Four Tips to Eat Your Way to a Great Night’s Sleep

19 Oct

By Dr. Bill Miller

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Who has not had a restless night’s sleep? Everyone does on occasion, but for many, it is an increasingly frequent experience. The typical explanation is the unparalleled distractions of our modern lifestyle. We email compulsively, text our friends at all hours, and binge watch TV. Consequently, our sleep suffers. Studies show that the average amount of sleep that Americans currently get has fallen by between one and two hours each night over the last 60 years. Furthermore, the quality of that sleep has deteriorated. Some research even suggests that our irregular sleep patterns have led to a ‘dream’ deficit that also takes its own individual toll over time.

The crux of the issue is that there are significant health problems associated with sleep disorders that go beyond feeling tired the next day. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with higher incidences of heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and cancer. Many of us realize this and struggle to make adjustments. We experiment with changing our caffeine or alcohol intake or, in desperation, some turn to sleeping pills.

Most of us know from experience that there is some kind of link between our food intake and our sleep patterns. Sleep can be difficult if we are too full or extremely hungry. Yet, our busy lifestyle and the temptations of snack foods continuously get in the way. One thing is clear. A good evening meal with sensible portions improves the prospect of a restful night of sleep.

We have long known that there are two fundamental states of sleep and each is regulated by a different part of the brain. Both are necessary for completely recuperative sleep. We have a sleep cycle, called our ‘circadian rhythm,’ which is regulated by our brain and by metabolic cues governed by liver cells. All of these signals work together in a continuous feedback loop which is commonly called our ‘circadian clock’.  New information adds a significant to factor to that mix. Our gut microbiome has a surprisingly crucial influence on our circadian sleep-wake cycle and our sleep quality. Experiments confirm that when specific microbes in our gut are altered, our fundamental states of sleep are disrupted. This limits our ability to recover from stress and is necessary to protect against neurological diseases such as dementia. To assist in that recovery process, we now understand that our gut microbiome and our own cells form an active feedback loop and our sleep patterns are part of it.

This continuous feedback between our gut and brain significantly modulates our responses to stress. When that feedback is suboptimal, it begins a cycle that leads towards metabolic health disorders such as diabetes. Our sleep-wake cycle is part of this loop. Impaired sleep disrupts our metabolism and contributes to inflammatory states and metabolic diseases, which can, in turn, further disrupt our sleep. When our gut microbiome is off-balance our capacity to achieve restorative sleep is profoundly affected.

Here are four tips to start you on the path to a great night’s sleep:

  • Our microbes have internal clocks, just as we do. We are at our best when we find our optimal personal method of synchronizing and adjusting to each other. In effect, if you feed your microbes well, they will treat you right.
  • Stick to a firm eating schedule and limit fat content. Both of these factors can improve sleep quality. There is an added benefit. These measures help with weight management, which is also mediated by the gut microbiome.
  •  Keep calories the same, but make your meals smaller and more frequent. Studies show that this improves sleep quality and metabolic parameters such as blood glucose or serum lipid levels.
  • Try adding either prebiotics or probiotics to your diet. These offer your microbial partners the nutrients they need.

When you plan to get a good night’s sleep, you need to think of it as putting your microbes to bed. Feeding them properly is your best chance for normal recuperative sleep in the midst of our hectic modern lives.

 Dr. Bill Miller has been a physician in academic and private practice for over 30 years. He is the author of The Microcosm Within: Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome. For more information,www.themicrocosmwithin.com.

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The responsibilities and Rewards of Being a Caregiver

16 Oct

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National Family Caregivers Month is an ideal time to reflect on both the responsibilities and rewards of being a caregiver.

Being a caregiver is deeply challenging. Especially when those we’re caring for cling fiercely to their independence, resisting support and insisting on remaining independent even when this is no longer a safe option.

Melanie Merriman, hospice expert and author of Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging, knows this all too well from her experience caring for her fiercely independent aging mother.

Torn between the need to protect her mother’s safety on the one hand and preserve her autonomy on the other, Melanie and her sister struggled every step of the way to find solutions that gave their mother the assistance she needed without wounding her pride or damaging their relationship. Paradoxically, her mother’s desire for independence actually created a greater strain on Melanie and her sister.

