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Don’t put away the watermelon

A letter to my son’s stuffed cat Finding a place the whole family can enjoy going

AU G. 4 , 2 0 1 1 L I B E RT Y T R I BU N E THE KEARNEY COURIER THE SMITHVILLE HERALD G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H


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LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY C O U R I E R , T H E S M I T H V I L L E H E R A L D, G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H

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LI B E RT Y T R I BU N E , T H E K E A R NEY COURIER, THE SMITHVILLE HERALD, GLADSTONE DISPATCH

Cooking up a good read Metro-area author Nancy Cody of Overland Park, Kan., recently celebrated the nationwide release of her new book, “Cooking S’More with Nana: An Activity and Cooking Book for Kids.” Through experiences with her children and grandchildren, Cody says she realized how invaluable child-based recipes and projects are to busy grown-ups. The book is filled with childfriendly projects and recipes that preschoolers can do and adults will enjoy. These projects and recipes require a minimum of materials and will allow adults to

accomplish tasks while keeping children entertained. Published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises, the book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at www.tatepublishing. com/bookstore, or by visiting barnesandnoble. com or amazon.com. This is also an eLIVE title, meaning each book contains a code redeemable for a free audio book version from TatePublishing.com. For more information, visit nancycody.tateauthor.com.

Got milk?

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated the first week in August each year in more than 120 countries to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. In the metro area, families will gather from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at McCoy Park in Independence to eat, play, learn and offer support for anyone interested in breastfeeding. Those who support breastfeeding are encouraged to attend and to bring a dish to share at the potluck. Leaders from La Leche League of Greater Kansas City will be available to answer questions, and provide information and support. The gathering also will feature music by All Ears Mobile DJ. McCoy Park offers playground equipment as well as a sprayground. It is at Highway 24 and Delaware Street.

NORTHLAND FAMILY IS A SPECIAL SECTION PUBLISHED THE FIRST WEEK OF EACH MONTH BY LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY COURIER, THE SMITHVILLE HERALD AND GLADSTONE DISPATCH, DIVISIONS OF NPG NEWSPAPERS, INC.

ON THE COVER Angi Klein sits with her two youngest children, Elise and Carter, overlooking the pool at Clayview Country Club. The Klein family has belonged to Clayview Country Club for the past year. PHOTO BY Ryne Dittmer

MAILING ADDRESS: 104 N. MAIN ST., LIBERTY, MO 64068 ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: 816-781-4941 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: NORTHLANDFAMILY@NPGCO.COM The editorial layout and design for this issue was done by Aggie Rieger, a summer intern from Oak Park High School in Gladstone.

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LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY C O U R I E R , T H E S M I T H V I L L E H E R A L D, G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H

The Accidental Parent My son’s security blanket will one day be mine

Dear Leo,

i

I feel a little silly writing you this letter. After all, you’re an orange and white stuffed cat. Or at least you were when you first came to our house. Now your white stripes are sort of a brownish grey — tinged irreversibly with orange popsicle, amoxicillin and dirt from a dozen different playgrounds. (Don’t feel bad. I’m a little dingier too.)

I suppose I shouldn’t feel too silly. This is nothing compared to the time when on a “divide-and-conquer” trip to the grocery store, I realized that I’d been singing to you, tucked under my arm, instead of to my infant daughter.

Or the time when my son insisted that you “nurse” from my boob, just like the baby. (Yes, I obliged.) Or how sometimes, in fits of exasperation at the mercurial moods of my preschooler, I find myself rolling my eyes your way ... as though you’re right there with me.

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LI B E RT Y T R I BU N E , T H E K E A R NEY COURIER, THE SMITHVILLE HERALD, GLADSTONE DISPATCH

After all of this, we’re family. And that’s exactly why I’m writing this note. I just want to say thanks. Thanks for always being there when the lights go out. When J is alone in his room and the nightlight isn’t enough company, you’re always there to see him through until morning. It used to be my job. Thank you for having just the right-sized little head. Your neck fits perfectly into the crook of my son’s elbow. When he carries you, he can still use both of his hands. Thanks for never truly getting lost. I’ve retrieved you from doctor’s offices, grocery store carts and restaurants. There was even the time when J insisted, somewhat tearfully while lying in bed, that you were outside laying on ground. Thank goodness we found you underneath the couch. At first, I thought of buying a replacement for you — just in case — but I know that an imposter wouldn’t really do. And thank you for helping him deal with all of this “big brother” stuff. It hasn’t been easy for him, and I know you’ve gone out of your way to help. There have been many times when I’ve been talking to his little sisters and I’ve looked over to see him staring wistfully at me, with you cuddled up next to him. I’m sure that just your touch made him feel a little bit better. But thank you most of all for what you’ll offer me. Sometime — not soon, but all too quickly for my taste — my little boy won’t need you anymore. You’ll probably sit on a shelf for a while. Later, you might even find yourself in a box. Then, one day, maybe when J goes to college, maybe when he gets married or maybe when he has his own child, I’ll find you.

