That complicated parent-child relationship: Are you too much like Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds?

FILE — Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, at Fisher’s home in Beverly Hills, Calif., Nov. 27, 2010. Reynolds, the wholesome movie ingénue in 1950s films like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Tammy and the Bachelor” and “The Tender Trap” and one-third of mid-20th-century Hollywood’s most scandalous romantic triangle, died Wednesday, a day after the death of her daughter, the actress Carrie Fisher, according to The Associated Press. She was 84. (Kevin Scanlon/The New York Times)
Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, at Fisher’’s home in 2010. Kevin Scanlon/The New York Times

My first thought — and it’s a bad one — after learning that actress Debbie Reynolds died Wednesday night from a stroke, only a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died after a heart attack was this:

Really, she couldn’t let her daughter be. Couldn’t let her daughter have her own moment of remembrance. Had to upstage her, again.

Yes, I know evil, but you might have thought it, too, or you might have thought that it was really sweet that Debbie Reynolds reportedly said she wanted to be with her daughter. 

FILE- In this Feb. 27, 1959, file photo, working long hours on the set of "Say One For Me," so she can fly to Spain and start another movie, actress Debbie Reynolds is visited at the studio by her children, Carrie, 2, and 1-year-old Todd. Reynolds, star of the 1952 classic "Singin' in the Rain" died Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, according to her son Todd Fisher. She was 84. (AP Photo, File)
In this Feb. 27, 1959, file photo, working long hours on the set of “Say One For Me,” so she can fly to Spain and start another movie, actress Debbie Reynolds is visited at the studio by her children, Carrie, 2, and 1-year-old Todd. AP Photo, File

Theirs was a complicated relationship, for sure. The public really only knows about it from pictures of taken when Carrie Fisher was growing up as well as from Fisher’s own writing in books like “Postcards from the Edge.”

Their relationship  — or at least the public persona of it — reminds me of some of the unhealthy relationships I see as a fellow parent and as a Girl Scout troop leader:

  • Parents living vicariously through their children.
  • Parents not allowing their children to make their own choices.
  • Parents who speak for their children instead of teaching their children how to talk to adults.
  • Parents not allowing their children to suffer the real consequences of their actions.
  • Parents waiting hand and foot on their children and not requiring their children to have any responsibilities in the forms of chores.
  • Parents  checking the online grading system every day.
  • Parents emailing the teacher and fighting their children’s battles for them.
  • Parents doing their children’s homework for them — especially when it comes to science fair projects.
  • Parents who post on Facebook all the achievements that Johnny did that day, and yet never post that Johnny also stole a friend’s iPad and was in detention.
  • Parents who give in and give in and give in to whatever whim their children want.
  • Parents who are going broke doing so.
  • Parents who haven’t taught their children basic life skills such as how to manage money, how to load and unload a dishwasher, how to do the laundry, how to cook a few basic meals, how to drive.
  • Parents who want to be the cool mom or the cool dad rather than the parent who sets expectations, limits and consequences.
  • Parents who don’t really want to parent.

And so, if you have observed all of those things, or have perhaps done all of those things, what is a parent to do?

In the past year, we’ve really taken a hard look at some of the parenting skills or lack there of we’ve observed, and talked to a few experts about it.

And so, we have some recommended reading for you:

“Your Kid’s a Brat and It’s All Your Fault,” by Elaine Rose Glickman for parents of the  toddler, preschooler and elementary school set.

“The Collapse of Parenting,” by Dr. Leonard Sax for parents of preteenagers and teenagers, especially. 

By the way, I’m not perfect either. I’ve probably done every single one of those things I listed and I’m currently waiting for my 13-year-old daughter to announce what food I need to fetch her for dinner because she can’t stand the food currently available to her.

Happy parenting!

Make 2017 the year you create a shared family story

Tooth fairies and sisters Bella Donna and Stella Donna came to visit my children on a regular basis. They left detailed notes in flowery writing — often in green or pink pen. They did the usual tooth fairy things — remind kids to brush their teeth and floss — but they also knew things about my children such as their favorite pajamas or TV show. They had their own personalities based on the children they visited.

It was a great ruse until my daughter lost a tooth at summer camp and the counselor just handed my child the note and the treasure as soon as the tooth fell out. On the car ride home, the gig was up — not only for then 8-year-old Ava, but also her 11-year-old brother Ben, (really, Ben?) both of whom truly believed in Bella and Stella.

I’ve kept Bella and Stella’s notes in a box in my closet. It’s a toss up of who had more fun — me writing the notes or them receiving them. Occasionally we still talk about Bella and Stella — especially Stella, who by the time she came on the scene for Ava, sometimes forgot what her name was. (Sorry, kid, this mom was really tired by then.)

Creating a magical world for your children, whether it be the tooth fairy, the elf on the shelf, the friendly monster under the bed, creates lasting memories, treasured stories that only your family shares. It’s some of that great glue that binds you together.

If you don’t have some family magic that is only yours, make 2017 the year you do it. Write your children letters and save them, or if you deliver the stories in spoken form, make sure to write them down somewhere. As the saying goes: the days are long, but the years are short. The things you think you’ll remember forever — like Stella’s name — get forgotten.

"The Adventures of Pootsey the Wonderbug"
“The Adventures of Pootsey the Wonderbug”

Austinite Mauri Jane King, 29, took the stories her father left for her each morning and turned them into a children’s book, “The Adventures of Pootsey the Wonderbug.” Her father, lobbyist Wayne T. Franke, started leaving Pootsey notes when King was 9 turning 10. Most mornings when her father was in town, he’d leave a note from Pootsey by the cereal bowl. It was a way for him to connect with his daughter.

