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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconMorality of Radio and TV Bart Buskey www.Fatherville.com Here it is almost Christmas time. If it wasn#146;t for mywife we wouldn#146;t have most of our Christmas shoppingdone. I tend to wait until the last week to get allthe presents. The subject I want to talk about doesn#146;t have a lot todo with Christmas. Well, it could, depending on if youare considering buying music and movies for yourchildren as presents. I want to talk about our responsibility as parentsabout what we let our children hear on TV and radio.Mostly I want to talk about the #147;F#148; word. I know some of you are saying that you can#146;t say the#147;F#148; word on TV or radio. Starting in 2004 the FCC hassaid that the #147;F#148; word can be used on TV and radioduring prime time if it is used as an adjective andnot a verb. Yes this is true. I believe that this is sad andwrong. Here is their ruling: http://www.fcc.gov/eb/Orders/2003/DA-03-3045A1.html One of our responsibilities as Stay at Home Dads is toprotect our children from this trash. Isn#146;t itinteresting that when #147;I Love Lucy#148; was on that eventhough they were married they slept in different bedson the show. During this era they couldn#146;t even saythe word pregnant on TV. Today the morality of TV and radio has changed.Morality on TV has gone down. It is ok to say justabout any word over the airways you want. You can talkabout having sex with animals or watch a couple havesex on TV. Is this really what we want our children tosee? I know I don#146;t. There are no TV shows that we canwatch together as a family anymore. I remember when I was a child there were shows that weused to watch as a family: Happy Days, The Waltons,Little House on the Prairie, Hee Haw, and such. Myparents didn#146;t have to worry about what was on TV. NowI have to watch the cartoons on Saturday morning tosee if my boys can watch them. It is really sad sinceI used to watch cartoons like the Bugs Bunny RoadRunner Show, Speed Buggy, Hong Kong Foey, Scooby Doo,and etc. Cartoons today do not even compare to what wehad. My parents knew there was nothing to worry aboutbut they always kept their ears open just in case. I am not going to debate about good and bad morality.I am saying that what is on TV is not good for ourchildren to see. The morality of what is on TV hasplummeted. It is our responsibility to watch andscreen what our children watch. We need to takeresponsibility in letting our congressmen,representatives, and the five commissioners on the FCCboard be told that we don#146;t approve of what is beingallowed on TV and radio. If you want to tell the abovethat you disapprove of what is happening on TV I wouldsuggest going to http://capwiz.com/afanet/alert4124576.html Let#146;s see if we can clean up TV. Let#146;s tell them we nolonger want to see naked men and women on TV. Let#146;stell them we want to get rid of the raunchy words thatare on TV and radio. Let#146;s tell them we need cleanwholesome family shows and to keep out the bad words. I am taking a stance and I hope you will follow. Take responsibility on what your children are watching. If there is nothing but trash on TV or the radio play a family game or go rent a good family movie like #147;Swiss Family Robinson#148; or #147;20,000 Leagues Under the Sea#148;, #147;Veggie Tales#148; or some good cartoon movies. Give your children a hug and tell them that you lovethem. Bart Buskey is a stay at home dad and homeschools hischildren. Bart also writes for the website called Fatherville.com. Fathers supporting Fathers is at www.fatherville.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconThe Last Samurai Movie Review The Movie Reporter Films Reviews from a Family Perspective by Phil Boatwright With the synopsis and content, you can decide if the new films are suitable for your viewing. Video alternatives contain the same theme, but lack the offensive material. The Last Samurai: Tom Cruise, Timothy Spall, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, Tony Goldwyn. Warner Bros. Action/adventure. W-John Logan, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick. D-Edward Zwick. Captain Nathan Algren (Cruise) is a man adrift. Once he risked his life for honor and country, but, in the years since the Civil War, the world has changed. Pragmatism has replaced courage, self-interest has taken the place of sacrifice and honor is nowhere to be found - especially out West where his role in the Indian Campaigns ended in disillusionment and sorrow. A universe away, another soldier sees his way of life about to disintegrate. He is Katsumoto (Watanabe), the last leader of an ancient line of warriors, the venerated Samurai, who dedicated their lives to serving emperor and country. Just as the modern way encroached upon the American West, cornering and condemning the Native