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parenting magazine


Holidays & Festivals Bring Home Traditions from Around the World

Health Healing Through Music Therapy

Close to the Heart A Holiday Celebration of Local Artisans

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On the Cover Ophelia (1) and Sophia Rose (3) Blume experience the joy, magic and excitement of the holidays! Photo by Natalie Stephenson


Aaron Switzer


Angela Switzer

Associate Editor

Nicole Blume

Contributing Writers

Annette Benedetti

Joshua Savage

Paige Bentley-Flannery

Natasha Dempsey

Elizabeth Warnimont

Copy Editor

Nicole Vulcan

Calendar Editor

Megan Burton

Design & Layout

Rise Graphic Design


Nicole Blume

Natalie Stephenson

Darris Hurst

BendNest Contact

Advertising Executives

Ashley Sarvis


Ban Tat


BE PART OF THE STORY We’re putting your vision into action — and we invite you to participate in the design of future libraries in our communities. Last year, voters in Deschutes County approved a library bond measure to create the best spaces, programs, activities and resources possible for all families in Deschutes County to enjoy. To prepare for these exciting next chapters, architects are bringing the details to life — and we want to hear from you!

Visit to learn more and give us your feedback. Holiday 2021 | 3

Have a Fun Christmas! Happily serving Central Oregon for 18 years • 541-771-6557 4 |






12 CLOSE TO THE HEART FEATURE - Interested in shopping locally this holiday

season? We’ve got you covered with a selection of some of the finest artisanal products available in Central Oregon.

16 TRADITION & FESTIVALS CULTURE - Discover vibrant holiday celebrations

from around the world and learn ways to commemorate them here at home.

28 MUSIC THERAPY HEALTH - Meet Emily Ross, boardcertified music therapist at the Cascade School Music, as she shares a little about the history and benefits of music therapy.

MEET OUR MIDWIVES With a special focus on women’s health, childbirth education, and health education, our board-certified nurse-midwives support women in our community and are welcoming patients in Bend.

Ciara Thomson-Barnett, CNM, WHNP

Katie Farnsworth, CNM

Our nurse-midwives are experts in normal pregnancy, delivery, and reproductive healthcare — and passionate about shared decision making with clients. They are committed to empowering patient choices by communicating healthcare options, making clinical recommendations and supporting patients in making choices that are best for them. Call for your appointment today!

Devon Riley, CNM

Alexa Smith-Ellsion, CNM | (541) 389-3300

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oving into holiday mode, let’s remember how far we’ve come over the course of a year and be thankful. Last year, if you remember, the fear of COVID-19 prevented families from gathering in Oregon, but this year, most are gearing up for the holidays and the return of traditions. Travel is back on the table and seeing loved ones, top of the list! With any extended time in isolation comes some depression. If things are not improving for you and you feel overwhelmed by your job and your children, you may be suffering from parental compassion fatigue. In Parenting, Annette Benedetti explains the nature of this syndrome and offers hope for all. Speaking of hope, Cascade School of Music welcomes a new music therapy program. See Health to understand what a music therapist is and the benefits of extending music to healing. As you head out to slay your holiday list, consult our gift guide this year; we’ve curated a variety of stellar local products hand made by artisans who live in the Bend area. And, if you’re interested in holiday celebrations outside your traditional American bent, read Culture, where Annette Benedetti takes us on a tour of celebrations around the world.

The Pavilion skating rink is now open in Bend, with skating and hockey tournaments on the schedule. In Kids in Action, read about a talented hockey player from Bend who credits her hometown team with pushing her to the next level. Lastly, check out Family Time for a wonderful recipe and in Community, learn about the efforts of Central Oregon’s Council on Aging. Because the opportunity to share time with loved ones was not an option last year, we won’t take for granted the return of festive gatherings and loved ones pulled close. Celebrate, treasure the moment and enjoy this happy holiday season!

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Healthy Adventures Await!



8 | 360 NE QUIMBY AVE 382-0741



Rendering of Bridge Meadows innovative housing community.

Bridge Meadows Opens Doors in Redmond


ased in Portland, Oregon, Bridge Meadows is an intergenerational community that provides housing and alternatives to foster care. The newly opened Redmond location is its third such development in Oregon, after the two established in the Portland area. The new development responds to Central Oregon’s critical need for safe, affordable housing and permanency focused alternatives to foster care. Included in the development is an intergenerational community building open to the broader neighborhood and 36 total residential units, including 10 family townhomes and 26 elder apartments. Adoptive families and elders will begin to move into their new homes in November. Bridge Meadows, known for its innovation in the realm of aging, foster care and housing design, was recently featured in The New York Times. In support of the project, Bridge Meadows has secured resources from Oregon Housing and Community Services, The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Collins Foundation and the Quest Foundation, as well as the local Tennant Family Foundation, resulting in nearly $1.25 million raised to date. For more information:

Child Care Needs Alleviated for COCC and OSU-Cascades Students


$242,700 federal grant recently awarded to Central Oregon Community College will provide funding over four years to alleviate child care costs for low-income students. The funds will also help launch the Bend-based Little Kits Early Learning & Child Care Center at Oregon State University-Cascades, a yearround program with an integrated teacher-training component. “Child care has been a need in Central Oregon for quite some time, and COVID-19 has only exacerbated the demand for high-quality, supportive, nurturing spaces for children,” said Amy Howell, director of COCC’s early childhood education program and a principal in securing the federal grant. “When our students know that their children are in safe, supportive, nurturing spaces, they are able to focus on their other commitments, including their academic and professional goals.”

The grant arrangement will support the development of the Little Kits Early Learning & Child Care Center, envisioned as a child care option for families of both COCC and OSU-Cascades students and employees, opening new space in a region facing a scarcity of child care facilities.

“Central Oregon Gives” to Raise $1 Million in 2021


he Source Weekly and Central Oregon Gives are campaigning to raise $1 million for 90 area non-profits by the end of the year. This ambitious goal builds on the successes of recent years, with $500,000 raised in 2019 and $700,000 raised in 2020. “With Central Oregon Gives we want to be the link between open-hearted community members and non-profits doing the deeply meaningful work of providing affordable housing, serving at-risk youth or supporting the elderly,” said Aaron Switzer, publisher of the Source and founder of the Central Oregon Gives campaign. Each donor who uses the Central Oregon Gives website to make an end-of-year donation receives a perk such as a free pint of beer, cup of coffee or loaf of bread from a local business. The non-profit that raises the most money will receive a $15,000 additional gift from an anonymous donor, while the organization that earns the most donations under $25 will receive $5,000. Prizes will also be awarded to non-profits earning the most in each of five categories: Education, Family & Children, Basic Needs, Arts & Culture, Animal Welfare and Health & Wellness. Visit to learn more about the campaign.

