Thanksgiving Series: Our Small but Magical Family Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Series: Our Small but Magical Family Thanksgiving | Twin Cities Mom Collective

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we asked several of our writers to tell us about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions and stories. Whether a quiet affair at home, or a boisterous congregation of friends and extended family, the richness of gathering with loved ones unites us all in this harvest season.


They wake early, as they always do, each with their own demands—one for milk, another for a story, all for attention. We take turns pouring bowls of cereal to satiate them, while the other dresses in warm running clothes. We bundle them up next, letting them keep their pajamas on under their coats. There is no school today; we have no place to be.

Thanksgiving Series: Our Small but Magical Family Thanksgiving | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Then it’s out the door, two jogging strollers loaded up with three children snuggling under blankets for extra warmth. It’s a chilly 20 degrees on this November morning, perfect weather for a family run.  Four miles later we return home to a lazy morning of Lego creating and train track building. There is a parade on TV followed by some football games, but it serves merely as background sound to our typical routine. While the littlest naps, I escape to the kitchen to chop and slice and stir, enjoying the excuse to linger over dinner preparations. It feels like a luxury in comparison to the usual hurry scurry at the end of the day. Later we’ll sit down as a family and they will nibble at the parts they like and shove aside the parts they don’t. Then it’s rush-rush-rush to the bedtime shuffle, ending our day as we always do, two tired grownups with one brief moment of alone time before we must wake up and do it all over again.

It’s a narrative like any other day in the life of a young family. Meals around a table, some chores, plenty of play—the usual rhythms of our day.

But it’s NOT just any other day. For at this moment in other homes, many families freshen up guest bedrooms and add another leaf to the table. They pile into the car to travel, if not over the river and through the woods, at least to the next suburb for dinner. Kitchens fill with cherished recipes only used at the holidays. And grandparents snuggle babies they don’t see often enough. It’s a commonly held practice they partake in.

For today is Thanksgiving.

As a child, I loved and cherished this tradition in my family, too. We always had more around our table than just our usual family of five. I looked forward to my Grandma’s cranberry salad and my Granny’s butter rolls. I loved the years when we shared the kids’ table with cousins and giggled over jokes our parents probably wouldn’t approve of. It was loud and busy and likely a bit stressful to my parents as the hosts. But it was Thanksgiving, a time to gather with loved ones to give thanks together in community. It was tradition.

But the tradition looks a little different for me now. In our house, Thanksgiving is just us, my husband and our three kids. It’s simple, quiet, and ordinary. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

We didn’t set out with this plan. When I envisioned Thanksgiving with a family of my own one day, I saw overflowing tables, kitchens buzzing with excitement, and kin repeating “my how you have grown” mantras. It was tradition, after all.

But things changed when our daughter was only a year old and our family moved to Texas, a good two day’s drive from either of our families. Visits became less frequent with the increase of travel times to loved ones. Feasibly our family could only fit one big epic Christmas road trip into our holiday plans. Thanksgiving travel was out of the question.

And this is where our tradition of a small family Thanksgiving began.

The beautiful thing about tradition though, is often it arises as an answer to a problem. We could be disappointed to miss out on Grandma’s stuffing, sad to not take the hands of our family around a big table for a blessing, nostalgic for the giggling sounds of cousins reunited. And we were.

But we also realized we were given an opportunity—to create our own memories, to celebrate in our own way, to choose to focus on what truly matters on this day: gratitude. Thus, what began as a loss transformed into a cherished tradition to make Thanksgiving small yet magical just for our family.

This tradition takes shape in different ways from year to year. The first year, still learning what it felt like to be alone in a new place, local friends invited us to their Thanksgiving table, partaking in their own family’s traditions for this holiday. One year, two friends traveled from out of town to join us, our own little mini version of Friendsgiving. The most memorable year of all was the Thanksgiving we went camping. The food warmed over a campfire, the dining table sat under the stars, and we closed out the night snuggled together inside our tent. It seemed like an outlandish plan to go camping for Thanksgiving, and truth be told, it was hard to enjoy the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving dinner when everything tasted like campfire smoke. But when you live in Texas you take advantage of the weather that invites November camping. It’s the kind of magic you only find when you let go of expectations and make room for new traditions.

However most years, like this one, it’s quiet. Not much separates the day from any other except for one thing—intention. For in the midst of a full and fast season of life, we need those reminders to be grateful for our small family sitting around the table, as well as those we will send wishes to via video calls after dinner (a reminder to put technology on the grateful list.) Even now, with the distance between us and family cut in half since our move to Minnesota, we find we prefer this slower pace to the holiday. Sometimes you have to slow down to spot the magic.

Thanksgiving Series: Our Small but Magical Family Thanksgiving | Twin Cities Mom Collective

I glance at my menu plan as I make the final preparations for dinner. We may keep the company simple, but that doesn’t stop me from presenting a feast. The usual dishes will fill the table—the turkey, stuffing, and of course Grandma’s cranberry salad. There will also be a new Brussels sprout recipe, two different kinds of pie, and an unnecessarily large portion of creamy mashed potatoes. It is a lot for a family of five, especially when two of the diners are really only here for the pie, and one doesn’t even have teeth yet. But the ritual of food is part of the magic for me and the size of the table doesn’t change that. Also, no one ever complained about too many Thanksgiving leftovers.

Just as I pull out the vegetable peeler to get started on the potatoes, I hear a whining sound come from the monitor—a reminder of a nap time cut short. I sigh, recognizing the passing of my peaceful cooking moment. If there were grandparents in the house, I could hand him off. But it’s just us, me in the kitchen, him in the living room entertaining the Lego builders. I pull out the baby carrier, snuggle the nap quitter into my chest, and continue cooking. Ordinarily this would frustrate me. But I’m learning to embrace the confluence of the magic with the ordinary. Children don’t stop needing you just because it is a holiday. We chose this tradition, which often requires a bit more effort on our part to make it work for us.

And we make the sacrifice willingly, because we know in a few weeks, we will get our turn at that big family holiday tradition. We’ll get to be in the cars traveling over the river and through the woods, we’ll sleep in strange beds, and we’ll finally snuggle those family members we are missing tonight.

But today, it’s just us—our small family of five sitting around the table, as we always do, but with the lingering reminder to be grateful, to be intentional, and to notice the magic. After all, it’s our tradition.

2019 Family Guide to the Holidazzle

We're thrilled to again be partnering with the mpls downtown council to provide this guide for families. The Holidazzle is a Minnesota tradition and this year there's more to do than ever!
Holidazzle 2019 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

It’s truly a Minnesota tradition to bundle up and head out to the Holidazzle during the holiday season. This year, you and your family can enjoy this holiday celebration at Loring Park! It’s free, open to the public, and full of fun that people of all ages can enjoy! This year’s Holidazzle features annual favorites as well as new activities to enjoy.  Here are a few tips to navigating the Holidazzle including parking and directions, food and beverage vendors, gift shops, activities, free ice skating and skates for all ages, and more!

The best part of the Holidazzle and the set up put together by our sponsors the mpls downtown council, is that you could attend each weekend and find a completely different experience. Food and gift options are different depending on the day you visit, as is the entertainment and programming. With free entry, this spin on a longtime Minnesota tradition is one of the best values for family entertainment you’ll find throughout the holiday season!

2019 Family Guide to the Holidazzle | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Cost: Did you know the Holidazzle is completely FREE?! There is no admission cost to enter!

Hours: The Holidazzle is open Thursdays through Sundays from November 29th-December 22nd.

Thursdays from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Fridays from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Sundays from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Location: Loring Park is the home of the Holidazzle again this year! The park is transformed into a truly magical holiday experience. See the map to find where your favorite food, beverages, and shops are located.

What to Expect: You can expect a Minneapolis-centric experience that includes well-known local businesses and products. Enjoy prepared food and beverages, packaged food, merchandise, free music and other festive entertainment for all ages, free skating with complimentary skates for all ages, and much more. This event is completely outdoors, however warming houses are located throughout the grounds! Portable restrooms are also available.

Stay connected: Share your experience with us at Holidazzle. Follow us on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and interact with us using the hashtag #holidazzle. Plus, use our Snapchat filter to show your friends what you’re enjoying most at Holidazzle!

2019 Family Guide to the Holidazzle | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Free Rides each Saturday: Get to the Holidazzle by bus or by light rail with a free-ride pass each Saturday from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Take the free survey, then print a pass for each rider to bring along or show yours digitally when you use a bus or light rail. Passes are exclusive to each weekend. Passes for each Saturday can be downloaded at www.holidazzle.com/directions!

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 30

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21

Directions: To get directions from your specific location, click here!

Entrances: There are several ways to enter the Holidazzle including the walking paths near the intersections of Harmon Place; Maple Street, Willow Street; Grant Street, and the pedestrian bridge near Oak Grove Street.

Parking: Holidazzle’s recommendation is to park at the Minneapolis College parking ramp (1420 Hennepin Avenue). They will offer $5 parking from 4 pm-11 pm on Thursdays and Fridays and 10 am-11 pm on Saturdays and Sundays at Holidazzle.

Rides Shares: Taking an Uber or a Lyft? Have your driver pick you up or drop you off at the corner of Yale Street and Willow Street (address: 60 Willow Street).

