A Lousey Plan Is Hatched
My husband and I had just landed in New York for a weekend getaway, ourfirst in three years. After working day and night for a week to get readyfor the trip, I felt heady with excitement. I had even managed to getthrough airport security without having to take off my shoes or surrender mytweezers. Life was good.
We were still in the car heading to the hotel when my cell phone startingthrumming in my purse. I sensed this was a bad development. The only peoplewho call me on the cell phone are my kids, and they only call to alert me toa crisis, such as the discovery that we are out of ketchup and it#146;s hot dognight.
I answered fearfully, the way one does when one suspects it#146;s the principalcalling again, saying it#146;s time to reconvene to discuss young Cheyenne andher #147;need for excessive socialization during class.#148;
#147;Hello Mommy?#148; It was my charming young daughter. #147;Bad news, Mommy. Me andthe boys have lice.#148;
Now I like to think I#146;m a pretty good mom, and as such, I had contingencyplans for many emergencies likely to strike during my absence, such as earinfections, civil unrest and earthquakes. But tiny disgusting insectscongealing to my children#146;s heads was one I hadn#146;t figured on.
#147;You have lice???#148; I fairly screamed across the nation. #147;Are they sure?#148;
#147;Yeah. You need to pick us up. They don#146;t want us in school.#148;
#147;I can#146;t pick you up, because you are in Los Angeles and I#146;m on the LongIsland Expressway!#148; After stating this simple fact, I broke down in tears.Why had the good Lord done this to me? I tip fairly. I hold doors open forpeople. I don#146;t even eat the last donut in the box, and don#146;t think that#146;san easy thing. Where was the justice in this?
For the next several hours, I cursed the fact that I hadn#146;t coughed up theextra few bucks for the national calling plan on my cell phone, because Ihad to make about seventy-five calls, all of which entailed cripplingroaming charges. But I had no choice. Hours of time spent making elaboratechildcare and sleepover arrangements were down the drain. Who would take myplague-infested children now? I started calling in favors (real andimagined) from friends and relatives. No amount of pleading, begging orgroveling would be beneath me. It would take a village to de-louse mychildren. And the villagers would have to -- I was on vacation!
I mean, talk about a bad hair day.
But that wasn#146;t all. Because, as everyone knows, once lice are in the house,you also have to launder every scrap of material under the roof, everystitch of clothing, bedding, and teddy bear, (no matter how fragile). Or, ifyou are unwilling to do 450 loads of laundry, you can simply take all thecontents of your household, including the children, and have themhermetically sealed for two weeks, after which time experts claim it is safeto unseal them.
Later that evening, I basked in the comfort of knowing that I had real, true friends, the kind who buckled under the pressure of my threats and cries of desperation. I had friends who actually came over to lather up my kids with expensive anti-lousing agentsand launder my every possession. I also discovered who wasn#146;t my friend #150;namely, the Commandant of Lice at the school. She was the one who at firsttold me not to worry, she would take care of my kids till the end of the dayuntil their carpool picked them up. She made it sound as if she was justdoing it because she was filled with the milk of human kindness. She thenpresented me with a bill for two-hundred and fifty smackers upon my returnfor services rendered.
I still didn#146;t get off so easy. Even now, two weeks later, yucky things arestill hatching on my kids#146; heads, we are still laundering like crazy andoiling each other#146;s heads as if we are getting ready to be anointed Pope.Feeling paranoid, I even had the kids begin to check my own scalp, whichthey were happy to do and which elicited many gasps of #147;Oh my God! I didn#146;tknow you were so gray!#148; and #147;I think I see something! Oh, never mind, Ithink that#146;s just rust.#148;
We are now resorting to more drastic measures, and one of my sons now sportsa military crew cut. If these diabolical creatures don#146;t stop erupting inour hair, the rest of us will do the same thing, and I will end up lookinglike Sigourney Weaver in the movie #147;Aliens.#148; (Well, since she#146;s eight inchestaller than me and we have other, trivial physical differences, maybe I won#146;t look exactly like her, but once you#146;re walking around with a shaved head,who notices the rest of you, anyway?)
All this goes to prove one thing, in my opinion. During these times whenmany of us still fear the threat of domestic terrorism during air travel, wedon#146;t even know the half of it. The real danger may be nesting in our kids#146;hair.
