Mendo Lake Family Life December 2021

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mendo lake FREE!

December 2021

Happy Holidays! Local festivities

Be Kind 4 simple ways

COVID & Kids Expert advice Global Citizens Teach unity

A Season of Light

Wishing you health and hope for the holidays. HILLSIDE DORA STREET LITTLE LAKE LAKEVIEW (707) 468-1010 (707) 468-1015 (707) 456-9600 (707) 263-7725 333 Laws Ave. Ukiah

1165 S. Dora St. Ukiah

45 Hazel St. Willits

5335 Lakeshore Blvd. Lakeport


Celebrate the Season @ Pear Tree Center

Don’t Miss


Saturday, December 4 at Noon

Santa Visits & Photos* Saturdays & Sundays December 4-19. 1-4 pm @ Santa’s Workshop adjacent to Rod’s Shoes

Free Horse-drawn Carriage Rides

December 12 & 19, Noon-4pm @ JCPenney *Visits are FREE. Cell phone photos $3; $5 mailed prints. Proceeds benefit New Life Community Church Youth Mission to Mexico.

December 2021

Every Issue 6

Dear Reader


Cooking with Kids Squash & Shells

12 Features 10 COVID & Kids Who should and shouldn’t get the vaccine.

12 Keep It Light How to create peaceful holiday celebrations.

14 Multiculti Holidays Learn about different traditions.


Bits and Pieces Artful Gifts Chow Down with the Big Guy in Red St. Nick’s Favorite Vehicle Grab Your Skates All Lit Up and Everywhere to Go


Tree Extravaganza

24 Calendar of Events 28 Humor Break Holidaze Happy

16 All in One Boat


Teach kids to become global citizens.

18 Pack Your Bags Tips for hassle-free travel with kids.

20 Stop Stinkin’ Thinkin’ How to curb the negative influence of social media.

22 Kindness for Kids Advice for children on how to be a good person.

7 4 MendoLakeFamilyLife

December 2021

Dear Reader


ight in the darkness. It’s the focus of many spiritual traditions during this time of year. Christina Katz Sharon Gowan explores some of Publisher/Editor those celebrations— and offers a great latke recipe to boot—in “Multiculti Holidays” (page 14). Kindness is also in the December spotlight. Nuanprang Snitbhan, a clinical psychologist and author, teaches children what it really means to be kind. Hint: It’s not just about being nice. It also requires responsibility, courage, empathy, and compassion. Children can read her words of wisdom in “Kindness for Kids” (page 22).

As we cultivate compassion and kindness we may feel more connection to our fellow humans, no matter where they live. Constanze Niedermaier offers a pint-sized explanation of this perspective, and the idea of global citizenship, in “All in One Boat” (page 16). No matter how or what we celebrate, the isolation of the last couple of years has most of us itching to do something with other people. Thanks to growing vaccination rates, in-person activities are slowly coming back. Find a slew of them in our Calendar of Events (page 24). Happy Holidays!


Marketing/ Sales/Events Patricia Ramos 707-205-1539

Features Editor Melissa Chianta

Production Manager Donna Bogener

Contributing Writers America’s Test Kitchen Paula Durlofsky Jessica Guerrieri Tanni Haas Christina Katz Janeen Lewis Constanze Niedermaier Nuanprang Snitbhan

Billing Jan Wasson-Smith

Publishing Office P.O. Box 351 Philo, CA 95466 (707) 205 1539


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1-800-606-5550 x211 6 MendoLakeFamilyLife

December 2021

Cooking with Kids

Squash & Shells A Healthy Version of an Old Favorite

By America’s Test Kitchen


utternut squash and pasta have gotten along for years (ravioli, anyone?), so we thought we’d deconstruct the often butter-coated duo in a healthier way, without skimping on the decadence. We started with an aromatic base full of pepper flakes, garlic, and lots of leeks (even the often-thrown-awayyet-nutrient-rich green parts), then pressure-cooked our pasta with lots of little gem-size pieces of butternut squash. To balance the rich aspect of this sauce, we contrasted with a healthy amount of lemon zest and fresh tarragon. The savory, subtle anise flavor of tarragon was a surprise alternative to the more common match of butternut squash and sage. Arranging creamy burrata on top turned this dish into a more sophisticated and luxurious meal. If using traditional pasta, decrease the water to 1 cup. Do not substitute other pasta shapes in this recipe. If burrata is unavailable, substitute fresh mozzarella. ¶ Reprinted, with permission, from Healthy & Delicious: Inspired Meals with a World of Flavor (America’s Test Kitchen, 2021),

Shells with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Burrata 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound leeks, halved length-wise, sliced 1-inch thick, and washed thoroughly 4 garlic cloves, minced ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth 2 cups water 1 pound 100 percent whole-wheat medium pasta shells 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces (5 cups) ¾ teaspoon table salt 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, divided, plus 1 tablespoon juice 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon, divided 8 ounces burrata cheese, room temperature ¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts 1. Using highest sauté function, heat oil in Instant Pot until shimmering. Add leeks and cook until softened

December 2021

and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and water, scraping up any browned bits, then stir in pasta, squash, and salt. 2. Lock lid into place and close pressure-release valve. Select high pressure-cook function and cook for 6 minutes. Turn off Instant Pot and quick-release pressure. Carefully remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. 3. Stir shells and sauce to combine. Partially cover pot and let sit until shells are tender and sauce is thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon zest and juice and 1 tablespoon tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pasta to serving platter. 4. Cut burrata into rough 1 ½-inch pieces, collecting creamy liquid. Arrange burrata on top of pasta and drizzle with creamy liquid. Sprinkle with walnuts, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon. Serve.

