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mendo lake FREE!

May 2021

Foster Love

Special parents

Camps Heal Kids Why they work

Grow a Garden 4 fun projects

Mommy Breaks 20-minute ideas

Destination: Healthy Kids You’ll find pediatric care you can trust at MCHC Health Centers. We welcome kids of all ages.


May 2021

Every Issue



Dear Reader


Cooking with Kids Skillet Chicken


Bits and Pieces A Taste of Taiko Músic de México Learn to Draw Peanuts BFFs

Features 10 No Homework Hassles

14 Glorious Garden Fun projects for kids.

How and when to help with schoolwork.

12 Camps Heal Our Children

16 Avoid Mommy Burnout Quick ways to recharge during the day.

Why summer programs matter now more than ever.

18 Loving Other People’s Kids

Cookies and Cake for Kids


A Zoom Whodunnit Play with Clay

24 Calendar of Events 26 Humor Break The Suggestion Box

The real lives of foster parents.

20 Letter to My Teen A mom wishes for gifts that can’t be bought.

22 Sneezin’ Season Strategies for managing allergies.

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7 May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com




Buy Gowan’s Award-Winning Ciders


Dear Reader


here would this world be without the consistent love and work of moms? This Mother’s Day, one way to celebrate Sharon Gowan the women in your Publisher/Editor Sharon@family-life.us family is to let them take some time off for themselves. Self-care is so important for maintaining the stamina it takes to care for kids. Check out “Avoid Mommy Burnout” (page 16) for nurturing 20-minute breaks. And see our Calendar of Events (page 24) for entertaining virtual and in-person events. Some moms love to hang out in their gardens. Planting seeds and watching them grow is a wonderful activity for children, too. Special projects, like creating a sunflower house, particularly

engage kids. Turn to “Glorious Garden” (page 14) to learn how to introduce little ones to the pleasures of tending the soil.

We wish you a May of gentle breezes, family togetherness, and, for our mama-readers especially, rest and renewal.


will walk you through the entire process of becoming a child care provider in your home.


Patricia Ramos patty@family-life.us

Business Marketing Renee Nutcher renee@family-life.us Warren Kaufman warren@family-life.us

Features Editor Melissa Chianta melissa@family-life.us

Production Manager Donna Bogener production@family-life.us

Contributing Writers


Office Manager

Gardens get kids out into nature. And outdoors is where children need to be, says camp owner Andy Pritikin. Read his “Camps Heal Our Children” (page 12) to discover the many ways summer programs help youth thrive. Remember, the time to sign up for camp is right now! Find out about local programs at our Virtual Camp Fair at sonomafamilylife.com.

America’s Test Kitchen Katy M. Clark Sandra Gordon Christina Katz Pam Moore Jan Pierce Andy Pritikin Brette Sember

Billing Jan Wasson-Smith

Publishing Office P.O. Box 351 Philo, CA 95466 (707) 586-9562

have subsidies available to help with child care expenses for qualifying families.


have ongoing training & referrals to help make your child care business the best it can be!

1-800-606-5550 x211 ncoinc.org 6 MendoLakeFamilyLife

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Cooking with Kids

Skillet Chicken Make a Meal in One Pan

By America’s Test Kitchen


his recipe delivers a chicken and potatoes dinner in just one skillet in just over an hour. Chicken leg quarters, which are underused (and therefore often priced less than other cuts), are substantial enough for one serving and offer plenty of crispy skin. They also rendered enough juices to flavor the potatoes. After browning the leg quarters, we browned potato slices along with some halved shallots; Yukon Golds were starchy enough to soak up the chicken juices, but not so starchy that they’d fall apart. Placing the chicken directly on top of the potatoes allowed the drippings to season the potatoes beneath, bumping up their creamy texture and their flavor. You can substitute four 10to 12‑ounce bone-in split chicken breasts for the leg quarters, if desired. Be sure to cook the breasts to 160 degrees in step 4, about 35 minutes. Reprinted from The Chicken Bible (2021) with permission from America’s Test Kitchen, www.americastestkitchen.com.


Skillet-Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters and Potatoes Total Time: 1 ¼ hours 4 (10‑ to 12-ounce) chicken leg quarters, trimmed 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme 1 ½ teaspoons plus pinch table salt, divided 1 teaspoon pepper, divided 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2‑inch-thick rounds 4 shallots, halved through root end ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving 1 garlic clove, minced 1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle with thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss potatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons

May 2021

oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ½ teaspoon pepper together in bowl. Combine parsley, lemon zest, garlic, and remaining pinch salt in small bowl; set aside. 2. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12‑inch ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate, skin side up. 3. Place potatoes and shallots in single layer in now-empty skillet. Cook over medium heat, without moving vegetables, until bottoms of potatoes are golden brown, about 5 minutes. 4. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of vegetables and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken registers 175 degrees and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley mixture. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately. Serves: 4

MendoLakeFamilyLife 7

Bits & Pieces

A Taste of Taiko


he thunderous rhythms of taiko, a kind of Japanese drumming, were first heard in the Bay Area in the 1930s. Thanks to local performers, taiko is still a part of the Sonoma County musical landscape. Hear this wall-shaking music at the virtual Matsuri: Japanese Arts Festival, where, along with taiko drumming, a shakuhachi (bamboo flute) concert and judo demonstrations will be featured. The event will be held on May 15, 6:30–8:30 p.m., and is free. To receive the Zoom link, register at sonomamatsuri.org/festival. ¶

