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Archive for August, 2009

For parents considering open adoption

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
Shelby, 23, Cooper, 14, Hanna, 10

Shelby, 23, Cooper, 14, Hanna, 10

It’s among the most divisive questions in the realm of adoption: Should adoptees have access to their birth parents, and, as a result, be able to establish relationships with them and have questions answered about their backgrounds and medical histories?

Meet a Richmond Hill family who’s an example of the benefits of open adoption.  The Suddaths – parents Matt and Mary – their biological child, Shelby, 23, and two adopted children Hanna, 10, and Cooper, 14, (pictured here) believe open adoption is the most child-friendly option.  Read their story in my newspaper column this week. Click here to read.  

Hanna and Cooper, who are biracial, say being biracial children in a white family has challenges, but neither Hanna nor Cooper consider being racially different from their parents much of an issue.

You can find out more about open adoption at a “De-mystifying adoption” seminar, 2-4 pm Sun. Aug. 23 @ St. Anne Church, 10550 Ford Ave., Richmond Hill.  “Exploring the World of Adoption” is sponsored by St. Anne Church and the Parish Council of Catholic Women.

Free and open to the public. Featuring short talks by Birney Bull, adoption attorney; Mary Suddath, adoptive parent; a birth mother; and an adoption consultant as well as a Q&A session. Refreshments and a nursery are included. Participants can speak privately with speakers and adoptive parents representing various types of adoption. No reservations required.

Information: 912.756.3343.

Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program: Private school might be affordable after all…

Friday, August 14th, 2009

logo_goalDoes back-to-school season have you depressed about your kids’ public education options in our area? Not to mention reading those intimidating private school tuitions in the current issue of Savannah Magazine?

Good news: there’s a new tuition scholarship program targeted towards low to moderate income families who are looking for an alternative to public education. st-andrews-logo.gifSt. Andrew’s School, an independent college prep school on Wilmington Island for Pre-K through 12th grade, and Benedictine Military School are two of the private schools in the Savannah-area that are participating in the scholarship program.

The Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program provides qualified Georgian children from low-and moderate income families with the opportunity to attend the private K-12 schools. The scholarships are available to any child entering kindergarten and any student in grades 1-12 who is transferring from public school.

GOAL Scholarships are awarded on a sliding scale based on the availability of funds, the annual household income of applicant families, and household size. In order for a child to receive a GOAL Scholarship in any amount, total household income cannot exceed $85,000.

Click here to see a list of participating schools in the Savannah-area. St. Andrew’s and Benedictine aren’t listed yet, but recently partnered with The Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program to offer students the opportunity to attend the school. For more info on St. Andrew’s scholarship program, click here.

Aug. 28 is deadline to register for Savannah children swim classes

Friday, August 14th, 2009

aqua_tot41You couldn’t keep your child out of the pool this summer. And you want to do everything you can to encourage that little fish status, even after your pool closes for the summer.

A new session of Starfish Swim School children’s classes starts in September at  The Chatham County Aquatic Center. . Registration deadline is Aug. 28

A variety of classes are offered, including Starbabies for ages 6 months to 36 months. That class helps such very young children develop a high comfort level in the water while at the same time training parents in water safety.

The goal isn’t to get toddlers to do the butterfly stroke, but to get them comfortable putting their face in the water, kicking, blowing bubbles and sometimes even learning how to climb out of the pull and jump in.

One parent must be in the water with each child. Be prepared for lots of singing (”Splashes. Splashes. We all blow bubbles….”) Click here for a schedule.

star_fish-2Other classes include:

SeaSprites for ages 3-5: swim skills through creative water activities.
SeaStars for ages 6-8: core swimming skills and the opportunity to progress to advanced strokes;
SwimStars for ages 9 and older: swimming skills, water safety, water sports and adventure learning activities.
StrokeStars for any age that meets the skills requirement: refine freestyle and learn stroke technique for backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and more.