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Bits & Pieces

Artful Gifts


ooking for a special something? Buying handmade items from area artists supports the local economy. At the Willits Craft Fair and the Holiday, Small Works Show shoppers can find everything from pottery, jewelry, and wind chimes to herbal salves, dog treats, and beeswax food wraps. Peruse these wares at the craft fair’s two Willits locations: the Community Center and the Willits Center for the Arts (WCA). On December 10, the show will be open noon–7 p.m. at the Community Center and noon–9 p.m. at the WCA; on December 11 the hours will be 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at both venues. Find out more at Other art shows include the Coast Highway Artists’ Collective Winter Magic Holiday Gift Fair, which will have an open house, featuring live music and refreshments, on December 11, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., at 284 Main Street in Point Arena. (The fair runs Thursdays–Sundays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., December 3– January 3.) Campovida, a farm and winery in Hopland, will host Sip, Shop, and Selfies on December 11, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. The event will include mulled wine, selfies with Santa (1–3 p.m.), and a holiday craft fair in the winery’s historic barn. See for details. Lastly, the Breakfast with Santa and Local Artisan Fair will be held on December 4, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., at the Little Red School House in Cobb. Proceeds benefit the Cobb Mountain Elementary School’s Science Camp Program. ¶

Willits Craft Fair

Chow Down with the Big Guy in Red


anta’s a hefty guy, so it’s no surprise he has an appetite. But he doesn’t like to eat alone so he’s inviting his fans to a meal. Breakfast with Santa will include eggs, sausage, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy. And professional photographers will be on hand to take pictures of kids with Old Saint Nick. Admission is $10 for ages 8 and older and $5 for ages 7 and younger. Presented by Middletown Central Park, the event will be held on December 4, 8–11 a.m., at 15299 Central Park Road in Middletown. Call Tucker at 707-671-3384 with questions. ¶ 8 MendoLakeFamilyLife

St. Nick’s Favorite Vehicle


anta will make his way to Clearlake not in a sleigh but a fire truck. From his red ride, he’ll wave to the crowd while his elves deliver toys to kids in cars. It’s all part of the free Clearlake Rotary’s Community Christmas Celebration, which will also include a drive-thru ham dinner. The festivities will happen on December 11, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., at the Burns Valley Elementary School in Clearlake. For more information, go to events/418128586490045. ¶

December 2021

Ukiah on Ice

Grab Your Skates


OVID canceled many holiday activities last year, including Ukiah on Ice. But this year the ice skating rink is back, thanks to the support of the city of Ukiah, the Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance, and substantial funding from Adventist Health. The rink has been constructed in downtown Ukiah and will offer daily skating December 4–January 9. Admission is $10 and includes skate rental. For hours, see the calendar at ¶

All Lit Up and Everywhere to Go


Kelseyville Christmas in the Country

ight illuminating the dark is a theme for many holiday traditions—like, for instance, light parades, in which all manner of vehicles get dressed up in twinkling, colorful electric lights. Here are a few such events to check out: Christmas in Lower Lake, held on December 3, 4–8 p.m., on Main Street in Lower Lake, will feature a light parade at 7 p.m. and vendor markets and a barbecue. Kelseyville Christmas in the Country, which will include a Parade of Lights, will be held on December 3, 5:30–7:30 p.m., on Main Street in Kelseyville. The Fort Bragg Holiday Lights Parade will be held on December 4, 6:30–7:30 p.m., in Fort Bragg. And the Ukiah Parade of Lights will be held on December 4, 6–8 p.m., in downtown Ukiah. ¶

Tree Extravaganza


ecorated evergreens are a traditional part of Christmas celebrations. Some are simple, with lights draped on boughs, while others are grand displays. In the latter category are the entries in the Festival of Trees. A fundraiser for Hospice Services of Lake County, the event features trees that community members have festooned for the holidays and then placed up for auction. Besides trees, there will also be sweet and savory small plates as well as a no-host wine and beer bar. The event will be held on December 4 at 5:30 p.m. at 3855 Main Street in Kelseyville. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at ¶

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COVID & Kids Get the Facts About the COVID-19 Vaccine UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals answer parents’ questions about the vaccine. Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine? Which one? Yes, if your child is at least 5 years of age. Currently, the only vaccine option for kids is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (also known by its brand name, Comirnaty). My child is under 5. When can younger kids get vaccinated? Clinical trials are currently evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in children as young as 6 months. These trials must be completed and reviewed before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can determine whether the vaccines are safe and effective for younger kids. 10 MendoLakeFamilyLife

In the meantime, younger kids should continue taking precautions, such as wearing a mask (ages 2+), avoiding crowds (particularly indoors), and maintaining a safe distance from anyone not in their household. Making sure older kids and adults in the home get vaccinated also protects children from the virus. Who shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine?

We don’t recommend giving pain relief medication before the shot to prevent side effects. minutes after getting their injection, instead of the 15 minutes that most people are asked to wait. There are some reasons for delaying your child’s vaccination, such as the following circumstances: • Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should wait until the symptoms have resolved and self-isolation is no longer required.

Anyone who’s had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of a COVID vaccine—or to any of its ingredients—shouldn’t get that type of vaccine.

• Kids who recently had COVID-19 and were treated with antibody-based therapies (such as monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma) should wait 90 days after treatment.

Children who have allergies—such as to pollen, specific medications, or pet dander—should get the vaccine when they’re eligible but should remain at the vaccination site for 30

• People diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome should wait until they are recovered and at least 90 days have passed since their diagnosis.

December 2021

• People with a known COVID-19 exposure should wait until their quarantine is over. However, if they live in a group setting, such as a homeless shelter, they may be vaccinated during the quarantine period. What side effects might my child have from the vaccine? Adolescents appear to experience side effects similar to those of adults. Some have no side effects, while others develop one or more of the following: • Pain at the injection site • Fatigue • Headache • Fever • Muscle or joint pain

As with adults, kids are more likely to have side effects after the second dose, and the symptoms typically fade within a day or two. If your child is uncomfortable after getting the vaccine, it’s fine to give a dose

Clinical trials are currently evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in children as young as 6 months. of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. We don’t recommend giving pain relief medication before the shot to prevent side effects. Does my fully vaccinated child need to continue taking precautions?

