The responsibilities and Rewards of Being a Caregiver

16 Oct

Image result for Holding the Net Merriman book image

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.



13 Oct


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 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 Guests can order online or find out more about Denny’s seasonal menu, available all day, every day through Jan. 3, 2018, by visiting


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 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

Five Commandments for Balancing the Busy by Tabitha Lord

3 Aug


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!


What about you? How do you manage your busy?

Lifehammer Safety Device for Car Travel

1 Aug
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.


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 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



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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.”




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.



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.



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.


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  Tickets may be purchased online or by contacting Olivia Aston, 404.733.4702 or

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

It’s Summer…which in Atlanta means it’s time to CHOP!

13 Jun

Even though we are die-hard Penn State and Steelers fans, one of the first and best things we adopted when moving to Atlanta ten years ago was a penchant for the Braves.  They are our MLB team, no question.  Everything about it- the team, the stadium, the experience…just fit for us.  We love the Turner Field, have had great service and refreshments there, and always seem to have a great time, no matter where we find ourselves sitting.

It’s officially summer for everyone in Atlanta now, and with Father’s Day coming up this weekend, a Braves game seems like a great choice for a family outing.  Here’s some info about what’s happening with the Braves in the next week.  We actually hope to make it to one of these games, and if we do, I’ll be sure to post about our experience and offer some tips for taking kids to a game.  Let’s go Braves!

BJ Upton Bobblehead

Atlanta Braves Homestand Highlights Friday, June 14 – Thursday, June 20

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves (June 14 – June 16)

Friday, June 14 at 7:35 p.m. vs. San Francisco Giants

  • ·         Braves Strike Out Hunger Fridays Presented by Kroger: The Braves will host a food drive prior to every Friday home game during the 2013 season to benefit the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Fans can donate 20 cans of food or $20 at the Strike Out Hunger Tent and receive an autograph from a Braves pitcher. Limit of one signature per donation. On Friday, June 14, fans will have the opportunity to get an autograph from Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel in Monument Grove from 6:35 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. For a list of items needed and future food drive collection dates, visit
  • ·         Friday Night Rising Stars Series: The Atlanta Braves Friday Night Rising Stars Series provides an opportunity for up-and-coming bands ready to rock and entertain thousands of fans at Turner Field, a stage to perform prior to select home games as well as postgame during the 2013 season. OnJune 14, the Braves welcome Sundy Best, to Fan Plaza as well as a special post-game performance before fireworks on the field. With influences ranging from country, bluegrass, rock, soul and rhythm and blues, the duo produces music that, at times, is hard to classify. They are crowd rockers and party starters. The band’s visceral sound and incredible live shows have gained them a loyal following.
  • ·         Jerseys Off Our Backs Presentation: The Atlanta Braves auctioned off game-worn jerseys for fans to bid on with proceeds benefitting the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Winning bidders will receive two tickets to the game vs. Giants and will be presented on-field with the jersey by a Braves player immediately following the game. Each jersey will be authenticated and autographed for the lucky winners.
  • ·         Sport Clips’ “Chop”: Every Friday home game during the 2013 season, Sport Clips Haircuts is cutting hair for charity. Sport Clips stylist will give haircuts to fans at Top of the Chop for a $5 minimum donation to the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Enjoy a Braves game view from the Top of the Chop and a Sport Clips haircut while making a difference in our community. Sport Clips.
  • ·         Friday Night Fireworks, presented by Georgia Lottery: Enjoy the Braves game and a spectacular fireworks show set to music following every Braves Friday home game.

Saturday, June 15 at 4:05 p.m. vs. San Francisco Giants

  • ·         MLB Drawstring Giveaway presented by MLB Network: The first 45,000 fans will take home a MLB drawstring bag.
  • ·         Pitch, Hit & Run Presented by Scotts: The Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball host the Team Championship level of the Pitch, Hit & Run official skills competition. Sixteen finalists from Local and Sectional skills competitions throughout Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, compete on the field in the skills of running, batting, fielding, and throwing. The finalist will be honored during an on-field presentation at the game.
  • ·         Live Music in the Plaza: Fans will enjoy live music in Fan Plaza as Braves Band of the Year contestant, Nine Times Blues, will perform. The critically acclaimed, Atlanta-based alternative rock band has been selling out shows all around Atlanta. While they clearly wear their influences on their sleeve, invoking the classic alt-rock and power pop that first inspired them to pick up instruments, Nine Times Blue has a radio friendly, modern sound that is all their own.
  • ·         Braves Country 4-Miler: Summer is finally here and to celebrate fans can put their best foot forward, literally, and race on down to Turner Field for the Braves Country 4-Miler on Saturday, June 15. The route, beginning at 7:15 a.m., will take racers around Atlanta and culminate on the warning track near the Braves dugout. Race entry includes a ticket to Saturday’s matchup against the San Francisco Giants and a short-sleeve performance shirt. Race entrants, and their family and friends will take part in a parade around the field before the game. Registration closed on June 12.