American, it also engulfed traditional Japan. The telegraph lines and railroads that brought progress now threaten those values and codes by which the Samurai have lived and died for centuries. The paths of these two warriors converge when the young Emperor of Japan, wooed by American interests who covet the growing Japanese market, hires Algren to train Japan's first modern, conscript army. But as the Emperor's advisors attempt to eradicate the Samurai in preparation for a more Westernized and trade-friendly government, Algren finds himself unexpectedly impressed and influenced by his encounters with the samurai. Their powerful convictions remind him of the man he once was. #147;The Last Samurai#148; is a captivating action/drama, one that addresses issues of honor, redemption and the sanctity of life, along with a strong performance by the film#146;s star and an exceptional one by Ken Watanabe. A cross between Toshiro Mifume (#147;The Seven Samurai#148;) and Yul Brynner (#147;The Magnificent Seven#148;), Watanabe is intense, dynamic and sensitive. Expressing depth and complexity, Watanabe gives filmgoers one of the best, most controlled performances of the year. As for the film#146;s violence; it is inescapable yet not exploitive. Definitely not for the squeamish or for little ones, the battles do become graphic, with samurai swords and spears doing what they do best. Artistically, however, I found the battle scenes incredibly well choreographed. Not cartoonish as in #147;Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,#148; here the dynamics of one-on-one battle is done in order to reveal the skill of a real warrior. Well, yeah, and to entertain us. For although this is an #147;eastern,#148; it#146;s really a western. And a very good western. Following in the steps of Akira Kurosawa (#147;Yojimbo#148;), director Edward Zwick intertwines the epic with the intimate, giving us an action-packed adventure that also makes statements. As for those statements, it#146;s the one area that caused my eyebrow to rise. While some were universal, others seemed to disclose the filmmakers#146; political and social views of America, indicating a belief that the white man of yesteryear and today is fueled by arrogance and aggression at the expense of other civilizations. White man bad, Indian good, or in this case, white man bad, Japanese man good. Unfortunately, these accusations cannot be denied. But once again, as with #147;Dances With Wolves,#148; this negative and rather myopic portrait ignores any positive qualities of the white settlers and founders of our nation. It glorifies another race as if it were faultless, as if its members had not committed the same atrocities in their history that liberal filmmakers love to remind us about our own founders. Interesting that while Mr. Cruise makes a point of belittling arrogance, he has managed to establish a rewarding career based on arrogance. That#146;s not meant as a knock towards his off-screen character (I understand he#146;s a pretty good guy), but can you name me one character he#146;s played that didn#146;t either start out arrogant or end up that way? I can#146;t tell you how glad I am to have Tom Cruise set me straight about American diplomacy, American history and the true character of the white Anglo Saxon protestant. Throughout the film, he belittles western soldiers, American ambassadors, statesmen, pioneers, military leaders and George Armstrong Custer. According to this film and evidently Mr. Cruise, because it#146;s his film, all white men are overbearing, haughty and destructive. Now see, I didn#146;t know that. Footnote: Hollywood has either romanticized Custer out of all proportion (#147;They Died With Their Boots On#148;) or vilified him (#147;Little Big Man#148;). A recent History Channel documentary pictured Custer somewhere in between those two conceptions. According to many true historians, he was not a madman, nor was he an idiot. Then again, Custer was no saint. While I wouldn#146;t attempt to defend General Custer, I would warn moviegoers not to get too much American history from today#146;s moviemakers. Years ago, when Mr. Cruise was making the film version of #147;Mission Impossible,#148; he gave an interview, exclaiming #147;We took a 30-minute TV show and turned it into a two-hour movie.