of comfort to the children, families, and first responders to assist in their healing. We are seeing the best in people during the worst of times. This, mamas, is bringing magic back for me.
I know there will be a time when Christmas music doesn’t make me cry, and when the magic of this season will occur naturally, and I will be able to write blog posts about the wonder I feel watching my children decorate cookies and make Christmas crafts. Right now, I’m going to hug my babies. I’m going to let their imaginations run wild with the idea of Santa, the North Pole, and Rudolph. I’m going to have dance parties after dinner to the tunes of Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas. And I’m going to make snowflakes, lots and lots of snowflakes. My Christmas wish is for all of us to have a peaceful, calm, loving holiday season.
A couple of ways to help Newtown:
The Polar Express has always been my absolute favorite Christmas book. When I was younger, my siblings and I would snuggle up to our father as he would read us the story year after year. Now everyone has a different take on the book (even the movie version). But for me personally, the meaning of the story is about FAITH. It's about having faith in something even if others do not believe, no matter what it is.
We recently had the amazing opportunity to ride on the Polar Express with a group of friends all the way from Cape Cod to the North Pole! Our experience was filled with music, laughter and many new memories.
On the Cape Cod Central Railway there are two different points to leave from: Buzzards Bay and Hyannis.
We opted for the latter and for the 6pm train on a weeknight. I was not as familiar with the Hyannis station so I did have a small difficulty in finding the parking lot. Once there I picked up the tickets at will call where there was a very small hiccup, which Christina fixed for us right away! Thank you Christina and staff!
We were given our tickets and sent on our way to board. We ran into gasp… a Hobo outside the station looking for tickets. I grew up on the story without the Hobo, but I have seen the movie so we were ready for
him! We boarded the train and found our seats. The table car is setup with tables and 4 chairs per table. We were seated in the front of the train car with other kids. The middle of the car was empty and then at the other end was approximately another 4 tables of adults and kids.
The chefs came around and passed out coloring books with crayons for the kids which I believe were only a few dollars. Then the conductor came around checking everyone’s tickets. All the children are given golden Polar Express tickets as a souvenir. It's a nice touch that the conductor tries to write the names of the children on the tickets.
The Hobo, who must have snuck on the train, came into our train car. He was great for entertainment, especially the parents. He teased the kids about taking their tickets and showed us the silverware he had pilfered from the train. Some kids were a little afraid but tightly gripped their tickets. He wandered the train the whole ride and Santa allowed him to stay on at the end despite the conductor's misgivings..
The chefs then got the Polar Express books and the story was read aloud over the loud speakers. It was difficult to hear the story and the kids in our section were mostly 3 and under so they weren’t really paying attention. They were more focused with being on a train and their snacks! Perhaps children this age would have gotten more out of the experience if we had seen the movie instead of just reading the book. Or perhaps even a video version of Santa reading the story?
As we approached the North Pole, the chefs had us on the lookout for the North Pole and we pulled into a lit up village. The North Pole, although well-lit with Christmas lights, might have used a tad more fanfare for such an epic destination. Santa was flanked outside the train by two excited elves. We stopped for a bit and Santa boarded the train. The chefs said goodbye and magically elves reappeared on our train!
The Santa experience was great. It was nice to spend so much time with St. Nick himself, especially the one-on-one opportunity, and not feel rushed. He spent a lot of time talking to the kids, taking pictures and passing out a gift for them. Every child received a silver bell with a red ribbon. The children adored the well-made bell. It is a great addition to hang on the Christmas tree or bring out year after year. Santa was definitely the highlight of the trip. The kids will probably never spend so much time with such an official-looking Santa again in their young lives. At the mall, etc. it's a 30-second deal. Here, you could relax and converse at length with Santa and little ones could get a few minutes to warm up to him, if needed.
The experience was definitely memorable and the kids still talk about the Polar Express, Santa and Hobo stealing their tickets to anyone who will listen. I am so grateful we were given an opportunity to attend this event and see the magic and innocence in the kid’s eyes. I hope that magic never goes away and I hope they always believe.
Thank you to our friends and family who joined us for this unforgettable journey! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our readers and bloggers! I hope you enjoy each and every moment with your loved ones and keep the "magic" and faith alive!
By Robin Friedlaender
As a teacher we have always had “classroom rules.” However, last year I tried something new...I presented “classroom expectations”the first day of school and what a difference I’ve noticed.
The majority of my students have been in our center for a
few years, so they know our “rules” which are your basic: use gentle hands and feet, indoor voices, being a good friend, raising your hand, using your manners, etc. Well, the first day of kindergarten during our morning meeting I sit my new friends down and we talk about rules...I then tell them that there aren’t any rules in kindergarten. The looks I get are priceless! I see some very excited faces...until...I tell them I have “classroom expectations” instead of rules. Now I have a lot of blank faces. I go on to tell them that I “expect” they already know how to behave while at school and I have some new expectations” I want them to follow:
• We Are A Team
• We Try Our Best
• We Create
• We Respect Each Other
• We Celebrate Other’s Successes
• We Learn From Our Mistakes
These expectations are an extension of The Workshop Ways, which were developed by The Children’s Workshop. The Workshop Ways are a set of Positive Behavior Institutions and Support that we call PBIS.