“He found little ways that were actually really big to make sure that I knew that I mattered,” King says.

Each note had a story of Pootsey’s adventure living with a girl named Mauri Jane and a cat named Tippy (King’s real cat when she was that age).

Mauri Jane King, her daughter Elizabeth and her father Wayne T. Franke are all connected by Pootsey.
Mauri Jane King, her daughter Elizabeth and her father Wayne T. Franke are all connected by Pootsey.

King and Franke don’t even remember why he started the Pootsey notes or why he stopped writing them about five months later. “My dad is one of those people who makes a decision and does it,” she says. “It’s pretty normal.”

King kept the stories in a box in her room. At some point during school, she create an illustrated album of the Pootsey stories. The Pootsey letters and the illustrated album then sat on a shelf for years, but they never went away.

Her father kept encouraging her to turn them into a book, but she was busy with college and then graduate school.

Mauri Jane King kept her father's Pootsey letters.
Mauri Jane King kept her father’s Pootsey letters.

Then two years ago, when King’s daughter Elizabeth was 2 months old, King looked at the Pootsey stories in a new light and started working on turning them into a published book.

Many of Pootsey’s adventures from 20 years ago made it into the book. King turned them into a cohesive story and added more humor. She teamed up with illustrator Katrina Misley, who created an illustrated world that looks exactly like King’s house did when she was 10. Originally, King was going to keep the main character’s name Mauri Jane, but thought that might be weird with the author and the main character having the same name. Instead, she used her daughter’s name, Elizabeth, but the Elizabeth in the book looks like King did as a 10-year-old, not like the real Elizabeth.

At some point she turned the letters into an album for school.
At some point, she turned the letters into an album for school.

The book is now available on the websites for Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Westbow Press as well as on pootseythewonderbug.com. King hopes to grow the Pootsey brand into more adventures, more books. Franke even envisions a stuffed toy of Pootsey.

“Every parent should be so lucky,” Franke says of his daughter turning his stories into a book. “I learn as much from her now as she ever learned from me.”

Franke has continued the tradition of writing to the next generation. A few months before Elizabeth was born, he encouraged King to get an email for her. A couple of times a week he writes to Elizabeth. King plans to print out grandpa’s emails and put them in an album for when Elizabeth is older.

King also has been keeping a journal for Elizabeth since she was pregnant and plans to continue writing to Elizabeth and her sister, who is due in February.

“This came from something that was really little,” King says about the book. “It took five minutes a day and turned into a family tradition.”

Get ready for January with our family events calendar

We’re looking ahead to next month with our list of family-friendly events. Did we miss something? Email nvillalpando@statesman.com.

Events

Ben Hur Shrine Circus is coming to Cedar Park Center Jan. 17-20. World Record Holder, David Smith Jr. is the human cannonball.
Ben Hur Shrine Circus is coming to H-E-B Center Jan. 13-16.

“Ben Hur Shrine Circus.” Kick off the circus’ arrival with an elephant brunch noon Jan. 13. . Watch the elephants eat, see the clowns and more. Free. Then see the circus.7:30 p.m. Jan. 13-14, 11 a.m. Jan. 14 and 16, 3 p.m. Jan. 14, 1:30 p.m. Jan. 15, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and 4 p.m. Jan. 16. , $9-$35. H-E-B Center 2100 Avenue of the Stars. hebcenter.com.

Child Passenger Safety Car Seat Check Event. Get your car seats checked. Free. 9 a.m. Jan. 3. Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. Jan. 9. CommUnity Care Clinic, 1210 W. Braker Lane. 9 a.m. Jan. 19, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane. austintexas.gov.

Theater

Circus Chickendog takes on "The Wizard of Oz" in "The Wizard of Dogs."
Circus Chickendog takes on “The Nutcracker Suite” with “Mutt-cracker (Sweet).” 

“Mutt-cracker (Sweet).” Circus Chickendog does “The Nutcracker” with rescue dogs. $25 adults $15 children. 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 1-3, and 6-8. Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org.

“Disney’s The Little Mermaid.” The story of Ariel comes to the stage in this musical. $19-$30. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 6-7, 13-14, 2 p.m. Jan. 8, Jan. 15. Palace Theatre, 810 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. georgetownpalace.com.

“Charlotte’s Web.” Aerial artists Sky Candy bring the spider to life. 11 a.m. Jan. 7, Jan. 14, and 2 p.m. Jan. 7-9, Jan. 14-15, $16-$21. Zach Theatre’s Kleberg Theatre, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org.

“Call of the Wild.” Theater Heroes brings Jack London’s story comes to life using projected illustrations as part of the Paramount Discovery series. $18. 2 p.m. Jan. 14-15 and 7 p.m. Jan. 14. Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org.

