Spring Break Must Do’s

It’s almost that time of the year again which is the beloved Spring Break. Some families spend this time traveling to exotic places, but you shouldn’t have to keep up with the Joneses to have a fun and memorable Spring Break. There are so many ways for families to enjoy the week off of school while staying right here in Eugene, Oregon.

Explore Hendrick’s Park

It’s easy to spend hours walking along the many trails of Hendrick’s Park which are covered by beautiful flowers and giant green trees. They are accompanied by large grass fields that are perfect for a family picnic or game of frisbee. Once you get there, you won’t want to leave.

Mini Golf At Putter’s Family Entertainment Center

Putter’s knows Eugene’s weather is unpredictable at best, and created the perfect environment for those long rainy days when you can’t wait to get out of the house. They are equipped with an indoor 18-hole mini golf course, laser tag, tons of arcade games, a playground, and pizza. 

Get Air Trampoline Park

Not only is it a giant room covered in trampolines, there are basketball hoops, obstacle courses, dodgeball, and foam pits. This place is truly fun for all ages.  

Adventure Children’s Museum

What’s more fun than a museum where you are allowed to touch everything?! Located in the Valley River Center, this children’s museum is full of activities for kids to learn while playing. 

Hike Spencer Butte

Rain or shine, hiking Spencer Butte is a must-do. The trail is doable for the whole family regardless of hiking experience and you’ll be too distracted by the beautiful scenery to notice how tired your legs are. At the top you’ll see amazing views of Eugene including Autzen Stadium.

Discover The Solar System

Go on an adventure to find all of the planets which are scattered along the Willamette River! The scale model begins in Alton Baker Park and expands 3.5 miles through Skinner Butte Park. It’s along the paved path so perfect for an afternoon bike ride!

Skinner's Butte Park

The possibilities of fun are endless here! From riding bikes along the river to playing on the giant playground, you are bound to have a great Spring Break day here. 

Magical St. Patrick’s Day Treats

Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with some sweet treats that may even bring you some extra luck. While all of these foods are green, don’t forget to actually wear it or else you could get pinched!

Lucky Pancakes

Start off the holiday of all things green with these amazing pancakes.

Ingredients:
Pancake mix, green food coloring, whipped cream, Lucky Charms marshmallows

Oreos-O-Gold 

Attract all of the leprechauns with this unique pot of gold! They won't even be disappointed to find that the gold isn't real.

Ingredients: 
Oreos, dark chocolate, gold sprinkles, Air head Extreme rainbow sour candy, water bottle, parchment pap

Lucky Krispie Treats

You’ll never want to eat plain Rice Krispie treats again after trying these. 

Ingredients:
Butter, marshmallows, Rice Krispie cereal, vanilla extract, green food coloring, Lucky Charm’s marshmallows

Shamrock Floats

This epic float couldn’t be easier to make or any more delicious.

Ingredients: 
Lime sherbert, lemon lime soda

Leprechaun Popcorn

Combine sweet and salty with this festive popcorn. But watch out, some leprechauns might come and try to steal all of it!

Ingredients:
Popcorn, green M&Ms, green and white chocolate candy melts, St. Patrick’s sprinkles

7 Tips To Motivate Your Child To Learn

Are you worried about your children’s learning skills like low concentration? Then try to motivate your child to learn because if they feel inspired, they will be interested in studying and make the best efforts to achieve their goals.

At this age, a child is oblivious to the importance of learning and mostly interested in playing games. Instead of forcing them to study, make them understand the value of learning in their own way. Remember motivation is not only needed by weak or reluctant students, but by good learners when they feel demotivated due to any reason.

The Learning Environment:

The most impactful and inseparable part of learning is the environment. A right environment will effortlessly increase the will and focus of your child. This means no music, no TV, and no distraction from other family members. Keeping all the essentials set for studying before, so that your child can completely concentrate on the topic.

Make a Realistic Routine:

Try to set a daily routine for your child which starts from brushing their teeth in the morning to a daily study schedule. But keep in mind to set a flexible and feasible routine for your child so that they can love to follow it.

