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Marilyn Campbell

Stories by Marilyn

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Making STEM Fun for Children

Event offered opportunity to learn about STEM subjects.

A local educator used carrots and broccoli to teach girls about science and technology.

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Advice from the Pros

Local private school admissions directors share wisdom they’d offer to their own children.

From interviews to essays to standardized tests to open houses, the season for submitting independent school applications is underway. For families vying for a spot at the area’s most elite schools, the process can be fraught with anxiety, stress and confusion as parents and students wade through the myriad academic options in the Washington, D.C., region.

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Discussing the Election with Children

Local educators offer suggestions for navigating a complicated political climate.

While Colleen K. Vesely has watched televised debates and political events with her children throughout this election season, an event during which the American Civil Rights movement was discussed stands out. It was a concept her 3-year-old daughter didn’t grasp, of course. But Vesely used the moment as opportunity to start guiding her children through this year’s election season.

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Potomac: Countdown to Halloween

There’s still time to for spooky design.

Grown up Halloween preparations aren’t just about ghosts and smoke machines anymore. They include home décor with a twist, perhaps glittered or velvet pumpkins, or spooky fine china.

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Showcase Home Offers Design Inspiration

DC Design House was transformed by local designers to raise money for charity.

Those in search of interior design ideas now have a source of new inspirations, at least temporarily. The 2016 DC Design House is now open to the public and runs through Oct. 30.

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Home Improvements for the Holidays

Local contractors say there is time to spruce up your house and yard.

Changing temperatures and falling leaves are a signal the holidays are near. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, homes are filled with guests and schedules are stacked with parties. Getting one’s home guest ready by the holidays may be daunting, but it’s doable with proper planning and realistic expectations, say local contractors.

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Potomac: A Taste of Serbian Culture

SerbFest DC offered food, music and dance.

Hundreds had a chance to experience Serbian culture and heritage through food, music and dance at SerbFest DC recently.

Senior Living: Regaining Mobility

Local orthopedic surgeons offer keys for successful joint replacement surgery.

Tired of the limited mobility and pain that have thwarted her love of foreign travel and fall hiking, Lynda S. Johnson, 72, scheduled a knee replacement surgery for later this month. She chose a doctor, found a pet sitter to watch her Cairn terrier, and enlisted her sister to live with her while she recovers. “I had been debating for months about whether to have it,” she said. “I was in so much pain, though, that I don’t really think I have anything to lose.”

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Potomac: Serbian Festival this Weekend

A taste of Serbian culture is coming to Potomac this later this week. SerbFest  DC’s Fall 2016 festival kicks off Friday, Oct. 7, bringing authentic Serbian food, culture, crafts and entertainment.

Homework Overload

Some educators say less can be more, stress balance when it comes to homework.

Paula DeMarco dreads one time of day the most: weekday evenings at 5:30. It’s the time she has set aside for her children begin their homework. That means no screen time, music or other distractions.

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Walking to End Alzheimer's

Northern Virginia walk set for Sept. 25

When Paula Dierkes was growing up in Arlington, she would often hear family stories of a grandfather who sat on his front porch screaming at his neighbors and asking for his shotgun. She recalls a grandmother who shut out her family, literally, by closing doors and windows when they came to visit.

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Comfort Zone

Local furniture maker combines style and comfort

John W. Smith treks through a maze of sleek chairs and stately sofas in a large, sunlit showroom tucked in an industrial warehouse center in Fairfax. He pauses at a dining chair, upholstered in beige linen and framed with espresso hardwood.

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Potomac: Creating an Inclusive Community

Local non-profit offers friendship, care and fun to those with developmental differences.

As the sun poured from a mid-summer sky, the aroma of beef gently roasting on a grill filled the air along with the squeals of children petting fuzzy fauna such as rabbits, hedgehogs and mini alpacas.

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Create a Back-to-School Game Plan

Educators tell how to make the transition less jarring.

As a single mother of a fifth grade student, Christine Schull is already making back-to-school preparations.

Potomac: Support Annual Back-to-School Backpack Drive

Local organization collects school supplies and backpacks to support low-income families.

A local organization is working to make sure some of the area’s neediest students have the supplies they need when school begins this fall.

Considering a Private School?

Educational consultants can help families navigate application process.

