Cache Valley Family Magazine Winter 2016

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Inside Special Section: Healthy Smiles, Dental Care p. 8-14

Local Mother Shares Her Heart for Service p. 18

Healthy Eating Resolutions for a Healthier You p. 16 Set the Table for Good Conversation p. 30 Preventing Backover Accidents p. 34

Distracted Chef?

We’re here when you need us – 24/7. When a medical emergency interrupts your life, our board-certified ER physicians will see you right away. 2380 N. 400 E. North Logan, Utah


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Editor’s Note: Every time I sit down with my team to plan an issue of Cache Valley Family Magazine, I am overwhelmed at the options of good stories we have to tell, from the professionals who have great insights to share, to the stories of individuals and organizations going about doing good to make our community a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. The cover story we chose for this issue is an example of one of those people, a woman who has made it one of her life’s purposes

to spend each day making this world a better place. I am usually not a proponent of the idea of “keeping up” with what others are doing, but in this case, I hope you do! As you read her story, be inspired to find your own way to make a difference for good in our community and world. As we begin the new year, this is one of my famliy’s resolutions. As always, I want to offer my thanks to the sponsors and advertisers of Cache Valley Family Magazine who allow us to continue to provide this resource

to local families at no charge. As you flip though the pages of this book, please take note of them and patronize their businesses. They each share our commitment to support and enrich local families. Here’s to wishing you all the best for a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year!

Emil y


What’s INSIDE Featured Stories:

Local Mother Shares Heart for Service— p. 18


Healthy Easting Resolutions for a Healthier You — p. 16


Good Neighbors: Real Estate Agents are the Real Experts — p. 21

PHOTOGRAPHY Katie Eavenson Mandy Bagley CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brian Anderson Mark Anderson Jennifer Bair, SSW Tara Bone Emily Buckley Sherelle Christensen Daren Gehring, DDS Dave Gordon, DDS Mike Liechty Kinsey Love Jenny Mathews Emily Merkley Breanne Miller Tim Mosher, DMD Schae Richards Paul W. Saunders, CPA Frank Schofield BreAnn Silcox Christie Stock Brady M. Thomson, DDS Cody Wilson, DO GRAPHIC DESIGN Rachel Cottrell Emily Buckley WEBSITE DESIGN Kite Media 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 2015, Cache Valley Family Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission of the publisher is prohibited. The views expressed in the magazine are the views of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Please send all editorial correspondence to or by mail to PO Box 6831, North Logan, UT 84341. All correspondence is sent on a non-confidential basis and Cache Valley Family Magazine shall be free to reproduce, publish, edit and/or use any such communications. All materials become property of Cache Valley Family Magazine.

PHONE (435) 764-0962 MAILING ADDRESS PO Box 6831 North Logan, UT 84341 EMAIL WEBSITE FACEBOOK cachevalleyfamilymagazine YOUTUBE INSTAGRAM cachevalleyfamilymag TO ADVERTISE call (435) 764-0962 or email

Five Tax Tips for Parents and Families — p. 24 Small Steps to Big Savings — p. 25 Stay Productive During the Dormant Season— p. 26 Four Communication Hacks for Millenial Families — p. 29

Set the Table for Good Conversation — p. 30 Stregthening Stepfamily Relationships — p. 33

In Every Issue:

Around the Table: From the Farmer’s Wife: Sheperd’s Pie — p. 32 Making a Difference: Live Well Utah — p. 28 Education: Cache County Schools Partner with BATC in Robotics Training — p. 22 Building the Future Through Past Successes — p. 23 Healthy Families: Five Cold Remedies for Kids — p. 20 Healthy Smiles Dental Care: Pacifier and Thumb Sucking: Breaking the Habit — p. 8 How to Get Your Best Smile — p. 10 The Fight Against Gum Disease — p. 12 How to Make Flossing a Habit — p. 14 Trendy Mom: Make Valentine’s a Family Day — p. 17 Family Firsts: Take Our Families Back — p. 6 Safe Families: Safe Sleep for Your Baby — p. 7 Driveway Safety: Preventing Backover Accidents — p. 34

Cache Valley Family Magazine is Sponsored by:


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Take Back Our Families

Tara Bone, contributing writer

As parents, we love our children. We spend our days driving them to school, practices, lessons and a myriad of important extracurricular activities. Then there is the non-extracurricular activities of homework, chores and eating (ah, dreams of mealtime togetherness). In all of our driving and doing, can they feel our love, or do they feel the anxiety of getting to the next scheduled event? Am I the only mom out there throwing afterschool-snacks at my kids in the minivan as I speed down the road in pursuit…of what? These questions have been on my mind as I examine 2015 and look toward 2016. Last year was turbulent in the world and difficult for many families touched by heartache. It is in this context that I wonder if at the end of the day my kids know I love them. What quality time are we spending together in this unpredictable and fast-paced world? Life is fragile and fleeting. Being active is good, but there has to be balance. In 2016, as a “family first,” our family is going to take back family time and dare I say it — cut and combine some activities. Yep, we are going to say “no” to busyness and “yes” to family time. Before you stop reading because you think I’m crazy and need to step down from my soapbox, know that I have thought about this a lot. During my average 1.5 hours of daily-drive time, I keep a minivan stocked with water bottles, peanut butter, loaves of bread

and many clean athletic socks — I’m desperate! So we’re going to prioritize and cut, and then see what activities we can do together. For example, my six year old wanted to participate in a play with me, so we auditioned for A Christmas Carol and spent a lot of time together rehearsing. It was a wonderful experience There was something special about setting a goal together and working to achieve it. Going out on that stage, side-by-side, with nervous butterflies created great memories and o Utah Performance Tour (Cantate, April 22-23) a stronger bond between us.

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I’m not advocating adding more things to your busy schedule, just taking activities you are already doing separately and doing them together. This year, read more books, prepare more meals and learn new skills together. Run, hike, swim or bike as a family. Choose a race and train for it. If you love music, play together. Craft, sew or paint. Who says adults have to stop learning? There are many online resources you can access at home. In 2016, let’s take back our kids, park the minivan and make memories together.

Cache Children’s Choir Classes/Choirs Spring 2016 Do you like to sing and play instruments? Make new friends? Like to perform?

CCC – Choirs & Early Childhood Classes

• Choirs (ages) (rehearsal times) o Cantate: ages 11-16; M & W – 4:30-5:30 pm o Chorale: ages 10-12; T – 4:30-5:30 pm o Cadet: ages 8-10; T – 4:30-5:30 pm

• Early Childhood Classes (ages) (rehearsal times) o Caprice: ages 5-7; M – 4:30-5:15 or 5:15-6:00 pm o Cadenza: ages 3-5; F – 10:00-10:45 am • Performance Highlights o Celebrate Singing Concert – February 20 o Cantate Utah Performance Tour – April 22-23 o Cache Valley Choirfest – Z. Randall Stroope, guest composer and conductor – April 30 o CCC Spring Concert – May 12 o CCC Summer Camp – June 13-17

For more info:

Gaylene Merrill 435.752.6260

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Safe Sleep for Your Baby BreeAnn Silcox, coalition coordinator, Safe Kids Bear River

For parents of a newborn, nothing is better than your little one soundly sleeping. However, unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death among children under age one. By following a few simple tips, you can create a safe sleeping environment for your baby. • Sharing a room with your baby is a safer option than having him or her sleep in a bed with you. Place their crib, playard mattress or bassinet in your room for convenient feeding and close contact. Helen Henson-Hale from Logan Regional Hospital and a member of Safe Kids Bear River said, “Co-sleeping with your baby increases their risk of being suffocated. It’s important to always return your baby to his or her own crib when you’re ready to go back to sleep. This provides a much safer sleeping environment.” • Most infant suffocation occurs in their sleeping environment. To avoid this, place your baby in a safe crib, bassinet or pack-n-play. • Lay your baby on his or her back every time they sleep.