#148; That statement made me suspicious that perhaps the star had never watched the series. For surely, he would have realized that it was an hour long TV show. My point: Although he#146;s handsome, rich beyond belief, gifted and has exquisite taste in women, Tom just might not know everything. R (2 profanities, 5 obscenities #150; each by gruff white men; a woman is seen after bathing, but she is covered but for her shoulder; there are no explicit sexual situations; the film gets its rating for the detailed battles of which there are several. The violence included depictions of severed arms and decapitations, a couple of suicides #150; out of shame, it is considered noble #150; it#146;s a samurai thing; there are several battles; this, however, is not just an action film, it does deal with ideas including honor, friendship and the sanctity of life). Video Alternative: The Ugly American . If you feel the violence in #147;The Last Samurai#148; is a bit much, then try renting this alternative. New on DVD, Marlon Brando gives a superb performance as an Ambassador assigned to an Asian country where he discovers that an old friend, who is now a formidable voice in that country, has become a communist. While the film does reveal a naive perspective we Americans have concerning interference in other countries, it does show a genuine concern that many US citizens have for suffering people around the world. DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children Download Boatwright#146;s book #147;How To Choose A Good Video Every Time!#148; FREE when you subscribe to his weekly film guide. For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconGift Ideas to Keep You From Becoming a Basket Case! By Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper www.livingonadime.com Need Gift Ideas for Christmas but don#146;t want to spend a lot? Here are some tips from Tawra Kellam, author of Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. Buy items in sets and divide them among the baskets. Buy a four pack of nail polish for four ladies baskets or buy packs of whistles or other party favors for the kids. Take individual popcorn, coffee or cocoa packets out of their boxes. They will fill the baskets better. Shop garage sales and thrift stores for baskets and other containers Dollar stores have lots of great inexpensive gift ideas. Browse! Use cellophane bags to package your mixes. They are inexpensive when purchased at party stores or florists. A gift can be as simple as tea bags in a tea cup tied with a pretty ribbon. A large soup mug and saucer with soup mix or a small glass bowl with some potpourri might also make a simple but nice gift. Try making these specialty gift baskets: FOOTBALL FAN - (teenage boys, brothers, fathers and brothers-in-law!) Fill a large bowl purchased at the dollar store with candy bars, bags of microwave popcorn, sodas, chips, dips, a favorite football flag or hat, and a calendar of game days. FISHERMAN - In a tackle box or fish bowl put hooks, bait, line, hot chocolate or sodas, trail mix, gloves, fishing magazines and a fish pillow. DOG - In a dog bowl, place a ball, old sock with a knot tied in it, dog bones, rawhides, a leash, a name tag and a brush. You might include a picture of a mailman with "the enemy" written on it. CAT - In a cat litter box, place a catnip toy, cat food, a poop scoop, a leash, a name tag and a little rubber mouse.CAR - In a large bucket, place fuzzy dice, air freshener, wax, car wash, chamois ("Shammy"), tire cleaner, a car trash can, a key ring, ice melter for cars and an ice scraper. BABY BASKET - Spray paint a basket white and line it with a baby blanket or use a diaper bag. Fill with bibs, baby oil, baby lotion, baby powder, diaper ointment, a teething ring, burp cloths, wipes and a rattle. RELAXING BASKET - Line a basket with a hand towel. Add a lavender candle, bath oil or bubble bath, bath salts, a favorite magazine or book, a poof and scented soap, and a do not disturb sign (Make one out of a piece of cardboard.). COFFEE LOVER - In a basket, include flavored coffee packets, cinnamon sticks dipped in chocolate, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a ribbon, cookie mix or cookies, flavored powdered creamer and a coffee cup. BAKER#146;S DELIGHT - Line a large mixing bowl with a dish towel. Add cookie mixes, hot chocolate mixes, brownie mix, muffin mix, a package of walnuts, measuring cups and pot holders. ICE CREAM LOVER - Place tissue paper on the bottom of a basket. Add sundae dishes, an ice cream scoop, nuts, hot fudge sauce, butterscotch sauce, chocolate syrup, Maraschino cherries and a gift certificate for 2 frac12; gallons of ice cream. SOUP BASKET - In a basket, stock pot or bean crock, add large soup mugs, 7 bean soup, cornbread mix, cookie mix and oyster crackers wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon. NAIL POLISH BASKET - In a pretty bucket or basket, add a variety of nail polish, emery boards, nail clippers, polish remover, cotton balls, hand cream, cuticle cream and a nail buffer. FAMILY NIGHT - In a large bowl, add a puzzle or game, popcorn, candy bars, soda, hot chocolate mix and mugs. FRUIT BASKET - Line a basket with tissue paper. Add apples, oranges, hot chocolate mix, various teas and dried fruits (like figs or raisins). Sprinkle nuts on top of everything. COOKIE DELIGHT -In a basket lined with tissue paper, add two cookie mixes in cellophane bags or jars tied with ribbons, Russian Tea (also in a cellophane bag or small jar tied with ribbon), cookie