Other options include:

IDS Center Parking Garage (80 S. 8th St, entrance between 7th & 8th)

Parade Park (400 Kenwood Parkway)

Walker Art Center (1750 Hennepin Ave)

Metro Ramp (90 S. 9th Street)

2019 Family Guide to the Holidazzle | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Get your holiday shopping done while your kids play at Holidazzle! We have a great collection of local vendors on site offering foods, drinks and gifts that will make your holiday experience memorable. The products are ones you can’t find anywhere else in one place. Enjoy! Learn more about our vendors at www.holidazzle.com/vendors.

Prepared Foods:

Cindy’s Cinnamon Roasted Nuts (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Enjoy the season’s smells and tastes with this family-owned business selling cinnamon roasted almonds, pecans and cashews.

Fair Faves Cheese Curds and Mini Donuts (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) A Midwestern favorite, stay warm with a helping of local cheese curds or sweet mini donuts as you stroll through Holidazzle!

Fresco’s Foods (Nov. 29-Dec. 22): Fresco’s is a female owned small business specializing in serving foods from all over the globe. Fresco’s will offer a variety of options at Holidazzle, including Corn Chowder Stew, Australian Meat Pie, Farm house chicken pie, winter Garden veggie pie, Mac N Cheese, Warm Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing, and Three Cheese Mac N Cheese. They will have a good variety of gluten free and vegetarian options. Plus, enjoy an exclusive offering on Thursdays like Beer Braised meat Pies and Beer Cheese smoked mac n cheese.

Gorkha Palace (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Gorkha Palace offers authentic Nepali, Indian and Tibetan cuisine. They use high quality fresh ingredients sourced from local organic and sustainable farming. From the delectable, juicy, momo of traditional Tibet to the richly flavored spiced curries of Nepal and India, their eclectic cuisine reflects the flavors of the Himalayans.

Heavenly Bar-B-Que (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Heavenly Feast Bar-B-Que is a Twin Cities based, minority and veteran owned concession company. They provide real wood smoked meats and traditional sides for events around the metro area. Heavenly Feast will feature ribs, pulled pork and chicken with some traditional sides at Holidazzle.

iPierogi (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) iPierogi offers several pierogi treats on hand at this delicious Holidazzle stop, including pierogis with meat, pierogis with potato and cheese, and crepes/blintzes filled with cream cheese.

Kramarczuk’s (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) A staple of Minneapolis since 1954, Kramaczuk’s Sausages will bring its local tradition of producing delicious sausage from Northeast to Holidazzle, including their German Brat, Polish Sausage, all-beef hot dogs and a special Holidazzle sausage with cranberries and wild rice!

K-Town Street Food (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Stop in at K-Town Street Food and try out their fries or a few of their signature offerings, including Kimchi Fries, a Korean taco bowl (tortilla chips topped with choice of grilled meat, kimchi, choice of sauce) and Bulgogi Beef Empanada Puff Pastry (stuffed Bulgogi Beef, potato, tomatoes, Mexican cheese and onions). All sauces are hand-made and delicious with varying degrees of spice. A must try!

MSP Pretzel (Nov. 29-Dec. 22): Fresh-baked (HOT!) Bavarian pretzels. Their hot smoked gouda cheese sauce is unbelievable paired with a cold craft beer. Enjoy Fresh Baked Bavarian Pretzels and Fresh Baked Buttered Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels at Holidazzle.

Poffertjes and More by The Littlest Pancake  (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) Have you tried a Poffertjes? You’ll want to stop and test out these tiny pancakes made just for you at The Littlest Pancake! Also, test out their soup and apple cakes which will be available as well.

Root To Rise Kitchen (Nov. 29-Dec. 22): Root to Rise creates organic, vegan food from scratch. They use minimal, high-quality, sustainable ingredients in their food. Try their Mac N Cheese veg rolls, Tofu Hash Benedict with Mushrooms, Deep Fried Potato Skins, Pop Pastries, Walking Tacos and Pumpkin Thai Soup. Plus, enjoy exclusive food offerings on Thursdays and Sundays.

Tasty Gyros (Nov. 29-Dec. 22): Tasty Gyros sells delicious Lamb Gyro sandwiches, scrumptious falafel sandwiches (vegetarian and vegan), and sweet flaky baklava. Their menu is popular with young and old, meat lovers and vegetarian. Tasty Gyros cooks everything to order on the spot with fresh ingredients and signature sauces.

Twin Cities Paella (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) Paella, a traditional Spanish rice dish, is sure to warm you up at Holidazzle this winter. Ingredients like Spanish short grain Rice, Saffron, Smoked Pimiento, Piquillo Peppers and Extra Virgin Olive Oil are all imported from Spain to keep the flavors authentic.

Beverages:

Fulton Beer (Nov. 29-Dec. 22): Minneapolis-born, Fulton Brewing will be delighting adult Holidazzle goers two exclusive, limited-edition beers at Holidazzle this season. For those feeling extra festive the Small Talk Stout, a Chocolate Oatmeal Milk Stout was brewed just for you. The second exclusive is the Goodwill Gold Lager—it’s as easy-drinking as they come. Plus, Fulton will have Lime and Blood Orange Hard Seltzers as well as select Fulton favorites on tap. On Sundays, enjoy Holidazzle Brunch with a Fulton Bloody Beer.

Holidazzle Beverages (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Quench your thirst with local hot cider and water available, both of which complement the delicious local tastes and savory smells accompanying you through your Holidazzle journey!

Sociable Cider Werks (Nov. 29-Dec. 22): Straight from their home in Northeast Minneapolis, Sociable Cider Werks brings its expertise to Holidazzle to help you enjoy the festive atmosphere with sips of a Minnesota favorite. This year’s Fat Bike Mulled Apple is even more sweet when served warm and is made from freshly-squeezed apples—never concentrate. Plus, they’ll have a new Candy Apple cold cider to enjoy as well! And on Sundays during Holidazzle Brunch, they’ll be selling mimosas.

The Wandering Mug (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) New to the Holidazzle lineup in 2019, the Wandering Mug is a local and mobile coffee shop food truck. This year at Holidazzle they’re selling delicious hot chocolate, hot cider, hot tea, and hot coffee. They’ll also have a few specials including chai lattes and pumpkin spice hot chocolate. Coffee beans from local roaster True Stone.

Family Guide to the Holidazzle | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Minneapolis Craft Market (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) The Mpls Craft Market will be bringing approximately 20 makers each weekend to Holidazzle! Their space will be packed full of local artists and makers selling handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories, woodwork, home decor, prints, fiber art and more. The lineup of artists will be different each day, so visit us throughout the weekend and you’ll always find something new.

This year’s Mpls Craft Market makers include: Adorned With Grace LLC, AnJartica, Awesome Industries, Ballerina Botanicals, Beeper Bebe, Big Stick Studio, Blue Egg Farmstore, Blue Turtle Handmade Crafts, Cara Corey Designs, Cheese Brothers, DK Wood Toys, Fair Anita, For Knit Me Knot, Freynika Chocolate, Fuzzbutt Boutique, GoGo Glam Household Goods, Hensa by Liz Rae Weddings, Hey Pupper, Ivan Idland, Juniper & Spruce, Kbella Jewelry, Knits Jewelry and More, Lenny the loon, Lower Woodland Studio, Lucy iburg, Mad Owl, Made By Linnae, Map Lamps, Megan Murrell Illustration, Mrs., North Country Craft, Oakleafleather, Oh Fer Cute, One of a Kind, Psycholights, s meyer designs, SHEMA, Skyline Specs, Sneckys, Stella Sparrow Design, Stick it to Winter, and The Vintage Studio.

The Abbey Alpacas (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Never fear winter again. Let the little sisters and brothers of The Abbey wrap you in the luxury of genuine Alpaca. The Abbey raise their own alpaca in Minnesota. Their fleece is seven times warmer than wool, softer than cashmere and hypoallergenic. Don’t miss their toasty warm ALPACA SOCKS, and their hand-made HATS, MITTENS, and SCARVES. Plus, come see their alpacas on Sundays of Holidazzle (Dec. 1, Dec. 8, Dec. 15, Dec. 22)!

The Beer Dabbler (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) The Beer Dabbler Store is your one-stop shop for everything craft beer. From apparel to local beer art, bottle openers, tap handles and 100s of kinds of specialty glassware, you’ll find beer gear from your favorite local, regional and national craft breweries.

Cabin Customs (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Cabin Customs creates custom metal gifts, ornaments and designs. Find anything from Minnesota or America themed items, custom lakes, custom states, custom ornaments, and much more.

Hippy Feet (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Each time you purchase a pair of these trendy socks from Hippy Feet, they will donate a pair of socks to someone in need. Their long-term mission is to create a program where they offer part-time employment to those experiencing homelessness in our community.

KCM Woodwork (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) KCM Woodwork makes high-quality wood crafts by hand, including painted and engraved wooden signs, coffee mug holders, wine racks, baby half moon-shaped cradles, six-foot cedar light houses, light tea candle holders with bases, wall decorations, wooden centerpiece boxes with mason jars/flowers, and more.

Northern Drift (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Northern Drift is a casual lifestyle brand developed by a Minnesota husband and wife team, and inspired by the nautical side of the land of 10,000 Lakes. Our goal is to provide timeless products that reflect a love of life out on the lake, and chasing summer all year long.

North Shore Apparel/Martin’s (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Based in Excelsior, North Shore Apparel/Martin’s brings Minnesotans high-quality lake gear. Hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts will be on sale at Holidazzle, as well as pajamas, socks, scarves, cashmere, candles.

