By Lisa Leitz/YAKIMA HERALD-REPUBLIC
Relax? Before the holidays? Good luck with that if you’re a parent. It’s too cold for the kids to play outside, and the Christmas shopping and household to-do lists seem to stretch on forever. But we have a great idea for some relaxed holiday fun with the family this season: a road trip to Leavenworth. With a little advance planning, you can create new holiday traditions and carve out a little time to breathe … without spending a lot of money or time on the road.
Leavenworth is modeled after a Bavarian village, and it’s an internationally-recognized shopping destination that caters to visitors and families. The first three weekends in December, Leavenworth turns into a twinkling winter wonderland and hosts numerous holiday activities for families. Many Washington parents consider a visit to Leavenworth an essential part of their Christmas traditions.
Yakima parents with young children will appreciate the fact that the town is only an hour and 40 minutes away, and since the lighting ceremonies begin prior to the dinner hour, you can enjoy the festivities but still have your sugar plums tucked into their beds at a decent hour (even if you don’t spend the night).
Pick up a personalized family ornament to mark the occasion at Kris Kringle’s, and enjoy all kinds of snacks, brats, or even upscale Italian food at one of many local restaurants. Holiday events during the three weekends leading to Christmas are scheduled Friday through Sunday from approximately noon until the early evening hours. Enjoy sleigh rides, carolers, living Nativities, musicians, and actors strolling through the downtown shopping district. The lighting ceremonies start at 4:15 p.m. on Friday-Sunday.
The town is situated just blocks from hiking and snowshoeing trails, and skiing at Stevens Pass is close by. Bring sleds if there is snow forecast; snow sledding is allowed in the downtown park.
Check out leavenworth.org ?for a detailed schedule of events, and remember to pack warm clothes and a Thermos of hot cocoa. Oh, and leave those to-do lists at home.
By Juanita Farris
When I was pregnant with my first child, I loved the idea of starting a new tradition for him to grow up with. I kept seeing “Elf on the Shelf” ideas on Pinterest and it felt like the perfect fit.
If you’re not familiar with Elf on the Shelf, it’s a little elf doll that you adopt into your family. Elves act as scouts for Santa Claus during the holiday season to help with his naughty and nice lists. Your elf will watch and listen to your family during the day and then fly back to the North Pole at night to give a full report to Santa.
The next morning, the elf will be back at your house, probably getting into trouble. This is the best part for many parents. While your children sleep you are supposed to set up a scene for the kids to find. The first person awake may find the elf getting into the cookie jar or playing a board game with other toys.
Elves are available for adoption at Fiddlesticks, Hallmark, Target or elfontheshelf.com for about $30. The posable doll comes with a book and a keepsake box. After receiving your elf, you can register him or her online to receive a special adoption certificate and letter from Santa. Then, your holiday season really begins!
Welcome your elf back to your home every winter with a North Pole breakfast. Serve food that can be made the night before, such as crock pot egg casserole. Our elf’s favorite food is Frosted Cheerios to look like elf-sized donuts. After eating, you can read the elf’s book together and remind your family of the rules. I’m not clear if her family has more than one elf, or if she doesn’t know the possessive of elf. JG
Be on your best behavior to get on the nice list and protect the elf’s magic by never touching it. To keep things running smoothly, I would also make a schedule to set up the elf’s nighttime adventures. We usually do a new scene once a week, but if you’re really ambitious you could try for a new pose every night.
I hope you enjoy your Christmas and your new family member, as our family has.
Crock Pot Egg Casserole (Adapted from cdkitchen.com)
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•1/2 cup onions
•1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
•1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
or half and half
•1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes
•1 cup grated cheddar cheese
•1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
•1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
Saute onions and peppers in olive oil and set aside.
Slightly beat eggs with heavy cream or half and half. Add egg mixture, sauteed vegetables, hash browns, cheese, salt and pepper to crock pot.
Cook overnight on low, and this yummy breakfast will be ready for you in the morning!
Pinterest inspired this cute idea … making “donuts” for Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve! Just take regular Cheerios, dip them in a tiny bit of honey or frosting, then roll them in powdered sugar, brown sugar and finely-chopped cupcake sprinkles. Then place in a small earring box (we found this one at Michael’s), place next to your elf or the fireplace and watch them disappear!
TOPPENISH TOY TRAIN CHRISTMAS
See more than 40 running model trains at a “Toy Train Christmas” in Toppenish. Some are even made of Legos!
The fun kicks off on Sat., Nov. 30. The event continues each Saturday and Sunday from Dec. 7 through Dec. 22 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Take the train to the North Pole to see Santa Claus, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies with the kiddos.
Cost is $6 adults, $4 children. Photos with Santa are an extra fee. Northern Pacific Railway Museum, 10 S. Asotin Ave., Toppenish; 509-865-1911. nprymuseum.org
MT. RAINIER “SANTA EXPRESS”
Nov. 30 through Dec. 22, the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad transforms into the “Santa Express!” The “North Pole” is actually Elbe Depot (About 2 1/2 hours west of Yakima). Passengers on the Santa Express enjoy a 90 minute-2 hour ride aboard a steam train, with Santa on board, too! The folks at Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad say it’s important to make reservations early.
Trains depart at 10 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekends only.
Cost is $27 adults, with discounts for youth, senior, AAA and military. 54124 Mountain Highway East, Elbe; 360-492-5588. mrsr.com
The temperature is dropping, there’s a flurry of shopping, and many are bazaar and festival hopping. Christmastime is here! We’ve got the rundown of major events for you to enjoy!
Theatre & Performances
A CHRISTMAS CAROL. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28-30, Dec. 5-7, and 2 p.m. matinees Nov. 30 and Dec. 14. $ 12-14. Cost: $16 general, $13 students and seniors. New location: Akin Center Theatre, 1610 S. 24th Ave., Yakima. Box office: 509-966-0951. warehousetheatrecompany.org
YAKIMA YOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WINTER CONCERT. 3 p.m. Dec. 1. Free. The Capitol Theatre, 19 S. 3rd St., Yakima. yyso.org
NOEL: THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS. 7 p.m. Dec. 1. Christmas music by the Yakima Symphony Chorus. Cost: $20-$30; includes dessert and reception. Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches Ave., Yakima; 509-453-1888.
CHRISTMAS POPS SPECTACULAR. 4 p.m. Dec. 8. Yakima Symphony Orchestra. Cost: $15-$61 per ticket. The Capitol Theatre, 19 S. 3rd St., Yakima. capitoltheatre.org
THE NUTCRACKER. 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. The Eugene Ballet Company returns with this classic musical. Cost: $6-$41 per ticket. The Capitol Theatre, 19 S. Third St., Yakima. capitoltheatre.org
Events & Open Houses
CHRISTMAS TREES ON THE FARM. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7 & Dec. 13-14. The fun runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Look forward to getting a fresh-cut Christmas tree with the family. While you’re at it, you might get yourself and others handmade wreaths and garlands. Don’t forget to try the hot cocoa, cider and vanilla sugar doughnuts and experience the caroling hay ride. Bill’s Berry Farm, 3674 N. County Line Road in Grandview; 509-882-3200.
JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM. 5-8:30 p.m. Dec. 6-9. Take an interactive journey through the streets of a re-created ancient Bethlehem, complete with sets, actors and actresses and animals, Free. Yakima Seventh Day Adventist Church, 507 N. 36th Ave., Yakima; 509-452-2041. yakimasda.org/journey
ZILLAH’S OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS. Dec. 7. Music, treats, kids’ games and Santa. Downtown Zillah; 509-829-5151.
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE. Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Free. Several performances are lined up in the Neon Garden: Yakima Youth Symphony at noon, Yakima Children’s Choir at 1 p.m. and the Melody Lane Singers at 2 p.m. The museum is at 2105 Tieton Drive, Yakima. Call 509-248-0747 or visit yakimavalleymuseum.org.
SELAH’S WHISPERS OF CHRISTMAS. Dec. 7. Free breakfast with a visit from Santa, followed by an evening visit. Selah Civic Center, 216 S. First St., Selah; 509-698-7305.