• We know stuffed animals, bumpers and all those cute accessories make a baby’s crib seem warm and cozy. Unfortunately, they can often do more harm than good. Soft bedding can block a baby’s airway during sleep. A firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need to help your baby sleep well. For more information, visit or call the Bear River Health Department at (435) 792-6510.


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How to Break the Habit

Daren F. Gehring, DDS, Cache Valley Pediatric Dentistry My wife and I have been blessed with five amazing kids. As babies, each of our kids needed something to sooth them. Three of them were thumb suckers, one liked a pacifier and one just needed her mom and a blanket. As new parents, we were always surprised at how strong the natural reflex of sucking truly was. We were able to see our daughter sucking her thumb on the ultrasound even before she was born! While it is nice that babies can have a way to soothe themselves, down the road that strong sucking reflex can become a problem when it comes the growth and development of the mouth and the alignment of their teeth. As a pediatric dentist, I’m asked multiple times a day about the possible harmful effects of sucking on thumbs, fingers and pacifiers. My response is that if your child strongly or vigorously sucks on his or her thumb, finger or a pacifier beyond their first year of life, this behavior may affect the shape of their mouth or how their teeth line up. The most common problems I see are open bites and narrow, underdeveloped palates, or roof of the mouth. When a child has an open bite, the teeth are not able to erupt into the mouth properly, and the result is a wide-open space in between the front top and bottom teeth when the child bites down. An open bite can cause three main problems: • The child may not be able to make sounds correctly as they begin to speak. Sounds such as “S,” “D” and “Th” are difficult to master, and the child may need professional help with their speech. • Parents are concerned about the aesthetic appearance of their child’s smile.

• If severe enough, the child cannot bite properly with their front teeth which can affect their ability to eat. A narrow or underdeveloped palate can cause teeth to not line up properly and make it difficult for permanent teeth to fit into the dental arch. Many kids with this condition require an expansion of the roof of their mouth during adolescence. Fortunately, many children stop sucking

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on their thumb, fingers or a pacifier on their own. Of course, a pacifier habit is easier to break than sucking on their fingers or thumb. A pacifier can be taken away. This is why the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a pacifier over a thumb to comfort new babies. It is recommended that pacifier use be discontinued between six months to one year of age. Our pacifier-sucking child REALLY loved his pacifier, especially at night. When he was a little over a year old, he had an unfortunate fall down a flight of stairs on his big wheel. He bumped his face and mouth hard enough that there was swelling for a few days. As a result of the swelling, he was physically unable to suck on his pacifier. We were forced to remove the pacifier “cold turkey.” We all suffered through three or four

long nights along with some meltdown moments. But, after the swelling was gone, he seemed to forget about the pacifier altogether. Problem solved! I must insert a disclaimer here: I DO NOT recommend this approach when weaning your child from the pacifier; a fall down the stairs is not necessary. I just use this as an example of a successful “cold turkey” approach. Planning ahead to find a convenient time when stresses are low and a parent can be close by for the first few days after the pacifier is removed is usually the best approach. Replacing the pacifier with a new cuddle toy or blanket can also be helpful. Another, albeit slower, approach is to limit the pacifier to only nap or nighttime for a while and slowly remove


it from them altogether. Thumb and finger sucking can be a bit trickier. A few important things to consider when helping your child break the thumb or finger sucking habit are: 1. Instead of scolding the child for sucking his or her thumb, PRAISE them for NOT doing so. Children respond much better to positive reinforcement. 2. Reward the child when he or she avoids thumb sucking during difficult or stressful experiences. 3. Many children with thumb-sucking habits have a blanket or another trigger that encourages the habit. Sometimes removing the trigger will also help break the habit. Most kids will stop on their own between the ages of two and four years old. If the child has not stopped thumb or finger sucking by this age, I recommend they be evaluated by their family dentist or a pediatric dentist to see if there is a need for therapy with a mouth appliance that can assist them in overcoming the habit. We ended up needing to use one to help one of our children break the habit. He understood the reasons for it, and he wanted help breaking this powerful habit. It worked great for him and in a very short amount of time. A few preventive measures early on are definitely worth it in the end. Good luck!


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How to Get Your Best Smile Brady M. Thomson, DDS, board certified orthodontist, Thomson Family Orthodontics

Everyone wants a great smile. Every time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. According to psychological science, “The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.” Try it! Stare at this phrase for seven seconds and smile as big as you can. Really, a huge I’mgonna-bust-these-cheeks smile. For your “best smile” see an orthodontist. They are specialized smile makers. A healthy, beautiful smile to last a lifetime starts with teeth that are properly aligned and a bite relation that

fits and works together.

What is an orthodontist? There is a difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialist experienced in properly aligning the teeth, jaws and facial profile. All orthodontists are dentists first. Then they dedicate an additional two to three years of fulltime education in residency, gaining expertise in straightening teeth and choosing the best treatment options at the right time. After college, dental school and orthodontic residency, an extra step may be taken for an orthodontist

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to become a “board certified orthodontist.” Hundreds of additional hours are required for an orthodontist to demonstrate the highest quality of orthodontic care to become board certified. Your orthodontist can not only give you straight teeth that look great, they also correct the bite, making it easier to bite, chew and speak. A great smile helps you be more confident and can literally change how people see you. Trust your child’s smile, and yours, to a specialist.

When should my child, or I, see an orthodontist? Trained in growth and development, your orthodontist will determine the ideal time to provide the best treatment for young-growing children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a checkup with an orthodontic specialist at age seven. A checkup with an orthodontist? Yes, a “smile-check” while there are still baby teeth. This allows the appropriate treatment to be recommended at the right time. There are some problems

that can be easier to prevent or correct if found early. If early treatment is needed, your orthodontist may be able to obtain results that may not be possible once the face and jaw have finished growing. You are never too old. Orthodontists dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for children, teens and even adults. Healthy teeth can be straightened at any age. The training and specialization of the hand that holds the paintbrush determines the quality of painting. Your orthodontist is especially trained to utilize the most current techniques in helping you achieve the best results, regardless of age. Any time to smile is a great time. And best of all: No referral is required to visit an orthodontist.