Judy Gruen is the author of
"Carpool Tunnel Syndrome: Motherhood as ShuttleDiplomacy."
Sign up to receive Judy's free, twice-monthly email humor columnat
, and enter your email address on the Newsletter page.(c) Judy Gruen, 2002. For permission to reprint, either electronically or in print, please contact the author at
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Dream A Little Dream With Me
By Cheryl Gochnauer
Copyright 2000 Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
As an at-home parent, it's important to surround yourself withpeople who support your family-focused decision. To illustratethis point, this week I'm including part of a message boardposting from a Homebodies reader, Shelly, and some responses herposting generated:
"Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being married tomy handsome prince, having babies and making my home a safeharbor for my family and friends. It was a simple, non-glamorousdream, but it was my heart's desire.
"I am the only lady to stay home with children in my husband'sfamily, and every now and then I get feedback as to my lifestyle. Recently, I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law, whodoesn't have any kids. We were talking about working, and shecommented, 'Well, I could never see myself staying home with mychildren, because I wouldn't want to lose touch with reality andhaving a structured life.'
"When I get these little jabs, it hurts. But I have never feltthe need to be like everyone else; in fact, as I get older, Itry very hard to be myself and am thankful I am what I alwayswanted to be: a wife, mother and homemaker." - Shelly
Thoughts from other Homebuddies on Shelly's situation:
"When I was a stay-at-home mom, my life wasn't structured.That's what I loved about it. We woke up when our bodies told usto; we played outside when the weather let us; we went with theflow. As far as being in touch with reality, that is a commonproblem with some SAHMs. If you aren't careful, your entirelife will revolve around sippy cups and potty training." -Jennifer
"My own sister is married and doesn't have kids. For a longtime she used to harass me about staying home and doing 'nothing'all day. Until she walks the walk, she's not going to know.Don't let people get to you. You know your heart; stand by whatyou believe." - Terri
"Although your desire was to be a mom all along, lots of usdreamed of a career, house, hubby AND kids, so it may be veryhard for your sister-in-law to imagine that your dream wasdifferent. It wasn't until we had all those things that some ofus realized our values had changed." - Mary
I appreciate the thoughts expressed in each of these ladies'postings. Are you looking for the same sort of support asyou're tackling your at-home parenting role? Visit the messageforums at Homebodies
and link upwith new friends with common goals.
Not connected to the Internet? Check with your local churchesand boards of education to discover parenting support groups inyour area. Like Jennifer said, at-home life is more than "sippycups." Mix up your routine by meeting other like-minded moms,whether in person or on the Web.
Cheryl loves to hear from readers. Write her at
or visit her website at
where you can interact with lots ofother at- home parents in the active message forums. Also checkout your Homebodies Columnists - we now have 25 talented writerswho will encourage and equip you in your family-focusedlifestyle choice!
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Opening Your Home For The Holidays
By Cheryl Gochnauer
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE VISITORS, and all through the house, the hostess was obsessing, drafting children and spouse.
Do you really need to dust the top of the refrigerator? "The more I do, the more I feel I have to do," sighs Sally. "I'm like one of those hamsters on the wheel."
Relax. Your home should be comfortable, not spotless. Most people feel less pressured when family's on the way than they do entertaining first-time guests. Either way, people are coming to see you, not conduct a white-glove test.
HARK! THE HERALD DOORBELL RINGS. One source which, understandably, wished to remain anonymous, says, "With my family, there's no notice. They just come and run you over." Avoid having to just say "Go" by scheduling the visit's end before guests arrive.
Give new visitors a tour. Present simple ground rules positively. If you'd rather guests not smoke inside, provide an alternative. Demonstrate how to operate remotes and microwaves. If they have free access to the refrigerator, tell them.
WHAT "CHILD" IS THIS? When guests surprise you with Fido, remain calm. If you don't allow indoor pets, offer your garage, suggest a nearby kennel, or ask that the animal be confined to its carrier.
On the flip side, forewarn visitors about your own pets. "I make it known that I have a dog, and the dog lives in the house," says Teresa. "If they can't handle that, they need to find somewhere else to stay."
DANCE OF THE SUGAR-FREE PLUM FAIRIES. "My husband, Bob, and I talk with guests ahead of time to see if they have any unusual food preferences or dietary needs," says Charlotte. Sidestep the disappointment of a "no, thanks" response to your seven-course meal by determining crowd-pleasing menus ahead of time.