The new expectations were met with enthusiasm, and the class goes over them every morning. I also add “how” we are going to meet these expectations. As they meet an expectation I remind them what expectation they met and how it was met. After a few weeks, I hear the kids telling one another when they realize an expectation has been met. As a parent I want my own children to realize that we all have “rules” in life, but we should also set “expectations” for ourselves in life. I started to look at what I was doing in my classroom and how it can be applied in my own home with my children. Basically, I started rethinking how I set home “rules” and turned them into“expectations.”
I want my students and my children to be independent thinkers and feel confident in themselves. I want them to be the best they can be. My children like this way of thinking because they are able to take ownership in our household and how it is run. I find myself looking for the positive rather than the negative in both my students and my children. I find myself more relaxed and not constantly harping on what they aren’t doing right.
I celebrate more in their accomplishments, because I see more effort going into tasks. I will continue to encourage them and remind them that respecting others is something they should always do. I will celebrate their successes and help them learn from their mistakes...it’s a part of life.
Robin Friedlaender is a KindergartenTeacher and Lead Administrator at TheChildren’s Workshop in Bourne, MA. She joined The Children’s Workshop family in 2008. She holds a BS in Early childhood Education from Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Before joining The Children’s Workshop, she taught 5th grade inclusion, 2nd grade, and Pre Kindergarten at Jefferson Parish Public School System in Louisiana. Robin is a working mom of three amazing children ages 8, 11, and 14. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, traveling, journaling, shopping, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.
The Children's Workshop is a family owned, quality child care provider that was founded in Lincoln, RI in 1990 by working father of three, Dave MacDonald. 22 years later, the company is still owned by the MacDonald family and has grown to include 19 different locations in RI and MA. The Children’s Workshop uses the Children’s Workshop Curriculum, a research based framework developed by the company’s top teachers that is aligned with the RI Early Learning Standards and focuses on learning through play. The Children's Workshop provides early education programs for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years. To learn more about The Children's Workshop family, go to www.childrensworkshop.com.
By: Coach Pam Wills
Here is something to think about as you slide into the New Year. (Guten Rutsch is a German expression I learned when I lived there…it means literally, Have a good slide! Always thought that was catchy. But I digress…)
Check the picture I found this week. I posted it on my Facebook page but you might have missed it. Maybe it’s tough to swallow but I think it is spot on. How about you? Leave me your comments, I want to hear all about it!
As your Confidence Coach, it is my mission to guide you from darkness into the light of feeling strong, confident and sexy so you can Get Your Sizzle On!™ The boring stuff: I earned my Certified Professional Coach (CPC) credential from Fowler-Wainwright International and my BA in English Lit from Georgetown University. I’ve been writing and teaching professionally for over 20 years and currently publish my own weekly blog and eZine. The FUN stuff: I am currently an Expert on the following awesome websites: LawofAttractionKey.com; LifeBusinessGrowth.com; Soulwoman eMagazine I’m also a Speaker for B.I.G. Women’s Network in Massachusetts. (Fun fact: I’m also a choreographer for community theater in my spare time! ;)
My newest workshops, “Master Your Stage Fright” and “Brains + Beauty = YOU!” are scheduled for early 2013 at various locations on Cape Cod, MA. Contact me at email@example.com for deets.
Book a FREE Spark Session with me at www.PamelaWills.com/schedule-session/ so I can help you build your courage, grow your confidence and Get Your Sizzle On!™ My intention is to see you push through your fears, move into that shimmering light of confidence and really SIZZLE with reawakened charisma! Find out how to feel strong and confident about being your true Self, a unique and powerful woman at www.PamelaWills.com.
Happy Holidays! Am I the only one who thinks all holidays are going overboard each year? I feel like every time I go into the grocery store the next major holiday is on display and beating me over the head. In August I swear the Halloween candy was out, and the day after it becomes Thanksgiving Central and a kind of shared Christmas palooza. Once the Turkey is in the pan and done it is all Christmas all the time. Friends are posting the day after Thanksgiving that they have their Christmas trees up and elves are on the shelf. Ok, it’s the first week of December and I’ll admit that we did get our tree, its up but not yet decorated. As a Mom of an almost three year-old and new three month old I feel the holiday pressure a little more than I did in my single child free days. What holiday traditions do I need to begin with my boys, how young is too young for an elf on the shelf, when do I find time to make Christmas cookies, wrap presents, ride the polar express, how do I keep them (and myself) away from excessive sweets and being spoiled by everything that comes along in the month of December.