For families considering an independent school for the 2017-2018 school year, the admissions process begins this fall. From essays and interviews to school visits and standardized tests, the process for getting into kindergarten may feel nearly as daunting as applying to college.

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Alexandria: A Home with a View

Alexandria abode has remained in the same family since 1923.

Among the stately homes in Alexandria's Rosemont neighborhood, nestled between Del Ray and Old Town, is a testament to one family’s predilection for entertaining.

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Stylish Solutions for Organized Homes

Practical and chic ideas for making a home back-to-school ready.

Before school begins later this month, taking the time to organize home and school supplies can take the stress out of the transition from a laid-back summer to a structured, schedule-driven school year. Local home design and organizational experts share ideas to help parents add practical organizational tools to their home without sacrificing their sense of style.

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Potomac: Rebuilding after the Storm

A screened porch once again provides a peaceful oasis for a Potomac homeowner.

During a violent thunderstorm late last year, a Potomac homeowner heard howling winds, relentless rain and then a loud crash.

Challenged Brain, Healthy Brain?

Social engagement and mentally challenging jobs might keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay.

Most days of the week, Ana Nelson can be found educating others about Alzheimer’s disease in her role as vice president of Programs and Services for the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter. Her free time is spent touring historical sites in Northern Virginia and staying fit through competitive running and other activities. She’s currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon.

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Staying Fit and Healthy on Vacation

Advance planning is key to maintaining a healthy diet and fitness on the road.

Listening to Christian Elliot describe part of a recent vacation that he took with his wife, Nina, you might think he was attending a fitness bootcamp.

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Potomac: Local Retirement Communities Honored

Award designed to recognize quality of care for seniors and the disabled.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced the winners of its National Quality Award Program. Several local retirement communities were honored, including Sunrise Senior Living facilities in Bethesda, and Arlington, Mount Vernon, Alexandria and Fairfax, Virginia.

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White Kitchens Are a Trend with staying Power

The clean, crisp look of a white kitchen has staying power and versatility, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Pushups For Charity Challenge Benefits Veterans

Local veteran opens gym, Rebel Fit USA.

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Healthy Summer Entertaining

Tips for serving bounty of tasty, fresh produce.

Strategies for Preventing Concussions This Summer

Local physician is pioneering traumatic brain injury treatment.

Summer has been dubbed “trauma season” by health care professionals.

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Online Classes Offer Flexible Options for Earning Credentials Outside the Classroom

Interested in learning to landscape your yard using sustainable practices?

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Tips for Memorable Family Vacations

As summer gets underway, vacation-bound families are packing their bags and heading out of town. Vacations often fly by — months of planning and anticipating can be over in the blink of an eye. With a little advanced planning and forethought, however, even a quick weekend trip or a visit to relatives can become meaningful and memorable.

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Considering Private School?

Small steps this summer can minimize stress of application process.

The school year has just come to an end … which means it’s the ideal time to prepare to apply to leading independent schools.

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The Gap Year Trend

The pros and cons of taking a break in academic studies before college.

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Octagonal Dream Home on the Market

Home's shape and large windows make it a sun-drenched space.

It was during a trip to California almost 20 years that McLean resident Susan Jordano first laid eyes on her dream home.

Staying Safe This Summer

Tips and precautions for avoiding warm-weather hazards.

The start of summer means pools and backyard grilling. It also means an increased risk of accidents and injuries.

A Mindful Family

Family mindfulness meditation practices can bring calm to a hectic day.

Every evening after dinner and bath time, Elizabeth Rees, a Mount Vernon mother of three, instructs her children to lie on the floor keeping as still as possible. With soft tones, she recites a phrase, slowly and purposefully. These moments of serenity allow her family to release the chaos of the day.

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Potomac: Discovering Flora and Fauna at NPS Centennial

Event at Great Falls Tavern marked the Centennial of the National Park Service.

"For the Birds" took on a positive meaning this weekend as hundreds of scientists, students, teachers, and the general public explored and documented the birds and plants of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O Canal) National Historical Park at the Great Falls Tavern's Bird Blitz.

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Language Immersion for Young Children

Experts tout the benefits of an early start

When Martha Davis’ daughter Alice was ready for kindergarten, she decided to enroll her in a Spanish language immersion program.

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Potomac: Trunnell Electric Celebrates 80 Years

“Dad taught us that you can’t sit back in life and hope that somebody recognizes your raw talent. It doesn’t happen.”

