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c o n t e n t s School already? This month’s features 5

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Finding balance

Katie Wadington, editor

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Families learn to juggle schedules as multiple kids dive into many activities.

Money trouble

An expert offers tips on how to talk to your kids about financial troubles.

One last fling

Ideas on how to celebrate summer — and the start of school.

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Easing transitions

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Unique gear

Dyslexia 101

Columnist Scott Tiernan interviews two experts about dyslexia.

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Tips for making the move to a new school easier on kids and parents.

Going back to school with supplies that are beyond the usual.

After-school options

Two new programs are among the afternoon options for parents.

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Cooking to freeze

Save time in the kitchen by “freezer cooking.”

Coming soon: Scene

I’m a bit reluctant for school to start this year. It is my son’s last year in elementary school — and since he’s the youngest, it’s our family’s last year there. And this is my daughter’s final year in middle school. Next school year will mean a whole lot of change. So I’d like to savor the comfort and familiarity of the next 10 months or so. Plus, this has been a good summer for our family. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to ship the kids off quite yet. Even though summer is still in full swing, it isn’t too early to think about getting your household ready to dive back into academics and the hustle and bustle of the school year. As activities and events start filling your schedule, finding balance is key. Our story on Page 5 looks at how some families in WNC balance multiple kids and their sports, scouting and more. (You’re not alone in needing to be in three places at the same time.) If your children are moving to a new school, be sure to read the story on Page 17, which has tips and suggestions for easing the transition. On Page 13, columnist Scott Tiernan interviews two area experts on dyslexia, learning more about what it is and how it is treated. Before you totally give up on summer, why not celebrate it one last time? The story on Page 10 has some ideas for a final summer fling and how to mark the start of school. Remember, whether the kids are in school or not, summer lasts into September. Make the most of it with your family.

Look for Scene, a new weekly culinary and culture guide, to launch Aug. 3 in the Citizen-Times. Scene will take a fresh look at Asheville’s food world, from seasonal and farm-to-table eating trends to its personalities. Plus a weekly rundown of kid-friendly activities and other adventures.

In every issue Artist’s Muse ...................24 Growing Together............28 Nature Center Notes ........29

On the cover

Mallory Ray, by Kaelee Denise Photography, www.kaeleedenise.com. Photographed in Biltmore Village.

.com

Home-School Happenings.30

Are you a member?

Divorced Families ............38

Join the conversation, post photos and connect with other parents at WNCParent.com. Look for WNC Parent on Facebook and Twitter.

Librarian’s Picks...............46 Story Times .....................47 Kids Page ........................59 Calendar .........................60

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P.O. Box 2090, Asheville, NC 28802 828-232-5845 | www.wncparent.com PRESIDENT AND PUBLISHER Randy Hammer WNC PARENT EDITOR Katie Wadington — 232-5829 kwadington@citizen-times.com

FEATURES EDITOR Bruce Steele bsteele@citizen-times.com

ADVERTISING/CIRCULATION Brittany Martin — 232-5898, bymartin@gannett.com CALENDAR CONTENT Due by August 10. E-mail calendar@wncparent.com ADVERTISING DEADLINE Advertising deadline for the September issue is August 14.

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LEARNING TO

JUGGLE The Lance kids — from left, Karlee, Graycen and Spencer — put their parents to the test with their many extracurricular activities. Plus, the kids are at three separate schools. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

Parents want kids to experience sports, music and more, despite the strain it puts on family schedules Continues on Page 6

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By Betty Lynne Leary

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WNC Parent contributor

hannon Thornburg remembers a spring night several years ago when her two oldest boys, Jesse and Luke, were at a track meet, her two girls, Whitney and Hannah, were playing softball, and youngest son Josh was at a baseball game. “I never saw any of them play that night,” Shannon recalls. “All the events were in different places and all I did was drive from drop-off to pickup.”

Such is the life parents lead when they have multiple kids participating in multiple activities often in completely different parts of town. The Thornburg family lives in northeast Asheville, and now that her youngest child is a high school sophomore, Shannon isn’t spending nearly as much time shuttling kids to activities. Oldest son Jesse, 23, graduated from college last year; Luke, 21, is a college senior; Whitney, 19, is a college sophomore; Josh, 17, is entering his senior year at Asheville Christian Academy in Swannanoa, and Hannah, 15, is a sophomore there. The Thornburg kids have been active from an early age, supported by parents who wanted them to learn not only from classwork at school but the lessons that come from sports, music, clubs, and yes, the logistics of scheduling. “We wanted them to learn early on to strive to do their best in everything, but that winning wasn’t the end goal,” Shannon says “In music lessons and orchestra rehearsals, we truly wanted each child to learn and appreciate music. They all learned valuable lessons in patience, teamwork and hard work.” Both Shannon and husband Gene work full-time now, but Shannon worked part-time when the kids were younger and needed help getting from one activity to another. All five kids took Suzuki piano and the youngest three took Suzuki violin. The litany of sports in which they all excel includes baseball, softball, basketball, cross country, volleyball and soccer. “We tried to restrict them to one sport per season, and they understood the choices and time restraints,” Shannon says. Each child was responsible for his or her own equipment and uniform, which were packed the night before. The Thornburgs also participated in chess club, math club and Battle of the Books at ACA. For this family, academics come first. “If a project or important assignment was due, we did not participate in a sporting event,” Shannon says. “We also say no to most activities on Sunday unless we can all participate as we feel Sunday is the day for us to be together.” The Lance family, from Etowah, is in the throes of multiple activities with their three children — Spencer, 14, is entering high school; sister Graycen, 11, will be in middle school; and Karlee, 8, is in elementary school. Spencer participates in football, wrestling and track, while his sisters are active in dance, cheerleading and gymnastics. “Since I work from home as a full-time social worker, I have a more flexible schedule,” says mom Heidi. “I am the main one to transport. During football season, I take Graycen to dance then come home and take Spencer to football and Karlee to cheerleading.” It’s then up to husband Pat to pick up Graycen from dance. Pat is an electrician who also works as a DJ for weddings. “It’s difficult when Spencer is in wrestling because practice

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Will Strum, in the foreground, and his brother Bailey, at back, learn about car maintenance with their Boy Scout troop. Along with their brother Andy, they stay busy with several sports and scouting. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT ends at 4:30, and Pat is still at work,” Heidi says. “What saves us with Spencer’s school sports are great friends we carpool with, plus we are very blessed to have our parents living nearby whom also help out.” Even with the hectic schedule, Heidi and Pat feel it’s important for the kids to be involved and stay active. “We want to give our kids every opportunity possible,” she says. “They choose their activities, and we support them. Our only rule is once you start an activity, you finish it, and you give it your all while you are doing it.” For the Strum family, work, school, and activities are spread from one end of WNC to another. Mom Julie is the development director for CooperRiis, while dad Bruce is a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch. They

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live in Candler, Bruce works in Asheville, Julie works in Mill Spring, and their boys — Bailey, 14; Will, 13; and Andy, 10 — attend ACA. Oh, and Bruce is in the Wake Forest MBA program, which means he travels to Charlotte every weekend plus one night a week. “We are a team, and we have close friends we depend on for carpools,” says Julie. “As parents, we also volunteer in many of their activities. This way, we stay involved in what they are doing and have a little more say in their schedules.” Bailey is involved in the rifle team, ski team and track at ACA, while brother Will runs cross country and track and skis with the ACA team. Andy participates in Sports Excel programs at school. All three boys are involved in scouting. “The hardest thing is when all three have to be somewhere different at the same time,” Julie says. “We also have Type 1 diabetes, asthma and a genetic collagen disorder that complicate things.” The health issues mean more physician appointments than a typical family, and planning ahead doesn’t always help when unexpected issues arise. “There have been times when Bruce is in Franklin and I have had to rush to Swannanoa from Mill Spring to handle a medical problem at school,” Julie says. “It is stressful, but we have coaches, teachers, and friends in our lives that help us pull it off.” Having three active boys may be stressful at times, but the Strums feel extracurricular activities are important for growth and development. “Kids learn from every aspect of life, in school and out. They never stop absorbing everything around them,” Julie says. “I would prefer they absorb things that model good work ethic, dedication and perseverance, and for us, we find these in scouts and sports.” And while their days are hectic at this phase of their lives, the Strums manage to find down time . “There is a skill to knowing how to do nothing, and to be present and calm in the moment,” Julie notes. “Learning to be in the moment is something I am still trying to figure out. I want the boys to understand the value of balance in life, so, yes, I am learning to say no.”

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Money troubles? Don’t hide them from the kids By Paul Clark WNC Parent contributor

Nearly every family has money troubles at some point, and the best way to alleviate children’s worries is to talk about what’s going on. “Children know when there’s tension in the household,” said Celeste Collins, executive director of OnTrack, a financial education and counseling agency in Asheville. “If there’s tension around money and parents don’t talk about it, their kids will often think they’re responsible.” Adults may feel like failures as parents if they’re having tough times. They may think that hiding the truth is the best thing for the kids. But short of telling them more than they need to know, telling them something — something truthful — will often alleviate their worries. In the absence of truth, the scenarios that children invent can be worse than the actual problems. Collins shares some tips for talking to children about money troubles. » Money is not a taboo subject. Allow your children to ask you things about the family finances. If you feel your anger rising, ask them for a little bit of space to compose yourself and formulate an answer, Collins said. » Let them know it’s not their fault. If money troubles have you in a bad mood, let the kids know it is not them that’s bother you. “Mommy and Daddy are dealing with money issues, so this is not a good time, and it’s nothing about you,” Collins suggested as something you could say. » Don’t overstate the situation. It’s better to say the family can’t afford something right now than to fly off the handle about ending up in the poor house. “Especially with younger children, they take that very literally,” she said.

» Give the kids an allowance. It helps them become discriminate about spending money. And it helps them understand the concept of a family budget. “It’s a great way to teach them about their parents’ world,” Collins said. » Let them earn the allowance. It not only teaches them that reward follows good work, but also allows them to contribute to the family good. Setting the table, vacuuming the carpets, walking the dog are all good candidates. » Tell them this won’t last forever. Like the rest of your life, you’ll have good times and bad times with money. Stressing to your children that tight times are “just a season in our lives” will help them understand the rest of life’s ups and downs, Collins said. » Get everyone involved in saving money. Kids might welcome the opportunity to help the family save money, Collins said. Task them with finding free things everyone can do on weekends. Instead of eating out, let them be in charge of planning a menu for a picnic. » Make savings into a game. Let children clip coupons for family items, then let them match the coupons to the brands in the grocery store, Collins said. That makes saving money easier for children to understand. » Let them see the results. Show children the difference in costs between name-brand and store-brand items. Let them hunt for brands that are less expen-

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If you’re family is feeling the financial pinch, don’t hide it from the kids, a local expert suggests. HEATHER WINES/GANNETT sive. Show them the savings on the grocery store receipts. » Celebrate their achievements. If, after getting them to turn off lights they’re no longer using, you see month-tomonth savings on electricity, show them the power bill and plan a celebration that rewards the good effort. “Money is one of those things that if parents don’t talk to them about it, somebody’s going to — TV or other kids at school,” Collins said. “Incorporating money in day-to-day life is a way to help kids understand it so that money does not have this tremendous power. Whether there is a crisis or not, parents need to be talking to kids about money.”

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CELEBRATE THE START OF

SCHOOL Start a new tradition as summer ends By Pam J. Hecht WNC Parent contributor

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on’t let your kids lament the end of summer. Show them that the beginning of the school year, like any new journey, is something to celebrate.

Have one last summer fling

Why not mark the start of school with an overnight adventure, perhaps spending one night in a place the family hasn’t yet been? This might be in a tent, in your own backyard. Exchange stories of past school adventures — real or imagined — around a roaring campfire or in front of a hotel room TV (turned off, of course).

German tradition is to give children a “schultute” on the first day of school. The cone is can be filled with trinkets, candy and school supplies. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

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Get ready for the school year by having an end-of-summer sleepover with friends your child may not have seen over the summer. It’s a good way for students to get reacquainted before returning to the classroom. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

Bury a time capsule

to address them.

Make a time capsule with wishes for the new school year to dig up at the end of the year, month or, perhaps, the halfway mark in December. If there any worries, write those down, too, and talk about possible ways

Design school gear

Decorate a T-shirt to wear on the first day of school or personalize a plain lunchbox or bag with paint or permanent markers. Take a trip to the bead store and cre-

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ate a beaded bracelet with a back-toschool message. At Chevron Trading Post & Bead Co. in Asheville, for example, kids and parents can make jewelry and other beaded items in the store. Or, make a “create” portfolio with Continues on Page 12

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Celebrate Continued from Page 11

poster board folded in half and decorated to store future creative work that will be done in the coming year, says Ginger Huebner, director of Roots + Wings School of Art. “It offers inspiration and excitement as they think ahead to all they will be making,” she says. Linda Chester, owner of Fired Up! Creative Lounge, a paint-your-own pottery store in Asheville and Hendersonville, suggests decorating a pencil holder, storage box, mug, cereal bowl, or a dry erase board (once glazed and fired, the white areas of the board turn into a dry erase marker surface.) “You can add little messages like ‘Have a good school day,’” Chester says.

Throw a party

Find out who’s in your child’s class and invite them to a party. Have kids draw a picture of what they look forward to during the coming school year and decorate alphabet cookies or cupcakes with pencils or other school-related décor. Send out report card invitations, serve lunchbox favorites, and decorate with school colors. Make brown-bag book covers, decorate calendars and design bookmarks, then ring a bell when it’s time to switch activities. Or, go online to a store like Oriental Trading to find school-themed décor, supplies or craft projects. Jennifer Crowe, of Candler, who has a 15-year-old son and a grown daughter, says that when her kids were younger, back-to-school sleepover parties helped them “transition to the school year.”

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“It helped ease the dread of going back, if only because they were suddenly excited to see friends again.” Sage Turner, West Asheville dad, who has kids get together before school starts

“It’s how they got back into the swing — they’d invite a handful of friends they hadn’t seen all summer,” says Crowe, who would ask party guests to bring photos of what they did over the summer. Host a back-to-school makeover for older kids and paint nails with school colors or notebook paper designs, experiment with hairdos and make a homemade sugar scrub, mask with things like egg whites or yogurt and cucumber eye pads for facials.