SANTA AND ME HOLIDAY TEA. 10 a.m.-noon and 2:30-4:30 p.m. Dec. 7. The ultimate tea party with Santa available for kids ages 4 and up. Includes appetizers, entertainment, a gift and a photo with Santa. Cost: $30 each. Cascade Garden, 5704 W. Washington Ave., Yakima. Part of Yakima Greenway’s Kiddin’ Around program: 509-453-8280.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AND HOLIDAY BAZAAR. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Unlimited pancakes and a photo shoot with Santa. Cost: $6 adult breakfast, $4 child breakfast. Victory Outreach, 315 N. Fifth Ave., Yakima; 509-307-5283.
YAKIMA HOLIDAY LIGHT PARADE. 6 p.m.
Dec. 8. Watch vehicles of all kinds — plus Santa — strung with lights and strolling along downtownYakima Avenue.
YAKIMA VALLEY COMMUNITY BAND CHRISTMAS CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9. At West Valley High School Auditorium, 9800 Zier Rd., Yakima; 509-969-2817. yakimavalleycommunityband.org
LUMINARIA. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 13-14. More than 1,000 candles will light up the pathway of Yakima Area Arboretum. Also enjoy music, coffee, hot cider and treats. Free. Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive, Yakima; 509-248-7337. ahtrees.org
SANTA IS COMING TO BREAKFAST. 8:30-11 a.m. Dec. 14. Bring your camera for a photo with Santa, and enjoy a hearty menu that includes holiday pancakes, Mrs. Claus’ special eggs, elf sausage, Santa’s biscuits and gravy, frosty apple juice, snow-topped hot chocolate and coffee. A raffle is also available. Cost: $7 13 years and older, $4 for ages 3-12. Holy Family Church Gathering Hall, 5315 Tieton Drive, Yakima; 509-966-0830.
CHRISTMAS OF HOPE HOLIDAY BAZAAR. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 30. More than 45 vendors. Glenwood Square, 5110 Tieton Drive, Yakima. Contact Nora at 509-833-2739.
MIGHTY TIETON HOLIDAY CRAFT BAZAAR. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 30; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 1. The 8th annual event features handmade crafts, antique items and food. Come see the chandeliers, the annual tree lighting and Santa. Mighty Tieton Warehouse, 608 Wisconsin Ave., Tieton; 509-847-3034.
ANNUAL MERRY MAKINGS CRAFTS FAIR. 12-8 p.m. Dec. 6-8. Lighted Implement Parade and homemade and hand-crafted items. Mid Valley Mall, 2010 Yakima Valley Highway, Sunnyside; 509-528-5107.
WESLEY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH BAZAAR. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 7. Homemade items, baked goods, candy, Christmas swags. Lunch served 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., with homemade pie, soup and sandwiches. Wesley United Methodist Church, 14 N. 48th Ave., Yakima; 509-966-2370.
EAGLES F.O.E. & V.F.W. JOINT HOLIDAY BAZAAR. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 7. Lunch is served at 11 a.m. Yakima Eagles, 307 W. Chestnut Ave., Yakima; 509-248-3564 (F.O.E.) or 509-985-7550.
AMERICAN LEGION AUXILERY #36. 11:30-1:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Christmas bazaar and luncheon with soup and salad bar. American Legion, 1120 N. 34th Ave., Yakima; 509-457-4510.
ALTERNATIVE CHRISTMAS FAIR. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 8. Fair trade, local and international crafts. Wesley United Methodist Church, 14 N. 48th Ave., Yakima; 509-966-2370.
20TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BAZAAR. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 13. Yakama Nation Museum, 118 Spiel-yi Loop, Toppenish; 509-865-2800.
Want to give back this holiday season?
Donate new or gently used coats to KNDO’s “Coats for Kids” program. There are drop-off locations in Yakima and the Lower Valley. Click here for more information.
Or if you’d like to donate a new toy for a child, help out the Marine Corp.’s “Toys for Tots” program. Just go to toysfortots.org for a list of local drop-off locations.
Kids love cupcakes! Especially topped with cute sugary characters. So in the spirit of the holidays, we made these Frosty the Snowman cupcakes. They’re sure to be a hit at a party…but almost too cute to eat.
Marshmallow Snowman Cupcakes
- 1 box white cake mix +
required ingredients on box
- White cupcake liners
- White frosting
- Black frosting (small tube)
- Orange frosting (small tube)
- Sweetened coconut
- Large marshmallows
- Extra large marshmallows
- Hershey Kisses
- Pretzel sticks
Bake cupcakes according to directions on box. Let cool. To make snowmen, decorate the marshmallows prior to stacking.
For the body, use the extra large marshmallows. Stick a pretzel in either side for arms, and dab three dots of black frosting for the buttons. Repeat for desired number of cupcakes, and then set aside to let frosting dry.
For the head, use the large marshmallows. Dab with black frosting to make two eyes and a charcoal mouth. Break off a small portion of a pretzel stick and insert for the nose. Dab with orange frosting so that it looks like a carrot.
For the hat, break Oreos apart and use the cookie side without frosting. Adhere a Hershey Kiss to the top with the black frosting, and then adhere the hat to the head with the white frosting. Set aside to let frosting dry.
Frost the cupcakes with the white frosting, and then securely adhere the body of the snowman. Dab the top of the body with white frosting and then adhere the head to the body. Sprinkle the remaining base of the cupcake with coconut to create a snowy effect. Serve on a coconut covered platter and enjoy!
September 19, 2013 by Scott Klepach
By Dr. David Pommer, MD
On most issues, I speak to you with some experience as a family physician and parent. These are topics that I have counseled parents on and have seen some small victories in my home. On the other hand, I speak more theoretically about the things I have not seen much of or have failed with at home.
Picky eating is one of those latter topics. I have pleaded and cajoled. I have been in your shoes and have not always seen success.
Let’s start with some physiology that I do understand. The rate of growth of our kids slows down around age 12 months. This means appetite usually drops, which allows kids to become pickier. In fact, picky eating is the norm for many toddlers. They may go weeks eating just a couple of preferred foods.
Here are some overarching principles to guide us in this struggle with our picky eaters.
First, try to involve your child in some form of food preparation. This probably doesn’t mean operating the Cuisinart or chopping vegetables, but it may mean choosing between corn and carrots. This investment in the process may make kids more likely to eat at the table.
Second, be patient. It may take 10 or more exposures for your child to try a new food. Praise your child for any attempt to try a new food.
Though this may go against how we were raised, don’t force a child to eat. Stress that what is on the table now is the only thing on the table. Don’t make a separate meal or snack for your child if they don’t eat.
Regarding safety of certain foods, kids can’t grind their teeth well to eat certain foods until about age four. Try to avoid the following until then: raw carrots, raw celery, large sections of hot dog, whole grapes, peanuts and other nuts.
Try to make a variety of healthy foods available. And if your child refuses a food, try another in the future from the same food group. For example, try a deep-yellow or orange vegetable rather than a green vegetable. Not wanting low-fat milk? Try yogurt, cheese or a low-fat flavored milk. Try chicken, turkey, pork or fish instead of lean beef.
Consider adding “eye appeal.” Use a cookie cutter to cut foods into interesting shapes, or add a smiley face on top of a casserole.
In addition, you can present a food that they like along with a food they have refused in the past to see if this increases the rate of success.
You could disguise other foods by adding them into a dish to add nutritional value. This may work with some kids, but others are super sleuths who will detect these unexpected ingredients and perhaps make them pickier.
So I will join you in this meandering journey, of airplane noises while “flying” a spoonful of food to a closed mouth, of puppet shows about the four food groups, of daydreams about large funnels. We will take this journey, with these successes and failures, together.
* David Pommer, MD, is a family physician with Selah Family Medicine. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
August 26, 2013 by Scott Klepach
With the school year just kicking off, many parents have to decide how to provide care for their children before and after the school bells ring. Fortunately, there are several before and after-school options in the area.
(Note: Other similar programs likely exist; if you know of them, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the information.)
A Selah-based school program, called “The Home Zone,” offers two options. One is a preschool program linked with a childcare center, for kids ages 3-5. That program runs weekdays 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Another option is a before and after school program, also under “The Home Zone” name, for kids in grades K-6, or ages 5-12. This program is open weekdays before school, 6:30-7:45 a.m., and after school until 6 p.m.