Sitting in the living room of her Potomac home where she raised five sons, Jean Trunnell and her son Jack reflected on the family’s business, Trunnell Electric.

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Local Designer Honored for Remodeling Reston Townhouse

Home transformation gives family of five more living space.

Mina Fies, CEO of Synergy Design and Construction, was recognized for remodeling a Reston townhouse that was built in 1968.

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Creating Space for Family Oasis or Outdoor Entertaining

Local designers unveil recent projects and offer tips.

Lured outside by rising temperatures and blue skies, homeowners are deciding that it’s time to spruce up patios, gardens and other outdoor living spaces. Local tastemakers are hard at work transforming winter-worn al fresco spaces into lively oases in time for a season of warm-weather entertaining.

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Working to End the Longest Day

Event to raise awareness and funds for research programs of Alzheimer’s Association.

Emily Rusch says her mother died a slow and heartbreaking death from Alzheimer’s Disease. The experience felt continuous and excruciating.

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Potomac: Broadening Horizons During the Summer

Local enrichment program keeps disadvantaged children on track when school is out.

A local school will join an effort to help prevent the “summer slide” for some of Montgomery County’s neediest students. Norwood School will partner with Horizons Greater Washington to offer a summer camp program aimed at halting the academic achievement decline that some students face when school is not in session.

Preparing for Summer Camp Away

Many emotions arise when a child leaves for camp.

A child’s first residential summer camp experience can be fraught with emotions that run the gamut from excitement to terror.

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Academic Camps Combine Education and Fun

Local camps help students maintain school skills in a relaxed environment.

One summer Ana Lado created a summer camp activity for students at her neighborhood pool. The Marymount professor set up a picnic area, and included activities and books. Her plan was to engage the students and give them the opportunity to read and build reading skills while still enjoying fun activities traditionally associated with summer.

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From Colonial History to Future Entrepreneurs

Campers can explore diverse interests in specialty summer camps.

This summer dozens of elementary school-aged children will travel back in time to the Colonial Era where, among other things, they’ll learn to spin cotton into cloth for garments.

Potomac Neighborhood Outlook: High Rent Limits Business Choices

A recent reopening of a Potomac restaurant in a location outside of Potomac Village is a sign of the local business climate, says real estate expert David D. Freishtat. Potomac Village Deli is now operating in Kentlands Market Square. The move comes with a lower rent and enables the deli to serve the same clientele.

Removing a Barrier to Pomp and Circumstance

Gowns for Grads program at George Mason provides regalia for needy graduates.

When Muntaha Choudhary walks across the stage during George Mason University’s graduation ceremony this May she will celebrate not only her bachelor’s degree, which has been eight years in the making, but also the fact that she is the first person in her family to graduate from college.

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Historic Garden Week in Virginia

Elegant homes and gardens in Old Town, Arlington and Falls Church will be open to the public.

Some of the most spectacular gardens will be in bloom and on display during the 83rd annual Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

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Potomac: A House Expanded

A cramped, dated home is transformed into a spacious, modern abode.

When the owners of a Bethesda home realized that they’d outgrown their one-story, mid- 20th century abode, they decided to remodel and expand rather than relocate. A family-friendly neighborhood and high-performing schools were two of the reasons they wanted to stay.

Luxury Condos are a Growth Market for Seniors

Active retirees seek options for independent living, including condos in Alexandria, Arlington, Tysons, Reston, McLean, Bethesda and Chevy Chase, among others.

When Joyce and Don Lipman decided to move out of their Potomac, Md. home, they opted for a high-end townhouse instead of a retirement community.

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Potomac: In the Kitchen with Terri

Local cooking school offers classes in preparing elegant and seasonal meals.

Creamy gruyere cheese flows through a box grater followed by long shards of russet potatoes. Both are piled on a platter. The potatoes gain a deep crunch after sizzling in hot oil, the cheese melts on top of the potato crust and the concoction is topped with grassy, deeply green asparagus. Such is the beginning of an asparagus frittata at Terri's Table.

Private Schools: When Leaving Unexpectedly

Spring is time to commit to one’s school of choice.

When Ashley and Clark Leonard enrolled their son in a local independent school, they were excited about the prospect of him thriving in a new, smaller academic environment.