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Winter 2016


STUFF the Upper Valley’s go-to guide for parents, families and caregivers




editor’s note Last year, Upper Valley residents enjoyed (or should I say “suffered”) an unusually mild winter. In early December, the thermometer reached the 60s. It was right around then that my husband, David, announced, “If it’s 55 degrees on Christmas Day, I will swim in the lake.” We live in Eastman in Grantham, N.H., and have year-round access to Eastman Pond. My daughter, Emma, and looked at each other as if to say, “Do you really think he’ll do it?” Sure enough, Christmas Day was the warmest we’ve ever experienced. By the time all the stockings and gifts were unwrapped and our traditional breakfast of bagels (with lox or without) and German Stollen had been consumed, it was high noon. I surprised myself when I decided that I, too, would jump in the lake since, heck, this is a once-ina-lifetime chance! As soon as I hopped on the bandwagon, so did Emma. My mother, the wisest, remained warm and dry on the sidelines. We donned our swimwear, grabbed our towels, and made our way to the beach. There, much to our surprise was another family – contemplating the same crazy caper! Then, one by one, into the not-as-chillyas-usual-for-December waters we plunged ourselves. We popped back out like Jacks-in-the-Box, but we did it! Back home, we dried off and dressed for a long walk with the dogs – our normal Christmas Day tradition. Will this Dec. 25 include a chilly dip in the lake? Could it become — I daresay —an annual family tradition? Only time — and the thermometer — will tell! Warm wishes for the holidays,

STUFF P.O. Box 500 Grantham, N.H. 03753 (603) 863-7048 PUBLISHER Kearsarge Magazine LLC EDITOR Laura Jean Whitcomb ASSOCIATE EDITOR Amy Cranage ART DIRECTOR

Jennifer Stark ADVERTISING

Leigh Ann Root WRITERS

Julie Davis, M.D. Dan Peraza, M.D., Aaron Brown Jaimie Seaton, Brenda Danielson Amy Cranage Susan Cowan Morse Leigh Ann Root Tim Traver Laura Jean Whitcomb Emma Wunsch PHOTOGRAPHERS/ILLUSTRATORS

Leigh Ann Root Laura Jean Whitcomb Jim Block

Amy Cranage Associate Editor

Find the Flower and win FREE Stuff The Kid Stuff logo (flower symbol pictured above) is hidden in one ad in this issue. To enter, find the logo and email the following to kidstuffeditor@ 1. The ad (name of the business) in which you found the logo 2. Your full name and mailing address 3. Were you a child in the years before cable television and the Internet? How did you spend your idle summer vacation days? Of the entries received by December 15, we will select three winners to receive a $25 gift certificate to Z Toys & Gifts in Newport, N.H. Winners will be announced on Facebook and in the winter issue. Good luck! Congratulations to the fall issue winners of passes to Mountain Meadow (formerly Competition Complex) in Canaan, N.H.: Erin Andersen of Sunapee, N.H., Karen Wimmer of Bethel, Vt., Ruth McGranaghan of Plainfield, N.H., and Susan Perry of Etna, N.H. Thanks for reading Kid Stuff!




Kid Stuff is the go-to guide for parents, grand­parents and caregivers. Published four times a year (spring, summer, fall, winter), Kid Stuff is available at 100+ locations across the Upper Valley, and mailed to schools, child cares, doctor/ dentist offices and hair salons. Copyright 2017 by Kearsarge Magazine LLC. All photographs and articles copyright by the photographer or writer unless otherwise noted. Except for one-time personal use, no reproduction without written permission of the copyright owner(s) is allowed. ON THE COVER Illustration by Dan Tavis of Dunbarton, N.H. Tavis is a 21-year-old illustrator and student at the NH Institute of Art. His biggest inspirations include nature, Calvin and Hobbes, and things that happen around him in everyday life. Learn more at

Winter 2016



A Very Valley Holiday


Whatever holiday you celebrate, the season is about tradition: 100 years of the Christmas Mystery at Rollins Chapel, the search for the perfect tree, and readers’ favorite family pastimes. By Jaimie Seaton, Laura Jean Whitcomb and Amy Cranage




DEPARTMENTS 9 Out & About Calendar Fun events for all ages around New Hampshire and Vermont Compiled by Amy Cranage

38 Teens Under Construction: The Teen Brain By Susan Cowan Morse

20 Outside Ice Therapy for Winter Blues By Tim Traver

41 School News It’s a challenge keeping up with all the good changes to the area’s educational institutions — from preschool to college — but Kid Stuff is going to try! Here are updates from two local organizations: FitKids and Cradle & Crayon. By Laura Jean Whitcomb and Brenda Danielson

25 Good Reads A New Look at an Old Book By Laura Jean Whitcomb 32 GreatKids Award Winner Loretta Blakeney, An All-Around Role Model By Leigh Ann Root 35 Wellness Give Eczema the Boot By Dan Peraza, M.D.


A Carefree Winter Commute

Getting to work on a typical winter day in northern New England can leave even the most experienced, well-equipped drivers with strained muscles and tension headaches, not to mention higher insurance premiums. Escape the stress with one of these alternatives. By Aaron Brown

26 Go Ahead, Break that Board! Kids are amazing bundles of endless energy. Finding an outlet for it is often challenging during the winter months. Local martial arts studios offer programs that encourage and reward children to let it all out in a positive environment. By Emma Wunsch




A Very Valley Holiday

Selecting your own Christmas tree at a local farm (or farm stand) is a fun, family tradition. BY LAURA JEAN WHITCOMB It’s the day after Thanksgiving and Newport, N.H.’s Beaver Pond Farm is ready for the holidays. Balsam, Frasier fir and spruce trees are resting on the wooden fence surrounding the farm stand on John Stark Highway. Handmade wreaths are hung here and there – on the fence, on the doors and posts of the little red building – and with shoppers ready to decorate their house for the holidays, the parking lot is a festive place to be. Beaver Pond Farm, located on nearby McDonough Road, has remained in the same family for more than 200 years. Today, the seventh generation of the founding farm family is working on the farm – Fred and Norma McDonough and their daughter and her hus 4



band, Becky and Bennie Nelson. It has grown from a tiny patch of vegetables sold at a pushcart on the lawn at the farm to the retail market built in 1989. Throughout the seasons, the farm and market offer a variety of vegetables, tap 2,500 maples for maple syrup production, and have an acre and a half of pickyour-own raspberries and an acre of apples. “We raise as much as we can right at the farm for sale at the store,” says Becky. In the winter, Beaver Bond Farm offers Christmas trees – some raised at the farm and some cut in the local area – and handmade wreaths. ›››››

A Very Valley Holiday Here’s a list of places to find your holiday greenery this season: NEW HAMPSHIRE LYME Nichols Trees 163 Dartmouth College Highway (603) 795-4392 Choose and cut your own tree from the field. Also retail locations in Lebanon and West Lebanon.

NEWPORT Beaver Pond Farm John Stark Highway 50 McDonough Road (603) 542-7339 or (603) 543-1107 Pre-cut local Christmas trees and handmade balsam wreaths

NEW LONDON Spring Ledge Farm 37 Main Street (603) 526-6253 Pre-cut local Christmas trees and handmade balsam wreaths

NORTH HAVERHILL Windy Ridge Orchard 1775 Benton Road, N.H. Route 116 (603) 787-6377 Enjoy a wagon ride to the Christmas Tree Plantation, choose and cut your special tree, and warm up with complimentary drinks and doughnuts. They have plenty of pre-cut trees, too!

PIERMONT Piermont Plant Pantry 144 Route 25 (603) 272-4372 Precut balsam trees available after Thanksgiving. Also offer handmade balsalm wreaths, balsalm roping (garlands) and other holiday decorations

PLAINFIELD Noda Farm 190 Bean Road (603) 510-0033 Cut your own (or pick up a precut) Christmas tree with character — tall enough for a big living room or small enough for an apartment or condo

VERMONT FAIRLEE Farmer Hodge’s Roadside Stand 2112 Route 5 North (802) 333-4483 Precut Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands in a seasonal “Christmas House”

NEWBURY Seldom Seen Farm 24 Seldom Seen Farm Road (802) 584-3132 Precut Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands

POMFRET On the Edge Farm 49 Route 12 (802) 457-4510 Precut Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands

READING Reading Greenhouse & Farm Market 786 Route 106 (802) 484-7272 Precut Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands




Kid Stuff readers share their family holiday traditions BY AMY CRANAGE Is there something unique that your family does to celebrate the season? Last year, on Dec. 25, my wacky family jumped in a pond (see Editor’s Note for more on this). Not into the “polar plunge”? Here are a few more seasonally appropriate ideas.

