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HOLIDAY 2021

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

All the Holiday Feels This Holiday Season Make a Bad Morning Better

THE TRADITION RETURNS:

Experience the Nativity Journey at Nibley's Morgan Farms

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude Why Your Child Needs Less


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4 | Holiday 2021

Publisher & Editor in Chief

EMILY BUCKLEY Copy Editor

TARA BONE Cover Photography

ABBY REAVES Layout Design

WHITE PALM DESIGN

Letter from the Editor Earlier this month I had an experience that I keep thinking about. My husband had left town early that morning for a business trip and it was the beginning of a typical week at home for me and my kids. I had a long to-do list, which included taxiing kids to and from school and other activities, work meetings, volunteer work, and grocery shopping to restock the fridge after a busy weekend. Just before it was time to pick up my kids from school, I stopped at the grocery store, and ran in and out as quickly as possible. I jumped back in the car and tried to start the engine. The vehicle was completely dead. No lights and the doors wouldn’t lock or unlock. I tried to start it again. Nothing. I was frustrated and stressed knowing I didn’t have my husband available as a back-up. Suddenly the dash lights turned on and I was able to start the car. I drove directly to an auto parts store and asked them to check my battery. After a quick once over, they told it me it must have been a fluke and I was good to go. After picking up my kids and taking them to gymnastics lessons, I backed out of my parking spot only to have the vehicle completely die again, only this time I was stalled directly in the line of what was soon to be a busy pick-up/drop-off area of the gym. Frustration and stress set in. I called my husband who couldn’t do much from his hotel room across the country. We brainstormed that maybe the key fob battery was dying and the car stopping was some kind of security feature. I called a teenage neighbor who kindly went to my house and delivered a spare key to me. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, and I was anxiously watching the minutes tick by until I was going to be in a lot of people’s way. Debating whether to call a tow truck,

I noticed a car parked behind me, waiting for me to move my vehicle. I jumped out to apologize and tell the woman in the driver’s seat that I was stuck, and to see if she could get around me. As quickly as she heard about my predicament, she called her husband who “was good with cars” to see if he could help. Within 10 minutes he had left his office and arrived in the parking lot, dressed in a business suit, ready to attempt fixing my car. I watched as he pulled tools from his vehicle and troubleshooted the situation. Moments later he had tightened a loose cable and the car started. I offered to pay him, and he quickly declined, saying he was happy to help. That was it. He went back to work and I drove my kids home. What’s the moral of this long story? Simple. Most people are good. No doubt, there are a lot of hard things going on in the world right now that get a lot more attention than a nice guy fixing a random lady’s Suburban, but I think the kindness of this couple who stepped in and helped me, a complete stranger, is exemplary of the community we live in. Same goes for my teenage friend who delivered a spare key, the neighbors who shovel driveaway after driveway after a big snow storm (as shown in the photo above that I took while driving home last winter on a snowy day), teachers who send encouraging text messages to parents just to let them know they have a “great kid,” and friends who check on friends after a hard day.

Website Design

KITE MEDIA Contributing Writers

CLAIRE ANDERSON MARK ANDERSON NATHAN BERTOLDO, MD, OBGYN TARA BONE EMILY BUCKLEY MICHAEL COLE, OD THE FAMILY PLACE JENTRIE HALES REBECCA HASTINGS EMILY JEWKES SARAH LYONS JENNY MATHEWS EMILY MERKLEY KATE NEELEY FRANK SCHOFIELD TIM SMITH JAIME STONE WIL WOOD 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 2021, 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 info@cachevalleyfamilymagazine.com 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.

PHONE NUMBER

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MAILING ADDRESS

PO Box 6831 North Logan, UT 84341 EMAIL

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As we go into a season that is known for the joy and peace, remember that not everyone experiences those feelings consistently. Keep your eyes open for neighbors who need your help and you’ll be sure to find ways to serve. Simple acts go a long way. I know I’ll be looking for a way to pay forward the kindness.

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cover story PAGE 28

IN EVERY ISSUE Family Faith St. John’s Episcopal Church • page 12 Making a Difference Help, Hope, and Healing • page 19 Healthy Families Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy • page 22 Cover Story

The Nativity Journey at Nibley’s Morgan Farm page 28

PAGE 48

PAGE 19

Eat Like a Local The Best Tacos in Cache Valley • page 31 Education Update Educating Students for Success • page 32 Developing an Attitude of Gratitude • page 33 Safe Families Holiday Safety for the Whole Family • page 35 Family Travel Tips for a Safe Winter Road Trip • page 40 Family Matters How Cache Valley Families Push Back the Christmas Creep • page 45 Good Neighbors Costs of Buying a Home • page 50 Fact Check All the Feels This Holiday Season • page 52

FEATURED ARTICLES Nathan Pacheco to Bring His Gift of Music Back to Cache Valley • page 6 Second-Annual Holiday Home Light Tour Announced • page 9 PAGE 42

Understanding Astigmatism • page 14 How to Grow and Care for Amaryllis • page 16

PAGE 35

Congrats Chelsey Petersen! The Book Table’s September Teacher of the Month • page 26 Support The Family Place This Holiday Season to Help Their Programs All Year • page 38 Why Your Child Needs Less • page 42 Make Bad Mornings Better: 9 Ways to Turn a Bad Morning Around • page 48 Mid-Year Elementary School Blues: How to Keep Kids Motivated the Entire School Year • page 54


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Nathan Pacheco to Bring His Gift of Music Back to Cache Valley in December EMILY BUCKLEY

editor in chief

Nathan Pacheco will bring his gift of music back to Cache Valley this holiday season with the concert Nathan Pacheco Christmas on December 20 at the Logan High School Auditorium.

absolutely love Cache Valley. I think it is one of the prettiest places that exists, and two, it is just great to have shows happening again.”

Nathan is a Billboard #1 artist known for capturing the spirit of the season and delivering inspirational, moving performances of holiday favorites, love songs, and songs of encouragement and hope.

Since the pandemic began, Nathan along with most other performing artists, has missed performing. “I was able to do a few things here or there, private events and online events,” Nathan said, “but all full-on shows in theaters died and are just starting to happen again.”

“I can’t wait for this concert,” Nathan said. “I’m looking forward to it for two reasons: I

He says it was incredible to be home more with his family and not be on the road so much. “I

wrote like crazy during that time. I channeled everything I was feeling into writing new music that will be released next year. There are some crazy times being in the music biz, but that is part of the adventure and it gives added dimension to the art of music and performing. It gives heart and emotion to the things that I sing about.” Nathan says his favorite Christmas song to sing is O Holy Night. “I absolutely love that song, not only because of its message, but also because the music is glorious, and it just builds


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throughout the song until the climatic high note at the end. A close second is Silver Bells, a simple ballad of a song.” Nathan’s mother was a piano teacher, and he was immersed in classical piano and violin lessons early as a child. By high school he was seriously studying voice and singing, continuing down that path while attending and graduating from Brigham Young University's (BYU) music program, but still he wasn’t confident that his

career would be performing. During his time at BYU, Nathan listened to a speech by Elder Jeffrey Holland, former BYU president and a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. “Elder Holland spoke about dreaming and professed that God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer prayers and fulfill dreams, but you have to pray, you have to dream, you have to believe,” Nathan said. “I was definitely

moved by his words and it kind of gave me the courage to take leap of faith after leap of faith.” Nathan’s career has taken him around the world. “It has been adventure after adventure, and I am so grateful I followed my dream,” he said. “Early on, my focus was on singing in the most beautiful theaters with the most incredible singers, which is very fulfilling, but as time goes by my focus has shifted. There is so much fulfillment that my family brings to my life.” Nathan says one of his “quirks” is that he prefers to sing on full stomach. “That may catch a few people by surprise, because many people don’t love to eat before they perform, but I actually love it,” he said. “It helps me feel like I am supporting against something and helps me hit the high notes.” So where will he eat while in Cache Valley? He says he is looking forward to dinner at Elements while he is in town. “They have incredible food. I go there every time I’m in town.”

7 9 5 M A I N S T, L O G A N • ( 4 3 5 ) 7 5 2 - 9 2 2 0 • L U V T O C O O K . C O M

Tickets for Nathan Pacheco Christmas are available now at nathanpacheco.com/shows.

Happy Holidays FROM OUR TRAINWRECK TO YOURS.

Remember, we have free gift wrap and a helpful happy team.


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NMLS#190465 | www.intercaplending.com | Equal Housing Lender

Don’t let the Grinch steal the holiday spirit! Join this year’s

Holiday Home Light Tour Load the kiddos in the car and play some Christmas tunes while touring the brightest and best holiday homes of Cache Valley, then vote after the tour on your favorites! This annual event is a fun holiday tradition for the whole family. This year, all proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Family Place, a local non-profit dedicated to strengthening families and protecting children. Let’s end the year with family , lights and music, while helping a great organization continue to provide therapy, education and kid’s place services to families here in the Valley and surrounding areas. If you would like to register your home in the Best Holiday Home Contest, buy tickets to the tour, see tour dates, or if your company would like to become a sponsor and participate in the event, visit www.intercaplending/holiday-home-light-tour-2021 or scan the QR code below for more information. To subscribe to an email list and receive updates, email teamroylance@intercaplending.com


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Second-Annual Holiday Home Light Tour Announced EMILY BUCKLEY

editor in chief

Andrea Roylance and Intercap Lending are hosting the 2nd-Annual Holiday Home Light Tour community appreciation and benefit event. By purchasing a ticket to the event, you get access to a great family activity, become an event judge, and support a worthy cause all at once. With your

ticket, you’ll receive a list of the entry houses and then get to vote for your favorites. The winning house will be awarded $500, plus bragging rights, and recognition in Cache Valley Family Magazine. Additionally, one random judge (ticket buyer) will receive a $100 gift card.

their homes considered for the tour are being accepted now through December 5.

