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Friday, December 30, 2011

A “Family-Friendly” New Year's Eve!


Just in case you haven’t made plans for New Year’s Eve, yet, here are a few family-friendly ideas:

Spirit of Jefferson
New Year's Eve Cruise
Early Dinner $40/adult, $25/child
Boarding 5pm, Cruising 5:30-7:30pm
502.574.2992

Louisville Science Center
Noon Year’s Celebration- create noisemakers, musical instruments, and engineer a balloon drop
December 31, 2011- January 2, 2012, 10am- 4pm
All activities are free with paid admission- $13 for adults, $11 for children ages 2-12
502.561.6100
 
Louisville Free Public Library
Noisy New Year- festive stories and a loud craft for ages 3-11
Starts at 2pm
Main Library
301 York Street
Louisville, KY 40203
502-574-1611

Outside In
New Year’s Eve Party- pizza, soft, inflatables, mini golf, party favors, and a balloon drop
5pm-9pm
Tickets are $60 for a family of 4
4601 Hamburg Pike
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
812.283.8300 (limited space)

Photo source: Metromix Louisville

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Safe Sleeping for Your Baby

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We have some very important tips on safe sleeping for infants from Erika Janes, RN, Coordinator of Safe Kids Louisville & Jefferson County - a program led by Kosair Children's Hospital, Office of Child Advocacy.
 
What is the most dangerous thing we unknowingly do for our babies?
One of the threats, if not the biggest, to an infant’s life is suffocation which is often associated with an unsafe sleeping environment and position.

This includes sleeping with your baby on an adult bed, couch, chair, etc., and putting the baby down to sleep on their belly instead of on their back-unless the doctor specifically says differently! Babies’ airways can become compromised easily, and they have no way to protect themselves - and get out of the situation they are in. Even infants whose death may be documented as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) were often sleeping in one of these situations, and that may have contributed to their death.
 
My baby likes to sleep next to me…is that okay?
NO! If you want to bring your baby to your bed to breastfeed, please position yourself so you will not fall asleep and be able to put the baby back to sleep in their safe bed, bassinet, or play yard after nursing.
 
Are there any risk factors one should know about with respect to SIDS?
Yes! The task force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome of the American Academy of Pediatrics-the authority on babies and children- has just released their latest policy statement and information on this topic. I strongly encourage everyone to read this document carefully It can be found at www.aap.org.

The following is an abbreviated list of their Level A Recommendations: 
1) “Back to Sleep” for every sleep.
2) Use a firm sleep surface-A firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet is the recommended sleeping surface to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. A crib, bassinet, or portable crib/play yard that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommended. Do not leave babies to sleep in their child safety seats or any “sitting device”.
3) Room-sharing without bed-sharing is recommended. There is evidence that this arrangement decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
4) Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation. (a. Soft objects such as pillows and pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, and sheepskins should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment.)
5) Pregnant women should receive regular prenatal care.
6) Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth- both are major risk factors for SIDS.
7) Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth.  There is an increased risk of SIDS with prenatal and postnatal exposure to alcohol or illicit drug use.
8) Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a decreased risk of SIDS.
9) Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime- even though the mechanism of protection is unclear, studies have reported a protective effect on the incidence of SIDS.
10) Avoid overheating- studies have revealed an increased risk of SIDS with overheating…Watch infant for signs of overheating such as sweating or infant’s chest feeling hot to touch.
 
It’s getting colder…at what age can my baby be covered up with a blanket in his/her crib?
From birth, a baby can be dressed in sleep sack with a swaddle and then placed on their back into the safe crib. When the baby is able to wiggle arms out of the swaddle, remove swaddle from sleep sack!

Another option could be to use a “onesie” or other similar clothing with a very light blanket that comes up only to the chest and is tightly tucked in at both sides and the foot of the crib.
 
What’s your #1 safety tip for infants?
Please practice the “A, B, C’s” for infants! They need to sleep Alone, on their Back in a safe Crib for every nap and at bedtime! When they are awake and someone is watching, make sure they get plenty of “Tummy Time” to both strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles and to prevent a flat spot on the back of their head.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Giveaway: Best 3 Minute Express Car Wash

This giveaway is now closed.
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It won’t be long before the snow starts falling, and our cars are covered in the salty brine.  This week’s giveaway is just what you’ll need- a free car wash.

Four lucky winners will each win one FREE “Best” car wash pass from Best 3 Minute Express Car Wash, located in Louisville, at 2301 Taylorsville Rd., 502.451.4400.

Three ways you can enter to win (just leave a separate comment HERE for each):
1. Follow Today’s Family Every Day (one entry)
2. Follow us on Twitter @todaysfamilynow (one entry)
3. Like Today’s Family on facebook (one entry)

Giveaway ends on 1/3/12 at midnight.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winners are Sarah (comment #2), grandnanny (comment #13), gailc1969 (comment #3), and Local Explorer (comment #7).  Congratulations!  Please email us within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So Many Toys, So Little Space.

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Before and after- Practicing for the impending Christmas “toy tsunami.” 

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It took be awhile to realize that every December I would get twitchy, itchy, and another word that starts with a “b” and also ends in “itchy” when I thought of all the stuff that would be invading my family room before the month’s end. Now that I have three kids, what I call the “toy tsunami” has become massive.