Sonia De Los Santos

Músic de México


orn in Monterrey, Mexico, Sonia De Los Santos has spent her career writing and sharing kids’ music that expresses her love for her roots and traditions. The Latin Grammy-nominated musician has played in many prestigious venues, such as Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center. And now the Luther Burbank Center is virtually hosting her. See her free online bilingual children’s music performance May 15–16. To get the concert link, register at lutherburbankcenter.org/event/ sonia-santos. ¶

Learn to Draw Peanuts BFFs


hey say opposites attract. And that seems to be true of Peanuts ’ Peppermint Patty and Marcie. While Patty is athletic, lighthearted, and struggles at school, Marcie is more down-to-earth, studious, and not the least bit interested in sports. Still the two are BFFs worth an illustration or two. Learn how to sketch them in the class How to Draw Best Friends: Peppermint Patty and Marcie. The online class, hosted by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and taught by staff artist Mary Shyne, will be held on May 27, 4–5 p.m., and costs $10–$15. Advance registration is required. Sign up at schulzmuseum.org or call 284-1272. ¶

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May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Cookies and Cake for Kids

A happy Cake4Kids recipient


ids and birthday cakes go hand in hand. But when money is tight or other circumstances are difficult, many children go without the simple celebratory treat. The local nonprofit Cake4Kids is changing that, thanks to the help of volunteer professional bakers who bring sweet birthday joy to Sonoma County kids. To raise money for their efforts, the group is hosting a Virtual Family Bake-A-Long. Pastry chef Mimo Ahmed, from the Glen Ellen Star restaurant, will show participants how to make chocolate chunk and snickerdoodle cookies from scratch. The online class will be held on May 9, 11 a.m.–noon, and is $25. For more information and to register, go to cake4kids. org/events/sonoma-bakealong. Find out more about Ahmed at theemptyplate.blog. ¶

Mimo Ahmed

A Zoom Whodunnit


he pandemic has forced theater troupes into a tight spot. The solution for the Lake County Theatre Company? A Virtual Whodunnit. The play stars a bitter old billionaire who is electrocuted by his phone during a family Zoom call. A detective arrives and interviews each suspect via Zoom. Then the audience gets to vote for who they think committed the foul crime. Performances will be held May 14–16. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at laketheatre.org. A Zoom link will be sent by 4 p.m. the day of the show. ¶

Play with Clay


ith so much time spent in Zoom meetings, kids may be experiencing the desire to do something more creative than punch keys and swipe screens. Enter the Youth Ceramics class at the Middletown Art Center in Middletown. The series of three classes, taught by ceramicist Michelle Gann, will teach kids ages 10 and older the basics of working with clay. Participants will take home a fired piece. The class will be held 4–6 p.m. on May 11, 18, and 25. The fee is $90 and includes materials and firing. Pre-registration is required. Sign up at: middletownartcenter.org/classes. ¶ www.mendolakefamilylife.com

May 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 9

distractions or trying to help, students won’t get a chance to see what they can accomplish on their own. Declare quite time in the house until every student has had time to complete work.

No Homework Hassles 7 Ways to Raise Good Students

By Christina Katz


ike it or not, parents, homework is an important part of school and learning. Over an academic career, the amount and complexity of work your child brings home will gradually increase as a student progresses through the grades.

If you want the transition from school to homework to go as smoothly as possible, be forewarned: You are going to need to monitor your behavior as much as your child’s. If you follow these simple tips you can avoid homework hassles. 1. Be pro-homework. Whatever you do, do not get down on the idea of homework. If you do, you might implicitly grant your student permission to dismiss it, too. Generally, a negative or critical attitude towards learning, teachers, or school will only undermine your child’s ability to prioritize homework. 10 MendoLakeFamilyLife

If your child cannot handle the load that is considered typical for each grade, discuss your child’s challenges with the teacher. Addressing any concerns swiftly and giving teachers and administrators the benefit of the doubt will serve your student’s highest good, inside and outside the classroom. 2. Make space for each student. If you have more than one student doing homework, try to create a separate workspace for each child. The goal of homework is to take students out of a group environment and teach them to work independently. If others are always nearby creating

3. Participate but don’t take over. Sometimes you will be invited to participate in homework. When this happens, let students lead the collaboration process. Make sure you are the helper, not the boss. Once you

Work with the teacher to help your student overcome unproductive habits. take over your children’s homework, it’s difficult to get them to reclaim responsibility for it. If your child is lost or confused about homework instructions, seek out teacher input to help get your student back on track. 4. Encourage routine. Stand firm that homework is the first priority when students finish classes each weekday. Homework for Mondays can be completed on Fridays or Sundays, according to what works best for your student and family. 5. Take advantage of student-teacher interaction. Some children are shier than others. Other children may have trouble listening carefully to homework instructions. Others may forget to write down assignments. Try to see all of these homework pitfalls as opportunities for your child’s growth. Don’t inter fere unless you have to. Work with the teacher to help your student overcome unproductive habits. Don’t get down on your child. Instead,

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

mendo lake brainstorm with the teacher about ways to inspire improved academic performance. Teachers always have plenty of experience in this department. 6. Check grades regularly. At some point, your child’s grades will be posted online with the expectation that students and parents will keep up with academic progress. When this happens, it means that you won’t likely hear from teachers beyond parent-teacher conferences and report cards. The onus falls on parents to help students monitor their progress in classes and address any discrepancies in grading. Don’t

Whatever you do, do not get down on the idea of homework. merely check your child’s quiz and test scores. Students are expected to turn in homework in a timely manner and to participate in class in addition to working hard on quizzes, tests, and projects. Don’t let a few misplaced homework assignments bring your child’s grades down. 7. Use tutors as needed. Despite your best intentions and your child’s best efforts, you may find yourself in need of a tutor. Academic challenges often show up during the elementary school years. When they are met with helpfulness instead of judgment, frustration can be addressed and difficulties rapidly surmounted, especially when parents and teachers work together. ¶ Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz actually enjoyed doing homework when she was growing up.


