Honey, Did You Shrink The…

August 30, 2013

When shopping for a home, what’s on your list?

Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It can be easy to fall in love with a house at first sight. But when you buy a house, you are buying more than the house itself. You are buying the neighbors and the neighborhood and a lot of things you might not have considered. Are you a young couple beginning a new family or are you shopping for a home to take you into retirement? Read the rest of this entry »


To Go or Not To Go…The Kindergarten Question

August 29, 2013

graduation kid istockChildcare and Education Services received a great post from one of our amazing preschool moms. Read about their family’s decision:

After reading Back to School Blues on this blog, I thought that could be me! Technically, my son could have gone to Kindergarten this year. But summer birthdays are tough.

To enroll in school or not to enroll in school is a parenting decision that is not easy. One that had to be made with instincts and not charts and test scores.  One that seemed like it carried more importance than the thousands of other parenting decisions we have made over the past five years. Read the rest of this entry »


RIC Staff Serve at the Banquet

August 26, 2013

On August 9th, staff from the Refugee and Immigration Center volunteered to help serve dinner at the Banquet in downtown Sioux Falls.  That night around 300 meals were served to men, women, and children in our community.  And the Banquet staff said it was a very slow night! While all who walk through the doors of the Banquet come for food, many also come because it is a place where they are greeted with respect and a smile and can fellowship in a friendly environment.

RIC staff member Law Reh, who came to the United States as a refugee from Burma, served alongside his coworkers for the second year in a row.  “I’m happy to have experienced talking to many different people there,” he said.  “One man asked, ‘Where are you from?’ and I said ‘Burma.’  He knew about the woman who is working for democracy in Burma [Aung San Suu Kyi].”

To learn more about the Banquet and how you can help, visit  http://www.thebanquetsf.org


Lord, God and Marty!

August 23, 2013

One sure fire thing that connects and bonds a family together are those good, old family stories.  They are the ones that you hear over and over again at family gatherings. Plus, they often get better and more elaborate with every telling! One of my favorite “family stories” is the Lord, God and Marty story. As the story goes – my sister often came  home from church singing a good old Lutheran hymn titled  Holy, Holy, Holy.  The first stanzas were, “Holy, holy, holy. Lord, God, Almighty.  But being a little 3 year old she heard the congregation sing the last word as her baby brother’s name, Marty. She was so pleased that they loved him so much they sang a song about him. So on her way home from church she would serenade him with that jubilant hymn – Holy, holy, holy – Lord, God and Marty! 

These family stories are important for all our children, whether they are born to us or whether they come to us through adoption or foster care.  These stories play an especially important role in adoption and foster care.  They are beneficial in making connects and bonds with the child we are caring for. 

 Below are some ideas for creating your own family stories for children who come to you through adoption or foster care:

  • Tell a story of the first time you met the child. The first time I met my daughter,  she was wearing a dress with a big collar which kept flipping up in her face. I felt so sorry for her and it was all I could not to reach over and hold that collar down!  She thinks it is a funny story and asks to hear it over and over.  Even the smallest detail of the day you met can become a big part of their story.
  • Share the special things about them that remind you of their biological parents or family.  Let them know that this is a special part of who they are and that you think that is cool. 
  • Share the special things about them that remind them of you and your family members.  It helps them see how they are connected to you.
  • Tell the stories of their “firsts” –their  first day at a new school, the first time they met the extended family, the first time they stepped off an airplane to their new home and country, the first time you met their biological parents after they choose you as the family for their baby.
  • Make life books with pictures to help tell their stories.
  • Share stories of the funny, cute, embarrassing things they have done.  What child doesn’t like to be reminded of singing songs with wrong words, of smearing peanut butter in their hair, of asking Aunt Edith why her nose is so big! Just be careful – our kids enjoy telling funny stories about us too!

August 23, 2013

I was talking to a friend last week and we were marveling at how different each of our oldest children are from their younger sibling.  I found myself wondering how much our birth order really matters. Are first children really more frequently “type A” personalities? Are youngest siblings always  the free spirit? Do middle kids truly tend to make peace? My personal experience has led me to think that these traits often match the birth order of the person I know. That said, even those that exhibit many of the traits don’t perfectly follow the lists of traits for their birth order. I decided to read up on the topic and share my discoveries with all of you! Read the rest of this entry »


August 23, 2013
Little hands practice scooping using a spoon and some cotton puffs. Others poured, transferred objects, sorted and used tongs.

Little hands practice scooping using a spoon and some cotton puffs. Others poured, transferred objects, sorted and used tongs.

Pouring, scooping, pinching, carrying, opening and closing are just a few of the fine motor skills that children in our toddler programs are developing as they learn and grow. At our Southern Hills Toddler Enrichment Program our teachers are always striving to gather the best theories in early childhood education and bring them to the classroom for our students.  This means exciting reading programs, language development or early math skills lessons. It includes bringing art and music activities into the classroom that help our little ones develop creativity. It means hugs and encouragement and kind words to build their confidence. It means working collaboratively with parents to ensure we are meeting the individual needs of each child and family. Today I snapped a few photos of little fingers working hard on many skills that they will continue to use throughout their lives.  They poured beans from one small pitcher to another, sorted cotton puffs in a muffin tin with tongs and scooped items from a basket with spoon.  Some of the activities that our kids are enjoying are those encouraged by an educator that began her work over 100 years ago. Some of the useful Maria Montessori ideas can be very helpful at home as well! Read the rest of this entry »


August 23, 2013

Where can you enjoy a conversation about the works of Michelangelo and DaVinci, the importance of thinking before acting and the ooey-gooey way clay feels when you squish it between your fingers? At the Hilltop Summer Program!

Hilltop is the first of our four locations this summer where students are enjoying a week of learning and fun with Mr. Darwin Wolf, visual artist. Wolf is conducting workshops for our kindergarten through middle school students as part of the Artists-In-Schools and Communities Program through the South Dakota Arts Council.artist fun Read the rest of this entry »


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