Entries from people who would like to have

Presale, discounted tickets are available now through December 16. The tour will run from December 17 through December 31, with a kickoff celebration including activities and treats being held at Intercap Lending (339 North Main Street in Logan) on December 17.

“We are also looking for sponsors, including businesses that may want to purchase tickets to give to employees or clients,” Andrea said.

This year’s event will benefit The Family Place, a local non-profit dedicated to strengthening families and protecting children. continued on next page


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CHRISTMAS HITS

continued from previous page “The reason we chose The Family Place is because they offer so many education, therapy, and child and family services to families throughout Cache Valley,” Andrea said. “I am amazed at what they offer. For me, as a once single mom, and as a merged family later, I see what they offer and think that had I known about those resources, and used them, it could have made a big difference. Their services are very needed and wanted. We are happy to support what they are doing.” If you would like to register your home in the Best Holiday Home Contest, buy tickets to the tour, see tour dates, or if your company would like to become a sponsor and participate in the event, you can learn more by visiting intercaplending/holiday-home-light-tour-2021 or by scanning the QR code on page 8 for more information. 2020 Most Creative Use of Lights Winner

Load the kiddos in the car and play some Christmas tunes while touring the brightest and best holiday homes of Cache Valley. Want to make a great Christmas playlist? Here are some of our favorites: All I Want For Christmas is You by Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder Do they Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid Last Christmas by Ariana Grande Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Dean Martin Step Into Christmas by Elton John It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee Jingle Bells by Barbara Streisand My Favorite Things by Kelly Clarkson

Christ

C H R I S T M A S B E GWI NI ST H

Please come to a truly beautiful, wonderful, and inspiring

Wednesday, December 1 • 12:00 - 9:00pm THURSDAY, DECEmBER 2 • 12:00 - 9:00pm FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3 • 12:00 - 9:00pm

Nativity Show Over 700 nativities from over 00 countries and all 50 states

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 • 11:00Am - 7:30pm

display at a church building

1105 East 2100 North • North Logan, Utah

Please come and bring your family and friends and be filled with the true meaning of Christmas! Coloring sheets for the children. All absolutely FREE, of course.


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Cache Valley Civic Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's

THE

NUTCRACKER AT ELLEN ECCLES THEATRE

T I C K E T S A T cvcballet.org O R A T THE ELLEN ECCLES BOX OFFICE

SUGAR PLUM TEA will be held prior to Friday matinee performance. Limited seating available. T I C K E T S AVA I L A B L E AT

cachearts.org.

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND

Friday, November 26, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, November 27 1:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 29, 7:30 p.m. Produced with the generous support of


12 | Holiday 2021

This is the first article in a series featuring different faith communities in Cache Valley. The role of faith in the early settler’s day-to-day life was central. For many who call Cache Valley home today, faith continues to play a pivotal role in Valley communities and individual lives. On a crisp autumn morning, Father Jason Samuel and long-time parishioners Marjorie Cramer and Jeannie Simmonds shared their hearts and chapel with the readers of Cache Valley Family Magazine. They opened a window into the rich history of St. John’s Episcopal Church and the lives of faithful members through the generations. We thank them for their time and kindness.

FA M I LY FA I T H

St. John’s Episcopal Church TARA BONE

contributing writer

In the heart of Logan at 85 East and 100 North stands St. John’s Episcopal Church, a Gothic-style cathedral that has been a place of peace, music, and refuge for parishioners and visitors alike since the turn of the 20th century. A walk through its historic chapel tells the story of a faith community that brings old and new together, and seeks to honor its past, meet present needs, and look to the future. Father Jason Samuel is the church’s new vicar Father, having arrived from California

in September 2021. He has been a priest for 29 years and looks forward to building on St. John’s rich traditions while working to increase outreach to Utah State University (USU) students and those who feel alone. “I have never been as engaged and excited by a congregation,” said Father Samuel. “St. John’s is known as a traditional, historic Christian church, but is also known to be extremely progressive, especially in its embracing of social justice and [being] defenders and champions

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for those on the margins. There’s a sense here that no matter who you are and where you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here.” Welcoming all who enter has always been a tenet of St. John’s. One example is the attendance of people of all faiths to the church’s many concerts and musical worship services. The chapel’s incredible acoustics create “magical performances,” according to Jonathan Rose, St. John’s organist and choir master since

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Working with other denominations dates back to Utah’s pioneer Episcopal Bishop, Daniel S. Tuttle. Father Jason Samuel shares: Bishop Tuttle arrived in Utah on one of the first passenger trains. The first thing he did was meet with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ leader and prophet Brigham Young. Bishop Tuttle told him the Episcopal Church was there as fellow Christians; they were not there to threaten or cause problems. Bishop Tuttle asked to work peacefully together. Brigham Young was surprised, and gave him his blessing. When members of St. John’s first organized, they met in a storefront on Main Street. Later they moved to a small stone building, pictured above on Center Street, before moving to their current location. Marjorie Cramer with her prayer shawl.

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Established in 1873, St. John's was the first congregation in Cache Valley not of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ faith. St. John’s has 100 to 200 members. The church includes a chapel, commercial kitchen, fellowship hall, and nursery, along with a yard for receptions and weddings.

2009. Jonathan says the church makes the space available to USU students for recitals and small assembles that are open to the community. The acoustics are so beloved that when the church was expanded in 2003 and 2004, an acoustic engineer ensured renovations wouldn’t impede the chapel’s pristine sound. Jonathan has lived in Cache Valley his entire life and came to the church’s Christmas services as a child. There he found a passion for music. He graduated from USU in organ performance, studying with world-class organist James Drake. Though Jonathan was of a different faith, he remembers his feelings at those services.

The Butler Window, one of many stained glass windows in the chapel.

MUSIC RINGS AGAIN AT ST. JOHN’S THIS CHRISTMAS 85 East 100 North, Logan • 435-752-0331 Office hours: Monday —Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Lessons and Carols for Advent: First Sunday after Christmas Day Christmas Eve Family Evening Service: 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Night Service: 10:30 p.m. Principal Service: 10 a.m., every Sunday Morning Prayers: 7:30 a.m., Monday — Friday For Lent and Holy Week services, and other events, visit the church’s website: stjohnslogan.org.

“I was a little nervous, but as soon as you go in people made me feel welcome,” Jonathan said. “The traditional church music and the standard to which it was performed was high quality. People from all faiths attend and lose sense of different religions and come together.” To ensure that quality music continues, St. John parishioners have established scholarship endowments for the USU Choral Scholars. This group of singers performs throughout the year at the church, with special services during Christmas and Easter. Though COVID halted performances, Jonathan and Father Samuel say music will ring again this Christmas. Jeannie Simmonds has been a church member since 1976 and says these Christmas services are one of her favorite parts of the entire holiday. For Jeannie, St. John’s has been a family to her. “It meant more than just Sundays,” Jeannie said. “St. John’s has been impacting the

community for more than 100 years. We have always worked with the community to create an ecumenical approach to the challenges of food and shelter insecurity. And our building was created to share the gift of music with the community.” Marjorie Cramer is another community member whose life has been impacted by the music and ministry of the church. She moved to Logan with her husband in 1989 and says the first thing she did upon moving was find a church and she felt “immediately at home” at St. John’s. Marjorie sang for years in the choir and at 78 years old still takes voice lessons. She even knows the “sweet spot” in the chapel for the best acoustic vocal performance. Recently Marjorie received a prayer shawl from the church’s knitting group. The St. John’s group meets each Tuesday and over the years has given countless shawls to those in the community who are struggling. Father Samuel says one of the reasons he came to St. John’s is because members take their baptismal ministry seriously, even during COVID and when they didn’t have a priest. “They didn’t just shut down; they kept going,” Father Samuel said. “They visited the sick, the shut-ins have been visited and prayed for, and people have taken responsibility for buildings and grounds. They asked, ‘how can we make our services online?’” With 148 years of ministry, the St. John’s community plans to keep the music, faith, and service going for years to come.


14 | Holiday 2021

Understanding Astigmatism MICHAEL COLE, OD

Child and Family Eye Care Center

Of all the eye care related terms, “astigmatism” is possibly the most misunderstood. Patients who have been diagnosed with astigmatism in the past often enter our clinic worried that this is a serious medical condition that may threaten their vision. Rather than an alarming diagnosis, astigmatism is merely a refractive state akin to nearsightedness or farsightedness and is present in most people. The dictionary defines it as: “A refractive error of the eye in which parallel rays of light from an external source do not converge on a single point on the retina.” That may be a mouthful, but hopefully we can put some minds at ease about this commonplace finding.

all directions to be focused in one singular point, achieving the clearest image possible.

