Summer Camps at FMES

It’s fun to see how all our experiences lead to new opportunities. After directing a variety of camps for the last seven years with other preschools, the 4H, Boys & Girls Club, as well as Healthy & Fun Choices® programs, I am now the new camp director for Franciscan Montessori Earth School at 147th & SE Division Street in Portland, Oregon.

The camps are remarkably different! They bring together Montessori teaching style with exciting topics and studies giving youth the ability to focus and explore during a week long camp. Camps are either half or full day and you can combine half day camps to make a combo full day experience.

To see all the camps and to register online, please visit For additional information, please email me directly at

Meditation for Every Day Life

Meditation for Every Day Life
Guest Post by Ben Stanford

When you have some spare time relax your breathing system, only for a few minutes, there is no need to do anything else besides relax your body. When you are outside of your home either on the bus or train nobody will be aware of what you are doing. Just let it be, close your eyes and focus your mind on the breathing going in and out, do not let the noise from the outside disturbances or the person you are sitting beside effect your focus. Meditation is a simple awareness. The noise of the train or the car rumbling is a part of everyday life and that is ok! Accept this, the noise of the traffic passing is ok. You cannot avoid the truth.

It is better to face it, accept it and live it. Once you start living life with authenticity, all your troubles start to disappear and you are no longer divided. Your voice will have a unity and your body a vibrating orchestra, your inner conflicts will disappear.

Start to do some people watching, watch what they say and do, watch for a clue and find if they are really genuinely happy. Immediately you will be aware they their inner voice is really saying something else. By this you can watch yourself, when you are saying you are happy when you are not. This will cause a disturbance in your breathing. If you said you were stressed or unhappy your breathing would remain natural though by repressing this thought, your breathing is forced down and is no longer in sync with your mind.

Whenever you are together and in tune with your body and mind you will find suddenly you are happy, this is why people like to practice yoga and meditation to create a unison, whose parts are interrelated and not conflicting.

Breathing from the chest
The right way to breath is through the chest, in times of stress the chest can be used for breathing. In times of an emergency your breathing will be shallow and fast. Ordinarily the chest should be used to breath naturally so you can remain calm. If you breath from the chest, you may have tensions in your mind and your chest breathing for meditation may be fast and shallow.

Remind yourself you breath deeply for a few seconds, let your belly come up when you inhale, let your chest go down when you exhale. Let this be a rhythm that become the core of your energy. By creating this harmony you will become more relaxed and create more vitality in your everyday life.
Relaxed attention and meditation
With this technique firstly you have to developed your attention, you should develop a kind attitude only then will this technique before functional for you. So when you have attention you can experience yourself.

When you are in your car or on the bus to work, thing about what you are doing there. Develop your attention, just look and be there. Do not focus your mind on the outside noises or people, be the look, don’t think anything. You are not aware of yourself because there is a wall, every look comes back, everything is reflected, responded to, though you are not there to receive it as your mind is somewhere else. Be there to receive it, you can try this out every day to develop attentiveness.


Letting go of stress at the end of the day
At the end of each night, sit in a comfortable chair or lay in bed and let your head relax and fall back. Release your jaw so there is no tension in your neck and head. Focus on your breathing it should be relaxed, focus on breathing from the mouth, let this be natural it should go in and out lightly. Keep your eyes closed with your mouth open and relax.

Start to feel your legs becoming loose, feel as if they have become like jelly at the joints. Imagine your hands becoming loose and being relaxed no just to check and torso remains. Start to thing about your head, relax your forehead, eyebrows nose, leave it relaxed and calm.

Switch your mind from thinking to feeling and start breathing from the heart. For meditation, this has nothing to do with the physical heart it belongs to the subtle body.  Do this a few times, take 5 deep breaths at once, this will help you shift your body from your mind to your heart. You will become more aware of many things you have not been aware of, move from your head to your heart you will start to feel more relaxed and connected with your body.

Do this for 20 minutes at the end of each day before you go to sleep, try it out for a few weeks and your restlessness will settle. Working with this as apart of your everyday life will help your energy more into an essential part of relaxation, energy will start flowing into your legs, hands, heart and in your head in a more proportionate way.