The rapid spread of the Delta variant led many public health agencies to update their guidance on this issue. The California Department of Public Health currently advises everyone to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends indoor masking in areas of “substantial or high transmission.” Masks continue to be mandatory in health care facilities and on public transportation, such as planes and buses. ¶ More information is available on the California Department of Public Health website and the CDC website. Reprinted, with permission, from




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don’t feel guilty if you can’t commit to every Zoom party or virtual fundraiser. 3. Let go of Martha. One of the most stress-relieving things you can do at the holidays is set the bar a little lower. Martha Stewart is an elegant hostess, but you don’t have to do everything the way she would to have a beautiful season. Embrace simpler

Keep It Light 10 Ways to Simplify the Season

By Janeen Lewis


t’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but research confirms a different reality: Most Americans have elevated stress levels during the holiday season. And with the challenges of the last two years, instead of being full of good tidings and cheer, families may feel drained of peace. Even if you are staying in or are paring down your family festivities this year, keeping things as light and easy as possible will make the end of the year more enjoyable. Here are ten tips that will simplify the season and make it merry and bright. 1. Focus on your reason for the season. Why are you celebrating? Is it for spiritual reasons? Maybe you want to focus on family and friends or enjoy the spirit of giving during the holidays. Keep what is most important about the holidays at the center of your celebration. Reconsider any task or commitment that takes your time, energy, enjoyment, or finances away from your reason for celebrating. 12 MendoLakeFamilyLife

2. Set firm boundaries around your time. Even during a year in which gatherings may be fewer, it’s easy to get caught up in organizing donations, planning for your family celebration, or connecting virtually with clubs and associates. This year, pick one project you want to volunteer your time to, or pick a variety of simple acts of kindness. Spend time with your friends and loved ones, but

Keep what is most important about the holidays at the center of your celebration. decorations, meals, and gift-giving than you have in the past. If you let go of expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised. 4. Farm out your to-do list. Make a to-do list of what you want to accomplish. If you find that it is too long, consider delegating some of the items. Have groceries delivered or use curbside pick-up, and buy gifts online. Grocery stores also have a plethora of pre-packaged holiday foods that make delicious sides, cutting down on your time in the kitchen. Buy desserts from your local bakery. No time to clean the house? Hire a cleaning service just for the holiday season or ask for this service as a gift for a later time. 5. Gift others with experiences. Shopping at the holidays can be time-consuming and nerve-wracking, even if you shop online. If you don’t start early, coveted items sell out, leaving you scrambling for another gift. Ask those you give gifts to if there is an experience they would like to have. Tickets to the theater? Family passes

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to an amusement park or aquarium? A relaxing day at the spa? 6. Set a holiday tea time. Herbal teas help with anxiety and stress. In keeping with the holiday spirit, sip some calming peppermint tea, or try chamomile, lemon balm, or passionflower. 7. Take a hike. One way to tell your stress to take a hike might be to actually take one yourself. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a happier, more relaxed mood. 8. Reconnect with long lost friends and relatives. Meet with an old friend you haven’t talked to for years, and catch up. Take some time off and visit relatives you miss seeing on a regular basis. If you are staying

$10 per session

home this holiday season, connect via Zoom or FaceTime. Surrounding yourself with people you enjoy is powerful when you want to combat holiday stress.

Christmas card with cash or a gift card to a financially struggling college student or elderly person. Fill up Little Free Libraries with gently used books.

9. Do something kind for someone else. You don’t have to overcommit yourself to a charity

10. Celebrate memories more than material possessions. Material gifts are nice, but most of us quickly forget gifts we have received in past years. The thing that we remember the most are the memories we make with friends and family. At the end of another unusual year, make some happy memories this holiday season and bid stress good-bye. ¶

If you let go of expectations, you may be pleasantly surprised. or fundraiser to be kind. Small random acts of kindness can make someone’s day. Let someone in front of you at the supermarket line or let someone pull in front of your car at the parking lot. Send an anonymous

Presented by

Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist, teacher, and mom. She has been published in several parenting publications and in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic.

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DECEMBER 4 - JANUARY 9 Alex thomas plaza for more information, visit

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3 large eggs 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon grated onions 1 ¼ teaspoons salt Tips: Wrap grated potatoes in a clean dishtowel and squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can. You may also substitute up to a half cup of another grated root vegetable for potatoes. If so, squeeze the moisture out of them, as well.

Multiculti Holidays Celebrating Light, Joy, and Good Food

By Christina Katz


hile you are gathering everyone together for holiday adventures, why not introduce some new cultural experiences? While traditions can be comforting during the darker months, introducing variety into your holiday routines can spice up future memories. pancakes, your family is in for a treat! Latkes are traditional fare during Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. The story of Hanukkah involves lantern oil miraculously lasting much longer than expected, which is why oil-centric foods are featured throughout the eight days and nights of this holiday.

1. Carry some green into the gloom. Most people are familiar with the Christmas tradition of bringing cut trees and evergreen branches into homes as a symbol of the anticipation of earth’s re-greening after winter. Why not visit a tree farm this year, even if you have a plastic tree? You could always bring home a less-than-perfect tree and deconstruct it into boughs to deck your halls.