The eye contains a series of optical interfaces that refracts or bends light to focus that light on the retina, where that light is formed into an image to be sent to the brain. The first and most impactful optical surface that light interacts with is the cornea. The cornea is a dome shaped structure located at the front of the eye. It is composed of collagen fibers arranged in such a way that it is transparent, allowing light to pass through. In a perfect situation, the central cornea is spherical in shape. A perfect sphere would allow for light from

For the most part, even eyes with astigmatism are symmetrical, having a predictable refractive pattern. These eyes have corneas that rather than being perfectly round like a ping pong ball, are shaped more like a football — having a steeper curvature in one direction and a flatter curvature in the opposite direction. The good news is that the glasses and contact lenses that we use can also be made in this fashion, and this correction becomes part of a normal glasses prescription. In many cases, the amount of astigmatism

In human eyes, the anatomical shape of the cornea is rarely spherical in shape without any anatomical imperfections. If any aspherical shape of the cornea is present, that is termed astigmatism. This sometimes sounds as though there is something terribly wrong with the eye, but it is, in fact, the norm rather than the exception. The vast majority of people across the world have astigmatic corneas to one degree or another. It is actually fairly rare to encounter perfectly spherical corneas, even after a surgical procedure like LASIK, which seeks to reshape this tissue.

present is so low, that it is ignored and not included in glasses and contact lens prescriptions. Astigmatism is not typically something that worsens over time, but rather a result of the anatomy of the cornea, which is stable throughout life. Sometimes, the shape of the cornea does not match a predictable pattern, which we term “irregular” astigmatism. If there is an irregular optical surface that light has to travel through, the image formed is very distorted, and is not well corrected with conventional glasses and contacts. In such circumstances, specialty contact lenses such as scleral lenses are needed to compensate for the poor optics of the eye itself. This type of corneal anomaly is uncommon, and usually occurs after trauma, surgery, or when a genetic anomaly is present. So, the next time you hear an eye doctor mention astigmatism, don’t fret — it is normal and will be compensated for in a pair of glasses or contact lenses if necessary. For more information, or to schedule an appointment in our clinic, please contact us at 435-363-2980.

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16 | Holiday 2021

How to Grow and Care for Amaryllis AN EASYGOING HOUSEPLANT THAT WILL BRIGHTEN THE DARK WINTER MONTHS MARK ANDERSON

owner, Anderson’s Seed and Garden

It is nearly impossible to see an amaryllis in full bloom without admiring its huge flowers and bright colors. They can bloom for several weeks during the otherwise dreary winter months — usually just in time for the holidays. They don't need much of your attention either: All you have to do is provide a little water and a warm, brightly lit spot, and they will become beautiful showstoppers in just a few weeks. Regularly, I hear from gardeners who received a bulb as a gift for the holidays, and they exclaim emphatically that it is the best gift they received all year.   Hint: they make great gifts! The size of the bulb directly relates to

the size of the flowers and the quantity of flowers they can produce. Purchase as large of bulbs as you possibly can, you will not be disappointed. A 26-30 cm.-circumference Amaryllis bulb will usually produce 1 or 2 flower stems with 3 or 4 flowers per stem. A 34 cm.-an-up-circumference Amaryllis bulb will usually produce 2 or 3 flower stems with 3 or 4 flowers per stem, and sometimes 6. The largest bulbs, 40+ cm., regularly send up 3 or 4 stems with 4 to 6 flowers each. It’s not unusual for a 40+ cm. bulb to have 18-22 massive flowers. Don’t skimp on size. When planting, use a container that is one to two inches larger in diameter than the

circumference of the bulb. Containers can be clay, ceramic, metal, or plastic, and must have drainage in the bottom. Plant the bulb with about one-third to one-half of the bulb exposed above the soil. This helps reduce red blotch infection and other fungal diseases. Plant in a well-drained, sterilized soil medium like Ferti-lome Ultimate Potting Mix. Immediately after planting, thoroughly water the bulb. Water once a week to keep the bulb in slightly moist soil condition until flowering. When flowering starts, increase the frequency of watering to twice a week. The sun-loving amaryllis grows best indoors

Bring the Outside In This Winter! Get your Amaryllis bulb three ways: • Bulbs (2 sizes available, 26-34 cm and 40+ cm) • Potted in a plastic pot • Potted and wrapped with foil and a bow (makes for a beautiful gift!) 69 West Center • Logan, Utah • 435-752-2345

20 VARIETIES TO CHOOSE FROM!


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in a well-lit area that receives at least four to six hours of direct sunlight a day. They prefer warm temperatures (70 to 75 degrees F) for best growth until the leaves and flower stalks start to grow. Once the plant flowers, cooler temperatures (65 degrees F) will prolong the life of the flowers. At planting, a slow-release fertilizer like Multi-Cote or Garden-Cote can feed a bulb

through the entire winter (3 or 4 months). After the plant begins to grow additional fertilization is essential. Twice a month, use a water-soluble fertilizer recommended for potted plants such as Ferti-lome Blooming and Rooting or Nutra-green from Baicor. Amaryllis can be kept alive and brought to blossom the following year. But this takes some skill and work. It may just be easier

to purchase a new bulb the next year. If you want to try, follow these directions: After the flowers have faded, keep watering the plant and start a feeding program with a liquid fertilizer like the Blooming & Rooting. Amaryllis are big eaters and they must grow many leaves during the summer. This helps them restore strength to produce new flowers the following year. As soon as the danger of frost is past, plant your Amaryllis, pot and all, in a sunny location in the garden. Continue the fertilizing program and let leaf growth develop freely. Around September the leaves begin to yellow, which indicates that the Amaryllis needs a rest. Cut the leaves back to the neck of the bulb. Store the bulb with pot and all at a temperature of about 55 degrees F. Store until December or January, or until the bulbs show signs of new growth, then it is time to start the bulb up for another round of flowers. Even if you feel that you missed out when the green thumbs were awarded at birth, Amaryllis is one of those plants that are nearly foolproof. With a little effort on your part, you can enjoy amazing, colorful blooms for nearly a month during the coldest, darkest months of the year.

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18 | Holiday 2021


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NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE: 800-273-8255 LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT HELPLINE: 435-792-6500

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Help, Hope, and Healing CACHE VALLEY’S SUICIDE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION EFFORTS JENNY MATHEWS

contributing writer

For survivors, families, teachers, students, and that is taken too soon. We wonder and worry neighbors, suicide is a heartbreaking reality that about who else may be suffering. We search our leaves us wondering what more we could have souls for meaning and comfort. done. We mourn together for each precious life Recent tragedies left Margaret Gittins, of Paradise, feeling desperate to do something. Margaret is the owner of Smackerel, a catering, events, and specialty foods company. She had seen a friend post on social media about a concert to raise suicide awareness, featuring artist Alex Boye, that had been held in Utah County. From the time she reached out to the first person about having the same concert here in Cache Valley, to the time it was both scheduled and fairly well funded, was less than two hours. “It was the worst possible timing for me,”

Margaret said. “I was so incredibly busy. But literally all I had to do was get the ball rolling and our community stepped up.” The concert was beautifully done, well attended, and a healing experience for many attendees. It is already scheduled to happen again on September 10, 2022. Cache Valley has quite a few resources to help those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide and for the people who care about them. Among the options are training courses through the public schools, including mental health screenings and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training through The Family Place or Bear River Health Department, on how to continued on next page

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Tickets are still available at: PicklevilleShows.com • A family-centered holiday event unlike any other!


20 | Holiday 2021

continued from previous page recognize the signs of suicidal ideation, and what to do when you see them in someone you care about. What are the signs that someone may be having thoughts of suicide? It is important to look for key themes: Do they feel lonely, shameful, or like they are a burden to others? Do they feel trapped, enraged, or are they suffering from extreme emotional or physical pain? Have their moods, social life, eating habits, or substance use habits changed dramatically? Are they withdrawing from the people who care about them? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, it is time for QPR. WHAT IS QPR TRAINING AND HOW DOES IT HELP? • Question someone who you think may be struggling. Say the word suicide. For example, you could say, “Bob, are you thinking about suicide?” Asking about suicide does not increase the risk of the person feeling more suicidal. • Persuade the individual to hang on a little longer. Tell them why they are loved and needed. • Refer them to a crisis line or mental health professional. Our local emergency rooms are also equipped to handle mental health crises.

