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contents This month’s features 6

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Reluctant patients It’s common for kids to be afraid of doctor visits. We offer tips to make trips easier.

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Dental visits 101 When should children first visit the dentist? And what procedures should you expect?

Protecting our kids Kids’ safety depends on adults knowing the signs of child abuse.

Green living There are simple things families can do to live “green.”

Ch-ch-ch-Chia Chia seeds are good for far more than growing a fake pet. They’re packed with nutrition.

Fancy oatmeal Give your breakfast a nutritional punch by just adding a few easy ingredients to oatmeal.

In every issue

Kids’ Voices .....................23

Artist’s Muse ...................24 Making Connections ........26 Growing Together............27

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Try polenta

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Comfort in veggies

Swap polenta for potatoes to give your meals a twist.

Comfort food doesn’t need to involve meat.

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True superheroes Window washers thrill sick kids by fighting grime at hospitals.

Librarian’s Picks...............44 Story Times .....................45 Kids Page ........................50 Nature Center Notes ........52 Calendar .........................59

Katie Wadington, editor

Last month, my son discovered this space. The space in which I write about him and his sister. He was aghast, mortified that I shared stories about him. So this month, no parenting stories from the Wadington house. Maybe next month. This issue spotlights health, wellness and nutrition, and there are several great stories. Every parent has at least one visit to the doctor or dentist that involves a child who is screaming out of fear of the unknown. The story on Page 6 looks at what local physicians’ offices do to ease those fears and offers tips for parents. The story on Page 9 looks specifically at dentists, with ideas on how to get your kids to brush (answer: cool toothbrushes) and when you should first put your child in the dental chair. It is so important to keep kids not only healthy but safe. On Page 13, we take on a serious topic: child abuse. Read the story, know the signs. Part of raising healthy kids is eating right. From our regular FEAST column on Page 40 to stories (with recipes) on polenta and chia seeds, you’ll find several new ideas for good-for-you food. Back in January — when the weather was not so different from the snowy day on which I’m writing this note — I had what may be the most fun workday ever. The journalists who create the Scene, the weekly entertainment guide in the Asheville Citizen-Times, got together for a photo shoot tied to a new marketing campaign. It took about 90 minutes to get my hair and makeup to look as it does in the photo above. In each Friday’s Scene, I write a column on suggestions for family fun in the upcoming week, and it often includes info not in the current month’s WNC Parent. Check it out! I’m hoping that by next month, when I write May’s editor’s note, it isn’t still snowing. Until then, happy spring!

On the cover

P.O. Box 2090, Asheville, NC 28802 www.wncparent.com PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER Randy Hammer

Special to WNC Parent

Find us online .com

Divorced Families ............28 FEAST .............................40

Raising healthy kids

facebook.com/ wncparent @wncparent

WNC PARENT EDITOR Katie Wadington — 232-5829 kwadington@citizen-times.com

GENERAL MANAGER Shannon Bullard — 236-8996 sbullard@gannett.com

Special thanks to features editor Bruce Steele, designer Val Elmore and web developer Jaime McKee. CALENDAR CONTENT Due by April 10. E-mail calendar@wncparent.com ADVERTISING DEADLINE Advertising deadline for the May issue is April 23.

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OVERCOMING

FEAR AT THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE

By Betty Lynne Leary, WNC Parent contributor

THINKSTOCK.COM

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he 4-year-old screamed as her mother carried her down the hallway of the clinic. The girl received Xolair shots every two weeks for asthma, and her screams carried throughout the building. “Her mom had to hold her down and my ears rang the rest of the day,” relates Amy Waters, a Certified Child Life Specialist at Mission Hospital. In discussing the case with the staff, Waters created a plan for the girl’s next visit. Two weeks later when the girl’s screams announced her arrival, Waters met her in the hallway blowing bubContinues on Page 8

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OVERCOMING

ADVICE FOR PARENTS

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bles. In the room, Waters brought out an “I Spy Princess” book and together they looked for objects while the shots were administered. “She screamed the whole time, but she didn’t have to be held down by her mom,” Waters says. Every two weeks, the staff helped the girl with more ways to make the experience less scary including engaging in medical play where the girl gave a doll a shot, using cold spray to make the shots less noticeable, and allowing her to pick out her own bandages. “We got into a routine so that she knows exactly what is going to happen when she comes to the clinic,” Waters explains. “She runs and hugs me every time now and even brought presents for me to give to the other sick children. We were able to change a bad experience into something exciting and fun.” Children can be anxious about medical or dental procedures for a variety of reasons. They may be unsure about what is going to happen or unfamiliar with the equipment that is used. Some may have had a painful or frightening past experience. “We do know that when a child is anxious at the doctor’s office, they report a higher level of perceived pain than children who are not anxious,” says Tara Horan, Child Life Manager at Mission Hospital. To help defuse anxieties, the child life specialists at Mission work with the medical team and the child’s family to help children who are nervous. This may involve tours before an appointment, a virtual tour online that children can watch from home, and a get-to-know-you meeting the day of the appointment to determine the child’s developmental level, temperament, and parent’s anxiety level in order to develop a coping plan. “This may involve medical play, preparation, education, and expressive activities to help children learn about the procedure and to process the emotions they are having,” explains Horan. “When children are missing facts, they tend to fill in the

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» Plan a bit ahead. Bring a favorite stuffed animal and book from home. » Remind your child what they know already. Their entire medical team will work hard to help them feel their best. » Help your child learn the medical instruments – stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, reflex hammer and tongue depressor. » Avoid the temptation to promise there will be no shots or needles. Let us break the news to them. Even a seemingly mild illness can involve extensive lab work if the exam takes an unexpected turn.

blanks with their imagination, and often, their imagination is far scarier than what will really happen.” Horan notes that trust is key with kids. Parents should acknowledge a child’s fears to validate his or her feelings then use humor, storytelling, and non-procedure talk to help their child cope. Even routine trips to the dentist can trigger fear and anxiety in children. Stephanie Kochis, a Black Mountain mother of two girls, relates how her oldest daughter started having problems around age 6 with shots and other medical procedures. It would often take extra nurses to help out. “One time, both girls had to get a small cavity filled,” Kochis says. “She was nervous so I had her younger sister go first to show that it wasn’t too bad.” But when it came time for the older daughter to open her mouth for the dentist to work, she was overwhelmed with fear. “The mistake the dentist and I made was trying to reason with her that everything was going to be OK,” Kochis recalls. “I eventually left without getting her cavity filled, but she went in the next week like an old pro and got it done with hardly a whimper. She knew what to expect and was fine.” At Asheville’s Gentle Family Dentistry practice, office manager Theresa Douberly notes that the staff takes extra measures to ensure children have a pleasant experience.

“We try to make things comfortable for children such as calling the instruments by fun names,” she says. The suction tool is Mr. Slurpee, while the dreaded “drill” — a word not used even with adults — is called Mr. Bumpy. Each room has a theme, thanks to Dr. Barbara Bowman-Hensley’s passions including a sports room filled with Chicago Cubs baseball memorabilia, a hiking room with local scenes, and an animal room filled with dog photos. “What’s great is the room décor provides color and something for a child to look at,” Douberly says. “And sometimes just a moment of distraction is all you need.” Dr. Mark Jackson, a physician with Mountain Area Pediatrics Associates, has been in practice for almost 10 years in Asheville and has seen a range of reactions from kids in the exam room. Toddlers bury their faces in mom’s shoulder, savvy 5-year-olds ask about “ouchies” while veteran 9-year-olds know what’s coming and just want out of there. “Part of our job as medical professionals is developing rapport from the beginning,” Jackson says. “Our nurses work hard to make the workup feel as much like a game as possible — cover your eye like a pirate and tell me what letters you see — and we try to explain everything we’re going to do before we do it.” Smiles, careful listening, laughter, and directly talking to a child go a long way to developing trust. Sugarfree suckers after it’s all over don’t hurt either! Jackson tells the story of a veteran nurse who recently calmed a very anxious patient with autism. Her method was simple and patient-centered as she took him to a separate room and explained to him what would happen in the lab. “What seemed to win his trust was her calm, confident, and guiding demeanor,” Jackson says. “She taught me that it’s important to take time with patients, to help them slow down, and pace their rushed emotions while waiting at the other end of the experiences with praise and a smile. These are the rewarding moments that remind us that medicine is fundamentally relational.”

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Dentists recommend children come for their first checkup around their first birthday. “Eighty percent of decay problems occur in 20 percent of children,” said Dr. William Chambers at Great Beginnings Pediatric and Adolescent Dental Specialists. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

A little

prevention saves expensive cures in children’s dentistry

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By Paul Clark, WNC Parent contributor

ediatric dentistry has come a long way since you were a child, and it’s easier on your child than it ever was. New procedures and products mean that your child will experience far less discomfort than you may remember as a child at the dentist. On the whole, American children enjoy the best oral health in the world, according to the American

Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Half of U.S. schoolchildren have never had a cavity, it reports. Here some things you can do to ensure that your child is among the lucky 50 percent. But first, some facts. Tooth decay is still the leading cause of tooth loss in children, according to the academy. One in five

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SONGS, LIGHTS TELL BRUSHING TIME By Paul Clark WNC Parent contributor

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here are plenty of children’s toothbrushes in nifty shapes and colors. But there are also some that light up and sing for as long as your children are supposed to brush. Your kids could be brushing “Gangnam Style” with PSY, the South Korean rock star. He sings his song (the video is the biggest hit on YouTube ever) to your child through a toothbrush made by BrushBuddies (available online). The song plays for two minutes, which is the length of time dentists recommend children spend brushing their teeth. “You can get a lot of bells and whistles on them,” said Dr. William Chambers at Great Beginnings Pediatric and Adolescent Dental Specialists. “Toothbrushes have big handles now, so they’re easier for children to use. The size of the brush heads vary with the size of the kids so that they can get into different places” in their mouths. “And toothbrushes have got timers now. Toothbrush designers are always trying to invent a better mousetrap.” Chambers recommends children brush for 2-4 minutes and suggests that children without a brush that busts out rhymes use a sand hourglass. It may be difficult to get them to brush that long, but they may be persuaded if they chew “disclosing” tablets afterward that show plaque they missed in bright purple or red. Firefly, available at Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens and elsewhere (as well as a host of sites online), sells toothbrushes that light up for 60 seconds at a time, indicating to children how long they should brush their upper teeth and lower teeth. Encased batteries expire every three months, telling parents it’s time to change brushes.

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RADIUS Kidz

Firefly toothbrushes

Tiny figures float in sparkles in Firefly’s toothbrush for children 2 to 4 years old. For children 5 to 7, its sculpted light-up toothbrushes have handles in the shapes of Spider-Man and Barbie. Firefly’s model for kids 8 and older is in the shapes of Hello Kitty and Hot Wheels. Firefly also has a “Ready Go” brush that mimics a traffic light — green for “go,” yellow for halfway done and red for finished. Its suctioncup holder allows it to be stored upright on the counter for less clutter and improved hygiene. The American Dental Association-approved toothbrush, available at Target, comes in a

GUM’s Star Wars Lightsaber

choice of characters — Barbie, Spider-Man, Angry Birds or original FireFly. Operating on the same light-up principle, GUM’s Star Wars Lightsaber toothbrushes, found at CVS, Target, Walgreens and online, have LED lights that make the entire brush glow for 60 seconds in blue, green or red, depending on the brush’s Star Wars character (Yoda, Darth Vader or Anakin Skywalker). GUM also makes an oscillating power toothbrush that looks like a big Crayola crayon. The RADIUS Kidz toothbrushes for children 6 and older, available at Whole Foods and the Vitamin Shoppe (as well as online) come in fun colors. All feature a thumb mount and an angled neck and are BPA-free. EcoFly makes an environmentally friendly timer toothbrush that emits a water conservation educational rap song. Available online, it and its packaging are biodegradable and printed with soy ink. It’s the rare child who brushes correctly and for as long as necessary before age 6, Chambers said. Parents should follow up on their efforts. They may need to do the children’s flossing until the kids about 8 years old. For parents who want their children to use spin brushes, the timer feature on Philips Sonicare rechargeable electric toothbrush for children, available at Target and online, will prompt them when the recommended two minutes are up. Kids can customize the machine with interchangeable panels. Arm & Hammer also makes a battery-operated spin brush that comes with 141 stickers for customizing the brush. The company also makes battery-powered toothbrushes that pump out tunes for two minutes at a time.

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Prevention Continued from Page 9

children ages 6-11 suffers from tooth decay in their permanent, or adult, teeth. Four out of 10 children have decay in their primary, or baby, teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pediatric dentists recommend a child be seen around their 1st birthday. “Studies have shown that early preventative care is successful in giving kids the best chance at being cavityfree,” said Dr. Jenny Jackson at Asheville Pediatric Dentistry. “Compared to those that started dental care at age 1, those that started later ended up with more expenses and usually required more treatment. Catching things early is key.” “Eighty percent of decay problems occur in 20 percent of children,” said Dr. William Chambers at Great Beginnings Pediatric and Adolescent Dental Specialists. “We feel strongly that if you get your kids off to a good start early on, then they’re going to be successful from that point on. Once parents are educated on what they need to do, a lot of this stuff is preventable.” Part of a child’s first check-up at Chambers’ office is a quick assessment of the parents’ dental health. A lot of people don’t know that tooth decay is transmittable, typically transferred by a child’s caregiver in the first year or two of the child’s life, he said. He and Jackson highly recommend sealants be applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent teeth. Sealants protect the parts of the teeth that are nearly impossible to get to even with the most ardent brushing and flossing. Made of clear or shaded plastic, they are brushed on the teeth to block sugars that prompt tooth decay. Though most insurance policies won’t pay for sealants on primary teeth, it’s good to apply them to baby teeth in some situations because the lose of a tooth can affect the alignment of the teeth and could mean expensive orthodontic work in the future, Chambers said. Lost teeth can affect how a child speaks and chews, affecting a child’s self-confidence, Jackson said. Losing a tooth to decay can cause dental health to collapse, much like taking a brick out of a masonry arch, Chambers said.

Dental infections left untreated can cause so much decay that permanent teeth and overall health can be affected, Chambers and Jackson said. Each year, some of Chambers’ patients go to the hospital because of facial infections. Dentists still use drills — Jackson calls it them “whistling brushes” so as to not scare children — on some cavities. But they also use microabrasion, a kind of sandblasting procedure, on cavities in their early stages. Also new are the use of several types of lasers, such as soft tissue lasers for gum surgery and hard tissue lasers for cleaning out small to moderate-sized cavities, Chambers said. When drilling is necessary, local anesthesia is swapped inside the mouth before a numbing injection is applied, he said. For children who are nervous about going to the dentist, there are several levels of help. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, can reduce anxiety. Medicines taken orally may be administered to the more anxious ones, Chambers said. For severe anxiety, dentists may recommend general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. “It’s funny,” Chambers said. “Over the years, I’ve had a lot of patients that have gone the outpatient surgery route. They get everything done and they come back to have their teeth cleaned and they become acclimated to the dental environment.” Most parents don’t need to worry if their children are getting enough fluoride, even if their drinking water isn’t fluoridated (a lot of well water has naturally occurring fluoride, Jackson said). Fluoride is in juice, soft drinks “and pretty much in everything in the stores that is processed with fluoridated water,” Chambers said. Children may be getting it in the foods and liquids they consume at daycare and at relatives’ houses, Jackson said. Money can be saved on most treatments by preventing them in the first place, Jackson said. “Without a doubt, keeping up to date on preventative care appointments is the best way to reduce potential expenses for dental care,” she said. When treatments are called for, getting them quickly will also keep costs down. “The more time that passes could result in a more extensive and expensive treatment being needed, as the decay could go deeper or could affect other teeth,” Jackson said.

