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[ everything for Topeka families ]

can i have one? please? an animal-averse mom goes to the pet store

art in schools

aviation teens

how arts fared in the budget cuts

a 15-year-old sets his sights on the sky

Fall 2010 Subscribe XYZ


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XYZ Magazine | Vol. I • Issue II | Fall 2010

[ what’s inside ] lifestyle

10 aviation teens

15-year-old Chad Gray has his sights set on the sky, and he’s well on his way to soaring solo thanks to the Air Explorers Post 8 program.

13 the cavity wars

XYZ staffer and mama Melissa Sewell fights her child’s cavities on a daily - no, hourly - basis. She’s got some tips to beat the evil, dancing bacteria.

23 can I have one? (please)?

XYZ staffer and animal-phobe Janice Watkins takes a gag-inducing trip to the pet store and finds a bunny worth possibly considering sometime in the distant future. + A guide to age-appropriate pets

40 youth hockey check

Your kid can’t ice skate? Well, it’s high time they learned, and what better excuse for it than to join a hockey league? The info on what it takes.

32 art in schools “When the budget became an issue, we asked, ‘What would be the most important thing to protect from cuts?’ “

arts + entertainment 20 mr. cello

Dr. Steven Elisha channels his alterego, Mr. Cello, into storytelling and cello playing that enraptures young audiences.

32 art in schools

The old saying goes, “Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic.” But in Topeka, you can add painting, drawing and music to that school-days mantra. How the arts in schools have fared during budget cuts.

42 painting bridges

How one local artist worked to help 32 kids paint culture and identity.

IN EVERY ISSUE local flavor

18 A is for appetite

A local artist and a local author’s take on food and the alphabet. Kids will recognize their letters while also learning about New World and Old World food culture.

14 picky eater

Innocent-looking, blue-eyed Jared seems like a good dining companion until he orders, yet again, mac n’ cheese. See what he thinks of this BBQ joint.

4 letter from editor 6 community events 30 the picky eater goes out to eat 16 resource feature 28 cd reviews 30 cool kid’s room 37 cool bday parties 38 recipes 44 imagination section

[ everything for Topeka families ]

[ letter from the editor ]

the easy child


Kerrice Mapes Publisher Leah Sewell Editor-in-Chief

by Leah Sewell

ee that picture over there? Obviously one of my kids isn’t happy. A train ride through the park on a beautiful late summer day? Pshaw, for the birds! (as far as Oliver’s concerned). It’s hard keeping everyone happy all the time, and anyone with kids knows this to be the ultimate truth. We frame our outings, our sc hedules, vacations, meals, you name it, based upon whether or not it will make those kids happy. Sylvia doesn’t like Thai food. Nope. No way. So, we steer clear of Tuptim Restaurant until date night, while she is being cared for by the grandparents who buy her pink and purple sprinkles to dip her ice cream cone in (“Look how happy she is!” they say in defense). In the media world, it’s almost impossible to please everybody. And we’ve gotten quite a few complaints here at XYZ, too. People have said that we need more copies, more pages, more stories, more photos. But, honestly, that’s it. Those are the only

Writers Rio Cervantes-Reed Ande Davis Chelle Decker Melissa Sewell Cale Herreman Bailey Marable Janice Watkins Photographers EJ Drake Sarah Hamlin Colin MacMillan Brie Martin Matt Porubsky

sullen Oliver, Sylvia + me

demands. XYZ readers are like the mythical easy c hild. They are happy! We have given them the proverbial sprinkle-coated ice cream cone. You guys have said suc h nice things via email and Facebook and in person. And the fact that you hold this second issue in your hands says a lot about that “more” part you’ve been hounding us about. We are growing and expanding and cultivating this publication to the best of our abilities, muc h in the way you would a c hild. Here’s hoping you find happiness in these pages.



- Leah

on the cover Fall 2010 photos by EJ Drake It’s that time. They’re in school, and watching them walk off to the bus stop or the front door of the school is bittersweet. But mostly sweet.


Art + Production Karli Davis Kerrice Mapes Justin Marable Leah Sewell Advertising Kerrice Mapes Melissa Sewell Jennifer Falley Rio Cerventes-Reed 785.249.3126 calendar Heather McKee Marketing / Website Social Media / Distribution Jay Bachman Karli Davis Rio Cerventes-Reed Alice Hunt Leah Sewell Kerrice Mapes Erin Wynkoop Administration Elizabeth Bell Reprints + Permission No part of XYZ may be reproduced in any form without prior consent from seveneightfive designs. For permission requests, call 785.249.3126 or email Opinions or advice of columnists are not necessarily those of the publication. XYZ MAGAZINE P.O. Box 750491 Topeka, KS 66675

[ our gang ]

XYZ Contributors 3

kerrice mapes was born with a thick-head of dark brown hair and vocal cords that wouldn’t quit. In school, checkmarks quickly became her favorite glyph. She has always pushed the rules and socialized too much - things that don’t get her into as much trouble now. She is also an honorary, self-proclaimed “cool” aunt to all her friends’s children. leah Sewell Leah used to make magazines out of construction paper, glue and cut-up family photos. She was grounded a lot as a kid. Today she’s the editor of seveneightfive magazine, XYZ magazine and mother to Sylvia, 3, and Oliver, 1. brie martin Brie is a born and raised Kansan who is a corporate office monkey by day and a hobbyist photographer by night (and any other times she can fit it in). She is mother to Baby J (due in December) and a pseudo-aunt to many of her Topeka friends’ awesome kids. matt porubsky Matt is a born and bred Topekan, co-director of “Porubsky’s Transcendent Deli” and sometimes drives a choo-choo train. He is daddy to Sylvia, 3, and Oliver, 1 colin macmillan Colin is a professional photographer right here in Topeka, where he currently heads the Wedding Division for Nathan Ham Photography. You’re sure to bump into Colin, his wife Grace, and 2-year-old son Liam at any of the numerous events going on in Topeka. heather mckee Heather, stay-at-home mom to three youngsters, has always dreamed of a unified Halloween costume theme for her family, but has yet to convince her boyfriend and kids to take part. When she isn’t busy with everything else, she also runs cale herreman ► Cale Herreman is a Topeka-based father and writer. He is left-handed and enjoys cookies. Alice hunt Alice Hunt’s favorite subjects in school were (and are) English and journalism, and she’s still in touch with her favorite teacher Miss Glozier, who taught her that life is about showing up, being honest and doing your best. The rest takes care of itself. melissa sewell (pictured with sister Leah) Melissa is a writer, editor and poet, but mostly a mother to a sassy three year-old girl. Melissa grows her own tomatoes, purposefully embarrasses herself at social events and rearranges her furniture when she’s upset.

Janice watkins Janice is a Topeka-native and mother of two. By day she is a non-profit guru and by night she is the bearer of many hats, including aspiring writer. justin marable Justin currently resides in the Kenwood neighborhood of Topeka with his wife and two daughters. He works full time at his home as an artist, husband and father. Visit www. to see more of his artwork. bailey marable Bailey is mother of Ginger/Finn (due in December), Willow and Kassy, and an Art Teacher at Royal Valley High School. She teaches metalsmithing classes for adults, makes jewelry and is very involved with the ReThink Topeka Movement. ande davis Ande enjoys playing with Legos and GI Joes, eating pizza, reading essays on comparative literature, and recently completed potty training. When he grows up, he wants to edit magazines and teach English. karli davis Karli has long since kicked her apple juice addiction, and today is a productive member of society, contributing her design skills to XYZ and seveneightfive magazines. She’s married to a much hairier version of Ande Davis these days, chasing their cat and dog around the house. Chelle Decker Chelle is the marketing director for Topeka Civic Theatre + Academy, Radio Personality for Country Legends 106.9 and Mom to Teddy Mac. EJ Drake Born and raised in Topeka, EJ loves the art of photography. Sarah Hamlin “Specializing in visual poetry,” Sarah is passionate about photography and telling a story. Her works can be seen in various locations around Northeast Kan. Her best friend and amazing husband Zac and her are proud parents to Maebelle and Orion. Rio Cervantes-Reed A born and bred Kansan, Rio’s sense of wonderment as a child matured into typical adult confusion. She’s active in too many local groups, watches too much tv, and spends too much time on social media pursuits, but she’ll be okay. She serves as a “Tia,” to three nieces and a nephew.

[ get XYZ ] Use your Smartphone and a QR reader, like Scanlife and sign up for a year subscription to XYZ today! Once you’re done, check out website for more XYZ news - and by news, we mean the cool stuff your family craves to know about our great city. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Have a hot date night this Friday? - then pick up our big sister publication, seveneightfive magazine. Filled with all your nightlife entertainment. Use your Smartphone and scan this code to stay up-todate with seveneightfive happenings, happening late night in Top City.

[ got a sitter? ] XYZ


Community Events compiled by Heather McKee • designed by Karli Davis

Have an event you want to see featured here?

We want to get your family-friendly events listed in our calendar. It’s free! Just contact our calendar editor at Your event will be located online and/or in print. Please keep in mind that we publish on a quarterly schedule, so we try to fit a season’s worth of events into each issue.

