Posts tagged ‘health’

Facing Social Change at the Dinner Table

My dad, Scott Rampy, is a free agent advocate, activist, and fundraiser working to end multiple sclerosis. He’s also humble. So he doesn’t say it in his post, but in one year, with two events, no budget, and a handful of volunteers, my dad spearheaded the effort to raise over $250k for the National MS Society–and that was just in his spare time. Below, read about his latest effort in working to crush MS and where he finds his inspiration. Reading the post and typing this intro, I have tears in my eyes. Our family’s fight is real. It’s personal. And it’s persistent.

By Scott Rampy:  The word “social change” for me is intimidating.  It implies that there has to be an attempt to resolve a social injustice, shortcoming or reversal of public opinion.  For me, social change can be as simple as the inspiration that sits across from you at the dinner table.  In my case that is Jo Rampy, my wife of 26 years.  From a pure grass roots perspective, social change can be motivated by inspiration to inform others in an effort to spark a movement in a small way to solve a larger problem.

This is the case with the National MS Society.  Multiple Sclerosis (aka many scars) affects nearly 400,000 people in the country and selfishly I’m focused on the one person, Jo, who deals with it everyday.  She has been diagnosed with this disease for the past 7 years.  MS attacks the myelin that surrounds our nerve endings in the brain that control our central nervous system.  The damaged myelin forms areas of “sclerosis scars” that over time, affects ones ability to talk, see, feel, walk and concentrate.

Jo has been an athlete since the first day I met her, as she was running stadium stairs when I first noticed her.  Since the diagnosis, she has maintained an active lifestyle just trading her running shoes to walking shoes.  Jo walks 30-35 miles a week and regularly engages in health education to learn how to manage and live with MS.  As a result of her commitment, I’ve taken the challenge to SWIM, BIKE and RUN so that someday people with MS can again.

For the past several months, I have been training for my first half iron-man in Branson, MO Sept. 19. This race is not only a tribute to the endurance and strength I observe in Jo everyday but a tribute to people that deal with MS on a daily basis… so I SWIM, I BIKE and I RUN so that they can again.

There is no cure for MS, but my goal is raise money so the research can continue to find a cure in our lifetime.  My call to action is to have you join our cause and if motivated, donate $70–a dollar for each of the 70.2 miles traveled in my race.  A half iron-man consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run.  At the writing of this post, we have raised $2,100 and have 106 members supporting the cause.

Please join, invite or donate and support a cause that will make a difference for someone dealing with MS.

Why Advocacy Is an Important Social Marketing Tool

Concerned about obesity? Either personally or within your community? You are not alone. One way to combat obesity is by promoting and advocating for more fruit and veggie consumption.

Your mother may have always told you to eat your fruit and veggies. If so–consider yourself fortunate. According to new data from the CDC in the first ever State Indicator Report on Fruits and Veggies, more us need to dish up.

The CDC report provides information for each state on how many fruits and veggies people are eating and importantly, it highlights three key areas within communities and schools that can be improved to increase access, availability and affordability of fruits and veggies. According to the report, it shows that no state is meeting the national goals that were outlined in Healthy People 2010 (as an fyi, you can now comment on the Healthy People 2020 objectives to help frame our nation’s health priorities).

Fruits and veggies are essential to healthy living, preventing obesity and protecting us from chronic diseases and certain cancer–yet simply put, the CDC report found that many of us can’t eat the recommend amounts because we can’t fruits and veggies may not be easily accessible, available or affordable. What I like about this report, is that is not only states the problem–but offers ways to overcome it. And many of them, tap into the social marketing tool of advocacy.

  1. Did you know that only 8 states have a state-level policy for healthier food retail improvements? Is your state one of these? If not, advocate for policy to address this concern.
  2. Did you know that only 1 in 5 middle and high schools offer fruits and non-fried veggies in vending machines, school stores or snack bars? And did you know that only 21 states have a state-level policy to increase fruit and vegetable access in schools? Check to see if this is your state, and if not, advocate that policy addresses this concern.
  3. Have you ever heard of a food policy council? According to the CDC, a food policy council is a “multi-stakeholder organization to improve food environments.” And guess what–only 20 states have a state-level food policy council and only 59 local food policy councils exist across the nation. I can’t vouch for their effectiveness, but it seems like a great way to start a conversation about the issue and presents another opportunity to advocate and organize.