RESOURCES Knowing ahead of time what resources exist can be crucial. In a crisis you may have little time. Here are a few local options: Bear River Mental Health QPR training brhd.org/classes After hours behavioral health crisis line: 435-881-0358 Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (MCOT): 435-799-7238

LDS Social Services 435-752-5302

The Family Place Main Phone Number: 435-752-8880 thefamilyplaceutah.org/resources see “Teenagers” section SAFE-FAM at 435-799-7238

Logan City School District Mental Health: parentguidance.org

Cache County School District Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: ccsdut.org/Page/6220

For an even more comprehensive list of resources, use the QR code below:

SafeUT app (free) CONFIDENTIAL Crisis Text and Tip Line Cache Suicide Prevention Coalition 435-792-6519

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22 | Holiday 2021

H E A LT H Y FA M I L I E S

Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy TURN BACK THE CLOCK ON AGING! NATHAN BERTOLDO, MD, OB/GYN

Valley Women’s Health

As we age many things change. Skin weakens. Hair thins. Weight changes. Muscle decreases. Libido changes. Sleep becomes disrupted. Memory diminishes. Bones weaken. All of these tie to a decrease in our hormonal balance and the function of our endocrine system. Even a small imbalance can cause problems such as menopause for women or andropause (low T) for men. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help balance estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels during or near menopause. Many women are shocked when we discuss testosterone as a hormone in which women can become deficient. So many times, it is thought

that estrogen is for women and testosterone is for men. Testosterone is actually the most abundant sex hormone in women just as it is in men. The difference is the level and presence of estrogen compared to men.

decline. Hormone balance plays a critical part in keeping our bodies healthy, fit, and active, but unfortunately, the levels of all of our critical hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, drop as we age.

TREAT AGE-RELATED HORMONE DECLINE SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY WITH HORMONE PELLET THERAPY At Women's Health & Aesthetics, we use hormone replacement pellet therapy to treat the debilitating effects of age-related hormone decline. We help patients regain control of their bodies and symptoms that come with changes such as menopause and andropause. The primary issues we treat are hormone imbalances caused by age-related hormone

Bio-identical hormone pellets are one of a few modes to provide hormones to patients. This is our preferred method to treat hormone deficiencies at Women's Health & Aesthetics. This treatment method avoids the many disadvantages of treatment alternatives like messy daily creams or painful weekly injections. We often start with creams, because of the ease of dosing and withdrawing treatment if the patient experiences any unusual side effects.

Nathan Bertoldo, MD, OB/GYN Women's Health • Aesthetics • Wellness

Caring for women through all generations of life! Accepting New Patients!

Get a complimentary prenatal massage after your initial OB visit!

Early prenatal appointments available.

Accepting all major insurance plans and self-pay options for uninsured. Serving patients at Logan Regional Hospital and Cache Valley Hospital.

@drbertoldo /drbertoldo @BertoldoMD

1515 N 400 E #105 Logan, Utah

435-787-7001

drbertoldo.com


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As compared to other forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy: • Pellet therapy delivers consistent, physiologic levels of hormones. • Consistent and physiologic dosing has been shown to maintain and improve bone density. • Pellets bypass the liver and don’t negatively impact clotting factors, blood pressure, cloistral, glucose, or liver function.

begins between the ages of 45 and 55, although some women enter menopause earlier. A hysterectomy or ovarian surgery may cause menopause to begin immediately.

Pellet Therapy is available in: • Testosterone • Estradiol • Progesterone

Some of the changes you might experience include: • Abnormal menstrual bleeding • Hot flashes • Night sweats • Urinary incontinence • Vaginal dryness • Sleep disruption

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M IN MENOPAUSE? Menopause is the process through which a woman exits her reproductive years. It usually

Once your body stops releasing eggs and it’s been a year or longer since you’ve had normal menstrual cycles, menopause is underway. Your body produces less estrogen, which creates hormonal imbalance and menopause symptoms.

• • • • •

Mood swings Weight gain Low libido Depression or anxiety Brain fog

Most women won’t experience all of these symptoms, but it’s common to notice changes in several areas of your life. However, hormone replacement therapy can replace what time and nature take away. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HORMONE PELLET THERAPY There are many benefits of Hormone Pellet Therapy for men and women, including: • Improved libido and better sexual performance. Usually, the first benefits that both men and women on hormone pellet therapy experience are an increased sex drive and improved sexual performance. • Increased energy and stamina. Hormone replacement therapy increases metabolism, which improves your ability to turn fat into energy. • Increased ability to burn fat and build muscle. Hormone replacement therapy not only improves your ability to burn fat, but it also improves your ability to build lean muscle. That results in weight loss and a leaner, fitter you. • Stronger bones. Hormone pellet therapy can lead to stronger, healthier bones and can also decrease your risk of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related fractures. • Improved mood. Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to improve mood and lessen the occurrence of anxiety, depression, and other emotional difficulties. • Improved memory and cognition. Hormone pellet therapy can improve memory, focus, and concentration.

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24 | Holiday 2021

29 S. Main Street Logan, Utah 84321 Find us on FACE BOOK an d INS TAG R AM @loganbooktable

For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself. Charles Dickens, The Christmas Carol


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2021

Book Table Gift Guide Scan the QR code to access.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Francis of Assisi

Teacher of the Month — Chelsey Peterson, Riverside Elementary a gift for you! Present this ad to receive

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26 | Holiday 2021

Congrats Chelsey Petersen! THE BOOK TABLE’S SEPTEMBER TEACHER OF THE MONTH CLAIRE ANDERSON

contributing writer

This fall, the Book Table began “Making a Difference One Chapter at a Time,” a program in which they have teamed up with vendors, schools, libraries, and businesses in Cache Valley to give back to teachers and students. Their teacher of the month program provides the opportunity for featured teachers to receive a door makeover and a Book Table gift card. September’s Teacher of the Month, who was nominated for the outstanding impact she has had on her students and fellow teachers, is Chelsey Petersen, the special education preschool teacher for children ages 3-6 at Riverside Preschool. Chelsey and her husband, Chad, have lived in Logan for the past 18 years. They have twin daughters, Raegan and Brooklyn, and two dogs,

Bentley and Dusty. Their family enjoys playing games, camping, supporting the Aggies, and spending time with family and friends. Ever since she was a little girl, Chelsey knew that she wanted to become a teacher. This came from her desire to help others. “I believe that all students can learn, just at a different pace and in their own ways,” she said. When she was younger, she played school with her dolls and stuffed animals, and even asked for a whiteboard and school supplies for Christmas. This is her eighth year teaching preschool in Logan City School District and her second year teaching at Riverside Preschool. She loves being a special education teacher because of how the classroom environment is always changing, making every day a new adventure. She loves

interacting and collaborating with her amazing team of special educators. “Chelsey teaches in the classroom next to me and she goes above and beyond every day making our students feel safe and at home and helping her fellow teachers with any questions they may have,” a fellow teacher at Riverside said. “[Cheslea] forges ahead [through challenges] every day and is always trying to figure out how to best meet the needs of our students and their various special needs.” It is evident that Chelsey has a genuine love for each of her students and truly enjoys what she does, even when her job isn’t easy. “It is definitely a team effort,” Chelsea

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said. “As a special education parent, I also have experience on the family side, so I feel like I have a different point of view and understanding because I have experience on both sides. I feel like I am a good advocate and resource for my students and their families.” An impactful experience that Chelsey shared was an instance in which a student was

screaming on the school bus, but stopped as soon as he saw her, embracing her with a huge smile when he got to the door. “In that moment, I knew that I was making a difference for him and that he felt happy in my classroom,” she said. “The relationships and trust that I develop with my students and their families make the hard days totally worth it.”

When asked what she loves about her students at Riverside, Chelsey responded saying, “Where do I even begin? They are INCREDIBLE! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives and their educational journey. I love their determination and resilience. Their willingness to work hard and to try their best makes it so worth it. We celebrate the little things and the big things. I love seeing their faces light up when they point to a color that we have been working on, when they count to five independently, or when they say their first word or take their first step independently. I love seeing them include and interact with their peers of all abilities. They truly see each other as equals and are so loving and kind to each other. They are examples of how we should treat others.” Chelsey is an amazing individual who has contributed much to our community through her patience, love, and attentiveness as a teacher. The compassion that she has toward her students and the willingness to help that she demonstrates with her fellow teachers clearly shows in all that she does. We are thankful for wonderful teachers like her who make Cache Valley a better place to live.


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The Nativity Journey at Nibley’s Morgan Farm EMILY BUCKLEY

editor in chief

14 years ago, Richard and Karen Eversull of Nibley wanted to give Cache Valley a non-denominational worship opportunity.

a great appreciation for what they consider the true meaning of Christmas.

Richard, the caretaker of the historic Morgan Farm in Nibley, felt The Morgan Farm Barn was the perfect backdrop for a Nativity. He believed it would help people have a more realistic view of what the holy Christmas night might have looked like 2,000 years ago.

“It has always been a very spiritual experience for me to watch people come through and observe the nativity,” Richard said.

Over the years, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of visitors have walked through the barn and felt love, peace, and

Last year, in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was changed to a drive-through experience. Volunteers, including Richard’s daughter Adria Eversull and family friends Sabrina and Joshua Olsen, created an artistic and musical presentation that visitors could take part in from the comfort

Richard Eversull has been the caretaker of Morgan Farm in Nibley for the last 14 years.