Get creative

For Sage Turner, of West Asheville, whose son Dylan is 10, activities that involve “group bonding and lots of entertainment seems to work the best, with no party favors — just memories.” Once Turner took a group of her son’s friends to a campground on the beach where they could “stay up really late and sleep in every day.” She has also hosted a water balloon party with hay bale fortresses built by kids in groups and a remote control car party using scrap cardboard to make a driveway-sized obstacle course. Getting kids together before school starts helps kids catch up with each other before the year starts, says Turner.

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“Some had left for the summer to see their other parent far away and benefited from regrouping with friends and being rowdy and just letting loose and for others, it helped ease the dread of going back, if only because they were suddenly excited to see friends again,” says Turner. “It helps kids to have something really fun to do and talk about, breaks up cliques and strengthens the group dynamic.”

Start a new tradition

Consider giving small gifts of items that might come in handy during the coming year and wrap them up for the night before school starts. Or, for the first day of school, make a traditional German “schultute” (”school bag”) — a cardboard, poster board or scrapbook paper cone filled with candy, trinkets and small toys, and school supplies and topped with colorful tissue paper. Buy or make a small welcome gift for the teacher or a “welcome back candy gram” for each classmate with a small sweet treat and a question attached to answer and return like, “What was your favorite part of the summer?” or “What are you looking forward to at school this year?” Cook a special dinner the night before the big day (and let your child pick the menu) or have a family movie night and choose movies with a school setting or theme. Pam J. Hecht is a freelance writer, editor and instructor in Asheville. E-mail her at pamjh8@gmail.com.


dad’s view

Rising Key School second-grade student Selia Morgan, right, practices visual drills for reading and writing with teacher, Amanda Smith, left, as her sister, Ella Morgan and Diane Milner, principal of the Key School at Carolina Day, look on. JOHN FLETCHER/JFLETCHER@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

Demystifying dyslexia By Scott Tiernan WNC Parent columnist

Dyslexia is a complicated, often misunderstood learning disability. To help demystify dyslexia, I interviewed two leading experts in the field. Diane Milner is principal of the Key School at Carolina Day and the director of the Key Learning Center. She is a fellow with the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (F/AOGPE) and a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT with

ALTA). She founded the Key Learning Center in August 1998 with 13 students. The center later became the Key School and now serves 84 students. Sandie Barrie Blackley is the co-founder and chief knowledge officer of Lexercise, an education company that specializes in treating students with dyslexia. She is visiting assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders at UNC Greensboro. In 1998, she was honored with the Clinical Services Award by the North Carolina Speech, Hearing and Language Association (NCSHLA) — the award for the state’s most outstanding clinician. The Key School serves students with

DYSLEXIA AWARENESS DAY On Sept. 22, the Key School will host Dyslexia Awareness Day. The community outreach event will feature a panel of well-known, successful individuals who will speak about the impact dyslexia has had on their lives. Information sessions will include: What is dyslexia? What are the indicators? Who can diagnose dyslexia? And, what can parents and teachers do to help dyslexic children reach their potential? For more information, visit www.carolinaday.org/dyslexia.

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language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia; Lexercise serves the same population via an online platform. I’ve been fortunate to get to know Diane by taking course work at Key this summer, and I’ve worked closely with Sandie over the past year on a number of projects for Lexercise. Both women are phenomenal sources of information on dyslexia. Question: What is dyslexia, and what causes it? Sandie Blackley: Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is marked by unexpected difficulties with reading and sometimes with speaking in children and adults in comparison to their intelligence. Diane Milner: The exact causes of dyslexia are still not completely clear, but Sandie Barrie anatomical and brain Blackley imagery studies show differences in the way the brain of a person with dyslexia develops and functions. Moreover, most people with dyslexia have been found to have problems with identifying the separate speech sounds within a word and/or learning how letters represent those sounds, a key factor in their reading difficulties. Dyslexia runs in families; parents with dyslexia are very likely to have children with dyslexia. Q: What should parents do if they suspect their child has dyslexia? Milner: Help for a child begins with a true understanding of the learning difference. Trust your gut feelings and observations of your child. Seek out a complete evaluation if you see your child exhibiting several of the indicators . Discuss your concerns with your child’s school. If you are not satisfied with the answer, seek out a private evaluation. Blackley: Parents should arrange for their child to have a language processing evaluation by a qualified clinician. A language processing evaluation should pinpoint the cause(s) of the language and reading difficulties and outline treatment for them.

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Q: What is the best treatment for dyslexia? Milner: Individuals with dyslexia can learn with specialized instruction. Proper instruction promotes reading success and alleviates many difficulties associated with dyslexia. Instruction for individuals with reading and related learning disabilities should be: » Intensive — given every day or very frequently for sufficient time. » Explicit — component skills for reading, spelling and writing are explained, directly taught and modeled by the teacher. Children are discouraged from guessing at words. » Systematic and cumulative — has a definite, logical sequence of concept introduction; concepts are ordered from simple to more complex; each new concept builds upon previously introduced concepts, with built-in review to aid memory and retrieval. » Structured — has step-by-step procedures for introducing, reviewing, and practicing concepts.

» Multisensory — links listening, speaking, reading and writing together; involves movement and “hands on” learning. Q: What are some treatment approaches that simply don’t work? Milner: Be very cautious of “miracle approaches” that don’t involve a welltrained educator. Even though the diagnosis of dyslexia is actually based on the scientific understanding that certain brains are hard-wired very differently, the treatment is 100 percent an educational one. Blackley: In “Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision: A Subject Review,” the American Academy of Pediatrics has reviewed several treatments for dyslexia for which they conclude have very little scientific evidence: vision therapy, tinted lenses and colored overlays. Q: What should parents consider when choosing a treatment program for their child? Blackley: Parents should be guided by

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consensus research that supports a structured language approach (sometimes called an Orton-Gillingham approach). In addition, parents will want to bear in mind that research has shown that intensive, daily practice can dramatically improve a child’s response to treatment. Of course, the child’s motivation and attitude is extremely important, as well. Using a treatment approach that allows objective measurement of effort is helpful because persistence and motivation is fostered by praising effort as opposed to praising the work products. Q: Does dyslexia go away over time? Milner: Dyslexia is a lifelong condition, and dyslexia and other related learning disorders such as dysgraphia and dyscalculia cannot be cured. With proper help, many people with dyslexia can learn to read and write well. Early identification and treatment is the key to helping individuals with dyslexia achieve in school and in life. It is equally as important to help individuals with dyslexia discover and

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LEARN MORE To learn about Lexercise, visit www.lexercise.com. For information about the Key School, visit www.cdschool.org.

enrich their gifts and natural talents. Blackley: The language processing differences that accompany dyslexia persist over the life span, but much can be done to manage and overcome them. With appropriate treatment, people with dyslexia can often master reading and writing at highly advanced levels. They often benefit from the use of assistive technologies (e.g., text-to-speech and speech-to-text) and school and workplace accommodations to relieve fatigue that often accompanies the additional effort required for them to process print. Q: What are the two to three most common misconceptions about dyslexia? Milner: Myth: Dyslexia is a rare condi-

tion. Fact: Dyslexia effects 15-20 percent of the population. Myth: Dyslexics see things backwards. Fact: The problem is not a visual one but a phonological one. People read with their brain, not with their eyes. Myth: Dyslexic individuals are lazy and not smart. Fact: Many of the brightest, most intelligent people have dyslexia. Blackley: Myth: Dyslexics have general trouble with learning and dyslexia is correlated with IQ. Fact: Many dyslexics are highly talented, with adequate and even superior learning speed when the material is presented in an accessible format (e.g., audio recording).

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EASING SCHOOL TRANSITIONS By Susanna Barbee WNC Parent contributor

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hen the new school year arrives and it’s time for children to leave the comforts of home or the security of a small elementary school, many parents become a bit unnerved.

Transitioning from an intermediate school to a middle school or

from middle to high school can also cause anxiety for families, especially when moving on means switching school buildings.

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Anna Hasskamp, Weaverville mom of Elijah, 11, Gabriel, 7, Olivia, 5, and Ezekiel, 2, has experienced kindergarten transition twice, most recently with Gabriel. Before kindergarten begins in the fall, schools host open houses or meet the teacher events, where parents receive general information regarding school protocol and supplies as well as specific details such as the importance of children learning to tie their shoes and use the Continues on Page 18

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TIPS FOR EASING THE TRANSITION » Get involved: Parental involvement decreases significantly once students reach middle school, but there are numerous ways to get involved in the upper grades as well. » Communicate: Always have lines of communication open between you and the teacher, either via email or phone. » Organize: Help your child organize supplies each night, and make sure he is completing his agenda and having it signed by the teacher, if need be. » Talk: Have frequent conversations with your child to determine their stress and anxiety levels. If you have any concerns, contact the school counselor. » Balance: Encourage and help your child balance his/her academic and social life, especially once he/she reaches middle school. » Assess academics: Frequently assess how your child is doing academically. If your child is not telling you, contact her teacher(s). If you have a concern about her academic performance, contact the teacher. » Enforce healthy habits: Students can’t perform well if they’re tired, hungry, or unhealthy. Instill an appropriate bedtime and healthy eating habits. Encourage exercise and limit time with recreational technology. » Encourage study skills: Help your child develop study skills. Also, create a clean, quiet, supplied place at home for him to complete homework. » Take a break: If you child seems stressed about school, take a break and do something she really enjoys. Address the school stressors after she has had a little fun. » Foster independence slowly: Many parents back off almost completely once a child hits middle school. Students must gain school-related independence slowly. All students, even upper level students, need parental assistance in order to achieve success at school.

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Verity and Jinger Kelley had different concerns when Verity moved up to middle school. Jinger worried about reading and testing anxiety. Verity was nervous about switching schools and getting comfortable in a new environment. ALYSSA MURKIN/AMURKIN@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

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bathroom on their own before starting school. Hasskamp attended these meetings at Weaverville Primary, where she learned important and helpful tips. Her experience with kindergarten transition was very positive. “Gabriel is a very social child and was eager to get started in kindergarten,” she said. “His teacher was extremely purposeful and creative in everything that she did. He thrived in that atmosphere.” “It’s very important for all parents to communicate their goals to the teacher,” she added. “Education is really about a partnership between parents and teachers.” It seems that just as a child has finally adjusted to elementary school and knows the ropes, so to speak, it’s time to move on to intermediate school or middle school. At this challenging age, parents have an entirely new set of concerns.

“One main concern is that their child will be lost in the crowd and may become just a number,” said Annett Husson, a guidance counselor at Waynesville Middle School. “Now parents have to meet with a team of teachers instead of one. Parents are also concerned about bullying, fighting and drugs. Incoming sixth-graders are worried about getting lost, older students picking on them and not knowing what their new teachers may expect.” Hendersonville mom Jinger Kelley recently experienced middle school transition with her daughter, Verity, 12, now a rising seventh-grader at Rugby Middle. “Verity has some anxiety with reading and testing,” Kelley said. “The elementary teachers really took care of her as far as that goes. I was worried that the middle school teachers would be stricter and not give her as much time to finish things, but they were awesome.” Verity had different concerns than her mother. She said she was nervous about switching schools and getting comfortable in a new environment. Verity and her friends were used to being the “big men on

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campus,” now they were moving back to the bottom of the totem pole. Once she started middle school, Verity really enjoyed the freedom and making friends from other elementary schools. The lockers took some time, but she adjusted to those as well, she said. There are some distinct differences between elementary and middle school. “In middle school, students now have to work with six teachers, a new school atmosphere, many more students their age and older, and be expected to be more independent learners,” Husson said. With that being said, there are many positives to students entering middle school. “Students can look forward to a little more freedom as far as navigating the middle school campus,” she said. “Many students become more socially involved and find something extracurricular to become involved in. They have an opportunity to focus on their strengths.” Activities that students may have participated in once a week or perhaps only outside of school can become an integral part of the child’s day in middle and high school. For instance, if a child is a musician, he can really foster that talent in band or chorus. If a student has played youth sports, she can now be a member of a competitive school team. Academically, there are many extracurricular options, such as Odyssey of the Mind, Envirothon, Science Olympiad, Math Counts and Battle of the Books, just to name a few. Moving from middle to high school is yet another big transition. “Freshman students are most concerned with finding their way around a larger campus. I think starting high school is just an overwhelming feeling all around,” said Clarissa Gilliam, guidance counselor at Asheville High School. To ease the transition, all area high schools meet with eighth-grade students before they enter the ninth grade. Students have an opportunity to tour the campus, meet with counselors and older students, and ask questions. Over the summer, staff is at schools to answer any questions parents may have. Schools know that parents and students want to feel prepared when moving on the next grade and another school building, so they have protocols in place to make the transition as seamless as possible. As Hasskamp said, “When you’ve got good teachers that set structure quickly, it doesn’t take children long at all to get adjusted.”

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Beyond the

ORDINARY school gear

Asheville shops where back-to-school shopping isn’t run-of-the-mill By Paul Clark WNC Parent contributor

What’s worse about back-to-school shopping, the prices or the traffic? You don’t have to go to the mall to outfit your kids in clothing and gear. The Asheville area has plenty of alternative shopping outlets (some online) that will help you avoid sticker shock and long lines of cars.

