Friday, September 23, 2011

Activities for This Weekend's Sunshine

By Cassie McCully

With our warm days coming to an end, how do you plan to spend Friday and Saturday's sunshine?

For those of us who live in the greater Portland metropolitan area, we're lucky to have so many great places to visit and things to do.

Visit. Have you been to this local landmark lately?  This museum is hosting 'Harvest Fun' for the family.

Hike. This view is worth the climb, and this trail at the edge of the city is the perfect place for bike riding, stroller pushing, walking and running.

Market.  This market in Portland's Historic Old Town is a must-visit for out-of-towners and locals, alike.  In Southwest Washington?  This market is close by in Vancouver and is the second largest farmer's market in Washington.

Browse.  Looking for a new read?  This store's shelves just might pull you in for a few hours. 

Eat. The calories are high and the lines are long, but this sweet shop has been talked about across the country. 

Listen. Live music and dancing at this cultural festival in the city.

Anything to add?  Write to us in the comments!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Is Your Child's Backpack Safe?

Now that it's back to school, have you noticed your child's backpack and what he or she may be carrying?  Have you ever thought about the safety of your back while you are toting your books and belongings to school or work?  Or do you rarely give second thought to carrying those extra pounds on your back?

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine researched children and back pain associated with backpacks and concluded information that shouldn't go ignored.

In a test of ten students, boys and girls, thirteen years of age, backpacks were fitted to each student with pressure sensors to test them carrying 10%, 20% and 30% of each of their body weight for 30 seconds.  With each increase in weight, were increased pain levels.  According to UCSD, studies have shown that children commonly carry 22% of their body weight on their back, which can be attributed to
  • Posture change
  • Spine curvature
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) annual estimates "there are nearly 7,500 emergency room visits due to injuries related to backpacks or book bags" (National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 2004). 

Now, to answer yesterday's Quiz Question From the Doc :

Q: As a rule of thumb, what percent of a child's body weight is the recommended safe weight limit for that child's full backpack?
A: According to Backpack Safety America, the recommended safe weight limit for a child's full backpack is up to 10% of a child's body weight.

Tips for backpack safety:
  1. Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10% of their body weight.  This will prevent your child from slouching forward while carrying their backpack.
  2. Backpacks should be worn over both shoulders.
  3. Backpacks should be positioned square on the back, close to the body, with the bulk of the weight at the waist.
  4. Minimize what is carried in the backpack.
  5. Backpacks should have wide shoulder straps to help carry weight effectively.
  6. When backpack has a waist strap--use it.
Best in health, naturally,

Dr. Marc


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quiz Question From the Doc

In the spirit of back to school, backpacks and books...

Q: As a rule of thumb,
what percent of a child's body weight
is the recommended safe weight limit for that child's full backpack?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Doubled Success

Friends and Patients,

Our 'Help Color a Child's World,' Back to School Drive was a huge success thanks to you!  With your help we brought in over 20 bags of supplies and 12 back backs.  The kids at Hearthwood Elementary will be benefiting from your generosity.  Shawn Renee, from Hearthwood Elementary, stated the need has doubled this year compared to last year.


Thanks again for making it a success.

Best in health naturally,

Dr. Marc


Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeling Adventurous This Weekend?

By Dr. Marc Davis

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have a new experience (as an elementary student I loved fieldtrips…nothing has changed there) but 3:30am?

Some friends and I and some of our kids decided to spend Labor Day on the Oregon Coast crabbing. In 23 years of living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest I had never taken the opportunity to go crabbing.

We woke up at 3:30am, met our friends at 4:30am and were on the coast a couple hours later. We wanted to get there early to be there for high tide. Also, because it was a Labor Day, we wanted to beat the rush (both with traffic and renting our crab baskets and bait).

Some things to keep in mind from my perspective as an amateur crabber:

  • You will need a license for anyone 14 and older (kids under 14 can crab for free).  You must get the license in Oregon such as at Bi-Mart or Sports Authority. It is $11.50 for a three day pass or $20.50 for an annual pass. You will need to know the Social Security number for anyone for which you want to get an annual pass, but not for the three day pass. I got an annual pass for myself; however I did not have my 15 year old son’s SS # on me and calling him did not provide the needed information so I settled for the three day for him.  One day passes are not available.  These are rates for Washington residents.  Oregon residents are presumably less.
  • Garibaldi Marina in Garibaldi, Oregon is a popular spot to crab, and the people at the marina are professional and personable. You can rent a boat for about $60 (seats 6) for a few hours I am told. All the boats were reserved because of the holiday weekend and our spontaneity. Instead we went to a local pier and crabbed along with about 30 others.  Pier access was free.
  • We rented our crabpots for $5 each and the bait (frozen fish) for $3.
  • You will need a bucket filled halfway with the bay’s water for collecting your crabs. You may only keep male crabs over a certain size.  According to you can keep male crab larger than 5 3/4 inches across the back.  In Washington, the legal size limit must be at least 6 inches across the back.  Smaller than that, you must throw them back.  Check with the bait shop or the marina to be sure.  It seemed that we would catch 5 for every one that were “keepers.”  It is nice to buy the crab measuring tool available where you rent the crab nets for a under $3.
  • Some of our group used frozen chicken legs which were well received by the crabs. Also you can buy smelly jelly that can make the lure even more attractive to crabs (the more pungent the better, apparently).
  • Even tough it was early September, instead of sunglasses and sunscreen, we needed warm clothing. I was glad I’d brought a sweatshirt.
  • Gloves such as the kind that are yellow used to clean the kitchen are helpful to not feel the pinch so hard (although I never got pinched, some in our group did without gloves and it hurt but usually did not seem to draw blood). Also the gloves are vital to prevent rope burn from quickly pulling in the crabpots.
  • Bring a chair (and your patience and/or a good book or a friend to talk to)…it takes time. We were there on the pier from about 7am to 1pm (with a hot chocolate break somewhere in between). 
  • The anticipation was fun.  One in our group caught 11 crab (the limit is 12 per license per day). My son and I caught five between the two crabpots that we had.
  • Once we were home I realized that, being amateurs, we did not own the correct utensils to enjoy eating the crab. I had to make a last minute trip to Wal-Mart and for $2 bought nut/shellfish cracking tools and picks which I found in the sporting goods section.
FUN FACT:  To tell between Male & Female crabs look on their belly.