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Photo by Brown Cannon III


My parenting books say to put my baby down in their crib when they are "drowsy but still awake," but whenever I try, he just cries. What am I doing wrong?


A baby’s comfort being laid down for sleep (or anytime!) depends on many factors—their temperament, developmental readiness and how relaxed they are when you extend your arms toward the mattress. And no two babies have the same mix of these factors at any given moment, which is why what sounds simple in a book may feel like it doesn’t fit your baby. Knowing when your baby is ready, by age and developmental stage, can help you have realistic expectations of when to start “drowsy but awake” bedtimes. Using other contact comfort to help him transition into the crib, like patting, shushing and laying your hand on his belly, are good places to start.


I've heard mixed messages about "cry it out" and other sleep training strategies. Is CIO a good idea or can it be traumatizing? Technically speaking, the “cry it out” approach directs parents to put their baby down, walk out of the room and not come back until morning no matter how long or how hard a baby cries. I would say, from 10+ years of working with families, that if any sleep coaching strategy doesn’t

feel like a good fit for you, your parenting values or your child’s age, stage and temperament, don’t use it! You’re unlikely to stick with it and being authentic to who you are as a parent is more important. There are effective sleep coaching strategies other than CIO, so take comfort knowing you have options if it’s not the right choice for your family.


Help! I'm so exhausted. My one year old wakes five times a night and will only go back to sleep if I breastfeed her, otherwise she'll wail like a banshee. How do I wean her off the expectation of mommy milk at night?


This is such a common experience and challenge for families with one year olds! All humans wake up at night and we adults have favorite ways to get back to sleep, like turning over the pillow or rolling onto a side. Babies often haven’t developed these tricks to go back to sleep on their own and, depending on age, it’s very normal to still depend on a caregiver to help them do it. With clearance from your pediatrician, you can feel confident that it’s appropriate to gently teach your one year old some new ways to soothe back to sleep. For babies that are very breast-focused, it is helpful, when possible, to have the non-breastfeeding parent respond to night waking and use other comfort, like holding and rocking, to help them go back to sleep. This can

take practice! Have a plan for how you will respond to your baby in the night and try it consistently for at least three to five nights before deciding if it’s working or not.


Our eight year old goes to bed in her own room but won't stay there throughout the night. Should we allow her to come sleep with us or encourage her to go back to her own bed?


Where and how you sleep as a family is a personal decision based on many factors, including cultural traditions or norms, the size and arrangement of your home, personal preference and what your child needs in their current developmental stage. Sleep coaching should be in service of all those factors as well as healthy, safe sleep habits. Ask yourself, “Is my daughter waking well rested? Is she alert and ready to learn at school?” Similarly,“Is she able to manage the excitement and challenges of her day well?” And don’t forget to ask yourself (and your partner) how your sleeping arrangement does or doesn’t work for you! These answers will tell if you need to make some changes to where and how she sleeps at night.


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Close to the Heart A Holiday Celebration of Local Artisans

This season, Bend Nest has a present for you! By Angela Switzer and Nicole Blume


e’ve been searching near and far for the finest holiday gifts on offer this season. And, not surprisingly, we found them right here in our backyard. For unique, handmade items, made by Central Oregon artists and creators, look no further than these pages. We’ve curated our holiday favorites which should just about cover everyone on your list!

Photos by Natalie Stephenson

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In 2012, local mom Cali Talbot set out to make a better, softer, more natural playdough. Tired of crumbly, gritty modeling compounds with worrisome ingredients that stained and hardened too quickly, she created a high-quality alternative sensory dough infused with amazing scents and custom glitters. Rave reviews spread like wildfire through local mom's groups, nanny agencies and play cafes, and soon Earth Grown KidDoughs was born. Sensory dough kits can be ordered a la carte or as a monthly subscription package. Just in time for the holidays, custom kits available include “Decorate a Tree Snow Globe,” “Make a Snowman,” “Decorate an Ornament” and “Holiday Baking” in tantalizing scents such as Glistening Pine, Vanilla Buttercream, Peppermint Stick, Chocolate Fudge and Sugar Cookie. Each kit also includes themed play pieces to get into the holiday spirit!


Offering a “little piece of art for your head,” Ellix Designs hats are hand layered and sewn in the home studio of local Bend artist Lizzi Katz. Katz starts by doodling with scissors and a sewing machine to create her unique patches and “fabric drawings,” offering an interesting textured look. Colorful and alluring, Ellix Designs hats are the perfect all-season apparel in the mountains of Central Oregon for any outdoor or urban adventure with sizes for both adults and children. Popular styles include gorgeous original photos by Amy Castano included on the Mt. Hood Graffiti Flat Bill Trucker Hat. Other custom hats include wool felt on mesh back, such as the River Canyon, Purple Flower and Chevron Heart trucker hats. The Rainbow Mountain toddler hat for kiddos ages 1-3 is especially delightful for the little ones!

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Made in Bend

Megan Marie Myers is a painter and illustrator in Bend whose work is deeply inspired by the outdoors and our beautiful Oregon wildlife and landscapes. Her vision is to cultivate a connection between all people and nature through art. Megan reproduces her paintings locally into a variety of fun keepsakes that make unique holiday gifts for adventurous spirits! Just in time for the season, her playful prints can be found on cozy winter apparel, such as the Kids Dual Layer Neck Tubes, as well as kid-friendly board games and puzzles, such as Puppy Trek and her 513-piece Art Puzzle (made in the USA). Featuring 12 unique designs, her Wall Art Calendar has become a Central Oregon holiday tradition, now in its sixth year, while her camping log journal offers a fun activity for kids to work on around the campfire.


Made in Bend

Branch + Barrel is a small, artist-run jewelry company. Their hand-made designs utilize sustainably sourced wood and/or reclaimed oak barrel staves accented with hand-forged precious metals. As the name suggests, their nature-inspired jewelry demonstrates the incredible potential and surprising harmony that these seemingly opposing materials of wood and metal can create when combined. For eco-conscious shoppers looking to give back with their holiday purchases, it’s good to know that Branch+Barrel is passionate about protecting and restoring forests worldwide. One tree is planted for every Branch + Barrel item sold. Style and sustainability, what could be better?


In business now for 17 years, the Spinsterz is a top-quality producer of beautiful, custom-made hula hoops from a durable polyethylene tubing that is a heavier weight than traditional plastic store-bought hoops, which makes it easier for beginners to learn and to keep the hoop going on their waists. Coming in various sizes for everyone on the holiday shopping list, these hoops aren’t just for children. As a curator of the best flow arts and juggling props from artisans all over the world, the Spinsterz also offers weighted hoops specifically designed for fitness activities and physical exercise. Stunning flow toys such as LED juggling, fire poi and fiber optic whips also make exciting gifts for friends and family!




