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My Application to Become a Real Housewife

To Mr. Andy Cohen, Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development for Bravo:

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Battle of the Video Games

Worried about how many video games your kids have played over the holiday break?  Based on conversations at the Y’s family swim this afternoon, my mom friends practically had to drag their sons out for some actual exercise.

My boys went to the pool willingly enough – probably because they’d had their fill of Wii hockey and Angry Birds (and they can’t find the Nintendo DS). It’s kind of amazing how much time they can spend with screens if you let them.

And while you should boot your kids off the couch now, there are plenty of benefits of computer games.

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Baby Blues and the Powerful Placenta

Like 85 percent of new moms, Erica Heslop suffered the baby blues after the birth of her first child. When she became pregnant with her second, this mom and nurse vowed not to let post-partum gloom steal a moment of happiness again.

Explained Heslop, “After I got pregnant with Drew, I looked back on my first weeks with Jay and realized that my mood swings, fatigue and tearfulness had clouded my early time with him. My husband even referred to the shower as my ‘sobbing box’ because every time I would shower, I would cry. I wanted the time after our second child’s birth to be less crying and more joy.”

Heslop’s solution: placenta encapsulation.

Now, in all honesty, when Heslop mentioned the practice to our moms’ group, I gagged a little. All I could picture was a placenta simmering in the crockpot with some Lipton’s onion soup mix. But the more she shared the benefits of encapsulation, the more I began to respect the practice. Instead of serving up the placenta with a side of au jus, Heslop explained, it’s cooked, dried and formed into caplets for taste-free ingestion, restoring necessary hormones that are lost within three to five days of giving birth and helping reduce the risk of the blues.

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Six Stories About Teens That Captured Our Attention in 2010

By Russell Hyken

My work with teenagers and their families provides a unique perspective on the state of the world. I spend days listing to the profound, as well as the improbable, reasonings of 14-year-olds, and I find that most teens have a sense of the bigger picture. I also believe that most will go on to do truly great things.

Many Top 10 (or in this case, Top 6) lists mention stories about teens that have caught the nation’s attention. These are stories that caught my attention as a counselor – they got teens talking and shaped the culture of 2010.

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Counting the Calories in Three Glasses of Holiday Sangria

Last night my mom and I indulged in a pitcher of spiced apple cider sangria at Onesto in South City. It was so tasty that we each drank several glasses, and before we knew it, we’d polished off the whole thing. About three glasses each.

After the very pleasant buzz wore off, I started wondering if we’d overdone it. Not in terms of alcohol – it wasn’t that strong, and we left the alcohol-infused apples in the pitcher! – but in terms of calories. Would I have to short myself on cookies for a day or two to make up for all the sangria?

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Top Pop Culture Moments of 2010 According to Mom

It’s that time of year again. Magazines, newspapers and blogs are packed with Top 10 lists spotlighting the best and worst of 2010. As a mom who finds little time to break free from the house or crack open a magazine, my list probably isn’t as edgy or cool as others, but hopefully it’s one parents can identify with. Especially if you’re the kind of parent who thinks Real Housewives of Atlanta and a Hostess cherry pie is a rockin’ good time. And if you are that person, wanna hang out sometime?

Tangled hits theaters – It’s hard to find a “girl” movie that boys like too, but Tangled is packed with enough action, adventure and humor to thrill the Y-chromosome sector. I especially liked it for Rapunzel’s spunky hairdo at the end of the film. So much so, that I was about to take a picture of it to my hairstylist, but thought basing my look on a Disney character was borderline obsessive.

Miley smokes the salvia – Like many little girls her age, MJ is a huge Miley Cyrus fan, yet I rarely let her watch Hannah Montana because I’m disgusted by the way Hannah talks back to her dad. However, for any adult with a TV and Internet access, there’s no escaping Miley’s classy stripper pole dancing, 40-year-old man grinding and salvia smoking. MJ, what about liking that nice Demi Lovato? Wait – scratch that.

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A Healthy Holiday Season Despite Asthma

There are lots of reasons to grumble about the weather lately, but for those with asthma, this wintry weather is especially aggravating. Their airways went from 70-degree days to wind chills below zero in just a few weeks. Add that to the usual holiday asthma triggers — dust mites on decorations pulled from storage, mold spores on live trees, fragrances in potpourris and candles — not to mention the usual wintertime upper respiratory infections going around, and it’s no wonder Dr. Susan Berdy’s phone is ringing off the hook.

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The Top 3 Ways to Safety Proof Your Holiday

The season of joy and good tidings also brings some potential safety issues for children of all ages. Dr. Matt Dougherty, Dr. Matthew Doughertypediatrician at South County Esse Health on Tesson Ferry, has some tips for keeping kids safe while celebrating.
1. Mind the Decorations

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Cookies and Cupcakes and Then Some

I have a friend who says there are two kinds of people in the world: cooks and bakers. And while my daughter is more of a cook (she prefers her more imaginative concoctions), she loves to help with the baking - cracking the eggs, using the electric mixer, spooning batter into muffin cups. Her interest is beginning to range beyond muffins and brownies these days. In an effort to encourage this, I sought out a good children’s baking cookbook for her - a task that proved more difficult than I expected.

