Cache Valley Family Magazine Holiday 2023 Issue

Page 1



Revitalizing Downtown Logan


In a World Full of Amazon, Shop Small

Christmas Tree Decorating Secrets

Pro tips for Holiday Décor Storage

Give the gift of music this Christmas with our “Done For You” stocking stuffer special! YOUR STOCKING INCLUDES:

a month of lessons, a free lesson certificate, a $25 retail certificate, free registration certificate, instrument-specific items, candy, ornament, t-shirt, and bag.

A $200 value for just $99!

P I AN O, G U I TAR, D R U M S , VO I C E , U KU L E L E , V I O L I N, V I O L A, C E L LO, C H I L D R E N S C H O I R AN D M O R E

(435) 265-6691 LO G A N M U S I CACA D E MY.CO M •

3002 N Main in North Logan

We are again accepting new patients! Call today and meet our new dentist, Dr. Ryan Coburn. Dr. Coburn completed dental school at Temple University in Pennsylvania before going on to a general practice residency in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He ran his own private practice in Montana for nearly 10 years and worked in a pediatric dental practice in Arizona for six years. He is excited to serve families in Cache Valley!

Dr. Daren Gehring and Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry Welcome Dr. Ryan Coburn Laser Dentistry | Preventative, Restorative, & Emergency Care Currently accepting self-pay and insured patients only.

1624 North 200 East, Suite 100 | North Logan, UT 84341 | 435.752.4330

4 | Holiday 2023

Publisher & Editor in Chief


TARA BONE Cover Photography



KITE MEDIA Contributing Writers

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting around the breakfast table with my seven siblings, listening to our dad read the same cheesy Christmas stories he always did, year after year. Dad was Jewish and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and, as unlikely as it was, he found great joy in dressing up as Santa to deliver frozen Christmas turkeys to the teachers he supervised as superintendent of schools in my small Idaho hometown. Believe me when I say my siblings and I did a lot of eyerolling in those years, but those traditions are now some of my most cherished memories.

Tradition is important. As Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof, said, “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!” Traditions give us and our children a sense of belonging and identity, strengthen family bonds, and build character. While I love traditions all year round and think just about every occasion deserves some kind of celebration — or at least a photo to document it (insert eye roll from a teenage child here!), the holidays seem to provide extra time and motivation for family traditions. No matter your traditions, I hope you will find joy in sharing them with your family, friends, or neighbors this holiday season. If you don’t have established traditions yet, start some! From our family to yours, we hope this time is filled with joy, love, and gratitude. We are thankful to live in Cache Valley and to share our community with each of you! Merry Christmas!


Cache Valley Family Magazine is a free, trusted resource designed to inform, serve, and enrich local parents and families throughout Cache Valley. Material in this publication is copyright 2023, Cache Valley Family Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission of the publisher is prohibited. The views expressed in the magazine are the views of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Please send all editorial correspondence to or by mail to PO Box 6831, North Logan, UT 84341. All correspondence is sent on a non-confidential basis and Cache Valley Family Magazine shall be free to reproduce, publish, edit and/or use any such communications. All materials become property of Cache Valley Family Magazine.


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PAGE 13 MAKING A DIFFERENCE Loaves and Fishes ... pg 9 FAMILY MATTERS In Defense of Christmas Cards ... pg 13

Custom cards by Karin Horchstrasser


TECH SAFE Your Holiday Guide to Safe Tech ... pg 20


EDUCATION UPDATE Cache County School District Renewed Focus on School Attendance ... pg 22 Logan City School District The Work of Christmas ... pg 23 GOOD NEIGHBORS Protect Yourself from Real Estate Scams by Being Aware ... pg 24 COVER STORY

Revitalizing Downtown Logan: The Vision of the Carol and Jim Laub Plaza ... pg 26 BEST-IN-CLASS YOUTH SPOTLIGHT Vanessa Bradfield is a Star on the Ice ... pg 33

In a World Full of Amazon, Don't Forget to Shop Small ... pg 16


Game On: Festive Holiday Party Game Ideas for All Ages ... pg 19


Pro Tips for Christmas Decoration Organization and Storage ... pg 30 Anderson's Christmas Tree Decorating Principles ... pg 35 Holiday Eating: Slow and Steady Wins the Race ... pg 39 How Photoreceptors Bring Color to the World ... pg 41 Grief Progression ... pg 43 10 Tips for Holiday Baking With Your Kids ... pg 46 Explore Logan: Pack Your Sleigh and Get Ready to Play ... pg 49


Learn more and donate at


Give the GIFT of HOPE.


Support CAPSA’s life-saving and life-changing programs with a tax deductible donation.




Ballet Tradition

Cache Valley’s

The Cache Valley Civic Ballet-School offers qualified training in

classical ballet to members of the community of all ages and skill levels. The school combines a dedication to ballet and a love of children to provide excellent training and a positive experience.

Join us! Spring Registration opens November 20. Classes begin January 8.

Whittier Community Center Logan, Utah 84321 • (435)753-3633

C V C B A L L E T. O R G For class schedules, registration, and more, visit

8 | Holiday 2023

Smile. It’s FREE! 10th Annual Free Dental Day!

Come in for one


preventative cleaning, filling or extraction. First come first served. 22

Friday Dec. 22 - 7am-12pm.

981 S. Main Street • Logan, UT • Call or Text (435) 787-0222 •



Loaves and Fishes TARA BONE

contributing writer

volunteers and a passionate board of directors whose goal is to build stronger relationships in our community. Everyone is invited to every meal, not only to share needed food but also to make friends.

Since 2010, on the first and third Saturday of every month at Logan’s Presbyterian Church, people from all walks of life, religions, ages, neighborhoods, businesses, sports teams, and even hairdresser coalitions have come together to share free meals that nourish both body and spirit. Known as Loaves and Fishes, this special Cache Valley program is powered by

Bobbi Crabtree has been a Loaves and Fishes volunteer for about 12 years and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and as the volunteer coordinator. She says over the years she’s repeatedly witnessed the benefits of people from diverse communities sharing a table and conversation. “Sometimes it’s the only two meals in a month someone doesn’t eat alone,” Bobbi said. “We’re like old friends.”

In the beginning, Loaves and Fishes provided about 50 to 75 meals each dinner. Today it provides 200 meals most Saturdays and 400 during the holidays. Food for meals is donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Bishops’ Storehouse, the Cache Community Food Pantry, and a variety of other local business. Loaves and Fishes also relies on donations for equipment and other food items. Volunteers are at the heart of the Loaves and Fishes community and are encouraged to join in the meal. Bobbi says they love volunteers and she emphasizes that even children can volunteer. continued on next page ...

Volunteers of all ages enjoy serving with Loaves and Fishes, and volunteer opportunities are still available for 2024.

10 | Holiday 2023

...continued from previous page Each week a group of 25 to 35 people is scheduled, and there are still available volunteer dates in 2024. To sign up to volunteer or donate, visit or email Bobbi at Each October at the Loaves and Fishes annual meeting, large groups, such as churches or businesses, indicate priority dates they’d like to volunteer. Sometimes smaller groups are paired, and individual volunteers are included on an email list and notified when more volunteers are needed for a particular meal. Bobbi says summer meals can be challenging to fill and holiday meals are special opportunities because many volunteers are needed. Wayne Crabtree is also a longtime volunteer with Loaves and Fishes, a former board member, and happens to be Bobbi’s husband. Wayne and Bobbi enjoy volunteering together and sharing the experience with others.

Wayne says he loves seeing first-time volunteers or those coming for a meal for the first time who are tentative at first, eventually relax, make friends, and feel welcome. They have many return volunteers who love the atmosphere. He says there’s a special energy of friendship during the meals and adds that often volunteers provide music and sometimes dancing. Singers, drummers, fiddlers, and even bands have shared their talents and received warm receptions. “We don’t always have entertainment,” Wayne said. “But I love it when possible because it makes the environment like a festival!” Whether seeking a warm meal and friendship, an opportunity to volunteer, or even share talents, Loaves and Fishes is a place to feel belonging. The Loaves and Fishes Turkey Feast is scheduled for November 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bobbi invites volunteers and friendship seekers alike to attend anytime. “We love it,” she said. “It’s so much fun, and we hope people will come out to experience it!”

Looking for Christmas Gift Ideas? GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE FOR: Horseback Riding Lessons, Equine Classes, & Horsemanship Lessons (8 years and older) Equine-themed Stocking Stuffers available too!



