Page 1





Simple Science

Children are like

Feats of balance

diamonds Help them shine

Sibling conflict

Reducing arguments

Clause-free commitment


leave home Empty nesting’s upside

Adoptive mom’s lesson

Two Southwest Boise children, Bella and Gavin, enjoy a light sprinkling of winter snowflakes (Photo by Tiffany Hix Photography) Want your child’s photo on next month’s cover?

Check inside for details!


Contents December 2016


Features Columns 4 7

Children are like diamonds:

Nurture their uniquessness

The kids are gone:


Holiday homestretch:


Empty nesting’s upside

Manic Mothering: Youth perspective 16 moMENts: 12th day before Christmas

22 Irene’s Insights: 2017 trends

Don’t panic

Sibling conflict: Why kids fight

Simple Science: Feats of balance

Adoptive mom:


Commitment without clauses

Departments Snow ruler

A crash course



Family Events 10-13 Calendar: Family-friendly activities & events for December & early January!

Sales & Marketing Kimberly McMullen 208-854-8345

Contributors Daniel Bobinski, Steve Davala, Patrick Hempfing, Beth Markley, Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel, Robert Rhodes, Diane Louise Smith, Samantha Stillman and Irene Woodworth Distribution Specialists Idaho Distribution Services

In Each Edition Editor’s Intro Family leave

Editor Gaye Bunderson 208-639-8301

Cover Tiffany Hix Photography

14 Crafts on a Dime:

Freeway lesson:

Publisher Sterling Media Ltd.

Graphic Design Glen Bruderer

17 18

Volume 4, Number 12


Artkin’s In the Zone: Unicorn & sun

 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

Idaho Family Magazine, published monthly by Sterling Media Ltd., is committed to providing readers with informative and entertaining information to help them in maintaining healthy families and positive lifestyles. It is distributed throughout the valley as a free publication. Idaho Family Magazine does not assume responsibility for statements or opinions expressed by editorial contributors or advertisers. The acceptance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products, services or information. Idaho Family Magazine does not knowingly present any product or service which is fraudulent or misleading in nature. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without express written consent of the publisher. Reader correspondence and editorial submissions are welcome. Idaho Family Magazine reserves the right to edit or reject all materials submitted. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 by Sterling Media Ltd.


Family leave an issue for many workers


uring Labor Day weekend, my 82-year-old mother took a tumble. She turned her head to look at something while she walked along a road, didn’t see a speed bump, and tripped over it. She fell headfirst and got a huge bump with a multi-colored bruise above her eye and down her cheek. She also skinned her knee and, worst of all, broke her wrist. We were walking into the football field at Eagle High School to watch a football game between Eagle High and Pocatello’s Highland High, where my cousin’s son is varsity QB. After Mom’s lunge into the pavement, we had to bag the game and head to the emergency room instead. It wasn’t fun to watch my mother — who’d be the first to admit she’s not young anymore — stumble that way and get hurt badly enough to go to the ER. But it has made me think of the larger issue of who takes care of family members when they need help? That could include sick kids as well as older family members, and it can get complicated. Work demands your presence — you have to show up and perform well in order to get paid. At the same time, family members with health issues need your presence also. In our case, my sister was able to spend more than two months at our mother’s house. She’s retired, while I, on the other hand, head into the trenches every day like millions of others and “work for food.” I went to Mom’s on weekends and pitched in where I could, but I’d be the first to admit that my sister took on the lion’s share of caring for our mother. She cooked, cleaned, drove Mom wherever she needed to go, and pretty much everything else. Mom is working her way back to completely being her old self, and she gets closer every week, thank heavens. If a child or other family member is sick for a few days, it presents an inconvenience but is not an insurmountable problem. But if a loved one of any age is chronically ill or seriously injured, that’s a problem that can sometimes throw a family into turmoil. There is a federal Family & Medical Leave Act in place, but because it works best for larger businesses rather than very small ones, it does limit who’s able to utilize it. As I’m putting this together in late October, the presidential race is in the last stages of what has been a fairly brutal and contentious contest. The last thing I want to write about at this point is anything that sounds like a candidate endorsement. However, I want to acknowledge that both presidential contenders offered up childcare plans they thought would benefit the country’s working families, though the policies differed in stark ways. One policy proposed paid maternity leave only, while the other addressed paid family leave that included time off to care for sick children or other family members. I’m focusing here on the challenges of mixing work with family care

when unforeseen circumstances arise. Many people do not even have sick leave for themselves, let alone the freedom to take time off to care for a loved one. A recent NPR program focused on the fact that only 13 percent of the population in the U.S. has paid family leave. The FMLA does not gaurantee paid leave, merely unpaid leave for a specific period of time, with the promise a person’s job will not be filled in his or her absence. Idaho isn’t among the states that have laws requiring employers to provide time off for family and medical reasons; however, the state’s employers are subject to the FMLA. It doesn’t cover everyone; only businesses that have at least 50 employees must comply. Furthermore, employees of those businesses are only eligible for leave if they have worked for the company for at least a year, and other specific requirements. Employees who qualify may only use their leave to bond with a newborn, recuperate from a serious illness, or care for a family member with a (very specific) health condition. They are entitled to up to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period. There’s more to it. In fact, this whole topic is so huge it can’t be entirely covered in one 800- to 900-word article. But the bottom line is, life presents some huge challenges and no amount of government intervention will ever change that. Often, caring for loved ones is a process of shared responsibilities, juggled commitments, and plain old “doing the best we can.” It’s a team effort, at best; or, as in our family’s case, a generous undertaking made almost exclusively by one person. In doing online research for this article, I found a number of stories from working parents who made heroic efforts to both show up for work and “be there” for their children. Sometimes grandparents stepped in and sometimes they weren’t able. Sometimes bosses were sympathetic and many times they weren’t. No one disputes the necessity of needing workers to show up and the challenges it presents when they don’t. But there is an equally important need to care for loved ones, and a little help and consideration seems fair for the everyday workers who keep the engines of American productivity running. There is an abundance of information about this topic on the internet, including suggestions about how to create a backup plan or even your own “village” of people willing to help one another out when they’re needed to care for loved ones of all ages — a great way of building a network of shared concern for each other. Do some research and, hopefully, find an answer that will work well for you when family members need your help.

Gaye Bunderson, Editor ID A H O

Children’s Photos Wanted Idaho Family Magazine would love to put your child or children on our cover. We are especially looking for photos of children who are engaged in activities. All photos should be high quality, sharp and clear, and high resolution of around 300 dpi. Color photos are preferred, and all photos need to be vertical not horizontal. Please identify the children in the photos, the children’s ages, and what Treasure Valley community they reside in. (If chosen for the cover, their last names will not be used.) Send the photos to

On the Cover:

Two Southwest Boise children, Bella and Gavin, enjoy a light sprinkling of winter snowflakes (Photo by Tiffany Hix Photography)



SIMPLE Science

Feats of bala nce





Help them shine







CLAUSE commit -FREE ment mom’s less on



leave ho S me Emp ty nesting’s

upside Two Southwes t Boise child ren, Bella sprinkling and of winter snowflakes Gavin, enjoy a light (Photo by Tiffany Hix) Want your child’s photo on next month ’s cover? Check