Simple-Trends (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Simple-Trends offers a great variety of handmade items. The recycled wool sweater mittens are made with top-quality wool, cashmere and angora sweaters. They are lined with fleece for your hands to stay warm and soft all winter long. Simple-Trends’ headbands are just what you need for your lifestyle, whether it be for a run, fitness class or just a day out! They also make handmade purses, a new fall addition.

Three Rivers Farm syrup (Nov. 29 – Dec. 22) Browse and enjoy an incredible selection of maple syrup flavors from this group based out of Lonsdale, Minn. Three Rivers Farm syrup includes about a dozen different flavors including blueberry, bourbon maple, cinnamon, cranberry, habanero, vanilla and more. Bottles come in a variety of sizes and packs. A great gift or purchase meant for sweet and savory meals alike. Stop by and enjoy!

2019 Family Guide to the Holidazzle | Twin Cities Mom Collective

The Holidazzle has entertainment in many forms including movies, live music, story time, fireworks and more! Some of these events happen each night while others only on certain days of the event. Take a look at the daily schedule here to plan your visit on a night that interests you and your family!

Holidazzle Movie Nights presented by Metro by T-Mobile

Join us for classic winter/holiday movies in our Winter Wonderland. Grab a spot on a haybale, or bring a chair/blanket and enjoy!

Friday, November 29 | 8:00 pm: A Christmas Story

Sunday, December 1 | 5:00 pm: The Grinch (2018)

Thursday, December 5 | 6:30 pm: Miracle

Sunday, December 8 | 7:00 pm: Polar Express

Thursday, December 12 | 7:00 pm: Home Alone

Sunday, December 15 | 7:00 pm: Smallfoot

Thursday, December 19 | 7:00 pm: Christmas with the Kranks

Sunday, December 22 | 5:00 pm: Elf

 ** All movie showings at Holidazzle include closed captioning

Musical Performances

We’re celebrating the holiday season with great musical performances throughout Holidazzle! Stop by and listen to a great collection of local bands, choirs and artists who will perform music on site each day. We’ve got a full list of performers at www.holidazzle.com/schedule. Check out who will be performing while you’re there!

Performance Deck Activities

Holidazzle has a new performance deck this year located right next to the Mpls WinterSkate rink and alongside Sociable Cider Werks. Stop by the deck to sit down, enjoy tasty food and beverages, and at specific times during Holidazzle stop by to enjoy musical performances, Story Time, glass blowing demos, cooking demos and more.

Holidazzle Fireworks presented by Xcel Energy

So often fireworks keep the kids up at all hours, but winter fireworks have you home in time for a more reasonable bedtime! Gather your family to watch fireworks light up the downtown sky! Join us for winter fireworks displays at Holidazzle this holiday season!

Friday, November 29 | 7:00 PM

Saturday, December 7 | 7:00 PM

Saturday, December 14 | 7:00 PM

Saturday, December 21 | 7:00 PM

Enjoy The Interactive Illuminated Art Installations

Enjoy the Interactive Illuminated Art Installations at Holidazzle. Holidazzle has enhanced lighting this year including a new interactive illuminated art exhibit—the Yeti! Christopher Lutter-Gardella, who created the Wolf and Moose that were part of Holidazzle in 2016-2018, has brought a new exhibit to life that will light up and allow viewers to peddle and engage in the art itself. The Yeti are comprised of 90 percent recycled waste-stream materials.

Ice Skating At Holidazzle

Enjoy outdoor skating in Downtown Minneapolis at the Minneapolis WinterSkate! The skating rink is open daily now through early March—including all Holidazzle operating hours. Skating is free and open to the public. Bring your own skates, or borrow a complimentary pair located in the Warming House courtesy of CenterPoint Energy. Skate sizes vary and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click Here for more information on skating downtown.

Drag Queen Bingo

Check out Drag Queen Bingo at Fulton Beer Garden. We’ve got bingo from 7-9pm on Dec. 6, 13 and 20! Bring friends, family, colleagues and neighbors and join in the fun.

2019 Family Guide to the Holidazzle | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Meet Santa Claus

Stop by and see Santa! Santa will be on site during ALL Holidazzle hours and will be available for photos and to tell him your wish list FOR FREE! Holidazzle is the only place downtown where you can meet Santa this year, and it’s an experience your kids will love. Enjoy a little time with Santa during your visit!

Photo Opportunities

Don’t miss your chance to take a photo in the Holidazzle Snowglobe! Back by popular demand, the football-shaped globe is a great place to take in the ambiance of Holidazzle and take a unique family photo you can’t get anywhere else. We’ve also got the Holidazzle sleigh on site! It’s another great place to get family photos taken during the holiday season. Stop by and take a photo on this fun new addition at Holidazzle!

The Thwing

This is a must-try this holiday season. The Thwing is inspired by one simple idea…play.  The approach is to create spaces where both kids and adults might find themselves caught off guard for just a moment and get swept up in the blissful joy.  The mix of wonder and intuitive simplicity pulls people in to discover. What they leave with are a giant smile, an opened soul and a little windswept hair. Jump on. It’s time to Thwing.

Holidazzle Kids Zone presented by U.S. Bank

Don’t miss out on the Holidazzle Kids Zone presented by U.S. Bank, which will include a collection of fun activities for all ages and abilities to enjoy. The Kids Zone at Holidazzle is a huge hit for young and old enjoying a holiday night out, and this year the Kids Zone will be bigger and better than ever with a climbing wall, slides, maze, tunnel, hay bales and more.

And more! Check out these fun activities throughout Holidazzle:

Alpacas and adoptable rescue animals on Sundays (December 1, 8, 15 & 22, 11 am-7 pm)

Come visit us on Sunday and meet Lincoln, Blinkin’, Nod, and our other friendly Alpacas from 11 am-7 pm at The Abbey Alpaca tent!

Rescue animals on site each Saturday and Sunday

Stop by each weekend day to meet rescue animals from local organizations!

  • 30: North Star Great Pyrenees
  • 1: Underdog Rescue
  • 7: RAGOM Rescue
  • 8: Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue
  • 14: Pet Haven Rescue
  • 15: Midwest Animal Rescue
  • 21: MN Pitbull Rescue
  • 22: MN Companion Rabbit Society
Story Time at Holidazzle – Saturdays & Sundays

Don’t miss out on Story Time at Holidazzle featuring children’s books told by great story tellers, authors and even Santa! Stop by for stories at 11:30 am and 12:30 pm on Saturdays.

 Skating performances

Join us on opening night at 5 pm for a fun, flash-mob style skating performance by American Ice Theater on the Mpls WinterSkate rink. Keep an eye out for more pop-up performances throughout the winter.

Glass Blowing demonstrations

Stop by each Friday night from 5-10 pm for lamp lighting style glassblowing demonstrations at the Holidazzle performance deck next to the Mpls WinterSkate rink. Purchase one of their hand-crafted ornaments while you’re there.

Sunday brunch (11 am-2 pm)

Bring your Sunday Funday Brunch plans to Holidazzle and enjoy a Bloody Beer in our Fulton Beer Garden or a Sociable Cider Works Mimosa. Pair these delightful beverages with our exclusive Sunday Brunch items created by our Holidazzle food vendors and watch the game on one of our TV’s.

Cooking Demos – Sundays (1-3 pm)

We’ll have members of the Minneapolis culinary community on site on select Sundays to showcase their talents in fun ways. Check Holidazzle.com/schedule for more information, then stop by the performance deck and enjoy.

Silent Disco (Thursdays, 5 pm – 9 pm)

Lace up your skates and grab a pair of lighted headphones every Thursday for Silent Disco skating. You can choose between three different channels and its all FREE!

Craft + Vinyl Night (Thursdays, 5-9 pm)

Test your crafting skills on Thursdays in the Fulton Beer Garden while SolSta Records curates the playlist for your listening pleasure. Lets face it, music always sounds better on vinyl and you can purchase some for your own collection from the vinyl pop up shop!

Most Epic Dog Day (December 8th)

For dog lovers, stop by on Sunday, Dec. 8! They’ll give away dog-related items and have a dog contest in the early afternoon!

Yeti Day (December 15th)

Holidazzle will be giving away a limited number of plush Yetis on Sunday, Dec. 15. Stop by to get yours!

Keep up with all of the Holidazzle fun!

When Life Gets Dark

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I’m not going to sugar coat it. This year, it was a dark summer. Sure, the days themselves were bright… full of sunshine and plenty of opportunities to count our blessings, soak in the little moments and sit in awe of Mother Earth’s beauty. But it was still dark. My family seemed to be surrounded by death, with the old cliché ringing true, “when it rains it pours.” Expected death, unexpected death. Deaths of children, deaths of seniors. The death of a father, as well as a mother. And while death is a natural part of life in that it is inevitable, when it’s all around you, it’s easy to let the dark seep in as it overwhelms the light.

When the hard things in life seem to be on a steady increase, patterns often appear out of the sadness of loss. It’s easy to slip out of your routines. A pizza and some wine cozied up on the couch sounds better than facing the outside world. It’s easy to start worrying about literally everything – both the rational and the irrational. Because you’re trying to grasp onto anything you can actually control, and then feel helpless when you realize so much is out of your control. It’s easy to let yourself go. So you overeat to cope. Or you find it hard to eat because of the pit in your stomach, and then the realization sinks in that you’re feeling only a tiny fraction of the pain that the immediate family of the person who passed feels. It’s easy to get swallowed by the darkness. To start wondering what really matters… overcompensating by only clinging to the one or two people you hold most dear, while walking away from activities you’d otherwise say “yes” to without a second thought, because now it seems too (irrationally) risky.