(8 years and older) FROM BEGINNERS TO EXPERIENCED RIDERS – $45/session LIBERTY LESSONS – $60/session 1981 S. MAIN ST. • LEWISTON, UT 84320 435.200.5622 •


Presented by Cache Valley Civic Ballet at the Ellen Eccles Theatre



Produced with the generous support of Cache Valley Bank, Wasatch Properties, & RAPZ


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In Defense of Christmas Cards TARA BONE

contributing writer


ome call those who dash to the mailbox the day after Thanksgiving seeking Christmas cards impractical and old-fashioned. Others call them relationship builders and memory keepers. Either way, since England’s Sir Henry Cole mailed the first Christmas card in 1843 as a way to maintain correspondence, the tradition stuck and Hallmark estimates that Americans mail 1.18 billion Christmas cards each year. It would be easy to drop the Christmas card tradition altogether with busy schedules and tight family budgets. But why not consider rethinking the tradition? Send fewer cards and change your perspective of what a Christmas card must be. For those who aren’t sure what the fuss is about the tradition, what follows is a case for Christmas cards (I’ll do my best to represent fellow card lovers).

All those beautiful cards make one-ofa-kind, meaningful décor! On ribbons, atop the mantle, around a doorway, or even taped to a wall, displaying brightly colored cards and faces of loved ones is a special holiday tradition. Children can become familiar with friends and family, and in a way those loved ones become part of our holiday celebrations.

with loved ones and preserve family history. She feels slowing down to read and reflect on each card is a practice in mindfulness.

Christmas cards maintain connections through time and distance. More than once, after sending cards, I’ve received a return letter sharing that a friend’s health has declined or someone has passed away recently.

Karin and her family moved nine times before moving to Hyrum. She says exchanging Christmas cards every year is an important way to stay connected to friends from those moves. She also feels it’s a great way to keep family history. Their family has a box with every Hochstrasser Christmas card from the last 19 years.

For Karin Hochstrasser, a local artist, business owner, and mother, Christmas cards provide a way for her family to keep in touch

“I’m a big fan of Christmas cards,” she said. “There’s something about them. It’s a way of bringing family into our homes and gathering when we’re busy. It’s a way to remember and show that relationships matter.”

continued on next page ...

There’s nothing like receiving a Christmas card in the mail. All year long, it’s the doldrums of bills and ads, but for one month the mail is full of glorious greetings from friends and family. There’s something special about the tangible feel of the envelope and card, and even seeing a loved one’s handwriting (beat that Facebook). And let’s face it; Christmas magic can dim as we age. But sending heartfelt, humorous, or creative Christmas greetings via snail mail spreads all the happy feels. The anticipation of tearing open and enjoying each card is the epitome of Christmas cheer. There’s always that one friend or family member whose card makes you laugh out loud every year. Some argue that friends and family can keep in touch through social media. But what about those who (gasp) aren’t on social media? And even if they are, many choose to be selective about sharing. Over the years, it’s special to receive photos and messages from those you love at different stages of their lives — ­­­ it’s like freezing time once each year.

Custom portraits by Cache Valley Artist Karin Hochstrasser make fun and unique Christmas cards.

14 | Holiday 2023

...continued from previous page Karin gets a unique glimpse into the meaning of Christmas cards for families all over the country, and even the world. Since 2015, Karin has created countless custom portraits and Christmas cards on her Etsy shop at You could say Karin is a Christmas card expert, and she has lots of advice. So, whether you’re a Christmas card enthusiast who wants fresh ideas, or are nervous to send your first card, check out Cache Valley Family Magazine’s ideas and tips below from Karin and other Christmas card gurus.

Our best Christmas card tips:

Ideas for creating your card/family letter:

What to do with cards received:

• Remember, you have to send cards to receive them!

• Include a family multiple choice quiz

• Start a Christmas card family history box.

• Start early! Prepare in October or November to reduce stress.

• Year’s Top 10

• Set a budget and stick to it. Should you send two cards or 50? • Focus on people you don’t see day-to-day.

• Incorporate holiday songs • Christmas alphabet with a family twist • Family mad lib (create with your family) • Highlight from each month • Homemade/DIY

• Use a return address stamp.

• Personalized family portrait illustration (useful for families missing members for military or church service)

• Include a short, personalized message or at least hand sign each card.

• Use last name as an acronym to describe year

• Maintain a current Christmas card list.

• Mail to arrive at least one to two weeks before Christmas Day. • In a time crunch? Consider sending New Year’s cards.

• Silly or action family photo • Feature a special cause or non-profit organization • Assign a different family member each year to design/create

• Keep cards you’ve received and each week during the year pray for a different family. • Frame and hang each of your own family Christmas cards along a hallway in your home. • Save special cards and add to Christmas décor. • Punch a hole in the cards you receive and put them on a binder loop, then leave out on a side table to look at throughout the year.

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To purchase visit Richmond, UT • 435-200-5050 * Offer good for a limited time only. Rules and restrictions apply.

16 | Holiday 2023

In a World Full of Amazon, Don’t Forget to


contributing writer


hopping smaller makes gifts

neighbor, a youth leader, a teacher, a

greater. Doesn’t that sound ironic?

coworker, or just a good friend, the following

This means the impact of the gift

list is a great place to start for gift ideas that

reaches beyond the person receiving it — it

support our local community:

supports the local community to grow and

Sweet Treats

flourish, and, even more directly, supports local families who own businesses. One of the most beautiful things about the holiday season is the chance to give freely and connect with others. For many, this means getting small “neighbor gifts” to drop off at the homes closest to their own. When shopping for gifts like these, consider small, local businesses that support the community. Whether it’s for a next-door

• Bluebird Candy has served Cache Valley since 1914 and is a great place to shop for delightful chocolates, candies, and more. They even have pre-made and wrapped gift boxes ready for pick up! • Lee’s Marketplace now has three locations in the Valley, and each offers unique flavors of popcorn and handmade fudge that would be great as a gift by itself ,or as part of a gift basket.

Pre-order your

Holiday Meals

& other specialty items


Traditional Turkey Dinner, Traditional Ham Dinner, Traditional Prime Rib Dinner

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Sweet Treats (Cont.) • Week’s Berries of Paradise makes delicious freezer jams, gourmet jams, juices, syrups, and concentrates. To elevate a gift like this, pair a jam with a loaf of homemade or locally made artisan bread from Great Harvest or Old Grist Mill. • Cox Honeyland of Utah has a variety of

• In Cache Valley, there is no shortage of

• LazyOne has many fun and cozy gifts that

great stops for ice cream. Give the gift of a

everyone will love. Soft and silly slippers,

“date night” and get gift cards to Casper’s,

warm and funny socks, and even pajama

Charlie’s, or Aggie Ice Cream. To make it a


fun basket or bundle, pair with some of your favorite ice cream toppings.

Experiences • A gift card to Rocky Mountain

• A floral rotation from Plant Peddler is the gift that keeps giving. Gifting a subscription to someone you love means fresh blooms delivered to their home or office every 9 to 13 weeks.

honey-made items, from beeswax lip balm

Dermatology is a perfect opportunity to

to creamed honey, and even beautiful

show someone you’re grateful for their

pre-made gift baskets.

• Give the gift of reading. Stop by The Book

hard work by giving the gift of a medical

Table and pick up your favorite book to

• Floss Cotton Candy is a modern, gourmet

spa treatment. They offer a wide variety of facials, and even more options to help

share with a friend. They also have a wide

cotton candy shop started by two girls ages 8 and 10 and has expanded to be sold in

everyone find something catered to their

many grocery stores throughout the state.


Their variety of flavors will surely have something for everyone and is an excellent gift for kids and adults.

• Rose Haven Skin Bar or K Salon and Spa are both designed to provide a place for all to take a break from worries and troubles

• Alvey’s hand-crafted specialty chocolates

and enjoy spa treatments such as massages,

come individually wrapped or in assorted

pedicures, manicures, and more. This is a

boxes. Even just the creamy, individually

great gift, especially for that person in your

wrapped chocolates are enough to make the

life or neighborhood who could use some

holidays sweet!

time to relax.

variety of toys and home décor that will allow you to check off many people on your shopping list in one stop! • For those who either love to cook or have a hard time in the kitchen, food classes and kitchen tools and gadgets from Love to Cook are great gifts that will benefit the receiver for years to come. • Of course, Local’s Gifts is the perfect local one-stop shop to find gifts.

