Taking the Stress out of Feeding Kids Healthy Foods

Brussels Sprouts Chips? No Way…brussels sprouts chips

One day back in 2011, Jennifer Tyler Lee tried a fresh, new approach to getting her kids to try different foods: She turned her dinner table struggles into a game.

Using index cards and craft paper, Lee created a game in which her children earned points for trying colorful veggies and fruit, plus bonus points for brand new foods. (This story recently appeared in the magazine Relish.)

In 2012, she launched The 52 New Foods Challenge to get the kids to try an unfamiliar food each week. Together, they shopped for groceries to cook together. In November 2014 The 52 New Foods Challenge cookbook debuted with activities and recipes like Brussels Sprouts Chips.

Lee found that turning a struggle into a game brought her and her children closer together. She offers these tips for parents of picky eaters:

  • Set aside 30 to 60 minutes a week to cook with your kids, not for your kids.
  • Thing of meal preparation as a craft activity. Set up a low worktable with ingredients arranged like project materials.
  • Focus on the fun, not the food. You don’t have to end up with a perfect recipe at the end. Explore with your kids and all the rest will fall into place.

Read more about the challenge and Lee and get some great recipes at http://www.52newfoods.com/.

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Don’t Miss A Chocolate Affair Plus Hosted by Best Friends on May 2

Support local youth mentoring opportunities by attending the Best Friends Mentoring Program’s A Chocolate Affair Plus from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 at the Biesiot Activities Center in Dickinson.

Hand-crafted appetizers and desserts infused with decadent chocolate accents, fine wines, crafted and specialty beers, live jazz and the chance to win a chocolate diamond pendant valued at $1,000 are highlights of our event. A Chocolate Affair Plus is expanded this year to include specialty & craft beer tastings, champagne and chocolate fountains, a chance to win one of five gift baskets each valued at $100 or more and a chocolate diamond pendant worth $1,000. The evening also includes live music by the Brickhouse Jazz,  a quality silent auction, a Mystery Wine Pull and the popular People’s Choice Chef Awards.

Tickets are available at Best Friends Mentoring at 135 W. Villard or Town and Country Liquor at 1218 W. Villard St. Thank you to major sponsors Reichert Armstrong and the Armstrong Corporation, with the grand prize provided byACA+_Logo (2) Britton Jewelers.

For information, contact Best Friends at (701) 483-8615 or online at www.bestfriendsnd.org. See you there!

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Mentoring is a powerful!

Lori Hunt, multicultural services & outreach director at Spokeane Community College, talks about how a mentor helped her bridge a critical time in her life as a college student. If mentoring is this powerful in a young adult’s life, how about to the grade-school youth enrolled in the Best Friends Mentoring Program? Make a difference … sign up as a mentor today!


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National Mentoring Center Opens

Federally-funded resource center will help mentoring programs meet national standards

National Mentoring Center logo 2015The National Mentoring Resource Center has three components: an interactive website, no-cost specialized technical assistance for mentoring programs and the National Mentoring Resource Center Research Board. The website features resources for the youth mentoring field, including a “What Works in Mentoring” section; targeted program and training materials and a portal providing access to technical assistance. The resources and technical assistance are in alignment with the national standards for high quality, evidence-based mentoring, as outlined in The Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring ™ available at: http://www.mentoring.org/program_resources/elements_and_toolkits. Additional information is available at: www.nationalmentoringresourcecenter.org.

The Research Board, chaired by Dr. David DuBois of the University of Illinois at Chicago, consists of prominent experts in youth mentoring practice areas such as program models, settings for implementation and outcomes for specific populations. “When done purposefully and according to evidence-based standards, mentoring can produce tremendously positive outcomes for young people and keep them from becoming involved in the juvenile justice system,” said OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee. “The National Mentoring Resource Center gives us the tools and resources to help mentoring programs meet national standards for quality while we build ground-level capacity to connect more young people with mentors.”

OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention) selected MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to establish the Center through a competitive application process. For 25 years, MENTOR has developed and distributed research, standards, tools, and training to ensure mentoring is safe and effective. MENTOR has also built a network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships to provide on-the-ground consulting to mentoring programs and advance quality mentoring through the development and delivery of standards, cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art tools.

“We’re privileged to leverage the combined expertise of MENTOR, our affiliate Mentoring Partnerships and leading researchers in the field to build on OJJDP’s investments supporting young people’s development and achievements,” said MENTOR CEO David Shapiro.


OJJDP provides national leadership, coordination and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs and to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families. Additional information about OJJDP is available at www.ojjdp.gov.