When these seasons of life happen, it’s easy for me to want to stop right there and be like, “Whelp, that’s all folks…” Leave me be, alone in the dark to continue binge watching Friends in my sweatpants on the couch. But instead, as summer turns to fall and the pain slowly ebbs, I’m going to turn towards the light, because I’m sure there’s someone else out there who could use this reminder as well: This too shall pass. But it’s up to you to pull yourself out of the darkness.

So if this is you, know you are not alone. When you’re ready, here are some helpful strategies to start moving back towards the light…

  1. Ask for help. You can’t do it alone, even if you’ve gotten really good at acting like you’re hanging in there. Talk to your friends, family, a licensed professional…whoever you can confide in. Get some help finding the light, or at least getting everything that’s bottled up out in the open.
  2. Lay off the booze. It sure is easy to want to dive into a glass of wine after a long day (week, month, season…). But alcohol is a depressant and can actually induce anxiety and increase stress. You may loosen up or relax for a short while, but the after effects are going to leave you feeling worse. Give yourself some time to detox – do an alcohol free month, and replace it with tea, or green smoothies, or something else that’s going to actually boost your mood. Which leads to…
  3. Eat some fruits and veggies. Again, it’s so easy to just take in all of the carbs…hospital stays and the weeks following a death seem to be filled with pizza, pasta and sweets of all kinds. A fresh vegetable never tasted so good… Take a hard pass on some of the sweets and go grab some veggies and dip or a great salad. Your body and mind will thank you.
  4. Move your body. Grieve. Wallow. Cry in your jammies and read a good book in bed. But then move. Get off the couch and put one foot in front of the other. Go out for a walk and take in some sunshine. Work up a sweat at the gym or with a home workout. Take up a new fitness class or get a group of gal pals together to run and build a supportive community. Just move.
  5. Face your fears. When you’re ready… Say yes to going and volunteering at a place that might open fresh wounds. Say yes to a weekend away, where you won’t be immediately accessible to everyone at home. Let go of the things that are out of your control, and do your best to actually live.
  6. Practice gratitude. Sometimes it sure is easier to be angry at the hand you or your loved ones were dealt than it is to give thanks. That’s okay. Let it out. “THIS SUCKS!” But then give thanks. Give thanks for what’s left, for silver linings, for a beautiful sunset, for a loving and supportive community, for a rainbow after the storm, for the perspective shift.
  7. Find your tribe. Whether it’s a girls night every few weeks, a casual bible study group, a fitness club, whatever. Find that community that’s going to lift you up and keep showing up for you, week after week, month after month. They’ll help bring the light.
  8. Treat yourself. You may feel guilty about it, but try not to allow it to creep in. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself, and you deserve it. Go get a mani/pedi, take an hour for a massage or a haircut. Whatever helps you feel good normally, do it now, even if the thought of making small talk or sitting with your own thoughts for an hour makes you want to puke.
  9. Treat others. Helping others will always boost your mood. Go volunteer. Treat a friend to lunch or a spa day. Send a “thinking of you” card. The possibilities are endless.
  10. Let it out. When all else fails and you’re still in the dark, just let it out. Cry, grieve, worry, distract yourself with work, whatever you need to do to get through the day. Then try it all again, because whether all of this really “helps” or not, it will at least keep you moving forward.

So tell me, what has helped you get through the stormy seasons of life? Do you have go-to thoughtful gifts or activities to help those who are struggling in the dark? Leave your ideas in the comments below, I’d love to start the conversation!

Give to the Max Day 2019

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Give to The Max Day is a day set aside to give to a specific cause near and dear to your heart or to find a new cause you want to support! On Thursday, November 14th, join our team and people across Minnesota to give easily and quickly to these wonderful organizations that continue to do incredible things statewide. Here are some organizations that work directly with women, children, and families locally! To find out more about how Give to the Max Day started click here.


Featured Causes

We support all of the organizations included and these featured are organizations that we’ve partnered with directly through our events, bringing them near and dear to our hearts as we’ve gotten to know the people behind each organization.

Emerge Mothers Academy (Shoreview)Emerge Mothers Academy was founded in 2011 and officially recognized by the IRS as a 501c3 non-profit organization in 2012.  Since then we have come alongside many Twin Cities families, headed up by single mothers, to serve them in many facets of their lives. We value:  Personal Development, Health & Wellness, Constructive Parenting, and Financial Independence. Each of our programs point back to these values, and serve the mothers in their deepest needs (emotional, mental, spiritual and tangible) as they strive to emerge from the depths of abandonment, divorce, separation, death or betrayal.  One of the greatest ways we are serving these women is with our Work-Preparation and MicroLoan grant program.  In both cases we are making leaders of these women, helping them see their great capacity for change and building back their confidence.  We also have a 94% job-placement rate!  WOW! We are grateful for your support, your donations are used to help make a lasting difference in these precious Minnesotan lives.

Kids in Need Foundation (Roseville) | The Kids In Need Foundation’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need. For the 15 million kids who come from families struggling with extreme poverty, getting school supplies can make all the difference in the world to their future success. Last year, the Kids In Need Foundation helped nearly 200,000 teachers and more than 6 million students in some of the most challenged communities across the country.

Dress for Success Twin Cities (St. Paul) | The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. They offer high touch, high impact career and workplace skills development programs for low income women to help them achieve career advancement, career stability and economic sustainability.


Women

Missing Grace Foundation (Rogers) | National nonprofit providing support, education and resources for families experiencing a pregnancy or infant loss, infertility or adoption.

Second Stork (St. Paul) | Second Stork gives women the basics to care for a newborn during the first crucial months of life. Second Stork is dedicated to serving a very distinct and typically under-served group of women — new mothers who find themselves in desperate need of practical, immediate support. They focus on direct and urgent material aid — diapers, portable cribs, and other essential care items. Their goal, through the partnership of hospital social workers, is to provide assistance as soon as a mother’s need becomes evident, with no red tape, no paperwork … just immediate help.  They currently serve over 60 Minnesota hospitals and will help 2,000 newborns in crisis this year.

Women Venture (Minneapolis) | Women Venture is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women start and grow small businesses in the Twin Cities. For more than three decades, WomenVenture has provided women of all ages, cultures, races and income levels with the tools and resources to achieve economic success through small business ownership.


Children & Families

360 Communities (Burnsville) | 360 provides hope and support to about 18,000 individuals each year with services in over 40 locations, including a network of five food shelves, two resource centers, two domestic and sexual violence shelters (Lewis House), and two programs that support school success from birth through high school graduation.

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (St. Paul)  A nonprofit community organization that helps children, families and older adults in the greater East Metro area of Saint Paul through direct service programs, research, leadership development, and community building. Wilder serves thousands of children and families each year through mental health, education, housing, social adjustment, early childhood, and aging programs.

Andrew’s Bravery Box | Andrew’s Bravery Box currently serves Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota by providing toys and rewards for some of the bravest people in the world.  Each and every day, patients at Children’s show courage as they push through tough situations in their battle against illnesses, congenital heart defects, cancer, and many other conditions that require hospitalization.  By providing small rewards in the form of toys, activities, and other fun items for families and nurses to give to patients, Andrew’s Bravery Box seeks to make the hardest parts about a hospital stay a little easier to endure.  Whether a patient has a fear of IV’s, an aversion to taking medications, or is just needs some encouragement, we want to reward their courage and provide the tools for families and staff to be able to do so in every situation.

Arc Greater Twin Cities (St. Paul) | Creating a good life starts with making choices about personal relationships, where to live, attending school and work, and how to spend leisure time. Support The Arc GTC by using your voice to create powerful change in your community through the choice of giving.

Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities (St. Paul) | The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities is to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Cookie Cart (Minneapolis) | Cookie Cart gives teens the skills they need to build better futures. Our unique “earn as you learn” program empowers young people with a paycheck, prepares them for work with foundational job skills and tools, and exposes them to opportunities that broaden their views of what’s possible.

Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (Twin Cities)| That is the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota’s mission as they offer parent groups, resources, support, medical and educational outreach, conferences and events for individuals with Down syndrome and their families/caregivers throughout the state.

Faith’s Lodge | A safe landing space for parents grieving the loss of a child and/or a child with a terminal illness. Faith’s Lodge provides support to parents in a calming environment to “reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future.”

Girls on the Run Twin Cities (Minneapolis) | Inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running. Girls on the Run Twin Cities, Inc. is a transformational youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games.

Greater United Way (Twin Cities) | United Way partners with non-profits, businesses, government, and social services agencies to help with the greatest needs in the community. United Way focuses on two areas: Safety Net (basic needs) and Education/Job training. One of their programs, Women United, is comprised of strong and like-minded women whose goal is to fund innovative programs to help women find financial stability and early childhood education.

HandsOn Twin Cities (Minneapolis) | Established in 1919 as America’s first volunteer center, HandsOn Twin Cities is the Twin Cities only full-service volunteer center that both promotes and facilitates volunteerism while improving the community’s ability to create more impact with the time generously given by volunteers.  They work with all types of volunteers, companies and nonprofit affiliates to ensure that every hour spent in the community is valuable.