18 | Holiday 2023

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Game On:

Festive Holiday Party Game Ideas for All Ages HAILEY WESTENSKOW

contributing writer

passed and rolled. Every time doubles are rolled, the ball moves on. To make things even more interesting, you can add challenges like every time a “6” is rolled, the ball must be unrolled behind players’ backs, or every time a “10” is rolled, players must wear oven mitts while trying to unwrap the ball. Gift exchange games ensure that everyone feels like a winner. It’s up to the host and participants whether the gifts are silly or serious, but often, a mix makes it even more entertaining. To facilitate the actual exchange, here are three ideas:


hether you are hosting your annual neighborhood party, a classroom full of elementaryaged students, or cousins you see just once a year, every Christmas party is more fun with games! Here is a round-up of holiday party games that can be adjusted, depending on the ages of guests, to ensure fun for all. One game that is a brain challenge for adults and kids alike is the Christmas Emoji Game! Using only two emojis as a hint, guests must guess which holiday movie (or funny memory from that year) the emojis describe. Match the Movie is set like a typical matching game, except each pair is a movie title and a scene or joke from the movie. For bonus points, attach prizes to specific matches, such as a bag of cotton balls for Elf, or a red nose for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The most classic of all holiday party games are minute-to-win-it. With these games, it is a good idea to find challenges that everyone can participate in, or even make a few that certain matchups will love. For example,

pair fathers against sons to see who can score the most basketball hoops in under a minute, or set two teenagers in a game against each other to try to pop ten balloons with just their hands in winter gloves. Have a “wreath toss” where players toss cheap wreaths onto empty paper towel holders glued to Christmas-colored poster board. With minute-to-win-it games, the options are truly endless! Pinterest is a great place to find ideas for more challenges. Of course, prizes always bring out the best competition. For added fun, theme prizes around the holidays, like favorite movies, a Christmas music album, an ugly Christmas sweater, candy, or homemade cookies. The Saran Wrap Ball Game is one everyone can get into. To prepare, use a roll or two of Saran wrap and roll up varied prizes to create a big ball. Prizes can range from candy bars and toy trinkets to gift cards and cash, you decide! When you are ready to play, guests sit in a circle and take turns unwrapping layers of Saran wrap, keeping the prizes they uncover. Simultaneously, dice are being

• Christmas Dice Game: Have each guest bring two wrapped gifts, keeping the price range under $20. Place all the gifts in a pile on a table, have everyone randomly pick two, and then sit in a circle. Display a sign explaining the simple rules: A dice roll of “1” means switch a gift with the person to their right, and “4” means switch with the person at their left. If a player rolls a “2” or “5,” they can steal any gift, and if they roll a “3” or “6,” they may unwrap one of their gifts. Continue around the circle with everyone rolling until the game ends when the final gift is unwrapped. • Heads or Tails is a more simplified version of the Christmas Dice Game: Instead of dice, a coin is passed around the circle, and each person flips the coin. Heads means they choose a gift to unwrap and tails means they can steal a gift from another person. • Left-Right Christmas Games: A quick Google search for left-right game poems or stories will give you plenty of options for this game, depending on the age and interests of the group you are entertaining. Once you have found the poem or story you like, have the group sit in a circle with the gift they brought in hand. Read the story aloud. The gifts are passed in the respective direction every time “right” or “left” is said. When the story ends, guests get to open the gift they are holding. If you have a large group of varied ages, consider separating into two circles with different poems, one for kids and one for adults.

20 | Holiday 2023


Your Holiday Guide to Safer Tech JENTRIE HALES

community advocate, @techhealthyfamily


t’s another early morning and your 5-year-old wakes you up from a dead sleep, ready to rock n’ roll for the

day. You whisper to just grab the iPad to watch a show while you catch another half hour of sacred sleep. Sound familiar at all? I think that most of us have been there in some capacity where sometimes the screen babysitter saves the day. Whether that be in a crowded restaurant with hangry bellies or a video or two while completing a chore, sometimes screens are life savers. Sure, there is little harm in occasionally using a device to distract or entertain a child for a moment or two, but if you are like me, you

are wary of the danger and bad habits that come with using screens. You probably would like it if they could access a show without being flashed disturbing ads, or play a game without having access to inappropriate content with the wrong swipe of a button. Sadly, that’s a tall order these days. With the holiday season before us, please consider pausing before you go straight to technology. Join me on a mission to be intentional about what technology we welcome into our homes. Lean into the slow pace of alternative forms of technology. The ones that have more specific purposes and allow a safer environment for our kids to first navigate technology.

Here is a list of alternative technology products that might work better for your family this gifting season:

For entertainment A variety of companies are coming out with these “boxes” where characters are chosen and connected and stories associated



In the heart of Downtown Logan, nestled between the Plaza and Center Street at 37 North Main, this prized historical building, which was the home of Logan's mayor in the late 1800s, has been beautifully restored with room for business meetings, book clubs, or visiting with family and friends. Come work or rejuvenate with our free high-speed wifi, and connect with our local owners, managers, and baristas who are excited to serve you!

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with the character are played audibly. There are many pros to using something like this. It is a great tool to use for winding down for bed, listening while working on a project, or having down time. They are pretty simple to operate and you can purchase characters that are interesting to your child (including many educational options). I also like this device as it stimulates the imagination without the risk of inappropriate or unplanned content. I am familiar with the Toniebox, but there are many companies that have come out with similar designs.

child can contact and have built-in GPS tracking. There are many pros to these introductory pieces of technology, and the Gabb watch does it right.

For learning

Many companies will prey on parents’ desire to produce educated kids by labeling their products as “educational.” Be aware of this messaging, but there are some good options. I Inno Pad like the idea of substituting some hands-on learning • What are the risks associated with this with devices like this Inno device? Pad that helps children • Do the risks outweigh the good? memorize new concepts • Is there something simpler that would work like letters, numbers, safer and healthier for my child? colors, and shapes or interactive maps that allow Jentrie Hales is a community advocate with For communication five years’ experience empowering parents children to deep dive into and children in different settings. She has If you have a child you geography. been invited into classrooms, youth groups, want to stay in touch with So, in honor of this holiday and parent groups throughout Cache Valley during the day but don’t season, before you go Gabb Watch to speak about healthy relationships with want them to have access straight to buying a sparkly tech and professionally mentor families to all the junk that comes with a smartphone, new iPad or smartphone for your child, take a that feel overwhelmed with managing chances are you have heard of different moment to consider: the tech in their home. Follow her on versions of child-friendly watches. They are Instagram @techhealthyfam or email her at • What am I hoping to accomplish with this wonderful tools that limit who a device in my child’s life?


MEBIE BABY modern + simple baby basics




22 | Holiday 2023



Renewed Focus on School Attendance ALDEN JACK

director of educational equity and inclusion, Cache County School District

Why Attendance Matters

In the 2018-19 school year (pre-pandemic), only 10% of the school district’s students missed

Academic success starts with attendance. Attendance also has a huge impact on students' social success and is an important life skill that will help your child graduate from college and

more than 18 days of school or were chronically absent. By the 2022-23 school year (postpandemic), this number nearly doubled to 19% of students, or approximately 4,000 students

keep a job. Like many school districts around

who were chronically absent from school.

the country, Cache County School District has experienced an unprecedented increase in

Truancy and chronic absenteeism are

student absenteeism in our schools.

complicated issues that have widespread impacts on students, families, and the

Cache County School District’s primary goal

community. Recovery efforts will require an

is to ensure that students have access to and

“all-hands-on-deck” response from students,

benefit from all that our schools have to offer.

families, and the school community to support

This can only be achieved when students are

our students in achieving consistent school

supported in achieving consistent attendance


in the classroom. The Utah State Board of missing fewer than 10 school days during the school year, including excused and unexcused absences. In order for students to stay engaged, successful, and on track, it is recommended that families set goals to miss no more than nine days of school.

Five-Year Attendance Summary Students in Utah schools attend a 180day academic year. Utah defines chronic absenteeism as missing 10% of days enrolled, or 18 days of school. Attendance research shows that students who miss more than 10% of school days are significantly more at risk for falling behind in school.

• Monitor your child’s attendance on PowerSchool to ensure absences are not adding up.

What Families Can Do to Support positive Attendance

Education defines consistent attendance as

• Proactively plan family trips during the summer or school holidays.

