December/January Newsletter



December/January Newsletter
December 2012/January 2013
When you look back at
your family album and
photos of Christmases
50 years ago, you can
see how much simpler it
all was. The intent has
not changed much but
our means certainly
Hardship and poverty are
painful to deal with all year
round but t hey can be
particularly hard to those less
privileged during the holiday
We would like to take this
opportunity to thank all the
M&T families who have been
giving their generous support
to Moms and Tots’ ongoing
charity projects, especially the
“Letter to Santa” project. The
challenge now will be to
maintain the momentum as we
head towards Christmas and
into the New Year.
We believe that everyone, big
and small, can participate
and contribute something, an
amazing donation or a small
gesture. With a little will there
is always a way to give.
And with this we are wishing
you all the things that make
Christmas time merry - the
scent of a Christmas tree in
the house, going back home
to spend time with your
families, the aroma of freshly
baked cookies. And though
it’s not always white, may it
always be happy and merry,
giving us a chance to curl up
on t he sofa to watc h a
favorite Christmas movie, be it
Love Actually or maybe Die
Hard for some. Sipping on
mulled wine and sharing that
special feeling when
everyone is sharing a meal
together. Decorating the tree,
unwrapping presents and
finally ringing in the New
Year with family and friends.
We’re looking forward to
seeing all our friends again
next year and making new
ones as well!
Happy Holidays!
- Maria
by searching for Mums and Tots
About the editors of this month’s issue:
Maria was born in Warsaw and after
spending many years in Scandinavia she is
now rediscovering this city all over again,
this time as a mom. Former journalist and
editor, she now works as a translator and
tries to make sense of her trilingual children
on daily basis.
Kasia is a Canadian with Polish roots. She
originally came to Poland to work as a
Montessori teacher and eventually made
Warsaw her new home. She is now a proud
mom of Miriam, almost one, and is also
fulfilling her dream of running her own
preschool, Maple Tree Montessori.
They also both dislike talking about themselves in
third person but figure that this is the appropriate
thing to do in this situation.
of Warsaw
December / January newsletter coordinator
Rebeka Sundin
Editor’s 1
Mums&Tots 4
Out and 6
Super Parents...............pages 2-3
Polish 5
Crafts and 7
Give Back a Little ........pages 2-3
Christmas 5
City 8
Give Back a Little
Here are a few ideas that
can help our families get
involved and understand the
spirit of Christmas charity
Ask them how THEY want to help
Talk to your kids about which causes
might concern them and discuss ways
in which they could help. Maybe they
want to plant a tree? Maybe they
want to take some blankets to an
animal shelter?
Use a credit card that donates a
portion of each transaction to charity
These so-called affinity cards are
available in most banks and support
charities ranging from UNICEF, WWF
to the Make a Wish Foundation. Ask
your bank for details.
Encourage non-material gifts
Think dog-walking or baby-sitting
coupons. You and your kids know
your friends and family best, maybe
someone needs a home-made meal or
help with gardening?
Make space for the new
Set aside a day to work with your
children on clearing out their rooms,
their wardrobes and maybe yours as
Take a charity trip
Making the actual trip to deliver
donations could prove that the kids are
far more mature than we give them
credit for.
Psychological proof of holiday spirit
The Journal of Consumer Psychology
published a study of the effects of
gift wrapping. It was found that:
Gift wrap improves the mood and
attitude towards t he gif t being
Gift wrap can cue happy moods
because it is consistently associated
with holidays or a special occasion.
Happy moods were increased
when t he gif t was wrapped in
traditional paper and given on a
Christmas = ... Shopping?
December is upon us, and with it the
inevitable introduction of Christmas
sales, carols in the shopping malls and
wish lists. Have you ever given any
thought to what Christmas would be like
without so many gifts under the tree? In
today’s culture, it seems unrealistic to
think that many children could handle
getting only one gift as opposed to a
Elizabeth Kolber t, journalist, says
“Contemporary American kids may
represent the most indulged young
people in the history of the world ...
they’ve been given unprecedented
amounts of stuff,” in her New Yorker
article Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule
the roost? Kolbert is right that ALL of us
(not just kids) have so much stuff today.
And this raises the question of why so
many children today seem to feel so
Of course this isn’t true of all young
people and we all know plenty of kids
who aren’t “entitled” and know how to
express gratitude for what they have.
However, there are many families and
children who seem to feel “entitled” to
lots of material possessions ... what
would happen is there WAS only one
present under the Christmas tree as
opposed to 10? How do we avoid this
sense of entitlement that seems to be
Teach Values. What matters most to you?
