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parenting magazine

FALL 2021

First Class Act Bend-La Pine supe is ready to roll

EDUCATION Preschool Pursuit

FAMILY TIME What’s for Lunch?

OUTDOORS Dip into Fall Color

Thank You

for voting Best Children and Family Photographer in Bend

5 years in a row ! • 541-771-6557 4 |


Aaron Switzer


Angela Switzer

Bend-La Pine superintendent, Dr. Steve Cook, keeps a lot of balls in the air as he embarks on the new school year.

Associate Editor

Nicole Vulcan

Photo by Natalie Stephenson

Contributing Writers

Annette Benedetti

Nicole Blume

Joshua Savage

Caitlin Richmond

Paige Bentley-Flannery

Donna Britt

Elizabeth Warnimont

Calendar Editor

Megan Burton

Design & Layout

Rise Graphic Design


Nicole Blume

Natalie Stephenson

Darris Hurst

Miguel Edwards

Advertising Executives

Ashley Sarvis

Ban Tat

Crystal St.Aureole


On the Cover


BendNest Contact Editorial Sales

Fall 2021 | 5

Back to school for

all wild things!

Find the best gear and supplies for the journey at Wild Child! Follow us

@ wildchildbend

Located at Old Mill, next to Regal Cinemas 6 |





16 FRAMEWORK FOR SUCCESS FEATURE - With a focus on community building and a commitment to all students, Dr. Steve Cook, new superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools, shares his plan of action for the fall.

22 BAD MOMMY BAD WRITER PARENTING - Local author, Kim Cooper Findling

has a new book! Raising two littles while launching a career comes chock-full of mis-adventure and a whole lot of laughs.

26 PRE-SCHOOL PURSUIT EDUCATION - Choosing a preschool can

be daunting to say the least. Annette Benedetti shares insight and tips for a smooth-sailing process.

Back to School, Back to Sleep Bring back the balance that being rested provides...

Coaching for children and families seeking better sleep for a healthier and happier life. Start with a FREE introductory call

Get your plan for better sleep

Let us coach and support you Abigail Cannon, MS Certified Gentle Sleep Coach 415-497-1916 @aglowsleep 8 |

Sleep better and live better

EDITOR’S NOTE Building Community


s the frenzied days of summer wane, a welcomed hush settles over our bursting, bubbling town. With fewer visitors in the mountains and temperatures dropping a bit, fall is the perfect time to slip away and enjoy the outdoors with the family. If it’s fall color you’re craving, though, you may want to head south where deciduous trees take the place of evergreens. Joshua Savage shares one such family adventure to Ashland in Outdoors. Fall festivals are back this year! So, if you missed your favorites in 2020 due to the pandemic, you’ll be happy to see the classics as well as a few new ones on the schedule. Harvest time and pumpkins are just around the corner. Check out our picks in Culture. As we all know, with the changing season, comes the return to routine and a strong focus on education. Bend-La Pine Schools welcomes a new superintendent this year – Dr. Steve Cook. With a priority on building community, Dr. Cook has already hit the ground running addressing important issues through weekly pod casts and community engagement meetings over the summer. Elizabeth Warnimont shares a candid interview with Dr. Cook in Feature.

Interventions for Students with Reading & Writing Difficulties

Speaking of education, it’s never too early to start looking for a preschool. With waiting lists a mile long in this town, a word to the wise: begin the process shortly after you give birth (not kidding!) Annette Benedetti sheds light on the subject in Education. Another important topic in our Education section this issue, is the new Senate bill which institutes a mandatory civics class for all high school students. Nicole Blume explains why understanding how our government works is a win-win for all. You may be surprised by what your teen can teach you on the subject. In Family Time, Donna Britt, has some fantastic menu ideas and tips for packing school lunches – get the kids involved! If your son or daughter or someone you love has recently identified as non-binary, you may be a bit shell-shocked. In her article, “Love Wins,” in Health, Annette Benedetti illuminates the subject, offering helpful wisdom for navigating the way. We wish you all the best for a beautiful fall season!

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Reading Comprehension Strategies to Decode Words Writing Math Handwriting Executive Function Skills

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Photo by Fisheye Aerial Media

Bend-LaPine Schools presents Caldera High School, opening this fall in Bend.

Caldera High School Opens Doors for the 2021-22 School Year


t’s been over two decades since the Bend-La Pine Schools district added a new high school to its ranks. This is the year and Caldera High School, located in southeast Bend, is slated to open this fall to incoming ninth and tenth graders. Starting next year, one grade level per year will be added which will result in full enrollment by 2023. The new high school will include nearly 60 classrooms, including several Career and Technical Education classrooms, a 600-seat auditorium, a library as the central focal point of the school, a football stadium and other sports fields, two secure main entries and more. According to Chris Boyd, Caldera’s principal, “Our projectbased approach will ensure that students are ready for their future pursuits. In our core programs, students will engage in science instruction that begins with physics and chemistry and then progresses to biology and future lab-based experiences. Our applied mathematics and connected learning experiences across the humanities will further ensure that students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive.” According to Boyd, Caldera will prioritize belonging, safety, and relationships as their foundation, “knowing that learning and future success are built upon this groundwork”.

Dream Big

Natasha Visnack, Local Female Junior Cyclist, accepted into the USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy


atasha Visnack, local 17-year-old junior cyclocross competitor, has been accepted into the USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy (ODA) for cyclocross. The ODA is the best, most comprehensive cyclocross development program in North America for junior and U23 athletes. The program, run by worldchampionship-level coaches and program directors, comprises of individualized coaching and support, with opportunities to train and compete in top-level events in the USA. Natasha is a junior and straight-A student at Summit High School and has been cyclocross and mountain bike racing for the past five years. Visnack has had much success competing in the Junior, Cat 1 Women, Elite Women and Pro Open Women categories. She has raced in four national championship competitions, won numerous series titles, and competed in the 2021 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in Winter Park, Colorado, placing third in the Junior Women High School category. Visnack is slated to compete at the Cyclocross National Championships later this year in Chicago, Ilinois. “I am so excited to participate in the ODA, it is really a dream come true,” says Natasha. “I always want to challenge myself and this is a great opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches in the nation.” In addition to racing, Visnack loves to share her passion with others. She has volunteered with the Bend Endurance Academy and Girls All-Ride programs, is the Chair of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) Junior Committee and is the founder of the Summit High School Mountain Bike Club.

“I always want to challenge myself and this is a great opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches in the nation.”

Photo by David Visnack

Local teen, Natasha Visnack, is headed to the Olympic Development Academy for Cycling.

“Over the past few years, I have dedicated myself to improving access to cycling for juniors, especially junior girls, and helping to create a welcoming environment for riders regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” Visnack explains. “Through the ODA, I will be able to learn from the best on how to become a better athlete and will bring what I learn home to share with others.” Fall 2021 | 11

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Ciara Thomson-Barnett, CNM, WHNP

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Our mission is the same as it has been for over 40 years — to provide the best healthcare possible to the women in our community. Since the beginning, compassionate support has been the spirit that has united our providers as they’ve built trusted relationships with patients. Today, this spirit unites us all.

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Blossom Collaborative Pam Saul, M. Ed. Child Development/Behavior Specialist Cindy Hatch-Rasmussen MA OTR/L Occupational Therapist Jenny Johnson OTR/L Occupational Therapist


My 8-year-old son has a lot of quirks. He refuses to wear pants with a zipper, screams and runs out of the room when we run the vacuum cleaner, hates loud noises, and overall, only likes things his way. Could this be a sensory problem and is there any way to help him with these issues?


Your instincts seem to be spot-on regarding possible sensory problems. Sensitivity or over-responsiveness to loud noises is a common reported behavior in individuals with sensory differences. I am curious if your son is distressed by the sound of the zipper, the feel of the zipper or the motor skills involved to make the zipper work? These behaviors are all symptoms of sensory processing differences. There is help for these issues! Occupational therapists who specialize in sensory integration and/ or sensory processing disorder work with individuals challenged by these exact issues.