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and warmth of their vehicles. Live animals and inspiring, hand-painted scenes are displayed around the farm and coordinated to a YouTube video of music and narration of the Biblical Christmas story. “We received a lot of positive feedback from the community about how it was done last year, and since there are still concerns [regarding COVID], we are having a drive-through Nativity again this year, although I hope we can return to a walkthrough again in the future,” Richard said. Richard says all are welcome to attend the event. Visitors are invited to leave a $5 or canned food donation to benefit the Cache Community Food Pantry if they can, “but if you don’t have any money or food to spare, you are still welcome,” Richard said. More than 5,000 cars drove through the event last year. This year’s Nativity Journey will be held on December 10, 11, and 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Adria and Sabrina are lifelong friends and are now both professional artists. You can see their work on Instagram, respectively, at @adriaeart and @thabusart3.

The staging point for the Nativity Journey is in the Logan Coach parking lot at 2990 South 800 West, Nibley. Vehicles should enter from the south. As visitors enter, there will be large signs with a QR code to scan and access the audio portion of the experience. They’ll then drive past Morgan Farm and Elkhorn Park where scenes and animals are set.

The barn at Morgan Farm was built in 1921 with the help of a local lumber company. At the time, it was a state-of-the-art, privately owned milking barn. The property changed hands over the years and was eventually acquired by Nibley City, who hired Richard to bring his animals and care for the farm which is home to three horses, six goats, a steer, two donkeys, 100 chickens, three foal cats, and a goose, and is now open to the community as a petting zoo of sorts. “People are welcome to visit the farm anytime,” Richard said. “I love having the kids come by and see the animals.” Richard, who has been wheelchair bound for over 30 years since sustaining injuries in an automobile accident, says he enjoys taking care of the grounds and property. “It reminds me of my time growing up in the country in Cheyenne, Wyoming.” Adria says her dad has been an inspiration to her throughout her life. “He has been in a wheelchair since I was 3,” Adria said. “And he never let it stop him from doing the things he loves, whether it was driving Clydesdale horses in a Fourth of July parade or skiing. Taking care of the farm and putting on the Nativity is another one of those things. He loves the story of the Nativity and loves that he can serve the community. It gives him purpose.”


30 | Holiday 2021


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The Best Tacos in Cache Valley WIL WOOD

owner, Love to Cook

Tortillas serve as a warm, starchy blanket to wrap up the taste-tantalizing quartet of fat, acid, salt, and heat. Here in Cache Valley we have many options for exceptional tacos. What follows is my fairly well-researched opinion on where to get the best tacos in Cache Valley. Is there one best place? Definitely not, but I will tell you what to get where. I'm going to go through this list (which is by no means exhaustive, but a good place to get started) in order of meats: chicken, beef, pork. Then I'll mention some you can't miss. I'll start us off with the gateway drug to cooked meat: chicken. Pollo Azteca, the food truck nestled in the alley south of Love to Cook on 800 North and Main in Logan, starts their day out by firing up their grills with real mesquite

charcoal. They put some magic sauce on spatchcocked whole birds then grill them to perfection. My favorite dish just changed from their "Chicken Bowl", to an order of "Half Chicken with a side of rice and Ranchero Beans." From what I can tell, almost everything is made from scratch. Their birria, chile verde, beans, rice, and al pastor are excellent. Red meat anyone? This one is difficult to say definitively because there are so many good options. Still, I would settle on the new taco truck on the corner of 1800 North and Main in Logan, Los Compadres. Their Suadero is carne asada from slow-cooked brisket. It's next level. If you're there with company, pick up a MexiBurger with cheese. It's a cheeseburger with chorizo.

Almost everyone knows La Unica as the busy Mexican restaurant in Smithfield with the kind and boisterous owner who is almost always working the register. They've been in multiple places, but several years ago moved their main operation from a food truck in Richmond to their current space. I've never gotten anything I didn't like here. These are the best tacos al pastor I've ever had. Al pastor is pork, traditionally roasted on a vertical spit like shawarma. This is the Mexican take on a food and method the Lebanese immigrants brought to Mexico. I could take a long time explaining this, but what you really need to do is go try these. You will find tender savory pork with chunks of pineapple in these tacos. Also, try the aguas frescas. I need to mention a few other places as well. N&M Tacos de Birria are great beef tacos. They serve one thing and they do it well. They're found in the Baugh Motel parking lot. La Tormenta, found on 1600 North next to Fizz'n'Fries is excellent. They give you a mountain of sautéed onions, pickled jalapenos, and carrots with a jug of your favorite salsa. I like their chile verde and carne asada burrito. Speaking of giant burritos, Cafe Sabor makes a great one and every Wednesday night you can get a burrito and a drink for $6.99. Upgrade to a beer for a buck. That's a deal! El Toro is a longtime favorite of ours, and while they aren't a 24-hour drive thru by any means, they do have late hours on weeknights. I love their tacos al carbon or sharing pollo cilantro with my lover.

A spread of some of Pollo Azteca’s best offerings. Pollo Azteca is located in the alley south of Love to Cook on 800 North and Main in Logan.

In summation, I need to point something out. For a little valley in Northern Utah, we have some amazing restaurants. Take advantage of the diverse choices we have and don't be afraid to try something new. I look forward to diving deeper into other choices we have here in the Valley in future issues.


32 | Holiday 2021

Educating Students for Success

P RE S E N T E D BY

CACHE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT'S STRATEGIC PLAN TIM SMITH

assistant superintendent over secondary education, Cache County School District

The Cache County School District has a mission and vision to educate students for success in a changing world and to provide a safe, comprehensive, high-quality educational experience that challenges each student to achieve his or her highest potential. The district has a long track record of being a leader in the state on several key indicators, which provide evidence that we are accomplishing this mission and vision. While we are very proud of our accomplishments, we are continually striving to improve. At the end of the 2020-21 school year, the Cache Board of Education approved a District Strategic Plan. While recognizing that many academic goals exist for schools and school subjects, the Board focused on two primary

academic goals which form a foundation for student success. The first goal is to ensure each elementary student is reading on grade level by the end of third grade. This has been a long-standing goal of the district and we have led the state in this area for many years. The ability to read by third grade is critical to a child’s success in school and lifelong learning potential. A national study shows that students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers (The Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2010). Early Warning! Why Reading By The End Of Third Grade Matters. Baltimore, MD: Anne E. Casey Foundation. Retrieved from aecf.org).

As a school district, we recognize that our success depends on the parents, students, educators, and support staff that form our school community. We appreciate the efforts of each of these groups in helping us to realize our mission and vision of preparing students. For more information on the School District’s Strategic Plan, visit ccsdut.org/strategicplan.

The second goal is to ensure secondary students graduate confident and competent in mathematics. We live in a time of extraordinary and accelerating change. The need to understand and be able to use mathematics in everyday life and in the workplace has never been more important. As students transition from high school to college and careers, confidence and competence in mathematics provide them with a solid foundation moving forward. We believe that prioritizing these two academic goals drive the district’s performance in several key areas. The chart at the bottom of this page outlines State of Utah targets, Cache County School District targets, and the latest test results that indicate how we are meeting or exceeding both the State and District targets.


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P R E S EN TE D BY

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude FRANK SCHOFIELD

superintendent, Logan City School District

The holiday season can be both an exciting and confusing time for a child (and their parents). The anticipation of additional time with family and friends, time off from school, new winter activities that we are able to enjoy, foods that may be unique to the season, and the prospect of gifts, can all add to the allure of the season. We also know that the holiday seasons can create stress for children and their families for a variety of reasons that are as different and unique as our families themselves. There are many steps families can take to address and minimize this stress, both for themselves and their children. One response that works throughout the year and happens to align well with many of the positive messages we hear during the winter holidays is to foster a sense of gratitude. Although it may seem overly simple, fostering a sense of gratitude has many documented benefits. According to Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker and contributor to Psychology Today, those benefits include: • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, a 2014 study published in Emotion found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more

likely to seek an ongoing relationship. Acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, report feeling healthier than other people, and are more likely to take care of their health through regular exercise and have regular medical check-ups. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kindly, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied

Psychology: Health and Well-Being. • Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, while other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs — a major factor in reduced self-esteem — grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments. • Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for — even during the worst times — fosters resilience. Each of us can enjoy these benefits by simply strengthening our sense of gratitude. We can do so, and help the children we care for do the same, through a number of simple practices, including: • Saying please and thank you • Helping someone less fortunate • Sending “thank you” cards • Looking for awe-inspiring moments in your day, then tell someone about them • Creating structured opportunities to share your gratitude as a family. It could be at dinnertime, bedtime, or whenever else works for your family. Have a consistent moment during the day when you share what you are grateful for • Complimenting others • Keeping a gratitude journal • Keeping a gratitude jar • Creating a family gratitude list There are many practices individuals and families can engage in to strengthen our sense of gratitude, and consequently receive countless physical and emotional benefits. As your family prepares for the holiday season, whether the season is typically one you enjoy or one that brings an increase of stress to your home, consider how making gratitude a central part of the season can add to your positive experiences, and provide benefits that last throughout the year.


34 | Holiday 2021


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S A F E FA M I L I E S

Holiday Safety for the Whole Family EMILY JEWKES

health educator, Bear River Health Department

It's the holiday season again, a time when we enjoy festive meals with family and friends, deck our halls with colorful decorations, and listen to squeals of delight as our children open their brightly wrapped presents. To help ensure your kids have fun and stay safe this holiday, here are a few tips to remember. HARD FACTS ABOUT HOLIDAY SAFETY • In 2012, 3,270 children 19 and under were seen in emergency rooms for injuries caused by nonelectric holiday decorations, like broken ornaments. • In 2012, an estimated 192,000 children were treated in an emergency room for a toyrelated injury.