In the process, Melanie learned a lot about how to how to strike this delicate balance, and would be happy to share the lessons with your audience:

● Let yourself be human. Start by acknowledging the fact that there is no foolproof recipe for caring for an aging loved one. There is no such thing as perfection. Even professionals such as hospice care experts get caught up in minutiae and bickering when caring for their own family members. All you can do is simply do your best.

● Pay close(r) attention to the signs of aging. Some signs of aging are so small they’re barely detectable. Most of the ones you need to watch out for signal a step back from everyday life. Is your loved one canceling in-person meetings? Is she refusing to drive to unknown places? Is she skipping meals here and there? All of these can be signs.

● Be more realistic about the consequences of aging. This is tough, but crucial. Even though your father is eighty-eight and still wins the annual bridge tournament at the rec center up the street doesn’t mean this will go on forever. It’s easy to sink into rosy thinking about those we love. It’s necessary to remember that aging and decline are universal processes that we must prepare for.

● Start discussions long before it feels like it’s time. Being proactive means talking to your aging loved one months or even years before it feels “right”. As we age, mental faculties can go. Changes in health can happen quickly. It’s best that everyone discuss the game plan long before it’s needed.

Taking these steps can help improve well-being during what Melanie has dubbed “the tightrope of aging”—the stage between active independent living and end-of-life.

About the Author:

Melanie Merriman is author of Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging. She is also the co-author of Merriman’s Hawai‘i: The Chef, the Farmers, the Food, the Islands, a cookbook with stories about chef Peter Merriman. Melanie has spent much of her life as a research scientist, hospice consultant, and foundation grant evaluator—driven by a passion to illuminate, understand, and find meaning. Melanie and her husband Klein split their time between South Florida and Cape Cod, MA.

DENNY’S KICKS OFF THE SEASON OF GIVING WITH ANNUAL NO KID HUNGRY® FUNDRAISER

13 Oct

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Nearly one in six children in America struggle with hunger and go without the proper food and nutrition they need on a daily basis. In an effort to help end childhood hunger, Denny’s is teaming up with No Kid Hungry® for another year, helping give back a little this holiday season. Now through Dec. 3, more than 1,600 Denny’s locations nationwide will work together to help fight childhood hunger across the country – to-date, the brand has donated more than $4.3 million to the cause, helping provide 43 million meals to kids in need.

As part of this year’s fundraising efforts, guests visiting participating locations can make a $3 donation to No Kid Hungry and receive $12 worth of redeemable Denny’s coupons in return. There will also be various ways to support the cause online: users visiting ‘Denny’s on Demand’ – the brand’s new online and mobile ordering platform – will be able to make a $1 donation with any order placed, or make a donation of their choice through www.dennysnokidhungry.com. The diner will also offer an interactive donation option that will take place outside of its booths: The Grand Slamoji. Every time a user comments on the diner’s “No Kid Hungry video” on Facebook using their favorite breakfast emoji combinations, Denny’s will donate $1 to the cause, up to $25,000.

“No Kid Hungry is an organization that is near and dear to our hearts, and at Denny’s we are proud to once again help raise awareness and funds to end the fight against childhood hunger in America,” said John Dillon, SVP and chief marketing officer for Denny’s. “No child should have to worry about when and where they may get their next meal, even more so during the holidays. This year’s campaign serves as a great way to team up with our guests as they gather around our booths with family and friends to share in this season of thanks and giving.”

Guests visiting their nearest Denny’s to make a donation or enjoy a great meal will also have the opportunity to experience its new holiday-inspired menu “Flavors of the Season.” The festive new lineup includes a mouthwatering choice of sweet and savory Pancake dishes including the New Pumpkin Cream Pancake Breakfast, the New White Chocolate Raspberry Pancake Breakfast and New Cranberry Orange Pancake Breakfast, each served with two eggs, hash browns and a choice of two strips of bacon or sausage links. The diner will also offer its traditional family favorite, the Turkey & Dressing Dinner, featuring tender carved turkey breast, savory stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce.