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‘The Things They Did Not Buy’

Investing time made him a better person

From Mark, our new program and communications coordinator:

As a suburphotoban kid growing up outside of Chicago, a highlight came nearly every summer when my sister and I spent two weeks with both sets of our grandparents in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

To a 10-year-old, the deep woods, crisp streams and lakes, and lush mountains of New England were alluring. As we cruised the winding roads in my grandparent’s 1967 Mercury convertible, the open air was heavy with the scent of tall pine, hay and an occasional tobacco farm. Overhead, a single-engine plane droned and a crow  swooped to a new tree. On the top of a favorite hill, we would stop to see the green hillsides rolling from Massachusetts into the nearby states of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Prior to one trip, a grandmother wrote how and she and my step-grandfather were on Granite Lake in New Hampshire fishing near Skull Island –a granite outcropping covered in evergreens and brush. It was a favorite destination for summer blueberry picking. On one fishing trip, she explained, a nearby fisherman wheeled in an unexpected surprise — a black rubber diving mask from the rocky bottom near the island.  Seeing it, she told the fisherman of our pending visit. “I told him my grandson would love to have the mask,” she wrote. “It’s here waiting for you when you come.” Using a dark pen, she drew a picture of it in her letter.

IMG_20150226_0001Our two weeks at Granite Lake spanned from cool summer mornings in front of the wood burning stove to still evenings on the screened porch, where my sister and I would sit with my grandparents and other visitors watching the sunset. During the warmer part of the day, we spent almost all of our time in the spring-fed waters of the lake, so clean people drank from it. And that once forgotten diving mask opened a new, clear world as I explored the soft, sandy bottom near my grandparent’s tiny cabin and the shores off the island. From late morning until sometime late afternoon, it became a beacon – a lens to a place I’d never seen.

Forty years later, I still have that mask in a box with other treasures from my youth. There are handwritten letters, a saxophone mouthpiece, pieces of an old coin collection and some pocketknives a grandfather gave me. In that box and in my mind, I remember the people who invested in me with their time and in many instances, the things they did not buy. I am a better person because of that diving mask, a serene rowboat ride to an island, a picnic lunch and time that ebbed away sweetly, like the clear lapping waves at Granite Lake.

026Mark Billings joined the Best Friends Mentoring Program (BFMP) as a program and communications coordinator starting Feb. 23.

Mark, who came to Dickinson in 2014 as Dickinson State University’s director of communications, will facilitate mentor and mentee recruitment, training and development while handling the nonprofit’s communications and public relations.

“Best Friends Mentoring serves a critical niche in our growing community,” said Mark. “Every youth, regardless of his or her background, deserves a stable, caring and positive influence. Every mentor is a catalyst for powerful, personal impact in a child’s future.”

Kris Fehr, executive director of BFMP, said Mark’s background in nonprofit management and communications in Illinois, where he was a lifetime resident, are a good fit for the 20-year-old nonprofit.  “He has already been active in the community and will continue to connect with people who desire the best for our youth,” she said.

Mark’s wife, Pat, is an education manager at CHI St. Joseph Hospital. The couple has three children, including Chad, 17; Garrett, 15; and Madeleine, 14.

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Winter Doldrums? Bust the Boredom

Try an Indoor Snowball Blizzardsnowman

From Kris, our Executive Director:

It’s the end of winter and kids (and grown ups, too) can get stuck in the winter doldrums when it’s too cold to be outside, or we’ve had too many cloudy days. Our friends at the Search Institute share this activity:

Author Jolene L. Roehlkepartain devotes a whole chapter on boredom-busting ideas in her book, Spark Student Motivation: 101 Easy Activities for Cooperative Learning. The following activity, Snowball Blizzard, is a great way for kids to have some fun and discover new things about each other.

Snowball Blizzard

Focus: Youth have a paper snowball fight to get to know each other more.

You Will Need:

  • A large area
  • Three pieces of 8 ½- by 11-inch white paper for each young person
  • A pencil for each young person

Activity: Give each young person three pieces of paper and a pencil. Have them write one unusual fact about themselves on each piece of paper without putting their name on the paper. For example, one person may write, “I got braces when I was 11″ on one piece of paper, “Our family has a pet snake” on another piece of paper, and “My family has traveled to India” on another piece of paper.

When they finish, have them wad up each of their three papers into three “snowballs” of paper.

While holding their three wads of paper, have them spread out in a large area. Explain that when you yell, “Snowball blizzard!” they are to start throwing their wads of paper at other kids. If a wad of paper falls near them, they can pick it up and throw it at someone and keep the snowball blizzard going.

Yell, “Snowball blizzard” and let the wads of paper begin to fly. After a few minutes, stop the activity. Have young people sit. Ask them each to grab one snowball wad closest to them.

Ask for a volunteer. Have that person open up the paper, read it aloud, and then guess whom it describes. Let them have three guesses. If they don’t guess by the third time, have the person who it describes raise his or her hand and say, “That’s me.”

That person then opens up a snowball and does the same thing. Keep going around the group until all the snowballs have been opened up. (Each young person will do three.)

Discussion Questions:

  • How hard or easy was it to come up with three unusual facts about yourself?
  • What did you think of the snowball blizzard? Why?
  • What one new fact did you learn about a group member today?
  • Why is it important to have fun with group members?
  • How else can we have fun together?

Bonus Idea: At another time, play the game again. This time have young people write the place where they were born on one piece of paper, the name of the school they attended as a kindergarten student on another piece of paper, and the name of their favorite teacher on the third piece of paper.

Jolene L. Roehlkepartain is the author of numerous books including The Best of Building Assets Together, Pass It On, and Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose.