For further inspiration to fuel ways to advocate for healthier behaviors in your community, check out CDC’s State Indicator Report on Fruits and Veggies as it provides fruit and vegetable consumption–as well as policy and environmental support–within each state. As an added resource, the CDC has also put together this report outlining recommended community strategies to address obesity.

At the CDC conference in August, we were reminded about the power and ability to leverage advocacy to meet social marketing objectives…looks like we have quite the opportunity here. Feel free to share what you and/or your community is doing to address this epidemic. We can continue spreading awareness about the obesity epidemic, or we can choose to do something about it.

flickr credit: mightmightmatz

5 Ways to Prep for the CDC Conference

*This post was originally published on the blog of iQ Solutions, a health communications and health IT company. Disclosure, iQ Solutions is also the place of SB’s current employment.

Buzz has been building for a while now as delegates, organizers and presenters make their final preparations for next week’s National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media. Hosted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing and the Office in Enterprise Communications, the conference is packed with discussion about health marketing, health disparities, new frontiers in technology, and collaboration.

iQ Solutions’ own VP of Health Communications, Jennifer Isenberg Blacker, will also be presenting on behalf of the National Institute on Drug Abuse about the use of new technologies to engage youth. Senior VP of Communications and Social Marketing, Kim Callinan, and myself will also be there to cheer her on and gain insights from other presenters, as well as share in community with other health evangelists.

As the iQ team preps for our journey down to Atlanta, I’ve identified five ways to prepare for this year’s CDC Conference:

1. Network. Nedra Weinreich has set up a community on NING, a social network that lets you create your own social community. Already boasting 60+ members, this public platform enables us to network before, during, and after the conference, and is how I learned that the CDC program book was available for download.

2. Follow the conversation. Whether you are signed up for Twitter or not, you can still follow the conversations that are happening there. Using the tool Twitter Search, type in the hashtag “#NCHCMM09” to see what people are saying about the conference. I will also be live-tweeting certain presentations and added insights through IQ Solutions’ new Twitter handle, @iQSolutions.

3. Create your own conference dashboard. If you want to be a real superstar like Chris Brogan or Christopher Penn, you can even create your own conference dashboard using iGoogle, Netvibes, or PageFlakes. The dashboard, Brogan explains, is a one-stop online location “to see the elements you might want to know about at a conference…and you can get a fast scan of a lot of data that might prove useful during the event.” Example information may include adding some Twitter search strings to your dashboard, integrating a local map, local clock, local weather information, and much more. See an example below.

4. Meet-Up and Tweet-Up. They say at conferences that some of the best insights and conversations are those you have with colleagues in the hallways or over a great meal. Don’t miss out on these nuggets of opportunity for sharing. Already, CDC’s Justin Williams has organized a Tweet-up for Wednesday, August 12th from 7:30-10:30pm at STATS. This is one more opportunity to gather and meet with colleagues. Already attending are Craig Lefebvre, Andre Blackman, Susannah Fox and myself. Join us.

5. Study. It’s always good to know what you’re getting yourself into. Thus, I recommend checking out the conference’s Web site, seeing who’s who, as well as downloading and reading through the program book. Studying may be overkill, but as I mentioned earlier, this conference is packed with powerful presentations-so much so, that if you’re like me, you’re going to have to prioritize what you can attend. It’s not possible to see every single presenter, even though you’ll want to! (This is another good reason Tip #2 and Tip #3 come in handy-you can catch what you may be missing during concurrent presentations.)

Your Turn: What other tips might you offer to prep for this year’s conference?

Social Marketing Bulletin–List of Change, Local Public Health and More

It’s been awhile since the last Social Marketing Bulletin, but all the more reason to get on with the show. The Bulletin includes items that encompass social change, social marketing and social media:

1. FEATURED: “I Know. I Took the Test.” I chose this initiative because it encompasses social change, social marketing and social media, as well as public health, non-profits, and government 2.0. What is it? The cross-collorative effort to recognize National HIV Testing Day on June 27th from AIDS.gov, the CDC, the White House’s Act Against AIDS campaign and other work by sister agencies including healthfinder.gov and womenshealth.gov. I’m excited to participate and observe this effort evolve as it is agencies walking the walk and reaching across agency lines to serve the people. (disclosure: I work with healthfinder.gov and am doing work to support this effort. However, I’d still feature it as I believe AIDS.gov is doing amazing work and blazing trails for fellow HHS agencies and public health!)