AN ACTIVE ADVENT CALENDAR Instead of sugary nibble that disappears within seconds, make your own in which each day holds a fun holiday-related “to-do” or activity. “From caroling to reading holiday stories to donating time and money to our favorite charities,” says Jessica Willis of Springfield, Vt., “our countdown is filled with wonderful things that remind us to spend time on the true joys of the season.”

MAKE IT HOMEMADE Many Upper Valley families spend a day or two (or ten!) in the kitchen, stirring pots of cranberry sauce or baking bread, pies, and cookies. Others prefer to create non-edibles – tree ornaments, wreaths, garlands, knitted mittens or socks. “I don’t think there’s anything better than giving a homemade gift,” says Tracy Feinauer of Danbury, N.H. “My son helps me, so we get to spend quality time together and create memories that we’ll both cherish.”

SHARING = WINNING Want to share your favorite holiday tradition with Kid Stuff? Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice (or all of the above), tell us how your family makes the holiday unforgettable. Send your email to KidStuffEditor@ by Sunday, Dec. 18. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address. One lucky reader will win a copy of Tomie dePaola’s picture book The Birds of Bethlehem.

A GIVING ADVENT CALENDAR Maybe you already have a lot of stuff and want to give instead of get. Designate a big, empty box or basket for this one. As each day passes, instead of getting a little treat, choose a nonperishable grocery item to put in the box or basket. On Dec. 23 (the eve of Christmas Eve), deliver the box to your local food pantry. Don’t be surprised and don’t hold yourselves back if you decide to continue this one year-round.



If you have ever added up the total cost of stocking stuffers, you know it can really snowball. But what if you could fill it for free? That’s what the Willis family does. “Our family collects all year and it’s always so much fun Christmas morning to uncover the stories behind all of the treasures,” she says. Since this requires planning ahead, it might be something for next year. Starting on Dec. 26, be on the lookout for free stuff wherever you go.

Whether it’s trudging through deep snow to find the absolutely most perfect tree, building a Snow Family (a favorite pastime of Emily Blake and her brood in White River Junction, Vt.), ice skating, sledding, making snow angels, crosscountry skiing or snowshoeing, bundle everyone up and do something or go somewhere you’ve always wanted to but haven’t. We live in an exceptionally beautiful area, so take advantage of it. ›››››




Join the celebration at the 100th performance.

Happy Birthday, Christmas Mystery! BY JAIMIE SEATON On Sunday, Dec.11, 2016, the Christmas Mystery will be performed at Rollins Chapel in Hanover, N.H., for the 100th time. The Mystery is one of the longest running pageants in the country. It was first performed in 1917 at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College (then known as the White Church). After fire destroyed the church in 1931, the Mystery moved to Rollins Chapel. The original concept of a choral re-enactment of the nativity of Jesus — and guidelines set out in the last century — continues to be lovingly and strictly

followed today. The Christmas story is told through carols, with Hanover High School senior girls as angels and boys as shepherds, and local men lending their voices as elder shepherds, the wise men and Joseph. The identity of Mary is a mystery until the performance. She is a member of the previous year’s graduating class, and is chosen by a secret vote of her angel group. A highlight of the pageant is the performance of We Three Kings, when the kings arrive with an adorable page in tow to present their gifts. The spirit of giving continues through the next song, O Come All Ye Faithful, when audience members are invited to come forward to lay gifts at the manger. They will be donated to organizations such as the Upper Valley Haven. Gifts should be wrapped and marked with the age and gender of the intended recipient. The Christmas Mystery performance is supported by voluntary donations that may be made upon leaving the chapel. This year’s performance is Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 and 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Hanover, N.H., native Jaimie Seaton has been a journalist for 20 years. She has contributed to and edited numerous publications in the United States, South Africa, the Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand. For more information, visit



7 The

Christmas Revels

A French Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice

Located on the campus of Woodstock Union High School

Discover why the Christmas Revels has defined the Upper Valley holiday season for over 40 years as we celebrate French Canadian traditions with music, dancing, and pure Revels


Winter ice is back!

Visit our website for details on public skating, stick & puck and shinny or call us for party and general ice rentals.

December 15-18, 2016


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Out & About December 1 to 24 Weds to Sun/Times vary

A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens’ story of redemption remains as powerful and uplifting as ever. In an updated production expanded for the new Byrne Theater, this biennial tradition will bring friends and families together with beautiful music and whirling ghosts. For ages 8 and up. >> Northern Stage, The Barrette Center for the Arts, 74-76 Gates Street, White River Junction, Vt. >> $14 to $29 >>

December 3 Sat/10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

14th Annual Gingerbread Festival This fun, family friendly event includes a display of more than 80 gingerbread houses; a silent auction; sale of handcrafts, gift items, JewelryOs® Collection; gingerbread house making demonstration; cookie decorating and children activities. Lunch and refreshments available. Proceeds benefit The Family Place. >> Tracy Hall, 300 Main Street, Norwich, Vt. >> $5/person, $10/family >> Like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter for our full calendar including updated events and activities!

December 1 to 4 Thur & Friday/7:30 p.m. Sat/1 and 4 p.m. Sun/3 p.m.

Clara’s Dream — A Nutcracker Story Join the City Center Ballet for a seasonal favorite. The dreams of the season are brought to life with magical, ever-changing backdrops and costumes that shimmer with winter’s crystalline beauty. >> Lebanon Opera House, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> $12 to $18 >>





December 3 to 17 Daily/10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Festival of Trees Enjoy the display of artistically hand-decorated tabletop trees donated by local artists, businesses, individuals and organizations to be raffled off to raise funds for the museum. >> Great Stone Dwelling, Shaker Museum, 447 NH Route 4A, Enfield, N.H. >> Free; raffle tickets $1 for one, $5 for six, $10 for 15 >>

December 3 Sat/10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Winter Celebration

December 4

Sun/11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Winter is the traditional time for storytelling in Native American cultures and this celebration presents several Native storytellers. The day’s events include crafts, games, traditional Native foods and a sale at the museum store. >> Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, 18 Highlawn Road, Warner, N.H. >> Adults, $5; Family $20 >>

December 3 Sat/2 to 5 p.m.


Holiday Open House Step back into a holiday season in the 19th century. Shop the country store, listen to strolling musicians, watch a blacksmith at work in the forge, and enjoy homemade refreshments. >> New London Historical Society, 179 Little Sunapee Road, New London, N.H. >> Adults, $3; children 12 and under, free >>

December 4 Sun/5 to 6 p.m.

Lebanon Holiday Celebration

Annual Tree Lighting

Celebrate the season with carriage rides, crafts, refreshments, music, a visit from jolly Old Saint Nick and more! Tree lighting at 5:15 p.m. >> Colburn Park, Lebanon, N.H. >> Masonic Lodge, 25 Green Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> Free >>

Celebrate the holiday season at Newbury’s annual tree lighting. Sing Christmas Carols, light the tree, and help yourself to refreshments. >> Center Meeting House, 945 Route 103, Newbury, N.H. >> Free >>




December 9 to 11 Fri, Sat, Sun/ 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

December 11 Sun/ 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Wassail Weekend Tour the festively decorated 1890 Farm House and make an historic ornament as a memento of your visit. On Sunday, enjoy horsedrawn sleigh or wagon rides (weather permitting). >> Billings Farm & Museum, 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vt. >> $4 to $14 >>

Wilmot Express Sponsored by the Wilmot Community Association, Wilmot Public Library and Wilmot Volunteer Fire Department, this family-centered annual event features gingerbread house construction for kids at the WCA’s Red Barn; dinner and Christmas tree lighting at the firehouse; and Santa reading a story at the library. >> Wilmot Community Association, 64 Village Road, Wilmot, N.H. >> Wilmot Public Library, 11 North Wilmot Road, Wilmot, N.H. >> Wilmot Volunteer Fire Department, 1 Firehouse Lane, Wilmot, N.H. >> ›››››

December 10 and 11 Sat and Sun/ Various times

The Polar Express Children of all ages will enjoy the story of The Polar Express and holiday sing-alongs while sipping hot cocoa with a yummy homemade cookie. Santa will board to greet each child and hand out the first gift of the season: The Polar Express Bell. Upon return, have your photo taken with Santa, enjoy lunch, and browse the Polar Express Gift Shop. Enter a raffle to win an original Lionel Polar Express Train Set. >> Polar Express, 100 Railroad Row, White River Junction, Vt. >> $25 per person age 3 and up >> find more on Facebook!





find more on Facebook!