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While the majority of summer camps closed last summer, many camps stayed open, including mine. Strict safety guidelines and a modified program were necessary, but the fundamental essence of camp remained intact: Kids played together—in most cases outdoors— and were mentored by caring staff. According to our campers, parents,

Camp offers kids the unique opportunity to step back into a simpler time, when no Internet connection or mute button was needed.

Camps Heal Our Children How Summer Programs Meet Kids’ Needs By Andy Pritikin


s a camp director, I’ve been heralding the importance of summer camp for two decades. Years before COVID-19, youth suffered from the worldwide outbreaks of technology addiction, social skill deficiency, indoor isolation, and over-parenting. And for more than a year now, our kids have been living an increasingly bizarre, unnatural life of screens and quarantines, hybrid schooling (if they’re lucky), and enough fear and disappointment to last them into adulthood. However, in the midst of the insanity, we’ve learned that summer camp can become a beacon of hope, a lifeline that can tow children back to their normal selves. 12 MendoLakeFamilyLife

and staff, it was by far their most meaningful camp experience ever, as well as an impactful life event. And think about it—that was only four months into the pandemic. This June, after two compromised school years, our children’s need for summer camp’s benefits will be even more crucial. Here’s what camp offers them:


Real Human Connection Zoom and remote learning have saved us in so many ways. But there’s no substitute for real human connection. Making and strengthening relationships is what camp is all about.


Rediscovering Nature While we have been trapped indoors for the past year, our bodies have longed to live life like our ancestors did—outside, without central air, video screens, and the Internet. The outdoors is an amazingly beautiful

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

and joyful place, and it’s where most summer camps happen.


Resiliency We want our kids to grow up with the kind of “can-do” attitude that our health care providers, essential workers,

Making and strengthening relationships is what camp is all about. and superhero schoolteachers demonstrate. They have the opportunity to develop that kind of courage at camp.


Mental Health The surge in the number of mental-healthrelated visits made by adolescents

and school-age children shows us that pandemic stress has left its mark. Extroverted kids are suffering, missing the energy of their peers. Introverted kids may seem to enjoy sitting in their homes, away from life’s normal pressures, but they need social interaction just as much. Camp helps kids reconnect with themselves and others, and reclaim their emotional and mental well-being. Camp offers kids the unique opportunity to step back into a simpler time, when no Internet connection or mute button was needed. There, they will find a small community of people that have faith in the human spirit and

offer nonjudgmental support to one another. Camps have proven that such communities can be created safely, even under the most challenging circumstances. They give

There’s no substitute for real human connection. kids a place to be with other kids, to play outdoors as nature intended, and grow into the human beings they are meant to become. ¶ This article was originally published on the site of the American Camp Association (acacamps.org). It has been adapted and reprinted with permission from the author. Andy Pritikin is the owner of Liberty Lake Day Camp, libertylakedaycamp.com.

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MendoLakeFamilyLife 13

trademark orange blossoms. Then in the fall they turn from green globes to nice, fat orange pumpkins. Use them for cooking pies and tarts, but be sure to set aside several to hollow out and carve into Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Learn more at gardenbeast.com/ how-to-grow-pumpkins.

Glorious Garden 4 Mini Plant Projects for Children

By Jan Pierce


pring is in full bloom, and it’s time to get out and dig in the soil. To children, gardening is a bit like magic. Those little packages of mystery—seeds—are sprinkled into soil and then, after a loooong time, little green tendrils peek up into the world. You can capture some of that mystery and magic with these four mini-gardening projects. Sunflower Houses Sunflowers are magnificent things to plant because they have a short germination time—as little as seven days—and they grow spectacularly tall. Children will love planting their sunflower home and then watching it grow inch-by-inch. You could even do a little mapping and graphing as the home is planned. And then, when the magic is done, the kids can play in the house and even sleep in it. Find planning and growing

14 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Fence lines are great places to plant gourds. instructions at almanac.com/ plant-sunflower-house. Pumpkins to Jack-o-Lanterns Pumpkin seeds are easy to plant. Just place the seeds in mounds of soil spaced four to five inches apart. The plants will grow all summer long and bloom with their

Gourds on a Fence Fence lines are great places to plant gourds, which entrance kids with their beautiful colors and different shapes. Gourds need to grow and mature until all the greenery has dried up. After they are thoroughly dry, you can use them for decoration or rhythm instruments, or hollow them out to make homegrown birdhouses. Find more information at morningchores. com/growing-gourds. Succulents in Clam Shells Succulents, those interesting plants that retain water in fat leaves, come in all shapes and sizes. When grouped together, these plants make truly lovely arrangements. They can grow in a minimum of soil, making them perfect for a kids’ project. Take a large shell (or other interesting container) and drill several small drainage holes in the bottom. Place a layer of wet sphagnum moss in the bottom, top with potting soil, and then add

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com


several succulent plants close together. These little arrangements make nice gifts, or you can place them in a spot

We want to know what you think. • What did you like in this issue? • What do you want to see more or less of? • Know a teacher, coach, or special person who makes local family life better? • Know of an upcoming event or fun family outing? • Want to write stories or recipes, or blog for Family Life?

