Tips for Helping Kids Through The Covid Crisis

The Coronavirus has become a pandemic crisis impacting every aspect of our lives.  Parents are being forced into the role of educator as our children are pushed into a home-schooling situation.  To add to that stress, many of us do not know how long we will have a paycheck or a job as so many industries are having to reduce operations or shut down completely.  We are being asked to limit contact with others.  All of this is causing anxieties to rise in both adults and children. 
Be mindful that your children are looking to you to see if they should be scared. Do not completely ignore what is happening.  Answer your child’s questions in an age appropriate way.  Develop a new routine so that your child can feel safe.  Talk to them about taking the recommended precautions to stay healthy. 
Additionally, do a daily “worry” check in.  With my child it goes something like this, “Let’s check in.  Tell me something you are worried about today?”  or “Are you concerned about anything today?”  It is enlightening what you may find out.  Many days those concerns have nothing to do with what is currently happening and many times it is something that a parent can address easily.  The later is great.  It gives you a boost in your confidence level as a parent and your child is reassured that things are okay.  Soon, you may find that your child is initiating the daily check in.  “Hey Mom!  Tell me how your day went?  What made you happy today?”  At my house, we change the questions up.  Sometimes worried focused questions, sometimes feelings focused questions and sometimes activity focused questions.
Here are some ideas for activities that you can do to keep your child engaged and to help with your own self-care during this unsettling time:
  • Read a book aloud. My child’s class has read aloud time during the school day and it is something he enjoys.  Pick a series and read together for thirty minutes a day.
  • Do an art project together. Draw, make slime, finger paint, color—build with legos.
  • Write a “book” together. Develop a story line, take turns writing paragraphs, create illustrations.  It can be a true or fantasy.
  • Take a hike. Go someplace and enjoy nature together.
  • Watch a movie or find a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime that is family friendly. Gilligan’s
  • Bake or cook with your child. This helps to develop math, reading and survival skills.
  • Teach your child to clean and disinfect.
  • Play outside…basketball, catch, blow bubbles, hide and seek, take a walk.
  • Play tic tac toe, board games, card games, or make up your own game.

Structure can help get you through this crisis and as a bonus the “together time activities” will help to strengthen family bonds.
By Tammi Pitzen
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Free Summer Meals Program for Kids & Teens

Summer Meals -Nourishing Oregon’s Kids.

There are over 800 summer meal sites in Oregon with free meals for kids and teens ages 1-18.

   Summer meal programs may serve a combination of lunch, breakfast, supper and morning or afternoon snacks. Some programs also offer learning activities for kids before or after meals.

     Click on  the map below to find a site near you.


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Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for Kids

People often ask me if they need to believe in acupuncture for it to work. This question makes me smile. For one, I have to remind myself that acupuncture is still a mystical experience for some people because it’s not well understood. But it is an effective, straight-forward method of helping the body to heal.
My favorite way of explaining how belief is not necessary for acupuncture’s effects is that the populations it works best on are pets and kids.
We know that Fido is not fretting over whether or not his acupuncture treatments are going to cure his arthritis. And the toddler is surely not ruminating over her acupuncture session and creating a placebo effect. It is true that kids and animals both respond to acupuncture more quickly than adults, and often require fewer treatments. I believe that not stressing over the healing process is a large part of what allows kids and animals to heal quicker.
Sometimes people are surprised that children can receive acupuncture. If you have never experienced it, it is helpful to know that it is nothing like getting poked by a syringe! Most people find it to be a painless and relaxing experience.
Kids are most apprehensive in response to their parents being apprehensive. Sometimes children are even braver than adults when trying acupuncture for the first time. Especially if Mom or Dad tries a needle or two as well, curiosity wins out and most kids will be willing to give acupuncture a try.
Chinese medicine is a whole system, and acupuncture is just one part. Nutrition therapy, Chinese herbs, massage, exercises and healthy habits are all important branches of traditional Chinese medicine. When working with children, I like to provide as much at-home care as possible to empower parents to treat their child at home and limit the number of office visits they need.
Traditional Chinese Pediatric Medicine includes acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, and a style of massage called Tuina.  What type of treatment a child will receive is based on their individual needs.
An appointment begins with gathering information about the condition, and some physical examination. Once the acupuncturist has reached a diagnosis, they will begin treatment. If they are doing acupuncture, it is likely only to take about 20 minutes. The younger a child is, the shorter the acupuncture treatment they need.
When the needle is inserted in an acupuncture point on the body, the body has a variety of healing responses. There are now numerous research studies that show many different effects acupuncture has, but not why it has the effects. We can prove some of what acupuncture does through research: changes in neurotransmitters, blood cell counts, hormone levels, immune system function, brain activity, and blood circulation. But we cannot yet explain why acupuncture has these effects.
After the needles are removed, the body continues having the effects for many hours afterward. Treatments come in a series, and the number of treatments needed depends on the condition. Sometimes an acute problem can be fixed in just a couple of sessions, but some serious chronic issues may take a couple of months of weekly visits.
Herbal medicine and nutrition therapy can be just as effective as acupuncture for most conditions, in cases of children who are afraid of needles. Acupuncture and herbs work very well in combination, and most people choose to do both together to get the fastest relief.
The most common conditions I see children for are skin problems, dental issues, digestive problems, bed wetting, sleep issues, ADD/ADHD, diabetes, upper respiratory infections, and autoimmune disorders. Chinese medicine can also be very helpful for teen and pre-teen depression/anxiety and eating disorders.
Please consider trying Chinese medicine if your child is ill. It is best if you can find an acupuncturist experienced in treating children, so be sure to ask. Acupuncture and Chinese Medical Pediatrics should always be a consideration for treatment to keep our kids healthy in a safe, gentle and effective way.
Miranda Black, MAcOM, LAc
Radiant Family LLC