It just doesn’t get any better when it comes to the local sweet stuff. The artisans at Holm Made Toffee continue to create and concoct out-of-the-box confections that contain no gluten, soy, corn syrup or preservatives. “It's Happiness. Plain & Simple!” (Be forewarned, these delectable combinations may cause humans to consume the whole package in one sitting). Available flavors include traditional fan favorites like Original Hazelnut Toffee, best sellers like the aromatic Cardamom & Vanilla Hazelnut Toffee and unique flavors, such as Marionberry Hazelnut Toffee. For dessert lovers looking for that extra special addition to holiday baked goods or ice cream, the Lil’ Bits Dessert Toppers made of roasted and diced hazelnuts with flecks of dark chocolate and toffee pieces in flavors like Candy Cane Bits and Gingerbread Bites are sure to delight!

MESSY MAGIC Made in Bend

With friends and family gathering again for in-person holiday parties and get-togethers, who doesn’t want to look and smell their best? Now is the perfect time to ditch the questionable chemicals and try out some new natural hair care products to cleanse, nourish and bring out that inner glow. Messy Magic offers a 3-in-1 shampoo and conditioner alternative made of powdered herbs (nothing else!) inspired by Ayurveda that stores and travels well. Products are organic, all natural, vegan, non-GMO and cruelty free, making them the perfect accompaniment to the holiday list. A good place to start is the sample pack. Tend toward dry hair? Try the Chamomile + Rose! Oily hair? Try Yarrow + Basil! The Marshmallow Root Hair Mask can bring some life and shine back to your locks. Even Fido can get in on the fun with their herbal Dog Wash!

GRATEFUL BEND Made in Sunriver

Living a charmed life outside Sunriver, Oregon, owners Mike and Christina Hemperly expertly tie dye household items and clothing using snow, ice and liquid methods. From peasant blouses and youth hoodies, to organic cotton baby onesies and toddler shirts, to leggings, socks and even underwear briefs, bright colors abound in these beautiful, custommade pieces. Available in local markets during the summer months and always available on Etsy, Grateful Bend products make the perfect holiday gift for that someone special!

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Traditions & Yule Hanukkah Hanukkah


When: December 21-Jan 1 Where: Germany and in German Communities Description: Also called Yuletide, this festival has pagan roots and can be traced back to the Norse god Odin as well as the Anglo-Saxon festival of Modraniht. Yule technically falls within the Winter Solstice and was celebrated by lighting a giant log in a bonfire and spending the long night outdoors. Today, the custom of log burning is still practiced along with the tradition of building a Yule altar, making evergreen Yule wreaths, candlelit dinners and the exchanging of nature-based gifts. Activities: What Central Oregonian family doesn’t want to spend the night under the stars warmed by a bonfire? Go on a nature walk with little ones who just can’t handle late nights or the dark. Let them gather twigs and pinecones and make nature-based gifts to give to loved ones.

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When: November 28 – December 6 (lunar calendar; dates changes yearly) Where: National holiday in Israel and celebrated by Jewish communities around the world Description: This Jewish holiday is also often referred to as Chanukah or the Festival of Lights. The eight-day festival celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and the triumph of the Maccabean revolutionaries against their oppressors. (Hanukkah is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for 'dedication'.) During this period, Jewish families will tell the Hanukkah story of how the lamp oil in the temple, which should only have lasted for one night, lasted for eight whole nights. In honor of this miracle, they light candles every night on a special candelabrum called a menorah, while gathering together to exchange gifts, play games, sing songs and eat foods fried in oil like latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly donuts. Activities: Take your children to experience the menorah lighting for Hanukkah in the Old Mill District, which will be held on December 10, in the parking lot near the Hampton Inn. Bring your menorah home and have your own festival of lights celebration at home for eight nights. Cook latkes, exchange homemade gifts and learn to play the classic Hanukkah game 'dreidel'. Kids will love the chocolate “gelt,” or coins, that often accompany this game!

CULTURE Bring Home Holiday Traditions & Festivals from Around World By Annette Benedetti As soon as the season shifts, families across Central Oregon turn their attention to the upcoming holidays—Thanksgiving and Christmas in particular. While both holidays are beloved by many, there is a multitude of lesser-known vibrant celebrations that take place around the world during the colder months. Many of these festivals share a common theme of lighting candles and logs to warm hearts and souls in the cold darkness of winter. The upcoming months are the perfect time for families to educate themselves about the cultural mosaic of holidays that take place this time of year. The following are four interesting celebrations that kids will enjoy, along with a suggested activity for the whole family.

Saint Lucia Day

Kwanzaa Saint Lucia Day

When: December 13 Where: Italy, Sweden and Norway Description: This holiday pays tribute to Lucia of Syracuse, a martyr who is seen as a figure of light in the darkest part of the year. In Sweden, Santa Lucia is celebrated as a symbol of light and hope with atmospheric concerts and processions with singers clad in white and wearing headdresses featuring actual flickering candles! Traditionally, the oldest girl in the family or village will wear the flaming crown. In Italy, the holiday is an ancient tradition that dates back to 1337 and is celebrated in Southern Italy with traditional feasts and a silver statue of the saint that is paraded through the streets. In Northern Italy however, Santa Lucia is celebrated much like Santa Claus. It is believed that she travels at night by donkey with her escort Castaldo and brings gifts to good children in exchange for some coffee for Lucia, some flour for the donkey and some bread for Castaldo. Activities: Have your kids create a crown with flickering candles out of colored paper or other craft material. There are a multitude of crown-making craft instructions online. On the night of December 12, make bread with them to leave out along with coffee for the Saint. In exchange, leave a small gift behind for them to find in the morning.


When: December 26 – January 1 Where: Worldwide and in the U.S. Description: In an effort to bring African Americans together, Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966, after the Watts riots in Los Angeles. This newer holiday is often celebrated with traditional African songs and dances. There’s also storytelling, poetry reading and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers while a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principle values of African culture is discussed. Activities: As a family, research the seven principles of African culture. Hint: Some include faith, creativity and collective work and responsibility. Light a candle each night and discuss them. More importantly, this is a fantastic time to talk to your kids about racism and how your family can help make your own community more inclusive. Head to the library and check out books about this important holiday.

