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Archive for June, 2010

Stella & Dot jewelry giveaway winner

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

stella-and-dot-jewelry2Lori Alvarez wins last week’s SouthernMamas giveaway: a $50 Stella & Dot gift certificate at Laura Caputo’s Online Boutique !

Congratulations, Lori!

Thanks everyone who entered to win. 

Stella & Dot has been coveted by celebrities ranging from Paris Hilton to Barbara Walters! By offering jewelry at private trunk shows, Stella & Dot stylists give the “everyday fashionista” access to the same quality and style celebrated in publications like InStyle, O Magazine, Real Simple and Lucky Magazine.

Stella & Dot is the modern home-based career that your mother never had. We’ve put the power of ecommerce, social networking and personal service behind an irresistible jewelry line. It’s the next big opportunity for our era.

Think getting together with girlfriends, Lucky Magazine, Facebook and no glass ceiling in sight. Recognized in the New York Times and on the Today Show, it’s not only a big idea, it’s a smart business that actually works.

If you’re interested in learning more about the part-time and full-time job opportunities with Stella & Dot, selling jewelry from home, click here.

Ask an expert: How to prepare my child for preschool

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

jane-madison1Social and Emotional Development to prepare your child for preschool

Below is a guest post by Jane Madison, an early childhood education expert and pre-K teacher at Saint Peter the Apostle School on Wilmington Island:

In the last article we discussed the importance of talking with and reading to your child to enhance language skills, a crucial factor in school success. This article will focus on social skills and emotional development as they relate to school readiness.

As in language development, the brain begins wiring for social and emotional intelligences from birth. The optimum window of opportunity for these skills is 0-48 months with continued enhancement from 4 years to puberty. (See complete chart at, Windows of Opportunity).

There are many attributes that fall under the category of social and emotional intelligence. Trust, confidence, competence, independence, cooperation, and impulse control are just a few of the characteristics needed for social success. We have seen in recent years how important “playing well with others” is to a happy, productive school career. Sadly, a week hardly goes by without reading about a teen suicide, internet or school bullying or violent behavior among adolescents. These can all be seen to be direct results of poor social or emotional development of both the bullies and victims.

Therefore, we need to recognize the importance of helping our children develop strong social skills at an early age. A good preschool program will focus mostly on socialization, because after preschool there is little time in the school day to really work on these skills.

Children need to be shown how to get along with others. They need to be told what people like, and don’t like. When explaining unwanted behavior to your child, do it calmly and with as few words as possible.( When I do this with the children in my class I think of it as a golf announcer on TV giving a whispering play by play.) “When you push Suzie out of the way, it makes her mad. Next time wait and let her go first.” “You might think it is fun to take the Batman away from your brother, but he doesn’t. Give it back and ask him if you can have it.”

Don’t assume they can read your body language or facial expressions. They have to be told what happy, sad, mad, irritated, amused etc. all mean, and look like.

Here are some things you can do to help your child develop social skills;
• Praise him specifically when he does something “friendly”. “You gave John a cookie. That is what a friend does.” “You helped me clean up. That is one of the things I like about you.”
• Teach her how to wait a little bit. “I will get your water when I finish folding the clothes.” “Give your dad this bowl of ice cream first, and then I’ll fix yours.”
• Encourage independence. Allow him to do everything he is capable of doing on his own. This is hard for a lot of parents, because you love your child, want him to be happy, and it is easier to do it for him. Please remember, this is not helping him grow-up. Do you really want to be spreading peanut butter on his sandwich when he is 13?
• Teach him how to listen and have a conversation. This sounds easy, but really takes practice! You say something, he listens. Your husband says something on the same topic. Then, you ask your child a question. He answers off topic. You say, “That is not what I asked. I asked…” Wait for his answer. You comment on what he said, and continue in this manner.
• Teach her to notice other people’s circumstances, and promote empathy. “Oh, look Sally fell down and is crying. How can we help?” “I can’t carry that for you, look at my hands.”

Research has shown that a child’s ability to interact with others, recognize, control and express feelings, and demonstrate self-help skills independently are as important (or even more important) as academic skills in school success! Here’s to “playing well with others!”