Why slave alone in the kitchen while friends reminisce in the den? Prepare several meals in advance. Make double portions and throw the extra in the freezer. Stock up on foods that won't spoil if everyone decides to eat out - or if guests don't show at all. Make breakfast easy for everyone, whether they be early-risers or sleep-ins, by setting out cereal the night before.
SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE. Make guestrooms as dreamy as possible. Test the bed's comfort, imagining yourself as an outsider. Furnish a nightlight, alarm clock, extra blankets and storage space for belongings. Please night owls with a television with an earphone jack, or magazines to browse in the wee hours. Plan for pallets, in case parents want their small children to sleep in their room.
IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHAOS: If everybody's enjoying themselves, there's no reason to rush friends and family to the door. But if they're there for several days, you should definitely look to them for help. Don't be shy about inviting guests into the kitchen to help chop vegetables or set the table. Playfully toss them a dishtowel after dinner. If they're getting low on clean clothes, show them how to operate your washer and dryer. Point out extra toilet tissue and cleaning supplies under the guest bathroom sink.
OH HOLY NIGHTLIFE. Explore the local holiday sites together. Have a tentative entertainment schedule set before guests arrive so you can coordinate your plans with theirs. Tug-of-wars over checks are avoided, too, by discussing finances in advance. Will you split expenses, or treat each other? Presenting options in a forthright, cordial manner sets everyone at ease. Be sure to carve out some downtime so your guests can spend some time to themselves, too.
AWAY IN A MINIVAN. As the visit winds down, do a room-by-room check to make sure no one's forgotten anything. Help take luggage to the car, then gather everyone together for one last photo, surprising children with a small gift to entertain them on their way home.
Hugs. Kisses. Waves.
Close the door. Reclaim your recliner.
Enjoy the silent night.
and be sure to visit her website at
where you can read 25 columnists devoted to encouraging at-home parents. All rights reserved, Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com)
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Unique Gifts for Teens
By Patti Chadwick
Tired of giving the same gifts year after year? Looking for something unique to give your teens? Check these out!
Clothes in a Bottle
A great way to wrap a clothing item for your teen is to roll it up and put it inside a mason jar. Decorate the flat part of the lid by gluing holiday fabric to it and tie with a matching ribbon. If you want to conceal the clothing, cut a large square of fabric and place it in the jar, then add the gift and lid.
Cut 2 pieces of fabric in the shape of an 8 without the holes in the center. The top of one eight should fit along the middle of the 2nd 8. Hand stitch the 8s right sides together, following the curves, leaving a small opening. Turn right side out and fill with black-eyed peas or rice. Close opening.
Movie Theater Tickets
You can usually buy presale movies certificates in a book at a discount price. I find this is a favorite among my teens.
Key Chain with Car Keys
Give your older teen their own set of keys to the family car along with a house key on a teen-friendly key chain. They will love this.
Most gas stations now sell pre-paid gas cards. Get some of these for your driving teens..
Clothing Gift Cards
Instead of giving clothes that you pick out, why not give your teens gift cards from their favorite clothing store?
Video/Music Gift Cards
Give gift cards to their favorite video or music store.
Buy your teens subscriptions to their favorite magazines. Girls usually like fashion or teen magazines (why not try Focus on the Family#146;s
magazine). Boys usually like sports or video game magazines (why not try Focus on the Family#146;s
Buy your teen a book from their favorite genre.
Buy your teen a new backpack, purse, or make up bag.
Give your teen some new software for the computer #150; either educational software or a fun computer game.
Give your teen a genuine leather wallet.
Roller Blades or Ice Skates
For your sports-minded teen, why not get a new set of roller blades or ice skates? While you are at it, how about a season#146;s pass for the local ice rink.
Most kids love getting privileges. Give out certificates good for
Extending curfew for one evening.
Driving the favorite family car on a date
Having control of the TV or computer one evening
Take a date out for steaks #147;on the house#148;
Receive a double allowance for one week
Fill that Christmas stocking with much needed soaps, shampoos, hair gels other hair products, deodorants, and acne creams.