The people you love, helping others in
need, or following your passions?? I’d
be surprised if you mentioned a material
‘thing’. Kids need to explicitly hear and
see through your actions that ‘stuff’ does
not equal happiness.
Role Model. Children may not always do
what you say, but they’ll always do
what you do. If you go shopping for fun,
so will your children. If you “must have”
the latest tech toy (i-pad mini anyone? :),
your children will do the same.
Counteract the message that happiness
can be purchased. As parents, we must
realize that we’re not the only ones
teaching our children about life. TV is a
very effective teacher, and if it has your
child’s ear, then it has a direct line to her
brain. We are all bombarded with the
message that the goal of life is to have
more money and more things, and kids,
who are so easily influenced, learn this
from the media. In the end, what we
model and tell them will matter more,
but we need to confront t hese
destructive messages directly, and when
possible, keep them from reaching our
Recognize that buying is an addiction,
since our brains give us a hit of
dopamine every time we chase, conquer
and acquire. It isn’t the wanting that gets
us into trouble, it’s WHAT we want.
Material things don’t satisfy our hunger
for more than a day or so before we
crave more (how many of us have
experience the newly bought toy that
gets played with for a day before
starting to collect dust on the shelves?!).
Help your kids discover the emotional
rewards of other kinds of chases besides
shopping, such as practicing and getting
good at soccer, cooking, music, writing
or some other passion (this should be
Give back a little
Adopt an animal
There are some great “things” you can
adopt at Christmas time and kids will
love picking something out - maybe an
animal, a rainforest or even a coral
reef? Check out the site for the Warsaw
Zoo for something closer to home.
Help out a neighbor
Chances are there is someone who
might need help come Christmas time,
be it with snow work or carrying all
that heavy shopping.
the child’s passion for it to be rewarding
for them).
game of sharing things you’re grateful
for on a daily basis.
Don’t feed emotional hunger with
possessions. When parents feel guilty
for not spending enough time with their
children, they tend to start buying them
things. That’s a sign that we should
clear out our schedules, and sort out
how to set up rituals in your family that
allow you to spend more time together.
There’s an old saying that says children
come out best when you give them half
as many presents and twice as much of
your presence.
Educate yourself. Children aren’t being
raised in a vacuum. Our culture is
centered around consumption accumulating more and more stuff. We
are all surrounded by messages that
buying stuff will make your life better,
and it’s hard not to respond. There’s a
fantastic video called The Story of Stuff
that may change the way you look at
things and perhaps change the way
your family lives.
Don’t buy your child off. Find ways
other than bribery to help your child
want to cooperate. Occasional rewards
are fine, but bribes teach all the wrong
Hold your child accountable for damaged
goods. If your kids help pay for lost
library books and clothes, things broken
through carelessness, etc. from their
own savings, they learn an incredibly
valuable lesson about valuing what they
have, rat her t han assuming t hat
someone else will simply “buy another.”
Every child deserves the pleasure of
giving his own money to a worthy
cause. This is a great way for children to
learn about those in need, giving some
perspective to our own lives of relative
plenty. Let him give his own money
away so that he can have the same
good feeling that you have when you
give to charity.
Cultivate gratitude, everyday! Don’t let
your kids take things for granted by
doing something simple like making a
If today’s kids feel entitled, it’s not
because they’re ‘bad,’ it’s because
we’re raising them in a culture of
entitlement, a culture that values the
acquisition of stuff over developing our
own unique gifts to contribute to the
world. Quite often we also compound
this problem by not teaching them the
value of hard work.
Keeping these things in mind does work,
and what’s more, they make your life
better and fuller. By taking away the
emphasis on stuff, we can start to pay
attention to things that actually matter;
making a meaningful contribution to
our community, which is essential to
- Kasia Hudz-Skoczek
Kasia based her research for the article on
a parenting blog - Aha! Parenting.
Next month’s article: How
fatherhood has changed in the
last 50 years.
Give someone a loan... provides loans to
entrepreneurs around the world, using
the internet to support microfinance
programs, which target impoverished
women, with the goal of empowering
them through their newfound financial
responsibility. The entire family benefits
when a woman receives a loan.
According to a World Bank report,
women reinvest 90 percent of their
income toward their families. Kiva loan
recipients are over 80 percent female.
... or a goat
Organizations such as work
to eradicate poverty in communities by
providing livestock and training so that
families can create a sustainable
income. Each family passes on the
animal’s offspring to another family in
need, thus multiplying and expanding
the "living loan." Heifer makes a great
gift because you can choose what
animal to donate, and the donor
receives a card with details about the
specific animal given in their name.