cutters, a teacup and two pot holders. CHOCOLATE LOVER - In a basket, add Hot Chocolate Mix, Brownie Mix , Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Mix, Party Mints, Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix and a small package of marshmallows. Hot Chocolate Mix 8 cups dry milk 4 frac34; cups powdered sugar 1 frac34; cups cocoa 1 frac12; cup non-dairy creamer 1 sm. pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix Sift the ingredients into a large bowl. Place the mix into an airtight containers. Attach this to the jar: Hot Chocolate 5 Tbsp. (1/3 cup) Hot Chocolate Mix 1 cup hot water (not boiling) marshmallows or whipped cream Place the Hot Chocolate Mix into a mug. Add boiling water. Stir until Hot Chocolate mix is dissolved. Garnish as desired with marshmallows or whipped cream. Serves 1. Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix 2 cups flour frac12; tsp. baking soda frac14; tsp. salt 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. ground cinnamon frac12; cup raisins and/or nuts In a bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients. Place in an air tight container. Package raisins and nuts separately. Topping 3 Tbsp. sugar frac14; tsp. cinnamon frac14; tsp. nutmeg Mix topping ingredients in a bowl. Package in a small cellophane bag. Attach this to the jar: Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix To prepare, preheat oven to 350 degrees Mix together: Apple Cinnamon Muffin Mix raisins and/or nuts 1 cup apple juice 2 Tbsp. oil frac12; cup applesauce margarine, melted Stir just until combined. Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. While still warm, dip in melted margarine and then topping. Makes 12-15 muffins. Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper are the editors of LivivgOnADime.com . For more free tips and recipes visit our web site at LivingOnADime.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSanta Shops Year-Round Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org Copyright 2003 If you're a smart Santa, youdon't wait until the last minuteto fill your sleigh with giftsand treats. That's `way tooexpensive and not nearly as muchfun as planning your purchasesover time. Coreen, a Homebodies reader fromIdaho, has some tips toshare with other holidayshoppers. "We have many friendsand family members - I wind upgifting about 25-30 people everyyear. Many of my gifts arepremiums received because I useda given product. (You know, send2 proofs of purchase with theoriginal cash register receiptand this form ...) But for tenpeople this year, I am givinggift baskets. "In January I made out myChristmas list. The ten who arereceiving the gift baskets willget a set of crocheted hot pads(you can see why I start inJanuary), a jar of homemademarinara sauce, a pound of pastabought with coupons and on sale,and a Christmas tree ornament. Imay also include homemade jam, acandle (if you watch the thriftstores you can get them still inthe original wrapper, or you canre-do them easily) and some otherbit of memorabilia or treat.Caramel corn makes a neat treat.A 2-liter bottle of soda is alittle big, but I do have theseneat .75 coupons off one. "I found enough paper twist inthe recycling bin to make bowsfor the baskets. The baskets were.50 each at the thrift store. Ialso bought curling ribbon lastyear after Christmas for .25 perball. "These baskets will wind upcosting around $2.00 each, but Ihave taken it out of the grocerybudget all year long. Maybe I'llsplurge and buy some neatcellophane from the florist towrap them in! "My teen granddaughters will getsmaller baskets, filled withcosmetics that I bought verycheaply or for free with couponsand sale prices. "The grandsons will get a Brucethe Shark float, tee shirts thatwere earned with candy wrappersmostly saved for me by a friend,and some popular videos gottenfree with promotions. "When you start in January,Christmas isn't bad." - Coreen You can write Cheryl or Coreen at Cheryl@homebodies.org , or visit www.homebodies.org to readCheryl's column and those ofother family-focused authors. Herbooks, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom " and " Stay-at-HomeHandbook: Advice on Parenting,Finances, Career, Surviving EachDay and Much More ", are availableat DrLaura.com, your favorite bookstore or thepublic library. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Brother Bear" Movie Review The Movie Reporter Films Reviews from a Family Perspective by Phil Boatwright With the synopsis and content, you can decide if the new films are suitable for your viewing. Video alternatives contain the same theme, but lack the offensive material. Brother Bear Disney animated family adventure with the voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, Jason Raize, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Michael Clarke Duncan. W-Tab Murphy, Loren Cameron, David Hoselton, Steve Bencich, Ron J. Friedman. D-Aaron Blaise Robert Walker. Although Disney is an incredible animation factory, with more classics to its credit than nearly any other studio, it also has a tendency to use occult themes and imagery while relating symbolic parables. For example, in #147;Atlantis: The Lost Empire,#148; a hidden world is protected by an unknown force, with magical crystals worn by each of its inhabitants. With the New Age popularity of crystals as a healing and meditative element, I felt the subject matter might be confusing for adolescent minds, and possibly intriguing to their older siblings. Since I can find no affirmative Biblical instruction concerning the use of crystals as a healing element, and because sorcery and the occult are frowned upon in both New and Old Testaments (Leviticus 19:31, 1 John 4:1), I question where the true power source of these crystals comes from. In #147;Brother Bear,#148; Disney avoids the existence of God, preferring to generate the myth that human spirits control the weather and our lives. The film tends to glorify the creation while nullifying the Creator. Three brothers who lived long ago, when mammoths roamed the American Northwest, each have been given a totem by the village shaman. The wise old woman, drawn to look like Maria Ouspenskaya (a great Russian actress, unfortunately best known for her role as the gypsy woman in 1941#146;s #147;The Wolf Man#148;) mystically talks to the spirits of the village ancestors and announces with the presentation of the totems that the totems symbolize their spiritual character and that the Great Spirits will guide the brothers through life. But Kenai, the youngest and most fool-hearty sibling, is not thrilled with his totem, a carved bear, representing love. What#146;s more, he believes that to be a man you must conquer the animal world #150; the bear in particular. When his eldest brother is killed by a bear, Kenai tracts down the animal and kills it. But the dead eldest brother, now spiriting with his ancestors in an aurora-borealis-looking mist at the top of the world, mystically transforms his little brother into a bear, so that he can learn life lessons about compassion and being one with nature. The shaman once again appears and tells the boy/bear that to be transformed back into a human, he must travel to the mountain where the light touches the earth. You still with me? On his journey he meets funny animals and a bear cub that we later discover is the baby of the bear Kenai slew. Meanwhile, Denahi, the middle brother, pursues the bear he thinks killed Kenai, not realizing that the animal and his brother are one and the same. (it#146;s getting a little Shakespearian, ain#146;t it). Kenai and the little cub make their way across the northern country through glacial caverns, frosty tundras, and treacherous gorges. At a salmon run, Kenai finds a warm welcome from other bears gathering for some sort of circle-of-life festival. During this warm, fuzzy moment, highlighted by a song composed by the film#146;s music composer, Phil Collins (a great artist, but his compositions here are underwhelming, with this piece, #147;Welcome#148; being perhaps the silliest tune ever). The song is used to underscore Kenai#146;s newfound respect for nature, showing the animal kingdom to be givers rather than takers. Oh yeah, I#146;ve seen lots of animals #147;sharing.#148; Here, all the animals accept one another and live in harmony. Well, except for the salmon, which swim serenely along, happy and content despite the fact that the bears are devouring them. (Evidently, fish, like Christians, are not covered by Hollywood#146;s PC protection plan.) When it comes to animation, Disney is still the champ. There are some background paintings here that would give renown painter of light Thomas Kinkade a run for his money. The colors are mesmerizing and the facial drawings are effective, both humorous and touching. The voicings are also well cast. And there are several very funny lines. But with lackluster, often preachy songs, and a storyline dominated by perverted Native American myths, the film loses its momentum and leaves the viewer unsatisfied. As I left the theater, I overheard two mothers ask their young daughters if they liked the film. Both eight - or nine-year-olds silently shook their heads no. G (Some of the action may frighten very little ones as, once again, Disney kills off what we discover to be the mother of one of the lead characters; there are several intense battles between man and beast and difficult situations the leads must overcome; New Age mysticism include the theory that animals have souls and that dead ancestors are responsible for the changes in the seasons and able to guide our lives; while these themes can be looked upon as symbolic parables, young minds may be influenced by the film#146;s occultic teachings. If the Bible truly is the inspired Word of God, then much taught in