Give Board Games a Spin

The next time your family is making a beeline toward the video game department of a toy store, try taking a detour into the board game section. You’ll find plenty of old favorites and new variations. Along with the simpler luck-of-the-dice racing games for younger children, there are complex scenario strategy games for older kids and teens.

What Do Teachers Want?

Holiday gift lists grow as our families do, thanks to the teachers, coaches, choir directors, dance instructors, bus drivers and others who enrich our children’s lives. What do they really want?

Make Johnny Appleseed Proud!

If Johnny Appleseed would love North Carolina! Our state has an abundance of fresh farm apples to pick this fall, so take advantage of it. Try any of these fun activities or recipes to make the most of the season.

Take a Time-Out for Love

Even if you can only spare a weekend away or a simple dinner-and-a-movie night out, a brief parental "time out" might be just the thing to clear your mind and revitalize your relationship, which is good for the entire family.

Homemade is Best

Special costumes can be made at home with a little elbow grease and ingenuity. Read about how it can be done and find resources brimming with great ideas.

The Thankful Tree

My sons, ages 3 and 5 years, have 57 dinosaurs, 24 action heroes and 214 army men. They also have an amazing collection of 47 ketchup packets, just to prove it’s not the cost that counts. Before you convict me of attempted-spoiling, I’ll ask you to count up your children’s favorite toys. After that, consider that all these items (never mind the ketchup) were purchased by well-meaning aunts, uncles, friends and grandmas.

A Christmas Holiday Retreat in Dillsboro/Balsam

Crisp mountain air, luminaries, carolers performing on the street corner and the whistle of a steam locomotive set the stage for an memorable holiday weekend in Dillsboro, N.C. Just down the road, the Balsam Inn welcomes you with a blazing fire, hot cider and comfortable rooms. Only 2.5 hours from Charlotte, you’ll feel a thousand miles away and decades in the past.

Candlelight Christmas Evenings at the Biltmore House

To spend the holidays at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is to step back in time. The sights, the sounds, the smells all are reminiscent of the Gilded Age at the turn of the century. Each year, the Biltmore House is richly decorated in the holiday traditions set by George W. Vanderbilt, who first welcomed friends and family to his country retreat on Christmas Eve 1895. The bright tapestry of Christmas colors complement the rich oak paneling and European furnishings of the home.