Sunflowers are magnificent things to plant.

e-mail melissa@family-life.us

where you and your children can enjoy them throughout the year. See simplysucculents.com for kits and arrangement ideas. For more fun gardening projects, see kidsgardening.org. ¶ Jan Pierce, MEd, is a freelance writer specializing in education, parenting, and family life articles. She is the author of Homegrown Readers: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read, available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Little Gardeners’ Books Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening with Kids (Cool

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Springs Press, 2014). Renata Fossen Brown, Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden (Quarry Books,

2014). Katherine Hengel, Garden to Table: A Kids’ Guide to Planting, Growing and Preparing Food (Mighty Media for Junior Readers, 2014). Sharon Lovejoy, Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots: Activities to Do in the Garden (Workman Publishing, 1999).





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1. Sip some tea. Enjoy the perfect cup of tea and your favorite tea cookies while daydreaming by an open window. My mother used to keep her “special cookies” hidden so the kids couldn’t raid her secret stash. Now I do, too. 2. Go on a walkabout. Get your heart rate up with a brisk walk, preferably around the most scenic route in your neighborhood. As you walk, shake those baby-toting kinks out of your arms and shoulders.

Avoid Mommy Burnout A

15 Ways to Recharge in Only 20 Minutes

By Christina Katz

s a new mother, I definitely had my mommy meltdown moments. They snuck up on me, usually when I was endeavoring for the umpteenth time to finally get something done. That’s when my baby girl, Samantha, would start to shriek because she wanted out of her two-speed swing, or when one of our three cats would decide to hurl a hairball across the light-colored carpet, and when my lunch would explode in a muffled splat all over the inside of the microwave.

At times like these I’d get the hint and stop whatever I was doing. I’d pick up my pouty-lipped princess, collapse into our wonderfully overstuffed lounge chair, and begin to rhythmically rock and hum a lullaby. Samantha probably thought all this soothing behavior was for her benefit, but the truth was I was actually plotting my next 20-minute 16 MendoLakeFamilyLife

break—the best trick I’ve learned for how to avoid mommy burnout. So next time life gives you 20 minutes, don’t waste a single moment complaining that it’s not enough time. Just jump right into one of these relaxing rituals instead, and you’ll find that the cure for mommy burnout was within your grasp all along.

3. Write a postcard. Write four fanciful postcards to your dearest faraway friends. Short on postcards?

Buy yourself inexpensive bunches of flowers. Find the four prettiest pieces of notepaper in the house, and write a hand-written note with the most grown-up pen you have. 4. Grab a good read. Flip through that old stack of magazines you never have time to read. Tear out the pages with articles that really interest you, staple them, and keep them in a magazine holder close to the door, so you can grab one on the way out. Read your selection in the passenger seat, while waiting in line at the grocery store, or anywhere else you find yourself with a few minutes of down time. 5. Savor a sitcom. Set your DVR to record your favorite funny sitcoms, or designate a weekly time to catch up with your shows on your computer. During these times, shut the door, turn out the lights, and enjoy (with or without commercials). Ah.

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

6. Dance it out. Close the shades, put on your headphones, find your favorite dance music, and get down. Don’t stop until your stress and strain shimmy away.

9. Make a vision board. More fun with old magazines: Make a collage of images that represent your future hopes and goals. Don’t hold back! Dream big.

Enjoy the perfect cup of tea and your favorite tea cookies.

10. Pretend you are five. Engage your inner child—finger paint, play with clay, or color with crayons. Focus on the fun of the process, not the quality of the product.

7. Commune with nature. Sit outside under a tree. Listen. Write what you hear in a poem. 8. Treat yourself to fresh flora. Buy yourself inexpensive bunches of flowers. Arrange them in your loveliest vases, and place them around the house.

11. Connect with your future self. What happens when you use your imagination to talk to an older, wiser version of yourself? Write the results in your journal. 12. Soak. Turn on some soothing music, fire up a few candles, dim the lights, and sink into a sumptuous bubble bath.

14. Be a rock star. Sing in the shower as loudly as you like. Buy soaps and shampoos with scents that inspire you.

Sing in the shower as loudly as you like. 15. Take a power nap. Set your alarm clock for 20 minutes, lie down, and start counting backwards from one hundred. When you’re alarm goes off, you’ll be rested and refreshed, whether you fell asleep or not. Christina Katz is always on the lookout for her next small indulgence.

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MendoLakeFamilyLife 17

stance on other relationships. “We don’t avoid having good friends or a romantic relationship because those engagements might someday come to an end. In fact, many of them do end, and we accept that as part of our life experience.”

Loving Other People’s Kids 4 Things Foster Parents Want You to Know By Pam Moore


hile there is plenty of data about foster children, information about foster parents can be elusive. I talked to foster parents, not to obtain statistics, but to hear their stories. This is what they want you to know.