Set Time-Based Targets:

Make them set goals which they have to achieve. Break the big assignments into small ones and let them finish them in a given interval of time. Achieving these small goals make them feel motivated to learn more and efficiently.

Judge Them on Learning, Not on Scores:

It sounds very discourteous and marks a negative impact on your child when you yell at their low scores. Instead, try to ask what they learned in school and try to explain the lesson in an easy version with examples so that they can retain it for a long time. Make your child understand the difficult or confusing topic directly, clear their concepts and motivate the child to learn efficiently.  

Know What Your Child Loves to Read:

Always give priority to your child’s subject of interest. Never force them to pick any of your choices. Make them explore their favorite subject, it will increase their focus, knowledge, and believe in themselves.  

Reward Every Single Achievement:

Giving rewards to your children on their small or big achievements surely makes them feel recognized and motivated to study hard with more concentration. Rewards always mark a positive impact on a child and keep them motivated to do better in the future.

Stay on Your Child’s Team:

Communicate with your child positively, gently, and respectfully. Any adverse reaction may make your child defy you and may hinder their moral. Ask and value their suggestions on the topic of discussion. Avoid ticking off your children, instead solve their problem or explain their lectures in easy language, or with the help of any learning application on the internet for better understanding.

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7 Resources Foster Parents Need To Know About

Fostering is a tough decision to make; it brings with it joys and trials like any kind of parenting holds. While vastly rewarding, it holds certain challenges. The following are seven resources every foster parent should have.

A Fostering Mentor

When you know someone who has already journeyed the path of fostering and/or adoption, that person can be an amazing resource for foster parents. Parenting, in and of itself, is a challenge. For new parents, knowing whether or not a behavior or quirk in personality is normal can be tricky. This is particularly true in foster parenting. Attachment in fostering can appear quite different than in those traditional parenting scenarios. When experiencing these differences, they can be worrisome or confusing. Having a mentor in your life, someone of whom you can make queries known or to whom you can voice concerns is vastly helpful. A mentor can assuage your fears and reassure you that things are proceeding normally and help find other resources when situations call for them.

A Library of Helpful Books

These include Dr. Karyn Purvis's The Connected Child, which is a must-read for parents looking after children with attachment issues, inabilities to bond healthily, or other disorders; Beyond Consequences, Logic, & Control by Heather T Forbes, which answers how to discipline children when they are acting out of their trauma, and A Different Beautiful, by Courtney Westlake, whose infant girl had a rare skin disorder from birth. Other books are The Mystery of Risk, by Ira J. Chasnoff, M.D., an expert who is world-renowned on the topic of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge, who was herself adopted.

A Child Therapist with the Right Experience

It is not unusual for parents to feel that seeking the help of a professional therapist or counselor means that they have failed in some way. This is categorically untrue. Foster children benefit from experiencing a safe place in which they can work through some pretty complicated feelings. Loss is inherent in fostering and adoption. Sometimes those feelings of loss can result in the child feeling less secure in a parent/child relationship. Do not be afraid to help the child through this grief and offer support in the best ways possible. Visiting an experienced therapist who is trained in attachment-based therapy will assist in strengthening the connection between you and your child. 

A Pediatrician Trained with Fostering and Adoption

The reasons behind your child being placed in foster care and the previous living conditions might well influence this or her health, especially when children are coming to you from care that is post-institutional. You require a pediatrician that views the child's fostering narrative as a possible underlying cause to whatever medical conditions may be present. Sometimes a foster child's internalizations of loss and grief are manifested through medical conditions, physical behaviors, gastrointestinal issues, and emotional disturbances. These are regularly seen in foster children and adoptees and in this case, treating both the symptom that is visible and the cause that underlies it is of vital importance.

A Respite Caregiver

Respite is a term often used in caregiving communities that means to have a break, a short period of relief or rest from a task or tasks that are unpleasant or difficult. Parenting can be both of those things, and all parents need breaks here and there. All parents can feel guilty about this. This is misplaced. Some foster parents do not wish to confess to their feelings being exhausted and overwhelmed; avoiding asking for the help they need out of aversion to being judged. Allowing a qualified babysitter, close friend, or family member to tend your child while you relax results in you being a refreshed, refueled, and revitalized caregiver to your child. Your child requires you to be emotionally and mentally healthy more than he or she needs you to be in their presence for the full 24 hours in a day. 

