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  • Kid’s Corner -

    Fun in the snow

    Mom’s Corner -

  • How to Dress a Kid for Winter-Dress in Layers

  • Dad’s Corner -

    The Proper Way to Shovel Snow

  • Planet Earth -

    Leap Year

  • News -                                                                                                        

    Poverty in America



            Welcome to the Doc Grubb newsletter for January-February 2012.

     Many psychologists feel that winter can be a depressing time, for children and their parents. Bad weather keeps people inside and if you go outside you need special clothing or equipment to spend time outside. However, winter offers great opportunities for the family to be together outside doing special activities. The time that the family spends together indoors and outdoors during the colder winter months can build memories, strengthen relationships, and just be all out fun with your children.

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To stay warm when you are outside, you need to bundle up with loose layered clothing under a waterproof coat. Always wear gloves, a hat, boots and a scarf or neck warmer around your neck. You’ll have a lot more fun in the snow if you are warm and comfortable.

Here are some great activities you can do this winter:

Go Sledding Find a nice hill that you can walk to dragging your sled. The hill should not be too steep. Walk around where you will be sledding and check it out BEFORE you start sledding. If there are large rocks, trees, tree roots, wooded areas, debris or irrigation pipes hidden under the snow, it may be too dangerous for sledding. Several years ago the son of one of our friends was killed in a tragic sledding accident.

Build a Snow House Build the house just like you build a snowman, but pack the snow in the shape of bricks and when you stack them, overlap the edges. Building a snow house without a roof is easier and you don’t have to worry about the roof collapsing. We like to put a flat piece of cardboard on for a roof and then build some snow furniture inside the snow house. You can even build a snow village with several houses with streets and sidewalks to connect all the houses.

Igloos and Snow Caves. If you have lots of snow, instead of building a house, it can be more fun to build an igloo or snow cave. We use aluminum bread pans as a brick mold for an igloo. Digging out a snow cave is fun, but be careful that it doesn’t collapse on you.

Paint The Snow All you have to do is to fill some spray bottles with water and food coloring and go crazy in the snow. Write your name in the snow or make a large message in the yard. My son and his friends like to have contests to see who can make the fanciest drawing in the snow.

Ice Skating Many families enjoy ice skating together during the winter season especially. Skating takes a little practice and expect to fall. Be really careful if you are heavy like me because ice skating requires steady ankles. Here in D.C. we have really nice ice rinks near the White House but there are many indoor skating facilities in a lot of cities.

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MOM’S CORNER                          


    It’s winter and it is so easy for children to get cold. The key is to DRESS THEM IN LAYERS! Dressing in layers helps your kids stay warm and dry and to adjust to the temperature as their activity level changes.

There should be at least three layers of clothing:

  • The under layer (underwear)
  • The insulating layer, and
  • The outer layer


The Under Layer/Underwear - You body will produce sweat even when you are cold. The innermost layer will carry (wick away) perspiration away from the skin and transports it to the adjacent insulating layer. For this to occur, the wicking layer must be thin and in direct contact with the skin. Cotton is not a good material for the under layer because it does not wick away moisture.

Insulating Layer - The insulating layer traps air which keeps you warm. Loose fitting layers trap more air. Wear layers and you adjust your layers as you get warmer from exercise.

Outer Layer- Eddie Bauer was one of the first to use goose down in jackets with squares sewn to keep the down separate to trap air. Your outer layer doesn’t have to be a thick coat as long as you have an inner and insulating layer underneath the coat.

                                 How to Dress a Child for Playing in the Snow

     A Warm Jacket or Coat Pick one that is a size bigger than the size the child currently wears so that you can layer underneath the coat. A hood attached to the coat is great! If the child forgets to take a hat to school, he will still be able to cover his head when the class goes out for recess on a chilly winter day. Down or synthetic filled coats with a waterproof shell are great. Down is really light weight is especially good because it works with the body’s temperature by constantly trapping the body’s heat within its feathers.

     Snow Pants are practical and popular. These pants go on under the winter jacket and will be the first layer of outdoor clothes the child will put on when getting dressed to go outside to play in the snow. You can keep them even warmer if you put a pair of long underwear underneath the snow pants.

     Snow Suit Some children prefer to wear one piece snow suits that replace both the snow pants and the jacket. These are warm and keep snow from getting under the clothing.

     Snow Boots Sneakers, shoes or other types of boots are not practical for snow play. Snow boots have a warm, removable lining and have a waterproof foot. They should be easy for your child to pull on without assistance. Fleece-lined boots keep feet warm and dry, and rubber soled boots with deep treads provide good traction in slippery conditions. Heavy wool or cotton socks keep their feet even warmer.

    Winter Hats, Mittens or Gloves and Scarves Children playing in the snow on a winter day especially need to wear a hat or a warm jacket hood. Very young children will need a hat that ties under the chin to keep it in place and older children can use a hat with ear flaps.

     Mittens keep hands warmer than gloves and are easier to put on for young children who have difficulties getting their fingers into a pair of gloves. Older children may find it easier to play in gloves, though mittens keep the hands warmer.

A scarf keeps the neck warm and also helps to keep snow and wind from getting down the top of the jacket. Neck warmers are safer than scarves because there is no additional fabric to pose a strangulation risk.