2.  SOCIAL CHANGE: Beth Kanter, Geoff Livingston and Shannon Whitley announced the launch of the “List of Change.” The list is a compilation of social change blogs and currently is over 75+. If yours isn’t added yet, feel free to join the rest of us changebloggers and help spread the word!

3.  PUBLIC HEALTH: Friend and colleague Andre Blackman recently posted an excellent interview/case study on how folks in Salt Lake City are utilizing social media for public health. Highlights include discussion on the YouTube video they created in-house with a flip camera, iMovie and a $0 budget, as well as their integrated approach.

4. GOVERNMENT 2.0: Related, I am part of the Program Committee for Tim O’Reilly’s Gov’t 2.0 Expo and Showcase in September. (This is a volunteer role.) At this event, anyone can submit a proposal to present. I am rallying anyone (especially public health agencies) at all levels of government to submit entries. I also know that the committee is looking forward to hearing from a more diverse collection of proposals from near and far, as well as more local and state agencies.

5.  GOVERNMENT 2.0: Sunlight Labs recently put together an in-depth evaluation and suggested re-design for the U.S. Supreme Court. Reading through the blog and studying the before-and-after designs, there are many take-aways in communicating online. Some themes I noticed were one: 1) Simplify. 2) Provide graphics and images to paint your story, and 3) Design, think and write from the consumer’s perspective, not the organization’s.

6.  SOCIAL MEDIA: A new Twitter study was announced from Pace University and Participatory Media Network. One conclusion from this study was that “Only 22% of 18-24 yr. olds are on Twitter.” Interestingly, another Twitter study from the Harvard Business Review came out which found that the Top 10% of Twitter users produce 90% of Twitter activity. Makes ya go hmmm…Still not sure what Twitter is? Just out Mashable’s Top 7 Twitter Tutorials on YouTube.

7.  EVENTS: Next week will be the “Games for Health” Conference on June 11 and 12 in Boston. I can’t attend, but will be sure to be following along on Twitter as my latest blog crush is the blog healthGAMERS. Other events coming up this summer include the Social Marketing in Public Health Conference later in June and CDC Health Marketing Conference in August. For more events, check out SB’s eventst page.

8. SOCIAL MARKETING: The number of “social marketeers” on Twitter continues to expand. Social marketing and behavior change folks and thought leaders I’ve identified include: @nedra (Nedra Weinreich), @chiefmaven (Craig Lefebvre), @sm1guru (Mike Newton-Ward), @stephendann (Stephen Dann), @ssuggs (Suzanne Suggs), @socMKT (Dr. Stephan Dahl), @socialmktgNW (McCann Erickson’s Social Marketing Shop), @jimgrizzell (Jim Grizzel), @mikekujawski (Mike Kujawski), and @JimMintz (Jim Mintz). Great to have more people joining us here!

9.  SOCIAL MARKETING: Worldways, a social marketing agency based in Colordo, is revving up with its new blog We Take Sides. Don’t you love that title? I think it’s great positioning because it places them as a leader, who isn’t scared about saying and doing what they believe in.

What did you catch this week in the world of social change, social marketing and social media that you think deserves a shout out?

Crossing the line or a Creative Cross? MySpace Research with “Dr. Meg”

Have you heard of Dr. Meg? Maybe not, but if you’re a teen on MySpace you may have. Interesting research that was first published in the January issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that adult supervision of MySape can raise adolescents’ awareness of how accessible their profiles are online.

To come to this conclusion, Dr. Megan Moreno, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and fellow researchers, embarked on two separate studies to explore this issue further. Both research studies are to 1) encourage increased parental and adult supervision by family and friends, and 2) to potentially encourage similiar outreach approaches.