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A Recipe for Creating Traditions from a St. Louis Master Chef

The smells of gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies wafting through house officially signal the arrival of the holiday season. Baking absolutely stands out as a cherished holiday tradition, albeit one that some of us must moderate in order to stay in our current jean size.
Vicki Bensinger, a local cook who also teaches in-home culinary classes and has her own cooking blog, says that cooking with your children provides lots of benefits during the holidays and throughout the year. “What I found was that it creates tremendous bonding among all of us,” says Vicki. “My children (now 21 and 24) wouldn’t bicker with each other during our baking times. They would be focused and creative in their own way and have fun together.

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When Your Personal Chef Takes a Holiday

The holidays are a busy time for us parents. If shopping and decorating weren’t enough, now you want us to bake?

We all have these perfect Norman Rockwell holiday dinners in our heads. But the truth is, those dinner tables loaded with a glistening ham and homemade eggnog are hard to achieve for any one with toddlers underfoot – unless Ina Garten invades our kitchen or we steal Jessie Spano’s caffeine pills.

In the quest for perfection, we often neglect to focus on what’s really important during the holidays – spending time with family instead of the stove. So instead of stressing, follow a few tricks to ease the baking rush.

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The Developmental Benefits of Baking Cookies

As my fellow blogger Andrea mentioned yesterday, baking with kids is messy. A one-hour cookie project can easily take just as long to clean up!  I thought it would get better when my boys got older, but it hasn’t. Every time they master a skill, like measuring, they want to do something tougher, like separate eggs.

The upside to all the cleanup is that baking is excellent for kids’ healthy development.

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A St. Louis Mentoring Program on the National Stage

It’s incredible how the dream of one woman can make dreams come true for hundreds of St. Louis kids.

For 15 years, Christine Reams, the force behind the Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS) Children’s Alive Learning Leadership (CALL) program, has made an impact on the futures of area children. An impact so strong that it earned her national recognition as an Encore Careers Purpose Prize Fellow for 2010, an award that honors those who make a difference in their communities in their second half of life.

CALL has been a labor of love for Reams. As a social worker with LFCS, Reams spent much of her time providing families in need with one-time financial assistance. However, it was the children of these families she felt lacked a solid foundation — both from an educational and a social aspect — to build the diverse skills needed to be competitive in today’s global economy. Reams believed a mentoring program could be the solution these children needed.

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New Dance Company Hits the Local Art Scene

For art lovers in St. Louis, the region offers a vibrant array of opportunities to find our creative fix. Now we can boast one more incredible organization. In 2011, St. Louis Dance Theatre, the region’s first professional jazz dance company, will kick off its inaugural season, introducing audiences of all ages to dance and offering local dancers a new stage on which to showcase their talents.

Like many dancers from St. Louis, Morgan Cameron trained for years to perfect her craft but eventually joined dance companies in other cities due to limited opportunities in the St. Louis region. After returning to St. Louis, Cameron started a family and a business with her husband and founded a part-time dance company. However, beginning in 2011, StLDT will allow her and her fellow dancers to fulfill their dreams full time right here in the region.

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Yes That Was Me Crying at Steak n Shake

Eating out just isn’t what it used to be now that we have two kids in tow. Two very, very energetic kids.

As parents we have two choices. 1) We could hibernate and eat at home until the 17-month-old hits 3 years old, but that would necessitate either me or Mr. P cooking every night, and that’s no fun. Or 2) Take the little ones out once in awhile so they can strengthen their eating-out-in-public skills.

Every so often, we go with #2 because we are insane. However, #2 comes with a very tight set of rules:

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Four Siblings Find a Home for the Holidays

Jeremy and LaShandra Cheuvront have a lot to be thankful for this season.

Last year, the St. Louis area couple celebrated the holidays with one another and their two dogs. This year, their house is much fuller – both with people and with love. Thanks to a partnership between Jefferson County Children’s Division and the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, the Cheuvronts are ringing in the holidays with their four children – 13-year-old Autumn, 12-year-old Amber, 9-year-old Angie and 7-year-old John – siblings they adopted in August. Siblings that for the past two Christmases had no permanent home.

In February, although they had never met them and knew little about them, the Cheuvronts welcomed the children into their home. Six months later, the siblings became permanent Cheuvronts through adoption – a wish come true for Jeremy and LaShandra Cheuvront.

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Things to Do

Toddler Tinker Time

Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

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Snow Town at The Magic House

Plan your visit to Snow Town, an outdoor adventure at The Magic House complete with a Snowball Carnival, featuring whimsical winter outdoor games, a variety of snowball-themed carnival booths, snowball putt putt and lots more! This completely outdoor experience is SNOW much fun!



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How Are You Holding Up? Here's What Experts Say About Coping With Anxiety, Stress and Uncertainty

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Our Picks for the Top Holiday Events in St. Louis in 2020

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Find Gifts for All the Kiddos On Your List in our 100% Local Holiday Gift Guide

In a year when every parent could use a break, why not make gift giving easier, faster, and while you're at it, help support local organizations and businesses? That's why we've made our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide 100% local for 2020. Keep St. Louis strong, and those on your list happy, with these gift ideas that are just a click away.

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The College School Announces Diversity Scholarship

The College School, an independent school for grades Pre-K through grade 8, has launched a new Upper Division Diversity Scholarship for students of color who are entering fourth through seventh grades. The scholarship award will include up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for the student's time enrolled at the school.

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