Our daughter has trouble paying attention and this has impacted her ability to learn and do well in school. We are beyond frustrated with her but don’t want to medicate her for ADHD. Any tips for helping a seriously distractible child?


Do you notice that your daughter is distracted in all environments or just busier environments? Research tells us that there is a co-morbidity between ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD. This means there may be some sensory processing differences contributing to your daughter’s ability to attend. Often when we can support children in learning how to regulate their own bodies by understanding their individual sensory profile, they can sustain longer periods of optimal attention to support their function in school, at home and in the community. Occupational Therapy is one therapy that can provide this type of

consultation/intervention. There are also practitioners/educational specialists that can support executive functioning using different cognitive-based strategies. One thought is that kids that are differently wired often need to be taught differently as well. When she is successful, she will feel better about herself and be more willing to learn new concepts.


What are some of the signs of autism in early childhood? Our two year old is not talking yet. We keep waiting thinking he is taking his own time, but now we are beginning to wonder if something is amiss. Great question. And a very difficult one to answer. Autism is a spectrum and as the saying goes, “If you have met one person with autism, you have met one individual with autism.” Although a delay in speech and language can be an early indicator of autism it is important to look at the whole child. There are three main categories that define autism and are early indicators. They include social differences, communication issues and repetitive and obsessive behaviors. Your question appears to be more focused on the communication and possibly social areas. We all think of communication as talking, but there is so much communication that happens at a non-verbal level. A conservative estimate is that 80% of all communication is non-verbal. Our children begin communicating with us non-verbally in utero. Is your two-year-old gesturing: pointing, bringing you things to look at, holding your hand and taking you places? Do they follow your eye gaze or follow your gesture of pointing when you want to show them something? Do all other developmental milestones appear to be on target? If you are only noticing speech delay but other components of language and social interactions appear to be present, then consulting with a speech-language therapist is a good first step. If you answered no to a few of these questions, then consulting with an occupational therapist that specializes in development would be another important step. Alyce Hatch Early Intervention Program is also an excellent resource.




“ fT



P he


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- Ani Kasch, Rethink Waste Program Manager Environmental Center

Central Oregon Businesses Support Zero-Waste Trends for a Brighter Future By Nicole Blume

New York woman named Lauren Singer once managed to fit four c to o years’ worth of trash into one Ph 16-ounce mason jar. Although that ecological feat may seem utterly daunting, there are numerous ways to get started on a path to zero waste. We all know how problematic non-biodegradable trash has become, between the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the ocean and reports of microplastic particles reaching every corner of the Earth, including the remotest regions of Antarctica, and even in human breast milk. According to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it is estimated that approximately 292.4 million short tons of municipal solid waste is generated every year, which is approximately 4.9 pounds of trash per person per day. Every day we are collectively filling over 63,000 garbage trucks worth of trash. This data is staggering. yo


r ou

My hope is that our community’s children become inspired leaders to make change in the waste that is happening around them.”

On a local level, our only in-county disposal option for waste, Knott Landfill, is projected to fill by 2029, if not sooner due to increasing population growth, according to Ani Kasch, the Rethink Waste Program Manager at the Environmental Center. “Many people don’t know or just don’t care how much of an impact waste has on climate change. We think about airplane travel, transportation and pollution, but waste? It isn’t commonly discussed,” says Kasch. “Did you know that according to Paul Hawken’s book, "Drawdown", food waste alone is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions? Compare that to 2.5% from airplane travel.” While we can’t eradicate the problem overnight, there are many steps we can take to reduce our trash. Here in Bend, there are several organizations, businesses and individuals committed to reducing the trash that ends up in the landfills. One of the most popular zero-waste initiatives trending here in Central Oregon is “Bring Your Own.”


“BYO is not just for beer,” says Kasch. “Bring your own to-go container to restaurants, your own silverware to the food cart pods, your own grocery bags to the store.” One of the most significant means of reducing singleuse plastic waste is to bring reusable containers (often made of glass, which is nonreactive and easy to sanitize) to local grocery stores to buy shelf-stable pantry goods and personal supply items in bulk, such as grains, beans, nuts, herbs, spices, teas and more. “Buying things in bulk helps to avoid the excessive packaging. By bringing your own containers to the stores or reusing plastic bags, we can reduce the amount of waste we’re bringing into our homes,” says Kasch. “Although COVID affected bulk buying in some stores, we have many options in town that are still in operation: Food 4 Less and the new unpackaged store in town, The Pantry, to name a couple. You can buy nearly anything in bulk, you just need to look for it. Medicinal herbs? Check out The People’s Apothecary on the south side of Bend. If you live in Redmond, try Cornucopia. Local foods? Locavore!”

“BYO is not just for beer. Bring your own to-go container to restaurants, your own silverware to the food cart pods, your own grocery bags to the store.” On par with the increasing interest in our community in reducing waste, new social media accounts are springing up to tackle the issue, such as @zerowastebend and @ zerowastesisters on Instagram and Facebook, as well as non-profit groups like the Circular Economy Club Bend chapter. Local bloggers like Conscious by Chloe have published comprehensive online resources like, “The Ultimate Zero Waste Guide Bend & Central Oregon,” while online businesses like ChrysanthemumHome, based in Sisters, sell reusable flannel coffee sleeves and market tote bags on Etsy. “Our youth is the future,” says Kasch. “My hope is that our community’s children become inspired leaders to make change in the waste that is happening around them.”

Action Items 1.

2. 3.

4. 5. 6. 7.

Think before you buy: Do you need it? If you do need it, try to buy durable before disposable. Can you repair broken items rather than buy new ones?












nt Learn about what is and isn’t recyclable: Don’t be a ry wishful recycler and throw it all in the curbside cart. Sign up for the Rethink Waste Project monthly newsletter to stay in tune with events and resources about how to waste less and recycle right.

Contact Rethink Waste: Schedule a presentation for your community group, club, or workplace. Part of our youth education department focuses on garden education. There are many important issues around waste embedded in gardening: water use, chemical use, building with found materials, etc. During the summer the Environmental Center hosts Happy Hour in the Garden for all ages where you can come lend a hand. Advocate: Speak up when you see preventable waste. Tell your legislators this is important to you. Learn about stuff: Everything you buy comes from SOMEWHERE on this planet. It has upstream and downstream impacts. You throw something away, but “away” is a place. Organize a clean-up: More than anything else, this activity helps bring attention to what becomes litter so we can either buy less of that thing or hold producers accountable for what their packaging is doing to our environment. Sign up for our Rethink Food Waste Challenge: Fall 2021 | 15



New superintendent brings passion for building community to the Bend-La Pine Schools By Elizabeth Warnimont he Bend-La Pine Schools district board voted unanimously last January to hire Dr. Steve Cook as its newest superintendent. The former Coeur d’Alene, Idaho school superintendent has since hit the ground running, even before the position’s official start date of July 1. Cook taught school for 13 years and then served as an administrator for another 12. At one point, though, he says, he left administration to gain some current teaching experience by substitute teaching. “I felt too far from the classroom,” he explains. “I am a chemistry and physics teacher.” Cook says he was most comfortable teaching at the high school level, though he enjoyed elementary classrooms as well. Since his stint as a sub, he says, “I have now taught at every grade level.” Asked what his priority for the coming school year would be, Cook describes a process that is already underway. “Getting to know the administrators, teachers and staff. Learning names. Building connections with our team of over 2,000 employees. Being at every single school. Riding the bus routes. Visiting the maintenance department. Listening, and building a sense of community.” Bend was an attractive destination for Cook because, he says, “I am most comfortable in a purple environment.” He successfully implemented a strategic plan in the Idaho district with the goal of making every student, and every member of the school community, feel valued, cared for and listened to. “We had a great instructional strategy commitment.” What he felt missing for him personally, though, was a general environment of listening and communication inclusive of multiple viewpoints. “As an educator, as a superintendent, you don’t want to be in a political position – you’re not voted in – yet there are some political aspects,” he says. He had been waiting for the right opportunity to make a change. “My investment is that it must be a comfortable fit personally, for me and my family.” Cook feels that most people in education circles, even on a national level, are near the center politically. “That’s the world I grew up in,” he says. “It is my unrelenting wish for every kid to have the