HopeKids (Twin Cities) | HopeKids provides ongoing events and activities and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition.  They surround these remarkable children and their families with the message that hope can be a powerful medicine.

Lifetrack (St. Paul) | Kids arrive at Lifetrack’s Families Together Therapeutic Preschool, each with a different set of strengths, and each burdened with a unique set of life challenges. Poverty, homelessness, disability, instability at home are some of the challenges our preschool kids face. They come to Lifetrack to learn and grow and discover healthy ways to overcome the stress in their lives.

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (Minneapolis) | A non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping Minnesota veterans since 1990. They have many unique programs that help Minnesota veterans and their families.

Marie Sandvik Center (Minneapolis)Their mission is to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of homeless men, women, and children.

My Very Own Bed | My Very Own Bed’s mission is to provide new beds and linens to children of families that have recently secured stable housing. My Very Own Bed was created to help families get one step closer to thriving in their new homes. By providing beds and linens to kids who need them, we’re making those new homes more livable and restful. By making sure the beds and linens are new, we’re giving kids and families something all their own — not a hand-me-down.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Midwest (Various Twin Cities locations) | When a child’s health is at risk, a family’s world can feel like it’s falling apart. Their mission is to provide those families with a loving and sympathetic community – as well as meals, lodging, and family-friendly activities – when they need it most. They serve more than 4,000 families each year at our four Twin Cities locations: The Ronald McDonald House on Oak Street, near the University of Minnesota, The Ronald McDonald House inside the Hospital, Children’s, Minneapolis, The Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul, and The Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Children’s, St. Paul.

Safe Families For Children (Minneapolis) | Safe Families for Children is a national movement of compassion that gives hope to families in crisis. Safe, loving homes are provided where parents may voluntarily have their children cared for while parents seek to restore stability in their lives. Our dedication to family support, stabilization, and child abuse prevention is driven by responsibility for the well-being of children in our communities.

SOURCE MN (Minneapolis) | Through urban outreach and anti-trafficking efforts, SOURCE empowers the at-risk and unreached to make a break from the past and build foundations for the future.

Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation (South Minneapolis) | Our programs and social enterprises work holistically to serve the whole family, creating sustainable jobs, developing youth and enhancing K-12+ education, strengthening relationships within families and increasing access to healthy food.


Health & Wellness

Feed My Starving Children (Minneapolis) | FMSC tackles world hunger by sending volunteer-packed, nutritious meals to nearly 70 countries each year, where they’re used to operate orphanages, schools, clinics and feeding programs to break the cycle of poverty.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz (Eden Prairie) | Free Bikes 4 Kidz (FB4K) wants every child to have this experience no matter their family circumstance or socio-economic background. FB4K exists to give low-income families and children bikes by collecting, refurbishing and distributing used bikes to kids in need. We give kids a reason to exercise and improve their physical and mental health while experiencing that slice of childhood joy and freedom.

Loaves and Fishes Too (Minneapolis) | Loaves and Fishes serves a basic need by providing free, nutritious meals to anyone in need. A no-questions-asked approach helps provide a welcoming, hospitable environment that protects the dignity of their guests.

MATTER (St. Louis Park) | Here in the Twin Cities, Matter has launched a new MATTERbox program, a healthy food box designed in partnership with the Hennepin County Medical Center dietitians and approved by the American Diabetes Association as a way of fighting diabetes and obesity in the lives of those living in scarcity. These boxes are distributed by schools, hospitals, police officers, and through a variety of other nontraditional partners.

PTEN Foundation | 1 in every 200,000 people have PTEN Harmartoma Tumor Syndrome (PHTS) is a rare genetic condition that causes increased risk for certain cancers, benign growths, and neurodevelopmental conditions. The PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndrome Foundation was founded to find treatments or therapies for PTEN Syndromes by funding research, providing PHTS education, supporting patients, and by raising awareness. PHTS includes Cowden syndrome (CS), Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome (BRRS), PTEN-related Proteus syndrome (PS), and Proteus-like syndrome.

Second Harvest Heartland (St. Paul) | 1 in 10 households in Minnesota are affected by hunger and with your support on Give to the Max Day, the Thanksgiving season can look a little brighter for Minnesota families in need. Over the next three months, Second Harvest Heartland must provide more than 20 million meals for the one in 10 Minnesotans who otherwise might not be able to put food on the table this Thanksgiving season.

The Sheridan Story (Minneapolis) | Over 200,000 children in the state of Minnesota live in food insecurity and do not always know if they will receive their next meal. The Sheridan Story’s purpose is to respond to this need by closing the weekend food gap between Friday and Monday, when children are not able to participate in the free or reduced meal programs at school.


Hospitals & Clinics

Fairview Health Services (Twin Cities) | With you by our side, we can meet community needs, invest in the latest technology and find new ways to keep people healthy from the start. Together, we can keep our care teams ready to spring into action, ease the pain of hospice patients, give patients access to life-saving medications they otherwise could not afford and so much more.

Park Nicollet (Twin Cities) | Park Nicollet Foundation is fortunate to have kind hearts, like yours, among our supporters. For more than 40 years, we have used philanthropy to enhance the patient and family experience, promote innovation and research, and respond to the health care needs of our community. We partner with schools, nonprofits, community agencies, and local government to develop innovative solutions to complex community health issues and have a powerful and immediate impact on the well-being of our entire community.


Animals

Secondhand Hounds (Minnetonka) | A non-profit animal rescue providing safe shelter, quality veterinarian care while placing animals into loving homes. They rescue dogs from kill shelters around the Midwest and cats from local shelters.

Spot’s Last Stop (Twin Cities) | A non-profit canine rescue that matches animals with a forever home while also financially supporting other rescue partners. They have a quick and easy adoption process to try and decrease the number of dogs who are euthanized.


This is just a small list of a few great causes that benefit women, children, and families in our community. For a full list of your favorite organizations, visit the Give to the Max website!

Passing Kindness Through Generations

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Passing Kindness Through Generations | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveMy grandma was one of those people who I think would be best described as small but mighty. Not mighty in an overbearing way, but driven and persistent and determined to make the world a better place. One of the ways she lived this out was to do something nice for someone every week. On occasion that “something nice” would be writing a note of encouragement to the local high school basketball team if they had a particularly good game. How cute is that?!

She was my mom’s mom, and I see her passion for caring for and encouraging others living itself out in my mom as well. She quietly, often behind the scenes, pours her heart into caring for others and the world around her. I’m sure I don’t even know the half of what she’s done in the name of kindness.

Having these women as examples in my life normalized kindness for me. It was never a decision to be kind to others, it was an expectation. Not like an explicit expectation, hammered into us, but a trait that was as familiar and necessary as breathing.

Having children of my own now, I wonder how they see kindness expressed in my life. Will it impact them enough that they will live a life guided by kindness?

Today marks World Kindness Day – an opportunity to join with others around the globe to focus on and participate in acts of kindness. What can you do with your children to exhibit kindness today? Going further, how can you stretch your kindness muscles to incorporate more regular acts of kindness into your family life?

Take heart if life is feeling full right now, and the idea of adding a single thing is overwhelming – kindness doesn’t require a huge, colossal effort. There are big and small ways to show kindness. It can be something that takes time and effort, like volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen, or it can be something as simple as picking up a few pieces of trash at the park while you’re playing there with your kids.

Below you’ll find a few ideas you can do by yourself or with kids to show kindness. Please add your ideas in the comments, or tell us what you did to celebrate World Kindness Day today!

  1. Purchase a coffee shop gift card and write an encouraging message on the back, like “You’ve got this!” Hand it to a mom with a young child you see out and about in the community.
  2. Help your kids bake cookies for a neighbor.
  3. Paint smiley faces on rocks with your kids and hide them around the park to make others smile.
  4. Write a letter of encouragement to someone.
  5. Make eye contact and smile at others you see in the community, especially those often marginalized.
  6. Have your kids draw pictures, and bring them with you when you’re in the community. Give the pictures to someone who may not receive a lot of kid artwork in their daily life.
  7. Reach out to a friend going through a tough time.
  8. Pre-load candy machines in public spaces with quarters, then watch from a distance as people discover the surprise.
  9. Call a relative you haven’t talked to in awhile.
  10. Write a note to your child and tell them all the things you love about them.

Together, through simple and deliberate acts, we can start ripples of kindness that continue for generations.

Love Thyself

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Love Thyself | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveThe other night after our bedtime thanksgiving my oldest son asked, “Mom, do you love me?” My response was exactly as he expected and had heard a million times before, “of course!” He went on to ask if I loved every other member of our extended family. Once he had exhausted the list, he broke from the routine and asked, “Mom, do you love yourself?” His eyes gleaming with pride over his clever question.

My answer surprised him almost as much as it surprised me as it was an immediate, “Yes, I love myself very much!” His eyes widened as these words hung in the air and I continued, “And it’s important that you love yourself too.”

To clarify, I’ve never loathed myself, or even disliked myself. However, over the last several years, I was operating in an overall state of being somewhat indifferent towards myself. As soon as the words “I love myself” rolled off my tongue with such confidence and conviction I began to wonder, how did I get here? It wasn’t as if one day, I thought, “You should work on loving yourself more, your kids are watching.”