The female shape "looks like the US Capitol Building,"

while the male shape "looks like the Washington Monument."

Need to know how to prepare your crab?
Here's a YouTube video that is informative and will have you enjoying your crab quickly!

There's nothing like a crab feast!
Unless of course, you are allergic to shell fish.
Any adventures in store for you this weekend?

Best in health, naturally,

Dr. Marc Davis

First crab photo
Crab shell photos and information source.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mint: For Health & Enjoyment

By Cassie McCully

Growing mint is as easy as throwing seeds and watching them turn into wildflowers--my kind of gardening!
Did you forget to water...for a week?  No problem!  With a lot of sunlight, mint will continue to grow and grow, and if you're not careful, it may just grow outside of its pot, into the ground and up the porch. 
Mint can be highly invasive. 

The good news is that growing mint can be purposeful and enjoyed in various ways.

The use of herbs and essential oils are becoming more popular with health care professionals, and even Dr. Davis.  Especially since we live in a day and age where our grocery store shelves are filled with processed foods that lose their essential nutrients through their processing.  Essential oils are the concentrated and complex heart of the plant.  The heart of mint, is in fact its leaves. 

  • Digestive Process: The menthol in peppermint aids the digestive process by creating bile, an essential digestive fluid, to soothe the digestive lining.
  • Nasal, Sinus and Chest Congestion: Menthol vapors are widely used for relieving nasal, sinus and chest congestion.  Just as Vick's Vapor Rub is marketed to give soothing effects, a cup of mint tea can do the same.
  • Cough: Drinking cold peppermint tea has been known to help with coughs. 
  • Colic: Peppermint tea has been used to soothe colic.  Talk with your pediatrician about soothing colic with peppermint.
  • Nausea, Gas and Tension Headaches:  Mint can ease nausea and excess gas when taken orally, and soothe tension headaches by rubbing peppermint oil on the temples.
  • Anti-inflammatory, Pain-Reducer, Counterirritant: Mint, in its essential oil form helps create white cells
  • Mental Fatigue: Mint has been used to re-energize the mind, and lift the mood.
  • Mint contains Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Using mint for the above mentioned remedies call for mint in either the concentrated essential oil form or in its natural-grown form.  You can find the essential oil of mint at your local health section in your grocery store or at your health food store.  Ask your health foods expert how to incorporate mint as a remedy for your health.

I could keep linking, but you get the picture. 

Mint can also be dried and stored for later usage. 

Perhaps now you are looking at those mint plants a little differently? 
I know I am.

Health references and more information: 
Photos by Cassie McCully


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blackberry Heaven

By Cassie McCully

The blackberries are ripe and ready to pick!  The kids and I have been on a couple berry picking outings already, and have gathered ourselves quite a few bowlfuls. 

Last week, while up in the more mountainous region of Camas, Washington, my husband and his friends found some Huckleberries.  He always does a nice job of thinking of me while away, even on a guys outing, and returned home with said berries in hand.

So what did I do with my berries, you ask?

I made one decadent pan of Blackberry & Huckleberry Crumble Bars!
  Not only did they taste divine, my house smelled just as nice.

Blackberry Crumb Bars
Adapted from Martha

"Delight picnic-goers with a portable version of summer berry crumble:
a perfect marriage of tart fruit and tender cake, capped with a slightly crunchy topping."


6 Tbsp. unsalted butter melted, and 1/2 C. (1 stick), room temperature, plus more for pan
1 3/4 C. flour
1/2 C. packed light-brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 containers (5 oz. each) blackberries--or whichever berries you have on hand


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8 inch square baking pan, or double the recipe like I did, and use a 9 x 13 pan.  Line bottom of pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides to use as handles when you remove the entire pan of treats after they've baked and cooled.

2. Make topping: in a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt; add 1 cup flour and mix with a fork until large moist crumbs form.  Refrigerate topping until ready to use.
3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat room temperature butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture.  Spread batter evenly in pan and sprinkle with berries, then chilled topping.

4. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40-45 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Using foil overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into squares.

Note: These are even more delicious on the second day.

In case you missed it, you could also throw some berries into

What berries have you picked lately and what plans do you have for them?



Health Disclaimer

This information on this web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting Dr. Marc, your pediatrician or family doctor.

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