Families and schools can work together to support students in developing the habit of attending school every day. Here are some practical suggestions for families to consider: • Talk with your children about the importance of attending school every day. • Set an alarm to help your child wake up or go to bed on time. • Create a backup plan for when transportation issues arise. • Encourage your child to attend school unless they are truly ill. Complaints of headaches or stomachaches may be signs of anxiety. • Schedule doctor, dental, or orthodontic appointments before or after school when possible.

Percentage of Chronically Absent Students 2018-19





Change 201819 to 2022-23

Utah School Districts Average







Cache County School District







*Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on attendance reporting for the 2019-20 school year, comparisons of attendance data from 2019-20 with other academic years should be done with extreme caution.

• Notify the school every time your child is absent. • Ask your school for help if you need support to achieve positive attendance.

District Action Steps The District is taking several key action steps to support students, families, and our community in securing positive school attendance: 1. Foster a positive school environment that promotes healthy social connections among students and encourages family engagement. 2. Raise awareness about the importance of regular school attendance and how it relates to child development and academic success. 3. Use monitoring tools to identify students and families needing support for academics, attendance, behavior, or well-being. 4. Collaborate with community organizations to provide parent and caregiver support, such as access to food, housing, and healthcare for families facing challenges related to attendance.

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The Work of Christmas FRANK SCHOFIELD

superintendent, Logan City School District The winter months are upon us, and with them, a season of holidays and celebrations from several different cultures. Thanksgiving, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, and Christmas all provide opportunities for us to celebrate principles of gratitude, enlightenment, redemption, mercy, and love. How interesting that these holidays that inspire joy and celebration occur during a time of the year that, for us in Cache Valley, is typically characterized by cold, gray skies, and the occasionally poor air quality day! In my family, we celebrate Christmas, and each year, I include a poem by Howard Thurman in my personal observation of the holiday. Howard Thurman (1899-1981) was a theologian and early leader of the civil rights movement. He served as a spiritual mentor to many future leaders of the movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1944, Mr. Thurman co-founded, along with Alfred Fisk, the first major interracial, interdenominational church in the United States. He spent his life serving others, extending the hand of kindness and understanding across racial and religious divisions. His poem, The Work of Christmas, inspires me to reflect on how I allow the joy and celebration of the holiday to influence my behavior, now and after the holiday season ends. “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken,

I am fortunate to work in a profession where I can see daily examples of students and school employees who strive to “find the lost, heal the broken, feed the hungry,” and “make music in the heart.” Whether it is the popular athlete who chooses to sit in class by the student who is sitting alone, the teacher who greets a child each day with a smile and kindness, the principal who makes a phone call just to tell a parent about a small success their child has achieved, the custodian who plays a quick game of basketball with students during recess, or the cafeteria worker who learns each student’s name and greets them personally as they walk through the lunch line, one of the great joys of my job is seeing each of these individuals do “the work of Christmas,” whether they call it by that name or by something else. On a daily basis, we can all see examples of places where the work of Christmas is so desperately needed. Globally, nationally, across the state of Utah, within our own communities, and in our homes, we have

to feed the hungry,

countless opportunities to do the work of

to release the prisoner,

Christmas in ways both small and great.

to rebuild the nations,

Perhaps we listen more intently when a child

to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.”

tells us about something they did at school. We could deliver a plate of cinnamon rolls

to a neighbor, take our family to work in a soup kitchen, or donate money to help a mother in El Salvador start a small business to better provide for her family. As we give service and we include our children in those opportunities, we provide them with benefits that extend throughout their lives. Research has shown that impulse control, being able to express one’s needs and opinions, the ability to negotiate and cooperate with others, having a sense of empathy, and developing emotional coping mechanisms all improve in children who volunteer and serve others on a regular basis. When we consider the reciprocal relationship between doing “the work of Christmas” and the benefits we receive, both as individuals and communities, from doing that work, why wouldn’t we make that a focus of how we use our time and energy? I am grateful to live in a community where I am surrounded by so many people who actively seek opportunities to serve and uplift others, as I am grateful for the opportunities my family and I have to do the same. As we each strive to more actively and consistently do the “work of Christmas,” I look forward to the ways in which we can “build the nations,” “bring peace among the people,” and “make music in the heart.”

24 | Holiday 2023



Protect Yourself from Real Estate Scams by Being Aware LETICIA SHIFFLET

executive officer, Cache Valley Association of REALTORS®

Bring up the subject of a mysterious Nigerian Prince asking for your help to transfer his large fortune, and chances are high you’ll find yourself in good company. But what’s different from the phishing Nigerian Prince email scam from the last few decades to now? Artificial Intelligence and cybercriminals with access to an advanced set of tools. These types of attacks have become more sophisticated, common, and dangerous. A study by security provider SlashNext analyzed billions of attachments, link-based URLs, and natural language messages in email, mobile, and browser channels and found more than 255 million attacks, a 61% increase compared to the previous year. They also noted that cybercriminals are shifting their attacks to mobile and personal communication channels to reach more users. Scams are increasing and harder to identify, and many homeowners are unpleasantly surprised to find that scams are also becoming more common in real estate.

The most common real estate scams include wire fraud for first-time buyers, contractor scams for homeowners, and moving scams.

Wire Fraud Many young home buyers don’t have prior experience in the real estate market and are more susceptible to missing the major red flags related to wire fraud. When they are not familiar with the nuances of the closing process, they don’t know what to look out for, even if they are not digitally naïve. In these situations, home buyers can be tricked into wiring a down payment or closing costs to an escrow account controlled by cybercriminals who have used phishing techniques like the Nigerian Prince email scams. When these hackers can trick buyers into inputting their private information (which could be something as simple as clicking a link through an email or text), they can steal login and password information to gain access to accounts and produce fraudulent wire transfer instructions that appear to come from a

trusted real estate professional. New and experienced buyers can protect themselves with the help of REALTORS®, who support buyers in avoiding the pitfalls and scams frequently associated with real estate fraud.

Contractors Regarding contractor scams, it’s important to note that about one in 10 Americans have fallen victim to this scam, losing an average of $2,426. Some of the most common contractor scams include quick, low-quality work without a contract, lowcost estimates that turn into increased costs during a project, required down payments or billing for subpar work, and more. To avoid these situations, homeowners can utilize trusted contractors who do repeat work for REALTORS®. A REALTOR® keeps a list of proven businesses and utilizes professionals who provide proof of permits, licensing, and insurance and are happy to produce contracts for their work.

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Moving Moving scams have been on the rise and are projected to jump 35% by the end of the year. On average, moving scam victims have lost $836 this year alone, costing a collective $1.59 million. Some of the most popular moving scams to watch for include the following: • No-show incidents where a moving company doesn’t show up after requiring a deposit or upfront fee. • Address changes, where scammers direct victims to a website that looks like an official USPS and requires $100+ to change an address to the new residence. • Mover fraud when scammers pose as real companies and hold the consumer’s possessions hostage until a ransom has been paid. This is often referred to as “hostage fraud.” As you prepare for a move, whether now or in the future, compare quotes from multiple companies and keep a detailed inventory of your possessions. It’s also a safe recommendation to purchase moving insurance if you have high-value items that will be transported. The best protection is awareness and utilizing trusted professionals — somebody you know — to recommend providers and verify any correspondence during your real estate experience.

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26 | Holiday 2023

Kirk and Heather Jensen and their family from left to right: daughter-in-law Avery, son Hunter, daughter Kara, Kirk, Heather, son Kade, and daughter Halle. Kirk is Logan City’s economic development Director. Mayor Daines says he has been an important contributor to the success of both the Center Street and Plaza projects.

Revitalizing W Downtown Logan The Vision of the Carol and Jim Laub PlazA EMILY BUCKLEY

editor in chief

hen Holly Daines first ran

Mayor Daines and the Logan City Council

for mayor of Logan City in

adopted Roger Brooks' list of "The Top 20

2017, the revitalization of

Ingredients of an Outstanding Downtown"

downtown Logan was part of her campaign.

as their guiding principles for revitalization

In her time as Mayor, she has stayed

and embarked on a comprehensive plan.

dedicated to her campaign promises and

The first step was a complete revamp of

helped breathe new life into the charming,

Center Street, from Main Street to 100

historic stretch that is the heart of Cache

West. This was a collaborative effort


between the city and business owners.