Classes cost $50 for non members and $38 for members. Call 912.652.6793. Learn more by clicking here. The Chatham County Aquatic Center is @ 7420 Sallie Mood

Kids’ activities in Savannah-area this weekend

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

choo-chooThe READING EXPRESS @ Roundhouse Railroad Museum
Get ready to return to school by sharpening your child’s reading and listening skills while having a lot of fun. Share books while riding the train at the Roundhouse.
10 – 11:30 AM Sat. Aug. 15
$10 per person
10– 10:30: Activities, Crafts, and Games
10:30 – 11 Train Ride and Storytime
11:00 – 11:30: Train cookies and chocolate milk in the Baggage Car.
Cards will be given out for the Reading Express Club. Each child who listens or reads enough books to fill up his/her card will be entered in a drawing to win a ride in the cab of the Reading Express Locomotive.
To register, call 651-6823 or email

“Butterfly Gardening and Bee Keeping” at the Savannah-Ogeechee Canal Museum and Nature Center
10:30 AM Sat. August 15
681 Ft. Argyle Rd. (Rt. 204) 2.3 miles past I-95.
Learn about creating a butterfly garden and find out what’s involved in bee keeping. Chica Arndt and Linda Harms will give the program.
Admission: $2 for adults, $1 for children 4-12.
(912) 748-8068 or e-mail:

Saturday Explorations at The Aquarium (SEA) Program at the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway IslandThis week’s theme: Hurricanes: What needs to be in my hurricane supply box? What do they mean when they say have a plan? How do you track a hurricane? What is the difference between a hurricane, tropical cyclone, and typhoon? These are just some of the many questions that will be answered this Saturday.
Games will include who can pack their hurricane box fastest and who can complete the hurricane plan more quickly.
Time: 10 AM-noon Sat. Aug. 15
Cost: $10 per person
30 Ocean Science Circle.
To register, contact 912.598.3474 or e-mail

Book signing by Doug Paul, author of middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy books including “One Wizard Place,” “Sentinel” and “Sidhe”.
2-4 PM Sun. Aug. 16
Barnes & Noble @ Oglethorpe Mall

Sign up for fall Kindermusik classes

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

kindermusik-button-ad1Kindermusik parent-and-me classes are a perfect way to spend time with your child and spark your little one’s  interest in music.

Fall classes are available for children ages 0-7.

To register online, visit the local Kindermusik Web site here. For more info, email or call 912.728-KEYS (5397)

All classes are limited to a certain number of children. Many fill up quickly, so register today. Please email this post your friends, family, neighbors and Moms’ groups.

All classes begin the week after Labor Day, with Monday classes beginning September 14. Classes will run for 15 weeks and go through late January.

Classes will be offered Monday mornings in Savannah (Sandfly area), Tuesday mornings on Wilmington Island and Saturday mornings in Savannah (Southside). For those who have interest in Wednesday classes at the Landings, or Wednesday classes in Richmond Hill, please email email asap. A certain number of interested families are needed in order to hold classes there.

Kindermusik will also be offering a preschool class (ages 3-5) 11:10am Mondays.

Here are some brief descriptions of the fall curricula:

Kindermusik Village (ages 0-20 months) “feathers” and “dosido”:

  • Feathers — The musical poems of Woody Guthrie, bird songs, and the naturally occurring sounds in nature help babies develop an early appreciation and accelerated aptitude for language, movement, and music in this class.  Home Materials: CD with over 25 specially-selected recordings from class, Kindermusik chimeball, a colorful picture book of birds. Feathers, and a set of Art Banners for the nursery wall that strengthens vision and promotes early literacy.
  • Do-Si-Do — Pick up your baby and dance. Dance the Charleston, the Tango, and the Cha-Cha and learn why dancing with your baby helps develop vital learning skills from head-to-toe. In this class, play a variety of baby appropriate instruments, a dance with fun props. Home Materials: CD with songs from class, an instrument Kindermusik eggshaker and scarf, a picture board book Do-Si-Do with lilting move-to-it rhyming text, and a set of Art Banners for the nursery wall that strengthens vision and promotes early literacy.

