Published as Play Room in PDX Parent magazine

Top 5: Cafés for Cocoa Foam Art

Cocoa season is in full swing! Keep this cold-weather kid-pick fresh by visiting one of our city’s top stops for hot chocolate foam art. From tulips and unicorns to personalized monograms, these baristas take pride in their liquid artistry — and many accept custom requests.

1. Albina Press wins points for its lovingly rendered foam-art animals, and if the baristas have time, you might even get a chocolate flower on top.  

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2. Over at Coava Coffee Roasters, you’ll encounter intricately stacked rosettes fashioned by friendly baristas, plus the rich flavors of Cocanú chocolate.  

3. At Barista — now a four-location mini-empire — the cocoa-art creations are sweetened by the welcoming kid-friendly vibes. 

4. At Kenton’s Presso Coffee Bar, an extra buck buys you a customized message crafted right into your foam.  

5. And don’t miss the cuteness overload happening over at Soro Soro Coffee & Dessert, where shy pandas and curious cats peek up at you from every steaming cup. (More on page 23.) Your wintertime Instagram feed is gonna be on point!

Ask Dr. Doug 

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Q: I’ve noticed my 8-year-old daughter is extremely thirsty and eating a ton, but seems to be losing weight. I plan to discuss this at her well-child appointment coming up, but I was wondering if these symptoms could be linked to juvenile diabetes?       

 A: Kids who are losing weight need to be evaluated as soon as possible,  and I hope you’ve been able to see your pediatrician about your concerns. You’re right that when diabetes shows up suddenly in kids, it often involves excessive thirst, increased urination and losing weight in spite of increased appetite.

Type 1 diabetes is fairly common, affecting 1 in 400 children and teens under 20. There is some overlap in ages between what we used to call “juvenile” and “adult-onset diabetes,” so now we use the terms “type 1” and “type 2.”

While it can be a complex disease, the simplest way to think about type 1 diabetes is this: Although you have plenty of sugar in your blood, your body is not making enough of the hormone insulin, so you can’t actually use that sugar for energy. When this goes on long enough, the body breaks down fat for energy (instead of using the sugar). A buildup of acidic byproducts from this process (ketones) can be dangerous if it continues unchecked, leading to bad stuff that can land kids in the ICU. 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, where for reasons we don’t fully understand, our immune system attacks and destroys the cells in our pancreas that make insulin. This can happen suddenly or gradually, but once it starts, there isn’t a cure. However, with careful blood sugar control, a healthy diet and daily exercise, type 1 diabetes can be a manageable chronic disease.  

The treatment for type 1 diabetes is to give our bodies what they’re not making enough of — insulin. If we took a pill of insulin, we would just digest it, so unfortunately this means giving daily shots. It also may mean figuring out how many carbohydrates your child is eating at each meal and checking his or her blood sugar with a finger poke, then adjusting the dose of insulin to cover the amount of sugar eaten. If this seems confusing, I understand — there is a reason pediatric endocrinologists work in a team with certified diabetes educators. More and more, I’m also seeing high blood sugar, high cholesterol and early type 2 diabetes in children. This is the type most of us are familiar with, where due to being overweight or obese, our bodies become resistant to the effects of insulin, even though we’re making plenty of it. We can treat this with medication that increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, but if we want to treat the root of the issue, we need to lose weight. Easier said than done — so start those healthy eating habits early.

Good Deeds: Soups

Amid the abundance (and culinary excess) of the Thanksgiving season, how can you and your kids support community members struggling with food insecurity? Cooking up a pot of homemade soup right in your own kitchen is a great place to start. Pick a simple recipe that kids can assist with prepping — think chicken soup with rice or a hearty minestrone — whip up a 2- or 3-gallon batch, and then call up the folks at Free Hot Soup. A volunteer from Free Hot Soup will come pick up your servings to share with community members. Free Hot Soup serves up the food it collects at a neighborhood “picnic” right out of downtown Portland’s Director Park at 6 pm five days a week. (Older, more mature kids and their parents are also invited to come out and help serve the meals.) Hot dinner for hungry neighbors? That’s a mission worth giving thanks for. Find out more at facebook.com/groups/freehotsoup. — E.J.B.