inside for detail


Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 

Children are like diamonds

Polish a child’s shining uniquessness

For some of us, perceiving and assessing emotions, desires, and tendencies can leave us feeling lost if we don’t have a framework, so let’s create one. The best one I’ve formed uses three distinct categories: head, hands, and heart. he holiday season is upon us, “Head” considers the differences we have in cognitive style. and with it the entire world “Hands” relates to our behavioral preferences, and “Heart” seems to shift its focus to the has to do with our motivation — the things that drive our joy of childhood innocence. attitudes and values. Eyes twinkling. Dreams of winter wonBecause of limited space, I’ll touch on each one only derland. Laughter filling the air when kids briefly. play in snow. Think for a moment about A “Head” framework considers how we perceive informahow awesome and wonderful is the gift tion, how we process that information, and how we make of children. But, as you know, they don’t decisions. It also takes into account how we get mentally come with instruction manuals; we just re-energized. For example, are you a person who gets enerhave to figure them out. This is an imporgized by being around others, or do you get re-charged by tant task, because how we relate with them being alone? Then there’s decisions. Do you prefer making creates lifelong ripple effects. Therefore, Daniel Bobinski quick decisions, or do you prefer keeping your options open? any help parents can get to make stronger In both of these examples (and there are many more facets that exist connections with their children is most beneficial. in cognitive style), these are important questions that may require us If you have children, you are no doubt aware that each child to value the differences. arrives with certain prepackaged traits. Some are joyful, some are After all, if we see any differences between us and our children, it’s fussy. Some are active, some are reserved. Some are bold, some are shy. In short, each child is exceptionally unique, and because of that, important to choose to value them instead of criticizing them. The ripple effects of valuing attributes in our children go a long way into I like to think of them as diamonds. Think about it. Children, like the future. Unfortunately, the ripple effects of criticizing them do, diamonds, are highly valuable. We cherish them, we tend to look too. past their flaws, and each one has many facets for us to admire. Moving on to the “Hands” framework, here we’re talking about As parents, our job is to observe the various facets in each of our behavioral styles. If you’re familiar with DISC assessments or the children to discover their special uniqueness. To use an increasingly Four Temperaments (driver, expressive, amiable, and analytic), you popular term, learning these things and using what we discover to improve our relationships is called practicing Emotional Intelligence. already know about this framework. For those who are unfamiliar, here’s a brief sketch: Some people place a high value on winning I’ve seen several definitions of this term, and they include words like self-awareness and empathy. That’s all good, but to make things and getting results, others on being optimistic and social, others on maintaining peace and loyalty, and still others on being accurate and more practical, I came up with a definition that outlines specific precise. Everyone has a blend of these, but most folks have a strong actions: preference toward one or two of these styles. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) — The ability to perceive and assess Lastly, let’s address the “Heart” issues — our internal motivators. our own and other people’s emotions, desires, and tendencies, and Some people strive to gain knowledge, others not so much. Some then make the best decision based on that perception to obtain strive for a strong return on investment, others don’t care. Some optimal results for all concerned. desire harmony all around them, others can operate fine in chaos. We can (and should) practice EQ with anyone, anytime, and Some are driven to be altruistic across the board, others are more anywhere. But with this being a season highlighted by joyous chilintentional about their giving. Some are driven to be in control, othdren, my focus this month turns to them. For parents, EQ includes ers are more collaborative. And some are driven to establish core life noticing each child’s behavioral styles, their interests, their innate systems, while others are more receptive to new ideas as they come intelligences, and also the different ways they perceive and process along. the world around them. The more we understand each facet of our In all of these arenas, people have preferences. Because our children’s personality, the easier it is to help them shine as we polish children are still struggling to find out who they are, we can demthem to be who they were born to be. onstrate our love for them by affirming their style. Every position By the same token, it’s best if we also understand our own styles in every part of the framework has both a strength and a weakness. and preferences in those same areas. After all, if we don’t know Our job as parents is to focus on the strengths in our children and where our own preferences lie, it makes it much more difficult to communicate that we recognize those strengths. If we value any difadapt to the styles of each unique child. ferences that might exist, that will bring joy to our children’s hearts, Think of it this way: If I blindfolded you and put you on an airplane for a three-hour flight, landed, removed the blindfold and told and that may be the best gift we could possibly give, no matter what time of year it is. n you to go to Indianapolis, the first thing you’d have to do is find out where you are. You can’t expect Indianapolis to come to you — you Daniel Bobinski is director of Family Experience, LLC and author of the forthmust first learn where you are before you can adjust your direction coming book, “The EQ Factor: Harnessing the Power of Emotional Intelligence to make your way to the middle of Indiana. In the same manner, if we’re to help our children understand who for Your Life.” He is also co-author of the award-winning “Become a Student of they are, we must first know our own preferences and styles! Second, Your Students,” written with his wife, Jeralynne. Daniel speaks at conferences and trains internationally on the subject of emotional intelligence. Reach him at (208) we must be aware of how our children are similar to or different 375-5048 or at Free gift for December: Contact Daniel by from us. And thirdly, we must choose to value any differences that email and ask for a code to take a free cognitive style assessment. exist, and not criticize them. By Daniel Bobinski


 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

Empty nesting

It can be a positive time for a parent By Kimberly McMullen


ost of us have heard the term empty nester, the term we call parents once their children leave home. I always associated the term with great sorrow, or a time in life where parents were conflicted or anguished. I was certain I would be traumatized when my nest became “empty.” As a helicopter parent, I had already accepted that I would simply stalk my adult child and never let her out of my clutches. The rational mother in me knew the goal was to raise kids who can one day make healthy choices and take care of themselves, but the overbearing mother in me was convinced I would be the exception. When my nest was officially empty, I found myself blindsided by something I hadn’t planned for. I assumed I would be impacted by what was leaving, but for me, it was what remained that stunned me the most. The new life I had was nothing I had imagined. The anguish I had prepared for was actually a newfound peace and rejuvenation. I never realized how spread thin I was, and how healing this season could be. Oh sure, the first two weeks I was a little sulky and pondered my identity, but then I started to realize how not busy I was. I was a single mom to my daughter and niece and nephew for six years, so things came to a screeching halt when they were all gone within six months of one another. I was surprised at how much I used to do and how little I was doing now. Sometimes I would sit alone, convinced I had to be somewhere or was forgetting someone, only to realize nobody was counting on me. It was so bizarre, and once I stopped looking over my shoulder for kids every time I went somewhere, I was so intrigued by this new time in my life. I started to find rebellion in eating popcorn for dinner and not cooking for weeks on end. I was amazed at how little was in my fridge and how little was going out. You notice the obvious things, like how clean your house

seems to stay, and the silence, that eerie silence. The silence often brought mixed feelings, but its gifts were cleansing and allowed times of reflection and self-searching that had been buried under the grind of overbooked schedules and homework battles. I believe once the stress of full-time parenting was lifted, this contributed to my feeling calmer, less emotional, and because of this I think I am a better support system and parent. I listen more and react less. I am a fixer, so this is a huge transformation for me. I even sometimes nod and smile and bite my tongue, even though I disagree. Oh sure, I still cringe at the thought of surrendering all control and wonder if my adult child might do everything wrong without my micromanaging her every move. I still wonder if I am too distant and should be doing more in her young adult life, but the worry is not allconsuming. This mama bear managed to let go and quickly settled into my new role as a parent of an independent young adult. I came to terms that all of us leave home young and clueless and managed to figure things out without order and perfection. It can be a messy and difficult rite of passage, but also an empowering and hopeful time of learning and wonder. I began to realize that just like I began to appreciate my parents after I moved out, my daughter showed signs of this maturity as well. She began to see me as an example and someone who contributed a great deal to her well-being instead of the person who told her no and nagged a lot. I had always longed for the friendship with my child that so many said we would one day have. I am enjoying that now, and it is truly beautiful. I know not all transitions are like mine, and whatever transpires when your children leave home, I think we can all agree it’s nothing you can prepare for and is truly lifechanging. As an empty nester I have learned that while my duties have changed, I am still a parent. I am no longer the warden, maid, cook and chauffeur, but someone to call when my daughter needs to know how to bake chicken or file taxes. I know how much I still count on the comfort and guidance of my parents and can only imagine how much I will be needed as my daughter finds her way through life. Continued on Page 9