Foster parents aren’t superheroes. Foster parents are, in many ways, like all parents, says John DeGarmo. Having fostered more than 50 children and as the director of the Foster Care Institute, he understands how vulnerable foster parents are to fatigue, setbacks, and disappointments. “There are times when we succeed, and there are times when we experience failures. We are not the perfect parents. We are simply trying our best to provide a home and family for a child who needs one,” he says. 18 MendoLakeFamilyLife

Yes, dealing with loss is hard (but not impossible). Many foster parents mentioned they are frequently fielding questions about what happens when the child is taken away from them. Mary and Ken, whose foster child was ultimately reunited with his family, talked about how frequently people express apprehension over the idea of getting “too close” to the child only to have the child reunite with their biological family. She says she finds that perspective “peculiar,” considering we rarely, if ever, take this

DeGarmo also encounters this question, people often asking him, “Doesn’t it hurt it too much to give them back?” Of course it hurts, he says; heartache is to be expected. “When the child leaves our home and

While the foster system can be impersonal and frustrating, it has its upsides, too. our family, our hearts should break. We should experience feelings of grief and loss. After all, we have given all of our hearts and love to a child in need.” Two years after Heather Grimes’s foster child was returned to her biological family, she says the child’s “photo is still on our fridge, from her first birthday. [She’s] in that adorable denim jumper, sitting on the fake grass outside of Sweet Cow ice cream. Her eyes are the most gorgeous shade of blue.” While the Grimes may have moved on with their lives, that little girl is still in their hearts. Foster kids are not bad kids. Many parents said they often receive comments about how hard it must be to deal with difficult, out-of-control kids. In reality, says Emily, most are not bad kids. The former or current foster mom of a total of four children, Emily explains: “They just grew up in chaotic, unhealthy environments without proper adult supervision.

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

They are capable of learning the right way to behave, express their emotions, etc., if you take the time to show/teach them.” Tammy Hoskins says being trauma-informed is crucial in supporting foster children. Hoskins works for a nonprofit that serves the needs of high-risk youth and is the mother of ten children, four of whom are biological children and six of whom she adopted through the foster system. Because their brains are still developing, children are especially vulnerable to the deleterious effects of trauma, including difficulties with learning, social-emotional development, cognition, physical health, and attachment. Says Hoskins, “To understand, to empathize and to work with them in collaborative ways

to solve problems is crucial to their healing.” The work of Daniel Siegel, Karen Purvis, and webinars available through the Center for Adoption

Foster parents are, in many ways, like all parents. Support and Education (CASE) are among the many resources she recommends foster parents take advantage of. The foster system isn’t just a cold bureaucracy. While the foster system can be impersonal and frustrating, it has its upsides, too. DeGarmo points out that foster parents are helping not just the children, but also the whole family.

He notes that many biological parents of foster children were in the foster system themselves and, for lack of resources, are still stuck in the system. “Part of being a foster parent is helping the parents of the children living with us, helping our fellow human beings.” From talking to foster parents, I learned that what they do doesn’t require a superhero cape. It does take commitment, compassion, and a desire to help. As most foster parents were quick to say, the biological parents aren’t necessarily bad people; they love their kids and they have flaws—like all parents. ¶ This article was originally published on Parent Co. Get Pam Moore’s free guide to crushing Impostor Syndrome at pam-moore.com.


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May 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 19

I relax about how much you enjoy Fortnite and other video games, and just savor the time you are in my house and under my roof, even as you scamper through a virtual world. I continue to bring you a bowl of cereal in the morning as you fall back asleep on the couch before school. It’s a little thing you could do for yourself, but I don’t mind.

Letter to My Teen What I Want for Mother’s Day

By Katy M. Clark


know better than to expect a handmade card from you this year. Or a necklace made out of macaroni noodles, or a stone painted with the words, “Mom, you rock!” After all, you are in high school.

I will always treasure those cards and gifts from when you were younger, but what I wish for on Mother’s Day now that you are a teen is different. So, as you roll out of bed, probably forgetting about my special day (even though your dad reminded you at least once), let me share what I want for Mother’s Day. I hope that:

step it up in the litter-box-cleaning department, though.) You will always want to tell me about whom you eat lunch with at school. I can help you with your Language Arts homework when you ask because you know it was my strongest subject, and it’s not yours.

My front seat continues to be a welcoming place for you to sit and chat with me.

I will always have enough snacks for you in the pantry. And may I continue to remember to buy two pounds of meat, instead of one, for recipes. You definitely have a much bigger appetite these days.

We will always bond over our cat, talking to her in baby voices and cracking each other up. (You could

I can encourage you to be your best in whatever role your coach feels is right for you.

I will always have a full pack of gum from which you can mooch.

20 MendoLakeFamilyLife

It will continue to be easy between you and me when I tease you about those girls you message on Snapchat. I have the agility to dodge the laundry you leave on your bedroom floor and

I hope that I will always have a full pack of gum from which you can mooch. the patience to teach you—again—how to fold clothes and put them away. Okay, I see your face. You are wondering how you can wrap any of these “gifts” or if I’m serious about them at all. Please know that I am. They mean the world to me. But don’t worry about getting me everything. The truth is that I’ve already received the greatest gift this Mother’s Day: The gift to be your mom, especially during these teen years. Stop making that face. I’m serious. And yes, you can have a piece of gum. It’s in my purse. You know where. Katy M. Clark is a writer who celebrates her imperfections as a mom at experiencedbadmom.com.

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Free Tire Collection MAY 27–29, 9AM-3PM • 351 FRANKLIN AVE., WILLITS



MORE INFORMATION (707) 468-9710 www.mendorecycle.org Facebook @mendorecycle info@mendorecycle.org


Healthy Kids Need Healthy Teeth. Visit Your Dental Provider!