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A Good Kind of Backyard bonfires stoke comfort and creativity By Joshua Savage


efore modern civilization became inundated with distractions like television, internet and ways to fill the time, there was fire. Long after humanity, there will be fire. During the parched summer months, we know how dangerous the tiniest spark can be in Central Oregon. However, building and enjoying a fire is the best part of our frigid winters! In my family we have two Girl Scouts. Actually, make it three because my wife is the troop leader. She teaches the girls about safety, how to build a fire and how to cook outdoors. Getting them involved in the process builds skills and creates a connection to nature. Here’s how we do it. First, we find a good, clear spot on the ground away from anything flammable. We make a circle of stones or use some type of premade fire pit. Next, we explain the three elements necessary to get a good fire going: fuel, oxygen and heat. The fuel begins with tinder, so the kids

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Complimentary new patient evaluations for children!

541.848.6642 400 SW Bond Street, Suite 300, Bend 3818 SW 21st Place, Redmond

Welcoming Dr. Madeline Peterson 18 |

gather small bits of bark, leaves, twigs, pine needles and the like. Cotton or hemp rope and twine can be used as well. We add kindling and slowly work our way up to larger sticks, logs and such. Dry and dead materials work best. Oxygen – we fashion a teepee-style structure with the kindling. creating openings to place the tinder inside but leaving space to allow air in. The easiest part, the heat, is usually produced with a lighter or matches these days, and with the dry conditions of Central Oregon, it does not take much to get the flames going! Cooking time! Roasting marshmallows, making s’mores and cooking hot dogs are usually favorites, but why stop there? Familiar with banana boats? To make this tasty treat take a banana, cut a wedge down the center lengthwise, carefully stuff marshmallows and chocolate inside, wrap in foil and set it in the coals of the fire. In minutes, you will be glad I shared this secret. What about tiny cobblers? Take a tuna can, add some pie filling, a bit of yellow cake mix and a pat of butter. Wrap in aluminum foil and let sit in the hot coals for a bit. Yummy! Obviously, the most important part of this discussion is safety. When a fire is going, it’s important to keep a healthy distance and have no horseplay or running nearby. Have a water hose or a large bucket of water nearby. Do not leave it unattended for any length of time and when the fun is over, be sure to put it out completely. If the embers are not completely extinguished, an unexpected wind could rekindle the flames. So, when you think you’ve poured enough water, pour a little more. This winter, whether sitting quietly in front of a small warming fire or a big bonfire with friends or family, be safe, smart and have fun! Sitting around those magical flames is the type of entertainment and experience our ancestors have been sharing since the beginning of time. Happy winter!


Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

This holiday season, celebrate stress-free meals! By Natasha Dempsey, RDN, LD


he holidays are a treasured time of gathering and appreciation for family and friends, often surrounded by food. In every culture and tradition, food is used to show love, feed a hungry soul or give thanks to how far we have come. The holidays and food simply go together! Here are some tips for “lessening the stress,” so we can focus positively on all the wonderful reasons we gather during this special time of year. First, take pause to really value the time spent together during the holidays. Use this time to unplug from devices. Put down the constant reminders of Pinterest-perfect photos, and instead remind yourself that there are no expectations other than quality time with ourselves and those we love. Next, try to create an all-inclusive environment for everyone. Check politics and expectations at the door, set differences aside and focus on supporting each other with kindness. And when thinking about mealtimes, avoid skipping meals or setting restrictions. Eat as you normally would prior to the holiday meal and then let your body do the guiding when it comes to selection and quantity. Did you know? When we’re stressed about food or eating, the stress hormones that are released slow down our digestion and metabolism. So, any angst about food can work against us in more ways than the obvious mental uncertainty. It’s especially important that we are conscious about how we talk about food in front of our children. I recommend that parents avoid labeling certain foods as “good, bad, healthy or junk.” Not only are these terms not helpful, but they can start to take on a hierarchy of value, shaping our children’s relationship with food in a myriad of ways. The good news is that if we eliminate the “labels” and simply call foods by their actual names or the way they taste­—calling cookies “something sweet,” or referring to chips as “something salty or crunchy”—we help our children learn to remove perceived negative feelings around food altogether. This will help mold our children into confident eaters that use their intuition to guide their nutritional needs. Food is so much more than fuel and so much more than nutrition. Food is family, food is love, food is passion. And food is forgiving. So, let's enjoy it! Natasha Dempsey is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) at Synergy Health and Wellness.

Recipe from We love this resource and often use the recipes when we’re cooking with clients. All of the recipes on this site are relatively easy to make, affordable and largely kid approved. Consider preparing this recipe with your family—and make memories from the experience! Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies • 1 ¾ cups cooked, pureed pumpkin (15 ounce can) • 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar • 2 eggs • ½ cup vegetable oil • 1 ½ cups flour • 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour • 1 Tablespoon baking powder • 2 teaspoons cinnamon • 1 teaspoon nutmeg • ½ teaspoon salt • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger • 1 cup raisins • 1 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped Directions 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 2. Mix pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs and oil thoroughly. 3. Blend dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture. 4. Add raisins and nuts. 5. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. 6. Gently flatten each cookie (use a spoon, bottom of glass or palm of your hand). 7. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

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Parental Compassion Fatigue: Coping with kids and COVID By Annette Benedetti


arenting through over a year of COVID shutdowns, quarantines and ever-changing restrictions was challenging for most parents. It meant extended stretches of time in intense parenting mode broken only by switching into teacher mode and sometimes counselor mode to help soothe children’s fears and anxieties. Even with school back in session, parents have a heavy load helping their young students readjust to in-person classes amidst the added fear of the COVID Delta variant. Caring for their young isn’t the only challenge Central Oregon parents are facing. Many are grappling with their own mental health.

What is Parental Compassion Fatigue?

According to a study published in Front Psychiatry, common stressors that impacted parenting during COVID-19 shutdowns were changes in children’s routines, worry about the virus and

online schooling demands. Unfortunately, this study also concluded that while parent stress increased substantially during COVID-19 shutdowns, it has not returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, which has some struggling with a condition called parental compassion fatigue. Two identifiers that set parental compassion fatigue apart from other anxiety disorders and depression are that parents report feeling both emotionally exhausted themselves and detached from their children’s emotions. There can even be a feeling of apathy toward their children’s feelings.