As a child I have fond memories of Christmas, waking early and running down stairs to see what Santa had left behind. We had strict traditions though, each Christmas eve we would have a dance party with extended
family playing the YMCA and Mickey Mouse’s’I Love a Parade, parading all around the house. Most of this was played on vinyl until the latter years. Christmas morning we had to get the stockings and pull everything out of them before we even got a look at the living room where the tree and regular presents were. One year there was a bicycle for my brother, a hamster, a kitten for me, a camera for Mom, the year Nintendo came out found my brother complaining about sore thumbs at bedtime. Each year my Grandmother would take me to Boston to see the Nutcracker, and we would drive along 6A on the Cape and see all of the beautiful houses decorated with lights.
My three-year old son is at such an amazing age, noticing everything around him, and reacting in a way, which just makes me get a tear in my eye or a huge smile at how happy he is with the little things. After Thanksgiving we were driving through Brewster at night, he noticed the Brewster General Store had put up
their Christmas lights and all I heard was“WOWWW.” His excitement and awe just made me smile and look at his Dad, what a nostalgic moment. We went to see Santa arrive at the Cove in Orleans; he was more excited about the boat than the big guy. When I asked him what he wants from Santa he says presents and lights, no specific toy just what Christmas is about in his 3 year-old mind. We don’t feel the need to take him to sit on Santa’s lap when he isn’t sure what he’s all about, which additionally saves us time in line. Seeing the lights though, that will be something to do, something I look forward to. On a dark evening before Christmas, maybe with Grandpa and Grandma in the car we will drive up and down 6A and relive our youth through his beautiful big blue eyes. Small doses, less pressure to do everything, and honestly we all exist more peacefully by doing less while we can.
I am grateful for such a strong community, amazing family and friends. I feel blessed this holiday season. Bring on the overplayed Christmas carols and sugar cookies. Tis the Season.
The tragic crime at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that took so many precious lives on Friday raises very deep issues for parents.
“What is going on in our world?”
“How do I talk to my child about this?”
“How do I reassure my child that they are safe in school?”
“Are they safe in school?....”
This is typically thought of as experienced by professionals that witness a lot of traumatic experiences in those they work with. I would contend that it is vicarious trauma that many of OUR children will be experiencing as they experience tragedies such as these horrific school shootings and the like. Our children are hearing about the incidents and often times seeing images of the incidents. Their mind goes to, “This could happen to me. I’m a child. I go to a school. Some people have guns. Some kids in my school are really angry and talk about violent things.” The same goes for natural disasters.
Children experiencing vicarious trauma might show signs of anxiety. They might be worried about things that were not previously an issue. Children might experience bad dreams. They may become more quiet than usual or they may act out more readily. Sometimes, the energy and “excitement” of the trauma might cause children to respond emotionally in an unexpected way, such as acting hyper or silly or even telling about the tragedy with a smile on their face as if they are happy or think it is funny. Assuredly, this has to do with how children respond to additional emotional energy in their environment. They are surely not happy about people getting hurt, rather, they are having difficulty processing the extra energy in the environment.
How can parents help?
1. If your children are not around when you get word of a traumatic event that your children might be exposed to, call a grounded friend. Talk it over and try your best to get into a calm frame of mind. If your
children are present, if possible, go behind closed doors and call a friend. Remember, a part of your
child’s brain is always “tuned in” to their parent.
2. Turn the TV off. Get as much of the information as you need when your child is not present. They need to hear the news from you, and you need to disperse the news to your child in a developmentally appropriate manner that only you know your child can comprehend. They need to receive the information in pieces that they can take in and they need to receive the information once, not the 25 times in an hour that the news flashes come across the screen.
3. Monitor your conversations with others in person and by phone when your child is present.
4. It can be helpful to focus on the First Responders, rather than the victims. I.e. “I am so grateful that the police men were there to help direct the teachers and children in what to do.” Or, “The teachers were trained and look how they were leading the children to a safe place.” Or, in a natural disaster, “There are lots of workers out to repair the power lines and clear the streets.” Or, for those who are injured, “The Red Cross will be helping all of the hurt people and the paramedics are there also.”
5. Parents are guides for children. Manage your emotions well and don’t be afraid to show sadness to your child and even tears. It is ok for parents to cry and for parents and children to cry together. It is better to turn off the news coverage and shed a tear than to glue yourself to the TV and take in every detail.
6. Leave your “adult obligations” for later. Drop it in these times and go for a beach walk with your children. Have a game night. If you want to focus on the tragedy, make cards for the people impacted by the tragedy.
Think of ways that you can support them in a concrete way, such as sending something that they might need or donating their extra pennies to the Red Cross with a note.
7. Many will agree that there are some spiritual issues here. “Why would God allow this?” Surely, these tragedies provide an opportunity for each of us to look at our faith and why or how we believe what we do. Continue to seek and impart this seeking to your children.