That night as I lay awake after my own bedtime thanksgiving, I realized, loving myself was in fact a form of self-care. As a mother of two young boys, I take self-care very seriously. After the kids are in bed, it is my “me time,” when I have the opportunity to recharge. For a long time, night after night I would indulge in a glass (or 3) of wine, or a hunk of sea salt dark chocolate, or on the exceptionally tough days…both. All in the name of self-care. This often led to waking up to the sound of their stomping footsteps in the hall feeling tired, groggy and unmotivated.

A little over a year ago I realized this definition of self-care was actually self-destructive and self-defeating. My nightly routine was hindering my growth and my goals. With my 40th birthday looming, I wanted to approach this milestone with confidence. My goals were to be in the best physical shape of my adult life and to be a published writer. However, my outward actions were grossly misaligned. This imbalance conjured a lot of negative self-talk, which only perpetuated the cycle. So I traded my wine for kale, carrot and vinegar smoothies (it’s an acquired taste) and my chocolate for running and yoga, as well as changing up my “me time” from after bedtime to before the kids wake.

These small but mighty changes ignited positivity into every other facet of my life and I’m thriving on the momentum. Not only am I healthier than I’ve been in over a decade, but I’ve started a new career as a writer and was hired by Summit Hill Living magazine (as well as twincitiesmomcollective.com) and I not only trained for, but successfully completed the 2019 Twin Cities marathon.

My new definition of “self-care” includes any positive action that leads to self-improvement and self love. I want my boys to love themselves, and the best way to teach our children to love themselves is to show them that we love ourselves. If my boys see their mother taking time to prioritize her needs, accomplishing her goals, making healthy choices with food and fitness, and just overall trying to be the best me I can be, I can only hope their observations are encouraging a growth mindset for them to model. Actions always speak louder than words.

Are Dental X-Rays Really That Important?

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Our partners at Camp Smile Pediatric Dentistry want you to know all the facts about dental x-rays for your children. Read below for some insight on why they are important for your children's health.

 

If you could have any super power, what would it be? 

A Marist Poll of United States residents conducted in 2010 revealed the ability to read people’s minds and the ability to time travel as the most desired super powers, while invisibility, the ability to fly, and the ability to teleport were among the other contenders for preferred powers.(1) While there is no widely circulated poll for top super powers among dentists, one may argue that “x-ray vision” would be both practical and just plain cool for a dentist to boast. Although your dentist may strive to reach “superhero status” on a daily basis, it is unlikely that he or she possesses the x-ray vision of Superman. 

As a result, dentists must rely on dental radiographs, or x-rays, to complete a thorough evaluation and oral health assessment. Patients and parents often ask if radiographs are a necessary part of the dental visit. While radiographs typically are not necessary at every visit (or even every other visit), they are an imperative part of monitoring your health and are necessary to complete a thorough evaluation. As the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) explains in its guidelines for prescribing dental radiographs, “Radiographs should be taken only when there is an expectation that the diagnostic yield will affect patient care.” (2) You still may be wondering exactly what this statement means and how it will affect your child’s next dental visit. To understand why radiographs are prescribed, it is important to consider their diagnostic yield (simply put, the information they provide). 

Are Dental X-Rays Really That Important? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

First, have you ever looked in the back of your child’s mouth (or even your own!) and noticed how closely the teeth fit together? While it is possible to detect cavities on the biting surfaces of teeth without x-rays, x-rays are necessary to check accurately for cavities between teeth that can go unnoticed and progress without intervention. The same crevices in the oral cavity that harbor food between tight molar contacts are the same crevices susceptible to developing cavities. Without x-rays, it would be nearly impossible to detect early signs of cavities. Just as radiographs assist in identifying fractured bones after a fall at gymnastics or another sporting event, dental radiographs assist in maintaining healthy smiles through the identification of cavities and other dental pathology, including fractured roots and teeth, cysts, and tumors. If you knew x-rays could help you see where you needed to work on brushing and flossing to prevent the need for dental treatment, why would you not consider the benefits of x-rays? One of the reasons we may order bitewing, or posterior, x-rays in children more frequently than in adults is that cavities progress more quickly in primary, or “baby,” teeth than they do in “adult” teeth. 

Second, have you ever wondered if your child needs or will need braces? Without radiographs, we are unable to check for a full complement of teeth or detect poorly positioned or ectopic teeth. Radiographs provide critical information regarding bone health, root development, and appropriate timing for orthodontics. With a panoramic radiograph, we also can detect third molars (wisdom teeth) earlier and help plan for the future. 

Finally, did you know that radiographs may provide the first information relevant to both localized and systemic pathology or disease? For example, a radiograph revealing early bone loss may provide another piece of the puzzle in identifying an underlying systemic disease. As you know, early identification of disease and illness aids in improved prognoses and management. Several diseases, syndromes, and pathologic entities, including Gorlin-Goltz syndrome, Langerhans’ cell histiocytosis, Gardner syndrome, neurofibromatosis, and hypophosphatemia, possess unique radiographic findings that may be noted prior to these entities being diagnosed in an individual. 

As with any technology or medical device, it is important for healthcare providers to be good stewards of radiology and use it only when its diagnostic yield will impact patient care.2 At Camp Smile Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care for our patients. This commitment includes implementing the principle of ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) and utilizing appropriate protective barriers.3 By judiciously obtaining x-rays, we safely can make the most accurate diagnoses and ultimately provide the best treatment and outcomes for our patients and families.  

Furthermore, it is helpful to understand that we all encounter several sources of ionizing radiation on a daily basis and may not fully realize it. The effective dose from a diagnostic x-ray examination composed of posterior bitewing x-rays is reported to be 5.0 μSv, while its equivalent background exposure measured in days is 0.6.(3) Background exposure may vary for individuals in different places. Due to Denver’s lower atmospheric protection and increased elevation, an individual living in the Mile High City receives greater effective dose from cosmic radiation than someone living at an elevation closer to the average of the United States.(3) Certainly, it is interesting and relative to our discussion regarding dental radiology when we consider that there are additional sources of radiation which we may not otherwise consider. You can appreciate the benefits of dental x-rays in the early detection and identification of disease when used conscientiously and appropriately. 

We invite you to visit our website at www.campsmile.com, contact us at (763) 383-1788, or stop by one of our three locations to learn more about dental radiology, its safety and efficacy, and pediatric dentistry for your little ones. 


References 

  1. http://maristpoll.marist.edu/28-holy-super-powers-batman-mind-reading-and-time-travel-top-list/#sthash.xyKWq3G8.dpbs
  2. Council on Clinical Affairs. Prescribing dental radiographs for infants, children, adolescents, and individuals with special health care needs. Pediatr Dent 2018;(40)6:213-15. 
  3. White SC, Pharoah MJ. Oral radiology: Principles and interpretation. 6th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier; 2009.

My Season Opener

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The leaves crunch beneath my feet as I navigate the trail with my headlamp. A flash of bright pink on a small tree gives me my bearings. There is only the sound of the wind and my light footsteps as I walk. The forest is completely silent, not a bird or chipmunk to be heard. My breath fogs my face as I walk, holding my gear so as not to startle any slumbering animals nearby. I see my tree and carefully climb, as delicately as I can with layer after layer on of clothing, until I get to the top and turn around to sit. It’s still dark, just the faintest light lets me know the sun will soon be on the rise.

I sit and I wait. I move my scarf up around my nose, I wiggle my fingers in my gloves, gently pump my toes up and down on the foot warmer tucked tightly in my boot.

I sit and wait as the sun slowly starts to climb. The horizon widens, embracing everything it touches with light. A scatter of noise lets me know the chipmunk is awake, the song of a bird is released, and the woodpecker starts his morning work on the tree next to me.

I sit and I wait, taking it all in as the sun starts to warm my body with its rays. The shimmering dew on the leaves and tall grass, the bright pink ribbon marking my way home, the distant sound of gunshots cascade out, boom after boom.

I am a wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor and woman – I am also a hunter. Like the generations before me, being in the woods is my passion and the very essence of my family. It is where I can feel immediately connected to my heavenly Father, where I feel the most peace, where I know I belong. A few years ago, at the age of 84, my grandparents had their last hunt at our rustic family hunting cabin. My grandpa passed away last summer and yet his presence is very much alive when we all gather together around a warm pot of soup and tell stories from our day in the woods. We play Slapjack, lay our clothes out to dry, and get the coffee ready to percolate the next morning before the sun is up. We reminisce about the early days when all of us cousins, mere babies, were learning the ropes of the forest. My parents, both my mom and dad, teaching me how to read a compass (and the sun) while hiking in the woods, how to properly stoke a fire, always find important landmarks on your journey, and always to be safe. Safety first. I have vivid memories of long drives with my uncle and cousins, whittling a walking stick with my grandpa, my brother helping me drag my deer out of the woods… And later, my sister and I there with swollen bellies and our future hunting babies tucked safely inside.

The hunting cabin is a sacred space for our family. It isn’t just about the hunt, although that is a huge part of the fun. We eat venison all year round in my family, and my kids thank God for the gift of being able to eat something we know has been grazing in the woods for its lifetime. The circle of life is a beautiful thing to appreciate and we certainly do. But the memories made there, the life skills taught, and the deep appreciation for being outside, surrounded by the beauty God has masterfully crafted, is what I most appreciate.

