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 20 Ways to De-Stress your Holiday!

It has been said and it has even been sung, that the holiday
season is the most wonderful time of the year! While that may be
true, no matter what holiday your family celebrates,
this time of year can also be one of the most stressful.
Here are 20 ways to help de-stress
your holidays. Many of these suggestions can help you and your family survive not only
the holidays but everyday!



1.Stay organized. Make a list or create a calendar of things
to do or things that need to be done.

2. Simplify! Simplify decorations, simplify gifts, and simplify gatherings.


3. Teach children that the holidays are about giving from the heart and not

about giving from your wallet or their piggy bank.


4. Be creative. Creativity helps reduce stress. Personalize holiday gifts by making

something or offering a service such as babysittng, house cleaning or yard work.


5. Create and sick to a budget so you can feel good about the amount of money you end up spending.


6. Laugh more, laugh often and build memories!


7. Repeat something you did last year that everyone enjoyed so you can start to build a family tradition.


8. Make sure to practice good nutrition, for you and your children, and get plenty of sleep.


9. Begin a family tradition this year of giving back to your community.

Donate toys or other items, visit a nursing home, volunteer at an animal shelter, food pantry,

local charity or other worthwhile organization.


10. Change your expectations about the holidays such as finding the
perfect gift, planning the perfect family get together or serving the perfect holiday meal.
Ask for and accept help from others. Have fun and let go of “perfect.”
11. Baking as a family activity can be very fun and rewarding.
When baking with children pre‐measure ingredients and put
everything at their level. Covering the area with newspaper or a sheet can make for easy, fast clean up.
12. It can be stressful to think about all of the things you want to
give your family but can’t. Practice gratitude by being
thankful for what you do have. Make a list of 10 things for which you are truly grateful.

13. Be realistic with your time and energy and say “no” where you can.


14. Establish a special place you can go if you feel overwhelmed or out of control.


15. Make sure to give yourself time to relax. Expect stores and restaurants to

be crowded and have long lines. Use the time you spend waiting to practice deep breathing and letting go of stress.


16. Recognize and help your children cope with stress. Do not expect too much or more from

children during the holidays. No matter what age, excitement and stress can leave you tired

and cranky.


17. Spend quiet time with your children talking about your beliefs, your memories and traditions

growing up, and your values.

18. Remember, all things in moderation, doing too much, buying too much, eating and drinking

too much will add to your stress.


19. Dealing with difficult relatives at holiday time can be very stressful. Don’t expect they’ve

changed. Plan ahead, know what to expect, and limit your time with them. Changing your

attitude can help you cope.


20. Most importantly, be able to recognize the signs of stress, know how to reduce stress and do something about it.






 USCCB - Faith and Safety


There is a new website from USCCB for helping keep 

children and families safe online:


The website is a partnership  with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

and it is designed to be a place where families  learn to

see technology through the eyes of  faith and stay safe online.

The site offers guidance

how to use the Internet, cell phones and video games safely,

as well as protecting children’s privacy.


We encourage you to:

* Share the site with your networks
* Identify areas of the site that you believe could be expanded.




The site is less than a year old and the developers welcome input.
You can send comments to Dominic Perri,
consultant to the USCCB Communications Department, at









November is the time of year that families gather for the

Thanksgiving holiday to enjoy a delicious feast. The focus of Thanksgiving is usually the food, but the reason for Thanksgiving is to remember all of the things for which we are thankful. One of the best ways to give thanks is to give back.This year, use the Thanksgiving season as a chance to express the reasons you are thankful and nurture a sense of gratitude in your family and with your children.




20 Ways to Give Thanks...



1. Tell family members and friends why you are thankful for them.

2. Read a Thanksgiving story with your family on Thanksgiving day.

3. Invite a neighbor or friend to join in your Thanksgiving meal.

4. Show your appreciation to your babysitter, child’s teacher, mail carrier or others by baking them cookies.

5. Help other families in your community by donating canned goods to a local food pantry.

6. Send care packages to those serving our country. These packages don’t have to be big or expensive. Even

small items like toothpaste and lip balm can make a big difference in the daily life of a soldier.

7. Prepare a Thanksgiving basket filled with special treats to give to a family or your favorite charity.

8. Make a Thanksgiving tree using construction paper and have each family member write down what they

are thankful for on the leaves.