Signs & Symptoms

Joella Long, licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Cascadia Family Therapy in Bend, says, “Deeper contributing factors to parental compassion fatigue are when parents have a job or other family member that requires caregiving. For instance,” she explains, “if you are caring for an aging parent or work as a nurse or teacher during the day, it can be hard to find more compassion to offer at home.” Long also says that the lack of basic self-care, like regularly missing sleep, meals and showering, as well as forgoing one’s

for Avoiding and Recovering from Compassion Fatigue The following are some things that you can do to both avoid and recover from compassion fatigue: 1. Focus on sleep: Make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Rest is important, even if you don’t sleep well. 2. Nutrition: Look into your eating habits. Make sure your meals are packed with plenty of nutritious proteins, veggies and fruits. 3. Take Five!: It doesn’t sound like a lot but find time throughout the day to take five minutes to yourself. 20 |


Photo by Ksenia Chernaya via Pexels

hobbies for the sake of caregiving, are other contributing factors. Some additional common signs and symptoms of parental compassion fatigue that Long says parents should be aware of include: • Irritability • Feeling helpless or hopeless • Withdrawing from other relationships • Numbness or avoiding

Risks Associated with Parental Compassion Fatigue

With the end of pandemic-related stressors nowhere in sight, recovering from a case of parental compassion fatigue brought on by COVID seems like a far-off dream. When left untreated, the condition may intensify. According to Long, the risks of letting parental compassion fatigue go unchecked are worsening symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger and a general lack of selfcare that leads to a sense of powerlessness and overwhelm.

Addressing Parental Compassion Fatigue

While COVID-related stressors may go on for an extended and indefinite period, there are concrete actions parents can take if they

believe they are suffering from parental compassion fatigue. First, asking for help and seeking a diagnosis from a trained professional is important. Having someone who can offer the tools needed to both recover and continue supporting other family members through whatever may come is key to maintaining the mental health and compassion required to care for children. Long says, “If you or a parent you know seems to be suffering from compassion fatigue, psychotherapy, counseling, connecting with other parents, nights off from the kids and other self-care practices can be healing.” She explains that, “The key is to link self-care with your ability to be compassionate. Compassion for yourself in the form of care, understanding and empathy for your own emotional experience gives you the ability to find compassion for others.” While seeing a counselor and implementing self-care practices will get you well along the road to recovery and refilling your compassion and empathy tank, don’t expect to feel better right away. Long says, “Remember that self-care heals slowly over time so don’t expect overnight change. Instead, find ways to support yourself and other parents in continued self-care practices.”

4. Relaxation: Find a relaxation method, like deep breathing exercises or meditation, that you can use throughout your day. 5. Get a Massage: Self care is where it’s at. Once a week or once a month. Invest in yourself. 6. One hour a day: Find someone to watch the kids for one hour a day. Then use that time just for you. 7. Move: Find a physical activity that brings you joy. Think: dancing, swimming, hiking. 8. Soak: Fill a bath with mineral salts and soak away the stress. 9. Go out: Make a date with a friend or romantic partner and go out regularly. 10. Dine in: Forget cooking. Grub Hub it or have your dinner delivered and relax. Holiday 2021 | 21


SENIOR Moments

Central Oregon’s Council on Aging helps bridge the generation gap By Elizabeth Warnimont

“Inter-generational interaction is the best gift we can give, to the young and to the old.”


hat’s the advice of Central Oregon’s Council on Aging communications director Denise Labuda for anyone looking for a way to reach out this holiday season. “That inter-generational connection is hard to keep alive right now because of COVID,” she says. “There’s still this reality that we’re not all going to have family to take care of us or live near our families.” Starting with the younger generation is important, Labuda emphasizes. “If we start young, if we teach kids to help older people who are not their grandparents, then as they grow, hopefully they will be more open to it.” By the same token, she suggests, if anyone is retired and has time to volunteer, “why not go and be a mentor in a high school class? We don’t have that in the high school curriculum now, but wouldn’t it be wonderful?” Headquartered in Bend for the Central Oregon area, the Council on Aging offers a myriad of free services for anyone age 65 or older, from legal advice concerning age discrimination at work, to

free meal delivery regardless of financial need. “Meals on Wheels is a mobility-based program, nothing to do with a person’s income,” Labuda explains. “Maybe you can’t stand and cook, maybe you can’t carry groceries or drive a car to get to the store.” The need is sometimes short term, for example when a person is recovering from knee surgery, or may be longer term if they are simply no longer driving, she explains. Labuda points out that more and more of our population is 65 or older. In Deschutes County, for example, that number is currently over 20 percent. “By 2035 it will be 25 percent,” she says. “In Jefferson and Crook Counties, they are already at one in four, and by 2035 they will be at one in three. It’s a huge shift, and it’s happening everywhere.” Labuda says resources like Social Security and even Area Agencies on Aging, the council’s funding source, are not keeping pace with the increasing need. “These changes have implications across housing, transportation and public spaces,” Labuda says. “We know that to be healthy through aging is about being connected, as well as living in a safe community. That includes sidewalks, transportation, and (eliminating) trip hazards,” she says. “Go to an average park today and you’ll see areas for children, maybe walking paths— which aren’t necessarily smooth (for walkers or wheelchairs)—and you may be lucky enough to find only one or two places to sit in the entire park.”

Dance The Gift of Ballet students perform in a parking lot as seniors drive by.

Photos courtesy of Central Oregon's Council on Aging

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The Council reaches out to help seniors in a variety of ways, though some services are currently suspended due to COVID. “There are (school) classrooms making greeting cards and decorating bags for the meals we deliver,” she says. “In-person dining has been suspended, but in the past, we’ve had children come and sing during meals or do art projects where seniors are dining.” The council is funded by the AAA, which in turn receives federal dollars, based on the Older Americans Act of 1965 – but unfortunately, the program hasn’t kept up with the growing need, Labuda says. “It’s been kicked down the road for the last 40 years. Sometimes we do cap out.” The funds are considered seed money, she explains. “We are to help start covering program costs, but it is presumed, and assumed, that the community will meet the other portion. That was arguably a good concept back in 1965, but not very effective in 2021. For example, we may only get half the cost of a Meals on Wheels program. In Madras, managing Jefferson County, the senior center there will staff the MOW program, but

We know that to be healthy through aging is about being connected, as well as living in a safe community."

then they have to find the remaining funding.” During the holidays and at other times, groups of kids and families can easily find ways to plug in. “Our volunteer manager works with schools and other groups locally. If there are any organizations that have an interest in doing things like making cards or making little gifts for the holidays, we’re happy to connect them with the seniors,” Labuda says. To find out more about the services available through the Council on Aging, including evidence-based mobility and balance exercise classes, social support, help navigating Medicare or caregiver support resources or to explore volunteer opportunities like phoning a senior once a week or training for nutrition or assessment programs, visit the website at

Children visit with seniors in their dining room.

The performers pose for a group shot.

for a magical childhood Bend's newest children's store featuring natural, – Denise Labuda sustainable, European and unique toys and clothing!