What teen doesn#146;t like candy? It#146;s something you just never seem to outgrow. I#146;m not a big fan of chocolate, but I feel special occasions deserve good chocolate! The week before Christmas you will find great sales on candy EVERYWHERE. Also, if you like to make your own, you will find candy-making supplies at specialty stores and most local grocery stores. For those who don#146;t like chocolate or are allergic, try making carob candy - check out your local health food store for supplies and details.
Another great stocking stuffer is school supplies. About this time of year, school supplies have either run out, been lost, or are worn out. Fill that Christmas stocking with new pens, pencils, folders, notebooks, and notebook paper.
These gift ideas were taken from the new book
HAPPY HOLIDAYS WITH TEENS
written by Patti Chadwick, available in both ebook and print formats at
. Stop by Parents Teens and pick up a copy today. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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The Frozen Chosen
By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.
The kids have been in school for awhile now and it's back to the ol' routine. For most of us, that means lots of activities and increased busyness. Do the math and you'll find your equation quickly lacking in time to prepare good healthy meals for the family. So what do you do? Give up and throw yourself in front of a truck at the drive-thru?
What you should do is chill out... literally. Have you taken a stroll down the frozen food aisle lately at the supermarket? There is a bevy of perfectly wonderful, good-for-you foods just waiting to take up residence in your home freezer. Today's frozen foods are a quantum leap over the stuff passed off as "cuisine" a few years back. Using your freezer as a pantry can help you get meals on the table in a jiffy, without icing down the nutrition.
Here's my Frozen Chosen: 10 Quick 'n Easy Foods complete with a simple-yet-tasty recipe or serving suggestion for each.
Get The Juice Out! I am particularly fond of orange juice, especially the calcium-fortified kind. For a great after-school snack, freeze a mixture of half orange juice and half vanilla yogurt in a Popsicle mold. Minute Maid has a "country style" brand with calcium that tastes fresh squeezed to me.
Wok This Way! Stir frys are a snap when the veggies are ready to go. There are plenty of varieties and brands to choose from. The Basil Herb Primavera Easy Recipe Creation from Birds Eye caught my eye. Add some chicken and pasta and you have a healthy gourmet meal.
Stop Meating Like This! One of my favorite quick meals is a veggie burger. Add a whole-wheat bun, all the fixin's of a regular burger and you won't even miss the meat. I'm partial to the Gardenburger, but I also like Boca Burgers. Morningstar Farms also has an unbeatable line up of frozen un-meats, too. Their breakfast patties make for a great breakfast sandwich. Simply add a scrambled egg and slide the whole thing between a whole-wheat English muffin for a terrific breakfast to go.
Don't Chicken Out! You're probably up on the fact that chicken is a good bet nutritionally. Tyson's frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut down the time for cooking. You don't even have to thaw the chicken! Toss your favorite seasoning on the top of a frozen breast and bake. While the chicken is baking, cook up some instant brown rice and throw a salad together and you've got dinner ready to go in less than 30 minutes.
A Favorite Pasta Time! The varieties are endless and so are the ideas for making them into a meal. Bake some raviolis with spaghetti sauce for a casserole, cook up some tortellinis (Italia makes a good one) and plop some Italian dressing on them to make a salad. Need a quick appetizer for a party? Those same tortellini in Italian dressing make a great hors d'oeuvres. Simply skewer them kabob-style on large toothpicks.
Something Fishy Here! Gorton's and Van De Camp's both make grilled frozen fish fillets. No deep-fried stuff here -- just fish and some spices (two of my faves: lemon pepper and Italian herb). They're easy to use as is, for fish sandwiches or even for a main course salad.
Berry, Berry Good! Today's technology has improved the quality of everything, especially frozen fruits. Fruits are picked in their prime and flash frozen preserving their incredibly sweet flavors as well the nutrients. Cascadian Farms offers organically grown fruits. Mix frozen berries with some yogurt and cereal (like Grape Nuts) for a refreshing quick breakfast.
Waffle Over Breakfast! Hallelujah and pass the syrup. It's about time frozen waffles were made with whole-wheat flour. Eggo Waffles has two whole-wheat varieties. My choice is the low-fat one: half the fat and all the flavor. Try a smear of peanut butter (if you're not allergic) and sliced bananas on your toasted waffle. Fold over like a taco and you've got another easy, kid-friendly breakfast to go.
Veg Out! While the stir-fry option is nifty, plain old frozen veggies are a good choice in their own right. CW offers tender baby green beans, petite peas and other tasty selections (even a few organic ones).