8. If you see signs of anxiety or trauma, do not ignore them. We know that anxiety symptoms left to their own, typically do not get better, but more imbedded. Seek professional assistance if you are unsure.
9. Even in tragedy, we tend to return to the baseline of our “normal” life and routine before long. When you find yourself back into your normal routine, revisit the incident. Your child may or may not bring up, “Mom, I’m worried. Remember when that school shooting happened?...” Whether it is a natural disaster or the evil of our society, it is ok for parents to be the first one to revisit it with their child, “Hey John, I’ve been wondering if you have been thinking about the tornado that caused some much destruction last month?” Keep the dialog going with your children. Always.
Blessings of peace and joy in this holiday season. Especially, God bless those directly impacted by the school shooting.
Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
Follow the links to learn more about the impact of trauma.
Acute Stress Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
From A to Z
Advantages of Breastfeeding
Gabrielle Hathaway, M.S., IBCLC
By: Sung Bin
With the winter solstice approaching next Friday, I thought I would come up with some activities with poems and songs to inspire our family and to usher in the start of winter. Everyone who celebrates does so differently and I wanted to create a ritual and tradition around the solar return and the shortest day of the year. It is also an opportunity to remind ourselves of the power of the natural world that surrounds us. For me, it is a peaceful respite during the holiday season to be able to think more in the dark as I reflect on how much time has passed. I think back with such awe over the last year and how much has changed but also remained the same.
We plan to watch the first sunset of the solstice and pause to remember how human we really are. For my toddler, I found an easy recipe to make at home salt dough ornaments for holiday gifting and decorating as Christmas is a few days after.
Salt Dough for Ornaments
1 Cup Salt
2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cups Water
Combine salt and flour in large bowl. Make a well in the mix and add water. Knead the mix until smooth and use cookie cutters or any shape makers to make your ornaments with the dough. Don’t forget to poke a hole
on the top of your dough ornaments to add the string or yarn. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees in the oven. Paint and decorate when the dough ornaments are cool. (I am going to use rubber stamps on mine such as alphabet stampers to form words like “peace” and “love” before baking). I’m excited to get started
on these with my toddler.
Another tradition we started last year is planting new paper white bulbs in recycled glass jars so we plan to give those out to family and friends to grow in the winter.
Finally, we normally have our dinner by candlelight but for the solstice will add a few additional candles to symbolize the light entering the world and to revel in the stillness of the dark night.
What are your traditions? We'd love to hear from you, comment below!
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhchoooooo, sniffle, sniffle sniffle! Oh no, the dreaded cold and flue season is upon us! Both colds, sickness and just generally runny noses from playing outside are everywhere! And of course this means your nose gets dry and crusty from constantly wiping to keep that faucet under control! And if it is the kids, forget about trying to wipe with a tissue! Well problem solved! Cape Cod Mommies is proud to be in our 2nd quarter of being a Saline Ambassador, which means we have tons of Boogie Wipes!!!!
In honor of the season of Giving, Cape Cod Mommies is happy to announce we are giving away a Boogie Wipes prize pack to a lucky mom! Contest opens tonight at midnight and will go thru 11:59pm on Tuesday December 18, 2012.
Local Fundraiser to support: Academy of Early Learning and Animal Rescue League - Brewster Event runs: Dec 1 - Dec 29th.
BY GIVING A LITTLE YOU WILL HELP OUT A LOT! Donations will support Academy of Early Learning and Animal Rescue League - Brewster. A donation in the amount of $5.00 can be left with a completed Donation Form. A snowflake decorated by the children from AEL with your pets name will be hung up as a way to say THANK YOU! Academy of Early Learning in Hyannis was established in 1978 and is dedicated to recognizing and appreciating the individuality of each child. Animal Rescue League Cape Cod branch is equipped with a stable and paddock to accommodate large animals as well as serving as an animal housing and adoption center for small animals. Please help make a difference in our community, by contributing to give our children an advantage through an early start in education and providing the much needed care for animals that are waiting to be adopted.
If you have questions, or would like to make a larger donation, please contact Sara Provos at 617-957-4970 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org The children and animals sincerely thank you for your time and continued support! Cash and Checks accepted: please make checks payable to: Academy of Early Learning Every child and pet is like a snowflake. Each sparkles in a different way—some are playful, some refined. But, unlike fragile snowflakes that fade when the sun appears, children and our pets grow even more beautiful with every passing year.
Advisor Heidi Ingram:
We take alot of road trips this time of year due to the holidays and stopping and getting fast food is at times unavoidable. If we do end up stopping what are some healthier choices to get?