“Odd Squad Live.” The PBS Kids show comes to the stage and Ms. O needs you to help solve the mystery. 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Jan. 15. $15-$32. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“The Thing in Grandma’s Closet.” Pollyanna Theater presents this story of two siblings finding something mysterious in their grandmother’s closet. Best for third- to fifth-graders. 2 p.m. Jan. 28-29, Feb. 4-5. $10.50-$13.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Music

African Children’s Choir. Hear this choir from Uganda. 7 p.m. Jan. 4. Free. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Sarah Boutwell plays the augmented-reality smartphone game Pokémon Go at the Capitol in Austin, Texas,  Monday July 11, 2016. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Love all things Pokémon? Hear the music at “Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions.”  Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman

“Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions.” Hear the music of Pokémon cartoons and video games in symphony form. 7:30 p.m. Jan. 7. $29-$89. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Museums

Bullock Museum. Little Texans. Drop in and play for ages 2 to 5. 10 a.m. Jan. 12. Science Thursdays. Hands-on activities from Central Texas Discover Engineering including boat races. 10 a.m. Jan. 19. Story time. For ages 2 to 5. Learn about the new year. 10 a.m. Jan. 26. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Sunday Funday: Hot air balloons and gliders. Create your own flying machine. 1-4 p.m. Jan. 8. Free. Neill-Cochran House, 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org

The Thinkery has three crafting workshops this week: Simple Stitches, Polymer Wearables and Suminagashi Fabrics. Contributed by the Thinkery The Thinkery's new Space 8 exhibit is for kids 8 and older to learn to make things by working with wood, soldering, animating, 3-D printing and sewing. Credit: Thinkery
The Thinkery has two different sewing workshops this month. The Thinkery

Thinkery. Early Learner’s Workshops: “A Snowy Day.” Play with “snow.” 9:45 a.m. Jan. 2 (1 year olds); 10:45 a.m. Jan. 2 (2 year olds); and 11:45 a.m. Jan. 2 (3 year olds). $20. “Things that Glow.” Investigate things that glow in the dark. 9:45 a.m. Jan. 16 (1 year olds); 10:45 a.m. Jan. 16 (2 year olds); and 11:45 a.m. Jan. 16 (3 year olds). $20. Little Thinkers Club: Art Start: Discovering Color, Lines and Shapes. 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 2-year-olds through Jan. 25. $20 per class. Tinkering Tots: Let’s Create a Soundscape. 9:45 a.m. Fridays for 2-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Fridays for 3-year-olds through Jan. 27. $20 a class. Baby Bloomers for kids infant to 3. Study light this month. 9 a.m. Jan. 7, 9, 14, 21, 23, 28 and 30. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Petri Dish Art. For ages 4 and up. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. Jan. 7-8, Jan. 21-23. $8. Plush Pillows. Sew a pillow. For ages 8 and up. 11:15 a.m. Jan. 14-16, Jan. 28-29. $8. Digital Bling. For ages 8 and up. Sew a creation with bling. 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. Jan. 14-16, Jan. 28-29. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create! Hoop Around. Make art using circular fabric dyeing technique. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 14. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Snowy Day. The outdoor Science & Art Park at the Mill will be transformed into a winter wonderland. Launch snowballs with the catapult, build a snowman, play an ice xylophone. Bring your mittens. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 14. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org.

Family programs at Zilker Botanical Garden include fairy landscaping and tea parties, learning about pioneer days and exploring plants. Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden
Family programs at Zilker Botanical Garden include fairy landscaping and tea parties, learning about pioneer days and exploring plants.
Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden

Zilker Botanical Garden. Winter Faerie Tea Party. Dress in your fairy gear and learn about fairies as well as make fairy crafts. $16. 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. Jan. 15. Faerie Luminaries. Create glass luminaries for fairies. $16. 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. Jan. 22. Zilker Botanical Garden: Auditorium, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Freaky Friday. See what creatures live in the Wildflower Center gardens. 7-9 p.m. Jan. 13. $10-$15. The Amazing Family Race. See if you’re up for the challenge. 1-3 p.m. Jan. 14. $15 per family. Winter Tree Fest. Celebrate trees and climb one in the arboretum. There will be s’mores. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 28. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org.

Movies

PBS Kids at the Alamo. “Ready! Jet! Go!” Watch episodes of this PBS Kids show. $1-$3 donation. 10 a.m. Jan. 14 and Jan. 15. Slaughter Lane Alamo Drafthouse. drafthouse.com

Books

Austin-based children's performer Ms. Staci Gray entertains at a room packed with kids and their parents as they try to burst bubbles during story time at Book People. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Austin-based children’s performer Ms. Staci Gray entertains at a room packed with kids and their parents as they try to burst bubbles during story time at BookPeople. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BookPeople events. Alexandra Bracken and Susan Dennard read “Wayfarer” and “Windwitch.” 2 p.m. Jan. 8. Chandler Baker, Kim Liggett, Neal Shusterman read and sign “Teen Hyde,” “The Last Harvest: and “Scythe.” 7 p.m. Jan. 13. Pascal Simon, Bake Austin Kids. 2 p.m. Jan. 21. Cynthia Levinson reads “The Youngest Marcher.” 2 p.m. Jan. 28. Kat Kronenberg reads “Dream Big,” 4 p.m. Jan. 29. Story times. Let it Snow. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 3. Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 4. I’m in the Mood for Story time. 11:30 a.m. Jan. 7. A Very Knightly Story time. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 10. Ms. Staci. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 11. Tea Time for Story time. 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14. Armstrong Community Music School. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 17. Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo. 10:30 am. Jan. 18. Color Me Crazy. 11:30 a.m. Jan. 21. Imagination Station. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 24. Preposterous Puppet Show Players. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 25. Paramount Theatre. 11:30 a.m. Jan. 28. All the Little Things. 10:30 a.m. Jan. 31. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: Lego Skyline London and Chicago building event. 7 p.m. Jan. 5, all stores. 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Clifford’s Good Deeds,” (with sign-language interpretation, Sunset Valley), Jan. 7; “How do Dinosaurs Choose Their Pets?” Jan. 14; “Nanette’s Baguette,” (with sign-language interpretation, Sunset Valley), Jan. 21; “I’ll Never Let You Go,” Jan. 28.