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Herman & Margaret Roest

Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 

Holiday homestretch panic

Gift-giving traditions wrapped in stress on card tables in their front lawn.” What children, parents and grandparents want most is time with you. Coupons are a fantastic gift. One coupon for emptying the dishwasher without fussing. One coupon he young woman two people for a hug when you need it. One coupon for a walk in ahead of me was clearly harthe park. One coupon for one day without children. One ried as she herded her two coupon for a backrub. One coupon for a yogurt date. One children through the grocery coupon for a movie of your choice. One coupon for some store checkout. Her bill came to more cash cuddle time with a movie. One coupon for...(fill in the than she had in her wallet, so she began blank). frantically rummaging through her pockets I had open heart surgery a year ago, and even though and purse. The woman between us tossed I did not expect to die, I told everyone of value in my life something toward her feet then touched the that I love them, that they are colorful threads in the fabwoman’s arm. “I think you dropped some ric of my life. Obviously, I lived through that experience of your money,” she said to the woman in and I was deeply humbled by how many people here and distress. The woman stooped down and in California prayed for me. People brought food, visited picked up the $10 bill, clutched it dearly and Sandy Spurgeon me, sent presents and cards and my sister flew out from paid her bill. McDaniel California to spend the first 10 days with me. Receiving When the woman in front of me moved is one of the more difficult parts of the holiday madness. up to the checker, she realized she had If you open a gift and it isn’t anything you would buy for yourself forgotten her membership card. I flicked my card towards her feet. or conceivably use, remember the love behind the gift. Hug the She looked down, smiled and gave it to the checker. As she turned unwanted item, close you eyes and take in the love...then, be excited! to hand me the card, we exchanged a moment of appreciation that Every holiday, I take my Idaho grandchicks to buy toys for Toys didn’t need words. When it was my turn with the checker, I asked her how her day was going so far. “It’s feeling a lot more like Christ- for Tots. I tell them: “Remember, you are going to choose something you would really like to have if this was the only gift you were getmas right now!” she almost sang. We exchanged a hug and I drove ting. I remind you that even if you see the toy you want most in the home embracing the warmth I felt inside. world, we are not buying for us. This is about helping someone else, We are in the homestretch panic about gift-giving. There is a which is our gift of love.” tendency to spend money we don’t have. There is a lot of agitation For many people, the December holidays are a religious celebration. about giving someone something that is appreciated. The whole With all the attention around Santa and gift-giving, the spiritual asgift-giving tradition is encased in stress. Children don’t need 300 pects of this season can be overlooked or even forgotten. As a Chrisgifts for Christmas. Three gifts is what a child can take in, and that tian, I celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was one of the world’s clearest number is laughable in a large family. Giving a child a truly expensive gift sets in motion an expectation for the next celebration: today teachers of the greatest gift of all: love. Making a commitment to yourself to be more loving is a gift you can give yourself. Choosing to a Chevy, tomorrow a Ferrari. In my 75 years of life, I have found that homemade gifts and gifts greet each day with love instead of fear is a gift you give to God. May each of us choose love as our gift to family, friends, the precious earth of love are the most valuable. I still have a walking stick that my 44year-old son Scott carved when he was in college. One of my grand- and all people in the world. God bless us one and all! n chicks has a dreamcatcher I made for her in her room. Homemade For 54 years, Sandy McDaniel has been an international speaker and cards fill my memory box. Grandparents, especially those who live recognized authority on families/children. Author of five books, columaway, love photos. With today’s technology, you can make a home video featuring the grandchildren. One of my favorite gifts was from nist, founder of, Sandy is a resident of Meridian and loves spending time with her three Idaho grandchicks. Semi-retired, she my daughter: a photo album filled with quotes of things they had speaks to schools, churches, MOPS groups and provides parent coaching learned from me, such as “Change your thoughts and change your sessions in person and on the phone. world. Make your life an act of love. Buy whatever kids are selling By Sandy Spurgeon McDaniel


Juno Counseling Michelle Scoville-Dorman


3348 N. Meridian Rd.



Shuttling to Some Local Elem. Schools

 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

4696 Overland STE 118 Boise, Idaho (208) 713-1003 lts d Adu n a , s t n Ser ving Children, Adolesce


Licensed Professional Counselor


Manic Mothering

Foreign youth help put things in perspective By Beth Markley



n mid-November, Anna, our Danish daughter, asked how it feels to know, as a nation, that the whole world is paying close attention to your every move. To be honest, right now it feels rather like getting caught by the neighbors, having passed out on the lawn in a puddle of … well, of something not left there by the sprinklers, let’s say. And for the record, no, I haven’t ever been caught passed out on the lawn. I’m just guessing how that might feel, you guys. Jeez. I was working on a post I’ve since scrapped because I’m still trying to figure out how screaming into my pillow could be a productive part of any discussion. I’ll admit it was cathartic to give folks a piece of my mind though, even if that piece never leaves my desktop, or is only witnessed by those who happen to pass as I’m having a very heated discussion in my empty car. One thing’s for sure: for a humor blogger, I have precious little to say that’s very funny right now. Hence the gap in my regular posts. There was one thing recently that felt productive, though. I was on a team of more than three dozen volunteers who screened applicants for Rotary youth exchange. If all goes well, by this time next year, many of those teenagers will be on foreign soil, completely out of their element, struggling to understand and make themselves understood, and hopefully having the times of their lives. We’ll accept a few others just like them, here. Included in our volunteer group were a number of young adults, recently returned from their own exchanges. We also dragged along the 17 students who are currently in Idaho from places all over the world. Those 17 students have been witness to all kinds of garbage we’ve put ourselves through for the past few months, and still think we’re okay. At the same time, their counterparts, our American kids overseas, are wondering if we are. They’re getting a lot of questions right now, our young ambassadors, about the state of affairs at our end of the block, where the U.S. used to be the high-end house with all the fancy toys and

the BEST parties. Where people remember things being pretty together at one point, but now the paint is chipped and the trees need pruning and the owners regularly argue on the front porch. And then there’s that guy passed out on the lawn… Anyway, I don’t know what I expected from being on the screening team that day, if it was to be bogged down by any sort of political discussion, the way the rest of the week had gone. It didn’t. Instead, it was a delightful opportunity to talk to young people about their desire to learn, and grow — mostly by just getting out of their comfort zone — and who have a pretty good sense that, before they can make a difference in the world, they must have a better understanding of it. It was wonderful, too, to spend time with those 17 teenagers from every corner of the globe who aren’t concerned so much about our dirty laundry. I mean, from a global perspective, they’ve witnessed their share of complication. Our Brazilian kids come to us from a country where the successor to the president who was impeached last summer is now embroiled in a bribery scandal. Our Belgian students each represent a different one of three official languages, from a country roughly half the size of Maine. What type of perspective would that give to our seemingly perennial discussion about designating a single language as “official”? There’s the girl from a country once run by a monstrous fascist. She’s forming fast friendships with envoys from at least six countries hers once occupied. There’s the Chilean kid whose country was a dictatorship when I was his age, and his friend from neighboring Argentina, which has survived half a dozen revolutions in the past century. I know the U.S. is supposed to be a champion of democracy and a world power, and that there are a lot of folks counting on our remaining those things so other, less savory characters don’t rise to take our place. What we’re hearing right now, from our kids currently on exchange, and our guests here at home, is how much people all over the world are freaking way out. But we’ll keep sending new emissaries abroad, and bringing their counterparts here. Continued on Page 9

Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 

 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

McMullen place of safety and peace that all the kids and grandkids will run to for solace and home-cooked meals. I assume I will one day cook again, as I am already thinking of what recipes I will be famous for fixing when the grandkids visit. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to handle the emotions and changes that empty nesting brings on. Whether we are overcome with grief or regret or full of joy and celebration, I think the one thing most of us can agree on is that nothing prepares you for how much life changes. Whether our kids come back for short periods or long ones or never look back at all, whether we eventually have grandkids or spend more time alone, this time in a parent’s life has rich substance. I think this milestone should not be dreaded and can be anticipated with endless possibilities for all. I choose to see my nest as refillable, overflowing, and anything but empty! n

Markley Continued from page 7

And as we interviewed those candidates and their parents, never once did I hear anything about anxiety over what the world could look like in a year, even though there is the possibility it could look very different. What I heard is how these kids would define the word “ambassador,” and how they think they would handle the stress of being different, alone in a crowd of strangers, thousands of miles away from their normal sources of support, all day, every day, for what for people of this age is a very long time. And I thought about what they’d bring home with them, and what they’d leave behind in the places they visited. I was humbled by the vast amount of optimism and courage that represents, and proud to be a part of it. There is said to be a

Cherokee parable about a man telling his grandson about the terrible fight going on inside him between two wolves. One wolf represents anger, hate, greed, resentment, bitterness, and ego. The other wolf is peace, hope, love, joy, empathy, generosity, and compassion. He chooses which wolf will win, he tells his grandson, by the one he chooses to feed. (Calm down, people. Nobody’s feeding teenagers to wolves). n

Beth Markley is a humor writer and fundraising consultant who lives in Boise with her husband and two sons, one of whom is currently a foreign exchange student. She publishes weekly stories about her misadventures in parenting in her blog, Manic Mumblings of a Mediocre Mom at www.manicmumbling. com.