January 15 Sun/10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lake Morey Skate-A-Thon

December 15 to 18 Thurs to Sun/ Times vary daily

Enjoy spectacular scenery along the 4.5 mile groomed skating trail during this noncompetitive day of ice skating. Pre-register for free skate rentals (while supplies last), hot chocolate, soup and a raffle ticket. Earn an extra raffle ticket for every lap around the lake. Proceeds support the Upper Valley Trails Alliance and maintenance of the ice skating trail. >> Lake Morey Inn and Resort, 1 Clubhouse Road, Fairlee, Vt. >> Adults, $20 to $25; kids, $10 to $15 >>

Christmas Revels Travel to the beautiful province of QuÊbec with the classic story of The Flying Canoe! A group of lonely voyageurs working in the northern timberland go to extraordinary (one might say devilish) lengths to meet up with their faraway sweethearts on a New Year’s Eve. >> Hopkins Center, 4 East Wheelock Street, Hanover, N.H. >> $8 to $38 >>

December 24 Sat/11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Christmas Eve with the Animals Stop by the Upper Valley Humane Society to wish the animals a happy holiday! Light refreshments will be served. >> Upper Valley Humane Society, 300 Old Route 10, Enfield, N.H. >> Free. Donations will be greatly appreciated! >>




WIN FREE TICKETS! Like us on Facebook by Dec. 1 and you can win four tickets (two adult and two children) to this year's Revels North show! KidStuffMagazine (New likes during Nov. 1 and Dec. 1, 2016 will be eligible to win.)


February 7 to 12

January 19

Tues to Sun/Times vary daily

Thurs/10 a.m.

Moon Mouse Marvin the mouse wants to be popular. Constantly bullied and picked on by the “cool” mice, he is labeled a loser and geek. Join Marvin on the space adventure of a lifetime; a trip to the surface of the moon on his homemade rocket where he meets a strange cast of misfit creatures, learns of infinite peril and awesome beauty. Recommended for kindergarten to grade 4. >> Lebanon Opera House, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> $4 to $10 >>

Newport Winter Carnival For several days, the small town of Newport, New Hampshire is transformed into a winter wonderland landscape of activities: midnight skating, pancake breakfasts, horse-drawn wagon rides, fireworks, games, food and music. >> Newport, N.H. >>

February 7 Tues/10 a.m.

Story Pirates Story Pirates celebrates the words and ideas of young people by turning kids’ original stories into wild sketch comedy musicals featuring professional actors, showing those kids just how amazing their ideas are. Recommended for grades 2 to 5. >> Lebanon Opera House, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> $4 to $10 >>

January 21 Sat/6 to 8 p.m.

Full Moon Fiesta Everyone in the family can travel by snowshoe, ski or snowboard at this progressive dinner at Storrs Hill Ski Lodge. Local restaurants offer light food and hot beverages. Proceeds benefit the Recreation & Parks Scholarship Fund and the Lebanon Outing Club. An eco-friendly event; please bring your own mug, spoon and bowl. >> Storrs Hill Ski Lodge, 60 Spring Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> Age 13+, $10; age 6 to 12, $5, 5 and under, free; $30 max per family >>


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February 8

February 10

Sun/10 a.m.

Sat/6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Eastman Trails Day Celebrate winter and support the Upper Valley Trails Alliance (UVTA) at the Eastman Cross Country Ski Center. Enjoy 30 kilometers of trails groomed for skiing and snowshoeing and guided trips by our special guests. Equipment rentals and food available. >> Eastman Cross Country Ski Center, 10 Clubhouse Lane, Grantham, N.H. >> Cost for a ski pass: adult, $12; juniors, $8; proceeds support UVTA >>

Valentine’s Dance for Daughters Fathers, grandfathers, uncles or adult friends are invited to bring your special little girl to a Valentine’s Dance. Music, snacks and a carnation will be provided and each couple will take home a commemorative photo. >> Dothan Brook School, 2300 Christian Street, White River Junction, Vt. >> $20 per couple >>

February 8, 15, 18 Weds/5 to 7 p.m./Classroom Sat/9 a.m. to 1 p.m./Field Trip

Let’s Go Ice Fishing! Ice fishing is a great outdoor activity to enjoy in the winter months. This program led by New Hampshire Fish and Game teaches the basics of ice fishing and finishes with an exciting field trip to put your new skills to the test! Two days of hands-on classroom lessons and one day of fishing. For youth age 10 and up; age 16 and under must have adult chaperone. >> Lebanon City Hall, 51 North Park Street, Lebanon, N.H. >> Free >>

February 14 Tues/10 a.m.

Jazz: America’s Musical Gift to the World Burlington-based educator and trumpeter Ray Vega leads a program that introduces young listeners to the diverse sound of jazz. Ray has now established himself as one of the innovators of the international Jazz and Latin music scenes. A multi-talented trumpeter, percussionist, composer, and arranger, he presents Jazz from a refreshingly original and contemporary perspective. >> Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, 31 The Green, Woodstock, Vt. >> $6 >>






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HOPKINS CENTER FOR THE ARTS Brown Bear, Brown Bear & Other Treasured Stories by Eric Carle

Elephant and Piggie We Are in a Play!

sun JAN 8 3 pm

Three beloved books come to life through black light puppetry

sun MAR 19 3 pm A stylish musical romp based on Mo Willems’ best-selling books • 603.646.2422 • #HopkinsCenter • Dartmouth College • Hanover, NH




If driving in snow and ice is not your cup of tea, try these alternative options.

BY AARON BROWN The Upper Valley received a welcome thaw in early April last year. The sudden, unseasonably warm weather led to absurd questions. Should I put my plant starts outside already? Should I go ahead and switch to my summer tires? I was nearly ready to take the studded tires off my old “beater” car when, surprise, my muddy road got a thick coating of ice one morning. Despite driving under the 25 mph speed limit, my car spun off the road and got wedged nose-first into a snow bank. Stuck, I cursed winter driving and wondered why I chose to live here. I was thankful when a neighbor drove by within a few minutes. His quick offer to help reminded me why I live here. We grabbed the towrope out of my trunk and hooked my car to his pickup. Soon, I was back on the road. An experience like this can make one wonder, “Is it possible to get around the Upper Valley without

driving in the snow?” Fortunately, we have plenty of options for getting to work when the weather is less than cooperative.

TRY THE BUS If you live in Advance Transit’s area, you have plenty of options for getting around Lebanon, Hanover, Hartford and Norwich. The free service also offers morning runs from Enfield and Canaan. Not sure of your route? Try to map it out! “I have heard from people who prefer to drive to work but hate winter driving and take the bus instead. I guess that is the opposite of ‘fair weather friends!’” says Advance Transit Executive Director Van Chesnut. Bus riders agree. One Green Route passenger in Wilder says, “I like not having to worry about driving in the winter, and it saves me a lot of money on gas.” And the reliability is hard to beat. Advance Transit ›››››





did not miss a single service day due to weather last year. As one Orange Route rider notes, “Having reliable bus service through the winter is impressive!” Because I live in Strafford, Vt., my best option is to catch Stagecoach Transportation Services’ 89ER at the Sharon park and ride. It stops at the VA Hospital in White River Junction and, there, I catch a free Advance Transit bus to downtown White River Junction where my office is located. The 89ER route begins in Randolph and drops passengers off at several exits along I-89 including Bethel, Sharon, Lebanon and Hanover. For folks who live north of Lebanon along I-91 in Wells River, Newbury, Bradford, Fairlee and Thetford, Stagecoach offers the River Route. The Current bus picks up passengers at park and ride areas along I-91 south of White River Junction. All the routes take passengers to popular destinations like Dartmouth College, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and Hypertherm.