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As with anything else, planning is key. “People do shop ahead these days,” said Nina Miller, co-founder of the popular semi-annual Wee Trade Consignment Sale at the WNC Agricultural Center. “Moms and dads are trying to be as savvy as possible.” Goodwill stores are a good place to find used backpacks and lunchboxes that don’t

Sturdier backpacks available at local outfitters can double as hiking packs. GANNETT look embarrassingly new (has your child ever scuffed up a backpack so it doesn’t look so fancy?). ReStore, the Habitat for Humanities store in Asheville, recently got in a donation of office supplies. Not only will you get items inexpensively, but you’ll also know that your money is going to a good cause. Craigslist is pretty hit-ormiss, but you can find children’s clothes and accessories with some perseverance. Asheville Freecycle, a Yahoo group, is a great online site to ask for and give away anything, including back-to-school gear. One of the group’s few criteria to join and list things is that they must be free (hence the name). Once you join, you ask fellow mem-

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bers for something. They get back to you through your email or Yahoo address. If you want the bookbags to also serve on hikes and overnighters, places like REI in Biltmore Park, Diamond Brand in Fletcher and Second Gear, a used gear store in West Asheville, are good choices. While you’re at Biltmore Park, check out the lunch fun boxes at O.P. Taylor’s toy store. Mast General Store in Asheville packs a sweet Mickey Mouse tin lunchbox and a crazy Curious George lunchbox among others it offers. For something original, you can try one of the many craft and art outlets in Asheville that carry bags and boxes, such as Woolworth Walk and Kress Emporium downtown. Or you can support Daphne Cohan, a clever crafter in Weaverville who hand-makes fun, reusable lunch bags and sells them through her Etsy site (etsy.com/ shop/thehighfiberco). For clothes, Wee Trade Consignment Sale (wee-trade.net) is a twice-yearly consignment event at the WNC Agricultural Center, across from Asheville Regional Airport. The before-school event this year

SALES TAX HOLIDAY Back-to-school shoppers may be able to save big the first weekend in August, designated by the state as a sales tax holiday. (And it isn’t exclusively for school items — anyone who buys items exempted from sales tax is eligible for the savings.) Here’s a quick look at what you can buy tax-free between midnight Aug. 3 and 11:59 p.m. Aug. 5. For more details on what qualifies, visit www.dornc.com/taxes/sales/salestax_holiday.html. » Clothing with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Includes coats, jackets, hats, hosiery, scarves, shoes, uniforms, wedding apparel, bathing suits, diapers, and more. » Sport or recreational equipment with a sales price of $50 or less per item. Items worn in conjunction with an athletic or recreational activity that are not suitable for general use. It can include cleated or spiked athletic shoes, gloves, ballet and tap shoes, protective gear and more. » Computers, including tablet computers and netbooks, with a sales price of $3,500 or less per item. Includes a central processing unit, monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers since these items are deemed to be necessary in the operation of the computer. The separate sale of a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or speakers is subject to the applicable tax when the item is not sold in conjunction with a central processing unit. An eReader, is not a computer and is, therefore, taxable. » Computer supplies with a sales price of $250 or less per item. Including computer storage media, handheld electronic schedulers (except devices that are cellular phones), personal digital assistants (except devices that are cellular phones), computer printers, printer supplies for computers, including printer paper and printer ink » School supplies with a sales price of $100 or less per item. Everything from pencils to paper to index cards to watercolor paints. » School instructional materials with a sales price of $300 or less per item. Reference books, reference maps and globes, textbooks and workbooks. Source: N.C. Department of Revenue

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Gear Continued from Page 21

is Aug. 11-12 and 17-18. The event exists primarily to give parents a place to sell their children’s clothing and gear and earn 70 percent of the sales price. And it’s huge. More than 1,400 families sell goods in a space that has 45,000 square feet, and it’s a great place to find inexpensive clothes and school gear. “Moms love it,” said Miller, “because it’s a great way to earn and save money at the same time.” Consigners set the prices. Miller estimates the gently used clothing costs a third of what it does new in a retail shop. Backpacks and lunchboxes are usually available, she said. Children’s Trading Post in Asheville bills itself as an upscale children’s consignment shop that trades in popular brands that include Abercrombie, Aeropostale, American Eagle and others. “We’re pretty picky about the clothing we take,” said owner Sandra Fowler. The back-to-school season is the biggest of the year for its two stores, she said. Clothes cost a quarter to half as much as they do new elsewhere, she said. “It’s a good way to keep your children in good clothes,” she said, especially as they grow. “It’s quite an expense to outfit your children every season in a new size.”

Daphne Cohan, of Weaverville, makes reusable lunch bags and sells them through her Etsy site. PAUL CLARK/SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

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parent news in brief Region’s only radiology center opens at Mission Children’s ASHEVILLE — Mission Children’s Hospital recently opened its new Children’s Radiology Center at the Reuter Outpatient Center, at 11 Vanderbilt Park Drive. “It is exciting to see the culmination of several years of work with the opening of the Children’s Radiology Center,” said Dr. Susan Mims, vice president and medical director of Mission Children’s Hospital. “As the region’s only pediatric imaging center, it offers the children of Western North Carolina improved access to highquality, age-specific imaging in a child and family friendly environment.” Services, including X-ray, open architecture MRI, ultrasound and fluoroscopy, will be provided by pediatric radiologists and specially trained radiology technicians with expertise in pediatric care. A pediatric sedation team will provide sedation when needed for studies, and the Child Life team is available to help ease fears for children and families. The imaging center is located with the pediatric specialists.

Kids’ cooking school comes to Biltmore Park

ASHEVILLE — Lil’ Chef Kids Cooking Studio will open in Biltmore Park Town Square this fall. Founded in 2008 by Susan Caldwell in Raleigh, this is the second location for Lil’ Chef Kids Cooking Studio. The studio will offer celebrations and classes for preschool children to teens, with programs such as themed birthday parties, camps, weekly classes, kids night out, corporate events and more. Kids will have fun in the kitchen while learning about teamwork, planning and making healthy choices, as well as chemistry, math, science and creativity. Teen chefs, ages 11 and older, will enjoy more challenging classes and recipes. The studio also will offer a Healthy Child Series with nutrition and fitness led by a certified personal trainer. Adult classes will also be available. The studio is at 8 Town Square Blvd., Suite 130, between BETTE and Moda. For more information, visit www.LilChefAsheville.com or call 367-3842. The studio is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lilchefasheville and Twitter at www.twitter.com/ lilchefavl.

Mission Children’s Hospital recently opened the region’s only radiology center for children. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

Eliada receives grant for tennis facility ASHEVILLE — Thanks to support from a generous donor and a grant from the United States Tennis Association, Eliada will be able to add tennis to a long list of recreational programming available to the agency’s students. News of the USTA grant arrived just as a tennis facility fundraising campaign concluded. The campaign raised nearly $80,000. Eliada will add two full-size tennis courts that will allow younger children to play on a smaller court within the larger perimeter. The courts include handicap accessibility. “We have always believed in the power of athletics to influence the life of a child,” said Mark Upright, Eliada’s president and CEO. “In the last several years, we’ve geared most of our athletics programming to individual sports like golf, running and tennis. Our hope is that during their time at Eliada, students will be introduced to a sport that they can play throughout their entire lives.” Retired orthopedic surgeon and former Eliada board member Dr. James Weilbaecher provided a $50,000 lead gift for the new tennis courts. Learn more at www.eliada.org.

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artist’s muse

Exploring the natural world through art By Ginger Huebner WNC Parent columnist

My family and I are often out exploring the beautiful landscape we are blessed to call home here in Western North Carolina. It is rare that we don’t find some fascinating item that gets picked up and studied, and often will lead us into having a wonderful conversation about how much the natural world can teach us. This summer, both my children and I have had some unique discoveries. Most recently, I was invited to visit a friend’s beehive as research for a commissioned work of art. I put the bee protection on and tromped down to the hives as the shadow of the official beekeeper. I glanced over his shoulder as he opened up the hives and pointed out different things to me. It was spectacular. They were like machines: hard at work, with specific tasks at hand from the bottom to the top of the hive and across the field to the flowers that they were pollinating. If there was ever something that could make you simply be in awe of our natural world, it was this. I was given a small piece of the honeycomb that the bees were working on. Every single cell is perfectly formed, woven together by paper-thin walls of wax. The two sides of the honeycomb are offset from one another perfectly, for better structural support. Wow. In one of our summer art camps this year, we used the wasp nest and honeycomb to inspire a simple project using cut paper and tape. While a very elementary project, the connection back to the world of nature is a powerful one. And the impact it had on the students was impressive. The process involves cutting small strips of different colored paper (or you could use a specific selection of colors). Using tape, create circles with the strips of paper. Now tape them together. Keep on going; and who knows — maybe an

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Looking for inspiration? Turn to nature, such as this honeycomb. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT entire wall of your home will be covered in this amazingly simple work of art! Ginger Huebner is the director of Roots + Wings

School of Art, which offers visual art classes for all ages. Email her at info@rootsandwingsarts.com or visit www.rootsandwingsarts.com.

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Keeping kids busy after school By Caitlin Jenkins Special to WNC Parent

ASHEVILLE — After-school care isn’t kicking it old school anymore. Parents are looking for after-school programs that emphasize education, but they also want their kids to have a place where they can let loose after a long day in the classroom. There are new child care programs popping up in Asheville. This new generation of after school encourages kids to get creative and get moving, while still maintaining a focus on learning. “What parents really want is homework carefully done and checked,” said Mica Waters-Carter, director of Charlotte Street Kids. “But it’s also important for kids to have empty space to fill with their own ideas.” Creative child care organizations understand that playtime is equally as important as homework time. “We really value fun,” said Jim Spearin, executive youth development director

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Julia Steininger works on homework at Charlotte Street Kids. SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

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with the YMCA. “Kids have choice and impact on what goes on.” Many of these programs are hands-on with an emphasis on physical activity. Here’s a sampling of some of the programs around Asheville:

Asheville Community Movement

Asheville Community Movement, at 812 Riverside Drive, is a new program that offers gymnastics focused after-school child care. It offers activities appropriate for a range of ages, and all of the programs encourage kids to get up and move. It provides a variety of structured clubs and sports for kids to choose from, like gymnastics, frisbee, basketball, art, music and Spanish . It also features a balance between play time and supervised homework time. The family owned business offers pickup from several schools. For information, call 254-6060 or visit www.ashevillecommunitymovement.com.

Charlotte Street Kids

Charlotte Street Kids is a nonprofit child care organization that strives to give kids free-form fun. After children spend their whole day in school, doing structured activities, the program allows children to have free time to come up with their own

activities. It encourages youngsters to get outside and to get creative. The center has permission to play in the nearby park and makes frequent use of it. “If it’s a nice day, we’re outside,” Waters-Carter said. Charlotte Street Kids, at 337 Charlotte St., Asheville, boasts a low teacher to student ratio, ensuring that children get plenty of individual attention, and extensive homework help. It provides transportation from several area schools and offers flexible enrollment. For information, call 2390129 or visit www.charlottestreetkids.org.

Dojoku Martial Arts

Dojoku Martial Arts offers fitnessfocused after-school care for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. It is a licensed martial arts school and places emphasis on the positive effects that martial arts training can have on every aspect of a child’s life. It promotes self-discipline and encourages kids to take responsibility seriously. The after-school program includes homework time, martial arts lessons, and a variety of activities for kids to choose from. Dojoku is at 36 Rosscraggon Road in South Asheville. For more information, call 681-5023 or visit www.dojoku.com.

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Hahn’s Gymnastics The after-school program at Hahn’s Gymnastics includes a wide variety of activities to ensure that the kids are never bored. Students will get to participate in arts and crafts, outdoor playtime, gymnastics lessons, and more. “The kids are out on the gym floor every day,” said Vicki Hahn, owner of the gym. The gym offers pickup from several schools in the Arden/ South Asheville area. It is located at 18 Legend Drive in Arden and is now enrolling for the 2012-13 school year. For information, call 684-8832 or visit www.hahnsgymnastics.com.

YMCA

YMCA of WNC offers 21 different after-school care programs to students in schools in Asheville, and Buncombe and McDowell counties. The program includes homework and play time, but it also offers unique activities like cooking, yoga and swimming lessons. Many of the activities encourage self-expression, and the program is geared toward helping children develop social skills and healthy habits. “We want kids to be happy to be here, and to be excited to come each day,” Spearin said. For details, visit www.ymcawnc.org.

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growing together

What you do matters, really By Chris Worthy WNC Parent columnist

My family loves to walk in the kitchen and find bread rising. The scent of warm dough has been known to pull girls away from phones and boys away from video games. My first lessons in baking bread came from watching through the window of my bread machine . Once I gained an eye for what dough should look and feel like — and not coincidentally, around the time my bread machine broke — I started making it by hand. Baking bread has become a symbol for me, one I came to appreciate after reading the letters of a 17th-century French monk. Nicholas, known as Brother Lawrence,

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was a man who lived in poverty and worked in solitude. It is said that Brother Lawrence worked in the monastery’s kitchen for years. I don’t believe he was known to many during his lifetime, and I am sure he would be dumbfounded by the fact that people around the world still read his letters . Through those letters, I’ve come to understand that the little unseen tasks and often unappreciated efforts really do matter. If I bake bread, let it be the best I can make. If I drive carpool or change diapers or wash sheets — all the sheets I own — because I have a sick child, that work has value. In the midst of a long night with a crying baby or after baking a dozen loaves of bread for introspective monks, the job can seem even less than menial. It can often feel purposeless. There are few things more difficult than giving your best effort

for something that is of no consequence. But it does matter. The purpose comes from within. This is a concept I am still mastering. A dozen years after leaving my law practice, I still stumble when I’m asked what I do. Really, I’m a mom, but that may be the least appreciated job on the planet. In recent years, I’ve found the confidence to add my second career and say, “I’m a writer,” even if other dinner party guests respond with a dubious look. “Writer” is one of those nebulous career titles that can inspire a combination of curiosity, pity and concern for financial well-being. At the end of every day, whether spent writing , making dinner or helping with homework, there is worth because there is joy in every effort. That message, handed down for centuries, can feed the soul. Contact Chris at chris@worthyplace.com.

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nature center notes

Mothers are the best teachers By Jill Sharp Special to WNC Parent

Have you ever wondered how a wild animal learns what it needs to know to survive? They are born knowing some things — these are called instincts, and include knowing to run from danger and how to play. But how do they learn what is dangerous or how to turn play into hunt? Baby animals have to go to school, and their teachers are their parents. Red wolf pups, like those born in May at the Nature Center, stay with their parents for nearly a year. They learn from their pack by watching and, eventually, trial and error. Many wolf packs will hold small practice hunts with young wolves as they learn the techniques of hunting in a group. Bear cubs spend almost two years with their mothers. One of the most important lessons mothers teach is where to

Red wolf pups stay with their parents for nearly a year. They learn from their pack by watching and then by trial and error. /SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

find food. Bears are omnivores, so their diets include many different things. It takes skill to safely retrieve honey and grubs from a beehive, and Mama Bear knows the trick.

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Something every mother teaches is what trouble looks like. Young animals may not recognize something like a human inhabitance as potentially dangerous, but a mother deer who has been chased by a dog might avoid the place, training her fawn to do the same. The best teachers for wild animals are their parents, so if you find a young animal on its own, think twice before “rescuing� it. It may not need your help. Many young animals are left on their own while the parents find food. Birds learn to fly by leaving the nest, and many of them spend a few days on the ground. These school days are just as important for young animals as human kids! The Western North Carolina Nature Center connects people with the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Visit www.wncnaturecenter.com to learn more.