2 steps to a healthy smile! Funded by the CDPH under Contract # 17-10704

Have More Fun & Create Great Memories MendoLakeFamily Life.com www.mendolakefamilylife.com

May 2021

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guess what you may be allergic to and then self-medicate at CVS. See an allergist or a pulmonologist for testing and a tailored action plan, which may include allergy shots

AC not only cools the air but cleans it, too.

Sneezin’ Season S

or under-the-tongue allergy drops (sublingual allergy desensitization), and over-the-counter medication.

How to Survive Spring Allergies

By Sandra Gordon

easonal allergic rhinitis, aka hay fever, is nothing to sneeze at. This time of year, mold spores and tiny grains of pollen from native grasses and trees hitch a ride on spring’s warm breezes, traveling for hundreds of miles.

If you or someone in your family is allergic, those pesky airborne particles can kick your immune system into overdrive, triggering annoying symptoms, such as sneezing, stuffy and runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. The throat, ears, and the roof of the mouth can itch, too.

difficult. About 60 percent of adults and up to 80 percent of children 18 and younger with asthma have allergic asthma—asthma brought on by allergies.

“Allergies can trigger asthma and make it worse,” says Beth Corn, MD, an allergy and immunology specialist. Asthma is a chronic disease in which the lung’s tiny airways become swollen and constricted, making breathing

Pinpoint what you’re allergic to. If you or your child is having symptoms of allergies, asthma, or both (allergic asthma), such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing, don’t

22 MendoLakeFamilyLife

These simple strategies can tame seasonal allergies to help everyone breathe easier.

Reducing your exposure to an allergen is an important first step. “You have to identify what’s triggering your allergies or allergic asthma, then go after it,” Corn says. Bust household dust. Dust mites are a common indoor allergen, especially in winter because we tend to spend more time inside. But dust mites can also be an issue in the spring and summer because they thrive on seasonal humidity. These microscopically tiny bugs live in household dust, which sneaks in from dirt tracked in on shoes and airborne particles like pollen and soot that blow into your home. Dust mites are not parasites. They won’t bite, sting, or burrow into you. The harmful allergen they create comes from the fecal pellets and body fragments they shed in household dust. Dust mites are nearly everywhere, but the bedroom is their favorite hangout. “Roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable levels of dust mite allergen in at least one bed,” states the American Lung Association on its website, lung.org. To derail dust mites, use a dehumidifier (if humidity is a problem)

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

and encase mattresses and pillows in a barrier cover that’s impenetrable to dust. “The cover doesn’t have be anything expensive. It just has to do the job,” Corn advises. Barrier covers prevent the dust mite debris from seeping out of bedding. “You’re not smothering the dust mites. They’re still there, but you’ll lock in the dust, which is what contains the mites you’re allergic to,” Corn says. Get rid of carpets, rugs, and curtains, too. “They’re big dust collectors,” Corn says. Clean up your act. Mop floors regularly and use shades instead of curtains in bedrooms, periodically washing down shades with a damp cloth. Also, wash sheets and towels in hot water to kill any lingering dust mites.

Avoid outdoor chores. If you’re allergic to grasses, let someone who isn’t allergic cut the lawn. Mowing kicks up mold and pollen. If you can’t get out of lawn duty, just don

Reducing your exposure to an allergen is an important first step. a surgical face mask (these days, you’re probably already wearing one anyway) to minimize your chances of inhaling outdoor allergens. Close your windows. Keep car windows shut when you’re driving. When the weather heats up, close windows at home and turn on the air conditioner. AC not only cools

the air but cleans it, too. Just make sure to regularly replace the AC filter, otherwise you’ll be breathing in dirty air. Don’t hang towels, sheets, or clothes outside to dry. They’re pollen and mold magnets, especially on windy days. Wash up. Change your clothes, take a shower, and wash your hair after being outside. Pollen can cling to hair, skin, and clothes. “These little tricks can really minimize your exposure to allergens and, in turn, help control your allergies and allergic asthma,” Corn says. ¶ Sandra Gordon is a freelance writer who specializes in health and medicine.


to schedule your FREE in-home consultation

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BOGO 40% OFF Call for details

YEARS as the #1 resource for local families magazine • web • email • events www.mendolakefamilylife.com

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MendoLakeFamilyLife 23


Calendar of Events

Saturday 1 Hopland Fire’s Drive-Thru BBQ.

Choice of chicken or tri-tip meals. Fundraiser for the Hopland Volunteer Fire Department. $25. 5:15–7 p.m. (register for pick-up time). Brutocao Cellars. 13500 Hwy. 101, Hopland. Tickets available only online: hoplandfire. com/2021-drive-thru-bbq.html. FREE Kelley House Museum Re-Opens. Enjoy

the gardens & learn about this 160-year-old house & the family who lived there. Email tours@kelleyhousemuseum.org to register for a docent-led walking tour of the Mendocino Historical District. Donation suggested. Museum hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Kelley House Museum. 45007 Albion St., Mendocino. kelleyhousemuseum.org.