TRY A CARPOOL Not everyone lives near a bus route or has work hours that accommodate riding a bus. My neighbor is a late-shift pharmacist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and she carpools with a friend from Sharon during the winter months. She feels safer riding with someone else when it’s dark and snowy outside — and who can blame her? I’ve gone off the road twice in my eight winters in the Upper Valley — once alone and once with a friend — and I much preferred the time when I was not alone. We were able to laugh together about the experience — and getting the car unstuck was a lot easier with the help of a friend.




A few hardy souls even brave biking and walking to work during the winter. Nate Miller, the executive director of the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission, recently moved from Lebanon to Enfield and actually misses walking to work when it’s cold outside. “Walking to work during winter was a great experience. The winter environment in the Upper Valley is more quiet and calm. Everything moves more slowly, and the air is brisk and refreshing,” he says. “That environment made me calmer and put me in a good mindset to start the work day.” While Miller had lived only a few blocks from his workplace, others test their limits with long distance

winter commutes. Even in the worst weather, Jesse Hills, 62, of Hartland, Vt., bicycles six miles to work at Mt. Ascutney Hospital. During the colder months, he dons a mask and goggles and throws studded tires on his Trek 6700 bicycle. “It’s not for everybody,” says Hills, but it provides a great way to get exercise, save money on car maintenance, and produce virtually no carbon pollution. It’s no surprise that Vital Communities honored Hills as the 2015 Upper Valley Commuter of the Year.


STAY HOME For those of us with jobs that can be done remotely, the easiest way to avoid winter weather driving is to stay at home. In addition to the environmental impacts of driving, time spent behind the wheel can add up to days, weeks, even months of wasted time. That’s a big chunk of time that could otherwise be spent with family and friends or volunteering in the community.

TIPS FOR A PRODUCTIVE DAY WORKING AT HOME: Check the weather forecast and plan ahead. Expecting 10 to 12 inches of snow? Arrange your schedule so that tasks like writing, invoicing, and reading are done at home and use office time to accomplish the tasks that simply cannot be done anywhere else. If a snow day looks likely, de-clutter your at-home work area the evening before. It’s easier to focus in a clean, organized space. Get that snowshoe or cross country break out of your system early! There’s no better way to start your day. Aaron Brown is the transportation program manager at Vital Communities, an Upper Valley nonprofit that brings together citizens, organizations and municipalities to take on critical regional issues. Contact him at

BECAUSE CHILDREN NEED AND DESERVE GREAT TEACHERS AND LEADERS ARE BECAUSE CHILDREN NEED AND DESERVE GREAT TEACHERS AND GREAT SCHOOLS GREAT TEACHERS AND GREAT SCHOOLS THE HEART OF GREAT SCHOOLS Upper Educators Institute and Upper Valley Upper Valley Educators Institute and Upper Valley UpperValley Valley Educators Institute and Upper Valley Graduate School of Education Graduate School of Education Graduate School of Education 47 Years ofExperience Experience 4847 Years of Years of Experience Preparing People for Careers Education Preparing forfor Careers in in Education PreparingPeople People Careers in Education Currently Enrolling Currently CurrentlyEnrolling Enrolling Teacher Certification Teacher Certifi cation Teacher Certification Principal Certification Principal Certifi cation Principal Certification Master of Arts in Teaching Master of Master of Arts ArtsininTeaching Teaching Master of Education in Master ofof Education Master Educationinin School Leadership School Leadership School Leadership


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194 Dartmouth College Highway, Lebanon, NH 03766 194Dartmouth Dartmouth College Highway, Lebanon, NH 03766 194 College Highway, Lebanon, NH 03766 603 678-4888 • 603 678-4888 • 603 678-4888 ••staff• • UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM




Ice Therapy for the Winter Blues Take advantage of frozen lakes and ponds to chase the “blahs” away

BY TIM TRAVER When my children were young, I took them ice fishing with a friend who, over the years, had made a thorough study of ice fishing. She knew how to make ice fishing especially fun for children. And she knew how to catch fish. We took a picnic and hot cocoa, explored ponds off the beaten path, and often caught fish in shallow water. Sometimes we packed a warming tent or brought skates if the ice were smooth. Other times we built a campfire and roasted hot dogs on sticks. Often we drilled holes in shallow water where the kids could see to the bottom, watch the minnows, and witness the moment when the big fish swallowed a little one. We caught perch, pike and trout aplenty. Ice fishing is an adventure for any family looking to expand its winter outdoor horizons. On one level, it’s all about watching for a little flag to suddenly pop up to let you know a fish is on the end of the line. A moving tip-up flag is like the start of a race; children take off on a run to check for a fish. All else is secondary, including pulling a plastic sled with gear (and sometimes kids) across the ice; turning the auger handle to cut neat round holes, slushing out the ice shards with a metal dipper; baiting the hooks with live minnows; and even cooking and eating the fish back



home that night. There’s something refreshing about being outside on a winter’s day, looking out over a vast expanse of ice with the sun warming one’s face. It beats sitting indoors hands-down — even when the fish aren’t biting. The Upper Valley is a great place to try ice fishing. Plenty of ponds and lakes freeze over, especially on the New Hampshire side with Mascoma Lake, Crystal Lake, Canaan Street Lake, Goose Pond and Grafton Pond. Vermont, too, has many bodies of water, including Miller


Pond and lakes Fairlee and Morey. All offer plenty of fish — including perch and bass, pike, crappie (pronounced “croppie”), pickerel, bluegill and trout.

THE BASICS Ice fishing can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. While there are expensive gaspowered augers and heated fishing shanties with plush carpet floors and flat-screen TVs, let’s start with the basics. First and foremost, you need a way to drill a hole in the ice. A hand-powered ice auger, at

WEB about $40, will do. Personally, I recommend a 4- or 5-inch auger as opposed to 8- or 10-inch. A 4- or 5-inch hole requires much less effort to drill by hand and you can still pull a large fish out through it. Once a hole is drilled, it’s time to clear the slush. If you don’t want to spend a few dollars on an ice-fishing skimmer, your kitchen probably contains a slotted spoon that will work just fine. (Just remember to check with the chef before borrowing it!) Into the clean hole go the baited tip-ups, flags bent down. A tip-up is a little contraption that serves as ice fishing’s version of a fishing rod. A spool of line hangs under water. Below, the line goes down into the water, ending at the baited hook. When a fish takes the bait, the spool turns, flipping a thin metal rod and releasing the springloaded flag. Tip-ups are available at area bait shops. An original wooden tip-up works fine, but the pricier plastic ones have some worthwhile features. The rig for ice fishing is quite simple. A 6- or 8-inch J-shaped or circle-shaped snelled hook goes on the end of the line. It’s always a great idea to get information about bait, hook sizes, etc., from the local bait shop folks. Add some split-shot sinkers about a foot above the hook to get the line down close to the bottom. That’s the best spot for most of the species you might catch when ice fishing. To bait the hook, grab a shiner (thank you little minnow fish!) and hook it just behind the dorsal fin. In addition to tip-ups, consider

searching for some hand-lines for jigging. Fancier still is an ice fishing rod and reel. Twenty-eight inches from handle to tip, these can be used to jig live shiner bait or bright lures. Shiners of various lengths can be purchased at local bait shops. For a few dollars, it’s worth buying a small plastic bait bucket with a top that clips down. The bait bucket, tip-ups, dipper and a small tackle box for split shot sinkers and barbed hooks all go into a white plastic 5-gallon pail with a handle. Flipped upside down, the plastic bucket makes a handy seat.