¼-inch vegetable oil for frying

2. Try a taste of Hanukkah. If you have never made fresh potato

2 cups coarsely grated baking potatoes, peeled

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Potato Latke Recipe

Directions: Put a ¼-inch layer of frying oil in a flat skillet over medium-high heat. Mix all the prepared ingredients together. Drop batter into oil in 3-inch cakes about ¼-inch thick. Fry until browned on the bottom then flip and repeat browning. If oil starts to scorch, turn it down. Pancakes should be crisp and can be kept warm in an oven on the lowest setting. Place paper towels between layers to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve with organic applesauce and high-quality sour cream. Makes 12 latkes. 3. Knock on the door of enlightenment. Teaching your children how to meditate may be the single-best thing you can do to help them manage stress throughout their lives. In Japan every December 8, Buddhists celebrate the moment when the Buddha reached enlightenment. This holy day is typically observed quietly with chanting and meditation. Give meditation a try at home. Invite your kids to sit on the ground with legs comfortably crossed, back straight, eyes closed, and attention gently focused on the space just above the center of the eyebrows. Use the image of the famous Bodhi (fig) tree to help

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children imagine that they have roots reaching down from the base of their spines and branches reaching up into the sky from the top of their heads. Try “sitting like a tree” as a family for just five or ten minutes. I think most parents would agree that any amount of time holding completely still would constitute a small holiday miracle. 4. Banish some darkness from the world. In India, Diwali, a five-day holiday of lights, usually happens in the middle of autumn, but the generous spirit of this holiday is perfect for families to imitate throughout December. Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. Coming up with a way to celebrate this holiday gives families a unique opportunity

to discuss real suffering throughout the world. When approached with a problem-solving slant, even very young children can feel inspired to help other children who lack adequate food, clothing, or shelter. Help kids

If you have never made fresh potato pancakes, your family is in for a treat! understand that some of the most concerning problems can be soothed when approached with a helpful, compassionate attitude. 5. Sparkle up your feast. Most winter holidays and festivals have two things in common: lighting up the

space and feasting. Why not create a focus on both of these traditions on the Winter Solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year? Choose one spot in your home, like a fireplace hearth, and gather all of your candles around it for an impactful display. Or scatter little lights and candles throughout a room or even throughout an entire floor of your home. When it’s time to eat, turn off most of the lights inside and enjoy your evening meals in the glimmer. Nothing turns up the winter magic like relaxing into the almost darkness. Christina Katz wants to live in a world where all cultures and traditions are embraced and enjoyed. You can learn more about her at

Slow down from the holiday rush and join us

Sunday, December 19th 7:00PM for a FREE Family Friendly Christmas Program First Presbyterian Church 514 W Church St, Ukiah

707.468.9235 ❄

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someone in a cabin became ill with an infectious disease? Aboard this giant ship, what the people of one cabin do affects everyone else on board, in both good and bad ways. The same is true for each country in the world. Countries can no longer pretend that what happens elsewhere in the world doesn’t affect them.

All in One Boat A Kids’ Guide to Global Citizenship

By Constanze Niedermaier


wise man from Singapore1 compared the countries of the world with a cruise ship. He said that in the past people lived in 193 different “boats”—that’s how many countries there are in the 2 world. Each boat had a captain and crew who set the rules and made sure their boat didn’t collide with others. Now that the world has become so connected and its countries so dependent on each other, it is as if the people from the 193 countries live in one big boat with 193 different cabins. Everyone on board must learn to get along. They have to agree on the direction the ship is heading, and they must agree not to destroy the boat they all share. Think about what would happen if a few cabins locked their doors and refused to communicate with everyone else. What if those cabins had the keys for the kitchen, fuel for the engines, or medical supplies? What if the people in one cabin decided to cook on open fires? What if people in others started fighting with each other? What if residents 16 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Countries can no longer pretend that what happens elsewhere in the world doesn’t affect them. of one cabin poured toxic waste in the ship’s water supply? What if

The world is interconnected: its economies, currencies, food supplies, and natural resources. International alliances such as the United Nations, NATO, and the

Be respectful and mindful of every person and animal, and the environment. Hague Convention demand that countries help each other if there is a war. Diseases travel around the globe faster than they might be detected. Through the Internet, people all over the world get real-time information about what is happening in other countries. And damage to the environment affects all of us. We need to remember that we are all in one boat, and we mustn’t destroy it. Global Citizen Being global citizens means being citizens of the world who know that they are part of one community. It means being aware that everything they do has an impact on the whole planet and all its people. Global citizens, no matter their age, know that they can make a difference in the world!

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Celebrating What You Can Do Learn as much as you can about the world and its challenges. Be respectful and mindful of every person and animal, and the environment. Discuss with your friends what it means to be a global citizen and how all of you can join to make the world a better place. ¶

#1 resource for local families magazine • web • email • events


Notes Kishore Mahbubani, The Great Convergence (Public Affairs, Perseus Book Company: 2013). 1

Numbers of countries in the world differ: There are 196 countries; the United Nations has 193 members; and the United States officially recognizes 195 countries. 2

Sources idea-of-a-nation-state-past-itssell-by-date sailing-on-the-same-boat.html

Reprinted, with permission, from Whyzz: 33 Family Conversations about Global Challenges by Constanze Niedermaier (Whyzz, 2021), Constanze Niedermaier is the mother of two beautiful, curious kids and the founder and CEO of Whyzz, a media company that provides parents with tools for honest family conversations. Constanze is a refugee, immigrant, mom, wife, animal lover, award-winning author, and global citizen. She started Whyzz when her first daughter was born. She realized that she needed creative tools to answer her little girl’s questions and raise a curious, global-minded child of the 21st century. Her approach to parenting can be best described as “Passport Parenting,” which means she aspires for her family to explore the world together and to understand how everything in it is interconnected.

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emergency essentials like a first aid kit as well as over-the-counter-medication for colds, headaches, motion sickness, and upset stomach. Bring plenty of snacks. One exception to this “rule” is to pack lots of nutritious snacks. Kids get cranky or “hangry” when they need something to eat and they need it ASAP! Snacks will keep the kids

Pack lots of distractions, such as tablets loaded with their favorite movies and games.