Guests are also invited to enjoy a holiday treat with a deliciously sweet dessert such as Cinnamon Sugar Pancake Puppies® served with cream cheese icing, or the New White Chocolate Raspberry Milk Shake. Denny’s will also offer its classic Pumpkin and Pecan pies, available by the slice or whole throughout the holiday season.

For more information about Denny’s No Kid Hungry fundraising efforts, please visit www.dennysnokidhungry.com. Guests can order online or find out more about Denny’s seasonal menu, available all day, every day through Jan. 3, 2018, by visiting www.dennys.com.

 

About Denny’s Corp.

Denny’s is one of America’s largest full-service family restaurant chains, currently operating over 1,700 franchised, licensed and company-owned restaurants across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guam, the United Arab Emirates, Chile, Curaçao, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Philippines. For further information on Denny’s, including news releases, please visit the Denny’s website at www.dennys.com or the brand’s social channels via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or YouTube.

 

About No Kid Hungry®

No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 6 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast, eat healthy summer meals, and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.

Five Commandments for Balancing the Busy by Tabitha Lord

3 Aug

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Enjoy this guest post written by mother of 4 and Writer’s Digest Grand Prize Winner (2016) Tabitha Lord, author of the acclaimed Horizon series.

I’m busy. I mean really busy. There are more things on my plate now than when my four kids were little and I was working full-time as an admissions officer and Latin teacher. The kids are mostly grown, I’m a writer now, and yet somehow I still feel busier than ever.

From a business perspective, the busy pays off. Horizon, the first novel I published, won the 2016 Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self Published Fiction. I’ve just released Infinity, the sequel to Horizon this past summer. I’m attending conferences, doing readings and signings at bookstores, and am plotting my next big project. I can see the fruits of my labor, and I have been lucky in just how delicious they’ve been. I love what I’m doing and I feel blessed to be doing it, so I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. I’m not.

Still, no one wants to feel exhausted the moment they open their eyes in the morning, or daunted by an endless “to-do” list before the day even starts. Moreover, I find myself  constantly taking stock of my role as a mom — Am I paying attention? Am I present enough in the moment? At the end of the day, have I attended to the most important things?

These are questions moms grapple with constantly, no matter what their particular brand of ‘busy’ looks like. Whether working outside the home in a full-time job, doing so a few days a week, or going full speed ahead at home, finding balance is not easy. But it’s crucial to our personal survival and to the well-being of our family.

My own soul-searching resulted in a list of promises I’m holding myself to every day. They’re a total work in progress, but so far I’m seeing some dividends. Of course, different methods work for different people, but maybe some of these will resonate with you:

Attend to the priorities first. There are things to do. Every day. And like most of my friends, my tasks don’t just include managing myself, but managing some of the other people who live with me. So, I have to live by my calendar and lists, and I feel much more organized when I do. I admit that my list-making borders on obsessive (doesn’t everyone have a monthly overview list, a weekly task list, and a daily schedule???). But I’ve been thinking about this lately, and I believe creating lists actually allows me to let some things go, temporarily at least. If something is written down, and I can’t attend to it in the moment, I know it isn’t lost or forgotten, it just needs rescheduling. Similarly, working with a calendar assures me I’m not going to miss something important, like a kid’s doctor appointment or my mother-in-law’s birthday! I can relax. My calendar will remind me.

With all this organization, I’m also trying to re-imagine my daily time management. Rather than create an endless to-do list, I want my schedule to reflect my priorities. So, when I create that schedule,I’m attempting to allot an amount of time to each task and block out chunks of time for the most important things.