Dilemma: To Cross or not to Cross the Ethical Line

The research is very interesting, however, I feel an ethical discussion must be had. I am not saying Moreno’s approach was wrong or right, but I think we should slow down and discuss it further to learn and develop best practices, as well as ethical guidelines, especially since others may adopt this practice towards younger youth.

Headlines have buzzed about “Busybody Dr. Meg,” concluding that this outreach and behavior-change may offer hope to future, similiar methods being implemented by others. To me, I feel there can be high-levels of concerns with a universal application of this approach unless the strategy and concept is stretched. Including, but not limited to – the age those being contacted, how people are being contacted, the language and type of approach involved, the privacy and the stalking-like component, among other items. Additionally, does it matter who, as in which type of organizations embark on this strategy? For example, I can foresee potential problems if adopted by government health agencies and citizens’ concerns over freedom of expression. Curious on others’ thoughts on this! 😉

Background About the Studies

Study 1. For the first, researchers located 190 MySpace public profiles in a single urban ZIP code, randomly selected from 10 U.S. Census areas with the lowest average income because researchers wanted to target adolescents who might have less access to doctors.

All the users involved revealed that they were 18 to 20 years old and their pages included three or more references to sex, drinking, drug use or smoking. Of the 190 profiles selected, half were sent “Dr. Meg” e-mails. After three months, 42% of those getting a “Dr. Meg” e-mail had either set their profiles to “private,” or they had removed both sexual or substance usage references. 29% of those not contacted made changes over the three-month period.

Study 2. In another study, Moreno and other researchers looked at 500 randomly selected MySpace profiles of 18-year-olds nationwide and found that more than half contained references to risky behavior such as sex, drinking and violence.

Your Turn: Crossing the line or a creative cross?

What do you think? I agree that there is a growing issue and concern for online safety and online identity of teens, youth, young adults and people in general, and this is an interesting new development to the field. How can you see this approach being adopted by your organization, or what would be your reaction if you were approached? Am I over-reacting?

photo credit: LoonSky

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Defining Health 2.0

According to a January 2008 study titled How America Searches, Health and Wellness:

  • In the past 12 months, 59% of adults reference the internet to find or access health and wellness information.
  • 67% of adult searchers use general search engines as an online tool or resource for health information and only 7% referred to online drug advertisements.
  • 36% of adult searchers use online health information to see what other consumers say about a medication or treatment

Because of statistics like those above, the concept of ‘Health 2.0’ has increased its usage and importance. Simply, Health 2.0 = the merging of social media into healthcare. However, others see the movement of Health 2.0 as something much wider and farther reaching. Even Google image searching shows a variety of more complex definitions. I’d be interested to see how you all define it for yourselves or for your practice.

Examples of Health 2.0

Websites

  • Carol.com , started in 2006, is the marketplace for care, allowing hospitals and providers to ‘bid’ for consumers’ care
  • Vitals.com, allows patients to review their current doctor’s or a potential doctor’s reviews and ratings
  • DoubleCheckMD, allows consumers to check for potential drug interactions quickly and easily
  • American Well , creates a healthcare marketplace where consumers and physicians come together online to acquire and provide convenient and immediate healthcare services

Wikis

  • Wikipedia
  • FluWiki
  • WiserWiki, a medical and healthcare information wiki edited exclusively by physicians
  • Clinfo Wiki, a wiki devoted to clinical informatics
  • Ask Dr. Wiki, allows those with a medical background to publish review articles, clinical notes, pearls and/or medical images to the wiki. The main focus has been on Cardiology and Electrophysiology, but they have expanded to other areas.

Blogs

  • DiabetesMine, a blog all about diabetes
  • HealthMatters (Healthline), a collection of weblogs by professionals, covering different aspects of health, wellness, treatments, and recent advances
  • WebMD, provides health and health-related information

Social Networks

Video-Sharing

  • ICYou, the source of healthcare videos and videos related to health information
  • Cleveland Clinic on Google Video
  • TauMed, a virtual health community where one can search and share information on a variety of health topics

Online Forums

Podcasts

Caution

Health 2.0 researchers warn that patients should be cautious about posting personal health-related information through unsecured social media as health insurance providers could gain access to this information, as well as potential employers.