Pack Your Bags 8 Keys to a Stress-Free Family Vacation By Tanni Haas


family vacation is a wonderful opportunity to take a break from our busy, daily lives and do fun and exciting things together. But how do you ensure the vacation ends up being as relaxing as you’d hoped? Based on my own experiences as well as conversations with other parents, I’ve pulled together a list of ten keys to a stress-free family vacation.

Take it slowly. If you want to have a stress-free vacation, take it slowly and leave plenty of time for everything. If you’re flying somewhere and need to be at the airport two hours before departure, give yourself an extra hour. If you’d originally planned to visit two or three local attractions a day, spread them out over two or three days. Schedule some downtime every day. 18 MendoLakeFamilyLife

A good rule of thumb is that the pace of the trip should be set by what your youngest kid can handle. Pack only the absolute essentials. Don’t do what our family used to do, which was to lug around heavy suitcases. Even in the smallest of towns, chances are you can buy most things that you need. It’s always a good idea, however, to pack

satisfied at all times, and the truth is that you never really know when you’ll be able to feed them their next proper meal. Whether you’re waiting in line at the airport or you’re stuck in traffic on the highway, snacks always come in handy. Sometimes, you may arrive at your destination only to discover that the kids don’t like, or won’t even try, any of the local food. Bring entertainment, lots of it. In an ideal world, the kids will spend hours quietly looking out the car window, mesmerized by what they see, or be so excited to be on a plane that they won’t need any other entertainment. That’s rarely the case, though. Kids often get bored by things adults find fascinating, and vice-versa. So, pack lots of distractions, such as tablets loaded with their favorite movies and games. Make reservations in advance. Most people like to be spontaneous. There’s nothing more satisfying than doing what you want to do whenever you feel like it.

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But, when it comes to vacationing with kids, uncertainty can also be stressful. Consider pre-booking not just your transportation and hotel, but also the local attractions you want to see and restaurants where you want to eat. When things are booked in advance, you can just relax and enjoy each other’s company. Let the kids own the trip. Kids can get restless and needy when they’re taken out of their usual routines, constantly asking what they’ll be doing next and why. One way to avoid this from happening is to include them in planning the trip, from choosing the destination to discussing how best to get there and what to do when you arrive.

When kids take joint ownership of the vacation, everything becomes so much more fun and exciting to them.

The pace of the trip should be set by what your youngest kid can handle. Split your duties. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your partner is to divide the labor. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, which can be stressful, take on different responsibilities or rotate them during the trip. For example, one of you can be responsible for making

restaurant reservations, and the other for figuring out how to get to and from the hotel and local attractions. Keep everyone safe. It can be hard to keep track of the whole family. If the kids have their own smartphones, make them download tracking apps so you always know where they are. For younger kids, write down your contact information and secure it in a safe, concealed place on their body, like sewn into a pant pocket. When you’re boarding a local bus or train, decide who’s going on first and who’s going on last to ensure that no one gets left behind. ¶ Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.

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Stop Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Keep Social Media from Messing with Your Head

By Paula Durlofsky


et’s take a moment now to review three cognitive distortions commonly associated with social-media use.

1. Polarized thinking (black-and-white thinking). A person with polarized thinking categorizes people and situations as either/or, all/none, and good/bad. Cognitive distortions of this kind lead to emotional distress, because this kind of thinking doesn’t take into account the complexity of most people and most situations. In addition, black-and-white thinking causes a person to experience life and feel emotions in extremes. Black-and-white thinking or all-or-none thinking is often what lurks underneath feelings of FOMO, envy, or low self-esteem triggered from social-media use. One way to avoid this pitfall while on social media is to learn how to be more 20 MendoLakeFamilyLife

flexible in your thinking and skillful at finding a middle ground. For example, if black-and-white thinking causes you to feel envious while scrolling through your friends’ news-feeds or Instagram posts, remind yourself that life is complex and multilayered. This means that, in reality, no one’s life can be perfect all the time. Make a list of at least three things you feel grateful for in your life and three positive qualities you love about yourself that you can refer to whenever you’re feeling bad about yourself. 2. Jumping to conclusions. At the heart of this cognitive distortion is the belief that we know exactly what another person is feeling and

thinking—and exactly why they act the way they do. It’s a kin to being a mind reader. It’s not hard to imagine how communicating via text, e-mail, and social-media messaging makes this kind of cognitive distortion more likely to manifest. This is because when important communication clues are missing, like body language and vocal tone, we’re more likely to misunderstand what people are trying to communicate and therefore fill in the gaps by jumping to conclusions. Misunderstandings often lead to online drama, disagreements, and conflict. One way to counteract this cognitive distortion is to simply ask yourself, “Do I have enough evidence to support my conclusion?” 3. Should statements. Many people use should statements like, “I should do this” or “I must do that” as a way to motivate themselves. But did you know this kind of thinking often causes the opposite result? This is because should, ought, and must statements can cause us to feel angry, pressured, resentful, and depressed. For example, someone might feel they should, ought, or must get married because they’re at an age where many of their friends are getting married. This person notices that after being on social media they question their direction in life. But in actuality, this person just completed graduate training in a field they love. Doing what they thought they should do, based on what their friends are doing, might have prevented them from pursuing their passions. And it’s important to remember that what we say to ourselves influences how we feel!

December 2021

SKILL-BUILDING STRATEGIES Below are four ways you can challenge and change cognitive distortions when logged on and in real life. • Keep a daily thought journal. The first step in making changes of any kind is to identify what exactly needs changing. Get in the habit of jotting down all the negative and troublesome thoughts you have when scrolling through social media. Extend this to include all the negative thoughts you have in real life as well. • Make a habit of regularly examining your thoughts. Set aside a time each day to read over all the negative thoughts written down in your journal. When reviewing them, practice being as objective as possible. The purpose of this exercise is to learn to identify the most common cognitive




distortions affecting your thinking and in what context or circumstances they are most likely to occur. • Reflect, reflect, reflect. Get into the habit of closely examining your negative thoughts. For example, do you find that you often make

It’s important to remember that what we say to ourselves influences how we feel! negative generalizations? Or are you always jumping to conclusions about the lives of your friends on social media based on the pictures they post? Ask yourself, “Are my negative thoughts simply my personal opinions or hard-and-fast facts?