Photo by Natalie Stephenson

COMMUNITY FEATURE same excellent opportunities, and I believe that is best served from a position of the middle.” The Idaho district’s strategic plan, something Cook intends to duplicate for Bend-La Pine, was the result of an audit commissioned by the district to identify areas for improvement in the system. “The curricular management company found that we had some deficits in equity,” he says. “The three issues

Cook says he is keenly aware of the issues most pressing to the Bend-La Pine school community, evidenced by an exceptionally high attendance at the last school board meeting. Of all those issues, including critical race theory and low graduation rates, he says the peak interest is clearly protective masks. He intends to

“It is my unrelenting wish for every kid to have the same excellent opportunities, and I believe that is best served from a position of the middle.” that stand out that were common and well-known were full-day kindergarten, a 'once-in, always-in' policy and differing class structure and graduation requirements among individual high schools.” Some of the 11 elementary schools offered full-day school for kindergarten, but five of the campuses did not. This was identified as one equity issue. The 'once-in, always-in' rule, also for elementary schools, dictated that once a student attended a particular school, that student was allowed to stay until graduation. “The way that plays out,” Cook explains, “you have a kid living near a neighborhood school who is put on a bus to a remote location, and that kid ends up losing 20 minutes of instructional time.” At the high school level, some campuses had a six-period structure while others had eight. At one newer high school, graduation requirements had changed. “There were equity issues at both (elementary and secondary) levels,” he says. With the statistical data from the commissioned audit, the district was able to determine what needed to change to address the deficits. “The audit gave us specifics and clarity. It allowed us to create an effective strategic plan, which coalesced the community around common goals.” Engaging communities in conversation is a passion for Cook. “The community (in the Bend-La Pine district) is crying out for engagement,” he says. “Here’s what we’ve done here so far: listening sessions – I’ll be doing sessions and the board will be doing some. There isn’t enough time for public comment at the board meetings alone.” Access to board meetings will also be improved. “We are outfitting the board room with streaming capability. We will provide a video summary of the meetings, in English and Spanish. We’ve done a trial run on a podcast.” The listening sessions will be formatted as fireside chats and coffee with the superintendent. “We have a lot of passion and energy here. I love to see that. I welcome it. We need to make time to listen and respond.”

address this point and all others brought to his attention with concerted listening to all perspectives and by engaging people in productive conversation. “My desire is to be visible and to build coherence. That is what I intend to do, to provide avenues for engagement and feedback.” He is also aware that listening to other perspectives means occasionally losing the argument. “Where we don’t agree,” he says, “that can be a problem, but ultimately we can disagree with grace.” Regarding Oregon’s low high school graduation rate, Cook feels that an overall culture of acceptance buoyed by a system-wide strategic plan will be key to fostering more student success. “Building that takes a system approach,” he says. “When we do that, kids are better equipped to face challenge.” Beyond implementation of a targeted plan, though, he also values steering students toward post-graduation choices. “Graduation is not enough. Industry licensure or Ivy League school, every student needs something beyond high school. The financial impact of being a high school grad alone is devastating over a lifetime.” The superintendent looks forward to getting through the currently predominant mask issue and focusing more on longterm goals for the district. We will be feeling the impacts of the pandemic, he says, for the next 10 years. “At some point we’re going to be done with masks. We have high expectations for the future.” “I am extremely excited to be here, humbled by the opportunity. I am keenly aware of the expectations of the role. I want to engage with my heart and passion. This is my life’s work. To be able to do that here is a dream come true. I want to be a long-standing part of this community.” Fall 2021 | 17

Healthy Adventures Await!


360 NE QUIMBY AVE 382-0741

18 |

Local Author! Rosie Rides The River by Niki Rainwater illustrated by Taylor Blacklock


o rosebuds dream of adventure? You bet they do! Come join Rosie, the tiny pink wild rose as she goes on an exciting ride down river with the help of her friends. Not long after her last petal opens, Rosie befriends a little bird who is playing nearby over the river mist, and she soon wishes that she too could fly. When Rosie asks the little bird to teach her to fly, he opens Rosie’s eyes to her own gifts and the happiness her sweet scent brings to all those who come to visit her, especially the children! When something unexpected happens, Rosie suddenly finds herself on an exciting journey downriver, aided by the river’s guardian Great Grandfather Granite, as well as old and new friends alike. Rosie’s trek is not without feelings of self-doubt

and homesickness, and when night falls she finds herself all alone beneath the brilliant stars. As Rosie sleeps, she dreams of the children’s laughter and awakens to the warmth of Father Sun, whose encouraging words inspire a fresh motivation:

“Tiny rose so pink and bright, Your petals open to the light. The river flows beneath your branch, Running, leaping, in its dance! You long to see what lies beyond, Perhaps you’ll find a quiet pond? Brave as the river from here on after, Listen for the children’s laughter.”

With renewed resolve, Rosie continues her perilous journey downstream and receives unexpected help that is most welcome, as the biggest waterfall of all lies just ahead!

Last summer, during the height of the pandemic, Bend resident Niki Rainwater stepped away from her job as a kindergarten teacher and turned her focus to a lifelong dream of writing a children’s book. It is her hope that the children in our community and beyond develop of sense of guardianship, reverence, and love for our breathtakingly beautiful Central Oregon.

Open 7 days a week Dinner only on Sundays Happy Hour 2:30 - 6pm every day A Truly Thai Experience is here in Bend.

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Photo by Brian Becker


Family Events Are Back! Art in the West at the High Desert Museum:

Jul. 20-Oct. 16

As if any family living in Central Oregon needs another reason to head to the High Desert Museum! On July 20, a new exhibit opened. Art in the West is an annual juried exhibition and silent auction that features both traditional and contemporary art celebrating the landscapes, wildlife, people, cultures and history of the High Desert. Wind through the exhibit where you might just find and fall in love with a piece of art you want to bid on. After you’ve taken in the new exhibit, let the kids hit all their favorite spots at the museum where they can get their wiggles out. Bonus: Proceeds from the Art in the West auction help support the Museum's

20 |

Here’s What Not to Miss By Annette Benedetti


here is no better way to welcome fall with your crew than by attending Central Oregon’s family-friendly happenings. With COVID restrictions finally lifted, we are seeing some of our favorite annual (and new) events show up on the region’s calendar again. With the tourist crowds thinning a bit, this is the time for venturing out with the whole family! The following are our picks for “must hits.”

educational programs, bringing science, art and history education to lifelong learners throughout the region. Learn more about Art in the West at

Family Fun Float:

Aug. 25

Located at the Sunriver Marina, this is a family event you don’t want to miss. Families will be shuttled to Harper Bridge and launch in a 12-foot raft that can hold two to six people. Experience a beautiful one-and-a-half-hour float back to the Marina where you will enjoy s’mores, games and musical entertainment. Find out more at


Sisters Fall Street Festival:

16th Annual Bend Oktoberfest:

The Sisters Fall Festival takes over the streets of downtown Sisters mid-September! Now in its 14th year, the Sisters Fall Street Festival celebrates the new season with local arts & crafts, delicious food, craft beer and live entertainment the whole family will love. With an abundance of artisans featuring handmade glassware, jewelry, tie-dyed clothing, wildlife artwork and more, there’s plenty of shopping and perusing to do. This festival gives your family the opportunity to spend a day taking in the historic town of Sisters while shopping, listening to music and enjoying incredible bites and brews. Get all the info at

This family favorite has a little bit of something fun for everyone. From the famous wiener dog races to the quirky competitions and plenty of shopping and drinking opportunities, this is one of the most entertaining fall festivals a family could hope for. Get ready to witness feats of strength, drink specially crafted beer and enjoy watching kids laugh and play. Opening day ceremonies take place on Sept. 18 and include the mayor of Bend tapping the first keg. The final day celebration includes live music, a yodeling contest, a chicken dance contest, live music and more! Located in Downtown Bend, you can find more information at

Sept. 18-19

Photo by MiguelEdwards

Bend Oktoberfest features a variety of music for all.