SAFETY FIRST You’re fishing. The sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue, and the kids are wandering and watching in anticipation of popping flags. Ice is slippery — particularly where snowy ice and water pulled from the hole sits on the frozen lake surface. Consider wearing some sort of traction aids on your boots to prevent falls. Always check the thickness of the ice. Four inches of clear solid ice is generally considered safe for foot traffic, but 6 inches is more advisable. Never fish alone! Go with family and friends. It’s best to ›››››


January 28

Saturday/7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

16th Annual Youth Ice Fishing Derby Youth anglers in age appropriate divisions will fish — and win trophies! Refreshments, fishing holes, bait and limited equipment will be available. >> Dewey’s Pond, Hartford, Vt. >> $5 >>

February 18 and 19 Sat/ 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sun/5 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 33rd Annual Washington Fire Department Annual Ice Fishing Derby Enjoy a refreshing day on the ice and support the Washington, N.H. Fire Department. Funds raised go towards training, equipment, safety gear and scholarships. Bait will be available. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available. >> Camp Morgan Lodge, 18 Wolf Way, Washington, N.H. >> $6 per day or $10 for both days. Children 12 and under half price. >>




avoid early or late season outings, when ice is its thinnest. Stay away from thawed edges, too. Ice fishing safety kits are available. They include handheld spikes you can use to pull yourself out of a hole should you should go through. Always carry along a length of rope, too, that you can toss to someone in trouble. And on those bright days in February, remember sunscreen!

THE RULES Children under the age of 16 in New Hampshire and 15 in Vermont do not need fishing licenses. Parents and older kids must be licensed; in Vermont, there are cheaper special licenses for 15 to 17 year olds and everyone gets two free fishing days per year. License sales support the important work of our state fish and game departments. Many convenience stores

February 21 Tues/9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Let’s Go Ice Fishing! Learn the basic skills of ice fishing such as rigging, using a tip-up, and using an auger to bore a fishing hole. Learn basic ice safety and how to determine adequate ice thickness. Equipment is provided. Adults must bring a child and children must bring an adult — you’ll be learning and fishing together! A Vermont Fishing License is required for anyone over age 15. >> Dewey’s Pond, Hartford, Vt. >> Free >> and sporting goods places sell licenses or you can buy them online directly from the state. Check the regulations for seasons and bag limits for your

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particular location because many lakes and ponds have special regulations. Use the fish you keep and release any live fish you aren’t bringing home for the table. As with all outdoor excursions, leave no trace that you were there (other than the hole in the ice.) February is my favorite time for ice fishing. The ice is thick (well, except for last winter), the days are a little longer and warmer, and cabin fever can be at its highest pitch. Ice fishing is the perfect antidote. Mainly, have fun when you go ice fishing. A day outdoors is never wasted! Tim Traver is the author of Sippewissett, of Life on Salt Marsh, published by Chelsea Green Publishing. Lost in Driftless, Trout Fishing the Cultural Divide published by Crooked River Press is slated to appear on bookstore bookshelves in March 2017. He lives with his wife and their cat in Taftsville, Vt.





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Good Reads

A New Look at an Old Book

BY LAURA JEAN WHITCOMB Not all kids are able to read social cues. My son is diagnosed with autism, and determining how someone else is feeling is often the last thing on his mind. When he was a toddler, I’d make exaggerated faces — almost cartoonish — to get his attention. Eyebrows down, deep frown, frozen stare, sometimes even a growl. “What am I feeling?” I’d ask, often prompting him to look at me. “Angry,” he’d say, making the face back at me before he looked away. This was, of course, before Kathy Detzer’s book, The ABC Book of Feelings. It was a Christmas gift she made for friends and family almost three decades ago but, through her work as a practice manager for a neuropsychologist, she realized her book could be helpful to children who may not be able to read social cues or the feelings of others.

Win a Copy! The tenth person to email will win Detzer’s book, The ABC Book of Feelings.



Earlier this year, she updated the characters — which include different ethnicities and disabilities — and added color. And with 26 letters to work with, the range of feelings goes beyond the typical “happy” or “sad.” “Educators and counselors find my book to be non-intimidating yet more detailed than the smiley-face emoticons often seen in this area of counseling,” Detzer says. “The images are full-body illustrations demonstrating gesture, body posture and facial expressions.” Detzer worked for many years as a graphic designer, and still creates today from her studio in the Tip Top Building in White River Junction, Vt. She is currently working on a large three-wall mural for a woodlands exhibit at the VINS Center in Quechee, Vt. “I loved revisiting the original characters and bringing the drawings to life, in color. I was able to do the layout and format the book myself,” Detzer says. “I have made flash cards and posters as companions to the book for use in classrooms or with larger groups.” The ABC Book of Feelings is available on Amazon and the Norwich Bookstore.


A Vermont author’s book helps children — with or without disabilities — identify social cues.



Go Ahead, Break that Board!


Locally owned studios provide a focused channel for your child’s boundless physical energy.




Although a good 7,000 miles from Asia, the Upper Valley has many marital arts opportunities where your budding ninja, samurai or kickfighter can practice and train. THAI KICKBOXING: BUILD CONFIDENCE AND DISCIPLINE

Serena and Mark Klemm opened Baan Muay Thai, a Thai kickboxing studio in Lebanon, N.H., in 2014. The facility is comprised of a custom 18-foot boxing ring, various types of heavy bags, matted flooring, climbing ropes, plyo boxes and kettle bells. Klemm has a long history of training Mixed Martial Arts (M.M.A.) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (U.F.C.) fighters. The Klemms say that the benefits of kickboxing for kids include discipline, focus and respect. Lil’

Thai-gers is a fun, safe and friendly environment that offers 30 minute classes for kids age 4 and up, three days week. Unlimited monthly classes are available for a monthly fee. There is also a 10-class package that never expires. Rebecca McGrathSomers of Grafton, N.H., says that Baan Muay Thai has made her 10-year-old daughter “more sure of herself in many aspects of her life — not just physical but in relationships and other extracurricular activities as well. And her school work has flourished.” Rebecca appreciates that Baan Muay Thai is a family business and says that Mark, Serena and Coach Maria have truly made an amazing home with Baan Muay Thai. She says the studio “isn’t just a gym — it’s so much more. It’s even more than a community but more like a family.”


Sensei Chris and Sensei Ann George opened Sullivan’s U.S.A. Karate in White River Junction, Vt., in April 2010. The Georges have more than 10 years of karate experience; Chris is a third degree black belt and Ann is a second degree. Sullivan’s U.S.A. Karate offers individual and family plans. There are four 45-minute classes for kids offered every week. Sensei Chris recommends that children attend two classes per week so they can get rank promoted. Extra time is available on Fridays for those who want more practice in the dojo. Sullivan U.S.A. Karate prides itself on being a family friendly place. Children can take classes starting at age 4. In addition to learning self-defense, confidence

and physical fitness, Sensei George says that karate improves children’s mental facilities. He has had a lot of success with children diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger’s and autism. BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU: LEARN TO DEAL WITH BULLIES

The head instructor, Nicholas Bramlage, at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Lebanon, N.H., has been studying the Brazilian martial art of self-defense, grappling and ground fighting for 10 years. Bramlage has more than 17,000 hours of teaching and training under his belt. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has four part-time instructors. Children can start Jiu-Jitsu at age 3. Children’s classes are 30 minutes Monday through Friday with UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM



a 45-minute class on Saturdays. Classes for older children are 45 minutes. A monthly fee covers unlimited classes. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has a unique anti-bullying program that teaches kids how to proceed if they’re being bullied. Bramlage says that by studying Jiu-Jitsu, children gain confidence, self-esteem and discipline. Children who study Jiu-Jitsu learn self-defense and escape techniques. Jiu-Jitsu can also help children balance regular athletic skills with Jiu-jitsu specific skills like posture.