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Schools promote wellness among students, staff By Julie Ball jball@citizen-times.com

WEAVERVILLE — Last fall, a busload of North Buncombe Middle School students headed out for a hike to Rattlesnake Lodge on the Mountains-to-Sea trail. This winter, students took another hike in Madison County. And after school, North Buncombe students have been taking part in Zumba classes and kickboxing. “Within the school, we’re trying to change the culture of our food consumption as well as our exercise,” said Laura Norris, North Buncombe Middle School art teacher who also chairs the school’s wellness committee. North Buncombe and other schools in Buncombe County are taking part in the Zone Health School Obesity Prevention Program, which aims to help schools boost physical activity and improve nutrition. Like North Buncombe, other county middle schools have formed wellness committees and are looking for ways to create a healthier school community. “This year as part of our strategic plan, we had a focus on student and staff wellness,” said Debbie Bryant, healthful living coordinator for Buncombe County Schools. Schools took the Zone Health survey, which gave them a grade and offered recommendations for improving their scores. The school wellness committees select two areas to focus on, Bryant said. At Owen Middle last month, the school’s PTO sponsored a “wellness night” aimed at getting information to parents about nutrition and health. Principal Gayland Welborn said the

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school is also beginning intramural sports for those sixth-graders who can’t take part in the school’s sports teams. At Valley Springs Middle, the school nurse has been talking to students about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. And at Cane Creek Middle, officials this fall plan to start phasing out the candy and nachos at the concession stand. “We’re not going to go cold turkey in the beginning, we are going to transition,” said Cane Creek Principal Robin Board. Board said Cane Creek has made its priorities reducing “impulse” snack purchases in the cafeteria and putting healthier food in the concession stands. Eventually, students and those attending sporting events will be able to purchase low-fat popcorn, baked tortilla chips, whole grain crackers, trail mix and sugar-free beverage packets that mix with water. Norris said North Buncombe is also talking about adding healthier snacks to its concession stand. The school has been trying to get the staff involved with a 100-mile challenge that encourages staff to walk 100 miles within 100 days as well as other activities. Sherry Barnette, principal at North Buncombe Middle School, said her staff embraced the move toward a healthier school. “I presented at one of our faculty meetings and said if you’re interested let me know… and I got an overwhelming response. My staff really got on board immediately,” she said. At Enka Middle, Principal Tom Keever said the school has started an all-girls running club led by female faculty members. Through partnerships with the United Way and other organizations, the school is also hosting a “Healthy Cooking on a Budget” for parents. “The whole idea is to get the parents involved in it,” Keever said. Eddie Burchfiel, Valley Springs principal, said the goal is to create a healthier community. “We want to help both our students and staff have healthier lifestyles, and hopefully they will also reach out into our community,” he said.

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KEEPING KIDS SAFE

KNOW THE SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE By Pam J. Hecht WNC Parent contributor

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uring a lesson about personal safety with a group of thirdgraders at an area elementary school, a little hand went up. After learning about safe and unsafe touches, she told the class what had been happening to her. The student never went home that day, says Bill McGuire, director of Child Abuse Prevention Services Inc., the agency that facilitated the classroom presentation. After sharing what turned out to be ongoing sexual abuse by a family member, Child Protective Services intervened and she finally got the help she needed. Children who have always been abused in some way might not know anything different or question it, until they find out it is considered abuse, says Nicole Connor, community educator at CAPS, a nonprofit, Asheville-based, child abuse and parenting education and counseling agency. Child abuse, defined according to state law, can be physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or neglect. It can cause serious damage to a child’s emotional and/or physical development and health, or in the most serious cases, death. While child abuse occurs among older kids as well, half of the cases involve children under the age of 6 and 75 percent of the cases involve children under 12, often because “younger kids are less likely to speak up,” says Connor. In 90 percent of the cases, the child knows the abuser and 75 percent of the time, it is a relative. More than 131,000 children throughout North Carolina were reported as Continued on Page 15

SAM WARD/USA TODAY

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COMMON SIGNS OF ABUSE A warning sign doesn’t necessarily mean a child is being abused, but it indicates that it is “worth asking some more questions,” says Amy Saunooke, of Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services. Two or more of the following signs may be a signal to at least talk to the child and/or parent, or to call your local Child Protective Services. » Unexplained injuries. » Expresses little/no emotion when hurt. » Constant fatigue or hunger; sleep or hygiene problems. » Being afraid or uncomfortable in certain places or around certain people (especially if they weren’t previously.) » Delinquent or aggressive behavior; poor social skills; self-destructive.

LOCAL EVENTS April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. See below, for a few local events: Throughout April, look out for blue ribbons and child abuse literature at local libraries, businesses, physicians’ offices, and houses of worship. April 2 » Child Abuse Prevention Month kick-off, at noon at Pavilion on the McGuire Green, Pack Square Park. The event is to increase awareness of child abuse, to encourage involvement in prevention, support survivors and to demonstrate a community commitment to protect all children. City officials and Becky Brown, board president of Child Abuse Prevention Services Inc., will present brief remarks and a moment of silence for the 3,985 children reported as abused/neglected last year in Buncombe County. CAPS will also present the Blue Ribbon Award to a community member. » Chairman David Gantt and the Board of Commissioners will proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Buncombe at the County Commission meeting, 4:30 p.m. April 9 » Mayor Terry Bellamy and the City Council will proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the City of Asheville at the City Council meeting, 5 p.m. April 12 » Blue Ribbon night at the Asheville Tour-

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» Inappropriate sexual behavior or understanding. » Frequent urinary tract or yeast infections, venereal disease, genital pain, itching or bleeding. » Sudden changes in behavior or school performance. » Speech or developmental delays; habit disorders like rocking. » Being overly compliant or passive; overachieving. » Doesn’t want to go home. » Lacks needed medical or dental care, weather-appropriate clothing or ageappropriate adult supervision. » Reports use of illegal substances or excessive use of alcohol by parents or caregivers.

ists game: Child Abuse Prevention Services Inc. staff and volunteers will hand out blue ribbons at the gate and take to the field before the game to pin a large blue ribbon on Ted E Tourist as he takes a stand against child abuse.

April 17 » CAPS will present the documentary film “Searching for Angela Shelton” at 6 p.m. at the United Way Building, 50 S. French Broad Ave. Free. Joann Shelton, mother of child abuse survivor and Asheville native Angela Shelton, will deliver remarks and answer questions. April 20 » Paws 4 Kids: Walking Together to Protect Children and Animals, 10 a.m.-noon at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain to increase awareness and protection of children and animals. Music, blue bandannas for dogs, blue ribbons and pinwheels for kids, face painting, clowns, McGruff the Crime Protection Dog, Beemer the BMW kissing dog, pet adoptions rescue groups and more. Donations welcome, no charge for the walk, bandanas, or pinwheels. April 29 » Forum on child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence, at 6 p.m. at YMI Cultural Center, 39 S. Market Street, sponsored by the Victims 2 Victory Ministry.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSIVE PARENTS » Shows little concern for the child or appears indifferent, rarely responding to the school's requests for information, for conferences, or for home visits. » Denies the existence of or blames the child for the child's problems in school or at home. » Uses harsh physical discipline with the child or asks the classroom teacher to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves. » Demands perfection or a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve. » Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner. » Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child's injury. » Describes the child as "evil," or in some other very negative way or sees the child bad, worthless, or burdensome. » Seems apathetic or depressed. » Is involved in an abusive domestic relationship. » Abuses alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal drugs. » Displays controlling behavior

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To report suspected abuse in Buncombe County, contact the Buncombe County Child Protective Services, 250-5900. For other counties, go online to www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/local. (If a child is in immediate or impending danger, call 911.) » National Child Abuse Hotline, 800-4A-CHILD » Child Abuse Prevention Services Inc., www.childabusepreventionservices.org, 254-2000. » Prevent Child Abuse NC, www.preventchildabusenc.org, 800-CHILDREN. » U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, www.childwelfare.gov » United Way Community Information Line, 2-1-1 or 252-4357. » Helpmate, 254-2968 (Domestic and child abuse) » N.C. Health Education Standards, http://bit.ly/XACC8X

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abused and/or neglected last year, with more than 4,000 children in Buncombe County alone. It can be a fine line between bad parenting and abuse. For example, says McGuire, many parents feel that spanking is OK, “but if it goes beyond a swat” on the rear and leaves a mark, it’s abuse. “A parent might say to a child what they don’t really mean in the heat of the moment,” McGuire says. “But if a child hears things every day, like, ‘you’re stupid’ or ‘I wish you weren’t here,’ it’s abuse and it impacts the child’s selfworth and esteem.” Sexual abuse can also include exposing a child to porn or communicating messages sexual in nature by phone or Internet, adds McGuire. Neglect can include the withholding of medical or remedial care, living in a harmful environment, abandonment and/or a child who does not receive proper care, supervision or discipline. While some types of abusive behavior can’t be proved according to state child abuse law, all suspicions of abuse should still be reported and in some cases, reporting multiple times can lead to an intervention, says McGuire. “Even when a report can’t be substantiated, that doesn’t mean abuse didn’t occur — it just didn’t rise to the level of Child Protective Services (meet the state definition of abuse),” says McGuire. Also, many children are emotionally attached to their abusers, which may make the abuse seem less obvious. In some states, only those in professions serving children, such as teachers and doctors, are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse. But in North Carolina, anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected must report to Child Protective Services as “mandated reporters,” says Amy Saunooke, family in-home supervisor at Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services. Reports can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the reporter’s identity is confidential (unless ordered by the court to be released), she adds. When abuse is reported, the local Child Protective Services determines Continues on Page 16

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the type of intervention required, if any, in order to ensure the safety of the child, such as counseling, parenting classes, in-home support, assistance with basic needs and emergency/foster care. In most reported cases, children are not taken out of the home. “We don’t want people to try to figure out what to do themselves,” Saunooke says. “Report (any suspicions of abuse and/or neglect) and let us decide what to do, based on state law,” she says.

Parent tips to prevent abuse

“Open communication and truly listening to a child instead of just talking goes a long way, so that children feel that they can come to their parents with anything they feel uneasy about,” says McGuire. Make sure your kids know they can trust you about anything and have a variety of other trusted adults that they can go to as well, adds Heather Path, counselor at Vance Elementary School in Asheville. Teach them to trust their

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own “gut feelings” if something doesn’t feel right, she adds. Talk to kids about the consequences of (and monitor) online and cellphone communication — for example, kids might not realize that sending a picture that is sexual in nature can be made public, sending the wrong message and leading to possible abuse, McGuire says. “Be vigilant — with activities and sports, find out what the policies are regarding one-on-one time with children,” he says. “Know the adults your kids are spending time with and be sure that they’re good role models,” he adds. “While you’re in the car, review what-if scenarios in a nonthreatening way,” Connor suggests. Intervene if you see another parent who seems to be abusing a child, McGuire says. “For example, if a parent is yanking a child by the arm, try to diffuse the situation by saying something like ‘It’s tough to take kids to the store’ or ‘What a pretty dress she has on,’ to get the parent to cool down,” he adds. If necessary, contact the police. If you have a stressed-out friend or neighbor, offer to help out, he adds. Teach children that they have control

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of their own body and the right to body privacy, says Connor. If a child is uncomfortable kissing or hugging, even with family, for example, don’t force them to do so, she adds. Find out what and how your child is learning at school that relates to child abuse, as part of the state’s health curriculum, and follow up with discussions at home, says Connor, who teaches personal safety classes in local elementary schools. “It may be difficult for some kids to focus on what’s being taught at school, especially (alongside) their peers, so it’s important to talk with your kids at home,” says Connor. Don’t ever shake a baby or a child under 6, says Saunooke. Don’t physically fight in front of kids or verbally abuse each other, she adds. If you feel pressured or angry and think you may physically or verbally abuse your child, take a break, count to 10, and/or place your child in a time out. For parenting assistance, call 2-1-1 or a nearby community resource center, Saunooke adds, or contact CAPS at 2542000. “Parenting is hard,” says Connor. “Ask for help if you need it.”

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FAMILIES FIND IT’S EASY BEING

GREEN

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By Marla Hardee Milling, WNC Parent contributor

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iving green is something that comes naturally to many Asheville families. This is a community that easily embraces buying local, frequenting farmers markets and taking steps to preserve the natural beauty of the area. But it’s important to always be thinking of new ways to live the lifestyle. Alicia Sisk-Morris, who lives in the Jupiter community of Buncombe County with her husband, John Morris, and 12-year-old daughter, Carson, makes green living a priority. She says she has become a 21st century version of her Depression-era grandmother, who was raised on a dairy farm in Rutherfordton where she learned to grow food, raise animals and waste nothing. “We take all of our leftover breads, veggies, fruits, rice and pasta and feed it to the chickens instead of throwing it away. Then we eat the eggs and use the chicken waste to enrich our garden,” says Sisk-Morris. “John built the coop and feeder, and Carson and I take care of their daily needs. Carson sells some of the eggs to friends, family and neighbors to help off set the feed prices.”

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Ashley and Greg Garrison have created an eco-friendly nursery in their home. The room includes natural fibers, plants to help keep the air cleaner and cloth diapers.

They’ve also planted a lot of fruit trees and Sisk-Morris spends time canning the harvest from her trees and garden. She prepares pickles, relish, chow chow, spaghetti sauce, vegetable soup, tomatoes, jellies and jams. One of the many benefits she sees is that it encourages her child to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables since she has been included in the growing/harvesting process. “Carson enjoys helping in the kitchen,” she explains. “She had a wonderful experience at Isaac Dickson Elementary School where they gardened, baked

BILL SANDERS/ WSANDERS@ CITIZEN-TIMES. COM

Continues on Page 20

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GREEN Continued from Page 19

hand made pizzas in a Cobb oven and raised chickens. We decided to raise chickens due to her positive experience at school.”

Baby on the way

Ashley and Greg Garrison, owners of The Hop Ice Cream Shop on Merrimon Avenue in Asheville and Haywood Road in West Asheville, have long been green-minded in their choices, but now they are turning their attention to baby products. As they prepare for their first child, they want to be mindful of the best selections. “We are by no means full on green consumers,” says Ashley, “but we did feel it is important to provide a healthy and sustainable environment for our new guy.” The Garrisons plan to use cloth diapers. They painted their

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son’s nursery with only 0 VOC paints and equipped it with non-off-gassing mattress/pads (Greenguard and CertiPUR-US certified) as well as plants that are safe for his room and efficient air purifiers. This saves on the electricity that would have been used for a mechanical air purifier. “We are also trying as much as possible to use organic fabrics for items he will be in contact with frequently, such as crib sheets, but it was cost prohibitive for us to buy everything organic,” she says. She says one of the best green moves she’s making is to breast feed exclusively. “It doesn’t get more homegrown and natural than that,” Ashley says.

Daily reminders of living green “We are certainly no heroes when it comes to green living and could do a lot better, but sometimes simple daily practices can make the biggest difference,” says April Nance, who lives in East Asheville with her husband, Chad, and their two sons — 11-yearold Mitchell and 9-year-old Will. They’ve incorporated green living into the boys’ regular chores. The kids are responsible for helping to identify items that can be recycled in the big blue bin picked up by city workers and to take the items out to the bin. They also have the task of depositing food scraps in the family’s compost pile. “These simple tasks that they are assigned help make sustainability a part of their daily lives,” says April. “In the spring and summer we make almost weekly trips to the Asheville City Market on Charlotte Street so we talk about how buying locally grown food is a part of green living. And we take our own bags to the grocery store which they end up bringing into the house from the car.” Include your kids in conversations on ways to add new things to your green living checklist. They may come up with some surprising possibilities.