Why Colorful Foods?

When I am not inspiring individuals about their healthy choices, I create logo designs and am a professional writer. I remember one year a client of mine was looking through a color book with me on selecting their color for their logo. He kept picking out pinks and browns. It wasn’t until a conversation started about colors that he discovered he was colorblind.

So remember, even though you may like the color red or blue, or you are colorblind, it’s a good idea to have conversations daily with your friends or parents to talk about the colors of food and drinks that you are consuming.


Eating by colors is an important part of having a healthy diet. Many people that have attended my workshops, hear me talk about choosing colorful foods.

Why Colorful Foods?

Colorful foods bring in all the nutrients, minerals, proteins and herbs that our bodies need for enjoying and digesting our foods. Colorful foods keep your body well nourished.

So remember, even though you may like the color red or blue, or you are colorblind, it’s a good idea to have conversations daily with your friends or parents to talk about the colors of food and drinks that you are consuming.

Are you eating a good combination of foods? Try this for one day:

List all the foods you eat by each color and take note if you missed any colors. If you did, add a food in that color tomorrow. Remember we can always make adjustments. Every day you should be eating whole grains and greens to keep your digestive system working properly and reducing the toxins in your body.










For more questions or to schedule a workshop with Kirsten Klug, please email her at

Healthy Living

Healthy living is a way of putting your health at the top of your priorities.

Healthy living includes making conscious choices and having conversations with others throughout your day on what choices are best for the moment and your overall health.

Healthy living choices include daily:


1. Sleep – relaxation, meditation, stretching and yoga

2. Nutrition – eating colorful foods from all five food groups including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, proteins/fish, and milk/dairy.

3. Physical Activity – walking, taking the stairs, bringing your heart rate up and using your muscles

4. Positive Attitude – focus on the good in your life, surround yourself with others that keep your spirits up, and read books that inspire you to think positively

5. Behaviors – be kind, loving and thoughtful of yourself and others

Join us on Feb. 7th at Alpenrose Dairy for the 2nd Annual Healthy and Fun Choices® Family Event – All-you-can-eat Pancake Feed starts at 9:30am, followed by Healthy Conversations and Games at 11am and then a piano concert featuring Michael Allen Harrison! Get your tickets now.

Healing with Meditation or Prayer

Part of healing after being sick, living with chronic pain, or having surgery includes relaxation, meditation and renewal.

Meditation or prayer is the practice of focused thinking and breathing.  It is a way to bring light and energy to one’s healing. It can be done right before going to bed, when a person wakes up, sitting in a chair or sitting in lotus position.

Meditation and Prayer is the act of getting quiet within, letting go of what you don’t have control of, and focusing on a positive or inspirational word, scripture or subject matter, and then allowing your mind to focus on all the good available. Breathing with your thoughts is important as well.

You can meditate or pray by yourself or with others. You can do it while you wait on the phone or even when you take a shower. You can keep your experiences within or share them with those close to you. Sometimes conversations around meditation and prayer allows you to feel supported and in the process of healing.


Many cancer patients work with their health navigator to understand the power of relaxation, meditation and even yoga. All of these simple, yet important, parts of your day can reduce pain and sicknesses.


Portion sizes

When eating food, it’s easy to eat in a hurry and not notice what you are putting in your mouth. It’s also easy to grab a big dinner plate and fill it full of food is more than you need.

It is wise to check with your doctor or nutritionist about how many calories your body and bone structure need. Everyone is different and your body may be different at different times of the year or month.

Here are a few suggestions for watching portion sizes:
1. Begin by becoming more aware of what, how much and when you eat. Keep notes in a journal.

2. If you see yourself filling up a big dinner plate, switch to a smaller dinner plate.

3. Try drinking a glass of water first before having another beverage of milk, soda or juice.

4. Use your hand to compare portions of certain foods.

5. Always remember you can eat more vegetables than anything else.

Healthy food choices

Sometimes choosing reduced-fat or low-sugar foods are actually worse for you than if you just choose natural foods. Check out this video to see five kinds of food that may not be as healthy as you may think:

Why is attitude so important?