At the library

“Sew Happy.” 5 p.m. Jan. 3, Manchaca Road Branch.

The Contemporary Austin Presents: Preschool Art Hour. 11 a.m. Jan. 5, Hampton Branch; 11 a.m. Jan. 6, North Village Branch.

Crafternoon, 3 p.m. Jan. 5, Carver Branch; 3:30 p.m. Jan. 9, Manchaca Road Branch; 4 p.m. Jan. 12, Twin Oaks Branch; 3:30 p.m. Jan. 17, Howson Branch; 4 p.m. Jan. 17, Cepeda Branch; 4 p.m. Jan. 24, Windsor Park Branch.

Music & Movement. 11 a.m. Jan. 6, Milwood Branch, 11:30 a.m. Jan. 11, Manchaca Road Branch; 11 a.m. Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 Howson Branch.

Beetle, voiced by Matthew McConnaghey, right, and Kubo, voiced by Art Parkinson in a scene from the animated film, "Kubo and the Two Strings." Laika Studios/Focus Features
Beetle, voiced by Matthew McConnaghey, right, and Kubo, voiced by Art Parkinson in a scene from the animated film, “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Laika Studios/Focus Features

Saturday Family Movie: “Kubo and the Two Strings.” 2 p.m. Jan. 7, Windsor Park Branch.

Austin Ukestra Ukelele Group. 1 p.m. Jan. 8, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. Jan. 9, Jan. 23 and Jan. 30, Carver Branch; 6 p.m. Jan. 11, Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, Windsor Park Branch; 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26, Manchaca Road Branch; 6 p.m. Jan. 26, Cepeda Branch.

Art Smart: Sand Art Painting. 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. Sculpey Clay, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; Bring Your T-Shirt/Print Your Design, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24, Willie Mae Kirk Branch; Cherry Blossom Painting, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30.

"Finding Dory" gives parents a reminder on how to talk to their children about differences. Pixar/Disney via AP, File)
See “Finding Dory” at the Twin Oaks Branch this month. Pixar/Disney

Family Movie Night: “Finding Dory.” 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10, Twin Oaks Branch; TBD, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25, Carver Branch.

Teen Book Club “First Test,” 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12, Howson Branch; “Six of Crows,” 7 p.m. Jan. 12, Yarborough Branch; “Boys Don’t Knit,” 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Bow Wow Reading Dog. 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18 and Jan. 25 Twin Oaks Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18, Howson Branch.

Mother Daughter Book Club “Inside Out & Back Again,” 6 p.m. Jan. 18, Hampton Branch.

NBTween Book Club, “Some Kind of Courage,” 6 p.m. Jan. 18, Yarborough Branch; “Wild Robot,” 6 p.m. Jan. 19, Twin Oaks Branch; “Courage for Beginners,” 6 p.m. Jan. 25, Spicewood Springs Branch.

T(w)ween STEAM Lab, for ages 7 and up. 3 p.m. Jan. 19, Carver Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee, “The Goonies,” 2 p.m. Jan. 20, Old Quarry Branch.

Juntos Online Scavenger Hunt. 1 p.m. Jan. 21, Ruiz Branch.

Mommy, Daddy & Me Book Club, “Rosa,” by Nikki Giovanni. 11:30 a.m. Jan. 21, Carver Museum.

Daddy and Me Story time, 6 p.m. Jan. 23, Hampton Branch.

Harry Potter Party. 2 p.m. Jan. 28, Howson Branch.

Want to explain Hanukkah to your children? Check out our guide

[cmg_anvato video= “4248357”]

Each year, I offer this primer on explaining Hanukkah to your kids.

How long does Hanukkah last?

In 2017 Hanukkah, starts on the evening of Dec. 12 and goes through the day of Dec. 20. It’s eight nights total.

Why does Hanukkah always seem to skip around the month of December?

Hanukkah follows the Hebrew calendar. It’s always the 25th day of the month of Kislev. Because the Hebrew calendar is lunar based and includes leap months instead of leap years, it doesn’t line up with the solar calendar the secular world uses, but in general Hanukkah usually starts sometime in the month of December. Occasionally it starts as early as the end of November and goes as late as the first week of January. In 2013, it just happened  that the first day was Thanksgiving, creating the new holiday of “Thanksgivukkah.” Last year, the first day was Christmas, the first night was Christmas Eve, but that’s just a coincidence.

The Villalpando family gathers on the first night of Hannukah this year to light the hanukkiah. Credit: Ava Villalpando
The Villalpando family gathered on the first night of Hannukah 2015 to light the hanukkiah.
Credit: Ava Villalpando

What’s the story?

It’s a war story that’s been romanticized. Judah Maccabee and his four brothers led a revolt against the Assyrian Greeks, who had taken over Jerusalem in the second century BCE. The Maccabees won and regained control of the Temple. It had been trashed. They cleaned it up and went to light the ritual menorah lamp but could only find enough oil to last one night. The miracle was that it lasted eight nights, giving the Maccabees enough time to make more oil. We celebrate Hanukkah for eight nights because of this story.