Typically, fast food is low in nutrition and high in trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and calories..for example, a single meal of a Double Whopper with cheese, a medium order of fries and an apple pie from Burger King contains more saturated fat than the American Heart Association recommends we consume in two days!! Moderation is key. It's OK to indulge a craving for French fries every now and then, but to stay healthy you can't make it a regular habit. Finding a healthy, well-balancd meal in most fast food restaurants can be a challenge, but there are always choices you can make that are healthier than others.
Use common sense guidelines to help you make your meal healthier. For example , a seemingly healthy salad can be diet-minefield when smothered in high-fat dressing and fried toppings, so choose a salad with fresh veggies, grilled toppings, and a lighter dressing. Portion control is also important, as many fast food
restautants serve enough food for several meals in the quise of a single serving.
Tips for making healthier choices at fast food restaurants
· Make careful menu selections- pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried , basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au graton,or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats
· Drink water with your meal -Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp of regular cola packs about 425 calories, which can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea
· "Undress" your food. When choosing items be aware of calorie - and fat packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich withour the mayonnaise. you can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself controlling how much you put on your sandwich
· Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
· Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat an savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for your body to register that you have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more
Tips for what to AVOID at fast food restaurants
· Supersized portions. An average fast food meal can run to 1000 calories or more, so choose a smaller portion size, order a side salad instead of fries, and don't supersize anything. At a typical restaurant, a single serving provides enough for two meals. Take half home or divide the portion with a dining partner.
· Salt. Fast food restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributer to high blood pressure. Don't add insult to injury by adding more salt.
· Bacon. It's always tempting to add bacon to sandwiches and salads for extra flavor, but bacon has very few nutrients and is high in fat and calories. Instead, try ordering extra pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, or mustard to add flavor without the fat
· Buffets - even seemingly healthy ones like salad bars. You'll likely overeat to get your money's worth. If you do choose buffet dining, opt for fresh fruits, salads with olive oil& vinegar or low-fat dressings, broiled entrees, and steamed vegetables. Resist the temptation make sure you are hungry before going back for more.
Less healthy choice
Double-patty hamburger with cheese, mayo, special sauce, and bacon. Fried chicken sandwich, Fried fish
sandwich, Salad with toppings such as bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing, Breakfast burrito with steak, French fries, milkshake, Chicken"nuggets" or tenders, Adding cheese, extra mayo, any special
Regular, single-patty hamburger without mayo or cheese, grilled chicken sandwich, Veggie burger, Garden salad with grilled chicken and low-fat dressing, Egg on a muffin, Baked potato or a side salad, Yogurt parafait, Grilled chicken strips, limiting cheese, mayo, and special sauces.
Here's what individuals and families need to know about tax changes for 2012.
From personal deductions to tax credits and educational expenses, many of the tax changes relating to individuals remain in effect through 2012 and are the result of tax provisions that were either modified or extended by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 that became law on December 17, 2010.
The personal and dependent exemption for tax year 2012 is $3,800, up $100 from 2011.
In 2012 the standard deduction for married couples filing a joint return is $11,900, up $300 from 2011 and for singles and married individuals filing separately it's $5,950, up $150. For heads of household the deduction is $8,700, up $200 from 2011.
The additional standard deduction for blind people and senior citizens in 2012 is unchanged from 2011, remaining at $1,150 for married individuals and $1,450 for singles and heads of household.
Income Tax Rates
Due to inflation, tax-bracket thresholds will increase for every filing status. For example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15-percent bracket from the 25-percent bracket is $70,700 for a married couple filing a joint return, up from $69,000 in 2011.
Estate and Gift Taxes
The recent overhaul of estate and gift taxes means that there is an exemption of $5.12 million per individual for estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes, with a top rate of 35%. The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $13,000.
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
AMT exemption amounts for 2012 have reverted to 2000 levels and will remain significantly lower than in 2011 unless Congress takes action before year-end: $33,750 for single and head of household fliers, $45,000 for married people filing jointly and for qualifying widows or widowers, and $22,500 for married people filing separately.
Marriage Penalty Relief
For 2012, the basic standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly is $11,900, up $300 from 2011.
Pease and PEP (Personal Exemption Phaseout)
Pease (limitations on itemized deductions) and PEP (personal exemption phase-out) limitations do not
apply for 2012, but like many other tax provisions, are set to expire at the end of the year.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
FSA (Flexible Spending Arrangements) are limited to $2,500 per year starting in 2013 and indexed to
inflation after that and applies only to salary reduction contributions under a health FSA. However, IRS guidance issued this year recognizes that the term "taxable year" refers to the plan year of the cafeteria plan, which is typically the period during which salary reduction elections are made.
Specifically, in the case of a plan providing a grace period (which may be up to two months and 15 days), unused salary reduction contributions to the health FSA for plan years beginning in 2012 or later that are carried over into the grace period for that plan year will not count against the $2,500 limit for the subsequent plan year.
Further, the IRS is providing relief for certain salary reduction contributions exceeding the $2,500 limit that are due to a reasonable mistake and not willful neglect and that are corrected by the employer.