Aaron Douglas Art Fair Sept. 25, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Art Fair celebrates the Topeka Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas and showcases diverse and emerging artists from Topeka and the surrounding region. The day-long fair also features entertainment, food and children’s activities. At Aaron Douglas Art Park, 12th + Lane - FREE

Smoke on the Water Oct. 8, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 9, 6:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Two day event with live entertainment, a kids’ obstacle course (from 106), vendors and amazing barbeque. Charity breakfast for TARC Sunday morning, public BBQ sauce contest and much, much, more. Sponsored by Country Legends 106.9, so you know there’ll be some good ol’ country at this shindig! Lake Shawnee Campground, FREE

Scary on the Prairie Oct. 23, 4-6 p.m.

Oktoberfest Oct. 2, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Oktoberfest is a time to celebrate with live German music, dancers and singers. Authentic German food will be available for purchase. There will be craft tables and other attractions for all ages. Located in the Fairlawn Plaza Mall parking lot, 21st and Fairlawn and hosted by the German-American Club of Topeka. FREE admission.

Crane Observatory Open House 10/7&21, 11/4&18, 12/2 At Washburn University’s Stoffer Science Hall, bring your star gazing eyes to take a peek through the Crane Observatory’s Warner and Swasey refracting telescope, built in the late 1800’s. Located at 17th and Washburn. Admission photo courtesy is FREE. Oct. 7 & 21: 8 - 9:30 p.m. | Nov. 4 & 18: 7:30 - 9 p.m. Dec. 2: 7:30 - 9 p.m.

Eery sounds and ghoulish stories in the haunted schoolhouse, spicy cookies straight from the campfire with cold apple cider and trick-or-treating in all the vintage buildings. At Old Prairie Town at Ward Meade Historic Site, 2nd & Fillmore - $2 per person |

Silents in the Cathedral Oct. 29, 7 p.m.

Giggle, Giggle, Quack Nov. 12 - Nov. 21 “Keep an eye on Duck. He’s trouble.” Apparently Duck is also an accomplished writer who has re-written instructions including pizza for the hens, bubble baths for the pigs and a movie night for the cows. Find out what else happens when Farmer Brown goes on vacation and leaves a list for his brother Bob.

“Phantom of the Opera” returns for the 13th anniversary of this event that has become a Topeka Halloween tradition. Theater Organist Marvin Faulwell accompanies the classic silent movie and two shorts on the great Cathedral organ. Popcorn and bottled water for sale by the Cathedral Youth. Grace Cathedral, 8th & Polk | Hosted by Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library | FREE admission

Adult: $ 10 | Full-Time Student: $ 8 Children (12 and under): $ 6 | Topeka Civic Theatre 8th & Oakley

Rob Lake: A Night of Magic Nov. 7, 7 p.m. Rob Lake has mesmerized thousands of audiences around the globe with his unique blend of amazing grand illusions and spellbinding theatrics. At age 25, he is the youngest magician ever to receive the coveted Merlin award. | Topeka Performing Arts Center 214 SE 8th Ave. | Tickets – $40, $30, $20

Top City Thursday Shop Crawl Nov. 18, 5-8 p.m. Bundle up and come to Kansas Avenue to kick off the holiday shopping season with the Hayden Bell Choir, live outdoor and indoor entertainment, hot cocoa, free chocolate samples at Hazel Hill Chocolate and special deals from independentlyowned shops in downtown Topeka. Sponsored by Downtown Topeka, Inc. and seveneightfive magazine. See for an up-to-date schedule.

Railroad Activity Day Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m. Come check out the Great Overland Station, get your picture taken with Santa, meet some RoadRunners hockey players, enjoy refreshments, play games, make crafts, and more | Great Overland Station, 701 N. Kansas Ave. | Free for kids, adults regular price | Bring a flashlight for the 3rd Annual OUTSIDE Candy Cane Hunt! Afterward, enjoy free time in the gym and game room. Hot chocolate and popcorn will be available - and marshmallows to roast! | Crestview Shelter House $7 per family |

Candy Cane Hunt Dec. 14, 6-8 p.m.

[ lifestyle ]


chefs march

by Rio Cer vantes-Reed • photo by Nathan Ham / Nathan Ham Photography

here is no shortage of special events in Topeka highlighting culinary creations and “taste-testing” the fruits of the vine, but few have a cause so noble as the Northeast Kansas Signature Chefs Auction: The March of Dimes.

Thursday, November 4 from 6:00-9:00 pm, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, local chefs will present samplings of their signature dishes and donate unique culinary experiences to be auctioned off during the evening. In addition to delectable dishes, guests will enjoy an enticing silent auction and variety of live auction packages related to entertainment, dining, leisure and travel.

The Northeast Kansas Signature Chefs Auction benefits the local chapter of the March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies’ lives.

The event will also feature a wine pull for $10 a bottle and you may enter a drawing for a chance to be a judge for the Ultimate Cake Off competition. Suggested donation is $5 for one ticket or $10 for three. Participating bakers are Allyson Fiander from daddy•cakes and Kelley Robinson from YUM Bakery and Café.

For tickets and sponsorship information, please contact Jenny Oxandale at 785-228-0084 or joxandale@marchofdimes. com. Tickets for the event may also be purchased online at XYZ TOPEKA

What better reason is there?

The Bronaughs, 2010 March of Dimes Ambassador Family

After two pregnancies that presented no difficulties, Jill Bronaugh and her husband Tim had no reason to anticipate any problems with a third pregnancy. Jill maintained a busy schedule with a full time job, two young children and even a run for city council. But after experiencing some complications, Jill’s doctors told her that to save her life she would have to deliver the baby earlier than planned. With premature birth comes a set of expected difficulties, but now, at 3 ½ years of age, Nicholas continues to amaze his family and medical professionals with his continued growth and development. The Bronaughs are happy to lend their voices in support of the March of Dimes.



[ lifestyle ]

aviation teens As the clouds move off to reveal a sunny Saturday morning in September, Chad Gray and his dad roll back the door on a hangar at Billard airport. Inside is a small yellow and white Cessna 150, looking strangely out of place parked on the ground instead of climbing into the sky. They just finished a meeting at Hetrick Aviation for Air Explorer Post 8, where 15-year-old Chad, still too young to drive a car, is learning about flying.

by Karli Davis • photos by Colin MacMillan / Nathan Ham Photography


’ve been around airplanes all my life because my dad’s out in the Air Guard,” said Gray. “I like the socializing and being around aviation. It’s a really great program for what I like.”

Post 8 is a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s Explorers program, and is the oldest Air Explorers group in the country, started in 1949, and one of the only ones to own two aircraft— the Cessna 150 and a Piper Cherokee 180. Their goal is to help young men and women, ages 14-18, learn about aviation by meeting with pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and people from other flight-related backgrounds. In the end, they’ll have the participants prepared for their FAA exams before they head off to one-on-one flight training. “Our primary goal is to assist the kids in exploring aviation careers,” said Deb Downing, adviser for Post 8. “We try to tap into as many of our alumni and see what they’ve been doing

in their careers, then have them come in to speak to the kids about what they’ve accomplished and what the post has done for them.”

Air Explorer Post 8

“And, one of the perks is to give the kids the opportunity to earn their private pilot’s license.” Currently, Post 8 has around 17 participants in the program, with hopes to add around 10 more in the next month. The program consists of ground school on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon, where they’ll get flight training and spend time washing planes as one of the many fundraising efforts to keep costs affordable. “We like to start them at 14. That gives them a year and a half to build sweat equity in the group and be involved with the group and take ground school,” said Downing. “They can’t solo until their 16th birthday and they cannot earn their pilot license until their 17th birthday. If they come in at 14 and take their FAA written at 15 1/2, they have six months to get to the point of soloing after their sixteenth birthday. If they start later they have to fly for a year before they can solo and it gets rather expensive for Mom and Dad, so we have kind of a plan of action to get them from one place to another if getting their pilot’s license is what they want to do.”

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As far as Gray’s concerned, he’s hooked. “I’m hoping to be a pilot in the Air Force,” he said. “You just have to be committed to it. If you are, it will pay back in the end. It’s a great experience to join, and if you’re interested in aviation, it’s one of the best programs out there.” XYZ TOPEKA



[ lifestyle ]

the cavity wars by Melissa Sewell • photos by EJ Drake

We’re nearing the season when cavities dance joyous, evil dances in the mouths of our children. On Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s and with every trip to the bank – someone is trying to shove candy, cake or cookies down your young one’s gullet. It’s enough to make one consider hermitage (think caves). Okay, so my own child’s genetic predisposition for bad teeth has made me a little paranoid. But the rates of cavities in children are rising steadily, and corrective pediatric dentistry is very unpleasant (for your progeny and your pocketbook). Since population studies show that cavities in baby teeth can lead to cavities in adult teeth, it’s important to establish healthy dental routines early on. Here are some quick tips to keep the (evil! dancing!) cavities at bay. 1: Offer healthy snacks. It isn’t sugar that directly causes the cavities, it’s an acid-causing bacteria that is accelerated by any kind of sugar. Of course, things like dried fruit and ice cream contain sugar, but so do processed foods like chips, crackers and white bread. Don’t even get me started on fruit snacks and fruit roll-ups. I’m convinced those companies buy stock in dentistry. 2: Offer healthy drinks. Juice is healthy like wine is healthy – it just happens to have fruit in it. But it’s better

to just feed your children fruit. Mary Hayes, spokesperson for the American Dental Association, says anything past 4 oz. of juice a day is basically “candy water.” If you feed your children soda, you’re asking for it.

brownies. If you can’t control the sugar intake when your children are away (for example, your bitter ex-husband feeds them chocolate to spite you), plan to brush when you reconvene with your child.

