Prom Safety Tips

By: Alison Puzia, Guest Contributor

With spring comes prom, for many high schoolers. Moms, this thought may have you cringing as you flashback to your own prom experience. If you’re concerned about your teen’s safety at prom, read on! We have compiled a list of tips to help you help your teen have a safe, memorable prom experience.

Prom1. Host the after-party

If the after-party is at your house, you can keep an eye on what’s going on. We suggest making it a sleepover event, to ensure that no one is driving late at night. The students at your house may not be drinking, but there’s no guarantee that other drivers on the road made the same decision.

2. Meet the date

You’ll feel a lot better sending your teen off to prom if you’ve met his or her date. Invite your child’s over for dinner the week before- it’s a casual way to familiarize yourself with him or her and confirm that your student picked a good one!

3. Endorse spray tans

Many girls get their first tanning bed salon membership right before prom season, to prep for the event. In Massachusetts, tanners between the ages of 14 and 17 must have a parent or guardian sign a permission form to tan. Don’t be afraid to say no. We all know the facts about how damaging UV rays can be to skin, and the correlation with melanoma. Instead, offer to pay for your daughter to get a spray tan- a safe alternative that will leave her looking just as bronze as the other girls.

4. Get a limo, party bus, or older sibling to drive

Getting a limo or party bus not only prevents students from drinking and driving, but it’s a cool way for them to arrive to prom. Many reputable limo and party bus companies ban alcohol on board, so you won’t have to worry about your child drinking. If that’s not in the budget this year, ask an older sibling to drive. Your high schooler won’t mind (it’s not like they’re being driven to prom by their parents!) and you will be assured that your teen isn’t in the car with someone who has been drinking.

5. Know the group and the plan

Make sure you know who your teen is going to the prom with, including who is in his or her group. Stay up to date on the plan- know where the group will be taking pictures beforehand, eating dinner, and going afterward. If these events aren’t at your house, don’t hesitate to call the parents who are hosting. It’s completely normal and encouraged – despite what your teen may tell you.

  1. Give your teen cash beforehand

Make sure your high schooler has enough cash on him to take a cab home in the event that his or her driver has been drinking. Along the same vein, make sure that your child has the number of a reputable cab company saved in their cellphone.

7. Know all of the school’s prom-related, drug-related, and alcohol-related policies

If you know the school’s policies, you’ll be able to explain them to your teen. Of course, they will have heard all of this information from the school, but you will be able to illustrate exactly how it will affect them. For instance, if your senior has a college scholarship, you can remind him that he can easily lose it if he gets an underage drinking citation.

8. Warn your teen not to leave items unattended

If someone else is drinking and doesn’t want to be caught with the evidence, it would be very easy for him to slip it into an unattended purse. Don’t let this happen to your high schooler. Even if he or she hasn’t been drinking, possession of alcohol under the age of 21 is illegal in Massachusetts.

9. Talk to your kids

This one is the most important. Make sure your children know that they can feel safe coming to you if they are in a difficult situation on prom night. Whether it is calling for a sober ride home or checking in to ask for advice on saying no to alcohol, your teen should feel comfortable coming to you. If they know you won’t get mad at them if they come to you, they will be much more likely to ask for help before they get into actual trouble.

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Lemon Chicken Soup

By: Tanya Pimental

Spring is technically here, but alas it was twenty degrees when the kids let for school this morning.  Temperatures like that make me crave soup. With plans to grocery shop already on my agenda, I started to think about putting something together that wasn’t full on winter comfort food, but would fill our bellies with warmth.  This soup is a great way to transition from winter to spring. I even have high hopes for the left-overs tomorrow.

dutch oven

 

Ingredients:

  • 64 oz. low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 small vidalia onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 1.5 cups long grain rice
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper

ingredients

I started out by bringing the chicken broth to a boil and added the chicken. Salt and pepper. I boiled it until done, which was about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, I roasted the garlic in the oven at 375 degrees, covered in olive oil.

Remove the chicken and reduce the broth to low heat, and add in the diced carrots and onion.  Mash the garlic and add it to the pot as well with ½ cup of lemon juice. Add 1.5 cups of long grain rice. Let the chicken rest and cool while you simmer the broth for another 30 minutes to cook the rice and veggies. Shred up the chicken and add back to the soup, and toss in the baby spinach.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and ½ cup of lemon juice. Add a little bit of the hot broth to the egg/lemon mixture slowly so it warms the egg/lemon but doesn’t cook the eggs. Then add the egg/lemon mixture very slowly while stirring it into the broth, keeping it off the heat. Mix well. 