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HEALTH LET'S EAT! Uncategorized

TRUE JUICE: First Restaurant in Grants Pass to Earn Blue Zones® Approved Status

On September 9, 2016, True Juice opened its doors on “D” Street, and became Grants Pass’s first dedicated all-organic Juice & Smoothie Bar… and business has been booming ever since. Now, True Juice has also earned the prestigious position of being the first Blue Zones Approved restaurant in the Rogue Valley!


The Blue Zones Project®  launched in Grants Pass  in January , and nationally it is helping transform communities across the U.S. into areas where making  healthy choices is easier and people live longer with a higher quality of life. The mission of the Blue Zones Project® and True Juice seemed like a match made in heaven.  Through a multi-month process True Juice submitted recipes, policies, menus, restaurant protocols – and even personal Crew employee commitments- for review to Blue Zones® Grants Pass; and in mid-March, they received word congratulating them on their official well-deserved Blue Zones®- Approved status.


Local owners, Jacob and Karen Austin, started out as regular home-juicers and Certified Integrative Health Coaches who saw the need for an all-organic restaurant/Juicery option in Grants Pass back in 2015. Their vision was to open a plant-based, organic Family-style juice bar which also served smoothies, smoothie bowls, food and treats, with many gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free options to meet the needs of those with food allergies, sensitivities and other health concerns/preferences. Believing  that business could be a tool to create positive change, Karen and Jake jumped in to invest in the health and happiness of their southern Oregon customers and community while hoping to inspire other individuals and companies to do the same.


Today True Juice creates delicious and nutritious recipes using produce from a network of local organic farms including Pennington Farms, Howard Family Orchards, Promiseland Farm, and others. Their menu has expanded beyond juice, smoothies and smoothie bowls to also include sandwiches, soup, chili, quiche, gluten-free baked goods, chocolate treats, banana parfaits, Multi-Day Juice Cleanse Packages,  Quinoa Bowls, wraps (both turkey and vegetarian), snow cones, house-made Nut Mylks, Wellness Shots, cold brew coffee, teas and a whole array of Kombuchas, fruit and snacks… all organic, much of it local and/or house-made, and all of it delicious AND Nutritious. Additional fun facts are that they give their daily juice pulp to local organic livestock, and all of their to-go cups, straws, containers, and utensils are compostable.


If you haven’t already, drop in to True Juice and relax with green juice or coffee in their artistic, upcycled atmosphere, or take  your family in to enjoy a delicious lunch, prafait or smoothie bowl. True Juice is located at 126 NW D Street in Historic Downtown Grants Pass at 124 NW D St.
They are open M-F:  9-5… and Saturdays from 10-2.