9. Give back to your community by volunteering at a local charity, library or senior center.

10. Go around the dinner table and have each family member tell their favorite family memory. This will

bring lots of smiles and laughs as memories are shared.

11. Do a family project of writing a poem about what you are thankful for together.

12. Place a fall basket with a pencil and pad of paper in an easy‐to‐reach location. Throughout

the month, encourage family members to jot down things they are thankful for. Younger

children can draw or cut out pictures from magazines.

13. Talk to your children about how to show thanks. Have them write a thank you note to

teachers, grandparents or others who have given them gifts or special attention.

14. Gather old toys and clothes and donate them to a homeless or battered women’s shelter

or a thrift store.

15. Do something unexpected for someone you love.

16. As a family, take the time to thank a veteran or visit a veteran’s home in honor

of Veteran’s Day in November.

17. Look for small things in your life to be thankful for and appreciate them.

18. Give your time and energy to someone who may need it.

19. Smile and say hello to someone you do not know.

20. Tell your children how special they are and that you are thankful for them.



528 S. 5th Street
Suite 211
Springfield, Ill 62701
Phone: 217-522-1129
Fax: 217-522-0655





Thanksgiving Prayers


For Appreciation of Each Other
We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who came to our earth and lived in a simple home. We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he loved and was loved within its shelter. Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley


In Gratitude
Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.


Thanksgiving Table Prayer

O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.

From Celebrating Faith: Year-round Activities For Catholic Families, by Mary Cronk Farrell


Thanksgiving Prayer
This Thanksgiving let those of us who have much and those who have little gather at the welcoming table of the Lord. At this blessed feast, may rich and poor alike remember that we are called to serve on another and to walk together in God's gracious world. With thankful hearts we praise our God who like a loving parent denies us no good thing.


From Songs of Our Hearts, Meditations of Our Souls: Prayers for Black Catholics, edited by Cecilia A. Moor, Ph.D., C. Vanessa White, D.Min., and Paul M. Marshall, S.M.







Fall is a great time of year to be outside and have fun with your children.
It is the perfect time to gather leaves, attend festivals, and learn about the changing seasons. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter it is important to teach children how to be safe as they have fun.
Here are 20 ideas to stay safe and have fun in the fall


1. Play in the leaves with your child but make sure there is nothing in the pile that could hurt them.


2. Visit a local orchard and pick your own apples.


3. Go for a nature walk in the park to collect colorful leaves, pinecones, and acorns.


4. Cook hotdogs and marshmallows over a campfire. Be sure to teach your child about fire safety

and how to safely put out the campfire.


5. Talk to your child about some of the scary things they will see in neighborhood yards, in stores

and on TV. Let your child know they can always come to you when they are scared.


6. Watch the insects and animals around your house or apartment as they prepare for winter.


7. Let your child plan a fall party. Scavenger hunts, bobbing for apples, decorating pumpkins, and

making popcorn balls are fun fall activities.


8. Work with your child to rake leaves for an elderly neighbor or arrange a neighborhood clean

up, getting several families to work together.


9. Take a trip to the library and find books about Autumn.


10. Start a new family tradition. Bake a pie together, make a big pot of vegetable soup, toast

pumpkin seeds, visit the zoo, attend a fall festival, the options are endless!





 5 things to know about girls in STEM fields

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics



 March 2014

1. To combat grim statistics which indicate that women only
make up 24% of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields,
more and more opportunities are popping up for girls in these areas than ever before.

2. Some toy companies, like Goldie Blox and Roominate, are steering away
from gender-based marketing and selling building
toys designed to stimulate innovation and creativity.

3. Historic organizations, such as the YWCA and Girl Scouts of America, which offers over 30 badges for
STEM-related activities, are actively encouraging girls’ interest in STEM fields.

4. Camps like Girlstart and Camp Reach make STEM learning fun by giving girls creative,
hands-on experience with scientific experiments and engineering concepts.

5. Check out the NSTeens video Attitude Overdrive to meet Becks, the ultimate gamer girl.
Video games are a great way to introduce more girls to STEM.


Articles and comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Any products or websites mentioned are not necessarily affiliate with, endorsed or licensed by NCMEC.

This email was sent by: National Center for Missing & Exploited Children,
699 Prince Street Alexandria, VA, 22314, USA




 The Power of Choice

Would you like to get your kids

to willingly cooperate?


Stop the daily battles? 

Teach your kids valuable life skills?