From the moment I park my car and hop on the 4-wheeler, making the long drive down to our little piece of Heaven, I am smiling. There are huge water holes to maneuver around, and rocks to avoid, but you’re on a wheeler and not in a car and there is great fun to be had. As I make my way closer to the cabin, I can see and smell woodsmoke – a welcome sense that immediately brings my heart comfort for the family waiting inside.  I love that I know the two trumpeter swans will be on the lake and the bald eagle will swoop down over the water sometime during the weekend. I love everyone’s rosy red cheeks as we come in for lunch, taking layers off to warm up and dry off. I appreciate the warm lasagna my mom makes, or the blueberry pie she sneaks in (did I mention we have no electricity and only a propane tank and generator? The woman is amazing!).

Later that night, as the stories start to wind down and the playing cards are put away, I start to anticipate the way my head will fall on the pillow. Asleep in a matter of minutes after a full day outside in the fresh air, grateful for the early morning alarm to start another memorable hunt in the woods.

The Season Opener | Twin Cities Mom Collective

For further reading on gun safety in the house click here!

The Life-Changing Magic of Showering

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Bathing is something we think about surprisingly often as mothers. Sponging kids down after each diaper explosion, spaghetti dinner, and marker incident. Wondering if playing in the pool for five consecutive hours counts as a bath for the day (the answer: yes). Doing the math to calculate the last time we showered ourselves (during the newborn days: don’t ask).

I think my youngest holds the record for most sponge-baths in a day: six. Four days is the longest I ever went without showering. I remember my youngest screaming from the pack and play in my master bedroom as I rushed to rinse the shampoo out of my hair but at that point I was all, “You can either have a grumpy mom with stringy, greasy hair right now or a happy mom in five minutes if you just chill and wait for this conditioner to do its work.”

Lately, I’ve been thinking about bathing even more than usual because:

1. I recently went back to showering at night.

And

2. my kids have replaced baths with showers.

They say you should write what you’re thinking about, and people, THIS is what I’ve been thinking about. Welcome to being thirty-two-years-old with three kids five and under and YES it is always this glamorous. So let’s get to it.

Night Showers

I am not a morning person. Have not, am not, never will be. So anything I can get done in the evenings to free up the morning is genius territory. I want to sleep until the last possible second and roll out of bed only to wash my face, brush my teeth, change my clothes, and run a straightener through my hair.

I’ve been a night shower kind of person for most of my life. All throughout high school and college and even during my early working days, it made so much sense for me to shower at the end of the day. I’m not sure when or why I stopped. But recently I realized that getting up thirty extra minutes just to shower and do my hair in the morning was annoying. I’ve heard that some people like to take showers in the morning because it helps wake them up. Not me. A warm shower makes me want to do nothing more than crawl back into bed. And then all that business about having to get ready. It’s too much, too early.

Showering in the evening after the kids are in bed is glorious. It’s magical. Mamas, there is NO ONE to interrupt you for a snack or ask where their favorite toy is or to ask you personal questions like “where’s your penis mama?” It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. To step into a hot shower at the end of the day is like a mini-vacation. I have time to do a face mask. And then I dry my hair and go to bed (clean!) and in the morning I wake up and I’m pretty much good to go. Life. Changing.

Showering Kids

Two things I will never miss about itty-bitty kids: 1. Diapers and 2. Bath time. I know, I look back at the photos, too, and ooo and ahhh over how cute they all were sitting in the tub with the bubbles and the toys and the naked bums. 

The Life-Changing Magic of Showering | Twin Cities Mom Collective

But there was always all the splashing. And the aftermath where it felt like there had been dolphins doing tricks in my bathroom instead of just a couple of toddlers. Also, they got bigger. And while my kids aren’t all that big — twin five-year-olds and (an admittedly larger-than-average) three-year-old — that’s a lot of kids in the tub together. And sure, we tried bathing them each individually, but then bath time just d-r-a-g-g-e-d on. For an hour. Or more. It was a whole thing.

One night I suggested to my daughter that she could try showering in my bathroom as a special treat. To my immense surprise, she said yes. Then my boys overheard (because of course they did) and said they wanted to shower, too. And…we haven’t looked back.

I never thought we’d be done with bath time this early in the parenting game but I am HERE for it. No more splashing. No more waterlogged bathrooms. No more bath toys cluttering up the tub all day every day (because you know we never got around to picking all that -ish up). No more fights over who sits where in the tub, who gets to play with what toy, and screaming over who gets their hair washed first.

That all vanished. Literally overnight. And it’s the best.

So there you have it. We’re a household of shower-ers at some time of day or other. We’re here. And we’re clean.

Caring Beyond The Classroom

Our partners at New Horizon Academy are helping children flourish by teaching them how to get involved and give back to their community. Read more below on a program in their curriculum that helps teach children gratitude.

 

While many of us teach our children to use “please” and “thank you” before they can even talk, it takes time and effort for true appreciation and gratitude to flourish in a child. As the holiday season quickly approaches, adults often stop and reflect on the things we are truly grateful for – but how do we teach our children to do the same? Here are five tips to help raise a grateful child:

Get Involved & Give Back

Getting involved and giving back to your community is a great way to teach children to be grateful. When we teach children about helping those who are less fortunate, it helps them to be grateful for what they have. At New Horizon Academy, we incorporate a program called Caring Beyond the Classroom into our curriculum. Caring Beyond the Classroom cultivates a lifelong commitment to service and encourages collaboration and problem-solving, while promoting social responsibility, positive citizenship, empathy, kindness, and compassion. On November 12th, each school will participate in a company-wide Caring Beyond the Classroom event that will give back to Meals on Wheels, Color-A-Smile, the Linus Project, and other local organizations. 

Caring Beyond The Classroom | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveModel Your Grateful Behavior

Set a good example for the kids when they do something that you appreciate. “I’m so happy to see you cleaned up all of your toys,” or “Thank you for helping your brother put his shoes on!” By using phrases like this in your day-to-day routine, you will be surprised how quickly your children pick up on it and start saying similar things.

Make “Daily Gratitude” a Part of Your Routine

Each day at dinner or bedtime, for example, take turns listing some of the things that you and your family are thankful for. When doing this, try to encourage your children to think beyond “things.”

Caring Beyond The Classroom | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveLet Your Children Help Out

By giving your child age-appropriate responsibilities around the home, this helps them learn that tasks require some effort and gives them satisfaction knowing that they are contributing to the family. It is important for children to learn the gratification of earning what they have, and this is a great way to start instilling that.

Help Children Understand the Thoughtfulness in Gift Giving

“It’s the thought that counts” is an old, but true, saying that we all know and use. When children receive a gift, whether big or small, or whether they like it or dislike it, help them to understand and focus on the thought behind the gift. Saying things like “That was so sweet of grandma to give you a book; she knows how much you like to read,” can add some meaning to the act of giving.

Tell the Scary Stories Too

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Tell the Scary Stories Too | Twin Cities Mom Collective“Mommy, tell me a story.”

It’s the latest bedtime stall tactic in our house. My body wants to say no, wants to claw my way out of this room, away from their needs, and clock out of this day job before I must report for duty too early the next morning – at least as long as everyone sleeps through the night.

But I am a writer and writers need to hone their skills. So even though I’m tired at the end of a long day, I see his challenge as a creative practice for me.

Lately he has asked for scary stories. I don’t like scary. As a peacemaker at heart I like happy and cozy and harmony all wrapped up in a pretty watercolor backdrop. But my boy is different than me; he always has been. He came into my world with an intensity I still find unfamiliar. His immense curiosity leaves him wanting to know about all parts of the world, but especially the ones that baffle the mind of a four year old. Because it’s the unknown that can be the most frightening.

I recognize viewing the world through the lens of a story makes a child’s fears smaller, distant, more manageable. Accessing emotions like fear and sadness and anger is much easier when set in a story. The monsters come alive in our fairy tales but then go away just as quickly at the story’s conclusion. It’s tempting for me to share visions of an ideal world where everyone is jolly, but children need stories that grip the mind and heart, even if the story doesn’t end happily ever after. My children need sad. They need a bit of scary. They need stories in which things don’t work out. Stories of tragedy, struggle, and foolish characters all have a place in a child’s world to help them understand life.

In fact, I think they need a place in my world too. He isn’t the only one I tell scary stories to. Sometimes, I tell these stories to myself. Stories about failure, about weak protagonists, about not being enough. In these stories, I am the one failing, the one who makes mistakes with her children because they make the world a bit more confusing and uncertain.

Here is one that comes to mind:

“Once upon a time there was a mother bear. She had three little cubs she loved so dearly. But her cubs were busy. While they loved to run and play, they also needed their mama bear very much. They needed her to find them food and clean their fur. They wanted answers to their questions – like why bugs are crunchy and why the water is blue. She had to convince them to sleep when they wanted to watch the stars instead, or stay close when they wanted to run. She wanted them to be free and happy but sometimes it was a lot of work for a mama bear in a big forest.

One day Mama bear got mad. She couldn’t handle any more questions and she couldn’t find them one more grub to eat and she was so tired of pulling them off of the tree so they could move on to the stream to do the fishing for the day. In her frustration, she roared a very loud roar. It was all her bear body knew what to do. But the roar was so big and her bear cubs so small, they got scared. They got so scared that they ran far, far away from their mama bear to hide.

She felt sad.

The End.”

This isn’t a story I have shared yet, not with him anyway. Yet it is one that haunts me sometimes at night. Not being enough for them. Losing my patience. Scaring them away with my big emotions.

But then sometimes I imagine what he might say if I told him that story. Would it scare him too?

“Mommy that’s not how that ends,” he might say.

“It’s not?”