Excerpted, with permission from the author and publisher, from Logged In and Stressed Out: How Social Media Is Affecting Your Mental Health and What You Can Do About It by Paula Durlofsky, PhD. Paula Durflosky, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Device Management and Digital Intelligence committee. Find her at



(707) 485-0123 • 9700 Uva Drive, Redwood Valley

• Get outside of yourself. You can do this by simply asking yourself, “Would I think and feel the same way about a friend in the exact same situation?” All too often we are much harder on ourselves than we are with family and friends. Learning to be loving and compassionate with ourselves is a huge step toward being able to diminish cognitive distortions. ¶


511 S. ORCHARD AVE., UKIAH • 707-472-5000

December 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 21

Kindness is… Compassion Having compassion means caring for how someone is feeling or what they are going through—even when that someone is you. Having self-compassion means caring for yourself when you are going through something difficult. Many scientists and psychologists believe that if you have self-compassion, you are likely to grow up being happier and more

You have to be brave to act on your compassion and empathy for others.

Kindness for 4 Ways to Take Care Kids of Yourself & Others By Nuanprang Snitbhan


ou may have heard the grown-ups in your life say, “Be kind to others!” But what does that mean? Some people think being kind is the same thing as being nice. It’s not! Kindness requires four big things: 1) compassion, 2) empathy, 3) courage, and 4) responsibility. And kindness takes time to blossom, just like a tree takes time to grow from a small seed. So what is kindness? 22 MendoLakeFamilyLife

successful in life. After all, when you are unhappy, worried, or scared, it’s easier to give up and harder to be friendly to other people. Take care of yourself, and then we can take care of each other! Empathy When you have self-compassion and are understanding toward yourself, you are able to be understanding toward your family, friends, and other people around you. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. When you pay attention and try your best to learn about other people, you might be able to imagine how they feel and what they need. Courage Courage is one of the biggest ingredients in kindness. You have to be brave to act on your compassion and empathy for others. You need determination to speak

December 2021

ENJOYING OUR MAGAZINE? up when someone is being mean or uncaring. You need courage to make mistakes, apologize when you’re wrong, and try again. Responsibility Everyone is responsible for making this earth a happier and kinder place. You probably have some responsibilities right now—maybe you’re responsible for setting the table or making your bed in the morning. But your best friend might have different responsibilities— maybe they are responsible for walking the dog! Kindness, however,

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. is a responsibility we all share. A kind person cares for people they already know and love and extends that kindness to strangers, animals, and the planet we live on. We all have kindness in us. But it is like a muscle that needs to be used in order to grow strong. The Kindness Cards for Kids deck shares different ways you can practice being kind to yourself, to your family, to your community, and to the earth any and every day. ¶ Excerpted from Kindness Cards for Kids: 52 Ways to Make Every Day a Little Better by Nuanprang Snitbhan (Bala Kids, 2020),

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Nuanprang Snitbhan was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a clinical psychologist specializing in working with children, adolescents, and their families.

December 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 23

December Thursday 2 FREE The Traveling Toy Library.

Hosted each month in various locations throughout the Redwood Coast Regional Center (RCRC). Families & RCRC providers are able to check out toys & materials for children ages 0–5. Sponsored by Easterseals Northern CA. Email earlyinterventionreferrals@esnorcal. org for locations & info. FREE Perinatal (Pregnancy & Postpartum) Mood Support for Moms. Support group held every

day of the week at various times. Sponsored by Postpartum Support

Calendar of Events

International (PSI). Register: FREE Gualala Arts’ Winter Wonderland. Arts & crafts show.

Open daily: 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (except Christmas Day). Runs thru Dec. 30. Gualala Art Center. 46501 Old State Hwy., Gualala.

Friday 3 Annual Festival of Lights. The

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens’ plants are illuminated with holiday lights. $10. Ages 16 & younger: free. Masks required indoors & outdoors. Dogs not allowed. Fridays–Sundays. 5–7 p.m. Thru Dec. 19. Mendocino

Coast Botanical Gardens. 18220 N. Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg. Reservations required: FREE Storytime in Library Park.

Participants must register & receive a confirmation before being allowed to attend. Masks & social distancing required. Fridays: 10:15–11:15 a.m. Library Park. 200 Park St., Lakeport. Registration required: It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Dec. 3–19. Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.,

$15. Fridays & Saturdays: 7:30 p.m., $20. Sundays: 2 p.m., $15. Willits Community Theatre Playhouse. 37 W. Van Ln., Willits. Tickets:

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24 MendoLakeFamilyLife

A Thousand Years of Craftsmanship.


Exclusive Offer For Readers •

Kamikoto Kanpeki Japanese steel knife set (would-be-retail price of $1,295).

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December 2021

FREE Christmas in Lower Lake.

Local artisans, treats, Santa visit & Christmas carols. 4–8 p.m. Tree lighting: 5:15 p.m. Light Parade: 7 p.m. Main St., Lower Lake.

Saturday 4 Magical Christmas Train. Featuring

children’s storybook reading & socially distanced visits with Santa. 90-minute round-trip. $10.95–$52.95. Runs thru Dec. 23. Departures from Willits & Fort Bragg. 299 E. Commercial St., Willits. 100 W. Laurel St., Fort Bragg. Festival of Trees. Live auction of trees & silent auction. Savory small dishes & no-host wine/beer bar. $75. Seating limited. Proceeds benefit the Hospice Services of Lake County. 5:30 p.m. 3855 Main St., Kelseyville.