3: Redefine desert. There’s no reason that you can’t follow a meal with naturally sweet foods, like pineapple or watermelon. Better yet, start the meal this way. Watermelon has lots of antioxidants.

6: Be religious about teeth cleaning appointments. They should start at the sight of the first tooth or on baby’s first birthday, whichever comes first. Early, regular dentist visits keep your children accustomed to having their teeth examined – and the dentist will be quick to tell you if there are softening spots that could use some extra attention.

4: Buy the cool toothbrushes. There are vibrating toothbrushes, toothbrushes that flash, toothbrushes featuring your kid’s favorite cartoon character. Children are one hundred times more likely to get excited about brushing their teeth when their toothbrushes look and sound like airplanes (that’s a scientific fact). 5: Make sure other caregivers know about your clean teeth policy. Your children will still love their Grandma, even without her famous double-fudge chocolate chip

Now you’re armed with information – and good luck to you! First up: brushing teeth after every piece of candy consumed on Halloween… or you may just want to start scoping out a good hermit’s cave. XYZ Topeka Opinions expressed are those of the writer’s and not necessarily of XYZ Magazine.

[ local flavor ]

the picky eater

story and photos by Rio Cervantes-Reed

goes out to eat



Applewood BBQ & Bistro 3310 SE 29th St., Suite 500 (785) 267-1212 Dine-in/Carryout

y rules for treating my nieces and nephew tummies. However, one corner of the menu touted food to dinner are simple: they must clean their “For the Sprouts,” and amid the listings, there it was: that plates and they must not draw attention to ubiquitous macaroni and cheese. our table. Simple enough, right? Luckily, Jared told us previously he’d be ordering the mac n’ cheese. being an aunt, I don’t have to deal with a lot of the issues when Yes, at a barbeque joint. He also said the serving was too small dining with children that parents have to handle regularly, for him and he wished they had a double-sized option. This aside from the occasional bout of vomiting (which I take was quickly remedied by Uncle Kevin very personally), or the refusal to order from ordering a side of mac n’ cheese with his the children’s menu (Uncle Kevin is usually One corner of own meal, which was then turned over to in tow to bat clean-up). We stepped into a very happy Jared. For a smaller child, Applewood BBQ & Bistro, located on 29th the menu touted though, the little Styrofoam cup of the Street near Lake Shawnee. The space is large cheesy pasta is most likely enough. food For the and airy, and on this evening there were only Another item from the “Sprouts,” menu is Sprouts, and two tables occupied. Kevin and I, along with the chicken tenders, which was ordered our “picky eater,” Jared and his sister quickly amid the listings, by our niece. It came with exactly three selected a corner booth and our server, there it was: battered and fried chicken strips. She Laurel, materialized with menus. that ubiquitous tucked into my side of home-fries to Applewood’s menu is expansive, with lots make it a full meal. macaroni and of barbeque choices, including the chicken, When asked where they would have pork, ham and beef selections, many of cheese. picked to dine, Jared and his sister agreed: which are perfectly sizeable for smaller pizza. That’s usually my answer, however I 14 XYZ

Picky Eater Jared H. age: 9 height:48 in weight: 63 lbs eyes: too true blue hair: blonde as it gets certified picky: he orders mac n' cheese at a barbeque joint, enough said.

You have better things to do Aunt with Rio yourhad. time. << what Yum.

Let us do your dirty work.

had pizza during a lunch meeting that Applewood same day. And it would be a natural BBQ & Bistro choice, as Glory Days Pizza is located 3310 SE 29th St., Suite 500 right next door to Applewood. Later (785) 267-1212 I spoke with a friend, Andréa Platis Dine-in/Carryout Ramsey, mother of “picky eater,” Jack, who lunched at Applewood earlier that day. When asked what Jack ordered, the answer came back, “A Glory Days baby cheese pizza.” What? “We carried it over. As a matter of fact the waitress suggested it. I’ll go back to Applewood because of that.”

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Clean plates and a happy Aunt Rio are easy to come by when you have choices. Even if you insist on ordering mac n’ cheese at a perfectly fine barbeque joint. XYZ Topeka

do you know of a restaurant that has significant amenities for picky eaters? Don’t keep that secret! Email us at and clue us in.



[ lifestyle ] [ resource ]

mother's milk by Cale Herreman • photo by Colin MacMillan / Nathan Ham Photography

First things first: the women of La Leche League are not out to make any mothers feel guilty. They could talk all day about the nutritional and relational benefits of breastfeeding, but what they are pledged to do is help. “We are here to support breastfeeding moms whether it’s two days, two weeks, two months, or however long they want to continue,” says Dana Runnebaum, one of the leaders of La Leche’s Topeka group. “We are here to help that mom meet her goal. We don’t have a preset agenda.” Nursing can be a very sensitive subject. Peer pressure and guilt can weigh upon a new mother, as can the attitudes of her partner and her own parents. What the LLL strives to give is what statistics show matters most to success: support. “If you don’t have support, if you don’t have good information, then it will be very difficult, more than likely,” says Angie Nolle, another LLL leader. “Some women … have no issues. But, more often than not, there is some question that comes up.” by Cale Herreman • photos by Brie Martin 16 XYZ

Why wouldn’t this natural form of feeding be easy for everyone? “The baby’s never done this before, the mom’s never done this before, it’s a learning curve on both ends,” says Runnebaum. There’s plenty that can go wrong, from plugged ducts to the baby not latching on. “Women hundreds of years ago had their moms, their aunts to help them, to show them: they’d seen it done. Even though it’s natural, it still often requires support.” Talking with others who’ve had similar experiences can help a lot, which is why LLL of Topeka hosts two monthly discussion groups, open to any pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. When a woman has a question or an issue, it isn’t simply answered by one of the leaders, it’s turned to the group, and other mothers will share

their experiences. “You see it on their faces, their shoulders relax,” says Nolle, “And you just see this look of relief on the mom, like ‘Phew! I’m normal, my baby’s normal!’ [and] now they know they’re not alone.”

group support “You just see this look of relief on the mom’s face, like ‘Phew! I’m normal, my baby’s normal!’ And now they know they’re not alone.”

Kirby Richard has been helped by LLL. “With my first son, I am not sure I would have made it through those first days without them!” she says. He wasn’t latching on, and she shared her problems at a meeting when he was two days old. “They gave me some resources.” Even though she no longer lives in Topeka, she still talks to the LLL Topeka leaders for advice with her second son, too. LLL Topeka holds morning and evening discussion groups at the Topeka and Shawnee County Library once a month, and has monthly playgroups, also morning and evening. More information about them is available at Their hotline number, which rings to the local leaders, is [785] 256.0260. XYZ Topeka

motivation to seek help from LLL text and info provided by La Leche League of Topeka

Breastfeeding • is a relationship • is immediate, simple, nearly free • provides a normal start in life • promotes normal jaw development • is the normal follow-up to birth for the mother • provides mothering hormones • lets the baby control his appetite • saves money for the family Human Milk • has many hundreds of known and unknown ingredients, including interferon and white blood cells, antibacterial and antiviral agents, intestinal soothers, growth hormones and everything else that a baby is known to need

• changes to meet the baby’s changing needs • is non-allergenic • is the human infant’s only normal food • promotes normal brain development • is always clean • promotes normal health in infancy and beyond • smells fine coming in and going out • is the normal start for the World’s Best Baby If you’re not enjoying breastfeeding, get help. This is too important to both of you to risk losing it. cited from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

each issue, XYZ features an accredited local organization that serves children and/or parents. We do not necessarily endorse the organization’s policies. Have an idea for an organization to spotlight? Email us: XYZ


[ local flavor ]

A is for appetite A take on food and the alphabet by a Topeka artist and a Topeka author. i l l u s t r a t i o n s b y S h a n o n F o u q u e t • t e x t b y T h o m a s F o x Av e r i l l

Local author and writer-in-residence at Washburn University, Tom Averill, wrote an alphabetic primer to his novel “Secrets of the Tsil Cafe” (2001) but it didn’t make the cut in the book’s final publication. The “Tsil Cafe Primer” looks at the relationship between New World (Indigenous) and Old World (European) foods. It includes several references to scenes and characters in Tom’s book, such as a habanero eating contest and the family dog, named “When Available.” Shanon Fouquet, Topeka artist, serves up a platter of delectable designs. Fouquet drew from her own food experiences to create each letter of her own unique food alphabet.

A — Appetite Power, money, food. The first two, suspect – the last only good.

B — Buffalo,

C — Cayenne pepper,

D — Dear Dog,

E — Europe,

wooly, humped, horned – fattened on grass, earthy as corn.

chile gunpowder fires world cuisines with New World power.

When Available, pet. We feed our mutt fat, haven’t eaten him yet.

such civilized greed, fear, so quick to destroy the Western Hemisphere.

J — Jerusalem artichoke:

F — Flower,

G — Guava,

H — Habanero,

I — Inca,

round, golden sun, rooted in earth: spitting seeds every turn.

and all tropical fruits, their sweet, rotting insides, their skins such bright suits.

orange fire, sweet heat. Caution: when challenged, do not eat the seeds.

Andean high culture. Their gold: carrion. The Spanish: vulture.