What should I expect at my first visit? Your orthodontist can play a huge role in a person’s appearance, confidence and health. On your first visit, information is gathered about


your teeth, bite, jaws and face through photos, radiographs (x-rays) and an exam. Often times, photos are taken of your face, teeth and bite. X-rays may be taken of the teeth as well as the head. Along with an oral exam, your orthodontist reviews this information to determine the best plan of action to provide not only the best esthetics, but also functional improvement, speech and ultimately to protect your dental health for a lifetime. When it comes to orthodontic treatment options, there are many including traditional metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign trays, removable appliances or even partial treatments. Your orthodontist can review these options and customize treatment that is ideal for your best smile. Straight teeth, a correct bite and teeth that are positioned properly are healthier, reduce the risk of future dental issues and give you a big reason to smile. Remember smiles are contagious. Smile all day!

Seven reasons for your child to see an orthodontist:

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1. Early or late loss of baby teeth 2. Sucks thumb or finger 3. Difficulty chewing or biting 4. Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth 5. Front teeth that stick out 6. Bites cheek or the roof of mouth 7. Has jaws that appear too far forward or too far back


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Tim Mosher, DMD, Willow Valley Periodontics

Studies suggest that up to 80 percent of American adults suffer from gum disease. In its earliest phases, gum disease causes puffy red gums that bleed easily when you brush and floss. At its worst, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In fact, this form of gum disease — also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis — is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults over 35 years old. In other words, if you want to keep your teeth, you must take care of your gums.

What is gum disease? Gum disease — or periodontal disease — is an inflammatory disease of the gums and bone around the teeth caused by bacteria. Simply put, the bacteria on the teeth cause your body to respond in defense. The normal response to an insult like this is inflammation. However, if there is an exaggerated response, or chronic, long-lasting inflammation, this process becomes destructive.

Gingivitis In the early stage of gingivitis, this inflammation causes the gums to become red and swollen and bleed easily, often during tooth brushing. So far, the gums may be irritated, but the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage. Periodontitis When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. At this point, the inner layer of the gum and bone detach from the teeth and start to form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums will collect debris and can become infected. The bacteria that initially sat above the gum line are now able to invade deep below the gum line — out of reach from your toothbrush and floss. Bacterial toxins and the body’s enzymes fighting the infection actually start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth

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in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. At this point, because there is no longer an anchor for the teeth, they become progressively looser, and the ultimate outcome is tooth loss.

Signs and symptoms Periodontal disease typically progresses painlessly. Unfortunately, this means the disease can progress to very advanced stages without us even knowing. Signs we can look for: • Bleeding, red, swollen or tender gums • Persistent bad breath or bad taste • Receding gum line • Loose or shifting teeth • A change in how your teeth fit together

Risk factors The main cause of gum disease is dental plaque; however, other factors affect the health of your gums and your chance of getting gum disease. • Age • Smoking/tobacco use • Genetics


• Stress • Medications • Clenching or grinding • Diabetes or heart disease • Poor nutrition

Treatment Despite the destructive effects of gum disease, treatment is available to manage its activity and maintain healthy gums and teeth for a lifetime. First and foremost, we must improve our hygiene by brushing morning and night and flossing daily. In addition, your dentist or periodontist may recommend additional treatment. A periodontist is a dental specialist that received an additional three years of training for the treatment of gum disease, gum grafting and dental implants. This makes them uniquely qualified to treat even the most advanced cases of periodontal disease. Treatment ranges from a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing, to a minor gum surgery and bone grafting called osseous surgery. Modern techniques allow us to regrow some of the bone that has been lost with minimal post operative discomfort. If you have noticed any of the above signs and symptoms of gum disease, contact your local dentist or periodontist for a comprehensive periodontal evaluation.


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How to Make Flossing a Habit

Dave Gordon, DDS, Logan Peak Dental

I’m sure there aren’t too many things people universally lie about other than whether they floss their teeth on a regular basis. Most people dutifully brush their teeth morning and night but leave the floss to be pushed farther and farther back in the bathroom drawer. The sad truth is that if you aren’t flossing you could leave up to a third of the surfaces of your teeth untouched and exposed to the damage caused by plaque and bacteria. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that the overwhelming majority of the cavities I see in my practice are on the “flossing surfaces” of the teeth, or in other words, the surfaces of the teeth that touch each other. Not to mention the damage plaque and bacteria inflict on the gums in between the teeth, which leads to gingivitis and periodontal disease. I get it though. Developing a flossing habit is difficult, and many unsuccessful attempts have left you wondering if this is something you will ever be able to do on a regular basis. Well have no fear, my friends. I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks, that if you try them out for one month, you will be well on underway to being a consistent flosser. But first, I want you to try something. Get a piece of floss and a mirror. A magnifying mirror is best, but even just the mirror in the bathroom is OK as long as you can get really close. Now floss and watch what is coming out from between your teeth. Gross right? That stuff has been there since the last time you flossed. Eww. How’s your breath? Could it be fresher? Try giving that floss a sniff. Need I say more? And all that blood gushing from between your teeth is because your

gums hate plaque and when they are forced to share the same space, they get angry, red and swollen, causing them to bleed at the slightest touch. Ready to make flossing a habit? 1. Floss in the shower: Yes, it’s a little unconventional, but hear me out. Put a spool of floss or a bag of flossers on the shelf in the shower. That way, it’s in plain sight where it can remind you to do it. It’s in a place that you are often, if not daily, and it’s not a bad place to spend an extra couple of minutes flossing. This one tip alone is the gateway for many people to develop the habit. Try it. 2. Make floss accessible to you: Put a bag of flossers in the center car console, next to where you sit to watch TV, in your desk at work or anywhere else you could easily floss, should the thought hit you. Once you train your brain to think about flossing, you may think to do it at somewhat unconventional times. Obviously, the only way you floss is if you have it available to you when the thought hits. Make it happen. 3. Talk to your dentist: Your dentist may have other tried and-true ways to encourage consistent flossing. Your dentist can also prescribe a mouth rinse called Peridex that helps your gums get healthier as you begin flossing regularly. This means less bleeding and sore gums. When you follow these three simple tips, you will no longer have to lie when the dentist asks you the dreaded flossing question, and he or she won’t have to pretend to believe you.

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Exam, cleaning & X-Rays

Lifetime Teeth Whitening


“The best dentists office I have ever been to. Never imagined a dental experience like this would exist in Logan!” — Caroline M.

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981 S. Main Street, Logan, UT • (435) 213-1278 • Hablamos Español



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Healthy Eating Resolutions for a Healthier You

Brian Anderson, owner, Complete Nutrition

Why not attack the age-old “lose weight” and “eat

options to add to your weeknight repertoire.

healthier” resolutions from a different perspective and cut them into more manageable pieces? It could actually work! Here are four do-able New Year’s resolutions for a healthier you in 2016.

Resolution 4: Rein in your sugar addiction Solution: Make low-sugar treats to satisfy your sweet tooth

Resolution 1: Eat more Omega-3s Solution: Seek out seafood Getting more foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids might just help you keep your blood pressure down. Researchers have found that among 4,680 healthy adults, those who consumed the highest amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet, had the lowest rates of hypertension. Research also suggests that they can help improve your mood, which we all need a little help with during the short, dark days of winter. Aim to get two servings of fish a week, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and some types of tuna. Not a fish lover? Substitute it for walnuts and flax, which are good non-fish sources of Omega-3s. Also consider using Omega-3 supplements as a good alternative if fish isn’t your favorite food.