Continued from page 5 Overall, this season of life has been truly fulfilling. I began to enjoy some of that hard-earned free time. I took several spontaneous vacations, practically lived in the mountains all summer and camped and hiked every chance I got. I started to lose that baby weight from 20 years ago, picked up some old hobbies, and made more time for volunteering. As an “empty nester,” I have discovered my nest is actually very full. It’s full of joyful memories, and it is full of new relationships, adventure, peace, acceptance, and hope for what’s next. I am enjoying getting to know my adult child, as well as the young adults my niece and nephew are becoming. My nest is slowly becoming riddled with pictures, childhood art, and sentiments that remind me that the future grandmother in me is being conditioned for that role I know I will embrace like an old crocheted afghan. I hope my home will be that

Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 



Free Parent Education Seminar


First and third Thursdays

Brain Balance Achievement Center at 3210 E. Chinden Blvd., #113, in Eagle holds a Free Parent Education Seminar from 7 to 8 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of every month. Dr. Ray Booth, clinical psychologist, presents information on the topic, “Why Your Child Is Struggling” and answers questions. For more information, contact Executive Director Dawna Booth at 938-1312 or

Share One Suitcase Through December 21

Randy-B Funk is holding a Share One Suitcase drive now through December 21. The local youngster is asking people to pack one suitcase (new or used) with clothing (new or gently used) and other items, including toothbrushes, pillows, blankets, new underwear (men’s, women’s and children’s), socks, coats, wallets, cologne, makeup, purses, etc. For a child, fill a backpack with toys. Think, “What would you need if you were homeless?” The suitcases will go to the River of Life Men’s Shelter and the City Lights Women’s Shelter. Suitcases may be dropped off at Postal Express, 1740 E. Fairview in Meridian, or by calling 914-3793. Randy-B could use some volunteers to help in this make-a-difference project. Call the number above or email

Winter Garden aGlow Through January 1

Once again, the Idaho Botanical Garden is featuring its annual holiday display of 300,000 sparkling lights beautifully decorating the garden landscape. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the event, which kicked off Thanksgiving Day and will run through January 1. On select nights, Santa will make an appearance, choirs will sing, and a G-scale model train called Holiday Express will wind its way through the winter wonderland. For costs and other information, go to

Reading at the Refuge First and third Monday

Preschoolers, kindergartners and their families are invited to Reading at the Refuge every first and third Monday, with the exception of federal holidays, at 10 a.m. and repeating at 2 p.m. at the Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center near Lake Lowell in Nampa. There will be a wildlife-related story, craft-making, and exploring the Visitor Center and trails at the refuge. For more information, go to deerflat, email or call 467-9278.

Kindermusik classes Mondays

Kindermusik at Dunkley Music is enrolling students ages 0-7 for music classes. Attend a free preview class and experience the delight of making music together while opening doors to creativity, exploration, friendship and joy in learning. Register for the preview class at, or by calling the store at 342-5549 and asking for Jane. Classes are available at 10 a.m. Mondays. Dunkley Music is located at 3410 N. Eagle Rd., Ste. 150, in Meridian.

The Nutcracker Ballet December 6 & 7

Caldwell Fine Arts will present the holiday favorite The Nutcracker

10 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

Ballet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, at Jewett Auditorium on the College of Idaho campus. Also on the CFA holiday schedule is Nutcracker Jr. from 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, and Clara’s Tea Party at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 6 (sold only with The Nutcracker Ballet) and at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, at the C of I Langroise Center. For costs, tickets and other information, go to www. Tickets may also be purchased over the phone at 459-5275.

Ambrose School Traditional Christmas Program December 6

For the second year in a row, The Ambrose School’s combined music groups, encompassing all K-6 students and upper school choirs and orchestra, will present a traditional Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts on the Boise State campus. Ticket costs (excluding ticketing fees) are $15 and $25. Go to

Family Programs at Nampa Public Library Throughout December

Many programs for families will be held at the Nampa Public Library throughout December. A special Christmas Coloring Contest is under way until December 16. Other programs include: Art Endeavor, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 8; Christmas at the Library, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 10; “The Grinch” storytelling event, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, December 17; and Star Wars Day, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 17. Baby/Toddler Storytime will be held from 10:15 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 6, and Thursday, December 8. Preschool Storytime is set for 10:15 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, December 7, and Friday, December 9. The Right on Target program will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 17. Go to

“Good Will Toward Men” December 7

“Good Will Toward Men: Christmas with Millennial Choirs & Orchestras” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, at the Morrison Center. Performers include youth choirs, a majestic grand chorus, and a symphony orchestra. Tickets are $14 to $34. Go to

Create Luminaria December 8

Teens and adults are welcome to come create luminaria, a kind of Christmas lantern, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, December 8, at the Library! at Hillcrest (5246 W. Overland Rd. in Boise). Go to

Mary Poppins, the Broadway Musical December 8-10

One of Disney’s most popular movies, “Mary Poppins,” was turned into a musical and will be presented at the Nampa Civic Center at various times December 8-10. For ticket information, go to musictheatreofidaho.

of Events

Month of December & Early January Please send family-related calendar items to

Search-Finders of Idaho December 8

Search-Finders of Idaho is open to adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents. The December meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 8, at the Children’s Home Society, 740 E. Warmsprings in Boise. (Use the side entrance and go to the second floor.) The SearchFinders of Idaho meets the second Thursday of each month and is a “search and support group for members of the adoption triad.” See the group’s Facebook page for more information.

craft program for children ages 3 and up from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday. On December 10, children will design festive hats to hold their favorite holiday treats; and on December 17, they’ll make a Frosty the Snowman photo frame. Call 377-1855.

BSU Annual Family Holiday Concert

Eagle Parks & Recreation will hold a Reindeer Rumble Run beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, December 10, at Heritage Park. To register, go to Also scheduled is a Country Christmas from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday, December 12, also at Heritage Park. For more information, contact Eagle Parks & Rec.

December 9

The Boise State University Music Department will present its annual holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 9, at the Morrison Center. Tickets range from $2 to $10, and all proceeds benefit the department’s scholarship fund. Go to

Holiday Pops – Nampa

Holiday events in Eagle December 10 & 12

Second Saturday – Green Christmas December 10

The Boise Philharmonic will present its holiday concert beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, December 9, at the NNU Brandt Center in Nampa. For tickets, go to

The elves are back at the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center. Come see what you can make out of recycled and repurposed materials during a program of crafting and creating from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, December 10. The event is free, family-friendly, and no pre-registration is required. (No pets, please.) Go to

“Miracle on 34th Street, the Play”

IceWorld Ice Show

Boise Little Theater will present “Miracle on 34th Street, the Play” at various times through December 10 at the theater’s site at 100 E. Fort St. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to

Idaho IceWorld will hold its annual Ice Show at 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Saturday, December 10. The show sells out annually — and quickly. Tickets should be purchased as soon as possible at the Information Desk at IceWorld, 7072 S. Eisenman Rd. in Boise.

December 9

December 10

Santa’s Workshop December 10

December 10

Holiday Matinee

Children ages 3-12 are invited to come spend two hours making holiday crafts, playing games and decorating cookies from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 10, at the Nampa Rec Center. Santa himself will make an appearance during the event. Cost is $4 for members and $5 for non-members. Advance registration is recommended. Call 468-5858 for more information.

December 11

Gift Wrapping and Ornament Making

NOEL: A Christmas Concert

December 10

Children, teens and adults are invited to the Library! at Cole & Ustick from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, December 10, for the opportunity to wrap Christmas gifts and make ornaments. The library will provide the wrapping and ornament-making supplies, so bring gifts to wrap and your creativity, and attend the fun program. Go to

Free crafts for kids Saturdays

Lakeshore Learning Store, 417 N. Milwaukee in Boise, holds a free

Children, teens and adults are invited to watch a movie from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday, December 11, at the Library! at Cole & Ustick. The 1966 family-friendly movie features a grumpy hermit who hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville. The event is free. Go to

December 11

NNU’s Department of Music will present its fourth annual Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, December 11, at the Brandt Center’s Swayne Auditorium on the Northwest Nazarene University campus in Nampa. The concert will feature classic and modern Christmas songs, and the audience will be welcome to participate. Tickets are $5 and are available by calling 467-8413 or emailing

Lion King, Jr. auditions December 12

Treasure Valley Children’s Theater will begin auditions for Lion King, Jr. from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, December 12. Auditions will be held throughout the week. For details, go to hangouts/_/

More Events on Page 12 Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 11

CALENDAR of Events

Continued from page 11

Foster Care Program Informational Meetings

Traditions of Christmas

Foster Care Program Informational Meetings are set for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, December 12, at the Memorial Park Classroom, 618 Irving St. in Caldwell. Another meeting is planned for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, at the Boise Police Department, 333 N. Mark Stall Pl. For more information, contact Monique Layton at

A new tradition is making its way to the Treasure Valley. Traditions of Christmas, a Radio City Music Hall-style show for all ages, will make its “first annual” appearance at the Nampa Civic Center December 15-23. Until now, Traditions of Christmas has been exclusively playing in San Diego for over 27 years and Coeur d’Alene for the past five years. Throughout the show, Christmas classics are brought to life with song and dance, while the grand Nativity reminds audience members that there is a purpose behind the celebration. The fully staged Living Nativity features live animals and a manger surrounded by shepherds, as well as a vibrant, angelic choir. Traditions of Christmas features a cast of 60 people, spectacular sets, and over 400 costumes. Performances at the Nampa Civic Center, a sponsor of the show, will take place December 15, 16, 17 and 22 at 7 p.m. and December 17, 18, 22 and 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at www., or call the box office at (208) 468-5500. Group tickets may be purchased by calling 391-2867.

