Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


Raised by Wolves

I was raised by wolves. Well, not really. But my mom always told me that when I came home from the neighboring field covered in mud and burs. I was sure that being outside was good fun. Turns out, it’s good for your brain and physical development too. I recently came across an article from the Children and Nature Network. If you’d like to know how exploring nature and getting dirty benefits your child, this is for you! Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, talks about the research supporting unstructured play in nature as an important developmental tool. Here’s the link: Why Kids Need Nature.

Here are links to schools I wish I could have attended as a youngster!  An outdoor preschool on Vashon island: and an outdoor kindergarten. They also emphasize the importance of weather appropriate clothing. Don’t they look like fun? Stay warm!


Holly Roger holds a B.A in Environmental Studies from Western Washington University, majoring in environmental education and has more than 10 years experience teaching children and families about the world we live in. She offers several experiential education opportunities through Wild Whatcom Walks.

“My goal with Wild Whatcom Walks is to help people recognize their relationship and/or establish a connection with nature. My hope is that the more we know about the world, the more likely we will want to take care of it. ” For more information or to sign up to receive emails, email or visit her blog at

Click to view activities with Wild Whatcom Walks, Nature Babies and Walk When the Moon is Full.


Gluten-Free: Trend or Healthy Choice

While at a recent school function, I noticed a significant section of the dessert table was dedicated to gluten-free treats. The prominence of these items took me by surprise. Is gluten-free becoming a lifestyle choice or is it out of dietary necessity? The answer I found is both.

More and more people, including kids, are being diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Celiac disease, a more rare diagnosis, is a serious allergy to gluten-containing products and has gone widely undiagnosed until recently. Gluten intolerance or sensitivity is far more common, and people with a sensitivity to gluten find they feel better when they eliminate gluten from their diets. Going gluten-free means going without all forms of wheat including durum, semolina (pasta), and spelt; rye, oats, and barley. Plus gluten is hidden in many unsuspecting foods such as soy sauce, most processed foods, many prepared stocks and soups, and some cold cuts.

So, should you go gluten free? Gluten-free has been called a fad by some, but others strongly believe that it is a healthier choice either in response to the over consumption of processed or nutrition poor foods — fruits and vegetables don’t contain gluten — or because of testimonies of people who have gone gluten-free and swear by the overall improvement in their health. Some health advisers warn that eliminating gluten from the diet may result in nutritional deficits – think of the food pyramid’s 6-8 servings of grains per day. The answer then is if you are making a choice, make it an educated choice.

As parents, whether going gluten-free is a choice or a necessity, eliminating gluten from the diet is not an easy task. Fortunately, there is help out there. Local cookbook authors and parent bloggers Ali Segersten and Tom Malterre own Whole Life Nutrition and run a wonderful website,, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen where parents can find “Healthy, Wholesome, Gluten-Free Recipes.”  From mouth watering recipes to a local cooking class schedule, this website is a local, gluten-free gold mine.

Also,on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm, join Village Books and discuss authors Shauna and Danny Ahern’s new book, Gluten-Free Girl and Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes.

Regardless of your stand on gluten, trying a few gluten-free meals might be a nice change for your family, and who knows, maybe you’ll feel better too!

Please share your comments on gluten-free.


10 Ways to Help Your Family Stay Healthy During the Holidays

The month of December is a wonderful time to reconnect as a family and have some fun!  With all of the excitement and stress of the holidays, family gatherings, and parties, people are likely to eat more and exercise less.  How can you prevent this from happening to you and your family?  Here are some tips to help lessen the stress and save your waistline.

Goal:  This week, sit down as a family and plan out your holiday vacation.  Plan to make healthy food and time choices over the holidays.

  1. As a family sit down and plan out your holiday vacation on your family calendar. What obligations does each person have and what are some things you would like to do as a family?
  2. On your calendar, plan a few active family activities using ideas from
  3. If you are buying gifts for the holidays, have each person make a list of the gifts he/she wants to buy, and then set a goal date by which to have all shopping finished.
  4. Write down the times each person will exercise.
  5. Plan for, shop for, and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  6. Eat healthy portion sizes by using smaller plates at meals.
  7. Drink water and fat-free milk as your beverages.
  8. Eat only fruits and vegetables as snacks before dinner.
  9. Take a family walk each day and look at the holiday decorations in your neighborhood.
  10. Plan what you will eat.  Before going to a party or family gathering, plan what size portions and what kinds of food you will eat.  You may even want to eat a variety of fresh vegetables before attending.  Remember to think about what you are eating and how much.  Now that you have a plan (even if your plan includes gravy and holiday cookies), enjoy what you are eating!

Now, after the holiday season, sit down as a family and talk about how the plan worked.  Were you less stressed during the holiday vacation?  Do you feel healthier?  Hopefully, because you did some planning, your family had more time to have fun together.

Carol Frazey is the author of The Fit School Newsletter, a 36-week newsletter with the goal of educating you and your family about nutrition and exercise.

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