Americans eat too much sugar. We consume 355 calories — or 22 teaspoons — of added sugars a day. The American Heart Association advises we eat much, much less than that. Luckily, you can still make treats that satisfy your sweet tooth and cut back on your sugar intake at the same time. If you have questions on these resolutions or on how to live a healthier lifestyle, come see us at Complete Nutrition. We have all the tools to make this New Year great for you.

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Resolution 2: Pile on the veggies Solution: Get out your roasting pan The majority of Americans don’t eat the daily recommended three or more servings of vegetables, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have the mindset of “vegetables don’t taste good” but know you should eat more since they are teeming with healthy nutrients and fiber, get out your roasting pan. Roasting vegetables caramelizes their natural sugars so they taste fantastic. It’s an easy way to cook veggies for dinner: pop a pan of them in the oven and make the rest of dinner while they roast.

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Resolution 3: Increase your fiber intake Solution: Experiment with whole grains Getting enough fiber may help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of cancers. And eating more fiber may help you slim down. However, the average American eats about 14 grams of day, whereas the recommended daily intake is 21-38 grams. One of the easiest ways to increase your fiber intake is to eat more whole grains. Quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, bulgur and polenta are all quick-cooking

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Make Valentine’s Day a Family Day Valentine’s Day is a holiday dedicated to showing our love to others by showering them with flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals and fancy date nights. While I’m not one to turn down chocolate, we could do better on showing our love through actions rather than gifts. With this in mind, I have gathered some low-cost and fun family activities to help us show our love to those who matter most to us. 1. Make mailboxes for each family member. You can make the mailboxes as a fun family activity by decorating them together. Have a stack of paper and pencils nearby, so you can share a kind thought or a special “thank you” and put it in their mailbox. Who doesn’t love getting a box full of love? Plus, it will help your family notice those acts of kindness, and then they will do special things for each other. 2. Bake cookies with your family. I know this may not seem that special, but my kids particularly love spending time with me in the kitchen. Let’s be honest: This takes patience and usually makes a little more mess, but it is worth it! Once the cookies are finished (and a few have

been eaten), share the rest with others. Deliver them to a nursing home or to a family in need. Use this time to teach your children that service is a great way to show love for others.

3. Spend one-on-one time with each family member. This can be done at any time during the year. Read a book, play a board game or take them out for some ice cream or hot chocolate. It doesn’t have to cost money — just give them some individual attention. Also remember to sneak in lots of hugs and “I love you’s.” This will mean more to your kids than a stuffed animal, and will be a memory you both can treasure. Valentine’s Day is a fun time of year for families, and I hope this gives you some fun ideas to do together. But, let us remember: We don’t need St. Valentine to share our love for each other. Let’s use this time to create habits of showing love all year round.




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Local Mother Shares Her Heart for Service

There are so many ways to serve. It doesn’t have to be grand. Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief

For Shelly Gonzales, of North Logan, doing good is part of who she is; it is just what she does. For those who are “friends” with her on Facebook, she is a refreshing bright spot amongst the oft-seen complaining, comparing and ranting that gives the social medium a bad reputation. You see, Shelly’s feed is regularly full of inspiring acts of kindness that keep her and her family busy. Shelly’s mother, who was a registered nurse, raised her to look for ways to serve and do all she could to help make others’ burdens light. That, in combination with her professional background working with children with disabilities and seeing her own son suffer from a disease that caused him to experience hunger, has given her a heart for service. “It is sometimes easier to make sense of our own trials when we see others suffering and reach out to lift them,” Shelly said. Shelly and her husband Shane, have four children: twin sons, Hunter and Logan, age 13, Gabby, age 11 and Avery, age 8. As parents, Shelly and Shane have made it a priority to teach their children about the suffering in the world and how abundantly blessed they are as a family. “There is a lot of pressure among parents to one-up each other and compare activities and children,” Shelly said regarding how she finds time to do all of her service while raising four kids. “We are trying to actively teach our children how fortunate they are, and, sometimes, that teaching means we have to sacrifice some things to do more important things.”

Shelly said she and her kids have also found ways to incorporate charitable acts into their regular activities, for example collecting socks for the nationwide “Socktober” event designed to provide comfort the some 600,000 homeless people in the United States and involving their friends at school and dance class to become a part of the effort, or as simply as inviting friends to their home to make cookies and write thank-you cards to deliver to the local police force. “They love to serve,” Shelly said. “You know, kids can come to our home and play Xbox and have a great time, but they aren’t talking about it the next day or remembering how good they felt doing it, but after we made cookies and brought them to the local police, there

Above: Shelly’s daughter Gabby helping pack meals for Feed My Starving Children. Below: Shelly and other volunteers from Labor of Love visiting a Vetrans Hospital in Alabama.

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Below Left: The Gonzales family delivering Operation Christmas Boxes for children in third-world countries. Right: Shelly collecting purses to fill with necessities and hope for women in need. Below: The Gonzales family at an Alpine Church Mission’s Week project.

support those in need in Cache Valley and far beyond. Shelly is also actively involved with the service missions at Alpine Church, including Hands Across the Border creating napsack gifts to be delivered to children in Mexico and packing meals for children around the world for Feed My Starving Children.

was a lot of discussion about that.” Shelly is an active participant in several local service organizations including the Little Lambs Foundation, which provides blankets and other comfort items for children who are transitioning into foster homes or are in other traumatic situations. She and her daughters celebrate “Fun Fridays” by delivering Little Lambs comfort kits to the local hospitals. “The girls look forward to it all week long,” she said. “They have hearts for service and love to be involved in the projects; they are always right by my side. I see a different kind of love from

my boys. I am proud of the courage they show in school to watch out for other children who may be quietly suffering or need a friend. There are so many ways to love. It doesn’t have to be grand.” Other projects Shelly is involved with have included working as a volunteer for CAPSA, where she initiated a project to collect and fill purses filled with hope and necessities for women seeking shelter there. She is a supporter of the local “backpack program” that provides bags full of food for local economically disadvantaged children to take home each weekend and is often involved in clothing, food and shoe drives to

Recently, Shelly took a service trip to Alabama where she served in the Wellhouse Christian Ministry as part of the Labor Love Program, a nationwide program that blankets different cities with love and service (with 18 major projects going on at once) one weekend at a time. The Wellhouse is a refuge for sexually exploited woman to receive shelter and transitional housing, food, clothing, spiritual guidance and counseling. “In situations like these you realize, it could be anyone’s daughter in need of help,” Shelly said. “More than likely we will all be in a spot, sometime in life, where we need compassion. Service is chance to open our hearts to those who are there now.” Shelly believes in the mantra “it takes a village.” Not just to raise a child, but also to make the world a better place. “I sometimes get the credit for these projects, but most often there are many involved, doing whatever part they can, and we are able to do amazing things.”


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Five Cold Remedies for Kids

Cody Wilson, DO, Primary Care Pediatrics

It’s no secret that

But what in the world are you supposed to do when your baby starts coughing? Can you give them medicine? As you stroll through the store aisles, you will see all sorts of medications that are labeled for children’s use. The truth is, however, that if your child is less than six years old, and some would even say 12 years old, all of those medicines are not recommended for children. They do not provide consistent relief and can cause significant side effects as well. So, what do you do? Here are some remedies that will provide some symptomatic relief.