The Path to Revitalization “We are blessed to have beautiful historic buildings in downtown Logan with Ellen Eccles Theatre, the tabernacle, and the

The project emphasized pedestrianfriendliness, wider sidewalks, and improved infrastructure, all to enhance the overall atmosphere.

courthouse,” Mayor Daines said. “There are

The final touch was to raise funds for the

still many other significant buildings in the

Center Street Archway, which creates a

historic district, but there were also many

sense of place for the historic district. Cache

which were vacant and run down, and there

Valley Bank donated most of the funds for

wasn't a lot of activity in the evening after

the archway, and local architect Christian

many businesses closed at 5 or 6 p.m.”

Wilson contributed the design work.

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Following the success of Center Street, the group designed a plan to demolish the former Emporium building to create a downtown plaza. The city has also provided facade grants to businesses to improve the exterior of their buildings. “Research shows if a plaza is active, with lots going on, it is a great draw for citizens and tourists alike,” Mayor Daines said. “In this day of Amazon, you can get almost anything delivered to your doorstep very quickly. The things people are looking for that Amazon can’t provide are dining or entertainment experiences, an activity, or a lovely place to hang out."

The Vision for the Carol and Jim Laub Plaza The Carol and Jim Laub Plaza serves a broader purpose than just being a public space. It embodies a vision to create a vibrant gathering place that fosters a sense of community and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the downtown area. The plaza officially opened at a ribboncutting ceremony on September 23, 2023, marking a historic moment in Logan's journey toward downtown revitalization. This holiday season, the plaza is set to host an array of festive events beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 25, when the skating rink will open, coinciding with the Center Street Christmas Parade. This special occasion will feature the unveiling of Bluebird Candy’s holiday window displays, live music, a tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa on the plaza stage, fireworks, and much more.

Integration into Downtown Activities The vision for the Carol and Jim Laub Plaza aligns seamlessly with the objectives of other downtown businesses and stakeholders. Local business owners on Center Street are enthusiastic about hosting events in the plaza and collaborating to enhance the area’s vibrancy. An example of this collaboration is a generous $10,000 donation from a local business owner to sponsor a mid-week concert series on the plaza stage next summer.

Key Players in Making it Happen The journey to create the plaza wouldn't have been possible without the generosity and support of various individuals and organizations. The Laub Family Foundation deserves special recognition for donating over $1 million. Cache Valley Electric sponsored the skating rink. Several other donors, including Cache County (through the RAPZ tax and the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau), the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, Bruce Bugbee and Diana West, Kookie Tanner, the Measom Family Foundation, and Julie and Brett Hugie played a crucial role in raising a total of $2,360,000 for the plaza and its amenities. “We are so grateful for these contributions,” Mayor Daines said.

attracted both new businesses and patrons. Locals and visitors are drawn to downtown Logan. “I talked to a young professional who recently graduated from Utah State University,” Mayor Daines said. “She grew up in the Valley but never used to come downtown. Now, she and her friends love to come downtown. In her words, ‘Downtown has a vibe!’”

Parking and Accessibility Despite growing popularity, downtown Logan offers ample parking options within a short walking distance. While parking spaces near businesses may be limited, the city's focus on walkability and pedestrian-friendly streets aims to make the stroll to your destination enjoyable. The recently redone mid-block sidewalk and the revamped parking lot behind the plaza are expected to accommodate the increased foot traffic. “There is nothing worse than empty parking lots,” Mayor Daines said. “That means there's no one downtown. We hope the parking lots will be full with people enjoying the restaurants, businesses, and amenities downtown.”

Skating Rink and Splash Pad The skating rink at the plaza will offer rental

Impact on Local Businesses

skates, ensuring everyone can enjoy the

The success of Center Street's revitalization serves as a testament to the positive impact of these improvements. The vibrant and pedestrian-friendly environment has

plaza will offer a splash pad, operational

Center Block Plaza rendering from Logan City's funding resolution presentation.

winter wonderland. During the summer, the from about Memorial Day to Labor Day. continued on next page...

Mayor Daines with the winning pumpkin at the Downtown Pumpkin Festival in September

28 | Holiday 2023

Center Street/Downtown Plaza

Christmas Tree Parade & Tree Lighting Ceremony november 25, 2023 NOON - 5 P.M. & 7 - 10 P.M.


...continued from previous page

What Lies Ahead As the Carol and Jim Laub Plaza flourishes, Logan's downtown revitalization efforts show no signs of slowing down. The next major project on the horizon is the new Logan Library, set to open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in January. The library project received significant community


support, totaling $1,500,000 in donations,

3 - 4:30 P.M.

including $1 million from the Hansen Sisters


4:45 P.M.


5:15 P.M.

Foundation for the children's area of the library, as well as from the Willie Family Foundation, Cache Valley Bank, Cytiva, and former Mayor


Craig Peterson and his wife, Maradee.

5:15 - 7 P.M.

Downtown Logan is not just a physical space but


6 P.M.



6:45 P.M.




a symbol of Logan's commitment to fostering community, enhancing infrastructure, and celebrating our Valley’s rich history. With an array of events and a continued focus on collaboration and improvement, the plaza promises to be a cornerstone of Logan’s growth and vitality for years to come.

30 | Holiday 2023

Pro Tips for Christmas Decoration Organization & Storage JEN MARTIN

owner, Reset Your Nest @reset_your_nest.


he dread of having to put all the Christmas decorations away is real. Putting Christmas decorations away can be a lot of work, and after a busy and fun-filled month, putting them away properly can sometimes feel overwhelming and not worth the effort. I am here to tell you that it IS worth the effort. A little bit of planning right now can make your 'taking down Christmas' day not only easy, but will also set you up for a seamless setup the following year. Here is everything you need to know for putting it all away. If you take the time to organize your Christmas items like a pro, you will make your decorating exponentially easier next year.

Things you'll need • Totes • Labels • Tissue paper or foam • Tree bag, wreath bags, ornament organizer The two most important things to consider when organizing your Christmas décor are location and timing. Where does the décor go, and when do you typically get it out? Each category should be specifically labeled. I like to use slipcover labels, where a piece of paper slides into a sticker-backed clear slipcover. This makes it easy to change the categories through the years. If you typically like to decorate your family room first, label Family Room Christmas and if you have more than one tote of those items, then you can separate out “Family Room Mantel Christmas” from

“Family Room Sideboard Christmas.” I always keep tree décor in its own tote and if you decorate more than one tree, create different totes for different trees. Pro tip: Put different colored paper in the slipcovers to identify holiday bins from a distance. Pro tip: Edit as you pack up. If you didn't use it this year, you probably won't use it next year. If you have sentimental items you don't want to throw out but also most likely won't ever use in your home, put them in a separate and neatly labeled bin so those items don't take up space with your regular décor.

Outdoor lights and décor Pack these items separately. Make sure you have replacement bulbs and hooks for next year (there's nothing worse than being on the roof and running out of clips). Just like indoor items, if there is a strand of lights you didn't use this year, donate it.

Books We have a lot of Christmas books. I like to store all our books in one place together. I also have a basket I use every year to store them in. I make sure that my basket and books are all stored in the same place. A fun tradition I have done in years past with our Christmas books is to wrap them up and put them under the tree. This is something that could even be done before packing them up if you want to use up any remaining wrapping paper. My kids choose one or more Christmas books a night and we

unwrap and read them before bed. This fun tradition helps us keep track of the Christmas books we have already read and makes the books we have feel special and new because they only come out once a year.

Old Christmas Cards Do you keep them? I know everyone has different feelings when it comes to these. Here are a few ideas. • Cut each Christmas card into a heart and turn it into a garland for Valentines' Day. • Put your card collection on a binder ring and keep a few years at a time to look back on (or reference when sending cards the next year).

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• Keep past Christmas cards in a zipper pouch, but only keep one from each family. At the end of each Christmas season, I pull out my zipper pouch and replace the previous card with current one. Some families don't send out cards every year, so if we didn't receive a card that year, I like to hold onto the older cards. For me, cards are sentimental items worth keeping.