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home-school happenings

My love affair with Harry Potter By Nicole McKeon WNC Parent columnist

I have a confession to make. I am reading the Harry Potter books for the first time. As of the writing of this column I am about to begin the final book. I can’t even tell you how sad I am going to be when I am done. We sort of missed out on the whole Harry Potter craze. My daughter had absolutely no interest, and, being a book snob, I tossed all the critical acclaim out as a passing phase, not worthy of all the excitement. I was wrong. I started reading Harry Potter be-

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cause my 7-year-old expressed interest in reading these books, and I wanted to check them out for myself. My face has been firmly stuck between the pages for the last two weeks. I can’t put them down. J.K. Rowling has created an ingenious and original world that simply sings with excitement and adventure. From the tiniest detail to the more complex themes of good and evil, it is a story worth reading, and worth reading to your children. Harry is a boy we can all relate to. He is a very human wizard. He struggles with his conscience, his studies and his friends, just like real kids do. The friendship of Harry, Hermione and Ron is one to be admired. Three tweens-to-teens who manage to be honest with each other without being cruel and who maintain a trusting

relationship through the excellence of their characters. Harry Potter symbolizes the best of all human characteristics — courage, honesty and compassion. This series is a must-read . So, I am officially a Harry Potter fan — I find myself wishing there really was a whole other world like the one Rowling created, where magical creatures struggle with the same things we humans struggle with, despite their magical abilities. We could all learn a thing or two from the heroic choices the characters make, despite fear and danger. I encourage you to visit Harry’s world as soon as you can. Nicole McKeon is a home-schooling mom and owner of Homeschool Station in Fairview. Email her at homeschoolstation@hotmail.com.

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PRINCELY PLAYGROUNDS

From swings to slides, home play sets becoming more elaborate By Shanna Mooney Gannett

Gone are the days when an aluminum swing set with one leg popping in and out of the ground would suffice for backyard entertainment. Today’s play sets attempt to enthrall children of all ages with countless options. That’s what parents are hoping when they decide to invest in a play set. Despite living about a mile from a playground, Nicole and Mark Siegler, of Carmel, Ind., wanted the convenience of a

Benjamin Siegler gets some help as he climbs up his new play set. FRANK ESPICH/GANNETT

backyard play set for their 21-month-old son, Benjamin. They chose Rainbow’s Monster Castle, which sells for $7,800 to $19,000, depend-

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ing on options, at a local retailer. “We wanted a play set that he could grow into and enjoy,” Nicole Siegler said. “And as our family grows, it will be convenient to not have to go to the park.” In addition to safety, Siegler says she wanted the play set to have as many activities as possible in a small space. “This set has a lot of customizable features and challenges in a smaller area, so it doesn’t take up the entire yard,” she said. “Since Benjamin is young, we wanted to go for a higher quality set that will last and grow with him.” Siegler admits to being a little overwhelmed by all of the choices available. They visited the showroom of Recreation Unlimited in Noblesville, Ind., which sells play sets, to better visualize how it would look in their yard — as well as to let Benjamin try them out. Brad Riley, owner of Recreation Unlimited, said that isn’t uncommon. Continues on Page 32

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“We encourage moms to bring kids in to play,” he said. “Or dads, grandparents. We get lots of grandparents buying play sets to get the kids to come and play at their house.” Riley, who has been in the business for more than 20 years, has seen trends come and go. He suggests getting the best bang for your buck by choosing a play set that includes the following: » Various physical challenges so children play longer and more often. » Options you can add on or switch out. » Primary colors rather than just hunter green, for example. (“They really capture the kids’ attention,” Riley said. “They run to them.”) » Kids’ favorite activities, such as rock walls, tire swings and a trapeze. Rock walls, Riley said, are the hottest trend in play sets. About 50 percent of the play sets sold at Recreation Unlimited are the high-end Rainbow line. They start at $3,000. Up until a few years ago, those were the only kind of sets it sold. Riley said as the economy changed, so did consumer attitudes about play sets. The company now also sells mass-marketed boxed kits that retail for less than $3,000. Ryan Rummell, sales manager at Fam-

ily Leisure in Indianapolis, however, noticed something different. “People were in cocoons last year as far as spending, but everything has turned around this year.” Parents are also looking for play sets that they can enjoy with their children. “Parents like that they can get up there and actually play with their kids rather than just watch,” Rummell said. Family Leisure’s play sets start at $199 and go above $10,000, depending on customization. Riley noted another trend he attributes to the economy: Fewer homeowners are putting the correct safety surfaces under a play set. “Safety surfacing has really fallen by the wayside,” he said. “Very few residential play sets do it anymore. That’s dangerous — falling on the ground as hard as it is right now would be like falling on concrete.” David Flanigan, director of operations for program management at the nonprofit KaBOOM!, an organization dedicated to building safe playgrounds, concurred: “When building a community or homeplayground, it is important to install adequate safety surfacing to reduce the risk of traumatic head injuries.” According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, they’re right. The agency said that each year, more than 200,000 children go to U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment.

SAFETY CHECKLIST Use this simple checklist to help make sure your home playground is a safe place to play. » Install and maintain a shock-absorbing surface around the play equipment. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high. Or use surfacing mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubberlike materials. » Install protective surfacing at least 6 feet in all directions from play equipment. For swings, be sure surfacing extends, in back and front, twice the height of the suspending bar. » Never attach — or allow children to attach — ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines or pet leashes to play equipment; children can strangle on these. » Check for hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends, which can be hazardous. » Check for spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs; these spaces should measure less than 3 1/2 inches or more than 9 inches. » Make sure platforms and ramps have guardrails to prevent falls. » Check for sharp points or edges in equipment. » Remove tripping hazards, such as exposed concrete footings, tree stumps and rocks.

MAINTAIN YOUR INVESTMENT Keeping a play set in good condition is essential to reducing injuries. Save the manufacturer’s instructions so you can order parts that break or wear out. The following maintenance schedule is recommended: » Check nuts and bolts twice a month and tighten as needed. » Oil moving metal parts as directed by the manufacturer. » Check to make sure protective caps and plugs that cover bolt ends and ends of tubing are in place and tight. Inspect twice a month and replace as needed. » Remove plastic swing seats in cold weather if recommended by the manufacturer. » Rake surfacing periodically to prevent compaction and maintain appropriate depths.

Mark and Nicole Siegler and their 21-month-old son, Benjamin, play on their new Monster Castle set in their backyard. FRANK ESPICH/GANNETT

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Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook.


guest columnist

The most effective parenting style is ... By Renee Owen Special to WNC Parent

How I wish someone had given me a “how to” parenting guide before my first child was born. I focused so intently on the magic and science of the pregnancy and how to prepare for the birth, that I was in shock when the midwife handed me my baby girl. What was I supposed to do with her? (Fortunately, she knew exactly what to do and latched on instinctively.) Then it came time to leave the protection of the hospital and make the trek home. We pulled onto the interstate with our tiny newborn strapped into her first car seat and drove 45 mph, while all the traffic whizzed past us. More than ever before, we under-

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stood how precious life is, and it just seemed too dangerous to go any faster. I was fairly young when I had our first daughter, and I hadn’t been around babies or young children very much. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I really didn’t know what to do. I immediately began making mistakes, but I also started learning. Twenty years later, I am a certified Love and Logic instructor. I am trained in Positive Discipline, Conscious Discipline, Compassionate Communication and myriad other expert techniques. However, I have learned more from trial and error than any parenting “handbook” could teach. Not only are my own kids growing up, but I have been in education long enough to learn a lot about raising children. One of the best parts about teaching is how much we teachers learn from parents. I have witnessed a wide variety of parenting styles, and despite the multitude

of variables involved, outliers and exceptions, it has become generally apparent which type of parenting strategies work and which ones don’t. After all, I see the “results” of parenting on a daily basis as I work with children. I’ve even had the pleasure of watching some of my students grow up and see what type of adults they become. What is truly surprising, and inspiring, is how many different parenting styles are effective. Beyond a lot of inconclusive research, we still can’t be sure which parenting techniques really are superior — and every few years, attitudes change. (In fact, the style of parenting my folks thought was proper is considered downright wrong by most people’s standards nowadays!) Some of the hottest parenting topics today are whether to share the bed with our babies and what — or if — kids should be required to eat. I have yet to see either of these op-

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tions make a big difference in the children. The way I see it, what matters more is what works for the parent. For example, if you prefer to just roll over and nurse, go for it. If you can’t get enough sleep with your baby next to you, get her a crib. The same for eating: If you are living on a very reduced grocery budget, you probably need your child to eat a good share of what is put in front of her in order to get enough nutrition; if you have more financial options, your child probably has more options, too. Either way, the child seems just as likely to grow up being whatever kind of eater he is destined to be, and there is nothing that shows either method (unless taken to the extreme) damages the child emotionally or physically. There is no parenting handbook that works for all families, all children and all circumstances. Like any endeavor, we learn best from experience. In other words, we are going to make lots and lots of mistakes, but we will learn from them. And despite all our faults, our kids thrive as long as they are blessed with unconditional love. Children are remarkably resilient! Is it possible that

they are even better off if we aren’t perfect? Yes, just as there is no such thing as the perfect child, there are no perfect parents. If we try to do everything by the handbook all the time, not only will we make ourselves feel guilty and miserable, but we are doomed to fail! Often, we have to forget about parenting “by the book” and simply rely on our gut instincts. We need to exercise our intuition. Our kids learn from our role-modeling more than anything else, so if we want them to trust their own intuitions, we have to use ours. What is the best way to access and to engage our intuitive powers? To be focused, relaxed, content and centered. That means we have to take care of ourselves properly, in order to be present for our children. Perhaps the best advice for good parenting is the simplest. Don’t worry, be happy. OK, it’s only natural to worry! But the family that experiences more joy than stress, is truly blessed. Renee Owen is the proud (and sometimes relaxed and happy) parent of Mesa, Johanna and Geronimo. She is the executive director at Rainbow Mountain Children’s School in West Asheville.

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divorced families

3 R’s get an update for today’s families By Trip Woodard WNC Parent columnist

Getting ready for school for families in transitions means paying attention to the three R’s: Readiness of the Brain, Readiness of Emotions and Readiness of Attitude. Hah! And you thought I was going to say “Reading, Riting and Rithmetic.” Actually I was, but the second sounded like joining a cult and the third having to do with a Pilates exercise group (which, depending on your point of view, could also be joining a cult).

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» Readiness of the brain: This is biology 101. Your child needs a good diet to do well at school. A stressed child, such as one experiencing a family change involving separation or divorce, needs even more. Review your school’s lunch menu. Remember the importance of a good breakfast. The basic principle is that what is put in your child’s mouth feeds their brain. Are they getting fat, sugar and carbs? These things are cheap and fast, but we are talking about an important investment here. Blueberries and yogurt for breakfast, real fruit (not canned and syrupy), vegetables and a unprocessed meat for lunch … that is what I am talking about.

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Next, exercise. School budgets have been cut, and PE may be affected. How about after-school programs that are income friendly such as the YMCA? Proper daily exercise has been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms in children, not to mention those who are stressed by separation and divorce realities. Last, there is music. The emotional part of the brain, known as the limbic system, is very responsive to music, which can help children with enhancing their memory and learning to calm themselves down in stressful situations. Consider intentionally and constructively introducing soothing music in your home as a wake, study and bedtime routine. » Readiness of emotions: Does your child have an age-appropriate understanding of what is going on? If they are asked why Mommy and Daddy are not together, what do they say? Children of all ages should have a working understanding of what is going on with their family. Otherwise, they may fill in the gap themselves with something much worse than reality or distorted information from their classmates. Your school counselor or personal

therapist should be able to help with this, but I typically use a four-point explanation that covers the bases for school-age children: » Sometimes grown-ups find out that they are happier being apart than together. This is sad, but it happens. » It is important for you to know that this is not your fault. Nor is it Daddy’s fault or Mommy’s fault. » It is also very important for you to know that Mommy and Daddy both love you and always will. » It is normal that you may have different feelings during this process. Some days you may feel mad, sad, hurt, scared or even happy. It may feel like being on a roller coaster. When you have these feeling, these (and you fill in the blanks) are some safe people you can talk to. Obviously, there is more that can be said, but these are the basics and they need to be repeated. Children under duress only hear parts of what we say at any given time. » Readiness of attitude: Children of separation and divorce need to understand that there are going to be changes in their life and that they are going to be

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OK. Some of these changes may be challenges for the whole family, like less income. Single parents may need their children to participate as family partners by doing more chores around the home. It is critical that during these times parents not be seduced by guilt to exempt their children from doing simple but helpful chores such as folding towels or doing dishes and replacing it with their wish to exercise their video games. Comparison with other family lifestyles is never fair unless all families are included (like the families in WNC that go to bed hungry). As a parting thought, I would remind parents that you can do all the right things and have children that grow up making terrible choices. The good news is that you can also make lots of mistakes and have children that make excellent choices. It is not all up to us, but is part of the mystery of the human experience. 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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Obesity: Telling fat from fiction USA WEEKEND

Too many Americans weigh way too much. According to a recent projection, 42 percent of people in the U.S. will be obese by 2030 (up from 36 percent in 2010), and 11 percent could be severely obese, about 100 or more pounds overweight. But some common beliefs about obesity may not be entirely accurate. Here, the doctors on “The Doctors” dispel three myths: » Myth: You need to lose a lot to improve health. Shedding as little as 5 pounds can help reduce cholesterol levels; dropping 10 will likely lower your blood pressure. Evidence shows losing 5 percent to 7 percent of your weight through diet and exercise could delay and possibly prevent diabetes. Aim to shed 1 to 2 pounds per week — slow and steady is the safest and most effective way to drop weight and keep it off. » Myth: Overweight kids will “grow into” their weight. Not all kids carrying extra pounds are obese — some have larger body frames, others may carry a little more weight at different stages of development. But you shouldn’t wait for a growth spurt to compensate. Depending on your child’s eating habits and activity level, he is just as likely to keep putting on weight as he grows. Researchers looked at how obese kids fared on three diets: a low-carb version, one that focused on low-glycemic foods (fruit, whole grains, poultry), and a third about portion control and balancing nutrients. The results showed kids lost weight on all three diets but had the easiest time with the low glycemic diet. » Myth: If obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. But you can get diabetes even if you are at a normal weight, particularly if you’re apple-shaped. People who accumulate fat in their middles are at a greater risk of type 2 than those who store it in their hips and thighs.