(Enter thru Sophie’s Day Spa.) Tickets: FREE Storytime in Todd Grove Park.

Ages 12 & younger. Bring blankets or other seating arrangements. Cancellations will be posted to the Ukiah Branch Library’s Facebook page. Fridays (except Dec. 24 & 31). 10:30–11 a.m. Todd Grove Park. 600 Live Oak Ave., Ukiah. ukiahlibrary. FREE Outside Storytime. Ages

2–7. Story followed by simple craft, game, or activity. Masks required inside or out. Saturdays (except Dec. 25 & Jan. 1). 11–11:30 a.m. Round Valley Library. 23925 Howard St., Round Valley. roundvalleypubliclibrary. Ukiah on Ice: Holiday Ice Skating Rink. $10 skate session, includes

skates. Daily thru Jan. 9. (Dec. 31:

Ball Drop, 10 p.m.–1 a.m. ) Next to Alex R. Thomas Plaza on School Street. Schedule: ukiah-on-ice. Breakfast with Santa & Local Artisan Fair. Fun for the whole family.

9 a.m.–1 p.m. Little Red Schoolhouse. 15780 Bottle Rock Rd., Cobb. Breakfast with Santa. $5–$10.

8–11 a.m. Middletown Central Park. 15299 Central Park Rd., Middletown. FREE Christmas in Clearlake.

Parade, tree lighting, crafts, carolers & free horse-&-carriage rides. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Austin Park. 14077 Lakeshore Dr., Clearlake. big-calendar. FREE Kelley House Holiday Celebration. Visit with Santa:

GIVE A CIDER GIFT SET Or Club Membership

December 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 25

3:30–4:30 p.m. Photos & refreshments. Suggestion donation: $5. Holiday Open House: 5–7 p.m. Free refreshments, caroling & live hammer dulcimer music by Victor Simon. 12:30–4 p.m. Kelley House Museum. 45007 Albion St., Mendocino. Fort Bragg Toy Run. 12:30 p.m.

Motorcycles start south of Rolling in Dough parking lot & travel to Fort Bragg Grange, where there will be food. Admission: $10 with an unwrapped toy & $20 without a toy. Fort Bragg Grange. 26500 N. Hwy. 1, Fort Bragg. FREE Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade. Tree lighting (in front of

Guest House museum): 6 p.m. Holiday lights parade: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4: 3–5 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 & 23: 3–6 p.m. Dec. 11 & 18: 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Guest House Museum. 343 N. Main St., Fort Bragg. Photos with Santa. No appointment

needed. Photos starting at $7. Dec. 4: 3–5 p.m. Dec. 9, 16 & 23: 3–6 p.m. Dec. 11 & 18: 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Triple S Camera. 260 S. School St., Ukiah. Celebrate the Season at Pear Tree Center. Santa arrives at noon.

Santa visits: Saturdays & Sundays, 1–4 p.m. Thru Dec. 19. Photos with Santa: $5; use own camera/phone: $3. Free horse-drawn carriage rides at JCPenny: Dec. 12 & 19, noon–4 p.m. Accepting new, unwrapped toy donations for Toys for Tots. Pear Tree Center. 504 E. Perkins St., Ukiah.

Sunday 5 FREE Fiddlers’ Jam. Listen to fiddle tunes played by members of the Northern California Old Time Fiddlers Group. Bring lawn chair. Noon–2 p.m. Ely Barn.

26 MendoLakeFamilyLife

9921 Soda Bay Rd., Kelseyville. FREE Lighted Boat Parade. 5 p.m.

Noyo Harbor. 19101 S. Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg.

Monday 6 FREE Kelseyville Christmas in the Country. Merchant Open House:

5:30 p.m. Parade of Lights: 6:30 p.m. Photos with Santa. Main St., Kelseyville. (Town tree lighting at the firehouse.)

Tuesday 7 FREE Storytime in Washington Square. Participants must register

& receive a confirmation before being allowed to attend. Masks & social distancing required. Tuesdays. 10:30–11:30 a.m. Washington Square. 21256 Washington St., Middletown. Register:

Wednesday 8 FREE Finley Country Market Holiday Gift Shop. Everything

homemade. Masks & social distancing. Open daily (except Sundays). 11 a.m.– 6 p.m. Runs thru Dec. 22. Finley Country Market. 1970 Big Valley Rd., Finley. big-calendar.

Thursday 9 Mendocino Dance Project. $12–$20. Dec. 9–11: 7:30 p.m. Helen Schoeni Theatre. 45200 Little Lake St., Mendocino.

Friday 10 FREE Willits Craft Fair. Two

locations: Willits City Hall (111 E. Commercial St., Willits): Dec. 10, noon–7 p.m. & Dec. 11, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Center for the Arts (71 E. Commercial St., Willits.): Dec. 10, noon–9 p.m. & Dec. 11, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Ceremony at

9 a.m. Hillcrest Cemetery. 10691 Palette Dr., Mendocino. willitscenter

Saturday 11 FREE Teen Harry Potter Mystery.

Magic & murder at the Yule Ball. Teens (middle school & high school), grab a broom and ZOOM into Hogwarts to solve the mystery. (Content is rated PG.) Presented by Fort Bragg Library. Email Kim Doyle for the Zoom link: doylek@ FREE Christmas in Middletown.

Winter Wonderland, Santa’s workshop & reindeer games. 4–8 p.m. Downtown Middletown. lakecounty. com/event/christmas-in-middletown. FREE Drive-Thru Community Christmas Celebration. Drive-thru

dinner, plus elves will deliver toys to cars as Santa waves from a fire truck. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Burns Valley Elementary School. 3620 Pine St., Clearlake. big-calendar. FREE Santa in Point Arena. 2–4 p.m. Point Arena City Hall. 451 School St., Point Arena.