December 12 & 13

“Carol the Night Away” December 13

Scentsy invites people from throughout the Treasure Valley to a night out filled with festive music, warm beverages and a feast for the senses from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, at Scentsy in Meridian. During this first-ever “Point of Lights Holiday Concert,” high school and community choirs will perform in the Scentsy Commons Cafe, 2901 E. Pine Ave. in Meridian. The more than 365 trees on Scentsy’s 73-acre campus have been decorated with 26 miles of hand-wrapped lights. (Families are also invited during business hours leading up to Christmas to come to the Scentsy lobby and take family photos in front of a life-sized snow globe and to walk around the holiday-themed campus.)

December 15-23

“A Christmas Carol” December 17

Stage Coach Theatre is presenting “A Christmas Carol” at various times through December 17 at the theater’s site at 4802 W. Emerald in Boise. Tickets are $15. Go to or Tickets may be purchased at Eventbrite or at the theater box office.

Singing and Santa Boise Chordsmen Christmas Concert December 13

The Boise Chordsmen will present their annual Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, at Parkview Christian Church, 201 W. Ustick Rd. in Meridian. There will be no admission fee, but the Chordsmen will accept canned food items for Hope House. Go to

7th Annual Caldwell Night Rodeo “Christmas Party & Holiday Fundraiser” December 13

Join the Caldwell Night Rodeo board of directors and Miss Caldwell Night Rodeo for a festive and fun-filled evening of food, drinks, raffles and auctions. The event is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 13, at O’Connor Fieldhouse in Caldwell. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. Proceeds benefit Kids First Cast and Caldwell’s Shop with a Cop program. Go to

December 17

A “fa la la” day will take place at the Boise WaterShed from 10 to 1 p.m. Saturday, December 17. Attendees will be able to snap a photo with Santa Claus, sing along with carolers and make some holiday crafts to take home. The program is free, and no pre-registration is required. Go to bee.

Drop and Shop December 17

Parents who still have shopping to do may drop their children off at the Nampa Rec Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, December 17. Kids ages 5-12 may enjoy a day of supervised activities, including games, crafts, swimming, movies and more. Snacks and a pizza lunch are included in the price of $17 for members and $19 for non-members. Registration is necessary. Go to

Holiday Sing-Along December 15

Join the library’s Sam Counsil and sing songs of the holiday season from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 15, at the Library! at Collister. The program is for people of all ages, so cozy up with some free refreshments and enjoy the sing-along. Go to

Family Weekday Program: Petco Presents December 15

Join the Nampa Public Library for an hour, and meet and learn all about an animal of the month. Hosted by Petco, the monthly program will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, December 15. All ages are welcome.

12 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

33rd Annual Christmas Run

December 17

Celebrate the holiday season as a family by participating in the Christmas Run presented by Saint Alphonsus and starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, December 17. The race begins and ends at Boise High School, and hot soup will be served — courtesy of Whole Foods — following the race. Entry fees range from $20 to $40. Go to ymcatvidaho. org for more information and to register. The event features a Christmas Costume Contest, a Reindeer Dash, and other highlights.

BCT Children’s Reading Series December 18 & 19

Boise Contemporary Theater has launched its 2016-2017 Children’s Reading Series. The series allows children to “hear a play,” as professional actors bring engaging tales to life. All stories in the series are perfect for children ages 6 and up. December will feature “Stubby Cringle’s Christmas + A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Shows will take place at 2 p.m. December 18 and at 7 p.m. December 19 at 854 Fulton St. The performances will also include traditional holiday music. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children. More information about the series schedule, descriptions of the stories, and purchasing tickets may be found online at or by calling 331-9224.

Around the World for Christmas December 19-23

Along with hands-on fun in the exhibit hall of the Boise WaterShed, there will be Around the World Christmas craft and activity stations during winter break from school December 19-23. The program is free. Go to

Cirque Dreams Holidaze December 20

Recommended for people of all ages, Cirque Dreams Holidaze will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 20, at the Morrison Center. The circus-like holiday spectacular features ornaments, costumes and acrobatics that celebrate holiday themes, music and traditions. Tickets range from $30 to $65. Go to

Discovery Center Winter Break Camps December 27-30

The Discovery Center of Idaho will hold winter break camps for two age groups. First through third graders will attend a Scratch Story Telling Camp from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. December 27-30 and learn how to tell stories through coding. Fourth through sixth graders will meet at the same time but attend a Snappy Science Camp, where they will try their hand at chemistry, aerospace engineering, biology, rocket science and more. There are fees to attend, and students must pre-register. Go to

New Year’s Eve Idaho Potato Drop December 31

December 31, 2016 will mark the fourth year of the Idaho Potato Drop. The big-spud drop will be held from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the State Capitol, 700 W. Jefferson St. in downtown Boise. This is a free, family-friendly event attended by thousands from around the area. There will be live music, eclectic vendors, food, fireworks and more. Go to

New Year’s Eve Lock In for Kids December 31

Lock your kids away while you go out and have a blast during Lock In for Kids from 7 p.m. Saturday, December 31, to 9 a.m. Sunday, January 1, at the Nampa Rec Center. Kids, ages 6-12, will enjoy movies, swimming, games and a pizza party in a safe environment with a male and female supervisor. Cost is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Go to

Skate into the New Year December 31

Idaho IceWorld in Boise will host a Skate into the New Year program on December 31. For more information, go to

NOON Year’s Eve Party December 31

Families are invited to celebrate the new Indoor Adventure Park at Wahooz from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, December 31. Eight attractions will keep everyone busy while celebrating the launch of 2017. For costs and other information, go to Pinz Countdown Party — Join the Countdown Party at Pinz Bowling Center at Wahooz in Meridian from 9:15 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, December 31. Get your own lane for the entire evening, with an appetizer and dessert buffet, and a midnight countdown party. Lanes sell out fast; to make reservations, call 898-0900, ext. 0. For costs and other information, go to Wahooz New Year’s Eve Party — Bring in 2017 with the whole family at Wahooz Family Fun Zone from 5 p.m. to midnight December 31. Check the website for costs and other information.

An Evening with C.S. Lewis & Missoula Children’s Theatre Throughout January

This one-act play explores the life of C.S. Lewis as he reflects on his books, his philosophy, his friendships, and the love that found him in his golden years. A presentation of Caldwell Fine Arts, the play will be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 14, at Jewett Auditorium on the College of Idaho campus. Adult tickets range from $10 to $25; student tickets are $5 to $10. Go to or call 459-5275. CFA will also present its annual Missoula Children’s Theatre event in 2017, featuring “Treasure Island.” Local kids audition on Monday and are ready to perform by Friday. Auditions are set for 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, January 23, at Lincoln Elementary School, 1200 Grant St. in Caldwell. Children in 1st-12th grades are eligible to audition. There is a $5 audition/participation fee, and no advance preparation is necessary. Performances of the play will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, January 27, at Jewett Auditorium and at 1 p.m. Saturday, January 28, also at Jewett. For more information, visit the CFA website.

LIFT event January 25

LIFT, a gathering of women to help you Live Inspired, Fearless, and Thriving, to be encouraged and discover more about your value and purpose, will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, January 25, at The Ambrose School in Meridian. Register at The organization is sponsored by SEARCH, a faith-based organization that provides a safe place for women to come together and explore questions about life and God. Women from all faiths and perspectives are welcome.