It finally dawned on me that if the new toys had a home, a place for them to be stored in the family room, even if they never actually get stored there, I can graciously accept cope with whatever items grandparents and aunts/uncles give my children.

Newest and/or most favorite toys stay in the family room since this is where my children do 90% of their playing. Toys that my children have outgrown or have no interest in go into the Craigslist/To Be Consigned bins (local spring consignment sales, like Kidstuff and Little Treasures, will be here soon). In addition to Goodwill, gently used toys can be donated to St. Joseph’s Children’s Home Thrift Store, Brooklawn, and local TAPP schools.

My goal for December is to have at least a few completely empty storage bins just waiting for all the new Matchbox cars, Barbies, Squinkies, Zoobles, and Marvel superheroes. (Of course, we don’t even want to discuss what my downstairs storage area looks like with all the “Craigslist/To Be Consigned” stuff.)
 
How do you organize your children’s toys?
 
Contributed by Carrie Vittitoe, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Phew, It’s Over… Now What?

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I have a friend who uses a snowman theme for her holiday decorating so she can leave some of her decor up through the end of January.

Not me. 

When Christmas is over I can't wait to put the stuff away.  I actually like un-decorating the tree!
In 1987, syndicated humor columnist Erma Bombeck wrote about un-decorating the tree.


She began by asking her readers if they'd like to have some quiet time, alone.  If so, she commanded:

Read my lips and slowly repeat after me: ''I am going to take the Christmas tree down.''
You will only have to say it once and feet will scurry, doors will slam, car motors will turn over. In 30 seconds you'll feel like the last person on Earth.

No one loves a Christmas tree on Jan. 1.

Next to the presidency, detrimming a tree has to be the loneliest job in the world. It has fallen to women for centuries and is considered a skill only they can do, like replacing the roll on the toilet tissue spindle, painting baseboards, holding a wet washcloth for a child who is throwing up or taking out a splinter with a needle.

How to undecorate the tree is my business. There's no one around to give advice, so I do it my way. I take the end of a rope of gold tinsel and give it a jerk. The tree spins around, and I clean the whole thing off in eight seconds. I eat the candy canes as I go along. Better me than the mice. I never bother with sheets to catch all the dry needles. I just vacuum them up until the sweeper smokes. Then I empty it and start all over again. The balls near the bottom I catch in a box, and the ones near the top I shake off and sometimes catch in midair.

In nearly 38 years, you'd think someone would be curious enough to ask what happened to that large tree that was in the living room last week. No one ever does…

This column originally appeared January 1, 1987.  It is included in ''Forever, Erma'' (Andrews and McMeel).

Contributed by Elaine Jack, Assistant Editor, Today's Family magazine.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Baby Changes Everything

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This Christmas, we celebrate the reason for the season.
 
From our families to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Gifts- What and Where!

We have some helpful tips from Amy Holley, owner of HolleyWrap, Louisville's Premier Gifting Service.

1. I have three days until Christmas… what should I get my spouse and not make it look "last minute"?

It's always a good idea to go with a theme, especially when you get the details right.  Say your spouse is a major Ryan Adams fan … buy the tickets online (Palace Theatre, Jan 30), add a Louisville Originals restaurant gift card (can be purchased at ValuMarket or the Louisville Visitors Center ), make the dinner reservation (you can always change reservation place/date/time with any participating restaurant), and maybe pick-up a cool Ryan Adams t-shirt or CD.


 
Your spouse loves to cook? Our city has great services and stores for foodies. Schedule a cooking class with Mary Wheatley (Cook with Mary), visit Lotsa Pasta or any one of our boutique markets, and pick up a few amazing products … think aged balsamic vinegars and exotic olive oils & spices, bourbon-smoked sugars & salts. Buy cookware, if that's not already a staple in your kitchen, and a great cookbook - Julia Child's "The Art of French Cooking" and Erma Rombauer's "The Joy of Cooking" are classic heavies, but your cook may be more suited to an Ellie Krieger volume.


 holleywrap
Lastly … nothing, but nothing, says “last minute” like a gift bag. Wrap the gifts [with paper] with all of the love in your heart. Your spouse will be delighted!

2. There are a few dollars left in the checking account… what can Santa buy with that?

Create an experience that involves your imagination, time, and a little dough. How about a gift-boxed taste of Louisville?  For $25, you can fill a box with a single pack of Red Hot Roasters Coffee (brews 6-8 cups), a couple of their chocolate espresso bars, Coco's Chocolate Cafe chocolate dipped praline almonds and Stellar Sweets Oatmeal Crisps.

3. Where should I go to fill the stockings?

The Butchertown Market is one of the most fun and affordable shopping venues in town.
 
Work the Metal has a great selection of classic and quirky stocking stuffers for men, women and children. The prices are hard to beat for their mix of fun and functional items.

 

Moss Hill Bath & Body Collection has lovely handmade, heavenly-scented soaps and personal pampering products for everyone.

Plus, there is a chocolatier!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Presentation Academy Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.
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Today’s giveaway is a gift basket full of goodies from Presentation Academy, Louisville’s oldest continuously operating Catholic college preparatory academy for young women.