. A Quick Fix! For those days when the best cooking effort you can muster is to operate a microwave, sow some Seeds of Change. . as in the top-notch options available in ready to go meals in a bowl. The Moroccan Lentil Rice Pilaf and the Zesty Cilantro Quinoa Blend are both very good.
You may find that not all markets carry the stuff I mentioned above. But I've found the quickest way to get something is to ask for it. Make sure you talk to the frozen food department manager or go right to the top and corner the grocery store manager.
Believe me, they appreciate hearing what you want because they want to keep your business. Competition for your grocery dollars is stiff!
Above all, don't sweat your busy schedule. Take a chill pill and put your cares on ice. It's easy when you've chosen the best in frozen foods.
BIO: Leanne Ely is the radio talk show host of Heart of a Woman. She is the author of
, The Frantic Family Cookbook, a nutritionist and the editor of Menu-Mailer, the definitive answer to that perplexing question, "What's for Dinner?"
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Excerpted from Home is Where the Mom Is
Copyright 2002; permission granted for use on Dr Laura website.
Contact author Shelly Burke at:
. As an at-home mom you have long, unstructured amounts of time to fill. A very structured schedule would not allow for the flexibility children need and the emergencies that require your attention #147;right now.#148; But with no boss, no deadlines, and no meetings or set coffee breaks or lunch times, it can be a challenge to discipline yourself to use your time wisely.
Think back to a day when your to-do list was a mile long. You probably got up early (or at least on time), worked very efficiently, and crossed off almost everything on your list. Now look at a day when you had just a few things planned. Did you work just as hard and efficiently and have some free time to do something enjoyable at the end of the day? Or did the few things on your list take the same amount of time as the long list of jobs? Too often, #147;. . . work expands as to fill the time available for its completion.#148; (Parkinson#146;s Law). If you#146;re not conscious of how you#146;re spending your time, it can take all day just to complete a few tasks. If you don#146;t manage your time wisely, you may never get around to doing the things that are important to you.
This quote from
Organizing for the Creative Person
should guide us all; #147;Become aware of how you are actually spending your time and whether these efforts are helping you to achieve your goals. If not, you need to change either your goals or the way you spend your time.#148; For a few days, be very conscious of how you spend your time. Keep a detailed log if you want. Include the time you spend looking for something (one report says that Americans waste nine million hours a day looking for misplaced items!), talking on the phone, doing household chores, and watching TV. Also list the time you spend doing things you enjoy, like reading the paper, surfing the net, devotions, playing with your kids, cuddling with your husband. Next, list activities you#146;d like to do, but haven#146;t yet found the time to squeeze into your regular schedule. These might include joining a Bible study group, exercising, spending more time with your husband and kids, writing, and so on. Now let#146;s fit these truly important activities into your schedule.
First evaluate your day and eliminate non-productive activities. Some time wasters will be obvious; watching lots of TV, for example. Cutting out TV all together is probably not realistic, but try turning it on only for the morning and evening news, or programs you really want to watch. If you consistently spend time waiting in line at the grocery store, try shopping at a different time or a different store. How many newspapers do you subscribe to? I had a friend who subscribed to and read four newspapers every day (she was very well informed!). When she realized how much time she spent reading the papers, she cancelled three of the subscriptions (she#146;s still well informed). One person#146;s time waster is another person#146;s sanity saver. I spend about 20 minutes every morning reading the newspaper (just one!) and eating breakfast. Some moms might consider this a waste of time; I consider it a necessary breather between getting everyone to their daily destinations and starting my day.
Eliminating Time Wasters
Make it your mission to look for and eliminate at least some of the time wasters in your life. Once you#146;ve identified a time waster, try one of these fairly painless solutions to minimize or eliminate it.
Eliminate the task or do it less frequently. Scrubbing the kitchen floor may be a necessity, but do you have to do it three times a week, or would once a week, with spot wipe-ups in between, be enough? Say #147;no#148; to organizing the salad luncheon (you know from experience it will require many, many time-consuming meetings and phone calls). Offer to bring an extra salad, instead.