The Home Zone is located at Selah United Methodist Church, 1061 Selah Loop Road in Selah. Call 509-697-9444 for more information.
In Yakima, an after-school program called “Beyond the Bell” resumes at Roosevelt Elementary Gym, 120 N. 16th Ave. Designed for kids in grades K-5, this program offers games, arts and crafts, homework assistance and other fun. Kids from other Yakima School District schools may also attend and can usually get dropped off by school bus.
The cost is $3 per day per child. “Beyond the Bell” is open 2:15-6 p.m. Mondays and 3:15-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and follows the Yakima School District calendar. Call Yakima Parks and Recreation for more information, 509-575-6020.
Yakima Family YMCA continues its Before & After School Enrichment (BASE) program. Open to students ages 5-12, BASE provides supervised latch-key programs to focus on making friends, building relationships, leadership skills and staying active. An afternoon snack is included, along with homework time and structured and free play.
Programs are available from 7 a.m. until school starts, and after school until 6 p.m. Both morning and afternoon programs are available at Gilbert, Nob Hill, Terrace Heights, Whitney and East Valley elementary schools. An afternoon program is also available at McClure Elementary.
There are several price ranges for BASE. Morning sessions: $50 for four days per month; $76 for 12 days per month; $115 for 22 days per month. Afternoon sessions: $60 for four days per month; $132 for 12 days per month; $218 for 22 days per month. For both morning and afternoon sessions: $98 for four days per month; $201 for 12 days per month; $325 for 22 days per month. There is also a non-refundable $50 registration fee per child.
For more info, call Yakima Family YMCA, 509-248-1202.
Do you know of another before and after-school program not listed here? Please let us know! You can email information to email@example.com.
By SCOTT KLEPACH
Parents are protectors, teachers, caregivers and nurturers. These traits add up to another vital parental role: being your child’s best advocate.
Kids at varying ages need parents or guardians to speak up for them to make sure they are receiving the best care, attention or treatment. Sometimes children are too young to physically speak. But even kids entering adolescence may not have the knowledge, experience or social ability to look out for themselves at all times.
The idea of being your child’s advocate is one that gets to the heart of parenting — with all its joys and struggles — because it requires us to wrestle with finding the right balance. Parental advocacy is largely subjective. How involved should I get? What should that involvement look like? Am I hovering or smothering, or do I need to be doing more? Parents will likely ask these questions from their child’s birth to adulthood. It turns out that looking out for your own child can also benefit others.
“Advocacy is always shaped in an individual need that, once met, will benefit the entire group,” says Laurie Kanyer of Yakima, a certified life educator and author with more than 30 years of experience teaching and working with families. “When the parent advocates for an individual child in that situation, there will be common good the entire community will experience.”
Kanyer, who also holds a master’s degree in hearing development, adds the process of advocacy consists of parents doing research, understanding their child’s concern and then accommodating them. Typically, this means parents will let others know about their child’s needs so they can “seek together to find a solution,” says Kanyer.
Knowing your child
Advocacy, continues Kanyer, is “a key parenting skill. When you talk about quality parenting, your job is to look at the needs of your child.”
James Yan and Tina Wang of Yakima understand the need for this type of relationship with their daughters, Joanna, 6, and Susanna, 3.
“We’re Christians, so everything is centered around that belief,” says James. Tina says her family uses the Bible as a source for asking questions, teaching lessons and seeking answers.
A stay-at-home mom, Tina devotes a lot of time talking, singing and playing with her daughters. To her it’s important to maintain an open, honest relationship with them. This dynamic helps the couple understand and protect their children.
“When Joanna has been to school, I will encourage her to share what’s happening at school, to know about her without me around her,” Tina says.
Often, she asks Joanna detailed, open-ended questions to allow her daughter to share more than just one-word answers. Growing up, Tina considered her own mom her best friend, and she sees this relationship playing out with her own daughters with the hope that they will speak with her candidly.
This agreement to communicate helped when Joanna came home from kindergarten one day. Joanna was troubled by some activities older students were playing that conflicted with her beliefs. She felt pressure to join in but refused. Even so, she was distressed not just with what they were doing, but with the pressure and uncertainty of how to respond.
“The Bible says if you don’t have peace in your heart, don’t do it,” says Tina. “We told her to go read a book, find a quiet time.”
“Basically, we try to understand their world better,” says James. “In this world there are so many evil things, and we help them to have the right perspective. But we encourage teamwork, too, to get along, work in teams.” Says Tina, “I feel after we become parents, we have more to learn.”
“Great advocacy is always seen in teamwork,” says Kanyer. “It’s the kid and the parent in one vehicle, a lifelong vehicle to be a support of that child.”
Building outside relationships
Amy Miller, a Yakima mom of Henry, 14, and Theo, 10, knows the importance of establishing relationships with her boys as well as others who come into her sons’ lives.
“Courtesy really goes a long way,” says Miller, who is a stay-at-home mother who spends many hours volunteering at her sons’ schools. “The fact that I helped in the schools helped [build relationships.] People knew me.”
Building relationships was essential for Miller when Henry was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in March 2012, when he was 12. She and her husband, Marty, had to establish and maintain a positive connection with nursing staff at the Yakima School District and other contract nurses.
“We [took] the time to be courteous and friendly,” she says, “and not just rushing in there and saying, ‘This is my situation!’ We were treating them like people, and that went a long way to having them listen to me.”
The Millers’ relationship with one district nurse helped form other relationships. That nurse acted as a mediator between the family and the other contract nurses.
Institutional change usually comes from individuals, when parents spread awareness and bring others in to enact change. But that doesn’t mean doing everything. “Advocating for a child is not doing for kids the things they can do for themselves,” Kanyer says.
Miller is well aware of this need to empower her children. Eventually, Henry was able to learn to watch his diet and take responsibility for his health, step by step, and soon the nurses were convinced he could handle it on his own.
Amy says the district nurse “really laid out a plan for [Henry] and to care for him in school. She complimented him in the work that he did.”
Kanyer’s own example came years ago when her children were old enough to walk to school. She noticed the route they took brought them perilously close to an intersection with heavy traffic.
“I was concerned about my child’s safety, and in addition concerned about other children. I was doing this for me,” says Kanyer, who experienced the pain and suffering of losing a friend from a traffic accident years ago. “I advocated with the school and the school district and the police department to make that road safer for my kid, and we could as a community get to the school so she’s safer.”
Appropriate research helps you teach others, which can build that sense of respect and open up communication. “It helps to educate yourself and know what you’re talking about before you come in and make demands,” Miller says.
Miller participates in a closed Facebook group for parents of children with Type I diabetes. The experience has allowed her to post when she feels inclined, learn about various issues involving her son’s condition and receive valuable emotional support. As an active participant for some time, Miller says she feels she can help others new to the group.
In this digital era, communicating with others can often take place at a distance behind a screen. While texts and emails can be effective, it’s important to practice all forms of communication when it comes to being a great advocate.
“I figured out sometimes an email works, sometimes a phone call is better. You have to stop and think what a situation calls for,” Miller says. “It’s a lot easier to respect somebody when you have to look somebody in the face.”
That respect works for both parents and those on the receiving end, whether they are parents or guardians, teachers, school administrators, coaches, health care providers or other organizational leaders who have influence in a child’s life.
“Every now and then I go to a teacher and shake their hand, so I can get a visual on them and they can get a visual on you,” says Miller. “It’s about learning how to be a relationship kind of person.”
It’s all too easy to get fired up about a situation when it comes to your own child. It’s OK to be upset and passionate, but be careful. Sometimes parents storm into an office with the intention of protecting their child, but attacking another person is never acceptable. Be sure you have built up relationships and learned about the situation as much as you can to help you approach the situation tactfully. Any given meeting can turn into an educational process for you and provide you with even better ways to help your family.
“Advocacy is not militancy, while it can feel militant, typically for a parent because strong emotion is associated with it … some pain or suffering or concern,” says Kanyer. “It’s a skill to take that pain and suffering and concern, and to take that to someone else who can feel compelled to help. It’s really individual social justice at its very core.”