Is it Hanukkah or Chanukah?

It’s Hebrew, so the correct spelling is in Hebrew letters. There are many transliterations. None of them are wrong or right.

Is Hanukkah a major holiday?

Nope. Yom Kippur and Passover are much more important. Hanukkah only became a big deal in the last century as Jews and Christians lived side by side, and Jewish children felt left out. (But don’t tell that to any Jewish children; they love this holiday.)

What do you do with a menorah?

Benjamin Villalpando, 15, lights the Hanukkiah. Rob Villalpando/American-Statesman
Benjamin Villalpando, 15, lights the Hanukkiah last year on the first night of Hanukkah. Rob Villalpando/American-Statesman

In the modern tradition, each night a special menorah for Hanukkah called a Hanukkiah is lit. The Hanukkiah holds nine candles, one for each night, and the Shamash, a helper candle that lights the other candles. On the first night, you light the Shamash first, and one candle on the far right side of the Hanukkiah. Each night you add a candle and light the newest candle first, moving left to right.

There are blessings in Hebrew or English to be said:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.

For first night only: Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

What about presents?

Each family has a different tradition, but the most common is kids get a present a night for eight nights. The presents only happen after lighting the menorah.

Is there a Hanukkah Harry?

No, that’s a “Saturday Night Live” skit. Kids receive presents from their parents, grandparents, friends, etc.

Is there a Hanukkah bush?

Not really, but some Jewish families do decide to have a small tree because they want a tree like their Christian friends.

What do you eat?

This year, we made traditional potato latkes on the first night of Hanukkah. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman
Last year, we made traditional potato latkes on the first night of Hanukkah. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Well, on Hanukkah, it’s all about the oil. There are two traditional foods. The first is sufganiyot, which are jelly doughnuts. The second is latkes, potato pancakes. You mix grated potatoes, diced onions, salt and pepper together, and add egg and matzo meal (or flour) until you can form a patty. Fry in a frying pan with about an 1/8 inch of oil in it. Tip: Use shredded hashbrowns to skip the grating.

Need something more challenging. Try latkes made out of sweet potatoes, zucchini or squash, or skip the latkes and make sufganiyot. Here is our favorite recipe:

Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts)

1 (1/4 ounce) package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened

3 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

5 cups vegetable oil

1 cup jelly

Confectioner’s’ sugar or granulated sugar for dusting

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Blend in the milk, remaining sugar, butter, egg yolks, salt, nutmeg and 2 cups flour. Beat in enough of the remaining flour to make a smooth, soft dough.

Cover and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours.

Punch down the dough. Fold over and press together several times. Let stand for 10 minutes. Roll out the dough 1/4 inch-thick. Cut out 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-inch rounds. Place in a single layer on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Heat at least 2 inches of oil over medium heat to 375 degrees. You can use a fryer or a large saucepan.

Using an oiled spatula, carefully lift the doughnuts and drop them, top side down into the oil. Fry 3 or 4three or four at a time without crowding the pan, turning once, until golden brown on all sides, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove with a wire mesh skimmer or tongs and drain on a wire rack.

To fill with jelly, pierce one end of each doughnut with a thin knife. Place jelly in a cookie press or a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch hole or nozzle tip and pipe through the slit. You can also use a small spoon. Roll the doughnuts in sugar. Yields 16 medium doughnuts.

— “The World of Jewish Desserts” by Gil Marks

Of course, we also like to hit the prepared doughnut circuit, too. This year, we’re in Pittsburgh, so we hit Peace, Love and Little Donuts, which offers everything skips the plain Jane doughnuts and goes for unusual ones like maple bacon (so not Kosher) and salted chocolate.

What do you play?

Dreidel is the most common game. Each side of the dreidel has a Hebrew letter that stands for the phrase: Nes Gadol Haya Sham (A great miracle happened there). You can play with as many players as you want. Each player should start with the same number of pennies, M&Ms, raisins or the traditional chocolate coins called gelt. Each player puts one penny into the pot in the middle. You take turns rolling the dreidel. If it lands on a Nun (which looks like a blocky backward C) you get none of the pot. If you land on a Gimmel (which looks like a blocky backward C with a tail), you get all of the pot. If you land on a Hay (which looks like an upside down L with a small line to one side), you get half of the pot. If you land on a Shin (which looks like a W), you put one penny into the pot. You keep playing until someone has all of the pennies or until it’s time for bed.

Happy Hanukkah!

7-year-old Salado boy donates four Hatchimals to McClane Children’s Hospital

R.J. Arnold gives a Hatchimal to Jazmine Henderson at McLane Children's Hospital. Baylor Scott & White
R.J. Arnold gives a Hatchimal to Jazmine Henderson at McLane Children’s Hospital. Baylor Scott & White

Like many kids, 7-year-old R.J. Arnold and his little sister Lauren, 4, wanted a Hatchimal for Christmas. His mother Geneva Arnold wanted to make that happen. So, before the Christmas shopping season even began, Geneva Arnold was looking for Hatchimals.

She had gone to stores. She was even looking on eBay. R.J. saw his mother looking on eBay and told her, “Look, there’s a ton of them right there.” Ahh, but he didn’t understand the prices that were coming with the normally $80 toy.