Long Term Capital Gains
In 2012, long-term gains for assets held at least one year are taxed at a flat rate of 15% for taxpayers above the 25% tax bracket. For taxpayers in lower tax brackets, the long-term capital gains rate is 0%.
Individuals - Tax Credits
In 2012 a refundable credit of up to $12,650 is available for qualified adoption expenses for each eligible child. The available adoption credit begins to phase out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) in excess of $189,710 and is completely phased out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of $229,710 or more.
Child and Dependent Care Credit
If you pay someone to take care of your dependent (defined as being under the age of 13 at the end of the tax year or incapable of self-care) in order to work or look for work, you may qualify for a credit of up to $1,050 or 35 percent of $3,000 of eligible expenses.
For two or more qualifying dependents, you can claim up to 35 percent of $6,000 (or $2,100) of eligible expenses. For higher income earners the credit percentage is reduced, but not below 20 percent, regardless of the amount of adjusted gross income.
Child Tax Credit
The $1,000 child tax credit has been extended through 2012 as well. A portion of the credit may be refundable, which means that you can claim the amount you are owed, even if you have no tax liability for the year. The credit is phased out for those with higher incomes.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
For tax year 2012, the maximum earned income tax credit (EITC) for low and moderate income workers and working families rises to $5,891, up from $5,751 in 2011. The maximum income limit for the EITC rises to $50,270 (up from $49,078 in 2011). The credit varies by family size, filing status and other factors, with the maximum credit going to joint filers with three or more qualifying children.
Individuals - Education Expenses
Coverdell Education Savings Account
You can contribute up to $2,000 a year to Coverdell savings accounts in 2012. These accounts can be used to offset the cost of elementary and secondary education, as well as post-secondary education.
American Opportunity Tax Credit
For 2012, the maximum Hope Scholarship Credit that can be used to offset certain higher education expenses is $2,500, although it is phased out beginning at $160,000 adjusted gross income for joint filers and $80,000 for other filers.
Employer Provided Educational Assistance
Through 2012, you, as an employee, can exclude up to $5,250 of qualifying post-secondary and graduate education expenses that are reimbursed by your employer.
Lifetime Learning Credit
A credit of up to $2,000 is available for an unlimited number of years for certain costs of post-secondary or graduate courses or courses to acquire or improve your job skills. For 2012, The modified adjusted gross income threshold at which the lifetime learning credit begins to phase out is $104,000 for joint filers, up from $102,000, and $52,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $51,000.
Student Loan Interest
For 2012 (same as 2011), the $2,500 maximum student loan interest deduction for interest paid on student loans is not limited to interest paid during the first 60 months of repayment. The deduction begins to phase out for married taxpayers filing joint returns at $125,000, and phases out completely at $155,000, an increase of $5,000 from the phase out limits for tax year 2011. For single taxpayers, the phase out ranges
remain at the 2011 levels.
Individuals - Retirement
For 2012, the elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $16,500 to $17,000. For persons age 50 or older in 2012, the limit is $22,500 (up from $22,000 in 2011). Contribution limits for SIMPLE plans remain at $11,500 for persons under age 50 and $14,000 for persons age 50 or older in 2012. The maximum compensation used to determine contributions increases to $250,000.
In 2012, the AGI limit for the saver's credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low-and moderate-income workers is $57,500 for married couples filing jointly, $43,125 for heads of household, and $28,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles.
Please contact us if you need help understanding which deductions and tax credits you are entitled to. We are always available to assist you. You can email us at email@example.com or reach out office at 508-540-3683 Or you can comment below!
Cape Cod Mommies was recently given an opportunity to check out Hot Mama Designs! I love the uniqueness of the jewelry and of course we are all about family, moms and kids on this site! These would make great gifts or great hints for hubby's to get you for the holidays!
Shannon Sunderland & Sahra Cahoon form the dynamic duo of Hot Mama Designs. Hot Mama Designs rejoices in celebrating motherhood, family and the one-of-a-kind feeling of the handmade object. Their inspiring designs are created to tell stories and celebrate life. Celebrate Family ~ Celebrate Motherhood ~ Celebrate You!
We rejoice in the art of metalsmithing! As artists we are intrigued by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is (loosely translated) the beauty of things that are unpretentious and unconventional. In our mass-produced world, our jewelry celebrates the one-of-a-kind feeling of the handmade object.
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Fellow Cape Cod Mommies, I know we’ve just met and all, but if we’re going to be friends than I need to be truthful with you – I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Maybe even a little over-emotional (though my husband might just call that a normal day). You might say, “No, no, you’re fine! Look at you, totally pulled together!” Well that just proves we’ve never actually met. Fact of the matter is, I’ve spent the entire past week trying not to cry at the drop of a hat. Hormones? Probably. Holidaystress? Sure. The truth? My eldest child is turning five.