Plan the down time and unplug. Down time has to be a priority, and I have to honor it. A few weeks ago my daughter needed to make a dish for “fiesta day” at school. When my boys were younger and had to bring treats or snacks to school, I would generally hear about this at bedtime the night before, or sometimes in the morning as we were rushing to the car. But my daughter, she’s a planner. I got the recipe a week before, a gentle reminder a few days ahead, and a “mom you got the ingredients, right?” the day before. And not only is she a planner, she’s actually helpful. We work really well together in the kitchen. The day before “fiesta day” I picked up the ingredients, and, using rule #1, I actually planned the cooking time into my schedule. Because I did this, I was able to shut everything down and really be with my daughter while we cooked together, laughed, told stories, and enjoyed each other’s company. I’ve been trying to think of cooking time now as down time. It has to be done anyway, and with a glass of wine and good company, why can’t it be a time to reconnect and pay attention to one another? I even bought a new cookbook…

Sleep on it before making a commitment to something. This one’s been really helpful. Generally, I’m the kind of person who likes to say yes to everything. Especially now, trying to get a new career off the ground, it’s really hard to refuse any work that comes my way. But not all the projects are the right ones for me, and if I let an idea percolate for a while, the right choice becomes clear. The right projects are the ones I can’t stop thinking about. They energize me, and my creativity flows around them. The others never sit quite right. I’ve learned to listen to my gut, but it requires my first answer to always be, “let me sleep on that and I’ll get back to you.”

Laugh more. Research suggests that laughter is good for your health! Laughter not only feels good, it changes my perspective. And, while it’s really wonderful to laugh with other people, in a pinch, I’m happy to laugh all by myself. I fall out of my chair when I read those autocorrect snafus that are posted online. And I’ve recently discovered a Star Wars bloopers reel that I find absolutely hysterical. When I need to take a break, rather than fill my head with the negativity that is so pervasive in the media and online, I look for laughter and levity.

Don’t wish it away. Don’t get me wrong – I have perspective on this one. I had the stomach bug the other day and I definitely wished that shit away immediately! But I’m talking garden-variety challenges – the stress that comes from being part of a family, having a career, raising children – the day-to-day stuff that can sometimes just wear us down. For example, we have a small (ahem) construction project happening right now. It’s over budget, my yard’s torn up, my house is dirty from the work, and I’m hosting a huge party back there for two of my kids in another month. Because those two kids are graduating. And then they are moving, one to the other side of the country. The project will be done in a few weeks, and a few weeks after that, my household will look completely different. It’s as it should be. My older boys are following their dreams and I couldn’t be more excited for them. But I don’t want to miss out on these last few weeks with my whole family living under one roof together for the last time. If I focus on hurrying along the discomfort, I might miss the joy in the moment. And really, life’s just too short for that!

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What about you? How do you manage your busy?

Lifehammer Safety Device for Car Travel

1 Aug
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I wanted to share with my readers the launch of the Lifehammer Evolution, the industry-awarded, car safety tool that will break you and your loved ones out of your car if you are trapped after an accident.
 
While Summer Break is over or nearly over for kids in Atlanta, in other parts of the country children still have a month before the start of a new school year.  And, summer weather and weekend roadtrips are still are my mind even with my own kiddos headed back next week.  

Every summer, once school is out, there is an increase in the number of cars on the road. A recent survey by AAA found that there will be 10% more families taking 50+ mile road trips this summer than there was last year. And whether that is a result of families driving for a weekend at the lake, or friends taking day trips to the beach, when there are more cars on the road, there are more driving accidents. 
 
In fact, every year in the U.S., 10,000 people are involved in water immersion accidents, with more than 400 people dying from getting trapped in their car. And when a car becomes submerged underwater, the car windows die within 30 seconds and the seatbelts will not release if the car is upside down.
 
Would you know what to do in this situation?
 
Enter the Lifehammer Evolution by Life Safety Products B.V – the industry-awarded, best-in-class car safety tool with an ultra-hard ceramic hammerhead. Easy to use by adults and children, the Lifehammer Evolution has the ability to both shatter a window, and comes with a safety guarded blade that can cut through a jammed seat belt. 
 
But you may ask why do I need a Lifehammer Evolution? Because a person can never plan for the unexpected. With situations such as unpredictable weather and unsafe drivers, one must always be prepared for the unexpected (especially if you have kids in the car). And the Lifehammer Evolution is the best car safety tool & life-saving solution on the market.  My favorite feature, besides the high quality make, is the mount feature so you don’t have to fumble looking for it while under duress, which would be a concern for me with other tools.
 