Monday 3 FREE Desi Chaat: Support Group for South-Asian Moms. Sponsored

by Postpartum Support International (PSI). 1 p.m. Register: tinyurl.com/ zm8mcrep.

facebook.com/First5ELC./A través de Zoom. Inglés: martes y jueves, 10 a.m.; Jueves, 4 p.m. Español: martes, 4 p.m.; Jueves: 10:45 a.m. Correo electrónico para enlace: earlyinterventionreferrals@ esnorcal.org. Consulte también: facebook. com/First5ELC.

Wednesday 5 FREE 2021 HazMobile–Hazardous Material Drop-Off. 15 gallons per

vehicle. Wednesdays: 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Second Saturday of each month (May 8): 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Mendo Recycle. 3200 Taylor Dr., Ukiah. Find a complete schedule, list of accepted hazardous materials & other pick-up locations in Mendocino County at mendorecycle.org.

Thursday 6 FREE Coffee Talk! Moms’ Group.

Weekly group run by Mother-Wise to promote positivity & friendship in the local motherhood community. Thursdays. 9–9:30 a.m. Join: us05web.zoom. us/j/85727070430#success. Meeting ID: 857 2707 0430. Passcode: 2qfC0x.

Tuesday 4

Friday 7

FREE Virtual Circle Times with First

FREE Virtual Foodie Finds. Learn how to make a variety of yummy sweets & savory snacks. Ages 12–18. Fridays. 4 p.m. instagram.com/ thehideoutteens_mendolibrary/?hl=en.

5 Lake County/ Gratis Horarios del círculo virtual con los primeros 5 del condado de Lake. Via Zoom. English: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10 a.m.; Thursdays, 4 p.m. Spanish: Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; Thursdays, 10:45 a.m. Email for link: earlyintervention referrals@esnorcal.org. Also see:

24 MendoLakeFamilyLife

FREE Virtual Toddler Time. Stories,

songs & rhymes. Facebook Live. Ages

18 months–3 yrs. Fridays. 10:30–11 a.m. facebook.com/UkiahLibrary. FREE Storytime in the Park.

Participants must register & receive a confirmation to be allowed entry into storytime. Masking & social distancing required. Fridays. 10:15–11:15 a.m. Library Park. 200 Park St., Lakeport. To register, call 263-8817 or go to library.lakecountyca.gov.

Saturday 8 2021 Yoshaany Rahm Mother’s Day Run. Pre-registration fees: $5–$15. Registration day of event (8:30 a.m.): $10–$20. Grades K–6 Run: 9:30 a.m. Adult Run: 10 a.m. Ukiah High School (athletic fields). 1000 Low Gap Rd., Ukiah. Pre-registration: ukiah.recdesk. com (click on Programs).

Sunday 9 Virtual Family Bake-A-Long. Chef

Mimo Ahmed teaches families how to make chocolate chunk & snickerdoodle cookies from scratch. This class is a benefit for Cake4Kids. org, which brings birthday cakes to at-risk youth. $25. 11 a.m.–noon. Register: cake4kids.org/events/ sonoma-bakealong.

Tuesday 11 Youth Ceramics. Outdoor

classes facilitated by ceramicist Michelle Gann. $90/3 sessions includes materials & firing costs. Ages 10 & older. Social distancing & masking observed. Partial scholarships or work-trade available. May 11, 18

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

& 25: 4–6 p.m. Middletown Art Center. 21456 Hwy. 175, Middletown. Register: middletownartcenter.org.

Thursday 13 Fully Committed. Troy Thomas Evans plays 40 characters in this one-person, one-act show. The play follows a day in the life of an unemployed actor who staffs the reservation line at Manhattan’s number-one restaurant. Presented by Raven Theater. $15. Livestream shows: May 13–15. 7:30 p.m. raventheater.org.

Friday 14 A Virtual Whodunnit. Online

performance of murder-mystery play. Audience vote determines ending. Presented by the Lake County Theatre Company. $5. May 14–16. Tickets: laketheatre.org.

Saturday 15 FREE Matsuri! Japanese Art

Thursday 20 Special Needs Advocacy & Parental Support Group. Parent/caregiver

support Zoom meeting. English meetings third Thursday of the month. Spanish meetings the fourth Tuesday. May 20 (English): 4:30–6:30 p.m. May 25 (Spanish): 4:30–6:30 p.m. Find Zoom link on Facebook: facebook.com/ snapslakecountyca.

Sunday 23 FREE Santa Rosa Symphony@ Home–Family Concert. 3 p.m. Watch concert on Santa Rosa Symphony YouTube channel. srsymphony.org.

Thursday 27 How to Draw Best Friends: Peppermint Patty & Marcie. Zoom class led by professional cartoonist Mary Shyne. $10–$15. 4–5 p.m. Registration required: schulzmuseum. org/learn/calendar-of-events.

Festival. Virtual festival featuring

FREE 2021 Tire Amnesty. May

shakuhachi & taiko performances & judo demos. 6:30–8:30 p.m. Register to receive the Zoom link: sonomamatsuri. org/festival.

27–29. 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Solid Waste of Willits. 351 Franklin Ave., Willits. mendorecycle.org.

FREE Sonia De Los Santos.

Bilingual kids’ music performer sings original Mexican-folk children’s songs. May 15–16. Register: lutherburbankcenter.org/event/ dino-light.

Wednesday 19

Saturday 29 FREE Memorial Day Parade. The parade is scheduled to run as usual. However, if health restrictions are in place, the parade will run via a published route thru Lakeport. 11 a.m.–1 p.m. lakeportmainstreet.com/ event/memorial-day-parade.