Put a drop or two in each side of the nose, let it sit for a short time and then put your suction bulb to good use. Older kids may benefit from a saline nasal spray or nasal saline rinses. 2. Humidifier: Using a cool mist humidifier or vaporizer helps loosen up secretions in the nose. Try avoiding heat mist humidifiers as they can cause burns and don’t really provide more relief compared to cold ones. 3. Honey: Honey might help a cough at nighttime and is unlikely to be harmful. However, don’t give it to kids under 12 months old because of the increased risk of botulism. You can give it to older kids in a spoon or mix it with warm water and then let it dissolve. 4. Vapor rub: You can apply vapor rub to the chest, back or the bottom of feet to provide some relief. This should typically be used for kids over two years old. Watch for skin irritation, which can occur. 5. Increased fluids: Drink plenty of fluids and then drink some more. This may help thin secretions and sooth the irritation triggering a cough.

1. Nasal saline and suction: With younger babies, use some nasal saline.

How do you know if your child needs to see a doctor? Here are some final tips.

kids have a difficult time sharing, but what they don’t have any problem sharing are infections. The most common infections you will see this time of year cause upper respiratory infections or “colds.” Common cold symptoms are nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat, lowgrade fever or headache. These infections typically last a little longer in younger children, with symptoms peaking at two to three days and then gradually improving over 10-14 days. Older children typically have their symptoms for five to seven days. With some people, coughing can be the most bothersome complaint and can occasionally linger up to three to four weeks.

Take your child to the doctor if their symptoms are still present after two weeks, if there are any concerns about difficulty breathing or if there are

concerns about other complications such as possible ear infections. These are all situations when your doctor can help.

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Real Estate Agents are the Real Experts Emily Merkley, association executive, Cache-Rich Association of REALTORS® A home is an investment, and the objective of any investment is to make the greatest return as possible when it comes time to sell. With the hope of saving on agent commissions and maximizing profits, many homeowners opt to try a For Sale By Owner approach with their homes and properties. Often, these owners are not aware of statistical data that challenge these hopes and way of thinking. In a recent study, The National Association of REALTORS® showed that properties listed as FSBO sell for an average of $210,000, while homes represented by an agent see a $39,000 increase with a sales price of $249,000. This type of value translates to more profit for homeowners and the best possible return on such investments.

Benefits of listing with a REALTOR®: • • • •

With many popular online listing services offering low-cost assistance to buy and sell homes, there are various reasons why listing with a licensed REALTOR® is ultimately your best decision. These sites do not have access to the same listing information nor historical data that your local REALTOR® does. Because of this, the generic computer-generated formulas used to assess home values and offer market comparisons can be inaccurate, and fail to take into account various and numerous other contributing factors. The decision to list your home can be difficult, and as the homeowner, it’s even more taxing to know what exactly will help your home show at its best. This is where a REALTOR® can contribute immensely to

A REALTOR® has unlimited access to the most recent data to appropriately price your home, and homes that are correctly priced when first listed on the market sell more quickly and for a higher price. Information from local listings filter into and through the local MLS system found on A REALTOR® has unlimited access to these systems, which feature ALL listed properties in Cache County and throughout the state. REALTOR®s have professional marketing expertise and working relationships with agents who represent possible buyers for your home; your home listing is circulated more often, more accurately and more quickly. Using a licensed REALTOR® ensures a screening process for possible buyers; an efficient listing involves screening potential buyers and showing your home to those who are prequalified to purchase. Listing your home should not turn into a ‘Parade of Homes’ that exposes your private family life.

the success of your sale. As Kevin Bouck of Movement Mortgage recalls when listing his own home, his REALTOR® offered an honest evaluation of the home and suggested replacing carpet and adding granite countertops. “My REALTOR® knew the actual value of my home and what could be done to enhance that value, which is something I wouldn’t have considered on my own,” Kevin said. “It’s the little details that are so important in a home transaction, and being involved with the mortgage side of the process, I have seen firsthand how seasoned agents can pick out different issues that a home may have, or know exactly what a home may need to best serve their clients.” Another huge advantage of listing with a REALTOR® is the security and confidence that homeowners find as REALTOR®s help them navigate the legal, monetary and negotiation processes that accompany real estate transactions. “A REALTOR® has a fiduciary responsibility to best represent the homeowners and their interests,” said Kaleb Kunz with State Farm Insurance. “We work with so many clients when dealing with home insurance, and there is just an ease of transaction and enhanced security on the monetary and inspection side of things when agents are involved.” Echoing the importance of using a REALTOR® to correctly comprehend and complete the legal requirements during a home transaction, Wendy Ciampini of American Secure Title urges clients to select a REALTOR® who will have their best interests at the forefront of all negotiations because the “knowledge of these agents plays a key factor during the mitigation process, which can have varying outcomes.” When it comes time to purchase a home for the best price possible, or to sell a home and maximize your investment, the value of using a REALTOR® is evident. During what can be a tense time for buyers and sellers alike, it’s important to feel confident knowing that you have a professional in your corner who will make it a pleasant experience.


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Mike Liechty, deputy superintendent, Cache County School District

The Bridgerland Applied Technology College Robot Stem Academy was formed in 2014, thanks to a $500,000 grant awarded by the STEM Action Center of Utah. The Robot Stem Academy gives students at Mountain Crest High School and Sky View High School the chance to obtain a 900-hour certificate from BATC through classes held at their high school. Students have the opportunity to learn skills such as industrial robot programming, automation, basic electrical principles, microcontrollers, drone aviation, advanced composites, PLC programming and much more. The Robot STEM Academy was developed using hybrid and distance education systems, leveraging the talents of every instructor at the Bear River regional schools. Early-morning lab classes, originating from BATC, are broadcasted using the Utah Education Network to all six high schools. Duplicate UEN receive sites, labs and equipment are set up at each location. A live broadcast streams each day from the BATC West Campus, where enrolled students have the opportunity to participate in this interactive activity. Local high school instructors can have their students participate in the broadcast live, or use it as a recording later on. Upon completion of their certificate, students have multiple options including internship and employment

opportunities; continuing their education through an associate or bachelor’s degree; or have the coursework count toward up to 30 credits, the equivalent of about $7,000 in tuition, books and fees. Robots and additional automation are being quickly added to manufacturing facilities in the Bear River region, which perform welding and pick-and-place operations. The Utah Manufacturers Association and companies such as Autoliv in Brigham City and Tremonton, Pepperidge Farm, Icon Health and Fitness, Gossner Foods, MOM Brands, Schreiber Foods and many others have expressed support for this program and look forward to have local students possibly work at their facilities. Automated manufacturing in the Bear River area is helping local companies compete on an international level, and the industry is growing rapidly both locally and nationally. Automated manufacturing in the state is high on the list of key industries under the Economic Development Corporation of Utah.