R.J. Arnold and his father Russ get Hatchimal gifts ready to give to children at McLane Children's Hospital. Baylor Scott & White
R.J. Arnold and his father Russ get Hatchimal gifts ready to give to children at McLane Children’s Hospital. Baylor Scott & White

R.J. sees it this way: “For some reason, the black market is not being nice on Christmas. It’s not having the Christmas spirit. It’s making higher prices ,which is wrong.” Yes, 7-year-old R.J. knows about the black market. 

Geneva Arnold, though, was determined to get her children Hatchimals, and not at the eBay prices. The Salado mom went

into Walmart every morning. She left her name with some of the supervisors to call her if a new shipment came in. She was able to get the two she was looking for, and then she was able to get four more on Black Friday.

R.J. Arnold donated Hatchimals to four kids at McLane Children's Hospital in Temple. Baylor Scott & White
R.J. Arnold donated Hatchimals to four kids at McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple. Baylor Scott & White

R.J. helped her decide that instead of selling them and turning around and making a profit like other people were doing on eBay, they should donate them to the Baylor Scott & White McClane’s Children’s Hospital in Temple.

“It’s just not fair that some kids don’t get as much toys as I have,” he said. “It would be nice if they can get something. They won’t have a good Christmas if they are stuck in the hospital.”

On Friday, they did just that. They donated four Hatchimals to children in the hospital.

R.J. likes Hatchimal because you can teach them things. He’s already told his mom that if Santa brings him one, he plans on teaching it how to clean.

If Santa isn’t bring your child a Hatchimal, what should you do? Find our list of ideas on how to turn this heartache into a teachable moment. 

 

Get free tickets to a screening of “A Monster Calls”

This image released by Focus Features, Lewis MacDougall appears with The Monster, voiced and performed by Liam Neeson, in a scene from "A Monster Calls." (Focus Features via AP)
Lewis MacDougall appears with The Monster, voiced and performed by Liam Neeson, in a scene from “A Monster Calls.” Focus Features

Hit the “I’m bored” of winter break? You could take a look at my family fun calendar here, but you also can go see a movie.

I’ve got free tickets to a free screening of “A Monster Calls.” The movie is based on the book by Patrick Ness and stars Sigourney Weaver as the grandmother, Felicity Jones as the mother, Toby Kebbell as the dad, and Lewis MacDougall as 12-year-old Conor. Liam Neeson is the voice of the monster. Conor is struggling with his mother’s illness when a monster shows up at his bedroom window one night. It’s rated PG-13 and there’s a few scary bits.

The screening is happening 7 p.m. Dec. 29 at the Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline. Download your tickets here: http://www.gofobo.com/vqqVk90162

Each download is good for four tickets. It’s a first-come, first served scenario.

Share this with all your friends.

Watch the trailer to the movie below:

New family-friendly Alamo Drafthouse shaping up to be Barrel O’ Fun

The new Alamo Drafthouse in the Mueller neighborhood was pitched as one that would be more family-friendly than some of the other, more adult ones. While the schedule is a bit murky of when it’s going to open (early 2017, we’re told), we do know about one cool new feature: The Barrel O’ Fun.

The Barrel O' Fun is being created at the Alamo Drafthouse at Mueller. Alamo Drafthouse
The Barrel O’ Fun is being created at the Alamo Drafthouse at Mueller. Alamo Drafthouse

By day, this carnival-themed event space will be like a vintage boardwalk with carnival games, kid-friendly activities and entertainers. By night (after 5 p.m.), it switches to an adult space called the Bar O’ Fun. The carnival games will fold into the ceiling and you’ll be able to see a selection of liquors and craft beers. Bar O’ Fun will offer live music, karaoke and carnival night. Great for when you have a baby sitter.

“This is going to be a great new play space for Austin’s next generation of film and fun lovers,” said Amy Averett, director of family and community engagement in a press release. “In the great Alamo Drafthouse tradition, we are pushing ourselves to design and program this location in a whole new way.”

Traveling out of town for the holidays? Keep kids healthy while you’re gone

Last January, Adrian Tadeo, 7, grimaces a little as he receives a Flu shot from LVN Tanya Roland, left, during a visit to St. John's Clinic Shots for Tots / Big Shots. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Adrian Tadeo, 7, grimaces a little as he receives a Flu shot from nurse Tanya Roland, left. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

It’s no fun to be sick far away from home. On the 2003 Cross-Country Great-Grandmother Tour, Benjamin Villalpando started the first leg of the trip to California throwing up on the plane. That continued all through California. Then when we flew from San Francisco to West Palm Beach, Fla., the diarrhea set in. By the time we flew back to Austin, he was fine, of course. I was a wreck and felt like I could never get the smell out of all of my clothes.

That really clued me in that I needed to always have a change of clothes for the kid and a change of clothes for myself as well on any airplane flight. It also made me very well-versed in finding the 24-hour pharmacy in any town as well as calling the nurse helpline. This was, or course, before the days of the urgent care centers on every block.

Dr. Brad Berg is the medical director of pediatrics for Scott & White Healthcare-Round Rock. Credit: Scott &White
Dr. Brad Berg is the medical director of pediatrics for Scott & White Healthcare-Round Rock.
Credit: Scott &White

Baylor Scott & White’s Dr. Bradley Berg offers these suggestions for traveling with children. They are even tips he uses himself:

1. It’s never too late to get your flu shot. Get it if you haven’t! Flu cases are on the rise! (And remember, if your kid was a FluMist kid, this year, you have to get the shot because it turns out the Flu Mist didn’t work. And you might need two shots the first year.) 