Christmas Tree Bag

Wreath Bags or Boxes If you have a lot of wreaths, they can be very challenging to store. I love storing wreaths on a big hook in storage spaces, but if that is not an option or you want your wreaths protected from dust, a container specifically made to

them. You can also buy a big foam roll from Amazon to wrap fragile items. Pro tip: Take pictures. If you like how things are styled this year, take pictures of your entire house, and save it in a folder on your phone titled “Christmas Décor 2023” . Then next year

hold wreaths is super handy.

when you decorate, you will have a map/guide

Ornament Holders

home and styles change through the years.

to make it faster. It's also fun to see how your

I personally don't use these because my

Pro tip: Present bins. If you have the space,

Have you tried these? Gone are the days of

ornaments are not fragile and/or are from the

something to consider for next year is creating

maneuvering the giant Christmas tree box out

dollar store, but if you have special ornaments

a bin for each family member with their name

from our under stairs hiding place. We got an

that you want to protect, I recommend

on it. Then as you start to collect gifts, you can

affordable bag on Amazon last year.

investing in ornament organizers that separate

keep the gifts organized and out of sight.

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An ongoing series of articles written by a local teen about other teens who are excelling in their unique areas of interest and talent.

Vanessa Bradfield is a Star on the Ice SYDNEY DEAN

contributing teen writer Vanessa Bradfield is no stranger to hard work. A two-time United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA) gold medalist, 17-year-old Vanessa has dedicated her life to figure skating. Vanessa has been skating since she was 10 and has competed in two national championships, once as an individual skater and once as part of a synchronized skating team. To prepare for competitions, she says she “practically lives at the rink,” spending two to three hours a day, seven days a week on the ice. She explains that spending so much time ahead of a competition finetuning her skills and routines, helps her “get her all her nerves out and put her best foot forward.” Vanessa’s coach, Julie Broschinsky, said one thing she admires most about Vanessa is her work ethic. “Vanessa is a super hard worker. She is not one to back down from hard work,” Julie said. “She recognizes that what she

puts in is what she’ll get out of something. She doesn’t look for the easy way out. She doesn’t give excuses or complain.” However, Vanessa’s hard work doesn’t end on the ice rink. She explains that skating is very important to her, but she prioritizes her schoolwork, too. She also says that since she spends so much time at the rink, she tries to incorporate her other hobbies into skating. “I love doing arts and crafts. I’ll jewel my costumes and even try to sew my dresses,” Venessa said. Vanessa’s favorite thing about ice skating is the community that it brings. “The community I’ve been in these past couple of years has been very uplifting,” she said. “I love how everyone supports each other and is happy for each other when they do well.” Vanessa herself has done a lot to contribute to the ice-skating community in Cache Valley, as she teaches several ice-skating classes for skaters of all ages, including a Utah State University course and classes for the Cache Valley Figure Skating Club. She encourages anyone interested in pursuing ice skating as a hobby or a sport to “stick at it!” “There are so many times in any sport that you might want to quit, or you feel like the work is just too much,” she said. “But, at the end of the day, if you stick with what you’re doing and keep going, you will eventually look back and see how much it has shaped your life and how much you’ve improved!” Vanessa's mother, Heather Bradfield, said “Her dad and I are so proud of her, she has done a great job of honing her skills, which has allowed her to do incredible things like becoming a gold medalist.” Vanessa already has an impressive skating resume, but she is just getting started! She is continually working toward her success, but she says her biggest goal right now is to help her students grow and succeed, too.

34 | Holiday 2023

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Anderson's Christmas Tree Decorating Principles MARK ANDERSON

owner, Anderson’s Seed and Garden


his is such a fun time of year at Anderson’s Seed and Garden. For the holiday season we always decorate the store to its fullest. It is some of the most fulfilling work that we do since everyone loves the displays. I often have guests stop and ask, “How do you do it? Every year I come in the store just to see all the beautiful trees, and I’m never disappointed. Each year just seems even better than the last!” It takes a lot of time, effort and planning to create the winter wonderland inside Anderson’s, but the basics of tree decorating stay the same year after year. While we have new materials, ideas, and sometimes even new color pallets to work with, we use a lot of the same techniques from year to year. Let me share some of those decorating “secrets” with you. The size of your tree has a lot to do with how you decorate it. Make sure your tree doesn’t overwhelm the room it is in. Make space for the tree, but try to make it look like it was always there in the first place. Add some “permanent”

features to it, like a colorful tree skirt, or a big decorative basket, anything you can think of to help it feel and look as if it was made for that space. Also, plan on using 100-125 lights, 15-20 ornaments, and one nine-foot garland per foot of tree height. That means a nine-foot tree needs at least 900 lights, 140 ornaments, and nine garlands to cover it completely. Don’t overload your tree, but also, don’t cut corners when it comes to using the right volume of décor. Lights really do make the magic of a Christmas tree sparkle and pop. While incandescent lights are the benchmark for color (especially warm clear), LEDs have really improved over the last few years and many of our customers can’t tell the difference between our “warm clear” LEDs and our incandescent (except they never burn out or need to be replaced!), and the wires are a fraction of the size! Also, don’t just wrap the lights around the outside of the tree, the lights need to go all the way into the trunk for the best depth and most even distribution of light throughout the whole tree. This will contribute to the right amount of balance in both the lights and the ornaments,

otherwise the tree will look lopsided. Try to use the same number and type of ornaments on all sides of the tree to avoid an unbalanced look. When choosing a color, pick your favorite holiday color and then you can either use monochromatic colors (different shades of the same color) to highlight your chosen favorite, or complimentary colors to make it stand out. For example, red, white, and green complement each other nicely for a jovial, whimsical look while soft browns, blues, and greys give a more cool, chic feel. A lot depends on the style you want to portray. We try to stay ahead of the seasonal styles, but sometimes trends pop up out of nowhere. We could never have anticipated the Barbie movie craze last year when ordering; we’ll never have enough pink for the season this year. Keep in mind that scale affects trees both small and large — ­ the larger the tree, the larger ornaments you need to maintain balance. Play with different sizes of ornaments, from small to medium to large and see what works. continued on next page...

36 | Holiday 2023

...continued from previous page We like to incorporate some large, colorful ornaments deep inside the tree to add depth. Try to avoid using a lot of very little ornaments on big trees, or too many very large ornaments on small trees. Big trees need big ornaments. Keep in mind that a 12-foot tree takes almost double the number of ornaments as a nine-foot tree. It never hurts to have a focal point or emphasis on a tree, somewhere for the eye to rest from all the light and color. Usually, a large tree topper or a unique feature that catches your eye will do the trick. A natural rhythm can also be created with strategic placement of the ornaments or garlands to create a path or direction for the eye to follow. Also, vary the texture with different elements and finishes: glossy, glittered, metallic, natural, opaque, rough, and smooth — they can all co-exist and complement each other on the same tree. Proper and creative use of all the basic elements of tree design (size, space, light, color, scale, emphasis, balance, rhythm, space, and texture) will help you create a memorable and lasting impression to enjoy for many holiday seasons. Once you find what you like, you can stick with it for years, or change it up every year according to your mood. Some of our most creative decorators have a base of the colors that they prefer, and every year add a different twist to create variety. For example, a peppermint base of red and white looks great one year with a touch of green and a few elves, and the next year, it might be electric blue with snowflakes and icicles for a frosty winter look. It’s whatever you can imagine, and that’s what makes decorating so much fun.

Anderson’s Seed and Garden kicks off the holiday season with their annual open house on November 18, where dozens of holiday trees and décor are on display.

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Back row (left to right): Dr. E. Brett Horsley, Dr. Kim McCulloch, Dr. Brynn Schumacher, Delilah Jaeger (CNM), Erin Hager (NP), Cami Bearnson (CNM), and Stacy Hepner (CNM) Front row (left to right): Dr. Tandy Olsen, Marie Smith (NP), Justine Powell (CNM), and Dr. Steve Wheelwright

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Holiday Eating:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race KATE NEELEY

contributing writer


ere comes Santa Claus … annnnd all his favorite treats! Are you ready? How does that make you feel? Excited? Or do you have a little trepidation about it? The holidays are SO fun, including the food. No doubt about it. However, the feeling of overdoing it, feeling so full you’re sick isn’t the jolliest, am I right? So, can it be done? Can you thoroughly enjoy the holidays AND feel good (and fit into your pants comfortably)? Absolutely, yes. If foodcentric holidays are in your future, let’s look at some ways to make it successful. Not to get too psychological on you, but there are certainly a lot of things going on in your mind that will determine how you handle the snacks at the food table at your family and work parties. If you’ve never stopped to really listen to what you tell yourself in these moments, that’s your first step.