Here’s how you can enter to win (leave a separate comment HERE for each):

-follow Today’s Family Every Day (one entry)
-like Presentation Academy on facebook (one entry)
-like Today’s Family on facebook (one entry)

Giveaway ends 12/27 at midnight.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: amanda breckenridge (comment #3) is our winner.  Congratulations!  Please email us within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Get Yours Today

TFAM_FC
The December/January issue of Today’s Family magazine is on stands.  You can pick up your free copy at any of the following locations or read it online here:

All About Kids
Audubon Hospital
Baptist Hospital East
Blairwood Tennis Club
Caritas Medical Mall
East Louisville Pediatrics
Floyd County library
Floyd Memorial Hospital
Green Tree Mall
Heine Brothers
All area Krogers
Louisville Zoo
Several Area McDonalds
Medical Arts Bldg.
Milestone Wellness
My Gym
Naturino Shoes
Norton Hospital
Norton Suburban Hospital
Parent Teacher Store
Paul Semonin Realtors
Professional Arts Bldg
Rainbow Blossom
Southend Medical Center
Total Woman OB/GYN
YMCA -- Clarksville
YMCA -- NE
YMCA -- SE
YMCA -- SW
YMCA Downtown

Say Goodbye to the Winter Break Blues

AAK Camp
School’s out… now what?  Those winter break days do seem to last forever.  So, here’s a place to try.  Providing swimming, open gym time, and different themes each day, All About Kids is sure to kick a case of boredom right to the curb!  Here are the details:

When: December 19-21, 27-30, and January 2
Where: All About Kids, 2531 Blankenbaker Parkway, Louisville, KY 40299, 502.809.1386
Cost: Full Day (9am-5pm & includes lunch and snack) $45/day
Morning (9am-1pm & includes snack) $30/day
Afternoon (1-5pm & includes snack) $30/day

*Siblings receive 20% discount- must call or register at facility to receive it.

Share with us your winter break plans!

Monday, December 19, 2011

It’s Their Last Homerun Here

This is your last chance to visit Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! at the Louisville Slugger Museum because the Peanuts gang will be finishing it’s three-year visit this holiday season.  With the price of admission ($10 for adults 13-59, $9 for seniors 60+, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 5 and younger) to the museum, your visit will include comics, videos, and fun hands-on activities.

This exhibit runs through January 2 with museum hours Monday- Saturday 9am-5pm and Saturday noon-5pm.

 

What are you planning for your children on winter break?

Having a Ball!

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Are you invited to The Ball?

Well, my house is no castle, but there is a yearly Ball. It has been called The Masquerade Ball, The Goodwill Ball, The SnowBall, and now just, The Ball.

Who’s Invited: Teenagers
Dress: Dressed up – dresses and suits and ties ( you might see some tuxes)
Activities: Dancing – and eating

For the last six years, we have hosted a teenage dance party at our house. The open layout and wood floors make the perfect dance floor and the lack of sitting space (once we move the furniture) encourages the once-dance-shy teens to start dancing. The Ball began with my daughter’s freshman year when several of her friends decided to have a Masquerade Ball. I met with the 14-year-olds who were the planning committee (which involved planning furniture-moving help, food preparation, and music – which they all managed) and the rest is history. Once she graduated, my oldest son and his friends took the helm, and perhaps it will be handed down to the youngest 14-year-old next year.
They have a blast and love dressing up in their best clothing and just plain dancing!

Whatever age or interests of your guests this year, just do what you can and have fun. We all stress too much over trying to make everything perfect.
 
What gathering are you trying to make perfect this year? Any tips you can pass onto the rest of us?
 
Contributed by Anita Oldham, Editor, Today’s Family and Today’s Woman magazines.

Friday, December 16, 2011

No Price Tag on This Gift

Home of the Innocents gift
I’ll admit that with three kids (ages 2, 4 and 7), I am not able to volunteer within the community as much as I’d like, but at this time of year, I do what I can, such as planning my kids’ school parties and collecting items (shown above) for the Home of the Innocents’ Holiday Magic Ornament Program. In addition to making me feel good, I hope my volunteer efforts help my children learn that there is tremendous value in this unpaid work.
 
Here are some of the local volunteer opportunities that are especially appreciated during the holiday season:

Ronald McDonald House-- Make a meal for families staying at Ronald McDonald House through their Adopt-a-Meal Program. (502) 371-1441
St. Vincent de Paul Open Hand Kitchen -- Serves 2 meals a day, 365 days a year to shelter clients. (502) 301-8691
Catholic Charities Adopt-a-Refugee Family at Christmastime-- Purchase and deliver gifts to a refugee family in their homes. (502) 636-9263 ext. 145
Gift wrapping for Girl Scouts-- Wrap gifts at local malls to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. (502) 636-0900 ext. 24100
Salvation Army-- Ring a bell at a local grocery store for the Red Kettle Campaign. (502) 671-4920
 

The gift of time and effort is priceless!
Please share with us how your family makes a difference to others this time of year.
 
Contributed by Carrie Vittitoe, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keep Your Pets Healthy This Holiday Season

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Today’s Post from the Pro is an interview with Kristi Kantz, DVM, Charlestown Veterinary Clinic, Charlestown, IN.
 