More Events on Page Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 13

Crafts on a Dime

Snow ruler makes a thrifty holiday gift By Samantha Stillman


his month’s craft can make a cute, thrifty gift or an easy craft to do with the kids during their winter break. Some of you may have a large paint stirring stick lying around, but I was able to pick one up for free at Lowe’s. If you are making more than one, I would suggest offering to pay, as an employee mentioned that they can only give so many out. Happy crafting! n


1. Paint the top handle area with black paint. If it is messy, that is fine since the black paper will be covering the line. Paint the rest of the stick white. 2. While the paint is drying, cut out the bottom of the top hat with black paper. Using white paper, I drew and cut out some holly berries and leaves. If you have any broken piece of a Christmas wreath, that would be cute as well for the decoration on the hat. 3. Glue your hat piece and holly on with craft glue and allow to dry. After drying, I drew the snowman’s face using some Magic Markers. I used a pink crayon to give him some blushing cheeks. 4. Using a ruler, I drew lines for the inch mark and half-inch mark. I wrote little sayings every few inches (Dusting, Getting Deep, Shovel, Take a Nap). Picture 2

Supplies needed: Picture 1 Large paint stick White and black paper Markers Pen Scissors Glue Black and white paint Paintbrush

Samantha Stillman


Samantha Stillman is a Treasure Valley crafts instructor and freelance writer. She may be reached at


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Why kids fight

Strategies to reduce sibling conflict


et’s start by saying sibling conflict is crazy-making! I think everyone would agree. My parents, for years, talked about how my sister and I would fight incessantly on the long drive to Florida each summer. No amount of bribery, coercion or threats would stop us. We were in the back seat and we were bored. My parents simply wanted quiet. It never occurred to them to place one of us in the front seat and one in the back. When it comes to sibling conflict, parents generally are not inclined to strategize, they just want their kids to behave. But if a child falls behind in school, let’s say, wouldn’t all effort be invested on behalf of that problem? Setting aside time each night to help the child with homework is a no-brainer. Daily email back and forth with the teacher is a given. And if all else fails, hiring a tutor now seems commonplace. But sibling conflict? We just tell them to get along. Perhaps we can begin by looking at why kids fight. Then we can reasonably address how to help them get along. Here are the usual reasons for conflict: • To get attention from the parents • Boredom • To feel powerful • A lack of personal/private space • The absence of clearly defined rules and guidelines governing acceptable and unacceptable behavior — for example, if you hit, you sit • To become the favored one in the eyes of their parents by making their sibling look bad • They are too young to manage the social complexities of relationships — sharing, compromise, empathy, delaying gratification, conflict resolution, emotional self-regulation Patience, advanced planning and clever interventions by parents will address most of the above issues. Intervene on the front-end (before conflict erupts) in order to anticipate and eliminate problems before they occur. Like putting one kid in the front seat with one parent, while the other is in the back seat with the other parent. And do not forget to give each child equal time in the front. This small maneuver would have saved my parents endless grief on those long drives to Florida. Here are some front-end interventions to consider: • Establish rules and guidelines for sibling interactions. And consistently enforce them. Kids need a road map to follow when it comes to interacting with each other. • Make predictions. If you can predict conflict between the children, then trust your judgment and plan accordingly. For example, if they always fight over the TV remote, then do not allow any of them access to it. • Divide and conquer. If you can provide separate spaces (bedrooms for example), do so. It may mean giving up your office space, but it will be well worth it. • Spend regular one-on-one quality time with each child. And make it consistent. Today’s families are very busy and sometimes what gets pushed down the priority list is quiet time with each child. Remember, a big reason they fight is for adult attention. • If there are two parents in the home, remember managing sibling conflict is a two-parent job. Both parents being attentive to the children, being consistent and supporting each other is priceless. It also prevents the children from playing one parent

against the other. • Catch them getting along. Kids love to please parents, and they respond well to the accompanying praise. This intervention can also provide teachable moments — so important as they strive to learn valuable social skills. • Do not put the older child in charge of the younger. If you do, you are asking for trouble and you are bound to hear “you’re not my dad/mom, you can’t tell me what to do.” • Teach them at an early age to entertain themselves. Provide ample time for children to be on their own. This way they learn to manage downtime and to enjoy their own company. Remember that some degree of sibling conflict is inevitable. And while most people vividly remember their squabbles with their siblings, most also report satisfactory relations as adults. Experts believe that a certain level of conflict is beneficial. It provides children with opportunities to learn valuable social skills which will benefit them their entire lives. Lastly, place sibling relations on an equal level with school performance and other skills you want your children to learn. Then sit back and enjoy the peace and harmony inside the home. n

Robert Rhodes has a master of social work from the University of California, Berkeley. He obtained his license as a clinical social worker in 1989. Since then he has worked in multiple settings with children and adolescents. He has been in private practice for the past 16 years. He may be reached at rrhodes., (208) 900-8500, or


By Robert Rhodes

Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 15


On the Twelfth Day Before Christmas ... to surprise Mattie. Jessie, liking the look, wanted one for her headboard, too. I carried in the Christmas stockings, the wooden “ Nutcrackers, some holiday stuffed animals, red riblove the holidays!” my 11-year-old bons, and Christmas wreaths. Jessie played the radio daughter, Jessie, exclaimed 12 days as we decorated, but I didn’t enjoy her song selections before Christmas last year. If we were and asked her to put on Christmas music. Was I getplaying a game that asked for a word ting into the Christmas spirit? to complete the sentence “I _____ the holiJessie made a video and posted it on Instagram. days,” love wouldn’t be my verb. She played the role of Clara and danced across the Let’s face it, life gets busy. Demands fill our room with the Nutcracker. Jessie repeated, “I love the days with stress and anxiety. Who has extra holidays.” I smiled and noticed that my frustration time to shop, decorate, and navigate across and stress had turned to joy. airport terminals or interstates? Jessie taped two candy canes together to form a On this Sunday afternoon, Jessie suggested heart. She strategically placed stuffed animals all over that we decorate before her mom, Mattie, the house. Finally, I retrieved a string of lights for her returned from a nine-day business trip. After Patrick Hempfing headboard. I started at the electrical outlet and strung eight and a half days of holding down the them over her cabinet and around her nightstand, then over her fort, the last thing I wanted to do was to pull out boxes of lights, headboard. Jessie noted that if she had another string, she could ribbons, and bows. “Jessie, it’s not worth decorating since we’re go further. She went to the garage and brought back two more leaving in a few days and Christmas will be over by the time we sets of lights. I said, “Hey, we might have enough to go around get home.” Actions speak louder than words and my daughter is your entire room.” She acknowledged that as her plan. good at using both to accomplish her goals. Before I knew it, the The strings of lights taped to the four walls put out lots of light. decoration process had begun. “Jessie, I think it’s going to be too bright for you to sleep.” She I carried the heavy box containing the nativity set into the livshook her head in disagreement. ing room. Mattie took 10 years to find the perfect one, so Jessie During the decorating, Jessie thanked me four or five times. As always hears the “be careful with each piece” speech. Instead of I stacked the empty boxes against the wall in the garage, Jessie stressing as she handled each fragile item, I opted to take a nap walked out and wrapped her arms around me. “Thank you for and let Jessie run with it. She, like her mother, prefers to be in decorating for Christmas, Daddy.” I’ll never forget that hug. charge. I awoke to a scene with the camel figurine next to Baby When Mattie returned home that evening, Jessie quickly Jesus and Mary off to the side petting the sheep. As Jessie showed showed her our afternoon’s work. After bedtime prayers, Mattie, off her handiwork, she pulled Baby Jesus from the manger and Jessie, and the dog rested under the covers in Jessie’s bed, enjoysaid, “Look, Baby Jesus fits in the camel seat!” Concerned that it ing the colorful lights. Christmas came 12 days early … and I might fall out of the chair and break, I quickly responded, “No, loved it. it’s best to keep Jesus in the manger.” Until next month, remember to cherish the moments. Happy I had hoped to get away with the nativity set as our only holidays! n decoration, but Jessie wanted to decorate the entire house. As I headed to the garage and pulled items from boxes, my decorating Patrick Hempfing had a 20-year professional career in banking, acsupervisor followed close behind. counting, and auditing before he became a father at age 44. He is now a I handed Jessie a string of tree lights to hang around the full-time husband, stay-at-home dad, and writer. Follow Patrick at www. fireplace and nativity set. She went right to work as I searched and on Twitter @PatrickHempfing. If you through other boxes. A few of the bulbs were burnt out so she enjoyed this column, you’ll like Patrick’s first book, “MoMENts: A Dad twisted — instead of pulled — one of the burnt out bulbs. This Holds On.” The book compiles favorite stories and new material and is resulted in 10 bulbs in succession not lighting. I decided to hang available for sale on the partially lit string over the headboard in the master bedroom By Patrick Hempfing


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Simple Science

Feats of balance you can do at home By Steve Davala


hese simple science experiments will have you testing out a few simple to-do tricks that will stump and amaze you and your friends. Some have to do with balance, others are how your body perceives different things, but all of them are fun and full of science. Good things about these? You won’t need ANY specific materials.