Sunday 12 Opus Chamber Music Concert.

Featuring Angelica Duo (harp & violin). $25. Ages 18 & younger: free if accompanied by adult. 3–5 p.m. Cotton Auditorium. 500 N. Harold St., Fort Bragg.

Wednesday 15 FREE Kid’s Craft Snowglobes.

Supplies limited. 4:30–5:30 p.m. Redbud Library. 14785 Burns Valley Rd., Clearlake.

December 2021

Saturday 18 The Nutcracker. Presented by Mendocino Ballet. $10–$20. Masks required. Dec. 18: 7 p.m. & Dec. 19: 2 p.m. Ukiah High School. 1000 Low Gap Rd., Ukiah. Advance tickets recommended: events. FREE Wreaths Across America.

The Mendocino Spartan 4-H will be placing wreaths in Hillcrest Cemetery in Mendocino. Ceremony at 9 a.m. Hillcrest Cemetery. 10691 Palette Dr., Mendocino.

Sunday 19 Virtual Christmas Celebration. Lake County Symphony virtual concert, featuring solo vocalist Jude Darrin, plus orchestral holiday favorites. 2 p.m. Tickets: FREE Community Sing-Along. Sing carols. Children welcome. 7 p.m. Ukiah First Presbyterian Church. 514 W. Church St., Ukiah.

Friday 31 New York New Year’s Eve Party.

Special menu, live music. 6–9 p.m. Celebrate the New Year at 9 p.m. when the ball drops in New York City. Blue Wing Restaurant. 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Reservations: 275-2233.

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December 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 27

Humor Break in our matching flannel jammies, I noticed a 9-month-old holding a very real candle next to my highly flammable children. I guess that’s why the fire department is featured in the parade.

Holidaze Happy The Creative Chaos of Kids By Jessica Guerrieri


urry! It’s time to stand in line for hours so a jolly stranger can hold our crying kids. What are the holidays without a #santafail social media post?

But, really, having children during December is actually kind of spectacular. (It’s the other 11 months when things can get dicey.) If there is a holiday-themed park, tree lot, or reindeer sleigh within a 15-mile radius of our house, we are so there! My three little elves believe in the magic of Christmas so much that if I didn’t know any better I, too, would swear that a fat man is going to scoot down my chimney. This year, we’ve jumped right into the holidaze, as I like to call them. Though things rarely have gone according to plan, of course. When we headed to our local Boy 28 MendoLakeFamilyLife

I learned that the fastest way to get my girls to eat broccoli is to pretend it’s a “tiny tree” and put “snow” (aka frosting) on it. Scout tree lot, we aimed to get one 10-foot tree. But, instead, we found ourselves with a 12-foot tree, and three 4-foot trees that my girls hauled off the lot all by themselves. Incidentally, the girls’ new favorite game is “How many pine needles can we shove up each other’s noses before sneezing them out?” So far, they’ve made it to five. We also ventured out to a Christmas tree lighting and candlelight parade. Call me over-protective, but I assumed everyone would be using flameless candles. When we arrived

Besides escaping Christmas parades with our lives, we also like to make sugar cookies. We have decorated no less than a dozen every day for the past seven days. And—guess what?—I learned that the fastest way to get my girls to eat broccoli is to pretend it’s a “tiny tree” and put “snow” (aka frosting) on it. Yes, cookie baking taught me that the unexpected can actually be a treat. And so did our visit to the Tree Farm, where we were riding to Santa’s workshop in a sleigh pulled by horses dressed up as reindeer. Trying to chase away the chill of the wind, the girls leaned in close and grabbed hold of each other, their baby sister snuggled between them. Without prompting, each of them planted a kiss on their littlest sibling. My heart exploded with so much love I almost didn’t remember to remind Santa that we belong on the Nice List. The holidaze are crazy, it’s true. But when things don’t go our way, remember there’s plenty of magic to be had, like learning the many uses of pine needles, that frosting is a parental ally, and that we don’t need a holiday to make our love for our children burn as bright as the Christmas star. ¶ Jessica Guerrieri is a mom and a freelance writer/blogger. Find her at and on Instagram @witandspitup.

December 2021

Marketplace Preschools


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integrated with academics Near Brookside School at ✓ Referrals for transportation available Free & Low-Cost Spruce St. & Lincoln Way  National Green Campus Quality Preschool! • Lake County Also providing FREE in-home services for

 Promotes responsibility, Upper Lake - 2nd Street infants, toddlers & pregnant women!

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(707)Development 462-2582 Program License #230111843 Child Applications online: • (707) 462-2582

Mario Abreu

Lakeport - Howard Ave. Clearlake - Pearl Ave. ClearlakeLocated - Meadowbrookon Dr.

• Coastnorth end of Fairgrounds Fort Bragg - Lincoln St. PO Box 966 Ukiah 95482


Mushroom Madness


uring the rainy winter, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is home to more than 100 species of wild mushrooms. Every Monday at 1:30 p.m., naturalist and mycologist Mario Abreu takes visitors on a mushroom tour, pointing out the different varieties and talking about mushroom lore. The walks are free with admission, which is $8–$15 (free for ages five and younger). Reservations are required; go to ¶ Francisco Escamilla at the mic

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Write a Poem


ometimes we experience emotions and thoughts that we can’t put into words. Poetry can be one vehicle for communicating these hard-to-express feelings. In the free virtual Family Poetry Workshop, poet Francisco Escamilla will guide participants in the process of writing verse. The class will be held on December 11 at 11 a.m. and will focus on winter as a time of resting, renewal, and preparation for spring’s rebirth. It is open to all ages but is geared toward families with children ages 6–18. Email Samantha White at whitesa@mendocinocounty. org to sign up. To find out more about Escamilla, go to ¶

December 2021

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