See more of Shanon’s work: Buy Tom’s book “Secrets of the Tsil Cafe”: or 18 XYZ

mis-named, Raiz de girasol– dark root tastes of grain.

K — Kidney bean,

L — Lima bean,

M — Mescal,

N — Nopalitas,

O — Ocean

mature string bean seed. On minestrone, chili, three-bean salad we feed.

from Lima, Peru. Crimped moon rising inside fat green tube.

distillation of cactus. Pulque, tequila, the agave distracts us.

sharp prickly pear pads are delicious cooks: beware.

crossing, mixing people, foods – both still need fixing.

P — Potatoes, blues, reds and fingers, russets and Yukons and five hundred others.

Q — Quinoa, keen-wa, with ringed, worm-like germ. Peruvian protein is best when cooked firm.

R — Wild Rice

S — Strawberry

T — Turkey,

Not rice, but grass seeds beaten into canoes in marshes, with reeds.

Other berries, too: choke, goose, blue, cran, Juneberry, black, dew.

and Thanksgiving. American bird, national blessing.

U — Undone:

V — Vanilla,

W — Watercress,

the Western Hemisphere. Yet miraculous foodstuffs survive: everywhere.

plain? No. More an ambrosial call from a distant shore.

edging mountain spring, cool, crisp water, and earth’s peppery tang.

Y — Yucca Fruits, flowers for eating, root soap for bathing, leaf fibers for weaving. Z — Zucchini Raw, stuffed, fried. Boiled for gummed mouths: when youth spoke, it lied.



[art ]

Mr. Cello by Cale Herreman • photos by Matt Porubsky

Mr. Cello works to nurture the imagination. Mr. Cello loves being on stage. Mr. Cello has travelled the world. But who is Mr. Cello? Is it Dr. Stephen Elisha, accomplished, well-travelled musician and teacher? Is it the lovely reddish-brown 18th Century Italian cello he plays? “All of the above,” Elisha admits. “It’s my alter ego, it’s the imagination, it’s my imagination. I’ve known him for all of my life.”

That life has been one devoted to music, from its earliest days. “The very first sounds I heard, even before I was born, were musical ones. When I was a little boy, it never occurred to me that someone didn’t play an instrument,” says Elisha.

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Judging by his resume, he doesn’t spend much time without a bow or baton in his hand. He’s responsible for Washburn University’s string music program; he teaches students; he plays with the Topeka Symphony; he conducts the Topeka Symphony Youth Orchestra; he and his wife, a violinist, play together as the Elaris Duo. He travels the country and world giving performances and holding workshops. And on top of all this, he has Mr. Cello Stories. Elisha often performs the Mr. Cello program in schools, which gives him a chance to introduce students to the cello, talk about how it works, and how music is made. He shows them the parts of the instrument, and then performs a short Bach piece for them, which, believe it or not, holds them in rapt silence. “Kids are somewhat linear in that way… there’s a pattern that keeps repeating, that pattern brings them more and more into it… [they] can’t help but keep listening.” Next, there is a Mr. Cello Story, in which he improvises a story and music around a word given by an audience member.

This audience-participation imagination gets at Elisha’s real mission in going to schools: To encourage children to use their imaginations, by showing them, in an unhurried way, how it’s done. But Mr. Cello isn‘t just for kids. Elisha thinks of it as something that can benefit all ages. “When we keep our inner child awakened… we’re more alive.” He’s done this at retirement communities, hospitals, jails, libraries, and even in China, with the help of a translator. “I had a very moving experience last year,” he says. “I was invited to the University of Iowa hospitals and clinics, and I did a series of Mr. Cello stories for the psychiatric ward. Bringing patients into an improvisational experience was actually very therapeutic for them, because they were actually voicing things that they had bottled up inside of them.”

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Moments like that, in which he sees what the Mr. Cello program is capable of, are what keeps him motivated. Even with all his other obligations, he lives his double life, ready to bring out his alter ego. “I’m possessed by Mr. Cello. Mr. Cello speaks through my hands.” XYZ TOPEKA

7th & Kansas Downtown Topeka (785) 235-1386 • XYZ


w Ne e. it m Att Ho ew N e. ud 2s 11



e. Av

Kids Consignment Sale A four-day sale where you can find thousands of quality childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s items under one roof.

October 6 - 8 210 SE 29th Street

next to Harbor Freight (just East of Kansas on 29th)

Wed & Thurs 9 am - 8 pm Fri & Sat 9 am - 7 pm

[ feature ]

can I have one? (please)?

b y J a n i c e Wa t k i n s photos by Brie Martin

A petbuying guide for the hesitant parent.

(pretty please?)


t least once a day I am posed with a question similar to “Mom, would you rather walk across blazing hot coals or get a dog?” My response, of course, is always the hot coals, or whatever horrid fate awaits me next to the purchase of a new canine family member. So initiated my son’s belief that I hate all pets and animals. He once told a teacher that I purposely plan hit-and-runs at squirrels (not true). I remind my pet-searching son that we once had a fish and immediately realize I have inserted my size 7 1/2 foot into my mouth, shaking that memory of how our catfish became the fish equivalent of Hannibal Lector following repeated missed feedings. Thus, an effort to prove that I am not PETA’s number one public enemy, I went in search of an alternative to the traditional dog and cat pets and the answer to how other parents in my predicament might also approach their own relentless child. I headed off to Petland (21st and Fairlawn, Fairlawn Plaza), where a Mecca of alternative pets awaited me. I sought the arm of Amber Rager, certified pet counselor to assist me on my journey. We began in the northeast corner of the store, where I gagged while merely entertaining the thought of having an eight-legged hairy monster, known to the common person as “a tarantula,” for a pet. Rager assured me that the tarantula actually made an excellent, low-maintenance pet for any children age 5+ and Rager did note that anything larger than that they don’t require a lot of attention. The low-attention a cockatiel is probably best for an older and maintenance seemed like a bonus, given my past history child, as they can live for 60+ years and with pet care, but I continued on, as the idea of a cricket require constant care. dinner did not sound appealing.

what about a bird?

Before moving on, we toyed briefly with the thought of a Whiptail Scorpion, but again I couldn’t shake the idea of a lethal sting, despite Rager’s constant assurance that the scorpions in stock were both non-lethal and nonpoisonous.

“It’s almost like having another child,” Rager laughed. There it was, three strikes for the birds.

I stopped to query about the rats, when Rager pointed me in the direction of the mice. “Mice are terrific pets, they can learn their name, come when called, are very interactive and can even learn to walk on leashes,” Rager asserted. Given that I waged a war against mice in my old house for a year and clearly am still bitter about the mouse’s victory, I passed on the idea of a mouse, despite the constant giggles at the thought of my daughter walking a pet mouse down our street on a leash, while wearing her favorite tutu. With the mice out of question, we moved counter-clockwise around the store, where we encountered the different variety of birds. Despite my long history with birds and my aberration at them adorning my hair with 24 XYZ

the pet quest

age suitability

Petland (at 21st and Fairlawn, inside Fairlawn Plaza) offers certified pet counselors, whose goal is to match the right pet with the right owner. They recommend repeated visits and one-on-one sessions with the pets you are considering to acquaint yourself and see if it would be a good match. If, however, the circumstances change, or the home environment is not a good fit, pets can be returned through the “Pets for a Lifetime” program.

All ages Bunnies - very affectionate and live on a hay and pellet diet Guinea Pigs - very similar to bunny and require daily fresh water and food. Mice - very interactive, trainable and inexpensive. Rely on people food and pellet diet and hairless varieties are also available for those with allergies.

Age 5+ waste at very inopportune times, I had to admit that I was more than in awe at the rich colors and ability to train most of the birds to speak in sonnet. Rager did note that anything larger than a cockatiel is probably best for an older child as they can live for 60+ years and require constant care.

Bearded Dragon - easy to handle and only reach about a foot and a half, even as an adult.

“It’s almost like having another child,” Rager laughed.

Tarantulas and Scorpions - low maintenance and cricket diet

There it was, three strikes for the birds. Our journey continued to the traditional “classroom” type pets down the center aisle, where customers will encounter the bunnies, ferrets, guinea pigs and hamsters. Each had their own pros and cons with most of them eating either a hay or pellet diet and usually only having the requirement of fresh water. Alas, the ferrets were really interactive and fast, I learned from Rager that the guinea pigs are not as easily litter box trained, and the hamsters are mostly nocturnal creatures, so if you like sleep - steer clear.

Desert Iguana - requires minimal care and eats crickets and veggies.

Hamsters - relatively low maintenance, but does require some adult supervision. Is a mostly nocturnal creature, so won’t interact during the day. Ball Python - friendly and laid back, not a fast mover, and only reaches 2-3 feet in length as an adult.

We wrapped up the southwest corner of the store with the bearded dragons, desert iguanas and ball pythons. Again, despite Rager’s assertion that all are actually sweet and easily handled, I couldn’t shake my thoughts of one of those creatures getting loose and making its way through my sheets at night.

Age 8+

The journey concluded with a look at the walls of fish. Rager confirmed my belief that Beta fish are the way to go, as they require no filter, small partial water changes and food every other day and are good for all ages, but given my past history with fish, I again passed.

be handled with care.

