Ex-etiquette: Sorry, you weren't invited to this party

Q. My ex is having a small holiday get-together a couple of weeks before Christmas and all our kids and their significant others are going. Although we usually both go to all the family festivities, I haven't been invited to this one. Our youngest daughter says it was just an oversight and I should go, but I'm not so sure. I don't think my ex's new girlfriend wants me around. What's good ex-etiquette?


Ask Mr. Dad: Stepfather clearly is overstepping his bounds

Dear Mr. Dad: My former wife got remarried and had a baby not long after we got divorced. I was happy for her and tried to be as supportive as possible, but her husband isn't making that easy, and the two of them are cutting into my time with my daughter and seem to be trying to cut me out of her life altogether. To start with, he's been having my daughter call him "dad," which infuriates me, and my daughter tells me that he's saying all sorts of bad things about me. Even though my ex and I have joint legal and physical custody, they pulled my daughter out of the school she was in - without getting my permission - and enrolled her somewhere else. They pick her up from school on days when I'm supposed to pick her up, and they've taken trips on weekends when she's supposed to be with me. The stepdad also goes to a lot of my daughter's sporting events. I'd be OK with that except that every time he sees me, he gets in my face and has even threatened to "punch your lights out." For my daughter's sake, I've been trying to remain calm, but I'm not sure how long I can keep that up. What should I do?


The power of siblings

How do some siblings end up like Orville and Wilbur while others skew more Cain and Abel? The answer, surprisingly, may be each other. We used to think kids' personalities were shaped by parents, peers and the genetics they arrived with. All that is true, but researchers are finding that siblings have a lot more to do with it than anyone ever thought.


High-tech toys teach STEAM through play

There's so much more to digital toys than your typical video games and computer programs. These eight innovative picks bring STEAM education to life through coding, robotics, animation, and more - plus they're a lot of fun.


Book review: 'Penguin's Christmas Wish,' preschoolers learn the true meaning of Christmas

Parents need to know that "Penguin's Christmas Wish" is the sixth book in the popular "Penguin" series by author-illustrator Salina Yoon. Here, the loveable Penguin and his family go into the forest and decorate a Christmas tree, but when they wake up the next morning, they find a blizzard has dumped snow on all the trees and their decorations and presents appear to have vanished. How they make do and have a lovely Christmas anyway is a gentle story filled with the key message that Christmas isn't just about presents and decorations. And a fun, fresh twist guarantees that Penguin gets his wish to "share Christmas with the whole forest" after all.


Family Meals Matter: Soup's on

The first day of winter is still a few weeks away, but temperatures have dipped in most parts of the country. Changing temperatures can put some folks at risk of colds and flu. To help families stay warm and healthy, we've assembled some soup-er recipes this week.


App review: Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens, excellent fairy-tale inspired puzzler

Parents need to know that Thinkrolls: Kings & Queens follows the same smart, fun format as Thinkrolls and Thinkrolls 2 with more of a story-based focus including kings and queens, dragons and castles. The scientific-thinking required to solve the puzzles has a magical tone, with flying potions, ghosts and mirrors, and magical harps to put crocodiles to sleep. The challenges require thinking and planning ahead, but kids can try without penalty until they figure it out. The levels get progressively harder, and kids must complete all of the chapters in one story before moving on to the next. As players complete each level, they collect candies and gems that unlock more costuming options to customize Thinkrolls characters. No reading is required to play, and parental information is available in 14 languages. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.


Semi barely misses Ceres fire station

A big rig driver had only minor injuries in a crash on Bystrum Road after exiting Highway 99 on Tuesday morning. He hit a water pump next to a Ceres fire station and ruptured his diesel tanks, but the water supply was not contaminated. Deke Farrow/
Semi barely misses Ceres fire station 0:57

Semi barely misses Ceres fire station

LAPD officers arrive in Sacramento after 420-mile run 0:29

LAPD officers arrive in Sacramento after 420-mile run

New Surgical Robot at Doctors Medical Center 1:10

New Surgical Robot at Doctors Medical Center

Gear up for food safety to prevent food poisoning 2:04

Gear up for food safety to prevent food poisoning