· Is it okay for Fido and Fifi to have a few holiday leftovers?
As much as we want to share our holiday goodies with our pets, it is not a good idea. Most of our holiday treats are too rich for our furry companions and could result in vomiting, diarrhea, or even pancreatitis, a serious condition that can require hospitalization. If you must share a special holiday treat with your dog, stick to safe bland items such as boiled boneless, skinless chicken breast, rice, or low-fat cottage cheese.

· With the weather being so cold, do we still need to protect our pets against fleas?
In general, fleas are less of a problem in the winter months. Keep in mind, though, that fleas can remain in the egg stage for prolonged periods of time until environmental conditions are favorable for them to hatch, and adult fleas can persist on our pets through the winter months. The best way to prevent flea problems is to use year round flea prevention. A veterinarian can create a flea prevention program suitable for your pet’s lifestyle. Unfortunately, once fleas are established, it can take 3-4 months of consistent treatment of the pet and its environment to completely eradicate the flea infestation. This can be a time-consuming, frustrating, and costly process.

· Are there any traditional Christmas decorations that are harmful to our pets?
Any Christmas decoration has the potential to be harmful to our pets if they are ingested. In particular, poinsettias and chocolate can be toxic to pets. Also, tinsel can be hazardous to cats if ingested and result in a linear foreign body requiring surgery.

· What’s the most important tip for keeping your pet healthy through the holidays?
Keep any potential harmful substances or items out of your pets reach, and stick to your pets’ normal routine and diet.
 
We wish you a safe and happy holiday for you and your furry companions!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Louisville Mega Cavern Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

You’ve heard of Thunder Over Louisville, but have you heard of Lights Under Louisville?  Right here in your hometown is the only underground holiday light show in the world! You can find it in Louisville, at 1841 Taylor Avenue,  here on facebook, or by phone at 1.877.614.6342 .

Here are the details:

Dates
Now through January 1, 2012

Hours
Monday-Friday 6pm to 10pm
Saturday & Sunday 5pm to 10pm

Admission
Car, truck, SUV, minivan: $25.00
Van: $35.00
Limo: $50.00
Church bus: $50.00
School bus: $75.00

We’re giving away 4 standard vehicle passes to Lights Under Louisville.
3 Ways YOU can enter to win (leave a separate comment HERE for each):
1. Follow Today’s Family Every Day (Click on “Join this site” on the right sidebar where all the pictures are.)
2. Like Today’s Family on facebook
3. Like Louisville Mega Cavern on facebook

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winners are Rachel T (comment #30), Kim (comment #13), ashley (comment #47), and Matt McMillen (comment #28).  Congratulations!  Please email us within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

She’s Gonna Blow!


Does the holiday stress have you about to blow your top?  Sometimes all of the parties, school programs, shopping, baking, wrapping… the list could go on and on, can make one feel less than cheery on occasion.  So much so, that you might think whistles will sound and smoke will billow out your ears if one… more… thing is added to your calendar of events.

So, here’s my remedy (and you can quote me on this!), grab yourself a gourmet coffee or hot chocolate in the next drive-through that you see PRONTO, take a sip,  breathe it in, and just smile. 

Aaahh, now that’s nice… much better!

What’s YOUR remedy to the holiday stress?


Photo sources: Vustv and Sift, Dust, & Toss

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Tradition You Can Eat!

gingerbread house
My mother initiated this gingerbread house-making tradition as a grandmother, with my younger brother’s children far away in Tennessee, long after I had left the nest and started my own family. Being a busy mother myself, my holidays were caught up in attempting to carry on the cookie-making traditions I was raised on, with my own two sons, both of whom turned out to be fairly decent cooks in most respects, but were all thumbs with my favorite traditional family recipes. Those traditions died finally for me when my boys left my nest, and I knew I’d better cease this goodie-cooking to protect my waistline and arteries.

What happened to Tradition — our cookie tradition? Well, let’s just say it sweetly flew out the gingerbread house window.

Not to worry, once again I borrow from my mother’s tradition. The Kroger brand kit, shown in the photo, makes it easy by providing a molded plastic base for the house to sit on, pre-made gingerbread walls, roof, and figures, candy drops, and even pre-mixed icing (the icing does have a short drying span, which is good, since the gumdrops tend to slide with its more liquid thick Elmer’s Glue-like consistency). This little kit pits the budding interest in crafts my 3-year-old-granddaughter possesses against the short attention span of my 1-year-old grandson. Turns out to be a win-win situation for us all.
 
Please share with us your favorite childhood holiday tradition!
 
Contributed by Kathy Bolger, Senior Graphic Designer for Today’s Woman magazine.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Get Your Pet’s Picture with Santa

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Get your pet’s picture taken with Santa this weekend, and help out area animals in need with the 24th annual Picture Your Pets With Santa put on by the Kentucky Humane Society.

Here are the details:

Where
ALL Feeders Supply stores

When
December 10, 10am-4pm
December 11, noon-4pm

For more information, visit www.kyhumane.org, or call 502.366.3355.