Here’s a link to the demonstration video on how to the Lifehammer Evolution tool.  I am grateful that we now have one in our car.  I bet you will be, too.
*I was provided with a free Lifehammer to review for this post.

Introducing A Sugar-Free Diet To Your Kids

28 Jul

How to…
Introduce A Sugar-Free Diet To Your Kids

As a new school year is upon us, with birthday parties, sports, classroom celebrations and lunches to pack on my mind, I’d like to make a move more/junk less shift in my family.  So, what better way to kick off a “How to” series on the blog than to talk about decreasing or eliminating the sugar in your child’s diet?

We all want our kids to be healthy and happy. Somehow we have gotten confused and we think they have to have every indulgence to be happy, and their health is suffering because of it. Sugar consumption leads to obesity in children. It has a direct effect on their blood, organs, skin, and brain chemicals. The constant sugar rush followed by the inevitable crash interrupts their play time, sleep schedules, and other activities like sports, dance, and study.

As American parents have become more aware of the effects sugar has on their own bodies, they are concerned about the effects it has on a young, developing child. The only way to know how sugar truly affects the way we feel, function, look, and rest is to eliminate sugar for a period of time and see the difference. Challenge yourself to take your family on a sugar-free journey.

Getting started

The beginning of your quest will consist of sugar hunting. If your children are old enough start pulling contents out of the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer as a family adventure. Teach the children how to identify sugar and the code words like fructose and glucose (among many others) that mean the same thing. Make a game out of sugar hunting. The younger the children are, the better. However, this is something everyone can do.

Make it tasty not sugary

This may seem challenging at first. But this is your opportunity to learn how to combine natural foods to get a sweetness that satisfies.

Treats

Have fresh veggies available with fat-free dip. Make snacks from peanut butter, fruit, and whole grains. The internet is full of tasty recipes that you can make in child size bites that are cute and fun.

Do not expose the kids to sugar. If you are on a sugar-free diet, avoid places that have displays of sugary goodies. While at the supermarket, avoid the bakery aisle, which is almost always in front of the fresh fruit and vegetable aisle.

Let your children help you bake their own treats. A child will always like a treat more that they helped make. Make fruit smoothies at home with real fruit and no sugar when they want a decadent treat.

Treat them another way

Put your kid in gymnastics or dance. When they do well, instead of taking them out for ice cream let them choose a special dance costume at Just For Kix. Let them choose the movie for family night or take them to the waterpark to celebrate. Teach your child to celebrate without food and sugar.

Your quest

During your sugar-free quest, make notes of the changes you see and feel. You may feel bad for the first few days when your body is trying to get the sugar fix it is used to. Soon you will feel your energy levels rise and you will notice glowing skin and clearer eyes. At the end of your quest, you may choose to keep the sugar-free lifestyle based on the positive influences the changes will have had on your life. This is something that your children will be grateful for even when they are grown up and become parents themselves.

Author Bio

Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super-connector with ManageBacklinks.io who helps businesses with building their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in the SaaS world and digital marketing.

This is your one life.

17 Oct

 

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As I approach the “middle” of my one life, this is what I now know:

1)  Friendship is worth fighting for.  Preserving a good relationship is always more important than being right.  Even if you feel like it should be the other person’s responsibility to apologize, reach out to you, or be the bigger person, if the friendship is worth saving, you should do your best to save it.

2) That being said, invest in friendships, but don’t chase them.  I’ve learned that taking the time to notice my friends’ needs and priorities is worth its weight in gold.  Pay attention.  Be thoughtful.  Reach out just to check in, even if you have nothing to report.  But, by God, do not chase after someone.  If you are doing all of the planning and initiating all of the contact, it might be worth considering being quiet for a while.  If they care about you enough to miss you, they will realize and reach out.  If they don’t then you’ll know that things were way too one-sided to flourish into a fruitful, long-term friendship.

3) Friends are put in our lives for a reason, and sometimes only for a season.  Instead of viewing the fizzling or ending of a friendship as a “break-up”, treasure the good memories you made together and be thankful that the person was placed in your life for such a time as he or she was. 

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4) Rest assured that if something devastating hasn’t yet happened in your life that it will.  You will be stretched until you think you will break.  Instead of being constantly anxious about the inevitable, live in the moment and be grateful that you are experiencing a time of peace when you are.