Chalkboard: Waste Not

One in 5 Oregonians is food insecure. And the nonprofit Urban Gleaners is tackling food insecurity while simultaneously addressing the issue of food waste. By partnering with 160 food donors, such as Dave’s Killer Bread,  Salt & Straw, Pastaworks, New Seasons, Laurelwood Public House & Brewery and Pacific Pie, they bring tasty and fresh unsold groceries and prepared foods to 4,700 people a week. A team of volunteers is crucial in distributing fresh produce, dairy, whole-grain bread and more at local schools and to community centers and low-income housing complexes across the metro area each week via their mobile markets. Because they believe there are enough barriers for families to access healthy food, Urban Gleaners does not have any income requirements. Anyone is welcome to come and pick up food. To donate food or money, volunteer your time (for adults or 16- and 17-year-olds with adults) — or to find a mobile market location where you can pick up free groceries — visit urbangleaners.org.  — Denise Castañon 

Bookshelf: Portland Book Festival Picks!

Grab a Sharpie and get in line! Kim Tano and Madeline Scheir, the children’s book buyers at Portland institution Powell’s Books, list their favorite children’s books whose authors or illustrators will be attending the Portland Book Festival on Saturday, November 9 in downtown Portland. Don’t miss the chance to get your kid’s book signed! Find out more at literary-arts.org.

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad (attending Portland Book Festival) and Hatem Aly 

Asiya chooses a beautiful, ocean-blue hijab to wear for the first day at school. Her sister, Faizah, is so excited for her! When they’re faced with confusing and hateful words, they remember their mother’s advice: knowing who they are is all that matters. Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American woman to earn a medal in the Olympic Games, brings this wonderful story to life. $17.99.  

Baby Dragon, Baby Dragon! by Melissa Marr and Lena Podesta (attending Portland Book Festival)  

Local illustrator Lena Podesta teams up with Melissa Marr for this sweet story about a young girl and a baby dragon. The dragon swoops and soars throughout the kingdom, and the girl does her best to keep up. After a day of flying through castles and across rivers, they both settle down for a giant feast with the rest of the kingdom. Perfect for young children with a sense of adventure! $17.99.

Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary by Vicki Conrad and David Hohn (both attending Portland Book Festival)

Hometown hero Beverly Cleary’s stories have resonated with children for decades, and in this new children’s biography, her own story gets the chance to shine. Vicki Conrad and David Hohn chart Cleary’s rise to authordom with thoughtful, compelling storytelling and joyous art that feels like it belongs alongside Louis Darling’s original illustrations of Cleary’s works. Don’t miss the back matter, which provides extra info and insights for older readers. $18.99.

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry (attending Portland Book Festival) and Mónica Armiño

Separated from his family, wolf cub Swift must trek 1,000 perilous miles across the Pacific Northwest to find a new safe place to call home. Inspired by the true story of OR-7, a wolf also known as Journey, and illuminated by Mónica Armiño’s beautiful illustrations, local author Rosanne Parry’s A Wolf Called Wander is sure to speak to young readers who love animals, the great outdoors, or a heartfelt adventure. $16.99.

Pay Attention: An Up-vote for Teachers

If small class sizes and robust PPS school programming rank high on your 2020 wish list, then drop your ballot in the mail by Thursday, October 31 or at a ballot drop by 8 pm on Tuesday, November 5, when Multnomah County voters will be asked to renew a five-year operating tax levy that currently funds PPS teacher salaries to the tune of almost $100 million. (The levy was passed by 70 percent of voters in 2014 and collected at a rate of $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value.) If renewed, Ballot Measure 26-207 is expected to support at least 640 teaching positions as well as provide a much-needed lift to important school programming, generating up to $112 million by the 2024-25 school year. For more info, visit multco.us/elections/measure-26-207-november-2019-special-election. — E.J.B.

We Recommend …

The A Kids Book About series, which tackles big topics such as racism, depression and cancer in a way that kids can understand. A number of Portlanders penned books for the series, including Wildfang CEO Emma Mcilroy and Jelani Memory, co-founder of Circle Media Labs. Learn more at akidsbookabout.com. — D.C.

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