Angelica’s Charity Bracelets

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Take a look at those bracelets.  They’re called Angelica’s Charity Bracelets, and each is handmade by the little girl above, Angelica.  The proceeds from their sales benefit various children’s charities.  She’s doing her part to help others; now here’s your chance.  Each bracelet is $8 (shipping included to anywhere in the US, Canada, or overseas). You may order bracelets on her facebook page here.
   
Get yours in time for Christmas by ordering by December 9, if the shipping address is outside of the United States, or by December 16, if shipping anywhere inside the US.

These perfect little stocking stuffers are gifts that benefit everyone!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Snowball Fight, Anyone?

Holiday Snowballs
Yummy… these holiday snowballs are made to eat, not throw (hehe!).  Try them out and let us know what you think.  Here’s the recipe:

Holiday Snowballs (Makes 2 Dozen)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Raw Walnuts
½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
¼ Cup Confectioners' Sugar, plus additional for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Place the walnuts in a food processor for 30 seconds or until finely chopped.
3. Place the ground walnuts, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and combine.
4. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a standing mixer or bowl using a hand mixer and cream for 3-4 minutes.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until combined.
6. Using a cookie scooper, scoop out the dough and place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

What’s your go-to holiday cookie?

Recipe courtesy of Louisville’s own Catherine McCord of weelicious.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jeffersonville Ice Rink Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

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It’s time to lace up your skates… ice skates, that is, and head on over to the corner of Spring and Market Streets, in Jeffersonville, IN, for some winter fun.  You can find the Jeffersonville Ice Rink here on facebook.  Here are all of the fun details:

Hours
Sunday-Thursday, 12 to 9pm
Friday- Saturday, 12 to 10pm

Cost
$8 per person
$6 per person for groups of 10 or more

Special Offers
Tuesdays-Eat Local Night- kids skate for $4 with same-day receipt from a Jeffersonville restaurant
Thursdays- Shop Local Night- Kids skate for $4 with same-day receipt from a locally-owned Jeffersonville shop
Fridays- Teen Night- DJ from 7 to 10pm
Sundays- Skate with Santa- 1 to 4pm

Here’s the best part… two people will each win a family four-pack of tickets to the Jeffersonville Ice Rink.

3 Ways to Enter (just leave a separate comment here for each):
1. Be a follower of Today’s Family Every Day (one entry)
2. Like the Jeffersonville Ice Rink on facebook (one entry)
3. Like Today’s Family on facebook (one entry)

*This giveaway ends at midnight on 12/13/11.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winners are Angie Figg (comment #14) and Billie (comment #6).  Congratulations!  Please email us soon to claim your prize.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What do you think? Hmmmm…us sounds good to me!

HummusLunch

Today’s Family magazine will be presenting a “Family Challenge” article in each of the next four issues, each with a different family taking on a different challenge.  The December/January issue’s challenge was “Vegan for a Week," and here’s a little something extra from it’s writer.

One of the lessons I took away from my “Vegan for a Week” challenge is that healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard. For example, lunch today consisted of spinach, baby carrots, avocado, pita bread (that I heated up by popping in the toaster), and hummus.  Although store bought hummus is fine, I make my own. Essentially chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and garlic, hummus is easy to make, and kids love to help. Below are a few tips on making delicious homemade hummus:
 
• Even if your recipe says to use a food processor, use a blender. For some reason the food processor won’t get the texture creamy enough. Once I switched to using a blender, my results were much better. 
• Add water as needed. Most recipes have water in tablespoon amounts, but if your hummus is too chunky, keep adding it, in small quantities, until the dip is smooth.
• Do you like garlic? Me too! I always add more than the recipe asks for. Not a garlic fan? Experiment with different flavors. Add red peppers, olives, parsley, or peanut butter.
 
With hummus exactly as you like it, a vegan meal isn’t difficult to put together. Although I’m not vegan, simple adjustments have taken root in my daily life as a result of the challenge; plus, a healthy lunch that tastes great, too. Who wouldn’t stick to that?

Could you go vegan for a week?
 
Contributed by Mali Anderson, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Looks Like a New Tradition























So what's new this holiday season?
Frankly, I'm less interested in starting anything new than backing off on some of the old stuff!  But quite by accident, we may have the start of a new tradition at our house, if I'm lucky!
 
Fact: Our TV is going through a midlife crisis: it's having green flashes. My IT expert cousin says that the picture tube is about to go. (What's a picture tube, you ask? Something Moses invented, I think.)
Fact: Finances at our house are tight this year. (Show me a house where they aren't!)
Fact: My girls have outgrown making the 5-page “gimme” list, but they've not outgrown the desire to get stuff.
Solution: There's going to be a TV under our tree this year - a "family present" - and not much else. (Although Santa and two Grandmas can still be depended on to come through!)

My girls have been warned, and they're remarkably cheerful about it; I think they are eager to watch something - anything - in which the entire cast isn't green-skinned Orion slave girls from Star Trek, the Original Series.

Voila! A new tradition. Maybe.
 
Wonder if my girls would go for the idea of a new sofa next year . . . ?

Contributed by Elaine Jack, Assistant Editor of Today’s Family magazine.
Photo source: Geek Philosopher

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Nutcracker- Which One is a Part of Your Holiday Traditions?