Sept. 18-25

Photo by MiguelEdwards

Photo by Brian Becker

Who doesn’t love the weiner dog races at Bend Oktoberfest?

All runners receive a pumpkin at the Kid’s Harvest Run at Bend Fall Festival!

Bend Fall Festival:

Central Oregon Cosplay Convention:

Mark your calendars for the mother of all fall festivals! Bend Fall Festival is back and better than ever. Here is the good news: this seasonal celebration includes a Family Play Zone that even parents will enjoy. Think bouncy houses, pumpkin painting, face painting, balloon animals and tons of family-friendly vendors. And that is just the Play Zone! The festival brings all the best that Bend has to offer. There is a fine artist promenade, the gourmet food and wine street and a new section called The Soul Collective, featuring unique items from all over the world. For the fitness-loving family, you will want to sign up your young runner for the Kid’s Harvest Run where each young participant receives a pumpkin to bring back to the Play Zone. Found out more about this fabulous event at

Get your Anime fanatics ready for the time of their life. The Central Oregon Cosplay Convention, or Central Oregon CosCon for short, is coming and it’s only a one-day event located at Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. This inclusive, familyfriendly, fan-based cosplay convention welcomes all sorts of genres from anime and comic books to podcasts and TV shows. Get ready to dress up and have some serious fun. All the details can be found at

Oct. 1-3

Oct. 8

Fall 2021 | 21


Examining the messy path of building a career while staying home with the kids


he pandemic made working from home while caring for small children all too real for many parents. Growing a career alongside the kids is at times impossibly difficult, positively hilarious and just rewarding enough to keep anyone from walking out on the job. Are you a parent immersed in the double-duty of working alongside your children? A hilarious and inspiring memoir released this summer shares the heartaches and journey of spending most days trapped under a pile of plastic princesses or scraping peanut butter off the wall. Bend author Kim Cooper Findling’s “Bad Mommy Bad Writer: Writing From Home While Keeping the Kids Alive” follows one woman’s quest to make something of herself—during naptime. “Bad Mommy Bad Writer” is a story of having it all: of going hard after your dreams while keeping a sharp eye on job number one—those precious darlings who really could care less about your deadlines. Check out a few of our favorites from “Bad Mommy Bad Writer.”



Last Wednesday, I sat with a cup of coffee in front of my computer at 6:30 a.m., trying to come-to after a sleepless night. I was wrangling edits for my book-in-process, already lost in thoughts of the narrative, the perfect turn of phrase. All else had faded away. Suddenly Chicken Noodle burst in, arms aloft, and declared with delight, “Everything’s better, Mommy!” About what happened next, Noodle later recalled, “Mommy went”—palms to face, mouth open, sharp intake of breath—“Then she cried.” Because everything wasn’t “better.” Not unless you think two children who have cut their own hair to the scalp is “better.” Noodle’s happiness crumbled in light of my tears. “Stop crying, Mommy! I’ll never do it again!” But after a half-hour, when I was still blubbering like a soggy idiot, Noodle went all eye-roll: “Mom, are you ever going to stop crying? Like, by ten?” I couldn’t stop. I wasn’t crying out of vanity because their school photos were ruined, even though they were. I wasn’t crying because they could have lost an eye, even though they could have. I wasn’t crying because I left the scissors out, even though god dammit, ya moron! I was crying because this little DIY haircut session was a direct shot to the heart, illuminating in full living color my primary, daily struggle: my work vs. my children. Or put more succinctly: self vs. family. My writing life lives in the same house as my family life. It’s like having two lovers. The problem with two lovers is that one of them is usually neglected. I steal a few moments for Lover A and Lover B slashes her hair off in jealous agony. When I finally got my sister on the phone an hour later (yep, still crying), she laughed. “Almost every kid does this.” I continued to sob, insisting on my singular ineptitude and unparalleled selfishness. “Seriously,” she finally said. “When is this going to be funny?” I sniffled. “Maybe next week?” Here I am in next week, groping for the humor and self-forgiveness. As well as being practical. It is not possible for me to monitor every moment of my children’s lives for the next eighteen years. We must sometimes be apart. I am banking this will build autonomy and confidence for all. Noodle and Little are growing up alongside my writing career. Both deserve my attention, and both may be better for the other in the long run. Still, I am not an idiot. I hid the scissors. By the way, the reason Noodle declared that everything was “better” after having removed her bangs? “Now I can see my forehead like you, Mom.” Let that be the final word on the subject: As long as my oldest daughter desires to emulate me, I must be doing something right.

“When you do go ahead and buy

THINGS I LEARNED THIS WEEK If your child poops on the booth seat in a restaurant, you will feel obliged to leave an extra-large tip. When, at the grocery store, you consider buying sleeping pills for your two-yearold who seems determined to rise at four a.m. every morning until the end of time, you must forgive yourself for your bad mommy thoughts, and when you do go ahead and buy Benadryl, vodka, children’s Tylenol, melatonin, wine, teething tabs and cocktail mixers, you remind yourself gently the important thing to remember as a parent is simply who to drug, with what, and when.

GOOD ADVICE Chicken Noodle: “Mom you should write a practice book, and then if you mess up you can start fresh on a new page.”

TINY WITNESS Chicken Little: “Mom, remember when you crashed into that car?” Me: “Yes, Boo, I remember.” Little: “You need to watch where you are going.” Find “Bad Mommy Bad Writer” online and at local bookstores. See and for more. Fall 2021 | 23


Senate bill introduces mandatory civics class for all high school students By Nicole Blume


Chimpanzee residents enjoy fresh vegetables and free exploration in their outdoor play spaces 24

braham Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Perhaps Oregon legislators were thinking of this quote when they signed a new bill last spring that will require high school students in Oregon to take one semester of dedicated civics education prior to graduation. Senate Bill 513, which passed the House unanimously and the Senate chamber on a 25-3 vote, was introduced by Republican lawmakers but approved with widespread bipartisan support. In an age where political differences often seem intractably divisive, it’s encouraging to see both sides of the aisle come together to support our students’ education and promote civic engagement and responsibility among our youth. “A newly required civics course will direct schools to provide a semester-long course in high school solely focused on the civics and government standards as well as the possibility for students to engage in civics projects,” says Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill. “A vibrant and thriving democracy requires citizens who know how to effectively engage

EDUCATION with their community and government. The civics standards can help students understand how to build a more just and inclusive democracy.” This bill could not come at a more vital time. For some time now, educators have lamented the growing knowledge gap among our population, particularly our younger citizens, regarding the basic framework of our government and the collective responsibility our citizenship holds in shaping our society. According to survey research from the Annenberg Public Policy Center conducted in 2020, only 51% of Americans could name all three branches of government (legislative, executive and judicial), while 17% could name two branches, 8% could only name one branch and 23% of the population could not name a single branch at all. The Annenberg survey further revealed other gaps in knowledge that show alarming downward trends. Just half the respondents (51%) correctly said the Supreme Court has final responsibility for determining whether a disputed action by the president is constitutional, which is lower than the 61% who answered correctly in 2019. Additionally, only 47% of American citizens correctly said it takes a two-thirds majority for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to override a presidential veto—the lowest percentage since 2007. It’s arguable that every single person living in America should leave school understanding the basic system of checks and balances among all three branches of government as enshrined in our Constitution. How else can we expect our children to meaningfully participate in our shared democracy as they read the news, sign petitions, engage in protests and protected speech and make informed choices when voting at the ballot box?