2. Medications to bring during vacation trips:

  • Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen for fever and pain.
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and Meclizine (Dramamine) for nasal drainage and travel sickness.
  • Ondansetron (Zofran) for nausea or vomiting. Dr. Berg always tries to convince or ask his pediatrician nicely for this prescription during a well-check or sick visits during the year. That way he always has it on hand.

We also like to have a small first aid kit with us at all times: Something to stop the blood, something to clean a cut, something to wrap an ankle.

3. Get a list of the pediatric urgent care clinic and hours at the locations you’re traveling to, in case things happen and you need to take your children there.

For example, if your children have high fevers, multiple episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, Baylor Scott & White pediatricians advise having them evaluated within 24-48 hours. And if they test positive for flu, then it’s within the 48 hour time frame to have Tamiflu prescribed.

Also don’t forget to have your insurance card and a list of regular medications your child takes as well as food or drug allergies. That information are some of the first things the triage department will ask you for.

4. Always supervise your children to minimize risk for injuries and children being lost. Older children should be taught to memorize their parents’ phone numbers and home addresses. (We were also known to write down our cellphone numbers on their arm in permanent marker whenever we were going to a crowded place. We also drilled in to find another mom with children or an employee in a uniform if they got lost.)

This is also a time where kids are getting new toys. Be aware that the most dangerous toy — the one that sends the most kids to the emergency room — is probably not one you would think about. Nor are a lot of the toy dangers. Read this story on what to watch for in toys.

5. Use sunscreen, even though we’re in winter. Moisturize skin daily and use lip moisturizers, too. Ask me about the time my whole Girl Scout troop had wind burn. I think I can still hear the whining two years later.

What else do you bring with you when you travel?

Need ideas of what to do this winter break? We have ideas

Whether your kids are already on vacation or getting out on Tuesday, you’ll need some things to do. Here are some family-friendly events for the next two weeks.

This week

Events

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm. Hayride, pick your own tree, crazy maze, playground and more. Open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. through Dec. 21. 120 Nature’s Way, Elgin. elginchristmastreefarm.com

Evergreen Christmas Tree Farm. Cut your own tree and play old-fashioned games or roast marshmallows. 10 a.m. to dark through Dec. 24. 242 Monkey Road, Elgin. evergreen-farms.com

rgz trail of lights 05Trail of Lights. See Zilker Park all lit up. 7-10 p.m. Dec. 18-23 for ages 12 and older.$3, $15 parking passes or ride the shuttle for $5, which includes admission. Shuttles leave from Burger Center, 3200 Jones Road, and Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe St. austintrailoflights.org

Teddy Bear Tea at the Four Seasons. Enjoy a traditional tea service, reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a visit with Santa. Bring an unwrapped new teddy bear for Dell Children’s Medical Center. $45, must make reservation at 512-685-8300. Noon and 3 p.m. Dec. 18. Four Seasons, 98 San Jacinto Blvd. fourseasons.com/austin

Museums

Thinkery. Little Thinkers Club: Art Start: Discovering Color, Lines and Shapes. 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 2-year-olds through Jan. 25. $20 per class. Tinkering Tots: Let’s Create a Soundscape. 9:45 a.m. Fridays for 2-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Fridays for 3-year-olds through Jan. 27. $20 a class. Baby Bloomers Winter Fun for kids infant to 3. 9 a.m. Saturday. $4.50. Candy Chemistry Gingerbread Workshop. For ages 7 and up. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 18-23. $12 per person plus $30 per kit. Tech Gingerbread Workshop. For ages 8 and up. 2:30-5 p.m. Dec. 18-23. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 24. $12 per person plus $30 per kit. Traditional Gingerbread Workshops and Tot Gingerbread Workshops (for ages 5 and younger). 9:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 10:45, a.m. 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18, Dec. 19-23, Dec. 24, plus noon Dec. 19-23, and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 19-23. $12 per person plus $20 per kit. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

A topographical sand map allows you to create mountains and watch the topography lines change. Hill Country Science Mill.
A topographical sand map allows you to create mountains and watch the topography lines change.
Hill Country Science Mill.

Hill Country Science Mill. Mosaic Artwork. Be part of creating a holiday mosaic. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 19-23. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org.

Theater

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 2 p.m. Dec. 18, 20-23. $15-$89. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Tapestry Dance Company’s “Of Mice & Music.” See “The Nutcracker” in tap.2 p.m. Sunday. $34-$13.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“Wassail 2016: A Solstice Christmas Celebration.” A variety show featuring music, magic, dance and poetry. Benefiting Kids for Kids to help children in Darfur. 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18 (shorter version), 5:30 p.m. Dec. 18. $5-$15. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. scottishritetheater.org.

“Petra and the Wolf.” Mother Falcon and the puppetry of Glass Half Full Theater tell this “Peter and the Wolf” adaptation. 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18. $22. Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org.

BookPeople events. Story time. Armstrong Music School. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

At the library

NBTween Book Club: “Gregor the Overlander,” by Suzanne Collins. 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Spicewood Springs Branch.“Ghosts” by Raina Telgemeier. 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Yarborough Branch.

Family Movie Matinee: “The BFG.” 4 p.m. Dec. 20, Cepeda Branch.

A Magical Holiday Party. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Southeast Branch.

Mostly Manga Bookclub: “My Hero Academia.” 5 p.m. Dec. 21, University Hills Branch.

Next week

Events

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Erwin Center in January.
The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Erwin Center.

