Vitamin N Improves Behavior

By Karen DeBolt | 18th Apr 2011 | Filed under Family Rituals, Parenting, Personal, Reflections, Relationships, Self Care, Techniques

I feel very fortunate to live in an area where nature is
very close, yet it is so easy to forget to go out and enjoy
it. I get so busy that I forget to smell the freshly mown
grass or forget to go over to the local woods for a nice
walk. This lack of being in nature or “vitamin N” can
really start to make us feel crumby after a while.

This is especially true for children who get stuck watching
TV or playing their favorite videogames. Its not like when
I was little and my mom would just say, “Go outside!” and I
would hang out with the neighborhood kids riding bikes or
skating. Our modern world seems to be full of a lot more
worries now.

Lessons from Day Camp

Yet, this vitamin N deficiency really does affect our
children’s behavior in a negative way. During our Summer
Day Camps, we have learned that taking a hike in nature
every single day means that the afternoon activities go
well. Even just going to a playground doesn’t quite work in
the same way. There’s something special about mindfully
walking looking for living creatures to show to each other.
Our campers would be able to focus better and control their
emotions better after taking a hike.

So take this as a reminder to get your Vitamin N this week,
both for yourself and for your child.

And, if you are still thinking about whether to sign up for
Whiz Kid Summer Day Camp then now is the time. We have a
few different options to choose from a 5 week two day a
week camp and a traditional one week Camp for each boys and
girls. All the details are here:

Please don’t delay if this is something that you think would
be a good fit for your family! We have 3 more spots available
in August and 4 in June/July.

Check out the link or feel free to give me a call at
503-459-2073 to get started.

All the best,  Karen

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Creating an environment of success

By Karen DeBolt | 5th Jun 2009 | Filed under Parenting, Personal, Techniques

A quick note before our regularly scheduled

About two years ago, I attempted to create a Day Camp that would address the specific needs of children diagnosed with ADHD which would help them to build specific skills through play. While I got lots of people interested, not enough signed up to make it go. I realized that part of the problem was that I wasn’t doing a good job of communicating about the camp, I was being limited by the ADHD diagnosis, and I was shy about getting the word out.

Doh! No wonder no one signed up.

Well, I have gotten a ton of phone calls and emails since then asking about social skills groups. After a lot of soul searching, I decided that this is the year. I have been lucky enough to get a great staff together and that is making all the difference!

So without further adieu. . .

Announcing Advantage Day Camp

Check out all the details at:


If you have any questions, feel free to fill out the form on the page or contact me here.

I’m really excited about what we are putting together, and I hope
you will be too.

All the best, Karen

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog article. . .

Creating an environment of success

My son is getting ready to move up to middle school next year. This is a big deal for any child, but for someone who is already struggling with school, it is an especially stressful time. He referred to school recently as “Six hours of complete misery.” Add to that, the fact that he is starting to be aware of how he is different from other kids and what it means to have “Asperger’s Syndrome” and well. . .it’s been a tough couple of months for him and us.

One of the things that we did to help him cope with the transition is to go take a tour of the new school. We are very lucky in our district to have a special classroom for children who have high functioning autism. In the new classroom, we saw work tables with walls to block out distractions, a break room where you can take a short nap, a quiet room where you can go read quietly, and organizational areas that allow each child to know what books and materials they need for each mainstream class and to take home.

There was a lot more, but you get the idea. My son was practically in tears when he saw the quiet room and the break room because he was so happy. He often needs to take a break during the day, and here are two areas where he can go and cool out in his classroom. I thought the organizational area was a revelation because that is a huge problem for him now.

So all this got me to thinking about how environments really affect how children behave. It seems like if an environment is set up really well then it will be easier for your child to be successful. In other words, how can we adjust the physical areas of our home to better support our children doing what we would like them to do?

Ideas for improving the environment in your home:

1. Analyze the problem areas – For example, you have trouble getting your children to pick up toys and you are always stepping on little bits and pieces in the family room.

2. Assess the reason for the problem – Maybe they are not getting all the Leggos up because the pieces are so small that they tend to get caught up in the carpeting.