Kindermusik Our Time (ages 18 months to 3.5 years)

  • Wiggles & Giggles — The more than 30 songs, 15 dances, and eight different instruments create these unique music activities, designed to reflect the importance of movement in the life of a toddler.  Home Materials: Double CD features 50 songs, sounds, and recordings of favorite activities from class; two story books:Watch Me! and Pete and P.J., to develop early literacy skills; Home Activity Book; and specially-made pair of zigzag blocks instrument to develop rhythm and hand-eye coordination-all conveniently stored in a Wiggles & Giggles carry bag.

Kindermusik Imagine That! (ages 3-5 years)

  • See What I Saw — In this class, preschoolers use their real experience of playing in the park to create imaginative, storytelling scenarios with music?go on an imaginary trip to Grasshopper Park where they sail down the park slide and then recreate the sound of that experience with a loooong vocal glissando. Each week provides preschoolers one uninterrupted session of imaginative play that’s guided in a very specific, sequential way with a special sharing time with parents in the last 15 minutes of class. Home Materials: Two books: Can You Find Me? and The Ant Picnic Feast, Two Home CDs, See What I Saw Play Set, a Family Activity Book, a slide whistle instrument, a slide whistle and lumi sticks instruments, and a backpack.

 Kindermusik in Savannah is a sponsor SouthernMamas

Dangers of co-sleeping with your baby?

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

co-sleepingSavannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department recently held a news conference to discuss the dangers of co-sleeping and increasing incidents of infant overlay. Infant overlay – a preventable death – occurs when an infant child dies as a result of the suffocation resulting from co-sleeping with adults or older children.

Child overlay is a national problem that has become more frequent in the Savannah-Chatham area. Metro Police is teaming up with local professionals to inform and educate the community in preventative measures to prevent these types of deaths.

As early as 1999, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned parents and caregivers about the dangers of placing babies to sleep in adult beds.

A CPSC study published in the October 2000 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that placing babies to sleep in adult beds puts them at risk of suffocation or strangulation.

This is a danger of which many parents and caregivers are unaware. The study revealed an average 64 deaths per year to babies under the age of 2 years placed to sleep in adult beds, including waterbeds and daybeds. A review of incident data from January 1990 to December 1997 linked adult beds to at least 515 baby deaths.

Would appreciate hearing what SouthernMamas readers have to say about the issue of co-sleeping with infants. There are obviously benefits to co-sleeping not addressed here. Do the benefits outweigh the risks? Certainly, sleeping products are available to make co-sleeping safer. What’s your take?

Volunteer to help build Savannah Children’s Museum

Monday, August 10th, 2009

savannah-childrens-museumSouthernMamas readers are always telling us how much they’d love to have a Savannah Children’s Museum.

Here’s your chance to help make it happen. Work is under way to build a Savannah Children’s Museum, which will be in railroad buildings adjacent to Battlefield Park and the Roundhouse Railroad Museum downtown. Estimated completion date is late 2010.

The museum will be owned by the city of Savannah and will be operated by the Coastal Heritage Society.

The Coastal Heritage Society plans to hold monthly volunteer work days to complete the outdoor courtyard and carpentry shop play space. These spaces will provide unique and engaging outdoor gross motor activities for children of all ages as phase 1 of the museum.

Work on the monthly volunteer days will include building benches, planters, a maze, laying sod, and preparing the outdoor space. Become a member of the museum’s Workers of Wonders (WOW) team to bring the Savannah Children’s Museum to life. People of all skill levels are needed.

The first volunteer day will be 9 AM- 3 PM Sat. Sept 19

For more information, to volunteer or donate supplies contact Beth Parr, 663-7466 or

If you would like to be on a mailing list for updates about the museum, click here.