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T1 Dynamite: A Southern Oregon group for youth with type 1 diabetes and their families

This is a support group for kids under age 25 who have type 1 diabetes. In the world of diabetes, type 2 diabetes tends to get most of the attention, leaving people with type 1 lost in the mix. Of the 26 million Americans living with diabetes, only 5% of that 26 million have type 1.
I have started a group for local youth with type 1 diabetes because I couldn’t find one in Southern Oregon. If you are 25 or under and have type 1 diabetes, please join us at one of our meetings!
This is an active group with each meeting focusing around an active activity such as bowling, swimming, or rock climbing. Being active is an important part of proper diabetes management, but managing your blood glucose during exercise can be difficult. Because of this, many people with type 1 diabetes are discouraged from joining sports teams or doing sports altogether. T1 Dynamite meetings are a safe place to be active, have fun, and learn that it is possible to play sports, even with type 1 diabetes.
Our Group’s Objectives:
1. To help young type 1s and their families connect;
2. To raise awareness about type 1 diabetes in our community; and
3. To be active and do fun things together where we all have type 1 diabetes, and where managing blood glucose is the norm!

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By Dana Nguyen Schmidl, DDS, MS

Orthodontists do more than just straighten teeth. We improve the harmony of the bite, mitigate issues associated with improper jaw alignment, and address aesthetic concerns such as facial symmetry and profile.

 As an orthodontist, the most common question I am asked by patients and dental colleagues is “At what age should a child be evaluated for orthodontic treatment?”

While braces are typically associated with teens, you may be surprised to hear that even children who are still donning some baby teeth may benefit from orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends for all children to be evaluated by an orthodontist no later than age 7.

There are several reasons for this recommendation. By age 7, the permanent first molars have erupted, establishing the bite. Also around this time, the permanent front teeth begin to emerge, allowing an orthodontist to evaluate if your child has crowding, spacing, an overbite or underbite. 

 Additional problems such as cross-bites, deep bites, open bites, and adverse dental habits can be detected.

While the majority of children do not need any orthodontic treatment at a young age, early detection can prevent more serious problems from developing and may make subsequent orthodontic treatment shorter and less complicated.

For example, detection and treatment of a prolonged thumb-sucking habit can prevent narrowing of the upper jaw, an open bite, and excessive protrusion of the front teeth.

 If a significant issue is identified during the initial examination, early interceptive (“Phase 1”) orthodontic treatment is recommended. Usually completed in less than a year, this treatment is typically done during the ages of 7-11 when children have a mixture of permanent and baby teeth. Children will then be monitored regularly and evaluated for a second phase of orthodontic treatment once all permanent teeth erupt, around age 12.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s dental alignment or bite, schedule a consultation appointment with a local orthodontist or ask your family dentist for a referral. Consultations are quick, painless, and often complimentary.  A beautiful smile is right around the curve.

For more information visit Schmidl Orthodontics at

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Healthy Eating for Kids

You want the best for your family and food is a healthy way to interact with your kids.


Start young

School your children early with board books about fruits and vegetables. Involve them when you go grocery shopping identifying the fruits and vegetables and picking out healthy choices. Kids are more likely to eat healthy if they are engaged in the process of selection, planning and preparation of their meals. You can make meal preparation fun and creative that kids will look forward to. Make scenes with your food, pancake or sandwich faces, craft animals from celery sticks, peanut butter and apples or raisins.  We are taught not to play with our food but a little fun time can be good.


Where Food Comes From

A great way to teach kids about food is to visit the source. Maybe you have space for a garden and can involve your kids in the growing of the food they will eat. Or maybe you can visit a farm, a U pick, Farmers Market or even join a community garden. How fun it can be to grow, care for and pick fresh fruits and vegetables together.


Healthy Snacks

Keep a good choice of healthy snack options at home or when you are on an outing.  Carrot sticks, sliced apples or cucumbers, grapes or raisins, bananas, whole grain crackers, yogurt, popcorn. Seasonal fresh snacks of sliced watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, berries, peaches and other sliced fruit is a treat.


Maybe your child is picky about eating fruits and vegetables in the whole form. A good way to be sure they get a mix of fruits and vegetables is making fresh vegetable juice or a smoothie. Carrots, celery, beets and a little ginger make a yummy vegetable combination (you would need a juice machine for best results).  Bananas, strawberries (or other fruit choices) , yogurt and coconut water, almond or soymilk make a yummy smoothie and the variation of combinations of what is right for your family is limitless and a great way to introduce new fruits.  The end result is you are happy knowing your kids have drank their fruits or vegetables.

Be a Good Example

Let your child see you make healthy food choices. If your kids see you eating healthy that will become a norm in their lives. Maybe you can read ingredient labels together, if your kids see it is important to you then it will be important to them to develop healthy eating habits.