“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” - Abraham Lincoln

Without such a fundamental framework, young people are at a distinct disadvantage in making their voices heard for the change they wish to see in the world. Fortunately, Oregon lawmakers worked collaboratively throughout the 2021 legislative session to ensure that Oregonian students are not left behind. Their work received broad bipartisan support from educators, government officials, business leaders and other community members who saw the wisdom in promoting civics education. Prior to this new bill passing, the Oregon Department of Education already had standards in place for civics and government studies at the high school level, but they were embedded within the larger Social Sciences Academic Content

Standards. This meant they were sometimes inserted ad hoc to disparate social studies classes, instead of being given focused attention. The requirements outlined by this bill, which will not go into effect until 2026, do not increase the number of credits students need to receive their diploma, but rather will bring this content to the forefront of their high school education. Teachers will be called upon to design specific, comprehensive civics courses that provide detailed, in-depth understanding of how our government works. “Civics curriculum and lessons are currently embedded in our U.S. government classes at the high school level, which include units of study on civil rights and liberties, elections, constitutional underpinnings and more,” says Lora Nordquist, Bend-La Pine Schools interim superintendent, “We value having students learn about democracy, voting and how to actively participate in government.” The roots of the word “democracy” derive from the Greek words “demos,” meaning “the common people,” and “kratos,” meaning “power or rule.” Democracy therefore literally means “power to the people” or “rule of the common people.” Regardless of our individual political differences and beliefs, it is this shared commitment to people power that we hold dear as a nation. In the future, when young adults leave high school in Oregon, they will be informed, knowledgeable and empowered graduates who can exercise their power of rule and work to create meaningful change within our society for the betterment of their generation and all generations to follow. Our children deserve to know their own power. Fall 2021 | 25




Finding the Best Fit for Your Family By Annette Benedetti


hoosing the right preschool for your child is no small task. From navigating preschool philosophies to understanding curriculums to choosing the right class size, there is a lot to consider. The preschool years are crucial for your child’s development, and with the shortage of preschools and preschool slots available in Bend, local families need to start looking early. But how early and where do you start? With the help of local experts, we have come up with some tips and information to make your preschool experience a little easier.

When to Start Looking for a Preschool?

The preschool age range runs from three to six years old. Mindy Noe, owner of The Village Preschool in Bend, says families should start looking for a preschool for their child early. “If parents are seeking a preschool for both learning and daycare purposes, I encourage them to start looking once they get pregnant. If they are specifically looking for preschool only, I’d suggest starting to look around age one to make sure you can get into a place by the time they are three.” According to Noe, some preschools require students to be potty

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trained before they can enroll, which can create an additional hurdle for parents.

Preschool Learning Styles & Philosophies

Throughout Central Oregon, there are a variety of preschools with curriculum based on different teaching philosophies including Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia and play-based. Noe says that when it comes to preschool types and styles it’s not a one size fits all. “I find it is best to find a place that fits your family values and makes you feel confident knowing that your child is safe, secure, being loved and nurtured while you are away from them,” explains Noe. “The preschool age is such a crucial time in a child's development, while you want them to have a quality educational experience, you also want them to have a beneficial social and emotional learning experience." Similarly, Jennifer Gordon, owner of the Active Learning Academy, says, “Programs that promote a specific philosophy should align with your family’s parenting style. If the program complements your family dynamic, it will really set your child up for success.” All preschool programs, regardless of style or philosophy balance play, structure and routines. If you want your child to engage in more open-ended play that allows them some ability to


WHAT TO ASK? Gordon suggests asking the following questions during your tours:

1. 2. 3.

direct their learning experience, then a play-based school would be best. If you think your child needs more structure with freedom in their learning, then a Montessori program might fit those needs. Taking time to research the various philosophies and how they may or may not complement your family’s values, beliefs and home routines is well worthwhile.

Preschool Tours

Once you have decided on a preferred preschool style for your child, it is time to start touring facilities. Tours give you an opportunity to determine whether a school is right for your family while experiencing the environment firsthand. You’ll want to attend the tour prepared with a list of questions. Gordon says that when choosing a preschool program for your child, communication styles and connection with teachers and directors are incredibly important. “We rely heavily on open communication with parents. Feeling comfortable asking questions, sharing concerns and celebrating milestones together is a huge benefit for your child and for the program working with your child.” Additional topics and questions to address while touring a facility include their general policies (get a copy of their handbook), teacher support and turnover, the teachers’ formal training, and what form of discipline (if any) is used. You will also want to find out

What happens when my child is having a rough day? How do you communicate daily activities? What is the teaching style of your program?

what kind of certification the preschool facility has. Certified Family (CF), Certified Center (CC), and Registered Family (RF) are the most common certifications and there are requirements that must be met for facilities to maintain them. If you have a friend or family member who has a past or currently enrolled child at a preschool you are interested in, make sure to inquire about their experiences. Gordon points out that “knowing a preschool program has friends or family members’ children already enrolled in the program is incredibly beneficial. It allows for your own community to grow together and will help parents to have additional support during these early learning years.” It is also common for touring parents to ask preschool owners and directors for references.

A Final Reassurance

Before signing off on a preschool and paying that enrollment fee, Noe suggests researching the facility on the Oregon Department of Education’s Early Learning Division (ELD) website where you can view the complete record of every preschool in Oregon’s evaluations and see if they have any non-compliances recorded. Knowing your child’s early learning years are in safe hands is priceless. Fall 2021 | 27

• Evaluation • Therapy • Fun

Using play to give every child a voice Middle School Groupstarting startingsoon Middle SchoolSocial Social Language Language Group soon! Central Oregon’s Speech Language Pathology group working exclusively with children Caroline Skidmore M.S. CCC-SLP Kristen Kane M.S. CCC-SLP Erica Hoffman M.S. CCC-SLP 15 NW Park Place, Suite 100, Bend • 541-633-5288

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Photo by Brian Becker

Creativity abounds! Pumpkin painting at the Bend Fall Festival.

Tuesdays & Thursdays

Mommy & Me: Breastfeeding Support Group

MOM FRIENDLY – This weekly support group invites all new moms or moms-to-be to join in. There are lactation consultants and other moms to help answer questions and get some social support. All are welcome, including partners and siblings, no matter how you are feeding your baby. Check Facebook for updates as space may be limited while COVID-19 precautions are in place. Thursdays 1-3pm at Central Oregon Locavore and Tuesdays Noon-2pm at the Redmond St. Charles Women’s Center.

Two locations | Free MommyandMe BreastfeedingSupportGroup StCharlesBend

Tuesdays in August


PLAY – Kids (age 8 - 12) increase your athletic performance through the exciting sport of Ninja Warrior! Through focus and determination, we will coach you through the three main components of Ninja Warrior: gymnastics, groundbased obstacles and rock climbing. The wide variety of Ninja challenges will keep you guessing and improving! 5:15pm.

PLAY-TIME – Join Amelia Airheart Monkey and Miss Hannah for a fun and uplifting interactive Zoom puppet show! All ages welcome, those three and under should be accompanied by a sibling or parent/caregiver to assist with interaction. Message ACORN School of Art & Nature on Facebook to request the Zoom link. 4-4:15pm

Ninja Elite

Free Spirit Yoga + Fitness + Play | $72

Amelia’s World Puppet Show

Online | Free



EXPLORE – Rain or shine, this outdoor market will be open all season long offering fresh fruits, veggies and local treats. Make this a weekly stop! 2-6pm, through Oct. 16.