The Brown-Forman Nutcracker
That one?
or
This one?
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If the latter is already a part of your family’s tradition like mine, and you’d like to bring on the other, as well.  You can start this year! Here are the details:

The Louisville Ballet will be performing the Brown-Forman Nutcracker in Whiney Hall, at the Kentucky Center, December 10-23, 2011.  You may purchase tickets online here.

Let us know which one you is a part of your holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Say “Yes” to the Mess!

Ornament Krispie Pic
I am always telling my 3 ½ and 5 ½ year old, "No."  "No," they can't help me in the Queen of Treats kitchen.  "No," they can't eat what we're baking.  "No," we're not having a party, and this cake isn't for them!  What a bummer!

So, during the holidays, I like to spend some time in our kitchen at home getting messy, creating masterpieces and enjoying the laughter!

This year, we're making "Ornament Krispies"!!  Not difficult, but definitely fun!  Just use round puff cereal in your Rice Krispie recipe!  I like Capn' Crunch OOPS! All Berries, and Trix bright colors and Kix work well for decorating!

Shape the cereal krispies into balls; placing them in a muffin tin helps them hold their shape.  Once cooled, the kids can decorate with M & M's, Skittles, or whatever you have around!  Just use a little candy melt or icing as glue to hold the candies.  For ornament hangers, break the hook off of a mini-candy cane and use candy melt to attach... or attach a Rolo upside down. Tie a ribbon around to finish it off! You can also place these in decorative cupcake liners or wrap in cling wrap to give to friends!

"Yes," you're going to get sticky!  "Yes," you're going to have fun!  And, "Yes," it will be a tradition you will want to continue!  As busy as we are during the holidays, I've found it's always important to stop and say, "YES!"  I hope your family enjoys this idea as much as we have!

Happy Holidays!

Contributed by Erin Haynes Reed of Queen of Treats.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pretty Little Diva Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.


It doesn’t get any more girly than that!  After spa treatments from Pretty Little Diva Mobile Glamour Party, your little girls will be ready to paint the town pink, and today’s giveaway is a party package from Pretty Little Diva.  You can contact them in Louisville by email at info@prettylittlediva.com, phone 502.230.1753, or here on facebook.

There are two ways you can enter (just leave a separate comment here for each):
1. Follow Today’s Family Every Day (one entry)
2. Like Pretty Little Diva on facebook (one entry)

*This giveaway ends at midnight on 12/6/11.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winner is christines (comment #24).  Congratulations!  Please email us soon to claim your prize.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree… Oh, Christmas Tree.

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For many of us, once the turkey is fully digested, it is time for the Christmas tree to go up. But which tree tradition do you choose?

Being lifetime Louisvillians, my husband, Dean, and I are allergic to everything in nature--mold, mildew, dust, grass and tree pollen--which makes the prospect of having a live Christmas tree a recipe for disaster followed closely by a prescription for antibiotics. For the sake of our sinuses, we stick with a fake one.

With our three children and two cats, we also find it enough of a challenge to keep all of them fed and watered on a daily basis. During the busy holiday season of shopping, visiting family, and participating in Christmas events throughout the city, we think our heads might explode if we had to be responsible for one more living thing.

I have heard about the mess of live tree needles littering the floors, but we have the same issue with our artificial tree. Of course, much of this mess in our home comes from the cats who gnaw on the ends of the branches. The holiday brings with it a new kind of hairball mess for me to clean up almost every morning.

Sometimes I envision the memories we’d make with a yearly outing for a new tree at a cut-your-own farm, but when I remember that this would mean my husband would wield an ax (and probably do a lot of cursing), I decide that we are meant to be a fake tree family.
 
Contributed by Carrie Vittitoe, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tree-Trimming Party?

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Here’s the breakdown:
-1 naked tree
-900 colorful lights
-2 HUGE boxes filled with ornaments (number unknown)
-3 kids, ages 6 and under
-and a partridge in a pear tree (just kidding!)
Now, I love to look at the ornaments my little family has collected over the years.  They are truly special to me, and I love having them hanging on my tree to enjoy throughout the holiday season, but getting them up there… now that’s a different story.  I dread the hours it takes to decorate a Christmas tree.  If only I could wiggle the tip of my nose, and it would all be done.  Unfortunately, that never happens.  Trust me, I’ve tried it.

So, my husband and I devised a plan a few years back and have turned it into a tradition.  We call it a “Tree-Trimming Party”.  Using the aforementioned pseudonym and the promise festive food and drink, we lure our family members to our home, and voila, the decorating begins. Our bare tree transforms into a beautiful Christmas tree  right before our very eyes.  With the extra hands, the tedious task, if you will, of decorating our tree becomes a festive evening filled with cheer.   The highlight of our home during the holidays is put together by the hands of each of our family members. 

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As it turns out, our once-devious tactic has turned into a holiday tradition we all look forward to every year! 

Do you have a tree-trimming strategy or tradition like ours?

Contributed by Miranda G. Popp, Editor of Today’s Family Every Day

Friday, November 25, 2011

To Shop or Not to Shop? That is the Question.


If Socrates were still around, I think he would have asked that question today.  I answer with a joyful, “Shop.”