Lower your standards. #147;Good enough#148; might be a high enough standard. Do your husband#146;s shirts have to be ironed perfectly, or will #147;good enough#148; do? Is it necessary to move all of the furniture every time you vacuum (I sure hope not!), or just once in awhile? Do the books have to be in alphabetical order, or just on the shelves? You don#146;t have to write Pulitzer-Prize winning thank-you letters if quick notes will express your gratitude just as well. Instead of giving everything your #147;all#148; (100%) give less important things 80%, or even 50%. Most times this will result in a more than satisfactory result, and give you the extra time to devote 100% to the tasks that really count.
Let someone else do it. Tasks you dislike can be huge time wasters. Sheila hates ironing, and recalls her solution; #147;I used to put it off until the pile was huge, and the clothes were full of dust and dog hair and had to be washed again before I could iron them. Then I found out that dry cleaning a shirt costs less than a dollar! This minimal cost was a huge bargain, considering what I saved not having to wash the clothes twice. It also saved wear and tear on the clothes and I didn#146;t have to waste energy coming up with excuses not to iron.#148;
Your babysitter would probably welcome a little extra money in exchange for doing light housework after the kids are asleep. Ask her to dust, organize the videos, fold clothes, clear out the dishwasher, or sew on buttons. As your kids get older they can take on more responsibilities. Jane said, #147;Folding laundry was one of my least favorite tasks. I taught my kids to fold washcloths and small towels when they were just three years old. Now that they#146;re older they fold all the towels and washcloths along with their own clothes. I can#146;t wait to teach them to iron!#148;
Many tasks can be done faster, safer, and better by professionals with the training, experience, and tools necessary to do a difficult job. Unless you#146;re an expert, hire someone else to clean the gutters, trim trees, or paint the house.
Avoid interruptions. You develop a momentum when working. According to Time Management for Dummies, #147;By interrupting yourself and losing your flow, rhythm, and momentum, you#146;ll find it twice as difficult to resume your work . . . don#146;t drop everything . . . ignore these interruptions and continue working.#148; You can#146;t tell a crying child to wait until you#146;re done cleaning the closet, but you don#146;t have to answer the phone every time it rings, or answer every knock at the door, or check your e-mail or daily mail the moment it arrives.
Now that you#146;ve eliminated some time wasters, you can fit more into your schedule. But don#146;t always fill your time with more work; fill it with activities you enjoy! Instead of scheduling half an hour to wash your windows (you hired a teen-ager to do it), you can take a bath, call a friend, or play #147;dollies.#148; Later in this chapter you#146;ll make a list of enjoyable activities you#146;d like to do when you have extra time.
Home is Where the Mom Is
, copy; 2003, permission granted for use on the Dr. Laura website. Contact author Shelly Burke at
or visit Shelly's website at:
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Parenting Trends for the New Year
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
What will happen on the parenting front in 2006? Are there signs already in place that point in specific directions? Can predictions be drawn from the evidence currently available? Will there be an upturn in taking parenting responsibility seriously or a continued slide towards parenting indifference?
While, there is no parenting crystal ball that will accurately predicts what will happen to the state of parenting in 2006, events already in place and the energy surrounding those events seem to suggest several parenting trends. Our predictions follow.
Prediction Number One: The purchase and reading of books on parenting will decline in 2006. Sale and use of parenting resources on the internet is on the rise. Traffic to sites that offer practical, useable advice for parents on specific parenting issues will increase. CD sales will also go up so that busy parents can glean valuable parenting information while they drive to work or school.
Prediction Number Two: Busy parents will continue to outsource their parenting responsibilities. There will be a dramatic increase in parenting consultants who will be hired to teach children how to ride a bike, hit a baseball, divide fractions, sleep through the night, or become potty trained. Party planners, tutorial services, and companies offering to take over parent responsibilities will flourish.
Prediction Number Three: The concept of Parent Coaching will explode in 2006. Even skilled parents will emulate professional athletes who, although they are the best in the world at what they do, have coaches who continually help them to improve and stay at the top of their game. A growing number of parents will huddle on a regular basis with coaches via the internet or telephone in an effort to learn how to raise responsible, caring, confident children.
Prediction Number Four: International Parenting Commitment Day will be recognized by a record number of families this year. Last year, March 20th was officially designated as International Parenting Commitment Day and attracted attention world wide. This year, more families will celebrate this special day with unique activities that bring attention to its importance. Check
for more information on ways to celebrate this significant day.