You will only need a door frame to stand in, a small object that you can pick up, and a wall to stand next to.

Experiment #1: Make your foot stick to the floor

Experiment #2: Make your arms float

1. Stand in a door frame with the outsides of your hands pushed against the frame. 2. Push outwards this way for at least 30 seconds. 3. Walk slowly forward. 4. Feel your arms float into the air! Explanation: When you exert energy to your muscles, they condition themselves to the stress. When you release the muscles after such a time, they are still fired into that position and action. Even though you don’t push on them further, the muscles are doing it on their own.

Experiment #3: Don’t fall over

1. Stand with your back against a wall and your heels touching the wall as well (best to try this on a carpeted area). Continued on Page 21


1. You need to find a section of a wall that you can stand next to without any obstructions. 2. Stand sideways next to a wall, putting your right shoulder and the outside of your right foot against the wall so you are right next to it. 3. Try to pick up your left foot while keeping your shoulder and right foot stuck to the wall. 4. You can’t! Explanation: Go ahead and stand in the center of the room

now and pick up one of your feet off the ground. Notice what your body does when you do this. You shift to the other side of the leg being picked up. When you are up against the wall you just can’t do that; the wall is in the way. The reason this is necessary is that your center of balance needs to be offset to do this. (Your center of balance is roughly right below your stomach). If you can’t offset that, that foot isn’t going anywhere.

Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 17

No-clause commitment

Mom’s lessons from ‘inconvenient angels’ By Gaye Bunderson


andra Cavanaugh has a story to tell and many ways to tell it. She’s an actor, writer, filmmaker, and a mother with some amazing experiences under her belt. She possesses such a varied history she could write a book — and in fact, she’s done that. It all begins in Idaho. “I was born in Boise, went to Capital High and Boise State University. I first started acting in junior high at Hillside,” Cavanaugh said. Then the story gears up to be worthy of one of the screenplays she’s written. After earning a theater arts degree from BSU in 1983, Cavanaugh launched what she calls “a rather ambitious audition tour.” “I really wanted to go to school in New York,” she said. Her aspirations were realized when she was accepted into the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City. Following that, she entered a pilot program at the National Theatre of Great Britain, where she studied with noted directors and actors, including Anthony Hopkins. Over the years, she came to embrace the term “creative specialist” to describe the many things she does. “I coach, teach and mentor professional actors and writers, as well as children and teens with learning disabilities and special needs and parents of children with special needs and behavioral issues, particularly those who have been adopted from foster care,” Cavanaugh said during an interview early this fall. “I am a director of both film and theater, a playwright and screenwriter, and a singer/song-


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writer. I am currently finishing a feature film, doing pre-production on another, developing two documentaries, writing a book, and writing songs for a new album. “I also do a lot of public speaking and workshops, mostly on topics dealing with creativity and imagination, children’s education, parenting, developing a personal mission statement, fetal alcohol syndrome in children, and foster/adoption issues.” And, yes, there’s more. However, the highest achievement of Cavanaugh’s life are her daughters, whom she refers to as “my inconvenient angels.” Since the time her biological daughter Shelly was 3, her parents had been promising her a little sister. At 13, Shelly became eager to know when that was going to happen. So Cavanaugh and her husband (the couple has since divorced) looked into adopting a child from the foster care system. They ended up adopting two little girls who are biological halfsisters. Brittni was 4 at the time, and the older girl, Andi, was 9. Shelly gained not one but two sisters, and the new little family seemed to be functioning well. “The girls came with no diagnosis,” Cavanaugh said. Over time, the reality that they were deeply troubled became increasingly clear. The girls’ past included profound abuse. Between the two of them the list of their disorders included fetal alcohol syndrome, reactive attachment disorder, and ADHD. Worst of all, the oldest girl was diagnosed with a severe mental illness that included sociopathic tendencies. People with sociopathic tendencies suffer from an inability to sympathize with others’ pain or to feel remorse. They want to hurt people — often severely — and have no sense of moral or empathetic right and wrong about it. Put another way, they have no conscience. Andi wanted to harm Brittni to the point Cavanaugh’s husband frequently slept in front of the door of Brittni’s room, while Cavanaugh kept an eye on Andi to make sure she didn’t slip out of bed to harm her sister in the middle of the night. “My brain melted when I realized how mentally ill Andi was,” said Cavanaugh. She also stated that at this point, many people would have opted out and returned the children to the foster careadoption agency. “If you adopt from foster care, you

18 June 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

should consider the children YOUR children. The system allows people to ‘test drive’ the children,” she said. “Our society has developed a morality of convenience. Everything is disposable.” Cavanaugh wrote a book titled, “The Art of Unconditional Commitment.” She saved her daughters through clause-free dedication to them and an unwritten, inviolable contract that she would never abandon them. Andi in particular presented a challenge. “It was a 10-year odyssey helping Andi to reach a point of ‘normalcy’ in her life,” Cavanaugh said. The girl spent years institutionalized; throughout that time, her mother spent hours fighting the institutional bureaucracy on her daughter’s behalf. “I was right in the middle of it,” she said. But ultimately, it was the relationship between mother and daughter that allowed Andi to become a functioning girl and now an adult woman. Mental health practitioners wrote Andi off as unfixable. “They said, ‘You can’t undo what has happened to Andi. She’ll need to be institutionalized all her life,’” Cavanaugh said. At one point, Andi told Cavanaugh she wanted to go home; and Cavanaugh told her in a loving mother’s way that she understood, but until everyone was certain she wouldn’t hurt Brittni, she couldn’t come home. Andi looked at her and asked, “But what if I never love Brittni? Will I have to be here forever?” Cavanaugh said that’s when she realized everyone — herself, the doctors and others — had it all wrong. She told Andi, “We’re preparing you to be ill for the rest of your life; we have to start preparing you to be well.” How does a person with sociopathic tendencies learn to have a conscience? Presented with that question, Cavanaugh explains that when Andi would call her from the institution and tell her she had problems with someone, Cavanaugh would reply, “This is what I think, this is how I feel and I think this is how you should feel...” She transferred her own sense of right and wrong to Andi; or, as she puts it, “I learned to create a conscience in her. She used my conscience.” Small steps, such as living in an assistance home in Kuna and visiting her family occasionally, turned into larger


steps, and Andi eventually returned to the Cavanaugh home — her home. Today, she is a mom-made miracle. As a young woman of 21, she is a certified nursing assistant in Portland, Ore. and is working toward becoming a certified medical assistant. “She loves to help people in hospice situations,” said Cavanaugh. In a recent email exchange with Idaho Family, Sandra Cavanaugh, second from left, is shown here with her ‘one big happy family.’ She is between her two adopted daughters: Brittni in the purple shirt and Andi in the pink one. (Courtesy photo) Cavanaugh wrote: “As I was writing mitted to her sisters as her mother is to daughters — those inconvenient angels, this email, I got a them all. “She’s my work partner and who in their own way gave her so much. text on my phone from Andi. ‘Love you helps me with the other kids,” Cavana“My daughters taught me what’s on the Momma’ is all it says. ugh said. other side of sticking it out,” she said. “That’s the kind of thing that makes The self-defined creative specialist is inShe wants to help other parents in it all worth it. She’s having a terrific, volved with an Idaho Parents Unlimited the foster-adoption system who may be normal, life! She loves to read, and she program that helps children with special facing their own trials. “I can’t stand to has finally discovered Powell’s Books in see people who think there’s no hope or Portland, which is a fantasy land for those needs learn writing, acting and improvisation. “People are way too willing to give help,” she said. “It’s very lonely and very of us who love books. She’s having an up on these kids,” Cavanaugh said. scary.” n awesome day.” She’s helping the kids tell their own stoBritnni is 16 and a junior at Boise High ries. She said one teacher told her, “You Sandra Cavanaugh’s book about her adoptive School. “She is an exceptionally talented give the kids a sense there’s nothing they parent experiences will be published this Decemwriter and photographer,” said Cavanacan’t do.” ber. Details will be available at www.sandracaugh, who praised her youngest daughter It’s a philosophy Cavanaugh gained; interested people will also be able for her good heart and warm personality. through experience: holding firm and not to buy the book on the website, or may purchase What about Shelly, the little girl who giving up. For that, she owes a lot to her it through Amazon. wanted siblings? Now 26, she’s as com-