Ask yourself: How do I want to feel after this party? Over full? Glad I saw my mom? Why am I going? What’s the purpose? To connect with people? To celebrate a holiday? To try all the cheese? Think about it. Then, choose how you’re going to accomplish what you want to by attending. If you know that your main purpose in getting together is to deliver gifts, make that your focus and be mindful about the food. No need to get into a deprivation mindset, though! Try the food and the treats! But ask yourself: Could I enjoy this cookie just as much with a few bites as I could eating the whole thing? Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Easier said than done. But it can be done. If you stop and listen to how you feel before mindlessly grazing on all the things just

because they're there, you’ll likely find that you can really enjoy yourself and the food without going overboard. After the party, ask yourself how it went. Did you do what you really wanted to do at the party? What went well? Did you enjoy the foods you wanted to eat? Did you overeat? If you did, no need to beat yourself up. The headache and discomfort are enough, don’t you think? No need to hit the gym and overexercise after Thanksgiving dinner, either. Just do what you normally do in your fitness routine. It is enough. Remember to focus on eating and exercising because you love yourself and want to add that quality into your life. Don’t approach it like you have to avoid all the sweets and kill yourself off in the gym! That usually backfires. Slow and steady wins the race — ­ all year long.


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How Photoreceptors Bring Color to the World MICHAEL COLE, OD

Child and Family Eye Care Center

from violet to dark green, but it is most sensitive to blue. This means that very little blue light must be present to be detected by the cell. It may be able to detect purple as well, but it would take a brighter light to elicit the same response. The three colorspecific cones are most sensitive to red, green, and blue. Different colors in the visible spectrum cause varying amounts of cones to be stimulated. Based on the amount of signal from each type of cone, our brain knows what color we are viewing. For example, viewing a turquoise color would cause a small amount of blue and red cones to respond, but the green cones would send the biggest signal. If you have ever enjoyed a sunset or marveled at the aurora borealis, such spectacles are exhilarating and aweinspiring. It is a wonder that we can enjoy these events, and it is made possible by the intricacies of the human eye and the photoreceptors contained therein. The human eye has four different types of photoreceptors. Three of these are conetype cells, along with one rod-type cell. Each type of cell contains pigments that react when light is absorbed. When this occurs, electrical signals are sent to the brain to communicate what we are seeing. Millions of photoreceptors create a pixelated mosaic that form our perception of the scenes around us. Cones need bright light to work properly. They allow us to see color and fine details

and are mostly concentrated at the center of our vision. The lack of density of cones in our peripheral vision causes our periphery to lack clarity and poorer color discrimination. Rods are active in the dark, are much more sensitive to small amounts of light, perceive motion better than cones, and are located more often in our peripheral vision. This arrangement explains why we are able to detect something moving at night when rods are active, but when we turn our gaze and point our inactive cones at the object, we are not able to see very clearly with our central vision. The three types of cone cells present in our eyes are all sensitive to different colors or wavelengths of light. Each cone has a wavelength that it is most sensitive to. For example, the “blue” cone can detect colors

For those that are color-deficient, one of two scenarios has occurred. First, and most commonly, a defect occurs in one of the photoreceptor types causing all cells of that type to be sensitive to a different wavelength than normal. This usually occurs with either the red or green cones. When the sensitivity of one is shifted closer to the detection of the other, it becomes hard to discriminate between those colors. In this case with red/green deficiencies it would be hard to distinguish between green, yellow, orange, and red shades of colors. Less commonly, one or more photoreceptors are completely missing, causing a much greater color deficit. continued on next page...

42 | Holiday 2023

...continued from previous page Even with color deficits, it is not the case that these individuals cannot see color at all. Rather, they perceive color differently than most of us do. They may be able to correctly identify “red” and “orange,” but what they perceive may be closer to brightness or saturation differences rather than different colors. “Colorblind” glasses work by shifting the wavelength of colors viewed to make them easier to detect. They do not, however, cause a color deficient person to be able to view color normally. Depending on the type of color deficiency, these may or may not be helpful. After being in the dark for some time, our eyes transition to using rods rather than

it disappears almost entirely. Stars are

Whether enjoying a solar eclipse’s

best viewed if gazing slightly off-center.

overwhelming brightness or trick or treating

Stargazers also know that the rods cannot

in the dark, it is the intricate arrangement

detect red wavelengths of light, so red lights

of photoreceptors that enables our

is degraded. Because our cones are inactive

can be used to see instrumentation or get

experience. Please contact us to schedule

in the dark but are in our central vision, if

around in the dark without causing our dark

your appointment to ensure good vision and

we try to look at a star directly

adaptation to “reset.”

eye health.

cones due to their higher sensitivity in low light. After we dark adapt, we can see in dim lighting much easier, but our clarity of vision

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Though the holiday season is filled with joy for many, it is also a difficult time for those grieving the loss of loved ones or going through other hard times. We appreciate Wil Wood’s openness about his progression through the grief process.

Grief Progression WIL WOOD

contributing writer us during one of our busy weeks. I picked up the lid and saw a bay leaf sticking up from the frozen crystals of broth — broth with a bit of celery salt because my mom knows I hate that stuff. As my guilt ripened from wasting food to guilt that I had kept my mom’s favorite pot for weeks, I realized she was not missing her favorite pot anymore. There was no one to return this pot to. Then I got too much spit in my mouth, but not like the kind when your mouth waters. At this point in time, only weeks after her death, I was still hoping that grief was something I could finish. A therapist told me it wasn’t like that. Grief, while it may change, is something you live with. Indeed, there were moments when I couldn’t feel grief or sadness. But then I’d find some chicken noodle soup or a long white hair on my fleece, and it felt like an ocean of grief was hanging over my head, ready to burst and wash over me at a moment’s notice. Looking back to the day when she came home for the last time is bittersweet. She came home to Logan from Salt Lake City in an ambulance while high-flow oxygen was forced into her lungs to keep her alive. While all my siblings, their spouses, and kids waited in the driveway of the home I grew up in, it was hard not to reminisce about the time I welcomed her home from her first foot amputation.

Google sent me a notification today. I thought it was a picture text from my mom. Because she died 559 days ago, that text — that was not a text — made me want to cry. I got too much spit in my mouth, not like the kind when your mouth waters, but the thick kind right before you throw up. Here, I share some of my experiences feeling waves of grief for my mother’s loss and how those feelings have evolved over the last 20 months. I realize my journey is not over, and my point of view and experiences are small and unique.

For the first couple of weeks after my mom died, every thought I had was saturated with the emptiness she was leaving behind. As the weeks went on, I started to be able to think without her absence at the front of my mind. I began to concentrate on one thing at a time, such as cleaning out the garage refrigerator in the middle of winter. There I was, standing in my socks on the garage floor that felt more like the Coldstone Creamery counter where everything that touches it freezes and gets scraped off. Looking into the refrigerator, I discovered a half empty enamel cast-iron pot of frozen chicken noodle soup my mom had made for

I remember my mom rolling down the car window as they pulled into the driveway. I walked up to her and played the joke that had been rattling around in my head, “Mom, you don’t look 100%.” She laughed, which assured me it was still my job to play the jester. So, I would play that part one last time for her. Upon arrival from Salt Lake City, as the ambulance finished backing into the driveway, I jumped on its bumper and banged on the window. She coughed out a laugh and cheerfully waved to me from her stretcher inside. continued on next page...

44 | Holiday 2023

what is happening. Strong feelings of grief need to be felt and experienced. In fewer words, do not numb! Do feel! I hate scary movies. I will not watch them. Last year, I started watching a “thriller,” but it was actually a scary movie. After I turned it off, I could not remember why it was scary. Sometimes our lives are scary or sad. Some of us choose to push against those feelings or not feel them. I have done this, and it is easy to see that life does not work like a movie. If I bottle up feelings, the most common thing they ferment into is anger. Maybe anger and resentment. Maybe anger and hopelessness. Maybe anger and overwhelm. You get the idea. To me, grief is an overly spicy Thai curry. I know it can be delicious, but all I can feel

Karen Wood, Wil's mother who passed away in 2022. ...continued from previous page Here was a whole family gathered one last time in the home we grew up in. The home we moved to in 1992 after leaving Alaska. The home we were kids in. The home where we now bring our kids to. The home where my dad kept bees. The home we lived in long enough to see fruit trees grow and die. The home where my mom kept a baby hairbrush to scrub out my road rash. The home where a strong man and a strong woman forged a family of unique people confident enough to be themselves. During our last hours together, my son Liam played and sang Greg Brown, The Avett Brothers, and Cat Stevens. My mom ate a few bites of a gyro from Greek Streak 2 and sipped a dirty Diet Coke from Chugz. She tucked herself into the quilts she had made when she had steady hands and good vision.