In my family, it is a tradition to shop at some point on Black Friday.  We shop not because there are sales, but because Christmas is in the air for the first time of the year.  The Peppermint Mochas are being sipped while the carols are played overhead.  There’s just something about the hustle and bustle of people searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones that I just love.

How do you answer the question

Contributed by Miranda G. Popp, Editor of Today's Family Every Day
Photo source: She Knows Parenting

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!


Today is the day to embrace the blessings we've received and to give thanks for them.  It makes no difference whether they're big or small, today is the day to recognize them all!

Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours!

Photo source: The Online Business Blog

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

M and N’s Custom Monogrammed Gifts Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

MandN luggage photo
Can you imagine strolling that luggage into your in-laws’ house this season?  Jaws would definitely drop, and you could win your very own set (there are more patterns to choose from) in today’s giveaway from:








You can find M and N’s Custom Monogrammed Gifts in Crestwood at: 6334-2 W. Highway 146, by phone 1.888.716.1740, or here on Facebook.

Three ways you can enter, just leave a separate comment for each thing:
-be a follower of Today’s Family Every Day (one entry)
-visit M and N’s Custom Monogrammed Gifts’ website and tell us your favorite item (one entry)
-Like M and N’s Custom Monogrammed Gifts on Facebook (one entry)

*This giveaway ends at midnight on 11/29/11.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winner is robysenn1 (comment #5).  Congratulations!  We have emailed you regarding your prize.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 Gadgets for Holiday Road Trips


Some of these gadgets might keep the “Are we there, yet?” questions at bay during this holiday season’s traveling with the kids.

1. Snack Container
A signature trademark of a kid-friendly car is a Hansel and Gretel-worthy crumb collection on every surface. If you can overlook this completely annoying parenthood perk, I applaud you; otherwise invest in some creative cups. Munchkin offers an ingenious design with handles and no spill rubber top--two for under $7. Sporting a similar design but with an attachable rope (and additional solid top) is the Spill-Proof Snack Buddy Cup from One Step Ahead.
2. Window Shade
Getting on the road is tough enough; stopping to shade a sunset shouldn't be on your list of priorities. Grab a light-cutting window shade to curb the brightness. Measure your windows and buy the widest shade possible, making sure you have enough visibility in your back and rear passenger windows. Check out your options at Great Baby Products for window shade reviews.
3. Lacing Toys
Kids above age 3 (who don't suffer from motion sickness) will work on lacing boards for hours. Growing Tree Toys has a fantastic range of simple lacing activities from necklaces and ABCs, to complex connect-a-dot boards. Bring a bucket to set in your child's lap so that she can contain the blocks without dropping them on the floor.
4. Finger Puppets
For the dramatic types in your crew, a set of finger puppets can be a space-saving lifesaver. My favorites are high-quality puppets that tell a familiar story, like Thumbelina or the Frog Prince from puppet master Folkmanis, but folks on a budget can definitely afford IKEA's popular set of circus characters or animals for just $4.99.
5. Favorite Music
Not your favorite music, mind you. Junior may not appreciate the vocal stylings of Rihanna for hours on end (and, honestly, you shouldn't either). Enjoy some traditional Disney favorites and throw in some award-winning movement songs from Hap Palmer and Joe Scruggs to keep the mood kid-friendly. Bring on talk radio when it's time for a snooze.
6. Bubbles
So what if you have to clean up the residue later! Bubbles are total fun for all ages, especially when the road seems never-ending. Unless you have an older child, mom or dad needs to commandeer the liquid and blow them toward the back. The best bubbles on the market, hands down, come from Gymboree. These bubbles float forever, and the solution never dries out.
7. Barf Bag
Close to 30% of people are susceptible to motion sickness, and kids are no exception. The barfies can strike at any time--there's no guarantee that your child will or won't get sick on a road trip. Prepare for the worst by investing in a few leak-proof barf bags with fun pictures printed on the outside and show your child how to "cough" into it if his tummy starts to hurt. And bring an extra couple of towels just in case.
8. Neck Pillow
This is a tricky one. Your younger child may or may not like the feeling of something so close to her neck. Try it on short stroller trips ahead of time to practice. If your kiddo will wear it, she'll be far more comfortable during naps. Pillow companions like the Dora neck pillow attach to the straps of your car seat or stroller, making it a bit more accessible.
9. Small Baking Sheets
This ingenious idea from Family Fun keeps the ever-present I-dropped-it-on-the-floor wail at bay. Use a conventional (but smaller) lipped baking sheet as a drawing, magnetic, and keep-it-all-in-one place surface. Glue one or two layers of foam shelf paper on the bottom to make it less likely to fall and affix white contact paper to the top for the drawing surface. Turn it into multiple activities by attaching magnets to buttons for checkers or bingo games.
10. iPad
No, I'm not a fan of hours of screen time for little eyes, but during a road trip this godsend is a total catchall. From apps for all ages to music and movies, the iPad is the perfect device for tiny travelers. Let your kiddos learn letters with Starfall or everything nursery-rhyme cooky from Duck Duck Moose. When all else fails, strap it to the seat and watch a movie.