If the soup is too thick, thin by adding water or additional broth.  I did have to add an extra cup of water to mine.

Serve with warm, crusty bread and enjoy!

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A Rocking Good Birthday Party

By: Heather Desmond O’Neill 

“Mama, I want to have a rock star birthday party!” says my soon-to-be six-year-old.

I guess it would be a nice change from the Gymnastics place where everyone seems to be having his or her parties (including us, last year).

There is a small hall not far from where we live that would be perfect. There’s no way I could fit kids and their parents in our home. AND…The hall rental was much cheaper than the gymnastics place…#winning!

So we made it happen. And the kids … and parents … had a ball!

I asked the kids to dress up in their best “Rock Star”attire. We set up a red carpet, so as the kids entered the party they “walked the walk” to a photo area that my mom had decorated and littered with boas and sunglasses. (It pays to have a mom who used to own a dance studio). Check out Elvis as he struts his stuff.

Elvis

Once the kids had their pictures taken they ran to the center of the dance floor to a drumming circle. Kids began playing their own rhythms, and smiles and laughter quickly ensued.

Red carpet

IMG_8443

Red carpet

Family is a great resource to lean on. My sister-in-law is a music teacher and led the little musicians in lessons in dynamics, musicality and timing …. Although, I think they were just really happy to bang the drums as hard as they could. She then brought out Boom Whacker sticks and we had about 25 kids running around whacking these musical sticks on the floor. There was pure joy from the 6-year-old boys who were told it was ok to bang drums, whack sticks and run around. What’s better than that?

Drumming

 

Party

An extended family member, Uncle Pags (i.e. Rob Pagnano and his side-kick Chris Barone of Six Foot Sunday), were on hand to play for the kids and adults (it was so great to finally break away from the Frozen soundtrack). I think this was the part that the parents liked best.

The cake

We fed the kiddies pizza, cake and ice cream, printed out their rock star pictures (the VuPoint Solutions Photo Cube is amazing) and gave them inflatable guitars to rock out at home with. All in all, the Rock Star birthday party was a success!

Birthday party

Before going to bed that night, my exhausted, overjoyed, newly six-year-old said through half opened eyes, “Mama I loved my party, I just wish it didn’t go by so fast.”

The best things in life always do.

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Attention Area Moms: Here’s Your Chance to Become a Signature Mommy Blogger!

Signature Moms

We’re excited to announce that we’re sponsoring another Signature Moms Blog Contest! All mothers in the South Shore area of Massachusetts are invited to enter from April 2, 2014 to May 1, 2014. The contest will culminate with four or five moms winning $250 each. Selected moms will join Sandy Churchill, Anne Marie Holloway, Janice Johnson-Plumer, Heather Desmond O’Neill, Tanya Pimental, Martianne Stanger, and Rachel Ventura as featured bloggers on the Signature Moms Blog.

The Signature Moms Blog has an active subscriber base of more than 3,400 followers, and in just over three years has seen over 150,000 visitors checking out local, mom-specific posts from featured area bloggers selected from similar contests. In that time, the blog received several awards from leading healthcare organizations such as the New England Society for Healthcare Communications and the Healthcare Advertising Awards.

To enter the contest, visit Signature Healthcare’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/MySignatureCare and become a fan by clicking the Like button. Upload a video or post a short essay on why you’d be a great mommy blogger. If your post is persuasive – whether it’s funny, touching or engaging, you could be one of four area moms selected for a $250 prize and the opportunity to become a Signature Moms featured blogger.

Each featured blogger will be asked to write two posts a month. The topics will vary greatly, depending on the personalities of the bloggers and their range of daily experiences in the community. Some of their blog posts will come in the form of video posts. The bloggers will meet in person quarterly at ‘blogger brunches’ to share ideas and brainstorm upcoming topics.

Make sure to visit us on our Facebook page and leave us a message on the Wall stating why you think you’d be a terrific mommy blogger – and you could win!

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Spring Break 2014

By: Alison Puzia, Guest Contributor

sandSpring break is almost here! If you want to stay in the area, but still do something fun with the kids, check out these awesome mini-trip and staycation ideas!