Try, Try Again

If your kids reject a new fruit or vegetable, don’t give up.  Take a break and offer at a different setting. There are many creative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into main dishes if you search for new recipes.- Zucchini noodles.  Banana and fruit pancakes, cauliflower crust pizza, etc

Make it fun and start young.


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Back To School Tips

It is time to go back to school. Children cringe and parents let out sighs of relief.  With the return of a “normal” schedule also comes an increase in our child’s participation in extra-curricular activities; both as part of school and outside of school.  Start off the school year on the right foot by meeting your child’s teacher and defining your expectations of communication both to and from the teacher.  It is also a good time to meet all the adults that will be interacting with your child through extra-curricular activities.  If your child is playing football or cheer leading or even on the debate team, it is important that you meet all of the adults that are going to be interacting with your child.

It is also a good time to set up rules for sleepovers and social activities as well so that your child knows what the expectations will be.  You should always know the people your child will be spending time.  It does not matter if they are a child or an adult.  Ask questions of those adults that are in charge.  If it is an organized activity, ask about what kinds of supervision will be given to the participants.

Inquire about who will be allowed to be alone one on one with your child.  Ask to review their policies regarding interaction between those in charge and the participants.  If it is a play date, ask who else will be in the home or attending the play date.  If the play date will take place in the home, ask where medications are kept, if there are guns in the house ask where they are kept and if they are locked away out of the reach of the children.

By asking these questions and knowing the people who will be interacting with your child you are letting everyone know that you are involved in your child’s life and you are also letting them know that you will be watching for signs that indicate when something is not right.  You are reducing the risk for your child to be abused!

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Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays

Taking Care of Yourself During the Holidays

The holiday season is already upon us!  Seems like every year the frenzy starts earlier and earlier.   It is a time to create new memories and to bring your family closer together.  Here are a few quick tips to help get you in the right frame of mind.

Make sure you “Get Enough” during the holiday season.  Make sure that you get plenty of sleep, plenty of exercise, and plenty of down time.  It is important to take care of yourself in the hurry and scurry of the holidays.  It makes you feel happier which leads to a more relaxed atmosphere to enjoy time with your family.

Do not over indulge.  Enjoy the great goodies but make sure you sneak in some healthy vegetables in your diet.

Remember your children are watching you and will take their cues from you.  If you are enjoying the holidays, the frenzy, the time with family then chances are your children will as well. Our children mirror our behavior in a lot of ways.  If you are unhappy and stressed out, they likely will be as well.

Plan some activities for children who will be home on school break.  When children get bored that usually leads to   disruption.  They do not have to be expensive outings.  Plan some projects that they can give to relatives as Christmas presents.  Arrange for a holiday movie marathon or engage them in sending out the family holiday cards.

The holidays are a time to spend with the ones you love doing the things you enjoy.  Do not rob yourself of the joy by making it so frenzied you are too stressed out to remember the things you love about spending time with family and friends.

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Infant Massage:Bonding and Benefits for Parents and Babies

Infant Massage:Bonding and Benefits for Parents and Babies
By JoAnn Lewis, LMT, CEIM, Trainer with the International Assoc. of Infant Massage, Sweden, USA chapter.
Evidence keeps pouring in to show us that loving, nurturing touch between baby and parent is essential to our baby’s best development in all ways. The stimulation, relaxation, relief and interaction of infant massage all play an important part in baby’s emotional, intellectual and physical well-being that lasts a lifetime.
At the Touch Research Institute in Miami’s University Medical Centers, research shows premature babies given daily massages for 15 minutes gain 47% more weight and go home in half the time with savings upwards of $9,000 to the hospital and the parents! This is just one of many studies illustrating the advantages of infant massage in reducing colic, sleeping problems, and stress hormones. It is found to improve nerve coatings, digestion, brain development, muscle tone, immune function and much more…
Touch is the first sense we develop while still inside our mothers and the strongest since birth. And we continue to need touch all of our lives for well-being.
At every class in infant massage the parents and babies learn about each other together with this ancient traditional way of communicating through touch, “dancing” and relaxing in deep harmony with respect to each other. It is the lovely dance of massage! Parents can really relax for the first time with each stroke as their baby responds to their touch, their voice, and their complete, loving attention. This simple and strengthening nourishment of massage builds their confidence, their bodies, their trust in each other; setting a strong foundation for life!
Call the Family Massage Education Center at 77 Manzanita Avenue in  Ashland, Oregon for a schedule of parent/baby classes at 541-482-3567. Or call to become an educator/instructor of infant massage at the next certification USA training in Ashland with JoAnn Lewis, USA Trainer.
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