P.S. Don’t forget, free shipping is available in February on orders over $200. Stock up now on your favorite publications, posters, and kits!

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Every Day is a Food Holiday

national-banana-bread-day-february-23Has it come to this? Every day is a food holiday in the United States and on some days there’s more than one food to commemorate. There’s even special months dedicated to foods, too.

Monday was National Banana Bread Day. There’s months and days for many foods; for example, February alone claims National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Macadamia Nut Month and National Snack Food Month.

Punchbowl.com gives this brief information about the day set aside to recognize one of the most delicious and versatile — and easy to make — breads that’s as comfortable at the dinner table as it is appropriate for breakfast and snack time:

“Banana bread is a delicious baked good, which is classified as a “quick bread” or “tea cake.” Bananas arrived in the United States in the 1870s and quickly became one of the most popular fruits on the market. It wasn’t long before they started to appear in dessert recipes as the star ingredient.

The first cookbooks that mentioned banana bread were published during the Great Depression. Culinary historians believe that a resourceful housewife who did not want to throw away over-ripe bananas may have invented the original recipe.

Today there are many variations on this classic. To celebrate National Banana Bread Day, bake yourself a delicious loaf with unusual add-ins like chocolate chips, berries, or nuts!”

What’s your favorite add-in? I always start with “3 dead bananas,’ to quote my sister, and just before spooning the batter into pan(s), I usually stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Feeling adventurous, I recently tried a wonderful banana bread recipe that called for buttermilk, brown sugar and pecans. Those ingredients are quite a departure from my usual recipes and the resulting product received thumbs up from the church choir when I brought it for a taste test. It might be my new favorite banana bread recipe.

Looking for a more comprehensive listing of national food holidays? Check out this website that contains extensive listings of United States symbols and special days and months.

And by the way: Happy Tortilla Chip Day on Tuesday!

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YOU Made a Difference

Kris & Pamela GHD 2BLESS your Giving Hearts!
Giving Hearts Day donors contributed more than $12,000 to the Best Friends Mentoring Program on February 12, 2015. Thanks to you,12 children will receive mentoring services from a caring, trained, positive adult role model this year. Statewide, donors contributed $6.9 million tom close to 300 charities working every day to make a difference in their communities. THANK YOU!

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It’s YOUR DAY to Make a Difference


Dear Friends,

This is your day…..

To provide food for the hungry, care to our elderly, give kids a caring mentor, support spiritual growth, connect youth with the great outdoors, deliver 24 hour healthcare… and more.

Today only Giving Hearts Day – your gift supporting the Best Friends Mentoring Program is multiplied AND your online contributions made to Best Friends will be matched up to $4,000.

Your gift can dramatically improve life for people in our region. To make a secure online contribution to Best Friends Mentoring Program and have it matched, simply go to www.impactgiveback.org today. All donations are tax deductible.

Thank you in advance for your continued support of Best Friends’ mission: “making a positive difference in children and families, one at a time.”


P.S. This is a one-day only opportunity to multiply the benefit of your gift! Today, donate at www.impactgiveback.org.

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You Can Improve People’s Lives

Giving Hearts Day is YOUR DAY

to make a difference in our community

Eleven Dickinson and southwest North Dakota charities will be participating in Giving Hearts Day 2015, a 24- hour online fundraising event that will be held on February 12. Contributions of $10 or more will be matched by Dakota Medical Foundation and other generous donors, effectively increasing an individual’s donation.

Really? Only $10 and it will be matched so it’s like I donated more? 

The AMEN Food Pantry, Assumption Abbey, Badlands Ministries, Best Friends Mentoring Program, Dickinson BackPack Program, Dickinson Public Schools Foundation, Home on the Range, House of Manna, Sacred Heart Benedictine Foundation, St. Benedict’s Health Center and St. Luke’s Home Foundation have joined together to spread the word about Giving Hearts Day.

Really? I can help local charities on February 12? And these groups are working together? I like that! These are great charities that do good work in southwest North Dakota. Tell me more!

The group, “Pledge from the Edge,” is encouraging everyone to support their favorite charities on Giving Hearts Day. Cooperative efforts to raise awareness include stickers on hot drink sleeves and pizza boxes,electronic billboards, postcards, a display at Dickinson City Hall, television ad, newspaper ads, a video posted on YouTube and cyber cafes. Anyone may support these nonprofits by going online anytime on February 12.

What if I don’t have a computer or internet access? What if I don’t know what to do and I need help?

Those who may want help or who don’t have computer access can stop at any of the following locations to receive assistance and enjoy refreshments while donating:

  • Prairie Hills Mall, Dickinson, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Dickinson Public Schools Central Administration Office, 444 4th St. W, Dickinson, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • St. Luke’s Coffee Shop, 242 10th St. W., Dickinson, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • St. Benedict’s Health Center, 851 4th Ave. E, Dickinson, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Assumption Abbey Visitor’s Center, Richardton, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Golden Valley County Library, Beach, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For information, contact any of the 11 participating charities. To donate on Giving Hearts Day, go to impactgiveback.org.


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