Try volunteering, too
While it’s not direct advocacy, volunteering is one way to be more involved in your kids’ lives. Parents can volunteer at schools and other places and in many different ways. Whether it’s an infant’s daycare or an elementary classroom, being present and offering a hand is one of the best ways to be educated and address concerns.
“After second grade, I started volunteering in the library,” Amy says. “I still found a way to help in the school in a different way, and I wasn’t hovering over my own kids. It gave me a way to get to know the school staff.”
Parents can also find volunteer opportunities outside of school, such as with a soccer organization, church or camp.
“It’s kind of nice if you have talent as a parent and can help out in some local way,” Amy says. “Don’t you just love when there’s another helpful adult in your child’s life? Volunteering has been a good way for me to build relationships, not just with my own kids, but with other kids.”
Catholic Family & Child Services. Various family resource programs including early learning and mental health services. 5301 W. Tieton Drive, Yakima; 509-965-7100. cfcsyakima.org
Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima & Kittitas Counties. Mediation work and conflict resolution services, including family mediation. 303 E. D St., Yakima; 509-453-8949. drcyakima.org
Children’s Village. Many programs, services and screenings offered for kids with special needs, developmental needs and other support groups. 3801 Kern Way, Yakima; 509-574-3200. yakimachildrensvillage.org
211. Need help locating the right support or social service agency? Dial 211. Local, bilingual operators can point callers to
appropriate agencies for health care, childcare, schools, housing, job training, recreation, retirement, disability and social service information. Call weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If 211 is not available from your phone, call 877-211-9274.
Washington State Family Help Line. Confidential parenting support. Parent Trust: 800-932-4673
Laurie Kanyer recommends Charles Smith’s book, Raising Courageous Kids: Eight Steps to Practical Heroism (Sorin Books, 2004).
Smith is a parenting expert and professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University. Smith offers parents ways of empowering their own children by sharing stories and providing straightforward steps to follow.
The paperback retails for $14.95.
By JUANITA FARRIS
Fall is right around the corner. It’s a season of change and excitement as parents help their children prepare for school and their life outside the home.
However, parents of young children face an interesting dilemma. When your children aren’t old enough for preschool or you can’t afford it, it seems impossible to bring the same structure a classroom holds into your own home.
I was dealing with this same problem last summer when I decided to put our playtime to use to get my son ready for kindergarten. Playtime is a very important time and is actually essential to children’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth. So I made it my mission to teach my son the ABCs through our afternoons together. Over the next couple months we made an ABC storybook — and many amazing memories.
To make your own ABC book with your little one, you’ll need a few things to start with.
On a piece of paper write the letters A-Z and decide on a food to make, an activity and a family member for each letter. If you don’t have any family members with names that start with a certain letter, pick a cartoon character instead. If your child is old enough, you can include him or her in this process. After getting your list together, pick how you want to create the actual storybook. My family and I used a photo book from walgreens.com that starts at $19.99. You could also scrapbook this on your own or just put the photos in an album.
Here’s an example of our pages:
A is for …
Apple Slice Painting!
And Aunt Annie!
For our A page we had homemade applesauce for lunch, painted with apple slices for a new tactile experience and we found a photo of my son’s Aunt Annie for the finished page.
Here’s another example:
E is for …
And Aunt Ers!
For our E page we had eggs for breakfast, did a toddler experiment using vinegar and baking soda, and found a photo of our Aunt Ers for the finished page.
When your list is finished, you will have your own storybook. Seeing the pictures will help your little one not only learn his or her letters, but connect to each of the activities you did to create each page. As you read them this keepsake, they will learn the alphabet in a very special way.
* Juanita Farris is a former optician who loves her new stay-at-home mom job. After a busy day of playing with her 1-year-old she loves to read, cook and write.
By AUBREY DOES, FRUGAL YAKIMA MOM
A little secret about me: I’m not really a fan of cooking. And yet somehow my family still needs dinner every night. They get kind of cranky if it’s not there! I enjoy the planning part and I enjoy the presentation part, but I hate the actual cooking part.
To avoid all of the cooking, I decided to try a freezer cooking day. I really enjoy this style of meal planning.
As far as a menu goes, there are plenty of sites that provide freezer meal ideas. You can put together your own menu based on what you like, or follow a freezer cooking day plan. About a year ago I stumbled onto a great site called Once A Month Mom (onceamonthmom.com) that has multiple meal plans. There is even a meal planning/make-ahead plan for plant-based families at happyherbivore.com! A membership to Once A Month Mom is $8 per month, while Happy Herbivore’s weekly menu costs $18.99 per month.
A day or two before you cook, buy everything you’ll need for the cooking day. I highly recommend thinking through each meal and deciding what else you might need when you make the meal. For example, if you make burgers, you’ll want buns. You also need to know how many freezer bags or foil baking pans you’ll need to have on hand, along with labels for everything. Good old address labels with the name of the recipe and the date it was made are good enough!
The night before cooking, chop the vegetables and make sure all of the meat is defrosted. Also on the night before, make sure you’re caught up on basic chores around the house. You won’t want to do any cleaning before or after the cooking because it’s a lot of work! If you don’t have to go straight from hours of cooking to folding laundry, you’ll feel so much better.
From experience, I highly recommend that any kids not old enough to help have something else to do while you’re cooking. The first time I did this, my boys were home and it was very difficult. The second time my husband was in charge of the kids and it went so much smoother.
It takes me around seven hours from start to clean kitchen. That’s not counting grocery shopping or the time spent chopping vegetables the night before. The end result is a freezer full of meals, labeled and ready to feed us for the month!
There were some great things that came out of the freezer cooking day. I noticed I did a lot more baking (which my family loved) and the struggle every night to make dinner while my kids ran wild went away when I just had to warm up the food and set the table. I also have meals ready to go for others! Hopefully this was an informative post for any of you thinking about doing a freezer cooking day. If you have any questions, you can always find me at frugalyakimamom.com!
* When she’s not chasing two very busy little boys, Aubrey Does loves drinking coffee and blogging deals. You can read more of her frugal adventures at frugalyakima.com.
By DR. DAVID POMMER
What does your back to school shopping list look like? Number 2 pencils, glue sticks, Pee Chee folders or even (if you can find one) a Trapper Keeper? Before you head to the checkout line, let’s take a detour to the breakfast aisle.
Breakfast is an important way to prepare for the school day as well.
About 8-12 percent of school-age kids skip breakfast, and in teens this number creeps up to 20-30 percent. Many kids will opt for sleeping in an extra 15 minutes rather than eating a bowl of cereal. Some may choose to skip breakfast to try to lose weight (this typically backfires; more on that later).
We do know there are many benefits to eating breakfast. Children do better in school, have increased concentration and more energy. The fiber consumed can help with weight control and lower cholesterol. Calcium builds stronger bones (helping children for decades to come) and Vitamin D helps with absorbing that calcium and may boost immunity.
The misconception of weight gain from eating breakfast was debunked in a 2008 study in the journal of Pediatrics. This study showed teens who ate breakfast daily had a lower BMI (body mass index) than teens who never ate breakfast or occasionally ate breakfast.
Before we discuss what to eat, let me address things that might be in our shopping carts that we should take out. First, if your child has energetically argued that a marshmallow-based cereal is a critical part of the four food groups, kindly explain to him that it is not, and remove it from your cart. The nursery song goes, “Do you know the muffin man?” Well, we probably shouldn’t. If your toaster is exclusively used for Pop Tarts, that habit should probably change. And if you are giving your breakfast order at a drive-thru window, that habit should change as well.
What are some healthy alternatives?
One of my favorites is dry cereal that I throw in a sandwich bag and eat on my commute. This could include oat squares or mini-wheat biscuits. Cereal bars and granola bars are also healthy options. Fresh fruit, dried fruit and yogurt could also be eaten on the way to school. Try toast with peanut butter, or spread peanut butter on a pancake and roll it up. Even though our culture has frowned upon carbohydrates in general, kids need healthy carbs to give them energy for the school day.
Ideally, the more food groups you can have for breakfast, the better. And if you can sit down and eat breakfast with your child, that would be marvelous. If there’s not enough time for breakfast, earlier bedtimes may be in order (perhaps for both you and your child).
As a parent, you set the best example of what your child should be eating for breakfast. If this article has been good food for thought, keep it in the front of that new Pee Chee folder. You may now head to the checkout line.
