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Parenting
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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05/07/2010
Icon"School of Rock" Movie Review "Know Before You Go" reg; Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective Philip Boatwright, Editor Theatrical Release "School of Rock." Jack Black, Joan Cusack. Paramount. Comedy. Hell-raising guitarist Dewey Finn (Black) worships the power of rock and roll. With a penchant for stage-dives and 20-minute solos, Dewy is determined to lead his rock group to victory at the local Battle of the Bands#133;but his bandmates fire him instead. Down and out, in need of rent money and wallowing in his apartment strewn with take-out containers, Dewey picks up a phone call intended for his roommate, and impulsively accepts a job as a substitute teacher at the prestigious Horace Green Elementary School. While Dewey hasn't a clue how to teach, he does know how to inspire confidence in his young fifth graders. And when he accidentally overhears them performing in an orchestra class, he decides to mold these young musical prodigies into a high-voltage rock band, and allow himself to lead the unknowing students to victory in the upcoming Battle of the Bands contest. Anti-establishment to the hilt, irreverent to the max, Jack Black's Dewey Finn is Mad Magazine's answer to "Mr. Holland's Opus." Self-centered and slovenly, this is one movie teacher not concerned with being educator of the year. He just wants to know when it's time for lunch. But along the way, don't you know, he learns life lessons. Parents beware, however; although he gets his pupils to overlook their outward appearance (some are overweight, some fear they are perceived as geeks), Dewey is teaching them to "kick ass" and "stick it to the man." True, nothing can be taken seriously in this overwrought comedy, but I'm not sure many of you will want your little ones sensing they must rebel against "the man." I think it's best to wait until they graduate grammar school before they join Greenpeace, don't you? PG-13 (a few expletives - some from kids - and several rude comments, but no harsh or profane language; while the lead does promote rebellion, and while there is the occasional drug reference, the lead is anti-drugs and believes in heading an RR band, not to "get chicks," but as an artistic expression; he tells lies continuously, but by film's end teaches the kids that it is wrong to lie - well, sort of; a long running gag implies that one of the students has gay tendencies; the lead takes the school principal - an excellent Joan Cusack - out for drinks, attempting to get her drunk, thereby winning her over to his deceitful plan to get the kids out of school and to the contest audition; though he teaches the kids to respect themselves, Dewey doesn't show much tolerance for those he does not like, sending the message that we should care for our friends and loved ones, but simply use others - not exactly a New Testament teaching). Vid. Alt. "Yours, Mine and Ours." Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda. Based on a true story of a widow with eight kids who marries a widower with ten. Lucy is very funny in this film for the whole family. 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
IconSpendaholic The Dollar Stretcher by Gary Foreman I am 22 years old and I live in NYC. I am in some serious debt, which I have turned over to a debt consolidation company. I make a decent amount of money, however, I can't seem to keep it for more than a few hours. I end up spending my entire paycheck within the first day I have it....seriously. I am trying to find a support group in NYC, but am having no luck. I know I have a problem and I can't continue to live like this. Donna My Dad used to call it 'letting money burn a hole in your pocket'. Call it what you will, but it's a serious problem for some people. If you regularly spend all the money you have, you'll always be broke. There are two main strategies that Donna can use. First, she can severely limit the amount of cash and credit that she has available for spending. Second, she can change the way that she relates to money. Let's begin with the tools that will limit how much money Donna has at any time. If her employer offers it, she should use direct deposit. If that's not available, she'll need to deposit her entire check as soon as she receives it. Donna should use payroll deductions to force savings. Otherwise, she's probably going to have trouble accumulating any. Deductions are also a good way to save for retirement. She might want to consider making regular monthly contributions to an IRA or mutual fund account. It's foolish for Donna to carry much cash. She'll just be tempted to spend it. Before she leaves the house in the morning Donna should list the items that she expects to buy that day. Include everything. Even snacks and the daily paper. The idea is to only carry the cash she'll need and get in the habit of only making purchases that are on the list. Donna has already seen what credit cards can do. They're meant to be convenient to use. And, that's the problem. It's easy to keep charging until she reaches her credit limit. Leave them at home unless they're needed for a planned purchase. Once Donna limits the amount of cash and credit that's available, it's time to change the way that she relates to money. She already recognizes that it's easier to reach your goal if other people are involved. Contacting a local social services agency could turn up a support group for spendaholics. Another source of support is an 'accountability partner'. It could be a friend, relative or mentor. Someone who can be trusted. Donna would regularly report to the partner on how well she was doing. Sometimes just knowing that we'll have to confess our failures is enough to keep us from stumbling. That partner can also be helpful when Donna does suffer a setback. And they will come. A compassionate partner can help dust us off and get us back on track. If you can't find someone to hold you accountable, create a system to hold yourself accountable. It could be as simple as keeping track of the days that you stuck with the morning spending list. Donna should also consider using a budget. It would put her on notice when she had already spent the money that she had allocated for entertainment, clothing or any other category. Avoid the places that are most likely to trigger spending. Just as the alcoholic can't hang around bars, the spendaholic shouldn't go window shopping. It's like dancing with the devil. You're bound to get singed. Use rewards and punishments to encourage good spending behavior. We all respond to appropriate rewards. Donna might find that she's never had the money for good seats at a Broadway show because the money is always gone. The idea is to pick something that had not been attainable under the old system and then reward yourself after an important goal has been met. It will get easier the longer you persist. It's hard to break old habits. Especially if they contain some behavior that could be addictive. Remember that tomorrow will be easier than today. But you have to get through today first. Donna has already taken the first two steps. She's recognized the problem and started to look for help in solving it. Hopefully she'll be successful in using some of the tools to take control of the situation and begin to build a new pattern of relating to money. Gary Foreman is a former financial planner who currently edits The Dollar Stretcher website TheDollarStretcher.com and newsletters. You'll find hundreds of articles to help you stretch your day and your dollar! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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