• That same year, an estimated 136,314 children ages 19 and under were injured due to a fire or burn. TOP TIPS FOR HOLIDAY SAFETY 1. Make sure your live tree has plenty of water by checking it regularly. Natural trees look beautiful and smell great, but if they’re not watered regularly, needles can dry out and pose a potential fire hazard. 2. Keep lit holiday candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Don’t forget to blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep. 3. Consider your child’s age when purchasing toys or games this holiday season. It’s worth

a second to read the instructions to make sure the gift is just right. 4. Keep a special eye on small pieces. This includes button batteries, which may be included in electronic toys. While these kinds of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings. 5. Prevent burns from hot holiday food or liquid spills. Simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge. 6. Move the ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top of the tree. That makes room at the bottom for the ones that are safer for young kids. continued on next page


36 | Holiday 2021

continued from previous page Traveling is another safety topic to keep in mind this holiday season. Read on for a holiday travel checklist for families. The holidays can be both a joyful and stressful time of year. Families are on the go, running errands, going shopping, and taking road trips to visit relatives and friends. Here are tips for keeping your kids safe during holiday travel. 1. Everybody needs their own restraint. Make it a rule: everyone buckled, every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block. Remember, kids will do what you do — so buckle up every time! 2. If you are flying, take your car seat with you and use it on the plane. It will be a benefit to have it with you at your destination and when you travel to and from the airport. Rent or borrow a car seat or booster seat if you can’t take your child’s with you. 3. Watch out for small kids and distracted drivers. Parking lots are busier than usual during the holidays. 4. Remind your inexperienced teen driver to be extra alert. During the holidays, people are more distracted and the weather can be tricky.

5. Avoid distractions while driving. No text or playlist is worth the risk of taking your eyes off the road. Set your GPS to voice activated so you can concentrate on driving without having to look at your phone. 6. Plan to use a designated driver or rideshare. Make sure you get home safely after celebrating. 7. Secure loose objects. Put hot foods, large gifts,

and anything else that could fly around in a crash in the trunk. 8. In cold states, prepare for weather emergencies. Pack extra blankets, food, and diapers. Keep your phone charged and make sure someone at your destination knows the route you are planning to take. 9. Keep car exhaust pipes clear. Packed snow can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.


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38 | Holiday 2021

Support The Family Place This Holiday Season to Help Their Programs All Year COURTESY OF THE FAMILY PLACE

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?” The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” “Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

At the beginning of the busy holiday season, many families pause and look for ways they can help those in need of physical, emotional, or financial support. The Family Place Utah witnesses the generosity of the Cache Valley community who step up and seek for ways to love and care for their neighbors. We receive calls from businesses, youth groups, individuals, and large and small families who are looking for ways they can make a difference.

“During this past year and a half, we have seen firsthand the personal heartache and loss many children and families have experienced because of the pandemic. These very specific challenges have created very specific needs,” Sheryl Goodey, executive director of The Family Place Utah, said. “Because of that, we are shifting our holiday focus to provide critical services for children and families all year long in therapy, education, respite care in The Kid’s Place,

and our Starfish Children’s Shelter, the only children’s shelter in Northern Utah.” Instead of accepting individual and family gifts this year, we want to support the amazing local organizations that specialize in sponsoring families who need help with holiday gift giving. With your help, we can focus on the greatest needs in our community throughout the year and expand our ability to strengthen families

CLASSES FOR ALL SKILL LEVELS • OPEN REGISTRATION

435.753.7500 1655 NORTH 200 EAST • NORTH LOGAN


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who are suffering and protect children in need. This is how you can give a specific gift that will keep giving all year long: • Online Starfish Giving Machine found on our website thefamilyplaceutah.org on the "Give" tab under "Starfish Giving Machine." • #GivingTuesday participation on November 30, as part of a global "movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world." • Amazon Wishlist on our website thefamilyplaceutah.org on the "Give" tab under "Donate." • Smile.amazon.com — Designate The Family Place as your charity of choice and we will receive a percentage from Amazon for of all your Amazon purchases. • Starfish Holiday Giving Tree hosted at your place of business or organization. You provide the tree with the cards and instructions provided for you by us. Contact our outreach coordinator, Maria Lopez, at maria@thefamilyplaceutah.org to coordinate the details. • Volunteer with a variety of options found on our website thefamilyplaceutah.org on the "Give" tab under "Volunteer." We are proud to be recently recognized and awarded the Best Place to Volunteer by the Best of Northern Utah! This year, we have a generous donor match of $100,000 so all contributions will be matched dollar for dollar from November 1 through December 31. “This will double your impact and your ability to help our community!” Family Place chief relationship officer, Jennifer Anderson, said.

Thank you for making a difference to that one!

Kids Place The Place where children can learn & grow

Therapy The Place for Answers

Education The place where families & individuals learn

Hablamos Español

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place

Strengthening Families & Protecting Children

435.752.8880

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40 | Holiday 2021

FA M I LY T R AV E L

Tips for a Safe Winter Road Trip JAIME STONE

contributing writer Over the river and through the woods … many families include road trips in their holiday festivities, but snow and ice can make driving conditions treacherous. Driving carefully is a must, but there are also some specific safety tips that are worth considering over and over again to ensure you and your family will make it to their holiday destination safely this season. UNDERSTAND WEATHER ADVISORIES The National Weather Service issues advisories based on conditions. Understand what they mean before you hit the road: • Winter weather advisories are for conditions that may be hazardous but should not become life threatening when using caution. • Winter storm watches mean that severe winter conditions may affect your area and are issued 12-36 hours in advance of major storms. • Winter storm warnings mean a storm bringing four or more inches of snow/sleet is expected in the next 12 hours, or six or more inches in 24 hours. • Blizzard warnings mean snow and strong winds will produce blinding snow, deep drifts, and a life-threatening wind chill. OTHER HELPFUL TIPS: 1. Check your vehicle. Get a maintenance check to make sure that your windshield wipers and all lights and blinkers are working. Drive on a full tank of gas to avoid the fuel line freezing and check the traction on your tires. 2. Share your schedule. Give a trusted family member or friend your schedule and travel route. This is especially important if you'll be driving in areas with spotty cell phone reception. 3. Drive smart. Give yourself plenty of time. Driving slowly and maintaining plenty of room between you and the next car is the easiest way to avoid accidents. 4. Stock your car. Keep winter and safety essentials like a shovel, ice

scraper, jumper cables, blankets, flashlight, flares, sand, and nonperishable food, water, and other emergency supplies like a first-aid kit, jumper cables, and spare batteries/portable cell phone chargers. Ensure you have extra diapers and baby formula/food if you are traveling with babies. 5. Stay in your car. If you get stuck in the snow, stay put — it’s your best shelter. The Red Cross advises drivers to tie a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) to the antenna for rescuers to see. You should run the engine 10 minutes every hour to power the heat and the overhead lights, and keep a window away from the blowing wind slightly open. 6. Remove bulky clothing. Before strapping babies and children into their car seats, remove their coats. It seems logical to bundle your baby up, but leaving bulky coats on when harnessing your child reduces the effectiveness of their car seats. In the event of a crash, a coat can compress, leaving the harness loose and your child vulnerable to injury. Secure straps so that they are snug and close to the body. If you're worried about your child getting cold, tuck a blanket or their jacket around them after buckling them in their car seat.

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Why Your Child Needs Less JENTRIE HALES

community advocate, @techhealthyfamily

Take a moment and think about your favorite holiday memory as a child. No seriously, do it. Who did it include? What were you doing? For me it includes my whole family gathered around the piano with my mom on the keys, taking turns picking and singing our favorite Christmas songs. For as long as I can remember this simple (and usually off key) tradition has been my favorite thing about the holiday. Even after all these years, the Christmas Eves spent with my family trump any gift I have opened the next day. For me, and many others, it’s the memories that matter the most. But I get it; life is so busy. There is so much on our plates as parents that we sometimes feel like we are drowning. It might feel easier to just online shop our love. The craziness of the holidays only adds to the high standard of what parents should buy for their kids. However, in researching this topic, I have

good news: The success of our kids has a lot less to do with how much money you spend on them and more to do with the quality of time you spend with them. Our kids just need us. The research all points to simplifying. For example, a research study at the University of Cincinnati shows that giving your child too many toys actually has negative effects on their wellbeing. This is what the research says: 1. Children and toddlers in particular learn better focus, explore, engage in more imaginative play with fewer toys. These are all qualities that benefit children in the long term. 2. Children who expect many and expensive gifts suffer negative social and emotional ramifications beyond childhood. As adults these children are more prone to credit card debt, gambling, and compulsive shopping.