Harlem Globetrotters. Start whistling now. The twirling basketball stars are back. 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 28. $17-$130. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. uterwincenter.com

“Mutt-cracker (Sweet).” Circus Chickendog does “The Nutcracker” with rescue dogs. $25 adults $15 children. 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28-Jan. 8. Vortex, 2307 Manor Road. vortexrep.org

Museums

Thinkery. Not a Box! Use your imagination based on the book by Antoinette Portis, “It’s Not a Box.” 9:45 a.m. Dec. 26 for 1-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Dec. 26 for 2-year-olds; 11:45 a.m. Dec. 26 for 3-year-olds. $20 one child and adult. Little Thinkers Club: Art Start: Discovering Color, Lines and Shapes. 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays for 2-year-olds through Jan. 25. $20 per class. Tinkering Tots: Let’s Create a Soundscape. 9:45 a.m. Fridays for 2-year-olds; 10:45 a.m. Fridays for 3-year-olds through Jan. 27. $20 a class. Baby Bloomers Winter Fun for kids infant to 3. 9 a.m. Saturday. $4.50. New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop and Stomp. Noon and 2 p.m. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Mosaic Artwork. Be part of creating a holiday mosaic. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 26-30. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org.

Circus Chickendog takes on "The Wizard of Oz" in "The Wizard of Dogs."
Circus Chickendog takes on “The Nutcracker” in “Mutt-cracker (Sweet).”

BookPeople events. Hanukkah story time. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Holiday Catalog story time. 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Hap-Pea All Year,” Dec. 31.

At the library

“Kwanzaa Program.” 2 p.m. Dec. 27, Carver Branch.

Will winter break cause your kids to gain weight? Study from University of Texas would say so

A lot of obesity prevention programs are done in schools. In 2009, Lizbeth Lopez was jumping rope during class time at Walnut Creek Elementary School. Many schools work with CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) program through the University of Texas School of Public Health and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living to teach kids about healthier living. American-Statesman 2009
A lot of obesity prevention programs are done in schools. In 2009, Lizbeth Lopez was jumping rope during class time at Walnut Creek Elementary School. American-Statesman 2009

Warning, parents. When your kids are out of school, their potential to gain weight goes up. Paul T. von Hippel, an associate professor at the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, worked with Joseph Workman of Nuffield College at the University of Oxford. They crunched the data using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study and published their findings in the Obesity Symposium this fall.

The longitudinal study measured the heights and weights of 18,170 U.S. children in the 2010-2011 kindergarten class. It took measurements in fall and spring through their second-grade years.

What the number crunching told von Hippel and Workman might surprise parents. We think of our kids as being more active in the summer. They swim, they run around, they might even be outside more than in the winter. Yet, they also gain weight. In fact, the numbers showed that the only time the prevalence of obesity or being overweight rose among these 18,170 kids was the summer between their kindergarten and first-grade years and the summer between their second-grade and first-grade years.

Paul T. von Hippel is  an associate professor the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Paul T. von Hippel is an associate professor the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

What this study seems to point to is that kids’ behaviors change in the summer. “The out-of-school influences are affecting obesity,” von Hippel says. He points to things like unlimited access to food all day long and more time spent on sedentary activities such as watching TV or playing on the computer, as some of the possible factors.

These rises in obesity or being overweight also suggests that the emphasis on school-based healthy eating education is not working.

“Obesity rates are still where they were in 2004,” von Hippel says. That was the time where more concern about what kids were being served in school cafeterias and how much exercise they were getting in school lead to some changes in cafeteria menus and schools adding more teaching of health values such as Go, Slow and Whoa Foods and the importance of exercise.

Von Hippel has some ideas of what can be done to limit the effect summer vacation, winter break and spring break can have on children.

He’d like to see more summer activity programs for kids to be active, as well as families exercising together and eating better during breaks. When he looks at the role TV might be playing, it might not just be the sedentary activity of it. It could also be the amount of food marketing directed toward children.

All eyes are on Chile right now. It recently banned food marketing to children, including television commercials, for foods that are high in sugar, sodium, calories and fat. Sugar cereal boxes there also come with warning labels.

Researchers will study Chile’s obesity rates and see if they go down with these changes.

There are things parents can do right now to reduce the weight gain during these breaks.

Pediatricians talk about these numbers — 9-5-2-1-0: Nine hours of sleep a night, five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time (though recently that has changed to be more about quality screen time verses quantity), at least one hour of physical activity a day and zero sugar-added drinks (including juice, sports drinks, sodas, sweetened waters).

This might mean you check your pantry and refrigerator for what foods you are keeping on-hand. Are they healthy or are they the junk food we all crave that tends to multiply this time of year? Sub out the candy, cookies and chips for more fruits and vegetables.

You also can encourage water drinking by filling stockings with cool water bottles or adding pitchers of water with slices of cucumber, lemons or limes to your refrigerator.

Winter break also doesn’t have to mean unlimited screen time. Shut off the TV, the tablets, the computers, the phones and head outside for a walk to see the neighbors’ Christmas lights or play a pick up game of basketball, tennis or soccer as a family

You also can download the Choose Healthier app and see where all the family recreational exercise activities are in town, and do some of them as a family.

And don’t forget the importance of sleep. Try to keep everyone close to the school schedule for bedtime. It will make January 3 a lot easier.

Still need ideas of how to be healthier at home? The YMCA has the MEND program, which teaches families healthier eating and exercise.