* David Pommer, MD, is a family physician with Selah Family Medicine. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
July 2, 2013 by Scott Klepach
It’s hot! The two best ways to combat the heat are to drink water and get wet! Here are some cool pool options for you to consider.
OPEN SWIM, SPECIAL SWIM & LESSONS
Open June 14-Aug. 25.
Recreational swimming: Monday-Friday, 12:30-3:30 p.m., 4-7 p.m. & 7:15-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $2 youth, $3.75 adult, $13 family (up to two adult family members and four children of same family), $2.25 honored citizen. 3-month passes and punch cards available for discounts. Recreational swimming weekdays, 7:15-9 p.m. is at a discounted cost of $2 per participant.
Learn-to-swim lessons for all ages.
2101 Tieton Drive
Open swim: 12 noon-2 p.m. weekdays during the summer.
2121 W. Lincoln Ave.
Open throughout the year; closed for maintenance Aug. 5-25.
Recreational swimming: Monday-Thursday, 1:30-3 p.m. & 3:15-4:45 p.m. Family swims: 1-3 p.m. Friday. Baby & Me (tots 6 months-3 years): Tuesday/Thursday: 10-11 a.m. Preschool H2O Play: Tuesday/Thursday, 10-11 a.m. Funky Friday Nights (80s theme): Friday, 7-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $2 youth, $3.75 adult, $13 family (up to two adult family members and four children of same family), $2.25 honored citizen. 3-month passes and punch cards available for discounts.
Lessons for ages 6 months and older.
509 W. Pine St., Yakima
Selah Pool (Francis Pool)
Open daily during the summer.
New spray pad! Afternoon Open Swim: Monday-Friday, 1-4 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Family Evening Swim: Friday, 6:45-8:45 p.m. (families only). Evening Swims: Monday-Thursday, 6:45-8:45 p.m.; Sunday, 5:45-8:45 p.m.
Cost: $2 youth, $3 adults, $10 family, $2 honored citizen.
214 S. Third St.
OTHER SWIM LESSONS
Yakima Athletic Club
Pre- and postnatal water aerobics.
2501 Racquet Lane, Yakima
Yakima Family YMCA
Lessons for ages 6 months and older.
5 N. Naches Ave., Yakima
OTHER AREA POOLS
• Ellensburg: 815 E. Sixth Ave.; 509-962-7210. Indoor pool, open year-round.
• Grandview: 601 W. Second St.; 509-882-3162. Open Monday through Saturday, June 14-Aug. 8.
• Moxee: 306 S. Iler St.; 509-248-8067. Open Monday through Saturday, June 7-Aug. 31.
• Naches: In Applewood Park, 105 W. Fourth St.; 509-653-2353. Open daily, June 14-Aug. 30.
• Prosser: In Miller Park on Kinney Way; 509-786-2332. Open daily, June 11-Sept. 2.
• Sunnyside: In Central Park on Fourth Street; 509-839-2220. Open daily, June 16-Aug. 24.
• Toppenish: 28 Asotin Ave.; 509-865-2220; Open Monday through Saturday, June 11-Aug. 17.
• Zillah: In Loges Park on Railroad Avenue; 509-829-5151. Open weekdays, June 11-Aug. 23.
Sure, school may be out – or maybe your little one hasn’t even started school yet – but that’s no excuse to close those books! In fact, summer may be the best time to really start digging in!
That’s what Yakima Valley Libraries hopes for as it continues its annual summer reading program, “Dig Into Reading.” The free program, which started June 3 and concludes Aug. 9, allows your kids and teens to read and get rewarded. (We know – reading is reward enough, but it’s fun to get a little extra sometimes!)
Two programs are available for kids and teens. For the Kids Program, for pre-K-4th grade, participants just need to spend a minimum of 20 minutes per day and complete the program after 20 days of reading. Stickers and prizes are awarded along the way, with the final prize being a book to keep. If your child cannot read yet, that’s OK – she will get the credit if you or another adult reads to her for the required time.
In the Tween/Teen Program, 5th-8th graders (though older teens are welcome to participate) can log titles of chapter book read. After completing 10 books, participants will get a free book.
Other programs and events are scheduled this summer at YVL branches. Check out yvl.org for more info, or stop by your local branch to get started.
May 30, 2013 by Scott Klepach
Food & Text by Jill St. George & Robin Salts Beckett
Photos by George May
Having a barbecue this Independence Day?
Don’t forget the dessert! Try these easy and delicious kid-friendly sweets.
Large pretzel sticks, white chocolate chips, sprinkles
In a double boiler, melt white chocolate chips until they are smooth and creamy. Coat the top half of the pretzel stick with white chocolate. Cover with red and blue sprinkles and then prop upright in a glass until the chocolate hardens.
Strawberries, marshmallows, angel food cake, chocolate chips, wood skewers
Rinse and cut the tops off of the strawberries. If strawberries are large, cut them in half. Cut the angel food cake into bite-size squares. Alternate strawberries, cake and marshmallows on the kabobs. Set aside. In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips until they are smooth and creamy. Put melted chocolate in a sandwich bag and then cut off a very small corner of the bag. Rotate the kabobs while drizzling chocolate over them. Carefully arrange them on a plate and let chocolate harden in the refrigerator.
Yogurt and popsicle trays
Depending on the number of folks you’re feeding, get the same number of blueberry, cherry and vanilla yogurt (one small container of each flavor can be used for 3-4 small popsicle trays). Then just layer the yogurts, pop in the freezer to chill and enjoy! Adding a bit of food coloring to the blueberry and cherry will help these patriotic pops pop!
Come summertime, there’s so much to do we couldn’t cram all that information into these pages. For other summer offerings, including daylong and weeklong camps, check this website regularly!
YAKIMA GREENWAY’S KIDDIN’ AROUND CONTINUES THIS SUMMER
The “Techin’ & Trekkin’” program runs Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The free activity lets you check out a GPS to record your mileage as you walk, run or bike the Greenway.
The “Photo Scavenger Hunt” is also available Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. You’ll use a digital camera to take photos as you walk the Greenway. Free.
“Walkin’ the Dog” is available Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 12-3:30 p.m. This free activity lets you check out a dog from the Humane Society of Central Washington and go for a walk. Kids need to be accompanied by an adult. For this activity, call the Humane Society at 509-457-6854.
For information on all other activities, call the Yakima Greenway at 509-453-8280 or visit yakimagreenway.org.
YAKIMA MAVERICKS CONTINUE THEIR SIZZLIN’ SEASON!
The Yakima Mavericks, the area’s professional minor league football team, have already been digging into the turf this season.
The Mavericks host the Vancouver Vipers at 6 p.m. June 8. The last two regular season home games are June 22 vs. the Portland Monarchs and June 29 vs. the Springfield Buzzards.
The Mavericks, part of the Pacific Football League in the Pacific Northwest, play home games at Marquette Stadium, 5400 W. Chestnut Ave., Yakima.
THE PARK IS ALIVE … WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC!
The Yakima Valley Community Band marks its summer debut of “Concerts in the Park” at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 4, with free concerts running each Wednesday from July 10-Aug. 7. A variety of music includes jazz, classical, pops, Broadway tunes and marches. Each concert is performed at Randall Park, 48 N. 44th Ave., Yakima.
Another free musical opportunity is presented by Gone Fiddling Again, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. June 8. The “Youth Music Show and Dance” event is open to grades 2-6, and participants will receive a free lesson. Stick around for a 1 p.m. performance by current fiddle students, capped off by a contra dance at 2:15 p.m. Fruitvale Grange, 2908 Castlevale Road, Yakima; 509-949-2100. gonefiddlingagain.com
Want Sports? We’ve got you covered!
YMCA BASEBALL. Boys and girls, ages 5-12. Season runs July 8-Aug. 16; registration runs through June 17. Cost: $60/$70, depending on membership. Yakima Family YMCA, 5 N. Naches Ave., Yakima; 509-248-1202. Contact: Doug Berndt, Youth Programs director: 509-972-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. yakimaymca.org
IKE SOCCER CAMP. 6-7 p.m. July 22-24. Boys and girls, grades K-6. Kids work with high school players to learn fundamentals, practicing skills, and playing fun games to improve soccer abilities. Cost: $20 per player. Payment and short permission form can be completed first evening. Gilbert Elementary, Yakima; contact Tyler Suhm at 509-573-2672 or 509-952-9930 to RSVP, or email email@example.com.