New London and Wilmot, N.H., year round. At Tiger Mountain, children ages 4 and 5 start in the Cougar program with two half-hour classes each week. In this program, children learn karate while playing games as well as focusing on correct body positions. Chil-

dren age 6 to 8 are in the Panther program, which meets twice a week for an hour. Children (and adults) age 8 and up are the Tigers and meet twice a week for one to two hours, depending on each individual’s abilities. Sensei Fleming maintains that karate offers lifelong skills


Black belt Gayle Fleming started martial arts when she was a teenager and has been teaching for 20 years. Tiger Mountain Shotokan Karate holds classes in

“No matter how wild and crazy they are before class, every time they walk into the room, they are transformed — they are immediately focused and eager to listen and learn and do their best.” –Tamar Schreibman of Norwich, Vt.




and even the most advanced student can always learn and improve. In addition to teaching respect, discipline, perseverance and self-confidence, karate can be a good experience for children because there is camaraderie and support in the dojo, but everyone works at his or her own individual level. Tiger Mountain Shotokan Karate offers tournaments and seminars as well as community based self-defense courses. OKINAWAN KARATE: LEARN TO THINK BEFORE YOU ACT

Sensei Kenneth R. Bladyka is a Seventh Degree Black Belt, Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do and Licensed Master Instructor. He has been teaching children since 1986 and opened the Okinawan Karate Academy in Lebanon, N.H., in 1994. There are different options for the specific courses and the dojo is flexible about absences when a child participates in another sport. Sensei Bladyka says the benefits of karate are endless. Kids can begin Little Tigers at 3, love the “cool” aspect of karate, but Bladyka says “secret weapon” is the Dojo Kun — the academy’s guiding principles. Tamar Schreibman of Norwich,

Community Offerings

For families not ready to commit to a long-term martial art program, there are programs at local community centers. STREET DEFENSE À LA KARATE

Through the National Institute of Modern Martial Arts (based in Claremont), Sensei Rob Rheaume offers classes for children 6 and up at the Carter Community Building in Lebanon. The classes meet Monday and Friday afternoons. Sensei Rob is a fourth degree black belt and teaches a blend of classical karate and more advanced street defense to more experienced students. BLUE WAVE TAEKWONDO

At the Richard Black Center in Hanover, N.H., Stephen Hopkins, a fourth degree black belt, offers Blue Wave Taekwondo classes to children age 7 and up. Traditional youth Taekwondo classes meet Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons with sessions in the fall, winter and spring.





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Vt., likes that her 6- and 8-year-old sons “don’t just memorize the Dojo Kun; they talk about what each of the precepts means. The dojo kun contains valuable reminders of the importance of honesty, hard work, persistence, respect and thinking before you act or speak. I’m not sure this would not have the same effect coming from me.” She says that the best part of the Okinawan karate program is that “no matter how wild and crazy they are before class, every time they walk into the room, they are transformed — they are immediately focused, eager to listen and learn, and do their best.” Emma Wunsch lives with her husband, two daughters, and large dog in Lebanon, N.H.. Her young adult novel The Movie Version was published in October. Jim Block enjoys photographing almost anything: children, adults, families and celebrations; nature and wildlife; sports and action; buildings and businesses. Jim lives in Sunapee in the summer and Hanover in the winter where he has taught four to six digital photography courses each year since 2000. Explore his website at 30



Wellness For Upper Valley Haven 713 Hartford Avenue White River Junction, Vermont 05001 802.295.6500


Illustration on front: Gouache prototype by Sabra Field for the Upper Valley Haven © 2016

Thank you for creating a community of hope and possibility.

Volunteers, donors, and friends, we salute you!

Now offering:

• Cholesterol/glucose testing • Tanita Scale readings • Nutrition consultation • Balance programs • Rehabilitation programs

Food Shelf  Adult, Family & Seasonal Shelters  Education

Service Coordination  Children’s Program Thank you 713 Hartford Avenue White River Junction, VT 05001 for your (802) 295-6500 support. •


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at Upper Valley Aquatic Center • 802.296.2850 • 100 Arboretum Lane, WRJ, VT

713 Hartford Avenue • White River Junction, VT 05001 (802) 295-6500 •

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GreatKids Award

BY LEIGH ANN ROOT It’s with great enthusiasm that Kid Stuff announces Loretta Blakeney as our GreatKids Award winner! Loretta stands out magnificently in the eyes of her family, friends, teachers and community. She exemplifies and amplifies what it is to be a great kid. This 17 year old is a senior at Woodstock Union High School in Woodstock, Vt. She’s a thoughtful student, a hard working athlete, a caring volunteer, and a beautiful singer. It’s clear that Loretta leaves a mark wherever she goes. Whether it’s the playing field, the classroom or within the community, Loretta gives her best and brings out the better in others. After one conversation with Loretta, it’s noticeable that she has a high standard for herself. “I’m inspired to be better than I was yesterday, in sports and in life,” she says. “You should always strive to be a better person, a better you, every day.” Her math teacher Gwen Hagenbarth adds, “Loretta is a mature and caring young woman. She believes in fairness and equity for all members of our school community. She doesn’t preach her beliefs; instead she models them every day inside and outside the classroom. She’s not perfect. She admits her mistakes and accepts responsibility. She expects others to do the same. She’s a great role model for all of us.”



Loretta Blakeney, An All-Around Role Model


Safe School Ambassador Program Participant

Loretta participates in the Safe School Ambassador Program. Students were asked to write down a person who they admired and who they would most likely listen to. Naturally, they chose her. Loretta was trained to better recognize bullying. This equipped her with ways to approach situations and learn how to make other feel safe. This stronger awareness has been beneficial to the student body, as a way to recognize and defuse situations before they become bigger ones. “I’ve gone to Loretta several times to seek extra help for students that need a friend. She’s always there to lend a hand,” says teacher Jeff Thomas. “Our school community is a better place because of her and her amazing personality. She lights up any room she walks into with her bright smile and witty personality.”

The Spirited Athlete Loretta is a three-season athlete who plays field hockey, basketball and softball. “She’s a leader on and off the field. “Her peers admire her courage and dedication to each sport. She influences everyone around her with her positive outlook and determination to be successful in every game or practice, says Kristin Hagenbarth. “She’s enthusiastic about making her teammates better and supporting them in every way she can. She’s the first person to volunteer or help out a program.”

“Our daughter is a leader of her teams, friends and classmates. She enjoys teaching and helping,” says her mother Louisa Blakeney. “She’s always trying to make teams come together as one. Loretta frequently refers to herself as the ‘mom’ of the team.” Field hockey is her favorite sport, and she hopes to play in college next year. “You cannot do it by yourself, and you need your whole team. In team sports, everyone has a job. It’s your responsibility to not put your team in jeopardy, on and off the field,” she says. When not participating in athletics, Loretta can be found at the microphone during sporting events. “It’s an honor to sing the National Anthem, and it’s my way of supporting the other teams,” she says.

Other Loretta Facts “She has quite a sense of humor and is quick to

tell a joke or what she considers hillbilly humor. She’s a Vermont country girl who has to have real maple syrup,” says her mother Louisa. Her parents share another talent: “She’s also a figure skater. She always wanted to sing and skate at the same time. She was told she couldn’t because it would be too hard. She proved them wrong and did it, with a little back-up singing from her dad.” She frequently sings country music with her dad and their duets often bring a crowd to tears. “There’s a song that reminds me of Loretta, it’s ’She was Country when Country Wasn’t Cool’, because with Loretta, she is ALL country and that’s what makes her so cool,” says Thomas. Loretta credits her parents for teaching her values and giving her inspiration. She believes that you must find the best in any situation. She goes on to say, “You cannot have the good without the bad. Being positive is making the best out of the bad and finding the best ways to deal with bad situations. I try not to go with my first reaction to a problem because it is not always the best.”

GreatKids Award application can be found online at UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM



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Give Eczema the Boot

This common childhood skin condition requires special care in winter.

BY DAN PERAZA, M.D. As temperatures drop, many Upper Valley families look forward to outdoor cold weather fun. Sledding, skiing, ice skating and many other winter activities encourage kids to get outside and play! Unfortunately, winter weather can exacerbate some skin conditions. Especially troublesome in children is atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema.

WHAT IS ECZEMA? A chronic inflammatory skin condition, eczema is characterized by itching, redness, scaling and clustered bumps, usually on the elbows and knees. Eczema usually begins in early childhood, and symptoms wax and wane as the child gets older. Dryness and itching, resulting from a dysfunctional skin barrier, are the most dominant. Nearly 2 percent of Americans suffer from eczema. The severe itchiness of eczema can seriously impact a child’s quality of life, frequently interfering with sleep and daily activities.