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3. Children with fewer toys, whose parents spend more time interacting with them, surpass kids with greater means in several areas of emotional and social development. The implication is that a parent’s direct engagement seems to beat any toy or screen. Even more good news: A recent study in the Journal of Marriage and Family reinforces the point that it’s not even the amount of time we spend with our kids but the quality of time. There are amazing benefits that are seen in the

classroom and at home when parents make the effort to make meaningful connections with their children. In summary, it’s the quality of engagement that matters in the long run. It’s the memories made, and the feelings felt. But like mentioned before, parents are juggling so much it may feel overwhelming to carve out any more time in your life, especially when you have several children. But, oh, it is so important. Here are five tips for making the most out of the time with our families this holiday season. 1. Put your phone down. A study published by

Science Direct suggests even having your phone out during a conversation reduces your level of happiness and connection. Give your kids your full attention when you can and maybe they will start to do the same. 2. Stop putting the emphasis on creating Christmas lists for Santa. Instead, work on bucket lists of memories to create together instead. 3. Make individual time with your kids a priority. Even if it is just 10 minutes a day and as simple as going for a drink run or playing a game. Just make it something that they are invested in. 4. Stress less about making the experiences picture perfect. Rather just focus on creating the experience. 5. Take it easy on yourself. You can’t do it all. Remember that your child doesn’t need a perfect parent but rather a present parent. The happiness derived from childhood experiences are more significant and impactful than the amount of toys under the tree. So, what are they going to remember and value as they get older? I would guess it’s not going to be the gaming console or hoverboard you splurge for this year. But instead it’s going to be the simple, quiet moments where you took the time to make them feel loved, special, and seen or when you helped them do the same for someone else.


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FA M I LY M AT T E R S

How Cache Valley Families Push Back the Christmas Creep TARA BONE

contributing writer

It's not your imagination. There’s actually a term for the phenomenon you witness each fall when Christmas ads appear and retail stores whip out the holly berry while there’s still Halloween décor up at your house on October 20. It’s called “Christmas creep”, and the official definition is “the inexorable tendency for the commercial aspects of Christmas to appear earlier every year.” In the rush to bring on the reindeer, what happened to the holiday wedged in between Halloween and Christmas? Now don’t get me wrong, Christmas is magical. But in a world of social media comparison and a rise in youth depression and anxiety, a growing number of parents and even researchers are asking themselves where the focus on gratitude

that typically accompanies Thanksgiving has gone? In the last decade, a slew of science-based research has shown that gratitude behaviors improve mental health and levels of happiness. Cache Valley Family Magazine reached out to Cache Valley parents to ask what they’re doing to instill an attitude of gratitude in their homes during November and found many who are working to push back the Christmas Creep. Melanie Arkoudas of Nibley is a mother of 11 children ages 1 to 23. Thanksgiving is Melanie’s favorite holiday, and she feels the opportunity to practice expressing gratitude is special and essential family time. Though she’s always loved the Thanksgiving

season, the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp changed Melanie’s perspective on gratitude. Their family implements the concept of sharing 1,000 things they’re grateful for. But these aren’t just the “easy” things. Melanie believes there are levels to gratitude and each of us is on a journey to find gratitude in the simple day-to-day things and even in the hard. “We set out to make a list of 1,000 things we’re grateful for,” Melanie said. “It’s finding the joy in the simple, like watching the bubbles while washing dishes, or finding gratitude in the hard with the attitude that this too shall pass and asking ‘what am I learning’.” The Arkoudas family gets a notebook for everyone to access and they start listing, sometimes starting in the summer, to see if they can get to 1,000 by Thanksgiving Day. But this isn’t all, at dinner they actively reflect on gratitude. Each person shares the best and worst part of their day. They discuss what their reactions were to the hard, and how they can improve with a focus on learning and growth. “It can become a daily habit if you work at it,” Melanie said. Something else the Arkoudas family does is set a big, white pumpkin in the middle of their dinner table with a black sharpie nearby, and throughout the season they start at the top and write around the pumpkin things and experiences they’re grateful for. They invite friends and family who visit to do the same and Melanie has found that when they have to fill it up, they’re required to look deeper. Looking deeper through challenges really hit home to Melanie when one of her sons was hit by a truck seven years ago. Through the continued on next page


46 | Holiday 2021

continued from previous page challenges, she found herself finding gratitude through trials, specifically when neighbors served their family. “When we serve others, it helps us see the hand of God in our lives,” she said. “In the practicing and trying we gain healing.”

Rachel Meldrum uses a Gratitude Turkey to help her children record things they are grateful for leading up to Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving season, push back the Christmas creep and start a journey of finding gratitude. Share your table with someone who is struggling or away from family, look for joy in the bubbles, and find the silver lining in the challenges. Make this a season of gratitude for your family. WAYS FAMILIES CAN FOCUS ON GRATITUDE: • Give Gratitude Gifts: Encourage children to make handmade gifts for each other “just because.” • Invite others who don’t have a place to go to Thanksgiving to join you at your table. • Start a Gratitude Jar where you collect thoughts of not only things, but memories and experiences you are grateful for. • Implement best-part-of-day/worst-part-of-day discussions. • Participate in a Gratitude Photo Challenge. • Create a Grateful Board. • Write in a Gratitude Journal. • Practice Gratitude Meditation. • Make Gratitude Rocks to place around as a gratitude reminder. • Create Gratitude turkeys or trees: Add feathers to a turkey or leaves to a tree with things you are grateful for written on them. • Write gratitude thoughts on a pumpkin. • Read “thankful” books.

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Make Bad Mornings Better 9 WAYS TO TURN A BAD MORNING AROUND REBECCA HASTINGS

contributing writer

I thought it was an ordinary Tuesday. A day full of hope and promise for fun and learning. A normal day — until I looked at the clock. One minute the clock is kind, telling us we have plenty of time to get our people ready and out the door for a new day. Suddenly, it changes, almost screaming at us, “Hurry, hurry, hurry. We’re all going to be late!” There is a missing shoe and cereal spilled on the floor. A stuck backpack zipper and a forgotten math test. I didn’t even hear myself until I was at least six words into a rant about us always being late and we can’t keep doing this and where in the world was that missing shoe? We did what we always do. We let the dog clean up the cereal, I insisted (rather forcefully) on my youngest switching to a different pair of

shoes, I started spouting out math facts as I worked on the zipper. We were getting it done, but none of us were happy, and this was not the way I wanted to send everyone off on their day. Have you had mornings like this? A bad morning does not mean a bad day. Here are nine ways to turn things around: EXHALE Seriously. It helps. Let out all that you’re holding on to and breathe. It sounds so simple, but research shows that breathing can change your state of mind, and perhaps that’s the best way to turn things around. PICK ONE THING Many of us wear our multitasking crowns

with pride, after all, we are parents and there is so much to get done. Multitasking is often counter-intuitive, making us less productive because we are unable to organize information well. Plus it increases the stress hormone in the body. When things are going bad the one thing we don’t need is stress. So, pick one thing you can do. Address the broken zipper, and then move on to the next. Picking one thing at a time and working through your micro-emergency list in a serial fashion will help you get more done with less stress for everyone involved. VERBALIZE Being honest goes a long way, especially with kids. They know you’re upset just by a look or the sound of your voice. It is OK to tell them the morning isn’t going well. It’s good for them to see that we can identify things that aren’t ideal.

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Saying something like, “Boy this morning is not going the way I hoped it would. Could we turn it around together?” shows your child that you recognize how things are and that you need their help to make it better. Let them be an active participant in turning things around. You’re giving them useful skills for later in life. And, while you are at it, get them in the habit of prioritizing and serializing the task list instead of frantically trying to do five things at a time. Think aloud: “Alright, let’s see how we can go about this. First the broken zipper, then the shoe, and on the way to school we can look at math facts.”

mistakes. Plus, it will help you let go of any mistakes and move on. Kids are usually a pretty forgiving bunch. STOP Take 30 seconds and have everyone freeze. Stop looking for the shoe. Stop cleaning up the cereal. Stop huffing around the house. We have 86,400 seconds in a day. Surely we can spare 30.

APOLOGIZE This one feels hard for a lot of us because it means we are human and we are admitting it to our children. I’ll let you in on a secret: They already know.

If you feel up for it, do a few deep belly breaths together or get everyone to do 30-second wiggle to shake the harried feeling out. Once they get past the shock of actually stopping the frantic rush to beat the clock and start doing something fun instead, they will likely start giggling. Laughter releases stress and you will all be in a better shape to take your morning back. Anything that will let you create a pause in the frantic downhill slide of the morning and turn it around into a playful happy one again is game.

Saying you’re sorry for the way you spoke to them or the way you tossed all the shoes out of the shoe bin shows that it’s OK to make

BE GRATEFUL It may sound cliché, and it may be the last thing you’d think of doing, but that’s part of why it

works. Think of something you are grateful for, right in the moment. Better yet, say it out loud. You can shift those feelings of stress and a lack of control just by being grateful. The easiest one that works every time? “I’m grateful for you.” Not only will it change your mood, but it will change your child’s mood. The day will be looking better already. BE LATE Before I say anything else you should know, I hate to be late. I’m the person that considers on time 15 minutes early. But the truth is, it is OK to be a few minutes late now and again. What’s the worst that can happen? Your kids will be late to school and perhaps get a tardy slip. Let them. They will learn to make better choices and will be motivated to get out of the house early next time without you having to nag them. You will be a few minutes late to work. So be it. You will choose to wake up a little earlier tomorrow, or you will learn to be better organized, or you may just learn that it really isn’t that big a deal to be late once in a while and learn to lighten up. Any way, everyone is learning something important. So, take a deep breath, and say out loud for the benefit of everyone involved: “Alright, we’re going to be late today. We’ll deal with the consequences, learn from it, and try not to let it happen again in the future, alright?” HUG Whatever happened and whatever is to come, hug your kids. Taking a moment to hug your child helps bring stress levels down and lays the foundation for what really matters to you. You love your child. Choosing that moment, even in all the busy chaos, reminds you both how important you are to one another.