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5) Children are blessings.  If you have kids, most days will likely be overwhelming and you will feel more challenged than blessed.  Instead of making life harder on yourself for feeling guilty about that, just accept that parenting is not meant to be blissful.  It is the raising of a human being, which like any work is going to require a lot of ups and downs and time investment, and will sometimes be less about joy and more about survival.

6) Having a spouse or a partner may very well be the hardest job you’ll ever have.  Instead of fighting that fact, embrace the idea that being in a full-time relationship is a full-time job from the moment you decide to spend your lives together.  That way, when the honeymoon is over and sh*t gets real you won’t be so shocked.

7) People get sick and die.  If you live past 30 (or maybe even before), you will likely find yourself staring at your phone or computer in disbelief when you get word that the unspeakable happened. That your best friend’s infant was stillborn.  That your colleague’s child committed suicide.  That your pastor’s wife has breast cancer and has a very low chance of survival.  That your neighbor’s toddler drowned in their pool.  There will be no words.  Don’t avoid those people because you don’t know what to say or do.  Bake a casserole, go to them, look them in the eyes to show you care, and hug them.  Just be there.

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8) Family are the people that you choose to show your true self and who seek to love you unconditionally.  Sometimes they might be related to you, but usually they aren’t.  Be open to this possibility.  Don’t buy into the “blood is thicker than water” B.S.

9) If you are connected to your family of origin, do not take them for granted.  Don’t wait to say “I love you.” or “Thank you.” or “Can we work this out?  You hurt me.” Your grandmother is still alive?  Stop reading this and call her on the phone right now.  Seriously.  NOW.

10) A good housekeeper, nanny/babysitter, or therapist are probably the hardest people in the world to find.  If you are lucky enough to have one, tip them often, thank them profusely, and treat them like family (or better).  When they eventually move out of your life for one reason or another, you will be heartbroken.  Don’t wait until then to let them know how much they make your life better.

11) Your body will fail you.  Stretch marks, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, gray hairs, hernias, wrinkles, and worse happen sooner than later…and not just to other people.  Take care of yourself, but don’t expect to be 20 forever.  Embrace the body you have; confidence is 80% of being attractive.

12) Love yourself.  Not just your body.  Your soul, your mind, your entire humanly being.  We have but just one life to live, so have a personal mission and vision and abandon anything that derails or erodes them.  Write your own eulogy now and then take all the steps necessary to live towards a life that represents it.  

13) Superstitions are nonsense.

14) Love someone else fully.  The person you shower with your fondness doesn’t have to be a spouse or child.  A dog, an elderly nursing home resident, or God count here.  Whomever you love, just give them your all.

15) Serve.  Do things for others without any expectation.  Being grateful and doing good are the shortest routes to contentment.

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16) Find a reason to laugh.  Daily.

17) Believe in something.  Sure, the Lutheran Christian in me hopes it will be the God I know who loves us all unconditionally and who provides grace through faith alone.  But, no matter what you believe in, stay grounded by being certain it is something bigger and greater than yourself.

18) Take my advice and shove it if it doesn’t work for you…your life is your own to be lived in a way that brings a little bit of better to the world.  Breathe.  Love.  Live.

Peace,

Amber

Text4baby: free health texting for pregnant women and moms with infants

26 Jul

Text4baby is a free public health texting service that provides pregnant women and moms with babies under age one, three health and safety text messages each week timed to her due date or baby’s age. Text messages are developed by trusted experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and include information on topics such as labor signs and symptoms, prenatal care, developmental milestones, and more. Know someone who might be interested? Signing up is easy! All you have to do is text the word BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 and you’ll begin receiving free health and safety messages to care for both you and your baby.

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Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Check out the 2013-2014 Theatre for the Very Young Series at The Alliance

9 Jul

Parent’s of young children in Atlanta, take note.  We saw Waiting for Balloon last year and it was so good I can’t wait to take my boys back.  I am SO excited that there are now other productions in the Theatre for the Very Young series.  Check out what’s on board for the ’13/14 season below!