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Recommended by Paige Bentley-Flannery Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library

I Like the Snow by Sarah Nelson, illustrated by Rachel Oldfield


re you ready to make a snowman? And what is snow anyway? From the first winter flurries to catching snowflakes on your tongue and making snow angels, Nelson’s rhyming words take the reader on a snowy adventure. Whether you are playing in the snow or cozy at home looking out the window, the illustrations capture a variety of snowy fun including sledding and dogs running. A delightful read aloud for the whole family. Discover something new about clouds, crystals and extreme cold. Questions for a Snowy Day are included. Explore the full series with I Like the Rain, I Like the Sun and I Like the Wind.

snow, drawing and writing. “23 days ‘til Christmas!” “6 nights till Chanukah!” These friends enjoy all the things they share, as well as the things that make them different. But when Isaac’s window is smashed in the middle of the night, it seems not everyone is OK being different. Explore a holiday season where families and community come together to celebrate all holidays. Filled with joy and understanding, Wind’s story connects children and holiday traditions by discovering new experiences and showing what community is truly about. As you count down the holidays, take a long look at the end pages; Zelinksy’s beautiful illustrations start on the first page where everyone is holding hands and the swirls of blue, white, red and green surround them. His illustrations are powerful and festive. Readers will appreciate his drawings filled with family and friends. Inspired by a true story.

Red and Green and Blue and White

“On a block dressed up in Red and Green one house shone Blue and White.”

by Lee Wind, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky


re you excited for the holidays? Isaac, whose family is Jewish, and Teresa, whose family is Christian, are too! They’ve been decorating, making cookies, playing in the

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A true family holiday tradition—the Bend Christmas Parade, December 4.

Mondays, Thursday-Sundays


PLAY – A wonderful way for kids to stay active and have fun! There are options for both little ones and older kids to enjoy a clean, bright and fully padded space. Add some fun-filled movement to the week!

MOVE – This beginner class gets kids tapping their toes and learning the basic steps of tap. Class is designed for the beginner tap dancer with little or no experience. 3:45-4:20pm.

Toddler Open Play

Free Spirit Yoga + Fitness + Play | $12-$105


Backpack Explorers

EXPLORE – Investigate science, art, stories and culture in a fun, hands-on manner. Don backpacks filled with exciting objects while journeying through the Museum’s nature trails and exhibits. New themes weekly! 10-11am.

High Desert Museum | $15

Twinkle Toes Tap

Academie de Ballet Classique | $61


Online Story Time

READ – Join community librarians for songs, rhymes, stories and fun! Experts agree that talking, singing, reading, writing and playing with your young child will prepare them for learning how to read, and will teach them the six skills needed to read. 10am.

Deschutes Public Libraries | Free


FIRST LEGO League Robotics Team

LEARN – Join Camp Fire’s Lego Robotics Team that hosts teams for fourth through seventh grade! The teams also include a Spanish-speaking group. Learn how to build and code with Lego Robots and be a part of this season’s FIRST LEGO League Tournaments! 4-6pm or 5-7pm, through Dec. 2.

Samara Learning Center | $125


Amelia’s World Puppet Show

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.

Online | Free


Fantasy Ballet

MOVE – This fantasy-themed ballet class is designed to cultivate your child's creativity, individuality and artistry while discovering ballet terminology and culture of discipline. 11-11:45am.

Academie de Ballet Classique | $61

Children enjoy the fantasy-themed ballet class at Academie de Ballet Classique.

November 13-14

Old Fashion Christmas

ARTS & CRAFTS – A nostalgic celebration of the holidays with a variety of arts, crafts, antiques, food and Santa Claus! 9am-5pm.

Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center | Free

November 13 & December 11

Kid’s Adventure Days

EXPLORE – Summer might be over, but the adventures are not! Join in for a morning full of adventure exploring all that Central Oregon has to offer. 9:30am-1pm.

Harmon Park | $40-$48

November 15-16 & December 13-14

Kid’s Woodworking

EXPLORE – A two-day workshop for kids to spread the creative wings and tackle technical design challenges. The focus of this workshop will be on design, measurement, and layout techniques. Kids eventually get the chance to gain experience with power tools such as the miter saw, drill press, palm and drum sanders, router and various hand tools. All materials included. 5pm-7pm.

DIY Cave | $149-$178

November 17

Online Only: OBOB Book Club LEARN – Join a live group discussion of “Clean Getaway” by Nic Stone with other readers. Get excited for one of Oregon's Battle of the Books titles for the 20212022 school year! 3:30-4:20pm.

Online | Free Holiday 2021 | 25

CALENDAR November 19-21

December 5

Redmond Holiday Food & Gift Festival

Holiday Cookies

LEARN – Spend the day with your loved ones learning to create and decorate deliciously festive holiday cookies!

HOLIDAY – Support local makers and businesses at this annual shopping event! A one-stop holiday experience for shopping, food and Santa Claus!

Kara’s Kitchenware | $79-$99

Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center| $6

November 22-24

Fall Kids Camp – Forces of Nature

LEARN – Investigate the forces of nature and explore the world’s most extreme weather phenomena! Each day we will design an experiment to test these destructive forces and examine how they shape life on Earth. 3-5:15pm.

High Desert Museum | $45

November 24

School’s OUT Wild Tribe

EXPLORE – Join longtime outdoor educator, Sheris (Snowgoose) Patten, on a nature-filled day out of school. Participants will work on shelter-building, knife work, navigation, foraging, tracking, wildlife, crafting and more. All courses are outside, so please dress accordingly. 9am-3pm.

Shevlin Aspen Meadow | $77-$92

November 26-27 & December 4 & 11

Redmond’s European Style Outdoor Market

HOLIDAY – Styled after the markets in Europe, the little cozy kiosks that fill Downtown Redmond are a sure sign of the Holiday season. Bring the whole family down for shopping, Santa and more! 11am-5pm.

Centennial Park | Free holiday-village-market

November 26 - December 18

Redmond Northern Lights

HOLIDAY – Catch a familyfriendly and seasonal light show in Redmond. Drive by or stick around for the short and upbeat holiday show! Friday and Saturday nights at dusk.

TBD | Free 26 |

December 5

Jake Shimabukuro “Christmas in Hawaii”

Holiday Lights at Deschutes County Fair.

November 27

I Like Pie Run

RUN – This classic Thanksgiving morning 5K run is back in-person this year at the Old Mill District. Bring the whole family and raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club and NeighborImpact. Register online.

Old Mill District | TBD

December 3

First Friday Art Walk

ART – View sensational local and national art at dozens of businesses downtown on the first Friday of every month for First Friday Art Walk! Stroll through the streets of downtown Bend and the Old Mill District and take in art exhibit openings, artist talks, live music, wine, food and more! Shops are matched with artists and stay open later than usual. 5-9pm.