This can lead to anxiety, depression and fatigue. Eczema has been shown to activate the same areas of the brain as chronic stress and pain. Fortunately, treatment is simple and straightforward.

OVER-THE-COUNTER TREATMENT Moisturizing is the primary focus in treatment of eczema. Moisturizers repair the skin barrier and decrease water loss and itching and thereby decrease the need for prescription medication. In general, liberal and frequent application minimizes dryness. Often, “greas-

ier” products such as ointments and oils are better tolerated than creams or lotions as they possess fewer preservatives and are less likely to cause irritation. Bathing can hydrate the skin, remove irritants and help patients with eczema. Be careful, however — if water is left to evaporate on the skin, dryness can worsen. Bathing once a day in warm water for five to ten minutes and moisturizing immediately afterwards is strongly recommended to maintain adequate skin hydration.








Traditional soap pH differs from the skin’s normal pH of 4-5.5, so it is better to use non-soap cleansers that are hypoallergenic, fragrance free with neutral to low pH.

Skin infection risk is high in eczema patients. Recent studies reveal a significant decrease in infection and inflammation within six weeks of using bleach-enriched products.



If proper skin care and regular moisturizing are not enough, prescription therapy may be needed. Topical corticosteroids are the mainstay of anti-inflammatory therapy. Twice daily application is generally recommended, but once daily application may be sufficient. When eczema is controlled, maintenance therapy one to two times per week on previously inflamed areas may prevent relapsing and be more effective than topical moisturizers alone. Topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCI) are another anti-inflammatory option. As opposed to corticosteroids, TCIs do not cause skin thinning, so they can be used as steroid-sparing agents to reduce the need for topical corticosteroids. TCIs are particularly useful in sensitive skin areas such as the face, under arms, and groin, where skin is more delicate. Using a TCI two to three times per week in areas that commonly flare reduces the need for topical corticosteroids and prevents recurrence.

Many patients are often inadequately or improperly treated for their eczema. New and exciting treatment options designed to decrease inflammation may be available in the next few years. In the meantime, it is important to stick to a daily care routine that includes bathing, drying off well, moisturizing, and maintaining open communication with your child’s care provider.



Upper Valley native Daniel Peraza, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist at Peraza Dermatology Group in Claremont, Lebanon and New London, N.H. and Mt. Ascutney, Vt., and an adjunct assistant professor of surgery at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, golfing, and attending college ice hockey games. Find more about skin care at or email

Upper Valley Food Co-op’s

Sew-op Classes High School Students Looking for a hands-on, project-based learning experience with a smaller student to teacher ratio? We offer these benefits while designing a personalized learning plan for our students that focuses on their strengths.

The Sew-op Studio offers fun,

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Check out our website for upcoming classes and workshops.

Kids classes are generally ages 8 - 13.

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Community partnerships include: River Valley Community College · Dartmouth College · DHMC To catch a glimpse of life at Ledyard, please visit or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.lcschool

Saturday, January 28; 10am - 12:30 For more info or to pre-register please contact 802-295-5804 ~ 193 N. Main St. WRJ





Under Construction: The Teen Brain Who are you and what have you done with my little angel? BY SUSAN COWAN MORSE What happened to my sweet child? Why doesn’t she talk to me all about her school day anymore? Will he ever take the headphones out of his ears? These are the type of questions I hear from pleading parents whose children have recently crossed the threshold from childhood to adolescence. When one’s adoring, funny, attentive child wakes up one morning as a moody, pimple-faced punk, it can be quite upsetting. Alas, there is an explanation — and there is hope.

IT’S ALL IN THEIR HEADS Human beings are distinctly different from other mammals due to our more complex brains. Interestingly, it’s this same brain that creates much of the trauma of raising children. Human offspring take, on average, 20 years to develop to full maturity. Most other mammals and animals develop to maturity in days, months or just a few years. As a result, human children require a significant investment of time and energy from their parents in order to fully develop. Understanding teen brain development helps tremendously during this process. One excellent resource for parents and anyone who spends time with teens is Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel, M.D. Siegel explains four features of adolescent brain growth: 1. Novelty Seeking leads teens to want to feel life more fully and is driven by circuits in the brain. 2. Social Engagement facilitates stronger peer connections and is satisfied by new friendships. 3. Emotional Spark is a result of feeling emotions more intensely as well as experiencing a broad range of emotions on a daily basis. 4. Creative Exploration is a result of a brain that is more capable of conceptual thinking and abstract reasoning, leading the teen to new ideas and questions.




parent As Siegel points out, these are not only features of changes in the adolescent brain; they are also the essence of vitality in adults. When grown-ups start to feel complacent with life, teenagers are there to refresh our perspective and keep us on our toes at all times. Simply put, the teen brain is “under construction.” During the teenage years, the brain is constantly changing. New roads are constructed and unused roads are being dismantled. We watch teens develop and mature in their thinking, reasoning, decisionmaking and relating. As they take shape, their focus, memory, and emotions do fluctuate. All of these changes ebb and flow over the course of 8 to 10 years. This makes for a lot of frustration for parents and teens alike. Patience is a vital skill at this time.

SURVIVAL CHECKLIST Parenting a teenager is tough work and requires calling on reserves of patience, perseverance and faith that you didn’t know you had. To parents of teenagers, I recommend: › Maintain rules and boundaries. Your teen may look like an adult and think she is an adult but, remember, the brain inside her head is still “under construction.” Enforce a curfew. As your teen gets older, be open to negotiating but hold tight to having a curfew. This teaches him that he is responsible to his family. Plus, it aids in keeping your teen safe. Most poor decisions are made after midnight! › Provide support. Teens need their parents. The brain’s prefrontal cortex—where planning and organization take place — is in the process of developing. It will not


More recommended reads for parents of teenagers: › Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina › Not Much Just Chillin’ by Linda Perlstein › Why Do They Act That Way? By David Walsh, Ph.D. be fully formed until they are in their early 20s. Expect them to forget school assignments, dentist appointments, chores, etc. Teens need support to stay organized and plan ahead. › Expect inconsistency. The hallmark of the teen years is that nothing stays the same. A teenager experiences many emotions every day while adults experience only a few different emotions each week. In a matter of seconds, your teen can go from explosively angry at you to belly laughing with a friend. Expect the unexpected. Allow it. Be patient with it. Take a deep breath and count to 10. › Allow your teen to pull away from you. Teens are ready to interface with the world. While a child’s most important world is his nuclear family, a teen’s most important world is the rest of the world. Do not take this personally. Instead, be happy that your child comes from a solid nuclear family and feels safe enough to go out into the world and develop new relationships. › Pick your battles carefully. Your teen is more sensitive than is apparent. Teens can easily feel as if they never satisfy their parents, as if they are never good enough, especially if parents seem to be always upset about something. Decide on several items that are most important to you as a parent. Focus on those and let the rest go.