EXPLORE – The Museum has carved out a special time for visitors who wish to continue visiting in a mask-only environment! Simply show up and pay regular admission. Face coverings will be required during this window in all indoor galleries. Visitors may remove their face coverings while outdoors. 8:30-10:30am

Bend Farmer’s Market

Downtown Bend | Free

Mask-up Mornings

High Desert Museum | $5


Sisters Farmers Market

EXPLORE – Experience the bounty of the growing season at the Sisters Farmers Market this year. Shop for fresh produce and local goods every week. 11am2pm, through Oct. 3.

Fir Street Park | Free

August 21 & 28

Bird Walk

EXPLORE – Join Tom Lawler, expert local birder and nature photographer, to discover the rich bird habitats of Sunriver. Learn to identify a variety of species found in the wetlands, meadows and forests surrounding the Nature Center. Sundays, 8-11am.

Sunriver Nature Center | $10

Fall 2021 | 29

CALENDAR August 23 - 26

August 27-28

CREATE – Have some fun making pastries. Have your child (age 7-17) join in this hands-on camp where they will learn to make Croissants, Puff Pastry, and Danish from scratch. These doughs are very challenging unless you know the proper techniques for them. MondayThursday, 11am-2pm.

EXPLORE – Browse the Erickson Aircraft Collection for free, which houses the largest privately owned collection of vintage Warbirds in the world. They will also host a vintage and antique Car Show and Aircraft Fly-In Show. Families can experience glider and helicopter rides, enjoy Friday fireworks, sample great food, live music and so much more! Friday, 2-10pm & Saturday, 9am-5pm.

Youth Cooking Camp – Flaky Pastry

Kindred Creative Kitchen | $200 calendar

August 26

Write-On! Live Fan Fiction

LEARN – Explore fan fiction writing as a way to keep your favorite stories alive. Whether you wished a book had ended differently, or just love the characters, this is for you. Together we'll explore the many forms of fan fiction and find some inspiration. Attend online or inperson! Thursday, 4-5pm.

Downtown Bend Library | Free

Airshow of the Cascades

Madras Municipal Airport | $6-$20

August 28

Soul of the City: A History of Drake Park

LEARN – Celebrate Drake Park’s centennial with a guided tour along the iconic Mirror Pond. After a short walk from the Deschutes Historical Museum the tour weaves through the park, exploring the history and happenings that has made Bend’s first city park the “Soul of the City.” The tour is less than a mile of walking, beginning at the Deschutes Historical Museum and ending in Drake Park. Saturday, 2:30-3:30pm.

Deschutes Historical Museum | $5

August 29

Family Triathlon

MOVE – Swim, bike run, as a family! The swimming portion of this non-timed event will be held in the safety of the supervised Olympic Pool. The mountain biking and running portions will be held in Juniper Park. The event focuses on family participation. Mom, Dad and other adults, are encouraged to support their kids. Cheer from pool side and next to the bike course or even run with your kids to the finish line. All abilities welcome. 8:30-11:30am.

Juniper Swim and Fitness | $30-$36

August 29 Photo courtesy of Deschutes Land Trust

Who’s up for a nature walk? Join Deschutes Land Trust September 18 at the Metolius Reserve. 30 |

With Your Child: Dual Canvas Painting

ARTS & CRAFTS – Enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon of art! A guided acrylic painting experience. Each pair of painters will receive

Photo Courtesy of the Redmond Chamber

Experience the beauty of traditional Hawaiian dancing at Sam Johnson Park in Redmond September 8. a canvas to create an image and when placed together will turn into one masterpiece. Each registration includes a parent and a child. Sunday, 12:30-2pm.

Art Station | $45-$54

September 3

First Friday Art Walk

EXPLORE – Held in Downtown Bend, the historic core and heart of the City. Join hundreds of other locals and visitors in celebrating art the first Friday of every month in Downtown Bend! This is the last art walk of the season! Friday, 5-8pm.

Downtown Bend | Free

September 8

Music on the Green: Hokulea Dancers

DANCE – Redmond’s very own traditional Hawaiian Dancers are back and are always a crowd favorite! This high energy troop will showcase traditional Hawaiian Island dance and drumming. Come join us as we say Aloha to summer in the true Hawaiian style. Wednesday, 6pm.

Sam Johnson Park | Free

September 12

The Great Drake Park Duck Race

EXPLORE – Tickets are now on sale for The Great Drake Park Duck Race, marking the 32nd consecutive year of businesses

and community members raising much-needed funds for local charities. Sunday, times TBA.

Drake Park | $5

Begins September 14

Family Story Time

READ – Interactive story time with books, songs and rhymes. Join us for stories, songs and rhymes designed to support early literacy skill development, social emotional awareness and family engagement. Days and times vary depending on location.

Deschutes Public Libraries | Free

September 18

Diamonds & Dust

PLAY – Healing Reins invites you to join a gala experience like no-other. Just think, a sociallydistanced Picnic in our Paddock that includes all of your favorite traditional Diamonds & Dust gala activities. Dancing, live music, drinks, great food, friends and of course an auction and paddle raise! All while you are surrounded by fresh outdoor air, beautiful scenic mountain landscapes and roaming horses in the pasture! Saturday, times TBA.

Healing Reins | Tickets on sale Aug. 2

September 18

Kids Falling For Nature

EXPLORE – Bring the kids and join the Deschutes Land Trust and Mary Yanalcanlin of East Cascades Audubon Society

CALENDAR for a fall nature exploration! Explore the pine forests of the Metolius Preserve and search for woodpeckers and the obvious signs they leave behind. Discover why birds are harder to find at this time of year and enjoy the fall colors of the changing season. Perfect for kids ages 4-10 with a grown-up in tow. Saturday, 1-3pm.

Metolius Preserve | Free

September 23 & 24

Wildlife Tracking Certification

LEARN – Learn to recognize tracks of mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates on your landscape, and to interpret animal movement and behavior. This explorative practice reveals a hidden world of wildlife sign and develops the ability to find subtle evidence of animal presence. Thursday & Friday, 8am-4pm.

Local Location TBA | $275

September 26

River Neighbor River Walk

LEARN – Learn more about our “Riverhood” and River Neighbor ecology in this one-hour walk guided by Think Wild experts. Join the small group for socially distanced walks along the Deschutes River to learn about the wildlife along this riverscape and the benefits of beaver in our riparian ecosystems. This short, informative walk is family friendly and free! Sunday, 8-10am.

Old Mill District | Free

October 1-3

Bend Fall Fest

CONNECT – Get ready for some fall fun! The 2021 First Interstate Bank Bend Fall Festival is back and better than ever. Celebrate autumn in Central Oregon with a Harvest Market, Kid’s play zone and fun run! Friday, 5-10pm, Saturday, 11am-10pm and Sunday, 11am-5pm.

Calendar Spotlight

Downtown Bend | Free admission

August 26 & September 2

Movies in the Park

October 1-3

Sisters Folk Festival

FILM – Come together with neighbors and friends at your local park for movie night two Thursday evenings. Bring chairs and water or a full picnic. “Zootopia” will be playing August 26 at Kiwanis Park and “Onward” will play September 2 at Ponderosa Park. Everyone is welcome! Movie starts at dark around 8pm.

LISTEN – All the town will once again be a stage when the festival returns in 2021 after a COVID-19 hiatus! This year will feature seven venues all over town, including Sisters Art Works, Village Green, the Open Door, Oliver Lemon's (formerly Melvin's) and more. Friday-Sunday.

Kiwanis Park/Ponderosa Park | Free

Various Venues | $85 - $200

October 9

Kids’ Fairy Houses

EXPLORE – Let your little one's imagination run wild! Join the Deschutes Land Trust and Martha Lussenhop at the Metolius Preserve to build your own fairy house. Use materials found in the forest, create your own small fairy abode and imagine the fairies that might come visit. Build confidence exploring and enjoying nature. Perfect for kids ages 3-5 with a grown-up in tow. Saturday, 1-3pm.