Sunday, June 16 at 8:00 p.m. vs. San Francisco Giants

***Please note the game time change to 8:00 p.m. due to ESPN Broadcast***

  • ·         Alumni Sunday: Braves alumni Brad Clontz and Mark Lemke will greet fans and sign autographs pregame in Fan Plaza from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • ·         In honor of Father’s Day, all dads and sons are invited to lineup at the Hank Aaron ramp at 6:30 p.m. for a pregame parade around the warning track.
  • ·         Hometown Hero: During the 6th Inning the Braves will pay tribute to a local “Hometown Hero” from the United States Military.
  • ·         Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition: Promotes awareness of prostate cancer in Georgia – including the make of the disease, importance of early detection, treatment options and survival. The organization will be onsite in Monument Grove from 5 – 8:00 p.m. distributing information to fans.
  • God Bless America: During the 7th Inning Stretch, Atlanta’s fan-favorite Timothy Miller will perform God Bless America.
  • Kids Run The Bases: Presented by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we invite all kids 14 and under to run the bases after every regular seasonSunday home game. Just meet at the Hank Aaron ramp at aisle 129 on the Field Level.
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness Day: The Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball will host a celebration of survivorship honoring men who have courageously battled prostate cancer. Survivors will receive a free game ticket, commemorative t-shirt, and the opportunity to participate in a special on-field ceremony. During the game, players, umpires, coaches and on-field personnel will wear MLB blue ribbon wristbands and blue ribbon decals on their uniforms. Other blue ribbon elements include official blue dugout lineup cards and the logo will be affixed to the bases. For more information, visit


New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves (June 17- June 20)

Monday, June 17 at 7:10 p.m. vs. New York Mets

  • ·         Braves Wives Oklahoma Disaster Relief Efforts On-Field Check Presentation: The Braves Wives will present to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Disaster Relief Fund with a check for $13,000 that was raised through the Brown Bag Bonanza/Mystery Baseball sale on June 2.
  • ·         Sport Clips $8 Night: Get Terrace View seats for only $8 to any Monday game this season!
  • ·         Holeman & Finch Burger Ticket Package: New to Turner Field in 2013, the Holeman & Finch Burger is being served up at three locations throughout the ballpark. This widely popular handcrafted burger is guaranteed for fans that purchase the H&F Ticket Package. A $32 ticket (only 24 available per game) gets fans a reserved Outfield Pavilion seat on the H&F Burger Row and H&F Burger Pass (front of the line access and a guaranteed burger).

Tuesday, June 18 SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER at 1:10 and 7:10 p.m. vs. New York Mets

***The Atlanta Braves home game against the New York Mets that was postponed by rain on May 4 has been rescheduled as part of a split doubleheader on June 18. The first game will begin at 1:10 p.m. and the second game will start at 7:10 p.m. Fans holding tickets to the May 4game can use the tickets for the first game of the split doubleheader or exchange the tickets for any other remaining available 2013 game. Tickets can be exchanged at Turner Field box office or mail before June 18. Please visit for details. ***

  • ·        Coca-Cola Two-for-$30 Tuesdays: Two tickets for $30 in the Club Level Pavilion every Tuesday, fans save up to 50%.

Wednesday, June 19 at 7:10 p.m. vs. New York Mets

  • ·         All You Can Eat Seats: For as low as $50 for group tickets on Super Value games and $60 at the gate, fans can enjoy unlimited smoked BBQ sandwiches, chicken wings, all beef franks, potato salad, peanuts, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, Coca-Cola products, and draft beer.

Thursday, June 20 at 7:10 p.m. vs. New York Mets

  • ·         B.J. Upton Bobblehead Giveaway presented by Delta Air LinesThe first 20,000 fans will receive a B.J. Upton bobblehead.

Every Week at Turner Field:

  • ·         Braves Batting Practice Experience: Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience from the field and watch your favorite players up-close while both teams take batting practice before the game. Visit for more details.
  • ·         At The Ballpark App: Fans visiting Turner Field this season can connect with their Atlanta Braves using the new and FREE At The Ballpark app, available for iPhone and Android users. Through the app, fans can upgrade their seats, access video highlights, listen to the Braves radio broadcast and much more. Visit to download today!
  • ·         Holeman & Finch Burger Ticket Package: New to Turner Field in 2013, the Holeman & Finch Burger is being served up at three locations throughout the ballpark. This widely popular handcrafted burger is guaranteed for fans that purchase the H&F Ticket Package. A $32 ticket (only 24 available per game) gets fans a reserved Outfield Pavilion seat on the H&F Burger Row and H&F Burger Pass (front of the line access and a guaranteed burger).
  • ·         Friday Night Fireworks, presented by Georgia Lottery: Enjoy the Braves game and a spectacular fireworks show set to music following every Braves Friday home game.
    • ·        50/50 Raffle: The Atlanta Braves Foundation will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets electronically throughout Turner Field until the end of the sixth inning. Stationary kiosks can be found at aisles 132 and handhelds will be carried by the 50/50 team. 50% of the proceeds will benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
    • ·        Coca-Cola Two-for-$30 Tuesdays: Two tickets for $30 in the Club Level Pavilion every Tuesday, fans save up to 50%.
    • ·        All You Can Eat Seats: For as low as $50 for group tickets on Super Value games and $60 at the gate, fans can enjoy unlimited smoked BBQ sandwiches, chicken wings, all beef franks, potato salad, peanuts, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, Coca-Cola products, and draft beer.
    • ·        College and AAA Discount: Two Upper Box tickets for the price of one with a valid college or AAA ID card.
    • ·        Military Discount: Two Upper Box and Outfield tickets for the price of one ticket with a valid military ID.
    • ·        $1 SkyLine Seats: Available two and a half hours before every home game at the Turner Field Ticket Office.

Fans can purchase tickets by visiting, the Braves Ticket Office at Turner Field, the Braves Clubhouse Store at the CNN Center, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Atlanta Braves games are broadcast on FS South and SportSouth. Radio broadcasts can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan, Rock 100 FM, 93.7 FM and regionally on the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Follow the Braves at,, and

Bless your heart ;-),


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