Stay calm. Never fight fire with fire. If you are angry and emotional, step back and pull yourself together before addressing your teen. Remember, your teen experiences increased emotional intensity. The reasoning part of the brain and the emotional part of the brain aren’t well connected yet in the teen brain. Thus, a teen cannot necessarily use reason to regulate his emotions. › Listen. Teens often feel like no one hears them. Interestingly, research shows that when a person feels he is truly being heard, he is less likely to continue a maladaptive behavior. When your teen is ready to talk, be ready to listen — especially when she is emotional. Don’t try to reason. Don’t talk much. Just listen. › Feed them well. The human brain uses about 20 percent of the calories consumed by the body. However, the teen brain uses up to 50 percent of the individual’s daily caloric intake. Help your teen fill up on healthful, high-energy foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables and avoid foods that are low in nutrients like fast food, chips and sweets. Good luck and may the force be with you! Susan Cowan Morse is an educational coach and consultant in Wilmot, N.H. Her new microschool, Tap Your Brilliance Learning Studio, is going strong. Her school specializes in personalized learning for students in grades 6 to 12. She may be reached at




our baby and children’s store downstairs at The J List, Hanover, NH Open Every Day

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Come Visit Our Children’s Reading Barn 253 Main Street-New London 603-526-5850 Store Hours: M-F 9-5:30, Sat. 9-5, Sun. 11-3 • Stationery • Cards • Games • • Gift Wrap • Puzzles • Journals • • Chocolate • Calendars •

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Fun, Creative, Educational Books, Toys, Games, Puzzles, Arts/Crafts, Science Kits, Dress Up 87 Lower Main Street Sunapee, NH 03782 603-763-0242 Call for Hours

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School News


FitKids Childcare The River Valley Club has built a new facility where playing and learning go hand in hand. BY LAURA JEAN WHITCOMB I want to be a kid again. That’s what pops into my head when I walk through the doors of River Valley Club’s new FitKids Childcare Center on Lafayette Street in Lebanon, N.H. Every single detail has been considered through a child’s eye — from the height of the nap beds (moveable cots just inches off the floor) to the colors of the room (ceiling tiles are blue and white, just like the sky). The kids, ranging in age from 6 months to 2½ years, happily eat their snacks under the watchful eyes of their teachers. Sun shines in through the large windows, but soon everyone will be outside on the playground.

ONE ROOM TO NEW FACILITY FitKids Childcare became a licensed child care program in 2007. You may remember seeing the child care area as you walked into the River Valley Club,


either in the room to the right or on the playground out front. But with continual growth every year, FitKids has sprouted from 23 kids in one (then three) classrooms to a new facility with 12 classrooms that can welcome 186 children. “We are very fortunate to have had the ability to build our new facility from the ground up and had so many great ideas and inspirations from a wide group of people,” says Jenn Parker, director of FitKids. “Our goal was to have a welldesigned program that met the needs and interests of the students while providing an emphasis on the natural elements around us.” Indoors, those natural elements include the use of woods like birch and bamboo, and walls painted in calming greens and browns.

Outdoors, the new Adventure Playground runs the length of the facility (each classroom has its own access door), and makes use of the environment — trees for shade, rocks for climbing and dirt for digging. Kids can grow veggies in the garden boxes (and eat them at snack time), and create their own waterways and rivers with the child-operated water pump. “We remember what it was like to be a kid before the media and electronics took over and that is what we are trying to bring back for the children that attend FitKids,” says Parker.

FAMILY ENVIRONMENT Twelve classrooms sounds overwhelming, but the facility is anything but. Each classroom (named





after animals: chipmunks, falcons, porcupines) stands on its own. Parents have their own individual code to open the locked doors, and there’s an open door policy to visit at any time. Classrooms are grouped into pods which help “provide a small family feel,” says Parker. The first two pods are for the smallest students; a multi-age room with infants and toddlers. There are cribs for nap time, a kitchen for snack time, and plenty of rocking chairs and window seats. The third pod is also multi-age, but the kids are older and more mobile — and the bathrooms have tiny toilets, the tables have tiny chairs, and a schedule is handwritten on the whiteboard on the wall. The Pre-K classrooms have a wall of art and craft supplies, more table workspaces, and the cribs have been replaced with nap mats.

clay n mixed media n metals

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Classes for adults, teens, and children

13 Lebanon St n Hanover, NH 03755 n 603-643-5384 n

Carpet Mill USA FitKids uses the Creative Curriculum as a guide for lesson plans and parent/teacher conferences. Teachers support the developmental needs of children and have specific objectives in each area; for example, math in early childhood begins with informal concepts like size comparisons. Art may include dancing, drawing, making music and pretend play. And since each child learns differently, teachers provide individual modifications to help them master each skill.

BONUS FitKids students take advantage of all the extracurricular events and program offerings at RVC. “Parents can sign children up for swim lessons and we take care of getting them to and from the lesson without parents missing out on work,” says Parker. “We also offer swim times for families, tennis lessons, gym classes, climbing wall time and music classes at no additional cost.” You can even schedule a haircut with the Spa & Salon and a teacher will take your child to and from the appointment. Forget the kids. I want to go! 42


UPPERVALLEYKIDSTUFF.COM Rte 4, 213 Mechanic St. Lebanon, NH - 603.448.3902 Mon-Wed 9-5 Thurs 9-6 Fri 10-6 Sat 9-2

School News

Welcome to Cradle & Crayon South Longtime child development center opens second location in Hanover, N.H. BY BRENDA DANIELSON Once upon a time, 26 years ago, a child development center serving 52 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years was constructed at 72 Lyme Road in Hanover, N.H. The school has quietly been providing excellent care to children of the Upper Valley ever since. Cradle & Crayon, Inc. (CCI) is a small nonprofit established in 1990 for the purpose of managing the center. The center continues to serve CRREL and community families, holding the highest level of certification of any early child-

hood program in the Upper Valley: State of NH License, Department of Defense Certification and NAEYC Accreditation. Details of the specifics of accreditation can be viewed at Soon, the center will expand its services with the opening of Cradle & Crayon South at 45 Lyme Road. The new site will accommodate 23 children aged from 6 weeks to 3 years. There will be one infant room of 8 and one toddler room of 15. The new outdoor space is inspired by the Reggio Emilio Approach to early childhood education and will integrate indoor and outside space and natural elements specifically designed for infants and toddlers. One of CCI’s most popular features is that all meals are provided. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are prepared on site and served family style to staff and children. Many parent inquiries often begin with “Is this the center with the

wonderful food program?” We are happy to say “Yes!” Caring well for our very youngest and most vulnerable is intimate and personal. Remember what it felt like when you left your child with someone else for the first time? So do we! Small group size, continuity of care with familiar caregivers, and a “village” of dedicated professionals are essential elements to the successful delivery of this service at Cradle & Crayon. Parent testimonials speak loudly. “Please know that we are grateful for everything you do for our kids and, more importantly, the way you do it,” say Wendy and Topher Bordeau. “You have perfected a unique blend of structure, inspiration, TLC, discipline, silliness, nurture and challenge. Leaving our kids each morning is difficult, but leaving them in your care makes all the difference.” Our goal exactly. Brenda Danielson is executive director of Cradle & Crayon, Inc. Contact her at for more information or to apply.




There’s a new orthodontist in town! Dr. Christopher Baker has joined Baker Orthodontics.

· DMD - Boston University · Orthodontic Certification University of Rochester Eastman Institute for Oral Health

We are very excited to have him on our team! Hanover 603-643-1552 New London 603-526-6000

Hanover Eyecare

Offering quality pre-school, kindergarten and after-care. Year round care provided with a great “Discovery Camp.” We accept children ages 3–6 years. We would love for you to visit anytime, please call to set up a visit.

22 School Street, Lebanon, N.H. 603-443-9626 Hours 7:30–5:30

Enjoy the pool, fitness center, group fitness classes, Indoor Cycling, TRX/SYNRGY classes and more! Dr. Richard Brannen Dr. Nicholas Pittman Doctors of Optometry

45 Lyme Rd, Suite 201, Hanover, NH 03755 603-643-2140 • 44



Cradle & Crayon, Inc. A safe and nurturing environment promoting exploration in math, science, art, music, literacy, and language

• Full time, year round care • Three nutritious meals served family style daily • NAEYC accredited • State of New Hampshire licensed • Department of Defense certified • Community families welcome!

Ages 6 weeks to Kindergarten Call Brenda Danielson (603)646-4242 or Email 72 Lyme Road, Hanover, NH 03755 Second Location to serve infants and toddlers opening in the fall at 45 Lyme Road - now accepting applications.

“Watching my son go from a child who dreaded school to a child who dreams about what he may become in the future is beyond words.” ~ Parent of Stern Center Learner

Reading | Wriing | Spelling | Math Homework Support | SAT/ACT Test Prep | Study & Organizaaonal Skills

Because All Great Minds Don’t Think Alike Stern Center for Language and Learning | 603-276-3165


P.O. Box 500 Grantham, N.H. 03753

Kid Stuff winter 2017  

Holiday issue with activities in the Upper Valley area of NH/VT, educational articles written by experts, martial arts, child care, the wint...

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