Extreme Makeover Looking for Savannah Families

Monday, August 10th, 2009

extreme-makeoverABC’s EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION is searching for deserving families in Savannah.

To be eligible, a family must own their own single family home and be able to show producers how a makeover will make a huge difference in their lives. Deadline for nominations is this Fri. Aug. 14.

For more information on the application process click here. Good luck!

Giveaway: Two Petunia Pickle Bottom Gift Sets

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

ppb-logo1petunia-picklebottom-socks-close-uppetunia-picklebottom-onesieYou’ve loved Petunia Pickle Bottom (PPB) products for years. Who can resist their distinct, unique and decidedly fashionable fabrics and cuts?

Take for instance their new line of organic gift sets that SouthernMamas is giving away this week– a 3-pack of onesies and a 3-pack socks each available in 3 different color schemes that I won’t be able to do justice trying to describe. Instead, the giveaway goodies are pictured here.

  • To enter to win the two organic gift sets, click on the comments below and tell us your favorite lunch-packing suggestion (either a fun snack, food product, technique, lunch carrier either for school or, if your kids aren’t in school yet, for picnics and playdates. )Just share your tip. Also, please tell us your name. Entry period closes 9 pm Thurs. Aug. 13. We’ll pick a name at random and announce the winner here on Fri. Aug. 14.

  • You have to be a SouthernMamas subscriber to participate. Subscribing is free. Click here to do so.
  • Savannah children’s activities: The Honey House

    Sunday, August 9th, 2009

    honeycomb-playhousehoney-house-bee-keeper1honey-house-hiveMy 2-year-old’s new favorite spot is the Savannah Bee Co. Honey House, which has a kid-friendly play area in the back of the honey-and-bee themed Broughton Street boutique.

    There’s a large a bee hive – called the bee skep – filled with books and toys and bee-themed flicks. There’s also a theater section showing documentaries on bees and honey, as well as a honeycomb playhouse, complete with doors and windows. Mom and dad can sip honey-lattes while the kids play.

    The Honey House kids’ area is perfect when you need a break while shopping downtown with the kids. Or if you’re just looking for something different on a thunderstormy afternoon: the Savannah Bee Co. Honey House, 104 W. Broughton St.

    Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle

    Sunday, August 9th, 2009

    safe-kids-car-safety1Here are some safety tips from SafeKids when it comes to leaving kids in vehicles.

    As temperatures increase and family schedules change, parents and caregivers should avoid leaving children unsupervised in or near vehicles.

    Children in vehicles under extreme heat conditions are vulnerable. Heat stroke, a life-threatening emergency, can occur in temperatures as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on humidity levels. Body temperatures higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit can cause permanent brain damage or even death, especially among children.

    Other serious injuries occur when children get entrapped in trunks or when they set a vehicle in motion leading to crashes.  Recommendations include:

     Make your car safer. Always keep car doors and trunks locked, even in the garage or driveway, to keep kids out. Treat it as the multi-ton, fast-moving enclosure and piece of machinery that it is. Keep the rear fold-down seats closed to prevent kids from getting into the trunk from inside the car

     Supervision is key. Even if the windows are down, never leave your child unattended in a car. Never leave your car keys where children can get them. Teach children not to play in or around cars. If a child is missing at home, check the car first, including the trunk

     Adopt safety-focused behaviors. Consider placing your purse or briefcase in the back seat as a reminder that you have your child in the car. Be sure everyone leaves the vehicle when you reach your destination

     Notification plan. Consider having your child’s teacher or childcare provider call you if your child does not arrive when expected

     Get involved if you see a child alone in a vehicle. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible and call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

    Another important aspect of car safety is making sure that your car itself is safe. If it’s older and might not be the most up to date vehicle you should consider selling your car to Ecology Cash For Cars. They are a company that will purchase your car from you even if it’s old.

    The winner of the LeeAnn Ritch photo session is…

    Sunday, August 9th, 2009

    Catherine Edmonds!