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Bedtime BATTLES

Getting kids to sleep on a schedule takes discipline, patience

By Angie Campbell Upstate Parent

Bonnie Schoon has her family’s bedtime challenges under control, but she still remembers when her oldest son, Zach, gave her and her husband a hard time sleeping. “When Zach was a baby, he was the hardest one to get to sleep through the night,” she said. “I would get up and go in his room and feed him, and I’d spend half the night in his room. I didn’t like that, though.” Schoon is the mother of three children — Zach, 6, Julianna, 4, and Caleb, 1 — and believes a consistent routine has been the key to getting her children to bed — and to stay there. “Bedtime always starts at 7:30,” she said. “Before then, around 7, we’ll usually watch PBS Kids and they know, OK, ‘Arthur’ is on and that we’re going to bed soon. At 7:30, we start the process. They have to brush their teeth, then we go upstairs and sometimes we’ll have story time or sometimes they’ll turn on a CD and dance around for a little bit. By 8 o’clock, they’re in bed.” Dr. Jeremy Byrd of Heritage Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, in Simpsonville, S.C., said bedtime problems are one of the most common concerns he hears from parents, but several approaches are available to help parents fight bedtime battles. “But what works for one family might not work for another,” he said. “Parents should be willing to experiment and use trial and error to find what works best for their kids.” And although it varies with age, most children need to sleep 10-13 hours a day until they’re 6 to be healthful, he added, but many kids don’t meet that quota. “In newborns or infants, it’s a big concern of parents, and you’ll also have different sleeping concerns in kids from 3–6,” he said. “That’s when you start to battle ‘I want water,’ or ‘There’s a monster in the closet.’ Some of the principles are the same for both age groups, but those are the two hurdles parents will face.”

Bedtimes are important

For many families, bedtime can be one of the most stressful times of day. CINDY HOSEA/UPSTATE PARENT

Byrd said sleep is just as important for children as adults, with numerous health benefits associated with getting a good night’s rest. A recent study published in the journal Sleep found that adolescents who go to bed early are slimmer and more physically Continues on Page 42

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Bedtimes Continued from Page 41

active than their peers who prefer to stay up late and who struggle with sleep. Byrd said that multiple studies link insufficient sleep to an increased risk of diabetes, and new research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism states that just one night of sleep deprivation can bring on insulin resistance, a factor in type 2 diabetes. Byrd, who has four children, said the biggest problem is that each child’s personality is different. “It all goes back to temperament,” he said. He advised parents battling their kids with bedtime routines to read more about temperaments from Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, a nationally renowned pediatrician who wrote “Sleep: The Brazelton Way.” “He believes there are three temperaments in regards to sleep,” Byrd said. “One is very active and excited about learning, and obviously you’ll have problems with that personality because anything that arouses them is going to make them want to sit up or talk or whatever.” Another personality type is the quiet, watchful child who isn’t as active as he is thoughtful. These children don’t expend their energy during the day, so they often wake up at night, Byrd said. “The third kind is very sensitive or easily upset kids,” Byrd said. “Once you identify which personality your child has, it can help you establish the best way to tackle setting a bedtime routine. Even then, you should learn your kid’s temperament, but don’t force a formula on them. You really do have to practice trial and error to find what works best for your child.” Just as important as understanding your child’s personality is understanding your partner, he added. “Parents need to be on the same wavelength,” Byrd said. “If Mom is trying to set a routine, but Dad is getting down and rough-housing with the kids and stimulating them right before their bedtime, there are going to be problems.”

Setting the rules

Byrd said some helpful rules for parents to enforce no matter the age or temperament of the child include reducing stimulation before bedtime, being consistent with a bedtime and ritual, and not deviating from routines. “It’s tough for working parents,” he said. “Being away from your kids all day can encourage parents to overcompensate and

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Bonnie Schoon and her husband, Billy, read a bedtime story to their children, from left, Julianna, Caleb and Zach. CINDY HOSEA/UPSTATE PARENT

FOLLOW THESE TIPS TO AVOID BEDTIME BATTLES Dr. Jeremy Byrd of Heritage Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in Simpsonville, S.C., says children can have different temperaments that contribute to bedtime battles, and age always plays a big role. Regardless, there are still some tips he encourages parents to follow until they find the best routine for their families. » Make sure your child, if old enough to sleep outside of a crib, has a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy in her bed to promote relaxation and provide comfort as she goes to sleep. » Make sure naps start early and last no more than 2-3 hours at a time. Naps after 3 p.m. are a bad idea, Byrd says. » Avoid stimulating activities for at least a couple of hours prior to bedtime. This means no television, video games or computers. » If your child complains she’s too scared to sleep, reassure her by checking under the bed, in closets and around the room to show there is nothing to be afraid of. » Avoid bottle-feeding or giving snacks or juices close to bedtime. Not only is it bad for a child’s teeth, it can keep them awake longer.

let their children stay up late so they can spend more time with them, but it’s not helpful to establishing a bedtime habit. That’s usually what causes problems as children grow older, and they are still fighting you about bedtime.” Ramona Hrysikos said she also had problems with her oldest son, now 13, when it came to getting him in bed on a routine. “It was my first child,” said Hrysikos, who is a nurse in Spartanburg, S.C. “I didn’t really practice. I was told about setting a routine and bedtime habits, but my husband and I worked different, opposite shifts. I worked nights, and I allowed my child to stay up later. I wish I could turn back time and listen to that advice about setting a routine from the get-go.” As the mother of three, Hrysikos said she has learned along the way and has finally discovered through her 3-year-old that a consistent routine at bedtime helps her family achieve the most rest. “I think one of the biggest things for children, regardless of age, is routine,” she said. “It cannot be emphasized enough — staying on schedule and doing the same bedtime rituals each day and consistency with that is just valuable.” Byrd said parents of multiple children have the hardest time with bedtime battles, but a household routine can benefit everyone. If not, a child’s problem might be deeper and require more investigation. “There are medical conditions such as night terrors, sleep apnea and bed wetting that can also play a factor in it,” he said. “That’s when you should consult with your pediatrician on a solution.”

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Schools lax on dating violence Study finds schools don’t address abuse, victims By Steven Reinberg HealthDay

Although dating violence is a recognized problem for U.S. teens, a majority of high school counselors say their school provides no training or guidelines for dealing with abusive romantic relationships, a new study finds. Prior research has found that between 10 percent and 30 percent of teens have been physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend, according to background information in the study. And dating abuse has been linked to suicidal thoughts, weight gain, sexually transmitted diseases and other physical and mental health problems, the researchers noted. But preventing dating abuse and assisting victims are not priorities for U.S. high schools, the new study concluded. “We found that the majority of schools

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don’t have a protocol to deal with incidents of teen dating abuse,” said lead researcher Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani, an assistant professor of community health education at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. “This means that most of the school counselors would not know what to do. This is also true for school nurses,” he said. The reasons vary from not considering dating abuse a serious issue to school administrators’ reluctance to get involved in romantic relationships, he said. Some also fear parents will object to school interference in a child’s personal life. “There needs to be more awareness and education about dating violence,” Khubchandani said. “Parents and school personnel should collaborate, and there should be regular assessments of the prevalence of this problem.” In addition to physical aggression and sexual assault, dating violence includes psychological abuse. Because teenage victims of dating violence are just beginning to date, they may think abusive be-

havior is the norm, which can perpetuate the cycle, experts say. For the study, published online July 9 and in the August print issue of Pediatrics, Khubchandani’s team sent questionnaires to 550 high school counselors asking about their training and ability to deal with teen dating violence. More than 81 percent of the respondents said their school had no protocol for responding to a report of dating violence. Ninety percent said there had been no staff training in the previous two years regarding student victims of dating abuse, and more than three-quarters said their school had no committee that dealt with health and safety issues including dating abuse or healthy relationships. Yet the majority of counselors (61 percent) said they had had occasion to advise a victim of dating violence in the previous two years. Most of those they helped were girls. Counselors with no training in dating abuse stated it was not a serious issue, the study found, while those who had had some training recognized its importance

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and were much more likely to help students who reported it. Dr. Andra Tharp, a health scientist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “adolescence is a highrisk period for sexual and dating violence. ”It’s a problem we need to be working on with anyone who interacts with youth,“ added Tharp, who works in the division of violence prevention. Besides training staff, Tharp believes students, both victims and perpetrators, need to be educated about relationship abuse, so the blame doesn’t fall on the victim, but on the perpetrators — where it belongs, she said. Most schools responded to reports of dating violence by calling a parent or reporting it to the police. Fewer referred the student to child protection services or the school nurse for medical or legal advice, the researchers found. “Sexual violence and dating violence are sensitive topics for everyone,” Tharp said. “The fact that it’s of a sexual nature adds a level of sensitivity to it. For school and parents, it may be awkward to address the issue.” Schools needs to create an environment where the problem is recognized and students feel safe in reporting it, Tharp said.

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librarian’s pick

‘The High Street’ is a classic in making Jennifer Prince Buncombe County Public Libraries

A cumulative tale is a story in which a character repeats an action or dialogue. In the process, the refrain is added to bit by bit. In “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” the old lady gobbles down animals of incrementally larger size. As she does so, the reader comes to rely on the refrain, “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly. I guess she’ll die.” The reasons this type of storytelling is valuable to children are manifold. First, not only do children enjoy repetition, repetition is useful because it is an aid to memory. Second, cumulative stories foster an understanding of logic. In many cases, cumulative stories present items in order

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of increasing or decreasing size. Also, the small to large or large to small template fosters the understanding that stories have an order: beginning, middle and end. A new cumulative story in picture book format has all the earmarks of a classic in the making. “The High Street” by Alice Melvin tells the story of a little girl, Sally, who starts off to town with a shopping list. There are 10 items on her list. As Sally walks down the street, she sees various shops. She has to decide if a particular shop might have an item on her list. Told in rhyming, bouncy cadence, the narrative lends itself to being read aloud: “Mr. Foggins’ sweet shop is here at number one,/with bars of chocolate, lollipops and packs of bubble gum.” Sally enters each shop. When she exits, she recites her list again, making note of

the item she purchased: “No yellow rose,/ no garden hose,/ no bunch of grapes,/ no roller skates,/ no cockatoo,/ no tin kazoo,/ no Persian rug,/ no stripy jug,/ no cherry tart,/but a candy heart!” Melvin’s illustrations are richly colored and painstakingly detailed. The shop fronts are captivating. Each store receives a two-page spread. When Sally enters a store, the right-hand page unfolds to reveal the inside of the store. Each store is filled with an endless variety of its specialty. The rhythm of “The High Street” makes it a good choice for reading aloud. The intricacies within the illustrations make it best for one-on-one sharing. This book is available in Buncombe County Public Libraries. Visit www.buncombecounty.org/library.

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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: Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Thursday Leicester, 250-6480: Mother Goose: 11:30 a.m. Tuesday; Preschool: 10:30 a.m. Wednesday North Asheville, 250-4752: School age: 3:15 p.m. Thursday; Preschool: 11 a.m. Wednesday; Toddler: 10 a.m. Wednesday 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; School age: 3:30 p.m. 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 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 Canton, 648-2924: 11 a.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. Thursdays

Henderson County Library

Visit www.henderson. lib.nc.us. There are no regular programs in August.

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, 456-6000: 10:30 a.m. Mondays, ages 3 and under.

Summer reading programs are listed in the Calendar section.

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Freezer cooking saves time, money and waste By Janel Atlas Gannett

Once-a-month cooking. Batch cooking. Cooking ahead. Stocking your freezer. Whatever you choose to call it, preparing meals (or parts of meals) ahead of time and storing them in the freezer until you need them can be a major time, money and sanity saver. When someone says they’re a big fan of freezer cooking, they can get one of two reactions: perplexed admiration or dismissive horror. After all, isn’t the freezer a space for piling things like chicken nuggets, fries, ice cream and meats you will probably forget about until they expire? Those who express admiration but doubt about the whole proposition ask about recipes, how often to cook, how to keep track of meals and how to get started.

Benefits

» It saves time. It barely takes any longer to cook 3 pounds of ground beef on the stove top than it does to cook 1 pound. When doing batch cooking (making double or triple recipes of several meals) instead of a one-day marathon cooking session (in which the cook prepares all the meals for a much longer period of time and of greater variety), there is a little bit of extra work each time you prepare a recipe, but there are big payoffs in the form of three meals instead of just one. » It maximizes savings on sales. Know how your grocery store typically has one really good sale on meat (or veggies, or a certain type of canned good)? That’s what gets most shoppers in the door, but then they buy other things, because, let’s face it, even if you love chicken, you don’t want to serve it seven nights a week. This is where freezer cooking comes in. Because the deals rotate (beef one week, turkey the next, etc.), you can focus on prepping meals using that low-priced item, and flesh out the week with things you’ve already put in your freezer. » It helps families avoid the oh-noit’s-4:30-and-I-have-nothing-to-make-fordinner scenario.

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Don’t you hate that feeling? And most of the time, can’t you tell ahead which days dinner will be harder to get on the table? Laura Ackerson of Preston, Md., is a teacher. Before she started freezer cooking, she and her husband often went out to eat on Friday nights because they were too tired to cook after a long week. “We started using the meals specifically on Fridays to save our eating out budget.” » It cuts down on waste. In his book “American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food” (Da Capo Press), author Jonathan Bloom reports that American households throw away about 25 percent of our food. For a family that spends about $150 per week on groceries, that equals almost $40 per week thrown away.

Methods

With once-a-month cooking, you often need an entire day to prepare food. Also, cooking that way may not maximize grocery story savings because you must buy a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, etc., to create an entire month’s worth of meals. When Ackerson freezer cooks, she plans to make just a few meals at a time, and she cooks either with her husband or her sister. Lisa Brisch, personal chef and owner of Dinner Thyme (www.dinner-thyme.com), also advocates the double-or-triple-as-yougo method. “Plan to make a double batch of an easy-to-make dinner. Freeze the second batch, thaw and eat at a later date. See how you like the convenience. Do this a few times for different meals,” says Brisch, who also offers a free meal planning site, www.orangepomegranate.com. And before you think you can’t stock your freezer with meals or starters because you don’t have a stand-alone freezer, it’s amazing how much you can fit into a traditional freezer/refrigerator.