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parent briefs Thomas Wolfe Memorial hosts writing contest ASHEVILLE — The Thomas Wolfe Memorial is hosting “Telling Our Tales,” a youth writing competition this month. To enter, students in grades four to 12 must interview an elder, then create an imaginative fictional short story based on that elder’s experiences. Entries are due April 13. There are three age groups for the contest (grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12). The top three winners in each group will receive a cash prize. Winners will present their stories aloud at a ceremony at the Memorial on April 27. Visit www.wolfememorial.com.

Asheville City Schols Foundation honors its champions

Asheville City Schools Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to educational success for all city schools students, will honor Gina Gallo, Franzi Charen, Leah Ferguson, Norma Palmer and Tracy Dew for their dedication to the success of children. The event will take place at 6 p.m.

April 14 at UNC Asheville, with live music by The John Henry’s, dinner and recognition of the work of the five hampions through short film segments. The night also includes a live auction, a silent auction offering Asheville-themed packages valued more than $500 each, and more. Tickets for the event are $50 individuals, $85 for couples and $75 apiece for VIPs. Visit www.acsf.org for details.

Rotarians Against Hunger seek donors, volunteers

For the fourth year, Rotary Clubs from across Western North Carolina have joined to provide meals to hungry families in Western North Carolina and to impoverished families abroad. The goal is to raise $50,000 from businesses, civic organizations, nonprofits, and individuals to package 300,000 meals. Money goes to purchase food for packaging and distribution. Individuals, families, business, church groups and community organizations can help by volunteering. Volunteers are needed to help package food in 2.5-hour shifts on April 20,

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from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For details, to sponsor or volunteer, visit www.rotariansagainsthunger.org.

Mark Earth Day by with the Great Cloth Diaper Change

ASHEVILLE — Three local shops are participating in the Great Cloth Diaper Change on April 20 to mark Earth Day. According to the event’s website, more than 250 locations in 15 countries held diaper changings in 2012 to break the world record for the most reusable cloth diapers changes simultaneously. Join Nest Organics and change a cloth diaper, starting at 10:45 a.m. The store is at 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. Visit www.nestorganics.com. The Littlest Birds, is also participating. Be at the store at 647 Haywood Road, Asheville, by 10:15 a.m. to get registered. Visit www.the littlestbirds.com. And i Play, with Smarty Pants Diaper Service, will also host a changing at 10 a.m. at 233 S. Liberty St., Asheville. To participate there, call Krista Gamble at 575-2617. Visit www.greatclothdiaperchange.com for more information.

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kids’ voices

Best part of childhood For adults, there’s plenty to miss about being a kid. But what do children think they’ll miss about childhood when they’re all grown up? We asked students in Emma Melone’s third-grade class at Fairview Elementary what they think they’ll miss about childhood. Here’s what they said. “I will miss playing with my teddy bears. Grown-ups would miss sleepovers with their friends.” Mandi, 9

“I think adults will miss being a kid because kids have easy lives and adults have lots of work to do.” Ion, 8

“I think adults miss having the easy life because as kids they didn’t have as much work.” Murdoch, 9

“When I grow up I will miss what I learned at school. When I went to Mexico, my cousin’s mom told us that when I grow up I will forget what I learned.” Wendy, 8

“When I grow up, I will miss playing with my dad because he will be too old to do all of that fun stuff with me.” Joe, 9

“When I grow up I will miss running and playing in the yard. I will because I think it is fun and you get your energy out. I think adults cannot do it a lot because adults usually are not as active as kids.” Grace, 9

“I will miss my little cousin chasing me around the house, because you are only 3 once.” Latasha, 9

“I’m going to miss my family because when you grow up you move to a house by yourself.” Kaitlyn, 8

“I am going to miss being able to play video games all day.” Brayden, 8

“When I grow up, I will miss being free. I will have to do a ton of work and go to my job and pick up my child and make dinner.” Kally, 8

“I will miss having my mom buying stuff for me. I will miss by brother annoying me.” Candice, 8

“Adults will miss being alone in the room and not having to do much work.” Ari, 9

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artist’s muse

When students are satisfied with their cut-outs and edges, they can glue the project down. PHOTOS BY GINGER HUEBNER/SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

Positive and negative space By Ginger Huebner WNC Parent columnist

Sometimes the simplest projects can engage students the longest! I recently worked on positive/negative designs with a group of middle school students. Typically, I have a large variety of materials set out to

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talk about before we begin our lesson. The students arrive and immediately come to check out all that I have put out. But on this day, I only had a pile of black paper, a pile of white paper, scissors and glue sticks. As you can imagine, the students were super curious what we were going to do with this small collection of items. Little did they know that they would get so enthralled! Here are the materials you will need: » Black construction paper (or any

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color will do) » Large white construction paper (be sure it is larger than your black/ colored paper) » Scissors » Glue stick Here are the steps: 1. Begin by cutting a shape out of the edge of the black paper. It can be a curved edge or sharp edge shape. Do not cut all the way across the paper. 2. Lay the piece down as a mirror

Working in positive and negative space is an art project that uses few materials.

image to the edge of the black paper’s edge. Do not glue yet. 3. Cut more shapes. Make them interesting! You can cut one shape out of another too. Keep track of your shapes, but do not glue down yet. 4. When you think you have enough designs cut out, you can begin to glue down. Glue what is left of the black sheet of paper down first in the middle of the white paper. 5. Lay all of your paper cutouts around the edge, matching them with their mirror image cut. If you have multiple cuts, lay these out as well. 6. Glue down! As I mentioned, the project is very straightforward, but there are some great critical thinking skills built in. The mirroring of the cut shapes (and the shapes within the shapes) really had the students focusing. They were gathering together in groups to help each other figure out how to glue down, etc. Once they completed the works, they were all finding different images in one another’s designs. It is a fun project that can be pulled together quickly and with few materials, but students will love it! Ginger Huebner is the director of Roots + Wings School of Art and Design, offering visual art and design education for all ages. Email her at info@rootsandwingsarts.com or visit www.rootsandwingsarts.com.

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making connections

Making changes for the family By Nicole McKeon WNC Parent columnist

Over the last several months, my columns have focused more on current events and how they affect our family relationships rather than homeschooling. The reasons are two-fold: my children, at two different times, re-entered traditional schools, and my family has been processing this massive change. Our family returned to the traditional school setting with great reluctance and great hope. While some of our reluctance was well-founded, we have also at times been pleasantly surprised by the changes we have seen in the school culture. Most of the reasons we home-schooled are the same reasons many of you do. We believed in the primacy of the family unit. We believed that no one was better

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equipped to meet our children’s needs then we were. We still believe this. However, we did find certain challenges that, for our family, became paramount to our children’s well-being. One of the biggest was loneliness. There is a six-year age difference between our children, and, while they love each other dearly, they were not great company for each other, socially. We also must acknowledge — as many home-schoolers know but may not admit — home-schooling is exhausting. It can burn out even the most dedicated and patient parent, it can test the strongest marriage. We felt the need for a break. I am grateful that I have a husband and a family who are strong enough, honest enough and love each other enough to make changes when changes are needed. We were lucky to have a very small and wonderful group of home-schooling friends who were a great support to us while we were home-schooling. Nevertheless, my children still desired to try some-

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thing new. Most of the issues we have encountered while home-schooling, and now in school, have really been a reflection of our turbulent political, social and economic culture. I have been shocked by the explosive way technology has increased the bullying and cruelty children impose on one another. The disconnected family has become the disconnected society, and we all suffer for it. Ultimately, the problems in our educational system are not educational problems. They are much deeper societal problems. There is no perfect solution, but there may be a solution that works better for your family. As for our family, we will take it a year at a time. In the meantime, I will continue to write this column. I would beg your indulgence as I expand my musings outside the realm of home-schooling. Email McKeon at homeschoolstation@ hotmail.com.

growing together

Baby gifts that aren’t on the registry By Chris Worthy WNC Parent columnist

Life events seem to come in clusters. At one point in my life, it seemed everyone I knew was getting married. For a while, babies were everywhere. At a few plot points on the life graph, divorces overtook the lead, sadly. This year, it seems funerals and babies are occurring far more frequently than normal around here. Death and birth are making life a rollercoaster. On the very happy side, babies mean baby showers. And I love baby showers. When I reached the point in my first pregnancy at which those who saw me were amazed that I, at just over 5 feet tall, could still walk upright, our wonderful parade of showers began. We relished thinking about our new little one in her

swing and high chair or playing with her (probably toxic) teething rings and shape sorter. We wondered what it would be like to see her grow. Now that my daughter is 19 (what?) and her baby gear would probably be illegal in most states, we have fun hitting the aisles of the baby supply stores, shopping for my new nieces and the grandchildren (again, what?) of my friends. Tools of cognitive development — we called them “toys” — are available in endless combinations. The number of contraptions in which a baby can sit/ slouch alone is more than I can handle. I eventually give up and find something sweet from the gift registry. But what I really want to buy can’t be found in a ready-made gift basket. What new parents really need is encouragement in tangible form: » Dinner delivered on a regular basis. » A genuine offer to baby-sit, accompanied by movie tickets.

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» A bottle of wine, two wine glasses and a candle — for date night at home. » The promise to immediately deliver any appliance-sized cardboard boxes that I can acquire, along with a pack of washable markers. This offer is valid for at least a decade. » Homemade frozen meals — lots of them. » Black garbage bags — worth their weight in gold when a parent is attempting to purge the toy stash. » One hour of housecleaning, whenever the need arises. » A listening ear, for the wonderful and the challenging. » Consistent reminders that they are doing a great job. The gift of encouragement isn’t found on a shelf, but it’s the one parents need the most. Pass it on.

Chris Worthy is an attorney who took down her shingle to be a stay-at-home mom. Reach her at chris@worthyplace.com.

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divorced families

Pills look like the answer, but look again By Trip Woodard WNC Parent columnist

Health and wellness is an important topic to me, especially since our “health system” tends to be preoccupied more with sickness. After all, that is what most insurance companies pay for, and treatment systems follow money. Yet, study after study indicates stress is significantly intertwined with many ailments and prevention strategies are much more cost effective than “wait until a person is sick enough and then get help” strategies. This significantly applies to a host of mental illnesses that commonly show up in the therapist’s office. Take depression. When clients hear the word “depression,” it is not uncommon that they glow-

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ingly think about all those ads on TV that show a picture of someone woefully looking out a window with an expression like she has eaten way too much spoiled potato salad. (Anyone who has done so knows exactly what I mean.) Then the picture changes to the magical transformation that happens after she takes an antidepressant. Now, she is smiling, playing with the dog (usually a golden retriever), coloring with the kids and walking hand in hand with her partner across a green field. My clients take this medication, then become very disappointed they don’t get the same effect. Sometimes I remind them they don’t have a dog, kids or a partner in their life, so that may be a part of the problem. In all seriousness, I believe there is a place for antidepressants and they can be quite helpful in dealing with symptoms of depression. People just need to remember that pills don’t fix life.

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This is particularly true of people going through the transition of separation and divorce. On many stress assessment scales, divorce tends to rank high. It can be a grief process that never seems to end because the other person isn’t dead. To make things worse, the person you’re divorcing may be someone you have to interact with for many years because you share children. So, wellness and health strategies are critical considerations that need be put in place and periodically monitored. Here is a checklist I use with my clients (which applies to their children as well): » What are you eating? Imagine that on a given day, whatever you eat or drink goes straight to your brain. So, how does your diet affect your thinking and your mood? When you go to the grocery store, think of it as a square ring with columns in the inside. Stuff on the outside of the ring tends to be good

whereas the inside is frequently bad. And fast food? I don’t think so! See if you can convince your children that it is rarely fast, nor food. » When do you eat? Do you “graze” over the day (best), eat set meals throughout the day (good) or skip meals until you are starving (very bad). Studies show that when rats are given sketchy diets were meals are missed, their metabolism slows and they become obese. » What are you doing? Yeah, I mean exercise. Are you walking (check out those new weird neighbors or get a golden retriever just like in the commercial), stretching (like yoga) or playing a sport? (Martial arts are great for divorcing people. You get to kick and hit things usually with yelling involved. Worked for me.) » Whom are you seeing? Don’t isolate. Make goals to socialize. Do a search online for “meet ups.” These are typically free meetings focused on an activity like hiking, biking, or just going out and having fun without an agenda to find someone to date. » What are you doing with your spiritual needs? I believe divorce can

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be experienced as a spiritual assault. Do you meditate? Do you believe in a higher power that you can talk to? Do you have a religious belief that involves a commu-

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nity? If you do, show up at the meetings. Go to church, your synagogue or whatever to interact with people of similar beliefs and let them into your world to support you. » What are you doing about your ascetic and intellectual needs? Do you go out and enjoy the free music offered during warmer months? Have you considered learning to play an instrument? Are you intentionally trying to learn anything new like a second language or a craft? For language, Duolingo is a great free website that teaches a variety of languages that you can download onto a smartphone. Activate those brain cells! So that is my basic checklist. As usual, I could add more, but I just started this new drug and I am anxious to go smile a lot, play with my dog (as soon as I get one), color with children (tricky now, but maybe the neighbors will understand and loan me theirs) and walk with my girlfriend across a meadow. Trip Woodard is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a clinical member of the N.C. Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Contact him at 606-8607.

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CHIA SEEDS pack satisfying nutritional punch into tiny package

Chia seeds are full of nutrients and help you feel satisfied. GANNETT PHOTOS

By Sue Selasky, Gannett

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hat if you could get a good amount of nutrition and feel satisfied all from a tiny seed? Think ch-ch-ch-chia. Most of us remember that jingle (you’re probably singing it as you read this) advertising the terra-cotta planters in the shape of pets. Once you soaked the seeds and slathered the gooey mixture on the planter, it sprouted fuzzy greens in a few days. Turns out those black seeds are full of nutrients. “They are an amazing tiny seed and really inexpensive, and a little goes a long way,” says Andrea McNinch, 37, owner of Healing Yourself Institute and Regeneration Raw in Royal Oak, Mich. McNinch has been using chia for at least seven years and says the seeds have “two times the potassium as bananas and three times the reported antioxidants that blueberries have.”

HOW TO USE RAW CHIA SEEDS » Sprinkle over yogurt, oatmeal and cereals. » Stir into drinks and smoothies. » Toss in mixed greens, rice, pasta or potato salads. » Add to muffin and cookie recipes. » Make a pudding, stirring the seeds into almond milk (or other dairy, rice or coconut milk). » In a clean coffee grinder, grind the seeds into a coarse flour (often called milled chia) and use it in baked goods.

Chia seeds are often compared to flax seeds because they have similar nutritional profiles. But the main difference is that chia seeds don’t need to be ground the way flax seeds do. Chia also has a longer shelf life and does not go rancid like flax does.

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From a culinary perspective, McNinch says, chia acts as “a binder, thickens and emulsifies things.” “Adding in chia bulks up your food without the calories and fat and without diminishing the flavor,” she says. “You can add chia to anything.” Raw and sprinkled on foods or soaked in water to create a gelatinous thickener, chia seeds are a source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. They are available in health food stores, national chains such as Whole Foods, and, increasingly, your local supermarket. “In the last two years, chia has grown from being known in the health food community to being available at Costco,” says Amber Poupore, 34, owner of the Cacao Tree Cafe in Royal Oak, Mich. She uses chia in smoothies and desserts and to make a dehydrated seed bread. Continues on Page 32

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Food companies are getting into chia. Global product launches of foods containing chia were up 78 percent in 2012, according to research firm Mintel. Dole Nutrition Plus launched a line of whole and milled chia and products with chia. Often cited as an authority on chia, Wayne Coates is an agricultural engineer and professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. He wrote “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood,” published in 2012, which discusses the history of chia and its health benefits and includes plenty of recipes. “It’s not a supplement and is a food in the FDA’s eyes,” says Coates. “Which means you can consume as much as you like.”