And when I rub your little ear, it will all come flooding back to me. All of J’s “friends” (of whom you are the most important) filling his bed to the point where I’ve wondered how he would fit. The way he cocks his head to the side, nods slightly and narrows his eyes when he trying to instill the upmost seriousness to something that is, to me, inconsequential — like bringing you to the breakfast table with him or having another portion of pretzels. His caring and sweet nature. Remember when he wanted you in a carrier, similar to the one we used with his baby sisters? We wrapped a scarf around his body, tucked you in and walked to the park. He caressed you and shushed you to sleep. And I believe that his nervousness about letting you go down the slide was real, at least to him. You, fuzzy ’lil old you, encapsulate all of the things I love so much about this 3-year-old version of my son. He’s constantly evolving. But you — you’ll stay the same. So don’t get lost, Leo, and please, please, let your stitching hold. My son needs you now. And I’m going to need you in about 20 years. Lots of love, Mama

Betsy Lee is a Kansas City journalist and columnist who lives in a perpetually messy house with her husband, three children and two pets. She can be reached at contactbetsylee@gmail.com

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Chiefs help World War I Museum score touchdown with younger audiences As any parent knows, it can be challenging to engage a 9-year-old during a visit to a history museum — especially one illustrating such complex issues as global politics and the decisions of war and peace. The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, however, is looking to change that with a little help from the Kansas City Chiefs. The museum has debuted its new Family Guide, a 14-page booklet that sends children on a scavenger hunt through the museum’s world-class collection. Made possible by a donation from the Kansas City Chiefs, the guide is a free resource available to all families who visit the museum. The publication is designed to encourage children to carefully examine the museum’s artifacts and record their observations. Activities include a scavenger hunt, a maze, numerous discovery challenges and even a section for keeping a journal. The Family Guide covers a variety of topics about the Great War, including aerial combat, life in the trenches, insignia, propaganda and the role women played in the war. The publication is now available without charge to all families who ask for it at the Museum Store. “The Family Guide is another way of making the museum more engaging and memorable for our younger visitors,” says museum President and CEO Brian Alexander. “Thanks to the Kansas City Chiefs’ generous contribution, children can have fun while they learn about this important time in world history.”

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LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY C O U R I E R , T H E S M I T H V I L L E H E R A L D, G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H

PHOTOS BY RYNE DITTMER

For the family Country club provides opportunities for Mom, D ad and all the kids


LI B E RT Y T R I BU N E , T H E K E A R NEY COURIER, THE SMITHVILLE HERALD, GLADSTONE DISPATCH

AU G. 4 , 2 0 1 1

By Ryne Dittmer A summer day’s heat advisory has already taken hold of the morning as Angi Klein pulls out of the driveway of her Platte City home. Ahead of the mother of four is a day of swimming lessons and tennis matches at Clayview Country Club, which sits just outside the city limits of Liberty in Kansas City. Angi and husband Jeff have been members of the club for just more than a year after a search for the right family facility led them to Clayview. “Originally we were looking for a tennis program and we heard about this place,” Angi said. “We tried the lessons and got involved in a lot of other ways.” Clayview’s tennis program offers lessons for ages 4 and up along with fitness-based classes and competitive leagues. “It’s just a great place for people to get started with tennis. It’s like a big family here,” Luke Cachia, Clayview tennis pro, said. “It’s a very social sport that allows you to meet new people and families.” The family atmosphere was what eventually drew the Kleins to join Clayview. “It’s just a really tied-together place. It’s small enough that it is a family facility but big enough to accommodate so many activities,” Angi said. In the short time the Kleins have been members, the family has settled in comfortably at the country club. “The people are nice. My kids have felt real included here and made friends. We hang out here. It’s nice having a place we can come where I know they’re safe.” Making the most of the opportunities, the family often finds themselves doubling up on activities the club offers. “Between tennis and swim lessons, we kind of live here using the facilities,” Angi said. The variety of activities is something that stands out to son Grant as well. “I can be playing tennis on the courts and my little brother and sister can be taking swim lessons in the pool,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff you can do, and the staff is always real nice.” Even during the more popular summer days, the club plays host to enough activities to keep every member entertained. “There’s always something to do here. If there’s no open courts to play tennis, you can go and swim. If the pool’s not open, you can play ping pong or soccer. There’s always something to keep me and my brothers and sister busy,” Lauryn said. During the summer months Angi said she and her family make their way to Clayview most days of the week. But no matter the season, Clayview hosts activities for all members to enjoy.