 If your answer is Yes, Yes, Yes, read on:


Do you sound like a drill sergeant?

There are so many things we must get our children to do and so many things we must stop them from doing!  Get up. Get dressed. Don't dawdle.  Do your homework..Eat. Don't hit your brother. It goes on and on.And to make matters worse - our  kids resist our orders and demands.



There is an effective solution!

We can get our kids to cooperate and at the same time allow them to learn self-discipline and develop good decision making skills. How?


Offer choices

Children love having the privilege of choice. It takes the pressure out of your request and allows a child to  feel in control, and thus be more willing to comply. This is a powerful tool that can be used with toddlers through teens.


How many choices?

Younger children can handle two choices: Milk or juice? Sneakers or shoes? You do it or me? Walk or run? As children get older we can offer more choices: Before dinner, after dinner, or in the morning? Wear your coat, carry it, or put on a sweatshirt? Teens can be given general guidelines and rules.


Be specific.

If you ask, "What do you want for breakfast?" and your child answers "pizza" you've set yourself up for a battle. Instead offer choices or options that are all good for her, "Do you want toast and fruit, cereal or waffles?"


Use time as a choice.

Often there really is only ONE acceptable choice. You wouldn't say, "Do you want to go to bed tonight or tomorrow?"  You could say, "Do you want to  watch 5 more minutes of TV or 10?" "What do you want to do first, brush your teeth or put on your pajamas?"


If your child won’t choose?

Offer a choice! (!?What??) Yes! It still works! "Do you want to choose, or shall I choose for you?" If your child gets stubborn, you can say, "I see you want me to choose".Then follow through! For example, what if you ask your child if she wants to do her homework before dinner, after dinner or in the morning and she "decides"  to go to bed without doing her homework. Just wake her [cheerfully] at 6:00 am with a gentle reminder that it was her choice to do it this way.


Giving choices ends struggles.

Offering choices is a peaceful way to encourage cooperation while avoiding the power struggles that so often erupt when a parent gives an order. When a child chooses his own plan of action he is more likely to follow through with a pleasant attitude, and learn decision-making skills that he will carry with him to adulthood. So, do you want to start offering choices today or tomorrow?

By Elizabeth Pantley, author of “Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting.”
© 2002 Elizabeth Pantley


 House Bill 5990


Amendments to the Children’s Advocacy Center Act



HB 5990 updates the Children’s Advocacy Center Act to accurately reflect how
Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) in Illinois operate and should be created today.
This bill benefits Chicago CAC by helping solidify its role in responding to abuse,
and the role of all child advocacy centers throughout the state.
The bill is currently waiting its third reading on the senate floor.

Show your support for HB5990

Help show your support for CACs by thanking the
senate co-sponsors of HB5990.


Click the button below to email them our customizable template email.

 Take Action

If you have questions or would like more information,
contact Trevor Peterson:
or 312-492-3728



 Making Mealtimes

         Don’t run a restaurant.


Make one meal, but offer options as to how to have it served.

[Do you want your hamburger on a bun, or on your plate?]  When most of us were kids we ate what was put in front of us.

There was never any ambivalence from our parents about any other options; therefore, we ate.



 Make dinner conversation enjoyable.


This is not the time to admonish a child about her late homework assignment or to question her current choice of friends. This is the time to share ideas and tell stories. This is an opportunity to have that quality time we hear so much about but often don't have time to pursue.



Teach good table manners at home, and miraculously, your children will use good manners in public.


If you wouldn't think it funny to have your child display his mouthful of food to your hosts at a dinner party, I suggest not letting him get away with it at home.



              Relax your attitude

about food.


The more focus and attention you place on eating habits, the more of a battleground food will become. Keep a few important points in mind: Kids need to eat more often than three square meals. Kids can thrive eating the same foods over and over and avoiding anything new and different. Kids are hungry when they walk in the door after school - the routine of a healthy after-school snack can ward off all kinds of battles. When healthy options are all that's available, kids will eat healthy food. Mealtime can be enjoyable when you serve the food, then simply take the time to enjoy it, without monitoring everyone else’s eating habits.



Encourage your children to become involved in the meal planning and preparation.


It will motivate them to eat what's served, and it will teach them valuable skills that will enrich their lives. You will probably be pleased to see that they actually enjoy helping in the kitchen.



By Elizabeth Pantley, author of “Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting.”

© 2002 Elizabeth Pantley


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