Steps to start

1. Pick one to three recipes from a freezer cooking-specific book or website. While many recipes from regular recipe resources can be modified to make them freezer friendly, start with a tried and true recipe that will freeze, thaw and cook beautifully. 2. Make a full grocery list and go shopping. Because you are preparing two, three or even four times as much food as in a single cooking session, it’s really imperative that you have everything written down that you need. 3. Make one meal, marinade or kind of meat, just in a larger quantity. “A per-

Freezers are more than places to store ice cream — with a little planning, home cooks can store pre-cooked meats or even ready-to-go meals in the freezer. GANNETT

FREEZER COOKING DICTIONARY Batch cooking: Doubling, tripling or quadrupling a recipe with the intent of consuming one immediately and freezing the other meals for later. Once-a-month cooking: Prepping, cooking and packaging meals for an entire month all in one day. Flash freeze: Setting something on a tray or cookie sheet, uncovered and unwrapped, in the freezer for a short time to harden the surface of the food to contain messiness. You then place the item(s) in a freezer bag and freeze as normal. Prep: Work involved in preparing food, as in cutting vegetables or fruits and premeasuring items, but not actually cooking.

son more familiar with freezer cooking can accomplish several recipes at once but a person who is brand new, who doesn’t enjoy cooking, or who lacks confidence can make one recipe a week or so and will still collect a nice inventory in the freezer over time,” says Lindsay Tkacsik, coauthor of “Fix, Freeze, Feast.” Tkacsik suggests starting with meats in marinades. 4. Be sure to follow all directions and guidelines for heating, cooling and freezing temperatures. Always make sure to wrap items well

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RESOURCES For freezer cooking tips, recipes and inspiration: » Once A Month Mom: This website has free monthly menus (downloadable in recipe card form and easily convertible for more or fewer portions) in themes — traditional, gluten- and dairy-free, diet, whole foods, vegetarian and baby foods. If you are new to freezer cooking, check out the page for tips for getting started. » “Fix, Freeze, Feast” by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik: This cookbook has some real winning recipes in it. » Favorite Freezer Foods: This website encourages you to sign up for a free e-newsletter on freezer cooking, plus has tons of good advice and a forum for asking questions. » Money Saving Mom: http://moneysavingmom.com/downloads/freezer-cooking-planners » Life As Mom: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/11/ freezer-cooking-what-can-you-freeze.html

and use freezer bags. “Cool the food before putting in the refrigerator, for no longer than two hours at room temperature, otherwise you could be setting yourself up for food poisoning,” Brisch says. “Chill the food before freezing. The faster the food freezes, the smaller the ice crystals will be.” Ice crystals can cause food to be mushy once thawed, Brisch says.

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Try harder to eat fruits, vegetables By Nanci Hellmich USA TODAY

No one said that eating enough fruits and vegetables was going to be a piece of cake — even if you’re giving it your best shot. The majority of Americans say they’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables over the past year, according to a recent poll of 1,057 adults, conducted for the International Food Information Council Foundation. But most people are consuming less than half of what the government recommends. Kids and adults eat an average of a little more than a cup of vegetables a day and a little more than half a cup of fruit, according to the latest data from the NPD Group, a market research firm. Those numbers don’t count french fries but do include other types of potatoes, such as baked and mashed. How much is enough? How many cups you should eat is based on your calorie intake, according to the government’s dietary guidelines. Anyone who consumes 2,000 calories a day is supposed to eat 2½ cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit a day. A person who eats about 1,400 calories a day should have about 1½ cups of fruits and the same amount of vegetables. “Children 2 through 12 and their parents are inching up in the amount they consume, but unfortunately, teens and the elderly are bringing the averages down,” says Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation, a nonprofit nutrition education group. The reason for the push for an increased intake of fruits and veggies is they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that help fight disease, she says. But can anyone really eat three to 4½ cups from these two food groups each day? Pivonka says that every little bit counts: Raisins in cereal, frozen berries in smoothies, vegetables in your soup, tomato sauce on spaghetti, beans in chili, veggies on sandwiches, 100 fruit juices. In general, one cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or two cups of raw leafy greens, counts as one cup from the vegetable group. One cup (or one piece) of fruit or 100 fruit juice, or half a cup of dried fruit, is considered one cup

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SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT

FITTING THEM IN To eat enough fruits and vegetables, Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago and author of “The Flexitarian Diet,” recommends trying to incorporate a fruit or vegetable into every meal and snack. For instance, here’s one way to consume two cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables a day. » Breakfast: One cup or one piece of fruit, plus whole-grain toast and cottage cheese with cinnamon. » Morning snack: Half cup to one cup of vegetables such as carrot sticks or snap peas with hummus » Lunch: One cup vegetables such as Greek salad stuffed into a wholegrain pita » Afternoon or evening snack: One piece or cup of fruit with string cheese » Dinner: One cup of vegetables, such as cooked green beans, with brown rice and barbecue chicken

from the fruit group. So if you eat an apple or banana, that counts as one cup of fruit for the day; a medium side salad could equal about one cup of vegetables. An easy way to reach the recommended amount is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal, as suggested by the government’s MyPlate icon (choosemyplate.gov), says Rachel Begun, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association. “This is a visual that’s easy to remember.” To eat enough from these two food groups, you need to make sure your fridge and freezer are well stocked, which may mean grocery shopping one or two times a week, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago. “I like to buy pre-washed containers of leafy greens, trays of assorted cut veggies and bags of frozen vegetables for later in the week when my fresh produce is gone.” She also likes to have leftover grilled veggies in the refrigerator in the spring and summer and roasted vegetables in the winter and fall. Cooking vegetables, including grilling or roasting them, often helps bring out natural flavors and sweetness, Blatner says.

Consider the options

When people tell her they don’t like vegetables, Pivonka tells them that there are literally hundreds of different fruits and vegetables that can be prepared in thousands of different ways. “My daughter was 10 years old before I discovered that she liked cooked carrots instead of raw carrots.” She says her group often hears from consumers concerned about cost. A government study showed you can eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and veggies for $2 to $2.50 a day. “It’s really a matter of priorities and how you spend your money. “You can skip the soda when you eat out, and you’ve saved enough money to buy all your fruits and vegetables for the day.” When it comes to both price and taste, it’s often best to eat produce that’s in season, Begun says. “There’s a world of difference between a tomato from a local farm in late summer vs. one in January that was picked before its time and flown thousands of miles.”

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MEAT NOT REQUIRED: Veggies make fine grilling fare, too

By Ron Mikulak Gannett

Grilling does things to vegetables that make them just as appealing as grilled meat. The high, direct heat at the center of the grill chars the skins of peppers and eggplant, and softens the flesh, which, in the case of peppers, especially, enriches the flavor. Grilling peppers until the skin chars and cracks allows you to rub off the skin, leaving a sort of floppy slab of smokeinfused vegetable flesh that is excellent on a sandwich, or delicious when chopped coarsely and tossed with pasta, or very tasty when pureed in a blender to make a sauce or dip. Grill-roasting a whole unpeeled eggplant results in the interior collapsing. Scrape out the almost pudding-like flesh, mix it with capers, anchovies and lemon juice for a classic Mediterranean-style eggplant “caviar,� wonderful as a dip or

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Grilled caesar salad KYLENE LLOYD/COURIER-JOURNAL

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Grilled caesar salad 1 head Romaine lettuce Olive oil 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and finely chopped 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 2 egg yolks 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup olive oil

Slice the Romaine lettuce lengthwise, keeping the stem end intact to hold the leaves together. Brush the cut sides of the leaves with olive oil and place lettuce, cut side down, on the grill just long enough for the leaves to char lightly and wilt slightly, 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the grill heat. Chop the grilled lettuce coarsely into a salad bowl. Place minced anchovies and garlic, egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in a blender and puree everything together. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dress lettuce with dressing to taste. Serves 2.


bruschetta spread, or even as an alternative to ketchup on burgers. Grilled portobello mushroom caps make an excellent basis for a vegetarian “burger.� Briefly grilling a split head of lettuce adds an unusual element of char and smoke to a salad. Both tomatoes and zucchini respond very nicely to grilling. Summer squashes, both green and yellow, are by nature rather bland. But when sliced lengthwise, brushed with herb-scented oil and grilled, they look great (grill marks improve their appearance immensely) and their flesh becomes unctuously tender and appealing. Some vegetables benefit from parboiling or blanching before being finished on the grill. Asparagus boiled or microwaved for 3-5 minutes will be more amenable to being prodded onto skewers, which is a good way to manage skinny vegetables on the grill to avoid a fall through the grates. Artichokes, too, can be steamed until the flesh of the heart is just getting fork-tender. Drain, then grill until fully cooked through for a different artichoke experience. Because vegetables cook through at Continues on Page 54

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Grilling

Grilled pineapple and pound cake sundae with Mexican chocolate sauce

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different rates, vegetable kabobs need some planning. Mushrooms and cherry tomatoes can be speared together, put directly onto a hot grill, and be ready in a few minutes. Carrots, potatoes, beets and other vegetables that are crunchy when raw need to be parboiled first, to a point where they are beginning to be fork tender, before they are speared and placed on the grill to finish. Grilling fruit is another option. Grilled apple or pear rounds (cored and sliced, peeled or not to your taste) are fine complements to pork dishes. Grilling fresh pineapple slabs adds an interesting layer of caramelized complexities to one of the most consistently delicious fruits. Unlike mixed raw vegetables, mixed fruit kabobs cook more consistently, and then can adorn ice cream sundaes.

Mexican chocolate, used for making hot chocolate, is made with cinnamon and some other spices. Check stores for Abuelita, a Nestle’s brand, and Ibarra. Or, use equivalent amounts (about 4 ounces) of bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate.

2 2 1/2-ounce discs of Mexican chocolate 1 cup heavy cream 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch-thick rounds 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted 1 pound cake, store-bought or homemade, sliced Ice cream

Grilled pineapple and pound cake sundae KYLENE LLOYD/COURIER-JOURNAL

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Heat cream in a saucepan until small bubbles appear at sides. Remove from heat and add chocolate discs. Stir now and then until melted. Set aside. Brush the pineapple slices with melted butter and grill 3-4 minutes per side, or until they have good grill marks. Grill pound cake slices 1-2 minutes per side, until good grill marks show. To serve, place grilled pound cake on serving plate. Top with a slice of grilled pineapple, and top that with ice cream. Drape ice cream with chocolate sauce. Serves 6.

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kids’ page

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calendar of events

THINGS TO DO Deadline for the September calendar is Aug. 10. Submit items to calendar@wncparent.com.

July 23

ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes for ages 3 and older, Monday-Thursday evenings, July 23-Aug. 2. Registration deadline is July 20. Starts at $40. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes for ages 3 to adults, mornings and afternoons Monday-Thursday, July 23-Aug. 2. Registration deadline is July 19. Starts at $40. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org.

Priscilla, an English bulldog, leaps into the water during the air dog competition during Bele Chere, which runs July 27-29. ERIN BRETHAUER/EBRETHAU@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

July 24

AFRICAN DRUMMING CAMP: Ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. BALLOON FAIRY: All ages program at 2 p.m. at Enka-Candler Library. No groups. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. DREAMING OF MAGIC: All ages program with Ric Singleton. At 2 p.m.at Enka-Candler Library. No groups. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. GREEN OPPORTUNITIES TALENT SHOW: Fundraiser and talent show for Green Opportunities, which improves lives, communities and the health of the planet through innovative green collar job training and placement programs, at 5 p.m. at The Hop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit www.thehopicecreamcafe.com. NIGHT SKY PLANETARIUM: Colburn Earth Science Museum presents this all-ages program at 1 p.m. at Fairview Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. PRESCHOOL PLAYDATE: Theme is “The Ocean” for program aimed at preschoolers through pre-K, 9-11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Asheville. Space is limited. $5 per child. Visit www.fbca.net or contact Bree Welmaker at 252-4781 or bwelmaker@fbca.net.

July 25

BALLOON FAIRY: Program for ages 4 and older, at 3 p.m. at North Asheville Library. Limited to 50 people. Pick up free ticket at the library starting July 11. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. BUTTERFLY CAMP: Stories, hands-on science and dramatic play. Ages 6 and older. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. DREAMING UP A LIBRARY WISHING WELL:

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All-ages program at 2 p.m. at Black Mountain Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: WNC Nature Center presents this all-ages program at 10:30 a.m. at Pack Memorial Library, downtown Asheville. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. GRANDMA STORY WOMAN: Storytelling for all ages, free with admission. At 1 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. RIC SINGLETON’S FAMILY FUN SHOW: For ages 5 and older at 3 p.m. at North Asheville Library. Limit 50 people. Pick up free ticket at the library beginning July 11. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. ‘THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES’: Presented by Grey Seal Puppets. Visit www.henderson.lib.nc.us. » Fletcher branch library, 10:30 a.m. » Etowah branch library, 2 p.m.

July 26

INFANT CARE CLASS: Basics including newborn characteristics, feeding, bathing, cord care, diapering and swaddling. Free. 6:30-8 p.m. at Pardee Hospital, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Registration is required. Call 866-790-WELL or visit www.pardeehospital.org to register. LET’S GO FLY CAMP: Create four paper airplanes and test their flying. Ages 8-12. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. MOUNTAIN STORY MAGIC: Dream big at this program for ages 5 and older at 10:30 a.m. at Black Mountain Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. NIGHT CREATURES: Program from the WNC Nature Center for all ages, at 11 a.m. at Leicester Library. Groups should call before attending. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Ashe-

ville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthands.com. T-SHIRT SCREEN PRINTING: Bring your own shirt for this craft program for all ages, 3-4 p.m. at Weaverville Library. Limit one shirt per person. Pick up free tickets at the library starting July 12. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. WOODSY OWL’S CURIOSITY CLUB: Cradle of Forestry offers a summer nature series for ages 4-7. This week’s theme is “Wildlife Tracking.” 10:30 a.m.-noon, Thursdays through Aug. 2. $4 per child per program, $2.50 for adults. Make a reservation at 877-3130. On U.S. 276 in Pisgah National Forest. Visit www.cradleofforestry.com.