A Supportive Community

This community might be online, a support group, a church, close relatives, or a warm neighborhood, but we all require people about us who we know will be there for us in times of need and to share with us in joyful times. These groups can also often be drawn upon as sources for respite times and for recommendations of qualified experts.

Internet Resources

A community is not the only resource to be found online. While the internet often has hate and negativity, it also has understanding and love in the right places. Look for people who have been where you are in the fostering journey. Here you might find a fostering mentor or someone in need of your expertise that you can help and pay it forward.

Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Youth Villages. She often produces content for a variety of foster care blogs.

Run With Us At The Eugene Marathon

Get your running shoes on and start training because the 13th annual Eugene Marathon is about two months away and you have the chance to run for FREE. Sign up with A Family For Every Child and participate in the 5K, half marathon, or full marathon free of charge! All you have to do is meet the fundraising minimum, $75 for the 5K and $175 for the half and full marathon, by May 5, 2019. The money you raise will be donated to AFFEC and be used to support foster children in Lane County and beyond by connecting them with adoptive parents, providing them with mentors, and more.

Since 2011 the race has been held at Hayward Field, but due to the recent demolition and reconstruction of the iconic landmark, the event has been moved to Autzen Stadium. Runners will travel through downtown Eugene, with live musical performances along the path, and cross the finish line inside the stadium at the 50-yard line. You don't want to miss this event.

There’s also fun for the whole family! Children 4-12 years old can run in the Duck Dash, a 1k around Autzen Stadium, and children 12 and older are able to participate in the 5K. After the races, everyone will get to celebrate their victories at the Finish Line Festival where food will be supplied from various vendors. Get all of your friends and family together and spend a day enjoying the outdoors while raising money for AFFEC!

Get Involved With AFFEC!

A Family For Every Child began in 2006 to find permanent adoptive homes full of love for waiting foster children. Over the years, 10+ programs have been implemented to assist special needs and challenging-to-place foster children find their forever families. None of this would be possible without all of the wonderful people who donate their time to us and you could be one of them. There are so many opportunities to get involved and make life-long impacts on these children’s lives.

1. Volunteer

We have two events coming up, Princess for a Day (3/3/19) and Hero for a Day (5/18/19) and volunteers are what make them possible. Spending the afternoon with foster children will make a long lasting impression in both of your lives. And who doesn’t love a day full of princess or superheroes?!

2. Intern

Whether you are interested in social media, child recruitment, fundraising, event planning, or something else, there is a spot for you at AFFEC. It’s the best way to gain work experience, and simultaneously make a difference in dozens of kids lives.

3. ROUNDUP APP

Download this app on your smart phone and every purchase you make on your card will get rounded up and the difference will be donated to the nonprofit of your choosing. Every $2.25 coffee you get from Starbucks, could be a 75¢ donation to help foster children find their forever homes. It’s so easy and you’re making a difference without even thinking about it. 

4. Donate 

It takes a wide variety of items to keep our program an ongoing success. Anything from office supplies to gift cards to children books and games, we could use. Decluttering your home or old storage unit could make a big difference in both of our lives.

5. Spread The Word

Tell your friends, family, co-workers, barista, anyone about A Family For Every Child and you are helping us out! We love having our name out in the community and want to bring awareness to all of the amazing foster children awaiting homes. You may not have the time to be involved with us physically, but spreading our name and message is more than enough. 

Thank you to everyone who worked with us in the past and those who want to become involved in the future! A Family For Every Child and all of our children and families are so grateful for you. 

Valentine’s Day Crafts For Kids

Not all young kids understand the meaning of Valentine's Day yet, but one of the best ways to learn is through art. These crafts are great for all ages and don't call for many supplies. Have fun!

Not all young kids understand the meaning of Valentine's Day yet, but one of the best ways to learn is through art. These crafts are great for all ages and don't call for many supplies. Have fun!