Future

Social Media combined with health information, patients and user-generated content can be used for:

  • User-generated health ratings for hospitals and doctors
  • Bridge the gap between doctor and patient
  • Bring communities together in new, innovative ways
  • Establishing patients as opinion leaders
  • Managing health and managing community health in new ways

For specific case studies and more information, view this report titled: The Wisdom of Patients: Health Care Meets Online Social Media prepared for the California Healthcare Foundation by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn.

Questions to Ponder

  • Is Health 2.0 helpful or harmful?
  • Is the content trustrworthy? Does it matter? Will consumers take the information at face value?
  • Why are patients labeled as consumers? What does this mean/say about how health 2.0 is being approached?
  • What are the ethical concerns?
  • What are the privacy concerns?

Can’t wait to read your insights in the comments. =)

3 of the Latest Reasons Why I Love Twitter

Ok. I’m joining the bandwagon of bloggers who are posting their love for Twitter.

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging social media site that asks the question, “What are you doing?” Users who have logged in and registered for the free service can then answer the question within 140 characters or within multiple updates. Twitter works by people agreeing to ‘follow’ a certain Twitter account. Once following this account, the person then gets the account’s updates.

Users

Twitter also seems to be used by an older demographic according to Quantcast.com, with 24% of its users being between the age of 25-34, followed by 22% of users being 35-44, with 69% having a college education or higher.

Currently, the use of Twitter is greater outside of the United States according to the makers of Twitter. See graph below.

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One advantage to Twitter is that it is gaining in its popularity and recognition of its advances into mobile technology as Twitter has applications for cellphones, PDAs, and with other social media such as blogs, social networking sites and instant messenger, many of which, are free.

Twitter Case Studies

@womenshealth and @Health provide Tweets providing information and health tips that link to their home page. For more case studies that highlight the extent of health uses for Twitter, see Nedra Weinreich’s great post, Twitter for Health.

Thus, here are my top 3, latest and greatest reasons why I love Twitter.

1. Get to know the “day in the life” of CEOs who tweet

As more companies create a Twitter account, @zappos, @Jetblue, @southwest, etc….not only do I enjoy the frequent competitions to give out giveaways to Twitter followers…but you get to know the everyday happenings of those with some pretty cool jobs.

From my observation, the company’s Twitter account is run by the CEO, President or another higher up. As this person updates their tweets, it shows me more about what goes on in the lives of those with great responsibility….something you can’t get any other way, even in a blog.

2. There’s so much Potential

Twitter is constantly expanding. Almost everyday I’m seeing a new use for Twitter or a new Twitter application. Just scanning the Twitter Wiki, there are over 50 cool Twitter applications for Twitter metrics, Twitter mobile applications, multi-platform apps, SecondLife Twitter apps, Twitter for Mac apps, Twitter for Windows apps…. It’s just amazing. And, this is only the beginning.

3. It never gets boring

Twitter and the Twitosphere never gets boring. Twitter, in its natures, Inspires creativity and innovation with what can you do with 140 characters…here are some of the uses I’ve found:

  • Linking to recent blog posts
  • Twittfeed acting as an automatic feed for your blog
  • Linking to favorite news articles
  • Creating a buzz around certain issues to address issues
  • as a fund-raising tool
  • to launch a contest (@zappos told ppl to Twitt their fav. quote to them and the winner would get free shoes!)
  • To meet people in a new area
  • find contacts for new business
  • announce events
  • Twitter questions, tips, facts or ask for help. I.E Question: When did Columbus sail the ocean blue? Help: What blog platform do you recommend?

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So, Join the conversation! =). You can follow me @socialbttrfly

TIME Health: More than Statistics – Make Health a Priority for the Holidays

TIME Magazine recently published their first cover story in what will now be an annual series titled: “Annual Check-up: The Sorry State of Americans Health. Perhaps it’s my own desire to become more healthy, but the timeliness of this article could not be better, especially with HealthyPeople 2020 around the corner.

Reading this article, I immediately got hooked. The article opens with:

If you’re like 67% of Americans, you’re currently overweight or obese. If you’re like 27%, your blood pressure is too high. If you’re like a whopping 96% of the population, you may not be able to recall the last time you had a salad, since you’re one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who rarely eat enough vegetables. And what you do eat, you don’t burn off — assuming you’re like the 40% of us who get no exercise.