Your brain’s most remarkable feature enables you to think about how you feel. No other animal in the world has this ability. That’s also why your thought processes, attitude choices and communications can be so challenging.

In order to enjoy parenting to the fullest, to experience everything, a positive attitude is necessary. It allows you to lead with confidence and conscious choice. By demonstrating a positive attitude to your child(ren) you are being an important role model in their life.

Positive attitude is seen by others in:
• Your smile or friendly gestures
• How you speak–the tone of your voice, your facial expressions, your pauses, the words you choose
• In your actions–how you hold yourself, your patience
• What you choose to talk about and how you are proud of your children or family members

Your attitude is seen the moment you wake up in the morning. It’s seen when you react to something that happened whether it was an accident or not. Your attitude is what is shown as you walk, run or skip through the day. Your child(ren) pick up on your attitude, so if their attitude is frustrating you, look at yours first and make the adjustments to yourself.

Problem: A full cup of milk just fell off the counter and made a huge mess.
Your reaction: “Oops. Well, let’s get this cleaned up. Now we have a very clean kitchen!”

Problem: A boy gets frustrated and pushes another boy.
Your reaction: “Stop. Let’s talk about this and figure out another way that may be better for both of you.”

Problem: Your daughter yells to get your attention.
Your reaction: “I’m sorry I was day dreaming. Next time can you please ask me nicely. I’d really appreciate it.”

Time Outs – How do you handle them?

My daughter learned how to count to 20 by the time she was 2 because I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do as a parent… putting her in time outs when she didn’t behave the way I thought she should or do something that wasn’t very nice.

I noticed that time outs for my daughter typically made her more anxious and frustrated.

So one day, I decided to turn it into a learning experience and have her count while she was taking a break. That allowed her to breathe, slow down and focus. Now that she is 8, if she needs a time out she recognizes it and goes to her room or a different environment.

I remember we had some friends that put their children in time outs all the time. In fact, they had a time out chair and sometimes I believe their girls would do unkind behaviors just to get the attention of the chair. I wonder if they will have a time out chair as adults?

My son is always on the go, so a time out was just not possible for him. It took him longer to learn how to count, but I have realized that the time out consequence could be more harmful for his imaginary mind. When he does something that is unkind or harmful, we talk about it and use acting or play to show how it could be handled differently.

I’ve realized each child and each experience is different. We live and learn. We make mistakes. As parents we are doing the best we can at the moment.

Talk with others and with your children… what seems right for them? What works for you?

Event Fast Facts

What:   Healthy and Fun Choices® Family Event
Who:    Parents, Children, Teachers, Community Members, Business Owners, Press
When:       Saturday, January 25th
Time:         Workshops Begin at 10am & BBQ at noon
Where:     Alpenrose Dairy

Featuring these speakers/workshops:
• Kirsten Klug of Healthy and Fun Choices
• Jake French Inspires
• Randy Traeger from The Virtues First Foundation
• Cat-in-the-Hat All about Reading
• Pianists from Micheal Allen Harrison’s Snowman Foundation
• and more!

Benefits of attending:
• Support programs that reach your schools

• Increase your awareness around healthy choices

• Open lines of communication 
• Win in a juggling (soccer or hand) contest
• Participate in the Banana Race™ 
• Listen to the Cat-in-the-Hat read Dr. Seuss books
• Understand positive attitude
• Eat at a delicious BBQ fundraiser
• Learn about oral and dental care

• Test your money and life skills in educational activities

• Bring your used musical instruments to donate

Suggested donation of $10 per family ENTERS you into a raffle drawing to win these awesome prizes:
• Nutcase Bike Helmets
• Bob’s Red Mill Food and Gift Baskets
• Gift cards to some to local businesses
• Life and Fitness Coaching/Classes

• and more!

Also there will be optional additional fundraisers that include FACE PAINTING, BALLOON ARTISTRY, and a HEALTHY, FUN PHOTO BOOTH

More info and the latest workshop/speaker schedule is updated daily.
Additional information about sponsorships, donations or event requests, please contact Kirsten at 503-314-6701.