The journey was over and I left feeling satisfied in the knowledge gained and the helpful assistance of my tour guide. Although I did not leave with a new household member that day, if I were posed with the future question of “would you rather lick a sour meatball or have a dwarf bunny?” my answer would undoubtedly be in favor of the droopy-eared, fuzzy ball of bunny, who I may have already named Eeyore. XYZ TOPEKA

Parakeets - are verbal creatures and eat a seed diet, but require a fair amount of attention. Cockatiels - high maintenance and need to

Age 10+ Ferrets - very interactive and like complex cages and bath time. Can be litter box trained. All care equipment, food supplies and cages can be purchased at Petland.

[ lifestyle ]

Your Most

the big read



b y J a n i c e Wa t k i n s

Murder, double-crossing and the hunt for valuable, stolen goods are all set to rise in Topeka throughout the month of October. You can attribute this rare boost in crime to your local library.


et to kick-off “The Big Read”, October 1st, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL) hopes to involve the whole family in this welcomed crime spree by infecting the city with the engrossing mystery of The Maltese Falcon (1930), written by Dashiell Hammett.


With over 500 copies of the dashing mystery ready to hit the library shelves and twenty events scheduled to engross readers and capture all interests and ages, the release of The Maltese Falcon in the capital city, marks the 4th venture of the TSCPL and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Asmund, 2


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“[The Big Read] is a way to get people back to reading and reading good literature, at that,” says Marie Plyko, public services manager of the TSCPL. “Our initiative has expanded and we’re taking a holistic approach to the venture by getting the whole community involved, from kids to seniors.” While the plot and smugness of the novel’s leading man, the iconic, Sam Spade, might not be a fun tale for the whole family to read around the fireplace, the library has identified the child counterpart in Bruce Hale’s The Malted Falcon.

The Malted Falcon will offer the elementary school members of the community an opportunity to celebrate in The Big Read spirit by engaging families to discuss the traits of an excellent detective and through the TSCPL’s youth services programs scheduled for the month, including scavenger hunts, mystery challenges and movie nights. Although The Maltese Falcon is not currently in the public school’s English curriculum, the TSCPL hopes to target older youth with exposure via the art and creative writing classes in the schools and by offering a mystery writers workshop, gaming nights and a series of Film Noir events. Plako notes that by targeting families with every avenue of interest, from literature to movies to games or the creative arts, the TSCPL hopes to make this year’s Big Read an innovative success. The Big Read launches Friday, October 1, 2010 at the First Friday Artwalk. For a complete list of calendar events and programs, associated with The Big Read visit, or XYZ TOPEKA

[ art ]

waxing artistic


othing sets the mood for a crisp fall evening like candles. Versatile in color, size and scent, you can create arrangements according to your mood or to suit a special event. But why stop there when you can create your own candles? Join Marion Lane Candles in beautiful downtown Topeka anytime during regular store hours for “walk-in” candle making. Special classes are also available that according to owner Connie Cook will, “spark your creativity!” Visit our website at www. for the fall calendar and to enter a drawing for a gift from Marion Lane Candles and XYZ Magazine. Connect with Marion Lane Candles on Facebook and follow them at MarionLane to keep up to date with specials, events, and more. XYZ TOPEKA

Marion Lane Candles 713 S. Kansas Avenue 785-357-4500

Mulvane Art Museum and ArtLab Hours

Tues. 10-7, Wed.-Fri. 10-5, Sat. & Sun. 1-4 Admission to the Museum and ArtLab is FREE! 785-670-1124 Check out our web site for more information.

Family Fun Days

First Friday Family Night Out in the ArtLab Dia De Los Muertos Family and Community Day WU Family Day at the ArtLab -We Mean Monkey Business!

Look, Create, Understand! Exhibitions

October 2, 2010-January 16, 2011 Printed Image 3 October 16, 2010-January 23, 2011 Art Department Faculty Exhibit

SATURDAY AFTERNOON CLASSES for PEOPLE of ALL AGES Unique Printed Cards Ceramic Tiles, Magnets & More for Dia de los Muertos Finger Painting with Your Family Fused Glass Sun-Catcher or Ornament

[ entertainment ]

whimsy tracks by Cale Herreman

A year of Entertainment Fun for the Whole Family • YOUTH ACADEMY SHOWS •

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (comedy) Dec. 10 - 19, 2010

The Secret Lives of Girls/dont u luv me? (drama) April 1 - 10, 2011 Disney’s High School Musical 2 (musical) Aug. 5 - 21, 2011

• THEATRE FOR YOUNG AUDIENCES • Giggle, Giggle, Quack (musical) Nov. 12 - 21, 2010

The Berenstain Bears on Stage (musical) June 24 - July 3, 2011 • MAINSTAGE •

Arsenic and Old Lace (comedy) Sept. 11 - Oct. 2, 2010

Wait Until Dark (thriller) Oct. 22 - Nov. 6, 2010 Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (musical) Nov. 26 - Dec. 19, 2010

Funny Valentines (comedy) Jan. 14 - Feb. 5, 2011 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (musical) Feb. 25 - March 26, 2011

A Streetcar Named Desire (drama) April 15 - 30, 2011

Paul McCartney’s music from the 70’s sure ought to be family-friendly. After bestriding the Earth as one of a quartet of colossuses, he gets married, has kids, and makes them part of his new musical scheme. The kids get to come along on tour, and wife Linda sings and plays keyboard in the band, despite a dearth of evidence that she can’t do either. (Sorry, Linda. R.I.P.) Many of the songs on their 1973 album, “Band on the Run,” are soaked in a childish whimsy that makes me wonder if McCartney wasn’t writing with his young kids in mind. The title track names “The Jailer Man and Sailor Sam” as the eponymous band’s rivals. “Mamunia” is a mellow groove about enjoying the rain. “Bluebird” is a fantasy about living in a tree.

The Boys Next Door (comedy) June 3 - 25, 2011

Then there’s the arena-rock aspect of the album: simple refrains, and things to yell. My son likes one of my all-time personal favorites, “JET! WOO-OO-OO-OOOO-OO-OO-OO-OO!” Also, “HO! HEY-HO!”


But the music never rests. Some songs are fast and urgent, some are slow and sweet, but each one has its own character. They go well together, but each has a different style, from folk to semisurf rock to a disco string section. McCartney later became infamous for his occasional lapses in quality control, but here his willingness to try anything served to craft an album that can stand proudly next to his Beatles catalog.

Peter Pan (musical) July 15 - Aug. 13, 2011

Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (musical) Oct. 8 - 24, 2010 Resident Alien (comedy) Feb. 11 - 20, 2011 Stop Kiss (drama) May 6 - 15, 2011

Mainstage and Studio Season Memberships Available Call (785) 357-5211 or visit

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to share the classics with your kids, but this one isn’t some museum piece. It still is a highly singable, catchy collection of pop-rock, and that’s why they’ll like it. XYZ TOPEKA

Albums the whole family can dig.

folky zane

by Cale Herreman • photos courtesy

Imagine you had a really cool uncle. One so cool, in fact, that he used to be in a rock band. He’s mellowed out a bit, but still very into music, and still has some really cool friends. Also, he has large, crazy hair. That part is important. That’s what Dan Zanes’ album “Parades and Panoramas” feels like. Zanes is an enthusiast for what he calls handmade music, and this is music without a lot of polish, and it sounds as cozy as a living room. Zanes’ warm, scratchy voice is avuncular and inviting, and well suited to the Americana feel of this album. The songs are from “The American Songbag,” a book of folk songs compiled by poet and folklorist Carl Sandburg. First published in 1927, it had 280 songs and copious notes from Sandburg. The songs are sometimes coarse, with hobos, booze, love and drugs coming up more than once.

However, if the idea is to render genuine American folk songs, it should be remembered that American history is a rough neighborhood. This didn’t keep this album from winning a Parent’s Choice Recommended award in 2005, so don’t worry. Folks songs stick around because they ring true with people, and Zanes and his friends don’t have to work too hard to make them catchy. There are some fun songs in here that your kids and you may find yourselves humming or singing at odd moments. My head, right now, is ringing with “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum!” XYZ TOPEKA XYZ


in the treetops cool kid’s room

by Leah Sewell • photos by Brie Martin

It’s the stuff of a child’s fondest daydream: a house all their own among the limbs and leaves of the highest tree in the backyard.

30 XYZ

by Melissa Sewell • photos by EJ Drake


Annika and Gretchen


If you are lucky enough to recall a treehouse from your youth, it probably involves a dangling rope ladder and wooden-planked platform. That’s why the sight of the Garlinghouse treehouse makes people’s jaws drop.


here’s something magical about a treehouse,” Susan Garlinghouse says. When she and her husband asked local architect Bob Jones to build the structure in the Kentucky Coffeebean tree in their backyard, Susan requested he stayed true to nature.: “There are limbs coming out from every angle – it’s a living, growing foundation.” The lucky children are the Garlinghouses’ grandchildren who usually reside out of state. But the treehouse still serves a purpose even in its off-seasons. “Simply thinking about it makes adults feel younger,” Susan explains. “There’s an instinct to climb and survey the world from a different perspective - treehouses capture the imagination whether you’re young or old.” XYZ TOPEKA XYZ


[ feature ]

Alice’s Story

art in schools by Alice Hunt • photos by Sarah Hamlin

The old saying goes: reading, writing, ‘rithmetic, but in Topeka schools you can add painting, drawing and music to that school-days mantra.

