Samara Tilkens Postuma is raising five kids from infant to teen in the St. Michael area with her husband, Jeff. When not found driving kids to and from activities, helping with homework or at the park or pool, you can find her sharing her life online where she does some freelance writing and social media work and also writes at her own blog, www.simplicityinthesuburbs.com.

Posts about Society

Kicking Off the Christmas Season

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: November 19, 2014 - 10:00 PM
 

I know, I know. It's Thanksgiving next week and we're already jumping ahead to Christmas and I'm usually a by the book follower of waiting until Thanksgiving to get a jump on the season but this year, we're feeling it a little bit earlier.

It might be because of the early snow and cold {why do we live here again?} or it might be because my 5 year old and I saw Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas last weekend but whatever it is, I'm feeling it.

When do you start your Christmas decorating and celebrating? Do you wait for Thanksgiving? have certain traditions that don't wait?

There's a few things kicking off this weekend to take advantage of if you, too, are feeling the Christmas spirit already.

Macy's Santaland at the downtown Macy's opens Saturday and runs through Christmas Eve. Though the display doesn't change anymore, it's a fun Christmas tradition to walk through "A Day in the Life of an Elf". It's totally free but you can purchase snacks, photos with Santa and more in the gift shop.

Santa and Albert the Elf will be performing at the Bachman's Lyndale Avenue store weekends throughout the rest of November and December. Performances will take place at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Santa will arrive at Bachman's this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. for a Holiday kickoff full of treats, shopping and even some crafts. This event and the weekend performances are all free.

What do you do to kickoff the Christmas season?

School Photos- Yay or Nay?

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: November 12, 2014 - 12:45 PM

So I'll be honest, the reason I'm even thinking about this is because one of our kids school photos is awful. Like AWFUL. Like I opened the envelope and half expected there to be a note that said "GOTCHA!" because they are awful. 

Her head is off center, her hair, good heavens her hair, is a mess, did she or someone else attempt a pony tail? Her smile is awkwardly half hearted. 

This is no Lifetouch school photo, this is a private school photographer who got it all wrong.

My husband, ever the practical one, naturally suggested retakes. Not just for this child but another one of our kids whose photo wasn't awful but also wasn't good. Retakes doesn't sound remotely appealing to me for two reasons: 1. If they couldn't keep her looking good and together when it was a school wide picture day why would they be able to do it on a random retake day. 2. I don't want to wait another 4-6 weeks for the package. Grandparents are asking for photos you know, it's nearly Thanksgiving.

With four school agers we spend over $100 on school picture packages each fall and we buy pretty much the basics. An 8X10 for our wall, 5X7's for grandparents and a handful of wallets is all we need. Yet we spend over $100. 

The past couple years I've started to wonder, are we out of touch? Is it crazy we still do this? I even try to have our youngests photos done with the same color background and the same vertical pose so that her photo can match on the all.

Do you still get school photos or do you just do your own? If you've had a bad photo have you done retakes with success or do you just call it a good story/memory maker and call it a day?

{PS NO awful school photo pictured here because I care about the future google searches my little ones may do.}

An Easy Service Project this Month {Evie Bags}

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: November 6, 2014 - 1:22 PM

This post originally appeared on my site, Simplicity In The Suburbs but I thought it worthwhile to share here too.

I saw him from across the street and I knew. I knew my little girl, with her bleeding heart for others, would stop and want to help him. Wind blowing, the crisp air biting our cheeks, we rushed across the street, me carrying Miss F, our friends just ahead of us and Miss E starts reading, "Home lllllesss...."

"and hunnnnn gry. Mom, he is homeless and hungry. We need to help him." She stopped right smack on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Delaware in downtown Chicago. Her feet are glued to the ground, she will not budge until we do something, anything to help this man who's sitting on the sidewalk, blankets and trash all around him.

I dig my hand in my coat pocket and grab a handful of change and hand it to her and she bends down, sticks it in the mans plastic cup and while dozens of people are walking every which direction around us, she makes eye contact with him as he says, "Thank you."

She tells him you're welcome and we are on our way and I am ever aware that she is on the lookout for more souls she can help. She looks back at him as we turn the corner and says, "I'm so sad he is homeless."

Hours later we are en route home, a seven hour drive ahead of us, I tell her I am proud that she stopped and helped that man.

"Oh mom, it's what I do," she says. "I help people." And she grins a solid grin that she does so well and says, "Don't forget we need to make some bags for people."

Yes, yes. I say and nod.

***

With the Holiday season approaching the requests of your time, money, resources are plenty. I am not under any illusion of otherwise. But this year we've decided that Miss E, our almost 6 year old, is on to something.