this film is untrue and misleading.). Vid. Alt. The Bear. Wow, what a great film experience. It follows an orphaned bear cub and his new protector, a huge Kodiak. There#146;s no Disney-styled narration or cutesy voice-overs. #147;The Bear#148; is simply a captivating, humorous look at the daily life of these two mammals. The film takes place in 1885 British Columbia, with stunning, often breathtaking photography, locations and some truly touching moments. Caution, the PG content contains a couple of frightening scenes: Hunters are after the Kodiak, dogs and horses are wounded by the bear when he is cornered, - but no animals were actually harmed during filming. I believe little ones can handle this film if parents are there to reassure. Standout moment: an unprepared hunter comes face to face with his quarry. After some rather loud roaring, the huge mammal takes pity on the frightened hunter and walks away. Later, the bear is also spared. DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconPower Pampering by Kristie Tamsevicius www.WebMomz.com I just feel like I can't focus today! I feel like I'm not enjoying my job like I used to. What's the matter with me? CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY! When you are CEO, head nurse, mommy, head of janitorial services, and chief crafts coordinator, life can leave you a little weary sometimes. As a business owner YOU are your most valuable resource, so it makes sense to take care of yourself! When you start to feel overwhelmed, it's important to know when to slow down and take a break. Below you'll find 10 tips to help you take a vacation pamper and renew. Schedule a day off. When we are the busiest, this is often when we need a break the most. Write a day in your calendar just for you. Promise to enjoy your time off. Turn off the computer, and don't answer the phone. Don't let guilt or a list of impending deadlines steal your relaxation and enjoyment for the day. Make time for the special relationships in your life. Go on a date with your husband. Enjoy a cup of gourmet coffee with a friend. Steal away on a mommy and daughter/son breakfast. Write a special note to a friend or spouse letting you know how you feel about them. Give someone a long meaningful hug. Spend a little extra time cuddling with your children before bed. Take time to celebrate. Make up a holiday. Invite a friend to a "just because" lunch. Order out for pizza. At our house, we have a tradition called "pajama party." When we want to celebrate, we all get into our pajamas extra early, get all our pillows and blankets, pull out the sofa bed, snuggle up, watch a special movie, and tell each other stories. This is a special treat that the whole family REALLY looks forward to! Pamper yourself. Indulge in a candle-lit bubble bath. Listen to some soothing music. Read a juicy romance novel. Take a day at the spa. Soak up some sun at the beach. Sip a glass of wine and watch the sun set in your back yard. Why not buy yourself a bouquet of flowers? Nurture your body. Treat yourself to plenty of sleep, eat balanced meals, drink lots of water, and take vitamins. If you've been neglecting a checkup, now's the time to schedule it! When you take care of your body, you'll have more energy and feel happier. Get up from that chair and exercise. Sitting in your office chair all day isn't exactly the ideal workout. Head to the gym, take a walk through the park, or take a dip in the pool. Take in a game of golf, racquetball or tennis. Exercise is a proven stress reducer! Catch a ray of sunshine. Remember the song, "I'm walking on sunshine, well...and don't it feel good"? There's nothing more energizing then feeling the sun on your face and breathing in some fresh air. Spend time in your garden, play ball with the kids, or take a trip to the park. I enjoytaking a "nature walk" right in my back yard. I walk slowly looking at each flower, and really taking each detail in again as if for the very first time. Be a kid for a day. Forget your responsibilities for just one day. Put away your "to do list" and revel in all the things you'd like to do but shouldn't. Let your house be messy, sleep in, eat an ice-cream sundae for supper, and watch a funny movie. Make up a silly song. Put on yourfavorite CD and dance! Mix up a batch of monster size cookies! Let the little kid in you come out and play! Renew your spirit. Often in the busyness of life, we forget to take quiet time for ourselves. I encourage you to take time to journal, daydream, read the scriptures, or meditate. In stillness, you can tune in to what really matters to you. Take time to listen to your heart; reflect on and honor the quiet voice within. Treat yourself to a day at the spa. When you look good, you FEEL good. Get a new haircut or a manicure. Get a facial or indulge in a back or foot massage. * Article by Kristie Tamsevicius, America'sFavorite Small Business Success Story. This article is an excerpt from Ch 10"Work/Life Success Strategies" of the new book"I LOVE MY LIFE: A Mom's Guide to Working from Home"by Kristie Tamsevicius - (Wyatt MacKenzie Publishing March 2003 Available at Amazon.com Join our community of Work at Home parents at www.WebMomz.