I know, I know, it’s a wonderful thing to have a five year old. Birthdays are to be celebrated, children are to
be celebrated. Yes, yes, I agree. But there’s something about that big number “Five” that makes things get real, really fast. My baby girl is becoming a big kid.
She surprises me daily with her thoughtfulness and the range of her emotions. Her honesty thrills me and the weight of her feelings knocks me over. I see her meeting challenges, and pushing herself on to new goals. I also see her dealing with her failures and goals unmet. And let me tell you something, mamas, she’s doing a lot better job dealing with her difficulties than I am.
I see the hard knocks that come as friendships change, when feelings get hurt, when wishes don’t come true. And my heart breaks. I remember the pain of childhood hurts, and the last thing I want is for my baby to feel them too. As she turns five, I want to wrap her in a bubble and keep her safe from those hurts. I know too that her problems will be bigger now as she gets bigger and her world grows as she enters school. Gone are the days that my kisses can solve all her problems. And I grieve for the loss of being able to make everything better. Okay, now I’m crying again. Give me a minute, I’m going to go research “child sized bubbles” on Amazon. They have those, right? Ok, they don’t have those, I totally checked.
So I guess this means I need to start dealing with what we call “big emotions” in my house. To celebrate my sweet daughter’s fifth birthday, I am making the following pledges to her and to myself:
1.) I will stop trying to be a perfect mother. I don’t need to be a perfect mother. Perfect mothers aren’t real, and I’m pretty sure my kids would rather have a real mom than a not real mom. So there you go. Also, I read
somewhere the other day that not being a perfect parent is a gift to your kids because then when they have children they aren’t constantly trying to live up to this perfect parent ideal. See, I’m doing it for her!
2.) Accept that my daughter is going to feel pain as she explores the world. Know that I will not be able to fix it all, but that’s okay. I will still be here to hold her and kiss her and let her know that there will always be at
least one safe harbor for her in the world, no matter what storms she faces. And maybe I will eventually find a grown up sized bubble that we can both go in and roll down a hill, wheeeee! Which brings me to number 3.
3.) We are going to have more fun. Year number 5 is going to be about fun, for the both of us. Rolling down hills in bubbles? Yes. Desperately cleaning the house before the next playdate? No. Time to start accepting that my house will always be a mess, but you know what, we’ll be busy getting grass stains on our pants, nail polish on our toes, and whatever the heck else Miss Five Years Old wants to do that day and I’m to excited about that to waste energy feeling guilty about messes. So I’m letting it go. Not that I’m going to do less cleaning, I’m just going to stop feeling guilty about whatever hasn’t gotten done that day. Don’t worry, I’ll still shove the dirty undies in the closet when you come over.
In the meantime, we have a party to plan! So this smart, sassy, gorgeous, funny, fast as the wind, nearly five year old and I have some decorating to do.
So tell me mamas, how was Year 5 for you? Did you deal well with it or were you a hysterical mess like me? Which birthday has been toughest for you? Let me know your coping strategies and how you celebrated. We’ll get through this together!
Who hasn't read the Polar Express yet? I can remember as a young child snuggling up with my siblings and close to my parents, as my father read the book aloud year after year. It was ALWAYS one of my favorite Christmas stories. As a child I believed the story was all about Santa, but now as an adult I know better.
The story is about having hope, faith and a belief in something despite what others may think. As adults we often feel the pressure of the holiday season and the stores and media are only too happy to oblige by feeding into the consumer frenzy. Now that I have my own child, I see the holiday as something more magical and it brings me back to my own young days of innocence. This year is the first year my child can really begin to experience Christmas. He exclaimed with delight when we put up the tree and every night when we drive home he comments how beautiful all the lights are everywhere. To relive the Christmas experience with a child is something that is truly magical and I am
Next week we will be taking him aboard the Polar Express on the Cape Cod Railroad and we are looking forward to the adventure! We will be blogging about our adventure after so stay tuned! Have you been yet, we'd love to hear about your experience too!
To celebrate the magical season of giving and of hope, we are giving away 4 Coach Tickets aboard the Polar Express! Giveaway ends Tuesday night December 11, 2012 at 11:59pm so you have time to book your tickets!!
Blogger received complimentary tickets in exchange for the giveaway, but all thoughts are the bloggers own.
Touch: One of the most important and life affirming actions we can take, every day.
And simultaneously, one of the most important things we can give and receive each day.
How many times did you experience touch today? One? Three? Ten times? (Hint: If you feel great, it was probably enough.)
When was the last time you held someone’s hand?
When was the last time you touched someone without fear, anxiety or doubt? When was the last time you felt the warmth of someone else’s touch without guilt, shame, regret, despair or another negative emotion?
If you’ve gone longer than one week or even one day without healthy, healing touch, it’s time to change that and start THRIVING.
Do you need a hug?