    Congratulations. Catherine wins a photo session from Savannah-based photographer LeeAnn Ritch (a $225 value) and online proofing . The CD and prints are not included.

    Examples of LeeAnn’s work are pictured in her blog and her Web site.  Click ritch-logo.jpghere to contact LeeAnn. Or call 912.308.9327 or email

    Thanks to everyone who entered last week’s giveaway. Check out the comments section below the initial giveaway announcement post for 40 ideas from SouthernMamas readers on how to savor the last days of summer.

    Monkey Joe’s party and play is coming to Savannah

    Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

    monkeyjoeslogoComing soon to Savannah: a new indoor playground and birthday spot.

    Monkey Joe’s – which offers bouncing, sliding, and jumping fun for kids 12 years-old and younger – will open a Savannah location at 309 Eisenhower Drive next to Dr. Ramon Ramos’ office.

    The exact opening date is not confirmed yet, but a spokesperson said the estimated opening time is the end of September/early October.

    Monkey Joe’s features an inflatable play center including inflatable slides, jumps, and obstacle courses where kids can bounce, jump, slide, and have fun. Kids 3 years-old and younger have their own play area.

    Read more here.

    Free preview of early childhood parent-and-me music class

    Monday, August 3rd, 2009

    makejoyfulnoiseYour idea of music (twirling to Tchaikovsky, moving to Mozart) isn’t quite the same as your little one’s (using the toy piano as a tap dance stage).

    Get everyone in perfect harmony with Make A Joyful Noise early childhood music classes. Think singing, dancing, and instrument playing, plus activities that improve motor skills and rhythm.

    Attend the Make A Joyful Noise open house Sat. Aug. 8 for a free preview of a class (babies to 6 years) at 10:30 AM as well as drawings for FREE CLASSES; and an 11:30 AM audition for the Sounds of Praise Children’s Choir

    Contact Vicki to pre-register for the preview class. 912-920-6542. Click here for more info.

    Moms In Touch International prayer movement in Savannah

    Monday, August 3rd, 2009

    mitinewlogo1Sending a child off to school can be scary. Sure moms joke about back-to-school being “the most wonderful time of the year” but that doesn’t mean it’s not also anxiety provoking.

    Will the teacher like my child? Who will be the new classmates? Will they be good influences — or bad? Will my child struggle to make friends or deal with bullies or endure teasing? And most of all, will my child be safe?

    What 175,000+ moms around the world have discovered is that back-to-school anxiety and fear can be replaced with peace and hope. And yes, even joy. Moms In Touch International impacts children and schools worldwide for Christ by gathering mothers and other interested women to pray. Learn more how you can become involved by visiting or contacting Stacy Cerone at 228-4270,

    Giveaway: LeeAnn Ritch photo session

    Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

    leeann-ritch-giveawayYour kids are sun-kissed. You’re rested. And your husband’s rocking his beach bronze. What better time to book a photo session so you can be so-very ahead of the game with a sun-drenched family portrait when the holidays roll around.

    Lucky for you, this week on SouthernMamas, Savannah-based photographer and natural-light aficionado LeeAnn Ritch is giving away a photo session (a $225 value) and online proofing to a lucky SouthernMamas subscriber. The CD and prints are not included.

  • To enter to win the free photo session, click on the comments below and tell us what you plan to do this month as a last-minute, oh-no-it’s-already-August, savor-summer celebration (Sand Gnats game? Labor Day getaway? Backyard watermelon party? What?) . Just share your tip. Also, please tell us your name. Entry period closes 9 pm Thurs. Aug. 6. We’ll pick a name at random and announce the winner here on Fri. Aug. 7.
  • You have to be a SouthernMamas subscriber to participate. Subscribing is free. Click here to do so.
  •  Examples of LeeAnn’s work are pictured here and in her blog and her Web site.

    Click ritch-logo.jpghere to contact LeeAnn. Or call 912.308.9327 or email