Underestimate the Power of the Purse Moms typically control 80% or more of their household budgets. They’re looking right here, to find you. Call now. Don’t miss another month.

The Original Mom Influencer!

FREE Online Gamers’ Paradise.

Participants share family-friendly games they are currently playing. For players of all ages. All platforms welcome. 4:30–6:30 p.m. Sign up: library.lakecountyca.gov. www.mendolakefamilylife.com



MendoLakeFamilyLife.com May 2021

MendoLakeFamilyLife 25

Humor Break of lampshade” it will know I mean a finial. 7. Lumberjacks. The wood section of the store is so boring. Some cute, muscle-y, flannel-shirted lumberjacks would perk me up, and they could dig through the piles of two-by-fours to find the straight ones for me.

The Suggestion Box Home Improvement Stores, Listen Up

By Brette Sember After years of enduring visits to home improvement stores with my family, I have come up with several service suggestions: 1. Relationship counselors. If anyone needs a counselor, it’s a couple in the middle of a renovation. Having a few in-store therapists on hand to help folks navigate sudden anger and frustration (what do you mean you didn’t measure?!) would definitely improve customer satisfaction. 2. Chairs. Preferably padded. No one wants to stand for half an hour while deciding between tiles. 3. Moving walkways. I do not want to have to drag my tired self to the other side of the store for whatever stupid thing I came in to buy. Hopping on a moving walkway would deliver 26 MendoLakeFamilyLife

me to my destination fresh as a daisy and ready to spend. 4. Daycare. Or at least a playground or Disney movie on a loop—anything to entertain the kiddos. (You can’t exactly hand them a box of nails and tell them to eat up.) 5. Snacks. Nothing motivates my husband—or my kids—to move through a grocery store like food samples, so if you could parcel out some cheese cubes or even some diced mango, my life would definitely be easier. 6. An app. I’m tired of always picking the wrong plumbing aisle. Please, just give me an app so I can type in what I need and know where to look for it. And make it intuitive, so if I type in “screw thingie for top

8. A spa. If the relationship counselors can’t get the job done, I have got to have a peaceful place to retreat to when my husband does not understand why the selection of cheap-looking bathroom vanities necessitates a special order. If someone could just give me a shoulder massage, I might be able to go back out and do battle again instead of leaving in a huff. 9. Paint vending machines. I do not want to have to converse with the crusty older gentleman in charge of paint and then wait 20 minutes in cart traffic. I would much rather just punch in a code for what I want. If this isn’t possible, would you please, for the love of God, just text me when my paint is ready? 10. Signs that bridge the gap. Not all of us are contractors. We regular homeowners do not know that, for instance, recessed lights come with the do-hickeys that attach them to the ceiling. Some signs to address such common misunderstandings would be oh-so helpful. Bonus points: Parking! You can’t truly appreciate how big a parking lot is until you’ve dragged a sobbing child (or unmotivated husband) across it. Please let me park near the door. And have those snacks ready. ¶ Brette Sember is a freelance writer.

May 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com

Marketplace Preschools


Give Your Give Child a Head Start! C E N T E R S

Free Your & Low-Cost Quality Preschool! • Ukiah Child a classroomsTuition-free ✓ 1/2-day & full-day for Montessori North Ukiah - Bush St. ages 18 months to 5 years Nokomis - Washington Ave. Head elementary South forUkiah ages 5-13 - S. State St. ✓ Potty-trained not necessary Peach Tree - S. Orchard Ave. Start! Hands-on, arts and music  ✓ Children with disabilities welcome • Willits

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

Francesco Lecce-Chong

Orchestral Music, Kids’ Style

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

Head Start Child Development Program

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


Accelerated Achievement  Academy 

Get Mom’s Attention!

s Mom always trying to sneak in a run? The Yoshaany Rahm Mother’s Day Run/ Walk may be the way she’d like to spend Mother’s Day. The challenging 5K course travels through dirt trails, grass, and pavement. And there’s also a 1200-meter Kids’ Run for children in pre-K to sixth grade. The event, named after and held in the memory of a Ukiah High School (UHS) runner who died in 2008, benefits the Ukiah High cross country and track and field programs. The event will be held on May 8 at UHS in Ukiah; the Kids’ Run starts at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K Run/Walk at 10 a.m. Online registration is $5 for kids and $15 for adults. On the day of the race, registration starts at 8:30 a.m. and fees increase $5. Sign up at ukiah.recdesk.com. ¶


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

treeoflifeschool@pacific.net www.treeoflifeschool.net

Find a School or After-School Activity in our Online Directories MendoLakeFamilyLife.com


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


hildren have an innate curiosity about music. It’s an interest the Santa Rosa Symphony (SRS) hopes to cultivate with its virtual Family Concert. At the event, SRS music director Francesco Lecce-Chong will teach kids about the orchestra and the music it plays, while the musicians will  give up-close demos of their instruments. The concert is free and can be seen on May 23 at 3 p.m. via the symphony’s YouTube channel. Go to srsymphony.org/Events-Tickets/ Family-Series for more viewing information. ¶

You Go Girl

Lake - Clover Valley respect, andUpper peace

www.ncoinc.org Head Start

Focused on the future of each child  FREE public school  Support for struggling students  Small classes  Grades 4-12

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 Call today! (707) 463-7080

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Like Us On Facebook www.facebook.com/ MendoLakeFamilyLifeMagazine

Find critical COVID-19 info plus lots of free kid-friendly activities. May 2021

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