July 27

HUG A MONSTER DAY: Bring spooky toys, dress as your favorite monster or come as you are. With monster-themed story time and crafts. Noon-3 p.m. at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, inside ZaPOW!, 21 Battery Park Ave., Asheville. Call 319-1907 or visit www.spellboundchildrensbookshop.com. HULA HOOP WITH HOOPING HEARTS: All ages program at 11 a.m. at West Asheville Library. Pick up free ticket at the library starting July 13. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. OPEN HOUSE: The Empowered Child is a multisensory child care center specializing in humane education. It instills the desire and capacity to live with compassion, integrity and wisdom, and also provides the knowledge and tools to put our values into action in meaningful, far-reaching ways. Open house at 6 p.m., at 106 Westgate Parkway. Call 458-5270 or email theempoweredchild@aol.com. PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: At Reuter Family YMCA for kids ages 6 weeks to 12 years. Make leaf prints/

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steam whistle. Slide programs at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. by WNC train historian. $5 for ages 16 and older, youths free. Visit www.cradleofforestry.com or call 877-3130.

Continued from Page 60 fossils, go on a scavenger hunt outside and more. For members, $12 for first child, $10 each additional; nonmembers, $24 each child. 6:15-9:45 p.m. Call 651-9622. TALL TALES AND FAIRY TALES CAMP: Create a puppet and learn to tell stories. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org.

July 27-29

BELE CHERE: Asheville’s music and arts festival, with live music, vendors, nonprofit booths, Purina Air Dogs, children’s area, Asheville’s Mobile Art lab, more. Visit www.belecherefestival.com.

July 28

PRESCHOOL MISSION CAMP: Children ages 3-5 can learn that God loves them and be actively involved in learning how to share this love with others. 9 a.m.-noon at French Broad Baptist Church, 182 Grandview Lane, Hendersonville. Call 891-4665 or visit www.frenchbroad.org. Registration is encouraged. Optional $5 donation to help cover costs of supplies for the camp. TRAIN HISTORY DAY: Walk the Forest Festival Trail at the Cradle of Forestry to see its old Climax locomotive. Climb aboard and ring the bell and hear a

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July 31

‘ALADDIN JR.’: Curtain Call Collective, under the direction of Chris Martin, performs a preview performance of “Aladdin Jr.” at The Hop, 640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit www.thehopicecreamcafe.com. COMEDY CAMP: With Dr. Dennis. Work on presentation, timing, puns and homophones. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 31-Aug. 3. Performance at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 3. $35 nonmembers/$30 members. At Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. FAMILY ROBOTICS WORKSHOP: Work together to build and operate a robot. Design, test and redesign your robot to accomplish tasks and meet new challenges. Robots will carry objects, navigate obstacle courses and maneuver up steep ramps. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at The Health Adventure, Biltmore Square Mall, 800 Brevard Road, Asheville. Call 665-2217, ext. 324, to register. Visit www.thehealthadventure.org. GROOVIN’ ON GROVEMONT: The Burners perform mountain music and original Americana as part of the 10th annual summer concert series, presented by Friends of the Swannanoa Library and Swannanoa Community Council. Free, family-friendly show, but donations are welcome. Bring blanket or lawn chair. Food available for purchase. Bargain Basement Book Sale at library during event. At 6 p.m. at Grovemont Square beside library, 101 W. Charleston St. Call 250-6486 or email swannanoa.library@buncombe-

county.org. PRESCHOOL PLAYDATE: Theme is “The Ocean” for program aimed at preschoolers through pre-K, 9-11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Asheville. Space is limited. $5 per child. Visit www.fbca.net or contact Bree Welmaker at 252-4781 or bwelmaker@fbca.net.

Aug. 1

ASHEVILLE AREA MUSIC TOGETHER: Try a free class. Each class is a rich, playful, relaxed family experience full of new and traditional songs and chants. Activities include singing, finger play, large movement, instrument play, and parent education. Fall Session begins in September in West, downtown, and South Asheville and Marshall. Free visits also available last week of August. Visit www.AshevilleAreaMT.com or www.MusicTogether.com or email Kari Richmond, karirichmond@charter.net. ASHEVILLE CLOGGING AND DANCE COMPANY: Classes start Aug. 1 for all ages and skill levels. Visit www.ashevillecloggingcompany.com or email Ashley Shimberg at ashley@ashevillecloggingcompany.com. BALLET CLASS: Ballet Conservatory offers free sample classes Aug. 1 and 8. Ages 3-5 at 1:15-2 p.m. and ages 5-7 at 12:30-1:15 p.m. Fall classes begin week of Aug. 20 for all ages. Discount for siblings. At Ballet Conservatory’s Five Points Studios, 6 E. Chestnut, (corner of Broadway and Chestnut). Visit www.balletconservatoryofasheville.com or call 255-5777. IMPACT OF BIG DREAMS: True stories of children

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who are changing the world. All ages program at 10:30 a.m. at Black Mountain Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. MEET THE AUTHOR: Teen novel author Stephanie Perkins visits Pack Memorial Library, downtown Asheville, at 6:30 p.m. For ages 12 and older. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. TEDDY BEAR TEA PARTY: Bring your favorite bear for songs, snacks, stories and more. At 10:30 a.m. at Historic Johnson Farm, 3346 Haywood Road, Hendersonville. No one admitted after 10:20 a.m. Call 891-6585 or visit www.historicjohnsonfarm.org.

Aug. 2

CHILDBIRTH CLASSES: A free two-session class, Aug. 2 and 9, for expectant parents covering the labor and delivery process, relaxation, breathing patterns, birth options, positioning and comfort measures. 6:30–9 p.m. Registration required. At Pardee Hospital, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Call 866-790-WELL or visit www.pardeehospital.org to register. MOUNTAIN DANCE AND FOLK FESTIVAL: 85th annual event celebrating Southern Appalachian culture with dance and music. 7-10 p.m. Aug. 2, 3 and 4 at Diana Wortham Theatre in Pack Place. Adults $20, children $10. Visit www.mountainheritage.org. MOUNTAIN STORY MAGIC: Dream big at this program for all ages at 11 a.m. at Leicester Library. Groups should call before attending. Visit www.buncombecounty.org.

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calendar of events Continued from Page 63 SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Asheville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthands.com. ‘THE ROOTABAGA STORIES’: The Carl Sandburg Home and The Vagabond School of the Drama presents ‘The Rootabaga Stories,’ 10:15-10:45 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through Aug. 18. All ages. At Carl Sandburg Home amphitheater in Flat Rock. Visit www.nps.gov/carl. WOODSY OWL’S CURIOSITY CLUB: Cradle of Forestry offers a summer nature series for ages 4-7. This week’s theme is “The Word on Birds.” 10:30 a.m.-noon, Thursdays through Aug. 2. $4 per child per program, $2.50 for adults. Make a reservation at 877-3130. On U.S. 276 in Pisgah National Forest. Visit www.cradleofforestry.com.

Aug. 3

‘ALADDIN JR.’: Summer Rocks at Emmanuel Lutheran School performs, under the direction of Chris Martin, at 7 p.m. at the school, 51 Wilburn Place, Asheville. Visit www.summerrocks.org or call 2818182. FREE HIKE FRIDAY: Take guided hike out to Hickory Nut Falls, tallest waterfall on the East Coast. No

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Artist Jonas Gerard will create and paint live to music to benefit Caring for Children on Aug. 18. /SPECIAL TO WNC PARENT registration necessary. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com. MOUNTAIN DANCE AND FOLK FESTIVAL: 85th annual event celebrating Southern Appalachian

culture with dance and music. 7-10 p.m. Aug. 2, 3 and 4 at Diana Wortham Theatre in Pack Place. Adults $20, children $10. Visit www.mountainheritage.org.

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Aug. 4

‘ALADDIN JR.’: Summer Rocks at Emmanuel Lutheran School performs, under the direction of Chris Martin, at 2 p.m. at the school, 51 Wilburn Place, Asheville. Visit www.summerrocks.org or call 2818182. FALL REGISTRATION FESTIVAL: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Hahn’s Gymnastics, 18 Legend Drive, Arden. Call 684-8832 or visit www.hahnsgymnastics.com. MOUNTAIN DANCE AND FOLK FESTIVAL: 85th annual event celebrating Southern Appalachian culture with dance and music. 7-10 p.m. at Diana Wortham Theatre in Pack Place. Adults $20, children $10. Visit www.mountainheritage.org. OWN THE NIGHT: A self-defense workshop for ages 11-18. Teens must turn in signed permission slip to participate. Parents welcome. Call 250-4638 for details. At 3 p.m. at East Asheville Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes for ages 6 months-12 years on Saturdays, Aug. 4-25. Registration deadline is July 31. Starts at $20. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. SMOKEY BEAR’S BIRTHDAY PARTY: Cradle of Forestry hosts games, singing, firefighting equipment demonstrations, birthday cake and Smokey Bear. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The symbol of wildland fire prevention turns 68 this year. $6 for ages 16 and older, $3 for youths. Visit www.cradleofforestry.org or call 877-3130. WNC FALL BALL REGISTRATION: Baseball for ages 4-16. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Oakley Recreation Center, 749 Fairview Road, Asheville. Visit www.wncfallball.com. Also on Aug. 11.

Aug. 5

ROYAL BOOK CLUB: Spellbound Children’s Bookshop’s club for Readers of Young Adult Literature discusses “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie. 4-5 p.m., inside ZaPOW!, 21 Battery Park Ave., Asheville. Call 319-1907 or visit www.spellboundchildrensbookshop.com.

Aug. 6

ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes for ages 3 and older, Monday-Thursday evenings, Aug. 6-16. Registration deadline is Aug. 3. Starts at $40. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. REUTER FAMILY YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes

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for ages 3 to adults, afternoons only, MondayThursday, Aug. 6-16. Registration deadline is Aug. 2. Starts at $40. Call 651-9622 or visit www.ymcawnc.org.

Aug. 7

ASHEVILLE CATHOLIC SCHOOL: Open house the first Tuesday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. Call 252-5708 for reservations. For private tour, call Debbie Mowrey at 252-7896 or email dmowrey@ashevillecatholic.org. Visit www.ashevillecatholic.org. ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes for

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calendar of events Continued from Page 65 ages 6 months and older, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, Aug. 7-30. Registration deadline is Aug. 3. Starts at $40. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. KINDERGARTEN PREP COURSE: Free workshop for parents to help get soon-to-be kindergartners ready for school. Learn about hands-on home activities and expectations of rising kindergartners. 10:30 a.m. at Reuter Family YMCA, Multipurpose Studio A, 3 Town Square Blvd., Asheville. Contact Karyn Kattermann, kkattermann@ymcawnc.org.

Aug. 8

BALLET CLASS: Ballet Conservatory offers free sample classes. Ages 3-5 at 1:15-2 p.m. and ages 5-7 at 12:30-1:15 p.m. Fall classes begin week of Aug. 20 for all ages. Discount for siblings. At Ballet Conservatory’s Five Points Studios, 6 E. Chestnut, (corner of Broadway and Chestnut). Visit www.balletconservatoryofasheville.com or call 255-5777. DREAM UP A COSTUME: Get ready for the Aug. 15 show with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. All ages program at 10:30 a.m. at Black Mountain Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. NANO SCIENCE CAMP: Explore the science of the very, very small. Ages 7-12. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org.

Aug. 9

LET’S GO FLY CAMP: Create four different paper airplanes and test their flying skills. Ages 8-12. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. ORIGAMI FOLDING FRENZY: The Health Adventure hosts origami club for all levels, 4-5 p.m. second Thursday of the month. Learn new folds, share favorites and meet fellow origami enthusiasts. Paper available at museum store or bring your own. Free with admission. At Biltmore Square Mall, off Brevard Road. Call 665-2217 or visit www.thehealthadventure.org. SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Asheville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthands.com.

Aug. 10

FREE HIKE FRIDAY: Take guided hike out to Hickory Nut Falls, tallest waterfall on the East Coast. No registration necessary. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com. UNDER THE RAINBOW CAMP: Learn about the colors of the rainbow through stories, dramatic play and art. Ages 3-6. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Henderson-

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ville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org.

Aug. 11

HAND IN HAND COOKOUT: Hand in Hand, Valley Churches helping Valley Schools, hosts a cookout with proceeds benefiting students in the Owen school district, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on the front lawn of the United Methodist Church, at Church and Main Street, downtown Black Mountain. Adults $6, children $4. KIDS’ NIGHT OUT: Biltmore United Methodist Church hosts night out, 5-8 p.m. the second Saturday of the month, for infants to fifth-graders. With educational activities and snacks. $5 per child. Email leslee@biltmoreumc.org or call 274-2379 to RSVP. ‘NUTCRACKER’ AND PRE-PROFESSIONAL BALLET AUDITIONS: Ballet Conservatory holds auditions for its annual “Nutcracker” production and its preprofessional and trainee divisions. Beginner (age 10-12, 9:30 a.m.), Intermediate (age 12-13, 11 a.m.) and Advanced (14-18, 12:30 p.m.). Children ages 6-9 may also perform; call for information. Nutcracker tours Dec. 6 and runs Dec. 13-14 at Diana Wortham Theatre, downtown Asheville. Auditions at Five Points Studios, 6 E. Chestnut, Asheville. Visit www.BalletConservatoryofAsheville.com or call 255-5777. OPEN HOUSE: Ballet Conservatory studios are open for registration, to meet faculty and free sample class, 3-5 p.m. Sample classes for ages 3-5 at 3:30 p.m. and for ages 6-8 at 4 p.m. Fall classes begin week of Aug. 20 in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hiphop, acting, musical theatre for all ages. Discount for siblings and multiple classes. At 6 E. Chestnut, (corner of Broadway and Chestnut). Visit www.BalletConservatoryofAsheville.com or call 255-5777. SHINDIG ON THE GREEN: Mountain tradition, with bluegrass and old-time string bands, cloggers, storytellers and more. 7-10 p.m. at Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park, Asheville. Visit www.folkheritage.org. SOURWOOD FESTIVAL: Family friendly festival with music, food, arts and crafts, more, in Black Mountain. Visit www.sourwoodfestival.com. WEE TRADE: WNC’s biggest consignment sale. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at WNC Ag Center Davis Event Center, Gate 5, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Visit www.wee-trade.net. WNC FALL BALL REGISTRATION: Baseball for ages 4-16. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Oakley Recreation Center, 749 Fairview Road, Asheville. Visit www.wncfallball.com. WOOD DAY: Folk Art Center hosts annual celebration of wood crafts, with demonstrations in flute making, wood turning, broom making, furniture design, more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Carve-Off Competition starts at 1 p.m. Free. Visit www.southernhighlandguild.org.