“No.” he would say with a smile. “The baby cubs wouldn’t run away from their mama!”

“They wouldn’t? But she roared so loudly. Weren’t they scared?”

“Well yeah, they were. At first. But they loved her so much. They knew she was just doing what Mama bears are supposed to do. Bears roar. It’s how she talks to her cubs. Besides, her cubs need to learn how to roar too.”

“They do?”

“Yes. Bears should be loud. That’s how they show how strong they are.”

He is a good storyteller, this strong, brave, fear seeking little boy. I like his version much better than my own.

Perhaps this is why we tell ourselves the scary stories – we need an ending with more hope than fear. What we label as faults in our stories might just be lessons for ourselves and for our children. Days can be hard, emotions big, and fears real. Maybe we need to tell ourselves these scary stories to realize that the thoughts we have aren’t to be felt in shame but told in bravery and hope. Fear and shame and defeat have a very real, unavoidable place in this world. But so does redemption, forgiveness, and love.

I still love a happy ending. I always will. But he reminds me to not be so afraid to tell the scary stories too. After all, I am a Mama Bear, and bears should be loud.

A Bittersweet End to the Tooth Fairy

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A Bittersweet End to the Tooth Fairy | Twin Cities Mom Collective

There comes a time in each child’s life when they learn the hard facts about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the myriad of other white lies and half-truths we as parents perpetuate upon our children with the best of intentions.  In the interest of letting my kids experience childhood to the fullest, I’ve wistfully tried to hold on to the last bit of innocence as long as possible until I could deflect and avoid questions no longer.

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed lying to them.  But the sparkle in their eyes as we read Twas the night before Christmas on Christmas Eve and their joyful scurry into my bedroom to show me their money the morning after a freshly lost tooth was tucked under their pillow, kept me hanging on.  I’ve always intentionally had the bigger Christmas presents be from us parents vs. Santa – because hey, he’s imaginary, I want credit for the good stuff!  I’ve also lamented about our overworked Tooth Fairy when she forgot to take a tooth or even left an IOU because she clearly ran out money with all the houses she stops at on a nightly basis!

My older daughter and I had been playing a bit of a cat and mouse game for some time regarding the Tooth Fairy.  She had gotten clever and inquisitive and was making a pretty solid case for the Tooth Fairy not being real.  She claimed one night when she left a tooth under her pillow that she was only pretending to be asleep and was really awake when I came in and left money under her pillow.  I had been fervently denying the claim, telling her that she must have been dreaming.  Did she really think that I would spend my time sneaking into her room when I could be sleeping?  Did she think I was growing quarters on trees?  I was the Mom who never had any cash or change since I always used my debit card.  Why would I want her teeth anyway?  She pondered my answers and smirked knowingly.  But I refused to break.  I insisted I was not the Tooth Fairy!

I had already reluctantly confessed the truth about Santa Claus to her.  She was 10 and I knew her days of believing were numbered.  She was asking a lot of pointed investigative questions about the ‘how’ of Santa.  If she didn’t hear about Santa Claus not being real on the school bus, she was bound to figure it out for herself soon enough.  I took the approach of asking her to join the Santa Claus cause and help keep the magic alive for her younger sister.  She happily accepted the job of helping with presents, nibbling on carrots left out for the reindeer, filling stockings, and continued to pretend to believe so she would still receive.  I swore her to secrecy for the sake of her sister, her school friends who still believed, and the younger neighborhood kids.

But the truth about Santa had given her a boost of confidence to continue to question the Tooth Fairy.  How could the Tooth Fairy possibly fly?  How did she get in the house?  My daughter even talked of building a trap to catch the Tooth Fairy in action.

One day, she was in my bedroom grabbing something to bring downstairs to me.  For some reason she looked in my nightstand drawer and discovered about 15 tiny teeth!  She came running downstairs and said, “I know you’re the Tooth Fairy!  I just found teeth in your nightstand.”  I like to think as a Mom I’m pretty good at thinking on my toes when it comes to kid questions.  But I was at an utter loss of how to explain away the teeth!  I quickly ran through some potential answers in my head.  1) I killed someone and kept their teeth (yikes!)  2) They’re not teeth – they’re fossils from a science kit.  3) They’re not teeth – they’re small rocks?  Yeah, she wasn’t going to buy any of these!  I knew I was a goner.  I admitted I was the Tooth Fairy and she danced in glee that she had been right all along and had finally caught me!

Why didn’t I hide the teeth better all this time?!  All these years of tooth-losing, in my sleepiness I had gently swapped money for teeth and groggily stumbled back to my bed, sticking the teeth in the nearest spot which happened to be an unlocked and easily accessible nightstand drawer.  Why was I so reluctant to let the Tooth Fairy go?  Well, because once Santa goes and the Tooth Fairy goes, we start losing the beautiful naiveté of being a kid and start to broach some of the bigger, deeper, tougher topics of growing up.  Can’t we just snuggle in the twinkling Christmas lights and magic of Santa a little longer?  Let’s carefully count and stack your coins received from the Tooth Fairy while you show me which tooth you think will be the next one to come out and tell me what you plan to buy with your riches.

Later, I walked upstairs and opened the nightstand drawer to touch the tiny teeth.  I had no reason to keep them except sentimentality.  I closed the drawer and with it, closed a chapter, carefully removing my invisible Tooth Fairy crown and relinquishing one of my many Mom Roles.  It was bittersweet, but my Tooth Fairy work for this daughter was done.

A Kind Heart

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A Kind Heart | Twin Cities Mom CollectiveAccording to Elizabeth Stone, parenting is “to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Like most moms, I’m probably a bit overprotective. I want my children to experience all the good in life. To know kindness and happiness, to be strong and smart, to put good into the world and receive it right back.

Last year, my oldest daughter started school. Kindergarten was a bit of a dream. We had the best teacher, she made lots of friends, I found my group of moms and I generally felt that it was the perfect start to our elementary school experience. Now, she is in first grade and cue the drama. Perhaps I’m overreacting a bit, but things got real – fast. Unfortunately, with the start of first grade came a bit of bullying and the need to manage friends feeling left out.

As a parent, this presents an interesting dilemma – when do you let them work things out on their own and when do you step in because they can’t do it by themselves?

Raising school-aged children is a struggle. You ask about their day and what they did. The response… “Nothing.” You want to help when things go wrong but you also want them to learn to work through conflict on their own. Here are a few ideas to help you know what is happening in your child’s life, identify existing conflict, coach how they can address a hard situation and when they should ask for help.

1. Ask questions. A fellow mom noted that the key to soliciting information from her daughter is to ask the right question. The problem? The right question changes by the day. So it is incredibly important to ask questions and then ask more questions. Some days, I hear very little about what happened at school. But eventually, the information starts flowing and I get more details than I even thought to ask for. Suggested questions include: what was your favorite part of the day, what was the hardest part of your day, did you see or play with [INSERT NAME OF FRIEND] and what did you do in [CLASS]. In first grade, the teacher shares a recap of the week each Friday so I always make a point to ask about specific things she mentions. Specificity is key to eliciting information from my first grader.

2. Listen. Perhaps this is more common among girls, but my daughter talks a lot. And often times, when I really listen, I hear something subtle that she clearly wants me to know or ask about, but doesn’t want to make a big deal of. By giving her ample opportunity to share and really listening to what she has to say, I’m better able to identify when there might be an issue and help her work through it or encourage her to try to address on her own.

I make a point of doing the same thing with her friends. I love to ask about the activities they are involved in, how they like their teacher and class, and how their family is. I then make a point of listening because I think every child wants to know that someone is listening and really hears them. The more people in their lives who care, the better.

3. Talk it through. Like adults, children don’t know what they don’t know. When you identify a situation that requires action, it’s helpful to talk through the situation. This helps your child understand what the issue is, why it’s an issue, how they address the situation and the desired outcome. Conflict, whether good or bad, is always best to deal with in real time. By talking through the situation and how to work through it, you help your child learn necessary life skills while also showing you care.

4. When the situation is too big. In today’s world, bullying is a huge issue and no parent wants their child to be the victim. While I do think it is important for children to learn to work through conflict on their own, sometimes you just need to step in. That might mean talking to another child’s parents or reaching out to the school. Whatever the situation, it’s often about following your gut. In my experience, these situations tend to resolve themselves quickly but in the rare case that it is bigger than any one child, taking action is key to setting a positive example for your child.

While first grade has brought with it more drama than we experienced in kindergarten, I find myself being grateful for the opportunity to talk through these situations with my daughter. I appreciate fellow moms who are open to working together instead of fueling the fire with more drama.

To my oldest daughter… May you know the importance of a kind heart, of being inclusive and leading by example. No one wants to be left out or singled out. The sooner she learns these important lessons, the sooner she is able to share them with others and show other people the value of kindness. I want her to be the nice girl forever.

6th Annual Bloom Event for New and Expecting Moms

We are so excited for our 6th Annual Bloom Event coming up in April 2020!

We are busy planning our upcoming Bloom event and will update this page with more information as we get a bit closer to the event. Be sure to save the date!

Saturday, April 18, 2020 from 10:00am – 1:00pm at Breck School in Golden Valley!

Are you a business that is interested in being involved in this event? Please fill out our form below and we will be in touch shortly.

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Mom Life

Thanksgiving Series: Our Small but Magical Family Thanksgiving

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With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we asked several of our writers to tell us about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions and stories. Whether a quiet affair...

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