This list is courtesy of Ashley Grimaldo who comes from a long line of penny pinchers and enjoys blogging on money-saving tips and advice for frugal-minded parents.  She has been featured among such media outlets as Redbook, The Chicago Tribune, Time.com, and CBS News-Houston.

Photo source: Babble

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for Our Loyal Dog

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My oldest son was only 3 when he decided he wanted a dog. As an overwhelmed mother of three under age 5, I said, “when you are 5, you can get a dog.” Fast-forward almost two years, and my son started talking about his upcoming 5th birthday and how he was going to get his new dog. He was holding me to my promise.

I tried to talk him out of it. “How about a new bike for you birthday?” His response, “That would be great – a bike and a dog.” I tried that with many different bribes, but he always added the dog. I decided to just go for the dog. We drove to a house in Henryville, Indiana, to meet puppies that were a mix of Australian Shepherd and Black Labrador Retriever. My son chose a puppy that looked like a Lab with a touch of white on his chest and the only one of the seven with dirt on his nose. He named him Max within five minutes of loading into the van. They were inseparable, and Max was a confidant in times that my son felt no one else cared. Max has felt charged with the responsibility to guard my children and our house with fierceness for 12 years.

My son is now 17, and his dog Max is at the end of his life as he has bone cancer. We are thankful that Max has been a part of our family for so many years. I have had many pets, but this one has been thoroughly integrated into our everyday family life. I know many of you have had similar experiences with saying goodbye to a beloved pet, how has it been for you? Share some of your thoughts and ideas here. What are you thankful for?

Contributed by Anita Oldham, Editor of Today's Family and Today's Woman magazines.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 30: The Grand Prize Giveaway is Finally Here!

This giveaway is now closed.

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It’s what you’ve all been waiting for.

Drum roll, please. Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

Today’s giveaway is the Dreamworks Experience at Gaylord Hotels!

This package valued at $1,100 includes:
 -Two-night room accommodations (Sun.-Thurs.) at Gaylord Opryland Resort for up to a family of four
-Four tickets to ICE! featuring DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar™
-ShrekFeast™ Character Meal
-"Character Passport" Meet & Greets
-DreamWorks Themed Scavenger Hunt
-DreamWorks Welcome Amenity with Package Check-In
-Souvenir photo
-Special Wake-Up Calls by DreamWorks Characters
-Two tickets for a ride on the Delta Riverboats inside Gaylord Opryland
-VIP Coupon Book valued at more than $250
 
Note: There are applicable taxes, daily self-parking, and a daily resort fee.

Here’s how YOU can enter:
-become a Today’s Family Every Day follower by clicking on “Join this site” on the right sidebar and leave only ONE comment here telling us a topic you’d like to see this blog cover.  Also, please leave your initials at the end of your comment.

*Note: You are eligible to win this prize even if you've already won a prize from Today's Family, Today's Family Every Day, Today's Woman, or Today's Transitions in the past 30 days.
See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our Grand Prize winner is Amanda C (comment #3).  Congratulations!  Please email us soon to claim your prize.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 29: Puzzles Fun Dome Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

What a party!  Time to blow out your candles!  At Puzzles Fun Dome, you can celebrate your child’s best birthday ever without spending a lot of money and without the worry and mess, and today’s giveaway is a Classic Walk-in Party from Puzzles Fun Dome.  You can find them in Louisville at: 11530 Bluegrass Parkway, 502.261.7144.

Here’s how YOU can enter:
-become a Today’s Family Every Day follower by clicking on “Join this site” on the right sidebar and leave a comment here telling us a topic you’d like to see this blog cover.

See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winner is divamom03 (comment#10).  Congratulations!  Please email us soon to claim your prize.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 28 : Boombozz Famous Gourmet Pizza Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

Add a little pizza, and it already feels like a party, and today’s giveaway is a $50 gift certificate to Boombozz Famous Gourmet Pizza.  Now that’s something to party about for sure!  You can find Boombozz at their four locations in Louisville: in Westport Village on Westport Road at Herr Lane, in St. Matthews at 3400 Frankfort Avenue, in the Highlands at 1448 Bardstown Road, and in Jeffersontown at 12613 Taylorsville Road, or here on Facebook.

Here’s how YOU can enter:
-become a Today’s Family Every Day follower by clicking on “Join this site” on the right sidebar and leave a comment here telling us a topic you’d like to see this blog cover.
See Official Rules for details.

Update: Our winner is Sarah (comment #10).  Congratulations! We have emailed you regarding your prize.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 27: Carmen's Cupcakes Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed.

Cupcakes make anything a celebration. Today’s giveaway is a cupcake bouquet from Carmen’s Cupcakes. It is a nut-free bakery that also makes cakes and pastries and offers birthday party packages and cooking classes for the little chefs in your family. You can find Carmen’s Cupcakes in Prospect: 10616 Meeting Street, 502.365.4252 and Bardstown Road: 1401 Bardstown Road, 502.459.4239, or you can visit them here on Facebook.

Here’s how YOU can enter:
-become a Today’s Family Every Day follower by clicking on "Join this Site" and leave a comment here telling us a topic you'd like to see this blog cover.

See Official Rules for details.

Update:  Our winner is grandnanny (comment #5).  Congratulations!  Please email us soon to claim your prize.

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