The Gift of Time
Sometimes the only thing that our loved
ones need is the gift of our presence
here and now. A walk in the park, a
chat over a cup of coffee - we all know
it’s the little things.
Surprise your kids with Christmas
greetings from the Santa Claus
in Lapland.
All you need to do is send a letter
to Santa using this address:
Santa Claus,
Santa Claus Main Post Office,
FI-96930 Arctic Circle, Finland
Fingers crossed it works!
A big thanks to Tshego,
our Bumps and Babies
Coordinator, for her tip
this week from mums in
the Bumps and Babies
group. Here’s their list
on where to find some
24-hour Pharmacies in
Please remember the
Polish word for pharmacy
is apteka.
Apteka w Pasażu, ul. Powstańców Śląskich 106D, 22 417
32 92
Apteka Juventa ul. Jagiellońska 66A, 22 670 17 69
Apteka, ul. Światowida 47 lok. 10, 22 466 14 05
Apteka Franciszkańska, ul. Franciszkańska 14/102, 22
635 35 25
Apteka Mirowska 24, plac Mirowski 1, 22 620 02 66
Apteka Juventa, ul. Żeromskiego 13, 22 834 58 04
Plac Zbawiciela, ul. Mokotowska 12, 22 622 36 36
Apteka Dbam o Zdrowie, ul. Gagarina 6, 22 841 37 83
Apteka Mediq ul. Plutonu Torpedy 47, 22 867 50 22
Apteka Przy Willowej, ul. Puławska 39, 22 849 37 57
Apteka Remedium, al. Wilanowska 363; 22 852 33 31
Apteka Przy Bażantarni 11, 22 649 65 75
Apteka na Banacha, ul Banacha 1A, 22 599 10 33
Apteka Beata, al. Jana Pawła II 52/54, 22 635 96 26
Apteka Panaceum, ul. Grójecka 76, 22 822 28 91
Apteka Beata, al. Solidarności 149; 22 620 08 18
Apteka, ul. Żwirki i Wigury 43A, 22 883 19 20
Apteka, ul. Leszno 38, 22 632 35 22
Apteka 24, ul. Grochowska 256; 22 870 32 49
You can bookmark the list at
Apteka Remedium, al. Waszyngtona 12/14, 22 617 54
Coordinator News
Finding hosts for M&T meetings can sometimes be tough or
unpredictable, particularly during flu season when the babies
and toddlers fall sick suddenly. We’d like to help publish a list
of cafes, playgrounds, or play centers where M&Ts can meet up
regularly. Thanks Tshego for starting the list off with some great
locations throughout Warsaw. We would like to hear from
moms from all the districts in Warsaw.
How many many presents will your
kids receive this holiday season?
a) we don’t celebrate with gifts
b) one or two (not to mention the sweets)
c) three to five
d) too many ;)
Please write in to the newsletter at [email protected] or
Facebook with your
favorite meeting place. We’ll publish the
list in our next edition.
Watch our FB page and the M&T website to take
part in the poll!!!
Christmas may be three weeks away but here are some numbers to get you in
the holiday spirit
600,000 - number of cards
received each year by Santa Claus
in Lapland
331,038- record number of
lights on a Christmas tree in
Australia last year
93 - percent of women surveyed in
July 2012 in the UK who had
already started stockpiling
Christmas presents
2 billion - amount of Christmas
cards Americans send annually but
only15 percent of cards are bought by
8 The number of Santa's original
reindeer, according to the 1823 poem,
"A Visit from St. Nicholas." Their names
were: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.
Rudolph - the star of a 20th century song
-- came later.
- Santa Claus (of course!)
Christmas Fairs and
Bazaars in Warsaw
Christmas Fair - Jarmark
Bożonarodzeniowy, Old Town
It’s easy to get into the spirit of
Christmas in the Old Town with
70 wooden stalls and vendors
from Latvia, Slovakia, Austria,
Croatia and Poland, of course.
Finally a chance to try Bratwurst,
Polish pastr ies and ot her
international goodies all in one
place. Christmas decorations,
souvenirs, religious items and
traditional toys are also
a va i l a b l e . O l d Tow n M a i n
Square. Open daily from
12pm-8pm until Jan 8. Free
Wa r s a w F a i r, J a r m a r k
A Christmas fair located right in
the heart of the city center. Stalls
selling traditional items, Christmas
decorations and local delicacies.
Their Ferris wheel could be a hit
with all ages. Plac Defilad 1, in
front of the Palace of Culture and
Science. Open daily from
11am-8pm until Jan 6. Free
Pchli Targ, December 1st
One of Warsaw’s hippest events
is back, right before the holidays!