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"RADIO" Movie Review #147;Know Before You Go#148; reg; Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective THEATRICAL RELEASE Radio, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger. Sony Pictures. Drama. I can#146;t remember having more fun, while at the same time being so encouraged and so uplifted by a movie. Smartly written, reflective in its style, and surprisingly witty, #147;Radio#148; reminds us cinephiles of why we keep going to movies #150; because select ones make us feel good. And although many of my secular colleagues in criticism tend to enjoy movies that dwell upon the darker side of the human experience, this is one reviewer delighted whenever a film features positive messages, characters who acknowledge a place for God in their lives, and lighthearted moments not depended on crudity. Mike Rich, author of #147;The Rookie,#148; tells the true story of a mentoring relationship between a high school football coach (Harris) and Radio (Gooding), an illiterate, mentally challenged man who helped transform a small South Carolina town. Although their friendship raised some non-approving eyebrows at first, Radio's growth under the coach's guidance ultimately inspired both the local townsfolk and their beloved football team. Never once do you feel lectured, yet the storyline is jam packed with observations and life lessons that inspire and nurture. For example, when we discover the coach#146;s motive for helping this young man, we are reminded, as with #147;The Emperor#146;s Club,#148; that a man#146;s character isn#146;t defined by one wrong past deed. Rather, the parable clearly states that character is developed over a lifetime. And when Radio covers for a teen who has done him wrong, the moment exemplifies the biblical principal, love one another. Every so often a film#146;s #147;special effects#148; are found in the writing and performing. Such is the case here. What#146;s more, the writer has dramatized powerful themes such as forgiving others who have mistreated you, giving out of your need, self sacrifice, making churchgoing a part of your life, learning from your mistakes, and loving your enemy. Youth group leaders may be a bit nervous about a scene that contains an objectionable phrase repeated several times by both leads, but even that scene teaches a lesson (read the content below). Director Mike Tollin (#147;Summer Catch,#148; #147;Hardwood Dreams#148;) captures small town America#146;s love affair with sports, but also energizes his story with ideas and feelings. He keeps the action tight, blending in moral structure without a moment of maudlin preachiness. It is not a film designed to proselytize, but like #147;A Walk To Remember#148; and #147;The Fighting Temptations,#148; it features people whose faith is an understood part of their daily life. The leads are outstanding. Ed Harris proves again that he is one of the best actors in Tinseltown. Once more, he gives a striking, completely honest performance as Coach Jones, full of subtle emotions expressed with a mere glance or the simplest of dialogue. And Mr. Gooding is never cartoonish or false in his delivery. Like Tom Hanks with Forrest Gump, Gooding understands the responsibility of portraying challenged people with dignity and truth. #147;Radio#148; is often funny, repeatedly inspiring, and always, always entertaining. This one will make my Top 10 favorites of the year. PG (There are 10 minor expletives and at one point the coach, angered at a bad call, uses the expression #147;chicken s----#147; several times. Radio, feeling the coach#146;s frustration, repeats the phrase over and over. The scene becomes humorous, but it also teaches a lesson; the things we say and do are going to affect those around us. There#146;s no violence to speak of, other than the football team brutalizing Radio early on by locking him in a shed and taunting him. There are no scenes of a sexual nature. And there is no misuse of God#146;s name). For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconCrisis Meal Planning Copyright 2003 Deborah Taylor-Hough; Used with permission. All rights reserved hometown.aol.com/dsimple/ If your home is anything like mine, you've probably found that five o'clock each evening is one of the most hectic times of the day. Mom and dad are just finishing up a long day of work at home or at the office. The kids are hungry and tired after a full day of school and afternoon sports. It's time to fix supper -- or at least we should be getting dinner started if we want to eat a meal before midnight! But what's for dinner tonight? Well, your guess