Prediction Number Five: Fantasy sport leagues will continue to grow in popularity. This growing interest will see more men investing time deciding who to play on their next fantasy team than actually playing with their own children.
Prediction Number Six: Children#146;s use of electronic media will level off at 6 frac12; hours per day. This will do little to address the problem of the Great American Family Disconnect. The strangers that lurk in children#146;s bedrooms (computer, television, media centers) will continue to teach attitudes, values, and behaviors as well as distract them from homework and create separation and distance from family.
Prediction Number Seven: In 2006 there will be a widening gap between children that receive effective parenting and those who#146;s parents over-function or under-function in the parenting role. Effective parents will continue to improve their verbal skills, build family traditions, and support their children with time and energy. Simply put, high-skilled parents will get better and low-skilled parents will get worse. The parent effectiveness gap will continue to expand.
Prediction Number Eight: Reality #150;based TV shows about parenting will continue to attract attention. Some parents will tune in to watch how parents of unruly children learn to take control and make kids obedient. Others will watch and be appalled at what they consider shame-base parenting that attacks character and wounds the spirit. The producers will continue to find dysfunctional families with few parenting skills and out-of-control children that will shock viewers into staying tuned to the program. Many parents will view the sensationalized accounts and think they are learning valuable techniques to use with their families. Others will be appalled and simply grateful that they have been taking parenting seriously for many years and recognize that extreme measures are not needed in their families.
Prediction Number Nine: The number of parenting conferences offered around the country will increase in 2006 as will the number of participants attending. We have observed these phenomena over the past several years at the parenting conferences where we have presented and have seen a steady rise in number of attendees and new conference opportunities being offered to parents. This trend will continue.
Prediction Number Ten: Parents will show a growing interest in the spiritual aspects of parenting. Interest in our
workshops are at an all time high. Seeing parenting as a sacred responsibility and as an important ministry is growing in popularity among parents throughout the world. More parents will join that group in the coming year.
What parenting trend will you help promote in 2006? Will you be a book reader or a CD listener? Will you spend more time playing fantasy football or playing with your children? Will you get your parenting techniques from a TV show or from an enlightened parenting workshop? Will you celebrate International Parenting Commitment Day, hire a coach, or outsource your parenting responsibilities. However you answer these questions in 2006, you will be helping establish a trend.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of
The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose
. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today:
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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Make Ahead Turkey For The Holidays
Copyright 2002 Deborah Taylor-Hough
Can you imagine a relaxed Thanksgiving or Christmasdinner without needing to actually cook a turkey on thebig day? You'd be able to enjoy the festivities as muchas your friends and family!
Believe it or not, it's possible to roast your turkey aheadof time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheatand serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much likeeating leftovers, let me assure you that by following thesesimple freezing and reheating instructions, you'll have moist,delicious turkey -- and not one of your guests will suspectyou didn't spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchenkeeping watch over a hot oven.
Feel free to use your own favorite turkey recipe if you prefer,and then follow the freezing/reheating instructions at the endof this article (but I personally don't think you'll find a tastierturkey recipe!).
TO PREPARE TURKEY:
3 onions, quartered
6 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups white wine (or water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon thyme
3 cups chicken broth, canned (reserve for freezing process)
In bottom of a deep roasting pan, place two quarteredonions, four celery stalks, the carrots, bay leaves andwhite wine (or water). Remove turkey giblets, rinsebird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Stuffturkey loosely with remaining quartered onion and celerystalks. Brush turkey with olive oil mixed with salt, pepper,sage, and thyme. Cover turkey loosely with a large sheetof foil coated lightly with olive oil, crimping foil on to edgesof roasting pan. Cook according to chart below. Duringlast 45 minutes, cut band of skin or string between legsand tail. Uncover and continue roasting until done.Baste, if desired.
Turkey Roasting Chart (loosely wrapped with foil):
12-16 pounds / 325 degrees F / 4 - 5 hours
16-20 pounds / 325 degrees F / 5 - 6 hours
20-24 pounds / 325 degrees F / 6 - 7 hours
Testing for doneness:
About 20 minutes before roasting time is completed, testbird. Flesh on thickest part of drumstick should feel softwhen squeezed between fingers, drumstick should moveup an down easily, and meat thermometer inserted intothickest part of leg should read 185 degrees F. (Or followmanufacturer's instructions.)