Metolius Preserve | Free

Photo by Tom Lawler, Courtesy of the Sunriver Nature Center

Learn to identify local bird species at Sunriver Nature Center August 21 & 28.

October 10

Beat Beethoven’s 5th 5K & 1 Mile Race

MOVE – Can you run the 5k faster that it takes Beethoven's 5th Symphony to end - 33 minutes? There's also a one-mile walk, a free kids' obstacle course, food/ drink, costume contest and Beethoven himself will be running the 5k. Virtual race also available. Sunday, 9am-Noon.

September 26

Teton Gravity Research Film FILM – Get ready Bend! Teton Gravity Research is returning to the Tower Theatre for the winter kick-off party of the year. Get hyped for winter with their new feature length ski and snowboard film, “Stoke the Fire.” Choose between the family-friendly matinee at 3:30 pm, the early evening show at 6:15pm or the late show at 9pm. There will be prizes from YETI, Atomic, Volkl, The North Face, Sierra Nevada and more. Children 10 and under are free with an adult.

Tower Theater | $11-19.50

COCC | $20-30

October 17

Fall Foliage Photo Workshop

LEARN – There is no question that fall colors are a force to be reckoned with in Central Oregon. Join Toni Toreno, professional photographer and lover of fall, who will take you on an autumn photo trek that’s sure to leave you will some epic photos to take home with you! Sunday, 1-8pm. Photo courtesy of Free Spirit

Box Factory | $249

Ninja Elite classes at Free Spirit Bend are challenging and fun. Fall 2021 | 31


What’s for

Lunch? Simple Ideas to Keep Lunch Healthy, Interesting and Fun for Everyone By Donna Britt


fter months and months of home-based schooling and fractured in-class learning time, many families across Central Oregon are looking forward to this back-to-school season with more anticipation and excitement than ever. Along with gathering supplies and making sure there are shoes and clothes, the next question is, “What’s for lunch?” If your family prefers packing your own lunches, here are a few ideas and tips to simplify the process while getting everyone involved and keeping it on the healthier side of things. Planning ahead will make lunch packing a lot easier. To avoid the dreaded ‘what’s for lunch today’ dilemma, first brainstorm (with the whole family) lunch ideas. Pick at least five or six favorite 32 |

menus. Then make a lunch calendar. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or even a real calendar; in fact, something handmade by the kids could be the best thing of all. Once you have your lunch ideas and your calendar, sit down and start plugging in a lunch for each school day, rotating through your menus. Calendar at least one week in advance and if you’re feeling especially productive, fill out a couple of weeks or even an entire month. Refer to your calendar to make a grocery shopping list. The idea is to know what’s going into the lunch boxes each day and preparing those lunch items ahead of time so that each person can open the fridge or the pantry, grab the items and pack their own lunch. Including the children in the shopping and prepping of the lunch items is a great way to get the whole family involved and a way to keep lunch packing from being a burden on just one person, typically a parent.


Lunch Packing Tips

• Presentation is key! Sometimes just cutting a vegetable or fruit in a different way looks fun and inviting. For example, cut apples into rings instead of slices. • Think of several ‘main dishes’ and then rotate those with a variety of other fruits, veggies, cheeses, etc. • When you bake homemade cookies or muffins, make a batch of smaller sized ones to tuck into lunch boxes. • The produce section is a great place to let the kids explore; let them choose their own apples, oranges, cucumbers, etc. to put into their lunches. Also encourage them to look for different fruits and vegetables that they have never tried before and take some home to sample. • Make a lunch budget and have the kids keep track of spending as you shop for food. Learning the value of money and how to make choices within your budget is a valuable life skill and the kids can also hone their math skills as they shop. • Consider buying in bulk things that you’ll be using a lot of in your lunches. • Buy fruits and vegetables in-season to get the best price and the best taste.

• Stay away from overly processed snacks; they’re expensive and typically not as healthful as whole foods. • Check out sustainable metal lunch boxes at and is another great site to find stainless steel containers, water bottles, silicone snack bags, bamboo utensils, etc.

Lunch Packing Menu Ideas

• Lunch #1: turkey & cheese roll ups, cherry tomatoes, grapes, blueberries, hummus, pita bread triangles, dark chocolate chips • Lunch #2: almond/peanut butter & banana roll ups, kiwi slices, celery with cream cheese, berries, chocolate covered peanuts/raisins • Lunch #3: cheese cubes, apple rounds, carrot sticks, grapes, tiny muffins

Get creative, have fun, and make lunch packing a family activity that everyone can enjoy. Donna Britt is the creator of the Food.Life podcast. Find her at

Fall 2021 | 33



Your Child Just Came Out as Non-Binary, Now What? By Annette Benedetti


or many parents, the term “non-binary” is relatively new. Over the last handful of years, more and more celebrities like Janelle Monáe, Miley Cyrus and Ruby Rose have come out as identifying as something other than the gender they were assigned at birth (female), helping to shine a light on the non-binary experience and giving non-binary youths the courage to come out to their loved ones. If you are a parent who has just discovered your child in non-binary, you may feel confused about what this means as well as what you should do moving forward to support the child you have called your daughter or son since they were born. From non-binary basics and using pronouns to finding local

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resources, the following is a guide to understanding and supporting your genderqueer child.

What is Non-Binary?

While most parents think of their child as either male or female, some children find that their gender identity doesn’t fit in either category. Some may express that their gender is a combination of both male and female, others may express that they don’t identify as either gender or that their gender identity changes over time. The term non-binary is an umbrella term for individuals whose identity does not fit the binary categories of male and female. Other terms include genderqueer, agender and bi-gender. While each mean something slightly different, they all express an identity other than male or female.

HEALTH Is Non-Binary the Same as Transgender?

While non-binary falls under the trans umbrella, it is important to point out that the two are not the same. Many transgender people identify as either male or female. And while some non-binary people may identify as trans, many do not. To understand the nonbinary experience, you’ll need to begin looking at gender identity as expansive, and on a continuum, rather than limited to the male and female experience.

What Next?

You love your child and want to support them in their gender exploration. When they come to you and tell you that they are not the gender you have imagined them to be, the best thing you can do is take a deep breath, relax and listen. While their announcement may feel frightening to you, it is important to remember that it can be terrifying for a child to make this type of announcement to their parents. The fear of eliciting anger and rejection from the people they love is real and valid. Some helpful things you can say to your child during your conversations with them: • I love you, and I’m so happy you shared this with me. • I don’t understand what you are going through, but I want to. • It’s going to take some time for me understand all of this, but I’m going to try because it’s important to you.

Get Curious!

One of the best ways to understand your child’s non-binary experience is by getting curious. When the time is right, ask your child if they will sit down with you and answer some questions. Consider asking the following:

• What are your pronouns? • Are you OK with being called son/daughter/brother/sister, or would you prefer neutral terms like “child” and “sibling.” • Are you still going by your name assigned at birth or would you like to be called something else? • What kind of support would you like, or do you need? Do you want to join a support group or see a counselor? (Let them have a hand in the decision).

Get Educated

Feeling confused, lost or like you have more questions than answers is fair! It’s time to do some research and educate yourself with information from good resources. Learning about the nonbinary experience—especially when it comes to the proper terminology and language to use—goes a long way towards showing your child that you accept, love and support them. Note: Do not expect your child to be your main source of information. Do your own work.

Most Importantly

Honor what your child says they need. Research has shown that non-binary children who have family and friends who accept and respect their request to go by different pronouns (they/them) and use their chosen name, have much lower rates of depression and mental health struggles. Learning to use new pronouns can be challenging, but with practice is becomes second nature. Finally, it’s OK to find support for yourself. If you are struggling with feelings of loss, depression or personal failure, you aren’t alone. Find a support group or an LGBTQ+ therapist who can help you navigate this very emotional and important journey you are about to embark on with your child.