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Left: Lauryn and Elise Klein sit together by the Clayview tennis courts. Below: From behind the fence, Carter watches his older brother Grant play in a summer league tennis match. Clayview Country Club offers a variety of tennis programs for different ages and competitive levels. Far left: Mom Angi and children Elise and Carter Klein walk along the sidewalk between the pool and tennis courts to watch siblings Lauryn and Grant Klein play matches for their summer competitive leagues.

WHERE DO YOU GO? CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Where’s your favorite place for a Northland outing with the family? Tell us by emailing northland family@ npgco. com. We’ll share reader responses in an upcoming issue.


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LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY C O U R I E R , T H E S M I T H V I L L E H E R A L D, G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H

Nourishing our future leaders As many parents know, where our families and friends live, work and play is just as important as their access to health care and medical services. For the children and youth in the Northland, these keys to long-term health and success often begin at school. While April marked National Minority Health Month, the theme “Bring it or buy it: Make Lunch Healthy, Green and Good!” applies throughout the school year, and whether brought or bought, making school lunches healthy and nutritious is essential. “School lunches are very important to the health and well-being of children,” said Nancie McAnaugh, project director of the Missouri Health Equity Collaborative. “We know that being a child is hard enough, but there are many minority and underserved youth in Missouri who face many more challenges. They may have limited access to healthy, fresh foods at home, and what good food they do eat, they eat at school. It’s important to highlight the need for balanced meals for all kids.” According to CountyHealthRankings.org, 65 percent of all Clay County ZIP codes have access to healthy, fresh foods. While many children buy lunches across Missouri schools, these meals can be critical to minority and underserved populations. Data gathered in 2010 from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education speaks to this need. Many students in Missouri school districts were served through the National School Lunch program, including 13.6 percent of students in Smithville R-II, 40

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percent of students in Excelsior Springs 40, and 51.7 percent of students in Missouri City 56. “Schools put students on a path to success, both academically and in terms of wellness,” said Cindy DeBlauw of the University of Missouri Extension Human and Environmental Sciences. “More underserved populations participate in the school lunch program, and these children also bear more of the burden of overweight, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.” Bill McKelvey, project coordinator of the Missouri Farm to School initiative agrees. “Sixty years ago, many Missouri families grew their own food, and schools purchased that food from farmers in their community. Much of that has changed as our agricultural production has scaled up,” he said. “Many children eat more processed food than their parents did. The key to remember is that fresh, nutritious food is important for all children, no matter what the time of year or where they live.” To help jumpstart all of the children in Clay County, health advocates recommend parents and caregivers check out what’s happening in the school cafeteria. Many schools and school districts have already taken the lead on offering healthy, nutritious meals to students, but there are other ways parents can take action. Missouri Farm to School and Missouri Health Equity Collaborative recommend that parents:

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LI B E RT Y T R I BU N E , T H E K E A R NEY COURIER, THE SMITHVILLE HERALD, GLADSTONE DISPATCH

AU G. 4 , 2 0 1 1

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Nudge your child in the right direction. Take a look at your child’s school menu and help your child pick out healthier options to eat. Let him or her pick out one treat, too. Talk to your district’s nutrition director or food service manager. Find out what issues they face and how you might help. Simple ideas, like offering a salad bar, can make a big difference. One possibility is to organize one Farm to School project, even if it’s as small as offering locally grown apples one time. Read up on wellness. Every school that participates in the school lunch program must have a wellness policy that addresses nutrition and physical activity. Ask your child’s school food service director or principal for a copy.