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Building the Future through Past Successes Frank Schofield, superintendent, Logan City School District Hello Cache Valley! This time of year is when many of us focus on plans for the future. We think of what we want to accomplish in the coming year and make goals to get there. As part of this process, it’s always beneficial to review our accomplishments to build on prior successes. We recently did this in the Logan City School District, and it has been exciting to see how the teachers and students in our schools have excelled. Some of these include: • • •

We have four official “The Leader in Me” elementary schools. Four of our six elementary schools have been recognized as Title I “Distinguished Schools of the Year.” Mount Logan Middle School has been a

• • • • •

“School to Watch” for the past five years. In the last 10 years, Logan High School athletes have earned 45 region championships and 10 state championships. For the past eight years, Logan High School has had 51 “National Merit Scholar” semi-finalists, and 95 percent of those were finalists. The LHS Academic Olympiad team has placed first overall five times in the last 10 years, competing against 23-25 teams each year. In the last four years, Logan High School went from having the seventhhighest mean score on the SAT in the state of Utah to having the second highest mean score (1918). Forty-two percent of our students at Logan High School take at least three

advanced placement classes, and 74 percent of them pass the tests. These are all significant accomplishments that reflect the efforts of our students, staff and community. As we consider our long-term vision as a school district, I hope we can build on these past successes to become one of the flagship districts in the state of Utah. We have much to be proud of and to celebrate. As with any organization, we also have room to improve. As we recognize current successes and chart a course for future advancement, I am confident that we will be able to provide for all the students in the Logan City School District. Thank you for your participation and support as we continue this work together.


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Paul W. Saunders, CPA, Saunders, Wangsgard & Associates

If you’re the type of person who wants total control of their personal finances and feels that you want to arrange your affairs so your tax will be as low as possible, I have some ideas for you: 1. Cut the cost of college with tax credits: When it comes to tax benefits for college education, government help falls into the category of “too many choices,” according to “The Parodox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz. The best credit is the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is up to $2,500 per student, per year, and is available for the first four years of undergraduate school. The student must be enrolled at least half-time. Qualified education expenses for calculating the credit include tuition fees, book fees, supplies and equipment used in a course of study that must be paid to the eligible education institution for enrollment; and those expenses can include amounts paid by parents, Grandma or another third party. 2. Put your child on summer payroll: If your child needs a job for the summer, the perfect solution might be right in front of you. Strategy: Hire your child to work for your business while school is out. Your child is eligible for valuable fringe benefits. If your child is under 18 years old and is employed by a parent in an unincorporated business, the earnings are exempt from payroll taxes (FICA). The exemption also applies to federal and state unemployment. Now that your child has earnings from a job, your child can sock away up to $5,500 in a traditional or Roth IRA. Tip: Pay your child a reasonable amount for the services actually performed. 3. Bunch up medical expenses: For 2015, the deduction for medical and dental expenses is limited to the excess above 10 percent of your AGI (7.5 percent if you or your spouse is 65 years old or older as of year-end). When it is feasible, schedule elective (e.g. non-emergency) expenses — physical exams and dental cleanings — for the end of the year if you expect to clear the 10-percent-of-AGI mark in 2016. Otherwise, you may as well postpone these visits to another year when at least you will have a chance at the deduction. 4. Split family income: If you expect to be in a high-tax bracket for 2016, you might transfer income-producing property to other family members like young children or grandchildren, who are in much lower brackets. For instance, with a tax rate differential of 29.6 percent between the top bracket rate of 39.6 percent and the

lowest bracket rate of 10 percent, a family can save $2,960 in tax on $10,000 of earnings. But tax savings may be mitigated by the “kiddie tax.” Caution: For 2015, unearned income above $2,100 received by a dependent child under 19 years old, or a full-time student under 24 years old, is taxed at the parents’ top-tax rate.

5. Turn vacations into a business deductions: Travel costs incurred while away from home for business purposes are generally deductible, but costs for personal reasons are never deductible. It is not unusual for travel to include elements of both. You can turn a vacation into a business deduction if the trip is primarily business in nature. If more than half of a normal working day is spent for business purposes, it is a business day. This includes time spent fielding phone calls and responding to business email or text messages. Travel days are treated as business days. Weekends and holidays that fall between business days, even if you’re at the beach all day, may be counted as business days if it is impractical for the taxpayer to return home on the weekend.

Want to learn more about smart taxes management? Call the experts at Saunders, Wangsgard, & Associates, PC

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 Employee Benefits & Health Insurance  Business Succession Planning  IRS Audit Representation  Entity Structuring  Retirement and Estate Tax Planning

Paul W. Saunders, CPA · Jeffrey R. Wangsgard, CPA · Nathan T. Nydegger, CPA

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G A T E W A Y E M A I L :

D R I V E , S U I T E 2 0 2 · P R O V I D E N C E T A X P R O @ S W A C P A . C O M

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Small Steps to BIG SAVINGS

Kinsey Love, marketing manager, Lewiston State Bank

With the New Year, comes new resolutions. If you are like most people, at least one of them relates to your finances. They may look something like this: • Stay within budget • Pay off debt • Spend less • Save more It’s a great time to get your finances in order, and saving money at any time of the year is a worthy and attainable goal. Here are three simple steps to get a good start on your resolutions and keep you going so you can achieve your financial goals this year. 1. Write down all your expenses for one week. It may sound simple, but it can be an eye-opening experience. Track everything down to the last dime. This can help you see your spending patterns and see how small expenditures can add up fast. Once you have


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conquered this task, try tracking for a month. You may find money you never knew you had. 2. Cut $20 of unessential spending each month. Twenty dollars could look like: • Ten 44 oz. dirty Diet Cokes • Four sub sandwiches from your favorite deli • Three cartons of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream • Two tickets to the latest blockbuster film Cutting unessential items like these can be easy. It could look like: • Drink water (it’s free from your tap) • Bring a lunch from home to work • Save your cash and satisfy your cravings with generic food brands • Wait to see that movie until you can rent it for a few dollars • Take that $20 you save each month and transfer it to your savings account. That adds up to $240 in savings each year 3. Automatically transfer money to your savings account each month. Make saving money easy and automatic by setting up an automatic transfer through your bank or online banking account. Even $10 a month is better than nothing. Remember to move your money to savings at the first of the month, rather than at the end when the money might be gone. By doing this, you will save $120 a year without even trying.


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Stay Productive During THE DORMANT SEASON Mark Anderson, owner, Anderson’s Seed and Garden

It’s difficult for an avid gardener to survive the winter months. Yes, there are some great outdoor activities available to Cache Valley residents during the gardening off-season like cross country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and, for people like my father, planning next year’s garden. One of my personal favorite winter activities is avoiding the inversion — Mexico, Hawaii and California — for at least a week during the coldest part of January and February. All that fun aside, gardeners can stay productive during the “dormant” season by growing fresh

herbs and greens indoors, taking a gardening class to keep that thumb a fresh green; and starting some early vegetables for outside transplantation when the weather cooperates. If you haven’t grown microgreens inside during the winter, you are missing a great opportunity to get your fingers dirty and taste some amazing, home-grown produce. It’s so easy to do, and you won’t believe the flavors and textures of what you can grow on a shelf in the pantry. With a 10x20 tray, a tall greenhouse dome, a full-spectrum light, soil and

a few seeds, you can grow just about anything: lettuce, spinach, basil, chard, beets, kale, thyme, radishes and many other vegetables. Imagine tiny bursts of flavor exploding out of a salad or garnishing your favorite sandwich, and you will know what microgreens can do for you. What better way to spend the off-season of gardening but by sharpening your brain? No one likes to use a dull tool when a fine edge will do the work in half the time. Many new techniques and processes for successful gardening crop up each