Atlanta’s nationally acclaimed Alliance Theatre and Rosemary Newcott, the Sally G. Tomlinson Artistic Director of Theatre for Youth & Families, are proud to announce the 2013/14 Season for Theatre for the Very Young.  Now in its third season, Theatre for the Very Young is an artistic experience for children ages 18 months – 5 years that overcomes age and developmental barriers, expanding the consciousness of the very young audience members.  Each production nurtures creative thinking, allowing the very young to experience art and culture on their terms.

“It’s thrilling to be offering the youngest members of our community a full season of our fully interactive, wholly original Theatre for the Very Young,” said Christopher Moses, Director of Educational Programs.  “This season will find us creating new work inspired by such diverse topics as Japanese culture to Woody Guthrie’s beloved children’s songs to Beckett.  As always, our Theatre for the Very Young program is committed to inviting these little ones into a true artistic experience and connecting them not only to the theatre but also to each other in a powerful and artful way.”

Beginning October 17, the season will open with an encore production of Waiting for Balloon, directed by Rosemary Newcott and written by folk artist TMarq, loosely based on the classic play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.  Through delightful trial and error, exploration and interaction with the audience, two clowns piece together what makes a balloon a balloon and celebrate all that is discovered while we “wait!”  Waiting for Balloon is a joyous introduction to gentle clowning and the joy of creating puppets from found objects, designed by the creative mind of Puppeteer Michael Haverty.

The next two productions in the season are brand new productions created for very young audiences.  Little Raindrop Songs is a whimsically theatrical and imaginative journey through an anything-but-normal day, with original music by the Japanese ‘pajama-pop’ band Lullatone. The audience is led through a fully interactive world made completely of brightly colored paper which transforms dramatically into multiple settings.  Combining unexpected puppetry, a vibrantly colorful and transformative two-dimensional set design, whimsically comic performances, and the catchy pajama-pop of Lullatone, this fully interactive theatrical performance will connect with the very young and invite them into the wonder of the artistic experience.  Little Raindrop Songs is directed by Puppeteer Michael Haverty.

The final production in the season is Songs to Grow On, directed by Rosemary Newcott.  Inspired by the fun and inventive children’s songs of Woody GuthrieSongs to Grow On invites children on a one of a kind journey across the country in search of the sounds of America.  A tale of friendship, travel, and most of all the love of song, this unforgettable experience celebrates the joyful noise of harmony.   Developed in partnership with Bright from the Start: Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, this engaging show is fully aligned with GA’s pre-K content standards.

“Theatre hopes to enchant, connect and inspire an audience, and Theatre for The Very Young does all of these in such surprising and powerful ways,” said Rosemary Newcott.  “Watching the youngest of our community engage so completely and so joyfully in a theatrical experience reminds all of us the reasons we love this art form so much!  It takes us back to a time when we could allow ‘play’ experience to envelop us and invites the child of any age to know how powerful it feels to be part of the story.”

THEATRE FOR THE VERY YOUNG 2013/14 SEASON DETAILS

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WAITING FOR BALLOON

October 17 – 19, 21 – 26, November 2, 7-9

Written by TMarq

Directed by Rosemary Newcott
Two childlike hobo-clown characters are waiting near the railroad tracks for “balloon”. The problem is that neither of them knows exactly what “balloon” is. Through delightful trial and error, exploration and interaction with the audience, the two piece together what makes a balloon a balloon and celebrate all that is discovered while we wait! This is a joyous introduction to gentle clowning and the joy of creating puppets from found objects.

littleraindropsongsshowart

LITTLE RAINDROP SONGS

December 27 – 29, January 3 & 4, January 6 – 11, & 18

Directed by Michael Haverty
A whimsically theatrical and imaginative journey through an anything-but-normal day, created especially for the very young with original music by the Japanese ‘pajama-pop’ band Lullatone. The audience is led through a fully interactive world made completely of brightly colored paper which transforms dramatically into multiple settings – from the bedroom where we wake and get ready for the day, to the kitchen where we learn to eat a healthy breakfast, into the big world beyond where we experience sunshine, birds, bugs, and animals, a garden, a playground, and finally a big rainstorm which washes us inside for a bath and bedtime lullaby.  Combining unexpected puppetry, a vibrantly colorful and transformative two-dimensional set design, whimsically comic performances, and the catchy pajama-pop of Lullatone, this fully interactive theatrical performance will connect with the very young and invite them in to the wonder of the artistic experience.