Aug. 12

MUSIC ON THE MOUNTAIN: Balsam Range and The Harris Brothers perform at the new amphitheater in the Meadows at Chimney Rock Park. 3:30-7:30 p.m. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com for details and ticket information. SOURWOOD FESTIVAL: Family friendly festival with music, food, arts and crafts, more, in Black Mountain. Visit www.sourwoodfestival.com.

WEE TRADE: WNC’s biggest consignment sale. Noon-6 p.m. at WNC Ag Center Davis Event Center, Gate 5, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Visit www.wee-trade.net.

Aug. 13

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. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Health Adventure, Biltmore Square Mall, 800 Brevard Road, Call 681-2229 or visit www.parkridgebabies.com to register.

Aug. 14

CANDY CONSTRUCTION CAMP: Learn the sweet science of making candy and make your own creations with candy. Ages 8 and older. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org.

Aug. 15

SECRET AGENT 23 SKIDOO: All ages show at 10 a.m. at Black Mountain Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org. WACKY WEDNESDAY: Fun with Noodle Mania. 2-4 p.m. All ages. Free with admission at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Call 697-8333 or visit www.handsonwnc.org.

Aug. 16

ART OF BREAST-FEEDING: Pardee Hospital offers free class for new moms, 6:30-8 p.m. at hospital, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Registration is required. Call 866-790-WELL or visit www.pardeehospital.org to register. BUBBLE MANIA: Learn about bubbles by blowing and playing with lots of them. Take home bubbles and instructions on how to create your own. Ages 6-10, younger with participating adult. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. $15 nonmembers/$9 members. Limited space; call 697-8333 to register. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. DRAKE SCHOOL OF IRISH DANCE: Free class, 5:30 p.m. Ages 5-7 and 8-14 welcome. RSVP by Aug. 15. At Asheville Performing Arts Academy, 210 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Visit www.drakedance.com. Call 253-4000 to reserve a spot. SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Asheville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthands.com.

Aug. 17

FREE HIKE FRIDAY: Take guided hike out to Hickory Nut Falls, tallest waterfall on the East Coast. No registration necessary. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com. WEE TRADE: WNC’s biggest consignment sale. 10

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a.m.-8 p.m. at WNC Ag Center Davis Event Center, Gate 5, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Visit www.wee-trade.net.

Aug. 18

ASHEVILLE YMCA SWIM LESSONS: Classes for ages 6 months and older, Saturday mornings, Aug. 18-Sept. 8. Registration deadline is Aug. 17. Starts at $40. Call 210-9605 or visit www.ymcawnc.org. CARING FOR CHILDREN FUNDRAISER: Artist Jonas Gerard will create and paint live to music, followed by a live auction of paintings, 1-3 p.m. in Pack Square Park. Caring for Children provides a wide variety of community based services in Buncombe County and WNC, including foster/respite care programs and family preservation services. Visit www.caring4children.org or call 231-8838. LEILA PATTERSON FITNESS CENTER TRIATHLON: 200-yard pool swim, 17.5-mile challenging bike ride and rolling 5K. Individuals and relay teams welcome. $40. Starts at 7 a.m. Visit www.imathlete.com/events/LPCTriathlon or call 209-6900 for information. OPEN HOUSE: From 2-5 p.m., Asheville Performing Arts Academy offers tours of new location at 210 Merrimon Ave., and chance to meet staff. Classes for ages 5-18. Learn about preschool and pre-ballet program. Call 253-4000. OPEN HOUSE: The Little Gym of Asheville will host a Back to School Open House, 2-4 p.m., with games, door prizes and refreshments. Learn about our new programs for children ages 4 months-12 years. Call 667-9588 or visit www.tlgashevillenc.com for details. At 1000 Brevard Road, Suite 168, Asheville. SHINDIG ON THE GREEN: Mountain tradition, with bluegrass and old-time string bands, cloggers, storytellers and more. 7-10 p.m. at Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park, Asheville. Visit www.folkheritage.org. THE BUZZ ON BEES: Observe enclosed working beehives, chat with beekeeping experts, learn basics of beekeeping, and more. With crafts and activities for kids. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com. WEE TRADE: WNC’s biggest consignment sale. Half-off sale, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at WNC Ag Center Davis Event Center, Gate 5, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Visit www.wee-trade.net.

Aug. 19

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. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Park Ridge Health, 100 Hospital Drive, Hendersonville. Call 681-2229 or visit www.parkridgebabies.com to register.

Aug. 20

DRUGLESS THERAPY TALK: For ADD, ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Free talk about how the brain processes information and how the problems can be permanently corrected in adults and children. Improve the ability to learn, remember and focus. 6:30 p.m. at Earth Fare West-

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calendar of events

Aug. 30

SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Asheville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthands.com.

Continued from Page 67 gate, 66 Westgate Parkway, Asheville. RSVP to 216-4444 or Wes@WesBeach.com. Visit www.learningimprovementcenter.com/free-lecture/.

Aug. 22

Aug. 31

DRUGLESS THERAPY TALK: For ADD, ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Free talk about how the brain processes information and how the problems can be permanently corrected in adults and children. Improve the ability to learn, remember and focus. 6:30 p.m. at Earth Fare South, 1856 Hendersonville Road, Asheville. RSVP to 2164444 or Wes@WesBeach.com. Visit www.learningimprovementcenter.com/free-lecture/. GRANDMA STORY WOMAN: Come hear a story. All ages. 1 p.m. at Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, 318 N. Main St., Hendersonville. Call 697-8333 or visit www.handsonwnc.org. MAKE A DREAM JAR: All ages program at 10:30 a.m. at Black Mountain Library. Visit www.buncombecounty.org.

Aug. 23

CELEBRATION SINGERS OF ASHEVILLE AUDITIONS: Community youth chorus holds auditions for the upcoming year for ages 7-14. Prepare a song and bring sheet music if possible. 6-7 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 20 Oak St., Asheville. Call Artistic Director Ginger Haselden, 230-5778. INFANT CARE CLASS: Basics including newborn characteristics, feeding, bathing, cord care, diapering and swaddling. Free. 6:30-8 p.m. at Pardee Hospital, 800 N. Justice St., Hendersonville. Registration is required. Call 866-790-WELL or visit www.pardeehospital.org to register. SING, SIGN AND STORY TIME: 10 a.m. Thursdays, West Asheville Vineyard, 717 Haywood Road, Asheville. $7 per family per session. No weekly commitment. Learn sign language through music, movement and signing. Contact Rebekah Alley at rebekah@mysmarthands.com or 712-4587. Visit www.mysmarthands.com.

Aug. 24

FREE HIKE FRIDAY: Take guided hike out to Hickory Nut Falls. No registration necessary. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com.

Aug. 24-26

GOOMBAY FESTIVAL: African-Caribbean festival of food, music and entertainment. Noon-10 p.m. Aug. 24-25 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 26, in downtown Asheville. HICKORY NUT GORGE OLYMPIAD: Eighth-annual three-day sport and community festival with events and activities for all athletic abilities. With golf tournament, beach barbecue, free water ski show, fireworks, 10K, more. Visit www.hickorynutolympiad.com.

Aug. 25

BLUE RIDGE ROLLERGIRLS: Double header, doors

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FREE HIKE FRIDAY: Take guided hike out to Hickory Nut Falls, tallest waterfall on the East Coast. No registration necessary. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Chimney Rock Park. Free with admission. Visit www.chimneyrockpark.com. N.C. APPLE FESTIVAL: Street fair with arts and crafts, food, entertainment, apple growers and their apples, children’s activities and more in downtown Hendersonville. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. From Sixth Avenue to Caswell Street. Visit www.ncapplefestival.org.

Sept. 1

The 85th annual Mountain Dance & Folk Festival will be at Diana Wortham Theatre from Aug. 3-5. JOHN COUTLAKIS/JCOUTLAKIS@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM

open at 4 p.m. with first bout at 5, second at 7. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 for ages 13 and older, free for 12 and younger. At WNC Agricultural Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher. Visit www.blueridgerollergirls.com. HAHN’S PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Hahn’s Gymnastics hosts children ages 3-12, with pizza dinner and gymnastics-related games and activities. $15 for first child, $7.50 for each sibling if enrolled at Hahn’s ($20/$10 if not enrolled). From 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Call 684-8832 to register. MOVE IN THE PARK: At Fletcher Community Park. Visit www.fletcherparks.org. OPEN HOUSE: Creative Arts Preschool at Asheville Performing Arts Academy hosts open house, 10 a.m.-noon. Accepting students ages 2-5 (must be potty trained). Arts-based focus and kindergarten readiness program. Call 253-4000 for more information. SHINDIG ON THE GREEN: Mountain tradition, with bluegrass and old-time string bands, cloggers, storytellers and more. 7-10 p.m. at Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park, Asheville. Visit www.folkheritage.org.

Aug. 28

BABY STEPS TO PARENTHOOD: Join other moms and discuss the joys of motherhood as well as the confusion, anxiety and complexity of adjusting to new responsibilities and changed routines. For first-time parents or parents transitioning to multiple children. Babies welcome, must been 12 months old or younger. Six-week series will cover transitioning to solids, playful parenting, breastfeeding issues, more. 11 a.m. at Nest Organics, 51 N. Lexington Ave., Asheville. Visit www.megganhartman.com.

LEXINGTON AVENUE ARTS AND FUN FESTIVAL: Mini music festival at multiple venues. Visit www.lexfestasheville.com. N.C. APPLE FESTIVAL: Street fair with arts and crafts, food, entertainment, apple growers and their apples, children’s activities and more in downtown Hendersonville. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. From Sixth Avenue to Caswell Street. Visit www.ncapplefestival.org. SHINDIG ON THE GREEN: Mountain tradition, with bluegrass and old-time string bands, cloggers, storytellers and more. 7-10 p.m. at Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park, Asheville. Visit www.folkheritage.org.

Sept. 2

LEXINGTON AVENUE ARTS AND FUN FESTIVAL: Street performers, artwork, music, food and more on Lexington Avenue in downtown Asheville. Visit www.lexfestasheville.com. N.C. APPLE FESTIVAL: Street fair with arts and crafts, food, entertainment, apple growers and their apples, children’s activities and more in downtown Hendersonville. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. From Sixth Avenue to Caswell Street. Visit www.ncapplefestival.org.

Sept. 3

N.C. APPLE FESTIVAL: Street fair with arts and crafts, food, entertainment, apple growers and their apples, children’s activities and more in downtown Hendersonville. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. From Second Avenue to Casell Street. King Apple Parade at 2:30 p.m. Visit www.ncapplefestival.org.

Sept. 4

ASHEVILLE CATHOLIC SCHOOL: Open house the first Tuesday of each month, 10-11:30 a.m. Call 252-5708 for reservations. For private tour, call Debbie Mowrey at 252-7896 or email dmowrey@ashevillecatholic.org. Visit www.ashevillecatholic.org.

Ongoing

SHARKS OF SUMMER: New exhibit through Labor Day at the Team ECCO Center for Ocean Awareness. Included in $3 aquarium admission. Call 692-8386 or

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visit www.teamecco.org. At 511 Main St., Hendersonville. T-BONE’S RADIO ACTIVE KIDS: Stories, music, contests, interviews and all things for families in the Asheville area. 8-10 a.m. Saturdays on www.ashevillefm.org. CHABAD HEBREW SCHOOL OF THE ARTS: Enrollment now open for Chabad Hebrew School of the Arts, a combination Sunday School and Hebrew School Program. General Registration through Aug. 15. Early bird and sibling discounts available. For ages 3-13. Sundays 10 a.m.-noon. September to May. At the Chabad House, 660 Merrimon Ave., Asheville. Call 505-0746 or visit www.chabadasheville.org. SPANISH 4 KIDS: An enjoyable and effective way to learn Spanish by exposing children ages 3-5 to the language sounds. Taught by Monica Bastin, a native of Peru. With games, singing, dancing, storytelling and lots of fun. 3:30-4:15 p.m. Thursdays at Movement Center, French Broad Food Co-op. Email risitasavl@gmail.com or call 335-2120. BILINGUAL SUMMER ADVENTURE: Arts-integrated Spanish language learning through activities, crafts, music and cuisine, inspired by the diverse peoples and regions of the Americas.Two summer sessions for rising 1st- to 4th-graders taught by Monica Bastin and Jack Manning. For information, email jwmannin@gmail.com or call 772-4539. ASHEVILLE AREA MUSIC TOGETHER: Try a free class before the summer session. No strings attached. Each class is a rich, playful, relaxed family experience full of new and traditional songs and chants. Activities include singing, finger play, large movement, instrument play and parent education. Fired by the belief (supported by a wealth of good research) that ALL children are musical, Music Together has been a curriculum pioneer, offering classes to the public since 1987. Summer session begins in June in West Asheville, downtown, and South Asheville. Learn more at www.AshevilleAreaMT.com or www.MusicTogether.com. CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS, HANDS ON!: Hands On! A Child’s Gallery, the educational children’s museum in downtown Hendersonville, is looking for volunteers in customer greeting and reception assistance. Hands On! is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and volunteer opportunities include customer greeting and reception assistance, recycling, maintenance, light cleaning and program facilitating. At 318 N. Main Street. Interested volunteers should fill out an application at the museum or call 697-8333. Visit www.handsonwnc.org. CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS, ON EAGLES WINGS MINISTRIES: A local nonprofit that operates a safe home for domestic victims of sex trafficking ages 12-17, Hope House, needs daytime volunteers to assist with transportation and with home school program. Visit www.oewm.net. ELIADA CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER: Accepting applications for NC Pre-K, a kindergarten readiness initiative to help 4-year-olds gain basic skills. Contact Tonia Reed at 259-5374 or treed@eliada.org. SINGLE AND PARENTING RECOVERY AND SUPPORT GROUP: Features experts in grief and recovery topics. Seminar sessions include “Tired & Overwhelmed,” “Your Children & Your Fears,” “Money & Career” and “Conflict & Resolution.” At 4 p.m. Sundays at Living Hope Community Church, 697 Haywood Road, Asheville. Free. All welcome. Call 450-7575 or email livinghopeasheville@gmail.com.

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WNC Parent August