3. Adjust the environment – Making it easier to get those little pieces up out of carpeting will make it more likely to actually get done so. . . Try providing a small dustpan and hand brush that is to be used only on picking up toys. (I got ours at the dollar store) dustpan.jpg

This process of analyze, assess and adjust will work on all kinds of problems to help you and your children come up with better ways to cope with problems. Adjusting the environment is one of the first steps towards calming the chaos around your house.

What are some ways that you have adjusted the environment at your house? We would love to know!

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Calling All Single Moms

By Karen DeBolt | 13th Mar 2009 | Filed under Parenting, Personal, Reflections, Relationships

I am working on a new resource for single moms who are wanting to get back into the dating scene or who are already trying to date and not getting the results they want.

 Believe me I have been there. After my divorce from my kid’s father, I went online and posted a profile on an internet dating site. I couldn’t figure out how I would ever meet anyone otherwise.

Nightclubs?  Too loud to talk

Book store? Way too shy to walk up and talk to someone

Friends? No one in my circle knew anyone date worthy.

So, I bit the bullet and gave online dating a try.  I learned a lot and in time I did meet and marry the man of my dreams. We have been very happily married for four years now and still act like a couple of newly weds most days.

So, I decided to create a resource for others so that I could share what I learned, so that you can avoid some of the pitfalls on the way to meeting the man of your dreams.

And what are those dreams anyway?

Send me an email at the contact line there on the left and tell me what questions or worries or problems you are having with dating as a single mom. Everyone who posts will get an opportunity to win a free copy.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Have a cookie!

By Karen DeBolt | 24th Jul 2008 | Filed under Parenting, Personal, Reflections, Self Care, Techniques

I just read an interesting blog entry from my dear friend, Anne Cuthbert. Anne is a counselor here in Portland specializing in eating disorders. She wrote a blog recently about how to help your kids avoid the risk factors for an eating disorder. Check out the article and send her a comment if you have any questions.

 I recognized many of this from my own childhood and some of you may notice the same thing. We don’t require anybody clean their plate at our house, but both my husband and I have trouble remembering for ourselves. Those habits get so deeply ingrained when we are little. 

Did you have to clean your plate?

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Masel Westerfield: We will miss her

By Karen DeBolt | 31st Mar 2008 | Filed under Personal

Masel Westerfield, age 69, passed away peacefully March 29th at her home in Hillsboro.
Masel as a young woman
Masel was born in Thompsonville, Illinois the daughter of Earl and Molly Davis. She is survived by her husband of 43 years David Westerfield, a daughter Karen DeBolt, and grandchildren Talla, Molly, and Sam Moyers of Hillsboro, also a son, Dean Westerfield, of Long Beach, Ca., two brothers, Lloyd Davis of Union Grove, WI and Robert Davis of Pekin, IL and, a sister, Gladys Herzog, a retired pastor, of Jacksonville IL. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers Oliver J. Davis and Elever (Dutch) Davis.

In 1973, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. After several rounds of chemo therapy, she went to Seattle for a bone marrow transplant at the Washington University Medical Clinic that was later to be known as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This procedure, created by Nobel Prize winner E. Donnell Thomas, was experimental at the time, and despite many challenges she was an early survivor. This story was featured in a Lifestyle article in the Hillsboro Argus August 17, 2000.
Masel in Red Hat Regalia
Following complete remission of her Leukemia, she worked as a special education teacher’s aid for 15 years in Huntington Beach CA schools and later as a substitute in Hillsboro Schools. In her spare time, she taught English as a Second Language to adults for almost 20 years and served as director of that literacy program for several years.

Masel served as a deacon for six years at the First Presbyterian Church of Westminster. During her tenure, she founded and organized a program for housing the homeless which helped more than 100 people.

In 1996, she moved to Hillsboro, Oregon and joined the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church where she served as deacon for two years. She also taught Sunday school since she was 18 years old at various churches. Masel was also an active member of the Red Hat Society.

Masel’s life will be celebrated in a memorial service at the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church April 26 at 4:00 pm. Donations may be made to the Hillsboro Presbyterian Church Member’s Needs Fund.

Any comments left here will be deeply appreciated.

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