Expect a lot of good-quality items
such as kids’ clothes, accessories,
bedding, books and toys. All
designed and made by small
labels, run mostly by busy and
talented moms.
Inside Fort Sokolnickiego, ul.
S t e f a n a C z a r n i e c k i e g o 51,
Ż o l i b o r z , 11 a m - 6 p m . F r e e
Planning on visiting other
Polish cities before or during
t h e h o l i d a y s ? Wr o c ł a w ,
Kraków, Gdańsk as well as
many smaller towns are all
hosting their own Christmas
markets. Check their city
websites for details.
The Queue
When was the last time you were stuck in a long line at a major
supermarket during “rush-hour”? Your episode of frustration will be
nothing compared with what The Queue has in store for you.
The Queue’s objective is for a normal family to go do their weekly
shopping. Simple, right? Not in communist Poland! The game is
indeed insanely ridiculous – yet completely accurate historically. How
can you possibly wait 3 days for a shipment of much needed
groceries? How is it possible that you can find the baby stroller you
desperately need …. at the bakery? Well, that is exactly what my
husband’s Polish grandmother did. Sure, I heard the stories of
grandma getting up at 6a to stand in line for groceries. But bring on a
bit of competitive spirit and then having the store close right in front
of your face as you are next in line – and well, I felt an immediate
connection with the poor grandma I never personally met.
This game has become my favorite going away gift for family and
friends visiting Poland for the first time. The game itself made quite a
splash when it was launched internationally as the Polish communist
“Monopoly” game this summer. I especially liked its fun cultural
references and for managing to push your buttons in the name of
history. Here’s a game where you have to strategize and unfortunately
for your neighbor, to show a bit of vindictiveness in order to win. I’d
recommend finding or borrowing someone’s grandma when playing
this game for the first time for their “oohs” and “ahs” over The
Queue’s use of authentic government-issue ration coupons and
authentic slogans, images and actual goods of this period. The game
(suitable as well for children 8 and up) presents a great opportunity to
learn even more farcical stories and historical lessons of this by-gone
You can find the game at your local Empik or at the Institute of
National Remembrance in Warsaw, more information available on their
- Rebeka Sundin
International Healthcare
Private practice owned by dr. Dorota
Ossowska and dr. Andrzej Gajer
These are family doctors that run a
general practice and can also help you
with vaccinations. They both speak English,
as does the receptionist, and are very
good at helping out over the phone as
Ul. Chorągwi Pancernej 50, tel. 22
Wilanów Family Practice
The private practice offers comprehensive
medical care for all ages, on site blood
draw and diagnostic testing, minor surgical
procedures, and basic podiatry located at
ul. Kosiarzy 37/90, tel. 226427404,
Dr. Hodun, American trained physical
therapist at 516-076-122
Office hours 12:30pm-7pm on Mondays,
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays,
Saturdays 9am-12pm.
Thursdays Dr.
Gajer is available at the Medicover
Hospital Emergency Room.
Molo Kids Cafe
Not just a cafe. They also run activities for
kids throughout the week including E.E.
Gordon music classes and general
development classes for both older and
younger kids. Parents also have something
for them there, with an assortment of books
to read, WiFi and delicious coffee. You can
also organize your kids’ birthday party
ul. Klimczaka 17, open Tue-Sun 10am-7pm
Batida pastries
One of Warsaw’s favorite patisseries is now
also open in Wilanów. Visit them for mouthwatering macaroons, pralines and pastries.
They can also prepare pre-ordered
Christmas pastries and cakes. Yum!
ul. Klimczaka 17, lok. 202
Golf Parks Poland
A driving range on Vogla, with 30 stations
on the main range, a putting green, short
game area, practice sand bunker and mini
golf. There is also a store that has
everything a golfer needs, and a small
restaurant to sit down for a break.
ul. Z. Vogla 19
Nowa Kuźnia
This restaurant right next to the Wilanów
palace has a whole section in the back
dedicated to kids. There’s an area for them
to colour and play with a staff member
watching out for them. The restaurant itself is
also quite classy.
Once you’re in Wilanów it’s also hard to
find a place to “go out” for the night. In the
evening, there’s a small pub area that opens
up, so husbands can go watch the latest
Arsenal game here :)
ul. Kostki Potockiego 24,
Another family-friendly restaurant in
Wilanów near the palace. On the weekends
they also have an “entertainer” there who
helps keeps kids busy so mum and dad can
enjoy a “date afternoon.”
ul. Kostki Potockiego 24G,
Little Gym Wilanów
A gym for the little ones. Its age-specific
curriculum is scheduled in weekly lesson
plans to build skills sequentially and classes
are held in English and Polish.
ul. Bruzdowa 56,
Wilanów palace and gardens
Always a fun and educational trip for the
whole family. The Polish Versailles is a mustsee and the surrounding gardens have been
recently renovated, and are especially
beautiful in the summer.