Educational savings: 529 account or custodial accounts for my child?

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

marsha-woelber-headshot1Below is a guest post by Marsha Woelber, a Partner at Independent Investment Services, LLC/Securities Offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC

Should I have a custodial or 529 account for my child? It depends. What is the money for? Custodial accounts are often used to allow minors to have assets titled in their names but managed by an adult.  You may have seen the terms UTMA or UGMA – this stands for Uniform Transfer to Minors Act and Uniform Gift to Minors Act. Assets placed into these accounts remain under the control of the parents until the child reaches the age of majority (18 in most states)

Use of funds:
A parent may use the funds in a custodial account for expenses benefitting the child. This does not include everyday expenses like food, but does include a computer, car, etc. A child has full access to the funds when he or she reaches legal age and may use the money for anything. Contrast this to a 529 Savings Plan, where the money may only be used (without penalty) for qualified higher education expenses.  Please see my previous on college savings for more information on 529 accounts by clicking here.

Note the Financial Aid Consideration: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid.The Department of Education conducts an analysis based on financial information, such as income, assets and other household information.  Funds in a custodial account are considered assets of the child and have a high impact on financial aid.   529 accounts owned by a parent have a low impact on financial aid eligibility.

Marsha Woelber is a Partner at Independent Investment Services, LLC/Securities Offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. She can be reached @ or 912-650-2852. The opinions in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please talk to your tax advisor before executing any strategy

Marsha does occasional posts on SouthernMamas about  becoming financially savvy.  To read her previous posts, click here.

New autism program in Beaufort, S.C.

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

A new autism program for children starts in the Ridgeland/Okatie/Beaufort area of South Carolina.

This program is not a school, but will host language learning groups for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. There  will also be social skills groups conducted by a licensed psychiologist. 

For more info, contact Marva Knight at 843-338-2447.

For more autism resources in the Lowcountry and Savannah, visit the SouthernMamas Autism/Asperger’s Resources in the Savannah/Bluffton area by clicking here. 

New children’s book by popular Savannah storyteller

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

kikiandthestatueoflibertyThe new children’s book by beloved Savannah writer and storyteller Bess Chappas is here!

“Kiki and the Statue of Liberty” continues the story Kiki and her family (whom we met in Bess Chappas’ earlier book “Kiki and the Red Shoes”) as they leave Athens, Greece and start the 14 day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to America. The whimsical illustration of local artist Sandy Branam compliment Kiki’s adventures.

“Kiki and the Statue of Liberty” is a $17.99 hard-cover book of 32 pages of fun to read text and charming illustrations. It’s accompanied by a CD of the story for the non-readers and is recommended for children ages 4-10.

Bess Chappas will have a book signing 2-4 PM July 10 at E.Shaver Booksellers, 326 Bull Street (in the Historic District behind the Hilton)

To purchase one or both books:
-either visit Bess Chappas’ Web site by clicking here;
– or, if you want a signed copy, contact Bess at or at (912-354-7688). She can mail a signed copy for an additional $4 or make plans to meet them at the Oglethorpe Mall to deliver.

Kindermusik parent-and-me music summer adventures

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

kindermusik-button-adAttention families of children ages 0-7. Kindermusik early childhood education music in Savannah has good news and better news.

First, Kindermusik has just a few slots left for a FREE class for 2-4 year olds with a new teacher Caitlin Whitaker, who is finalizing her license with Kindermusik International. She needs to teach some classes to a group of 2-4 year olds. What better way to create a class for her than to offer a FREE week of classes to the first 12 people that EMAIL Kindermusik back. (only emails will be accepted to register for the free class).

The FREE Kindermusik class will be offered the week of July 5-9, Monday through Friday, at 10 AM. 

Email your response to and write “FREE KINDERMUSIK CLASS” in the subject line. Please provide your contact information and your child’s name and age and Kindermusik will email you back within 3 days.

That’s the good news. The better news is that after this session, Kindermusik will be offering MORE Summer Kindermusik classes. There will be TWO Summer sessions to choose from – Session A and Session B. On the Kindermusik website, you will see two identical icons of the sunshine for both sessions. They are NOT the same – the first icon is for Session A, and the second icon is for Session B.