Chia seed muffins These make a generous size muffin. You also can make them in a mini muffin pan.

1 stick (one-half cup) unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup raw or regular sugar 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 3/4 cup plain yogurt 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour 1/3 cup chia seeds 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda Optional topping: 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Chia gel Soak about 2 tablespoons of seeds in 1 cup cool water. The seeds will swell and the mixture will become gelatinous. You can thin the gel if it’s too thick. You can then: » Add the gel to water and drink as is. » Use the gelatinous mixture as an egg replacer in some recipes. You may need to adjust the other liquids in the recipe. » Use it as a thickening agent in salad dressing and some sauces and soups.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line

Chia rice salad You can use any variety of vegetables in this salad.

1/2 cup chia gel (see note) 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or oregano leaves, minced 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 3 cups cooked brown rice (long grain, basmati or short grain) 1 small zucchini, julienned 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

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muffin pans with paper liners or lightly grease. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the eggs, yogurt and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, chia seeds, salt and baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend until just combined. Do not overmix. Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full of batter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar if using. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly before removing from the tin. Makes 12. Source: “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood” by Wayne Coates (Sterling Publishing, $17.95). Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

In a small bowl, combine one-half cup chia gel, oil, lemon, garlic, salt, herbs and cayenne. Whisk until well-blended. (You can also put ingredients into a tightly closed jar and shake vigorously to mix.) In a large bowl, combine the rice, vegetables and Parmesan cheese, if using. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture, combining gently and thoroughly. Makes 6 servings. Cook’s note: To make chia gel, pour 1 cup cool water into a sealable plastic or glass container. Slowly pour 1 3/4 tablespoons chia seeds into water while briskly mixing with wire whisk. Wait 3 or 4 minutes, then whisk again. Let the mixture stand about 10 minutes before whisking again. Store this mixture in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Source: “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood” by Wayne Coates (Sterling Publishing, $17.95). Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

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Green super smoothie With green juices all the rage, try this one that uses chia.

1 tablespoon chia seeds 1 1/2 cups pear juice, coconut water, water or a mixture 3 romaine lettuce or kale leaves 1 small cucumber, peeled 3 parsley sprigs

Add all the ingredients to a blender and liquefy using the most powerful setting. Blend until smooth. Drink immediately. Source: “Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood” by Wayne Coates (Sterling Publishing, $17.95). Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Breakfast

of champions

MACKENSY LUNSFORD/ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES

By Mackensy Lunsford mlunsford@citizen-times.com

It can be hard work to get more whole grains in your bowl — but it’s well worth the effort. Why? The U.S. Department of Agriculture says consuming whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce constipation and help with weight management, too. That’s good news for the whole family. The only thing better for you than whole grains? Whole grains topped with a rainbow of fruits and nuts. We’ve provided an easy recipe for superhealthy (and still delicious) oatmeal that’s chock-full of natural sweetness as well as vitamins and minerals. We recommend you stick with plain instant oatmeal, since the flavored kind can be mixed with sugars your kids don’t necessarily need. Have a sweet tooth in the family? Stir in some honey, honey.

FANCY OATMEAL Feeds two kids or one hungry adult 1/2 banana, chopped (211 milligrams potassium) 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (3 grams of protein) 1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (antioxidant rich) 1/4 cup dried cranberries (full of insoluble fiber and carotenoids) 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced (230 percent RDA for vitamin C) 2 packages of plain instant oatmeal (8 grams of protein)

Prepare oatmeal according to package instructions. Place in bowl (or divide between two) and top with fruit as shown.

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POLENTA Versatile Italian corn staple rises from obscurity

By Karen Fernau, The Arizona Republic

Polenta topped with red wine braised beef short ribs. GANNETT PHOTOS

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Pasta and pizza hog the most attention, but an equally deserving Italian staple is finally getting its due. Polenta — a creamy, versatile gruel with humble origins — has risen in the past decade from obscurity to a regular on grocery shelves and on menus nationwide. “It’s an ancient food created by Italian peasants, and we love it at the restaurant. It’s rich, creamy and goes with about anything,” says Cullen Campbell, chef-owner at Crudo in Phoenix. “It’s as Italian as pasta, and just as versatile and, in some ways, better.” Polenta was first made from wild grains, then from wheat, faro, millet, spelt or chickpeas. Today polenta is almost always made from cornmeal and slow-simmered into a mush. The better the cornmeal, the better the polenta.

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COOKING POLENTA Mushy foods get a bad rap. But if cooked properly, polenta’s mush is pure comfort. Follow Crudo chef Cullen Campbell’s tips for foolproof polenta. » Polenta typically is cooked in water, but Campbell prefers a vegetable stock and milk mixture to add flavor and creaminess. Whether water or stock, the process is the same. » The recommended proportions of liquid to cornmeal are 5 to 1. Bring a pot of liquid to a rapid boil. When boiling, slowly pour in the polenta cornmeal, whisking for 3 to 5 minutes until it thickens. » Polenta gently bubbles, so do not worry about the little puffing sounds from the pot. » Stir frequently, but not constantly. » Check the moisture frequently to make sure it cooks evenly. If it gets thick, add liquid.

Campbell prefers the handcrafted polenta made by Hayden Flour Mills, a Phoenix company that’s reviving the tradition of stone-ground grains

Polenta hoecakes 1 cup flour 1 cup polenta 2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon sugar 3/4 cup buttermilk 1/3 cup water 2 eggs Butter or oil, for pan-frying

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add buttermilk and water; blend well. Add eggs and mix well. Heat a little oil or butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high. Drop batter by about one-eighth-cup measures into the hot skillet to form small medallions. Fry until brown and crisp, turn and brown the other side. Move to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with warm maple syrup and butter. Makes 8 servings. Source: Chef Cullen Campbell of Crudo, Phoenix

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POLENTA Continued from Page 35

started more than 125 years ago by Charles Hayden at his Tempe, Ariz., mill. (Learn more at www.haydenflourmills.com, and you can buy the flour online at http://shop.nativeseeds.org.) Hayden Mills makes its polenta from hard flint corn. First, it’s cracked in a stone mill into cornmeal with the texture of sea salt. Next, workers sift the cornmeal, handplucking the glassy bits of the corn’s outer layer from the mixture. “Polenta is an Old World process, and when made right, it is a lot of tedious work,” says Emma Zimmerman, co-owner of Hayden Mills. “But the result is a polenta rich in corn flavor. It’s worth the time.” There are no shortcuts to turning the grain into polenta. It takes nearly an hour and lots of stirring, but anyone with a pot and patience can learn to make polenta.

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Soft polenta with red wine-braised short ribs and herbs For the ribs: 8 short ribs, about 5 pounds Salt and crushed black peppercorns Flour, for dredging 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 medium yellow onions, cut in half 2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths 10 cloves garlic, peeled 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley 2 bay leaves 2 thyme sprigs 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 bottles dry red wine 3 quarts unsalted beef stock For the polenta: 1 1/2 cups white stock (chicken or vegetable stock) 1 1/2 cups whole milk 1 cup polenta 4 tablespoons butter Kosher salt, to taste

For the ribs: Season ribs with salt and peppercorns; dredge in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear ribs until golden brown, then remove from pan and sear onion halves,

carrots and garlic until golden brown. Transfer onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, tomato paste and ribs to a deep roasting pan. Cover ribs with red wine and beef stock. Cover with foil and place in a 300-degree oven to braise for 3 and one-half hours. For the polenta: In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, bring stock and milk to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta and lower heat to a very low simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. The polenta should bubble thickly, like molten lava. If it starts to clump, add water, about one-half cup at a time, to thin it. Stir in butter. The final consistency should be thick and creamy, but not clumpy. Adjust consistency with additional water if necessary. Season with kosher salt. To serve, spoon polenta into bowl, place ribs on top with some braising liquid and garnish with your favorite herbs. Makes 8 servings. Source: Chef Cullen Campbell of Crudo, Phoenix

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Polenta cake with roasted cauliflower and tomato agrodolce 1 1/2 cups white stock (chicken or vegetable stock) 1 1/2 cups whole milk 1 cup polenta 4 tablespoons butter Kosher salt, to taste For the cauliflower: 1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2-3 pounds) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 teaspoon salt For the agrodolce: 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 cup chopped oven- or sun-dried tomatoes 1/2 diced yellow onion 4 cloves chopped garlic 1 1/2 cups white balsamic vinegar 1/3 cup sugar Salt and ground pepper

For grilled polenta: In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, bring stock and milk to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta and lower heat to a low simmer. Cook about 30 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Polenta should bubble thickly, like molten lava. If it starts to clump, add water,

about one-half cup at a time, to thin it. Stir in butter. The final consistency should be thick and creamy, not clumpy. Adjust consistency with water if necessary. Season with kosher salt. Pour warm polenta into a glass loaf pan. Smooth the top, cover and refrigerate until set, a few hours or overnight. Turn the polenta onto a cutting board. It should be completely molded into the shape of the loaf pan. Cut into one-half-inch slices and brush each one with olive oil on both sides. Heat a grill pan until it is quite hot. If using a gas grill, which is likely to get much hotter than a grill pan, a medium-high setting should be enough. Grill each slice diagonally for about 10 minutes, or until dark-brown grill marks appear. Don’t move the polenta around, though, or you’ll disturb the browning process. Also, don’t overcrowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Flip and grill the other side until grill marks appear, about another 10 minutes. For cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450 degrees with oven rack in middle position. Cut cauliflower into 1 and one-half-inch-wide florets. (You’ll have

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about 8 cups.) Toss with oil and salt in a large bowl. Spread in one layer in a large, 1-inchdeep baking pan. Roast, stirring and turning over occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25-35 minutes. For tomato agrodolce: Heat oil in a small pot over medium. When hot, add tomatoes, onion and garlic. Saute for one minute, then add vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the mixture reduces to a glossy syrup, about 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Source: Chef Cullen Campbell of Crudo, Phoenix

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Start simple with salads By Kate Justen WNC Parent columnist

When you think back to how and when you learned to cook, what comes to mind? Is it one specific experience or a bunch of small things that happened over time? Everyone learns differently. Some of us learn by doing, others by watching, some by reading; but in the end, we all have to step up to the stove and see what we can do. When a child takes that first step in the world of cooking, it can be a big and scary step. What happens during this experience can shape the way your child approaches food. It takes you as a parent to guide this process.

Start small

The more exposure young children have to healthy foods and helping to prepare them the more they become part of the daily routine. They love to help in the kitchen, so finding ways to have children assist that do not make the whole process double in time is the first step. In our cooking classes, we set up stations and boundaries for each child. They have a specific task to accomplish, and when they are done we move on. Tearing lettuce, breaking up vegetables, arranging foods on a plate or tray and counting pieces are great tasks for young kids.

Role model

Children watch everything their parents and adults around them do. The way you eat and prepare food is no different. Think about they way you want your child to approach healthy food and what you are teaching them with your own eating behaviors. If you tell your child to eat their vegetables, then you should be eating them, too!

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Salad dressing 1/2 cup olive or canola oil 1/4 cup vinegar (balsamic, rice, cider, white) 1 small clove crushed garlic salt and pepper to taste 1 teaspoon honey Chopped fresh herbs (basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, hot peppers and/or chives)

Put all ingredients into a small jar and shake or put in blender and mix. Pour over salad greens and veggies. Can also be used for marinating vegetables. Variations: » add 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard » use a combination of sesame and peanut oil in place of the olive oil, replace salt with soy sauce and add fresh grated ginger » reduce to 1/4 cup of oil and add 1/4 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt for a creamy dressing

Experimentation Food can be expensive, so it is a big risk to let your child take over some of the food prep. As with learning any new skill, cooking will have success and failure, but it is important to keep trying. Starting with small, simple tasks and recipes helps to create some confidence in the kitchen, and confidence helps performance. Trying to have some fun and experimenting with food can be an exciting adventure for children, young and old. Spring is a great time to get started with a new project, and it is time for new fresh veggies to start popping up in the garden, farmers market or grocery store. If you are ready to take that step for yourself or with your child, here is a place to start: make a salad. Salads are great because they are simple and there is something for all skill levels. You can make any vegetable into a salad, like broccoli salad, carrot salad or beet salad. Kate Justen is the program director of FEAST — Fresh Easy Affordable Sustainable Tasty, a program of Slow Food Asheville. Contact her at feast.avl@gmail.com or visit www.feast .slowfoodasheville.org.

The FEAST program has its students work at stations, with a specific job at each spot. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

Croutons 1 loaf French bread 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1/2 tablespoon dried 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1/2 tablespoon dried 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1/4 tablespoon dried 1/4 cup Olive oil

Cut bread in to 1-inch

cubes and put in a large mixing bowl. Combine herbs into a separate bowl. Sprinkle herbs and olive oil over bread. Toss bread cubes about 10-12 times in the bowl to make sure they are evenly coated. Spread on to a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees about 15 minutes, stir and bake another 10 min or until crisp.

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Cucumber salad 6 diced cucumbers 1 small onion thinly sliced 1 recipe salad dressing

Use enough dressing to evenly coat veggies, toss and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

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VEGETARIAN COMFORT FOOD FILLS YOUR STOMACH, SPARES YOUR WALLET By Karen Fernau, The Arizona Republic

Vegetarians deserve comfort, too. They are entitled to bear hugs from hearty stews, casseroles and savory pies made with traditional rib-sticking ingredients -- except, of course, meat, poultry or fish. The benefits of meatless comfort food are twofold: a good-for-you meal and a way to save money. A national campaign by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called “Meatless Monday,” touts eating like a vegetarian just one day a week to reduce consumption of saturated fat by 15 percent. This is enough to ward off lifestyle diseases including heart attacks, strokes and cancer. A weekly commitment adds the disease-fighting benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. Animal proteins and fish also typically cost more than non-carnivorous staples, from pastas to brown rice. These one-pot comfort dishes can be a Wednesday-night family meal or served piping hot with wine and crusty bread for a Saturday-night dinner party. Occasional vegetarian and cookbook author Mark Bittman is convinced that vegetarian meals are poised to become a regular on the American dinner table. “The world is changing in a way that is going to push all of us, reluctantly or not, toward being at least semivegetarian,” he writes in “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” “Our current rate of meat and fish consumption simply cannot be justified.” Inspired? If so, try one or all three of these classic comfort meals: Vegetarian Vegetable Stew, Butternut Squash Mac-NCheese and Vegetable Lentil Shepherd’s

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GANNETT

Vegetarian butternut squash mac-n-cheese 1 large butternut squash 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 6 tablespoons butter 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 7 cups low-fat milk 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded Salt and pepper, to taste 1 box (16 ounces) whole-wheat elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions and drained

To roast the squash, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Place in roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven and cook until soft all the way through, about 1 hour. Set aside. When cool, remove skin and place squash in a food processor or blender. Puree

Pie. We picked these recipes because: » Stews have been a part of the world’s cuisine for thousands of years for good reason. They are filling and richly flavored. Vegetable stew mimics those made with beef, pork or lamb with meaty portobello and white mushrooms. It also incorporates stew staples -- onion, carrots and, in a twist on tradition, sweet potatoes. » Macaroni and cheese gets an extra shot of vegetables with butternut squash. For additional fiber and nutrition, make with whole-grain or whole-wheat macaro-

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until smooth. To make cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan. Add flour. Stir to make a roux and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 3 cups milk and stir until thickened. Add remaining milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add shredded cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. To assemble, place cooked elbow macaroni in a large bowl. Pour half of the cheese sauce over. Add pureed squash and fold together. If it seems too dry, add the rest of the cheese sauce. Place in an ovenproof dish and heat for 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Makes 8 to 10 servings. Source: The Arizona Republic

ni. Low-fat milk helps cut back on saturated fat. » Black is the new brown, whether black quinoa, rice or lentils, in a vegetarian shepherd’s pie. These grains are loaded with the same antioxidants in such blue-purple fruits as blueberries, plums and cherries. Like all lentils, they are rich in protein and fiber. Unlike beans, they require no soaking, and they cook in 15 to 25 minutes. Mix with mushrooms, frozen peas, onions, celery and carrots, and cover with creamy potatoes and nobody will miss the meat.