ONLINE RESOURCES • The National Center for Transgender Equality: • The LGBT Foundation:


• The Human Dignity Coalition: They offer a variety of support groups for both children and parents of LGBTQ+ Children: • PFLAG of Central Oregon: • Out Central Oregon:

Fall 2021 | 35


In Search of

Color Notes from a quick road trip to Ashland Story and photos by Joshua Savage


t’s a given that we all love Bend, and most of us have our favorite season here. Autumn has always been mine, but sometimes I miss being surrounded by the glorious multicolored leaves that are reminiscent of where I grew up. Bend does offer some autumn beauty, though. The golden maple trees along Industrial Way offer a wonderful display. Shevlin Park showcases the aspens that appear almost fluorescent green and yellow and the Western larches morph into a brilliant yellow this time of year. You can find some autumn hues in other local areas, especially the parks, but to be really immersed in the season, a bit of travel is required. Luckily, we live in Oregon, a state with diverse climates and vegetation. After hearing friends rave about Southern Oregon, Ashland called our name and with a quick three-hour drive south, we arrived at the perfect destination for fall color viewing. Sure enough, as we passed Crater Lake and entered the Siskiyou Mountains, suddenly the foliage began to change. Towering pines gave way to colorful deciduous trees. The moisture in the air was noticeable and the smells stronger, too. As my family and I approached the city of around 20,000, traces of the recent fires were evident in some places, but fortunately much of the area had been spared. Instead of the charred black landscape we feared, a valley full of yellows and oranges popped into view. We arrived at Ashland Springs Hotel, an almost century-old structure on Main Street. This historic building emits a regal feeling with a comfortable mix of the past and present. Throughout the hotel hang framed samples of plants, lifelike drawings of birds and other scientific specimens any nature lover will appreciate. From the windows in our rooms, we were able to view the changing leaves in the mountains. An ideal location, this would be our home base for numerous downtown strolls.

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“What’s a trip without a good hike? Half an hour away, Grizzly Peak offered just what we needed. As we approached the trailhead, the sky turned gray and then the snow fell.”

OUTDOORS Ashland is known worldwide for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with the famed Allen Elizabethan Theatre hosting performances since the 1930s. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit, but like most of Oregon now, the theatre The author and is recently reopened—another daughter Sofi stop excuse to return. for a quick pic along Ashland Creek The heart and soul of Ashland rests in Lithia Park. With 100 acres meticulously planned and maintained, the park sits in the middle of town with a Japanese garden, ponds, countless species of trees, trails along Ashland Creek, a playground, and so much more worth exploring. map An oasis, it is the perfect Instagram pic that in hand, we didn’t keeps getting posted. The girls and I walked and find all of them but marveled along the trails through the park every discovered our fair day of our stay. share. What’s a trip without a good hike? Half an hour away, Lithia Park in all its autumn glory Grizzly Peak offered just what we needed. As we approached the trailhead, the sky turned gray and then the snow fell.The parking lot was empty except for one lady and her dog who In the plaza nearby, granite fountains offer were leaving. Bundled up, we started along the spring fed lithia water, found naturally only in a 5-mile trail. Minutes after we reached the peak, few places worldwide. Famous for its medicinal the sky opened, showing the sun just for us. The properties, the water tasted like sulfur! After one heavy clouds lingered but added a deep contrast sip, I wanted no more, and my wife spit hers out. I to the blue sky. What luck, and one of the many imagine the locals (and of course our daughters) reasons we love hiking! get a kick out of watching tourists like us! We If only for a few days, our autumn getaway decided against filling a growler. provided exactly what we wanted: local artisan Traveling is a different kind of fun with shops, good restaurants, a beautiful kids. To my girls, relaxing in the majestic lobby hike, and most importantly, of the hotel was exciting. They got a sense of the amazing colors independence while in the hotel room alone in Lithia Park and for a short time while Mom and Dad had the throughout the opportunity to meander. They love to dine out, valley. A final dinner and though the town seemed full of elegant at Caldera Brewery restaurants, they prefer to keep it simple. Louie’s and a restful of Ashland was a favorite. At Martolli’s, we got night at the hotel our pizza fix while ice cream at Zoey’s Cafe and ended our stay in pastries at Mix Sweet Shop were added bonuses. Ashland. There’s Also, to my daughters’ delight, apparently always more to see fairy doors are scattered throughout the city. Wandering the and do in any place During our visit to Treehouse Books, we backroads of Ashland we visit, but we got a happened upon an interesting map. The owner good taste of the city and explained the prevalence of fairies in the area and hopefully we’ll return. encouraged us to find as many as possible. With

“During our visit to Treehouse Books, we happened upon an interesting map. The owner explained the prevalence of fairies in the area and encouraged us to find as many as possible.”

Fall 2021 | 37


Meet Deb Schoen… Bend Park & Recreation Board Member


elieving in the transformative power of a strong park and rec system, Deb is a devoted advocate of parks for all. After enjoying a lengthy and rewarding career in park and recreation, she remains involved with the National Recreation and Park Association. Currently, Deb lives in Bend with her husband and German Wirehaired Pointer and enjoys time spent with her daughter and grandchildren who recently relocated to Bend. When not volunteering, Deb loves to read and cook and is attempting to grow a solid tomato crop in Central Oregon – so far, with no success.

Photo by Darris Hurst

You have a long history of public service. Was this a family value? Our family on both sides believes in working for the common good of society. Sometimes that means making a person's day a tiny bit better, and sometimes it means being a steward of public policy that contributes to the quality of life. Has being a parent shaped your thoughts about the importance of parks to families? Indeed it has. I began my career in park and recreation before I had children, but having a family intensified my belief that parks are vital to the lives of happy, healthy children and families. A forested park was important to me as a child; it led me to an appreciation of nature as a safe place and provided hours of play when there was little else to do. As a family, we always had the good fortune to live within walking distance of a park, which taught my children that time outside could be the best part of a day. A walk to a small neighborhood park was one of my first solo adventures with my new grandson. I believe everybody deserves a park. What did you learn from your parents about parenting? There are few situations so serious or

concerning that a good laugh could not change the energy and make things better. Both of my kids are hilarious, so I feel like I passed this on to them successfully. The second thing I learned is if you are overwhelmed and frustrated, clean your bedroom or cook something for somebody. There is a real sense of accomplishment in those two things. What do you hope your children have learned from you? To stand for something and make a meaningful contribution. A Saturday morning saying in our household was, "I don't care what you do with your day but get out there and do something." This was usually said to 80s rock music or 'Phantom of the Opera', which my kids tease us about to this day. Truthfully, I wish the same thing for my children and grandchildren that most folks do: to raise them to be happy, healthy, contributing adults. So far, so good. What superhero power do you wish you had as a parent? Super Speed. When my children were growing up, there simply were not enough hours in the day. I worked full time, so we ran from one thing to another; being faster would have been a great help. Now I wish I

had super speed so I could keep up with my grandchildren! How are kids today different than when you were a kid? I mentioned spending hours outside in the woods without the supervision of an adult. That would never happen today. We didn't have an incredible array of choices for entertainment, so playing outside and visiting neighbors is what I recall about my childhood. There is tremendous pressure to achieve athletically and scholastically on today's kids that wasn't as prevalent years ago. Do you have a role model? I have lots of them – all the working mothers with whom I’ve had the pleasure of spending time. Some of the most interesting and accomplished people I know are moms who have full-time careers while raising a family. So to every mom who showed up to work with a baby sock stuck inside the sleeve of her blazer or opened a briefcase to find a baggy of goldfish crackers and a used Kleenex, you have my utmost respect and undying gratitude for illuminating my path.

Photo by Darris Hurst

Fall 2021 | 39

Profile for The Source Weekly

BendNest Fall 2021  


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