DRIPPINGS: Pour liquid and drippings from roasting paninto a bowl. Remove vegetables. Allow bowl of liquid tocool in refrigerator until fat congeals on top. Scoop off fatwith a spoon and pour drippings into a labeled freezer bag.Thaw to use for making gravy on serving day.
TURKEY: Allow turkey to cool in pan for 1/2 hour; thenplace turkey and its roasting pan into refrigerator. Allowto cool completely (several hours). When fully chilled,slice turkey as usual. Remove all meat from bones.Place breast and dark meat slices into labeled freezerbags. Pour canned chicken broth into bags over meat.Freeze.
TO SERVE: Thaw bag of meat and broth, and place intoa covered baking dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.Or place turkey and broth into a microwave-safe dish,cover with plastic wrap, and heat until hot (the time willvary with different microwaves, so check manufacturer'sinstructions). Drain off broth (reserve to make more gravy,if needed). Arrange the heated turkey slices attractivelyon a serving platter. Serve hot.
**Excerpted and adapted from the 10-Day Holiday MealPlan in the bestselling book,
'Frozen Assets: How toCook for a Day and Eat for a Month' (Champion Press)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
--Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer, wife, andmother of three) is the author of
'Frozen Assets: How toCook for a Day and Eat for a Month' (Champion Press)
and the soon-to-be-released 'Frugal Living for Dummies(r)' (Wiley, Feb. '03)For further ideas on simplifying life,
subscribe to her freee-newsletter
. Cooking ahead info:
Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Moving and New Communities
By Jodie Lynn
You may be thrilled to be moving, or you could be scared to death! Moving can leave you sad, glad, or a mixture of all. Don't worry - I have done this too many times not to be able to help out. Here are some ways to help make moving into a new community easier.
Remember that moving is very time consuming and your patience will be tested. Everything will be new, and for many it's exhausting! Don't try to do everything at once! I once lost my mind trying this stunt -- I later found it behind the diapers in row 6 at Walmart!
First on your list should be to go and meet your closest neighbors. Don't wait for them to come over. Ask if there's a neighborhood phone directory and find out where you can get one. Look for children's birth dates -- call the homes where the children's ages are close to your own kids'.
Ask for recommendations on babysitters. Ask how their children like the sitters. This will lead to many a good relationship. Most families are very willing to help. (They were once a new family in a new area.)
Call local paper for information on parenting organizations. Go visit all that are of interest to you -- and some that are not. If you stick to those that are only in your area of most interest, you could be missing out on some wonderful relationships.
Contact the local Welcome Wagon. There's one in almost every town. They will lead to The Newcomers Club, which has more hobbies and mommy groups than you will know what to do with.
Visit churches. Many churches now offer parenting and play groups that are embraced by the whole community, not just members.
Go for a family walk. In the evening after dinner is a good time. This is usually when the Dads are available to chat as well. Keep a pen and paper ready in the stroller or in your pocket to write down your new phone number and names of your family -- and get their names and numbers, too!
If your children are old enough, send them out to play and let them find families to play with (it works)! Sooner or later, someone will want to spend the night or your cutie will ask someone over. Perfect situation for making new friends with other parents.
Find out where the parks are. Get going -- even in the winter. There will be kids and moms there.
Take a trip to the zoo. Enroll your children in an activity at the zoo and meet new faces and have fun with the NURSERY of baby animals at the same time.
Look at the grocery store for a free local parenting newspaper and/or magazine. These will usually have places to see and things to do for family outings.
Check out the Libraries and local YMCA/YWCA for activities for kids. Many places now have free story time and introductory offers for new folks just moving to the area.
Call the athletic association in your area to find out about soccer, baseball, basketball, etc., registration and sign your kids up! Begin to take pictures right away.
Volunteer at the new preschool and/or school. You will meet many other moms there. Take pictures of the new house, yard, new friends, school, classmates, teams, etc. It will help the children see how easy the transition of moving can be. Keep a positive attitude and so will your family!
Last but far from least, don't forget to do some things for yourself. Ask other moms where they go for exercise, hair salon, clothes, books, make-up, restaurant, doctors, resale shops, house goods, etc. Good luck and smile. It'll all work out!
Jodie Lynn is an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist. Her latest book is
Mommy-CEO, revised edition, Martin-Ola Press
. (It's not just for moms!) Please see
for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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