<< Dr. Jack Smith’s band class at Washburn Rural MIddle School. High school art students at Washburn Rural High School include (from left to right): Taaron Deschner, Devyn Braden, Vidhi Shah and Holly Spoonemore


espite education budget cuts at the state and federal levels, and an increased emphasis on testing in core academic areas, Topeka area school districts have partnered with parents and the community to keep arts emphasized. Auburn-Washburn United Central School District (USD 437) made $2.8 million in cuts for its most recent budget, but protected the arts at the behest of the parents in the community. “When the budget became an issue, we asked what would be the most important thing to protect from cuts. The arts consistently rises to the top as something the community supports,” said the district’s communications coordinator Martin Weishaar. In the Shawnee Heights district, the budget has shrunk by nearly $2 million in the last two years, according to Superintendent Marty Stessman. In this year’s budget, funding had been reduced for the summer band program and for supplies in all subjects, including arts. Most of the funding, however, was restored with the help of parent and booster support. “It’s tremendous. Our band boosters is probably one of our most active, most supportive booster clubs. They’re very well networked,” Stessman said. At Seaman, no cuts have been made to the district’s arts programs thus far, according to an e-mail from Superintendent Mike Mathes. Representatives from the Topeka Public Schools (USD 501) had not return phone calls or e-mails when this story went to press. “I think overall, Shawnee County, the superintendents are

all concerned about keeping a balanced program,” Stessman said. “We’ve all been able to do that. We’ve involved our community members and stakeholders in the budget if it’s important to them, it’s important to us.” But what arts are offered can vary from district to district. In Auburn-Washburn, for example, art classes are offered from kindergarten through high school, with five full-time art staff at the high school level. In Shawnee Heights, art instruction doesn’t start until seventh grade. “At the time we started talking about the importance of it, things went south economically and it wasn’t the time to add staff,” said Stessman. Most of the districts offer music at the elementary, middle and high school levels with instrumental instruction starting in fourth or fifth grade. >> continued on the next page XYZ


arts start @home

“Anything parents can do to expose their children to the arts is going to be good ... [it] helps out and spills over into the schools.” -- USD 437 communication coordinator Martin Weishaar.

Alicia Kueny’s eight-year-old son Ethan receives daily music instruction at West Indianola Elementary School in the Seaman district, and teachers provide what art instruction they can, Kueny said. The school also displays the children’s work on, a website touted as an online museum for children’s art. “I don’t know much about art, so wish there was more education in the schools,” Kueny said. Kueny’s son also attended Whitson Elementary School in the 501 district, where parents tried to fill in where the school couldn’t fund programming. “At Whitson, they had a parents program where room mothers would sign up to do an art project with the kids. They didn’t have funding for arts in the elementary curriculum but had come up with the idea to at least have parents volunteering to have a program,” Kueny said. For parents in schools or districts without large art programs at the elementary level, Kueny recommends parents use the ArtLab at the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University, a free art experience for children (and adults). She has started taking both her sons there, and they love it, she said. During one of the visits, the lab was set up with materials to make collages. “They had all these materials and magazines and pieces of material and things for kids to pick out. They had a staff member here who, when Ethan came in, talked to him about what a collage is,” Kueny said. “[The staff member] helped him and picked out all the materials he wanted. It was great, and even better, because it’s free.” At Auburn-Washburn, the school’s private funding foundation, run by parents and community members, raises money for special projects outside the district’s normal budget. One such project is Artapolooza. For the event, sixth graders from all the Auburn-Washburn schools will go to Washburn Rural High School for two days of art training and artmaking, with the high school art students acting as instrutors and mentors for the younger children.The art produced from the event will be on display in the high school library Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, and sold as part of Topeka’s October Artwalk. And with Topeka’s recent emphasis on arts—with projects like Rethink Topeka and the North Topeka Arts District—it can be hoped that the enthusiasm for programs will spread to schools. “In Topeka, there’s such a movement for the arts and it is really cool,” Kueny said. “I took both of my kids on the Artwalk in August and we looked at art and listened to the live music.” Weishaar agreed when the community speaks, the schools will listen.

At Washburn Rural High School: (from top): Morgan Moore, Leslie Lesuer, Emily Madden 34 XYZ

“[The community’s] attitude has helped to reinforce our effort by letting us know the arts something they support. We redoubled our efforts there because of that,” he said. XYZ TOPEKA


Keeping your kid engaged in the arts doesn’t just happen at school. Make your home a bastion for creativity and artistic expression.

cultivating creativity Provide a creative environment. Paints, crayons, craft supplies (even if they’re macaroni and paper plates). Keep a supply of items kids can create with on hand, and encourage your child to use them. Allow younger children to explore items and use them in unconventional ways (not a bad idea for older children too!). Giving children a space in the home where they can be creative and messy saves you from cleaning up multiple messes, and gives them a safe place to express themselves.

chore. If you’re at the store, ask your child how many words she can make out of the letters in the store’s name. Baking cookies? Ask them to write about the experience afterward.

Use everyday moments as moments for creation. If your child is cleaning his room, encourage him to make up a song about the

Encourage creativity for creativity’s sake. By constantly giving children awards for accomplishments, parents can

Expose your children to the arts. Read books and poems to them, play a wide variety of music to them, take them to museums or plays (many family-friendly activities in the area are free). If you can’t get to a play or dance performance, rent one on DVD from the public library.

inadvertantly stifle creativity, as the child seeks to receive the reward, instead expressing themselves. Allow the project to be its own reward. Let your child see you express yourself. Your child is painting a picture? Join in! When your children see that you value art, expression and creativity, they will respect it more themselves. Besides, who doesn’t love getting their hands a little dirty with paint and clay now and then? Check into for homemade play dough and paint recipes and start creating!

EVEN THE BEST PARENTS NEED A LITTLE HELP SOMETIMES Raising children isn’t easy. Plenty of good, loving parents do all the right things and their children still need our help.

Family Service & Guidance Center

FSGC has been improving children’s lives since 1904. Today, we offer a wide range of mental health services designed for children and families just like yours who want to be happier and healthier.

FSGC is here to help.

“..because every child deserves a happy childhood.”

Family Service & Guidance Center • 785.232.5005 • 325 SW Frazier Ave • Topeka, KS 66606

Use your mobile device and learn more about programs offered at FSGC that will help your child suceed. On your Smartphone, get a QR App like ScanLife or NeoReader. Then point your phone at the code to the left and learn more.

Family Service & Guidance Center Improving c o n t i children's n u e d o n t lives h e n esince x t p a 1904 ge>>


[ local flavor ]

heap eats

Lupita’s 1306 S Kansas Ave. EVERYDAY Mini-Me menu - most items are less than $2.50 XYZ LIKES: This is a perfect Top City Thursday place to dine - but get there early, they have been known to run out of food... must be good.





to a

+local flavor

pick me up 36 XYZ

Blind Tiger Brewery 417 SW 37th Street SUNDAY 1/2 price kids meals all day XYZ LIKES: You can watch football and feed the family. Bonus - they are giving away two trips to Las Vegas this Fall during the 3 p.m. halftime game. Guess who’s having a “lunchdin.” Boss Hawgs 2833 SW 29th Street SUNDAY $2 kids meal w/ purchase of adult meal and beverage XYZ LIKES: It’s Boss Hawgs - horrifying vegetarians for years. Your kid hates veggies anyway - so maybe it’s utopia. Find more local flavor news at and Submit your favorite discount foodie place to

O’Dooley’s 1930 SW Westport Dr # 100 MONDAY $1.99 kids meal XYZ LIKES: Sing-a-long with Kyler Carpenter.

Sweet Pea’s 1306 S Kansas Ave. EVERYDAY Kids 3 & under eat for FREE Kids up to age 11 are $3.99 XYZ LIKES: They serve up their delish Southern cooking family style.

HuHot 5900 SW Huntoon MONDAY Kids 12 + under eat free after 4 pm XYZ LIKES: That you can make your own dish. You’re the chef...and it’s fun to watch the cooks. We call each place before print to ensure accuracy - however, we don’t control their marketing departmnet. SO - if a special has changed, let them know you saw it in XYZ and then please, don’t blame us. Happy Eating.

Buffalo Wild Wings 1227 SW Wanamaker WEDNESDAY Kids meals $1.99 XYZ LIKES: They have those cool trivia machines for brain challenges. Some questions might be 20+ years before their time - but who doesn’t like a little history lesson during dinner?

[ seen + noted ]

santa sightings Nov. 20, 10 a.m. Fairlawn Plaza Nov. 27, 5:30 p.m. Miracle on Kansas Avenue Parade, Downtown Dec. 4, 9 - 11 a.m. Breakfast with Santa, Velma K. Paris Community Center

Dec. 5, 1 p.m. Santa Arrives by Union Pacific Train, Great Overland Station Dec. 5, 1:30 -3:30 p.m. North Topeka Kiwanis Classic Car Show at Spangles North

Dec. 4, 10 a.m. Storytime w/Santa, Potwin Pottery

Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m., 9:10 a.m., and 9:50 a.m. Breakfast with Santa, Crestview Shelter House

Dec. 4, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Meet Father Christmas, Old Prairie Town at Ward Meade Historic Site

Dec. 11, 9 - 11a.m. Breakfast with Santa, Auburn Community Center

early learning center *making wishes into futures why the yw?