Yarn Heart

These hearts make the cutest gift and can be used as decorations around the house or at work.

Supplies:
Cardboard, scissors, yarn, hot glue gun

Valentine Rocks

This is a great way to get outside and be creative. The kids will love getting to hunt for rocks, paint with their hands, and share with friends and family.

Supplies:
Rock, paint, markers

Candy Dog

This is one is trickier, but better than taking care of the real dog your kids have been wanting.

Supplies:
1 Smarties candy, 5 Hershey’s Kisses, pipe cleaner, google eyes, foam paper, small pom-pom, glue

Love Bug

Instead of throwing away all those toilet paper/paper towel rolls, turn them into art! There are so many ways to make these bugs and your kids creativity will shine. The fun is limitless!

Supplies:
Cardboard roll, paint, google eyes, pipe cleaners, beads, construction paper, glue, markers, scissors

Hand Print Bouquet

What's better than a bouquet that will never wilt?! Make it a tradition and watch your child(ren) grow over the years.

Supplies:
Paint, markers, scissors, paper

Dear Princesses, Save The Date

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Our 11th annual Princess for a Day event is upon us and we’re asking for the fairest in the land to attend! Join us for a day full of spa treatments, dress-up, tea parties, dancing and singing along side all of your favorite Disney princesses, and more. The royal party will commence on March 3, 2019 from 10A.M. to 5P.M. at the Valley River Inn in Eugene, Oregon. Foster children are admitted for free and non-foster children can purchase tickets for $50, which includes the event, tea party, and one guest. Registration can be done online, at the door during the event, or in person at our office (1675 West 11th Avenue Eugene, Oregon). If you want to join but don’t have a princess to bring, we offer tons of volunteer opportunities. Of course none of this can be done without the help of our amazing community so thank you to all of those who have donated and if you would like to donate here is a list of princess necessities. We are so excited to see all of you there!

Best Blogs By Adoptees

The Lost Daughters

Lost Daughters is written by a wide variety of adopted women who are 20-60 years old and share their unique adoption experiences and upbringings. Since Amanda started the project in 2011, Lost Daughters has become a safe space for adoptees to contribute their stories and find a strong community of women to relate to.

The Adopted Life

Angela Tucker started The Adopted Life as a personal blog in 2009. In 2013, her adoption story was featured in Closure, a documentary spanning two years of her life while she searched for her biological parents and family. Today, Angela works at Amara where she is the Director of Post-Adoption Services, is creating an adoptee mentorship program, and writes for Lost Daughters. She is an advocate for adoptee rights and leader of transracial adoption.

I Am Adopted

Jessenia Arias created I Am Adopted as an outlet for adoptees to share their adoption stories. It has grown into a website full of resources for adoptees and an educational platform for adoptive parents. Her blog is full of raw content of what it’s like to be an adoptee suffering from trauma, identify, loss, stress and more. Her goal is to help everyone find their purpose in life.

Adoptee Restoration

Deanna was adopted in 1966, found her biological mother and siblings in 1993, and started her personal blog in 2013. Adoptee Restoration offers insight to adoption from the Christian community, features her personal struggles as an adoptee, and documents her ongoing search for her paternal family. She is also a spiritual contributor for Lost Daughters and has written many  books.  

Black Sheep Sweet Dreams

The author of Black Sheep Sweet Dreams, who remains anonymous, has created this blog as a resource for those who want to find their biological parents. She talks about her journey and offers tips for others who are searching for their birth parents. Often referring to her life as a “rollercoaster,” her posts are honest, inspiring and humorous. She just released her book, Black Sheep Sweet Dreams: Adoption Journal.

The Adopted Ones

The Adopted Ones is written by two adoptees from the post World War II era who come from different adoptive backgrounds and have varying view points on adoption. This blog is a great place to hear opinions, reflections, and personal stories. They discuss everything about the world of adoption.

Confessions of an Adoptee 

This isn’t your typical blog, but it is an amazing platform for adoptees to anonymously share their stories, feelings, dreams, and fears. The posts are full of emotion and a great place for adoptees to truly and freely express themselves.