Her heart, you guys. Her heart for others, for homeless, for hungry, for those out in the cold. She doesn't understand why it is that some people have homes and others don't. She doesn't understand why some people are so hungry and all she wants to do is make it better.

So this month, we'll be packing up bags. As many as we can pack and we'll be handing them out all month {hopefully winter} long.

Will you join us? Will you help Evie and her plight to help others? Let's start with 100. We can do that, right? 100 bags for others. In less than 24 hours we've surely surpassed 100, we've updated the goal to 500! FIVE HUNDRED bags to help others! Help us!?

Here's how you can help support Evie's bags-

1. Make your own bags and hand them out to those who need them. This doesn't have to be just a Minnesota thing because there are homeless and hungry people everywhere. Now if you live far, far out in the suburbs, the idea of finding people to give these bags to might seem challenging. Call your local food shelf or drive in to your local big city.

2. As you put together the bags, keep it simple. A former homeless man I know said to avoid personal care items but include things like a snack and water and gloves. The Dollar Tree often has things like hand warmers that would be a great addition. I'm guessing we all have extra Halloween candy laying around that would be a good addition.

3. Include a personal note {no last names}. Evie's note of choice:

4. Pass those bags out. Wherever and whenever you can. You can pass along those bags to us and we'll pass them along OR you can tally the amount you make to give out and let us know so we can include them in our count and if all this is too much for you and you would rather donate to Evie's bags, shoot me an email at samarapostuma at gmail dot com and we will work something out.

5. Share this post. Invite your friends, coworkers, neighbors to take part to create some bags together.

Bonus: Will you take photos? Photos of your bags? Photos as you hand them out? And send them to me? I would love to do a compilation.

***

The thing that strikes me the most when it comes to Evie and the way she wants to help is the way that she truly sees people. She is unafraid, she is not awkwardly looking away as some of us adults do, she is not uncomfortable. Her act of helping those who need help is her way of saying, "I see you and you are loved and may this little bit I have to offer, help you."

So will you see those who need help this season, will you remind them that they are loved and will you offer whatever little bit you have to offer to help? If my little Evie can do it, I think we all can.

Preventing Cavities at Halloween Time

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: October 29, 2014 - 8:01 PM

We all know that to some extent Halloween and all that trick or treating means lots of candy and all that candy can't be good for our kids teeth so how do we go about enjoying the fun that is Halloween while still making sure our kids teeth aren't decaying with every bite. Dr. James Hickman of Metropolitan Pediatric Dental Association had these tips to offer:

1. Be safe and have fun, first and foremost. Halloween is supposed to be fun!

2. Help your kids sort their candy and try to eliminate the items that aren't so good on their teeth. Specifically, sticky items have a higher cavity potential and promote sugar bugs and sour candy has a high acid content plus sugar which is an awful recipe for teeth. Some of the safer items for teeth include sugar free gum, dark chocolate and even items like pretzels and popcorn. While those can still get stuck in their teeth, they are less likely to cause cavities.

3. Limit treats. Have some on Halloween and then maybe bring the candy to work or to a local buy back program. 

4. Brush and clean those teeth. Not just on Halloween but every day 2 times a day for 2 minutes.

5. For coloring pages, a candy sorting guide or even to locate a local pediatric dentist visit MyChildrensTeeth.org 

How do you handle all that Halloween candy at your house? Do you donate it? Let the kids go crazy eating it? Eat it yourself or bring it to work? 

The Teal Pumpkin Project: What You Need to Know

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: October 28, 2014 - 12:27 PM

Wondering what all this Teal Pumpkin business is about?

Here's the details:

The Food Allergy Research & Education group put together a campaign this Halloween to encourage a new tradition to make Halloween a less scary holiday for those families with food allergies.

The idea is that families will paint a pumpkin teal, place it in front of their home with a sign from FARE {available on their site} and offer non-food treats for the trick or treaters who may have an allergy.

Why teal? That's the official food allergy awareness color.

What sorts of non-food treats? Stickers, pencils, tattoos, bubbles, bouncy balls, anything you can think of that is non food and kept seperately than the food you give out on Halloween.

Why non food treats? Because different kids have different allergies. Peanut free might be safe for some kids but other kids can't have the dyes that are in certain candys. Your safest bet to be all inclusive on Halloween is to have non food treat options.

The premise behind the entire campaign is to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies – and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.

Are you planning on participating in the Teal Pumpkin project this Halloween? 

{Photo credit: Missy Berggren who writes the blog Marketing Mama, a great resource for food allergy information in the Twin Cities area.}

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