• Intergenerational learning school

• Physical education programming

• Educated teachers

• Nutritious meals and snacks

• Expanded curriculum

• Specialized potty-training program

• Red Cross Certified swimming lessons

• Multi-student discounts

A Topeka Favorite. - Offering a unique lunch, dinner and catering menu - LIVE entertainment every Friday - Historic atmosphere - Home of the greatest steaks in Topeka byway of Kansas Premium Black Angus Beef -

kids quest

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• Familiar and safe location in your child’s school • Assistance with homework and special assignments

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• Organized games and projects with the emphasis on teamwork and cooperation • Focus on healthy eating and lifestyles • Multi-student discounts

*Mention this ad when enrolling, and enrollment fee is waived.

225 SW 12th | Topeka, KS 66612 | 785-233-1750 |

- Kid friendly menu and atmosphere - Full bar and wine list -

appetizers salads seafood sandwiches pasta ORDER ONLINE M - Sat 11 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun. 11 - 2 p.m. 705 S. KANSAS AVE. | 785.233.0086 XYZ


[ local flavor ]


Quick and healthy fixes from two XYZ staffers that make perfect on-the-go weekday meals.

edible airplanes

recipe from Cale Herreman photos by Heather McKee

Cale’s 4-year-old son, Henry, flies the food.

Why Not... Make every week “Pick a new produce” week at the grocery store. XYZ Mom Amy Burns has done just that. “We’ve been making eating healthier a priority,” said Amy. “So to make it exciting and encourage each other to be adventurous we decided to try something new from the produce aisle or farmer’s market every week. We’ve tried pluots, Brussel sprouts, tomatillos, fresh green beans (yes, I know this isn’t a new vegetable, but we always bought them frozen or canned before) and lots of different berries. Grant’s favorite was the pluot, which is a plum-apricot hybrid. Good stuff.” --from Amy, Chris & Grant - XYZ Readers. Send your tips to 38 XYZ


y son’s food preferences vex me because I can’t keep up with them. He loved pizza, once. He ate it all: crust, sauce, cheese, and vegetables. I could rely on it as a meal the whole family could enjoy. And then he didn’t like it anymore AT ALL. Refused to eat it, even in a box and with a fox. It’s almost as if someone told him there were vegetables on it. I just wrote it off as One More Thing He Won’t Eat. So, one day after my wife had made sugar cookies, I noticed that we had an airplane cookie cutter. He loves airplanes. Would he eat airplane pizzas? I asked him. “Just cheese!” He was pretty firm on the no-vegetables thing. Fine, I said, as long as he helped make the meal. He enjoyed pressing the cutter into the dough, but we had a hard time extracting the airplane from the dough. Then I realized that we could just pull up on the dough around the cutter while it was pressed down. Easy. I had him put some pasta sauce in the middle of each airplane, and sprinkle on some parmesan cheese. We put these things into the oven, set at 400, to bake with the large, circular, veggieladen pizza I had made for the rest of us. That one takes a half hour to finish, but the airplanes were ready in eight minutes. He crunched them down happily. They received his highest praise: “Good.” I felt like I had won a small victory: I had reconnected him with an old favorite, and I did it by getting him more involved in making his food. Or maybe this had all been about the vegetables. edible airplanes recipe >>>

vrooom! Make or buy pizza dough. (See dough recipe at right.) Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough, and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Spread a little pizza or pasta sauce over the shapes, and sprinkle with your child’s favorite cheese. Bake for 8 minutes, or until crust is golden. Fly. Eat. Enjoy.

My Trusty Pizza Dough Makes enough for a 12” pizza, though it could make eight or so cookie-cutter shapes instead. 1 1/3 cups water, lukewarm 1 teaspoon yeast 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups flour ¼ teaspoons salt Put half the water into the bowl. Add the yeast, and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the water and oil, and stir in. Add the rest, and mix until dough forms into a ball. Place in a well-oiled bowl and let rise for two hours, or until doubled in bulk. Roll out.

Hide Your Vegetables photo and recipe from Chelle Decker

hide your vegetables recipe >>>

1 jar organic spaghetti sauce 1 medium finely chopped zucchini 1 medium finely chopped squash 2 cups finely chopped carrots ½ cup finely chopped red onion 1 cup chopped mushrooms Combine all ingredients and slow cook in crockpot. Add cooked meat (hamburger or Italian sausage) if desired. For a healthier twist, skip the noodles, and serve spaghetti sauce on a bed of French-cut green beans. The texture is similar, but it’s packed with more nutrition. Just can’t give up the noodles? Try whole wheat pasta. If you want a yummy side to accompany your spaghetti, substituting baked parmesan and garlic pita chips for traditional garlic toast is a healthy alternative. Plan ahead for future meals: Make a double batch of sauce, cool completely and freeze and you have a healthy sauce to use for lasagna later in the week!


ave a kid that doesn’t enjoy vegetables? It’s simple to hide them in spaghetti sauce. Let your kids help pick out some extra veggies at the Farmers’ Market. Cook them all day in your favorite storebought spaghetti sauce and you have an easy-to-make flavorful meal with extra vitamins!

Chelle Decker is the marketing director for Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy, Radio Personality for Country Legends 106.9 and Mom to Teddy Mac. Since starting a clean eating routine in May 2010, she has lost 26 pounds, her husband has lost 59 pounds and her son has developed “healthy eating” skills that he can use through adulthood. To read more about her food journeys, check out her blog on

[ lifestyle ]

youth hockey check by Ande Davis • photos by EJ Drake

The leaves are just starting to fall, but the ice is already heating up at the Kansas Expocentre with the Topeka Jr. Roadrunners youth hockey league in full swing. The league, which returned last year as a fully organized league after a several-year hiatus, offers the chance for children between four and 16 to play a sport not normally associated with Kansas, where football, basketball and baseball tend to grab most of the attention. “It’s a new unique sport kids can participate in here in Topeka,” said Al Prengel, league vice president and coaching coordinator. Prengel’s son, Ike, 7, has been playing hockey for a few years and currently plays in the eight-and-under division, where his dad is the coach. Prengel can see the benefits that have come from his son participating in hockey. “He’s gained a lot in his coordination and his confidence in his abilities,” said Prengel. “He’s also created a lot of new friendships, and we’ve made a lot of new friendships as a family, as well. It’s really been good for all of us.” Ike is pretty active outside the rink as well, playing soccer, basketball and baseball in addition to hockey, and his dad frequently coaches him and his two sisters in other sports. Even though hockey is still a sport that doesn’t show up on a lot of radars in Topeka, Al and Ike gave it a shot with limited prior knowledge of the game. Is it okay if my kid doesn’t know how to skate?

“A lot of parents, one of their biggest worries about getting their child involved is that they don’t know how to skate,” said Prengel. “I tell them not to be afraid to let their kid try it out because they don’t know how to skate. We’ll get them up to par before we go throwing them in the middle of a game. It’s something we all have to learn, so it’s not unusual.” Another item of parental concern, Prengel says, is the cost. The Topeka youth hockey league does everything they can to bring the costs down in what is generally viewed as an expensive sport to play. “Cost is a big thing, but we have ways to help offset fees and we make it so parents don’t have to pay for everything at once, up front,” said Prengel. The season has already started, but the Jr. Roadrunners are always welcoming new players throughout the season. For more information, visit XYZ TOPEKA


Absolutely. The Topeka Youth Hockey Association has a Learn to Play Hockey program that it recommends for all new skaters before joining a league. It’s a good way to get introduced to the game with a lower cost and low level of commitment. What kind of equipment is required? Hockey players are pretty well-padded, as you can tell, so there are several pieces of gear involved. Buying used gear for youth players is always a wise option to cut down on the cost of gear, and the Topeka association has several sets of gear for younger players available for rental. How old should my kid be when they get started? Whenever your kid wants to play, that’s a good time to get them involved. It’s good to get them involved by the time they’re eight, but nobody’s ever too old to pick up the game. There’s even an adult league at the Expocentre that caters to everyone from experienced players to total novices. Isn’t hockey a pretty violent game? Won’t my kid get hurt? Injury is a possibility with every physical activity—even golfers and curlers get hurt. Coaches stress playing in a safe and responsible way to make sure everyone is having fun and injuries are minimized. Full body checking—the kind of hockey you see the stars doing on television—starts at the Pee-Wee level (10-12 years old), and players younger than that are able to focus more on developing their skating and hockey abilities. 40 XYZ

sweet! bday party A by Leah Sewell • photo provided by Cindy Hopper

ny parent who’s watched the after-birthday party, after-sugar meltdown happen before their very eyes knows that birthdays are all about indulgence. And cupcakes.

Sweet! opened its doors in late September. [5332 SW 22nd Place / 228. BAKE.] The sugar-coated store sells a wide range of baking and candy making supplies (perfect for making all those treats needed for school events) as well as a large licensed kitchen, which they rent out by the hour for a variety of events or just for large-scale cooking time.

The fully-stocked kitchen, including a 20q Hobart Mixer and double convection oven (I know you foodie, at-home chefs are salivating here) is the setting for a sweet kids’ birthday party. After the batter is mixed and baked, the cookie or cupcake (host’s choice) becomes a blank canvas upon which thick, sweet frosting is the preferred medium to let loose that artistic expression and then, well, eat it.

cool bday parties

With a birthday party at Sweet!, the newest member of the Fairlawn Plaza family, the cupcakes take center stage as the lucky birthday boy or girl and their friends create sweet confections, decorate chef hats and don aprons in a party where everyone is a chef.

“We hope to be a fun gathering spot for Topeka,” says owner Cindy Hopper.