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Costs of Buying a Home EMILY MERKLEY

chief executive officer, Cache Valley Association of Realtors

The year 2020 was a big year for a lot of reasons, and real estate markets definitely found their place on that list. With consistent growth that doesn’t show signs of slowing, the flourishing market has proved a wise investment for homeowners. Homeowners and sellers are not the only ones reaping the rewards, as potential buyers have had a wealth of opportunity when it comes to homeownership. For new homeowners, this great opportunity comes with big responsibility, and it’s crucial to have an idea of these responsibilities before the journey begins. In an effort to get their desired home, many buyers, and particularly first-time buyers, are having to stretch their budgets. For those looking to buy their first home, it’s important to research the associated costs that are not always obvious. Knowing — and planning — ahead for these less-known financial obligations will ensure your path to homeownership remains a pleasant and positive experience. Purchasing a home is a large financial commitment and being prepared for every aspect of the journey can make all the difference. To help keep the eyes of potential buyers on their budgets and avoid overspending themselves, REALTORS® suggest

creating a budget that considers all the potential costs of homeownership before (or during the search) for a home. To budget for a new or existing home, consider using the following as a list to account for some of the costs associated with homeownership: • Mortgage • Down Payment • Appraisal • Title Insurance • Credit Reports • Loan Origination Fees • Home Inspection • Title Fees • Home Insurance • Maintenance • Association Fees • Utilities • Remodel/Repair It might seem like a long list, but thousands of people do it every single day. With the help of a knowledgeable REALTOR®, potential home buyers can be well-equipped and confident as they begin the journey that leads to the dream of home ownership.


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FA C T C H E C K

All the Feels This Holiday Season (NOT JUST THE MERRY ONES) KATE NEELEY

contributing writer

Happy holidays! Or are they? When you hear the oft repeated phrase, or read it on gift bags and marquees in December, you might find yourself feeling a little “bah-humbuggy.” Is it because you’re a grinch or is “the most wonderful time of the year” sometimes also one of the most challenging? Perhaps the assumed expectation to be jolly all the time during the holiday season only adds to your misery. Ongoing worries and constantly changing policies and recommendations surrounding COVID could quite possibly make this holiday season a real doozy when it comes to seasonal overwhelm. Stay tuned for a look

at some tried-and-true ‘feel-good’ tips for the holiday season that go beyond Hallmark movies and snow globes.

cold Cache Valley winter that doesn’t mix well with your sun-loving soul, first up, take a deep breath. You’re not alone.

If you find yourself stress eating Reese’s peanut butter bells and cursing the slush puddles you step in while clearing 12 inches of snow off your car, or frantically running from one recital to another party to another sports game with your kids, losing sleep over making sure all the gifts are bought and wrapped, suffering from crushing financial stress, grieving over a loved one who isn’t here this holiday season, or facing another long,

Next up, be kind and honest with yourself about it. “Give yourself permission to be authentic with how you feel so you can more accurately assess what you will need to be successful during the holidays,” therapist Julie Swensen, said. If you find yourself feeling really tense and overwhelmed, there are some things you can do to help. Julie offers these simple check-ins

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that can take as little as 30 seconds or less and still give major benefit when stress is setting in. “When we get busy or stressed, our breath often suffers and we are not breathing deeply … emotions are felt in our bodies,” Julie said. “A deep, cleansing belly breath can give you a chance to notice what you are feeling in your body. Once you breathe in deeply, notice what you sense in your chest, stomach, lungs, etc. Once you notice where you’re holding tension, imagine sending love to it and soothing those places. Just remember to take a few seconds longer on the inhale than the exhale.” Perhaps you’re in love with Christmastime, but you notice someone you love really struggling. What can you do to help them? Think you should rush in and barrage them with blinking lights and holiday cheer? Whoa, Rudolph. Hold on. Julie relates, “You don’t want to be afraid of your own

emotions or the emotions of others. Give yourself and others space to feel how they feel. Your job is to ‘hold space’ for their feelings without an agenda of how you think they should feel.” When you give yourself and others the space to feel what they feel, you will be more attuned to what will actually help. Ask questions. If they’re open for company, perhaps a visit might help. Or, maybe asking if there is an errand or simple task you might be able to do that would lighten their load. One of the coolest things about that is that service is a proven pick-me-up when you’re feeling down. How’s that for some true holiday cheer? Holiday foods are probably one of the first things you think of when you picture Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that’s a good thing! Going into the holiday season with a healthy mindset will likely lead you to more enjoyment and a more healthy lifestyle whatever the season. Rather than restricting yourself from your favorite foods, Megan Ostler, registered dietitian for iFit, recommends the mindset of “addition instead of restriction.” “For most, restriction leads to pre-occupation and binging. So instead, focus on adding,” Megan said. Instead of fearing and trying to avoid holiday foods, Megan recommends finding ways to add things that create balance. She gives an example of how to do this: “Instead of ‘I can’t have pie, it isn’t healthy or I won’t be able to stop myself,’ consider asking yourself, ‘What could I add to this pie to make it more balanced?’ (Maybe a healthy helping of green beans and some turkey.)”

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When you give yourself permission to eat all the foods, it might surprise you that you don’t worry as much and are able to enjoy eating, stopping when you’re full, and being less likely to overeat and feel sick. Also, be real for a second; going to a party and telling yourself ‘I can’t eat treats’ is a major killjoy, don’t you think? So, do eat the peanut butter bells, but try not to stress-eat them — if you’re not feeling great, doing that will likely only make things worse. “Be mindful and present when you eat … when you slow down and enjoy food, you tend to be satisfied quicker,” Megan said. This holiday season you are bound to experience a full spectrum of emotion. Keep in mind that you are not your emotions; they are something you get to experience.

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“Set a goal to stay as curious as possible with whatever you are feeling or thinking,” Julie said. “Take care of emotions that are struggling. You can have lots of emotions and thoughts about any given situation. They can even be competing thoughts and emotions. You are less likely to act out your emotions when you recognize they are not you at your core, but a part of you that needs your attention.” Hopefully you are really looking forward to some beautiful music, connecting with loved ones, good food, and gift giving this holiday season. If grief, stress, and overwhelm are a part of that, chances are you’re normal. Give yourself the gift of grace this year, take it all in, including pie AND plenty of veggies and fruits, with a heavy dose of gratitude and curiosity, and you’re bound to come out successful on the other side.


Mid-Year Elementary School Blues HOW TO KEEP KIDS MOTIVATED THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR SARAH LYONS

contributing writer

Packing lunches, doing nightly homework, studying for spelling tests, and scrambling about during the morning rush: The thrill of a new school year has worn off and kids start to drag their feet a little more on school mornings as they gear up for the second half of the year. How do you keep kids motivated to finish out the last months of the school year strong? SET GOALS It’s important to let your child know you have high expectations for them throughout the year, not just the first semester. Work with your child to set goals for success and reward them for meeting their goals. Some kids may need an academic goal, while others need goals such as no tardies for the quarter or turning all assignments in on time. Communicate with your child’s teacher to come up with some beneficial goals for your child. Rewards could include a special outing as a family, going out for ice cream, picking out a special toy, or extra screen time. STAY POSITIVE As parents who are tired of packing lunches and reminding children to put their shoes on for the fifth time in one morning, it can be hard to stay positive. However, a positive attitude can go a long way for both parents and kids. Focus on the excitement of learning, seeing friends, and upcoming events to encourage your child that school is still as fun as it was back in August. Your positive attitude will become contagious and your child will start to get excited about school again too. SHOW AN INTEREST One thing that can have a huge impact on your child’s excitement about school is their parents’ interest. When your child returns home from school, ask them about their day, their friends, and the highs and lows of the day. Listen attentively and ask questions. When it is homework time, be available to help and answer questions. When parents are excited and interested in the goings on at school, kids will be too. GET INVOLVED Kids who are involved in school activities tend to be more excited about

school. Encourage your child to join clubs and after-school activities where they will be around school friends. Parents can also get involved at the school to break up the mid-year blues. When kids see their parents working at the school, it shows them that you value their time there. Check with your school to see what volunteer opportunities are available. CONTINUE HEALTHY HABITS Encourage your child to get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and focus on good study habits. An after-school routine to complete homework and chores will help your child fall back into the school schedule after winter break. Set aside time for free time as well. Host a playdate, have a movie night, go to the park if weather allows, and schedule time for fun and relaxation so kids don’t get too bored with their routine. If the mid-year blues are still getting to your child, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher to discuss a plan to get your child back on track. Soon enough the days will begin to get longer, the temperatures warmer, and school will be out for summer once again.

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