UK ELITE SOCCER CAMPS. Boys and girls, ages 5-12. Two sessions: 9 a.m.-noon July 15-19 and 9 a.m.-noon Aug. 12-16. Cost: $130/$140 per camper, depending on residency. Chesterley Park, Yakima. Contact Yakima Parks and Rec.
YMCA SUMMER SOCCER — WEST VALLEY LEAGUE. Boys and girls, ages 5-12. Season runs Aug. 26-Oct. 4; registration is July 8-Aug. 12. Cost: $60/70, depending on membership. Yakima Family YMCA, 5 N. Naches Ave., Yakima; 509-248-1202. Contact: Doug Berndt, Youth Programs director: 509-972-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org. yakimaymca.org
YMCA T-BALL. Boys and girls, ages 3-6. Season runs July 9-Aug. 15; registration concludes June 24. Cost: $45/$55, depending on membership. Yakima Family YMCA, 5 N. Naches Ave., Yakima; 509-248-1202. Contact: Doug Berndt, Youth Programs director: 509-972-5273 or email@example.com. yakimaymca.org
PEE WEE GOLF. Boys and girls, ages 4-6. Four sessions: 3-3:30 p.m. Mondays June 3-17; 3-3:30 p.m. Preschoolers will learn basics of golf and etiquette, stance, swings and putts. Class size caps at four students. Cost: $24/$29, depending on residency. Fisher Golf Course, 823 S. 40th Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6075.
JUNIOR CHIPPERS. Boys and girls, ages 7-11. Wednesdays-Thursdays: 4:45-5:45 p.m. June 5-20. Develop proper etiquette, swings, stance and confidence. Cost: $71/$80, depending on residency. Fisher Golf Course, 823 S. 40th Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6075.
JUNIOR DRIVERS. Boys and girls, ages 12-16. Wednesdays-Thursdays: 3:30-4:30 p.m. June 5-20. Develop proper etiquette, swings, stance and confidence. Cost: $71/$80, depending on residency. Fisher Golf Course, 823 S. 40th Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6075.
FISHER PARK OFFERS FRIDAY NIGHT GLOW BALL SESSION
You’ll have another chance to golf in the dark with glow balls on June 7. Participants will take glow sticks on a nine-hole course and receive glow-in-the-dark necklaces. Cost: $25 per person; includes greens fee, one glow ball and glow stick, necklace and light snacks. Register one week prior to either event. Fisher Golf Course, 823 S. 40th Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6075.
DISC GOLF. Disc golf has become quite the popular sport. (Or is it recreation? You be the judge.) Now, disc golf enthusiasts and those new to the game have a special place of their own.
The Wide Hollow Creek Disc Golf Course is now open at Randall Park in Yakima, near the side closest to 48th Avenue. The nine-disc golf course was made possible by a $4,000 grant from Legends Casino along with more than $2,000 in donations from area businesses.
Check back regularly for more sports updates!
Text and photos by Amy Berkheimer
Making a list and checking it twice isn’t just for Santa! When packing for a trip with a child with special needs, you’ve GOT to have a list! And you check it twice. Or five times. My son has so much medical equipment, feeding supplies and medicine, that there is just no room for error with his packing.
But, special needs or not, I think every family should have a base list to work off of.
Traveling with Eli is quite a feat. It’s actually embarrassing when we go stay at someone’s house, because when that van door opens, it looks like we are moving in! I quickly assure them that we are not … and start hauling all 20 bags into their house and completely take it over. I’m so glad my family loves us so much!
Our family made a recent trip to Seaside, Ore., so I have developed a “Top Ten” list for traveling with a disabled child, or a child with special needs:
1. If you don’t have one for your family yet, make a list of what you need to take with you. It helps you remember to pack everything up when you come home, too!
2. If you are visiting family or friends, call and ask if they have specific items you might need, so you don’t have to pack them. These items include blankets, pillows and a blender for making formula.
3. If you are driving, have another list ready for when you get to where you are going. A quick stop at a grocery store when you get there gives you a little extra room in your vehicle for the drive.
4. Pack some “Busy Bags.” The question “Are we there yet?” may not get asked as many times if you have a variety of things to keep kids busy. Ziploc bags full of Legos, a memory game, lacing cards, paper and crayons and books are all easy to pack in a tote bag. I have one friend who kept toys and activities not in the normal rotation of play at home packed and ready for road trips. The toys were like “new” again and again.
5. Allow for stops. (You might need to prepare your husband for this.) No records will be broken for quickest travel time to a destination when traveling with children. Add in some special needs to the mix, and you’re going to get a big lesson in patience.
6. If you have an older child who is still in diapers, pack some kind of blanket or mat. Any grassy spot will do for changing. It’s a fun challenge for me to find unique places to change Eli’s underpants. We’ve stopped in a “Park and Ride” lot, the grassy area of a motel, a park, rest areas and my favorite was the cemetery — not on a grave or anything! Usually they are just beautiful parks at their entrances, so we did a quick change!
7. If you are going to be gone for three days, pack enough supplies for five. You never know what might happen.
8. If you can find it in your budget, buy a car-top carrier. When I’m traveling alone with my son and I have to go to the bathroom, well, I have to take him with me … so I need to be able to get his chair out easily.
9. A hide-a-bed mattress — on the floor — makes a quick and easy travel bed for kids who might roll off a typical bed.
10. Finally, if you are flying, call the airline and ask if you need to take any special steps for your travel. We flew to California last year, and I was full of apprehension. But it turned out better than I expected.
Here is what I learned: If you are flying with a child who uses a wheelchair, be sure to access the “Mobility and Wheelchair Assistance” offered by the airline. Someone will meet you at each gate to assist you. The person who met us was often confused why they were bringing us a wheelchair, when my son had his own chair. But, as the lady at the check-in counter said, if you request a wheelchair, they are quicker to meet you at each gate. So, we took her advice, and I’ll tell you, it was really helpful to have that extra wheelchair haul our suitcases while we pushed his stroller and hauled his car seat through the airports.
Eli is on continuous tube feeds for 21 hours a day, making it necessary to have more than 2 ounces of liquid on board the aircraft. At the request of an airline employee, I drafted a letter, listing all the equipment, medicines, formula and supplies we would need with us on the plane, and had our doctor sign it. I never did have to show it to anyone, but I felt better knowing I had it.
Expect a few delays. That’s life. The Yakima Air Terminal was fantastic with us! However, our destination spot was sure I was smuggling something in Eli’s formula bag. I just had to be patient and let the TSA agent check it three times. Better safe than sorry!
It takes extra effort, but it’s worth it. Kids with special needs deserve to experience new things, and honestly, moms and dads need vacations. Plan ahead, and repeat after me: “We can do it!”
* Amy Berkheimer loves no title more than being called “Eli’s mom”! Her family lives a quiet life in the country with 11 cats, 3 dogs and 2 miniature donkeys.
By Juanita Farris
Summer always seems like such a magical time that goes by much too quickly. Work obligations and the rush of daily life make it hard to remember to take advantage of these three blissful months. Don’t fall into that rut this year! Create a summer bucket list to make every day special. Here are nine ideas to get you and your family started and out in the sun.
1. Pack a picnic and head to the nearest park. Obviously you will be the only one eating a meal, but many new parents don’t realize that they should take advantage of their children being so small that parents can eat by themselves. Before you know it, your baby will be trying to steal bites off your plate instead of enjoying her bottle quietly. Sit in the shade and appreciate your child being content with just lying on a blanket with you.
2. Check out the pet store together. Pet stores are amazing sensory experiences for young children. Look at the fish together. Help them pet the chinchillas and kittens. Talk to them about the different animals and watch them experience them for the first time.
3. Go on a sensory tour. This can be as simple as a walk around your own backyard. Babies love exploring new textures and sights. Show them the leaves on a tree and talk about the seasons changing. Lay in the grass together and help them run their hands across it. Collect a pile of rocks and flowers and describe them to your baby. Help them discover the world around them.