Why not give your Self a big hug? Embracing your Self physically is a great start toward getting and giving regular gifts of healing touch.
Touch is one of the most important elements we all need to help us THRIVE, an act that involves far more than mere survival.
BTW, touch does not have to be sexual to be healing and effective. =)
I want one of these: The Hug Chair!
Even if you live alone, you can always give your Self a big hug!
Here’s an alternative challenge: Give the gift of touch by giving out free hugs!
(Side benefit of giving free hugs: You rock your confidence muscle each time! Please practice this choice responsibly; set and state your boundaries clearly; and always remain in a busy, well-lit, public space.)
Even if the only touch you can manage today is to shake your own hand or give your Self a scalp massage, give it a try. I am sure it will make you smile.
*Pamela earned her Certified Professional Coach (CPC) credential from Fowler-Wainwright International and her BA in English Literature from Georgetown University. She has been writing and teaching professionally for over 20 years but continues to learn and improve her talents, gifts and skills with experience and training. Her unique background includes PR and marketing for the US Army and a natural wood finishes manufacturer (both in Germany), translations from German to English for a global retailer, choreography and dance instruction for theater, plus English language training for foreign executives. Pamela has written travel articles, a regular column on cultural differences, book reviews, guest blog posts, her own weekly blog and eZine and she speaks frequently at live events, on radio and TV. Pamela is a featured coach on the Expert Panels of Kristen Howe’s www.LawofAttractionKey.com and Kerry Swetmon’s www.LifeBusinessGrowth.com. In addition, Pamela is on the Speakers Bureau of B.I.G. Women’s Network
in Massachusetts. Helping others increase their confidence is Pamela’s passion because she learned the hard way how important confidence really is for success in life. She wants to spare you the hard, dark journey she took and set you on a bright, happy path as quickly as possible!
To learn more and schedule your own complimentary SPARK Session, contact Pamela today.
Fish tacos are a fun and nutritional meal for kids! Tacos always seem to be a kid favorite however it can be a very, very messy meal. Fish is also a great source of protein and healthy omegas!
We tried these last week in our house and it was a quick, easy meal to make plus the Tiny Toddler finished all of it! You can use any type of fish you wish, however I would recommend either Flounder or Salmon.
Flounder is a light fish and low in Saturated Fat. It is also good source of Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B6 Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.
Salmon is low in Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.
I involved my child with the process of preparing the ingredients and then also had him "help" put together his taco. Letting children be a part of the meal preparation makes them feel involved and usually results in the child eating more of the meal (especially for picky eaters).
~ Cook the fish, chopping it up as you go and add seasoning! We used the one that came in our taco box or you can make your own to add your own unique flavoring! (perhaps tropical tacos next time with pineapple???)
~ Make sure to heat up the tacos shells as it will soften them.
~ Once the fish is cooked, assemble the tacos together and Enjoy!
Just three blogs into my blogging experience, I have had fun letting the themes and topics flow in an organized sort of way. In fact, my December, January and February themes were already organized in some compartment of my brain. I like organization.
In the early hours of Friday of last week, the church I have called home for most of my life burned to the ground by the strike of an arsonist.
In many ways, the thoughts in my mind seem like the flakes in a snow globe that has just had a good shake. If anyone were to check my credentials on the “about” page of my website, it would seem like I should have at least a few very wise things to blog about today regarding; trauma reactions, how to help children process these types of events, wise eyes when it comes to looking for risk factors for violent acts………you name it. But the snow globe settles in
its own time.
I would NOT ordinarily speak about my faith in a public-professional blog, and it might only come up in my professional practice or role as consultant and educator if I am counseling someone who has told me they are of faith and wish it to be a part of their process, or if I am consulting with or educating a faith group.
As the snow globe settles, and, in this holiday season and birth of a new year, I share this. We are given a great command to Love One Another. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
I hear many times over, “I am not of the Christian faith, but we go to church because the teachings of morals are sound and good for our children.”
So here is just some interesting trivia…….
Popular sayings that just happen to come from the Bible
Am I my brother’s keeper?
Apple of My Eye
At Wits’ End
Coat of Many Colors
Drop in a Bucket
Eat, Drink, Be Merry
Eye for an Eye
Rise and Shine
Out of the Mouths of Babes
Powers that Be
Skin of My Teeth
Woe is Me
Writing on the Wall
They are referenced here.
A sign of the times
Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing
All things must pass
My brother’s keeper
At his wits end
And many more…………
As you and your family enjoy the festivities of the holiday season, let your hearts be filled with love. Though many family dysfunctions are “in your face” during the holiday season, because many feel obliged to spend time with those whom they may at other times just avoid, if at all possible, let your hearts be filled with love. Seek strength and support from those you know you can trust. Know your limits and when it is time to say goodbye. Hug, when you feel like shrugging away. Make eye contact and extend kind and loving words to others.
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