Vegetarian vegetable stew 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, minced 1 medium carrot, minced 1 medium stalk celery, minced 1 medium red onion, chopped medium 9 medium portobello mushrooms (about 1 and one-fourth pounds), stems discarded, caps halved and sliced onehalf-inch-thick 10 ounces white button mushrooms, stems trimmed and mushrooms halved 2 medium garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 cup white wine 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 cup canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes 1 bay leaf 4 large carrots (about 1 pound), peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 and one-half pounds), peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 tablespoon cold water 1 cup frozen peas, thawed 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add minced onion, carrot and celery. Saute, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add red onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add portobello and button mushrooms. Increase heat to medium-high and saute until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary and thyme and cook for 30 seconds more. Add white wine, stirring and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pot. Cook until wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock, salt, tomatoes, bay leaf, carrots and sweet potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water to form a smooth paste. Stir the paste into the stew and cook until the liquid thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in peas, cover and let stand until peas are hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley and balsamic vinegar, discard the bay leaf and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings. Source: The Arizona Republic

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librarian’s picks

A girl named Blue stars in ‘True Colors’ Jennifer Prince Buncombe County Public Libraries

Children’s author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock is known for her thoughtful, atmospheric coming-ofage stories. Her newest novel, “True Colors,” is a gem. The year is 1952, and Blue lives on a small farm in Vermont with Hannah, the woman who found her as a two-day-old baby, wrapped in a blanket and nestled in the marigold bed out front. Summer is starting off fine for 10year-old Blue Spooner. No school. No tests. While work on the farm is hard and time-consuming, especially in the summer, Blue thinks there will still be plenty of time for swimming in the lake and playing hopscotch with her best friend Nadine.

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Poor Blue. Once summer gets under way, it just goes from bad to worse for her. Nadine, who is a couple of years older, is in an inexplicable snit all the time now and treats Blue like she is a nobody. Even the stray cat who comes around will not give two seconds of time to Blue, even though Blue leaves saucers of milk for her. In addition, Blue is troubled by the fact that her mother abandoned her. Rumor has it that her mother lives in California, so that is where Blue plans to go to find her. Before Blue even steps across the county line, a host of things happen to her that convince her to stay right where she is. The road that leads to that decision is a long and bumpy one, and one

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that is full of surprises. Kinsey-Warnock has a knack for creating believable, engaging characters. Blue is an active, bright little girl, but she is not perfect, and that helps make her believable. Blue thinks and acts like a lot of 10-year-olds. She has childish notions about the world at large. For instance, she wants to be a trapeze artist or lion tamer when she grows up. She believes she can get to California by herself with no money or map. Amid her childishness, though, is the bud of maturity. She takes on a job at the newspaper. She becomes interested in the reminiscing of the oldtimers, and writes their stories down. Other characters are finely drawn and distinct individuals as well. Hannah, who is 73, works hard on the farm and

loves Blue, but in a non-showy way. While Blue is a tomboy, her friend Nadine is prissy. There is Mr. Gilpin, the man with one leg who runs the local newspaper office. There is the odd job man, Raleigh, who has severe brain damage due to a mysterious accident years ago, and says only, “True. Blue.” Then there are the Wright brothers, the town’s chicken-stealing, dynamite-making boys. All in all, this is a delightful, warm story. Young readers will find much to appreciate here. They will relate to Blue and her mistakes and achievements. This book is available in the Buncombe County Public Libraries. To learn more, visit www.buncombecounty.org/ library.

area story times Buncombe County Libraries

Visit www.buncombecounty.org Black Mountain, 250-4756: Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday; Mother Goose: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday; Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Thursday East Asheville, 250-4738: Preschool: 11 a.m. Wednesday and Saturday Enka-Candler, 250-4758: Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday; Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Thursday Fairview, 250-6484: Mother Goose, 11 a.m. Tuesday; Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Thursday; Toddler: 11 a.m. Wednesday Leicester, 250-6480: Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday North Asheville, 250-4752: Preschool: 11 a.m. Wednesday; Toddler: 10 a.m. Wednesday; Mother Goose, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday Oakley/South Asheville, 250-4754: Mother Goose: 11 a.m. Thursday; Toddler: 11 a.m. Wednesday; Preschool: 10 a.m. Wednesday Pack Memorial Library, 250-4700: Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Mondays; Mother Goose: 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays; Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Thursdays; Reading Corner (ages 6-12): 3:30 p.m. first Wednesdays Skyland/South Buncombe, 250-6488: Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Thursday; Toddler: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday Swannanoa, 250-6486: Preschool: 11 a.m.

Thursday; Toddler: 10 a.m. Thursday; Mother Goose: 2:30 p.m. Thursday (starting April 18) Weaverville, 250-6482: Mother Goose: 11 a.m. Wednesday; Toddler: 11 a.m. Thursday; Preschool: 11 a.m. Tuesday West Asheville, 250-4750: Mother Goose: 11 a.m. Monday; Toddler: 11 a.m. Wednesday; Preschool: 11 a.m. Thursday

Haywood County Library

Visit www.haywoodlibrary.org. Waynesville, 356-2512 or 356-2511: Movers and Shakers: 11 a.m. Thursdays; Ready 4 Learning: 11 a.m. Tuesdays; Family story time: 11 a.m. Wednesdays Spanish story time: Waynesville branch offers Spanish story time for families, 4-4:30 p.m. Fridays, with books and songs in in Spanish (and explanations in English). All welcome. For more information in English, contact Carole Dennis at 356-2511 or cdennis@haywoodnc.net. For more information in Spanish, contact Marisa Dana at 561-2758097 or marisamdana@gmail.com. Canton, 648-2924: Family story time, 11 a.m. Tuesdays; Rompin’ Stompin’ story time, 10 a.m. Thursdays

Henderson County Library

Visit www.henderson. lib.nc.us. Main, 697-4725: Bouncing Babies: 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; Toddler Time: 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays; Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 4 O’Clock Club

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(K-5): 4 p.m. Thursdays. Edneyville, 685-0110: Family: 10 a.m. Mondays Etowah, 891-6577: Family: 10 a.m. Tuesdays Fletcher, 687-1218: Toddler Time: 10 a.m. Wednesdays; Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays Green River, 697-4969: Family: 10 a.m. Thursdays Mills River, 890-1850: Familiy: 10 a.m. Mondays

Barnes & Noble

Asheville Mall, 296-7335: 11 a.m. Mondays and 2 p.m. Saturdays; Biltmore Park Town Square, Asheville, 6870681: 11 a.m. Saturdays

Blue Ridge Books

152 S. Main St., Waynesville, 4566000: 10:30 a.m. Mondays, ages 3 and under.

Spellbound Children’s Bookshop

21 Battery Park Ave., Asheville, 232-2228: 10:30-11 a.m. Saturdays, ages 4-7.

The Health Adventure

800 Brevard Road, Suite 620, A sheville, 665-2217: 3:30 p.m. Monday and Friday.

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Superhero window washers surprise sick children By Natalie DiBlasio USA TODAY

Spider-Man descends from the roof at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. ANDREW SULLIVAN GANNETT

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From Tampa to Pittsburgh, Chicago to Memphis, comic superheroes are being spotted all over the country — and they are fighting grime. On windows, that is. In their off-hours, Spider-Man, Captain America and Batman, to name a few, are washing windows at children’s hospitals. Their mission? To bring happiness to the youngest of patients. “We donned the Spider-Man costumes and we rappelled down the side of the buildings,” said Harold Connolly, president of Highrise Window Cleaning of Clearwater, Fla. “We knocked on the glass, waved hello — there were a lot of big smiles.” Connolly organized two superhero window-washing sessions at hospitals in Florida

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so far this year, and he isn’t alone. Images of wide-eyed children in awe of their favorite superheroes washing windows have gone viral online, prompting hospitals and window washing companies nationwide to hop on board. “Some of these poor kids, they don’t get a lot of opportunities for anything fun there,” Connolly says. “It cheered them up at least for the moment anyway.” Recently in Chicago, Captain America, Batman, and Spider-Man’s mission for the day was surprising children into forgetting that they are in a hospital beds at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Mission: Complete. Nolan Erickson, 6, has been spending a lot of time in the hospital with his 14-month-old brother Matthew. Matthew was born with brain cancer and has undergone six surgeries and five rounds of chemotherapy; the family hasn’t left his side. “We have been in the hospital for 11 months out of the 14 that Matthew has been alive,” mother Sue Erickson says. “Nolan has spent his last two birthday here. Smiles come few and far between.” Continues on Page 48

Two children watch Batman wash windows at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. From Tampa to Pittsburgh, Chicago to Memphis, comic superheroes are being spotted all over the country, fighting grime. KATHLEEN KEENAN/GANNETT

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Superheroes Continued from Page 47

But on one day, for Nolan, Matthew and their 2-year-old sister Sophia, there was a break from all the sadness. The three superheroes, window washers from Corporate Cleaning Services, were fighting grime as they rappelled down from the 23rd floor. The heroes circled all around the building, waving, giving a thumbs up and creating soap

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designs as they went. “The superheroes’ lines were hanging right in front of our window,” Erickson says. “The kids just sat there waiting for 45 minutes to see which one it was. It was Spider-Man. When you see your kids excited and smiling” as a parent it was more and I could ever ask for.” Hundreds of kids, staff and families were mesmerized by the superheroes swinging around the building for hours. “I have been here a lot of years but I have never seen anything like it — nothing can brighten a day like a superhero,”

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says Kathleen Keenan, hospital spokesperson. “These three men truly became real-life superheroes when they were on that building and their ropes became their webs. It was magical.” Keenan added: “It was like each kid had their own superhero for a moment, it was like there was no glass between them.” The superhuman trend is spreading all over the country: Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., has had two visits, one in October from the American National Skyline’s superheroes and one in December from elves, says spokesperson Sara Burnett. In St. Petersburg, Fla., at least 40 or 50 inpatient children at All Children’s Hospital caught a glimpse of Spider-Man last month, says hospital spokesperson Roy Adams. “We try all the time here to make it as fun as possible,” Adams says. “We are trying to make kids forget that they are in the hospital and are going through these tough medical issues. We have celebrities come in, but this was a different kind of VIP visit because, well, they were coming down the side of the building.” Last July, Michelle Matuizek, office manager of Allegheny Window Cleaning, Inc., saw pictures of window washers in London dressed as Spider-Man. “I looked around and — at that point — no one had done it in the states,” Matuizek says. “I thought why don’t we do a character theme for our children’s hospital around Halloween.” So on October 22, the patients at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC had visit from Spider-Man, Batman, Captain American and Superman. “The kids went wild. They were all over the windows, smiling and screaming — it was just magical,” Matuizek says. “The nurses, the kids, the families it was a wonderful experience for everyone. We are going to do it again next October.” Both Allegheny Window Cleaning, Inc and Highrise Window Cleaning have plans to do more superhuman fly-bys in the future, and Connolly hopes the trend catches on. “The kids — that‘s the important thing,” Connolly says. “We are hoping it spreads throughout the country and beyond. Other hospitals see this and then ask your window company if they will do it — I bet you they will. Who doesn’t like making children happy?”

TEENS GET AN

EXTRA

HELPING AT DINNER TABLE By Sharon Jayson USA TODAY

P

arents have heard it for years: Family dinners help kids avoid risky behaviors and may even help them in school. But new research shows that the more frequent these dinners, the better teens fare emotionally, says new research published last week in the Journal of Adolescent Health. “The effect doesn’t plateau after three or four dinners a week,” says co-author Frank Elgar, an associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. “One is better than none, and all up the scale. The more dinners a week, the better.” With each additional dinner, researchers found fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional wellbeing, more trusting and helpful behaviors toward others and higher life satisfaction, regardless of gender, age or family economics. The study was based on a nationally representative sample of 26,069 Canadian kids ages 11-15 in 2010. They answered questions on frequency of family dinners, communication with parents, their emotions, behaviors and life satisfaction. “There’s a lot we don’t know about how family dinnertime goes,” Elgar says, such as whether the TV is on, whether parents or siblings argue or whether family members are texting or talking on their phones. So while researchers see a correlation, they can’t say family dinners caused the benefits, he says. “We don’t know if family dinners contribute to mental health, or if mental health and other behavioral problems cause some teenagers to avoid the family

The Niehaus family of St. Cloud, Minn., sits down to a meal together, a simple practice that could help improve the kids’ life satisfaction. DAVE SCHWARZ GANNETT

dinner,” Elgar adds. Past research has suggested benefits, but a study last year in the journal Child Development cast some doubt. The study of family dinners and breakfasts, based on data over time from 21,400 U.S. kids in kindergarten through eighth grade, found “no association” with improved child outcomes, says lead author Daniel Miller, an assistant professor of social work at Boston University. His study took into account many more factors, such as parents’ employment, years of experience the children’s teachers’ had and other variables. “Family meals might just be part of a whole lot of activities that families engage in that are good for their kids,” Miller says. However, the age of the children could play a role in the different findings, he says, since his study focused on younger kids, not adolescents. “It may be (that) for older kids, eating or not eating is more important than it is for younger kids.” Miller, who has read the new research, says it “adds to our knowledge

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by suggesting parent-adolescent communication accounts for some of the relationship between family meals and adolescent mental health.” James White, a research associate at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, says his studies have found that frequent family meals and a positive atmosphere are associated with lower risks of smoking, binge drinking and drunkenness. But “the evidence on whether these associations are causal is not conclusive.” Part of the allure of family meals is the ritual, says Sharon Fruh, an associate professor of nursing at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, who co-authored a 2011 study about family dinner research. “Rituals are very important to everyone, especially children. They help provide security and structure and give a sense of belonging.” But that means turning off electronics, she adds. Many studies have found that “the more distractions, the less beneficial the communication around the table.”

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Kids’ page

STAFF DRAWING BY JEFF RUMINSKI

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nature center notes

Birds signal return of spring By Hannah Epperson Special to WNC Parent

While warmer weather and longer days are a sure sign of spring returning, to the close observer there is a special sound that signals the changing seasons: birdsongs. The Southern Appalachians are home to a wide variety of birds, from the bright red Northern Cardinal to the curious, black-and-white-faced Carolina Chickadee. A favorite among birdwatchers is the Eastern bluebird. The bright blue wings and red breast of the male bluebirds make them instantly recognizable. Female bluebirds are more gray and lay pale blue eggs. Another distinctly colored bird is the American Goldfinch, with its brilliant yellow feathers contrasting with its white and black wing tips. In fact, these are the only finches in our area that molt twice a year, making the brightening of the male’s feathers

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another sign of spring. But it’s not just high on an isolated mountaintop or deep in the Appalachian forest that you’ll find songbirds. You can create a wildlife-friendly habitat in your own backyard to attract birds and other animals. An ideal habitat includes food, water, cover and a place to raise their young. A backyard garden designed specifically for birds might include a bird feeder, native shrubs that grow berries, a birdbath, and a nesting box. Visit the WNC Nature Center’s Songbird Garden, a Certified Wildlife Habitat, to peak in on the amazing variety of birds flying through our mountains. You can also see examples of different bird nests and nesting boxes, and learn more about creating a wildlife friendly environment in your own backyard. The WNC Nature Center is at 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville. For more information, visit www.wncnaturecenter.com.