songstogrowon3

SONGS TO GROW ON

March 10 – 15, 22, 27 – 29

Directed by Rosemary Newcott
Inspired by the fun and inventive children’s songs of Woody Guthrie, Songs To Grow On invites children on a one of a kind journey across the country in search of the sounds of America.  A tale of friendship, travel, and most of all the love of song, this unforgettable experience celebrates the joyful noise of harmony.

TICKETS

The Alliance Theatre now offers a season ticket package for Theatre for the Very Young. 

TVY Build Your Own Season –

  • 2-play package: $20/person
  • 3-play package: $30/person

In addition to guaranteed seats, all TVY season ticket holders receive:

  • 15% off additional single tickets to all Alliance Theatre Productions
  • 10% off acting classes
  • $5 off return tickets to enjoy Theatre for the Very Young performances again

Tickets for single performances are $10.

Learn more about all these performances at www.alliancetheatre.org/tvy.  Tickets may be purchased online or by contacting Olivia Aston, 404.733.4702 or Olivia.aston@woodrufcenter.org.

Free Braves tickets to Atlanta Summer Readers

26 Jun

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Atlanta Braves Announce “Home Run Readers” Summer Reading Program
Free Braves ticket in exchange for reading about sports or sportsmanship

This summer, the Atlanta Braves and the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America” and the Georgia Association of Educators are partnering with Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) for the 2013 Atlanta Braves Summer Reading Program, “Home Run Readers.”

This new educational outreach program encourages students to build a love for reading, as well as advance their reading skills during the summer months. Home Run Readers rewards students in grades K-12 throughout Georgia by providing one free Braves ticket for each participant who reads at least one book about sports or good sportsmanship. Discounted tickets for accompanying family members and friends will be available for $7 each. 

All-Star pitcher Tim Hudson and All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla will serve as Atlanta Braves ambassadors for the Home Run Readers program.

“We know that reading and literacy will provide a platform for success and the keen knowledge to make wise decisions not only in school, but throughout their entire lives,” said Executive Vice President of the Atlanta Braves, Derek Schiller. “The Atlanta Braves are proud to provide a reward for the hardworking kids in the state of Georgia.”

 Reward tickets can be redeemed for any of the five following games:

•        Sunday, June 30, vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

•        Tuesday, July 2, vs. Miami Marlins

•        Monday, July 29, vs. Colorado Rockies

•        Thursday, August 1, vs. Colorado Rockies

•        Sunday, August 11, vs. Miami Marlins

“We are extremely pleased and excited about this partnership and to be able to offer these wonderful reading incentives to young people and families across the state,” said Dr. Lamar Veatch, Georgia’s state librarian. “A program that encourages education while providing fun for the entire family is a true treasure. Home Run Reading and its related events will be excellent examples of our three organizations’ joint commitment to every community in Georgia.”

“Just because school is out doesn’t mean students should take a break from reading,” said Dennis Van Roekel, NEA president. “When students return to their classrooms in the fall, we want reading to top the list of what they did this summer.”

“This effort is a natural extension of our Read Across America programs held in spring,” said Calvine Rollins, president of the Georgia Association of Educators. “Although summer brings a welcome break from the rigors of the school year, it’s extremely important to ensure our children are keeping up with and enhancing their reading skills during their time off.”

Additionally, the Braves will host GPLS days at Turner Field on three separate dates. GPLS and local library staff will be on hand to enable those fans that don’t already have a library card to sign up for one at the stadium. The GPLS Days are slated for June 30 against the Diamondbacks, August 18vs. the Nationals, and September 15 as the Braves take on the San Diego Padres.

Home Run Readers is open to all Georgia students in grades K-12 and runs through August 11. Program rules, a list of suggested titles, registration information and redemption forms are available online at www.braves.com/reading.

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