Downtown Bend & The Old Mill District | Free

December 3-19

Miracle on 34th Street

HOLIDAY – Watch the classic holiday tale come to life this season! “Miracle on 34th Street” is a warm-hearted reminder of what the holiday season should be about.

this annual favorite. Enjoy holidaythemed floats and Santa’s sleigh as they make their way through downtown! Parade starts at noon.

Downtown Bend | Free

December 4-5

Holiday Makers Market at Schilling’s Garden Market

MARKET – Join us for our second Maker's Market! Up to 30 local artisan vendors, plus food and drinks! Schilling's will have fresh garlands, wreaths and live trees for sale. It will be a very special time at your favorite Central Oregon plant nursery and garden! 10am - 4pm

Schilling’s Garden Market | Free

December 5

Family Yoga Holiday Event

PLAY – Moms, dads, grandparents and other caregivers, partner up with your yogis to practice yoga and mindfulness together! This special class will help adults and children with flexibility and strength, while putting some Zen back into your family’s hectic schedule before the holidays. 9:30-10:30am

Free Spirit Yoga + Fitness + Play | $10-$25

HOLIDAY – Whether one on one or in front of an audience of thousands, Jake shares a deep emotional connection with the listener that is open, magical and transcendent. Jake’s genuine love for people, the spirit of holidays and his beloved home of Hawaii are at the forefront of this live show. It will be a warm welcome of merriment and wonder for the season. 7:30pm.

Tower Theatre | $40-$60

December 6

Patrick Lamb’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

HOLIDAY – Saxophonist and producer Patrick Lamb brings Christmas to life through the legendary music of this holiday favorite. 7:30pm.

Tower Theatre | $30-$55

December 7

“Rock The Holidays” With Aaron Meyer

HOLIDAY – Concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer combines popular holiday songs with familiar classical pieces and – exclusively for Tower audiences – adds the excitement of a nine-piece rock band plus special guests Portland gospel quartet The Brown Sisters. 7:30pm.

Tower Theatre | $30-$50

Cascades Theatrical Company | $25-$27

December 4

Bend Christmas Parade

HOLIDAY – The 2021 theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas: Better Together.” Join the community and holiday spirit at Join Camp Fire's FIRST LEGO Robotics Team at Samara Learning Center.

CALENDAR December 7-16

Ease Into Watercolor Painting

ARTS & CRAFTS – This class is for anyone new to painting or anyone wanting to paint more independently. Begin with the basics, creating fun images as well as representational paintings while practicing wash techniques, texture methods and design principles. 1-3pm.

Art Station | $135-$162

December 8

Your Next Book Kids Edition

LEARN – Tune in each month to find great new kids’ books, suggested by DPL Librarians. Age ranges of books may vary. 10am.

Online | Free event/63502

December 8

Todd Haaby “Nueva Navidad”

HOLIDAY – Central Oregon’s own Todd Haaby and his full six-piece group of world-class musicians are joining the month-long celebration of the holiday season. Fresh faces and fresh music join crowd-pleasing fiery Latin/Flamenco guitar numbers from Haaby’s best-selling and regularly downloaded albums. 7:30pm.

Tower Theatre | $30-$50

December 12

Jingle Bell Run

HOLIDAY – The Arthritis Foundation’s original Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get decked out and be festive, while racing to raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability. Featuring three easy distances to choose from and a costume contest for pups and people! 9am.

The Commons | $15-$30 details

Put a little zen in your life with Family Yoga at Free Spirit Bend.

December 27

COBO Basketball Skill Days PLAY – Geared toward elementary-age kids looking to work on passing, dribbling, shooting and defensive skills. Includes fun drills and lots of games.

Pilot Butte Middle School | $30-$36

November 21 - January 1

Holiday Lights Deschutes County Fair

HOLIDAY - A unique walk-through Holiday light show with over three million dazzling lights! Walk through the different light displays and end at Santa's Village. 4-10pm.

Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center | $18-$60

Currently closed Wednesday’s Happy Hour 2:30 - 6:00 Open for lunch and dinner A Truly Thai Experience is here in Bend.

Catering Available A Delivery Available on 550 NW Franklin A Ave Suite 148 (Entrance on Bond St.) | 541-647-6904

Holiday 2021 | 27


MUSIC Therapy Where Words Fail, Music Speaks By Nicole Blume


r. Debasish Mridha once said that “music can heal the wounds that medicine can’t touch.” If this is true, then music therapy can provide the healing balm to soothe a troubled soul. Many people have experienced better emotional well-being from their relationships with music. Instinctively we know how good it feels to listen to a beautiful aria or dance the night away at a rock concert. Music therapy takes this natural human passion for music and extends it to therapy with a qualified boardcertified practitioner to help clients address their needs. The goals of music therapy are diverse and depend on the individual circumstances of each client. Music therapy can be used to help treat clinically diagnosed conditions such as anxiety and depression, support growth in developmental areas like communication and social interaction and address executive functioning issues such as attention, learning, memory and concentration. Research supports that music therapy can even help manage stress, alleviate pain and improve physical rehabilitation. Music therapy has been an established health profession in the United States since the 1950s and has flourished internationally as well. According to Emily Ross, a local board-certified music therapist with 18 years of experience and a master’s degree in counseling psychology, “Music therapy is the use of music within a therapeutic relationship to work towards non-musical goals.” Ross continues, “The therapeutic relationship is an important piece of that definition. To call it music therapy we want it to be with a professionally-trained musical therapist.” Not just anyone can claim this job title. To become board-certified, music therapists need to graduate from a four-year music therapy degree program, pass a four-hour national exam and complete 1200 hours of supervised clinical practice in various field settings, such as hospitals, schools and older adult living facilities. A native Oregonian born and raised in Eugene, Ross began her career as a public-school music teacher for kindergarten through 12th grades in a very small, rural district in Oregon, before leaving to join the Peace Corps. While volunteering in Kyrgyzstan, she brought her guitar and discovered 28 |

just how deeply she could connect with others through music. After returning home, she decided to enroll in graduate school to pursue a career in music therapy. This past summer, Ross helped launch a new music therapy program for people ages three and up in Central Oregon at the Cascade School of Music. She currently splits her time between CSM and her private practice, HoofnHorn Music Therapy Studio in Portland. According to Ross, the history of music therapy as a profession can be traced back to World War II. After the war, musicians were sent to Veterans Affairs hospitals to work with shell-shocked veterans who were emotionally shut down from the war experience, but the musicians were ill-equipped to handle the flood of emotions that arose during their musical performances.