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The bright blue wings and red breast of the male bluebirds make them instantly recognizable. Female bluebirds are more gray and lay pale blue eggs. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

2013 CAMP GUIDE The following day camp listings missed our March issue, or had significant changes in information.

Elevate Life and Art

June-August www.elevatelifeandart.com; 318-8895 Ages 5-11. Day camp, plus a separate dance camp and theater camp. Day camp offers weekly field trips, swimming, team building, games, sports, dance, arts and crafts and more. $125. Dance camp for ages 12 and older, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 24-28, $150. Theater camp for ages 10 and older, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. July 22-26, $150.

Fired Up! Creative Lounge

June 10-July 26 fireduplounge.com; 253-8181 (Asheville) or 698-9960 (Hendersonville); info@fireduplounge.com Ages 5-12. Art intensive summer camp offering specialized instruction and a wide variety of projects. Painting, clay, mosaics, glass and more. Half-day (9 a.m.-noon or 1-3 p.m.) or full-day (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) Monday-Friday. After-care available. Dates and times vary by location. At 26 Wall St., Asheville, or 321 N. Main St., Hendersonville.

Hands On! A Child’s Gallery July 23-26 and Aug. 6-9 handsonwnc.org; 697-8333

Ages 7 and up. Two day camps offered, TuesdayFriday. Comedy Camp with Dr. Dennis (ages 7 and older, July 23-26) helps kids work on timing, puns and homophones and practice these concepts through acting. Comedy presentation on last day. Runs 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $36 nonmembers/$30 members. Mystery Festival Week has kids working as detectives. For ages 6-8 (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and Ages 9-12 (2-4 p.m.). $50 nonmembers/$44 members. At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville.

Trinity Presbyterian

June-August Tina Robinson, 299-3433, ext. 322 (leave a message) Infants through rising 6th-graders. Camp runs 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with after care from 1-4 p.m. With water play days, themed weeks and lots of hands on fun. Stop by the church for further details and to register. At 17 Shawnee Trail, Asheville.

YMCA of Western North Carolina

www.ymcawnc.org; 210-2273 (except where stated otherwise) Camps have one-time registration fee, noted after the session cost per child/per family. Financial aid applications available for some camps. » YMCA Discovery Camps, June 10-Aug. 20: Rising 1st-graders to age 12. Day camps based at Buncombe County Schools. Themed weeks with field trips, swim-

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ming/watersports, hiking, science/rocketry, crafts, songs, group games, a 3-day/2-night campout option at the Y’s resident camp (ages 7-12), summer family nights, more. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. $155 ($50/$75). Includes breakfast, lunch and two snacks daily. State child care subsidy vouchers accepted at this camp only. » YMCA Discovery Camp in Hendersonville, June 10-Aug. 16: Ages 4-12. Themed weeks with field trips, swimming/watersports, hiking, science/rocketry, crafts, songs, group games, a 3-day/2-night campout option at the Y’s resident camp (ages 7-12), summer family nights, more. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. $155 ($50/$75). Includes breakfast, lunch and two snacks daily. State child care subsidy vouchers accepted at this camp only. Financial aid applications available. » YMCA Explorer Camp at Beaverdam, June 10-Aug. 16: Rising 1st grade to age 12. Environmental/ traditional day camp at the YMCA Youth Center in North Asheville. Activities including nature, sports, adventure courses, teambuilding, crafts, archery, ecology, outdoor cooking, science, camp songs, drama, group games, hiking, swimming, field trips, rocketry, a 3-day/2-night campout option at our resident camp (ages 7-12), more. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday–Friday. $165 ($50/$75). » YMCA Counselors-in-Training, June 10-Aug. 16: Ages 13-17. CITs will receive hands-on experience with assisting youth mentors in the day-to-day operations of camp. Trainings in a variety of topics ranging from

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2013 CAMP GUIDE Continued from Page 53 CPR and First Aid to interview skills and conflict resolution. With teambuilding excursion away from camp each week. CITs attending at least six weeks will be rewarded with a Carowinds field trip at the end of the summer. $140 per week. » Corpening Memorial YMCA Day Camp, June 10-Aug. 23: Rising grades K-12. Activities include nature hikes, camp songs, group games, arts and crafts, swimming, outdoor exploration, water play, drama and music, sports, field trips and more. Leaders in Training for grades 6-8; Counselors In Training for grades 9-12. 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. McDowell County residents only. $75 members/$95 nonmembers ($35/$50). Call 659-9622, ext. 115. » YMCA Kiddie Camp at Beaverdam, June 10-Aug. 16: Ages 4-5. Kiddie Camp is special part of Explorer Camp with smaller groups and additional staff. Activities include nature, camp crafts, ecology, sports, camp songs, dramatic play, swimming, field trips, more. Story time and a rest/nap time each day. 8-11:45 a.m. and 12:15-4 p.m. Register for either daily session or both. $82.50 per session per week or $155 per week for both sessions ($50/$75). » YMCA Kiddie Camp at Estes Elementary, June 10-Aug. 16: Ages 4-5. Kiddie Camp is special part of Explorer Camp with smaller groups and additional staff. Activities include nature, camp crafts, ecology, sports, camp songs, dramatic play, swimming, field trips, more. Story time and a rest/nap time each day. 8 a.m.-noon and noon-4 p.m. Register for either daily session or both. $82.50 per session per week or $155 per week for both sessions ($50/$75). » Mild Adventure Camp, June 10-Aug. 16: Ages 8-12. For kids who like the outdoors and physical activity. Adventure courses, field trips, hiking, swimming, games, outdoor skills challenge, more. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. At YMCA Youth Center at Beaverdam in North Asheville. $185 ($50/$75). » Wild Adventure Camp, weeks of June 17, July 8, 15 and 29, and Aug. 5: Ages 10-17. For kids with

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extreme adventure on their minds. Includes challenging hikes, rock climbing, bouldering, etc. With one special trip each week such as whitewater rafting, paintball, zip lines, more. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. MondayFriday. At YMCA Youth Center at Beaverdam in North Asheville. $200 ($50/$75). » Wilderness Sleepaway Camp, weeks of June 24, July 22 and Aug. 11: Ages 12-17. For teens looking for extreme adventure with an overnight camp. Includes adventure courses on Monday. Sleep away TuesdayFriday at Camp Watia in Swain County, with hiking on the Appalachian Trail, rock climbing, swimming, whitewater rafting, service project. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, pickup Friday by 6 p.m. At YMCA Youth Center at Beaverdam in North Asheville. $395 ($50/ $75). » YMCA Porpoise Club Swim Camp, July 8-12 and Aug. 5-9: Ages 8-12. For intermediate to strong swimmers. Groups work on intensive skills and drills, junior lifeguard training, proper safety and daily competitions to introduce and acclimate children to swim team culture. Must already have swim skills and be comfortable swimming in the water without flotation devices. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. At Asheville Y. Extended camp available at Beaverdam or Estes or Oakley camps between 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (transportation provided). $135 ($50/$75). » YMCA “Sports and Games” Swim Camp, July 8-12 and Aug. 5-9: Ages 6-12. Campers will work on increasing comfort level in the water through a variety of activities including learning basic strokes, playing water polo, and boat and float time. Campers must be comfortable in shallow water without flotation devices. 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Reuter Y, with extended camp available at Beaverdam, Estes Camp, or Oakley Camp, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (transportation provided). $135 ($50/$75). » YMCA Lego Camp, June 10-14 and July 15-19: Rising 1st grade to age 12. LEGO model building featuring working motors; unique, free-play bricks for creative model building; games and challenges using Lego bricks; many themes including robotics, movie-

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making, space academy, remote control mania, more. Extended camp available at Beaverdam, Hendersonville, Sandhill or Estes, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. $125 ($50/$75). » YMCA Art Camp, June 24-28 and July 29-Aug. 2. Rising 1st grade to age 12. Campers work in a variety of mediums including weaving, pottery, wax, and paint. This is focused art work and should be reserved for campers who love arts. At art studio in Black Mountain, 9 a.m.-noon with extended camp available at Beaverdam, Black Mountain Camp or Oakley Camp, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (transportation provided). $110 ($50/$75). » YMCA Tennis Camp, Ages 7-12. Work on skills, drills, form, the mechanics of the game, and complete matches with other players. Must bring racquet. Focused instruction and should be reserved for campers who are interested in developing skills in tennis. 9 a.m.-noon with extended camp available at Hendersonville YMCA Discovery Camp from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (transportation provided). $110 ($50/$75). » Reuter YMCA Sports camps, June-August. Rising grades 2-5. All Sports Camp focuses on basic fundamentals of a variety of sports including flag football, soccer and basketball. Youth All Sports Camp includes popular and nontraditional sports like rock climbing, cycling and more. Pop Warner Football and Cheer Camp focuses on flag football and cheerleading, with scrimmages, routines and one-on-one training. And Little All-Star Camp focuses on fundamentals of soccer, basketball and T-ball. All camps run 9 a.m.-noon and cost $95 member/$115 nonmember, plus registration fee ($50/$75). Call 651-9622. Extended camp available 7 a.m.-6 p.m. at Estes Camp (transportation provided). » Asheville YMCA Youth Sports Camp, Grades 2-5. All Sports Camp focuses on fundamentals of several sports including ultimate Frisbee, disc golf, field hockey, lacrosse and agility camp. Youth All Sports Camp includes popular and nontraditional sports. $175. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., with an optional early and late pick up for an additional $15. Call 210-9622.

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calendar of events

Things to do

Items for the May calendar are due April 10. Email information to calendar@wncparent.com.

April 1

BOUNCE ‘N BOOKS: A new movement-based story time at the Enka-Candler Library. With reading, dance, singing and exploring rhythms. Program is 45 minutes, starting at 10:30 a.m. At 1404 Sandhill Road. Call 250-4758 or email enka.library@buncombecounty.org. PLAY AND LEARN: Registration begins April 1 at all locations. Parents/caregivers and children ages 3-5 in Buncombe County who are not in regulated child care may attend a free 8-week series 45-minute classes, focusing on pre-literacy and school readiness skills. Must be age 3 by class start date. Younger siblings may attend, but materials are not provided. Register by email or phone. Contact Marna Holland at 350-2904 or marna.holland@asheville.k12.nc.us. Dates and school locations include: » Haw Creek Elementary: 9 a.m. Mondays, starting April 22 » Asheville City Schools Preschool: 10 and 11 a.m. Tuesdays, starting April 16; 11 a.m. Wednesdays, starting April 17; and 11 .m. Thursdays, starting April 18. » Hominy Valley Elementary, 9 a.m. Thursdays, starting April 11. » Leicester Elementary: 9 a.m. Fridays, starting April 12. WEE NATURALIST: N.C. Arboretum program for ages 2-5 with nature lessons, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Runs 10-11 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays (explore classroom starting at 9:30 a.m. or at 11 a.m.). This week’s theme is “Nature to the Touch.” $5 if registered online, $6 for drop-ins. Younger siblings and adults free when accompanied by paid participant. Free parking for registered participants. Visit www.ncarboretum.org to register. Contact Michelle Pearce at 665-2492, ext. 243, or mpearce@ncarboretum.org.

April 2

BACKYARD SCIENTIST: N.C. Arboretum brings tools, animals and help to practice a science project at the library. Learn more about citizen science projects at the arboretum. Free for all ages. At 5:30 p.m. at West Asheville Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org/library. BEGINNER CLOGGING CLASSES: Asheville Clogging Company offers classes 4:30-5:15 p.m. Tuesdays, starting April 2. Join anytime. Ages 5 and up. $40 per month. At 44 Buck Shoals Road, Arden. Email ashley@ashevillecloggingcompany.com or call

Do you want to raise chickens but don’t know where to start? Author Ashley English presents a program on raising chickens on April 16 at Enka-Candler Library. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

329-3856. Visit www.ashevillecloggingcompany.com. WEE NATURALIST: See April 1. WIGGLE WITH THE WORMS: Hold worms, hunt for worm eggs and create worm crafts. Ages 7-12, younger with accompanying adult. Call to sign up. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. At 10:30 a.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 697-8333.

April 3

BACKYARD SCIENTIST: N.C. Arboretum brings tools, animals and help to practice a science project at the library. Learn more about citizen science projects at the arboretum. Free for all ages. At 3:30 p.m. at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St., Asheville. Visit www.buncombecounty.org/library. KNOT HEAD CHEERLEADERS: Create whimsical characters using surprisingly common household items. Ages 5-8. $10 nonmembers/$6 members. Call to register. At 10:30 a.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 697-8333. SPROUTING NATURALISTS: New preschool-age nature program at Chimney Rock State Park. For ages 2-5. This month’s theme is “Nature’s Hide and Seek Hunt.” See if you can find all the items on the scavenger hunt list. 10-11:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month. Kids 5 and younger, $3; adults, $12; older siblings (ages 6-15), $5.50; passholders, free. Advance registration required. Call 625-9611 weekdays to register. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com.

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April 4

HEALTHY KIDS CLUB: Come learn to be healthy with friends from the Henderson County Health Department. At 11 a.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Free with admission. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 6978333.

April 5

ADAPTIVE BASEBALL PROGRAM: Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts and the Asheville Tourists offer “Ted E. Tourists” adapted baseball program with leagues for boys and girls ages 6-18 and an adult league for ages 19 and older. Geared for people with or without a disability that limits their ability to play at the level of traditional baseball programs. Games on Saturdays, April 20-June 1. $30 for Asheville residents, $35 nonresidents. Includes instruction, uniform and trophy. Parents and guardians are welcome to participate. Registration is 6-8 p.m. at West Asheville Community Center, 970 Haywood Road. For more information, registration, and eligibility requirements, contact Randy Shaw at 828-259-5483 or rshaw@ashevillenc.gov. MUSIC TOGETHER: Free intro class, 3:30-4:15 p.m. at Nest Organics, 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. Visit www.nestorganics.com or www.ashevilleareamt.com. ROYAL TEA PARTY: Princes and princesses will create their own crown and scepter and learn tea party manners. Ages 3-5. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited spaces. Call to register. At 2 p.m. at

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calendar of events Continued from Page 59 Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 697-8333. SING TOGETHER: Learn traditional campfire songs during Intersections Sing Together Series. Bring the whole family for songs and s’mores. Get a songbook to take home. At 6:30 p.m. in The Forum at Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville. Tickets: Adult $8; children 12 and under $6. Registration recommended. For information and to register, contact Rae at 210-9837 or rae@dwtheatre.com or visit www.dwtheatre.com/intersections.

April 6

ADAPTIVE BASEBALL PROGRAM: See April 5 for full description. Registration is 1-4 p.m. at West Asheville Community Center, 970 Haywood Road. For more information, registration, and eligibility requirements, contact Randy Shaw at 828-259-5483 or rshaw@ashevillenc.gov. ‘BIRTH STORY: INA MAY GASKIN AND THE FARM MIDWIVES’: Film recounts the history of the natural birth movement in the United States, with a focus on 73-year-old Gaskin, who has assisted more than 1,200 births and runs the Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee. Documentary shown at 6:30 p.m. in Ferguson Auditorium on A-B Tech's Asheville campus. A reception, with exhibits, precedes the screening, at 5:30 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with Ina May and Stephen Gaskin, as well as local doctors, midwives and other maternal health professionals. Tickets are $25, available at Flora in West Asheville or online at www.birthstoryasheville.eventbrite.com, or at the door. Proceeds benefit Start from Seed, the doula program of WNC Health Advocates. Learn more at birthstorymovie.com and wnchealthadvocates.org. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Fourweek session of Saturday lessons for parent-child through youth, April 6-27. Register by March 30. Starts at $25. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. SPACED-OUT SATURDAY: Astronomy for the whole family at the Colburn Earth Science Museum. Fly around the universe in a digital spaceship. This month’s theme is “The Many Moons,” including Europa, Io, Ganymede and more. Free with admission or membership. At 1 and 3 p.m. at Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville. Visit www.colburnmuseum.org or call 254-7162.