Idaho Family Magazine | December 2016 19

Freeway mishap

A lesson learned on the drive to school By Diane Louise Smith



exited the passenger side to stand by my van. It was a sunny, late afternoon spring day with a calm breeze. I saw another driver and we shared small talk, such as where we were heading that day. Any other time, this exchange would have been pleasant. However, it was marred by my causing an accident, and we were standing on the side of the freeway waiting for the police. It never ceases to amaze me that the most important life lessons usually occur within the most unpleasant circumstances. This is what happened. … I was driving on the freeway on my way to the university where I am currently attending graduate school. I approached a part of the freeway that had traffic slowed down to a crawl. As I crept along, my mind began to wander; I was thinking about the speech I was going to be presenting during class. It was a group project and a significant part of my grade. Still driving slowly, my eyes drifted to

the huge line of merging tion. She would talk with traffic in the far right lane. the professor and reschedI thought to myself that I ule the speech. had never seen so many My nerves were still ratcars on the on-ramp at that tled as I exited through the time of day. passenger side to join the When my gaze turned other driver in our wait. back to the windshield, I After an hour, we heard was horrified to see brake the sirens. Three police lights on the truck in front cars pulled in behind us. of me. Quickly, I applied As they surveyed the situamy brakes. For a split tion, two of the officers left second, I thought I would the scene. The remaining be able to stop in time, but officer advised me to sit in I was mistaken. My bumper the passenger seat and fill made contact with the Diane Louise Smith out the incident report. He truck’s tow bar. As my van walked over to the truck to jolted, I experienced the sickening feeling take the driver’s statement. that I was involved in a fender bender and it With this alone time, I was able to berate was all my fault. myself without interruptions. Fears of highWe both signaled and pulled over to the er car insurance, failing class, and hating to shoulder to park. My hands shook as I held have made a mistake tortured my mind. the wheel, watching the driver approaching After a few minutes, I saw the other driver my window. I read his expression as surmerging into traffic and the officer heading prised and annoyed, and he had every right towards my van. I opened the passenger to be. I was feeling the exact same emotions door and handed him my paperwork. As about myself. he reviewed the form, I left no doubts that I rolled down my window and blurted this accident was entirely my fault and I out, “I am so sorry! Are you okay?!” deserved a ticket. I even apologized for the After I said these words, the other driver’s whole mess. expression softened and he answered he was The officer smiled and said that everyone all right and asked about my well-being. I makes mistakes and it was a good thing that responded I was fine and told him I would everyone was okay. As he handed me my call the police. When the 911 operator asked citation, he advised me to be more careful if an ambulance was needed, I doubleand gave directions how to merge safely checked with the driver again and he aninto the freeway traffic. swered no. The dispatcher then told me the As he walked back to his squad car, I police would be there as soon as they could. ruminated over his words that everyone was As I sat in my van, I utilized this wait time okay. Here I was piling blame onto myself to make a couple of dreaded calls. The first for the fender bender. Yes, I made a miswas to my husband. I would have to tell him take, but I was missing a huge fact — this that it was my fault I was in an accident and incident could have been so much worse. our insurance payments would surely go up. Here we were, involved in an accident on However, when I sadly told him about the the freeway and yet we were driving home fender bender, he immediately expressed safely to our families. Thank God no one concern about my safety and that of the was in need of a tow truck or, worse, an other driver. He even offered to come down ambulance. to our location. I assured him all was well, My license plate has a small indentation just waiting for the police to basically give from the truck’s tow hitch. It reminds me me a ticket. I felt there was no need for him that the next time I make a mistake, instead to waste his time to pick me up, since I was of browbeating myself, look at it as the the one who caused all of this commotion. outside world sees it: a tiny blemish. n My second phone call was to my classmate. As I dialed her cell phone, I chided Diane Louise Smith has been married for over myself for being in this accident, result20 years and is a mom and bonus mom to three ing in missing our presentation and possons. She is a published author of “Eye of Leosibly hurting our grades in the process. mander,” and her blog is www.writingsbydiane. Again, her reaction was very similar to my She is currently working on her husband’s. She was glad everyone was okay master’s degree. She is also working on another and said not to worry about the presentabook of short stories.

20 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine


Continued from page 17 2. Put a ball or similar object on the floor about 6 inches away from your feet on the ground. 3. Keeping your legs and heels flat against the wall, reach over and try to pick up the object. 4. (You won’t be able to.) Explanation: Again, your center of balance is involved. This time as you bend forward, the center of balance goes out over your legs/your supports. This throws the balance off and will cause you to topple forward. Another way to explore this is to kneel down, place an object, maybe a cup with a straw in it, about 20 inches away from your knees. Putting your hands behind your back, try to sip out of the straw. You will once again tip over as your center of balance shifts forward. I hope you enjoyed these simple experiments. If you have more questions about this, or need tips about science fair ideas around this topic (or others), contact the author. n

Steve Davala is a middle school science teacher who likes to write and work with Photoshop. He’s got two kids of his own and subjects them to these science activities as guinea pigs. Follow him on Twitter, on or email him at

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Irene’s Insights

Home decorating trends coming in ‘17 American and international news, the economy, wars and lifestyle shifts. Common themes reoccur. These trends are interesting, but they are not all very practical. I enjoy concentrating on practical trends that can empower you to make your living space e have a new year on the horizon, a new feel and look “right” for you. incoming president and a new time to look Here are some of the trends for 2017: at our homes and personal spaces. Looking 1. Upholstered headboards will be very popular. They at trends can sometimes give us a wonderful help you relax and give your bedroom a quick regal and sophisopportunity to look at what is in and what is out. Trends come ticated feel. It will not matter if it is a custom upholstered button and go, but they can influence those big ticket purchases. We can style or a simple plain style, bed heads will be big and bold! look at how our times do influence the world we live in. 2. The shabby chic or “rescued look” will be another Most people do not realize that trends and colors are forecast strong trend. In our contemporary world, we sometimes long two to three years in advance. Factors influencing trends include: for a yesteryear that gives us wonderful memories of simpler times. In furniture, chipped paint and rustic pieces give historical reference to our lives. 3. Mixed metals are getting a big applause. The “matchy, matchy” look of only one type of metal is no longer in vogue. I think this mixed metals trend gives us a more diversified look. A little goes a long way. 4. Creating nooks and crannies to relax, read and unplug from technology will be popular in 2017. Instead of having open floor plans, there is now a need for a smaller space to think and “process life.” It will help to center our souls. “With an ever-increasing amount of time spent in front of a computer or smartphone screen during the day…there will be a greater desire to create spaces in our lives devoid of digital distraction,” says the team at Nathan + Jac. 5. Black stainless is replacOne of the decorating trends for the coming year will be mixing metals rather than using a single metal décor ing the popular stainless steel throughout a space. (From By Irene Woodworth



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finish for appliances and finishes. The black stainless comes in a matte finish that can go with many different looks. 6. Fool-proof fabrics on furniture are essential. These fabrics may look sophisticated and classy, but homeowners want furniture that is durable and stain-resistant for kids and grandkids. 7. “Green design” will be emphasized as homeowners are looking for more sustainable furniture and interior decorating ideas. Irene Woodworth Since our world is immersed with technology and disposable items, people seek balance by using recycled and repurposed pieces in furniture and décor. 8. What about color? Colors will be richer in the jewel tone color palettes with icy neutrals. Darker woods are making a comeback, and lots of textures will be coming our way. Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2017 is called Shadow 2207-30, a deep saturated amethyst raisin color that transforms throughout the day with shadow and light.

Other trends here to stay

Irene Woodworth is known as “Idaho’s Color Lady” and is founder and CEO of Redesign Boise. She is a national redesign award winner, motivational speaker, certified redesigner and color consultant, and instructor on redesign and color. She has a degree in education and interior design. She has taught various decorating and color classes throughout the country. She may be reached at For more information, visit

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I agree with a blogger from StoneGable that the following trends may not be predicted by big firms or décor experts, but I think they will stick around a while longer: burlap, clocks, farmhouse style (at least for the next year or two), fire pits, gallery wall art (although this is almost on its way out), home offices, industrial furnishings, mid-century accents, natural colors, natural fiber rugs, open shelves, painted furniture, porches, sanctuary bedrooms, and succulents (plants). Do you need to redecorate and feel you need to use the upcoming trends? If something is working well in your home and it makes you feel good, then keep it. A common suggestion I give to my clients regarding trends is using them in smaller doses or as accent pieces. It is an easy fix and more economical than changing an entire room with a new trend. Most people want comfort and practical looks that reflect their own unique personalities. Which trend do you think you would like to try? Let me know at n

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24 December 2016 | Idaho Family Magazine

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