is probably as good as mine ... and it seems like more often than not, nobody knows! So the whole family hops into the car and heads through the local drive-thru for the third time this week. Someone I know once called it "crisis meal planning." Each night's dinner is the latest in a string of mealtime crisis management decisions. Everyone's tired. The kids are hungry. The whining has started in earnest. What's a parent to do? Rather than planning ahead to prevent panic and poor nutritional choices, many families coast through their day without giving a thought to dinner, and then discover that they've crashed headlong into that nightly mealtime crisis once again. Cooking ahead for the freezer can be the answer to this all-too-frequent mealtime dilemma. I've discovered as people become more adept and experienced at cooking for the freezer, they often switch from doing a full one-day-each-month cooking frenzy to using a simpler process referred to as "mini-sessions." A mini-session consists of choosing one main ingredient, such as chicken, and then preparing a group of chicken recipes in a single afternoon or evening. A mini-session usually involves only an hour or two of cooking rather than the eight to ten hours often required for a complete month of cooking. By waiting for main ingredients to go on sale at your local market, you can stock up on large quantities and take advantage of great prices. For example, if you stock up on lean ground beef at this week's sale, a relatively short mini-session could easily supply you with five to ten ground beef meals tucked away in the freezer. When chicken goes on sale later in the month, you can add another five to ten meals to your personal stash of Frozen Assets. Simply by purchasing and cooking in bulk as you follow the sale flyers from the grocery store, you can save a great deal of time and money without ever investing an entire day in a monthly cooking session. For more information on cooking ahead for the freezer, go to: hometown.aol.com/oamcloop/ Or consider joining the Frozen Assets Email Discussion Group to share tips, recipes and encouragement with other cooking investigating the benefits of preparing meals ahead of time for the freezer. For details and subscribing information, go to: groups.yahoo.com/group/frozen-assets/ ABOUT THE AUTHOR: --Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer, wife and mother of three) is the editor of the Simple Times and Bright-Kids email newsletters. She's also the author of the popular book, Frozen Assets: how to cook for a day and eat for a month , and the newly released Frugal Living For Dummies(r) (Wiley Publishing, 2003). For more information, visit Debi online: http://hometown.aol.com/dsimple/ You can also subscribe to one of her free ezines! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconHomebodies Hints: One-Income Living By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org Copyright 2003 Holly, a SAHM from Indiana, has been an at-home parent for nine years. She has four children (ages 7, 9, 18 and 22) plus three grandsons, and is well-versed in managing a one-income budget. #147;We are considered a middle class family with an annual income of $34,000,#148; Holly says. #147;We have one auto payment and a house payment. Those are the only payments we have going out a month besides our utilities.#148; She counsels prospective at-home parents to #147;make sure all your bills are paid off before you quit your job. We had everything paid off except our house but eventually got a van because of our family size.#148; She and her husband finished paying for their van before buying him something different, so they would only have one car payment at a time. #147;We shopped around for his vehicle and feel like we made a frugal purchase.#148; Holly applies this same money-saving mindset as she gathers other things her family needs. #147;Food items are usually on sale and I cut coupons faithfully every week. Ninety-eight percent of our clothing is from garage sales or Good Will. We Christmas shop at garage sales and clearance isles. You can get like-new items for pennies on the dollar. So far no one has complained at all about our purchases. It is also a good way to spoil our grandchildren.#148; Although it#146;s important to take advantage of cost-cutting options available to families, communicating with your spouse is the key to frugal living. #147;I can't stress enough that you need to take time with your husband every day to talk to him,#148; Holly says. #147;Let him know what a great husband he is and how proud you are of him for supporting his family.#148; Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit the messageboards at www.homebodies.org , where you can interact with at-home parents from around the country and throughout the world. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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