April 7

ART OF PEACEFUL LIVING: MEDITATION AND BUDDHISM: Learn how to develop a peaceful mind and solve problems by applying the ancient art of Buddhist meditation to today’s hectic and busy modern world. 7-8:30 p.m. Sundays, April 7-May 12, at Rainbow Mountain Children’s School, 574 Haywood Road, in Orchard House. $8 students/$5 seniors. MY SMART HANDS: Learn sign language in level one class, 3-3:45 p.m., and level two class, 4-4:45 a.m., Sundays, April 7-June 9, at Awakening Heart Chiropractic, 30 Ravenscroft Drive, Arden. $140 for

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Asheville Christian Academy presents “The Music Man,” with performances April 18-20. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

eight-week session, $90 for four-week session. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthandsasheville.com. ROYAL BOOK CLUB: Readers of Young Adult Literature discusses “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, 4-5 p.m. Club meets the first Sunday of each month. Anyone 18 and older is welcome, no RSVP necessary. Free. At Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, 21 Battery Park Ave., Asheville. Visit www.spellboundbookshop.com.

April 8

CELEBRATE PREGNANCY CLASS: The Baby Place at Park Ridge Health offers a twist on a normal childbirth class, covering important labor process and support techniques, dealing with pregnancy ailments, breast-feeding and newborn care. Includes a massage voucher with the $65 fee (scholarships available). 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Health Adventure, Biltmore Square Mall, 800 Brevard Road, Call 6812229 or visit www.parkridgebabies.com to register. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Fourweek session of Monday/Wednesday lessons for parent-child through youth, April 8-May 1. Register by March 28. Starts at $45. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. WEE NATURALIST: N.C. Arboretum program for ages 2-5 with nature lessons, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Runs 10-11 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays (explore classroom starting at 9:30 a.m. or at 11 a.m.). This week’s theme is “Sounds All Around.” $5 if registered online, $6 for drop-ins. Younger siblings and adults free when accompanied by paid participant. Free parking for registered participants. Visit www.ncarboretum.org to register. Contact Michelle Pearce at 665-2492, ext. 243, or mpearce@ncarboretum.org.

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April 9

ART OF ACUPRESSURE: Local acupuncture practitioner and instructor Su-Shen Huang will present a program at 7 p.m. at Weaverville Library. She will discuss and demonstrate the art of acupressure, while elaborating on its philosophy and function within the larger scope of Chinese medicine. Free. Call 250-6482 or email weaverville.library@buncombecounty.org. ASHEVILLE CATHOLIC SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE: 10-11:30 a.m. Call 252-7896 for reservations. For more information, visit www.ashevillecatholic.org or email info@ashevillecatholic.org. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Fourweek session of Tuesday/Thursday lessons for parent-child through youth, April 9-May 2. Register by March 28. Starts at $45. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. WEE NATURALIST: See April 9.

April 10

HOME-SCHOOL DAY: Chimney Rock Park hosts four interactive programs. 9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Cost covers all-day admission. $6 per student for Grady’s Kids Club members/$10.50 nonmembers; no cost for adult annual passholders/$12 for non-passholders. Call 625-9611 to register. For details, visit www.chimneyrockpark.com/education/ homeschool_programs.php JEWISH PRESCHOOL PROGRAM: Registration is open for “A Taste of CHS,” an educational program for preschool and pre-K children, from Chabad’s Hebrew School of the Arts. Curriculum covers Hebrew language, Jewish music, dance and culture. For ages 3-5. Runs four Wednesdays, 3:30-5 p.m.

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calendar of events Continued from Page 60 starting April 10. At the Chabad House, 660 Merrimon Ave. Call 505-0746, email chana@chabadasheville.org, or visit www.chabadasheville.org.

April 11

BACKYARD SCIENTIST: N.C. Arboretum brings tools, animals and help to practice a science project at the library. Learn more about citizen science projects at the arboretum. Free for all ages. At 4 p.m. at Swannanoa Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org/library. ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’: Dinner theater at 6:30 p.m., catered by Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Presented by North Asheville Christian School. Call 645-8053 for ticket information. DIGGING DINOSAURS: A day with dinosaurs. Put together a T-Rex, create molds of dinosaur skeletons, and more. All ages. All day at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 697-8333. FAMILY RECREATION PLANNING: Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department offers free program that invites families to rediscover or learn for the first time how to spend time together through opportunities such as day trip planning, mystery trips, weekend trips on a budget, family game nights with a twist, camping on a shoe string budget, half-day quick trips and lifetime sports that the

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family can play together. 6-7:30 p.m. at the Waynesville Recreation Center. Call 456-2030. MY SMART HANDS: Learn sign language in level one class, 10-10:45 a.m., and level two class, 11-11:45 a.m., Thursdays, April 11-June 6, at Mountain Play Lodge, 3389 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden. $140 for eight-week session, $90 for four-week session. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthandsasheville.com. YOUTH TRACK AND FIELD: Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts offers an eight-week track program for ages 8-14, from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursdays at the UNC Asheville track. $25 for Asheville residents, $30 nonresidents. Program will focus on fundamentals of track, including instruction in sprinting (starts and finishes), middle distances (pacing), field events (softball throw, standing long jump) and relays (baton exchange). Culminates in an opportunity for youth to participate in a local Hershey’s Track and Field event later this spring. For more information or to register, contact Kim Turner at 232-4526 or kturner@ashevillenc.gov.

April 12

‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’: Performance at 7 p.m. Presented by North Asheville Christian School. Call 645-8053 for ticket information. MUSIC TOGETHER: New 10-week session starts, 3:30-4:15 or 4:45-5:30 p.m. Fridays, at Nest Organics, 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. For ages 8 months-5 years. Multiple child discounts available. Visit www.nestorganics.com or www.ashevilleareamt-

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.com. TWEETSIE RAILROAD: Season opens at Blowing Rock theme park. Visit www.tweetsie.com.

April 13

HEALTHY KIDS DAY: Hosted by YMCA of WNC. Crazy costume parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at Vance Monument. With live music from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and other artists, fun run, games, face painting, bounce houses, a climbing wall, giant trampolines, human hamster balls, catapults, fitness challenges, dance, prizes, and healthy food served by local restaurants. Raffles and giveaways. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Pack Square Park. Free. Visit www.ymcawnc.org. LIVING HISTORY DAY: Smith-McDowell House Museum hosts demonstrations including spinning, Civil War memorabilia, basket weaving, Cherokee storytelling, quilting, broom making and more (subject to availability). Demonstrators will share talents, and some items will be for sale. Museum will be open for self-guided tours. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free, donations appreciated. At 283 Victoria Road Asheville. OLD TIME PLOWING AND FOLKWAYS: Meet draft horses and learn to plow the cradle’s garden the old way. Living history volunteers bring the past to life along the Biltmore Campus Trail. At Cradle of Forestry, Pisgah National Forest, U.S. 276. Call 877-3130 or visit www.cradleofforestry.org. $5 for adults; under 16 admitted free. Federal Recreation passes honored. SURVIVAL SKILLS WORKSHOP: There’s nothing

worse than being stuck in the woods without two of the most important means of survival: fire and shelter. Workshop will cover the importance of fire in survival, fire safety, modern methods and firestarting materials. Also looks in-depth at various types of primitive shelters and how to construct them out of materials readily found available. Includes practical, hands-on construction of shelters. Series continues with Wild Edibles on June 8. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. $30 for adults ($16 passholders), $20 ages 5-15 ($12 Grady’s Kids Club members). Lunch available for fee. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com.

April 14

‘ANIMALIA’: Puppet performance by Hobey Ford that explores the inner workings of the natural world with a performance by a wide variety of carved foam animal puppets. For ages 2-10. At 4 p.m. at The Orange Peel. Tickets are $8 and available at www.theorangepeel.net. OPEN HOUSE: Christian Heritage Academy invites prospective families to an open house, 2-4 p.m. Meet our staff, learn about curriculum, Academic Enrichment Center and Summer Adventure Camp programs. Register by emailing Katherine Moore at kmoore.cha@gmail.com or call 299-4501. At 420 Swannanoa River Road, Asheville.

April 15

ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Session for pre-K and youth, Mondays and Wednesdays, April 15-May 8. Registration deadline is April 11 (with late

registration fee of $20). Starts at $45. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. FAMILY GROUP NIGHT: Family Support Network of WNC at Mission Children’s Hospital and St. Gerard House host meeting with group meal for whole families experiencing special needs . Families split into groups (parents, siblings, child care, children with special needs, youth with special needs) after dinner to sthare stories, play games and gather resources. Free. Meets every third Monday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at St. Gerard House, 620 Oakland St., Hendersonville. To register or for more information, contact Kate Glance at 213-9787 or kate.glance@msj.org. Visit www.stgerardhouse.com. POP VOLUNTEER TRAINING: Buncombe County Public Libraries' Preschool Outreach Project is looking for volunteers. POP works with children, ages 2-5, who are unable to attend story time programs in local libraries. No formal experience needed. Training is 9 a.m. at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St., Asheville. Call 250-4729 or email pop@buncombecounty.org. WEE NATURALIST: N.C. Arboretum program for ages 2-5 with nature lessons, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Runs 10-11 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays (explore classroom starting at 9:30 a.m. or at 11 a.m.). This week’s theme is “Shades of Green.” $5 if registered online, $6 for drop-ins. Younger siblings and adults free when accompanied by paid participant. Free parking for registered participants. Visit www.ncarboretum.org to register. Contact Michelle Pearce at 665-2492, ext. 243, or mpearce@ncarboretum.org.

April 16

ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Session for pre-K and youth, Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 16-May 9. Registration deadline is April 12 (with late registration fee of $20). Starts at $45. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. THE NEW SMALL GARDEN: Author and gardening expert Peter Loewer presents program tailored for the gardener with a small amount of space, or even limited to a wooden deck at a condominium. At 7 p.m. at Fairview Library, 1 Taylor Road. Call 250-6484 or email fairview.library@buncombecounty.org. RAISING CHICKENS: Author Ashley English presents a program on raising chickens. English is a sustainable living expert and author of several books on homesteading. Her website is www.smallmeasure.com. Free. At 6:30 p.m. at Enka-Candler Library, 1404 Sandhill Road. Call 250-4758 or email enka.library@buncombecounty.org. SLEEP SOLUTIONS: In-depth workshop by Sleep Expert Meggan Hartman to help parents understand how to establish good sleep habits and a healthy schedule for their babies and themselves. $25 per couple. Registration required at www.parkridgebabies.com. 6-7 p.m. at The Health Adventure, 800 Brevard Road, Asheville. TEACHABLE TWOS-DAY: New monthly class for ages 2-5 at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery will explore educational boxes from the Early Learning Center of the Children and Family Resource center specifically designed for 2- to 4-year-olds. At 10:30 a.m. and 2:30

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calendar of events Continued from Page 63 p.m. Free with admission. At 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 697-8333. WEE NATURALIST: See April 15.

April 17

BOOK ‘N CRAFT: Read “Flower Garden” by Eve Bunting and make flowers to take home. Free with admission. At 11 a.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. DEMYSTIFYING HERB SAFETY AND NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY: Participants will learn safe and delicious recipes and get guidance on how to navigate the maze of supplement options and food recommendations. Come be nourished with tea, community and empowering knowledge. Taught by certified clinical herbalist Christina Bertelli. $60. Two-part class, 4-6 p.m. April 17 and 24. At Nest Organics, 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. Visit www.nestorganics.com.

April 18

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN AN ELEMENTARY STUDENT? A night of fun and learning and proceeds from the evening will benefit Children First/ CIS. From 6-8 p.m. at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s Ferguson Auditorium. Admis-

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sion $5 or five cans of food for the CF/CIS Food Pantry. Teams from area business and organizations will test their knowledge with multiple choice questions on geography, science, state capitals, math and more. For details, visit www.chilcrenfirstbc.org. AUTISM PARENT SUPPORT GROUP: Buncombe County Chapter of the Autism Society of NC offers a parent support group, open to all parents, caregivers and advocates. Meetings are 6:15 p.m. the third Thursday of the month at the Autism Society of North Carolina office, 306 Summit St, Asheville. Child care provided upon request. To register or for more information, please contact chapter leader Lisa Pickering at lisarogerkaelyn@gmail.com. MOTHER GOOSE TIME: Swannanoa Library, 101 W. Charleston St., adds a popular weekly story time for the very young, starting April 18. Features rhythm, rhyme, stories and song for babies from 4-18 months. Call 250-6486 or email swannanoa.library@buncombecounty.org. ‘THE MUSIC MAN’: Asheville Christian Academy students present the story of a con man who poses as a kids’ band leader who sells instruments to naïve townsfolk before skipping town with their money. Performances at 7 p.m. April 18, 19 and 20, and 2 p.m. April 19-20. Tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children 10 and younger, available by calling Anna Harris at 581-2201. ACA is at 74 Riverwood Road in Swannanoa.

April 19

‘THE LITTLE MERMAID JR.’: The Learning Community School presents Disney's “The Little Mermaid

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Jr.” 6 p.m. April 19 and 4 p.m. April 20. at Montreat College’s Anderson Auditorium. $10 general admission, $5 for children younger than 10, available online at www.thelearningcommunity.org/musical. A raffle for an iPad mini and a silent auction will be held in conjunction with the event. ‘THE MUSIC MAN’: Asheville Christian Academy students present the story of a con man who poses as a kids’ band leader who sells instruments to naïve townsfolk before skipping town with their money. Performances at 7 p.m. April 18, 19 and 20, and 2 p.m. April 19-20. Tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children 10 and younger, available by calling Anna Harris at 581-2201. ACA is at 74 Riverwood Road in Swannanoa. PARENTS’ MORNING OUT: 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. the third Friday of the month at Asheville Downtown YMCA. For ages 6 weeks-7 years. Includes swimming, circle time, crafts, movement, music and games. Send swimmers in bathing suits and bring a towel. Snack provided. $15 members, $23 nonmembers, with sibling discount. Register by 5 p.m. the Wednesday prior. At 30 Woodfin St., Asheville. Visit www.ymcawnc.org. SPRING FLING FESTIVAL: Family focused festival features creative game and activity booths, a cake walk, dunking tank, jugglers, music, inflatables, good food and a wonderful time for all. Silent auction and a 50/50 raffle. Entry is free and games/ food tickets are 50 cents each. Proceeds benefit Ira B. Jones PTO. 5-8 p.m. at Ira B. Jones Elementary, 544 Kimberly Ave, Asheville. For more information visit www.ashevillecityschools.net/schools/jones. TEEN AWESOME GROUP: Weaverville Library’s

group for teens, ages 12-18. From 4-5:30 p.m. Meets monthly through the school year. This month, teens will share current interests and suggest future program ideas. Call 250-6482 or email weaverville.library@buncombecounty.org.