Zawady Islands
If you fancy a walk and nature watching
then head towards the river to the Zawady
Islands nature reserve. The reserve was
created in 1998 and lets hikers see the
Vistula river in its element, with all its
temporary islets, shoals and quite amazing
fauna, which if you’re lucky, could include a
white-tailed eagle. Head towards the river,
along the floodbank.
Maple Tree Montessori
The newest international Montessori
preschool in Wilanów. They run activities
throughout the week including Orff-based
music classes, art for parents and kids and
Capoeira gymnastics classes.
ul. Piechoty Łanowej 46a,
Bistecca Bistro
Small restaurant that loves and serves meat.
Their specialties include T-bone steak and
bistecca. Summer terrace and wi-fi.
ul.Branickiego 11
Plaża Wilanów - Wilanów
A little touch of the seaside (minus the sea)
in Warsaw. Tons of yellow sand, sun
loungers, umbrellas and a playground
should keep all age groups happy. There
are also two bars and a small food kiosk.
Corner of Przyczółkowa and Klimczaka
streets, open from May to September
Swimming in Wilanów
If you live in the area, then Wilanów has its
own sport hall, complete with a swimming
pool and gym, with a whole range of
children's swimming classes.
ul. Wiertnicza 26,
In our next issue we’ll be looking at the vibrant
riverside community of Powiśle. Please send in
all your hints and recommendations to
[email protected]
contributions from Kasia Hudz-Skoczek, Maria Laitalainen and Rebeka Sundin
Cooking with kids! Granola Power Bars
You will need:
1 cup old-fashioned rolled
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8inch-square pan with cooking spray.
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon flaxseeds, or
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup unsweetened wholegrain puffed cereal
2. Spread oats, almonds, sunflower
seeds, flaxseeds and sesame seeds on
a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the
oats are lightly toasted and the nuts
are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway
through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to
a large bowl. Add cereal, currants,
apricots and raisins; toss to combine.
1/3 cup currants or
1/3 cup chopped dried
1/3 cup chopped golden
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3. Combine butter, sugar, honey,
vanilla and salt in a small saucepan.
Heat over medium-low, stirring
frequently, until the mixture bubbles
lightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
4. Immediately pour the almond
butter mixture over the dry
ingredients and mix with a spoon or
spatula until no dry spots remain.
Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly
coat your hands with cooking spray
and press the mixture down firmly to
make an even layer (wait until the
mixture cools slightly if necessary).
Refrigerate until firm, about 30
minutes; cut into 8 bars.
Tips & Notes:
Store in an airtight container at room
temperature or in the refrigerator for
up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1
month; thaw at room temperature.
Note: We never follow the recipe exactly.
We just use what we can find, pumpkin
seeds, cranberries, whatever. My kids love
it as its quick and easy and makes a whole
lot of granola!
Christmas Crafts: Golden Pasta Tree
Supplies: A small
styrofoam cone, green
paint, green and red
marker, glitter glue,
several different
shapes of dry pasta
Directions: Paint the
styrofoam cone green
and let dry. Use the
green marker to color
enough pieces of pasta
to cover the cone. You
can also color some
red for berries, or other
colors for ornaments.
Glue the pasta onto the
cone until it is
completely filled in (We
usually use low temp
hot glue gun because it
is faster and causes
less frustration with the
kids. We also work
together to make just
one tree). You can
embellish it with the
glitter glue, tinsel, pom
poms, etc. to make it
look like a Christmas
You can also do this
same craft differently
by gluing all the pasta
onto the styrofoam
cone without coloring it
first. After it dries, you
can spray paint it any
color you want (metallic
paints work well).
Leave it plain for a chic
look or have the kids
embellish it even more
after it dries.
Taken from http://
Christmas Star Tutorial
December 2012
Jill Scott,
Old Town
AFW Holiday
Party, Westin
Blithe Spirit The Cheerful
Hamlets, Dom
Moscow City
Ballet Nutcracker,
Moscow City
Ballet Nutcracker,
Glenn Miller
Disney Fantasia
2000, Sala
Royal Castle
Royal Castle
Christmas Day
Boxing Day
Concert feat.
Kidjo, St. John
the Baptist
Gospel Choir,
New Year’s
Eve Concert,
Please check venue websites for complete listings.
Watch out for the next
newsletter coming in
February - the Dads’ issue!!!

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