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Birthday Traditions from Around the World

Birthday Traditions from Around the World

Stethoscopes and microphones? Bubble-gum flavored cake? Overseas celebrations? Prayer rituals? These may sound like outrageous birthday ideas to you, but to children around the world, a birthday wouldn’t be a birthday without one of these traditions. The standard American child’s birthday party goes something like this: Host a party at your house/restaurant/events center; guests bring […]

Rethink Receiving a Tax Refund

Rethink Receiving a Tax Refund

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) online poll last February revealed that a strong majority of respondents intentionally plan to receive a federal income tax refund. “The findings suggest that receiving an income tax refund has become standard operating procedure for some people, as 2014 is the second year in a row that the […]

Winter’s Drafts Make Them Daft

Winter’s Drafts Make Them Daft

By J. Shane Mercer The weather in this part of the country is fantastic for the three months of the year when there isn’t snow on the ground. Still, that leaves about eight or nine months when the outdoors is less than inviting and getting kids outside is a challenge. As far as I’ve been […]

Why It’s “In” to Be a Geek

Why It’s “In” to Be a Geek

By Gwen Rockwood I am a geek. Always have been. But now it’s easy—and almost cool—to admit it. Twenty-five years ago? Not so much. Back then, my glasses, braces, and clarinet carrying case were all social life liabilities. In the ‘80s, if you aced a few spelling tests or a teacher praised you for being […]

When Communities Care

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center A while back, there was a story on the evening news about a local cop who came across a young man—a third grader, maybe—who had a passion for playing basketball but couldn’t “make the team.” He actually couldn’t even try out for the team. He couldn’t […]

10 Ways to Do What You Don't Want to Do

10 Ways to Do What You Don’t Want to Do

Life would be grand if we only did what our fleeting hearts wanted to do, each moment of the day. Unfortunately, the laundry, taxes, and difficult conversations would never get done. The best books would never be written. All the achievements of humankind would be imagined, not realized. So what should we do if we’re […]

Squeezed for Time in the Kitchen? Simple Strategies for Stress-Free Dinners

Squeezed for Time in the Kitchen? Simple Strategies for Stress-Free Dinners

With school in full swing after the holidays, my family is busier than ever. Dinner often ends up sandwiched (quite literally) between basketball practice and a PTA meeting. I truly admire the breezy Mom-Chef who whips together a delicious family meal in 30 minutes. But for those of us less adept in the culinary arts, […]

Stop The Fighting: Straightforward Solutions to Sibling Rivalry

Stop The Fighting: Straightforward Solutions to Sibling Rivalry

Many parents wonder why their children fight with each other. All of us can be hurt and stressed by the level of nastiness that sometimes passes between brothers and sisters. The good news is that you can reduce sibling rivalry by understanding its causes and addressing the issues it raises. “Sibling rivalry” is the formal […]

The Wow Factor

The Wow Factor

Human beings have a remarkable capacity to grow unappreciative, to take the incredible and make it mundane. Comedian Louis C.K. was on the late-night TV show, “Conan,” a few years back ranting about the whininess of the current generation, even as we live in an age of remarkable technological advancement. He mimicked people complaining of […]

Letter to My Younger Self

Letter to My Younger Self

A wonderful thing is happening at our house. The kids are becoming…capable. That sounds weird, I know. It’s not like they were helpless blobs all this time, but lately I’ve noticed they can really do things—helpful things, necessary things—things my husband and I have been doing for them for more than a decade now. Today […]

Make an Investment in North Dakota Families

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center First let me state that I am a longstanding conservative who happens to work in a very liberal profession. I have been criticized loudly from both staff and community members periodically for my views and positions stated in this editorial space. I’m fine with that—after all, […]

Small Floor Plan, BIG Adventure

Small Floor Plan, BIG Adventure

Downsizing wasn’t exactly a choice for Mary Middleton. When the 67-year-old retired from her job as a registered nurse in October of 2013, she quickly realized she wasn’t comfortable paying the mortgage on her three-bedroom, two-bathroom, split-level home with a double garage. Middleton says, “I felt that I could no longer afford to stay in […]

Overeating:  An Emotional Journey

Overeating: An Emotional Journey

Marion always thought she was fat. She wasn’t, but every time she looked in the mirror the critiques of her teenage body began. “You shouldn’t be wearing those jeans. They make your hips look huge.” “Your stomach looks like a spare tire.” “Oh my gosh. Do you have cellulite already?!” It was easy, too easy, […]

How To Be a Better Friend

How To Be a Better Friend

Just before the holiday season, Lesley Dormen’s phone rang. The voice at the other end was so frail and frightened she had a hard time recognizing that it was Toni, her former college roommate. Though they had been close in school, they didn’t speak often, nor did they see each other much as both lived […]

Planning a Tween/Teen Sleepover

Planning a Tween/Teen Sleepover

If you’re into coordinating cupcakes and crafts, it’s easy to get swept away by the hundreds of sleepover themes, activities, and treat ideas on Pinterest. But as a parent, you know the really important planning for tween and teen sleepovers has more to do with supervision, rules, and knowing the families involved. After all, you want […]

Tips to Break the Biting Habit

Tips to Break the Biting Habit

Biting is very common among young children for all types of reasons. Most parents find it frustrating, and they want it to stop—quickly! Understanding why young children bite is the first step in preventing biting, as well as teaching children alternatives to biting. This is a list of the most common reasons for biting and solutions […]

I Don’t Want to Grow Up

I Don’t Want to Grow Up

You don’t have to be an adult very long before you realize it stinks. There are mortgage payments and social norms and leaky pipes and dress slacks. The list of constraining, fun-squashing, grown-up things is endless. As a dad, it’s hard not to be a little jealous of my kids. They’re free of all that […]

I Can Explain...

I Can Explain…

Early this morning, I opened my eyes and saw 7-year-old Jack’s eyes looking right at me, just inches from my face. “Mom,” he whispered. “I need to tell you something.” “What is it, Jack?” I groaned sleepily. “The Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night,” he said. “My tooth is still there under the pillow and […]

Behavioral Health in North Dakota

By Gary Wolsky, President/CEO The Village Family Service Center In January of this year, the North Dakota Legislature hired Schulte Consulting to examine North Dakota’s behavioral health system. Concurrently, a North Dakota Behavioral Health stakeholder’s group was convened to make sure everyone was at the table. Representing the nonprofit sector, The Village is honored to […]

Making a Family Book

Making a Family Book

Opening a colorful, professionally printed book to read about your own family—your hobbies, relationships, travels, and other things that make you special—is such a rewarding experience. Just like you and your children get to know Curious George, Madeline, and other literary characters through books, reading your own stories and seeing your own pictures and artwork […]