These are big statistics. However, I appreciate TIME’s article because it goes beyond giving statistics, but also draws some analysis and connects some dots by providing 5 Truths about Health Care in America as well as an A-Z guide of pertinent health issues. One of the most important points I think the whole article makes relates to the health of future Americans:

Most troubling of all, if you’re like any parent of any child anywhere in the world, you may be passing your health habits to your children, which explains why experts fear that this generation of American kids may be the first ever to have a shorter life span than their parents do.

I find this most important because it’s about more than statistics. No one wants to be a number. And it’s a general idea that we all want what’s best for our children, and future Americans. We know that. But, what if eating breakfast daily, recycling or drinking more water means healthier living habits for those we treasure most – our kids.

ACTIVITY. Flip through family picture albums, or carouse friends’ pictures on Facebook that relate to family gatherings. In terms of health, who are the role-models? It’s not just about healthy eating, exercise and a healthy weight. But who are the kids looking up to? Who has a positive lifestyle, who’s words are positive and encouraging, who is giving, who lives what they say, who has a regular doctor, who has an infectious outlook on life or self-esteem. We should want to be these people.

MAKE HEALTH A PRIORITY. I highly encourage checking this article out in more depth, especially if you work in health or a health-related field. My mother always tells me, “When it’s come to your health, you have to make your health a priority.” This is easier said than done. But, here are some tips and tricks to being healthy this holiday season.

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AT A PARTY:

  • Give away leftovers. If you are hosting a party and there are left over goodies, give them away to your guests. Not only is it an added treat and gift for them, but it means you don’t have to find yourself eating the leftover cherry cobbler and cheesy potatoes.
  • Recycle. If the party calls for a gift, use newspapers as the wrapping paper to encourage recycling.
  • Moderate consumption. Use a smaller cup to fill your drinks, and a smaller plate for your food. This is an automatic way to moderate your food and beverage consumption as holiday parties often mean holiday-type food and drinks that are heavier in fat and calories.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Duh right? But to help curb this behavior, provide a Taxi number for your guests or put one in your phone before you leave for the night. Or, just designate a driver.
  • Prioritize. There is a lot going on. Prioritize which parties and gatherings you need and want to attend. Don’t overdue it by trying to be the top party-goer this season. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have longer, more in-depth conversations with a few new friends, than meet 20+ but only be able recall the person’s name, if that?

AT WORK

  • Take mints, not M&Ms. (voiced from experience) For the candy dish, instead of bringing chocolate-rich candies to work, bring candy canes or peppermints as peppermints is still festive, but also healthier.
  • Focus. Holidays make work even more stressful as you multi-task. However, when you are in a meeting or working on a task, focus and be all there. Otherwise, you are doing yourself and everyone else involved a dis-service.
  • Set realistic deadlines. Put in the extra effort, but don’t overwork yourself to the point you are counter-productive. You can balance this by taking deep breathes, finding helpers, and planning vacation time in advance.
  • Make time for sleep. Again, if you are not rested and ready to take on the day, you will get behind and be counter-productive. Know your limits.
  • AT HOME

    • Create your own health e-card. The CDC has both health e-cards that outline 12 Ways to Health as well as holiday e-cards as well.
    • Cook safely and clean often. Germs and bacteria have a tendency to get around during the holidays. The FDA has food safety tips specifically for the holidays!
    • Treat yourself with time. Instead of overindulging, treat yourself with 15 minutes of YOU time. During the holidays, it’s easy to get over-stressed and overwhelmed. Taking 15 minutes just for you, can make all the difference.
    • Get away from the computer. This goes especially to my social media friends, you work hard all year round. Take a day off-line. No email. No social networks. No nothing. We will all be here after the holidays. It’ll be okay. =)
    • Shovel snow. This is not only a great exercise, but it’s also gets you outside. You can even offer to shovel for your neighbors or for the elderly and make your workout into a surprise holiday gift.
    • Be a kid again. Build snowmen, go ice-skating or dig out that sled. This increases time with the kids, while also providing a workout.

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    What do you think? What tips and tricks have I missed?

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