There was something transcendent about that day. We fluidly traded roles as needing comfort and giving comfort. I understand now that courage is not the absence of or the shunning of fear but of being at peace in its presence. My father showed us that he could cry in front of his children, and it taught me that it is OK for me to show my children what I am feeling, too. A lot has been written about grief, and a common thread is that grief does not travel a linear path. People have different journeys with it, and there is no right way to metabolize those feelings. While there may not be a right way, there are some unhealthy ways to cope. I believe refusing to acknowledge feelings or numbing ourselves is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t have to be drugs or alcohol. Obsessively working or exercising are great ways to keep our minds busy and our bodies too tired to acknowledge

is the burning pain of spice so intense I can’t taste it. However, once your threshold for spice increases, you can enjoy the sweet coconut and the nuanced flavors Thai curry offers. Thinking of my mother used to only bring pain. Now that it has been almost two years since her passing, I still feel the void she left, but I am able to think about her and feel good. I can miss her and feel love. It is not one or the other; it is both. I am starting to understand what people mean when they say that grief will never leave you. Just as courage cannot exist without the presence of fear, love cannot exist without a painful goodbye. Maybe you felt a pang of sadness while reading this. Maybe a tear came to your eye. If you are sad because you miss someone, you can be happy that you loved them enough for it to hurt.

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! u o y k Than As we enter this holiday season, we wish to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for the support of all our wonderful patients. We thank you for allowing us to serve you and for helping us make a living out of what we love to do. From our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas.


Dr. Robert Young and the staff at Rocky Mountain Dermatology and the Young Skin Care Medical Spa

ROCKY MOUNTAIN Medical Surgical Cosmetic

Medical Spa

46 | Holiday 2023

10 tips for:

Holiday Baking with Your Kids EMILY BUCKLEY

editor in chief


ur family loves to gather in the kitchen, especially during the holiday season, to bake treats and

prepare traditional meals saved for just this time of year. These activities create lasting memories and can also be educational, but they can also be stressful for mom and dad. Here are some tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable holiday baking sessions with your little ones:

1 Choose Kid-Friendly Recipes Opt for recipes that are simple and kidfriendly. Sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and brownies are great options. Make sure the steps are easy to follow and age-appropriate for your children. I have sometimes taken a shortcut and purchased

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baked, unfrosted sugar cookies cut into festive shapes from the grocery store so we can go straight to frosting. Another idea is to split the project into two days: roll out, cut, and bake the cookies one day and then frost the next (or freeze the cookies to frost several days later!).

2 Plan and Prep Together Involve your kids in the planning and preparation process. Let them help choose the recipes and create a shopping list. When you get home with the ingredients, have them assist in measuring and setting up the baking station.

3 Emphasize Safety Safety should always be a top priority. Teach your children the importance of handwashing before and after handling food. Explain how to use kitchen tools safely and supervise them closely when they are using sharp objects or the oven.

4 Create a Fun Atmosphere Turn on some holiday music, put on festive aprons, and make the experience joyful. Let your kids be creative with their baking by decorating cookies with colorful sprinkles, icing, and other fun toppings.

5 Teach Them the Basics Use baking as a learning opportunity. Teach your children about different ingredients and their functions in recipes. Explain concepts like measuring, mixing, and temperature.

6 Foster Independence As your children gain confidence, encourage them to complete more tasks independently. Gradually assign age-appropriate responsibilities, such as cracking eggs, mixing ingredients, or rolling out dough. This will boost their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

learning process and memory making. Focus on the journey rather than just the result.

8 Experiment and Customize Let your kids get creative with their recipes. Encourage them to add their favorite ingredients like chocolate chips, dried fruits, or nuts to the recipes to foster a sense of ownership and excitement.

9 Share the Joy Once your holiday treats are baked and ready, share them with friends and family. Baking can be a wonderful way to express your love and appreciation for those you care about.

10 Create Lasting Memories Finally, remember that the holiday baking experience is about more than just the delicious goodies you create. It's about making cherished memories together as a

7 Patience Is Key

family. Take pictures, talk about where your

Baking with children may take longer than doing it alone, so be patient. Allow for mistakes and messes — it's all part of the

why they are special to you, and laugh, talk,

family’s traditional recipes came from and and dance while you work together in the kitchen.

48 | Holiday 2023

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Dr. Nathan Bertoldo, M.D. Mt. Naomi Women's Health 2245 N 400 E Suite 201 North Logan, UT 84341 Accepting new OB patients!

Call: 435.787.7001



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Explore Logan:

Pack Your Sleigh and Get Ready to Play JULIE HOLLIST TERRILL

director, Cache Valley Visitor’s Bureau


ello friends! The happy holiday season is upon us, and before we dive right into our astounding array of Cache Valley’s festive activities, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute to Thanksgiving, the seemingly invisible celebration somehow lost between the Halloween candy aisle and Christmas wrapping paper stuck on the same shelf. Think of something you’re grateful for in addition to green bean casserole and homemade orange rolls.

This jackpot for Christmas shopping has showcased mostly local wares for 40 years. You’re likely to find some unique treasures for everyone on your list.

Now fasten the seatbelts in your sleigh because it’s time to party! Take a deep breath and get ready because we’ve got dozens of reasons to be even more thankful we live in Cache Valley during this time of year. Two long-time traditions happen the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. First is Novemberfest Arts and Crafts Faire at the Cache County Event Center.

That same Saturday (November 25), create a new tradition with friends and family by heading down to Center Street and the new Laub Plaza, where they will officially open this new community gathering place with ice skating, free concerts, and Santa.

Then, you absolutely must make your way to the Ellen Eccles Theatre for one of the 41st-annual Cache Valley Civic Ballet performances of The Nutcracker (November 24-25, 27). Tchaikovsky’s holiday spectacle comes to life in all its colorful glory with the help of 88 dancers and music performed by a live symphony orchestra.

On Center Street, there will be food trucks, a Christmas market, more live music, a Christmas parade and tree-lighting,

fireworks, and a free showing of Elf at the Utah Theatre. Don’t forget the unveiling of this year’s new giant candy ornaments in the windows of Bluebird Candy. Seriously, it’s going to feel like Hallmark exploded in downtown Logan! Speaking of downtown, please support our local business owners wherever they may be located by shopping at their stores. One spot you might not have thought of is the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau Gift Shop in the historic courthouse. If you’re looking for anything Logan or Cache Valley, we’ve got it, including great gifts for locals and friends and family who have moved away. Now that you’ve digested your turkey and leftovers, you’ll be fortified to jump into December with all sorts of heartwarming holiday options. continued on next page...

50 | Holiday 2023

...continued from previous page First, starting December 2, and through the end of the month, you can amaze yourself by viewing gingerbread masterpieces meticulously built and decorated as part of the Downtown Gingerbread Walk. You’re bound to enjoy Utah State University’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life held at the Caine Lyric Theatre on December 1-2 and 6-9. Grab something to eat downtown before the show and make it a night to remember. Totally charming. Want something unique? Bundle up and go for a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride at the American West Heritage Center. The unobstructed views of the Wellsvilles are unparalleled, plus your experience ends with a delicious hot chocolate bar. Bring on the mini marshmallows! We’ve got award-winning performers of the likes of Rhythm of the Dance, tenor Nathan Pacheco, the gentlemen trio Gentri, violinist Jenny Oaks Baker, the Peterson family straight from Branson, and so many more performing at Ellen Eccles Theatre in December. That’s not to mention the stunning American Festival Chorus with guest artist Kurt Bestor, a gallery walk, multiple Christmas gift markets, and so much more. Want to get away from the hustle and bustle? Take a drive 15 miles from Cache Valley, up Blacksmith Fork Canyon, to view the elk that refuge there for the winter. Beginning Decmeber 1, sleigh rides are offered by Haviland's Old West Adventures every weekend from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jingle all the way through Logan and Cache Valley in your own backyard. Visit the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau and Gift Shop Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., call 435-755-1890, or log on to for more information and things to do.



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For your child’s best smile, visit Santa and the Orthodontist!

THOMSON FAMILY ORTHODONTICS Brady Thomson, DDS • Jeffrey Johnson, DDS 435.752.1320 • Logan • Providence •

Thomson Family Orthodontics @tfobraces

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