4. Be artists for the day. The sky is the limit for this idea. Try out as many media as possible in one day. Have your toddler help you make your own Playdough and finger paint. Make monograms and contact paper collages. Paint on the sidewalk using only water and paint brushes. Color a huge chalk mural and then use it for a photo shoot.
5. Find a new park. The whole idea of this is to break out of your usual routine. Yakima has tons of parks with many different features that make them unique. Play soccer at Chesterley Park. Walk through with labyrinth together at Gilbert Park. Check out the water playgrounds at Martin Luther King and Miller parks. Better yet, play in every single park this summer.
6. Visit the Farmers’ Market. The Farmers’ Market has more than enough to keep a young child’s attention for a whole afternoon. Listen to the local music together and take in the artwork. Try a new bread or hot sauce made by someone who lives right here in our community. Have your children help you pick you some new vegetables or fruits to take home. (See yakimafarmersmarket.org for information.)
For Big Kids
7. Visit another country from the comfort of your own home. Research your child’s favorite foreign country with him or her and make a day out of your findings. Make your own Mexican food for lunch with authentic recipes, learn a few words in Italian or make Chinese tea eggs together.
8. Host “family Olympics” in your backyard. Get together your whole family for one amazing afternoon. Before the big day decide on an event for each age group, such as sack races for school-age kids. Do multiple events for each age group and pick an overall winner based on more than just the one at the finish line so that everyone is included. Give out homemade medals after each event and provide snacks for the whole group.
9. Have a paint war. Fill water balloons up with washable paints of various colors and lay out a tarp in your backyard. Put all of the filled water balloons into a plastic swimming pool and go nuts. I promise this afternoon alone will get you inducted in the parents’ “Hall of Fame.”
* Juanita Farris is a former optician who loves her new stay-at-home mom job. After a busy day of playing with her 1-year-old she loves to read, cook and write.
By Dr. Pommer, MD
For you faithful Playdate readers, which I’m assured most of you are, you may recall my column on sweetened beverages last summer. Though soda may taste good, your dentist likely doesn’t want you to gargle with it. It’s best to limit your soda consumption in the summertime.
In addition to avoiding soda and sweetened beverages, what else should we know about keeping your toddler hydrated in the summer?
First, water is your friend. Water doesn’t have the excess calories of other beverages — or the potentially harmful stimulants of some sports and energy drinks. Tap water should be just fine for most people in the Valley. I can’t condone the extra expense of buying bottled water. Plus, tap water in your own water bottle is more environmentally friendly than buying bottled water. If your toddler has a discriminating palate, serve chilled or with ice.
Second, consider making a “fluid schedule” for a child. Make sure your child is well-hydrated before you go out in the heat by offering water ahead of time. Give water frequently when outside, and even more when it is hot and your young ones are sweating. And give water after the outside activity is over.
How much water should your child drink when active in the heat? Here are some examples for older kids. An 88-pound child should drink 5 ounces of cold tap water every 20 minutes when exercising in hot weather. For a 132-pound child, this should increase to 9 ounces of cold tap water every 20 minutes. Another rule of thumb: 1 ounce is about two kidsize “gulps” of water.
This is all well and good, unless you are reading this article for the first time at an outdoor sporting event and wondering if your child is dehydrated. Are you too late? What should you look for in a dehydrated child?
Let’s talk about heat exhaustion. This syndrome is characterized by headache, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, a fast heart rate and a fast breathing rate. If you are seeing these signs and symptoms in your child, it’s best to stop the activity, drink a lot of water and get to a cool environment.
But if your toddler is not overheated and well-hydrated, a sure sign is a full pull-up. In other words, toddlers who are urinating frequently show they are well-hydrated. I remember a professor in medical school who stated that happiness in the ICU is a full Foley catheter bag; if the patient’s kidneys are working, he is not in septic shock. Similarly, make sure your child is drinking plenty of water so that he or she is urinating frequently.
So, when the temperature starts to soar this summer, be sure to reach for water if you or your toddler is in need of hydration. Your body and your physician will appreciate your choice.
* David Pommer, MD, is a family physician with Selah Family Medicine. He is a graduate of Whitworth University and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
June 13-16: 6:30-8:30 p.m. “Adventures on Promise Island.” Free.
Spirit Alive Wesleyan Church, 3601 Mountainview Ave., Yakima; 509-225-6750.
June 14-16: “HayDay! Growing in Friendship with Jesus.” 5-8:30 p.m. Friday, June 14; 9:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 15; 10:30-11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 16. Storytelling, worship music, outdoor activities, games, crafts and snacks. Kindergarten-sixth grade. Free.
Wiley Heights Covenant Church, 12504 Gilbert Road, Yakima; wileyheightscovenant.org; contact Annie at 509-966-2383. wileyheightscovenant.org
June 17-20: 5:30-8:30 p.m. “The Kingdom Chronicles: Standing Strong in the Battle for Truth.” For kids entering first through fifth grades. Songs, crafts, games, goodies and dramas. Cost: $10 ($15 if registered after June 10.)
Memorial Bible Church, 111 Old Stage Way, Yakima; contact Roberta Bigalk or Chris Kinman at 509-966-6500. mbcyakima.com
June 17-21: 9 a.m.-12 noon. “Kingdom Chronicles: Standing Strong in the Battle for Truth.” Grades K-6. Free.
Ahtanum Pioneer Church, 8500 Ahtanum Road, Yakima; 509-965-0111. ahtanumpioneer.org
June 23-27: 5-8 p.m. “SonWest Roundup, a Rip-Roarin’ Time with Jesus.” Western theme. For kids 4-12 (preschool-sixth grade). Free; includes dinner.
Christ Lutheran Church, 5606 W. Lincoln Ave., Yakima; 509-966-1720.
June 24-28: 8:30 a.m.-noon. “Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong for God.” For kids 4 years-fifth grade. Cost: $30 per child; scholarships available. Price includes VBS T-shirt, daily Bible buddies and other daily supplies.
First Presbyterian Church, 9 S. Eighth Ave., Yakima; 509-248-7940. fpcyakima.com
June 24-28: 8:45-11:30 a.m. “Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong for God.” For kids age 4 (with one year of preschool) through sixth grade. Cost: $10 for first child, $5 for additional family member.
Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6015 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 509-966-1900. westpress.org
June 24-28: 9 a.m.-12 noon. “Lutherhaven Day Camp: Live Love(d)!” For preschool-sixth grade. Cost: $15 per youth for entire week; need-based scholarships available.
Central Lutheran Church, 1604 W. Yakima Ave., Yakima; 509-575-6490. clcyakima.org
June 24-28: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; registration starts at 8:30 a.m. on June 24. “Quest Camp.” Ages 3 1/2-sixth grade. “SonWest Roundup, a Rip-Roarin’ Time with Jesus.” Camp concludes with closing ceremony community service at 10:30 a.m. on June 30, followed by free community BBQ. Free.
Tieton Square Park, Tieton; contact Nikki at 509-930-9040 for more info.
June 24-28: 9 a.m.-noon. “Sports Camp 2013.” Sports and Bible messages combined. Elementary children can choose soccer or cheer; “Team 45,” for kids 4-5. Cost: $60 per child ($55 if registered by June 1).
West Side Church, 6901 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 509-965-2800. westsidechurch.info
June 25-27: 6-8 p.m. “Family Evening Vacation Bible School.” Evening meal starts at 6 p.m., followed by singing and activities for all families. Scriptural focus: Genesis 37-50, dealing with Joseph and his brothers. Free.
Peace Lutheran Church, 91 Wernex Loop, Selah; 509-697-4353. peacelutheranselah.org
July 8-12: 9 a.m.-noon. “Lutherhaven Day Camp: Live Love(d).” For kids ages 3-sixth grade; age 3-kindergarten leave at noon. Free.
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 7809 Tieton Drive, Yakima; 509-966-2190. mountoliveyakima.org.
July 8-12: 6:15-8:30 p.m. “Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong For God.” Free.
203 Miles Drive, Zillah; 509-829-5338. zillahnazarene.org
July 22-26: 9-11 a.m. “SonWest Roundup Day Camp.”
Yakima Alliance Church, 902 S. 36th Ave., Yakima; 509-966-9111.