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year: new fertilizers, new pest controls, new varieties of seeds and plants and new methods. It can overwhelm a novice gardener and could be a missed opportunity for a seasoned veteran. Books and trade magazines share valuable information and can inspire you to new heights but aren’t always adapted to our area or climate. Local gardening classes will cover problems inherent to our unique

locale, and rubbing shoulders with other gardeners seems to bring out a variety of valuable insights. It’s surprising how many vegetables you can start indoors to transplant outdoors later. The last few years our gardening season started early, in late February or early March, and if you started slow, you missed out on a lot of plants that were snatched up before


you had your soil ready to plant. If you start your own seedlings indoors, then you don’t have to worry about not getting the varieties you want, and you will have a motivator to get them outside at the right time — make space to grow some more. Start onions, kale, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in early February for March transplantation. With tomatoes and peppers, I like to start inside about the end of March for the mature plants to go outside in May. There really isn’t anything quite like watching your plants grow to maturity from seedling indoors to harvesting ripe crops in the summer and fall. It’s a long, cold winter in Cache Valley, but you can use the time productively and get a head start on spring. Otherwise, “dormant” season will be filled with a lot of wishful daydreaming.


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Live Well Utah Educates Families on Healthy Living MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Schae Richards, community editor

“We have been able to extend our reach beyond the borders of Utah to a world-wide audience,” Mike said. Leah Calder, a blogger for Live Well Utah, gathers the material every month from the extension agents and puts it into a “user-friendly” format on the blog. “Our main mission is to take the research and knowledge that extension has and create a format that a younger

“We want people to recognize what we are doing — trying to promote wellness in the community,” she said. “We want people to be engaged in what we are posting, so other people know what we are doing.”

April 12, 7:30pm

In March 2014, Live Well Utah was started to help distribute researchbased information to residents and their families. Since its conception, it has attracted about 68,000 viewers reaching 126 countries. It continues to gain momentum along with the community’s support.

Leah, and the other team members, encourage the community to support Live Well Utah through reading and sharing their content with others.

Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys

The Live Well Utah blog is authored by 30 county extension agents throughout the state with expertise in different fields. It also includes related information from their sister blog, Eat Well Utah.

“It’s helping people have a better quality of life,” Leah said. “It’s a place where people can go that’s fun and where they can get all the information they need.”

Jan. 29, 7:30pm

“All of our information is relevant to Cache County and immediately benefits local citizens,” said Mike Whitesides, marketing director of USU Extension and CAAS Marketing and Communications. “We are trying to enrich their lives and help them make the best decisions based on the information we provide.”

Families and individuals can also take classes on similar topics from a USU Extension faculty member. Visit, or call the Cache County Extension Office at (435) 752-6263.

Repertory Dance Theatre: 50th Anniversary

Live Well Utah is an online resource through USU Extension that educates individuals and families on a variety of topics: finances, food and nutrition, gardening and home-family relations.

audience will want to read,” Leah said. With its educative design, the blog is able to help people make healthy decisions in different aspects of their lives.

Jan. 23, 7:30pm

ideas, or perhaps some budgeting tips, you can find it all in one convenient place.

Sons of the Pioneers

If you need gardening or recipe



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Four Communication “HACKS” for Millennial Families Jenny Mathews, contributing writer I remember many of the basic lessons taught in my USU Interpersonal Communication class: make eye contact, use feeling statements, pay attention to body language or nonverbal communications and be “present.” Since I took that class, many new ways to communicate have emerged: email, Skype, texting, social media, etc. Perhaps one side effect of these new methods is the increased risk of miscommunication, and sometimes, especially when I’m trying to get through to my older kids, there are holes in my “bag of tricks.” 1. Actions speak louder than words: Recent neurological data informs us that parents have even more influence on their child’s communication than we thought. “Psychology Today” author, Jim Taylor Ph.D., writes that new information on the “mirror neuron system” (the area of the brain that is activated when children simply watch people) is implicated, among other things, in healthy vs. underdeveloped communication skills. The model of your communicative style will have an impact on your child’s. They look at what you do, who you are and how you make them feel and use those as a basis for determining how they react to what you say. Your child will see your efforts to be an authentic and vulnerable communication partner as an indicator of how important it is to you.

2. Pictures are worth MORE than 1000 words: The identification and use of alternate forms of non-verbal communication is a pretty easy way parents of millennials can “up their game.” Kids use images in emails, texts and social media all the time. Exploring what emotions an image evokes is a wonderful way for anyone to further develop emotional literacy and become a more effective communicator. I used to feel childish using them, but have since realized that emoticons can also be effective non-verbal cues. In an article written for the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Franklin B. Krohn suggests that within certain guidelines, using emoticons to convey non-verbal types of communication — smiles, frowns, tears or steam coming out of your ears — may be an appropriate option. The framework for his guidelines is based on the recipient’s generation. For example, “Traditionalists” (those born before 1946) should not be sent emails or texts with emoticons while “Millennials” (those born after 1980) can effectively be sent communications with generous use of emoticons. 3. Anytime stories: Author, scholar and public speaker, Brene Brown says her number one life hack is the use of the following five words: “The story I’m making up…” In her own words, “Basically, you’re telling the other person your reading of the situation — and simultaneously admitting that you know it can’t be 100 percent accurate.” For example, instead of arguing with your daughter about not following through with a responsibility, you would say, “The story I’m making up is that your time texting your friends is more important than the contribution you’re willing to make to our family.” By sharing the “story” that their behavior has created in your mind, you project your desire to better understand them. When the desire to better understand the other person comes across as more important than your desire to be right or protect your own interests — or you allow yourself to be vulnerable — you create a bandwidth of trust between yourself and that person. As a bonus, it even works well in emails and texts. 4. Communication trolls: Have you ever looked at an email or text over and over again as you try to read if there’s something they’re not saying? A communication “troll” is a hidden emotion that lurks behind your verbal and non-verbal cues that makes them harder to read. Maybe it’s an emotion you’re not willing or able to fully acknowledge or perhaps you’re ashamed of. These trolls seem to exist now more than ever with modern text, email and social messaging. I admit I am guilty of this. Recently, I was annoyed with someone about something they had said. When that person texted me about something completely non-related a few days later, I hadn’t let go of that negative emotion and my initial response was short and terse. Once I recognized that I had planted this “troll” in the text message, I was able to let go of it and send another, less cryptic response that even included a smiley face. Often just giving our emotions a voice (even if we’re the only one who hears it) can help us address them more appropriately and avoid unnecessarily confusing others.