Connect your community. Understand what’s going on in your community and region, and make the opportunity for good health open to all. Clay County residents and organizations can join the Missouri Health Equity Collaborative and be part of the ongoing conversation. For more information about Missouri Farm to School, visit MoFarmtoSchool.missouri.edu. — Missouri Farm to Institution Project/University of Missouri Extension

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LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY C O U R I E R , T H E S M I T H V I L L E H E R A L D, G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H

Summer Splash! There’s nothing quite like juicy, fresh watermelon to cool you off on a hot summer day — and summer’s not quite over yet. Whether you want to give the kids a refreshing, healthy snack or wow guests with a watermelon showpiece at a backyard barbecue, these recipes serve up great taste and good nutrition all summer long. For more tasty ways to make a summer splash, visit www. watermelon.org. Watermelon Raspberry Lemonade Makes 4 servings 6 1/4 1 1/3 1/2

cups watermelon cubes (seeds removed) cup raspberries cup water cup sugar cup lemon juice

Place watermelon, raspberries and water in container of electric blender, cover and blend until smooth. Strain through fine mesh strainer into pitcher. Stir in sugar and lemon juice until sugar dissolves. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Chill out with cool watermelon treats

Did you know? ◆ Watermelon has higher concentrations of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. ◆ Watermelon is naturally low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol. ◆ A two-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of vitamin B-6.

Watermelon Beach Party

How to choose a watermelon ◆ Look for a firm, symmetrical watermelon that is free from bruises, cuts or dents. ◆ The watermelon should be heavy for its size. ◆ The underside of the watermelon should have a creamy yellow spot from where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun.

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1 watermelon — can be seeded or seedless Cutting board Kitchen and paring knives Pencil or thin marker Large bowl and spoon or ice cream scoop Blue gelatin Small plastic container Small beach-themed items Gummy fish Using an oblong seedless watermelon, cut a 1/4-inch slice off the bottom to provide a stable base. Draw lines in a wave design with a sharp pencil or thin marker approximately one half of the way

up and all the way around the watermelon. Scoop out the flesh with an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, and reserve for salad. Chill gelatin in a small plastic container to make a pool of “water” and place in the watermelon bowl. Fill in around the “water” with fruit salad cut into fun shapes and balls. Arrange toys toward the edge of the watermelon bowl. Garnish sides with drink umbrellas and plastic palm tree swizzle sticks, and add gummy fish to complete the scene. — FAMILY FEATURES

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LI B E RT Y T R I BU N E , T H E K E A R NEY COURIER, THE SMITHVILLE HERALD, GLADSTONE DISPATCH

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Technology rules for digital kids Whether texting, surfing the Web or playing video games, research has shown that kids spend more than seven hours a day with gadgets. “That, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad,” said Richard Bavaria, senior vice president for education outreach for Sylvan Learning. “Balance, as in every other aspect of life, is key.” While tech-savvy kids may have a leg up over those without a fundamental knowledge, kids tethered to technology may have their own disadvantages — socially, academically and, perhaps, even emotionally. For good or for bad, technology has introduced many “portals of distraction” in kids’ lives — easy ways to get sidetracked, diverted and overwhelmed. Wonder how you can reach a balance? Bavaria and the experts at Sylvan Learning Center offer the following tips: Your rules rule. Remember: You’re the boss. Like all rules for kids, the clearer and simpler, the better. Set time limits. A rule is two hours of screen time per day, including schoolwork. Decide what works best for your family.

Schoolwork comes first. Study and chores come before socializing and games. If your child still struggles sans distracting technology, get them the help they need. Stress privacy. Explain why you shouldn’t give out personal information to strangers on the Internet. You don’t have to be scary, just realistic and firm.

Set place limits. No TV during dinner, for example, or when the family’s having a discussion. Many families find that it’s best if the computer is in the family room — not in kid’s rooms — and used only when you’re present. Set site limits. Discuss the sites your children want to visit, and discuss which ones they’re permitted to use. If some sites are off-limits, explain why you’re vetoing them.

Stress your values. Explain that it is right for them to come to you whenever they encounter something online that makes them uncomfortable or they suspect you would disapprove of — sex, hatred, intolerance or violence, for instance. Just as we watch what we say in our speech, stress to your kids that it’s important to do the same online. Be a role model. Let the kids see you using your computer and phone to make your life easier, more efficient and more fun. Show how you’re in control of these devices, not the other way around. For more information and tips, visit www. sylvanlearning.com.

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LIBERTY TRIBUNE, THE KEARNEY C O U R I E R , T H E S M I T H V I L L E H E R A L D, G L A D S TO N E D I S PAT C H

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Northland Family - August 2011  

Read all about "Cooking S'More with Nana," World Breastfeeding Week, World War I Museum guide for kids, Clayview Country Club, lunch, waterm...

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