1. Visit Mystic, CT

Take a day trip or spend a long weekend in Mystic, CT. It may be too cold to enjoy the ocean, but it is always fun to take a walk down the beach, no matter the weather. If you prefer to stay indoors, there are lots of fun family friendly activities in the area, like the Mystic Aquarium.

http://www.mysticseaport.org/

2. Explore Boston

The Boston CityPASS includes admission to 5 Boston hot spots- the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and your choice of either the Harvard Museum of Natural History or the Old State House. The pass is valid for 9 days, so you and your family will have the luxury of being able to take your time and really get to know the city.

http://www.citypass.com/boston

3. Discover the witches of Salem

In Salem, you will have your pick of museums dedicated to the Salem witch trials. Explore Massachusetts’ spooky side with your family, while learning a little more about our state’s history.

http://www.trekaroo.com/places/northeast-massachusetts-salem-massachusetts/activities

4. Take a long weekend on Cape Cod

The Bayside Resort Hotel offers tons of Spring Break fun! The kids will never be bored as there are tons of family-friendly activities hosted by the resort. Karaoke parties, ice cream socials, Wii video game tournaments, and scavenger hunts are just a few ways for your kids to spend their time on Cape Cod.

http://www.baysideresort.com/cape-cod-hotels-resorts/connecticut-ct-spring-break-family-packages

5. Take a tour of the Newport mansions

Guided tours of several of the mansions of Bellevue Avenue are the perfect way to explore the social, landscape and architectural history of the area. Your kids will be amazed with these properties. Plan your visit today.

http://www.newportmansions.org/

6. Spend the weekend at Smugglers’ Notch Inn

Explore scenic Vermont at this beautiful inn. Enjoy horseback riding and llama treks, hiking, rock climbing and other outdoor activities the whole family will enjoy!

http://www.smuggsinn.com/index.htm

7. Visit our nation’s first town

Plymouth, MA is full of historical, kid-friendly attractions your whole family will love. Visit the beautiful Plymouth Plantation or spend time touring the Mayflower II. This trip will get your kids excited about their nation’s history.

http://www.plimoth.org/what-see-do/mayflower-ii

Does your family already have Spring Break plans? Tell us about them!

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Sleep

By: Rachel Ventura

I like to sleep. It’s always been one of my favorite things to do. I honestly believe I require more sleep than the average adult. Becoming a mother changed all of that. Especially since I became the mother of a child who requires less sleep than the average child. My 4-year-old daughter has always been pretty horrible at sleeping. We have “ferberized” her quite a few times and still, she ends up in our bed most nights. What’s worse, she’s a night owl. She just can’t shut off her brain. We stopped her naps when she was 2 ½ because bed time was so tough. But even without a nap, the earliest she will fall asleep is 9, and that is EARLY for her. Most nights, it’s more like 10, and sometimes even later. I hear parents talking about how their kids are in bed and sleeping by 7pm, and I just don’t know how they do it! I am envious of all that Mom and Dad Time they get! I’m lucky if I can keep my eyes open for 30 minutes after the kids are in bed. My poor hubby.

We asked the pediatrician for advice at my daughter’s 3 year checkup, and he recommended melatonin. He said to get it at the drug store, split it in half, crush it up, and give it to her. It’s natural and non-habit forming, and we decided to give it a try. It worked! Wonders, actually! Within 30 minutes of giving her the medicine, she would be peacefully, sound asleep. It was magic! We were finally able to have the Mom and Dad Time we had heard all about, and much more importantly, our daughter was falling asleep at a decent hour and getting the amount of sleep she really needed.

So yes it worked, but we started to see a very unwelcomed side effect. She started having accidents, the kind you don’t want to have to deal with. After countless pairs of ruined princess undies, my husband realized that it seemed to be linked to the melatonin. On the days she was having accidents, we had given her the pill the night before. We ran a sort of experiment, to see if it was related, and sure enough, the nights we did not give her a pill, there were no accidents the next day. So of course, we stopped the melatonin and went back to late nights. Ugh.

Then about a year later, while at Target, I happened to see melatonin for children. This was 1mg chewable tablets, where the other pills were 5mg, cut in half. We decided to give it a try. I am happy to say, it works, and no side effects at all!!  She is falling asleep much earlier and easier, and bed time is so much more peaceful now. Although, most nights she does still come to our bed. But it’s not till 4 a.m. or so, and I know she won’t be doing it forever. To me, it’s not a huge deal. You need to pick and choose your battles. And honestly, I kind of enjoy the snuggles. Like I said, I know she won’t do it forever, and soon, she won’t even want a hug from me. So I cherish those couple hours of cuddling.