Refreshments are provided for each member of the party. Each kid leaves with a chef ’s hat, fabric apron and party favor. And a sugar buzz. Because, as we know, birthday parties are all about indulgence. XYZ TOPEKA Sweet! Parties are $150 for up to 10 kids for 2 hours of fun. Includes decorating fun, chef’s hat, sweets and more!


A PROGRAM FOR NEWBORNS AND THEIR PARENTS This program guides new moms and dads through the ABC’s of BUILDING LITERACY skills with infants. It’s simple. sk for a Read With Me library card application.

egin your baby’s library experiences with a library card, free t-shirt and information on reading to little ones.

uddle up and start reading. Children birth to 18 months qualify for the READ WITH ME program.

your place stories you want. information you need. connections you seek. 1515 SW 10th Avenue | Topeka, KS 66604-1374 | XYZTOPEA Magazine add FALL REVISED SIZE.indd 1


580-4400 | M–F 9 AM–9 PM | S AT 9 AM–6 PM | SUN 12 PM–9 PM | 9/13/10 8:46 AM XYZ


[ art ]

painting bridges by Leah Sewell • photos contributed by Carol Bradbury

Some children make lanyard bracelets and potholders in summer camp. But the children who attended the Y.W.C.A. camp as part of the organization’s Summer Diversity Project got to work in collaboration with an accomplished local artist to create a stunning piece of art that will adorn the walls of businesses across the city, admired by many. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that many children simply don’t have. When artist Carol Bradbury found herself in the cafeteria at Highland Park High School this past summer, surrounded by a large group of 5th-8th graders, she realized what anyone with a middle schooler knows like the back of the hand. “It was chaos,” said Bradbury. “They were so full of energy. I’d never worked with kids this age before.” But Bradbury soon utilized her expertise as an artist and graphic designer to guide the children to help create the vibrant

During the course of the camp, the children (from left to right): 1) traced around plants onto the panels, 2) answered a qu 42 XYZ

moveable mural “Bridges,” which will soon be making its journey throughout Topeka. Its first stop will be at US Bank on Kansas Avenue in downtown Topeka, where “Bridges” will be unveiled to the community during the Oct. 1 Artwalk. The mural, which is being rented by US Bank with proceeds benefitting the Y.W.C.A.’s subsequent mural projects, is a multilayered piece that practically bursts with symbolism.

photo by Leah Sewell

This isn’t your usual summer camp arts and craft project. “The mural is built on a foundation of Kansas earth, clay and plants from my garden and a small garden I found at Highland Park High School,” explained Bradbury. By tracing plants’ outlines and using the natural hues from different types of Kansas dirt diluted with water as a basis for the color on the panels, the mural builds “bridges of awareness to our physical environment.” By asking the children to define their own happiness and including their written responses on the art panels, Bradbury hopes the project achieved “bridges of awareness to ourselves.” By including the phrase “I AM” in several international languages and learning about as well as including the words of several different cultures’ creation stories physically in the artwork, the children gained awareness of diversity. The children’s personal responses to Bradbury’s request, “define what makes you feel happy” is the part of the process that strikes a chord with Bradbury. “I saw [one child’s] paper and it said, ‘I want to be proud. I want to be proud. I want to be proud.’ Three times he had written it out. It was just a profound statement.”

All of this soul searching and learning spilled over into the art. Bradbury only had a total of 6 contact hours with the children, so she spent a lot of time in her studio in the stillness of plains country on the outskirts of Topeka, just looking at the mural as it took shape, transformed, presented ideas and spoke of the lives of the children who helped to create it. Because of her limited time with the campers, Bradbury touched up and finished the mural in her studio, and the left panel of the piece is by her hand, but the total result of “Bridges” is as much the children’s as its hers. In the process of teaching the children, Bradbury helped to create a piece of artwork that she could never have done on her own. “Throughout its various stages, what I have seen and still see in the work is evidence of the interactive visual dialogue that materialized between myself and the campers,” said Bradbury. XYZ TOPEKA

a questionnaire and 3) incorporated their words into the mural. 4) Apllied the first, earthen layer and 5) painted the panel. XYZ


[ imagination ]

what to read Here are some mysterious to creepy Fall reads from Topeka and Shawnee County Library’s Youth Services director, LeAnn Sevy

Peek-a-who by Nina Laden (Ages 0-3) A guessing game, peek-a-boo book with the cutest face at the end. My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck (Ages 2-6) How do monsters care for their kids? Look at the illustrations carefully. Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman (Ages 3-6) This monster filled book shows that cooperation is sweet. A fun book to read aloud. Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective by David Biedrzycki (Ages 3-6) Discover who kidnapped Queenie Bee. Space Station Mars by Daniel San Souci (Ages 6-8) What happens when the clubhouse kids actually make contact with aliens? Check out how the author got the idea for this story. Creepy. The Schoolyard Mystery Series by Elizabeth Levy (Ages 6-8) An invisible boy and his friends right wrongdoings. Chet Gecko Series by Bruce Hale (Ages 8-12) A pun-filled, who-done-it mystery series that will make you laugh and keep you hanging like a Gecko to a wall. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Ages 1012) A mismatched group of heirs must uncover the circumstances of the death of an eccentric millionaire before claiming their inheritance. Lily’s Ghost by Laura Ruby (Ages 10-12) An Edgar Award Nominee. A fast paced, spirited (Get it?) novel.

heard + noted My 18-year-old loves being reminded of this one. Waiting for Mass to start. He was three. We were pointing to the statues and asking if he knew who they were. He knew Mary, and he knew Joseph. Then he looked up at the crucifix at the front of the church. "That's Jesus," he announced loudly. "Yep." Pause. Even louder. "Jesus has nipples." --submitted by Jim Grocery shopping last night: Liesl (4): Can we get soda? Me: Yeah sure. (I put lemon-lime soda in the cart) Liesl: aaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Me: You don’t like lemon-lime? Liesl: Well, actually I do... --submitted by Layla Henry (4), talking into a fan: “Hey! I’m probably turned into a robot!” --submitted by Cale I was making beds one morning and overheard my 6-yearold daughter tell my 8-month-old daughter, “Maci, let’s save money and live better!”...I think Wal-Mart has gotten their message through! --submitted by Brianne “Mommy, only old people eat fish.” -- submitted by Angie My 5-year-old daughter was prancing and twirling around the living room for her “audience,” her mom and I, her little brother and a few friends of ours, one of whom said, “Wow! You could be a dancer when you grow up.” She stopped dead still, arms outstretched with a look of utter incredulity and said “What do you mean, Patty? I’m a dancer now!” and resumed her performance. -- submitted by Richard Colin, 5, helping me cook today: “I can’t stir anymore. My hand is getting dizzy.” --submitted by Bonnie

Net Force Series by Tom Clancy (Ages 12+) This is Tom Clancy, you can’t go wrong! Nailbiting, can’t put it down reads.

My 7-year-old: “OOOH!!! I learned a new word today!...buuut, I forgot it.” My 9- (going on 40-) year-old, thoroughly disgusted: “Then you didn’t LEARN it.” --submitted by Courtney

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney (Ages 12+) The first in a series that was written in the 90’s, but is well worth dusting off. Janie recognizes herself in a picture on a milk carton and begins searching for answers.

Your children say the weirdest things. Don’t save that! Share it on Facebook and you may see it here in print. Check it out: XYZ Topeka - Heard and Noted

[ art ]

torn paper I

f your child can tear paper, they can do this project. Older artists can try making these into scenes, drawing in by hand other elements. Materials needed: • a few tissues or a piece of cloth • sidewalk chalk or chalk pastels (available at craft stores, these have more vibrant colors than regular chalk) • two pieces of paper, one for tearing and one for your art. Any kind will work (construction, printer paper, etc.)


1.) Tear one piece of paper. This can be done at random, or with a specific idea in mind, like the shape of a mountain range.


2.) Line the torn edge with chalk. Use one color or many. 3.) Set the torn paper onto a clean piece. 4.) Using the tissue, rub the chalk from the torn paper to the clean piece.


5.) Remove the torn paper, revealing your amazing creation! 6.) Repeat as much as you’d like.


photos and project by Bailey Marable B a i l e y i s a n a r t t e a c h e r a t R o y a l Va l l e y Hi g h S c h o o l a n d m o m t o Wi l l o w, 2 .

by Justin Marable

what’s the story? Imagine the story that goes with this illustration. Make up some dialogue for the characters, then write out the whole story. Email it to and you may see it in our next issue or on our website:

[ imagination ]

keen eye

There are 8 little differences between these two photos. Can you tell what they are?

Answer key at

by Colin MacMillan / Nathan Ham Photography

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ERC provides information about choosing high-quality child care to meet the unique needs of your family at no-cost to you. We can also connect you with community resources for families, including parenting classes and information on child development.

ERC Resource & Referral l 785-357-5171 l 1-800-279-2372 l 1710 SW 10th Ave., Suite 215 l Topeka, KS 66604 l Open Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm ERC is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving families in northeast Kansas. Visit our website to learn more about our programs, volunteer opportunities and ways you can support our mission!


DOING GOOD THINGS. We can do anything we set our sights on because Topeka is a

community of doers. We’re doing little things to make life better. We’re doing big things to make our community stronger. Let’s all keep doing good things to help Topeka grow.

XYZ Fall 2010  

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