April 20

ASHEVILLE EARTH DAY: Fifth-annual event, noon-10 p.m. on Lexington Avenue, downtown Asheville. Free. All ages. With live music, local food and environmental education. Visit http://avlearthday.org. AUTHORS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR CHILDREN: Join Robin at Malaprop’s for a fun afternoon of activities, stories and a birthday celebration for children's book authors born in April. From 3-4 p.m. at 55 Haywood St., Asheville. Free. Visit www.malaprops.com. ‘THE LITTLE MERMAID JR.’: The Learning Community School presents Disney's “The Little Mermaid Jr.” at 4 p.m. April 20. at Montreat College’s Anderson Auditorium. $10 general admission, $5 for children younger than 10, available online at www.thelearningcommunity.org/musical. A raffle for an iPad mini and a silent auction will be held in conjunction with the event. MINIATURE GOLF TOURNAMENT: Buncombe County Parks and Recreation’s eighth-annual Miniature Golf Tournament, 1-3 p.m. at Tropical Gardens Mini Golf on Patton Avenue. Slots for 12 teams. $15 per team. Team consists of adult and child playing 36 holes. For more information, call Jay Nelson at 250-4269 or email at jay.nelson@buncombecounty.org

‘THE MUSIC MAN’: Asheville Christian Academy students present the story of a con man who poses as a kids’ band leader who sells instruments to naïve townsfolk before skipping town with their money. Performances at 7 p.m. April 18, 19 and 20, and 2 p.m. April 19-20. Tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children 10 and younger, available by calling Anna Harris at 581-2201. ACA is at 74 Riverwood Road in Swannanoa. SIBLING CLASS, “MY MOM’S HAVING A BABY”: Class designed for young siblings, ages 3-8. Includes a discussion of pregnancy at the child’s level; what it means to be a sibling; a chance to make a gift for self and new baby. Free. Held third Saturday of teh month at Mission Hospital, Room A-649. For information, contact Mission Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Department at 213-8302. WEST ASHEVILLE CARNIVAL: Head west for an eclectic evening of classic carnival diversions and live entertainment, games of skills, crafts and funky food trucks. With free performances by Forty Fingers & A Missing Tooth, Aerial Artists, Rock Academy, Vance Chorus, stilt walkers and more. Food trucks include Gypsy Queen, The Hop, Izzy’s and Pink Taco. 4-8 p.m. on the campus of Vance Elementary School, 98 Sulphur Springs Road, Asheville, 28806. All proceeds benefit Vance Elementary School. More info at www.facebook.com/westashevillecarnival.

April 21

CELEBRATION ISRAEL FESTIVAL AND FALAFEL 5K: Commemorates the 65th anniversary of Israeli

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calendar of events Continued from Page 65 Independence Day. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Congregation Beth Israel at 229 Murdock Ave., Asheville. With unique crafts, face painting, bounce houses, archaeological dig and more. You certainly don’t have to be Jewish to partake in this event. The entire Asheville community is invited to join in the festivities. The Jewish Community Center sponsors its annual Falafel 5K & Camp Ruach Fun Run before the festival. GO DIAPER FREE WEEK: Nest Organics celebrates a week of elimination communication with expert Andrea Olsen. Kick-off event is 3 p.m. April 21. At 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. Visit www.nestorganics.com. ‘THE MUSIC MAN’: Asheville Christian Academy students present the story of a con man who poses as a kids’ band leader who sells instruments to naïve townsfolk before skipping town with their money. Performances at 7 p.m. April 18, 19 and 20, and 2 p.m. April 19-20. Tickets $12 for adults, $10 for children 10 and younger, available by calling Anna Harris at 581-2201. ACA is at 74 Riverwood Road in Swannanoa. PAWJECT RUNWAY: Cadette Girl Scout Troop #30014 presents a doggie fashion show and adoption event to benefit Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Entry fee is donation of a needed supply for Brother Wolf from its wish list, found at www.bwar.org/wishlist. Prizes for costumes that are silliest, sportiest, fanciest, dog-owner look-alike and people’s choice. From noon-4 p.m. at Hair of the Dog Salon, 1210 Hendersonville Road, Asheville.

April 22

WEE NATURALIST: N.C. Arboretum program for ages 2-5 with nature lessons, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Runs 10-11 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays (explore classroom starting at 9:30 a.m. or at 11 a.m.). This week’s theme is “Earth Day Celebration.” $5 if registered online, $6 for drop-ins. Younger siblings and adults free when accompanied by paid participant. Free parking for registered participants. Visit www.ncarboretum.org to register. Contact Michelle Pearce at 665-2492, ext. 243, or mpearce@ncarboretum.org.

April 23

AUTISM EXPO: Autism service providers will offer help for families in one central location. Free. 12:30-2 p.m. at Mission Reuter Center, 11 Vanderbilt Drive, Asheville. Visit www.empowerautism.com. WEE NATURALIST: See April 22.

April 24

CRAZY CHEMISTS: Make outrageous ooze. Limited space. Call 697-8333 to register. Free with $5 admission/free for members. At 10:30 a.m. At Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org or call 697-8333.

April 25

FENCE COMES ALIVE: Join educators from Foothills Equestrian and Nature Center as they show animals,

PARENTS’ NIGHTS OUT Need a date night? Here is a roundup of upcoming parents’ nights out. Have an event to submit? Email information to calendar@wncparent.com.

APRIL 6

ASHEVILLE DOWNTOWN YMCA: For ages 2-13. Themed nights include swimming, healthy snacks, games and crafts. 6-10 p.m. the first Saturday of each month at the Downtown YMCA, 30 Woodfin St., Asheville. $15 members/$23 nonmembers, with $2 sibling discount. Register online at www.ymcawnc.org. Call 210-9622 or email cemrick@ymcawnc.org for more information.

APRIL 12

FIRED UP! CREATIVE LOUNGE: Kids paint pottery, have pizza and play games, 6-9 p.m. the second Friday of the month. At 26 Wall St., Asheville, and 321 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Ages 5-12. $25. Registration required. Call Asheville shop at 253-8181 and Hendersonville shop at 698-9960. COLBURN EARTH SCIENCE MUSEUM: Kids’ Night at the Museum with activities,

3:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child's Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Call 697-8333 or visit www.handsonwnc.org. ‘GIVE OUR REGARDS TO BROADWAY’: Asheville Middle School Chorus, led by Kristin Mills, presents its sixth-annual spring musical, 7 p.m. in the AMS Auditorium. With monologues, skits, dances, solos, duets, and group numbers from popular modern musicals. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Free. Call 350-6259 for more information.

April 26

NEW CITY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL GOLF TOURNAMENT: Registration at 11 a.m., lunch at 11:30, with shotgun start at 1 p.m. at Black Mountain Golf Club. $200 per player. Contact Jonathan Bennett at jbennett@newcitychristian.org or call 989-1591 to participate or sponsor. Visit www.newcitychristian.org. TINY TYKES TOT SWAP CONSIGNMENT EVENT: Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts offers a consignment event during the ongoing Tiny Tykes program, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Stephens-Lee Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave. Buy, sell or trade your toddler items, equipment, or clothing. Participation is $5 per table, which can be reserved by contacting the center. Open to the public and free to attend. For more information, contact Candy Hensley Shaw at 350-2058.

April 27

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games, crafts, dinner and hands-on science lessons. For grades K-4. $20 nonmembers, $16 members and siblings. 5-9 p.m. in Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville. Register by phone at 254-7162. Visit www.colburnmuseum.org for more information.

APRIL 26

WOODFIN YMCA: Neighborhood Y at Woodfin offers Parents’ Night Out the fourth Friday of each month, 6-9 p.m. Themed nights include healthy snacks, games and crafts. $12 member/$18 nonmember, with $2 sibling discount. Ages 2-13. Register online at www.ymcawnc.org or in person at 40 N. Merrimon Ave., Suite 101, Asheville. Call 505-3990.

APRIL 27

HAHN’S GYMNASTICS: Gymnasticsrelated games and activities, with pizza dinner, 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Ages 3-12. For kids enrolled at Hahn’s, $15 for the first child, $10 each siblings; unenrolled children, $20 for the first child, $15 each sibling. Call 684-8832. At 18 Legend Drive, Arden. Visit www.hahnsgymnastics.com.

BUZZ ON BEES: Third-annual event at Chimney Rock Park. Observe enclosed, live beehives; chat with beekeepers; learn about beekeeping and honey production; bring home honey and beeswax products. With crafts and activities, and a costume prize for “best dressed” bee. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free with park admission. All ages. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com. KIDS FISHING TOURNAMENT: Open to all children ages 15 and younger. Runs 8:30-11:30 a.m. at Lake Julian Park. Register in advanced or the day of the tournament, starting at 8 a.m. $5 per child. No fishing license is required. Lake Julian Park will supply a bucket for each competitor’s catch; event is catch and release. Any type of pole and bait is permitted. No boat fishing is allowed. All children must be accompanied by at least one adult. With prizes in age categories. For information, contact David Blynt at 684-0376 or david.blynt@buncombecounty.org. NESTING PARTY: Learn about cloth diapering, baby wearing and importance of chemical-free living. Free. 2-4 p.m. at Nest Organics, 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. Call 258-1901 or visit www.nestorganics.com. OLD FARMER’S BALL — YMCA SATURDAY NIGHT DANCE: Community event with contra dancing, square dancing and similar kinds of traditional folk dance, rooted in old-time Appalachian music and other styles of traditional fiddle music. Family dance

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calendar of events Continued from Page 67 for families with kids ages 5-11 is 6-7:30 p.m. Contra dance for teens and adults is 8-10 p.m. with beginner lesson at 7:30. At Asheville YMCA, 30 Woodfin St. Visit www.oldfarmersball.com/ymca/index.php. PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Hahn’s Gymnastics hosts a night out for ages 3-12. Gymnastics-related games and activities, with pizza dinner, 5:30 p.m.-midnight. For kids enrolled at Hahn’s, $15 for the first child, $10 each siblings; unenrolled children, $20 for the first child, $15 each sibling. Call 684-8832. At 18 Legend Drive, Arden. Visit www.hahnsgymnastics.com. RUMMAGE SALE: Asheville Mothers of Multiples hosts its Spring Rummage Sale at U.S. Army Reserve Center, 224 Louisiana Ave., Asheville (behind the KFC on Patton Ave.). Gently used baby clothes, children’s clothes (plus older kids’ sizes, too), toys, books, equipment, maternity clothes, adult clothes and yard sale items (large and small, including furniture). Cash and credit cards only. 7-7:30 a.m. early bird sale for $1 admission; 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. regular sale (free admission); 2:30-3:30 p.m. halfprice sale. SPRING FESTIVAL: Stroll the grounds of Historic Johnson Farm, enjoy music, performances by Asheville Cloggers and bluegrass bands, craft demonstrations, more. $5 adults, $3 students, preschoolers free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 3346 Haywood Road in Hendersonville.

April 28

CELEBRATE PREGNANCY CLASS: The Baby Place at Park Ridge Health offers a twist on a normal childbirth class, covering important labor process and support techniques, dealing with pregnancy ailments, breast-feeding and newborn care. Includes a massage voucher with the $65 fee (scholarships available). 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Park Ridge Health, 100 Hospital Drive, Hendersonville. Call 681-2229 or visit www.parkridgebabies.com to register.

April 29

WEE NATURALIST: N.C. Arboretum program for ages 2-5 with nature lessons, stories, crafts and visits from classroom animals. Runs 10-11 a.m. Mondays and Tuesdays (explore classroom starting at 9:30 a.m. or at 11 a.m.). This week’s theme is “Spring Fling.” $5 if registered online, $6 for dropins. Younger siblings and adults free when accompanied by paid participant. Free parking for registered participants. Visit www.ncarboretum.org to register. Contact Michelle Pearce at 665-2492, ext. 243, or mpearce@ncarboretum.org.

April 30

PARI SCI GIRLS PROGRAM: For girls ages 9-14. Each month’s program will lead young girls to try a different facet of science and bring real connections to that field for their pursuit beyond the monthly program. At the Transylvania 4-H Office, 98 E. Morgan St., Brevard. $10. Register online at www.pari.edu or call 862-5554. THEATRICAL TWOS-DAYS: New class at Hands On!

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The fifth-annual Asheville Earth Day is noon-10 p.m. April 20 on Lexington Avenue, downtown Asheville. It’s free and for all ages. JOHN COUTLAKIS/JCOUTLAKIS@ CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

2013-14 KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION Buncombe County Public Schools Parents should call the school their child will attend to schedule an appointment. Times vary by school. » April 23: Avery’s Creek » April 29: Leicester, West Buncombe » April 30: Estes » May 1: Woodfin » May 3: Black Mountain Primary, Emma, Glen Arden, Williams » May 6: Bell, Fairview, Haw Creek, Johnston, Oakley » May 10: Barnardsville, North Buncome, Weaverville Primary » May 13: Candler, Hominy Valley, Pisgah, Sand Hill-Venable

A Child’s Gallery designed for 2- and 3-year-olds and parent or caregiver. A story will guide the children in theatrical play through creative movement, music, and art. Limited spaces; call to register. Free with admission. At 10:30 a.m. at Hands On!, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Call 697-8333 or visit www.handsonwnc.org. WEE NATURALIST: See April 29.

May 4

ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Session for pre-K and youth, Saturdays, May 4-25. Registration deadline is May 2 (with late registration fee of $20). Starts at $25. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. NATIONAL DAY OF PUPPETRY: Downtown festival

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with puppet parade, puppet shows, puppet-themed games and puppet-making activities. Free perfromances from Mountain Marionettes, Steve Myott Puppets, Alex the Super Juggler and more. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Roger McGuire Green, Pack Square Park, Asheville. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Fourweek session of Saturday lessons for parent-child through youth, May 4-25. Register by April 28. Starts at $25. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. SPACED-OUT SATURDAY: Astronomy for the whole family at the Colburn Earth Science Museum. Fly around the universe in a digital spaceship. This month’s theme is “Future Missions and Technology.” Free with admission or membership. At 1 and 3 p.m. at Pack Place, 2 S. Pack Square, Asheville. Visit www.colburnmuseum.org or call 254-7162. VIVA ASHEVEGAS: Carolina Day School’s biennial auction, with all the glamor of the 1960s. VIP reception starts at 6 p.m., with general admission at 7 p.m., at Biltmore Forest Country Club. For ticket or donation information, call 274-0758, ext. 299.

May 9-12

RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CIRCUS: “Fully Charged, Gold Edition” at U.S. Cellular Center. Visit www.ringling.com for information and tickets.

Ongoing

HEALTH ADVENTURE PROGRAMS: At the museum, in Biltmore Square Mall, at 800 Brevard Road, Suite 620. Call 665-2217 or visit www.thehealthadventure.org. » Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl: Home Sweet Home: Exhibit encourages families to spend time together outdoors and inspires children to discover and care for the natural resources that sustain our world — our home sweet home. » Nano Mini-Exhibition: A traveling exhibit through June 3 exploring the study of very small things with hands-on exhibits introducing realworld applications. » Story time: 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. » Science Wonders on Wednesday: Enjoy science demonstrations of all kinds, on topics from electricity, sound, the human body and more. At 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Free with admission. » Preschool Play Date: Interactive fun just for preschoolers, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Free with admission. » Science Wonders on Weekends: Experiment with science through hands-on activities led by museum facilitators. All ages. Two times, noon-1 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. Saturdays. Free with museum admission or membership. STEPHENS-LEE RECREATION CENTER PROGRAMS: At 30 George Washington Carver St., Asheville. Through Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts. Call 350-2058. » Afternoon Adventures: After-school program for grades K-5, 2:45-5:30 p.m. Homework help and recreational activities. $13 per child per week. » Tiny Tykes: Toddler program with crafts, manipulatives and centers, along with active play in the gym. 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday and Friday. $1 per class. Join the Tiny Tykes Club for multiclass rates. For more information, contact Jessica Johnston at 350-2058 or jjohnston@ashevillenc.gov.

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WNC Parent April 2013 edition