Kindermusik has wonderful classes in store for your newborns to 5 year olds, with themes ranging from Creatures at the Ocean, to Zoo Train, to Busy Days, to On the Road! Visit the Coastal Empire Savannah Kindermusik Web site for more information and for online enrollment. All classes are limited to 12 per class.

If you have any questions, email or call 912.728.KEYS (5397) or click here.

Public Invited to Zoe Foundation Fundraiser to Help Grieving Families

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

zoefoundation_finalThe Zoe Foundation will host “1 on 1″ – their summer fundraiser, 10 AM-1 PM Thurs. July 1 in Savannah’s Johnson Square, one block south of city hall.

The public is invited to help grieving families who suffer the loss of an infant by donating $1 on July 1 to The Zoe Foundation.

This family-oriented event will feature entertainment by Equinox Jazz, along with food, face-painting, balloon artists, a spacewalk, and much more. Each attraction and food or beverage item will be available for a suggested donation of one dollar each – “1 on 1″!

All proceeds will allow The Zoe Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, to continue offering financial and emotional support to families who have endured the loss of a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, chromosomal disorders, SIDS, accidents or other causes.

The Zoe Foundation believes that even the smallest life is precious and deserves a proper memorial. Everyone who has experenced a similar loss or knows someone who has is invited to come on July 1 and get connected with The Zoe Foundation.

For more info, contact Kayla Johnson at 912-508-1858 or email

Celeb moms set standard for losing baby weight

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

bethenny-frankelMy Monday newspaper column on moms losing the baby weight - which many SouthernMamas readers contributed to – focuses on the trend of celeb moms who quickly drop the baby weight. Then take a lot of criticism for doing so.

Bravo star Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York recently came under fire after she lost 30 pounds of baby weight three weeks after giving birth. Read the column here. (A big thank-you to the SouthernMamas readers who shared their takes for the article)

In response, a Savannah mom emailed me about a Pregnancy & Body Image Survey her grown daughter is working as part of her doctorate in psychology at Berkeley. The study is looking at postpartum moms, body image, and exposure to postpartum celebrities in the media. It is online, anonymous, and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. Anyone who does it can be entered in a drawing for $20 gift cards to Target. The survey is online now through July 31. Feel free to forward this to anyone who might be interested!

Any new moms who have had their FIRST child in the last 12 months can do the survey. Click here to take the survey.

Savannah Inflatables for birthday parties, pool parties and more

Monday, June 21st, 2010

savannah-inflatables-button-ad1So you volunteered to organize the entertainment for this summer’s neighborhood block party?

Here’s the plan. Add a bounce house from Savannah Inflatables and you’re set. Pool party? Try the Big Kahuna slide or Oceans of Fun Slide with Splash Pool from Savannah Inflatables.

ocean-wave-wet-dry-slide-150x150Savannah Inflatables is your go-to spot for children’s birthday parties, pool parties, community and corporate fund-raisers. The set up and delivery is included in the price. Available seven days a week.

Savannah Inflatables, 912.856.4091, email

Savannah children’s photographer offers summer portrait special

Monday, June 21st, 2010

holly-connor-2Natural-light aficionado Holly Connor, a professional Savannah family and children’s photographer and owner of H.C. Photography, is offering an enticing special on summer mini-sessions.

Holly’s mini-sessions are being booked for Wed. July 7 at Forsyth Park and Thurs. July 8 at Tybee Beach.

Special includes a 30 minute mini-session (max of five people) and a CD with 10- 15 high resolution final images.

Special price is only $40! These mini-sessions are ideal for family, engagement or even maternity portraits.

holly-connor-1Holly, a Savannah native and mother, specializes in natural light, on-location photography. Her work is a mix of traditional posed pictures as well as candid shots. This special is ideal for family, engagement or even maternity portraits.

To see more examples of her work beyond those posted here, visit Holly’s Web site by clicking here.

H.C. Photography, Holly Conner, email or call 912.308.2200