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Set the Table for Good Conversation Schae Richards, community editor

Can you recall the last pin-dropping moment at the dinner table? Either you don’t know what to say, or the conversation comes to a halt. You could ask those obvious questions like “How was your day?”— or you could just keep quiet. These awkward moments can sometimes make dinnertime a dreaded part of the day. Here are six tips to make the dinner table a fun place to spend time together. 1. Set the right tone: First consider everyone at the table. Who is there? What do they like to talk about? Knowing your audience will help you keep a strong conversation going. If your family has a hard time starting a conversation, pick a fun theme or topic ahead of time to center your discussion around. 2. Make it interactive: Make it a livelier conversation by creating question cards or another visual that will help everyone stay in tune. Even a fun story or game can turn a “boring” conversation into a fun family activity. Remember to include everyone. Take turns contributing information and steering the discussion. It’s never fun to listen to just one person. 3. Ask good questions: Replace some of those standard questions with ones that require a detailed answer (see examples on the next page). This will set the table for a deeper

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conversation and will tap into your kids’ creativity, allowing them to think beyond normal limits. 4. Educate your kids: You can always find teaching opportunities during conversations with your kids. Dinnertime is no exception. Share a personal story with an important message at the end, or do something more formal like choosing a word of the week and taking turns using it in a sentence. 5. Set a family goal: Take this opportunity to set a challenge or goal. Maybe there’s something you want to improve as a family or want to accomplish within that next week. Then you can report back to each other on your progress. You can also offer some sort of award or incentive to make it more fun for the little ones. Whatever the goal, it gives your family a chance to work toward something and build strong relationships away from the dinner table. 6. Try something new: Don’t feel like you have to stick to the same routine. Mix it up every day to keep the conversation fresh and exciting. This will help you avoid those I-don’t-know-what-to-say moments, and help you have successful family dinners.

10 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids at Dinnertime: • In what way did you help someone in need today? • If you could change anything about your day, what would it be and why? • What is a skill or trait you want to develop and why? • If you could be any book character, who would it be and why? • What one word would you use to describe yourself? • If you were stranded on an island, what three items would you bring with you? • What is a talent or ability you have that someone doesn’t know about? • If you could travel back in time, when and where would you visit and why? • What superpower would you choose to save the planet and why? • What do you most admire about your favorite person?



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Sherelle Christensen,

For my family, there is nothing better to come home to after a long winter’s day than warm Shepherd’s Pie for dinner. We love to use onions, carrots, green beans and corn preserved from our summer garden and potatoes from my husband’s farm. • 4-5 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered • Place potatoes into a large pot of boiling water and boil until fork-tender. Drain and set aside. • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season beef with salt and pepper, and brown. Drain fat and add: • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce • 1/8 tsp. celery salt • Mix well and set aside Sauté the following in a frying pan: • 2 Tbs. butter or olive oil • 1 medium onion, chopped • 1 clove garlic, minced • 1 cup carrots, chopped Sauté until vegetables are slightly tender. Spread them into a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle the following over the top: • 1 can green beans, drained (frozen can be used) • 1 can corn, drained (frozen can be used) Top the vegetables with the beef mixture and cover with: • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese Mash potatoes and place them in a mixer and whip with: • 2 Tbs. melted butter • 3/4 cup sour cream • 3 Tbs. milk • 1 tsp. garlic salt

Whip until potatoes are creamy and smooth. Spread over the top of the cheese and place in oven. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. If the baking dish is full, place it on a large cookie sheet in case it bubbles over during the baking process. Enjoy!

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How to STEPFAMILY Strengthen RELATIONSHIPS Jennifer Bair, SSW, education director, The Family Place

Families are the most important unit in our communities. It’s the place we call home, turn for help and hopefully becomes our safe haven. Regardless of what our family looks like, building a relationship with our family members is always important. Stepfamilies are no different. “The Washington Post” reported in November 2014 that 40 percent of marriages includes one spouse marrying for the second time. As you can see, many people are experiencing remarriages which brings along the challenges that come with forming a stepfamily. Some of those challenges are as follows: parenting non-biological children, children spending time in two homes and dealing with

ex-spouses. Even with these challenges, people are still hopeful in marriage and work hard to build a strong family unit. I would like to focus on two areas to help anyone who is or will be a part of a stepfamily. The first is the couple’s relationship while the second is the role of the non-biological parent to their stepchildren First, the couple relationship: As with any marriage, the couple’s relationship is the foundation of the family. If a couple has a strong foundation, they can overcome problems that may arise. John Gottman, author of “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” has done extensive research in what makes a marriage work. One way he helps couples strengthen their relationship is by encouraging them to have “magic minutes.” This encourages couples to take some time out of their day to focus on one another. Here are four easy steps for doing magic minutes: 1. Before saying goodbye to your partner in the morning, learn about one important thing that’s happening in his or her life that day. This will break the “habit of inattention” that eventually turns couples into strangers (two minutes). 2. Decompress after work by discussing the

most stressful parts of your day. This will prevent job frustration from spilling over into your home life. When it’s your partner’s turn to talk, resist the urge to give advice. Instead, be supportive and understanding (20 minutes). 3. Once a day, spontaneously tell your partner you appreciate something he or she has done or that you admire a certain quality in him or her (five minutes). 4. Show affection outside the bedroom by occasionally kissing or touching your partner (five minutes). A second important area to address is the role of the non-biological parent relationship to their stepchildren. This area is especially tricky because some individuals feel they are equal with the biological parent in the children’s eyes. There is a delicate balance between stepparent and stepchild. Research shows it is in the best interest of everyone involved if a stepparent helps enforce the rules. This means they are taking the rules the biological parent has for their children and enforces them as they are; they do not change or create new rules. However, the biological parent remains the main disciplinarian to their children. It is also important to discuss your role as a stepparent with your partner so you can work as a team and your children know what to expect. It is unrealistic to expect stepchildren to have instant love for their stepparent. This relationship will take time to develop and must be done with patience, empathy and respect. Families are essential to our wellbeing, and we all want the best for our families. The Family Place is an excellent place to go for information or workshops to help build the strengths your family already has and add new ones. We offer classes for parenting or stepfamilies and welcome families of all shapes and sizes. Please visit our website for upcoming workshops


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Driveway Safety Tips Preventing Backover Accidents

Christie Stock, president, Discount Tire With lots of visitors coming and going from your home, driveways often become jammed with vehicles, which increases the chance of accidental backovers on children. Yes, accidents do happen. However, a fair amount of these incidents can be prevented with a little extra awareness. Here are some safety tips to remember for driveways: • Walk the perimeter of your vehicle before getting in to ensure no children are near or behind it. • Remind guests to do the same safety check. • Have your children under adult supervision when playing in the front yard, so they stay away from a vehicle and the driveway. • Don’t use driveways as play areas. Instead, find a safe spot for children to play that’s away from parked or moving vehicles. • Use trash bins to block the driveway when your children are playing in the front yard. This forces a vehicle to slow down and stop before entering. • Keep items that may attract children (e.g., bikes and toys) away from the driveway. • Park your vehicle so you can pull forward from your driveway. • Create a safety zone in your yard, where you teach your children to move quickly when a vehicle is entering or exiting the driveway. Use a simple safe-zone command word so your child can react fast. Observe the same safety tips in parking lots as they are hotbeds for potential accidents: • Help your children enter and exit

the vehicle. Keep a firm hold on their hands when you are around moving vehicles, and allow yourself and your children to be visible to drivers. • Do the same perimeter check before leaving a parking spot to make sure no children are in your path.

• Use even more caution during school and daycare drop off/ pick-ups as children are hard to see when they are running to meet their caregivers. Using these tips and being more aware can ensure we all have a happy, safe time year round. C M







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