“My favorite thing is that when someone doesn’t feel like talking, we don’t have to. We can go right into the music." “People have been using music for healing forever,” says Ross; back in the 1940s they thought: “if we could train our musicians to have skills in psychology, then they could know what they're bringing, because music is so beneficial, but it can do harm. People can be triggered by music, people can be offended by music…and so we need people to bring it with intention and also know how to help the person process if stuff comes up.” Sometimes, individuals don’t have the words to speak their innermost feelings or the communication skills to convey their needs. That’s where music therapy comes in. As Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” (Ross has this quote engraved in wood hanging in her studio.) “My favorite thing is that when someone doesn’t feel like talking, we don’t have to. We can go right into the music. There are so many ways to work nonverbally, whether it’s just pure musical expression and we’re done, or musical expression and then processing,” says Ross. And with clients whose language skills are just emerging, music can be a gentle way to practice verbalizing through singing. According to the CSM website, a typical music therapy session with Ross might include, “music-making such as singing or improvising on instruments. It might include listening to songs and talking about the lyrics or writing new lyrics to familiar songs. It might include sensory experiences such as movement, body percussion, or ‘Brain Dance.’ Or it might include singing a songpicture-book together or participating in music-assisted relaxation.”


music can heal the wounds that medicine can’t touch.” – Dr. Debasish Mridha

In that aim, music therapy can support neurodiverse children with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and other learning differences. “I had a wonderful experience in the Portland Public Schools several years ago where we did a pilot program and I brought in counting songs,” shares Ross. “There were kids who had been on IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) for five years who had never mastered one through five, and they did it once we put it to music. Music stimulates other parts of the brain, where if something is not clicking and we add music, it might do a work-around. We can’t promise it will, but there are these different things we can try and now

this growth in the brain starts to happen.” It may be surprising to learn that no prior musical skills are required to participate. Since the whole point of music therapy is to work toward nonmusical goals, participants don’t need to know how to sing or play a musical instrument. “Everyone likes different kinds of music and the music we use in music therapy is what the participant prefers,” says Ross. “It's not like, oh, Mozart for you! If you like folk music, we do folk music. If you like Peppa the Pig, we do Peppa the Pig.” To learn more, visit the Cascade School of Music website at

Holiday 2021 | 29



ACE Local teen credits Bend Bullets program for launching her to the next level By Nicole Blume


hether on or off the rink, local teen hockey players are demonstrating not only exceptional athletic ability, but also a commitment to personal growth and character development. One local organization helping young people with these goals is the Bend Bullets, whose name is an acronym for “Better Understanding Life Lessons and Expectations Through Sports.” Launched in 1994, the Bend Bullets is a non-profit amateur hockey organization whose goal is to provide accessible kids’ sports opportunities in ice and inline hockey, while also teaching invaluable life skills. Although the Bend Bullets have had many homes over the years, from the outdoor skating rink in Juniper Park to the Rock Rink and Roll skating rink along Greenwood Avenue to Cascade Indoor Sports, they are now settled at the open-air, NHL-sized rink at The Pavilion. There, they offer a range of year-round introductory and more advanced roller hockey programs for children ages five through 14 through the Bend Park and Recreation District system. Youth participants learn proper techniques and fundamental skills, such as skating, stick handling, passing and shooting from professional, accredited coaches who have played at the highest levels of hockey. The grassroots Bend Bullets development program aims to grow the next generation of hockey players here in Central Oregon. And as one of the longest running inline hockey programs in the country, current Bullet families sometimes even meet other people in the community who used to be Bullets themselves when they were kids, making for an inter-generational chain of hockey enthusiasts. One such local hockey family is the Aces. Tony Ace played hockey as a goalie in Alaska, before introducing his daughter Lexy, now 16, to the sport when she was seven years old at the Cascade Indoor Sports rink. Ace began with roller hockey and soon fell in love with the sport, later learning to skate on the ice as well.

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“I love skating and the competitiveness of it,” says Ace. “It has definitely made me stronger mentally because it is draining sometimes, but the competitiveness just makes all of us stronger, and we all just push each other on and off the rink.” During her time with the Bend Bullets, Ace practiced four times a week for an hour or an hour and a half over her summer break, and even did extra private lessons at 6am before school. She also did dry land training at the BOSS Sports Performance training facility, which focuses on weightlifting and agility practice. Her athletic commitment has paid off in spades, as Ace is currently training at an exceptional boarding school in Minnesota called Shattucks Saint Mary’s, which attracts talented teen athletes from around the world. She’s even competed internationally as well, at high-level tournaments across Europe. “My first year was in Italy when I was 13,” says Ace. “I played for Team USA Jr. Women’s roller hockey. We didn’t do too well but it was a fun experience. We played all these teams like India, Colombia, and a couple of others. Getting the trade jerseys and talking to all these new people was definitely an experience! The following year I played in Spain for the World Roller Games. In that tournament we ended up taking second and losing to Spain, but that was a great experience overall. I was supposed to go last year to Colombia but with COVID it didn't work out. I hope to go next year and keep working my way up to the senior women's team.” Inspired by professional hockey players like Drew Dowdy from the LA Kings and Hilary Knight from the USA Women’s Hockey Team, as a child, Ace dreamed of making it all the way to the Olympics. In the meantime, her primary goal is to continue her hockey career in college, where she hopes to earn a D-1 athletic scholarship to help pay for her education.

Photo by Woo Park


Photo by Tony Ace

“Getting a D-1 scholarship would mean a lot to me because I’ve worked so hard these last years and a lot of people have believed in me,” says Ace. “Just to give it back to them and my dad would be awesome.” Beyond skating, hockey has allowed Ace to meet new people and create a solid community here in Central Oregon. “On the Bend Bullets I’ve met my best friends,” says Ace. “Growing up with them, they're all like my family now. That's definitely the best thing to come out of hockey other than college opportunities now.” Her early introduction to hockey has helped influence Ace’s life in other positive ways as well; “[The Bend Bullets] are about pushing us to be good people off the rink, that’s always their main goal,” says Ace. “Good sportsmanship, having these friendships with other people and transferring life goals on and off the rink.” In true Bend Bullet fashion, Ace is committed to paying forward the mentorship and support she received as a child to the next generation of players. “Inspiring the younger kids is definitely really fun, having the younger players in the program look up to you,” says Ace. “As I get older, I think I could help grow the sport and contribute to the younger players.”

I love skating and the competitiveness of it. It has definitely made me stronger mentally because it is draining sometimes, but the competitiveness just makes all of us stronger, and we all just push each other on and off the rink.”

Holiday 2021 | 31

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