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     In the Washington, D.C. area where I live we haven’t had much snow SO FAR this year, but as you know shoveling snow causes muscle fatigue, low back strain, vertebral disc damage, and even spinal fractures. Some of these injuries result from excessive stress to spinal structures and others by slipping and falling. The sudden twist of the fall is a major cause of injury.

            Learning how to shovel snow properly can definitely help prevent injury.

General Comments:

If you experience pain of any kind, stop immediately and seek assistance.

Avoid caffeinated beverages. These are stimulants and may increase heart rate and cause blood vessels to constrict.

Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. It is important to re-hydrate your body often.

If the ground is icy or slick, spread sand or salt over the area to help create foot traction. You can also put a thin layer of snow over the ice to create better traction.

Dress in layers. Wear clothing that is easy to move in. This isn’t a fashion show.

Wear a hat because you lose a lot of body heat through your head.

Proper boots are essential for keeping feet warm and dry.  Soles with ridges provide traction and balance!

Wear gloves that will keep your hands warm, dry, and blister free. I like to use mittens so my hands stay warmer.

The shovel should be ergonomically correct and tall even for you to use without straining—a shovel with a curved handle. Many hardware stores and home centers stock ergonomically designed snow shovels. These shovels help you to keep your back straighter reducing spinal stress.

Sometimes a smaller blade is better. You will not be able to shovel as much snow per shovel load, but the load will weigh less, which puts less strain on the spine.

Get a shovel made to push snow (they are usually curved). It is far easier to push snow than to lift it.

Consider spraying a bit of silicon lubricant on the blade to keep the snow from sticking to the shovel.

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart to maintain balance. Try to keep the shovel close to your body. Lift with your legs—not your back. Do not twist your body. Dump the snow in front of you. If you need to move the snow to the side, move your feet—do not twist!

Don’t throw snow over your shoulder! Go forward with the snow.

Fresh snow is lighter in weight—so clear snow as soon as it has fallen. Snow becomes dense as it compacts on the ground. Wet snow is very heavy. One shovelful can weigh 20 pounds or more!

Pace yourself. Take frequent breaks to stretch your back and extremities. Take time to stretch to prepare your body for activity.

Community Involvement

Not everyone is able to shovel their sidewalks and driveways. Consider volunteering to shovel sidewalks and driveways of senior citizens in your neighborhood. There is no better way to offer community service to those who can shovel themselves.

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Leap Year

              Are you a Leapling? That is, someone who is born in a leap year?

     2012 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days, which means every four years, the month of February, has 29 Days instead of the regular 28 days. The Egyptians were the first to come up with the idea of adding a leap day once every four years to keep the calendar in sync with the solar year. That's because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact. The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four - 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024 and so on.


Did You Know that?


          The tradition of women proposing to men on leap year day dates all the way            back  to 5th century Ireland.

  • Astrologers believe that anyone being born on February 29th has unusual talents and personalities befitting of their special birth day.
  • People born on leap year’s day are called leaplings.
  • Anthony, Texas is the self proclaimed leap year capital of the world. Every year this little town that sits on the border of New Mexico holds a festival and leap year birthday celebrations complete with a carnival and hot air balloon rides. People come from all over the world to celebrate their special birthday in style.
  • The chances of having a leap year birthday are 1 in 1,461
  • There are about 4 million people in the world who have been born on February 29th.
     Most have to wait every four years to "officially" observe their birthdays, but leap year babies typically choose either February 28 or March 1 to celebrate in years that aren't leap years. Does this mean that if you have a leap year birthday you only 15 years old if you are 60 years old? I wonder how they figure up a dog’s age if it’s born on February 29th???????


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Poverty in America

     It’s hard to believe that in America, the richest country in the history of the world, the number of people who live in poverty continues to grow. In many towns people in poverty are unseen by the other members of their community. Poverty isn’t just not being able to pay the rent or electric bill, it also includes people and children going to bed hungry every night and not knowing where there next meal will come from. The demands on community food kitchens has grown incredibly great over the past few years to the point where the food kitchens and distribution centers have no hope of matching the demand for food. According to a report published by U.S. Census Bureau, there are 39 million poor people in America. Out of these, 13 million are children. The poverty rate in America historically fluctuates between 13 to 17%.

A recent survey revealed that one third of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and if they lost their job, they would not be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment. I just keep thinking about the statement that “most people are only one paycheck away from poverty.” It’s really scary.

There are many reasons for the increase in poverty to include:

Changes in Business Economy

             In the past, the American economy was mostly dependent upon manufacturing industries such as steel, textile and automobiles gave jobs to an uneducated labor force. Most of the jobs that required little or no education or training are long gone. New businesses rely on and demand  highly educated and trained professionals.


              As part of the shift in business economy, many businesses and whole sectors of business have vanished leaving many people unemployed. The majority of people living in poverty are either unemployed or only part-time employed. As we discussed above, a lack of education directly impacts employment opportunities

Move from Inner City To Suburbs

As American cities have grown far into the countryside surrounding the inner city many businesses shifted their bases to the newly developed suburb areas. Those who stayed back in the core cities faced a steep decline in the number of employment opportunities. This eventually forced them to live in impoverished conditions.

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Our free newsletter “The Worm’s Eye View” is uploaded to the computer each month. Each issue includes valuable information for all members of the family as well as the inclusion of the most up-to-date information concerning medical research and treatments.

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