July 30-Aug. 1: 5:30-8 p.m. “Vacation Bible School.” Bible stories, crafts, games, music. Family dinner at 5:30 p.m. each evening.
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 801 Tieton Dr., Yakima; 509-457-5822.
Aug. 5-9: 9 a.m.-noon. “Things Hidden.” Ages 4-5th grade. Games, snacks, crafts and Bible stories. Cost: $5 per child, with $10 maximum per family. Sun Valley Church, 2002 E. Mead Ave., Union Gap; 509-965-6800. sunvalleychurch.net
August 5-9: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. “STAND FIRM!” First through fifth grades. Free; lunch included. Register online, by phone or in person.
Tieton Drive Bible Chapel, 4305 Tieton Drive, Yakima; 509-966-1375. tietondrivebiblechapel.org
August 11-15: 6:30-8:30 p.m. “Everywhere Fun Fair.” Intergenerational. Crafts, snacks, “vendors,” storytelling and more. Free.
Wesley United Methodist Church of Yakima, 14 N. 48th Ave., Yakima; 509-966-2370. wesleyofyakima.org
Aug. 12-15: 9-11:30 a.m. “Kingdom Rock: Where Kids Stand Strong for God.” For ages 4-10. Free.
Westpark Christian Academy, 3902 Summitview Ave., Yakima; 509-966-1632.
March 15, 2013 by Scott Klepach
By Suzanne Voldman
“Cloth diapers? Really? I could never do that! Ick!”
That is a common response I get when talking about cloth diapers.
At that point I can almost see the person across from me envisioning large buckets of dirty diapers and water, dunking diapers into the toilet, sharp diaper pins, plastic pants and long lines of diapers hanging on a clothesline. I’ve spent a lot of time telling those people about the many benefits of cloth diapers, but I have found the best way to change someone’s mind is to just show them the diapers.
Modern cloth diapers are soft, just as easy to change as a disposable, and so cute that even the most reluctant often change their mind as soon as they see and touch them. The days of wet diaper pails and sharp diaper pins are gone too!
A “dry pail” method of storing dirty diapers is now recommended as a more sanitary and easy alternative to diaper buckets. Waterproof “wetbags” provide a way to hold dirty diapers while waiting for washing, provide the benefit of holding in any stink and come in a variety of cute styles as well. Modern cloth diapers use snaps and sturdy hook and loop closures that make the diapers very easy to use. New waterproof materials that are soft, breathable and come in cute colors and prints have allowed cloth diaper makers to create diapers and diaper covers that are practical and appeal to trendy parents, too.
These cute and soft qualities lead many to call cloth diapers “fluff.” These new materials are fully washer and dryer safe too, so hanging on the line is great, but optional!
“But, what about the poo?” No matter what kind of diaper you use, there is no way to get away from that! However, tools are now available that make cleaning cloth diapers much easier.
The first thing to remember is that newborn babies who are breast-fed have water-soluble stools, so there’s no need to clean the solids off the diaper. Instead, just put it in your “wetbag” or “dry diaper pail” and wash in the washer when ready. When stools become more solid, it becomes necessary to start scraping or rinsing the solids into the toilet. One of the best ways to do this is by using a “diaper sprayer.” This tool is like a small sink sprayer that hooks onto the toilet and allows the solids to be rinsed away.
There is no need to rinse urine-filled diapers. Simply store in the dry pail or wetbag and wash in the washer. Some cloth diaper users really enjoy using biodegradable diaper liners. These flushable cellulose squares line the diaper and allow the solids to be pulled off and into the toilet easily. These are especially useful for outings to the mall, or anytime you are away from home.
Diaper laundry can vary depending on your routine, but is fairly simple. Follow manufacturer recommendations and use a recommended detergent. Wash diapers anywhere from every day to every third day, depending on how many diapers you have and your personal preference.
The Real Diaper Association has done extensive study on the “science of diaper laundry.” Its recommendations include removing solids into the toilet and doing a prewash in the washer to remove any remaining traces of solids and urine. Follow with a wash in hot water and double rinse the diapers in warm water to be sure all detergent is removed.
Problems with diaper rash are rare with cloth diapers, but are usually related to using too much detergent or not rinsing the diapers thoroughly. You can find more information about diaper laundry on the Internet, but start at the Real Diaper Association for some basic information.
“So how much money can I save using cloth diapers?”
The answer to this question varies depending on what kind of cloth diapers you choose, but even the most expensive options can save money versus the throwaway alternative.
The average price of disposables for 2 1/2 years can average up to $2,500, according to Consumer Reports, and may be up to $1,000 more for chlorine-free or biodegradable options. According to the Real Diaper Association,
“The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of pre-folds and covers, to $1,000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers. Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of pre-folds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for two children. This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables and you can spend even less by using found objects (old towels & T-shirts).”
There are also many tutorials and free patterns online that can teach even those with very basic sewing skills to make their own diapers. This can make cloth diapering extremely affordable. I find that cloth diapers are a very economical option no matter what kind you choose. However, be careful: I know many cloth diapering moms who become addicted to ordering diapers on the Internet and receiving cute packages of so called “fluff mail.”
For some the environmental benefits of cloth diapering make it appealing. The Real Diaper Association has information regarding the many environmental benefits that cloth diapers provide, but personally I find the fact that cloth diapers are reusable to be the most compelling environmental argument. I love the fact that after using my first stash of newborn-size diapers at the age of 6 months, I passed them on to my best friend and she lovingly passed them on to another family in need when she was finished with them.
I estimate that just this cycle of diaper use for three children represents approximately 4,860 diapers that did not have to go into the landfill! This saves valuable landfill space since it is estimated that “disposable diapers” may actually take hundreds and hundreds of years to degrade in a landfill, according to the Real Diaper Association.
One of the reasons that some do not choose to use cloth diapers is because they are not sure how to use them or they may be overwhelmed by all the choices. Modern cloth diapers do offer a lot of choice in style, price and function. My best advice is to do Internet research, or even better, find a local cloth diapering mom, or cloth diapering class where you can find many different styles of cloth diapers to see and touch. Once you see all the options available, you too may look forward to saving money, helping the environment and receiving cute packages of “fluff” as well!
CLOTH DIAPER Resources:
Cutie Bondoonie Diaper Kits – firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CutieBondoonieDiaperKits
Yakima Washington Cloth Diaper Group – Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/280255722081542/
Real Diaper Association – realdiaperassociation.org
Thinking About Diapers – thinking-about-cloth-diapers.com
Changing Diapers; The Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering, by Kelly Wells. KellyWells.com.
Top 5 reasons to cloth diaper your baby:
1. Save money! Even the most expensive cloth diapering options will save money versus disposable diapers over time.
2. Fewer diapers in the landfill also means no diapers filling up your garbage can.
3. Clean fresh diapers are only a washload away. No more running to the store to grab diapers.
4. Cloth diapers may make potty training easier. Babies in cloth feel the sensations of wet and dry more than with disposables and this feedback can make potty training easier.
5. Cloth diapers are REUSABLE! This means the initial investment you make can be used again for other children in your family, or passed on to someone else. Also, cloth diapers retain much of their value, so gently used diapers can be sold at a good return rate. Check out local cloth diaper groups or Diaperswappers.com to find gently used diapers for sale.
Cloth diapers/cloth diaper accessories:
1. “All in One” diaper: This diaper is most similar to a disposable. The cover and inner layers are all contained in the diaper. This option tends to be the most expensive and also takes the longest time to dry.
2. Pocket diaper: This diaper has a waterproof outer layer and an inner pocket that can be stuffed with a customizable amount of absorbent layers. These diapers are extremely popular for ease of use, drying time and make wonderful nighttime diapers.
3. Wet bag: A “wet bag” is made of a waterproof material and contains the diapers until they are ready to be washed. These bags make wonderful “dry pail” options, but also are wonderful containers for any wet or messy clothes. Small wet bags can be used to contain diapers or messy clothes in a diaper bag as well.
4. Diaper sprayers: These little sprayers look like a sink sprayer and can be connected to the toilet to rinse any diaper mess into the toilet.
* Suzanne Voldman is the executive director of Cutie Bondoonie Diaper Kits, a local nonprofit organization that educates the community about the benefits of cloth diapering.