A cuddly morning in Mom and Dad’s bed

A cuddly morning in Mom and Dad’s bed.

Last night, though, was a doozy. This Mama, who I will remind you requires more sleep than most, is one tired lady. I think I got a total of maybe 2 hours of sleep. Here’s how last night went down:

10:30 p.m. – Mama goes to bed.

11 p.m. – Little Lady climbs into said bed. (This was very early for her to do so, so I knew something was up)

1 a.m. – Mama wakes up to Little Lady tossing and turning, which continues for the next 2 ½ hours.

3:30 a.m. – Mama realizes Little Lady is burning up, get up and give Motrin.

4 a.m. – Little Lady finally still and sleeping, Mama is just about to doze off, Little Man wakes up crying.

4:05 a.m. – Mama gets up, locates binky that has fallen on floor, tucks Little Man in, goes back to bed.

4:30 a.m. – Mama is once again just about to fall asleep, Little Man wakes up crying again.

4:35 a.m. – Mama tucks Little Man back in, goes back to bed.

5 a.m. – Little Lady wakes up and has to use potty.

5:30 a.m. – Everyone is tucked in and falling asleep.

6:30 a.m. – Alarm clock goes off. Everyone is up.

It’s now 9 a.m. and needless to say, I am on my fourth cup of coffee. Last night was a bit off, since my Little Lady wasn’t feeling well, but it isn’t too far from our normal nightly routine. I miss sleep. I really do. I remember soon after giving birth the first time around, how quickly I realized that maybe I don’t actually need as much sleep as I once thought I did. I mean, I was functioning, sort of anyways, on about half of the amount of sleep I was getting before children. I know one day I’ll be able to sleep again. And I do long for those nights. But I also know, when that time comes, I will miss these sleepless nights and tired mornings. Obviously not the sickness, but the cuddling, the tucking in, the goodnight hugs and kisses, the kids being little and needing me, will be missed greatly.

Time flies way too fast. Kids grow and don’t stop or slow down, no matter how much we will it to happen. This I know. So I will hold on to every little moment and tuck it away in a safe place and dream about it one day when I am able to sleep long enough to actually have a dream. I never thought I would say this, but sleep is overrated anyways.

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March & April Community Events

By: Alison Puzia, Guest Contributor

The weeks before Spring Break are full of anticipation. If your kids are going a little pre-Spring Break crazy, try these fun family activities to get them out of the house! Or, if you need a little “me” time, participate in one of these great events for adults.

TulipsMom’s Night Out:

On Thursday, March 27 at 6:30 pm, come to Temple Israel in Sharon for Mom’s Night Out. 50 vendors will be on-sight selling unique merchandise. It’s a great opportunity to shop, mingle and relax. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to Hertz Nursery School. 

Kripalu Yoga:

Join Lisa Cohen, yoga instructor, at Art in Motion Dance Academy in Norton on March 28 at 6pm. Learn more about kripalu yoga, the yoga of compassion from this expert. All experience levels welcome.

Stephen Puelo Author Talk:

Renowned author, Stephen Puelo, will be speaking at the Brockton Public Library to discuss his new book, The Boston Italians on Saturday, March 29 at 2:00 PM. Learn a little more about the history of Boston from this bestselling author.

School on Wheels 4-on-4 Basketball Tournament:

This 4th annual event will be held March 29th, at Oliver Ames High School in Easton. Teams of 4, high-school aged and older, are encouraged to sign up to play. All proceeds benefit the School on Wheels. Sign up today!

Surface Design Workshop with Deboarh Baronas:

Fuller Craft Museum is hosting a 2-day workshop on surface design, on March 29-30. Learn new techniques for creating patterns and textures on a variety of mediums. Space is limited so sign up today!

Babysitter Training:

Is your teen or tween ready to babysit? Take a training course on April 3 at noon at the Children’s Museum in Easton. Learn safety and basic first aid techniques, how to change a diaper, and other necessary skills needed to be an excellent babysitter. Grades 6 and up welcome.

What activities are you and your family participating in during the weeks leading up to Spring Break?

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